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a pretty little seaside town at which I was staying for a couple of months. A friend had just sent me a few back numbers of Land and Water, and I was at the above time and place reading in your issue of October the 9th a paragraph on “white starlings,” signed C. P., in which the writer says that “whilst on a visit in Berkshire I saw a most beautiful specimen of a white starling. The closely packed plumage of that bird gave it a most lovely appearance. He was snowy white, without a spot of colour. He dropped one morning with a flock in a meadow opposite our window; was also seen at Southstoke and Basildon, but afterwards disappeared, I fear, before some ruthless gun.” I had only finished reading the paragraph when, with the paper still in hand, I stepped to the window, and outside, sure enough, there was a white starling in a flock of others! I immediately ran to the house of my friend, Edward Robinson, Esq.-a rare ornithologist and taxidermistand by the help of his breechloader we secured the prize.'-Land and Water, January 8, 1870.
extraordinary. * We had an extraordinary good run with the Tiverton hounds yesterday.' -Id. January 15, 1870.
And pussy-cat is not behind me;
Nursery Rhymes. The adverbs have a knack of reverberation, which in flexional adverbs is a mere echo of sound, but in flat adverbs is often a varied reiteration of the sense. The following from Mr. Skrine's Translation of Schiller's Song of the Bell, furnishes an example :
back ... home.
The outer world to roam,
(p. 4.) Other examples of the flat adverb in the same work are:
Then ever rings the metal true.' (p. 5.)
* While the bell is cooling slow
May the workman rest :
Do what likes him best.' (p. 14.)
Of our short and homely adverbs there are some few which now bear the appearance of belonging to this group, having lapsed into it from the flexional group. Such are ill, still, which in Saxon are oblique cases, ille, stille (disyllabic). But others are ancient substantives or adjectives whose original character has been overlaid by the adverbial habit. Such are well, far, near, up, down, in, out.
To this group belongs a word, provincial indeed, but which prevails through the eastern half of the island from Norfolk to Northumberland, namely the adverb geyn (German gegen), meaning 'near, handy, convenient.' Its use appears in the following dialogue taken from life:
• “Where's the baby's bib, Lavina ?”
The flat adverb is in fact rustic and poetic, and both for the same reason, namely, because it is archaic. Out of poetry it is for the most part an archaism, but it must not therefore be set down as a rare, or exceptional, or pricious mode of expression. If judgment went by numbers, this would in fact be entitled to the name of the English Adverb. To the bulk of the community the adverb in -ly is bookish, and is almost as unused as if it were French. The flat adverb is all but universal with the illiterate. But among literary persons it is hardly used (a few phrases excepted), unless with a humorous intention. This will be made plain by an instance of the use of the flat adverb in
correspondence. Charles Lamb, writing to H. C. Robinson, says :
'Farewell ! till we can all meet comfortable.'-H. C. Robinson, Diary, 1827.
This flat and simple adverb suffices for primitive needs, but it soon fails to satisfy the demands of a progressive civilisation. For an example of the kind of need that would arise for something more highly organised, we may resort to that frequent unriddler of philological problems, the Hebrew language. In Exodus xvi. 5 we read: “It shall be twice as much as they gather dayly. Instead of dayly the Hebrew has day day, that is, a flat adverb day repeated in order to produce the effect of our day by day or daily. This affords us a glimpse of the sort of ancient contrivance which was the substitute of flexion before flexion existed, and out of which flexion took its rise.
But for a purely English bridge to the next division we may produce one of the frequent instances in which a flat adverb is coupled with a flexional one, and of which it so happens that the example at this moment before us is Mr. Froude's assertion, that Queen Mary's letters' examined long and minutely by each and every of the lords who were present.' (Vol. ix. p. 347.)
2. Of the Flexional Adverb.
When the flexional system of language had become established, and the nouns were declined, Nominative, Genitive, Dative, Ablative—the simplest way of applying a noun adverbially was by adding it to the sentence in its ablative or instrumental case. This was the general way of making adverbs in Greek and Latin, and also in Saxon. Of these
we have little left to show. The clearest and most perfect instance is that of the old-fashioned adverb whilom or whilome:
• It fortuned, (as fayre it then befell)
Defyld those sacred waves, it rightly hot
The Faerie Queene, i. 11. 29. The ablative plural of nouns in Saxon was in -um, as hwile, while, time ; hwilum, at whiles, at times. This ablative plural is the form which we retain in whilom, whilome. As this can only be illustrated from the elder form of our speech, we will quote one of the proverbs of our Saxon ancestors : Wea bið wundrum clibbor,' that is, Woe is wonderfully clinging. Here the idea of wonderfully is expressed by the dative plural of the noun wonder, and wundrum signifies literally with wonders.
To this place we must assign also often and seldom: as if oft-um and seld-um. The former is somewhat obscure; but of the latter there is less doubt. The simple seld is very ancient, and does not appear in the Saxon remains, yet it crops up curiously enough in Chaucer's Knight's Tale :
"Selde is the Friday all the weke ylike.'
Canterbury Tales, 1541. i.e. Rarely is the Friday like the rest of the week.
To the flexional division belong the adverbs in -meal, though they have now lost their flexion. In Saxon they
end in -mælum, as sticcemælum, stitchmeal,' or stitch by stitch, meaning piece-meal (German Stuck = piece).
Chaucer has stoundemele, meaning "from hour to hour,' or 'from one moment to another.' Thus, in the Romaunt of the Rose, I. 2304 :
• The life of love is full contrarie,
and in Troilus and Creseide, Bk. v. 674:—
* And hardily, this wind that more and more
The Clerke's Tale, init.
In the Book of Curtesye, of the fifteenth century, the childe' is advised to read the writings of Gower and Chaucer and Occleve, and above all those of the immortal Lydgate; for eloquence has been exhausted by these; and it remains for their followers to get it only by imitation and extracting—by cantelmele, by scraps, extracts, quotations :
• There can no man ther fames now disteyne :
Thanbawmede toung and aureate sentence,
Here and there with besy diligence,
But be the glaynes is hit often sene,
In whois feldis they glayned and have bene.'
• Tear her limb-meal.'—Cymbeline, ii. 4.