From Quizzism and Its Key. Quirks and Quibbles from Queer Quarters. A Mélange of Questions in Literature, Science, History, Biography, Mythology, Philology, Geography, etc. etc. With Their Answers, by Albert P. Southwick, A. M.; New England Publishing Company, Boston; 1886; pp. 173-194.
A young, beautiful, and graceful lady, evidently accustomed to good society, who made her appearance, in 1776, at Bourton, near Bristol, England. She lived for four years in a haystack, but was ultimately kept in an asylum by Mrs. Hannah More, and died suddenly in December, 1801. Mrs. 174 More called her Louisa; she was probably a Mademoiselle La Frülen, natural daughter of Francis Joseph I., emperor of Austria.
Laïs, a courtezan, or Greek Hetaira, whose beauty exciting the jealousy of the Thessalonian women, was by them stoned to death. She was contemporary with Phryne, her rival, and sat to Apelles as a model. There were two of the name and the elder, who was the one “stoned to death,” was the most beautiful woman of Corinth, and lived at the time of the Peloponnesian war.
The meaning is “words instead of food,” and the reference is to an old song which represents a man who had bought a cow, but having no food to give her, bade his cow “consider that it was not the season for grass.”
It is the name given by Ponce De Leon to the Asimais Indians, and means “friends.”
The virgin train of St. Ursula, who, on their way to France were driven by adverse winds to Cologne, where they were martyred by the Huns. Visitors to that city are shown piles of skulls and human bones heaped in the wall, 175 faced with glass, which the verger asserts are the relics of these unfortunate females. Ursula was a British princess.
The speaking head of Orpheus is said to have predicted the fatal termination of the expedition of Cyrus into Scythia. The close of Cyrus’s life (529 B. C.) is involved in obscurity, one account being that he was slain in battle with the Massagetæ, a Scythian tribe, whose infuriated queen, Tomyris, had his head thrown into a vat of boiling blood, his body being conveyed to Persia, and buried at Pasargadæ; and another, that he lived in retirement to “a good old age.”
A smile of contempt; as used by Homer. The Herba Sardonica (so called from Sardis, in Asia Minor) is so acrid that it produces a convulsive movement of the nerves of the face, resembling a painful grin. Byron says of the Corsair: “There was a laughing devil in his sneer.”
It is the Fifth Proposition, Book I. of Euclid — the first difficult theorem, which dunces rarely get over for the first time without stumbling.
It is found in the Letter of the Earl of Chesterfield (1694-1773), written March 10, 1746.176
Samuel Taylor Coleridge (1772-1834), in his Biog. Lit., ch. xv., writes, “Our myriad-minded Shakespeare,” a phrase which he acknowledges to have borrowed from a Greek monk, who applies it to a patriarch of Constantinople.
François, duc de La Rochefoucauld (1613-1680). It is Maxim 227, to be found in the London edition (1871) of his works.
It is obtained by saponifying olive oil or animal fat with oxide of lead, or litharge. Discovered by Scheele, about 1779, it was called by him the “sweet principle of fat,” and was further studied by Chevreul, who termed it the “father of the fatty acids.”
Certain explorers having found what they considered the source of the Mississippi, a discussion arose as to what they should call it; an old voyager said: “Let’s make a new name by coining a word; some of you learned ones tell me what is the Latin for true?” “Veritas,” was the answer. “Well, now, what is the Latin for head?” “Caput.” “Now write the two words together.” The linguist wrote on a piece of birch bark, “Veritascaput..” “Now drop the first and last syllables, and you will have a good name for this lake,” It was done, and the remainder was “Itasca,” an abbreviation of the words meaning “The true head.”177‘
The caution “Take care you are not swearing Godwin’s oath” to a person taking a voluntary and intemperate oath, or making violent protestations, had its rise in the following circumstances related by the monks: In 1053, Godwin, earl of Kent, was tried for the murder of Prince Alfred, brother of Edward the Confessor, and pardoned, but died at the king’s table while protesting with oaths his innocence of the murder; supposed by the historians of those times to have been choked with a piece of bread, as a judgment from Heaven, having prayed that it might stick in his throat if he were guilty of murder.
“Early to bed and early to rise,
Makes a man healthy, wealthy, and wise.”?
Hazlitt states that this distich occurs in Clarke’s Paræmiologia, 1639. He quotes in illustration: “And then it is no marvell though I know him not, for my houre is eight o’clocke, though it is an infallible rule. Sanat, sanctificat, et ditat surgere mane [“Health and riches follow early rising”]. (A Health to the Gentle Professor of Servingmen, 1598.) Franklin introduced this saying into the axioms of “Poor Richard.”
The order of “Toison d’or,” or “Golden fleece,” to which thirty-one knights were admitted. The King of Spain afterward became grand master of the order as Duke of Burgundy. It is said to have been instituted on account of the immense profit the duke (Philip the Good) made on the sale of wool. The first solemnities were performed at 178 Burgos, at this duke’s marriage with Isabel of Portugal; and on this occasion the knights wore a scarlet cloak lined with ermine, with the collar opened, and the duke’s cipher, in the form of a B, to signify Burgundy, together with flints striking fire, with the motto, “Ante ferit quam flamma micat” (“He strikes before the spark gives light”). At the end of the collar hung a golden fleece, with this device, “Pretium non vile laborum” (“The not inglorious reward of toil”). The order afterward became common to all the princes of the house of Austria, as being descended from Mary, daughter of Charles the Bold, last duke of Burgundy. The order now belongs to both Austria and Spain, in accordance with a treaty made in 1725.
The Gauls; for with them hair was much esteemed, and hence the appellation Gallia comata. The royal family of France held it as a particular mark and privilege of the kings and princes of the blood to wear long hair, artfully dressed and curled. “The clerical tonsure is of apostolic institution.” — Isidorus Hispalensis. In the year 155, Pope Anicetus forbade the clergy to wear long hair. Long hair went “out of fashion” during the protectorate of Cromwell, and hence the term Roundheads. In 1795, a tax was laid upon persons using hair-powder (an article which came into use in 1500), at one time yielding a revenue of one hundred thousand dollars per annum.
From a large boulder on the edge of a high bank a few miles east of Rocky Mount, on the Catawba river, in South 179 Carolina, which gives the name to the place. General Sumter, on the sixth of August, 1780, attacked and defeated a large body of British and Tories after an engagement of four hours, in which he lost twelve men killed and forty-one wounded. This was the first battle in which Andrew Jackson, afterward President of the United State, was engaged, having been taken to the battle-field in some capacity as aid; and, according to one account, being captured by the British and held captive for some days.
An argument that Achilles could never catch a tortoise, because while the man was running the intervening distance, the tortoise would still get some distance ahead, and so on to infinity. This was invented by Zeno, the Eclectic, about 455 B. C.
It is situated at the extreme southwestern point of Washington Territory forming the northern headland at the mouth of the Columbia river. It was formerly known as Cape Disappointment.
The first public appearance of women on the stage in England is said to have been encouraged by Charles II. in 1662; but the queen of James I. had previously performed in a theatre at court. Victor states that Mrs. Colman was the first actress on the stage and that she performed the part of “Ianthe” in Davenant’s Siege of Rhodes, in 1656. Actresses appear to have been unknown to the ancients, men or eunuchs performing the female parts. The most celebrated actresses have been Mrs. Siddons, English, born 180 1755, died 1831; Fanny Kemble, English, born 1811, Mademoiselle Rachel (Eliza Rachel Felix), French Jewess, born 1820, died 1858; Madame Ristori, Italian, born 1821.
Scotland. There “Roman Eagles found unconquered foes.”* The union between Scotland and England, as the “Kingdom of Great Britain,” — though the crowns of these two countries were united by the accession of James I. (VI. of Scotland) March 24, 1603, — took place in 1707.
* Thomas Campbell wrote: —
For being the “resort” of a band of privateersmen and pirates consisting of a thousand men, mostly French, under Lafitte, in 1814, as the English, by taking Guadaloupe in 1810 had deprived them of that port. The captain of an English sloop-of-war, then at Pensacola, on September 2, 1814, offered to receive them into the English service if they would join in the attack on New Orleans. Lafitte, however, informing Governor Claiborne of Louisiana, Commodore Patterson, with a United States squadron, was sent to Barataria in October of that year and captured ten vessels with twenty guns, the pirates not offering any resistance. Lafitte and a part of them afterward served under General Jackson in the defence of New Orleans, and were, in return, left unmolested. This bay is situated about fifteen miles by six, west of the Mississippi.181
From the middle of May until the second of August, 1832, when, in a battle at the junction of the Bad Axe river with the Mississippi, four hundred regulars and five hundred volunteers under General Atkinson totally defeated the five hundred Indians under Black Hawk, captured that fiery Sac chief, drove the survivors beyond the Mississippi, and ended the war. Only twenty-two white people were killed and forty wounded during the summer, while the Indians lost two hundred and sixty-three warriors and forty women.
A Spanish physician who knew of the circulation of the blood through the lungs, in 1553. Cæsalpinus published an account of the general circulation, of which he had some confused ideas, afterward improved by experiments, in 1569. Paul of Venice, or Father Paolo (real name Peter Sarpi), discovered the valves which serve for the circulation; but the honor of the definite discovery of the circulation belongs to William Harvey, between 1619 and 1628.
He is considered the founder of the science of botany, about 347 B. C. The Historia Plantarum of Theophrastus was written about 320 B. C.. Authors on botany became numerous at the close of the fifteenth century, and were followed by Fuchsius, Bock, Bauhin, Cæsalpinus, and others, who wrote between 1535 and 1600. The system and arrangement of the great Linnæus was made known about 1750; and Jussieu’s system, founded on Tournefort’s, and called the “natural system,” in 1758. At Linnæus’s death 182 in 1778, the species of plants actually described amounted in number to eleven thousand eight hundred. The number of species now recorded is fully one hundred thousand.
Mount de Agua (Volcan de Agua) in Guatemala, Central America, twenty-five miles southwest of the capital, New Guatemala. The traveller Stephen estimates its altitude at fourteen thousand four hundred and fifty feet above the level of the sea. Cultivated fields surround the base, and a belt of forest and verdure extends to the summit. Its name is derived from the fact that, occasionally, torrents of cold water flow out of its northern side.
Large-footed. An appropriate appellation in reference to the pedal extremities of its natives. It is well to know, however, that Patagonia, as a distinct country, has disappeared from the map of South America, having been absorbed by the Argentine Republic.
The term sometimes applied to Prince Rupert’s Drops, described in the answer to query No. 215.
This fort, situated near Mobile, Alabama, was attacked by a British land force of seven hundred and thirty troops and two hundred Creek Indians on September 15, 1814. Though the attacking party was assisted by a naval force, the garrison of one hundred and thirty-four men, rank and file, defended it successfully. They lost only five killed and 183 four wounded, while the British lost one hundred and sixty-two killed and seventy wounded.
This South American empire was called the “Land of the Holy Cross” by Alvarez de Cabral, a Portuguese, who discovered the country accidentally, by being driven on its coast in a tempest on the twenty-sixth of January, 1500. It was subsequently called Brazil, on account of its red wood. The French having seized Portugal in 1807, the royal family and nobles embarked for Brazil, and landed on March 7, 1808.
So called because a human head (caput) was found when the foundations of the principal fortress of Rome, on Mons Tarpeius were being dug. On this hill a temple to Jupiter was built, thence called Jupiter Capitolinus. The foundation was laid by Tarquinius Priscus, 616 B. C. The building was continued by Servius Tullius, and completed by Tarquinius Superbus, but was not dedicated till 507 B. C. by the Consul Horatius. It was burnt during the civil wars, 83 B. C., rebuilt by Sylla, and dedicated again by Lutatius Catullus, 69 B. C. The Roman consuls made large donations to this temple, and the Emperor Augustus bestowed on it two thousand pounds’ weight of gold, of which metal the roof was composed; its thresholds were of brass, and its anterior was decorated with shields of solid silver. It was destroyed by lightning 188 B. C.; by fire A. D. 70, and rebuilt by Domitian. The Capitoline games, instituted 387 B. C., were revived by Domitian, A. D. 86. The Campidoglio contains palaces of the senators, erected on the site of the Capitol by Michael Angelo soon after 1546.184
The “water-clock” was introduced at Rome about 158 B. C. by Scipio Nasica. Toothed wheels were applied to them by Ctesibius about 140 B. C.. They are said to have been found by Cæsar in Britain 55 B. C.. The only clock supposed to be then in the world was sent by Pope Paul I. to Pepin, king of France, A. D. 760.
The killing of the Duchesse de Cholseul-Praslin by her husband, the Duc de Praslin, at his own house, in Paris, on August 17, 1847. She was the only daughter of the celebrated Marshal Sebastiani, the mother of nine children, and forty years old. The Duc, who attempted to give the impression that it was the act of another, committed suicide by taking poison during the arrangements for the trial.
The earthen lamp of Epictetus, the philosopher, was sold for this sum after his death in the year 161.
Pliny states that one was built by Dædalus, to secure the Minotaur, in the island of Crete, about 1210 B. C.; another by Psammetichus, king of Moeris, in the isle of that name in Egypt, about 683 B. C.; a third at Lemnos, remarkable for its sumptuous pillars, which seems to have been a stalactite grotto; and the fourth at Clusium, in Italy, erected by Porsenna, king of Etruria, about 520 B. C.. Herodotus writes that the beauty and art of the labyrinth of Mendes were almost beyond belief; it had twelve halls and three thousand chambers, with pillars; was incrusted with marble 185 and adorned with sculpture. With the labyrinth of Woodstock is connected the story of Fair Rosamond, The Maze at Hampton Court was formed at the end of the sixteenth century.
Acca Laurentia is said to have been either the nurse of Romulus or Remus, or a rich dissolute woman, who bequeathed her property to the Roman people. Laurentalia were festivals celebrated at Rome in her honor. They commenced about 621 B. C., and were held on the last day of April and the twenty-third of December.
Lima, Peru, in 1535; for, as he was marching through the country, he was struck with the beauty of the valley of Rimac, and there he founded this city, and called it Ciudad de los Reyes, or City of the Kings. Here he was assassinated, June 26, 1541.
Golour M’Crain, of the Isle of Jura, one of the Hebrides, who died in the reign of Charles I., being the oldest man (as Greig states), on anything approaching to authentic records, that had lived for upwards of three thousand years.
One of the greatest antiquities of the city of London, having been known before the time of William I. It is said to have been placed by the Romans in Cannon Street, then the center of the city, 15 B. C. It was removed from the 186 opposite side of the way in 1742. It was against this stone that Jack Cade struck his sword, exclaiming: “Now is Mortimer lord of this city!” in 1450.
It is the novel feature of the youngest son, instead of the eldest, succeeding to the property, rights, and burgage tenure, at his father’s death. This practice is in vogue in Maldon (Essex), England.
Virgil (Publius Virgilius Maro) is often styled thus, as he was born in a village near the city of Mantua, Italy, in the year 70 B. C.
Alfred Tennyson (1810-), at the request of the Mantuans, wrote one of his finest poems for the nineteenth centenary of Virgil’s death, which occurred October 22, 19 B. C.
It is found in Shakespeare’s King Henry, part ii. act ii. scene i., but the germ of the expression is given in much older writings.
By Poppæa, the wife of Nero, to guard her complexion from the sun; but theatrical masks were in use among the Greeks and Romans. Horace attributes them to Æschylus; yet Aristotle said that the inventor and time of 187 their introduction were unknown. Modern masks, and muffs, fans, and false hair for the women, were devised in Italy, and brought to England from France in 1572.
“Compound for sins they are inclined to,
By damning those they have no mind to”?
Samuel Butler (1612-1680). It is given in Hudibras, that witty burlesque of the manners of the Puritans, part i. canto i., line 215. Butler, who expected much from the popularity of his poem at court, looked in vain for promotion from Charles II., and at his death was buried at the expense of a friend. At a later period a handsome monument was erected to him, which gave occasion to the following epigram: —
The probability of the non-advancement of Butler’s interests at court lay in his lack of conversational ingenuity and pleasantry; for it is related that the witty Charles II., who was so charmed with the humor of Hudibras that he caused himself to be introduced privately to the author, found Butler an intolerably dull companion. He was confident that so stupid a fellow never wrote a book. The Earl of Dorset, who sought an interview with the great satirist, was similarly disappointed. Taking three bottles of wine with him, he found the poet dull and heavy after the first had been drained, somewhat sparkling after the second, and after the third more stupid and muzzy than ever. “Your friend,” said the earl, after he had left with his 188 introducer, “is like a nine-pin — small at both ends and great in the middle.”
It is derived by Spelman from mande, a hand-basket, in which the king was accustomed to give alms to the poor; by others from dies mandati, the day on which Christ gave his grand mandate that we should love one another. It is the Thursday before Good Friday, and on this day it was the custom of the English kings, or their almoners, to give alms, food, and clothing to as many poor men as their royal highnesses were years old. It was begun by Edward III., when he was fifty years of age, in 1363.
Claudius Nero, who, with Livius, both of whom were consuls, led the Romans against the brother of Hannibal at the Metaurus, a river in central Italy, where Asdrubal (or Hasdrubal) was totally defeated and slain, while marching with large re-enforcements to aid Hannibal. It is said that Hannibal upon seeing the gory head of his brother was filled with dire forebodings and a distrust of his own military genius, which had until this time brought him a succession of victories; and this prophetic feeling was realized by a series of disasters and the final defeat which befell him.
Artemisia, who married her own brother, Mausolus, king of Caria, in Asia Minor, 377 B. C. At his death she drank in liquor his ashes after his body had been burned, 189 and erected to his memory at Halicarnassus a monument, one of the seven wonders of the world (350 B. C.), termed Mausoleum. She invited all the literary men of her age to the funeral rites, and proposed rewards to him who composed the best elegaic panegyric poem upon her husband. The prize was adjudged to Theopompus, 353 B. C. Artemisia died five years after this. The statue of Mausolus is among the antiquities brought from Halicarnassus by Mr. C. T. Newton, in 1857, and placed in the British Museum. Queen Victoria founded a mausoleum, for the royal family of England, at Frogmore, March 15, 1862.
A plot against the Duke of York, afterward James II., planned by one Dangerfield, who secreted a bundle of seditious letters in the lodgings of Colonel Maunsell, and then gave information to the custom-house officers to search for smuggled goods, on October 23, 1679.
After Dangerfield’s arrest on suspicion of forging these letters, papers were found concealed in a meal-tub at the house of a woman with whom he cohabited, which contained the scheme in the shape of an accusation sworn against the most eminent persons in the Protestant interest (who were against the Duke of York’s succession), of treason, particularly the Earls of Shaftesbury, Essex, and Halifax. On Dangerfield being whipped the last time, as part of his punishment, June 1, 1685, one of his eyes was struck out by a barrister named Robert Francis; this caused his death, for which his assailant was hanged.
The name is derived from its reputed founder, Frederick Anthony Mesmer, a German physician of Mersburg, who 190 published his doctrines in 1766, contending, by a thesis on planetary influence, that the heavenly bodies diffused through the universe a subtle fluid which acts on the nervous system of animated beings. Quitting Vienna for Paris in 1778, he gained numerous proselytes to his system in France, where he received 340,000 livres. The government appointed a committee of physicians and members of the Academy of Sciences to investigate his pretensions. Among these were Franklin and Bailly, and the results appeared in an admirable paper drawn up by the latter, 1784, exposing the futility of animal magnetism, as the delusion was then termed. Mesmerism excited attention again about 1848, when Miss Harriet Martineau and others announced their belief in it.
From M. Minié, its inventor, at Vincennes about 1833. M. Minié, who was born about 1800, raised himself from a common soldier to the rank of chef d’escadron. His rifle, which was considered superior to all previously made for accuracy of direction and extent of range, was adopted by the French, and, with various modifications, by the British army in 1852; but it has been long since superseded by more recent improved fire-arms.
Mithridates, king of Pontus, 88 B. C., and this massacre led to the Mithridatic War, remarkable for its duration, its many battles, the destruction of human life it occasioned, and the cruelties of its commanders. Mithridates, having captured the Consul Aquilius made him ride an ass through a great part of Asia, crying out as he 191 rode: “I am Aquilius, consul of the Romans!” He ultimately dispatched him by ordering melted gold to be poured down his throat, in derision of his avarice, 85 B. C. Mithridates was defeated by Pompey 66 B. C., and committed suicide, 63 B. C..
The daughter of Dibutades, the Corinthian, who is the reputed inventor of models in clay. This daughter being about to be separated from her lover, who was going on a distant journey, traced his profile by his shadow on the wall. Her father filled up the outline with clay, which he afterward baked, and thus produced a figure of the object of her affection, giving rise to an art, till then unknown, — about 985 B. C.
That of Moore’s Creek Bridge (North Carolina), on the twenty-seventh of February, 1776, when the Tory Scotch Highlanders living at Fayetteville and vicinity, led by Donald M’Donald, had a severe engagement with the Americans, led by Colonels Caswell and Lillington. The Scotch were fifteen hundred strong, while the Americans only numbered about one thousand. The former, defeated, lost seventy men killed and wounded; the latter none, and had only two wounded.
The Roman Acta Diurna were issued, it is said, 691 B. C. In modern times, a Gazetta, which derived its name from its price, a small coin, was published in Venice about 1536. The Gazette de France, now existing, first appeared in April, 192 1631, edited by Renaudot, a physician. It was patronized by the king, Louis XIII., who wrote one article for it, and by Richelieu. The first real newspaper published in England was established by Sir Roger L’Estrange in 1663; it was entitled the Public Intelligencer, and continued nearly three years, when it ceased, on the appearance of the Gazette. In the reign of James I. (1622) appeared the London Weekly Courant; and in the year 1643 (the period of the Civil War) were printed a variety of publications, but none deserving the name of newspapers. The first American newspaper was The Boston News-Letter which appeared on April 24, 1704, although in September, 1690, an adventurous printer had made a similar attempt in the same town, the publication of which was suppressed by the authorities, and only one copy is now known to be in existence.
By some, the oldest newspaper in the world is said to be the King-Pau (“Capital Sheet”), published in Pekin, and, since the fourth of June, 1882, issued in a new form prescribed by special edict of the reigning emperor, Quang-soo. It first appeared A. D. 911, but came out only at irregular intervals. Since the year 1351, however, it has been published weekly, and of uniform size. Until its reorganization by imperial decree it contained nothing but orders in council and court news, was published about mid-day, and cost two kesh, or something less than a half-penny. Now, however, it appears in three editions daily. The first, issued early in the morning and printed on yellow paper, is called Hsing-Pau (“Business Sheet), and contains trade prices, exchange quotations, and all manner of commercial intelligence. Its circulation is a little over eight thousand. The second edition, which comes out during the forenoon, also printed upon yellow paper, is devoted to official announcements, fashionable intelligence, and general 193 news. Besides its ancient title of King-Pau, it owns another designation, that of Shuen-Pau (“Official Sheet”). The third edition appears late in the afternoon, is printed on red paper and bears the name of Titani-Pau (“Country Sheet”). It consists of extracts from the earlier editions, and has a large list of subscribers in the provinces. All these issues of the King-Pau are edited by six members of the Han-Lin Academy of Sciences, appointed and salaried by the Chinese government. The total number of copies printed daily varies between thirteen and fourteen thousand.
James, duke of Monmouth (born at Rotterdam, April 9, 1649), a natural son of Charles II., by Lucy Waters, was banished from England for his connection with the Rye-house plot in 1683. He invaded England at Lyme, June 11, 1685; was proclaimed King at Taunton, June 20; was defeated at Sedgemoor, near Bridgewater, July 6; and was beheaded on Tower Hill, July 15.
From the Swedish botanist, Professor Dahl, who first cultivated it. This beautiful flower was brought from Mexico, of which it is a native, in the present century. It soon became a favorite in England, and in 1815, about two months after the battle of Waterloo, it was introduced into France, and the celebrated florist André Thouine suggested various practical improvements in its management. The botanist Georgi shortly before introduced it at St. Petersburg; hence the dahlia is known in Germany as the Georgina.194
Colonel Edward Marcus Despard, a native of Ireland, and Broughton, Francis, Graham, Macnamara, Wood, and Wrattan, conspired to seize the king’s person on the day of his meeting Parliament, January 16, 1803, to destroy him, and overturn the government. A special commission was issued on February 7, and they suffered death on the top of Horsemonger Lane jail, Southwark, February 21, 1803. Between thirty and forty persons of inferior order were taken into custody, on November 16, 1802, for this conspiracy, which caused great consternation at the time.
In 621 B. C., by Draco’s Laws, enacted by him when archon at Athens. On account of their severity they were said to be written in blood. This code was set aside by Solon’s, 594 B. C.
Copyright © 2004 by Elfinspell