Page 351. " We dined at Ranieri's "
Buon apetito!
Creative Commons AttributionBuon apetito! - Credit: Ryosuke Hosoi, Flickr

Ranieri's in central Rome was founded in 1841 and is the city's oldest restaurant; it is also one of its finest.


Page 358. " Would you say now, Mr Ryder, that the painter Titian was more truly artistic than the painter Raphael? "
Mary and child by Titian
Public DomainMary and child by Titian - Credit: Titian


Tiziano Vecelli, or Tiziano Vecellio (1488/90-1576), generally known as Titian, was an Italian painter of the Venetian School. He studied under Gentile Bellini and Giovanni Bellini and his students included El Greco and Tintoretto.


The Madonna of the Meadow by Raphael
Public DomainThe Madonna of the Meadow by Raphael - Credit: Raphael

Raffaello Sanzio da Urbino (1483-1520), usually known as Raphael, was an Italian painter and architect.

He ranks alongside Michelangelo and Leonardo da Vinci as one of the great masters of the High Renaissance period.

Page 359. " I've had bottles thrown at me in the Gorbals "

The Gorbals is an area of Glasgow in south-west Scotland which has long had a large Irish-Catholic population.

It has traditionally been viewed as a poor, rough, violent area, although recent architectural and social developments have gone some way to changing this image.

Glasgow has experienced strong tensions between its Roman Catholic and Protestant communities which may explain Father Mackay's rather cool reception in the Gorbals from time to time ... or he may be implying that he was not even welcome amongst the Catholic population in that part of Glasgow.


Elphinstone Tower, Main Street, Gorbals, Glasgow (1868)
Public DomainElphinstone Tower, Main Street, Gorbals, Glasgow (1868) - Credit: Thomas Annan


Page 364. " saw the fire on beacon hill for the battle of Trafalgar "
Pen y Fan, the highest peak of Bannau Brycheiniog
Creative Commons AttributionPen y Fan, the highest peak of Bannau Brycheiniog - Credit: Geowomble, Flickr

The Battle of Trafalgar was a naval engagement which took place in 1805 during the Napoleonic Wars. It culminated in a British victory although the commander-in-chief of the British fleet, Admiral Lord Nelson, was killed during the battle.

A beacon is any conspicuous device designed to draw attention, as well as any area of high ground suitable for constructing such devices. Traditionally, a chain of fires lit on hills and mountains was used as a warning device, usually to signal the advance of enemies. Such fires might also be lit in celebration, as in the example given by Lord Marchmain. 

The use of the term beacon to denote an area of high ground may be seen in the naming of the South Wales mountain range, the Brecon Beacons (Welsh: Bannau Brycheiniog). The Brecon Beacons were indeed used to locate fires which would warn the Welsh of imminent attack by the English.

Page 365. " We were knights then, barons since Agincourt, the larger honours came with the Georges. "
12th Century depiction of a knight
Public Domain12th Century depiction of a knight - Credit: unknown

A Knight in medieval times was a member of the soldier-class who followed a particular code of behaviour known as chivalry

Later on, a knighthood became an honour that could be conferred by the British Sovereign on civilians. The recipient's name is preceded by Sir. It is not a hereditary title. The female equivalent of a Knight is a Dame.

Baron is the lowest rank of the British peerage, and is a hereditary title.


The Battle of Agincourt was fought in 1415, and was one of the defining battles of the Hundred Years War.


When Lord Marchmain speaks of the larger honours, he is referring to the fact that he is the Marquess of Marchmain, a title inherited from his predecessors. Marquess is the second highest rank amongst peers of the realm, second only to Duke.


The Georges are the Kings: George I, II, III, IV, who ruled Britain between 1714 and 1830.

Page 369. " Christ came to call, not the righteous, but sinners to repentance. "

Father Mackay is quoting from the Bible:

In Luke 5:32 and Mark 2:17, Jesus says: I came not to call the righteous, but sinners to repentance. (King James version).

Lord Marchmain's rejection of the Catholic faith means that he is in particular need of absolution.

Page 370. " ego te absolvo in nomine Patris "

The Last Rites are the final prayers and ministrations of the priest prior to an individual's death.

In the Catholic Church, the priest grants absolution (forgiveness of sins) to the dying individual, and anoints him or her with oil.

Ego te absolvo in nomine Patris is Latin for: I absolve you in the name of the father.

The complete version used in the Last Rites is usually: Ego te absolvo a peccatis tuis in nomine Patris, et Filii et Spiritus Sanctus, which translates as: I absolve you from your sins in the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.

Page 371. " the veil of the temple being rent from top to bottom "
Christ on the Cross by El Greco
Public DomainChrist on the Cross - Credit: El Greco

This may be viewed as the climax of the novel in that it represents Charles Ryder's emotional acceptance of the Catholic faith.

Ryder's experience differs from that of Evelyn Waugh who noted that he entered the Catholic Church on firm intellectual conviction but with little emotion. This assessment was supported by Father D'Arcy, the priest who instructed him: [Waugh] had convinced himself very unsentimentally - with only an intellectual passion, of the truth of the Catholic faith, and that in it he must save his soul.

Source: Evelyn Waugh: A BIOGRAPHY by Selina Hastings (Sinclair-Stevenson, 1994) p.227.



The reference to the veil of the temple comes from the Gospels of Matthew (27:51), Luke (23:45) and Mark (15:38); it describes what happened at the moment of Jesus' death on the cross. The Matthew version reads:

And behold, the veil of the temple was rent in twain from the top to the bottom, and the earth did quake and the rocks rent.

The events at Lord Marchmain's deathbed are therefore of momentous significance to Charles. 

Page 374. " there's a Naafi in the camp area "

NAAFI stands for Navy, Army and Air Force Institutions.

Created in 1921, NAAFI is a government organisation that provides recreational facilities such as canteens, bars, cafes and shops for military, naval and airforce personnel.

NAAFI facilities are for the use of the junior ranks; commissioned officers have their own facilities in the officers' mess.