9 for the 9th

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Friday, February 09, 2007
number 9, number 9
Things with nine in them, from the Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, 1898 edition. (it's in the public domain, and therefore available online via Bartleby.) WooHoo!

one: A nine days’ wonder. Something that causes a sensational astonishment for a few days, and is then placed in the limbo of “things forgot.” Three days’ amazement, three days’ discussion of details, and three days of subsidence. (See NINE, and SEVEN.)

two: Charlemagne's Nine Wives: His nine wives were Hamiltrude, a poor Frankish woman, who bore him several children; Desiderata, who was divorced; Hildegarde, Fastrade (daughter of Count Rodolph the Saxon), and Luitgarde the German, all three of whom died before him, Maltegarde; Gersuinde the Saxon; Regi’na; and Adalinda.

three: to look nine ways means "to squint"

four: rigged to the nines or dressed up to the nines. To perfection from head to foot.

five: there were nine rivers of hell, according to classic mythology.

six: nine as a mystic number:
The Abracadabra was worn nine days and then flung into a river.
Fairies. In order to see the fairies, a person is directed to put "nine grains of wheat on a four-leaved clover."
Magpies. To see nine magpies is most unlucky.
Seal. The people of Feroes say that the seal casts off its skin every ninth month and assumes a human form to sport about the land.
Wresting thread. Nine knots are made on black wool as a charm for a sprained ankle.

seven: There are nine muses. Calliope (chief muse and muse of epic poetry), Euterpe (muse of lyric song), Clio (muse of history), Erato (muse of erotic poetry), Melpomene (muse of tragedy), Polyhymna (muse of sacred song), Terpsichore (muse of dance), Thalia (muse of comedy and bucolic poetry), Urania (muse of astronomy). [extra muse assistance via Wikipedia]

eight: The Nine "Worthies:"
Joshua, David, and Judas Maccabæus; Hector, Alexander, and Julius Cæsar; Arthur, Charlemagne, and Godfrey of Bouillon.    
“Nine worthies were they called, of different rites—
Three Jews, three pagans, and three Christian knights.” Dryden: The Flower and the Leaf.
nine: This is not from Brewer's, but instead is a NINE bonus from my bookshelf! Nine Coaches Waiting by Mary Stewart (the queen of romantic suspense). This book got to me at an impressionable age. (note to self: do not accept position as governess at remote french chateau. just... no.)
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