Plague Doctor Birds Clarence and Aubrey

I’ve put a couple of plague doctor birds with particularly individual expressions on Etsy as separate listings. Clarence has a white patina spot in one eye, giving him a quirky look, while I think Aubrey looks somewhat anxious and worried (quite understandable in a plague doctor)!





Posted in Art |

Passing English of the Victorian Era

Passing English of the Victorian era : a dictionary of heterodox English, slang and phrase by James Redding Ware (who also wrote as Andrew Forrester), 1909, at archive.org, found via The Public Domain Review. “Here,” begins the preface, “is a numerically weak collection of instances of ‘Passing English’. It may be hoped that there are errors on every page, and also that no entry is ‘quite too dull’.”

A few examples:

Blue o’clock in the morning: Pre-dawn, when black sky gives way to purple
Cartocracy: People distinguished enough to keep carts — especially dog-carts
Double-breasted water-butt smasher: A man of fine bust — an athlete
Introduce shoemaker to tailor: Evasive metaphor for fundamental kicking
Left the minority: No longer with the living
Little Go: First imprisonment, first invented by a fallen university man
O Gomorrah to you! : Play of a word upon “to-morrow”, and said either savagely or jocularly
Rank and smell: common person

Some entries are still familiar, like “lead poisoning” for gunshot wounds, and “squeejee” (yes, the rubber mop — I had no idea the word was so old.)