2b (meaning “to go on”) is a term meaning either a journey or a day away. 2b was developed by the German artist and illustrator Johannes L. Reichenbach in 1888 and first used as a noun in the 1920s by the Dutch-Moroccan author and illustrator Lulu. 3a (meaning “to follow”) was also added by Reichenbach to the English lexicon in the 1920s. Both meanings were coined by an American artist, David A. Cordingly; 3b by the German-Jewish artist Heinrich Böhm. But the term 2b did not originate with any two artists; it comes from an old German concept, used both figuratively and literally. Lulu’s use of the word in a picture shows that there was a common sense and an even bigger sense of humor as well.
It’s not immediately apparent why there are two expressions for a day and a journey back to the past. The earliest reference to 2a is a 19th-century poem on geography, and the only other references to 2b come from a book about travelling by train, written in 1873 by the Dutch-Moroccan author John B. M. Salden and illustrated as “Travelling for Two” by the French-German writer Géroux. Salden’s “For Two and Other Letters” provides the best summary of both 2b’s origins and the various ways people have used the word over the centuries:
Traveling for two, it is true, has been more or less the standard form of expression for a day, since we know that many people today use “two, two days from home” to mean “that day from home.” 2b, however, came to be used only in association with a journey; it was used in a picture of its own, as well, when the author Johannes L. Reichenbach, in his book “For Two,” pictured a day-trip to the Netherlands as a journey, or a day trip from Paris to a certain town. Reichenbach says that he liked to express a feeling of travel—a feeling that goes well beyond a return journey, and was an expression of the fact of being a traveler. The idea of traveling—seeing new places, learning something new about a land—was important to him, which is why he used the expression frequently, as he did in the image he gave of a journey.
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