Can You Forgive Her?

Can You Forgive Her?

by Anthony Trollope


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The first of Anthony Trollope's six "Palliser" novels focuses on the matrimonial prospects of three Victorian ladies. Alice Vavasor is torn between her Byronic cousin George, whose wild ardor contrasts sharply with her honest but unexciting admirer, John Grey. Lady Glencora McCluskie, heiress to a Scottish industrial fortune, is wife to Plantagenet Palliser, heir to the Duke of Omnium. But theirs is an arranged marriage, and Glencora grows increasingly infatuated with the rakish Burgo Fitzgerald. And the Widow Greenow is obliged to choose between two suitors, the dependable Mr. Cheeseacre and the dashing Captain Bellfield.
Can You Forgive Her? also offers a delicious satire of parliamentary politics. Populated by a cast of politicians and place-hunters, the story explores the tensions between reform and tradition as well as the interplay between money, authority, and politics. The 1864 novel remains remarkably contemporary in its portrait of a society in which wealth and influence outpace wisdom and integrity in the pursuit of power.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781545466988
Publisher: CreateSpace Publishing
Publication date: 08/16/2017
Pages: 804
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 1.60(d)

About the Author

Anthony Trollope (1815–1882) grew up in London. He inherited his mother’s ambition to write and was famously disciplined in the development of his craft. His first novel was published in 1847 while he was working in Ireland as a surveyor for the General Post Office. He wrote a series of books set in the English countryside as well as those set in the political life, works that show great psychological penetration. One of his greatest strengths was his ability to re-create in his fiction his own vision of the social structures of Victorian England. The author of forty-seven novels, he was one of the most prolific and respected English novelists of the Victorian era.

David Shaw-Parker is an Earphones Award–winning narrator and finalist for the prestigious Audie Award. He trained at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in 1975 and began his career at the Royal Shakespeare Company in 1977, appearing in over twenty-five productions between then and 1991. He went on to appear at The National Theatre in Oedipus Rex, The False Servant, and My Fair Lady and in London’s West End in Grand Hotel, The Country Wife, Acorn Antiques, Heavenly Ivy,and Cyrano de Bergerac,among others. His numerous television credits include Inspector Morse, Space Precinct, and The Commander, and his films include Steven Soderbergh’s Kafka, Uberto Pasolini’s Still Life, and The Muppet Christmas Carol.

Read an Excerpt


Mr. Vavasor and His Daughter

Whether or no, she, whom you are to forgive, if you can, did or did not belong to the Upper Ten Thousand of this our English world, I am not prepared to say with any strength of affirmation. By blood she was connected with big people, — distantly connected with some very big people indeed, people who belonged to the Upper Ten Hundred if there be any such division; but of these very big relations she had known and seen little, and they had cared as little for her. Her grandfather, Squire Vavasor of Vavasor Hall, in Westmoreland, was a country gentleman, possessing some thousand a year at the outside, and he therefore never came up to London, and had no ambition to have himself numbered as one in any exclusive set. A hot-headed, ignorant, honest old gentleman, he lived ever at Vavasor Hall, declaring, to any who would listen to him, that the country was going to the mischief, and congratulating himself that at any rate, in his county, parliamentary reform had been powerless to alter the old political arrangements. Alice Vavasor, whose offence against the world I am to tell you, and if possible to excuse, was the daughter of his younger son; and as her father, John Vavasor, had done nothing to raise the family name to eminence, Alice could not lay claim to any high position from her birth as a Vavasor. John Vavasor had come up to London early in life as a barrister, and had failed. He had failed at least in attaining either much wealth or much repute, though he had succeeded in earning, or perhaps I might better say, in obtaining, a livelihood. He had married a lady somewhat older than himself, who was in possession of four hundred a year, and who was related to those big people to whom I have alluded. Who these were, and the special nature of the relationship, I shall be called upon to explain hereafter, but at present it will suffice to say that Alice Macleod gave great offence to all her friends by her marriage. She did not, however, give them much time for the indulgence of their anger. Having given birth to a daughter within twelve months of her marriage, she died, leaving in abeyance that question as to whether the fault of her marriage should or should not be pardoned by her family.

When a man marries an heiress for her money, if that money be within her own control, as was the case with Miss Macleod's fortune, it is generally well for the speculating lover that the lady's friends should quarrel with him and with her. She is thereby driven to throw herself entirely into the gentleman's arms, and he thus becomes possessed of the wife and the money without the abominable nuisance of stringent settlements. But the Macleods, though they quarrelled with Alice, did not quarrel with her a l'outrance. They snubbed herself and her chosen husband; but they did not so far separate themselves from her and her affairs as to giye up the charge of her possessions. Her four hundred a year was settled very closely on herself and on her children, without even a life interest having been given to Mr. Vavasor, and therefore when she died the mother's fortune became the property of the little baby. But, under these circumstances, the big people did not refuse to interest themselves to some extent on behalf of the father. I do not suppose that any actual agreement or compact was made between Mr. Vavasor and the Macleods; but it came to be understood between them that if he made no demand upon them for his daughter's money, and allowed them to have charge of her education, they would do something for him. He was a practising barrister, though his practice had never amounted to much; and a practising barrister is always supposed to be capable of filling any situation which may come in his way. Two years after his wife's death Mr. Vavasor was appointed assistant commissioner in some office which had to do with insolvents, and which was abolished three years after his appointment. It was at first thought that he would keep his eight hundred a year for life and be required to do nothing for it; but a wretched cheeseparing Whig government, as John Vavasor called it when describing the circumstances of the arrangement to his father, down in Westmoreland, would not permit this; it gave him the option of taking four hundred a year for doing nothing, or of keeping his whole income and attending three days a week for three hours a day during term time, at a miserable dingy little office near Chancery Lane, where his duty would consist in signing his name to accounts which he never read, and at which he was never supposed even to look. He had sulkily elected to keep the money, and this signing had now been for nearly twenty years the business of his life. Of course he considered himself to be a very hardly-used man. One Lord Chancellor after another he petitioned, begging that he might be relieved from the cruelty of his position, and allowed to take his salary without doing anything in return for it. The amount of work which he did perform was certainly a minimum of labour. Term time, as terms were counted in Mr. Vavasor's office, hardly comprised half the year, and the hours of weekly attendance did not do more than make one day's work a week for a working man; but Mr. Vavasor had been appointed an assistant commissioner, and with every Lord Chancellor he argued that all Westminster Hall, and Lincoln's Inn to boot, had no right to call upon him to degrade himself by signing his name to accounts. In answer to every memorial he was offered the alternative of freedom with half his income; and so the thing went on.

There can, however, be no doubt that Mr. Vavasor was better off and happier with his almost nominal employment than he would have been without it. He always argued that it kept him in London; but he would undoubtedly have lived in London with or without his official occupation. He had become so habituated to London life in a small way, before the choice of leaving London was open to him, that nothing would have kept him long away from it. After his wife's death he dined at his club every day on which a dinner was not given to him by some friend elsewhere, and was rarely happy except when so dining. They who have seen him scanning the steward's list of dishes, and giving the necessary orders for his own and his friend's dinner, at about half-past four in the afternoon, have seen John Vavasor at the only moment of the day at which he is ever much in earnest. All other things are light and easy to him, — to be taken easily and to be dismissed easily. Even the eating of the dinner calls forth from him no special sign of energy. Sometimes a frown will gather on his brow as he tastes the first half glass from his bottle of claret; but as a rule that which he has prepared for himself with so much elaborate care, is consumed with only pleasant enjoyment. Now and again it will happen that the cook is treacherous even to him, and then he can hit hard; but in hitting he is quiet, and strikes with a smile on his face.

Such had been Mr. Vavasor's pursuits and pleasures in life up to the time at which my story commences. But I must not allow the reader to suppose that he was a man without good qualities. Had he when young possessed the gift of industry I think that he might have shone in his profession, and have been well spoken of and esteemed in the world. As it was he was a discontented man, but nevertheless he was popular, and to some extent esteemed. He was liberal as far as his means would permit; he was a man of his word; and he understood well that code of by-laws which was presumed to constitute the character of a gentleman in his circle. He knew how to carry himself well among men, and understood thoroughly what might be said, and what might not; what might be done among those with whom he lived, and what should be left undone. By nature, too, he was kindly disposed, loving many persons a little if he loved few or none passionately. Moreover, at the age of fifty, he was a handsome man, with a fine forehead, round which the hair and beard was only beginning to show itself to be grey. He stood well, with a large person, only now beginning to become corpulent. His eyes were bright and grey, and his mouth and chin were sharply cut, and told of gentle birth. Most men who knew John Vavasor well, declared it to be a pity that he should spend his time in signing accounts in Chancery Lane.

I have said that Alice Vavasor's big relatives cared but little for her in her early years; but I have also said that they were careful to undertake the charge of her education, and I must explain away this little discrepancy. The biggest of these big people had hardly heard of her; but there was a certain Lady Macleod, not very big herself, but, as it were, hanging on to the skirts of those who were so, who cared very much for Alice. She was the widow of a Sir Archibald Macleod, K.C.B., who had been a soldier, she herself having also been a Macleod by birth; and for very many years past — from a time previous to the birth of Alice Vavasor — she had lived at Cheltenham, making short sojourns in London during the spring, when the contents of her limited purse would admit of her doing so. Of old Lady Macleod I think I may say that she was a good woman; — that she was a good woman, though subject to two of the most serious drawbacks to goodness which can afflict a lady. She was a Calvinistic Sabbatarian in religion, and in worldly matters she was a devout believer in the high rank of her noble relatives. She could almost worship a youthful marquis, though he lived a life that would disgrace a heathen among heathens; and she could and did, in her own mind, condemn crowds of commonplace men and women to all eternal torments which her imagination could conceive, because they listened to profane music in a park on Sunday. Yet she was a good woman. Out of her small means she gave much away. She owed no man anything. She strove to love her neighbours. She bore much pain with calm unspeaking endurance, and she lived in trust of a better world. Alice Vavasor, who was after all only her cousin, she loved with an exceeding love, and yet Alice had done very much to extinguish such love. Alice, in the years of her childhood, had been brought up by Lady Macleod; at the age of twelve she had been sent to a school at Aix-la-Chapelle, — a comitatus of her relatives having agreed that such was to be her fate, much in opposition to Lady Macleod's judgment; at nineteen she had returned to Cheltenham, and after remaining there for little more than a year, had expressed her unwillingness to remain longer with her cousin. She could sympathise neither with her relative's faults or virtues. She made an arrangement, therefore, with her father, that they two would keep house together in London, and so they had lived for the last five years; — for Alice Vavasor when she will be introduced to the reader had already passed her twenty-fourth birthday.

Their mode of life had been singular and certainly not in all respects satisfactory. Alice when she was twenty-one had the full command of her own fortune; and when she induced her father, who for the last fifteen years had lived in lodgings, to take a small house in Queen Anne Street, of course she offered to incur a portion of the expense. He had warned her that his habits were not those of a domestic man, but he had been content simply so to warn her. He had not felt it to be his duty to decline the arrangement because he knew himself to be unable to give to his child all that attention which a widowed father under such circumstances should pay to an only daughter. The house had been taken, and Alice and he had lived together, but their lives had been quite apart. For a short time, for a month or two, he had striven to dine at home and even to remain at home through the evening; but the work had been too hard for him and he had utterly broken down. He had said to her and to himself that his health would fail him under the effects of so great a change made so late in life, and I am not sure that he had not spoken truly. At any rate the effort had been abandoned, and Mr. Vavasor now never dined at home. Nor did he and his daughter ever dine out together. Their joint means did not admit of their giving dinners, and therefore they could not make their joint way in the same circle. It thus came to pass that they lived apart, — quite apart. They saw each other, probably, daily; but they did little more than see each other. They did not even breakfast together, and after three o'clock in the day Mr. Vavasor was never to be found in his own house.

Miss Vavasor had made for herself a certain footing in society, though I am disposed to doubt her right to be considered as holding a place among the Upper Ten Thousand. Two classes of people she had chosen to avoid, having been driven to such avoidings by her aunt's preferences; marquises and such-like, whether wicked or otherwise, she had eschewed, and had eschewed likewise all Low Church tendencies. The eschewing of marquises is not generally very difficult. Young ladies living with their fathers on very moderate incomes in or about Queen Anne Street are not usually much troubled on that matter. Nor can I say that Miss Vavasor was so troubled. But with her there was a certain definite thing to be done towards such eschewal. Lady Macleod by no means avoided her noble relatives, nor did she at all avoid Alice Vavasor. When in London she was persevering in her visits to Queen Anne Street, though she considered herself, nobody knew why, not to be on speaking terms with Mr. Vavasor. And she strove hard to produce an intimacy between Alice and her noble relatives — such an intimacy as that which she herself enjoyed; — an intimacy which gave her a footing in their houses but no footing in their hearts, or even in their habits. But all this Alice declined with as much consistency as she did those other struggles which her old cousin made on her behalf, — strong, never-flagging, but ever-failing efforts to induce the girl to go to such places of worship as Lady Macleod herself frequented.

A few words must be said as to Alice Vavasor's person; one fact also must be told, and then, I believe, I may start upon my story. As regards her character, I will leave it to be read in the story itself. The reader already knows that she appears upon the scene at no very early age, and the mode of her life had perhaps given to her an appearance of more years than those which she really possessed. It was not that her face was old, but that there was nothing that was girlish in her manners. Her demeanour was as staid, and her voice as self-possessed, as though she had already been ten years married. In person she was tall and well made, rather large in her neck and shoulders, as were all the Vavasors, but by no means fat. Her hair was brown, but very dark, and she wore it rather lower upon her forehead than is customary at the present day. Her eyes, too, were dark, though they were not black, and her complexion, though not quite that of a brunette, was far away from being fair. Her nose was somewhat broad, and retrousse too, but to my thinking it was a charming nose, full of character, and giving to her face at times a look of pleasant humour, which it would otherwise have lacked. Her mouth was large, and full of character, and her chin oval, dimpled, and finely chiselled, like her father's. I beg you, in taking her for all in all, to admit that she was a fine, handsome, high-spirited young woman.

And now for my fact. At the time of which I am writing she was already engaged to be married.


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Table of Contents

Preface vii
Introduction xi
Note on the Text xxvii
Select Bibliography xxviii
A Chronology of Anthony Trollope xxix
Can You Forgive Her?
Explanatory Notes 419(26)
Who's Who in Can You Forgive Her? 445

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Can You Forgive Her 3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 12 reviews.
hemlokgang on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Audiobook.......Phew....28 hours of audio! Why would someone stick with this? Because it was wonderful! Anthony Trollope wrote this novel which is set in England in the mid 1800s. His protagonists are all women with relationship dilemmas which are fiercely controlled by the social mores of the time. Do these women need forgiveness? Can they forgive one another? Can they forgive themselves? Does the reader think they need forgiveness? Can you forgive them? Read the book and judge as you will!
cdeuker on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Okay, I like Trollope as much as the next guy, but this one did get a little tedious. Alice is a pain in the neck; John Grey is too perfect (Helping out the scoundrel who steals his girl??? Come on!) But the redeeming qualities are there, too. George Vavasor is a wonderful villain. There are two great, shocking scenes: the fistfight with John Grey and then the encounter with sister Jane where he pushes her down and breaks her arm. Wow! I also liked Jane very much. A truly human person. Trollope also does things unheard of in Dickens. Characters make decisions--even the right (moral) decision--and then regret them within hours. Yes Yes Yes. I also liked the whole Greenow/Cheesacre/Bellfield subplot though others find it low brow. The book needed a little humor as Alice was, by and large, a stick in the mud. Now I can read more Pallisar novels and not be missing any background.(Oh, Lady Glencora is also a wonderful, fully developed character. Burgo Fitzgerald is the handsome neer do well who almost wins the girl.)I read this on Nook and listened to Timothy West on Audible. My question is: Had I not listened on audio, would I have ever finished a straight "reading" of the text? I wonder. Audio gets one through even the most boring parts effortlessly.
jmaloney17 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first book in the Palliser series. I really liked parts of this one, but there were other parts that really dragged. There were three main stories 1) Alice Vavosar, 2) Lady Glencora Palliser, and 3) Arabella Greenow. I liked Alice and Lady Glencora, but Arabella's storyline was a bit of a bore. It is over 800 pages in small type. I think that the books will get better as I go along. I hope they do at any rate. They are all very long books.
fourbears on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is the first of six political novels that follow the fortunes of Plantagenet Palliser (¿Planty Pall¿ behind his back). Interestingly, though, this one focuses almost exclusively on domestic politics¿particularly as money and position in society affect women and families. The main character is Alice Vavasor, a cousin of Palliser¿s new wife, Glencora, a very young heiress who was pressured to marry him rather than the handsome drifter Burgo Fitzgerald (who is, if not actually a fortune hunter, clearly in need of her fortune¿which is considerable). Alice is engaged to John Grey, a respectable gentleman with an estate in Cambridgeshire, but while she loves him, he seems too perfect for her¿and maybe a bit too dull; she¿s still drawn to her reckless cousin George Vavasor, having been engaged to him but broken it off presumably because of his unfaithfulness. In addition, her ¿best friend¿, her cousin Kate, George¿s sister, is pressuring her to give up Grey and marry her brother. There¿s a third Vavasor female, Arabella, the aunt of both Alice and Kate, who figures as comic counterpoint. She¿s a well-off widow who moves to Norfolk and is courted by a prosperous farmer, Cheeseacre, and an irresponsible old soldier, Captain Bellfield, both after the money she inherited. Lady Glencora seeks out Alice, a cousin on her mother¿s side, as a friend at least in part because the minders her husband suggests for her, an elderly lady, a somewhat coarse political colleague and two confirmed spinster sisters, drive her nuts. Glencora is unhappy, sees her husband as cold and interested only in politics, not as handsome or as romantic as Burgo. Furthermore, she feels useless because so far she hasn¿t even been able to provide a child to occupy her time and secure her husband¿s succession¿he¿s the nephew and heir of a powerful Duke. Glencora is actually thinking of running away with Burgo, but is slowed down by the recognition of the awful penalties to be paid by a Victorian woman who runs away from her husband.Encouraged by Kate, Alice tells John Grey that she won¿t marry him and accepts her cousin George instead, thinking it will be interesting to help him in his ambition to become an MP, though the minute she sees George, she begins to doubt. In addition she¿s wracked with guilt for jilting Grey, one of the major sins a woman can be guilty of¿of course much worse because she has no ¿good reason¿ and because it shows ¿willfulness¿, definitely not a desirable quality in a Victorian woman. It turns out George really only wants her money, though she¿s not as rich as Glencora was, she does have a fortune from her late mother and she¿s completely independent of her father so can do with it as she pleases¿and marry whom she pleases. But she counsels Glencora against running away with Burgo. The women, both with minds of their own, forge a partnership. The society in which Alice and Glencora live is sexist and elitist. Young girls are not outright given to men as wives; they presumably have a choice, but family and societal pressures are considerable, especially if there¿s money involved. For a woman it¿s a matter of selecting the best ¿lord and master¿, difficult for women with spirit and will like these two. Trollope is charming as usual¿and funny. He clearly understands women¿and I¿m not sure most Victorian novelists did.
littlegeek on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Pretty decent, but not my favourite Trollope. Alice got annoying after a while. Arabella was annoying the whole time. Lady Glencora redeemed it for me. A very entertaining character. Too bad for her she's married to that drip Plantagenet. If the next five books are all about him, I may die of boredom.I think I prefer a novel that is more balanced between the "women's concerns" and the political intrigue. There's not much politics in this one, and it ust becomes tiresome waiting for the stupid chicks to board the clue bus. Bring back Mr. Slope!
uncultured on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I started this book based on a number of reviews on Trollope--people said he was much more grounded than Dickens, much more sympathetic and understanding than prim, demanding George Eliot...all in all rather worldly. Perhaps I picked the wrong book to start with--this book kicks off the "Palliser" sextet of novels, detailing the machinations of a group of people concerned with the British government. Trollope thought that government service was just the BEST thing a Britisher could do, and I think he himself ran (and lost) for office. So there's a sort of fascination/admiration for political figures running through ALL his novels. This volume, however, concerns itself with one Alice Vavasor, the woman mentioned in the title. Feeling rather proto-feminist, she throws over the kind, yet rather dull country gentleman John Grey (she's engaged to him). She does so after taking a trip to Switzerland with her cousins Kate and George. She used to be engaged to George, but broke it off for rather murky reasons, but it hints that he was a bit angry and gruff. Kate, however, is bent towards hooking the two up. So when Alice gets back to London and breaks up with John Grey and tells him that it has nothing to do with him or anyone else but herself, it's a little irritating. Especially when she agrees to become re-engaged to George, who is endeavoring to run for a seat in Parliament. She is pestered by a great deal of people to change her mind, and refuses to do so. But she also refuses to discuss the matter at all, threatening to leave the room or similar bratty behavior. It's certainly no one else's business, and when she gave it to a couple old biddies I was thrilled, but at other times she was really getting obnoxious about it. There's also a subplot about Kate, who goes with a rich relation to the seaside. The relation, a melodramatic widow, quickly becomes the target of two rather different men, one a farmer, the other a spendthrift. I really liked this part--it was quite comic, and the two men would fight over all these ridiculous trifles, like who got to open the wine at a picnic, because whoever did so would be complimented on said wine. There's also ANOTHER subplot about this bore, Plantagenet Palliser and his "smile-brilliantly-until-it-hurts" wife Glencora. They are badly suited for each other...actually they ended up married because the man Glencora loved, Burgo Fitzgerald, would have run through all her money and left them both penniless. He wasn't trying to hide the fact, though, and is a not-unlikeable character. I had really mixed feelings about this book. Maybe Dickens spoiled me and made me used to more excitement--Trollope mocked his (occasionally) syrupy drama by calling him Mr. Popular Sentiment--but I enjoy Thackeray, and he's not bouncing up and down like Dickens. Trollope is just...there are too many bores. And if they're not bores, they spend quite a while being unlikeable. Maybe I'm just cranky and short-tempered, though. The book resolves into a fairly happy ending, and Alice Vavasor does change quite a bit, but damn, it's not a short book. There was a wonderful section involving a fox hunt, which Trollope did wonderfully. And the book wasn't boring, it was just a sort of lusterless gossip, like the kind of gossip you might hear your grandmother whisper to you about her various acquaintances. It's amusing and passes the time, but once you kiss grandma goodbye, the stories quickly melt into a puddle and go right down the drain. And while I do think that Trollope is more understanding than Eliot--Eliot would have sent Alice off to supervise the building of poorhouses in Limehouse or something, singing secular hymns all the way--Eliot has a dry sense of humor that manages to alleviate her horrible Victorian earnestness. Though I find her stuff pretty unreadable, excepting Middlemarch. Both Trollope and Eliot were widely read, so I fail to understand how they neglected to incorporate th
DieFledermaus on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
(spoilers) In this Trollope novel, the first of the Palliser series, the best storyline was not the main plot of Alice Vavasor¿s indecision, but the troubled marriage of Plantagenet Palliser and Lady Glencora. They were a brief sidenote in The Small House at Allington and Trollope develops their relationship further. A third comic subplot features rich widow Mrs. Greenow being courted by broke but handsome Captain Bellfield and annoying, wealthy Mr. Cheesacre. This reminded me of the also comic love triangle plot in He Knew He Was Right with Mr. Gibson and sisters Camilla and Arabella. Unfortunately, a lot of the story was told from the point of view of Mr. Cheesacre who was extremely irritating. Mrs Greenow is Kate and Alice Vavasor¿s aunt who married a rich older man - only for the money, some think. Still, she was a good wife and has been mourning a bit excessively now that he¿s dead. She¿s courted by the two in several humorous scenes. Both propose to her multiple times, even right after they meet her. I feel she could have had more choice if she'd looked harder - someone with less debts and suspiciousness. Kate also plays an important role in Alice¿s story. Her brother, George, and Alice had a romance before George spoiled it with his relationship with another woman. George had ambitions to be a member of Parliament, but was thwarted in his first attempt and lost all his money. Alice later became engaged, to the eminently polite and perfect John Grey. She's been putting off the wedding for a while ¿ she isn¿t too thrilled at the idea that she¿ll just go and do what John does, living his quiet life. One thing she did like about George was his ambition ¿ she thinks Parliament a worthy goal. John has no such ideas. Modern readers can certainly see Alice¿s discontent ¿ her marriage as a loss of self. On a trip abroad, Trollope paints George as lively, interesting and sympathetic. It¿s a sign of his success in character development that at first the `nice¿ men ¿ John and Palliser ¿ are seen as unattractive and stifling but are later the best husbands for Alice and Glencora. No one would ever mistake Burgo Fitzgerald for a smart choice, but one can understand the high spirited, emotional Glencora¿s feelings. George does try to make himself amenable to Alice at first, but eventually descends into one of Trollope¿s worst characters. A lot of times, the heroine will choose the more dramatic partner over the `safe¿ guy and it¿s shown to be the right choice. However, here Trollope has both women choosing the dull option (Palliser is described as one of the dullest men around) and this is shown to be the best choice. He takes a lot of time to develop their unhappiness ¿ Alice imagines John will be boring and thinks he¿s so unemotional and controlled as to be almost dead inside, and Glencora similarly finds a want of sympathy, feeling and understanding in her husband. Alice admits she does not want to get married ¿ though she says she won¿t marry anyone else ¿ but finds it hard to delineate the reasons. Partly because she thinks she¿s the only one sacrificing, partly because Kate and George convinced her that her life would be dull and intolerable, partly because she can hardly name a fault of his. She spends most of the book vacillating between the two which can become grating. The Mrs. Greenow love triangle was bothersome because of Mr. Cheesacre, but it readily fit into a theme running through the other two plots ¿ the intersection of love and money. In many of his books, Trollope provides a nuanced look at the different, often complicated relationships between the two. Mr. Cheesacre, the annoying fool, is an all-out mercenary even though he¿s wealthy. He tries to propose on the first outing and considers Mrs. Greenow¿s money his own. Certainly he later came to appreciate her good qualities, but was desperate to get her money away from the Captain. The captain himself was also mercenary, but because h
rayette on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
my first Trollope since I was assigned (and didn't read) one of his books in college. Loved it. Want to read more one of these days.
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DavidGreene on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The first in Trollope's Palliser series
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