Open main menu

Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 9.djvu/413

This page needs to be proofread.

9* S. IX. MAY 24, 1902.] NOTES AND QUERIES.


lord it over the " Bangareem," or herdsmen, to whom they were wont to discourse por- tentously of the marvels of the Court or to retail the tittle-tattle of the upper circles. The self-sufficiency and pomposity of these ignoramuses made Solomon often wince for want of power to cope successfully with so undesirable a class, against whom repressive measures were discounted by the etiquette of the unwritten law.

I have already explained what was meant by kesil = fool, A. V. Evayless, rendered " folly " in A.V., calls for a note. It may mean two distinct things, (I) vicious living, (2) ritual errors or ignorance. The verb angnah like- wise comes out in dual lights, (1) of encourag- ing, (2) of reasoning. Finally, if we suppose a probable error in transcription in verse 4, whereby " b'evoltou " got rounded into " k'e- voltou " in the text, the way is clear for summarizing all the points. Wherefore, in all humility, we may translate verse 4 thus : "Don't encourage the upstart in his vices lest you be accounted like unto him/' Any other method of managing him might result in your friends failing to understand your motives. Verse 5, however, would then read thus : *' Confute the scoffer by his own error lest he think himself a 'Chacham.'" You are to persevere with him until you con- vince him of his error, in a calm, resolute, and philosophic spirit, which is in contradistinction to the summaries drawn up by Mr. Kirkus, who says, "There are times when flippancy must be rebuked by solemn gravity ; and there are times when the lightest jest would be sufficient for its discomfiture." I prefer Solomon's method to that of Mr. Kirkus, and most of my readers will be of the same opinion, I believe. M. L. R. BRESLAR.

Percy House, South Hackney.

" BABIES IN THE EYES." I was per- mitted in 8 th S. iii. 181 to attempt at some length an explanation of that cryptic and puzzling expression of several of the seven- teenth-century poets, " the babies in the eyes." I there came to the conclusion that " to look babies in the eyes " probably meant to kindle desire by amorous and enticing glances. I have recently come across a very strong con- firmation of this view in some verses in the Gentleman's Journal for April, 1693, in imita- tion of the twentieth ode of Anacreon : How blest were I, could but my Face Be chang'd into your Looking-Glass, That there you might reflected view Those Beauties I admire in you, And I each Morn in this Disguise, Might thus look Babies in your Eyes.

The writer's fancy obviousl is that amorous

inclinations would be excited in the lady by the contemplation in her lover's face of those beauties which had excited them in himself

W. C. BOLLAND. * Lincoln s Inn.

A "WILD-CAT" COMPANY. During a re- cent trial the question arose : " What is a wild-cat company?" Although both sides agreed that the term was not complimentary, the designation was not precisely definable. Some said one thing, some said another. The origin and meaning of the term were never explained. Under these circumstances per- haps the following, for which I am indebted to the Financial News, may be found worthy of a corner in ' N. & Q.' : '

" Mr. Justice Lawrance and others may be inter- ested to know that in the early fifties a large bank in Michigan had a vignette on its notes representing a panther, which is, or was then, known in the Western States as a wild cat. The bank failed, having a large number of its notes in circulation, and these were afterwards known as 'wild-cat' money, and the bank that had issued them was called a 'wild-cat' bank. Other banks were com- pelled to stop payment soon after in consequence of the want of confidence in them, and the term ' wild-cat ' became general in Michigan to denote banking institutions of an unsound character. In time the term came to be applied throughout the United States to all bogus and swindling concerns, and was, I believe, first employed in England in the columns of the Financial Neivs in connection with the Harney Peak and other mining bubbles."

RICHARD EDGCUMBE. 33, Tedworth Square, Chelsea.

COINCIDENCES. I happen to be able to vouch for the truth of the following strange series of coincidences. Some years since a number of business friends who habitually lunched together in one of our large pro- vincial cities, upon the casual proposition of one of their number, adjournea to a photo- grapher's and were taken in a group, their individual positions being determined by no design, but standing or sitting as it chanced. Not long afterwaras one who had occupied an extreme end of the group died ; and within a comparatively short time the whole of the persons who had been photographed died, without a single exception, in the exact order they had there occupied. The last sur- vivor died in 1900, and then from relatives of his I learnt the foregoing. To avoid possible pain to persons living I abstain from specify- ing more than the general facts, but for say- ing that these happened as I have stated there is indisputable authority. W. B. H.

MACAULAY IN GERMAN. In Moellenhoff's German translation of Macaulay's essay on Frederick the Great (Leipzig, PmUippJteclam,