References for the novel Before Lunch, by Angela Thirkell.
‘Relusions’ for Hamish Hamilton 1939  (Penguin 1939/1998) editions.
Compiled by Penny Aldred and Hilary Temple (2007).
Quotation: from François de Malherbe (1555-1628), pour Alcandre, stances.
“All things are mellowed by time, and both of you will have more roses than you know how to gather.”
2 ‘The cart was laden with early hay‘ – This is unlikely. Hay must be dry when it’s brought in for storage. A ‘dewy’ morning would be unsuitable.
15  The Cedars, Muswell Hill: from Hilaire Belloc’s Cautionary Tales for Children, Charles Augustus Fortescue, Who always Did what was Right, and so accumulated an immense fortune.
16  Once one had got over the mortification: if it were not for two occurrences, this might just be a joke. Also Love Among The Ruins p157
18  Change your spots: like the leopard in Kipling’s Just So Stories.
25  RIBA: Royal Institute of British Architects
26  The Temple: The Middle and Inner Temple are two of the four Inns of Court, or Honourable Societies of Barristers. The area was originally owned by the Knights Templar (see The Da Vinci Code).
27  Plotinus: Greek philosopher, regarded as the founder of Neoplatonism.
George Warrington: a character in Thackeray’s Pendennis whose life was ruined by an imprudent early marriage.
30  Tomorrow to fresh woods and pastures new: Milton, Lycidas. Frequently wrongly quoted as “pastures green”, to the annoyance of people like Angela Thirkell!
33  Dog won’t bite pig: from the story of the Old Woman and her Pig, an English folktale.
35  Gothic romanticism of Shrewsbury station: I’m afraid she is confusing Shrewsbury with Hereford (both built by the Shrewsbury and Hereford Railway). Shrewsbury is in Tudor style, Hereford in Gothic.
36  The Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley Pen: “They come as a boon and a blessing to men; the Pickwick, the Owl and the Waverley Pen.” From an early advertising slogan, also Three Score And Ten p121
43  Casabianca-like devotion: Casabianca, “The boy stood on the burning deck…” poem by Mrs Felicia Hemans. See also E M Delafield’s Diary of a Provincial Lady.
Mrs Stonor’s maid … Had come the day before by motor coach: Why hadn’t she come by train like the others? HT suggests that rather than for economy, it might have been because she preferred the chaperonage of a bus.
44  Corkscrew: For sherry?? I believe Angela Thirkell refers to this embarrassing solecism somewhere.
48  Kensal Green: London’s oldest public burial ground, in north-west London.
Atomy: archaic word meaning a minute creature.
50 [29/30] Stepchildren: this passage is interesting if one thinks about Angela’s marriage to George Thirkell and his ‘taking on’ her two boys by her first marriage.
53  With the great majority: euphemism meaning dead. Until recently the world’ population of dead people exceeded the living.
53 [31/32] Kirkstone, Fairfield, Helvellyn, Thirlmere, Armboth, Watendlath, Borrowdale, Stye Head Pass, Green [Great!] Gable, Buttermere: all places in the Lake District. Angela Thirkell used to take Lance there and walk for miles, though probably not as far as this. Presumably Mr Middleton is exaggerating as usual, as on p.55.
It is not so good now as it was before: from Orsino’s speech at the beginning of Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night: “If music be the food of love, play on: ….Enough! no more: ‘Tis not so sweet now as it was before.”
55  Count Smorltork: from Charles Dickens’s Pickwick Papers. A guest at Mrs Leo Hunter’s, the Count is a foreigner gathering material for a book on England. He has only been in England a fortnight and gets all his words wrong. Also Enter Sir Robert p68, Never Too Late p41
56 Benger’s Food: a patent powdered milk invalid food.
59  Phaedra … amateur theatricals: see August Folly.
Corinthian bagatelle: a game played with a cue on a wooden board on legs with a rounded end. There is a channel and twelve holes for scoring.
British Legion: The Royal British Legion is a charity providing financial, social and emotional support to current and ex-servicemen. It runs numerous clubs all over the country.
67  Ranz des Vaches: folk song from the Swiss cantons of Fribourg and Vaud.
67  envious shepherds … grosser name: “of crow-flowers, nettles, and long purples/That liberal* shepherds give a grosser name …” from Hamlet, IV, vii, where Queen Gertrude is describing Ophelia’s death to her brother, Laertes. Long purples (testiculus morionis) evidently has many extremely gross names, but in this case Shakespeare probably only meant “rampant widow”. *Liberal meant free-spoken or licentious.
A Lloyd George Knight: Nothing new about the sale of honours: After the creation of a large number of barons to force the finance bill through Parliament in 1909, 1,500 knighthoods and 91 peerages were awarded between 1916 and 1922, in an operation run by Maundy Gregory complete with a published tariff. An Act of 1925 made this an offence, so that nowadays any gift of money to a political party followed by the granting of an honour is entirely coincidental!
Pooker, Pook, or Puck… oak, ash and thorn: see Rudyard Kipling’s Puck of Pook’s Hill.
68  The Heptarchy: the seven Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of south, east and central Britain.
70  Juggernauting: Devotees of Krishna were said to have thrown themselves under the wheels of the gigantic chariot on which the idol of Krishna was wheeled through from the Jaganath temple in Puri, Orissa – hence the term Juggernaut became used by the British to denote an unstoppable crushing force.
71  Little piece by Chopin: Prelude in A major (three sharps!), Op. 28, no. 7. It forms part of the ballet Les Sylphides.
73  Inside of a mushroom: The description of the Middletons’ visit to the Balkans was the subject of an article by Margaret Fleming in the Angela Thirkell Society Journal 16, p.40, where the last paragraph reads: “This is an exact description according to his contemporaries of how William Morris worked, and the reference to the inside of a mushroom perfectly describes the effect he had on Janey. Angela Thirkell would have known this from her father, for JW Mackail did exhaustive research for his biography of Morris, and his original notebooks can still be seen at the William Morris Society’s headquarters.”
Prasvoda: I can find much about the Orthodox Entente, 1900-1936, but can’t trace Prasvoda
76  The Union: I think Daphne is making this up – I never came across a Union for secretaries, unfortunately!
77  Whiff and wind of her departure: “Pyrrhus at Priam drives;/In rage strikes wide;/But with the whiff and
wind of his fell sword/The unnerved father falls”. Shakespeare, Hamlet, II,ii (the play within a play).
Want has been my master: “Want must be your master” is a fairly common Nanny-type expression when refusing a child’s request. I can’t find it as a quotation.
82  Use me as a talking horse: A play on “stalking horse”, as Mr Middleton just wants someone to talk at, rather than with.
84  malady most incident to youth: ‘pale primroses
That die unmarried ere they can behold
Bright Phoebus in his strength
– a malady Most incident to maids’ Shakespeare, The Winter’s Tale, 4:4 Also Private Enterprise 137
85,87 [51,52] Jerusalem the Golden: : hymn by John Mason Neale (1818-66); the most usual tune is surely Ewing, which only goes up to F above middle C. It is more often admired for the immortal lines ‘I know not, O, I know not, /What social joys are there’. [So says HT, but I know it as ‘what joys await us there’, and ‘joys’ certainly leaves me squeaking, so perhaps it is usually pitched higher – PA]
86  Spring of living waters: Several references in the Bible (Jer. 2:13, 17:13, John 4:14), but possibly “streams of living waters” from the hymn “Glorious things of thee are spoken”, a paraphrase of Psalm 87.
Salisbury Rule: probably the Sarum Rite, the liturgical form used in the Church of England before the Reformation and the introduction of the Book of Common Prayer in 1549, first used in the cathedral and diocese of Salisbury (Latin name “Sarum”).
Lone Hand: Am I reading too much into the fact that this was the name of an Australian magazine based on London’s Strand magazine, published between 1907 and 1921? Otherwise there are of course references to Lone Hand cowboys in fiction and films.
Borne the heat and burden of the day: ‘These last have wrought but one hour, and thou hast made them equal unto us, which have borne the burden and heat of the day’, St Matthew 20:14
87  Vitruvius: writer of the only surviving book on architecture from ancient history.
87  The root of the matter: from the Bible, Job 19:28 Also Private Enterprise 182, 221, 338, Love Among The Ruins 112, 135, 221, The Old Bank House 14, 135, 302, Love At All Ages 132, Jutland Cottage 241.
88  Double million gas microscope: “If they wos a pair o’ patent double million magnifyin’ gas microscopes of hextra power” – Sam Weller in Dickens’s Pickwick Papers. Interestingly, there was such a thing as a double million magnifying gas microscope being marketed in 1837, when Pickwick was published. Gas was used for illumination.
89  Sir Barclay Milvin: Any ideas here? Is he from Trollope, or was there a well-known dietician called, for instance, Sir Lloyd somebody? William Banting, William Harvey, Alfred William Moore and John Harvey are all associated with starch-free diets, but I can’t see any connection.
90  Hocker’s: I wonder which prep school is meant here. It may be one that no longer exists.
If you did the walking, Jack could do the talking: From an old saying or folktale, or just a witticism?
94  Pleasing anxious being … dumb forgetfulness: “For who, to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e’er resigned,
Left the warm precincts of the cheerful day,
Nor cast one longing lingering look behind?”
– Thomas Gray, Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard. Also Jutland Cottage 84, Marling Hall 174, Happy Returns 113
95  More blessed to give than to receive: Acts of the Apostles 20:35. Also Close Quarters 115, Three Score and Ten 74
97  Merry Peasant: Der Frohlicher Landmann, from Robert Schumann’s Album for the Young, Op. 68 No 10.
98  Repeal of the Orders in Council: The Orders in Council during the Napoleonic Wars placed French ports under a blockade and banned neutrals from trading with France and its allies, affecting British trade with the USA in particular, and leading to the Luddite rebellion of 1812. Their repeal in 1812 did not prevent the US declaring war on Britain.
99  A few years earlier ….amateur theatricals: see August Folly.
100  cassoni: chests used in 15th or 16th century Italy for storing dowries.
Canova and Gibson: Canova was the grandest of all the neo-classical sculptors. Gibson, a protégé of Flaxman, studied under Canova.
Pauline Borghese: Napoleon’s sister, married off by him to a member of the wealthy Borghese family, famous for her eccentricities and numerous love affairs.
Mrs Cameron: Julia Margaret Cameron, of Dimbola Lodge, Isle of Wight, well-known Victorian photographer whose subjects included most of the celebrities of her day.
103  Bran pie: Is Angela Thirkell confusing a bran tub, where children search for small presents in a tub full of bran, with flour pie, where they have to pick a sweet off a “pie” made by turning out a closely packed bowl of flour, without using their hands?
103  Hatz-Reinigen …. Cobalt: Princess Louisa Christina of Cobalt-Hatz (sometimes Herz)-Reinigen appears also in Enter Sir Robert p.246, Love At All Ages p.137, Three Score and Ten pp. 12, 42, Jutland Cottage p.167. Cobalt= Coburg – HT suggests a play on Windsor & Newton watercolours. Queen Victoria’s mother was a Princess of Leiningen, while Queen Adelaide was a Princess of Saxe-Meiningen,. Reinigen means “cleaning”, hertz means “heart”, hatz means “hounding”, or is it just supposed to be “hats”? Jo March, of course, smartened up old hats by painting them…!
105  Doors with books on them: We saw these at Mompesson House, The Close, Salisbury, on the Angela Thirkell Outing in 2007.
Pompeian Colours: these came into vogue around 1805 – terra-cotta, orange, yellow, light blue. However, in 1934 a firm of paintmakers called Thomas Parsons & Co Ltd published A Tint Book of Historical Colours with groups such as Egyptian, Pompeian, Wedgwood and Mortlake Tapestry Colours, which Angela Thirkell may have come across.
107  It’s been in Country Life: Country Life magazine has been featuring articles on historic houses, furniture, paintings and antiques since 1897.
Alicia Adelaide Needham: Popular Irish songwriter of the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries.
124-5 [74-75] Just the salmon and rather a lot of it …. An enormous helping of Charlotte Russe: CW must have eaten the salmon extremely fast!
126  Revotina, Gladinon: Don’t seem to correspond with Remington, Royal, Underwood, Smith Corona, Oliver, Olympus – what else?
139  slight accident to her youngest niece: see August Folly.
141  Bishop Ogmund: Ogmund of Skalholt, a Lutheran who led a force of 100 men against the Roman Catholic Bishop Jon in 1526. 80 years old and blind, he was dragged from his bed by the Danes to a ship which set sail despite a ransom having been paid, and is thought to have died on the voyage.
142  The man who was all looped with onions: Breton onion sellers used to come over to the UK and travel from door to door on bicycles selling strings of onions right up to the 1970s.
142  Guards’ tie: wearing the tie of a regiment, school, university or club to which you are not entitled is unforgivable, definitely a sign of a bounder or cad.
143  Little Giles: Gillie and Sally’s first child was Ludovic – Giles was not born until 1942.
149  I sigh as a worker, but I obey as a husband: “I sighed as a lover, I obeyed as a son”. Edward Gibbon, Autobiography. Also Private Enterprise 43, The Old Bank House 274, Enter Sir Robert 129, Love At All Ages 93.
156  spread-eagled: A punishment in the British navy, when a man was lashed to the rigging with outstretched arms and legs for flogging. Possibly some form of Icelandic torture or execution also?
158  Thorstein Longtooth … Snorri Society: More evidence of the influence of Angela Thirkell’s father, Professsor Mackail. Snorri Sturluson 1178- 1241, was an Icelandic poet, historian and politician. I can’t trace any reference to Thorstein Longtooth, so presumably Angela Thirkell made him up.
Richard Tebben …. had caught young Mr Bond out: see August Folly.
160  Striller and Taglino: Who does she mean here?
165-6  Laxdaela Saga: Originally written c. 1215 AD in Icelandic, author unknown. It does contain characters called Thorstein the Black and Snorri the Priest.
173  et al: Betty Deane: It’s spelt Dean in all the other books, including August Folly, where the Deans first appear.
First in Greats: a first-class honours degree in classics at Oxford.
180  It’s a little Denham: Denham was famous for its film studios. MG cars in the 1930s produced a very sporty roadster called the MG M.
182  palms of people’s hands should be familiar to them: our lively neighbours the Gauls accept this as absurd and refer to knowing something ‘like one’s pocket’.
180  Bone of its bone, soil of its soil: “bone of my bones, and flesh of my flesh” Bible, Genesis i.23
184  or forever after hold your peace: “therefore if any man can shew any just cause, why they should not lawfully be joined together, let him now speak, or else hereafter for ever hold his peace.” The Form of Solemnisation of Matrimony, Book of Common Prayer.
186  Wear them and tear them, good body, good body: From an English fairy tale, Cat and Mouse.
187  Tropically so: ie as in a trope, or figure of speech (as opposed to literally).
191  The Monkey’s Paw: A short story by WW Jacobs, 1902. Also Enter Sir Robert 247.
197  Tell me, shepherds, have you seen: “Tell me, shepherds, have you seen/My Flora pass this way?” – a three-part glee by Joseph Mazzinghi. It was from the next verse that John Singer Sargent took the title of his painting Carnation Lily, Lily Rose.
198  The blood of the Macdonalds: Flora Macdonald was the Scottish heroine who helped Bonnie Prince Charlie escape over the sea to Skye.
Crying in the wilderness: ‘The voice of him that crieth in the wilderness, Prepare ye the way of the Lord’, Isaiah 40:3
200  Diamond, Diamond, what hast thou done?: “Oh Diamond, Diamond, thou little knowest the damage thou hast done”, said by Sir Isaac Newton to his dog which had knocked over a candle and set fire to manuscripts containing over twenty years’ research.
202  Regiment of Lady Bond: regiment of Lady Bond: as in John Knox’s ‘the monstrous regiment of women’, ie ‘rule’
205  Epistemological Ideology: Epistemology is defined as “the theory of knowledge”, and ideology as “the study of the nature and origin of ideas”, so I assume that this was thought to be hilarious at the time, when study of anything at university other than classics or natural sciences was viewed rather as people refer to “Mickey Mouse” degrees today.
209  Albany: The Albany, Piccadilly, next to the Royal Academy, was originally the home of Lord Melbourne, converted in 1802 into chambers for bachelors. Past residents include Byron, Palmerston, Gladstone, and the fictional Raffles.
215  Cup and ball: traditional children’s toy consisting of a wooden cup on a handle to which a ball is attached with string.
216  Foxling in Henfold: I don’t think this village appears in any of the other novels.
West Midland Shorthorn: Unlike the Jersey, a breed exclusive to Barsetshire.
221  something about a fandango: Denis accurately predicted the request for ‘Dance a Cachuca’.
222  Poor Wondering One: previously appears correctly as Poor Wandering One!
223  cicerone: a person who guides and instructs sightseers.
224  The Campagna: the low-lying region surrounding Rome.
Wilson: Richard Wilson, RA, 1713-1782, founder of the British school of landscape painting, whose attempts at realism represent one of the earliest moves towards the Pre-Raphaelites.
225  The Old Man’s Darling: there was certainly a music-hall song ‘It’s better to be an old man’s darling/Than to be a young man’s slave’; the origin is proverbial, sometimes appearing as Better to be an old man’s darling than to be a young man’s warling [object of contempt] 4
226  Lion Comique: One of the music hall ‘swells’ of the Victorian era such as George ‘Champagne Charlie’ Leybourne.
235  Tie up the knocker, say I’m sick, I’m dead: Pope, An Epistle to Dr Arbuthnot (1735).
The twelfth … moors: The grouse-shooting season begins on 12th August.
238  woman psychopath in Surbiton: I hope Miss Starter means psychiatrist or psychotherapist!
Bishop Colenso: Accused of heresy when he published The Pentateuch and Book of Joshua critically examined, questioning the literal truth of the Bible, around the time of the controversy over Darwin’s Origin of Species.
239  Milton’s Satan: The one who gets all the good lines in Paradise Lost.
As when two bulls of milk-white fleece …the shelly flocks of Proteus: A superb example of Angela Thirkell’s mock-Homeric passages. Illyria was on the east coast of the Adriatic (present-day Albania and Montenegro). Illyrian Timavus can be found in Virgil’s Georgics; The Centaur’s blood … realms of Dis: Heracles ws killed by the poisoned shirt of Nessus the centaur (half man, half horse), and so went to Dis, the Underworld; Boreas is the North Wind, Taygete the Pleiad: the Pleiades were the seven daughters of Atlas and Pleione. They were turned into stars to save them from Orion, but he can still be seen chasing them in the night sky; the Median Hydaspes (possibly somewhere in present-day Iran) is also from Virgil’s Georgics; Neptune’s element is the sea; the Tyrian’s dye was the purple dye made from a particular marine snail by the Canaanites/Phoenicians in Tyre, and so expensive that it was reserved for royalty; the shelly flocks of Proteus: Proteus was the herdsman of the sea-beasts, though of seals rather than shellfish.
242  Tire the sun with talking … our old Samian friend : from William Johnson Cory’s Heraclitus, a translation of a Greek epigram of Callimachus. Heraclitus was a Greek pre-Socratic philosopher – did he come from Samos, like Pythagoras?
243  Hysterica passio: “Hysterica passio, Down, thou climbing sorrow!” from Shakespeare’s King Lear II, iv. Based on the notion that hysteria was a women’s ailment caused by the womb, with various manifestations including hysteria passio, or shortness of breath rising from the womb.
Greta or Norma: Greta Garbo or Norma Talmadge.
245  naught but a fresher turf where daisies sprang?: from the reference to Little Lou, this sounds like little Nell in Dickens’s The Old Curiosity Shop, but she was buried in a tomb in a church.
247  like the gentleman in the song: “yesterday I planted her in mustard and in cress”, The Daisy Chain, songs for children, by Liza Lehmann, 1900, from a poem, Mustard and Cress”, by Norman Rowland Gale.
255  Forever will you love and she be fair: ‘Forever wilt thou love, and she be fair!’ Keats, Ode on a Grecian Urn ‘Time like an ever-rolling stream’ : continues ‘bears all its sons away’: from Isaac Watts’s hymn ‘Our God, our help in ages past’ (1738, altered by John Wesley to ‘O God…)
256  Scout: name given to a college servant at Oxford. At Cambridge it is a bedmaker.
258  Grand Climacteric: Years which were multiples of 7 and 9 were thought by astrologers to be critical points in life. 7 x 9, 63, was the Grand Climacteric, which few persons succeeded in outliving.
266  His misfortunes do but mellow his character: Is this a quotation?
266  That book of Pomfret’s that everyone talked about: A Landowner in Five Reigns
266  Beat up everyone: in the sense of a beater at a shoot – rousing them, rather than as we would understand it nowadays.
pettitoes: the feet of a young pig, or pigs’ trotters.
267  The Education Act: The Education Act of 1870 was the foundation of modern education, with the establishment of non-denominational schools throughout the country. All children between the ages of 5 and 13 had to attend school.
270  Vergil’s Mantua: Virgil was born near Mantua in 70 BC.
270  Buffaloes’ Outing: The Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes, a philanthropic and charitable body somewhat like the Masons, was founded in 1822.
273  Foot it swiftly: a typically arch remark by Mrs Tebben, but she may be quoting Ariel’s song from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, I.ii, “foot it featly here and there”.
277  the boys throwing crackers: fireworks, squibs, not as our North American friends might think, biscuits.
283  Thorn in our flesh: ‘a thorn in the flesh’, 2 Corinthians 12:7
The Polyanthus: by a roundabout way I think this might possibly be the Carlton, which is the most senior Conservative club, while the Primrose League was founded to support Conservative principles, and a polyanthus is a kind of primrose.
287  Homburg … cure: Bad Homburg in Hesse was a very popular spa town, frequented by German and English royalty. Edward VII took a fasting cure there 32 times, and introduced the Homburg hat and trousers with turn-ups.
If hate could kill: “If hate killed men, Brother Lawrence,
God’s blood, would not mine kill you.”
– Robert Browning, The Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister. Also Northbridge Rectory 204.
289  Mr Barton, the architect: see Pomfret Towers.
293  Schauer-Antlitz: Literally something like “looking at your face” – any reason why?
St Jude’s in Collingham Road: It’s off the Cromwell Road, near Gloucester Road. St George’s Hanover Square and St Peter’s Eaton Square are both the sort of churches for society weddings, whereas St Jude’s is a huge Victorian Gothic edifice which would have been much despised when Before Lunch was written. However, what that area was like at the time of Miss Starter’s father’s third marriage I do not know.
203 Ebury Street: No such address now – there are several blocks of flats in that part of Ebury St, opposite the house where Mozart stayed as a boy. Some of them look rather Art Deco and might have been built in the 30s, in which case there may be some reason for choosing this address. Others are clearly post-war London County Council replacements for bomb damage.
329  Clark Gable: a rare instance of Angela Thirkell using an uncoded name for a Hollywood star! She does mention Marleen, of course.
330  Beneath the visiting moon: “There is nothing left remarkable/beneath the visiting moon”, Shakespeare, Anthony and Cleopatra, IV, xiii.