the devil makes his Christmas pies of lawyers’ tongues and clerks’ fingers

1591 J. FLORIO Second Fruits 179 Of three things the Deuill makes his messe, Of Lawyers tongues, of Scriveners fingers, you the third may gesse [i.e. women].

1629 T. ADAMS Workes 1059 Corrupt and consciencelesse lawyers you will confesse to be sharp and wounding brambles... The Italians haue a shrewd prouerbe against them. The Deuill makes his Christmas-pyes of lawyers tongues, and clerkes fingers.

a 1697 J. AUBREY Brief Lives (1898) I. 422 Sir Robert Pye, attorney of the court of wardes,..happened to dye on Christmas day: the newes being brought to the serjeant, said he ‘The devill haz a Christmas pye.’

1952 ‘E. QUEEN’ Calendar of Crime 248 Well, well, it couldn’t have happened at a more appropriate season; there’s an old English proverb that says the Devil makes his Christmas pies of lawyers’ tongues.

1980 Times 24 Dec. 8 The Devil makes his Christmas-pies of television personalities’ tongues and journalists’ typing fingers: old English proverb, adapted.


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