in Small House at Allington

Chapter 23 – Mr. Plantagenet Palliser


A censor was a Roman magistrate who made a register or census of the people in Rome and had some power to regulate public morality.  Here, Lady de Courcy is unwilling to adopt the role of censor in regard to Crosbie, since it might disrupt a possible engagement between Crosbie and her daughter.  [KD & RR 2006; rev. 2011]

Sources:  OED.



Lady Alexandrina proclaims to Crosbie that even Diana could not play billiards in her riding habit.  Diana is the Roman name for Artemis, the goddess of hunting, women, and childbirth.  Diana or Artemis is also the twin sister to Apollo.  Trollope is using this reference in two ways.  The more apparent one is that even the hunter-goddess with arrow-shooting skills could not play with a habit on.  Trollope could also be commenting on the relationship between Crosbie and Lady Alexandrina.  As we have seen, Crosbie was named Apollo by Lily Dale. (See the commentary for Chapter 2.)  Thus Trollope is implying that Crosbie and Lady Alexandrina are like brother and sister or, rather, two peas in a pod.  [KD 2006]

Sources:  Cassell’s Dictionary of Classical Mythology.


the die was cast

Iacta alea est. According to Suetonius, Caesar said this as he crossed the Rubicon into Italy, thus implicitly declaring war on his own country.  This allusion is made after Crosbie tells Lady Alexandrina that he is supposed to marry one woman (Lily) when he actually loves another (her).  Crosbie knows that his engagement to Lily Dale must be called off because the die has already been cast–with his words he has committed himself to Lady Alexandrina.  [KD 2006]

Sources:  Suetonius, Life of Julius Caesar 23.



See the commentary for Chapter 16 of The Warden.  In this reference, Trollope says that Plantagent Palliser’s uncle, the Duke of Omnium, would have preferred him to be a country gentlemen, a slaughterer of “hecatombs” of birds, rather than a politician.  [KD 2006]



Trollope refers to an old member of the government as “the old Nestor of the cabinet.”  Nestor was the elderly king of Pylos, and in Homer’s Iliad he was known for giving advice to Greek leaders.  Trollope uses a mythological reference here to add character to an anonymous person in the cabinet.  [KD 2006]


By Jove

An exclamation akin to “By god,” as Jove was the chief Roman god, Jupiter. The Honourable George says it here to his cousin, Mr. Gresham, when they discuss what Dumbello thinks about his wife’s relationship with Plantagenet Palliser.  [KD 2006]