She is courted by numerous suitors, each of whom she puts off with cunning tricks. She claims to be weaving a funeral shroud for Odysseus’s father and says that she will take a new husband when she finishes it – but each night she unpicks the work of the day, delaying the matter by three years – hence Conrad’s remark that Winnie has “done no weaving”.
via dolorosa (Latin for “way of suffering”) is the path that Jesus walked carrying his cross on the way to his crucifixion. As well as being a physical route through Jerusalem, it has spiritual significance for Christians, who remember the tribulations that Jesus suffered while walking to his death.
A reference to the Odes by the Roman poet Horace:
Nor does black care depart from the brazen-beaked galley, and she sits behind the horseman
A road leading into Greenwich Park, Chesterfield Walk is very close to George Street (now known as King George Street), which Mr Verloc passed before seeing anyone after leaving Stevie alone with the bomb. His description makes it clear how nearly he could have been caught at the scene of the crime.
Following the introduction of gas brackets to the Houses of Parliament in 1859, gas became a popular method for lighting the home. Burners produced fan or butterfly-shaped flames (a bit like the safe flame from a Bunsen burner).
The Verloc’s home is lit downstairs by piped gas. This is probably channelled into the burners through simple brass, copper or iron pipes and the burner may be topped with a glass tube to shield the flame. These can sometimes be very ornate.
By the end of the nineteenth century, Britain controlled approximately one quarter of the globe. With territories stretching from Canada in the west to Pacific islands in the east, it became known as the empire on which the sun never sets, a phrase which was also applied to the Spanish empire in the sixteenth century.
Britain's elected House of Commons – the House for short – is situated within the Palace of Westminster. In 1840, the Palace was reconstructed to designs by Charles Barry after fire destroyed the original building in 1834.