Don't take it as red

October 29, 2004

Further to Sue Powell's letter on Captain Grose (October 22), referring to my review of Blooming English (October 8).

I did, of course, refer to the venerable captain, given the irony of his name in the context of his Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue . But I suspect the spellchecker changed it to Gorse - I rely too heavily on Word to underline my spelling misteaks in read, whereas it will not pick up on a misspelling if the word is otherwise proper English. (I am sure I had Grose in my notes!) Anyway, the captain can't be that famous. I couldn't find the original in Google in the 1765 version, though the Dictionary of Buckish Slang, University Wit, And Pickpocket Eloquence comes up in the updated 1811 edition. (As Burns so eloquently put it, "Ken ye aught o' Captain Grose?") Powell might be able to shed light on the authors of the 1811 edition, namely Hell-Fire Dick and James Gordon of Cambridge, and William Soames Esq., of the Hon. Society of Newman's Hotel.

Tim Connell
City University

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