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Old September 12th, 2015, 09:45 AM   #551

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From the previous page:

demirep noun \ˈde-mi-ˌrep, -mē-\ (demi half + rep reputation)

: a woman of of doubtful reputation; of the demimonde : demimondaine

* * *

An excerpt from a description of some of the social issues surrounding the opening of the Pantheon in London.

Quote:
The event of the London season for 1771-2 was the opening of the Pantheon assembly rooms in Oxford Street. According to reports of the much-anticipated opening night on 27 January 1772, as 'a striking instance of the elegance and splendor of these times' the Pantheon 'created a scene which must beggar all description'. A foreign nobleman was said to have commented that the building evoked 'the enchanted Palaces [of the] French Romances', and that it was raised by the potent wand of some Fairy': 'in short, the building seemed the Palace of Pleasure, inhabited by the Loves and Graces; all was beauty, gaiety and elegance'. Devoted to masquerades, music concerts, promenading and conversation, the Pantheon was an extravagant hybrid of Roman and Byzantine architectural styles, consisting of fourteen rooms in total. Its centrepiece was the rotunda or dome, based on the mosque of Santa Sophia in Constantinople. This 'Palace of Pleasure' represented the culmination of a transformation in the cultural life of the metropolis which had been wrought by Teresa Cornelys and Carlisle House. Indeed, the opening of the Pantheon was regarded as of such significance that it was given prominence in the Annual Register's account of the year. Describing the Pantheon as 'the much-talked-of receptacle of fashionable pleasure', the report enthused: 'Imagination cannot well surpass the elegance and magnificence of the apartments.' But it concluded bathetically in the description of the company as 'an olio of all sorts; peers, peeresses, honourables and right honourables, jew brokers, demireps, lottery insurers and quack doctors.'

. . .

[T]he Proprietors wished the Pantheon to emulate Bath's reputation as a 'uniquely sociable milieu', a melting-pot in which distinctions of rank, family, gender or politics were temporarily suspended in the interests of fellowship and good company. The cultivation of the role of master of ceremonies by men such as Richard 'Beau' Nash was designed to assert the primacy of sociable ideals, enabling visitors to Bath from all over Britain and Europe to mix successfully in the context of holiday. Insofar as such a system stimulated the development of Bath as a commercial centre, it also functioned as a model for how sociability and commerce could be mutually beneficial. Such an alliance was embodied in the figure of John Donnellan, who, as proprietor, stood for the interests of the shareholders and the status of the Pantheon as a corporate enterprise. As master of ceremonies, Donnellan also represented the sociable ideals of which the Pantheon was the new metropolitan temple. The identities of master of ceremonies and proprietor were therefore in his case mutually constitutive.

In adapting the model of Bath to London, the Proprietors were announcing the Pantheon's status as a venue in which social boundaries could be fluid. . . . At the same time, however, as a result of the 1752 Disorderly Houses Act, the Pantheon was compelled to promote itself as a 'private' rather than an open or general entertainment. The status of Carlisle House as Cornelys's domicile had made it easier for her to represent her entertainments as 'private' rather than commercial affairs. The corporate structure of the Pantheon made this fiction more difficult to maintain, but the Proprietors decided to go ahead with it anyway, and indeed, to take the Cornelys model even further. A crucial element of the 1771 'Plan' was that no subscription to the entertainments at the Pantheon would be received without the endorsement of a peeress. Insofar as Cornelys's appeals to her clientele had never been so gender-specific, the Proprietors had gone much further in identifying their venue with elite women. . . .

The 'PLAN for opening the PANTHEON' was immediately controversial. The Public Advertiser complained that not even members of the House of Lords could attend without the permission of their wives: the Pantheon, it announced, 'will be under Petticoat-Government'. . . .

. . . When the Pantheon eventually opened on Monday 27 January 1772, the 'olio', according to the Town and Country, included a number of 'ladies of easy virtue'. The same journal reported that the presence of these women was objected to by certain 'ladies of fashion', but that on the Wednesday following they were there in even greater numbers and included the well-known actress, singer and demi-rep Sophia Baddeley. Donnellan, as master of ceremonies, was reported to have 'whispered' to her in the sight of all in the rotunda that her presence was unwelcome. The demi-rep, or fashionable courtesan, was a class of woman whose sexual reputation was compromised, but who was able to maintain a position in fashionable circles, either through her own resources or most often by means of the financial support of her lover. The demi-rep therefore occupied a transitional position between that of the common whore and the respectability of other middling-order and elite women, problematizing definitions of the 'public woman', insofar as it was sometimes difficult to tell the demi-rep apart from her 'respectable' sisters.

— Gillian Russell, Women, Sociability and Theatre in Georgian London (2007)
Revisited word:

bathetic adjective \bə-ˈthe-tik\ (Greek bathos depth + -etic [as in pathetic])

: characterized by bathos

ba·thet·i·cal·ly adverb

* * *

Bonus word:

olio noun \ˈō-lē-ˌō\ (modification of Spanish olla pot, stew, or medley dish)

1 olla podrida

2 a : a miscellaneous mixture : hodgepodge

. b : a miscellaneous collection (as of literary or musical selections)


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The rotunda of the London Pantheon
by William Hodges

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palinode noun \ˈpa-lə-ˌnōd\ (Greek palinōidia, from palin again, back + aeidein to sing)

1 : an ode or song recanting or retracting something in an earlier poem

2 : a formal retraction

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Old September 12th, 2015, 09:59 AM   #552

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Thank you for the interesting demirep quotations, the word is older than I had realized, I thought it was Victorian; I see that the earliest quotation in the OED is from Tom Jones. Now demimonde is a 19th Century word, so it could not have helped to inspire the invention of 'demirep'.
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Old September 14th, 2015, 09:39 AM   #553

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linschoten View Post
Thank you for the interesting demirep quotations, the word is older than I had realized, I thought it was Victorian; I see that the earliest quotation in the OED is from Tom Jones. Now demimonde is a 19th Century word, so it could not have helped to inspire the invention of 'demirep'.
I agree: the etymological note in the same source mentions that "demirep" appeared in Jonathan Swift's Polite Conversation, which was completed some time in the early 1730s.

* * *

From the previous page:

maffick verb \ˈma-fik\ (back-formation from Mafeking Night, English celebration of the lifting of the siege of Mafeking, South Africa, May 17, 1900)

: to celebrate with boisterous rejoicing and hilarious behavior

* * *

It may be a little too pat, but for today's post I chose a description of the siege of Mafeking and the British public's reaction to the lifting of that siege.

Quote:
On the evening of May 18, 1900, London erupted into celebration. After months of defeat and humiliation, there was at last some good news about British forces in South Africa: Mafeking, a small colonial outpost on the border of the Boer Transvaal Republic, under siege virtually since the outbreak of war in early October, had been relieved. In fact, the news had been anticipated for several days, and the people of the city were well prepared to fill the streets in an orgy of rejoicing. Bells rang from church steeples, the Lord Mayor may an emotional speech outside Mansion House, effigies of President Kruger were burned, theater performances were interrupted for celebratory odes to be read from the stage, newspapers ran special editions printed in the colors of the Union Jack, and a generalized patriotic hysteria gripped the city for days. the exuberance of these celebrations would prove to be unmatched even by those which marked the end of either World War, and led to the coining of a new word in the popular language of the day, "to maffick." As one observer dryly commented: "[The British] are behaving as though they had beaten Napoleon."

Today, this public hysteria seems wildly disproportionate to the military significance of the actual siege. the relief of Mafeking was by no means the first victory of the British forces in South Africa, nor is there any consensus whether, in the unfolding of the war, the siege was anything more than a relatively minor sideshow. Of no intrinsic importance itself, the town in 1899 was "a very ordinary-looking place . . . plumped down on the veld." "An oasis of tin roofs and mud walls in the sandy wastes, [it sat] where the Cape Colony, the Bechuanaland Protectorate and the Transvaal all touched fingers on the flanks of the Kalahari desert." The town was about half a mile from the Barolong stadt (or tribal settlement) from which it took its name, where the recently completed Cape-to-Bulawayo railway line crossed the Molopo River. Mafeking had been garrisoned shortly after the outbreak of hostilities by forces raised in Bulawayo and Bechuanaland, on the instructions of Lord Milner, the governor of the Cape Colony and British high commissioner. Milner hoped that this would distract Boer forces from what was (correctly) anticipated would be the main scene of fighting farther east, until troop ships bringing in reinforcements from Britain and the other colonies could arrive at the Cape and Durban. In this at least, the siege had been effective, tying up nearly a fifth of the Boer forces in the field at this stage of the war.

Although more than eight hundred people died during the siege, militarily it was a relatively unimportant affair, characterized by long periods of inactivity, and its lifting was decidedly undramatic. The encircling Boer forces left in the night, and the British relief column found no resistance when they finally reached the outpost. the significance of the relief of Mafeking, then, seems to lie in some other frame of reference than the purely military. There is little doubt that the public hysteria provided by the lifting of the siege was partly and expression of salvaged national pride. In the last decade of the nineteenth century, support for Britain's imperialistic adventures was widespread and largely unquestioning: "might was right, England was strong, what she had she held." Most of British society shared a militaristic form of patriotism, imbued by imperialist schools and churches, and shared public perceptions of the Boers as "ignorant, grasping and suspicious." Although a liberal minority in Britain opposed the war, most of the middle classes accepted it as one force upon Britain by the Boers' apparent acts of aggression. Some of the public hysteria over the siege may also have been due to the fact that the town had been the launching point of the Jameson Raid of 1895. This shabby and ill-fated expedition had revealed the imperialist designs of Rhodes and his metropolitan co-conspirators and set in motion the chain of increasingly belligerent exchanges between Britain and the Boer republics that lead to the war in October 1899.

— Jeremy A. Foster, Washed with Sun: Landscape and the Making of White South Africa (2008)
Foster goes on to describe how Robert Baden-Powell (the commander of the British forces at Mafeking who would later found the Boy Scouts) became an almost instant celebrity as a result of the British public's fascination with the siege.


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Londoners celebrate the relief of Mafeking (Note the portrait of Baden-Powell in the center of the image.)

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turpitude noun \ˈtər-pə-ˌtüd, -ˌtyüd\ (Middle French, from Latin turpitudo, from turpis vile, base)

: inherent baseness : depravity; also : a base act

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Old September 17th, 2015, 09:38 AM   #554

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The Battle of Castelnaudary was disastrous for the short-lived rebellion against the regency of Marie de' Medici, actually in the charge of Cardinal Richelieu, since the Queen was in exile. It was certainly disastrous for Henri II de Montmorency, the commander of the forces of Gaston, duke d’Orléans, the king's brother, known as "Monsieur."

Quote:
The Comte de Moret was the first to charge the royal cavalry, and by his spirited attack threw them into some disorder, which so excited Montmorenci, that although he had very few men, he galloped up to join him. His biographer says, there there, forgetting the duties of a general, he fought with the greatest bravery, like a simple soldier. But the affair of Castelnaudary was nothing but a skirmish, in which it became the duty of every one to fight man to man, and there was no room for generalship. A party of the royal infantry in ambuscade in the ditches came to the assistance of the horse, and poured in so opportune and destructive a volley, that the Counts de Moret, de Rieux, and de la Feuillade, with several officers, were killed, and the Duke de Montmorenci was wounded in many places. He might have retreated, if, at the same time, his horse had not been shot under him: he was made prisoner, and carried off to Lectoure. The army of Monsieur beheld these generous nobles sacrifice themselves in this manner without making the least effort to extricate them or avenge their death: they did not strike a blow; they retreated, the infantry dispersed entirely, and Monsieur retired quietly with his cavalry to Besiers, the few cities that had declared in his favour returning silently to their allegiance—to their king.

The duke of Orleans, as usual, began to show strong signs of repentance: and Ballion, who, after several fruitless negotiations, was sent to him on the part of the king, soon induced him to sign an agreement, in opposition to the opinions and wishes of most of his followers. The greatest difficulty was the Duke de Montmorenci, whom Monsieur insisted upon having restored to his liberty, his honours, and his property. Ballion told the prince that the only means of obtaining what he wished was to submit implicitly to the will of the king: to require assurances of him was only to irritate him, and wound the confidence he ought to have in his goodness; to pardon Montmorenci was a favour of which the king ought to have the whole glory, and he injured the duke's cause if he did not leave it entirely at his majesty's discretion; the blind obedience which he would render the king ought to put him out of fear, and give him as certain hopes as it was possible for him to entertain. This speech of the cardinal's well-drilled emissary persuaded the duke of Orleans that it was by the king's desire he spoke in this manner, and prevented him from pressing further for a positive promise for the liberation of Montmorenci. . . .

In the treaty of reconciliation signed by Monsieur, he humbly confessed his fault, implored the king to pardon him, and gave all the securities that could be possibly required of him, never to offend again. As upon all such occasions, he abandoned his friends, and submitted to any terms the king chose to dictate; ending his notable palinode, by promising to love all who served his majesty, particularly the Cardinal-Duke de Richelieu, whom he had always esteemed for his fidelity to his person and to the interests of the king and the state!

After mutual hollow expressions of esteem, and forced promises on the part of Monsieur, his troop retired to Roussillon, and he, with his confidants and domestics, by order of the king, took up his residence at Tours.

Monsieur wrote a letter to the king, requesting pardon for Montmorenci, but it was useless. Montmorenci was too formidable an enemy for the cardinal, to allow him to escape now he had got him safely in his clutches; no one could ever impute weakness of that kind to Richelieu. As soon as he was captured, his fate was deliberated upon in the close council, and every means was used by his artful enemy to irritate the king against him.

— William Robson, The Life of Cardinal Richelieu (1854)
Henri II de Montmorency was beheaded on the 30th of October, 1632, in Toulouse.


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Henri II, Duke of Montmorency


Click the image to open in full size.

Cardinal Richelieu

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circumlocution noun \ˌsər-kəm-lō-ˈkyü-shən\ (Middle English circumlocucyon, from Latin circumlocution-, circumlocutio, from circum around- + locutio speech, from loqui to speak)

1 : the use of an unnecessarily large number of words to express an idea

2 : evasion in speech

cir·cum·loc·u·to·ry \-ˈlä-kyə-ˌtȯr-ē\ adjective

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Old September 17th, 2015, 01:01 PM   #555

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Makes me think of the Circumlocution Office in Little Dorrit (and what a brilliant prose-writer Dickens was at his best!) :

"The Circumlocution Office was (as everybody knows without being told) the most important Department under Government. No public business of any kind could possibly be done at any time without the acquiescence of the Circumlocution Office. Its finger was in the largest public pie, and in the smallest public tart. It was equally impossible to do the plainest right and to undo the plainest wrong without the express authority of the Circumlocution Office. If another Gunpowder Plot had been discovered half an hour before the lighting of the match, nobody would have been justified in saving the parliament until there had been half a score of boards, half a bushel of minutes, several sacks of official memoranda, and a family-vault full of ungrammatical correspondence, on the part of the Circumlocution Office.

This glorious establishment had been early in the field, when the one sublime principle involving the difficult art of governing a country, was first distinctly revealed to statesmen. It had been foremost to study that bright revelation and to carry its shining influence through the whole of the official proceedings. Whatever was required to be done, the Circumlocution Office was beforehand with all the public departments in the art of perceiving — HOW NOT TO DO IT.

Through this delicate perception, through the tact with which it invariably seized it, and through the genius with which it always acted on it, the Circumlocution Office had risen to overtop all the public departments; and the public condition had risen to be — what it was.

It is true that How not to do it was the great study and object of all public departments and professional politicians all round the Circumlocution Office. It is true that every new premier and every new government, coming in because they had upheld a certain thing as necessary to be done, were no sooner come in than they applied their utmost faculties to discovering How not to do it. It is true that from the moment when a general election was over, every returned man who had been raving on hustings because it hadn't been done, and who had been asking the friends of the honourable gentleman in the opposite interest on pain of impeachment to tell him why it hadn't been done, and who had been asserting that it must be done, and who had been pledging himself that it should be done, began to devise, How it was not to be done. It is true that the debates of both Houses of Parliament the whole session through, uniformly tended to the protracted deliberation, How not to do it. It is true that the royal speech at the opening of such session virtually said, My lords and gentlemen, you have a considerable stroke of work to do, and you will please to retire to your respective chambers, and discuss, How not to do it. It is true that the royal speech, at the close of such session, virtually said, My lords and gentlemen, you have through several laborious months been considering with great loyalty and patriotism, How not to do it, and you have found out; and with the blessing of Providence upon the harvest (natural, not political), I now dismiss you. All this is true, but the Circumlocution Office went beyond it.

Because the Circumlocution Office went on mechanically, every day, keeping this wonderful, all-sufficient wheel of statesmanship, How not to do it, in motion. Because the Circumlocution Office was down upon any ill-advised public servant who was going to do it, or who appeared to be by any surprising accident in remote danger of doing it, with a minute, and a memorandum, and a letter of instructions that extinguished him. It was this spirit of national efficiency in the Circumlocution Office that had gradually led to its having something to do with everything. Mechanicians, natural philosophers, soldiers, sailors, petitioners, memorialists, people with grievances, people who wanted to prevent grievances, people who wanted to redress grievances, jobbing people, jobbed people, people who couldn't get rewarded for merit, and people who couldn't get punished for demerit, were all indiscriminately tucked up under the foolscap paper of the Circumlocution Office.

Numbers of people were lost in the Circumlocution Office. Unfortunates with wrongs, or with projects for the general welfare (and they had better have had wrongs at first, than have taken that bitter English recipe for certainly getting them), who in slow lapse of time and agony had passed safely through other public departments; who, according to rule, had been bullied in this, over-reached by that, and evaded by the other; got referred at last to the Circumlocution Office, and never reappeared in the light of day. Boards sat upon them, secretaries minuted upon them, commissioners gabbled about them, clerks registered, entered, checked, and ticked them off, and they melted away. In short, all the business of the country went through the Circumlocution Office, except the business that never came out of it; and its name was Legion.

Sometimes, angry spirits attacked the Circumlocution Office. Sometimes, parliamentary questions were asked about it, and even parliamentary motions made or threatened about it by demagogues so low and ignorant as to hold that the real recipe of government was, How to do it. Then would the noble lord, or right honourable gentleman, in whose department it was to defend the Circumlocution Office, put an orange in his pocket, and make a regular field-day of the occasion. Then would he come down to that house with a slap upon the table, and meet the honourable gentleman foot to foot. Then would he be there to tell that honourable gentleman that the Circumlocution Office not only was blameless in this matter, but was commendable in this matter, was extollable to the skies in this matter. Then would he be there to tell that honourable gentleman that, although the Circumlocution Office was invariably right and wholly right, it never was so right as in this matter. Then would he be there to tell that honourable gentleman that it would have been more to his honour, more to his credit, more to his good taste, more to his good sense, more to half the dictionary of commonplaces, if he had left the Circumlocution Office alone, and never approached this matter. Then would he keep one eye upon a coach or crammer from the Circumlocution Office sitting below the bar, and smash the honourable gentleman with the Circumlocution Office account of this matter. And although one of two things always happened; namely, either that the Circumlocution Office had nothing to say and said it, or that it had something to say of which the noble lord, or right honourable gentleman, blundered one half and forgot the other; the Circumlocution Office was always voted immaculate by an accommodating majority.

Such a nursery of statesmen had the Department become in virtue of a long career of this nature, that several solemn lords had attained the reputation of being quite unearthly prodigies of business, solely from having practised, How not to do it, as the head of the Circumlocution Office. As to the minor priests and acolytes of that temple, the result of all this was that they stood divided into two classes, and, down to the junior messenger, either believed in the Circumlocution Office as a heaven-born institution that had an absolute right to do whatever it liked; or took refuge in total infidelity, and considered it a flagrant nuisance."

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Old September 24th, 2015, 08:35 AM   #556

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Excellent quotation, Linschoten, thank you!

I'll use a recent bonus word for today's post:

captious adjective \ˈkap-shəs\ (Middle English capcious, from Middle French or Latin; Middle French captieux, from Latin captiosus, from captio deception, verbal quibble, from capere to take)

1 : marked by an often ill-natured inclination to stress faults and raise objections

2 : calculated to confuse, entrap, or entangle in argument

cap·tious·ly adverb

cap·tious·ness noun

* * *

Today's quote is a recounting of the trifling causes of several duels, showing the absurd extremes to which a tetchy sense of honor lead in the glory days of duelling.

The book from which the excerpt is taken was recently republished as The Duelling Handbook, 1829. Its full original title was The Only Approved Guide through All the Stages of a Quarrel: Containing the Royal Code of Honor; Reflections upon Duelling; and the Outline of a Court for the Adjustment of Disputes; With Anecdotes, Documents and Cases, Interesting to Christian Moralist Who Decline the Combat; to Experienced Duellists, and to Benevolent Legislators.

It is interesting to see the extensive use of commas in writing of that era. I think that it's a bit of a distraction to the eyes of a modern reader.


Quote:
"What are you fighting about--you two?
Why, my eyes are grey, and his are blue."


It may amuse our readers to be informed that the above motto has been taken from Poor Humphrey's Almanack, where it is associated with Saturday, the 21st of March, 1829, the very day on which his Grace of Wellington and the Earl of Winchilsea met in mortal combat, which could have been with ease prevented, by referring to a Court of Honor.

"Resentments of this sort," says Jonas Hanway, "ought on all accounts to be referred to a Court of Honor, which may easily accommodate such a quarrel, when men really mean to act like men."

Lieutenant Newman was killed by a brother officer at Athlone. The cause of quarrel was some slight offence received while the parties were playing what is termed leap-frog. Newman was shot through the nose, lived a considerable time in the greatest agony, and after literally starving to death, in consequence of the obstruction to his swallowing nourishment, he left a wife and four unprovided children to lament his loss.

The nephew of a French minister was killed very lately at Strasburgh, in a duel, which arose about a question of whether a certain ungovernable horse could possibly be trained within three days.

In a duel at Eyrecourt, Mr. Donnellan killed Mr. Callanan, who was his bosom friend and school-fellow. The quarrel was about a neck handkerchief, which the latter lent to the former when absent from home.

Sir George Ramsay's fatal quarrel in 1790, originated in a blow given by Captain Macrae, at the Edinburgh theatre door, to the servant of Sir George, for some alleged misconduct, and the refusal of that gentleman to dismiss him for the offense. Sir George was shot nearly through the heart, and lingered for a few days in great agony. His death had such an effect upon the mind of the unfortunate servant, that he fell into strong convulsions from which he never recovered.

The fatal duel between Messrs. Montgomery and Macnamara, arose from a very trifling blow given by one of those gentlemen to a dog belonging to the other; affording an additional evidence, that the man who is too captious, walks in the shadow of death, and on the verge of his sepulchre.

An Irish officer, at the Army and Navy Coffee-house, St. Martin's-lane, said, he had seen fifty acres of anchovies, which produced an exclamation from the company. Indignant that his veracity should be questioned, he called the man who doubted him a rascal. A meeting was arranged, and just as they were preparing to discharge the second case of pistols, the Irishman ran up to his antagonist, apologizing for his great mistake in using the word anchovies instead of capers.

In July, 1828, a case was entertained at Bow-street, in which two gentlemen had quarrelled about the use of a coal-hole; in consequence of which, one of them dispatched an invitation to the other, that he would do him the favor to come and be shot at, before the usual hour for breakfast.

Dr. Dodd tells us, that a challenge was sent to a gentleman for abruptly leaving a room in which the challenger had been holding forth upon some subject, less interesting to others than to himself.

Sterne's father fought with Captain Phillips about a goose.—Major D'Arcy brought out Major Dawson for asking him to take "another tumbler" of the oblivious beverage.

— Joseph Hamilton, The Only Approved Guide Through All the Stages of a Quarrel (1829)
The image below is a satirical caricature depicting the duel between the Duke of Wellington and the Earl of Winchilsea. The duel is commemorated annually by students and alumni of King's College London.


Click the image to open in full size.

KING'S COLLEDGE to Wit—A practical Essay
by Thomas Howell Jones

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impecunious adjective \ˌim-pi-ˈkyü-nyəs, -nē-əs\ (in- + obsolete English pecunious rich, from Middle English, from Latin pecuniosus, from pecunia money)

: having very little or no money usually habitually : penniless

im·pe·cu·ni·os·i·ty \-ˌkyü-nē-ˈä-sə-tē\ noun

im·pe·cu·nious·ly adverb

im·pe·cu·nious·ness noun

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Old September 24th, 2015, 08:52 AM   #557

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Did the Duke actually aim directly at Winchilesea? Poor man, he was on a hiding to nothing, he would never have lived it down if he had killed the Duke of Wellington, what else could he do than aim into the air?
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Old September 24th, 2015, 09:01 AM   #558

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linschoten View Post
Did the Duke actually aim directly at Winchilesea? Poor man, he was on a hiding to nothing, he would never have lived it down if he had killed the Duke of Wellington, what else could he do than aim into the air?
According to an article from the archives of The Guardian, the Duke's fire was "apparently not aimed at" Winchilsea. This may be true, or it may be that the reporter didn't want to impugn the martial abilities of so eminent a warrior.
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Old September 24th, 2015, 09:13 AM   #559

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The duel took place in Battersea, but I was curious about the saying displayed on the banner above the duellists in Jones's caricature. I was able to find an explanation.

Quote:
SIMPLES: Physical herbs; also follies

He must go to Battersea, to be cut for the simples--Battersea is a place famous for its garden grounds, some of which were formerly appropriated to the growing of simples for apothecaries, who at a certain season used to go down to select their stock for the ensuing year, at which time the gardeners were said to cut their simples; whence it became a popular joke to advise young people to go to Battersea, at that time, to have their simples cut, or to be cut for the simples.
Thus, foolish youngsters were advised to go to Battersea to have their follies cut.

Last edited by Recusant; September 24th, 2015 at 09:16 AM.
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Old September 24th, 2015, 09:41 AM   #560

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Here's a splendid bit of Victorian prose from William Maxwell's life of Wellington:

"Lord Winchilsea indeed went so far as to charge the Duke of Wellington, in a letter printed in a public newspaper, with an intention, "under the cloak of some outward show of zeal for the Protestant religion, to carry on his insidious designs for the infringement of our liberties, and the introduction of Popery into every department of the state." The extravagant absurdity of this charge ought to have deprived it of all sting; but the point was one on which the Duke appears to have been peculiarly sensitive, for he was provoked by it into an act which, considering the high example it supplied for the encouragement of a most pernicious practice, deserves to be regarded as a blot, if but the single one, on his escutcheon. So deeply did he permit this hasty, intemperate, and ridiculous ebullition to provoke him, that having failed to obtain a retractation of the imputation, he was induced to send a challenge to the noble Lord, who, on his part, expressed his readiness to give him the desired reparation. A hostile meeting took place, accordingly, in Battersea Fields, Sir Henry Hardinge officiating as his Grace's second; when the Duke having fired without effect, Lord Winchilsea discharged his pistol in the air. Having thus satisfied his "honor," his Lordship tendered the apology which he had refused to give before the meeting, and the affair terminated. The propriety of the Duke's application to himself personally of an imputation directed against the Minister, setting the moral question of duelling wholly out of sight, was fairly questioned at the time. If Premiers in general were to consider themselves called upon to challenge their political assailants, they ought to possess the invulnerability of Achilles."

I like the use of "ebullition" there, but too many long words overall.
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