in Small House at Allington

Chapter 47 – The New Private Secretary

glorious victory at the railway station

This phrase recalls the concept of glory and immortal fame won by warriors in battle in ancient epics such as the Iliad.  The application of this elevated Classical motif to the brief fight between Crosbie and Eames is a humorous exaggeration.  [EB 2006]


a certain amount of hero-worship

John Eames is subject to “worship” at Burton Crescent after his promotion.  In ancient Greece and Rome there were cults that worshipped heroes such as Heracles.  There is a humorous contrast between the quasi-divine status and superhuman deeds of Classical heroes and John Eames’ feat of becoming private secretary.  [EB 2006]


the goods which the gods provided him

Cradell has difficulty enjoying being with Amelia, who is described in these terms, because Mrs. Lupex watches him across the table.  This phrase recalls Paris’ statement about not casting aside the gifts of the gods in book 3 of the Iliad.  This reference heightens the parallels earlier drawn between Paris and Cradell and Helen and Lupex, but it becomes humorous since Cradell is no longer interested in his “Helen.”  Dryden’s poem “Alexander’s Feast” contains the lines “Lovely Thais sits beside thee, / Take the goods the gods provide thee.”  [EB & RR 2006]

Sources:  Homer, Iliad 3.65.
Dryden, “Alexander’s Feast” 105-106.


may all unkindness be drowned in the flowing bowl

Mr. Lupex toasts Eames and Cradell with this phrase, which recalls Classical customs of drinking from a communal bowl such as the Greek kratēr.  [EB 2006]