Page 206. " by God, D. H. Lawrence was right when he had said there must be a dumb, dark, dull, bitter belly-tension between a man and a woman "
'God! those rhododendron buds had a phallic, urgent look!'
Creative Commons Attribution Share Alike'God! those rhododendron buds had a phallic, urgent look!' - Credit: El Grafo, Wikimedia Commons

Stella Gibbons parodies the ideas of D. H. Lawrence (1885-1930), particularly his views on sex, through the character of Mr. Mybug. She has certainly captured something of Lawrence's way of thinking and style of expression in the line quoted, and we see other instances elsewhere in the narrative. For example, when Mr. Mybug is out walking with Flora, he imagines them stepping on seeds 'germinating in the womb of the earth' which makes him feel 'as if he were trampling on the body of a great brown woman' and participating in 'some mighty rite of gestation'.

Compare that to the following example of Laurentian writing from The Rainbow (1915):

And she lay face downwards on the downs, that were so strong, that cared only for their intercourse with the everlasting skies, and she wished she could become a strong mound smooth under the sky, bosom and limbs bared to all winds and clouds and bursts of sunshine.

Another example of Lawrence's sexualised imagery may be seen in his poem "Figs". This poem is very effectively translated into dialogue in a scene from the 1969 film adaptation of Lawrence's novel Women in Love.

Click here to view the scene.





Page 208. " the prospectus of the Hotel Miramar in Paris, and the photographs of Fanny Ward "


Fannie Ward (1916) depicted on a playing card
Public DomainFannie Ward (1916) depicted on a playing card - Credit: Movie Souvenir Card Co., Cincinnati, Ohio
Fannie Ward (1872-1952) was a famous American actress of the silent screen who spent a great deal of time in Europe, and opened a beauty shop in Paris in 1926.

A Hôtel Miramar does exist in the Montparnasse area of Paris, but with only three stars it is unlikely to be the one Stella Gibbons had in mind.

Page 214. " Agony Beetle and the jazz-band arrived with their arms full of nasturtiums, sweet-william and cherry-pie "
Heliotropium peruvianum: one kind of 'cherry-pie'
GNU Free Documentation LicenseHeliotropium peruvianum: one kind of 'cherry-pie' - Credit: Kor!An, Wikimedia Commons

 Cherry-pie is a common name given to flowers of the Borage family such as Heliotropium peruvianum, as they have a scent reminiscent of cherries baked in a pie. It is also sometimes used as a common name for Hairy Willow-herb (Epilobium hirsutum) which is also known as Codlins-and-Cream.


Epilobium hirsutum: Another kind of 'cherry-pie'
GNU Free Documentation LicenseEpilobium hirsutum: Another kind of 'cherry-pie' - Credit: Frank Vincentz, Wikimedia Commons




Page 216. " Flora repressed the unworthy reflection that it reminded her of a White sale at Messrs Marshall & Snelgrove's "
Marshall & Snelgrove advertisement (1919)
Public DomainMarshall & Snelgrove advertisement (1919) - Credit: unknown

 Marshall & Snelgrove was a chain of department stores. Their first branch opened on Oxford Street, London, in 1851, and branches were later opened in fashionable resorts such as Harrogate and Scarborough.

The company was bought by Debenhams and Freebody (later Debenhams) in 1919, although the name Marshall and Snelgrove continued to be used. In 1974, the Oxford street premises were completely re-built, and their name changed to Debenhams.

A White Sale is a sale of household linen, such as sheets and towels.

Page 222. " what a pleasant life could be had in this world by a handsome, sensible old lady of good fortune, blessed with a sound constitution and a firm will "

In John Schlesinger's 1995 screen version of Cold Comfort Farm, which has a screenplay by Malcolm Bradbury, this quote is attributed to Jane Austen. It certainly has an Austenesque quality to it (and as we already know, Flora Poste is an admirer of Jane Austen), but it is in fact fictitious.

Click here to see a trailer of the screen version.