Twenty-Six Of The Gang

If you are looking for a different form of profane expression with which to vent your anger or frustration, why not try Lady in the straw. This was a popular oath and refers to the Virgin Mary who gave birth to her child in a stable. I think it is due a renaissance. And if you want to express your exasperation, how about leave them to fry in their own fat, an alternative to give him enough rope and he’ll hang himself?

Someone’s halitosis getting you down? Try lend us your breath to kill Jumbo. And looking for another way to call out someone’s humbug? Leather and prunella, according to James Ware in his Passing English of a Victorian Era, was a corruption of lather, being whipped cream, and prunella, a sort of damson puree or plum jelly. It was initially used to denote flimsiness and by extension humbug.

London ivy was a pleasing euphemism for dust as it sticks to everything while London smoke described a yellowish-grey colour, popular as a paint colour as it hid the dirt. Making the best of everything and the desire to battle through adversity was known as best side towards London. It also reflected the desire of country folk to see London for themselves and even make their fortune. Its streets were not paved with gold, Ware sagely noted.

A long pull was something to be sought after, an over full measure of drink, either served by the publican as a favour or to attract trade. Either way, I am sure it was gratefully received. Unsubstantiated reports of such a custom may have been a long-tailed bear, an euphemism for a lie as bears do not have tails. If the barman was serving overly generous measures, the landlord may have looked through the fingers, an Irish phrase meaning to pretend not to see.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.