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The Trollope Project - Archives > Doctor Thorne: Chapters 13-18 - October 16-October 22

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message 1: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments I love how Trollope keeps the story moving!

One, Doctor Thorne tells Roger Scatcherd about Mary. Why does he tell Roger? Even if Roger dies, would Mary automatically become the heir? How does Roger take the news? What does Roger threaten to do? Without spoilers, how do you feel Mary will take the news if and when she is told?

Two, Lady Arabella tells Doctor Thorne that Mary should stay away from Greshamsbury for awhile. Why? How does Doctor Thorne take the news? After Beatrice meets Doctor Thorne on the street after he leaves Greshamsbury, she can figure out what happened. How does she feel about Mary being barred from Greshamsbury?

Three, Describe Miss Dunstable. Who are the three men who throw their hat into the ring to try to win her affections? How does she react to each? Without spoilers, do you feel Frank stands a chance?

Four, Mr. Moffat loses the election to Roger. How? What does that free him to do that will be detrimental to the Augusta and the Greshams as a whole?


message 2: by Robin P, Moderator (new)

Robin P | 2205 comments Mod
I love Miss Dunstable. She shows the life a woman can have who is independently wealthy - traveling, laughing, having lovers. She's a lot like a man, and basically becomes a buddy of Frank's. She has no trouble turning down every offer and putting her suitors in their place while remaining polite. We could compare this to Mrs. Bold's suitors in Barchester Towers. It's a nice change from Dickens' women who were so often sweet and self-effacing or nasty plotters.

I couldn't help seeing the election in terms of today. Everyone wants to preserve the appearance of "purity" while they are bribing voters every way they can. Also the lack of respect between the candidates and the public seemed familiar (though no one has yet thrown an egg or a dead cat in our current election, there is still time!). The cartoons of the two men vying for office were equivalent to the TV humor shows today. Scatcherd plays on his "man of the people" history, which is actually true in his case, while trying to distract the voters from any flaws (such as his drinking). Ir's obvious that Moffat despises the voters he is supposed to win, and also that he isn't much of a speaker.

Moffat's attempt to upgrade to a richer bride is truly disgusting. He is officially engaged. It's ironic that he wants to marry for money, when the only reason Augusta will take him is also for money. It sounds like he agreed to marry her because of her old family name & aristocratic relatives. We see that there is no affection on either side, which was probably common at the time.


message 3: by Lori, Moderator (new)

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1369 comments Mod
Lots of interesting things happening!

I also liked Miss Dunstable. I'm glad she and Frank were able to make a bit of fun out of an awkward situation and I hope they'll part as friends (i.e., I hope Frank doesn't do anything stupid).

The election was really interesting too. (will not turn this into a political post; will not turn this into a political post; will not turn this into a political post...) But yes, I think the eggs and dead cats are thrown more via twitter these days. Although someone did throw eggs at a political event here in Prague last year.

The logical (for us in 2016) question would be: "Why doesn't Dr. Thorne tell Mary about Scatcherd and ASK her whether or not she would like to meet him?" I guess Dr. Thorne wants to protect Mary, and feels she may be distressed knowing where she came from (and I agree that Scatcherd's rough manners may be a bit of a shock to her), but she is 21 years old and has a right to know. Do you think she would be able to handle the knowledge? I think so. She is a level-headed young woman.


message 4: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Lori wrote: "I guess Dr. Thorne wants to protect Mary, and feels she may be distressed knowing where she came from (and I agree that Scatcherd's rough manners may be a bit of a shock to her), but she is 21 years old and has a right to know. "

This is Victorian England, not modern day. Today there would be little question, I think, about telling her. But then, the woman had to be protected, didn't she?


message 5: by Renee (new)

Renee M | 751 comments This is s wonderful book! I'm so caught up with all the great characters, all the love/"love" stories, the story of Mary's background, the hilarious electioneering. I absolutely love Miss Dunstable. And am delighted to see Mrs. Proudie again. I find that I'm walking around all day with a bit of Barchester buzzing in my brain. :D


message 6: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 181 comments I totally agree, Renee! It's true that I haven't quite caught up with section yet, but it really makes me feel so happy. Even the potentially sad bits are, so far at least, rescued through all the wonderful and funny writing!


message 7: by Robin P, Moderator (new)

Robin P | 2205 comments Mod
I'm enjoying it a lot too, I take back what I said about finding it dull on a previous reading!


message 8: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2894 comments Mod
I have read the first three chapters in this section so far. Lady Arabella really doesn't understand the fact that if Mary Thorne is not welcome at her home, the Doctor will not pay social visits there either.
Mary Thorne is more aware of the social tension than the Gresham girls, and was right to spend time with Patience instead. Beatrice is such a friendly person that she is probably not aware of her mother's attitude.
As for Augusta's betrothed, Mr Moffat-- he really is a muff.
I don't want to admit this, but I agree with you Renee, it is good to see Mrs. Proudie again.


message 9: by Robin P, Moderator (new)

Robin P | 2205 comments Mod
I'm pretty sure Miss Dunstable comes back in another book as well.


message 10: by Lori, Moderator (new)

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1369 comments Mod
I loved how Dr. Proudie laughed a bit too hard at the idea of another man being hen-picked!


message 11: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Rosemarie wrote: "Beatrice is such a friendly person that she is probably not aware of her mother's attitude."

My impression was that she knew, but wasn't willing to let her mother interfere with her friendship. But I could be wrong -- how do others see it?


message 12: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Robin wrote: "I love Miss Dunstable. She shows the life a woman can have who is independently wealthy - traveling, laughing, having lovers."

I'm very fond of her too, but I'm not sure how realistic a character she is for the period. I wonder whether he had a person in mind when he wrote her.


message 13: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 181 comments Your point, Everyman, is very interesting concerning Miss Dunstable. She does appear to be very much an assured and independent spirit. She is out for a good time and is unwilling to be dragged into any behind-the-scenes gossip. Mr Moffat's attempt to reel her into a little cosy us-and-them in regard to the aristocracy only serves to achieve a mystified response from Miss Dunstable. She doesn't seem to find the de Courcys/Greshams to be in any way 'toadying' at all. Perhaps her self-assured manner might be a little unusual for a lady in that era, if that is the sort of conduct to which you refer, Everyman. She cuts a strong figure and it would be easy to see that she may be based on a real character of Dickens's acquaintance.


message 14: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2894 comments Mod
I have just read the election chapter and found it highly entertaining, especially where they mention the bribery laws. It has happened in some parts of Canada, and I am sure elsewhere, that the ridings with a representative in Parliament have better roads than those of the opposition.
I think Miss Dunstable is a refreshing change from the self-effacing heroines. She is wealthy, so she knows that many men will marry her for her money. If she marries, she will also have less freedom-so unless she finds the right person to marry, why bother?


message 15: by Hilary (new)

Hilary (agapoyesoun) | 181 comments Rosemarie, as in Canada, it seems that elections in Ireland, North and South, and those in the U.K. seem to bring out the worst in people. Unfortunately, the ethical candidate is often trodden on in favour of the shrewd one. It's great that Trollope helps us to laugh at the whole process and see it for what it is, despite the hugely serious side, of which we in Ireland are too well aware.


message 16: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2894 comments Mod
I like Trollope's tongue-in-cheek advice to young men in regards to marrying money, and like this quote from chapter 18:

There is no road to wealth so easy and respectable as that of matrimony; that is, of course, provided that the aspirant declines the slow course of honest work.

Miss Dunstable is a good judge of character, especially with prospective suitors.
She likes Frank as a person; she knows why George proposed in a letter and writes a suitable reply; and she clearly sees through the odious Mr. Moffat's smarmy language.
It is a good thing Augusta doesn't care for him. Maybe she will find some one who will be a good husband for her?


message 17: by Renee (new)

Renee M | 751 comments How old is Doctor Thorne? Is it possible he's only in his 40s? I keep trying to think of good matches for Dunstable. Maybe there will be some new character or, as someone suggested, we'll have to wait for another book to pick up her story.


message 18: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Renee wrote: "How old is Doctor Thorne? Is it possible he's only in his 40s? "

I'm not sure we are ever told. He was the older son, but if his brother fathered Mary when he was, say, 22, and Dr. Thorne 3 years older, and Mary is now, what, say 17? (I'm not sure we're ever told), that would make Dr. Thorne 42. That's of course just a guess, but it seems like it might be fairly close to reality.

Unless somebody who read the book more closely than I did can find better information on his age.

Other facts I found: he settled as a doctor in Greshamsbury not long after the birth of Frank, so it's 21 years ago, so since that was fairly early in his career, the low to mid 40s still seems as good a guess as any other.


message 19: by Dianne (new)

Dianne | 91 comments Everyman wrote: "Robin wrote: "I love Miss Dunstable. She shows the life a woman can have who is independently wealthy - traveling, laughing, having lovers."

I'm very fond of her too, but I'm not sure how realisti..."


I thought about this too. Was it really possible during the time for a woman to be so free wheeling and independent, even if she was wealthy? Was it typical for women to turn down a series of suitors? I thought that one of the aims of women during this time period was to find a suitable man to marry and while I laud her character I wonder if someone like her could have actually existed during the time. I wonder if it was typical during the time for people to have the total lack of courtship that seems to exist in the book, you write a letter and ask for her hand, even if you don't really know her or have a relationship at all!


message 20: by Dianne (new)

Dianne | 91 comments Robin wrote: "I love Miss Dunstable. She shows the life a woman can have who is independently wealthy - traveling, laughing, having lovers. She's a lot like a man, and basically becomes a buddy of Frank's. She h..."

I was actually pleasantly surprised by how interesting the election chapter was! I could not believe that people threw dead animals or rotten eggs, disgusting! It was such a joke that everyone is saying that no bribes are accepted when everyone seems to be accepting of any type of bribe as long as it is somehow masked in a thin veil of propriety. These two make quite the pair for election, the raging alcoholic vs. the man who can't string two sentences together.


message 21: by Everyman (last edited Oct 28, 2016 01:54PM) (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Dianne wrote: "I could not believe that people threw dead animals or rotten eggs, disgusting!"

Uh, have you read the papers recently? No dead animals or rotten eggs, at least not that we know (yet), but plenty of violence.

The more things change . . .


message 22: by Dianne (new)

Dianne | 91 comments Everyman wrote: "Dianne wrote: "I could not believe that people threw dead animals or rotten eggs, disgusting!"

Uh, have you read the papers recently? No dead animals or rotten eggs, at least not that we know (yet..."


good point. this election is definitely one for the history books.


message 23: by Robin P, Moderator (last edited Oct 28, 2016 07:57PM) (new)

Robin P | 2205 comments Mod
Pickwick Papers also had an election scene that was not that different from today.

As far as Miss Dunstable, I suppose by "lovers" she means admirers, not physical partners. So she's not as shocking as it might seem. And she knows how to act genteel with the proper people when she needs to. She lets Frank in on more of her opinions and humor than she does with just anyone. Some rich widows had this kind of independence but you would think she would be pressured to marry so that her fortune could go to some heirs.


message 24: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2894 comments Mod
There are some words whose connotations have changed with time. I agree, Robin, that lovers were admirers or prospective suitors. Miss Dunstable is a pretty shrewd judge of character, a necessary trait for a wealthy single woman.


message 25: by Lily (new)

Lily (joy1) | 2632 comments I'm behind all the rest of you on this one, but am continuing to enjoy both it and your comments (which I am holding off on reading until I finish listening/reading that section). I am also still reading commentary on The Warden and Barchester Towers and watching the BBC production. I am finding some of the insights quite delightful . (I'll post the titles when I figure out the appropriate thread.) I wonder if anyone has found comparable books/articles on Dr. Thorne. I haven't even gone looking yet.


message 26: by Renee (new)

Renee M | 751 comments I giggling over the idea of a popular high school girls reporting that the homecoming dance was such fun because so many of her lovers attended.


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