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NOTES AND QUERIES.

Envelopes. —Before the penny postage was introduced by Rowland Hill, envelopes were scarcely known, as the placing of a note, however small, in an envelope, however thin, would have converted the missive into a double letter, liable to twice the amount of the ordinary postage. Now more than two millions of letters in envelopes pass through the English post offices every day. The first envelope-making machine was invented by Mr Edwin Hill, the brother of Sir Rowland. Envelopes were, however, in use nearly two centuries ago. A writer in ‘Notes and Queries,’ October 3, 1857, says he has an envelope which was used as the cover of a letter sent by Frederick the Great of Prussia to an English general. “ The envelope is like those in use at present, except that it opens at the end like those used by lawyers for deeds.” Mr C. Hopper, in the same periodical (August 29, 1857), says:—“ln examining some papers recently at the State Paper Office, I met with one cut nearly the same as our modern envelopes, and attached to a letter of May 16, 1696, addressed by Sir James Ogilvie to the Right Hon. Sir William Turnbull, Secretary of State.” The size was 4jin by Sin, Illusion. —lt is a common error to confound this word with delusion. Illusion refers to errors or deception of the senses ; delusion to deceptions, false hopes, or false impressions of the mind. An optical deception is an illusion. A false opinion that leads astray is a delusion. Funk. —“ To be in a funk ”is a common proverbial saying, signifying that a person is in a dilemma, causing some degree of alarm or perturbation. In German /unite is a spark, and in Walloon fonk is a smoke. In de/onk zun is literally to be in the smoke; but, metaphorically, it is exactly equivalent to the English phrase “ in a funk.” Gaffee. —This word is generally thought to be a contraction of grandfather. Amongst the working population of Birmingham it is the general term for a master or employer ; and wives speak of their husbands as “my gaffer.”

Kimbo, or Akimbo, holding the arms in a bent position from the body and resting the hands upon the hips in a bullying attitude. It is said to bs derived from the Italian a schimbo meaning bandy • legged, or crooked ; but more probably from Kimhaw, the old cant word for beating or bullying; Kickshaws. —Tit-bits to eat, not to satisfy hunger, but to gratify the palate. This is not from the French quelque chose, more probably it is from tie Dutch ‘kiesen, to choose; kiesch, nice in eating ; kies-kawen, to eat in a picking-snd-choosing manner. From this latter the transition is easy. Lucubration is derived from the Latin lucubratio. However loosely the word may be used by modern writers, its literal meaning is study by candlelight, or a writing or composition prepared by night. What a man writes or thinks in the daytime is not a “ lucubration.”

Conclave, from the Latin con, and clavis, a key, meaning a room that can be locked, up. The original signification is the locked-up apartment in which the cardinals meet to elect the pope. Colonkl. —This title is from the Spanish. The original name is Coronet, which may account for the English pronunciation. Spenser (‘State of Ireland’) says: “Afterwards their Gorondl, named Don Sebastian, came forth to intreat that they might part with their arms like souldiers.”

Comes to Grief.— Browning has made this classical. In bis poem ‘ Herv<s Riel,’ he has the line:— Not a spar that comes to grief.

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Permanent link to this item

https://paperspast.natlib.govt.nz/newspapers/ESD18891005.2.30.20

Bibliographic details

NOTES AND QUERIES., Issue 8030, 5 October 1889, Supplement

Word Count
601

NOTES AND QUERIES. Issue 8030, 5 October 1889, Supplement

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