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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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]
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.