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je n'en ferai noiant,

Ne pris vo deu un denier valíssant,

which, translated into good American, would read, "All the same, I won't do it, nor do I care for your god worth a cent." The expression is continually met with both in Trouvère and in Troubadour literature. The Germans say, "I wouldn't give a red heller for it" ("Ich gäbe keinen rothen Heller dafür"), a curious analogue to our "red cent." Englishmen say, "not worth a farthing," and use 'twopenny" as an adjective of extreme contempt. The still more common phrase "not worth a dam" is in all probability of analogous origin. It was first used by Englishmen trading in the East, and is held to be an allusion to the dâm, a small brass coin current in Persia and in India, equivalent in value to one-fortieth of a rupee, or about a cent. In England, owing to ignorance of its origin and meaning, it suffered orthographical profanation, and came to signify a thing of so small account as not to be worth the waste of breath involved in damning it. The American phrase “Not worth a continental dam" would be nonsense unless we recognized that at the time when first used some faint memory of its original meaning still clung to the word dâm.

Certum est quia impossibile (L., "It is certain because it is impossible"). This paradoxical declaration of an overruling faith occurs in Tertullian's treatise "De Carne Christi," § 4. The context is as follows: "Natus est Dei filius: non pudet, quia pudendum est. Et mortuus est Dei filius: prorsus credibile est, quia ineptum est. Et sepultus, resurrexit: certum est, quia impossibile. Sed hæc quomodo in illo vera erunt si ipsi non fuit verus, si non vere habuit in se quod figeretur, quod moreretur, quod sepeliretur et resuscitaretur." Sir Thomas Browne was fond of quoting this expression. Thus, in "Religio Medici," Part i., § 9, "I learned of Tertullian certum est quia impossibile est. I learned to exercise my faith in the difficultest point; for to credit ordinary and visible objects is not faith, but persuasion." But Tillotson (Sermons, cxl.) expressly disagrees with Sir Thomas: "I know not what some men may find in themselves: but I must freely acknowledge that I could never yet attain to that bold and hardy degree of faith as to believe anything for this reason, because it was impossible. So that I am very far from being of his mind, that wanted, not only more difficulties, but even impossibilities, in the Christian religion, to exercise his faith upon." Naturally the entire school of experimental philosophers, to whom faith is synonymous with credulity, condemn the saying. "When one thinks," says Huxley, “that such delicate questions as those involved fell into the hands of men like Papias (who believed in the famous millenarian grape story); of Irenæus with his 'reasons' for the existence of only four gospels; and of such calm and dispassionate judges as Tertullian, with his Credo quia impossibile, the marvel is that the selection which constitutes our New Testament is as free as it is from obvious objectionable matter." It will be seen that Huxley substitutes credo for certum est. The misquotation is very common. Even Sir Thomas Browne, who knew better, falls into it at least once. Another familiar error is the fathering of the saying on St. Augustine.

Chacun à son goût (Fr., “Every one to his taste"), a familiar proverb embodying the Gallic equivalent for the old Latin maxim, "De gustibus non est disputandum" ("There is no disputing about tastes").

It is said that the Jews are the chosen people of God. Well, chacun à son goût. They are not mine.--SCHOPENHAUER.

One would be safe in wagering that any given public idea is erroneous, for it has been yielded to the clamor of the majority; and this strictly philosophical, although somewhat French, assertion has especial bearing upon the whole race of what are termed maxims and popular proverbs, nine-tenths of which are the quintessence of folly. One of the most de

plorably false of them is the antique adage, De gustibus non est disputandum,—there should be no disputing about taste. Here the idea designed to be conveyed is that any one person has as just right to consider his own taste true as has any one other,-that taste itself, in short, is an arbitrary something, amenable to no law, and measurable by no definite rules.-E. A. POɛ. Chalks. To walk one's chalks, to move away, to run away, "to cut one's stick." The origin is uncertain, but it is plausibly suggested that it may be found in the prerogative once accorded to travelling royalty, whereby the marshal and sergeant chamberlain designated by a chalk-mark the houses to be occupied by the retinue, and the inmates were expected to vacate at once. In 1638, when Mary de Médicis came to England, Sieur de Labat was instructed "to mark all sorts of houses commodious to the retinue in Colchester." The apparently analogous phrase "to walk the chalk" has a totally different origin and application. It is a reference to the ordeal on shipboard by which men suspected of drunkenness were tried,—a straight line being drawn, along which they were to walk.

Charade, a form of amusement which consists in taking some word whose every component syllable forms a word in itself, then describing each syllable by a synonyme or a definition, reuniting the whole, describing that too in the same way, and asking the reader or listener to guess what the word is. An example is the following:

My first makes company,
My second shuns company,
My third assembles company,
My whole puzzles company.

A less frequent form of charade treated the component letters in a similar way. Here is one from the French, and another a native English production :

Quatre membres font tout mon bien,

Mon dernier vaut mon tout, et mon tout ne vaut rien.

(Four members I can bless myself withal;

My last is worth my whole, my whole's worth nought at all.


My first is a circle, my second a cross;

If you meet with my whole, look out for a toss.


Sydney Smith is very hard upon this innocuous amusement. Indeed, he calls charades "unpardonable trumpery," and insists that if they are made at all, they should be made without benefit of clergy, the offender should instantly be hurried off to execution, and be cut off in the middle of his dulness, without being allowed to explain to the executioner why his first is like his second, or what is the resemblance between his fourth and his ninth. Yet some very clever men have condescended to this trumpery, among them Winthrop Mackworth Praed, C. S. Calverley, R. H. Barham, and others. Here is Praed's best, a really fine poem in itself:

[blocks in formation]

The helm upon his head,
The cross upon his breast,

Let the prayer be said, and the tear be shed:
Now take him to his rest!

Call ye my Whole, go call
The lord of lute and lay,
And let him greet the sable pall
With a noble song to-day;
Ay, call him by his name,
No fitter hand may crave

To light the flame of a soldier's fame
On the turf of a soldier's grave!

Camp-bell (Campbell).

Here are a number of charades which seem to have established themselves in popular favor :

My first begins with a B, my second begins with a B, and my whole is generally said of a Ba-By.-Hum-bug!

When you stole my first, I lost my second, and you are the only person to give me my whole.-Heart's-ease!

My first a baby does when you pinch it;

My second a lady says when she doesn't mean it;

My third exists and no one e'er has seen it;

And my whole contains the world's best half within it.

My first is a little bird as hops,

My second comes with May crops,

My 'ole you eats with mutton-chops.

Sparrer-grass (that being the cockney's notion of asparagus).

My first bites you,
My second fights you,
My whole frights you.

My first I hope you are,
My second I see you are,
My whole I know you are.

The form of riddle sometimes known as decapitation is substantially a charade. A very few examples will have to suffice:

Take away one letter from me, and I murder; take away two, and I probably shall die, if my whole does not save me.-Kill-ill—skill.

A stranger comes from foreign shores,

Perchance to seek relief:

Curtail him, and you find his tale

Unworthy of belief;

Curtailed again, you recognize

An old Egyptian chief.

Alien-A lie-Ali,

Cut off my head, and singular I act,

Cut off my tail, and plural I appear:

Cut off my head and tail, and, wondrous fact,

Although my middle's left, there's nothing there.

What is my head cut off? A sounding sea;

What is my tail cut off? A flowing river,
In whose translucent depths I fearless play,
Parent of sweetest sounds, yet mute forever.

Cod. (The above has sometimes been attributed to Macaulay.)

There is a word of seven letters, take away five, a male remains, take away four, a female, take away three, you have a brave man, while the whole is a brave woman.-He, her, hero, heroine.

I am neither fish, flesh, nor fowl, yet I frequently stand upon one leg, and if you behead me I stand upon two; what is more strange, if you again decapitate me I stand upon four, and I shall think you are related to me if you do not now recognize me.-Glass-lass—ass.

The last-quoted example reminds one of the famous story of Professor James S. Blackie, of Glasgow University. He had posted up a notice, “Professor Blackie will meet his classes to-morrow." A humorous dog among the students rubbed out the c in classes. Then Professor Blackie got even by rubbing out the Z.

Charivari (a French word of uncertain origin), the name given to a custom frequently observed in the south of France, and traceable to a very high antiquity. A terrific uproar is produced by kettles, frying-pans, and horns, accompanied by shouts and cries, and the singing of rather low songs, under the windows of the newly married, especially if they are advanced in years or have been married before. Disapproval of unpopular persons is also expressed in the same way, and by extension the name is now applied to any tumultuous discord. The custom was brought over to America by the French settlers of Louisiana, Alabama, and the Canadian provinces, and through them has been pretty generally diffused over the United States, where it still retains its hold in various rural communities under the name of shivaree.

Twenty years ago, it may be safely said, there were very few hamlets or rural communities of any size, from Pennsylvania west through the central belt of States, where the custom was not known, and more or less frequently practised. Whether it ever gained much hold in Michigan, Wisconsin, and the Northern States of the West, I cannot say, but I do know that it was most prevalent in Ohio, Indiana, and Illinois, and that in some instances colonies from these States transplanted it into Kansas and Nebraska. That it still prevails in many districts I could bring abundant evidence. The "shivaree" is described at length in Eggleston's "The End of the World." I know of no other writer who has even tried to convert its unpleasant vulgarity into dramatic effect. It was a compliment extended to every married couple on their nuptial night, and consisted of a serenade made up of beating tin pans, blowing horns, ringing cow bells, playing horse-fiddles, caterwauling, and, in fine, of the use of every disagreeable sound possible to make night hideous. This noise was kept up often for hours, or until the bridegroom made his appearance and “treated" the crowd. It was of no use for this luckless individual to attempt to wear out the crowd by an obstinate refusal to appear. In that case, the outside company would grow riotous, would hurl stones and fire blank cartridges through the windows, and after them, perhaps, dead cats and rotten eggs. Nor was it of any use for a couple to have the ceremony performed earlier in the day and start immedi ately on their bridal tour: the "shivaree" would and did keep, and was served up to them, in all its unadulterated nastiness, immediately upon their return. Of course the actors in the "shivaree" business were mainly young men and boys. The older men of the community protested against it, and all respectable women utterly loathed it. The decadence of this rough form of sport may be ascribed first to the general diffusion of education and civilized customs that has been going on of late years, and, secondly, to the great tendency of population towards cities. This latter fact has acted in two ways: it has taken the ringleaders away from the rural communities, causing the custom there to die a natural death, and these characters have not been able to transplant their amusement to their new abodes, since there they come under the supervision of police officers, whose business it is to interfere with such infractions of the peace. The "shivaree" custom was unquestionably a survival of semi-barbaric times; the curious point to note is how nearly this barbarous custom touches our advanced civilization of the present day.-ALICE C. CHASE: American Notes and Queries, vol. i. p. 263 (1889).

In the good old city which has been immortalized in story as Rivermouth it chanced that a couple who did not move in the most exalted society circles, and from whom the most refined sentiments might not have been expected, were united in the holy bonds of matrimony upon the day which followed the funeral of the first wife of the groom. The conventional sense of propriety in the neighborhood was shocked by this haste in furnishing forth the marriage tables with the funeral baked meats, and upon the night of the wedding a company of sons of Belial gathered themselves together and went to serenade the bridal pair with horrid uproar of horns and pans and guns.

The charivari was at its height, and all the region was aroused by the hideous noise, when the bride appeared darkly at the window above the riotous crowd, and with supreme feeling appealed to their delicacy.

"Ain't you ashamed," she cried, in hot indignation, "to come here making a disturbance like this, when we had a funeral only yesterday?"-Boston Courier.

Chartered Libertine. This phrase originated with Shakespeare, "Henry V.," Act i., Sc. 1:

when he speaks,

The air, a chartered libertine, is still.

The application of the term to the press, the connection in which it is now most frequently used, was made by the Earl of Chatham. When Mr. Granville in 1757 called his attention to the furious onslaughts made upon him in pamphlets and journals, Pitt smiled, and only said, "The press is, like the air, a chartered libertine." The equally famous term "the ribald press" was used by Lord John Russell, February 8, 1885, in a defence of Lord Raglan during the Crimean war. The London Times thundered very effectively against this opprobrious epithet.

Chauvin, Chauvinism. The word "chauvinism," meaning a blatant thirst for military glory, is of comparatively recent origin in France. Chauvin is a character in "La Cocarde Tricolore," a comedy by two brothers, Théodore and Hippolyte Cogniard, first produced at the Folies Dramatiques on March 19, 1831. The plot is laid in Africa, and treats of the conquest of Algiers. Chauvin is a young recruit, who talks a great deal, displays considerable courage, and is made to sing couplets with the refrain,

J'suis Français, j'suis Chauvin,-
J'tape sur le Bedouin!

The comedy was a great success in its day, and it is not unlikely that the word chauvinisme originated in the above couplet. Nevertheless, a contributor to the Paris Figaro, well known under the pseudonyme of Vieux Parisien, claimed that the dramatists were not the authors of the name. He himself was personally acquainted with one Nicholas Chauvin, an old Napoleonic soldier with a pension of two hundred francs, who, notwithstanding the many hardships he underwent while in active service, he was wounded seventeen times, talked of nothing but the glory of his Emperor. It was from him that the authors of "La Cocarde Tricolore" gave the name of Chauvin to their young recruit. The word chauvinisme is not to be found in the edition of Molin's Dictionnaire, published in 1842; but that it had by this time entered into common parlance is evidenced from Bayard and Dumanoir's play "Les Aides-de-Camp," produced April 1, 1842, in which one of the characters says, "You have left finance, but since your marriage you have entered into chauvinism, as they say."

Cheese, That's the, a slang phrase both in England and America, has been variously explained as a rough-and-ready translation of the French C'est la chose, as an appropriation of the Romany or gypsy word cheese, meaning "thing" (cf. Hindostani cheez, chiz, also meaning "thing"), or, more probably, as a corruption from the Anglo-Saxon word ceosan, to "choose." In the latter case, "that's the cheese" would mean "that's what I would choose." By way of illustration might be quoted Langland, “Now thou might cheese how thou countest to call me" (Vision of Piers Plowman), or Chaucer, "To chese whether she would marry or no." A story that is told to explain how the phrase arose is worth quoting, because it is sufficiently amusing in itself, but it has no philological value. It is said that an old woman in the north of Ireland had a grandson of voracious appetite. Once she had purchased a cake of brown soap, and laid it on the window-sill. A few hours afterwards she asked, "Paddy, where's the soap?" "Soap?-what soap?" 'Why, the soap that was on the window-sill." "Oh, granny," said he, "that was the cheese." This was a standing joke on Paddy, and became a popular byword ever after, so much so that the eminent comedian David Rees intro


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