in Bertrams

Chapter 46 – Eaton Square

preserve an even mind

As the novel progresses toward its completion, Harcourt’s mental stability lessens.  He is continually concerned with his position in society, and when a change in government occurred, he refuses to step down when his colleagues do.  Public opinion turns against him.  Many people also discover that Caroline has left him and that he has lied about the reason she left.  In setting up his frame of mind, the narrator alludes to an ode from the Roman poet Horace–“remember, for you will die, Dellius, to keep an even mind in difficult affairs, and also a temperate mind in good times, apart from excessive joy.”  Horace reminds his friend to be of a steady mind in hardship and in good fortune, and that death is the inescapable fortune of all men.  This reference is apt, and a foreshadowing of Harcourt’s suicide.  His spectacular rise and quick fall from power have unbalanced him, and he is driven to madness by his monetary and marital problems.  These circumstances lead to his death.  Once again, Trollope is providing a sentiment from Latin literature as a paradigm for actions in the world of his novel.  Harcourt has not carried the lessons of his Classical education into his life.  [CD & RR 2012]

Sources:  Horace, Odes, 2.3.1-4.


Daily Jupiter

A common reference in many of Trollope’s novels, the Daily Jupiter is a newspaper whose namesake is the Roman king of the gods, Jupiter.  The Daily Jupiter shares two main qualities with Jupiter:  it is omnipotent, and it is authoritative.  In printing the will, the Daily Jupiter will make it known to all of Sir Henry’s creditors that he was not the recipient of Mr. Bertram’s vast fortune.  The paper’s authoritativeness is intimated by the fact that it “had already given a wonderfully correct biography of the deceased great man.”  [CD 2012]