Notes on the text
“stared at the long perspective of diners busy at a hundred tables. Then they…”[Page 26, line 24] nut pre-1914 slang for the excessively dandified young men about town whom P.G. Wodehouse wrote about, to the enjoyment of almost one and all. It was frequently spelt “knut,” as in the song “Gilbert the Filbert, the Colonel of the Knuts.”
"It's just the same as when I was here last summer."This implies that either she was already in England when war broke out, or she arrived very soon afterwards.
I’ve gotter motter–It’s a short life and a gay one!” [Page 27, lines 20-22] full lootenant … plain sub He has been promoted from sub-lieutenant to lieutenant.
Always merry and bright!
Look around and you will find
Every cloud is silver lined;
The sun will shine
Although the sky’s a gray one.
I’ve often said to meself, I’ve said,
“Cheer up, Cully, you’ll soon be dead!
A short life and a gay one!”
[we are indebted to David Page for this note: Ed.]
“Henri told me it’s made from the hind legs of sturgeons – most nutritious.”[Page 27, line 29] Pol Roger ’04 A vintage champagne. According to Freeling “1904 was an outstanding year for many wines … It was certainly ‘millesime’ in the Champagne, where only exceptional years are given a date at all, and must in ’15 have been supreme.”
“It makes one who takes her art seriously feel so hopeless.”[Page 29, line 6] one-pounder a light quick-firing gun, firing shells of this weight.
“at the thought of it, and went on, ‘What a noble thing that Hymn of Hate is, ain’t it! I was trying to recite it to my engineer next morning, and all I could remember was the curse in The Jackdaw of Rheims. They’re awfully alike, don’t you think?”“The Jackdaw of Rheims” is a narrative poem by the Rev. R.H. Barham (1788-1845).
“’He was over the rail too, and where it all came from I couldn’t make out! But a st-stout fellow – a stout fellow [see note to p. 35, line 22]. And I used to think he was a damned old bill drawer.’Cordelia could probably be heard from a distance because the “oil auxiliaries” were thumping away.
‘Thank you,’ said Maddingham acidly. ‘As a Co-Director of – ‘
‘But Jarrett has a heart of gold,’ Winchmore continued. ‘You can hear him as far as you can see him. He took charge of my Uncle Newt like the Public Trustee. I …”.
“Did you board my friend?’ ‘Not I. I’d just been strictly warned against “complicating the existing situation,”’ Portson replied. ‘Sorry,’ Tegg murmured, apparently without reason, ‘but – politics is politics.’ ‘So I gathered,’ Portson went on. ‘I was to exercise tact and the greatest consideration in view of the interests involved!’”[Page 35, line 11] Channel The English Channel.
“I think that was legitimate, don’t you?”[Page 37, line 27] afterward After this in Nash’s:
“Then he fairly took my breath away.”[Page 37, line 29] glengarry A type of Highland bonnet.
“’What was your idea in lying behind him?’ Portson asked. ‘Wouldn’t alongside have been handier?’ ‘Not with oil engines, I think,’ was the answer. ‘They are right aft and you run less risk of lighting up the main oil tanks if you get a shot in there. I was hoping to save the oil.’ ‘That’s rather a wheeze,’ said Portson. ‘I must try it some day.’“Uncle Newt” was carrying oil, and was built like a traditional tanker, with the tanks forming the forepart of the vessel, and the machinery right at the stern. If Maddingham were abeam of him, and had cause to fire at him, he might have holed the tanks, spilling the oil (no “green” worries in those days), and wasting it. If, however, he fired from astern (“loose off into him, end-on”), then the shell would have hit the engines and all the associated machinery, rather than piercing the tanks.
“I believe it’s owing to the way the rudder’s balanced.”[Page 42, line 14] court-martial After this in Nash’s:
“and the jokes about my blood-pressure.”[Page 42, line 18] flare A firework like a Roman candle, normally used as a distress signal or to attract attention urgently.
“You could have heard the echoes at Weston-super-Mare.”[Page 45, line 11] uric acid A reference to their Carlsbad contact.
“He didn’t show a light at dusk, and Sherrin had to remind me. Sherrin doesn’t steer as well as I do.”This is confusing. Without lights, Sherrin would have been worried because he couldn’t see anything to follow. But quite what Sherrin had to remind Maddingham about is not clear, unless it were to switch on their own lights – but Sherrin could have done that on his own responsibility as Officer of the Watch.
“with a go of bronchitis.”[Page 47, lines 20-1] condemn me to death One might wonder whether a journey to England, even on a luxury yacht, and then to London by car or train, would have been likely to save a patient who was “seriously ill with bronchial pneumonia.” It would surely have been better to call in a local doctor and perhaps have him taken to an Irish hospital. It seems likely that by now he was semi-delirious and clinging to the thought of a doctor whom he already knew and trusted. Either way, Maddingham is unwilling to help.
“They drank, and descended into the palm-court where the string band plays.”