Open main menu

Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 11.djvu/434

This page needs to be proofread.


426


NOTES AND QUERIES. [9* s. XL MAY ao, IMS.


plagiarist in every line. But it is tacitly allowed that on such themes verbal original- ity is all that is to be expected a shuffling of the cards, so to speak. Again, historians have an undoubted right to putty up the chinks of their discourse with platitudes. _ No one accuses Macaulay of plagiary for saying,

  • ' It is the nature of man to overrate present

evil and to underrate present good," because Gibbon had previously written, " There exists in human nature a strong propensity to depreciate the advantages, and magnify the evils, of the present time." Some white- haired Stone Age barbarian probably made a similar remark, and it will doubtless rever- berate down the ages whilst man exists.

Take again the Johnsonian dictum, " There is nothing more likely to betray a man into absurdity than condescension, when he seems to suppose his understanding too powerful for his company." That is nothing but La Rochefoucauld's well-known aphorism diluted : "Le vrai moyen d'etre trompe, c'est de se croire plus fin que les autres," which has all the appearance of a sentiment of hoary antiquity.

Every reader is bound to come across similar examples. These random notes may therefore be fitly concluded with a sage observation of Gibbon's : " II y a des livres qu'on parcourt, et il y en a qu'on lit; il y en a enfin qu'on doit etudier," which does not perceptibly differ from a passage in one of Bacon's 'Essays.' The philosopher wrote: " Some books are to be read only in parts ; others to be read, but not curiously ; and some few to be read wholly, and with diligence and attention." I am not sufficiently familiar with cryptograms to point out where this pregnant suggestion occurs in his dramatic works. J. DORMER.

THE OLD ARGYLL ROOMS. It may be in- teresting to record that on 14 May the Crown leasehold premises, Nos 246 and 248, Regent Street, held for an unexpired term of fifteen years at a ground rent of 156/., and under- leased for a period of ten years at a rental of 740/. per annum, were sold by Messrs. Garrett, White & Poland for 14,050J. The corner house, No. 246, having a return front- age of fifty feet to Little Argyll Street, to quote the Builder of 2 Mav, " forms the remaining portion of the (old) Argyll Rooms, or Harmonic Institution, rebuilt in 1818, after Nash's designs, and destroyed for the greater part by fire on 6 February, 1830, after which time the Philharmonic Society migrated for a short period to the concert-room of the Opera-House in the Hay market, and thence in 1833 to the Hanover Square Rooms, lately rebuilt. It was in the Argyll Rooms, Regent Street, that Mendelssohn first ap-


peared before an audience in London, as conductor, 3n 25 May, 1829, of his Symphony in c minor, and

hen, on Midsummer night of June, 1829, he pro-

duced for the first time in England his Overture to ' A Midsummer Night's Dream.' No. 246 has been shorn of the cupola that rose from within the parapet, and Nos. 248 and 250 have replaced the [ormer concert-room built for Welsh and Hawes, which had a balcony along the front carried upon eight termini, of which the female heads were by J. G. Bubb-see the print by Wallis (1827), after a drawing by T. Hosmer Shepherd."

A copy of this print, as well as one of the Harmonic Institution, drawn by T. H. Shep- herd, and engraved by Wallis, 1828, is in the Grace Collection, where may also be seen a drawing by Westall, taken in 1825, of the Argyll Concert Room as it appeared before the fire. M. Chabert, " the Human Sala- mander," gave his performance in these rooms in 1829. A wonderful account of his first appearance at White Conduit Gardens on 7 June, 1826, is given in Hone's 'Every-Day Book,' vol. i. cols. 771-9.

W. F. PRIDEAUX.

"SWEETHEART." Who shall decide when professors disagree ? Modern spelling is often denounced by philologists ; but it is not always easy to rectify it by the true meaning and etymology of the word. In Prof. Sayce's 'Introduction to the Science of Language,' vol. ii. p. 346, we read :

"As for etymology, our present spelling, the in- vention of printers and pre-scientific pedants, is as often false as right. Could, for instance, the past tense of can, has an I inserted in it, because should, the past tense of shall, has one ; rime is spelt rhyme, as though derived from the Greek pvd/ttfc ; and it is not so long since lantern was written lant- horn, as siveetard is still written sweet-ftear^."

The spelling lanthorn no doubt had its rise in a fancied connexion of lantern with the horn used in its manufacture, as sovereign owes its modern g to a fancied connexion with reigning. But that the heart is concerned (nominally as well as actually) in the expres- sion sweetheart is not fancy , according to Prof. Skeat (who quotes it from Chaucer as ^two words), but reality. "The derivation," he says in his ' Dictionary,' " is simply from sweet and heart; it is not an absurd hybrid word with the F. suffix -ard (=O.H.G. -hart\ as has been supposed." W. T. LYNN.

Blackheath.

"HEROD." I do not remember to have come across the above in use as a Christian name before. The other day I was walking through the churchyard of Winwick, North- amptonshire, and passed by a tombstone erected to the memory of one Herod Gurney. JOHN T. PAGE.

West Haddou, Northamptonshire.