Abfou ~ spirit guide of Daisy Quantock in Riseholme whose messages were manifested in automatic writing via the planchette. His interesting communications prompted the establishment of the Riseholme Museum and popularised planchette as the psychic paraphernalia of choice amongst devotees in Riseholme Society.
So synonymous was he with use of the planchette that his name became a verb and enthusiasts were soon assembling over the planchette to abfou.
So synonymous was he with use of the planchette that his name became a verb and enthusiasts were soon assembling over the planchette to abfou.
All the time firm in the consciousness of Riseholme, but never under any circumstances spoken of, was the feeling that Abfou and Vittoria (as well as standing for themselves) were pseudonyms: they stood for Daisy and Lucia. See Vittoria, Nicostratus, Annabel and Jamifleg.
Accidentals ~ when the prima donna, Olga Bracely first moved to Riseholme, Lucia soon felt her crown as the Queen of all the Arts and Culture was under threat. Georgie came to "The Hurst" and played "Poissons d'or," by Debussy, loaned to him by Olga. This was a reletively avant-garde piece by the standards of the time, and Lucia had determined to be at best sceptical. After she had listened to the piece and damned it with the faintest praise (i.e none), Lucia said " Give Georgie a cigarette, Peppino! I am sure he deserves one after all those accidentals!"
In music, an accidental is a note whose pitch is not a member of a scale or mode indicated by the most recently applied key signature. In notation, the symbols marking notes, such as naturals, sharps and flats, may also be referred to as "accidentals." See "Poissons d'Or", Debussy, Infelicities and Smoking.
Achilles ~ reference is first made to Achilles at "The Hurst" in Riseholme. Georgie had called upon Lucia and Peppino intent on following the direction of Olga Bracely to rebuild bridges by inviting them to dine with him on Christmas Day. Lucia made an excuse to have a private word with her husband and Georgie "waited rather hopefully for their return, for Peppino, he felt sure was bored with this Achilles-attitude of sitting sulking in the tent." Later they returned wreathed in smiles and instantly embarked upon the question of what to do after dinner.
On a subsequent occasion in Tilling, Elizabeth Mapp's relationship with Lucia had deteriorated markedly when Lucia invited all the guests at Elizabeth's bridge tea to dinner at "Grebe" later that evening. This caused her bridge gathering to break up unusually early.
Mortified by this, she had declined all invitations to "Grebe" whilst the rest of her circle spent more time there. Her attitude was then softened somewhat by a generous Christmas gift of a terrine of pate de foie gras. Being a realist Miss Mapp recognised that she needed to forge a rapprochement and that to remain, like Achilles in his tent did not lead to anything.
The reference comes from Homer's Iliad. The Greek hero Achilles sulked in his tent and refused to fight against the Trojans since he felt his honour had been slighted by Agamemnon, commander of the Greek army. When Agamemnon was forced to give up one of his captives, he took away a captive belonging to Achilles which was an insult to Achilles' honour. Achilles refused all pleas to fight until his beloved friend Patroclus, wearing the armour of Achilles, was killed in battle by Hector. This prompted Achilles to return to the fray and slay Hector (and to refuse to return the body to his father King Priam, with manifold results so many centuries and miles away from Tilling that they need not detain us here.)
Adam ~ a picture by Irene Coles called "Adam," which was certainly of Mr Hopkins, the fishmonger in Tilling, (though no one could have guessed) had appeared for sale in the window of a dealer in pictures and curios, but had been withdrawn from public view on Miss Mapp's personal intercession and her revelation of whom, unlikely as it sounded, the picture represented. The unchivalrous art dealer had told the artist the history of its withdrawal and it had come to Miss Mapp's ears (among many other things) that Quaint Irene had imitated the scene of intercession with such piercing fidelity that her servant Lucy-Eve, had nearly died of laughing.
Adam and Eve and the Sons of God ~ during the summer when Lucia leased "Mallards," Miss Mapp took "Wasters", Mrs Plaistow "Taormina" and Quaint Irene Coles, a labourer's cottage outside the town.
During spare moments in her stay, Irene painted a fresco of Adam and Eve with quantities of the Sons of God shouting for joy. On returning to her cottage, the labourer's wife considered the fresco was not fit to be seen and with some hot water made short work of all those naked people. When Irene remembered it had been painted on the wall, she hurried back to save the important work by varnishing it against the inclemencies of the weather, but it was already too late, for the last Sons of God were even then disappearing under the strokes of the scrubbing brush.
There has been considerable debate amongst biblical scholars as to the identity of the Sons of God. There are two common answers. Some have said that the Sons of God were the male descendants of Seth, the third son of Adam and Eve. We know what happened to his siblings and it seems that Seth followed in the footsteps of the godly (but slain) Abel and became an ancestor of a race that preserved their allegiance to God. The second answer is that the Sons of God were angels and it appears that this is what Benson was probably suggesting. It seems very unlikely however that Benson wished his readers to become concerned over the identity of the Sons or unduly bound up in scholastic controversy concerning antithetical parallelism or the implications of unsanctioned and improperly motivated marriages between the godly Sethites and worldly Cainites.
Addison ~ more than a year after the sad passing of her husband Pepino, Lucia remarked to Georgie Pillson that ,"I am beginning to feel alive again." She asserted that just for the present "'I'm off' the age of Elizabeth, partly poor Daisy's fault, no doubt," and that "there were other ages, Georgie, the age of Pericles, for instance." After enthusing over the Greeks, Lucia continued, "And then there's the age of Anne. What a wonderful time, Pope and Addison! So civilised, so cultivated. Their routs and their tea-parties and rapes of the lock."
Essayist, poet, playwright and politician, Joseph Addison (1672-1719) was a renowned man of letters, chiefly remembered alongside Richard Steele as co-founder of "The Spectator" magazine. Rather a polymath, Addison was commissioned to write commemorative verses, was appointed a Commissioner of Appeals, wrote travelogues, tragic and comic plays and libretti, helped found the Kitcat Club, was a Whig Undersecretary of State accompanying Halifax on his mission to Hanover and MP for the rotten borough of Lostwithiel (1708-1709) and Malmesbury from 1710 onwards. See Queen Anne and Pope's Iliad.
Adolf Hitler ~ see Hitler, Adolf
Aeschylus ~ when Lucia and Georgie were being driven by Cadman from "Mallards Cottage" to "Grebe" where Georgie was to stay "secretly" whilst recovering from an attack of shingles, Lucia remarked, "My dear, the sun glinting on the sea! Is that what Homer - or was it Aeschylus - meant by the "numberless laughter of ocean"? An immortal phrase."
Elsewhere the line is translated as "infinite laughter of the waves of ocean." The fragment in question appears to have come from "Prometheus Unbound," a play by the Greek poet Aeschylus (c.525/524 BC - 456/455 BC) concerning the torments of Prometheus at the hands of Zeus. Of the 76 plays he is known to have written, only 7 survive and there is much debate as to the authorship of "Prometheus Unbound" of which the text is lost to us except for 11 fragments preserved by later authors. See Homer.
"A few more years shall roll" ~ On the Sunday morning after Olga Bracely's first "romp" for her new friends and neighbours at "Old Place," Riseholme got up rather late and had to hurry over its breakfast in order to be in time for church. There was a slight feeling of reaction abroad, a sense of having been young and amused, and of waking now to the fact of church-bells and middle-age. Colonel Boucher singing the bass of "A few more years shall roll" felt his mind instinctively wandering to the cockfight the evening before and depressedly recollecting that a considerable number of years had rolled already.
Written in 1842 by the Scottish churchman and poet, Horatius Bonar (1808 -1889), whilst superintendent of the Sunday School at the Church of St James, Leith, it was first sung on New Years Day 1843 and published in Bonar's "Songs for the Wilderness", the following year. It begins:
"A few years more shall roll,
A few more seasons come,
And we shall be with those that rest
Asleep within the tomb;
Then , O my Lord prepare
My soul for that great day.
O wash me in Thy precious bloood
And take my sins away."
Agamemnon ~ when supervising remedial works following her purchase of "Mallards," Lucia outlined her plans to Georgie, "I shall have my books in the garden room: the Greek dramatists are what I shall chiefly work at this year. My dear , how delicious it would be to give some tableaux in the garden room from the Greek tragedians! The return of Agamemnon with Cassandra after the Trojan wars. you must certainly be Agamemnon."
Agamemnon (meaning "very resolute") was the son of King Atreus of Mycenae and Queen Aerope, the brother of Menelaus, husband of Clytemnestra and commander of the Achaeans in the Trojan War, which followed the abduction of Helen, wife of Meneleus, by Paris of Troy. According to the Odyssey, Book 11, Agamemnon was murdered on his return from the war by Aegisthus, the lover of his wife Clytemnestra, who herself slew Cassandra, Agamemnon's concubine, as she clung to him: no doubt a lesson to us all. Lucia did ask if she could double Cassandra and Clytemnestra in the tableau, though quite how she proposed to double the murderer and victim is intriguing - though obviously unlikely to be outwith Lucia's considerable powers. See Cassandra.
Agape ~ social life in Tilling had ground to a complete halt after the dinner party of Susan and Algernon Wyse when Major Benjy had become inebriated and somewhat enamoured of Lucia to the chagrin of Elizabeth Mapp-Flint who unfairly blamed Lucia entirely. At the request of Diva, Lucia broke the impasse by inviting all of her intimes to dinner at "Mallards House." To ensure cordial relations were resumed Lucia made very tactful arrangements for this agape - or love feast. Grosvenor was instructed to start every dish with Mrs Mapp-Flint and offer barley water as well as wine to all guests. Naturally, Lucia's plan worked...until next time. See "How you all work me."
Age ~ delicate though the subject might be, it is disclosed early in "Queen Lucia" that Lucia boasted "40 respectable years " and Georgie a "blameless 45 years."
Mrs Weston's maid, Elizabeth joined her 15 years ago and was now 33 years old. Colonel Boucher's manservant,Atkinson had been in his service for 20 years, getting on for 21.
Daisy Quantock told Georgie Pillson in a hissing aside, probably audible across the Channel, that the Guru (then reputedly of highest caste and utmost sanctity from Benares) had told her he was at least sixty, "and he thinks more, but the years make no difference to him. He is like a boy."
Early in "Lucia in London", Daisy Quantock admitted to being fifty-two, whilst Georgie is referred to as forty-eight, although he only admitted to forty-three.
In the first paragraph of "Miss Mapp" it is stated that "Miss Elizabeth Mapp might have been forty, and she had taken advantage of this opportunity by being just a year or two older."
Diva Plaistow was four years younger than Miss Mapp, whilst Miss Mapp was four inches taller than Diva.
When Major Flint informed Captain Puffin that he would be fifty-four next birthday, his friend would not believe it. This was just as well since the Major was in reality fifty-six.
Captain Puffin claimed to be fifty to the disbelief of Major Flint who thought to himself that a dried-up little man like Puffin might be as old as an Egyptian mummy. Who can tell the age of a kipper?
At the beginning of "Lucia's Progress" it was noted that another birthday would knock at her door next month and, if her birth certificate was correct (and there was no reason for doubting it) the conclusion was forced upon her that if for every year she had already lived, she lived another, she would then be a centenarian. Later, Quaint Irene Coles admitted to Lucia," I'm twenty-five, and by that age everyone has experienced all that matters, or anyhow has imagined it."
At that time, Major Benjy (with "still robust energies") is stated to be 55 years - "playing golf all day and getting slightly squiffy in the evening."
After her marriage to Major Benjy and during her rumoured and very phantom pregnancy, Diva Plaistow estimated that Elizabeth Mapp-Flint was "not more than 43."
See Fiftieth birthday.
"Age of Pericles, The" ~ see "Tendencies in Modern Fiction."
Ahab Crow ~ see Crow, Ahab.
Aix ~ Lucia had hoped to spend the summer with "a dash to Aix, where there would be many pleasant people, but Pepino had told her summarily that the treasury would not stand it."
Aix-en-Provence in the region of Provence-Alpes-Cot d'Azur, is a city-commune about 30 km north of Marseille, a refined and cultured holiday resort traditionally favoured by the British middle and upper classes.
Aldebaran ~ On the clear but moonless night in Riseholme that Lucia first outlined to Georgie her plans to divide her time between "The Hurst" and 25, Brompton Square, the company of stars burned brightly. "Aldebaran!" said Lucia, pointing incisively to the spangled arch of the sky,"That bright one. Oh Georgie how restful it is to look at Aldebaran if one is worried and sad. It lifts one's mind above petty cares and personal sorrows. The patens of bright gold! Wonderful Shakespeare!"
The same star was also seen in the night sky by Elizabeth Mapp in Tilling on the evening when she espied Algernon Wyse kiss Susan Poppit in the garden. Aldebaran is by far the brightest and therefore the alpha star in the constellation Taurus. The name is Arabic and translates literally as "the follower" perhaps since it appears to follow the Pleiades or Seven Sisters star cluster in the night sky. See "Patens of bright gold."
Alderstout, Mr ~ author of "Increase Your Height", a convincing pamphlet championed by Daisy Quantock which indicated that the world was a better place when you are two inches taller. Daisy saw it advertised in a newspaper and sent away for it. Costing only a guinea, it involved only some exercises every morning, rather like those Yoga ones and eating three red lozenges a day. One Of Daisy's sincere but passing enthusiasms.
Algernon Wyse ~ of the notable family, Wyses of Whitchurch. His sister Amelia had married the Conte di Faraglione, of the old Neapolitan nobility. Conte Cecco di Faraglione and his Contessa, Amelia sent bounteous supplies of quails, figs and delicious honey from their estate in ravishing Capri to the Wyses in Tilling - no less lovely in its own way.
Late marriage to Susan nee Poppit MBE. Resided at Starling Cottage in Porpoise Street in Tilling. His clean-shaven face, with abundant grey hair brushed back from his forehead , was that of an actor who had seen his best days, but who has given command performances at Windsor.
A man of almost excessive courtesy and a courtly manner with much bowing and florid expression. Considered such a prig by his sister, Contessa Amelia. Fair-mindedly, Mr Wyse tried to remain above the hurly burly of the disputes that often arose in Tilling; he always refused to be drawn into social crises. On one occasion, however, he did abandon his usual neutrality with regard to social politics and left his tall malacca cane in the chemists, so keen was his gusto on seeing Miss Mapp outside on the pavement, to glean any fresh detail of her part in the alleged duel between Major Flint and Captain Puffin. Resigned from the hanging committee of Tilling's Arts Club on a point of principle when Miss Mapp unilaterally rejected submissions by Lucia and Georgie, but resumed office on Miss Mapp's resignation and immediately offered the position of President to Lucia.
Without being in the least effeminate, Mr Wyse often dressed like a modern troubadour favouring on one occasion a velveteen coat, soft, fluffy mushy tie which looked is if made of Shirley poppies strictured with a cameo-ring, very neat knickerbockers, brown stockings with blobs, like the fruit of plane trees and shoes with a cascade of leather frilling covering the laces. He sometimes wore neat golfing shoes; he looked as if he might be going to play golf, but somehow it didn't seem likely...
Day wear included a black velveteen coat, Panama hat and malacca cane. Evening dress of velveteen dress clothes and a soft, crinkly shirt with a low collar did cause him to look rather like a conjurer. Another favourite evening suit was cut from sapphire blue velvet, with a soft pleated shirt, a sapphire solitaire and bright blue socks. This attire made its debut on the same evening as Georgie's ruby velvet dress suit when the pair looked like two middle-aged mannequins. It elicited the remark from Diva Plaistow, "Aren't the Tilling boys getting dressy?"As well as knickerbockers, his individualistic taste in fashion frequently featured bows at the neck, often in pronounced colours. He also sported a monocle and referred to luncheon as breakfast - particularly when his similarly monocled sister, the Contessa was visiting.
When cycling became the rage in Tilling, Mr Wyse introduced a new style: he was already an adept and, instead of wearing a preoccupied expression, made no more of it than if he was strolling about on foot. He could take his hand of his handle-bar to raise his hat to the Mayor, as if one hand was all he needed. Mrs Wyse, on the other hand, favoured a stylish tricycle. See Susan Wyse, Chesterfield terms, Hanky-panky.
Alingsby, Sophy(Mrs.) ~ a weird bright young thing, a member of Lucia's social circle during her season in London. An avid Luciaphil and keen post-cubist.
Tall, intense and dressed like a bird of paradise that had been out in a high gale, but very well-connected. She had long straight hair that fell over her forehead and sometimes got in her eyes and wore a scarlet jockey-cap with an immense cameo on the front of it. She sometimes dressed as a faded rainbow, weird beyond description...
She was ultra modern in art and hated all art that was earlier than 1923 and a considerable lot of what was later. In music, she was primitive and thought Bach decadent. In literature, her taste was for stories without a story and poems without metre or meaning.
She had collected about her a group of interesting outlaws, of whom the men looked like women and the women like nothing at all. Though nobody ever knew what they were talking about, they themselves were talked about.
Loathed dogs and took a particular dislike to Lady Ambermere's Pug whilst visiting The Hurst. Considered Lady Ambermere a crashing old hag. Following her weekend at The Hurst was regarded by residents of Riseholme as a "Yahoo".
Lucia's general opinion of Sophy was that she might be useful up to point, for she certainly excited interest.
All the perfumes of Arabia ~ Lucia stood next to the Elizabethan spit in "The Hurst," giving it the odd twirl and outlining to Georgie her plans to divide her time between Riseholme and 25, Brompton Square, recently inherited by Pepino from his late lamented (and indeed, demented) Aunt Amy. There had been a leg of mutton roasted on it last May Day, while they all sat round in stomachers and hose, and all the perfumes of Arabia had hardly sufficed to quell the odour of roast meat which had pervaded the room for weeks afterwards.
The line "All the perfumes of Arabia will not sweeten this little hand " comes from Act V, Scene 1 of Shakespeare's "Macbeth."
Almack's ~ Diva Plaistow's "Ye Olde Tea House" grew successful within a short time of its opening incognita by the Mayor of Tilling, Lucia. Those entertaining friends found it convenient to order teas at Diva's and then find the card room ready for a rubber or two. As Algernon Wyse expressed it, "Ye Olde Tea House became quite like Almack's."
Almack's Assembly Rooms was a fashionable social club in King Street, St James's in London from 1765 to 1871. Entirely respectable, its balls played a key part in the Season; it held great social cachet and exclusivity and was one of the first establishments to admit both sexes. Thus the courtly Mr Wyse's genteel allusion was not far off the mark.
Almond trees ~ Lucia's munificence towards Tilling from the proceeds of her successful financial career in share dealing, under the guidance of her broker Mammoncash, extended to funding the planting of more than fifty late-flowering almond trees. The plantation was intended to cover the bare bank of land above the newly finished road from the south which curved round the bottom of the hill on which Tilling stood, rising to the line of its ancient wall and its landmark Norman tower.
Lucia looked forward to seeing a "foam of pink blossom for la bella Primavera." After planting Elizabeth Mapp-Flint predictably considered the "poor almond trees sad and pinched" and with "hardly a blossom on them." She helpfully enquired if they "weren't the flowering sort" and whether they would "get acclimatised after some years."
Typically, Lucia responded firmly that "They're coming out beautifully", that she had "never seen such healthy trees in all my life" and that "By next week they will be a blaze of blossom. Blaze." See Steps.
Alton, Herbert : prominent society caricaturist, who captured and exhibited Lucia and Pepino during their season in London. He was a licensed satirist, and all London always flocked to his show to observe with glee what he made of them all , and what witty and pungent little remarks he affixed to their monstrous effigies. It was a distinct cachet, too, to be caricatured by him, a sign that you attracted attention and were a notable figure. He might (in fact, he always did ) make you a perfect guy, and his captions invariably made fun of something characteristic, but it gave you publicity. Somewhat unusually, Lucia commissioned Herbert Alton at a handsome price to execute caricatures of herself and Pepino, with the proviso that they were exhibited publicly at the little Rutland Gallery.
Pepino's caricature featured him in the knee breeches of levee dress, tripping over his sword, entangled with his legs, with a cocked hat on the back of his head. With his eyes very much apart, no nose and a small agonised hole in his face for a mouth, he was supposed to be saying "At whatever personal inconvenience, I must live up to Lucia".
Lucia was shown with a pile of unopened letters on the floor and on the table. It bore the legend "Oh, these duchesses! They give one no peace!" There was not much of her face to be seen for she was talking into a telephone. Her skirt and shingled hair were very short and there was a wealth of weary resignation in the limpness of her carriage.
Mistakenly called Bertie or even Bobbie by social-climbing Lucia - a gaffe spotted by the acute Adele Brixton.
Amadeo ~ spirit guide of Daisy Quantock's psychic medium, Princess Popoffski. He was a Florentine and knew Dante quite well.
Ambermere Arms ~ public house and hotel in Riseholme run by Mr Stratton. It operated also as Riseholme's antique shop and sold much furniture and many historic artefacts and objets to visiting tourists - often American.
Lady Ambermere, Cornelia ~ formidable grand dame of Riseholme, who looked down on the world through her tortoiseshell-handled lorgnette. Resided at The Hall with downtrodden companion, poor Miss Lyall and the neurotic Pug. Her late husband Lord Ambermere was a cousin of Olga Bracely's husband, Charlie/Georgie Shuttleworth and a second cousin of Georgie Pillson's mother, who was a Bartlett. He was formerly Governor of Madras and Lord and Lady Ambermere spent many years resident in India. According to Lady Ambermere - somewhat majestically - "the late lord had some Russian relations."
Imperious in manner and entirely self-obsessed, firmly believing that all who met her enjoyed the privilege it entailed. She walked stiffly, with her nose in the air, as if suspecting and not choosing to verify, some faint unpleasant odour. Her speech patterns were thoroughly Ambermerian: everybody in Riseholme had a "little house" compared with the Hall: everybody had a "little garden". Equally Ambermerian was her complete confidence that her wish was everybody else's pleasure. Honoured Lucia by attending her garden party at The Hurst with Miss Lyall and Pug, but left before the tardy, croquet-delayed arrival of diva Olga Bracely and missed her performance before a delighted audience of Riseholmeites in the smoking room.
Olga Bracely irreverently called her The Parrot and referred to that great hook nose of hers - daringly adding I'm always afraid that in an absent moment I might scratch on her head and say, "Pretty Polly". Insultingly described by Sophy Alingsby as a crashing old hag. Sophy also loathed all dogs, including Lady Ambermere's Pug, causing her to exclaim, "I can't bear dogs. Take that dog away, dear Lucia. Burn it, drown it!" Upon this Lady Ambermere left immediately and pointedly ignored Mrs Alingsby.
According to Lucia, Lady Ambermere might have a Roman nose, but she hadn't any manners.
Was disposed to lend an antique pair of mittens allegedly owned by Queen Charlotte to the recently established Museum in Riseholme and submitted an excessive claim for £50 compensation when they were destroyed in the subsequent unfortunate conflagration. Lady Ambermere received a counter-offer of ten shillings and sixpence in final settlement.
Was also shocked when Lucia informed her that the Committee of Riseholme Museum declined her offer of a glass case containing the stuffed remains of her recently deceased lap dog, Pug.
Amelia di Faraglione, Contessa ~ wife of Count Cecco di Faraglione of Capri and sister of Algernon Wyse. Elizabeth Mapp considered that by daylight the Contessa was undeniably plain.... though by artificial light she was not so like a rabbit. By any light she had a liveliness which might be mistaken for wit, and a flattering manner which might be taken for sincerity.
Her impending arrival in Tilling caused immense anxiety to Lucia and Georgie, who feared that their lack of fleuncy in la bella lingua would now be harshly exposed, to the delight of all - especially Elizabeth Mapp. This led to Georgie's trip to an hotel in Folkestone and Lucia's feigned influenza and the famed covert observation of Lucia exercising in her bathing costume in the giardano segreto by Miss Mapp from the church tower. It is not surprising therefore that Amelia was referred to as "that baleful bilinguist."
Tall, lean, sporting a single eye glass on a string, which was apt to fall into her soup, vivacious and good humoured - also commonly talked with her mouth full and drank a great deal of wine. At dinner, would often maintain a fervid monologue and occasionally address remarks in shrill and voluble Italian always with a Southern extravagance of expression.
Prone to the occasional gaffe. Confident aristocratic demeanour, flirty and with a surprisingly broad sense of humour for someone of her station. Although the Countess tended to confuse the names of the various members of Tilling society, she took great interest in their affairs which extended to matchmaking: We must have more marriages in Tilling.
The somewhat tropical Italian remarks by the Countess to Major Flint - whom she regarded as the Lothario of the tiger skins, like a pink walrus and my flirt - at dinner and an invitation to tea a deux, prompted in Miss Mapp a certain jealousy which it can be argued played a part in firming Miss Mapp's resolve to develop her relationship with the unsuspecting Major. Very sophisticated continental views on certain subjects, such as her husband's mistress of many years - such a good-natured, pretty woman.
On departing from Tilling went away with the Poppits and Mrs Wyse to spend Christmas and the New Year with the Wyses of Whitchurch. Later, kindly supplied Faraglione honey from Capri to Mrs Mapp-Flint when erroneously under the impression that she was with child. It was understood that the Contessa's own baby weighed an impressive eleven pounds, which may be indicative of the effects of consumption of honey from Capri. See Algernon Wyse and Smoking.
America cloth ~ Lucia and Georgie were practising the "Moonlight Sonata" in Tilling church in readiness for the recital during the service of dedication of the organ, rebuilt at Lucia's expense: "the plaintive throaty bleating of the vox humana was ennervatingly lovely, and Lucia's America-cloth eyes grew veiled with moisture." America(n) cloth is a cotton cloth with a glazed or waterproofed coating. It seems the normally controlled and immovable Lucia was on this rare occasion moved to a brief ocular moistness.
Ammonites ~ despite working six or eight hours a day since dismissing her gardener Simkinson, Daisy Quantock had not found time to touch a stone of her proposed rockery, "and the fragments lying like a moraine on the path by the potting shed still rendered any approach to the latter a mountaineering feat. They consisted of fragmments of medieval masonry, from the site of the ancient abbey, finials and crockets and pieces of mullioned windows which had been turned up when a new siding of the railway had been made and everyone almost had got some, with the exception of Mrs Boucher, who called them rubbish. Then there were some fossils, ammonites and spar and curious flints with holes in them and bits of talc...."
Inspired by the often spiral shape of their fossilized shells, which can be said to resemble coiled rams' horns, as worn by the Egyptian God, Ammon, Pliny the Elder called these fossils ammonis cornua (horns of Ammon). More closely related to living coleoids such as squid or cuttle fish than shelled nautiloids, they are an extinct group of marine invertebrates in the sub-class Ammonoidea of the class Cephalopoda. They are often excellent index fossils, helping to link the rock layer in which they are found to particular geological periods.
Amundsen ~ when preparing her discourse "A modern Odyssey" concerning her adventures on the Gallagher Bank, Lucia proposed "to make some allusion to Nansen, and Stanley and Amundsen, who have all written long books about their travels and say that as I do not dream of comparing my adventures to theirs, a short verbal recital of some of the strange things that happened to me will suffice." Roald Engelbregt Gravning Amundsen (1872 - 1928) was a Norwegian polar explorer who led the first Antarctic expedition to reach the South pole between 1910 and 1912. He was also the first person to reach both the North and South poles and traverse the North west Passage.
Amy, Lucas, Aunt ~ late aunt of Philip Lucas who bequeathed him her large estate, including a furnished London townhouse, 25 Brompton Square. Reputedly, the subject of an acclaimed full length portrait by Sargent and owner of a set of pearls, some Chinese Chippendale chairs and fine Queen Anne furniture. Departed this mortal coil at the age of 83. Her funeral took place at Putney Vale.
Institutionalised in a private lunatic asylum in later years, although this was always referred to by the family as a nursing home. Understood to have bitten her nephew during his final very rare visit, which required his arm to be in a sling for a week afterwards and gave rise to a fear of blood poisoning.
Lucia in full mourning and faltering very visibly, remarked implausibly that the death came as a terrible blow and improbably that she and Pepino had hoped that Auntie Amy might be spared us for a few years yet.
Following the death of Aunt Amy, both Georgie and Daisy Quantock undertook separate calculations of the possible net worth and resultant income from the estate. Taking into account the house, understood to be in Knightsbridge in walking distance of Harrods and allowing for either freehold or leasehold tenure, rates, taxes, caretaker's wages, nursing home or private asylum fees of at least £15 per week but ignoring the family pearls, Georgie arrived at a capital sum of not a penny less than fifty thousand pounds and income at two thousand six hundred. From her calculations, Daisy had arrived at two thousand five hundred pounds, whilst Robert Quantock correctly guessed three thousand pounds - which Lucia admitted would, in fact, double their income.
Anak, Housewife of ~ see Housewife of Anak.
Ananias ~ see Sapphira
Anchorite ~ Lucia had hoped to spend the summer with "a dash to Aix, where there would be many pleasant people, but Pepino had told her summarily that the treasury would not stand it. Lucia had accepted it with the frankest good-nature: she had made quite a gay little lament about it." In conversation with her smart London friends, she focused upon the pleasures of tranquil days in Riseholme and concluded, "An anchorite life, but if you have a weekend to spare between your Aix and your Scotland, ah, how nice it would be if you just sent a postcard!"
From the Greek, to withdraw, to depart into the rural countryside, an anchorite is someone who, for religious purposes, has withdrawn from secular society to lead a prayer-oriented and ascetic life, sometimes as a religious hermit or in a monastic setting. Despite its bespoke authentic Elizabethan inconveniences, life at "The Hurst" in Riseholme does not appear to amount to an anchorite one.
Ancient Lights ~ nickname applied by Captain Puffin to Miss Mapp, reflecting her regular monitoring of the nocturnal activities in their homes of himself and Major Flint from her window in "Mallards". In English property law, the right of a building or house owner to the light received from and through his windows was called "Ancient Lights". The rule of law originated in 1663 and was developed under the Prescription Act 1832. Basically, neighbours cannot build anything that would block the light without permission, where there has been 20 years of uniniterrupted daylight. Monitoring the acquisition of such rights often involved lengthy, unremitting observation - not unlike Miss Mapp's vigilant spying upon her neighbours' nightly study of old diaries or Roman roads. See "Old Mappy."
"Ancient Mariner, The" ~ Georgie was entertaining Lucia to luncheon at "Mallards Cottage" at which pheasant was served. His guest was rather haranguing him on her proposed candidacy in the impending Council elections and the need to raise the Rates to fund increased expenditure. "Her voice had now assumed the resonant tang of compulsion and Georgie, like the unfortunate victim of the Ancient Mariner could not choose but hear.... "
The words "could not choose but hear" appear as "cannot choose but hear" in "The Rime of the Ancient Mariner" a long, narrative poem, written in 1797-98 by Samuel Taylor Coleridge. It was published in 1798 in the first edition of "The Lyrical Ballads. See "Could not choose but hear."
"And may there be no sadness of farewell, when I embark" ~ Georgie Pillson was considering a suitable inscription for a tablet to be affixed upon the recovered kitchen table, which had borne Lucia and Miss Mapp out to sea when "Grebe" was flooded. He discounted various alternatives, since they either suggested "This was the house that Jack built" or a nursery rhyme by Edward Lear or might indicate to future generations that they were sailors or were just too prolix. He wondered if poetry would supply anything, and the lines,"And may there be no sadness of farewell, when I embark" occurred to him. That however would not do, since people would wonder why she embarked upon a kitchen table and even now,when the event was so lamentably recent, nobody actually knew.
The lines quoted by Georgie come from the poem "Crossing the Bar" by Alfred Lord Tennyson, which was written in 1899, three years before he died and describes a placid and accepting attitude towards death.
Sunset and evening star,
And one clear call for me!
And may there be no moaning of the bar,
When I put out to sea,
But such a tide as moving seems asleep,
Too full for sound and foam,
When that which drew from out the boundless deep
Turns again home.
Twilight and evening bell,
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell,
When I embark;
For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my Pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.
See Tennyson, "Maud", "Long unlovely streets" and "It may be better to have loved and lost..."
Andromeda ~ Irritated by the superior airs assumed by Elizabeth Mapp-Flint when "running" her summer tenant at "Grebe", the celebrated romantic novelist, Susan Leg, Lucia waited for her moment and ruthlessly annexed her. Her rescue of Susan Leg, like some mature Andromeda, from the clutches of her Mayoress, had raised the deepest animosity of the Mapp-Flints and she was well aware that Elizabeth would embrace every opportunity to be nasty...
A princess from Greek mythology, Andromeda was chained to a rock a sacrifice to the sea monster, Cetus, as punishment for the bragging of her mother Cassiopeia. She was saved from death by her future husband Perseus, who had just slain the gorgon Medusa.
Annabel ~ spirit guide of Piggy Antrobus during the visit of Princess Popoffski to Daisy Quantock and automatic writing was all the rage in Riseholme. See Nicostratus and Jamifleg.
Anne, Queen ~ Lucia described to Georgie the property of Pepino's late Aunt Amy, 25 Brompton Square near Harrods, which had been left to her nephew with the rest of her estate. The contents included "beautiful Queen Anne furniture", including a walnut bureau (one of those tall ones which let down in front with original handles in the drawers.)
Elizabeth Mapp's secret garden at "Mallards" featured a little paved walk, flower beds and a pocket handkerchief of a lawn, and in the middle a pillar with a bust of good Queen Anne - picked up in a shop in Tilling on one of Miss Mapp's "lucky days."
Late Baroque, Queen Anne style furniture developed in the reign of the last monarch of the House of Stuart, Queen Anne ( b.1665, reigned 1702-1714) a smaller, lighter and more comfortable style reflected in increasingly practical pieces emphasising line and form above ornament. Furniture of the period often featured curvilinear lines, cabriole legs, cushioned seats and wing-back chairs.
Anne Hathaway's cottage ~ in "The Hurst," her ultra-Elizabethan abode in Riseholme, "Lucia seated herself in a chair that so easily might have come from Anne Hathaway's cottage, though there was no particular reason for supposing that it did."
In Shottery, a mile or so to the west of Stratford-upon-Avon, stands the former childhood home of Anne Hathaway, the wife of William Shakespeare, known as "Anne Hathaway's cottage". It is, in fact, a spacious timber-framed farmhouse in the vernacular Tudor style with multiple chimneys, 12 rooms and several bedrooms, set in extensive gardens and furnished with original Elizabethan furniture and fittings of even greater authenticity and exquisitensss than those gracing "The Hurst."
Antrobus, Mrs ~ long-time resident of Riseholme and neighbour of Lucia. Described as having a ham like face and an ear trumpet. It was like the trunk of a very short elephant, and she waved it about as if asking for a bun. Sometimes - confusingly - "Arbuthnot".
Mother of two athletic daughters Goosie and Piggy, past the first flush of youth. Later became so deaf that even the most expensive ear trumpet was of no use. Once used a wonderful new apparatus - not an ear trumpet at all. It involved biting on a small leather pad which allegedly enabled her to hear everything perfectly. She then took it out and answered and put it back in again to listen.
According to Mrs Weston, it was on a Friday she married and within a year she got as deaf as you see her now. Subsequently, Mrs Antrobus mastered the deaf and dumb alphabet. In a display of impeccable manners, many other Riseholme residents learned it too in time for her birthday party, so that Mrs Antrobus could understand what was being said.
Antrobus, Goosie ~ sister of Piggy, often seen capering about the Green in Riseholme, jumping over the stocks in a playful way and generally romping, or indeed frisking, about. The sisters never walked like other people: they skipped and gambolled to show how girlish an age is thirty-four and thirty-five. After the dramatic destruction of Riseholme Museum by fire, the sisters even contrived to skip over the smouldering heaps of ashes.
This girlish athleticism was intended to capture the attention of available bachelors. Initially their attention was turned to Georgie Pillson, but their nimble movements did not remotely succeed in capturing his affections. Subsequently the same approach was adopted towards Colonel Boucher with similar lack of response, though perhaps for different reasons.
Antrobus, Piggy ~ gauche sister of Goosie Antrobus. On seeing Georgie on the Green in Riseholme proudly wearing his new and voluminous Oxford trousers, Piggy burst into a squeal of laughter and cried irritatingly , "Oh, Mr Georgie, I see you've gone into long frocks". Whilst Lucia was away in London, Piggy told Georgie she Wanted to do some duets upon the piano, but Georgie responded "No, thanks."
On another occasion a note had announced to Georgie that Piggy was going to call and hoped to find him alone. This induced such agitation that Georgie summoned Foljambe with his special emergency call of three urgent rings on his bell, only ever used in case of calamity. The one other time three rings were given was when Georgie was imperilled by a fish bone stuck in his throat.
"Any news?" ~ "'Any news?' was the general gambit of conversation in Riseholme. It could not have been bettered, for there always was news." The inquiry was later commonplace on the cobbled streets and in the airy drawing rooms of Tilling, on the coast some miles to the south. See Au reservoir.
Aphasia ~ Major Flint and Captain Puffin were enjoying a far from harmonious round of golf. Tired of the game, the Major eventually sat down in a bunker with his back to the Captain and lit a cigarette. After several unsuccessful strokes, the Captain's ball hit the Major's boot, whereupon Puffin claimed the hole.
Deeply offended at this perceived opportunism, Major Flint had a short fit of aphasia. He opened and shut his mouth and foamed.
Aphasia is an impairment of language ability, ranging from difficulty in remembering words, to the complete inability to speak - as in the Major's case. It can develop quickly as the result of head injury or stroke, or more slowly from a brain tumour, infection or dementia. It can be a learning disability, such as dysnomia, or, as in Major Flint's case, assumed with great theatricality and petulance, to convey personal offence and make a point.
Apophthegms ~ Lucia delighted in devising (or appropriating) and expounding apophthegms with the certain expectation that they would do the rounds of Riseholme or Tilling next day. Lucia's eloquent well-ordered sentences had nothing impromptu about them; what she said was evidently all thought out and probably talked out. Examples included:
- My dear, it is just busy people who have time for everything.
- This Riseholme life with its finish and its exquisiteness spoils one for other places.
- London is like a railway station: it has no true life of its own.
- London postmen are probably very careless and untrustworthy.
- There is in London a certain stir and movement which we lack here
- Why, only yesterday, I said to Pepino that those months we spent in London seemed a holiday compared to what I have to do here.
- Perhaps we get too sensitive here where everything is full of harmony and culture, perhaps we are too much sheltered
- My Guru says that music and flowers are good influences for those who are walkers on the Way.
- If I followed my inclination I would never leave our dear Riseholme for a single day. Oh, how easy everything would be if only one followed one's inclination!
- What slaves some people are to their servants.
- If being busy was a crime, I am sure there are few of us here who would 'scape hanging.
- You know my views about music, and the impossibility of hearing music at all, if you are stuck in the middle of a row of people.
- A musical composition is like an architectural building: it must be built up and constructed. How often have I said that! You must have colour, and you must have line, otherwise I cannot concede you the right to say you have music.
- Very little art can 'stand' daylight: only Shakespeare and Dante and Beethoven, and perhaps Bach, can compete with the sun.
- You know how I hate display. Shakespeare was content with the most modest scenery for his masterpieces, and it would be a great mistake if we allowed ourselves to be carried away by mere wasteful opulence.
- Art is not advanced by romping, and we are able to enjoy ourselves without two hundred caviar sandwiches being left over.
- It is only in loneliness, as Goethe says, that perceptions put forth their flowers.
- Is it not Goethe who says that we ripen in solitude?
- Tranquility comes with years, and that horrid thing which Freud calls sex is expunged.
- So many pictures have been ruined by being varnished too much.
- Safety first, always.
- I count it a privilege to be able, in my position, to set an example.
- The B.B.C., I don't deny, is doing good work, but lectures delivered viva voce are so much more vivid. Personal magnetism.
- Jewels are vulgar, except at night.
- Dear Daisy is too short-sighted to see how short-sighted she is.
- To the lover of Beethoven gramophones are like indecent or profane language loudly used in a public place
- 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?
- Wagner is totally lacking in knowledge of dramatic effects.
- Psychics hate a crowd, because it disturbs the influences
- It is a mistake to remain in the same waters too long. There comes a tide in the affairs of men, which, if you don't nip it in the bud, leads on to boredom
- What would life be without sunsets? And to think that this miracle happens every day, except when it's very cloudy!
- After all, it isn't the years that give the measure of one's age, but energy and capacity for enterprise. Achievement. Adventure.
- I rather like to see people a little, just a little squiffy at my expense. It makes me feel I'm being a good hostess.
- I consider it is a disgrace to be tired.
- Always be busy: work, work, work.
- Working for others enlarges one's capacity for work
- For the sake of my dear Tilling I can undertake without undue fatigue, what would otherwise render me a complete wreck. Ich Dien.
- Money is a power, and I have been letting it lie idle, instead of increasing it by leaps and bounds like that wonderful Dame Catherine. Think of the good she did!
- Always appreciate, always admire.
- I will not have one law for the rich and another for the poor in Tilling
- You can't get people to believe what they won't believe by telling them that it's true.
- How odd to be afraid of poor old Lady Ambermere! Never mind: I'm not. How all you people bully me into doing just what you want! I was always Riseholme's slave.
- As you know, I am a real salamander, the sun is never troppo caldo for me
- London is where people sit in the Park all morning and talk of each other's affairs, and spend the afternoon in picture galleries and dance all night. There is a lazy, flippant existence.
- Everything impromptu must just be sketched out first.
- I have often noticed that two people without any sense of humour find each other most witty and amusing.
- A sense of humour, I expect, is not a very common gift.
- I should be miserable if I thought I had even sat with a medium who was not honest.
- There is something so primitive about the flute. So Theocritan!
- What is it that Rousseau - is it Rousseau? - says, about our not being wholly grieved at the misfortunes of our friends?
- Our friendship is just perfect as it is
- Georgino! I believe she wants to run me. I believe Tilling is seething with intrigue. But we shall see. How I hate all that sort of thing!
- We have had a touch of it now and then in Riseholme. As if it mattered who took the lead! We should aim at being equal citizens of a noble republic, where art and literature and all the manifest interests of the world are our concern.
- We must open out, and receive new impressions, and adjust ourselves to new conditions!
- I have fallen in love with this dear Tilling, and I fully expect I shall settle here for good.
- She was malicious and that never pays.
- There was a coarse fibre in the Tudors, as I have always maintained.
- I think it is a duty laid upon those who have been privileged to pass unscathed through tremendous adventures to let others share, so far as possible, their experiences.
- I've always held, always, that games and sport are among the strongest and most elevating influences in English life.
- I have always maintained that Aristophanes is the most modern of writers, Bernard Shaw, in fact, but with far more wit, more Attic salt.
- If I might choose a day in all the history of the world to live through, it would be a day in the golden age of Athens. A talk to Socrates in the morning; lunch with Pericles and Aspasia: a matinee at the theatre for a new play by Aristophanes: supper at Plato's Symposium. How it fires the blood!
- the labourer is worthy of his hire
- I want - how can I put it - to be a fairy godmother to the dear little place.
- I never hedge. One thing or the other.
- Poor thing! Like all habitual liars, she deceives herself far more than she deceives others.
- Nobody shall be able to say of me that I caused splits and dissensions. "One and all," as you know, is my favourite motto.
Lucia immediately jumped to the conclusion that the fragment was part of a sacrificial vessel from the Temple of Apollo that she suspected was located under the site. Her hopes were cruelly dashed when she came across further shards with the remaining letters "LINARIS".
Rather than cast further light upon her error, Lucia immediately terminated the excavation and had the holes well stamped down. She cancelled further press coverage and the planned visit from Professor Arbuthnot of the British Museum.
She did however display upon her piano certain artefacts of varying antiquity from locations other than her garden, but never troubled to dispel the illusion that they had been found there.
Apple green ~ when Lucia moved into "Mallards House" redecorations included the dining room - previously painted with Miss Mapp's favourite tint "biscuit-colour." The walls were now "of apple green, and instead of being profusely hung with Elizabeth's best watercolours, there was nothing on them but a sconce or two for electric light."
Arbuthnot, Mrs. ~ see Antrobus.
Arbuthnot, Professor ~ expert in Roman antiquities whose visit to examine the finds in the dig in the garden at Mallards House was summarily cancelled when Lucia sadly realised they were fragments of drain pipes and modern glass bottles.
Arcadians ~ Lucia was talking to Marcia Whitby about Riseholme."Dear Marcia, how sweet of you to want to come. I go there on Tuesday, and there I remain. But it's true, I do adore it. No balls, no parties, and such dear Arcadians. You couldn't believe in them without seeing them. Life at its very simplest dears."
In the central and eastern part of the Peloponnese peninsula, Arcadia takes its name from the mythological character, Arcas. Home of the god Pan in Greek Mythology, Arcadia was celebrated in the Renaissance as an unspoiled harmonious wilderness.
Ardingly Park ~ country house near to Tilling where the Prince of Wales spent one summer weekend. He was understood to have travelled to the area by train disembarking in Tilling and to have spent an enjoyable afternoon playing golf on its links. Next day His Royal Highness spent an unhurried and undisturbed morning enjoying the sights of Tilling.
Argle-bargle ~ when proposing a committee of three to put in hand arrangements for the fete to be held during her Summer lease by Lucia at "Mallards" in aid of Tilling hospital, the Padre commented that three was "sufficient for any committee that is going to do its work without any argle-bargle". This is another word for argy-bargy: a wrangling argument or verbal dispute - from the Scottish, compound based on dialect argle, probably from argue.
Aristophanes ~ in the first paragraph of "Lucia's Progress" Lucia is reported to have spent a busy morning divided about equally between practising a rather easy sonata by Mozart (a change from the Moonlight) and reading a rather difficult play by Aristophanes. There was the Greek on one page and an excellent English translation on the page opposite, and the play was so amusing that today she had rather neglected the Greek and pursued the English. Son of Philippus, Aristophanes (c.446 - 386 BC) was a prolific and acclaimed comic playwright. Eleven of his forty plays survive virtually complete and include "The Clouds" and "The Knights."
Later,when Lucia had acquired "Mallards" and was planning tableaux to be presented in her new home, she wondered about a scene from Aristophanes. She had begun the Thesmophoriazusae a few weeks ago: about the revolt of the Athenian women, from their sequestered and blighted existence. They barricaded themselves into the Acroplis, exactly as the Pankhursts and the suffragettes padlocked themselves to the railings of the House of Commons and the pulpit in Westminster Abbey.
Lucia's comments are somewhat perplexing since she appears to be describing the plot not of "Thesmophoriazusae" (or "Women's Festival") but of "Lysistrata", another play by Aristophanes in which the Athenian women do barricade themselves into the Acroplis - and (unlike the Pankhursts, one understands) obtain their objectives by the withdrawal of sexual favours from their menfolk. It is unclear whether this is a joke by Benson at Lucia's expense to demonstrate the thinness of her erudition or an infelicity?
Lucia averred that she "always maintained that Aristophanes is the most modern of writers, Bernard Shaw, in fact, but with far more wit, more Attic salt. If I might choose a day in all the history of the world to live through, it would be a day in the golden age of Athens. A talk to Socrates in the morning; lunch with Pericles and Aspasia: a matinee at the theatre for a new play by Aristophanes: supper at Plato's Symposium. How it fires the blood!"
Lucia did, however, admit," My Attic Day , I know, cannot be realized, but if there are, as I strongly suspect, the remains of a Roman temple or villa stretching out into the kitchen garden, we shall have whiff of classical ages again..."
Sadly, the only whiff actually experienced stemmed either from the drains or gas pipes beneath "Mallards House." See Socrates, Plato, Bernard Shaw, Pericles and Aspasia and wind-egg
Aristotle ~ when Lucia was discussing her feverish work to write "A modern Odyssey", her discourse upon her adventures on the Gallagher Bank to be delivered at the Tilling Institute, she told Georgie, "it has been terrific work, but I had to rid myself of the incubus of these memories by writing them down. Aristotle, you know; the purging of the mind."
Aristotle (384 -322 BC) was a Greek philosopher, student of Plato and teacher of Alexander the Great. His wide-ranging writings include morality, aesthetics, logic, science, philosophy, politics and metaphysics. Although not clearly defined, the term catharsis or purging was used in a philosophical sense to describe the effect of music and tragic drama on an audience, such as that it cleansed the spectators of emotions such as pity or fear, as they observe the actions of the characters on stage, leaving them calmer and in better mental equilibrium.
Ark of the Covenant ~ when Lucia announced that she had discovered the remains of a Roman temple beneath the garden of "Mallards House," her friends in Tilling were fascinated. Elizabeth Mapp called upon Diva Plaistow and was typically cynical and disbelieving, saying, "I'm thinking of digging up two or three old apple trees at Grebe which can't have borne fruit for the last hundred years and telling everybody that I've found the Ark of the Covenant or some Shakespeare Folios among their roots. Nobody shall see them of course..."
The Ark of the Covenant or Ark of the Testimony is described in the Book of Exodus as containing the stone tablets on which the Ten Commandments were written. It states in Exodus that the Ark was built on God's command, in accordance with instructions given to Moses on Mount Sinai. According to the Bible, the Ark was carried ahead in the exodus from Egypt and, when carried through, caused the waters of the Jordan to separate so that the entire host could pass through. There is no reference to the Ark ever being deposited at "Grebe" or indeed elsewhere in Sussex.
Armaud ~ marque of Georgie's motor car.
Art, sword and shield of ~ Lucia was always very busy of a morning in polishing the sword and shield of Art, in order to present herself daily to her subjects in shining armour, and keep a little ahead of them all in culture, and thus did not as a rule take part in the parliamants on the green in Riseholme.
Art Club Exhibition ~ art works by the citizens of Tilling were displayed in an annual exhibition each summer. The hanging committee initially comprised Miss Mapp and Mr and Mrs Wyse.
On one occasion eyebrows were raised when Miss Mapp unilaterally rejected submissions by newcomers Lucia and Georgie without consulting her fellow committee members; the intentional slight was subsequently rectified and the works in question displayed prominently on free-standing easels.
On Miss Mapp's resignation from the committee when her conduct came to light, Lucia was appointed President of the Club. On her appointment, Lucia instigated an additional Winter Exhibition in which local artists were to present their work by invitation. When she found she had not been so invited, Miss Mapp submitted a picture of her own un-invited and was disgruntled when it was returned with a type-written form conveying the regrets of the Committee that the limited wall space at its disposal would not permit Miss Mapp's picture being exhibited.
The Art Exhibition was judged a great success. Lucia had bought Georgie's picture of "Mallards" and Georgie bought Lucia's picture of "Mallards Cottage". Mr Wyse bought his wife's pastel of the King of Italy and sent it as a birthday present to Contessa Amelia. Susan Wyse bought her husband's tea-cup and wall flower and kept it herself. Lucia purchased one of Elizabeth Mapp's six exhibits which forced Miss Mapp to buy Georgie's picture of the Landgate which he had earlier given her and she had sold back to him at her jumble sale for sixpence. Thus Miss Mapp was not amused to have to pay a guinea for what had been hers.
On another occasion, after much critical acclaim Quaint Irene Coles' Birth of Venus, a satirical portrait of Mr and Mrs Mapp-Flint, was displayed at the exhibition - after it had been declared Picture of the Year and displayed at the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition.
The picture was based upon Irene's famous photograph of Elizabeth Mapp-Flint that appeared in the Hampshire Argus standing on one foot as if skating, with the other poised in the air behind her. Her face wore a beckoning smile and one arm was outstretched in eager solicitation. The effect was completed by Elizabeth's Victorian garb of shawl, bonnet, striped skirt and button boots standing on an oyster shell and being blown into Tilling by her Benjy-boy in frock coat and top hat among the clouds with a bottle secreted in his umbrella.
Irene graciously permitted it to be exhibited in Tilling, provided it was displayed alone and the amateur daubs of her neighbours were all removed. She also required the wall in question to be repainted duck-egg green beforehand and a decorative arrangement removed from the vicinity, lest it prove a distraction from her master-piece.
Irene's portrait of Lucia in Mayoral robes was also displayed there at the same time - prior to the rejection of Lucia's proposed gift of the painting by Tilling Council at the mischievous instigation of the Mayoress Elizabeth Mapp-Flint.
Although Quaint Irene's contributions claimed centre stage and indeed the whole theatre and surrounding neighbourhood, there were other contributions on display at the exhibition. They included Lucia's study of dahlias, entitled "Belli Fiori", and a sketch of the courtyard of Sheffield Castle, which she had weeded for the purposes of Art. She called it "From Memory," though it was really from her photograph, and, without specifying the Castle, she added the motto, "The splendour falls on castle walls."
Elizabeth sent in "A misty morning on the Marsh." She was fond of misty mornings, because the climatic conditions absolutely prohibited defined draughtsmanship.
Georgie (without any notion of challenging her contribution) contributed "A sunny morning on the Marsh" with sheep and dykes and clumps of ragwort very clearly delineated.
Algernon Wyse submitted one of his usual still-life studies of a silver tankard, a glass half full of (probably) Capri wine and a spray of nasturtiums
Diva who was chained to the kitchen of her tea-house and had little leisure for landscape, served up another piece of still life in pastel of two buns and a tartlet, probably sardine, on a plate.
Finally Susan Wyse sent in a mystical picture of a budgerigar with a halo above its head, and rays of orange light emanating from the primary feathers of its spread wings: "Lost Awhile" was its touching title.
See Picture of the Year and "Women Wrestlers"
Artemis ~ Stephen Merriall had left Lucia at 25 Brompton Square and was walking down Brompton Road. He was disturbed, since Lucia had behaved very oddly, holding his hand and sitting too closely to him on the sofa. Although he and Lucia were excellent friends, they had many tastes in common, but Stephen would sooner never see her again than have an intrigue with her. He was no hand, to begin with at amorous adventures, and even if he had been, he could not conceive of a woman more ill-adapted to dally with than Lucia. Galahad and Artemis would make a better job of it than Lucia and me,' he muttered to himself, turning hastily away from a window full of dainty underclothing for ladies.
Later, when Lucia conducted her callisthenics class at Grebe on alternate days, she wore a tunic rather like Artemis, but with a supplementary skirt and scarlet stockings.
An Olympian, Artemis was a virgin goddess one of the most widely venerated ancient Greek deities. The daughter of Leto and Zeus and twin sister of Apollo, Artemis was the goddess of the wilderness, the hunt and wild animals and fertility (as well as childbirth, virginity and young girls.) She was often depicted with the crescent of the moon above her forehead and as a huntress carrying a bow and arrow.
As a young virgin, Artemis interested many gods and men, but none won her heart, except for her hunting companion Orion, who was accidentally killed by Artemis or Gaia. Being associated with chastity, Artemis asked her father Zeus to grant her eternal virginity. Being very protective of her purity, she punished any man who might dishonour her, as when she turned Actaeon into a stag for ogling Artemis and her nymphs bathing au naturel.
Given her pronounced, if not positively over-developed, sense of her own virtue, it is clear that Artemis would not have approved of even a faux dalliance of the kind Lucia set in train so publicly with a worried Stephen Merriall.
Also, as an early multi-tasker, callisthenics in a tunic (for those no longer young) would appear to have been well within her compass. See Stephen Merriall, Adele Brixton and Galahad.
"Art for Art's Sake" ~ having returned to Riseholme following a hectic and improving visit to London, Lucia contemplated how she should resume her crown and busy herself in the coming days. In reality this meant deciding upon her Autumn Stunt, which this year was destined to be "Guruism." Just as the painter Rubens amused himself with being Ambassador to the Court of St James (a sufficient career in itself for most busy men), so Mrs Lucas amused herself, in the intervals of her pursuit of Art for Art's sake, with being not only an ambassador but a monarch....and her realm was Riseholme.
The slogan means that the beauty of the fine arts is reason in itself for pursuing them; Art does not have to serve purposes taken from politics, religion or politics and is "autotelic" or complete and self-motivated in itself - divorced from any didactic, moral or utilitarian function. The Latin phrase "Ars gratia artis" was used by MGM and the doctrine was espoused as "L'art pour l'art" by Theophile Gautier (1811-1872). It was promoted earlier by many including Coleridge, Poe and later by Wilde, Stefan George ("Kunst fur die Kunst" (1892)) and Baudelaire.
In English art and letters, the explicit slogan is associated directly with the opposition to Victorian moralism of the Aesthetic Movement and Walter Pater. It appears in Pater's review of William Morris in the Westminster Review and in William Blake by Swinburne. Benson refers to Pater, Swinburne and Morris elsewhere in the series. See Pater.
As from a cup of hemlock ~ when first visiting Tilling, Lucia and Georgie had both quite erroneously misinterpreted the matrimonial inclinations of the other and were equally relieved when the ghastly shadow disappeared. Lucia, it must be said, was slightly irritated, if not hurt, by the perhaps unnecessary vehemence of Georgie's relief at his deliverance, but subsequently they were particularly relaxed and happy in each others company."Ever since that beautiful understanding they had arrived at, that both of them shrank, as from a cup of hemlock, from the idea of marriage , they had talked Italian or baby language to a surprising extent from mere lightness of heart."
Hemlock is a poisonous spotted umbelliferous plant (conium maculatum) and the name is extended to other umbelliferous plants and the poison extracted from it. Classically, it was used a means of execution. Benson's line here also echoes John Keats "Ode to a Nightingale" published in 1820 as part of a collection entitled "Lamia, Isabella, The Eve of St Agnes, and Other Poems":
"My heart aches, and a drowsy numbness pains
My sense, as though of hemlock I had drunk,
Or emptied some dull opiate to the drains
One minute past, and Lethe-wards had sunk:
'Tis not through envy of thy happy lot,
But being too happy in thine happiness,--
That thou, light-winged Dryad of the trees
In some melodious plot
Of beechen green, and shadows numberless,
Singest of summer in full-throated ease...."
See "To autumn."
Aspasia ~ when Lucia chose a day in all the history of the world to live through, she opted for a day in the golden age of Athens featuring lunch with Pericles and Aspasia. A Milesian, Aspasia (c 470BC - 400BC) was "involved with" Athenian statesman Pericles. Mentioned by Plato, Aristophanes and Xenophon, Aspasia may have been influential. Some authorities refer to her as a courtesan and others as the wife of Pericles. She bore him a son, Pericles the Younger, an Athenian general executed after the Battle of Arginusae. See Pericles.
Athene ~ when Princess Popoffski's secretary mentioned to Daisy Quantock that the medium would be leaving the next day for a week's holiday at the Royal Hotel in Brinton, Daisy explained that it was close to Riseholme. "The whole scheme flashed complete upon her, even as Athene sprang full-grown from the brain of Zeus." She promptly enquired if the Princess might be induced to spend a few days with her in Riseholme.
Similarly, when Diva Plaistow wished to solve the mystery of the purported duel between Major Flint and Capain Puffin, she determined whilst Miss Mapp rested to get hold of the Padre without the duellists. Even as Athene sprang full grown and panoplied from the brain of Zeus, so from Diva's brain there sprang her plan complete. (As a digression, one is tempted to wonder if the plan might actually have "popped" rather than "sprang" from Diva's brain, since popping was very much her forte.) Diva Plaistow immediately invested the ruinous sum of four shillings upon the purchase of a freshly dressed crab with which to tempt the Padre and his wee wifie to luncheon at which she intended to extract the required information from him. Remorselessly employing pitiless force majeure, she immediately asked him to lunch in a way he could not refuse and duly obtained a full account of the Padre's fruitless search amongst the sand dunes.
Godess of wisdom, courage, inspiration, civilisation, warfare, strength, strategy, the arts, justice and skill Athene, Athena or Pallas Athena/Athene is the virgin patron of Athens where the Parthenon was built in her honour. There are several versions of her birth, but in the commonest, Zeus lay with Metis, the goddess of cunning and wisdom. Wanting to forestall the prophesy that her offspring would be more powerful than their father, he swallowed Metis, but he suffered a severe headache (possibly the earliest recorded migraine) and Athene leaped from the head of Zeus, fully grown and armed with a clarion call of war. See Zeus.
Athenian ~ Whist Lucia was enjoying a fortnight away in London, Daisy Quantock made the most of her freedom by arranging her new-found Guru to stay with her in Riseholme. Daisy duly reported this development in a voluminous letter which awaited Lucia's return. Considering how to react to this news, Lucia reflected upon her friend's character. She recognised "the truly Athenian character of Daisy's mind, for she was always inquiring into some new thing, which was the secret of life when first discovered and got speedily relegated to the dust-heap. But against such a course was the undoubted fact that Daisy did occasionally get hold of somebody who subsequently proved to be of interest "- such as the "mean Scottish attorney" whom Lucia initially snubbed brutally and who later rose to eminence in government and returned Lucia's rude disdain with interest.
As a classicist, Benson used the term “Athenian” in its broad sense to convey the sheer diversity of achievement and interest issuing from the city of
at its peak as the cradle of European civilisation and functioning democracy and as a powerhouse of the arts, learning and philosophy, home of Plato’s Academy and Aristotle’s Lyceum. Lucia admitted to be fascinated by Athens in the age of Pericles and so, it appears, was Benson. Daisy Quantock’s interests ranged from Christian Science via Uric Acid to golf and from Guruism and yoga to planchette and psychic phenomena, but there was no denying that her interests were diverse and in their way, Athenian. Athens
Atkinson ~ Colonel Boucher's servant. Married Elizabeth
Auction Bridge ~ Georgie Pillson was bringing Olga Bracely up to date on recent developments on her return to Riseholme after her American tour. He asked, "But, what I want to know is , why did Lucia send across for my manual on Auction Bridge? She thinks all card games are imbecile."
Olga replied with canny accuracy, "Oh Georgie, that's easy. Why of course Brompton Square, though nothing's settled. Parties you know, when she wants people who like to play Bridge."
Card game auction bridge developed from straight bridge in 1904 and was precursor to contract bridge. In auction bridge a game is scored whenever the required number of tricks is scored whereas in contract bridge, where accurate bidding is crucial, the number of points from tricks taken past the bid do not count towards making a game.
August 4th. 1914 ~ when Georgie heard that Miss Mapp had pushed her way into "Mallards" breaking the chain which was on the door in her eagerness to complain about the holding of Lucia's fete in aid of Tilling hospital in her garden, he remarked "It's war", which Lucia denied. Unconvinced Georgie continued ""Well, I feel like the fourth of August 1914". This was the day on which Britain declared war on Germany. Later that day, Germany invaded Belgium and the Great War had officially begun.
August stunt ~ Lucia maintained her social pre-eminence in Riseholme and Tilling by various means. In addition to the natural advantages stemming from her disposition, intellect and drive, Lucia often sought to contrive events or activities to divert and amuse her "subjects." For example, she consciously evolved a plan to annex the guru from Daisy Quantock, move him to The Hurst and engage him to run classes in yoga in which the whole of Riseholme would be involved. Lucia naturally would be the leading student and take it upon herself to instruct a class in her becoming Teacher's Robe. Running the guru in this fashion was Lucia's August stunt that year. In this way, rather like a Roman emperor maintaining control of the populace with bread and circuses, Lucia used such stunts to sustain her steely grip upon the hearts and minds of Riseholme and later Tilling.
Au reservoir ~ delicious malaprop first used in Tilling by Miss Mapp and swiftly widely adopted.
Understood to have been first heard by Miss Mapp on a visit to a friend in that sweet and refined village called Riseholme in the Midlands. It was rather looked down on there as not being sufficiently intellectual. But within a week of Miss Mapp's return , Tilling rang with it, and she let it be known that she was the original humorist .
Much enjoyed by all, save for Quaint Irene Coles, who dismissed it as a silly old chestnut. Also, upon hearing "Au reservoir" Miss Susan Legg the visiting novelist asked "O what?" When Elizabeth Mapp responded, "Some of the dear folk here say 'Au reservoir' instead of 'Au revoir'," replied humourlessly, "Why do they do that?" See Any news?
Aunt Amy ~ see Amy, Aunt
Aunt Amy's pearls ~ a little collar of remarkably small seed pearls inherited by Pepino upon the death of Aunt Amy and faultlessly captured in Sargent's full-length portrait of his late aunt. Their size and value was relentlessly discussed and exaggerated in Riseholme and Lucia was relieved by the eventual decision to sell them when disposing of 25 Brompton Square. Despite this decision, they appear not to have been sold and Lucia wore them several times in her hair, including in Olga Braceley's box at the London premier of Cortese's opera "Lucretia", at the banquet to celebrate her inauguration as Mayor of Tilling and at dinner with the Mapp-Flints. See Infelicities
Aunt Caroline ~ see Caroline Mapp, Aunt
"Autumn, To" ~ on one October morning Lucia reflected on the season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. There was no doubt about the mists for there had been several sea-fogs in the English Channel and the mellow fruitfulness of the garden at Mallards was equally indisputable. Lucia was quoting from the ode of 1819 "To Autumn" by English romantic poet John Keats (1795 - 1821) which had been inspired by a walk along the beautiful river Itchen near Winchester one fine autumn day. See "As from a cup of hemlock."
Avon ~ a low wall separated the end of the garden of "The Hurst", the decidedly Elizabethan home of Philip/Peppino/Pepino and Emmeline (Lucia) Lucas in Riseholme, from the meadow outside; beyond that lay the stream which flowed into the Avon. It often seemed wonderful to Lucia that the water which wimpled by would (unless a cow happened to drink it) soon be stealing along past the church at Stratford where Shakespeare lay. Peppino had written a very moving little prose-poem about it. It is not known whether this piece was published, whether in Peppino's self-published slim volumes, "Flotsam " or "Jetsam" - or indeed elsewhere.
The source of the River Avon - sometimes known as the Warwickshire Avon or even Shakespeare's Avon - is near the village of Naseby in Northamptonshire. It has a total length of 85 miles and a catchment size of 1,032 square miles. Its many tributaries include the rivers Leam, Stour, Sowe, Dene, Arrow, Swift, Alne, Isboune, Sherbourne and Swilgate, as well as many minor streams and brooks, such as the one behind "The Hurst" in Riseholme.