Page:Notes and Queries - Series 11 - Volume 9.djvu/349

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ii s. ix. MAY 2, 1911] NOTES AND QUERIES.


343


LEGENDS FROM LOURDES.

HERE is a contribution of folk-lore from Lourdes or Lourde, as M. Jean Barbet, author of ' Guide de Lourde et de la Grotte,' chose to spell it. The town was not always on the site where it now stands. Where a. lake at present adds beauty to the scenery, Lourdes in far-off time arose ; but its people were so wicked that water burst from the ground and washed them out, with the exception of one family which had found favour in the eyes of Heaven, and was allowed to seek safety in flight. Like Lot's wife, the materfamilias looked behind her to see what was happening and was turned into a rock, which still remains on the way to Poueyferre. It is said that, during a siege of Lourdes Castle in the eighth century, a hungry eagle snatched a goodly fish from out this lake, and was seen to be enjoying it upon the fort. The enemy concluded that, if a bird were allowed to regale itself thus, men could not be starving, and a treaty was arranged. The eagle figures in the blazon of Lourdes :

" De gueules a trois tours, maconn^es de sables, sur un roc d'argent : la tour du milieu plus elevee que les autres et surmont^e d'un aigle de sable eploy6, membr d'or, tenant au bee une truite d'argent."

The story of the first founding of Lourdes is interesting. Tarbis, a queen of Ethiopia, fell in love with Moses and made him an offer of her hand and throne, \vhich he declined because of his engagement to Jethro's daughter Zipporah. The rejected lady set off to the Pyrenees, where she raised a city and called it by her name, Tarbes. Her sister Lapurda commemo- rated herself in Lapurdum, of which the outcome is said to be Lourdes by some ex- plained as Lapis arduus, with reference to the rocks about which it clusters.

Touching Leret, the smallest hamlet in France, there is a rhyme in patois which has been rendered :

Ville de trois cantons,

Sans march6 et sans foire, Lret a trois maisons,

Counie, Mouret et Geyre.

It has, however, an exceptionally beautiful chapel.

Not far from Arrodet is a stone cross which dates from 1769. Long ago the valet of a rich man of Lavedan, entrusted with money by his master, was murdered here, the assailant being a hideous giant armed with a lance. Shepherds buried the body under an enormous stone, and some years


later, when lighter-hearted swains dis- lodged the monument and rolled it down a hill, it remounted the slope of its own account, and again placed itself on guard. Several times the irreverent shepherds renewed the outrage, but always with the same result, until they began to be afraid, and, telling their tale, so stirred the neigh- bourhood that the cross w T hich has been mentioned was erected as an atonement.

I am indebted for these particulars to- M. Barbet's book, of which I lately possessed myself at Lourdes. ST. SWITHIN.


WEBSTER AND THE 'N.E.D.' (See ante, pp. 302, 324.)

neiv-ploughed, adj.

Show your slaves or men condemn'd Your new-plough'd forehead defiance.

' W.D.,' II. i. 78.

neiv-seeded, adj. " In some new-seeded garden."" 'W.D.,' V. 1.220.

new-writ. " New- writ copies .... Dust must Re- thrown upon them." ' Mon. Col.,' 117.

night-cap, noun=a magistrate. "When you come to be a president in criminal causes,.

be sure you are taken for one of the

prime night-caps." ' D.M.,' II. i. 27. " For judgments and days of trial .... amongst a shoal or swarm of reeking night -caps" ' D.L.C..' II. i. 45. (Both examples arc quoted - f but, the contexts having been overlooked, the word has been unaccountably explained as a nocturnal bully, though both speeches are alluding to lawyers.)

night-piece, noun=a dismal picture, a scene of death. " I present you with this night piece [the death of the Prince of Wales]." ' Mon. Col.,' Dedication. " I limn'd this night-piece [the corpses of Vittoria,Flamineo, and Zanche]." ' W.D.,' V. v. 299. (The word is indexed with the single meaning of a picture of a night- scene.)

novel, noun = some unusual phenomenon. "En- tertain this novel within a ring of steel." ' App.,' IV. ii. 68. (The general prepares to surround the throng of enraged citizens with soldiers.)

overpining, noun = excessive melancholy ^ " Though sickness with her overpining look ghastly." ' Mon. Col.,' 224.

overstrain, intrans. verb=to sing too loud. " Puritans that have sore throats with over- straining." ' D.M.,' IV. ii. 90. (This in- transitive use is not mentioned.)

plural, adj.=holding several benefices. "Some singular fine churchman, or though he be a plural one." ' D.L.C.,' III. iii. 63.

populous, adj.=famous, celebrated. "To make your beauty populous." ' App.,' II. i. 73.

prison-calendar, noun = a list of convicts. "She . . . .number'd many of her days By a prison- calendar." ' Mon. Col.,' 166.

private, adj.=unduly intimate. "My lord duke and she have been very private." ' W.D.,' III. i. 20.