Page 126. " The John-Bull-like lady "


John Bull with bulldog
Public DomainJohn Bull with bulldog

John Bull is the national personification of England (in the same way 'Uncle Sam' is for the USA and 'Marianne' is for France).


Page 128. " the gloom of so much Handel "

Listen on Spotify:

Waft her, angels from Handel's Jeptha

Ich habe genug by Handel


Page 129. " Seven Dials "

Seven Dials was a slum district in this period, situated in London's West End, near Covent Garden.

Google Map
Page 130. " Leech's famous cartoon "

Page 134. " an unfed Pekinese "

Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikePekinese - Credit: Jneh
Pekinese dogs are also referred to as "lion dogs" because of their resemblence to Chinese statues of lions.

Page 134. " Cadiz, Naples, the Morea "

Cadiz is a port in southwestern Spain;  Naples is a city on the southwest coast of Italy; the Morea is the old name for the Peloponnese, a large island in the south of Greece, separated from the mainland by the Corinth Canal.

Map of the Mediterranean showing Cadiz, Naples and the Peloponnese
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeMap of the Mediterranean showing Cadiz, Naples and the Peloponnese - Credit: Original work by Mapmaster, adapted work by Kat Matfield
Page 140. " what a siren looked like "
Ulysses and the Sirens by Herbert James Draper
Public DomainUlysses and the Sirens by Herbert James Draper

Sirens were creatures of Greek myth, sometimes portrayed as half bird, half woman, sometimes as beautiful women with the tails of fish.  Their song was so enchanting as to be irresistible, and they used it to lure sailors to their death. 

When Odysseus encountered sirens on his long voyage home, he had his men plug their ears with wax to ensure they would not be tempted by the sirens' song.  He had himself tied to the mast so he could experience the song without risk of succumbing.

Page 140. " here was a Calypso "

Calypso was a sea-nymph who fell in love with Odysseus and, wishing him to be her husband, kept him captive on her island for seven years.

Page 146. " studied at Heidelberg "

Founded in 1386, Heidelberg is one of the oldest universities in Europe.  It had at this time a justly famous medical school. It was also known for the prevailing liberalism of its students and teachers.

Page 147. " from Hoffman's Tales "

E T A Hoffman (1776-1822) wrote a series of macabre tales, two of which feature young women who turn out to be clockwork dolls.  These tales, Der Sandmann and Die Puppe, were the inspiration for the ballet Coppelia.

Listen on Spotify:

The Tales of Hoffmann by Offenbach

Coppelia (waltz) by Delibes


Page 147. " the late Prince Consort "
Prince Albert, painted by F Winterhalter
Public DomainPrince Albert, painted by F Winterhalter

Prince Albert (1819-1861), whose official title was Prince Consort, was the husband of Queen Victoria.  After his death he was mourned by the Queen for the rest of her life.


Page 147. " Dulce est desipere "

From Horace's Odes, this phrase means "it is sweet to play the fool".

Page 148. " bathing machines "

Bathing machines were like small wooden beach huts with wheels, which enabled them to be wheeled into the sea.  They were designed to preserve the modesty of female bathers (whose costumes were considered revealing at the time) by concealing their entry into the water.

Mermaids at Brighton, by William Heath
Public DomainMermaids at Brighton, by William Heath
1891 photograph of a bathing machine
Public Domain1891 photograph of a bathing machine

Page 149. " I recognise Bentham "
Bentham, painted by H W Pickersgill
Public DomainBentham, painted by H W Pickersgill

Jeremy Bentham (1748-1832) was a philosopher and social reformer.  His work included arguments in favour of the abolition of slavery, women's and animal rights, the end of corporal punishment, free trade and the separation of church and state.  His work influenced many philosophers, politicians and social campaigners, including Robert Owen, the father of socialism.

Page 149. " Has an Irishman a choice? "

Charles and Dr Grogan are Whigs.  The Whig (Liberal) Party, unlike the Tory (Conservative) Party, supported home rule for Ireland.  At this time Ireland was still a part of the United Kingdom and ruled by the British government and British Queen.

Page 149. " the other lump of Parian is Voltaire "
Voltaire, painted by Catherine Lusurier
Public DomainVoltaire, painted by Catherine Lusurier

Voltaire (1694-1778) was a philosopher and writer of the French Enlightenment.  He argued for social reform and freedom of speech (among other freedoms), and was highly critical of the Catholic church.


Page 150. " the first Reform Bills of the 1830s "

The Reform Bills of 1832, 1835 and 1836 removed a great deal of the irregularities, inequalities and corruption from the British electoral system and extended the franchise from around 400,000 to 650,000 voters (63% increase). The newly-enfranchised were from the middle classes because qualifying for a vote required the ownership of land or property worth at least £10 a year.

The Reform Bills of the 1860s aimed to massively increase the franchise by giving the vote to the working classes as well. The bill that was finally passed enlarged the franchise by 88%.