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The Trollope Project - Archives > The Claverings Sept 1-7: Ch 16-22

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

Frances (francesab) | 1798 comments Mod
This was a distressing section, and I hope it is the low point of our novel!

Ch 16 lays out the contrast between the two unknowing rivals for Harry’s heart, and the contrast between 2 good choices is made clear. Florence has won the hearts of Harry’s family, and we know that, if Julia Ongar had never returned, he would have a happy and contented life with her.

Ch 17 & 18 brings the comedy of Archie’s plots and plans to win Julia and her money, and the wonderfully ridiculous wooing-as-horse-training conversations between Archie and his friend Doodles, and then his defeat at the hands of Lady Ongar.

Ch 19 brings us more information or revelations about Count Pateroff and his sister.

Ch 20, titled “Desolation” is heartbreaking-both the death of the small child, but also the portrait of a desperately sad household and a marital relationship in which any warmth which ever existed is clearly extinguished. What a devastating portrayal of a marriage, and another woman trapped with a domineering husband who clearly has no regard for her at all.

Ch 21 & 22-we see Harry badly mismanage his affairs, knowing full well what he is doing but somehow powerless to stop himself. Is it pity or love or something else that draws him so inexorably to Julia? He can stand up to Hugh’s bluster and bullying, why can’t he do the right thing, either in the moment or by writing his letters after?

Please comment on any or all of the various threads in this section.


message 2: by Brian (last edited Sep 02, 2019 09:51PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brian Reynolds | 696 comments I may have a different edition. Its a cheapie Kindle,
In my edition, Chapter 20 is called "Captain Clavering Makes His First Attempt." It looks like the Count and his sister revelations will be in the next chapter, Chapter 21 which is called "The Blue Posts." Chapter 22 is the chapter titled "Desolation."


message 3: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1798 comments Mod
Brian wrote: "I may have a different edition. Its a cheapie Kindle,
In my edition, Chapter 20 is called "Captain Clavering Makes His First Attempt." It looks like the Count and his sister revelations will be in..."


I had to double check my Roman Numerals but in my OUP World Classics version I have

Ch 18-Captain Claverings makes...
Ch 19-the Blue Posts
Ch 20-Desolation
Ch 21-Yes; Wrong-certainly wrong
Xh 22-The Day of the Funeral

Can anyone else chime in on their Chapter divisions?


Brian Reynolds | 696 comments Between my chapters called "Desolation" and "Yes; Wrong-certainly wrong, I have a chapter called "Sir Hugh's Return." My edition seems to have extra chapters. Your chapter 22 is my chapter 25.

I checked the reading schedule and the proposed final thread covers Chapter 43 to the end. My edition has 52 Chapters. My guess is that your edition is only 46, 47 or 48 chapters.

Hopefully others will chime is as asked.


message 5: by Dan (new) - rated it 4 stars

Dan | 86 comments Frances - Same chapters as you have above.


Brian Reynolds | 696 comments How many total chapters are there in your volume, Dan & Frances? I checked another edition on Amazon by Create Space publishers that had 52 chapters.

I stated before that:
" Between my chapters called "Desolation" and "Yes; Wrong-certainly wrong, I have a chapter called "Sir Hugh's Return." My edition seems to have extra chapters."

My new theory on why, is that my version just splits one chapter into 2 chapters. On my Kindle most of the chapters are between 10 and 12 pages. Desolation is only 5 pages and the extra chapter, "Sir Hugh Returns" is only 6 and a half pages. Together they make a normal chapter. If your 'Desolation" chapter includes Hugh returning home this would be the likely rationale for my extra chapters.


message 7: by Linda (new)

Linda | 207 comments I am using the Oxford edition as well.
Hermione’s situation is for me even worse than Julia’s. Hermione has lost the ability to be an independent human being. Every thought, every action predicated upon Hugh’s probable reaction. She is his slave, she has no recourse but to obey him. Her despair is so great, her outlook so grim now that her son is dead that she even considers death.

Harry just confirms that he is a weak, selfish coward. Both Florence and Julia deserve better. Is he motivated by love for Julia? Either love or sexual attraction. I think the latter is an important motivator. It did not seem he had the same sexual attraction to Florence.

So far the rector and Mr. Saul are the most positive male characters in the novel. Also Florence’s father and brother Theodore seem good men.


message 8: by Trev (new)

Trev | 293 comments Harry is a fool. We are told this not only by the author but by the most obnoxious character in the novel, Sir Hugh. He tells Harry that Julia has already made a fool of him once and she will do it again. It seems that this has already happened. Harry is certainly in trouble but Julia's coquettish language to entice him to profess his love for her reminded me of a black widow spider coaxing a hapless mate into the centre of her web.

Unless Harry makes a miraculous recovery from the situation he has created I agree that Florence would be better off letting go so he can be swallowed up by Julia. She can then use her fortune to make a fashionable poodle of him.


message 9: by Robin P, Moderator (new)

Robin P | 2065 comments Mod
We've seen this fickle male figure regularly in Trollope but I can't think of a fickle female. There are manipulative females, but that is a different story. Those females are generally in control, while the males aren't. They drift back and forth depending whose orbit they are in, or who has the money and position.

The household of Sir Hugh and Hermione is very sad. Sir Hugh refuses to deal with any emotion at all. He didn't care a bit about the child except as an heir. He probably would be a terrible father as he is a terrible husband. The only good thing is that he takes off again for London. Since he wouldn't comfort his wife or let her go anywhere, she is better off without him. I'm not sure why everyone is so certain they won't have more children. I imagine any intimacy between them was unpleasant for Hermione but she would put up with it for the sake of a child. Again I am struck by the sister's household where everyone dotes on the children. They would be devastated if a child died, but they would all mourn together (kind of like the Cratchitts).


message 10: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1798 comments Mod
Robin wrote: "I'm not sure why everyone is so certain they won't have more children. I imagine any intimacy between them was unpleasant for Hermione but she would put up with it for the sake of a child. ."

I wondered that too, although perhaps she is much older than Julia or is now viewed as "old" and possibly unable to have more children. Or Hugh might be "having difficulties" which wouldn't be unusual for a man with a drinking problem.

Perhaps it is just that, not having had any healthy children yet, everyone assumes they can't.


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

Bill Kupersmith | 147 comments Hugh would normally want Hermione to provide ‘an heir and a spare’ and it intrigues me that it is so certain that they couldn’t try for another. Of course a Victorian would not go into detail about infertility but I recall vaguely a suggestion that Hugh would like to be a widower and try again so the problem may lie with Hermione, perhaps early menopause or complications with the birth of her previous child.


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

Frances (francesab) | 1798 comments Mod
I suspect that if they are having trouble conceiving children, the blame would fall on the wife, whatever the truth was. It would appear now that they are not intimate at all, as Hugh spends no time with his wife or at home. Whatever the truth is, it is a very sad life for Hermione.


message 13: by Brian (last edited Sep 07, 2019 08:51PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brian Reynolds | 696 comments Its funny that so many of us had the same thought of why does everyone assume Hermione can't have another heir. It did have me wondering how old Hermoine was which I don't think was mentioned. I had been presuming she was 30ish
Usually Trollope is good at explaining things and I don't think this is just looking at it with a 21st century view. I would think 1860ish readers would also wonder about this.
Oh well, on to the next section where I look forward to finding out more about Saul. While Trollope has cast a little praise upon him, he still feels a bit creepy to me.


message 14: by Frances, Moderator (last edited Sep 08, 2019 07:02AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1798 comments Mod
All I can say is, if both Hugh and Hermione are making that assumption then I would assume that either she is much older than we think and has gone through the menopause, or Hugh is either unwilling or unable to father a child with his wife. I assume that the latter is not something that could be made explicit in the novel, whereas if Hermione were much older than her sister that could be stated. I also observed that Hugh was very cold to his wife and did not stay in the country with her so I would guess the latter is what Trollope is implying.


message 15: by Trev (new)

Trev | 293 comments Florence may not know it but she is more valuable to Harry than all Julia's fortune. Put Julia and Harry together and you only have a recipe for further disasters. Florence will help Harry steer a truer, better course through life, even if there is a little less excitement.

Harry's behaviour so far with Julia is really the Victorian equivalent of 'cheating' so when Florence finds out it will be up to her to decide whether or not she can accept a man with the faults that Harry possesses. He is not maliciously deceitful, in fact he convinces himself that the deceit (eg not telling Julia about his engagement and not writing to Florence) is in their best interests. Whatever Harry himself believes, Harry needs Florence for his future happiness and he needs to somehow purge himself of his passion for Julia in order to be a fit person for Florence to marry.


message 16: by Lori, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1295 comments Mod
Yes, Harry is acting like Lizzie Eustace's cousin. But unlike that character, Harry actually loved Julia at one time and still does so. Though of course everyone loves Florence, I'm kind of thinking that if Harry and Julia love each other, it might be best for them to get married. Florence is sensible enough to recover. (And Florence might actually be too good for Harry.) But I think Trollope intends Harry to end up with Florence.

But remember that Julia doesn't know Harry is engaged. There's no reason why she shouldn't entice a man she loves and whom she believes to be single. This whole situation is all Harry's fault, not hers. Harry did gain a bit of respect from me for standing up to Hugh, but in other matters he seems to think with his, um, not brain.

I agree that Julia's life is better than Hermione's. I suppose everyone believes they cannot produce a healthy child.


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

Frances (francesab) | 1798 comments Mod
Yes, Harry does seem to do a lot of his thinking with his um, not brain!

Harry is definitely reminding me of Phineas Finn who always thought he was being kind and supportive to women who were falling in love with him when the best thing would have been to leave them alone to recover!


message 18: by Lori, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1295 comments Mod
I'm also kind of wondering if it might not be best for Julia to find out what Count Pateroff actually wants. While this would be unlikely for Trollope, with Lord Onger, the count, and Sophie being connected with embassies (and she possibly being a spy), I'm wondering if something big happened involving Lord Onger, which Julia might not know about. Could he have been in trouble with some foreign governments, and those might be the papers that the Count needs? Just a thought.


message 19: by Lori, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1295 comments Mod
After the sad chapters about the baby and Hermione's family life, I forgot to note how much I enjoyed the scenes between Archie and Doodles, and the dinner scene with Count Pateroff and his friends. Those were well done and very funny. I could see and hear the characters clearly in my mind.


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