Greetings.
In Oliver Twist is found the following paragraph (Penguin 1994, p.144):

'What do you mean by this?' said Sikes; backing the inquiry with a very common imprecation concerning the most beautiful of human features: which, if it were heard above, only once out of every fifty thousand times that it is uttered below, would render blindness as common a disorder as measles: 'what do you mean by it? Burn my body! Do you know who you are, and what you are?'
Dickens is fond of using creative euphemisms, but this one is too obscure for me to decrypt. Anyone have a clue what swear Sikes might have uttered here? I can't even figure out what Dickens means by "the most beautiful of human features".
Regards,
Tristan

V.-o Tristan Miller (en,(fr,de,ia)) >`-' -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= <> In a haiku, so it's hard (7 \\ http://www.nothingisreal.com / >
1 2
Greetings. In Oliver Twist is found the following paragraph (Penguin 1994, p.144): 'What do you mean by this?' ... Sikes might have uttered here? I can't even figure out what Dickens means by "the most beautiful of human features".

At a hazard, I would venture 'Damn your eyes!' or possibly 'Blast your eyes!'

John Dean
Oxford
Greetings. In Oliver Twist is found the following paragraph (Penguin 1994, p.144): 'What do you mean by this?' ... Sikes might have uttered here? I can't even figure out what Dickens means by "the most beautiful of human features".

My guess is that Sikes said either "Blimey!" or "Gor blimey!" It was a common imprecation, said to be a shortened form of "(God) blind me". I'm fairly sure that I've seen references to the eyes as the most beautiful features somewhere, and that seems to fit also.

Graeme Thomas
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Greetings.
'What do you mean by this?' said Sikes; backing the ... below, would render blindness as common a disorder as measles

My guess is that Sikes said either "Blimey!" or "Gor blimey!" It was a common imprecation, said to be a ... sure that I've seen references to the eyes as the most beautiful features somewhere, and that seems to fit also.

Ah... this certainly makes sense, especially given the bit about blindness. Given how common it is today, I never guessed Dickens would use such circumlocution for this word, but then again, he even goes so far as to strike out the last three letters of "damn" ("d??").

Regards,
Tristan

V.-o Tristan Miller (en,(fr,de,ia)) >`-' -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= <> In a haiku, so it's hard (7 \\ http://www.nothingisreal.com / >
My guess is that Sikes said either "Blimey!" or "Gor blimey!"

I always thought it was "Cor blimey!" Have I been wrong all this time, or did the word shift from Gor to Cor?

Dena Jo
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Greetings. In Oliver Twist is found the following paragraph (Penguin 1994, p.144): 'What do you mean by this?' ... Sikes might have uttered here? I can't even figure out what Dickens means by "the most beautiful of human features".

How about "Damn your eyes" ?

Don Phillipson
Carlsbad Springs (Ottawa, Canada)
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My guess is that Sikes said either "Blimey!" or "Gor blimey!"

I always thought it was "Cor blimey!" Have I been wrong all this time, or did the word shift from Gor to Cor?

Both forms exist.
Alan
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Greetings. In Oliver Twist is found the following ... what Dickens means by "the most beautiful of human features".

My guess is that Sikes said either "Blimey!" or "Gor blimey!" It was a common imprecation, said to be a ... sure that I've seen references to the eyes as the most beautiful features somewhere, and that seems to fit also.

Neither works in context. Firstly, they're rather mild for Bill Sikes. Secondly, they're far more exclamations of surprise than curses, and in context the words are merely the last of a long sequence of threats and curses uttered by Sikes to Nancy. I'd suggest that it's almost certainly either "Damn your eyes" or "Blast your eyes".
(For the original text, see any online copy - eg
http://www.online-literature.com/dickens/olivertwist/17 /)

Cheers - Ian
Greetings. In Oliver Twist is found the following paragraph (Penguin 1994, p.144): 'What do you mean by this?' ... limited / >`-' -=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= <> In a haiku, so it's hard (7 \\ http://www.nothingisreal.com / > Yes, I'd say it was "Damn your eyes" or "Blast your eyes".

Cheers, Sage
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