In "The Quick One" by G. K. Chesterton, the author was describing a group of commercial travelers in a hotel, saying:

The manager and the barman knew all the travelers quite well, and there was no doubt about their movements as a whole. They had stood at the bar chaffing and drinking; they had been involved, through their lordly leader, Mr Jukes, in a not very serious altercation with Mr Pryce-Jones; and they had witnessed the sudden and very serious altercation between Mr Akbar and Mr Raggley. Then they were told they could adjourn to the Commercial Room and did so, their drinks being borne after them like a trophy.

What's meant by this bolded phrase?

I mean do the trophies usually be borne after their winners?

Or "trophy" means here "suffix" that follow after?

  • 1
    Borne is the past participle of bear (to carry). The drinks were carried to the room. Jun 27, 2020 at 21:35
  • That's right, but why he said "like a trophy"? @BruceMurray Jun 27, 2020 at 21:38
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    Because the drinks are deemed very important and worthy of reverence. They are a prize being held aloft on a tray as part of a formal procession towards the men's room, where they can be worshipped and appreciated. Jun 27, 2020 at 21:42
  • Thank you so much Jun 27, 2020 at 21:43

1 Answer 1


This is really a question about social customs in England a century ago. The literal meaning is that they left the bar for another part of the building, and a waiter or barmaid followed them with their drinks on a tray.

I think the more subtle meaning is that they were thrown out of the bar and sent to a less genteel part of the establishment. The social distinctions among places where people may publicly drink alcohol in the UK have eluded me. In U.S. clubs in my early days, there was frequently a "Men's Bar," which children and women were not allowed to enter. It was understood that a limited amount of vulgarity and noise might be encountered in the Men's Bar.

  • But why he said "like a trophy"? Jun 27, 2020 at 21:38
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    That may just have been mildly satirical. They were thrown out. That hardly deserves a trophy. But Chesterton may also have wanted to create the image of a tray held aloft as the waiter moved through a crowded bar. That would be done to avoid spilling the drinks, but would somewhat resemble a trophy being held aloft for the crowd to admire.. Jun 27, 2020 at 21:45
  • Thank you so much. Jun 27, 2020 at 21:48

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