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]
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]
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.
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]
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]
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.
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.