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Oh! had the fiend been vanquish'd ere he came,
Rise, exultation! spirit, louder speak,
* Lee Boo, second son of the king of the Pelew Islands, was brought to England by Capt, Wilson, and died of the smallpox at Rotherhithe, in 1984.
In village paths, hence, may we never find
" I am fond of your little Louisas: to say truth, I was afraid
of a Bess, a Peg, or a Sukey, which all give me the ideas of washing tubs and scouring of kettles*.".
LADY Mary WORTLEY MONTAGU's Letters.
...... From our motto the reader will remark, that, even in her ladyship’s days, they began to con
* How much must her ladyship have been mortified, when coming to those years of discretion, which enable us to look back to the past, she discovered that she herself had a name which almost always “ gives the ideas of washing tubs and scouring of kettles." Few names, it is well known, sunk lower in sen.
sider certain names as more honourable than others. Having by degrees drunk more and more of the spirit of this new heraldry, we have now almost completed a system of nomenclature for the parlour, the hall, and the kitchen. This appears to have been effected, first, by purifying, and, in some instances, recasting old names; and secondly, (for I wish to be very methodical in a dissertation on so important a subject,) by inventing new names.
In our endeavours to purify or recast our old names, that nothing filthy or culinary might attach to them, I am not certain whether we did not begin with Mary. This name became common in this country, I suppose, from our having some queens so called, and a very beautiful one, the patroness of the Scottish Muries. But in time, as we began to sentimentalise upon names, we discovered, that although we had some Maries who were queens, we had many more who were kitchenwenches, a circumstance which sunk the name so precipitately, that there was an absolute necessity for altering, or abolishing, it in all genteel families. It so happened, however, from the obstinacy of rich maiden aunts, dowagers with fortunes left in their own hands, and other persons on whose reversions it was necessary to keep a prudent eye, that Mary could not be abolished without great risk; and it was therefore agreed, to change it to Maria, in which position it now stands, although very seldom by itself. For, I know not how it was, that, in the process of time, some parents, highly skilled in the grammar of sentiment, discovered, or thought they discovered, that Maria, instead of being a noun, was an adjective with a noun understood. They. therefore tacked to it Anna, and Anna-Maria is now a most beautiful designation in all families, except those who, not under: standing Latin, chuse to adopt the English name of Mary-Anne, or, as it is much more sentimentally write ten, Marianne.
timental opinion than Mary, and the mortification one feels on being saddled with such a name is yet more exasperated, when we reflect with what ease it may be turned into Moll and Molly, iwo names which are as constantly affixed to mops and pails as their handles.
The next name which, according to Lady Montagu, gives one “the ideas of washing tubs and scouring keta tles is Bess. Here too we are indebted to a sovereign lady queen, whose memory is very dear to our country; but all her merits, as a monarch, could not save her name from falling into the kitchen sink; and it was surely a dreadful thing, when we looked for a sceptre to find a basting ladle, and for a throne a kitchen dresser. But great as these hardships were, the name was not to be entirely abolished for the potent reasons I have assigned in the case of Mary. It was therefore analised carefully by some sentimental chemists, who first explained it as Peter, in the 'Tale of a Tub, did his father's will, totidem syllabis, and then totidem literis. In the course of this examination, it was discovered that all the kitchen-stuff of the name resided in the last syllable, Beth, from whence, by an easy process, came Bet, the scullion, and Bess, the butter-woman; not to speak of the numerous Betties who distribute play-bills, and “choice fruit” at the
theatres. It was agreed, therefore, that this very obnoxious, although productive, syllable should be cut off, and buried in the dust-hole. There remained then Eliza, perfectly genteel and poetical, and fit for a parlour or drawing room of any dimension.
As to the Sukeys and Pegs, I believe we must agree, that they are irremediably consigned to the most menial offices. They were examined in every way, taken to pieces, and put together again in all forms, but nothing could be extracted from them that did not remind us of tubs and kettles. The Jennies had the same fate, although a few Lady Janes contrived to hold up their heads by the influence of title; but, without the title, it was found that the Junes degenerated fast into Jennies; and the late Mr. Arkwright, having found them in this forlorn condition, changed them into spinning-wheels. The Barbaras, with the exception of a few Lady Babs; the Sarahs, who were easily perverted into Sallies; the Rebeccas, who also became exceedingly vulgar, Beckies; the Marthas, who had a natural disposition to Patts and Patties; the Judiths, who were homespun Judies; the Winifreds, who were not only Winnies, but Welch women to boot; the Deboa rahs, who, becoming Dollies, were only fit to point out. where a beef-steak could be got; and the Bridgets, who were most unharmonious Bids and Biddies, were all consigned to their proper stations, and were condemned for life to be “sober and honest,” to be “good-tempered and cleanly,” to “have a character from their last place,” and “to put their hands to any thing.”—A very few, however, of the old culinary names were spared, on account of the same change