in Doctor Thorne

Chapter 09 – Sir Roger Scatcherd

rosy god

This phrase refers to Bacchus (or Dionysus in the Greek), the god of wine and merriment.  He is probably so denoted because of the rosiness of the face that can come from drinking wine.  [JC 2005]


divine frenzies

The worship of Bacchus was often presented as involving ecstatic fits or frenzies.  Here, of course, Trollope simply refers to Scatcherd’s periods of drunkenness.  [JC 2005]


his Eleusinian mysteries

A sacred and secret celebration in honor of the goddess Demeter, held at her temple at Eleusis, near Athens.  The details of the rites are largely unknown today because of the great degree of secrecy that was associated with them.  Participants were forbidden from describing the rites to the uninitiated.  [JC 2005]


symposiums and posiums

Greek symposiums were get-togethers in which a group of men would talk, drink, and engage in other forms of fraternization.  Because Scatcherd has taken to drinking alone, Trollope describes Scatcherd’s “parties of one” by taking off the prefix “sym-” which means “together,” or “with.”  [JC 2005]


son of Galen

See the gloss on Galen in the commentary for Chapter 2.
See the gloss on children of Aesculpaius in the commentary for Chapter 3.


Winterbones’ libations

A libation was a sacrifice of wine or other liquid given to honor a god or goddess.  Winterbones has been giving “libations” of gin to Scatcherd when he is supposed to be sobering up in bed.  This metaphor interestingly turns the former devotee of Bacchus into a god in his own right, with Winterbones as his most devoted (and only) follower.  [JC 2005]



This word comes from the name of Odysseus’ old friend and Telemachus’ advisor in the Odyssey.  In book 2 of the Odyssey, Athena disguises herself as Mentor and advises Telemachus to go off in search of news of his father.  By capitalizing the word “Mentor” Trollope seems to be making a stronger parallel between that character and Dr. Thorne than if he had simply used the word as a common noun.  Telemachus, who is only a boy, is much more willing to listen to the advice of his Mentor than is Sir Roger, though he is a grown man.  Perhaps he is unwilling to listen because he feels that he is old enough to do without a Mentor.  [JC 2005]

Sources:  Homer, Odyssey 2.



“You think you can hector me….”  Sir Roger says this to Dr. Thorne when Sir Roger is ill, and the doctor tells him that he must either give up drinking or face death.  The word “hector” here is used in the sense of bullying, but it is actually derived from the name of a character in Homer’s Iliad:  Hector, the Trojan hero killed by Achilles.  It is interesting that the word should have a meaning of bullying since no one who has read the Iliad would think of Hector as a bully, though he does exhort others to fight.  He is presented as a virtuous man who defends his people with courage and dies honorably.  In fact, the earliest meaning of the word in English (in the 14th century), reflected these characteristics, and the word was used to refer to a gallant warrior.  The meaning shifted when, in the late 17th century, a gang of misfit youths calling themselves “the Hectors” after the mythical hero, caused a rampage in London.  [JC 2005]

Sources:  Eric Partridge.  Name into Word: Proper Names That Have Become Common Property.  Secker and Warburg, London:  1949.