Benford's G&S Lexicon Entries for Cox and Box

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Dissemble [Yes, I must dissemble]

Hide the truth. See also HMS Pinafore.

Sure as eggs is eggs

In those days this was a popular phrase meaning “without a doubt.” It was probably a corruption of the logician’s formula “x is x” (115).

Lucifers [My lucifers, candles, sugar and wood!]

Matches. Named in honor, of course, of Lucifer, the chief recalcitrant angel who was thrown out of Heaven and then reigned over the nether regions. The first mass-produced friction matches were sold under the trade name “Lucifer Sticks” (103). Hyder (161) relishes the line, “I did think my lucifers would be sacred.”

Dodger [Bouncer is a dodger!]

A haggler, or one who engages in shifty maneuvers.

Cat [the cat in the Army’s abolished]

Bouncer is setting up a smoke screen by switching the topic from felines to multi-thonged whips. Captain Corcoran uses the same pun, as you may recall, in H.M.S. Pinafore.

Leaders [setting up long leaders for a daily paper]


Naps [hats with naps]

Woolly or velvety surfaces.

Effluvia [If he objects to the effluvia of tobacco]

A smoker’s euphemism for the more accurate and scientific term stench.

Domesticate [he had better domesticate himself in some adjoining parish.]

Find lodging.


A subdivision of an English county, or an ecclesiastical district.

Evolution [there’s one evolution I should much like to see you perform]

A planned military movement.

Venerable [to get rid of that venerable warrior]

Worthy of respect by virtue of advanced years.

Rasher [I’ve got a rasher of bacon]

A thin slice.

Penny roll

An inexpensive roll; the smallest item of bread one may buy in a bakery. See also The Grand Duke.

Purloins [he purloins my coals]



A metal cooking device consisting of a frame supporting closely-spaced parallel bars, used to hold food over a fire.

Nid [Soon I’ll be nodding, nodding, nid]

One dictionary (108) assures us that this means “to nod slightly,” and quotes Burns as writing, “We’re a’ noddin, nid nid noddin.”

Phiz [on showing my phiz in his shop]

Short for “physiognomy,” or face.

Brighton [Visions of Brighton and back, and of Rosherville]

A well-known seaside resort in Sussex county. An English friend once told me it was a popular place for a “dirty weekend.”


The British cultural equivalent of Coney Island, later made famous by John Wellington Wells. See The Sorcerer.