Chapter 48 – Nemesis

Nemesis

Nemesis was a Greek goddess of justice who personified the retribution exacted on those who disrupted the natural balance of the world by violating moral codes or by possessing an excess such as wealth or pride.  This is fitting as the title of this chapter since Alexandrina and Crosbie are both punished with their unhappy marriage for the excessive social ambitions which motivated their wedding.  Further, Nemesis is considered in some traditions to be the mother of Helen of Troy, which may relate to the references to the Iliad scattered throughout the novel.  [EB 2006]

Sources:  Cassell’s Dictionary of Classical Mythology.

 

No vengeance had overtaken him

This phrase describes the sense of distress those at Allington have about the fact that Crosbie has not been punished for his actions.  In reality, Crosbie is being punished through his unhappy new life, but none of the characters at Allington know of this.  In one of Horace’s odes the personification of vengeance, Poena, who is the Roman equivalent of the Greek Nemesis, is described as constantly pursuing (and catching up with) those who commit wrongs.  [EB 2006]

Sources:  Horace, Ode 3.2.31-32.

 

a black cloud upon his brow

The Greek god Zeus is often associated with storms, particularly when he is angry, since he wields the power of thunder.  Here this phrase is used to describe Crosbie’s obvious anger at his superiors for reprimanding him.  The image of the storm is a strong contrast to the earlier association between Crosbie and Apollo’s sun.  [EB 2006]

Trollope often invokes the image of a “clouded brow,” and that phrase may have Classical roots.  See commentary for Chapter 24 of Barchester Towers.  [RR 2011]

Chapter 47 – The New Private Secretary

glorious victory at the railway station

This phrase recalls the concept of glory and immortal fame won by warriors in battle in ancient epics such as the Iliad.  The application of this elevated Classical motif to the brief fight between Crosbie and Eames is a humorous exaggeration.  [EB 2006]

 

a certain amount of hero-worship

John Eames is subject to “worship” at Burton Crescent after his promotion.  In ancient Greece and Rome there were cults that worshipped heroes such as Heracles.  There is a humorous contrast between the quasi-divine status and superhuman deeds of Classical heroes and John Eames’ feat of becoming private secretary.  [EB 2006]

 

the goods which the gods provided him

Cradell has difficulty enjoying being with Amelia, who is described in these terms, because Mrs. Lupex watches him across the table.  This phrase recalls Paris’ statement about not casting aside the gifts of the gods in book 3 of the Iliad.  This reference heightens the parallels earlier drawn between Paris and Cradell and Helen and Lupex, but it becomes humorous since Cradell is no longer interested in his “Helen.”  Dryden’s poem “Alexander’s Feast” contains the lines “Lovely Thais sits beside thee, / Take the goods the gods provide thee.”  [EB & RR 2006]

Sources:  Homer, Iliad 3.65.
Dryden, “Alexander’s Feast” 105-106.

 

may all unkindness be drowned in the flowing bowl

Mr. Lupex toasts Eames and Cradell with this phrase, which recalls Classical customs of drinking from a communal bowl such as the Greek kratēr.  [EB 2006]

Chapter 46 – John Eames at His Office

By Jove

This common exclamation, used here by John Eames as he is reading the Earl De Guest’s letter, invokes the name of the Roman god that is the equivalent of the Greek Zeus.  The phrase recurs in dialogue throughout Trollope’s novels.  [EB 2006]

 

Elysium upon earth

This phrase describes the positive opinion that most people held of Eames’ future position of private secretary. The job is compared to the classical concept of Elysium, the beautiful fields where the fortunate lived in the Underworld.  Trollope also alludes to Elysium in Chapter 12, when Lady de Courcy uses the term to sarcastically describe Allington in a letter to Crosbie.  [EB 2006]

 

that Love should still be lord of all

This phrase refers to a line from Sir Walter Scott’s Lay of the Last Minstrel, which is itself an allusion to a well-known line in Vergil’s Eclogues:   “Love conquers all things.”  However, here “Love” actually refers to Mr. Love rather than the concept of love, making this a humorous parody of Classical and literary traditions.  [EB 2006]

Sources:  Sir Walter Scott, Lay of the Last Minstrel, 6.11.4.
Vergil, Eclogue 10.69.
Trollope, The Small House at Allington.  Ed. Julian Thompson.  London:  Penguin, 2005.  See Thompson’s note on p. 690.

 

giving up his Elysium

The earlier parallel between the job of private secretary and Elysium is picked back up as Trollope describes the resignation of the previous occupant of the job.  [EB 2006]

 

He’s been the country mouse and I’ve been the town mouse

Sir Raffle Buffle describes the differing lifestyles of himself and Lord De Guest with this phrase.  This line refers to a story in Horace’s Satires about a country mouse who entertains his friend from the city, and after following him back to the city realizes that he prefers life in the countryside.  [EB 2006]

Sources:  Horace, Satire 2.6.79-117.