in Small House at Allington

Chapter 01 – The Squire of Allington

Dale family scepter

Here Trollope describes the property and political status passed through the Dale family as the family’s “scepter.”  This may recall the scepter that represents Agamemnon’s power in the Iliad, which has been passed down from his forefathers.  [EB 2006]

Sources:  Homer, Iliad 2.100-108.


Vestal fire

In Roman religion, Vesta was a goddess of hearth and community, and her temples contained a fire that was never extinguished.  Here Trollope compares the steadfastly maintained family traditions of inheritance in the Dale family to this eternal flame.  The image is appropriate, given Vesta’s correspondence to domestic settings.  The heightened religious connotations of the reference also have an effect of humorous exaggeration.  [EB 2006]

Sources:  Cassell’s Dictionary of Classical Mythology.


to afford comfort, protection, patronage

The Romans established a system of patron-client relationships in which powerful men gave financial, social, and political support to those of lesser status.  This system has been replicated in many other societies, as depicted in Trollope’s description of Allington.  [EB 2006]


profane vulgar

One of Horace’s odes contains the sentiment odi profanum vulgus et arceo, or “I hate and avoid the common crowd.”  Here Trollope uses the Anglicized form of the Latin phrase profanum vulgus to describe the road used by the common inhabitants of Allington.  [EB & RR 2006]

Sources:  Horace, Ode 3.1.1.