Character Sketches of Romance Volume Iii Part 43

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Horace, _Satires_, i. 6.

These people seem to be of the race of Novius, that Roman banker, whose voice exceeded the noise of carmen.--Lesage, _Gil Blas_, vii.

13 (1735).

=Now-now= (_Old Anthony_), an itinerant fiddler. The character is a skit on Anthony Munday, the dramatist.--Chettle, _Kindheart's Dream_ (1592).

=Nuath= (2 _syl._), father of Lathmon and Oith'ona (_q.v._).--Ossian, _Oithona_.

=Nubbles= (_Mrs._), a poor widow woman, who was much given to going to Little Bethel.

_Christopher_ or _Kit Nubbles_, her son, the servant in attendance on little Nell, whom he adored. After the death of little Nell, Kit married Barbara, a fellow-servant.--C. d.i.c.kens, _The Old Curiosity Shop_ (1840).

=Nugent Dubourg=, twin brother of Oscar Dubourg, somewhat conceited, who patronizes his brother, and would like to marry his brother's betrothed, Lucilla Finch, blind and an heiress. Her sight is restored by an operation, and Nugent places himself where her eyes will first fall upon him, instead of on his disfigured brother. Beginning with this, he personates Oscar until Lucilla again loses her sight. He then yields her to his brother, joins an Arctic exploring expedition, and perishes in the Polar regions.--Wilkie Collins, _Poor Miss Finch_.

=Numa Roumestan=, French deputy from the South of France. Audacious, gay and unprincipled, he possesses all the qualities that render him "the joy of the street, the sorrow of the home."--Alphonse Daudet, _Numa Roumestan_.

=Number Nip=, the name of the gnome king of the Giant Mountains.--Musaeus, _Popular Tales_ (1782).

? Musaeus was a German, uncle of Kotzebue (died 1788).

=Nuncanou= (_Aurore and Clotilde_). Beautiful Creoles, mother and daughter, in George W. Cable's novel, _The Grandissimes_.

=Nun's Tale= (_The_), the tale of the c.o.c.k and the fox. One day, dan Russell, the fox, came into the poultry-yard, and told Master Chanticlere, he could not resist the pleasure of hearing him sing, for his voice was so divinely ravis.h.i.+ng. The c.o.c.k, pleased with this flattery, shut his eyes, and began to crow most l.u.s.tily; whereupon dan Russell seized him by the throat, and ran off with him. When they got to the wood, the c.o.c.k said to the fox, "I would recommend you to eat me at once, I think I can hear your pursuers." "I am going to do so," said the fox; but when he opened his mouth to reply, off flew the c.o.c.k into a tree, and while the fox was deliberating how he might regain his prey, up came the farmer and his men with scythes, flails, and pitchforks, with which they despatched the fox without mercy.--Chaucer, _Canterbury Tales_ (1388).

? This fable is one of those by Marie, of France, called _Don Coc and Don Werpil_.

_Nun's Tale_ (_The Second_). This is the tale about Maxime and the martyrs, Valerian and Tiburce. The prefect ordered Maxime (2 _syl._) to put Valerian and Tiburce to death, because they refused to wors.h.i.+p the image of Jupiter; but Maxime showed kindness to the two Christians, took them home, became converted, and was baptized. When Valerian and Tiburce were put to death, Maxime declared that he saw angels come and carry them up to heaven, whereupon the prefect caused him to be beaten to death with whips of lead.--Chaucer, _Canterbury Tales_ (1388).

? This tale is very similar to that of St. Cecilia, in the _Legenda Aurea_. See also _Acts_ xvi. 25-34.

=Nupkins=, mayor of Ipswich, a man who has a most excellent opinion of himself, but who, in all magisterial matters, really depends almost entirely on Jinks, his half-starved clerk.--C. d.i.c.kens, _The Pickwick Papers_ (1836).

=Nurse= (_Rebecca_). Accused of witchcraft and acquitted by the court.

"And suddenly, after all the afflicted out of court made a hideous outcry ... one of the judges expressed himself not satisfied, another, as he was going off the bench, said they would have her indicted anew."

At the second trial she was condemned, and she was executed with the rest.

"The testimonials of her Christian behavior, both in the course of her life and at her death, and her extraordinary care in educating her children, and setting them a good example, etc., under the hands of so many, are so numerous that for brevity they are here omitted."--Robert Calef, _More Wonders of the Invisible World_ (1700).

=Nut-Brown Maid= (_The_), the maid wooed by the "banished man." The "banished man" describes to her the hards.h.i.+ps she would have to undergo if she married him; but finding that she accounted these hards.h.i.+ps as nothing compared with his love, he revealed himself to be an earl's son, with large hereditary estates in Westmoreland, and married her.--Percy, _Reliques_, II.

This ballad is based on the legendary history of Lord Henry Clifford, called "The Shepherd Lord." It was modernized by Prior, who called his version of the story _Henry and Emma_. The oldest form of the ballad extant is contained in Arnolde's _Chronicle_ (1502).

=Nydia.= Greek flower-girl, blind and friendless. Glaucus is kind to, and protects her, finally purchases her of her brutal master. She loves him pa.s.sionately and hopelessly, saves his life and that of his betrothed at the destruction of Pompeii; embarks with them in a skiff bound for a safer harbor, and while all are asleep, springs overboard and drowns herself.--E. L. Bulwer, _Last Days of Pompeii_ (1834).

=Nym=, corporal in the army under Captain Sir John Falstaff, introduced in _The Merry Wives of Windsor_ and in _Henry V._, but not in _Henry IV._ It seems that Lieutenant Peto had died, and given a step to the officers under him. Thus, Ensign Pistol becomes lieutenant, Corporal Bardolph becomes ensign, and Nym takes the place of Bardolph. He is an arrant rogue, and both he and Bardolph are hanged_ (Henry V._). The word means to "pilfer."

It would be difficult to give any other reply save that of Corporal Nym--it was the author's humor or caprice.--Sir W. Scott.

=Nymphid'ia=, a mock-heroic by Drayton. The fairy Pigwiggen is so gallant to Queen Mab as to arouse the jealousy of King Oberon. One day, coming home and finding his queen absent, Oberon vows vengeance on the gallant, and sends Puck to ascertain the whereabouts of Mab and Pigwiggen. In the mean time, Nymphidia gives the queen warning, and the queen, with all her maids of honor, creep into a hollow nut for concealment. Puck, coming up, sets foot in the enchanted circle which Nymphidia had charmed, and, after stumbling about for a time, tumbles into a ditch.

Pigwiggen, seconded by Tomalin, encounters Oberon, seconded by Tom Thum, and the fight is "both fast and furious." Queen Mab, in alarm, craves the interference of Proserpine, who first envelopes the combatants in a thick smoke, which compels them to desist, and then gives them a draught "to a.s.suage their thirst." The draught was from the river Lethe; and immediately the combatants had tasted it, they forgot not only the cause of the quarrel, but even that they had quarrelled at all.--M. Drayton, _Nymphidia_ (1593).

=Nysa=, daughter of Sileno and Mys'is, and sister of Daphne. Justice Mi'das is in love with her; but she loves Apollo, her father's guest.--Kane O'Hara, _Midas_ (1764).

=Nyse, Doto, and Neri'ne=, the three nereids who went before the fleet of Vasco da Gama. When the treacherous pilot steered the s.h.i.+p of Vasco towards a sunken rock, these three sea-nymphs lifted up the prow and turned it round.--Camoens, _Lusiad_, ii. (1569).

=O= (_Our Lady of_). The Virgin Mary is so called in some old Roman rituals, from the e.j.a.c.u.l.a.t.i.o.n at the beginning of the seven anthems preceding the _Magnificat_, as: "O, when will the day arrive...?" "O, when shall I see...?" "O, when...?" and so on.

=Oakly= (_Major_), brother to Mr. Oakly, and uncle to Charles. He a.s.sists his brother in curing his "jealous wife."

_Mr. Oakly_, husband of the "jealous wife." A very amiable man, but deficient in that strength of mind which is needed to cure the idiosyncrasy of his wife; so he obtains the a.s.sistance of his brother, the major.

_Mrs. Oakly_, "the jealous wife" of Mr. Oakly. A woman of such suspicious temper, that every remark of her husband is distorted into a proof of his infidelity. She watches him like a tiger, and makes both her own and her husband's life utterly wretched.

_Charles Oakly_, nephew of the major. A fine, n.o.ble-spirited young fellow, who would never stand by and see a woman insulted; but a desperate debauchee and drunkard. He aspires to the love of Harriot Russet, whose influence over him is sufficiently powerful to reclaim him.--George Colman, _The Jealous Wife_ (1761).

=Oates= (_Dr. t.i.tus_), the champion of the popish plot.

Forth came the notorious Dr. Oates, rustling in the full silken canonicals of priesthood, for ... he affected no small dignity of exterior decoration and deportment.... His exterior was portentous.

A fleece of white periwig showed a most uncouth visage, of great length, having the mouth ... placed in the very centre of the countenance, and exhibiting to the astonished spectator as much chin below as there was nose and brow above it. His p.r.o.nunciation was after a conceited fas.h.i.+on of his own, in which he accented the vowels in a manner altogether peculiar to himself.--Sir W. Scott, _Peveril of the Peak_ (time, Charles II.).


JOHN PERROT, a natural son of Henry VIII., was the first to employ the profane oath of _G.o.d's Wounds_, which Queen ELIZABETH adopted, but the ladies of her court minced and softened it into _zounds_ and _zouterkins_.

WILLIAM the CONQUEROR swore by _the Splendor of G.o.d_.

Character Sketches of Romance Volume Iii Part 43

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Character Sketches of Romance Volume Iii Part 43 summary

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