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Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 9.djvu/458

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450


NOTES AND QUERIES.


. JUNE 7,1902.


finished up by ejaculating, " Never mind, I must box Harry." When questioned as to the meaning of the last two words, she said their equivalent was that she must needs do without. As this was the first time I had heard the expression, I turned, on arriving home, to Miss Baker's * Glossary of North- amptonshire Words and Phrases.' "The origin of this phrase," says she, " I know not, but it means to go without dinner." I have since discovered another person who was con- versant with the phrase, and who said that it meant to go without food. The old woman whom I first heard employ it evidently used it in a much wider sense. Can ' N. & Q.' throw any light on its origin 1 JOHN T. PAGE. West Haddon, Northamptonshire.


1 AYLWIN.'

(9 th S. ix. 369.)

EVER since the publication of 'Aylwin'I have, at various times, seen in 'N. & Q.,' the Daily Chronicle, the Contemporary Review, and other organs, inquiries as to the identifi- cation of the characters that appear in that story. And now that an inquiry comes from so remote a place as Libau in Kussia, I think I may come forward and say what I know on the subject. For I enjoyed the intimate friendship of D. G. Eossetti and knew a great deal of some of the other characters in 'Aylwin.' But, of course, within the limited space that could possibly be allotted to me in ' N. & Q.,' I can only say a few words on a subject that would require many pages to treat adequately. Until 'Aylwin ' appeared Mr. Joseph Knight's monograph on Eossetti in the " Great Writers " series was, with the sole exception of what has been written about him by his own family and by my late father, Dr. Gordon Hake, in his ' Memoirs of Eighty Years,' the only account that gave the reader the least idea of the man his fascination, his brilliance, his generosity, and his whimsical qualities. But in 'Aylwin' Eossetti lives as I knew him ; it is im- possible to imagine a more living picture of a man. I have stayed with Eossetti at 16, Cheyne Walk for weeks at a time, and at Bognor also, and at Kelmscott the " Hurstcote " of * Aylwin. 1 With regard to "Hurstcote," I well knew " the large bed- room with low-panelled walls and the vast antique bedstead made of black carved oak " upon which Winifred Wynne slept. In fact, the only thing in the description of this room that I do not remember is the beautiful


Madonna and Child ' upon the frame >f which was written " Chiaro dell' Erma " readers of ' Hand and Soul ' will remember that name). I wonder whether it is a Madonna by Parmigiano, belonging to Mr. Watts - Dunton, which was much admired Leighton and others, and has been exhibited. This quaint and picturesque bed- room leads by two or three steps to the tapestried room " covered with old faded apestry so faded, indeed, that its general effect was that of a dull grey texture" de- picting the story of Samson. Eossetti used the tapestry room as a studio, and I have seen in it the very same pictures that so attracted the attention of Winifred Wynne : the "grand brunette" (painted from Mrs. Morris) "holding a pomegranate in her hand " ; the " other brunette, whose beautiful eyes are glistening and laughing over the fruit she is holding up" (painted from the same famous Irish beauty named Smith who appears in ' The Beloved '), and the blonde " under the apple blossoms " (painted from a still more beautiful woman Mrs. Stillman). These pictures were not permanently placed there, but, as it chanced, they were there (for retouching) on a certain occasion when I was visiting at Kelmscott. With regard to the green room in which Winifred took her first breakfast at " Hurstcote," I am a little in confusion. It seems to me more like the green dining-room in Cheyne Walk, decorated with antique mirrors, which was painted by Dunn, showing Eossetti reading his poems aloud. This is the only portrait of Eossetti that really calls up the man before me. As Mr. Watts-Dunton is the owner of Dunn's drawing, and as so many people want to see what Eossetti 's famous Chelsea house was like inside, it is a pity he does not give it as a frontispiece to some future edition of 'Aylwin.' Unfortunately, Mr. G. F. Watts's picture, now in the National Portrait Gal- lery, was never finished, and I never saw upon Epssetti's face the dull, heavy expres- sion which that portrait wears. I think the poet told me that he had given the painter only one or two sittings. As to the photo- graphs, none of them is really satisfactory.

I have often seen on the whatnot in the breakfast-room at " Hurstcote " the " French novels in green and yellow covers," and they were always, I believe, the novels of Dumas. I have spent delightful evenings at " Hurst- cote " listening to Eossetti's talk about Dumas, his favourite novelist. The "young gentleman from Oxford who has been acting as my secretary," as mentioned in 'Aylwin,' was my brother. With regard to the two