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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 12 - Volume 10.djvu/525

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12 S. X. JUNE 3. 1922.] NOTES AND QUERIES. 431 THE PAWNBROKER'S SIGN.- What is the origin of the three balls used as a pawn- broker's sign in England ? It is generally stated to be derived from the arms of Lombardy, but it is also believed to be a modification of the arms of the Medici family (six red or golden balls or pills). But then the Medicis were a Florentine (Tuscan) famil y- J. A. GRANE. [The pawnbroker's sign was mentioned in the first volume of ' N. & Q.' and has been slightly discussed since, but without any conclusion as to its origin being attained. The three balls are also referred to St. Nicholas and the three golden purses with which he ransomed the nobleman's daughters. The fullest article we have had on the question is that by MB. J. HOLDEN MACMICHAEL at 10 S. iii. 330, where it is stated that three balls, or bowls, first appear as a pawnbroker's sign in newspaper advertise- ments about the middle of the eighteenth century, and that these objects, to begin with, are almost invariably blue. The writer seems inclined to accept the origin of the sign as the arms of the Medici, and rejects the theory of its being the emblem of St. Nicholas.] AMERICAN CIVIL WAR. What is the best recent comprehensive account of the American Civil War ? I want something of good authority and giving a fair amount of detail, but not works concentrated on particular episodes. S H D P LANGUAGES OF EASTERN EUROPE. I should be glad to hear of books on the language and literature of the peoples of Eastern Europe, particularly the Letts and Lithuanians, the Esthonians and the peoples of the Ukraine and Ruthenia. What is there in the way of grammars, dictionaries, readers and general essays to give the student a start ? g jj j) p STONE SIGN, CORNER OF WARWICK LANE AND NEWGATE STREET. Could any reader give me information regarding the stone sign let into the wall of the Woodstock Typewriter Company's premises at the corner of Warwick Lane and Newgate Street ? KATHLEEN A. WEBSTER, " REGENT " = LEG -REST. A work of fic- tion by a popular authoress of the fifties describes a wealthy gentleman of title as found by visitors '" with his right leg swathed in flannel, resting upon a regent." Is the final word known as signifying a Jeg-rest ? The ' N.E.D.' does not give such a meaning. W B H JAMES GUNNISS BUTCHER was admitted to Westminster School on May 26, 1780. I should be glad to obtain any particulars of his parentage and career. G. F. R. B. BLAIR. Henry Blair was admitted to Westminster School on Feb. 25, 1785, and William Robert Blair on Sept. 25, 1822, aged 11. Any information about these two Blairs is" desired. G. F. R. B. BRADE. Harper Brade, aged 14, and James Brade, aged 12, were admitted to Westminster School in June, 1822. Par- ticulars of their parentage and the dates of their respective deaths are desired. G. F. R. B. LONDON CLOCKMAKERS. I have two old clocks in my possession one by William Kipling of London, and the other by Richard Motley of the Hand and Buckle, near King Edward's Stairs, Wapping. When were they in business ? What is the best work for reference for old clockmakers ? Is there any list of works on such ? A bibliography of clockmakers would be useful. W. T. Newcastle-on-Tyne. SUPERSTITIONS CONCERNING SALT. Could anyone inform me of the origin and meaning of the many superstitions in connexion with the use of salt at the table ? Why should it be more unlucky to upset the salt-cellar than the sugar-basin ? Whence originated the custom of throwing salt over the left shoulder to counteract the adverse circumstances associated with the upsetting of a salt-cellar ? Why is it supposed to be unlucky to help any person to salt ? " Help me to salt, help me to sorrow," as the expression is. F. BRADBURY. Sheffield. TAILLESS CATS. Are Manx cats the only ones normally without tails ? ALFRED S. E. ACKERMANN. HEREDITY. Is it possible for children to resemble one parent in physical appearance and the other mentally ; or do the two similarities always go together ? ALFRED S. E. ACKERMANN. .NATIONAL FOODS. Does macaroni form as large a proportion as ever of the food of Italians and rice of the food of Indians and Japanese ? ALFRED S. E. ACKERMANN.