- a person who makes a bet without the remotest chance of being able to pay, and, losing it, absconds, or “makes himself scarce.” In the betting ring a WELCHER is often very severely handled upon his swindling practices being discovered. The Catterick “Clerk of the Course” once provided some stout labourers and a tar-barrel for the special benefit of the WELCHERS who might visit that neighbourhood. The word is modern, but the practice is ancient. “One Moore, the unworthy incumbent of the ‘Suffolk curacy,’ dedicated a book to ‘Duke Humphrey,’ and was then entirely lost sight of by his old college friends, till one of them espied him slung up in ‘the basket,’ for not paying his bets at a cock-pit.”—_Post and Paddock._ One writer says the term “arose from a fellow who took deposits on account of Welsh ponies, which he said he was importing, and never delivered them.” It is not unfrequently suggested by irreverent persons that the word was suggested by the dislike his gracious Majesty George the Fourth had, when a young man, for settling. Others derive it from the nursery rhyme, “Taffy was a Welshman, Taffy was a thief.” There can be no doubt that, from the days when the stout Earl of Chester and others were constantly employed in checking and cutting off the expeditions of their neighbours till comparatively recently, the term “Welshman” has been hardly one of kindness. It is not hard, therefore, to imagine its use on the Roodee, and its subsequent corruption into WELCHER. The spelling of the word, WELCHER or WELSHER, is optional.
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