Page 126. " the accompanying twitter and warble of swallows, turtledoves, and finches "

Swallows are known for their warbles, while turtledoves and finches are recognized for their tweeting.



Page 127. " a whiff of the Côte d'Azur "
Cote d' Azur Coastline
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeCote d' Azur Coastline - Credit: flickr

The Côte d’Azur, commonly known as the French Riviera, is the southeast coast of France. It stretches from the border with Italy to Saint Tropez, and is approximately 560 miles long. The coast is a vacation spot popular with the wealthy of the world, particularly those with yachts.


Google Map


Page 127. " The Count of Monte Cristo was back in Paris "

Paris is the capital of France. Located on the River Seine, Paris remains one of the most important economic powerhouses of Europe, hosting 33 of the World's Fortune 500 companies and home to a population of more than 10 million. Thanks to its reputation as the Food, Fashion, and Art capital of the world, Paris is one of the world's iconic cities.


Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeParis - Credit: Taxiarchos228


From a Chinese perspective, Paris was seen as a conduit for cultural exchange, with its numerous universities and intellectuals. Indeed, before the Communist Revolution, many professional Chinese were educated in Paris. Even today, Shanghai is colloquially known as the "Paris of the East."

Page 128. " the Public Security Office at the commune "
Chinese Soldier on Tiananmen Square
Creative Commons AttributionChinese Soldier on Tiananmen Square - Credit: Luo Shaoyang

China's Public Safety Bureau was created after the Communist takeover in 1949. The PSB superseded the CDSA, China's police force under the Nationalist government. In the immediate aftermath of the Communist Revolution, the PSB concerned itself mainly with domestic police affairs, while the Red Guards faciliated the Cultural Revolution and the wider political agenda of the time. However, after Mao Zedong ordered the disbandment of the Red Guards, the PSB began taking a more active role in Chinese political affairs.

Since the 1970s, the PSB has suppressed protest in China (notably in Tiananmen Square) and limited the influx of outside culture through censorship. It is also alleged to have conducted a wide range of human rights violations.  Critics both inside and outside China describe rampant corruption and inefficiencies within the Public Safety Bureau. Today, the PSB officially fulfils a policing role but, in reality, their actions reflect a political agenda.

Page 131. " Three incisors protruded from blackened inflamed gums "

Incisors are the front four teeth on the upper and lower jaws of a heterodont mammal.

Page 131. " like flakes from prehistoric basalt "

Basalt is an igneous volcanic rock, meaning it is produced from the rapid cooling of lava.  Basalt is prevalent in underwater areas because of the rapid cooling of lava in the sea, but it also forms on land. 

Basalt is also found on the Moon, Mars, Venus, and some asteroids

Page 131. " the owner must have suffered a bout of syphilis "
Public Domainsyphilis - Credit: Dr. David Cox

Syphilis is a sexually-transmitted disease caused by the spirochete bacterium Treponema pallidum.

The symptoms vary depending on the stage of development, but lesions are common. Usually, it takes 90 days for lesions to appear.

Unfortunately, there is still no vaccine.

Page 139. " Before I showed her how to do the breaststroke she could only do the doggy paddle "
Michael Phelps Swimming Breaststroke
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeMichael Phelps Swimming Breaststroke - Credit: Karen Blaha

The breaststroke is a popular swimming style among beginners because the head is above the water for the majority of the time. However, it is the slowest form of competitive swimming.



Doggy Paddle is considered the most basic, and most inefficient, form of swimming.



Page 140. " it was gold-plated, and decorated with tiny jade leaves. "
chinese jade
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alikechinese jade - Credit: Hadal

Jade is a metamorphic rock, and is considered a symbol of wealth in China.  The appreciation of jade dates back to the neolithic era, when it was used in special ceremonies in ancient China.

It is also highly valued in other Asian nations, including the Koreas, Japan, and India. 



Page 149. " a novel by Balzac translated by Fu Lei "

Fu Lei was born in Shanghai in 1908.  He moved to France in 1928 to study art and literature. Upon his return in 1932, he taught in Shanghai and worked as a journalist and an art critic. His translations were highly regarded, and he is renowned for translating  Voltaire, Balzac, and Romain Rolland. He developed his own style (Fu Lei Style) and his own translation theory.

In 1966, after he was labeled a public enemy by Mao's regime, he and his wife committed suicide.

Page 150. " Cousin Pons, this time, a rather dark tale "

Cousin Pons is a novel by Honoré de Balzac, considered one of his greatest works.

The book is about a musician in Paris, Sylvain Pons, and his difficult friendship with a German pianist, the devoted Wilhelm Schmucke.