Never Too Late (1956)

Picture of the dust cover of "Never Too Late"

References for the novel Never Too Late, by Angela Thirkell. Published by Hamish Hamilton.

‘Relusions’ compiled by Hilary Temple and Melanie Osterman.

Chapter 1

5 obiter dicta – a judge’s incidental remarks in passing judgment, ie not binding.

6 Je ne sais plus rien… – I can remember nothing now, I have lost the memory of evil and good, O what a sad history. George Knox quickly picks up Mrs Morland’s reference: Paul Verlaine, ‘Un grand sommeil noir’. Though he should have said, ‘je perds la mémoire.’

Mere friends are we… – Robert Browning poem ‘The Lost Mistress.’ Also in Love at All Ages (1959) p.134 and Three Score and Ten p.21

7 The butcher to Tom Pinch – Dickens, Martin Chuzzlewit.

8 “I know their tricks and their manners” – Jenny Wren speaking of children in Dickens’s Our Mutual Friend.

Schadenfreude – pleasure derived by someone from another person’s misfortune.

Miss Fanny Squeers ‘pitying their ignorance and despising them’ – Dickens, Nicholas Nickleby.

advocatus diaboli – devil’s advocate.

Perhaps it was right to dissemble your love, But why did you kick me downstairs? – Isaac Bickerstaffe, ‘An Expostulation’ 1789. Isaac Bickerstaff without an e is a pseudonym of Dean Jonathan Swift, as Dr Ford presumably knows. Also Before Lunch p.164.

9 Mrs. Siddons – Welsh actress who was dubbed tragedy personified. See also below p. 25.

Sibylline – like the Greek Oracle who prophesied in verse about future events.

11 darkened counsel – Bible, Job chapter 38 verse 2: “Who is this that darkens counsel by words without knowledge?|”

Cooch Bihar / Poona – Cooch Behar [Koch Bihar] is a city in the east of India and Poona [Pune] is In the west.

Fifty North and Forty West – where the whale found the shipwrecked mariner, a man of infinite-resource-and- sagacity, in Kipling’s story ‘How the Whale Got His Throat.’ Kipling was notorious for pursuing infringement of his copyright.

13He is not dead, he is here alive… But not ready to be thy bride” – slightly adapted words of ‘The Bailiff’s Daughter of Islington’, an English folk song.

14 prunes and prism precision of speech – Mrs General trained girls to use this phrase to put their mouth in what she considered to be the most attractive shape. Dickens, Little Dorrit.

15 Under Two Flags by Ouida – The story of an aristocrat who takes the blame for something that he didn’t do to protect family and joins the French Foreign Legion.

18 the coulisses – French for the wings on either side of a stage.

propitiate the God of the place – allusion to the Roman idea of a ‘genius loci’, spirit of place.

19 the age of consent – 18 in the UK at this period.

20 unpack his heart with words – Shakespeare, Hamlet Act 3 Scene 2.

the Quangle-Wangle – Edward Lear poem ‘The Quangle Wangle’s Hat’.

21 like Tom in the Water-BabiesThe Water Babies, by Charles Kingsley.

23 he-donkey – a jackass rather than a Whole donkey, we think.

Talk in Country Places – William Hazlitt’s essay on Envy.

30 bonté de coeur – goodness of heart.

31 Mrs Cat and her kittens in The frog that would a-wooing go – children’s song, perhaps considered unsuitable nowadays, in which the cat seizes the rat by the head, the kittens catch the mouse and a duck eats up the frog.

32 And what to me, my love, and what to me?” – Edith is right, it is from Shakespeare’s comedy Love’s Labour’s Lost.

32 stap my vitals – a light-hearted oath much used in Restoration comedy (eg Congreve), Sheridan and many others.

34 shout johnny cake to the fox – from an English fairy tale ‘Johnny Cake’ by Joseph Jacobs in his English Fairy Tales.

34 Mr Miacca – another fairy tale collected by Jacobs, accurately summarised by George.

35 going before the Beak – before a judge. During the bubonic plague, judges visiting prisons used to wear primitive gasmasks, stuffed with herbs or spices and thought to ward off the plague, which looked like a beak.

36 the prospects of the Bath and West – the Bath and West is an agricultural show for the West of England. Held every year at its permanent showground near Shepton Mallet, Somerset.

Chapter 2

38 like the fox, the goose and the bag of corn – a riddle in which a man goes on a trip with a fox, a goose and a sack of corn. He has to cross a stream in a tiny boat that will only hold himself and one other at a time. For obvious reasons he can’t leave the fox alone with the goose or the goose alone with the corn. How does he get them all safely over? Answer: Take the goose over first and come back. Then take the fox over and bring the goose back. Now take the corn over and come back alone to get the goose. Take the goose over and the job is done!

39 verb. sap. – a word to the wise is sufficient; no more need be said.

39 maxime debetur – The full quotation from Juvenal’s Satires (14: 47) is “Maxime debetur puero reverentia”, ie greatest deference is owed to the young.

39 I am en disponibilité” – I am able to be here.

40 without animus – without hostility.

41 pot-boilers – a book, painting, or recording produced merely to make the writer or artist a living by catering to popular taste.

du Maurier drawing – George du Maurier, cartoonist for Punch and other magazines in the Victorian era. See also below page 70. Also A Double Affair p. 289, Close Quarters p.26

Count Smorltork – in Dickens’s The Pickwick Papers Count Smorltork has a tenuous, malapropian grasp of English but he considers himself an expert on English life after a two-week visit. He notes “The word politic surprises by himself” when Pickwick has said “The word politics comprises in itself…”.

42 Erda in Rheingold – wise earth goddess from the opera Das Rheingold by Richard Wagner.

42 Ripolin – an early enamel paint.

43 Thermogene – a medicated rub for treating lumbago.

51 Upping – Cambridge University has Downing College.

54 Punch looks out at the crowd – in Punch and Judy shows.

55 when we were stout but comely Song of Solomon chapter 1 verse 5 : “I am black but comely, O ye daughters of Jerusalem.” Also see A Double Affair p. 208 as “black but comely.”

55 in the beautiful words of the poet Rossetti unclasped from neck to hem – Can anyone trace this?

56 with a bottle at each side like John Gilpin – William Cowper’s poem ‘The Diverting History of John Gilpin’ : “Each bottle had a curling ear, /Through which the belt he drew, /And hung a bottle on each side/To make his balance true.”

58 Never has she Paltered – Mrs Morland is correct: you can only palter with something as it means ‘trifle with.’

59 “A sunset touch,/ A fancy from a flower-bell… Euripides” – Robert Browning’s poem ‘Belief and Unbelief.’

Shelley in the Cenci – Rather dauntingly The Cenci is a tragedy in five acts, which the poet Shelley had published in Italy where he had written it because it was half the cost of publishing it in London. It contains themes of incest and parricide, so was perhaps not very suitable as a general conversational topic. And it wasn’t staged till 1922.

‘In a drear-nighted December” – John Keats actually wrote “In drear-nighted December,/Too happy, happy tree,/Thy Branches ne’er remember/Their green felicity.’ The last stanza begins “Ah! would ’twere so with many/A gentle girl and boy!”

60 Jerusalem beginning ‘And’ – ‘Jerusalem’ is a hymn arranged and orchestrated in 1916 by Sir Hubert Parry (1848-1918). The words are from a poem by William Blake beginning “And did those feet in ancient time/Walk upon England’s mountains green?” The Women’s Institute has adopted it as an anthem.

the Prix d’Immondices in Paris – As this is translatable as the Filth Prize Miss Hampton’s Chariots of Desire must have been very gripping.

Chapter 3

64 Iron Curtain – first known application to Russia was in ‘With clanging, creaking, and squeaking, an iron curtain is lowering over Russian History. The performance is over.’ By Vasily Rozanov in 1918. Here the Iron Curtain is that surrounding the Palace.

Xantippe – the wife of Socrates, proverbial as a scolding and quarrelsome woman. This is what Mr Gould means by saying the bishop is a veritable Socrates, and although Mrs Morland misses his point she enables him to be openly catty about the bishop.

65 skipjacks – a toy made out of the wishbone of a bird. Also **

67 as silly as Casabianca – a poem by the English poet Felicia Dorothea Hemans, first published in The Monthly Magazine, Vol 2, August 1826. ‘Casabianca’ starts: “The boy stood on the burning deck/Whence all but he had fled;/The flame that lit the battle’s wreck/Shone round him o’er the dead.” Based on a true event of 1798 he is a French boy who refuses to leave the burning ship until he gets permission from his father, the commander, so is killed. In other words, if he had had more commonsense he would have jumped.

68 Barbara Frietchie – poem by John Greenleaf Whittier. She is an old woman who refuses to take in her American flag when the Confederate forces march through her Maryland town: “Shoot if you must this old grey head but spare my country’s flag she said.” Commenting that she is a ‘dreadful old bore’, Thirkell is clearly not in sympathy with heroics in the whole of this passage about the arrival at Crosse Hall.

70 du Maurier French Limericks in Punch – George du Maurier had regularly contributed cartoons to this magazine but in 1877 he produced 32 ‘vers nonsensiques’ illustrated by cartoons, in sets of four. They still make amusing reading.

71 jument de la nuit – is one of these limericks in Franglais, the literal translation of night-mare, which of course in French is ‘cauchemar.’ See also The Kipling Journal 305, March 2003 for references to these limericks.

Dupont de l’Heure – Mr Crosse’s French teacher M. Dupont insisted on pupils arriving on time (à l’heure). Jacques-Charles Dupont de l’Eure (1767-1855), was the first head of state of the Second Republic in France during 1848.

72 Fallacy of the Undistributed Middle – failure of logic where the middle of a distribution does not appear in the beginning or end. Example: all cats have 4 legs, my dog has 4 legs, therefore my dog is a cat.

73 Sherlock Holmes and Sydney Paget – Sidney Edward Paget (1860 -1908) illustrator in the Strand Magazine and best known for his Sherlock Holmes drawings which appeared in instalments.

74 lucus a non lucendo – an illogical explanation or non sequitur. From Latin ‘lucus’, a grove, and ‘lucere’, to light: ie there is little light in a grove of trees. Also p.154.

Away with such a fellow from the earth – Bible, Acts chapter 22 verse 22: And they gave him audience unto this word, and then lifted up their voices, and said, Away with such a fellow from the earth: for it is not fit that he should live.

75 ‘Little Liar’ – the capital letters suggest that this is a reference to Hilaire Belloc’s Matilda, who told so many lies that nobody believed her when her house really caught fire: “For every time she shouted ‘Fire!’/They only answered ‘Little Liar!”

77 Life of Molly Bangs – Mrs Morland is surprised that Lord Crosse appreciates the biography of this lady that she wrote in the intervals of producing novels. It is of course Angela Thirkell’s The Fortunes of Harriette: the surprising career of Harriette Wilson. The unisex pseudonym Esme Porlock is rather like Thirkell’s choice of Leslie Parker for her early book Trooper to the Southern Cross.

she lived at hack and manger – applied to one who has got into quarters where everything is comfortable and plenteous.

78 Philip. Ogygia. What did? – Happy Thoughts by F. C. Burnand, a prolific writer of comic plays. ‘Happy Thoughts’ appeared as a column in Punch which he later edited. A collected edition was published in 1890 but it is certainly better in small doses.

82 one can draw one’s own allusions – the use of this word for ‘conclusions’ is rather like Sam Adams’s use of ‘relusion’ for ‘allusion’ in The Old Bank House.

83 the torch whose sacred flame he had so long and faithfully tended – Possibly a general reference, or: ‘Back of all ceremony burns and will forever burn the sacred flame. There has been no time in the world’s history when that torch was extinguished. In all ages, in all climes, among all people, there has been true, pure, and unselfish love’ : Robert Ingersoll 1900.

84 forrader – further forward.

the light tempered, or as our formerly lively neighbours the Gauls say, sieved – probably Dulce Cor by Ford Bereton.

85 Coniston Old Man …Wetherlam …Watendlath…Thirlmere – Thirkell’s walking in the Lake District shows here and **

90 life was not all beer and skittles – Best known from Tom Brown’s School Days by Thomas Hughes, 1857, though it appears as “all porter and skittles” in Dickens’s The Pickwick Papers.

Chapter 4

96 would sooner have read Bradshaw – Bradshaw’s continental railway guide – the first being in 1847.

96 embark upon one of her snipe-flights – the snipe when startled from ground will leap up with dashing erratic flight and drop to ground again quickly.

97 Burke and DebrettBurke’s Peerage (now a limited company) publishes directories of the ancestry of peers, baronets, knights and landed gentry. Debrett’s publishes both biographical information and coats of arms for the various grades of the British nobility and an Etiquette manual explaining how to address royalty and nobility, advice on correspondence and international etiquette.

100 a relation of Mr Peter Magnus’s friends – Dickens, Pickwick Papers chapter 23.

106 hop the twig – to die.

108 a haunt of ancient peace – Alfred Lord Tennyson’s tribute to the Lincolnshire stately home Gunby Hall was written out by him in 1849 and hangs in the library: “An English home … all things in order stored, a haunt of peace.”

117 had not kicked against the pricks – Acts of the Apostles Chapter 9 verse 5. Also The Old Bank House 330, Enter Sir Robert 64.

121 Vache-en-Etable – sounds very authentic as a French place-name, but means Cow in the Cowshed. See also p. 189, p.240. Also Enter Sir Robert 120.

122 an Ancient Mariner’s eye – In Coleridge’s poem ‘The Rime of the Ancient Mariner’ his glittering eye transfixes the wedding guest who has to listen to him instead of going to the wedding.

a son is a son – Irish saying: Your son is your son till he takes him a wife, your daughter’s your daughter the whole of her life.

the kind of voice which the Sibyl doubtless used to Tarquin – One day, a mysterious old woman appeared in the court of Rome and asked to speak to the king. She then showed him nine books of prophecies and offered him the chance to buy them for a particularly high price. King Tarquin declined the offer, so the woman burned three of the books, and offered him the remaining books at the same price. The king declined again, and the woman burned another three of the books. Offering the remaining three books at the same high price, the king reluctantly accepted and paid the exorbitant price to the woman, who then disappeared as quickly as she had appeared.

125 their bread is not usually bitter – Poem by Dante Gabriel Rossetti, ‘Dante at Verona’: “Some glimpses reach us, – somewhat still/Of the steep stairs and bitter bread..” The same Relusion is made of Miss Sparling because of her being headmistress of one school while having to be hosted by another. See **

the 57 varieties of Procrustes’ bed – in Greek legend this bed magically stretched or shrank to torture its occupant; thus a plan or scheme to produce uniformity or conformity by arbitrary or violent methods. Its having 57 varieties like Heinz Foods is Thirkell’s own adaptation.

Chapter 5

126 soft gobbin – a fool, an idiot.

127 the woman who lost a piece of silver – Bible, St Luke chapter 15, verses 8-9: “what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, doth not light a candle, and sweep the house, and seek diligently till she find it?”

Sei nur still und harr auf Gott – just be calm and wait for God.

128 seething the kid in its mother’s milk – Deuteronomy chapter 14 verse 21.

135 impossible even for Taglioni – Marie Taglioni. 1804-84, Italian ballet dancer, whose romantic style greatly influenced ballet in the 19th century.

Why not seeds or Little Liver Pills Paterson – Carter’s Tested Seeds were best-sellers in the early 20th century and the firm expanded enormously into garden design and general horticultural retail. Carter’s Little Liver Pills were produced to stimulate the liver and the digestive system generally, and as Carter’s Little Pills still exist! Carter Paterson was a removal firm which had close links with the railways and was purchased by the main four in 1933. Upon nationalisation it was absorbed into British Road Services.

138 Hymn six hundred and sixty-six – Thirkell frequently inveighs against modern hymn books with too many hymns in them, 666 being the Number of the Beast in the Book of Revelations chapter 13 verse 18.

139 Out of God’s blessing into the warm sun

Brother Ass … is kicking against the pricks like anything

143 that gifted woman who wrote the thriller about Richard the Third – Josephine Tey in The Daughter of Time.

149 more like Miss Hoyden than anything – a boisterous girl character in John Vanbrugh’s play The Relapse (1696) by John Vanbrugh and in R.B.Sheridan’s A Trip to Scarborough (1777) which was a politer adaptation of Vanbrugh’s original.

150 Ha, dirt! I will speak to thee this once. **

Jung and Krafft Ebing – two of the most influential figures in the psychology of human sexuality.

156 expecting a masked emissary from the Vehmgericht or the Camorra – a tribunal system in medieval Germany and a Mafia-type organized crime syndicate in Naples. A rather exaggerated Thirkellian way of saying that nobody usually knocks on a living-room door. See also **

157 lucus a non lucendo . See above page 71.

Chapter 6

167 congé – permission to leave.

171 not muzzling oxen that tread the corn – Bible, 1 Timothy chapter 5 verse18.

172 Mafeking Day – 17 May 1900 celebrating the end of the siege of Mafeking in South Africa during the Boer War. (It was Georgiana Burne-Jones who hung up a banner in Rottingdean at the end of the war in 1902 reading ‘We have killed and also taken possession.’)

177 adscriptus glebae – A serf or tenant who literally was ‘attached to the soil’ where he lived: under the feudal system he could be sold with the land or inherited if his master died.

179 blood, tears and sweat – coined by Sir Winston Churchill in his famous ‘I have nothing to offer but blood, toil, tears and sweat’ speech in 1940, when he warned the British people of the hardships that would come in fighting WWII.

loading every rift with ore – John Keats’ advice in a letter to Shelley.

186 Mrs Morland’s ‘book for children with the most divine stories’ – Thirkell’s own book The Grateful Sparrow which was described as ‘taken from the German’ but actually originated by her.

Gone alas like our youth too soon – from ‘The Kerry Dance’, an Irish folk song made famous by John McCormack.

187 like the Turk with his doxies around – John Gay, The Beggar’s Opera Act 3 scene 5.

188 se débrailler – relax to the point of loosening one’s garments, indulge in ‘unbuttoned’ (informal) talk.

188 écarté – a French casino card game similar to whist.

189 Vache-en-Etable – see above, page 121.

A. P. M. – Anti-Personnel Mine?

191 every day’s most quiet need by sun and candlelight

Midgard worm – Norse Sea Monster.

195 almost needed shaking up like Mrs Smallweed – It is in fact Mr Smallweed in Dickens’s Bleak House who, being paralysed, asks to be shaken up so that he can sit upright in his chair.

195 lie long awake with star-defeated sighs – “One the long nights through must lie/Spent in star-defeated sighs. A Shropshire Lad, by A. E. Housman.

Chapter 7

197 ‘the clartier the cosier’ – Sir Walter Scott’s third Waverley novel, The Antiquary (1816) contained so much Scottish vocabulary that he included a glossary as an appendix. This expression implied comfort from prostitution.

the Lowland Doric – language of southern Scotland.

a Nicht wi’ Burns – the poet Robert Burns is celebrated on 25 January, his birthday. The correct term (in Scottish) is Burns Nicht.

Habakkuk capable de tout – Old Testament prophet. Oscar Wilde referred to Voltaire’s statement that he was ‘capable of anything’, saying Habakkuk was “a definitely irresponsible writer none of whose prophecies, according to the French philosopher, has ever been fulfilled.”

198 Dark Rosaleen – ‘Dark Rosaleen’ by James Clarence Mangan is a poem about Irish nationalism, written in 1846. Political messages were outlawed at that time, when serious famine threatened Ireland, and the poem is therefore apparently addressed to a woman.

199 Expensive Sultan combined cooker and water heater – that is, an Aga. Both sultans and agas are commanders or rulers, a sultan ruling over a Muslim country.

199 AI – misprint for A1, ie top-grade.

200 Hopkinson’s disease – that is, Hodgkin’s disease, a form of cancer.

quite a case of Our Mutual Friend – Thirkell is fond of pointing out that Dickens chose the wrong title for this novel. Miss Ward is talking about two people who both know a third person, whereas ‘mutual’ means shared between two people, as in a mutual concern for the environment.

201 bezique – a 19th century French card game using the same cards as piquet, that is two packs with the 2s to 6s removed, leaving a 64-card deck.

201 he has broken the bank at Monte Carlo – A popular British music-hall song, The Man Who [later that] Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo sung by comedian Charles Coborn (1891).

204 Jawjone – no doubt pronounced to rhyme with ‘jawbone.’ Giorgione, Italian painter (1477-1510).

le peintre qui voit d’une certaine facon et peint comme il voit – the painter who sees in a certain way and paints as he sees.

champagne frappy – ie chilled champagne.

205 bouche bée – flabbergasted. A more slangy word might be ‘estomaqué’ ie gobsmacked.

206 reluding – Mr Scatcherd always uses this word, as Mr Adams does, for ‘alluding’: hence our Relusions.

207 hessian apron – an apron made of hessian, a coarse, densely woven natural fibre, also used to wrap delicate plants over the winter or to provide support for roots on steep slopes.

215 and, behold, it was very good – Hubback has done a lot of thoughtful work for Miss Heath and feels like God on the sixth day of Creation (Genesis, chapter 1, verse 31).

217 a lovely bit of Screwby – this china can’t be Denby but might be Derby.

219 The smiles, the tears of boyhood’s years,/The words of love then spoken” – song by the incredibly successful Irish composerThomas Moore, ‘Oft in the Stilly Night.’

playing halma – a strategy board game (from the Greek word for ‘jump’) invented 1883 by George Howard Monks, an American thoracic surgeon at Harvard Medical School, based on an English game ‘Hoppity.’

223 he had seen Irving once when he was a boy – Henry Irving (1838-1905) was, like Aubrey Clover, an actor-manager working under a pseudonym, as his real name was John Henry Brodribb.

226 FOST(Finding Out Secret Things) – this is also the title of Angela Thirkell’s early short story about Mary and William. 27 Young Street was a William and Mary period house and the children are based on Angela and her brother Denis Mackail.

236 Mr. Chips the Carpenter in Happy Families – a children’s card game for ages 3+ in which the aim is to collect four members of the same family. Similar to ‘Go Fish’ and ‘Ablegspiel.’

Chapter 8

237 Carping Critic or Peevish Purist – usually referring to Zoilus (around 400-320 BCE), a severe critic of Homer’s poems, though none of his writings survive. He was nicknamed “Homeromastix”, ie scourge of Homer. Cervantes referred to him as a slanderer in his preface to Don Quixote.

240 Traire-les-Vaches …Vache-en-Etable … Vache-en-Foin … Vache-en-Ecurie – As above, these are fictitious place-names. They translate as Milk-the-Cows, Cow-in-the-Cowshed, Cow-in-the-Hay, Cow-in-the-Stable.

243 Arundel prints – the Arundel Society aimed to educate public taste through the production of high-quality prints of early Italian art at low prices.

like Joshua before Jericho … seven rams’ horns – Joshua brought the walls of Jericho down by marching around the city once a day for six days and with the priests and their trumpets on the seventh day. It is indeed in the Book of Joshua chapter 6 verse 13 onwards.

244 varium et mutabile – “Varium et mutabile semper femina”: Woman is ever a fickle and changing thing. Virgil, Aeneid 4.1.

246 Io, eh?” – Sir Robert has gone to Gatherum to see about a heifer, but it is rather coarse of Lord Stoke to suggest that he is Zeus going to see his lover Io turn her into a cow so that his jealous wife won’t find her, as in the Greek myths

THEY …Kipling – ‘They’ is a story by Rudyard Kipling which appears in several anthologies. Kipling was notoriously alert to copyright infringements of his work as Thirkell, his second cousin, was very well aware.

244 “To The Unknown God – St Paul found that in some places he visited the people were so afraid of neglecting and therefore offending a god in preparing their altars that they made provision for a kind of ‘to whom it may concern.’ Acts of the Apostles chapter 17 verse 23.

248 stone dead has no fellow – Predominantly used by advocates of the death penalty. Fellow here means ‘equal’ or ‘counterpart’.

250 agreed in petto – in private.

251 Trust in God and keep your powder dry – apparently said by Oliver Cromwell to his troops before the first Battle of Edgehill in 1642 at the start of the English civil war.

254 the sack of Troy – the storming of the city (via the Trojan Horse) in The Iliad. The mess would indeed have been considerable.

Krook’s shop in Cook’s Court, Cursitor Street – in Dickens’s Bleak House Krook is a rag and bottle collector who subsists mainly on gin.

254 douceur – a tip.

259 éminence grise – a person who exercises power or influence in a certain sphere without holding an official position.

263 Jarndyce vs Jarndyce – a fictional court case in Bleak House by Charles Dickens, which shows no sign of ending and destroys lives.

265 the three boys in Coral IslandThe Coral Island: A Tale of the Pacific Ocean (1857) is a novel written by Scottish author R. M. Ballantyne. One of the first works of juvenile fiction to feature exclusively juvenile heroes, the story relates the adventures of three boys marooned on a South Pacific island, the only survivors of a shipwreck.

Miss Betsey Trotwood – David Copperfield ‘s great-aunt in Dickens’s semi-autobiographical novel.

266 farewell & hail – Hail and Farewell is a traditional military event whereby those coming to and departing from an organization are celebrated – but here the order is reversed.

felicity of unbounded domesticityThe Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan: “But we give up the felicity/Of unbounded domesticity./Though a doctor of divinity/Is located in this vicinity.”

we will not be parsonified, conjugally matrimonifiedThe Pirates of Penzance by Gilbert and Sullivan.

268 I shall beat my sword into a ploughshare – “They shall beat their swords into ploughshares, and their spears into pruning hooks: nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.” Isaiah chapter 2, verse 4.

268 golden locks time has to silver turned – George Peele poem ‘Farewell to Arms’ (1590):
His golden locks Time hath to silver turn’d;
O Time too swift, O swiftness never ceasing!
His youth ‘gainst time and age hath ever spurn’d,
But spurn’d in vain; youth waneth by increasing:
Beauty, strength, youth, are flowers but fading seen;
Duty, faith, love, are roots, and ever green.
His helmet now shall make a hive for bees;
And lovers’ songs be turn’d to holy psalms,
A man-at-arms must now serve on his knees,
And feed on prayers, which are old age’s alms:
But though from court to cottage he depart,
His Saint is sure of his unspotted heart.

makes me feel like King Lear – Emmy cannot possibly be as fierce as Regan or Goneril in the Shakespeare play.

268 like Mother Carey whom Tom met in the Water-Babies – children’s book by Charles Kingsley in which Mother Carey is a peaceable character who sits like an iceberg making new creatures out of sea-water.

269 picture by Marcus Stone – 1840-1921, painter known for his sentimental and romantic depictions of parties, lovers and individuals with titles like ‘A Stolen Kiss’ and ‘Her First Love Letter.’ The addition of ‘R.A.’ is satirical.

269 “does truth sound bitter?” – Browning poem, ‘The Lost Mistress’, beginning “All’s over, then: does truth sound bitter/As one at first believes?”

269 I will hold your hand but as long as all may,/Or so very little longer!” The conclusion of the same poem.

269 Nay come, let’s go together – Shakespeare, Hamlet Act 1 Scene 5.

272 the NewcomesThe Newcomes: Memoirs of a Most Respectable Family, novel by William Makepeace Thackeray published in 1854.

273 stop talking like Old Moore – Old Moore’s Almanac which includes tide-tables, recipes, horoscopes.

278 we can hope that …the hosts of Midian will confine themselves to prowling – Hymn by John Mason Neale: “Christian! dost thou see them/On the holy ground?/How the troops of Midian/Prowl and prowl around?”

282 “Jenny kissed me” – Leigh Hunt wrote the poem ‘Jenny Kiss’d Me’, originally entitled ‘Rondeau’ in 1838. Apparently it commemorated a visit to Thomas Carlyle’s house after a flu epidemic when his wife Jane greeted him.

283 chewing the cud of sweet and bitter fancy – ‘Poetic trifles from solitary rambles whilst chewing the cud of sweet and bitter fancy’ was William Lisle Bowles’s description of his volume of sonnets (1789).

286 service is no inheritanceService Is No Inheritance; or, Rules to Servants by Jonathan Swift.






Leave a Reply

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