Chapter 84 – Conclusion


A word based on the Greek word for “ant” which came to be the name of the people who inhabited the kingdom of Phthia in southern Thessaly.  (According to mythology, they had originally been metamorphosed from ants into humans.)  The Myrmidons were also led by Achilles to fight in the Trojan War and were known as some of the fiercest of the Achaean fighters.  Trollope uses this term to refer to Mr. Musselboro in relation to his patron Mrs. Van Siever.  Referring to Mr. Musselboro as Mrs. Van Siever’s “myrmidon” describes Mr. Musselboro’s function as a worker, specifically Mrs. Van Siever’s worker. In this context, “myrmidon” can be meant to refer to Mr. Musselboro as worker ant. Myrmidon can also mean someone who is a faithful follower or attendant.  [AM & RR 2006]

Sources:  Cassell’s Dictionary of Classical Mythology.


Had I written an epic about clergymen

Trollope comments that he did not write an epic when he wrote the Barsetshire novels.  Trollope states that if he had been writing an epic, he would have taken St. Paul for a model, but instead he was inspired by the people of his times.  Trollope concludes that he did not write an epic because he used material from the real world involving not larger-than-life heroes but rather people, including clergy, with secular concerns and regular human foibles.  [AM & RR 2006; rev. 2011]

Chapter 82 – The Last Scene at Hogglestock


Fortune was the Roman goddess of luck or chance.  Trollope here refers to the luck Grace Crawley feels as she sees her lover and future husband, Major Grantly, mount his horse.  Fortune is personified for the purpose of showing how Grace feels that she has been given such a wonderful man for a husband as if a gift from the gods.  [AM 2006]

Chapter 80 – Miss Demolines Desires to Become a Finger-post

Any Leander

Leander and Hero were two lovers who lived on opposite sides of the Hellespont.  At night, Leander would swim across to Hero.  One night, the wind blew out the lamp that Hero would light in order to guide Leander, and Leander drowned.  In this allusion, John thinks that he will be more immortal than Leander if he proposes to Lily Dale one final time in ten years.  [KD 2006]

Sources:  Cassell’s Dictionary of Classical Mythology.


John Eames and Greek

After John is rejected by Lily Dale, he decides that he is going to throw himself into the study of Greek.  However, John soon gives up and decides that he best keep his appointment with Madalina Demolines because “a gentleman should always keep his word to a lady.”  Trollope uses John’s inability to do Greek to show that he is in fact not entirely a gentlemen.  Therefore it is ironic that he chooses to keep his appointment because he is a gentlemen.  [KD 2006]