RUBLE, s. Russ. The silver unit of Russian currency, when a coin (not paper) equivalent to 3s. 1½d.; [in 1901 about 2s. 1½d.]. It was originally a silver ingot; see first quotation and note below.

1559.—“Vix centum annos vtuntur moneta argentea, praesertim apud illos cusa. Initio cum argentum in provinciam inferebatur, fundebantur portiunculae oblongae argenteae, sine imagine et scriptura, aestimatione vnius rubli, quarum nulla nunc apparet.”1 Herberstein, in Rerum Moscovit. Auctores, Francof. 1600, page 42.

1591.—“This penaltie or mulct is 20 dingoes (see TANGA) or pence upon every rubble or mark, and so ten in the hundred…. Hee (the Emperor) hath besides for every name conteyned in the writs that passe out of their courts, five alteens, an alteen 5 pence sterling or thereabouts.”—Treatise of the Russian Commonwealth, by Dr. Giles Fletcher, Hak. Soc. 51.

c. 1654–6.—“Dog dollars they (the Russians) are not acquainted with, these being attended with loss…their own dínárs they call Roubles.”—Macarius, E.T. by Balfour, i. 280.

[RUFFUGUR, s. P.—H. rafugar, Pers. rafu, ‘darning.’ The modern rafugar in Indian cities is a workman who repairs rents and holes in Kas hmir shawls and other woollen fabrics. Such workmen were regularly employed in the cloth factories of the E.I. Co., to examine the manufactured cloths and remove petty defects in the weaving.

1750.—“On inspecting the Dacca goods, we found the Seerbetties (see PIECE-GOODS) very much frayed and very badly raffa-gurr’d or joined.”—Bengal Letter to E.I. Co., Feb. 25, India Office MSS.

1851.—“Rafu- gars are darners, who repair the cloths that have been damaged during bleaching. They join broken threads, remove knots from threads, &c.”—Taylor, Cotton Manufacture of Dacca, 97.]

RUM, s. This is not an Indian word. The etymology is given by Wedgwood as from a slang word of the 16th century, rome for ‘good’; rome-booze, ‘good drink’; and so, rum. The English word has always with us a note of vulgarity, but we may note here that Gorresio in his Italian version of the Ramayana, whilst describing the Palace of Ravana, is bold enough to speak of its being pervaded by “an odoriferous breeze, perfumed with sandalwood, and bdellium, with rum and with sirop” (iii. 292). “Mr. N. Darnell Davis has put forth a derivation of the word rum, which gives the only probable history of it. It came from Barbados, where the planters first distilled it, somewhere between 1640 and 1645. A MS. ‘Description of Barbados,’ in Trinity College, Dublin, written about 1651, says: ‘The chief fudling they make in the Island is Rumbullion, alias Kill-Divil, and this is made of sugar-canes distilled, a hot, hellish, and terrible liqour.’ G. Warren’s Description of Surinam, 1661, shows the word in its present short term: ‘Rum is a spirit extracted from the juice of sugar-canes…called Kill-Devil in New England!’ ‘Rambullion’ is a Devonshire word, meaning ‘a great tumult,’ and may have been adopted from some of the Devonshire settlers in Barbados; at any rate, little doubt can exist that it has given rise to our word rum, and the longer name rumbowling, which sailors give to their grog.”—Academy, Sept. 5, 1885.

RUM-JOHNNY, s. Two distinct meanings are ascribed to this vulgar word, both, we believe, obsolete.

a. It was applied, according to Williamson, (V.M., i. 167) to a low class of native servants who plied on the wharves of Calcutta in order to obtain employment from new-comers. That author explains it as a corruption of Ramazani, which he alleges to be one of the commonest of Mahommedan names. [The Meery-jhony Gullyi of Calcutta (Carey, Good Old Days, 139) perhaps in the same way derived its name from one Mir Jan.]

1810.—“Generally speaking, the present banians, who attach themselves to the captains of European ships, may without the least hazard of controversion, be considered as nothing more or less than Rum- johnnies ‘of a larger growth.’ ”—Williamson, V.M., i. 19].

b. Among soldiers and sailors, ‘a prostitute’; from Hind. ramjani, Skt. rama-jani, ‘a pleasing woman,’ ‘a dancing-girl.’ [1799.—“…and the Rámjenís (Hindu dancing women) have been all day dancing and singing before the idol.”—Colebrooke, in Life, 153.]

1814.—“I lived near four years within a few miles of the solemn groves where those voluptuous devotees pass their lives with the ramjannies or dancing-girls attached to the temples, in a sort of luxurious superstition

  By PanEris using Melati.

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