Tuesday, 18 March 2008

P ~ is for Pillson

Paddy ~ Diva Plaistow's lean Irish terrier. Understood to have made off with a rabbit from the shopping basket of Elizabeth Mapp and eaten the riding crop of Major Benjamin Flint - save for its engraved silver top, which was buried and subsequently found in Diva Plaistow's garden by Georgie Pillson when demonstrating how to plant bulbs.

No doubt alluding to Paddy, some wag (no pun intended) once altered the "No Parking" sign outside Wasters, the home of his mistress, to "No Barking".

On one occasion was referred to by Diva as "Pat" (as in "Pat the dog", perhaps). When Lucia moved into "Mallards,"rats were found in the cellar beneath the property and Diva Plaistow very kindly lent Paddy to deal with them and Paddy very kindly bit a navvy working there in mistake for a rat. Later, Diva thought Paddy had mange, but it turned out to be only a little eczema. Once it was established that Paddy had not got mange, he was permitted to sleep in Diva's bedroom - which ensured the safety of any takings from "Ye Olde Tea House" held there overnight. When his mistress tried the recipe for cream wafers sent to her by Miss Leg's chef, Diva gave one to Paddy and he was sick.

Padre ~ preferred mode of address of Elizabeth Mapp for The Rev Kenneth Bartlett, vicar of Tilling. See Bartlett, Kenneth.    
Padre of the Roman Catholic church  ~  Lucia and Georgie Pillson had given to the Padre, Kenneth Bartlett a Christmas  present of a new umbrella with his initials inscribed on a silver band on the handle. On Boxing Day, the Padre had tried to hook a leg of the kitchen table bearing Lucia and Elizabeth Mapp as it was being swept past out to sea, but failed to do so and, in the process, lost his new umbrella in the flood. Georgie subsequently told Lucia,"the Padre of the Roman Catholic church  found it, a week afterwards,  and returned it to him."      
Palfrey  ~  Lucia and Georgie Pillson were being scathing at the temerity of Daisy Quantock in offering Lucia the lowly role of Drake's wife in the forthcoming Riseholme Pageant.  Georgie felt it was the most ludicrous thing he had ever heard and Lucia, not more ludicrous than her being Queen Elizabeth adding," Daisy on a palfrey addressing her troops! Georgie dear, think of it ! "   
"Palfrey" usually refers to expensive, well-bred riding horses in the Middle Ages and later, which were often popular with ladies - even some queens -  and nobles for ceremonial occasions, hunting and riding generally. Thus, it was entirely appropriate that Queen Elizabeth should be represented addressing her troops on a palfrey in the pageant in Riseholme.  Before Lucia took over the role of Gloriana and saved the day,  Daisy practised the role on the palfrey that drew the milk cart - which seems unlikely to have been either well-bred or costly.  
"Palmist's Manual" ~ instructional volume excitedly acquired by Colonel Boucher and Mrs Weston from Ye Sign of Ye Daffodile. Mrs Weston thought it "too wonderful" and reported that "Jacob and I sat up over it until I don't know what hour".

Since on the title-page the author was merely described as "P", Mrs Weston wondered if it was written by Princess Popoffski. This prompted an excluded Lucia to the conjecture, with more sourness than irony, that it might have been written by her Pepino or Mr Pillson.       
Pankhursts, the  ~  when Lucia had moved into "Mallards House," she enthused to Georgie Pillson about Greek drama, "I began the 'Thesmophoriazusae' a few weeks ago. About the revolt of the Athenian womaen,  from their sequestered and blighted existence. They barricaded themselves into the Acropolis exactly as the Pankhursts and the suffragettes padlocked themselves to the railings of the House of Commons and the pulpit in Westminster Abbey."   
The Pankhusts were a family of suffrage activists and radical agitators.  Emmeline Pankhurst (1858-1928) and her daughters Christabel and Sylvia founded the Women's Social and Political Union, an all-women suffrage advocacy organisation dedicated to "deeds not words." Their  direct action included chaining to railings and other fixed objects, smashing windows, confrontations with police officers and arson. This led to imprisonment and rifts, with daughters Adela and Sylvia Pankhurst leaving the WSPU.  See Aristophanes and  Infelicities
Paper knife  ~  when Lucia was renting "Mallards" in Tilling, she remarked to Georgie, "I've often wondered, now I come to think of it, if that woman Mapp , hasn't suspected that our Italian was a fake....Her mind is horrid enough for anything."   

Georgie replied, "I know she suspects. She said some word in Italian to me the other day, which meant paper knife, and she looked surprised  when I didn't understand, and said it in English.  Of course, she had looked it out in a dictionary: it was a trap."   

Although Fred does not specify the word in question in la bella lingua, an Italian word for paper knife is tagliacarte.    
Parish Magazine ~ the Padre's sermon at the memorial service following the loss at sea of Lucia and Elizabeth Mapp was printed in Tilling's Parish Magazine, and copies sent to everyone. The April edition of the Magazine which appeared on the last day of March also featured an impressive full page reproduction of the marble cenotaph commissioned by Georgie in their memory, which had been placed just outside the south transept of the church and dedicated by the Padre.

Parry ~ Lucia was discussing with the Padre the service of dedication of "her" organ in Tilling church, which was being rebuilt at her expense: "Then about the service: one does not want it too long. A few prayers, a Psalm such as "I was glad when they said unto me": a lesson, and then, don't you think as we shall be dedicating my organ, some anthem in praise of music? I thought of that last chorus in Parry's setting of Milton's Ode on St Cecilia's Day, "Blest Pair of Sirens."
Director of the Royal College of Music and Professor of Music at Oxford, Sir Charles Hubert Hastings Parry, 1st. Baronet (1848 - 1918) was a renowned English composer, teacher and historian of music, best known for "Jerusalem", "I was Glad" and the hymn tune "Repton" (Dear Lord and Father of Mankind).
Lucia's suggestion is a trifle confusing. Parry's "Blest Pair of Sirens"dating from 1887 is a setting of John Milton's "Ode: At a Solemn Musick." This was commissioned by and dedicated to Charles Villiers Stanford who described Parry as the greatest British composer since Purcell.
Parry was subsequently commissioned to write another choral work "Ode on St Cecilia's Day" (1889), based upon the poem by Alexander Pope and not John Milton. These are two distinct works and Lucia does not appear correct in referring to "Blest Pair of Sirens" as being part of Parry's setting of Milton's "Ode on St Cecilia's Day"; they are separate choral pieces, written two years apart. See John Milton

Passion ~ when the Padre was discussing with Diva Plaistow the possible cause of the duel threatened between Major Flint and Captain Puffin, he suggested that they quarrelled about "Passion". He did not mean "anger but the flame that exalts man to heaven or - or does exactly the opposite". Diva was thrown off her bearings and asked "But whomever for?" Such a thing had never occurred to her, for, as far as she was aware, passion, except in the sense of temper, did not exist in Tilling. Tilling was far too respectable.        
"Patens of bright gold" ~ having just outlined her plans to split her time between Riseholme and London, Lucia is enthusing about the beauties of Aldebaran in the night sky and remarks to Georgie  "The patens of bright gold!" Wonderful Shakepeare!"        
This is a quotation from Act V, Scene 1, of  Shakespeare's "The Merchant of Venice", where Lorenzo says: 
"Here will we sit and let the sounds of music
Creep in our ears. Soft stillness and the night
Become the touches of sweet harmony.
Sit, Jessica. Look how the floor of heaven
Is thick inlaid with patens of bright gold."    
See Aldebaran

Pater, Walter ~ When Lucia was about to seek to persuade Georgie to retain his pointed beard (grown during an attack of shingles) by comparing him favourably with the distinguished Gelasius portrayed by Vandyk, they were discussing whether to "tackle that dwefful diffy Brahms". This prompted Lucia to remark, "Wonderful Brahms! As Pater says of something else "the soul with all its maladies" has entered into his music. The "something else" in question was the portrait of the Mona Lisa or La Giaconda by Leonardo da Vinci.  

Lucia again returned to the aesthetics of Walter Pater when discussing Quaint Irene Cole's satirical portrait of the Mapp-Flints in Victorian costume which has been a great success at the exhibition of the Royal Academy. In a sudden attack of high-brow, Lucia asked "Ah, but who can tell about the artist's mind? Did Messer Leonardo really see in the face of the Giaconda all that our wonderful Walter Pater found there? Does not the artist work in a sort of trance?"
Walter Horatio Pater (1839 -1894) was an English writer and critic whose essay on Leonardo contains a celebrated reverie on the Mona Lisa. In Pater's view, by the time of the Renaissance, perfection of line and beauty was not sufficient, the soul with its capacity for joy and suffering had become a factor in art and it was to this aesthetic ideal that Lucia alluded. See Brahms and Gelasius.      
Peccavi  ~  it had belatedly emerged that Elizabeth Mapp had, without consulting the rest of the hanging  committee (Algernon and Susan Wyse), unilaterally issued formal notices of rejection in respect of the paintings submitted by Lucia and Georgie to Tilling's Art Exhibition. Questioned by Diva Plaistow as to what she proposed to do, Miss Mapp replied, with the air of doing something exceedingly noble, "I shall cry peccavi. I shall myself resign."   

"Peccavi" is Latin for, "I have sinned."  Most famously the word reputedly formed the short, notable message dispatched to his superiors by General Sir Charles Napier (1782-1853).  Napier had been ordered only to put down the rebels in the area and, by conquering the whole of Sindh Province, in what is now Pakistan, he had greatly exceeded his mandate. His punning message "Peccavi" (I have sinned (Sindh)) therefore cleverly encompasses both his conquest and transgression.  Some authorities contend, however, that the true author of the pun was a teenage girl, Catherine Winkworth who submitted it to "Punch," which then printed it as factual report in 1844.

Pemberton's Auction Rooms ~ auctioneers in Knightsbridge in London. According to Lucia it sold all odds and ends of trumpery - such as the autograph of Crippen the murderer, a mother of pearl brooch belonging to the poet Mr Robert Montgomery and a pair of razors belonging to Carlisle. It also sold a pair of riding gaiters in good condition, belonging to his Majesty George the Fourth for ten shillings and sixpence. Lucia suggested that this would be a plausible guide or comparator to the value of Queen Charlotte's mittens which had been destroyed in the fire at Riseholme Museum and for which Lady Ambermere had demanded outrageous compensation of fifty pounds.  
Pentecostal  ~  Lucia was lying awake in "Midsummer Night's Dream," her bedroom at "The Hurst" in Riseholme, troubled as to how to handle the newcomer, prima donna Olga Bracely. "She went on her own rough independent lines, giving a romp one night, and not coming to the tableaux on another, and getting the Spanish Quartet without consultation on a third, and springing this dreadful Pentcostal party on them all. Olga clearly meant mischief: she wanted to set herself up as leader of art and culture  in Riseholme. Her conduct admitted of no other explanation."  
Derived from "Pentecost", the Greek name for the Jewish Feast of Weeks,  Pentecostalism is a renewal movement within Christianity emphasising direct personal experience of God through baptism in the Holy Spirit. This event, as described in the second chapter of the Book of Acts, commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit on followers of Jesus Christ. As well as stressing the inerrancy of Scripture, Pentecostalism features spritual gifts, such as speaking in tongues and divine healing; it is both fundamentalist and charismatic and thus its services can be lively and colourful occasions with zealous and enthusiastic demonstrations of faith. It appears that Lucia considered Olga's gatherings vulgarly overheated and louche compared to the cooler,  more restrained and primly orthodox occasions she preferred to orchestrate at "The Hurst."     

Pentelicus  ~  more than a year after the sad passing of her husband Pepino, Lucia remarked to Georgie Pillson that ,"I am beginning to feel alive again." She asserted that just for the present "'I'm off' the age of Elizabeth, partly poor Daisy's fault, no doubt," and that "there were other ages, Georgie, the age of Pericles, for instance. Fancy sitting at Socrates's feet or Plato's, and hearing them while the sun set over Salamis or Pentelicus. I must rub up my Greek, Georgie."        
North east of Athens and southwest of Marathon is a partly forested mountain and range known as Pentelicus or Penteli. Visible from Southern Athens, the Pedia plain and Parnitha, the area is famed for its flawless white marble, with a uniform yellow tint, which was used in sculptures and in buildings such as the Acropolis and shines with a golden hue under sunlight. One can well understand why Lucia might want to watch the sun set there.  See Salamis, Socrates and Plato.

Pepino, sometimes Peppino ~ affectionate diminutive name of Philip Lucas, late husband of Lucia  
Pepys ~ Georgie Pillson had encountered Lady Ambermere near the Ambermere Arms in Riseholme. In conversation, it emerged that famous operatic diva, Olga Bracely and her husband of two weeks, Mr Shuttleworth,  would be visiting the village.  Lady Ambermere had called to book rooms for them at "her" Arms for two nights.

As their conversation neared its close, they had come to Lady Ambermere's motor -"the rich and noble coach as  Mr Pepys would have described it."       
Famed diarist Samuel Pepys (1633 -1703) became Chief Secretary to The Admiralty under Charles II and James II. His reforms played an important part in improving the professionalism of the Royal Navy.  First published in the nineteenth century, his private diary, kept between 1660 and 1669, recorded events, such as the Great Plague, the Great Fire of London and the Second Dutch War and is an important primary source for the English Restoration.    
Perambulators  ~  Elizabeth Mapp had strong views about many issues - such as jealousy of Lucia, the need to inhibit her spouse's consumption of alcohol and to prevent the Rolls Royce belonging to her intimes, the Wyses, from obstructing the busy by-ways of central Tilling.  
One of the bees in the second tier of her parenthetic hand-crocheted bonnnet was perambulators. She objected that perambulators took up so much space on the pavement.  
Lucia on the other hand, called for the Council to decree that permabulators took precedence over pedestrians on the narrow pavements of the High Street. Bitter had been the conflict which called for a decision on that knotty question. Mapp, on meeting two perambulators side by side had refused to step into the road and so had the nursery maids.  Instead they had advanced, chatting gaily together, solid as a  phalanx and Mapp had been forced to retreat before them and turn up a side street. This prompted her to exclaim passionately, "What with Susan's great bus filling up the whole of the roadway and perambulators sweeping all before them  on the pavements, we shall all have to do our shoping in aeroplanes." 
Lucia later suggested legislation that was a model of widom: perambulators had precedence on pavements, but they must proceed in single file. Heaps of room for everybody.      
Per and Georgie ~ see Georgie and Per

Perdita, Perdita's garden and Perdita's border ~ as might be expected in Elizabethan Riseholme's most Elizabethan residence, the garden at The Hurst was truly Shakespearean. Its yew hedge was brought entire from a neighbouring farm. It was a charming little square plot in front of the timbered facade of The Hurst, intersected with paths of crazy pavement, carefully smothered in stone crop, which led to the Elizabethan sun dial from Wardour Street in the centre.

It was gay in the spring with those flowers (and no others) on which Perdita doted, such as violets dim, primroses or daffodil or whatever it was. Lucia encouraged all her friends and neighbours to share her excitement each year on the arrival of Perdita's first flower that shows spring is here. Primavera! Some of Lucia's friends - even the normally loyal Georgie - thought of Spring as the time of year in which Lucia would go gassing on about Perdita's border.
Later in the summer there was eglantine (Penzance briar), honeysuckle and gilly flowers, plenty of pansies for thoughts and yards of rue. A stone bench bore the carved motto "Come thou north wind, and blow thy south, that my gardens spices may flow forth."       

Perdita,  the daughter of Leontes and Hermione, King and Queen of Sicilia, is a heroine in "The Winter's Tale"  by William Shakespeare. As a baby, Perdita was left to die, since her father mistakenly believed her to be another's child. She was rescued by a shepherd and named Perdita, since she was "lost". Doubts over her pedigree restricted her matrimonial prospects somewhat, but by the last Act her royal origins emerged and all was well.  
Pericles ~ when Lucia chose a day in all the history of the world to live through, she determined it would be a day in the golden age of Athens which featured lunch with Pericles and Aspasia. Called by Thucydides "the first citizen of Athens" and descended from the Alcmaeonid family, Pericles was a statesman, general and orator during the golden age of Athens between the Persian and Peloponnesian wars. The Age of Pericles when he led Athens took place between 461 and 429BC and saw advances in the arts, literature, the development of democracy and the construction of most of the surviving structures on the Acropolis, including the Parthenon. See Aspasia.

Periscope, Marcelle ~ male cinema artist, well-known society figure during Lucia's season in London. When not impersonating impassioned lovers, played with his moderately tame lion cub.

Persius  ~ at the garden party at "The Hurst" in Riseholme, 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.   

Of Etruscan origin, Aulus Persius Flaccus was a Roman Stoic poet and satirist whose works were published posthumously by his friend and mentor, Lucius Annaeus Cornutus. Mainly composed in hexameters, his work censured contemporary style and imitated it. Some authorities consider his earnest and moral satires were superior to the "political rancour and good natured persiflage of his predecessors" and the "rhetorical indignation" of Juvenal.  The manuscripts of his "Petrus Pithoeus" was considered "important for the text of Juvenal".  See Juvenal and Elzevir     
Petit-point  ~  The sitting room of "Mallards Cottage" featured many tokens of the handiwork of Georgie Pillson. There were dozens of his water colour sketches on the walls, the sofa was covered with a charming piece of gros-point from his nimble needle, and his new piece of petit-point, not yet finished, lay on one of the numerous little tables.    
As the name suggests, petit-point is a small stich used in needlepoint and by extension, needlepint embroidery using such a small stich. See Gros-point.

Piccolo libro  ~  at the very end of "Queen Lucia" Georgie Pillson and Daisy Quantock dutifully attend upon Lucia in the ultra-Shakespearean garden of "The Hurst" in Riseholme to view "Perdita's first flower." On showing the "the wonderful Perdita-blossom" , Lucia exclaimed "That shows spring is here. Primavera! And Peppino's piccolo libro comes out today."   

Lucia continued, "I should not be surprised  if each of you  found a copy of it arrives before evening. Glorious! It's glorious!" "Piccolo libro" is Italian for "little book."  Georgie also referred to "Peppino's bookie-wookie", which probably means the same thing.

Picture of the Year, The ~ Irene Coles' satirical portrait of Elizabeth Mapp-Flint atop an oyster shell in beguiling skater's pose with Major Benjy in top hat amidst the clouds was Picture of the Year at the Royal Academy's Summer Exhibition. The Arts Editor of the Daily Mirror spoke of its daring realism, withering satire of the so-called Victorian age, and savage caricature of the simpering guileless prettiness of such early Italian artists as Botticelli. Despite uncertainty over whether the arresting piece was a justifiable parody of a noble work of art, the amazing canvass was unquestionably vigorous, daring and exuberantly vibrant. Elizabeth was thrilled with the fame the exposure brought her and Lucia positively ached with envy. See Royal Academy. Burlington House, Arts Club Exhibition, Botticelli and Quaint Irene Coles.
Picture Palace ~ Tilling boasted its own picture palace or cinema. On Boxing Day 1930 it was scheduled to show a new film about tadpoles.    
Pied Piper ~ at home in Riseholme, Georgie Pillson was thinking about Olga Bracely, who had been touring in America and Australia after the acclaimed premiere of the opera “Lucretia.” “Georgie believed himself to have been desperately in love with her, but it had been a very exciting time for more reasons than that.  Old values had gone: she had thought Riseholme the most splendid joke that had ever been made; she loved them all and laughed at them all and nobody minded a bit, but followed her whims as if she had been a Pied Piper. All but Lucia that is to say, whose throne had quite unintentionally on Olga’s part, been pulled smartly from under her, and her sceptre flew in one direction and her crown in another.”    
The legend of the Pied Piper of Hamlein (German: Rattenfanger von Hameln) was addressed in literature by Goethe, the Brothers Grimm and Robert Browning and concerned the departure or death of many children from the town of Hamelin in lower Saxony in the Middle Ages. In the sixteenth century the story developed into a fairy tale about the town hiring a rat-catcher who wore multi-coloured garments and played his pipe to lure away a plague of rats. When payment was refused, he retaliated by leading the children away with his magic pipe, as he had the rats. Olga’s romps were diverting, but other than the odd hangover and strain, no guests appear to have been reported to have come to any harm during any soiree at "Old Place."    
Pigs of Tilling ~ souvenirs of the legendary Pig of Tilling -being money boxes in the shape of a pottery pig - were sold to tourists bearing a remarkable legend of authenticity which ran: I won't be druv/Though I am willing,/Good-morning my love/Said the Pig of Tilling. Miss Mapp had a colourful array of many such pigs of different hues in her morning room and was wont to greet her positive rainbow of little piggies each morning and, ever suspicious, to count them once Withers had left the room

Pillson, George ~ see Georgie Pillson

Pip ~ ailment which afflicted Diva Plaistow's canary. Thinking the bird had suffered a fit, its mistress consulted Dr Dobbie. Diva was much relieved when the unfortunate canary recovered.  Shortly afterwards, when Mr Woolgar, the estate agent, enquired, "And I hope your dear little canary is better," Mrs Plaistow replied, "'Still alive and in less pain, thank you, pip'. Mr Woolgar apparently understod that 'pip' was not a salutation, but a disease of  canaries, and did not say, 'So long' or Pip, pip.'   Calm returned again. See Diva Plaistow.

Pipstow, Mr. ~ partner in Tilling Estate Agents Woolgar and Pipstow

Plaistow, Diva ~ see Diva Plaistow occupant of Wasters in Tilling. Near neighbour of Mallards and Mallards Cottage.

Planchette ~ favourite supernatural diversion in Riseholme. Used to obtain communication in the form of automatic writing from a spirit guide such as Abfou.    
Plato   ~  more than a year after the sad passing of her husband, Lucia remarked to Georgie Pillson that ,"I am beginning to feel alive again." She asserted that just for the present "'I'm off' the age of Elizabeth" and that  "there were other ages, Georgie, the age of Pericles, for instance. Fancy sitting at Socrates's feet or Plato's, and hearing them while the sun set over Salamis or Pentelicus. I must rub up my Greek, Georgie."    
Classical Greek  philosopher, Plato (424/423-348/347BC) was a student of Socrates, writer of philosophical dialogues, mathematician and founder of arguably the first institution of higher learning in the western world, the Academy in Athens.  With his mentor, Socrates and student, Aristotle, Plato laid the foundations of western philosophy and science. His sophisticated dialogues and letters have been used to teach subjects ranging from philosophy and logic to ethics, rhetoric and mathematics. See Plato's "Symposium."   
Plato's "Symposium" ~ looking forward to her summer lease of "Mallards" in Tilling, Lucia thought it perfect rapture to feel the great tide of life flowing again. She planned to set to work on all her old interests and some new ones as well. These included getting a copy of Plato's Symposium till she could rub up her Greek again. The Symposium was a philosophic text by Plato of around 360-380BC concerned at one level with the genesis, purpose and nature of love. Love is examined in a sequence of speeches by men attending a symposium or drinking party. Each delivers an enconium or speech in praise of love. The participants include Phaedrus, Pausanias, Eryximachus, Aristophanes, Agathon, Socrates and Alcibiades. See Plato,  Pope's Iliad and Aristophanes.

Pocky ~ mischievous spirit guide of Princess Popoffski, formerly a Hungarian violinist

Poems ~Lucia's husband Philip Lucas or Pepino wrote little prose poems on various themes such as "Loneliness" in the loose rhythm of Walt Whitman and collected them together in slim volumes entitled "Flotsam" and "Jetsam" adorned with embossed seals and antique-looking tapes. His works, including his severely limited edition of "Fugitive Lyrics" and "Pensieri Persi" were published privately by Ye Sign of Ye Daffodile on the village Green in Riseholme.   See  Philip Lucas and "Loneliness."

Poissons d'or ~ Gold fish, Pesci d'oro - piano composition by Debussy essayed by Georgie, loaned to him by Olga Bracely. Published in 1905  and 1907 respectively, the two sets of "Images" for solo piano are often considered to exemplify Debussy's mature, impressionistic style using complex textures with layers of musical detail. The graceful and virtuoso last piece, Poissons D'or is  probably the best known of the Images. It is said that the piece was inspired by a wood panel in Debussy's office, containing the figures of two goldfish and feature many accurate rather than vaguely impressionistic pianistic references to flashing and splashing, darting, gliding and rippling with gently quivering sonorities from the bass range and a sunny theme in the upper register with many specific keyboard evocations of the fish's activities. Described as a masterful gem, the piece typically has a duration of about four minutes.

An elusive work of which Lucia was irritatingly sceptical, prompting her to sigh and ask somewhat pretentiously "Is it finished? And yet I feel inclined to say 'When is it going to begin?' I haven't been fed: I haven't drunk in anything".

On the composer Lucia remarked: Isn't Debussy the man who always makes me want to howl like a dog at the sound of the gong, and wonder when it's going to begin? See Debussy
Polish corridor ~ Lucia advised Georgie that she had decided to stop her financial career for the present. She had decided - or had been advised by her broker Mammoncash - to sell out of her tobacco shares and take the profits. Also, she felt she must rid herself of this continual strain: "I am ashamed of myself, but I find it absorbs me too much: it keeps me on the stretch to be always watching the markets and estimating the effect of political disturbances. The Polish corridor, Hitler, Geneva, the new American President. I shall close my ledgers."
The Polish Corridor (also known as Danzig Corridor or Gdansk Corridor)was a strip of territory in Pomerelia/Eastern Pomerania which provided the second Republic of Poland with access to the Baltic sea (1920 - 1939), thus separating the bulk of Germany from East Prussia. The free City of Danzig (now Gdansk) was separate from Poland and Germany. A large majority of the population were German speaking and the arrangement caused chronic friction between Poland and nationalistic Germany and it was to this and its economic consequences that Lucia referred. In March 1939, Germany demanded the cession of Danzig and the creation of an extraterritorial German corridor across the Polish corridor which Poland rejected and obtained an Anglo French guarantee against aggression. On September 1 1939 this critical issue culminated in the German invasion of Poland and World War II. See Hitler, Geneva and the New American President.

Polyanthuses/Polyanthi   ~  Lucia was in the garden of "Grebe" some quarter of a mile outside the ancient and enlightened town of Tilling, on its hill away to the west.  The January morning was very mild and her keen bird-like eye noted that several impudent and precocious polynthuses (she spoke and even thought of them as 'polyanthi') were already in flower...    
The Florist's primrose, the Polyanthus is considered to be a complex hybrid derived from the oxlip, cowslip and common primrose. It produces a stemless rosette of fresh green, tongue shaped leaves. Short flower stalks arising from the centre of the rosette each bear a cluster of one to two inch flowers in colours including blue, purple, pink, red, yellow of white, often with a contrasting central eye. Dwarf varieties with short stalks barely rising above the leaves are popular. The polyanthus primrose flourishes in woodlands and shady rock gardens and combines well with spring-flowering bulbs. Even by this standard the brave polyanthus at "Grebe" indeed seems some what precocious to appear in January.

Pope  ~  more than a year after the passing of her husband, Lucia remarked to Georgie Pillson that ,"I am beginning to feel alive again." She asserted that just for the present "'I'm off' the age of Elizabeth, partly poor Daisy's fault, no doubt," and that "there were other ages, Georgie, the age of Pericles, for instance." After enthusing over the Greeks, Lucia continued, "And then there's the age of Anne. What a wonderful time, Pope and Addison! So civilised, so cultivated. Their routs and their tea-parties and rapes of the lock."    
After Shakespeare and Tennyson,  poet Alexander Pope (1688-1744) is the third most frequently quoted author in The Oxford Dictionary of Quotations. Famed for his satirical verse, often in heroic couplets, and for his translation of Homer, he published "An Essay on Criticism" anonymously in 1711, and "The Dunciad" (1728) and "Essay on Man" between 1732-34. "The Imitations of Horace" followed (1733-38) See Addison, Pope's "Iliad" and "The Rape of the Lock."

 Pope's "Iliad" ~ as well as promising to rub up my Greek again in readiness for her summer lease of "Mallards" in Tilling, Lucia planned to "get a translation of Pope's Iliad." This is somewhat strange since Pope translated the Greek into English (but even Homer nods and we know what Fred meant.) Alexander Pope (1688-1744) was the English poet best known for his satirical verse and translation of Homer's Iliad which appeared between 1715 and 1720. The work was acclaimed by Samuel Johnson: "a performance which no age or nation could hope to equal." He liked it then. See Plato's "Symposium", Pope and Pope's "Rape of the Lock."
Pope's "Rape of the Lock"  ~  when Lucia was explaining to Georgie Pillson her enthusiasm for the age of Anne, she called it , "A wonderful time, Pope and Addison! So civilised, so cultivated. Their routs and their tea-parties and rapes of the lock."    
Arguably, Alexander Pope's most famous original poem, the mock epic "The Rape of the Lock", published in 1712 and enlarged in 1714, satirises the contemporary beau monde and particularly the quarrel between Arabella Fermor (Belinda) and Lord Petrie. See Pope, Addison and Pope's "Iliad."

Popinjay  ~  although he asked to be associated with the sentiments of Algernon Wyse as to how much Georgie Pillson would be missed in Tilling upon his return to Riseholme, Major Benjy's  "contempt for Georgie and his sketches and his needlework had been intensified by the sight of his yachting cap, which he had pronounced to be only fit for a popinjay."     

Although a popinjay is also a species of butterfly (Stibochiona nicea), a shooting sport using rifles or bows and an archaic term for a parrot, it seems that the popinjay to which the Major was referring was a dandy or foppish person.

Popoffski, Princess ~ psychic medium engaged by Daisy Quantock.

A vegetarian, she had a round pale face, like the moon behind thin clouds, enormous eyebrows that almost met over the nose, a strange slow voice of husky tone and foreign pronunciation. She wore curious rings with large engraved amethysts and turquoises, one Gnostic, one Rosicrucian and the other Cabalistic.

With the help of her secretary Hezekiah Schwartz, the Princess gave dramatic seances at which her spirit guides Pocky and Amadeo materialised and others at which Cardinal Newman put in an appearance.

After a stay with the Quantocks in Riseholme, the Princess mistakenly left behind in her room hundreds of yards of finest muslin and a pair of false eyebrows used to create illusions in her seances. This evidence was burned in the guest bedroom grate by Daisy Quantock.

She was later arrested and described in Todd's News as a Bogus Russian Princess. It emerged that Marie Lowenstein of 15 Gerald Street, Charing Cross Road, calling herself Princess Popoffski, had been brought up at Bow Street Police Court for fraudulently professing to tell fortunes and produce materialised spirits at a seance at her flat.

Robert Quantock bought up and burned as many copies of Todd's News as possible and stole the Colonel's edition of the Daily Mirror from his hallway to avoid the embarrassment of this becoming widely known in Riseholme. Robert and Daisy later shared their little secret and although Georgie suspected what had transpired, it did not become widely known.   
It is known that the Benson and Sidgwick families were to varying degree interested in the occult, supernatural and psychic. One of Fred's Sidgwick uncles founded the Society for Psychical Research and his father Achbishop Edward Benson was fascinated with ghosts. Fred's biographer Brian Masters mentions that "There is even a family tradition that some kind of black magic was responsible for his father's seeking refuge in the church.... Fred was also fascinated with spiritualism and is known to have turned tables, summonsed spirits ,consulted mediums  and placed himself in the hands of a faith healer at the time of his kidney failure.."  In addition to the references made to matters psychic and spiritualist in the Mapp and Lucia novels, outside Tilling and Riseholme Fred wrote a range of gripping stories with a ghostly or supernatural theme.    
Popping ~ Diva Plaistow popped into the grocers in Tilling. She always popped everywhere just then; she popped across to see a friend, and she popped home again; she popped into church on Sunday; and occasionally popped up into town, and Miss Mapp was beginning to feel that somebody ought to let her know, directly or by insinuation, that she popped to much.

Poppit, Isabel ~ see Isabel Poppit

Poppit, Susan ~ see Susan Wyse

Porringer, Queen Anne  ~   Georgie Pillson's bibelots were treasured objects inherited years ago and kept in a glass-topped case and cleaned regularly and personally only by him. They included a gold Louis XVI snuff box, miniature by Karl Huth, silver toy porringer of the time of Queen Anne, a piece of Bow china and an enamelled cigarette-case by Faberge. It was generally understood that he had inherited them (though the inheritance had passed to him through the medium of curiosity shops) and there were several pieces of considerable value among them.   
Porringers were shallow bowls, usually between 4" to 6" in diameter, and 1½" to 3" deep; the form originates in the medieval period in Europe and they were made in wood, ceramic, pewter and silver. One imagines a toy porringer is proportionately smaller.  They had flat, horizontal handles on opposite sides, on which the owner's initials were sometimes engraved, and they occasionally came with a lid. The precise purpose of porringers, or ├ęcuelles, as they are known in France, is unclear; but it is thought that they were used to hold broth or gruel.  
Anne (1665-1714) ascended the thrones of England, Scotland and Ireland in 1702. The Act of Union uniting England and Scotland took place in 1707.  See Queen Anne.

Portia ~  Georgie Pillson was considering the implications of the advent of Olga Bracely to Riseholme and particulalry the dynamic or, to put it more plainly, the balance of power with Lucia, whom he anticipated would feel threatened by the prima donna, whatever she did. He also pondered "Would Olga take the part of the second citizeness, or something of the sort, when Lucia played Portia?"    

Portia was the heroine of "The Merchant of Venice" by William Shakespeare, "the most beautiful lady on earth." It was no coincidence that Lucia chose to portray Portia, perhaps the most prominent of Shakespeare's heroines, beautiful, gracious, rich, intelligent and quick-witted who delivers the immortal lines:

The quality of mercy is not strain'd.
It droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven
Upon the place beneath. It is twice blest:
It blesseth him that gives and him that takes.
Portland Club, The  ~  As previously mentioned, Tilling did not take kindly to the imposition of rules from any central authority - as evidenced by its only partial adherence to British Summer Time. Miss Mapp witheringly remarked: "I don't know by what right the Portland Club tells us how to play bridge. Tilling might just as well tell the Portland Club to eat salt with gooseberry tart, and for my part I shall continue to play the game I prefer."

Reputedly the oldest bridge club in the world, founded some time before 1815 as the Stratford Club, the Portland Club was named as such in 1825.  Based in London, it was the recognised authority on the games of whist and bridge - although it is unclear whether its writ extended everywhere, save for Tilling in Sussex, or globally, save only for "Mallards."   See Bridge.   
Post-cubism ~ avant garde style of painting in vogue during Lucia's season in London.

Lucia attended a private showing of those remarkable artists with Sophy Alingsby. Some were portraits and some landscapes. It was usually easy to tell which was which, since careful scrutiny revealed an eye or stray mouth in some and a tree or house in others. Lucia enthused over a portrait of the artist's wife which she mistook for a picture of Waterloo Bridge, but adroitly covered up her error with appreciation.

Socially ambitious though she was, Lucia could not make the post-cubists all the rage but could give the impression that she had discovered them. Accordingly, Lucia invested in a questionable portrait by leading post-cubist Sigismund, which Sophy declared to be a masterpiece of adagio.

Prana and Pranayama ~  In her letter reporting to Lucia upon the advent of her Guru, whilst Lucia was away in London, Daisy Quantock enthused,” Fancy! I don’t even know his name, and his religion forbids him to tell me. He is just my Guru, my guide, and he is going to be with me as long as he knows I need him to show me the True Path. He has the spare bedroom and the little room adjoining, where he meditates and does Prana and Pranayama, which is breathing. If you persevere in them under instruction, you have perfect health and youth, and my cold is gone already.”  
Prana” is the Sanskrit word for “Life” and indicates the primary and all round motion of Life Energy. In yoga the three main channels of prana vayu are the Ida, the Pingala and the Sushumna, which relate to the right and left-hand sides of the brain terminating at the nostrils. In some practices, alternative nostril breathing balances the prana vayu that flows within the body.    
The word “Pranayam” is composed of two Sanskrit words “Pran” or breath/extension of the life force and “ayam” to extend or draw out. Thus “Pranayama” are breathing exercises and it is these amongst other things that the Guru seems to have been teaching in Riseholme. Some practitioners consider that pranayama develops a steady mind, strong will power and sound judgement and may even extend life and enhance perception.     
Praxiteles  ~ at the dinner party held by Olga Bracely to mark her return to Riseholme, Lucia changed her tune on many issues, manifesting a new enthusiasm for listening-in, whilst Pepino could think of nothing now but Auction Bridge and crossword puzzles, and interrupts in the middle of my practice to ask for an Athenian sculptor whose name begins with P and is of ten letters. The answer was Praxiteles.

Son of Cephistus the elder, the most renowned Attic sculptor in the 4th. century BC was Praxiteles, who reputedly first sculpted the female nude life size. He enjoyed a lasting relationship with his model, the Thespian courtesan Phryne.     
"Prayer, The" ~ a dramatic highlight of Cortese's opera "Lucretia" often sung to great effect by prima donna, Olga Blakely, who performed the title role in the very first production. A particular favourite of Olga's most devoted fan, Georgie Pillson.

Unfortunately, Lucia seemed invariably to be incapable of recognising the piece when she heard it. Upon returning to Mallards House from her solitary visit to Sheffield Castle, Lucia was entranced to be welcomed by "the lovely prayer" from "Lucretia", when in fact Olga had been singing "Les feux magiques" by Berlioz.  See Olga Bracely, Cortese and "Lucretia."
Pre-Raphaelites ~ With his painstaking, careful and some might venture, even matronly style, Georgie like the Pre-Raphaelites considered a high state of finish as necessary to any work of art. Thus he required several sittings to sketch the garden room at "Mallards." The Pre-Raphaelite Brotherhood was a group of English artists founded in 1848 by William Holman Hunt, John Everett Millais and Dante Gabriel Rosetti - soon joined by William Michael Rosetti, James Collinson, Frederic George Stephens and Thomas Woolner.   
They wished to reform art by rejecting the mechanistic approach adopted by the Mannerist artists who succeeded Raphael and Michaelangelo and believed the classical poses and compositions of Raphael in particular had been a corrupting influence on the teaching of art. They advocated a return to the detail, intensity of colour and complex compositions of Quattrocentro Italian and Flemish art - and, had they but known it, latterly Mr George Pillson of Tilling.

President's Cup ~ small silver trophy to be competed for by members donated by Lucia to Riseholme Golf Club following her appointment to its Committee and accession as President

"Pretty Fanny's way" ~ Georgie had been irritated by Lucia's airs but his dudgeon began to evaporate in the light of withering blasts of satire from Diva Plaistow and particularly Elizabeth Mapp-Flint, whom he considered ungrateful. Of course Lucia's superior airs and her fibs could be maddening sometimes, but even if she did let a reporter think that she spoke Italian as naturally as English and had dug up Samian ware in her garden, it was "pretty Fanny's way" and they must put up with it. His really legitimate grievance about his beautiful pedalling (on the organ in Tilling church, not a bicycle) vanished.  

"Pretty Fanny's way" was a phrase occurring in the poem "An Elegy, To an Old Beauty" by Thomas Parnell: "And all that's madly wild, or oddly gay, We call it only pretty Fanny's way." 

Dublin-born, Thomas Parnell (1679 - 1718) was a poet and clergyman and a friend of both Alexander Pope and Jonathan Swift. He was one of the so-called "Graveyard Poets" and aided Pope in his translation of the"Iliad". Though Lucia would doubtless have been touched by Georgie's kind sentiment, it seems she might have had mixed feelings about the title of Parnell's poem.    
"Pride did not oust shame"  ~  Riseholme was justifiably incensed by Lucia's worldliness in dropping her old life for her glamorous new one in London."All this to look at it fairly, reflected glory on Riseholme, and if it was impossible in one mood not to be ashamed of her, it was even more impossible in other moods not to be proud of her. She had come, and almost before she had seen, she was conquering. She could be viewed as a sort of ambassadress, and her conquests in that light were Riseholme's conquests. But pride did not oust shame, nor shame pride, and shuddering anticpations as to what new enormity the daily papers might reveal were mingled with secret and delighted conjectures as to what Riseholme's next triumph might be."    
As well as echoing Julius Casar's "Veni vidi vicit - I came,  I saw,  I conquered, " Fred also appears to cite Proverbs 11:2 "When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom"     
Pride of Poona, the ~ one of Major Benjy's numerous (if he was to be believed) romantic conquests whilst serving King and Empire in India. Once affectionately described by Major Benjy in company over a dinner hosted by Susan and Algernon Wyse as "a saucy little customer she was. They used to call her The Pride of Poona. I've still got her photograph somewhere by Jove."    
In Tilling, it was the fate of the unfortunate and possibly apocryphal Indian female acquaintance of Major Benjy of many years before to become synonymous with moral laxity, as when Elizabeth Mapp-Flint told Diva Plaistow how she had found Benjy sitting close to Lucia with his hand on her knee and continued unkindly,"He had had more to drink than he should, but never would he have done that unless she had encouraged him. That's her nature, I'm afraid:she can't leave men alone. She's no better than the Pride of Poona."  

Primavera  ~ at the very end of "Queen Lucia" Georgie Pillson and Daisy Quantock dutifully attend upon Lucia in the ultra-Shakespearean garden of "The Hurst" in Riseholme to view "Perdita's first flower." On showing the "the wonderful Perdita-blossom" , Lucia exclaimed "That shows spring is here. Primavera! And Peppino's piccolo libro comes out today."    

"Primavera" is Italian for "spring."

Prince of Wales ~ it became known that the Prince of Wales would be passing through Tilling one Saturday on his way to nearby Ardingly Park where he would spend Sunday.

Accordingly most residents, other than Miss Mapp, made a point of dressing in their best clothes and attending at the railway station in time to welcome both of the trains that day that might have brought him.

Miss Mapp wished to avoid being seen loitering about the station, but from her attic window with binoculars was able to monitor whether a car from Ardingly Park awaited the distinguished visitor.

She then visited her coal merchant near the station in time for the 6.45 train. As the car left the station Miss Mapp fell backwards and sat down in the road in mid-curtsy and the small union jack she had secreted in her parasol flew out from its hiding place. Her discomfiture resulted in loud and ungracious laughter from a young man within the receding car.

It emerged that the young man in the car was not a royal visitor. The Station Master informed everyone that the Prince of Wales had arrived at 1.00 and played golf all afternoon - at a time when Major Flint and Captain Puffin would normally have been on the links had they not been awaiting the distinguished arrival at the station.

Next day when most Tillingites were scouring the links in the fruitless hope of seeing the Prince, it emerged that he had spent a solitary hour or more rambling about the centre of Tilling - including five full minutes at the corner by the garden room. He had actually sat on Miss Mapp's steps and smoked a cigarette.

Promesso  ~ when Georgie was on his way to "The Hurst"  intending to invite the Lucases to dinner at Christmas at the suggestion of Olga Bracely, his mission was meant to re-build social bridges serving Riseholme that had been entirely innocently damaged in recent weeks. As Georgie approached, Lucia and Peppino had been in the midst of a most serious conversation discussing what was to be done when their relations with so many of their former friends in Riseholme were at such a low ebb. "They normally held a party at 'The Hurst' during  Christmas week, but this year everything was so unusual. Who was to be asked in the first place?Certainly not Mrs Weston, for she had talked Italian to Lucia in a manner impossible to misintepret, and probably, so said Lucia with great acidity, she would be playing chilren's games with her promesso."  

"Promesso" is Italian for the male betrothed. Colonel Boucher was betrothed to be married to Mrs Jane Weston.

Psychical  Research, the  ~  when Georgie Pillson first met Olga Bracely and her husband Georgie Shuttleworth, he was trying to persuade her to attend Lucia's garden party - after lunching with him. When Olga  asked "Georgie, give me a cigarette," in a moment Riseholme Georgie had his cigarette case open, saying "Do take one of mine. I'm Georgie too."  
Olga replied, "You don't say so! Let's send it to the Psychical Research, or who ever those people are who collect coincidences and say its spooks." 

Later in "Trouble for Lucia" when Algernon Wyse and Lucia had conspired to convince the somewhat unhinged Susan Wyse that her Blue Birdie had gone over to the other side Lucia remarked, "The dematerialization is complete.Oh, what would not the President of the Psychical Research have given to be present!"   
The first learned society of its kind, The Society of Psychical Research was founded in London in 1882 to investigate that large body of debatable phenomena designated by such terms as 'mesmemeric',' psychical',  and 'spiritualistic', and to do so in the same spirit of exact and unimpressed inquiry which has enabled Science to solve so many problems.   
Its first President was Henry Sedgwick, Professor of Moral Philosophy at Cambrdge University. His chief associates were the classical scholar, Frederick Myers and Edmund Gurney, brilliant author of the classic of psychical research  "Phantasms of the Living."

Prominent early members also included physicists, William Barrett and Lord Rayleigh, Arthur Balfour, Prime Minister 1902-1905 and Eleanor Sedgwick, wife of Henry, a mathematician and later Pricipal of Newnham College, Cambridge.

The Society collected and investigated data on many areas, including telepathy, hypnotism, clairvoyance, physical phenomena, apparitions and hauntings. It is doubtful whether the Society was an apt choice by Olga to which to submit details of a rather trivial coincidence over fore-names.  
Later in Tilling, when discussing the behavoiur of the Mapp-Flints whilst staying at "Mallards House" after they had been flooded out of their summer bungalow, Lucia remarked to Georgie, "An interesting study. You know how devoted I am to psychlogical research, and I've learned a great deal in the last fortnight. Major Benjy was not very clever when he wooed and won her , but I think marriage has sharpened his wits."      
Public garden ~ it is recorded that one warm September morning Miss Mapp was as busy as a bee with her watercolour sketch in the little public garden in Tilling. This was located on the southward slope of the hill below the Church Square, one side of which led into Curfew Street.

Pug ~ Lady Ambermere's irritable lapdog, often in the keeping of her companion Miss Lyall, whose duties included bathing him once a week.    
Pug is described as "stertorous" which means marked by heavy snoring or breathing in this way.  Once memorably mistakenly sat upon by his mistress.  Pug prompted a hysterically negative response when first glimpsed by canophobic Sophy Alingsby whilst weekending with Lucia at "The Hurst."    
 According to Lucia, who considered him "that mangy little thing of Lady Ambermere's," Pug died of "cream and cake."  Once he had handed in his metaphorical feed bowl, Pug was stuffed and Lady Ambermere sought to present him in a glass case to Riseholme Museum. Georgie described him as "lying on a blue cushion, with one ear cocked, and a great watery eye, and the end of his horrid tongue between his lips."    Only Lucia was brave enough to return the unwanted specimen to The Hall and to confront Lady Ambermere's considerable wrath in person. See Miss Lyall, Lady Ambermere and Sophy Alingsby

Puffin, Captain ~ see Captain Puffin

Puss-Cat ~ Miss Mapp referred to her feline companion at Mallards as "Puss-Cat", whom she also called, rather unconvincingly, "Lamb!" and "Love-bird!".

The cat's reported reaction was to dab rather crossly at the caressing hand extended by its mistress and to trot away to ambush itself beneath some fine hollyhocks, where it regarded Miss Mapp and her visitors, Lucia and Georgie, with singular disfavour.        
"Pussie"  ~  Although initially outraged by Major Benjy's callous and opportunist behaviour when he thought she was lost at sea, Elizabeth Mapp had determined to make use of his weak position and to manoeuvre him into marriage.   "Discredited owing to his precipitate occupation of "Mallards", humiliated by his degrading expulsion from it, and impoverished by the imprudent purchase of wines, motor car and steel shafted drivers, he would surely take advantage of the wonderful opportunity which she presented to him.  He might be timid at first, unable to believe the magnitude of his good fortune, but with a little tact, a proffering of saucers of milk, so to speak, as to a stray and friendless cat, with comfortable invitations to sweet Pussie to be fed and stroked, with stealthy butterings of his paws, and with,  frankly a sudden slam of the door when sweet Pussie had begun to make himself at home, it seemed that unless Pussie was a lunatic, he could not fail to wish to domesticate himself"      
In addition to whatever unnerving attractions that marriage to Major Benjy might entail, Miss Mapp also thought, "I think I can manage it and then poor Lulu will only be a widow and I a married woman with a well-controlled husband. How will she like that?"

Putney Vale ~ following the death of Pepino's Aunt Amy, Lucia declined an invitation to luncheon next day: "No, dear Georgie: the funeral is at two. Putney Vale. Buona notte."    
Opened in 1891, Putney Vale Cemetery was originally laid out on land which had belonged to Newlands Farm and stands on 47 acres of parkland, surrounded by Wimbledon Common and Richmond Park. Other celebrated, but non-fictional, interees (if such be the word) include, singer and writer Sandy Denny, actors Kenneth More and Daniel Massey, comedian Arthur Askey and J Bruce Ismay, MD of the White Star Line.  See Aunt Amy.  
Pyorrhea ~ Lucia was generally perceived to abhor "listening-in," otherwise known as "the wireless."It was utterly un-Elizabethan to begin with, and though she countenanced the telephone, she had expressed herself very strongly on the subject of listening-in.  She had an unfortunate experience of it herself, for on a visit to London not long ago, her hostess had switched it on, and the company was regaled with a vivid lecture on pyorrhea by a hospital nurse.    

Usually the result of acute gingivitis, pyorrhea or periodontitis, is an advanced stage of periodontal disease in which the ligaments and bones that support the teeth become inflamed and infected, possibly leading to alveolar bone atrophy and loosening or loss of teeth. Fortunately, this unpleasant condition only appears to occur in the Mapp and Lucia canon in the context of Lucia's aversion to listening-in.   See listening-in

Pyramus and Thisbe ~ in her lecture at the Literary Institute on "The Technique of the Shakespearean Stage," Lucia alluded to the lovers Pyramus and Thisbe, separated by a wall, commenting," Modern decor would have furnished a convincing edifice covered with climbing roses. Not so Shakespeare. A man came out of the wings and said, 'I am the wall'. The lovers required a chink to talk through. The wall held up his hand and parted his fingers. Thus in the guise of a jest the Master poured scorn on elaborate scenery."   

The love story of Pyramus and Thisbe was part of Roman mythology and was told by Ovid in his "Metamorphoses." In the Ovidian version, two lovers from Babylon who occupy connected houses were forbidden to marry because of their parents' rivalry. They communicated through a crack in the wall. The pair came to a tragic end when Pyramus mistakenly assumed that Thisbe had been killed by a lioness and killed himself. Seeing this, Thisbe then killed herself. This gory sequence occurred under a mulberry tree and, to honour the couple, the gods changed the colour of mulberry fruit to match the gore.
This plot appears twice in Shakespeare, a tragic version in "Romeo and Juliet" and a comic one in "A Midsummer Night's Dream," enacted by Bottom and the rude mechanicals. It seems this is the scene that Lucia had in mind in her address.   See Titania and "Cherry lips."  
Pythian oracle ~ during the week after Lucia and Georgie's dinner party at "Mallards House" (at which  there had been much canvassing from the guests for the office of Mayoress) tension over the issue increased to a point almost unbearable, for Lucia, like the Pythian Oracle in unfavourable circumstances, remained dumb, waiting for Elizabeth to implore her.

Pythia was the priestess of the Temple of Apollo at Delphi on the slopes of Mount Parnassus. The name Pythia derived from Pytho, which in myth was the original name of Delphi.  

The place name derived from the verb pythein (to rot) referring to the decomposition of the body of the monstrous serpent Python, slain by Apollo.  

It is said that Pythia delivered oracles in a frenzied state induced by vapours rising from the chasm of rock and that these were re-shaped by priests. There has been some conjecture that gas emissions might have been ethylene, benzene methane, carbon dioxide or even hydrogen sulphide. The Delphic Oracle was established in the 8th century BC. and was the most prestigious and authoritative in Greece. Fortunately, Lucia's oracular silence was destined not to be too prolonged.   See Mayoress of Tilling.

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