in Claverings

Chapter 11 – Sir Hugh and His Brother Archie

Sir Hugh’s clouded brow

Sir Hugh is displeased when his baby makes a little noise among company.  With a clouded brow he chastises Hermione for bringing the child in.  The image may have ancient origins:  in one of his Epistles, Horace urges his addressee to strike the cloud from his forehead (deme supercilio nubem) in order to appear more pleasant.  [RR 2013]

Source:  Horace, Epistle 1.18.94.


claret drunk almost in silence

After dinner at the Clavering estate, the women retire to the drawing room and the Clavering men–Sir Hugh, Captain Archie, the Reverend Clavering, and Harry–remain in the dining room to drink wine and have conversation.  This setting would normally be reminiscent of a symposium (literally “drinking together”) in ancient Greece, during which men would pass a wine bowl around the room, discuss politics, and entertain each other.  These were friendly settings in Classical society, but the scene Trollope creates is a symposium gone awry:  Rev. Clavering refuses to drink any wine at all, and what conversation there is is strained at best.  When compared to what this setting should have involved, the anti-symposium Trollope has created seems even more like a sham of a family gathering.  [SH 2012]

Source:  OCD.


dog in the manger

The story of the dog in the manger is part of the Aesopian tradition:  a dog keeps hay from cattle, even though the dog doesn’t eat hay himself.  Laura Gibbs notes that although there is not a Latin or Greek version of this particular fable, the scenario is alluded to by Lucian, and so its proverbial status is ancient.  Harry runs the risk of behaving like the dog when he, now engaged to Florence, chafes at the idea of Archie’s courtship of Julia.

Source:  Entry on the fable at Laura Gibb’s Aesopica site.