ii s. ix. JUNE 6,i9H.] NOTES AND QUERIES.
A BOOK OF FABLES (11 S. ix. 348). Your correspondent asks for information concerning a book which contains cuts by W. Kent and J. Wootton, engraved by B. Barron, P. Fourdrinier, and J. Vdr. Gucht, and whose introductory fable is ' The Shepherd and the Philosopher.'
The fables in question, i.e., the Introduc- tion and Fables 150, were written by John Gay, and form, the first series of his ' Fables ' (the second series was published posthu- mously in 1738, and is outside of the query). This first series was published in 1727 by " J. Tonson and J. Watts," who on 6 Feb., 1727/8, paid Gay 94Z. 10s. for the copyright of these ' Fifty Fables ' and his ' Beggar's Opera.' The first edition was a handsome quarto, and was rapidly followed by the second, third, fourth, and fifth editions, which were all octavos, and were dated 1728, 1729, 1733, and 1737. Since then the "* Fables ' have been reprinted at least 300 times, and translated into Bengali, French, German, Italian, Latin, Russian, and Urdu.
Unless your correspondent's copy is a quarto, in which case it is the first edition find dated 1727, it is impossible to assign more than an approximate date, c. 1727-37, and an approximate edition, first to fifth, to it, because his copy lacks the title-page. The editions which 1 have noted are the only ones whose plates are signed with all the names mentioned in the query.
The cuts (not counting the tragic mask on the title-page) are fifty-one in number, ind are placed in rectangular frames at the head of the introductory fable and each of the fifty fables in the volume. They were designed and drawn by two of Gay's friends, William Kent and John Wootton. Both were painters of some note, but Kent ex- celled as an architect, while Wootton was chiefly known as an animal and landscape painter. Their fortes are clearly 'shown on their respective plates. The designs were so excellent and so well adapted to their subjects that practically all of the succeeding illustrators of Gay's ' Fables ' have been content merely to copy, or at the most to modify, the original designs.
The illustrations were cut in the best man- ner of the time by the well-known engravers B. Barron, Peter Fourdrinier, and Jan Van der Gucht. The cut to Fable 49 is signed " A. Motte, sc.," and apparently was not noted by your correspondent. Gay thought that they were a bit slow with their work, for in his letter of 18 Feb., 1726/7, to
Swift he writes: "My Fables are printed, but I cannot get my plates finished, which hinders the publication."
EBNEST L. GAY. University Club, Boston, Mass.
The particulars given indicate *' Fables. By the late Mr. Gay. The Sixth Edition. London : Printed for J. and R. Tonson and J. Watts. MDCCXLVI." Very likely MR. RATCLIFFE'S copy is of an earlier edition, In mine the name Baron (not Barron) appears once only, viz., at Fable VIII., ' The Lady and the Wasp,' and the initial of the Christian name is illegible, consisting of nothing but two little marks.
With my copy is bound " Fables. By the late Mr. Gay. Volume the Second. The Fifth Edition. London : Printed for J. and P. Knapton in Ludgate-street ; and J. Hinton in Newgate-street. MDCCLV." This latter has full-page illustrations, drawn by H. Gravelot, engraved by G. Scotin.
GENERAL BEATSON (11 S. vi. 430, 516 ; vii. 57, 135, 237; ix. 397). Is not MR. TEW somewhat in error in speaking of General Scarlett's " too forward advance at Balaclava after the charge of the Light Brigade " ? If I remember rightly, the glorious charge of the Heavy Brigade preceded the charge of the Light Brigade, and was in its way as splendid a success as that of the Light Calvalry was a splendid failure. A third cavalry charge was, I think, made by the French Chasseurs d'Afrique, serving in great degree to cover the retreat of our Light Brigade. W. S RR.
FEAST OF SHELLS (11 S. ix. 108, 175). Will MR. PEET or any other reader kindly say in what sort of shells the ancient Gaels drank when they feasted together ?
Formerly the Chinese made it a fashion to drink out of the shells of the pearly nautilus and Tridacna gigas. The latter is said by the celebrated savant Yang Chin (1488-1559) to possess a singular characteristic of never spilling, should it be made into a cup and so overfilled with wine as to exceed its brim by a tenth of an inch (Li Shi-Chin, ' Pan- tsau-kang-muh,' 1578, torn. xlvi.). The Japanese sometimes drink from the Venus's- ear shell (Haliotis gigantea), which they deem an emblem of longevity and good fortune. From the ' Makura no Soshi,' written in the eleventh century, we understand the then Japanese noblemen nay, even ladies occasionally to have drunk from the shell of Turbo marmoratuSy a usage which has not