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The Small House at Allington by Anthony…

The Small House at Allington (1864)

by Anthony Trollope

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: The Barsetshire Chronicles (5)

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1,385348,462 (4.06)4 / 211



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Showing 1-5 of 34 (next | show all)
2019 reread via LibriVox recording:
I still don't like Lily Dale!
Simon Vance does a marvelous job narrating this 5th entry in Trollope's Barsetshire series. Unfortunately, this novel is less amusing - more of a straightforward romance, with sickly sweet Lily Dale as the heroine. ( )
  leslie.98 | Jun 18, 2019 |
Continuing my leisurely reread of the Barchester series, I jumped ahead of Dr. Thorne and started reading this one. I last read it many years ago and remembered very little. It turns out to be a novel full of marriage plots and the consequences of falling in love and choosing (or refusing) to wed. Our central characters, inhabitants of the title dwelling, are Isabel and Lily Dale, two sisters who lived with their widowed mother in the small grace-and-favour house owned by their uncle, Squire Dale, of Allington. Bell and Lily are lovely, charming, and completely appealing. Bell is the practical one, Lily is the impulsive and intense one. Bell refuses to marry her cousin, Bernard, who is the Squire's heir, while Lily falls madly in love with dashing man about town Crosbie, who comes down to Allington with Bertrand.

But Crosbie is unworthy of Lily; as soon as he discovers that the Squire is not going to settle money on Lily, he becomes dissatisfied with the situation and finds himself drawn to Lady Alexandrina, one of the younger daughters of the horrible de Courcy family. He jilts Lily, and it looks as if Lily and Bell might wind up living with their mother forever, and even moving from the Small House because of the Squire's apparent displeasure at Bell's intransigence where Bernard is concerned.

As always, Trollope draws his characters with equal parts acuity and sympathy Even the awful Lady Alexandrina, whom he spares not at all, is rendered in a complex way (she's not complex, but her depiction is). The Squire is a man who feels strongly but is most comfortable expressing his negative emotions and suppressing his positive ones, and his interactions with Mrs. Dale and her daughters are beautifully done.

The subplots involve Johnny Eames, a low-level civil servant who is in love with Lily, and his travails in London, and also Crosby's London life. Trollope contrasts the career tracks of these young men with their personal travails; each ascends in one as he descends in the other, and we get to read about the bureaucratic antics of the wonderfully named Mr. Optimist, Sir Raffle Buffle, and others.

Lily Dale is hated by many readers, and it's easy to understand why. She treats her jilting as comparable to widowhood and continues to hold on to her love for a man who in no way deserved it. It's annoying, but the way I read it was that having given herself and her emotions to Crosbie so thoroughly, Lily couldn't justify her behavior unless it was based on an undying love. It's a kind of strange but fascinating characterization.

I enjoyed all 826 pages, but that's a lot of Dale to spend time with, especially Lily. I'll go backward to Dr. Thorne next, before sinking in to the brilliance of the last installment. ( )
  Sunita_p | May 17, 2019 |
Longer than the previous tales of Barsetshire life as some of the action moves to London ahead of the Palliser novels. This is an odd story where the main characters are mostly flawed, priggish and generally unlikable while the peripheral characters deliver both the humour and the pathos. I do like the idea that young people can be woefully wrongheaded about love and wont to screw everything up in the shortest amount of time. The course of love does not run smooth in this novel but it was just as entertaining, regardless. ( )
  asxz | Mar 13, 2019 |
Constancy is the word of the day in 'The Small House at Allington' (1864). There are, of course, dozens of characters and motives and several subplots, but the main thrust of the book comes from hobbledehoy Johnny Eames and his love since early childhood, Lily Dale. Unfortunately for Johnny, Lily has been offered, and accepted, a marriage proposal from man of fashion and all-around stud Adolphus Crosbie.

There is some background necessary. Lily is a Dale. The Dales of Allington are an ancient family, etc., etc. who are known for their unswerving character. The current Squire, Christopher Dale, was rejected in love and thus decided to never marry. One brother of his eloped with the daughter of a nearby Earl and the other married a respectable woman with little money. I don't need to explain to you which was the worse match.

The youngest brother's death left Mrs. Dale with her small means and two daughters, Belle and Lily. In their interest Mrs. Dale accepted the offer of living in the "small house" rent-free. The squire was pleased to give his nieces attention and presents and other favors to their advantage, but failed to extend any affection to their mother. She feels obligated to refuse his cold invitations to join them for dinner, etc. Her life is often a lonely one, but to her it is a price worth paying. His nieces, observing this, are fond enough of their uncle, but keep their own distance.

We have now on both sides of the family an obstinacy that gets in the way of their happiness. The novel begins when Adolphus Crosbie joins his friend Bernard Dale, the son of the other brother and heir to the estate, on a summer's visit to Allington. He falls in love with Lily, and thinking she will have a marriage settlement from her uncle, proposes marriage. There is no settlement. To marry on the several hundred pounds a year of his current income would mean disaster to his career and his important position at the center of other ladies' drawing rooms. Lily senses his distress and offers freely to let him go, despite her love for him, but he refuses. While he remains at Allington he goes forward with the engagement. He does cut his visit short by a week to accept an invitation from the Countess to De Courcy Castle where her so very eligible daughter Lady Alexandrina could see him.

It is obvious. From the moment Crosbie was introduced as something like the most decorative man in London the reader knows that Lily Dale and her zero pounds stands not a chance, no matter how lively and sweet she is. Trollope is sympathetic to all concerned in the matter, he explains the good intentions, the unwillingness of the characters to cause each other pain at each and every moment they cut each other deepest.

But there's Johnny Eames! He has only offered a small sentence or two to her confessing his deep feelings for her, and she acknowledges them, but she cannot tear herself from the thought of Crosbie. She had professed to love him for eternity and eternity it will be. Eames has his own problems brewing - he's been a little too free with the disgracefully free Amelia Roper, daughter of his landlady - but he has everything in him of the great man, if he could just get over the hurdles of youth without tripping. Events and most of the cast of the novel conspire to bring Johnny and Lily together, will they? won't they? Trollope's triumph here was in making me wish for the inevitable and then denying it to me. By the end of the novel as he sits eating his pork chop - how one eats is so very revealing - the reader knows.

I have cut this novel down to nothing. One subplot touched on the Grantleys and introduced Plantagenet Palliser of Trollope's other great series, the Palliser novels or the Parliamentary Chronicles. Society has chosen to believe he is having an affair with the serene Lady Griselda Dumbello (née Grantley) who married so magnificently in Framley Parsonage. This leads Palliser to wonder that if society believes it, why not give it a try?

Is constancy in love is a virtue? The Victorians had no qualms about moralizing, but occasionally, as here, the medicine goes down smoothly.

Next: The Last Chronicle of Barset (1867)

or Can You Forgive Her? (1865), if I want to leave Barchester for awhile. ( )
  ManWithAnAgenda | Feb 18, 2019 |
Mrs. Dale and her two daughters, Bell and Lily, live in the small house at Allington thanks to the generosity of their brother-in-law and uncle, Squire Dale, who lives in the big house at Allington sometimes with his nephew Bernard. Bernard's friend, Adolphus Crosbie, courts Lily; she falls in love with him and they become engaged to marry. But Crosbie betrays Lily by becoming engaged to an aristocratic, but poor, de Courcy. Lily is heartbroken but in the end forgives Crosbie, leading me to want to slap her. Meanwhile, a local young man (who is working as a clerk in London), John Eames, has been in love with Lily since his childhood. A chance encounter saving a local earl from a rampaging bull earns him the undying gratitude of the earl, Lord de Guest (and his sister), which is not insignificant.

As with all books by Trollope, there are many subplots involving lots of other characters, and many complications ensue. I am eager to read the final volume of this series.
  rebeccanyc | Jul 12, 2016 |
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Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Trollope, AnthonyAuthorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Birch, DinahIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kincaid, James R.Editorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Millais, John EverettIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reddick, PeterIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Skilton, DavidIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Symons, JulianIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Thompson-Furnival, JulianIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Tillotson, KathleenIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Trollope, JoannaIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
West, TimothyNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Of course there was a Great House at Allington.
The door of the big room was opened, and Mr Kissing shuffled in with very quick little steps. He shuffled in and coming direct up to John’s desk, flopped his ledger down upon it. . .. ‘I have been half the morning, Mr Eames, looking for this letter to the Admiralty, and you’ve put it under S!’ A bystander listening to Mr Kissing’s tone would have been led to believe that the whole Income-tax Office was jeopardised by the terrible iniquity thus disclosed.
‘Somerset House,’ pleaded Johnny.
‘Psha; —Somerset House! Half the offices in London—’
‘You’d better ask Mr Love,’ said Eames. ‘It’s all done under his special instructions.’ Mr Kissing looked at Mr Love, and Mr Love looked steadfastly at his desk. ‘Mr Love knows all about the indexing,’ continued Johnny. ‘He’s index master general to the department.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0140433252, Paperback)

Engaged to the ambitious and self-serving Adolphus Crosbie, Lily Dale is devastated when he jilts her for the aristocratic Lady Alexandrina. Although crushed by his faithlessness, Lily still believes she is bound to her unworthy former fiance for life and therefore condemned to remain single after his betrayal. And when a more deserving suitor pays his addresses, she is unable to see past her feelings for Crosbie. Written when Trollope was at the height of his popularity, The Small House at Allington (1864) contains his most admired heroine in Lily Dale a young woman of independent spirit who nonetheless longs to be loved and is a moving dramatization of the ways in which personal dilemmas are affected by social pressures.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:20:23 -0400)

(see all 8 descriptions)

Lily is the niece of Squire Dale, an embittered old bachelor entrenched in the "great house" at Allington. His sister-in-law lives at the adjacent "small house" with her two daughters Lily and Bell, and the story centres on the relations between the two houses.… (more)

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Penguin Australia

2 editions of this book were published by Penguin Australia.

Editions: 0140433252, 0141199652

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