Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 5.djvu/154

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146


NOTES AND QUERIES.


v. FEB. 24, IQOO.


for a pittance from every boat passing by. Making every allowance for exaggeration in these stories, we may conclude with safety that the magic art of flying cups (or bowls) was known to the Japanese priests too.

K.UMAGUSU MlNAKATA. 1, Crescent Place, South Kensington, S.W.

" To LIE IN ONE'S THROAT." This vigorous phrase has been attributed to St. Augustine, though I cannot place the quotation :

"Thirdly, there was in Cain Desperation: ' Mains est peccatum quam remitti potest ' (quoth he :) ' My shine is greater than it can bee forgiven.' To whom Augustine answereth, ' Mentiris Caine, mentiris in gutture ' : ' Thou liest, Cain, thou liest in thy throat.' " ' Otes on Jude,' p. 247.

The English version of the 'Gesta Roma- norum,' p. 68 (E. E. Text Society), has " thou liest in thi hed," which is far less expressive.

RICHARD H. THORNTON. Portland, Oregon.

MOUNTED INFANTRY IN EARLY TIMES. Mr. Traill, in his ' Social England/ vol. ii. p. 41, tells us that at the time when an army was raised to besiege Calais in 1346, out of 15,480 archers, nearly one- third of this number, viz., 5,104, were " provided with horses for quick move- ment, not for fighting."

HAROLD MALET, Col.

" SLIM." Since the beginning of the troubles in South Africa newspaper correspondents and soldiers writing home from the front have found "slim " a useful epithet for the wily foe and his unscrupulous tactics. The word, pre- sumably, is current in Natal, and the likeli- hood is that it will have journalistic recognition at home for some time to come. It is, therefore, interesting to note that it is not a new term in English letters. It occurs, for example, in the stanza that concludes part i. of the Scottish song ' The Rock and the Wee Pickle Tow,' by Ross of Lochlee :

For now, when I mind me, I met Maggy Grim

. That morning, just at the beginning o't ;

She was never ca'd chancy, but canny an' slim, And sae it has fared with my spinning o't.

Dr. Longmuir, the editor of Ross's poetry, explains "canny" in the glossary appended to the volume defining it variously as "cautious, beneficial, fortunate, endowed with magical skill "but he omits " slim " from his list, in the belief, no doubt, that it needs no explanation. Jamieson gives the word, and explains it as "naughty, worthless," adding further, " wicked, mischievous, perverse." He gives the etymology thus :

" Germ, schlimm denotes what is oblique ; metaph. what is bad. But we receive more light from the Goth, dialects. 8w. xhm signifies refuse; Isl. tslaemr, vilis, invalidus."


Jamieson supplies the above citation from Ross's song as his illustration of the word, with the reference "Ross's Helenore, p. 134." For the rare possessor of a first edition of the ' Poems ' this would be well enough, but it is useless for the modern reader, who has to do his best with a reprint. To secure precision of reference is part of the task that awaits the next editor of Jamieson.

THOMAS BAYNE.

THOMAS CHAUCER. Those who have laboured in the vineyard will recognize with gratification Mr. Scott's latest discovery (re- corded in the Athenaeum) among the muni- ments of Westminster Abbey. It is not original, but confirmatory of what was before well known ; and the following summary may be of interest herein.

John, son of Robert le Chaucer, collector of wine customs, was of Ipswich and London. Born in 1310, possibly posthumous, he became interested in a family settlement of 1324, leading to the abduction case of 1326 with legal complications ; he settled as citizen and Vintner of London, and in 1338 attended King Edward III. at Antwerp, possibly in con- nexion with supplies ; in 1348 he is deputy to the king's butler. In 1363 he married Agnes Clopton or Copton, no doubt a second wife, having early been married to Joan West- brook. He died in 1366.

In 1356 Geoffrey Chaucer, born in 1340, is living in the household of Prince Lionel (born 1338 at Antwerp) at Hatfield Chase and else- where ; in 1359 he is under arms in France, captured, and redeemed by Edward III. ; in 1367-8 he obtained a pension ; in 1374 he is joined with Philippa Chaucer in another pension ; he also obtained the grant of a daily pitcher of wine for life and an appointment in the Customs of the port of London. In 1377 there is a fresh money grant, arid he re- ceives in person the amount then due to his wife, so again in 1381. In 1386 the Scrope and Grosvenor heraldic suit elicits the fact that he was then over forty and had borne arms for twenty-seven years; so 1359 + 27== 1386. In 1399 he took the long lease of a house in the precincts of Westminster Abbey, at a rental of 53s. 4d per annum ; and died in 1400.

In 1366 the above-named Philippa Chaucer, born 1340 as Le Rouelt, obtained a pension, another in 1372, and again in 1374 jointly with her husband ; in 1385 she was admitted a lay sister to the Chapter of Lincoln Cathe- dral, and died in 1387.

In 1389 Thomas Chaucer, born 1366-7, is a squire to John of Gaunt ; in 1399 he is Con- stable of Wallingford Castle; confirmed in