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BARMECIDE FEAST - An unsatisfying meal. The phrase comes from a story in the Arabian Knights about a Persian nobleman who served an imaginary meal to a beggar.
BLUEBEARD - A character in a French fairy tale who married and murdered one wife after another.
BOADICEA - A warrior queen of ancient Britain who led a revolt against the Romans.
BRIDEWELL - A prison.
CADEAU - The French word for gift.
CORSAIR - A pirate.
CROQUANT - French for eating or crunching on. The expression, used by Rochester, comes from the verb croquer, meaning to crunch.
CUYP-LIKE - Resembling a painting by Cuyp, a Flemish painter known for peaceful rural scenes.
DIAN - (spelled Diana in some editions) The goddess of the hunt. Blanche Ingram is said to have a figure like Dian. Normally this would be a compliment, but notice how often Blanche is compared to women who have some military or predatory function.
EUTYCHUS - A man who fell asleep while listening to a sermon by St. Paul and tumbled out of an open window.
HEATH - A wild shrub with pink or purple flowers; heather is one variety of heath.
JUGGERNAUT - An idol representing the Hindu deity Krishna. Once a year the idol was pulled through the streets in a cart and devout worshippers supposedly committed suicide by throwing themselves under the cart's wheels.
MADEIRA - An island in the Atlantic Ocean about 400 miles west of Morocco.
MOOR - An area of open land not good for farming.
RASSELAS - A philosophic romance by Samuel Johnson. A young man named Rasselas searches the world for the secret of happiness and concludes that happiness lies in being content with one's lot.
RIZZIO, DAVID - An Italian musician in the court of Mary Queen of Scots. Thought to be the Queen's lover and involved in a plot to murder one of her husbands.
SYBIL - One of a group of women in ancient Greece believed to have the power to see into the future. Usually spelled Sibyl.
TYRIAN-DYED - Purple in color. The name comes from the ancient Middle Eastern city of Tyre, which was famous for the royal purple dyes produced there.
VULCAN - The Roman god of fire and metal-working. Vulcan was portrayed as a cripple and this is the characteristic Rochester has in mind when he compares himself to the god in Chapter 37.
WOLFE, JAMES - A British general who died while trying to capture Quebec from the French in 1759. The death of Wolfe, mentioned in Chapter 11, was a very common subject for patriotic paintings.