in Claverings

Chapter 07 – Some Scenes in the Life of a Countess


The Adelphi is an area of London near the Thames, so named after the Adelphi Buildings constructed there in the 18th century.  In Greek adelphoi means “brothers,” and the Adelphi Buildings were erected by a group of brothers:  John, Robert, James, and William.  It is one of these buildings that Harry begins his work as an engineer in London.  It is also where he comes to know his future brother-in-law, Theodore Burton.  [RR 2012]

Source:  Entry on the Adelphi in the London Encyclopaedia.


a flying goddess

Harry’s office is in one of the Adelphi Buildings, which has been repurposed from its former use as a luxurious private home.  The ceiling of the room where Harry works retains its original Neoclassical decoration, including a goddess painted at its center.  The fate of the Adelphi building echoes the transformation that Harry himself is undergoing by leaving behind his ties to the Classically oriented academic world and beginning a new career as an engineer.  [RR 2012]


lad of wax

This odd but complementary turn of phrase may have Classical origins; see commentary for Chapter 4 of Doctor Thorne.  Although it is meant kindly, Harry considers it too familiar.  [RR 2012]


Theodore Burton

The name “Theodore” is composed of the Greek words for “god” and “gift.”  Although Harry sometimes mentally disparages his future brother-in-law Theodore Burton, Theodore and his family become a sort of god-send for Harry in his troubles.  [RR 2012]


money as Sir Hugh’s god

Julia recognizes that her brother-in-law’s highest loyalty is to money, not family.  In Julia’s formulation here, money is presented as if one of the many gods of antiquity, and Hugh Clavering thus becomes a latter day pagan in his devotion to it.  [RR 2012]