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Jacques

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A generic name for the poor artisan class in France. Jaques is a sort of cotton waistcoat without sleeves.

“Jacques, il me faut troubler ton somme;

Dans le village, un gros huissier

Rôde et court, suivi du messier:

Cʹest pour lʹimpôt, las! mon pauvre homme.


Lève-toi, Jacques, lève-toi,

Voici venir lʹhuissier du roi.”


Béranger (1831).

Pauvre Jacques. Said to a maiden when she is lackadaisical (French). Marie Antoinette had at the Little Trianon an artificial Swiss village, which she called her “Petite Suisse,” and actually sent to Switzerland for a peasant girl to assist in milking the cows. The Swiss maiden was one day overheard sighing for “Pauvre Jacques,” and the queen sent for the distant swain, and had the lovers married. To finish this absurd romance, the Marchioness de Travanet wrote an ode on the event, which was for a time wonderfully popular.


“Pauvre Jacques, quand jʹetais prés de toi,

Je ne sentais pas ma misère:

Mais à présent que tu vis loin de moi.

Je manque de tout sur la terre.”


Marquise de Travanet.

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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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Jacob the Scourge of Grammar
Jacob’s Ladder
Jacob’s Staff
Jacob’s Stone
Jacobins
Jacobites
Jacobus
Jacquard Loom
Jacqueline (of Paris)
Jacquerie (La)
Jacques
Jacqùes Bonhomme
Jactitation of Marriage
Jade or The Divine Stone
Jade
Jaffier
Jagger
Jail-bird (A)
Jamambuxes [Soldiers of the round valleys]
Jambon
Jambuscha [Jam-bus-cah]

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Jacquerie (La)
Jacqùes Bonhomme