A steady old horse, a child's horse. Dobby, a silly old
man. Dobbies, house-elves similar to brownies. All these are
one and the same word. The dobbies lived in the house, were very thin
and shaggy, very kind to servants and children, and did many a little
service when people had their hands full.
“Sober Dobbin lifts his clumsy heel.”
Bloomfield: Farmer's Boy.
(Winter, stanza 9.)
(Humphrey). The valet-de-chambre and factotum of Sir
Robert Bramble, of Blackbury Hall, in the county of Kent. A blunt,
rough-spoken old retainer, full of the milk of human kindness, and
most devoted to his master. (G. Colman: The Poor Gentleman.)
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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