I never had such a blackguard rating in all my life – I who have had more than any woman – than from this Barry sitting on his horse, while I was crossing the Hospital Square with only my cap on in the sun. He kept me standing in the midst of quite a crowd of soldiers, Commissariat, servants, camp followers, etc., etc., every one of whom behaved like a gentleman during the scolding I received while he behaved like a brute.... After he was dead, I was told that (he) was a woman.... I should say that (she) was the most hardened creature I ever met."
– Florence Nightingale in reference to “James Barry,” an army surgeon from the Victorian era who turned out to be a woman in disguise.
Now what would a “blackguard rating” be? in the context of that time and place? What a peculiar and interesting phrase!