References for the novel Miss Bunting, by Angela Thirkell.
‘Relusions’ for the Hamish Hamilton 1945 edition.
Compiled by Penny Aldred and Hilary Temple.
General comments: Is Hallbury New Town Beaconsfield, where Angela Thirkell spent part of World War II?
5 Lady Glencora married – A lack of continuity here: In The Duke’s Daughter, published later, she isn’t. Lady Arabella is only mentioned here, and never appears again.
6 Lord Howe … prize money – The Glorious First of June, 1794, when the British fleet, under Lord Howe, defeated the French off Ushant. Lord Howe donated his entire prize money to a fund for the relief of the wounded, while numerous gifts, awards and honours were distributed to those who had taken part in the battle.
10 stately pleasure dome – Samuel Taylor Coleridge poem ‘Kubla Khan’ 1816.
resurrection-pie – made of left-overs!
11 Mrs Aggs, Mrs Baggs…and Mrs Gresham – Dickens, Our Mutual Friend chapter 8. Also Jutland Cottage page 119, Love At All Ages page 217.
12 Baba Yaga – in Russian and Slav folklore, a witch who travels around in a hut on chicken’s legs.
13 broad-mindedness … suppressed prayers for Guy Fawkes Day – This really happened in the eighteen-thirties. 1858, akcherly, when the Earl of Stanhope put an end to the prayers of thanksgiving from “the most Traitorous and Bloudy intended Massacre by Gunpowder” because it was politically obsolete and unfair to Catholics.
14 Disciple of John Keble – one of the leaders of the Oxford Movement or Tractarians.
16 Otto of the Silver Hand etc – Three prosthetic relusions! Otto was son of a robber baron, brought up in a monastery, his hand cut off by an enemy;
Götz [von Berlichingen] with the Iron Hand met a similar fate in Goethe’s poem about this German Robin Hood;
Nez-de-cuir (Leathernose) was a Napoleonic soldier who lost his nose in battle but still remained attractive to women in the French novel by Jean de la Varende. All three tales have been filmed. See also below for p.51.
Thinking of the old ‘un: Mrs Gummidge was always thinking of the late Mr Gummidge (Dickens, David Copperfield chapter3 among others). Also Happy Returns page 37, page 139, page 227, Private Enterprise page 216, A Double Affair page 188, Close Quarters page 223.
What you tell me two times is true -“What I tell you three times is true”: Lewis Carrol, ‘The Hunting of the Snark’.
17 Caesar adsum jam forte, Passus sum sed Antony (and page 18) – Latin words that make no sense in Latin, only in English, ie ‘Caesar had some jam for tea, Pass us some, said Antony.’ [or at my school: ‘Caesar adsum jam forte, Pompey aderat. Caesar sic in omnibus, Pompey sic in at.’ PA]. The later extract comes from ‘Is ab ille, eres ago/Fortibus es in aro/Nobili, nobile, demis trux/As quot sinem/Pes an dux [Caus an dux in some versions]: ‘I say, Billy, ‘ere’s a go [an odd thing], Forty buses in a row. No, Billy, no, Billy, them is trucks. Ask what’s in ’em – peas [or cows] and ducks.’ James Hilton includes some of this ‘dog-Latin’ in Goodbye Mr Chips (1934) which was also a successful film starring Greer Garson and Robert Donat (1939).
19 Elle-ducks with a round and flat side – ie made in high-relief to be hung on a wall, usually three diagonally upwards. In Norse mythology Ellen, Elven, Elle Folk , or Skogsfru (wood women), seductive and beautiful from the front, but made of bark and hollow from the back. Denis Mackail in his biography of J M Barrie says: “Just as in the same northern mythology there are fairy women with exquisitely beautiful faces who are completely hollow when seen from behind, so in Mary Rose there is a tremendous frontal assault on the emotions, and hardly the pretence of any system of philosophy, either old or new, underneath”.
20 Lady of Shalott – why a ‘depraved girl’ with ‘a bunch of floppy yellow roses in an opening in the top of its head’ should remind Mrs Merivale of Tennyson’s poem is anyone’s guess. Perhaps it is rather the glorious Pre-Raphaelite Holman Hunt painting in which the doomed Lady’s hair is swirling upwards, the model having had her hair draped over an easel to get the effect.
21 A.T.S. – the Auxiliary Territorial Service (women’s army).
27 the Hertford and the Craven – At Oxford University, the Hertford Prize is given for the best performance in Latin papers in Honours Moderations (first year examinations), the Craven Scholarship is given for classics (one holder was John Buchan).
portmanteau word – Humpty Dumpty in Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking Glass. Enoch Arden (also page 123) – the poem by Tennyson in which the hero returns to find his wife married to his friend and deliberately remains anonymous till he dies. Also Love Among the Ruins page 347, The Old Bank House page 27.
28 vocative of filius – should be fili.
Patres conscripti – “Patres conscripti– took a boat and went to Philippi.
Trumpeter unus erat qui coatum scarlet habebat, Stormum surgebat, et boatum overset-ebat, Omnes drownerunt, quia swimaway non potuerunt,
Excipe John Periwig tied up to the tail of a dead pig.”
(I share Frank’s opinion of it! – PA)
29 villegiatura – Italian for country residence.
32 O.B.E. – the Order of the British Empire, one of a series of awards for public service in the United Kingdom.
33 Had lighted such a candle – “Be of good comfort Master Ridley, and play the man. We shall this day light such a candle by God’s grace in England as I trust shall never be put out.” Protestant martyr Hugh Latimer to Nicholas Ridley before being burned at the stake in Oxford, 1555. Also What Did It Mean page 71, A Double Affair page 230.
Tasted honeydew with such vehemence , or drunk the milk of Paradise with such deep breaths and loud gulps – Coleridge’s poem ‘Kubla Khan’, “Weave a circle round him thrice/And close your eyes with holy dread/For he on honeydew hath fed/And drunk the milk of Paradise.” Also Northbridge Rectory page 234, Love Among the Ruins page 230.
35 A few famous governesses – Madame de Maintenon: governess to the French royal children, became the second, morganatic, wife of Louis XIV; Madame de Genlis: governess to Louis Philippe, later King of France, and wrote several books expounding her theory of education; Madame de la Rougierre: a sadistic governess in Sheridan Le Fanu’s horror story Uncle Silas, Miss Weston [sic], Miss Taylor, later Mrs Weston, Emma’s governess in Jane Austen’s Emma; The Good French Governess: title of a novel by Maria Edgeworth; Jane Eyre: Jane Eyre becomes governess to Mr Rochester’s ward in Charlotte Bronte’s novel. Abbé Faria: a Goan Catholic monk, pioneer of hypnotism, spent some time imprisoned in the Chateau d’If, fictionalised by Alexandre Dumas père in The Count of Monte Cristo, where he instructs Edmond Dantès while they are fellow prisoners. Dumas was a favourite author of Angela Thirkell. Other Relusions include Summer Half page 211, The Headmistress page 274, The Old Bank House page 386, Happy Returns page 225, Enter Sir Robert page 242,Never Too Late page150, Love At All Ages page 297, Three Score And Ten page 29.
38 Total wacancy of the kind of hair needed – Dickens, Great Expectations chapter 15 (Joe Gargery points out that horse-shoes would be an unsuitable present ‘in a total wacancy of hoofs’). Also Jutland Cottage page 9 [vacancy], Close Quarters page 276.
I waited for the train at Coventry – Tennyson’s poem ‘Godiva’. Many other Tennyson Relusions apart from the well-loved Great San Philip, including Peace Breaks Out p.278, The Old Bank House p.27, p.41, p.294, Happy Returns p. 193, p.309, Jutland Cottage p.26, Enter Sir Robert p.179, Never Too Late p.56, Three Score And Ten p.12
39 E.P.T. – Excess Profits Tax, introduced in 1939 to finance the War.
40 je connais par coeur .. – I know Miss Anne’s body by heart.
41 gentlemanly glass of sherry – Odd use of the adjective, often employed by AT – could this be a reference to Dickens, Thackeray, Peacock?
44 The gods are just and of our pleasant vices do occasionally make something quite amusing – also see below page 126: Shakespeare, King Lear, “The gods are just and of our pleasant vices make instruments to plague us”. Lear Relusions also in Happy Returns page 4, Peace Breaks Out page 33, Old Bank House page 65, page 345, Close Quarters page 194, page 201, page 250, page 257.
45 Higher carelessness – a state to be attained in theosophy (also Taoism?)
51 Benbow, Witherington and Long John Silver – all seafaring men who lost legs. Also Jutland Cottage page 273.
52 For ever wanderers in Stygian shades – perhaps not direct quotation so much as allusion?
53 Rapunzel net – The fairy story of the girl imprisoned in a high tower who let down her hair to allow her prince to climb up.
Excessivement nul – a complete cipher, an absolute nothing: see High Rising.
55 Said heart of neither maid nor wife / To heart of neither wife nor maid – poem ‘Elena’s song’ by Sir Henry Taylor (1800-1866), appeared in 1919 edition of Oxford Book of English Verse. The whole thing goes:
Quoth tongue of neither maid nor wife
To heart of neither wife nor maid –
Lead we not here a jolly life
Betwixt the shine and shade?
Quoth heart of neither maid nor wife
To tongue of neither wife nor maid
Thou waggest, but I am worn with strife,
And feel like flowers that fade.
57 Plum pudding flea – Edward Lear, ‘The history of the seven families of the Lake Pipple- Popple’, in Relusions for The Old Bank House page 202. Also The Duke’s Daughter page 300.
Charm to call fools into a circle – Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act 2 sc.5. Jaques sings “Ducdame! Ducdame! Ducdame!” and explains it is “a Greek invocation, to draw fools into a circle”.
57 Newton = Newnham College, Cambridge University.
58 Quangle-Wangle – Edward Lear, The story of the four little children who went round the world. Also Private Enterprise page 119, Love Among the Ruins page 48, The Duke’s Daughter page 315, Happy Returns page 185, Never Too Late page 20.
60 builded better than he knew – ‘Himself from God he could not free;/ He builded better than he knew; -/ The conscious stone to beauty grew.’ Ralph Waldo Emerson, ‘The Problem’.
63 Lawk-a-mercy on me, this is none of I – Mother Goose – in Relusions for Jutland Cottage page 203. Also Private Enterprise page 265, A Double Affair page 6.
64 Gilding fades fast but pigskin will last – From ‘The Old House’, Hans Christian Andersen.
65 While the vicar raged below – “First came the primrose/ On the bank high/Like a maiden looking forth/From the window of a tower/While the battle raged below./Then look did she/And saw the storm go by.” ?**
65 saved the girl from drowning – see The Headmistress.
66 Little Gidding – secluded village in Huntingdonshire visited by King Charles I in 1646 and more importantly by T. S. Eliot as part of a quest to find out about the practice of Anglicanism to which he had converted from being a Unitarian. One of his Four Quartets is titled Little Gidding.
67 One-legged polo, rowing, mountaineering – Popular Mechanics, June 1946, carries a report of Jim Gorin, a one-legged rock-climber in the USA. Any ideas for the others?
68 General Dempsey – General Sir Miles Dempsey (nick-name ‘Lucky’ or ‘Bimbo’), Commander of the 2nd Army which carried out the D-Day landings. Became the first British Arny Commander to cross the Rhine on March 23 1945.
70 photographs to Australia – did Graham McInnes perhaps make a similar request?
Lord Henry and Lady Griselda Palliser – see Marling Hall. But they are never heard of again (see page 5 above).
71 Bab Ballads and fantastic tasks set for Gradka – W. S. Gilbert. Also
Jutland Cottage page 24, Enter Sir Robert page 180, Love At All Ages pages 104-105.
73 Governess’s labour’s lost – Shakespeare, Love’s Labour’s Lost. Also Love Among the Ruins page 382, Never Too Late page 32 [‘But what to me, my love’]
Our mutual friend – The title of a novel by Dickens, criticised by AT among others in that a friend cannot be mutual, since a mutual feeling is one that two people have for each other, not for a third person. Also Northbridge Rectory page 67, Growing Up page 44, Never Too Late page 200, Love At All Ages page 134.
74 Mr Adams has tricked a dirty Slavo-Lydian – see The Headmistress page 226.
76 fat boiled bacon off the ration – Was fat bacon really off the ration? It seems unlikely.
78 It was meat and drink to her – seems to be a proverbial saying. Also August Folly pages 166-7.
81 Alice when she made herself the right size – Lewis Carroll, Alice in Wonderland, Chapter I.
84 Pooker’s Piece – see Before Lunch.
85 un point c’est tout – that’s it, full stop.
90 that dreadful Captain Hooper – See Northbridge Rectory.
That play where the silly young man is really the private detective – The Ghost Train, by Arnold Ridley, of the television programme Dad’s Army fame. Thanks to Maureen and Kate Poole for this.
93 Double Summer Time was dragging its slow length along – also (page 123) sung responses by dragging their slow length along. Alexander Pope, An Essay on Criticism:
‘A needless Alexandrine ends the song,
That, like a wounded snake,
drags its slow length along.’
94 V13, the tram the Yanks filled with dynamite – The Morning Bulletin (Rockhampton, Queensland), Monday 16 October 1944, p.1. carries a picture with this caption: AMERICAN WEAPON-V13-RESERVED FOR AACHEN
Launched on Aachen, Americans crammed this abandoned tram, still on rails, with German ammunition, set a time fuse and sent it rambling down steep hill to explode in that German town. (O.WJ. Warpool radiophoto.)
103 Lord Nuffield’s backyard at Cowley Station – Lord Nuffield, formerly William Morris – not that one! – founder of Morris Motors; the factory was at Cowley, near Oxford – presumably in those days all the workers arrived by bicycle.
103 Enitharmon – strange name for a house, though appropriate for Blake Close, as William Blake uses it for his goddess-figure, partner to Urizen.
109 Ready to heave half-bricks – in a Punch cartoon two small boys watch suspiciously:’Who’s that?’ ‘A stranger!’ ‘’Eave ‘alf a brick at ‘im!’
110 Slow-garnered wisdom – Possibly a Relusion, although wisdom is frequently referred to as being garnered.
111 Isabella Ferdinand – See The Headmistress page 46, with its reference to The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
114 Blazing in the empyrean – a typical piece of mock-Milton.
Their talk roved in a gentlemanly way – see page 41 above.
117 Frog and the ox – in the fable by Aesop the frog tried to blow himself up to the size of the ox and burst in the attempt.
119 Sandford and Merton – a children’s book by Thomas Day (1783), Sandford being good and boring, Merton being naughty and disobedient.
120 four years – four years since the outbreak of World War II, but war was not declared on the Japanese until December 1941.
123 Charles II’s death – “He had been, he said, an unconscionable time dying, but he hoped they would excuse it.” Lord Macaulay’s History of England.
124 smiting him with blasting and with mildew – Bible, Book of Haggai, chapter 2 verse 17. “I smote you with blasting and with mildew and with hail in all the labour of your hands.” Also The Old Bank House page 15.
earning wages to put them into a bag with holes – Book of Haggai, chapter 1 verse 6.
125 Whom the Lord loveth he chasteneth – Bible, Hebrews, chapter 12 verse 6. Also Enter Sir Robert page 68, Close Quarters page 281.
My lines are laid in pleasant places – Bible, Psalms 16, verse 6, “The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.”
It was his duty and he did – “It is my duty, and I will”: Captain Reece in W S Gilbert’s Bab Ballads.
126 An abomination of desolation – Bible, St Matthew chapter 24 verse15 and Book of Daniel chapter 12 verse 11. Also The Old Bank House page 300.
A greenery-yallery abomination – the Aesthetic Movement at the end of the 19th century was distinguished by much use of green and yellow; the term is used slightly pejoratively to mean ‘affected’, as in W. S. Gilbert’s operetta Patience: “A greenery-yallery, Grosvenor Gallery,/Foot-in-the grave young man!”
The gods are just and of our pleasant vices Make whips to scourge us – “The gods are just and of our pleasant vices Make instruments to plague us.”: Edgar in Shakespeare’s King Lear, Act 5 scene 3.
Anathema maranatha: “If any man love not the Lord Jesus Christ, let him be anathema maranatha”: Bible, I Corinthians chapter16 verse 22. Anathema means ‘cursed’, maranatha means ‘the Lord is coming’.
127 Mons retreat – August 1914, after one of the first battles of the First World War.
128 Mr Omicron Pie – grandson of Sir Omicron Pie, the grand doctor from London in Trollope’s Barsetshire novels. Also Love Among the Ruins page 173, Close Quarters page 65.
Fresh lot of people from the Far East – towards the end of 1944 my mother interviewed some ex-prisoners of war who had escaped when the ship taking them from Thailand to Japan was torpedoed, though the majority were only freed after VJ Day, 15th August 1945. (PA)
131 In season and out of season [but Adams doesn’t really mean that] – Bible, II Timothy chapter 4 verse 2: “Preach the word. Be instant in season, out of season.”
133 The worm ceased to gnaw at her heart – Again a common conceit.
Prisoners and captives – Book of Common Prayer, the Litany: “shew thy pity upon all prisoners and captives”.
134 Might be found wanting – the writing on the wall in the Bible, Daniel chapter 5 verses 25-27: “Mene, mene, tekel, upharsin… thou art weighed in the balances and art found wanting.” Also Cheerfulness Breaks In page 255.
137 Elsie, Lacey and Tillie…treacle well – Lewis Carroll, Alice In Wonderland (1865). A real well outside the Church of St Margaret of Antioch at the village of Binsey near Oxford that was reputed to yield water with healing properties. Treacle was a mediaeval word for a healing fluid, derived from the Greek for a wound of a wild animal via Old French triacle.
139 One who moves in a mysterious way …His wonders to perform – William Cowper’s Olney Hymns,’God moves in a mysterious way/His wonders to perform;/He plants his footsteps in the sea,/And rides upon the storm’.
140 When in vacant or in pensive mood – Wordsworth ‘s poem ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’. “For oft, when on my couch I lie/In vacant or in pensive mood,/They flash upon that inward eye/That is the bliss of solitude.”
141 We have only numbered the serene or fairly serene hours – usually written in Latin on sundials (Horas non numero nisi serenas) where ‘serenas’ means ‘sunny’.
Loves of the Triangles – [and the poetry of the anti-Jacobin]. Parody by Canning of Erasmus Darwin’s Loves of the Plants, apparently very funny and part of the revolutionary spirit of the age. Also Marling Hall page 84, The Old Bank House page 232. See article by Harold Roemelle in Angela Thirkell Society Journal No 20.
Man of deeds as well as of an exhausting number of words –
‘A man of words and not of deeds
Is like a garden full of weeds.
And when the weeds begin to grow
It’s like a garden full of snow’, ending:
‘And when your heart begins to bleed
You’re dead, and dead, and dead indeed.’
Often referred to as a nursery rhyme, which is rather worrying! Possibly by playwright John Fletcher (1579-1625). Also The Duke’s Daughter page 320.
144-5 Widdowson’s Law of Inverse Relations/ Friction of Constants – Oddly enough I have found references to a mathematician called Widdowson, but at a much later date. These expressions are just close enough to genuine laws of maths and physics to be credible.
doylies, guest towels, lounge – Heather recognises these as what would later on be known as non-U expressions.
146 Unfolding the doyley – some confusion here, as a doyley would have been spread out on a plate with food placed on top of it. Perhaps Angela Thirkell is confusing it with a table napkin, probably known to Mrs Merivale as a serviette.
147 Feel like Legree – Simon Legree, the wicked slave master who beat Tom to death in Uncle Tom’s Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe.
Lacey and Tilly and the treacle well – ‘their names were Elsie, Lacie and Tillie; and they lived at the bottom of a well.’ Lewis Carroll , Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, chapter 7. The fact that Mrs Merrivale knows this shows that she is “highly educated” in AT’s terms and that Miss Holly and Jane were being snobbish about her because of her other little linguistic slips.
Hobo-Gobo and the fairy Joybell – Angela Thirkell’s general name for insipid children’s literature. Also Wild Strawberries page 46 [Penguin], Marling Hall page 32, Enter Sir Robert page 27, page 91. Possibly a dig at Enid Blyton (greatly disliked by Mrs Thirkell) who lived in Beaconsfield, where Thirkell spent much of World War Two?)
A.T.S.,W.R.N.S., W.A.A.F. – Auxiliary Territorial Service [later the Women’s Royal Army Corps]; Women’s Royal Naval Service; Women’s Auxiliary Air Force.
148 Having immortal longings in them – Cleopatra in Shakespeare’s Antony and Cleopatra says ‘Give me my robe, put on my crown; I have/Immortal longings in me.’ Also August Folly page 107, Peace Breaks Out page 9, The Old Bank House page 85, page 157, Happy Returns page 36, page 79, Enter Sir Robert page 10, A Double Affair page 272, Three Score and Ten page139.
151 Running out of the heels of her boots – ‘Till the gunpowder ran out of the heels of their boots”, the last line of the nonsense poem ‘The Great Panjandrum’ by Samuel Foote (see note on Northbridge Rectory page 51).
152 Nohow – contrariwise – Lewis Carroll, Through the Looking-Glass, chapter 4. Tweedledum always says ‘Nohow’ and his twin brother Tweedledee ‘Contrariwise’.
153 Monna Vanna: heroine of play by Maeterlinck [and unfinished opera by Rachmaninov] who braves the enemy to save her city of Pisa. Incidentally a painting by D. G. Rossetti.
thrown her glove in his face – in mediaeval times throwing a glove, or slapping someone with it, was recognised as a challenge to a duel.
155 Old Uncle Joe’s going strong in East Prussia – Uncle Joe – Joseph Stalin. The Russian advance on East Prussia began in October 1944.
156 To add something more to this wonderful year – Hearts of Oak, the official march of the Royal Navy. The year was 1759: the main British event was the capture of Quebec by General Wolfe.
Mr Frank Gresham (little Frank’s great-grandfather who married a fortune) – in Trollope’s Doctor Thorne.
161 Do but darken council – “Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?” Bible, Job chapter 38 verse 2. See also below, page 223.
The election at Eatanswill – in Charles Dickens’s The Pickwick Papers.
Whip behoynd – seems to be the same as “cut behind”, defined in the Dictionary of American Regional English as dating from the late 19th century when small boys used to call out to the man with the whip if someone rushed out and tried to steal a lift or hitch his cart onto a wagon. See also What the Butler Saw by E.S. Turner, Penguin, 1962, page 172, quoting from Dr William Kitchiner’s The Traveller’s Oracle. Confirmed by Maureen and Kate Poole, who remember their parents recalling naughty little boys hanging on to the back of carts while their fellows cried “Whip be’ind, mister” in the early days of the 20th century.
162 A cap in a bandbox – Miss Pole brings her cap in a bandbox when she goes to a party in Mrs Gaskell’s novel Cranford.
164 Rescript or Episcopal Recess – Rescript = an edict or decree; Episcopal recess = a holiday granted by a bishop.
168 Charlotte Corday – Girondin heroine who murdered Marat in his bath and was guillotined. Also Private Enterprise page 25, Never Too Late page 270, The Duke’s Daughter page 333.
172 Measles at Grumper’s End – see The Brandons.
Gurth or Hereward the Wake – Charles Kingsley’s novel Hereward the Wake romanticised the tale of this resistance leader against the Normans in 1070.
173 Mr Nupkin’s back gate – in Chapter 25 of Dickens’s The Pickwick Papers. Adopted as a subject of political farce by William Morris (1887) in which Mr Justice Nupkin is himself sentenced, to dig fields.
174 asked the Rector how Haggai was getting on – It is indeed delightful to hear that Robin Dale’s father is well into the second chapter, as Haggai only has two chapters: a good joke by AT.
the grasshopper was becoming a burden – Bible, Ecclesiastes chapter 12 verse 1: “the grasshopper shall become a burden, and desire shall fail”. Also The Old Bank House page 89, page 301, What Did It Mean page 10.
Meet again at Philippi – in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar the ghost of Caesar appears to his murderer Brutus in Act 4 scene 3 and says “thou shalt see me at Philippi”. Brutus replies “Well; then I shall see thee again?” “Ay, at Philippi”.
175 “Oh for an hour of Herod!” – said by Anthony Hope at the first night of J. M. Barrie’s Peter Pan in 1904, as related by AT’s brother Denis Mackail in The Story of JMB. Also Private Enterprise page 30.
Rapt away from the world – possibly a romantic turn of phrase, but may be a Relusion to James Stephens’s ‘The faery boy, who is e’en rapt away from sight/Of the world and all its woe’.
177 Lily Dale – the heroine of Anthony Trollope’s Barsetshire novel The Small House at Allington who reappears in The Last Chronicle of Barset: ‘”I wish they’d let me write the letters after my name as the men do …O.M. for Old Maid.”’. Also Love Among the Ruins page 107.
No-one contradicted her – Lily Dale fell in love with Adolphus Crosbie, who married Lady Alexandrina de Courcy. Soon after the ceremony they separated, and Lady Alexandrina went to live with her mother in Baden-Baden. (Thanks to Cynthia Snowden’s Going to Barsetshire.)
180 Grettur Halfbone, Laxdaela Saga, Skyrikari, Magnus Trollbogi, Haelfdan Hogsister, Gunnar Pedderdotterssen – The Laxdaela Saga is genuine, I suspect the others are all made up by Angela Thirkell. William Morris would have known immediately as he was as keen on Norse sagas as Mr Tebben.
The Wedding Guest – the unfortunate man who was held by the ancient Mariner “with a glittering eye” in Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s The Rime of the Ancient Mariner
181 We romantics know – Robert Browning’s poem ‘Abt Volger’. “But God has a few of us whom He whispers in the ear,/The rest may reason and welcome, ‘tis we musicians know”. Used in a variety of contexts by AT: Love Among the Ruins page 325 [musicians], County Chronicle page 314 [players], Three Score and Ten page 140 [musicians].
182 bear with you/bear you out and (next page) an thou lovest me – pseudo-Shakespearean comedy dialogue.
183 Only those who brave its dangers /Comprehend its mystery – H. W. Longfellow (1807- 1882)’s poem ‘Secret of the Sea’, the preceding two lines being, ‘”Would’st thou”- so the helmsman answered, /”Know the secret of the sea?’ Significantly, this is quoted by Kipling in Many Inventions.
Away with such a fellow from the earth – Bible, Acts of the Apostles, about St Paul, chapter 22 verse 22. Also Private Enterprise page 130, Happy Returns page 77, Never Too Late page 74.
184 Skroelings [Skraelings] – inhabitants of the north-east coast of North America described by Norse settlers, referred to in Kipling’s ‘The Finest Story in the World’. Also August Folly page 182.
191 Quatre Bras and Ligny too and died at Trafalgar – Hilaire Belloc’s cautionary tale of ‘Hildebrand, Who was Frightened by a Passing Motor and was Brought to Reason’. “What would your Great Grandfather who/Was Aide de Camp to General Blue,/ And lost a leg at Waterloo! /And Quatre Bras and Ligny too!/And died at Trafalgar!- /What would he have remarked to hear/His young descendant shriek with fear…But do not fret about it! Come!/We’ll off to Town and purchase some!” ‘ [all battles of the Napoleonic Wars, though impossible for one person to fight in all of them]. Also Close Quarters page 179.
193 Mrs Middleton and Denis Stonor’s romance, see Before Lunch.
194 tempora have mutantur (times have changed) – houses are no longer safe.
196 Pleased to meet you: more non-U usage.
Fine woman with no nonsense about her – Not a quotation, as Mr Adams would not have read Dickens’s Little Dorrit. In Chapter 3 Edmund Sparkler says his mother is ‘a fine woman with no biggodd nonsense about her’. Also Love Among the Ruins page159, Jutland Cottage page 47, A Double Affair page 98, page 218, Close Quarters page 89, page179.
198 More people know Tom Fool than Tom Fool knows: proverbial, 17th century. Also Love At All Ages page 238.
199 “Come along, Frank” … would be found on her heart when she died – A reference to Queen Mary I who was reported to have said ‘When I am dead and opened, you shall find ‘Calais’ lying in my heart. Also Love Among the Ruins page 39.
206-7 Inglorious Hampdens – Conflation of two lines from Thomas Gray’s ‘Elegy in a Country Churchyard’ (almost certainly to show ignorance on the part of the film-makers): ‘Some village- Hampden, that with dauntless breast/The little tyrant of his field withstood;/Some mute inglorious Milton here may rest,/Some Cromwell guiltless of his country’s blood’. John Hampden was one of the 5 MPs whom Charles I tried to arrest in 1642.
208 One of the lesser sheets without the law [ie not a broadsheet newspaper]: Kipling’s poem ‘Recessional’, “Such boasting as the Gentiles use,/Or lesser breeds without the law”. Also Love Among the Ruins page133, Happy Returns page 50.
211 I kissed Maud’s hand, She took the kiss sedately – Tennyson’s poem ‘Maud: a Monodrama’ part XII, verse 4: ‘I kiss’d her slender hand,/She took the kiss sedately./Maud is not seventeen/But she is tall and stately. Also Enter Sir Robert page 175, Close Quarters page 235, Love At All Ages page 164, page 311.
many epopic lays – epopic, an obsolete word from the French épopée = epic poems, perhaps to show how out of date Gradka’s learning is.
216 They would never smile again – one memorable fact about Henry I was that he never smiled again after the death of his only son William in the White Ship, 1120.
217 Guilty splendour – Thomas Moore (1779-1852) ‘When first I met thee’. The speaker says to his faithless love: “Go – go – though worlds were thine,/I would not now surrender/One taintless tear of mine/For all thy guilty splendour!”. Also The Old Bank House page 275.
218 From this day will I bless you – Bible, Haggai, chapter 2 verse19. Also Peace Breaks Out page 280.
222 arbiter elegantarium – an authority on matters of taste.
223 darkened counsel – Bible, Book of Job, chapter 38 verse 2. ‘Who is this that darkeneth counsel by words without knowledge?’ As above, page 161. Also Happy Returns page 112.
St Martin’s summer – nowadays more usually known by its American name as Indian summer – fine weather in autumn ending around St Martin’s Day, 11 November.
229 Son of his loins – seems to be a generic Biblical allusion rather than a direct quotation. In High Rising, Laura Morland makes a joke about ‘Thy molars gnash upon me exceeding hard and my loins are spilled abroad. (Penguin ed. p.101)
233 Baseless fabric of a [more accurately, this]vision – Shakespeare, The Tempest, act 4 scene 1, the speech by Prospero that begins “Our revels now are ended”. Also Love Among the Ruins page 11, page 78.
234 Mrs Alicumpane and Mrs Lemon – Dickens, ‘Holiday romance’ in Miscellaneous papers. [Thanks to Edith Jeude’s Angela Thirkell and Charles Dickens published by the Angela Thirkell Society of North America for this!]
236 Actaeon – huntsman who surprised the goddess Diana/Artemis bathing, was turned into a stag and killed by her hounds. Also August Folly page 200.
237 Land o’ Cakes – Scotland. Used by Robert Burns and earlier by Robert Fergusson to describe Scotland. In the14th century Froissart described how Scottish soldiers subsisted on oatcakes made from oatmeal which they carried under the flap of their saddles.
238 East was east and west was west – Kipling, ‘The Ballad of East and West’. “Oh, East is East, and West is West,/ and never the twain shall meet/Till Earth and Sky stand presently/At God’s great Judgment Seat”.
239 So now a sweet farewell – Sounds Shakespearean, but probably just Sister Chiffinch.
241 Chariot of desire – comic conflation of two lines from William Blake’s poem ‘Jerusalem’, although Miss Bent will not perceive the humour. “Bring me my bow of burning gold!/Bring me my arrows of desire!/Bring me my spear! O clouds, unfold!/Bring me my chariot of fire!” Also Never Too Late page 60.
But far otherwise – ‘Not so, but far otherwise’ was what the Mariner said when told to come out of the whale’s stomach in Kipling’s ‘How the whale got his throat’ in Just So Stories, 1902.
241 Pelléas the goat – reminiscent, though no connection of course, being more than half a century earlier, of Lynda Snell’s llamas, Constanza and Salieri, in the radio serial The Archers. Pelléas is a romantic hero in the play Pelléas et Melisande but it was written by Maurice Maeterlinck whose work is referred to elsewhere in AT’s fiction described in unflattering terms.
246 Shalt not seethe the kid in its mother’s milk [a kid in his…] – instruction given by God to Moses; Bible, Exodus chapter 23 verse 19.
247 Abhominable before the Lord – abhominable being the earlier version of ‘abominable’, this may refer to the Bible, Book of Proverbs chapter 12 verse 22,”Lying lips are abomination to the Lord”.
249 golden-voiced announcer – BBC announcers began to use their own names during World War Two “This is the news, and this is [Stuart Hibbert/ Alvar Liddell] reading it. But there was great consternation when Wilfred Pickles read the news in his Yorkshire accent. Angela Thirkell was very critical of the standard of BBC pronunciation.
255 Tony Morland and Wesendonck – see High Rising.
257 Angela the old Died palsy-twitched with meagre face deform – last stanza of Keats’s poem ‘The Eve of St Agnes’. One can perhaps imagine Angela Thirkell’s siblings or cousins chanting this!
259 High hopes faint on a warm hearthstone – … continues “He travels fastest who travels alone”: Rudyard Kipling, ‘The Winners, L’envoi to the Gadsbys’. Also Happy Returns page 95, Jutland Cottage page 79.
264 Great San Philip taking the wind from the little Revenge’s sails – the battle at ‘Flores in the Azores’ between the Spanish and the English in Tennyson’s poem ‘The Revenge’.
267 Waters had already closed over the heads of the summer intruders – is this Charles Kingsley? Also Growing Up page 58, County Chronicle page 145.
268 Borioboola Gha – the country aided by Mrs Jellaby in Dickens’s Bleak House chapter 13. Also The Old Bank House page 21.
271 I lie so composedly here in my bed – E. A. Poe’s poem ‘For Annie’, containing one of his familiar themes.
‘And I lie so composedly
Now in my bed,
(Knowing her love)
That you fancy me dead.’
Also The Duke’s Daughter page 237, Enter Sir Robert page 240.