Elegant Extracts

The 85th Foot, remodelled in 1813, after the numerous court-martials which then occurred. The officers of the regiment were removed, and officers drafted from other regiments were substituted in their places. The 85th is now called the “Second Battalion of the Shropshire Light Infantry.” The first battalion is the old 23rd.

At the University of Cambridge, in the good old times, some few men were too good to be plucked and not good enough for the poll: a line was drawn below the poll-list, and these lucky unfortunates, allowed to pass, were nick-named the Elegant Extracts. There was a similar limbo in the honour-list, called the Gulf, in allusion to a Scripture passage well known and thus parodied, “Between them [in the poll] and us [in the honour-lists] there is a great gulf fixed,” etc.

Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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