Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 5.djvu/454

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446


NOTES AND QUERIES. [9 th S.V.JUNE ,1900.


turf mazes are situated in the vicinity either of a church or chapel or in localities where it may appear probable that some sacred structure once existed. It is conjectured, though this is purely hypothetical, that such mazes were constructed in pre-Reformation times for the performance of penance, as supposed by your correspondent. After the Reformation they were certainly converted into places for recreation, as allusions to them by Snakespeare testify. In 1858, when Mr. Trollope wrote, ancient turf mazes had been found in the vicinity of the Solway, Cumber- land, where the herdsmen still cut in the grassy plains of Burgh and RockclifF marshes a labyrinthine figure, termed the Walls of Troy C N. & Q.,' 2 nd S. v. 212) ; at Ripon and Asenby in Yorkshire ; at Alkborough, Louth, Appleby, and Horncastle in Lincolnshire ; at Sneinton and Clifton in Notts ; at Wing and Dyddington in Rutland ; on Boughton Green in Northamptonshire ; at Comberton, Cambridgeshire, called "the Mazles"; at Hilton, Hunts ; Dunstable, Bedfordshire ; Saffron Waldon, Essex ; Winchester, Hants ; West Ashton, Wilts ; on the Cotswold Hills, Gloucestershire ; at Pimperne and at Leigh in Yetminster, Dorset.

J. HOLDEN MAcMlCHAEL.

THE MOUSE, ISAIAH LXVI. 17 (9 th S. v. 165) Herodotus, book ii. c. clxi., records the destruction of the Assyrian army by mice, which in the night-time gnawed through the bowstrings and shield straps. It is, however usually supposed that in Egyptian hiero glyphics the mouse was the symbol oi destruction and slaughter, and it has been said that there is no animal which, when it increases and multiplies, does more damage than this little creature. Perhaps the anima intended by the Hebrew word may mean and probably does mean, the jerboa, a commor enough little animal in Asia, and perhaps once in Europe also.

There is the following interesting accoun of a large quantity of bones found a Whittlesford, near Cambridge (perhaps in 1805), which Dr. Clarke, the Regius Professo of Mineralogy, examined. It occurs in Gun ning's ' Reminiscences of Cambridge ' :

" When the parish of Whittlesford was enclosec a dry well was discovered, bricked at both the side and oottom, and containing several bushels of bones chiefly (as was generally considered) of mice : i seemed to have been the grand mausoleum of a the mice in the county of Cambridge. Clarke wen over to see this place, and carried away a pro digious quantity of the bones. Mrs. Clarke, unde his direction, united these bones, and formed som beautiful specimens of a nondescript animal. In few days Clarke published a small pamphlet


escribing this species of mouse, which he termed le ' Jerboa ' mouse. The construction was very eculiar: the hind-legs were in every instance isproportionately large compared with the bodies, nd the fore-legs were peculiarly small ; so that ic animal resembled a kangaroo in miniature, onversing with Mr. Okes [an eminent surgeon in Cambridge] on this subject, I asked him his opinion ; e said the whole thing was easily explained. The ind-legs were invariably those of a rat, united ither to the body of a smaller rat than that of fhich they originally formed a part, or to the body f a mouse ; but the fore-legs in every instance ere those of a mouse." Vol. ii. p. 200.

JOHN PICKFORD, M.A.

The note at p. 165 seems to call for a vord of caution. Unless it is based on fresh ividence not known to such modern autho- ities as are on my shelves, it is too positive when it says that "there can be but little

loubt that the animal intended is the

erboa" There is no higher authority than he venerable Canon Tristram. He says :

" The word, both in Lev. xi. 29 and Isa. Ixvi. 17, s doubtless used generically, and would include the arious rats, dormice, jerboas, and hamsters, many

f which are eaten by the Arabs In 1 Sam. vi. 5,

the mice that marred the land ' are the common field mice."

C. S. WARD.

Wootton St. Lawrence.

The root of acbar, a mouse, is acav, nimble, active ; cf. Sanskrit apw, quick ; acvds, a horse, Latin equus ; so we get accavisk, the spider. Were there no field or house mice in ancient Palestine 1 ? The jerboa is a kind of kangaroo.

A. H.

RICHARD WHITCOMBE (9 th 8. v. 314). Thirty-two years ago Robert Whitcombe (not Richard) was described as the author of

  • Janua Divorum ; or, the Lives and History

of the Heathen Gods,' dedicated to Madam Ellen Guin in 1678 (see l N. & Q.,' 2 nd S. v. 434). The work was said to have been "illustrated with twenty -five of the coarsest cuts that were ever scratched upon copper." A copy had evidently been seen by your correspondent.

EVERARD HOME COLEMAN. 71, Brecknock Road.


NOTES ON BOOKS, &c.

King Alfred's Version of the Consolations of JSoethius. Done into Modern English, with an Introduction, by Walter John Sedgefield, Litt.D. (Oxford, Clarendon Press.)

LESS than a year ago (see 9 th S. iii. 500) we drew attention to the " manifest conscientiousness and conspicuous ability" displaved by Dr. Sedgefield in editing ' King Alfred's Old English Version of Boethius. This work, intended for and accepted