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Choice Editions of the Old Dramatists, in handsome bindings;
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"Physiologists owe a debt of gratitude to the perseverance,
perspicacity, and devotion to the cause of scientific truth which
Mr. Thoms has manifested in the determination of the precise age
of centenarians, and of individuals loosely alleged to have passed
Including an Inquiry into some of the more Remarkable
Instances, and Suggestions for Testing Reputed Cases.
"Mr. Thoms was admirably qualified to perform the task
which he has undertaken, and he has performed it with signal
success.......His remarks upon the evidence which is generally
adduced to prove the extreme age of individuals are perspicuous
and sound......This portion of the work is carefully executed,
and will have interest to those whose vocation calls them to deal
with evidence.......No one but Sir George C. Lewis could have
undertaken such a work with such advantages, and even he
could not have produced a more practical and intelligent book.
Law Magazine and Review, July, 1873.
"A vast deal of methodized information and light is thrown
upon a deeply interesting subject by this volume on Human
Longevity. Few but Mr. Thoms could have persevered against
so many difficulties in the form of prejudice and defective
information; and whatever may come of it or after it, his book
must remain a valuable contribution to the history and litera-
ture of his subject."-Saturday Review.
"In the interesting volume before us, Mr. Thoms examines
the nature of the evidence commonly relied upon in support of
alleged centenarianism, points out the defects to which it is
Switzerland.-Pedestrian's Route Book for
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cluding the best centres for Excursions. 58.
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Brittany, with Notices of the Physical
Features, Agriculture, Language, Customs, History, Antiquities,
and Sporting, with a complete Itinerary and Guide to all the
liable, and the tests to which it should be submitted. It is very BRADSHAW'S THROUGH ROUTES.
likely that his readers will think him a little too incredulous;
but scepticism on the subject he has taken in hand is a fault on
the right side, and his method of investigation leaves little to
be desired. The inquiry he prosecutes, it is true, is curious
rather than important. But he has illustrated his mode of
procedure, and embodied the results in a book which is at
"Mr. Thoms might be open to a charge of partiality were his
book anything more than a most entertaining and valuable
account of his own personal researches into the credibility of
alleged cases of centenarianism. As such it must be under-
stood; and he is entitled to all praise and gratitude for his
courageous demeanour in scotching a whole series of lies."-
-Overland Guide and Handbook to India, Turkey, Persia, Egypt,
Australia, New Zealand, China, Japan, the Cape, and Mauritius.
A Complete Traveller's Manual. How to Reach and how to Live
in the Three Presidencies of India, and the Australian Settlements.
This indispensable little Handbook contains Twenty-five Outward
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Tables of India; Steam Navigation, Coasting, Coach, and other
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Tabular Forms of Expenses; Time of Journey, &c. Advice to the
Eastern Traveller-Hints as to the Purchase of Outfit-Luggage-
Currency, &c.; with a most useful Vocabulary of Hindoostanee.
Illustrated with Maps of India, the various Routes to India, &c.
Panorama of the Nile. Plans of Calcutta, Madras, Bombay, and
LONDON, SATURDAY, JULY 4, 1874.
CONTENTS. - N° 27.
NOTES:-Sir Walter Scott, 1-Shakspeariana, 2-Folk-Lore, 3 -Calomel-"Living One's Life over Again"-Sneezing, 4The Flying Dutchman-" Excumgent"-Old Funeral Customs in Cape Town-"Bonnie Dundee," 5-Curious Treason-make able Letter-Parallel Passages, 6.
QUERIES:-"Built here for his envy "- -"Ublogahell," 7"No when "-Falconet, the Artist-The " Carmagnole "The Pilgrim's Progress"-Rev. S. Hardy-" Newlyn Bedell of London, 8-Silver Badge-James Payzant--Mercury water-"Pan"-"God and the King" - Zinzan Street
"Dagger-cheap"-A "Water-blast," 9.
REPLIES:-The Wordsworths, 9-De Quincey: Gough's Fate, 10-Autograph of Burns: "To Terraughty on His Birth-Day," 11-The Jews in England-Hanging and Resuscitation, 12-Lavinia Fenton, Duchess of Bolton-Pastorini -"Ibhar"-Latin and English Quantity- Heraldic-"Th' berrin 's gone by," &c.-"There's somewhat," &c., 13-Mrs. Cowden Clarke's Shakspeare Concordance-Dr. William Dodd-Fleur de Lys-"This marriage," &c.-Popular Verses bearing Serious Allusions-Plays on "Play"-Folk-Lore of the Hare"Faws," 14" Markey"-Young's "Night Thoughts "-Unsettled Baronetcies - Seizing Corpses for Debt, 15-Sir Thomas Strangeways-Buda-Cowper: Trooper -Wayneclowtes: Plogh-clowtes-Swans, 16-Classical Signboards Bardolf of Wirmegay-"How they brought," &c. The Sunflower Shotten Herring Thomas Frye · "Bloody"- The Waterloo and Peninsular Medals - St. Catherine of Sienna-Woolston Well, West Felton-Sterne as a Poet, 17-Bar Sinister-Welsh Testament, 18- Reginald Trevor: a Tale," &c.-Arms of Milgate: Radcliffe Family,
Notes on Books, &c.
ever, one notable exception. One name is conspicuously absent, and that name is-Sir Walter Scott's! I do not mean that Scott is absolutely the index, what was my surprise to find that and literally unrepresented; but, on turning to amongst the two hundred and ten pieces which up the volume, there was only a single one by Scott, "Jock of Hazeldean"! I at first thought that perhaps Miss Aitken did not consider that Scott, although a Scottishman, wrote distinctively Scotch poetry; but this cannot be her reason for almost entirely rejecting him from her anthology. There are at least three pieces in the book which, although written by Scotchmen, are quite as much English as Scotch-Allan Cunningham's "A wet sheet and a flowing sea," Hogg's
Skylark," and Logan's "Ode to the Cuckoo." Indeed, the first of these, so far from being Scottish, has a particularly English flavour about it. Now it would be easy to name six or eight of Scott's lyrics which we might well expect to find in a collection like Miss Aitken's-"Rosabelle,"
SIR WALTER SCOTT.
Mr. Gladstone, in a lecture on Scott delivered at the Hawarden Literary Institution in February, 1868, said that we did not in these days appreciate this great writer as we ought, and that newer literary fashions had for a while (but only for a while) obscured his splendid fame. Mr. Gladstone confessed himself a devoted admirer of Scott, whom on another occasion he termed "the first among the sons of Scotland," and I dare say he spoke the above words more in sorrow than in anger. My reason for alluding to them now is, that I wish to point out that a recent circumstance has gone far to prove that Mr. Gladstone was not speaking without book, and that Scott's sun is for a while eclipsed, although I doubt not that ere long it will "repair the golden flood, and warm the nations with redoubled ray." A Scottish lady, Miss Aitken, has just contributed a volume to Macmillan's “Golden Treasury Series," entitled Scottish Song, and this book purports to contain "a selection of the choicest lyrics of Scotland." So far as I am competent to form an opinion, this selection is made with much good taste and sound judgment, and the volume quite fulfils the promise of its title-page in giving us the choicest lyrical poetry of Scotland, with, how
County Guy," "Soldier, rest, thy warfare o'er," "O, Brignall banks are wild and fair," "March, march, Ettrick and Teviotdale," and the "Red field of Harlaw," in the Antiquary, those glorious verses which, as Sir Philip Sidney said of "Chevy Chase," stir the heart like the sound of a trumpet. Some of the above lyrics, taking lyrical poetry in its most restricted sense, as meaning simply a song, have perhaps never been surpassed, except by Shakspeare, Burns, and perhaps Tennyson in his Princess. Miss Aitken, however, goes still further, and says (page 6) that Allan Ramsay is the second of Scotland's poets, Burns of course being the first. Truly Mr. Gladstone knew what he was saying; a generation has arisen which knows not Scott. Alas for Scotland, when an accomplished Scottish lady presents her countrymen with a volume of Scottish lyrics, and yet considers, I presume justly, that Scott is so little to their taste that she need only include a single specimen of his verse in her book!
It is not too much to say that Scotland owes more than half her fame to Scott, who was the first to unfold the glories of her history and the beauties of her scenery before the eyes, not only of Britain, but of the whole civilized world. Yet how little, comparatively speaking, does she appreciate him; how coldly does she repay "the debt immense of endless gratitude' which she owes him; and what a half-hearted affair was the Scott centenary fête in 1871 ! But, as Mr. Gladstone said, "If we do not now appreciate Scott as we ought, it is our misfortune, not his. The fashion of the moment may prefer the newest to the best; but as the calm order of nature is resumed after a storm, so the permanent judgment of mankind will regain its equilibrium, and will render the honours of poetical and literary
These words, achievement where they are due." coming from so accomplished a scholar as Mr. Gladstone, are indeed comforting to all true lovers of Scott.
I do not know if any of your readers have ever noticed that Mrs. Browning, in her splendid Vision of Poets, in which she marshals the noble army of laurelled bards and causes them to pass before our eyes, each one introduced by a few lines of appropriate and happy description, finds no place for Scott, nor does she make the smallest allusion to him.
Notwithstanding, however, the prevailing disloyalty to the illustrious Scottishman, I am sure there is still a remnant left in the land who have not bowed the knee to the false deity of sensationalism, and whose feelings towards Walter Scott may best be expressed in the words of Tennyson's artist-lover, "My first, last love; the idol of my youth; the darling of my manhood." Perhaps I may be allowed to finish the quotation, and, remembering the wonder and delight with which some of us first read Scott's poems and romances in our sweet hour of prime, add, "the most blessed memory of mine age."
admirers of Scott, however, need not fear for the great
SHAKSPEARE'S NAME.-There would have been less difficulty in arriving at the derivation of the name of our great poet had it been viewed, not as one of an exceptional character, but as belonging to a distinct class of sobriquets that have become hereditary. The nicknames given to lower-class officials some centuries ago, such as "tipstaffs" and "clearers of the way," were all but invariably hits at the officious and meddlesome character of their duties. These duties were discharged mainly by
the display of the symbol of office which they held
"MARS HIS SWORD."- In Abbott's Shakespearian Grammar, § 217, we find “ His was sometimes used by mistake for s', the sign of the possessive case, particularly after a proper name. Professor Latham (English Grammar, "Pleonasm in the Syntax of Pronouns), however, takes his in such cases to be the possessive pronoun, and I conceive he is right. In German such expressions as dem Professor seine Frau, "the Professor his wife" (dem Professor being the dative), are commonly used, though only in conversation. Again, we find Marsilius his ghost,"it in Dutch: thus in the Maagden of Vondel, i. 1, we have Marsil zijn geest, Van Vloten's note on this being, "As at the present day, in the language of conversation for ghost of Marsilius." Again, in the works of Fritz Reuter, written in the Mecklenburg-Schwerin dialect, such expressions are to be found in every
page: thus we have Fritz Sahlmannen sin Wust, "Fritz Sahlmann his sausage "-Ut de Franzosentid, p. 233; sin olle Moder ehr Hart, "his old mother her heart "-Id., p. 226; den Möller sin Fridrich, "the miller his Fridrich," passim. Here, as will be observed, the noun which comes first is in the genitive or dative; it is difficult to say which, as the inflexions are the same. Again, turning to Quickborn, by Klas Groth, written in the Dittmarsch dialect, we find such expressions very frequent, as uns Herr sin Hus, " our Lord his House"-Quickborn, seventh edition, p. 139; Pock sin Fru," Froggie his wife"-Id., p. 197. In this dialect it is impossible to say in what case the first noun is, as there are no inflexions. In these languages, or dialects, it is quite certain that sein, or sin, is the possessive pronoun and nothing else; why then should we find a difficulty in a corresponding usage in our own language?
Mr. Abbott, in support of his view, that his is used in such cases by mistake for 's, says, "After the feminine name Guinivere, we have in the later text of Layamon, ii. 511, for Gwenayfer his love.'" The passage at full length is—
"Arthur was in Cornwalle Al thane wynter,
For Gwenayfer his love Womman him leofest."*
It seems to me possible that "love" may here stand for "lover," as we have "mine own true love" passim in the old ballads, in which case the meaning of the line will be, " for the sake of his love Gwenayfer." This, however, I leave to others to decide. F. J. V.
"LOVE'S LABOUR'S LOST" (5th S. i. 368.)-I may very safely assert that there is but one authority for the assertion imputed to Burbage, that this play would please Queen Elizabeth, viz., a letter from Sir Walter Cope to Viscount Cranborne, dated 1604, preserved in Lord Salisbury's library at Hatfield. SPERIEND will find it printed (with no very commendable accuracy) in the third Report of the Royal Commission of Historical Manuscripts, 1872, p. 148. All Burbage "sayes is that "Ther
ys no new playe that the quene hath not seene, but they have Revyved an olde one, Cawled Loves Labore lost, which for wytt and mirthe he sayes will please her excedingly."
FOLK-LORE OF THE THORN (5th S. i. 347.)-I am not able to offer E. J. C. much information in reply to the first part of his query, but may call his attention to some superstitions obviously re* In the earlier edition it is "and al for Wenhauere
lated to that mentioned by him. In Suffolk, to sleep in a room with the whitethorn bloom in it during the month of May "will surely be followed by some great misfortune." And
"If you sweep the house with blossomed broom in May, Y're sure to sweep the head of the house away." Choice Notes, Folk-Lore, p. 113. Turning to the latter portion of the query, the origin of the superstition in question is part of a wide and curious subject; but three points seem to deserve special prominence.
The first is the connexion in the minds of the . primitive Aryans of the thorn and fire, a connexion traceable, as in the case of the rowan, &c., to the red colour of the fruit of the tree. Much information as to ancient notions on the subject, and the conceptions in which they originated, will be found, if your correspondent cares to pursue the inquiry, in Kühn's treatise, The Descent of Fire and the Drink of the Gods (Berlin, 1859), and in Mr. Kelly's Curiosities of Indo-European Tradition and Folk Lore, an able sketch, not so well known as it deserves.
The next point is the association of the thorn, as well as rowan, &c., with the celebration of the festival of the returning Sun, May-day. That festival was apparently understood to mark the coming back of the Fire, through its supposed great source, the Sun, after the dark and cold winter; and one is prepared to find the fire trees, the thorn and rowan, figuring in the celebration. In Westphalia, the herdsman on May-day "quickens" his heifers, striking them over the haunches and loins with a rowan sapling, which has been cut at into the birch and beech, and the leaf comes upon or before sunrise, and praying that, as sap comes the oak, so may milk fill the young cow's udder." A kindred practice survives in the county of Galway, where caorthann gads, i.e. withes of the rowan, cut before sunrise, and twisted into circlets, plough. In the same locality it is the furze (which are placed on the churn, the churn-dash, and the for the Dos-Bealtaine, or May-bush. In England is expected to be found in bloom) which is used the whitethorn was expected to be in bloom. "To be delivered from witches they hang in their entries (among other things) hay-thorn, otherwise whitethorn, gathered on May-day." (Scott's Discovery of Witchcraft, in Brand, i. 217. See also i. 229.)
Now, if the thorn was thus associated with the festival marking the beginning of summer, and its blooming connected in the popular mind with May-day, it is conceivable that the flowering of the tree before May would be looked upon as something strange and ominous, and we should have some explanation of the superstitious notion menmisfortune. It may be noted, in connexion with tioned by E. J. C. that such early bloom bodes this idea, that the blooming of an apple-tree after the fruit is ripe is also an omen of death :
"A bloom upon the apple when the apples are ripe Is a sure termination to somebody's life."
(Northamptonshire.) An old saw, though the couplet embodying it is manifestly, in the form here given, of late date
Apart, however, from what has been said as to the possible reference of the whitethorn superstition in question, and others like it, to the ancient character of the thorn as a fire tree, and its consequent connexion with the solar festival of May, there is a numerous and well-known class of popular notions which throw light on the matter, namely, those which associate the ideas of the soul and death with various white objects, butterflies, moths, lilies, and (white) pigeons and other birds (Choice Notes, pp. 17 and 61; Dublin University Magazine, Oct. 1873, "Folk-Lore of the Lily"; and Long Ago, 1873, "Butterflies in Folk-Lore"). Some curious items of folk-lore in connexion with this tree would, I think, be found surviving in Ireland, where it is often found, as a "monument bush," marking old places of sepulture, or planted about ancient raths. Any such scraps of old Celtic superstition, if got from the lips of the people themselves, and not from so-called treatises on the subject, would, I should think, be worthy of a place in "N. & Q.," where Irish folk-lore is not particularly well represented at present. DAVID FITZGERALD.
fortunately, calomel, instead of being of a beautiful black, is pure white, so that it would seem as if Mahn had never seen calomel! Littré says cautiously, "ainsi nommé, dit-on, parce que le chimiste qui le découvrit, vit, dans la préparation, se changer une belle poudre noire en une poudre blanche." But is it the fact that such a change takes place? I expect not, but perhaps some one of the readers of "N. & Q." will tell us.
Several etymologists, as Diez, Scheler, Brachet, Wedgwood, and Ed. Müller, omit the word altogether, either, I suppose, because it is a technical word, or because they had no satisfactory explanation to offer.
Johnson, in speaking of the derivation, says nothing more than "calomelas, a chymical word."
When impure, it is of a yellowish white, but it is never of any colour in the least degree approaching black.
§ When lime-water is added to calomel a blackish powder is thrown down, and the noted black wash is produced. But here the change is the converse of that noted by Littré, and the precipitate, so far from being of a beautiful black, is really rather of a dark grey colour (sub-oxide of mercury).
Pereira, in his Materia Medica (ed. 1849, p. 847), speaks a little more explicitly. He tells us that "the term calomel was first used by Sir Theodore Turquet de Mayenne (who died in 1655), in consequence, as some say, of his having had a favourite black servant who prepared it; or, according to others, because it was a good remedy for the black bile."
But Hooper, in his Medical Dictionary, gives us what I conceive to be the true solution of the
difficulty. His words are: "This name was
We see, therefore, that it was really owing to a kind of joke or jeu de mots† that the name of calomel beautiful (or good) black, became applied to a white powder; and confusion and error have been the result.
W. A. C.
CALOMEL.-All the lexicographers and etymologists who mention this word* seem agreed that it is derived from καλός, beautiful, and μέλας, black, but they are by no means agreed why it was called so. Mahn (in Webster) tells us it was "in allusion to its properties and colour." Un-Jatakas, Trübner, 1872), the following curious reference to a very ancient superstition :
SNEEZING.-I translate from the Pali text of the Gagga Jataka, published by Fausboll (Ten
"LIVING ONE'S LIFE OVER AGAIN.". The following is from Franklin's Life:
"When I reflect, as I frequently do, upon the felicity I have enjoyed, I sometimes say to myself that, were the offer made true, I would engage to run again, from beginning to end, the same career of life. All I would ask should be the privilege of an author, to correct, in a second edition, certain errors of the first."
"One day, Buddha, while seated in the midst of a
large congregation of disciples, to whom he was preaching the Law, chanced to sneeze. Thereupon the priests, exclaiming May the Blessed Lord live, may the Welcome One live, made a loud noise and seriously interrupted the discourse. Accordingly, Buddha addressed them as bystanders say, May you live, will he live the longer or follows: Tell me, priests, when a person sneezes, if the die the sooner for it? Certainly not, Lord. Then, priests, if any one sneezes you are not to say to him, May you live; and if any of you shall say it, let him be guilty of a transgression. From that time forth, when the priests sneezed and the bystanders exclaimed, May you live, Sirs, the priests, fearful of transgressing, held their peace. People took offence at this: What, said they, do these priestly sons of Sakya mean by not
Pereira, as we have seen, calls this name Mayenne, but as in Brockhaus's Conversations-Lexicon (10th edition, 1851-1855), I also find the name given as Mayerne (with the date 1550 instead of 1655), I presume that this latter form is the correct one.
Sir Theodore must have noticed the contrast between the whiteness of the powder and the blackness of