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Ayala's Angel
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The Trollope Project - Archives > Ayala's Angel: Aug 2-8: Ch 57-64

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

Frances (francesab) | 1879 comments Mod
We have come to the end of our novel, and all our threads have been tied off.

What did you think of Trollope's disposition of his characters? Any surprises or disappointments in the ending?

Sir Thomas remains my favourite secondary character, and as we all suspected he has been generous to Gertrude and Captain Batsby, once they stopped asking him for money. He has also managed to get Traffick out of the house, although he still hasn't taken his wife with him! I wonder if Trollope had someone in mind when he painted Septimus Traffick-his sponging and ignoring slights was so pointed. Sir Thomas has also been very generous to his nieces.

I was surprised that Ayala and Lucy would not arrange their affairs so that Lucy could attend Ayala's wedding, particularly as I would have expected Lucy to be her attendant. I was also surprised that Gertrude would agree to a double wedding-it would have made so much more sense for the 2 sisters to marry together.

I was also pleased with the suggestions that, as Sir Thomas had hoped, Tom seemed to be getting over his great love while on his travels, and would come back ready to take his place in the family firm. For all his loutishness, Tom did seem to have a good heart and it is to be hoped that with age and some independence he will grow up a bit.

Please share your thoughts on this final section and on the novel as a whole.


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

Rosemarie | 2898 comments Mod
I agree with you about Sir Thomas-he's such a nice guy. And as you stated, he got rid of Septimus but his daughter is still there.
I'm glad that Tom discovered that he could actually enjoy life not married to Ayala.


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

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1382 comments Mod
I get the idea from Victorian (and earlier) novels that weddings and holidays (such as Christmas) just weren't the huge productions people expect today. It seems a lot of planning goes into the trousseau, but we don't see the frantic shopping for a hugely expensive dress, the long guest lists for "the big day," the stress because everything has to be perfect, etc. So maybe it wasn't a big deal to Ayala that Lucy wouldn't be there, because it's just one day and they'll spend time together later as married women.


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

Frances (francesab) | 1879 comments Mod
Lori wrote: "I get the idea from Victorian (and earlier) novels that weddings and holidays (such as Christmas) just weren't the huge productions people expect today. It seems a lot of planning goes into the tro..."

I hope so, it certainly sounds like the sisters have not had much time to spend together, and I hope that, as their husbands are friends, that will change.


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

Frances (francesab) | 1879 comments Mod
Here is an article and a series of illustrations from the Folio Society/Trollope Society edition of this novel:

http://www.jimandellen.org/trollope/a...

I particularly enjoyed the last drawing-a rendition of Hamel's studio, which does show that his art is perhaps rather "unsellable" other than to put in someone's garden.


Brian Reynolds | 732 comments I pretty much agree with all Frances' comments, as I'm always surprised that the weddings weren't arranged to allow all to attend; in this case Lucy to attend Ayala's. They couldn't be a tandem sister wedding as Ayala's had to be at Lady Albury's.

Some other comments:
1. If I wondered how Trollope could stretch the story for 8 more chapters, it's because of spending 6 chapters resolving the side stories on other people before ending with Ayala in the final 2 chapters, as they are, with some overlap:
Chapters 57 and 58 -Gertrude/Batsby
chapters 59 and 60 - Frank/Imogen
Chapter 61 - Young Tom
Chapter 62 -Gertrude/Batsby and Lucy/Hamel
Chapter 63 Ayala
Chapter 64 Ayala
2) Trollope ends with four marriages which, if memory serves, may tie Framley Parsonage for the most at the end of a Trollope.
3) Trollope seems to let us grow to like Frank more and more as the story goes on despite his refusal to work - maybe just a forerunner to Maynard G. Krebs?
4) Nice drawings - I wish I had them in my Kindle. I agree about the sculpture - Sir Thomas does have some artistic insights.
5) As Frances says, Sir Thomas comes through as expected and as Rosemarie says. there is hope for young Tom. All's well that ends well, which is satisfying as Trollope's main function to me is as a comfort read.


message 7: by Brian (last edited Aug 02, 2020 12:03PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brian Reynolds | 732 comments I will miss this Trollope Project. It's been my favorite Goodreads experience. Thank you Frances for everything. While your insights have been great, I especially appreciate your fortitude in keeping it going through the 6 stand-alones when we could have wrapped it up.


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

Rosemarie | 2898 comments Mod
I agree with Brian. Thank you so much for leading our Trollope Project, Frances. It has been a lovely journey together.


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

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1382 comments Mod
Yes, I agree that Trollope is comfort reading. With a few exceptions, we've been able to count on happy endings. Thank you, Frances!

I think The Way We Live Now had seven marriages.


Brian Reynolds | 732 comments Lori wrote: "I think The Way We Live Now had seven marriages."

Good catch, Lori. I forgot about that one - our most recent read, too! And the longest book with the most storylines,
I've looked back and, so far, found 5 marriages at the end of TWWLN:
Paul/Hetta
John Crumb/Ruby
Lady Carbury/Broune
Marie Melmotte/Fisker
Madame Melmotte/Croll
Even if I don't know the other 2, as 5 is more than 4, TWWLN wins the end of story marriages contest.


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

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1382 comments Mod
6. Georgianna Longstaffe/curate
7. Sophia Longestaffe (but not too near the end of the book)

I'd forgotten their names and had to look at the character list :-)


message 12: by Brian (last edited Aug 02, 2020 03:51PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brian Reynolds | 732 comments Oh yeah, how could I forget Georgianna and the poor but young and decent-looking curate. Even if we don't count Sophia's, that's still 6 ending marriages an amount unlikely to be beaten in any Trollope novel.


message 13: by Trev (last edited Aug 03, 2020 06:16AM) (new)

Trev | 339 comments Overall I enjoyed the novel, as I have with the majority of Trollope’s work. The Ayala, Stubbs affair was a bit too drawn out for me, I kept urging them to get on with it by the end. However, was this a hint that Ayala might have liked more time as a single woman?
And so you never will take another walk with Ayala Dormer?” she said, as they were returning home. “Never another,” he replied. “You cannot think how I regret it. Of course I am glad to become your wife. I do not at all want to have it postponed. But there is something so sweet in having a lover;—and you know that though I shall have a husband I shall never have a lover again,—and I never had one before, Jonathan. There has been very little of it. When a thing has been so sweet it is sad to think that it must be gone for ever!”
I would have liked to have had more of Lucy and Isadore, for me that was the most interesting of all the relationships even though they had already fallen for each other at the start of the book. I liked the way Isadore overcame his pride and even came to believe that Uncle Tom was probably right about his sculptures after all.
Trollope puts a big question mark over Frank at the end. There was no miracle windfall, but he is a very lucky man to have Imogen who I think is twice the person Frank will ever be. She might coax him to make something of himself but he seems the type who can get through life by charming everyone around him.
Is it a statement from Trollope that the two poor girls (as well as Imogen) ended up marrying for love whilst the two rich girls had marriages of convenience? In a way I felt sorry for Gertrude and Augusta, despite their spoilt natures. That huge sum of money hanging over them distorted any chances of true love that might come their way. Trollope doesn’t like his female protagonists marrying for money and in this story, all the men who do it or try to do it are also given a hard time.
The comments and excellent guidance throughout the books I have followed through the Trollope project have both heightened my enjoyment and stimulated my thinking about the author’s work. Thanks to all those who have contributed.


Theresa (theresas) | 26 comments Thank you for the drawings, Frances. They were a nice way to cap off the story. I agree with everyone about the oddity of the double wedding not being the two sisters. Perhaps the two poor sisters made more interesting marriages because they themselves had more substance, having grown up in an eclectic and artistic household, while Augusta and Gertrude just had their money but no compelling inner life of ideas.

Thanks for the interesting discussions, which have stimulated my further interest in Trollope. I'm sorry not to gotten here during the Palliser discussions, but glad the posts will be there for me when I begin the series. I have loved all the Barchester series and the 7 stand-alones I have read. This is a wonderful group!


message 15: by Brian (last edited Aug 12, 2020 02:00PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brian Reynolds | 732 comments Very good observations, Trev. You reminded me that:
1) At the end, I too lamented that the Isadore/Lucy had a smaller plot part than I thought after the events in the first half of the book;
2) This plot loss was further emphasized by the Ayala plot getting a little tiresome;
3) Though he made Frank a better person by the end, I viewed the Frank/Imogen relationship as another prime example of how Trollope writes better (more good?) female than male characters. I almost expected Frank to say to Imogen that "you make me want to be a better person."
5) Sir Thomas was getting so generous that I almost expected him to send a check to Frank when or if he heard about his marriage to Imogen. It was always interesting that Sir T treated Ayala and Lucy so much better than their actual blood relative, Lady E.
6) For all his talk about marriages being the prototype happy ending, I thought Trollope also said something about being "condemned to marriage" at some point in the end section.
Overall, I agree that this was a rewarding and very good Trollope. I'm pleased that Frances thought it a 5 star read so that, after all her work and efforts to continue the project, she also found the experience rewarding.


message 16: by Bill (last edited Aug 07, 2020 08:24AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bill Kupersmith | 174 comments Had Ayala’s Angel not been a Goodreads group read, I doubt I’d ever chosen it, even as a committed Trollopean, the title being so exotic-sounding and celestial. Fortunately, the setting is very English and the title character thoroughly enchanting, though (as described by an elderly lady sharing a railway carriage) “perverse” in her continuing rejection of a suitor whom the reader will love. This book has been described as one of Trollope’s lighter works, and I would agree. No one is financially ruined and commits suicide, or even is tried for murder, though one is banged up for drunkenly assaulting a policeman. I may have been too anxious about Ayala’s persistence in rejection of Colonel Stubb’s proposal, but remembering Lily Dale in A Small House in Allington, the ability of the heroine of a Trollope novel to persist in folly could not be underrated. I was amused when Sir Thomas raises the possibility of his son Tom’s visiting “Cabul.” That was the eve of the Second Afghan War – how many we have had since.

I shall miss the Trollope Project enormously, though I was aboard for but three. (I fear He Knew He Was Right was too depressing.) So grateful to Frances for her leadership and to all who commented


Brian Reynolds | 732 comments Bill, be assured that most of us wish you were aboard for more than three too. Your knowledgeable insights have been great additions. (I didn't want to re-read He Knew He Was Right either).


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

Rosemarie | 2898 comments Mod
Brian, I haven't read He Knew He Was Right yet. How does it compare to New Grub Street in the depressing factor?


message 19: by Brian (last edited Aug 04, 2020 03:48PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Brian Reynolds | 732 comments Rosemarie wrote: "Brian, I haven't read He Knew He Was Right yet. How does it compare to New Grub Street in the depressing factor?"

I read it 20 years ago and don't remember all the side plots, but it's not that it is so depressing, just that I didn't like or was interested in the protagonist or the ultimate outcome of the main story. It's just a long story to have to re-read when you are meh about it.
Gissing has a much more depressing look at people and society so it doesn't nearly rank with New Grub Street. It's still a Trollope societal novel.


message 20: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 2898 comments Mod
Thanks.


message 21: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1879 comments Mod
Trev wrote: "Is it a statement from Trollope that the two poor girls (as well as Imogen) ended up marrying for love whilst the two rich girls had marriages of convenience? In a way I felt sorry for Gertrude and Augusta, despite their spoilt natures. That huge sum of money hanging over them distorted any chances of true love that might come their way. Trollope doesn’t like his female protagonists marrying for money and in this story, all the men who do it or try to do it are also given a hard time.."

The first 3 girls you mentioned, and Ayala in particular, showed clearly that they were not marrying for money, and were content with their relatively impoverished lovers and were willing to live frugal lives. (Not that Ayala would be as poor as the others, but she certainly gave up a very wealthy suitor in Tom).

Augusta and Gertrude suffered more as a way for Trollope to show his distaste for men who married for money-they had to be relatively unattractive so that we would know that Frank Houston and to a lesser extent Traffick had chosen them for their money rather than for love of themselves. It is interesting that Gertrude's eventual husband, while wealthy himself, doesn't want to take her without the money, even though he must be attracted to her enough to agree to run off to Ostend. They really were a pair of idiots!


message 22: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1879 comments Mod
Theresa wrote: "Thank you for the drawings, Frances. They were a nice way to cap off the story. I agree with everyone about the oddity of the double wedding not being the two sisters. Perhaps the two poor sisters ..."

Glad you could join us Theresa-this project was my first introduction to Trollope beyond the Palliser series, and I've really enjoyed his writing as well. I will try to sneak in a few more Trollope's over the coming years!


message 23: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1879 comments Mod
Brian wrote: "Very good observations, Trev. You reminded me that:
1) At the end, I too lamented that the Isadore/Lucy had a smaller plot part than I thought after the events in the first half of the book;
2) Thi..."


Trollope sums his weddings up thusly:

Infinite trouble has been taken not only in arranging these marriages but in joining like to like,—so that, if not happiness, at any rate sympathetic unhappiness, might be produced. Our two sisters will, it is trusted, be happy. They have chosen men from their hearts, and have been chosen after the same fashion. Those two other sisters have been so wedded that the one will follow the idiosyncrasies of her husband, and the other bring her husband to follow her idiosyncrasies, without much danger of mutiny or revolt. As to Miss Docimer there must be room for fear. It may be questioned whether she was not worthy of a better lot than has been achieved for her by joining her fortunes to those of Frank Houston. But I, speaking for myself, have my hopes of Frank Houston. It is hard to rescue a man from the slough of luxury and idleness combined. If anything can do it, it is a cradle filled annually. It may be that he will yet learn that a broad back with a heavy weight upon it gives the best chance of happiness here below.
I didn't remember the condemned to marriage but did like the "sympathetic unhappiness".

Thanks for joining us on this one, Brian, and glad you enjoyed this one.


message 24: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1879 comments Mod
Bill wrote: "Had Ayala’s Angel not been a Goodreads group read, I doubt I’d ever chosen it, even as a committed Trollopean, the title being so exotic-sounding and celestial. Fortunately, the setting is very Eng..."

I was also unsure what to expect from the title, but really enjoyed finding out who the angel was. I also echo Brian's thanks for having you along for some of the project, and for bringing so much extra knowledge to our reads.


message 25: by Bill (new) - rated it 5 stars

Bill Kupersmith | 174 comments Frances wrote: "Bill wrote: "Had Ayala’s Angel not been a Goodreads group read, I doubt I’d ever chosen it, even as a committed Trollopean, the title being so exotic-sounding and celestial. Fortunately, the settin..."

Thank you so much for moderating and welcoming so many different points of view. I love sharing my delight in Trollope with others and if I help them enjoy some fine points that Trollope's contemporaries would have appreciated, I am happy to do it.


message 26: by Bonnie (last edited Dec 20, 2020 08:16AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bonnie | 242 comments Originally I thought that Gertrude and Batsby, although a quick romance by our standards, did at least sincerely like each other.
However,
1. Gertrude wrote a letter to Frank Houston saying "I think Father has softened toward you, you should go talk to him again" - AGAIN! After the aborted elopement with Batsby, and after she had said Frank was a "scoundrel" several times.
2. Batsby's POV:
Should he ultimately succeed in marrying the young lady the enterprise would bear less of an appearance of failure than it would do otherwise. But then, should the money not be forthcoming, the consolation coming from the possession of Gertrude herself would hardly suffice to make him a happy man.

A little disappointing for what I thought might be a good match.

Yes, I would have liked more about Lucy & Isadore; in fact I would have liked about Lucy overall. After she moved from the poor aunt and uncle Docett to the rich Trinkles, we rarely had actual scenes with her.

If Aunt Margaret turned out to be so kind I feel even worse for her impoverished life. Hopefully Ayala and Lucy will visit in future and improve the Docetts' drab lives. Lend books? Invite to a museum?!

I liked it overall but it's not a lasting societal commentary like some. The wrap-up of (as many of you have pointed out) Ayala & Jonathan Stubbs was missing on insight and introspection.


Bonnie | 242 comments Bill wrote: "I shall miss the Trollope Project enormously, though I was aboard for but three. (I fear He Knew He Was Right was too depressing.) So grateful to Frances for her leadership and to all who commented."

Oh dear, I prepped He Knew He Was Right this morning. "Depressing" mmm, just what I need as a capstone for 2020 and this family-less (due to the Coronavirus Pandemic) Christmas.
NOT


message 28: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1879 comments Mod
I agree, He Knew He Was Right was not a typical Trollope and is not a "lift your spirits" sort of book at all, but a good read nonetheless.


message 29: by Bonnie (last edited Dec 20, 2020 08:37AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Bonnie | 242 comments Sorry I was not reading along the Trollope Project since the end of the Palliser books. I had some real-life problems in 2019 and 2020, PLUS then the pandemic.

So now we are "necroposting" as we call it over in the SciFi and Fantasy Book Club group. Thanks for responding!

I enjoy Trollope so much (I went and added him to my "Favorite Authors" on my Goodreads profile) and having this group to read along with makes it much more fun. Thank you for the work moderators and others put in with research and writing and answering questions.


message 30: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 2898 comments Mod
Thanks, Bonnie.
And your responses are one of the main reasons we keep the discussions open.
Life does get in the way at times!
And there are times when I need to do some quick reads. I really like Trollope's work so I need to read it when I have time and energy to appreciate it.


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