Peace Breaks Out (1946)

Picture of the dust cover of "Peace Breaks Out"

References for the novel Peace Breaks Out, by Angela Thirkell.

‘Relusions’ for the Hamish Hamilton 1946 edition.

Chapter 1

5 Rising Rambler – Rising is the name of the local river. Rambler was a periodical issued by Dr Johnson 1750-52.

Dolly Varden – a character in Dickens’ Barnaby Rudge

Beau Nash – Richard Nash, a dandy, 1674-1761.

“… Dancing in the chequered shade” – Milton, ‘L’Allegro’, lines 94-95.

Rokeby – The Rokeby Venus is a painting by Diego Velázquez, the leading artist of the Spanish Golden Age.

rude forefathers of the hamlet – from ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’ by Thomas Gray, 1751.

6 Troll the bowl, the jolly nut-brown bowl!” – Thomas Dekker play The Shoemaker’s Holiday (1600).

Britannia needs no bulwarks – continues “No towers along the steep; / Her march is o’er the mountain wave, / Her home is on the deep.” From ‘Ye Mariners of England’ by Thomas Campbell, 1777-1844.

paper restrictions – Paper rationing was introduced in February 1940.

Home is the sailor, home from the sea – from poem ‘Requiem’ by Robert Louis Stevenson. AT probably knew perfectly well that it is actually “home from sea” but this is the kind of mistake Mr Scatcherd would make.

7 The Witenaġemot (modern English “meeting of wise men”), also known as the Witan was a political institution in Anglo-Saxon England whose membership was composed of the most important noblemen in England.

in vacant or in pensive mood – from Wordsworth’s poem ‘I wandered lonely as a cloud’ (1802).

8 the Waafs – the Women’s Auxiliary Air Force, established 1939. By 1945 over quarter of a million women had served in it.

contemplating with extensive view – “Let Observation with extensive View,/Survey Mankind, from China to Peru”, from ‘The Vanity of Human Wishes’ by Samuel Johnson.

9 be a Ministering Angel – “O, Woman! in our hours of ease,/ Uncertain, coy, and hard to please,/When pain and anguish wring the brow,/A ministering angel thou!”

Normandy – the landing operations on Tuesday, 6 June 1944 of the Allied invasion of Normandy in Operation Overlord.

my batman – a soldier or airman assigned to a commissioned officer as a personal servant.

the little jigger – a stapler. George is probably pretending ignorance of this piece of office equipment.

10 Elementary, my dear Watson – allegedly said by Arthur Conan Doyle’s character Sherlock Holmes, though the nearest he comes to it is in the story ‘The Crooked Man’. Holmes has given in detail his observations about Dr Watson’s use of a hansom: ‘”Excellent!” I cried. “Elementary,” said he.’

doubles muscles – In Tartarin of Tarascon, a French novel by Alphonse Daudet, Tartarin claims to have these.

11 Norna of the Fitful Head – A character in Sir Walter Scott’s Pirate, to illustrate that singular kind of insanity which is ingenious in self-imposition.

Burberry – Thomas Burberry invented gabardine fabric in 1879 and submitted a design for an Army officer’s raincoat to the War Office in 1901.

14 the Ypres Salient is the area around Ypres in Belgium which was the scene of some of the biggest battles in World War I.

16 Set of Five – the Group of Seven was a group of Canadian landscape painters controversial in the 1920s and 30s. Julian Rivers and the Set of Five appear earlier in Pomfret Towers.

20 parver… but apter – Mr Scatcherd knows Latin! “Parva sed apta mihi” translates as “small but suited to me”. (Lodovico Ariosto, author of Orlando Furioso, had this inscribed on the front of his house.)

atterleer – And French! He means ‘atelier’, the French for studio.

21 Tromperloil – ie trompe l’oeil, a French term in painting for a type of illusionism designed to trick the onlooker into accepting what is painted as real.

23 Eton College is an English independent boarding school for boys in Eton, Berkshire.

Mr Manhole – a real character?

28 Angel Faces – various artists have painted multiple portraits of children as cherubs.

31 Mr Chips – In the card game Happy Families, Mr Chips the carpenter is represented with a square paper hat. The film, Goodbye, Mr. Chips, was released in 1939, an adaptation of the novella by James Hilton.

Brave New World – Words spoken by Miranda at the end of Shakespeare’s The Tempest. Also used ironically by Aldous Huxley as the title of his 1932 novel.

Chapter 2

33 There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under the heavens – Bible, Ecclesiastes chapter 3 verse 1.

34 stinginess and inhospitality inaugurated by Bishop Proudie’s wife – in Anthony Trollope’s Barchester novels.

Bishopric of Ferns – Ferns is a Catholic church diocese in south-east Ireland.

Shibboleth – A custom, principle, or belief distinguishing a particular class or group of people.

35 Caligula – Roman emperor from AD 37–41, chiefly known for his cruelty and tyranny, not all of which is historically verifiable.

The Arches Court – an ecclesiastical court of the Church of England covering the Province of Canterbury.

Savoy Hill – The British Broadcasting Company was offered premises in Savoy Hill (off the Strand) for its broadcasting studios in 1923. It moved to Broadcasting House in Regent Street in 1932.

36 Saint Anselm – Archbishop of Canterbury from 1093-1109, who resisted William II and Henry I’s attempts to restrict the rights of the church and was exiled twice. David Leslie seems to be extraordinarily well informed on church matters!

Saint Thomas à Becket, 1118-70, Archbishop of Canterbury 1162-70, opposed Henry II over taxation.

Hildebrand, 1020-85, became Pope Gregory VII, Saint. He excommunicated the Holy Roman Emperor Henry IV, who performed a humiliating penance at Canossa in 1077 and obtained absolution.

41 in Air Force uniform with half a wing on him – David’s role in the RAF is unclear, as a half-wing can represent various airborne roles such as technician. It seems he is not a pilot. On page 43 he is a Flight Lieutenant so that he “can go for drives in aeroplanes”.

43 though hell itself should garp – “I’ll speak to it, though Hell itself should gape” comes in Shakespeare’s Hamlet Act I scene 2. AT must have had some knowledge of old-fashioned theatrical/clerical pronunciation with her additional reference to Arbraham.

44 A.R.P. – The air raid precautions system was set up in 1937. ARP wardens supervised the Blackout.

46 all would be gas and gaiters – from Dickens’s Nicholas Nickleby.

the vision fled – “was it a vision or a waking dream? Fled is that music–do I wake or sleep?” from Keats, ‘Ode to a Nightingale’.

William Willett (1856–1915) was a tireless promoter of British Summer Time, the logic of which escapes AT and her characters.

49 It will be lovely to get milk and honey without ration books – “I will bring you up out of the affliction of Egypt unto … a land flowing with milk and honey.” in the Bible, Exodus chapter 3 verse 17.

50 pictures appeared to be associated in most people’s minds with a vast canvas of a ham, a lobster, a brace of teal, a flask of wine, a cheese with lifelike grubs on it, fresh strawberries with a giant ladybird, and a dead stag thrown carelessly across the lot, while the thought of a small French masterpiece of two oeufs sur le plat produced a reverent hush. – One can imagine the type of painting though the first is perhaps a little too elaborate, but the small masterpiece sounds like a real one. Is it?

51 The term Golden Age refers to the first in a sequence of four or five Ages of Man, in which the Golden Age is followed by the Silver, Bronze, Heroic, then the present (Iron), which is a period of decline, sometimes followed by the Leaden Age.

57 Hence vain deluding Joys! – opening line of ‘L’Allegro’, by John Milton.

Chapter 3

62 The Thirty-Nine Articles – are the historically defining statements of doctrines and practices of the Church of England with respect to the controversies of the English Reformation.

65 Ars is longer – Mr Scatcherd knows approximately what ‘Ars longa, vita brevis’ means: art is long, life is short.

69 I might…wed a savage woman and she should bear my dusky race – a pretty good recollection by David of the rather obscure “Listen to the Laureate promise: I will take some savage woman [and] she shall bear my dusky race.” (‘Lafcadio Hearn’ by Edward Hirsch).

77 everyone suddenly burst out singing – from poem ‘Everyone Sang’ by Siegfried Sassoon.

79 anyone who gives quickly gives twice – Another Latin tag: ‘bis dat qui cito dat’.

A Rake’s Progress is a series of eight satirical paintings by William Hogarth made 1733-35 and designed to be turned into engravings and prints.

let your light shine before men – “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.” St Matthew’s Gospel chapter 5 verse 16.

81 “Do as you would be done by” – Mrs Doasyouwouldbedoneby is a character in The Water Babies by Charles Kingsley.

By guess and by God – a common expression to suggest an unsystematic approach to a problem. (And the title of a book subtitled The Story Of The British Submarines In The War by William Guy Carr, published 1930.

making himself a motley to the view – “Alas! ’tis true, I have gone here and there, And made my self a motley to the view” from Shakespeare’s Sonnet no. 110.

Chapter 4

96 quincunx – five things arranged with four at the corners and one in the middle.

holding one’s own form of creed but tolerating none – “I take possession of man’s mind and deed. / I care not what the sects may brawl. / I sit as God holding no form of creed, / But contemplating all.” From ‘The Palace of Art’ by Tennyson.

97 Winged Victory – the Winged Victory (Nike) of Samothrace is a famous Greek sculpture dating from the end of the 2nd century BCE.

100 “in looking on the happy spring fields” – ie “In looking on the happy autumn fields / and thinking of the days that are no more.” Tennyson, ‘Tears, Idle Tears’.

O grief for the promise of MayThe promise of May was Tennyson’s only play, a ‘village tragedy’ which was a failure when put on in 1882.

104 He had had the impression that she had lived beside the springs of Dove from Wordsworth’s poem ‘She Dwelt Among the Untrodden Ways’:

“She dwelt among the untrodden ways/ Beside the springs of Dove, / A Maid whom there were none to praise / And very few to love.”

105 old happy far-off things – “Will no one tell me what she sings?/ Perhaps the plaintive numbers flow / For old, unhappy, far-off things, / And battles long ago.” From Wordsworth’s poem ‘The Solitary Reaper’.

106 The Munich School is the name given to a group of painters who worked in Munich between 1850 and 1918, their style clearly not appreciated by AT.

Man Friday – the character in Daniel Defoe’s novel Robinson Crusoe.

109 Barbizon incarnate – the Barbizon school of painters were part of an art movement towards Realism in art, which was active roughly from 1830 through 1870. AT probably despised this school as well.

112 my mamma will neither slumber nor sleep… Psalm 121 verse 4: “Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep.”

Chapter 5

120 Years ago one of her predecessors, the wife of Bishop Proudie, had after some consideration chosen a conversazione as the cheapest and most showy way of entertaining Barchester Society.” – Anthony Trollope Framley Parsonage, Chapter 17.

The hope which springs eternal in the human breast of getting more than its money’s worth – the pessimistic words of Alexander Pope in An Essay on Man (1733): “Hope springs eternal in the human breast:/Man never Is, but always To be blest.”

130 not the pinchbeck that was being offered – a form of brass (an alloy of copper and zinc), mixed in proportions so that it closely resembles gold in appearance.

holland smock – originally an undergarment, the smock became a loose outer garment for labourers, or to protect ordinary clothing. Holland is a plain-weave cotton or linen cloth, usually glazed. Holland covers were used for furniture that was not being used.

133 young ladies who “always smell of bread and butter” – “‘Tis true, your budding Miss is very charming, / But shy and awkward at first coming out, / So much alarm’d, that she is quite alarming,/All Giggle, Blush; half Pertness, and half-Pout; /And glancing at Mamma, for fear there’s harm in / What you, she, it, or they, may be about, / The nursery still lisps out in all they utter — / Besides, they always smell of bread and butter.” Poem ‘Beppo’ by Lord Byron.

134 not if ‘tother dear charmer were away, but if one could have both – “How happy I could be with either, Were t’other dear charmer away!” from The Beggar’s Opera by John Gay.

136 and here he stands unto this day, to witness that you lie, my girl – “And they made a molten image/And set it up on high – / And there it stands unto this day / To witness if I lie.” – from ‘Horatius at the Bridge’ by Lord Macaulay.

Chapter 6

153 Thy hand, great Anarch!” – the conclusion to this is “lets the Curtain fall,/And universal Darkness buries All.” Alexander Pope, ‘Dunciad’.

154 I know their tricks and their manners.” – Jenny Wren in Dickens’s Our Mutual Friend.

163 Ignorance, madam, sheer ignorance” (or rather Ignorance, madam, pure ignorance) was said by Dr Johnson to a woman who had asked the reason for a mistake in his Dictionary. (He described a pastern as the knee of a horse.)

Chapter 7

179 Andrew Fairservice is the gardener at Osbaldistone Hall in Rob Roy by Walter Scott. He says, “but when the time comes, there’s aye something to saw that I would like to see sawn,-—or something to maw that I would like to see mawn”.

183 Forlorn! the very word is like a bell / To toll me back from thee to my sole self.” – from “Ode to a Nightingale” by John Keats.

186 For men may come and men may go, But I go on for ever.”-
from “The Brook” by Tennyson

“In the afternoon they came unto a land / In which it seemed always afternoon.” – from “The Lotos-eaters” by Tennyson

189 they enjoyed the most happy life, until they were visited by the terminator of delights and the separator of companions.” – from The Thousand and One Nights.

Enter these enchanted woods, You who dare.” – Opening lines of ‘The Woods of Westermain’ by George Meredith.

191 Looking on the happy autumn fields / and thinking of the days that are-no more.” – from Tennyson, ‘Tears, Idle Tears’.

194 that’s the humour of it” – from Shakespeare, Henry V, Act 2 scene 1

204 We were two daughters of one race; / She was the fairest in the face.” – opening lines of ‘The Sisters’ Shame’ by Tennyson, which ends – “Three times I stabb’d him thro’ and thro’…. I wrapt his body in the sheet, / And laid him at his mother’s feet. / O, the earl was fair to see!”

205 Deanna – after Deanna Durbin, 1921-2013.

206 a haunt of ancient peace – “And one, an English home — gray twilight pour’d / On dewy pastures, dewy trees, / Softer than sleep — all things in order stored, / A haunt of ancient Peace.” – from ‘The Palace of Art’ by Tennyson

Chapter 8

212 being forced to absent himself from felicity awhile -“Absent thee from felicity a while, And in this harsh world draw thy breath in pain.” from Hamlet, Act 5 scene 2.

215 What’s sport to her is death to me – “What’s Sport to you, is Death to me!”: Letters written to and for particular friends by Samuel Richardson.

216 The Ladies of Llangollen were Eleanor Butler and Sarah Ponsonby, two Irish women whose relationship scandalized and fascinated their contemporaries.

222 Let’s off to town and purchase some [children].” – ? origin

upon the idle hill of summer – “On the idle hill of summer,/Sleepy with the flow of streams, /Far I hear the steady drummer/ Drumming like a noise in dreams. – Opening lines of A Shropshire Lad by A. E. Housman.

Chapter 9

232 Martin told the lady-bird that its house was on fire… – “Ladybird, ladybird, Fly away home, Your house is on fire And your children all gone.” Nursery rhyme from Mother Goose.

235 I could an if I would – “Or by pronouncing of some doubtful phrase, As “Well, well, we know,” or “We could an if we would,” Hamlet’s words in Act I scene 5 after the ghost has disappeared.

240 George Halliday felt much sympathy with King Henry II, except that Mr. Bostock was not an Archbishop – he resents Mr Bostock’s having any attention from Agnes. Henry II cried, “Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?”, whereupon four of his knights went to murder the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Thomas Becket (1170).

Then the Holdings car went away, leaving the world to Double Summer Time and Mr. Bostock – “And leaves the world to darkness and to me”: Thomas Gray poem ‘Elegy Written in a Country Churchyard’ (1751).

245 an embrace which left Glamora Tudor and Hash Gobbet in “Burning Flesh” nowhere at all. Is Miss Merriman personally familiar with such exciting films?


Chapter 10

259 transpontine Squattlesea – transpontine = over the bridge (ie south of the River Thames) and Squattlesea, a portmanteau word from squatting and Battersea, southwest London.

263 Mr Scatcherd would have pitied her ignorance and despised her – “I pity his ignorance and despise him.” Fanny Squeers in Nicholas Nickleby by Charles Dickens.

Xantippe – the wife of Socrates, recorded as being argumentative.

264 Lily Dale – the eternally faithful heroine of Trollope’s The Small House at Allington.

267-8 Pierre de Ronsard – French poet, 1524-85: His poem ‘Mignonne, allons voir si la rose’ contains the lines “Donc, si vous me croyez, mignonne, / Tandis que votre âge fleuronne / En sa plus verte nouveauté, / Cueillez, cueillez votre jeunesse : Comme à cette fleur la vieillesse / Fera ternir votre beauté.”

270 Adrian Coates can’t get any more paper – Paper rationing was introduced in February 1940.

metaphorically cast her shoe – “Moab is my wash pot; over Edom will I cast out my shoe:” Bible, Psalm 60.

272 Sibylline utterances – The sibyls were women that the ancient Greeks believed were oracles.

273 The Three Musketeers – novel by Alexandre Dumas, 1844.

276 Rose’s catchword of the moment – the two Roses seem confused here. It is Rose Birkett/Fairweather who constantly repeated catchwords.

278 O love, O fire! once he drew / With one long kiss my whole soul through /My lips, as sunlight drinketh dew.” – from ‘Fatima’ by Alfred Tennyson






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