chapter of accidents
In requesting a period of time before giving a final answer to Larry Twentyman, Mary had hoped that “the chapter of accidents” might help her find a way out of Larry’s proposal. The phrase “chapter of accidents” has its origins in a section heading in Latin compilations of Roman law, and it has come to mean “series of chance events.” Trollope tells us that the chapter of accidents did indeed help Mary: her conversation with Reginald Morton on the train to Cheltenham convinced her that she must refuse Larry’s offer of marriage. [RR 2012]
Source: Entry in Brewer’s Dictionary of Phrase and Fable.
spark of love
Mary is discussing her current predicament with Lady Ushant, but she does not tell of her “spark of love” for Reginald. Trollope again invokes the equation of love and fire that was noted as having Classical ties in the Chapter 12 commentary. [KS 2012]