Nab to Namouna

Nab, the fairy that addressed Orpheus in the infernal regions, and offered him for food a roasted ant, a flea’s thigh, butterflies’ brains, some sucking mites, a rainbow tart, etc., to be washed down with dew- drops and beer made from seven barleycorns—a very heady liquor.—King: Orpheus and Eurydice (1730–1805).

Nab-man (The), a sheriff’s officer.

Old Dornton has sent the nab-man after him at last.—Guy Mannering, ii. 3.

(This is the dramatized version of sir W. Scott’s novel by Terry, 1816.)

Nacien, the holy hermit who introduced Galahad to the “Siege Perilous,” the only vacant seat in the Round Table. This seat was reserved for the knight who was destined to achieve the quest of the holy graal. Nacien told the king and his knights that no one but a virgin knight could achieve that quest.—Malory: History of Prince Arthur, iii. (1470).

Nadab, in Dryden’s satire of Absalom and Achitophel, is meant for lord Howard of Esrick, a profligate, who laid claim to great piety. As Nadab offered incense with strange fire and was slain, so lord Howard, it is said, mixed the consecrated wafer with some roast apples and sugar,

And canting Nadab let oblivion damn,
Who made new porridge for the Paschal Lamb.

   —Part i. 575, 576 (1681).

Nadalet, a peculiar peal rung at Christmas-time by the church-bells of Languedoc.

Christmas is come … a coming which is announced on all sides of us … by our charming nadalet.—Cornhill Magazine (Eugenie de Guérin, 1863).

Nadgett, a man employed by Montague Tigg (manager of the “Anglo-Bengalee Company”) to make private inquiries. He was a dried-up, shrivelled old man. Where he lived and how he lived, nobody knew; but he was always to be seen waiting for some one who never appeared; and he would glide along apparently taking no notice of any one.—Dickens: Martin Chuzzlewit (1844).

Nag’s Head Consecration, a scandal perpetuated by Pennant on the dogma of “apostolic succession.” The “high-church clergy” assert that the ceremony called holy orders has been transmitted without interruption from the apostles. Thus, the apostles laid hands on certain persons, who (say they) became ministers of the gospel; these persons “ordained” others in the same manner; and the succession has never been broken. Pennant says, at the Reformation the bishops came to a fix. There was only one bishop, viz. Anthony Kitchen of Llandaff, and Bonner would not allow him to perform the ceremony. In this predicament, the fourteen candidates for episcopal ordination rummaged up Story, a deposed bishop, and got him to “lay hands” on Parker, as archbishop of Canterbury. As it would have been profanation for Story to do this in a cathedral or church, the ceremony was performed in a tavern called the Nag’s Head, corner of Friday Street, Cheapside. Strype refutes this tale in his Life of Archbishop Parker, and so does Dr. Hook; but it will never be stamped out.

Naggleton (Mr. and Mrs.), types of a nagging husband and wife. They are for ever nagging about trifles and wilful misunderstandings.—Punch (1864–5).

Naked Bear (The). Hush! the naked bear will hear you! a threat and reproof to unruly children in North America. The naked bear, says the legend, was larger and more ferocious than any of the species. It was quite naked, save and except one spot on its back, where was a tuft of white hair.—Heckewelder: Transactions of the American Phil. Soc., iv. 260.

Thus the wrinkled old Nokomis
Nursed the little Hiawatha,
Rocked him in his linden cradle,
Stilled his fretful wail by saying,
“Hush! the naked bear will get thee!”

   —Longfellow: Hiawatha, iii. (1855).

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