Sunday, June 11, 2023

Words mean things

He resigned. 
They succeeded. 

Tuesday, June 06, 2023

Colorful colonial times

Colorful colonial times

"The soldier's wives are allowed to pass the cent­inels, but the other day a most ludicrous circumstance took place, by the obstinacy of an old man upon guard. He would not permit a woman, who was a true campaigner to go beyond him, great altercation ensued, in which the lady displayed much of the Billingsgate oratory, when the old man was so irritated as to present his firelock; the woman imme­diately ran up, snatched it from him, knocked him down, and striding over the prostrate hero, in the exultation of triumph, profusely besprinkled him, not with Olympian dew, but that which is esteemed as emollient to the complexion - and 'faith, something more natural - nor did she quit her post, till a file of sturdy ragamuffins marched valiantly to his relief, dispossessed the Amazon, and enabled the knight of the grisly caxon to look fierce, and reshoulder his musquet."

[Thomas Anbury, Travels through the Interior Parts of America, in a Series of Letters (London, 1789; Reprinted by Arno Press, Inc., 1969), 2: 81-82, letter dated Cambridge, December 9, 1777. "BILLINGSGATE LANGUAGE. Foul language, or abuse." Francis Grose, A Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue (London, 1796).