going to hell

W Brewer brewerwa at GMAIL.COM
Tue Oct 15 20:39:03 UTC 2013

RE:  <<going to hell in a hand-basket>>  Well, my whole life, I have been
convinced that the origin of the expression has to do with the collection
basket used in Catholic churches. At least, when I was a child, the parish
priest spent a disproportionate amount of time haranguing the congregation
to contribute cash for all the expenses of running the church. The
"hand-basket" had a long handle on it (about yay-long, i.e. broomstick
length), and could reach clear to the middle of any pew, so nobody should
'scape embarrassment for non-contribution, sometimes several times per
mass. It seemed to me that the loathsome hand-basket was dragging the
church to perdition, with its overemphasis on materialism.

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

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