Page images

graph is a climax, every head is a climax, and the whole sermon is a climax. And then, at the end of every head and division of his sermon he shouts out, though scarcelyaudible at first, in a shrill voice that makes one's ears tingle, some text of Scripture in the shape of an exclamation. Why, sir, he puts me in mind of a little sweep boy, running up a succession of parallel chimneys, and at the top of each crying—sweep ! sweep!"


A Curiods gossipping book, a very father of table-talk, was published under this name some twelve years ago. The object of the author partly ap[>ears to be to rectify the anomalies which titles ill understood or badly defined often create in society. Thus he would have knights treated with greater reverence, the precedence of doctors more exactly settled, and bishops' wives distinguished by

the title of ladies ; and he tells a story of a Lady B ,

an apothecary's wife, who, not malignantly, but erroneously, wrote her name in a library subscription-book at a watering-place thus, Lady Mary B. In vain did the company hunt for her name in their pocket peerages; nay, the master of the ceremonies himself could not tell whether the new-comer was to take place as a marchioness, a countess, or a viscountess (for as a Lady Mary such might have been her rank); but before the ball night he fortunately discovered that she was in truth only an apothecary's Lady, bran new from the apotheca, or shop ; her husband having been knighted for carrying up a corporation address. Among heraldic inconsistencies may be numbered, the raising judges to the rank of knighthood ; though, as judges, they already take place of baronets. Among country people, physicians are uniformly stripped of their title of Doctor, and reduced (or elevated) to the rank of Mister; but the author has omitted to observe that the rustics do this with the intention of raising, not degrading the un-doctored; for the Scotch Universities and the vulgar together have so lowered the title of Doctor, the former by bestowing it on all that asked, and the latter by giving it to all the venders of medicine, that to want it was considered by the commonalty themselves as a sort of dignity. In Staffordshire a physician is called a doctor-advice.

The work, however, is by no means confined to settling questions of precedence and dignity; for its 800 pages are amply stocked with anecdotes and oddities of all sorts, taken from innumerable books, and brought in on any or no pretence. Let us again subject this olio of information and amusement to the authorial alembic.

Titles of Judges.—Our English judges are lords upon the bench, but in Scotland the lords of session are not only called so in their judicial capacity, but are allowed to add a title of their own, generally taken from their countryseats or paternal property. Thus, Mr. Burnet became Lord Monboddo; Mr. Home, Lord Kames ; and Professor Tytler was identical with Lord Woodhouselee.

Significant Names and Titles.—It often happens that names and titles cannot be pleasantly translated. Frederic JRedbeard would sound ill in English; but Frederic Barbarossa, which is nothing more, appears sufficiently grand. Boileau, in his ninth reflection on Longinus, shows that what would be quite low in French, was often the very reverse in Greek; thus, Gardeur des Porceaux, or,Gardeur des Boeufs, would be quite horrible in French, while nothing can be more elegant in Greek than avParris and fiovKohos: from the latter word is derived the title of Virgil's Pastorals—the Bucolics.

Some of the Turkish titles look strange when reduced to European letters, as tojtjdy-bashy, commander of artillery ; counbarhdjy-bashy, bombardier; and a referendary (petpeptvSapLos in modern Greek) is called talhhyssdjy. The following German word is a match, however, for anything Oriental ; especially, as the author chooses to write it, with the omission of the usual hyphens between its component parts:—

Die Reichs-generalfeldmarschalllieutenantstelle.

i. e. the post of Lieutenant-Field-Marshal-General of the Empire.

The ancients were usually desirous of giving their children lucky names (bona nomina, fausta nomina), such as Victor, Faustus, Felix, Probus, Eutyehes, Eunice, Agathias : while, on the other hand, Plautus thought it quite enough to damn a man, that he bore the name of Lyco; and Livy calls Atrius Umber, " abominandi ominis nomen,"—a name of terrible portent. Every one recollects how Trismegistus—the finest of all possible names—wag frittered away into Tristram—one of the meanest of all possible names—by the negligence of Susannah, Mr. Shandy's messenger..

Persons above Titles.—Bayle got into a scrape with Christina, Queen of Sweden, for having called her simply Christina, without any adjunct, in his periodical work, the ' Nouvelles de la Republique des Lettres.' But Bayle replied, that when a name had been rendered so illustrious, it was higher than any title ; that it was not customary to say King Francis I. or the Emperor Charles V., but simply Francis I. and Charles V.: and though the ordinals are here used, yet the name alone in many cases would be more dignified ; as we should say, Alexander was the pupil of Aristotle, without expressly calling him King of Macedon: that Constantine, Theodosius, and Justinian were instances to the same effect, as well as the father of the Queen herself, whom, since his heroic exploits in the field, it had been usual to call simply Gustavus Adolphus. Her Majesty was abundantly satisfied with the explanation, and thus modestly replied to him by her secretary: " Sa Majesty ne trouve pas que ce soit manquer au respect qu'on lui doit, que de ne l'appeler simplement que du nom de Christine; elle a rendu en effet ce nom si illustre qu'il n'a plus besoin d'aucune autre distinction; et tous les titres les plus nobles, et les plus augustes, dont on pourroit l'accompagner, ne sauroient rien ajouter k l'eclat qu'il s'est dejk acquis dans le monde."

There is a similar story of a Gascon officer, who, being in the field, happened to say aloud to his comrades, as he was leaving them, "I am going to dine with Villars." The Marshal de Villars overheard him, and said, " On account of my rank as general, and not on account of my merit, say Monsieur de Villars." The Gascon with great readiness replied, " Sir, we don't say Monsieur de Caesar."

On other occasions Bayle broke through the established etiquette with regard to Christina, but, as it would seem, with less felicity. In citing one of her letters to a Chevalier Terlon, he made it end with the common terms Je suis, &c.; upon which he received the following remonstrance: "Sa Majeste ne desavoue pas la lettre qu'on a imprimee sous son nom, et que vous rapportez dans vos Nouvelles; il n'y a que le mot de ' Je suis' k la fin, qui n'est pas d'elle ; un homme d'esprit comme vous devoit bien avoir fait cette reflexion, et l'avoir corrige. Une Reine comme elle ne peut se servir de ce terme qu'avec tres-peu de personnes, et M. de Terlon n'est pas du nombre."

Indeed M. Bayle himself was not of the number, as may be seen by her Majesty's letters to him, which conclude with " Dieuvousprospere, Christine AlexanDre." Bayle erred again by calling her Majesty famous; an equivocal term in French, Latin, and Italian. He was therefore gravely admonished by the Queen's Advocate

heads. In speaking of such high personages, says his correspondent, you should select "des paroles d'or etde soie." This master of the ceremonies concludes by desiring Bayle to write to the Queen, but on no account to call her Serenissima, as the word was too common for her.

Peers' Daughters.—The daughter of a Duke ranks as a Marchioness as long as she is unmarried, and, if her husband is a commoner, may retain her rank; thus, the younger daughter of a Duke, who married a footman, might take precedence of her elder sisters, whose husbands were Earls, Viscounts, or Barons ;—a strange heraldic anomaly 1 Again, if Lady Frances, the daughter of a Duke, marries Lord Francis, the younger son ot a Duke, she may either call herself Lady Frances, and retain her rank of Marchioness, or call herself Lady Francis, and take place below the Viscountesses. But


terms in addressing crowned

if she chooses to retain her original rank, and her noble husband should be called up to the House of the Peers by the title of Baron so-and-so, his lordship would lose one step in the order of precedence, and her . Ladyship three, by* their elevation to the peerage.

Anagrams.—Some of the most applauded of these trifies are—

Henricus IV. Galliarum Rex.

In herum exurgis Ravitlac.

Horatio Nelson.

Honor est a Nilo.

Prince Regent.

G. R. in pretence.

Sir Francis Burdett.

Frantic disturbers.


To love ruin.

Radical Reform.

Bare mad frolic.

Bayle tells us that Peter le Loyer found a line in Homer, which being anagrammatized, contained his name and birth-place, with the province and kingdom in which it was situated.

The line is :—

'S.ov 5" oviru Tts cX« Ko.\ov yepas' aWa fcifXos:

Which may be transformed into :—

Herpos Awtptos, Pi.vfcvKa.os, TaWos, X&cqf

That is to say, Peter le Loyer, of the Province of Anjou, a Gaul, born at Huille. After anagrammatizing, three letters are left, a, x, K; they are to be considered as numerals, and point out the time (says Peter le Loyer) when the name hid in the line was to be revealed, namely, 1620.

Punning texts.—James the first of England, and sixth of Scotland, was, as every one knows, deficient in vigour and steadiness. Having heard of a famous preacher who was very witty in his sermons, and peculiarly so in his choice of texts, he ordered this clergyman to preach before him. With all suitable gravity, the learned divine

« PreviousContinue »