Good Practices: Allusions and References
Passing allusions and references which maybe a little opaque to the present reader, decoded – as far as possible – here.
orgeat and ratafia: orgeat, a syrup or cooling drink made from barley or almonds and orange-flower water; ratafia, a liqueur flavoured with almonds and fruit kernels.
Do very well from vails and perquisites: vails, gratituities; perquisites, the traditional benefits to various servants, such as old clothes to valets and lady’s maids, dripping and other household by-products to sell.
hussifery: housewifery, domestic skills.
the chairmen: Sedan chairs were a means of transport through the filthy and often dangerous streets of London at the period in question.
a link-boy to guide him home: a boy with a flaming torch for hire to guide pedestrians through the unlit streets at night.
wore the willow: grieving over a departed lover.
pleadings for a flight to Gretna: an elopement to Scotland, where it was possible for young people under 21 to marry without parental permission and simply by declaration in front of a witness. Gretna Green was one of the first places across the Border.
does he inform the Runners: The Bow Street Runners: the body of men set up by the Bow Street Magistrates Henry and John Fielding to investigate crimes and apprehend the culprits on a retainer system; this led to the development of a detective force.
the Hon Company still recruited for its forces in the Indies: the Honourable East India Company maintained its own armies in the 3 Presidencies of Bengal, Bombay and Madras, separate from HM Armed Forces.
the wicked flee when no man pursueth: Proverbs: 28:1
Equiano’s Travels, Thoughts and Sentiments on the Evil and Wicked Traffic of the Human Species, and Letters of the Late Ignatius Sancho: works by African writers, previously enslaved, published and circulated in C18th Britain, discussed in this article.
crim. con. cases: a legal case in which a husband sued his wife’s seducer for damages: usually as a preliminary to obtaining a separation or divorce.
the products of Holywell Street: Holywell Street, off the Strand, was the centre of pornographic publishing and the production of lewd satirical prints.
What is it that is said in the Gospel about adultery in the heart?: ‘whosoever looketh on a woman to lust after her hath committed adultery with her already in his heart’, Gospel of St Matthew: 5:28.
houses that had their own ice-houses: ice-houses provided a means of preserving food, and also chilling food and drinks, before refrigeration.
make his bow at Potsdam once more: i.e at the court of the King of Prussia.
getting into a habit of laudanum: addicted to tincture of opium.
leave the servants here upon board wages: wages to cover providing food for them when the employer was not in residence.
the purpose of a still-room: a room in a house in which a still was kept for the distillation of perfumes and cordials; in Phoebe’s case the intention would be to prepare polishes and mixtures for cleaning.
the night-soil collectors came very punctilious: the men who came by night with carts to clear out privies, before the days of mains sewage.
a fine scullery with a pump: a water-supply on the premises.
a reception room: a room designed for the entertainment of company.
a passage in Shakspeare very much to the point, in that play that Miss Clo took a great horror did one quote: the Porter’s speech in Macbeth, Act II, Scene 3: ‘much drink may be said to be an equivocator with lechery: it makes him, and it mars him; it sets him on, and it takes him off; it persuades him, and disheartens him; makes him stand to, and not stand to; in conclusion, equivocates him in a sleep, and, giving him the lie, leaves him’; Clorinda, bred in the theatre, retains many theatrical superstitions including the ones concerning the Scottish play.
‘tis my fetch comes cry for vengeance, vengeance: her ghost.
sitting on the rocks like Patience on a monument – without a hat and without her parasol!: Twelfth Night, Act II, Scene 4: Clorinda’s neglect to preserve her complexion from the sun is quite shocking.
‘Tis not as though you have plantations in the West Indies: i.e. wealth gained from slavery.
How now, Sambo!: a derogatory name for a black person.
give up the turf: horse-racing.
judge not that ye be not judged. And are there not several harlots in the Bible give out exemplary figures?:
drive one or t’other of ‘em quite to Bedlam!: Bedlam, or Bethlem, Hospital, St Mary Bethlehem, founded in 1247, and for centuries the only public institution for the care of the insane in England.
bury her entire proper, and not on the parish!: i.e. not in a pauper’s grave.
was she a little rolled-up, might she sit at cards would never be completely pockets to let: was she in financial straits, if she could play cards she would never have entirely empty pockets.
Mr Hacker’s connexions in coastal commerce: Mr Hacker had useful associations with the Sussex smuggling fraternity (‘gentlemen of the Trade’).
what you will quote out of some play as Rumour, painted full of tongues: Henry IV, Part II, Prologue, Scene 1: ‘ Enter RUMOUR, painted full of tongues’.
an elegance of style that had, ‘twas said, been commended by Brummell himself: George Bryan “Beau” Brummell (1778–1840), noted arbiter of fashion and setter of style, one-time friend of the Prince Regent.
a truckle-bed: a low bed on wheels that could be stored under a larger bed.
clap him up in Bedlam; or, more like, some discreet private house in Hoxton: Hoxton from the seventeenth to the early nineteenth century was noted for its private houses accommodating lunatics whose families or friends were able to pay for their care: conditions, however, were often harsh, although changes were gradually coming about from the later eighteenth century with some measure of oversight and regulation.
without at least a card marked PPC: Pour Prendre Conge, a card to indicate that a person was leaving Town.
a Wedgwood Am I not a man and a brother? tea-service: a tea-service decorated with Wedgwood’s iconic anti-slavery medallion.
actually singing – Over the hills and far away: the romantic Beggar’s Opera version rather than one of the more militaristic ones.
allusions to the footsteps of Lady Hamilton: Emma Hamilton, the lover of Lord Nelson.
nor had there been offers to send their friends: i.e. bearing a challenge to a duel.
a reading from Proverbs, those verses concerning the strange woman which flattereth with her words: Proverbs, 2:16.
that sermon concerning the children of Ham and the justifications for slavery: The Curse of Ham, placed upon his descendants by Noah, Genesis, 9: 20-27, was claimed to provide biblical justification for Negro slavery.
I do not understand questions of ecclesiastical preference, but although I apprehend that His Grace owns a deal of property about these parts, I do not think that he has the presentation of the living: who had the right to appoint a clergyman to a particular church was something that did not necessarily align with owning property in the area, particularly in London.
was franked, had not been obliged to pay: Members of Parliament were able to send letters by the Royal Mail by franking them with their signature, so that the recipient did not have to pay.
his duties at the Sublime Porte: the court of the Sultan of Turkey.
he did not go offer me carte blanche: the offer of an establishment as his mistress.
still about the tedious proceedings necessary to bring about a divorce: obtaining a divorce at this period, almost exclusively available only to husbands, required procuring a separation under ecclesiastical law, the wronged husband suing his wife’s seducer for damages (‘criminal conversation’), and then applying for a private Act of Parliament.
their opinions are seldom of a discriminating niceness — for a jig or a tale of bawdry, or else he sleeps: Hamlet, Act II, Scene 2: Hamlet on Polonius.
publishing her memoirs might be the recourse to provide for her old age: the ‘whore biography’ had emerged as a popular genre in the eighteenth century, and was followed by memoirs by ‘women of pleasure’ themselves (though sometimes ghostwritten) devoured for their scandalous revelations.
his dunnage was prepared: naval term for luggage.
a pretty china cow-creamer: a milk-jug in the form of a cow.
entirely kill the fatted calf: from the parable of the Prodigal Son, Gospel of St Luke, 15:23; but more generally, to welcome with a lavish celebration.
was not Hampstead give out a most sanitive location? Fine airs, medicinal springs, the magnificent vistas across the Heath: its pure air and mineral waters, combined with closeness to London, had led to Hampstead becoming a desirable residential location from the later seventeenth century.
to a good and deserving cause: it may be assumed that this was the abolition of slavery.
Money put by in the Savings Bank: Savings banks, first established in the UK in 1799, were retail finance institutions set up under democratic and philanthropic principles with the aim of creating thrifty habits amongst small and medium-sized savers such as craftsmen and domestic servants.
an encounter with My Lady Crocodile: Sir Barton Wallace’s mother.
persuaded to try Leamington Priors for a change: now Royal Leamington Spa, in Warwickshire, where a spa developed around supposedly healing waters during the eighteenth century.
cuts me out from convoy, and behold me conveyed to a secluded arbour, my colours struck, and boarded to great mutual satisfaction: Clorinda here deploys very appropriate metaphors from naval warfare.
presented her with a work by Aretino, very lavish illustrated: a series of sixteen erotic engravings based on paintings by the Italian Renaissance artist Giulio Romano, to which sonnets by Pietro Aretino were added.
goes consult with his attorneys over a deed of separation: even without proceeding to a separation through the ecclesiastical courts, it was possible to enter into private deeds of separation of marriage.
whether Mr Bascombe would be giving Mamber a decent character upon his departure: a favourable reference.
less liable to the miasmas of Town: disease-bearing vapours.
where, ’twas said, in due course there would be a fine park but at present, all one saw was a deal of building work a-going on: The Regent’s Park.
excellent fine inns about these parts: several of which are still in existence, e.g. Spaniards Inn, the Holly Bush; the Flask.
a party that continued strenuously to resist the abolition of slavery: i.e. the Tories. Not until the 1832 Reform Act were there significant numbers of pro-abolition MPs into Parliament; and in 1833 slavery within the Empire was abolished.
the virtuous woman praised in Proverbs: yet, he thought, she stretcheth out her hand to the poor; yea, she reacheth forth her hands to the needy, and in her tongue is the law of kindness, even was she not a respectable married woman about the spindle and distaff and raising of children: Proverbs 31:10-31.
mission to Washington and had perished there of one of the miasmatic fevers that afflicted the place: Washington at this period was considered a hardship posting in the Diplomatic Service due to its very unhealthy location.
surely would make a generous settlement upon Madame: financial provision for her.
a coarse fellow endeavouring extortion against Mr Reveley concerning an act not fit to be named: blackmail for sodomy, at that time and until 1861, a capital crime, although there were no executions after 1834, sentences of transportation or imprisonment being imposed instead.
L.A. Hall, FRHistS