Chapter 43 – Is She not Insignificant?


The Amazons were a race of warrior women in Greek myth.  Ludovic here humorously refers to the type of woman his mother would have him marry as an Amazon; one mark against Lucy in Lady Lufton’s eyes is her small stature and less than imposing nature.  [JM 2005]

Chapter 42 – Touching Pitch

deus ex machina

This is a Latin phrase, translated from a Greek phrase, theos apo mekhanēs, which means “god from the machine.” It refers to a person in ancient Greek and Roman theater who would suddenly appear at a crucial moment in order to save someone from a detrimental situation.  Often, this would be a person who would be playing the part of a god and who would descend from above by means of a machine.  [MD 2005]

Chapter 40 – Internecine

cup and the lips

Mrs. Grantly has just begun to feel the triumph that her daughter’s match with Lord Dumbello will not be stopped–this contrasts with her worries in London that the “cup might…be dashed from her lips before it was tasted.”  The image of the cup being dashed from the lips comes from the Latin proverb (recorded by Erasmus):  Multa cadunt inter calicem supremaque labra which translates as “Many things fall between the cup and the last lips.”  For the mythological origin of the proverb, see the commentary for Chapter 24 of Barchester Towers.  [JC 2004]


epic poet

Trollope compares Griselda’s approach to designing her wedding dress and an epic poet’s approach to producing a great piece of literature.  Of all the brides-to-be in this novel, Griselda Grantly is the one for whom this is a most fitting comparison.  She has always been praised for her stunning beauty and concern for appearance, so it is not surprising that the process of choosing a wedding gown is of utmost importance to her.  [JC 2005]


invocation of a muse

“. . .as the poet, to whom I have already alluded, first invokes his muse, then brings his smaller events gradually out upon his stage, so did Miss Grantly with sacred fervour ask her mother’s aid. . .”  In this comparison, Griselda is still the poet, but now her mother is her helpful muse.  [JC 2005]


face like Acheron

“. . .Mrs. Proudie’s face was still as dark as Acheron when her enemy withdrew. . .”  Trollope describes Mrs. Proudie in this way just after Mrs. Proudie and Mrs. Grantly have had a battle of words in which Mrs. Grantly was the victor.  Acheron is the River of Woe in the Underworld.  [JC 2005]