Page 276. " If I have not (Macbeth-like) broken up the feast with most admired disorder "

In Shakespeare's Macbeth, the title character grows agitated at a banquet when he sees the ghost of Banquo, whom he has murdered. Macbeth makes a spectacle of himself, resulting in the breaking up of the banquet.

Page 280. " she is one of the seven wonders of the world. "
The list is usually said to include the Great Pyramid of Giza, Hanging Gardens of Babylon, Statue of Zeus at Olympia, Temple of Artemis, Mausoleum of Halicarnassus, Colossus of Rhodes, and Lighthouse of Alexandria.



Page 284. " come to Mrs. Bond and be killed "

A reference to the nursery rhyme, “Oh, What Have You Got for Dinner, Mrs. Bond?”


Oh, what have you got for dinner, Mrs Bond?

There's beef in the larder, and ducks in the pond;

Dilly, dilly, dilly, dilly, come to be killed,

For you must be stuffed and my customers filled!

Send us the beef first, good Mrs Bond,

And get us some ducks dressed out of the pond,

Cry, Dilly, dilly, dilly, dilly, come to be killed,

For you must be stuffed and my customers filled!


The full rhyme

Page 287. " Take care of yourself, Jockey of Norfolk! "
“Jockey of Norfolk” is thought to be an allusion to Richard III (1452-1485).
Page 288. " about her being a scientific cupper "

One who is skilled in bleeding people. 

Bleeding was a procedure by which blood was let from the arm, either with a blade or a leech. 

Page 296. " recurring to Doctors' Commons, and anticipating the distant days when I should be a proctor there "

Charles Dickens worked at the Doctors’ Commons during his early adulthood.

Doctors’ Commons was a society of lawyers practising civil law in London. Its buildings housed a library, rooms for living and working, and courts.

Several courts of civil law were to be found within Doctors’ Commons, including the Court of Arches, the Court of Faculties or Dispensations, the Consistory Court, and the High Court of Admiralty.


Page 298. " My aunt, who had this other general opinion in reference to London, that every man she saw was a pickpocket "

Dickens had written about a gang of pickpockets in the form of Fagin’s boy thieves in Oliver Twist (1837-1839). Dickens was much concerned with the causes and effects of crime, as well as with the penal and legal systems that sought to deal with it.

Read about crime in Victorian England here.

Page 299. " We made a pause at the toy shop in Fleet Street, to see the giants of Saint Dunstan's strike upon the bells—we had timed our going, so as to catch them at it, at twelve o'clock "

Every quarter of an hour, figures of giants struck the bell of the clock on the old church of St. Dunstan.

Page 300. " it's an Arches day "
St. Mary le Bow
GNU Free Documentation LicenseSt. Mary le Bow - Credit: Wikimedia Commons

An “Arches day” was a day when the Court of Arches, the ecclesiastical court of appeal for the province of Canterbury, was in session.

It came to be called the Court of Arches in reference to the arches of St. Mary le Bow Church.