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› LITERARY CURIOSITIES.

Delille, in a famous line, speaks of a silence that might be heard:
Il ne voit que la nuit, n'entend que le silence;

-a line, however, which he borrowed from Théophile de Viau:
On n'oit que le silence, on ne voit rien que l'ombre.

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Shakespeare goes still further in his effort to make Bottom ridiculous: The eye of man hath not heard, the ear of man hath not seen, man's hand is not able to taste, his tongue to conceive, nor his heart to report, what my dream was.-Midsummer Night's Dream, Act iv., Sc. 1.

He rather runs the joke into the ground in succeeding passages:

I see a voice; now will I to the chink,
Το spy if I can hear my Thisbe's face.
Act v., Sc. 1.

Will it please you to see the epilogue, or to hear a Bergomask dance between two of our company?-Ibid.

Mr. W. J. Clouston finds a parallel for this sort of fooling in an ancient Hindoo play called "The Toy-Cart," where Samst'hanaka, an ignorant and frivolous coxcomb, says, "I can hear with my nostrils the scent of her garland spreading through the darkness; but I do not see the sound of her / ornaments."

Silk-Stockings, a nickname given by the rough-and-ready class of practical politicians to the better conditioned and better dressed, or those who in any way assume to be superior to the common run. A synonymous and more modern term is "Swallow-Tails," invented by John Morrissey, a retired prizefighter and prominent local politician of New York. In 1876 a large number of fashionable men having taken an unusual interest in politics and gained some influence in party councils, the incensed Morrissey was met one morning parading the street in full evening dress and with a French dictionary under his arm. He explained that since the eruption of the swallow-tails that sort of thing was necessary in order to retain one's influence. The opposite faction, the toughs, are called "Short-Hairs," probably in allusion to their "fighting cut."

Silver Fork School. Not a "school," but merely a collective designation for those novelists who lay especial stress on the etiquette of the drawingroom and the external graces of society. Among the more prominent usually included in this class were Theodore Hook, Lady Blessington, Mrs. Trollope, and Sir Edward Bulwer (Lord Lytton).

Similia similibus curantur (L., "Like cures like"), the motto of the homœopathic school of medicine. But it was not invented by Hahnemann. He himself refers it to Hippocrates: "By similar things disease is produced, and by similar things administered to the sick they are healed of their diseases. Thus, the same thing which will produce a strangury when it does not exist will remove it when it does." This is a sentence from IIɛpì TÓπWV TŴV kar' ¿vēρwπоv, one of the writings attributed to Hippocrates. In the preface to his "Samson Agonistes" Milton quotes from Aristotle a saying that tragedy is of power, by raising pity and fear, or terror, to purge the mind of those and such like passions: "Nor is Nature wanting in her own effects to make good his assertion; for so in physic things of melancholic hue and quality are used against melancholy, sour against sour, salt to remove salt humors." Evidently a sort of homeopathy was practised in Milton's time. Nay, in old receipt-books do we not find it invariably advised that an inebriate should drink sparingly in the morning some of the same liquor that he had drunk to excess overnight? And has not this advice found a well-known proverbial

form, "Take a hair of the dog that bit you"? which is found at least as far back as Heywood:

I

pray thee let me and my fellow have
A haire of the dog that bit us last night.
Proverbs, Part I., ch. xi.

In a song of the date 1650 the following verse occurs:

If any so wise is, that sack he despises,

Let him drink his small beer and be sober;
And while we drink and sing, as if it were spring,
He shall droop like the trees in October.
But be sure overnight, if this dog do you bite,
You may take it henceforth for a warning,
Soon as out of your bed, to settle your head,
Take a hair of his tail in the morning.

The same proverb may be found before Heywood's time in continental Europe. De Lincy (vol. i. p. 192) has,—

Du poil de la beste qui te mordit,
Ou de son sanc sera guéri,

which he finds in Bovillus's Bovillus's collection is 1531. use in the sixteenth century.

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'Proverbs." The year of the publication of
The proverb appears to have been in common
De Lincy has again (vol. i., pp. 171 and 167)
Poil (dit Bacchus) du mesme chien
Est au pion souverain bien.

GABRIEL MEURIER: Trésor des Sentences, xvi® siècle.

Contre morsure de chien de nuit

Le mesme poil très-bien y duit.

Ibid.

In the "Regimen Sanitatis Salernitanum" there is the repetition to which the proverb refers, in the lines,

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In all the above instances the phrase is used metaphorically. Yet it was also held, literally, that the hair of a dog which had bit you was a cure for the wound. So recently as 1670 a receipt-book contains the following: “Take a hair from the dog that bit you, dry it, put it into the wound, and it will heal it, be it never so sore.'

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Heywood also has the saying "Like will to like," which is one of an immense cycle of popular saws: "To the pure all things are pure," "Set a thief to catch a thief," "It takes a wise man to discover a wise man" (the latter quoted from Xenophanes by Diogenes Laertius), “Look for a tough wedge for a tough log," which is the 723d Maxim of Publius Syrus, and

so on.

Simplex munditiis, a phrase from Horace's Odes, I., v. 5, which Conington translates, “So trim, so simple," and Francis, "Plain in thy neatness." The common English phrase "neat, not gaudy," or "elegant simplicity," sufficiently expresses the idea. The former may be found in a letter from Charles Lamb to Wordsworth, 1806. Was he misquoting Polonius,

Costly thy habit as thy purse can buy,

But not expressed in fancy; rich, not gaudy:
For the apparel oft proclaims the man,

Hamlet, Act i., Sc. 3,

or was he simply catching an echo of the street?

Thomson says in his "Seasons,"

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Milton and Thomson alike, however, were anticipated by Cicero:

Nam ut mulieres esse dicuntur nonnullæ inornatæ, quas id ipsum diceat, sic hæc subtilis oratio etiam incompta delectat. ("For as lack of adornment is said to become some women, so this subtle oration, though without embellishment, gives delight.")—Orator., xxiii. 78.

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Give me a look, give me a face,
That makes simplicity a grace;
Robes loosely flowing, hair as free,-
Such sweet neglect more taketh me
Than all the adulteries of art:

They strike mine eyes, but not my heart.

Epicone; or, The Silent Woman, Act i., Sc. 1.

Nudity is wittily described by Rabelais, Book iv., chap. xxix., in the gar ments of King Shrovetide of Sneak Island, who was dressed in "gray and cold" of a comical cut, being "nothing before, nothing behind, and sleeves of the same." Parisians say of nude statues that they are "draped in ceru

lean blue."

Sirloin of Beef is properly surloin,-from the French sur, "upon" or "above," and longe, “loin." Dr. Johnson was the first lexicographer who spelt it with the letter i, being probably misled by the old story that it derived its name from being knighted by James I. But in fact the story itself only asserts that the king made a punning change from sur to sir. According to Ruby's "Traditions of Lancashire," when that monarch was entertained at Hoghton Tower, near Blackburn, "casting his eyes upon a noble sirloin at the lower end of the table, he called out, Bring hither that sirloin, sirrah, for 'tis worthy of a more honorable post, being, as I may say, not surloin, but Sir Loin, the noblest joint of all!"

At Chingford, Essex, England, at a demi-palace called Friday House, or Friday Hill House, there is still preserved the table said to have been used by the monarch upon that historic occasion. Set deep in the centre of the table, which is of oak, there is a brass plate with this inscription: “All lovers of roast beef will like to know that on this table a loin was knighted by King James the First upon his return from hunting in Epping Forest."

The story has been told of other monarchs. In his "Church History of England," 1655, Fuller speaks of "a Sir-loyne of beef, so knighted, saith tradition, by this King Henry" (the Eighth). And the Athenian Mercury of March 6, 1694, has this note: “King Henry VIII., dining with the Abbot of Redding, and feeding heartily on a Loyn of Beef, as it was then called, the Abbot told the King he would give a thousand marks for such a Stomack,

which the King procured him by keeping him shut in the Tower, got his thousand marks, and knighted the Beef for its good behaviour." In "Queen Elizabeth's Progresses," under date March 31, 1573, mention is made of “a Sorloine of Byfe."

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Six of one and half a dozen of the other, a familiar English proverb, identical with "much of a muchness," not a pin to choose," or never a barrel better herring," the latter a very common sixteenth-century saying. Thus, Burton, in his " Anatomy," "You shall find them all alike, never a barrel better herring;" and in the translation of the "Adagia" of Erasmus (1542), "Two feloes being alike flagicious, and neither barrell better herring, accused either other, the Kyng Philippus in his owne persone sitting in iudgement upon theim. The cause all heard, he gaue sentence and iudgement, that the one shoulde with all spede and celeritie auoide or flee the royalme or countree of Macedonia and the other shoulde pursue after him."

Skeleton in the closet, a proverbial expression meaning the secret care that sits in every man's home, but which he strives to hide from the world at large. It was a theme upon which Thackeray was fond of harping. The seventeenth chapter of "The Newcomes" is headed "Barnes's Skeleton Closet." It might seem that there was a reference here to the closet in which Bluebeard kept the skeletons of his wives. Unfortunately for this supposition, the original word does not seem to have been "skeleton." Thus, Miss Ferrier uses the phrase "the black man in her closet."

Slate, to make up the. In American political slang this signifies the secret understanding by which the leaders of a political party determine among themselves before the meeting of a nominating convention the names of the candidates for office which they desire and which they will endeavor by all their influence, open or covert, to have put in nomination by the convention. The defeat of the preconcerted plan by the independent action of the convention is called "smashing" or "breaking the slate." A person whose name has been thus selected for presentation to a convention for its approval and nomination by it is said to be slated. The phrase has come into common vogue, and is used wherever at a meeting a list of officers to be elected is made,-e.g., at the meeting of directors or controlling stockholders of private corporations prior to the annual meetings, etc. The origin of the phrase is unknown, but it is suggested as probable that at some early stage of the practice a slate was used as a convenient instrument upon which to make the list, from the ease with which names could be erased from it and added to it, to serve exigencies as they arose in the progress of the discussion towards an agreement.

Slaveocracy, Slave Oligarchy, Slave Power, etc. These were cant phrases invented during the Abolition agitation in the North to desig nate the oligarchy of slave-owners whose influence prevailed in the political councils of the Southern States before the war, and whose machinations precipitated the conflict. Notwithstanding the fact that when upon what they believed to be their rights under the Constitution the people of the Southern States were a unit in favor of secession from the Union, there was a large section of the people who saw in slavery a terrible misfortune and a threatening incubus to their material prosperity. But the magnitude of the problem of its abolition and of the question how to dispose of the negro population and replace it by other and better forms of labor seemed to them to make the solution a hopeless task. The radical sentiments of Thomas Jefferson, which frightened even the conservative John Adams, of Massachusetts, will be remembered. As late as 1832, Thomas Jefferson Randolph, of Virginia, sub

mitted a plan of abolition to Congress. H. R. Helper's book, "The Impending Crisis of the South," formulated the sentiments of the commercial and industrial non-slaveholding classes, showing how their interests and the material prosperity of this portion of the Southern people were subverted and disregarded by the selfish policy of the slaveholding oligarchy; it called for active resistance to them on the part of those whose demands and wishes were by them set at naught. It was this smaller but extremely active and powerful oligarchy to which the terms slaveocracy, slave power, etc., were applied, and not, as is generally supposed, the whole white population of the former slave States.

Slip of the tongue, a colloquialism for an inadvertent mistake, a malà-propos remark. An anonymous bit of verse runs,—

If you your lips

Would keep from slips,

Of these five things beware:

Of whom you speak,

To whom you speak,

And how, and when, and where.

This seems to be a jingling summary of the advice which Catwg the Wise gave to his pupil Taliesin:

Think before thou speakest :

First, what thou shalt speak;

Secondly, why thou shouldst speak;

Thirdly, to whom thou mayest have to speak ;

Fourthly, about whom (or what) thou art to speak;

Fifthly, what will come from what thou mayest speak;

Sixthly, what may be the benefit from what thou shalt speak;
Seventhly, who may be listening to what thou shalt speak.

Smell of the lamp, To. According to Plutarch in his life of Demosthenes, Pythias once scoffingly told the orator that his arguments smelt of the lamp. Not entirely dissimilar is Byron's phrase in the last line of Canto xxxix. of "Beppo:"

'Tis true, your budding Miss is very charming,
But shy and awkward at first coming out,

So much alarmed, that she is quite alarming,
All Giggle, Blush; half Pertness and half Pout;
And glancing at Mamma, for fear there's harm in
What you, she, it, or they may be about.
The nursery still lisps out in all they utter,-
Besides, they always smell of bread and butter.

A closer parallel, however, may be found in one of Middleton's plays, "Your Five Gallants." Goldstone, one of the Gallants, or sharpers, referring to Fitsgrave, their gull, speaks of him as piping hot from the University, and adds, "He smells of buttered loaves yet."

Smile, in American slang, a drink of any alcoholic liquor, because it induces mirth and laughter:

"Say, stranger! won't you smile?'' (I had been smiling unremittingly. I could not help it.) But in America smiling, seeing a man, and liquoring up are all one.-RICHARD A. PROCTOR' Notes on Americanisms, in Knowledge.

A good story appeared in Blackwood some years ago, wherein it is related that Mrs. Christie, an American lady, had sent some fine old rye whiskey to an English man, who, unconscious of the pun, said to a travelling companion, an American, "This cannot be called Lachrymæ Christi: suppose we call it Smiles of Christ!" "Good!" said the American: "I see you are learning our language."

There is a curious Americanism, "I should smile," probably a descendant of

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