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Phineas Redux (Palliser, #4)
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The Trollope Project - Archives > Phineas Redux Aug 5-11: Ch 25-32

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message 1: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1776 comments Mod
Our fourth section of this novel touches on the death of the Duke of Omnium and the beginning of the aftermath of Kennedy's firing at Phineas.

We can see Phineas beginning to get into difficulties with Quintus Slide again, and again Trollope is very clear in his opinions of the gutter press. This was an issue in The Warden and in Phineas Finn. Do you think Phineas will survive the thunderbolts the way he survived the bullet?

We have another attempt by Mr Spooner to woo Adelaide Palliser, which is ended by her announcement of her engagement to Mr Maule. What do you think of the differences of opinion over who has the "right" to offer marriage to Miss Palliser?

Finally, Mme Goesler is now free from her "obligations" to the Duke, for which she determinedly continues to rebuff all appearance of ulterior motive. She is now counting the cost of these 3 years of devoted attendance on the Duke, and is looking around for someone else on whom to bestow her affections, and once again the most likely candidate is Phineas Finn. What do you think of her chances now?

Please share your thoughts on this latest section.


message 2: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1776 comments Mod
One small side episode that struck me in Ch 25 was the section about Lady Hartletop. She has appeared, making a nuisance of herself, wishing to visit the Duke on his deathbed, but is turned away as an annoyance, and learns that he has in fact only allowed family and Mme Goesler to visit him. We see her viewed as an interfering old woman, until Trollope writes of her after her departure

(Lady Hartletop) had submitted herself to discomfort, indignity, fatigue, and disappointment; and it had all been done for love. With her broad face, and her double chin, and her heavy jowl, and the beard that was growing round her lips, she did not look like a romantic woman; but, in spite of appearances, romance and a duck-like waddle may go together. The memory of those forty years had been strong upon her, and her heart was heavy because she could not see that old man once again. Men will love to the last, but they love what is fresh and new. A woman's love can live on the recollection of the past, and cling to what is old and ugly.

I was very struck by Trollope's sympathy for this heartbroken woman, and his seeing the unfairness towards the less young and attractive, and the realization that her love could be every bit as strong and painful as that of her younger and prettier counterparts.


message 3: by Linda (new)

Linda | 207 comments I agree with your observations about Trollope’s empathy for Lady Hartletop. Somehow it is in my memory that her son Lord Dumbello who married Griselda Grantley could have been the illegitimate son of the Duke, but I can’t find any reference to it. Does anyone else remember this?

In this section, it seems that Phineas has lost his golden boy status with the party as no one is supporting him against the falsehoods of Slide’s articles. The only hope is at the end of the section where Madame Max decides she will talk to Glencora about Phineas. Perhaps if Glencora supports him, he can win a place in the new ministry. From a practical standpoint, since we’re only at the beginning of the book, it would seem logical that Phineas does regain party support.

Slide’s motives seem jumbled to me. He definitely is operating out of revenge for his belief that Phineas gave another newspaper the “scoop”. But Trollope then says Slide is operating from a profit motive, he has to give the people what they want in order to sell papers. However Trollope also says that Slide believes that his motives are actually to shed light on the immorality in high places- totally honorable. Are we to understand that Trollope is being satirical in his description of Slide as being motivated by a pure sense of morality? Or is his sense of morality bound up in his understanding that the fourth estate is more powerful in reaching the people than any speech Phineas might make in Parliament? In other words, is he using his power in order to bring down highly placed people through the guise of morality?

Madame Max continues to demonstrate her good and kind nature. I am definitely seeing a possible future relationship for Phineas and herself. The only aspect which was disappointing was her comment on the inferiority of women and how she will follow men’s decisions. She has been a very independent woman because she controls her wealth, but she still sees herself as second class. The fact that she needs someone to love and take care of also feeds into the Victorian ideal of a woman. If she is successful at convincing Glencora to intercede on Phineas’s behalf, she will be demonstrating both her own power and that of Glencora, but only behind the scenes.


message 4: by Robin P, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Robin P | 2030 comments Mod
I am concerned for our old friend Planty, who has to give up the political position he was best suited for, and act like a Duke. Other people find him standoffish, but he's really just uncomfortable.


message 5: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1776 comments Mod
Linda wrote: "Slide’s motives seem jumbled to me. He definitely is operating out of revenge for his belief that Phineas gave another newspaper the “scoop”. But Trollope then says Slide is operating from a profit motive, he has to give the people what they want in order to sell papers. However Trollope also says that Slide believes that his motives are actually to shed light on the immorality in high places- totally honorable. Are we to understand that Trollope is being satirical in his description of Slide as being motivated by a pure sense of morality? ."

I think so. I interpreted this as Slide becoming motivated by sheer dislike of Phineas-who he thinks has risen above himself and in this particular instance has bested him by getting the injunction against the letter (which Slide postponed publishing on Monday thinking it would gain him more leverage in the future) but that Slide deceives himself into thinking that he is doing all this for the greater good of the nation. Slide is clearly trying to destroy Phineas' career (and he knows Phineas requires some sort of paid position to remain solvent).


message 6: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1776 comments Mod
Robin wrote: "I am concerned for our old friend Planty, who has to give up the political position he was best suited for, and act like a Duke. Other people find him standoffish, but he's really just uncomfortable."

I agree-he clearly feared his accession to the Dukedom as being the means of removing him from the work he loved as Chancellor of the Exchequer. His inviting the party over to his residence, when it should have been a house in mourning, is a clear indicator that he wants to stay as involved as possible in party politics.


message 7: by Linda (new)

Linda | 207 comments I agree as well. Being Chancellor of the Exchequer is clearly Palliser’s first love, sorry Glencora (but she knows it too). I would even say that Palliser is not a primarily political person, but is dedicated to issues which are meaningful to him, such as coinage. His use of political power is only to advance his issues, whereas so many of the others, including Daubeny and Gresham, will use an issue to play the political power game, whether they truly believe in it or not. So far, it doesn’t appear that Palliser will be drawn into that game. He just doesn’t want to lose the chance to advance his causes in his new role as Duke.


message 8: by Lori, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1280 comments Mod
Linda wrote: "her comment on the inferiority of women and how she will follow men’s decisions."

I found it disappointing too, but I partially wondered if she was being sarcastic.

Everyone seems to believe they're doing the right thing. Slide believes he's promoting morality, but he's really just spreading gossip. Mr. Kennedy believes he's in the right, but today we'd call his conduct "spiritual abuse" (among other things). Madame Max believed she was doing a good thing by taking care of the Duke, and now she is questioning that. Phineas wants to do the right thing, isn't always sure what it is, and is willing to consult with others about it (he's grown up a lot). Chiltern has his own ideas as to the right conduct regarding hunting grounds (I didn't understand that part well).

Mr. Spooner reminds me of Mr. Cheeseacre.

I felt sorry for Mr. Palliser. Why can the Duke of St. Bungay sit on the cabinet but not him?


message 9: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1776 comments Mod
Lori wrote: "Mr. Spooner reminds me of Mr. Cheeseacre."

Spot on! Thanks for reminding us of him!


message 10: by LiLi (new) - rated it 4 stars

LiLi | 258 comments Yes! He is a bit Cheeseacre-ish. :D


message 11: by LiLi (new) - rated it 4 stars

LiLi | 258 comments I had to do a lot of side reading on the intarwebs to understand what Chiltern wanted. Basically, the grounds should be made hospitable to foxes, which precludes activities like shooting birds, and obviously no poisoning of the hounds. When he talks of stopping up the earths, he means that the entrances to foxholes/fox dens should be blocked while the foxes are out hunting at night or in the early morning, so that they can't escape back into their homes underground when they are being hunted. When a fox succeeds at going back into their hole, it's said to have "run to ground".


message 12: by Lori, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1280 comments Mod
Thanks Elizabeth!


message 13: by Robin P, Moderator (last edited Aug 23, 2018 12:13PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Robin P | 2030 comments Mod
I thought the complaint was that stopping up of the entrances to the dens would drive foxes away so they wouldn't be there to hunt so I had it backwards. But the idea is to manage the grounds in order to benefit hunters, even if you aren't a hunter yourself.


message 14: by Brian (last edited Sep 06, 2018 06:52AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brian Reynolds | 685 comments On the vital issue of Mr. Spooner and Mr. Cheeseacre,I do see similar characters of a man wooing a woman while cluelessly thinking his practical attributes - which is all he has - will be overwhelming charms. However, I see dissimilarity in the use of the character. Cheeseacre was much more of a humorous foil in the 'love triangle' comic side plot of CYFH . If Mrs. Greenhow had ended up with Cheesacre it wouldn't have been disaster - in fact, I kind of rooted for the clueless fellow. I think she would have arranged a good life with him. In contrast, I think an Adelaide/Spooner coupling would be disastrous, closer to a Lady Laura/Kennedy marriage.


message 15: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1776 comments Mod
Good point-Trollope has an interesting understanding of the sort of man (Kennedy, Spooner, Sir Griffin in Eustace) who will woo a possibly unattainable woman with the intention of "making them pay" afterwards-their intention to be controlling and possibly cruel husbands is quite clear. Cheesacre was a different sort-he would have been happily managed by Mrs Greenhow. Maule Jr falls into this latter category as well-Miss Palliser will need to take him in hand and they will manage well as long as they can live within their means.


message 16: by LiLi (new) - rated it 4 stars

LiLi | 258 comments Great points, Brian and Frances. I tend to agree.


message 17: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 2770 comments Mod
Trollope is being sarcastic in reference to Slide's morality. He has it in for Phineas.

I also feel sorry for Planty, now the Duke, because he has a good work ethic and really wants to do productive work for the government.

I was surprised at Madame Max's statements as well, regarding the role of women. Did she mean what she said?


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The Warden (other topics)
Phineas Finn (other topics)