Tuesday, 18 March 2008

D ~ is for Daisy and Diva



Dabnet, Mr ~ proprietor of the toy shop in the High Street in Tilling from which Elizabeth Mapp purchased a pleasant little Union Jack with a short stick attached to it with which to welcome the Prince of Wales on his much anticipated arrival at Tilling Station on his way to visit Ardingly Park. See toyshop.

Daisy Quantock ~ married to Robert. Neighbour of Georgie Pillson and Lucia on the Green at Riseholme. There was no mistaking the identity of the stout figure of Mrs Quantock, with its short steps and its gesticulations. The Guru was realistic in his observation that Daisy would find some of the postures of yoga "difficult, for she is what you call globe, round ...but she has white soul."

Strong minded, leading her to dismiss her gardener.  She was a gardener of the ruthless type, and went for any small  green thing that incautiously showed a timid spike above the earth, suspecting it of being a weed. Energetic to a fault,  she pruned her mulberry tree, nearly to death. Garrulous disposition, prompting the well-founded observation that Daisy criticised everybody everywhere.     
   
Daisy was short-sighted but much too stubborn to admit it and wear spectacles.    
  
A truly Athenian character who was always inquiring into some new thing, Daisy was prone to enthusiasms ranging from Christian Science to uric acid to yoga to spiritualism and golf. Like many middle-aged women who enjoy perfect health, Daisy was always practising a medical regime of a hygienic nature - such as becoming a devoted slave to the eliminative processes of the body.   
     
Daisy accidentally met the psychic medium Princess Popoffski in a vegetarian restaurant in London and attended seances held by her. She brought the Princess to Riseholme and held seances which became all the rage for a time.

After her departure Daisy found yards of fine muslin and false eyebrows which proved the seances had been faked. Daisy burned the evidence just as Robert later burned copies of Todd's News containing reports of the arrest and trial of the Princess for fraud. On this occasion Daisy succeeded in excluding Lucia from having access to and running her medium - as she had annexed Daisy's guru - much to Lucia's chagrin. With the assistance of her husband, Daisy skilfully avoided personal embarrassment upon he exposure of the Princess as a fraud.

Daisy led Riseholme as the Queen of Golf until Lucia returned from London, mastered the game completely in a ridiculously short time, had herself appointed President of the new golf club and and resumed her normal position at the head off affairs.

Daisy and Robert were founding members of the Committee which established the Riseholme Museum. Daisy's overfilling of the oil heaters, used to keep the museum dry in the winter, brought about the fire which destroyed the building and its contents.  Lucia  worked out by inductive reasoning that, "I'm afraid Daisy burned down the Museum." She went on to remark, "We know quite well that poor Daisy didn't do it on purpose. She hasn't the pluck or the invention to be an incendiary. It was only her muddling meddling ways." Lucia continued "Don't you see? Poor Daisy's meddling has made the reputation of Vittoria and crumpled up Abfou. Fire, water,  moonlight: Vittoria's prophesy. Vittoria owes it all to poor Daisy"  

Extremely gullible, leading her to be taken advantage of by gurus who were in fact drunken curry cooks who disappeared with her spoons, forks and Georgian tankard and spiritualist mediums, who were far from Russian princesses.

Ambitious, daring even to contest local supremacy with Lucia including organisation of the Elizabethan May Day pageant on the Green.

Her organisational powers proved insufficient and it was necessary to hand over the helm to Lucia who turned proceedings into her own personal triumph. Poor Daisy ocaasionally rebelled but never really rose to become a worthy opponent for Lucia.

After Lucia and Georgie left Riseholme, employed a French parlour maid who was an atheist.  See Abfou, Vittoria, Princess Popoffski,  Guru, "The Importance of Being Earnst" and Riseholme Museum.
 
Dalrymple, Diva ~ held a little concert attended by Lucia. Lucia assured Adele Brixton that the Stravinski sounded classical compared to the rest of the programme. She also remarked that "'it was very creditably played too. Mr - what was his name? Mr Greatorex.' Lucia's brain then made the connection and she realised that the gentleman to whom she had just been playing Stravinski was Mr Greatorex himself." See Greatorex, Eric

Dalston's Manual of Harmony" ~ musical reference tome borrowed by Lucia to check in vain for information on "inverted fifths" (which are un-invertable unlike "consecutive fifths") and "submerged tenths", both terms invented as a joke by Olga in a discussion about Debussy's "Poissons D'Or". Lucia felt the piece violated every rule of music and took Olga's playful invented terms at face value.  See Inverted fifths and submerged tenths
        
"Dancing with the daffodils" ~ following the seance at which Lucia had convinced Susan Wyse that her beloved Blue Birdie had dematerialsied, Susan visited Lucia at "Mallards House". Unfortunately just as Susan arrived at the garden room, Lucia's secretary Mrs Simpson happened upon the partially decomposed corpse of the late blue parrakeet, exhaling disinfectant and decay, in a tin box labelled, "Museum. " To distract her highly-strung visitor from the smell of burning feathers from the corrupt avine cadaver hastily thrown upon the fire, Lucia took her into the garden saying that the smell was not feathers but gas. She hastily changed the subject to the reproduction of Quaint Irene's recent painting in "The Times" and continued," You must stroll across the lawn and have a peep at my daffodils in my giardino secreto. Never have I had such a show. Those lovely lines "dancing with the daffodils" How true!"

Lucia appeared to have in mind William Wordswoth's poem written in 1804, commonly called "The Daffodils" or "I Wondered Lonely as a Cloud," which concludes "And then my heart with pleasure fills/ And dances with the daffodils." It was inspired by a walk taken with sister Dorothy around Glencoyne Bay, Ullswater in the Lake District on 15 April 1802. Her account of the walk confirms, "I never saw daffodils so beautiful...the rest tossed and reeled and danced and seemed as if they verily laughed with the wind that blew upon them over the lake, they looked so gay ever dancing and changing." 

Dante  ~  during the seance with Princess Popoffski at her flat off the Charing Cross Road, Daisy Quantock witnessed the manifestation of Amadeo, who was not gay like Pocky, but was intensely impressive and spoke some lines in Italian when asked to repeat a piece of Dante. Mrs Quantock knew they were Italian , because she recognised 'notte'  and 'uno'  and 'caro', familiar words on Lucia's lips.

Called il somma Poeta and, with Petrarch  and Boccaccio, one of the three fountains or crowns of Italian literature, Dante or Durante degli Aligheri (1265 - 1321) is celebrated for his masterpiece, the monumental epic poem "The Divine Comedy." A  writer of poetry and prose, literary theorist, moral philosopher and political thinker, Dante ranked highly in Lucia's exclusive pantheon of great artists. See Fourth round of the Inferno, Princess Popoffski and Daisy Quantock.

Darwin ~ on the Green in Riseholme, Georgie Pillson noticed his kinswoman Lady Ambermere coming from the direction of "The Hurst"...clearly she must have got there after Peppino had left, or he would surely have mentioned the fact that Lady Ambermere had been at "The Hurst", if she had been at "The Hurst". It is true that she was only coming from the direction of "The Hurst", but Georgie practised , though he was not aware of, Darwin's proposition, that in order to observe usefully you must have a theory.  This might be regarded as a subset, branch or even twiglet of the conductive reasoning at which the many in Riseholme excelled.

One of the most influential figures of the nineteenth and perhaps any century, English naturalist Charles Robert Darwin (1809 - 1882) established that all species of life evolved from common ancestry by natural selection. His theory of evolution and compelling evidence in support was published in  "On the Origin of Species" in 1859.

Deal, Lady Florence ~ summer lessee of Suntrap in Tilling. Prominent figure in Girl Guide movement, mother's union and the Primrose League and a parliamentary candidate. Took Suntrap primarily for occupation by her former governess, Miss Mackintosh and nurse, Susie.

Mistakenly confused by Elizabeth Mapp with her cousin, a previous Lady Deal, Helena Herman who had been a male impersonator in the music hall and died without issue. Miss Mapp accordingly withdrew her visiting card and snubbed her, much to the amusement of Diva Plaistow, Evie Bartlett and other Tillingites. See Miss Mackintosh, Susan and Suntrap.   

Death  ~  despite the relative maturity of their inhabitants, both Riseholme and Tilling are notable for their vivacity with few shuffling off this mortal coil. 
   
Major Benjy's friend and neighbour Captain Puffin sadly expired by drowning in a bowl of Mrs Gashly's oxtail soup, probably after suffering a stroke.    
   
Wealthy retired barrister and husband of Lucia, Philip Lucas, better known as Pepino, had an elderly Aunt Amy who tragically handed in her lunch pail after many years incarceration in an asylum, which the family preferred to refer to as "a nursing home."

Pepino himself passed away after a short illness at "The Hurst" in Riseholme, leaving Lucia a widow.

Animals did not escape Fred's pen unscathed.  Parakeet, Blue Birdie came to an unfortunate end when sat upon by his corpulent mistress, Susan Wyse, MBE. Blue birdie came to enjoy a celebrated career on the other side of the veil as an ornament, star of séances and came to rest temporarily in one of Lucia's black lacquered mayoral tin boxes, before being discovered and cremated on the fire in the Garden Room.

Lady Ambermere was also distraught following the death of her beloved Pug. Pug was stuffed and offered for display at Riseholme Museum. Lucia was the only Riseholme-ite brave enough to risk the wrath of her Ladyship by declining the kind offer. It is assumed that Pug remained at Ambermere Hall with his grieving mistress.

See Captain Puffin, Aunt Amy, Philip Lucas/Pepino, Blue Birdie and Pug. With thanks to Mrs Marie-Anne Erki.   
   
Debussy ~ influenced by Olga Bracely, Georgie developed an interest in the piano works of Debussy and visited Lucia at "The Hurst" armed for combat with a revolutionary weapon, consisting of a rolled-up copy of some of Debussy's morsels for the piano. Olga had lent it to him a few days ago,  and he had been very busy over Poissons d'or.

A reknown pillar of musical modernism, Achille-Claude Debussy (1862-1918) was famed for a range of groundbreaking and radical orchestral and piano works. Although perhaps best known for his "impressionistic" compositions, Debussy was known to dislike the term. His harmonies influenced almost every major composer of the 20th century, especially Ravel, Stravinsky, Messiaen and Bartok.

Despite Georgie's best efforts, Lucia remained sceptical regarding the merits of Debussy's work and steadfastly faithful to Bach, Scarlatti and Beethoven, reaching a cruel verdict and remarking scathingly: Isn't Debussy the man who always makes me want to howl like a dog at the sound of the gong, and wonder when it's going to begin?   See Poissons d'or.   
  
Delhi ~ when Lucia returned to Riseholme from a visit to London, she came upon her neighbour Daisy Quantock with a mysterious draped and turbaned guest with a tropical complexion and a black beard. Noting his attire, she surmised correctly that he was of Indian extraction. She knew there were some Indian princes in London: perhaps it was one of them , in which case it would be necessary to read up Benares or Delhi in the Encyclopaedia without loss of time.  
  
Standing on the banks of the River Yamuna, Delhi is the largest metropolis by area and the second largest by population in India, next to Mumbai.  Continuously inhabited since the 6th. century BC, Delhi has long been a major political, cultural and commercial centre, strategically located on the trade routes between north west India and the Gangetic plain.  In 1911, George V announced that the capital of the British Raj would move back to Delhi, where it remained until the new capital city, New Delhi was built to the south of the old city during the 1920s.  See Benares.    
    
della Robbia  ~  Visiting "Mallards" for the first time, Lucia thought the garden enchanting.  There was a very green and well-kept lawn, set in bright flower beds.  A trellis at one end separated it from a kitchen garden beyond, and round the rest ran high brick walls, over which peered the roofs of other houses. In one of these walls was cut a curved archway with a della Robbia head above it.   
       
Italian sculptors, the della Robbias from Florence were noted for terra cotta roundels of the kind featured above the archway in the garden of "Mallards." Praised by Leon Batista Alberti for genius comparable to sculptors Donatello and Ghiberti,  Luca della Robbia (1399/1400-1482) developed a pottery glaze that made his pieces more durable outdoors and suitable for the exterior of buildings.  Luca's  nephew Andrea della Robbia (1435-1525) was also a sculptor as was his grand-nephew, Giovanni, specialising in ceramics, especially altar pieces made of glazed terra cotta which were more colourful, less costly and cheaper to transport than marble. It seems unlikely that the head at "Mallards" was a della Robbia original.     

Demi-monde  ~  Amelia, Contessa di Faraglione was shopping "carrying a marketing basket of unusual size and newness. It contained a bloody steak and a crab. She exclaimed 'But where is your basket Miss Mapp? Algernon told me that all the great ladies of Tilling went marketing in the morning with big baskets, and that if I aspired to be du monde, I must have my basket too. It is the greatest fun, and I have already written to Cecco to say that I am just going marketing with my basket. Look, the steak is for Figgis, and the crab is for Algernon and me, if  Figgis does not get it. But why are you not du monde? Are you du demi-monde Miss Mapp?  She gave a croak of laughter and tickled the crab...."   
     
The Contessa had a flair for the satirical  and enjoyed teasing Miss Mapp. The term "du monde" infers an au courant wordliness and familiarity with the ways of society, such as the upper echelon of Tilling which was very much a monde of its own.

The French term demi monde - literally half the world - derives from a comedy of the same name by Alexandre Dumas fils of 1855 and suggests a hedonistic lifestyle, lived flagrantly and conspicuously. It is the world of Verdi's "La Traviata" and Thackeray's "Vanity Fair" and operated by very much the opposite of the traditional or bourgeois values  held dear in Tilling. The term demi mondaine infers high and excessive living and moral laxity and was euphemitixcally used for a courtesan or prostitute.  It seems unlikely that the Mapps of Maidstone were either du demi monde or even du monde and the Contessa was erring on the side of outrageousness in inquiring if Miss Mapp was du demi monde.

Deptford  ~  in the Elizabethan Pageant, due to take place on the Green at Riseholme under the direction of Daisy Quantock, "the great scene was to be Queen Elizabeth's visit to the Golden Hind, when, on completion of Francis Drake's circumnavigation of the world, Her Majesty went to dine with him on board his ship at Deptford and knighted him.... The Queen's procession with trumpeters and men-at-arms and ladies of the court was planned to start from "The Hurst" which was Lucia's house, and make its glittering and melodious way across the Green to Deptford to the sound of madrigals and medieval marches."

In south East London on the south bank of the Thames, Deptford is named after the ford of the River Ravensbourne and from the the mid-sixteenth to nineteenth century was the location of the Deptford, Royal Navy Dockyard. As well as the knighting of Drake, Deptford's associations include the slaying of Christopher Marlowe and Captain Jame's Cook's third voyage on the Resolution.

Desborough, Lord and Lady  ~ See Isabel Poppit   
   
Desipere in loco ~ In spite of its prevalent rarified atmosphere of culture, Riseholme knew how to desipere in loco , and its strenuous culture was often refreshed by light refined touches. Examples of such quaintnesses included the pigeons of Copenhagen china in the dovecote at "The Hurst", a concealed mechanical nightingale which sang "Jug-jug" in a very authentic manner when a string was pulled, highly realistic and dentally threatening stone fruit, a furry Japanese spider in a silk web of fearful verisimilitude and a brass milk-can that served as a receptacle for sticks and umbrellas.

The Latin phrase can be translated as "to indulge in trifling at the proper time." It appears to be taken from Horace: 4 Odes, xii. 28 Dulce est Desipere in Loco - "It is delightful to play the fool occasionally" or perhaps even "it is nice to throw aside one's dignity and relax at the proper time."

Desmond McCarthy ~ see McCarthy, Desmond    
     
Deus ex machina  ~  when Lucia was viewing "Grebe" outside Tilling with Quaint Irene Coles, there dawned upon her "the awful catastrophe which must descend upon Georgie, if she decided to live in Tilling... She had given no direct thought to him, and now for the first time she realized the cruel blow that would await him, when he came back tomorrow, all bronzed  from his week at Folkestone.  He had been a real Deus ex machina to her: His stroke of genius had turned a very hazardous moment  into a blaze of triumph, and now she was going to plunge a dagger  into his domestic heart by the news that she and therefore Cadman and therefore Foljambe were not coming back to Riseholme at all.... "    
       
A deus ex machina or god from the machine is a surprising and often comedic literary or theatrical plot device. A seemingly unsolvable problem - such as Lucia's fears over Elizabeth Mapp's well-founded suspicion that she had feigned illness to avoid meeting the Contessa di Faraglione and being shown up as embarrassingly monoglot - is suddenly and abruptly solved - in this case by Georgie cleverly procuring from Mrs Brocklebank in the hotel in Folkestone a letter in convincingly idiomatic Italian apologising to the Countess for being prevented by illness from meeting her. Thus, despite Miss Mapp's protestations about seeing Lucia skipping in her bathing suit in the giardino segreto from the Church tower, everyone else in Tilling was convinced of Lucia's fluency in la bella lingua and Georgie, the deus ex machina, had saved the day.

De Vere ~ (" for such was the incredible name of ") the parlour maid of Daisy Quantock in Riseholme. Favoured noticeably high heels - not always the most suitable of footwear in which to traverse the lawn in the back garden of her mistress.
       
Diane de Poictiers (sometimes Poitiers) ~ noted beauty, duchess of Valentois and influential mistress of King Henry II of France (1499 - 1556). In rivalry for Henry's favour (until his death in 1559, when she was forced to retire from court) Diane took sides against whichever party was most powerful and supported the king's anti protestant policy. Was the subject of an opera by Signor Cortese, following his successful "Lucretia."      

Lucia alluded to Diane  de Poictiers when discussing with Georgie the recent Mapp-Flint nuptials, "I'm afraid Major Benjy's nature has not been broadened and enriched by marriage. Marriage one hoped, might have brought that about, but I don't see the slightest sign of it. Indeed I can't make up my mind about their marriage at all. They dab and stroke each other, and they're Benjy boy and Girlie, but is it more than lip service and finger tips? Some women , I know, have had their greatest triumphs when youth was long, long past: Diane de  Poictiers was fifty, was she not , when she became the King's mistress, but she was an enchantress, and you could not reasonably call Elizabeth an enchantress..."     See Girlie  and Benjy-boy
    
Diapason ~ Lucia and Georgie were practising the slow movement of the "Moonlight Sonata" which they were to perform in the recital forming part of the service of dedication of the organ newly rebuilt at Lucia's expense. "They both gave the usual slow movement sigh. Then the volume of Beethoven tumbled on to the great organ on which Georgie had pulled out all the stops, and the open diapasons received it with a shout of rapture." A diapason is either of two stops (open and stopped diapasons) usually found throughout the compass of a pipe organ that give it its characteristic tonal colour. See Bourdon, Cor anglais, Vox humana.

Diaries, Major Benjy's ~ legend had it in Tilling that Major Flint laboured long into the night editing the diaries of his career with the Indian Army. Captain Puffin referred to his friend "spending the evening on India's coral strand, having tiffin, shooting tigers and Gawd knows what, making a note here, and copying an extract there and conferring with the Viceroy one day, and reprimanding the Maharajah of Bom-be- boo another." Booming with laughter the Major admitted, "And I never kept a diary in my life. Why there's enough cream in this situation to make a dishful of meringues!"     
            












Dibs ~ slang word for money used by the Boxer Alf Watson to Lucia and later by Quaint Irene Coles when she asked Elizabeth Mapp for details of the terms of her summer letting of "Mallards" to Lucia: "How much did you stick her for? What price did you screw her up to? What's she got to pay you? Damage: dibs."          
              




Dickie ~ handsome young chauffeur of Georgie Pillson. If Dickie took the wrong turn his master called Naughty boy through the tube. We do not know his surname or domestic arrangements, other than that he "slept out."

Remained in the employment of Colonel Cresswell, the tenant and eventual purchaser of Georgie's house on the Green in Riseholme when Georgie visited and then moved to Tilling.    
      
Dinner  ~ the practice of tea, followed by a bridge party was, in summer, the chief manifestation of the spirit of hospitality in Tilling.  Mrs Poppit (later Wyse) tried to do something in the way of dinner parties, but though she was at liberty to give as many dinner parties as she pleased, nobody else had followed her ostentatious example.  Dinner parties entailed a higher scale of living; Miss Mapp for one had accurately counted the cost of having three hungry people to dinner, and found that one such dinner party was not nearly compensated for, in the way of expense, by being invited to three subsequent dinner parties by your guests.  The pendulum swung further towards  the practice of dinner parties after Susan's marriage with Algernon Wyse and particularly after the re-settlement of the well-heeled Lucia and Georgie from Riseholme. See Tea.   
   
Dinner-lunch ~ on Christmas Day, Diva Plaistow joined Elizabeth Mapp for a dinner-lunch at "Mallards". This was an annual institution held at "Wasters" and "Mallards" alternately. This year (1930) they enjoyed a terrine of pate de foie gras (a gift from Lucia and Georgie), roast turkey and plum pudding.    

Disgrace of Tilling  ~ If Elizabeth Mapp hated anybody, and she undoubtedly did, she hated Irene Coles and tried, in vain, to poison the collective mind Tilling against "this Creature."   The bitterest part of it all was that,  if Miss Coles was amused at anybody, and she undoubtedly was, she was amused at Miss Mapp.  To Elizabeth Mapp, Irene Coles was "the disgrace of Tilling  and her sex, the suffragette, post-impressionist artist (who painted from the nude, both male and female),the socialist and the Germanophil, all incarnate in one frame."    See Quaint Irene Coles, Grebe, Art Club Exhibition, Picture of the Year , Diva's faulty flue, and "Equality, Fraternity, Nosality."

Disraeli's first speech in the House of Commons ~ Lucia was present at the public announcement that she and Elizabeth Mapp-Flint had come in a dismal equal last place in the poll for the council election with only 39 votes each. As the crowd broke up, and she and Georgie came into the street, Lucia was entirely unabashed. As though to signal her undiminished intention to pursue a seat, she began, "That noble story of Disraeli's first speech in the House of Commons..."         
       
Although Benjamin Disraeli, first Earl of Beaconsfield (1804- 1881), later became Prime Minister and a distinguished statesman, he endured a great deal of barracking in a poorly received maiden speech in the House of Commons, which concluded "though I sit down now, the time will come when you will hear me." So it proved also for Lucia, who rose to become the Mayor of Tilling.   
       
"Distant blue  hills"  ~  when Georgie Pillson had grown a  beard during a painful attack of shingles, Lucia determined to persuade him to keep the beard by pointing out a flattering resemblance to Gelasius in a coloured print she had acquired for this precise purpose, but which she pretended was not a recent addition. "They dined very comfortably that night, though she had many far-away glances, as if at distant blue hills, which indicated that she was thinking out some abstruse problem: Georgie supposed it was some terrifc financial operaton of which she would not speak at meals. Then she appeared to have solved it, for the blue hill look vanished, she riddled him with several gimlet glances, and suddenly gabbled about the modern quality of the Idylls of Theocritus..."   
   
Luica shortly turned conversation to the portrait of Gelasis and was able to persuade Georgie to keep his goatee.  
    
The reference to distant blue hills may in part to refer to lines from "A Shropshire Lad" written in 1896 by A.E.Housman (1859-1936)   
    
INTO my heart on air that kills
From yon far country blows:
What are those blue remembered hills,
What spires, what farms are those?

That is the land of lost content,
I see it shining plain,
The happy highways where I went
And cannot come again.  
     
Diva (Godiva) Plaistow ~ resident in Wasters in the High Street in Tilling, a smaller property than Mallards. Short and portly, so that when she wore her scarlet beret and dress she resembled a round pillar box. No-one could say that Diva was pretty.

Miss Mapp commented accurately, "Dear Diva; she loves a good gossip. Such an interest she has in other people's affairs. So human and sympathetic."  Diva coped well with the cut and thrust of social life in Tilling and was more than willing to cross swords with Elizabeth Mapp, whether it be over wool, hoarding or gowns. When Elizabeth was ironical, this had best to be answered by irony: Diva was no coward.

Memorable sartorial squabbles occurred over her purchase of some rose madder worsted already ordered by Miss Mapp, the selection of the same colour and design of new tea gown as Miss Mapp and the decoration of day-wear with applique chintz roses in conflict with Miss Mapp's cornflowers.   
   
Diva was very ingenious: she used up all sorts of odds and ends in a way that did credit to her undoubtedly  parsimonious qualities. She could trim a hat with a toothbrush and a banana in such a way that looked quite Parisian until you firmly analysed its component parts, and most of her ingenuity was devoted to dress: the more the pity that she had such a round-about figure that her waistband always reminded you  of the equator...

She walked rapidly with the motion of those mechanical dolls sold in the street, which have three legs set as spokes to a circle so that their feet emerge from their dress with Dutch and rigid regularity. Overly fond of nougat chocolates and (although the connection was never proved) prone to toothache. Had one wisdom tooth extracted with gas early in the afternoon preceding the Poppit's bridge party.           
         
At Lucia's fete in aid of Tilling hospital was requested to perform her hilarious seasick passenger with an orange routine (or ripe tomato, if oranges were unavailable). Also appeared at the fete in a tableau as Mary Queen of Scots, executed convincingly with a large axe by the Padre. Member of Tilling society enjoying bridge parties, gossip and other social activities. Known to be a widow, although we have no further information regarding her late spouse, the events of her marriage or the duration of her widowhood.

Inclined to temporary enthusiasms such as buying a tiny number of Siriami shares. Her grandfather, Miss Mapp had reason to know, had been a butcher. Accordingly she considered that probably some inherited indifference to slaughter lurked in Diva's tainted blood -as demonstrated by her fevered interest in the outcome of the abortive duel between Major Flint and Captain Puffin.

Owned a canary afflicted with pip during the first visit to Tilling of Lucia and Georgie. In her anxiety Diva took the canary to Dr. Dobbie, but fortunately her avine companion recovered in any event. Also owned a lean Irish terrier, Paddy, sometimes suspected of mange, a mischievous dog responsible inter alia for stealing a rabbit from Miss Mapp's basket and eating Major Benjy's riding crop.

Diva was generally recognised as quite the best chronicler and disseminator of news in Tilling. Talked in staccato bursts like a telegram particularly when excitedly conveying news or gossip and had a characteristic scudding, train-like gait.

Diva only kept two servants - though poverty was no crime. Later opened Ye Olde Tea House in the front parlour of Wasters which became a popular meeting place for tea and a rubber of bridge.  Georgie Pillson remarked that Diva had a raving passion for talking to anybody and found it such silent work living alone. She'll have constant conversation if her tea-room catches on. With the help of her servant Janet, Diva served shilling and one and sixpenny teas featuring home-baked jam puffs and sardine tartlets and her business prospered.  
   
Participated in the usual chain of summer lettings renting her property to Miss Mapp and in turn taking Quaint Irene Coles' Taormina.

Although never in direct competition with Miss Mapp or Lucia for the crown of Tilling society, Diva Plaistow participated fully in the daily exchange of news and always held a strong point of view - particularly regarding systems of bidding in bridge or when in dispute with Elizabeth Mapp, which occurred regularly.

Diva's faulty flue ~ one summer Diva Plaistow had not succeeded in letting her house, even at a modest rental, and remained in Wasters in the High Street. One evening she found horrid fumes of smoke laden with soot came into her bathroom. They had come down the chimney from the kitchen of the house next door. Inspection showed Diva was responsible for the leakage in the flue since, for reasons of economy, she had caused the overflow pipe from her cistern to be passed through it. Her neighbour kindly refrained from using his range until Diva had the damaged flue repaired, but Diva could not bring herself to spend the frightful sum of nine pounds upon the necessary work, which she calculated equated to savings of five shillings a week for the best part of a year.

Quaint Irene now found a tenant for her own house and took that of Diva's neighbour who explained to her that, until Mrs Plaistow repaired the faulty flue, Irene could not use the kitchen range and that repeated reminders over a fortnight had produced no effect.

Needing no further prompting, Irene typically seized the initiative and she and her giant maid Lucy lit a giant fire in the range and awaited the effect. Acrid smoke poured through the leak prompting Diva to jump out of her bath and take refuge with her servant and dog Paddy in the street.

Irene commented "So I've smoked you out. Serve you right." She went on to threaten to keep piling on damp wood until the repairs were completed. Diva was upset that her bathroom was kippered and would need to be redecorated, but promised to have the work done the next day. Fortunately, despite her kippered wallpaper, Diva succeeded in letting her house at twice the rental she paid for a dilapidated hovel close beside the railway line.    
      
Doctrine of Free-Will ~  when Lucia was planning the programme of improving lectures to be held at Tilling Institute, she hoped "the Padre would address us one night on Free-Will or the Origin of Evil."  Georgie remarked in response that "I don't beleive people will pay a shilling to hear the Padre lecture on Free-Will. They can hear that sort of thing every Sunday morning for nothing but the offertory"    
   
Later at "Mallards House" when Elizabeth Mapp-Flint came upon and stealthily pocketed (or rather "evening handbagged") the engraved silver top of Benjy's lost riding crop, she was baffled. "If the relic had come to light in one of Diva's jam puffs, the quality of the mystery would have been less baffling, for at least it would have been found on the premises where it was lost, but how it had got to Lucia's table was as inexplicable as the doctrine of Free-Will..."

In theology, free will is a contentious issue as is the central claim that free will and omniscience are incompatible. Religions vary greatly in their response to the conundrum.  Fred does not share with us the Padre's precise feelings upon the issue, though if his sentiments on the subject of British Summertime as opposed to "God's time" are representative, he seems likely to incline toward a Calvinistic perspective that the doctrine of divine foreknowledge is in direct conflict with Free-Will. 
  
Dobbie, Dr. ~ the leading physician of Tilling, resided in Malleson Street (where the offices of estate agents, Woolgar and Pipstow were also located). When Miss Mapp inquired of him how the dear patient at "Mallards" was, he replied unpromisingly, "I am not attending any dear patient at "Mallards" and, if I was, I need hardly remind you that as a professional man, I should not dream of answering any inquiry about my patients without their express permission to do so. Good morning." This response prompted Miss Mapp to think "A very rude man."     
     
Lucia had visited the wards of the local hospital twice a week, till the matron complained to Dr Dobbie that the patients were unusually restless for the remainder of the day when Mrs Lucas had been with them, and the doctor tactfully told her that her vitality was too bracing for them  (which was probably the case.)       
     
Dr Dobbie called upon Georgie Pillson at home several times, when he was severely stricken with shingles. He had advised Georgie not to think of "irritating the nerve ends" with the razor until they were incapable of resentment: in another three weeks Dr Dobbie thought.

When Dr Dobbie's car was seen outside "Mallards" some Tillingites conjectured that his visit was conected with Elizbath Mapp-Flint's putative (and as it turned out, very phantom)  pregnancy, the speculation came to an abrupt end when Diva Plaistow reported, "All a wash-out about Dr Dobbie. The cook scalded her hand, that's all.  Saw her just now. Lint and oiled silk."   
   
Domani  ~  when Georgie Pillson parted from Olga Bracely after their first meeting in Riseholme, she said "A domani, then. So many thanks."  
  
At this Georgie thought, "So she talks Italian too. 'Domani' - yes, that means tomorrow. Oh, yes: lunch!" 
  
Georgie was correct: "Domani" is Italian for "Tomorrow."  
  
"La domestica e molto contenta" ~  when Lucia and Georgie Pillson were contemplating marriage, one of their chief  concerns was the approval of their longstanding and valued staff, Grosvenor and Foljambe.  Neither could contemplate parting with their loyal servants or that one should be senior to the other. Georgie suggested "a sort of equality. Something like King William III and Queen Mary." An amicable division of duties was agreed  with Foljambe continuing to care for Georgie and Grosvenor for Lucia. Lucia remarked, "I don't suppose either of them wants to leave us and they are friends."   
     
They agreed to put these proposals to Foljambe and Grosvenor next morning. At the appointed hour Lucia telephoned to confirm (not very subtly) "La domestica e molto contenta" (to the effect that my female servant is very happy) to which Georgie responded in less coded fashion, "So's mine."     See William III and Mary
  
Dominic, Mrs. ~ Major Flint's housekeeper. Miss Mapp wondered if Dominic drank.   
    
Don Juan  ~  when Georgie Pillson arrived to stay with Olga Bracely before the London opening of the new opera "Lucretia," Olga remarked jokingly, "Georgie, it's very daring of you to come here, you know, when my husband's away, and I'm an unprotected female alone with Don Juan..."
    
Don Juan or Don Giovanni is the legenndary fictional libertine portrayed in numerous works, including the play by Moliere, epic poem by Byron and opera by Mozart. The name is now synonimous with womanizer and, although he was sincerely smitten with Olga Bracely, was not applied to Mister Georgie entirely seriously.

Doubleday, Mr ~ the chemist in Riseholme. According to Mrs Weston, he upset Miss Piggy Antrobus by requiring her to explain and sign-for a drop of laudanum intended to relieve her mother's toothache. In typical fashion Mrs Weston commented "I should have said 'Oh, Mr Doubleday, I want to make laudanum tartlets; we are all so fond of laudanum tartlets'. Something sharp and sarcastic like that, to show him his place".

The chemist in Tilling, by the way, was similarly firm when not prepared to undertake to deliver small packages, leaving Miss Mapp to decline the purchase of a small packet of precipitated chalk.  See Laudanum  
   
Doxology ~ after the Padre's uncompromising sermon effectively repudiating British Summer Time as ungodly, the rain rattled against the windows of the church in Tilling and drowned the Doxology, being a hymn,verse or form of words in Christian liturgy glorifying God (from Medieval Latin doxologia, from Greek doxologos uttering praise and doxa, praise.)         
        





Drake, Francis  ~ in Riseholme's Elizabethan pageant, which Lucia had planned for August, Lucia would impersonate the Queen, Pepino following her as Raleigh and Georgie would be Francis Drake. But at an early stage of these incubations Pepino had died. Lucia had involved herself in inextricable widowhood and the reins of government had fallen into Daisy Quantock's podgy little hands...    
         
The part played by Georgie Pillson in the pageant was legendary sea captain, navigator, slaver and politician knighted by Queen Elizabeth in 1581, Sir Francis Drake (1540-1596). His varied career included being second in command in the English fleet which, together with the elements, saw off the Spanish Armada  in 1588. Between 1577 anf 1580, he had circumnavigated the globe. A legendary privateer and English hero, he was considered a El Draque, a pirate by the Spanish with a bounty of 20,000 ducats offered by Philip II.

Drake's wife ~ minor part in the Riseholme Elizabethan May Day pageant, which only entailed to come forward for obne moment, curtsy and disappear. The role was offered by Daisy Quantock to Lucia and declined and then given to the grocer's wife who was rather slack at her attendance of rehearsals.  On hearing of this offer, Georgie commented incredulously, "You might as well have asked her to be a confused noise within. What can you have been thinking of?" Ultimately played by Daisy Quantock when Lucia was persuaded to step in as Director, Producer and leading actress as Elizabeth I.

Dropmore Borage  ~ during her weekend as the guest  of Adele Brixton in the country, Lucia was embroidering her faux relationship with the innocent Stephen Merriall by arranging to be viewed wandering off with with him in the garden.  They were seen standing very close together and arguing publicly about a flower, and Lucia, seeing they were observed (as she had intended), called to Adele to know if it wasn't Dropmore Borage.

The commonly grown, sun-loving, plant of Anchusa Italica, Dropmore variety, Boraginaceae attains the height of three to five feet, blooming in June and July.  The leaves are coarse and hairy and its flowers comprise large, loose clusters of Forget-me-nots of soft turquoise blue, some with a white eye. A rather fine perennial for the back of the border and entirely appropriate to grace the garden of Adele Brixton's country home.  When planted in large masses and in bloom, it appears as a misty sea of deep blue. Bees apparently delight in visiting its flowers.

Ducking pond ~ nothing in Riseholme could be more blatently Elizabethan that its village green. Round it stood a row of great elms,  and in its centre was a ducking pond.  In Riseholme it would have been rank heresy to have dreamed even in the most pessimistic moments of its being anything but a ducking pond. It was later a centre piece for Riseholme's Elizabethan Pagenat and the mooring place of Drake's ill-fated Golden Hind.    
    
On the morning following their suprise late arrival to visit to the home of their brother Georgie, Hermy and Ursy Pillson practised lofting golf shots over the ducking pond.  See Stocks and Golden Hind   
      
Duelling ~ By a mixture of oblique references and well-timed silences, Major Flint cultivated the notion amongst his circle in Tilling of a dashing past as a young officer and expertise as an experienced duellist.

After one particularly bibulous evening with his friend Captain Puffin, whilst still inebriated the Major issued a written challenge to a duel. On sobering up next morning, both protagonists took fright and to avoid the conflict bolted to the railway station to catch the earliest train to London.

On meeting there they made-up, returned home and went for their usual morning's golf. By this time the note had been found and alarm spread over Tilling. Ultimately the Padre seized the initiative and extravagantly took a taxi to the links to find them and prevent the mortal combat. He eventually located them putting on the eighteenth green and all was well.

Naturally much conjecture ensued over the cause of the dispute and Miss Mapp encouraged the inaccurate conjecture that it stemmed from rivalry for her favours. The reputation of those concerned rose following the incident only to plummet once the truth regarding flight to and reconciliation at the railway station emerged. It was Miss Mapp who managed to analyse the facts and work out a solution founded as solidly as a Euclidean proposition: her answer was that both duellists had in fact run away. In a remarkably short space of time the two duellists became universally known in Tilling as the cowards.     
     
"Tilling had known tensions before and would doubtless know them again.  Often it had been on a very agreeable rack of suspense, as when, for instance, it had believed (or striven to believe) that Major Benjy might be fighting a duel with that old crony of his, Captain Puffin, lately deceased... Nobody would have cared at all if Captain Puffin had been killed, nor much, if Major Benjy..it was as if the innermost social guts of Tilling were attached to some relentless windlass, which ,at any moment now, might be wound but not relaxed...."     
           
Duets ~ one of Lucia and Georgie's greatest pleasures together were duets upon the pianoforte. They particularly enjoyed heavenly Mozart and the dainty Scarlatti, but most of all the immortal Beethoven. Lucia always took the treble part because it had more tune in it - although she pretended she had not Georgie's firm touch, which made the bass effective. Each would secretly practice their part in advance and pretend to be sight-reading it for the first time when performing together. This was often done with a somewhat girlish glee and exclamations combined with little screams - usually from Georgie - "Cattivo Mozart, to write anything too dwefful diffy!"     
      
Duse  ~ hearing of the notorious incident at the bridge party at "Starling Cottage" when Elizabeth Mapp-Flint had happened upon her inebriated spouse with his hand apparently upon Lucia's knee, Amelia, Contessa di Faraglione disconcertingly burst into peals of laughter. Muffins went the wrong way, she choked, she clapped her hands, her eyes streamed, and it was a long time before she could master herself for coherent speech. She cried, "But you are all adorable. There is no place like Tilling, and I shall come and live here for ever when my Cecco dies and I am dowager. My poor brother (such a prig) and fat Susan were most discreet: they told me no more than that your great Benjy - he was my flirt here before, was he not, the man like a pink walrus - that he had a bilious attack, but of his tipsiness and of all those gaffes after dinner and of the scene of passion in the back of the drawing room, not a word. Thr-r-rilling! Imagine the scene. Your tipsy walrus. Your proud Lucia in her Roman blue stockings. She is a Duse, all cold alabaster without and burning volcanic passion within...."     
      
Often simply known as  "Duse," Eleonora Duse (1858-1924) was a famous Italian actress, a rival to the great Sarah Bernhardt and arguably of equivalent stature in the history of theatre. Called by Chekhov, a "remarkable actress,"  Duse wore little make-up but, as her biographer put it, "made herself up morally", depending upon an intense naturalness and allowing the inner compulsions of her character to use her body as the medium of expression. Duse innovated a technique of the "elimination of self" to connect with and convey character.  Though more introverted and private than Bernhardt, rarely giving interviews, Duse achieved great success in both Europe and North America.  See Amelia, Contessa di Faraglione

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