(A). A harlot. Nares cells us that “a blue gown was a dress of
ignominy for a harlot in the House of Correction.” (See below.)
The bedesmen, to whom the kings of Scotland distributed certain
alms. Their dress was a cloak or gown of coarse blue cloth, with a
pewter badge. The number of these bedesmen was equal to that of the
king's years, so that are extra one was added every returning birthday.
These paupers were privileged to ask alms through the whole realm of
Scotland. No new member has been added since 1833. (See Gaberlunzie.)
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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