Two finger salute; LETTERS.
It was a defiant gesture from the English Long Bowmen to the peevish Normans - jealous of our men's astonishing strength and skill with this huge weapon - who had a habit of chopping off the tiring fingers of captured bowmen.
If you hold the gesture sideways and fold the fingers back towards the palm, you will see an archer ready to draw.
He was saying, in effect, "Look, I've still got my fingers!" when he displayed them upright.
Many of us cannot understand why it is thought to be vulgar. But then, to the pure, all things are pure.
MARY-ROSE BENTON, Stourport-on-Severn