Lettre de Cachet to Libel

Lettre de Cachet (French). An arbitrary warrant of imprisonment; a letter folded and sealed with the king's cachet or little seal. These were secret instructions to the person addressed to proceed against someone named in the letter. The lieutenant-general of police kept an unlimited number of these instruments, and anyone, for a consideration, could obtain one, either to conceal a criminal or to incarcerate someone obnoxious. This power was abolished in the Revolution.

Lettre de Jerusalem A letter written to extort money. (See Vidocq: Les Voleurs, i. 240-253.)

Leucadia or Leucas. The promontory from which desponding lovers threw themselves into the sea. Sappho threw herself from this rock when she found her love for Phaon was in vain.

“Thence injured lovers, leaping from above,
Their flames extinguish, and forget to love.”
Pope: Sappho to Phaon.
Leucippus (Greek, Leukippos). Founder of the Atomistic School of Greek philosophy (about B.C. 428).

Leucothea [White Goddess]. So Ino was called after she became a sea-nymph. Her son Palæmon, called by the Romans Portunus, or Portumnus, was the protecting genius of harbours.

“By Leucothea's lovely hands.
And her son who rules the strands!”
Milton: Comus, 896-7.
Leuh The register of the Recording Angel, in which he enters all the acts of the member of the human race. (According to the Koran.)

Levant and Couchant Applied to cattle which have strayed into another's field, and have been there long enough to lie down and sleep. The owner of the field can demand compensation for such intrusion. (Latin, “levantes et cubantes,” rising up and going to bed.)

Levant and Ponent Winds The east wind is the Levant, and the west wind the Ponent. The former is from levo, to rise (sunrise), and the latter from pono, to set (sunset).

“Forth rush the Levant and the Ponent winds.”
Milton: Paradise Lost, x. 704.
   Levant, the region, strictly speaking, means the eastern shore of the Mediterranean; but is often applied to the whole East.

Levant' He has levanted - i.e. made off, decamped. A levanter is one who makes a bet, and runs away without paying his bet if he loses. (Spanish “levantar el campo, la casa,” to break up the camp or house; our leave.
   In the Slang Dictionary, p. 214, we are told that “it was formerly the custom, when a person was in pecuniary difficulties, to give out that he was gone to the Levant.” Hence, when one lost a bet and could not or would not pay, he was said to have levanted- i.e. gone to the Levant. Of no historic value.

Levée Levée en masse (French). A patriotic rising of a whole nation to defend their country from invasion.
   The Queen's Levée. It was customary for the queens of France to receive at the hour of their levée - i.e. while making their toilet- the visits of certain noblemen. This custom was afterwards demanded as a right by the court physicians, messengers from the king, the queen's secretary, and some few other gentlemen, so that ten or more persons were often in the dressing-room while the queen was making her toilet and sipping her coffee. The word is now used to express that concourse of gentlemen who wait on the queen on mornings appointed. No ladies except those attached to the court are present on these occasions.
    Kings and some nobles have their levées sometimes of an evening.

“When I was very young (said Lord Eldon to Mrs. Forster) Lord Mansfield used to hold levées on Sunday evenings.”- Twiss: Lord Eldon, vol. i. chap. v. p. 68.
Level Best To do one's level best. To exert oneself to the utmost. Au gré de nos pouvoirs. In 1877 Mr. Hale published a book entitled His Level Best.

Level Down To bring society, taxes, wages, etc., to an equality by reducing all to the lowest standard.

Level Up (To). To raise the lower strata of society, or standard of wages, etc., to the level of the higher.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Bibliomania.com Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission.
See our FAQ for more details.