Page 177. " He had been at a famous public school "
Eton Quadrangle
Creative Commons AttributionEton Quadrangle - Credit: jtriefen
"Hook was not his real name," writes Barrie, for "to reveal who he really was would even at this date set the country in a blaze." He is believed to be the disowned son of a British nobleman, writes J.V. Hart in Capt. Hook: The Adventures of a Notorious Youth (2005). As such, Hook was educated at England's finest, writes Barrie, and that means one institution in particular: Eton College.

Hook appeared to confirm this himself when he spoke these final words in the play: "Floreat Etona." The school itself says that their unofficial motto is...

"...Often thought to be Floreat Etona, which can be translated as “May Eton Flourish” or “Let Eton Flourish”; but Esto perpetua ("May it last forever") came into usage if anything a little earlier. In fact, neither phrase is officially a motto; they are unofficial creations that, over time, have stuck."

Barrie confirmed Hook as an Etonian in his speech, "Hook at Eton," delivered to pupils in 1927. "James Hook, the pirate captain," he declared, "was a great Etonian, but not a good one."

Eton accepts boys between the ages of 13 and 18 years. It is often considered the most famous school in the world. Located near Windsor and founded in 1440 by King Henry VI, it is one of the original nine English "public schools" defined by the Public Schools Act 1868. Hook, as a disreputable Old Etonian, is in excellent company; other fictional characters given OE status include James Bond, Lord Sebastian Flyte, Bertie Wooster and Davey Jones (see more).

A video tour of Eton College


Page 179. " before you are eligible for Pop "
George Llewelyn Davies at the age of 18 in his last year at Eton
Public DomainGeorge Llewelyn Davies at the age of 18 in his last year at Eton - Credit:

Officially "the Eton Society", Pop is an elite, self-electing club of prefects, whose members wear checked spongebag trousers and fancy waistcoats. George Llewelyn Davies, the eldest son of Arthur and Sylvia, was elected. More recently, Prince William was a member.

Arthur Clutton-Brock writes in the study aid, Eton (1900), "POP is, in fact, an athletic and social club" with an "undiminished prestige." When first founded, it was more focused on intellectual recruitment than sports. At one time, members were anointed "Literati."  The intellectual laurels are now taken by another, less glamorous, set of prefects known as Sixth Form Select.

Page 190. " To Davy Jones below "
The Flying Dutchman (c. 1896)
Public DomainThe Flying Dutchman (c. 1896) - Credit: Albert Pinkham Ryder

Davy Jones' Locker is a nautical term meaning the bottom of the sea. Any person drowned at sea was said to have gone to Davy Jones' Locker. As for Davy Jones himself, some suggest he was the keeper and ruler of evil souls. Daniel Defoe's The Four Years Voyages of Capt. George Roberts (1726) is credited with the first mention of Davy Jones:

Ruffel told them, they should not, for he would toss them all into Davy Jones Locker if they did.

In 1751, Tobias Smollet wrote in The Adventures of Peregrine Pickle:

This same Davy Jones, according to the mythology of sailors, is the fiend that presides over all the evil spirits of the deep

Davy Jones offers some interesting research on the character's legend, referring to Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable (1898):

Davy Jones, sea devil described by Tobias Smollett in The adventures of Peregrine Pickle
Public DomainDavy Jones, sea devil described by Tobias Smollett in The adventures of Peregrine Pickle - Credit: George Cruikshank: "Illustrations of Fieldeing, Smollett & Goldsmith, in a series of forty-one plates", London: Bradbury and Evans 1832

Davy is a bastardization of Duffy, the West Indian term for ghost. Jones comes from Jonah, the prophet who spent a few uncomfortable days lodged in the tract of a whale. And a locker, loosely defined, is a place to store valuable things. So the phrase "He's gone to Davy Jones' locker" (i.e., he cashed it in), loosely translates as, "He's safe with Duffy Jonah now."

Wikipedia explores a common theory that depicts Davy Jones and Jonah as one and the same. Jonah, hounded by God, was cast overboard, becoming the evil angel of sailors:

Sailors of previous centuries would identify more with the beset-upon ship-mates of Jonah than with the unfortunate man himself. It is therefore a possibility that "Davy Jones" grew from the root "Devil Jonah" – the devil of the seas.

Although the origins of Davy Jones remain shrouded in mystery, the myth has been mentioned in such distinguished classics as Washington Irving's Adventures of the Black Fisherman (1824), Edgar Allan Poe's King Pest (1835), Charles Dickens' Bleak House (1852-53), and Robert Louis Stevenson's Treasure Island (1883).

Page 191. " the scratching cat "
The Cat-O-Nine Tails
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeThe Cat o' Nine Tails - Credit: OwenX

The infamous cat o' nine tails, simply called the Cat, was a whip with nine separate cords attached to a single handle. Kept in a red baize bag, it was used to dispense discipline in both maritime and judicial spheres. Each tail, plaited out of cotton cord, measured around 2 1/2 feet in length. Its purpose was simple and effective: to lacerate the skin and inflict maximum pain.

Cat o' nine tails, Dumbleton Church, near to Dumbleton, Gloucestershire, Great Britain, located above the north door to Dumbleton church
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeCat o' nine tails, Dumbleton Church, near to Dumbleton, Gloucestershire, Great Britain, located above the north door to Dumbleton church - Credit: Philip Halling

 The expressions, "not enough room to swing a cat" and "let the cat out of the bag," have both been attributed to the Cat, although Paul Huxen offers an entertaining alternative origin in "Cat Swinging, Principles and Mechanics".

The cat o' nine tails was used in Australia until 1957, and was not banned in Egypt until 2001. Trinidad & Tobago have never banned the Cat, although its use is now restricted to male offenders over the age of eighteen. In 2005, the Trinidad & Tobago government was ordered to pay $50,000 in moral damages by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights for giving Mr. Winston Caesar 15 strokes of the Cat. The government has refused to accept the court's jurisdiction and judgment.