View previous topic | View next topic

Taking the King's Shilling

Page 2 of 3
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next

Flash
163473.  Thu Apr 05, 2007 7:39 pm Reply with quote

I'm trying to think of some question on the lines of "How would a glass bottom keep you out of the army?" but that doesn't really work unless there's an answer (like 'glass bottom' is the modern term for flat feet and will get you disqualified) I just made that up, BTW.

Anyone?

 
Gray
163528.  Fri Apr 06, 2007 3:58 am Reply with quote

"Mad" Charles VI of France thought he was made of glass. His war against Henry V (was it?) didn't go very well either, but he presumably wasn't in the infantry.

 
eggshaped
163534.  Fri Apr 06, 2007 4:07 am Reply with quote

If you're top of the class at the Royal Navy Logistics School at HMS Raleigh then you get a glass tankard.

It was awarded by the family of a member of the school who was unprovokedly attacked in a Liverpool bar a couple of years ago, so I'm afraid it's not funny.

link

 
MatC
163556.  Fri Apr 06, 2007 5:04 am Reply with quote

Not funny, perhaps, but bloody ironic! Attacked in a bar? A glass tankard?

 
eggshaped
163560.  Fri Apr 06, 2007 5:21 am Reply with quote

There must be some kind of question like "how would an unusual bottom" help you avoid joining the army. Where we could them go into the fact that Rush Limburgh (sp?) avoided the vietnam draft due to a boil on his bum.

 
Flash
163565.  Fri Apr 06, 2007 5:42 am Reply with quote

Yes, that's the right direction. The only problem I see with it is that they would have to think quite laterally to come up with the wrong answer, whereas we need them to blunder right into it if possible.

Maybe if the link was something like "If you join the army you 'take the King's shilling'. But let's say you want to stay out of the army: how would it help to have an unusual bottom?"

This gives them the double entendre but does also suggest the tankard thing quite strongly to anyone who knows the story.

 
Flash
163566.  Fri Apr 06, 2007 5:45 am Reply with quote

For the notes: the traditional design on the glass bottom of the tankard is that of a body hanging from a gallows, with the words "The Last Drop". The joke is clear enough, but I wonder if there's any more to say about its provenance?

 
Flash
163570.  Fri Apr 06, 2007 5:54 am Reply with quote

Fred, is this true? It sounds like bunk to me:

Quote:
The wooden tankard, with its capacity of up to four pints, was the commonest form of drinking vessel in the late Saxon era. Despite being shared, the contents were usually speedily dispatched, encouraging riotous drunkenness. So it was that King Edgar (who reigned from 959-975) introduced a decree stipulating that the tankards were to be fitted with pins or pegs all the way down, with each interval denoting one personís measure. You drank the ale down to the next peg, and then handed it on. Drinking more than your share therefore entailed taking the next man down a peg or two.

http://www.icons.org.uk/theicons/collection/the-pint-of-real-ale/features/drinking-vessels-finished

 
eggshaped
163574.  Fri Apr 06, 2007 6:15 am Reply with quote

There are a whole host of "Last Drop" pubs which generally claim to be near the sites of public hangings.

I've been to the one in Edinburgh anyway.

 
Frederick The Monk
163583.  Fri Apr 06, 2007 6:40 am Reply with quote

Flash wrote:
Fred, is this true? It sounds like bunk to me:

Quote:
The wooden tankard, with its capacity of up to four pints, was the commonest form of drinking vessel in the late Saxon era. Despite being shared, the contents were usually speedily dispatched, encouraging riotous drunkenness. So it was that King Edgar (who reigned from 959-975) introduced a decree stipulating that the tankards were to be fitted with pins or pegs all the way down, with each interval denoting one personís measure. You drank the ale down to the next peg, and then handed it on. Drinking more than your share therefore entailed taking the next man down a peg or two.

http://www.icons.org.uk/theicons/collection/the-pint-of-real-ale/features/drinking-vessels-finished


Well it's not in any of the copies of the Laws of Edgar that I've got. Is it in yours? Frankly the idea of a Saxon king trying to introduce legislation to prevent drunkeness is ludicrous - Why? How is he going to enforce it? Edgar's laws try to prohibit murder and cattle rustling but they don't go much further than that - they couldn't as there was no state structure that could support such minute intervention into daily life. Nor was drunkeness considered a problem, compared to the real problems of the day. The Victorians invented the idea that drinking was sinful - certianly not the Saxons.

Edgar did introduce a law saying that Sunday began at Saturday lunchtime however.......

 
Flash
163586.  Fri Apr 06, 2007 6:53 am Reply with quote

I thought as much. The proposed origin for "taking him down a peg or two" seemed particularly mangled and improbable.

Also, there's a practical objection to the pegs in the tankard: when you're drinking it's tilted, so you wouldn't know whether you'd got to the next peg or not.

A pox on the whole business. Let us move on.

 
Jenny
163602.  Fri Apr 06, 2007 8:28 am Reply with quote

Pegging related expressions sound more as if they have to do with cribbage to me.

 
MatC
163606.  Fri Apr 06, 2007 8:39 am Reply with quote

Bound to be cribbage, I would think (and other pub games so scored, like dominoes).

 
Gray
163617.  Fri Apr 06, 2007 8:56 am Reply with quote

Some suggest a piratical origin:
Quote:
It comes from the way people used to be ranked. Ships, for instance, used to be classified by colored pegs, which were based on the honor that the ship had gained through the years. As other ships earned their reputations, their pegs' colors were changed, sometimes knocking a ship down a notch. One of the earliest known uses of this expression is from the 1589 John Lyly story, Pappe with an Hatchet: "Now haue at you all my gaffers of the rayling religion, tis I that must take you a peg lower."

Although that seems a bit muddled too. At the very least, bringing down a sail or flag (by a peg, if that's how they're attached or fastened) would serve as a good metaphor for lowering the arrogance of someone flying too high.
http://www.mindlesscrap.com/origins/more-c.htm
From "The Dictionary of Cliches" by James Rogers (Ballantine Books, New York, 1985).

 
Frederick The Monk
163628.  Fri Apr 06, 2007 9:33 am Reply with quote

Gray wrote:
Although that seems a bit muddled too. At the very least, bringing down a sail or flag (by a peg, if that's how they're attached or fastened) would serve as a good metaphor for lowering the arrogance of someone flying too high.


Interestingly a peg-mast or peggy-mast was a small mast (or more usually a yard) to which a pennon was attached. They fell out of use by the mid 16th century when ships were large enough to have lots of places you could fly a pennon from.

s: Oxford Companion to Ships and the Sea

 

Page 2 of 3
Goto page Previous  1, 2, 3  Next

All times are GMT - 5 Hours


Display posts from previous:   

Search Search Forums

Powered by phpBB © 2001, 2002 phpBB Group