But they were all very happy, and were sure that there was safety in their happiness. p. 640
Such a lovely, gentle book. At first, I took issue with it that almost half of September had passed before I turned the last leaf. But then I was reminded, by wise readers with whom I blog, that good books take the time required. It is bad books that ought to be rushed through.
Trollope writes with the wisdom of an omniscient narrator, able to disclose the weakness of his characters with a discerning and gentle eye. He uses a term – hobbledehoyhood – to describe the stage of a boy growing up, and while this book may have been written in 1864, I can clearly see my own beloved son just now leaving this stage at 24 years of age.
Ah, but Johnny Eames is my favorite character in all the book. He thoroughly thrashes Adolphus Crosbie at the Paddington Railway Station, and well he should for all the wrong Crosbie has done to the lovely Lily Dale. Yet he saves Earl De Guest from the attack of a bull in his very own pasture, thereby earning himself an abiding affection from the earl. It takes a lot of work to grow up, apparently, to become a man, and John is not to be rewarded with Lily’s hand in this particular book. It’s enough to make me buy the final book in the series, The Last Chronicle of Barset, to see if they do in fact get together.
I leave this novel, and my post, with favorite passages I highlighted on the way. Perhaps they will give you an idea of the charm within its pages.
~Let her who is forty call herself forty; but if she can be young in spirit at forty, let her show that she is so. (p. 27)
~Why is that girls so constantly do this–so frequently ask men who have loved them to be present at their marriages with other men? There is no triumph in it. It is done in sheer kindness and affection. They intend to offer something which shall soften and not aggravate the sorrow that they have caused. “You can’t marry me yourself,” the lady seems to say. “But the next greatest blessing which I can offer you shall be yours; you shall see me married to somebody else.” I fully appreciate the intention, but in honest truth, I doubt the eligibility of the proffered entertainment. (p. 114)
~It is very hard, that necessity of listening to a man who says nothing. (p. 140)
~The little sacrifices of society are all made by women, as are also the great sacrifices of life. A man who is good for anything is always ready for his duty, and so is a good woman always ready for a sacrifice. (p. 157)
~Last days are wretched days; and so are last moments wretched moments. It is not the fact that the parting is coming which makes these days and moments so wretched, but the feeling that something special is expected from them, which something they always fail to produce. (p. 176)
~How many of us are like the bull, turning away conquered by opposition which should be as nothing to us, and breaking our feet, and worse still, our hearts, against rocks of adamant. (p. 263)
~Love does not follow worth, and is not given to excellence; nor is it destroyed by ill-usage, nor killed by blows and mutilation. (p. 387)
And here, I give a heartfelt thanks to Audrey, JoAnn and Lisa who kindly invited me to join their read-along. It was enriched on Twitter with so many comments and exclamations of surprise, as well as tender remembrances of fond characters met in the earlier novels. I came to the party late, but it was good to be included in the festivity, and to have my first taste of Trollope. What a sweet soul he is.