Page 251. " I see thro' it and not with it "

In his poem, The Everlasting Gospel, Blake wrote:

This life's dim windows of the soul

Distort the heavens from pole to pole

And lead you to believe a lie

When you see with, not through, the eye.

Blake clearly believed that to accept only the material world, the world one can perceive with the senses, as real is to be deluded.

Page 251. " At a Parsi funeral a dog (with certain spots above the eyes) is brought in to gaze at the body and so exorcise the Nasu "

Temple of Silence
Public DomainTemple of Silence
The dog in question should be a 'four-eyed' dog, one with a spot above each eye.The word 'Nasu' means 'unclean', and in this context refers to the corpse demon, which is also associated with decay and infection. The dog, gazing upon the body, gets rid of this spirit of corruption.

The soul is guided by the dog across the Bridge of Separation into the next life.

After the funeral rites, the dead are left exposed on the top of a tower (or temple) of silence for carrion birds to devour, the bones being disposed of later.

Page 270. " a legend called The Grateful Dead "

The band admired by Miss Garnet's pupils is of course, The Grateful Dead.

But Miss Garnet's book refers to a common theme in folk tales: the dead doing favours for the living in return for decent burial. The example below is from a 1908 collection by G.H. Gerould, the American folklorist:

A German count (presumably an impoverished one) heard that a beautiful, rich young woman had offered to marry the winner of a jousting contest. He travelled to the place where the tournament was to be held, and managed to find lodgings and a horse, but both came with conditions. The landlord of the lodgings demanded that he pay off the debt of a dead man, whose corpse had been left to rot in a dung heap. Feeling sorry for the dead man, the count paid the ransom and arranged a decent burial, which took nearly all of his money, so that he then had to borrow from his landlord. He obtained a horse from a strange knight, on condition that, if successful in the joust, he 'share his winnings'. The count, being generous, but perhaps also rash, agreed;  he might have done well to consider carefully the meaning of the agreement. He won the tournament and married the girl, but  the honeymoon was disrupted on the second night by the strange knight's bursting into the bridal chamber and demanding to replace the bridegroom in the marital bed. The count was in despair. Luckily, however, the intruder turned out not to be a love-rival after all, but only the ghost of the dead man, who obligingly disappeared.

The ghost showed his gratitude by providing the horse and not taking up the count's foolish offer to share the reward. (How grateful was he really, though, I wonder? Would he still have provided the horse if the count hadn't agreed to the conditions? And how useful was the reward to him, anyway? Wouldn't a ghost need  a substantial supply of Viagra to take advantage of a bride?)

Page 270. " Papadopoli Gardens "

Once a site of parties for 19th century Venetian society, and the home of exotic plants and animals, the Papdopoli Gardens are now much reduced in size.

Page 271. " the Cima altarpiece "

The Carmini church is Santa Maria del Carmelo, built by Carmelite monks in the thirteenth century. Cima came from Conegliano, in North West Italy.

The hills of Conegliano
Public DomainThe hills of Conegliano

The Adoration of the Shepherds with Tobias and the Angel can be viewed at the Web Gallery of Arts. (Click on the link to go to the home page, then select 'C' in the alphabet at the bottom, select p.4 of the 'C's, click on Cima. On the Cima page, scroll down to the first 'Adoration of the Shepherds' and click on it.)