"homage to the robust shade of Eliza Carter"
'Bluestockings' depicted as 'the Muses' (1778) (Elizabeth Carter far left)
Public Domain'Bluestockings' depicted as 'the Muses' (1778) (Elizabeth Carter far left) - Credit: Richard Samuel (died 1787)

Elizabeth Carter (1717-1806) was a poet, classical scholar, linguist, and translator. She was a member of the 'Bluestocking Circle', and a friend of Dr. Samuel Johnson.

It has been noted in a chapter entitled 'The Bluestockings',  in The Cambridge History of English and American Literature in 18 vols. (1907-1921)that Elizabeth Carter had difficulty learning the classical languages and that 'to keep her attention from flagging at night, she took snuff, bound wet towels around her head and chewed green tea and coffee'.

Virginia Woolf's narrator seems to be referring to another source for the information about Eliza Carter tying 'a bell to her bed-stead in order that she might wake early and learn Greek'.

Does anyone know what this source might be?