The Kindly Spirit and Edge Tools; Mark Robarts's Story Painful; Comedy which is Compassionate; How Much Does Mark Owe?; Bills of Exchange; Mark Robarts & Physicking Pain; A Reference to Macbeth; A Favorite Phrase of Trollope's: "The labor we delight in physics pain": Lucy Robarts is Introduced; Griselda Grantley as the strong silent type; There is a Plot; Quietness; Fairy Tale Motif and the Devil; Miss Dunstable and Co; Lady Lufton and Germaine Greer: The Menopausal Woman

Now the gentle reader needs to know that some of the group were also reading a group of novels by Fanny Trollope. Each person could read what he or she could find.

To Trollope-l

January 10, 2000

Re: Framley Parsonage, Chs 7-12: The Kindly Spirit & Edge Tools

I'd like to add to the wonderful posts we've had thus far on Instalments 3 & 4, a comment on Trollope's mood.

Sig remarked that Fanny Trollope's The Widow Barnaby contains some hard cruelty and unreal submission to it. There's a curious thing about comedy: 1) we tend to underrate it, and not see how rare really is the gift to make us laugh, especially to make us laugh with sympathy and understanding for a believable presence in a book; and 2) we tend to attribute comedy to books which don't have it. Perhaps the second common occurrence in talking and writing about stories comes from the first: since we in our guts think tragedy, serious grave happenings for individuals which involve irretrievable griefs and losses, we are reluctant to over-read authors who can't do it; we may call them melodramatic (which I did find and what I read of The Widow Barnaby to be), but that's a negative word. Since we still want to say something positive about a book we'll talk about it as if it were bright or comic or kindly in feel. Books which really provide a brightness or ultimately kindly comedy continue to be read, but are often not respected. Here's an author who pulls that off: Dorothy Sayers. A book we read on this list does it: Elizabeth Gaskell's Cranford.

This sort of mood, not sufficiently recognised as an aspect of one kind of genius, is something very hard to do: Trollope pulls off such a mood in Framley Parsonage: I would call it the base line of the book; a kind of continual background music over which each of the individual episodes or thematic motifs play. Mrs Gaskell wished Mr Trollope would go on writing this book forever because although we can dream of such a mood or feel it at odd moments in our yearning or talk with a close companion, we know that for the most part apathy, indifference, petty spites and conflicts on a shallow level are what we meet on our daily round. The best we can hope for (and for some of us a norm by which we judge our daily experience) is courtesy and respect from others as a way of interacting on an impersonal level, but that is not what we yearn for.

This creation of a compassion mood lends emotional depth to the book; the comic disillusion and distance which accompanies it makes us judge the characters as we go along. Both together allow for this calm creation of a realistic story. Trollope takes his time to build slowly. Some people have already pointed to how delicate and skillful are the little slightly allegorical or pointed strokes in Lord Lufton's first meeting with Lucy. I loved Jill Singer's comparison of Lucy's reserve with that of Griselda (yes it's a wonderfully ironic name since she does indeed submit to men and her culture). The girl with real humility and stubborn integrity, the girl with a heart (as we shall see) contrasted to the Ice Princess out for worldly aggrandisement.

Sowerby is the minor devil of the real world: recently I have become aware that he is a portrait of still extant (mostly) male types: we might look at him as the ultimate salesman-as-politician, the man who uses you on his way up, like some rung on a ladder. In this case Trollope is not keen on the upper classes: in fact his portrait of the unkindness and spite with which the Chaldicoates types treat Harold Smith's lecture is shot through with controlled saturnine humour towards the arrogance of the upper classes of Britain. He doesn't like their gathering, and Mark Robarts is an ass (as he will learn and already feels) for paying such a high price to fit in and get yet more invitations. The scene where Sowerby pressures Robarts into co-signing is a masterpiece of human truth which is yet rivetting. Who among us has not experienced this kind of pressure? Who among can guarantee we will not succumb next time even if we held out the last time. In life of course the choice is often more blurred so that we may kid ourselves we get something out of our devil's bargain; Trollope sharpens the pressure because clearly Mark gains nothing and Sowerby is a liar. The tit-for-tat that Mark hopes for later is also simplified for us; again in life things like this are usually more blurred.

To return to the compassionate comic mood underlying these pointed quietly realistic scenes, all the scenes at Chaldicoates profit from this undercurrent. For example, the narrator leads us to feel for Mr Smith because we are led to look within and feel his mortification. The fiction has a moral nature because we are shown someone trying to do good and being laughed at. The narrator assumes we will not side with those who wield the 'edge tools' (Penguin FP, ed DSkilton, Ch 6, p 91), although there is something absurd and even hypocritical about Mr Smith's lecture. Here is a good instance of Trollope's ability to enter into all sides of a question. From outside the fiction we know he probably saw this do-gooding of Smith's as ineffectual, inappropriate, and motivated in part by Smith's desire for respect and promotion himself; yet inside the scene we are made also to feel for Smith, and Smith makes good points about travel, how necessary it is to know the rest of the world. Trollope himself travelled extensively, and Smith-like, wrote and lectured about it.

In case we didn't get the complex feel of the scene, Trollope repeats the moral core with his hero at the center. Now it is Mark Robarts's turn to want to give his sermon to people who pay their tithes and want some meaningful dignified moment once a week in their lives in return. The narrator pointed out how Robarts didn't see how Smith must have felt until he is subjected to the same treatment when he tries to get to his church on time and deliver a dignified sermon to parishioners. Now as Robarts sees he must be late and therefore disrespectful of his function, we enter his mind:

'There was no charity in these people, he said to himself. They knew the nature of his distress, and yet they only laughed at him. He did not, perhaps, reflect that he had assisted in the joke against Harold Smith on the previous evening' (Ch 7, p.106).

This mood of deep-musing sympathy while distancing us to laugh carries on when Robarts comes home. He can't get himself to tell Fanny. It suffuses the Lady Lufton and Lord Lufton scenes. I thought the death of Robarts's father well treated and characteristically Trollopian. No excess of emotionalism. It is the result of the death the people left have to deal with, and they go about coping in ways that are believable. Sig quoted the lines about a man who gets used to being in debt; these too come out of this mood. This kind of submission to circumstance is what is real, this kind of rationalising and getting on with life on a more desperate level to get what is not worth while. One moral one can come away with from Mark Robarts's first foray into the festivities of great men and the portrait of Sowerby is that the man of pleasure does not lead a very pleasurable life.

There's the dramatic narrative wherein we are given a sense of how Lord Boanerges spent one of his mornings at Gatherun teaching Miss Dunstable 'to blow soap bubbles on scientific principles. I wonder if others know that originally Trollope wanted Millais to illustrate that scene? Millais chose to illustrate the first moment of Lord Lufton meeting Lucy with the brace of animals over his back. The love story was thus emphasised. But this scene of Miss Dunstable and Lord Boanerges is much the more complex in terms of the themes of the book. It's very playful, and just about what unalloyed or unspoilt pleasure is to be derived at Chaldicoats, partly because there's nothing to be gained from blowing soap bubbles for either but the fun of it (Penguin, Ch 8, pp. 119-20).

The compassion and brightness against the acid of down-to-earth reality: that's the clue. I did love how Miss Dunstable greeted the Duke's lies as she entered Gatherum:

'... now I feel for the first time that Gatherum Castle has not been built for nothing.

'Nobody ever supposed it was, your grace', said Miss Dunstable.

'I am sure the architect did not think so when his bill was paid' (Ch 8, p. 110).

Ellen

To Trollope-l

January 10, 2000

Re: Framley Parsonage, Chs 7-12: How Much Does Mark Owe?

I do not understand bills very well. I know that Mark countersigns a bill for 400 which is to come due three months after the date of his signature (Penguin FP, Ch 8, pp 123-25). Does that mean Sowerby got less than 400 for he sold it to someone for less than its face value? The difference would be the price of getting money for someone like Sowerby with this clergyman's countersignature. Then this bill can be sold to others, right? For either the face value or less?

Now Mark has signed a bill for 500 which will come due May 23rd (Ch 12, pp. 167-68). Does this mean that Mark now owes 900 altogether? Are there two bills out there, one for 400 and one for 500 which Mark can be asked to pay? If he does not, his property can be taken away from him to the amount assessed of 900? Or does Mark owe only 500? Is the extra 100 the cost of keeping the bill afloat?

If Mark signed a second bill knowing this made him liable for 900, he is indeed a fool. But are we supposed to understand that one of his motives is his hope that Sowerby will get him lucrative positions or places where he will have more power than he can as Lady Lufton's tame clergyman? This seems to me the only explanation I can think of which would make this second signing sane. Mark has absolutely no way of controlling Sowerby; he has no idea what Sowerby will do with this new 500 if indeed he now owes another 500 on top of the 400 owed before. If he is only signing on for another 100, it is still strange behavior because he hasn't a hope of having 400 -- unless he is longing for some tit-for-tat to come.

How do others see Mark? Let us not idealise him too much. How do others understand what is happening. I suppose Tozer is the man to whom Sowerby sold the first bill, and that Tozer is what's called a bill discounter.

Ellen

Reply-to: trollope-l@onelist.com
Subject: [trollope-l] Framley Parsonage, Bills of Exchange, Chapters 7-12

January 10-11, 2000

From: "Howard Merkin"

I am not surprised that most list members are confused about bills of exchange. If members have access to 'Trollopiana', the Trollope Society's quarterly journal, I would recommend that they read 'Trollope and the Bill of Exchange' by Clark McGinn in the August 1993 issue (number 22). This will tell you all that, and possibly more than, you want to know. If you don't have access to this, it is probably best to think in terms of a cheque (or check), which is defined as 'a Bill of Exchange drawn on a Banker payable on demand'. Cheques used to be made payable to 'John Smith or order', which meant that if John Smith did not want to use his own bank account, or did not have one, he could endorse the cheque to someone else by signing his name on the back, or endorsing it, getting the cash from the latter. This procedure could then be continued indefinitely, until the last holder presented it to the bank for payment. This last arrangement has fallen out of use in the UK over the past ten or twenty years, and this is probably true for the USA as well.

If someone had your cheque, and the bank wouldn't pay - possibly because you had no funds in your account - then the person holding it would come back to you for the money. If they couldn't get it from you, then they would go to the payee, and continue down the line of endorsers until they found someone with the money. It would also be possible to seek redress from a County Court, which might eventually result in bailiffs being used to seize and sell up your goods and chattels to cover the money due.

The Bill of Exchange was a rather more sophisticated instrument. The definition runs to about four lines, which every student of law and accountancy would learn by heart, since it was good for a few marks in an examination -- I can still repeat it almost word for word after fifty years. Nevertheless its principal features were that it promised to pay money after a fixed period, was signed by the person drawing it and accepted by someone else, known as the acceptor, who was the person responsible for paying the money. The bill that Mark Robarts signed at midnight in his bedroom at Chaldicotes probably went as follows :-'Three months after this date, pay Mr Tozer the sum of four hundred pounds.' It would be dated and signed by N Sowerby, and Mark would write across it 'Accepted - M Robarts'. It was probably then given to the Tozers by Sowerby, probably in settlement for some other liability which he would otherwise have been unable to meet. Three months (and three days of grace) later, the bill would be payable by Mark. The Tozers were moneylenders, and would not allow Sowerby four hundred pounds against this document, even though it was accepted by the reputable Rev. M Robarts, but a lesser amount reflecting the interest on the money at usurious rates, and including an allowance for the risk that they were taking.

Sowerby knew that Mark would be unlikely to be able to pay, and suggested that he sign another bill for five hundred pounds, which would give the Tozers a further one hundred pounds to cover interest and charges. What Mark suspected, but didn't like to ask, was that he should have received the four hundred pound bill back. As he didn't do so, he is now liable to pay nine hundred pounds, and is going down the slippery slope fast. Trollope was very familiar with this procedure, and similar situations appear in a number of his novels, such as The Three Clerks, Can You Forgive Her? and The Prime Minister. McGinn says that the acceptors paid because the social disgrace of being sued for debt was overwhelming.

Howard Merkin

Re: Framley Parsonage: Bills of Exchange

This is to thank everyone for their comments. My _Trollopianas_ do not go back to August 1993, but I can get the essay Howard cites through interlibrary loan.

I assumed that Sowerby would not get the full face value of the first countersigned bill for 400. My memories of The Three Clerks and The Prime Minister tell me either from the novels (or the notes the editors provided) that the character who presented the bill to the 'discounter' did not get its full face value. I took this to be the equivalent of modern-day interest -- which on our credit cards here in the US is high if you work out the monthly interest compounded over a year. I also feared for Mark that he now owes 900 as he did not receive the original note for 400 back. I was half-unwilling to believe this as it sounded to me utterly crazy, though I saw that Trollope prepared us for it. There is an almost chapter-long meditation on how men get used to owing money, then owe more and more. Since no one asked him for repayment, Mark came to half-believe that he would never be asked for any of this money. There are not as yet clear hints that Mark expects to get a position or some other form of payment in return; but later in the novel these emerge. It's never clear whether Mark thinks of this later because he is so desperate, or it motivated him upon signing.

Very like life, no? We never quite know what's in our minds. From one day or week to the next we disagree with some former opinion and outlook we had.

I agree with Gene that there is a strong tendency in these 19th century English novels to encourage the reader into regarding the moneylender as evil, a seductive Devil. I was very struck by this recently when I read some of Maria Edgeworth's The Absentee. We were to despise someone who made carriages at an exorbitantly high price and someone who lent the gentleman money to buy one; somehow they were the seductive devils. Not the gentleman. This clearly comes from the expectation that one's reading audience is made up of precisely those people who were borrowers of this type. Why should a lender give his money away? Why should not a carriage-maker ask what the market will bear? The gentleman who collects his rents from his steward does not ask how well his tenants are living.

There was a problem in the 19th century for people who wanted to start businesses or borrow money to make a living: banks were very strict and loaned money only to the very few whose collateral really would cover a loan. Charles Darwin's father grew immensely rich lending money to people like Sir Roger Scatcherd. As I understand it, this discounting of bills was one way desperate people who were not lending money to buy carriages to keep up with the Duke of Omnium but to start private businesses and build thing got their money. A book I have read recently on the building of beautiful Bath cites documents to show that the Duke of Chandos got the money to pay John Wood to build the beautiful Crescents by taking bills to a discounter and making good the money later through rents and 'accommodations' by other people (borrowing from Peter to pay Paul). Wordsworth's deeply moving poem, Michael is about a peasant-farmer Michael who countersigns a bill for his brother who starts a business which then fails. Michael loses much of his property and thus his income. He sends his son to the city to make needed money, but the son becomes debauched, a drunkard. The poem ends with some of the toughest most austere and controlled but compassionate lines in English poetry.

However, Sowerby is clearly not Michael's brother trying to start a business. Nor is Mark. Ellen Moody

From: "Batt, Roger"
Reply-to: trollope-l@onelist.com
Subject: [trollope-l] Framley Parsonage: Mark Robarts

From: "Batt, Roger"

January 12, 2000

Further to the ongoing discussion of Mark Robart's character, I eventually got down to starting Framley Parsonage last night and read the first 4 chapters. So far I think that he behaves in a very understandable way, I think I would have done the same in his circumstances and accepted the invitation from the Duke of Omnium. After all he is a young man, he doesn't want to feel that that's it - his life is over - he will spend the rest of his life, albeit comfortably, being a parson. He has ambition and I think that AT brings over very subtly the slight resentment he feels about being beholden to a woman, actually he has done nothing in his life to deserve his good fortune and perhaps he feels this and wants to prove himself.

Another point which reinforces a post of Ellen's a few days ag;, like her I hadn't read any Trollope for a few months (about 6 with me) and it was so comfortable (I think that's the word) to settle down again with one of his books - like revisiting an old friend.

Finally, this is probably not very interesting and not worth discussing, but I was quite taken to discover 2 references to Shakespeare in about 4 pages in the chapters I read, one is where someone says "the labour we delight in physics pain" (approximately - I haven't got the book here with me) which is a quote but I can't remember from where - anyone know?. Then a few pages later he refers to Brutus.

Cheers

Roger

January 12, 2000

Re: Framley Parsonage: Mark Robarts & Physicking Pain

In response to Roger and those who said reading about Mark Robarts' behavior in these opening chapters was so painful, they had a hard time getting through the first time round, I'd like to suggest one source of this pain is Robarts's complicity and Trollope's sympathy for Robarts's predicament. Trollope goes out of his way (in Chapter 12) to tell us that Mark had begun to believe he would not have to pay up. He signs the second bill because he thinks he has become part of that class of people who are immune. Sig quoted the opening sentences of the key passage in which the narrator is half-inside Mark's thoughts and half-judging them; I'll now quote the rest:

'There was Sowerby himself; who ever saw a cloud on his brow? It made one almost in love with ruin to be in his company. And even now, already, Mark Robarts was thinking to himself quite comfortably about this bill [the first]; -- how very pleasantly those bankers managed things. Pay it! No; no one will be so unreasonable as to expect you to do that! And then Sowerby certainly was a pleasant fellow and gave a man something in return for his money. It was still a question with Mark whether Lord Lufton had not been too hard on Sowerby. Had that gentleman fallen across his clerical friend at the present moment, he might no doubt have gotten from him an acceptance for another four hundred pounds' (Penguin FP, DSkilton, Ch 12, p. 164).

This is well before Sowerby's letter asking for Mark to sign onto another 500 arrives at the Vicarage. It's painful because it's so real. It's how all of us 'fall', except we don't see it as falling. The credit card analogy is a good one, except Mark is also trying to escape from under the yoke of Lady Lufton. There is a sense in which she bought, paid, provided a wife, house, and children for him. He's her tame man. Her son doesn't accept this. Why should not Mark escape? Of course by innuendo and concise nuance in the above passage and elsewhere Trollope leads us also to see Mark is dealing with the devil, and not getting anything worth having for going badly into debt. This is a realistic Faustus story. When Faust would get his hands on one of his prizes, it was ashes in his hands.

Trollope does love to quote Shakespeare. The line: "the labour we delight in physics pain" is one Trollope quotes in a number of places (He Knew He Was Right). I see it as his motto for himself. The labour he delighted in -- intense writing in solitude for hours each and every day, week in and week out, month in and monthy out and year in and year out, physicked Trollope's pain. Mark Robarts is an aspect of Trollope himself. Trollope loved to mingle with the high, powerful and rich too, but he was alive to the ordeal of such going out. He is a odd sort of austere idealist.

Cheers to all,
Ellen

From: "Batt, Roger" Reply-to: trollope-l@onelist.com
Subject: RE: [trollope-l] Framley Parsonage_: Macbeth, Physicking Pain

From: "Batt, Roger"

The Shakespeare quote I mentioned is from Macbeth, see below

LENNOX. Good morrow, noble sir.
MACBETH. morrow, both.
MACDUFF. Is the King stirring, worthy Thane?
MACBETH. Not yet.
MACDUFF. He did command me to call timely on him;
I have almost slipp'd the hour.
MACBETH. I'll bring you to him.
MACDUFF. I know this is a joyful trouble to you,
But yet 'tis one.
MACBETH. The labor we delight in physics pain.
This is the door.
 MACDUFF I'll make so bold to call,
For 'tis my limited service.

Oh! For a muse of fire that would ascend the brightest heaven of invention.

Roger Batt

Date: Sun, 9 Jan 2000 08:59:51 -0000
From: "Catherine Crean"
Reply-to: trollope-l@onelist.com
Subject: [trollope-l] Framley Parsonage: Lucy Robarts is introduced

From: "Catherine Crean"

Rereading Framley Parsonage is so enjoyable that I, too wish it would go on forever. The first installments make me feel as if I'm settling down into a dependable, comfortable easy chair. There are many wonderful scenes in this week's assignment so it is difficult to know what to talk about. One of my favorite scenes in all Trollope takes place in Chapter 11 where Lucy and Fanny are walking home to the vicarage and they are overtaken by Lord Lufton. Lord Lufton has been curious to meet Lucy, but thus far she has avoided him. Fanny hurries ahead leaving Lord Lufton and Lucy to walk together. Up until this point the characters of Lord Lufton and Lucy Robarts had not really "come to life" for me. In this scene, we see how charming and thoughful Lord Lufton is. He puts the shy Lucy at her ease. (We also have a trenchant aside from Trollope about grieving and mourning. Trollope thought that excessive mourning was wrong.) Lucy emerges from her cocoon and shows us the real woman within. The image of the man and woman walking down a country land is vivid in my mind. There is one sentence that especially intrigues me. When Lord Lufton first comes upon Lucy and Fanny he is accompanied by his pointer dogs and his gamekeeper. Lord Lufton has been out shooting pheasants. When Fanny goes off for her appointment with Lady Lufton Lord Lufton sends the gamekeeper ahead. Here is the sentence: " Now we may say she (Lucy) was fairly caught, and Lord Lufton, taking a pair of pheasants from the gamekeeper, and swinging them over his shoulder, walked off with his prey." I like the hunting imagery here. Both Lucy and the pheasants are prey. Although one hopes that Lord Lufton will not shoot Lucy, he may well carry her off, if not over his shoulder perhaps in his arms.

Catherine wrote again almost immediately:

From: "Catherine Crean"
Reply-to: trollope-l@onelist.com
Subject: [trollope-l] Framley Parsonage: Griselda Grantley as the strong silent type

From: "Catherine Crean"

In Chapter XI we get our first look at the woman Griselda Grantly. The last time we saw her, she was a little girl. Now she is grown into a beautiful young woman. We had a flurry of posts about Griselda a few weeks ago, inspired by a jacket blurb calling Griselda "the original dumb blond." Not so! Griselda may not say much, but she knows what she's about. She is out to make the best marriage she can. Trollope has great fun with her quiet dignity and her ability to say very little about not very much. Griselda may not be a deep thinker, but she an interesting study none the less. I read somewhere that the Victorians admired a type of quiet beauty. They referred to it, I think as "vis inertia." I don't know if my Latin is correct here. "Vis" means strength. I can't find "inertia" in my Latin dictionary and I may have the spelling wrong. Has anyone heard of this phrase? Griselda's beauty is certainly marboreal. Here is part of Trollope's description of Griselda: "Her forehead was high and white, perhaps too much like marble to gratify the taste of those who are fond of flesh and blood. Her eyes were large and exquisitely formed, but they seldon showed much emotion. She, indeed, was impassive herself and betrayed but little of her feelings. Her nose was nearly Grecian, not coming absolutely in a straight line from her forehead, but doing so nearly enough to entilte it to be considered classical. " The description goes on at some length, and we are left with the impression of Griselda as an animated statue - cold, strong, and silent.

Gene Stratton answered her:

Vis inertiae -- the power of inertia, passive resistance to force applied.

Gene Stratton
gwlit@worldnet.att.net

From: Sigmund Eisner

Re: Framley Parsonage: The Plot

I agree with Catherine, who like Mrs. Gaskell wishes that Trollope would go on writing Framley Parsonage forever. It really is a pleasure to get back to Anthony's writing after plowing through his mother's somewhat stilted and often impossible Widow Barnaby. Actually, The Widow Barnaby might have been interesting if I hadn't read so much of Anthony. I approached The Widow hoping to find someone with the charm of the Wife of Bath. No way. Barnaby's treatment of her niece was pure cruelty, and I did not think too much of the idealized Agnes for putting up with it.

But on with Framely Parsonage: It does have a plot, in spite of someone's comment that it doesn't. Poor Mark is getting deeper and deeper into the soup. One passage in Chapter XII struck me because it is so close to the events in Trollope's own family. Mark has just persuaded himself after his conversation with Mr. Forrest that getting into debt is no big deal. The narrator adds: "And in this way his mind was easier during the last of those three months than it had been during the two former. That feeling of over-due bills, of bills coming due, of accounts overdrawn, of tradesmen unpaid, of general money cares, is very dreadful at first; but it is astonishing how soon men get used to it. A load which would crush a man at first becomes, by habit, not only endurable, but easy and comfortable to the bearer. The habitual debtor goes along jaunty and with elastic step, almost enjoying the excitement of his embarrassments." This is part of Trollope's genius. A lesser writer could not get into his characters' skulls, and as Trollope does, almost becoming the character with all his viewpoints. Most writers (Dickens for one) show you the character as seen from the outside by an observer. Trollope shows you a character from the inside. And he does so with a myriad of different fictional persons. This is genius.

Sig

Subject: [trollope-l] FP: Quietness; Fairy Tale Motif and the Devil

From: "Jill D. Singer"

In these installments, I perceived Trollope making a very interesting contrast between Griselda's egocentric reserve and reluctance to converse with those around her and Lucy's reserve, for precisely the opposite reason -- her humility. Trollope as narrator expressly gives his approval of Lucy's quietness; he is not similarly positive about Griselda. (What an interesting name choice for this Ice Princess.) Lufton, perhaps intuitively, recognizes this because, notwithstanding Lucy's quietness, he sees her "fire" as opposed to Griselda's ice.

Lucy's Cinderella-like romance is properly opened with a fairy tale speech by Lord Lufton to Fanny Robarts about Lucy: "'So you have an unknown damsel shut up in your castle,' he had once said to Mrs. Robarts. 'If she be kept a prison much longer, I shall find it my duty to come and release her by force of arms.'" In typical Trollope fashion, this is immediately followed by a very down-to-earth description of Lufton's swinging the pair of pheasants over his shoulder.

I also enjoyed Trollope's skill in invoking the Lucifer-like character of Sowerby, beginning with Sowerby's own description of Lady Lufton's perception of him: "'Her ladyship would look for my tail, and swear that she smelt brimstone.'" (Ch. 9) In the very next paragraph, Trollope analogizes Mark's agreement with Sowerby to Faust's with Mephistopheles. In the next chapter, Mark's heart sinks over the "dreadful Sowerby incubus."

Jill Singer
Overland Park KS
jds@hoveywilliams.com

Subject: [trollope-l] Framley Parsonage: vis inertiae

From: "Catherine Crean" Gene, thanks for the translation of "vis inertiae." Has anyone heard of this phrase used in Victorian times to describe a type of marboreal beauty? Maybe I should post to Victoria-l and ask. One thing is for sure - Griselda Grantly is the poster girl for "vis inertiae."

From: Dagny
Reply-to: trollope-l@onelist.com
Subject: [trollope-l] Framley Parsonage: Miss Dunstable & Co.

From: Dagny

I enjoy Miss Dunstable immensely. The part Ellen quoted actually made me laugh out loud when I read it (her answer about Gatherum Castle). And this is not the only case where I laughed out loud at her comments. I didn't get to see enough of her in Dr. Thorne to get very attached to the character and even though I liked her she didn't really come alive for me until this novel.

I don't recall seeing her Doctor's name before but perhaps I just glossed over it. Dr. Easyman, indeed, he has a very easy life. Many of the names Trollope comes up with continue to amaze and amuse me. The lawyers' names are my special favorites.

Did anyone else find Trollope's writing a bit awkward in the scene where Miss Dunstable first saw the Gresham's at Gatherum Castle? This is the first time I have noticed a scene not flowing smoothly. It seemed to be the way Mary and Frank were described: the lady, the gentleman called Frank, Frank's wife. Perhaps it would have read differently for first-time readers of these characters. Regardless, I was glad to see them and find out what was going on in their lives.

Dagny

Subject: [trollope-l] Framley Parsonage: Mark Robarts

From: "Angela Richardson"

I find the sections on Mark and the bill very painful to read too and it does seem that we are meant to understand that Mark didn't understand the workings of little bills either.

I'm grateful to Gene for explaining about the bills which feature so much in Victorian novels. It was clearly an expensive and often used method of raising cash. In fact its almost a shorthand form for a Victorian villain since its pretty hard to find a bill without a villain attached.

It is a great relief to come to the parts of the book where Mark finally faces up to his foolishness.

Angela

To Trollope-l

January 11, 2000

Re: Framley Parsonage: Lady Lufton and Germaine Greer: The Menopausal Woman

I have been reading a wonderful book while I eat breakfast (it's the only time I have): Germaine Greer's The Change: Women, Aging and the Menopause. Greer's portraits of the perimenopausal woman have persuaded me that intuitively or through brilliant, sympathetic and close (joke alert) observation Trollope has in Lady Lufton given us a true portrait of the perimenopausal woman. The dignity, the sense of self-possession, the feel of cordiality and acceptance of the self after men no longer want her nor she them is all implicit in many of the remarks Trollope makes about this woman: Mark and Lord Lufton are wayward sons; the young women of the book her daughters; she is the matriarch of this book.

Now how many 19th century novelists did this? No one else that I can think of. Greer complains she can find no understanding portrait of the perimenopausal woman in literature. Or at least not very many. Which of us has the nerve to write Ms Greer and advise her to read Framley Parsonage?

Ellen Moody

Also sent to Jill Spriggs under the title:

A Silly Post by a Drunk Woman Meant to Cheer You Up


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