Southey, Robert, 1774-1843. / The doctor, &c.
Chapter CXL. How there arose a dispute between Barnaby and Nicholas concerning the naming of this colt, and of the extraordinary circumstances that ensued, pp. 353-354
Chapter CXLI. A singular anecdote and not more sad than true, pp. 354-355
354 it ended in tyeing the two last cards. Never in any contest had Jupiter held the scales with a more even hand. " The Devil is in the business to be sure," said Nicholas, " let us toss up for it! "- "Done," saidBarnaby; and Nicholas placing a halfpenny on his thumb nail sent it whizz- ing into the air. " Tails! " quoth Barnaby. -" 'Tis heads," cried Nicholas, " hurrah ! " Barnaby stamped with his right foot for vexation-lifted his right arm to his head, drew in his breath with one of those sounds which grammarians would class among inter, jections, if they could express them by let- ters, and swore that if it had been an honest halfpenny, it would never have served him so! He picked it up, -and it proved to be a Brummejam of the coarsest and clumsiest kind, with a head on each side. They now agreed that the Devil certainly must be in it, and determined to lay the whole case before the Doctor. The Doctor was delighted with their story. The circumstances which they related were curious enough to make the naming of this horse as remarkable as his birth. He was pleased also that his own difficulties and in- decision upon this important subject should thus as it were be removed by Fate or For- tune; and taking the first thought which now occurred, and rubbing his forehead as he was wont to do, when any happy concep- tion struck him, (Jupiter often did so when Minerva was in his brain), he said, "we must compromise the matter, and make a com- pound name in which both shall have an equal share. Nicholas Ottley, and Barnaby Sutton; N. 0. -B. S. -Nobs shall be hisl namie." Perhaps the Doctor remembered Smec- tymnuus at that time, and the notorious Cabal, and the fanciful etymology that be- cause news comes from all parts, and the letters N. E. W. S. stand for North, East, West, and South-the word was thence compounded. Perhaps, also, he called to mind that Rabbi Moses Ben Maimon, the famous Maimonides, was called Rambam from the initials of his titles and his names; and that the great Gustavus Adolphus when he travelled incognito assumed the name of M. Gars, being the four initials of his name and title. He certainly did not remember that in the Dialogue of Solomon and Satur- nus the name of Adam is said to have been in like manner derived from the four Angels Archox, Dux, Arocholem, and Min- symbrie. He did not remember this-be- cause he never knew it; this very curious Anglo-Saxon poem existing hitherto only in manuscript, and no other portions or account of it having been printed than those brief ones for which we are indebted to Mr. Conybeare, a man upon whose like we of his generation shall not look again. CHAPTER CXLI. A SINGULAR ANECDOTE AND NOT MORE SAD THAN TRUE. Oh penny Pipers, and most painful penners Of bountiful new Ballads, what a subject, What a sweet subject for your silver sounds! BEAUMONT and FLETCHER. THE chance of the Birmingham halfpenny was a rare one. I will not so far wrong the gentle Reader as to suppose that he will doubt the accuracy of anything which is recorded in this true history; and I seri- ously assure him that such a halfpenny I have myself seen in those days when the most barefaced counterfeits were in full circulation, - a halfpenny which had a head on either side, and consequently was like the fox in the fable, or a certain noble Marquis, and now more noble Duke when embassador at Petersburg,-not as being doublefaced, but as havinff lost its tail. A rare chance it was, and yet rarer ones have happened. -I remember one concern- ing a more serious appeal to fortune with the same instrument. An Organist not without some celebrity in his day, (Jeremiah Clark was his name,) being hopelessly in love with a very beautiful lady, far above his station in life, determined upon suicide, and walked into the fields to accomplish his THE DOCTOR. .
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