in Barchester Towers

Chapter 42 – Ullathorne Sports – Act III


Usually refers to wine or other drink poured upon the ground to honour a god or gods, but can be used jokingly to refer to alcoholic drinking in general.  Trollope is using libations here as a humorous expression for drinking; the men’s libations had been “moderate” and thus they weren’t drunk or rowdy.  [JM 2005]

Sources:  OED.



Latin auditor, “listener” or “student.”  Bertie is engaged in talking to a younger man about his travels, and teaching him to smoke cigars; thus the youth is both listener and student to Bertie.  [JM 2005]



From Latin hymenaeus, “belonging to wedlock, marriage.”  Hymen was a god charged with presiding over weddings.  Bertie is thinking more about his work as a sculptor in Italy than about the marriage to Eleanor which Charlotte is trying to arrange for him.  [JM & RR 2005]

Sources:  OED.
The Meridian Handbook of Classical Mythology.


a dead lady with a Grecian nose, a bandeau, and an intricate lace veil

Bertie Stanhope is mocking the nature of any sculpting commissions he might take in Barchester, saying that at best he would end up making a tomb for some clergyman’s wife in a faux-Greek style of sculpture, posthumously attributing to her a large, straight nose and pulled-back hair as seen on Grecian sculptures.  [JM 2005]


as Dannecker put Ariadne on her lion

A contemporary work of sculpture featuring nude Ariadne riding on a large feline, sculpted by Johann Heinrich von Dannecker.  Ariadne was the daughter of King Minos of Crete.  She agreed to help the hero Theseus get through the labyrinth containing the Minotaur, and she sailed with him from her home.  Rather than sailing all the way back to Athens with him, however, she was left on an island part-way there, to marry the god Dionysus; varying myths have it that Theseus either abandoned her or was commanded to leave her for the god.  Dionysus arrived in his panther-drawn chariot to take her as his bride; thus Ariadne is depicted sometimes as riding on a lion or panther.  Bertie Stanhope is flirtatiously offering to sculpt Eleanor in her pony-drawn carriage like Ariadne riding the lion, but since he is as half-hearted about his sculpting business as he is about any other sort of real work, this is just an elaborate (and empty) sort of compliment.  [JM 2005]

Sources:  The Meridian Handbook of Classical Mythology.


converting “tuum” into “meum”

Latin, “your thing” and “my thing” respectively.  Eleanor has just realized that her friends the Stanhopes were scheming against her fortune, and is made aware for the first time that her money has the ability to attract untrustworthy individuals.  [JM 2005]