in Last Chronicle of Barset

Chapter 37 – Hook Court

d. per dozen

This “d” is used as a monetary abbreviation for the word “denarius” originally from Latin and denoting a particular silver coin.  This word has come to indicate a penny or pence.  [AM 2006]

Sources:  OED.


Augustus Musselboro

Augustus was the first of the Roman emperors.  His reign is characterized by a golden age of peace, prosperity, efficiency, and literary works.  On the surface, the name of the Augustus in this chapter conveys a sense of strength and ability.  However, perhaps Mr. Musselboro’s name is used to poke fun of the irony that his business is dependent upon the financial support of Mrs. Van Siever.  Mr. Musselboro does not in fact rule or control anything and is subject to the bidding of Mrs. Van Siever.  [AM 2006]

Sources:  OCD.



Mrs. Van Siever is Mr. Musselboro’s financial supporter and business partner.  This word recalls the patron/client relationships that were common in ancient Rome in which a wealthier person, the patron, would financially support another person, or client. The patron would fund the client’s artistic or mercantile endeavors and would receive social or financial benefits from the client’s accomplishments.  The client is, however, subject to the patron’s bidding.  In the plot of the novel, Mrs. Van Siever provides the financial support for Mr. Musselboro’s business with Dobbs Broughton. The dynamic of the relationship between Mrs. Van Siever, the patroness, and the client, Mr. Musselboro, shows how Mr. Musselboro is financially dependent on Mrs. Van Siever and is obligated to reveal to her information about the business.  [AM 2006]