Page 253. " The Destiny waltz, the Blue Danube, the Merry Widow "
Fascination Valse (1911)
Public DomainFascination Valse (1911) - Credit: Leo Rauth

The Destiny Waltz was composed by Sydney Baynes (1879-1938), an English conductor, composer and bandleader. It was first published in 1912 and became an enormous hit.

The Blue Danube is the commonly-used English title for the waltz known in German as An der Schönen blauen Donau ('By the Beautiful Blue Danube'), which was composed by Johann Strauss II in 1866. It is very much a symbol of Austria and is invariably played as an encore at the annual New Year's Day concert performed by the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.

The Merry Widow Waltz is part of an operetta by Franz Lehár called The Merry Widow , which is known in German as Die lustige Witwe. The operetta was premiered in 1905, and continues to be a popular choice for performing and recording.

Listen here on Spotify to the Destiny Waltz.

Listen here on Spotify to The Blue Danube. 

Listen here on Spotify to the Merry Widow Waltz.   


Page 255. " The band began to play Auld Lang Syne "
Robert Burns
Public DomainRobert Burns - Credit: Alexander Nasmyth

 Auld Lang Syne is a poem written in Scots by Robert Burns in 1788, set to the tune of a traditional folk song. In many English-speaking countries, it is sung as the clock strikes midnight on New Year's Eve, as well as on other occasions when some sort of ending is being acknowledged.

Literally translated, Auld lang syne means 'Old long since'. For Auld Lang Syne (the first line of the song's chorus') is usually, therefore, roughly translated as 'For old times' sake'.

Click here to see the original Scots lyrics with an English translation.

Click here to see the lyrics as they are sung in English.

Listen here on Spotify.


Page 255. " dressed as a Chinese mandarin "
Qing Dynasty mandarin
Public DomainQing Dynasty mandarin - Credit: unknown

A mandarin was a high-ranking public official in the bureaucracy of Imperial China. Between 605 and 1905, officials were selected by a process known as imperial examination. This replaced a previous selection process known as the nine rank system.

Yuan Chen, a mandarin and poet
Public DomainYuan Chen, a mandarin and poet - Credit: unknown
Page 255. " the drummer rattled his sticks in the inevitable prelude to God Save the King "
George V in coronation robes
Public DomainGeorge V in coronation robes - Credit: Luke Fildes

 God Save the King (or God Save the Queen) is the national anthem of Britain and Northern Ireland, and is also used in various Commonwealth countries and British Crown dependencies. Wales has its own national anthem, Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau ('Land of My Fathers'), and Scotland will sometimes use songs such as 'Flower of Scotland' or 'Scotland the Brave'.

The author of the lyrics of God Save the King/Queen (which may vary from version to version) has not been identified, nor has the composer of the melody (although it is sometimes attributed to Thomas Arne or Henry Carey). During the late 1920s or early 30s, the period in which Rebecca is set (see bookmark p.321), the reigning British monarch would have been George V.


Click here to see the lyrics of God Save the King/Queen, and to hear it sung.

Click here to listen to God Save the Queen on Spotify (melody only).

Click here  to listen to Hen Wlad Fy Nhadau on Spotify.

Click here to listen to Flower of Scotland on Spotify.

Page 273. " She drove a four-in-hand on her fourteenth birthday "
Public DomainFour-in-hand - Credit: unknown

A four-in-hand is a carriage drawn by four horses, with the reins set up in such a way that it can be controlled by one driver.

(It is also the name given to the usual way of tying a necktie, also known as a schoolboy knot or simple knot).


'Behind Time'
Creative Commons Attribution'Behind Time' - Credit: photographed by Georges Jansoone