Q: "travelling lady"?

Laurence Horn laurence.horn at YALE.EDU
Fri Oct 15 21:52:53 UTC 2010

At 1:17 PM -0400 10/15/10, Baker, John wrote:
>         The story is also reported in the London Daily Advertiser (Sept.
>25, 1736), where it says that the sheriff handed M'Cullogh "to a Carr,
>and was his Guard to the House call'd the Ware; from whence he sent him
>that Night, together with his travelling Lady (who had bravely stood all
>the Fires) and the rest of the Prisoners, under a strong Guard to his
>Majesty's Goal at Killmaisham."  This is from Access Newspaper Archives;
>the scan is not the best, so there may be an error somewhere (the
>spelling "Goal" is clear, though).
>         I at first thought that "travelling lady" would be a courtesan
>or adventuress, but I don't think there is any evidence that a
>travelling lady in the eighteenth century was anything other than a lady
>who travels, so I think this is simply a reference to the captain's wife
>or consort, likely the former.  It sounds like the lady was in the
>castle with the captain, if she bravely stood all the fires, so the
>travel may simply be to the Goal.

Well, there's the evidence from the eponymous Leonard Cohen song--

And why are you so quiet now
Standing there in the doorway?
You chose your journey long before
You came upon this highway.

Traveling lady, stay awhile
Until the night is over.
I'm just a station on your way
I know I'm not your lover.

I'm still puzzled by the "Goal" for "Gaol", though, especially since
the OED doesn't provide the former as a variant spelling of the
latter.  The Ballad of Reading Goal?


>-----Original Message-----
>From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
>Of Jonathan Lighter
>Sent: Friday, October 15, 2010 12:44 PM
>Subject: Re: Q: "travelling lady"?
>You mean you think they were an item?
>Regardless, it may be that by 18th C. standards her prison confinement
>not considered very different from confinement as a PW - perhaps an
>especially wicked one for her close association with her boss.
>On Fri, Oct 15, 2010 at 12:26 PM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net> wrote:
>>  ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>  -----------------------
>>  Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>  Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
>>  Subject:      Re: Q: "travelling lady"?
>>  I would think more than a laundress.  Why would a servant, and only
>>  this one, be especially mentioned as taken to prison?  And if she was
>>  the only woman in the castle, would she not have been someone
>>  special?  The only other persons of M'Cullogh's party mentioned are
>>  "the rest of the Garrison", many of them wounded, who were made
>>  "prisoners of war".
>>  Joel
>>  At 10/15/2010 11:42 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
>>  >Laundress and attendant?
>>  >
>>  >JL
>>  >
>>  >
>>  >
>>  >On Fri, Oct 15, 2010 at 11:23 AM, Joel S. Berson <Berson at att.net>
>>  >
>>  > > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
>>  > > -----------------------
>>  > > Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
>>  > > Poster:       "Joel S. Berson" <Berson at ATT.NET>
>>  > > Subject:      Q:  "travelling lady"?
>>  > >
>>  > >
>>  >
>>  > >
>>  > > In 1736 Ireland, a Capt. M'Cullogh forcibly, with arms, resisted a
>>  > > sheriff trying to serve a "writ of restitution" to remove him from
>>  > > castle he was resident in.  When he was captured, he, "together
>>  > > his travelling Lady", was sent to his Majesty's Goal.  [From a
>>  > > newspaper.]
>>  > >
>>  > > Does "travelling lady" have any meaning beyond the notion of a
>>  > > who travels?  Here M'Cullogh is not described as travelling;
>>  > > the newspaper article is entirely about the siege of the castle
>>  > > the capture of Mc'Cullogh.
>>  > >
>>  > > Joel
>>  > >
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