in Small House at Allington

Chapter 54 – The Second Visit to the Guestwick Bridge

Lord De Guest…had offered himself up as a sacrifice at the shrine of a serious dinner-party, to say nothing of that easier lighter sacrifice which he had made in a pecuniary point of view in order that this thing might be done

This is an insight into the guilt John Eames feels regarding Lord De Guest’s efforts to bring him and Lily Dale together.  Trollope uses sacrificial language to refer to how Lord De Guest has put on a dinner-party at the expense of his enjoyment for the greater benefit of John Eames.  Lord De Guest’s “lighter sacrifice” is his financial promise to John Eames that if he is married, he will receive a sum from him.  At the expense of his comfort and finances, the earl hopes to achieve a greater good by enhancing John Eames’ life situation.  For other sacrificial imagery, see the commentary for Chapter 7 and Chapter 9.  [AM 2006]


with deep, rough gashes in the wood, cut out Lily’s name from the rail

This is the reversal of the pastoral imagery of Vergil’s Eclogue 10 in which the love-lorn Gallus carves the name of his loved one into the wood of a tree so as to immortalize his love.  By cutting out out Lily Dale’s inscribed name, John Eames signals the end of his pastoral dream of unrequited love and desire.  See the commentary for Chapter 52.  [AM 2006]