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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 11.djvu/284

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over his abode. The surname Le Homer no doubt indicates one who wrought in horn- making drinking vessels, windows, bugles, and the like. The German horn, a peak, is familiar in Matterhorn, Wetterhorn, &c. ; but Hornsea was anciently Haraney, and com- memorates the hare. A. R. BAYLEY.

The names inquired about are of different origins. According to Bardsley, * Dictionary of Surnames,' 1901, the English Hearns are from two sources : (a) local, from residence "in the herne," i.e., nook or corner ; (6) from the bird heron. The Welsh Treherne, accord- ing to the same authority, is from a Celtic personal name Trahern. The Irish Herne or Aherne is shortened from O'Echtighern. Echtighern was an ancient Gaelic personal name, which has also yielded a Scotch sur- name, MacEachern. The French Hirns, according to Larchey's f Dictionnaire des Noms,' 1880, came from Germany.


The above names, as also Treherne, have the same connexion with each other that Macedon has with Monmouth, no more. They are further unconnected with heron (or herne) or with ern (eagle). For the Celtic aboriginal I cannot speak. Bardsley's 'Dictionary of Surnames,' a widely diffused book, gives every explanation. H. P.&L.

"WHIPPING THE CAT" (9 th S. x. 205, 298, 455). The meaning of this phrase has been much discussed in the pages of ' N. & Q.' with- out any satisfactory result. I recently came across a note in the Gent. Mag. for 1807 with reference to a sign of the cat at a public-house in the village of Albrighton, near Shrewsbury, in which a man is repre- sented as whipping a cat, which turns and grins at its tormentor. The inscription on the signboard reads :

The finest pastime that is under the sun Is whipping the cat at Albrighton ;

and I inserted a note in the Daily Mail asking for an explanation of the expression "whipping the cat,' which would appear from the inscription on the signboard to be some kind of diversion. One correspondent wrote to^say that the phrase is very common in New Zealand, where it is used 'to denote a foolish action ; another that " whipping the cat" or "flogging pussy" is commonly used in the Australian bush, where it is synony- mous with our " crying over spilt milk," while another referred me to the^j French phrase " II n'y a de quoi a fouetter un chat " ; but none of these explanations appeared to me to meet the case. I consulted Brewer's

  • Phrase and Fable,' Larwood's * History of

Signboards,' Landais and Tarver's Dictionary without success ; but the following from Grose's ' Classical Dictionary of the Vulgar Tongue,' taken in conjunction with the in- scription on the signboard at Albrighton, seems to afford a satisfactory explanation of the phrase in question. " Whipping the cat," says Grose,

" a trick often practised on ignorant country fellows, vain of their strength, by laying a wager with them that they may be pulled through a pond by a cat ; the bet being made, a rope is fixed round the waist of the party to be catted, and the rope thrown across the pond, to which the cat is also fastened by a pack-thread, and three or four sturdy fellows are appointed to lead and whip the cat ; these, on a signal given, seize the end of the cord, and, pretending to whip the cat, haul the astonished booby through the water."


THE GERMAN REPRINT OF LEIQARRAGA'S BOOKS (9 th S. xi. 64, 112, 191). -One more sin in the German reprint of Lei^arraga's books was discovered just too late to be added to the last note, and it is to be hoped that with it the list will be ended. On folio 294, v. 5, the original has the genuine word sinhetsi, rendering creu in the French of J. Calvin. This has been corrupted by the reprinters into sinthetsi, which has no sense.

It is possible that the following version of one of Lei9arraga's prefaces, which occurs on p. xiv of the first edition, will be interesting to some of the many classes of readers who peruse ' N. & Q.' Its introductory 'Adver- tisement,' being in the French of the year of publication, 1571, hardly needs a trans- lation :

" Aduertissement d ceux qui ne sqauent point le Basque, pour le sqauoir lire. Les mots Basques se prononcent auec toutes leurs lettres, a la faon Latine, comme ils s'escriuent : u voyele se prononce a pleine bouche comme si c'estoit ou.

"To the Basks. The words in Baskish (Heuscara). as they are written, BO they are pronounced also with all the letters after the manner of Latin : and the vowel u fully, as if it were ou. Moreover, in this translation into Heuscara of the New Testa- ment some single words have been put in the midst of the text in thinner letter, so that it may be recog- nised that these, in ppite of being words which are understood in the text, are not, however, those belonging to the very body of the text, but set down as explanatory. For as much as concerns the remainder, every one knows what difference and diversity there is in the manner of speaking in Baskland almost from one house to another. For this reason, without turning aside from the true sense, we have followed the (plan of ) making the utmost possible intelligible to all in so far as it is (a question] of language, and not merely the special dialect of any well-known place whatsoever. And we know well that with time many a word and