Private Enterprise (1947)

Picture of the dust cover of "Private Enterprise"

References for the novel Private Enterprise, by Angela Thirkell.

‘Relusions’ for the Hamish Hamilton 1947 edition.
Compiled by Hilary Temple and Melanie Osterman.

Chapter 1

5 peace which certainly passed everyone’s understanding -“The peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus’” Philippians chapter 4 verse 7.

Horace – “Our parents’ age (worse than our grandparents’) has produced us, more worthless still, who will soon give rise to a more vicious generation [Damnosa quid non imminuit dies?/ Aetas parentum peior avis tulit/Nos nequiores, mox daturos/Progeniem vitiosiorem.]” Quintus Horatius Flaccus [Horace], Odes book 3 no 6. Other Horace Relusions Summer Half 14, 18, 99, 143. A Double Affair 150, Close Quarters 15.

7 Ice Hell of Pitz Palu – ‘White Hell of Pitz Palu’ was a silent movie from Germany 1929, directed by Pabst. Also County Chronicle 198, Three Score And Ten 41.

8 What did you do in the Great War, Mummy?” – Parody of public-service poster ‘What did you do in the war, Daddy?”.

13 Gampish calculations – Mrs Gamp is the unhygienic nurse whose role included that of midwife in Dickens’s Martin Chuzzlewit

15 Village Hampdenism – “Some village-Hampden, that with dauntless breast/The little Tyrant of his fields withstood: Thomas Gray, ‘Elegy in a country churchyard’. John Hampden was one of five MPs to resist Charles I in 1642.

16 Righteous not forsaken – “I have been young, and now am old; yet have I not seen the righteous forsaken, nor his seed begging bread.” Psalms 37 verse 25.

16 Nous avons change tout cela – Claim made by Sganarelle that the heart is now on the right side of the body and the liver on the left in Moliere’s play Le Medecin Malgre Lui, Act 2 scene 4. Also Love At All Ages page 138.

17 Johnny Woodser – Said by Mr Wickham to be a person who buys a drink only for himself. A piece of genuine Sydney slang, sometimes ‘Jimmy’ – from AT’s days in Australia, no doubt.

19 Nelson touch – Special expertise, from Horatio Nelson’s highly original tactics in warfare. Also a joke between him and Lady Hamilton.

21 Professor Talbot’s death – Occurs several times in the novels! – finally in 1956 when he was 95.

22 Veuve Clicquot – The famous widow who gave her name to a marque of champagne.

25 Charlotte Corday – Girondin revolutionary who assassinated Jacobin Jean-Paul Marat in his bath 1793. Also Miss Bunting page 168, Never Too Late page 270.

28 The lady of the Strachey: The Lady of the Strachy married the yeoman of the wardrobe’ Shakespeare, Twelfth Night Act 2 scene 5

28 Pope and Arbuthnot – Alexander Pope wrote an Epistle to his friend and physician, Arbuthnot (1735).

30 Herod – Herod I (The Great), chiefly known for his massacre of infant boys at the birth of Christ.

30 Elisha … even one she-bear – When little children mocked Elisha ‘there came forth two she bears out of the wood and tare [tore] forty and two children of them: II Kings chapter 2 verse 24.

30 The Tachmonite that sat in the seat – described as ‘chief among the captains’ in II Samuel chapter 23 verse 8. Also Happy Returns pages 206-7.

Chapter 2

33 Lear’s fivefold Never – “Why should a dog, a horse, a rat, have life”
“And thou no breath at all? Thou’lt come no more,
Never, never, never, never, never!” Shakespeare, King Lear Act 5 scene 3

35 Smike – The bullied wretch at Dotheboys Hall in Dickens’s Nicholas Nickleby.

39 rarely I see the wine when it is red now – Proverbs chapter 23 verses 31-33: Look not thou upon the wine when it is red, when it giveth his colour in the cup…

Cripes – Now out of fashion, this was an innocuous swear-word, but purists claimed it was a corruption of ‘Christ’.

a word which would shock his mother’s guests…(continues on page 40) that very unpleasant nation’s name has become a synonym in more than one language for vice – The reference is no doubt to bugger/Bulgar.

41 For consumption on the premises – From the legal conditions under which retailers sell alcohol: for consumption on or off the premises.

42 Peter Piper -The tongue-twister ‘Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled peppers’.

43 sighed as a hostess and obeyed as a mother – Parody of Edward Gibbon’s ‘I sighed as a lover, I obeyed as a son’ in Memoirs of My Life (1796). See also below page 134. Also The Old Bank House 274. Enter Sir Robert 129. Love At All Ages 93.

47 Amurath an Amurath succeeds – “Not Amurath an Amurath succeeds,/But Harry Harry” Shakespeare, Henry IV part 2, Act 5 scene 2. The Turkish Amurath had to kill his brothers to succeed his father Amurath as sultan (1574).

50 Universal benevolence of soul – One driven by strong benevolence of soul/Shall fly like Oglethorpe from pole to pole. Alexander Pope, Imitation of Horace, 2, 2, 276. Also Jutland Cottage 140, Close Quarters 124.

50 putting aside in Roman fashion all thoughts of family life – In Ancient Rome the citizen’s first duty was to the state.

51 Abernethy biscuit – a biscuit invented by surgeon John Abernethy in the 18th century as an aid to digestion.

cracknel – a thick biscuit rather like a flapjack, made with cereal such as cornflakes mixed with syrup and flavouring such as cocoa then left to set.

52 Fiddled while Rome was burning – The Emperor Nero is famous for having done this.

53 Beggarly usher – We have had much debate over the origin of this. Possible source is George Chapman’s play The Gentleman Usher (1606) which contains the line ‘as the most beggarly poet of them all’, although Dr Johnson may also have used the expression. Also Summer Half 48 [Penguin]. County Chronicle 273, Jutland Cottage 237, 242.

Chapter 3

55 unresonant air – is this a quotation?

59 The Lord give mercy unto the house of Oneasyforus – “The Lord give mercy unto the house of Onesiphorus; for he oft refreshed me.” II Timothy chapter 1 verse 16. The correct pronunciation is to emphasise the third syllable. Also Happy Returns 77, Enter Sir Robert 232, Close Quarters 21.

61 Stengah – A Malay word for half, used by the British to mean whisky mixed with water or soda. Also pages 192-3.

62 Coventry Patmore – Poet and friend of the Pre-Raphaelites, he wrote The Angel in the House about married love.

65 E. F. Crofts – Later becomes F. E. Crofts to match F. E. Arbuthnot (page 342): an error missed by the typist and the publisher!

66 chastise us with scorpions – “My father hath chastised you with whips, but I will chastise you with scorpions” I Kings chapter 12 verse 11.

67 into the middle of the matter – translation of the Latin ‘in medias res’.

68 admired disorder – “broke the good meeting with most admired disorder”: Shakespeare, Macbeth Act 3 scene 4. Also Love Among The Ruins 339. County Chronicle 51.

70 Mrs Sinkin – A white dianthus.

Arianism, or Pelagianism – Both these are heresies, the former denying the divinity of Christ, the latter denying original sin and predestination.

it stains the white radiance of eternity – “Life, like a dome of many-coloured glass/Stains the white radiance of Eternity: Shelley, Paradise of Exiles.

73 joined the majority – a euphemism for dying since the days of Petronius, died 65 CE.

73 Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof – St Matthew chapter 6 verse 34.

74 Now sleeps the crimson petal – “Now sleeps the crimson petal, now the white”. Tennyson, song from The Princess.

74 No settled abiding place – But thou wilt grace the single heart to be/Thy sure abiding-place: John Keble, The Christian Year. Also used by Dickens in Martin Chuzzlewit and David Copperfield.

75 “We might have had people like those dreadful Warburys … in the beginning of the war.” The full story is in Cheerfulness Breaks In.

Chapter 4

81 Rosa Dartle – “I only ask for information” typfies the apparently humble attitude of this embittered companion of Mrs Steerforth – here in Chapter 20 of Dickens’s David Copperfield. Also Love Among The Ruins 339. County Chronicle 51. Love At All Ages 100, 242.

82 Now I am invisible – Oberon says “But who comes here? I am invisible;/And I will overhear their conference.” Shakespeare, Midsummer Night’s Dream Act 2 scene 1.

83 Chanctonbury Ring – a prehistoric hill-fort on Chanctonbury Hill in West Sussex. Its plantation of beech-trees dating from the 18th century was largely destroyed in the great storm of 1987. Legend has it that it was created by the Devil.

84 Patient merit taking slights from the unworthy – “the spurns/That patient merit of the unworthy takes”: Shakespeare, Hamlet Act 3 scene 1.

87 Did not in the least want him to grow old along with her – “Grow old along with me!/The best is yet to be”: Robert Browning poem ‘Rabbi Ben Ezra’. Also Jutland Cottage 61. Love At All Ages 10, 270.

89 The Cedars, Muswell Hill – was the Splendid Mansion of Charles Augustus Fortescue who married the only child of Bunyan, First Lord Aberfylde becauase he was so nice in Hilaire Belloc’s Cautionary Verses.

The cuckoo of a sunless June -“The cuckoo of a joyless June/Was singing out of doors”: Tennyson, ‘Prefatory poem to my brother’s sonnets [Midnight, June 30, 1879]’. See also page 113 and page 273. Also Jutland Cottage 61, Love At All Ages 10, 270, Happy Returns 12, Three Score And Ten 5.

90 The sun comes out of his chamber like a bridegroom – “[The sun] Which is as as a bridegroom coming out of his chamber, and rejoiceth as a strong man to run a race.”: Mr Dean is of course being rather rude before Jessica stops him. Psalm 19 verses 4-5.

92 Lady Godiva – In the Coventry legend of the 13th century she rode naked through the city, covered only by her long hair to persuade her husband Leofric, Earl of Mercia, to abate the taxes of the poor tenants. A later version of the legend has Lady Godiva asking the population not to watch her, but a man named Thomas did so and was struck blind, hence the expression “Peeping Tom”.

99 Dame Quicklyism – Mistress Quickly is the quick-witted and bawdy innkeeper of the Boar’s Head tavern in Eastcheap, where Falstaff and his friends meet. She appears in Shakespeare’s Henry IV parts 1 and 2, Henry V and The Merry Wives of Windsor. Also The Old Bank House 52.

101 Sister under her skin to half of Piccadilly Circus – “The Colonel’s lady an’ Judy O’Grady/Are sisters under their skins!”: Kipling, Barrack Room Ballads. Also Marling Hall 175, Happy Returns 311.

Omphale – Queen of Lydia who had Hercules winding wool for her.

a cow and a bee – This sounds like the sort of thing that might come in Virgil: what is the source?

quite this side idolatry – Ben Jonson said of Shakespeare: “I loved the man, and do honour his memory on this side idolatry as much as any.” Also Jutland Cottage 138.

107 Farewell to arms – Title of a poem by George Peele (1556-96): ‘A Farewell to Arms (To Queen Elizabeth), also known as Polyhymnia and containing the famous lines “His golden locks time hath to silver turn’d/O Time too swift, O swiftness never ceasing!” Used as title of novel by Ernest Hemingway 1929. See also page 274 and Three Score And Ten.

Chapter 5

111 Oh! Mrs Arbuthnot – “Oh! Miss Shepherd!”was the sigh of Dickens’s David Copperfield when he fell in love with this boarder at the Misses Nettingalls’ establishment (chapter 18).

in vacant or in pensive mood – from Wordsworth’s poem ‘Daffodils’ (1802).

Cupid’s dart had pierced his heart – cliché or a proper quotation?

113 cuckoo of a joyless June – See note on page 89 above.

115 heat with things like an aspirin – According to the British Iron Collectors’ Club, probably a travel iron heated by lighting a paraffin-wax block (a Meta block) under the sole. The most popular UK model was the Boudoir.

116 Mr Therm – Symbol like a blue flame with a face to market domestic gas.

117 Pumblechookian – Mr (Uncle) Pumblechook was the pompous epitome of complacency in Dickens’s Great Expectations . Also Happy Returns 92.

119 Morton’s fork – As Archbishop of Canterbury under Henry VII John Morton (1420-1500) took a novel view of taxes, claiming that the rich had plenty of money and the less well-off would live modestly and have savings.

Edmund Dudley – was adviser and financial administrator to Henry VII and imprisoned when Henry VIII came to the throne. He was executed for treason. Richard Empson – assisted Dudley in carrying out Henry VII’s rigorous system of collecting taxes. Like Dudley he was convicted of treason and executed. Also Happy Returns page 304.

be of good cheer – “Be of good cheer, Master Ridley”: not very suitable to the context, since the original words were uttered by Latimer shortly before they were both burned at the stake together in 1555. But continues the surge of historical memories!

124 Benes – Edvard Benes was Czech president who had to resign in 1938, returning to his country after the war.

Schusschnig – Chancellor of Austria, imprisoned by the Nazis at the Anschluss 1938.

Zog – Ahmed bey Zogu, president then king of Albania, fled to Britain in 1939 at the Italian invasion.

Smigly-Rydz – Edward Smigly-Rydz (1886-1941), Polish general interned in Romania 1939.

Mannerheim – Carl Gustav, Finnish commander in chief against the Russians 1939-40, president 1944.

Gallantry had faded away – parody of “Prophesy shall fade away,/Melting in the light of day” from the hymn ‘Gracious Spirit, Holy Ghost’ by Bishop C. Wordsworth.

The Little Man was having his little day – Possibly a parody of the line from a song ‘Little man has had a busy day’?

125 Chariots of Desire – An amusing conflation of ‘arrows of desire’ and ‘chariot of fire’ from William Blake’s poem ‘Jerusalem’, which was set to music by Hubert Parry and is the anthem of the Women’s Institute.

126 A Gentle Girl and Boy – From the poem by Keats about the impossibility of rectifying the past, ‘In drear-nighted December’.

127 Babu – a Hindu title of respect that degenerated to mean an Indian with superficial knowledge of English.

128 Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Ancient BuildingsThe Society for the Protection of Ancient Buildings, founded by William Morris, great friend of Edward Burne-Jones, in 1877.

130 Even in their ashes live their unwonted fires – Thomas Gray’s poem ‘Elegy in a Country Churchyard’, stanza 23: “Ev’n from the tomb the voice of Nature cries,/ev’n in our Ashes live their wonted Fires.”

Away with such a fellow from the earth – Acts of the Apostles chapter 22 verse 22. Also Miss Bunting 83, Happy Returns 77, Never Too Late 74.

133 saw that it was good – ‘And God saw that it was good’ is a refrain that runs through chapter 1 of the Book of Genesis in the account of the creation.

134 sighed as one who needed her tea but obeyed as an employer – “sighed as a lover, but obeyed as a son” See note on page 43 above.

135 chuck him out of winder – “Probably I’d pitch him out o’ winder, sir, only he couldn’t fall far enough, ’cause o’ the leads outside.” Dickens, Pickwick Papers chapter 40.

136 grannybonnets – Granny’s bonnets is indeed a common name for aquilegias (columbines).

137 malady most incident to love – “A malady most incident to maids” in Shakespeare’s The Winter’s Tale Act 4 scene 3. Also Before Lunch 70.

Feeby/Phibbus’ car – Phoebus is the other name for Apollo the sun-god.

138 could not ride the whirl-wind or direct the storm – “And, pleased th’Almighty’s orders to perform,/Rides in the whirl-wind and directs the storm.” Joseph Addison (1672-1719) ‘The Campaign’ Also Cheerfulness Breaks In 262, The Old Bank House 135, 146, County Chronicle 100.

139 They call me Francis, people say… – “They called him Peter, people say,/Because it was his name”: W. S. Gilbert, Bab Ballads, ‘The Bishop of Rum-ti-Foo [the original Colonial Bishop!]’ Also County Chronicle 258.

Rum-ti-Foozleite – “This style of dancing would delight/A simple Rum-ti-Foozleite : as previous entry.

Chapter 6

140 the waters closed over his head – Lamentations chapter 3 verse 54: Waters flowed over my head: then I said I am cut off.” Also Growing Up 58, Miss Bunting 267, County Chronicle 145.

142 Engadine – a long high Swiss valley with a railway from St Moritz to Scuol, so presumably perfectly suitable to jump off, but does it have literary connections?

143 spring of Dunkirk – see Cheerfulness Breaks In

143 alone and palely wandering – “alone and palely loitering”: Keats’s poem ‘La Belle Dame Sans Merci’.

144 Boucher – Francois Boucher, 1703-70, painted Madame de Pompadour, but also a brilliant rococo decorator. See also page 244 for reference to a Boucher book with lovely illustrations.

145 Rumpelstiltskin – Also known as Tom Tit-Tot, a goblin-creature who tried to keep his name secret and stamped with fury when it was discovered. Grimm’s Fairy Tales, ‘Rumpelstiltskin’.

147 Such an one – Old-fashioned usage, perhaps not classifiable as a quotation? But also in Never Too Late 141, 144.

149 Mr Percy Lubbock’s Earlham – Percy Lubbock (1879-1965), literary critic and biographer. Earlham was the prizewinning 1922 memoir of his idyllic childhood.

149 Coke upon Littleton – Edward Coke (1552-1634) wrote a commentary on Littleton’s Institutes of the Laws of England.

151 This way madness lies – “O! That way madness lies” : Shakespeare, King Lear Act 3 scene 4. Also Enter Sir Robert 256.

152 Darby and Joan – Traditional names for a faithful elderly couple. Cynthia Snowden in Going to Barsetshire pins this down as a poem by Henry Woodfall 1735, ‘The Joys of Love Never Forgot’.

Chapter 7

156 clear of cant – “Clear your mind of cant [hypocritical or sanctimonious talk]: Boswell’s Life of Johnson. See Happy Returns 97 for a fuller Relusions note.

land of lost delights – Might this refer to ‘the land of lost content’, as in A.E.Housman’s A Shropshire Lad? “That is the land of lost content,/ I see it shining plain,/ the happy highways where I went/ and cannot come again”. Also Love Among The Ruins 142, Close Quarters 70.

158 Mr Klobber/dah-oody – An appropriate name, clobber being slang for clothes. Dah-oody = dowdy”. 27 guineas – £28/7s/0d – would be a colossal sum for a suit.

161 the late Duke of Connaught – Prince Arthur, third son of Queen Victoria, had died in 1942.

162 script with a specious appearance of legibility – Possibly Speedwriting which used ordinary letters rather than the symbols of shorthand.

164 the late M. Proust – Marcel Proust, 1871-1922, the reference being to his A la recherche du temps perdu. ‘Late’ seems to be uppermost in AT’s mind in this chapter!

Mrs Graham as a housemaid – Perhaps the painting by Gainsborough (1727-88) in the National Gallery of Art, Washington, in which the sitter is dressed very plainly and holds some kind of cloth.

165 the Lit. Supp. – The Times Literary Supplement, authoritative weekly publication containing reviews and articles.

Diane Chasseresse – Diana was the Roman goddess who was patron of hunting. But “four children or not”: is wrong: Lady Pomfret usually only has three children. See page 172.

168 Mrs Rivers’ rudeness – See Pomfret Towers.

169 George Knox’s historical allusions – 1st Earl Stanhope (1675-1721) was in effect George I’s foreign minister, then chief minister. Count Ernst von Starhemberg (1638-1701) was military governor of Vienna. Archduke Charles of Austria was beaten by Napoleon’s general Massena at Caldiero 1805. Guillaume Dubois was France’s all-powerful foreign minister 1720, then prime minister. Port Mahon was the defeat (1756) of the British by the Duc de Richelieu, incidentally giving its name to the new sauce mayonnaise. The Septennial Act 1715 increased the maximum term for a British parliament to 7 years from 3. Le grand monarque is Louis XIV.

171 Autumn Crocus – Really a novel by Dodie Smith, whom Mrs Rivers would no doubt have disliked!

173 Blind god – Cupid, the god of love.

176 Julia Mills – Poetic friend of Dora Spenlow and go-between for her and David Copperfield in Dickens’s David Copperfield. She also appears on page 254, “benighted in the desert of Sahara”.

chilly and grown old – “I feel chilly and grown old”: the last line of Robert Browning poem ‘Toccata of Galuppi’s’ (which also contains the line “when the kissing had to stop”. Also August Folly 171.

181 eyes of Argus, legs of Arachne, arms of Briareus – Greek myths: Argus was a 100-eyed giant, Arachne was turned into a spider by Athena, Briareus was a giant with 50 heads and 100 hands. Also Northbridge Rectory 30, The Old Bank House 26.

182 made manifest – Also in Relusions for Jutland Cottage 258, Happy Returns 307, What Did It Mean 111.

appeared to have the root of the matter in himBefore Lunch 72, Love Among The Ruins 112, 135, 221. The Old Bank House 14, 135, 302. Jutland Cottage 241. Love At All Ages 132.

183 see what Master Alfred is doing – Punch cartoon of a nanny. Also The Old Bank House 92, Love At All Ages 10.

like Ignorance, outside the shut gates ..of the Celestial City – Bunyan, Pilgrim’s Progress. Also below page 208.

184 My Peggy’s but a young thing – My Peggy is a young thing Poem in Oxford Book of English Verse by Allan Ramsay (1686-1758)

Lyra Heroica and Golden Treasury – Both books of verse for children, the former published 1904, the latter, edited by Palgrave, in 1875.

185 Off to bed the pets must flock – Presumably from a children’s book, but what?

Foul New World – Variant of Brave New World, the novel by Aldous Huxley, itself a quotation from Shakespeare’s The Tempest Act 5 scene 1. Another reference on page 190. One of AT’s most popular Relusions! Also in Northbridge Rectory 236, Marling Hall 37, Love Among The Ruins 195, The Old Bank House 120,182, Enter Sir Robert 40, Love At All Ages 15, 54, Three Score And Ten 137.

Living rampart of my body – Possibly the terrified soldiers surrounding Porthos as he lights a barrel of explosive, an act that kills him, in The Man in the Iron Mask by Alexandre Dumas,

Chapter 8

187 Hash Gobbet – Another of AT’s attractively-named film-stars, recalling Rock Hudson, etc.

188 ye Charles’s Head – Probably not a real Plymouth pub, more likely a reference to Mr Dick in Dickens’s David Copperfield.

In addition to pages in the ration book – A literal description of ration books? Presumably the contents were revised over the years.

Cinema Club – As ‘Saturday morning pictures’ these lasted until the 1960s.

189 ‘Don’t let’s be beastly to the Germans‘ was a Noel Coward song written before the end of the second world war.

190 Brave New Worlders hiking – See note on page 185 above.

191 Chaldicotes, Greshams, Thornes – All from Anthony Trollope’s Barsetshire novels. Chaldicotes Chase was the home of Mr Sowerby. The Gresham and Thorne families are borrowed by AT, Greshams,

192 Stengah -See note on page 61 above.

196 Newgate frill – Beard growing under rather than on the chin, about where the noose would be placed hang a prisoner in the terrifying Newgate prison. Also Cheerfulness Breaks In 140.

the late John Martin – an early Victorian painter obsessed with ‘the sublime’.

197 Medmenham Abbey – Scene of meetings of the Hell Fire Club in West Wycombe.

198 Richard Swiveller and Sally Brass – the two matter-of-fact friends in Dickens’s Old Curiosity Shop. Also The Brandons 256, County Chronicle 38. Happy Returns 238.

201 Jack Ketch – nickname for the hangman.

In July, Away you don’t fly. In August away you jolly well must – Miss Arbuthnot’s disillusioned version of the traditional song about the cuckoo: “In May he sings all day, In June he changes his tune, In July he’s ready to fly, In August go he must.”

How I HATE birds – This inconsistency on Miss Arbuthnot’s part, because she is annoyed with herself for quarrelling with Mr Wickham, shows her softer side. Alas, the Journal of Philavian Studies with which she consoles herself does not appear in any periodical listings.

202 David Copperfield’s mother – A naive character whose second marriage was to the wicked Mr Murdstone:: Charles Dickens, David Copperfield. There are many other David Copperfield references, for instance Dora in Love At All Ages 165, Littimer in Three Score And Ten 44. See also Angela Thirkell and Charles Dickens by Edith Jeude, revised edition published by the Angela Thirkell Society of North America in 2019.

203 he was the more deceived – Ophelia’s “I was the more deceived” is a tragic response to Hamlet’s saying he did not love her (Shakespeare, Hamlet Act 3 scene 1) which is greatly at odds with Colin’disappointment at not findings Mrs Arbuthnot. Noel has a similarly-described disappointment on page 349. Also Marling Hall 99 Love Among The Ruins 326, The Old Bank House 9, 17, 88, A Double Affair 165.

204 moth’s kiss – “The moth’s kiss, first!/Kiss me as if you made believe”: Robert Browning poem ‘In a Gondola’.

Like the Turk with his doxies around – “Thus I stand like the Turk, with his Doxies around;/From all Sides their Glances his Passion confound” in John Gay, The Beggar’s Opera Act 3 scene 5.

205 dixhuitièmerie – the 18th century tone (The Beggar’s Opera was written in 1728)

Modern Greats – Greats is the Oxford University expression for a degree in Classics; Modern Greats incorporates a living language which would seem abhorrent to the daughter of classicist J. W. Mackail.

206 the devil had come amongst us … Mr Toobad – Two linked references here: The New Testament Revelation of St John the Divine has “the devil is come down unto you having great wrath” (Chapter 12 verse 12). Mr Toobad is the character who sees evil as being everywhere in the ascendent, based on J. F. Newton, a member of Percy Bysshe Shelley’s circle, in Thomas Love Peacock’s Nightmare Abbey.

British restaurant -State-subsidised feeding centres set up during the second world war.

Butlin’s camps – Holiday centres, originally with closely-organised activities, the first being established in Skegness by Billy Butlin in 1936. Three still flouish at Bognor Regis, Minehead and Skegness.

207 Henrietta Maria – Wife of Charles I, fled to France after his execution in 1649 and mother of Charles II who came to the throne in 1660 at the Restoration of the Monarchy.

208 Mr By-Ends, Ignorance and Vain Hope – In John Bunyan’s Pilgrim’s Progress Mr By-Ends was a false pilgrim, always swayed by the mood of the moment. Ignorance was a likeable character who trailed aimlessly behind Christian and was refused entry to the Celestial City because he was not properly prepared. Vain-Hope was the ferryman who transported Ignorance over the river (in which Christian had nearly drowned) instead of crossing it on foot as he should. Ignorance also p.183.

209 full of dears and darlings, signifying nothing – “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing: Shakespeare, Macbeth Act 5 scene 5. Also What Did It Mean 182.

210 the iron had eaten too deeply into Colin’s soul – the iron entered into his soul (Joseph in the stocks) Psalm 105 v 17.

Manfred or Lara – Both heroes who meet their deaths in poems by Byron: Manfred, A Dramatic Poem full of supernatural elements in three acts, 1817; and Lara: a Tale of 50 pages in rhyme, 1824

211 Queen Philippa – Wife of Edward III, interceded with him for the lives of the burgesses of Calais.

213 biological communications have corrupted good manners – “Evil communications corrupt good manners”: I Corinthians chapter 15 verse 33.

216 Thinking of the old ‘un – Mrs Gummidge was always doing this in Dickens’s David Copperfield, eg chapter 3. Also Miss Bunting 16. Happy Returns 37, 139, 227, A Double Affair 188, Close Quarters 223.

ridding people of pestilent priests – Will no one rid me of this turbulent priest?” said of King Henry II of Thomas a Becket. thus provoking his murder.

217 as soon as the copyright runs out – The limit at this period was 50 years after the author’s death.. Arthur Sullivan’s music would have come out of copyright at the end of 1950 (so not long after the publication of this novel) and W. S. Gilbert’s in 1961.

Bevin – Ernest Bevin was Minister of Labour in Churchill’s government of 1940.

Chapter 9

220 But thy most perfect instrument – Anne’s memory is not perfect! The ‘Thanksgiving Ode’ was written to celebrate the defeat of Napoleon at the Battle of Waterloo and reads: “But thy most dreaded instrument/In working out a pure intent,/Is Man, arrayed for mutual slaughter/ Yea, Carnage is thy daughter.” Wordsworth, ‘Ode 1815 The Morning of the Day Appointed for a General Thanksgiving’.

221 had the root of the matter in him – See note on p.182 above.

Babies Can Take It – Parody of a wartime public service slogan ‘Britain can take it’

222 Archdeacon Grantly – “You must positively alter this dining-room” in Anthony Trollope’s Barchester Towers chapter 21.

223 unto the setting of the sun – “Has the sound of a quotation, but what?”.

225 Mr Ruskin – John Ruskin (1819-1900), art critic with strong views about the aesthetic.

226 Scene from Clerical Life – AT is here using the word ‘scene’ to mean ‘quarrel’. George Eliot, Scenes of Clerical Life, 1858. Also A Double Affair 247.

227 these rather ostentatious renouncements – The word should be ‘renunciation’, but ‘renouncement’ nicely suggests ‘announcement’.

Sir Gilbert Scott – Gothic-revival architect, designed the much-abused Albert Memorial and St Pancras Station (the model for Pomfret Towers).

228 Bay of Jellybolee and hills of the Chankly Bore – The Jellybolee area is the home of the Scroobious Pip and the Hills of the Chankly Bore were visited by the Jumblies and the Dong with the Luminous Nose in Edward Lear’s Nonsense Verse. Also Happy Returns 125.

229 Raeburn and Lawrence – Sir Henry Raeburn (1756-1823), Scottish portrait painter (oils), bold style with strong shadows; Sir Thomas Lawrence (1769-1830), leading portrait painter, became President of the Royal Academy 1820.

230 Orontes flowing into the Tiber – The Roman poet Juvenal (end of the 1st century CE) described a man who feared that the Orontes [Syrian river] was emptying itself into the Tiber, in other words too many Asians were coming to Rome. Also Wild Strawberries 35. Happy Returns 204. Enter Sir Robert 6, A Double Affair 182.

231 pre-war Baccardi – For Bacardi rum, presumably.

232 as this leaves me at present – Old-fashioned phrase used to sign off letters, eg ‘I hope this finds you well, as it leaves me at present’”.

236 puggaree – or pagri was originally a traditional Indian turban, then adapted to a muslin scarf to wrap around a hat, the ends draped to protect the neck.

237 Norn in the Rheingold – In Norse myth the Norns were the three fates (past, present and future), hence the use of them in Wagner’s Das Reingold.

242 emotion in tranquillity – “Emotion recollected in tranquillity” was Wordsworth’s definition of poetry in the Preface to the Lyrical Ballads, 1802.

244 Boucher – previously mentioned on page 144 above. No trace of book by Lemoineau, which would mean sparrow, although Boucher was a pupil of Francois Lemoyne or Le Moine.

“Peace, woman” – was famously said by the Rev. Mr Crawley to Bishop Proudie’s domineering wife in Trollope’s Barchester Towers. Also The Old Bank House 255, County Chronicle 101, A Double Affair 202.

245 Bugs or Buxes – Baffling symbols in ration books.

246 Feeder and Traill – Why this combination? Mr Perrin and Mr Traill is a 1911 novel by Hugh Walpole about two schoolmasters. Also County Chronicle 153, Enter Sir Robert 74.

248 Mr Chadband’s description – “Our legs would refuse to bear us, our knees would double up, our ankles would turn over, and we should come to the ground.” Dickens, Bleak House chapter 19. Also Enter Sir Robert 44.

The Pilgrim’s Progress – John Bunyan’s allegorical tale (1678) yields several AT Relusions, eg page 183 above.

249 the disguised impertinence of Leslie Major – In Peace Breaks Out (page 168) the boy purposely imitated Miss Banks’s wrong pronunciation of Uranus.

250 Austerity or utility – Both expressions used of wartime products that were meant to be functional but on occasion could be cheap, nasty and short-lived. Another example of Miss Arbuthnot’s emotional side.

251 Marriage Service – The chaplain does not get the chance to use the statement that marriage “was ordained for the procreation of children” in the Book of Common Prayer, The Form of Solemnization of Matrimony.

252 Methusalem – Or Methuselah, father of Noah, who lived 969 years according to Genesis Chapter 5 verse 27.

Chapter 10

254 Julia Mills – “Miss Mills thought it was a quarrel, and that we were verging on the Desert of Sahara.” : Dickens, David Copperfield chapter 37. See also above page 176.

255 back in my mud hovel like the fisherman’s wife – The domineering wife made her husband repeatedly ask a magic fish for favours until she went too far and demanded to be Lord of the Universe, whereupon she found herself back in her original home. Grimm’s Fairy Tales, ‘The Fisherman and his Wife’.

Buffaloes’ Outing – The Royal Antediluvian Order of Buffaloes is a social club and benevolent society.

255 Mewlinwillinwodd – Sometimes she recited a few verses from the Mewlinwillinwodd: Charles Dickens, Bleak House, chapter 30.

Time, time the old age were out” – The closest we can find is “‘Tis well an old age is out/And time to begin a new.”, which is not very close! Dryden, The Secular Masque.

256 Cicero in his retirement at Tusculum – Marcus Tullius Cicero (106-43 BC), was the Roman statesman who was exiled here.

258 twelve-winded sky – “From far, from eve and morning/And yon twelve-winded sky” A.E.Housman, A Shropshire Lad , a classical reference to the Aristotelian system: four cardinal (NESW), four solstitial (NW, NE, SE, SW), two polar (NNW, NNE) and two non-winds (SSW, SSE).

262 rotten-runged, rat-ridden encumbrances – “And find a poor devil has ended his cares/At the foot of your rotten-runged, rat-riddled stairs” : Robert Browning, poem ‘Master Hugues of Saxe-Gotha’.

262 School Carmen – The school song, excerpts of which appear on pages 264-5. Real-life school songs can be worse than this.

263 Bishop Hatto – In Robert Southey’s poem ‘God’s Judgment on a Wicked Bishop’ he called the starving population into a barn “And while for mercy on Christ they call/ He set fire to the Barn and burnt them all”. He was unable to sleep again as he was haunted by an army of rats that eat him to death. Also What Did It Mean 305.

264 But when the face of Sextus – Macaulay, Lays of Ancient Rome

wait till he has kissed them all – Commentary on the parliamentary candidate at Eatanswill: “He has patted the babies on the head” “He has kissed one of ’em!.. “He’s kissin’ ’em all!” Dickens, Pickwick Papers, chapter 13.

265 Lawk-a-mercy on me, This is none of I – Nursery rhyme from Mother Goose about an old woman who had her petticoats ‘cut up to her knees’ by a pedlar. Also Miss Bunting 63, Jutland Cottage 203. A Double Affair 6.

All Rome sent forth a rapturous cry… – Macaulay, Lays of Ancient Rome. Also August Folly page 114.

268 confounding their politics and frustrating their knavish tricks – The British National Anthem had an official ‘Peace Version’ (1919) containing the words ‘Bid strife and hatred cease,/..Spread universal peace’: perhaps Angela Thirkell was thinking of this.

272 The Guardian – Not the present national daily, but a Church of England periodical that ceased publication in the mid-20th century.

273 They’ll storm the Tuileries – The royal palace near the Louvre in Paris, used as centre of government by the Revolutionaries.

And from the deluged park – See note on page 89 above.

The girl who went down to the cellar – Clever Elsa reasoned that the axe might fall and kill her and managed to upset her whole family as a result in Grimm’s Fairy Tales. Also The Old Bank House page 191, Close Quarters page 145, Love At All Ages page 175.

274 turn one’s helmet to a hive for bees – “His helmet now shall make a hive for bees”: George Peele (1556-96), Polyhymnia: a classical reference. Also Three Score And Ten 23. Also see above, with alternative title, page 107.

left to silence and to Robin Dale – “And leaves the world to darkness and to me”: Thomas Gray poem ‘Elegy in a country churchyard’. Also Northbridge Rectory 290, Happy Returns 164. What Did It Mean 181.

275 demons under the sea – The nearest we can find is “nor demons down under the sea” in Edgar Allan Poe’s poem ‘Annabel Lee’. Also High Rising 119.

278 oratio recta and oratio obliqua – direct and indirect speech.

279 a party in a parlour all silent and all damned – “Is it some party in a parlour,/Crammed just as they on earth were crammed – /Some sipping punch, some sipping tea,/But as you by their faces see/All silent, and all damned?” Wordsworth poem ‘Peter Bell’, 1819 version, subsequently omitted.

282 struldbrugs/struldbruggs – inhabitants of Luggnagg, immortal but lacking vigour or intellect. Jonathan Swift, Gulliver’s Travels. Also Jutland Cottage 257.

285 The Last Night in the Old Home – Sounds like the painting ‘The Last Day in the Old Home’ by Robert Braithwaite Martineau (1862) of the auctioneer taking away all the family’s possessions. Elizabeth Bowen wrote a short story entitled ‘The Last Night in the Old Home’.

Chapter 11

290 Colney Hatch – A pun: Angela Thirkell would have known this real institution as a ‘lunatic asylum’.

old Robinson in the dug-out – Angela Thirkell uses various forms, including Old Bill… Probably the cartoon by Charles Bruce Bairnsfather (1887-1959) ‘Well, if you knows of a better ‘ole, go to it’, inspired by his revulsion at trench warfare in World War I. See also page 313. Also Happy Returns 64, 106. Enter Sir Robert 156, 264. Jutland Cottage page 98.

291 change their sky as they would – “Coelum non animum mutant qui trans mare currunt”: They change the sky but not their spirit who travel overseas (Horace).

V-Days – Victory Days: VE Day for victory in Europe, VJ Day for victory in Japan.

296 like the place where the old horse died – ‘The Place Where the Old Horse Died’, a song lamenting the death of horse in hunting-field by G..J. Whyte-Melville (1821-78), referred to by Kipling in one of his Plain Tales From the Hills, ‘The Rout of the White Hussars’.

298 Black-eyed Susan – Heroine and love of Sweet William, Douglas Jerrold’s nautical melodrama 1829 (based on song by John Gay).

299 Morlandesqueness – George Morland (1763-1804) painted romantic rustic scenes. Also The Old Bank House 187. What Did It Mean 126. Enter Sir Robert 79.

300 Bevin Boy – Ernest Bevin, Minister of Labour in Churchill’s government of 1940, established a programme for young workers to replace miners who had joined the armed forces.

Alea jacta est – The dice is thrown: meant to have been said by Julius Caesar at the crossing of the Rubicon, according to Suetonius. Also Love At All Ages 103.

301 nothing but a doggone pest – Ought to be easily traceable as a quotation, but isn’t!

handrails … skewer – Fictitious, like the other birds, but ingenious since there is a species ‘rail’ (Rallus…). Mr Spottletoe is a character in Dickens’s Martin Chuzzlewit; and a skua really lends itself to puns!

305 ever the best of friends – “Ever the best of friends, Pip”, said by Joe Gargery in Dickens’s Great Expectations.

306 the Stag at Bay – Proud, with flaring nostrils and protruding tongue, no doubt, like the picture by Sir Henry Landseer (1802-73).

two railway companies -The Great Western and the Great Central Referred to as ‘the toy line’ in High Rising.

307 as Ianthe, passing like wind over the grass – In Greek mythology she was so beautiful she was turned into purple flowers.

Bledlow – In Buckinghamshire, on the Chinnor branch from Princes Risborough.

309 HighTide on the Coast of Lincolnshire -Title of poem by Jean Ingelow. Also What Did It Mean 276.

310 Ravenglass and Eskdale Railway – In Cumbria, 15-inch gauge, built by W. J. Bassett-Lowke to test his scale-model engines. As Tony Morland would know.

Muckby-cum-Sparrowby railway – A mystery. Can’t be the Wells-Walsingham line in Norfolk, as this is 10.25″ gauge and 4 miles long: perhaps Angela Thirkell’s fictionalisation of it?

311 little railway in Yorkshire – Clearly not now preserved?

313 claret was his drink…he agreed with Dr Johnson – “Claret is the liquor for boys; port, for men” in Boswell’s Life of Johnson vol.3.

enfants perdus – ‘Enfant Perdu’ is the title of poem by Heinrich Heine – see next note.

314 Verlorner Posten in dem Freiheitskriege – Heine, Enfant Perdu: “Verlorener Posten in dem Freiheitskriege/Hielt ich seit dreissig Jahren treulich aus.” “In Freedom’s war, of Thirty Years and more,/A lonely outpost I have held – in vain!”

316 Orpheuses among the Thracian women – The Bacchantes of Thrace tore Orpheus to pieces out of jealousy for Eurydice. Also Enter Sir Robert 177.

318 attraction of the moth to the star – “The desire of the moth for the star”, from one of the Shelley poems entitled ‘To – ‘ published by Mrs Shelley in 1824, the first line of which is “One word is too often profaned”.

Chapter 12

326 peristaltic action – ie action of the gut in digestion. Pinky Cumberboard, whoever he was, clearly had a good sense of humour!

327 St Sycorax – About as inappropriate a name as could be, since Sycorax was a witch. See also Jutland Cottage 22 and others.

330 Winporto – An echo of Wincarnis, a synthetic tonic-wine.

333 painstaking pupil of Varley – John Varley, 1778-1842, watercolourist and teacher, friend of William Blake.

337 He and I have much in common – Implies (along with his name) that Aubrey Clover is gay.

prove all things – “Prove all things; hold fast that which is good”: I Thessalonians chapter 5 verse 21. Also Happy Returns 68, Jutland Cottage 53.

338 Strohwasser – Not a real place, although it sounds remarkably like it. Hans Strohwasser was a German vice-admiral in World War Two.

had the root of the matter in her – See note on page 182 above.

341 never turned his back … upon Don or Devil yet -“Let us bang these dogs of Seville, the children of the devil,/For I never turned my back upon Don or devil yet”: Tennyson poem ‘The Revenge’.

342 Francis Edward – Has been transformed from Edward Francis since page 65. His initials now match Miss Arbuthnot’s!

345 Mr Toad’s programme – “Speech: by Toad; Address: by Toad; Song: by Toad (composed by himself)” in Kenneth Grahame’s The Wind in the Willows chapter 12. Other Mr Toad relusions in Growing Up 92, Love Among The Ruins 195.

346 danced the fandango all over the place – Song “Dance a cachuca, fandango, bolero” in Gilbert and Sullivan’s operetta The Gondoliers. Also Before Lunch 190 [Penguin], Jutland Cottage 19 [cachuca].

348 like Patience on a monument – “She sat like patience on a monument,/Smiling at grief”: Shakespeare, Twelfth Night Act 2 scene 4.

349 useful friend of a Pinero play – Sir Arthur Pinero (1855-1934) wrote social dramas, notably The Second Mrs Tanqueray.

he was the more deceived – See note on page 203 above.

350 sacred edifice of Themis – Themis was the Greek goddess of justice, shown holding a pair of scales, so highly symbolic of Noel’s profession as a barrister.

Chapter 13

364 And if I have a silken gown – “And ye sall walk in silk attire/And siller hae to spare/Gin ye’ll consent to be his bride/Nor think o’ Donald mair,” From a poem by the ‘Muse of Cumberland’ ,Susanna Blamire, ‘The Siller Clown’. Interestingly this is quoted by Dick Swiveller in The Old Curiosity Shop, a Dickens character to whom AT refers several times in her novels.

364 K.C. A genuine product, probably based on washing-soda (sodium carbonate).

367 Brock’s – A make of firework.

369 the FolliesJutland Cottage pages 63-4

I’ll never have another Mother – Was this a music-hall song?

So you will walk in silken gown/And siller have to spare – See note on page 364 above.

374 Gampish – See note on page 13 above. A popular term with AT.

376 dark as Erebus – Erebus was originally the son of Chaos and personified darkness in Greek myth. The name was then applied to that part of Hades (the Underworld) where the dead arrived before crossing the river Acheron.

378 poor relations are no inheritance – “Service is no inheritance”: George Herbert. Applied to various subject in Summer Half 48. Marling Hall 13, Love Among The Ruins 98, 278, Happy Returns 190, 196, Never Too Late 286.

379 the elder Mr Weller – Tony Weller tells his son Sam “Be wery careful o’ widders all your life.” in Dickens, Pickwick Papers, chapter 20.






Leave a Reply

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