23 (1899)

Bapopik at AOL.COM Bapopik at AOL.COM
Thu Mar 8 06:28:39 UTC 2007

There's a Jim Carrey movie with this title. I haven't seen it.
17 March 1899, The Morning Herald (KY), pg. 4:
<i>TWO CITIES?"</i>
For some time past there has been going the rounds of the men about town  the
slang phrase "Twenty-three." The meaning attached to it is to "move on,"
"get out," "goody-bye, glad you are gone," "your move" and so on. To the
initiated it is used with effect in a jocular manner.
It has only a significance to local men and is not in vogue elsewhere. Such
expressions often obtain a national use, as instanced by "rats!" "cheese it,"
etc., which were once in use throughout the length and breadth of the  land.
Such phrases originated, no one can say when. It is ventured that this
expression originated with Charles Dickens in the "Tale of two Cities." Though  the
significance is distorted from its first use, it may be traced. The phrase
"Twenty-three" is in a sentence in the close of that powerful novel. Sidney
Carton, the hero of the novel, goes to the guillotine in place of Charles
Darnay, the husband of the woman he loves. The time is during the French
Revolution, when prisoners were guillotined by the hundred. The prisoners are  beheaded
according to their number. Twenty-two has gone and Sidney Carton  answers to
-- Twenty-three. His career is ended and he passes from  view.
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