Solving the Mystery No 1

Gordon Heywood’s diary is mysterious in itself for anybody who cannot read Pitman shorthand.  For those of us who do, there are many outlines which are puzzling.  Take the diary extract at the top of the page, for example.  The transcription of this so far is:

‘In the morning not turned in any lessons.  We said our French verbs and ? and ? the vocab.  Did shorthand in the morning.  In the afternoon did algebra.’

If you’re wondering about the first sentence, please read my comments about this in Gordon Heywood, his diary and me

Looking at the other sentences, any shorthand writer will say, ‘That’s not the correct outline for our and the outline for said should be on the line.  The outline for shorthand looks dodgy and there’s no full stop after morning’.  I would have said the same myself but, after hours spent with Gordon’s shorthand, I’ve learnt a lot about his tendencies to omit punctuation and to mis-place outlines.  What I haven’t been able to do is to decipher the missing words indicated by the question marks.  Perhaps the whole sentence is incorrect?

Here’s the challenge to Pitman writers out there:  to transcribe the second sentence in Gordon’s diary entry for 15th March 1894.  No prizes, just the pleasure of solving a mystery.



  1. Maybe “jumped and skipped the vocab” ?


    1. Thanks, Beryl. That looks like a distinct possibility.


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