Thursday, 3 February 2011


Something in the way of light amusement. This is an excerpt from a Victorian novel.

'Ho, yes!' replied Mr Brum, 'I soon recovered; for I went to get a hit of dinner at a shop they called a restorator's; and though he only gave me kickshaws, he soon set me on my legs again. He wanted to give me a lot of sour wine, not arf so good as ginger-pop, but I wouldn't have none of it, for the restorator had stuck up a bill which said (in Hinglish, mind you, or I couldn't have read it)— " Bass's Pale Ale may be had here" So I said to the garsong, as they called the waiter, bring me a bottle of pale ale. He couldn't understand me at first; but, at last, he contrived to say that the restorator didn't keep anything of that name. So I said to the garsong, what does the restorator mean then, by himposing upon gents with this 'ere bill? and I pointed to "Bass's Pale Ale." The garsong seemed to understand me at once, for he began nodding his 'ead, and grimacing like those French chaps always do, and he said, " Oh! we! moshoo would mean de Pally-ally !" And away he went, and brought a bottle of Bass; and I took precious good care for the future, whenever I wanted pale ale, to call for Pally-ally. But they call things very differently there to what we do in Hingland, and I couldn't have got about in Paris at all, if it hadn't been for Murray.'
"Love's Provocations" by Cuthbert Bede, 1855, pages 39 - 40.

The French and the funny way they speak. An eternal source of amusement for the English. What would we have done without this comedy enemy?

Never heard of Pally-ally before. Ally-Pally I know. Officially called Alexandra Palace. I slept on the stage there once, while working at an early GBBF. In the days before CAMRA provided proper accommodation for its volunteers. Happy days.

On a more serious note, this quote demonstrates just how famous and widely- available Bass wasin the mid 19th century.


Gary Gillman said...

Kickshaws was an English dish actually, but of French origin, "quelque chose". It's a light appetizer of some kind. I doubt a French restaurant would use the English term for a French dish, so this whole episode may be a bit contrived including the name pally ally, but who knows?


Craig said...

How do you pronounce that? Ally as in Al·eye? Is it Pal·eye Al·eye or Pal·ee Al·ee?

Andrew Elliott said...


This was fun:

go to

select from: English to: French

in the text box, try different combinations:

pale ale
pally, ally

I find the third version may be similar to what is described.

Hooray for the google!

Craig said...

HA! That was great, thanks Andrew!