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Help with a request

Posted by James Briggs on April 05, 2004

I had the following message today. I can't help. Does the request ring any bells with others?
"Hi, I am trying to find out an expression that goes back to the days when people were hung drawn and quartered. The phrase is supposed to have come about when a street urchin was paid a sum of money to knock the feet of the man being hanged from under him and so breaking his neck before he could suffer the rest of the torture. The saying I can't recall, though it is one in common use, and was used by the urchins when they would show the hanging man the coin they were pain, make the comment, and disappear into the crowd. I read it somewhere and it has been bugging me for years.
Can you shed any light on it.
Ken MacDonald"