NOTES ON ISSUE 8: ALLUSIONS
little children to come into the midst of it
This common phrase alludes to Mark 10:13-14:
"And they brought young children to him, that he should touch
them: and his disciples rebuked those that brought them. But when
Jesus saw it, he was much displeased, and said unto them, Suffer
the little children to come unto me, and forbid them not: for
of such is the kingdom of God."
The golden waters were not there.
They were flowing for the fertilization of the land where grapes
are gathered from thorns, and figs from thistles.
This passage combines two allusions: one
to a story in the Arabian Nights, in which a woman finds
golden waters that will bring her brothers back to life, and the
other to Luke 6:44: "For every tree is known by his own fruit.
For of thorns men do not gather figs, nor of a bramble bush gather
…she might have been lying at the
bottom of a well. The poor lady was nearer Truth than she ever
From the proverbial saying, "Truth lies
at the bottom of a well."
even Mrs. Gradgrind, emerged from
the shadow in which man walketh and disquieteth himself in vain,
took upon her the dread solemnity of the sages and patriarchs
The passage alludes to the burial service
from the Book of Common Prayer: "For man walketh in a vain shadow,
and disquieteth himself in vain.” This passage itself is taken
from Psalms 39:6: "Surely every man walketh in a vain shew: surely
they are disquieted in vain: he heapeth up riches, and knoweth
not who shall gather them."
feeding on the fat of the land
From Genesis 45:18, in which Pharoah says to
Joseph: "And take your father and your households, and come unto
me: and I will give you the good of the land of Egypt, and ye
shall eat the fat of the land."
To which Mrs. Sparsit returned, in
effect, though not of the Mohammedan persuasion: "To hear is to
An echo of Scheherazade in the Arabian
Nights, who frequently said the same to her husband.
like Robinson Crusoe in his ambuscade against the savages
An allusion to the novel Robinson Crusoe
(1719) by Daniel Defoe; in it, the title character and Friday
attack cannibals from an ambush.
the Good Samaritan was a Bad Economist
A reference to the story of the good Samaritan,
related in Luke 10:29-37. In it, a man is robbed and wounded;
a priest and a Levite who pass him do nothing. But a passing Samaritan
helps the man, binds his wounds, and takes him to an inn, paying
for the man to be cared for without expecting the money to be
they shall be able to direct the anatomist where to strike his
knife into the secrets of my soul."
The close of Louisa's speech may allude
to Shakespeare's play 2 Henry VI, Act III, Scene ii, 374-6:
"sometimes he calls the King/ And whispers to his pillow, as to
him,/ The secrets of his overcharged soul."