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Back-stair Influence


Private or unrecognised influence. It was customary to build royal palaces with a staircase for state visitors, and another for those who sought the sovereign upon private matters. If any one wanted a private interview with royalty, it was highly desirable to conciliate those appointed to guard, the back stairs, as they could admit or exclude a visitor.


“Once, we confess, beneath the patriot’s cloak,

From the cracked bag the dropping guineas broke,

And, jingling down the back stairs, told the crew

‘Old Cato is as great a rogue as you.ʹ”

Pope: Epistle to Lord Bathurst, 35–8.

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Entry taken from Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, edited by the Rev. E. Cobham Brewer, LL.D. and revised in 1895.

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Bachelor’s Porch
Bachelor’s Wife (A)
Back (To)
Back and Edge
Backbite (To)
Backbone (The)
Back-speer (To)
Back-stair Influence
Backwardation (Stockbrokers term)
Backward Blessing (Muttering a)
Baconian Philosophy
Baconian Theory
Bactrian Sage
Bad Blood
Bad Books