(A). The price paid for picking a bushel of hops. It
varies (1891) from 1 1/2d. to 2 1/2d.
To correspond. The tally used in the Exchequer was a rod of
wood, marked on one face with notches corresponding to the sum for
which it was an acknowledgment. Two other sides contained the date, the
name of the payer, and so on. The rod was then cleft in such a manner
that each half contained one written side and half of every notch. One
part was kept in the Exchequer, and the other was circulated. When
payment was required the two parts were compared, and if they
“tallied,” or made a tally, all was right, if not, there was some
fraud, and payment was refused. Tallies were not finally abandoned in
the Exchequer till 1834. (French, tailler, to cut.)
In 1834 orders were issued to destroy the tallies. There were two
cartloads of them, which were set fire to at six o'clock in the
morning, and the conflagration set on fire the Houses of Parliament,
with their offices, and part of the Palace of Westminster.
To break one's tally
(in Latin, “Confringere tesseram”
). When public houses were
unknown, a guest entertained for a night at a private house had a tally
given him, the corresponding part being kept by the host. It was
expected that the guest would return the favour if required to do so,
and if he refused he “violated the rites of hospitality,” or confregisse tesseram.
The “white stone” spoken of in the Book of
the Revelation is a tessera which Christ gives to His disciples.
To live tally
is to live unwed as man and wife. A tally-woman is a concubine,
and a tally-man is the man who keeps a mistress. These expressions are
quite common in Cheshire, Yorkshire, and Lancashire. In mines a tin
label is attached to each tub of coals, bearing the name of the man who
sent it to the bank, that the weighman may credit it to the right
person As the tallies of the miner and weighman agree, so the persons
who agree to live together tally with each other's taste.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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