Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 9.djvu/446

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438


NOTES AND QUERIES. [9* s. ix. MAY 31, 1002.


near Plymouth, Mass., after which time^they disappeared. ALBERT MATTHEWS.

Boston, U.S.

HOUNDSDITCH (9 th S. ix. 348). Thomas Lodge, in his 'Alarum against Usurers' (first published in 1584), does not expressly state to what nationality they belong, but one gathers that they were Englishmen. He begins by describing the " state within this our common wealth " (I quote from the " De- fence of Poetry, Music, and Stage-Plays, &c. London : Printed for the Shakespeare Society," 1853, p. 43):

" 1 meane the state of Merchants, who though to publyke commoditie they bring in store of wealth from forrein nations, yet such are their domesticall practises, that not onely they inrich themselves mightelye by others misfortunes, but also eate our English gentrie out of house and home."

Their method was (p 44) to

"finde out some olde soaking undermining solici-

tour: this good fellowe must haunt Ordinaryes,

canvasse up and downe Powles, and as the catte watcheth the praye of the mouse, so dilygentlye intendes hee to the compassing of some young novice."

The result was as to be expected (p. 48) :

" Purchased arms now possess the place of ancient progenitors, and men made rich by young youth's misspendings doe feast in the halls of our riotous young spend thrifts."

Again on p. 68 :

"If it be true that the nobilitie of the father worketh in the childe, I cannot see howe these upstartes maye anie waies employe themselves in honourable actions, when as neither their aunces- tours ever knewe more then their beads, or their fathers other then unlawfull gaines."

The above extracts seem to show that the usurers were English. I will now give one quotation on their religion (p. 70) :

" Yet some will here adde and inferre (though unnecessarily) that those whom I heere so asperlye reprehend are as religious as the best, haunt the church with the most, at their buriall be as bountifull as the goodliest ; and therefore it may not be thought, that seeing so many goods, they should follow the bad. To whom I aunswere If they beare correction of sin by often haunting of sermons, yet continue their wickednesse when they know what it worketh, their actions are wicked, their lives dissolute, their endes desperate."

W. R. B. PRIDEAUX.

PARENTAGE OF C/ESAR BORGIA (9 th S. viii. 524; ix. 176, 232. 312). For amazing epithets and equally astounding logic commend me to BARON CORVO'S reply at the last reference given above. He confesses to the deliberate selection of "gallimaufry," a pedantic ex- pression beyond the ken of most readers. I wonder whether he has "deliberately selected" " quincunx," which in its position here con- veys to my mind no meaning whatever. I


should suggest that he meant "quintette," which, at any rate, would convey the five names which he has just mentioned, and not five-twelfths (" quincunx "). He finds Varillas " very credible," yet in the very next sentence he infers that he is an habitual liar, and then gives us the first and second premisses of a syllogism built thereon, which is almost as logical as that he should write ' Chronicles of the House of Borgia,' and then himself de- scribe it in the reply about which I write as '* a work which I despise." Truly, here is a reductio ad absurdum.

I am not at all anxious to assail either Varillas or BARON CORVO, but I certainly cannot congratulate the latter upon keeping to the point, and I seem to read between the lines of his latest lucubration a soreness at my own presumption in even venturing to question a conclusion arrived at in a work which he "despises," and concerning an his- torian whom he practically dubs " an habitual liar."

In conclusion, I beg to state that my quo- tation from Webster was perfectly accurate, even if restricted ; " gallimaufry=any absurd medley " is one of the meanings given therein. CHARLES R. DA WES.

STAMP COLLECTING (8 th S. xii. 469 ; 9 fch S. i. 115 ; v. 404, 501). To the references already given of the earliest mentions in * N. & Q.' of stamp collecting, an interesting one is to be added in 3 rd S. v. 418.

ALFRED F. ROBBINS.


NOTES ON BOOKS, &c.

Bluebeard: an Account of Comorre the Cursed and Gilles de Rais. By 'Ernest Alfred Vizetelly. (Chatto & Windus.)

MR. VIZETELLY'S book on Bluebeard is a quaint and deeply interesting mixture of folk-lore and history. The Breton peasant has insisted on finding in Gilles de Montmorency de Laval de Rais, Marshal of France, the prototype of Bluebeard in Perrault's immortal tale. In point of fact, the resemblance between the pair is so slight as to be non-existent, since Gilles de Rais, as he is generally known, was the husband of but one wife, who survived him and married a second husband. Our own Henry VIII. might with much more cause have been accepted as the prototype of this wife-slaying tyrant. So bloodthirsty, ferocious, and infamous was, how- ever, this distinguished warrior, a sharer in the triumphs of Joan of Arc, that no conceivable injury can be done to his memory by the association. In very fact, the atrocities of Gilles de Rais belong to the mysteries of devil-worship, which seems at one time to have been prevalent in France, and to have extended its ramifications into high quarters. His victims, almost exclusively children, were all slaughtered in the cult of the devil, and in the