“When young Mark Robarts was leaving college, his father might well declare that all men began to say all good things to him, and to extol his fortune in that he had a son blessed with so excellent a disposition.”
|The Parsonage Farm, Rickmansworth (c. 1840)
In Mark Roberts financial dealings with Sowerby, one wonders if Trollope was offering a subtle indictment as to the interactions and associations of church and state. The innocent perceptions of one is unable to account for the devious machinations of the other and, because of Robarts’ influence on those around him, they are affected by the imprudent alliance as well. Add to that Lady Lufton’s displeasure at the Duke of Omnium’s vulgar societal group and a possible marriage between a peer and a commoner, and you have class conflict at its finest, a subject of which Trollope is most adept at exploring with a light-heartedness that often belies the deeper implications.
Trollope reintroduces characters from the previous Barsetshire books: The Warden, Barchester Towers and Dr. Thorne. Miss Dunstable displays her wily financial prowess, Dr. Thorne his ability to be influenced, the Grantley’s are in top form with not one, but two suitors in their daughter’s wake, and even gentle old Septimus Harding makes a brief appearance.
|The Houses of Parliament (c. 1844?)
George Chambers II
Two years it took me to complete this novel. Isn’t that ridiculous? For some reason, the first part of it just dragged, but as soon as I hit the half-way point, I was completely hooked and drawn in to the characters and their stories. Next in line is A Small House at Allington, which I’ve heard is excellent. It won’t take me two years to read through this one, I promise!