in American Senator

Chapter 11 – From Impington Gorse

the oracular Major Caneback

Major Caneback is renowned for his skill at horse-riding, but he shows himself to be rather limited in social settings.  He sums up a day’s hunt with phrases such as “quick spurt” or “goodish thing.”  Such terseness leads Trollope to describe him as “oracular,” though the description conveys additional humor when one realizes that Major Caneback is a reverse oracle:  he comments on events that have already happened rather than on things to come.  [RR 2012]