NOTES AND QUERIES. tn s. ix. MAY 23, i9u.
"priest's" boast of having turned off 162 " couple " (he speaks of them as a specie? of game !) in a comparatively short perioc and their genealogical importance, the general ignorance of the present ownership of the papers seems remarkable.
I hope some day to see in the columns 01 ' N. & Q.' a note as to the records if any there be of Lamberton Toll Bar, the Scot tish terminus on the East Coast route to matrimony. BRADSTOW.
WEBSTER ; A QUESTION OF AUTHORSHIP.
(See ante, p. 382.)
IT may be thought that the occurrence in ' A Cure for a Cuckold ' of some half-dozen unusual words also found in Heywood is but slender evidence in support of Webster's authorship, but when viewed in the light of the frequent use of Heywoodian words in ' Appius and Virginia,' it seems to me a fact of considerable significance. That the in- fluence of Heywood's vocabulary is less evident than in ' Appius and Virginia ' is precisely what one would expect if the generally received opinion, that ' A Cure for a 'Cuckold ' followed ' The Devil's Law Case,' and preceded the Roman play, is correct.
A surer indication of Webster's hand in
' A Cure for a Cuckold ' is the constant
appearance of certain words that are also
of frequent occurrence in his acknowledged
Most writers have a particular affection for certain words, and reveal themselves by their constant use of them. One of Web- ster's favourite words is noble. It occurs X approximately) seventeen times in ' The White Devil,' twenty-four times in 'The Duchess of Malfy,' twenty -seven times in 'The Devil's Law Case,' and no fewer than sixty-six times in ' Appius and Virginia.' " The extraordinary frequency of the adjective in this last play is largely accounted for by its lavish uss as a formal mode of address, no doubt deemed appropriate in a Roman play : " noble lord," " noble Icilius," " noble Virginias," &c. ; and if such examples are excluded, the figures are fairly even. It occurs twenty times also in ' A Cure for a Cuckold. " If the frequent use of the word is of itself con- sidered to be of trivial value as an argument in favour of Webster's authorship, some parallel uses may be noted :
(a) May you enjoy all your noble wishes.
III. i. (Hazlitt, iv. 49).
Pursue your noble wishes.
' W. D.,' I. ii. (ii. 15). While we two haste to our noble wishes. ' D. L. C.,' I. ii. (iii. 27).
(6) ... .herein you most nobly expressed.
III. i. (iv. 45). Compare :
Now you express yourself most nobly. ' D. L. C.,' I. ii. (iii. 20).
(c) You all speak nobly.
I. ii. (iv. 19). Compare :
Why, you speak nobly.
' D. L. C.,' II. i. (iii. 38).
(d) ... .my guest is a noble fellow.
V. i. (iv. 90). Compare :
Like a hangman Not like a noble fellow.
' W. D.,' V. ii. (ii. 138). 'Tis a noble old fellow.
' D. M.,' V. i. (ii. 255). A most noble fellow I
' D. L. C.,' III. iii. (iii/ 72).
Strange is another of Webster's pet words : sixteen times in ' The White Devil,' seven imes in ' The Duchess of Malfy,' twenty- six times in 'The Devil's Law Case,' ten
- imes in ' Appius and Virginia.' In ' A
Cure for a Cuckold ' it occurs sixteen times. The following examples may be noted. Used as an exclamation :
And kill that friend ? strange I
III. i. (iv. 46). Strange ! this expresses That you did love me.
V. i. (iv. 73). Strange ! you deliver riddles.
V. i. (iv. 87). ompare :
Frost i' th' dog-days I Strange !
' W. D.,' III. ii. (ii. 212). What 's here ? O strange !
'D. L. C.,' IV. i. (iii. 76). Strange, unheard of I
'D. L. C.,' IV. ii. (iii. 101).
In one instance, the same exclamation is met with the same reply :
Lessingham. Most strange'! ^Clare. 'Tis true. IV. ii. (iv. 70) .
Francisco. Most strange ! Zanche. Most true. ' W. D.,' V. i. (ii. 122).
Compare also Lessingham's comment on reading Clare's letter commanding him to " kill for her sake the friend that loves him dearest " :
And what might that one be ? 'tis a strange difficulty. I. i. (iv. 13).
with Contarino's comment on reading Jolenta's letter :
'Tis a strange injunction, what should be the business ? ' D.L.C.,' I. i. (iii. 17).