Page 176. " bei Nacht und Nebel "

The German phrase 'bei Nacht und Nebel' means 'by night and fog'. It is from a common German expression, 'bei Nacht und Nebel davon gehen', which means to escape under cover of darkness. The phrase was appropriated by Hitler in his 'Night and Fog Decree', whereby political dissidents were rounded up by the secret police in the middle of the night.

Page 179. " Dickens used to stay there "

The Parker House Hotel
Creative Commons AttributionThe Parker House Hotel - Credit: Kimberly Vardeman

The Parker House Hotel in Boston was established in 1855, though its current building dates from 1927. As well as the writer Charles Dickens, other past guests include Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, and Ralph Waldo Emerson; the U.S. President John F Kennedy proposed to Jackie Bouvier there.

Page 180. " Live in a treehouse like Wendy and the Lost Boys? "

 Wendy and the Lost Boys are characters from J. M. Barrie's children's classic Peter Pan. Peter Pan is a magical child who refuses to grow up; he brings Wendy to Neverland, where they live in a treehouse and fight off the pirate Captain Hook.

Page 182. " Do you remember last fall, in Julian's class, when we studied what Plato calls telestic madness? "

See bookmark to Page 38. " about loss of self, about Plato's four divine madnesses."

'Telestic' madness is the kind which involves an ecstatic loss of self as a result of participating in the rituals of Dionysus. Although descriptions of Dionysian bacchanals exist, for example in Euripides' play Bacchae, the exact method by which you might attempt to reach this state of divine madness is no longer known.

Page 183. " and passed out in our chitons in the woods "

 Chitons are a type of Ancient Greek clothing, a sort of long tunic made out of a single rectangle of wool or linen fastened at the shoulder and held in place by pins or a girdle.

Page 183. " I knew the Pythia had chewed laurel leaves "

Apollo with a laurel wreath
Public DomainApollo with a laurel wreath
 See bookmark to Page 39. " as the Oracle at Delphi said to the Spartans ". The Pythia were the prophetic priestesses at Delphi. Although their kind of divine madness was described as prophetic rather than Dionsysian, there is a link to Dionysus as Apollo only occupied the temple at Delphi for nine months of the year; during the other three, Dionysus came to the site. However, it isn't known whether the Pythia would engage in Dionysian rituals while the latter was present.

The laurel tree was considered sacred to Apollo. Visitors to Delphi who sought advice from the Oracle would approach the temple carrying laurel branches, and Apollo is often depicted with a laurel wreath on his head. Richard notices the boiling pot of laurel leaves on p. 102, when he is staying with the others at Francis's country house.

Page 196. " Je me sens comme Hélène Keller, mon vieux "

'I feel like Helen Keller, my old man (meaning old friend)'. Helen Keller, an American writer and political activist, was both deaf and blind. She campaigned for women's rights and socialist causes throughout her life, and her struggle to learn to communicate with the world was documented in the film The Miracle Worker.

Page 198. " 'The Thirty-Nine Steps,' said Francis "

The Thirty-Nine Steps is a 1915 novel by John Buchan (1875-1940), an adventure in which the protagonist, Richard Hannay, finds himself on the run from the both the British police and German spies when he stumbles into a plot to destabilise pre-war Europe. It has been adapted for film and television a number of times, the most notable being Alfred Hitchcock's 1935 film, starring Robert Donat and Madeleine Carroll.