The truth about “A.B. Lougher” and “Lieut. Bougher” — courtesy of Edward Copisarow . . .

For a long time, I (Tom) had been mystified by the pen names “A.B. Lougher” and “Lieut. Bougher.”  Since, according to Jessel, these were pen names of Charles Frederick Pardon (son of George Frederick Pardon), and since George used the pen name “Captain Crawley,” I had thought that maybe those two pen-names represented other characters in English literature.

I found very little to support that notion.  Yet the uncommonness of the names, and the slightly unusual (to me) way the names were shown (no first names in either case), coupled with the fact that both surnames were the same, except for the first letter, seemed to suggest that there was some method behind the choice of names.

Here, courtesy of Edward Copisarow, is what I am sure is the correct explanation:

Just catching up with your blog and thought you might need a spot of help with 19th century English humour—

The three main cards in Euchre are left bower, right bower, and best bower. In England a Lieutenant is pronounced Left-tenant, as opposed to your Loo-tenant — so Lieut. Bougher is to be pronounced Left Bower.

Similarly the principal characteristic of poker is bluffing, so A.B. Lougher is to be pronounced A. Bluffer.

Two nations divided by a common language, and all that.

Edward also noted that he has copies of Ernest Bergholt’s booklets on Dominoes and Poker.  I still consider those scarce, though.

—Tom Sawyer

Thursday, November 29, 2012

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