Page 226. " A party was being given that night in Regent's Park "

Regent's Park is both a royal park and a residential area in London, situated partly in the City of Westminster and partly in the borough of Camden.


Google Map
Page 226. " for the 'Black Birds' who had newly arrived in England "

Blackbirds in London was a highly successful revue, with performances by African American artists, produced on the London stage in 1926.

Its star was the cabaret-singer and dancer Florence Mills (1896-1927), who was already well known following her performance in Dover Street to Dixie (1923).

One of her best known songs was I'm a Little Blackbird looking for a Bluebird.

During the period that the revue was being staged, members of the cast mixed in high society, and many 'Blackbirds parties' were held in London.




Listen on Spotify to Clarence William's version of I'm a Little Blackbird Looking for a Bluebird;

Listen on Spotify to Duke Ellington's tribute to Florence Mills: Black Beauty

Page 226. " To us, who frequented Bricktop's and the Bal Nègre in the Rue Blomet, there was nothing particularly remarkable in the spectacle "
Ada 'Bricktop' Smith
Public DomainAda 'Bricktop' Smith - Credit: Carl Van Vechten

Chez Bricktop was a nightclub on the rue Pigalle in Paris, in existence between 1924 and 1961. It was owned by the legendary American singer and dancer Ada Smith (1894-1984) whose nickname was Bricktop because of her red hair.


Le Bal Nègre was a dance hall on the rue Blomet in Montparnasse. Initially a gathering place for immigrants from Martinique, it became a popular venue for black people from colonial countries and from the U.S.A.

Page 227. " I lost two suits that had arrived from Lesley and Roberts that morning. "

Savile Row street sign
Creative Commons AttributionSavile Row street sign - Credit: Mike-fleming, Flickr
Lesley and Roberts is a tailor's shop at 20 Savile Row, which is now owned by the Welsh and Jefferies company. 

Savile Row is a street in London's Mayfair, renowned for its numerous bespoke tailoring businesses.


Page 227. " He is like the footman in Warning Shadows "

Warning Shadows is a silent German Expressionist film, made in 1922 without subtitles (which was unusual for that period). 

Its full German title is Schatten: Eine Nächtliche Halluzination (Shadows: A Nocturnal Hallucination).

The film deals with the themes of shadows, reflections and the doppelgänger (the 'double'), which were popular themes in German cinema at that time.





Page 228. " who'd been in the Foreign Legion "
Members of the Foreign Legion in ceremonial dress
GNU Free Documentation LicenseMembers of the Foreign Legion in ceremonial dress - Credit: David Monniaux, Wikimedia Commons

The French Foreign Legion, established in 1831, is a unit in the French Army open to both French citizens and foreign nationals.  At the time of the book, it was based in Algeria, then a French colony.

The legion is renowned for the arduousness of its training program, which is designed to stretch recruits to the utmost, both physically and psychologically.  Recruits are given new names, and any misdemeanours or crimes in their past are ignored, making the legion an attractive way of "starting over".



Page 230. " a perfectly good battle in the Commercial Road "

The Commercial Road lies in the East End of London in the borough of Tower Hamlets.  It is not a wealthy area.

As the road travels eastwards, it becomes the East India Dock Road, leading to what were once known as the East India Docks


Google Map
Page 231. " volumes of Hansard "

Hansard is the name given to the published transcriptions of debates in the House of Commons and the House of Lords, the two chambers of the British Parliament.

Hansard is intended to be an accurate, although not verbatim, record of what is said during debates.

Page 232. " Air France ran a service of a kind to Casablanca "
A de Havilland DH.84 Dragon - a commercial aircraft of the 1930s
Public DomainA de Havilland DH.84 Dragon - a commercial aircraft of the 1930s - Credit: Starlingjon, Wikimedia Commons

Commercial passenger air travel developed in the wake of the First World War but was still in its infancy in the 1920s.

Although Evelyn Waugh has Charles Ryder travelling to Casablanca with Air France, this would not have been possible in 1926 as the company was not formed until 1933, through the merger of five smaller companies. It is possible, however, that such a service could have been provided by one of the precursor companies which included Air Union and Société Générale de Transport Aérien (SGTA).

Casablanca is a city located on the Atlantic coast of Morocco in North Africa.


Google Map


Page 233. " took the bus to Fez "

Fez, in northern Morocco, ranks alongside Casablanca and Rabat as one of the country's most important cities.

It is divided into three sections: the old walled city (the Medina); new Fez (the walled Jewish quarter known as the Mellah); and the Ville Nouvelle, established by the French colonialists.


City of Fez
Creative Commons AttributionCity of Fez - Credit: mtsrs, Flickr
Page 233. " We had some young fools on bicycles only last week who'd come to volunteer for Abdul Krim's army "
Abd el-Krim (1922)
Public DomainAbd el-Krim (1922) - Credit: Alfonso Sanchez-Portelo

Abdul Krim is Abd el-Krim (1882/3-1963), or to give him his full title, Muhammad Ibn 'Abd al-Karim al-Khattabi.

In the 1920s, he led a resistance movement against French and Spanish colonial rule in the Rif, an area of northeastern Morocco.

Page 233. " the Moors are a tricky lot; they don't hold with drink "
Berber warriors in a show in Agadir, Morocco.
Public DomainBerber warriors in a show in Agadir, Morocco. - Credit: Notwist, Wikimedia Commons

The term Moors is open to various interpretations:

Originally, it was used as an alternative term for the Berbers, the indigenous people of North Africa;

It may also be used to describe people of Moroccan origin who live in Europe, or to describe any person from North Africa. It is now often considered an offensive and pejorative term.

The predominant religion in North Africa is Islam which forbids the consumption of alcohol and other intoxicants; hence, the Consul's comment that they don't hold with drink.

Page 233. " There's plenty of room for him at Rabat or Tangier "

Rabat is the capital city of Morocco, situated on its Atlantic coastline;

Tangier is a city in northern Morocco, which became a popular destination for Europeans and Americans from the 1920s onwards.


Google Map
Page 237. " It was kept by Franciscans "

Franciscans belong to any one of the three orders founded by St. Francis of Assisi (1181/82-1226); each of these orders lives according to a set of regulations known as The Rule of St. Francis.

The term most commonly refers to the Order of Friars Minor which may itself be divided into three groups: Franciscan friars, Capuchins and Conventual Franciscans.



Page 238. " the oleograph of the Seven Dolours "
A depiction of Our Lady of the Seven Dolours
Public DomainA depiction of Our Lady of the Seven Dolours - Credit: unknown artist

An oleograph is a coloured print in imitation of an oil painting.

In the Catholic Church, the Seven Dolours (sometimes known as the Seven Sorrows) are seven tragic events in the life of the Virgin Mary, who is sometimes known as Our Lady of the Seven Dolours.

A popular devotion* amongst Catholics is the practice of saying one Our Father and seven Hail Marys for each of the seven dolours.

In works of art, Our Lady of the Seven Dolours is often represented with seven swords piercing her heart.

* a prayer which is not part of the Catholic Church's liturgy

Page 241. " He hasn't D.T.'s or cirrhosis "
A rather naughty name for a beer?
GNU Free Documentation LicenseA rather naughty name for a beer? - Credit: Zubro, Wikimedia Commons

D.T.'s stands for Delirium tremens, the condition which may arise when a heavy drinker withdraws abruptly from alcohol.

Symptoms of Delirium tremens include visual and tactile hallucinations, confusion, agitation, diarrhoea, fever, rapid heart rate and raised blood pressure.


Cirrhosis of the liver is the replacement of healthy liver tissue by lumpy scar and connective tissue, a process which leads eventually to the loss of liver function.

It may be caused by a range of factors, one of which is alcoholism.

Page 242. " It was a long, elaborate, symmetrical Adam room, with two bays of windows opening onto Green Park. "

Robert Adam (1728-1792) and James Adam (1732-1794) were Scottish-born brothers, both architects who designed in the neo-classical style.

Their work in London includes Portland Place in Marylebone, Fitzroy Square in Fitzrovia, and Kenwood House in Hampstead.

Kenwood House, Hampstead - the central portion of which was designed by the Adam brothers
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeKenwood House, Hampstead - the central portion of which was designed by the Adam brothers - Credit: Steve Cadman, Flickr


Green Park is a Royal Park in London which lies between Hyde Park and St. James Park:

Google Map
Page 244. " and walked in the twilight to the Ritz grill "
The Ritz Hotel, London
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe Ritz Hotel, London - Credit: Dickbauch, Wikimedia Commons

The Ritz is a prestigious London hotel which opened in 1906. It is situated on Piccadilly, overlooking Green Park.

The hotel's eatery is now known as The Ritz Restaurant, but presumably at the time of Brideshead Revisited it was known as The Ritz Grill.

In The Acceptance World (the third novel in Anthony Powell's twelve-novel sequence, A Dance to the Music of Time), set in the 1930s, the narrator accepts an invitation to gnaw a cutlet at the Grill. 

Page 244. " and left the tabernacle open and empty, as though from now on it was always to be Good Friday. "
Tabernacle on the Lady Altar, Birmingham Oratory
Creative Commons AttributionTabernacle on the Lady Altar, Birmingham Oratory - Credit: James Bradley, Flickr

In the Catholic Church, a tabernacle is a lockable box in which the bread consecrated during Mass (which represents the body of Christ) is stored.

Special rituals are observed by Catholics during Holy Week (the week leading up to Easter); one of these is to leave the tabernacle open and empty on Good Friday until the resumption of Mass on the evening of Holy Saturday.

Page 245. " You've never been to Tenebrae, I suppose? "
The triangular candelabrum known as a 'hearse' which is used for Tenebrae services
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe triangular candelabrum known as a 'hearse' which is used for Tenebrae services - Credit: Bhuck, Wikimedia Commons

In the Roman Catholic Church, Tenebrae (Latin for 'shadows' or 'darkness') is the name given to certain ceremonies which take place during the last three days of Holy Week: Maundy Thursday, Good Friday and Holy Saturday.

The climax of these ceremonies is the gradual extinction of  15 candles, after which the church is left in darkness.

Tenebrae is also the name given to Holy Week services in other Christian denominations.

Page 245. " Quomodo sedet sola civitas "
Jeremiah lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem by Rembrandt
Public DomainJeremiah lamenting the destruction of Jerusalem - Credit: Rembrandt

Quomodo sedet sola civitas is the Latin version of the opening lines of the Bible's Book of Lamentations, attributed to the prophet Jeremiah.


The full text of Chapter 1, Verse 1, reads as follows:                                                           


Quomodo sedet sola civitas                      How doth the city sit solitary,

plena populo                                               that was full of  people!

facta est quasi vidua                                 how is she become as a widow!

domina gentium                                         she that was great among the nations

princeps provinciarum                              and princess among the provinces,

facta est sub tributo                                   how is she become tributary


The event being lamented is the fall of Jerusalem in 586BC, after its conquest by Nebuchadnezzer. Readings, chantings, and choral settings of the work have been incorporated into the Tenebrae services which take place during the Holy Triduum, the three days of Holy Week that precede Easter.


Listen to the words of the Lamentations in the form of Gregorian chant:




Listen on Spotify: The Kings Singers

Page 245. " Father Brown said something like I caught him (the thief) with an unseen hook and an invisible line which is long enough to let him wander to the ends of the world and still to bring him back with a twitch upon the thread. "
An edition of 'Brideshead Revisited'
Creative Commons AttributionAn edition of 'Brideshead Revisited' - Credit: CHRIS DRUMM, Flickr

 Father Brown is a character in a series of short stories by G.K. Chesterton.

This particular quotation comes from a story entitled The Queer Feet.

Full text of the story

On the dust jacket of the original 1944 edition of Brideshead Revisited, Evelyn Waugh described the purpose of the novel as nothing less than an attempt to trace the working of a Divine Purpose in a pagan world. In his prologue to a revised version, published in 1960, he described the theme of Brideshead Revisited as the operation of divine grace on a group of diverse but closely connected characters. The quotation from Queer Feet, therefore, may be seen as encapsulating the central theme of the novel: Waugh's belief in God's inestimable power to instigate, and restore, faith; thus offering salvation to sinners.

Page 246. " I was a man of the Renaissance that evening - of Browning's renaissance. "

 Renaissance man is usually depicted as a highly educated individual with a broad understanding of many fields, including both the arts and the sciences.

Charles Ryder is identifying with men of the Renaissance, as portrayed by the poet Robert Browning (1812-1889) in works such as Paracelsus (1835), My Last Duchess (1842), and The Bishop Orders his Tomb at St. Praxed's Church (1845). As the subjects of these poems are very diverse in nature, the meaning of Charles Ryder's identification is open to interpretation.

Page 246. " I, who had walked the streets of Rome in Genoa velvet and had seen the stars through Galileo's tube "
Galileo Galilei by Sustermans (1636)
Public DomainGalileo Galilei (1636) - Credit: Justus Sustermans

Galileo Galilei (1564-1642) was an Italian mathematician, physicist and astronomer, often described as the Father of Modern Science.

He published accounts of his telescopic studies (hence, the reference to Galileo's tube) which argued the sun was the centre of the universe, contradicting the prevailing earth-centred viewpoint.

Velvet is a soft, smooth fabric with a very dense pile. In the 16th Century, particularly fine velvet began to be produced in the Italian city of Genoa. Genoan velvet was noted for particular designs created by contrasting cut and uncut pile.

Click here to see an example of Genoan velvet.