in Framley Parsonage

Chapter 10 – Lucy Robarts

et vera incessu patuit Dea

This Latin phrase can be translated as “and the true Goddess was revealed with her step,” or in other words, she reveals that she is a goddess by the way in which she walks. This is a quotation from Vergil’s Aeneid and refers to the goddess Venus, who is disguised as a young Spartan huntress.  Aeneas meets her in a forest on the shores of North Africa, after landing with the remainder of his fleet near the city of Carthage.  Aeneas questions her about the surrounding area and she in turn questions him about his present situation.  It is not until she turns to leave and walk away that Aeneas truly recognizes the woman as his mother Venus in disguise, although he suspects that she is a goddess from the moment they initially meet.  In Framley Parsonage, Trollope uses this phrase to describe Blanche Robarts in contrast to Lucy Robarts.  Blanche is described as a beautiful woman and a goddess as far as her physical beauty is concerned; however, Lucy is illustrated as being much more intelligent than Blanche, even if she is not as physically endowed.  It is interesting that Vergil describes Venus as having a pretty neck and hair, while Trollope focuses on Blanche’s complexion, neck, and bust.  Perhaps this is a result of the physical attributes which each society found most attractive in women:  the ideals of ancient Roman society compared to the views of Trollope’s contemporary Victorian British culture.  [MD 2005]

Sources:  Vergil, Aeneid 1.405.


sine die

A Latin phrase which is translated as “without a day.”  It is used here to refer to the date on which the Robarts family (Mark, Fanny, and Lucy) will go over and eat dinner at Lady Lufton’s house.  Lucy is still feeling very upset about the loss of her father, who had occupied such a large portion of her social interactions and of her life, that she is having a hard time adjusting to life without him.  When Lady Lufton invites the Robarts’ to dine with her in an effort to acquaint herself with Lucy, Lucy postpones the engagement for an indefinite time period, or “without a day,” until she is emotionally able to handle such an encounter.  [MD 2005]