Page 426. " so I wrote a strange updating of the old Greek myth of Theseus and Procrustes. "
Procrustes and Theseus
Public DomainProcrustes and Theseus

Procrustes was a bandit from Attica who invited passers-by to spend the night on his iron bed. On accepting his hospitality, however, they had unwittingly placed themselves in the care of a rogue smith who sought to shape his guest according the size of his bed. Thus those who fell short of the length of the bed would be stretched accordingly, whilst those who exceeded it would have parts of their body removed. Theseus put an end to this unusual activity, killing him in his final adventure.

Page 430. " What did Paul Pennyfeather do? "
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Paul Pennyfeather is the protagonist of Evelyn Waugh's first novel, Decline and Fall.  Pennyfeather, a disgraced Oxford student, takes a teaching job at a second-rate school in Wales, where he falls in love with the mother of one of the pupils.