Page 78. " Holyrood, Melrose, Argyll and Biggar "

Ruins of Melrose Abbey
Creative Commons AttributionRuins of Melrose Abbey - Credit: Ron Almog, Flickr
 Holyrood is an area of Edinburgh to the east of the city centre. It is the location of the Palace of Holyroodhouse, the ruins of Holyrood Abbey and Holyrood Park.

It is also the name given to the Scottish Parliament and the Scottish Parliament building which is situated within the Holyrood area of the city.

Melrose is a small town in Roxburghshire, one of the registration counties of Scotland. It shares borders with the English counties of Northumberland and Cumbria.

Historically, Argyll (Argyle) was the name given to the west coast area of Scotland between the Mull of Kintyre and Cape Wrath. Today it is the name of one of the country's registration counties.

Biggar is a small town in South Lanarkshire about 30 miles southeast of Edinburgh.

Page 78. " Florence Nightingale knew nothing of the team spirit "

Florence Nightingale (1873)
Public DomainFlorence Nightingale (1873) - Credit: Evert A. Duychinick
 Florence Nightingale (1820-1910) is best known for her pioneering approach to nursing wounded soldiers during the Crimean War.

However, she was also a talented statistician and early feminist writer. One of her essays entitled Cassandra was published in 1928 in The Cause, a history of the women's movement by Ray Strachey.

Page 78. " Cleopatra knew nothing of the team spirit "
'The Death of Cleopatra' (1874)
Public Domain'The Death of Cleopatra' (1874) - Credit: Jean-André Rixens (1846-1924)
 Cleopatra VII Philopator (69BC-30BC) was the last pharaoh of Ancient Egypt.

She was romantically involved with Mark Anthony (83BC-30BC), the Roman politician and general, and had three children by him.

Following the defeat of his forces at the Battle of Actium, Mark Anthony committed suicide, as did Cleopatra shortly afterwards.

Anthony and Cleopatra was the title of one of Shakespeare's tragedies written sometime between 1603 and 1607.

Page 78. " Take Helen of Troy "
'Helen of Troy' (1898)
Public Domain'Helen of Troy' (1898) - Credit: Evelyn de Morgan
 Helen of Troy is a figure in Greek mythology whose abduction by Paris (son of the King of Troy) caused the Trojan War.

The Trojan War and its aftermath are the subject matter of Homer's two Greek epic poems, the Odyssey and the Iliad.

Page 81. " John Stuart Mill used to rise at dawn to learn Greek at the age of five "

 John Stuart Mill (1806-1873) was a British politician and philosopher.

Two of his most influential works were Principles of Political Economy, which was published in 1848, and On Liberty, published in 1859. In relation to the first book, he acknowledged the significant contribution of Harriet Taylor (1807-1858), the advocate of women's rights, whom he married in 1851.

He was known for his intellectual precocity as a child; indeed, some sources note that he learnt Greek at the age of three!

Page 83. " Caesar's Gallic Wars "

 The Gallic Wars were a series of military campaigns against Gallic tribes carried out by Julius Caesar between 58 and 51BC.

Caesar himself wrote about these in a book entitled Commentarii de Bello Gallico.



Page 83. " the time of Samuel Pepys "
Samuel Pepys (1666)
Public DomainSamuel Pepys (1666) - Credit: John Hayls (1600-1679)

 Samuel Pepys (1633-1703) was a politician and naval administrator, best remembered for the diary he kept as a young man.

Beginning in 1660, Pepys kept his diary for almost a decade, using a method of shorthand known as Tachygraphy (devised by Thomas Shelton).

The diary was first published in transcribed form in 1825; the original manuscripts may be viewed in the Pepys Building at Magdalene College, Cambridge.




Page 87. " she was the square on the hypotenuse of a right-angled triangle and they were only the squares on the other two sides "
Pythagorean proof
Public DomainPythagorean proof - Credit: Jellyvista, Wikimedia Commons

A playful reference to Pythagoras' theorem which has been taught to generations of schoolchildren.

The theorem states that:  in a right-angled triangle, the square on the hypotenuse is equal to the sum of the squares of the other two sides (the hypotenuse being the side opposite the right-angle).

The diagram on the left may (or may not) help you understand the concept.

Page 87. " 'March, march, Ettrick and Teviotdale, Why the de'il dinna ye march forward in order? "

These lines are from a song written by Sir Walter Scott (1771-1832), known as 'Blue Bonnets over the Border', which appeared in Scott's novel The Monastery: a Romance, published  in 1820.

Blue bonnets (with cockades of white ribbon) were worn by the Jacobites who fought to restore kings of the House of Stuart to the British throne. 

Lyrics in full 

Listen on Spotify to these lyrics sung by the McCalmans;

Listen on Spotify to an instrumental version of 'Blue Bonnets o'er the Border'.

Page 88. " I am a descendant, do not forget, of Willie Brodie, a man of substance, a cabinet maker and designer of gibbets "
Canongate Tolbooth
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeCanongate Tolbooth - Credit: Colin Smith, Wikimedia Commons
 William Brodie (1741-1788), often known as Deacon Brodie, was a respectable Edinburgh cabinet-maker and city councillor who led a secret life as a burglar, gambler and womaniser.

Following his organisation of an armed raid on the Excise Office on Canongate, Brodie was tried, found guilty and hanged at the Tolbooth (a tollhouse, courtroom and jail on Canongate).

As noted by Miss Brodie later on, the hanging was carried out using a gibbet designed by William Brodie himself!


Berkshire gibbet
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeBerkshire gibbet - Credit: Joolz, Wikimedia Commons
Halifax gibbet
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeHalifax gibbet - Credit: Paul Glazzard, Wikimedia Commons
Page 88. " O mother, mother, make my bed, O make it soft and narrow "
The flower known as 'Bonnie Barbara Allen'
GNU Free Documentation LicenseThe flower known as 'Bonnie Barbara Allen' - Credit: KENPEI, Wikimedia Commons

These lines come from a folk song known as 'The Ballad of Barbara Allen'.

It tells of a young man who is dying of his unrequited love for a young woman called Barbara Allen. When called to his deathbed, Barbara Allen is dismissive of him, but following his death she is filled with remorse, and dies herself shortly afterwards.

Full text

Listen on Spotify to 'Barbara Allen' sung by Shirley Collins


Page 89. " like Norma Shearer or Elizabeth Bergner "

Edith Norma Shearer (1902-1983) was a Canadian-American screen actress who was extremely popular between the mid-1920s and her retirement in 1942.

Elisabeth Bergner (1897-1986) was a stage and screen actress who was born in Drohobycz in what is now Ukraine.

During her early career, she became well known as a Shakespearean actress on the Continent but was most active during the 1930s when she made several films as well as continuing with her theatre work.

She is believed by some to be the inspiration for the character Margo Channing in Mankiewicz's film All About Eve.



Page 94. " 'All people that on earth do dwell, Sing to the Lord with cheerful voice. "

Scottish Presbyterian church interior
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeScottish Presbyterian church interior - Credit: Kenneth Allan, Wikimedia Commons
These words are a paraphrase of Psalm 100 by William Kethe (died 1594).

Complete lyrics

They are generally sung to the hymn tune known as 'Old Hundredth' which is believed to have been composed by Loys Bourgeois (c.1510-1560).

Listen on Spotify

Page 97. " to Germany, where Hitler was become Chancellor "
Hitler and fellow Nazis in 1933
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeHitler and fellow Nazis in 1933 - Credit: German Federal Archive

Austrian-born Adolf Hitler (1889-1945) and his National Socialist German Workers Party, known in English as the Nazis, came to power in Germany (initially as part of a coalition government)  in 1933 when Hitler was appointed Chancellor.

Measures were then gradually enacted which allowed the suppression of political opposition and the establishment of a dictatorship. The power of Hitler and the Nazi government was further enhanced in August 1934 when Hitler became Führer und Reichskanzler (Leader and Chancellor). 



Page 97. " a prophet-figure like Thomas Carlyle "

 Thomas Carlyle (1795-1881) was a Scottish born writer, essayist and historian.

He was brought up in a strict Calvinist tradition but rejected his faith as a young adult.

Following his marriage in 1826 he settled in London where he became a friend of the philosopher John Stuart Mill. His early writings expressed progressive political views which inspired social reformers such as John Ruskin and William Morris although his work became increasingly right-wing and anti-democratic from the late 1840s onwards.

Page 97. " the German brownshirts, she said, were exactly the same as the Italian black, only more reliable "
Like Mussolini's Fascist Party, Hitler's Nazi party had a paramilitary wing.

It was known as the Sturmabteilung or SA (usually translated as stormtroopers) and given the name 'brownshirts' because of the type of uniform worn by its members.

The SA lost most of its power and significance in 1934 when many of its members were assassinated by Hitler (during the operation known as the Night of the Long Knives) as Hitler perceived them to be a threat to his own power.

However, a sub-group of the SA known as the Schutzstaffel (SS) which had been established in 1925 as Hitler's personal protection unit increased in power at this time. Under the leadership of Heinrich Himmler they were to be responsible for perpetrating some of the worst atrocities of the Nazi regime.