Chapter 38 – De Courcy Precepts and De Courcy Practice

she saw at once that the fiat had gone against her

Fiat in Latin, “Let it be.”  In English, a command or decree.  Augusta is writing to Lady Amelia De Courcy, asking for Amelia’s approval of her proposed marriage to Mr. Gazebee, a lawyer.  Lady Amelia is a mentor of sorts for Augusta in situations such as these, and as such it is well within her authority to make such fiats.  Sadly for Augusta, Lady Amelia does not approve of the lawyer’s blood and means and so speaks out against such a match.  (Ironically, Lady Amelia herself ends up marrying Mr. Gazebee.)  [JM 2005]

Sources:  OED.



From Latin plebeius, pertaining to the plebs, the commoners of Rome.  Taken out of Classical usage it comes to mean “lacking noble birth or status, common” often with a disparaging connotation.  Augusta has tried to make Lady Amelia see her love interest, Mr. Gazebee, as at least a little above plebeian status, but has failed.  [JM 2005]

Sources:  OED.



Referring to the noble blood of the De Courcys.  See the gloss in the commentary for Chapter 2.  [JM]

Chapter 37 – Sir Louis Leaves Greshamsbury

in toto

Latin, “in all,” “in its entirety.”  In toto in English usage means “altogether” or “totally.”  Sir Louis makes a point of mentioning that he learned this phrase at Eton.  He is endeavoring to show that he was sent to a good school.  [TH 2005]

Chapter 36 – Will He Come Again?

beautiful as Apollo

Apollo, Greek god of light and music, is often used as a symbol of ideal male beauty.  It is not surprising that when Mary sees Frank for the first time after a long absence, he looks like an Apollo.  [JC 2005]

Chapter 35 – Sir Louis Goes Out to Dinner


This is an allusion to a type of social gathering which was held by the ancient Greeks and involved conversation and often the drinking of wine. In this reference, Trollope describes the meeting between Dr. Thorne, Squire Gresham, Frank Gresham, and Sir Louis Scatcherd as a symposium.  In their modern symposium, Sir Louis ends up getting excessively drunk on wine and making a spectacle, not only of himself but also of his legal guardian, Dr. Thorne.  [MD 2005]

Sources:  OED.