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

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Throe [in an agony throe]

Violent pang.

Chalked [where the Coast Guard’s way was chalked]

Two interpretations can apply. One proposal is that the coastal patrol’s path showed up white on the chalk cliffs that are characteristic of the English south coast (251). The other is that the Guard’s route was shown by chalk marks on stones (142). My vote is with the first interpretation. Readers may want to know that in the days before electronic communications, Coast Guardsmen patrolled the shore on foot watching for vessels in distress.

One pound seventeen and sixpence

In the old British monetary system, this meant one pound, seventeen shillings, and six pennies. There were twenty shillings to the pound, and twelve pennies (or pence) to the shilling. In our opinion the system was invented to confuse American tourists, and we are gratified that the British gave it up. Now if they would just learn to drive on the righteous side of the road.

Barnet Races

Horse races at the Barnet fair, in the environs of London.


A British coin worth two shillings and six pence, or about sixty cents (American) at that time.

Toss up

Flip a coin.

Sixpence [my tossing sixpence]

A coin worth six old pennies or half a shilling. Prestige (245) proposes that a “tossing coin” is one with two heads or two tails. In the conAct that seems altogether likely.


A coin worth one-twentieth of a pound sterling.

Leads [I’ve a mind to pitch you out on the leads]

Pronunciation: leds

Sheet-lead roof covering.


Pronunciation: boo-LONE

A French seaport on the English Channel, popular with the British upper crust. As Rees (251) puts it, “Mrs. Wiggins was really moving above her station in Boulogne. Ramsgate and Margate were visited more commonly by the Coxes and Boxes of this world.”

Colonial Office

This is the ministry that administers most of Britain’s overseas empire. Box’s business there is probably imaginary. Hyder (161), however, proposes that Box is planning to escape Penelope Ann by emigrating.

Cab [A cab’s drawn up at the door!]
Drawing of a Cab

A light carriage drawn by one horse (75).

Twopenny omnibus

Pronunciation: TUPP-enny …

In those days an omnibus was a horse-drawn public conveyance, seating perhaps six to eight inside and about as many on the roof. The fare was plainly marked on the outside. For an illustration see the entry for “Threepenny bus” in Patience.

Brigadier [a note for Brigadier Cox!]

Shortened form of “Brigadier General,” an officer in command of an army brigade. There is a hint here that, in wooing Penelope Ann, Cox may have inflated his supposed erstwhile military rank. Or is this more of Bouncer’s flattery?

Apprize [I hasten to apprize you]


Strawberry mark [Have you such a thing as a strawberry mark on your left arm?]

A soft reddish birthmark, supposed to resemble a strawberry (122). This revelation parodies the melodrama’s common use of a birthmark to recognize a long-lost relation.

[Final Note on Cox and Box]
Sketch of Penelope Ann

So much for the first encore. What to do for the second? Well, since in the normal course of human events all lists end with the letter Z, what better than The Zoo?