in Barchester Towers

Chapter 36 – Ullathorne Sports – Act I

quid pro quo

Literally “something for something” in Latin.  Here Trollope is discussing the laborious effort that people go through in the name of “entertaining.”  He suggests that the venture is somewhat useless as neither party (the host nor the guest) seems to enjoy the entertainment, so rather than quid pro quo in this case, there seems to be great effort for nothing.  [JC 2005]


an elysium of servants

Elysium is the section of the Underworld set aside for the especially fortunate people.  Many heroes and other mortals beloved of the gods are sent to rest there.  Trollope uses this word somewhat satirically here, making the possession of livery servants into something much greater than it is.  [JC 2005]


Augustus Lookaloft

The Lookalofts are part of the tenantry of Ullathorne who, as their name suggests, think themselves of much higher status than the rest of the tenantry.  It is fitting then, that they would name their eldest son after one of the great Roman emperors.  [JC 2005]

There is humor in the very juxtaposition of the Latin first name and the straightforward English surname–which itself reveals the pretension of the first name.  [RR 2011]



Although never an actual word in ancient Greek, “toxophilites” comes from the Greek toxo meaning “bow” and philos meaning “lover,” thus a “lover of the bow” or an archer.  The OED cites Ascham as the creator of the proper name “Toxophilus” in the 16th century.   Trollope uses “toxophilites” (itself a playful word) in a playful manner, describing the young girls whom Miss Thorne enlists to play at archery at her party.  [JC 2005]

Sources:  OED.


daughters of Diana

Diana (the Greek Artemis) is the goddess of the hunt and her special weapon is the bow and arrow.  “Daughters of Diana” would then be devotees of hers who would also be skilled at archery.  Trollope is still being playful here in his depiction of the girls who grudgingly accede to Miss Thorne’s urging to take part in the sports she has prepared for her guests.  [JC 2005]