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The Trollope Project - Archives > Last Chronicle of Barset: Chapters 13-18 - May 28-June 3

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message 1: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments Sorry about the day delay. I took a day off yesterday from doing any work! Sat on my couch and read all day. :-)

One, most of the chapters revolved about Mr. Crawley, the Bishop, Mrs. Proudie, and Mr. Thumble. What happens when Mr. Thumble tries to take over the Sunday duties for Mr. Crawley? What is Mrs. Proudie's response when the news arrives at the Palace? The Bishop's response? What happens when the Bishop summons Mr. Crawley to the Palace?

Two, what advice does Mrs. Thorne give to Major Grantly regarding Grace and marriage?

Three, John Eames makes his return. (I don't know what it is about John Eames but he is one of my favorite characters in the Barsetshire series.). How is he doing professionally? Financially? How is his friend Cradell doing? What does John vow at the end of the chapter regarding Lily?

Four, Lily and Grace decorate the church for Christmas services. What happens at the dinner at the Squire's?


message 2: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments Two things:

One, even though I generally dislike Lily and have an affinity for John Eames, my feelings regarding their relationship have changed a bit. Lily doesn't appear as annoying in these chapters, and quite frankly, John Eames still having feelings for Lily annoyed me. And enough with everyone bothering Lily on the subject. It's been years! Time for everyone to move on. Of course, we wouldn't have a story then.

Two, I read the comments in the other thread about Mrs. Proudie, and didn't respond because I was afraid of giving out spoilers. Yes, Mrs. Proudie isn't nice, she's domineering, lacks empathy, and henpecks the Bishop. But to play devil's advocate, her representation by Trollope bothers me. Most of his women are strong, but they are strong because of the way they support their husbands - supportive, but don't interfere too much or interfere publicly. They are definitely the women behind their men. Mrs. Proudie wants power - and in the 1800s that makes her a "bad" woman, someone to portray negatively. She doesn't want to stand behind her husband; she wants the position and power of her husband. And that's her "sin."


message 3: by Sarah (last edited May 29, 2017 08:34AM) (new)

Sarah (sarahbethie) | 14 comments Lynnm wrote: "John Eames still having feelings for Lily annoyed me. And enough with everyone bothering Lily on the subject. It's been years! Time for everyone to move on."

This times ten! I came to the same conclusion and felt their constant involvement had become an annoyance. Irrespective of his good qualities, It gets a little old when everyone keeps shoving him down your throat. As for him, I wonder if he'd fallen into a lull of sorts where it was easier to hope than find someone new. I believe there's a strong degree of complacency on his part and he was more dependent on their help than he admits.

I won't comment on Mrs. Proudie because it will give away spoilers! But suffice to say that dynamic works both ways. Every alpha has its beta and I'll leave it there.


message 4: by Robin P, Moderator (new)

Robin P | 2032 comments Mod
We know Trollope isn't consistent but it was a bit much that he says it was 4 years since Lily was jilted, yet Cradell and Amelia have managed to have 6 children! As I expected, Alexandrina conveniently died (no explanation). Interestingly, Crosbie's first thought is not to rush back to Lily but to fight for his wife's money.

I think John has become a bit of a jerk. He has no respect for his boss or his office. He has succeeded because he can make up good excuses for his boss. He also is rude to Cradell, who in a way deserves it, but he should be happy Cradell took Amelia. John received generous help when he needed it and now that he's doing so well, he could help out his old friend.

It's interesting to see how gossip works. The story is that John beat Crosbie within an inch of his life, when we know it was just a black eye. There are also various stories about how Mr Thumble was treated at Hagglestock church. And there was a comment last week about how fast news traveled, in people finding out about Crawley's hearing. Just think, they did all this without internet.


message 5: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 29 comments Mwak! I just lost a long post lol ... basically this is one of my favourite Trollope chapters ever - chapter 18. I'm feeling very divided because I hadn't considered the position of Mrs. Proudie before, as Lynm says "Mrs. Proudie wants power - and in the 1800s that makes her a "bad" woman, someone to portray negatively. She doesn't want to stand behind her husband; she wants the position and power of her husband. And that's her "sin.""
And I've thought about this. But I still think that she's a bully. And I hate bullies. But I'm mulling over the implications. I was refreshed to see the comments about Johnny and Lily! Yeah! I'm also so fed up of this. Now I remember why I changed my opinion of Lily on a second read. Give it up Johnny! I love Chapter 18 to pieces because of Crawley's "Peace! Woman!" But now I feel bad about it because of the Mrs Proudie not having another voice, feminist issues etc HELP!


message 6: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments SarahHannah - Mrs. Proudie isn't a nice woman - she is a bully.

But - in my humble opinion - Trollope constructs her that way because a woman who wants the power and position of a man would have to be portrayed negatively in every way. Hence, a bully.

And calling her a "woman" like that is a way to put her back in her place...inferior to a man.

I always think of Chaucer's Wife of Bath...who paints the lion, tell me who? Well, it's men who paint women as devouring lions. They are the ones in the past who wrote, who constructed women.


message 7: by Terrence (new)

Terrence Perera (terrenceperera) | 48 comments Mrs Thorne once again takes up her role of advisor to people in love. Earlier, when she was Miss Dunstable, she encouraged and strengthened Frank Gresham’s love for Mary Thorne despite the disparity in their social status. Now, she does the same with Major Crawley and takes away any thoughts he has of breaking away from Grace Crawley.


message 8: by Terrence (last edited May 31, 2017 12:53AM) (new)

Terrence Perera (terrenceperera) | 48 comments Johnny Eames is no longer the “hobbledehoy” he was when we first met him; no longer a “mere clerk” on about 100 pounds a year. Now, he is a Private Secretary earning 350 pounds and with an inheritance of some thousands of pounds from Earl De Guest. He has risen in the world indeed! Nevertheless, the big question now is: will he succeed with Lily Dale?


message 9: by Lori, Moderator (new)

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1280 comments Mod
Terrence wrote: "Mrs Thorne once again takes up her role of advisor to people in love. Earlier, when she was Miss Dunstable, she encouraged and strengthened Frank Gresham’s love for Mary Thorne despite the disparit..."

I laughed out loud when she slapped him on the knee! She's still one of my favorite characters of all time.


message 10: by Frances, Moderator (new)

Frances (francesab) | 1776 comments Mod
I'm not changing my opinion on Mrs Proudie-yes, she wants power and lacks the means to attain it, which is unfair, however despite her years of essentially sitting in the Bishop's seat she doesn't understand the law and she is judging and condemning someone without their having their trial. I don't dislike her because she is thwarted in her quest for power, I dislike her because even if she had had a means to become Bishop herself, she would still have been an arrogant, mean-spirited, judgemental bully of a Bishop.

Regardless of whether it is fair or not, it was not her place to discuss the situation with Mr Crawley, and I can understand his refusing to acknowledge her and eventually asking her to be quiet-she is not his Bishop and should not be chastising him.


message 11: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Robin wrote: "We know Trollope isn't consistent but it was a bit much that he says it was 4 years since Lily was jilted, yet Cradell and Amelia have managed to have 6 children! "

Yes, that struck me, too. I was about to post it, but you beat me to it.


message 12: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments I love the difference of opinions on Mrs. Proudie. How many novelists can create characters which allow such a range of very reasonable responses?

I have to agree with Frances, though, that the problem isn't only that she wants to be bishop but can't because she's a woman; it's that she wants to be bishop without understanding the rights, responsibilities, and limits of a bishop. She has no tolerance for those she judges (without sufficient evidence) to be wrong even when they have the right to behave as they choose to. She simply wants to be absolute dictator, and that's never a good thing in either a man or a woman.

However, it makes for a wonderful character and great reading!


message 13: by Lynnm (last edited May 31, 2017 03:15PM) (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments Mrs. Proudie isn't "real" - she's fictional, obviously. As a character, she's a terrible person.

What I'm saying is that since she isn't real, we have to look at Trollope as the writer and why Trollope constructed her the way he did.

At that time, it was rare for a woman to be a writer - most writers were men. Therefore, female characters were mostly constructed by men.

Trollope constructs women according to the beliefs of the day - women should stand behind their men. If they disagree, do so in private. So, all of Trollope's "good" women have that as part of their characters.

Again, Mrs. Proudie is constructed as bad, evil, bully, horrid because she doesn't want to stand behind her husband. She wants to be her husband.

As for not understanding the "rights, responsibilities, and limits fo a bishop" (as Eman writes), how could she????? A real life Mrs. Proudie at that time wouldn't be allowed to go to college where she would learn those things.

Mrs. Proudie may be many negatives things (yes, intolerant, dictators, bully, etc.), but stupid isn't one of them. If she had been allowed to go to college, she would have known.

And she's intolerant, dictator, bully because that's the way Trollope constructed her. We're not supposed to like her. Because obviously, a woman who wants to be a man's position should have all sorts of negative traits.

As for Mrs. Proudie chastising Mr. Crawley, yes, she's not a bishop. As a woman, she could never be a bishop or judge or the people who decided that Mr. Crawley's case should go to court. Therefore, she has to be silent - and plays into the idea that women at that time were all supposed to be chaste, silent, and obedient. Women who spoke out were gossips or thought to move outside of their authority.


message 14: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Lynnm wrote: "As for not understanding the "rights, responsibilities, and limits fo a bishop" (as Eman writes), how could she????? A real life Mrs. Proudie at that time wouldn't be allowed to go to college where she would learn those things."

But she was intelligent enough, in your analysis (which I think is meritorious) to have inquired, and to have trusted her husband when he told her what those limits were. But I think she didn't want to know.


message 15: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Lynnm wrote: "As for Mrs. Proudie chastising Mr. Crawley, yes, she's not a bishop. As a woman, she could never be a bishop or judge or the people who decided that Mr. Crawley's case should go to court. Therefore, she has to be silent"

Oh, no, she doesn't have to be silent. Many other wives are talking openly about the case, and aren't thought to be gossips or worse. She can discuss the case as freely as she wants to with whomever she wants to. What she can't do is try to assert authority she doesn't have. And which nobody else in Barchester, be they man or woman, other than the Bishop, has. Everybody can give him their opinions. Nobody can give him orders. That's where I think she falls short. She isn't satisfied to give opinions. She wants to give orders.


message 16: by Frances, Moderator (new)

Frances (francesab) | 1776 comments Mod
I agree that Trollope does not question the role of women as wives and mothers and daughters, but then he has always struck me as a socially conservative writer. So, how would we like to see strong women assert themselves in their families? I would always prefer that family disagreements or family discussions be held privately, and whoever is doing the leading and whoever is doing the following in a couple does so away from public view. We see this with the Grantlys and with the Robarts and probably with Lord Lufton and his wife-they all strike me as couples who respect each others opinions, have their discussions/arguments in private and then present and united front. Whether it is a woman dominating her husband or a man dominating his wife, both are situations that make us uncomfortable and which we would not want to have carried on in front of outsiders. I can't think of any man in Trollope who treats his wife in the same way and is viewed any less negatively than Mrs Proudie.


message 17: by Terrence (new)

Terrence Perera (terrenceperera) | 48 comments One of the more interesting episodes in Trollope’s writing is the interview Mr Crawley has with the bishop and Mrs Proudie. Mr Crawley is all out to crush the bishop! During his long walk to the palace, “he puts out his long arm and his great hand and crushes the bishop in his imagination.”

He does succeed in his wish or rather in crushing Mrs Proudie, the de facto bishop. He ignores her completely throughout the interview and finally, before leaving. shouts at her: “Peace, woman! The distaff was more fitting for you”!

Famous last words!


message 18: by Sarah (last edited Jun 01, 2017 03:53AM) (new)

Sarah | 29 comments Lynnm wrote: "But - in my humble opinion - Trollope constructs her that way because a woman who wants the power and position of a man would have t..."
This is such an interesting conversation! I’ve always been a huge Trollope fan because I love the way he depicts female characters, especially the more complex ‘bad girl’ characters such as Arabella, Lizzy, Lady Laura – there are many – rather than the more idealized ladies that fit the Victorian pattern of appropriate womanliness. So I was quite resistant to this different viewpoint. But a bit of thinking later and some more reading and I’m really blown away by this different angle. I read a paper yesterday that I believe to be spot on. In “Can He Forgive Her?” Trollope’s ambivalence towards women who assert or strive to assert their independence is examined (in part). Whilst acknowledging that AT had a striking sympathy towards women, insight etc. it looks at the fates of characters such as Mrs. P, Lady Glenn, Mdm Max etc. who attempt some kind of independent agency -- “he is quick to denigrate them and slap them down when they try to exceed the limits of their feminine role…” Really fascinating stuff! If anyone wants a copy pm me your emails. Thanks Lynm for pointing this out!


message 19: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments SarahHannah wrote: "In “Can He Forgive Her?” Trollope’s ambivalence towards women who assert or strive to assert their independence is examined (in part).."

I believe we are going on to the Palliser novels after finishing Barchester, so "Can You Forgive Her" will be our next Trollope read. I hope you'll bring these thoughts up again then.

In the meantime, I'm not sure it's fair to say that he denigrates and slaps down Mrs. P when she tries to exceed the limits of her feminine role. It seems more complex than that. She certainly prevails over her husband, and over Mr. Slope; she forces here husband to write a letter he doesn't want to (and doesn't think he is authorized by Church law to write) and even edits it to her liking. That's certainly far beyond her proper feminine role, but she is victorious in it.

Mr. Crawley, though, is made of sterner metal than the Bishop. But it will be interesting to see how she responds, because I think we can be sure that she will not accept his slap-down lying down.


message 20: by Sarah (new)

Sarah | 29 comments Everyman wrote: "SarahHannah wrote: "In “Can He Forgive Her?” Trollope’s ambivalence towards women who assert or strive to assert their independence is examined (in part).."

I believe we are going on to the Pallis..."


Ooops I misquoted the name of the paper it's "Could he Forgive Her?" and doesn't refer to the Palliser novel but to representations of women throughout Trollope. But anyway the point is that I found it an interesting read and it just gave me food for thought. I'm looking forward to the next few chapters too!


message 21: by Nicola (last edited Jun 04, 2017 02:23AM) (new)

Nicola | 311 comments Lynnm wrote: Yes, Mrs. Proudie isn't nice, she's domineering, lacks empathy, and henpecks the Bishop. But to play devil's advocate, her representation by Trollope bothers me. Most of his women are strong, but they are strong because of the way they support their husbands - supportive, but don't interfere too much or interfere publicly. They are definitely the women behind their men. Mrs. Proudie wants power - and in the 1800s that makes her a "bad" woman, someone to portray negatively. She doesn't want to stand behind her husband; she wants the position and power of her husband. And that's her "sin." .."


Yes I agree with you - Trollope is a conservative man and he clearly displays the beliefs and prejudices of his time; no original or radical thinker he!

I can think of three women who have had 'power' in his books - power outside of the quiet supportive womanly role. Firstly there is Mrs Proudie who is demanding political power while clearly having no understanding of clerical law and protocol. She is aggressive; a total bully. Instead of being subservient to her husband she has usurped his place and thrown the entire diocese into disruption. Woman know thy place!

Then there was Madeline Neroni, a sexual siren who used her attractions, not in a suitable way in gaining the affections of a worthy man by modest maidenly behaviour and spurning all other men (indeed, being no longer attractive to any man other than her husband who would honour her as a useful helpmate and mother of his children). Signora Neroini was also disruptive, she enticed men for advantage and personal amusement and in morals was clearly 'no better than she ought to be'.

And finally our beloved Miss Ointment heiress, an independent woman of great wealth who was neither malicious nor hardhearted and who still acted like a lady. However rather than enjoying her independence it was made clear that she found it a lonely and sad life and Trollope redeemed from such an unnatural state by finally marrying her off. As all proper women should be.

So we have the conclusion that for women:

1. Power: Bad. No woman should want this. Her proper place is to support the men in her life quietly and not push herself forward. If she does so then it can only be because she's a domineering, horrible wife and certainly no lady.

2. Sexual attraction. Bad. A woman who is sexually attractive to men will use her charms to twist them around her finger and bring strife into the lives of all around her. A woman should always be attractive and be thought beautiful but only in a modest 'English' way.

3. Money and Independence. Bad. A woman who has her own fortune will be hunted by men who only want her for her money. She may be intelligent, clever, kind and funny but it is only the money that they want. Her life will be lonely and hollow - she should get married to a wonderful man who doesn't care about her money and then her husband can take care of everything for her.


message 22: by Nicola (new)

Nicola | 311 comments Everyman wrote: "Lynnm wrote:"As for not understanding the "rights, responsibilities, and limits fo a bishop" (as Eman writes), how could she????? A real life Mrs. Proudie at that time wouldn't be allowed to go to college where she would learn those things."

But she was intelligent enough, in your analysis (which I think is meritorious) to have inquired, and to have trusted her husband when he told her what those limits were. But I think she didn't want to know. .."


Yes, and that comes back to the point that to Trollope a woman wanting such a role must be portrayed in this way. She is stepping outside of where she should be and has to be shown in the worst possible light.


message 23: by Nicola (new)

Nicola | 311 comments It would be poetic justice if Mrs Proudies actions in forcing the Bishop to use powers he doesn't have would cause him to somehow lose the Bishopric. That would be a proper outcome for such a dominating woman who interferes where she has no right to!


message 24: by Nicola (last edited Jun 03, 2017 02:06PM) (new)

Nicola | 311 comments Robin wrote: "I think John has become a bit of a jerk. He has no respect for his boss or his office. He has succeeded because he can make up good excuses for his boss. He also is rude to Cradell, who in a way deserves it, but he should be happy Cradell took Amelia. John received generous help when he needed it and now that he's doing so well, he could help out his old friend.

Amen to this! My thoughts when listening to this were 'oh so Trollope has now turned the modest young Eames into a complete tosspot. Yah. Another cruddy guy to add to the pile :-)

And also what right has he to be angry at Lily and feel that he would be justified in thinking that 'she should have accepted him long since'? What arrogance!


message 25: by Nicola (new)

Nicola | 311 comments Everyman wrote: "Robin wrote: "We know Trollope isn't consistent but it was a bit much that he says it was 4 years since Lily was jilted, yet Cradell and Amelia have managed to have 6 children! "

Yes, that struck ..."


Maybe they had two sets of triplets :-)


message 26: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments Nicola - I enjoyed your post on Trollope and women. As for John Eames, I hope that Trollope doesn't turn him into "another cruddy guy." I like John Eames. But unfortunately, he does seem to be going that way.


message 27: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2770 comments Mod
This has been an interesting conversation so far.
Mrs. Proudie is a bully- if the Bishop disagrees with her his life is made miserable. He didn't get his tea. Of course, he could have made more of an effort in earlier years to learn how to get meals without her help. She is an interfering busybody and he is emotionally lazy-or terrified.
Mr. Crawley made an excellent point about the law. A person is presumed to be innocent until the judge reaches a verdict, but Mrs. Proudie has already condemned him.
As for Johnny Eames, I see him becoming a confirmed bachelor. He seemed to enjoy himself in those four years since Lily said no.
I haven't made up my mind about Major Grantly yet. He is a little too hesitant to approach Grace Crawley. The advice Mrs. Thorne gave him was a surprise. I can see him thinking about it, and thinking, and thinking.....


message 28: by Frances, Moderator (new)

Frances (francesab) | 1776 comments Mod
Interesting post, Nicola, on the women, but we do have to let there be some negative female characters as well as negative male characters.

Signora Neroni was indeed a siren, but I didn't feel Trollope was casting her in any more of a negative light than he did her entire family, and in fact she was portrayed as clever enough to bring down Slope and to make her own way in the world despite her disability and her disastrous marriage. I also don't think that Miss Dunstable was acting any less independent than Dr Thorne-they were two people happy to be single, until they met someone who's company they enjoyed enough to marry. Let's not forget how many eligible and handsome men Miss Dunstable passed over, with no better prospect in sight, until the right man for her appeared. I felt that Trollope was quite happy to have a wealthy and independent woman-he wasn't commenting on her when he showed the many men falling at her feet for her money-that was more of a negative reflection on the men!

Finally, I think that for a manipulative and aggressive power-behind-the-throne sort of person in the palace, let's not forget that at the outset there were 2 people, a man and a woman-vying for that position-and the fact that Mrs Proudie ultimately vanquished Slope for the role speaks to Trollope's respect for her abilities!


message 29: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2770 comments Mod
Frances, I see the marriage between Doctor Thorne and Miss Dunstable the same way you do. I also remember the good doctor's wooing. They make a good couple.


message 30: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments Frances wrote: "Interesting post, Nicola, on the women, but we do have to let there be some negative female characters as well as negative male characters.

Signora Neroni was indeed a siren, but I didn't feel Tro..."


I don't think anyone is suggesting that there shouldn't be negative female characters.

But it is important to understand why the negatives are negatives...both for male and female characters.

And for Mrs. Proudie - and yes, as I've said numerous times before - she's a bully. But what is it about her character that allows Trollope to depict her as a bully? And underlying societal beliefs that allows it as well? Those are the important questions.

It doesn't matter is Doctor Thorne and Miss Dunstable make a good couple. It matters that Miss Dunstable had to become a Mrs. Thorne - a masterless woman is a dangerous woman so getting Miss Dunstable married was front and center throughout much of the series. Note when she was unmarried, she began to mix with "unsavory" characters. Hence, she was "saved" by Doctor Thorne.

Trollope is a creature of his time. And thankfully we have moved forward. Definitely not finished, though.


message 31: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Lynnm wrote: "And for Mrs. Proudie - and yes, as I've said numerous times before - she's a bully. But what is it about her character that allows Trollope to depict her as a bully? "

I agree that Trollope was writing within a different understanding of the proper role of women, but I think that Mrs. Proudie would be considered a bully even today. If Caroline Welby, wife of Justin Welby, Archbishop of Canterbury, went uninvited into her husband's office and demanded that he take certain actions which he believed were contrary to church law, demanded that he change the language in letters he wrote to suit her principles, denied him his tea if he didn't give in to her governance, and in other ways acted toward her husband today in the same way that Mrs. Proudie did, I think even in today's more enlightened view of women and their proper role in society we would still call her a bully.


message 32: by Lynnm (last edited Jun 06, 2017 01:10PM) (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments Oh my goodness - how many times do I have to say it? Lol!

I know that Mrs. Proudie is a bully!!!! Yes, indeed!!! She is.

The argument is that she's Trollope's "devouring lion." Taken from Chaucer's Wife of Bath tale. The Wife of Bath asks WHY are so many WOMEN depicted as DEVOURING LIONS??? The answer is: women were not able to write (at that time), and therefore, MEN are the ones who construct women's characters.

HENCE, WE HAVE MRS. PROUDIE. And all the other female characters who are merely examples of how women should or should not act.


message 33: by Nicola (new)

Nicola | 311 comments Lynnm wrote: The Wife of Bath asks WHY are so many WOMEN depicted as DEVOURING LIONS??? The answer is: women were not able to write (at that time), and therefore, MEN are the ones who construct women's characters.

"


Or as Captain Harville tries to show womans fickleness and inconsistancy with examples taken from books:

But let me observe that all histories are against you--all stories, prose and verse. If I had such a memory as Benwick, I could bring you fifty quotations in a moment on my side the argument, and I do not think I ever opened a book in my life which had not something to say upon woman's inconstancy. Songs and proverbs, all talk of woman's fickleness. But perhaps you will say, these were all written by men."

"Perhaps I shall. Yes, yes, if you please, no reference to examples in books. Men have had every advantage of us in telling their own story. Education has been theirs in so much higher a degree; the pen has been in their hands. I will not allow books to prove anything."



message 34: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments Thanks for that quote, Nicola. That's excellent!


message 35: by Nicola (last edited Jun 06, 2017 02:38PM) (new)

Nicola | 311 comments Trollope is an author and not a scientist so the need for a decent sample size to measure his true intentions doesn't apply in the same way. We have had so few examples of truly powerful women that the argument could be made that because of this we can't know his views. After all if he had portrayed more of them then perhaps they would be shown differently; but I actually think that when an author only gives us a few examples and those few examples point towards the same conclusion then the impact is greater, not lesser. 

Nearly all the women in his books are comparatively weak but there are exceptions. The three that I have pointed out previously are the only ones that I think break the 'traditional' roles but there are others. Most obviously the women of birth and position - women like:
* Mrs Grantly
* Griselda
* Lady de Courcy
* The de Courcy daughters
* Lady Arabella
* Lady Lufton

I didn't include them in my 3 examples because I think that they all exercise their 'power' in the traditional female way - either by supporting their husbands, getting married or being occupied trying to get their progeny married. However nearly every single one of these ladies is still portrayed negatively. They are arrogant and thus unwomanly in their excessive pride 

And for the two that aren't, surely we are all agreed that we liked Mrs Grantly less when she was being so worldly in her attempts to marry off Griselda well, and we like her again, now that she has learned a sad lesson from that period. And for Lady Lufton, her pride was always softened by the extreme love that she had for her son - a very proper womanly feeling and as her mothers love proved the stronger then she is an example to us from Trollope of a proper womanly mother. She is to be admired. 


message 36: by Nicola (last edited Jun 06, 2017 03:28PM) (new)

Nicola | 311 comments Frances wrote: I can't think of any man in Trollope who treats his wife in the same way and is viewed any less negatively than Mrs Proudie. ."

It might depend on your way of thinking and if you are looking at it through Victorian eyes.

There are three such very uncomfortable marriages that I remember (Crosbie's not lasting long enough to count):

1. The Proudies
2. Lady Arabella and the Squire
3. Sir Roger and Lady Scatcherd

1. For the Proudies I don't think a marriage could be much worse. Mrs Proudie taught her daughters the same manners as herself so he fails as a proper father figure as well. The Bishop has been completely dominated by his wife; she has usurped both his home and his work and public life. Consequently his function as a Bishop has been compromised - he can't do his job effectively with Mrs Proudie interfering and with all of the disruption and outright warfare that she has been responsible for.

The Bishop is portrayed as a failure as a proper Christian man who should be the undoubted head of his household. He is a pitiful object, a spineless degraded thing of no worth in his own eyes let alone anyone else’s.

2. Lady Arabella, although without the same political clout, reduced her own husband to much the same state. He had no voice in his household that wasn't drowned out by hers - he wasn't even free to keep the friends he valued if Lady Arabella was against it, He was dominated by the de Courcy's as well. Unable to stop her spending he was another example of a completely spineless man who was unable to assert his natural rights and so, of course, everything fell apart. He was drowned in debt and would have lost nearly all his land if it hadn't been for Franks marriage with an heiress (who being a proper woman promptly gave him control of all of her money).

3. Bob Scatcherd was not exactly an admirable man, he was frequently rude to his wife, ignored her advice and ended up drinking himself to death. But... He wasn't a figure of contempt and neither was Lady Scatcherd. He was from a lowly background and built his fortune through the brilliancy of his mind. He was highly regarded enough to run for MP and he was still loved by his wife who admired him.

As for Lady S. where the previous men were shown up as spineless for being dominated and put down, she was portrayed as 'devoted'. Where they are said to be weak, she is said to be 'loving'. Although not clever that didn't really matter, as a woman she was motherly and kind hearted so that's all right.

Three bad marriages but only two are truly bad. Only two turn the natural order of things on their heads which can't obviously lead to anything but terrible results.


message 37: by Frances, Moderator (last edited Jun 06, 2017 05:12PM) (new)

Frances (francesab) | 1776 comments Mod
I did not think that Bob Scatcherd was admired or approved of for dominating Lady Scatcherd. Certainly the father of Crosbie's wife was also portrayed in a very unpleasant way for how he bullied his wife.

I think we will have to agree to disagree here. While I agree that Trollope writes from within the very rigid roles permitted to men and women of the Victorian era and does not appear to suggest any sort of societal revolution, I still feel that he admires strong women and often portrays them in a very positive light. I would expect the occasional villainous or odious female character as much as I would expect their male counterparts.


message 38: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments Nicola - I enjoyed reading your posts. The only one I would disagree with is the Scatcherds. He wasn't nice to his wife (an understatement), and she put up with it. Not good.


message 39: by Lynnm (new)

Lynnm | 3027 comments Frances - yes, we can agree to disagree. :-) I'm glad you see strong women (we all have our own perceptions of what we read). At first I thought Trollope wrote strong women, but as you can see, I changed my mind. My reading is that they are strong on the surface, but underneath, it's the same old patriarchal construct.

Sadly, that's true even today with many depictions of women, especially in film.


message 40: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Lynnm wrote: "Nicola - I enjoyed reading your posts. The only one I would disagree with is the Scatcherds. He wasn't nice to his wife (an understatement), and she put up with it. Not good."

That he wasn't nice to his wife, definitely not good.

That she put up with it, not necessarily not good -- maybe the best option she had given the alternatives (leaving him but with no right of a share of his property of of alimony, and being a pariah in social circles). I can't recall whether he was just a bully, or whether he was physically abusive. Not good in either case, but might make a difference in how she saw the benefits and disadvantages of staying vs. leaving.


message 41: by Nicola (last edited Jun 07, 2017 07:28AM) (new)

Nicola | 311 comments I think I may have been misunderstood here - I'm not remotely disputing that he wasn't unpleasant and bullying to his wife (although I've recently done some re-reading and I've been a little surprised - I found him less dismissive of her than I remember him being - and there was certainly no whisper of a suggestion of physical abuse), and certainly not that Trollope didn't intend this to be seen as 'bad' - I'm 100% positive that he did. Trollope seems manifestly to be a very conservative man and to him a 'proper' marriage was where the husband, as kindly but undisputed head of the household, was respectful to his loving and supportive wife. He is not 'lovingly respectful' of Lady Scatcherd and so the marriage is 'bad'.

My point was that the way that this 'bad' marriage was treated was very different to the way the other two were and that Trollope himself didn't write this 'bad' marriage with the same over the top treatment. I think it shows clearly in the way that he depicted Sir Scatcherd but far more tellingly, in the way Lady Scatcherd was shown.

Looking at just Sir Scatcherd for now, Trollope didn't hold back on his condemnation of Rodger Scatcherd's bad points but the language he uses leaves me in no doubt that he was still considered 'a man' and a reasonably decent man despite his failings. He also wasn't shown as being either loathed or laughed at by his fellow men.

While conquering the world Roger Scatcherd had not conquered his old bad habits. Indeed, he was the same man at all points that he had been when formerly seen about the streets of Barchester with his stone-mason's apron tucked up round his waist. The apron he had abandoned, but not the heavy prominent thoughtful brow, with the wildly flashing eye beneath it. He was still the same good companion, and still also the same hard-working hero. In this only had he changed, that now he would work, and some said equally well, whether he were drunk or sober. Those who were mostly inclined to make a miracle of him—and there was a school of worshippers ready to adore him as their idea of a divine, superhuman, miracle-moving, inspired prophet—declared that his wondrous work was best done, his calculations most quickly and most truly made, that he saw with most accurate eye into the far-distant balance of profit and loss, when he was under the influence of the rosy god. 

The frame which God had given to him was powerful beyond the power of ordinary men; powerful to act in spite of these violent perturbations; powerful to repress and conquer the qualms and headaches and inward sicknesses to which the votaries of Bacchus are ordinarily subject;

Sir Roger had a sort of rough eloquence, and was able to address the men of Barchester in language that would come home to their hearts, in words that would endear him to one party while they made him offensively odious to the other; 

Look at the language that Trollope is using: there is none of the weak and vacillating epithets which litter the characters of the other two men but there is also nothing which depicts a brutish nature, he praises both his powerful body and his strength of mind. Until both are brought low by excessive drinking.

These are not words an author as unsubtle as Trollope uses to describe a character he wants us to conclude is ultimately a thoroughly 'debased' man. I'll also note that the 'bad' points attributed to him in this case seem to be derived from his background - ie the fact that he didn't come from the gentry. Trollope's views on class are a discussion for another day however.

As well as his love for brandy, Scatcherd was also short tempered and disliked opposition, from anybody. Trollope said that he only had the one person he considered a friend (Dr Thorne) and that even from him: He disliked his friend's counsel, and, in fact, disliked his society, for his friend was somewhat apt to speak to him in a manner approaching to severity. 

He snaps at his wife, he snaps at Dr. Thorne. Even though he seems to love them both and value them both, he has a rude and unpleasant nature. He hates feeling like he's in the wrong and several times in the book lashes out, (mostly to Dr. Thorne because he's the one opposing him), when he feels uncomfortable.

"Now, doctor, don't let him talk that way, don't," said Lady Scatcherd, with her handkerchief to her eyes.

"Now, my lady, do you cut it; cut at once," said Sir Roger, turning hastily round to his better-half; and his better-half, knowing that the province of a woman is to obey, did cut it. But as she went she gave the doctor a pull by the coat's sleeve, so that thereby his healing faculties might be sharpened to the very utmost.

"The best woman in the world, doctor; the very best," said he, as the door closed behind the wife of his bosom.

"I'm sure of it," said the doctor.

"Yes, till you find a better one," said Scatcherd. "Ha! ha! ha! but good or bad, there are some things which a woman can't understand, and some things which she ought not to be let to understand."

"It's natural she should be anxious about your health, you know."

"I don't know that," said the contractor. "She'll be very well off. All that whining won't keep a man alive, at any rate."


This was one of the discussions made me think that he was horrible to his wife and it was hardly polite; looking back on it now I can see that it is mixed in with a compliment to her and caused by Sir Scatcherd's personality as it was even if I still dislike it. Yes, he should have been more courteous to her, but he's no gentleman to her or to the Dr (or to anyone actually - there's that class background coming back again) and he hates being fussed over when he's trying to pretend that there is nothing wrong and feeling guilty which I'm sure he was. He knows he's being weak and is furious as being being put in the wrong. It's not a great character trait and it's one that I personally greatly disliked.

But there was no coaxing Roger over now, or indeed ever: he was a wilful, headstrong, masterful man; a tyrant always though never a cruel one; and accustomed to rule his wife and household as despotically as he did his gangs of workmen. Such men it is not easy to coax over.



"Well—I will try, doctor; but would that it were all to do again. You'll see to the old woman for my sake, won't you?"

"What, Lady Scatcherd?"

"Lady Devil! If anything angers me now it is that 'ladyship'—her to be my lady! Why, when I came out of jail that time, the poor creature had hardly a shoe to her foot. But it wasn't her fault, Thorne; it was none of her doing. She never asked for such nonsense."

"She has been an excellent wife, Scatcherd; and what is more, she is an excellent woman. She is, and ever will be, one of my dearest friends."

"Thank'ee, doctor, thank'ee. Yes; she has been a good wife—better for a poor man than a rich one; but then, that was what she was born to. You won't let her be knocked about by them, will you, Thorne?"


Lady Scatcherd's treatment is a totally different kettle of fish and it's really here that the difference can be seen. You might still think that Trollope meant to show Sir Rodger as an irredemiable bully and I'd be interested to read what bits of the book supports this but Lady Scatcherd definitely got the full on 'good woman' treatment. She wasn't weak for submitting and she certainly had no thoughts about leaving him (Everyman what are thinking?! Trollope! to suggest that a 'decent' woman should leave her husband rather than stick religiously to her wedding vows?!!! Trollope! to offer us a virtuous woman weighing up mercenary options in her head as to whether or not it would be in her best interests to stay or go?! I'd as soon believe Rick Santorum will come out in support of marriage equality!).

Lady Scatcherd was no fit associate for the wives of English baronets;—was no doubt by education and manners much better fitted to sit in their servants' halls; but not on that account was she a bad wife or a bad woman. She was painfully, fearfully, anxious for that husband of hers, whom she honoured and worshipped, as it behoved her to do, above all other men. 

Trollope heaped praise on her head for her loving constancy. As a wife it's obviously not contemptible to be so devoted, no it's rather us who are the contemptible ones for even thinking that she would possibly feel happiness at the thought of being free from her husband. We are the shameful ones, Trollope tells us straight out in a blunt, no possiblity of mistake, narrator soliloquy.

... and poor Lady Scatcherd, fairly overcome by her sorrow, burst out crying like a great school-girl.

And yet what had her husband done for her that she should thus weep for him? Would not her life be much more blessed when this cause of all her troubles should be removed from her? Would she not then be a free woman instead of a slave? Might she not then expect to begin to taste the comforts of life? What had that harsh tyrant of hers done that was good or serviceable for her? Why should she thus weep for him in paroxysms of truest grief?

We hear a good deal of jolly widows; and the slanderous raillery of the world tells much of conjugal disturbances as a cure for which women will look forward to a state of widowhood with not unwilling eyes. The raillery of the world is very slanderous. In our daily jests we attribute to each other vices of which neither we, nor our neighbours, nor our friends, nor even our enemies are ever guilty. It is our favourite parlance to talk of the family troubles of Mrs Green on our right, and to tell how Mrs Young on our left is strongly suspected of having raised her hand to her lord and master. What right have we to make these charges? What have we seen in our own personal walks through life to make us believe that women are devils? There may possibly have been a Xantippe here and there, but Imogenes are to be found under every bush. Lady Scatcherd, in spite of the life she had led, was one of them.


Lady Scatcherd is the 'victim' of this particular poor marriage. She is out of her depth and her life partner doesn't treat her with the respect that she deserves. But unlike the other two examples this doesn't lead to catastrophe. A bishopric isn't thrown into chaos, lands are not mortgaged to the hilt. And she is not despised for being spineless and not standing up to her husband.

Lady Scatcherd is a 'good' woman. Therefore she must be long suffering. submissive and unfailingly forgiving, never stopping loving the man that she had taken for better or for worse. That is the duty/nature of a woman - it is not a weakness, it is virtue in women that is 'found under every bush'.

Yah. Go us.


message 42: by Nicola (last edited Jun 07, 2017 07:50AM) (new)

Nicola | 311 comments Lynnm wrote: "My reading is that they are strong on the surface, but underneath, it's the same old patriarchal construct.."

Trollope has been said to 'have sympathy for woman's plight' which is no doubt true; but he seems to put our sex up on pedastals of virtue (the worthwhile women anyway) and makes them all this sort of idealised creation. Dickens does the same thing. I find it horribly annoying - I hate Dicken's heroines so much they damage my enjoyment of his books.


message 43: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments Nicola wrote: "I think I may have been misunderstood here - I'm not remotely disputing that he wasn't unpleasant and bullying to his wife (although I've recently done some re-reading and I've been a little surpri..."

A very nice analysis. I agree that Trollope doesn't see Scatchard as a truly bad man, but rather a man with two main faults: one, that he was of lower class origins which, I think for Trollope, necessarily means he doesn't have the refinement and temperament of a gentleman, and two, of course, his addiction to drink which brought out the worst in an already somewhat flawed character.


message 44: by Robin P, Moderator (new)

Robin P | 2032 comments Mod
Now, my lady, do you cut it; cut at once," said Sir Roger, turning hastily round to his better-half; and his better-half, knowing that the province of a woman is to obey, did cut it

This reminded me of Archie Bunker telling Edith to "Stifle"!

It seems that there was love between the Scatcherds, at least at points in their marriage, which isn't the case for most of the aristocratic families.


message 45: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 3582 comments We've spent most of this thread talking about Mrs. Proudie and other Trollopian women, but I'm more impressed with Mr. Crawley in Chapter 18. His willingness to walk 30 miles for a meeting which the bishop called him to without any concern for how he would get there was, I think, wonderfully representative of his character. And I reveled in the vision of his striding along crushing the bishop in his outraised hand. Wonderfully descriptive.

And his strategy of ignoring Mrs. Proudie was perfect. Being ignored is the one thing she cannot stand. She, I think, actually enjoys when people dispute with her so she can overwhelm them with her certitude. But to be ignored just drove her crazy. A perfect strategy on Mr. Crawley's part.

BTW, in case it's an unfamiliar term in this context, a distaff was (and still is for spinners) a tool used primarily by women to hold wool or flax to prepare it for spinning. Telling her that "the distaff were more fitting for you" put her into her place as one who should be turning her attention to domestic labor and leaving church affairs to those appointed to deal in them.

And I loved that sentence ""Peace, woman," Mr. Crawley said, addressing her at last. The bishop jumped out of his chair at hearing the wife of his bosom called a woman. But he jumped rather in admiration than in anger. "

All in all, that interview was one of the highlights for me of the book so far.


message 46: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2770 comments Mod
I have to agree-when Mr. Crawley said, "Peace, woman" I felt like cheering. He may be down, but he is not out. As for the mystery of the cheque, I think that he is innocent, and that Soames made a mistake saying that he shouldn't have cashed it. There is a mystery here, for sure.


message 47: by Frances, Moderator (new)

Frances (francesab) | 1776 comments Mod
You're right, Everyman, the ignoring was the perfect way to annoy and frustrate Mrs Proudie. It is also one of the unkindest ways to deal with people-in a way it is sort of sending a message that that person effectively doesn't exist. However in this situation, when she really shouldn't have been present for the interview, it was a surprisingly effective way to show his disapproval of her presence without arguing with her.


message 48: by Nicola (last edited Jun 09, 2017 05:33AM) (new)

Nicola | 311 comments Rosemarie wrote: "I have to agree-when Mr. Crawley said, "Peace, woman" I felt like cheering. He may be down, but he is not out. As for the mystery of the cheque, I think that he is innocent, and that Soames made a ..."

I'm of that mind myself now regarding the genuine nature of the money - I'm not sure about what Soames thinks. I thought at first that it might have been an honest mistake and that would be alright but that is now clear that it can't be. For a happy ending Mr Crawley has to be totally exonerated; hopefully leading to severe chastisement of Mrs Proudie!

I've put on the ole thinking cap and going on a few possible hints in the text I think I know where that money came from even if I don't know how. I think it's highly probable anyway.


message 49: by Dan (last edited Jul 03, 2017 06:04AM) (new)

Dan | 86 comments Nicola wrote: "Lynnm wrote: Yes, Mrs. Proudie isn't nice, she's domineering, lacks empathy, and henpecks the Bishop. But to play devil's advocate, her representation by Trollope bothers me. Most of his women are ..."

I am not female and never have been. I am also not a nineteenth century person, and never have been, although it is most of the fun of reading old books to see "how people were", or at least, see how people were portrayed.

Trollope portrayed a wide variety of characters. They aren't all the same, even though they are all English, and people of their time, with gentlemen and gentlewoman "better" than those of lower position. I like his portrayals of characters, because they seem to acknowledge that people are complex, and have more than one or two "traits" which the author "uses". These are people muddling their way through life.

My perspective is not to judge the writer and characters through my (more modern, "better") views, but to try and put myself in the times of the work and try to understand it from their perspectives (the authors and characters).

So I'm more likely to say to myself when reading "Things haven't changed much" or "Humans are flawed" (and have always been, and we will seem just as archaic someday) or mostly "man, how did he/she get herself into this mess, and how will he/she get out of it."

So it seems to me we have a writer whose position is

Power. Interesting. Some people are denied it, through birth or sex, almost all seem to want more.

Sexual Attraction Very interesting. Why is she with him? Some charms (physical, financial) are used to manipulate others, some are just charming. Some have no charm. Others are ruined by them.

Money and Independence. Fascinating. Mr. Crawley has no money but much independence, others have money and are slaves to it, or to the hope of getting it. Does money change one; must money change one, or are independence and money even related.


message 50: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new)

Rosemarie | 2770 comments Mod
Dan, your comment agrees with my point of view. We need to remember when the book was written and consider the prevailing attitudes of the time. Trollope does succeed in creating a wide variety of characters who have their flaws and their good points. Overall, Trollope's female characters have a diversity that is lacking in Dickens.


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The Readers Review: Literature from 1714 to 1910

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