Two Weddings & Several Revelations: Allusions and References
Passing allusions and references which maybe a little opaque to the present reader, decoded – as far as possible – here.
a lunatic in the care of Chancery: one of the responsibilities of the Court of Chancery was to manage the affairs of certified lunatics who owned property.
the art of champooing: a form of massage from India.
the adventures of Jorrocks: character created by the author R. S. Surtees (1805–64): a cockney grocer who was a devotee of fox-hunting and horse-racing.
her Welsh rabbit: or Welsh rarebit, toast covered with melted cheese mixed with butter and other seasonings.
like the Demon King bursting out of the trapdoor in a pantomime: one of the spectacular effects in the traditional British pantomime.
the fellow in the Greek myth that saved the lady from the sea-monster: Perseus and Andromeda.
as the forgeries of jealousy: A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act II, Scene 1.
tommie: vulgar term for lesbian
La, Miss Nancy: vulgar term for an effeminate and probably homosexual man.
thanks to Sir Robert Peel: the Metropolitan Police had been f. 1829 by Sir Robert Peel (whence the names ‘bobbies’ and ‘peelers’) under the control of the Home Office and had greatly improved public order and safety.
the Family Shakspeare: the expurgated version of the works published by Thomas Bowdler in 1807 (but edited by his sister Henrietta Maria) meant to omit material unsuited for reading in mixed company and before children.
a former Bow Street Runner: founded by Henry Fielding and considered the first formal London police force, attached to the Bow Street Magistrate’s Court, and had the authority of the magistrates to pursue and arrest offenders. Superseded by the Metropolitan Police.
the cup that cheers: William Cowper, in The Task (1784), referring to tea:
And while the bubbling and loud-hissing urn
Throws up a steamy column, and the cups,
That cheer but not inebriate, wait on each.
the Raxdell House phalanstery: insinuation that the household at Raxdell House had been modeling itself on the utopian ideas of the socialist Charles Fourier, subversive of social and gender hierarchies.
not at your gallipots: the small glazed pots used by apothecaries for their preparations.
screwed his courage to the sticking place: Macbeth, Act I, Scene 7.
judge not, that ye be not judged: Gospel according to St Matthew, 7:1.
catch an omnibus: horse-drawn omnibuses for public transport were introduced to London in 1829.
fine breeches roles: role requiring an actress to masquerade in male garb.
sufficient unto the day: ‘Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof’: The Sermon on the Mount, Gospel According to St Matthew, 6:34.
quite entirely wigs on the green: an expression, Irish in origin, meaning a quarrel or altercation - said to date from the time when men wore wigs, and if a brawl started, these would soon fall off.
in favour of Polish freedom: Poland at this period was no longer a sovereign state but had been partitioned between Austria, Russia and Prussia, although the idea of Polish independence remained alive and there were several uprisings.
bello scozzese: handsome Scot.
‘twas West Indies sugar, and also, she hears there is some rumour that there was also black-birding: a fortune made in West Indies sugar would have been founded upon enslaved labour even if by the date in question slavery had been abolished throughout the British Empire; ‘black-birding’ was the (illicit since 1807) trade in African slaves.
a crim. con. case: ‘criminal conversation’: a case in which a husband sued another man for damages for the seduction of his wife, possibly as a prelude to obtaining a parliamentary divorce, but not always.
quite Darby and Joan: proverbial term for a contented long-married couple.
But how could we do without sugar and rum?: William Cowper, Pity For Poor Africans.
quacked on cold water at Malvern: Malvern’s healing springs had been recognised since the 17th century, but in the 1840s it became a centre for the hydropathic ‘water cure’ based on that of Vincent Priessnitz of Gräfenberg, Silesia and many famous Victorians were treated there.
her father would see how she grew: the late Lord Raxdell was Beatrice’s father.
My gracious silence, she said: Coriolanus thus addresses his wife Virgilia, in Coriolanus, Act II, Scene 1.
some talk of a college for women?: Queen’s College, Harley Street, founded by F. D. Maurice under the auspices of the Governesses’ Benevolent Institution
join the Cause in Italy: the Risorgimento, aimed at freeing the various Italian states from foreign and tyrannical rulers and unifying them into an independent nation.
an entire Galahad, nay, even a Hippolytus: noted exemplars of male chastity.
as chaste as monks — or mayhap chaster, does one take Gothic literature as any guide: corrupt monks were a feature of Gothic novels, e.g. Matthew Lewis’s The Monk (1796)
one another’s ever-fixed mark: Shakespeare, Sonnet 116, ‘Let me not to the marriage of true minds/Admit impediments’.
as though I were Hamlet going to rebuke his mother in her chamber: Hamlet, Act III, Scene IV.
Let us see is there a Bradshaw about the place, or whether we need to send out for one.: Soon after the introduction of railways George Bradshaw began publishing these compilations of railway timetables.
somewhat Jesuitical: practising equivocation or prevarication, reserving the truth if not actually lying.
the offspring of her ayah: her Indian maidservant.
with his bibi in Calcutta: his Indian mistress.
her plenteous womb expresseth his full tilth and husbandry: Measure for Measure, Act I, Scene 4
L.A. Hall, FRHistS