The Brandons (1939)

Picture of the dust cover of "The Brandons" The Brandons by Angela Thirkell

References for the novel The Brandons, by Angela Thirkell.

‘Relusions’ for the Hamish Hamilton edition

Chapter 1

10 Mr. Brandon an uninterested husband – Like Mrs Morland’s, who was ‘nul’, in High Rising.

12 The blow has fallen – ‘The Vagabond’ by R. L. Stevenson: “Let the blow fall soon or late, let what will be o’er me”.

second breakfast – in agricultural areas, notably Spain and parts of eastern Europe, it is a common meal between a very early breakfast and lunch.

14 death with kindly care – ‘kindly care’ is Angela Thirkell’s preferred version. Also Northbridge Rectory page 18, The Demon In The House page 75:
‘Ere sin could know, or sorrow fade
Death came with friendly (kindly) care;
the opening bud of Heaven conveyed,
and bade it blossom there.
Samuel Taylor Coleridge ‘Epitaph on an Infant’ : ‘kindly’ is substituted for ‘friendly’ in some printings of this piece.

16 A posthumous child? – Miss Brandon thinks (or affects to think) that Mrs. Brandon is wearing white because she is pregnant. Black was presumably regarded in an earlier era as unfortunate for the baby. After 18 months, grey, lavender, and white were allowed in Victorian days.

18 Put in the clutch and the equipage moved away – The clutch is in (pressed to the floor) only to change gears. The vehicle only moves when you let out the clutch. It is clear that Angela Thirkell did not drive.

20 bloater paste – paté made of smoked, salted herring. Possibly a working-class taste?

21 Personal Service – Enjoined by the Church, or the Women’s Institute/Mothers’ Union?

24 it took two to make a quarrel – Cryptic is a good adjective for this statement in this context! Diogenes Laertius, writing in the first half of the third century ascribes this view to Socrates (Lives of Eminent Philosophers book 2).

25 horse-leechy – bloodsucker-ish. A trifle severe on Mrs Brandon.

29 cassock and biretta – Suspect, because Mr. Miller might seem to be Going Over to Rome.

30 in a spirit of vain repetition – ‘Use not vain repetitions, as the heathens do.’ Bible, St Matthew’s Gospel chapter 6, verse 7. This is a particular feature of Mr Miller’s way of speaking.

32 Eights Week – inter-collegiate boat races at Oxford University, held every year in May. Eight is the number of rowers in a boat. Mr Miller had rowed stroke, ie closest to the stern and setting the pace.

33 laying hold with her hands – ‘The spider taketh hold with her hands and is in kings’ palaces’ – Bible, Proverbs chapter 30, verse 28. Also Enter Sir Robert page 40.

Chapter 2

35 char-à-banc” – originally a horse-drawn coach, but this is the motorised version, like a bus.

36 twenty minutes past one – As we know from elsewhere in Angela Thirkell, 1.30 is the correct hour for lunch in properly organised households to allow the servants to have their meal first.

37 stewponds – ponds for cultivating fish for food, as in early monasteries.

Nightmare Abbey – Novel by Thomas Love Peacock, 1818.

looking-glass – Upper-class (“U”) expression for mirror, though whether someone of Delia’s age and character would use this for a handbag mirror at this date is perhaps debatable, rather like the char-a-banc reference above.

38 succumbed…to the heat and ante-lunch exhaustion – Makes Mrs Brandon sound like a model for Mrs Dean: they certainly exhibit similar levels of placid inactivity.

39 R.A.s . . . hung on the line – Royal Academicians are artists who have been elected to the Royal Academy of Arts (London) – like Edward Burne-Jones. The total number never exceeds 100, 34 of whom are sculptors, architects or printmakers. Their work was by right hung at eye-level at the Summer Exhibition whose walls were crowded from floor to ceiling, thus making it very difficult to see the badly-hung ones.

Lincrusta Walton – Heavily-embossed wallcovering invented in 1877 by Frederick Walton, a pioneer of linoleum floor-covering. It often replaced plasterwork and was washable, also practically impossible to remove. Walton added his name to the product in order to prevent others pirating it.

Knight Templar – Religious order of knighthood founded in France in the 12th century.

41 read for the bar – more usually Bar, i.e. study to be a barrister.

Descente de lit – Sounds like getting out of bed, but in fact means (bedside) rug.

Zizi Pavois – Zizi is a slightly mischievous choice of name (the most famous holder is dancer Zizi Jeanmaire) which nowadays is a childish word for penis. Pavois is a bulwark (as in Le Grand Pavois at La Rochelle).

Menschen ohne Knochen – Men Without Bones, presumably not the horror movie it sounds, otherwise it would appeal to Delia.

Garstin Hermon – One of those ‘two surname’ show-business names like Nelson Eddy or Clark Gable.

45 Kidderminster carpet – Patterned carpet made to look like oriental carpets. The town of Kidderminster was famous for high quality carpet manufacture.

drugget – Coarsely woven jute fabric used as a carpet runner for protection against wear and tear.

his first prep school holidays – Francis would have been 8.

goffered – pleats pressed into a frill (classically with a goffering-iron), as opposed to a ruffle which is undulating.

47 Caligula…Elizabeth Fry – The Roman emperor Caligula, noted for his self-indulgent and tyrannical behaviour, nicely contrasted with Elizabeth Fry, the 19th century Quaker prison reformer.

50 white elephant – a possession which its owner cannot dispose of and whose cost, particularly that of maintenance, is out of proportion to its usefulness. The term derives from the story that the kings of Siam were accustomed to make a present of one of these animals to courtiers who had rendered themselves obnoxious, in order to ruin the recipient by the cost of its maintenance.

53 never had a goddess been more apparent – Virgil, Aeneid, book 1: “Et vera incessu patuit dea.” Also page 248.

Oh, Mrs. Brandon‘ – an echo of “Oh, Miss Shepherd!”, David’s expression of his schoolboy crush on a schoolgirl in Dickens’s David Copperfield chapter 18.

Captain of the Eleven – the head of a cricket team.

the Tables of Affinity – the list in the Book of Common Prayer of relations who are not permitted to marry each other.

55 his voice refused its officeTheodora Phranza; or, the Fall of Constantinople, novel by John Mason Neale 1857.

flames consumed his marrowThe Heptameron of Margaret Queen of Navarre by George Saintsbury 1894.

58 “Bountiful Jehovah!” – “O joy! O rapture! O bountiful Jehovah!” Mr Toad on seeing his first motor car in Kenneth Grahame’s children’s book The Wind in the Willows.

Chapter 3

62 pastoral charge – Pastoral charge normally means the responsibility of a priest (eg in a parish), but here it is clearly the bishop’s letter. Perhaps a misunderstanding by Thirkell?

68 Waacs – Women’s Army Auxiliary Corps, formed in 1917 and disbanded in 1921. (For Sir Edmund Pridham ‘the War’ was WWI.)

69 arrows of very respectful desire – “Bring me my arrows of desire” is sometimes considered an incongruous line for members of the Women’s Institute to sing at their annual meeting. William Blake’s poem ‘Jerusalem’ was made into a hymn by Hubert Parry.

70 Vicar’s Churchwarden – Two churchwardens (laity) are elected for each parish to manage practical matters associated with the church; the other is People’s Churchwarden.

72 better to marry than to be burnt – “It is better to marry than to burn” (in the Bible, 1 Corinthians chapter 7 verse 9) means not literally to burn as Delia has just gruesomely described, but to burn with passion. Hence the young men’s giggles.

74 leaning its breast against a thorn – “The bird forlorn/That singeth with her breast against a thorn”: Thomas Hood poem ‘The Plea of the Midsummer Fairies’.

veiled in the black lace of tattered clouds – Perhaps from R. L. Stevenson’s essay ‘Lay Morals’: “black and tattered clouds over the face of heaven”.

Mr Miller… gazing… at the foundress of the feast – in Dickens’s A Christmas Carol Bob Cratchit proposes the toast: “I give you Mr. Scrooge, the Founder of the Feast!” (although Mrs Cratchit does not agree, which makes the reference rather a nice joke).

75 mantilla Adopted by Angela Thirkell, who clearly felt it gave an attractive image of a woman, not necessarily an older one. (There’s a photograph of her wearing one on board HMS Hood in Melbourne in 1924! PA).

Render unto Caesar – “Render therefore unto Caesar the things which are Caesar’s; and unto God the things that are God’s”: Bible, St Matthew chapter 22, verse 21.

79 mensaA first declension noun meaning ‘table.’ One of the first Latin words young children had to learn.

80 pot-valiant – usually means the courage given by drinking alcohol, but here Hilary is elated also by the moon, the candles, the hot still night and of course the presence of Mrs Brandon.

81 Prisoner of Zenda – romantic novel by Anthony Hope, 1894.

83 with extensive view – “Let observation with extensive view, Survey mankind, from China to Peru”: the opening lines of ‘The Vanity of Human Wishes’, a poem adapted from the Tenth Satire of Juvenal by Samuel Johnson (1749).

84 an imitation of Catullus, I see – Gaius Valerius Catullus, 84-54 BCE, Latin poet, had written: “He seems to me to be equal to a god,/He, if it is permissible, seems to surpass the gods,/Who sitting opposite again and again/Watches and hears you.” (Carmen [poem] 51).

85 Bump Supper – celebratory supper after the bump races in rowing at Oxford and Cambridge universities.

Chapter 4

91 Mussolini – Fascist dictator of Italy from 1922 , deposed in 1943 and summarily executed in 1945. Kindness to animals is not his best-known characteristic.

93 frutta di mare – shellfish.

Non ragioniam di lor – Don’t let’s argue about it.

95 Mi piace tanto – I am so delighted.

except on the flicks – ‘The pictures’ i.e. the cinema.

96 Betty … ackcherly – possibly the first appearance of the niece of Mrs Turner of Northbridge, next encountered in Northbridge Rectory.

Woolworth – High street chainstore which at its peak had 800 stores in the UK selling wide variety of things at modest prices, extinct, alas, in 2009. Often appears as ‘Sheepshanks’ in Thirkell’s novels to retain the ‘wool’ connection.

glass made out of milk – Nearly correct! Casein from skim milk was mixed with formaldehyde to make a glass-smooth plastic but the technology moved on to materials like Perspex.

97 Like Mrs Herbert Pocket’s servants – No, it was Mr and Mrs Matthew Pocket, Herbert’s parents. Their servants ate, drank and entertained freely but “allowed a very liberal table to Mr. and Mrs. Pocket”. Dickens, Great Expectations, chapter 23.

monks … in Somerset and they make honey – Downside Abbey, near Bath, famous for its neo-Gothic architecture though built late 19th and early 20th centuries, which sold honey at this period.

98 the lngoldsby Legends – These tales include a good many churchmen, though not a huge number of monks, the most famous being the Cardinal Lord Archbishop of Reims who cursed the jackdaw (crow family of birds). Written by Thomas lngoldsby, pseudonym of R. H. Barham (1788-1845).

a thing rather like a monastery…phalanx/phalanstere/phalangist – One of the definitions of ‘phalanx’ is a group of people living in a community free of external regulation. Charles Fourier (1772-1837) was a French socialist. The Falangists were the Spanish fascist party founded by Primo de Rivera 1933.

Spanish Government – We are in 1938 when the Spanish Civil War was nearing its end despite the efforts of the lnternational Brigade and the Soviet Union.

99 Congress of Vienna – Conference of European powers 1814-15 that tried to sort out Europe after the fall of Napoleon. Thus ideally suited as a topic for Tony Morland to explain to the chauffeur.

morbidezza – Not what it sounds like, but softness.

diapason – a full octave scale of organ notes.

100 fuoco – fire, force.

ma! una donna prepotente! – My goodness, a domineering woman!

102 lo t’amo, o pio bove – “I love you, O wonderful [literally pious] bull!” Poem by Giosue Carducci (1835- 1907). Juno’s priestess (confusingly called Io, Italian for ‘I’) is turned into a heifer by Juno, jealous because her husband Jupiter has seduced her. However, Io later resumes her human form.

A little learning is a dangerous thing – Often misquoted as “a little knowledge…”, hence Francis’s self-righteous comment. Alexander Pope’s famous poem ‘Essay on Criticism’ (1711), line 215.

103 Jehan le Capet/Eugene Duval – ln the absence of any obvious parallels, these are probably names that Angela Thirkell found resonantly French. The Capets were the royal dynasty that ruled France (or rather the lle de France as the present nation did not exist then) for most of the Middle Ages beginning in 987; Eugene Duval was a painter but this does not seem significant in the context.

104 Belphégor – An all-seeing demon sent by Lucifer to see if married happiness was possible on Earth (it wasn’t). He suggests inventions to people to make them rich and greedy and his preferred offering is excrement.

Potin – means noise, fuss or gossip in French.

Nini le Poumon – poumon as Hilary doesn’t have to explain is French for lung.

Mimi la Salope – salope is a French insult, equivalent of slut or bitch. Jehanne de Valois is an odd name in view of this, as there was a queen of France of this name in the 15th century who was a saint. Clearly not the same person.

a sixpence to which he was rather attached – A delightful little silver-coloured coin which many people were sorry to see disappear with decimalisation in 1971. See also below, page 171. Angela Thirkell’s characters feel strongly about coins. Francis Brandon says, ‘I have got one shilling, but I rather like them’ (County Chronicle page 319). Clarissa Graham ‘put a half-crown that I was very fond of into Mrs. Scatcherd’s collecting box.’ (Peace Breaks Out page 80).

105 showing off on his bicycle – In The Demon In The House.

106 C.I.D. officers – Criminal Investigation Department, i.e. detectives who have first served as uniformed police officers.

109 if I need anything doing in town, like flowers being ordered for someone’s funeral… Angela Thirkell was probably on good enough terms with her publisher Jamie Hamilton to get him to do such things for her.

110 la virgule vaut bien la particule – The comma is as important as the “de” [in aristocratic titles].

Mallarmé – French Symbolist poet (1842-98). His ‘Après-midi d’un faune’ was set to music by Debussy.

111 coulisses – wings (of a theatre stage).

Taglioni – Maria Taglioni (1804-44) was an Italian ballerina famous for her performance as a Sylphide.

Sadler’s Wells – London theatre known for its ballet and opera productions from 1931, therefore much less prestigious than the longer-established Covent Garden.

113 Cardinal Newman – John Henry Newman (1801-90), theologian, born into Calvinist family but converted to Roman Catholicism 1845.

114 he had sunk his little fortune in an annuity -i.e. he had invested his money in a fund to pay him an income for his life only.

116 Calabrian exclamation of annoyance – We can only guess at this! “Bastardo!” might fit the case? Calabria is in the south-west of Italy, sunbaked, dry and often windy.

downfall of Metternich – Prince Metternich of Austria was a key figure at the Congress of Vienna and his conservatism helped lead to the upheavals of 1848. Tony must have been annoyed to be called away.

119 Donne – John Donne (1572?-1631) joked that when he married against his in-laws’ wishes, it was a case of “John Donne, Anne Donne, undone”: though this is no clue to the pronunciation, it is usually rendered “Dun” nowadays. AT uses this reference in relation to the invented Bohun whose poetry Oliver Marling admires.

121 Shelley… ‘One word is too often profaned/ For me to profane it.’ – Continues ‘One feeling too falsely disdain’d/For thee to disdain it.’ The title of the poem is ‘One word is too often profaned.’ So as not to waste it Mrs Brandon also uses the quotation on page 200; and Noel Merton is intelligent enough to interrupt her last attempt at using it on page 368. See also Private Enterprise page 116.

Chapter 5

122 piccolo giro – a little stroll

parroco – parish priest.

123 George Herbert, Vaughan, Crashaw – All Metaphysical poets like Donne.

125 Drummond of Hawthornden – Scottish poet who recorded in his diary in 1619 his conversations with the English poet Ben Johnson.

126 Miss Delia had cut a comic face on the underside of the marrow. She does it again on page 363, carving ‘Hilary’, although you would think by now she would know better.

130 Don Bradman (1908-2001 – The first Australian cricketer to be knighted (1949), one of the greatest batsmen in cricketing history. peak career in mid- 1930s. The misunderstanding over him and Don Juan indicates that it is a good idea to pronounce Donne ‘Dun.’

131 mot juste – the right word.

133I’m all of a muddle when I cuddle, cuddle, cuddle…Cash Campo and his Symposium Boys – Considering there were real-life 1930s bands like Bud Freeman and His Summa Cum Laude Orchestra and Carroll Gibbons and His Boy Friends, Angela Thirkell’s group sounds very convincing *Any bands that sound like this? – Shep Fields and His Rippling Rhythm, Shorty Rogers and His Giants, Bob Crosby and the Bobcats, Tiny Hill and the Hilltoppers – Peace Breaks Out page166.

136 every day’s most quiet needs – “every day’s most quiet needs/By sun and candlelight”: Elizabeth Barrett Browning, ‘Sonnets from the Portuguese’ no XLIII.

Eyeless at [should be ‘in’] Gaza in [should be ‘at’] the mill with slaves – Milton poem ‘Samson Agonistes’, line 140.

Robert le Diable – Robert duke of Normandy is son of a disciple of Satan (le diable). Exiled for his offences he falls in love. At this point Meyerbeer’s opera Robert le Diable (1831) begins. lt made Meyerbeer’s name, so naturally Mrs. Brandon would know of it – and Hilary probably despise it. Giacomo Meyerbeer (1791-1864).

137 Frinton – A small seaside resort town on the east coast not far from Ipswich, which could have been quite boring for a schoolboy.

138 Hernani – Play by Victor Hugo 1830, famous partly for Hugo’s filling the auditorium with allies to prevent the play from being closed down by the censor on its opening night as had happened to him previously.

Sirene, fange, boue, immondices, ordure -Siren [or mermaid], mire, mud, rubbish, filth.

139 How nice you look when you listen. Might this be a parody of a real title?

Chapter 6

140 jointure – provision for a wife after the death of her husband.

146 To the listener – The Listener was a weekly magazine (1929-1991) that printed radio talks, reviewed new books and previewed musical and literary radio items.

147 kindly death could ease his pains – possibly “easeful death” (Keats, ‘Ode to a Nightingale.)

148 Three and sixpence – (Three shillings and sixpence) about $12.50 USA 2020.

152 Ghosts – Play by lbsen about inherited disease and guilt which would naturally cheer anyone up.

153 Gustave Doré – 19th Century French artist, illustrator, engraver and sculptor, known for his illustrations to the Bible, Dante’s lnferno, Don Quixote, and a series of drawings of the London poor.

165 simply sayHa-ha.” – see **

172 baited and badgered – “Which I meantersay,” cried Joe, “that if you come into my place bull-baiting and badgering me, come out!” Joe Gargery’s righteous indignation in Dickens’s Great Expectations.

175 unselfishness .. counted for righteousness – Bible, Romans chapter 4 verse 5.

Chapter 7

178 new threepennies – A rather thick, 12-sided brass-coloured threepenny bit replaced a little silver-coloured threepence which had been half the weight of a sixpence.

183 commis voyageur – commercial traveller.

186 Bona Dea – The ‘good goddess’ in Ancient Rome, responsible for chastity and fecundity: men were barred from her mysteries and her true name.

190 carbon copy which is quite legible in parts – like the curate’s egg in the Punch cartoon, “quite good in parts”.

192 Proie sanglante d’une fière et male rage, Dieu chatré des chrétiens, je crache à ton visage: No wonder this did not go down well: it means “Bleeding prey of an arrogant male fury, Castrated Christian god, I spit in your face”.

Villon – Francois Villon’s poem ‘Ballade des dames du temps jadis‘ contains the lines ‘Where is that learned Heloise for whom Abelard was castrated and became a monk?’.

chatré vs chatié – Castrated vs chastised.

neiges d’antan – the snows of yesteryear, from the same poem.

195 couvade – adopting the symptoms of pregnancy.

200 Shelley – “One word is…profane it.” – See above page 114.

Chapter 8

204 foulard – a lightweight plain-woven or twilled silk usually decorated with a printed pattern.

205 be just before you are generous” – Richard Brinsley Butler Sheridan (1751-1816) Irish playwright, in The School for Scandal.

206 brevet rank – A brevet was a warrant authorising an officer to assume temporarily a higher rank, but without receiving the extra pay. Presumably the ladies involved were wives of higher-ranking officers – or ladies who did not merit the title!

214 gilded popinjay – Title of song by Edwin Greene 1909 (possibly sung by James McInnes?)- though may have been a common expression well before then ** Mingled Yarns by Edward Spenser Mott Chap. 12 refers to an Indian potentate.

graves and worms and epitaphs “Let’s talk of graves, of worms and epitaphs” Shakespeare, Richard II, Act 3 scene 2.

women often fled where they would most fain pursue – sounds like a quotation, but I can’t find one that fits?? Perhaps ‘Diana’, a poem by Ernest Rhys (1859-1946): “This new Diana makes weak men her prey, And, making captive, still would fain pursue, And still would keep, and still would drive away, So day by day, Hate, hunt, do murder, and yet love them too: Ah, dear Diana!” (1895).

216 Oh, Mrs. Brandon – See above page 47.

218 Mr. Root and Mr. Crow – Racine and Corneille (foremost French playwrights of the 1600s).

219 Naso and Locusta – Naso means nose, locusta means locust.

Dr Johnson’s mutton – “ill-fed, ill-killed, ill-kept and ill-drest” of a roast served at an inn 3rd June 1784 as described by James Boswell in his Life of Johnson, page 535.

222 Bast from the tress – strong woody fibres like jute or hemp in a clump like a skein of hair. (Not, as in some reprints of this work, ‘trees’!)

225 gooseberry fool – cooked gooseberries swirled with double or whipped cream.

228 twenty guineas – 20 pounds 20 shillings, i.e. 21 pounds: £3 would have bought a very respectable dress at this period.

231 Sal volatile – ammonium bicarbonate in alcohol causes breathing to work faster, and the alcohol would work like a stimulant. Also known as smelling salts. Ammonium bicarbonate was the precursor to baking soda.

Chapter 9

236 Who’ll be chief mourner – “I, said the dove, I’ll mourn for my love, I’ll be chief mourner”, from the traditional rhyme ‘Who killed Cock Robin?’

237 I am hiding in thee – Hymn ‘Rock of Ages’: “Thou blest Rock of Ages, I’m hiding in thee”: lyrics by William O. Cushing.

240 meet often and merrily – a quotation?

250 abbéFrench for abbot.

Ancien régime – political and social system of France before the French Revolution.

253 Belle Dame Sans Merci – The beautiful lady with no mercy – Title of poem by Keats.

254 deal furniture – furniture made of deal, cheap wood usually pine.

Chapter 10

256 a goddess made manifest – see above page 53. Also Happy Returns 307.

264 Mr. Swiveller and Miss Brass – Angela Thirkell seems to have enjoyed the relationship between these two, although they are not very attractive: Dick Swiveller is a pleasant but weak law clerk and Sally Brass is so bossy she could well be a partner in the same firm. They developed a matey relationship. Dickens, The Old Curiosity Shop.

G. F. S. – Girls’ Friendly Society, church organisation founded 1875 for girls and young women to undertake social and service activities.

265 Ha-ha – Sounds triumphant enough for ‘He saith among the trumpets, Ha, Ha and he smelleth the battle afar off.’ Bible, Job chapter 39 verse 24. Also Cheerfulness Breaks In page 304.

266 I go, I go, see how I go – “I go, I go, look how I go.” – Puck in Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream Act 3 scene 2.

267 Honeysuckle and the Bee – With the immortal lines ‘You are my honey, honeysuckle, I am the bee’: though sung by Ellaline Terriss. Sentimental song from show Bluebell in Fairyland (1901), words by A.H. Fitz, music by W.H. Penn.

d’Artagnan, Mezeppa, Cortés – A mixture of heroes: d’Artagnan (in Alexandre Dumas’s Three Musketeers), Mezeppa (military leader of the Ukraine), and Cortés (Spanish Conquistador who conquered the Aztec). See also below page 279.

269 Lohengrin – He is the Knight of the Swan who arrives in a boat drawn by a swan to rescue a damsel in the Wagner opera of the same name 1848.

Farewell my Bluebell – 1904, used in the film The Jolson Story. Possibly Spanish-American War song.

270 holding no form of creed but contemplating all – The poet’s soul says ‘I sit like God holding no…all’, though characterised as female not a gentleman in Tennyson’s ‘The Palace of Art’. Also Love Among The Ruins page 326.

271 Les Centaures et les Lapithes – The Lapithes were a Thessalonian tribe who defeated the drunken centaurs.

Entrechats Gris – an entrechat is a vertical jump in ballet and gris is grey.

wanton in Mrs. Brandon’s smiles – wanton wiles. Wreathed smiles – Milton’s l’Allegro.

Conquistador – Spanish and Portuguese soldiers and adventurers who conquered the Americas in the 15th-17th centuries.

273 whoever it was who gave his lady his falcon for dinner – Count Federigo degli Alberighi to the Lady Giovanna in Alfred Lord Tennyson’s play The Falcon.

274 scales fell from his eyes – “And straightway there fell from his [Saul’s] eyes as it were scales and he received his sight.” Bible, Acts of the Apostles chapter 9 verse 18 on the conversion of St Paul.

277 O. T. C. – Officers’ Training Corps, a system encouraging military training in public schools and universities to give young men a head-start in the army.

coronation of the summer before – i.e. King George VI’s in 1937.

282 no nonsense about her – An Angela Thirkell favourite: Mrs Merdle’s son Edmund Sparkler uses this as a form of praise. From Charles Dickens’s Little Dorrit. Also Jutland Cottage page 47, Miss Bunting page 196, Love Among The Ruins page159, A Double Affair page 98, page 218, Close Quarters page 89, page 179.

283 my brother’s keeper – “Am I my brother’s keeper?” Cain, when God asks him where is Abel: Bible, Genesis chapter 4 verse 9.

284 De mortuis, of course – de mortuis nil nisi bonum = speak nothing but good of the dead.

285 quis custodiet – quis custodiet ipsos custodes = who will guard the guards? Juvenal, Roman satirical poet (1st-2nd century CE), Satire 6.

Che piacere! – What a pleasure!

286 Eccomi! – Here I am!

Chapter 11

289 Up, Miss Morris, and at them! – “Up, Guards, and at them!” Duke of Wellington, quoted in a letter from an officer in the Guards 1815, though denied by the Duke.

290 Queensberry rulesThe Marquess of Queensberry’s rules are for boxing (first used 1892).

294 I’d have stuck a pin into a stick and jabbed him – “This plain wand, with an eighth of an inch of pin, was indeed a sceptre when he put it in my hands. Thereafter Modestine was my slave.’ R.L. Stevenson, Travels with a Donkey in the Cevennes.

295 Brother Elderberry – The only trace I have of this is ‘Brother Elderberry, why are thy features suffused?’ Elderberry is a dog: in ‘The dog and the fleas’ by Frederic Scrimshaw, US 1893.

the influence of the Poverello – The Poverello Society is a lay group whose members share the vision of St Francis.

296 If hate killed men, Brother Lawrence, – continues “God’s blood would not mine kill you?” From poem ‘Soliloquy of the Spanish Cloister’ by Robert Browning. Also Northbridge Rectory page 204.

a book about animals in Italy by a clergyman – Must be a real book, but what? Perhaps George Jennison’s book Animals for Show and Pleasure in Ancient Rome.

298Les mains qui donnent’ – Hands that give – here, presumably, money!

299 Miss Grey, a nice girl but a little peculiar – Una Grey was distinctly strange in High Rising but evidently a naval man would be the making of her.

311 swift-footed rumour – Sounds like a Homeric epithet – Pheme Phemeis Rumour, a messenger of Zeus, a swift-footed creature, a winged angel of ruin.

sees the gates of heaven beyond the tormentors’ swords – Sounds like a quotation?

Chapter 12

313 the Panel – List of medical practitioners available to patients under National Health Service arrangements of 1913.

315 sono rimasta stupefatta – I am left astounded.

317 Do bear your body more seeming – “bear your body more seeming, Audrey” is said by Touchstone to his peasant love in Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act 5 scene 4. Also Love Among The Ruins page 76, Love At All Ages page 71.

318 at the shy – A game of throwing to win prizes.

319 whiff and wind of Lydia’s progress – “with the whiff and wind of his fell sword” – Hamlet, Act 2 scene 2.

there is an end of an old song – “Now there is the end of an auld sang” said by Lord Seafield, a keen supporter of the Union, on the termination 1707 of the Kingdom of Scotland. Also said by Mr. McFadyen **

320 that Original Gipsy Lee – She was Urania Boswell, born Lee in 1851, a skilled fortune-teller in the first quarter of the 20th century.

Chapter 13

327 Le Chat Savant – The Scholar Cat – A real club?

328 Thirteenth after Trinity – If they were using the 1662 Book of Common Prayer, the lesson would have been 2 Kings 22, the story of Naaman’s leprosy, but if the 1928 Revised prayer book, Galatians chapter 3 verse 16, about giving the law to Abraham and his seed. However, the next Sunday, the Fourteenth, has Galatians chapter 5 verse 16, about the lusts of the flesh, which seems much more likely to have flustered Sir Edmund.

mustn’t muzzle the ox – Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn’: i.e. give people leeway to reward themselves when they are doing a job. Deuteronomy chapter 12 verse 4.

339 Zenana missions – Anglican mission to women founded 1880, ‘zenana’ meaning ‘the place of the women’. Addressed mainly women whose access to broader society was restricted in some way, e.g. China, Islamic states.

Chapter 14

355 JeyesFluid is a brand of disinfectant fluid patented 1877 which is still in production.

360 Addio! – Goodbye!

361 The Hypatia in Gower Street – Mrs Grant’s club commemorates the Alexandrian intellectual, martyred AD 415. See useful entry in Cynthia Snowden’s Going to Barsetshire.

362 Avanti! – Go on!

364 By just exchange, one for the other given
“My true love hath my heart and I have his
By just exchange, one for another given.
I hold his dear and mine he cannot miss
There never was a better bargain driven”. The opening of Sir Philip Sidney’s Arcadia, usually quoted as separate poem ‘The Bargain’

368 One word is too often profaned – see above p. 121.






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