“Come with Bells On”

by Linda on February 23, 2016

 “Come with bells on”  – That came out of my mouth while speaking to a few workshop attendees.  Where did that come from I wondered. Especially since, it arrived in my mind and out of my mouth without being summoned.  A family saying I presumed.  Bringing a few bells with me today to HunterdonSharedSpace to put on the one horse sleigh.

When I looked into it I discovered that when traveling salesman in horse drawn carriages approached a city, they donned their horses with bells.  The villagers far and wide could hear them coming and hurry to the town square.  A meeting space for the seller.

“This phrase is frequently used in reply to a party invitation and the common format in that case is to indicate one’s enthusiasm with ‘I’ll be there with bells on!’. The phrase originated  in the late 19th/early 20th centuries and most of the early citations of it suggest a US origin. The first record of it … found in print is from The Oakland Trbune, June 1904, in a report of a boxing match:
“Jeff will without doubt be in good condition by the last of the month and barring further accidents will be there with bells on”.” From www.phrases.org.uk With bells on – meaning and origin.
I can hear the jingle bells –  Hunterdon Shared Space is happy to host an antique one horse sleigh today.   Dominikija Prostak of Kismet is showing it.  Hear the bells?

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: