Page 251. " a freshly opened bottle of Taittinger "
Taittinger champagne label
Creative Commons AttributionTaittinger champagne label - Credit: Trace

Taittinger is a long-established French family firm famous for champagne production.

The headquarters of the champagne business are at Reims, a city in the Champagne-Ardenne region of France.

Page 254. " Henry James - not the great bald Master, but the quick-eyed. tender, brilliant twenty-year-old, with an irrepressible kink in his dark hair "
Henry James (1913)
Public DomainPortrait of Henry James (1913) - Credit: John Singer Sargent
Henry James (1910)
Public DomainHenry James (1910) - Credit: Bain News Service

Many portraits and photographs of Henry James show him in his 60s and early 70s.

However, there are a few pictures of him as a young man available on the Internet.

Click here and here to view them.




Portrait of Henry James (1908)
Creative Commons AttributionPortrait of Henry James (1908) - Credit: Portrait: Jacques-Émile Blanche; Image: Cliff
Page 255. " and was called on to translate a bit of King Alfred "
Statue of King Alfred at Winchester, Hampshire, England
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeStatue of King Alfred at Winchester, Hampshire, England - Credit: Stephen McKay

 King Alfred (849-899), also known as Alfred the Great, was King of the Anglo-Saxon kingdom of Wessex from 871 to 899. He has a reputation as a cultured and humane man who improved his kingdom's legal and military structure, and encouraged learning and education.

Although King Alfred himself is believed to have been illiterate until his late 30s, he is credited with the translation of various works from Latin into Old English, including Pope Gregory the Great's Pastoral Care and Boethius's Consolation of Philosophy. Various other writings have also been attributed to him, although it is not always clear to what extent Alfred actually did the writing himself as opposed to commisioning others (Click here for a detailed discussion of this issue).

The first chapter of King Alfred's Old English translation of Boethius's De Consolatio Philosophiae may be seen in the e-book below. Its translation into modern English may be seen by scrolling down.


Page 255. " the man who likes Bruckner! "
Portrait of Anton Bruckner (1885)
Public DomainPortrait of Anton Bruckner (1885) - Credit: Hermann von Kaulbach

 Anton Bruckner (1824-1896) was an Austrian composer, university teacher of music, and organist.

He wrote a great deal of sacred choral music, but is best known for his symphonies. Today, he is considered an influential and innovative composer, although his compositions were not particularly well received during his lifetime.

Listen here to Anton Bruckner's Symphony No. 3 in D minor on Spotify.

Listen here to Anton Bruckner's Ave Maria on Spotify.



Page 258. " Catherine was his sister, and on lithium "

Lithium carbonate (often known just as lithium) and other lithium salts are used as psychiatric medication. They are mainly used to treat the psychiatric condition called bipolar disorder (previously known as manic depression) but may also be used for depressive episodes in isolation.

Lithium is used to treat both the manic and depressive phases of bipolar disorder. It has been used as a mood stabiliser for about fifty years, although its mechanism is not fully understood. The lithium dosage needs to be very carefully monitored as it can be toxic if too much is taken.



Page 259. " the gardens receded in depth beyond depth of green, like some mysterious Hodgkin "

20071223-003 _Netherlands_

Howard Hodgkin (1932-2017) was a British painter and printmaker, whose style may broadly be described as abstract. Some of his work from the 1970s has been described as semi-abstract and compared to that of Henri Matisse.

The painting above is called 'Small Durand Gardens' and was painted in 1974.

Click here to see a picture of Howard Hodgkin standing in front of his painting 'Home on the Range'.

Click here and here to see other paintings by Howard Hodgkin.

Page 265. " crowded families of Staffordshire and Chelsea figures "
Staffordshire pottery figure (c.1825)
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeStaffordshire pottery figure (c.1825) - Credit: Teapotgeorge

The Staffordshire pottery industry developed from the 17th century onwards, and was centred on six towns (Burslem, Fenton, Hanley, Longton, Stoke and Tunstall) which now make up Stoke-on-Trent in Staffordshire, England. It is customary to refer to the area as a whole as the Staffordshire Potteries, or simply as The Potteries.

Historical Staffordshire potteries still in production today include Aynsley, Royal Doulton, Minton, Moorcroft, and Wedgwood.

The Chelsea porcelain factory, based in the Chelsea area of London, was in operation between about 1743 and 1784, when it was demolished. It catered for the aristocratic market, and specialised in decorative figurines.

In 1769, the Chelsea factory was bought by William Duesbury, owner of the Derby porcelain factory, and following the factory's demolition many of the patterns and moulds, as well as some of the workforce, were transferred to Derby.


Chelsea porcelain figurines (c.1760-1769)
Public DomainChelsea porcelain figurines (c.1760-1769) - Credit: Daderot



Page 268. " his old English master, who had done The Turn of the Screw with him "

The Turn of the Screw is a novella by Henry James, first published in 1898. It is a ghost story renowned for its capacity to convey a sense of evil and suspense.

It has been adapted on several occasions for film and television, and has been the inspiration for both opera and ballet works.

The Turn of the Screw on Book Drum



Page 268. " We've had a very jolly Hopkins group this year "
Gerard Manley Hopkins
Public DomainGerard Manley Hopkins - Credit: unknown

 Gerard Manley Hopkins (1844-1889) was an English poet and Jesuit priest whose work only achieved critical acclaim after his death. He is now viewed as one of the most innovative of English poets because of his highly original use of language and his striking imagery:


             I caught this morning morning's minion, king-

             dom of daylight's dauphin, dapple-dawn-drawn Falcon, in his riding

             Of the rolling level underneath him steady air, and striding

             High there, how he rung upon the rein of a wimpling wing

             In his ecstasy! then off, off forth on swing,


             (Extract from 'Windhover' - Click here to see the full text)

Page 269. " I liked it when they had Derek Nimmo "
Derek Nimmo (1975)
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeDerek Nimmo (1975) - Credit: Allen Warren

 Derek Nimmo (1930-1999) was an English actor who made something of a specialty of playing bungling churchmen and upper-class twits. He is probably best remembered for his role as the Reverend Mervyn Nooke in the British television sitcom All Gas and Gaiters (1966).



Page 270. " the Pickwick of Barwick "
Illustration of Mr Pickwick (in a 1911 book)
Creative Commons AttributionIllustration of Mr Pickwick (in a 1911 book) - Credit: author unknown/photographed by Sue Clark

Samuel Pickwick Esquire is the main character in Charles Dickens' first novel The Pickwick Papers.

In the novel, Mr Pickwick is depicted as a kind and wealthy old gentleman; in illustrations he is usually portrayed as plump, round-faced, clean-shaven and bespectacled.

Page 275. " A Gloucester Old Spot was nosing through a pile of cabbage leaves "

The Gloucester Old Spot is an English breed of pig, which has a white coat with variable black blotches.

It is renowned for its intelligence and docility, and for the sow's capacity to produce large litters.


Gloucester Old Spots
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeGloucester Old Spots - Credit: Blisco