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a great man's fame, “that a man has only a secondary right to his name; his neighbours have the first.” “A man's name,” he insists, “is the handle, as it were, by which other people take hold of him," and, putting aside for the moment the higher and graver question involved in elevations to the peerage, he makes war upon the liberty which in a few instances men assume of arbitrarily changing their names, contending that if the custom became general our dealings with our fellow creatures would become complicated to such an extent that life would be an intolerable burden, and the bills of mortality would be indefinitely increased by cases of suicide and of death from melancholy madness. No doubt a chaos of uncertain identity would set in if a mania for changing names were to take possession of the popular mind. As a general rule, however, I

a think men (I say nothing of women) have too much affection for their names to part with them very readily. But for this the pages of our directories would 'not be disfigured by so many hideous forms of speech, and people would not be content to be lost in a crowd of namesakes to an extent that serves to change a proper noun into a common noun. If my friend, and those who think with him, were going to be made content by an Act of Parliament to render surnames unalterable, I should plead for a large measure of revision and expurgation previous to the putting in force of the measure.

Gossip about surnames invariably leads to speculations on their origin. Upon this subject a foreign gentleman who devotes his days and nights to the study of the natural history and eccentricities of human speech sends me a long letter, from which I cull a few interesting items. He warns us off the too obvious explanation of the common name Barker, who, he says, is not in any way indebted to association with the vocal habits of the canine species, but earned originally his name as well as his livelihood by working the bark of the oak in the interest of tanning processes. Latimer was translator, a learned man, acquainted with Latin especially, and with foreign languages generally. There is a string of names which, though presenting no great difficulty to the etymologist, have somewhat puzzled the antiquarian. King, Duke, Lord, Baron, Pope, Earl, and the like have given rise to a good deal of curious speculation, and notably the name Pope. “But,” says my philologist, “it should be remembered that surnames in ancient days were just as often given as they were taken, and in this way we may account for the perpetuation of high-sounding designations given originally in some degree in mockery to people of high pretensions or a vain-glorious manner”; and by way of analogy the case is quoted of a young gentleman who was known as Pope by reason of certain airs of infallibility. But there is another explanation. In early English history existed a sort of technical "local nobility,” a class of men boasting of temporary mock-titles in connecnection with the guilds and corporations; and no doubt these had a tendency to become hereditary. The study of surnames is essentially a study of the language. It was the end of the eleventh century before surnames became frequent, but in the thirteenth they had become fashionable, or in a manner essential, for we find a young lady of rank of the period refusing the offer of the hand of the natural son of a king, and her objection is rendered immortal by the poet of the time thus :

It were to me a great shame,
To have a lord withouten his twa name.



THERE is just now being published a series of volumes for trace of which I look in vain through the publishers’announcements which at the present season crowd the columns of the newspapers and periodicals. Yet they have, I am assured upon independent testimony, a circulation which prosperous publishers might envy for their most successful ventures, and are read with a thrilling interest such as only narratives spiced with much bigamy and large doses of murder can excite in the languid bosom of the more fashionable novel reader. The subscription to the series is not extravagant, each volume being sold at the price of “one penny, including wrapper.” We are already at the ninth volume, which is entitled “ The Italian Boy; or the Career of Bishop and Williams, Bodysnatchers and Burkers.” Other volumes bear the tempting titles of “Sweeney Todd, or the Barber of Fleet Street ”; “Lightning Dick the Young Detective, or the Trials of a Poor Apprentice"; "Margaret Catchpole, or the Female Horse Stealer, Footpad, Smuggler, Prison Breaker, and Murderess"; "Wildfire Will, the Dwarf, the Maniac, the Assassin, and the Avenger"; and “Old Mother Brownrigg, or the Fiend of Fetter Lane.” Some of these productions having proved so persistently popular that the earlier editions have become exhausted, they are reprinted, and run the current number close in the week's sale. “The Fiend of Fetter Lane” has achieved this enviable distinction, and in the little back streets about the Strand, and in the more open thoroughfares at the East End, the yellow wrapper,

depicting in marvellous manner “the Brownriggs illtreating Mary Clifford,” is pretty sure to catch the eye of the passer by the shop windows. The original, and now more than a century old, story of the Brownriggs is horrible enough, but it is mild as compared with its adaptation in “ The Fiend of Fetter Lane,” and is there, moreover, built about with a framework of romance that makes it very cheap indeed for a penny. In the prologue alone we have a chapter headed “The Traveller! The Fratricide!! A Demon !!! Revenge !!!!” and, not to mention other attractions, there is a moving description of a storm, which “now shrieked like fiends in revelry, the forked lightning revealing the mysterious pedestrian quickly, passing on, muttering strange words which were carried away by the whistling winds.” Possibly when the blessings of education are further extended the taste of the hundred thousand readers of “ The Complete Romancer" will become elevated, and they will be able to share with their social betters the joys of the sensation novel of the season. In the meantime, we can only deplore their depraved tastes, and thank Heaven we are not as they.

An awful responsibility rests upon London as the guardian of the records and mementoes which will in future ages form the material of the history of great nations. I mean the great nations whose infant pranks and infant struggles we are watching in these days. For

. although I am no croaker as to the decline and fall of Britain, and do not think that, barring the results of possible convulsions of nature, this country is likely ever to become an abandoned ruin, I cannot doubt that there are many lands in the two hemispheres of no significance now which will be great nations or the centres of powerful empires in their turn. And many of them must come to England for the first chapters of their history. A stone in Westminster Abbey has just been laid over the coffin of one who should be a demi-god in the early annals of a score of great kingdoms which shall flourish in Central Africa in the course of the third thousand years of the Christian era. As the pious pilgrims of several generations betook themselves to the stone steps of the shrine where A'Becket was buried, so for hundreds and perhaps for thousands of years shall the black poets, historians, statesmen, and antiquarians of future

negro civilisation make pilgrimages to Westminster and nurse great thoughts at the tomb of David Livingstone. The Queen of England at Windsor welcoming home Sir Garnet Wolseley and the troops from Coomassie; the British Houses of Parliament thanking the victorious soldier; the peerage of Lord Napier of Magdala ; the education in Englaud of the little black son of the redoubtable King Theodore of Abyssinia--these are scenes and events the records and descriptions whereof in the Anglo-Saxon of the nineteenth century will make beautiful tradition for some of the predominant African nationalities of the twentieth, the twenty-first, or say the twenty-fifth centuries. What will the proud statesmen and orators of the great Parliament of Fiji, in those days, say of the caution and hesitation of the Britons of these early times touching the cession to the Queen's dominions of those islands of the South Seas towards which now civilisation is so rapidly drifting ?


Gentleman's Magazine GENTLEMAN'S


JUNE, 1874.



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HE Fates, who had been so cruel to Mrs. Westwood last

night, were amply propitious to her in the morning. When Lord Wendale was announced, she and the three

girls were all at home, and Olympia out of the way. The visit was a trifle too early for the state of the drawing-room, but that was of little consequence compared with the fortunate absence of Olympia, who seemed growing dangerous as well as disagreeable. So the lady of The Laurels came down with her very best smile.

She greeted the Earl with a happy mingling of deference and cordiality ; his eccentric shadow, Forsyth, with a somewhat less happy blending of cordiality with dignity. He puzzled her. thought she understood about young men, and here was one

Vol. XII., N.S. 1874.


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