Tuesday, 18 March 2008

K ~ is for Kingfisher blue

Keats, John ~ see "To Autumn"   
Kenneth Bartlett ~ vicar of Tilling (see Bartlett, Kenneth)
"Kind Hearts and Coronets" ~ Miss Leg, otherwise the popular romatic novelist Rudolph da Vinci, was the summer tenant of the Mapp-Flints at "Grebe." Wishing to find out more about her, Lucia bought a copy of the 25th edition of Miss Leg's, "Kind Hearts and Coronets" and dipped into it. It was very sumptuous. On the first page thre was a Marchioness who had just promised to to open a village bazaar and was just setting off to do so when a telephone message arrived that a Royal Princess would like to visit her that afternoon."Tell her Royal Highness," said that kindhearted woman,"that I have a longstanding engagement and cannot possibly disappoint my people. I will hurry back as soon as the function is over...."      
Lucia pictured herself coming back to entertain Miss Leg to lunch - George would be there to receive her - because it was her day for reading to the inmates of the work house. She would return with a copy of 'Kind Hearts and Coronets' in her hand, explaining that the dear old bodies implored her to finish he chapter. The idea of Miss Leg writing a best seller abut Tilling became stupyfyingly sweet.
Given that "Trouble for Lucia" was published in 1939, the title "Kind Hearts and Coronets" cannot have been inspired by the Ealing Studios black comedy of the same name of 1949, starring Alec Guinness and directed by Robert Hamer. More likely it derives from the line in Tennyson's poem "Lady Clara Vere de Vere" of 1842: "Kind hearts are more than coronets, And simple faith than Norman blood."

Kingfisher blue ~ colour of the tea gown of precisely the same design worn by Elizabeth Mapp and Diva Plaistow, to their joint mortification. Petrol was thrown on the flames of their fury when the Padre commented that they were very much alike: a pair of exquisite sisters.

It was difficult to tell who found this more provocative, since Diva was four years younger than Miss Mapp and Miss Mapp four inches taller than Diva.

King John's treasures  ~ see John's treasures, King.

King Nebuchadnezzar  ~ see Nebuchadnezzar, King   
King's Arms Hotel ~ hotel and public house in the High Street in Tilling. Its committee room was used to count the votes in the local council election in which Lucia and Elizabeth Mapp-Flint stood as candidates. With traffic suspended and a large crowd gathered, the result of the election was announced by the Mayor in full civic robes from its first floor balcony overlooking the High Street. Despite energetic campaigns, Lucia and Elizabeth came joint bottom of the poll.

Later, on Mayoring Day, when Lucia was formally elected by the Town Council and assumed her scarlet robes, the new Mayor entertained a large party to lunch at the Kings Arms Hotel, preceding them in state while the church bells rang, dogs barked, camera clicked and the sun gleamed on the massive maces borne before her. There were cheers for Lucia, led by the late Mayor, and cheers for the Mayoress led by her present husband.     
Kingsley, Charles ~ English clergyman, university professor, historian, novelist and poet (1819 - 1875). Novels included "The Water Babies" and "Westward Ho!" and his poems, "The Three Fishers."
When Lucia was discussing with Georgie her duty to her neighbours so far as the impending local elections was concerned, she remarked "Georgie, you and I - particularly I - are getting on in years, and we shall not pass this way again. (Is it Kingsley dear?) Anyhow we must help poor little lame dogs over stiles."    
The phrase to which Lucia was alluding appears to have been taken from "I expect to pass through this world once. Any good therefore that I do, or any kindness that I can show to any fellow creature, let me do it now. Let me not defer or neglect it, for I shall not pass this way again."     
Although Kingsley often addressed the issues of kindness and mortality, this particular quotation appears commonly attributed to French-born Quaker minister, Stephen Grellet (1773 - 1855), without positive proof. The words "We shall not pass this way again" also appear in the poem "This Way" by Eliza M Hickok and"We pass this way but once" in "But Once" by Marion Harland. Joseph A Torrey wrote a poem "I shall not pass this way again"    See Shining Sands and Grellet, Stephen.   
Kipling, Rudyard ~ when Georgie Pillson was explaining to Lucia events concerning the advent of  Daisy Quantock's Indian Guru, he described how the Guru called "Chela, Chela" and Mrs Quantock came running out.

Lucia asked why he said "Chela" and Georgie admitted, "I wondered too. but I knew I had some clue to it, so I looked through some books by Rudyard Kipling and found that 'Chela' meant 'Disciple'".

English poet, short story writer and novelist, Joseph Rudyard Kipling (1865 - 1936) was famous for his celebration of British Imperialism and the Raj . Fiction works  included "The Jungle Book", "Just-so stories,""Kim", "The Man Who Would Be King" and poems such as "Mandalay", "Gunga din", "The White Man's Burden" and "If". In 1907 he was the first English-language writer and youngest recipeint of the Nobel Prize for literature. His work was a suitable mine of information for Georgie regarding the sub-continent and its ways.  See Ganges, Burning Ghaut, Benares, Yoga and Guru.     
Kit-cat  ~  After the death of Pepino's Aunt Amy, Lucia was telling Georgie Pillson about the contents of her home at 25, Brompton Square. These included a portrait of  Amy by Sargent.  Georgie inquired, "What is the Sargent? A kit-cat or a full-length?"   
"Kit -cat" is a portrait, less than half-length, but including the hands. It originates from the Kit-Cat Club. A series of portraits of members was commissioned from Godftrey Kneller to be hung in their meeting place at Barn Elms. They were each 36 x 28 inches in size to fit in the dining room of the Club, which had a low ceiling.  See Sargent.  
Kitchen table  ~  naturally one of the great motifs of the Mapp and Lucia canon. This iconic piece of furniture was first mentioned by Georgie when enthusing to Elizabeth Mapp over Lucia's lessons in calisthenics (for those no longer young): "There's that enormous kitchen table too, to hold on to, when we're doing that swimming movement. It's like a great raft."
What was described as "the great kitchen table, with its broad skirting of board half way down the legs," had helpfully already been moved away and stood on its side against the dresser in the kitchen of "Grebe" in order to give more room for the Christmas tree.  Positioned thus, it was convenient for Lucia to suggest that she and Miss Mapp turn it upside down and get onto it, just after the terrific roar and rush was heard as the great water flood released when the dyke failed. 
The kitchen table from "Grebe" took centre stage in the drama at the heart of "Mapp and Lucia."  Boarded by our heroines, when the flood engulfed "Grebe,"  it bore them out to sea shrouded with fog.  It served as their vessel until the ladies were taken aboard a trawler.  
some time later, the immense kitchen table was spotted by Major Benjy and the Padre whilst playing golf. It was upside down with its legs in the air, wet with brine but still in perfect condition. Now it was by itself with no ladies sitting upon it. Once it had passed through the Custom House the sad substantial relic was, on Georgie's instructions as Lucia's heir, taken to the backyard of "Mallards Cottage."  Pickled as it was with long immersion in salt water, the open air could not possibly hurt it, and if it rained, so much the better, for it would wash the salt out.   
Georgie told Lucia's cook that he had the kitchen table from "Grebe" in his yard, but she begged him not to send it back, as it had always been most inconvenient. She told him that Mrs Lucas had a feeling for it and thought there was luck about it. The cook then burst into tears and said it hadn't brought her mistress any luck at all.  

On her safe deliverance back to Tilling, Lucia wondered what had happened to her table. Whilst she slept following her return, Georgie thoughtfully arranged for the kitchen table to be returned via the door of the kitchen garden and put quietly into the kitchen.  The reader is not advised of the reaction to this of Lucia's cook.   
Kitten, Miss Mapp's ~ during Tilling's summer tourist season there were often considerable gatherings of visiting artists outside the garden room of Mallards, sketching or painting its picturesque fabric. 
Elizabeth Mapp adopted various ploys to ensure that due attention fell on her. Favourite little public pastimes included concentrated flower arranging, writing letters or playing patience in full view in her window with a suitably enigmatic smiling and pensive countenance and coyly demonstrating marked surprise when suddenly becoming aware that there was no end of ladies and gentlemen looking at her.    
Miss Mapp took particular pleasure in getting her kitten from the house and inducing it to sit on the table while she diverted it with the tassel of the blind and she would kiss it on its sweet little sooty head.     
The name of the kitten is not disclosed and it is not clear whether the same kitten grew up to become Miss Mapp's "Puss-Cat". Nor is it clear whether the burden of such early exposure to the public glare contributed to any extent to the irritability and lack of social skills apparent in the feline in later life. See Puss-Cat.

Kruschen salts ~ Georgie often added a little glass gallipot of Kruschen salts to his early morning hot water or tea, if he suspected he had committed an error of diet the night before.

No comments: