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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 9.djvu/363

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9 th S. IX. MAY 3, 1902.]


NOTES AND QUERIES.


355


p. 292, quotes a letter from Mrs. Siddon to Lady Harcourt, dated 26 September, 1784 and written from Gower Street. This L borne out by the rate-books of the parish of St. Giles-in-the-Fields, in which parish the southern end of Gower Street is situate William Siddons being rated in that year ir respect of a house (unnumbered) on the east side of Gower Street. In ' Holden's Triennial Directory ' for 1805 and 1808 I find "Siddons, W., Gower Street and Putney Heath," but this could not have been the husband of the great actress, as he died at Bath in March 1805. In * London Past and Present,' under 'Gower Street' it is stated that "Mrs. Siddons bought a house in Gower Street, and she wrote, 'The back of it is most effectually in the country, and delightfully pleasant,'" but my friend Mr. Wheatley is unable to sav where Cunningham got his information ; but it is possible that the letter may still be in existence. Can any of your readers give the date of the letter 1

R. B. P.

A slight error occurs in ME. JOHN HEBB'S communication anent the last residence of the famous actress. The house which, to the regret of many, is likely to be razed ere long is situate at the corner of Allsop, not "Allsopp," Place, Marylebone. From the spelling it would thus appear that the firm of brewers is not indicated.

CECIL CLARKE.

" BARRACKED " (9 th S. ix. 63, 196, 232). It is at least a little astonishing that in these days, in the year of grace 1902, such very im- probable explanations should be seriously offered in 'N. & Q.' as those suggested by BOSCOMBROSA and by MR. G. Y. BALDOCK, the one suggesting that lark = to play tricks, a word used in all, or nearly all, dialects, and larrikin, a specially Australian word, are to be derived from a local N.C. lake (N.B., pro- nounced lekj not lak /), with a remarkable intrusion of an r from goodness knows where, and the other that barrack comes from a French law term barreter, with a no less remarkable change from t to k ! These gentlemen should at least bring forward some support for such extraordinary assump- tions as they make.

There seems to be no objection, from the phonetic point of view, to the explanations irom bark and lark respectively. For such changes analoga can be found. But Prof. Morris's explanation seems to settle the one word satisfactorily enough (though it should be noted that the * E.D.D.' gives barrack as a N. Irish dialect word = to brag), and it is


strange that, if larrikin is to be explained f rom lark, the E.D.D.' gives no instance of this word appearing in any dialect as a dis- syllable. Further, is not larrikin in the first place the name of a person ? If so, it is not to be so easily explained from lark, vb. It is difficult, too, to see how PROF. STRONG can imagine that a French word larron can have had any influence on a word so specifically Australian. After all, is it not possible that the larrikin, like his brother tne hooligan, may derive his name from some former notorious chieftain of his tribe ? F. J. C.

PROF. H. A. STRONG says Prof. Morris, in 'Austral English,' derives barrack "from a native word borak, meaning l to banter,'" "the term only dating" (which is curious) "from about 1880." PROF. STRONG, however, informs us that " it certainly was not used commonly in Victoria before 1883," i.e., less than twenty years ago. If the word is that said native one, why should it have been thus altered in sound ; and how is it that t has only so very recently been taken into English use? For borak to have become barrack involves the raising of the first vowel ! rom a lower tone to a higner one (not, as in obacco, the lowering from a native higher one). As this is quite contrary to the rules of the philological game as expounded by

he schoolmen, one does not feel over ready
o accept Prof. Morris's theory. Even in

,he same number of 'N. & Q.' that PROF. STRONG'S letter appears in we have evidence n John King's ' Grammar ' (ante, p. 227) of low higher tones in vowels tend to become ower but this change would be the other way aoout. John King's ar sound has become >ur or, but here, according to Prof. Morris's heory, we have or converted into ar.

BOSCOMBROSA.

AMERICAN WORDS (9 th S. viii. 183, 267, 448). I am not concerned to vindicate for America he honour of inventing the word " linkum- iddle." Of course these notes are a bid for nformation, and I am glad of the light thrown n my own curios as on others'. But I am not quite convinced that my etymology is wrong. It hardly seems probable that Colman's play (which I have not seen) was he source of a term in the colonies that must mve been at least as old as itself ; and the tonsense chorus of the Scotch song would iardly have been turned into a term for a ool, except by assimilation, which is pro- bable enough. That is, "ninkuin " being an >ld abbreviation for " nincomooop, and currently used, the names "nmkumfiddle and " Imkumfictdle " may have been suggested