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Group read: The Kellys And The O'Kellys by Anthony Trollope

75 Books Challenge for 2019

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Mar 1, 5:04pm Top

The Kellys And The O'Kellys by Anthony Trollope (1848)

    Thus matters stood at Dunmore when Martin Kelly started for Dublin, and at the time when he was about to wait on his patron at Morrison's hotel.
    Both Martin and Lord Ballindine (and they were related in some distant degree, at least so always said the Kellys, and I never knew that the O'Kellys denied it)---both the young men were, at the time, anxious to get married, and both with the same somewhat mercenary views...

Edited: Mar 1, 5:36pm Top


Welcome to the group read of Anthony Trollope's second novel, The Kellys And The O'Kellys, originally published in 1848.

It is believed that the novel was written over the preceding two years, while Trollope was living in Tipperary. As with his first novel, The Macdermots Of Ballycloran, also set in Ireland, Trollope had some difficulty getting the book published at all, but it was eventually accepted by Henry Colburn and issued in three volumes.

The Macdermots Of Ballycloran had not sold well, and upon first release The Kellys And The O'Kellys fared even worse---selling a grand total of 146 copies.

However, Trollope's second novel was reviewed much more positively than his first, which the critics considered "painful" and "unpleasant" (it is!); and its reputation has grown over time.

The initial failure of The Kellys And The O'Kellys may have been a matter of timing: when it finally appeared, the Irish potato famine was at its height, and "entertainments" involving Ireland may have seemed inappropriate. Conversely, as with The Macdermots Of Ballycloran, Trollope's evident sympathy with the Irish people, and his willingness to criticise English governance of the country, may have offended potential readers.

However, the novel, like its predecessor, is of historical importance for its detailed portrait of Irish country life immediately before the famine.

In terms of Anthony Trollope himself, The Kellys And The O'Kellys is remarkable for the familiarity of its authorial voice: it is definitely recognisable as "an Anthony Trollope novel", in terms of its structure, its style, and its plot.

As far as Trollope's Irish novels go, we see again his fascination with the county hierarchy of Ireland, and the ways in which it was distinct from its English counterpart; the much closer relationships and familiar interactions of the different levels of society. He is also fully aware of the difficulties of country life---those for which the Irish were responsible, and those imposed upon the locals by the English.

The main plot of The Kellys And The O'Kellys deals with the matrimonial ventures of two young men (one Kelly, one O'Kelly); but around this is built a vivid picture of contemporary Ireland, with the politics of the time as an ongoing backdrop to the main action.

Edited: Mar 2, 6:20pm Top

The good news is that as far as I have been able to determine, the text of The Kellys And The O'Kellys has never been altered; so specific editions should not matter.

On the other hand, the book has been issued in two different forms, and under slightly different titles.

The first edition published by Henry Colburn (and subsequently reproduced by the Trollope Society / Folio and the Arno Press) presented the text in 3 volumes of 36 chapters.

When the novel was reissued by Chapman and Hall in 1859, it was as a single volume of 40 chapters: at this time, Trollope divided four of his chapters into two, resulting in four more in total. The book was also released as Kellys And O'Kellys.

Modern editions have reverted to the original title, but kept the second, 40-chapter layout. This includes the Oxford University Press editions most readily available.

Therefore we need to know if anyone participating in this group read is using the 36-chapter version instead?

As I said, the text has not been altered, so it is purely a matter of confirming that everyone is (literally) on the same page.

Any edition of The Kellys And The O'Kellys is suitable for this project. The book is available for free through Project Gutenberg, and as free and low-cost Kindle editions.


I have determined the original construction of the novel (if everyone has the 40-chapter version this won't be needed, but I thought it would be as well to have a note of it):

Volume I: Chapters 1-15
Volume II: Chapters 16-24
Volume III: Chapters 25-36

The chapters that Trollope divided were Chapter 4 (now = 4 + 5), Chapter 7 (now = 8 + 9), Chapter 21 (now = 23 + 24) and Chapter 34 (now = 37 + 38).

Edited: Mar 1, 5:55pm Top

To start, I am going to suggest a reading speed of two chapters a day: this will give us a framework of just under three weeks.

If anyone has any firm preference for going faster or slower, please speak up.

As for the group read itself, the usual rules and suggestions apply:

- whenever you post, please start by indicating what chapter you are commenting on in bold

- be mindful of others: use spoiler tags if necessary

- if your edition has an introduction and/or footnotes or endnotes, in the interest of avoiding spoilers do not read them before completing the novel

- the more comments and questions posted here, the better experience this will be for everyone.

Edited: Mar 11, 6:52pm Top

Character list:

Francis O'Kelly, Viscount Ballindine ("the O'Kelly")
Mrs O'Kelly - his mother
Augusta "Gussie" O'Kelly - his sister
Sophia "Sophy" O'Kelly - his younger sister

Mrs Kelly - a widow, owner of the inn and grocery store in the town of Dunmore
John Kelly - her middle son, an attorney's clerk
Martin Kelly - her youngest son, a farmer
Meg Kelly - her daughter
Jane Kelly - her younger daughter

Barry Lynch - a local property owner
Anastasia ("Anty") Lynch - his sister

The Earl of Cashel - an Irish nobleman
Lady Cashel - his wife
Lord Kilcullen - his son and heir
Lady Serena - his daughter
Fanny Wyndham - his niece and ward

Mrs Griffiths - confidential servant of Lady Cashel

Walter "Dot" Blake - a friend of Lord Ballindine
Mat Tierney - an older friend
The Blakes / the Dillons / the Browns / General Bourke - friends and neighbours of the O'Kellys

Father Geoghegan - a Catholic priest
The Reverend Mr Armstrong - a Protestant minister

Dr Colligan - a doctor of Dunmore

Mr Daly - an attorney hired by Barry Lynch
Mr Moylan - an agent hired by Anty Lynch

Kelly's Court - the home of the O'Kellys
Grey Abbey - the home of Lord Cashel
Dunmore House - the home of Barry Lynch
Handicap Lodge - the home of Dot Blake

Mar 1, 5:57pm Top

That will do, I think.

Please check in and let me know if you will be participating in this group read (or maybe just lurking?).

Edited: Mar 2, 5:36pm Top

Oh---one more thing perhaps I should say:

Don't be frightened off by the politics (and assumed knowledge) of Chapter I!

This does not impact the story proper as it seems it might, but simply forms the background to a more domestic plot.

However, it does date the action of the novel very precisely.

Mar 1, 6:40pm Top

Got the 1982 World's Classics Edition with 40 chapters, so all set to go. This will be a re-read for me, so I may jump in and out.

Mar 2, 7:20am Top

I'm considering joining in on this. Of course I've been overcommitting myself with reading plans, but it's also been too long since I read a Trollope book. And I love these tutored threads you do, Liz.

I have two books I need to finish first, but I think they'll go quickly. I'll keep you posted!

I did download a kindle book that has 40 chapters - no page numbers, but I can usually figure it out pretty easily.

Mar 2, 8:47am Top

As an aside, I’ve added this thread to our group wiki under General Group Reads.

Mar 2, 10:23am Top

Confession: I intend to lurk. I followed kac522's invitation over in the Category Challenge because I like Trollope. I downloaded the book, but I don't know yet if I can manage to keep up with the reading, work is pretty insane at the moment. Still, I am looking forward to your comments!

Mar 2, 4:23pm Top

I am in. I have a 40 chapter edition.

Mar 2, 4:39pm Top

I'm also in. I think I'll download the Gutenberg version as there is grumbling about typos in one of the Kindle reviews.

Thanks for setting this up, Liz! It's ages since I've read any Trollope due to all the bright and shiny new things...

I'll start tomorrow and read six chapters to get up to speed with it.

Edited: Mar 2, 5:34pm Top

Welcome, everyone - participants, lurkers and not-quite-sure-yets! :)

>8 kac522:

That's fine, Kathy.

>9 japaul22:

We'd love to have you, Jennifer. It's not a hard read once you're through the first chapter (a bit like The Warden, where you have to parse all the church stuff!).

>10 drneutron:

Thanks very much for that, Jim!

>11 MissWatson:

>Welcome, Birgit! It's great to have a new participant. Don't worry too much about keeping up if it adds too much pressure, go at your own pace and add any comments as they occur to you.

>12 cbl_tn:

Hi, Carrie; I think we all do, which is easier.

>13 susanj67:

Hi, Susan! Know all about that! - as well as needing to slot Project B into the narrow gap between Projects A and C... :)

Edited: Mar 3, 4:15pm Top

By way of making a start, I thought I would briefly address the historical / political content of Chapter I.

This chapter deals with the trial of Daniel O'Connell and his "co-conspirators" during January and February, 1844.

In 1800, the Acts of Union were passed, which made Ireland part of the United Kingdom. This was particularly contentious from a religious point of view, as it meant Protestant rule of a predominantly Catholic country. The Irish Catholics who were in favour of Union thought that it would lead to Catholic emancipation: at the time Catholics could not sit in the Irish parliament, as well as suffering a range of other restrictions. However, England was afraid that Catholic emancipation would see a Catholic parliament of Ireland voting to ally with France.

O'Connell began campaigning for emancipation in 1811, however it was not granted until 1829. His next battle was over tithes, the laws surrounding which compelled anyone working the land (nearly all of whom were Catholic) to pay for the upkeep of the "established church", that is, the Anglican church. This situation led to the so-called Tithe Wars of the 1830s, when the authorities ordered the seizing of property where tithes were unpaid.

After emancipation, O'Connell took his seat in the House of Commons and was instrumental in bringing down the Conservative government of Sir Robert Peel. He entered into a compact with the (then still called) Whigs, who agreed to work for Irish reform in exchange for his support; this situation was largely responsible for keeping Lord Melbourne in office as Prime Minister during the early reign of Victoria. (The withdrawal of this support later saw Melbourne ousted and Peel back, with negative consequences for the Irish.)

However, the promised reforms did not eventuate, and O'Connell established the Catholic Association in 1840, whose goal was the repeal of the Acts of Union and Irish independence. O'Connell's campaign led to a series of what were called "monster meetings", gatherings of over 100,000 in support of Repeal. A crisis was reached with a planned meeting in Clontarf, at which an attendance of 500,000 was expected. On this occasion the authorities made plans to send the troops in and, fearing bloodshed and possibly a massacre, O'Connell called the meeting off (somewhat to the disappointment of the authorities, who had hoped to make mileage out of "Irish violence").

Late in 1843, O'Connell and others were arrested and charged with "seditious conspiracy". The trial began in January 1844 and lasted until May, when O'Connell was convicted and sentenced to a year's imprisonment; although his conviction was overturned three months later. (The trial itself was another sore grievance, as the Crown had first handpicked a jury from a small population not merely Protestant, but openly against Repeal which some Protestants supported.)

Trollope, writing in (probably) 1846, knows all this and the eventual outcome: that the short prison sentence both ruined O'Connell's health, and created a hiatus which saw the establishment of the far more radical "Young Ireland" movement.

However, his opening few pages deal specifically with that part of the trial occurring during February 1844, in Dublin (all of which, as Trollope notes, was scrupulously reported in the newspapers of the day, which would have allowed him to get his facts and his dates right).

Mar 3, 1:26am Top

Thanks for the Cast of Characters in >5 lyzard: , and especially for the list of properties.

Chapter 1 question: what is meant by a "traverser"?

Edited: Mar 3, 6:36pm Top

Please remind me to keep it up-to-date, if I forget!

In legalese, "traverse" means to deny the charges brought against you; I think it applies in non-criminal (non-felony) law contexts.

"Traversers" was a term commonly applied at the time to O'Connell and his co-defendants, who all plead not guilty to conspiracy and sedition, and can be found in contemporary reports of the situation.


Here is a paragraph from the Spectator of January 13th 1844, showing that it was a term in general use. This paragraph also mentions the other men charged, who are alluded to in Chapter I

Mar 3, 6:25pm Top

>17 lyzard: OK, thanks, that's the meaning that I gathered in context, especially when John makes the point to Martin that they are not prisoners, but rather traversers.

Edited: Mar 3, 6:36pm Top

Having established his place and time via the O'Connell trial, Trollope uses Chapter I and Chapter II to sketch in the framework of his novel, introducing the three sets of interconnected people who will carry his narrative: the Kellys, the Lynches and Lord Ballindine (Frank O'Kelly).

It seems to me that one of the things Trollope found fascinating in Ireland was the way the classes mixed, a situation exacerbated by the country's ongoing economic pressures which tended to find the nobility struggling and the business and farming classes achieving upward mobility.

We see this very clearly illustrated via the Kellys: the late Mr Kelly was a farmer, an occupation now only considered appropriate for the youngest Kelly son, Martin.

Even so, Martin is making a success of it, and does not consider his position a bar to the hand of Anty Lynch.

Perhaps more pertinent to Trollope's themes is the position of the Lynches: the late Simeon Lynch became a landowner by exploiting his position as agent to an absentee landlord; his son Barry "thinks himself one of the raal gentry now", as John Kelly puts it, and therefore far above the Kellys.

Obviously in a society with so much manoeuvring, class distinctions are blurred at best. Lord Ballindine holds his position by virtue of his title, in spite of his inherited financial difficulties; though as Trollope notes, the family has actually lost status by gaining a title, being more respected locally three generations back, when its head was simply "the O'Kelly".

Edited: Mar 3, 6:40pm Top

One of the interesting things about this early novel is seeing in embryo many of the themes and situations which Trollope will develop in his later fiction.

We will talk about that further on. One thing I did want to point out, though, is that this is the first appearance of a man called "Frank", a favourite name for Trollope and one which recurs several times in later books.

We can probably take it as a positive sign, though as with the later Franks, Lord Ballindine does have his shortcomings... :)

Edited: Mar 3, 9:35pm Top

>20 lyzard: Frank Gresham, from Doctor Thorne, being my personal heart-throb ;)

Mar 3, 10:59pm Top

>21 kac522:

Not so much Frank Greystock in The Eustace Diamonds, I should think...

Edited: Mar 4, 2:10am Top

>22 lyzard: No, bit of a wimp, although he redeems himself somewhat.

Edited: Mar 4, 2:08am Top

I've finished Chapter VIII and enjoying Trollope's writing, especially the way he can deliver the ironic, humorous "zinger" at the end of a phrase or sentence. I just loved this passage, describing an Irish kitchen in Chapter IV:

"It is usually a temple dedicated to the goddess of disorder; and, too often joined with her, is the potent deity of dirt. It is not that things are out of their place, for they have no place. It isn't that the floor is not scoured, for you cannot scour dry mud into anything but wet mud. It isn't that the chairs and tables look filthy, for there are none. It isn't that the pots, and plates and pans don't shine, for you see none to shine."

And it continues on in this vein and there are so many more like this. As serious as many of the themes are in this novel, he still is able to add a bit of fun, without taking away from the arc of the story.

Mar 4, 3:03pm Top

>23 kac522:

Hmm. I don't find him a wimp so much as a selfish so-and-so; and he isn't redeemed so much as everyone else agrees to overlook his behaviour.

But anyhoo! :D

Just noting that if Lord Ballindine's love interest is called 'Fanny', that probably makes them 'Francis' and 'Frances'...44

>24 kac522:

What was striking to me in this book was how clear the Trollope 'voice' is. The plot of The Macdermots Of Ballycloran didn't really allow for that, but with a plot that (as it later turned out) more typically reflected his approach, it is striking. I don't think you'd pick this for only the second book in such a long career if you didn't know.

Edited: Mar 4, 3:43pm Top

Chapter II is called 'The Two Heiresses' which (taking a cue from Austen?) means of course it's really about the two men who want to marry those heiresses for their money.

Trollope is uncritical of the financial motivation behind both matrimonial plans; possibly he felt that Martin and Lord Ballindine were just being more honest about things than most men were.

However, most of this chapter and Chapter III is devoted to the character of Lord Ballindine, who like many Trollope "heroes" is well-meaning but a bit weak, being drawn into expenses he can't meet in order to keep up his idea of his own position.

Nevertheless Trollope rightly puts into his mouth something which speaks very much to the Irish situation of the time:

    "You'll never do for a poor country lord; you're not sufficiently proud, or stingy. You'd do very well as a country gentleman, and you'd make a decent nobleman with such a fortune as Lord Cashel's. But your game, if you lived on your own property, would be a very difficult one, and one for which you've neither tact nor temper."
    "Well, I hope I'll never live out of Ireland. Though I mayn't have tact to make one thousand go as far as five, I've sense enough to see that a poor absentee landlord is a great curse to his country; and that's what I hope I never shall be."
    "My dear Lord Ballindine; all poor men are curses, to themselves or some one else."
    "A poor absentee's the worst of all. He leaves nothing behind, and can leave nothing. He wants all he has for himself; and, if he doesn't give his neighbours the profit which must arise somewhere, from his own consumption, he can give nothing. A rich man can afford to leave three or four thousand a year behind him, in the way of wages for labour."

The issue of absentee landlordism is something that comes up again and again in Irish novels of the early 19th century: Maria Edgeworth's first, comic, novel, Castle Rackrent, dealt with it, as did (obviously!) her later, serious, The Absentee.

The draining of Irish resources, usually to support a life of ease in London, was a serious problem, as was the abuses of agents left behind in Ireland, whose only remit was usually to wring as much money out of an estate as possible.

Note that it is the absence of Frank's grandfather, who lives around the English court after gaining his title, that creates the O'Kellys' financial woes; it also allows Simeon Lynch to take advantage for himself, which is the basis for both Lord Ballindine's precarious situation and the source of the fortune divided between Barry and Anty:

This nobleman, publicly useful as his life had no doubt been, had done little for his own tenants, or his own property. On his father's death, he had succeeded to about three thousand a-year, and he left about one; and he would have spent or mortgaged this, had he not, on his marriage, put it beyond his own power to do so. It was not only by thriftless extravagance that he thus destroyed a property which, with care, and without extortion, would have doubled its value in the thirty-five years during which it was in his hands; but he had been afraid to come to Ireland, and had been duped by his agent...

To give political context to this, one of the arguments made by Daniel O'Connell for Repeal was to put a stop to this economic draining of Ireland, which he claimed amounted to a figure - and remember, this is mid-19th century money - of about 9 million pounds a year. (In fact, given the manoeuvring of the British government post-Union, in respect to what it "owned" in Ireland, it was probably a lot more.)

Edited: Mar 4, 6:32pm Top

Chapters IV and V deal predominantly with Barry Lynch's reaction to his discovery of Martin and Anty's matrimonial plans.

One of the few things that gives The Kellys And The O'Kellys away as an early novel is its inclusion of something we will rarely if ever see in Trollope again: a villain without any redeeming features.

Later Trollope novels are notable for his acute psychological dissections of people who do wrong, but Barry Lynch is left to stand as a man whose selfishness and cupidity (and his drinking habits) motivate all of his actions.

Likewise, though Barry's treatment of Anty will by no means represent the last time a woman is threatened with and subjected to violence for refusing to do what her menfolk want of her, Barry's outright violence is unusual, if certainly not unique; though Trollope's "gentlemen" are usually more adept at emotional bullying and psychological torture. But this sketch of Barry's mental processes is startling and unnerving:

After dinner, he would sit, by the hour, over the fire, drinking, longing for his sister's money, and calculating the probabilities of his ever possessing it. He began to imagine all the circumstances which might lead to her death; he thought of all the ways in which persons situated as she was, might, and often did, die. He reflected, without knowing that he was doing so, on the probability of robbers breaking into the house, if she were left alone in it, and of their murdering her; he thought of silly women setting their own clothes on fire—of their falling out of window—drowning themselves—of their perishing in a hundred possible but improbable ways. It was after he had been drinking a while, that these ideas became most vivid before his eyes, and seemed like golden dreams...

However, the other critical point in these chapters, particularly in light of Barry's ongoing tormenting of Anty, is the unexpected acuteness and strength of character she displays in the handling of her property. It is important that the reader understand that there are qualities in Anty that the main narrative hardly allows us to see: not least, that she's both tougher and shrewder than she seems:

The lawyer, when he informed Anty of her fortune and present station, made her understand that she had an equal right with her brother in everything in the house; and though, at first, she tacitly acquiesced in his management, she was not at all simple enough to be ignorant of the rights of possession, or weak enough to relinquish them...

Edited: Mar 4, 6:12pm Top

>27 lyzard: The other instance of specific physical abuse that I can think of is George Vavasor in Can You Forgive Her?.

Mar 4, 6:34pm Top

There are others. Off the top of my head, The Way We Live Now. But threats of various kinds are more common than this sort of direct violence.

Mar 4, 9:06pm Top

Makes me wonder if Trollope personally witnessed this sort of violence.

Mar 5, 3:59am Top

Thank you for the background posts, Liz - they are excellent!

I've read nine chapters now, and the constant "phonetic" speech of the Irish characters is a bit wearying. (Also, what does "Faix" mean? Sometimes they say "Faith" - is "Faix" just a different version of that?).

It seems that all the Irish characters are portrayed as stupid, while those who speak "English" English are better. I suppose at the time Trollope's audience was mostly English (? or "not Irish", anyway) so it was probably just reinforcing stereotypes, but I wonder how Irish people feel about it now.* A few years ago I read the "Birth of a Nation" trilogy, in which the black characters' speech was also written phonetically, and they too were portrayed as stupid. I'm strongly reminded of that in this book.

*Some years ago now, a storyline in EastEnders, a British soap opera, involved some of the characters going to Ireland, and when they got there they saw farm animals in the street. There was UPROAR. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/EastEnders_episodes_in_Ireland

Mar 5, 5:07am Top

Rather late checking in but I have the same edition as Kathy >8 kac522: with 40 chapters.

>7 lyzard: Tried reading chapter 1 last night and decided it was not a late at night chapter - going to try again today.

Edited: Mar 5, 10:41am Top

Oh my goodness! I just noticed this thread. I have read the K's and O'K's -- loaded it and a couple other of the "Irish" Trollopes for a trip to . . .you guessed it . . . Ireland on my ipad a couple of years ago. It was unnerving to visit the famine museum in Strokestown, Leitrim, (on the estate of a family who treated their tenants abominably during the famine--and one presumes all the time) and then pick up the novel before dropping off to sleep. My attention came and went, as I recall, but the story has stuck. I have thoughts that I'll share later on.

My two cents on the dialogue thing is that it was the fashion of the times to render "dialect" and "accents" literally. From what I know Trollope thought very well of the Irish generally, but regarded all humans as a mixed bag no matter what their social status or circumstances.

I found my review in 2017 which somehow was never posted on the book page, so now it is.

Mar 5, 3:48pm Top

>30 kac522:

Unfortunately it wasn't an uncommon thing: there were few if any legal restrictions on how a father could treat a daughter, or a husband treat a wife. Basically unless someone's life was threatened, as Anty's is, then it was legal and there was no redress; a blow or a beating was considered permissible.

Mar 5, 3:48pm Top

>31 susanj67:

That's a fair question, Susan, but I would suggest the use of dialect simply reflects the characters' level of education, and where they got that education---thus Lord Ballindine and Barry Lynch, who both went to Eton, speak English English; while the townspeople tend to speak in dialect.

Whether an individual went to school or not, and what kind of school, would depend of course both upon their social status and their sex. Note that Anty uses dialect and Barry does not: Simeon Lynch wouldn't have wasted money on his daughter's schooling. Later when we meet Fanny Wyndham and Lady Selina, we'll find they both speak without accent: probably they had an English governess.

(Apropos, private schools in Australia taught a British accent up until the early 70s, as the "correct" way to speak.)

I'm certain that Trollope didn't mean to imply anything about the various characters' intelligence; the characters aren't 'good' or 'bad', or smart or stupid, according to how they speak; rather, he was trying to render what he heard when he was living in Ireland.

As Lucy notes in >33 sibyx:, it was just at the beginning of the 19th century that the regional novel became a real thing---and because of Irish and Anglo-Irish writers (the Scots came after). At the time it was a genuine effort to raise national pride and present the local viewpoint on historical and political issues. Dialect was used to reflect character with accuracy.

However anti-Irish prejudice was high, and the "comic" Irish novel soon emerged. One of the reasons these first books of Trollope's did so poorly is that they took the Irish seriously and asked the English to do so too; it wasn't what English readers wanted, or were comfortable with.

Mar 5, 3:54pm Top

>31 susanj67:

"Faix" is a fairly twisted expression: its an Irish rendering of "fecks", which was a minced oath (that is, a way of swearing without swearing, like saying 'darn' instead of 'damn'), and which did mean "faith".

So it was "faith" but not pronounced "faith". :)

The servants tend to use the expression while their employers say "faith", I think, but I'm not sure if that's consistent.

Mar 5, 3:55pm Top

>32 souloftherose:

Hi, Heather! That's okay---like I say, just don't let Chapter I scare you off! :D

Mar 5, 3:58pm Top

>33 sibyx:

Welcome, Lucy!

Where did you find out about this? It's hard to know the best way of promoting these projects, so as to catch the right people.

I can imagine that would have been a weird reading experience. The potato blight was in its early days when Trollope was writing and no-one could have imagined the eventual devastation. I don't doubt there were many shocking examples of the treatment of the Irish.

Please do continue to lurk and share your thoughts with us!

Mar 5, 4:04pm Top

I will! It was entirely random that I stumbled upon it -- I was looking for someone's thread, being lazy, not looking in the threadbook, just looking down the recent posts at the 75 main page. I did a double take you may be sure!

Mar 5, 4:07pm Top

I will! Entirely random, I was scanning the recent posts on the 75 Main Page for some reason -- I rarely do this and I already forget why I was doing it and there the group read was. I did a double-take you may be certain.

Mar 6, 12:08pm Top

>35 lyzard:, >36 lyzard: Thanks Liz. I suppose the Irish characters seem quite "comic" to me (at this stage, anyway). But then I'm reading it now, and not then, when the comic novels hadn't become a thing.

Mar 6, 4:46pm Top

>39 sibyx:

I will try to thik of better ways of publicising; I did list it on the 'group read' thread, and Jim added it to the wiki. But people don't always access those threads at the appropriate time.

>41 susanj67:

Certainly there's some humour about some of the characters, but that's about individual character rather than them being Irish as such.

Edited: Mar 6, 4:55pm Top

But further to this point (and perhaps contradicting myself), Mrs Kelly is an interestingly mixed character: I think she does represent an Irish 'type', or at least I don't think Trollope would have given us her English equivalent.

However she is ultimately intended as a good character, and so as always with Trollope's good women, we see her heart overruling her head---and bringing a world of trouble upon herself---when she rescues Anty from her brother.

This situation becomes the pivot of the plot, and also allows for some fabulous verbal set-pieces, as first Barry and later his lawyer make the mistake of venturing into Kelly country:

Chapter VII:

    "And you mean to say, Mrs Kelly, you'll take upon yourself to prevent my seeing my sister?"
    "Indeed I do; unless she was wishing it, as well as yourself; and no mistake."
    "And you'll do that, knowing, as you do, that the unfortunate young woman is of weak mind, and unable to judge for herself, and that I'm her brother, and her only living relative and guardian?"
    "All blathershin, Masther Barry," said the uncourteous widow, dropping the knife from her hand, and smacking her fingers: "as for wake mind, it's sthrong enough to take good care of herself and her money too, now she's once out of Dunmore House. There many waker than Anty Lynch, though few have had worse tratement to make them so. As for guardian, I'm thinking it's long since she was of age, and, av' her father didn't think she wanted one, when he made his will, you needn't bother yourself about it, now she's no one to plaze only herself. And as for brother, Masther Barry, why didn't you think of that before you struck her, like a brute, as you are—before you got dhrunk, like a baste, and then threatened to murdher her? Why didn't you think about brother and sisther before you thried to rob the poor wake crature, as you call her; and when you found she wasn't quite wake enough, as you call it, swore to have her life, av' she wouldn't act at your bidding? That's being a brother and a guardian, is it, Masther Barry? Talk to me of danger, you ruffian," continued the widow, with her back now thoroughly up; "you'd betther look to yourself, or I know who'll be in most danger. Av' it wasn't the throuble it'd be to Anty,—and, God knows, she's had throubles enough, I'd have had her before the magisthrates before this, to tell of what was done last night up at the house, yonder. But mind, she can do it yet, and, av' you don't take yourself very asy, she shall. Danger, indeed! a robber and ruffian like you, to talk of danger to me---and his dear sisther, too, and aftimer trying his best, last night, to murdher her!"

Mar 7, 8:22am Top

Catching up here - I'm just starting Chapter VII.

>19 lyzard: I'm finding this mingling of classes very interesting and sort of disorienting. I'm so used to parallel storylines for different classes instead of something like this, with Martin Kelly feeling well within his rights to try to marry Anty.

>33 sibyx: I'm also a little put off by the dialect, just because, being an American, I don't really hear it with an Irish accent while I read because it simply isn't ingrained. Dialect doesn't bother me with, say, the American South, because it allows me to read in a way that the character would have sounded. I'm sure I'll get used to it, though.

I was sort of laughing in Chapter VI when Trollope describes the difference between English and Irish kitchens - he certainly doesn't mince words!

Mar 7, 4:36pm Top

>44 japaul22:

Hi, Jennifer!

Yes, and that's the point I was making in >43 lyzard:: I can't imagine Trollope giving us a scene like that involving an Englishwoman of Mrs Kelly's social rank and an Englishman of Barry Lynch's social rank. He was obviously intrigued by the blurry class boundaries he found in Ireland and the possibilities for upward (and downward) mobility.

I can hear what he's doing in my head, and it's a reasonable rendering of accent, I think. (Anyone closer to the source wish to comment?)

Mar 7, 4:54pm Top

Another of the recurrent features of Trollope's novels, which makes its overt debut here, is his deep suspicion of the legal profession.

While there are a few - just a few! - honest lawyers throughout his works, we more commonly find Trollope criticising what he viewed as the natural dishonesty of the profession, with "representing your client" meaning manoeuvring at best and outright lying at worst.

There is also a distinct suggestion that honest men don't need lawyers, and that hiring one is almost indicative that you've done something wrong. (Although we see many examples where this is not the case, it is still the implication we are usually left with.) As late as Phineas Redux, published in 1873, Trollope has Phineas feeling "soiled" because he has had to have a lawyer to represent him.

Of course, typically for Trollope, while he disapproved of lawyers and the legal profession, he also gives us many narratives turning on a law suit or a point of law, and many fabulous courtroom scenes.

Here, in Chapter IX, he introduces the young attorney, Mr Daly, who becomes Barry's legal advisor in his attempts to defraud Anty of her property, one way or another. At the outset Daly does is best to dissuade Barry from doing anything, recognising at once that he has no real legal grounds for pursuing his sister; but nevertheless he stoops to advising him how to "frighten" Anty and the Kellys out of their rights.

Daly in fact represents one of the earliest instances of something Trollope excelled out, dissecting out the motives of someone he disapproves of. Though Daly, put simply, can't afford to be completely honest, he's ultimately not a bad man, and does find the legal line he's not prepared to cross.

As so often with Trollope, the stinger comes at the end of the chapter (remember all those cut chapter endings in The Duke's Children??). This is what Daly thinks of the man he's just agreed to represent:

So the two retired to their beds, Barry determined, as he declared to the attorney in his drunken friendship, to have it out of Anty, when he caught her; and Daly promising to go to Tuam early in the morning, have the notices prepared and served, and come back in the evening to dine and sleep, and have, if possible, an interview with Mr Moylan. As he undressed, he reflected that, during his short professional career, he had been thrown into the society of many unmitigated rogues of every description; but that his new friend, Barry Lynch, though he might not equal them in energy of villany and courage to do serious evil, beat them all hollow in selfishness, and utter brutal want of feeling, conscience, and principle.

Mar 8, 3:08am Top

I'm slowly catching up here, currently reading chapter IV. So far it is an easy read and the dialect is not too distracting, although I am not entirely sure what it is supposed to sound like. I do not find it condescending, but then I am used to dialect in German 19th century novels serving as a geographical indicator, as when someone speaks Saxon or Bavarian.

Mar 8, 5:11am Top

There are all sorts of dialects, of course as you note---though the examples you give are ones I had not considered before.

You may or may not find this helpful (as an Australian I thoroughly sympathise with his exasperation at the same old stereotypes being trotted out again and again!):


Mar 8, 7:29am Top

>48 lyzard: That was fun, thanks.

Mar 9, 3:58am Top

I'm up to the end of Chapter XI - (finally made it through Chapter I in one piece). Enjoying this a lot so far.

Mar 9, 11:38am Top

A bit further on:

Chapter XII
(of Lady Selina)
'She was plain, red-haired, and in no ways attractive;'


Chapter XIII

'Lord Cashel thought, as he continued to reflect on the matter, that Lord Ballindine was certainly a sordid schemer; but that his son was a young man of whom he had just reason to be proud, and who was worthy of a wife in the shape of a hundred thousand pounds. And then, he congratulated himself on being the most anxious of guardians and the best of fathers'

I really enjoyed disliking Lord Cashel in this chapter - the contrast between how he views Lord Ballindine and how he views his son (though the difference in their behaviours is surely in Lord Ballindine's favour) and the very mercenary conversation between Lord Cashel and Lord Kilcullen which is clearly going to backfire very quickly (well hello, Chapter XIV)

Edited: Mar 9, 3:31pm Top

>25 lyzard: Re: Fanny & Frank ("Frances" & "Francis")--it just occurred to me Frances/Fanny was the name of Trollope's mother, and "Adolphus" (Lord Kilcullen) was Trollope's brother--Thomas Adolphus. Hmmm...

Mar 9, 3:30pm Top

>46 lyzard: Another Trollope technique I've noticed here is to have two different story-lines (sometimes, as here, different social classes) side-by-side. And there's usually some relationship/overlap between the two stories.

I'm up to Chapter XXXII.

Mar 9, 3:39pm Top

Thank you for contimuing to comment; I got tied up yesterday and didn't get a chance to post.

>51 souloftherose:

Yes, I did notice that description of Selina...ouch, indeed!

I have some thoughts on Lord Cashel too, which I will add below

>52 kac522:

He probably didn't mean anything of that nature---that is, he may have been having a dig at his brother, but he wasn't getting along very well with his mother at this point so I don't think he would have named one of his "good girls" after her (unless he was referring to the stubbornness of each?).

>53 kac522:

Yes, quite right; I want to touch on that too.

Mar 9, 3:52pm Top

As Kathy notes, this novel first gives us Trollope's tendency towards parallel plots: characters of different classes placed in similar situations, and how it works out according to the differing social structures and pressures; something seen most strikingly, perhaps, in the three parallel love-triangles of Can You Forgive Her?.

Sometimes the secondary plot is treated as a comic echo of the first, but that is distinctly lacking here even though we're dealing with an English writer giving us lower-class Irish characters (how refreshing!).

In fact Martin in the early stages comes off rather better than Lord Ballindine, who has all the familiar faults of one of Trollope's well-meaning but rather thoughtless young men. Martin in contrast is quite "sharp"---not as much of a criticism here as it might be in an Englishman of his class, because here it implies no dishonestly, just an eye to the best chance. (Martin is described in Chapter I as "a mixture of cunning and frankness".)

Lord Ballindine meanwhile is wasting his substance in those usual cash-sinks of his class, hunting and horse racing. He doesn't even charge a subscription for the hunt (as we learn in Chapter XXII, one of the inescapable hunting chapters).

What struck me is how in both cases there were no bones made about the money being the initial attraction for both Lord Ballindine and Martin---that both have set out to marry for money. The implication seems to be that there is nothing wrong with this, as long as the man is honest about it, and intends to (and actually does) treat the woman well.

Though as it works out in both cases, the feelings of the man change: Lord Ballindine falls very much in love with Fanny Wyndham, and Martin becomes attached to Anty chiefly through sympathy in her sufferings.

Mar 9, 4:07pm Top

In >51 souloftherose:, Heather has touched upon what I found perhaps the most interesting thing about The Kellys And The O'Kellys, the character of Lord Cashel.

I may say I guessed completely wrong about how the character would be used, chiefly because of the early description of him, given in Chapter II:

Lord Cashel was one of the first resident noblemen in Ireland, a representative peer, a wealthy man, and possessed of great influence; not unlikely to be a cabinet minister if the Whigs came in, and able to shower down into Connaught a degree of patronage, such as had never yet warmed that poor unfriended region.

My first thought was that Lord Cashel was to provide an example of the advantages of the resident landlord, as opposed to all the absentee landlords we see in 19th century Irish fiction (Maria Edgeworth's The Absentee is entirely about the damage done by absenteeism, and the economic and social benefits of a good resident landlord). I was expecting a contrast between Lord Cashel's good landlordism and Lord Ballindine's fecklessness.

However, this character takes an entirely different turn, and becomes the basis, I would suggest, of the first really complex piece of character-writing in Trollope's fiction, with the revelation of Lord Cashel's capacity for---well, is it hypocrisy or blind self-deception? Heather has picked out a fabulous quote for us, in >51 souloftherose:, from Chapter XIII.

And here again, although more subtly that with Martin and Lord Ballindine, we get the parallel plot: the manoeuvring of Lord Cashel and Lord Kilcullen over Fanny's fortune is every bit as sordid and dishonest as Barry Lynch's attempts to get his hands on Anty's property, but they are restrained by their position - and to be fair, lack the will and the cruelty - from resorting to Barry's tactics.

Mar 11, 5:41pm Top

>53 kac522:, >55 lyzard: Good points about the parallel plots.

Up to the end of Chapter XXII.

The introduction of the O'Kelly family and all their very similarly named friends in Chapter XXI was initially a little confusing. I was a bit confused by this from the same chapter:

'And then, Ballyhaunis was only eight miles from Kelly's Court; though they were Irish miles, it is true, and the road was not patronised by the Grand Jury'

What are Irish miles?

Mar 11, 6:42pm Top

>57 souloftherose:

You remind me that I should update the character list, although most of the people mentioned in those passages aren't important to the plot.

That's just a reference to the state of the roads: it took a lot longer to travel eight miles in Ireland than in England. As the rider about the Grand Jury indicates, the roads were only improved where government business was enacted, because the government would pay for it; this was another thing that Irish landowners were responsible for but generally couldn't afford.

Mar 11, 6:54pm Top

We can pass over the obligatory hunt scene in Chapter XXII---except to note that Trollope does use these scenes (otherwise an admitted self-indulgence) to delineate character; although as far as Barry Lynch goes, that probably wasn't necessary at this stage. The points made about the Protestant minister, Mr Armstrong, are more interesting, and something I'll return to.

Mar 11, 7:17pm Top

>59 lyzard: It seems to me that Trollope's hunt scenes generally end up with somebody injured: a rider, a horse, a dog. Or maybe those are just the ones that I remember...

Mar 11, 7:20pm Top

Two of this novel's most interesting supporting characters are the doctor, Dr Colligan, and the Protestant minister, Mr Armstrong: both interesting chiefly because you would never find these types in an English novel; Trollope is depicting distinctly Irish variants of standard characters here.

Introduced properly in Chapter XXIII, Dr Colligan is a somewhat unnerving character---dirty, and drunk, and gluttonous---and yet a good doctor, good enough that the locals rely on him in spite of all his character failings. Morally too he's better than we might expect (if no better than he should be), as we will discover later in the novel.

Meanwhile, the Reverend Mr Armstrong - introduced as one of the O'Kellys' friends and neighbours in Chapter XXI, and shown participating in the hunt in Chapter XXII - is fascinating both from a real-life, historical perspective, and in terms of Trollope's Irish novels.

To take the latter first---

As those of you who have read Trollope's first novel, The Macdermots Of Ballycloran, or who lurked at all on my thread for comparing the cut and uncut versions, will know, in the first edition the Catholic priest, Father John, was a prominent and important character, depicted in a positive and sympathetic manner. This was obviously very unpopular in England, as when Trollope cut his novel for its second edition, he removed in their entirety three chapters which focused upon Father John, and overall reduced the priest's prominence in the novel.

We can compare this to the increasing prominence of Mr Armstrong during the second half of The Kellys And The O'Kellys: there was obviously no perceived problem with making a Protestant minister an important character, even though Mr Armstrong would have been considered a rather shocking figure if he was English.

Mr Armstrong is in fact something of a throwback. During the 18th century, religion was very much on the wane in England; and a stereotypical character to emerge at this time was "the hunting parson", a minister who spent most of his time eating and drinking and dancing and gambling and of course hunting, in between "religious" duties which took up a minority of his time.

In the late 18th century there was a religious revival, not through the Established church, but the various dissenting factions. This eventually provoked a response from the Anglican church, which underwent a massive overhaul early in the 19th century in an attempt to "clean up" and win back people who had strayed (a situation which finally led to the Oxford Movement and, ironically, to the re-emergence of the English Catholic church; but that's another story).

If we think of the novels of Jane Austen - whose father was a Anglican minister - we see this clean up in transition, with young men still going into the church because it was considered a fit profession for a younger son - which is where most ministers came from; actual faith was not considered necessary - but also because they had a genuine calling.

Mr Armstrong, an Irish Protestant, is a throwback to the hunting parsons of the 18th century, a type which no longer existed in England when this novel was written, but which did exist exist in Ireland partly because the same clean up didn't happen (there was no threat posed by dissenting factions in Ireland), but partly because he has very little to do with his time:

The Reverend Joseph Armstrong was rector of Ballindine, and Mrs O'Kelly was his parishioner, and the only Protestant one he had; and, as Mr Armstrong did not like to see his church quite deserted, and as Mrs O'Kelly was, as she flattered herself, a very fervent Protestant, they were all in all to each other.

Trollope uses Mr Armstrong and his fellow Protestant ministers to emphasise the massive Catholic predominance in Ireland, and thus to underscore the realities of a tiny minority Protestant government having dominance over an almost entirely Catholic country, which led to many injustices and was the root of much violence. This is further underscored when, in a later conversation between Protestant ministers, the point is made that the majority of attendees at Protestant service in the countryside are English policemen stationed in Ireland:

Chapter XXXIV:

This cause of delay was, however, not mentioned to Lord Ballindine; but when it was well got over, and a neighbouring parson procured to preach on the next Sunday to Mrs O'Kelly and the three policemen who attended Ballindine Church...

Edited: Mar 11, 7:28pm Top

>60 kac522:

Someone or something usually was injured or killed; that was the nature of hunting. (Even if we leave the poor fox out of it!) However, Trollope uses the way his characters behave during the hunt to reveal their true natures (most famously, perhaps, with Burgo Fitzgerald in Can You Forgive Her?, where we are given a clear hint that Glencora might have regretted getting her own way).

Here, there is nothing the hunt tells us about Barry that we didn't already know; but his behaviour antagonises Lord Ballindine against him, which influences his conduct later in the narrative.

But it does tell us a great deal about Mr Armstrong, validating Lord Ballindine's later choice of him as an ambassador:

They, the less active part above alluded to, know every high-road and bye-road; they consult the wind, and calculate that a fox won't run with his nose against it; they remember this stream and this bog, and avoid them; they are often at the top of eminences, and only descend when they see which way the dogs are going; they take short cuts, and lay themselves out for narrow lanes; they dislike galloping, and eschew leaping; and yet, when a hard-riding man is bringing up his two hundred guinea hunter, a minute or two late for the finish, covered with foam, trembling with his exertion, not a breath left in him---he'll probably find one of these steady fellows there before him, mounted on a broken-down screw, but as cool and as fresh as when he was brought out of the stable... Such a one was Parson Armstrong; and when Lord Ballindine and most of the others went away after the hounds, he coolly turned round in a different direction, crept through a broken wall into a peasant's garden, and over a dunghill, by the cabin door into a road, and then trotted along as demurely and leisurely as though he were going to bury an old woman in the next parish.

Mar 11, 10:36pm Top

>61 lyzard: I have to admit that I vividly remember the Doctor from my first reading, but Parson Armstrong was like a new character to me this time round. But I've read enough Trollope now to immediately recognize on this reading that the Parson would be a reliable guy based on his early hound "sense."

Mar 12, 6:35am Top

>61 lyzard: I was initially confused by Mr Armstrong because I think of Ireland as a Catholic country (which it is now) but presumably at the time it was officially Anglican because it wasn't independent even though in practice, most people were Catholic?

And the description of Dr Colligan in Chapter XXIII made me shudder:

'Then, he was excessively dirty in his person and practice: he carried a considerable territory beneath his nails; smelt equally strongly of the laboratory and the stable; would wipe his hands on the patient's sheets, and wherever he went left horrid marks of his whereabouts'

>63 kac522: Very true!

Edited: Mar 12, 10:49am Top

>64 souloftherose: When I listened to Destiny of the Republic several years ago, the lack of cleanliness among medical professionals was one of the book's emphases. Physicians probed President Garfield's bullet wound with dirty fingers and dirty instruments, leading to the infection that caused his death. The physicians treating Garfield hadn't been convinced by Joseph Lister's arguments for adopting more sanitary practices and didn't see the connection between dirt/germs and infection. This was nearly 40 years after Trollope wrote The Kellys and the O'Kellys.

Mar 12, 4:43pm Top

>64 souloftherose:

Yes: Dublin was a Protestant stronghold because it was the seat of government, but otherwise the vast majority of the population was Catholic. This is why things like, for example, Catholics working on the land being compelled to pay tithes to the local Protestant minister was such a hot-button issue. And why the fight for Irish independence started with the fight for Catholic emancipation.

Mar 12, 4:52pm Top

>64 souloftherose:, >65 cbl_tn:

One of the things I often have to try and convey to people when we're doing 18th and 19th century literature is that there was no medical care as we now understand it: that people died of diseases and injuries which now we would consider trivial, and that conversely doctors conducted themselves in ways now unimaginable.

That did change across the course of the 19th century: huge advances were made in medicine and surgery (including, of course, disinfectant and anaesthesia, hallelujah!), with Edinburgh and Paris establishing proper medical schools well in advance of most other places, which still clung to the old ways of training and practising.

And in fact they didn't just cling, they actively resisted new ideas about germ transmission and cleanliness: many doctors were offended by the idea that they themselves could be the source of disease, and they refused to clean their instruments or even wash their hands between patients. This is the reason that infant and mother mortality soared during the 19th century: the medical profession organised to the point where they had the legal power to take childbirth out of the control of midwives, but their practices didn't advance along with that.

Edited: Mar 13, 5:52pm Top

We mentioned that Barry Lynch is one of Trollope's few unmitigated villains; but what is striking to me over the latter stages of the novel is that he actually seems to believe in his vision of himself as a persecuted victim, suffering at the hands of unscrupulous plotters. It's more than judging others by himself; it borders on clinical paranoia.

This is another point where a parallel is drawn between Barry and Lord Cashel, who likewise rewrites the characters and conduct of Lord Ballindine and Lord Killcullen---and himself---to suit his purposes; though he isn't quite as good as Martin at fooling himself. He too suffers, but his suffering is of another kind.

In both cases we get some of Trollope's most vividly imaginative writing, as he plunges into the mental workings of the two men as they try to get their hands on a woman's property:

Chapter XXIII:

    These and other delightful visions were floating through his imagination; when, all of a sudden, like a blow, like a thunderbolt, the idea of a will fell as it were upon him with a ton weight. His heart sunk low within him; he became white, and his jaw dropped. After all, there were victory and triumph, plunder and wealth, his wealth, in the very hands of his enemies! Of course the Kellys would force her to make a will, if she didn't do it of her own accord; if not, they'd forge one. There was some comfort in that thought: he could at any rate contest the will, and swear that it was a forgery.
    He swallowed a dram, and went off, almost weeping to Daly.
    "Oh, Mr Daly, poor Anty's dying: did you hear, Mr Daly---she's all but gone?" Yes; Daly had been sorry to hear that Miss Lynch was very ill. "What shall I do," continued Barry, "if they say that she's left a will?"
    "Go and hear it read. Or, if you don't like to do that yourself, stay away, and let me hear it."
    "But they'll forge one! They'll make out what they please, and when she's dying, they'll make her put her name to it; or they'll only just put the pen in her hand, when she's not knowing what she's doing. They'd do anything now, Daly, to get the money they've been fighting for so hard."
    "It's my belief," answered the attorney, "that the Kellys not only won't do anything dishonest, but that they won't even take any unfair advantage of you. But at any rate you can do nothing. You must wait patiently; you, at any rate, can take no steps till she's dead."
    "But couldn't she make a will in my favour? I know she'd do it if I asked her---if I asked her now---now she's going off, you know. I'm sure she'd do it. Don't you think she would?"
    "You're safer, I think, to let it alone," said Daly, who could hardly control the ineffable disgust he felt.
    "I don't know that," continued Barry. "She's weak, and 'll do what she's asked: besides, they'll make her do it. Fancy if, when she's gone, I find I have to share everything with those people!" And he struck his forehead and pushed the hair off his perspiring face, as he literally shook with despair. "I must see her, Daly. I'm quite sure she'll make a will if I beg her; they can't hinder me seeing my own, only, dying sister; can they, Daly? And when I'm once there, I'll sit with her, and watch till it's all over. I'm sure, now she's ill, I'd do anything for her."

Chapter XXVIII:

    The advantages, too, were much in favour of his son; he would one day be an earl, and possess Grey Abbey. So great an accession of grandeur, dignity, and rank could not but be, as the earl considered, very delightful to a sensible girl like his ward. The marriage, of course, needn't be much hurried; four or five months' time would do for that; he was only anxious that they should be engaged---that Lord Kilcullen should be absolutely accepted---Lord Ballindine finally rejected.
    The earl certainly felt some scruples of conscience at the sacrifice he was making of his ward, and stronger still respecting his ward's fortune; but he appeased them with the reflection that if his son were a gambler, a roué, and a scamp, Lord Ballindine was probably just as bad; and that if the latter were to spend all Fanny's money there would be no chance of redemption; whereas he could at any rate settle on his wife a jointure, which would be a full compensation for the loss of her fortune, should she outlive her husband and father-in-law. Besides, he looked on Lord Kilcullen's faults as a father is generally inclined to look on those of a son, whom he had not entirely given up---whom he is still striving to redeem. He called his iniquitous vices, follies---his licentiousness, love of pleasure---his unprincipled expenditure and extravagance, a want of the knowledge of what money was: and his worst sin of all, because the one least likely to be abandoned, his positive, unyielding damning selfishness, he called "fashion"---the fashion of the young men of the day.
    Poor Lord Cashel! he wished to be honest to his ward; and yet to save his son, and his own pocket at the same time, at her expense: he wished to be, in his own estimation, high-minded, honourable, and disinterested, and yet he could not resist the temptation to be generous to his own flesh and blood at the expense of another. The contest within him made him miserable; but the devil and mammon were too strong for him...

Edited: Mar 13, 7:35pm Top

Very much enjoying all the discussion.

Had a good chuckle over the "Irish mile"-- as a country lass I got it -- 40 (and more) years ago
Vermont had lots of "unimproved" roads and one had to think about the route during say, mud season -- google maps still sometimes sends people up abandoned roads here!

For something or other I researched for someone a while ago I remember reading that properly trained gentleman physicians believed that they could not possibly have germs. -- Some fellow at Pennsylvania Hospital in the 1850's even ranted on about it. The French were getting the idea about cleanliness amazingly early, 1830's, I think and it took forever to catch on. It was, I think, an empirical conclusion, noticing that clean hands, clean instruments seemed to lead to better results, no understanding, at first, of why, if I remember rightly. Doctors who trained in France would come back and be ridiculed for being fussy. I may not have everything exactly right, but I'm close!

Mar 13, 10:56pm Top

The "germ theory" had been proposed as early as the middle of the 16th century, but it wasn't for another 300 years that it made any headway against the "miasma theory". A few important things happened in the mid-19th century: John Snow in England demonstrating that cholera was transmitted via contaminated water; the microbiological research of Louis Pasteur and then Robert Koch; Joseph Lister's developments in antiseptics.

But on the other hand we have Ignaz Semmelweis who tried to get other doctors to decontaminate their hands between patients (particularly patients in labour; he was an obstetrician), and for his pains got hounded out of the medical profession and into a mental hospital.

Mar 15, 1:07am Top

>70 lyzard: I have a little book about Semmelweis just waiting for me: The Doctors' Plague by Sherwin Nuland! The perfect next book, as I've finished the Kellys.

At some point I would like to talk about the female characters, too.

Mar 15, 1:15pm Top

I'm on the hunt chapter (22)? Hoping to get some time to read this weekend - life has been very busy!

Does anyone have a paper copy with a page count? My kindle version doesn't say how many pages it is and I like to know!

Mar 15, 5:53pm Top

>72 japaul22: The 1982 OUP edition I used has 516 pages of text, not counting the Appendix and notes. Complete book has 560 pages according to LT, which must include the introduction, note on the text, Trollope chronology, table of contents, appendix and notes, in addition to the text.

Mar 15, 7:23pm Top

>71 kac522:

And we will! Perhaps you would like to make a start?? :D

>72 japaul22:, >73 kac522:

I have a 1978 OUP World's Classic's edition which is 516 pages, no add-ons; Chapter XXII ('The Hunt') begins on page 279, so about 54% of the way through.

Mar 16, 10:44am Top

Mar 16, 6:33pm Top

>71 kac522:, >74 lyzard:

Fine, then: I'll do it! :D

Trollope's parallelism continues with his paired heroines, though in a not-altogether satisfactory way: both Anty and Fanny are trapped into immobility by their circumstances, unable to act for themselves and dependent upon willing outsiders to help solve their problems. Both are in this situation due to their inheritance of a fortune.

Of course the two situations are not really comparable: Anty, before she falls ill, is literally in fear of her life outside the inn; whereas Fanny simply needs to dig her heels in and put up with some unpleasantness.

While it is disappointing that neither Anty nor Fanny is active in their own delivery, I don't think that Trollope was saying that this is how things "should" be. Rather he seems to be illustrating the restrictions with which they are confronted, and the dangers that could threaten a woman at the hands of unscrupulous men.

However, the result is that neither of our lead female characters makes as much of an impact in the plot as we would like, and would usually be the case in Trollope's novels.

Mar 16, 6:33pm Top

>74 lyzard: I was just thinking about how the older women, Mrs. Kelly and Lady Cashel, seem to have more developed characters than either Anty or Fanny, our heroines. Lady Selina is somewhere between, I guess--more of a stereotype, in some ways.

I know that both Anty and Fanny hold firm on certain points. Anty hiring her own lawyer and not returning to Barry's house, shows a bit of gumption, but not much; she's sick most of the novel anyway. Fanny is firm in her love for Frank and refusing her cousin in marriage, but I'm not sure she shows us much else.

I would love to be proven wrong here.

Mar 16, 6:33pm Top

Ach! cross-posting!

Mar 16, 6:36pm Top

Oops! - parallel posting. :)

No, I'm not going to try to prove you wrong, on the contrary.

I will have a bit more to say about Fanny in a minute; though the fact that there isn't much more to say about Anty is part of the problem: she's more of a plot-device than a character, in the end.

I agree with you about the older women, who are allowed to be proper characters with shading. It feels as if Trollope wasn't confident at this point in writing young women.

Mar 16, 6:36pm Top

Oh let's just say "great minds" and move on!! :D

Edited: Mar 16, 6:47pm Top

With respect to Fanny, she's probably more interesting if we consider her as a Trollope prototype than in her own right.

She has all the qualities that we know Trollope admired in young women, and that we will see many times later on, but the presentation is without much subtlety.

In fact the most interesting thing about her is that she does lose her temper with Lord Ballindine over his treatment of her, and allow herself to be persuaded into breaking their engagement. (I find this much more appealing than, say, Lucy Morris letting Frank Greystock treat her like a doormat in The Eustace Diamonds.)

However she soon regrets it and from that point on behaves like an entirely typical Trollope heroine, loyal in love to the point of obstinacy, and willing to cause a family ruckus to get her own way.

It is not Fanny herself that is interesting here so much as her complete severance from Lord Ballindine once she has spoken the dreaded 'word'. In these days of non-stop, 24-hour communication it is scary to see how utterly she is cut off, prevented both in practical terms and by fear of "immodesty" from getting any sort of message to him. (Of course Trollope takes pity on her before she does anything more drastic than merely threaten to offer herself to him again.)

Edited: Mar 16, 10:17pm Top

>76 lyzard:, >79 lyzard:, >81 lyzard:

All good points. After Belinda, however, who _does_ take steps to solve her own problems, these ladies seem paralyzed. I'm currently reading Trollope's novels in order that I have not read, which is just about all the novels except the Barsetshire & Palliser novels. So I hope to see a tiny bit more chutzpah in the young ladies as the years progress.

"I find this much more appealing than, say, Lucy Morris letting Frank Greystock treat her like a doormat in The Eustace Diamonds"

Ain't that the truth.

Mar 16, 11:19pm Top

>82 kac522:

I don't think that's quite a fair comparison: Anty is first terrified then deathly ill, so we should leave her out of the debate, perhaps; while Fanny is subject to the authority of Lord Cashel in a way that Belinda is not to Lady Delacour, of whom she is after all just a guest. (We can feel Fanny's rebellion building but it's never allowed to happen.)

Also, don't forget that we're dealing with Victorian Britain not late Georgian: the rules for girls tightened very much between those dates, before there was a breakout around the 1860s.

Mar 17, 12:25pm Top

>81 lyzard:, >82 kac522:, >83 lyzard: I'm up to Chapter XXXIII so may change my mind but I didn't feel Fanny particularly lacked agency compared to Belinda. I thought Fanny came across as quite a strong character because of her defiance of her family over her refusal to give up Lord Ballindine despite the fact that (so far for me anyway) she hasn't been able to actively do anything except refuse Lord Kilcullen.

Some notes I took whilst reading:

Chapter XXXI:

Highlighting how alone Fanny is:

Fanny's heart was very full, for she felt how much, how desperately, she wanted such a friend as Kilcullen described.

The second quote felt very Jane Eyre-ish to me (which had yet to be published).

'Nor will I submit to whatever fate cold, unfeeling people may doom me, merely because I am a woman and alone.'

Mar 17, 12:39pm Top

At the end of Chapter XXXIII I'm slightly torn over what to think about Lord Kilcullen. He still seems to have almost no remorse for running up such huge debts and the effect of this on his family and even falling in love with Fanny didn't stop him from asking her to marry him knowing he would take all her money to pay his debts. But, when Fanny refused him, he did promise to speak to his father about Lord Ballindine despite the fact that this wouldn't benefit him in any way.

On the other hand I have very little sympathy for Lord Cashel despite his heartfelt cry here:

"What I'm to do, I don't know; what I am to do, I do not know!" said the earl, beating the table with one hand, and hiding his face with the other. "Sixty thousand pounds in one year; and that after so many drains!—And there's only my own life—there's only my own life!"

Mar 17, 5:48pm Top

>84 souloftherose:

Like many of Trollope's women, she's passively strong: capable of holding her own against pressures and threats. She does take the opportunity presented by Lord Kilcullen's offer of friendship, but otherwise what we mostly see is her lack of opportunity. She is "a woman and alone", despite being a lady and a wealthy heiress.

Trollope's dissection of her hesitations over trying to contact Lord Ballindine is as usual psychologically acute, mixing Fanny's own sense of outraged modesty (which she professes to scorn in her cousin) with her horrified anticipation of being rejected and her more prosaic fears that any letter would be intercepted.

>85 souloftherose:

This is, in one way, another prefiguring of a situation that Trollope reuses later, Silverbridge's plunge into appalling debt in The Duke's Children. But again as we've come to expect the later novel is much more complex and subtle, with the circumstances of the accumulation of debt being detailed. Here we are simply presented with Lord Kilcullen's debts and left to imagine how they're even possible; the amount of money involved is mindboggling. We're not supposed to sympathise and so are given no reason to.

And while Lord Cashel frames his conduct in terms of affection for his son and concern for his family name, there's so much false pride and sophistry in his self-persuasions, and outright cruelty in his handling of Fanny, that there are no grounds for sympathy there either, though we can imagine the future easily enough.

However, there's a sort of crass honesty about Kilcullen lacking in his father, as well as a streak of decency that shows later in his dealings with Fanny: he agrees to his father's scheme chiefly because he knows that he won't get anywhere with her, and that she will be none the worse for his "courtship".

Consequently we can take a sick pleasure in his callous out-jockeying of Lord Cashel in Chapter XIII:

    "And then, where could Fanny wish for a better match than yourself? it would be a great thing for her, and the match would be, in all things, so---so respectable, and just what it ought to be; and your mother would be so delighted, and so should I, and---"
    "Her fortune would so nicely pay all my debts."
    "Exactly. Of course, I should take care to have your present income---five thousand a year---settled on her, in the shape of jointure; and I'm sure that would be treating her handsomely. The interest of her fortune would not be more than that."
    "And what should we live on?"
    "Why, of course, I should continue your present allowance."
    "And you think that that which I have found so insufficient for myself, would be enough for both of us?"
    "You must make it enough, Kilcullen---in order that there may be something left to enable you to keep up your title when I am gone."
    By this time, Lord Kilcullen appeared to be as serious, and nearly as solemn, as his father, and he sat, for a considerable time, musing, till his father said, "Well, Kilcullen, will you take my advice?"
    "It's impracticable, my lord. In the first place, the money must be paid immediately, and considerable delay must occur before I could even offer to Miss Wyndham; and, in the next place, were I to do so, I am sure she would refuse me."
    "Why; there must be some delay, of course. But I suppose, if I passed my word, through Jervis, for so much of the debts as are immediate, that a settlement might be made whereby they might stand over for twelve months, with interest, of course. As to refusing you, it's not at all likely: where would she look for a better offer?"
    "I don't know much of my cousin; but I don't think she's exactly the girl to take a man because he's a good match for her."
    "Perhaps not. But then, you know, you understand women so well, and would have such opportunities; you would be sure to make yourself agreeable to her, with very little effort on your part."
    "Yes, poor thing---she would be delivered over, ready bound, into the lion's den." And then the young man sat silent again, for some time, turning the matter over in his mind. At last, he said,---
    "Well, my lord; I am a considerate and a dutiful son, and I will agree to your proposition: but I must saddle it with conditions. I have no doubt that the sum which I suggested should be paid through your agent, could be arranged to be paid in a year, or eighteen months, by your making yourself responsible for it, and I would undertake to indemnify you. But the thirty thousand pounds I must have at once. I must return to London, with the power of raising it there, without delay. This, also, I would repay you out of Fanny's fortune. I would then undertake to use my best endeavours to effect a union with your ward. But I most positively will not agree to this---nor have any hand in the matter, unless I am put in immediate possession of the sum I have named, and unless you will agree to double my income as soon as I am married."

Mar 17, 6:19pm Top

And while the Lords Cashel and Kilcullen are plotting against Fanny, Barry Lynch is plotting in a far more dangerous way against his sister---he thinks with the collusion of Dr Colligan.

The scene in Chapter XXVII is interesting for the contrasting psychologies of the two men. As I suggested in >68 lyzard:, Barry really does believe that everyone is as bad as himself, and that they'll certainly do it to him if he doesn't do it to them first.

But here we see he has both mistaken his man and finally overreached himself. For all his overt faults and shortcomings, Dr Colligan is at bottom an honest man ; so much so, he almost cannot take in the implications of what Barry is saying to him:

    "Well;" said Colligan, who was now really interested, "what's the figure?"
    Barry had been looking steadfastly at the fire during the whole conversation, up to this: playing with the poker, and knocking the coals about. He was longing to look into the other's face, but he did not dare. Now, however, was his time; it was now or never: he took one furtive glance at the doctor, and saw that he was really anxious on the subject---that his attention was fixed.
    "The figure," said he; "the figure should not trouble you if you had no one but me to deal, with. But there'll be Anty, confound her, putting her fist into this and every other plan of mine!"
    "I'd better deal with the agent, I'm thinking," said Colligan; "so, good night."
    "You'll find you'd a deal better be dealing with me: you'll never find an easier fellow to deal with, or one who'll put a better thing in your way."
    Colligan again sat down. He couldn't quite make Barry out: he suspected he was planning some iniquity, but he couldn't tell what; and he remained silent, looking full into the other's face till he should go on. Barry winced under the look, and hesitated; but at last he screwed himself up to the point, and said,
    "One word, between two friends, is as good as a thousand. If Anty dies of this bout, you shall have the fifty acres, with a lease for perpetuity, at sixpence an acre. Come, that's not a high figure, I think."
    "What?" said Colligan, apparently not understanding him, "a lease for perpetuity at how much an acre?"
    "Sixpence---a penny---a pepper-corn---just anything you please. But it's all on Anty's dying. While she's alive I can do nothing for the best friend I have."
    "By the Almighty above us," said the doctor, almost in a whisper, "I believe the wretched man means me to murder her---his own sister!"

Mar 18, 9:01pm Top

>85 souloftherose: I ended up oddly sort of liking Lord Kilcullen. I'm not sure why, but I suppose it was mainly how he treated Fanny when she turned him down. He seemed like the kind of person who everyone loves because he's fun and light hearted even though you know he's making tons of mistakes.

I've finished the book now. My main observation is that the characters were a bit more one-sided than in Trollope's later books, especially the women. And I wished that there was more of the back story on Lord Ballindine and Fanny. I wanted to know more about their early relationship and detail on what happened to cause the rift.

Mar 19, 5:38pm Top

Well done!

I agree with you to an extent, though it is interesting to me that Trollope seemed more focused upon depicting life at the level of the town of Dunmore than amongst the local gentry and aristocracy. Likely that was new and intriguing to him, and he thought it might be to others.

I would like to know how the early phases of the relationship worked out, how Lord Ballindine went from confessedly courting Fanny for her money to, not just genuinely falling for her, but convincing her of his sincerity. We can grasp how the rift could have grown from his apparent choice of his horses over her---but still, this is something that in later books would have been detailed and analysed, rather than presented as a fait accompli.

Yes, that's an interesting point about Lord Kilcullen: for all the terrible things he does there's a buried spot of decency that won't let him cross a line. Probably he'd be better off without it. :)

Edited: Mar 19, 6:14pm Top

The fallout from Barry's guarded bribing of Dr Colligan is fascinatingly handled (Chapter XXXIV and XXXV).

Colligan himself remains true to type: though he's righteously appalled at Barry, it is fear for himself that makes him say something. Then he's sorry he did, since the others won't let him just make his statement and leave it at that.

I love Armstrong's reading of Colligan's character: talk about a backhanded compliment!---

    "I don't know how far we can trust that apothecary," said Frank to his friend.
    "He's an honest man, I believe," said Armstrong, "though he's a dirty, drunken blackguard."
    "Maybe he was drunk this evening, at Lynch's?"
    "I was wrong to call him a drunkard. I believe he doesn't get drunk, though he's always drinking. But you may take my word for it, what he's telling you now is as true as gospel. If he was telling a lie from malice, he'd be louder, and more urgent about it: you see he's half afraid to speak, as it is. He would not have come near you at all, only his conscience makes him afraid to keep the matter to himself. You may take my word for it, Ballindine, Barry Lynch did propose to him to murder his sister. Indeed, it doesn't surprise me. He is so utterly worthless."

This is another point where we see Trollope's reading of the differences in the English and Irish character: if a man is a "dirty, drunken blackguard" in England, he is not to be trusted at any point; but here a man may be that and still be an honest man.

This is the rock upon which Barry founders: he may be a gentleman, and Colligan only an apothecary, but everyone knows who the honest man is.

But what is really interesting here is the tension between Lord Ballindine and Mr Armstrong over the handling of the matter.

Like most of Trollope's good young men, Ballindine finds it hard to believe the worst of anyone; and while he can in theory condemn Barry, almost at once he begins to back-peddle---partly because he doesn't want to believe it, partly because as a magistrate he knows they don't have a leg to stand on, legally, and partly because of sheer discomfort with the proceedings.

But it is the ruthlessness of Mr Armstrong here that is surprising: no sign of forgiveness or understanding, just a cold determination to be rid of Barry Lynch. In this his own knowledge of Barry plays a part, as does his knowledge of Dr Colligan; but we might wonder whether Barry's position as the leading Protestant in the district (which he technically is, even if he is completely irreligious) has personally outraged him.

Note that Barry does play the religion card here, and plays it hard:

    "You'd better be quiet, Mr Lynch, or we'll adjourn at once from here to the open Court-house."
    "Adjourn when you like; it's all one to me. Who'll believe such a drunken ruffian as that Colligan, I'd like to know? Such a story as that!"
    "My lord," said Armstrong, "I'm afraid we must go on with this business at the Court-house. Martin, I believe I must trouble you to go down to the police barrack." And the whole party, except Barry, rose from their seats.
    "What the devil are you going to drag me down to the Court-house for, gentlemen?" said he. "I'll give you any satisfaction, but you can't expect I'll own to such a lie as this about my sister. I suppose my word's as good as Colligan's, gentlemen? I suppose my character as a Protestant gentleman stands higher than his---a dirty Papist apothecary. He tells one story; I tell another; only he's got the first word of me, that's all. I suppose, gentlemen, I'm not to be condemned on the word of such a man as that?"


"By heavens I'll not stand this!" exclaimed Barry.---"I'll not stand this! I didn't do it, Mr Armstrong. I didn't do it. He's a liar, Lord Ballindine: upon my sacred word and honour as a gentleman, he's a liar. Why do you believe him, when you won't believe me? Ain't I a Protestant, Mr Armstrong, and ain't you a Protestant clergyman? Don't you know that such men as he will tell any lie; will do any dirty job? On my sacred word of honour as a gentleman, Lord Ballindine, he offered to poison Anty, on condition he got the farm round the house for nothing!---He knows it's true, and why should you believe him sooner than me, Mr Armstrong?"

These touches probably did Trollope no favours with his English readers; particularly not when you add these to the mocking note he uses with respect to Mr O'Joscelyn in Chapter XXXVIII.

But for all his personal discomfort, Lord Ballindine is as much a winner out of these questionable proceedings as Martin: it is his success in routing Barry that makes Mr Armstrong certain that Lord Cashel will be no match for him; and of course he's right... :)

Mar 20, 10:37am Top

>79 lyzard: "more of a plot device than a character" . Yes -- she never felt quite 'real' -- Fanny does have some dimension.

Mar 20, 5:06pm Top

>91 sibyx:

Her circumstances don't allow for character development; in plot terms, it's more about how the others respond to her and her situation, particularly the vacillating Mrs Kelly.

Edited: Mar 20, 5:46pm Top

To give a bit of context to the religious angst of Chapter XXXVIII, it must be remembered that Trollope was writing The Kellys And The O'Kellys not long after John Henry Newman had converted to Catholicism.

As I touched upon in >61 lyzard:, this was a time of religious upheaval in Britain. Fears that "real" religious people were leaving the Church of England for the more evangelical factions during the late 18th and early 19th centuries led to an overhaul of the church and its ministers.

This situation was exacerbated by the granting of Catholic Emancipation in 1830 (under the Tory government of the Duke of Wellington), and then a perception that the subsequent Whig government of the Earl Grey was undermining the Church of Ireland, by reducing the number of Protestant bishoprics and archbishoprics, and making alterations to the collection of church revenue and the leasing of church land.

This situation prompted John Keble's famous sermon upon "the National Apostasy", given at Oxford in 1833. This in turn led to the so-called "Oxford Movement", which (among other things) was an attempt to reinstate older Christian traditions of faith into Anglican theology and liturgy, and to define the connection between the Anglican church and the Catholic church.

This in turn focused the split between the High Church and Low Church factions with which we are familiar via Trollope's The Warden and Barchester Towers. The Low Church faction accused the Oxford Movement of trying to reintroduce Catholicism into England by "the back door"; and while that didn't happen, the movement did in fact give rise to Anglo-Catholicism and saw a number of its leaders, including Newman, convert to Roman Catholicism.

This is the background of the woeful Mr O'Joscelyn's lament in Chapter XXXVIII:

    "We've fallen on frightful days, Mr Armstrong," said Mr O'Joscelyn: "frightful, lawless, dangerous days."
    "We must take them as we find them, Mr O'Joscelyn."
    "Doubtless, Mr Armstrong, doubtless; and I acknowledge His infinite wisdom, who, for His own purposes, now allows sedition to rear her head unchecked, and falsehood to sit in the high places. They are indeed dangerous days, when the sympathy of government is always with the evil doers, and the religion of the state is deserted by the crown."
    "Why, God bless me! Mr O'Joscelyn!---the queen hasn't turned Papist, and the Repealers are all in prison, or soon will be there."
    "I don't mean the queen. I believe she is very good. I believe she is a sincere Protestant, God bless her;" and Mr O'Joscelyn, in his loyalty, drank a glass of port wine; "but I mean her advisers. They do not dare protect the Protestant faith: they do not dare secure the tranquillity of the country."
    "Are not O'Connell and the whole set under conviction at this moment? I'm no politician myself, but the only question seems to be, whether they haven't gone a step too far?"
    "Why did they let that priest escape them?" said Mr O'Joscelyn.
    "I suppose he was not guilty;" said Mr Armstrong; "at any rate, you had a staunch Protestant jury."
    "I tell you the priests are at the head of it all. O'Connell would be nothing without them; he is only their creature. The truth is, the government did not dare to frame an indictment that would really lead to the punishment of a priest. The government is truckling to the false hierarchy of Rome. Look at Oxford,---a Jesuitical seminary, devoted to the secret propagation of Romish falsehood.---Go into the churches of England, and watch their bowings, their genuflexions, their crosses and their candles; see the demeanour of their apostate clergy; look into their private oratories; see their red-lettered prayer-books, their crucifixes, and images; and then, can you doubt that the most dreadful of all prophecies is about to be accomplished?"

Trollope never did care for extremism of any kind, even if he agreed to general with the stance taken. Mr O'Joscelyn's outburst is an example of the era's standard anti-Catholic rhetoric, and he responds by having Mr Armstrong point out its (and Mr O'Joscelyn's) absurdity:

    "But I have not been into their closets, Mr O'Joscelyn, nor yet into their churches lately, and therefore I have not seen these things; nor have I seen anybody who has. Have you seen crucifixes in the rooms of Church of England clergymen? or candles on the altar-steps of English churches?"
    "God forbid that I should willingly go where such things are to be seen..."

Now---as the later success of The Warden and Barchester Towers demonstrates, English readers were in a position to appreciate the comic aspects of the High Church / Low Church brawling in those novels. However, it is pretty clear that they did not at all appreciate passages like this, which not only mock Anglican extremism generally - at a time when religious matters of all sorts were taken deadly seriously - but seem to take the side of the Catholics in doing so. This sort of thing would have put the seal on the unpopularity of Trollope's Irish novels.

Mar 20, 5:41pm Top

Also reporting I've finished!

>88 japaul22: Yes, I think I liked Lord Kilcullen more than he deserved but I think as Liz said (>86 lyzard:), he had a certain amount of honesty which appealed compared to Lord Cashel.

And I'd agree that generally the characters lacked depth compared to Trollope's later books. I still found this very readable though.

>90 lyzard: I found the O'Joscelyn conversation in Chapter XXXVIII quite hard to read - mainly because the tone reminded me of so much of the current political debates (although on a different subject). Also I didn't feel it added anything to any of the characters we'd already met or the plot. Again, maybe something Trollope improved on in later novels.

Mar 20, 5:43pm Top

>93 lyzard:, >94 souloftherose: Oops, cross-posted.

Mar 20, 5:44pm Top

Aarrgh! - more cross-posting! :D

I've expanded upon >90 lyzard: in >93 lyzard:, hopefully that will give the context for what Trollope was doing.

Well done on finishing!

Mar 20, 7:12pm Top

Those of you who are still reading (if anyone?), can you please check in and let us know where you're up to?

Edited: Mar 20, 7:40pm Top

I love the scene between Lord Ballindine and Lord Cashel in Chapter XXXIX: Lord Cashel isn't giving up without a fight, but Frank is smarter than he seems:

    The next morning, Frank underwent a desperate interview in the book-room. His head was dizzy before Lord Cashel had finished half of what he had to say. He commenced by pointing out with what perfect uprightness and wisdom he had himself acted with regard to his ward; and Lord Ballindine did not care to be at the trouble of contradicting him. He then went to the subject of settlements, and money matters: professed that he had most unbounded confidence in his young friend's liberality, integrity, and good feeling; that he would be glad to listen, and, he had no doubt, to accede to any proposals made by him: that he was quite sure Lord Ballindine would make no proposal which was not liberal, fair, and most proper; and he said a great deal more of the kind, and then himself proposed to arrange his ward's fortune in such a way as to put it quite beyond her future husband's control. On this subject, however, Frank rather nonplussed the earl by proposing nothing, and agreeing to nothing; but simply saying that he would leave the whole matter in the hands of the lawyers.
    "Quite right, my lord, quite right," said Lord Cashel, "my men of business, Green and Grogram, will manage all that. They know all about Fanny's property; they can draw out the settlements, and Grogram can bring them here, and we can execute them: that'll be the simplest way."
    "I'll write to Mr Cummings, then, and tell him to wait on Messrs. Green and Grogram. Cummings is a very proper man: he was recommended to me by Guinness."
    "Oh, ah---yes; your attorney, you mean?" said the earl. "Why, yes, that will be quite proper, too. Of course Mr Cummings will see the necessity of absolutely securing Miss Wyndham's fortune..."

...not to mention this description of subsequent relations between Grey Abbey and Kelly's Court:

No change has occurred, or is likely to take place, in the earl himself---nor is any desirable. How could he change for the better? How could he bear his honours with more dignity, or grace his high position with more decorum? Every year since the marriage of his niece, he has sent Lord and Lady Ballindine an invitation to Grey Abbey; but there has always been some insuperable impediment to the visit. A child had just been born, or was just going to be born; or Mrs O'Kelly was ill; or one of the Miss O'Kellys was going to be married. It was very unfortunate, but Lord and Lady Ballindine were never able to get as far as Grey Abbey...

Mar 20, 9:46pm Top

I’ve read through chapter XXX. I’m reading 2 chapters a day so I should finish by Monday if all goes well.

Mar 20, 10:48pm Top

Thanks, Carrie! - no hurry. :)

Mar 21, 4:42am Top

I have started Chapter XXX, work is still very busy and cuts into my lunchtime reading. But I'm enjoying it, thanks. Barry Lynch is such an out-and-out villain that he seems almost Gothic to me.

Mar 21, 6:05am Top

Thanks, Birgit; that's good to hear. :)

Yes, you don't usually get such an unshaded villain in Trollope, though even here he does look into the workings of Barry's mind.

Mar 21, 6:02pm Top

>93 lyzard: I'm happy to say I remembered most of the background about Newman and the Oxford Movement from The Warden and Barchester Towers reads :-) That second quote from Chapter XXXVIII was very well done. Sad to think that Trollope's stance on extremism worked against him in this case.

>98 lyzard: I thought the point about the lack of visits was sad but not really unexpected.

I wanted to make a general comment about how matter of fact the mothers of both husbands-to-be were about their future daughters-in-law's fortunes and the influence that had on their son's decision to marry. I think we've already discussed this for Mrs Kelly but Mrs O'Kelly was just as upfront about this in Chapter XXXIX:

"Well now, Frank, take my advice; they'll want to tie up her money in all manner of ways, so as to make it of the least possible use to you, or to her either. They always do; they're never contented unless they lock up a girl's money, so that neither she nor her husband can spend the principal or the interest. Don't let them do it, Frank. Of course she will be led by you, let them settle whatever is fair on her; but don't let them bother the money so that you can't pay off the debts. It'll be a grand thing, Frank, to redeem the property."

Frank hemmed and hawed, and said he'd consult his lawyer in Dublin before the settlements were signed; but declared that he was not going to marry Fanny Wyndham for her money.

"That's all very well, Frank," said the mother; "but you know you could not marry her without the money, and mind, it's now or never. Think what a thing it would be to have the property unencumbered!"

It's not as bad as Lord Cashel's and Lord Kilcullen's plans of course but it still struck me.

Edited: Mar 21, 7:00pm Top

We touched on this point earlier: the contrast is not between marrying for money or being "above" such considerations, but between honest pragmatism and dishonest acquisitiveness.

The contrast drawn is not between the young men, Lord Ballindine and Martin, and their mothers, but rather between the two mother / son pairings - Lord Ballindine and Mrs O'Kelly, and Martin and Mrs Kelly - and the father / son pairing of Lord Cashel and Lord Kilcullen.

Martin does not need to marry for money, but it is the quickest way of raising himself in the world. However, Lord Ballindine cannot marry without seeking a fortune. It is important, though, to realise that he needs money to pay off his father's debt, which he has inherited, not debts of his own, like Lord Kilcullen. He must consider his mother and sisters in making his marriage.

This is an crucial point in terms of 19th century reality: many men never did marry because they were financially responsible for their mothers and sisters, and couldn't afford a wife too. (Conversely a scary number of men abandoned their female relatives and emigrated.)

Mar 23, 5:47pm Top

Trollope's tying up of his plot in the final chapter, Chapter XL, is mostly comic in tone, although with some wry touches that give you pause. We see for instance that Martin, a highly self-confident young man to this point, not quite comfortable with his new role as quasi lord of the manor:

Martin, too, was quiet enough on the occasion. It was arranged that he and his wife, and at any rate one of his sisters, should live at Dunmore House; and that he should keep in his own hands the farm near Dunmore, which old Sim had held, as well as his own farm at Toneroe. But, to tell the truth, Martin felt rather ashamed of his grandeur. He would much have preferred building a nice snug little house of his own, on the land he held under Lord Ballindine; but he was told that he would be a fool to build a house on another man's ground, when he had a very good one ready built on his own. He gave way to such good advice, but he did not feel at all happy at the idea; and, when going up to the house, always felt an inclination to shirk in at the back-way...

Mrs Kelly, on the other hand, is quite ready to assume her position of mother of the lord of the manor:

    "But is it thrue, Mrs Kelly, that Martin will live up in the big house yonder?"
    "Where should a man live thin, Mrs Costelloe, when he gets married, but jist in his own house? Why for should he not live there?"
    "That's thrue agin, to be shure: but yet, only to think—Martin living in ould Sim Lynch's big house! I wondther what ould Sim would say, hisself, av he could only come back and see it!"
    "I'll tell you what he'd say thin, av he tould the thruth; he'd say there was an honest man living there, which wor niver the case as long as any of his own breed was in it..."

But against this we have the depiction of Anty's mental and emotional state:

She had, however, been greatly shaken; not by illness only, but by fear also---her fears of Barry and for Barry. She still dreamed while asleep, and thought while awake, of that horrid night when he crept up to her room and swore that he would murder her. This, and what she had suffered since, had greatly weakened her, and it was some time before Doctor Colligan would pronounce her convalescent...

This is an acute touch from Trollope. We see in a number of his later books that he understood what we would now call mental illness: his father suffered from depression, and the whole family in turn was affected; and these experiences are reflected in, for example, Mr Crawley in The Last Chronicle Of Barset, and Louis Trevelyan in He Knew He Was Right.

He does not go into such depths here, but we see his understanding that Anty is not going to just "get over" what she has been through. Barry's treatment of her has a lasting impact.

Mar 24, 5:56am Top

>105 lyzard: My thoughts, exactly, regarding Martin and Anty. I finished this Friday. This was a lovely read, but to my mind he spends far too much toime with the male characters. I never got a good grasp of what makes Fanny tick, and Anty is unable to act at all most of the time.

Edited: Mar 24, 4:53pm Top

>106 MissWatson:

Yes, and it's one of the signs that this is an early novel. Certainly Trollope grew more interested over time in female psychology and female agency, even if we don't always care for the conclusions he drew---or that he shied away from others.

Mar 26, 8:01am Top

>105 lyzard: Good point on Anty's longer term suffering. On a bit of a side note I used to find the frequency with which people in 19th century novels experienced life-threatening illnesses after stressful/emotional situations a bit silly, but now thinking about the links people are finding in modern times between stress and its impact on your immune system I find myself a lot less sceptical - especially in a time without antibiotics or doctors with clean hands. Which isn't to say it isn't used in a lot of novels to create drama and suspense but I think now it's not as unrealistic as I used to think it was.

>106 MissWatson:, >107 lyzard: Agreed, and as well as depiction of female characters I think the structure of his novels improved over time too. We only find out what happened to Anty and Martin almost as an afternote - so much of the focus of the final section of the book was on Fanny and Lord Ballindine. I think Trollope got better at balancing multiple narratives in his later books.

Mar 26, 9:12am Top

I finished the book last night and I have to agree with >106 MissWatson: and >109 cbl_tn:. Trollope seems to have been working up to the Barsetshire and Palliser novels with the themes and characters in this book.

Mar 26, 5:26pm Top

>108 souloftherose:

Yes, absolutely. And it can be difficult to convey that beneath the melodrama or plot-need, there's a genuine medical crisis. (I remember having trouble getting people to accept the real dangers of Louisa Musgrove's head injury, when we did Persuasion!)

>109 cbl_tn:

Well done, Carrie!

>108 souloftherose:, >109 cbl_tn:

Yes, though it is sufficiently enjoyable in its own right, The Kellys And The O'Kellys is certainly only an "embryonic" Trollope novel. But then, it is interesting precisely because we're able to trace those developments.

Mar 26, 5:27pm Top

So does that mean that everyone is finished now??

Edited: Mar 27, 6:30pm Top

I'll take that as a 'yes'. :)

Thank you, everyone, for joining in; I hope you all found it an enjoyable and worthwhile read.

If anyone has further observations to make, please do add them to the thread!

Meanwhile, I shall move on to the always fascinating question of, "What next?" :D

As some of you will probably recall, this particular project is basically about me plugging the gaps in my Trollope reading---those books I haven't read at all, or long enough ago that I either don't recall them well or didn't have the knowledge to appreciate properly.

Trollope followed the twin failures of The Macdermots Of Ballycloran and The Kellys And The O'Kellys with La Vendée, an historical novel about the Royalist resistance to the French Revolution. It is interesting but a bit plodding; and, given its subject matter, finally rather depressing. (I read and reviewed it in 2014.)

This too was a complete failure, barely noticed at the time of its publication, and for a time looked like it might signal the end of Trollope's attempt to become a professional author.

However, five years later he got the itch again. The result was The Warden---and the rest is history. (That said, The Warden itself wasn't all that popular at the time: as we discussed during the group reads, Trollope was discouraged by his publisher from writing a sequel...that is, discouraged from writing Barchester Towers!)

The early years of Trollope's publishing career therefore look like this:

#1: The Macdermots Of Ballycloran (1847)
#2: The Kellys And The O'Kellys (1848)
#3: La Vendée (1850)
#4: The Warden (1855)
#5: Barchester Towers (1857)
#6: The Three Clerks (1857)*

...which would make The Three Clerks the next cab off the rank: for me it falls into the "too long ago" category.

It is generally considered a minor work these days, a bit heavy-handed in its satire. However, Trollope was always fond of it, and it is the most autobiographical of his novels, dealing with his early days as a civil servant.

So this is what is up next for me. If others are interested we can schedule another group read, otherwise I will just press on.

(*Like a number of mid-19th century novels, The Three Clerks was published in December but copyrighted the following year; so you see it listed both as 1857 and 1858.)

Mar 27, 6:37pm Top

I would love to join you for The Three Clerks!

Mar 27, 9:25pm Top

And I'd love to have you! - thanks. :)

Mar 28, 4:26am Top

I'll take a note of La Vendée because it was written around the same time Dumas embarked on his series about the times of Marie Antoinette, so it would be interesting to see how events are seen from the other side of the Channel. However, this can wait until I've got there with Dumas, I am currently slogging through Joseph Balsamo which is set in 1770-1774, still a long way off.
The three clerks sounds promising, too, so I'll be keeping an eye out.

Mar 28, 4:41am Top

>115 MissWatson:

Interesting project, Birgit; I haven't read enough Dumas.

It would be great if you could join us for The Three Clerks. It wouldn't be before the middle of the year, if that helps?

Mar 28, 6:35am Top

>116 lyzard: Oh yes, that sounds good. I already downloaded a copy from OpenLibrary.

Mar 30, 4:52am Top

>112 lyzard: I've read The Three Clerks before but it was a while ago and I enjoyed it so I'll probably read along too.

Edited: Mar 30, 5:27pm Top


I'll pencil that in after Emmeline. :)

Mar 31, 5:06am Top

>119 lyzard: Who's she?

Edited: Mar 31, 7:16am Top

>120 MissWatson:

Those of us (or mostly) who recently did a group read of Maria Edgeworth's Belinda will be following up with Charlotte Turner Smith's Emmeline, The Orphan Of The Castle.

We're sort of accidentally doing 'important female authors before Jane Austen'.

It's not nailed down yet but it will probably be Emmeline in June and then The Three Clerks in July, if that suits people?

You're very welcome to join us. :)

Mar 31, 1:15pm Top

>121 lyzard: This sounds promising, I may take you up on this. It will depend on my work situation in June and July.

Group: 75 Books Challenge for 2019

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