Page 732. " I'll be at the banyan tree "

Banyan tree
GNU Free Documentation LicenseBanyan tree - Credit: Khalid Mahmood
The banyan is a species of fig tree, Ficus benghalensis, and is the National Tree of India.  In Hinduism, the species is seen as sacred and Dakshinamurthy (one of the representations of the god Shiva) is often depicted sitting beneath a banyan tree. 

Page 735. " the Russo-Turkish affair "
Russo-Turkish War
Public DomainRusso-Turkish War - Credit: Pavel Kovalevsky

This refers to the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878.  The war began with rebellions by Bosnia and Herzegovina and Bulgaria against Turkish rule.  The Russians came to their aid, attacking through Bulgaria and advancing into Turkey. 

Concerned by the growing level of Russian control in the Balkans, the British put pressure on the Russians to accept a truce offered by the Ottoman Empire in 1878.  Under the treaty of San Stefano, the Ottoman Empire agreed to recognise the independence of Romania, Serbia, Montenegro and Bulgaria.

Page 738. " lies within the Bala Hissar "

The Bala Hissar
Public DomainThe Bala Hissar - Credit: Officer
The Bala Hissar is a 5th century fortress in the Afghan city of Kabul.  It is famous as the site of the 1879 massacre of the British Resident Louis Cavagnari and his embassy by Afghan soldiers.  

Read more here:

The Truth About the British and the Bala Hissar

Page 744. " Ours not to reason why "

Charge of the Light Brigade
Public DomainCharge of the Light Brigade - Credit: SoLando
This quote is taken from the poem "The Charge of the Light Brigade" by Alfred, Lord Tennyson.  The poem was published in 1854 and tells the story of the Charge of the Light Brigade - a failed British cavalry charge made during the Crimean War at the Battle of Balaclava. 

Read The Charge of the Light Brigade online

Page 746. " with compasses and theodolites "

Theodolite
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeTheodolite - Credit: Rama
A theodolite is an instrument used in surveying and engineering.  It can measure both horizontal and vertical angles.  One of the first examples of a theodolite was built by Joshua Habermel in Germany in 1576.  The theodolite replaced a similar, earlier instrument called a dioptra which dated from the 3rd century BC and was used in astronomy.

 

Page 749. " Ali Masjid is held in force "
Ali Masjid
Public DomainAli Masjid - Credit: Sherurcij

The fortress of Ali Masjid is located at the western end of the Khyber Pass, Afghanistan.  On 21 November 1878 the fortress was attacked by British forces after a British envoy had been refused entry to the Afghan city of Kabul.  The resulting conflict became the opening battle of the Second Anglo-Afghan War

Page 750. " familiar, English-looking butterflies "

Common blue butterfly
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeCommon blue butterfly - Credit: Euchiasmus
The butterflies remind Wigram of summer holidays spent butterfly-hunting in England.  The species mentioned in the book are fritillaries, brimstones, meadow browns and common blues.
Meadow brown
Creative Commons AttributionMeadow brown - Credit: Ghouston

Page 750. " D'ye ken John Peel "

"Do You Ken John Peel?" is an 18th century hunting song.

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