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• an illicit marriage is called "le mariage de Jean des Vignes.” Hence Assoucy says, “ Moi, pauvre sot, plus sot que Jean des Vignes !"
Jean! que dire sur Jean? c'est un terrible nom,
Qui jamais accompagne une épithete honnête.
Virgile Travesti, vii. Jeddart, or Jedwood, Justice. Jeddart or Jethart was the former, and is still the local, name for Jedburgh, the capital of the shire of Roxburgh, Scotland. Jedwood designates the whole district lying on the little river Jed, on which Jedburgh stands. In ancient times this burgh was a place of considerable strength and importance. From its situation on the borders, as well as from the character of the clans by which it was surrounded, it was especially exposed to violence and rapine, and was repeatedly sacked by the English, and once, at least, burned to the ground. The long-suffering of its natives at length came to an end, and when an Englishman or other marauder was captured the rule came to be, “A short shrift and a long rope.” But the canny burghers did not altogether dispense with legal forms. After the culprit was executed, an assize was held by the Warden of the Marches, evidence heard, and sentence pronounced in due form of law. Hence the well-known rhyme,
You've heard men talk of Jeddart law,
Then sit in judgment after.
I oft have heard of Jeddart law,
And shook my sides with laughter,
And sit in judgment after. Scott frequently alludes to Jeddart law in his poems and border minstrelsy. In his “ Fair Maid of Perth” (ch. xxxii.), Douglas, dealing with the murderers of Rothesay, asks, “ Have we not some Jedwood men in our troop?” and, receiving an affirmative reply, says, “ Call me an inquest of these together; they are all good men and true, saving a little shifting for their living. Do you see to the execution of these fellows, while I hold a court in the great hall, and we'll try whether the jury or the provost-marshal do their work first; we will have Jedwood justice, -hang in haste and try at leisure.” Macaulay alludes to “ Jeddart justice” in his essay upon Moore's “Life of Byron.”
Other accounts have been given to explain the expression. Thus, Crawford, in his Memoirs, says, “ Jedburgh justice-'first hang a man and syne judge him'-took its rise in 1574, on the occasion of the Regent Morton trying and condemning with vast precipitation a vast number of people.” But had this explanation, or any other than the popular one, been well founded, it would without doubt have been noticed by Scott. Analogous expressions are “Cupar Justice,” “Abingdon Law," " Lydford Law," and even our own “Lynch Law.” “Abingdon Law” takes its name from Abingdon, Berkshire, Eng. land, where, during the Commonwealth, Major-General Brown used first to hang his prisoners and then try them. Lydford is an obscure corporation of Devonshire, where a court of stannaries (certain royal prerogatives connected with the working of the tin-mines) was anciently held. The saw, “First hang and draw, then hear the case by Lydford iaw," is supposed to allude to some absurd rulings of the mayor and corporation, who were but mean and illiterate persons.
The same speedy justice was practised in Spain at Peralvillo, where the Holy Brotherhood used to execute without trial robbers taken red-hand. Hence the Spanish saying, “ Peralvillo justice, after the man is hanged try him.”
Jeffersonian simplicity, an allusion much affected in political speech, . especially by the Democrats. The reference is to the intense dislike displayed by Thomas Jefferson to any form of ostentation. It is said that he even objected to the title Mister. He abolished the Presidential levees, and the story was long told, though latterly challenged as apocryphal, that in going to the Capitol to assume the Presidency he rode on horseback alone, and, dismounting, tied his horse to the hitching-post.
Je ne sais quoi, literally, “I know not what,” but used both in French and in English-it may almost be parsed as an English substantive-in the sense of the indefinable, of a vague and nameless charm. The more modern chic has to a certain extent supplanted it.
I dare say you have heard and read of the je ne sais quoi, both in French and English, for the expression is now adopted into our language, but I question whether you have any clear idea of it, and indeed it is more easily felt than defined. It is a most inestimable quality, and adorns every other. I will endeavor to give you a general notion of it, though I cannot an exact one; experience must teach it you, and will if you attend to it. It is, in my opinion, a compound of all the agreeable qualities of body and mind, in which no one of them predominates in such a manner as to give exclusion to any other. It is not mere wit, mere beauty, mere learning, nor indeed mere any one thing, that produces it, though they all contribute something towards it. It is owing to this je ne sais quoi that one takes a liking to some one particular person at first rather than to another. One feels one's self prepossessed in favor of that person without being enough acquainted with him to judge of his intrinsic merits or talents, and one finds himself inclined to suppose him to have good sense, good nature, and good humor. A genteel address, graceful motions, a pleasing elocution, and elegancy of style are powerful ingredients in this compound. It is, in short, an extract of all the Graces. Here you will, perhaps, ask me to define the Graces, which I can only do by the je ne sais quoi, as I can only define the je ne sais quoi by the Graces. No one person possesses them all, but happy he who possesses the most, and wretched he who possesses none of them.-CHESTERFIELD: Letters to his Godson.
Jenkins's Ear. At the beginning of the eighteenth century Spain claimed and sought to enforce a monopoly of the trade with her New World colonies. Though England admitted the claim, her sailors constantly evaded it, and carried on a large contraband trade with these colonies. On April 20, 1731, the English vessel Rebecca, Captain Robert Jenkins, was visited by the coastguards of Havana. Finding nothing contraband, they sought to extort a confession from the captain by hanging him up to the yard-arm, with the cabin-boy fastened to his feet as a make-weight. The rope broke, however, and, finding him still recalcitrant, they then cut off one of his ears, and bade him take it to his king. Jenkins returned to London and claimed vengeance. But England did not care to quarrel with Spain just then, and all was apparently forgotten. Seven years afterwards some fresh insults offered by the Spaniards to English sailors brought up again the topic of Jenkins's ear. He had preserved it in wadding, and exhibited it before the House of Commons in March, 1738. When asked concerning his feelings during the ordeal, he replied that he had commended his soul to God and his cause to his country. The British nation was aroused. “ Jenkins's ear" and Jenkins's trust in his country formed party watchwords, and were echoed and re-echoed throughout the country. The sailors went about London wearing the inscription "Ear for ear” on their hats. The large merchants and ship-owners espoused their cause. Pope wrote verses on the subject :
The Spanish own they did a waggish thing,
Who cropt our ears and sent them to the king. William Pitt and the nation in general desired war with Spain. Walpole reluctantly yielded to popular clamor. On July 1o, 1739, an order in council was issued for reprisals and granting letters of marque. On October 19 war was formally declared. Jenkins's ear had served its purpose. If the English people were poetical, says Carlyle, this ear would have become a constella:
tion, like Berenice's Crown. Yet there were not wanting doubters then and afterwards. Burke, in his “ Regicide's Peace,” scornfully alludes to “the fable of Jenkins's ear,” Walpole's biographer calls it “a ridiculous story." Tyndal insinuates that Jenkins had lost his ear on a quite different occasion. Others boldly asserted that it had been left behind on the pillory. Finally, according to Horace Walpole, when Jenkins died it was found that his ear had never been cut off at all!
Jericho, Go to, is an expression that has lost its birthright of appositeness and is now used as a sort of euphemism for “Go to Hades.” Originally it was an allusion to the scriptural story found in II. Samuel x, 5, as well as in I. Chronicles xix. 5,-how that when David's servants had half their beards cut off and were not presentable at court the king advised them “to tarry at Jericho till their beards were grown.” Hence young men were bidden" to tarry in Jericho," or "stay in Jericho," meaning, “Wait till your beard is grown;" satirically equivalent to saying that the party addressed was young, or “fresh," or inexperienced. The transition from this to sending to Jericho was easy enough.
The following lines from Heyward's “ Hierarchie” may be quoted in evidence :
Who would to curb such insolence, I know,
Book iv., p. 108. About fifty years ago a ribald rhyme was current, to the following effect :
Who went to Jericho
There was Judas Iscariot,
And Captain Marryat,
And Harriet Martineau. Another explanation is that King Henry VIII. had a house in the Manor of Blackmore, some seven miles from Chelmsford, whither he used to retire when he wished to be free from disturbance or to indulge in animal pleasures. To this place, which had formerly been a priory, the name Jericho was given as a disguise. Hence the answer “He has gone to Jericho" conveyed the information to all inquirers after the monarch that he was amusing himself in Essex. In 1880 the Rev. W. Callandar, vicar of Blackmore, wrote that the place “habitually goes by the name of the Jericho Estate, or the Blackmore Priory. There is a brooklet running through the village which I have heard called the ‘Jordan.'” So far, so good. But there is no evidence that the slang phrase arose from this custom of Henry VIII., especially as the explanation first given is entirely satisfactory.
Jerry-builder, a term for an inefficient, careless, or hasty builder, used in England with the same sense as Buddensiek is in America. Its origin is also very similar. "Jerry Brothers, Builders and Contractors," was a Liverpool firm of the early part of this century, who earned an unpleasant notoriety by putting up rapidly-built, showy, but ill-constructed houses, so that their name eventually became generic for such builders and their work, first in Liverpool and afterwards throughout England. It will be remembered that Charles Buddensiek was a builder of flimsy apartment-houses in New York. A row of these buildings collapsed before they were completed, burying several of the workmen under its ruins. Buddensiek was convicted of manslaughter and sentenced to ten years' imprisonment.
Jersey lightning, an American phrase for apple-jack or apple-brandy, a spirit distilled from cider, for which the State of New Jersey is particularly
famous. Lightning is an old cant term for liquor. George Parker's Dic. tionary of 1789 defines it as a quartern of gin.
The guests now being met,
The first thing that was done
That all might smack his mun.
Bets tipt each cull and frow,
Life's Paint (1789). Jerusalem Artichoke. A curious example of folk-etymology is that which has turned the Italian Girasole Articiocco into “ Jerusalem artichoke.” The Italian name means the sunflower artichoke, the vegetable (Helianthus tuberosus) being a perennial of the same family as the common sunflower (Helianthus annuus), which it resembles in stem, leaves, and Aowers. A further extension of the name-error turns the soup made from the artichoke tubers into “ Palestine Soup."
Jesse, To give him, an Americanism, meaning to abuse a man, to thrash him severely, sometimes intensified as “particular Jesse" or "
d d particular Jesse." Charles Eliot Norton reminds us that “Give 'em Jessie” was a party war-cry current in the Presidential campaign of 1856. “Fremont, the Republican candidate, had fifteen years before made a runaway match with Jessie, daughter of Thomas H. Benton, and the popular favor with which runaway matches are apt to be regarded was made much of in this case, the lady's name being freely used in song and story by her husband's political sup. porters.” But the phrase is much older than 1856, and the war-cry was merely a punning allusion. One derivation takes us back to the days of falconry. The jess was a thong by which the bird was attached to the wrist, and when it retrieved badly it appears to have been the custom to punish it by the application of the thong. But Mr. Leland's suggestion is more probable, that the phrase is derived from the allusion in the Bible to Jesse's valor and the aid which he rendered, a text continually repeated among the Puritans.
Jesuitical compositions, or Equivoques, an ingenious sort of literary triAing, wherein the art consists in so writing and arranging the lines that two opposite meanings may be elicited according as they are read downward or across. An early and excellent specimen was once well known in New England as “The Jesuit's Creed," and is sometimes attributed to Dean Swift. But Collet, in his “ Relics of Literature,” credits it to the Weekly Pacquet of Advice from Rome, No. 23, May 6, 1679. At that date Swift was in his cradle. Here it is, in the original Latin and in the Pacquet's translation :
Pro fide teneo sana Quæ docet Anglicana,
Communio fit inanis,
Cum mensa vina panis.
Hunc morem qui non capit,
Catholicus est et sapit.
Who hold the Pope supreme.
Who their communion flies
Is catholic and wise.
A good example, in prose, of the same kind of drollery is afforded by the following letter, said to have been written by Cardinal Richelieu to the French ambassador in Rome, but probably an invention of a later day:
Sir, Mons. Compigne, a Savoyard by birth, a Friar of the order of Saint Benedict, is the man who will present to you as his passport to your protection, this letter. He is one of the most discreet, the wisest and the least meddling persons that I have ever known or have had the pleasure to converse with. He has long earnestly solicited me to write to you in his favor, and to give him a suitable character, together with a letter of credence; which I have accordingly granted to his real merit, rather, I must say, than to his importunity; for, believe me, Sir, his modesty is only exceeded by his worth. I should be sorry that you should be wanting in serving him on account of being misinformed of his real character; I should be afflicted if you were, as some other gentlemen have been, misled on that score, who now esteem him, and those among the best of my friends; wherefore, and from no other motive I think it my duty to advertise you that you are most particularly desired to have especial attention to all he does, to show him all the respect imaginable, nor venture to say anything before him, that may either offend or displease him in any sort ; for I may truly say, there is no man I love so much as M. Compigne, none whom I should more regret to see neglected, as no one can be more worthy to be received and trusted in decent society. Base, therefore, would it be to injure him. And I well know, that as soon as you are made sensible of his virtues and shall become acquainted with him you will love him as I do; and then you will thank me for this my advice. The assurance I entertain of your Courtesy obliges me to desist from urging this matter to you further, or saying anything more on this subject.
Believe me, Sir, etc. RICHELIEU. The “ Lansdowne MSS.” yield the following,-numbered 852 in that collection,-which might have been composed by some Vicar of Bray in the time of the Georges : I love with all my heart
The Tory party here
Most hateful do appear
I ever have denied
To fight for such a king
Will England's ruin bring.
In this opinion I
The pomp of courts and pride of kings I fain would banish far from hence
The Rights of Man and Common Sense
Destruction to that odious name
The plague of Princes, Thomas Paine
Defeat and ruin seize the cause
Je veux être fidèle
Au diable allez-vous en;
The newly-made law
'Tis my wish to esteem
To the devil go hence :