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Grimalkin's neck. Thus due notice of her approach would always be given. Great applause greeted the suggestion, until an old mouse put the pertinent question, "Who will bell the cat?" The phrase has acquired additional significance through an incident in Scotch history. James III. had greatly irritated the old nobility by his friendship for artists, especially for one Cochran, an architect, whom he had created Earl of Mar. At a secret meeting of the nobles it was proposed to get rid of the favorite. Lord Gray, fearing that no practical result would be achieved, related the above fable. But when he asked, "Who will bell the cat?" Archibald, Earl of Angus, sprang up and cried, "I will bell the cat." He was as good as his word. He captured Cochran and had him hanged over the bridge of Lauder. Afterwards he was always known as Bell-the-Cat.

Cat, To whip the, an old English synonyme for practical joking, which takes its rise, by a species of metonyme, from a certain practical joke formerly practised on country louts. Grose (1785) describes it as "the laying of a wager with them that they may be pulled through a pond by a cat; the bet being made, a rope is fixed round the waist of the party to be catted, and the end thrown across the pond, to which the cat is also fastened by a packthread, and three or four sturdy fellows are appointed to lead and whip the cat; these, on a signal given, seize the end of the cord, and, pretending to whip the cat, haul the astonished booby through the water."

Cat, Touch not the cat, but the glove. This is the motto of the Clan McPherson (formerly and, it may be, yet in the Highlands, known as the Clan Chattan), and is borne on the coat of arms of its chief, Cluny McPherson. The badge of the clan is the wild-cat, formerly common in the savage mountain country amid which the clan has its home, where it is yet sometimes to be met with, and the motto is meant to indicate that it is as dangerous to meddle with the cat as with the Clan Chattan. The Scotch badge, the thistle, with its motto, Nemo me impune lacessit, gives the same warning.

Catch. This word is usually applied to what was formerly called a bite (see under BITER BIT) and now frequently known as a sell, and also to any other form of verbal trickery or jugglery whereby an unsophisticated person is brought to the blush or taken at an advantage. A very ancient form of the catch in action is afforded by the story of Dido's bargain with the aboriginal Africans, whereby she engaged for a stipulated sum to purchase as much land as could be compassed by a bull's hide, and, cutting the hide into thin strips, the wily queen secured enough ground to build thereon the great city of Carthage. A similar story is told of William the Conqueror just before the battle of Hastings, and therefore, to be strictly accurate, before he had become the Conqueror and when he was simply William the Shyster. He, too, under exactly the same conditions, made a bull's hide encircle several miles of land,— namely, from Bulverhythe (which the cunning etymologist would make synonymous with Bull-hide) to Come-Hide-in-Battel, for thither (says the same authority) came the hide. The Bull Inn at Bulverhythe is extant to this day to corroborate the story. Therefore deny it at your peril.

Catches of this sort have been familiarized to us by the swindling advertiser. For example, there is the story of the shrewd Englishman who offered to explain, for a very small consideration, how a good deal of money might be saved; and when the unwary had transmitted the fee he received the reply, "Never pay a boy to look after your shadow while you climb a tree to look into the middle of next week." Excellent advice, to be sure, but hardly applicable to every-day requirements. Another advertiser told his clients more succinctly, "Never answer an advertisement of this kind." If counsel

of this sort had been taken by the world at large, the eager agriculturist who enclosed a fee for information as to "How to raise beets" would have been spared the chagrin of receiving in return the recipe, "Take hold of the tops and pull."

A well-known story is that of the showman who had a big placard on his tent, announcing that he was exhibiting a horse with his tail where his head ought to be. The inquisitive paid their money, were admitted within, beheld a horse turned around so that his tail was in the oat-bin, laughed shamefacedly, and then lingered outside the tent to watch their fellow-creatures get victimized in the same way.

The story of another genius is thus summed up in the Chicago Tribune: "His history is briefly told. After several days of thought he discovered a sure way of making money, and, like other men, he was in a hurry to try it. He made haste to insert an advertisement something like the following in several country weeklies:

"Sure way to kill potato-bugs: send twenty two-cent stamps to X. Y. Z., that cannot fail.

for a recipe

"Then he hired a dray to bring his mail from the post-office, and had 10,000 of his recipes printed. Inside of two weeks something like 6000 or 7000 farmers had contributed twenty two-cent stamps each for the printed recipes. Then several hundred of them bought clubs and railroad tickets and started out to interview the advertiser. At his office they were informed that he had left to attend to some business in Europe, and he was not expected back. All he had left was a package of 3000 or 4000 slips of paper, on which was printed the following:

"Put your bug on a shingle. Then hit it with another shingle."

In the reign of Queen Anne the "bite" became a regular institution, and is frequently alluded to in contemporary authors.


Many of these "bites" were extremely coarse, if not actually indecent. A very famous one was known as "selling a bargain." It is described at full length by Swift, and the curious are also referred to a sufficiently ample account in Farmer's "Slang and its Analogues," sub voce Bargain." The modern catch, familiar to bar-room loafers, is often a descendant of the gayer sort of bite. A few examples of its more harmless kin may be admitted within the chaste pages of this compilation.

Query: "How do you pronounce Castoria?" When the victim has glibly given what he holds to be the true answer and is looking round for applause, you quietly take the conceit out of him by saying, “Physicians pronounce it harmless.'

Query: "Do you say 9 and 5 is 13, or 9 and 5 are 13?" The point of this very venerable gag lies in the fact that the innocent (supposing he be caught young enough) looks upon it as a purely grammatical question, and loses sight of the mathematical aspect. But the wary questioner of to-day, knowing that an innocent young enough to be sold in this way is a great rarity, usually mystifies the unwary by giving the true amount and gleefully noting the efforts of the victim to correct the mathematics rather than the grammar. In the same way the questioner has a string in reserve when he twangs his bow to this effect: "I lost a ring in the river. A week afterwards I caught a big salmon, and when it was served up to me what do you suppose I found on opening it?" If the victim is forewarned and answers, "Bones," you quietly retort, "No: the ring."

Query: "How do you pronounce the preposition t-o?" The victim answers correctly. You continue, "And the adverb t-o-o?" "And the numeral adjec

tive t-w-o?" Both questions are answered correctly. Now is your chance! "And how do you pronounce the second day of the week?" There are a few people still left who will unwarily reply, "Tuesday." A pendant to this is only capable of oral delivery, for reasons that will be apparent at once.


a man to write down the sentence "It is two miles to London." He does so readily enough. Then confound him by asking him to write down this sentence, which can no more be printed than it can be written, and must therefore be phonetically indicated,-"There are two tu's in that sentence."

But enough of these puerilities. A task better befitting the masculine intellect is that of learning the current "catches," whereby a man may ingeniously obtain a drink without paying for it. Two very common ones must suffice. The thirsty but impecunious soul approaches the bar-tender with a request for brandy, or what not. He takes a sip, pronounces it detestable, and offers to change it for a glass of whiskey. The obliging bar-tender substitutes the whiskey. The customer drinks, smacks his lips, and prepares to depart. "Here," says the bar-tender, "you haven't paid for your whiskey." "No," is the innocent response; "I gave you the brandy in exchange for it." "But you didn't pay for the brandy." "But I didn't drink it." And while the publican intellect is vainly struggling with the mathematical puzzle involved, the puzzler makes good his escape. Another method is said to be common with a thirsty but moneyless crowd in Western bar-rooms. The spokesman hails a passer-by and asks him, "Do you know any German?" "Very little," is the modest reply. "Well, can you translate Was wollen sie haben?" "Why, what will you have?" "Thanks; make it a whiskey straight," bursts simultaneously from a dozen parched throats. And the man of polyglot information, if he have any sense of shame, will promptly acknowledge that the drinks are on him.

A good instance of a common form of newspaper catch is chronicled in the following gleeful manner by the New York Commercial Advertiser (May 18, 1889), under the heading "The Sun Ceases to Shine :"

Our esteemed contemporary the Sun is not yet one hundred and fifteen years old, but seems to have lost its accustomed brightness when quoting the following hoax from the Savannah News, and entitling it, contrary to all that is therein said, "Lived One Hundred and Fifteen Years without Teeth :'

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"There was a very old man from Meriwether in attendance at Pike Superior Court last week. He was feeble in appearance, and, indeed, some of his old acquaintances asked him his age. Well,' he said, if I live to see February 31 I will be one hundred and fifteen years old. Another remarkable fact connected with my construction is that I haven't a tooth in my head.' Opening his mouth and pointing to his smooth, toothless gums, he continued, 'I was born that way. Wonderful as it may appear, my youngest son and eldest daughter were born that way also.'

Doubtless when the 31st of February comes round the Sun will know better, or else cease to shine for two cents or any other price.

It is not unusual with editorial wags to confound a literary aspirant by telling him that they have read every word of his poem, or what not. "Where?" cries the indignant tyro. "In the dictionary." In the same way Barnum used to bring consternation into the hearts of his grocers by complaining that their pepper was half peas. When they protested, he would quietly ask, "How do you spell pepper?" and the catch stood revealed.

A number of catches have descended to us from an immemorial antiquity in the form of question and answer. Probably the best-known are "Where was Moses when his candle went out?" and "Who was the father of Zebedee's children?" We will not insult our readers' intelligence by printing the answers. (To be sure, in the second case it might be objected that there is a quite unwarranted presumption that Zebedee's children were more than usually wise. But let this go.) Here are a few more chestnuts," whose whiskers are possibly of a less portentous growth:


What is the best way of making a coat last? Make the trousers and waistcoat first.

What is that from which you may take away the whole and yet have some left? The word wholesome.

What words may be pronounced quicker and shorter by adding syllables to them? Quick and short.

Which would you rather, look a greater fool than you are, or be a greater fool than you look? (Let the person choose, then say,) That's impossible.

Which would you rather, that a lion ate you or a tiger? Undoubtedly, the supposititious "you" would rather that the lion ate the tiger. But he does not always "catch on."

How do you spell blind pig in two letters? P G without an I.

When can donkey be spelt with one letter? When it's U.

If I saw you riding on a donkey, what fruit should I be reminded of? A pair.

What comes after cheese? Rats!

What question is that to which you positively must answer yes? What does y-e-s spell?

Catchpenny. A now recognized term for anything brought out for sale with a view to entrap unwary purchasers. It originated in the year 1824, just after the execution of Thurtell for the murder of Weare, a murder that created a great sensation. Catnach, the celebrated printer of Seven Dials, in London, made a large sum by the publication of Thurtell's "last dying speech." When the sale of this speech began to fall off, Catnach brought out a second edition, with the heading "WE ARE alive again!" the words "we are" being printed with a very narrow space between them. These two words the people took for the name of the murdered man, reading it "WEARE alive again;" and a large edition was rapidly cleared off. Some one called it a "catchpenny," and the word rapidly spread, until Catnach's productions were usually so styled, and the word was adopted into the language.

Catherine, St. "Elle a coiffée Sainte-Catherine" (" She has dressed the hair of St. Catherine") is a familiar French proverb applied to an old maid. There is a superstition in some of the provinces of France that the maiden who dresses the bride's hair on her wedding-day will surely become a bride herself at some future time. But, inasmuch as Saint Catherine was the patron saint of virgins, the maiden who waited pour coiffer Sainte-Catherine never had the opportunity; she was destined to die an old maid.

A second and simpler explanation is to be found in the custom of decorating the heads of the statues in churches. And inasmuch as only virgins would be selected to decorate the head of the patroness of virgins, it was natural to consider this office as in a measure the function of those who had grown to an age when marriage was no longer a possibility. A witty Frenchman says, in fixing this period, “Il y a certaines vieilles filles qui ont passé la cinquantaine qui fixent le terme fatal entre soixante et soixante-dix ans." A French proverb says, "A vingt-quatre ans on se marie sans choisir, lorsqu'on tient à ne pas coiffer Sainte-Catherine."

Cats and Dogs, To rain. To rain profusely, to rain pitchforks. This slang phrase first occurs in Dean Swift's "Polite Conversation” (1738): “I know Sir John will go, though he was sure it would rain cats and dogs" (Dialogue II.). Is he quoting a proverbial phrase? Or is this an allusion to the Dean's own lines written in 1710?

Now from all parts the swelling kennels flow,

And bear their trophies with them as they go;

Drowned puppies, stinking sprats all drenched in mud, Dead cats, and turnip-tops, come tumbling down the flood. Description of a City Shower. Caucus, an American political term, meaning a secret conference of the leaders or legislators of any political party in regard to measures or candidates. The conclusions arrived at by the caucus are considered binding on the members in all the public matters to which they refer. The usual etymon refers the term to a political club founded about 1724 by Henry Adams and his friends,-most of whom were shipwrights, sea-captains, and persons otherwise connected with the shipping interest. Hence the institution was known as the Calkers' Club. As its avowed object was to lay plans for introducing certain persons into places of trust and power, the word caucus may have grown out of a corruption of the name. Another less obvious but still plausible derivation is suggested by Dr. Trumbull (" Transactions of the American Philological Association," 1872), who says its origin is the Indian cau-cau-as'n, which he defines as "one who advises, urges, encourages, etc."

Cause, Thou Great First. There is a line in Pope's "Universal Prayer”—

Thou Great First Cause, least understood

which is persistently attributed to Milton. Even Charles Lamb seems to have fallen into this mistake, if Crabb Robinson be right, who records in his Diary that when he received his first brief he called upon Lamb to tell him of it. "I suppose," said Lamb, “you addressed to it that line of Milton,

Thou great first cause, least understood."

Caveat emptor (L., "Let the purchaser beware," or "take care of himself"), an ancient legal phrase. It was formerly held that a buyer must be bound by a bargain under all circumstances. Chief-Justice Tindal, in giving judgment in the case Brown vs. Edgington (2 Scott, N. R., 504), modified this ancient rule. He said, "If a man purchases goods of a tradesman without in any way relying upon the skill and judgment of the vendor, the latter is not responsible for their turning out contrary to his expectation; but if the tradesman be informed, at the time the order is given, of the purpose for which the article is wanted, the buyer relying upon the seller's judgment, the latter impliedly warrants that the things furnished shall be reasonably fit and proper for the purposes for which it is required."

Caviare to the general, something above the intellectual reach of the crowd. Shakespeare makes Hamlet use the phrase: "The play I remembered pleased not the million; 'twas caviare to the general" (Act ii., Sc. 2). Caviare, a preparation of sturgeons' roes, originated in Russia, and was at one time a considerable article of commerce between that country and England. In Shakespeare's time it was a new and fashionable delicacy, relished only by connoisseurs, hence the allusion.

Celestial Empire, a title frequently given to China. It is derived from the Chinese words Tien Chan,-i.e., Heavenly Dynasty, meaning the kingdom which the dynasty appointed by heaven rules over. The term Celestials is a nickname of foreign manufacture, and S. Wells Williams, in "The Middle Kingdom," informs us that "the language could with difficulty be made to express such a patronymic."

Cent, Not worth a. From a very early period the names of small coins have been used in popular speech and in literature to set a low estimate on some person or thing. Thus, in the old epic "Huon de Bordeaux" the "amiral" tells the hero,

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