[Ads-l] a little more on ejaculatory pop, etc.

Jonathan Lighter wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM
Thu Mar 16 21:26:39 EDT 2017


> There were likely different understandings of the meaning of "weasel."

Exactly. Which suggests that "weasel" (not U.S. "weasel-skin," n.b.) =
'purse' was a fairly uncommon usage, assuming that it existed at all.

If anyone could adduce "Pop! goes the weasel" as a prior catch-phrase
meaning "There goes the money," or something similar, the issue would be
settled.

Until then....

JL



JL





On Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 5:59 PM, Baker, John <JBAKER at stradley.com> wrote:

> Bear in mind that the verses were written by different people at different
> times.  There were likely different understandings of the meaning of
> "weasel."
>
>
> John Baker
>
>
>
> -----Original Message-----
> From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
> Of Jonathan Lighter
> Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2017 2:55 PM
> To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> Subject: Re: a little more on ejaculatory pop, etc.
>
> Why would a monkey chase a purse around a bench?
>
> JL
>
> On Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 1:55 PM, Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com>
> wrote:
>
> > The 1869 reference Garson mentioned says that the "term 'weasel' or
> > 'weasel skin' became among the lower orders synonymous with purse", and
> the
> > 1880s newspaper article I mentioned said that "in Missouri and Iowa" the
> > term "weasel-skin" was used to refer to coin purses, generally.  The
> purses
> > and their lucky powers are mentioned in print in numerous places.
> >
> >
> > I've seen a couple descriptions of the purses that describe them as
> having
> > the head and paws intact, like the fox stole in my parents attic back in
> > the day.
> >
> > ________________________________
> > From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of
> > Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> > Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2017 10:07:14 AM
> > To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> > Subject: Re: a little more on ejaculatory pop, etc.
> >
> > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> > -----------------------
> > Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > Poster:       Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at GMAIL.COM>
> > Subject:      Re: a little more on ejaculatory pop, etc.
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > -------------------
> >
> > Have we any early documentation that "weasel" was in use to mean "purse"
> of
> > weasel-skin or otherwise?
> >
> > Cf. comparable U.S. "eelskin" =3D "eelskin purse."
> >
> > JL
> >
> > On Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 12:43 PM, ADSGarson O'Toole <
> > adsgarsonotoole at gmail.com> wrote:
> >
> > > Peter's 1905 citation included the interesting hypothesis of a "Notes
> > > and Queries" correspondent linking "Pop goes the weasel" to a
> > > weasel-skin purse. Here is an earlier presentation of that linkage
> > > although the sound of the clasp was not mentioned. (1869 is a late
> > > date; maybe it can be pushed back.)
> > >
> > > Date: January 21, 1869
> > > Periodical: The Cultivator & Country Gentleman
> > > Quote Page 62 and 63
> > > Publisher: Luther Tucker & Son, Albany, New York
> > > Database: Google Books Full View
> > >
> > > https://books.google.com/books?id=3D-S0_AQAAMAAJ&q=3D%
> > > 22weasel+skin%22#v=3Dsnippet&
> > >
> > > [Begin excerpt]
> > > "POP GOES THE WEASEL."
> > >
> > > Every one has heard the tune "Pop goes the Weasel," but it is not
> > > every one that knows what is meant by the phrase, or how it had its
> > > origin. Most people think it a mere unmeaning chorus, like "Hey Derry
> > > Down," words in which sound is consulted rather than sense.
> > >
> > > "Weasel" in this case has a meaning however, and as the word is
> > > connected with a rather curious old country superstition, an
> > > explanation may not prove uninteresting.
> > >
> > > Amongst the common people of the old country, there used to be a very
> > > prevalent idea that a purse made of weasel-skin would never get empty,
> > > and although weasel-skin purses never became very common, yet, in
> > > obedience to the popular superstition, a few persons have been known
> > > to carry them. But the term "weasel" or "weasel-skin," became among
> > > the lower orders synonymous with purse, and was at one time in quite
> > > common use. Hence, the phrase "Pop goes the Weasel," simply signifies
> > > "out comes your purse." Taken in connection with the rest of the song,
> > > it will be seen that the phrase has an appropriate meaning.    X
> > > [End excerpt]
> > >
> > > Garson
> > >
> > > On Thu, Mar 16, 2017 at 11:18 AM, Peter Reitan <pjreitan at hotmail.com>
> > > wrote:
> > > > Robin Hamilton's Mudcat poster's version apparently appears in The
> > > Oxford Nursery Rhyme Book (1955) and The Annotated Mother Goose (1962).
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > I ran across an explanation published in 1905, based on the writer's
> > > recollection of the 1860s, which ties together the line, "that's where
> > th=
> > e
> > > money goes", with the weasel's "pop".  That explanation also includes
> all
> > > three of Robin's verses.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > As I wrote in an earlier post, "that's where the money goes," was a
> > > popular song in 1840s England, and the expression was frequently used
> > > idiomatically and set apart in quotations.  The various versions of the
> > > song recited various ways people spend or waste money, frequently
> > > contrasting how poor people "waste" money on necessities and rich
> people
> > > spend it on luxuries.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > The first two verses provided by Robin are similar to that song, in
> > tha=
> > t
> > > the first verse speaks of spending money on rice and the second verse
> of
> > > spending money drinking at the Eagle, which was a famous pub.  The
> second
> > > verse even borrows the line "that's where the money goes" from the
> > earlie=
> > r
> > > song.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > A 1905 recollection of the song suggests that "pop goes the weasel"
> > > refers to the sound made by the clasp on a weasel skin purse.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > =E2=80=9CThis phrase certainly refers to a purse made of weasel-skin,
> > w=
> > hich
> > > opened and closed with a snap.  The =E2=80=9Cpopping of the
> weasel=E2=80=
> > =9D in the song (I
> > > believe a sort of music-hall ditty of the fifties) is the opening of
> the
> > > purse, and consequent spending of money, as the context shows.
> > =E2=80=9C=
> > Bang went
> > > saxpence=E2=80=9D is a verbal, not a real, parallel.=E2=80=9D
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > Notes and Queries, 10th S. III, June 24, 1905, page 491.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > To be fair, the same volume also contains other speculations,
> including
> > > pawning (popping) a tailor's "weasel" (a tailor's tool) to get money to
> > > drink at the Eagle tavern.
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > But weasel-skin purses were, in fact, a real thing.  They were
> > > considered lucky, and the superstition held that if you had a weasel
> skin
> > > purse, you would always have at least a little money.  In the 1880s, it
> > w=
> > as
> > > said that, "in Iowa and Missouri such purses are so common as to give
> the
> > > generic name of 'weasel skin' to all manner of receptacles for coin."
> The
> > > Daily Morning Astorian (Oregon, March 4, 1887, page 3.
> > > >
> > > > It is possible that the original catch-phrase from the song merely
> > > related to the popping of one dancer under the arms of a couple, like a
> > > weasel popping into its den.  Weasels were said, at times, to "pop"
> into
> > > their dens.  A children's book published in 1850, for example,
> includes a
> > > poem about a child chasing a weasel who "popped" into its den with a
> > stol=
> > en
> > > egg.
> > > >
> > > > "The Weasel, like thought, popped into his den.  The Boy was too big,
> > o=
> > r
> > > the hole was too small, So for that time escaped they, egg, Weasel and
> > al=
> > l!"
> > > >
> > > > The Child's Picture and Verse Book (Commonly called Otto Speckter's
> > > Fable Book - translated from German), New York, D. Appleton & Co.,
> 1850,
> > > page 196.
> > > >
> > > > The later use in the "Pop Goes the Weasel" song borrowed from the
> theme
> > > and lyrics of the earlier "that's the way the money goes" song, with
> the
> > > addition of the new tune and catch-phrase from the dance, and with the
> > > added bonus of the weasel also being an allusion to a money purse.
> > > >
> > > > There was also an old idiom that was known at the time, "to catch a
> > > weasel asleep", which related to the difficulty of catching a weasel
> > > because they were so fast and restless.  And, when a weasel pops into
> its
> > > den, it is even more difficult to catch.
> > > >
> > > > But whatever the original meaning, it was not necessarily obvious to
> > > people at the time, as there were several early references that
> wondered
> > > what the "weasel" was and why it popped.
> > > >
> > > > ________________________________
> > > > From: American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU> on behalf of
> > > Robin Hamilton <robin.hamilton3 at VIRGINMEDIA.COM>
> > > > Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2017 3:57 AM
> > > > To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> > > > Subject: Re: a little more on ejaculatory pop, etc.
> > > >
> > > > ---------------------- Information from the mail header
> > > -----------------------
> > > > Sender:       American Dialect Society <ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU>
> > > > Poster:       Robin Hamilton <robin.hamilton3 at VIRGINMEDIA.COM>
> > > > Subject:      Re: a little more on ejaculatory pop, etc.
> > > > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > -------------------
> > > >
> > > > An Hypothetical Reconstruction of a Three-Stanza version of
> =3DE2=3D80=
> > =3D9CPop
> > > go=3D
> > > > es the
> > > > weasel=3DE2=3D80=3D9D.
> > > >
> > > > 1. The Rice:
> > > >
> > > > Half a pound of tuppenny rice,
> > > > Half a pound of treacle,
> > > > Mix it up and make it nice,
> > > > Pop goes the weasel!
> > > >
> > > > 2. The Pub
> > > >
> > > > Up and down the City Road
> > > > In and out of the Eagle,
> > > > That's the way the money goes,
> > > > Pop goes the weasel!
> > > >
> > > > 3. The Monkey
> > > >
> > > > Every night when I get home
> > > > The monkey's on the table;
> > > > Take a stick and knock it off,
> > > > Pop goes the weasel!
> > > >
> > > > NOTES:
> > > >
> > > > The above could perhaps be described as an tentative core text.
> > > >
> > > > Stanza 1: Possibly the earliest extension, with the third line
> > original=
> > ly
> > > > reading, =3DE2=3D80=3D9CThat's the way the money goes=3DE2=3D80=3D9D.
> > W=
> > hen the Rice
> > > and=3D
> > > >  the Pub stanzas were
> > > > brought together, to avoid repetition the original third line in the
> > > above
> > > > quatrain --  "That's the way the money goes" -- was replaced by,
> > > =3DE2=3D80=3D9CM=3D
> > > > ix it up and
> > > > make it nice.=3DE2=3D80=3D9D
> > > >
> > > > Stanza 2: Probably originally a free-standing extension of the
> original
> > > > catchphrase, later combined with Stanza 1.
> > > >
> > > > Stanza 3: The monkey is added later still, and possibly first appears
> > i=
> > n
> > > > America.  Line 1 in that stanza may end either with
> =3DE2=3D80=3D9Cget
> > > home=3DE2=3D80=3D
> > > > =3D9D [from the Eagle,
> > > > if the stanza occurs by itself] or =3DE2=3D80=3D9Cgo
> > out=3DE2=3D80=3D9D=
> >  [to the
> > > Eagle, =3D
> > > > which is the
> > > > Necessary Variant when the three stanzas put together in sequence].
> > > >
> > > > Why no documentation to the above on my part? Well, the Opies in _The
> > > Singi=3D
> > > > ng
> > > > Game_ print the Rice and Monkey stanzas (but not the Pub stanza), but
> > > with =3D
> > > > no
> > > > source citations. A poster in the Mudcat forum
> > > > [http://mudcat.org/thread.cfm?threadid=3D3D3183] gives the three
> > stanza=
> > s
> > > > more-or-less as I provide them above, citing _Denslow's Mother Goose_
> > > (1901=3D
> > > > ),
> > > > but curse me if I can find them there
> > > > [https://www.gutenberg.org/files/18546/18546-h/18546-h.htm].
> > > >
> > > > Who am I supposed to believe, the Mudcat poster or my lying eyes?
> > > >
> > > > Anyway, I proffer the above, for what it=3DE2=3D80=3D99s worth, as a
> > po=
> > ssible
> > > sta=3D
> > > > rting point
> > > > for an exploration of the textual development of the catchphrase,
> > > =3DE2=3D80=3D9C=3D
> > > > Pop goes the
> > > > weasel=3DE2=3D80=3D9D.
> > > >
> > > > Robin Hamilton, a.k.a. Frustrated In Darlington
> > > >
> > > >
> > > > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> > >
> > > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> > >
> >
> >
> >
> > --=20
> > "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the
> truth."
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
> > ------------------------------------------------------------
> > The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
> >
>
>
>
> --
> "If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>
>
> ------------------------------------------------------------
> The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org
>



-- 
"If the truth is half as bad as I think it is, you can't handle the truth."

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