The Kellys & The O'Kellys: Inventing the Parallel Plot- Design; Inheritances; Money and Mortality; Spectacular Gambling; Vintage Trollope; Helper Characters: Doctor Colligan, Parson Armstrong, Dot Blake and Attorney Daly and an Uncompromising Book

I open this section with a posting I wrote in 1996:

To Trollope List

December 5, 1996

Re: The Kellys & The O'Kellys: Inventing the Parallel Plot-Design

This is a strong book-- and is wonderful for a study of Trollope as a novelist. First as it's second one naturally compares it to No 1: The Macdermots of Ballycloran. Both take place in Ireland and in both a considerable number of the characters are definitely below gentry. Both are realistic. Both show an intense interest in the politics of Ireland at the time the story is set. No 1 we went over in depth when we read it together; Thady's death is heavily a result of his having murdered his sister's lover at a time when the upper class in England and Ireland would use a man of his class (a poor Catholic landlord) as a scapegoat; this one opens upon the trial of O'Connell; its subtitle is Landlords and Tenants.

One interesting element which looks forward to a much later novel is the age of the lower class heroine, Anty Lynch. She is near 40. We have to wait for Miss Mackenzie to find anything as iconoclastic. She is also deeply sympathetic; she is the one we are anxious for again and again. Will her brother murder her? Will she marry Martin Kelly? Will she succumb to the intimidation of the lawyer hired by her brother to terrify her? The way a Trollope novel often works is to interest us intensely in the fate of a character we care deeply about. Anty is such a character. I partly identified and felt for her. I was also very much interested in Trollope's depiction of the world of the Irish tradesman, the Martin Kelly world. The whole domestic scene of the village in which they lived was thoroughly depicted, including all sorts of people in occupations, the look of the streets, the relationships of the people to their culture and just that moment in time.

There was something else which looks forward to later Trollope novels, and in particular novels like The Claverings which one does not see in The Macdermots. Trollope does not use the parallel plot and multiply courting couples in The Macdemots. The plot of the Macdermots is sui generis in many ways. Not so The Kellys & O'Kellys. Trollope is here working out a formula if he's going to write many successful novels, and here he's doing it for the first time. On the other hand, what he can't do is spin a story or skein of events over a series of chapters. Each incident keeps getting resolved in the next chapter, and then we've got to have a new turn of events. It reminds me of how college students have to learn to sustain an argument over many pages. Trollope has not yet learned to sustain a turn over many chapters, so he needs more turns, and the book lurches forward. It lurches forward with some wise, some amusing, some disillusioned turns, but the rhythm is jolty and the events not sufficiently sustained in parallel interlace. In the upper class story which mirrors the lower there is a story of a mother who does not have the slightest idea how to entertain people or who to invite and it's very funny; her daughter is also too proud for her own good, and the two together against the heroine of this one (a heroine who wants to marry for love and not money which the mother and daughter need for the son of the family) make for interesting comedy. The son here is a man who ends up fleeing for debt and there are powerful scenes between him and the father. The young son also has a group of cronies who are very real and look forward to the kind of cronies Silverbridge gets involved with. They are hard, disillusioned, cynical, and yet loyal to the aristocrat--partly because it's in their interest to be. But this story is not sustained and interwoven with the first (the Anty-Lynch-Martin Kelly versus her brother tale), and some of the chapters are too far apart for us to remember a character's personality sufficiently unless we return to the earlier part of the book and reread.

Finally two things Trollope has not yet discovered. He is not yet writing dramatic narratives at length, while at the same time he has dropped the narrator's voice that he used effectively in The Macdermots and of course would bring to such felicitous success in The Warden and Barchester Towers. So we have too much exposition, not enough dramatic scene and psychology and no ironic wise friend to carry us through. This would come in The Warden. Why he dropped the narrator whom he had begun to invent in The Macdermots I don't know. I suggest Trollope himself did not realize his narrator was a central source of his power until he reached his Barchester series.

I would say that while this book shows promise and out of it Trollope would work a formula he could use again and again in writing so many novels, it is a falling away from The Macdermots which is a highly original book with a depth of passion and tragic apprehension of interest in its own right. You read The Macdermots for itself; you read The Kellys to understand Trollope's career and development as well as itself and both for a picture of Ireland at the time.

Ellen Moody

Date: Sat, 28 Jul 2001
From: Judy Geater
Subject: [Trollope-l] The Kellys and the O'Kellys: Inheritances

Dear all,

Just a quick note to say I'm rather puzzled/disturbed by the general reaction to the death of Fanny's brother in The Kellys and the O'Kellys It seems as if Fanny is just about the only person who is genuinely upset by this death of a young man with all his life ahead of him - everybody else is only too eager to speculate about her inheritance and who she will marry.

There are many characters in Victorian novels who seem to be eagerly awaiting the deaths of others in order to collect their money - for instance, all the relations gathering around the old Chuzzlewit's sickbed in Dickens's Martin Chuzzlewit.

But these are usually deathbed scenes involving elderly characters.

I have a feeling it is something distinctive to Trollope to see people apparently gloating over the deaths of young characters (the little boy's death in 'Is He Popenjoy' comes to mind). So is he trying to point up the mercenary attitudes of Victorian society, or is there some other reason? Does anybody have any thoughts on this?

Bye for now
Judy Geater

I think he reflects the "matter of fact" Victorian approach to death, which with younger people was more frequent than we would expect today. Also, in the context of the story, the brother's death is part of the mechanism Trollope often uses, whereby the central characters are nicely provided for by the end of the story. As Fanny is in guardianship of Lord Cashel, he is presumably her nearest relative "in loco parentis"; as his character has been drawn he certainly would not exhibit any grief, and his wife would be too wrapped up in her own affairs to say other than a brief kind word to Fanny.

Rory O'Farrell Email:

Date: Sun, 29 Jul 2001

Judy asks if the unsympathetic attitudes shown by the less savoury characters in The Kellys and the O'Kellys towards the death of Harry Wyndham points up the mercenary attitude of Victorian society .towards death and inheritance. In fact, the only two characters who are notably unsympathetic are Lords Cashel and Kilcullen, both of whom Trollope treats as being totally self-centred, without any consideration for anything which does not relate to their own self-regard and financial concerns. I don't think that Trollope means us to like them, or to consider their behaviour other than reprehensible.

What one has to bear in mind is the high mortality rate of Victorian times. Children appeared to die in droves, so that two or three children might survive from a family of eight or ten, and people regarded themselves as 'old' at 50. While we are not told of what Harry Wyndham died, it seems unlikely that it arose from his service in the Guards, since he had hardly had time to complete his initial training, and is unlikely to have gone to the West Indies or India, which proved the graveyard of many young soldiers and sailors. It is, I am afraid, human nature to wonder about where the property of someone recently deceased is likely to go, and in Victorian times the position of women in relation to property meant that any wealthy unmarried woman would have been the target of every fortune-seeker in society. Emily Dunstable in Doctor Thorne clearly understood the whole situation.

Regards, Howard

Date: Mon, 30 Jul 2001

: Kellys and O'Kellys: Money and Mortality

Dear all

Thanks to Rory and Howard for their thoughts on the apparently mercenary attitudes of some characters in The Kellys and the O'Kellys towards the death of Harry Wyndham.

Howard wrote

In fact, the only two characters who are notably unsympathetic are Lords Cashel and Kilcullen, both of whom Trollope treats as being totally self-centred, without any consideration for anything which does not relate to their own self-regard and financial concerns. I don't think that Trollope means us to like them, or to consider their behaviour other than reprehensible.

I agree that we are not expected to like Cashel or Kilcullen, but I also found the attitude of Frank's mother surprisingly callous. When she hears of Harry's death, she doesn't wait even a moment to sympathise with his bereaved family, but is instantly calculating on her own son's chances of landing his fortune.

I'll just quote a few lines from Chapter 21:

"Miss Wyndham has just lost her only brother," said he; "he died quite suddenly in London about ten days since; she was very much attached to him."

"Good gracious, how shocking!" said Sophy.

"I'm sorry," said Guss.

"Why Frank," said their mother, now excited into absolute animation; "his fortune was more than double hers, wasn't it? - who'll have it now?"

It might be human nature to think about the money, but surely this affectionate mother might also spare a thought for the dead man, who was only the same age as her son and was indeed one of his close friends.

Rory and Howard both pointed out that life expectancy in the 19th century was far shorter than it is today, and the deaths of young people would not have come as such a shock.

However, the Victorian age was one of elaborate funerals and passionate outpourings of grief - I find myself thinking of Queen Victoria wearing mourning for years on end after Albert's death, Tennyson's "In Memoriam", and Dickens's anguished reaction to the death of his young sister-in-law Mary Hogarth.

It is odd that this same society could take such a matter-of-fact view towards death when it came to financial matters. Trollope seems to be the writer who points up this uneasy juxtaposition most starkly, with some characters tearfully calculating their inheritances even as they put on their black clothes.

When it comes to the novel's other plot, centred on the Kellys and the Lynches, these mercenary attitudes are perhaps even more striking. Barry is the most extreme example, not only yearning for his sister's money, but positively willing her to die so that he can get his hands on it - and even considering murder.

It makes me warm to Martin Kelly that, although he was originally attracted to Anty by her money, he doesn't want to have her fortune without her. In Chapter 22 he says that Barry is welcome to the money if Anty dies. "Oh, my lord! we wouldn't put sich a thing as a will into her head, and she so bad, for all the money the ould man their father iver had."

Still on money, another thing that puzzles me a little is how on earth Kilcullen could have spent such a vast fortune, probably millions in present-day terms, and got quite so heavily into debt. We don't see any evidence of property or possessions, so are we supposed to think he gambled it all away? If so, he must be one of the most spectacular gamblers in Victorian literature - I thought Viscount Castlewood in Henry Esmond got on badly at the tables, but nothing on this scale.

Bye for now
Judy Geater

Date: Tue, 31 Jul 2001

In defense of Frank's mother, I think it is much easier to be callous about the deaths of people you've never known. I don't think that she ever met either Harry or his sister so she can easily leap over the death of one and the feelings of the other in a way that she probably wouldn't do at the death of someone she knew. She is still voicing sentiments that really nice people keep to themselves, but she could be worse!


Date: Wed, 1 Aug 2001

Hello Pat, Clarissa, Rory and all,

It was interesting to see people's views on the reactions to Harry Wyndham's death.

I take Rory's point about death among young people being far more common at this period, but I suspect that this didn't make it easier to bear any individual tragedy.

Thackeray, Dickens and Gaskell all lost young children at different times, and were all devastated at the deaths, even though there were children dying in large numbers at this time.

Bye for now
Judy Geater

Date: Wed, 1 Aug 2001

Many have noted the rush to marry women who have inherited money. One of the most pressing needs of Barry Lynch, Kilcullen and Lord Balladine is to pay off their heavy gambling debts.

I am enjoying this read as I have all of Trollope so far. It is amazing how superb he is at depicting dialect. I have Irish brogues in my family, and he has the speech exactly. It's amazing he was such a young man and in Ireland only a short time.

Best regards
Doris White

Re: Spectacular Gambling

There is spectacular gambling - from memory on the same scale - in The Duke's Childen, which is at the very end of the Palliser series. I've just checked it - 70,000! In the case I have just quoted, it was the nags - care, maintenance and keeping of horses seems to cost even more that the care maintenance and feeding of actresses or opera dancers (not that I have much experience of either! Fuller details will be in my memoirs!). The real money seems to be lost in casual betting, particularly when they are "set up" (as in _The Dukes Children_) and betting sums of money which are settled up by cheque (i.e. they never actually count out hard cash).

I'll have a look at some of the commentaries of the period and see what they say on the subject of betting, but I won't be posting again until tomorrow.

Rory O'Farrell Email:

Date: Tue, 31 Jul 2001

Rory's two postings sent me to the usual three sources of information on Trollope. The Gerroulds, as I expected, give nothing under gambling - their principal use is as a 'Who's Who' - but I was disappointed that I could find nothing in The Oxford Guide, even when I look at their slightly curious 'thematic' index at the front. However, Mullen, in The Penguin Guide came up trumps as usual.

Mullen runs through the familiar list of characters addicted to, and ruined by, gambling. He includes Burgo Fitzgerald in Can You Forgive Her? , Mountjoy Scarborough in Mr Scarborough's Family, the young men in The Way We Live Now, George Hotspur in Sir Harry Hotspur of Humblethwaite, Charles Amedroz in The Belton Estate, and attributes the largest gambling loss of 70,000 to Lord Silverbridge in The Duke's Children . He describes the sum as 'astronomical', but of course tells us that his father is rich enough to pay it, so that Silverbridge is not ruined like the rest. Mullen does not refer to Lord Kilcullen, but although he did not lose 70,000 in one throw, like Silverbridge, he does appear to have exceeded that young man in his total losses. Lord Cashel had previously paid 40,000 over the past five years (possibly including his 5,000 annual allowance), and Kilcullen, rather vaguely, was suggesting that he would need another 80,000 to clear all his debts. (The Kellys and the O'Kellys, chapter XI, Trollope Society edition) This must make him Trollope's champion wastrel - unless anyone knows better!

We are told that notorious gamblers usually united their passion with other vices, and it is clear that Kilcullen, with his dancers, fell firmly into that category.

Regards, Howard

Date: Tue, 31 Jul 2001

I too wondered at the enormous amount that the young man was in debt, and appreciate all this information. I'm not sure why Trollope set this amount so large, except to make him more amenable to the idea of marrying Fanny. But one would think Fanny would have been a great prize regardless. (Gambling and the ensuing troubles it brings are very timely here in North Carolina, where there is intense pressure at the moment to institute a state lottery to help bail us out of money problems caused in part by hurricanes of the past couple of years). When we were in Russia last year we visited Tolstoy's country estate; the main building that served as his home and now museum was originally a separate small building beside a large mansion. He lost the mansion in gambling debt as a young man and whoever won it actually had the whole thing moved away. I also wondered as others have done about the lack of sympathy for the death of Fanny's brother, and the immediate focus on his fortune. I suppose when so much of people's financial survival was related to inherited money, or money married into, as it were, rather than earned income, this was more to be expected. But it really is crass. Trollope has people saying things outright that in a more polite society are thought but not said, Barry's outspokenness being of course the most horrific.This is probably related to what Ellen was saying earlier about the violence being to close to the surface there in Ireland; ugly thoughts are also very close to the surface. Pat

Date: Wed, 1 Aug 2001

Hello all

Thanks very much to both Rory and Howard for all the intriguing information on gambling in Trollope's novels.

Another novel I read recently where gambling plays an important part is East Lynne by Mrs Henry Wood - Isabel's father has had to mortgage his estate because of gambling debts and then goes further and sells it, leaving his daughter with no inheritance at all. I rather wondered if this type of gambling happened only in literature - but, from what Rory says, it sounds as if it happened in life as well. It would be good to find some background information on gambling - I'll have a look around too and see if I can come up with anything.

I'm just reading The American Senator at the moment, and was rather surprised to come across a female gambler - though for rather smaller stakes than those we've been discussing.

Arabella Trefoil "could generally supply herself with gloves by bets, as to which she had never any scruple in taking either what she did win or did not, and in dunning any who might chance to be defaulters." She also occasionally bets for a hat, and it is rumoured she once tried this with a coat!

Bye for now
Judy Geater

Doesn't a note to Is He Popenjoy? suggest that "gloves and hats" was slang for guineas? i.e. the cash value of gloves or hats

Rory O'Farrell Email:

My copy of IHP doesn't have any notes (a little Oxford hardback with tiny print), but in The American Senator we are told that Arabella finds it more complicated betting for hats than for gloves because, with gloves, she simply gives her "number" (presumably her hand size) so a pair can be sent to her. There is also a mention of her trying to bet her ulster (a long wool coat) against a sealskin jacket, but being turned down by a man who thinks these stakes are rather too high.

I spent quite a long time today trying to find some background information about Victorian betting on the internet, but got nowhere - all I could find were online casinos and blackjack games, which were not exactly what I had in mind!

I also visited my local library and looked in various reference books, but, again, found nothing much to the purpose, and eventually had to give up. Sorry!

About all I can come up with is that DJ Taylor's biography of Thackeray does mention that he gambled away 1500 during his time as an undergraduate at Cambridge, a hefty chunk of his 4,000 capital at the time - he lost the rest in the collapse of an Indian bank. I've made a start on reading The Virginians (not a patch on Esmond so far) and see that gambling is a major theme here, as in so much of Thackeray's work. I can't remember if Trollope gambled, but, if so, I don't think it was on this sort of scale.

Bye for now
Judy Geater

Mullen in the Penguin Companion says (under entry Gambling) "Mild gambling at 'penny whist' - which appears to be the only type of gambling in which Trollope himself regularly indulged - is, not surprisingly, acceptable in his writing."

Later (under entry Whist) he quotes from Popenjoy "the once jaunty Captain De Baron has married, put on weight and 'has taken to playing whist at his club for shilling points'. In Autobiography, in his final apologia, Trollope says "if now and again I have somewhat recklessly fluttered a 5 note over a card table; of what matter is that to any reader?".

So I think we can reasonably take it that he was not a heavy gambler. In the Autobiography he lists his writing income at 69,000 (rounding up for convenience). Silverbridge's loss of 70,000 in Duke's Children is therefore the same as Trollopes total lifetime income from writing, the income of one of the great Victorian writers, derived from 47 books and other works.

No reports back yet from my lawyer friend on actual gambling stories, but he may have escaped for the weekend.

Rory O'Farrell Email:

Date: Wed, 08 Aug 2001

Re: Kellys and O'Kellys: Vintage Trollope

I'm not up on the use of the word faith or its allies, but do want to say how great it felt to be reading KOK as we got into the wooing of Fanny by Lord Kilcullen. It was "vintage" Trollope. Someone else would probably say "he had found his voice" in these scenes. This is the Trollope of Barchester and all the love stories. Perhaps he and we have lost a lot at the same time we have gained a lot. He could have written more about other perhaps more "important" things if he had not settled into writing love stories, but he does it so well. What do others think?


Date: Wed, 08 Aug 2001

I had a similar thought as I reached this part of the story. Courtship, the choice of a mate, this is surely Trollope's favorite subject. He has many other themes, of course, but doesn't he always come back to this? I will give him this much: he always makes it interesting and he doesn't really repeat himself.

Having said that, however, I hasten to add that I don't think that Trollope is just a writer of love stories. If he were, I would read a couple of them, perhaps, and let it go at that. He uses the love story as a tool, a way to approach a broad range of themes.

My main criticism of this novel is that its design is cumbersome. Trollope has two story lines that are of equal interest, and he interweaves them. It's almost as if he had two novels that he was trying to make into one. It would have been better, I think, if one of the story lines was subordinate to the other, if he had a major story and a minor story. The novel would have a better focus.

I have been enjoying it, though. It seems to have bursts of energy to it.


Date: Thu, 09 Aug 2001

I agree that a better focus would help. Another thing that is perhaps a weakness, or at least unusual, is that we have two sets of lovers, but we don't see the lovers together. I am almost to the end, and have yet to see Frank and Fanny together; I don't think there has even been a letter sent from one to the other. While Martin and Anty are together, it is only in a sense, as she is surrounded by his family, and is ill, (and besides, she is an odd unfocused character to my way of thinking) so there's not much direct conversation between them. probably when and if they marry he will continue to be a man of few words and she will ramble on. Then there is the class issue. Half the novel is in the working world and half in the world that AT went on to focus on, the upper class. He seems more at home there. Yet as I said before, we have to think what we gain and what we lose. Mrs. Kelly is a gem, in her rationally irrational outbursts; would we have preferred more Mrs. Kellys and kitchens and fewer drawing rooms? Pat Mahoney

To Trollope-l

August 12, 2001

Re: The Kellys & O'Kellys: Helper Characters

Dear All,

My husband, Jim, Isabel, and I arrived home a few hours ago. Travel is travail (etymology counts), and it is also adventure, exhilaration, new perspectives. I hope to write about some of this later this week -- including a concurrence with the view Roger, Rory, and John L. expressed about the worst of airports. For now I am genuinely anxious to talk about The Kellys & O'Kellys which I finished yesterday. Unhappily I cannot yet read what you all have written until later this evening as there was a power outage in Virginia while we were gone, and this means I must wait until my husband retrieves all my emails since then. I also am still without my Oxford Classics paperback of The Kellys and O'Kellys. The suitcase it was in is said to have crossed the Atlantic in another plane. I am told it will be here in Virginia on my block late tonight. However, I do have a few general comments about the last third of the book which I very much enjoyed.

I was struck by Trollope's use of helper characters: Doctor Colligan, Parson Armstrong -- as well as Dot Blake and Attorney Daly are responsible for our happy ending. Without the actions of each of these, there would have been not been a resolution which included a genuine reconciliation, the two marriages, and the banishment of Barry Lynch. I don't see this as a detriment but as a tribute to the unqualified realism of the book. As psychologized and dramatized by Trollope, the characters could not have gotten together; there was a stalemate in the offing, an inability to see the point of view of other characters, no place or handle through which to begin again. What is so strong is the realism of this. This is the way life is. It lacks happy endings. A sequence of events most often ends inconclusively: there is no ending, no closure. Trollope has in his second novel stayed away from sentimentalism, from softening: the result is there would not have been the shapeliness of gratification and satisfaction. He is aware of his ploy as he has in his letter in which he personates Blake, and in his dramatic scenes in which he speaks for Colligan and Armstrong gone to satisfying lengths to explain why it is in their interest to put themselves out. The weakest link is Blake: we are expected to believe that Blake cares about finding a place to resort to when in need, somewhere to visit. The doctor and parson are characterized in such a way as to make their respective abhorrence of Barry Lynch's proposal to murder Anty and their strong-minded uses of intimidation on behalf of genuinely ethical and social behavior believable.

For me the resort to the three avuncular gods from the machine is a sign of strength. Trollope has not yet succumbed to the ending which depends on believing that the subjectivities of other people will give in to one another. There is no "emergency exit" of a happy ending either. It is not fatuous or unreal. We have been given enough to believe that Lord Ballindine wants himself genuinely to dwindle into the husband, to see that Anty will do very well when surrounded by the partly (and reasonably) interested kindness of the Kellys.

The concluding scenes also bring to a conclusion the curious insistence in the book on these patterns of intimidation. Colligan, Armstrong, Martin Kelly and Frank OKelly bully Barry Lynch into retreating. The scenes project Trollope's later sceptical views on the ability of courts to really effect justice or mercy in the world. He appears really to think that finally the ethics of the world depend on custom, on personalities interacting outside the rituals of law which he profoundly distrusts as cover-ups. This coheres with his justification of the duel which he defends explicitly in Dr Thorne, though he seems suddenly to turn away from this way of getting other people to behave "morally" in Ayala's Angel (there is a reverse of his defense of the duel in the very late book).

I have been thinking about why Trollope's plot-design and repetitive patterns are about intimidation in this book -- thus Dot Blake beats out Frank, Lord Ballandine; thus at the conclusion of Lord Killcullen's stay at Grey Abbey, he manages to coerce his father into giving him yet another 500. My suggestion is that it is a central element in the attempt in the book to depict and characterize the Irish milieu -- one which throughout Trollope's Anglo-Irish fiction he seems to see as a society which operates outside the explicitly legal system since it is both corrupt and helpless against the real causes of trouble in the community. The many references to the O'Connell trial fit in here -- as does the characterization of O'Jocelyn who if he had any real power would do much more harm than good. Trollope loves Ireland as a society which is not hypocritical in its face-to-face contacts; this lack of hypocrisy also leads to a lack of disguise over this central element in social interaction (still with us).

More generally, Trollope explores something from a social point of view which he later explores intimately -- in relationships between husbands and wives for example (e.g., He Knew He Was Right and Is He Popenjoy?). People who have written about his Irish fiction (including the great Victorian reviewer R. H. Hutton) argue that what distinguishes it is its large social aspect. Trollope is not interested in the individual courtship or psychology but in general social customs. Here I'd like to add a personal response. Trollope is very comfortable with intimidation as the source of social success and a central aspect of social competition in the world. He shows us how calmly Lord Kilcullen extracts money from his father, but at the same time acts decently towards Fanny Wyndham. Although the people Kilcullen bullies cannot like him, he holds nothing against them. To use the famous saying from The Godfather, it's not personal, just business. Trollope can show how others suffer from personalities like Kilcullens -- his deepest sympathies go to the Mr Hardings of the world (of whom Lord Ballatine and Anty Lynch are variants in this novel). But he accepts human nature as it is, and even seems to suggest that it is fine to be the way Kilcullen & Blake and Armstrong are: hard when necesary, but not holding any particular grudges after they achieve what they mean to achieve, whether this be for self interest (in the cases of Kilcullen and Blake) or for the good of the community (Armstrong).

To conclude, helper characters in Trollope reveal how unreal the happy shapely ending in most novels is. He can only reach it through such devices. The choice of types reveals a penetrating view of the nature of human relationships, law (its feebleness) and custom. _The Kellys and OKellys_ remains hard comedy.

I hope to read everyone's messages on Kellys and OKellys by tomorrow evening. I will concoct a calendar for Castle Richmond by the end of the week. I am looking forward to it. I much admire The Kellys and OKellys and agree with McCormack that in it we find Trollope in a strongest characteristic bent: the multiple plot-design, strikingly believable rounded characters, the carefully built up milieu. However, I'd like to admit that at the same time it is not one of my personal favorites: personally I find myself warmed by the kind of chapter I said was my favorite in The Warden: his long day in London. I feel for the outlook of Mr Harding, of Frank Lord Ballindine, of an Anty Lynch, and like Trollope's books which this ingredient or element in human nature is allowed more width and development. There is a sequence in The Macdermots when Thady escapes to the far away mountains that recalls Mr Harding's long day in London, and these abound in Trollope's middle fiction (Barsetshire and Palliser books). Trollope allows for this ingredient strongly in Castle Richmond in the secondary hero, Owen Fitzgerald and Countess of Desmond in Castle Richmond: speaking generally, it is a far more romantic book, a kind of providential romance where The Kellys & O'Kellys is uncompromising comedy, true to life, so true in fact that it is only through the machinations of avuncular helpers that a qualified happy ending can be achieved.

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

Contact Ellen Moody.
Pagemaster: Jim Moody.
Page Last Updated 11 January 2003