in Last Chronicle of Barset

Chapter 09 – Grace Crawley Goes to Allington

The lictor and the fasces

Trollope states that if there had been a lictor and fasces at the trial of Mr. Crawley, then perhaps Miss Anne Prettyman, a teacher versed in Roman history, would have better understood the proceedings and outcome of the trial.  A lictor was an attendant who walked in front of a Roman magistrate, bearing the fasces on his left shoulder.  The fasces were a bundle of rods, usually tied by a red string.  Fasces symbolized the power of the Rome.  This reference is poking fun at Miss Anne because she does not know the procedures of the courts in her own land.  [KD 2006]

Sources:  OCD.


Miss Prettyman’s private sanctum

A sanctum, literally meaning “sacred thing,” is a holy or sacred place where a temple or church is built.  Miss Prettyman’s room is referred to as a sanctum into which one must be invited.  We see the sanctum when Grace Crawley goes to Miss Prettyman to discuss her father’s dilemma and to decide if she should go to Allington.  [KD 2006]

Calling Miss Prettyman’s room her sanctum perhaps contributes to the awe surrounding her, as discussed in the commentary for Chapter 6.  [RR 2011]

Sources:  OED.