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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 10 - Volume 12.djvu/300

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244


NOTES AND QUERIES. uo s. xn. SEPT. 25, im


"books he described himself as " Bishop o Csanad " (in Hungary). As the author o the ' Novae Machinse ' is described a: " Sicenus " on the title-page, some peopl< felt inclined to ascribe the authorship to another man of the same name (cf., e.g. Zedler's 'Universal Lexikon,' 1746); but .against this it has been pointed out by Coun Alexander Apponyi (' Hungarica,' under the name and date) that on plate xxvii of the book there is the picture of a fountair which bears the Verancsics arms, surmountec by a mitre, between the initials F and V.

As regards biographical particulars, we know that the bishop was born in Dalmatia probably in Sebenico (" Ecclesia Sibenici .patrise mese ornamentum "), and that he was the nephew of Antonius Wrantius (sic), the fellow-ambassador of Busbequius, and later the primate of Hungary. According to Gams, our author was made Bishop oJ 'Csanad in April, 1598 ; and according to the Hungarian 'Pallas Lexikon,' he returned to Italy in 1606, resigned the bishopric in 1608, entered the order of St. Paul the Hermit in Rome in 1609, and died in Venice in 1617.

In respect of the probable date of publication of the ' Novae Machinae,' Count Apponyi points out that the author mentions the destruction by floods of St. Mary's Bridge (now Ponte Rotto, and still in ruins) in Rome, in the times of Pope Clement VIII. 'The memorable inundation of the Tiber occurred in 1598, and Clement died in 1605 ; and this year must, therefore, be considered the earliest date at which the book could have been published.

The name " Sicenus " is said to mean " one of Sige," which was one of the seven prefectures into which Dalmatia was divided under Venetian dominion, but probably means a native of Sicum, the old Latin name of Sebenico.

On looking through the book we find that the worthy bishop has anticipated a good many modern inventions. Thus, e.g., we see the first idea of the design of an iron suspension bridge with straight links, very much like the Albert Bridge at Chelsea, for which the late Mr. Rowland Mason Ordish took out a patent in the sixties. We find also a suggestion for cast bronze girders for bridges, which would work out somewhat costly nowadays ; a rope suspension bridge ; an aerial ropeway for carrying passengers ; a dredger in which one recognizes the pro- totype of the contrivance known as Priest- man's grab ; and many other interesting contrivances. L. L. K.


LAURENCE OLIPHANT AND HIS WIVES. The mention of that gifted man and charming writer Laurence Oliphant, in connexion with Lake Harris (ante, p. 166), reminds me that I had the pleasure of meeting the widow of the former, when I was at the Hotel Carmel at Haifa, in March, 1908.

Oliphant' s first wife was the beautiful and spirituelle Miss Le Strange. I visited the picturesque cypress-adorned German cemetery of the Temple Colony at Haifa, situated remote from habitations, near the sea, where she is buried.

On a stone cenotaph, with sloping top (on. which rests a cross, with the chi-rho monogram in a wreath at the head of the cross, A, ft, at the ends, and " En Touto Nike " on the steps of the cross), is this inscription :

" Alice, wife of Laurence Oliphant, Dau r of H. L. S. Le Strange of Hunstanton, Norfolk. Died at Dalieh 2 January, 1886, aged 40. 5. Cant. 2."

Dalieh is a Druse village on the top of Mount Carmel, where in 1884 Oliphant built a house for the hot season. In digging the foundations of this he found interesting Roman remains, massive cut stones, beauti- fully carved cornices, coins of Constantine, iron rings, staples, nails, jar-handles, pottery fragments, old glass, tesserae, and cisterns one of many proofs that Carmel was formerly thickly populated (Oliphant, 'Haifa ; or, Life in Modern Palestine,' 1886, p. 164, edited by Dana).

About a year after Alice Oliphant's death, Laurence Oliphant married Rosamund, the daughter of Robert Dale Owen of the United States, son of Robert Owen the Welsh Socialist. She was born in the Dale Colony. Oliphant died in 1888, at Teddington, in the cemetery of which place I saw a plain head- stone to his memory, bearing only the name and date. A year or so afterwards his widow married an American gentleman named Templeton, who, however, died some twelve months later at sea. Oliphant's anded property near Carmel devolved upon his widow.

I found that Oliphant's name and good deeds were held in high esteem at Haifa,

> or traits of himself and his first wife being

n several of the houses. D. J.

"THE DOG AND POT." Over a shop in the Blackfriars Road is a gilded representation

a dog eating out of what may be described is a tar-kettle. It is mentioned in the early ife of Charles Dickens in connexion with lis journey home from work, when he turned down Charlotte Street, which " has Rowland