Page:Notes and Queries - Series 11 - Volume 11.djvu/421

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11 S. XL MAY 22, 1915.] NOTES AND QUERIES.


so far from having declared itself that we see him here rather as falling into mistakes and thwarted, than as carrying all before him. The light thus thrown on his early career is valuable. Mr. Hinds surely dismisses Louis XIII. somewhat too disdainfully as " the weak king." Over- shadowed by the greatness of his minister, and, it may be conceded, by no means in himself without reproach, he remains one of the more arresting personalities in the line of French kings, and some justification for the attention he has excited could even be drawn from this Calendar.

Of Charles and Buckingham we get a number of lively details which do not go to modify what has long since been known and thought of them. On the whole, the most interesting English figure here is Sir Thomas Roe, our ambassador for many years at Constantinople, now near the term of his office, who compels the admiration even of the astute Venetians by a vigour and capacity which, though they \yere more or less foiled in the com- plicated negotiations with Bethlen Gabor, availed to secure the rights of English merchants in the Levant.

There is plenty of minor incident of a picturesque kind, such as instances of Charles's purchase of pictures, or his inopportune addiction to hunting ; the employment of "a famous painter named Rubens," now about the purchase of works of art, now about delica.te affairs of state ; or the adven- ture of the twenty youths who, by ones, and twos, got across the shallows to R6 on stilts. In a list of cargoes brought to England from the East Indies in October, 1020, occurs " cestelletto di pietre per stagnar il sangue " : what were these stones used to staunch blood ?

Palceography and the Practical Study of Court Hand. By Hilary Jenkinson. (Cambridge University Press, 8s. net.)

THE object of this pamphlet, which was delivered as a paper at the International Congress of His- torical Studies in April, 1913, is to examine and estimate the value of a detailed study of palaeo- graphy in preparation for research work amid our mediaeval records. There is a tendency to insist on this study as necessary, and to claim for its subject-matter the status of a science. Mr. Jenkinson expresses a contrary opinion, and furnishes good reason for it. The great masses of mediaeval writing that have come down to us do not lend themselves to orderly systematization or sequence ; and there is no scheme framed on date, or school, or locality which could be made distinctly to override the idiosyncrasies and requirements of the individual scribes : there is, that is to say, no possibility of working out any- thing approaching an exact " science " from this mediaeval material. That which the reader of records had better know beforehand, in order to save him loss of time, may be briefly imparted in detail by a more advanced reader ; details of less frequent occurrence may usually be understood through the understanding of a given document itself. An attempt to erect palaeography as an independent study, futile in itself, is further to be deprecated because it diverts historical students away from work of the first importance which greatly needs doing-the study of records from the administrative point of view. These are Mr. Jenkinson 's views, and to prove this futility of palaeography as applied to Court Hand he gives

us a series of thirteen illustrations excellent and* fascinating photographs of specimens of hand- writing. The first two are forgeries of charters imitations, done in the fourteenth century, of originals of the twelfth century. The remaining; plates give divers instances of one kind of document assessments for a tax of fifteenth. The hand- writings present numerous interesting and instruc- tive differences considerable enough to form data for palaeographical discriminations of major- importance. Their value as illustrations for the purposes of Mr. Jenkinson's argument consists*, however, in the facts that they are all the work of humble scribes, such as must have existed by the hundred all over the kingdom ; all of one date, the year 1225 ; all comprised on the membranes, of a single roll ; and all drawn from a single smalll area in Lincolnshire. This group of nameless tax- collectors, besides providing a delightful and valuable set of examples, calculated to rejoice any/ reader of mediaeval script, has certainly supplied Mr. Jenkinson with a crushing weapon against the supporters of a strict study of palaeography as indispensable for practical work on Court Hand.

A Tale of a Tub. By Ben Jonson. Edited, with- Introduction, Notes, and Glossary, by Florence- May Snell. (Longmans & Co., 7s. Qd. net.) THIS is a thesis presented for a doctorate of philosophy at Yale University. It is a sound,, painstaking piece of work on what may perhaps not unfairly be called a rather thankless subject^ One of the questions unsettled about ' A Tale of a Tub ' is that of date. Dr. Snell goes carefully over the views of former students, and then, following a suggestion that the verse of the play might help to a decision, gives us the result of counting all the lines containing extra syllables- throughout the whole of Ben Jonson's plays. The percentage of extra syllables increases as one passes from the plays known to be early to thos& known to be late, and in our particular play i* as high as in any. Whence Dr. Snell concludes that 1033, the year of the licence, is, after all, the year when it was written. She disposes neatly and effectively of the arguments from references advanced in favour of an early date.

The critical essay is as to matter and judgment praiseworthy, though in style it is curiously formless and awkward. Most people would agree that the " drawing " of the characters in the play is good ; we think, however, that few would call the " colouring " subtle. The ex- planatory notes consist somewhat too largely of quotations from Gifford, Cunningham, and Whalley,but they contain other matter also, and are calculated to be of service to the student. There are an Index, which, if it failed at one test,, may none the less be called satisfactory ; a Glossary, which is made up of so many words known even to inexperienced readers that it seems hardly necessary to have compiled it ; and a full Bibliography.

The text adopted is that of the original folio of 1040, the variants being given at the foot of the page. The reproduction has been exactly carried out, and this exactness adds greatly to the interest of the volume. Those who may complain that the freshness and vitality of the work are less vividly perceived athwart the seventeenth-century spelling have other editions, in which to savour these.