NOTES AND QUERIES. [9 th s. ix. MARCH 22, 1902.
they affirm that when a Baire or magician dies his soul passes into a star. Hence when a shooting-star flashes across the sky they are filled with terror and confusion, and, turning out of their huts, they weep, shriek, and gesticulate so as to exorcise the soul of the Baire and impede his return among them to work evil (Salesian Bulletin, vol. ii. p. 55).
What I want to know is whether the super- stition that it is not right to point at the stars is widely spread with us, and why it is deemed to be wrong to do so. G. W.
G. HERBERT'S ' FLOWER.' Grief melts away Like snow in May,
As if there were no such cold thing.
Does not the last line of this read somewhat like an echo of a passage in Lord Vaux's ballad ' The Aged Lover Renounceth Love ' 1 The third verse of that poem (altered in the gravedigger's song in ' Hamlet,' V. i.) is as follows :
For Age with stealing steps Hath clawed me with his crutch,
And lusty Life away she leaps As there had been none such.
So in Staunton's Shakspeare. But in Percy's 'Reliques ' the third line is
And lusty Youth away he leaps.
C. LAWRENCE FORD, B.A. Bath.
SALT FOLK-LORE. A friend of mine writes to me from Hampshire to the following effect : " Our maid tells me that a plate of salt should always be put on the floor under the coffin containing a body awaiting burial, as it prevents swelling." Is not this a variant of an old custom ? The more generally known practice, I believe, is to put a plate of salt on the corpse itself. M. P.
CELTS AND THE MASSAGETJ-:. The pressure forwards of peoples appears to have been always from East to West. The Celts had their precursors, who were driven to inhos- pitable fastnesses and to distant shores. Who were the Massagetse ; and is there any modern people representing them, as the Gaels, Kymri, Erse, Manx, Bretons, &c., are representative of the Celts? We read in Gibbon that in the reign of Justinian the Massagetae (not Huns) appear in history driving the Celtic Kymri westward, many years before any Huns were heard of (see Herodotus i 1 c. 6, 15, 16 ; but these chapters must be studied carefully). They were a section of the great Gothic race.' Edition 1854, vol. iv. p. 365.
These Massagetse were considered of the highest courage and the most formidable of
warriors. At the taking of Carthage 600 of them were placed in the vanguard under John the Armenian. Belisarius employed them largely in his war against the Vandals. They were a distinguished and conspicuous people about A.D. 530. They drove the Celts further West. Is there, as I have just asked, any modern population representing these Massagetse? Some correspondent of
- N. & Q.' might kindly enlighten me hereon.
R. DE PAYEN PAYNE.
12, Victoria Grove, Southsea.
ROBERT DODSLEY. Wanted, an authorita- tive statement as to the date of Dodsley's death. 23 September, 1764, seems most likely to be correct, but many books give 25 Sep- tember. In 7 th S. x. 406 is a copy of the entry of his burial from the Durham Cathe- dral Register : "1764, 26 Sept. Mr. Robert Doddesley, Stationer, London, bur." 'Cham- bers's Encyclopedia,' like the 'D.N.B.,' gives 25 December as the date of death.
JOHN T. PAGE.
West Haddon, Northamptonshire.
PICTORIAL POSTCARDS. Can any reader of
- N. & Q.' tell me when the first pictorial post-
cards came into existence 1 They are num- bered now by many thousands, and embrace views of almost every place of importance in the world ; while the collection of them has become a recognized hobby, and has a monthly journal, the Picture Postcard, de- voted to its interests.
FREDERICK T. HIBGAME.
HUGH POULTRELL. Can any of your readers kindly give me information as to Hugh Poultrell, who held land in Lancashire in the eleventh century, and appears to have been a baron ? K. TRICE MARTIN.
FASHION IN LANGUAGE. May I ask if any contributor has ever made a list of pet words in literature words which become the fashion for a time and then take rank again in obscurity? Thus in the eighteenth century we find such words as ** vastly," "hugely," "the quality," "genteel," &c. "Elegant" still lingers conspicuously in America, and in England at the present time special favour seems to be shown to " con- vincing," "weird," and "strenuous." Perhaps one of your readers could supply a full list of such words, with brief notes on the rise and fall thereof. SIGMA.
BROWN FAMILY. I am anxious to obtain some information about people of the name of Brown. There was a Major-General Brown. A sister, I think, married a Mr. Graham