Shipster (Vol. i., p. 339.).—That “ster” is a feminine termination is the notion of Tyrwhitt in a note upon Hoppesteris in a passage of Chaucer (Knight’s Tale, l. 2019.); but to ignorant persons it seems not very probable. “Maltster,” surely, is not feminine, still less “whipster;” “dempster,” Scotch, is a judge. Sempstress has another termination on purpose to make it feminine.
I wish we had a dictionary, like that of Hoogeven for Greek, arranging words according to their terminations.
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Blue Boar Inn, Holborn.—The reviewer in the last “Quarterly” of Mr. Cunningham’s Handbook for London, makes an error in reference to the extract from Morrice’s Life of Lord Orrery, given by Mr. Cunningham under the head of “Blue Boar Inn, Holborn,” and transcribed by the reviewer (Qu. Rev. vol. lxxxvi., p. 474.). Morrice, Lord Orrery’s biographer, relates a story which he says Lord Orrery had told him, that he had been told by Cromwell and Ireton of their intercepting a letter from Charles I. to his wife, which was sewn up in the skirt of a saddle. The story may or may not be true; this authority for it is not first-rate. The Quarterly reviewer, in transcribing from Mr. Cunningham’s book the passage in Morrice’s Life of Lord Orrery, introduces it by saying,—“Cromwell, in a letter to Lord Broghill, narrates circumstantially how he and Ireton intercept, &c.” This is a mistake; there is no letter from Cromwell to Lord Broghill on the subject. (Lord Broghill was Earl of Orrery after the Restoration.) Such a letter would be excellent authority for the story. The mistake, which is the Quarterly reviewer’s, and not Mr. Cunningham’s, is of some importance.
Lady Morgan and Curry.—An anecdote in the last number of the Quarterly Review, p. 477., “this is the first set down you have given me to-day,” reminds me of an incident in Dublin society some quarter of a century ago or more. The good-humoured and accomplished—Curry (shame to me to have forgotten his christened name for the moment!) had been engaged in a contest of wit with Lady Morgan and another female celebrite, in which Curry had rather the worst of it. It was the fashion then for ladies to wear very short sleeves; and Lady Morgan, albeit not a young woman, with true provincial exaggeration, wore none, a mere strap over her shoulders. Curry was walking away from her little coterie, when she called out, “Ah! come back Mr. Curry, and acknowledge that you are fairly beaten.” “At any rate,” said he, turning round, “I have this consolation, you can’t laugh at me in your sleeve!”
Sir Walter Scott and Erasmus.—Has it yet been noticed that the picture of German manners in the middle ages given by Sir W. Scott, in his Anne of Geierstein (chap. xix.), is taken (in some parts almost verbally) from Erasmus’ dialogue, Diversoria? Although Sir Walter mentions Erasmus at the beginning of the chapter, he is totally silent as to any hints he may have got from him; neither do the notes to my copy of his works at all allude to this circumstance.