Chapter 48 – Conclusion

lamb for the sacrificial altar

Fanny and Mr. Saul are to be allowed, at last, to marry.  Trollope substitutes the (Classical) sacrificial altar for the (Christian) marital one when he describes Fanny, who awaits the outcome of her mother’s conversation with Mr. Saul about their engagement, as a sacrificial lamb.  Although Fanny is in a serious mood befitting the ancient and religious imagery, a reader might be amused by the disparity between a sacrificial lamb and a soon-to-be bride.  [RR 2013]

Chapter 47 – How Things Settled Themselves at the Rectory

Harry was again to be accepted among the Burton Penates as a pure divinity

In ancient Roman homes, the penates were household gods, worshipped alongside Vesta as guardians of the home.  Trollope says that Harry, whom he repeatedly compares to Apollo, has been recognized by the Burton’ Penates as divine.  This summarizes the Burton family’s opinion of him as a man residing on a different level of greatness from themselves.  Since Trollope specifies that Harry will “again” be considered a god, it is clear that the Burtons held a very high opinion of Harry before he temporarily abandoned Florence.  His behavior toward Florence clearly turned out not to be above reproach, so the comparison to a god is somewhat sarcastic or ironic.  Nevertheless, the Burtons are ready to forgive and forget all, since Trollope specifies that Harry is again “pure” in their eyes.  Trollope may also be gently criticizing the Burton family with this phrase, since Harry’s conduct was not pure, and placing any human person on the level with the divine is a bit excessive.  [SH 2012]

Source:  OCD.


this Apollo was to be an Apollo indeed

Florence Burton’s parents have just received the news that Harry is now an heir, fairly recently after they heard that Harry and Florence had reconciled.  Now he is not just “a god with so very moderate an annual income,” but rather one with a corresponding position in society.  The Burtons had been somewhat concerned about Harry’s ability to be happy working for his living, but now his financial situation finally fits his gentlemanly disposition.  [SH 2012]


a place of his own among the gods of Olympus

Olympus is the highest mountain on the Greek peninsula.  In mythology, it was presented as the home of the gods.  Trollope references the mountain here when describing the Burton family’s attitude toward Harry Clavering’s new position as the heir to a baronet.  Trollope has used references to Apollo/Phoebus, god of the sun, to describe the Burtons’ opinion of Harry throughout the novel, but now the metaphor is extended to include Apollo’s proper home among other gods.  With his new position and all the money and power it brings, Harry Clavering has risen greatly in society and no longer has to worry about making his way in the world; he is now among his peers, where he should be.  This shift in Harry’s social status is likened to Apollo gaining a spot to call his own in the society of his peers, the Olympian gods.  [SH 2012]

Source:  OCD.


Lady Clavering’s paraphernalia

In many of his novels Trollope expresses distaste for the traditional clothing worn by widows.  Here he writes of Hermione’s adoption of mourning attire:  “She had assumed in all its grotesque ugliness those paraphernalia of outward woe which women have been condemned to wear, in order that for a time they may be shorn of all the charms of their sex.”  Trollope’s use of “paraphernalia” has an ironic resonance with the word’s etymology, since its original meaning had special reference to the start of a marriage.  In ancient Greek the word parapherna referred to goods beyond (para) a dowry (phernē) which a bride brought with her when she married.  Hermione’s marriage has now ended in bereavement, which has its own equipment.  [RR 2013]

Source:  LSJ.


I don’t think I would care for a walk through the Elysian fields by myself

The idea of Elysium or the Elysian fields as the home of the blessed dead, reserved for celebrated heroes, comes from Classical mythology.  The eternal home of the honored and blessed would naturally be beautiful beyond imagination.  Julia’s reference to this mythical verdant place creates a hyperbole in her statement that, on her own, she does not care for gardens.  It seems Julia would not enjoy any place—not Clavering Park nor even Elysium—by herself.  [SH & RR 2012]

Chapter 46 – Madame Gordeloup Retires from British Diplomacy

our friend Doodles, alias Captain Boodle, of Warwickshire

Alias is a Latin word adopted into English as an adverb; it primarily means “otherwise called or named.”  Usually the word modifies a name other than a person’s real name, but here Trollope uses it to modify “Boodle,” which is presumably the Captain’s actual name.  Trollope writes this when Captain Boodle is leaving London with Sophie Gordeloup, who is suspected of being a Russian spy.  By adding the word alias in front of Captain Boodle’s name, Trollope recalls the suggestions of spying that surround Sophie.  [SH 2012]

Trollope’s application of alias to Captain Boodle’s name may also be humorous.  It could suggest that Boodle’s true, somewhat buffoonish, identity is better conveyed by his silly nickname “Doodles.” For the inept Boodle, his actual title and name act as a disguise.  [RR 2013]

Source:  OED.

Chapter 44 – Showing What Happened off Heligoland

to admit that her Apollo had been altogether godlike

Florence compares Harry Clavering, who has just become heir to Clavering Park, to the Greek sun god Apollo.  She has forgiven and completely forgotten all Harry’s sins concerning herself and Lady Ongar.  Her brother Theodore can forgive but not forget Harry’s conduct, which was duplicitous and certainly did not fit his definition of “godlike.”  Florence, like the other women in Harry’s life, idealizes him and places him on a pedestal as one would a god.  She can see no wrong in him or his behavior at all until she has no choice but to acknowledge it, and even after she does so, she accepts Harry back with open arms as soon as he apologizes to her.  Trollope, Theodore Burton, and the reader, however, can see the error of Harry’s past ways, and do not hold him as quite so high above everyone else as the women do.  [SH 2012]


better part of me

Harry refers to Florence as the “better part” of himself.  At the end of his Metamorphoses Ovid refers to his soul as the “better part of myself,” and in the preface to book 1 of  his Natural Questions Seneca calls the soul or mind “the better part of us.”  Harry’s formulation identifies his future wife as the more prudent, thoughtful part of himself.  [RR 2013]

Source:  Ovid, Metamorphoses 15.875.
Seneca, Natural Questions preface to book 1 section 14.