Wednesday, May 27, 2009

I Always Eat Peas With Honey

A little saying my mother used to say:
I always eat peas with honey.
They may taste funny.
But they stay on my knife better.
The Letter P with the Crossed Tail

In old hand writing the letter ‘p’ sometimes had a cross on its tail this was the abbreviation for pre, per, par and pro.

Above is a sentence from a parish register in 1620, ‘Frances the daughter of Robert Coop(er) was baptised the 21 of August’. Notice the looping cross on the tail of the ‘p’.

Here we have p(er)formed from 1579, p(er)fect from 1683, and p(ar)te and p(ar)cell, 1683.
Notice the loops are all clockwise in direction. Next is a ‘p’ with a counterclockwise loop:

The word is p(ro)vided from 1683.

The pro abbreviation can sometimes be distinguished from the pre, per and par abbreviations. However, like in all old handwriting rules, sometimes there is no difference, in which case the content of the words around and the sentence is useful to solving the mystery of the crossed ‘p’.

Word of the Week:
Bed presser = A lazy and slothful person (something that I have been too much lately).

1 comment:

Evelyn Yvonne Theriault said...

Very informative post, Emery - and an interesting angle on the handwriting.
I've been planning to post some signatures of my ancestors but haven't decided how to group them. Perhaps I'll take a bit more time to analyze the handwriting.