Tuesday, April 26, 2016

Ye Olde Pye in the Face

Peter Reitan has traced the pie-in-the-face gag to a British comic novel published in 1709.  The author, Delarivier Manley, gave her book a title that was a real mouthful – "Secret Memoirs and Manners of Several Persons of Quality, of Both Sexes, from the New Atlantis, an Island in the Mediterranean." 

Manley provided a satirical account of a domestic dust-up between a priest and his homemaker wife.  The fight is first presented from the perspective of the husband and then elaborated upon by a bystander.  The husband reports in his account, "The Devil would not let her rest long without tormenting of poor me; down she comes, and before I was aware, snatches the Pye, and by a dexterous whirl of her Hand, sends it full in my Face and Eyes. . ."  The bystander adds, "[H]is Face look'd all over besmear’d with something, no Body could tell what; but at last it was known to be piping Hot Apple-Pye, out of the Oven, which she had scalded him with, in a very handsome manner. . ."

Little did Manley know at the time that, in later centuries, a countless number of faces would become besmear’d with pie.

You can read Peter's full article at http://esnpc.blogspot.com/2016/02/a-pie-in-face-update.html.

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