November 6th, 2006

Party Guy

Happy Birthday, benbear!

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

steerer
A steerer is the go-between of the shyster and the prisoner. By wile and guile he brings clients to the lawyer and in return gets a liberal reward, usually half of what the shyster gets from the victim. Steerers, in courts where discipline is not maintained, move about the benches, among relatives and prisoners, learning details of a case, offering to get counsel who are "in" with the magistrate, persuading (or intimidating, if possible) and, if successful, turning over the victim to the shyster with whom they are in league. Most of their work is done on the outside, however; few are brazen enough to ply their trade actually within the courtroom, but hang about the corridors and halls.
--Richard Thornton's An American Glossary, 1912


Feast Day of St. Leonard,
a patron of prisoners.

-The Gneech
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