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The Trollope Project - Archives > The Warden: Chapters 1-5 - June 5-June 11

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message 1: by Lynnm (last edited Jun 05, 2016 04:26AM) (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments I'm psyched to start the Trollope Project. Oddly, for an English major, I didn't know much about Trollope's works until recently. But I have read the first three novels in the Barsetshire series and a couple of his other novels.

Again, I am concerned about starting with The Warden, because in terms of analysis, there isn't much there. But I hope that his writing and the characters and just the general story will hold people's interest until we get into the second book, which becomes far more complex.

Also, I did a bit of research on the novel, but I didn't post because I was concerned about spoilers. So, I'm going to include the research that I found as it becomes relevant in the novel.

One, what did you think of the major characters? We have met most of them: Septimus Harding, his daughter Eleanor Harding, Dr. Grantly (the Archdeacon), Susan Grantly (Harding's other daughter, and Dr. Grantly's wife), the Bishop (Dr. Grantly's father), John Bold (the reformer who also loves Eleanor), and the men of Hiram Hospital. We've only touched the surface of their personalities, yet still, readers should have a general pictures of what they are like. At this point, we have the most information on Mr. Harding and Dr. Grantly, who are complete opposites...how?

Two, what are your first thoughts on John Bold's arguments that the money from the charitable bequest and the revenues that come from the property are not being distributed properly: that Mr. Harding as warden is receiving too much money and that the men in the almshouse are not receiving enough money. My own thoughts as maybe a starting point: everyone seems horrified by what Dr. Grantly tells the men in the almshouse, but I actually agreed with Dr. Grantly. I doubt John Hiram meant for the men to have 100 pounds per year. That was a lot of money back then. He might not have wanted to enrich the men of the church, but given attitudes then and given the fact that Hiram would obviously have had money himself, he more likely would want the people in charge to manage those types of revenues rather than the men in the almshouse, most who couldn't even sign their name. Not to sound like an elitist... :-)

Three, we meet both sisters - Susan and Eleanor - but we can't tell much about them yet. Susan so far appears more bold than Eleanor, but without giving spoilers, note that Trollope's women are depicted far more accurately and realistically than the women in Dickens' novels. So, I think we will have something to look forward to when meeting Susan and Eleanor again in the novel.

Four, the introduction to my edition says that the book is comic satire "based on an actual case of financial profiteering." But, the writer (Dr. Lynette Felber) argues that "Trollope is less interested in the reform of clerical endowments than in the moral dilemma the situation presents." Dr. Felber also quotes another literary critic who claims that Trollope's "concern is always moral, and he is always recommending, by means of his cases, a more flexible morality." What do you think that they mean by moral dilemmas and moral flexibility?


message 2: by Margaret (new)

Margaret | 50 comments One thing I haven't done is to look up the cases Trollope cites in Chapter 1 (I think) which were similar to the objections John Bold has with the financial situation. ANyone else go to that length to do the research?

I've read this before, but every time am enriched by T's characterizations. Dr. Grantly is masterfully drawn. He has enough education for his post, but not so much as would allow him to think 'in advance'' of it, which to me means he's got enough learning to be where he is, but not the depth and wisdom which a really great clergyman might have. (Possibly in contrast to the gentle Harding.)

I also love that Dr. G DOES take advice from his wife, who, though she does see him in his pjs, as Trollope points out would alter one's awe of such a figure, still only addresses hims as 'archdeacon.'


message 3: by Lynnm (last edited Jun 05, 2016 10:03AM) (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments Margaret - I agree that Dr. Grantly is "masterfully drawn." Very realistic characterization and depiction of someone who would move up the ladder within the church. I'm not sure if it is depth and wisdom he is lacking - he is intelligent and has clear understanding- but he doesn't understand people or have any empathy. I'm not sure if those are necessary qualifications - sadly - to gain higher positions within the church though.

And I also loved that he takes advice from his wife. Again, it is where Trollope exceed Dickens when it comes to depicting women. And I also thought it was a nice touch to have her called Dr. Grantly "archdeacon." And it fits well given his character.


message 4: by Harm (new)

Harm (harmnl) | 10 comments I am Dutch and in English classes in school I was taught a bit about Shakespeare and Dickens, but Trollope is new to me. First impressions are favorable. The Warden seems to be a light novel, with a friendly sense of humor.

I fully agree with Margaret that the characterizations are really good. His characters feel like real persons, that you could meet in every day life. He has a keen eye for the peculiarities of normal people, without making them caricatures. This makes his interactions between people believable. The scene where some of the bedesmen persuade the doubting bedesmen to sign the document is a good example of this.

I also doubt that John Hiram meant the bedesmen to have 100 pounds a year, but I also think he would have thought that 800 pounds a year would be an excessive salary for the warden. This money could instead have been used for other charity purposes.

It seems blind greed makes the bedesmen sign the document. Mr. Bunce makes some very valid remarks at the end of chapter 4 and he seems to be a wise man who knows how the world works.


message 5: by Wendel (last edited Jun 05, 2016 01:59PM) (new)

Wendel (wendelman) | 229 comments Margaret wrote: "One thing I haven't done is to look up the cases Trollope cites ..."

Trollope mentions two cases of misuse of charity funds, both causing a stir in public opinion around 1850: Robert Whiston against the dean of Rochester Cathedral and Henry Holloway against Lord Guildford as warden of St. Cross Hospital, Winchester. Here is an article by James Fishmen discussing these cases (contains spoilers!).

At the root of the problem lay the vast increase during the 18th century of the income generated by British charitable endowments, creating a large surplus which was pocketed by the administrators of the charities. This abuse had been on the agenda for a long time, but little progress was made during the period of conservatism following the French revolution - the Church of England was an unassailable institution in the days of Wellington.

However since the 1830's reformers became more vociferous and they began to find support in the ever more influential national press. So when Whiston and Holloway (both lower clergymen) started to fight their cases in 1849 they were backed up by the newspapers and their readers. Under pressure of public opinion Parliament slowly began to move and the clerical authorities had to give in, eventually, little by little.

During this campaign, in 1852, Dickens' Household Words published an unsigned anti-clerical story on the theme of charity misappropriation. This triggered Trollope to start work on The Warden - which can be read as a criticism both of the charity administrators and of Dickens one-sided (populist?) views (Dickens was in fact not the author of the story, but held his newspaper under strict control).


message 6: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments I have read far more of the Pallister series than any other Trollope. I have always hiccuped over The Warden, shielding me from the Barchester series. Looks like I will make it this time. I have gotten bogged down on this short book for reasons I haven't figured out. It seems to me that Trollope gives considerable insight to the way the world around us really does function. I am enjoying lines like:

"...till sleep relieves him from deep thought."

Trollope, Anthony. The Warden (p. 23). Neeland Media LLC. Kindle Edition.

"...his intellect being sufficient for such a place in the world, but not sufficient to put him in advance of it." (p.21) -- already mentioned relative to the archdeacon.

(John Bold) "Having enough to live on, he has not been forced to work for bread; he has declined to subject himself to what he calls the drudgery of the profession, by which, I believe, he means the general work of a practising surgeon; and has found other employment...." (p. 16)

"...It is the ingratitude of this which stings Mr. Harding.... (p. 13)

"...more remarkable for the beauty of its cathedral and the antiquity of its monuments than for any commercial prosperity;" (p. 1)

Some of these now feel better in context than when extracted. In their place, they add insight, irony and wit.


message 7: by Lori, Moderator (new)

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1295 comments Mod
Lynnm wrote: "I'm psyched to start the Trollope Project. Oddly, for an English major, I didn't know much about Trollope's works until recently. But I have read the first three novels in the Barsetshire series an..."

I kind of agreed with Dr. Grantly too. But I can imagine, this speech couldn't have gone over well coming from such a condescending, arrogant person.

I also agree with Harm that Hiram probably didn't intend the warden to have an income of 800 pounds, though.


message 8: by Lily (last edited Jun 05, 2016 03:27PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments Lori wrote: "I also agree with Harm that Hiram probably didn't intend the warden to have an income of 800 pounds, though..."

Well, we can't really see several hundred years into the future, and this was supposedly established in 1434 (p2), which is why such benefices are usually given overseers that may govern their usage with the passage of time. (I have currently been dealing with the allocation of some resources potentially available for the education of future generations, so the subject is close to my heart and attention at the moment.) It does sound as if inattention and tradition have occurred here, however. Still, although the story so far makes 800 pounds sound generous and even with the disapproving eye of the archdeacon to monitor its usage, it is not yet clear to me that the warden is being wildly overcompensated. To begin with, I'd want to know how his income compares with that of the archdeacon or Mr. Finney or Mr. Chadwick or... Also, a better sense of the significance of the amount the pensioners did receive after the contribution by the warden. But, perhaps that information will come as I read on.


message 9: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2785 comments Mod
The names Trollope has chosen for some of his characters speak volumes. Some are very exaggerated, like Sir Abraham Haphazard, but others like John Bold, are more "normal".
I enjoyed the scene with the Grantlys in the bedchamber of Plumstead Episcopi. Susan seems like a sensible woman and sees nothing wrong if her sister marries John Bold if they love each other. I can just see the archdeacon's face when he hears that.
I agree that the old men were not meant to have that much money. It would make their lives worse because they might be worried about it or exploited by unscrupulous people.
I read in one if the early chapters that in difficult years of little income, the warden would provide for the Bedesmen out of their own resources. But 800 pounds a year is a lot of money, and the money could be used for other charitable work and the warden receive a more suitable salary.


message 10: by Frances, Moderator (new)

Frances (francesab) | 1800 comments Mod
I am enjoying the opening of this novel, and have certainly loved the Trollope I've read previously. He reminds me in tone a little of Alexander McCall Smith.

I was struck by a certain parallel between the Archdeacon and Abel Handy-both seemed absolutely certain of the rightness of their own position, and both browbeat those around them-the Warden and the other Bedesmen respectively-into taking positions with which they were clearly uncomfortable, and which they knew in their hearts would cause harm to relationships which until that time had run smoothly and been a source of mutual support and comfort. It appears clear that there is a middle ground in this case-it is not possible that the Bedesmen were intended to get 100 pounds, but also unlikely that the charity was intended to provide the Warden with 800 pounds in income. I think that Trollope is going to take a very nuanced view of this (unlike Dickens).

I like the gentle humour in the novel. When Mr Harding is explaining the situation with Mr Bold to the Bishop

"Indeed, I like Mr Bold much, personally," continued the disinterested victim; "and to tell you the truth,"-he hesitated as he brought out the dreadful tidings,-"I have sometimes thought it not improbable that he would be my second son-in-law." The Bishop did not whistle: we believe that they lose the power of doing so on being consecrated; and that in these days one might as easily meet a corrupt judge as a whistling bishop; but he looked as though he would have done so, but for his apron.

Or a little later

Who could lie basking in the cloisters of Salisbury, and gaze on Jewel's library and that unequalled spire, without feeling that bishops should sometimes be rich!

The tone of our archdeacon's mind must not astonish us; it has been the growth of centuries of church ascendancy; and though some fungi now disfigure the tree, though there be much dead wood, for how much good fruit have not we to be thankful?


I get the impression of someone who loves the church, and yet sees all its faults, all the fungi and dead wood, quite clearly indeed!


message 11: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2785 comments Mod
I do like the comment about bishops not whistling.


message 12: by Lily (last edited Jun 05, 2016 09:18PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments Frances wrote: "...I like the gentle humour in the novel. ..."

Or not so gentle!? I like the quotations you chose. Trollope can go on and on and drum repeatedly on a theme or topic, but the humor definitely is a saving grace, along with his considerable insight upon human foibles and the workings of society at many levels, especially church, business, and political.


message 13: by Helen_in_the_uk (new)

Helen_in_the_uk I'm really enjoying the characters and the story so far. Look forward to seeing how it unfolds.

I, too, have read more of the Palliser novels before and enjoyed Trollope immensely.


message 14: by Lynn (new)

Lynn B | 17 comments In addition to the article linked by Wendel in response to Margaret's question about the cases referred to at the beginning of chapter 2, there is a JSTOR article ( The Road to Hiram's History) which can be read free online after opening a JSTOR account. I would anticipate that it is highly likely that it contains spoilers http://www.jstor.org/stable/3825421?s...


Trollope does seem to be having fun with names again in this book, as mentioned by Rosemarie. Who can wonder at Mrs Grantly addressing her husband as Archdeacon in preference to Theophilus ("friend of God")? And as for the naming of the bedesman, Mr Bunce, his name means 'getting a windfall - receiving money over and above what is due.'


message 15: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2785 comments Mod
Lynn, thank for the info on the meaning of the names. Trollope must have had fun creating them.


message 16: by Lily (last edited Jun 06, 2016 06:36AM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments Lily wrote: "To begin with, I'd want to know how his income compares with that of the archdeacon or Mr. Finney or Mr. Chadwick or... Also, a better sense of the significance of the amount the pensioners did receive after the contribution by the warden. But, perhaps that information will come as I read on...."

I still haven't figured out valid comparisons, but 800 pounds is increasingly appearing considerable.

Totally unhelpful straight dope:
http://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/s...

Is there a Norton edition of The Warden et al? Those are usually pretty good on matters such as this.

This remarks the pay "while comfortable, is never portrayed as extravagant" (Beware: has definite spoilers):
https://books.google.com/books?id=91c...


message 17: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2785 comments Mod
After doing a very quick search on Google, I have some very basic numbers. Servants only earned ten pounds a year. The very poorest thirty pounds and the working poor who were not starving or living in horrible conditions between forty and fifty pounds a year.


message 18: by Lori (new)

Lori | 27 comments This is my first Trollope read and I am enjoying it so far! I am trying not to read it too quickly. I also love Trollope's playfulness in choosing names for his characters.

Wendel: Thanks for the research. When I began reading this my first reaction was that church politics must have been a hot topic during the mid-nineteenth century. A topic that would make for an interesting story and one that would enable an author to insert a moral dilemma, which seems to be an ingredient included in the Victorian era literature I have read thus far.


message 19: by Abigail (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 598 comments Lori wrote, “A topic that would make for an interesting story and one that would enable an author to insert a moral dilemma . . .”

Great observation, Lori! As modern readers unfamiliar with the hot topics of the day when 19th-c. books were written, we often miss the timeliness of the stories—like how readers of Mansfield Park when it was first released would have picked up on the slavery subtext but modern readers mostly don’t. Fiction writers in the 19th c. seem to have been central actors in the forum of ideas, to a degree much greater than today.


message 20: by Veronique (new)

Veronique This is my first Trollope :O)
So far liking it (catching up - 2nd chapter) although there is a lot of telling and not so much showing...


message 21: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2785 comments Mod
The Warden has a more relaxed pace than the later novels. I find it gives me a chance to enjoy his writing and get familiar with the characters.


message 22: by Lily (last edited Jun 06, 2016 12:09PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments Abigail wrote: "Lori wrote, “A topic that would make for an interesting story and one that would enable an author to insert a moral dilemma . . .”

Great observation, Lori! As modern readers unfamiliar with the ho..."


My link at 16 points to a whole book looking at the subject thus:
Pastors in the Classics: Timeless Lessons on Life and Ministry from World Literature by Leland Ryken. I recognized the author's name from a book I have on the Bible as literature -- nicely done using the ESV.


message 23: by Lynnm (last edited Jun 06, 2016 01:46PM) (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments Lily - great points about whether or not 800 pound per year would be considerable or not.

My only point of reference is Jane Austen's novels. For example, Pride and Prejudice was published in 1813. This novel was published in 1855.

In P&P, Mr. Darcy is worth 10,000 pounds per year. Mr. Bennett has about 2,000 pounds per year. In Sense & Sensibility, Mrs. Dashwood and daughters get 500 pounds per year.

In one of the articles I read via Google, that 500 pounds per year is worth $16,565 in today's US dollars. So, if you use that as a guide, 800 pounds per year is worth $26,504 in today's US dollars.

Now, I don't know where the article got its figures and calculations, but if they are correct, $26,000+ is not a high salary. You'd qualify for government aid. Of course, they didn't have the expenses that we have today, and Mr. Harding's house is included as a perk.

But even without that, Mrs. Dashwood/daughters are horrified at the low amount that they are getting and are pitied by everyone around them. 800 pounds isn't that much more than 500 pounds. Plus, money in the present is always worth more than money in the future. In other words, 500 pounds in 1813 is worth more than 500 pounds in 1855. So, Mr. Harding's 800 pounds in 1855 in terms of 1813 pounds would be worth less which would put him even closer to the Dashwood's 500 pounds per year. (If this makes sense...)


message 24: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments Wendel wrote: "Margaret wrote: "One thing I haven't done is to look up the cases Trollope cites ..."

Trollope mentions two cases of misuse of charity funds, both causing a stir in public opinion around 1850: Rob..."


Thanks for the information, Wendel!

My question is, if for argument sake, 800 pounds is too much for Mr. Harding. And we agree that the men shouldn't be given the 100 pounds because it is too much.

Then where should the extra money go? If Mr. Harding should get say 400 pounds per year, where should the extra 400 pounds go?

I haven't researched, and can't remember if that is part of the novel as we move forward. So no spoilers here as I consider this. Should it go to other poor people in the community? Given to other charities? To me, that should be part of the equation.


message 25: by Lily (last edited Jun 06, 2016 02:09PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments @23Lynnm wrote: "Lily - great points about whether or not 800 pound per year would be considerable or not.

My only point of reference is Jane Austen's novels. For example, Pride and Prejudice was published in 1813..."


Thx for this post, Lynnm, with so much carefully considered information on incomes!


message 26: by Lori (new)

Lori | 27 comments Lily: Thank you for that! That is very interesting! I am currently reading the Bible and hope to finish before the end of the year. It has been an interesting read so far as an ancient religious text but also as a classic work. I will look up Leland Ryken's book. I know that Jane Austen, who grew up in a parsonage, invented several characters that were in the clergy. Mr. Collins, Mr. Elton and Edmund Bertram were such memorable characters in her novels and I certainly enjoyed the human qualities she gave them.


message 27: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2785 comments Mod
There were cases in the church where a clergyman had the income from several churches or parishes, which were called "livings", and rarely set foot in them. They had poorly paid underlings who did all the hard work. I have read a number of novels in which the "livings" were distributed unfairly, and the hardest working clergymen were living in real poverty sometimes.

I like the fact that Mr. Harding is asking himself if he deserves to earn 800 pounds a year. He reasons that if he had refused the position someone else less suitable may have received. It is obvious that he cares for the Bedesmen.


message 28: by Wendel (last edited Jun 06, 2016 02:54PM) (new)

Wendel (wendelman) | 229 comments Fishman mentions that reverend North had prebends worth £ 4,500, before he became warden of St. Cross. The income from St. Cross may have been as high as £ 6,000, which would be considerably above the annual expenses of £ 1,000. The two estates that came with the Guildford title brought another £ 18,000. His total income at the time of his death was rumored to be £ 28,000, probably an exaggeration.

North/Guildford's wealth was immense. Trollope made sure that Harding played in a different league with his £ 800, which seems comfortable, considering the extra's, but not extravagant. Another comparison: headmaster Whiston received £ 150 annually, still an important improvement on the £ 13,5 mentioned in the (300 year old) charity's statutes. However, his pupils and the supported scholars had to be content with their original stipends.


message 29: by Renee (new)

Renee M | 747 comments Im really appreciating the conversation about the income. I've been wondering about it myself.

I'm relatively new to Trollope, having read through all the Pallisers over the course of one delightful year, I struggled to find the same momentum for the Barsetshire novels. Yet, they are often (surprisingly) the place where readers are advised to begin. I did manage to finish The Warden and Barsetshire Towers, so this is a reread for me. And I'm finding it much enhanced by both the discussion here and the natural inundation to "see" with new eyes upon rereading any story.

I'm much taken, for example, by John Bold's determination to push his inquiry forward, yet his consciousness of the awkwardness of doing so with his dear friend... And father of his beloved. Also if the true simple goodness if Mr. Harding. And the delicious humor Trollope is mining with turns of phrases delineating these so human characters (as you have all been saying).

I do really enjoy his writing immensely. (And, YES, his female characters are so well written!) I don't know why he does not get more attention these days.


message 30: by Lily (last edited Jun 06, 2016 07:31PM) (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments Renee wrote: " I don't know why he does not get more attention these days. ..."

Renee -- I agree! Perhaps we'll start a renaissance. His topics and observations of humans seem so apropos to what is happening around us.

I will say Trollope can seem a bit repetitious, beating the same drum several times over to slightly different rhythms. I've been known to mutter at his stories, 'I get it, move on, please. There are other things waiting to be read.'


message 31: by Lori, Moderator (new)

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1295 comments Mod
Lynnm wrote: "Lily - great points about whether or not 800 pound per year would be considerable or not.

My only point of reference is Jane Austen's novels. For example, Pride and Prejudice was published in 1813..."


Slightly off-topic, but I've been wondering about this for a long time, with every English novel I read.

When families have an income per year, where does it come from? Since the aristocrats didn't "work." Is it inheritance? Is it income from their estate (which probably wouldn't apply to Mrs. Dashwood)?

I understand it for people like Mr. Harding, since he does hold a position, but for the aristocrats, I've never been able to figure out where the "per year" income is coming from. Also when a lady gets some money "per year" with her dowry.


message 32: by Wendel (last edited Jun 07, 2016 02:46AM) (new)

Wendel (wendelman) | 229 comments Lori wrote: "When families have an income per year, where does it come from?..."

The income of non-working people derived from land and/or invested money.

The recipient might be either the owner of the assets, or have a stake in the proceeds from someone else’s possessions. Younger children for instance might get some revenues from the inheritance received by their eldest brother. Inherited property (and dowries) were often entailed in one form or another, i.e. the owner could not do with it as (s)he pleased.

You might like the background for Victorian novels provided by Sally Mitchell's Daily Life In Victorian England - on Google Books: https://books.google.nl/books?id=CsGK...

From Mitchell I learned that £ 1,000 was considered the minimum income for gentle living. Harding’s £ 800 allowed one to employ several servants, but was maybe not enough to keep a horse and carriage. When income is expressed in land, the rule of the thumb is that 1 acre equals £ 1 annually.


message 33: by Lynn (new)

Lynn B | 17 comments To put Mr Harding's stipend into the context of the wealth amassed by those churchmen at the top of the hierarchy, it is noteworthy that according to the Christian historian, Owen Chadwick, placarding the incomes of bishops had begun 25 years before The Warden was written.

Pamphleteers claimed that one bishop "bequeathed £700,000 pounds, an archbishop left more than a million." Bishop Sparke of Ely promoted his own son and his son-in-law so that the two of them had a church income of £31,000. The Bishop of London was due for an increase to £100,000 and the Archbishop of Armagh would receive £140,000 pounds.


message 34: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2785 comments Mod
Lyn, those numbers are staggering even for today.


message 35: by Lori (new)

Lori | 27 comments Lily wrote: "Renee wrote: " I don't know why he does not get more attention these days. ..."

Renee -- I agree! Perhaps we'll start a renaissance. His topics and observations of humans seem so apropos to what i..."


I recently viewed Julian Fellowes's adaptation of Dr. Thorne on Amazon and I really liked it! And let's face it, JF's Downton Abbey fame should bring attention to Trollope's work. With Tom Hollander in the role of Dr. Thorne it should at least please the PBS crowd! After the series I went out and purchased the first two books in the Barsetshire series.


message 36: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments Lynn wrote: "To put Mr Harding's stipend into the context of the wealth amassed by those churchmen at the top of the hierarchy, it is noteworthy that according to the Christian historian, Owen Chadwick, placard..."

As Rosemarie said, those are amazing amounts of money!

Poor Mr. Harding...he's little 800 pounds pales in comparison. :-)


message 37: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4460 comments Mod
I've read a bit of Trollope previously, but never this series. I have a complete antique set of them which I bought years ago.

I enjoy his characters, but I also enjoy his language which comes across to me as lyrical. Pure pleasure in the reading.

One note, there's an intro in my set written by Trollope. It indicates he originally intended the books to be stand alone, and was hoping no one would notice familiar characters. In future books, he tried to draw the characters a bit more obscurely to this aim. After some years, he decided it would be best appreciated as a series.


message 38: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2785 comments Mod
Interesting info, Deborah. The last time I read them was ages ago, and I remember reading the last two out of order because I couldn't get them in sequence. They need to be read in the correct order to follow his plots, which do get more complicated in the later books of the series.


message 39: by Abigail (last edited Jun 07, 2016 09:30AM) (new)

Abigail Bok (regency_reader) | 598 comments @31: The main source of income for gentlefolk was rent rolls. An owner of significant property would have many tenant farmers, who paid rent twice a year. This was considered the most respectable source of income.

Aristocrats also often had sinecure positions granted by the Crown or its Ministers, and these could be very lucrative. In the late eighteenth century, government bureaucracy was exploding, and by the time of The Warden, the government looked much the way it would today.

Depending on where the aristocrat lived, he might also have business interests, though these would be shoved under the rug a bit: mining, manufacturing, trade. Mr. Darcy in Pride and Prejudice, for instance, was probably an investor in clothing factories because he lived in Derbyshire.


message 40: by Lori, Moderator (new)

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1295 comments Mod
Wendel wrote: "Lori wrote: "When families have an income per year, where does it come from?..."

The income of non-working people derived from land and/or invested money.

The recipient might be either the owner..."


Thanks so much! That book looks great; I'll definitely have a look at it.


message 41: by Veronique (new)

Veronique Also enjoying all the comments full of information and clarifications. The characterisation is great and I'm looking forward to seeing how Trollope portrays his female characters :0)

One thing dawned on me, reading of the two 'strongly-opinionated' players, Grantly and Bold. One stands for the Church (or faith) while the other represents Medicine/Science, the age-old rivals, although this is of course in very generic terms here, especially for Bold. And what connects them but Law.... I wonder if Arts is going to show up :0)


message 42: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4460 comments Mod
Veronique wrote: "Also enjoying all the comments full of information and clarifications. The characterisation is great and I'm looking forward to seeing how Trollope portrays his female characters :0)

One thing da..."


Great observation. Thanks for sharing


message 43: by Sara (new)

Sara (phantomswife) Just caught up on the comments. I have very warm feelings toward Mr. Harding. He wants to do the right thing so badly and he seems to have almost no regard for himself and how this might affect his standing. I do not think it would have been the intent of John Hiram to leave these men anything other than what they have, complete care and a place to live out their lives. He would probably have preferred to help more than the twelve vs. giving these twelve such an excessive amount of money. Of course, the law will deal with the facts of the will and not intent.

I feel like the groundwork has been laid very well for the character of these people. It is hard to like Grantly, but I think he is right about fighting the old men. Bold is an interesting man, but like Harding he is driven more by what he believes is his duty than any personal agenda. I am interested in where these relationships are going.

This is my first Trollope, and so far I find his writing style very easy to slip into.


message 44: by Lynn (new)

Lynn B | 17 comments I admire Trollope's nuancing of the dilemma regarding how to interpret John Hiram's will which means that, like Mr Harding, we can find it very difficult to decide where right lies. The bedesmen are well looked after and Grantly has a strong case for saying that it was not intended that they or their relations should be enriched. But then again, a reapportionment of the revenues so that they each receive £100 would still leave the Warden in receipt of £380 which it might be considered more equitable. Or perhaps the class of beneficiaries should be extended as Sara suggests.

From a legal perspective, I suspect that the facts of the will are clear but the passage of time has so changed the arithmetic of the division that it's now necessary to consider what's fair. The courts would have had some leeway to decide this through the use of their equitable powers.


message 45: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4460 comments Mod
Lynn wrote: "I admire Trollope's nuancing of the dilemma regarding how to interpret John Hiram's will which means that, like Mr Harding, we can find it very difficult to decide where right lies. The bedesmen ar..."

I'm deliberately playing devil's advocate - if the men's needs are being met with good, clothing, shelter, why would they need 100 pounds? What would they buy?


message 46: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments Deborah wrote: "What would they buy? ..."

Alcohol?


message 47: by Deborah, Moderator (new)

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4460 comments Mod
Lily wrote: "Deborah wrote: "What would they buy? ..."

Alcohol?"


Lol. That's a lot of alcohol.


message 48: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2785 comments Mod
They would not know what to buy and I am sure some unscrupulous people would help them spend it. A couple of them would probably use it wisely, but those are the bedesmen who don't even want it.
As a modern example, many lottery winners of big jackpots end up poorer after they have won the big prize.


message 49: by Lynn (new)

Lynn B | 17 comments Their buying choices would be different from those of Mr Harding with his rather extravagant spending on Church music. But given that in some years gone by, previous Wardens had to dip into their own pockets to make up the bedesmens' incomes, can we be sure that John Hiram would have wanted the extra revenue from his endowment to go solely to the Warden? Not all Wardens would be as kind and fair a man as the Warden who has already considered it fair to make a small reallocation of the available income. What if the Warden had squandered all of his income in gambling and alcohol? And this income is his second income in addition to his earnings as precentor.


message 50: by Sara (new)

Sara (phantomswife) At least one of these men has already been made poorer by his unscrupulous family. If these men had money, they would find they have a lot of friends and relatives they never knew about. I like the comparison to lottery winners.

Of course, they are blessed with a good Warden who would not hesitate to use his own income to help them if it were needed, which might not be the case with the next man. The court is faced with making the decision without consideration of the individuals for exactly that reason, individuals will change over time. Time, in fact, is the culprit here, because John Hiram surely would never have envisioned this dilemma or he would have provided for it in the will. Time has changed the value of the bequest.


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