Page 101. " like papier poudre "
by cm

Papier poudre is a handy cosmetic developed at the beginning of the 20th century: sheets of powdered paper which can be carried in a handbag and discreetly applied to take the shine off one's face.

 

Page 104. " Big-bellied sails "
by cm

Adler von Lübeck
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeAdler von Lübeck - Credit: Olaf Rahardt
A quote from Shakespeare's A Midsummer Night's Dream:

 

TITANIA

When we have laugh'd to see the sails conceive

And grow big-bellied with the wanton wind

Act II, Scene 1

Page 105. " I remember Queen Victoria’s advice to her daughter. Close your eyes and think of England. "

Queen Victoria (1819-1901) is Britain’s longest serving monarch to date. She ruled from 1837 until her death.

There is no evidence that she gave the above advice to her daughter on her wedding night (Victoria is believed to have been an enthusiastic sexual partner: she loved Prince Albert and they had nine children in all) but it has since become standard colloquial (and more often than not, tongue-in-cheek) advice from one woman to another stuck in an unfulfilling sexual relationship or marriage.

 

Page 123. " the babies that didn’t get passed, that were declared Unbabies. "

This chilling passage recalls the Nazi eugenics programme, which led to the murder of thousands of disabled Germans through compulsory 'euthanasia'.  Many others were forcibly sterilized.  The ‘imperfect’ were not wanted in the master race.

Page 125. " Agent Orange "

 Agent Orange is a herbicide, infamously used by the Americans in the Vietnam War to destroy the agriculture and forest cover of the Viet Cong. It was later found to have been contaminated with a dioxin, TCDD, that caused very serious long-term health problems and birth defects.

It can cause skin diseases, mental illness, cancers, cleft palate and hernias. Birth defects in Vietnam resulting from parental exposure included spina bifida and extra fingers and toes.