Reference > Brewer’s Dictionary > Black-guards.

 Black Genevan (A).Black Hole of Calcutta. 
E. Cobham Brewer 1810–1897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
Those horse-boys and unmilitary folk, such as cooks with their pots, pans, and other kitchen utensils, which travel with an army, and greatly impede its march.   1
   Gifford, in his edition of Ben Jonson, says: “In all great houses there were a number of dirty dependents, whose office it was to attend the wool-yards, sculleries, etc. Of these the most forlorn were selected to carry coals to the kitchen. They rode with the pots and pans, and were in derision called the black-guards.”   2
   In the Lord Steward’s office a proclamation (May 7th, 1683) begins thus: “Whereas … a sort of vicious, idle, and masterless boyes and rogues, commonly called the Black-guard, with divers other lewd and loose fellows … do usually haunt and follow the court… Wee do hereby strictly charge … all those so called, … with all other loose, idle … men … who have intruded themselves into his Majesty’s court and stables … to depart upon pain of imprisonment.”   3

 Black Genevan (A).Black Hole of Calcutta. 


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