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in Shakespeare, and is stil! in current use, was originally a form of ejaculation approaching to the character of an oath.

Cross row or Criss-cross row, the name popularly given to the alphabet, because in the ancient hornbooks a rude picture of a cross preceded the letter A. The explanation that the alphabet used to be arranged in the form of a cross is now derided.

The assertion that the alphabet was written or printed in hornbooks in the form of a cross is one that may be moralized on to advantage by explainers of old stories and would-be etymologists. Christ's cross was cruciform, the alphabet was called Christ's cross,-the word "row" being of no consequence when it stops a theory, therefore the alphabet was in a cruciform shape. Imagination further asks, How could this be done? The answer comes readily, even from one of the meanest capacity: the consonants formed the perpendicular, the vowels the shorter transverse. Q. E D. Yet all is imagination, and the fact that the cross commenced the alphabetic row is wholly ignored. I say "imagination," for I, like some of your correspondents, doubt extremely whether such an eccentric arrangement as a cruciform one can be found in any hornbook. Our ancestors had various faults, but they were practical, and not faddists; they seldom, too, moved out of a groove. In addition to the examples of hornbooks quoted or representations that I have seen, I would give these: Minsheu, 1617, has "The Chrisse-cross (and Christ's cross) Row, or ABC;" Cotgrave, "La croix de par Dieu, The Christ's-cross row, or the hornbook wherein a child learns it; while Sherwood synonymizes the cross-row with "La croix," etc., and with "I'Alphabet," this last word being omitted by Cotgrave. Again, Th. Cooper, 1574, and Holyoke's Rider" speak under "Alphabetum" and "Abece larius' not of the "cross rows" nor of the "cross," but of "the cross" as synonymous with the alphabet; and Thomasius, 1594, says, "The cross row, or A B C."-Notes and Queries.

Crow, Eating. Crow is an unpalatable bird, and "eating crow" is one of the popular phrases to indicate the enforced doing of some unpleasant thing, especially the enforced confession of error, and is analogous to "eating your own words," "eating humble pie," "eating dirt," etc. Indeed, some wiseacres would derive it from the French "manger la crott" (eating dirt or refuse), crott (pronounced cro) being the old spelling, thus: "The dirt and crott of Paris may be smelt miles off" (Howel's "Londinopolis," 1657). But the American phrase is sufficiently intelligible as it stands, without any far-fetched foreign derivation.

Two stories, good enough to become classic, have entwined themselves around this phrase and profess to give its origin. Both are probably apocryphal, but both are worth preserving.

The first appeared in the Knickerbocker Magazine half a century ago, and concerns a thrifty boarding-house-keeper on the Hudson and an indigent patron. Whenever the latter remonstrated at the food he was told he was "too partikler." "I kin eat anything," asserted the autocrat of the table, with a proud consciousness of superiority; "I kin eat crow." The constant repetition of these words wearied the boarder. Finally he resolved to test the old man. Taking his gun with him, he succeeded in bagging a fine, fat old crow. By dint of soft words and filthy lucre he induced the cook to prepare that crow for the table. The cook was a Scotchwoman, and used snuff. He borrowed all she had, and sprinkled it liberally over the crow, gave it an extra turn, and brought it before the host, saying, as he set it down, "Now, my dear sir, you have said a thousand times, if you have said it once, that can eat crow; here is one very carefully cooked." The old man turned pale for a moment, but, bracing himself against the back of his chair, and with, “I kin eat crow," he began cutting a good mouthful. He swallowed it, and, preparing for a second onslaught, looked his boarder straight in the eye, and ejaculated, “I've eat crow," and took a second portion. He lifted his hands mechanically, as if for a third attack, but dropped them quickly over the region of his stomach, and, rising hurriedly and unsteadily, retreated for the door, muttering, as he went, "but dang me if I hanker arter it."


The other story, which is even better, has been told in a variety of ways, but this is the most finished version:

A Massachusetts regiment during the civil war was encamped near the estate of a wealthy planter. A city-bred private, having shot a tame crow on the planter's ground, was discovered by the owner with the bird in his possession. Seizing the private's musket, which lay on the ground, the irate planter cried, “As you've killed my crow, you've got to eat it." There was no escape, and the private had to eat. After a few mouthfuls, the planter asked, with a grin,"How do you like crow?"

"Well," was the reply, "I kin eat it, but I don't hanker arter it."

"All right," said the planter; "you've done pretty well. Here, take your gun and get off."

But no sooner was the gun in the soldier's hands than he pointed it at the planter, saying, "Now you've got to eat your share of crow."

And the planter, swearing and spluttering, was forced to obey. Next day the planter came into camp and reported to the colonel that he had been insulted by a Federal soldier. Strict orders had been issued against insulting or injuring residents. The planter's description served to bring the soldier before the impromptu tribunal.

"Did you ever see this gentleman before?" asked the colonel.

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'Oh, ya-as," drawled the soldier: "we—ah—we dined together yesterday." Crow, To pluck, pull, or pick a. This English phrase, standing alone, meant simply to busy one's self about a matter of no importance, to take trouble for nothing, a crow being a valueless bird. To pluck a crow with one-i.e., to have a quarrel with him-seems to be a natural outgrowth of the older phrase, equivalent to "I have a little affair to settle with him." The unpopular character of the bird would add to the force of the threat. An attempt has been unsuccessfully made to prove that the word crow is a corruption of croc, pronounced cro, a French word sometimes used for whiskers. So the phrase would mean, "I will pull whiskers with him.” From the strictly humorous point of view this etymon has merit. In Ireland, as well as in some parts of America, it seems the proper thing for the threatened party to answer, "And I've got a bag to hold the feathers."

Cruelty is clemency.

If not, resolve before we go
That you and I must pull a crow.

BUTLER: Hudibras.

We'll pluck a crow together.

Comedy of Errors, Act. iii.

Hamlet was not the first person who said,—
I must be cruel only to be kind.
Act iii., Sc. 4.

The Italians have a proverb, "Sometimes clemency is cruelty and cruelty is clemency," which has been made memorable over all similar allocutions because Catherine de Médicis quoted it to still the scruples of her son and nerve him for the massacre of St. Bartholomew.

Crying at Birth. In the Wisdom of Solomon, vii. 3, occurs this wellknown verse: "When I was born, I drew in the common air, and fell upon the earth, which is of like nature, and the first voice which I uttered was crying, as all others do." Lucretius has a parallel passage which may thus be translated:

The infant, as soon as Nature with great pangs of travail hath sent it forth from the womb of its mother into the regions of light, lies, like a sailor cast out from the waves, naked upon the earth, in utter want and helplessness, and fills every place around with mournful wailings

and piteous lamentations, as is natural for one who has so many ills of life in store for him, so many evils which he must pass through and suffer.-De Rerum Natura, v. 223. Shakespeare may have had Lucretius in mind when he wrote,Thou must be patient: we came crying hither;

Thou know'st the first time that we smell the air

We wawle and cry,

When we are born, we cry, that we are come
To this great stage of fools.


Among the parallels between Shakespeare and Bacon dwelt on with special insistence by the Baconians is the following, as compared with the above: What, then, remains but that we still should cry

For being born, and, being born, to die?

BACON: The World.

But the thought is too common to allow the building of any argument on the very slight resemblance. The last line, by the way, occurs in the form, Not to be born, or, being born, to die,

both in Drummond and in Bishop King. Sir William Jones has translated from the Persian a fine quotation in which the same thought is made to point a noble moral :

On parent knees, a naked new-born child,

Weeping thou sat'st, while all around thee smiled;
So live, that, sinking in thy last long sleep,

Calm thou may'st smile, while all around thee weep.

On the other hand, Sir Thomas Browne, quoting from Aristotle on in his commonplace books, has the query,


Why, though some children have been heard to cry in the womb, yet so few cry at their birth, though their heads be out of the womb?

In the same connection he notes that children, according to the same authority, "though they cry, weep not till after forty days, or, as Scaliger expresseth it, vagiunt sed oculis siccis."

Cui bono? This Latin phrase, which really means "Who gains by it?" "To whose advantage is it ?" is constantly misapplied in the sense of "What's the good of it?" and in this sense has become authorized by the usage of the best writers and speakers. The origin of the expression was as follows. When Lucius Cassius, a man of stern severity, sat as quæstor judicii in a murder trial, he always instructed the judices, or jurymen, to seek for a motive by asking, Cui bono? (i.e., Cui bono fuerit?) "Who was benefited?" by the crime. The maxim passed into a proverb, and was immortalized by Cicero, who quoted it in the Second Philippic and in the orations for Milo and Roscius.

Cup. There's many a slip 'twixt the cup and the lip. In one form or other this proverb is found in the folk-sayings of most European countries, and it was current among the Latins and the Greeks. Lycophron tells this story of its origin. Ancæus, son of Poseidon and Alta, was a king of the Leleges in Samos, who took especial pleasure in the cultivation of the grape and prided himself upon his numerous vineyards. In his eagerness he unmercifully overtaxed the slaves who worked there. A seer announced that for his cruelty he would not live to taste the wine from his grapes. The harvest passed safely, and then the wine-making, and Ancæus, holding in his hand a cup containing the first ruby drops, mocked at the seer's prophecy. But the prophet replied, “Many things happen between the cup and the lip.' Just then a cry was raised that a wild boar had broken into the vineyard, and the king, setting down his untasted cup, hurried off to direct the chase, but was himself slain by the boar.

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Cupar. There is a familiar Scotch saying, “He that will to Cupar maun to Cupar" (quoted in Scott's "Antiquary"), equivalent to "A wilful man will have his way.' Cupar being the head-quarters of all the judicial business of Fife County, all disputes were carried there to be settled, and the proverb was applied to the headstrong who would go to law against the advice of elders. There is a story of two men convicted of horse- or sheep-stealing; one was caught and condemned to death; the other escaped arrest till his curiosity led him to go to Cupar to see his friend executed, where he was identified and shared the same fate. The above proverb may have arisen from this incident. Cupar had an excessive number of lawyers in proportion to its population, and litigation seems to have been its chief industry. "Cupar justice" was sometimes used as synonymous with Jeddart justice (q. v.).

Cups that cheer but not inebriate,-usually misquoted in the singular. The phrase occurs in Cowper's "Task :"

And while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups
That cheer but not inebriate wait on each,
So let us welcome peaceful evening in.

The Winter Evening, Book iv., 1. 34.

Bishop Berkeley had already applied the epithet to his favorite tar-water, which he describes as "of a nature so mild and benign and proportioned to the human constitution as to warm without heating, to cheer but not inebriate." (Siris, par. 217.)

What a delicate speculation it is, after drinking whole goblets of tea,-

The cups that cheer but not inebriate,

and letting the fumes ascend into the brain, to sit considering what we shall have for supper,eggs and a rasher, or rabbit smothered in onions, or an excellent veal cutlet!-HAZLITT: On Going a Journey.

Curfew. It seems little short of heresy to question the tradition that curfew (Fr. couvre-feu) came into England with William the Conqueror, or to combat the good old definition sanctioned by so many authorities, "The ringing of an evening bell, originally a signal to the inhabitants to cover fires, extinguish lights, and retire to rest, instituted by William the Conqueror." The nursery historian has waxed sentimental over the wrongs of the conquered Saxon, and has conjured up pictures that must be balm to the downtrodden Celt. Even Thomson tells us,

The shivering wretches at the curfew sound
Dejected sunk into their sordid beds.

But the couvre-feu was known before William's time, both in England and on the Continent. He did, indeed, issue an edict on the subject; and although this edict may incidentally have helped to put down the Saxon beer-clubs, which were hotbeds of political conspiracies, its primary aim was as a precaution against fire. That danger was an ever-present one in days of chimneyless wooden houses. The ancient city ordinances of London abound in stringent fire regulations. None of them, however, were more effective than the "coverfire" bell, which as far back as the time of King Alfred was rung in certain places in England. William's edict rendered compulsory an ancient custom. But it was a wise legislative act, and not a bit of arbitrary tyranny. We find plenty of early traces of the custom or its equivalent, as, for instance, the blowing of a horn at the market-place, in Continental Europe.

It is a curious instance of the conservative tendency of the rural mind in England that the custom of ringing the curfew should have so long survived its original significance.

Curfew is still religiously tolled in many hundreds of towns and villages,

either all the year round, or-which is still more usual-from September to April. No part of the kingdom can claim it as a special proof of its adherence to a primitive simplicity. Geographically considered, its survivals are by no means uninstructive. It tolls from the Isle of Wight in the south, through Kent and Surrey, Middlesex, Suffolk, Norfolk, Lincoln, York, Durham, and Northumberland, and even across the border, in the Scotch lowlands. And it can be traced again through Cumberland and Lancashire, Cheshire, Derby. shire, Stafford, Notts, Leicestershire, Worcestershire, Shropshire, Hertfordshire, Monmouthshire, down to Devon and Dorset. It is, in short, perpetuated all over the kingdom. Here and there it has become identified with local customs. At Newcastle, until it was discontinued, it was the signal for shutting the shops. At Durham, again (where it is tolled at nine o'clock), it heralds the closing of the college gates; while in many Cheshire and Yorkshire villages it has for centuries warned farmers to lock up their cattle for the night. The almost universal hour at which it is tolled is eight o'clock in the evening, although here and there it is rung instead at seven and nine o'clock. In some places, too, there is a morning curfew, a curious variation. At Stow, for instance, it is, or was lately, rung as early as four A.M., and at Tamworth at the more reasonable hour of six. At Waltham in the Wolds, again, a grateful farmer, who was lost in the snow and found his way home by its sound, left a field to endow a five-o'clock curfew forever.

The facts, indeed, plainly show that the custom has kept its hold on the popular sympathies through all the ages. The Pilgrims and the Puritans brought it over with them to New England, where the curfew bell is still rung in many towns and villages. In the "Bells of Lynn," Longfellow appeals to the "curfew of the setting sun" as heard at Nahant; and other allusions are freely found in our native poets.

Cuspidor. It has been suggested that this word was invented by the manufacturers of a new style of spittoon who are credited with a classic wit. The Latin verb cuspido means to sharpen, to point, and seems to give no clue to cuspidor. But there is a noun cuspis from the same root, which means a sharp-pointed weapon, a lance, a spit; and here we find the punning origin of the word: thus, cuspis, a spit; cuspido, the thing which points the spit. This seems rather far-fetched, the more so that there is a Portuguese verb cuspir, to spit, and the nouns from the same root are cuspo, spittle; cuspidor, a spitter, a spitting man; and cuspideira, spitting-box. The Spanish equivalent is escupidor, a spitting man. But both the Spanish and the Portuguese words must be referred to the Latin conspuere, to spit.

Cut one's stick, to make off, to leave, to escape. This common expression is thought to refer to the cutting of a staff from a hedge or tree on the occasion of a journey. A Latin equivalent is the "Collige sarcinulas" ("Collect the bags") of Juvenal, while a curious though accidental parallel occurs in Zechariah xi. 10, where the cutting of a stick is described as the symbol of breaking a friendly covenant. The phrase is sometimes humor

ously elaborated into "to amputate one's mahogany."

"Cut down the bloody horde!"'

Cried Meagher of the sword,

"This conduct would disgrace any blackamore!"

But the best use Tommy made

Of his famous battle-blade

Was to cut his own stick from the Shannon shore.

THACKERAY: Battle of Limerick.

In the days of American slavery the advertisements of runaway negroes were embellished with pictures of the fugitives carrying a stick and a bundle over their shoulders.

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