The page numbers are from “Lord Peter” published by Harper & Row. The excerpts are copyrighted 1972 by Harper & Row.
434 ~ You’ll have to eat your tea on all fours, like Nebuchadnezzar
Meaning his bottom will be so sore from a paddling that he’ll be unable to sit down. In the 4th chapter of Daniel, King Nebuchadnezzar is presented with a vision in which he “was driven from men, and ate grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of the heavens, until his hair had grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws” (verse 33).
The curse is come upon me, cried the Lady of Shalott
A reference to Alfred Lord Tennyson’s poem. The lines run:
She left the web, she left the room, She made three paces thro’ the room,
She saw the water-lily bloom, She saw the helmet and the plume,
She looked down to Camelot.
Out flew the web and floated wide; The mirror cracked from side to side;
‘The curse is come upon me,’ cried The Lady of Shalott
Here’s a very pretty site dedicated to the poem.
450 ~ Mr. Scatterblood . . . Cap’en Teach
Mr. Scatterblood is not identified, but as Teach is most certainly a reference to the notorious pirate, then Mr. Scatterblood could be the name of his first mate. I assume it came from a children’s book that readers would be familiar with.
452 ~ Privy Stair
The back stairs in a house that leads to the privy or bathroom.
removed from chancery
Chancery is a court in which justice takes precedence over law, and the slang use of “in chancery” indicates a helpless or hopeless predicament.