The Awkward Foursome; Mr Toogood and the Rev Crawley; Two Somewhat Contradictory Stories; The Conventional Filler-Nature of the Grace Crawley/Major Grantly Story; More on Toogood; The Archbishop and His Son.

To Trollope-l

From: "R J Keefe"
To: Subject: [trollope-l] LCB: Chapter 29: The Awkward Foursome

The awkward foursome at the beginning of Chapter 29 act out a scene that most Americans, I think, will find very strange, for we have shed the principled reserve that keeps so many people in the dark during Major Grantly's visit to Allington. John Eames has seen the Major but not known who he was or why he'd come, giving him plenty of room for speculations adverse to his own interests (the possibility of Crosbie's sending an ambassador to Allington has been ruled out for the reader). Lady Julia thickens the confusion with her recollections of the Major's grandfather, late bishop of Barchester; this leads the jealous John to observe, 'He didn't look like a bishop's son.' And then Lily, who could probably guess the reason for John's animus, misleads Lady Julia into thinking that she's leaving without lunch because she's uncomfortable with John. So that after the girls have left, John flings himself into despond.

Then there is the delicacy which prevents, in the previous chapter (but at a later moment), anyone from explaining to Squire Dale just why Major Grantly has appeared on the scene. Mrs. Dale's observation that she's not in a position to permit or prohibit Grace's seeing the Major - a position occupied only by the poor Crawleys - oughtn't to be overlooked either.

It's all rather like a diplomatic summit. The series of small frustrations, however, makes the deeper and more serious frustration of Grace's refusing the Major almost welcome.

RJ Keefe

To Trollope-l

July 31, 2000

Re: Last Chronicle of Barset: Mr Toogood and the Rev Crawley

First I want to correct a mistake I made in my description of the vignette to Chapter 32. We do not see Mr Toogood hurrying towards a train. It was the Rev Crawley who took a train. We see Mr Toogood hurrying towards his office in order to arrive on time for his appointment with his cousin's husband. Let us recall how careful Mr Crawley is to arrive precisely on time, and how Mr Toogood behaves in the same manner.

This has application both to the threads on ranks and class we have had which Dagny has produced yet another interesting dramatized variant of in a Rider Haggard text. First it is an index of the decency of Toogood: he would not keep another man waiting, no matter how he has 'fallen' in society, how low his rank. A perpetual curate was not exactly a high ranking member of society. Mr Crawley's anxiety to be precisely on time, not one minute early or late, reveals to us the exacerbated quality of his soul. How worn, stressed and wounded he has been by how people have used rank, class and money to disrespect one another and especially him all his life. His wounds have, in fact, been so sorely scratched, combed over as they lay open, that there has been no time for scabs to form, those carapaces we all form to keep this kind of interaction at bay. He is ever on the alert for how people use everything to stigmatise one another. When he arrives at an inn, he quickly says:

'"No, I have no luggage", he had said to the girl at the public-house, who had asked him as to his travelling gear. "If luggage be needed as a certificate of respectability, I will pass on elsewhere", said he. The girl stared and assured him she did not doubt his respectability' (Houghton Mifflin Last Chronicle, ed AMizener, Ch 32, p. 247)

Paranoia? Well those who are paranoid or seem so have often become that way from a lifetime of petty exclusions and implied flaunts. Trollope understood this very well from his boy- and young manhood. He has shown us the Rev Crawley enduring much disrespect. One of the best dramatizations of this occurs at the opening of Crawley's momentous encounter with the Bishop and his wife. The bishop's servant asks for Crawley's card:

'"My name is Crawley", said our friend. "The bishop has desired me to come to him at this hour. Will you be pleased to tell him that I am here". The man again asked for a card. "I am not bound to carry with me my name printed on a ticket", said Mr Crawley. "If you cannot remember it, give me pen and paper, and I will write it". The servant somewhat awed by the stranger's manner, brought the pen and paper, and Mr Crawley wrote his name: --

THE REV JOSIAH CRAWLEY, M.A. Perpetual Curate of Hogglestock (Ch 38, p. 142)

This riveting moment is preceded by the narrator's ironic disquisition:

Who inquires why it is that a little greased flour rubbed in among the hair on a footman's head, -- just one dab her and another there -- gives such a high tone to family life? And seeing that the thing is so easily done, why do not more people attempt it? The tax on their hair-powder is but thirteen shillings a year . . . (p. 142).

Our narrator knows why. It's partly the 13 shillings. Yes the external visibilia of rank are often dependent on the inability or unwillingness of many to pay that extra small sum for it. It's partly that the visibilia only works when it is accompanied by things that are not even available to great sums of money: family background, connections, education, just that right piece of furniture that depends on taste and time and good luck.

Trollope's books are still living and relevant because this is how people still respond to one another. Thackeray talks about the importance of one's trunk when one travels; today it's not your trunk, but perhaps your automobile, your credit cards. Instead of the dab of powder, it's the state of your living or drawing room furniture, the signed reproduction on the wall. Mr Crawley is of course too sore: he is in effect warding off the axes of disrespect before they come out from behind the door. He has other signs as he himself goes on to tell the girl: "'I am a clergyman of the Church of England ..." (Ch 32, p. 247). But he has been so hit and so continually, he has lost his sense of perspective. That's why he cannot remember what happened over the £bill. As he tells Toogood in this week's chapter -- and it is an important clue -- he was at the time of the gift of money given him by the Dean so upset and exacerbated over his bills, so floored by the beauty and extravagance of the outsides of his old friend's books, so ashamed, so hurt in his pride, that he was not paying complete attention to details which others would later be able to use against him.

I mentioned that my plane trip was an ordeal [I had been away and in England]. Well, one aspect of it is directly relevant to this business of cards (which people still produce as a way of asserting their respectability, their solidity) and impressive baggage. Angela says she has known no one who stayed at a Landmark Trust place. This time my husband's lodging there was covered by Uncle Sam (it came under the allowed per diem). But each time we have rented a Landmark Trust place we have discovered that an equivalent modern complete apartment is priced comparably or somewhat higher. The Landmarks have often been cheaper than the modern apartments. Once you decide you want a kitchen (with fridge, stove, sink &c), dining and living room area, Landmarks are a reasonable buy. Apparently most people don't want to live without TV, phone, radio, and in a quiet off-the-beaten track place. Living in a piece of history and exploring it has not that great an appeal. The furniture in all Landmarks also is always worn, home-y; old-fashioned plate and equipment too. In other words, my trip to Sussex was not expensive as to lodgings. It was dead cheap as to plane fare. My husband bought Isabel and my tickets from on the Net.

And therein lies a piece of relevance. I discovered that somehow or other my and Isabel's ticket was marked to convey where it had been bought from. When we arrived for our trip out, we were told that we couldn't have seats together, but were assured our seats were at least up front (in today's plane equivalent of steerage of course). When we got to our seats, they were two apart, but no one was sitting in the seats inbetween us. They were in the middle towards the back of the section. The man had been saving them for better paying customers. Further, we had asked, not expecting it, for seats near the window. My daughter is young enough to want this. We had been informed there were none. Well at the back of the plane there were 3 pairs of chairs by windows unoccupied. On our way back to the US, we were told we could not be given seat numbers until we got to the gate. We were assured we would of course get on. This made my daughter anxious. She is, as I say, young in the ways of this world. When we were told we could go to the gate, she grabbed my hand, and pulled me along so we would be at that gate first. She is pretty strong and I let her pull me rapidly. We were the first on line. Who was behind us? I discovered all the other people who had bought tickets on the Net. The better seats in steerage went to those who had paid some travel agents's profit and negotiated with such people.

Another not so small difference. I have always been under the impression everyone is allowed to carry one small bag on the plane beyond a lady's handbag (I always carry one of these). Well, I was not permitted to carry on my one small bag. The woman looked at my ticket first. I was told the plane was full and no one would be allowed to carry a bag. When we got to the lounge, I saw people carrying not one but sometimes two bags, if they were small. Upon discreet inquiry (to those on line with Isabel and me who had no bags), I discovered here too was a form of unacknowledged discrimination. Why not so small? We all know that bags are lost, put on wrong planes and so on. Mine arrived in a different can and I had to wait an extra 40 minutes for it when I landed. Since I had to get to GMU to pick up my students' finals and meet with them, this meant for me much stress, hurried driving, and for Isabel, no supper.

I hope my husband never buys tickets for us this way again.

Unacknowledged is the key here, unacknowledged discrimination. What I love about the Rev Crawley is he brings it out. When people discriminate against him, he does not allow shame to rule the moment so they get away with it. He makes explicit the values that are being given to external things as signs of rank and class and one's worth. Alas, this doesn't help. It doesn't stop people (the bishop's man servant) from demanding the card once again. Instead it makes people (the maid in the tavern) look at him as crazy. Yes, he's crazy but only because the world has made him so. And occasionally he blanks out. So then they've got him. Where did you get that bill, Mr Crawley?

Consider the endlessly discriminated ranks in peerage. Consider how people treat the whole business at the Bougton's party of who is to go in and out of a room with whom? Is not this a species of madness? Chimpanzees might not think so (they structure themselves in similar cunning and strenght-based hierarchies). But I do. And darling Mr Toogood is strong enough to live as if it doesn't matter and therefore for him it doesn't. But then he has been luckier than Crawley: he has not the finer man's gifts of understanding and feeling. So he can be Too-Good. The name is a complex allegory.

Anthony Trollope is indeed a great writer.

Ellen Moody

To Trollope-l

August 3, 2000

Re: The Last Chronicle of Barset, Chs 28-32: Two Somewhat Contradictory Stories; The Conventional Filler-Nature of the Grace Crawley/Major Grantly Story

I hope other people are reading and getting something out of this book which means something to them. Few are posting on it, and it would be more meaningful for us all if more people did. We can all read books on our own and don't need lists to do it; one of the reasons for reading them together in group situations is to talk about them so as to enrich our experience of them.

Here is a conundrum or something to think about. This week's chapters develop two of the several stories which are interwoven into this novel and criss-cross or affect one another. There is a sort of contradiction in what Trollope seems to want us to infer from them.

I would call the story of Major Grantly and Grace Crawley Sir Charles Grandison exemplary fiction. It's false in the same way, not in the sense of Baldwin's definition of sentimentalism (excessive emotion), but in the sense of presenting a didactic scene meant to teach us a lesson by dramatising a dialogue in which at least one character is given motives and behavior which are idealised to the point of unbelievabilty. Trollope equally evades real emotions when they don't make his case. Grace Crawley is presented as not only not wanting to marry Major Grantly because she will be uncomfortable among his people, is ashamed of her father, but also because she adheres so strongly to the ideal that one must not marry down. She has not a shred of anger in her ever.

The lesson here is that we are to learn the purpose of marriage is to position oneself. The dialogue between these two make these values explicit in ways they would never be in life. No one would openly talk in the way that Grace does or the Major responds. It would be arrogant and self-abasing in the extreme. In earlier episodes we saw that Trollope thought the Grantly parents had every right to demand that their mature son who had married before not marry someone who would not aggrandize the family. This is shades of Lady Catherine de Bourgh in P&P. Austen presents this view in a scene which coarsely caricatures this behavior. Trollope sympathises, but there the presentation is believable; the hard sordidness, pettiness and meanness, the difficulties in coercing others to behave this way are laid before us. Trollope is careful to emphasise that the Archdeacon has gone overboard; is in fact betraying an understood promise when he says he will withdraw an income he knows his son depended upon when he decided to become a country gentleman. Mrs Grantly's reasoned appeal is supported by the narrator and is presented sympathetically -- and indirectly. The dialogues are cut short, the values left implicit. Because they are inhumane and unfair. Now we have Grace expliciting enacting this awe for rank in an upbeat childlike obedient manner. This is Richardson stuff. Had Trollope presented the undertow of emotional humiliation which might give such scene some reality, it would not be tiresome but as rivetting and painful as the scenes between Lily and Crosbie in the previous book or those between Lily and Johnny to come. But he doesn't. I am surprised Major Grantly did not bow over Grace's hand in the manner of Sir Charles over Harriet Byron's. Of course Trollope has more tact and carries the thing over with some grace (note the name) and dignity. Granted he would be among approved authors for the mammas and papas who paid the circulating library bill. We can trust Mr Trollope to teach our daughter right.

Still the moral is one which supports the establishment utterly. I put it to others who who like to respect Trollope as a serious artist revelant to us still today, that this scene contradicts the tenor and tendency of the Crawley and Toogood stories. Toogood and Crawley's scenes undercut this measuring of people by their rank, income, outer accoutrements. Crawley's story is one which shows us the tragedy and perversion of the human spirit which such values cause. Since earlier this week I went over this in my posting I won't repeat what I said then. In the Dobbs Broughton sequence Trollope satirises the behavior of those who measure one another by rank. He has presented in an earlier novel the story of Crosbie who sold his soul for rank and money. And we saw what he got; what he is today. He has not earned his way -- as has Johnny Eames. Mrs Van Siever we will learn is a vixen who stands at the top of this society or is treated as such by others. She seems to me to occupy the position in the novel absolutely opposed to that of Toogood. She shows us all that human beings should not be. Just of course it's exemplary too, but the dramatisation of motives is believable. There are no scenes in which codes are presented didactically in the manner of the Major Grantly-Grace Crawley scenes.

Trollope is often thought second-rate by academic and thoughtful readers today as someone who mindlessly supports the establishment. Not that there is no argument for marrying for position or that people don't, but that such a decision would be presented with all the pains and difficulties and uglinesses it carries with it. As is the Crawley story; as will be the Van Siever, Dobbs Broughton and Dalrymple and Eames-Dale story. Trollope is throughout ambivalent about many aspects of life and his character's decision. The problem here is his presentation of the Grantly story is not psychologically true to life. He evades sex especially. Grace is sexless. We are served her love for the Major's daughter once again in lieu of intense attraction. It's all so tiresome. I wonder what Thackeray would have thought of it. Probably bowed to the audience: this is what sells. In letters about his periodical Thackeray talks disparagingly of novels and one can understand why. The novels are there to sell the periodical says he. In Lily's story we have been already show that Lily still loves Crosbie as a woman, and cannot marry Johnny because she doesn't sexually desire him.

For my part the Grantly story only comes alive when Trollope is dramatising the conflict between the father and son. Trollope is fascinated by such conflicts. In his earlier books, he presents the troubles of young men such as himself who can't fit in: Charlie Tudor in The Three Clerks; in this and later books, he seems to identify more with the father. The greatness of John Caldigate is Trollope enters into the profligate son's case as strongly as the distanced deeply hurt and angry father. He is, as others have said, probably meditating his own relationship with his sons here. Thus the indirect scene between Grantly and the keeper is the best thing about the Grantly-story in this instalment, and revealingly, it is the scene which is illustrated.

Cheers to all,
Ellen Moody

Date: Wed, 02 Aug 2000 07:31:35 +0100
Subject: [trollope-l] Mr Toogood

Thanks Ellen for writing about Mr Toogood. I really enjoyed this character and he is quite the most perfect foil for Mr Crawley. Its just one of those passages that makes you feel how very good Trollope is at writing, allowing the characters to speak for themselves and conveying great ease of narrative.

Date: Thu, 03 Aug 2000 06:30:22 +0100
Subject: [trollope-l] More on Toogood

I think you are absolutely right Ellen about the Grantly/Grace proposal scene. It is one of those moments when Trollope is completely conventional.

I'm still fascinated with Mr Toogood. I remember Ellen referred to the mystery about the cheque as something of a Collins mystery. The character of Mr Toogood lends weight to that view. At first I thought he could be a character out of a Dickens novel, but as he got to grips with the problem and saw how to manage Crawley as well as possibly save him, that wonderful legal intelligence which Collins loved so much, is revealed.


Date: Thu, 03 Aug 2000 11:22:48 -0400
Reply-To: Subject: [trollope-l] More on Toogood

Part of the reason I haven't posted on this book is that I have read so far ahead that my mind is there and not on what chapters we are supposed to be reading. I certainly agree with Ellen that the scenes with Grace and Major Grantly fall short; I think both characters and their love story fall short. For me, Lily is still the heroine, and the emotional intensity is still between her and Crosbie. I think that Trollope simply has such a large cast of characters here that he can't do justice to them all. There are so many of our old recurring characters; I believe Ellen said earlier that we just get bits of them and little to remind us of how great they were in the earlier books (I am obviously using my own words here), and that is true, although I would certainly rather have snippets of them than no mention at all. And then there are the new characters and the great expansion of some existing ones and it really is a lot for AT to juggle. some of the connections between them become a bit weak, what with suddenly people being cousins to all these other people, and Lord knows what Grace was doing at the Dales. Or where Emily Dunstable came from. But no matter. I love most of these people and am glad to have the book, imperfections and strains and all. And I think he does do right by the ones that matter the most to me. Pat

Date: Thu, 3 Aug 2000 20:59:59 +0300
Subject: [trollope-l] The Last Chronicle of Barset, Chs 28-32: The Archbishop and His Son

I think that the conflict between the Archbishop and his son is less important as the usual father-son situation, and more to show up the Archbishop, how he is once again won over, how he is softened and made more humane. This is a pattern for him whenever he appears, except, of course, in his attitude to Mrs. Proudie, but then she is mostly a charicature, at least till the end.


From Joan Wall:

Probably true but I find Grace well drawn. I find her struggle with her love and her sense of what's right to be one of the minor themes after, of course, her father's problem. I fell she shows that she is her father's daughter by not giving in to the easy and taking the hard road?

and Lord knows what Grace was doing at the Dales.

I thought she was there to escape from the looks and the words of the children at Miss Prettyman's (was she a "pretty man? by taking on a man's job but yet a woman) school and also so that she would not be another financial burden on her parents. She is also a foil to Lily, who as Ellen has said presents the sexual side of love while hers is at best, scholarly.

I do agree with Angela about Mr. Toogood. He's a grand character. I felt I knew him very quickly and would like to meet him sometime, especially if I ever got into trouble and needed a lawyer. He reminds me of my lawyer here in Hillsborough who is very down to earth, knows the law well, but does not put up with some of the silly conventions that law brings. His family is also a large, happy one although not as big as Mr. Toogood's.

Joan Date: Mon, 14 Aug 2000 06:07:38 -0000 Reply-To: Subject: [trollope-l] Grace Crawley as a plot device X-MIME-Autoconverted: from quoted-printable to 8bit by id FAA29004 Thank you, Ellen, for your well-reasoned and thoughtful post about _Last Chronicle of Barset_. I agree with you - I hold Trollope to a higher standard than other 19th century writers. Your post bears re-reading and studying, because you say many things that are important for a modern reader of Trollope and his contemporaries to bear in mind. To those of my fellow readers who don't understand why I am making such a fuss about Grace Crawley, I must tell you that Ellen makes the case better than I do. One or two new points - I have already mentioned Edith Grantly, who is not even two years old when the novel begins. Why is she there? I think Edith diminished the sexual prospect of a marriage between Grace Crawley and Major Grantly. Servants not with standing, instant motherhood takes the bloom off of marriage. Grace will go from being a _sixteen year old girl_ to being a matron in one easy step. As Ellen points out, this is a _story_ we're reading here. Trollope created the characters and their situations for a reason. Why is Edith there? Does she make Grantly less threatening - more of a big brother or father figure? Would people think (even at not-quite-thirty) that Major Grantly was an odd duck to be pursuing a 16 year old girl with out having been married previously? I don't think this is a minor point. What was Trollope doing here? Also, why is Jane Crawley (Grace's sister) still alive? (I mean why does Trollope make it so.) In an earlier post, I had mentioned something about the Palliser children. There were originally two boys and two girls. Little Lady Glencora appears once, in _The Prime Minister_. She apparently dies, because in _The Duke's Children_ only Mary Palliser is left, with her two brothers. Ellen said that Mary was left as the only daughter to intensify the bond between Plantagenet and his (now) only daughter, and add an element to the struggle over Mary's desire to marry "beneath" her. I agree with Ellen - young Glencora would have been extra baggage. Trollope writes her out. In the _Last Chronicle of Barset_ we have a different scenario - Jane Crawley lives. Why Jane? Trollope has killed off two or three other Crawley children. (Interesting that he lets a boy, a son and heir, live, although this boy is largely off stage.) Jane is a loving daughter who can read ancient Greek almost as well as her older sister. Is Jane in the novel to "buffer" Grace's leaving the family? How does Jane affect the family dynamic? Trollope was a superb craftsman who hardly ever did a careless thing in writing his books. What is he up to with these girls - Grace, Jane and Edith? Catherine Crean Date: Mon, 14 Aug 2000 14:47:50 Reply-To: Subject: Re: [trollope-l] Grace Crawley as a plot device X-MIME-Autoconverted: from quoted-printable to 8bit by id NAA12427 At 06:07 AM 8/14/00 -0000, you wrote: Also, why is Jane Crawley >(Grace's sister) still alive? (I mean why does Trollope make it so.) How about so that the Major would have to go to visit at the Little House rather than at home. If the visit had been at home all sorts of complications would have arisen with Rev. Crawley that AT didn't want at that time. If Grace hadn't had a sister, she certainly would have gone home to console her mother.

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