Dr Thorne, Chapters 5 - 9
A Full Realistic Book; The Doctor's Garden; Hats and 'The Two Uncles'; Top Hats in Trollope; Sir Roger Scatcherd, Bart & Ugly Class Bias in the Portrait of Sir Louis; Roger Scatcherd and Augustus Melmotte; Farming Children Out and The Profession of Doctor

To Trollope-l

October 3, 1999

Re: Dr Thorne, Chs 5-9: A Full Realistic Book

There is so much to say about these chapters, I just don't know where to begin. The realism of the book is perhaps the most important new element here. Trollope had written realistic books before: however, in The Macdermots, he has a political slant into which he pours the scenes so that one rarely comes across the dialogue which is there sheerly for itself and has no pointed thematic resonance; in The Kellys and O'Kellys, another political slant and a comic multiplot structure again determines much that is said and presented to us. In these chapters we find the kind of naturalistic dialogue that gives one the feeling one has entered a real world because it feels serendipitious, and as if it's going nowhere. The overarching of each scene fits into the novel's theme of conflicts between class and money, changing mores, and education, but these are large and intimate and require no special direction beyond knowing we are creatures of the past of our families (an Aeschylus theme that) of memory and time.

Let me take one dialogue from Frank's party which impressed me. It's the scene where Patience and the Lady Margaretta tease him. It has the feel of laxadaisalness of life -- though it isn't; it's shaped and has its climaxes. Talk in life is chaotic, tedious, and mostly only half-articulated. Frank comes upon Patience Oriel and Lady Margaretta in the garden:

'Upon my word, we were enchanted by your eloquence, Mr Gresham, were we not?' said Miss Oriel, turning to one of the De Courcy girls who was with her ... [a description of Miss Oriel physically, from her past, in terms of her class, and money follow]

'Indeed, yes', said the Lady Margaretta. 'Frank is very eloquent. When he described our rapid journey from London, he nearly moved me to tears. But well as he talks, I think he carves better'.

'I wish you'd had it to do, Margaretta; both the carving and the talking ...'

A bit later Patience answers Margaretta's implication that Patience might just be willing to marry Frank which are conveyed by her comment Patience is thinking of remaining at Greshamsbury all her life. Frank blushes. Patience is up to this however, and says, no, she is ambitious, but moderate in this, and would perhaps consider a younger brother of Frank's if he had one:

'Just another like myself, I suppose', said Frank.

'Oh yes, I could not possibly wish for any change'.

'Just as eloquent as you are, Frank', said the Lady Margaretta.

'And as good a carver' said Patience.

'Miss Bateson has lost her heart to him for ever', because of his carving', said the Lady Margaretta.

'But perfection never repeats itself'.

'Well, you see, I have not got any brothers', said Frank; 'so all I can do is sacrifice myself'.

'Upon my word, Mr Gresham, I am under more than ordinary obligations to you; I am, indeed', and Miss Oriel stood still in the path, and made a very graceful curtsy. 'Dear me! only think Lady Margaretta, that I should be honoured with an offer fro mthe heir the very moment he is legally entitled to make one'.

'And done with so much true gallantry, too', said the other; 'expressing himself quite willing to postpone any views of hsi own for your advantage'.

''Yes', said Patience, 'that's what I value so much: had he loved me now, there would have been no merit on his part; but a sacrifice you know -- ' (Houghton Mifflin Dr Thorne, ed EBowen, Ch 6, pp. 69-71)

This is quizzing, not quite kind, not very gentle. We don't find Mary talking like this anywhere in the book to others. Still it's not mean. Frank does not really care intensely about his carving or the elegance of his speechifying. He just wishes they wouldn't keep at it; the keeping at it in and of itself is real.

The tone fits the theme of Frank's hobbledyhood, but it's there because the book has been envisaged to allow for such relaxed reality. We of course had the scenes where Frank made such thick pieces of beef and spoke so bluntly so it brings forward memories; it will take us into his next scene with Mary which Trollope uses to take us back in time once again to a proposal the day before, comically eager, and yet so tender and sincere.

Trollope had not quite managed this kind of nuanced psychological presences all in a group before this. To me he seems to omit it later in this career in books like Ayala where he tends to treat characters as puppets more; he also does not want us to identify in the later books the way he does in this: the dean and his daughter, Mary in Is He Popenjoy? are very like Dr Thorne and Mary in many ways, including the Dean and Dr Thorne's adherence to the importance of class and blood; the difference is in Dr Thorne Trollope leads us to sympathise, while in Popenjoy? we are asked to watch the manipulations and insincerities such ideals inflict on Mary's life as well as the Dean's. The pair become an instance of the partial dishonesty of all that happens in the novel, and she is subject to much small-minded joyless bullying. In Dr Thorne the countryside setting and small community we stay in precludes much of what we endure in Popenjoy. Perhaps I've said it all when I say that instead of a Marquis of Brotherton, we have a Roger Scatcherd.

What a fascinating character is Roger. How real. He drinks partly because he is lonely, outside his class. He's too smart and capable for those he belongs to, but cannot enter into the class of Dr Thorne. He builds and succeeds, but drinks when he works because he's under terrific pressure. To have Thorne and Roger the long-lived confidants is a stroke of genius for the book in every way because they gather in themselves many themes and the different circles of characters and houses we dwell in.

I cringe a bit at Lady Scatcherd because she is so much under the thumb of her husband. She cringes before him. I wonder if we are expected to assume he could have been and probably was brutal to her in his younger years -- and I don't mean just in words.

Did anyone notice the parallelism? When Mary talks with her uncle and tries to hint at her desire to know who was her mother, and whether she is illegitimate or not, the doctor remarks, you are not usually unclear my dear. When Frank talks with his aunt, the grand Lady De Courcy (sister to Lady Arabella), the narrator says when she gets to the great lesson of marrying money, suddenly she is not so clear as she usually is.

How people are unwilling to say the truths by which they lead their lives and make major decisions. In the one case we feel for Mary because she is the underdog; in the other, we feel for Frank who is put under pressure through no fault of his own. We are also made to dislike the De Courcys from the very beginning.

Natalie mentioned Lady Arabella's ambition by which she was able to drive her weak husband into bad debt originally. Natalie wrote 'that blood and money are the only two commodities of real worth to Lady A's point of view.' I agree. I see her as a version of a modern middle class ambitious woman. In the 19th century what was respected and gave power, influence, and luxuries was your class, your family, your position vis-a-vis others in networks of family. So Lady Arabella wants to drive people to marry for these things, including each of her children. Today such things don't count. What counts is your place in an organisation, your salary, your education. The willingness of middle class parents to fork out thousands of dollars for a certificate from a fancy well-connected college (say Harvard or Oxford) is the equivalent of the dowry and settlement of the 19th century which parents were willing to fork out. Lady De Courcy would today still sneer at Frank's desire to read like bricks. That's not what one goes to college for for many people.

Finally to recur to a scene we discussed last week. Reading the stream of consciousness or presence that is Mary I can return to the scene where she flings herself onto Beatrice and see it as a bit of slight hysteria. She is after all the outsider, the one who is tolerated on the surface, and she knows it. Were Frank falsely making love to her, it would be very cruel of him.

Comments anyone?

There's so much more to say. I haven't begun to hit all the points we could make.


Subject: [trollope-l] Dr Thorne, Chs 5-9: A Full Realistic Book

From: "Natalie C. H. Tyler"

Thanks for the fascinating analysis, Ellen, and others who are writing. I continue to be struck by the emphasis on money and birth. I know that these are hardly unusual themes for Trollope, but the Ecclesiastical themes of the first two Barchestshire novels may have moved the issues of money and birth a little more to the background there.

In Chapter V once again Trollope emphasizes the loss of so much of the Gresham money: "Fourteen thousand a year will receive honour.......but the ghost of fourteen thousand a year is not always so self-assured."

I enjoyed Frank's mention of the "Malthusians" at Cambridge: he's much more witty than Jane Austen's rattle, John Thorpe, who assures us in Northanger Abbey that nobody drinks anything at Oxford; they only drink about 6 pints a day.....

Frank's main job is to marry money and his mother's family, the De Courcys, are determined to make him aware of this. I wonder if we are going to see any of his dealings with his father? It seems as though he is very defensive of his father and his father's spirit seems to have be crushed by the financial burdens of family life. At the end of Chapt. V Mr. Greshem determines that he'll give Frank a favoured horse even though "the only really happy moments of his life where those which he spent in the field."

I read this book when I was in the hospital having my second child, some 23 years ago and read it for the "romance." Right now I'm interested in how much more I am "following" the story of the three middle-aged men (although I think that they are really only in their early 40s at this point) Mr. Greshem, Sir Roger, and Dr. Thorne. The "money" plot has come to see more urgent to me than the "romance" plot.

Natalie Tyler

I wrote again on the same day:

Re: Dr Thorne, Chs 5-9: The Doctor's Garden

I single out this chapter in a separate post because I found it particularly moving. Here we have Mary and Dr Thorne in the privacy of the garden -- always an emblem for privacy, happiness, otium -- and we find that the outer world is carried into it because it forms part of the minds of the characters as they interact even here. The dialogue between Dr Thorne and Mary is long and complicated as Trollope moves us from phase of emotion and interchanged words to the next. You really feel two people talking to one another. Perhaps the strongest moment is reached when Mary asks

'Have I the right to call the Thornes of Ullathorne my cousins?'

'Mary, Mary, Mary!' said he, after a minute's pause, still allowing his arm to hang loose, that she might hold it with both her hands. 'Mary, Mary, Mary! I would that you had spared me this!' (Houghton Mifflin, Dr Thorne, ed EBowen, Ch 7, p. 83).

The long three paragraphs which close the chapter where Dr Thorne travels through all his decisions over Mary are touching: he has no sum of money in the per cents because he hasn't made enough money; he didn't care about it enough. Was he right therefore to keep her from knowing the Scatcherds are her relations? On the other hand, he has so longed to rescue her from degradation, and he has saved her from the workhouse and perhaps a terrible childhood and early death. He had made her a lady, made her the apple of his eye, his pride, comfort, glory. Ought he to have done this? What will support it? Can he turn her over to those whom she has been educated to be above? Who would marry this bastard child?

The deep disquietude and real affection of the man's heart is affecting (to compare Ayala, there is nothing there in this vein). It's the serious, gravity with which the deprivation and hard choices, none of which are wanted, is contemplated.

The chapter, "Roger Scatcherd' (9) is similarly evolved at length, deeply thought out because it hits real problems of people who are not of the privileged idle class. The long scene between Thorne and Scatcherd is as strong if in mood quite different.

I'd also like to say how I have always thought that Dr Thorne is in structure as well as mood somewhat unlike the other Barsetshire books: the book really focuses on the doctor. I know we have several stories intertwined, but they are so closely intertwined, and finally most of them connect like a jigsaw into the picture of Thorne and his decisions. The Last Chronicle has the magnificence of the conception of Rev Josiah Crawley, but he doesn't dominate large swatches of the book (the London stories) in the way Thorne's influence, presence and decisions are felt everywhere here.

Ellen Moody

Subject: [trollope-l] Dr Thorne, Chs 5-9: Roger Scatcherd

From: Dagny

One thing I was wondering about. Does anyone know if in real life someone like Roger Scatcherd would have stood a chance of being knighted? He has served time, although for manslaughter, not murder. I think he is fairly low-born. But he did become successful and rich. On the other hand, he is still a drunkard; not exactly, to my mind anyway, knightly behaviour.


Natalie was the first to try to answer Dagny:

Interesting question. I don't know, at all. I have heard, however, that during the 19th century many many men who were Industrial magnates or who had made lots of money were risen not merely to the Baronetage but to the Peerage. Trollope makes it seem as though Scatcherd is one of the foremost of the men to establish the railroads in England so it makes sense that he'd earn loads of money and that he'd get a title. I imagine it's possible that he'd be recognized for that and that his earlier time in jail might not even have been known to whoever it was who proposed titles. I also think, although he does not seem like the type of man who would have done this, that some men campaigned for such titles and maybe even "purchased" them in certain ways.

Natalie Tyler

Then Sig answered:

From: Sigmund Eisner

Dagny wondered if a real life Roger Scatcherd would have a chance of being knighted. First, he wasn't knighted. He was given more of an honor than that. He was made a baronet. Consequently, not only must we address him as Sir Roger, but after his death his son becomes Sir Louis. Knights may not pass their titles to their heirs; baronets may.

I think in a sense Sir Roger is an early prototype of Mr. Melmotte, some fifteen years later. Or rather, Mr. Melmotte is Sir Roger only more so. What do others think?


We had had a thread on the different ways English and American people name underwear.

Reply-to: trollope-l@onelist.com
Subject: [trollope-l] Hats and 'The Two Uncles'

October 11-12, 1999

From: "Howard Merkin"

Can I move up(?) from Catherine's interest in underwear to Victorian gentlemen's hats. It is fairly clear from Trollope that, except when they were in the country killing something, Victorians wore top hats. The only exceptions that I can think of was Bertie Stanhope, who seems to have had a Bohemian taste in headgear, and Hugh Stanbury in HKHWR, who probably wore his 'flipperty-floppity' hat to upset his aunt.

It's what the Victorians did with their hats, and when they wore them, that intrigues me. In chapter XII of Doctor Thorne 'When Greek meets Greek...', Dr Fillgrave, who is a stranger to Boxall Hill, when he arrives and is shown into the dining room to wait to see Sir Roger, presumably leaves his hat in the hall, since that is where Lady Scatcherd slips the five pound note into it. Dr Thorne, however, walks towards the dining room wearing his, and only removes it when he encounters Dr Fillgrave. Why does Dr Thorne keep his hat on? Was he going to wear it when he went upstairs to see Sir Roger about his will?

If you look at the illustration to chapter IX of HKHWR, where Hugh Stanbury is talking to Louis Trevelyan, Stanbury's in this case very proper top hat is resting on the mantelpiece of the club waiting room, while Trevelyan's is firmly on his head. Admittedly Trollope tells us that Hugh has caught Louis on the steps going out, and that he has reluctantly gone back into the waiting room for their conversation. Nevertheless it does seem strange that he does not want to remove his hat when he is indoors.

Finally, there appears to have been a practice of taking one's hat into a drawing room when paying an afternoon call. Was this to avoid taking the wrong hat when you left, or simply to show that it was only a brief call? What I am really asking is whether there was a standard 'hatiquette' which was followed, or whether everyone pleased themselves. I should be interested to read other views on this. Perhaps John Sutherland has written a long article about this.

I think that I would rather write about chapter XIII of _Doctor Thorne_, which I think is wonderful, but Ellen does it so much better. I can only agree with everything that she says.

Howard Merkin

I responded to Howard:

Re: Top Hats in Trollope

I'll return the compliment and say I enjoyed Howard's piece on hats in Dr Thorne and other Trollope novels. It is true that the original illustrations to Trollope novels often show the gentleman with their top hats on in situations where we would assume they had taken them off long ago. Doubtless there was a hatiquette -- as so many ways of dressing and kinds of clothes seem in Victorian and other own time too to have an exact social meaning in context.

To my American eyes the top hat look funny. They seem uncomfortable -- so high. One wonders if they didn't risk getting them crushed by wearing them so often. Perhaps one element in such wearing is conspicuous expenditure. You showed you didn't hard work for a living, or at least never manually, since who that worked hard or manually for a living could be troubled with such a bother. The height such a hat lent is perhaps another factor in their ubiquity. Poor Dr Fillgrave wears little stubby heels at one end, and a top hat at the other. British policemen wear high helmets to make themselves more imposing.

I don't know that my feeling about top hats as somehow absurd is shared by other Americans. It is true that President John Kennedy was the first president to refuse to wear his on the day he was sworn into office, and since then no President has worn any. But then evening clothes used to be worn for the ceremony and I think a normal suit is what is worn nowadays.

A non sequitor: the first time I saw a photograph of boys at Eton and realised they worn top hats and very fancy suits I was startled. The whole outfit was clearly meant to make them feel they are above others, are young gentlemen in the making. Do boys at Eton or other public schools still dress up in this way?

Ellen Moody

I now tried to answer Dagny:

Subject: [trollope-l] Dr Thorne: Sir Roger Scatcherd, Bart & Ugly Class Bias in the Portrait of Sir Louis

From: Ellen Moody

I reread the passage in which we are told how Roger Scatcherd, was elevated to a baronetcy. As written it suggests that Roger did not himself seek or pay for the honour:

'And he had acquired more wealth. There had been a time when the government wanted the immediate performance of some extraordinary piece of work, and Roger Scatcherd had been the man to do it. There had been some extremely necessary bit of a railway to be made in half the time that such work would properly demand, some speculation to be incurred requiring great means and courage as well, and Roger Scatcherd had been found to be the man for the time. He was then elevated for the moment to the dizzy pinacle of a newspaper hero, and became one of those 'whom the king delighted to honour'. He went up one day to Court to kiss Her Majesty's hand, and came down to his new grand hosue at Boxall Hill, Sir Roger Scatcherd, Bart' (Houghton Mifflin Dr Thorne, ed EBowen, Ch 9, p. 100).

The verb is in the passive tense so we don't have any indication of who or what group of people gave Roger Scatcherd a baronetcy. The sense is he was seen to have earned and deserved one. Further, throughout the book his wife is made the cruel butt of Sir Roger's jokes as 'my Lady' and 'Lady Scatcherd over there'.

I confess I am bothered by Trollope's class-biased treatment of Lady Scatcherd and especially her son, Louis, and these are central elements in the portrayal of the Scatcherd family. Trollope presents the son as slime; he is crude, animal-like, and inferior in mind in just about every way. The narrator suggests that this is not just a matter of Louis's not having had good luck in the gene draw as an individual, but the result of his not being born a gentleman. Trollope's narrator jeers at Louis as someone aping gentleman who was not born to it; the implication in Dr Thorne is such deformations are the result of blood. Sir Roger should not have sent Louis to Eton; it was trying to make a silk purse out of a sow's ear. With Lady Scatcherd Trollope's narrator supposes I accept her humility and discomfort with her title as a sign she's a good woman. She knows her place. When Sir Roger jeers at her, Trollope's narrator assumes I will attribute my discomfort and pity for her to Sir Roger's cruelty, but it is Trollope who has made the portrait.

Dr Thorne contains an ambivalent attitude towards class and hierarchy and blood. On the one hand, we see in the portrayal of the Scatcherds an emotional rhetoric on behalf of class distinctions. These should be respected because there is a genetic element involved in the savoir faire and nobility of soul we see in numbers of the upper class characters in the book. There is no respect for trade or capitalism except in the above paragraph on Sir Roger's personal capacities to get big things done and make men move. Miss Dunstable's father made his huge fortune on the stupidity of people who will buy absurd quack medicines. She herself in a commanding controlled way makes no claim for upper class status (though she is cynical enough to know her money takes her everywhere.) On the other hand, the leading patricians in the book leave a great deal to be desired: there are the sleazy amoral de Courcys who do not fufill the wonderful role of a patrician elite. No paternalism there. I can see them firing people on the spot, raising rents so as to remove tenants and get better ones and so on. The Duke of Omnium is a horror who hasn't the decency to respect his guests sufficiently to talk to them. He knows they have come because they respect his wealth and connections; they could conceivably get something off of him. His food and wine are also good. There is also Mary the bastard daughter of a ne'er-do-well drone son of the gentry and a working class female. She is presented as a lady innately.

To return to the issue of Sir Roger's baronetcy, I looked up in David Cannadine's The Decline and Fall of the British Aristocracy, a brilliant long study of the fall in prestige and wealth of the land-owning and mercantile classes of England in the 19th and early 20th centuries. Cannadine says from the time of James I honors like knighthoods and baronetcies were for sale. Cannadine implies that they were plums in the political networking which goes behind the building of local parties. Alas, the legislation which controlled the sales of baronetcies that Cannadine cites is in place after the publication of Dr Thorne. However, he does say it was common for people interested in building a party to connect those who wanted baronetcies to the right people and even help them pay for such an honour. Sir Roger's stance as a man of the people and his jeering at his wife suggest Sir Roger was one of those who were simply given this plum to facilitate further efforts on behalf of the English state and its wealthy citizens. Still it is possible that Trollope is thus vague in order to leave open the possibility that there was some bribery here which he could have picked up later in the book when he presents the competitive campaigns of Moffatt (backed by the De Courcy) and Scatcherd (backed by his money, class allies, and sheer strength of personality).

Natalie mentions that such issues did not come up in The Warden and Barchester Towers because the ecclestiastical satire and themes were to the fore. I agree. To understand this book we should not go to books on the religious uncertainties of the period and church politics, but books on class, money, land, wealth in trade, and the real changes in social mores among different groups in society. The people to read are Raymond Williams, E. P. Thompson and Cannadine.

Trollope opens with a long paragraph emphasising the reality that the town he has chosen to write about is old-fashioned, and some of its 'industries' (coaching and coaching inns) dying; he says it is much less typical of England than once it was. It is an agricultural backwater; a two street town. Around the time of Dr Thorne Trollope writes The Three Clerks; about embezzling, stock-jobbing, it takes place in London and takes us to mining communities. He writes The Bertrams about religous doubt in a real way; it takes us to all sorts of cities. According to various books on Trollope I've read all did equally well with readers, but Dr Thorne became the best known of the books. Perhaps this is due to its roots in nostalgia and gliding over elements like precisely who was responsible for Roger Scatcherd getting a Bart after his name.

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

Dagny's question generated quite a number of posts over a period of at least a week:

Subject: [trollope-l] Roger Scatcherd and Augustus Melmotte

From: "Jeremy Godfrey"

About a week ago, Dagny asked if a real-life Roger Scatcherd could be honoured despite a humble background and a spell in jail. Sigmund Eisner wondered if Scatcherd and Melmotte were cast from similar moulds.

To me, Scatcherd and Melmotte seem fundamentally different. Scatcherd is honest and public-spirited. Melmotte is a fraudster and self-interested.

Scatcherd seems modelled on the great engineers and scientists such as Thomas Telford, George Stephenson and Humphry Davy - who started life as a shepherd's son, a cowherd and the son of a woodcarver respectively. Sir Humphry Davy was made a baronet for inventing the safety lamp - an honour which many thought should have gone to Stephenson.

Another interesting parallel is Sir Marc Isambard Brunel, who was responsible for many inventions which helped Britain's military, including the process for making "Wellington Boots" for the soldiers at Waterloo. The boot factory went bust in 1921 and Brunel was imprisoned for debt. Wellington arranged for the Exchequer to bail him out with a 5,000 grant and twenty years later Brunel was knighted.

Reading TWWLN, I was almost convinced that Melmotte was modelled on a much more unsavoury character - Robert Maxwell. I had to keep reminding myself that Maxwell's career took place almost a century later. Robert Maxwell was Jewish, of foreign origin, stood for Parliament, perpetrated massive fraud and eventually committed suicide. The relevance of TWWLN to modern business practices is almost uncanny. The following paragraph seems very reminiscent of some of today's Internet start-ups:

"There was not one of them present who had not after some fashion been given to understand that his fortune was to be made, not by the construction of the railway but by the floating of the railway shares. They had all whispered to each other their convictions on this head. Even Montague did not beguile himself into an idea that he was really a director in a company to be employed in the making and working of a railway. People out of doors were to be advertised into buying shares, and they who were so to say indoors were to have the privilege of manufacturing the shares thus to be sold."


October 10, 1999

Re: Dr Thorne: Roger Scatcherd, Augustus Melmotte, & 'The Two Uncles'

Like Jeremy, I see Roger Scatcherd and Augustus Melmotte as fundamentally different.

Roger really made things; he got gangs of men to work hard; he made a great deal of money, but the money was not the result of fraudulent dealings and pretense. Sir Roger also does not squander his money; he himself says he has a hard time spending it since it is so valuable to him, since it took so much out of him to earn it. This is most unlike Melmotte who stands for display; who knows that display is what makes him respected. Today Melmotte would have a Rolls-Royce; I can see Sir Roger in a Lexus.

I too thought of Robert Maxwell when we read TWWLN (I wonder if anyone on our list remembers back to when we read TWWLN two years ago now). Maxwell came up. Trollope's book felt prophetic. Yet, in John Sutherland's 'Is Melmotte Jewish?' (Is Heathcliff a Murderer?), and, if memory serves me right, also in his introduction to the Oxford Classics paperback of TWWLN, Sutherland names a couple of men who at the time had careers just like Melmottes. The speculative world of capitalism with its dupes and gulls existed back then -- and were Trollope's target, especially, as he says, that money itself and all it could buy had come to be respected, no matter how that money was made. If I were to name Sir Roger's analogue today, would name someone I read about a few days ago in the New Yorker, someone said to have made an enormous amount of money building buildings in NYC, who has become something of a philanthropist and politician as a result of his great wealth and interest in real estate.

There is also Trollope's attitude towards the two men. While I would not say Trollope is in profound sympathy with Roger Scatcherd, he does enter into the man's spirit from the very beginning. The scene between Sir Roger and Dr Thorne in this week's chapters ('The Two Uncles') is moving. There is no hard surface, no derision, no implied punitive judgement to come in the narrative for Sir Roger having raised himself from a stonemason. Sir Roger is self-destructing because he is lonely; he is a rare man in any class, and has no companionship but that of Thomas (now Dr) Thorne, a companionship based on shared tragedy, on spilt blood, on responsibility for an illegitimate child. We see Rogert through the eyes of Thorne who is fired up with fear and resentment when Roger asks if she is 'decently good' and wants to see her (lest of course Roger take the one thing Thorne loves), yet the following passage will suggest an inner identification and deep respect for Roger's decency that we never see in Trollope's attitude towards Melmotte:

'if she's Mary's child, Mary's child in real truth, I will trouble myself about her. Who else should do so? For the matter of that, I'd as soon say her as any of those others in America. What do I care about blood? I shan't mind her being a bastard ... '

And a little later as Roger watches Thorne thinking to himself hating Sir Roger, and regarding 'him with loathing, as he might have regarded a wallowing hog,

At last a light seemed to break in upon Sir Roger's mind. Dr Thorne, he perceived, did not answer his last question. He perceived, also that the doctor was affected, with some more than ordinary emotion. What should it be that this subject of Mary Scatcherd's chld moved him so deeply? Sir Roger had never been at the doctor's house at Greshamsbury, had never seen Mary Thorne, but he had heard that there lived with the doctor some young female relative; and thus a glimmering light seemed to come in upon Sir Roger's bed.

He had twitted the doctor with his pride; had said that it ws impossible that the girl should be called Mary Thorne. What if she were so called? What if she were now warming herself at the doctor's hearth?

'Well, come, Thorne, what is it you call her? Tell it out, man. And, look you, if it's your name she bears, i shall think more of you, a great deal more than ever I did yet. Come, Thorne, I'm her uncle too. I have a right to know. She is Mary Thorne, isn't she?

The doctor had not the hardihood nor the resolution to deny it. 'Yes', said he, 'that is her name; she lived with me' (Houghton Mifflin, Dr Thorne, EBowen, ch 13, pp. 140-41).

This is no wallowing hog. That phrase is meant to characterise wherein Dr Thorne himself is lacking in humanity for the moment towards Sir Roger because his emotions are so deeply roused by his attachment to Mary. The tenderness of the passage is supposed to be a function of tenderness in Sir Roger's mind.

Still Sig is right to say that many readers in Trollope's day would have seen a parallel between Melmotte and Scatcherd in that both rose from the 'people', both are upstarts, highly aggressive, strong men, ruthless too: the narrator says speaking for Lady Scatcherd's view of her husband:

'there was no coaxing Roger over now, or indeed ever: he was a wilful, headstrong, masterful man; a tyrant always, though never a cruel one; and accustomed to rule his wife and household as despotically as he did his gangs of workmen. Such men it is not easy to coax over' (Ch 12, p. 129).

This kind of personality is just the sort who can grow rich and powerful, and we see it in Melmotte. The difference is Melmotte is a corrupt man who figures in a novel intended to show us the corruption of a money-centered world. Sir Roger is a figure in a more humane novel, more realistic, and we are to feel for the isolated rough-hewn stonemason who meant well by his son, means well by his wife, and would mean well by his sister's bastard girl. Such emotions are not part of Trollope's purpose in TWWLN so we never see such imputed to Melmotte.

I am among those who think that Melmotte's ethnic background is left vague. Trollope very wrongly uses anti- semitism in his bad-mouthing of the man as a man, but it is not clear that Melmotte is Jewish, and he is not criticised for being Jewish. His wife is clearly Jewish, but Mr Breghert, one of the finest spirits in the book is clearly Jewish, and far above the scum that the Longestaffes represent. Melmotte is left someone whose origins are uncertain. He is castigated as a figure who exploits human delusions and greed, as a liar and a brute others bow down to knowing he is a brute and may be a liar. He is left vague in order to bring home to us (Trollope can be accused of xenophobia and caste arrogance in this book and The Prime Minister) how important it is to know a man's origins. The idea seems to be if the man can't, won't or doesn't tell us his origins, we should not trust him.

Ellen Moody

Dagny had written a posting on doctors and Balzac as a young child, to which I responded:

To Trollope-l

October 13, 1999

Re: Dr Thorne: Farming Children Out and The Profession of Doctor

I wish I could say something I knew for sure was accurate and full on the above topics. I'm sure each of them would tell us a lot about daily life and assumptions about experience that undergird many realistic Victorian novels.

I am not surprised to hear that Balzac was farmed out to a wet nurse in the first years of the 19th century. Notice though that Lady Arabella has a wet nurse into her house; she does not send her children away. According to one book I've read, Elisabeth Bandinter's Mother Love: Myth and Reality, Motherhood in Modern History (NY: Macmillan, 1980), until the late years of the 18th and into the very first years of the 19th a highly unsentimental view of mothering dominated the lifestyles of the rich and the middle class. If you could afford it, you put your children out to nurse. Jane Austen's mother is said to have breast-fed her children when they were very young, but then weaned them in the first part of the first year of their lives, and then sent them off to a near-by family of farmers. Children are (let us admit) something of a nuisance to women if a woman wants to live her life freely. Mrs Austen's husband was running a school inside the parsonage.

A change occurred something during the later 18th century which Rousseau articulates in his books: a woman was to make mothering the center of her existence, and among the many ways in which she could show she was doing this was to breast-feed her children and keep them at home when they were very young. By the 1830s (according to Badinter) that was the prevailing custom.

Dr Thorne sending Mary away comes from another cause. She is illegitimate, and he has no woman to care for her. He cannot afford a full-time mothering housekeeper (we are to assume). They cost, especially if you wanted someone with a genteel background. Not so much in money but in keeping them: a room, respectability of a sort that takes good furniture and curtains the doctor only obtained years later. It was assumed throughout the 19th century that a child should be brought up by a woman. (This is not true in the Renaissance: children, especially boys were removed from women as very young children, building warrior and bullying types you see.)

Secondly, Dr Thorne does not want to advertise Mary's illegitimacy. He wants people to forget. In a number of later 18th century novels were sex still happens openly (as it does in Dr Thorne), the children of such unions are spirited away until they are older. Many of us have read Austen's S&S: remember how Brandon puts his cousin's illegitimate daughter into a school until she's about 13; at age 15-16, he made the mistake of letting her go to Bath. The pattern of upbringing is the same. When I was young, meaning in my teens, I knew of girls who got pregnant and did not have an abortion. They would go away for a few months, and return without the child. It had been put out for adoption. The same thinking lies behind the two similar patterns.

On the the difference in status between physician, apothecary -- and also surgeon -- I wish I knew more. I am aware of the status differences, and know that the taking of fees and compounding of medicine was considered infra dig to the physician who was there to diagnose and give comfort and aid with words and advice (on what to buy, though he didn't make it himself). The surgeon was often lower class than the physician as he dirtied his hands; it was only by mid-century that the physician became also a surgeon as it became for the first time possible to do more operations safely and save people this way. I believe the first plaster-of-paris cast was done in Paris in the mid-19th century; before this a broken long thigh bone often meant crippling for life or death.

The way I've learned what I know is through novels with doctors in them: Middlemarch where Lydgate attempts reform; Wives and Daughters where we find a man much like Dr Thorne, Dr Gibson, Madame Bovary -- does no one remember the vulgar Homais, the apothecary?

I've also read histories of medicine in conjunction with teaching Advanced Writing on the Sciences where I always devote one-third of the course to reading a book on medicine, often from a social aspect. Sherwin Nuland has a history of doctors in the old-fashioned heroic style; Roy Porter who wrote Mind-Forged Manacles (a history of how madness was regarded & treated in the 18th and early 19th century) also wrote a history of medicine recently. It was reviewed in The London Review of Books. It seems to have concentrated on changes in attitudes towards disease, but such books cannot avoid the social context. One I use which has something, but not very much is Edward Golub's The Limits of Medicine.

Another better one is Lewis Thomas's The Youngest Science, an autobiography of himself and short biography of his father, one a doctor at the turn of the century and the other a doctor in the mid 20th century. This tells how doctors were not enormously well (I had almost said over) paid professionals until the beginning of the 1940s. Not until then did they have the know-how (the drugs and ability to do procedures) which could save lives, cure people.

It does seem to me that we have lost enormously in the 20th century in the area of humanity: from the beginning of time doctors offered sympathy, intelligent ones understanding and care which was expert psychologically and common sensically when it was good. Nowadays people are treated often treated as carriers of disease; the doctor tries to war with the disease, but diseases are so complex and take such different forms in different people with different histories. Bad care is the result: not enough time is taken because so much money is to be made the other way. For many people find the right antibiotic and write a prescription and send them home.

On the other hand, many patients want to believe a magic bullet will do all: for many conditions the disease is you, a way of life you must cope with; it's natural to be sick and die. People nowadays don't want to hear what 18th century people knew. They want to hand themselves over to someone else too. I've heard students complain when they are told they have Option A, B, and C, have the good and bad results of each expplained to them and then are asked by the doctor what how do they feel about this? The 19th century is the watershed here.

I've gone on. Sorry. Put it down to a quiet life at home with no one to talk to and a desire for communication.

I wish I knew a book which detailed the profession of doctoring and its changes in the 19th century. I believe this is Trollope's only book centering on a doctor. On Victoria from time to time people cite good articles or books of essays on this topic.

Ellen Moody

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