in Bertrams

Chapter 11 – Vale Valete

Vale Valete

Vale and valete are the singular and plural imperative, “Farewell!”  As a chapter heading, Vale Valete announces the coming break in company:  George Bertram and his father are going on toward Constantinople, and Miss Waddington and Miss Baker are going to Jaffa.  [CD 2012]



Croesus is a figure from Herodotus’ History.  He is king of Lydia and wildly rich, and Herodotus describes the many gifts that he sends to the oracle of Apollo at Delphi.  In English, his name has become synonymous with great wealth.  Its use here occurs in more description about Caroline Waddington’s views on marriage.  In choosing a husband, it is important for her to love and respect him.  Her summum bonum won’t allow her to marry simply for money or a title.  [CD 2012]

Croesus was used by Trollope earlier, in his discussion of the elder Mr. George Bertram; see commentary for Chapter 5.

Source:  Entry in Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.
Herodotus, History 1.50-51.


Medea’s secret

Humorously, Sir Lionel relates that his attraction to Miss Waddington is strong enough that he would allow himself to be “chopped and boiled” in order that he might be transformed into his younger self.  This is a reference to an episode in the mythological career of Medea.  Ovid’s Metamorphoses relates the resurrection of Jason’s father, Aeson, by Jason’s wife Medea.  Medea and Jason return from the quest for the Golden Fleece to find Aeson nearing the end of his life.  Medea, a powerful witch, slits his throat and boils him in a pot, and Aeson comes back to life as a young man.  Sir Lionel, impressed with her beauty and knowing that she is in the charge of his rich brother, George Bertram, would gladly commit himself to being chopped up and born anew in order to court her himself.  [CD & RR 2012]

Source:  Ovid, Metamorphoses 7.268-329.