in Small House at Allington

Chapter 26 – Lord de Courcy in the Bosom of His Family

many slips

See the commentary for Chapter 9. This proverb is used again in reference to matrimonial union with Mr. Crosbie and is said here by Lady Amelia in conversation with Lady Alexandrina. In this context, Lady Amelia warns her sister that she should get married as soon as possible for fear that something might disrupt the intended marriage.  This phrase is used earlier as a contrast to Lily’s assurance of Crosbie’s intent of marriage, but Lady Amelia uses this phrase as an admonition to her sister that anything might happen that could interrupt the course of things.  [AM 2006]



This is a Roman term used to refer to the power of the male head of a Roman household (usually the father or the grandfather) over his descendants and other family members. Trollope uses this term to refer to Lord De Courcy. However, Trollope’s use of the Roman term presents a sense of irony in relation to the Lord De Courcy because no one in the De Courcy family admires or respects him. Also, the countess is the family member who is largely in charge of family matters, not the lord.  [AM 2006]

Sources:  OCD.