Leander and Hero were two lovers who lived on opposite sides of the Hellespont. At night, Leander would swim across to Hero. One night, the wind blew out the lamp that Hero would light in order to guide Leander, and Leander drowned. In this allusion, John thinks that he will be more immortal than Leander if he proposes to Lily Dale one final time in ten years. [KD 2006]
Sources: Cassell’s Dictionary of Classical Mythology.
John Eames and Greek
After John is rejected by Lily Dale, he decides that he is going to throw himself into the study of Greek. However, John soon gives up and decides that he best keep his appointment with Madalina Demolines because “a gentleman should always keep his word to a lady.” Trollope uses John’s inability to do Greek to show that he is in fact not entirely a gentlemen. Therefore it is ironic that he chooses to keep his appointment because he is a gentlemen. [KD 2006]