When a swallowed spoon "comes to hand"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Wed Feb 13 22:55:55 UTC 2008

Just after the "Pope's Day" celebrations of 1746, the Boston Gazettte
published the following advertisement. (According to a secondary
source; I don't find it via EAN.  For issues after Nov. 5, EAN has
only Nov. 11 and then Dec. 15.)

Some of the Pope's attendences had some Supper as well as Money given
'em at a House in Town, One of the Company happen'd to Swallow a
silver Spoon with his Victuals, Marked IHS. Whoever it was is desired
to return it when it comes at hand.

Do we think this is purely a scatological (or should I say
excretory?) joke?  Or is it a serious ad about a presumably stolen
spoon (thefts of silver were common), which the writer took advantage
of to make a joke?


The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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