Page 178. " like the old woman in Quivedo "

Francisco Gómez de Quevedo y Santibáñez Villegas, known as Quevedo (1580- 1645) was a Spanish nobleman, politician and writer, and one of the most prominent Spanish poets of the Baroque period. He was an adherent of the style known as conceptismo, which has been defined as "a brilliant flash of wit expressed in pithy or epigrammatic style."  The style is characterised by rapid rhythm, directness, witty metaphors, and wordplay, conveying multiple meanings in a very concise manner. 

Quevedo produced a vast quantity of poetry, which ranged from satire to love poems and philosophy.  He appears to have a rather cynical view of women, and has been labelled a misogynist.  His love poems, however, seem to be sincerely adoring of the opposite sex.  His poems included mythological themes, drawing on the ancient deities of Greece and Rome. 

He wrote a single novel, Vida del Buscón, in the picaresque style, which was translated as Paul the Sharper or The Scavenger.  He also produced about 15 books on theological subjects, as well as works on literary criticism, satire, and political works.

Page 182. " like Punchinello in a puppet-show "

Public DomainPunchinello - Credit: Maurice Sand 1860
Pulcinella, called Punch or Punchinello in English, is a classical character that originated in the commedia dell’arte of the 17th century and became a stock character in Neapolitan puppetry.  His name is said to derive from the Italian word pulcino ('chick'), which refers to his long beaklike nose.  Other accounts have it that he was named for Puccio d'Aniello, a peasant who was portrayed in a famous picture attributed to Annibale Carracci, and who also has a long nose.

Pulcinella is always dressed in white with a black mask, and often carries around macaroni and a wooden spoon. His traditional temperament is to be mean, vicious, and crafty, and his main mode of defense is to pretend to be too stupid to know what's going on.  The character was adopted across Europe – in Germany he became Kasper, in the Netherlands Jan Klaassen, in Denmark Mester Jakel, and in France Polichinelle.  In the UK, he became Punch, husband of Judy.

Page 186. " expected to be commanded by the glorious Duke of Cumberland "
Duke of Cumberland
Public DomainDuke of Cumberland - Credit: Sir Joshua Reynolds 1758

Prince William Augustus (1721-1765) was a younger son of George II of Great Britain. He became (a very young) Duke of Cumberland in 1726.

In December 1742, he became a major general in the British army, and saw active service in Germany.  Following the Battle of Dettingen (1743) he was made a lieutenant general.  In 1745, aged 23, he was given the honorary title of Captain-General of the British land forces and in Flanders became Commander in Chief of the allied British, Hanoverian, Austrian and Dutch troops – although he didn’t do very well against the French in this role.

Nonetheless, during the Jacobite Rising of 1745, he was chosen to put a stop to Charles Stuart’s ambitions for the British crown.  He crushed the Jacobite army at the infamous Battle of Culloden in 1746.  His ruthless treatment of the defeated Jacobites on the field of battle, and his brutal pursuit and persecution of off those believed to be sympathetic to the Jacobite cause in the aftermath, earned him the name Butcher Cumberland.  On his orders, all troops believed to be rebels were killed, 'rebellious' settlements were burned, livestock was confiscated on a large scale, over a hundred rebels were hanged, women were imprisoned and droves of people were sent by ship to London for trial, many dying on route. 

After Culloden, his military career was largely unsuccessful, and from 1757 he switched his attentions to politics and horse racing.

Page 187. " he deserved to run the gauntlope "

Running the gauntlet, Tecumseh and the Shawnee Prophet
Public DomainRunning the gauntlet, Tecumseh and the Shawnee Prophet - Credit: Edward Eggleston, Elizabeth Eggleston Seelye
Gauntlope comes from the old Scandinavian gatlopp, which is a compound of gata, a road or street, and lopp, a course. The term was adopted by the British in the 17th century in the corrupted form gantlope, for a type of military punishment in which a man, stripped to the waist, was forced to run between a double row of men who struck him with sticks or knotted cords.

GNU Free Documentation LicenseGauntlets - Credit: Mbdortmund
By the beginning of the nineteenth century, the expression was still in use, but gantlope had been replaced by gauntlet - an old English word for a fortified glove that formed part of a suit of armour.

Page 188. " an ensign at the Battle of Tannieres "
John Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough
Public DomainJohn Churchill, 1st Duke of Marlborough - Credit: Sir Godfrey Kneller

Historians suggest that Fielding is in fact referring to the Battle of Ramillies, which took place on 23 May 1706, and was a major engagement of the War of the Spanish Succession.  It saw the Grand Alliance (Austria, England, and the Dutch Republic) engaging the Bourbon armies of King Louis XIV.  Louis had urged his armies to go on the offensive in the Spanish Netherlands.  The French army of 60,000 encountered the Duke of Marlborough’s Anglo-Dutch force of 62,000 close to the small village of Ramillies.  In less than four hours Marlborough's forces overwhelmed the French.  The battle proved decisive, and a succession of towns soon fell to the Allies.  By the end of the campaign the French army had been driven from most of the Spanish Netherlands.

Page 189. " And there's Corderius, another d-n'd son of a whore that hath got me many a flogging "
Lausanne, Switzerland
Creative Commons Attribution Share AlikeLausanne, Switzerland - Credit: Christian Mehlführer

Corderius is the Latinised form used by Mathurin Cordier (c. 1479 – 1564), a teacher, theologian and grammar expert from Lausanne, Switzerland.  He was born to a peasant family in Normandy.  He pursued theological studies, which he completed in Paris.  While he briefly ministered as a priest, his talent as a teacher of grammar was quickly recognised, and he spent most of his life teaching. 

Initially, he taught in various locations in France.  His pupils included John Calvin, and the two men forged a life-long friendship. Cordier converted to Protestantism under the influence of Robert Estienne, who edited and printed a collection of his works.  As hostility to the religion rose in France, he fled to Geneva, Switzerland in 1527. There he taught alongside Calvin, and became director the School of Lausanne. In 1559 he returned to Geneva, where he accepted another teaching position. 

Cordier wrote several books for children, most famously his Colloquia (Colloquiorum scholasticorum libri quatuor), which was used in schools for three centuries after his time.

Page 189. " he narrowly escaped being a pimp too "

Thomas Middleton
Public DomainThomas Middleton - Credit: Vizetelly & Co
The word pimp first appeared in English in 1607 in a Thomas Middleton play entitled Your Five Gallants.  It is believed to have stemmed from the French, pimper, meaning to dress up elegantly, and pimpant, meaning alluring in dress.

In the 18th and 19th centuries, the term was commonly used to refer to informers – as in the quote above.

Page 196. " at the Battle of Dettingen "

The Battle of Dettingen took place on 27 June 1743, in Bavaria, during the War of the Austrian Succession.  It was the last time that a British King personally led his troops into battle. The British forces, under King George II, in alliance with those of Hanover and Hesse, narrowly defeated the French army under the Duc du Noailles. The allied army supported the recognition of Maria-Theresa as Archduchess of Austria.

The two parties had agreed before the battle that the sick and wounded who fell into the hands of the enemy would be cared for and not considered prisoners of war. The agreement, a precursor of the Geneva Convention, was honoured by both sides. 

Page 197. " So that bloody Banquo was not worthy to be compared to him "

Macbeth seeing the ghost of Banquo
Public DomainMacbeth seeing the ghost of Banquo - Credit: Théodore Chassériau
Banquo is a character in Shakespeare’s 1606 play Macbeth. He is a general in the King's army, as is Macbeth.  The two are together when they meet the Three Witches.  The witches predict that Macbeth will become king, and that while Banquo himself will never be king, his descendants will be. As Macbeth’s lust for power takes hold, he perceives Banquo as a rival and has him murdered.  Later in the play, Banquo's ghost returns to haunt Macbeth. 

Shakespeare borrowed the character of Banquo from Holinshed's Chronicles, a history of Britain published in 1587. Holinshed portrayed Banquo as an historical figure, an accomplice in Mac Bethad mac Findlaich’s murder of Donnchad mac Crinain. Holinshed based his work on an earlier source, the Scotorum Historiae (1526–7), by Hector Boece.  While modern scholars consider Banquo and Mac Bethad as fictional characters invented by Boece, in Shakespeare's day they were considered historical figures.