" throw up the sponge "
Expression meaning to give up the contest, admit defeat.
" God tempers the wind to the shorn lamb "
The phrase comes from a late 18th century collection of sentimental sketches by Lawrence Sterne, meaning a person who is already helpless will not have more trouble; you will not have more trouble than you can bear.
" like the drawers I had frequently bought for myself at Macy's "
Macy's is a mid- to high-range American department store.
" Our old friend Bloody Mary? "
Mary I (1516–1558), Queen of England and Queen of Ireland, daughter of Henry VIII and Catherine o f Aragon, restored the Roman Catholic Church to England. Henry had established and declared himself head of the Church of England in order to annul his marriage to her mother.
She was known as Bloody Mary for her persecution of the Protestants.
Elliot in dismissing the narrator as a heretic is clearly taking the Catholic side of the matter.
" the Duce has been reclaiming great tracts of land in the Pontine Marshes "
Low tracts of mainly agricultural land in central Italy. Several attempts throughout history to reclaim the land and urbanize the area failed. Settlers and workers were often infected with malaria. In 1928, Il Duce Benito Mussolini
brought a plan before parliament, which included the construction of checkerboard canals. Although workers' conditions were dreadful, the project was declared complete in 1939.
" an old stained-glass window representing St. Martin in the act of cutting his cloak in two to give half of it to a naked beggar "
" a visit from Rastignac, the well-born adventurere whose career in novel after novel Balzac followed from his humble beginings to his ultimate grandeur "
Eugène de Rastignac is a fictional character from La Comédie humaine, a series of novels by Honoré de Balzac (1799–1850). (To refer to someone as a "Rastignac" is to call them an ambitious "arriviste" or social climber.)
" The Tuileries Gardens "
The Tuileries Garden is on the site of the Tuileries Palace, destroyed in 1871, abutting the Louvre.
" Lanvin "
Lanvin fashion house was influential in the 192s and 30s, know for the use of intricate trimmings, virtuoso embroideries, and beaded decorations in clear, light, floral colors.
" in André Gide's Journal "
André Paul Guillaume Gide (1869—1951), French author, winner of the Nobel Prize in literature in 1947.
" I had a spacious view of the cemetery "
Created in 1824, Montparnasse Cemetery
, in the Montparnasse quarter of Paris, is the final resting place of many of France's artists and intellectuals.
" the dingy narrow Rue d'Odessa "
" Arnold Bennett "
Enoch Arnold Bennett (1867–1931), English novelist.
" they speak of Picasso instead of Manet and of André Breton instead of Guillaume Apollinaire "
" since the terrace was crowded I had been forced to take a table in the front row "
" take the cure at Montecatinei, a watering-place in the north of Italy "
Montecatini Terme, a district in Tuscany, is known for its thermal spa resorts. In the 1700s, baths were constructed to facilitate the use of the hot springs.
" You could have got a reach-me-down at the Printemps or the Belle Jardinière "
Printemps is a French department store founded in 1865. Belle Jardinière no longer exists.