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|To pluck a rose....
Written by DeeMac
(3/14/2003 1:44 a.m.)
in consequence of the missive, A Repentance Offering, penned by Jack Cerf
I fear that this is a third-degree Austen post, for which I apologise in advance, but I couldn't resist. I found out recently that the above expression (to pluck a rose) was the universal euphemism for answering the call of nature during the eighteenth century. So the poor girl in the above quotation would have been doing something which put her in a much more vulnerable position than you might suppose.
The phrase appears several times in Swift's poetry. In the poem below, he is poking fun at some rather elaborate male and female toilets which had been built on the grand estate of Sir Arthur Acheson in twenty weeks. Swift was a guest of the Achesons at the time, but this didn't save them from his satire:
Two Temples of magnifick Size,
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