Marling Hall (1942)

Picture of the dust cover of "Marling Hall"

References for the novel Marling Hall, by Angela Thirkell.

‘Relusions’ for the Hamish Hamilton 1942 edition.
Compiled by Penny Aldred and Hilary Temple.

Chapter 1

5 Dean Swift (Jonathan Swift) – ‘I shall be like that tree, I shall die at the top.’ Works of Swift ed. W. Scott 1814 vol 1 p.443.

Actaeon – hunter in Greek myth who accidentally saw the goddess Artemis bathing, was turned into a stag and killed by her hounds. Also Miss Bunting p.236, August Folly p.200.

There is here and there a grayling but mostly there isn’t

‘I wind about, and in and out,
With here and there a blossom sailing,
And here and there a lusty trout,
And here and there a grayling.’ Alfred, Lord Tennyson ‘The Brook’.

6 One letter changed in Nutfield – Lord Nuffield (born William Morris), manufacturer of the first mass-market British car, the Morris. Also County Chronicle p.106.

dog watch – the two short watches of the 24 hours, 16.00-18.00 and 18.00-20.00: Also p. 170.

9 One that has had losses – Is this a quotation or is Lettice simply thinking ironically of ‘the sort of thing that people say’?

13 Teaching is no inheritance – ‘Service is No Inheritance, Or Rules to Servants’. Jonathan Swift – subtitled ‘To be read constantly one night every week upon going to bed’. Various versions by Angela Thirkell include Reading law … Summer Half p. 48; poor relations Private Enterprise p. 378; Red Cross Love Among The Ruins p. 98; service Love Among The Ruins 278; a fellowship Happy Returns 190; teaching 196; service Never Too Late 286.

15 Pook’s Piece – an allusion to Kipling’s [Puck of] Pook’s Hill? Appears as Pooker’s in Wild Strawberries.

16 Bench – ie in court as a magistrate – a US edition misprinted this as Beach.

19 race – more usually ‘racé’ or ‘de race’, meaning thoroughbred.

24 A Bean-Stripe; also Apple Eating – a real poem by Robert Browning, 1883, as obscure as its title!

Chapter 2

27 Valoroso – King Valoroso is from Thackeray’s The Rose and the Ring.

two little girls – the Leslies only had boys.

28 Regional Commissioner – part of the civil defence network, ready to take over government and practical management of their region, eg food distribution, in time of invasion (or other collapse of society). See also p.171 below.

as did the eagle – parody of a Homeric extended metaphor.

32 Hobo-Gobo – [and the Fairy Joybell, of course] – reference to the children’s books of Enid Blyton? She lived in Beaconsfield, where Angela Thirkell stayed during World War Two. Also Wild Strawberries p. 46, Miss Bunting p. 147, Enter Sir Robert p. 27, p. 91.

37 Brave New World – the dystopian novel by Aldous Huxley (1932) about the awfulness of future society. The title is a quotation from Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Act 5 scene 1. Also Private Enterprise p.190, Love Among The Ruins p.195, The Old Bank House p.120, p.182, Happy Returns p. 6,Enter Sir Robert p. 40, Love At All Ages p. 15, p.54. (Three Score And Ten p.137).

39 Driving with tears in my eyes – ‘Dancing with tears in my eyes’, 1930 song by Al Dubin and Joe Burke. Also [laughing…] Never Too Late p.159, A Double Affair p. 55.

43 Tite Barnacle – the character in Dickens’s Little Dorrit who administers the Circumlocution Office [and was thus a senior civil servant, ‘a commissioner, or on a board, or a trustee’]

Colney Hatch – pun on an asylum of the same name for the mentally disturbed at London Colney in Hertfordshire. Opened in 1851, it was the largest asylum in Europe and was designed to be a pleasant place to live, but became overcrowded and was closed in 1993.

44 Campness of Geoffrey is most marked at this stage – later (p. 61) it is remarked that Frances is more of a gentleman than he.

Tolpuddle Martyrs – Six Dorset agricultural workers who formed a union (1834) to protest against grinding poverty resulting from enclosures of common land; as punishment they were transported to Australia, but mass protest led to their return.

45 elemental – physical manifestation of a supernatural force.

old person of Sheen – limerick by Edward Lear. Other Lear Relusions include Northbridge Rectory p.267, The Old Bank House p.16, p.123, Happy Returns p.15.

49 Julian Rivers – appears in Pomfret Towers.

Set of Five, bus ticket collage – Kurt Schwitters, the Dadaist and master of collage, used bus tickets around this time.

Chapter 3

53 bought cakes – would this have been normal at the time? Surely most households reckoned on making their own?

Lord Lundy – from Hilaire Belloc’s Cautionary Tales. Also Never Too Late p.106.

56 Melted in his careless beams – Sounds like a quotation?

Fool all the people all the time – You can fool all the people some of the time and some of the people all the time, but you cannot fool all the people all the time (Abraham Lincoln).

57 witch balls – decorative balls of blown glass, sometimes silvered, that (like the garden ornaments) nobody with any taste would have had in their house.[Sorry, I’ve got two, my Granny gave them to me long ago! – PA]

bought picture of red horses in Sloane Square – presumably from Peter Jones. A picture by Marc, Penny Aldred was given one of these around this period.

58 Pull the bobbin and the latch will fly up – instruction to Red Riding Hood from the wolf disguised as her grandmother.

60 the Harveys they remind Penny Aldred of the Crawfords in Jane Austen’s Mansfield Park with their very intense and rather excluding relationship.

68 Shakespeare – Browning – A formula (now unknown?) when two people speak at the same time. Penny Aldred remembers it from school, but you were not allowed to say Burns!

69 One touch of governessing made all ex-governesses kin – ‘one touch of nature makes the whole world kin’: Shakespeare, Troilus and Cressida Act 3 scene 3.

Coz, coz, coz, my pretty little coz – Rosalind speaking to Celia in Shakespeare’s As You Like It, Act 4 scene 3. It continues ‘that thou didst know how many fathom deep I am in love!’ which David plainly isn’t.

70 No promise ever passed these pure lips – ? quotation.

Your speaking countenance: a much-used phrase, eg in a translation of Ovid and in the play Arden of Feversham. Most likely Angela Thirkell borrowed it from Dickens’s Our Mutual Friend. Silas Wegg says (ch.7) ‘What a speaking countenance is yours’, whereat Mr Venus ‘smoothed his countenance and looked at his hand, as if to see whether any of its speaking properties came off’. Also Happy Returns page 120.

Bulldog breed – so much used that its origin is obscure, but indicates that the sturdiness of this dog embodies British values.

71 Bright was the ring of words – ‘Bright is the ring of words when the right man rings them’, Robert Louis Stevenson, Songs of Travel and other verses.

72 Berkeley and Barclay – are pronounced the same by the English.

Whose father lately dead – ‘whose father that was lately dead’. Olivia in The Merchant of Venice, in Charles and Mary Lamb’s Tales from Shakespeare.

an excellent sort of fellow – echo of Dick Swiveller’s view of Sally Brass in Dickens’s The Old Curiosity Shop.

Chapter 4

76 Like parent, child and wife – ‘I love my mill, it is to me/Like parent, child and wife’: Traditional song ‘The Miller of Dee’. Also The Old Bank House p.171.

Lytton Strachey, Elizabeth and Essex – (pronounced Straychee as is John Strachey, postwar minister of food). Certainly not a ‘nice’ book, Strachey was famous for challenging conventional views of historical figures, eg of Queen Elizabeth I and the Earl of Essex.

78 Pico della Mirandola, Giovanni – Italian renaissance philosopher (1463-94), wrote an Oration on the Dignity of Man (appropriate to Geoffrey, but not a good choice of hero for a novel!)

80 Ariel – the ‘airy spirit’ of Shakespeare’s The Tempest.

81 Mr Gummidge – in other words a male version of Mrs Gummidge who describes herself as a ‘lone lorn creetur’ and is always ‘thinking of the old `un’. Dickens, David Copperfield.

82 Roving blade – either from the Middleton Pace Egg Play ‘And the last that does come in, he is a roving blade/You’ll find him where the ladies are, for he is such a jade.’; or (less likely) from a song c.1900 ‘I am a weaver, a Calton [district of Glasgow] weaver/I am a brash and roving blade’ – he takes to ‘Nancy Whiskey’ for 7 years before kicking the habit! See also page 118 below.

83 Children of a larger growth – ‘Men are but children of a larger growth’, John Dryden’s play All for Love. Also Love Among The Ruins p. 245,Enter Sir Robert p.255.

84 Poetry of the anti-Jacobin; and The Double Arrangement – the procession at the end of the latter consists of an assortment of characters throughout history. See article on both these by Harold Roemmele in ATS Journal no 20, 2000. Also The Old Bank House p.232.

85 tutelary genius – ‘Freed from a genius tutelary’, W. S. Gilbert, The Mikado.

Clash of war – a common enough phrase, but in the Odyssey Achilles is described as ‘measureless in the stormy clash of war’

89 Lionel Harvest – see Wild Strawberries. Lionel Hale was broadcasting round about this time, but no particular reason to think this is a portrait.

Sound o’nights – ? ‘such as sleep o’nights’, Shakespeare, Julius Caesar Act 1 scene 2.

90 Guest towels – are what was later to be called Non-U by Alan Ross and Nancy Mitford. As presumably were these colours at the time, white being what the gentry would use.

94 In all the wide borders my car is the best – ‘O, young Lochinvar is come out of the West./In all the wide borders his steed was the best’. Sir Walter Scott, Marmion.

Ruin seize thee, ruthless Lucy – ‘Ruin seize thee, ruthless king!’ The opening line of Thomas Gray’s poem ‘The Bard: a Pindaric ode’ (1757), a curse on Edward I as he marches into Wales.

If you not be driven by me, what care I by whom driven you be – ‘Shall I, wasting in despair,/Die because a woman’s fair?…If she be not so to me,/What care I how fair she be?’ George Wither (1588- 1667) ‘The Shepherd’s Resolution’.

95 Stephen Phillips (1864-1915) – poet and very popular dramatist, wrote Paolo and Francesca in 1900, based on story in Dante’s Divine Comedy. (Francesca believes she is to marry her true love Paolo, only to discover she has been married off to his brother, who discovers the two together, kills Paolo and mortally wounds Francesca.) Continues on page 96.

97 On such a night as this – ‘In such a night as this’, The Merchant of Venice Act 5 scene 1, the scene ending ‘In such a night/ Did pretty Jessica, like a little shrew,/Slander her love, and he forgave it her.’

Grind its bones to make chicken food – ‘I’ll grind his bones to make my bread’, the fee-fi-fo-fum words of the ogre in the fairytale Jack and the Beanstalk.

Chapter 5

99 He was the more deceived – ‘I was the more deceived’, the tragic words of Ophelia (Hamlet Act 3 scene 1). Also Private Enterprise page 203, page 34, Love Among The Ruins p.326, The Old Bank House p. 9, p.17, p. 88(!), A Double Affair p.165.

100 Blondin – French acrobat (1824-97) who crossed Niagara Falls on a tightrope pushing a wheelbarrow.

101 Sibylline utterances – prophetic words.

107 ice-cubes – would have been a rarity in such a house at this period, we think.

108 oshkoshes – workwear from company in Oshkosh Wisconsin from 1895, then manufactured children’s bib overalls. Now very trendy!

112 Infant Scholastic Weekly is a fictitious title, probably refers to the weekly Child Education?

Enough, no more, tis not so off-white as twas before – ‘’Tis not so sweet as ‘twas before’: Shakespeare, Twelfth Night Act 1 scene 1. Also ‘It [beer] is not so good now as it was before’, Before Lunch p. 53.

114 Being made a motley to the view – ‘And made myself a motley to the view’, Shakespeare, sonnet 110. Also High Rising p.52, Peace Breaks Out p.81, Jutland Cottage p. 266, What Did It Mean p. 100, Love Among The Ruins p.166.

118 Peace egging – perhaps refers back to the Middleton play on p.82.

119 A green thought in a green shade – Andrew Marvell (1621-1768) poem ‘Thoughts in a Garden’.

120 A Diabolist of the Restoration – at the end of The Brandons Hilary Grant was going to turn his study of Jehan le Capet (that charming AT-created poet with the consumptive mistress who was a Satanist and died of absinthe) into a novel; clearly he changed his mind.

121 Belphégor – Moabite deity, whose worshippers practised licentious acts, an appropriate subject for this poet. Interesting that the squalid Duval adopted as a pseudonym the family name of the first royal family of France, Capet.

122 Mallarmé – ‘difficult’ French Symbolist poet, but influential despite the obscurity of his poems. Enjambement allows a line to flow into another without a break.

Maitresse féconde…I simply cannot bear poetry that has the word ‘breast’ in it – (a personal prejudice of AT? Certainly shared!) A literal translation might read (for what it is worth): ‘Fertile mistress, you who carry in your loins the dribbling worthless twins of your breasts’.

127 Victor Yugo – Mrs Smith knows enough not to pronounce the H, but her accent still falls short of the pure French.

V. A. D. uniform – Apparently a book could almost be written about the variations of the uniform in WWI. These were rationalised somewhat in WWII.

Chapter 6

129 Newgate frill – beard that grows under rather than on chin, thus looking like a hangman’s noose, Newgate being a notorious prison. Also in Northbridge Rectory p. 40.

Mr Nandy – a character in Dickens’s Little Dorrit, the father of Mrs Plornish who lives in the poorhouse until the family’s finances improve.

132 Heureusement…fréquentes – ‘It’s a good thing that crises don’t occur very often’

on ne s’en aperçoit que trop – ‘that is all too obvious’.

134 Ça, je le crois bien! – ‘I can well believe it!’

135 [Un] Chapeau de Paille d’Italie – play by Eugène Labiche (1815-1888) famous for his comedies/vaudeville; made into a successful film 1927 (An Italian Straw Hat)
Labiche and the Palais-Royal – the building was used as a Paris theatre.

136 Ah oui…Hugo – ‘Ah yes, the verses of Victor Hugo.

Vous êtes…j’admeer beaucoup General de Gole, le leader des Free French – ‘Are you Free French? I am a great admirer of General de Gaulle, the leader of the Free French’.

Je viens…anglais – ‘I come to collect National Savings every weekend. We have a National Savings Group at Marling and I collect for it. Nearly everybody has been not at home today. Dishes [should be tasses, not coupes] of tea are so English.’ It is good to learn that Mlle Duchaux can be taken aback!

137 Vous savvay…triste – literally ‘You know, I am drunk since Mr Smith passed on, he is very sad.’, which given her history is ironic. Mrs Smith means ‘I am alone… it is very sad’ but says soule instead of seule, as Mrs Marling tactfully indicates.

139 Ah par exemple…pas – ‘Oh, my goodness we wouldn’t pay’.

Vous payriez [for payeriez]… beaucoup plus valuables – Mrs Smith’s French is as bad as her tact, especially her English pronunciation and invented words:

‘franks’ and ‘valuable’ [for valable] – ‘You would pay in francs, which are much easier. Shillings are more difficult than francs and worth a lot more.’

140 Ces Russes…pas! – Those Russians! Don’t speak to me about them!

141 ‘Hullo!’ – especially shouted, would have been deprecated by Nurse, who would have been training her charges to say ‘Good morning’ or ‘Good afternoon’.

142 ancienne institutrice – former governess.

Sir Smith – a frequent error among non-Brits, presumably from reluctance to use the forename (as in ‘Sir Winston’ for Churchill). And it is indeed true that there is no single word for home nor for gentleman in French.

How do you call your pony? – Mlle Duchaux is too literal in her translation of ‘Comment s’appelle votre poney?’

143 Quant à… passons outre: ‘As for the Poles – but let’s leave that’.

Two Poniatowskis – Stanislaw August (1732-1798) was the last king of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, Josef his nephew was heroic in battle. Cannot trace another Stanislaw.

Earl Percy sees my fall – from the traditional ‘Ballad of Chevy Chase’ : the line is actually ‘Lord Percy sees my fall’ and are spoken by his rival Earl Douglas. Also Love Among The Ruins p. 217, Happy Returns p. 211.

Regretted Norton Park – ie missed. Mlle Duchaux’s English isn’t as good as Miss Bunting’s French.

144 Bohun – this metaphysical poet bears some resemblance to John Donne, and the overt parallel is drawn on p.173.

145 Sodden ginger pudding – the brown uniform of the Auxiliary Territorial Service (formed in 1938) was not very attractive!

146 Vous…sucre? – ‘Do you take sugar?’

Je ne…regrette! – ‘I won’t say no. Oh, how I miss the wonderful sugar in France!’

Je dois dire…sandwich – ‘I have to say that your margarine is vile. When I think of the wonderful butter we had in France, so fresh, so delicious – and now we find ourselves compelled to eat this greasy stuff! I would like another sandwich.’

Je vais vous dire une chose…. se résigner – ‘I’ll tell you what, you should put in stoves. If you could see the flat my sister-in-law has in Orleans, such a lovely flat, well-furnished, well-heated…Your house must be as cold as anything in winter….You can chop them down, then burn them, and that’s that. I wouldn’t mind one of those little cakes, just to taste. Ah, the pastries in Orleans… Well, I shall have to get used to it.’

147 Si vous…vivre – ‘If you would pass me another cake – thank you, mademoiselle Lucie. We must eat to live.’

Bonne poularde de Bresse – a fine chicken from Bresse (famous indeed for its poultry).

accommodate fowls – a ‘false friend’, as Miss Bunting reflects. ‘Accommoder’ = prepare.

Abel and Marguerite Chevalley – were authors of the Concise Oxford French Dictionary.

148 Mais il est…gentleman – ‘But monsieur Marling is absolutely delightful. I say, monsieur Oliver, would you mind closing the door. I cannot get used to your English draughts. Yes, charming. He seems just like a country gentleman’. [One is reminded of Mrs Elton speaking of Mr Knightley!]

149 Mais je dois dire une chose…autres – ‘I’ll tell you what, though. You eat far too much in England, overeating like that is entirely inappropriate in wartime. It’s a weakness of your whole nation, I know, but I believe that at the present time the English could and should analyse their weaknesses and attempt to correct them.
It’s a crime against humanity that the English and the Americans should stuff themselves as they like while my brave, heroic countrymen are dying of starvation. You won’t resent me speaking to you with characteristic French frankness: we are like that, we French.’

Alors…friandises – ‘Well, it must be goodbye, then. Thank you a thousand times, madame, for your delightful welcome. Your little cakes are not bad at all: you might ask your cook to send me some, will you? I am very fond of delicacies.’

151 Graves and worms and epitaphs – ‘Let’s talk of graves, of worms, and epitaphs,/Make dust our paper and with rainy eyes/Write sorrow on the bosom of the earth.’ Shakespeare, Richard II Act 3 scene 2. Also Close Quarters p. 228.

Chapter 7

156 quondam oppressors – Russia had become one of the Allies by this stage of WWII.

159 Two or three are to be gathered here – ‘For where two or three are gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them’, St Matthew chapter 18 verse 20. Also Happy Returns p. 47.

Fair fa’ their sonsie faces – ‘Your honest, sonsie face’ from Robert Burns’s ode to the haggis, ‘Great Chieftain of the Pudding Race’.

Sibyl – divinely inspired prophetess in ancient Rome, presumably known for untidy hair.

160 The rank is but the guinea stamp – again Robert Burns, ‘A man’s a man for a’ that’. Also What Did It Mean p. 108.

162 And your funeral baked fur coat Did coldly furnish forth the armistice table – ‘Thrift, thrift, Horatio! the funeral baked meats/Did coldly furnish forth the marriage tables.’ Hamlet, Act 1 scene 2.

166 Matthew Mark Luke and John – from the children’s prayer which continues ‘Bless the bed that I lie on’ (lay on is a solecism).

169 How all occasions did conspire [sic] against her – ‘How all occasions do inform against me,/And spur my dull revenge!’ Hamlet, Act 4 scene 1.

170 dog watches – see above p.6.

171 Regional Commissioner – not a bad description; see note on p.28 above.

172 she would tell them what – Lucy’s speech mannerisms are even funnier in oratio oblique (indirect speech).

174 pleasing anxious being
‘For who to dumb forgetfulness a prey,
This pleasing anxious being e’er resigned’
Thomas Gray, ‘Elegy in a Country Churchyard’. Also Before Lunch p. 94, Happy Returns p.113.

laggard in love but not a dastard in war – Young Lochinvar again. Also The Old Bank House p. 67 [Lochinvar], p. 336, Happy Returns p.177, p.190. And see note on p.94 above.

teaching Lucy’s young ideas how to shoot – ‘Delightful task! To rear the tender thought,/To teach the young idea how to shoot.’ James Thomson, ‘The Seasons’ (1746).

it was I who got John married – see Wild Strawberries.

175 Farewell thou art just about the right dearness for my possessing – ‘Farewell! thou art too dear for my possessing’. Shakespeare, Sonnet 87.

sisters under their skin – ‘The colonel’s lady and Judy O’Grady are…’ Kipling, ‘Barrack Room Ballads’. Also Private Enterprise p.101, Happy Returns p. 311.

Chapter 8

178 Left a wound behind by his rapid flight – sounds like a quotation, or parody of one.

179 Big Wheel at Earls Court Exhibition – was this the first English occurrence of this fairground ride?

181 Sarah-like improbability – the wife of Abraham apparently had Isaac when she was 90: Bible, Genesis chapter 17 verse 17.

182 L’innocence au ciel tient la palme/Et sur la terre le hoquet – [sic] This means hiccup! Really ‘hochet’, a baby’s rattle or toy. Victor Hugo’s poem about a sleeping child, ‘Une Alcôve au Soleil Levant’ means Innocence holds up a palm-leaf to heaven, while a rattle lies on the ground.

184 Herod Society – AT’s familiar theme about the good mother’s urge to murder her children. See ATS Journal, no 24 (2004) p.29. Also Miss Bunting p.175, Private Enterprise p. 30.

185 Mme Defarge – the sinister spectator at the French Revolution guillotine in Dickens’s A Tale of Two Cities.

Merci…point – `No thank you, I do not smoke’.

Baby’s Opera, Baby’s Bouquet – Books of nursery songs illustrated by Walter Crane.

186 Like Mr Frank Churchill a slight but correct second – Jane Austen, Emma. Also in Happy Returns p. 229, What Did It Mean p.116, p.311, A Double Affair p.161, Close Quarters p.154.

Silly Little Baa – from which collection (in, presumably, landscape format)?

187 Mais …Watson? – But what is the matter with Mrs Watson?

Je pense…savez – I think she’s thinking about her husband. He was a sailor, you know.

Mais cette histoire … égarée – But this story of a lost lamb has nothing to do with the sea.

Vous…pas – you don’t understand.

190 Kindness was his motto – might be a quotation, but may be Mrs Smith rambling.

Some went in and some again did not – much more likely to be a quotation – from?

Chapter 9

200 Phoebe Rivers – married Lord Humberton [sometimes Harberton] after Pomfret Towers. See Barbara Burrell, Angela Thirkell’s World.

203 Surtees – R. S. Surtees wrote comic novels about hunting, centring on Mr Jorrocks, who in some respects resembles Sam Adams; Kipling’s character Stalky was devoted to them and frequently quoted from them.

Dixhuitièmerie/Chevalier de Boufflers/Madame de Boufflers – Stanislas Jean, Chevalier de Boufflers (1738-1815), showed his spirit of the 18th century by being the lover of Mme de Sabran at the court of Marie Antoinette. Both he and his wife composed poetry and other works of literature.

205 Penelope web – in the Odyssey, the tapestry woven by the wife of Ulysses during the day and secretly unpicked by her at night so as not to complete it until her husband arrived home.

206 Stoner – should be Stonor (Before Lunch).

207 éminences grises – grey eminences, ie powers behind the throne. Also p.219.

208 Throne spoke to a Throne – ‘A Nation spoke to a Nation,/A Throne sent word to a Throne:/”Daughter am I in my mother’s house/But mistress of my own”.’ Rudyard Kipling’s poem ‘Our Lady of the Snows’ (1898).

209 God-wots – ‘A garden is a lovesome thing, God wot!’ T. E. Brown poem ‘My Garden'(1893), rarely taken seriously nowadays!

St John of Jerusalem – ‘belong to it’ presumably means being a member of the St John Ambulance. Herb of grace is rue, but the connection is unclear. Could herb of grace be an allusion to St John’s Wort? Dr Malcolm Golin CStJ, suggests “St John of Jerusalem” refers to the Venerable Order of St John of Jerusalem, an Order of the Crown given its charter by Queen Victoria in 1888. St John Ambulance and the Eye Hospital in Jerusalem are both foundations of the Order. County families often participate in the work of the Order.

216 Home is the airman – ‘Home is the sailor, home from sea,/And the hunter home from the hill.’ R. L. Stevenson poem ‘A Song of the Road’.

Blest pair of sirens – ‘Blest pair of Sirens, pledges of heaven’s joy,/Sphere-born harmonious sisters, Voice, and Verse’ Milton, ‘At a Solemn Music’ (1645).

217 V.A.D.Marling – Lucy was in the Voluntary Aid Detachment, founded to give support to the medical services in 1909. They came into their own in WWI, when two-thirds were women.

220 The Daisy – an anthology or perhaps even a children’s magazine?

221 Undine – nymph (in fairy-tale by the German Baron de la Motte Fouqué) adopted by a fisherman and his wife who lost their own daughter. She marries a knight who is unfaithful to her with the real daughter of the fisherman. Undine returns to her native water but kills her husband with a kiss as he is about to marry her rival.

Chapter 10

230 Bane – joke relating to the disputed pronunciation of Bohun. Precious Bane is a novel by Mary Webb, full of dark rural brooding, parodied by Stella Gibbons in Cold Comfort Farm.

240 super-tax – the highest level of income tax imposed on the very rich.

leather boots and cambric underclothing – ‘’He wears a pair of golden boots and silver underclothing’, W. S. Gilbert, Bab Ballads. Also County Chronicle p. 282.

Chapter 11

249 prevent (in the classical and religious sense) – go before, anticipating need.

250 ‘The Japs/Are filthy little chaps’ – the start of a clerihew (of the form ‘Robert Clive/Is no longer alive./There is something to be said/For being dead.’, invented by Edmund Clerihew Bentley), but what is the rest of it?

261 Mrs Fox and her suitors – ‘The Marriage of Mrs Reynard’, one of Grimm’s fairy tales, in which an old fox pretends to be dead to see if his wife will be faithful to his memory – which she isn’t.

262 let me abide at thy left side – is this doggerel by David or a quotation?.

La [ie là] ci darem la mano – duet between Zerlina and Don Giovanni in Mozart’s opera.

264 Mrs Heep – the character in Dickens’s David Copperfield who was always adjuring her son Uriah to ‘be ‘umble’.

265 giallo antico table – literally ‘ancient yellow’, refers to decorative marble of a rich yellow colour.

Chapter 12

268 Bolton Abbey in the Olden Time – Painting by Landseer at Chatsworth House; the print was a best-seller. Also August Folly p.121, Jutland Cottage p.12, A Double Affair p. 268.

278 Miss Havisham – the eccentric, tragic old lady in Dickens’s Great Expectations.

285 ‘Oh, W,X,Y,Z, / It has just come into my head’ – refrain from Edward Lear’s poem about Mr and Mrs Discobbolos, the nervous couple who lived on a wall.

287 Peacockian – Thomas Love Peacock (1785-1866) wrote satirical novels based on country-house conversations.

confusion to Boney – defeat to Napoleon Bonaparte.

with any man in Illyria – Shakespeare, Twelfth Night Act 1 scene 3: ‘I am as well in my wits as any man in Illyria (and again in Act 4 scene 2).

288 Belphégor – see p.121 above.

Corps Féminin – French women’s army. A little Angela Thirkell joke, perhaps, especially coupled with Corporal, as it also means ‘female body’.

291 Dominical – relating to Sunday.

293 Mr Murdstone – a cruel stepfather, as in Dickens’s David Copperfield. Also Before Lunch p. 300, Jutland Cottage p.104,Enter Sir Robert p. 246.

Enoch Arden – in Tennyson’s poem he came back from a perilous voyage to find that his wife had assumed he was dead and married their best friend, so he nobly remained anonymous. Also Miss Bunting p.123, Love Among The Ruins p.347, The Old Bank House p.27.

Free from stain… vain – ‘To my true king I offered free from stain/Courage and faith; vain faith and courage vain.’ Lord Macaulay, ‘A Jacobite’s Epitaph’ (1845).

294 Grouse in the gun-room – ‘Your worship must not tell the story of Old Grouse in the gun-room.’ Oliver Goldsmith, She Stoops to Conquer, Act 2. Also Jutland Cottage p.152, which also has ‘Old Bill in the gunroom’ p. 98 [q.v.]

Chapter 13

295 Let who will be clever – ‘Be good, sweet maid, and let who will be clever’, Charles Kingsley, ‘A Farewell’ (1858).

311 Quant à cela…caractère – As far as that goes, I’ll tell you a bit about myself, to explain what sort of person I am. I have to tell you first of all that I have a very bad character.

312 Tenez… raconter – Hang on, I’ll tell you about it.

Par suite…ma mère – As a result of certain things that have happened to me, which I hope you will not ask me to explain, since it is a painful subject involving my mother….

Pour vous…non – Just to please you, I won’t refuse.

313 d’ailleurs orageuse – otherwise stormy.

Quant aux…tout – Not as far as women are concerned, it’s very appropriate. That’s all there is to it!

317 Mais, puisque…sacrifier – But since I have a few more minutes to devote to you.






Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *