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Excerpt from Words, Facts, and Phrases: A Dictionary of Curious, Quaint,& Out-of-the-Way Matters My aim in this work has been to comprise within the compass of a single volume a mass of curious, out-of-the-way information acquired during years of labour and research from sources not easily accessible to general readers. I have further attempted to render the book interesting, as well as useful, by making it familiar in style rather than formal, and by keeping it free, as far as possible, from technicalities, dry details, and scientific terms. When I first commenced the work, it did not occur to me that it would be either desirable or necessary in all cases to cite authorities. Some of the articles in the book are, consequently, unsupported by other testimony than my own. I think it may be well for me, therefore, to state that in all such cases the evidence, or the authority upon which I relied, was such as to convince me that it was trustworthy. I can scarcely hope that the nearly four thousand articles which the book contains will each be found strictly accurate. Authorities, even of the highest repute, differ greatly; sometimes two, three, or even more, give different explanations of one word or subject. One case which I will mention is a good illustration of the difficulty of arriving at exact results, even in simple matters of fact. When I proposed to give the height of St. Paul's Cathedral, I found no fewer than seven different statements in as many separate publications. About the Publisher Forgotten Books publishes hundreds of thousands of rare and classic books. Find more at www.forgottenbooks.com This book is a reproduction of an important historical work. Forgotten Books uses state-of-the-art technology to digitally reconstruct the work, preserving the original format whilst repairing imperfections present in the aged copy. In rare cases, an imperfection in the original, such as a blemish or missing page, may be replicated in our edition. We do, however, repair the vast majority of imperfections successfully; any imperfections that remain are intentionally left to preserve the state of such historical works.