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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 12 - Volume 10.djvu/143

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ias.x.FHB.11,1922.] NOTES AND QUERIES. 113 BLUE BEARD (12 S. x. 68). I remember when living in the Peshawar Valley (1877- 1883) becoming well acquainted with Sher Khan, the old blind Khan of Hazro, some miles from Attock in the Chach Plain. When I was first introduced to him by my friend Thos. Lambert Barlow, of the Salt Revenue Department, a man intensely beloved and respected by all the natives of those parts, I was amazed to see that he had a dark blue beard. Mussulmans of the Upper Punjab do not like grey beards. They dye them first red, a practice, if I remember rightly, noted by Arrian, and over the red they wash in an indigo b ue. Sher Khan, a fine old gentleman and hand- some, was by no means the only Blue Beard whom I now remember. CHARLES SWYNNERTON. DE KEMPLEN'S AUTOMATON CHESS- PLAYER (12 S. x. 72). I should greatly like to see the explanation of the working of the above, as from MR. ALECK ABRAHAMS'S description of it, it appears to be similar to the one which I saw on the stage in South Africa some 35 years ago. Speaking from memory, the player was in the form of a dummy boy dressed as a Turk, and sitting cross-legged as a tailor on a base perhaps 2ft. Gin. square and a couple of inches thick. The base was supported on a hollow cylinder of plain transparent glass about 1ft in diameter and 18in. high ; this in turn was supported on another wooden base on four legs. The size of the dummy boy was about that of a boy of eight years of age. I have no recollection of the hands of the dummy moving the pieces, but seem to recollect that there was a semicircular frame in front of one of the hands, and this frame may have contained a series of cards by combina- tions of which the movements could be indicated, in the well-known way in which chess problems are recorded. I have a recollection of the hand describing a semi- circle in a horizontal plane. It was a com- plete puzzle to me at the time, and I have no idea how the mechanism was directed or worked. A. S. E. ACKERMANN. Has MR. ABRAHAMS consulted the British Museum catalogue under " Kempelen," which is the correct spelling of the name ? I do not remember whether the few entries given there include a reference to Edgar Allan Poe, who has also attempted to solve the mystery of the automaton. His paper on this .subject is included in his Collected Works. i The automaton eventually found its w r ay , to the United States and perished there in I a conflagration. Full details of the inci- i dent, &c., were published in an American chess annual in comparatively recent times r but unfortunately I am unable to give the reference. L. L. K. COLE- OR COALE-RENTS (12 S. x. 70). |The period named, 1661-67, suggests at once the time of the hearth tax, and, ! though I have not hitherto heard that I unpopular tax so described, it is perhaps

worth investigation. I have an original

| official manuscript relating to a neigh - i bouring district, entitled ' Accompt of all ye Fyer -hearths in ye countle of Bedford,' | 1663, showing the parishes, constables^, i hearth-holders and taxes levied. The original tax was one shilling per hearth, i which coincides with Edward Swannell's j payment, but 1661 does not agree with I 1663, the first year of this hated impost. 'Afterwards the rate was increased to two j shillings per fireplace, and finally abolished | in 1689. W. JAGGARD (Capt.). In the adjoining parish of Kingstone j Seamore there are some fields called I Colefree Land" about which there wa& jmuch litigation in 1702 (vide Collinson's i ' History of Somerset ' ). The meaning of the , name has never been explained in spite of (frequent inquiry. The fields in question. i are in the flat land not far from the Bristol i Channel. H. C. BARNARD. The Grey House, Yatton, Somerset. CHARM or ST. COLME (12. S. ix. 330, 376). jDr. Lauchlan M. Watt of Edinburgh tells | me, with regard to " St. Bride and her brat," that in West Highland legend Bride is ' the foster-mother of Christ, her " brat " or garment a symbol of purity. He gives several quotations from the Gaelic in which the words " brat " and " brot " refer to the garments of holy persons as- a protection against evil. As to " St. Colme and his cat " he writes : St. John's wort was holy to St. Columba he is said to have carried it on his person it is called | Caod cJialnim chelle = the hail of Columba.. This might be the orgin of the word cat in tho charm. .~3 W. COURTHOPE FORMAN.'g] BEARS (12 S. x. 72). In reply to MR. ACKERMANN, I think the three most dan- gerous animals, under normal conditions, are buffalo, bear, lion in the order named-