Update November 2011 - "As Brisky as a Body Louse" is now published and av ailable from Amazon.
I find old phrase books fascinating. As well as being about words and languages, they capture the essence of a byegone age.
One of my (many!) projects is a book about phrase books.
This book is at last nearing completion!
PHRASE BOOKS or As Brisky as a Body Louse by Susan Watkin The tourist today has a plethora of linguistic aids: CD-ROMs, electronic word finders and cassettes, as well as the humble phrase book. Phrase books were first published in large numbers in the last century to meet the demands of a more mobile population, but their origin is much earlier. The earliest references to 'phrase books' in the OED are in works by Thomas Nashe: "in emptying their phrase books the ayre emptied his intrailes" (The Unfortunate Traveller, (1594); and "Hang copies; flye out, phrase books; let pennes be turned to