Easy French ~ following her return from honeymoon in Monte Carlo Elizabeth Mapp-Flint littered her conversation with words and phrases of beginner's French, just as Lucia and Georgie favoured use of easy Italian.
It is unclear whether this habit was entirely natural, an affectation or satirical. Thus Elizabeth called some friends "Cherie", inquired N'est ce pas?" and arranged things "Comme il faut". "Who's deal?" became "Qui donne?" and her "mari" Benjy boy was also "Mon vieux". Mrs Mapp-Flint enjoyed this gambit enormously and found it "tres amusant".
Most of Tilling were mildly irritated by this practice, but remained silent until Diva Plaistow seized her moment and asked in her usual rapid-fire, staccato way that Elizabeth should drop that silly habit of putting easy French phrases into her conversation: "so confusing. Besides everyone sees you're only copying Lucia. So ridiculous. All put on." Elizabeth agreed that she would try to break herself: "I'm sure I don't want to confuse anybody" to which Diva replied ruthlessly "Tres agreable. Can't you hear how silly that sounds? Been on my mind a long time to tell you that." see Language.
Easy Italian ~ in midland Riseholme next to il piccolo Avono Lucia, Pepino and Georgie peppered their conversation with snippets of easy conversational Italian. This practice later continued in seaside Tilling. Thus: Lucia mia. Carissima! Ben arrivata! Si mio, Caro. Sta bene? Molto bene! Alternatively: Cattivo ragazzo, Georgino mio! Que bella barba. Un po di musica? Buon riposo!
This habit was something of an affectation and intended to give the impression of fluency in la bella lingua. In depicting this affectation Benson is yet again lampooning his sometime friend, the best-selling novelist Marie Corelli who pretended to be fluent in Italian and also professed to be descended from the childless Venetian musician, Arcangelo Corelli.
More than once, Lucia and Georgie had to resort to subterfuges, such as feigned illness or trips away, to prevent disclosure of their linguistic incompetence. On some occasions it was necessary to pretend that fluent Italian was unintelligible claiming it was broad Neapolitan or some other dialect. These pretences worked surprisingly well, but many close amici, such as Elizabeth Mapp, persisted in suspecting the truth. see Language.
Ebullitions ~ returning to Riseholme from their first visit to Tilling, Gergie Pillson had been struck by the, "frightful revivification," that had happened to Lucia. To him, her "repudiation of Riseholme and the craving for the 'Iliad' and Tilling and 'The Symposium' indicated an almost dangerous appetite for novelty. Or was it only that, having bottled herself up for a year, the cork now being out, she should overflow in these ebullitions?"
An ebullition is a sudden emotional outburst or violent outpouring of emotion. The term was, for example, used by Thackeray in the phrase "did not...give way to any ebullitions of private grief."
Echo ~ at the dinner followed by bridge hosted by Algernon and Susan Wyse at "Starling Cottage" cards were cut to determine who should sit out for the first rubber and Lucia and an inebriated Major Benjy drew the highest cards. As they sat alone in the little sitting room Major Benjy remarked, "Upon my word, a delightful little dinner. Good talk, good friends. a glass of jolly good wine and a rubber to follow. What more can a man ask, I ask you, and Echo answers, 'Cern'ly not'. And I've not had a pow-wow with you fora long time, Signora, as old Camelia Faradiddleone would say."
Lucia saw that he had had about enough wine, but after many evenings with Elizabeth who wouldn't?
Famed in Greek mythology for loving her own voice, Echo (Ekho) was a mountain nymph or Oread. According to legend, Hera became annoyed with the talkative Echo for distracting her with entertaining stories whilst her husband Zeus took advantage of the opportunity and ravished the other mountain nymphs (as Greek gods do). She punished the loquacious Echo by removing her voice, except in repetition of another's words. Subsequently, after only being able to repeat the words spoken by the vain Narcissus, and being dismissed by him, Echo was left heartbroken, crying and pining away until all that was left was her voice.
Eddy, Mrs Mary Baker ~ When Lucia returned from London, she found that in her absence her neighbour in Riseholme, Daisy Quantock had taken up with a guru who was in residence as a guest and teaching her yoga.
At that time, after many other passing enthusiasms, Daisy was a follower of Christian Science. Suffering from a cold she found that the malaise was too obstinate for all the precepts of Mrs Eddy; the "True Statement of Being" however often repeated only seemed to inflame it further and one day when confined to the house she had been led to take down a book on Oriental Philosophies containing a chapter on yoga, which - after written application - led to the arrival at her home of an Indian gentleman who ultimately became her "guru".
Founder of the Church of Christ, Scientist, in Boston Massachusetts, Mary Baker-Eddy (1821 - 1910) wrote the movement's text book "Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures (1875). A spiritual teacher and lecturer, thrice married Mrs Baker Eddy was credited with the power of healing. See Christian Science, "True Statement of Being", Daisy Quantock, Guru and Yoga.
Egalo-megalo-mayoralo-mania ~ term coined by Georgie whilst in the bath to describe the self-important delusions of grandeur experienced by Lucia in contemplation of her impending installation as Mayor of Tilling.
Eggs a la Capri ~ a favourite dish, often served to guests by Algernon and Susan Wyse originating in the kitchens of sister Contessa Amelia di Faraglione in Capri.
Egg of meat, As full of plans as an ~ Lucia and Georgie were enjoying each others company during a busy summer in Tilling when they had retained their adjoining abodes. Lucia gave her mornings to finance and the masterpieces of the Greek tragedians, and in this piping weather recuperated herself with a siesta after lunch. Then in the evening coolness they motored or sketched or walked over the field paths of the marsh, dined together and had orgies of Mozartino. All the time (even during her siesta) Lucia's head was full of plans as an egg of meat and she treated Georgie to spoonfuls of it....
Here Benson yet again refers to Shakespeare, in this case Act I of "Romeo and Juliet" in which Mercutio says, "Thy head is full of quarrels as an egg is full of meat, and yet thy head hath been beated as addle as an egg for quarreling," which might be interpreted to mean, "Your head is as full of quarrels as an egg is full of yolk, but your head has been beaten like scrambled eggs from so much quarreling." In any event, Lucia was had many ideas for her future in Tilling.
Eight thousand pounds ~ the sum made by Lucia after her relocation to Tilling in dealings on the Stock Market with the sage advice of her broker, Mammoncash. Lucia remarked loftily , "Naturally one does not talk about it, but there it is, and I shall certainly spend a great deal of it, keeping some for myself - the labourer is worthy of his hire -on Tilling. I want- how can I put it -to be a fairy godmother to the dear little place."
Einstein ~ when, on her return from the Gallagher Banks, Lucia was speculating with Georgie as to exactly why Elizabeth Mapp was lurking like a burglar in the kitchen of "Grebe" on Boxing Day, Lucia's eyes ceased to bore and became far-off focus, keen still but speculative, as if she was Einstein concentrating on some cosmic deduction.
Often regarded as the father of modern physics, Albert Einstein (1879 - 1955) was a theoretical physicist and one of the most famous and influential scientists and intellectuals of all time. Winner of the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics, his myriad contributions include special and general theories of relativity, founding relativistic cosmology, the first post Newtonian expansion, gravitational lensing, the first fluctuation dissipation theorem, photon theory and wave particle duality, none of which would have meant a thing to Lucia or still less Georgie - although for many the combination of great intelligence and originality made the name "Lucia" equate in some relatively small way in her particular universe of Tilling to genius - not entirely unlike the name "Einstein" in his much larger cosmos.
Elections ~ Elizabeth Mapp-Flint and Lucia both stood for election to the Town Council of Tilling. At opposite ends of the spectrum, Lucia advocated increased spending on public works and social housing whilst Mrs Mapp-Flint proposed parsimony and reduced rates.
An energetic campaign featured frenetic canvassing and climaxed with a loud demonstration by Quaint Irene Coles leading a band of urchins and her extremely tall maid Lucy bearing banners praising Lucia as the friend of the poor and opposing Mrs Mapp-Flint.
On this occasion, Lucia and Mrs Mapp-Flint came joint bottom of the poll.
Following many donations benefiting the locality, Lucia was co-opted to fill a vacancy as councillor and subsequently elected to office. Thereafter, as her largess continued, Lucia was appointed Mayor of Tilling.
Mrs Mapp-Flint was gracious enough to accept Lucia's shrewd offer to become her Mayoress and was subsequently elected to the Council, defeating Georgie Pillson in a not-very-close contest
Eleven twenty ~ the 11.20a.m. steam tram from Tilling to the golf links by the coast was habitually taken by Major Flint and Captain Puffin until the sad demise of the latter following a stroke and drowning in a bowl of oxtail soup. The next tram it appears did not arrive in Tilling until 1.37
Elijah ~ next to the Witch of Endor, Saul and Samuel, the stained glass of the south window of Tilling Church depicted Elijah going up into heaven in a fiery chariot. The heat from this vehicle would presumably have prevented the prophet from feeling cold in interstellar space for he wore only an emerald green bathing dress which left exposed his superbly virile arms and legs, and his snowy locks streamed in the wind. The horses were flame coloured, the chariot was red-hot, and high above it in an ultramarine sky hung a an orange sun which seemed to be the object of the expedition.
A harbinger of the Messiah, Elijah or Elias was a prophet in Israel in the ninth century BC appearing in the Old and New Testament, Talmud and Qur'an. According to the Book of Kings, Elijah raised his head, brought fire down form the sky and ascended into heaven in a whirlwind either accompanied by a chariot and horses of flame or riding in it. As described, the stain glass window of Tilling church seems to have captured this well. In the Book of Malachi, Elijah's return is prophesied before the coming of the great and terrible day of the Lord. See Witch of Endor, Saul and Samuel.
Elizabeth Luton ~ maid for fifteen years of Miss Jane Weston who became Mrs Jane Boucher. Described by Princess Popoffski at a seance held at the home of Daisy Quantock as "a woman no longer young, but tall and fair, ....connected with one of them for years past." Subsequently married Colonel Boucher's servant Atkinson. Cousin of Henry Luton.
Elizabeth Mapp ~ latterly Elizabeth Mapp-Flint. Malignantly curious and cancerously suspicious of all her servants, tradesmen and indeed friends. Her face was of high vivid colour and was corrugated by chronic rage and curiosity; but these vivifying emotions had preserved to her an astonishing activity of mind and body, which fully accounted for the comparative adolescence with which she would have been credited anywhere except in the charming little town which she had inhabited so long. Anger and the gravest suspicions about everybody had kept her young and on the boil.
A large woman with a wide smile and slightly superior air. Tall and portly with much the same figure as Diva Plaistow, but her height, so she was perfectly satisfied to imagine, converted corpulence into majesty. Scrutiny of the bathroom scales when she was staying as a guest of Lucia at "Mallards House," when her summer let was flooded, revealed that she weighed eleven stone twelve pounds (which prompted her hostess to remark "But she has got big bones, Georgie, We must be fair.")
Miss Mapp possessed plump hands, a broad benignant face and dimpled well-nourished cheeks, rather bulgy eyes, long white teeth and a certain tightness in the corners of her expansive mouth, which boded ill for any who came within snapping distance. Markedly drew back her lips when speaking and wore a perpetual smile when there was the least chance of being under observation.
Miss Mapp had visited Riseholme one summer some time before and stayed at the Ambermere Arms, when she had given the impression of being "agreeable, but slightly superior." Georgie Pillson recalled her," I remember the name, because she was rather globular, like a map of the world..large, with a great smile. Teeth." During that visit Miss Mapp picked up the phrase "Au reservoir" and stayed right to the end of Lucia's garden party, eating quantities of redcurrant fool, saying she had inherited a recipe from her grandmother, which she would send. Lucia confirmed, "She did, too, and my cook said it was rubbish."
Miss Mapp, a woman of substance in every sense of the word, inherited Mallards, a delightful Queen Anne House in the centre of Tilling, from her late Aunt Caroline.
She ruled her circle from the window seat in her garden room overlooking the town.
Miss Mapp was to be reckoned with in many ways: a large woman, no longer in the very first flush with a strong, not to say dominant, personality and will. This strength of character combined with considerable guile to render her formidable. Her stubbornness and a somewhat vindictive streak were illustrated by the pleasure taken in deliberately delaying shopkeepers in the High Street to ensure that they could not quickly go out to take orders from Susan Wyse or her chauffeur from within her Royce - thus guaranteeing traffic chaos in the narrow thoroughfare. Despite her strength of character Miss Mapp had a frantic phobia of infection - which she assuaged with liberal use of carbollic soap.
Miss Mapp ran an efficient household and kept a sharp and ever mistrustful eye on her staff. She applied a similar jaundiced view in dealings with tradesmen such as shopkeepers and - in her mind - estate agents.
Miss Mapp hypocritically hoarded a vast store of tinned meats, dried fruit and other foodstuffs in the "secret" store cupboard behind the faux bookcase in the garden room at "Mallards" which was "accidentally" opened with a messy deluge of its contents in front of visiting bridge players. As with many of the less appealing characteristics of Lucia, here Benson seems to have been amused to turn for inspiration to his sometime friend, best-selling novelist Marie Corelli. In a much-publicised case in 1917, Corelli, whose real name was Minnie Mackay was convicted of food hoarding and fined £50 with £20 costs. It is not clear whether, like Miss Mapp, Marie Corelli sought implausibly to excuse her hoarding as the collection of Christmas gifts for distribution to the poor of the parish.
Her friends found Miss Mapp at the head of Tilling society dominating the lunches, dinners and bridge parties they enjoyed. Lucia remarked accurately that her neighbours in Tilling, "all say she's a perfect terror at cards." Most of her friends in Tilling understood her frailties of character well, including her "tricks and pointless meannesses."
Circumstances began to change during the summer's round of subletting when residents let their properties at a premium rent in high season and moved to smaller and cheaper accommodation to profit fully from the higher rent.
One fateful year, Miss Mapp let Mallards via her own advertisement in the Times (thus cleverly avoiding the fees of her letting agents Messrs Woolgar and Pipstow) to Mrs Emmeline Lucas of Riseholme in the Midlands.
Miss Mapp found Lucia challenging in so many ways - her fashion sense, artistic sensibilities, style and commanding ways grated.
Although at first Miss Mapp harboured plans to run Lucia and bend her to her will, this proved unrealistic. Lucia soon showed her mettle and was not prepared to be brow-beaten over any number of issues from the allocation of the gardener's duties to the holding of the hospital fete in the garden at Mallards to disclosing her secret recipe for Lobster a la Riseholme.
Miss Mapp's insatiable desire for this recipe led her to plot steal it from the kitchen at Grebe whilst all the servants were out attending a whist drive and under the pretext of calling to thank Lucia for her Christmas gift of pate and a request to join her calisthenics class. Whilst doing so, she was trapped in the kitchen at Grebe by a sudden flood which swept her out to sea with Lucia on an upturned kitchen table.
Several months on an Italian fishing trawler on the Gallagher Bank confirmed her views upon Lucia and, following their safe return, mortal combat ensued.
Miss Mapp often disagreed with friends over a variety of issues from bridge scores with The Padre to clashing tea gowns with Diva Plaistow. She was usually fearless and combative in her dealings - save with Lucia's admirer, Quaint Irene Coles whose outspoken remarks and perceptive mimicry Miss Mapp simply could not rebut. Instead Irene bewildered and disintegrated her; she drained her of all power of invective and retort. She always caused her to feel like a rabbit with a stoat in pursuit.
After a lengthy friendship, Miss Mapp determined to marry Major Flint on her return from the Gallagher Bank with Lucia when the Major's reputation, morale and finances were hugely impaired. Miss Mapp even managed to look on this as a blow against Lucia: "Poor Lulu will only be a widow and I a married woman with a well-controlled husband. How will she like that?" Accordingly, Elizabeth succeeded in procuring an offer of marriage from Major Benjamin Flint - her Benjy Boy and spent much of married bliss trying to change Benjy's bachelor ways - in particular his excessive fondness for alcohol. She failed.
For her part, Lucia regarded the happy couple rather like two rather battered tortoiseshell butterflies she had once seen in her garden: apparently much pleased with each other, they actually seemed to be engaged in a decrepit dalliance unsuited to their faded and antique appearance.
After her marriage Elizabeth regained the spotlight by feigning an impending happy event which Lucia immortalised with the term plucked from the Greek, a wind egg.
A certain willfulness speculating in Siriami shares - and a stubborn desire to better Lucia - put the Mapp-Flints in somewhat reduced circumstances and obliged them to accept Lucia's offer to exchange Mallards for Grebe and a cash sum. Typically, when Elizabeth vacated "Mallards," she despoiled and took with her to "Grebe," the contents of the potato patch in the garden. Despite the fairness of Lucia's offer, Elizabeth never really forgave her for this and continued to flag up Lucia's pretensions and vanities as part of an ultimately futile quest for dominance.
Even the gentle Georgie Pillson sometimes found Elizabeth irritating, remarking "Tarsome woman. If there is a fly anywhere about she is sure to put in in somebody's ointment."
Perceptively, Lucia remarked about Elizabeth, "I never knew a woman so terribly in the grip of her temperament. In a spasm of most pleasurable compassion, Lucia also commented in the same vein, "Everything seems to go wrong for the poor soul owing to her deplorable lack of foresight. She bought Siriami without ascertaining whether it paid dividends: she tried to make us believe that she was going to have a baby without ascertaining whether there was the smallest reason to suppose she would, and with just the same blind reckelessness, she trimmed the old green skirt with the tiger without observing how heavily it would moult when she moved..."
Elizabeth and Lucia managed to come joint bottom of the poll when standing unsuccessfully for election to Tilling Council. When, following many large charitable donations in the locality, Lucia became a councillor and subsequently Mayor, Lucia shrewdly made Elizabeth her Mayoress and could not prevent her ultimately winning a seat on the council - by defeating Georgie Pillson in the poll. When Elizabeth artfully pretended that Lucia had virtually begged her to be her Mayoress, Lucia trembled with indignation and remarked, "Poor thing! Like all habitual liars, she deceives herself more often than she deceives others."
Elizabeth Mapp-Flint was feisty and a doughty fighter but lacked the control and judgement to outshine or defeat Lucia in the longer term. Her greatest desire was again to hold sway over her circle in Tilling and her greatest tragedy that Lucia was fundamentally better suited than she to that dominant role.
Ellen Terry ~ see Terry, Ellen.
Elysian fields ~ having suggested to the Padre that the challenge to a duel by Major Flint to Captain Puffin had been "all about " her, Elizabeth Mapp returned home to rest and undertook an hour's extraordinary celebral activity, mulling over what had transpired and how her version of the "news" would spread about the town. Elizabeth calculated that Evie would obtain the information from the Padre and would pass it on to Diva Plaistow who would undoubtedly tell everybody in Tilling ("such a gossiping darling"). Miss Mapp thoroughly enjoyed working all this out. Nothing could be nicer: the whole of Tilling aware of her version of events, yet under promise of secrecy.
To her, this imaginative reconstruction was quite heavenly and "after this excursion into Elysian fields", poor Miss Mapp had to get back to her "vulture " of surmise regarding the "unsolved " aspects of the incident - such as the mysteries of the significance of Major Flint's portmanteau and the taking of the early train.
The Elysian fields was a paradise, either in the Underworld or far West, where mortals, related to the gods, or heroes such as Achilles, lived on in heavenly surroundings enjoying heroic and pleasurable pursuits. Homer said the fields were located on the western edge of the earth by the stream of Oceanus. Hesiod suggested that they were known as the Fortunate Isles or Isle of the Blessed in the western ocean at the end of the earth. Pindar saw them as a single island with shady parks - which seems to refer to the shelter from the sun, rather than anything untoward. For Elizabeth Mapp, Elysium seems to have been (entirely wrongly) perceived by the whole of Tilling as the romantic heroine of a duel.
Elzevir and Elzevir Horace ~ the famous smoking parlour of the Lucas residence in Riseholme, "The Hurst" was achingly Elizabethan, without the benefit of electric light. Sconces on the walls held dim iron lamps, so that only those with the most acute vision were able to read. You had to be in a fanatically Elizabethan frame of mind to be at ease there.
Notwithstanding these conditions Lucia often spent rare leisure moments there playing on the virginal that stood in the window, or kippering herself in the smoke of the wood fire as with streaming eyes she deciphered an Elzevir Horace, rather late for inclusion under the rule, but an undoubted bargain.
At the garden party at "The Hurst," care was taken over the impression created for visitors. In the smoking parlour an Elzevir or two were left negligently open, as if Mr and Mrs Lucas had been reading the works of Persius and Juvenal when the first guests arrived.
The Elzevirs were seventeenth century Dutch booksellers renowned for printing, with high typographical standards, reliable yet inexpensive classical texts in a small format, largely serving university needs.Their classical series in the petit form opened with Horace and Ovid in 1629. Impressive though Lucia's reading of the original Latin might be, one might hazard a respectful guess that in reality she might actually have preferred a Loeb edition, where a sound translation was set out in the page opposite the original text - as was the case when she enjoyed many of the Greek classics. When she returned from her ordeal with Elizabeth Mapp on the Gallagher Banks some years later, we note Lucia returned to the works of Horace "with the help of a crib." See Horace, Persius and Juvenal.
Embroidery ~ detailed work in petit point was a favourite hobby of Georgie Pillson. His careful productions included chair-covers and his wife Lucia's mayoral gloves. Although his exquisite work was generally admired by his lady friends, Georgie's penchant for petit point was generally despised by men with a military background, such as Colonel Boucher in Riseholme and Major Flint in Tilling. On one occasion when Olga Bracely was hinting that the then bachelor, Georgie might have matrimonial intentions towards Mrs Weston, the jealous Colonel Boucher even unkindly referred to the entirely innocent Georgie as a "needle-woman." When distressed that Lucia was lost at sea, after dinner in his sitting room, Georgie took up his needlework, that "sad narcotic exercise ," and looked his loss in the face.
Emmeline Lucas (later Pillson, nee Smythe) ~ married to wealthy retired barrister Philip Lucas, whom she called "Pepino". Known by her wide circle of intimates in the Italian manner as la Lucia, the wife of Lucas.
On settling in Elizabethan Riseholme in Worcestershire, the Lucas's knocked together three cottages to create the Hurst. Charmingly, if not authentically, Elizabethan, its rooms were named after Shakespeare's plays. It boasted a Shakespearean garden including Perdita's border.
The Arts featured greatly in Lucia's life. She played piano, especially Mozart and Beethoven, whose portrait hung above her Steinway grand.
She enjoyed literature although the depth of her knowledge did not match always its dazzling width.
Lucia's companion in her artistic interests was her friend and neighbour Georgie Pillson with whom she shared piano duets - taking the more interesting treble part - and beginner's Italian, baby talk, watercolours, bridge and gossip.
Lucia bestrode social life in Riseholme as her right, although she was occasionally temporarily discomforted by newcomers like the prima donna Olga Bracely and seekers-after her crown such as Daisy Quantock.
One of Lucia's greatnesses lay in the fact that when she found anyone out in some act of atrocious meanness, she never indulged in any idle threats of revenge: it was sufficient that she knew and would take suitable steps on the earliest occasion. Georgie Pillson recognised that Lucia always got what she wanted: there was a force about her (so different from poor Daisy's violent yappings and scufflings) which caused things to happen in the way she wished.
Lucia was ruthless in seizing the initiative from rebels such as Daisy and blatantly took possession of the guru to steal the limelight in that season's stunt of yoga. Lucia liked to be at the head of affairs and had soon donned her Teacher's Robe to give instruction to the less-advanced students.
Lucia's ruthless self-promotion was seen at its most blatant in her season in London where her social climbing drew gasps from onlookers and led to the formation of a group of Luciaphils who noted her every manoeuvre, gaffe and snub with awe.
On the sad passing of Pepino after twenty-five years of devoted marriage, Lucia withdrew - somewhat stylishly - for a time. Though she did not make a luxury out of the tokens of grief, she had perhaps made ever so slightly a stunt of them. On returning to the fray, she recovered her former energy as when she selflessly took over production and direction of the May Day Pageant in the Green in Riseholme from the hapless Daisy Quantock and scored a personal triumph in the part of Elizabeth 1.
Lucia was typically decisive and clear-minded in moving to Tilling and was soon at the head of affairs there. Lucia's new friends in Tilling were not blind to her failings and openly allueded to her "scornful victories" and "domineering ways."
She first lived in Grebe outside the town and her adventures included being swept out to sea on an upturned kitchen table with Elizabeth Mapp and spending several months on an Italian fishing trawler on the Gallagher Banks. Following that experience Lucia had never tasted cod. She also continued to hate sea bathing and could not swim.
Lucia came to purchase "Mallards" from Miss Mapp - who had now become Mrs Mapp-Flint and spent some time emulating her heroine Dame Catherine Winterglass in building up a further fortune of eighteen thousand pounds on the Stock Exchange.
Some of this wealth was spent on charitable works in Tilling which led to her securing a place upon the Town Council and ultimately becoming Mayor. With typical magnanimity combined with shrewdness, Lucia invited Mrs Mapp-Flint to become her Mayoress.
Georgie Pillson, her dear friend, had accompanied Lucia to Tilling and, in time becoming ever closer. Once it was agreed that no form of intimacy need ever take place, the two married and so Lucia became Mrs Pillson.
Life in Tilling was a round of lunches and dinners, bridge parties, meeting in the High Street during marketing and exchanging gossip. In addition, her civic activies and good works ranged from the town council to organizing "her girl guides", whom she took for a day by the sea in Margate on a chartered bus. The occupations of her day fitted inot each other like a well-cut jigsaw puzzle, and not a piece was missing from the picture.
Her close circle of friends included Diva Plaistow, Quaint Irene Coles who was entirely devoted to Lucia, Algernon and Susan Wyse, Vicar Kenneth and Evie Bartlett and Elizabeth and Benjamin Mapp-Flint.
Elizabeth Mapp was immensely resentful, if not jealous, of Lucia's usurpation of her crown in Tilling and acquisition of Mallards, by far its finest home.
Lucia consciously worked for her social dominance and her vanities and pretensions often tried the patience of her friends - whether it be pretending to be fluent in Italian, declining to play bridge for money whilst Mayor or obliging them to sit through endless evenings of un po di mu, inevitably climaxing with Lucia's rendition of the slow movement from the Moonlight Sonata.
Lucia was adept at mastering and promoting activities, such as golf, callisthenics, yoga and bicycling. Georgie considered that her real metier was to render the trivialities of life intense for others (but how her schemes for the good of Tilling bored him!)
There was however a greatness in Lucia's self-promotion and an inevitability that she would ultimately prevail. The preceding battle with Elizabeth Mapp made life more interesting for everyone.
Many authorities agree that Lucia, his most famous character, was based almost entirely upon Benson's sometime friend, the best-selling novelist Marie Corelli who resembled Lucia in so many ways. Marie too pretended to be fluent in Italian, lapsed into cloying baby talk with men, played the piano with what Masters calls "pitiless sincerity" and also "kidnapped Shakespeare for her own". See Antonio Caporelli
Emotion is the salt of life ~ at one table at the bridge party at Ye Small House on the afternoon of the day on which Susan Poppit received her MBE from the King in London,"there now existed between the four players that state of violent animosity which was the usual atmosphere towards the end of a rubber. But it would have been a capital mistake to suppose that they were not all enjoying themselves immensely. Emotion is the salt of life, and here was no end of salt."
It has become a commonplace across the centuries that emotions are the salt of life without which it would lack savour. Thus St Augustrine asked rhetorically if a general apatheia was not the worst of human and moral defects. After Benson, thinkers such as Elster have remarked "Creatures without emotion would have no reason for living nor, for that matter, for committing suicide. Emotions are the stuff of life." On the other hand, Theodore Parker commented, "Disappointment is often the salt of life."
Ennismore Gardens ~ residential thoroughfare in London, which could be reached by a footpath leading from the cul de sac, Brompton Square.
Epiphany ~ when the Guru had come to Riseholme, causing some dissension between Daisy and Lucia over who should "run" him, Georgie Pillson wished it had been he who had found this pamphlet on Eastern philosophies which had led Mrs Quantock to make the inquiries that had resulted in the epiphany of the Guru. Later there is also reference to the epiphany of Vittoria, Lucia's spirit guide and the arch rival to Daisy Quantock's Egyptian, Abfou.
In the first case, the epiphany seems to consist of the sudden appearance or manifestation from no-where of the Indian Guru, although the term is often applied to a deity (rather than the Christian festival observed on January 6th. commemorating the manifestation of Christ to the gentiles in the persons of the Magi or indeed a sudden, intuitive insight into the reality or essential meaning of something or even a literary work presenting such a moment of revelation). Vittoria similarly suddenly manifested herself, as if by magic or other intervention. See Guru, Daisy Quantock, Yoga, Vittoria and Abfou.
Epistle to the Hebrews ~ whilst Major Flint and Captain Puffin were thought to be on their way to fight a deadly duel amongst the sand dunes outside Tilling, they were actually about to enjoy a round of golf. They passed together down the road and into the High Street, unconscious that their every, look and action was being more commented upon than the Epistle to the Hebrews.
The author of the Epistle to the Hebrews, one of the books of the New Testament, is not named. Since the earliest days of the Church, its authorship has been debated, with support for Paul, Silas, Clement of Rome, Luke, Barnabas, Appollos, Timothy, and various others. There has also been debate over its purpose, which some contend to be for Christians to persevere in the face of persecution or to prevent apostasy. Its central premise has been stated to be the doctrine of the Person of Christ and his role as mediator between God and humanity. The authority William L. Lane is quoted as describing the Epistle as a delight for the person who enjoys puzzles - and by extension, one suspects, the scholarly Benson. By way of contrast, although despite such extensive commentary, no absolute consensus has yet been reached amongst biblical scholars on the authorship or interpretation of The Epistle, the Cosmic Consciousness and inductive reasoning of Tilling ultimately devised a workable and accurate interpretation of what actually transpired on the day of the soi disant duel between Messrs Flint and Puffin. See Cosmic Consciousness
Equality, Fraternity, Nosality ~ phrase devised by Quaint Irene Coles and employed in conversation with Elizabeth Mapp and Diva Plaistow, when it was announced that Mallards had been let to Lucia, initially for the months of August and September.
Irene had agreed to rent her house Taormina to Diva for five guineas a week and Diva to rent Wasters to Elizabeth for eight guineas upon the assumption that Elizabeth was letting Mallards for twelve guineas. Irene suspected, quite rightly, that, with typical sharpness, Elizabeth Mapp had obtained better terms and argued that there ought to be a sliding scale, so that if Elizabeth had made Lucia pay through the nose she and Diva should do the same .
Miss Mapp cannily distracted Irene by serving her a cocktail and did not disclose fact that she had succeeded in extracting from Lucia fifteen guineas a week to include the use of her Blumenfelt piano, but excluding the wages of her gardener or garden produce - flowers for the house by all means, but not fruit or vegetables. See Sub-letting.
Erda ~ after her purchase of "Mallards House" from Elizabeth Mapp-Flint, Lucia became very much absorbed in the excavation of what she thought were Roman remains in the garden. One day, soon after Georgie appeared to help, Lucia was standing in the trench with half her figure below ground level, like Erda in Wagner's justly famous opera. If only Georgie had not dyed his beard, he might have been Wotan.
Erda was the goddess of earth and the mother of the three Norns. Blessed with great wisdom, she was also able to see the future and tended only to rise from the earth when she foresaw impending disaster. Wotan obtained advice from Erda in her appearances in the Ring, including "Das Reingold" where she warns Wotan that he be victim to a curse which Alberich has put on the Ring and will bring about the earth's and his own downfall. In "Siegfried," Wotan asks Erda how he can overcome his fears and ungratefully informs her that, now she has borne him the nine Valkyries, she is surplus to requirements. See Wotan and Wilhelm Richard Wagner.
Esmondi ~ during an awkward conversation with Georgie when each party wished to make it plain that they had no wish to develop their happiest of platonic friendships in a romantic direction, Lucia referred to "that lovely scene in Esmondi; Winchester Cathedral!" It appears Lucia was alluding to a scene set in the choir of Winchester Cathedral in the 1852 novel "The History of Henry Esmond" by William Makepeace Thackeray (1811-1863). This historical novel tells the story of the early life of a colonel in the service of Queen Anne.
Eton crop ~ a short, cropped and slicked down ladies' hairstyle derived from its similarity to a hairstyle adopted by boys at Eton: a severe style, emphasising the shape of the head and focusing interest on the face. First popularised in the 1920s, it was ideal to showcase the shape of cloche hats. Diva Plaistow took the plunge after tortures of indecision to have her hair cropped quite close. This was ignored by Miss Mapp, who later confirmed she "thought it far kinder to say nothing about it. Far!" In contrast, Lucia liked it "immensely. Ten years younger."
Some authorities considered that by 1930, the style was outmoded among the most fashionable. Unfortunately, Diva's Eton crop was undertaken in 1931.
Euclidean postulate ~ Miss Mapp had heard that the Prince of Wales would most likely be disembarking from the London train on Saturday afternoon on his way to spend the weekend at Ardingly Park nearby. She was quite determined to see him, but more inflexible than that resolve was the Euclidean postulate that no one in Tilling should think that she had taken any deliberate step to do so.
Euclid crops up again later, when Miss Mapp has outlined to Diva Plaistow her well-grounded theory that Major Flint and Captain Puffin had both run way from the prospect of a duel and tried to escape upon the early train, "Diva by this time was trundling away round the room, and longing to be off in order to tell everybody. She could find no hole in Elizabeth's arguments; it was founded as solidly as a Euclidian proposition."
Active in Alexandria during the reign of Ptolemy I (323-283BC) Greek mathematician Euclid (meaning, good glory) is often considered the "father of geometry." In his "Elements," Euclid deduced the principles of Euclidean geometry from a small set of intuitively appealing axioms - and deduced many other propositions or theorems from these. In Geometry the parallel postulate is also called Euclid's fifth postulate because it is the fifth postulate in his "Elements" and is a distinctive axiom. The reader is not advised whether or not Miss Mapp was familiar with the parallel postulate or any or all of Euclid's propositions or axioms, but it seems very likely that both Euclid of Alexandria and Elizabeth Mapp of Tilling were equally confident that their respective axioms were rigorous and incapable of disproof.
Evening Gazette ~ London newspaper - price one penny - featuring society news column by Hermione in which Lucia's outings in society were covered, virtually daily. See Hermione and Stephen Merriall.
Evie Bartlett ~ mouse-like wife of Kenneth Bartlett, vicar of Tilling. Evie was very insignificant, even when she squeaked her loudest: she had been wilted by non-recognition.