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still worse health? That Intellect do march, if possible at double-quick time, is very desirable; nevertheless, why should she turn round at every stride and cry, See what a stride I have taken! Such a marching of Intellect is distinctly of the spavined kind; what the Jockeys call 'all action and no go.' Or, at best, if we examine well, it is the marching of that gouty Patient whom his Doctors had clapt on a metal floor artificially heated to the searing-point, so that he was obliged to march, and did march with a vengeance-nowhither. Intellect did not awaken for the first time yesterday; but has been under way from Noah's flood downwards; greatly her best progress, moreover, was in the old times, when she said nothing about it." Bartlett refers the phrase to Southey's "Colloquies," vol. ii. p. 360. But, as that book was not published until 1829, it is obvious that Southey was merely echoing a popular catchword.

Maria, or, more commonly, Black Maria, in English and American slang, the prison-van in which criminals are carried to and from the courthouse where they are tried. The term is said to have originated in Philadelphia in 1838.

No one freer, no one greater,
'Arry cycles, is it just
Sarah Anne's perambulator

Should be hobject of disgust?

What's the reason, tell me why, ah!
Why that gig with children nice

Should be scorned like Black Maria,
Full of villany and vice?

Ally Sloper's Half-Holiday.

Although I had no motive for evading her,

'Twas but lately that I came across her track,

And two stern-faced men were forcibly persuading her

To enter a conveyance painted black.

Aghast at conduct seemingly so cruel, base,
And wicked, I its meaning did inquire;

Quoth a gamin, She's been lifting some cove's jewel-case,
And she's going for a ride in the Mariar.

Sporting Times.

Marines, Tell that to the. The marines are among the "jolly" jacktars a proverbially gullible lot, capable of swallowing any yarn, in size varying from a yawl-boat to a full-rigged frigate. Hence the phrase, uttered with a sceptical inflection, on any particularly incredible whopper being told, "Tell that to the marines: the blue-jackets won't believe it."

But, whatsoe'er betide, ah, Neuha! now
Unman me not; the hour will not allow

A tear: "I'm thine, whatever intervenes!"


'Right," quoth Ben; "that will do for the marines."

BYRON: The Island.

Marriages are made in heaven, a common proverb in England and elsewhere. In Lyly's "Mother Bombie" (1594), Prisius says, "You see marriage is destinie made in heaven, though consummated on earth." J. Wilson, in "The Cheats" (1662), has the exact modern expression: “Good sir, marriages are made in heaven" (p. 106, ed. 1874). Shakespeare makes Nerissa say,

The ancient saying is no heresy,—
Hanging and wiving goes by destiny,

Merchant of Venice, Act ii., Sc. 9;

and this is probably the original form.

Heywood, for example, has,—

Wedding is destiny,

And hanging likewise,

Proverbs, Part I., ch. iii.;

and the Italians say, "Nozze e magistrato dal cielo è destinato" ("Marriage and the magistrate are foreordained by heaven"). In modern times the phrase is sometimes changed to "Matches are made in heaven," and has so proved an inestimable boon to the punster :

Though matches are made in heaven, they say,

Yet Hymen (who mischief oft hatches)

Sometimes deals with the house t'other side of the way,

And there they make Lucifer matches.


I hate a match. I feel sure that brimstone matches were never made in heaven; and it is sad to think that, with few exceptions, matches are all of them dipped with brimstone.— DONALD G. MITCHELL: Reveries of a Bachelor, iii.

Married by the Hangman, in the English cant language, persons chained or handcuffed together in order to be conveyed to jail or on board the lighters for transportation. Thus, in the articles of war of the Scottish expeditionary army of 1644 occurs the following paragraph: "If any common harlots shall be found following the army, if they be married women, and run away from their husbands, they shall be put to death without mercy, and if they be unmarried, they shall first be married by the hangman, and thereafter by him scourged out of the army." (Quoted in Notes and Queries, second series, ix. 487.)

Marry in haste and repent at leisure, a familiar proverb in all languages. Sage, poet, humorist, and proverb-monger all have had their fling at matrimony:

A young man married is a man that's marr'd,

says Parolles in "All's Well that Ends Well," Act ii., Sc. 3.

The Germans say,

Der Ehestand ist ein Hühner-Haus,

Der eine will hinein, der andre will heraus;

which might be rendered,—

The marriage state is like a coop built stout,-
The outs would fain be in, the ins be out.

"There is an English parallel to this rather curious illustration," says Lloyd P. Smith in Lippincott's Magazine, vol. i., “which I have never seen in print, but I heard it once from a fair lady's lips, in my hot youth, when William IV. was king:

Marriage is like a flaming candle-light

Placed in the window on a summer's night,

Inviting all the insects of the air

To come and singe their pretty winglets there:
Those that are out butt heads against the pane,
Those that are in butt to get out again."

'Marriage is a desperate thing," says old Selden: "the frogs in Æsop were extremely wise; they had a great mind to some water, but they would not leap into the well, because they could not get out again." The French say, "Wedlock rides in the saddle, and repentance on the croup," which recalls the joke in "Menagiana" of the man who, meeting a friend riding with his wife behind him, applied to him the words of Horace, "Post equitem sedet atra cura" ("Black care sits behind the horseman"). Nay, the French go even further. "No one marries but repents," they cry.

Marivaux, the French dramatist, wrote an epigram on marriage, which may be thus translated:

I would advise a man to pause
Before he takes a wife:
In fact, I see no earthly cause
He should not pause for life,-

which recalls Punch's famous advice to those about to marry : "Don't."

Marsh, The (Fr. "Le Marais"), a contemptuous epithet bestowed by the Girondists, after their overthrow by the Jacobins, upon those members who occupied the lowest benches in the French National Convention, on account of their alleged cowardly subservience to the party of "the Mountain” (q. v.).

Marshal Forwards (Ger. “Marschall Vorwärts), a familiar sobriquet by which his soldiers and the Prussian people in general called General FieldMarshal von Blücher (1742-1819), on account of his rapid movements and impetuous manner of attack. He led the Prussians in the campaign of 1813 against Napoleon and his retreating army, after the expulsion from Russia by the burning of Moscow, and at the battle of Waterloo his arrival with his army made the defeat of the French decisive.

Martyrs. The blood of martyrs is the seed of the church. This well-known proverb appears to be the final result of a series of misquotations. The phrase is usually referred to Tertullian. What he really said was, "Semen est sanguis Christianorum" (Apologet., ch. 1.), which may be translated "The blood of Christians is the seed." At an early date the word martyrum was inserted, and the sentence reorganized thus: "Sanguis martyrum semen Christianorum." Beyerlinck, in his "Magnum Theatrum Vitae Humanæ❞ (1665), quotes this as from Tertullian, in illustration of the growth of the Church from the constancy of martyrs. The further substitution of ecclesia, "church," for Christianorum is to be found in Baily's "Practice of Piety" (1695), p. 455. But it probably occurred earlier, for the proverb in its modern form is clearly alluded to by Fuller ("Church History of Britain," 1665) in the dedication of cent. iv., book i. :

Of all shires in England Staffordshire was (if not the soonest) the largest sown with the seed of the Church, I mean, the bloud of primitive Martyrs, as by this century doth appear.

Mascot. Mascot is a word that was introduced into literature by Audran in his comic opera of "La Mascotte," but it seems to have been previously in common use among gamblers and others to indicate some object, animate or inanimate, which, like the luck-penny, brought good fortune to its possessor. The word had travelled up to Paris from Provence and Gascony, where a mascot is a thing that brings luck to a household. The most plausible etymology derives the word from masqué (masked, covered, or concealed), which in provincial French is synonymous with né coiffé, "born with a caul." Now, in many parts of Europe, notably in Scotland and in France, good fortune is attributed to the caul, and high prices are known to have been paid for one. The child born with this appendage is not only lucky in himself, but also the source of luck in others.

The legend of the Mascot, as told in Audran's opera (and probably largely colored by the librettist's imagination), is as follows. The arch-fiend, Agesago, in a more than usually malicious mood, sent a number of his most evil imps into the upper world to distress mankind. But the Powers of Light, in their turn, sent a number of messengers to counteract the evil influences of Satan's emissaries. These messengers were known as mascots, and happy was the man who received one into his home. A mascot must marry only another mascot, for marriage with a mortal destroyed its magic qualities, which reappeared, however, in the offspring. Mascots were hereditary in families.

The evolution of a child born masqué into a being of a supernatural order

was facilitated by the fact that the word is analogous to the Low-Latin masca, a "sorcerer," which is the root-form of many French provincial words indicating a witch or magician. The mascot has finally taken its place in popular mythology with all that class of house-spirits who are allied to the ancient Penates, the Scotch Brownie, the English Lob-lie-by-the-fire, etc. The Dalmatian Vila must be a very close relation, for she is described as a handsome maiden who accompanies her favorite wherever he goes, and causes all his undertakings to prosper.

Victor Hugo gives some account of a being called a Marcou, a figure in French folk-lore who belongs to the same family, though his name has a different etymology, being probably derived from the famous St. Marculphus (in French, Marcou, or Marculphe). The Marcou is the seventh son of a seventh son, and he has a natural fleur-de-lis on some part of his body, the touch of which is sure to heal the sick. Marcous are found in all parts of France, but especially in the southern provinces. "Ten years ago there lived at Ormes, in Gâtinais, one of these creatures, nicknamed the Handsome Marcou. He was a cooper, Foulon by name, and his miracles became so numerous that it became necessary to call in the police to put a stop to them. His fleur-de-lis was on his left breast."


There is also a being called a maschecroute (which seems to mean gnawcrust," the name having only an accidental resemblance to Mascot), whose image (a hideous wooden affair), like that of the Italian Befana, is carried in procession through the streets of Lyons, and whose name is used by nurses to frighten children with.

Masher, in American slang, a person who spends his or her time in making conquests, real or imaginary, of the other sex; a lady-killer; a siren. It is sometimes said to be a corruption of the French ma chérie. But this is one of the many instances of an ingenious etymology whose surface plausibility imposes on the unscholarly. Far more likely is the derivation from the gypsy word masher-ava, to fascinate by the eye, a derivation thus advocated by Barrère and Leland: "About the year 1860 mash was a word found only in theatrical parlance in the United States. When an actress or any girl on the stage smiled at or ogled any friend in the audience, she was said to mash him, and mashing was always punishable by a fine deducted from the wages of the offender. It occurred to the writer that it must have been derived from the gypsy mash (masher-ava), to allure, to entice. This was suggested to Mr. Palmer, a well-known impresario, who said that the conjecture was not only correct, but that he could confirm it, for the term had originated with the C- family, who were all comic actors and actresses of Romany stock, who spoke gypsy familiarly among themselves."

J. W. De Forrest, in the Illustrated American, June 16, 1890, makes another very plausible suggestion: "It is simply a translation of the French noun écraseur, which comes from the verb écraser, to 'crush' or 'mash.' Many years ago, when I was a young looker-on in Paris, écraseur, or écraseur des femmes, was a slang term for a lady-killer. I remember a drama in point. Scene, a Carnival ball at the Grand Opera. Young American looking on, his long moustaches stiffened with pommade hongroise and carefully curled in two dashing spirals. Out steps a nymph from the dance, takes him gently by both the waxed ends, and says, laughingly, 'You have no right to mash us [nous écraser] just because you have corkscrew moustaches.""

Mason and Dixon's Line, a boundary-line surveyed between November 15, 1763, and December 26, 1767, by two English mathematicians and surveyors, Charles Mason and Jeremiah Dixon, to settle the constant dissensions between the Lords Baltimore and the Penn family, the lords proprietors

of Maryland and Pennsylvania respectively. It runs along the parallel in latitude 39° 43′ 26.3", and was originally marked by mile-stones bearing on one side the coat of arms of Penn and on the other those of Lord Baltimore. The name was afterwards currently applied to designate an imaginary boundary-line between the free and the slave States, a practice which took its rise in 1820, when in the excited debates upon the Missouri Compromise Bill the eccentric John Randolph of Roanoke made use of the phrase. It was caught up by the newspapers, and soon gained a popular significance which it retained throughout the slavery conflict. In those early days of the anti-slavery agitation, “Hang your clothes to dry on Mason and Dixon's Line" was a familiar saying.

Maverick, a word originating on the cattle-ranges of the Far West, and first used as a name for unbranded, and therefore ownerless, cattle. A few years since, one Sam Maverick went from Massachusetts to Texas, where he entered into the business of stock-raising. After buying several herds, he neglected his range and left his stock to shift for themselves. Mr. Maverick, on humanitarian grounds, and believing implicitly in the honesty of his neighbors, refrained from branding his young stock. The unregenerate stock-men, however, when they ran across an unbranded animal on the round-up, would cry, "There's one of Maverick's: let's brand it." The word became popular, and its originally limited meaning was broadened and enlarged by constant use throughout the cattle-ranges and mining-camps of the frontier. If a man was unpronounced in his opinion on any subject, it was said, "He holds Maverick views."

May and December is frequently used to characterize the courting of a young girl by an old man. Chaucer has a poem called "January and May" ("The Merchant's Tale"), but January is so connected in the public mind with the new year that it symbolizes lusty youth rather than an old man in his dotage. December has therefore become the popular symbol for the mating of youth and age. There is an ancient ballad recounting the ill success of an old man's wooing, in which each verse ends with the refrain,

For May and December can never agree.

Hood has a poem entitled "December and May," and as a motto to the verses he quotes from the "Passionate Pilgrim,"

Crabbed age and youth

Cannot live together.

Shakespeare, in "Much Ado about Nothing," in expressing the comparative beauty of Hero and Beatrice, says one exceeds the other in beauty "as the first of May doth the last of December." And in “As You Like It," Act iv., Sc. 1, he says, "Men are April when they woo, December when they wed: maids are May when they are maids, but the sky changes when they are wives."

Me Too, a derisive nickname given to Thomas C. Platt when he and Roscoe Conkling were both Senators from New York,—implying that he was a mere echo and puppet of the greater man. There may have been some reminiscence here of the famous advertisement which about the middle of this century appeared in a paper published at Sag Harbor, New York, by Colonel Alden Spooner. A merchant advertised his wares very liberally and attracted great custom thereby. One day a rival had the following laconic and economic advertisement placed directly under the long one:


John Thompson.

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