Page 432. " I propose to join the Dorcas society "
Dorcas stained glass window, St. Michael's Parish Church, West Yorkshire
GNU Free Documentation LicenseDorcas stained glass window, St. Michael's Parish Church, West Yorkshire - Credit: Alsto911

A Dorcas Society is a local group of people, usually based in a church, who make it their mission to provide clothing to the poor.  The original society was founded in the Isle of Man in 1834, following an an outbreak of cholera in the area.  The clothes and bedding of the poorer families in town was destroyed, as part of the effort to prevent the disease.  As part of the community's thanksgiving for being spared from the outbreak, wealthier community members founded the society to assist their destitute neighbours.  

The society is named after Tabitha, also called Dorcas, who appears in the Acts of the Apostles.  Dorcas is Greek translation of the Aramaic name Tabitha.


Page 437. " that mixture of pitiless resolution and mountebank mockery "
The Charlatan
Public DomainThe Charlatan - Credit: Pietro Longhi 1757

Mountebank is a synonym for charlatan, and refers to a person practising confidence tricks to obtain money, fame or other advantages through pretense or deception. 

Mountebank comes from the Italian montambanco or montimbanco, based on the phrase monta in banco, literally referring to the action of a seller of dubious medicines getting up on a bench to address his audience of potential customers.