(From The Wrecker by Robert Louis Stevenson and Lloyd Osbourne, Chapter XVII, published 1892)

Passage 263

...That Trent, he come first, with his 'and in a bloody rag. I was near 'em as I am to you; and I could make out he was all to bits—'eard his breath rattle in his blooming lungs as he come down the ladder. Yes, they was a scared lot, small blame to 'em, I say! The next after Trent, come him as was mate.” “Goddedaal!” I exclaimed.

“And a good name for him too,” chuckled the man-o'-war's man, who probably confounded the word with a familiar oath. “A good name too; only it weren't his. He was a gen'lem'n born, sir, as had gone maskewerading.

With what familiar oath does the speaker confound/confuse the name 'Goddedaal'?

  • 2
    Or possibly the trisyllabic name Goddedaal was heard as "Go to hell!"
    – TimR
    Nov 13, 2023 at 16:02

1 Answer 1


"Goddedaal" is the mate's name, but it is not an English name. (The spelling suggests a Scandanavian origin.) It sounds a bit like "God, damn", a blasphemous oath that I think the author may have preferred not to write explicitly, but to which he did not mind making an allusion. If the man-o'-war's man did not recognize the word as a foreign name, he might very well mistake it for this much-used oath.

  • The man calling himself 'Goddedaal' was in fact Norris Carthew, an Englishman. Nov 15, 2023 at 10:16

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