Page images

Cuckoo. — On the principle of your motto — "When found make a npte of" — I transcribe from a work published at Upsal in 1750, De Superstitionibux Hodiernis, by Jonas Moman, a specimen of Swedish folk lore relating to the cuckoo, which, from the translation I append, you will find to resemble a custom still prevalent in some parts of England when the cuckoo is first heard in the spring. The Swedish peasant girl says : —

"Goke gra, Gucku!
Seg mig ilii, Gucku!
Uppi quist, Gucku I
Saot otti vist, Gucku!
Ilur manga ar, Gucku!
Jag leva far,
Jag ogift gar, Gucku!"
That is: —

"Cuckoo ( Scotice Gouk) grey, tell to me, up in the tree true and free, how many years I must live and go unmarried."

Of course the number of the calls of "Gucku" indicate the number of years she has to remain single; but the memory has singular artifices to defraud itself. In the above instance the cuckoo calls seven times, but the girl counts six only.

J. K.


other day I heard a farmer use this folk-lore couplet: —

"Cuckoo oats and woodcock hay
Make a farmer ruu away."

I am not aware if this specimen of ornithological agricultural folk lore has ever found its way into print. If not, its publication at " the cuckoo season" will be well-timed. Cuthbket Bede.

The Sun Dancing Ok Kasteb-dav.—I called last week upon an old parishioner, who had been absent from church on Easter-day. Sickness in her family had kept her at home, but, she said, she had looked out at her window, and seen the sun dancing beautifully. I looked inquiringly, and she added, "Dancing for joy, to be sure, at Our Saviour's resurrection on Easter morning. Three or four years ago, Thomas Corney and Mary Wilkey, and a party of us went to the end of Kennicot Lane to see it; but Mary couldn't see anything. There was the sun whirling round and round, and every now and then jumping up (and she indicated with her hand an upright leap of nearly a yard); and Thomas would say, 'There, Mary, didn't ye see that?' No, fai', she saw nothing. At last Thomas said, 'I think, Mary, the old devil must have shut your eyes if you can't see that.' And so we came home again. Our little Johnny gets up every year to see it."

It is a curious instance of the power of imagination; for the old woman could hardly have had any object in telling me a falsehood knowingly. A Devonshire Clergyman.

Eastebn Obigin Of Pock. — In a collection of Fairy Stories and Folk Lore I made in India from verbal relation, there is mention of a fairy called Guru-Puck, said to have the head of a bird, with wings springing from his shoulders, indicative of his rapidity of movement. He is unquestionably the original of the Puck of Shakspeare, whose chief attributes, as manifested in the following lines, was celerity of locomotion: — Puck. '■ I'll put a girdle round about the earth In forty minutes."

Shakspeare's Puck, like the Indian fairy, sometimes wears the head of an animal: — Puck. "Sometimes a horse I'll be; sometimes a hound, A hog, a headless bear; sometimes a fire."

Guru-Puck is the messenger of the higher powers; his eyes are lightning, and rays of fire issue from his body, in which respects Puck, the English fairy, also resembles him. H. C.

A Children's Game.—A few evenings ago, on returning from a walk, my attention was attracted by a group of children at play. Their game was played by marching two and two in a measured step to a given distance, turning, and marching back again. As they did so, they chanted these lines: —

"Turvey, turrey, clothed in black. With 8iIve^ buttons upon your back; One by one, and two by two, Turn about, and that will do!" On asking the children the meaning of their play, and of the lines they sang, they could tell me nothing, but that they had learned them from others. John Pavin Phiixips.


The Lutin.—In the Canton du Vallais, Switzerland, the belief in the Lutin is very general. I should rather say Luting, for there is more than one member of the family! They tell of a Lutin who for many years guarded the flocks of the Commune of Contez. The inhabitants offered him a cloak, which was left in a particular spot; the gift was taken, but the Lutin departed singing —

"Non, non, jamais seigneur de mon pimage
Ne conduira les bceufs au paturage."

Since then the cattle have given less milk! The legend resembles that of the "Hob" of Close House, near Skipton, in Craven {vide Hone's Table Booh), where the gift was a red coat or hood. In the parish of Linton, in Craven, we have the story of a bottle of brandy being left for Pain [query Pan ?] (such is the name of the domestic spirit there), and of his having got drunk, and being buried alive by the schoolmaster !—a useless effort, for Pam was ns active and mischievous as ever, after he had slept himself sober I In the Vallais, at Contez, the village fountain was filled with wine, and the Lutin there got drunk and was captured! He promised if he was released to give some most valuable advice. Trusting to his honour, the Lutin's cords were unbound, on which he leaped away, saying —

"When the weather is fair take an umbrella — When it rains take whatever will keep yon driest."

S. Jackson. The Flatts, Yorkshire.

Devonshire Doggkel.—The children in the w«st of England, when they wish to play hide iunl soek, and similar games, choose the one who is to be (as they say) "of it," 'n the following manner:—They gather around one of their number, who rapidly repeats the following doagrel lines, pointing in turn to each of his companions. The one at whom he points on reaching the last word is the one chosen. The doggrel, with the first line spelt as nearly as possible according to sound, is as follows: —

"I roc diroe ducca medo.
Where shall this poor Frenchman go?

To the east, to the west,

To the upper crow's nest;

Eggs, butter, cheese, bread;

Stick, stock, stone, dead."

The first line has such a smack of Latinity about it, that I am induced to ask if any of your readers can refer me to its origin. Is it the first line of a Latin hymn? C. S.

Customs At Christmas (3"1 8. i. 482.) — Your correspondent T. B. mentions that, in the West Riding of Yorkshire at Christmas Day, and also at New Year's Day, a male person with black or dark hair must first enter the house, and that the occupants seek a person to enter. Also, that "no light must be allowed to pass aid of the house during Christmas: that is, from Christmas Day to New Year's Day inclusive."

Now the object of my note is, not to call in question the statement of T. B., but to suggest to your correspondents, generally, that the value of all contributions relating to local manners, customs, and dialects, will be greatly increased by as specific distinction as possible of the districts in which such peculiarities exist. The more populous the county or district concerned, and the greater its general altitude above the sea, the more diverse and specifically localised these peculiarities become.

The customs alluded to by T. B. are strictly correct as to Leeds and its neighbourhood, probably for many miles round; but he knows, quite as well as I, that the dialects, and many of the manners and customs of the "people in Sheffield, Barnslcy, Wakefield, Leeds, Bradford, and other towns, have nil separate and distinct characters. Even the villages, "up in the hills," within a few miles distance from any of these towns respectively, will have their individual local vernacular.

Yet they are all in the West Biding of Yorkshire.

I confine myself strictly to what has come under my own observation, when I affirm that the above remarks apply with equal force—so far as density or sparseness of population, and physical geography admit—to the North and East Ridings; and to the counties of Derby, Nottingham, Chester, Lancaster, Devon, Somerset, Northumberland, Durham, and to many parts of Scotland.

To return to the custom referred to by your correspondent, and to the West Riding. In Sheffield, a male must be the first to enter a house on the morning of both Christmas Day and New Year's Day; but there is no distinction as to complexion or colour of hair. In the houses of the more opulent manufacturers, these first admissions are often accorded to choirs of workpeople ; who, as "waits," proceed at an early hour, and sing, before the houses of their employers and friends, Christmas carols and hymns; always commencing with that beautiful composition: —

"Christians awake I salute the happy morn,
Whereon the Saviour of mankind was born."

On expressing their good wishes to the inmates, they are generally rewarded with "something warm," and occasionally with a pecuniary present. Among the class called "respectable," but not manufacturers, a previous arrangement is often made; that a boy, the son of a friend, shall come and be first admitted, receiving for his good wishes a Christmas-box of sixpence or a shilling. The houses of the artizans and poor are successively besieged by a host of gamins; who, soon after midnight, spread themselves over the town, shouting at the doors and through key-holes, as follows : —

"Au wish ya a murry Chrismas,—
A appy new year,—
A|pockit full of munny,
An' a celler full a' beer.

"Ood bless the mester of this ouse—
The mistriss all-so,
An' all the little childrun
That round the table go.

"A apple, a pare, a plom, an' a cherry;
A sup a! good ale nl mak' a man murry."

And so on. The same house will not admit a second boy. One is sufficient to protect it from any ill-luck that might otherwise happen. A penny is the usual gratuity for this service. In the forenoon of Christmas Day and New Year's Day these boys may be seen in knots at street corners, and in the suburbs, counting their respectively acquired "coppers," and recounting their respective adventures during the night and early morning; after which, they generally resolve themselves into sub-committees for the purpose of " pitch and toss." Later in the day, many of them may be seen a little "excited;" while others are depressed by manly, but unsuccessful efforts, to consume " penny cheroots."

Fifty years ago, the refusal to give lights at Christmas was common among the poorest classes. Among the middle classes it was considered unlucky to do so, only on Christmas Eve, Christinas Day, New Year's Eve, and New Year's Day. Lucifer matches have put a practical end to this superstition. W. Lee.


The crest of the Kennedies of Dunure—a dolphin, and the motto, "Avise la fine " — long appeared to me very unmeaning. During a recent visit to Rome ray attention was drawn to the use of the dolphin, in contradistinction to other species offish, as a religious symbol; and I am now induced to think that the dolphin was assumed on account of its emblematic allusion to Our Blessed Lord,* and the motto is intended to refer to it—a constant 'keeping in view the great end of faith. Irrespective of its bearing on this subject, the description of a remarkable christening vessel I met with in the Kercherian Museum at the Collegio Romano, may prove of interest to your readers. I asked permission to have a rubbing taken of it, but was refused, on the ground that the Society of Jesus were about to published an illustrated catalogue of the objects in that museum.

It appears the old Earls of Carrick bore for arms, arg. a chevron gu.; that in 1285 Gilbert de Carrick had differenced these arms with three cross-crosslets; that John de Kennedy, who inherited by descent the honours and liabilities of the male branch of the house used, in 1371, the same arms, with the addition of two lions sejant as supporters, and a lion rampant as crest; that the double tressure was added on the alliance of the family with the royal Stewarts. Bishop Kennedy on his seal in 1450 has two coats; one with and one without the tressure; but, as far as I can learn, without any crest. The dolphin and swans as supporters are first observed about 1516, about which period the Earldom of Cassillis was conferred on the Lords Kennedy. The Kennedies could not be ignorant of the symbol, as several members of the house visited Rome. David Kennedy, uncle to the first lord, had letters to go thither from Henry VI. in 1439. The catacombs where the ashes of the martyrs lay were shrines to which pilgrims resorted, and from which, with the approbation of true believers, they committed the pious fraud of stealing bones and other relics.

* The fish was adopted as the emblem of Our Saviour because of the letters in IxSis forming the initials of the Greek words —

lrjffovi Xpurrbs &cov 'Ttbs £o>r/)p.
Jesus Christ Son of God the Saviour.

Here, a constantly recurring emblem on the walls, is a dolphin-shaped fish bearing on its back a glass bowl, with a drop of red wine in it, and its orifice covered with small biscuit-like loaves of bread; and also in many of the tombs are found small fish modelled in wood or ivory.

To return to the baptismal vessel. It is of bronze and flat, circular-shaped, with a rim and handle, evidently a ladle to be used in the rite of baptism by immersion. On the surface is engraved, on an inner circle, two dolphin-shaped fish, probably emblematic of the divine and human natures of our Lord; and on the outer circle men fishing from boats for round flat fish, with evident reference to the appointment of the apostles to be fishers of men.

Seton, in his Heraldry, p. 12, in one of his explanations of the meaning of the arms of Glasgow city, suggests a somewhat similar derivation for the fish borne in them. I should be glad to learn from some of your correspondents at what date the fish first appears in the bearings of that town, and also the earliest date at which the crest and supporters of the Kennedies have been observed. In the seals appended to the acts of the Scottish parliament as published by the Record Commissioners, the Earls of Cassillis use neither, and no motto. Chevbon.


I remember to have read somewhere an amusing anecdote of the immortal Sam; but neglecting at the time to " make a note of," the source of the story is forgotten. Johnson and Boswell were journeying to Oxford, when their carriage overtook a decently-attired woman toiling along the dusty road with an infant in her arms. Boswell proposed that they should give her a lift, to which the doctor objected on the plea that she would interrupt their rational conversation by talking nonsense to the baby. This was overruled, the carriage was stopped, and the poor woman taken up. "But remember, madam,' roared the doctor, "that if you talk any baby talk, you will have to leave the carriage."

Thankfully promising to be cautious, the nurse sat and watched the sleeping infant, and listened to the conversation. Presently the baby stretched itself, yawned, and looked up into the nurse's face. "Bless his little heart," she said; "see if he has n't opened his eyzy pizy already." "Stop the vehicle!" exclaimed Johnson; "she has violated our compact, and must realise the penalty." A precisely similar story is related by Dean Alford, in one of his charming papers in Good Words, entitled " A Plea for the Queen's English." The dean says: —

"All perhaps do not know the story of the kind old gentleman and his carriage. He was riding at his ease one very hot day, when ho saw a tired nursemaid toiling along the footpath, carrying a great heavy boy. His heart softened; he stopped his carriage, and offered her a seat; adding, however, this —' Mind,' said he,'the moment you begin to talk any nonsense to that boy, you leave my carriage.

"All went well for some minutes. The good woman was watchful, and bit her lips. But, alas! we are all caught tripping some times. After a few hundred yards, and a little jogging of the boy on her knee, burst forth, 'Georgy porgyl ride in coachv poachy!' It was fatal. The check-string was pulled, the steps let down, and the nurse and boy consigned to the dusty footpath as before.

"This story is true. The person mainly concerned in it was a well-known philanthropic baronet of the last generation, and my informant was personally acquainted with him."

I have searched in vain through Boswell's Life of Johnson for the anecdote I have related; but if it is a true story, and was generally known, the conduct of Dean Alfbrd's baronet may have been regulated by a remembrance of how Johnson had acted upon a similar occasion.

John Pavin Phiixips.


Ancient Tombstone. — As I have never met with a tombstone or gravestone in any churchyard so old as one of the former class at Whittington, near Cheltenham, by its inscription and general appearance purports to be, I send a note of it to " N. & Q." It is of stone, of an oblong shape, and narrower than is customary with those of the last and present century; and is placed within a short distance of the nortb-east corner of the chancel. The words on it are : —

"Here lyes interd Thomas Younge, who departed this life the 27 of July, 1648; and Jemima, his wife, who was buried the 13 Mav, 1642."

J. E. C.

Baron Munchausen.—I have just come acrossan old story in the Facetiae Bebeliance, which may be regarded as the original of that adventure in the modern romance, which tells how the Baron's horse was cut in two by the descending portcullis of a besieged town, and yet the horseman rode on without detecting the loss; till he reached a fountain in the midst of the city, where the insatiate thirst of the animal betrayed the want of his hind quarters. The adventure may be worth recording in a note: —

"De msigni mendacio.—Faber clavicularius, quern superius fabrum mendaciorum dixi, narravit se tempore belli, credens suos se subsccuturos, equitando ad cujusdam oppidi portas penetrasse: et cum ad portas venisset, cataractam turre demissam, equum suum post ephippium discidisse, dimidiatumque reliquisse, atque se media parte equi ad forum usque oppidi equitasse, et casdem non modicam peregisse. Sed cum retrocedere vellet, multitudine hostium obrutus, turn demum equum cecidisse, seque captum fuisse."

The drinking at the fountain was a happy embellishment on the part of the modern Baron.

In the same collection of seventeenth century jokes (the volume dates 1661), I think the original of the deer, with the cherry-tree growing out of its head, is found; but I cannot say, as it is a long time since I read the book through. The story of Paddy the Piper, which all of us must have laughed at, is here as large as life— De quodam Histrione, O. J. D.

To Man. — Are not our dictionaries at fault with regard to this word in the phrases to man the guns, to man the windlass, and the like? In some cases, no doubt, it docs mean to supply with men, as to man the yards, to man the walls, &c. But in the former instances, as also in Othello, Act V. Sc. 2 —

"Man but a rush against Othello's breast, And he retires." And in Taming the Shretv, where "manning a hawk" is spoken of, the meaning seems to be that of the French manier, to lay the hand on, or to manage. B. L.

Change Op Fashion In Ladies' Names. — In the published account of the celebration of "the Guild Merchant of Preston" in the year 1762,1 find in " a list of the nobility, gentry," &c, present at the festival, and in "a List of the Subscribers to the Ladies' Assembly" printed therein, some Christian names then borne by ladies of high rank and good family, disuse of which shows how fashion affects names as well as dress. In the humblest walks of life how few would now give theirchildren these names! Like their betters,they prefer Victoria, Florence, Edith, Julia, Emily, Alexandra, and other such euphonious nomenclature. Among the names were Lady Nelly Bertie, Lady Bell Stanley, Miss Molly Bold, Miss Betty Bolton, Miss Peggy Case, Miss Matty Crook, Miss Jenny Assheton, Miss Susy Langton, Miss Sally Rigby, Miss Nanny Whalley, Miss Dulcy Atherton, Miss Ally Walmsley, &c.; and each of the above Christian names was borne by several others of the company, including some of the best Lancashire families. Wm. Dobson.


Joseph, Abchbishop or Macedonia, 1611. — The following document, transcribed from the MSS. of the borough of Leicester for the year 1611, may be deemed sufficiently curious to be worth preserving in the pages of " N. & Q." —

"Whereas this grave man, the bearer hereof, Josephe, beinge seated in the Auncyent Cittie of Phillippos, now called Sons, as Arche Bisshoppe for the wholl Kingdom and province of Macedonia, was by reason of the persecution of the Turks and Jewes (who verie eagerly persecuted him for the pavement of an Auncient tribute of Thirtie thowsand Crownes, for wch hec was pledge for Mathias late Patriarche of Constantinople, as by sundryc Certificates by kirn shewed to the King's Maiestie appeyreth), and is nowo Lyccnsed by Charles Earle of Nottingham, Lord Highe Admyrall of Englande, to travell through the King's domynyons to aske the charitable devotion of all Christians to redceme himselfe from the Turkishe slavcrye. As by the same Lycense more att lardge appeyretb.


In the Chamberlains' Account for the year 1611-12, we meet with the following entry : —

"Itm, the XXXth daye of Januarle [1612] given to twoo Grecian Marchauuts wch had the King's Lres patents t ogayther towards their losses - - V."

William Kellt.


[ocr errors]


As I believe you number both readers and correspondents in Holland, I desire, with your permission, to request their aid in tracing the connection of the Cary family with that country.

Sir Robert Cary, grandson of Henry, first Lord Hunsdon, is said to have been "a captain of horse under Sir Horatio Vcre, Baron of Tilbury. He lived and died beyond the seas." (When and

where ?) His wife was Alice, daughter of

Hogenoke, Secretary to the States General of Holland, and by her he had four sons; viz. Sir Horatio Cary, Colonel Ernestus Cary of Shelford, co. Camb. (died Oct. 1680); Rowland Cary, Esq. of Everton, co. Beds; and Ferdinand Cary, who served in the Netherlands army,* and died at Maestricht, where possibly may exist a monument to his memory.

Col. Ferdinand Cary married Isabella, daughter of Daniel Oems Van Wingarden of Dort, in Holland; and had issue by her three daughters, and an only son William Cary, who was also an officer in the same service with his father, and died of his wounds at Maestricht, Nov. 1683. His wife was Gertrude Van Outshoorn, daughter of the Lord Cornelius Van Outshoorn, Knt., Lord Mayor, Burgomaster, and senator of the city of Amsterdam, &c. She died at AmsterJam July 21, 1688, and was buried at Outshoorn.

Her only son, William Ferdinand Cary, baptized at Maestricht, 1684, succeeded his cousin as Baron Hunsdon in 1702; and it is from the papers supporting his claim to that peerage that the above particulars have been derived.

I am desirous of ascertaining further information, especially as to exact dates, and monumental inscriptions relating to this branch of the great Cary family.

I should also mention that a sister of Sir Robert

* See Calendar of State Papers, Sept. 1622, account of the services and sufferings of Capt. Killigrew and dipt. Ferdinando Carey at Bergen op Zoon, the preservation of which Is mainly due to them.—Dutch.

Cary, Alitha Cary, is said to have married Sir William Quirinson, Baronet; but I can find no name at all like this in lumber's List of Baronet*. The Hunsdon peerage became extinct on the death of the above William Ferdinand, eighth baron, but possibly descendants of the first lord may still exist. C. J. Robinson.

Battles In England. — I should be much obliged if I could obtain any information on the following questions relating to battles fought in England.

In "N. & Q." 3"» S. v. 280, G. J. T. speaks of "The Barons' Wars at Chesterfield, temp. John 1266." The Barons' War, however, was ended by the Battle of Evesham in 1265, and the fight at Chesterfield occurred fifty years after John's death, temp. Henry III. Where can I find a good and particular account of this encouutcr, and also of the following battles, and their topography ? —

Fight at Radcot Bridge in 1387.

Battle of Homildon in 1402.

Fight at Sevenoaks (Jack Cade) in 1450.

Battle of Hedgecote-field in 1469. „ Hexham in 1464.

„ Lose-coat-field in 1470.

„ Blackhcath in 1497.

The Chroniclers' accounts of these, as far as I have read, are very meagre. J. D. M'K.

Bezoar Stones. — Where can I find a good account of Bezoar Stones, more especially of those that come from Africa? I have read .the dictionary and chemical accounts, but want a reference to the works of some traveller who fully describes them and their supposed value in medicine. In John Davidson's African Journal (1836), I find a short account of those I have. He says,—

"Had three of the famed serpent stones brought me to purchase; they fetch very high prices, as they are a remedy for the bite of the reptile, and are used as a most costly medicine. ... I bought the three (at Mogador). . . . They are generally brought from 8hd»n; these, however, were taken from the M'hor, and are called Selsi in the Mandingo language."

In the Penny Cychpadia they are mentioned as coming from the Antelope Mhorr, and being highly valued in Eastern medicine under the name of Baid-el-mkorr, but no word is said that would give me the idea that they were used as antidotes to the poison of a serpent's bite. Webster uses the word antidote, but does not particularise the poison of serpents. I should think that it is very unlikely that these Bezoars (Ellagic or Lithofellic acid) ore of any use against snake bites, and shall be obliged if any correspondent of " N. & Q." can give me a reference to their being called serpent stones elsewhere than in my uncle's Journal. What was that celebrated serpent stone that was in the

« EelmineJätka »