Thursday 31 August 2023

Brigham Young is sure Anthony Trollope is a miner.

 The Victorian novelist Anthony Trollope, on a tour of the United States, passed through Utah, and decided to drop in on Brigham Young. It did not go well. From Trollope's autobiography:

"I did not achieve great intimacy with the great polygamist of Salt Lake City. [...] He received me in his doorway, not asking me to enter, and inquired whether I was not a miner. When I told him that I was not a miner, he asked me whether I earned my bread. I told him I did. "I guess you're a miner," said he. I again assured him I was not. "Then how do you earn your bread?" I told him I did so by writing books. "I'm sure you're a miner," said he. Then he turned upon his heel, went back into the house, and closed the door."

Alt text: Anthony Trollope. Looking, as usual, exactly like a miner. 

Saturday 26 August 2023

Four expressions I didn't know until today came from rhyming slang

- Scarper; British slang for 'run away'. From Scapa Flow - Go. 

- Grass; as in informant. From Grasshopper - copper (and from there to copper's nark) 

- Dukes; slang for fists, as in 'duking it out'. From Duke of York - Fork. ('Forks' being now-forgotten slang for hands.) 

- Donkey's years; a long time. From Donkey's Ears, rhyming slang for Years... but then the Y crept back in. 

Alt Text: Donkey's ears. And between them, a donkey. Well, I suppose there's always a donkey between a donkey's ears. I mean: another one, framed in the photo between the ears of the first donkey. Glad we've got that clear. It doesn't matter in the least.