in Framley Parsonage

Chapter 38 – Is there Cause or Just Impediment?


This is the Latin word for “rich” or “wealthy,” which Trollope uses here to refer to a specific rich man from a story in Luke 16.  This rich man lived a lavish life, well-furnished and well-fed, but neglected a starving beggar named Lazarus who lay in front of the gate to his house.  One day Lazarus died and was carried by angels into the arms of Abraham to thrive forever in heaven; the rich man also died and was sent to burn for all eternity.  The wealthy man pleaded with Abraham and Lazarus to bring him a drink, but Abraham replied that he had already lived well during his life on earth and that it was now Lazarus’ turn to reap the rewards of splendor.  The man then asked Abraham to send Lazarus as a risen prophet to warn his five relatives to change their extravagant lifestyles; however, Abraham told him that if they didn’t already believe Moses and the other prophets, then they would believe no one. The rich man in the Vulgate version of  Luke 16 is called Dives; for Trollope, he is used to personify the wealthy lifestyle which is practiced by people in London, rather than to denote any specific person. This Biblical reference occurs during a conversation between Miss Dunstable and Mary Gresham in which they are discussing the pros and cons of the London sphere, which is far different from the country experience of Boxall Hill at which they are staying.  Miss Dunstable comments that Mary enjoys the extravagances which she experiences while dining with rich individuals in London and that her uncle, Dr. Thorne, is unable to even enjoy these earthly pleasures which are offered in the city.  Trollope likens Dr. Thorne to the poor beggar Lazarus, who is humble and lives meekly while on Earth, but who will reap the rewards of the afterlife.  Miss Dunstable herself has been a regular resident of the city for many years, and Mary voices her opinion that Miss Dunstable acts like a different person whenever she is in the city as opposed to when she is in the country.  [MD 2005]

Sources:  Luke 16:19-31.


Magna est veritas

This is a Latin phrase which is translated as “Truth is great.” It was supposedly used by the bishop and is picked up from him by Miss Dunstable, who uses it more than once the novel.  When Bishop Proudie says it, the phrase presumably was meant to be taken seriously; however, when Miss Dunstable employs it she tends to make use of it in a joking manner, although she is none the less serious.  In this instance, Mary Gresham has made a slight suggestion to Miss Dunstable that she should in fact marry her uncle, Dr. Thorne.  This is Miss Dunstable’s reply to Mary, issued in the form of advice which playfully mocks the bishop, but which nevertheless urges her to continue her persuasive argument.  The phrase comes from the Vulgate version of 3 Esdras.  [MD & RR 2005]

Sources:  3 Esdras 4:41.  (Note: the Latin 3 Esdras is identified as 1 Esdras in English versions of the Bible.)



Trollope makes reference to Mentor from the Odyssey and switches the roles of the older and younger individuals.  Miss Dunstable is considerably older than Mrs. Mary Gresham and therefore she would traditionally be the one who would be mentoring, or giving advice to, the younger and less experienced person. However, Trollope derives a certain amount of humor from reversing the positions in this relationship, and we can also see this earlier, in Chapter 6, in an allusion involving Mentor and Mark Robarts.  [MD 2005]