Did some inquiries today on the phrase "...like the dickens," which dates back to Shakespeare and there Dickens, I learn, is originally just a euphemism for "the devil," which makes sense, given "what the deuce," etc. etc.
What precipitated this inquiry, however, was an odd attempt at the phrase rendered by my office manager, "I know you've been working like the Dickinson." It didn't immediately strike me as being a reference to the poet, certainly enough, though I have been working in seclusion most of the week, but rather as a mis-hearing...perhaps this woman extrapolated the phrase as being this early in life, maybe she just stutter-stepped and that's what came out.
In other news, I bought one book today purely based on the title; Agatha Christie's "By the Pricking of my Thumbs." The wise idea was to shelve it next to my copy of "Something Wicked This Way Comes" (followed by my copy of Macbeth, probably, no doubt originally influenced by this lovely work. [Pity Yeats was lamenting the decline of royalism, though, and somewhat obsessed with this cyclical history-as-gyres business] Much to my chagrin, however, I find I do not seem to actually own a copy of Something Wicked This Way Comes, though I would have sworn I did.
The best laid schemes o' mice and men, I suppose...