Barchester Towers, Chapters 17 - 22
Who shall be Cock of the Walk?; The Widow's Persecution; Barchester by Moonlight; Mr. Arabin; The Genuinely Searching Religious Themes Through the Characters of Crawley and Arabin; Rambling Round St Ewold's; Quiet Scenes; The Thornes of Ullathorne; Trollope's Rhapsodies and Swoons and Tudor Windows

Jill Spriggs was starting us off at this point:

August 6-7, 1999

Subject: [trollope-l] BT_ Volume I, Chapter XVII, Who shall be Cock of the Walk?


The beleaguered bishop had been mulling over the apparent call to rebellion his chaplain had enticed him with, the previous day. He was aware that throwing off the chains of oppression would only become more difficult with time, and that it would be best to attempt an overthrow before Mrs. Proudie had mastered all the details of running the diocese. At first Dr. Proudie had thought he would be doing battle with the team of Mr. Slope and Mrs. Proudie, but the prospect of having his chaplain as an ally, was heady.

An aside; I do not understand why Mrs. Proudie would appropriate the best rooms of the house for her own use, relegating the less desirable ones for her husband. Was she so short sighted that she did not realize that by so obviously usurping her husband's glory, she was damaging any chances he had for becoming an archbishop? Her power would be limited to the diocese. She can't have thought that anything the bishop would say would have any credibility at the Home Office, realizing as they would, that Dr. Proudie was a nonentity after all. I can only surmise that Mrs. Proudie's intelligence did not keep pace with her ambition. In the middle of the nineteenth century, her best chances for power came through her husband, and by making his henpecked status apparent to all, she would cause his advancement to cease at the borders of the close of Barchester. She could have taken a lesson from Susan Grantly.

While Dr. Proudie was mulling over the potential pleasures of freedom from spousal tyranny, a note came from a servant of Dr. Grantly's asking if the bishop would be willing to see the archdeacon the next day at any hour he might name. The bishop's first reaction was to ring for Mr. Slope, but when that divine proved to be not in the house, Dr. Proudie dared to make the appointment. Reassured that the servant escaped the premises unmolested, the bishop basked in the warmth of unaccustomed autonomy. The next day he would tell Dr. Grantly " ... that Mr. Harding should have the appointment, or that he should not have it." (OUP Barchester Towers, ed. Sadleir and Page, p. 158) However, purely as a matter of courtesy, he should inform his wife that Mr. Harding was to be the new warden, hoping to mollify her with a promise that Mr. Quiverful should receive the first living in his gift, that should come open.

It is one thing to meditate rebellion, and quite another to carry it out. Dr. Proudie could not have done it more ineptly. He should have consulted with Mr. Slope on the best tack to take, but flush with self confidence, Dr. Proudie decided to beard the lioness in her den. Seeing his wife in an ill humor from the travails of balancing the accounts (oh, well do I know that feeling!), and surrounded by her female offspring, the bishop should have beat a hasty retreat. Of course the battle was lost, and the male of the species slunk from the room in ignominy. To make matters worse, he undercut his best ally by telling his wife, " ' Mr. Slope seems to think ...' " (p. 161) which only antagonized his spouse more. Infuriated by the decampment of her former partisan, Mrs. Proudie firmly put her recalcitrant husband in his place, and vowed revenge against the traitor.

Dr. Proudie " ... began to consider that he might, not improbably, be detained in his room the next morning by an attack of bile. He was, unfortunately, very subject to bilious annoyances." (p. 161) Also, annoyances of other natures!

Upon his return, Mr. Slope learned what had transpired in his absence. Apparently the disaster would be irretrievable. He must make the best of it. The chaplain settled for planting the seed of future rebellion: " ... he was quite sure that if the bishop trusted to his own judgment things in the diocese would certainly be well ordered. Mr. Slope knew that if you hit a nail on the head often enough, it will penetrate at last." (p.162)

As Mr. Slope relaxed in his room after dinner, Mrs. Proudie arrived to remonstrate with her wayward chaplain. Mr. Slope was surprised when the first subject she chose was his friendship with the Signora Neroni. When the surprised Slope protested that he had only given her dinner, Mrs. Proudie revealed her spy network by informing him that she was aware of the fact that he had been calling upon the Signora since the reception. Mrs. Proudie was pushing her chaplain rather hard; he indignantly considered breaking with her there and then. The instinct for self preservation prevailed, and he merely assured her that " ... the lady in question is nothing to me." (p. 164)

Mrs. Proudie then accused Mr. Slope of getting above himself. With difficulty he controlled himself, as the would-be bishopess told him, " ' If you will take my advice, ... you will be careful not to obtrude advice upon the bishop in any matter touching patronage. If his lordship wants advice, he knows where to look for it.' " (p. 164)

The would not be room for both Slope and Mrs. Proudie in Barchester Close. One must be quelled. The winner may be easily surmised.

Jill Spriggs

Subject: [trollope-l] BT, Volume I, Chapter XVIII The Widow's Persecution

From: Mr. Slope expected to receive a dressing down from the bishop when he went to see him early the next morning, but instead he found him " ... in the most placid and gentlest of humors." (OUP Barchester Towers, ed. Sadleir and Page, p. 165) With a conciliating manner, he asked Slope to see Archdeacon Grantly when he came, inform of his regrets that he was not well, and to tell him " ... in the civilest words in which the tidings could be conveyed, that Mr. Harding having refused the wardenship, the appointment had been offered to Mr. Quiverful and accepted by him." (p. 166)

When Mr. Slope objected, he was warned by a motion of the bishop's that their conversation was being monitored. While Mrs. Proudie would not lower herself to listening at the keyhole (with such an awkward scene if someone should open the door!), she did sit at a spot calculated to maximize her listening potential. However, she could not see the nonverbal conspiratorial air between the two.

Mr. Slope would not have the chore of giving that unwelcome message to Dr. Grantly. He expected, and he was correct, that the archdeacon would refuse to see him. In an angry mood, Dr. Grantly sought his father-in-law, and found him at the home of Mrs. Bold. When Mr. Harding sought to excuse the bishop's plea of illness, Dr. Grantly dismissed the possibility. When Mrs. Bold sought to ameliorate his anger, the archdeacon turned upon her. " ' I tell you what, Eleanor; it will be much better for you if you will allow yourself to be guided also by the advice of those who are your friends. If you do not, you will be apt to find that you have no friends left who can advise you.' " (p. 169)

Eleanor felt she had been accused of indecorous conduct, and she was hurt when her most sincere partisan, her father, did not leap to her defense. After letting the archdeacon know that she did not credit his accusation, she left the two alone.

Mr. Harding was lost in misery. The prospect of losing his daughter to so distasteful a suitor was painful indeed, and the archdeacon lost no energy on making this prospect less so. The precentor would never cast his beloved daughter off. He would have to bear sharing a table with that nasty Slope. The two unhappy men left Mrs. Bold's home to discuss matters at greater length, out of doors.

Mr. Harding told Dr. Grantly about Mr. Slope's last visit to his daughter, and the implied promise of the wardenship. The archdeacon immediately saw the motive behind this visit: " ' He thinks to buy the daughter by providing for the father. He means to show how powerful he is, how good he is, and how much he is willing to do for her beaux yeaux; yes, I see it all now.' " (p. 171) For the first time Dr. Grantly thought it might be better if Mr. Harding did not get the wardenship, if he was to get it under such terms.

But not without one last fight. Archdeacon Grantly wrote to Dr. Proudie, deploring his "illness", then setting forth the reasons why Mr. Harding should receive the wardenship of Hiram's Hospital. Mr. Harding was to go to Plumstead for a visit the next day, taking his daughter to remove her from the pernicious presence of Mr. Slope. Mr. Arabin would also be arriving for a month's visit; much would depend on him.

Eleanor, relieved by the more civil tone her brother-in-law was taking, agreed to the visit, a day later. She was going to take tea the next day with the Stanhopes.

Jill Spriggs

Subject: [trollope-l] BT, Volume I, Chapter XIX, Barchester by Moonlight


Ellen has already shared with us some of the more lyrical qualities of this chapter, and I have to agree with her comment that someone who does not like descriptive writing, does not like reading. I found myself picturing the Stanhopes, Eleanor and Mr. Slope strolling in the silvery moonlight, the soft summer evening breezes caressing them. I did like to imagine Bertie in his sky blue silk suit, although I realize that was scarcely likely. Once again we were reminded of the inner hollowness of the Stanhopes with AT's comment:

"When tea was over Charlotte went to the open window and declared loudly that the full harvest moon was much too beautiful to be disregarded, and called them all to look at it. To tell the truth, there was but one there who cared much about the moon's beauty, and that one was not Charlotte; but she knew how valuable an aid to her purpose the chaste goddess might become, and could easily create a little enthusiasm for the purpose of the moment." (OUP Barchester Towers, ed. Sadleir and Page, p. 181)

When it comes right down to it, both the Stanhopes and Mr. Slope were possessed of unfeeling hearts. At least the Stanhopes did not derive their contentment from exercising power over others. Their own animal comforts seemed to be their only fundamental concern. Mr. Slope, OTOH, was only content as the universally acknowledged deity, the only person qualified to elucidate the Almighty's views on any subject, with the power to consign any opposition to perdition. All would have viewed the death of little Johnny Bold unmoved. But I find it hard to believe that any of the Stanhopes would coo cloyingly over the infant, as the Reverend Slope did.

Dr. Stanhope was introduced to the family plan for marriage as the solution to Bertie's pecuniary problems, at the breakfast table. He had received the mail before Charlotte had a chance to intercept any disagreeable communications, and he found bills of which he could not approve. A large bill for six months' clothing, most of which was for Madeline, first caught his eye. Then an even larger bill for money borrowed by his son, spurred him to the closest thing to fury of which he was capable. Not much of the money borrowed had Bertie received in actual cash; much went to a commission paid to the lender, and the rest to merchandise useless to him, thus the "paving-stones and rocking-horses" of which Bertie spoke.

Charlotte reminded me of the Harrels in Burney's _Cecilia_ when she commented, in response to her father's question wondering how a clergyman's son could get into such a scrape; " ' I don't see why clergymen's sons should pay their debts more than other young men.' " This line of thinking (the cavalier attitude of the upper classes to debt) was more common in Burney's writing than in Trollope's.

Dr. Stanhope was mollified when told of Bertie's designs upon the Widow Bold, and even offered to offset some of his debts " ... if he saw a certainty of his son's securing for himself anything like a decent provision in life." (p. 179)

I much enjoyed Mr. Slope's discomfiture when he entered the drawing room of the Stanhopes, to find Mrs. Bold already there. Did he note the apparent absence of jealousy in the widow? And the presence of the lady, certainly did cramp the would-be Lothario's style. The Signora Neroni greeted Mr. Slope with the confidence of the acknowledged belle of the room, but the cleric was uncomfortably aware that it would be difficult to advance his cause with the widow, while flirting with the cripple. He need not have worried. Mrs. Bold was busy being captivated by the very charming Bertie Stanhope.

For the romantic walk around the close to take place, Charlotte knew that she must appropriate the services of Mr. Slope. Mrs. Bold was not likely to agree to a tete a tete stroll in the moonlight with Bertie. Seeing the intentions of her sister, Madeline relinquished the company of her captive, not without an internal struggle. Mr. Slope was unwillingly dragged along, even more disgruntled when he saw his arm was to be taken by the Spinster Stanhope and not by the Winsome Widow. Charlotte saw to it that she and Mr. Slope walked more quickly than the other couple, giving them time for private conversation. To Mr. Slope's (and Mrs. Bold's) discomfort, the spot she chose to stop and wait for the other two, was at " ... the bridge just at the edge of the town, from which passers-by can look down into the gardens of Hiram's Hospital ... " . (p 183) Was Charlotte really unaware of the turbulence surrounding the appointment of the wardenship, or was she intent upon making Slope look bad, and tormenting him a little, into the bargain? Mrs. Bold declined to answer Charlotte's questions, but when she and Bertie again drew away from the other two, she explained the situation to him. Bertie's response was interesting: " ' Take my word for it, ... your father is right. If I am not very much mistaken, that man is both arrogant and false.' " (p. 184) Whereas, the Stanhopes were not arrogant, only false.

Mr. Slope soon forgot his compunctions in a delicious whispered conversation with the Signora, while Charlotte busied herself with domestic tasks, and Bertie again conversed with Eleanor. She had enjoyed her evening very much, but the chaplain found himself suffering the pangs of jealousy as he accompanied Bertie Stanhope in escorting Mrs. Bold to her door. And it seems to me she had not thought of her precious baby all evening!

Jill Spriggs

Subject: [trollope-l] BT, Volume I, Chapter XX, Mr. Arabin


August 9, 1999

At last we meet someone we have heard so much about, who we will meet again in future novels.

While Francis Arabin was not the doddering elderly man Griselda Grantly considered him, he was no spring chicken either. Forty is an advanced age to be commencing with the business of life, and the Reverend Arabin himself suspected he was getting a rather late start, climbing the ladder of diocesan success. He had planned a life as an Oxford fellow; indeed, regarded himself as so settled a celibate, that he at one time, in his impetuous youth, had considered becoming a priest in the Roman Catholic church. For a time he left the university, to wrestle with his personal demons, and come to a determination about his future life. During his sabbatical at a remote village in rural England, he met " ... a poor curate of a small Cornwall parish," (OUP Barchester Towers, ed. Sadleir and Page, p. 190) who provided the intellectual stimulation he craved, and persuaded him that the comfort he sought, of having all his religious tenets dictated to him, was a self indulgent, indeed, even unchristian way of doing things. This was, of course, the Reverend Mr. Crawley, of whom we shall hear much more in future volumes.

Mr. Arabin had been tempered by his battle with self doubt, into a finely honed instrument for the Church of England. Dr. Gwynne, relieved that this potential fall-away had seen the light, made his former protege again "the pet of the college". (p. 191) Refreshed by the resolution of his time of turmoil, Mr. Arabin " ... became known as a man always ready at a moment's notice to take up the cudgels in opposition to anything that savoured of an evangelical bearing. He was great in sermons, great on platforms, great at after dinner conversations, and always pleasant as well as great." (p. 191) This was no self righteous prig. Mr. Arabin was a person who " ... could appreciate by a keener sense than that of his ears the success of his wit, and would see in the eyes of his auditory whether or no he was understood and appreciated." (p. 187) But that there was wit and humor in his conversation, there could be no doubt.

Women had played small parts in his life, before Mr. Arabin arrived at St. Ewold's. He had regarded himself as permanently a bachelor, as required by his fellowship at Oxford. Those of the gentler sex were not worth the trouble to engage in a serious conversation; he regarded them as "little more than children". (p. 192) Soon he would realize the error of these opinions.

Mr. Arabin arrived the day before Mr. Harding and Mrs. Bold, so he had a chance to meet the Grantlys and settle in before their arrival. The Grantly girls dismissed him as not measuring up to a certain violet gloved cleric that had caught their fancies. Mrs. Grantly was also unimpressed, commenting to her husband " ... that one person's swans were very often another person's geese". (p. 193) Mr. Arabin was offended at hearing his favorite spoken of so disparagingly; Susan clarified herself: " ' All I mean is, that having passed one evening with him, I don't find him to be absolutely a paragon. In the first place, if I am not mistaken, he is a little inclined to be conceited.' " (p. 193)

Dr. Grantly differed in his opinion. The couple went to bed, each convinced of his/her correctness.

I did enjoy the perceptiveness of our author's narratorial diversion:

"Mr. Arabin, as he stood at his open window, enjoying the delicious moonlight [the same moonlight which was beaming on our nocturnal walkers!] and gazing at the gray towers of the church, which stood almost within the rectory grounds, little dreamed that he was the subject of so many friendly criticisms. Considering how much we all are given to discuss the characters of others, and discuss them often not in the strictest spirit of charity, it is singular how little we are inclined to think that others can speak ill-naturedly of us, and how angry and hurt we are when proof reaches us that they have done so. It is hardly too much to say that we all of us occasionally speak of our dearest friends in a manner of which those dearest friends would very little like to hear themselves mentioned; and that we nevertheless expect that our dearest friends shall invariably speak of us as though they were blind to all our faults, but keenly alive to all our virtues." (pp. 194 - 195)

So true! So true!

Mr. Arabin was so accustomed to a solitary life, that he could not imagine a network of neighborhood spies, interested in all he might do, and unhesitatingly commenting on every aspect of his person. He did yearn for a home and family, but he suspected that he was getting too late a start to be able to earn an income sufficient for these luxuries. These considerations did not seem to impede the Reverend Crawley, or for that matter, the Reverend Quiverful. But Francis Arabin was basically a pragmatic man, and he had to admit

" ... he was sighing for ... the allotted share of worldly bliss, which a wife, and children, and happy home could give him, for that usual amount of comfort which he had ventured to reject as unnecessary for him, he did now feel he would have been wiser to have searched." (p. 196)

And his slenderstate of finances were only his fault, because he had friends willing enough to put promotions in his way.

" He was content to be a high churchman, if he could be so on principles of his own, and could strike out a course showing a marked difference from those with whom he consorted. He was ready to be a partisan as long as he was allowed to have a course of action and of thought unlike that of his party. His party had indulged him and he began to feel that his party was right and himself wrong, just when such a conviction was too late to be of service to him." (p. 197)

In spite of all his regrets for the way not taken, Francis Arabin was still a pleasant man, and a sparkling presence at the dining room table. But, alone in his room, he was melancholy and lonely.

Take heart, Rev. Arabin! It is not too late!

Jill Spriggs

August 10, 2001

Re: Barchester Towers, Chs 20-25: The Religious Theme

This book does not cease to amaze me this time round: the tone is one of such strong high spirits, at times sheer delightful or playful fun, and yet its subject at least swirls around the problem of religious faith and doubts how people behave as a result of that faith and those doubts. We actually get three new wonderful characters -- wonderful in the sense of really pleasing, two of whom are meant to amuse us in somewhat of the same way the Stanhopes do. I think Trollope no more 'approves' of the genealogical, political, and Druidical (with a strong dollop of Scott) absurdities of the Ullathornes than he does of the amorality of the Stanhopes: in both cases though he exaggerates and presents the types in lights which invite us to enjoy them thoroughly. 'The Thornes of Ullathorne' provides as much satiric release as the 'The Stanhope Family: Trollope has especial fun over earlier authors who have helped form the outlook of his brilliant variant on Fielding's Squire Western and Scott's Ullrica.

Arabin is somewhat different: we love him because Trollope leads us inside his mind deeply to sympathise with him. All his quandaries, his 'choice of life', his behaviors have none of them come from a desire to triumph over other people by putting them down, owning more than they, controlling them, showing off his powers or luxurious goods or status in order to make himself feel good about himself (and that is always an emotion dependent on the sense others are beneath you). No. These have come from a real desire to think seriously about religious faith, and how to live so as to be sure he is on 'the right path' or doing the right thing. While intent upon such matters, it is natural that the worldly successes and objects others have been heaping up -- high position, big salary, wife, children, comfortable drawing room and dry wine cellar, groups of congenial associates and friends who admire you -- must be foregone (Penguin Barchester Towers_ ed RGilmour, Ch 20, p 178). We're told he did not get a high degree because he didn't study with the purpose of getting one. He was 'not studious within prescribed limits' (p. 168). Going off to commune with one's books, one's idea of God, and one's memories on the coast of Cornwall led him to understand the egotism and fallacies of his extremely High Church yearnings; thank you Jill for catching that first reference to the Rev Crawley. I wouldn't have noticed it, and it is the kind of ambiguous thread which is not knotted and when picked up in Framley Parsonage makes people wonder if Trollope didn't plan the series ahead. I think not. Novelists often put in opening they may or may not return to; Trollope certainly did return to Crawley as the man who remained true to the unworldly quest. The general shaping of the character in this chapter is meant to make us identify with the man who has made some choices whose consequences are not all that pleasant, mean loss, some of them in the real world permanent loss. In the real world Arabin would probably not have met such an eligible beautiful rich young Widow. But that just makes us warm to the character all the more. He will retrieve what many of us cannot quite retrieve.

So our eyes are kept on the larger pattern we can identify with. Yet those struggles are central to a novel about religious wars either between individuals or ideas about how to run the institutions said to make concrete or sustain people in religious faith. A great many of the beautifully written passages tracing Mr Arabin's inner life -- doubtless with that tone of detached irony that pervades this book --refer us quite seriously to the battles between those who could accept the 39 articles and those who couldn't (a serious issue for Victorians), those who wanted more ritual, more authority, more intellectualisation which permitted an exploration of the real world science was discovering, and those who wanted to remain with the literal words of the Bible, turn inward to some conscience of their own, look to emotions not thoughts or demonstrations through reason. Trollope did go into these things rather specfically in The Bertrams, and has other characters who have troubles with this or that aspect of belief (Harry Clavering says he does, Julius Mackenzie did, and there are other scattered infidels here and there -- Mr Brattle comes to mind). Mullen talks of his interest in religious controversies of the time and reading therein. What's remarkable here is how Trollope keeps the discussion within the framework of his fiction so it feeds into the wars between the Grantly-Gwynne factions and the Proudie-Slope ones.

We are to take Mr Arabin seriously: when he returns from Cornwall, he has to 'recover the tone of his mind' (p. 172). Gradually he begins to see his way to using his own conflicts to carving a space for himself in the world he must find his bread and butter, house, and friends in (dinners, sermonisings, committees on reform), and he becomes a man who will eventually have a worldly success, without losing his original genuine impulse towards a quest for understanding the deeper realities of his time. He can hold his own dialogue with Eleanor because he has been willing to behave in ways others in his world understand:

'"I never saw anything like you clergymen", said Eleanor; "you are always thinking of fighting each other".

"Either that", said he, "or else supporting each other. The pity is that we cnanot do the one without the other. But are we not here to fight? Is not ours a church militant? What is all our work but fighting and hard fighting if it be well done?

"But not with each other".

"That's as may be. THe same complaint which you make of me for battling with another clergyman of our own Church, the Mohammedan would make against me for battling with the error of a priest of Rome. Yet, surely, you would not be inclined to say that I should be wrong to do battle with such as him. A pagan, too, with his multiplicity of gods would think it equally odd that the Christian and the Mohammedan should disagree".

"Ah! but you wage your wards about trifles so bitterly"

"War about trifles", said he, "are always bitter, especially among neighbours. When the differences are great, and the parties comparative strangers, men quarrel with courtesy. What combatants are ever so eager as two brothers?" (Ch 21, pp. 183-84).

The modern reader is attracted to the comment which can be used to talk about our secular lives: wars about small manners between people who fundamentally agree are often bitter, partly because both allow their deep caring about the matter to be laid plain so ego becomes involved. Yet Trollope has Arabin go on to argue that controversy within the church is health; it is a long paragraph against the notion of infallibility for any church or church official or doctrine and for self-examination (pp. 183-84). Trollope's Arabin subscribes to another famous 17th century poetic passage (how interesting it is so much in this novel seems to return us to the 17th century conflicts over church and faith):

..... doubt wisely; in a strange way
To stand inquiring right is not to stray;
To sleepe, or runne wrong, is. On a huge hill,
Cragged and steep, Truth stands, and hee that will
Reach her, about must, and about must goe ...
('from John Donne, "Satyre: Of Religion")

There are lots of little half-jokes that come out of the religous themes of the book. We are told that when the Archdeacon is gone away, endlessly examining the floors, ceilings, walls, drainage (and doubtless earth closets) of Mr Arabin's new home,

"'Mr Harding began telling them in the most innocent manner imaginable an old legend about Mr Arabin's new parish. There was, he said, in days of yore, an illustrious priestess of St Ewold, famed through the whole country for curing all manner of diseases. She had a well, as all priestesses have ever had, which well was extant to this day ,and share din the minds of many of the people the sanctity which belonged to the consecrated ground of the parish church. Mr Arabin declared that he should look on such tenets on the part of his parishioners as anything but orthodox. And Mrs Grantly replied that she so enteirly disagreed with him as to think that no parish was in a proper state that had not its preistess as well as its priest. "The duties are never well done", said she, "unless they are so divided" (Ch 21, p 182).

Of course the allusion is to a wife for Mr Arabin, but the games about druidical practices (so to speak) come out of the pattern of imagery and concerns Trollope is really on about in this book, and spill over into the fun we have with the Ullathornes, where Monica (we must not let the name be ruined because of the present famous possessor of it) Thorne certainly holds sway. Mrs Proudie, is referred to by Mrs Grantly in the same terms: "They do say that there is a priestess at Barchester who is very imperioud in all thing touching the altar" (p. 182).

How playful and light all this feels; yet its roots go deep into history, feeling, thought -- superstition too. Trollope would probably not be able to treat the popular seances of the period which testifies to deep unease so comfortably. Here is, however, no fraud; in his way Slope is sincere about his faith -- and certainly about his desire to climb high in the world through using that faith and its institutional positions.

Like Jill I loved the beauty of the way Arabin too was woven into the Barchester moonlight; we are told he is a melancholy, and has been a lonely figure, and we see in company he doesn't do all that well with the ladies -- except of course La Signora Neroni who knows what counts in such a man, the inner life and body, not the diffident manners. Yet here he will be swept up into the distancing comic pattern of the book. William Cadbury in his essay on this book says the chapter which introduces Arabin is different from all the others in the book because it so goes inside him. I differ and think Trollope goes inside many of the characters; and then moves away, placing them in the pattern, so the effect is to enjoy the outside but remember the deeper veins of emotion and thought within.

It is revealing that Trollope never names that curate from Cornwall to whom Mr Arabin returns yearly. The not naming allowed Trollope the flexibility of dropping him, while the pointed nature of the description of the curate's high intellect and place (Cornwall is itself so lovely a retreat) holds him in a kind of imaginary closet from which Trollope could pull him out later if he was needed.

Cheers to all

[trollope-l] The Stanhopes

From:, Phoebe Wray

The Stanhopes are refreshing. Partly it's that *what you see is what you get.* Oh, the demi-monde is devious, but we all see through that and probably most people around her would, too. Our dear Mr Harding and the archdeacon and Arabin and Slope, et al, are so busy questioning and manipulating and second-guessing themselves and others that they forget to look up to see if the sun is shining.

Stanhopes are spontaneous, and when they appear is seems someone has opened a window to let sun and the breeze into the pretty but stuffy room.

We don't hear much about Mr Stanhope. Trollope seems intent that we should know the siblings.

Arabin, too, as an Outsider (though soon to be in-fighter) brings a fresh pov. For all his monkish life style, he is a tender and sometimes spontaneous man.

The chapters coming up -- I couldn't wait -- are painful, if lovely.

Phoebe Wray

Subject: [trollope-l] BT: Living in the Material World

From: John Mize

I found Eleanor and Arabin's religious discussion interesting in that Arabin really fails to answer Eleanor's objection to the war between the Grantly and the Slope supporters. Eleanor objects to the conflict, because she doesn't see any doctrinal dispute between Grantly and Slope. As she sees it, the fight is ostensibly over style and ceremony, but it is really over power. Both Grantly and Slope want to be in charge, and each refuses to bow to the other. The bishop is weak, and someone will necessarily control him. The question is whether it will be Grantly, Slope or Mrs. Proudie, since Mrs. Proudie has no intention of becoming a loyal member of the Slope dynasty.

Trollope does seem to see a doctrinal dispute between Grantly and Slope. Their main quarrel is over the proper attitude of a Christian to the material world. Is the world completely evil? Should we deny our appetites, mortify our flesh and wait patiently for Heaven, or should we enjoy God's gifts in this life while expecting still greater gifts in the life to come? Slope is for asceticism, in theory if not always in practice, while Grantly is for enjoying life on earth.

In some ways this distinction is based on class. The poor don't have the same opportunity to enjoy material blessings as do the rich. The poor have to wait for heavenly blessings, while the rich are doing all right now. In the late 19th and early 20th century many American Protestant ministers preached the gospel of wealth. They taught that the pursuit of wealth was good and that God granted wealth to good, moral people. William Lawrence, the Episcopal bishop of Massachusetts around the turn of the century, went so far as to claim that the growing prosperity of the US was making the nation holier and more Christ-like. I suspect Lawrence's bible omitted the Book of Job. Of course the gospel of wealth ministers encouraged their people to use their wealth to do good and to emulate Andrew Carnegie. Jesus may have been a good model for shepherds, fisherman and other nobodies back in the dim, unenlightened, pre-capitalist past, but when it comes to modern, up-to-date Christianity, Carnegie is the boy.

Grantly reminds me a little of the gospel of wealth crowd. He has no interest in ascetism, and it seems natural to him that God should give good things to good people. The younger Arabin was something of an ascetic, but he now seems to be moving in Grantly's direction.

John Mize

Subject: [trollope-l] BT, Volume II, Chapter II (XXI) St. Ewold's Parsonage

August 11, 1999


In the beginning of the chapter, Trollope told us there was not much sympathy between the sisters Eleanor Bold and Susan Grantly due to their disparity in ages, and it made me think of the differences we see in relationships between sisters in Trollope's novels, and those of Austen. In Austen, of course we have Jane and Elizabeth Bennet, and Marianne and Elinor Dashwood. I have been trying to remember sisters who are close in Trollope, and for the life of me I cannot remember a one. When we see the lap burying of blushing faces so many of us of the female gender have deplored, it generally seems to be between mother and daughter, not sister and sister. Ellen, do you remember some sisters in Trollope who are close in the way Jane Austen's fictional sisters were?

Susan Grantly was confident and self assured in the way only mothers with children who have not yet defied them, can be. Eleanor Bold, while she certainly did not lack self confidence in the mothering of her infant, still must have had some apprehensions about raising her boy without a father. But it seems to me that the sisters related best, as mothers. Susan was not behindhand in her praise of the infant "with true sisterly energy" (OUP Barchester Towers, ed. Sadleir and Page, p. 16), But I suspect that Susan, like many oldest sisters (being one, I feel entitled to agree with the common assertion), might have inclined to be a bit imperious with her younger sibling. Susan longed to know if Eleanor was attracted to Mr. Slope, but lacking the courage to ask her outright, she chose the circuitous method of finding out, by verbally abusing the man. And Eleanor reacted as many younger sisters do, to assertions by their older sisters (even if they do agree with them) by disputing this assertion. This unfortunately had the result of confirming Susan's suspicion; only an avowed partisan could be so energetic in defending the odious man. When, in describing the party at the Stanhopes, Eleanor let slip that Mr. Slope had been one of the party, Susan's suspicion apparently had been confirmed. Had Eleanor not insisted that Mr. Slope was not to be included? Teasingly, Susan proposed, " ' Why Eleanor, he must be very fond of you, I think; he seems to follow you everywhere.' " (p. 199) Eleanor, aware that all Mr. Slope's attentions seemed to be directed at the Signora Neroni, responded only with a laugh, which only added fuel to Susan's surmises.

When told of the exchange, Archdeacon Grantly was sure that Eleanor had lied to him, intending to meet her chosen lover under cover of a visit to the Stanhopes. He made it clear to his wife that no wife of Mr. Slope's would be welcome in his home. Susan hoped it was not yet a fait accompli. Perhaps an extended visit at Plumstead Episcopi would wean Eleanor from her "fatal passion" (p. 200).

The first evening the group spent together, passed uneventfully. Mr. Arabin discussed his new parish with Dr. Arabin, Mr. Harding and Susan Grantly joining in. Eleanor was largely silent, and did not intend to take any pains to ingratiate herself with any good friend of her bossy brother-in-law. Alone in her room that night, Eleanor mused how much more lively an evening at the Stanhopes would have been. Mr. Arabin apparently had a more positive impression of Eleanor:

" ... he did not go to bed without feeling that he had been in the company of a very pretty woman; and as is such the case with most bachelors, and some married men, regarded the prospect of a month's visit at Plumstead in a pleasanter light, when he learnt that a very pretty woman was to share it with him." (p. 201)

The next morning was to be devoted to checking out the new parsonage, and what repairs would be necessary before Mr. Arabin would wish to move in. The women would offer such wisdom they, as homemakers, would have at their fingertips. Fortunately for the enjoyment of the group, Dr. Grantly made the trip outside, on the box with the driver. Susan, Mr. Harding, Mr. Arabin and Eleanor chatted comfortably, the younger sister enjoying her conversation with the new pastor

"in spite of his black cloth" (p. 201) Mr. Harding shared an old story about " ... an illustrious priestess of St. Ewold, famed through the whole country for curing all manner of diseases. She had a well, as all priestesses have ever had, which well was extant to this day, and shared in the minds of many of the people the sanctity which belonged to the consecrated ground of the parish church." (p. 201)

Mr. Arabin made the conventional response that he found such superstitions to be of irreverent, but Susan, willfully misunderstanding him, argued that " ... no parish was in a proper state that had not its priestess as well as its priest.

'The duties are never well done,' said she, ' unless they are so divided.' " (p. 202)

Sounds a bit like Mrs. Grantly had something in common with Mrs. Proudie in regarding as essential the function they played in their husbands' work. Of course, Susan Grantly did her work in a more low key way. Eleanor perceptively commented on this concept:

" ' I suppose ... that in olden times the priestess bore all the sway herself. Mr. Arabin, perhaps, thinks that such might be too much the case now if a sacred lady were admitted within the parish.' "

And Mr. Arabin proved himself ready to do his part in the exchange of banter:

" ' I think at any rate ... that it is safer to run no such risk. No priestly pride has ever exceeded that of sacerdotal females. A very lowly curate I might, perhaps, essay to rule; but a curatess would be sure to get the better of me.' " (p. 202)

When the archdeacon rejoined the party, they lapsed again into dull respectability. Dr. Grantly was full of "wounded roofs and walls" (p. 202), carefully surveying each nook and cranny of his friend's home-to-be.

I would like to make a brief digression to comment on the British way of referring to clumps of trees as "timber". It has always seemed odd to me; I would never dream of referring to the little copse of trees at the rear of my back yard, as "timber". It sounds as if the verdure only has meaning as potential income to be derived from their harvest. To me, as an American, timber is something you plan to cut down and sell. A woods is something you cultivate purely for sensual enjoyment. Different ways of seeing things, I guess.

What brought this digression on, was AT's reference to the trees between the parsonage of St. Ewold's, and Barchester Cathedral, as "timber". In any case, it did make the prospect from the window of Mr. Arabin's study(or office, or den, or library)-to-be, delightful. Mr. Arabin predictably regarded the view as being conducive to his combative plans, and Eleanor, tired of the incessant strife her father had already been a victim of, asked why supposedly holy men should always be at each others' throats, and why so bitterly, over such trifles.

" ' War about trifles ... are always bitter, especially among neighbors. When the differences are great, and the parties comparative strangers, men quarrel with courtesy. What combatants are so eager as two brothers?' " (p. 204)

Eleanor pointed out that such battles over such trivialities reflect badly on their church. Mr. Arabin shared what possibly was the most significant thing he had learned from his friend, Mr. Crawley.

" ' More scandal would fall upon the church if there were no such contentions. We have but one way to avoid them -- that of acknowledging a common head of our church, whose word on all points of doctrine shall be authoritative. Such a termination of our difficulties is alluring enough. It has charms which are irresistible to many, and all but irresistible, I own, to me. ... What you say is partly true; our contentions do bring on us some scandal. The outer world, though it constantly reviles us for our human infirmities, and throws in our teeth the fact that being clergymen we are still no more than men, demands of us that we should do our work with godlike perfection. ... Grant that there are and have been no bickerings within the pale of the Pope's Church. Such an assumption would be utterly untrue; but let us grant it, and then say which church has incurred the heavier scandals.' " (p. 204 - 205)

This was a new kind of conversation, to Eleanor. Used to hear clerical disputes all her life, this was the first that did not have as a hidden base the desire for power or money. The novelty, and intellectual stimulation, were heady stuff.

Mr. Arabin had apparently begun thinking out loud. He was pondering the seductiveness of being

" ' ... a writer for newspapers, or a leading member of the opposition -- to thunder forth accusations against men in power: to show up the worst side of everything that is produced; to pick holes in every coat; to be indignant, sarcastic, jocose, moral, or supercilious; to damn with faint praise, or crush with open calumny! What can be so easy as this when the critic has to be responsible for nothing!' " (p. 206)

I am reminded of what I think was a similar soliloquy by Mr. Monk in one of the Phineas Finn books, about the joys of being in the opposition.

Eleanor was a bit dismayed by the heat of the monologue she had just spurred, and apologized for seeming to criticize, saying she had been thinking of the ill will rife in the diocese just then. They were distracted by the archdeacon's loudly deploring the state of the cellar;

" ' It would be murder to put a bottle of wine into until it has been roofed, walled, and floored.' " (p. 207)

Talk of descending from the celestial to the terrestrial!

It was becoming apparent to the Grantly's that much would have to be done to make the parsonage habitable. The kitchen needed a new grate, and even worse, the dining room apparently was a very awkward square shape. Mr. Harding unwisely suggested remedying the problem by purchasing a round dining table, an innovation Dr. Grantly abhorred, as smacking of democracy. "He imagined that dissenters and calico-printers chiefly used them, and perhaps a few literary lions more conspicuous for their wit than their gentility." (p. 208) The flaw could be remedied by adding six feet to the end of the room by knocking out a wall of the house. Mr. Arabin, made uneasy by the prospect of bills which he could not pay, declined the honor of a rectangular dining room, promising to purchase no round dining tables. With the exception of enlarging the dining room, Dr. and Mrs. Grantly were gratified to find that all their suggestions would be acted upon by the new vicar of St. Ewold's parish.

Jill Spriggs

Re: Barchester Towers, Ch 21: Rambling Round St Ewold's

Jill has asked if I can think of any sisters in Trollope who are as close as the sisters in Austen. I would say that sisters as depicted in Austen include a couple of pairs that are unusually close and loving or interdependent in any period: Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, and Elizabeth and Jane Bennet. Maybe Trollope's Lily and Bell Dale? Austen also depicts close women friendships where the pairs are loving but can have conflicts that are unresolvable: Emma and Harriet. How about Lady Mason and Mrs Orme who grow to love one another and we are told remained close correspondents all the rest of their lives? Closer to the Trollopian norm are pairs like Catherine Morland and Eleanor Tilney or Anne Elliot and Sophia Crofts, sisters-in-law to be. I can think of pairs of women, some of whom are sisters and sisters-in-law who are as close as we are led to think these sisters-in-law will become: Fanny and Lucy Robarts (who becomes Lucy Lufton); Mary Thorne and Beatrice Gresham (though the latter betrays Mary); Lady Glen and Alice and later Lady Glen and Marie. Still I have to say it's not that common -- Trollope does show some close brother-sister and mother-daughter relationships. Maybe this has to do with his being a man. The Brontes who were themselves an intensely bonded family present female friendships as central to life.

Jill mentions the English use of the word timber in this chapter; her American parsing of it resembles mine. Did others notice that we also had another survey of rooms in a house and all sorts of rooms named? Not only rooms, but things to be used in rooms: the grate in the kitchen, whether to have a democratic round table. Mr Harding offers the idea that the reason people have round tables is these fit easier into smaller rooms. Archdeacon Grantly goes through the house with all the energy of a realtor intent upon asking a high price after the place is improved. Trollope does have fun with his lack of a sense of humor, his pragmaticism, and the way he looks at the world through his own eyes as if that is the way everyone sees it. Since it would not make a dent in the Archdeacon's income to throw out a wall here, adding half a floor there, and simply replacing floors and ceilings where 'necessary', he assumes Arabin will of course want to do these things. I thought the joke was also on how Grantly assumed to do these things is just the easiest thing in the world. Like waving a wand. I remember a place in Austen's S&S where she mocks the mother who thinks how easy it will be to widen the stairwell here and throw out a wall or window there. Arabin's response also reminds me of Edmund Bertram's hesitation before Henry Crawford's plans for improving his parsonage.

I like the way Trollope is allowing Eleanor and Arabin slowly to get to know and appreciate one another. When the Plumstead party go to visit the Stanhopes, Trollope makes a point of saying Eleanor and Arabin are not in love, yet she's jealous of how 'he alos, moth-like, burnt his wings in the flames of the Signora's candle (Penguin Barchester Towers, ed. RGilmour, Ch 24 p 211). We see in their conversation over religion a real meeting of the minds is possible between them.

A wonderful chapter, including as Jill says another paragraph redolent of the beauty of the place's surroundings, and how playfully it is fitted into the war zone metaphor:

'"You will, at any rate, have a beautiful prospect out of your own window, if this is to be your private sanctum", said Eleanor. She was standing at the attic of a little room upstairs, from which the view certainly was very lovely. It was from the back of the vicarage, and there was nothing to interrupt the eye between the house and the glorious grey pile of the cathedral. The intermediate ground, was beautifully studded with timber. In the immediate foreground ran the little river which afterwards skirted the city; and, just to the right of the cathedral, the pointed gables and chimneys of Hiram's Hospital peeped out of the elms which encompassed it.

"Yes", said he, joining her, "I shall have a beautifully complete view of my adversaries. I shall sit down before the hostile town, and fire away at them at a very pleasant distance" (Ch 21, p. 183).

The above is really a picturesque set piece. I believe in the 18th century there was a habit of describing a scene first from farthest away (the sublime), then the intermediate (the picturesques), and finally the close-by (I don't remember the word). How evocative is that phrase: a 'very pleasant distance'.

Cheers to all,

August 11, 1999

To Trollope-l

Re: Barchester Towers, Chs 21 & 23: Quiet Scenes

In response to Jill and John Mize, I too find myself aware of how in this novel which presents itself as strongly domestic and realistic, and giving us a full and normative picture of daily life among a certain real community of English people at the time (clergymen), a vast number of human beings who don't make the cut of gentry (minimum 250 a year). My sense is that Trollope half-mocks Dr Grantly's narrowness, or, to put it another, is aware of the man's religion is a reflection of his complacent prosperity, one as Bishop Grantly's son he has ever known. We can see this in the grandiose plans Grantly presents to Arabin; in the canons who tease him about his wine; and then in his conferring with others supposedly about religion which always seems to be a talk about power (a grantly has patronage), plums (plumstead), and self-regard. On the other hand, Trollope doesn't talk about Slope's fragile position and probable early history of straitened circumstances except either as a joke or a hammer to hit the man with (he's no gentleman). Jill has picked up a comment by Trollope which he meant to be liberal or enlightened in tendency: he rebukes Miss Thorne for being so soliticitous of a wealthy widow when she wouldn't worry for a much poorer one; however, his language and nuances betray his ignorance and lack of identification with those very women he scolds Miss Thorne for not caring for.

While we get very high-minded conversation about religious conflict, & a sermon on the necessity of good works as well as faith, we also descend to coral teething rings & sweet tasting juice. This week's chapters reminded me of novels where characters sit round quietly in rooms and talk, play, eat, walk, sleep, visit one another -- with the emphasis on talk. I think of The Voyage Out, South Wind, E. M. Forster. In a slightly later chapter the Plumsteadites do place Eleanor on a box, & she finds 'herself quite unable to express her opinion on the merits of flounces, such having been the subject given to try her elocution' (Ch 24, p. 211). There's normal teasing. It is so in character for Grantly to take up the literal concrete thing Arabin uses to make an analogy to to explain why he's uncomfortable: he's among a set of people who do not know him and will not regard him as 'one of us' (there's a book by Willa Cather which uses that for an ironic title). Grantly knows very well that Arabin did not liken Miss Thorne to a navvy. Despite the derision inherent in the topic Trollope's Arabin gives Eleanor, partly because the scenes and talk imitate what we really come across in the quiet of ordinary life, they are appealing. Grantly's sermon was paraphrased in a genuinely peace-loving tone. And everyone is constantly going out into that green world with the lime trees, bowers, and spires and the air and atmosphere from this world pervade their rooms.

Good novels should imitate the rhythms of life. It is important to move slowly and give us a sense of fallowness so we feel we are living with the characters in a stream of time like our own. Trollope's doing this with these chapters too.

Ellen Moody

Subject: [trollope-l] BT, Volume II, Chapter III (XXII) The Thornes of Ullathorne

August 13, 1999


The Reverend Francis Arabin who would casually address learned gatherings at his college without a quiver of qualm, was inexplicably apprehensive about facing his new parish for the first time, so his friend Archdeacon Grantly accompanied him for his first Sunday, while Mr. Harding substituted for him at Plumstead. In this chapter he, and we, meet the Thornes of Ullathorne for the first time.

Ullathorne Court was inhabited by a brother and sister, Wilfred and Monica Thorne. They somehow managed to meld a combination of reverence for the past and "good blood" (the older the better) with a singular lack of arrogance in dealings with their inferiors (and pretty much everyone would have to be an inferior, such was the azure quality of their blood). It is easier to regard their foibles with a tolerant eye, when they were so very well meaning, and kind. Both brother and sister were well read, but only of literature produced at least seventy-five years earlier. Both were genealogy buffs; Wilfred

" ... knew enough of almost every gentleman's family in England to say of what blood and lineage were descended all those who had any claim to be considered possessors of any such luxuries." (OUP Barchester Towers, ed. Sadleir and Page, p. 211)

Few were considered to have sufficiently pure strains of the aristocratic corpuscles, to meet their standard for "good blood".

When first meeting Mr. Arabin, Mr. Thorne was pleased to realize that his new pastor had some "good" blood running in his veins, no matter how distant. When Arabin protested that the Arabins of Uphill Stanton had sold Uphill Stanton to the De Greys fifty years before, Mr. Thorne comfortably assured him that could not prevent them from describing themselves as the Arabins of Uphill Stanton, even if it should be one hundred fifty years after the estate had been sold.

Mr. Thorne was a conservative's conservative. He regarded as traitors the conservatives who deserted their party to vote to repeal the corn laws. "Politics in England, as a pursuit of gentlemen, must be at an end." (p. 214) Wilfred was so depressed by this blow that he became a recluse for nearly two years. This disclaimer did make me smile:

"Mr. Thorne had no thought of killing himself, being a Christian, and still possessing his 4,000 pounds a year; but the feeling was not on that account the less comfortable." (p. 215)

He did not even hunt, although he still protected the foxes on his property. Eventually, very slowly, he did recover his lost equanimity, although he still was convinced that the golden age of the empire was irrevocably gone.

Miss Thorne was a female Wilfred, only more so. Going back to the time before Reform had planted its cloven hoof upon the sacred soil was not sufficient to her. One must return to the time before the Norman conquest to find true Saxon contentment. The repeal of the Corn Law caused her no anguish; Catholic Emancipation had put the final nail in the coffin of her interest in politics. While she professed to be an acolyte of the One True Religion (the Church of England, of course!), she was at base a Druidess, regarding Anglicanism to be logical extension of England's earliest religion. Monica did enjoy settling with a good novel, but its initial date of publication need not be anything later than the middle of the eighteenth century.

Miss Thorne was sure that peasants of the past were respectful, hard working, and innocent of guile and ill will. Pastors were pious, and the aristocracy virtuous and conscientious about the welfare of the less fortunate in their realms.

Both Wilfred and Monica were conscientious in caring for their persons, and just a bit self indulgent in their taste in outward garniture.

Trollope did become lyrical in describing the siblings' home:

" It was not a large house, nor a fine house, nor perhaps to modern ideas a very commodious house;' but by those who love the peculiar architecture it was considered a perfect gem. We beg to own ourselves among the number, and therefore take this opportunity to express our surprise that so little is known by English men and women of the beauties of English architecture....

Mr. Thorne's house was called Ullathorne Court, and was properly so called; for the house itself formed two sides of a quadrangle, which was completed on the other two sides by a wall about twenty feet high. This wall was built of cut stone, rudely cut indeed, and now much worn, but of a beautiful rich tawny yellow colour, the effect of that stonecrop of minute growth, which it had taken three centuries to produce. The top of this wall was ornamented by huge round stone balls of the same colour as the wall itself. Entrance into the court was had through a pair of iron gates, so massive that no one could comfortably open or close them, consequently they were rarely disturbed. From the gateway two paths led obliquely across the court; that to the left reaching the hall-door, which was in the corner made by the angle of the house, and that to the right leading to the back entrance, which was at the further end of the longer portion of the building" (pp. 220 - 221)

AT went on to further affectionately describe Ullathorne Court in great detail, its peculiarities of layout, its exquisite mullioned windows, the family portraits "set into a panel in the wainscoting, in the proper manner". (p. 222) Small conflicts between brother and sister would ensue, when Monica would propose returning their home to some former (and uncomfortable) usage, and Wilfred would regard improvements made by their father, to be sufficiently venerable. Each had their particular asylum; Miss Thorne her drawing (or, withdrawing) room and Mr. Thorne his study, companionably adjacent.

Trollope then recommended viewing Ullathorne Court from the gardens, the better to appreciate the lovely colour of the stone. He also explained the approach to the house, and to St. Ewold's church which although framed by lime walks, was a public road, and the exclusive property of the Thornes. Although some might have viewed the home's situation as being insufficiently private, one does not miss what one has never had, and Monica and Wilfred never missed the privacy a long entrance road would have provided.

We have met the Thornes of Ullathorne Court. In the next chapter, St. Ewold parish inhabitants would meet Mr. Arabin.

Jill Spriggs

Later that day:

RE: Barchester Towers, Ch 22 (II:3): The Thornes of Ullathorne

I'd like to add to Jill's how a vein of delight, of sheer celebration of that which is picturesque in English tradition runs through this chapter. Trollope perhaps thought that 'beautiful rich tawny yellow colour' (Penguin Barchester Towers, ed RGilmour, Ch 22, p. 198) which takes 3 centuries to produce could only be produced in English climate. The house is most indigenous Tudor. He says people who rush to Italy ought perhaps to look in their own counties. In 'The Parson's Daughter of Oxney Colne' he again celebrates the west of England'. Miss Thorne's taste is strictly English: 'Spenser is the purest type of her country's literature' (p. 195); her regarding Fielding 'as a young but meritorious novice in the fields of romance' is funny, but like her brother's tastes, this is heavily 18th century satirical authors. I remember Miss Marrable (The Vicar of Bullhampton) was big on Dryden and Pope too: she thought the vigour of the 18th century had dissolved into insipidity in the 19th. No one had replaced Swift. The history Miss Thorne prides herself on is English; a love of English customs, and deep protectionism characterise her brother. To be fair the squire likes Montaigne as well as Burton's Anatomy of Melancholy (that last one is an odd choice for the Squire but maybe not for Trollope). Still a key to the joy here is Trollope celebrating certain aspects of Englishness. It brings to mind Jane Austen's famous passage on English verdure, English countryside and so on in her celebration of Donwell Abbey in Surrey in Emma.

Jill and I are agreed one of the reasons we are led to like this pair is they are personally kind. The Thornes also dream people were good in the past. They really do and thus breathe a kind of generosity of spirit towards us in their love of the past. They are an idealising pair. Trollope does say Miss Thorne's golden age is a dream, but then who would deny her this luxury or sweetness of regretting the world that we have lost. It is funny how Thorne likes to think he has in him the feelings of the Cato while of course he works hard to preserve foxes and extend the hunt.

Many people like to make lovely pictures of the past and see it through rose-coloured glasses -- which is what the Thornes do. This rooting of the self in the past makes us see our little lives as extended somehow, richer, and we are nostalgic over dreams. Some such feeling pervades this book and also accounts for how much people enjoy reading it. Trollope is dreaming over his spires too.

Cheers to all,

Subject: Re: [trollope-l] Barchester Towers, Ch 22 (II:3): The Thornes of Ullathorne

August 17, 1999

From: "Judy Warner"

I'm reading Our Village by Nancy Russell Mitford in a lovely illustrated edition with cottage and landscape paintings reproduced as illustrations. Looking at these,and then reading the text, I keep thinking that these "charming scenes" could be photographed as gritty black and white photos of abject poverty and awful living conditions. All very charming for those who don't live in these tumbledown hovels. BTW is there a name for these cottage paintings--are they called genre paintings or some special category? There's a big industry in "collectible" (horrid word) china cottages nowadays as well as these editions of cottage books.

Later that day:

Subject: [trollope-l] Trollope and Tudor windows

From: "Catherine Crean"

August 17, 1999

Chapter 22 of Barchester Towers contains one of Trollope's most rhapsodic passages on Tudor windows:

"There may be windows which give better light than such as these, and it may be, as my utilitarian friend observes, that the giving of light is the desired object of a window. I will not argue the point with him. Indeed I cannot. But I shall not the less die in the assured conviction that no sort of description of window is capable of imparting half so much happiness to mankind as that which has been adopted at Ullathorne Court."

I hate Tudor windows, myself. I find them inconvient, drafty, and unattractive. I wonder why Trollope goes into estatics over Tudor windows? He swoons over Tudor windows in The Small House at Allington as well. In the intoduction the The Small House at Allington (OWC) James Kincaid writes "Mr. Christopher Dale is the moral touchstone of the novel; he is a gentleman, and , moreover, his house is possessed of that Trollopian emblem of approval: Tudor Windows."

I ask, in un-scholarly fashion, what is it with the Tudor windows?


I responded:

Re: That Trollopian emblem of approval: Tudor Windows

There is a bit of tongue-in-cheek here, a kind of half- deprecating raillery in Trollope's rhapsodies over the windows. He alludes gracefully to the dimness of corridors in houses with mullioned windows. Kincaid too is laughing with Trollope.

Still it is a rhapsody. Trollope will not even allow that an oriel window is better. It seems the happiness given us by mullioned windows is superior even to that given us by oriels because oriels have not about them 'so perfect a feeling of quiet English homely comfort' (Barchester Towers, ed RGilmour, Ch 22, p. 199). I have already descanted on the Englishness of what is celebrated; now we have 'quiet' 'homely' and 'comfort'. These words tell us that Trollope likes mullioned windows because he sees them as unpretentious, unimproved, not fancy at all. He likes them because those who have them have not built them to show off; they are just there. They are also thick; they are not going to be swept away tomorrow. And they bespeak ideas of home; people built them for their homes, their houses; they don't belong in grand palatial dancing or receiving rooms.

This is terrible liberal nostalgia. No good capitalist could possibly take such views, except of course from the point of view of the money it makes for those in the 'heritage' industry. . Next thing the man will be preferring can-openers of the kind that one used to stab oneself with because they don't make noise like the electric types which are so expensive. Does anyone remember these? They had a triangular knife at the top, and you drove it into the can -- or the open part of the palm of your hand. Then you worked it round the edges of the can, each edge of course cutting your hand further. (One kept a supply of kitchen towels handy to soak up the extra blood). And what could better be a symbol of home-life?

Trollope was living in an England undergoing a wholesale wiping out of the remnants of the medieval world. To take a cue from Bleak House, when George visits his brother the ironmaster up north, the landscape is black with soot and coal leavings, factories everywhere, iron railings for the trains. People were living in back-to-backs. Trollope was not sympathetic to Ruskin's tirades, but like other writers he grieved at what the modern world was making England into. That's why he sets many of his stories in small rural or provincial towns. I have an idea William Morris also saw mullioned windows as an emblem of beauty and virtue.


Subject: [trollope-l] BT: Cameo appearance by Mom?

From: "Jill D. Singer"

Once again, I'm backtracking to a prior selection, Chapter 22, which introduces the Thornes of Ullathorne. Is it possible that Monica Thorne looks a bit like Fanny Trollope?

"She was a small, elegantly-made old woman, with a face from which the glow of her youth had not departed without leaving some streaks of a roseate hue. She was proud of her colour, proud of her grey hair which she wore in short crisp curls peering out all around her face from her dainty white lace cap."

More Respectably,

Jill Singer
Overland Park KS

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