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Ayala's Angel
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The Trollope Project - Archives > Ayala's Angel: July 26-Aug 1: Ch 49-56

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message 1: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1880 comments Mod
We have reached the penultimate section of our read, and the threads are all starting to be sewn up.

Sir Thomas has of course been kind to Lucy, in such a way that it doesn't "insult" Isadore, and they are going to be able to live comfortably.

Ayala, after one more false start, has realized that her angel has been before her all this time, just not in the form in which she originally imagined him, and she and Jonathan (and we may all call him Jonathan now) are engaged, much to their own and to several others' delight.

Poor Tom has sent his mother on one last attempt to win Ayala, and now that it has all come to naught we hope he will depart on his travels

No questions this time, just comments.

I found chapter 53 particularly amusing. First seeing how Lucy, Isadore, and Sir Thomas manage to tiptoe around their situation so that they all get what they want-Isadore and Lucy can marry with some income and Sir Thomas gets to give some money to a niece he loves and wants to see happy without insulting Isadore (whom he actually rather admired). Then comes the foolishness of Gertrude and Batsby, whom Sir Thomas will forever refer to as "those two idiots", but to whom I am sure he will eventually come round and give some money as well. Finally Sir Thomas can't help but throw Frank Houston back as a better choice that he might now support if Gertrude can get him back-unkind, I know, but I found it very funny.

By contrast, I found Ayala's soppiness on finally accepting Jonathan, and her insistence that she had loved him all along, to be annoying, and was suddenly afraid her would change his mind! I hope she soon returns to her frank and amusing self. They do seem well matched and in watching their interactions together (for example on the train down with the elderly couple) I can imagine they will have a lot of fun in life together.

Trollope's writing is full of delightful touches, such as "the buxom woman" who comes to dress Ayala and seems to know all about everything, how Colonel Stubbs seems so perceptive in his conversation with Lady Albury about why Ayala should stay and how she should be treated, and poor Tom Jr taking to his bed in his lovesickness.

Please share your impressions of this section, and any favourite parts/characters/scenes.


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

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1385 comments Mod
I also found Ayala's assertion that she'd loved Jonathan from the beginning a bit unrealistic. She certainly liked him, but I don't think she loved him. Of course, it's in Ayala's nature to be hyperbolic and romantic, so her saying this is partially in character for her. I also enjoyed the touches with the "buxom woman," and I'm glad Isadore, Lucy, and Sir Thomas were all able to come to an agreement that was satisfactory to all.


message 3: by Brian (last edited Jul 26, 2020 10:55AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brian Reynolds | 732 comments My big impression of this section was Ayala's revisionist history. Since I love him now then I must have loved him at first sight. This self-delusion is not consistent with what we have learned about her and is a bit disappointing.
However, I agree they are well matched, both are sharp and witty and should have fun together. But, there is nothing wrong with admitting that one 'grew' to love someone by realizing their compatibility trumped an initial aversion to his appearance, It's very human. It kind of indicates an inability to admit one's errors. I also wonder if she'll insist on all their marital relations occurring in the dark.
Luckily, through it all, Trollope still throws out bon mots and humorous touches that keep me interested. And there is still Sir Thomas. It's hard to believe there are still 8 chapters left. These resolutions seem about 4 chapters early, but then Trollope is skilled at stretching things out.


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

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1385 comments Mod
Brian wrote: "But, there is nothing wrong with admitting that one 'grew' to love someone by realizing their compatibility trumped an initial aversion to his appearance, It's very human."

Yes, exactly.


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

Rosemarie | 2900 comments Mod
Ayala may not have loved Johnathon from the beginning, but she certainly enjoyed his company and liked him from the first.


message 6: by Brian (last edited Jul 26, 2020 11:17AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brian Reynolds | 732 comments Brian wrote: "This self-delusion is not consistent with what we have learned about her and is a bit disappointing...."

While I said her behavior is not consistent, Lori does point out that Ayala is 'hyperbolic and romantic' so her behavior is actually consistent. I guess I had hoped that Ayala's decision to accept the Colonel showed a change from a hyperbolic romantic to a more pragmatic view of love. On reflection, I see that Lori is right. To remain consistent with her hyperbolic romantic views, Ayala has to adapt and change the facts. So, while Ayala's behavior may be consistent, it is still disappointing.


message 7: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1880 comments Mod
Brian wrote: "My big impression of this section was Ayala's revisionist history. Since I love him now then I must have loved him at first sight. This self-delusion is not consistent with what we have learned abo..."

I wonder if Ayala is now a bit embarrassed by her original Angel of Light, and is using the revisionist history to cover it up.

Ayala is a pretty and pretty forward young woman-I expect lights will be allowed and eventually encouraged! If it's a concern about HIS appearance, I expect that now she has come to love him he will be physically attractive to her as well.

Sir Thomas is by far my favourite secondary character, he is so good at making money and so bad at managing his children and family, and while he has a kind and generous heart he loses his temper and makes threats he has no intention of keeping (something I have certainly done with my children!)


Bill Kupersmith | 175 comments Maybe it’s simply that I’m a hopeless romantic but I can imagine that Ayala loved Colonel Stubbs all along, but was unaware of it. Sometimes what we really want is right there before us and we fail to recognise it. As Stubbs didn’t fit her preconceived picture of what a lover should be, she wasn’t conscious that what she was feeling was love.


message 9: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1880 comments Mod
Bill wrote: "Maybe it’s simply that I’m a hopeless romantic but I can imagine that Ayala loved Colonel Stubbs all along, but was unaware of it. Sometimes what we really want is right there before us and we fail..."

You may be right, Bill. It would have been interesting to see her reaction if another eligible young woman had appeared and "set her cap at" the Colonel-that might have quickly made her feelings more clear to her. On the other hand, I do like that Trollope allows the possibility of love growing, rather than needing to always be an at first glance feeling. This gives all the plain people in the world a chance at winning true love (and perhaps Trollope, who considered himself plain, wrote this a bit for himself).

Can anyone think of a plain heroine who wins an attractive lover over time, written by a male author? (I could think of Jane Eyre, and perhaps Elizabeth Bennet (the less attractive sister) but none written by a man)


message 10: by Brian (last edited Jul 28, 2020 07:31AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brian Reynolds | 732 comments This may not count, since it's still Anthony Trollope, but the basic peremise of Framley Parsonage was Lord Lufton choosing the more plain Lucy Robarts over the beautiful Griselda Grantley. The love may not have happened over a long enough time but Lord Lufton did have to fend off Griselda being pushed on him for a long time.
The others I think of are by female authors including Melanie/Ashley in Gone With the Wind, which reminded me that, perhaps Amelia Sedley and George Osborne in Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray would be an example? This coupling also may not meet the'over time factor.
In non-classic circles, there seems to be a whole genre of female authored contemporary fiction about it: https://www.goodreads.com/list/show/1...


message 11: by Lori, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1385 comments Mod
Most I can think of were written by women (and in many, the man isn't necessarily more attractive - I never pictured Rochester as much to look at).
As Brian mentioned there are a couple of examples by Trollope, but I can't think of any others by men at the moment.


message 12: by Trev (last edited Jul 31, 2020 01:06PM) (new)

Trev | 339 comments Lori wrote: "Most I can think of were written by women (and in many, the man isn't necessarily more attractive - I never pictured Rochester as much to look at).
As Brian mentioned there are a couple of example..."


There are a number of ‘unusual’ relationships in George Gissing’s novels. Two that stand out but don’t quite fit the ‘plain woman attractive man‘ scenario are The Crown of Life and The Odd Women. In The Crown of Life, Piers Otway, a plain man, falls for the charming, intellectual and attractive Irene Derwent. (view spoiler) The Crown of Life is one of his lesser known works. One of his more celebrated novels ‘The Odd Women’ involves a love affair between a plain woman, Rhoda Nunn and a rakish, attractive man, Everard Barfoot. (view spoiler) My favourite novel which describes the growing love and devotion between two outwardly different people is ‘North and South.’

Getting back to Ayala’s Angel (who has finally metamorphosed into Jonathan), the trap set at Stalham finally worked. I would have preferred such a young girl to have a few more years as a single women before becoming a colonel’s wife. I found out that the average age of a Colonel in the British Army is 49. I don’t recall being given Jonathan’s age but surely he is a bit younger than that. I suppose Colonel Osbourne (He Knew He Was Right) (view spoiler)

I didn’t like the way Ayala was paraded around Stalham in her new dress so that everyone could admire her beauty, it was rather disquieting. Jonathan said she was both beautiful and clever, but how much cleverness have we really seen in the preceding chapters? Her quick wittedness may extend to getting Jonathan’s jokes but what about any practical applications? I think Mr. Dosett was closer when describing Ayala’s attributes than lovestruck Jonathan.

I hope she gets on well with all those colonels’ wives of which she will probably be the youngest by far. There is no doubt, however, that Jonathan was most suited to Ayala, mainly because of their ability to make each other laugh . Long may that last during their time together.


message 13: by Frances, Moderator (last edited Aug 01, 2020 05:02PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1880 comments Mod
Trev wrote: " I would have preferred such a young girl to have a few more years as a single women before becoming a colonel’s wife. I found out that the average age of a Colonel in the British Army is 49. I don’t recall being given Jonathan’s age but surely he is a bit younger than that. ."

I did try to search out the answer to this, but all that was said was that he was one of the youngest Colonels in the army and had done marvellous things to get there. I assumed from his friendships with Hamel and with Tom Tringle, and that Nina spoke of her cousin and appeared to think of him as a brother that he was perhaps late 20s early 30s.

As I was searching for an age, there did seem to be hints in passages that he was a favourite of Ayala and that she was thinking of him a lot and quite fond of him-I suspect on rereading we might almost convince ourselves that she did love him from the start!


message 14: by Bonnie (last edited Dec 19, 2020 03:24PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bonnie | 242 comments Frances wrote: "...Then comes the foolishness of Gertrude and Batsby, whom Sir Thomas will forever refer to as "those two idiots", but to whom I am sure he will eventually come round and give some money as well. Finally Sir Thomas can't help but throw Frank Houston back as a better choice that he might now support if Gertrude can get him back-unkind, I know, but I found it very funny."
So funny. Reminded me of Mr Bennet's dry humor in Pride and Prejudice:
He then recollected her embarrassment a few days before, on his reading Mr. Collins's letter; and after laughing at her some time, allowed her at last to go—saying, as she quitted the room, "If any young men come for Mary or Kitty, send them in, for I am quite at leisure."
------
"[Batsby] has, you tell me, an ample income of his own."
"Oh yes, papa."
"Then he can afford to marry you without a fortune. Poor Mr. Houston could not have done so, because he had nothing of his own. I declare, as I think of it all, I am becoming very tender-hearted towards Mr. Houston. Don't you think we had better have Mr. Houston back again? I suppose he would come if you were to send for him." Then she burst into tears and went away and hid herself.



Bonnie | 242 comments Trev wrote: "I didn’t like the way Ayala was paraded around Stalham in her new dress so that everyone could admire her beauty, it was rather disquieting. Jonathan said she was both beautiful and clever, but how much cleverness have we really seen in the preceding chapters?"

Not much.
I thought this section was the weakest so far in the book. The Stalham visit had queasy moments, the characters didn't mesh, and those chapters were not all that interesting.

Occasionally I feel for Tom, being in such psychic pain. Then I go back to thinking he is an obnoxious pill.


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

Rosemarie | 2900 comments Mod
I agree with you, Bonnie. Tom is an obnoxious pill.


Bonnie | 242 comments He is in need of a course of anti-depressants to reboot him, and therapy. Which he won't get!


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

Rosemarie | 2900 comments Mod
But I do prefer him to his sisters.


message 19: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1880 comments Mod
I always had a soft spot for Tom-I think he truly fell for Ayala and just hadn't a clue how to carry out his wooing. He'd been raised to think he was god's gift to women (and I expect many society mama's thought so as well) and so hadn't had any practice in making himself agreeable, and certainly was never going to fit Ayala's idea of an Angel. Clumsy young men make the worst beaux, but I think they can make very good husbands. I think his travels will provide a cure, hopefully in the form of someone else he can love.


message 20: by Bonnie (last edited Dec 20, 2020 08:28AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bonnie | 242 comments I always felt like there might be hope for Gertrude, but that she was led astray by Augusta, calling Ayala a "viper" and being jealous and classist and narcing on her sister and so on. I hoped that hanging out with Lucy and being happier might improve her outlook. (Like Kitty in Pride and Prejudice, once feckless Lydia was out of the picture.)


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