Page 404. " we've discovered Ash's Dark Lady "

This alludes to Shakespeare's Dark Lady sonnets, and the unknown woman that they are addressed to. Scholars trying to identify her have variously suggested Mary Fitton, Emilia Lanier, Marie Mountjoy, Luce Morgan, and several others, but no persuasive evidence exists. More recently the term has been used to describe any unknown muse.

Page 409. " as Beatrice Speaks still to us, though Dante's flesh is dust "

 Beatrice di Folco Portinari (1266 - 1290), was the muse of the poet Dante Alighieri. She appeared as a character in two of his works - La Vita Nuova and the Divine Comedy. She was married to another man, and Dante met her just twice, but his feelings for her were powerful enough to be carried throughout his life. 


Page 413. " Val was in the stand at Newmarket "

This refers to Newmarket Racecourse, in Newmarket, Suffolk, - the home of British horseracing.

Page 414. " White Nights, by Dostoevsky "

 White Nights is an 1848 short story by Russian writer Fyodor Dostoevsky (best known for his novels Crime and Punishment, and The Brothers Karamazov).

Page 414. " Henry James, the American, wrote a story or something called The Reverberator "

American novelist Henry James (1843 - 1916), possibly now best known for his ghost story The Turn of the Screw, did indeed write a novel called The Reverberator: a comedy that details the results of nasty but true stories, about a Parisian family, being printed in the newspaper of the novel's title.

Page 417. " Oh love, be fed with apples while you may "

This is a line from the poem Sick Love by Robert Graves. You can read the poem here.

Page 421. " Shall we go to the Pont-Aven? "

 Pont-Aven is a commune in Finistère, Brittany.

Page 421. " the crucifix that was the original of Gauguin's Christ Jaune "

The Crucifix of Trémalo, Pont-Aven
GNU Free Documentation LicenseThe Crucifix of Trémalo, Pont-Aven - Credit: Vriullop
Le Christ Jaune
, or The Yellow Christ, is an 1889 painting by French Post-Impressionist artist Eugène Henri Paul Gauguin, based on the 17th century wooden sculpture The Crucifix of Trémalo, in the Trémalo Chapel at Pont-Aven.

Page 422. " It's a regular motif, the innocent infanticide, in European literature at that time "
Newborn baby
Public DomainNewborn baby - Credit: Makalp

Gretchen is a character from Goethe's Faust. She drowns her illegitimate child. Hetty Sorrel is a character from George Eliot's novel Adam Bede. Pregnant and unmarried, she delivers the baby alone and then abandons it in a field to die. In Wordsworth's poem The Thorn, Martha is abandoned by her betrothed, who marries another woman. Martha, pregnant and mad, is frequently seen on a hill calling 'oh misery!'. Her baby disappears: 'some will say/She hanged her baby on the tree;/Some say she drowned it in the pond'.