Monthly Archives: October 2015

The Duke’s Children: Chapters 46-50

Chapter forty-six starts with the restoration of a substantial cut in which we learn something of the proprieties of bereavement in the Victorian era – widowers are supposed to get over the death of wives faster than widows do their husbands – and of the discomfiture of Lady Cantrip at having to put into practice the Popplecourt trap for Lady Mary even though it was her idea.

The guest list at Custins is also expanded in the restored version with Mr and Mrs Grey making an appearance that had previously been written out of the story (necessitating a further cut later in the chapter when Mrs Grey comments that Lord Popplecourt “is hardly the sort of man…that I should have thought that her mother’s daughter would have chosen.”) This revision will, I suggest, require an amendment to the entries for Mr and Mrs Grey (nee Vavasor) on the Trollope Society’s website which mentions their brief appearance in The Eustace Diamonds under similar circumstances guests at Matching Priory.

The Duke’s own discomfiture at the Popplecourt trap is made clearer by a further restoration in which it is said he would “infinitely” rather “had his conscience allowed it” to leave the setting and springing of the trap to Lady Cantrip. Furthermore, his expectations that the trap will fail are also clearly stated. “He knew, – in his heart he knew, that she would signify quite something else.” than Glencora had done when she was placed in the same position years before and acquiesced to be caught in the Palliser trap.

This makes him almost angry with Popplecourt, when the latter plays his part of the supposedly anointed suitor, whom Trollope describes with perfect economy and precision as “a thorn to him” now.

Lady Mary, of course, is blissfully unaware of the Popplecourt trap at this point. We learn in a restored cut that “Had she been told that she was to be locked up in a dungeon all her life it would have seemed to her a more probable exercise of parental authority than an attempt to make her marry Lord Popplecourt.” Trollope shows her repulsion in another brief cut restored, after Popplecourt implies that he finds her attractive, she “thought it possible he was endeavouring to attempt some unmeaning and vulgar compliment”.

There is also one subtle change for the shorter version which has been reversed. In an exchange of words between Dolly Longstaffe and Popplecourt, the latter now asks “What do you know about the Duke’s daughter?” whereas in the previously published, shorter version he is more elusive to avoid showing his hand asking “What do you know about the Duke’s children?” – the use of the novel’s title here being a reminder that there is also the Silverbridge/Boncasson relationship to consider – which Popplecourt unwittingly further annoys the Duke by mentioning in their conversation.

In the next chapter we see that relationship from the perspective of Isabel Boncasson but the first key restoration shows how Dolly Longstaffe manages to scupper his chances forever with her (as if he had any in the first place) by saying, when Isabel rejects him yet again, that Silverbridge is “a young swell who doesn’t mean what he’s about, any more than I mean to marry the cookmaid.” By this restored phrase “He had compared the lady to a cookmaid, – implying at any rate that  as was the distance between him, Adolphus Longstaffe, and a cookmaid, so was that the distance between the Duke’s heir and her”. Talk about shooting oneself in the foot – I scarcely think he could have done so with a larger calibre weapon.

Trollope could not help but make a lengthy authorial aside to the reader on the subject of Isabel’s view of Silverbridge.  He reminds the reader that she appears to see Silverbridge through rose-tinted glasses but she does not have the benefit of knowing the details of his silly excesses that got him thrown out of college and to lose so much money at Doncaster races to all of which priveleged information, the reader has been given access denied to her. He uses Isabel’s own example of the humble bank clerk in her home country to show that “he could not have spoken of his love with less self-assurance”. Thus it becomes clearer that it is his modesty about his own worth that she finds so attractive.

We also learn that Isabel views the friendly exchange of differing political views between her father and the Duke might allow her “to entertain some hope that the Duke’s natural objections to such a marriage [as her and Silverbridge] might be made to disappear.”

We also see two separate restorations in which Isabel refers to her grandfather being a porter on the quays and that this should be known by the Duke and all of Silverbridge’s friends and accepted by them all before she will marry Silverbridge. Trollope wishes to make it clear that she is not ashamed of her origins and will not apologise for them. This shows great courage on her part for she cannot by this stage have been unaware of how status conscious (in terms of lineage and breeding) the English upper classes were.

Half of the opening paragraph of chapter forty-eight is a restored cut in which Lady Mary’s thinking on what Isabel has just told her is revealed. Ironically, of course, she tends to the view that what is sauce for the goose should not be sauce for the gander, if the gander is the elder son. For Gerald it would be a different matter, but for Silverbridge, Mary, with absolute hypocrisy, sides with her father’s anticipated position that for the son of a Duke to marry the granddaughter of an American porter is impossible.

Lady Mary is then immediately confronted with the prospect of having to endure a proposal from Lord Popplecourt and is sufficiently rational in her response, with a restored cut indicating that though “the time for fighting did not yet seem to her to have come yet”, she argues down Lady Cantrip with startling maturity and effectiveness.

Afterwards, Lady Cantrip tells her husband that in her view, “the sooner the Duke gives way the quicker he’ll get over the annoyance.” This restoration shows that even the Duke’s staunchest allies are being won round by Lady Mary’s firmness to the view that she, rather than the Duke, will have her way. Their counsel to the Duke later will influence his eventual reconciliation to the idea.

Meanwhile, we learn in a restoration that  Mary decides against confiding her troubles to her new friend Isabel for to do so would mean “she must of course sympathise with Miss Boncasson in return , and she was hardly prepared to do this at present.”  She thinks to herself that “a future Duke ought not to marry the granddaughter of a street porter.  It would be as bad as some of those unnatural love affairs which take place in the Arabian Nights.” These restorations, in particular the use of “unnatural”, show Mary in a less flattering light than she appears in the original shorter version.  This inconsistency in her views about her own and her brother’s positions which are, of course, very much the same, show her to be subject to the precise same snobbery as her father without the prop of suiting her actions to words.

As we soon discover however, her father is equally inconsistent. His political doctrine for public life is Liberal and egalitarian but in his private life he maintains strict segregation on lines of rank and title which Isabel fails to appreciate “at all” after their subsequent conversation.

In contrast to both father and daughter, Isabel is straightforward and open – believing in plain-speaking. When describing her feelings to Lady Mary, Isabel says that “I love him as a girl ought to love the man she means to marry.” Nevertheless, we learn in a restoration that it is she who engineered the walk through the woods in which she hoped to begin the process of winning over “her possible future father-in-law”. This seems to have worked (so far as possible in the light of the Duke’s private prejudices) as a final paragraph is restored in which “the Duke expressed great admiration for the American girl’s manners and intellect.”

Chapter forty-nine is rendered almost incoherent in the shortened version, if the reader wishes to understand how Major Tifto is left to carry the can for the nobbling of the horse before the St Leger. The groom, a vital witness or else protagonist in the nobbling, who might confirm or deny the truth of the Major’s version of events, simply disappears without a mention – other than a passing mention of Major Tifto’s chagrin on discovering that the groom was paid more than he was for his part in the affair. The restored version has an explanatory paragraph in which the groom decamps to Australia with £5,000 for his trouble and does so with such haste that he is gone before those who wish to investigate the matter can lay their hands on him or possibly pay him a sum of money to bribe him to stay and explain the full facts. All now becomes clear.

We also learn of Major Tifto that prior to his involvement in the plot “Even when Silverbridge had been most offensive to him he had been careful of his partner’s interests”. So we find Trollope engaged, in the full version, in painting Tifto a paler shade of grey than the reader would expect of a villain in a Victorian novel. This continues through to a restored final paragraph in which Trollope declares that “through it all there were some who declared that poor Tifto had been more sinned against than sinning.” And I think Trollope would, in this final analysis of his villain, wish the reader also to hold that opinion when compared with the odious Captain Green and his compatriot Gilbert Villiers who leave the country with the bulk of the £70,000 of the Duke’s money defrayed to meet Silverbridge’s gambling debts.

I found myself in sympathy with Tifto when he had the guts to face his accusers not once but twice, at the meeting of the Runnymede Hunt and at the meeting of members of the Beargarden club where,”In these two matters the Major, wretched as he was, exhibited more pluck than his friends or enemies had expected.” If not whitewashed, Trollope does indeed paint him a very pale shade of grey.

It is amazing what a difference a single letter can make. That the Duke “who in his ill-humour could be aggravating even to his friends” is a much more powerful statement at the start of chapter fifty of the revised edition than that he should be aggravating just to his “friend”, Lady Cantrip while discussing Lady Mary. Indeed he could be, I am sure, almost maddeningly so, as we have seen earlier in the novel in the context of political discussions and his unwillingness to take up political harness again after his (own) perceived failure as The Prime Minister.

A crucial line is also restored in this discussion in which the Duke “smiled as he heard it, so that Lady Cantrip almost thought she had prevailed.” Note the “almost” meaning but not quite. In the shorter version of the novel, its absence makes the Duke’s position seem more entrenched. This allows more scope for the possibility of future bending.

We find in another restoration that the Duke sees himself as a role model for others and this gives him less scope for doing what is expedient for his daughter’s happiness if he believes it to be fundamentally wrong.

There is also, however, the correction of what must be regarded as a careless cut by Trollope. The reinstatement of the sentence, “The young man [Popplecourt] might be very well in his way, but there were no qualities in him by which the obstinacy of such a girl as his daughter could be overcome.” Introduces Lady Mary into the paragraph as the subject to which the pronoun “her” in the following sentence refers. Without this sentence there is no female to whom the pronoun might refer. Bravo to Steven Armanick and his team for this essential reinstatement.

The Duke’s pre-occupation with politics is revealed quite excquisitely in his comment on Phineas Finn that “When a man has taken up politics as the occupation of his life, the subject should always be present to his mind.” He could with as much accuracy, of course, be talking about himself.

A further quite lengthy cut details other correspondence which the Duke received at the same time as Tregear’s letter and prioritised above it. These are a letter on politics from Mr Monk, a letter from Mr Moreton on Silverbridge’s expenses and a letter from Lord Chiltern about hunting matters.  This last one is surely a private joke between Trollope and his readers who would be aware of earlier correspondence on similar lines in previous novels about a subject in which the Duke has no interest. We are thus shown the Duke in both a serious and non-serious light before getting to the meat of the next step of the plot.

And at the close of the chapter we are now allowed to know that Mary “was determined to tell her brother that both Lady Mabel and Miss Boncasson had been invited.  He must then do as he pleased about coming to meet them.” Did she know her brother so well that she thought he might indeed have been “running two hares”, as the French say, and might take the cowards way out by ducking the invitation to Matching so as to avoid being confronted by them simultaneously (for a second time as it happens though Lady Mary might not have been aware of the Killancodlem episode).








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The Trollope Society Annual Lecture

Tonight sees the Trollope Society’s Annual Lecture take place at the National Liberal Club, Whitehall Place, London SW1A 2HE, starting at 6pm.

The Lecture, entitled “The Life and Times of Anthony Trollope through the obsessive focus of a Collector”, will be given by Geordie Greig, Editor of The Mail on Sunday and the self-confessed obsessive collector of the title. It promises to be an intriguing perspective.

Entry to the lecture is free and there is a buffet supper to follow (at a charge) in the elegant surroundings of the library of the Club, surrounded by portraits of famous Liberals of the past. The portraits even get so far as the loos, though it has to be said that those are cartoon caricatures. All I can say is that it can be a little off-putting to one’s purpose on visiting said loos to have Gladstone frowning down at you from the wall.

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Stephen King

Author Stephen King talks about life, the universe and everything. He also settles the key question of the latter half of the twentieth century: The Beatles or The Stones?

To listen go to:

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The Mill On The Floss

The latest episode in the excellent radio series The Secret Life of Books focuses on George Eliot’s The Mill On The Floss.

Fiona Shaw explores the background to the novel, including the scandal surrounding the author Mary Ann Evans’ unusual marital status which caused her to write under a male pseudonym, and how this is played out in the novel itself.

To listen to the episode go to:

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Illustrating Trollope on Saturday 7th November

The Trollope Society, the Imaginative Book Illustration Society and The House of Illustration are running a Study Day on Trollope and his illustrations. It will take place on Saturday 7th November at the House of Illustration, 2 Granary Square, Kings Cross, London N1C 4BH. The day starts at 11am and finishes at 6pm.

To book your ticket for what promises to be a fascinating day go to:

Due to limited space, the event is restricted to members of the Trollope Society. If you would like to go to the event then you can join the Trollope Society and enjoy all the benefits of membership, including access to special events, discounts on Trollope Society merchandise and a regular magazine Trollopiana which contains a mix of news and articles on the world of Anthony Trollope.  You can join here:

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The Duke’s Children Chapters 41-45

The second half of the book starts with the largest single restoration of a cut so far: a full page and a half at the start of chapter forty-one is restored, reminding readers of the Duke’s painful apology to Mrs Finn. It goes on to describe how she finally told her husband, who responded in typical hot-headed Phineas fashion but whose initial outrage she calmed down, reminding him that the demands of politics required him to remain the closest of allies with the Duke. She was ever the more strategic thinker of that couple.

All this serves as a preface to an accidental meeting of the Finns with the Duke of Omnium and Lady Mary in the Austrian resort of Ischl. Here we see another full page cut restored with details of the discussion of politics by the Duke and Phineas and Mrs Finn (in which she takes an active part) after dinner together at the hotel. This lays important groundwork for their subsequent party political moves which serve as a backdrop to the latter part of the book.

There follow a number of small restorations in the dialogue between the Duke and Mrs Finn about Lady Mary’s illness – one cut shows the Duke is aware that it is largely psychosomatic, brought on by her unhappiness at being separated from Tregear. Another restoration has the Duke refer to the Biblical example of Lazarus and the rich man and Trollope specifically mentions that this is an odd illustration for him to use and that he in no way implied that he or his daughter were the equivalent of the rich man in that example. Is this a case of Trollope saying one thing and meaning another.  Is he trying to demonstrate that the Duke is blind to certain aspects of his character – that he is unconsciously averse to Tregear for purely snobbish reasons? The restoration begs this question and thereby introduces a further interesting twist in the exploration of the characters involved.

Mrs Fin also points out to the Duke in a third restoration that “if [Lady Mary} be  of a nature so little prone to change…either by absence or by her submission to you” then in the end he will have to concede. This strengthens the argument Mrs Finn puts to him that he should consider this possibility seriously.

We learn too that the Duke “almost felt that he should despise his girl if she fell into the Popplecourt trap.” Coupled with Mrs Finn’s earlier reference to Mary’s constancy, this shows the beginnings of the Duke’s growing respect and almost admiration for his daughter’s strength of purpose that will eventually lead to his change of heart, though at this point he still wishes to avoid “some outburst of womanly pity [in which] he would feel himself disposed to send for the objectionable lover.”

And in a final restoration in the conversation when the Duke acknowledges now that Mrs Finn did what she thought best in the events that led to his anger at her (my italics),  Mrs Finn responds:”‘I did what was best.’ There was a self-assurance about this which startled him…” Few people would have the courage to so directly put him down by contradicting his view of a matter so close to his heart.  It shows how highly Trollope regards Mrs Finn that he has her do this and has the Duke accept the rebuke without demur.

In chapter forty-two, we see Mabel is still in a muddle over what she thinks about Silverbridge and her prospects with him in a cut which makes clear that “rather she had bouyed herself with hopes in that direction in opposition to her thoughts.” Her actions were often contrary to her best matrimonial and financial interests so that when she had put him off asking her to marry him “she hardly knew why”. In fact Trollope is making it clear, and the restorations make it even more so, that she is sub-consciously sabotaging her own efforts to get him to ask her to marry him.

Silverbridge is noticeably embarrassed that his woo-ing of Isabel Boncassen had become the subject of public gossip and almost ridicule even by people who were practically strangers to hims such as the man in knickerbockers from his previous visit to Killancodlem who had paid court to Mabel (unsuccessfully) and whom he now cut dead, in a restored cut, when teased by him that it would be better “Only if Miss Boncassen were here.” And in another cut “He certainly did not like having Miss Boncassen thrown at his head by everybody that spoke to him.”

In a decisive moment now restored we learn that when Silverbridge in the acrimonious conversation with Mabel in which she again tells him the ring he had given to her should go to his future wife and he returns it to his pocket, “He certainly would not tell her now that she might take it in that capacity.” So Trollope, in the full version, wishes to remove all possible doubt at this point as to who Silverbridge will eventually marry and to rule Mabel out of consideration whereas there remains more doubt in the shorter version – though there is, I think, very little “wriggle room” left in even that version by this point.

Neither Major Tifto nor Silverbridge come out well from chapter forty-three. As the restorations make even more clear, both are in thrall to the machinations of Captain Green who decides both that it would be “expedient that His Lordship should yet risk some further sum of money on his favourite horse” and that in ensuring he does so, Major Tifto, on the night before the St Leger, “had obeyed Captain Green’s behest at any rate in this, – that he himself was completely sober.”

A restored cut also shows that Silverbridge “was quite determined to be open with the Major after that event.” And rehearsed the words by which he would separate himself from Tifto going forward, including an obvious intention to compensate Tifto financially for all the hard work he had put in to preparing the horse for the race which is not mentioned elsewhere. As a result of this cut, the reader of the shorter version is unaware of Silverbridge’s intended generosity which renders the subsequent events, motivated as much by Tifto’s financial concerns – the debts to Green – as by the sleights to his social standing he endured due to Silverbridge’s insensitive treatment of him, all the more ironic.

Chapter forty-four makes melancholy reading and the restorations add to this feeling. We see Major Tifto rue-ing the fact that “he would now, too probably, be estranged forever” from Silverbridge. And we also learn that Silverbridge after the initial meeting with Tifto, “had not spoken a word [to him]…but he would have spoken with kindness had Tifto come in his way.”

In the longest single restoration of a cut, we learn that Silverbridge ate a hearty supper before writing to Mr Moreton, “but…felt almost ashamed of himself for doing so, and manfully resolved that he would not allow himself a single cigar.” This almost childlike resolution shows that Silverbridge still has a lot of growing up to do if such a small sacrifice is felt by him to be in any way a sort of atonement for his monumental errors of judgment over the preceding days.

In my Oxford World’s Classics edition of the shorter text one of the excellent and most comprehensive notes appended to the text of the novel speculates that the Gilbert Villiers mentioned in this chapter might be the un-named gentleman from whom Silverbridge accepted a bet of £2,400 in the previous chapter. This note would be redundant in the full version as this is made clear in a restoration in the earlier chapter which explains that Tifto is surprised when Silverbridge does not recognise Villiers who is well-known, one might say even notorious in racing circles.

When he hears of his son’s misfortune, at the beginning of chapter forty-five, the Duke’s first thought, conveyed in a brief restoration, is that “he did not wish that his son should be subject to pity” as the victim of a swindle. This speaks of the Duke’s intense pride at his own and his family’s self-sufficiency. A slightly longer cut, now restored, reveals that Mr Moreton understood the Duke’s mind “better than the son did.” This is perhaps to be expected – as his trusted agent of long-standing he is likely to have more insight than the relatively immature Silverbridge but it is a sad reflection on the father and son’s relationship.

However, Silverbridge’s finer qualities are shown in a restoration of almost a paragraph’s length in which he retains his dignity and will take no part in the hounding of Tifto which others seem to take almost delight in carrying out.  Silverbridge at least has no wish to see his former friend brought down low – or put in his place as other gentlemen may see it. He even gives Tifto the benefit of the doubt over whether or not he nobbled the horse. Such generosity of spirit bodes well for his future.

We also see how Silverbridge is physically reduced by his father’s words as the Duke becomes inadvertently more severe than he intended to be when speaking with him as he “felt that propriety demanded”. The son is so much in awe of his father and the father would not hurt his son intentionally but cannot help the tone creeping into his voice which cows the younger man. So much is conveyed about both men in such a brief passage now restored.

The shorter version of the chapter ends at the conclusion of the interview between father and son. The longer version runs on for half a page or more with details of the political “chaffing” that went on between Silverbridge and Phineas Finn (in which, naturally the latter came off much the better being skilled in debates from his experience in the House of Commons). This extra few paragraphs gives a clear hint that Silverbridge will change sides later and return to the Liberal fold.




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An Eye For An Eye in Oxford

Oxford Reading Group

The Oxford group of The Trollope Society will discuss An Eye For An Eye tonight at 5:00pm at The Old Library, St Edmund Hall, Queen’s Lane, Oxford OX1 4AR. For more information contact: Martin Chown (email: )

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