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Old June 29th, 2016, 07:06 AM   #571

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From the previous page:

abditive adjective \ˈab-də-tiv\ | \ˈab-də-div\ (From classical Latin abditīvus from abdit-, past participial stem of abdere to put away, hide + -īvus.)

Capable of hiding or concealing; tending to conceal.

* * *

The book from which the following excerpt comes was published a few decades after Dickens's Oliver Twist. In Britain during the 19th century, the theme of juvenile criminality in large cities (especially London) was prominent in the popular press, as can be seen in an article by Matthew White: "Juvenile crime in the 19th century". White believes that the prevalence of juvenile delinguency may have been somewhat exaggerated by the press, nevertheless it was a genuine social problem in London and other large cities.

Quote:
Thousands of our juvenile population are so completely hedged round by incentives to crime, that escape becomes morally and physically impossible. There are a regularly organized guild of thief-trainers and abettors, who are perpetually on the alert for neglected children, whom they instruct in the mysteries of their nefarious craft, and whose spoliations become to them a source of extensive revenue. These, for the most part, consist of adult felons,—grown old in crime as in cunning,—who, for the matter of some paltry bribe, obtain the ready acquiescence of their duped protégés in their plans of plunder. The abditive power and agility of the child are made to subserve their well-formed schemes of booty. They know, too, full well that in the event of their unfortunate minions being caught in the act of depredation, no punishment will accrue to themselves; so that they can concoct crimes with a readiness and a recklessness arising only from impunity. The Ordinary of Newgate, speaking of this class, observes:—"Persons who live by habits of crime, and especially the seducers of youth, are seldom convicted of great offences. How many advertisements appear, where thirty of forty gold watches have been burglariously stolen, and other articles of jewellery, and yet the thieves are never brought to justice? Men who thus steal are too cautious to leave a chance of detection; if any one be apprehended, it is some boy or shopman seduced by the thieves to give information. Keys have been thus made and fitted, by which the robbery has been effected; and not unlikely the seduced party is without participation in the plunder, or, if so, to a small extent only."

There are several establishments throughout the metropolis—and very comfortable places they are too—kept by the proprietors of juvenile thieves. Herein the novice is initiated into his future craft, and practiced daily in sleight-of-hand exercises, till he becomes as agile as a professional necromancer. Herein, too, he is well fed and well clad, and instructed how to behave in mixed company, so as to disarm suspicion. His etiquette, also, is literally driven into him by the force of hard blows and knocks, till he learns how to comport himself in fashionable assemblies with becoming grace and native elegance.

— Samuel Phillips Day, Juvenile Crime: Its Causes, Character, and Cure (1858)
Bonus word:

spoliation noun \ˌspō-lē-ˈā-shən\ (Middle English, from Anglo-French spoliacion, Latin spoliation-, spoliatio, from spoliare to plunder, strip, deprive)

1 : the action of ruining or destroying something

2 : the action of taking goods or property from somewhere by violent means


Click the image to open in full size.

'Placard' by Thomas Rowlandson
Showing a young pickpocket stealing a silk handkerchief.

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machicolation noun \mə-ˌchi-kə-ˈlā-shən\ (Medieval Latin machicolare to furnish with machicolations, from Middle French machicoller, from machicoleis machicolation, from macher to crush + col neck, from Latin collum)

1 a : an opening between the corbels of a projecting parapet or in the floor of a gallery or roof of a portal for discharging missiles upon assailants below — see illustration below

. .b : a gallery or parapet containing such openings

2 : construction imitating medieval machicolation

ma·chic·o·la·ted adjective

Click the image to open in full size.

battlement: 1 crenellations, 2 merlons, 3 machicolations

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Old July 1st, 2016, 06:01 AM   #572

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From the previous page:

ineluctable adjective \ˌi-ni-ˈlək-tə-bəl\ (Latin ineluctabilis, from in- + eluctari to struggle clear of, from ex- + luctari to struggle, wrestle; akin to Latin luxus dislocated)

: not to be avoided, changed, or resisted : inevitable

i·ne·luc·ta·bi·li·ty noun

i·ne·luc·ta·bly adverb

* * *

A bit of historiography:

Quote:
Thucydides alone of the ancient historians has received the accolade "scientific" from the moderns. For some he has been the exemplar par excellence: his intellectual rigor, meticulous deployment of evidence and accuracy have seemed to many a model of what serious history should aim to be in all ages. Yet there have been some sharp dissenters. He was a literary artist, these critics reply, bent on shaping his material to achieve the effects of Greek tragedy: the reader becomes a spectator of the action and feels pity and fear as the drama unfolds. In short, his appeal was more to art than to science, more to emotion than to intellect. Still others have emphasized the element of chance and accident over and above the claims of intelligence and reason. Thus a great tug of war has been waged, and is still being waged, between utterly opposed interpretations: science versus art, intellect versus emotion, the predictable versus the accidental, the rational versus the irrational. . . .

For a long time, especially in the nineteenth century and the first part of the twentieth, serious students believed that when history was correctly done it deserved to be styled a science: that is, it was an objective endeavor to discover the truth, and was carried out by an exacting deployment of data from which ineluctable conclusions were deduced. Few people now believe in this scientific model, which seems in this latter day utopian. The realization that the historian is a prisoner of his own milieu, tied to the values and perspective of the age in which he lives, makes the attainment of pure, objective truth seem impossible. Moreover, history is not now generally viewed as enjoying an independent existence awaiting discovery, but is the creation of the historian, each historian having a somewhat different agenda and different perspective from all others.

So the notion of Thucydides being a scientific historian, as science has sometimes been understood, has largely been shunted aside, if not discarded, albeit reluctantly in some quarters. On the other hand, the influence of ancient science on Thucydides is undeniable: I refer specifically to medical science as we see it described in a few late fifth-century treatises that have come down to us, along with others, under the name of Hippocrates of Cos, the father of medicine.

— T.J. Luce, The Greek Historians (1997)
Luce goes on to elaborate his comparison between the early practice of medicine as shown in the putative writings of Hippocrates and the way that Thucydides approached history. Luce shows that some of the principles of modern science can be discerned in both Hippocrates and Thucydides, such as careful observation of phenomena, reasoning from cause to effect, and making testable predictions.


Click the image to open in full size.

Bust of Thucydides

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subvention noun \səb-ˈven(t)-shən\ (Middle English subvencion, from Middle French & Late Latin; Middle French subvenciȯn, from Late Latin subvention-, subventio assistance, from Latin subvenire to come up, come to the rescue, from sub- up + venire to come)

: the provision of assistance or financial support: as
. . a : endowment
. . b : a subsidy from a government or foundation

sub·ven·tion·ary adjective
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Old July 1st, 2016, 06:25 AM   #573

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Great stuff as usual. Spoliation means much (just?) the same as despoliation, I suppose, which one is more likely to encounter. Ineluctable is a good word, a shame that it is used so really, usually in connection with fate, presumably going back to the days when people knew their Vergil (fortuna omnipotens et ineluctabile fatum).

That placard for a lottery prize of £30,000 - just imagine what one could have done with sum in the 18th Century, it casts most modern lottery prizes into the shade!
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Old July 1st, 2016, 07:26 AM   #574

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Yes, a veritable feast of learning!

With apologies to Thucydides, that word always draws me back to the Proteus episode in Joyce's Ulysses -



“INELUCTABLE MODALITY OF THE VISIBLE: AT LEAST THAT IF NO MORE, thought through my eyes. Signatures of all things I am here to read, seaspawn and seawrack, the nearing tide, that rusty boot. Snotgreen, bluesilver, rust: coloured signs. Limits of the diaphane. But he adds: in bodies. Then he was aware of them bodies before of them coloured. How? By knocking his sconce against them, sure. Go easy. Bald he was and a millionaire, maestro di color che sanno. Limit of the diaphane in. Why in? Diaphane, adiaphane. If you can put your five fingers through it, it is a gate, if not a door. Shut your eyes and see.


Stephen closed his eyes to hear his boots crush crackling wrack and shells. You are walking through it howsomever. I am, a stride at a time. A very short space of time through very short times of space. Five, six: the nacheinander. Exactly: and that is the ineluctable modality of the audible. Open your eyes. No. Jesus! If I fell over a cliff that beetles o'er his base, fell through the nebeneinander ineluctably. I am getting on nicely in the dark. My ash sword hangs at my side. Tap with it: they do. My two feet in his boots are at the end of his legs, nebeneinander. Sounds solid: made by the mallet of Los Demiurgos. Am I walking into eternity along Sandymount strand? Crush, crack, crick, crick. Wild sea money. Dominie Deasy kens them a'.

Won't you come to Sandymount,
Madeline the mare?


Rhythm begins, you see. I hear. A catalectic tetrameter of iambs marching. No, agallop: deline the mare.

Open your eyes now. I will. One moment. Has all vanished since? If I open and am for ever in the black adiaphane. Basta! I will see if I can see.

See now. There all the time without you: and ever shall be, world without end.”
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Old July 3rd, 2016, 11:48 PM   #575

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Linschoten View Post
Great stuff as usual. Spoliation means much (just?) the same as despoliation, I suppose, which one is more likely to encounter. Ineluctable is a good word, a shame that it is used so really, usually in connection with fate, presumably going back to the days when people knew their Vergil (fortuna omnipotens et ineluctabile fatum).

That placard for a lottery prize of £30,000 - just imagine what one could have done with sum in the 18th Century, it casts most modern lottery prizes into the shade!
One of the main reasons I've kept coming back to this thread is that it provides a motivation to delve into aspects of history I might never have thought to examine otherwise. Your comment about the relatively colossal 18th century lottery prize intrigued me. I learned that in Britain national lotteries were outlawed in 1698, though Parliament could institute them at will by passage of an act to do so. Apparently they continued more or less apace thereafter, with an annual bill passed authorizing a national lottery.

There were also private lotteries, discussed in a Law Commission paper (PDF) in which certain acts permitting specific private lotteries (in the 18th and 19th centuries) are recommended to be repealed.

In 1823, not long after that cartoon by Rowlandson was published, Parliament decided to put an end to the national lottery once and for all.

Quote:
Towards 1800 the anti-lottery lobby, which had always been present, grew more powerful and articulate. It was aided by growing complaints from judges and magistrates that up to two-thirds of all reported crime was directly traceable to lotteries, as the poor robbed, assaulted and occasionally murdered to procure money to invest with them. The anti-lottery movement had intertwined social and moral concerns. It was largely middle-class and evangelical, viewing participation in lotteries as the Devil's way of taking poorer people away from their 'true' pleasures of work and worship. The annual passage of a Bill which allowed for the running of the state lotttery became the occasion of severe parliamentary criticism. An 1823 Lottery Act made provision for the final drawing on 18 October 1826. It was the end of an era.

[source]
Then, in the early 90s of the 20th century, the national lottery was brought back.

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Old July 3rd, 2016, 11:55 PM   #576

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gile na Gile View Post
Yes, a veritable feast of learning!

With apologies to Thucydides, that word always draws me back to the Proteus episode in Joyce's Ulysses -



“INELUCTABLE MODALITY OF THE VISIBLE: AT LEAST THAT IF NO MORE, thought through my eyes. Signatures of all things I am here to read, seaspawn and seawrack, the nearing tide, that rusty boot. Snotgreen, bluesilver, rust: coloured signs. Limits of the diaphane. But he adds: in bodies. Then he was aware of them bodies before of them coloured. How? By knocking his sconce against them, sure. Go easy. Bald he was and a millionaire, maestro di color che sanno. Limit of the diaphane in. Why in? Diaphane, adiaphane. If you can put your five fingers through it, it is a gate, if not a door. Shut your eyes and see.


Stephen closed his eyes to hear his boots crush crackling wrack and shells. You are walking through it howsomever. I am, a stride at a time. A very short space of time through very short times of space. Five, six: the nacheinander. Exactly: and that is the ineluctable modality of the audible. Open your eyes. No. Jesus! If I fell over a cliff that beetles o'er his base, fell through the nebeneinander ineluctably. I am getting on nicely in the dark. My ash sword hangs at my side. Tap with it: they do. My two feet in his boots are at the end of his legs, nebeneinander. Sounds solid: made by the mallet of Los Demiurgos. Am I walking into eternity along Sandymount strand? Crush, crack, crick, crick. Wild sea money. Dominie Deasy kens them a'.

Won't you come to Sandymount,
Madeline the mare?


Rhythm begins, you see. I hear. A catalectic tetrameter of iambs marching. No, agallop: deline the mare.

Open your eyes now. I will. One moment. Has all vanished since? If I open and am for ever in the black adiaphane. Basta! I will see if I can see.

See now. There all the time without you: and ever shall be, world without end.”
Beautiful quotation, Gile na Gile, thank you.

The attempt to fully appreciate Joyce's writing (for those willing to make the effort) can be a great feast of learning itself, both in history and in the joy of words.
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Old July 4th, 2016, 12:05 AM   #577

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Though the description below of Warwick Castle is nearly 200 years old, it appears to me that in regard to the castle itself little enough has changed that it might have been written fairly recently. However, the castle's surroundings have of course been altered considerably over the years, as can be seen in an excerpt from A History of the County of Warwick, written in 1969.

Quote:
The principal entrance to Warwick Castle is on the eastern side, near an open plantation, and consists of a slight embattled gateway, recently built, and intended merely for temporary use. From this the grand approach is by a spacious winding avenue, more than three hundred feet in length, cut through the solid rock, which is richly clothed with moss and ivy, and crowned by plantations: by these means the Castle is excluded from the sight, until, at a sudden turn of the avenue, it bursts in all its magnificence upon the eye of the visitor. The space now entered was anciently the Vineyard; for the gathering of grapes in which, during five days, an allowance of wages to certain women, is cited by Dugdale.

A scene of much grandeur and picturesque beauty is presented by the Castle on proceeding towards the Inner Ballium or Court. To the right is seen Guy's Tower, a polygon of twelve sides, with walls ten feet in thickness; which rises with beautiful proportion, from a base of thirty-eight feet in diameter, to the elevation of one hundred and six feet. It is machiolated, and divided into five stories, separated by arched floors: and though above four centuries have elapsed since its erection, it presents no marks of decay. On the left is a lofty tower, likewise machiolated, called Caesar's Tower; which is probably of Norman erection, and like the former, is in a very perfect state. . . . Its foundation is laid on the naked rock, near the bed of the river Avon, whence it rises to the height of about 100 feet; but Guy's Tower, standing on a more elevated part of the rock, surmounts it. They are connected by a strong embattled wall or curtain, in the centre of which is the great arched gateway to the Inner Court . . . This entrance is further protected by a second gateway; and some of the towers flanking them are crowned by slender turrets. The portcullis of the outer gateway remains. A deep moat extends along the entire front, which has been drained, and formed into a grass walk. Masses of luxuriant ivy, with which the walls and towers are in many parts o'erspread, and the dark shading of numerous large and leafy trees, combine to impart a rich and romantic aspect to the whole.

— Edward William Brayley Jr., Series of Views of the Most Interesting Remains of Ancient Castles of England and Wales (1823)

Click the image to open in full size.

View of Warwick Castle, with Caesar's Tower on the left and Guy's Tower on the right


Click the image to open in full size.

Original engraving that accompanied the above description

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brassard noun \brə-ˈsärd, ˈbra-ˌ\ (French brassard, from Middle French brassal, from Old Italian bracciale, from braccio arm, from Latin bracchium)

1 : armor for protecting the arm

2 : a cloth band worn around the upper arm usually bearing an identifying mark
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Old July 9th, 2016, 12:10 AM   #578

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In reading Ronald Hutton's superb biography of Charles II of England, you will learn of his many dalliances, as well as the fact that he accepted money from the king of France. What follows is an excerpt from another book which will give an idea of how much money was changing hands, not only between Louis XIV of France and Charles II, but also between Charles and his mistresses. What I don't recall learning in Hutton's book is how much money was coming from France to other powerful people in England.

Quote:
The French records show that Louise [de Kérouaille Duchess of Portsmouth's] regular pension of £12,000 a year was swollen by supplements to reach an average of £40,000. Even this was not enough. She found a way to dip her fingers directly into Treasury funds. In one year she extracted a colossal £136,668.

By comparison with Louise, Nell Gwyn was a poor relation. A surviving list of payments by a Treasury clerk to 'Madam Carwell', as the Duchess of Portsmouth was known, and to 'Nelly Gwynn' for the last six months of 1676 shows Louise receiving three times as much as Nell. The following year, Louise received five times as much.

This was a period of astonishing corruption. The King was as grasping for his cousin Louis's gold as his mistresses were for his own. In return for vast French subventions he continually prorogued Parliament to keep at bay the increasingly anti-French opposition, which howled and bellowed for war.

Charles became so completely beholden to his French cousin that, according to the French foreign affairs archive, he told the Sun King that he, Louis, could choose when the English Parliament would next be summoned. Without Parliament, England sat back while Louis XIV's military juggernaut was allowed to capture further chunks of Flanders whose names would one day be known in every English household—Ghent, Mons, Ypres, Valenciennnes, St Omer, Cambrai. They proved far easier to take in 1678-9 than in 1914-18.

French gold found its way into the pockets of senior British statesmen to buy their support. At one time or another, France is believed to have purchased the loyalty of Lords Arlington, Buckingham, Danby, Sunderland, Bristol and Shaftesbury. Even the republican idealist Algernon Sidney, whose writings would inform the American Declaration of Independence, was on the Sun King's payroll. Ambassador Barillon wrote of him to King Louis: 'I gave him only what your Majesty permitted me. He would willingly have had more, and if a new gratification were given him, it would be easy to engage him entirely . . . I believe he is a man who would be very useful in the affairs of England should they be brought to extremities.'

Even the great Lord Clarendon, who liked to project an image of pure integrity, had not been immune to bribery. He had turned down a French bribe back in 1660, but the diary of the Cromwellian minister Bulstrode Whitelock shows him on the take that year nevertheless. It tells how in 1660 Whitelock paid his great friend Ned Hyde (Clarendon) 'a present' of £250 to be kept off the death list being compiled during Charles's hunt for the regicides. Hyde wasn't content with that. He charged his friend 'fees' on top totalling £37 18s. 8d.

In Parliament, the dominant government figure in the 1670s, the Treasurer (and Louise's lover) Lord Danby, relied on wholesale bribery to build a power base in the House of Commons, the so-called Court Party. It was calculated that he used secret service funds to pay sweeteners to more than 200 MPs. The scale of the King's sellout to France was to be laid bare to Parliament in December 1678. It would come about in the slipstream of one of the many sexual entanglements of the woman Charles thought he was rid of, Barbara, Countess of Castlemaine. The former maîtresse en titre was living in effective exile in Paris, happily whiling away the time in various torrid affairs. In May 1678, Barbara returned from a trip to England to discover that the latest trophy of her regular lover, English ambassador Ralph Montagu, was her seventeen-year-old daughter Anne. News of Anne's new affair incensed Barbara. No doubt her first reaction was to rave and shout in one of those volcanic outbursts which she had so often employed to intimidate the King.

— Don Jordan and Michael Walch, The King's Bed: Ambition and Intimacy in the Court of Charles II (2015)

Click the image to open in full size.

Louise de Kérouaille, Duchess of Portsmouth
by Peter Lely


* * *

Click the image to open in full size.

Nell Gwyn
by Simon Verelst


* * *

Click the image to open in full size.

Barbara, Countess of Castlemaine
by Henri Gascar


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callithump noun \ˈka-lə-ˌthəmp\ (back-formation from callithumpian, adjective, alteration of English dialect gallithumpian disturber of order at elections in 18th century)

: a noisy boisterous band or parade

cal·li·thum·pi·an adjective

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Old August 9th, 2016, 10:41 AM   #579

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"Brassard" originally described a section of a suit of armor—specifically the arm (see illustration below), comprised of: (A) the rerebrace or upper cannon, (B) the couter or elbow-cop, and (C) the vambrace or lower cannon.

Click the image to open in full size.


Later, it came to be used to denote an arm badge or arm band with an insignia.

A medic's red cross brassard:

Click the image to open in full size.


This latter usage is shown in today's historical illustrative quote. Though I found several references to the white brassards with a red cross issued to medics, I think the image below is splendid, so it and the accompanying text won the day.

Quote:
Click the image to open in full size.

This MP wears the standard drab wool uniform and Parsons jacket with the addition of a tanker's helmet marked 'MP' and a brassard. His Harley has leather saddlebags and an M1 carbine in the scabbard. The censor has scribbled over some road signs.

The standard uniform for MPs almost invariably included steel helmets or liners marked with a broad white stripe with 'MP' at the front, and a white-on-black 'MP' left sleeve brassard. In army-level headquarter locations the MPs wore white leggings and webbing and all-white helmet liners, earning them the nickname 'Snowdrops'. MPs were commonly armed with .40 pistols and 03 rifles or M1 carbines.

— Mark Henry, The US Army in World War II (2): The Mediterranean (2000)
I think that perhaps Mr. Henry is mistaken regarding the pistols carried by American MPs during WWII. As I understand it, they were issued the M1917 revolver which used the same .45 cartridge as the famous M1911 semi-automatic pistol.


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munificent adjective \myu̇-ˈni-fə-sənt\ (back-formation from munificence, from Latin munificentia, from munificus generous, from munus service, gift)

1. : very liberal in giving or bestowing : lavish

2. : characterized by great liberality or generosity

mu·nif·i·cence noun

mu·nif·i·cent·ly adverb
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Old September 8th, 2016, 12:48 AM   #580

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Today's quote is from an oral history interview which took place in the late spring of 1939. At that time the interviewee, Mrs. Price, was 81 years old, having been born in early 1858. In the interview she describes her life in rural Virginia.

Quote:
"I married Edward Hairston Price, Christmas week in 1878. I would have been twenty-one come the third of February. We were married at home in the late evening and during the ceremony Pa and Ma both cried and cried. They were willing for me to marry, but they hated to seem me leave home. We had a big supper. I'll tell you that night Ma 'put the big pot in the little one' for that supper. The young folks wanted to dance, of course. Everybody danced square dances then, but all our family were strict Baptist and didn't believe in dancing--thought is was the work of the Devil. So the young people arranged to give me a big callithump, or serenade; planned then to rush in later and start up the fiddle and banjo with a dance tune, and everybody start in dancing. So that's how they managed to dance in Pa's house. As soon as they began dancing Pa left and went out and sat in an old house we used for a washroom. They danced all night. I didn't, for I had to go to bed to be in style, you know. So I left them dancing, and they kept it up till break of day, yes sir'ee."

— Reminiscence of Nannie Isabel Webb Price, Talk about Trouble: A New Deal Portrait of Virgininians in the Great Depression, Nancy J. Martin-Perdue & Charles L. Perdue Jr., Editors (1996)

Click the image to open in full size.

A callithumpian style parade
(The sign, roughly translated, reads: "An evening entertainment here today.")
by Vinzenz Katzler

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factotum noun \fak-ˈtō-təm\ (New Latin, literally, do everything, from Latin fac [imperative of facere do] + totum everything)

1 : a person having many diverse activities or responsibilities

2 : a general servant
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