[From Mannin #4 1914]


" Scarrit lesh Mooir, agh kianlt lesh Mooinjerys."
" Divided by sea, but joined by kin").

SINCE our last issue the outbreak of the great war has brought home vividly to us the truth of the motto placed at the head of these Notes As it applies to Britain and her Colonies, so does it apply with equal aptness to Celts the World over, and, to come nearer home, to Manxmen in the Island and abroad. Here in Mann our ‘Little Quiet Nation,’ as Bishop Rutter called it, is removed in a certain sense from the turmoil of the strife, but our hearts are not less stirred by the tremendous struggle for freedom of life than those of the big nations. Manxmen everywhere have been flocking to the colours. From this tiny country itself from 900 to 1,000 men have gone in one capacity and another — fifty Peel fishermen are in the North Sea Fleet; Admiral Arthur H. Christian, M.V.O., H.M.S. Euryalus, a cousin of Mrs. Moore, of Cronkbourne, took part in the action off Heligoland on Aug. 28, and some of our gallant men have had the distinguished honour of being mentioned in Sir John French’s dispatches ; Mr. Meyer, the printer of MANNIN, is at present preparing for service at the front with the local company of Volunteers ; men of all classes and professions have joyfully offered themselves.

‘ Why ? ‘ a young countryman was asked.

‘ Why ? My blood is up, that’s the Why,’ was the emphatic answer. Very laconic, but Manx.

‘We would say ‘ Shoh slaynt !‘ to a Manninagh dooie in the person of Mr. Lace, proprietor of the Queen’s Hotel, Antwerp, who kept his hotel open when all the rest were closed, and supplied coffee and food to the weary soldiers of the Allied forces.

Lastly we all rejoice that our Government has voted £10,000 towards war expenses, in addition to the usual annual £10,000 which we regularly contribute towards the maintenance of the British Army and Navy. This is no small effort for our small and not wealthy community.

The Note on ‘ Celtic Nations and the War ‘ on page 241 is contributed by Dr. Fournier d’Albe, and is interesting as expressing the view of the well-known editor of ‘Celtia,’ the former organ of the Pan-Celtic Association. He is of French-Irish ancestry, and an able linguist, and has compiled an English-Irish Dictionary and Phrase Book : he knows Manx and was one of the staunchest friends of the Peel Manx Language Society in early days. Besides being a Celtic scholar he is also a scientist, has of late years worked at Birmingham with Sir Oliver Lodge and has invented an electrical instrument called the type-reading octophone[sic optophone] which transforms the action of light into sound and so enables the blind to read by ear. Dr. Fournier d’Albe sailed for India in the first week of October to take up work at Punjaub University, Lahore.

[Edmund Edward Fournier d'Albe 1868-? (no source seems to quote a death date) , Physicist, appointed Assistant-Lecturer in Physics at Birmingham University in 1910 where he did research on the electro-optical properties of selenium - the 'reading optophone' used a vertical arrangement of five light sources and detectors that was scanned across printed characters, each detector corresponded to a note on the musical stave with the amplitude indicating the amount of reflected light. Prior to this he appears to have worked at Dublin University, under G.F. Fitzgerald, where he also had an interest in Irish (edited a dictionary in 1903) and Esperanto, in 1926 he spoke on “Wireless Telegraphy and Television” at the 18th World Congress of Esperanto in 1926 - in 1923 he had been the first to transmit a photograph by wireless (for a pan-Celt the image of of King George V was a strange choice !) . He also published a biography of Sir William Crookes (physicist and researcher in Spiritualism) - The Life of Sir William Crookes, (T Fisher Unwin Ltd, London 1923); among other writings on Spiritualism he also published a book that imputed fraud by Kathleen Goligher one of the the famous mediums of the the period (The Goligher Circle, 1922). He was also a natural philosopher who did early work on self-similarity in nature and solutions to Olber's paradox which are still quoted in the literature]

We have the most unusual honour and privilege of publishing in this present number of MANNIN a piece of work by one of the great masters of English prose, which has never before seen the light. Borrow wrote this diary when on a visit to the Island in 1855. It comes, therefore, between ‘ Lavengro’ and ‘ Romany Rye’ and belongs to his most brilliant period, as may well be believed from its happy descriptions and vivid style. It was Borrow’s intention to publish a book on the Isle of Mann, which was to be called ‘ Bayr Jiargey and Glion Doo : The Red Path and the Black Valley. Wanderings in Quest of Manx Literature,’ but this intention was never fulfilled. It will arouse special interest amongst readers of MANNIN to realize that ‘ Borrow,’ as Mr. Clement Shorter says, ‘ led the way amongst those interested in Celtic Languages.’

Mr. Clement Shorter, by whose kind permission we publish the diary, possesses the original, which is in the first of three notebooks written by Borrow. The second and third were published by Dr. Knapp in 1899. The circumstances in which the diary was kept, the life of its author, and an able appreciation of his strange and remarkable personality, may be found, by those to whom it is not already familiar, in Mr. Shorter’s delightful book ‘ Borrow and His Circle.’

On the occasion of the unveiling of the mural tablet on the house in which T. E. Brown lived at Ramsey, the Ven. J. M. Wilson, Canon of Worcester, gave a most able address on the life and work of the Poet, who for nearly fifty years was an intimate friend of his. The Canon spoke eloquently of ‘ T.E.B.’ as a man, a poet, and a scholar. After dwelling upon ‘ the brilliancy and ease of his talk, his dramatic mimicry, his wide literary knowledge, his unerring critical judgment, his discriminating love of music, and his ever fresh humour,’ the Canon quoted the remark made by another friend, ‘ You never got to the end of Brown.’

‘ As a poet,’ he continued, ‘his claim for a permanent place in the ranks of literature rests on his letters, his stories in verse or ‘ yarns,’ and on his numerous lyrical and other short poems.’ He revealed himself in Fo’c’s’le Yarns as ‘ a consummate teller of stories.’ ‘ All his characters are of the broadly human type.’ ‘ He understands them all because he loves them all.’ ‘ His lyrical and reflective poems will assuredly live, and be treasured by the few, not only for their beauty, but as a contribution to the religious insight and thought of the world.’ Finally the lecturer had much to say of ‘ T.E.B.’s’ scholarship which will especially interest readers of MANNIN. He made clear the literary value of dialect and shewed to what advantage ‘ T.E.B.’ had used it in his great narrative poems. ‘ Dialect,’ he said, ‘ is to the literary presentation of the life and genius of a people what suitable costume is on the stage of a theatre. Tom Baynes in Tennysonian English would be like Julius Caesar in a dress coat.’ ‘ Dialect is an insurpassable instrument for expressing natural feeling.’ ‘ So in Brown’s stories the language fits the people. It is inconceivable that the story should be told otherwise. Each phrase is inevitable.’ ‘ Brown has done a service to future students of the English language by seizing, and preserving imperishably, the Anglo-Manx dialect, before it is for ever irrecoverably lost.’

We hope to publish in a future number an illustrated article on The Knox Guild of Design and Craft, which was formed in England some years ago by designers and craftsmen who had studied under Mr. Archibald Knox, our well-known artist and designer. The aim of the Guild is to produce beautiful and well-made handiwork so decorated that its ‘ Beauty is use : use, beauty.’ Jewelry, pottery, lace, and such like articles are made and the principles of Mr. Knox’s art-teaching, which is founded on Celtic ideals, are followed by the workers.

The Misses Brown, the daughters of ‘ T.E.B.,’ are allowing us to collect and publish in MANNIN their father’s prose articles, lectures and stories, with a view to their publication later in book form. We have also a number of his unpublished letters which will appear in forthcoming numbers of MANNIN.

We congratulate Mr. John Costain, who has been Hon. Secretary of the Liverpool Manx Society for over thirty years, and who, at the Manchester Manx Society’s annual Tynwald celebrations on July 4th, was presented with the Manx Society’s medal for this year. In making the presentation, Mr. T. H. Graves President of the Society, announced that it was given to Mr. Costain, because, in their opinion, he had done more to forward the work of forming the Manx Societies at home and abroad than any other living Manxman.

Mr. J. Brew Shimmin, Hon. Secretary of the London Manx Society, has approached the Evening Continuation Schools Committee of the L.C.C., with the question:

‘ Is it possible for the Committee to afford the same facilities for instruction in Manx in London as it has already done with regard to the other Celtic Languages?’

He was assured by the Committee that if a sufficient number of students —i.e., twelve or fifteen, should express themselves as willing to form a class, the Committee would be happy to pay the teacher.

We should be very glad to see Manx taken up in the Douglas Evening Schools. The Manx Society had a hard struggle to get the Manx Language into the Syllabus of the Elementary Schools, and it seems a pity that advantage should not be taken of the success of its efforts.

A cordial letter has been received from Mr. Cowin, Hon. Secretary of the Transvaal Manx Association, in which he expresses great appreciation of MANNIN and encloses subscriptions from new subscribers. Our best thanks are due to Mr. Cowin, and our good wishes to our sister Association over there.



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