Page 153. " 'My dear, why all this Fall-of-the-House-of-Usher stuff?', enquired Claud "
Edgar Allan Poe
Public DomainEdgar Allan Poe - Credit: Edwin H. Manchester

 The Fall of the House of Usher is a Gothic horror short story by Edgar Allan Poe which was first published in 1839.

Two film versions of the story, one French and one American, were made in 1928. The French version, La Chute de la maison Usher, was directed by Jean Epstein.

The American version was directed by James Sibley Watson and Melville Webber. It has been described as 'avant-garde' and 'experimental', and sounds suspiciously like the type of film parodied by Stella Gibbons on p.93 where she describes Flora's first meeting with the Hollywood film producer Earl P. Neck. 

Click here to see an extract from the American version.





Page 156. " the fine flower of the county of Sussex was circling to the strains of the 'Twelve Sweet Hours' waltz "

There does not appear to be a waltz with this name.

However, there is a waltz entitled 'Twelve o' clock waltz' (Vals de la media noche) which was composed by Seger Ellis in 1928. 

Click here to listen.


Page 160. " Claud, who had served in the Anglo-Nicaraguan wars of '46 "

This comment gives us the best clue as to how far into the future the events of the story are set.

Stella Gibbons may have come up with the Anglo-Nicaraguan wars because Nicaragua (the largest nation in Central America) was going through a turbulent phase in its political  history at the time Cold Comfort Farm was written: the country had been under American occupation since 1912, and would gain its independence in 1933.

Page 163. " a jolly tune to which the 'Lancers' could be danced "

 The Lancers is  a dance for 8 or 16 pairs, thought to date from 1820 and originally known as 'the quadrille of the Lancers'. It is also the name of the music for this dance.

Lancers were cavalrymen who fought with lances (long weapons with wooden shafts and steel tips). Some cavalry regiments of the British army have retained the word Lancers in their titles.

Listen on Spotify to Lancier-Quadrille No. 4  by Anton Bruckner.