Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 5.djvu/329

This page needs to be proofread.



" Nor, amongst the more minute and subordinat regulations of this Act, ought we to omit that th division of the property in ships into sixty-fou assumed shares, upon the binary principle of halvin the ship, and the proportions under each, down t a sixty-fourth part, will be found in practice to b a most convenient system."


Inner Temple Library.

The point is that no individual or partner ship firm can be registered as owner or owner of less than a sixty -fourth part. There mus be convenience to the registrars in thi arrangement. Subdivision can be carried too far. For example, raw cotton used to be bought and sold subject to fluctuations of no less than a farthing per pound. Now th< movements on the Liverpool market are re gistered in 64ths of a penny per pound, anc occasionally invoices are made out at the rate of so many 128thsof a penny per pound. The usage of 256 ths of a penny has not yet arisen ARTHUR MAYALL.

" WORST " (9 th S. v. 228). For the use of this word in literature see the following examples :

" Anne haggard, Mary coarse, every face in the neighbourhood, worsting, and the rapid increase oi the crow's foot about Lady Russell s temples had long been a distress to him." Miss Austen, ' Per- suasion,' chap. i.

The worst is not So long as we can say, This is the worst.

' King Lear.' " He is always sure of finding diversion, when the tvorst comes to the worstf." Addison.

" Who ever knew Truth put to the worst in free and open encounter?" Milton.

Corrupted freemen are the worst of slaves.


EVERARD HOME COLEMAN. 71, Brecknock Road.

Jamieson, under " Wor sing = injury" says : "The v. to worse is used by Milton." Shake- speare does not use worst once in the sense queried. ; Jgl sS33li ARTHUR MAYALL.

DEPRECIATION OF COINAGE (9 th S. v. 87, 174, 217). It seems to be accepted that our earliest depreciation was in the reign of Edward I.; yet one of the first acts of Henry II. was to restore the currency, which had become much debased in the stormy days of Stephen. The question seems to arise whether this debase- ment, no doubt largely intensified by false coinage, could be compared to that in the 28th year of Edward I. Was it made by decreasing the weight of the silver coin, or merely occasioned by universal clipping? Henry found it necessary to restore the standard both of weight and purity. The

mediaeval coinage of England seems to have maintained a far higher standard than that of other countries. GEORGE MARSHALL. Sefton Park, Liverpool.

MEN WEARING EARRINGS (9 th S. v. 88, 191). I have always thought that the beautiful passage in * Romeo and Juliet ' (I. v.) Her beauty hangs upon the cheek of night Like a rich jewel in an Ethiop's ear- had reference to the custom of men in Africa wearing earrings. Of course, this practice has spread into other parts of the world. At Wentworth Park, Yorkshire, is a portrait of Shakspeare, representing him dressed in black, with moustache and beard, and an earring in the left ear. Sailors frequently wear an earring. JOHN PICKFORD, M.A. Newbourne Rectory, Woodbridge.

SIR JOHN MAUNDEVILLE ON ORANGE PEEL (9 th S. v. 188). The mention of " the diary of Sir John Maundeville" raises the sus- picion that the writer had never seen the English version of Maundeville's ' Travels,' or he would have known that it is not written in the form of " a diary." In any case, he was to the best of my belief deliberately be- fooling his readers, in the usual journalistic belief that they will swallow anything orange peel included. I cannot find that bhe word orange occurs in that work at all ; and certainly there is nothing about peel.

The only known allusion to oranges, pre- viously to 1400, in any piece of English litera- ture (I omit household documents) is in the Alliterative Poems,' edited by Dr. Morris, ii. 1044. The next reference, soon after 1400, is n Lydgate's * Minor Poems,' ed. Halliwell, p. 15. In 1440 we find oronge in the ' Promp-

orium Parvulorum,' and in 1470 we find

wenges in the ' Paston Letters,' ed. Gairdner, i. 394 ; but there is no reference to the peel, and I suspect the whole passage to be a hoax. The expression " the delightful fruit " betrays lim. No one ever saw the word delightful earlier than 1500. WALTER W. SKEAT.

ST. SWITHIN will not be alone in seeking his passage in Maundeville. There is, so far sis I can see, absolutely nothing even to sug- gest it. The self-styled Maundeville makes 10 mention of oranges. That the real ravellers from whom he stole his accounts o is very unlikely. It is extremely doubt- ul if he was ever in a place where he could ave seen one. The paragraph from the Lady 5 like all of its class. Talk about " the diary f that mediaeval explorer, Sir John Maunde- ille," would be absurd anywhere else. Diary" is amazing, even there. Whether