in Fixed Period

Chapter 11 – Farewell

a little bag

Mrs. Neverbend has packed Mr. Neverbend’s clothes for his voyage to England, including a small bag worn about the neck to keep one’s shirt from bunching up.  In Trollope’s time, a bag of this sort had the Classically inspired name of “sternophylon,” which Trollope deliberately omits.  It is possible that this was done so to keep with Mrs. Neverbend’s character history of refusing to euphemize with Classical words when discussing the Fixed Period.  Such an obviously Classical word as “sternophylon” would sound strange coming from her character.

A 19th century list of London patents mention the sternophylon as “a chest and shirt protector” registered to Isaac Moses.  [CMC & RR 2012]

Sources:  David Skilton’s note in the World’s Classics edition of The Fixed Period.  Oxford:  Oxford UP, 1993, 185.
London Journal of Arts, Sciences, and Manufactures, and Repertory of Patent Inventions (34) 1849:  64.



President Neverbend, trying (one can assume) to find a modicum of salvation in his being taken to England by force, states that his being brought at the expense of Britain is in itself a triumph.  Trollope here is being ironically clever, as the image of Neverbend being brought back to England is reminiscent of Rome bringing back her defeated enemies for triumphs, to be paraded in front of the Roman people.  [CMC 2012]


glory of a great name

Neverbend is recollecting the last time he saw Crasweller, just as he left the carriage and turned away from the “glory” of being deposited.  The language Neverbend uses is Classical in origin, related to the Greek idea of achieving kleos (glory) by dying in battle and with it, immortality.  This is one of many instances of Neverbend using Classical references to elevate the Fixed Period.  [CMC 2012]


no Greek, no Roman, no Englishman

Crasweller explains his inability to be deposited for an entire year before his death, and he cites the Greeks and the Romans, as well as the English, as people who could not endure such a thing.  The Greeks placed a high premium on courage in the face of danger and much of their mythology revolved around facing death without fear.  The Romans also valued courage in the face of death, whether in service to one’s country, the performance of one’s duty, or Stoic and Epicurean philosophical contexts.  Trollope links the Greeks and Romans to the English (who at this time saw themselves as successors to Rome and Greece) in order to suggest that no man, even one belonging to the three consecutive “master” civilizations of the world (at least according to the English), could endure knowing his death was approaching to the exact hour for an entire year.  [CMC 2012]