J1.09 Do as You Darn Well Pleasey

Annotations for Jerusalem by Alan Moore

Book 1 – The Boroughs
Do as You Darn Well Pleasey

General: This chapter is from the point of view of John “Snowy” Vernall (1863-1926), Alma Warren’s great-grandfather, on the occasion of his daughter May Vernall’s birth. The date is March 10, 1889 (P165p5). Snowy is partially based on Thomas John “Ginger” Vernon (but see notes here).

Louisa & Thomas Vernon 1917 (sent to their son Jim)
Louisa & Thomas Vernon 1917 (sent to their son Jim)

Page 248 – titled Do as You Darn Well Pleasey

Sheet music for "Lambeth Walk"
Sheet music for “Lambeth Walk”

The title is taken from the song “Lambeth Walk” from 1937. (Hence rather an anachronism. Moore may have confused it with a different song of the same title from 1899, which would still be an anachronism, but much less of one.) The song goes, in part:

Ev’rything’s free and easy,
Do as you darn well pleasey,
Why don’t you make your way there,
Go there, stay there,
Once you get down Lambeth way,
Ev’ry evening, ev’ry day,
You’ll find yourself doin’ the Lambeth walk.

paragraph 1

  • safety curtain” – A fire-resistant curtain, usually used in large theaters.

paragraph 2

England's first Ghost Train, 1937 (www.elvision.com)
England’s first Ghost Train, 1937 (www.elvision.com)
  • “déjà vu” – Snowy’s use of this term is an anachronism; the word doesn’t seem to have come into use until the early 20th century.
  • ghost-train” – A type of carnival ride where people are taken on a small train through a dark building full of scary dioramas. While precursors did exist in the late 19th century, the term “ghost train” itself seems to only date from 1930.

paragraph 3

  • St. James’s Park” – A London park, across the Thames River from Lambeth.

    A helter-skelter, 1906
    A helter-skelter, 1906
  • helter-skelter” – In this context, another amusement park ride, featuring a spiral slide going down the outside of a tower. The name is a slight anachronism, as it doesn’t appear until 1905 — but since that’s within Snowy’s lifespan, he could already know it now.

Page 249

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • “back to East Street” – East Street is presumably an older or alternate name for Lollard Street, which they are now on the corner of. Both names can be found on contemporaneous maps. See also P256p5, where the name “Lollard Street” is used.
  • The itinerary that follows is abbreviated, leaving out several steps; see map below.

    Snowy and Louisa's route, approximate (Google Maps 2021)
    Snowy and Louisa’s route, approximate (Google Maps 2021)
  • “Paradise Street” – Even in 1889, this was technically “Old Paradise Street”.
  • In the chapter Modern Times (P164p8), May Vernall reported growing up in Regent Street. That’s about 2 blocks due south of this spot where she is being born.

paragraph 2

Atlas illustration from 1882 (commons.wikimedia.org)
Atlas illustration from 1882 (commons.wikimedia.org)
  • Atlas” – In Greek mythology, the giant who held up the sky.
  • “chimney breast” – An unusual usage of the phrase, which normally applies to a projection from a chimney on the inside of a building, not on the roof.
  • “the Tuesday following” – Today is a Sunday, so this job would be two days from now, on the 12th.

paragraph 3

  • No notes.

Page 250

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • heraldic beast” – Many commonly-used animals in European heraldry are mythological, such as the dragon and the unicorn. Some others (such as lions and tigers), while not strictly-speaking mythological, were poorly-understood by medieval Europeans, and drawn in stylized ways that did not closely resemble the real animals.

    Chimera on ancient Greek cup (www.theoi.com)
    Chimera on ancient Greek cup (www.theoi.com)
  • “chimera” – Originally a creature from Greek mythology which was part lion, part snake, and part goat. The word came to mean any fantastical thing made of disparate, unmatching parts.
  • “she could not bear to set eyes on him, she’d never break the spell and look away” – With so many recent references to Greek mythology, this evokes the Medusa, whose gaze turned all who saw her into stone.

paragraph 2

  • “Snowy’s dad” – Ernest “Ginger” Vernall, who we met in the chapter A Host of Angles.
  • Bedlam” – A famous mental hospital in London, where Ernest spent his later years. See P66p1.
  • nativity” – Now dated word used to refer to birth. Most frequently used to refer to the birth of Jesus in Christianity.

paragraph 3

Gustave Doré illustration of Satan falling from Heaven in Paradise Lost
Gustave Doré illustration of Satan falling from Heaven in Paradise Lost
  • “Miltonic tableau” – “Miltonic” is almost certainly a reference to John Milton (1608-1674), best known for Paradise Lost. So this perhaps means something like “the view from Heaven”.
  • “the collapse of a great chalk fault” – According to an unsourced claim I found, “At one time it was thought that there were faults in the chalk which gave [the Thames] a way through, but this has been discounted”; I don’t know if that thought was current during Snowy’s lifetime. Moore discovered this idea while doing research for “Unearthing” (2006), where he writes: “Shooters Hill is dreaming London, dreaming London up: low on its northern slope a chalk fault that collapsed creating the Thames valley”.
  • Waterloo” – The neighborhood north of Lambeth.
  • “the railway station” – The Waterloo station opened in 1848. Moore did a performance of “Unearthing” in the catacombs beneath the station in 2010.

Page 251

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • No notes.

paragraph 2

  • “Trinovantes, Romans, Saxons, Normans” – Successive occupiers of the area. The Trinovantes were a Celtic tribe who controlled the area prior to the Roman invasion of Britain in 43 AD, after which they were for a time a client kingdom of the Romans. Roman occupation ended circa 410 AD, due to invasions from the Germanic Saxons. In 1066, the Normans successfully conquered England, the last foreign peoples to do so as of this writing. (The name “Trinovantes” is theorized by some to mean “the very new people”, suggesting that they were once an invading force themselves.)

paragraph 3

  • Cenotaphs” – Monuments for the dead. Not a common word; probably chosen for its similarity in sound to “sunny days”.

paragraph 4

  • “Across a tugboat-hooter’s reach of river” – I think the sense of this is that while Snowy is high enough to see across the Thames, he is near enough to hear the horns of a tugboat.
  • Westminster, Victoria and Knightsbridge” – Some of the neighborhoods across the Thames from Snowy.

    A London Plane Tree (blogs.reed.edu)
    A London Plane Tree (blogs.reed.edu)
  • Hyde Park” – About 2 miles WNW of Snowy.
  • planes and poplars” – Two kinds of trees found in Hyde Park. “Planes” was almost certainly chosen for its sharing a name with “plane geometry“.

Page 252

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • No notes.

paragraph 2

  • “Mr. Darwin” – Charles Darwin (1809-1882), English scientist best known for the theory of Evolution.
  • “vital salts” – A rather obscure phrase, which seems to refer to the chemical elements of the human body. Possibly Moore intends a reference to the Lovecraft story The Case of Charles Dexter Ward, which prominently featured “essential salts”.

    A "gold elevator cage"
    A “gold elevator cage”
  • “gold elevator cages” – Elevators were in use during Snowy’s life, though less common than today. These older elevators often had grillwork instead of the solid walls we are used to, and this grillwork was often made of shiny, gold-colored brass.
  • “tweedy tooth” – “Tooth” here means “houndstooth” a type of cloth pattern.
  • “half a million years from now” – This will be expanded upon considerably in the chapter Eating Flowers.

    Photo of Buddleja davidii 'Dartmoor' taken at Portchester, UK (Ptelea, CC BY-SA 3.0)
    Photo of Buddleja davidii ‘Dartmoor’ taken at Portchester, UK (Ptelea, CC BY-SA 3.0)
  • “buddleia” – AKA Butterfly Bush. Previously mentioned in the chapter Modern Times, P161p3.
  • middens” – Trash heaps. Frequently used to today to indicate ancient trash heaps, useful to archaeologists. The trash heaps of today will, in the far future, themselves be ancient.
  • Julius Agricola” – (40-93), Roman General who conquered much of Britain.
  • Boadicea” – A queen of the British Iceni tribe who led an uprising against the Romans in AD 60 or 61, burning the city of Londinium to the ground. Moore has mentioned Boudicea in several other works, most notably From Hell.

paragraph 3

Kew Gardens gate, late 1800s
Kew Gardens gate, late 1800s
  • Kew Gardens” – A large botanical garden in London, founded in 1840. Apparently there used to be a zoo there also, and there was at least folklore concerning animals escaping.
  • “storm-rod” – AKA lightning rod, a metal pole designed to attract lightning to itself, and thus away from flammable parts of a roof. Invented by Benjamin Franklin in 1752.

paragraph 4

  • “the effing and the blinding” – It would appear that even in labor, Louisa is careful not to use severe language. “Effing” (f-ing) is euphemistic for “fucking”, and “blinding” is a weaker form of the British epithet “bleeding” (which is tame language today, but was considered severe during Snowy’s time).

Page 253

paragraph 1 (continued)

Lambeth Walk vicinity (Google Maps 2021)
Lambeth Walk vicinity (Google Maps 2021)
  • “off down Union Street” – Almost certainly a misreading of “Juxon Street”, which is one block north of here. While there is a Union Street in London at this time, it’s about a mile away to the NE, not even in Lambeth, certainly not within earshot. The use of the name “Union” in close proximity to “Paradise” may be an ironic comment on Snowy and Louisa’s marriage.

paragraph 2

  • “threads of event that shuttled on the district’s loom, either unravelling from one knot of potential circumstance or else unwittingly converging on the next” – Possibly an allusion to the burial shroud that Odysseus’s wife Penelope wove during the day, but un-wove at night, in order to remain in a state of stasis.
  • “Across the Lambeth Road […] emerging from Hercules Road” – About three blocks to the north. It’s odd that Snowy would be able to see ground-level details at such a distance, but see note at the end of P257p8, below. Snowy’s dad, Ernest, passed by Hercules Road on his way to St. Paul’s Cathedral in the chapter A Host of Angles (P47p1).
  • drays” – Horse-drawn carts.
  • “nappy-flagged back yards” – Somewhat obscure imagery here. I think “flagged” here means “covered in flagstones“. “Nappy” might be being used in the sense “shaggy-haired”, and thus an image of weeds growing over the back yards.
  • “Newport Street” – One block to the west.

paragraph 3

  • “phosphorous evaluation of the city” – More obscure imagery. “Phosphorous” may mean “phosphorescent”, that is, “glowing”. But why an examination of the city should have that property, I do not see. Suggest??
  • “over Lambeth, Southwark and the river to St. Paul’s” – About 1.5 miles away.

paragraph 4

  • “Bethlehem Asylum” – See notes at P250p2, above.

Page 254

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • No notes.

paragraph 2

  • “long ago in 1865” – That is, 34 years prior to this chapter.
  • Angles” – Germanic people who settled in England during the Roman occupation. Their name is where the first half of “Anglo-Saxon” comes from.
  • Pope Gregory” – (c.540-604), best known for sending the first large-scale mission to Christianize England.

    "Non angli, sed angeli", 1877 painting by Keeley Halswelle (www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au)
    “Non angli, sed angeli”, 1877 painting by Keeley Halswelle (www.artgallery.nsw.gov.au)
  • “Non Angli, sed Angeli” – Per Wikipedia, the full quote is: “Non Angli, sed angeli, si forent Christiani.– “They are not Angles, but angels, if they were Christian”. This incident is said to have inspired Gregory to send Saint Augustine to convert the English to Christianity.

paragraph 3

  • Saint Elmo’s Fire” – A weather phenomenon where electrical build-up in the air causes objects to glow.

Page 255

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • No notes.

paragraph 2

  • “the clutch of boys had now emerged out of their alley […] and flooded onto Lambeth Walk” – These are the boys who were on Newport Street at P253p2, and have now come down Old Paradise Street to the scene of the action at the intersection of Paradise with Lambeth Walk.

paragraph 3

  • Gor” – A British expression of surprise, ultimately derived from an attempt to not quite say “God”.
  • Jack the Ripper” – The famous serial killer whom Moore wrote about in From Hell. His murders had only concluded five months prior – according to modern scholars; at the time, he was still much in the news, and any gruesome murder was likely to be connected to him in the popular press.

paragraph 4 – 5

  • No notes.

paragraph 6

Hannah Chaplin c.1885 (Scanned from Chaplin: A Life by Stephen Weissman)
Hannah Chaplin c.1885 (Scanned from Chaplin: A Life by Stephen Weissman)
  • “heavily expectant woman […] a gal from the theatrical professions” – Presumably Charlie Chaplin’s mom, Hannah Chaplin, who would have been about 8 months pregnant at the time. See chapter Modern Times, P165ff.
  • stickleback” – A type of fish.
  • “Elephant Boys” – See chapter Modern Times, P155p3ff.

Page 256

paragraph 1

  • “like a backwards bustle” – Bustles were a late-19th-century women’s fashion that projected out the back of a dress.

paragraph 2 – 4

  • No notes.

paragraph 5

  • “Lollard Street” – Previously referred to as East Street; see note to P249p1.

paragraph 6 – 7

  • No notes.

Page 257

paragraph 1 (continued) – 7

  • No notes.

paragraph 8

  • Waterloo” – The neighborhood just north of Lambeth.
  • “to the south, he thought, was Mary’s Church” – This is an error. St. Mary’s was WNW of here, just north of Lambeth Bridge. Even if my hypothesis below is correct, St. Mary’s would be much closer to due west than to south. See map below.

    William Bligh's monument (photo Richard McArdle)
    William Bligh’s monument (photo Richard McArdle)
  • Captain William Bligh” – 1754-1817. Royal Navy officer most famous for a mutiny that occurred under his command of the Bounty.
  • “both the flora-cataloguing Tradescants” – John Tradescant the Elder (c.1570s-1638) and John Tradescant the Younger (1608-1622) were both British naturalists and gardeners. They (and others of their family) were buried at St. Mary’s.
  • “due west in front of him stood Lambeth Palace” – The official residence of the Archbishop of Canterbury. It is, however, almost due northwest of here, just north of St. Mary’s.
  • “Not far to the east[…] was Bedlam.” – Bedlam was about 1/3 of a mile to the NE.

    Anomalous landmarks (Google Maps 2021)
    Anomalous landmarks (Google Maps 2021)
  • The many directional errors in this paragraph collectively suggest that Snowy and Louisa are at the intersection of Lambeth Walk and Lambeth Road, not Paradise Street. This would also make sense of the otherwise puzzling mention of Hercules Road at P253p2.
    • I hypothesize that Moore had placed the action at the Lambeth Road intersection in an early draft of the chapter, then changed the location, but left in some now-anomalous details. In the first draft of some of these notes, I found an “East Street” (see P249p1) in London that was significantly to the NE of Lambeth, and thought that that was where Snowy and Louisa lived. Further investigations turned up the fact that the modern East Street did not have that name in 1889, but at least some maps gave that name to Lollard Street. If Moore went through a similar thought process in his own drafts, it would have made sense for Snowy and Louisa to head down Lambeth Road instead of Paradise Street.

paragraph 9

  • “when his father Ern had finally passed away” – As previously established in the chapter A Host of Angles (P66p1), this was in July of 1882.

Page 258

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • No notes.

paragraph 2

  • “their father’s mum, their grandmother” – Unnamed here. Her real-world analog was Maria Vernon (nee Messenger).

paragraph 3 – 4

  • No notes.

Page 259

paragraph 1 (continued)

Lambeth beach circa 1895 (www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/9042494234/)
Lambeth beach circa 1895 (www.flickr.com/photos/library_of_congress/9042494234/)
  • Margate” – A seaside town in Kent, England. A popular vacation spot.

paragraph 2

  • “the fugue of being” – A fugue is a musical form consisting of multiple, overlapping voices. This continues the music metaphor we’ve been developing. but also refers to “fugue state“, a trance-like psychological condition.

    1890s accordion (jakewildwood.blogspot.com)
    1890s accordion (jakewildwood.blogspot.com)
  • “piano accordion” – More commonly referred to, in America at least, as just “accordion“.
  • skirling” – Making a shrill sound.
  • “At present […] lodged […] at Fort Street in Northampton” – Snowy’s real-world analog changed residences frequently over the course of his life. He was living at 37 Fort Street by 1904 (no earlier records mention that address, though the data is sparse), and seems to have stayed there through at least 1911.
  • “between there and Lambeth, hiking three score miles” – Detailed in the chapter Eating Flowers.

paragraph 3 – 5

  • No notes.

paragraph 6

  • “fifty years from now, after his death” – Snowy dies 37 years from now, in 1926. Louisa outlives him by 10 years, dying in 1936 (P302p9), so won’t actually be around in a literal fifty years.

Page 260

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • No notes.

paragraph 2

  • “her great-grandfather John” – Mentioned briefly in the chapter A Host of Angles, P47p2ff.
  • “the eerie splendour that had spoken to his father in St. Paul’s Cathedral” – See the chapter A Host of Angles, P57p4ff.

paragraph 3

  • No notes.

paragraph 4

  • “machine-guns” –  Two significant developments in the lengthy history of the machine-gun were the Gatling Gun in 1861, two years before Snowy’s birth, and the Maxim Gun in 1884, five years before this chapter.
  • “motor-driven carriages” – Per Wikipedia, “The year 1886 is regarded as the birth year of the car”. That was three years prior to this chapter, though they wouldn’t become common until well into the 20th century.
  • “smudged paintings” – Probably a reference to Impressionism, an art movement begun in France in the 1860s.

    Title page of the first issue of The Pearl
    Title page of the first issue of The Pearl
  • “smutty books” – While pornographic books date back to almost immediately after the invention of books, the form did enjoy something of a blooming during Victorian England. Of particular note is a magazine called The Pearl which ran from 1879-1880, and which Moore drew upon for the first volume of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.

paragraph 5

  • No notes.

Page 261

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • “Snowy’s mouth would be crammed full of colours” – See the chapter Eating Flowers.
  • “He could do anything he pleased.” – This calls back to the title of this chapter, “Do As You Darn Well Pleasey”.

paragraph 2

  • “a pointillist dab” – Pointillism is a branch of Impressionism (See P260p4 above) in which paintings are formed out of innumerable tiny dots.

paragraph 3

  • No notes.

Page 262

paragraph 1 (continued) – 2

  • No notes.

paragraph 3

  • “Mr. Dadd” – Mentioned briefly by Snowy’s father in the chapter A Host of Angles, Dadd was as described here. Dadd makes a significant appearance in Moore’s The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Tempest.

    The Fairy Feller's Master-Stroke (1855-64) Richard Dadd (detail)
    The Fairy Feller’s Master-Stroke (1855-64) Richard Dadd (detail)
  • “something […] indistinct from the asylum’s worn stone gatepost” – Presumably a Puck’s Hat. In a pre-Jerusalem piece “Objects Discovered in a Novel Under Construction”, Moore wrote:

    Reportedly, Victorian patricide and fairy-painter Richard Dadd had an enormous “Puck’s Hat” sprouting from his temple and affecting his behaviour tremendously, while it remained predictably invisible to Dadd’s doctors and captors.

paragraph 4

  • William Blake (1757-1827) was an English poet and visual artist. He has been a large influence on Moore in general, and on this novel in particular. Also mentioned in the chapter A Host of Angles.
  • “the poet Milton who had entered like a current through the sole of Blake’s left foot” – William Blake, in his poem Milton (about John Milton) writes (and draws) about the spirit of Milton descending from heaven into his (Blake’s) left foot.
    Blake illustration for "Milton"
    Blake illustration for “Milton”

    With thunders loud and terrible: so Milton’s shadow fell
    Precipitant loud thund’ring into the Sea of Time & Space.
    Then first I saw him in the Zenith as a falling star,
    Descending perpendicular, swift as the swallow or swift :
    And on my left foot falling on the tarsus, enter’d there

  • “a fourfold and eternal city” – In Blake’s poem Jerusalem, are the words “fourfold, / The great City of Golgonooza“; in Blake’s Milton, “From Golgonooza the spiritual Four-fold London eternal”. Moore / Snowy is of course referring to four dimensions, the ordinary three spatial ones plus time.

Page 263

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • No notes.

paragraph 2

  • Nomen est omen” – Literally “The name is the omen.” Originally ascribed to the Roman playwright Plautus.
  • “the stated rationale […] behind the naming of his youngest children Messenger and Appelina” – Or possibly Moore’s rationale for using those names. See the Snowy’s Sibling’s section of the Genealogy Notes.
  • verges” – UK English: the grassy areas between sidewalk and street. By extensions, any edge or border.

    A verger and his verge (www.jhdesignchamber.com)
    A verger and his verge (www.jhdesignchamber.com)
  • “the verge, or rod of office, as in the ecclesiastical tradition” – In the Anglican Church, a verger traditionally carried a ceremonial rod. Per Wikipedia: “In former times, a verger might have needed to use his virge to keep back animals or an overenthusiastic crowd from the personage he was escorting or even to discipline unruly choristers.”
  • “Rods were wands of government” – Per Wikipedia: “The Maces of State used in the House of Lords and the House of Commons of the British Parliament are examples of another modern use of the medieval virge.”
  • “rulers made for measurement” – The “rod” is a now-archaic unit of measurement of 5 1/2 feet. Originally, it referred to a physical stick of this length used by surveyors to measure land.
  • “the vernal equinox” – The day (usually March 20th) on which the day and night are the same length, marking the beginning of Spring. The phrase is adopted from Latin. Remember that this chapter happens on March 10, with the equinox only 10 days in the future.

paragraph 3

  • ““Pigeon eyes”, their dad had called this gift, without explaining why.” – See chapter An Asmodeus Flight, Pxxx, for an explanation.

Page 264

paragraph 1

  • hopscotch” – A hopping game of great antiquity.

    "wooden flags from railway signal-boxes" (photo: David Ingham)
    “wooden flags from railway signal-boxes” (photo: David Ingham)
  • “wooden flags from railway signal-boxes” – A semaphore system for signaling trains, developed in the mid-19th century and still in use in some areas. “Signal-boxes” could refer to simple mechanical enclosures, but the term can also refer to a small two-storey building from which the signals are controlled.

paragraph 2

  • “Prince’s Road” – Possibly a colloquial name, though it does appear as such on some old maps; now officially called “Black Prince Road”. It’s about 900 feet south, down Lambeth Walk.
  • “Union Street” – As mentioned above (P263p1), I strongly suspect this is a misreading for “Juxon Street”.

paragraph 3

The Miracleman "Birth" issue
The Miracleman “Birth” issue
  • This recalls the graphic (and controversial) depiction of birth in Moore’s Miracleman.

paragraph 4

  • “unkempt and white as hedgerows on a drovers’ path” – “Drovers” are  people who transport animals (in this case, sheep) over long distances, like Black Charley on his way to Northampton. Sheep would get some of their wool caught on passing hedges, leaving “unkempt” tufts. In the chapter X Marks the Spot (P128p1), we saw some woolmongers gathering wool caught in this way.

Page 265

paragraph 1 (continued) – 2

  • No notes.

paragraph 3

"chimneypots that [...] stood four abreast" (MARTIN CHRISTOPHER PARKER/SHUTTERSTOCK)
“chimneypots that […] stood four abreast” (MARTIN CHRISTOPHER PARKER/SHUTTERSTOCK)
  • “its most dreadful and destructive aspect […] a crematorium pipe” – This of course recalls The Destructor.

paragraph 4

  • “peg dolls […] that were reversible and had a head on each end at the junction of the limbs” – While I have found innumerable “peg dolls” and “reversible dolls” of cloth (mostly of Red Riding Hood and either Wolf or Grandma), I have not been able to find an example that combines the two.

Page 266

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • No notes.

paragraph 2

  • “[A lifespan was] an even lovelier and more terrible thing when looked at through this end of its breathtaking telescope” – The imagery here seems related to some in Charles Dickens’s A Christmas Carol:

    It was a strange figure–like a child: yet not so like a child as like an old man, viewed through some supernatural medium, which gave him the appearance of having receded from the view, and being diminished to a child’s proportions.

  • “half a dozen of them” – May, Louisa, Tommy (Alma’s father), Walter, Jack, and Frank.
  • “its exquisite burnish and its brevity” – The younger May Warren, whose beauty was already remarked upon in the chapter Modern Times. We will learn more about her short life in the next chapter: The Breeze That Plucks Her Apron.
  • “a later branch, the next to last, was also cut short” – This would be Jack “Handsome John” Warren, who dies in 1944, fighting in World War II. More on this in xxx.

paragraph 3

Beaumont Court and Claremont Court (Google Street View Oct 2012)
Beaumont Court and Claremont Court (Google Street View Oct 2012)
  • “more than eighty years into […] the future” – The woman May is based on, Minnie May Vernon, dies in 1970, aged 81.
  • “a monstrous house that seemed to be the whole street pressed into one building” – One of the two “Newlife” buildings frequently referred to.

paragraph 4

  • No notes.

Page 267

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • Everyone knows the way there, hey there, hey there” – Is this a song lyric? Suggest??

paragraph 2

  • “two decades of happiness […] before life would start to load her with its burdens” – These burdens will be the primary concern of the next chapter: The Breeze That Plucks Her Apron.

paragraph 3

wax cylinders and playback machine (marktwainperforms.com)
wax cylinders and playback machine (marktwainperforms.com)

paragraph 4-5

  • No notes.

Page 268

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • No notes.

paragraph 2

  • “He raised his arms on each side, in the way […] the angels did” – We saw this in the chapter Rough Sleepers (P119p2), and on Alan Moore’s cover art.

paragraph 3

  • St. Elmo’s Fire” – An uncommon weather phenomenon in which a glowing blue electric field gathers around an upright object.

    St. Elmo's Fire (ownyourweather.com)
    St. Elmo’s Fire (ownyourweather.com)
  • phosphorus” – A highly reactive element. It emits a faint white glow when exposed to oxygen (the origin of the term “phosphorescence”). When burned, it emits a very strong white light.

    "The Dove Sent Forth From the Ark" by Gustave Dore (www.swartzentrover.com)
    “The Dove Sent Forth From the Ark” by Gustave Dore (www.swartzentrover.com)
  • “storm-bird come after the flood” – Alluding to the story of Noah in the Bible. After the floodwaters have started to recede, Nah sends out a number of birds to seek land. One evenually returns with an olive leaf (or branch), signifying that their is dry ground somewhere near.

paragraph 4

  • “Snowy Vernall springs eternal” – “Springs” here has many meanings. Snowy “springs” up, jumping and climbing things. He also “springs up” in the sense of a newly-sprouted plant. And, with his Eternalist view of time, Snowy is always in the season of Spring (which begins on the “vernal” equinox).

Page 269

paragraph 1 (continued)

  • No notes.

paragraph 2

  • “face the endless music” – Riffing on the idiom “face the music”, meaning “accept the consequences”. These are endless both in the sense that consequences of various sorts never stop happening, but also in the sense that prior consequences always still exist in the Eternalist view.
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3 thoughts on “J1.09 Do as You Darn Well Pleasey”

  1. DATE = MARCH 1889, “MIDDAY”

    P.O.V. CHARACTER = JOHN “SNOWY” VERNALL

    • 26 years old.

    • His father is Ernest “Ginger” Vernall from Ch2.

    • His wife is Louisa Vernall, who, in this chapter, gives birth to their daughter, May (named after Louisa’s mother), in the gutter at St. James’s Park.

    • His sister, Thursa, is two years younger. Their father, Ernest, would tell Snowy and Thursa about his angel encounter from Ch2 and how it made him understand reality when they would visit him in Bedlam asylum (until he died in July 1882). Ernest did not, however, tell their other siblings, Messenger and Appelina about the encounter, and he instructed Snowy and Thursa to not tell anyone else either.

    OBSERVATIONS AND QUESTIONS:

    • Page 251, par 3: “Cenotaphs would turn out to be less important than the sunny days missed in their making.”

    This reminds me of the John Lennon lyric from “Beautiful Boy (Darling Boy)”: “Life is what happens to you while you’re busy making other plans.”

    (Per Wiki, a “cenotaph” is “an empty tomb or a monument erected in honour of a person or group of people whose remains are elsewhere.”)

    • Page 252, par 4, the whole paragraph is a great musical metaphor describing the situation, especially: “Looking down he noticed an impromptu band convened about his wife, providing an accompaniment of soft and sympathetic strings for her, a rumbling kettle drum of disapproval for her husband straddling the roof above them as they cooed and booed the pair in strict rotation.”

    • Page 254, par 2: “’Angles’ were the people of a tribe that had invaded England, giving it its name, after the Romans left.”

    This sentence seems pretty huge regarding the angles/angels theme!

    • Page 259, par 2: Thursa did not embrace Ernest’s worldview as broadly as Snowy had, and instead she focused the madness/insight toward music. “She had trained herself to hear a single voice in the arrangement rather than risk being swallowed up by the fugue of being in which Snowy was consumed.”

    Focusing on a single melody within a piece of music is a way of isolating a handful of PARTS from the overall WHOLE. This same metaphor is conveyed through the lens of visual art, later on page 261, par 2: “As if they and their lives were not the smallest and most abstract brushstroke, a pointillist dab fixed and unmoving in time’s varnish, there eternally on an immeasurable canvas, part of a design too vast for its component marks to ever glimpse or comprehend.”

    Snowy’s ability to recognize himself as a “pigment smear made suddenly aware of its position at the corner of a masterpiece” is both a blessing and a curse, as he realizes that his “fellow squiggles…were not so conscious of their true predicament.”

    • Page 262, par 3: Snowy sees ghosts, or those “unwilling or unready to move on to any further state of being,” such as Mr. Dadd, who Snowy once saw pluck something from the wall and eat it. This is likely the same “Puck’s Hat” fruit-like food that Freddy eats in Ch4.

    • Page 262, par 4: “…Milton who had entered like a current through the sole of Blake’s left foot.” Sole/soul pun?

    • Page 264, par 3 describes Louisa’s mid-birth vagina to be a “torus” (the word Ernest ends up with at the end of Ch2). The next paragraph explains Ernest’s interpretation of “torus”:

    “…the rubber-tyre shape generated by the revolution of a conic disc around the circle drawn on an adjacent plane, or else the volume that would be contained by such a special movement.” Ernest considers “tori” to be “the single most important forms in all the cosmos,” as this is the shape of all planets/life/etc as they rotates around the sun (or solar systems themselves orbiting around super massive black holes), if seen through Snowy’s ability to glimpse the four-dimensional Einsteinian Block Universe.

    • Page 266, par 1: This is a good line, Snowy comparing seeing the birth of his daughter presently, while recalling seeing the death of his father years ago: “This was life seen, for the first time from his own experience, from its other terminus. It was, if anything, an even lovelier and more terrible thing when looked at through this end of its breathtaking telescope.”

    • Page 266, par 3: “She’d die alone upon the outskirts of Northampton in a monstrous house that seemed to be the whole street pressed into one building.”

    This line about May’s eventual death, which Snowy is able to see “over there” from the roof during her birth, kind of conjures the image on the cover of Jerusalem.

    • Page 268, par 2: Snowy does the pigeon flap on the roof, and it notes that his father had described this to him.

    “EINSTEINIAN BLOCK UNIVERSE” MOMENTS:

    There are way too many to mention them all, but here are some good ones.

    • Page 250, par 2: “Snowy’s dad had once explained to him and his young sister Thursa how by altering one’s altitude, one’s level on the upright axis of the seemingly three-planed existence, it was possible to catch a glimpse of the elusive fourth plane, the fourth axis, which was time.”

    • Page 261, par 1: “[Snowy] was entirely without fear, able to scale sheer walls without regard for life or limb, simply because he knew that he was not destined to perish in a fall. His death would come in a long corridor of rooms…. He had no idea yet why this would be so, but only that it would be. Until then, he could take risks without anxiety. He could do anything he pleased.”

    • Page 264, par 2: This whole paragraph is a damn fascinating description of how SOUND would exist in a block universe. I had never thought about that before. Wow!

    THIS LINE MADE ME LAUGH:

    • Page 255, last par: The “good Samaritan” confronts the gang of boys heckling Louisa and “…the boys seemed daunted, looking sidelong at each other as if trying to establish without speaking what gang policy might be in novel situations as this.”

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  2. I’ll put my dramatis personae and index lists here.
    NOTES:
    Page referrers are for 3 volume paperback edition by Knockabout.
    Dramatis personae-characters in brackets are only mentioned but not in scene.

    Dramatis Personae
    • John ›Snowy‹ Vernall: POV, 26, born approx. 1863
    • (Ernest Vernall: Snowys father)
    • Louise: Snowys wife, giving birth to May
    • (Thursa: Snowys sister, 24 years old, born approx. 1865)
    • pregnant woman, pretty, well dressed, taking command
    • several approx. 12 year old boys play-fighting
    • (Appelina: Snowys sister)
    • (Messenger, ›Mess‹: Snowys brother)
    • (Angel in St. Pauls Cathedral)
    • (Anne: Snowys mother)
    • clutch of boys from Lambeth Walk
    • clutch of boys from Elephant & Castle
    • onlooker, helping by asking for towels, hot water ect.
    • baby May
    • (Mr. Dadd, painter: as ghost, see Index)
    • (William Blake, as ghost, see Index)

    Index
    • Atlas, Titan in greek mythology, carrying the world on his shoulders: 244
    • ›Miltonic tabelau‹; John Milton (1608-1674), English poet, author of Paradise Lost: 245
    • Charles Darwin (1809-1882), English naturalist and geologist: 246
    • Eden, garden of God, Genesis, Bible: 246
    • Napoleon Bonaparte (1769-1821) French military genius, political leader, Emperor of France: 246
    • Julius Agricola (40-93), Gallo-Roman general: 247
    • Queen Boadicea (died 60 or 61), Celtic leader of uprising against Roman occupation of English island: 247
    • Pope Saint Gregory I. (540-604): 249
    • ›No Angli, sed Angeli‹, quote Pope Gregory I.: 249
    • Jack the Ripper, unidentified serial killer active mostly around Whitechapel district of London in 1888: 249
    • Captain William Bligh (1754-1817), Officer of British Royal Navy and colonial administrator, best remembered for the mutiny which occured during his command of HMS Bounty in 1789: 251
    • ›both flora-cataloguing Tradescants‹, John Tradescant the elder (1570-1638), English naturalist, gardener, collector and traveller; John Tradescant the Younger (1608-1662), Engish botanist and gardener: 251
    • Richard Dadd (1817-1886), English painter, (1855-64): 256
    • William Blake (1757-1827), English poet, painter, draughtsman and visionary: 256
    • Eve, first woman in Genesis, Bible: 256

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  3. [Aide memoir for later edit:] I feel sure the pregnant, theatrical lady with the flashing eyes who comes to Louisa’s assistance is none other than Hannah Chaplin, mother of one Charles Spencer Chaplin. The dates tally (Charlie was born in 1889) and the description of the lady, right down to the ‘flashing eyes’ which was also used to describe Charlie, also matches. Chaplin is also believed (no birth record exists) to have been born in East Street, Walworth which (check this) is where Snowy and Louisa are living at the time.

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