In describing the subsequent marriage of George and Caroline, the narrator tells us that they are “not unhappy.” The use of double negatives is a Classical rhetorical strategy that draws attention to what is being said. In this case, the narrator is describing the happiness that George and Caroline possess. The use of litotes emphasizes the great unhappiness that has tempered their lives and has stunted what real–unqualified–happiness they could have had. While they do enjoy their life together, the use of litotes allows the narrator to show the consequences of George and Caroline’s earlier actions. [CD & RR 2012]
preserve an even mind
As the novel progresses toward its completion, Harcourt’s mental stability lessens. He is continually concerned with his position in society, and when a change in government occurred, he refuses to step down when his colleagues do. Public opinion turns against him. Many people also discover that Caroline has left him and that he has lied about the reason she left. In setting up his frame of mind, the narrator alludes to an ode from the Roman poet Horace–“remember, for you will die, Dellius, to keep an even mind in difficult affairs, and also a temperate mind in good times, apart from excessive joy.” Horace reminds his friend to be of a steady mind in hardship and in good fortune, and that death is the inescapable fortune of all men. This reference is apt, and a foreshadowing of Harcourt’s suicide. His spectacular rise and quick fall from power have unbalanced him, and he is driven to madness by his monetary and marital problems. These circumstances lead to his death. Once again, Trollope is providing a sentiment from Latin literature as a paradigm for actions in the world of his novel. Harcourt has not carried the lessons of his Classical education into his life. [CD & RR 2012]
Sources: Horace, Odes, 2.3.1-4.
A common reference in many of Trollope’s novels, the Daily Jupiter is a newspaper whose namesake is the Roman king of the gods, Jupiter. The Daily Jupiter shares two main qualities with Jupiter: it is omnipotent, and it is authoritative. In printing the will, the Daily Jupiter will make it known to all of Sir Henry’s creditors that he was not the recipient of Mr. Bertram’s vast fortune. The paper’s authoritativeness is intimated by the fact that it “had already given a wonderfully correct biography of the deceased great man.” [CD 2012]
last sad duty to his brother’s remains
Sir Lionel, writing to Hadley, excuses himself from attending his brother’s funeral because of his health and the train schedule from Littlebath to Hadley. These circumstances “unhappily” hinder Sir Lionel from giving the “last sad duty to his brother’s remains.” This is perhaps a reference to the Roman poet Catullus, who wrote a poem concerning the death of his brother and his journey to his brother’s tomb in order to perform funeral rites. Catullus writes that he undertook the journey “in order that I might give the last duty of the dead.” The reference to this poem is meant to be humorous, since the relationship between Sir Lionel and Mr. Bertram had been practically non-existent and hostile for many years. Sir Lionel is presented throughout the novel as a something of a dissimulator and scoundrel; he isn’t unhappy at missing his brother’s funeral since he doesn’t possess any fraternal love. The letter is his own excuse for missing the funeral and a reminder to the reader of Sir Lionel’s character. A reference to a poem famous for fraternal feelings highlights Sir Lionel’s lack of brotherly affection.
Source: Catullus 101.
The undertaker who prepares the body of the elder Mr. Bertram for burial has a fitting surname. “Mortmain” means “dead hand.” The name is composed of Latin elements filtered through French: mort- (death, dead) and man- (hand). Not only does Mr. Mortmain handle the dead, but he also provides George Bertram with black gloves for the funeral. [RR 2012]
Ipsissima verba is a Latin phrase meaning “the very words themselves.” It refers to laws or legal cases and documents being quoted verbatim. The narrator gives no exact details of Mr. Bertram’s will, saying that no critic shall be given the chance to think it illegal. In this instance, ipsissima verba probably refers to the kinds of legal terms and provisions that are a part of wills in general. The narrator also says that he is far from any legal practitioners who could give him advice, and this adds to his decision to not include any exact wording from Mr. Bertram’s will. [CD 2012]
Source: Garner, B. A., and H. C. Black. Black’s Law Dictionary. 8th ed. St. Paul: West Group, 2004.
his god–his only god
Trollope states that Mrs. Bertram’s money had been “his god” throughout his life. In this instance, money is personified as a deity. Often in Greek and Roman mythology, certain things would be personified as gods; it is typical, for instance, to see Fate or Wisdom personified as a deity. Here Trollope utilizes the trope of personification to illuminate the importance of money for Mr. Bertram. In Trollope’s almost obituary-like narration, Trollope shows that Mr. Bertram was not an entirely good person as his only care was for his money. [KS 2012]
his own mad anger
When Caroline pleads with George to ensure that she will not have to go back to her husband, George recalls “his own mad anger” that placed her in her situation with Harcourt. The reference to “mad anger” recalls Trollope’s quotation of Quos Deus vult perdere, prius dementat, introduced in Chapter 33: “Those whom God wishes to destroy he first makes crazy.” Although Trollope first uses the proverb in reference to Harcourt, it applies in some degree to both Caroline and George. The “mad anger” meant here is George’s outrage that Caroline had shown his letter to Harcourt and the breaking of their engagement which led to so much grief. At this moment, however, George’s “mad anger” has passed, and neither George and Caroline will be utterly destroyed. [KS & RR 2012]
my pride and my anger
Caroline explains that her own pride as well as her anger at George kept her from backing out of her marriage to Harcourt, even when she knew she should. Both pride and anger are emotions attributed to Juno in the opening section of the Aeneid and are mentioned by Vergil as reasons for Juno’s behavior. Here, Caroline acknowledges the motivating force of her Juno-esque emotions, but she also consigns them to the past. Caroline has stepped down from her Juno pedestal. [KS & RR 2012]
Source: Vergil’s Aeneid 1.23-33.
black be reckoned white, white be reckoned black
Although George will not become Mr. Bertram’s heir, he is pleased that he has made an honest and independent life for himself. He has not fallen into the habit of changing his views or actions for material gain–that is, he has not been tempted to call black white and vice versa in exchange for his uncle’s wealth. The notion of changing black into white or white into black comes from Juvenal’s Satires, and Trollope has already used the image when discussing George’s worries about becoming a lawyer. See commentary for Chapter 5. [KS & RR 2012]
Source: Juvenal, Satire 3.30.
When Mrs. Wilkinson leaves Hurst Staple to see Lord Stapledean, the stable-boy serves as her “charioteer.” “Charioteer” recalls the Classical motif of battle that was established in the opening chapter. Mrs. Wilkinson is driven to the station as if she is going into battle. Mrs. Wilkinson is depicted as being overly ambitious and militaristic in her attempts to curtail Arthur’s authority. [KS 2012]
Cerberus and a region as little desirable might be
Mrs. Wilkinson has finally made it past Lord Stapledean’s butler, who is described as “Cerberus,” and will be able to make her pleas to the lord himself. In Classical mythology, Cerberus was a beastly dog that guarded the Underworld. Once Mrs. Wilkinson has bypassed the guardian butler she enters Lord Stapledean’s book-room–the arena in which she thought she would achieve victory turns out to be as uninviting as the Underworld, and the lord’s response to her is unsatisfactory. [KS & RR 2012]
she had come so far to fight her battle
As Mrs. Wilkinson pleads to Lord Stapledean for help, she grows dejected: she came so far to “fight her battle,” and now she realizes that she will not be victorious. This militaristic discourse resonates with the Classical theme of vae victis announced in the opening chapter. [KS 2012]
vae victis, Io triumphe, paean
Mrs. Wilkinson returns to Hurt Staple unsuccessful in her attempts and reports to Arthur that she will no longer fight his marriage. In the past Arthur had been accustomed to cry vae victis, “woe to the conquered,” over his own losses, but now he has prevailed. Io triumphe is an exclamation, “Ho, victory!” A paean is an ancient Greek song celebrating victory. Arthur started the novel as one of the conquered, but because he was never overly ambitious, he is now allowed the status of the victor. [KS & RR 2012]