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by him which I purchased at a second-hand book and print shop in the Blackfriars Road.
But a second instance in my own experience of this turning up, about the same time, of a duplicate copy of a book which had been long and anxiously looked for, is the more curious, inasmuch as the volume to which I am referring is of greater rarity and literary importance than The Vices. I refer to the then very rare and most interesting collection of Neapolitan fairy tales, ' Il Pentamerone del Cavalier Giovan Battista Basile.'
My interest in the Pentamerone was first excited by the references made to it in Edgar Taylor and Mrs. Austin's admirable selection from it in their German Popular Stories so admirably translated by them from the collection of the Brothers Grimm and so wonderfully illustrated by George Cruikshank, and of which my copy-vce mihi!has been thumbed away by two generations of juvenile readers : that book stimulating the curiosity as to the history of fiction, and its cognate subject nursery literature, which had been awakened in me by the admirable articles so entitled in the Quarterly from the pen of the late Sir Francis Palgrave; and I mastered German enough to wade through the three little Almain quarto volumes of the original Kinder- und Haus-Märchen published at Göttingen in 1822. There I learned more about the Pentamerone, and tried hard to secure a copy of it, but waited long before that most courteous and clever of caterers for such literary wants (of whom more anon), Tom Rodd, got me that which I now possess, which is of the edition printed at Naples in 1674.
But during the ten or fifteen years which elapsed before I got this copy of Basile, the idea which I had entertained of mastering the Neapolitan dialect and translating Basile's stories into English had passed away, and I had other work in hand; and I only secured the book in case, at some future time, I might take up again the idea of preparing an English version of it.
Within a month of getting this copy I was offered another-and, strangely enough, at a shop also in Newport Street, and within fifty yards of Tom Rodd's. I of course secured that, and had the pleasure of giving it to Crofton Croker, the author of the Fairy Legends and Traditions of the South of Ireland, who, like myself, had long been on the look-out for one.
What a number of old friends and pleasant associations in connection with them will the sight of an old book sometimes recall to our minds! I have already mentioned the accomplished authors of the Lays of the Minnesingers and of Maistre Wace his Chronicle of the Norman Conquest, Edgar Taylor and Crofton Croker. To these I must add the name of Felix Liebrecht, the learned translator and annotator of Dunlop's History of Fiction, a book which I commend to the attention of any publisher or editor of a new edition of Dunlop. I owe my knowledge of this accomplished scholar to Sir George Lewis, who, when Liebrecht visited England some five-and-twenty years since, did me the kindness to give him a letter of introduction to me. Strangely enough, I did not then know that he had translated the Pentamerone into German. His translation in two volumes, with a preface by Jacob Grimm, was published at Breslau in 1846. English antiquaries are indebted to him also for a work of special interest to them, but which, I have reason to think, is not known so generally as it ought to be. I allude to · Des Gervasius von Tilbury Otia Imperialia. In einer Auswahl neu herausgegeben und mit Anmerkungen begleitet, 8vo, 1856.' It is dedicated to Sir G. Cornewall Lewis, and the fifty or sixty pages of the original text of Gervase are accompanied by upwards of two hundred pages of most valuable notes. I had also the pleasure of numbering among my friends the late John Edward Taylor, the English translator of the Pentamerone, published in 1848 with illustrations by George Cruikshank, and of rendering him some small service in connection with it. He had heard me say that my friend and near connection, the Rev. James Morton, Vicar of Holbeach, the learned editor of the Ancren Riwle and other semi-Saxon and Early English poems, had a Neapolitan glossary, and Taylor asked me if I could borrow it for him. I wrote at once to the vicar, and the answer was one confirmatory of what I have already insisted upon. Mr. Morton presented me with Galiani's Del Dialetto Napolitano and the accompanying two volumes of the same author's Vocabolario Napolitano-Toscana, in order that I might have the pleasure of lending them' to John Edward Taylor.
But perhaps the most curious and valuable recovery of a book long sought for occurred to the late Mr. Grenville, whose most munificent bequest of his extraordinary library to the British Museum entitles him to the gratitude of all scholars. I mention the fact on the authority of my late honoured friend Mr. Amyot, the secretary, friend, and biographer of Wyndham, and for so many years Treasurer of the Society of Antiquaries and Director of the Camden Society. Among the choicest books in his library Mr. Grenville possessed one of two volumes of an excessively rare fifteener, I think, the Mazarine Bible, printed on vellum' and magnificently bound. Of course he was very anxious to get a copy of the missing volume also on vellum, but he hoped almost against hope. After many years, however, he had the unexpected and almost unexampled good fortune to get not only a copy on vellum, but the identical copy, as shown by the binding, which had been so long separated from the one in his possession. Mr. Grenville, when showing the books to Mr. Amyot and to Samuel Rogers, who was there at the same time, told the history of his good fortune.
Amyot said it was the most remarkable coincidence he had ever heard.
Rogers did not quite agree to this, and proceeded to mention the following, which he thought still more remarkable.
An officer who was ordered to India went, on the day before leaving England, to his lawyer's in Lincoln's Inn Fields. The day being wet, he took a hackney coach, and when he got out, as he was paying the driver, dropped a shilling. He looked in the mud and slush for it in vain, and so did the coachman. On his return home after some years' service he had again occasion to go to his lawyer's in Lincoln's Inn Fields. When leaving, he recollected his lost shilling, and by some unaccountable impulse began to look for it, when, strange to say, just at the very spot where he had paid the coachman, and on the very edge of the kerbstone, he found
• The shilling !' was the hasty conclusion of my excellent friend.
· Not exactly,' said Rogers, but twelve-pennyworth of coppers wrapped up in brown paper!'
Samuel Rogers is said to have been great at what Arbuthnot called The Art of selling Bargains, of which curious tract, with its unquotable and Swiftian leading title (for which the curious reader is referred to Arbuthnot's works, vol. ii. p. 156), I once picked up an original copy which I presented to a worthy member of the Stock Exchange fully capable of enjoying the humour of it. But probably the reader may now be of opinion that “now 'tis time that we shake hands and part, at least for the present. So be it !
WILLIAM J. THOMS.
HEALTH AND PHYSIQUE OF OUR CITY
The self-complacency of John Bull is proverbial; it is extremely difficult to persuade him that there is any quality in which he is inferior to those born on other soils than that of Britain, and if there is one quality more than another upon which he prides himself, it is his physical superiority to the men of other nations. Has he not over and over again, it is said, given proofs of such superior excellence, from Cressy and Agincourt to Waterloo and Inkermann ? Did not the strong right arms and unerring aim of British bowmen scatter the chivalry of France in those victories of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries? and has not the same story been repeated under different forms throughout successive ages? Were not the finest cuirassiers of France driven like chaff before the wind when they came in contact with the superior weight and strength of the Life Guards at Waterloo ? and is it not acknowledged that at Inkermann our little handful of men, overwhelmed by numbers, must have been swept into the sea had it not been for the individual dogged courage and physical strength of the British soldiery, who, with their usual obstinacy, knew not when they were beaten, and snatched a victory, when by all the recognised rules of war they ought to have been annihilated ?
National pride within certain limits is useful. It produces selfconfidence, which is as indispensable to a nation as it is to an army. A people which has lost faith in itself is doomed, but wise men, whilst fostering a healthy national self-respect, will see that it is founded on solid foundations; that the reputed superiority is real ; that it is not
; a dream of the past, nor the vain imaginings of dwellers in a fool's paradise. It is well that all matters should be brought to the test of truth, the question of physique' not less than others of apparently greater importance, but indeed this is a question not unworthy of serious consideration. Let it not be thought that it is a matter of indifference whether the average breadth of chest or height of Englishmen varies an inch or so one way or the other. National physique depends upon national health, and health is as necessary to the happiness and prosperity of a nation as it is to an individual. Mens sana in corpore sano may be said of the aggregate as of the unit.
Is it then a fact that we English are physically stronger than our neighbours ? and if so, are the conditions of life of the mass of our population such as will conduce to the maintenance of this superiority?
Injured patriotism will assuredly ask whether the records of athletic sports do not plainly show tbat not only is the Anglo-Saxon race pre-eminent in the achievement of feats of agility and strength, but that even our own ancestors were unable to reach the pitch of perfection in athletic sports which has been since attained by their sons. It will be asked whether it was not left to the men and even to the women of the nineieenth century, and mainly to those of English race, to overcome the difficulties of ice and snow, crag and precipice, and to scale those virgin mountain heights previously untrodden by the foot of man. We shall be told that to raise such a question when a Whymper has but just returned from his victorious campaigns amongst the giants of the Andes, a man to whom it was but an ordinary morning's task to wipe off,' as he himself most unreverentially expresses it, some mountain Titan which never before, since the foundation of the world, had been forced to acknowledge the supremacy
at such a moment of all others to come forward and express a doubt on the physical capabilities of Englishmen, argues an ignorance of facts which, to say the least, is unpardonable. The sailor might with justice take up the parable and point to the glorious victories of British pluck and endurance in the icy regions of the North, where cold, darkness, hunger, and disease are the daily portions of those adventurous spirits who, for the sake of carrying the British flag further north than that of any other nation, have cheerfully undergone these hardships, and consider it an honour to be allowed the privilege of partaking in them. Are these men, it may be argued, in any way inferior to their predecessors? Would not Drake, Anson, or Nelson be proud to command such men ? and would they not consider them quite equal, if not superior, to those brave seadogs who, in their days, caused the name of England to be feared throughout the four quarters of the globe. Nor need the traveller be silent. The names of Livingstone, Burton, Speke, Cameron, Stuart, Warburton, and many others speak to the enterprise and daring of men of English blood. They have performed feats of endurance under tropical skies which ofttimes have proved beyond the physical powers of their native followers, men born and bred in the countries they traversed, inured to their climates, and who had never been exposed to the alleged deleterious influences of civilisation and of city life. All this is indeed true, and many more instances of strength of body and of undaunted courage may be brought forward to controvert any rash theory of national physical deterioration. Almost all Englishmen are naturally fond of country pursuits and of athletic sports. The number of the well-to-do has vastly increased since the commencement of this century; means of rapid locomotion permit of large Vol. X.-No. 53.