There are two memes I sometimes take part in on Wednesdays, diametrically opposite to each other, which amuses me. One is this one, Wondrous Words Wednesday run by Kathy of Bermuda Onion’s Weblog and the other is Wordless Wednesday which I did earlier today – featuring a sparrow feeding its baby in our garden and a baby rabbit eating cherry blossom, also in our garden.
I have just two words this week that I didn’t immediately know their meanings. One is from The Holly-Tree Inn, written in 1855 by Charles Dickens:
The narrator is travelling by stagecoach in the dead of winter. This is what he finds when he arrives at the Peacock Inn in London where he was joining the coach:
When I got up to the Peacock – where I found everybody drinking hot purl, in self-preservation – I asked, if there were an inside seat to spare.
Purl here is not a knitting stitch but is warm beer infused with gin and spices or herbs, usually ginger and sugar, also called ‘dog’s nose’.
My second word is from The Mystery of the Blue Train by Agatha Christie. In this scene Mr Van Aldin is describing to his daughter a little adventure he had in Paris:
Nothing to tell, Ruthie. Some apache fellows got a bit fresh and I shot at them and they got off. That’s all. (page 24)
Apache in this instance is not a native American Indian, although the image of a Red Indian waving a tomahawk in Paris did come immediately into my mind, but it is a lawless ruffian or hooligan in Paris or elsewhere.
3 thoughts on “Wondrous Words on Wednesday”
Two very interesting words. When I read Blue Train I remember apache. I should have looked it up for the correct meaning. I was thinking, like you, of an American Indian, or a savage. But ruffian makes sense.
I only knew purl as a knitting stitch, and apache as an Indian. Thanks for broadening my horizons today.
I love this variation, of words that mean something other than what you think they mean!
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