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Italian Per me stesso son sasso, which literally in French is de moimeme je suis Pierre, which he intended should be transposed as follows — Moi, je suis Pierre de Mesmes!

The substitution of initial letters instead of names and titles was common enough, and was borrowed from the practice of the Jews, but stripped of all point by the absence of the vowel, which is assumed or understood between the consonants of the Hebrew. Thus J. C. A. A. P. E. I. stood for Jean Cusson Avocat au Parlement et Imprimeur, and F. J. F. C. R. S. T. P. A. P. C. for Frater Johannes Fronto, Canonicus Regularis, Sacrse Theologise Professor, Academiss Parisiensis Cancellarius.

The lengthening of names in the following manner frequently took place: Guillet became Guillet de la Guilletiere, Thaumas became Thaumas de la Thaumassiere,* &c.

In closing this article, we observe that we can by no means guarantee the correct spelling of any name which is not French in the preceding extracts, because they are taken from French authors, and writers of that nation, till very lately, contended which should spell foreign names worse. If all difficult researches are interesting, then what a tempting subject it would be to endeavour to find ten English words consecutively spelt right in any French author from 1750 to 1815.

We may congratulate our readers on being allowed to call books and men by their vernacular names. If there

* We may sometimes catch the incidents of modern novels in such apparently dry disquisitions as those of Baillet.

be any one who is insensible to the benefit thereby accruing to him, we should very much like to send him on a hunt among the book-stalls for the following scarce work (as he would find it): "Viri celeberrimi, &c. Velocii Decani Patriciensis, vita, auctore Gualtero Novelista. Augustse. Miocccxx. Excudebat Calvisius Victor.


Boswell relates that Dr. Johnson, in a conversation with Mrs. Knowles, the celebrated Quaker lady, said, "Madam, we have different modes of restraining evil— stocks for the men, a Ducking-stool for Women, and a pound for beasts."

In early times it was called the cucking-stool. Brand describes it as an engine invented for the punishment of scolds and unquiet women, by ducking them in the water, after having placed them in a stool or chair fixed at the end of a long pole, by which they were immerged in some muddy or stinking pond.

Blount thought this last name a corruption of duckingstool; and another antiquary guessed that choking-stool was its etymology.—(See Brand's Popular Antiquities, vol. ii. p. 442.) But in a manuscript of the Promptorium Parvulorum " esyn, or Cukkyn, is interpreted by stercoris; and the etymology is corroborated by a no less ancient record than the Domesday Survey, where, at Chester, any man or woman who brewed bad ale, according to the custom of the city, had their choice either to pay a fine of four shillings or be placed in the cathedra ttercoris.

Blount says this chair was in use in the Saxon times. In the Saxon dictionaries its name is Scealkinj j-sol.

In Queen Elizabeth's time the ducking-stool was a universal punishment for scolds.

Cole, the antiquary, in his Extracts from Proceedings in the Vice-chancellor's Court at Cambridge in that reign, quotes the following entries:

"Jane Johnson, adjudged to the ducking-stoole for scoulding, and commuted her penance.

"Katherine Sanders, accused by the churchwardens of St. Andrewe's for a common scold and slanderer of her neighbours, adjudged to the ducking-stool."

Every great town, at that time, appears to have had at least one of these penitential chairs in ordinary use, provided at the expense of the corporation.

Lysons, in his Environs of London, vol. i. p. 233, gives a bill of expenses for the making of one in 1572, from the churchwardens' and chamberlain's accompts* at Kingston-upon-Thames. It is there called the cucking-stool.

s. d.

1572. The making of the cucking-stool 0 8 0 Iron-work for the same , .030 Timber for the same . . .076 Three brasses for the same, and three wheels . , . .0410


In Harwood's History of Litchfield, p. 383, in 1578 we find a charge "for making a cuckstool, with appur-. tenances, 8«." One was erected at Shrewsbury, by order of the corporation, in 1669,—See the history of that town, quarto, 1779, p. 172. «

Misson, in his Travels in England, makes particular mention of the cucking-stool. He says, " This way of punishing scolding women is pleasant enough. They fasten an arm-chair to the end of two beams twelve or fifteen foot long, and parallel to each other; so that these two pieces of wood with their two ends embrace the chair, which hangs between them upon a sort of axle; by which means it plays freely, and always remains in the natural horizontal position in which a chair should be that a person may sit conveniently in it, whether you raise it or let it down. They set up a post upon the bank of a pond or river, and over this post they lay, almost in equilibrio, the two pieces of wood, at one end of which the chair hangs just over the water; they place the woman in this chair, and so plunge her into the water as often as the sentence directs, in order to cool her immoderate heat."

Cole, the antiquary already mentioned, in one of his manuscript volumes in the British Museum, says, "In my time, when I was a boy and lived with my grandmother in the great corner-house at the bridge-foot, next to Magdalen College, Cambridge, and rebuilt since by my uncle, Joseph Cock, I remember to have seen a woman ducked for scolding. The chair hung by a pulley fastened to a beam about the middle of the bridge, in which the woman was confined, and let down under the water three times, and then taken out. The bridge was then of timber, before the present stone bridge of one arch was builded. The ducking-stool was constantly hanging in its place, and^on the back panel of it was engraved devils laying hold of scolds, &c. Some time after, a new chair was erected in the place of the old one, having the same devices carved on it, and well painted and ornamented. When the new bridge of stone was erected in 1754, this was taken away; and I lately saw the carved and gilt back of it nailed up by the shop of one Mr. Jackson, a whitesmith in the Butcher-row, behind the town-hall, who offered it to me, but I did not know what to do with it. In October 1776 I saw in the old town-hall a third ducking-stool, of plain oak, with an iron bar before it to confine the person in the seat; but I made no inquiries about it. I mention these things, as the practice seems now to be totally laid aside." Mr. Cole died in the year 1782.

The custom of the ducking-stool was not confined to England. In the Regiam Majestatem of Sir John Skene it occurs as an ancient punishment in Scotland. Under Burrow Lawes, chap. 69, noticing Browsters, that is, Wemen quha brewes aill to be saitld," it is said, " gif she makes gude Ail, that is sufficient; bot gif she makes evill Ail, contrair to the use and consuetude of the Burgh, and is convict thereof, she sall pay ane unlaw of aucht shillinges, or sal suffer the justice of the Burgh, that is, she sall be put upon the Cock-stule, and the Aill sall be distributed to the pure folke."

Gay mentions the ducking-stool, in his Pastorals, as a punishment in use in his time.

"I '11 speed me to the pond, where the high stool
On the long plank hangs o'er the muddy pool,
That stool, the dread of every scolding quean."

The Shepherd's Week. Pastoral iii.

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