Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Bed-post.

 Bed of Thorns (A).Bede (Adam). 
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
In the twinkling of a bed-post. As quickly as possible. In the ancient bed-frames movable staves were laid as we now lay iron laths; there were also staves in the two sides of the bedstead for keeping the bed-clothes from rolling off; and in some cases a staff was used to beat the bed and clean it. In the reign of Edward I., Sir John Chichester had a mock skirmish with his servant (Sir John with his rapier and the servant with the bed-staff), in which the servant was accidentally killed. Wright, in his Domestic Manners, shows us a chambermaid of the seventeenth century using a bed-staff to beat up the bedding. “Twinkling” means a rapid twist or turn. (Old French, guincher: Welsh, gwing, gwingaw, our wriggle.)   1
        “I’ll do it instantly, in the twinkling of a bed-staff.”—Shadwell: Virtuoso, 1676.
        “He would have cut him down in the twinkling of a bed-post.”—“Rabelais,” done into English.
   Bobadil, in Every Man in his Humour, and Lord Duberley, in the Heir-at-Law, use the same expression.   2

 Bed of Thorns (A).Bede (Adam). 


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