Page:Notes and Queries - Series 12 - Volume 6.djvu/63

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12 8. VI. FEB., 1920.]



The Master of Trinity was unable to resist the opportunity then presented of the bed of flowers and the protecting fence, and so he (not an under- graduate) put forth these lines : Little Dr. Jowett a little garden made, And fenced his little garden with a little palisade. When these rhymes had obtained sufficient circula- tion, poor Jowett was so annoyed that he had all the flowers removed and gravel mbsiituted. Dr. Mansel could not even now let the little man alone. In a few days the following lines appeared : When this little garden

Became the town's talk.

He turned his little garden

Into a little gravel walk.

Dr. Lort Mansel -was Master of Trinity when Lord Byron was an undergraduate, and was him- self a subject of a squib by that noble poet, and perhaps more than one.

I am Sir, yours faithfully,

FORESTER. Willey Park, Broseley. Shropshire. Oct. 13.

G. T. S.


[October Ifc', 1893, is the date of the publication of this letter in The Times.}

GRAFTON. OXON (12 S. v. 320). Graf ton is a township and hamlet in the parish of Langford, W. Oxon, see the ' History, Gazetteer and Directory of the County of Oxford,' 1852, published by Robert Gardner. CHAS. HALL CROUCH.

This place is given in Bartholomew's ' Gazetteer ' as 4 \ miles north-east of Lech- lade, has an acreage of 625, and a population of 72. ARCHIBALD SPARKE.

BANK NOTE SLANG (12 S. v. 309). Your correspondent has omitted to notice " flimsy " and " flimsies," among his ex- amples of bank note slang. These find a place in the ' N.E.D. ' with the following illustrative quotations :

1824. P. Egan, 'Boxiana,' iv., 443. "Martin pro- duced some flimsies, and said he would fight on Tuesday next."

1845. Alb. Smith, ' Fort. Scatterg Fam.' xxxii. (1887). 108.-" I'll stand a five pun' flimsy for the piece."

Your correspondent also appears to be wrong in his suggestion that " to sham Abraham " was " to forge," and was derived from the forgery of Bank of England notes which, in the slang of the day, took their popular name from Abraham Newland, the chief cashier of the Bank, whose signature they bore. Archdeacon Nares, in his Glos- sary has :

"Abraham-men. A set of vagabonds who wandered about the country, soon after the dissolu- tion of the religious houses ; the provision for the poor in those places being cut off, and no other substituted Hence probably the phrase of

'shamming Abraham ' still extant among sailors.'* See ' Roderick Random.'

The ' N.E.D.' gives " Abraham man (possi- bly in allusion to the parable of the beggar Lazarus in Luke xvii.) " and then quotes Nares' s definition as above. It then gives (amongst others) the following quotation : 1561. Awdelay, 'Frat. Vacabondes,' 3." An Abraham-man is he that walketh bare-armed and bare-legged, and fayneth hymselfe mad."

It then adds : " Hence to sham Abraham is to feign sickness, a phrase in use among : sailors." WM. SELF WEEKS.

Westwood, Clitheroe.

The statement that about a century ago the phrase " to sham Abraham "was then slang for " to forge," seems to call for further elucidation.

According to the ' N.E.D.' an " Abraham- man, or Abram-man" was "one of a set^of vagabonds who wandered about the country soon after the dissolution of the religious houses". Among the llustrative quotations is one from ' The Slang Dictionary ' ( J, C. Hotten, 1869). The definition in this work is as follows :

" Abram-Sham, or Sham - Abraham : to feign sickness or distress. From Abram-man, the ancient cant term for a begging impostor, or one who pre- tended to have been mad. (Burton's ' Anatomy of Melancholy,' vol. i , p. 360). When Abraham Newland was cashier of the Bank of England, and signed their notes, it was sung : I have heard people say. That sham Abraham you may, But you musn't sham Abraham Newland."

Neither the ' N.E.D.' nor the ' Slang Dic- tionary ' gives any explanation of how th& word "plum" came to mean 100,OOOL It seems, however, not unlikely that it was derived from the figurative use of that word to denote a "good thing" one of the " prizes " of life (see ' N.E.D.,' Plum, d. fig.). The earliest quotation for the use of "pony," meaning 25Z., in the 'N.E.D.' is 1797, "Monkey" (500/.) is used in 1832, but is explained in the quotation given as meaning 5QL, "probably erroneously." T. F. D.

I never saw an English one-pound note until the present distressful days began ; but in the middle of last century a man, some twenty years older than I, used to sing :

A guinea it will sink, and a note it will float But I'd rather have a guinea than a one-pound


And why is the guinea coin obsolete, when the sum is still so much insisted on in charges 1