Page:Notes and Queries - Series 9 - Volume 9.djvu/461

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9"-s.ix.juNE7,i902.] NOTES AND QUERIES.


453


showed that the writer of the passage had no idea of what the game was, and I in a short letter enlightened him. A hard wood ball, rather less than a full-sized billiard ball, is .sprung, by a touch from the player, from a holder suitably contrived, and then struck by him when it is about two to three feet from the ground as far as possible. The striking implement used to be a long tapering stick, not much unlike a billiard cue, with a short little bat, not unlike the half of a small beer- bottle in shape, the neck part being that by which the whole is bound on to the stick at the smallest end of it, the round side of the half bottle being the back of the bat in striking. The ball was usually made of hard heart of holly tree, and was often brought into shape by repeated and innumerable cuts of the knife, presenting thus to the eye hundreds of tiny facets. MR. LIONEL CRESS- WELL mentions a modern dictionary that does not give the meaning of the name of this game, and does not show the origin of the name. Can he tell one who has not leisure to hunt them up of one that does'? I re- member I looked in vain, but that was many years ago, and every one is much more cocksure now. The Standard of 2 April last made the remark that "people who are always 'cocksure' are somehow less con- vincing than those who affect or feel a certain intellectual diffidence." I endorse the sentiment. I do not know the origin of the name knurr and spell, but I told the Globe (I remember) that I surmised that the name was nothing but an English rendering of Knorren Spiel, meaning the game with the wooden knots, and I expressed a wish that it might be ascertained if in old time in Germany or in Holland such a game so named had been played. I suppose it is extremely unwise in the columns of ' N. & Q.' to hazard such a speculative inquiry ; but, in the light of MR. CRESSWELL'S remarks, I will venture it. I might say that in Yorkshire the words knurr and are pronounced by the people as knurren i.e., much as Knorren is pronounced by Germans and any man knowing Low German can or could under- stand a good deal of the Yorkshire " lingo."

B.

[The ' H.E.D.' says M.E. kn&rre, knurre; ulterior etymology uncertain.]

WHITSUNDAY, 1593 (9 th S. ix. 408). Be- tween 1582 and 1752 Easter (and therefore Whitsuntide) was not kept at the same time in England and in Western and Southern Europe, all Roman Catholic countries having adopted, at the former date, the new or Gregorian style of the calendar, whilst we in


England adhered to the old or Julian style, which even now continues to be observed in Russia.

In 1593 Whitsunday fell by new style on 6 June, but in England it was kept according to old style on 3 June, which Iby the new style corresponded to 13 June, the reckoning of days differing at that time by ten, whilst it now differs by thirteen, so that 18 May (our Whitsunday this year) was called 5 May in Russia, and their Whitsunday is 2 June in their reckoning, but 15 June in ours.

Let me call your correspondent's attention to a most handy book in such inquiries, the Rev. W. A. Whitworth's ' Churchman's Al- manac for Eight Centuries (1201 to 2000),' in which are given the dates of all the Church festivals by both styles of the calendar be- tween the above dates. It was published by Wells Gardner & Co. in 1882, and should be more extensively known. W. T. LYNN.

Blackheath.

According to Sir H. Nicolas's ' Chronology of History,' p. 65, Easter Day in 1593 was 15 April. This being so, Whitsunday was 3 June. CELER.

BOON FOR BOOKWORMS (9 th S. ix. 406). Where has MR. CECIL CLARKE been biding all these years that he should hail the ribbon markers attached by "a thoughtful firm of publishers " to their books as being an inno- vation 1 Messrs. J. M. Dent & Co. must have used up thousands of yards of Chinese ribbon on the agrfment of their reprints, on their " Temple " Shakespeare, Dramatists, and Classics, &c. Not seldom the date is omitted from their title-pages, but I have an edition of Miss Terrier's novels which is markered, and which owns to 1894. I had imagined the Junior Athenseum Club to be in London.

ST. SWITHIN.

OSORIO FAMILY (9 th S. ix. 307, 414).-It may interest P. L. N. F. to know that there was an Abraham Osorio living in Nottingham in 1780. There are several baptisms of his children in the registers ; vide ' Notes on Registers of St. Mary's, Nottingham, by J. 1. Godfrey, p. 65, published 1901.

T. COLYER-FERGUSSON.

Ightham Mote.

ENGLISH GLADIATORS (9 th S. ix. 407). These bloodthirsty contests, which even foreign observers like Misson allow were to a certain extent serious, appear to have been a survival of the sword-and-buckler days, when serving-men carried a sword with a buckler slung at their back, a custom again which was itself a survival from feudal days