in Barchester Towers

Chapter 28 – Mrs. Bold is Entertained by Dr. and Mrs. Grantly at Plumstead

particeps criminis

Latin, “partner of crime.”  [JC 2005]


Lucretia and Tarquin

Mr. Harding’s fondness for his daughter overrides his distaste for the wedding of Eleanor and Mr. Slope which Mr. Harding believes is imminent.  Eleanor is here likened to Lucretia, a paragon of Roman female virtue, who committed suicide in the presence of her husband and her father after being raped by Sextus Tarquinius, the son of the Roman king Tarquinius Superbus.  In Livy’s account, Lucretia’s father and husband try to persuade her that she is not at fault for Sextus’ violation of her.  Livy’s Lucretia dies by her own choice.  Perhaps Trollope here conflates the story of Lucretia with that of Verginia, a Roman maiden whose father Verginius kills her to keep her free from the machinations of the decemvir Appius.  At the outset of his account of Verginia, Livy himself acknowledges similarities between the stories of Lucretia and Verginia.  Mr. Harding would not have the heart of a Roman father like Verginius.  [RR 2005]

Sources:  Livy, History of Rome 1.57-59 (on Lucretia) and 3.44-48 (on Verginia).