Page:Notes and Queries - Series 11 - Volume 11.djvu/256

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NOTES AND QUERIES. [iis. XL MAR. 27, 1915.


after the most thorough investigation, came to the conclusion that Francis had no hand in the Junius Letters.

In ' Papers of a Critic,' published by John .Murray, 1875, Sir Charles W. Dilke included in a selection from his grandfather's writings the articles on Junius which had appeared in The Athenaeum, together with some notes from *N. & Q.' The article in The Athenceum of the 21st of September, 1850, closes thus :

" What we want in the case of Francis is proof. We cannot receive and believe what is so strangely improbable simply because it is possible. If proof be ever offered, then, all circumstances considered, Francis must take rank amongst those rare phe- nomena of which the world has few examples, and in this instance no previous example."

When Dilke's papers came into the posses- sion of his grandson, he handed the whole of those referring to Junius to Fraser Bae. who made further investigations, the result of which also appeared in The Athenceum. Unfortunately, death stayed his hand, but he told me that, whoever wrote the Junius Letters, it could not be Francis.

It should always be remembered that Henry Sampson Woodfall affirmed that " Sir Philip Francis did not write the Letters/' JOHN COLLINS FRANCIS.

THE WAR : XEW W T ORDS. The War has not hitherto provided so many new words as might have been expected. I do not know if bochesior Germans is recent, but a reviewer in The Athenceum for the 13th inst. mentions as fresh surboches, used for Prussians.

The following extract from The Times of the 12th inst. (article ' In the British Lines ') supplies two new words :

" It has been said that the aeroplane has depri ved war of its surprise. Napoleon it was, I believe, who declared that the military genius was the man who guessed what was going on on the other side of the hill. With the aeroplane no guessing need foe done ; but a new element has entered war which has kept alive all the old secret of surprise the motor-omnibus. The words ' em buss ' and ' debuss ' .have been consecrated in .Staff' orders. Many is the battalion which has received orders to k embuss ' at dusk at X, and 'debuss ' at Z, many miles along Ahe front, in a very short space of time."

OLD GOWN.

LORDBAGLAN'S DISREGARD OF EURIPIDES. The following passage from Miss Meakin's ' Russia ' amuses and interests me, and may

please other readers of ' N. & Q.' :

"Iphigenia, doomed to an untimely death by a lather's vow, was saved from it by the inter- position of Diana, and carried off to Taurus in order to preside over the sanguinary worship of the goddess The bosom friends Orestes and


Pilades plough the Euxine wave, commissioned to carry off the goddess to the land of the Athenian. They enter a narrow inlet on the fling of an enormous wave, approach the temple, are seen and caught by the people on the shore, and conducted to the prophetess to be sacrificed. Iphigenia

recognizes her own brother Orestes There is no

doubt that Euripides' description of the coast is that of the Crimea, though written twenty -four centuries ago. The land-locked inlet he describes is that of Balaclava. What English schoolboy, I wonder, labouring over his Euripides, ever dreams that the scene of ' Iphigenia ' is laid in Russia, and that the ' Charge of the Light Brigade ' took place within a mile of the spot where Orestes found his sister ? Had Lord Raglan but known that the very inlet so well described by the Greek poet was really in existence in 1854, we may surely surmise that he would have landed there in the first place, that the battle of the Alma would never have been fought, and that our men would have been spared that weary march from one side of Sebastopol to the other a march which wasted their time and strength, and gave the enemy time to prepare for an eleven months' siege." Pp. 290, 291.

ST. SWITHIN.

THE MILITARY MEDAL AND SIR JOHN FRENCH. There have been so many state- ments that Sir John French was the first Englishman to receive the French Military Medal that the following official denial, which appeared in The Daily Telegraph of the 17th inst., is worthy of a note :

" Paris, Monday.

" As the French Military Attache in London has explained, Sir John French is not the first English- man to receive the Military Medal, which is the French equivalent of the Victoria Cross, but the first English officer on whom it has been bestowed. The reason is simple. The peculiar regulations under which this Order is bestowed seem to be little known. The Medaille Militaire, which was instituted by Napoleon III. in 1852, a few months after he became Emperor, can be given only to non-commissioned officers and men and to generals commanding-in-chief. No officers other than the latter are eligible. Thus many British non-com- missioned officers and men have received the French Victoria Cross, but Sir John French is the first British General Commanding-in-Chief, and therefore the first British officer, to wear it."

A. N. Q.

DEATH OF A BIRKENHEAD SURVIVOR. There have been so many supposed last survivors of the Birkenhead that it is difficult to say, even now, whether Corporal John Smith (who died in the St. Ives Work- house recently) is actually the last one. If not so, he must at least be very nearly the last. He was in his 82nd year, and was only removed to the workhouse a few days before his death. He joined the 2nd Queen's Boyal Begiment (now the Boyal West Surrey Begiment) in 1851, and embarked for South Africa in 1852 in the