Page 203. " Not Ophelia in the brook could have seemed more at peace. "

Ophelia is a tragically romantic character from Hamlet (1599-1601) by William Shakespeare (1564-1616). Her death by drowning was immortalized by the Pre-Raphaelite painter, John Everett Millais (1829-1896).



Page 210. " “All's as it was, all's as it will be,” says Great Tom "

Great Tom is the bell housed in Tom Tower of Christ Church. The tower was designed by Christopher Wren (1632-1723), and built between 1681 and 1682.


The bell is the loudest in Oxford. By tradition it rings 101 times at 9:05 p.m every evening. These chimes were originally sounded to recall students back within the walls of the college before the gates were shut.



Page 213. " She remembered having read that all the greatest men in history had been of less than the middle height. "

There are indeed many famous historical men who were of less than average height. The most famous is Napolean Bonaparte (1769-1821). Another is John Adams (1735-1826).


Yet it is an overstatement to say that “all the greatest men in history had been of less than middle height.” Many great men were famously tall, including George Washington (1732-1799), Thomas Jefferson (1743-1826), and Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865).

Page 222. " She was in that grim ravine by which you approach New College. "
New College
Permission Granted by Copyright Owner for Use on Book DrumNew College - Credit: M.L. Costa

Established in 1379, New College is actually one of the older colleges of the University of Oxford. It was originally named the College of St. Mary, but as another College of St. Mary already existed, it soon became known as the New College of St. Mary.




One of the entrances of the college stands on New College Lane, a twisting narrow street between high stone walls - hence its description as a "grim ravine":



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