Page 378. " Dante prescribed for the Antinomians "
A scene from Dante's Inferno, showing heretics in burning tombs, engraved by Gustave Doré
Public DomainA scene from Dante's Inferno, showing heretics in burning tombs, engraved by Gustave Doré

Dante Alighieri (1265-1321) was a Florentine poet who composed the religious epic The Divine Comedy.  This poem tells the story of the poet's journey through hell, pugatory and heaven. His descriptions of the punishments of sinners, in the section of the poem called the Inferno, are particularly vivid and detailed.  An animated "guided tour" of Dante's inferno can be found here (uses flash).

Antinomianism is the heretical belief that faithful members of a particular religious group are the chosen people of God and thus moral and ethical codes do not apply to them.  No matter how evil their actions, they will still be rewarded by God after death.  In the schema of Dante's Inferno, Antinomians would be punished by being trapped in burning tombs.


Page 381. " Jacta alea est "

"The die is cast".  This phrase was supposed to have been spoken by Julius Caesar when he took the irrevocable step of leading his army across the River Rubicon towards Rome, an act that would be interpreted as a declaration of war against his own city.

The name of the river has become a metaphor for an action that, once taken, cannot be undone.

Page 383. " a pharaoh standing beside his wife "

This is a common emblem in ancient Egyptian sculpture:

Menkaure and Chamerernebti
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeMenkaure and Chamerernebti - Credit: Original work by GDK, derivative by Kat Matfield
Nebsen and Nebet-Ta
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeNebsen and Nebet-Ta - Credit: David Liam Moran

Page 384. " if the civil conditions allowed "

In the 19th century, much of Italy was subject to civil wars, political manoeuvring and factionalism as groups attempted to unite the disparate regions into one state.

Page 387. " the bullying tabernacle kind "

Tabernacles were the names given to buildings used by non-conformist Protestants (those who did not obey all the rules of the Church of England), which were frequently non-religious spaces pressed into temporary sacred use.

Page 387. " a would-be Spurgeon "

Caricature of Spurgeon, from Vanity Fair (1870)
Public DomainCaricature of Spurgeon, from Vanity Fair (1870)
Charles Spurgeon (1834-1892) was a prolific Baptist Christian preacher, sometimes called "the Prince of Preachers".  He was the most popular preacher of his day, preaching as often as ten times a week, and to crowds as large as 10,000.

Page 393. " Montague was his second "

A second, in duelling, is a friend or companion of the dueller who liaises with the second of the other dueller to decide the location and rules of combat.

Page 393. " the rolls of sheepskin bound in green ferret "

These would be rolls of parchment (made of sheepskin) tied with green cotton ribbon; archaic but indicating official documentation.

Page 400. " Mill's Subjection of Women "

The Subjection of Women is the essay in which John Stuart Mill examines the position of women in society and argues the necessity for it to change.  It is suspected that Mill's intelligent, radical wife Harriet Taylor Mill was the unacknowledged co-author.

Page 400. " Girton College are about to appear "

Girton College was the first women's residential college in England.  Initially located in a village thirty miles from Cambridge, the college changed its name to Girton College upon its 1872 move to the village of Girton, two miles outside Cambridge city centre. The college was accepted as a part of Cambridge University in 1948.

Page 400. " the new embankment in Chelsea "
Modern image of the Chelsea Embankment
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeModern image of the Chelsea Embankment - Credit: Danny Robinson

Not actually completed until 1874, the Chelsea Embankment is a road and pedestrian path along the north bank of the Thames in London.

Google Map
Page 400. " Iam ver "

"Now spring..."

This quotation comes from the first line of a poem by ancient Roman poet Catullus.