in Small House at Allington

Chapter 12 – Lilian Dale Becomes a Butterfly

wood nymphs and water nymphs

The Countess De Courcy in her letter to Crosbie refers to the women of Allington as “nymphs.”  In Classical mythology nymphs were natural spirits who took the form of beautiful maidens.  Later in the letter the countess describes her daughters as nymphs of a less rustic variety.  Trollope has made implicit links between an idealized pastoral settings and rural Allington, and here a character extends the parallel through this direct, though sarcastic, allusion.  [EB & RR 2006]

Sources:  Cassell’s Dictionary of Classical Mythology.


your late Elysium

The Countess De Courcy’s letter also sarcastically makes a comparison between Allington and Elysium, the fields of constant happiness and beauty in the Underworld where the fortunate are able to spend the afterlife.  The allusion has a humorous function of foreshadowing as it quickly becomes clear that Crosbie’s courtship of Lily in Allington truly served as a refuge free of complications, in contrast to his future affairs at Courcy Castle.  [EB 2006]

Sources:  Cassell’s Dictionary of Classical Mythology.


Gatherum Castle

In Trollope’s novels, Gatherum is the name of the Duke of Omnium’s castle.  This is a play on the British slang phrase “omnium gatherum,” or “gathering of everyone/everything,” used to refer to a gathering of many kinds of people or things.  “Gatherum” is actually a faux Latin word, simply comprised of the English “gather” and the Latin ending –um.  [EB 2006]

Sources:  OED.


Alexandrina de Courcy

This name of one of Lady de Courcy’s daughters is a feminized, Anglicized version of the Greek name Alexandros.  This name may contain references to more than one Classical figure.  Alexandrina’s ambitious pursuit of Crosbie is reminiscent of the strong-willed Greek leader Alexander the Great.  Alexander is also another name used to refer to Paris, whose adulterous relationship with Helen causes the Trojan War.  Similarly, Alexandrina interferes with Crosbie and Lily’s engagement and causes trouble for them both.  [EB 2006]

Sources:  Cassell’s Dictionary of Classical Mythology.


Lady Julia De Guest

Julia, a feminine form of Julius, was a name for Roman women.  This name is particularly associated with the famous Julio-Claudian dynasty of the Roman Empire, reflecting Lady Julia’s status and pride in her position.  [EB 2006]