in Claverings

Chapter 27 – Freshwater Gate


Sophie considers it lucky for herself that Harry is engaged to Florence and that the news of their engagement disturbs Julia.  In Sophie’s reflections on her situation, her luck is made into a quasi-divine force, Fortune.  Such a personification of Fortune was common in Classical antiquity.  [RR 2013]


The old poet told us how Black Care sits behind the horseman

Here Trollope quotes the “old poet” Horace, who claims in his ode to simplicity that wealth does not help one escape Atra Cura, “Black Care.”  No amount of material abundance makes one impervious to illness or melancholy or worry.  As she travels to the Isle of Wight, Lady Ongar is a perfect example of how wealth does not appease Atra Cura.  Though she has the means to flee from London, where her troubles with Harry and Count Pateroff have been afflicting her, she cannot flee from her worry and emotional turmoil.  [SH 2012]

Trollope makes a bid for the timeless nature of Horace’s insight:  he suggests that a poet of his own time will describe this disturbing “goddess” fueling the fire of a train.  Julia’s trip by locomotive is the modern equivalent of the horse and horseman in Horace’s ode.  [RR 2013]

Source:  Horace, Odes 3.1.40.


Julia making herself divine

When Count Pateroff intercepts Julia during her time on the Isle of Wight, he suggests that by marrying him she can escape the unpleasant rumors surrounding her.  Julia, however, insists that she would prefer to lessen her misery by jumping off a cliff.  Count Pateroff applauds the poetic passion of Julia’s assertion–saying that with it she makes herself divine–but reminds her of the prosaic reality of such a fall.  The count’s description of Julia as “divine” echoes two references to Julia in Chapter 25:  the epithet was applied to Julia during a summary of a discussion between Sophie and Archie, and Trollope describes Julia as a Junoesque figure when she confronts Harry about his engagement to Florence.  [RR 2013]