in Claverings

Chapter 32 – Florence Burton Packs up a Packet

Florence packs up a packet

In titling this chapter, Trollope employs a verb (“pack”) and cognate accusative (“packet”).  Such a construction—using a verb with a linguistically related word as its object—can be found in both Latin and Greek as well as English:  “sing a song,” “paint a painting.”  Although we use these expressions easily and (largely) unconsciously in English, a Classical education puts a grammatical spotlight on them.  The tidiness of the formulation here reinforces the firmness of Florence’s decision to release Harry from their engagement and return to him his letters and gifts.  [RR 2013]


Florence bore it as the Spartan boy bore the fox beneath his tunic

In his Life of Lycurgus, Plutarch tells the story of a Spartan boy who stole a fox and then allowed it to maul him to death underneath his tunic rather than be discovered as a thief.  Trollope compares this boy’s fortitude to that of Florence Burton.  At this point in the novel, Florence has not heard from Harry in weeks and knows that something is terribly wrong in their relationship.  Nevertheless, she shows few signs of emotional distress, even to her own family.  [SH 2012]

Source:  Plutarch, Life of Lycurgus 18.