Still

I am moving through paragraph 08.016, and here’s a common word used 185 times in the work. It has meanings to do with distillery (not used in The Hobbit); to do with lack of commotion (as in still water or the still, small voice) and with this meaning can be adjective, adverb, or noun; and from lack of commotion we get to the exclusively adverbial meaning.

So, OED, bless it, tells me that this meaning is obsolete and poetic:

With reference to action or condition: Without change, interruption, or cessation; continually, constantly; on every occasion, invariably; always. Obsolete exc. poetic.

But tells me that meaning 4 is different from that obsolete one:

4. Indicating the continuance of a previous action or condition.

Very well. I bow to the magisters of hair-splitting.

• 01.004 but certainly there was still something
• 01.005 Still it is probable that Bilbo,
• 01.006 and the hobbits were still numerous
• 01.017 but I had no idea you were still
• 01.023 was still standing outside the door,
• 01.068 Bilbo stood still
• 01.071 and still they played on,
• 01.072 and still they played on.
• 01.119 but so far still Tookishly determined to go on with things.
• 01.124 we still mean to get it back,
• 01.143 he could hear Thorin still humming to himself
• 02.027 but still he began to feel that adventures were not so bad after all.
• 02.030 Still the dwarves jogged on,
• 02.116 also one barrel of ale which was still full.
• 03.032 there were still some people
• 03.037 I have heard that there are still forgotten treasures of old
• 03.047 We still call it Durin’s Day
• 04.002 they were still going up
• 04.004 More terrible still are thunder
• 04.012 and the thunder still growling,
• 04.012 Still it was not very far to go,
• 04.044 Still goblins go faster than dwarves,
• 04.048 The ones behind yelled still more,
• 05.004 Still at the moment he felt very crushed.
• 05.008 still they are more used to tunnelling than we are,
• 05.009 All he knew was that it was still going down pretty steadily
• 05.009 and still he heard no sound of anything
• 05.011 Still he did not dare to wade out into the darkness.
• 05.011 and the original owners are still there
• 05.030 Then they stand still.
• 05.034 who was still thinking uncomfortably about eating.
• 05.041 and still he did not answer;
• 05.060 still he could not think of anything.
• 05.073 but still he did not dare to waste his last guess.
• 05.078 He sat still,
• 05.087 when such rings were still at large
• 05.087 And still sometimes he put it on,
• 05.087 He still had a bone or two left to gnaw,
• 05.089 Still he waited a while;
• 05.110 who was still going quickly,
• 05.119 still cautiously,
• 05.119 Still there it was:
• 05.130 but still he held on.
• 05.138 And there was the ring still,
• 05.146 It was still ajar,
• 05.148 while bewildered goblins were still picking up
• 06.002 they are not still back there
• 06.003 He still wandered on,
• 06.005 He crept still nearer,
• 06.005 He had still got the ring on,
• 06.014 If they had still doubted that he was really a first-class burglar,
• 06.031 where they still come
• 06.034 And we are still pretty high up.
• 06.039 but the blackberries were still only
• 06.040 They still went on
• 06.045 they could still see the evening lights on the plains beyond.
• 06.058 Still Dori did not let Bilbo down.
• 06.061 for whom they were probably still hunting.
• 06.084 A few eagles were still circling
• 07.002 The sun was still close to the eastern edge of things.
• 07.012 You are still some miles north of the path
• 07.014 if still sore
• 07.018 Still I warn you he gets angry easily.’
• 07.024 They still had a long way to walk before them.
• 07.045 and was still warm
• 07.076 Or have you still got some more jacks
• 07.096 and still they sat
• 07.120 and while the dwarves were still singing songs he dropped asleep,
• 07.120 still puzzling his little head about Beorn,
• 07.121 So here you all are still!’
• 07.122 the goblin patrols were still hunting
• 07.123 but I like it still better now I am sure it is true.
• 07.130 if they had still had their ponies,
• 07.130 and would have left them still with a long
• 07.131 Still you are safer going north,
• 07.133 Still the next morning dawned bright
• 07.133 and while the shadows were still long they were off again.
• 07.133 that they rode still forward after dusk
• 07.143 he still said the same.
• 08.002 and still more luck
• 08.004 and it was everlastingly still
• 08.006 Worse still it brought thousands of dark-grey
• 08.007 and still the forest seemed just the same,
• 08.012 Still twelve yards is as good as a mile.
• 08.016 and still has the best sight,’
• 08.022 looking at the snapped painter that was still dangling from it.
• 08.029 (still grumbling)
• 08.029 and then go still.
• 08.031 They could still see his hood
• 08.032 They were still standing over him,
• 08.035 and the gloom gathered still deeper on them
• 08.038 Still Bombur slept
• 08.044 Still he did not see this,
• 08.046 that they were still gnawingly hungry,
• 08.089 in Bombur still.
• 08.092 and even grown-up he had still spent a deal of his time at quoits, dart-throwing,
• 08.100 “but still they cannot find me!”
• 08.108 But there were still five dwarves hanging at the end of the branch
• 08.125 though he would have felt a lot bolder still,
• 08.131 Still elves they were
• 09.016 and the still unconquered dragon)
• 09.019 It seemed a town of Men still throve there,
• 09.035 still happily snoring with smiles upon their faces.
• 09.044 and still less at being laughed at.
• 09.055 he could hear the elves still singing
• 09.069 but whether alive or dead still remains to be seen.
• 10.002 but still a strong water flowed on steadily through the midst.
• 10.003 still,
• 10.006 In the still evening air
• 10.007 who still dared to dwell here
• 10.007 They still throve on the trade
• 10.007 The rotting piles of a greater town could still be seen
• 10.008 though some still sang old songs
• 10.011 Are you still
• 10.016 Still –
• 10.040 Still, I daresay, more was guessed than was known,
• 10.042 While the enthusiasm still lasted
• 11.010 The dragon is still alive
• 11.011 and still I expect smokes
• 11.014 and brought them at last to a still narrower ledge,
• 11.014 grassy-floored, still and quiet.
• 11.032 but still Bilbo stood almost without moving.
• 11.036 Try it now while there is still time!’
• 12.008 and stopped where he could still see
• 12.010 but went still on
• 12.017 but still he clutched the cup,
• 12.019 The dwarves were still passing the cup
• 12.020 Smaug was still to be reckoned with.
• 12.027 and still all was safe.
• 12.027 and still all was safe.
• 12.033 to last them still for some time.
• 12.095 and we know that still;
• 12.095 and I still think that when we have won it will be time enough
• 12.096 if they were still lying there
• 12.101 What would have happened if the door had still been open
• 12.101 glad to be still alive,
• 13.001 they woke still to darkness
• 13.017 Mr. Baggins was still officially their expert burglar
• 13.018 while he was still near enough,
• 13.018 and still went on.
• 13.023 And still there was no sight nor sound of Smaug.
• 13.029 and still there were no dragon-noises,
• 13.034 and finding still hanging there many golden harps
• 13.034 they were still
• 13.038 Still I wish there was a looking-glass handy!’
• 13.048 still showing the fragments of old carven work within,
• 13.055 even if the old steps are still there.’
• 13.067 Still,
• 14.011 Still they had a little time.
• 14.015 and still no arrow hindered Smaug or hurt him
• 14.018 But there was still a company of archers
• 14.026 while some were still willing to defend it.
• 14.036 I serve you still –
• 14.042 Still elves are lightfooted,
• 14.044 who were still able,
• 15.001 and the crows that still lived about the Mountain
• 15.014 but we remember still the king that was of old.
• 15.021 If you would earn our thanks still more,
• 15.021 if any of you are still young
• 15.026 you will see that the dwarves still had some days before them.
• 15.026 and at such work the dwarves were still very skilled.
• 15.027 and they still had a breathing space.
• 15.027 Better still,
• 15.031 The morning was still pale
• 15.052 And still my other claims remain unanswered.’
• 15.060 The whole place still stinks of dragon,’
• 16.026 (which he still wore over his mail)
• 16.046 it was still where he had left it.
• 17.004 Are you still of the same mind?’
• 17.005 Still the elf-host has not departed as I bade!
• 17.031 The morning was still early
• 17.037 Let us hope still for something
• 17.040 Still more suddenly a darkness came on
• 17.054 while still the great bats swirled
• 18.002 but I suppose there is still time enough for that!’
• 18.003 Surely there was a camp still
• 18.003 But all was deadly still.
• 18.022 they were still outnumbered.
• 18.023 The dwarves were making a stand still
• 18.025 but the pursuit was still on foot,
• 18.051 The Wild was still the Wild,
• 19.001 Bilbo heard the elves still singing
• 19.002 Here grass is still growing,
• 19.025 still hidden
• 19.036 they were more surprised still.

“still, adv.” OED Online, Oxford University Press, June 2019, http://www.oed.com/view/Entry/190289. Accessed 31 July 2019.

Young

• 01.091 and perhaps to one or two of the younger dwarves
• 01.109 not even when he was a young dragon,
• 02.079 it was thick as a young tree-trunk –
• 03.021 a tall young fellow,
• 04.008 and being the youngest of the dwarves by some fifty years
• 04.008 (or so Thorin said to the young dwarves)
• 05.111 when we twisted that nassty young squeaker.
• 08.016 but Fili is the youngest
• 10.013 Fili and Kili, however, who were young
• 10.018 and some of the younger people
• 10.018 in their young days.
• 12.067 that in his young days had been called Esgaroth.
• 12.072 Then I was but young
• 13.037 wrought for some young elf-prince long ago.
• 15.021 if any of you are still young
• 15.034 Some of the younger dwarves were moved
• 18.044 while the world is yet young!

Strength

Friends, you know that I have a wee obsession about chapter eight – the sudden nadir of uncommon words in the work. My theory is that Mirkwood is just so far out of Bilbo’s depth that he has no specialized words to describe it. Paragraph 08.016 – “Dori is the strongest” – is the bottommost point, so let’s do a little run of the words in that paragraph.

Dori is referred to 22 times by himself and not in combination with other dwarf names out of the 37 times he is named in the book – interesting –

I may be a coward, but I wish to leave “is” and “the” as an exercise for the student.

Strength, strength’s, strengths, strengths’, strong, stronger, strongest – here they are! And, my goodness! There are eleven uses of “strength” in Chapter eight – more than double any other chapter, even chapter twelve in describing Smaug!

• 01.123 strong and wicked worm called Smaug.
• 03.033 as strong as a warrior,
• 03.034 and strong
• 03.034 but strong to bring them over the mountain passes.
• 05.128 while he had any strength left.
• 05.128 as if lifted by a new strength
• 06.068 and strong
• 06.085 in strong sweeping circles.
• 06.092 He had just strength to wonder
• 07.014 which was now strong
• 07.020 He is very strong,
• 07.022 sometimes he is a great strong black-haired man with huge arms
• 07.117 and strong beyond the rock for me to cross.
• 07.126 black and strong
• 08.008 and strong but not very wide right across the way,
• 08.016 Dori is the strongest,
• 08.018 I don’t suppose the magic is strong enough to hurt you,
• 08.019 This time he threw it with great strength.
• 08.022 and a good job that our rope was the stronger.’
• 08.038 from those parts with what strength they had left.
• 08.074 Something like a strong sticky string was against his left hand,
• 08.106 most of the strong sticky threads
• 08.131 Though their magic was strong,
• 08.132 and the strong place of his treasure,
• 08.144 in one of the inmost caves with strong wooden doors,
• 09.003 and strong beneath;
• 09.036 They will think we had a very strong magic
• 10.002 but still a strong water flowed on steadily through the midst.
• 10.038 and strong again.
• 10.039 grew stronger every day.
• 11.001 The stream was strong
• 12.032 and to gather new strength.
• 12.072 and strong, strong, strong,
• 12.072 and strong, strong, strong,
• 12.072 and strong, strong, strong,
• 12.096 and strength of triple steel.
• 15.021 and strong of wing,
• 15.037 The arrow swift, the Gate is strong;
• 16.012 of a strong drink
• 17.003 bore a strong casket of iron-bound wood.
• 17.025 so strong was the bewilderment of the treasure upon him,
• 17.031 The dwarves are exceedingly strong for their height,
• 17.031 but most of these were strong even for dwarves.
• 18.037 such as one strong pony could carry.
• 18.051 and strength.
• 18.054 and the Baggins was daily getting stronger.
• 19.002 With strength that men trusted

What’s Going On in Chapter Eight?

I’m beginning to dive into Mirkwood, Word Fans. We all know that something special is going on in Chapter 8, but what? Yes, it’s true, I awakened at 4am because I am excited to get going! Ready for some spicy numbers?

Chapter 8 has

  • 10,301 words
  • 1,789 distinct words
  • 954 of which are used only once. My goodness. 53%. Now, that’s actually not statistically different from the 42% unique-to-total ratio of the whole work, it’s only one comparison, and we don’t know how widely the other chapters vary. But it is absolutely mathematically accurate to say “My goodness.”

Introducing a new tag this morning: “eight”, meaning “let’s talk about Chapter XIII, shall we? I’ll put the kettle on.”

Some Numbers to Warm Us on an Early Mud Season Evening

While I promise that I’m not beginning big project on apostrophes, I thought that my Word Fans would like to know that there are 3006 of them in The Hobbit.

I find 96,134 words in the work, 6320 distinct words, and 2707 of these occur only once. I am ready to bet that a 42% distinct word count is … unusual.

For examples of words used only once which are not already in our concordance – therefore are common – here’s the challenge I shall accept for the letter A. (AROUND!!! Wow!)

  • accomplished
  • active
  • advantage
  • affect
  • affection
  • afford
  • aground
  • alliances
  • amount
  • ample
  • anyhow
  • apologetically
  • appealed
  • appointed
  • appreciatively
  • around
  • array
  • arts
  • assembled
  • attend
  • aye