Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 10.djvu/87

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9s.x. JULY 26, 1902.] NOTES AND QUERIES.


79


Cabalah, known as the " practical," is con- cerned with talismanic and ceremonial magic. The formularies therein used are explicable by the "literal" and "dogmatic" sections. Thus the mystical learning contained in the books of the Zohar is the basis of much practical magic. No student of magic, whether serious or from curiosity only, can acquire even an elementary knowledge of the subject unless he possesses some slight acquaintance with Hebrew. E. E. STREET.

"RETURNING THANKS" (9 th S. x. 26). I do not quite see the point of MR. RATCLIFFE'S objection. A return may be made that is not a return in kindĀ : and I hold that a customer has often as much occasion to *-hank a trades- man for the attention he has given to his wants as the tradesman has to thank the customer for his patronage. The obligation is by no means all on one sideĀ : the con- ditions of life being what they are, the trades- man is as necessary to the customer as the customer to the tradesman, and he often fulfils his part a great deal more honourably.

C. C. B.


NOTES ON BOOKS, &c.

A New English Dictionary on Historical Principles.

Edited by Dr. J. A. H. Murray. 0Onomastic.

(Oxford, Clarendon Press.)

THE latest instalment of the ' New English Dic- tionary,' issued under the immediate supervision of Dr. Murray, contains about half the letter O, and forms the opening portion of the seventh volume, which is to consist of the letters O and P. As we are now more than half way through the alphabet we may say, to use the once familiar locution, that the back or the task is broken and that no very for- midable opposition is to be anticipated. Quite remarkable and wholly commendable is the punc- tuality that has been observed in recent years ever, indeed, since the work got in trim. So soon as the section reached us we turned, by an instinct of self -protection, to the word oil and to the phrase " To pour oil on troubled waters." Less frequently than in early days, but with aggravating persistency, the question as to source of the phrase recurs. Now that all that is known about it is to be found in the national lexicon, it is to be hoped that we shall be troubled with it no more. At any rate, our answer to correspondents, should such appeal, will in future be, "Consult 'New English Dictionary,' under ' oil,' vol. vii. p. 93, col. 1, 3 e." For the purpose of general perusal and study the double section is one of the most interesting we have yet encountered. O/and o^foccupy some score columns, and represent, as we are told and may well believe, many weeks' consecutive and arduous labour. The mere study of what is advanced concerning them is laborious. It is not with of, which is judged probably the most difficult of the prepositions themselves the most difficult words with which the lexicographer can be called upon to deal that we occupy ourselves. The


opening essay on the letter and its different sounds repays close study. Two of the- earliest words on which we light are oaf and oak. The former, which is a phonetic variant of auf, denotes originally the child of a goblin or elf, and came thence to signify a changeling or booby. Oak, in the form ac, is found so early as the year 749. In similar fashion oar first appears as ar. Oat, with its numerous derivatives as oatenpipe, &c. has an interesting history and some well-selected illustra- tions. Among the various uses of obeisance, which =obedience, we find it used in the 'Book of St. Albans' as a term for a company of servants "An obeisians of seruauntis." This instance of use is apparently unique. Objective, as opposed to subjective, was frequently used in the first half of the seventeenth century. Some of the compounds of this word are atrocious. Few words are more interesting than odd in its various significances. Of its use in asseveration it is said, "A minced form of God, which came into vogue about 1600, when, to avoid the overt profanation of sacred names, many minced and disguised equivalents became prevalent." With " Od rabbit it ' we are, of course, familiar. In "drat it" we failed to recognize the equivalent phrase " Od rat it." In such locutions as Shakespeare's "Od's my little life," it has been suggested that " Od save my little life " is intended. No form fuller than that given has, however, been encountered. All that is said concerning odd, " a unit in excess of an even number," is very interest- ing and curious. Ogre, sometimes hogre, a man- eating monster, is first used by Perrault in his 'Con tea,' 1697. The derivation from the ethnic name Ugri, once favoured, is said to be historically baseless. Hogress ap$ars in the first translation of the ' Arabian Nights.' In the case of a dictionary published periodically, it is impossible for us to do more than glance through the successive parts and pick out a few gems of explanation and illustration to represent the work that is being done, leaving to our readers the pleasant task of feeding on the fare provided. We are but tasters. The superiority to previous or rival dictionaries, on which we have frequently dwelt, is as remarkable as before. In a period of noteworthy accomplishment the progress made with this truly national undertaking stands conspicuous.

The Neiv Volumes of the Encyclopaedia Britannica. Vol. III., being Vol. XXVII. of the Complete Work. (A. & C. Black and the Times.) IN some respects the article on drama by Mr. William Archer and M. Augustin Filon is the most interesting in 'the latest "new volume" of the ' Encyclopedia Britannica.' It is the work, so far as the portion dealing with the English stage is con- cerned, of a man of wide erudition and strongly held convictions. Had no name of author been attached to it, those familiar with the published criticisms of Mr. Archer could have had no hesitation in ascribing it to him. A single sentence such as the following would serve to betray the supposed secret: " Even while it seemed that French comedy of the school of Scribe was resuming its baneful predomi- nance the seeds of a new order of things were slowly germinating." (The italics are ours.) With Mr. Archer's general views we are in accord, though the measure of importance he attaches to individual writers is naturally different from that we should ourselves furnish. Among the playwrights of the sixties and seventies we should name Westland