E. Cobham Brewer 18101897. Dictionary of Phrase and Fable. 1898.
in legal parlance, is a leaders fag who gets up the facts of a brief, with the laws bearing on it, and arranges everything for the pleader in methodical order.
These juniors have surplus briefs handed to them by their seniors. A good fag is a good devil and is sure to get on.
The Attorney-Generals devils are the Counsel of the Treasury, who not unfrequently get promoted to the bench.
A printers devil. Formerly, the boy who took the printed sheets from the tympan of the press. Old Moxon says: They do commonly so black and bedaub themselves that the workmen do jocosely call them devils. The errandboy is now so called. The black slave employed by Aldo Manuzio, Venetian printer, was thought to be an imp. Hence the following proclamation:
I, Aldo Manuzio, printer to the Doge, have this day made public exposure of the printers devil. All who think he is not flesh and blood may come and pinch him.Proclamation of Aldo Manuzio, 1490.
Robert the Devil, of Normandy. (See ROBERT LE DIABLE.)
The French Devil. Jean Bart, an intrepid French sailor, born at Dunkirk. (16501702.)
Son of the Devil. Ezzelino, chief of the Gibelins, and Governor of Vicenza, was so called for his infamous cruelties. (12151259.)
Fierce Ezelin, that most inhuman lord,
Who shall be deemed by men the child of hell.
Rose: Orlando Furioso, iii. 32.
The White Devil of Wallachia. George Castriota was so called by the Turks. (14041467.)