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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 11.djvu/232

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NOTES AND QUERIES. [9 th s. XL MARCH 21, 1903.


for the author or origin of the oft-quoted phrase, " Tout savoir, c'est tout pardonner, but without success. One day, quite by acci dent things do happen so I met with the following : " Tout comprendre, c'est tout par- donner (Madame de Stael)." This variant furnished me with the necessary clue, and the word "comprendre" enabled me to trace the phrase, "Tout comprendre rend tres indulgent"* in Madame de Steel's story 'Corinne' (book xviii. ch. v. par. 3). Is not this a parallel case to the story of ' Le Cou- teau de Janot' (or Jeannot), in which the blade and handle of a knife are successively renewed, so that, although the original owner- ship remains, not a portion of the original article exists ? With regard to the phrase, it is a marvel that the original sentiment or idea has not also been changed beyond all hope of recognition.

I lately met with the following, but with- out any reference being given, nor was it put in inverted commas : " Le prince qui veut tout savoir, doit vouloir beaucoup pardonner." This puts a somewhat different aspect on the idea.

In ' N. & Q.,' 7 th S. xi. 469, under 'Authors of Quotations Wanted,' occurs "Comprendre, c'est pardonner," with a note, " This has been quoted in reference to Charlotte Corday, and attributed to Madame de Stael." The corre- spondent may consider the above as a more satisfactory answer to his question.

Here is a suggestion, in conclusion, and I think that the experiment would be worth trying. Why should not some well-known author in his next book give the exact refer- ence (in a foot-note or otherwise) to all the quotations he uses as such ? It would certainly be a new departure, and the addition would, I venture to think, be appreciated by all thoughtful readers. If the author used a quotation the source of which he was unable to find, a 1 would indicate this, and no doubt someone having the knowledge would supply the omission, either direct to the publisher or through 'N. & O.' EDWARD LATHAM.

61, Friends' Road, E. Croydon.

THE FIRST RECTOR OF EDINBURGH ACADEMY. In the Public School Magazine for January, 1901, there is an article on the above school by Mr. J. H. Millar, of Balliol College.

  • There appears in 'N. & Q.' (7 th S. xii. 19)

another version, "Tout connaitre, ce serait tout pardonner, ' but source not mentioned. The com- parison referred to (St. Luke xxiii. 34), " Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them ; for they know not what they do," seems scarcely pertinent to the question.


With reference to the appointment of the first Rector, the Rev. John Williams, vicar of Lampeter (subsequently Archdeacon of Cardi- gan), all that the writer says is that he " was summoned from Wales at Sir Walter Scott's instance to take charge of the new venture." Nothing could be more misleading. As a reference to Mr. Lleufer Thomas's life of Williams in the 'D.N.B.' shows, his can- didature was backed up, and perhaps origi- nally suggested, by Sir Walter and Lockhart ; but he had to fight a stiff contest for the post against a large and formidable array of com- petitors. Full particulars of the competition, with copies of the leading candidates' appli- cations and testimonials, are bound up in a volume at the British Museum (catalogued under Williams's name). This volume con- tains Lord Cockburn's set of the testimonials, and there is in it an interesting MS. opinion of Cockburn's own on Williams's suitability for the post. One of the competitors was Maiden, subsequently Professor of Greek at University College, London ; and among Maiden's testimonials is one from Dr. Har- ford, of Blaise Castle and Falcondate, Lam- peter, lord of the manor of Lampeter. It was owing to Harford's hostility that Williams failed to secure the principalshipof St. David's College, Lampeter that "university in petto" as it was described a few months ago in the Times, on the occasion of Archbishop Temple's visit. J. R OWEN.

TRINITY SUNDAY FOLK-LORE. Some French nuns, whom Miss F. P. Cobbe encountered on her way to Cairo in 1857, told her that 41 if any one looked out on Trinity Sunday exactly at sunrise he would see ' toutes les trois personnes de la sainte TriniteV 1 could not help asking,

Madame les aura yues?' 'Pas precisement, Madame. Madame sait qu'a cette saison le soleil se leve bien tot.'" 'Life of F. P. Cobbe,' vol. i. pp. 228-9.

I think this belief does not exist on this side of the Channel, or at any rate that it is not popular with us. ST. S WITHIN.

CAESAR AND THE ELEPHANT. A more than usually remarkable anachronism occurs in Thornbury's * Old and New London,' vol. ii. p. 277, where we read :

"Now it is certain that the Romans in Britain employed elephants, as Polybius expressly tells us, when Julius Caesar forced the passage of the Thames near Chertsey, an elephant, with archers in a houdah on its back, led the way and drove the astonished Britons to flight."

Polybius died nearly seventy years before Csesar's invasions of Britain, and the author intended is Polysenus. It may be said that we have only to turn b into ce, and i into n, to