in Doctor Thorne

Chapter 19 – The Duke of Omnium

Gatherum Castle

Gatherum is the home of the Duke of Omnium, and in naming the duke’s castle this way, Trollope is playing with the phrase “omnium gatherum,” which refers to an assemblage of different kinds of people or things.  Omnium is Latin for “of all,” but “gatherum” is not actually a Latin word but rather an English word with a Latin-sounding ending.  [TH & RR 2005]


Ionic columns

To increase the grandeur of Gatherum Castle the Duke of Omnium added a portico of Ionic columns to the front of his home.  Ionic columns were one type of ancient Greek column, especially identifiable by a fluted shaft and the volute decorating the top of the column.  The use of Greek architectural motifs is not unexpected in Victorian architecture, but their presence does indicate that the Duke of Omnium is possessed of great wealth and status.  The more ornate style of the Ionic order also contrasts with the simpler Doric columns of the Greshambury estate.  See the gloss on Doric columns in the commentary for Chapter 1.  [TH 2005]


melted ambrosia

Ambrosia is the food of the gods in Greek mythology.  When Mr. Apjohn, a guest at the Duke of Omnium’s dinner, asks a server for more sauce, the server fails to respond.  As the servant passes him, Mr. Apjohn tries to grab him by the coat tails, but instead falls backward himself.  Finally, Mr. Fothergill asks him if there is anything he can get for Mr. Apjohn and arranges for the sauce to be brought to him, which Trollope refers to as “melted ambrosia.”  By calling the sauce “ambrosia” Trollope exaggerates its qualities much as Mr. Apjohn’s behavior seems to demonstrate the inordinate importance he places on it.  Mr. Apjohn makes a spectacle of himself in pursuit of the sauce and he treats it as though it were divine sustenance.  [TH 2005]