Page 377. " the Women's Cooperative Guild "
White peace poppy
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeWhite peace poppy - Credit: DaveO, Flickr
British Legion red poppy
Public DomainBritish Legion red poppy - Credit: Philip Stevens, Wikimedia Commons

The Co-operative Women's Guild, which is still in existence today, was founded in 1883.

Its aim was to educate women in the principles and practice of co-operative methods that could improve their situation in society.

They campaigned successfully to ensure that maternity rights were part of the 1911 National Insurance Act, and following World War I were very involved in peace activism; for example, they were instrumental in creating the concept of the white poppy to symbolise pacifism, as an alternative to the British Legion's red poppy.

Page 378. " I confused the SDF with WLF, the ILP with the WTUL "

SDF - Social Democratic Federation, founded in 1881.

WLF - No record of this acronym on the internet, although WFL was the Women's Franchise League. Might it be Women's Labour Forum/Federation? Any ideas?

ILP - Independent Labour Party, founded in 1893;

WTUL - Women's Trade Union League, founded in 1873.


American branch of the WTUL in Labor Day parade, 1908
Public DomainAmerican branch of the WTUL in Labor Day parade, 1908 - Credit: Bain News Service
Page 378. " I scarcely knew the difference between a Tory and a Liberal "
Between 1680 and the 1850s, there were two political parties in the British parliament: the Whigs and the Tories.

In the 1850s, Tory and Radical factions supporting free trade united with the Whigs to form the Liberal Party.

The Labour Party began life as the Labour Representation Committee in 1900. It changed its name to the Labour Party after winning 29 seats in the 1906 General Election.

Page 381. " the red herrings left on her plate "
Breakfast kipper (Might the egg be a red herring?)
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeBreakfast kipper (Might the egg be a red herring?) - Credit: Moody 751, Wikimedia Commons

Hearing the term red herring, most people's first thought will be of its figurative use to describe something designed to distract our attention from the main issue.

However, in the past, a red herring was a herring that had been heavily smoked, so that it turned a deep reddish-brown; today, the usual word for any kind of smoked herring is a kipper.

Follow this link to read about the origins of the figurative use of the term.

Page 384. " It would be marzipan, in my paradise "

Marzipan fruits
Creative Commons AttributionMarzipan fruits - Credit: Steve Bowbrick

Marzipan (sometimes known as almond paste) is a confection made from sugar, ground almonds and egg white.

It is often made into sweets and decorative shapes, or used to cover a cake prior to icing.

Recipe for marzipan

Make a marzipan rose

Page 386. " Eleanor Marx "
Eleanor Marx (1855-1898), also known as Eleanor Marx Aveling, was the daughter of the philosopher Karl Marx and his wife Jenny.

She was a political activist and a founder member of the Socialist League, which was established in 1884.

In 1884 she began living with Edward Aveling, a Darwinist and atheist, as his common law wife. Aveling, who was separated from his first wife, had affairs with other women whilst living with Eleanor, and in 1898 he secretly married a young actress.

When Eleanor Marx found out about the marriage, she was unable to bear the pain of her situation and committed suicide by taking poison.  

Page 386. " Karl Marx "
Karl Marx's grave
Public DomainKarl Marx's grave - Credit: Markus Nilsson, Wikimedia Commons

Karl Heinrich Marx (1818-1883) was a German philosopher, historian and revolutionary whose ideas had a major impact on world history; in particular, his writings stimulated the development of Communism and Socialism as political systems.

His works include The Communist Manifesto (1848), written in conjunction with Friedrich Engelsand Das Kapital, the first volume of which was published in 1867.

He lived and worked in Germany, France, Belgium and England; he died in London and is buried in Highgate Cemetery



Page 392. " 'O mater! O fils!' she read. 'O brood continental! "

Title page of 'Leaves of Grass'
Public DomainTitle page of 'Leaves of Grass' - Credit: Thayer and Eldridge
The opening lines of a poem by Walt Whitman entitled Apostroph; it appears in the volume Leaves of Grass, which is discussed in bookmark, p. 362.

Full text

Apostrophe is a rhetorical and literary device whereby someone absent or dead is addressed as if they were alive or present; it may also be used to address an abstract or nonhuman object:

Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour (sonnet by Wordsworth)

O Attic shape! Fair attitude! with brede/of marble men and maidens overwrought (John Keats: Ode on a Grecian Urn)


Page 394. " she believed in the free union "
The unfree union? (U.S. President's marriage, 1886)
Public DomainThe unfree union? (U.S. President's marriage, 1886) - Credit: T. de Thulstrup

A  free union describes two people living in partnership without public recognition (either civil or religious) of the fact.

Today, we would simply say 'living together', although during the period in which Tipping the Velvet is set, it would probably have been described as 'living in sin'.