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Rilla of Ingleside: Literary Allusions

This page lists literary allusions appearing in L.M. Montgomery’s novel Rilla of Ingleside (1921). Pagination refers to the first edition.


Epigraph } { Chapter I. Glen “Notes” and Other Matters } { Chapter II. Dew of Morning } { Chapter III. Moonlit Mirth } { Chapter IV. The Piper Pipes } { Chapter V. “The Sound of a Going” } { Chapter VI. Susan, Rilla, and Dog Monday Make a Resolution } { Chapter VII. A War Baby and a Soup Tureen } { Chapter VIII. Rilla Decides } { Chapter IX. Doc Has a Misadventure } { Chapter X. The Troubles of Rilla } { Chapter XI. Dark and Bright } { Chapter XII. In the Days of Langemarck } { Chapter XIII. A Slice of Humble Pie } { Chapter XIV. The Valley of Decision } { Chapter XV. Until the Day Break } { Chapter XVI. Realism and Romance } { Chapter XVII. The Weeks Wear By } { Chapter XVIII. A War Wedding } { Chapter XIX. “They Shall Not Pass” } { Chapter XX. Norman Douglas Speaks Out in Meeting } { Chapter XXI. “Love Affairs Are Horrible” } { Chapter XXII. Little Dog Monday Knows } { Chapter XXIII. “And So, Goodnight” } { Chapter XXIV. Mary Is Just in Time } { Chapter XXV. Shirley Goes } { Chapter XXVI. Susan Has a Proposal of Marriage } { Chapter XXVII. Waiting } { Chapter XXVIII. Black Sunday } { Chapter XXIX. “Wounded and Missing” } { Chapter XXX. The Turning of the Tide } { Chapter XXXI. Mrs. Matilda Pitman } { Chapter XXXII. Word from Jem } { Chapter XXXIII. Victory!! } { Chapter XXXIV. Mr. Hyde Goes to His Own Place and Susan Takes a Honeymoon } { Chapter XXXV. “Rilla-My-Rilla!” }


“Now they remain to us forever young / Who with such splendour gave their / youth away.”—Sheard   Virna Sheard, “The Young Knights” (1916 poem), lines 1–2.

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Chapter I. Glen “Notes” and Other Matters

Dr. Jekyll had not been Mr. Hyde   Characters in Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde (1886), a novel by Robert Louis Stevenson (1850–1894), Scottish author.

a delusion and a snare   Properly, “a delusion, a mockery, and a snare.” From Thomas Denman (1779–1854), British judge and politician, in his judgment on the case of Daniel O’Connel vs. The Queen (1844). See also “Around the Table” (“Over the Tea Cups”); “The Alpine Path: The Story of My Career”; “The Importance of Beauty in Everything.”

Cassandra-like croakings   In Greek mythology, the beautiful Cassandra, daughter of King Priam and Queen Hecuba of Troy, was given the gift of prophecy by Apollo. When she deceived him, he decreed that no one should believe her prophecies of doom.

It does not do . . . to set your affections too much on a man   Bible, Colossians 3:2 (KJV): “Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.”

Susan returned to her mutton   A literal translation of the French phrase “Revenons à nos moutons,” from the anonymous play La Farce de Maistre Pierre Pathelin (ca. 1460), referring to a return to the subject at hand. See also three instalments of “Around the Table” (“[After the Ball],” “[Double Standards],” and “[Jonah Days]”) and Montgomery’s journal entry dated 6 April 1894.

“God is love”   Bible, 1 John 4:8 (KJV): “He that loveth not knoweth not God; for God is love.”

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Chapter II. Dew of Morning

Dew of Morning   From “Vala, or The Four Zoas,” a poem by William Blake (1757–1827), English poet and painter, published posthumously in 1893.

Walter had been reading Robinson Crusoe   Novel by Daniel Defoe (1660–1731), English novelist, first published in 1719. The name “Dog Monday” is a variation on Defoe’s character “Man Friday,” a term used to refer to a male servant or assistant.

Father says I toil not neither do I spin. Therefore, I must be a lily of the field.   Bible, Matthew 6:28 (KJV): “Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin.”

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Chapter III. Moonlit Mirth

the “old grey mother of the northern sea”   Possibly a paraphrase of “The Grey Mother” (“Hear the grey, old, Northern mother”), a poem by Lauchlan MacLean Watt (1867–1957), Scottish poet and minister.

“Wi’ a hundred pipers a’ and a’”   First line in “The Hundred Pipers,” a mid-nineteenth-century song by Carolina Nairne (1766–1845), Scottish songwriter. (Recording)

the aerial, celestial music Adam and Eve heard in Milton’s Eden   John Milton, Paradist Lost (1667 epic poem): “when / Cherubic Songs by night from neighbouring Hills / Aereal Music send” (book 5, lines 546–48).

season in and season out   Bible, 2 Timothy 4:2 (KJV): “in season, out of season.”

The very teeth of her soul were set on edge   Bible, Jeremiah 31:29 (KJV): “the children’s teeth are set on edge.”

things not lawful to be uttered   Bible, 2 Corinthians 12:4 (KJV): “unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.”

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Chapter IV. The Piper Pipes

Everything had turned to dust and ashes   Bible, Job 42:6 (KJV): “Wherefore I abhor myself, and repent in dust and ashes.”

“A merry lilt o’ moonlight for mermaiden revelry”   Properly, “A merry lilt o’ moonlight for mermaiden revelry!” From “The Sea-Shell,” a poem by L.M. Montgomery first published in 1909 and included in A World of Songs: Selected Poems, 1894–1921.

“there was a sound of revelry by night”; “Hush! Hark! a deep sound strikes like a rising knell”   Lord Byron, George Gordon, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage: A Romaunt (1812–1818 poem), canto 3, stanza 21, lines 1, 9.

this, too, will pass away”   Properly, “And this, too, shall pass away.” Abraham Lincoln popularized this formulation of a proverb whose roots are found in medieval Persian Sufi poetry. Also “This Too Shall Pass Away” (1900), by American poet Ella Wheeler Wilcox.

Pride must suffer pain   From “The Little Mermaid,” a fairy tale by Hans Christian Andersen.

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Chapter V. “The Sound of a Going”

“The Sound of a Going”   Bible, 2 Samuel 5:24 (KJV): “And let it be, when thou hearest the sound of a going in the tops of the mulberry trees, that then thou shalt bestir thyself: for then shall the LORD go out before thee, to smite the host of the Philistines.”

we should count time by heart-throbs   Philip James Bailey, Festus: A Poem (1839), p. 49: “We should count time by heart-throbs.”

“When our women fail in courage, / Shall our men be fearless still?”   Kate Tucker Goode, “Caleb’s Daughter” (1914 poem), stanza 9, line 2: “When our women fail in courage, shall our men be fearless still?”

an altar of the hills   George William Russell (“A.E.”), “Dawn” (1906 poem), line 3: “Fire on the altar of the hills at last.”

“He goes to do what I had done / Had Douglas’ daughter been his son”   Sir Walter Scott, The Lady of the Lake (1810 narrative poem), canto 4, stanza 10, lines 30–31: “He goes to do—what I had done, / Had Douglas’ daughter been his son!”

the ‘K. of K.’ . . . the King of Kings   Recurring Biblical phrase referring to God. See Ezekiel 26:7, Daniel 2:37, 1 Timothy 6:15, Revelation 17:14, and Revelation 19:16 (KJV).

that verse of Shakespeare in the old Fifth Reader says—‘the brave man is not he who feels no fear’ . . . ‘he whose noble soul its fear subdues’   Joanna Baillie, Basil: A Tragedy (1798 play), act 3, scene 1: “The brave man is not he who feels no fear, / For that were stupid and irrational; / But he, whose noble soul its fear subdues, / And bravely dares the danger nature shrinks from.”

‘The world is very evil—the times are waxing late’   From “The World Is Very Evil,” by Bernard of Morlaix (of Cluny), a twelfth-century Benedictine monk, translated from the Latin by John M. Neale in The Rhythm of Bernard de Morlaix, Monk of Cluny (1858).

‘Without shedding of blood there is no remission of sins’   Bible, Hebrews 9:22 (KJV): “without shedding of blood is no remission.”

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Chapter VI. Susan, Rilla, and Dog Monday Make a Resolution

a method in her madness   William Shakespeare, Hamlet (ca. 1600 play), act 2, scene 2, lines 223–24: “Though this be madness, yet there is / method in ’t.”

‘It’s a long, long way to Tipperary’   A recurring phrase in the song “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary,” a 1912 British music hall song that became a popular marching song in 1914. (Recording)

“comfortable and composed”   Unknown.

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Chapter VII. A War Baby and a Soup Tureen

“come out of the everywhere” into such a dubious “here”   George MacDonald, At the Back of the North Wind (1871 novel), chapter 33: “Where did you come from, baby dear? / Out of the everywhere into here.”

the valley of the shadow   Bible, Psalm 23:4 (KJV): “the valley of the shadow of death.”

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Chapter VIII. Rilla Decides

“thus far—no further”   Bible, Job 38:11 (KJV): “Hitherto shalt thou come, but no further.”

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Chapter IX. Doc Has a Misadventure

gird up our loins   To prepare for action. Bible, Job 38:3 (KJV).

‘lily of the field’   See chapter 2, above.

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Chapter X. The Troubles of Rilla

the Eden secret of being naked and unashamed   Bible, Genesis 2:25 (KJV): “they were both naked . . . and were not ashamed.”

We are told to love our enemies   Bible, Matthew 5:44 and Luke 6:27 (KJV): “Love your enemies.”

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Chapter XI. Dark and Bright

like a giant refreshed   From Psalm 78 in The Book of Common Prayer (1892 version).

how could men die better than fighting for the ashes of their fathers and the temples of their gods   Thomas Babington Macaulay, Lays of Ancient Rome (1842 narrative poem): “And how can man die better / Than facing fearful odds, / For the ashes of his fathers / And the temples of his Gods” (“Horatius,” stanza 27, lines 5–6).

one crowded hour of glorious life was worth an age without a name   Thomas Osbert Mordaunt, “The Call” (1791 poem): “One crowded hour of glorious life / Is worth an age without a name” (lines 3–4).

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Chapter XII. In the Days of Langemarck

a meek and obedient daughter whose days should be long in the land   Bible, Exodus 20:12 (KJV): “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land.”

Who said that spring was the joy of the year?   Possibly an allusion to “An April Song,” a poem by Phebe A. Holder (1824–1902), American poet.

David and the Bethlehem water   Bible, 2 Samuel 23:15 and 1 Chronicles 11:17 (KJV).

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Chapter XIII. A Slice of Humble Pie

There are no literary allusions in this chapter.

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Chapter XIV. The Valley of Decision

The Valley of Decision   Bible, Joel 3:14 (KJV): “for the day of the LORD is near in the valley of decision.”

“We’ll never let the old flag fall”   First World War marching song about the Union Jack, first published in 1914, with music by M.F. Kelly and lyrics by Albert Erroll MacNutt. (Recording)

shake its accursed dust from my feet forever   Bible, Matthew 10:14 (KJV): “shake off the dust of your feet.” Bible, Mark 6:11 (KJV): “shake off the dust under your feet for a testimony against them.” Bible, Luke 9:5 (KJV): “shake off the very dust from your feet for a testimony against them.”

“‘Comes he slow or comes he fast / It is but death who comes at last.’”   Sir Walter Scott, Marmion: A Tale of Flodden Field, canto 2, stanza 30, lines 11–12: “And come he slow, or come he fast, / It is but Death who comes at last.”

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Chapter XV. Until the Day Break

Until the Day Break   Bible, Song of Solomon 2:17 (KJV).

the ‘strength of the hills’   Bible, Psalm 95:4 (KJV).

Oh God, our help in ages past . . . And our eternal home   From the hymn “O God, Our Help in Ages Past” (1719), by Isaac Watts, English hymn writer, paraphrasing Psalm 90 (KJV). (Recording)

‘the same yesterday, today and for ever’   Bible, Hebrews 13:8 (KJV): “Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever.”

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Chapter XVI. Realism and Romance

his protests availed him nothing   Bible, Esther 5:13 (KJV): “Yet all this availeth me nothing.”

lifted up his voice and wept   Bible, Genesis 29:11 (KJV).

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Chapter XVII. The Weeks Wear By

“Oh, hear us when we cry to Thee / For those in peril on the sea”   From “Eternal Father, Strong to Save,” a hymn with lyrics by William Whiting and music added by John B. Dykes. This extract paraphrases Psalm 104.

repent in sackcloth and ashes   Bible, Matthew 11:21 (KJV): “they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.”

to purge the garner   Bible, Matthew 3:12: “he will thoroughly purge his floor, and gather his wheat into the garner.” See also Luke 3:17 (KJV).

an ounce of prevention   From “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure,” an ancient proverb first recorded in the thirteenth century.

Patience is a tired mare but she jogs on   William Shakespeare, Henry V (1599 play), act 2, scene 2, lines 24–25: “Though patience be a tired mare, yet she will plod.”

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Chapter XVIII. A War Wedding

the apple of her eye   Bible, Deuteronomy 32:10 (KJV): “he kept him as the apple of his eye.”

the Iliad   The Iliad (ca. 8th century B.C.E.), an epic poem whose authorship is generally attributed to Homer.

the Anti-Christ spoken of in Revelations   See 1 John 2:18, 1 John 2:22, 1 John 4:3, and 2 John 1:7 (KJV). Related terms mentioned in the Book of Revelation include the Beast, the Dragon, and the False Prophet.

live on the fat of the land   Bible, Genesis 45:18 (KJV): “ye shall eat the fat of the land.”

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Chapter XIX. “They Shall Not Pass”

‘struggle of ants / In the gleam of a million million of suns’   Alfred, Lord Tennyson, “Vastness” (1895 poem), stanza 2: “What is it all but a trouble of ants in the gleam of a million million of suns?”

a new heaven and a new earth   From Revelation 21:1 (KJV). See also 2 Peter 3:13, Isaiah 65:17, and Isaiah 66:22.

raven of bode and woe   From Rienzi, the Last of the Roman Tribunes (1835), a novel by Edward Bulwer-Lytton (1803–1873), English politician and writer.

‘joy came in the morning’   Bible, Psalm 30:5 (KJV): “joy cometh in the morning.”

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Chapter XX. Norman Douglas Speaks Out in Meeting

You blatant beast   The Faerie Queene (1590; 1596), by Edmund Spenser: “The Blattant Beast.”

You whited sepulchre!   Bible, Matthew 23:27 (KJV): “unto whited sepulchres.”

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Chapter XXI. “Love Affairs Are Horrible”

the deeps of despair   Alfred, Lord Tennyson, The Princess: A Medley (1895 poem), part 4, line 22: “Tears from the depth of some divine despair.”

the world is not left wholly desolate   Bible, Jeremiah 50:13 (KJV): “wholly desolate.”

“We’ll follow—we’ll follow—we won’t break faith”   Properly, “If ye break faith with us who die.” From “In Flanders Fields,” a poem by John McCrae.

so race-of-Josephy   From “the race that knows Joseph,” a phrase used in Anne’s House of Dreams, from Bible, Exodus 1:8 (KJV): “Now there arose up a new king over Egypt, which knew not Joseph.”

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Chapter XXII. Little Dog Monday Knows

They seemed to bear charmed lives   William Shakespeare, Macbeth (1623 play), act 5, scene 8, line 14: “I bear a charmèd life.”

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Chapter XXIII. “And So, Goodnight”

“And So, Goodnight”   Properly, “and so, good-night!” From Trilby (1895), a novel by George du Maurier (1834–1896), French-English author.

she had to put on calmness and endurance as a garment in the day   “Composed upon Westminster Bridge, September 3, 1802,” a poem by William Wordsworth: “This City now doth, like a garment, wear / The beauty of the morning” (lines 4–5). “Napoleon’s Dream,” a poem by Alaric Alexander Watts: “And deepest silence hung, / Like a garment, o’er the land” (lines 5–6).

And I can see the moonlight shining white and still on the old hills of home   “The Courtin’,” a poem by James Russell Lowell: “God makes sech [sic] nights, all white an’ still” (line 1). “To S.R. Crockett,” a poem by Robert Louis Stevenson: “Hills of home!” (line 10).

‘red rain’ of Langemarck and Verdun   Lord Byron, George Gordon, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage: A Romaunt (1812–1818 poem), canto 3, stanza 17: “How that red rain hath made the harvest grow!”

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Chapter XXIV. Mary Is Just in Time

There are no literary allusions in this chapter.

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Chapter XXV. Shirley Goes

Joseph is not and Simeon is not; and ye will take Benjamin away   Bible, Genesis 42:36 (KJV): “Joseph is not, and Simeon is not, and ye will take Benjamin away.” Joseph, Simeon, and Benjamin are three of the twelve sons of Jacob, referred to here as the “old Patriarch.”

‘our house is left us desolate’   Bible, Matthew 23:38, Luke 13:35 (KJV): “Behold, your house is left unto you desolate.”

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Chapter XXVI. Susan Has a Proposal of Marriage

“With the majesty of pinion / Which the Theban eagles bear, / Sailing with supreme dominion / Through the azure fields of air”   Thomas Gray, “The Progress of Poesy: A Pindaric Ode” (1757 poem): “Nor the pride, nor ample pinion, / That the Theban Eagle bear / Sailing with supreme dominion / Thro’ the azure deep of air” (lines 114–17).

‘many inventions’   Bible, Ecclesiastes 7:29: “God hath made man upright; but they have sought out many inventions.”

the ‘kingdom of heaven is within you’   Bible, Luke 17:21 (KJV): “The kingdom of God is within you.”

stood not upon the order of his going   William Shakespeare, Macbeth (1623 play), act 3, scene 4, line 145: “Stand not upon the order of your going.”

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Chapter XXVII. Waiting

‘a fairy city of the heart’   Lord Byron, George Gordon, Childe Harold’s Pilgrimage: A Romaunt (1812–1818 poem), canto 4, stanza 18, line 2.

Susan just ‘said her say’   Epilogue, a poem in Doctor Birch and His Young Friends (1849), by William Makepeace Thackeray originally signed “Mr. M.A. Titmarsh”: “And when he’s laughed and said his say” (line 6).

in maiden meditation fancy free   William Shakespeare, A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1600 play), act 2, scene 1, line 170: “And the imperial votaress passed on, / In maiden meditation, fancy-free.”

The ‘meteor flag of England’   Thomas Campbell, “Ye Mariners of England: A Naval Ode” (1801 poem): “The meteor flag of England” (stanza 4, line 1).

make bricks without straw   Bible, Exodus 5:7 (KJV): “Ye shall no more give the people straw to make brick, as heretofore: let them go and gather straw for themselves.”

‘And they shall fight against thee but they shall not prevail against thee, for I am with thee, saith the Lord of Hosts, to deliver thee’   Bible, Jeremiah 1:19 (KJV): “And they shall fight against thee; but they shall not prevail against thee; for I am with thee, saith the LORD, to deliver thee.”

the spirits of all just men made perfect   Bible, Hebrews 12:23 (KJV): “and to the spirits of just men made perfect.”

‘the last great fight of all!’   “England’s Answer,” a poem by Rudyard Kipling: “In the day of Armageddon, at the last great fight of all” (line 17).

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Chapter XXVIII. Black Sunday

“He that endureth to the end shall be saved”   Bible, Matthew 10:22 (KJV).

“hushed in grim repose”   Thomas Gray, “The Bard: A Pindaric Ode” (1757 poem), line 76.

the third commandment   Bible, Exodus 20:8 (KJV): “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy.”

‘but one more / To baffled millions who have gone before’   Lord Byron, George Gordon, “Epistle to Augusta” (1830 poem), stanza 13, lines 7–8: “I am one the more / To baffled millions which have gone before.”

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Chapter XXIX. “Wounded and Missing”

There are no literary allusions in this chapter.

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Chapter XXX. The Turning of the Tide

Ernest Renan wrote one of his books during the siege of Paris in 1870 and ‘enjoyed the writing of it very much’   Ernest Renan (1823–1892), nineteenth-century French philosopher and writer. The book referred to here is likely La Réforme intellectuelle et morale (1871), which included a vision for a newly organized France toward the end of the Second French Empire.

‘Sooth was my prophecy of fear / Believe it when it augurs cheer’   Sir Walter Scott, The Lady of the Lake (1810 narrative poem), canto 4, stanza 11, lines 13–14.

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Chapter XXXI. Mrs. Matilda Pitman

There are no literary allusions in this chapter.

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Chapter XXXII. Word from Jem

that devoutly desired consummation   William Shakespeare, Hamlet (1600 play), act 3, scene 1, lines 71–72: “’Tis a consummation / Devoutly to be wished.”

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Chapter XXXIII. Victory!!

A day ‘of chilling winds and gloomy skies’   “Heaven” (1883), a poem by Nancy Amelia Woodbury Priest Wakefield (1836–1870), American poet: “Beyond these chilling winds and gloomy skies” (line 1).

‘For our tomorrow they gave their today’   Epitaph written by John Maxwell Edmonds (1875–1958), English poet and classical scholar: “When you go home, tell them of us and say / For their tomorrow, we gave our today” (sometimes as “‘For your tomorrows these gave their today’”).

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Chapter XXXIV. Mr. Hyde Goes to His Own Place and Susan Takes a Honeymoon

without form and void   Bible, Genesis 1:2 (KJV): “The earth was without form, and void”; Bible, Jeremiah 4:23 (KJV): “I beheld the earth, and lo, it was without form, and void.”

“gone to his own place”   Bible, 1 Samuel 5:11 (KJV): “Send away the ark of the God of Israel, and let it go again to his own place.”

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Chapter XXXV. “Rilla-My-Rilla!”

There are no literary allusions in this chapter.

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This page last updated on 25 November 2023. Please contact the site owner with additions, corrections, questions, and suggestions.