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been his device. As a result, the armies of Ciovis were victorious over all his

Another legend, which probably has a substratum of historical fact, tells
how the fleur-de-lis is corrupted from fleur-de-hice, which in turn came from
flettr-de-Loicis. In a.d. 1137, Louis VII.. setting out on a crusade, chose the
purple iris as his heraldic emblem. Thus it became the fleur-de- Louis (Louis's
flower), which was first contracted into fleur-de-liue and afterwards mio fletir-
de-lis, or lily flower, although it has no affinity with the lily. The iris is still
called \\\G. fleur-de-lis in the French provinces. It is said that after a certain
battle fought by the Crusaders their white banner was found to be covered with
these flowers.

At lirst the national flag and the arms of France were thickly sown with
fleur-de-lis, but the number was reduced to three in the reign of Charles VI.,
about the year 13S1. The latter monarch is also said to have added the
supporters to the French arms in consequence of an adventure that happened
to him. Hunting in the forest of Senlis, he aroused an enormous stag, which
eluded the dogs, but was finally secured in the toils of the net, when a collar
of copper gilt was found around his neck, with the inscription, " Hoc mihi
Caesar donavit" (" Csesar gave this to me"). Subsecjuently the young king
dreamed that he was carried through the air on a winged stag, from whicii he
added two winged stags for supporters of the arms of France.

Perhaps the substratum of fact to which we have already alluded was some-
thing like this. An ancient emblem of uncertain origin was early borne upon
the arms of France. Louis VII. profusely charged the national escutcheon
with the same, whence it gained the name oi fleur-de Louis, gradually corrupted
tnfleiir-delure. At first the emblem was associated with the iris, which it dimly
resembles, but subsequently the confusion of names identified it with the lily.

It may be mentioned that the fleur-de-lis appeared on the arms of England
from the time of Edward HI., who claimed to be the rightful heir to the
French throne, until the commencement of the present century, when George
HI. was on the English throne. In the year 1800 Ireland was joined to
England, and modifications were called for both in the king's title and in the
national arms. The title of King of France was then dropped and the fleur-
de-lis expunged from the royal quarterings.

Since the French Revolution, the fleur-delishAS been associated with the
royalist party and the Bourbons. It was proscribed during the Reign of
Terror, and hundreds of persons found wearing it were condemned to death.
Wherever it was conspicuously seen in public works it was effaced by popular
fury. Napoleon substituted the bee in its stead (some historians tell us that
it was three bees, and not three toads, which Ciovis originally bore on liis
shield), but this emblem has given way before the violet, which is the im-
perialist flower of to-day.

Flies. There are no flies on him, an American term of jocular com-


mendation. It is sometimes extended to the form " There may be one or two
on you, but there are no flies on me," or on Jones, or Robinson. Flies have
always furnished a convenient term of semi-humorous reproach, and their
absence, of praise. Thus, Cervantes says, " A close mouth catches no flies"
{Don Quixote, Part i., Bk. iii., ch. xi.), which was a proverb before his day.
Macaulay, in a letter to his sister, December 2i, 1833, chronicles his first
meeting with Bobus Smith : " He is a great authority on Indian matters. We
talked of the insects and snakes, and he said a thing which reminded me of
his brother Sydney: 'Always, sir, manage to have at your table some fleshy,
blooming young writer or cadet, just come out, that the mosquitoes may stick
to him and leave the rest of the company alone.' " " A fly in the ointment" is
the Biblical analogy for "a spot on the sun." In 1857 Landor wrote to John
Forster ancnt "Aurora Leigh," "I am reading a lioem full of thought and
fascinating with fancy. ... I had no idea that anyone in this age was capable
of writing such poetry. There are, indeed, even here, some flies upon the
surface, as there always will be upon what is sweet and strong." In the last
two quotations there is no humorous intent. Yet the second, especially, is the
exact equivalent of the American phrase in its less frequent affirmative form.

Flirtation. "Even in common conversation," writes Lord Chesterfield,
with reference to the formation of new words, " I never see a pretty mouth
opening to speak, but I expect, and am seldom disappointed, some new im-
provement of our language. I remember many expressive words coined in
that fair mint. I assisted at the birth of that most significant word flirta-
tion, and it dropped from the most beautiful mouth in the world." The
owner of the mouth in question was the lovely Lady Frances Shirley. Ches-
terfield continues, "It has since received the sanction of onr most accurate
laureate in one of his comedies. Some inattentive and undiscerning people
have, I know, taken it to be a term synonymous with coquetry ; but I lay
hold of this opportunity to undeceive them, and eventually to inform Mr.
Johnson that flirtation is short of coquetry, and intimates only the first hints
of approximation, which subsecjuent coquetry may reduce to those prelim-
inary articles that commonly end in a definitive treaty." — Tlie IVorld, No.
lOi, December 5, 1754; also quoted in "British Essayists," vol. ci. p. 210.

It will appear that the meaning given the word by its co-originator is exactly
the modern signification. It was suggested probably by the practice of
flirting the fan, — i.e., moving it with a quick short motion.

He once like you cowXA Jlirt a fan,
And was in truth a pretty man.
But died by drinking whiskey.

An Ode to Lord B,i rrington ( 1 784).

Now flirting at their length the streamers play.
And now they ripple with the ruffling breeze.

South EV : Sonnet XIX.

Flovyers. In Longfellow's popular poem of this name the first stanza is
as follows :

Spake full well, in language quaint and olden.

One who dwelleth by the castled Rhine,
When he called the flowers, so blue and golden,
— Stars that in earth's firmament do shine.

The German poet alluded to is Frederick Wilhelm Carove, a citizen u{
Coblentz, on the Rhine, in whose " Story without an End" a water-drop is
represented as relating her personal experiences, when suddenly

the root of a forget-me-not caught the drop of water by the hair and sucked her in, that
she might become a floweret, and twinkle as brightly as a blue star on the green firmament
of earth.


Hood a]so says, —

And daisy stars whose firmament is green.

Plea of the Midsummer Fairies:
and Longfellow, in " Evangeline," Part I., 3, —

Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels.

Fly in amber, a very common figure of speech, referring to the property
of amber as enclosing and preserving insects of past ages, and used in regard
to insignificant persons or events whose memory has been preserved through
association with something or some one of importance. Thus, Pope :
Even such small critics some regard may claim
Preserved in Milton's or in Shakespeare's name.
Pretty, in amber to observe the forms
Of hairs, or straws, or dirt, or grubs, or worms.
The things we know are neither rich nor rare.
But wonder how the devil ihey got there !

Epistle to Arbuthnot, lines 169-172.

In the last line did Pope remember Dryden .? —

And wonders how the devil they durst come there.

Prologue to " The Husband his own Cuckold."

And did Sydney Smith, in his turn, remember Pope when he wrote of Can-
ning, " He is a fly in amber ; nobody cares about the fly ; the only question
is. How the devil did it get there .?" (For context see Diner-out of the
Highest Lustre.)

This peculiar property of amber has been noticed by many writers, ancient
and modern :

The bee enclosed and through the amber shown
Seems buried in the juice which was his own.

Martial : Epigrams, Book iv; (Hay's translation).
A drop of amber, from a poplar plant.
Fell unexpected, and embalmed an ant ;
The little insect we so much contemn
Is, from a worthless ant, become a gem.

I saw a flie within a beade
Of amber cleanly buried.

Herrick : On a Fly buried in Amber.

Whence we see spiders, flies, or ants entombed and preserved for ever in amber, a more
than royal tomb. — Bacon : Historia Vita et Mortis ; Sylva Sylvarum, Cent. L, Exper. 100.

Folding bed. Is not the modern folding bed poetically anticipated in
Goldsmith's " Deserted Village" i" —

The chest, contrived a double debt to pay, —
A bed by night, a chest of drawers by day.

In this couplet Goldsmith was plagiarizing from himself:
A cap by night, a stocking all the day.

Description 0/ an Author's Bedchamber.

Folk-lore. This expressive compound word is a coinage of Mr. W. J.
Thorns, and was first used in an article written by him and printed in the
AthencBum, August 22, 1846, over the signature " Ambrose Merton." It was
supposed to have been an adaptation, formed on the basis of the German
terms volkslied ("folk-song"), volksvidhrchen ("popular fairy-tale"), and other
similar compounds, of which it seems to be an echo ; but Mr. Thoms, in
Notes and Queries, October 6, 1872, distinctly claims it as a happy invention
of his own. In making his claim, he quotes " Coriolanus :" " Alone I
did it."

Among the proofs of his [William John Thomas's] happiness of hitting upon names may
be cited his invention of the word io\V.-\oTS.— Notes and Queries, sixth series, xii. 141.


FooL A fool and his money are soon parted. The origin of this
proverb is uncertain. The story below may be an explanation, and is given
for what it is worth :

George Buchanan, historian, scholar, and wit, tutor to James VI. of Scotland, made a bet
with a courtier that he (Buchanan) could make a coarser verse than the courtier ; Buchanan
won, and, picking up the courtier's money, walked off, with the remark, " A fool and his
money are soon parted."

Words are wise men's counters, they do but reckon by them ; but they are the money of
fools, — HoBBEs: Leviathan , Part I., ch. iv. ;

which is to say, in the words of Demaratus, King of Sparta, " A fool cannot
be silent."

Fool in the middle, The, an old English saying, the exact contrary of
the gallant saying which is applied to a lady seated between two gentlemen,
— "a rose between two thorns." In the West Riding the rhyme is current, —

High diddle diddle.

The fool in the middle.

It is sometimes explained as a reference to a piece of looking-glass placed
between two objects, in which the gazer sees his own face.

At a tennis-party the other day, a gentleman and lady were sitting on a garden-seat, watch-
ing the players. When a very charming young lady had finished her game, the gentleman
called to her, " Come and sit here, there's room for you." She replied, " I'll sit between you.
You know the old saying, ' the fool in the middle.' " — Cuthbert Bkde, in Notes and Queries,
seventh series, iv. 386.

Fool-killer, a great American myth imagined by editors, who feign that his
or its services are greatly needed, and frequently alluded to as being " around"
or "in town" when some special act of folly calls for castigation. Whether
the fool-killer be an individual or an instrument cannot always be gathered
from the dark phraseology in which he or it is alluded to ; but the weight of
authority would sanction the impersonal interpretation.

The fool-killer, in the mean time, has not been idle. With his old, rusty, unloaded musket,
he has gathered in enough to make his old heart swell with pride, and to this number he has
added many by using " rough on rats," a preparation that never killed anything except those
that were unfortunate enough to belong to the human family. Still, the fool-killer has missed
a good many on account of the great rush of business in his line, and I presume that no one
has a greater reason to be thankful for this oversight than I have. — Bill Nye : Remarks.

Fools, Feast of, a kind of Saturnalia common in the Middle Ages, based
on the Bacchanalian orgies of paganism, but in which the clergy were the
actors, and which resisted for long the censures alike of the Church and of the
civil power. The bishops elected for the occasion were free for three days to
travesty the costume and functions of true dignitaries, even to the coining of
money. It was precisely in the sees of most importance, as those of Paris,
Amiens, and Sens, that these " feasts" were celebrated with most pomp, ex-
travagance, and license. At Notre Dame the clergy used to go in procession
to the bishop-elect — a deacon or sub-deacon — and conduct him, with all
solemnity and amid clang of bells, to the episcopal throne, where, with feigned
gravity, he pronounced a benediction, which his buffoonery turned into a male-
diction. A parody of the mass followed, with circumstances of scandalous
irreverence. The clergy were dressed as women, buffoons, etc., their faces
besmeared with soot or covered with masks ; they played dice on the altar,
ate puddings and sausages that they offered to the " officiant," burned old
shoes on the censer and made the mock priest inhale the smoke, etc. After
this parody of the eucharist the orgies became more scandalous and revolt-
ing, not rarely ending in riot and bloodshed. Yet, monstrous as it was, the
fke had its apologists. There exists in the library in the town of Sens an
" Office of the Feast of Fools," composed by the archbishop of the diocese


in 1222. We read of a bishop of Macon, dying so late as 1508, who be-
queathed his own proper robes to deck the Bishop of the Fools. Associate
feasts were those of " The Innocents," " The Sub-Deacons," " The Ass," —
all celebrated about the end of the old year and the commencement of the
new, the one ceremony leading up to the other. Of much the same character
were the festivals of " The A'^bbot of Unreason" and " The Boy-Bishop," in
Great Britain.

Fools' Paradise, or Limbus Fatuorum. The Latin word limbtis (a
" hem" or " border") is used to designate a region near the abode of the
blessed, but yet not a part thereof. Dante located limbo between hell and that
"borderland" where dwell "the praiseless and the blameless dead." The
old schoolmen taught that limbus, or limbo, had four divisions : first, Limbus
Pueroriiniy for unbaptized children ; second, Limbus Patrtim, for the patri-
archs and good men who lived before Christ ; third, Lindms Purgatorius,
where the better sort are cleansed of their sins ; fourth, Litnbiis Fatuorum,
for fools, idiots, and lunatics, who, not being responsible for their sins, are
not punished in hell or purgatory, yet cannot be received into heaven, because
they have done nothing to merit salvation.

This limbo of the schoolmen bears a close analogy to that of the Mussul-
mans, as described in the Koran under the name oi Al-Araf {^" \\\& partition").
This is a region lying between Paradise and Jehennam, and designed for those
who are morally neither good nor bad, such as infants, lunatics, and fools. Its
inmates will be allowed to hold converse with both the blessed and the cursed.
To the former this limbo will appear a hell, to the latter a heaven. Ariosto
("Orlando Fnrioso," xx.xiv. 70) speaks of a limbo of the moon, where are
treasured up all precious hours misspent in play, all vain efforts, all vows never
paid, all counsel thrown away, all desires that lead to nothing, the vanity of
titles, flattery, great men's promises, court services, and death-bed alms.

The allusions to Limbo in our earlier literature are frequent. Spenser
(" Faerie Queene," Book i.. Canto ii.. Stanza 32) says, —

What voice of damnfed ghost from Limbo Lake

Or guileful spright wand'ring in empty aire . . .

Sends to my doubtful eares these speaches rare

And rueful plaints, me bidding guiltless blood to spare?

A " fools' paradise," in its modern acceptation, is not a locality, but a mental
condition, the dweller in which indulges in illusive expectations, vain hopes,
and insecure or unreal pleasures of any kind.

Hence the Fools' Paradise, the statesman's scheme.
The air-built castle and the golden dream ;
The maid's romantic wish, the chemist's flame.
The poet's vision of eternal fame.

Pope : Dunciad, Book iii., 1. g.

Milton, however (" Paradise Lost," Book iii., 1. 347 et seq.), uses the expres-
sion in somewhat, at least, of its local sense :

Both all things vain, and all who in vain things
Built their fond hopes of glory or lasting fame, . . .
All th' unaccomplished works of nature's hand.
Abortive, monstrous, or unkindly mixed — . . .

all these upwhirled aloft

Fly o'er the backside of the world far off.
Into a limbo large and broad, since called
The Paradise of Fools, to few unknown.

It is in its metaphorical sense that Shakespeare makes the nurse in " Romeo
and Juliet" use the expression, "You lead her into a fools' paradise." In a
1549 edition of the Bible, IL Kings iv. 28 is rendered, " Brynge me in a


fools' paradyse." Crabbe, in "The Borough," uses the phrase to denote
unlawful pleasure :

In this fools' paradise he drank delight.

Foolscap is so called from the fool's cap and bells that was formerly water-
marked upon this paper. And the way it came about was as follows. Charles
I., in order to increase his revenues, disposed of certain privileges, amounting
to monopolies. Among these was the manufacture of paper, the exclusive
right of which was sold to certain parties, who enriched themselves and the
government at the public expense. At that time all English paper bore the
royal arms in water-marks. The Parliament under Cromwell made sport of
this law in every possible manner, and among other indignities to the royal
memory it was ordered that a fool's cap and bells should be substituted as
a water-mark. When the Rump Parliament was prorogued, these were
removed ; but paper of the size of the Parliamentary journals, about seventeen
by fourteen inches, still retains the name foolscap.

In a statute of Queen Anne, a particular kind of paper is called " Genoa
foolscap." It has been suggested that the word foolscap is a corruption of
the Italian " foglio capo," a chief or full-sized sheet of paper, and even that
it is a corruption of " folio shape," the last suggestion coming from De Vere,
"Studies in English," page 167; but the above explanation of its origin is
doubtless the correct one.

Foot. One foot, or, less commonly, one leg, in the grave, a colloquialism
applied to one who has some lingering disease, or who, in another common
phrase, is on his last legs.

People with one leg in the grave are so terribly long before they put in the other. They
seem, like birds, to repose better on one leg. — Douglas Jerrold.

I begin to think our custom as to war is a mistake. Why draw from our young men in the
bloom and heyday of their youth the soldiers who are to fight our battles? Had I my way,
no man should go to war under fifty years of age, such men having already had their natural
share of worldly pleasures and life's enjoyments. And I don't see how they could make a
more creditable or more honorable exit from the world's stage than by becoming food for
powder, and gloriously dying in defence of their home and country. Then I would add a
premium in favor of recruits of threescore years and upwards, as, virtually with one foot in
the grave, they would not be likely to run away.— Hawthorne : Letter to F. Bennoch, 1861.

Foot. To put one's foot in it, a colloquialism meaning to commit a
blunder or faux pas, to ruin some scheme or enterprise by an awkward inad-
vertence. The original expression seems to have been, " The bishop has put his
foot in it," said of soup or milk when it was burnt. Grose explains the allusion
as meaning that when the bishop passes by in procession, the cook runs out
to get a blessing and leaves whatever she may be cooking to take its chance
of burning. As far back as 1528, Tyndale, in "The Obedyence of a Chrysten
Man," offers another though less likely explanation : " When a thing spreadeth
not well we borrow speech and say the Bishop hath blessed it, because that
nothing spreadeth well that they meddle withal. If the podech [pottage] be
burned to, or the meat over-roasted, we say the Bishop hath put his foot in
the pot, or the Bishop hath played the cook. Because the Bishops burn who
they lust and whosoever displeases them." It was only natural that when the
original sense of the words had lapsed from the popular mind, the metaphor
should have been taken in a semi-literal sense as implying awkwardness on the
part of the bishop or other person who " put his foot in it." A correspondent
of Notes and Queries says, " I have heard a similar remark in French Flanders
applied to the soup and referring to the procession of the host through the
streets." The phrase pas de clerc (" priest's foot") is used figuratively and
familiarly in France for a fault committed by ignorance or imprudence, and is
recognized by the dictionary of the French Academy.


Pop. Originally a fool pur sang: " Foppe, i. q. folet" {Prompt. Parv.,
p. 170).

The solemn fop, significant and budge ;
A fool with judges, amongst fools a judge.

CowpER : Conversation, 1. 299.
Thus, foppery is synonymous with folly in

Let not the sound of shallow foppery enter my sober house.
Merchant of Venice, Act ii., Sc. 5.
His praising is full of nonsense and scholastic foppery.

Milton : Apology /or Smectymnuus.

Its originally secondary — now its principal — meaning, as a synonyme for
dandy, came in with the Restoration :

Now a French Fop, like a Poet, is born so, and wou'd be known without cloaths ; it is his
Eyes, his Nose, his Fingers, his Elbows, his Heels; they Dance when they Walk, and Sing
when they speak. — C. Burnaey : The Reform d Wife, p. 32.

The Universal Magazine for 1777 gives a poetical "Receipt to make a
modern Fop :"

Two tons of pride and impudence.
One scruple next of modesty and sense,
Two grains of truth. Of falsehood and deceit
And insincerity a hundred-weight.
Infuse into the skull, of flashy wit
And empty nonsense, quantum sufficit.
To make the composition quite complete.
Throw in th' appearance of a grand estate,
A lofty cane, a sword with silver hilt,
A ring, two ivatches, and a snuff-box gilt,
A gay, eflTeminate, embroidered vest.
With suitable attire— /r()^a^«;« est.

The mention of the two watches is an allusion to a then existing foppish
fashion of wearing a watch and fob on each side.

Forgeries, Literary. At the close of the year 1890 there died in an Alba-
nian village a most remarkable character.

His name was Alcibiades Simonides. He was a native of the island of
Syrene, opposite Caria, where he was born in 1818. He had many accom-
plishments. He was eminent as a chemist, an artist, and a lithographer. His
learning was profound ; he was a fluent and persuasive speaker ; he was
gifted with extraordinary industry. Being fortunate enough to lack a con-
science, he utilized all these talents by becoming a forger of ancient docu-
ments. His first public appearance was in Athens at the age of thirty-five,
when he laid before the King of Greece a number of apparently priceless
manuscripts. Many were works whose total disappearance has long been
mourned by scholars. He gave a plausible explanation of how these docu-
ments had come into his possession. His uncle and himself had discovered
them in the cloister Chilandari on Mount Athos. He was confronted with
some of the most Jearned scholars in Athens, and satisfied them of the gen-
uineness of his discoveries. The king ended by buying the most interesting of
the lot for ten thousand dollars.

In a year he was back with a fresh lot, among them an ancient Homer
written on lotos-leaves, with an accompanying commentary by Eustathius.
The king's mouth watered at the sight. But he could only spare money
enough to purchase half the documents. The remainder he recommended
for purchase to the University of Athens. A commission of twelve scholars
was appointed to examine the treasure trove. Eleven reported in favor of
their genuineness ; the twelfth. Professor Mavraki, was sceptical, and called
for another examination. Then it was discovered that Simonides's Homer


reproduced all the misprints of Wolff's edition. He was called upon for an

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