in Small House at Allington

Chapter 39 – Dr. Crofts is Turned out

basked in the sunshine of his manliness

Lily is here described as enjoying Crosbie’s presence like the sunshine, which links him to Apollo through Apollo’s association with the sun.  This passage also describes Lily as having “tuned her ears to the tone of [Crosbie’s] voice,” recalling Apollo’s dominion over music.  See the commentary on Chapter 2 for the beginning of the Apollo/Crosbie identification.  [EB 2006]


slaughtered hecatombs

Trollope uses this phrase to refer to the prowess of gentlemen hunters.  It is a humorous exaggeration, since the word “hecatombs” literally refers to the ancient practice of sacrificing one hundred animals.  This phrase can also be found in Chapter 16 of The Warden and Chapter 23 of The Small House at Allington.  [EB 2006]

Sources:  OED.


certain halcyon days

This is how Bell describes memories of times when she felt that she loved Dr. Crofts.  The phrase “halcyon days” refers to the myth of Ceyx and Alcyone, told in Ovid’s Metamorphoses.  Alcyone warned her beloved husband Ceyx that she felt that he would be in danger if he went on a planned sea voyage.  He sailed despite her concern and was drowned in a storm.  Alcyone continued sacrificing to Juno for Ceyx’s safety so the goddess took pity on her and sent Morpheus to reveal her husband’s fate in a dream.  Alcyone found Ceyx’s body on the shore, and the gods turned them both into halcyon birds, kingfishers who mate during seven days in the winter known as “halcyon days” when the sea is perfectly calm.  Though the phrase is common in English, Trollope’s usage retains a reference to the original myth by relating it to the situation of these two potential lovers.  [EB 2006]

Sources:  Ovid, Metamorphoses 11.410-748.


she might sit and triumph–and thus triumphant she sat

Here Bell “triumphs” in the knowledge that Crofts loves her.  This word recalls the triumphal processions celebrating Roman military victories.  Bell, however, does not experience a public victory but rather enjoys a private, internal celebration.  [EB 2006]

The word order follows a chiastic pattern (a device found in ancient writing).  Similar elements are presented in the order AB..BA.  [RR 2011]