in Dr. Wortle's School

Chapter 06 – Lord Carstairs

Lord Carstairs’ education

Lord Carstairs’ private tutorials in Latin and Greek resemble a Roman or Athenian education in which a young man might be privately educated by a tutor.  This form of education could build a lasting sense of fellowship between the tutor and pupil, and we see the development of a friendship between Mr. Peacocke and Lord Carstairs.  Mr. Peacocke’s influence over Lord Carstairs may also be evident in Lord Carstairs’ adoption of Mr. Peacocke’s unusual level of individualism in romantic pursuits.  [BL 2013]


Classics in America

When Mr. Peacocke discusses with Lord Carstairs his time in America, he includes mention of the differences between Classics in America and Classics in England.  This distinction becomes one way of describing or assessing cultural differences between the two countries.  [BL & RR 2014]


Dabit Deus his quoque finem

In a conversation with the young Lord Carstairs Mr. Peacocke quotes this Latin phrase that means “God will give even to these things an end.”  The quotation comes from book 1 of Vergil’s Aeneid, as Aeneas comforts his sailors during a storm.  When Mr. Peacocke uses the phrase, he aligns himself with Aeneas, the hero who fled the burning of his city, Troy, and who suffered hardships with his people during their travels.  Much like Aeneas, Mr. Peacocke has already endured much in his past and must continue to endure.  Yet this phrase also foreshadows an end of suffering, for both Aeneas and Mr. Peacocke.

Trollope makes the choice to capitalize Deus.  This seemingly minor change opens up a new set of connotations.  The capitalized Deus becomes a monolithic entity separate from the plurality of the Roman pantheon and can be associated instead with the single God of Christianity.  For Trollope’s audience, the capitalization could add a degree of solemn spirituality to the quotation that the more intellectual Classical reference alone might not supply.  Trollope and Mr. Peacocke are finding a way to synthesize Classics and Christianity.

In discussing a personal situation with his pupil Mr. Peacocke enlists Classics as a touchstone which they have in common.  This demonstrates both the use of Classics as a hermeneutic lens for understanding one’s present situation and the recognition of Classics as a “common language” shared by gentlemen.  [JE & RR 2014]

Source:  Vergil, Aeneid 1.199.


Classical matutinal performances

Trollope tells us:  “Mr. Peacocke, of course, attended the morning school.  Indeed, as the matutinal performances were altogether classical, it was impossible that much should be done without him.”  When Trollope switches to the adjective “matutinal” in the second sentence rather than re-use “morning,” the variation linguistically underscores the Classical focus of the morning lessons, since “matutinal” is derived from the Latin adjective matutinus (“morning”).  [RR 2014]