Page:Notes and Queries - Series 10 - Volume 12.djvu/220

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180


NOTES AND QUERIES. [io s. xn. AUG. 28, im


define. Here it is styled " Romantic or ima- ginative character or quality ; redolence or sug- gestion of, association with, the adventurous and chivalrous," a definition which seems to us to cover well the broad realms of modern romantic feeling. Dickens (1838) and W. Black (1873) are the only writers of importance quoted in the nineteenth century by way of illustration. A

  • triking line of Mr. Kipling, which boldly puts a

morning train into the magic region, will occur to many, but perhaps this writer is too modern to be included, as yet, in the ' Dictionary.' Thackeray has ventured to coin " romanceress,' .as well as " rideress," being, indeed, as we have noticed, somewhat free in the creation of feminine forms.

We peruse each new section of this great work as it appears with delight, and leave it with regret. There are so many good and effective words already available for the writer of English that it seems a pity that he does not study the re- sources of the language instead of inventing new and foolish forms, or staling with ignoble use phrases that once were fine and forcible.

An Introduction io Early Welsh. By the late John Strachan, LL.D., Professor of Greek and Lecturer in Celtic in the University of Manchester. (Manchester, University Press.) THE increasing number of students of early Welsh have reason to be grateful to the late Prof. Strachan for this rapidly compiled, but admirably sound, scholarly, and complete volume. The idea seems to have been conceived not earlier than April, 1907, and the work was completed t>y the end of the folio whig August. Before its appearance there was no textbook for students but Zeuss's ' Grammatica Celtica,' and beginners are apt to be lost in the wilderness of that great but amorphous work. The present volume contains in addition to a grammar a well- chosen reader, glossary, and index, and appears in a form worthy of the reputation and memory of the distinguished scholar whose career was cut short so sadly in the midst of his full literary activity.

The Random Recollections of a Commercial Traveller (Sherratt & Hughes) is the record of a

  • ' somewhat extended, if uneventful career," and

unfortunately is overloaded with reflection and sermonizing. If the author had given us more of his adventures, less advice of the commonplace order, and much less quotation, his book would have gained considerably. His writing is exceed- ingly verbose, and he should have submitted it to the unsparing blue pencil of a literary friend before publication, since he is clearly aware that it is not impeccable. Balzac created a great commercial traveller, the illustrious Gaudissart, but our author states that " he can hardly recall an incident, or find one recorded in his notes, that a novelist could turn to profitable account." This is excessive modesty, for some of the traits and manners recorded in these pages might well be used in the way suggested. The author has, however, made his recollections tedious by his extraordinary habit of quoting verse on almost every page, which is generally of an " improving " tendency, and sometimes so irrelevant as to have a comic effect. He is aware of this irrelevancy, but he excuses himself by saying that the verses he uses are often misquoted and attributed to wrong authors. This is undoubtedly the case,


and we have heard Shakespeare's name in country inns generally applied to anything that seems like a verse, and to much that really belongs to Pope and other crystallizers of common maxims into a neat form. The infusion of jests provided is an aid to a narrative which is sadly clogged by the features just mentioned, but some of these, too, are sadly stale. The author has, however, some real wit and wisdom of the road to convey to readers, and he is always on the side .of sobriety and good sense. We have read his book with the feeling that he has tried to do too much . Reduced by a half, it would be much more read- able, but even then it would be too reflective, we think, to command the interest of the average reader. There is an Index, which is chiefly occupied with the poetical quotations.

The question of female commercials is discussed, and it is said that, according to a recent census, there are 946 of them in America. Among the anecdotes is one of Napoleon giving his last cigar to a wounded soldier. But surely the great man did not smoke. From one of ^Roebuck's pam- phlets in the Sheffield library the author quotes abuse which shows that " The Eatanswill Gazette had contemporaries quite as virulent as itself." An old stage-coach driver, Pagden, once offered to bet a sovereign that his wife, who was far away, knew what he was doing. The bet being accepted, a telegram was sent, and the reply came back " Squinting," which " sure enough was correct, for it was always a matter of surprise amongst those who knew him that with such twisted eyes he could even see the end of his whip -stock, let alone the heads of his leaders."

THE bicentenary of the birth of Dr. Johnson will be celebrated at Lichfield from the 15th to the 19th of September. On the 15th the Earl of Rosebery will inaugurate the celebration ; on the 16th an address will be delivered by Mr. J. Sargeaunt ; and on the 17th Mr. Sidney Lee will lecture on ' John- son, Garrick, and Shakespeare.' Saturday, the 18th, Johnson's birthday, will be marked by a great gathering in the Market Square, with an address by the Sheriff ; and in the evening Mr. Pett Ridge will speak at the anniversary Johnson Supper. On Sunday afternoon Canon Beeching will preach in the Cathedral.


We must call special attention to the following notices :

WE cannot undertake to answer queries privately, nor can we advise correspondents as to the value of old books and other objects or as to the means of disposing of them.

EDITORIAL communications should be addressed to "The Editor of 'Notes and Queries '"Adver- tisements and Business Letters to "The Pub- lishers "at the Office, Bream's Buildings, Chancery Lane, E.G.

CECIL CLARKE ("Pop goes the weasel"). Dis- cussed at length at 10 S. iii. 430, 491 ; iv. 54, 209.

G. K. (Berlin) and W. W. RICHARDS Forwarded.

R. J. FYNMORE. Please give reference to query

o which letter refers.

CORRIGENDA. P. 123, col. 2, line 12 from foot, for ' Bedfordshire " read Oxfordshire. P. 151, col. 1, . 7 from foot, for "plane" rend plain.