Chapter 01- Dillsborogh

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Trollope uses “decadence” to suggest not a moral decline, but rather a falling away of affluence in Dillsborough.  The death of the old squire affected many of the businessmen in town, especially Mr. Runciman, owner of the local inn, and Mr. Masters, whose family had served the Morton family as attorneys for three generations.  In suggesting a decline by using the word “decadence,” Trollope is utilizing a meaning that is found its Latinate components, de, “down,” and cadere, “to fall away.”  [CD 2012]



Rector means in Latin “one who corrects or guides.”  Mr. Mainwaring is rector not only in the English ecclesiastical sense of the word, but also a rector in the literal Latin sense in that he guides and corrects his curate Mr. Surtees in order to prevent him from overly zealous ecclesiastical work.  [CD 2012]

Source: LS.


Quieta non movere

From the legal phrase stare decisis et non quieta movere–“to stand by things decided and not to disturb what is settled,” which asserts a court’s deference to previous judicial decisions.  Trollope humorously attributes this motto to Mr. Mainwaring, rector of Dillsborough, because of his diligence in making sure the curate, Mr. Surtees, hired for a small portion of the rector’s salary, completes his agreed upon duties yet does not “drive him into activity” through eagerness and innovation.  [CD 2012]

Source:  Garner, B. A. and H. C. Black.  Black’s Law Dictionary.  8th edition.  St. Paul:  West Group, 2004.

Chapter 02 – The Morton Family

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The “oe” in “oeconomies” is reproducing the sound of oi in its Ancient Greek etymon, oikonomia–“management of the household.”  Trollope here makes use of the Classical meaning of the word and more contemporary connotations of general financial thriftiness:  the squire, in the way his household was run, disliked small ways of cutting costs.  [CD & RR 2012]

Source:  OED.



Trollope is having some fun here by using a Classically derived combining form, “-archy,” meaning “rule by.” “Squirearchy” refers to the property and privileges John Morton will obtain by virtue of taking up the position of a country squire.  [CD & RR 2012]

The OED cites occurrences of the word in other 19th c. sources; most often it is used to refer to a collection of landed gentlemen.  (Trollope himself uses it in that sense in Chapter 33 of The Claverings.)  Here, however, it points to the status, power, and responsibility which one man, John Morton, will assume once he takes on the role of squire.  The OED identifies this application of the word as rare.  [RR 2013]

Source: OED.



Trollope describes the connection between the Masters and the Morton family as one of client and patron.  In ancient Rome wealthy members of the elite would sponsor various members of the classes below them, creating a relationship where the patron provides support for the client, and the client provides services for the patron.  The Masters are like clients to the Morton family because they owe their beginning in the legal profession to the family, and for many generations have conducted their legal business.  [CD 2012]

Source: OCD.


the whole order of things

”The order of things” is a translation of the common Latin phrase rerum ordo.  It was used in 19th century English to refer to the general structure of the world or the way in which it operates.  Trollope brings attention to the fact that the death of the old squire upset the way in which the Masters family conducted business.  [CD 2012]

Source:  A search of the phrase “the order of things” in English books between 1800 and 1899 at Google Books.


palmy days of his reign

”Palmy” is an English adjective meaning “triumphant, flourishing.”  It alludes to the Roman practice of awarding a victorious gladiator or military leader a palm branch.  The old squire’s ”reign” brought prosperity to Dillsborough, a flourishing which declined after his death and the subsequent near-abandonment of Bragton.  [CD 2012]

Source:  OED.

Chapter 03 – The Masters Family

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Mr. Masters

Until nearly the end of the novel, Mr. Masters’ name is ironic.  “Master” is ultimately derived from the Latin magister, “master, leader;” however, Mr. Masters is head of his family only in name.  His wife exercises often domineering control in the treatment of Mary, his daughter, and berates Mr. Masters about the manner in which he does business.  [CD & RR 2012]


Any man is my client, or any woman

Mr. Masters is discussing with Mrs. Masters what sort of clientele he should be accepting.  In this instance, Trollope seems to not be invoking the Roman system of patron and client.  The patron/client system would have connotations that implied that there was a certain social hierarchy among men and that there was some sort of social system of support and favors at play.  However, Mr. Masters states that he is willing to take on any person as a client with no care of their personal status.  They are discussing business matters in a more economical sense, rather than a social one, but the Roman sense of patron/client relationship will be at play elsewhere throughout the novel.  [KS 2012]


a deal of tyranny

Mr. Masters, Mrs. Masters, and Larry Twentyman are discussing Lord Rufford’s behavior towards Goarly.  In a Classical sense, “tyranny” refers to behavior that is above the law. “Tyranny” now carries connotations of a utilization of excessive power due to status. Trollope employs both connotations as Mrs. Masters expresses her belief that Lord Rufford and his sport place him in a situation where he is above the law and exercises his power unfairly.  [KS 2012]

Chapter 04 – The Dillsborough Club

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Mr. Runciman as jovial tyrant

Mr. Runciman is described as a “jovial” man who acts as the “tyrant” of the club.  Both of these words have a Classical connection:  “jovial” recalls Jupiter or Jove, the Roman king of the gods, and “tyrant” refers to an ancient leader whose power is above the law.  There is humor in Trollope’s application of these words to Mr. Runciman, for although he is the leader of the club, his authority is relatively limited.  [RR 2012]


Lord Rufford was Mr. Runciman’s great friend and patron and best customer

There is a lot at work in this statement as Trollope invokes very different things simultaneously.  Lord Rufford is at first stated as a “great friend” of Mr. Runciman, which conveys a personal relationship between the two.  Next, he is called a “patron,” which calls to mind the Roman social system of patron/client and allows for a social hierarchy to be at play.  This is followed by “customer,” which points to financial exchange between the two.  [KS 2012]


Elysium of sport

As the club discusses Lord Rufford and Goarly’s affair, the members disagree about Dillsborough Wood and whether it is managed in a way that favors foxes or pheasants.  Some maintain that “everything that foxes could desire was done for them in that Elysium of sport.”  Elysium is an area of the underworld reserved for the heroic and the blessed.  Trollope’s invocation of it here as a sort of “paradise” for foxes is ironic in that foxes are fostered in the woods in order that they may ultimately be hunted.  [KS & RR 2012]

Chapter 05 – Reginald Morton

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Reginald Morton’s name is derived from the Latin rex (stem reg-) meaning “king.”  When first introduced, Reginald is far from regal:  he is not the squire of Dillsborough, and he is unable to articulate his feelings about Mary Masters.  However, by the end of The American Senator, he will have grown into the Latin meaning of his name.  [CMC 2012]

Chapter 06 – Not in Love

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vulgar lover

Reginald Morton is angry that he asked Mary Masters to walk with him when he thinks she had been expecting Lawrence Twentyman.  In his head, Reginald calls Twentyman Mary’s “vulgar lover.”  In English, this word means “lacking in sophistication” or “distasteful,” making it a fitting descriptor for Reginald to use given his state of mind and the man being described.  However, Trollope may also be calling into play the word’s etymology:  it comes from the adjective vulgaris, meaning “having to do with the common people.”  Reginald considers himself and to an extent Mary members of the elite and thus above Larry Twentyman.  The use of the word could signal to the reader both Reginald’s problem of personal distaste with Larry Twentyman and a larger societal problem of class preference and division.  [CMC 2012]

Source:  OED.



Mr. Runciman Anglicizes his pronunciation of the Classically derived “equery,” thus identifying his social class.  Linguistic distinctions of class are being doubly reinforced here, since Mr. Runciman suggests that the well-to-do John Morton may keep an “ekkery” rather than a “coachman” or “groom.”  [CKC & RR 2012]

Chapter 07 – The Walk Home

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(No uses of Classics identified.)

Chapter 08 – The Paragon’s Party at Bragton

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Mr. Elias Gotobed, the Senator for Mikewa

Trollope uses linguistic diversity to convey the hybridity of American identity.  “Elias” is Hebrew, “Gotobed” is English, “Senator” is Latin, and “Mikewa” is a fictitious US state named to sound Native American.  [RR 2012]


she gave annually £5 per annum

Per annum is a Latin prepositional phrase meaning ”through the year,” which retains in English its Latin meaning.  Trollope seems intentionally to double the time signifiers here ”annually…per annum” in order to emphasize the scanty amount which the honorable Mrs. Morton gives to charity. [CD 2012]

Source: OED.


Lord and Lady Augustus Trefoil

Lord and Lady Augustus Trefoil are the parents of Arabella Trefoil, the fiancée of John Morton.  Trollope humorously names them, as they are not ”august” in any sense of the word.  This name was borne most famously by the Roman emperor Augustus, who won a civil war for control of the Roman empire and through wealth and political power brought about an era of relative peace and prosperity.  Lord Augustus is not particularly important and has little money, living in the shadow of his brother, a duke.  Lady Augustus has even less money, and spends her time traveling from friend to friend with her daughter, who searches for a rich bachelor to marry.  [CD 2012]


“dogs” seems to me more civil

English “civil” is related to the Latin noun civis, “citizen,” and Trollope is playing on this meaning by having Gotobed suggest that the British fox-hunters use an elevated vocabulary, “hounds,” that separates them from the common man.  “Dogs” appeals to Senator Gotobed because of his egalitarian sensibilities, and he thinks the more common word is that one most fit to be used by citizens to one another.  [CD 2012]


Captain Glomax

Captain Glomax is the master of the hunt for the Ufford and Rufford United Hunt Club.  Trollope refers to him here as “the celebrated sportsman,” perhaps activating an echo of Latin maximus, “greatest,” in the captain’s last name.  [RR 2012]

Chapter 09 – The Old Kennels

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(No uses of Classics identified.)

Chapter 10 – Goarly’s Revenge

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The body of the poisoned fox has just been discovered and many of the men start to crowd around it.  One of them states, “There ain’t nothin’ too bad.”  Trollope then switches registers and discusses the situation using Latinate words:  “punishment,” “due,” “perpetrator,” and “nefarious.”  The Latinate pile-up reaches its climax with “vulpecide,” a word that combines the Latin words vulpes, “fox,” and caedo, “kill.”  The use of these Latinate terms humorously conveys the seriousness with which the fox-hunters view the situation.  [KS & RR 2012]


prudent foresight

A hyperbolic pairing of words, as “prudent” and “foresight” have almost the same meaning etymologically speaking.  “Foresight” is a native English word, while “prudent” has its roots in Latin.  “Prudent” comes from come from providens and itself means “fore-seeing.”  [KS & RR 2012]

Chapter 11 – From Impington Gorse

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the oracular Major Caneback

Major Caneback is renowned for his skill at horse-riding, but he shows himself to be rather limited in social settings.  He sums up a day’s hunt with phrases such as “quick spurt” or “goodish thing.”  Such terseness leads Trollope to describe him as “oracular,” though the description conveys additional humor when one realizes that Major Caneback is a reverse oracle:  he comments on events that have already happened rather than on things to come.  [RR 2012]

Chapter 12 – Arabella Trefoil

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spark of love’s flame

Trollope states that there has been no “spark of love’s flame” shown by Arabella or John Morton.  The equation of love and fire has Classical precedent; an example can be found in book 4 of Vergil’s Aeneid:  Dido’s passion for Aeneas is equated to a fire growing within her and she becomes consumed.  [KS & RR 2012]

Source:  Vergil, Aeneid 4.1-2.

Chapter 13 – At Bragton

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women’s work and men’s work

Arabella is described by Trollope as having to put forth an incredible amount of effort in order to find a husband.  The idea of the substantial work that women put forth and how it compares with the work of men is addressed by Euripides in the Medea.  Medea describes the plight of women, how much work it is to behave properly in society and find a suitable husband.  She ends this speech with one of the most famous lines in the play, in which she says that though men think they are brave for going to war, but she would rather go to battle thrice than give birth once.  This is the first of many comparisons (both implicit and explicit) of Arabella to Medea. [CMC 2012]

Source:  Euripides, Medea 214-251.


He and I were of the same par

Here, Mr. Mainwaring the rector uses the Latin par to denote that at one time he and the then Lord Mistletoe (now Duke of Mayfair) were members of the same social circle due to their attending university together at Christchurch.  Mr. Mainwaring is using Latin to associate himself and the duke with the same educated and elite circle.  [CMC 2012]

Sources:  OED, LS.

Chapter 14 – The Dillsborough Feud

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I hate the very name of gentleman

Mrs. Masters consistently denigrates the power and authority which is accorded to social standing.  Her exclamation recalls expressions of the Romans’ dislike of monarchy.  In Cicero’s De Re Publica we read that “once Tarquin was expelled, the Roman populace had such great hatred for the name of king.”  Cicero’s formulation is famous, and Trollope’s adaptation of it is apt, since Mrs. Masters finds the privileges of the gentry as offensive as the Romans were said to have found monarchy.  [RR 2012]

Source:  Cicero, De Re Publica 2.52.

Chapter 15 – A Fit Companion–For Me and My Sisters

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(No uses of Classics identified.)

Chapter 16 – Mr. Gotobed’s Philosophy

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aristocracy, plutocracy, man

Mr. Gotobed conceptualizes the lawsuit of Goarly against Lord Rufford as the fight of a single man against the whole of an oppressive and rich ruling class.  The words used to describe this ruling class, “aristocracy, plutocracy, demon,” all are derived from Latin and Greek, while the word to describe Goarly, “man,” is Anglo-Saxon in origin.  The etymological contrast highlights Gotobed’s ability to identify with the common man (Goarly) more readily than the demon of plutocracy (Lord Rufford).  [CD 2012]


senatorial honours

Mr. Gotobed’s description of his political position in the United States is lost on Goarly.  In referring to Gotobed’s “senatorial honours,” Trollope recalls the Roman cursus honorum, the traditional ladder of public offices leading to the consulship and senatorial membership.  [RR 2012]

Chapter 17 – Lord Rufford’s Invitation

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(No uses of Classics identified.)

Chapter 18 – The Attorney’s Family Is Disturbed

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he went through his meal like a Spartan

Mrs. Masters, upon learning of Mary’s planned trip to Lady Ushant, attempts to prevent her from going.  When Mr. Masters affirms that Mary is going, Mrs. Masters verbally abuses and shames Mary for rejecting Lawrence Twentyman’s advances.  Mr. Masters, vexed by his wife’s actions, eats his dinner “like a Spartan.”  Trollope may be referring to a story, related by Plutarch, in which a young Spartan boy allows a stolen fox to maul him under his cloak so that he won’t be found out.  Mr. Masters shows similar self-discipline in eating his meal quietly and not giving in to his wife’s demand that Mary not visit Lady Ushant.  The fact that so much of the novel pertains to hunting foxes may make the connection to this story stronger.  Trollope may also mean that Mr. Masters was laconic at his meal, like a Spartan.  The Spartans inhabited Laconia, and “Laconic” was originally an adjective that meant “Spartan,” but “laconic” later came to mean “sparing of words.”  In eating his meal like a Spartan, Mr. Masters also ate it quietly.  [CD & RR 2012]

Source: Plutarch, Lycurgus 18.1.

Chapter 19 – “Who Valued the Geese?”

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bona fide

This phrase comes from the Latin bona fides, “good faith.” Bona fide is in the ablative case, which conveys “in/with good faith.”  Mr. Gotobed undertakes to pay some legal fees for Goarly if Mr. Bearside can promise that the affair will be conducted “bona fide.”  Mr. Bearside seals the transaction with a repetition of the Latin phrase–a verbal handshake, as it were, with its Latinity functioning as a kind of guarantee.  Despite such assurances, there is not good faith on both sides, and Bearside and Gotobed eventually fall out in a disagreement about compensation.  [KS & RR 2012]


I don’t understand your laws, but justice is the same everywhere

Mr. Gotobed is expressing his frustration over various customs and conventions in Britain.  This is a problem throughout the text for Mr. Gotobed, as he believes in the supremacy of natural law and natural justice over conventional laws and societally specific ideas of justice.  We can find discussion of the relationship between natural law and civil law in many ancient authors; the citation of Justinian below is a particularly concise example.  [KS & RR 2012]

Source:  Justinian, Institutiones 1.2.

Chapter 20 – There Are Convenances

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To marshal her forces against such an enemy as Lord Rufford

Arabella has become extremely concerned with her clothing and outward appearance. Arabella views her adornment as a sort of battle tactic and a way for her to seduce Lord Rufford.  In book 14 of Homer’s Iliad, Hera attempts to seduce Zeus in order to undermine his schemes.  Hera’s adornment of herself is likened to a man’s donning of armor for battle.  Arabella’s pursuit of a marriage proposal is repeatedly presented as a feminine version of a military campaign.  [KS & RR 2012]

Source:  Homer, Iliad 14.166-186.

Chapter 21 – The First Evening at Rufford Hall

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aut Caesar aut nihil

“Either Caesar or nothing.”  In the explanatory notes for his edition of The American Senator, John Halperin explains that this phrase was the motto of Cesare Borgia, the son of Pope Alexander VI and possibly the model for Machiavelli’s Prince.  Halperin notes that there is something Machiavellian about Arabella, although she does not get what she wants in the end.  Halperin also states that this phrase might be a misquotation from Suetonius, but the quotation that he gives, aut Caesar aut nullus, could not be located in Suetonius.  [KS 2012]

Some anthologies of  quotations in the 19th c. attributed the phrase aut Caesar aut nihil or aut Caesar aut nullus to Julius Caesar.  Arabella is elsewhere likened to Julius Caesar in The American Senator.  [RR 2012]

Sources:  John Halperin’s note in the World’s Classics edition of The American Senator.  Oxford:  Oxford UP, 1986, 561.
For an example of an anthology connecting the phrase to Julius Caesar, see C. A. M. Fennell, The Stanford Dictionary of Anglicised Words and Phrases.  Cambridge:  Cambridge UP, 1892, 119.


a choice of horses

Arabella may ride Jack or Jemima when she hunts with Lord Rufford.  If she chooses Jack, she will have an easy time; if he selects the more fearsome Jemima instead, she may win “honour and glory”–but her life itself might also be in danger.  We can see Lord Rufford’s presentation of Arabella’s choice as a humorous rendition of Achilles heroic dilemma:  he may return home from Troy to a long and pleasant life, or he may fight and die at Troy but win eternal glory.

Source:  Homer, Iliad 9.410-416.

Chapter 22 – Jemima

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(No uses of Classics identified.)

Chapter 23 – Poor Caneback

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This word is an invention of Trollope’s, combining the English “Stygian” and the Latin trans.  It means “on the other side of the river Styx.”  In Classical mythology, Styx was one of the rivers in Hades.  “Transtygian world” is used to talk about Major Caneback after his catastrophic injury while riding:  the major is said to know his death is imminent, and is imagining the “transtygian world” that is awaiting him.  Trollope may be humorous here, as the fantastic nature of Hades is contrasted in the same sentence with the major’s own “dull imagination.”  [CMC 2012]

Chapter 24 – The Ball

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(No uses of Classics identified.)

Chapter 25 – The Last Morning at Rufford Hall

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I’ve got to treat him as though he were a god

Arabella Trefoil is speaking of the deference she must show to Lord Rufford during her attempted courtship with him.  His title and land afford him great respect, and Arabella feels she must honor him accordingly, much like a human must honor a god.  Specifically, Trollope may be referring to Greek and Roman reverence of the gods, shown through humility and offerings.  [CD 2012]

Chapter 26 – Give Me Six Months

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(No uses of Classics identified.)

Chapter 27 – “Wonderful Bird!”

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(No uses of Classics identified.)

Chapter 28 – Mounser Green

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mens conscia recti

Mounser Green quotes Vergil, “a mind aware of what is right.”  Mr. Gotobed has insulted Green by implying that he doesn’t work hard enough.  Green desires to assert his class status and nationality over Mr. Gotobed and attempts to do this through this Latin phrase, which becomes a defense mechanism.  In Green’s eyes, if Mr. Gotobed were an equal of Green, he would understand this phrase.  However, Mr. Gotobed states that he understands “English pretty well…but I don’t go beyond that.”  [KS & RR 2012]

Source:  Vergil, Aeneid 1.604.

Chapter 29 – The Senator’s Letter

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old hero

In Mr. Gotobed’s letter to Josiah Scroome, Gotobed refers to an “old hero” and his companions who, tempted by “beautiful women and luscious wine” run the risk of being turned into animals.  Although Gotobed never explicitly states who the old hero is, he can be recognized as Odysseus.  In Homer’s Odyssey, Odysseus and his men fall victim to Circe’s charms.  Circe drugs Odysseus’ men and turns them into pigs, which is what Gotobed alludes to when he states, “they would all be turned into filthy animals should they yield to the allurements around them.”  Gotobed imagines that he could be in a similar situation, yielding to the luxuries found among the British elite.

It seems significant that Gotobed does not directly state that this person is Odysseus. The decision to leave him unnamed allows Gotobed to stick to his egalitarian politics.  He appeals to the Classical poem as if it were a folk-tale so that the story’s application can be more universal.  Gotobed is able to strike a balance in this manner.  He can display his knowledge of Classics while at the same time make his meaning apparent, no matter who the recipient is.  [KS & RR 2012]

Source:  Homer, Odyssey 10.133-574.


state of things

An English version of the Latin phrase status rerum, used to refer to the prevailing or given arrangement of circumstances.  [RR 2012]


born to be a tyrant

Gotobed is discussing in his letter to Josiah Scroome his observations of British society.  Gotobed refers to a person being “born to be a tyrant” as someone who is born into a role that places them above the law, which is a Classical understanding of “tyrant.”  Gotobed objects to what he sees as a system of entrenched and inherited tyranny.  [KS & RR 2012]

Chapter 30 – At Cheltenham

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chapter of accidents

In requesting a period of time before giving a final answer to Larry Twentyman, Mary had hoped that “the chapter of accidents” might help her find a way out of Larry’s proposal.  The phrase “chapter of accidents” has its origins in a section heading in Latin compilations of Roman law, and it has come to mean “series of chance events.”  Trollope tells us that the chapter of accidents did indeed help Mary:  her conversation with Reginald Morton on the train to Cheltenham convinced her that she must refuse Larry’s offer of marriage.  [RR 2012]

Source:  Entry in Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.


spark of love

Mary is discussing her current predicament with Lady Ushant, but she does not tell of her “spark of love” for Reginald.  Trollope again invokes the equation of love and fire that was noted as having Classical ties in the Chapter 12 commentary.  [KS 2012]

Chapter 31 – The Rufford Correspondence

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she knew her own powers

Trollope describes Arabella as being aware of her feminine powers and her ability to use them on Lord Rufford.  Arabella is at this point attempting to secure time with Lord Rufford at Mistletoe, albeit with limited success.  This is a continuation of the armor and weaponry imagery that Trollope has used with Arabella previously.  Similar imagery can be found in the Iliad of Homer, where Hera is described almost as a warrior putting on his armor before she attempts to seduce Zeus in an attempt to help her beloved Argives.  [CMC 2012]

Source:  Homer, Iliad 14.166-186.

Chapter 32 – “It Is a Long Way”

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halcyon minutes

Arabella experiences “halcyon minutes” while Lord Rufford puts his arm around her waist and lets her rest her head on his shoulder.  “Halcyon” is usually used to mean “calm,” “restful,” or even “blissful” with romantic overtones.  However, Trollope is being clever here in that Arabella’s feelings are not romantic toward Lord Rufford himself but rather his money, power, and station.  The phrase “halcyon days” is much more common, used to describe the blissful first days of a budding romance.  Trollope’s humor here lies in activating both the irony of the romantic connotation of the word and the period of time it is usually associated with.  The notion comes from a story in Ovid’s Metamorphoses where Alcyone is so distraught over the death of her spouse Ceyx that she goes to the shore to commit suicide by throwing herself into the sea.  The gods take pity on her and change both her and the corpse of Ceyx into a type of bird that nests near the water during calm days, thus the English meaning of the word.  [CMC 2012]

Sources:  OED.
Ovid, Metamorphoses 11.410-748.

Chapter 33 – The Beginning of Persecution

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(No uses of Classics identified.)

Chapter 34 – Mary’s Letter

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(No uses of Classics identified.)

Chapter 35 – Chowton Farm

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(No uses of Classics identified.)

Chapter 36 – Mistletoe

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venturing her all upon the die

The reference to a die is associated with a phrase attributed to Julius Caesar:  iacta alea est.  Caesar was supposed to have said “the die has been cast” upon crossing the Rubicon, a boundary marker for Italy, with his army.  This was the beginning of a civil war which saw Caesar defeat his enemies and become dictator of Rome.  Arabella, in attempting to become engaged to Lord Rufford is undertaking a very risky plan that may end very well or very badly, much like Caesar’s gambit in beginning a civil war. [CD 2012]

Source:  Suetonius, Life of Julius Caesar 33.


fortune would have favoured her

This is a reference to a phrase found in Vergil’s Aeneid, where Turnus says audentes fortuna iuvat, “fortune aids the daring”   Turnus is trying to persuade his peers to attack Aeneas, starting a war that would be deadly.  Arabella is likewise daring or bold during her attempt to become engaged to Lord Rufford.  At this moment, she finds herself with an open chair next to her at dinner, and the narrator states that if Lord Rufford came during meal, Arabella’s boldness would be rewarded.  Rufford could then sit beside Arabella, and she could continue her courtship with him.  [CD 2012]

Source:  Vergil, Aeneid 10.284.

Chapter 37 – How Things Were Arranged

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Duchess of Omnium

The Duchess of Omnium is one of the guests at Mistletoe during Arabella’s visit.  The Duchess features prominently in Trollope’s Palliser series.  Born Glencora MacCluskie, she marries Plantagenet Palliser, who becomes the Duke of Omnium when he inherits the title and wealth of his uncle.  Omnium is a Latin word meaning “of all things,” so the duchess’ very title intimates her richness.  [RR 2012]

Chapter 38 – “You Are So Severe”

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Lord Rufford begins to call Arabella “Bella.”  Bella in Latin means “pretty one.”  This is significant because it is an instance in which Lord Rufford begins to let his guard down.  Rufford is beginning to get intimate with Arabella, which will lead to great troubles for him later in the novel.  [KS 2012]


fortune had favoured her

Trollope continues to use this Classically resonant phrase in connection to Arabella.  See commentary for Chapter 36.  [KS 2012]

Chapter 39 – The Day at Peltry

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Fortune was again favouring her

Trollope again uses this Classically resonant phrase in connection to Arabella.  See commentary for Chapter 36.  [KS 2012]

Chapter 40 – Lord Rufford Wants to See a Horse

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Arabella has just come back to Mistletoe after riding alone in the same carriage with Lord Rufford.  Her aunt is scandalized at the thought, even with the assurance given by Arabella that she and Lord Rufford are engaged.  Trollope writes that Arabella is aware that even as this risky action has opened Elysium–the realm of the afterlife reserved for Greek heroes–to her, it could also be her ruin if Lord Rufford does not marry her.  This use of Elysium continues the warrior imagery previously associated with Arabella.  [CMC 2012]


man’s love instigated by pursuit

Trollope reflects that men are unlikely to fall in love with women who “throw themselves into their arms”–instead, men’s desires are excited by the “difficulty of pursuit.”  The equation of courtship and pursuit seems fitting in a novel which spends so much time on fox-hunting; indeed, fox-hunting is one of Arabella’s prime venues for pursuing Lord Rufford.  In Ovid’s Metamorphoses we can find precedents for the presentation of erotic desire as a kind of hunt or chase:  the pattern is set by Apollo’s pursuit of Daphne and is continued, with variations, throughout the poem.  Although Trollope may not have any Ovidian connection in mind, the erotic chases of the Metamorphoses show us that female characters are unlikely to achieve satisfaction when they take the initiative.  An example is Echo, who see Narcissus while he hunts, follows him, is spurned, and wastes away.  Arabella has taken the initiative with a man, and as hunter rather than hunted she will not be successful in her pursuit of Lord Rufford.  [RR 2012]

Source:  Ovid, Metamorphoses 1.452-567 (Apollo and Daphne) and 3.356-401 (Echo and Narcissus).

Chapter 41 – The Senator Is Badly Treated

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an odious name

Trollope tells us that Gotobed’s name “was, to tell the truth, odious to such men as Larry Twentyman.”  This seems to be a turn on the Latin phrase nomen odiosum (or odiosum nomen), “hated name,” or a pejorative nickname.  The phrase can be found in 19th c. writing in Latin and in English, but whether or not it has a precise point of Classical origin is unclear.  [RR 2012]

Source:  A search for the phrase in 19th c. texts at Google Books.

Chapter 42 – Mr. Mainwaring’s Little Dinner

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Chapter 42 takes place at the rectory in Dillsborough, where Mr. Mainwaring throws a party which the Senator, John and Reginald Morton, and other men of the community attend.  Two particular characteristics of this party are related to a Classical symposium, and perhaps specifically to Plato’s Socratic dialogue the Symposium.  First, a special point is made that Mr. Mainwaring’s party is a “bachelor party,” i.e., that no women are in attendance.  Ancient symposia were social gatherings that involved mostly men actively, and the symposium Plato describes in his dialogue has no women present.  Secondly, Mr. Mainwaring makes it a special point to have wine available to his guests.  Symposia were also festive events, where drinking was a main activity of those involved.  Trollope’s use of these general characteristics of a symposium frames the rector’s party.  Further, Senator Gotobed’s behavior at the party is reminiscent of a famous Athenian:  Socrates, who is present in Plato’s Symposium.  Gotobed resembles Socrates in his non-stop questioning of the institutions with which he finds fault.  Like Socrates, Gotobed often provokes his interlocutors to anger when he questions the validity of their beliefs.  In this case, Gotobed angers Mr. Mainwaring with his persistent questioning about the morality of Church patronage and the appointment of the clergy.  [CD 2012]

Source:  Plato, Symposium.

Chapter 43 – Persecution

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Mary as an idiot

Mrs. Masters calls Mary an “ungrateful idiot” for declining Larry Twentyman’s offer of marriage.  “Idiot” here conveys both its English meaning of “fool” and its Greek meaning of “concerned with one’s own affairs.”  Mary does not wish to marry Larry because she does not love him, and Mrs. Masters finds it foolish of Mary to put such personal considerations above the practical advantages of the marriage.  [RR 2012]

Chapter 44 – “Particularly Proud of You”

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Caesar and his Commentaries

Trollope again connects Arabella and Caesar (see commentary for Chapter 21 and Chapter 36).  When Arabella clings to her hope of an engagement to Rufford despite his abrupt departure from Mistletoe, Trollope likens her to “Caesar still clinging to his Commentaries as he struggled in the waves.”  Both Suetonius and Plutarch record that, when attacked at Alexandria, Julius Caesar jumped into the water and swam to a safety but kept one hand out of the water to protect some notebooks or documents.  Neither ancient author identifies these as Caesar’s Commentaries, but Trollope is not alone in making such a connection.  On this topic James Anthony Froude remarks:  “Legend is more absurd than usual over this incident.  It pretends that he swam with one hand, and carried his Commentaries, holding them above water, with the other.  As if a general would take his MSS. with him into a hot action!”  Arabella, though persistent, will be less successful than Caesar in her particular campaign.  [CD & RR 2012]

Sources:  Suetonius, Life of Julius Caesar 64.
Plutarch, Life of Julius Caesar 49.4.
James Anthony Froude, Caesar:  A Sketch.  London:  Longman, Greens, and Co., 1920 (reprint; originally published 1879); see footnote on p. 458.


Arabella’s missile

Arabella plans to write a “serious epistle” to Lord Rufford, and Trollope calls that letter a “missile.”  “Missile” is derived from a Latin adjective describing something sent; Trollope could be using it as a near synonym for “missive,” which has a similar etymological history.  But “missile” has an additional advantage:  it usually refers to weapons that are thrown or hurled, and this resonance of the word furthers the association of Arabella’s marital campaign with military action.  [RR 2012]

Chapter 45 – Lord Rufford Makes up His Mind

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Rufford as a hunted animal

See commentary on erotic pursuit in Chapter 40.

Chapter 46 – It Cannot Be Arranged

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music of the spheres

Reginald Morton is struggling with his feelings for Mary Masters.  He is unsure if being with a woman is what he wants, but his affection for Mary is growing.  When thinking of her, Reginald imagines in Mary’s appearance a poem as lovely as “the music of the spheres,” a concept with Classical origins. Pythagoras proposed the theory that the heavenly bodies are arranged in accordance with musical principles.  Reginald elevates Mary’s beauty to the heavenly and sublime.  [KS & RR 2012]

Source:  Pliny the Elder (on Pythagoras), Natural History 2 (the section division of Pliny’s Natural History can be awkward; depending on the edition, the discussion of Pythagoras’ musical heavens in book 2 can be found at subdivision 20, 22, 30, or 84).

Chapter 47: “But There Is Some One”

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(No uses of Classics identified.)

Chapter 49 – Miss Trefoil’s Decision

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Arabella’s armor is removed

Here we see Arabella’s appearance described as she truly is in her grief.  This is a sharp contrast to the images Trollope gave earlier, likening her feminine adornments to the armor of warriors as well as calling her efforts to win Rufford “heroic.”  This scene is Classically resonant because of these previous descriptions, which echo Homer’s description of Hera putting on adornments in order to seduce Zeus.  The removal of armor humanizes Arabella and makes her seem almost pathetic.  [CMC 2012]

Source:  Homer, Iliad 14.166-186.


Lord Augustus is carried away bodily

Lord Augustus is “carried away bodily” to do his daughter and wife’s will of writing to Lord Rufford and demanding a meeting to discuss the matter of the supposed engagement.  This undignified image is especially comical due to the fact that Augustus (“venerable one”) was an honorific of the emperors of Rome first bestowed on Octavian by the Roman Senate.  The humor is strengthened in Lord Augustus signing his letter “your humble servant,” as no emperor would have been any mortal man’s humble servant.  [CMC 2012]

Chapter 50 – “In These Days One Can’t Make a Man Marry”

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what a raging woman could do

Arabella is having an internal monologue, expressing that she will unleash her wrath should Lord Rufford refuse her.  The idea of the dangerous power of a woman scorned in love, as well as the consequences of her resultant anger, echoes the earlier association of Arabella with Medea (see commentary for Chapter 13).  In Euripides’ Medea, the nurse wonders aloud what Medea’s proud soul will drive her to do following her injury at the hand of Jason.  [CMC 2012]

There may also be an Ovidian source behind this sentiment. In her Memoirs (published in 1825), C. E. Cary describes an irate landlady thus:  “She raged, she stormed, and it being well known, as Ovid says, ‘what a raging woman could—‘….”  Although Cary does not provide a citation, the closest fit for the quotation is a passage in which Deineira imagines avenging herself when the affections of Hercules, her husband, stray.

Sources:  Euripides, Medea 105-110.
Ovid, Metamorphoses 9.149-151.
C. E. Cary, Memoirs of Miss C. E. Cary (Written by Herself).  London:  T. Traveller, 1825, p. 223.

Chapter 51 – The Senator’s Second Letter

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demigod and hero

Senator Gotobed is here contrasting his own treatment in England with the treatment of Englishmen in the United States, stating that they are viewed like demigods, and that even the least among them is like a hero.  Trollope uses these words in close proximity to one another to activate their Classical associations, as heroes and demigods in Classical mythology were by definition extraordinary individuals or descended from the gods themselves.  This elevation of Englishmen in the United States to a single step below the gods is in stark contrast to Mr. Gotobed’s experiences in England.  [CMC 2012]


question Porson and Be-Bentley Bentley

Richard Bentley (1662-1742) and Richard Porson (1759-1808) were famous British Classicists renowned for editing Latin and Greek texts in order to free them from centuries of textual corruption.  The Senator, prior to his speech, is compared to a student who believes that after scrupulous study he will be able to outwit masters of the Classics.  This reference is humorous as Trollope is essentially stating that the Senator studies the British the way that the British study Classics.  Contained within this comparison is an inherent criticism of the Senator, as no student could realistically expect to best Porson or Bentley in matters of Classical scholarship. [CMC & RR 2012]

Source:  Encyclopedia Britannica, electronic edition.



Senator Gotobed, in writing to his American friend, calls Lord Rufford a tyrant, clearly in the Classical sense of the word as someone who is above the law.  Indeed, the fact that such men exist in England forms a major part of Gotobed’s critique of English society and is one of the roots of his troubles while in England.  [CMC 2012]

Chapter 52 – Providence Interferes

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(No uses of Classics identified.)

Chapter 53 – Lady Ushant at Bragton

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(No uses of Classics identified.)

Chapter 54 – Arabella Again at Bragton

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hymns of love and constancy

Lady Augustus thinks that Arabella’s visit to John Morton’s deathbed will earn Arabella some praise for what appears to be her steadfast devotion to her fiancée.  These “hymns of love and constancy” are reminiscent of the epinician genre of Ancient Greek poetry.  Poets such as Simonides or Pindar would compose poems that celebrated a victory, usually of an athlete, on his return to his home city.  The praises that Arabella’s decision to visit John Morton will receive in general society will be a kind of celebration of her love.  These praises, Lady Augustus muses, would hurt her chances of becoming engaged to Lord Rufford, who does not know that Arabella is visiting John Morton.  [CD 2012]


straining for water that would never come, a rolling stone which would never settle

The narrator, in describing Arabella’s thoughts about her decade-long struggle to marry, uses imagery that alludes to Tantalus and Sisyphus.  Tantalus, a mythological king, was punished by the gods for killing, cooking, and attempting to serve the flesh of his son at a banquet which the gods were attending.  For this great offense, the gods sentenced Tantalus to stand in a pool of water with fruit branches hanging overhead.  Each time he would stoop to drink, the water would recede, and when he reached for the fruit branches, they likewise would draw back out of his reach.  Sisyphus, a mythological king who tricked death, must perpetually roll a bolder up a hill.  Once the bolder would almost reach the top of the hill, it would roll to the bottom.  Arabella laments the short-lived affections of the men on whom she has practiced her art.  For a short while they are enthralled with her beauty and charms, but they lose interest quickly.  For Arabella marriage is a goal that appears to retreat from her each time it becomes a possibility in a courtship.  Like Tantalus, she strains for something that appears to be within reach but never actually becomes close enough to hold.  She is like Sisyphus in that her constant struggle to marry, which she calls her “work,” is never completed.  She finds herself, again and again, forced to begin a new courtship after a potential suitor’s affection for her cools.  [CD 2012]

Sources: OCD.

Chapter 55 – “I Have Told Him Everything”

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triumph and glory

Lady Augustus had imagined that a successful marriage of her daughter would bring “triumph and glory.”  The joint usage of these words recalls Classical notions of victory:  the triumphal procession of a successful Roman leader, and the undying glory accruing to a Greek hero excellent in battle.  Like her daughter, Lady Augustus has conceived of Arabella’s quest for marriage as a military operation, with commensurate rewards.  [RR 2012]

Chapter 56 – “Now What Have You Go to Say?”

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(No uses of Classics identified.)

Chapter 57 – Mrs. Morton Returns

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wounded by vain love as to be like a hurt deer

Larry Twentyman, disappointed in love, is likened to a deer that has been wounded.  In book 4 of Vergil’s Aeneid we can find a simile comparing Dido–in love with Aeneas–to a stricken deer.   Larry’s vulnerability is emphasized by the explicit comparison to a tender animal and the implicit comparison to the tragic queen.  Unlike Dido, however, Larry will recover from his disappointment in love.  [KS & RR 2012]

Source:  Vergil, Aeneid 4.69.

Chapter 58 – The Two Old Ladies

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duty above personal desire

Reginald Morton say that he does not want to become the squire should John Morton die, but that he will because it is his duty.  The willingness to place duty over desire is a quintessentially Roman characteristic.  The Classicality of the idea of “duty before self” is made even more plain when Reginald uses Latin later in the novel to articulate his moral code.  One of the best-known Roman exemplars of this ideal is Cincinnatus, who did not desire the power of dictator but took it up when called to do so while plowing a field on his farm.  [CMC 2012]

Source:  OCD.

Chapter 59 – The Last Effort

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Mary Masters is under the impression that her growing love for Reginald Morton will go unanswered.  As she contemplates his taking another wife when he becomes squire, she resolves never to submit to such a woman’s patronage.  Here, the Classical sense of a patron is being invoked, as Mary is viewing Reginald’s future wife as a social patron as opposed to an economic one.  This use is especially strong as it would be expected that the squire and his wife would be the patrons (in the Classical sense) of all residents of Dillsborough.  [CMC 2012]


manliness and courage

Trollope here is being clever in his knowledge of etymology.  The sentence “A man’s courage lies in his heart;– but if his heart is broken where will his courage be then?” contains within it a Latin etymological echo.  The “cour-” in “courage” is derived from the Latin noun cor, “heart.”  Trollope has placed a similar echo (albeit an English one) in the statement previous to this one:  “How can a man be manly when the manliness is knocked out of him?”  [CMC 2012]

Chapter 60 – Again at Mistletoe

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(No uses of Classics identified.)

Chapter 61 – The Success of Lady Augustus

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Sir George Penwether, brother-in-law to Lord Rufford, advises Lord Rufford in his actions to defuse Arabella’s attempt to force him into marriage.  In this capacity, Sir George mentors Lord Rufford, specifically by drafting some of the letters which Lord Rufford sends to Arabella after the visit at Mistletoe.  The notion of “mentoring” stretches back to Homer’s Odyssey, where the goddess Athena appears to Telepaths, son of the absent Odysseus, and helps him with preparations to look for his father.  Like Mentor, Sir George is an experienced and wise guide for Lord Rufford’s difficult situation.  [CD 2012]

Source:  Homer, Odyssey 2.

Chapter 62 – “We Shall Kill Each Other”

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hymeneal altar

Lady Augustus is pondering her meeting with Lord Rufford, questioning whether there ever was an offer of marriage.  She realizes that Lord Rufford does not intend to be forced to marry Arabella.  In that regard, he won’t approach the “hymeneal altar.”  Trollope is referencing the god Hymen, Greek god of marriage, who is associated with the marriage song.  [CD 2012]

Source:  OCD.


as deep and as black as Acheron

Lady Augustus, having explained Lord Rufford’s offer of an economic settlement to Arabella, thinks back to questionable behavior that both she and Arabella have exhibited during Arabella’s quest to marry.  Yet, when Lady Augustus suggests she take the money, which would be both more unscrupulous than previous behavior and more beneficial than previous exploitations, Arabella balks.  The Acheron, a river associated with pain in Greek mythology and often indicative of a gruesome and evil image of the underworld as a whole, is invoked in order to draw a comparison between the many small deceits they performed before and the magnitude of taking Rufford’s bribe.  Trollope may be alluding particularly to Milton’s description of the river:  “Sad Acheron of sorrow, black and deep.”  [CD & RR 2012]

Source:  OCD.
Milton, Paradise Lost 2.578.

Chapter 63 – Changes at Bragton

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wheel of fortune

Trollope is invoking the Latin phrase rota fortunae, “wheel of fortune,” which indicates a Classical mode of thought about the way in which fortune operates.  Reginald is made squire “by a turn in the wheel of fortune.”  The Roman playwright Pacuvius wrote of the goddess Fortuna as standing on a ball blindly falling in any direction.  In this way, Fortuna is unconcerned about the well-being of humans and is inconsistent in her allotment of good or bad.  [CD 2012]

Sources:  OCD.
Fragment of Pacuvius quoted in the Rhetorica ad Herennium 2.23.36.

Chapter 64 – The Will

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speaking in a somewhat dictatorial voice

Captain Glomax, when speaking on the matter of the kennels, is said to talk in a “dictatorial voice.”  It appears that the Classical understanding of “dictator” is at work:  a man given sole governmental control.  The hunting men do not typically mind it when Glomax speaks authoritatively about hunting matters because they have hired him as the master.  However, now that they are off the field and are awaiting news of the Mortons, Mr. Runciman tries to shift the topic of discussion when Mr. Masters enters The Bush.  [KS & RR 2012]


sinews of war

Reginald’s acquisition of Bragton is being discussed and many of the men are upset because Reginald is not a man who enjoys hunting.  They are concerned about the idea of a British gentleman who does not hunt.  The question “Where are the sinews of war to come from?” arises as they fear that Britain will lose some of its strength if all the gentlemen behave like Reginald.  This phrase is reminiscent of Cicero’s nervos belli, which is often translated as “the sinews of war.” [KS 2012]

Source:  Cicero, Philippics 5.5.


household gods

When Reginald discovers that he will acquire the Bragton property, he realizes that he will have to move “his books, his pipes, and other household gods” out of Hoppet Hall and into Bragton.  The mention of “household gods” recalls the Lares and Penates, domestic divinities honored by the Romans in their homes and often represented by statues.  Although Reginald doesn’t literally have “household gods” to relocate, he will need to move the things that make him feel at home.  [KS & RR 2012]

Source:  LS.

Chapter 65 – The New Minister

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(No uses of Classics identified.)

Chapter 66 – “I Must Go”

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Lord Rufford has just completed his letter to Arabella, which entails his apology for the money that he sent her.  Lord Rufford seeks advice and comfort from his “mentor,” Sir George.  In Homer’s Odyssey, Athena takes the guise of Mentor, an old friend of Odysseus, and helps prepare Telemachus to set sail to look for Odysseus.  Trollope seems to be utilizing Homer here as he has an older man, Sir George, helping the younger one, Lord Rufford, which is reminiscent of Mentor/Athena’s assistance to Telemachus.  [KS 2012]

Source:  Homer, Odyssey 2.


Arabella as Medea

At various points throughout the novel, Trollope’s portrayal of Arabella has been reminiscent of Medea.  In this chapter, Trollope explicitly compares Arabella to Medea on more than one occasion.  Medea, in Euripides’ tragedy, is both grieved and angered over the loss of her husband, Jason, who has taken a new wife.  Similarly, Arabella’s grief and anger over the loss of Lord Rufford begin to reach their most strenuous moments.  However, the analogy will fall short:  Medea ends up killing Jason’s new wife and her own children so that Jason will not have a family.  Arabella will overcome her own grief and anger, which allows the reader to see her in a much more sympathetic light.  [KS 2012]

Source:  Euripides, Medea.


a sprightly unwooed young fawn

Arabella does not feign youthful naiveté to Mounser Green; she does not pretend to be “a sprightly unwooed young fawn.”  This image perhaps recalls Horace’s ode to Chloe, in which the poet tells the girl that she should not flee his erotic advances as if she were a young deer, shy, frightened, and separated from its mother.  [RR 2012]

Source:  Horace, Odes 1.23.

Chapter 67 – In the Park

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her heart was big enough

Arabella Trefoil has made up her mind to confront Lord Rufford, an act Trollope describes as requiring great pluck.  This specific phrase he uses to describe her is an echo of the original meaning of the word “magnanimous,” coming from the Latin words magnus and animus (literally “large” and “spirit”).  Although today we use “magnanimous” to mean “generous” or “beneficent,” in antiquity (as well as in earlier English) it could convey exceptional courage and bravery.  [CMC & RR 2012]


her purpose was revenge

Here Arabella is yet again compared to Medea, in that her purpose in going to confront Lord Rufford is to exact vengeance on him for the slight of not marrying her.  Unlike Medea, however, she does not intend to turn violent and carries some hope of changing his mind.  [CMC 2012]


heartless Nero

Nero is invoked here as Trollope narrates Lord Rufford’s inability to say he never loved Arabella, for no man could have the audacity to do such a thing unless he was a “heartless Nero.”  Nero was a Roman emperor who was famous for (among other things) the persecution of the Christians, having his mother killed, and building a sumptuous palace over a large expanse of land consumed by a fire.  The contrast between these acts and the inability of Lord Rufford to tell Arabella he does not love her adds a comic hyperbole to the situation.  The hyperbole is heightened even more when one considered that, according to several ancient authors, Nero killed his wife Poppaea through kicking her or poison. [CMC 2012]

Source:  OCD.


the gods will give an end

This phrase presumably references the pantheon of Greco-Roman deities, as it uses the plural “gods” instead of the singular “God.”  Lord Rufford is giving thanks that his present awkward conversation with Arabella must eventually come to an end, thanks to the mercy of the gods.  This image of the gods sitting in judgment of the conversation and intervening from on high is comically contrasted with Lord Rufford’s thought a few sentences later that the lunch bell too will bring an end to the conversation.  [CMC 2012]


no (Roman) triumph for Arabella

As Arabella is driven away from Rufford Hall for the last time, she reflects on the failure of her courtship campaign:  Lord Rufford will certainly not marry her; the battle is over.  The unsuccessful conclusion of Arabella’s strategizing is signaled with a counterfactual exclamation:  “…how perfect would have been the triumph could she have achieved it!”  There will be no marital/martial triumphal procession to celebrate her victory.  [RR 2012]

Chapter 68 – Lord Rufford’s Model Farm

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Lord Rufford’s triumph

Senator Gotobed is invited back to Lord Rufford’s estate at the end of his visit and near the conclusion of the Goarly matter, during the course of which he has come to realize that Goarly is not an honest or honorable man.  Trollope states that Lord Rufford extended the invitation with a spirit of triumph, echoing the idea of the Roman triumph as a time to parade the conquered enemies before the people of Rome.  The ancient association is strengthened when Trollope writes of the Englishmen wishing to put their heels on Gotobed’s neck, itself a very Classical image of conquering one’s enemies.  [CMC 2012]

Chapter 69 – Scrobby’s Trial

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triumph and glory

During the trial of Scrobby, Nickem is said to have experienced his great triumph in the discovery of the origin of the strychnine.  While this alone may not be enough to invoke the Classical Roman sense of the word, Trollope’s use of “glory” to describe the “triumph” lends to the entire situation a distinctly heroic and Classical (if slightly hyperbolic) feel.  [CMC 2012]

Chapter 70 – At Last

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Mr. Masters

For much of the novel, Mr. Masters is defined by two major troubles.  First, he is part of a line of lawyers who have served the squire at Bragton, but he has not filled that role since the death of the old squire.  This was a steady source of income and status for his family, and his second wife now involves herself very dramatically in his business ventures.  In his domestic life, he must wrestle with his wife over control of his daughter, Mary, especially as regards her friendship and residency with Lady Ushant and the habits and mannerisms that she gains from associating with a lady.  However, when Mary becomes engaged to marry Reginald Morton, who is squire after John Morton’s death, Mr. Masters is restored to his position as lawyer to the squire.  Mary’s marriage to a landed gentleman also ends the dispute between Mr. and Mrs. Masters over the efficacy of “Ushanting.”  Mr. Masters’ restoration to his proper employment and position in both the family and Dillsborough society is especially apt when one considers the Latin etymon of his name, which is magister, “chief, leader, master.”  By the end of the novel, Mr. Masters becomes master of his family and profession.  [CD 2012]


Chapter 71 – “My Own, My Husband”

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Here, Mary’s joy about marrying Reginald is likened to the entrance of the soul into Elysium.  Elysium, the happy hope of heroes, is a part of the underworld most like Christian Paradise.  In fact, Paradise is referenced in this same passage both before and after Elysium.  Throughout the novel, Mary is rarely the recipient of Classical imagery or allusion.  Even in this instance the Classical meaning of Elysium is preempted by Christian imagery.  [CD 2012]


Mary’s not unwilling face

Trollope employs the Classical device known as litotes here:  the expression of an idea through the negation of its opposite.  Litotes is particularly effective in this instance because it helps to convey Mary’s consummate modesty even (or especially) at the moment of her first kiss with Reginald.  [RR 2012]

Chapter 72 – “Bid Him Be a Man”

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queen of the place

Mr. Masters assesses how fortunate he is to be the father of the wife of the squire at Bragton, and someday the grandfather of a squire.  He is proud that his daughter will be “queen of the place.”  This title is especially suitable for Mary when viewed in connection to Reginald.  His name is partly derived from the Latin noun rex, “king.”  For much of the novel, Reginald is a secluded gentleman, but upon John Morton’ death, he ascends to the ownership of Bragton and the position of squire.  He moves from a private existence to the life of a landed gentleman who occupies an important social role in the community.  Reginald’s gentle and honorable disposition, his “kingly” behavior, seems to make him particularly suited for the role of squire.  Mary, as his wife and as a character with a gracious and gentle goodness, fills her role as “queen” of Bragton.  [CD 2012]

Chapter 73: “Is It Tanti?”

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A man at Rome ought to do as the Romans do

This sentiment dates back to antiquity.  St. Ambrose is said to have stated this in reply to St. Augustine:  “When I am at Milan, I do as they do at Milan; but when I do as they do at Milan; but when I go to Rome, I do as Rome does.”  [KS 2012]

Source:  Entry in Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.



Mary Masters gives the nickname “Reg” to Reginald Morton after their engagement.  This shortened version of Reginald’s name is phonetically similar to the Latin stem of his name reg-, meaning “king.”  It is appropriate that this nickname is given to him following his assumption of the squireship and his betrothal, as both of these make him a proper king in the universe of Trollope.  [CMC 2012]



Reginald is discussing with Mary the possibility of taking up hunting as one of his social duties as squire.  Although Reginald did not hunt when he lived quietly and economically at Hoppet Hall, he states that he hates the “philanimalists.”  Trollope’s use of this Latin/Greek hybrid adds a humorous and satirical flair; the use of the word itself seems to discount the views of those whose “love of animals” leads them to oppose hunting, the custom of the country.  [KS & RR 2012]



As Reginald and Mary discuss the various social obligations they will have to take on, Reginald suggests to Mary that she should “regulate” all that she does according to “the great doctrine of ‘tanti.'”  Tanti is the genitive singular of the Latin adjective tantus, which means “so much.”  Tanti is being utilized as a genitive of value, which means “of so much worth.”  The word in this form can also be translated as “worthwhile.” Social customs and expectations can be worth performing even if they are not strictly necessary.

The chapter is entitled “Is It Tanti?”  This could be understood as the question Mary should ask herself about each of her actions as she implements Reginald’s doctrine.  It could also be a question asked about fox-hunting and its social function.  In fact, Reginald introduces the idea of “tanti” to Mary while they are talking about fox-hunting:  Reginald maintains that opponents of the practice do not understand that recreation is as important as the material necessities of life.   Trollope closes this chapter by asserting that the “day’s sport certainly had been ‘tanti,” answering his own question.  [KS & RR 2012]

Chapter 74 – Benedict

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The title of this chapter recalls Benedick, one of the protagonists of Shakespeare’s Much Ado About Nothing, who finally marries Beatrice after a long bachelorhood.  Such a reference is fitting here, since this chapter contains the arrangements for Lord Rufford’s marriage to Miss Penge, and the OED cites instances of “benedict” used as a generic noun for any long-standing bachelor who finally marries.  An ironic Classical echo may be operative in addition to the Shakespearean one:  “Benedict” comes from Latin benedictus, “blessed.”  Although Lord Rufford’s sister may consider him “blessed” in his wife-to-be, Lord Rufford knows that Miss Penge will change his habits and, when married, he will not be allowed the luxuries of his bachelor days.  [RR 2012]

Sources:  Shakespeare, Much Ado About Nothing.



Lady Penwether is discussing Lord Rufford’s predicament with Sir George.  In her mind it would be best for Lord Rufford to propose to Miss Penge because it would free him of Arabella and the public’s opinion concerning his treatment of Arabella.  Lady Penwether likens Arabella to a “harpy,” which is a mythological vulture-like bird with the face of a woman.  The very name “harpy” is derived from the Greek word for “snatch.”  This imagery is invoked due to Arabella’s sudden appearance and “attack” on Lord Rufford.  [KS & RR 2012]


oracle and demigods

Lady Penwether is attempting to assist Miss Penge in getting Lord Rufford to propose.  Throughout these attempts, Lord Rufford enjoys the status of an “oracle” in the house.  The ladies treat him as if he were some sort of divine mouthpiece whose every word uttered has extra significance.  The ladies are submissive and receptive toward everything Lord Rufford says.  The heightened deference is extended even to Lord Rufford’s horses, who are treated as “demigods.”  [KS & RR 2012]


what such oaths were worth

Lord Rufford compares Arabella and Miss Penge and remembers that Arabella had “sworn that she would never be opposed to his little pleasures.”  But, Trollope tells us, Rufford “knew what such oaths were worth.”  On the antiquity of this sentiment, Arthur Leslie Wheeler says, “The unreliability of woman’s oaths had become proverbial as early as the time of Sophocles (fr. 741):  ‘woman’s oaths I write on water.'”  Wheeler demonstrates the use of the idea in poems by Callimachus and Catullus.  [RR 2012]

Source:  Arthur Leslie Wheeler.  Catullus and the Traditions of Ancient Poetry.  Berkeley:  University of California Press, 1934, p. 231.



In talking with Lord Rufford, Miss Penge calls Arabella “that woman who persecuted you.”  Miss Penge is probably referring first and foremost to Arabella’s persistent harassing of Lord Rufford, but the Latin etymology of the word is also at play.  The Latin verb persequi means “thoroughly follow” and even “hunt after” or “take vengeance on”–all of which Arabella has done to Lord Rufford.  In Trollope’s time these other meanings could be conveyed by the English word.  [RR 2012]

Sources:  LS, OED.

Chapter 75 – Arabella’s Success

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conquered in the field, cast her javelins

Again, Trollope invokes language that recalls military action when discussing Arabella’s plans.  See commentary for Chapter 20.  [KS 2012]



Arabella takes some care with her appearance, now that Mounser Green appears to be a marriage prospect.  When Mrs. Green comments on Arabella’s efforts, Arabella quotes a snippet of Pope to her.  Pope’s Narcissa is a woman whose vanity follows her to the grave:  she is upset at the prospect of being buried in woolen clothing.  Pope names his character after the Classical figure of Narcissus, a youth who fell in love with his own reflection.  [RR 2012]

Source:  Alexander Pope, Moral Essays 1.246-251.

Chapter 76 – The Wedding

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useful or pleasant

Trollope uses this phrase in explaining Arabella’s lack of full disclosure to her fiancée Mounser Green concerning her “adventure” with Lord Rufford.  She leaves out most of the details because telling Mounser would be neither useful to her purposes nor pleasant for either of them.  This phrase has conceptual roots in Aristotle, who interrogates what is “useful,” “pleasant,” and “virtuous” in the course of his Rhetoric.  Trollope’s use of this phrase is both humorous and an instruction to the reader to take a moral lesson from Arabella’s behavior.  The humor comes from applying an Aristotelian measuring stick to Arabella’s situation, while the register of the Aristotelian phrasing flags the scenario as one with a potential lesson for the reader on behavior.  [CMC 2012]

Source:  Aristotle, Rhetoric 1.



Mounser Green encourages Arabella to solicit the help of her “magnificent” aunt and uncle.  Mounser and Arabella want to use Mistletoe for their wedding.  Trollope is being playful with the etymological roots of “magnificent,” which are magn– (meaning “great”) and fic– (meaning “make”).  The use of this word is playful because Mistletoe will literally serve to make the wedding great.  [CMC & RR 2012]


hope and fear

Lady Augustus’ reaction to her daughter’s marriage is somewhat complicated.  She weeps while reminiscing about her interactions with Arabella, her old hopes for future prospects and the simultaneous fear that they might never materialize.  Both of these emotions served to motivate her to help Arabella find a husband.  This dual motivation of hope and fear and how they are the bane of humanity is a very Roman concept, often discussed by Seneca in his Moral Letters.  [CMC 2012]

Source:  Seneca, Moral Letters e.g., 5, 6, 13, 22, 24, 47.

Chapter 77 – The Senator’s Lecture–No. 1

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The notices around London to announce the Senator Gotobed’s speech are described as sesquipedalian, from the Latin sesqui- (“one and one half”) and ped- (“foot”).  This term is a poetic one used to describe excessively long words in poetry.  Horace uses it to admonish writers not to switch registers during poetry, especially into the bombastic.  The word imparts to the event of Gotobed’s public speech a pompous and bombastic air, which is what Horace warns against.  [CMC 2012]

Source:  OED.
Horace, Ars Poetica 97.


meum and tuum

Trollope uses these Latin words (meaning “my thing” and “your thing” respectively) while describing the reaction of distant foreigners upon visiting different countries.  He states that those who travel abroad are more likely to notice that a seemingly disparate culture has much in common with their own (meum) rather than fixating on the alien aspects of the other culture (tuum).  However, American society sprang from British society.  Americans and British speak the same language and share many other attributes.  This, according to Trollope, means that the effects are reversed.  People from similar cultures are far more likely to notice what is different (tuum) rather than what is similar (meum).  Thus the Senator Gotobed’s behavior throughout the novel, culminating in his final address, is explained.  [CMC 2012]


pearl-drinking extravagance

Senator Gotobed uses this phrase to describe the contrast between the upper and lower classes he has seen in Britain.  The episode he references involves Cleopatra dissolving a priceless pearl in sour wine and drinking it to impress Marc Antony– a gesture which would have been an outrageous extravagance to the Romans.  The incident is related by Pliny the Elder in his Natural History.  [CMC 2012]

Source:  Pliny, Natural History 9.59.119-121.

Chapter 78 – The Senator’s Lecture–No. 2

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During the course of his speech Senator Gotobed berates the assembled noblemen for their natural assumption that they are tyrants.  Given the context, it is clear that Trollope is using the word in its Classical sense of “above the law.”  [CMC 2012]


care and cure

Senator Gotobed criticizes the Church of England and its priests and prelates during the course of his speech.  At one point, he talks about their inability to provide proper “care” for the souls of their flocks, correcting himself and using “cure” in the British fashion. “Cure” is related to the Latin verb curo, curare, “to care for,” while “care” has an Old English origin.  This echoes other instances in which Gotobed expresses a liking for common words over specialized ones favored by the British.  [CMC & RR 2012]

Sources:  OED, LS.

Chapter 79 – The Last Days of Mary Masters

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the triumph of Mary Masters

Mary Masters and her engagement were a thing of wonder to the people of Dillsborough, especially considering how she had so refused Larry Twentyman.  Here, “triumph” is being used in the Classical sense.  The connotation of splendor surrounding the first sentence of the chapter where the reaction of Dillsborough is described alerts the reader that this is a triumph for Mary both personally and in the Classical sense of a public spectacle celebrating a victory.  [CMC 2012]


honour and Larry Twentyman

In contemplating whether or not Larry Twentyman would come to her wedding, Mary Masters reflects on how she had heard that he had gained honour for himself in a recent hunt.  Gaining honour and having it heard by others is a heroic ideal found in Greek epic poetry.  Typical of Trollope in The American Senator, there is also slight humor in this Classical reference.  Larry gains his kleos, his epic glory, not on the field of battle, but on a hunt.  [CMC 2012]


jovial and saturnine

Larry Twentyman is not obligated to go to the wedding by the letter written to him by Reginald Morton.  Trollope explains that this is because there are some instances where a man quite simply does not know how to behave.  Trollope asks rhetorically whether Larry should be jovial (and happy) or saturnine (and somber) at the prospect of going to the wedding of a woman he had also pursued.  Both “jovial” and “saturnine” are English adjectives related to the names of Roman gods, Jupiter and Saturn.  This use of Classics in the last pages participates in the crescendo of Classical references encountered at the end of the novel.  [CMC 2012]

Chapter 80 – Conclusion

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honour and glory

Mrs. Masters is described as enjoying the “honour and glory” of Hoppet Hall, where the Masters family moved after Mary and Reginald married.  However, her former polemics against the wealthy, landed upperclass has perhaps made her self-conscious about living in such a nice home, so she does not admit her pleasure.  The phrase “honour and glory” has a Classical aura, and in Greek epic, a hero’s worth is made publicly manifest through material possessions.  Mrs. Masters enjoys the elevation of the family’s status and reputation as made clear in their new home, but she will not explicitly own to it.  [CD & RR 2012]



Mary’s attitude to Reginald is one of submissive reverence.  She’s deifies him, i.e. treats him much like a Greek or Roman god.  The “thunderclap” that Mary used to describe her realization that Reginald loves her becomes an oblique reference to Zeus/Jupiter, the king of the gods, with whom thunder was associated.  The connection to Zeus/Jupiter is furthered by the idea of kingship that is connected with Reginald through his name, which is related to rex, “king,” and through the earlier description of Mary as queen of Bragton.  [CD 2012]

American Senator

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