John "The Gneech" Robey (the_gneech) wrote,
John "The Gneech" Robey

Happy Birthday, robin_andersen!

For your present, here's today's Forgotten English!

pedlar's French
The jargon, used by thieves, tramps, etc. "Frenchman" was formerly a synonym for a foreigner.
--Albert Hyamson's Dictionary of English Phrases, 1922

Lord Mayor's Day
is a great holiday in [London]. The populace is particularly insolent and rowdy, turning into lawless freedom the great liberty it enjoys. At these times it is almost dangerous for an honest man, and more particularly for a foreigner, if at all well dressed, to walk in the streets, for he runs a great risk of being insulted by the vulgar populace. He is sure of not only being jeered at, but as likely as not dead dogs and cats will be thrown at him. ... When the people see a well-dressed person in the streets, especially if he is wearing a braided coat, a plume in his hat, or his hair tied in a bow, he will without doubt be called "French dog" twenty times perhaps before he reaches his destination. This name is the ... most formidable insult that can be given to any man, and it is applied indifferently to all foreigners.
--César de Saussure's A Foreign View of England, 1725-30

Who carries around dead dogs and cats to throw at people??? 0.o

-The Gneech
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