Tuesday, 11 October 2011

REVIEW:- - Anthony TROLLOPE - “Orley Farm“

Year Published: - 1861/2 – initially serialised
Where the book was from:- Doewnloaded to my Kindle
Pages: - pp
Genre: - Victorian novel
Location:- England
How I came across it: - Reading the Trollopes I have not read before – in chronological order.
Rating: - ***** ****

One sentence summary:- Lady Mason inherited Orley Farm twenty years ago after a court case to decide upon her husband's will but history is now raising its ugly head again.

Describe the plot without giving anything away:- Lady Mason's son inherited Orley Farm from his father twenty years ago after a court case to decide upon her husband's will but history is now raising its ugly head again. The other claimant from the 20 year old court case has received evidence from a wily solicitor that while the will was genuine the codicil which gave Orley farm to his son was forged. Was it? And will the fact that Lady Mason is still attractive work in her favour or against her as friends support her unconditionally but her solicitor's wife gets jealous. Her son, now grown up, wants to take on all claimants in the most forceful way possible but Lady Mason would rather the whole affair went away.

General comments:- I just love Trollope's style and he rarely disappoints. I have come to think of him as a friend – both when in need and when simply wanting a quiet time of relaxation.
Although this novel appeared to have undersold (possibly because the shilling part was being overshadowed by magazines, such as 'The Cornhill', that offered a variety of stories and poems in each issue), Orley Farm became Trollope's personal favourite. The house in the book became a school, which was originally supposed to be the feeder school to Harros. This is called Orley Farm, Trollope having allowed it to be named after his book. (www.orleyfarm.harrow.sch.uk)

Kindle Comment: -
I think this was the first book I read in its entirety on the Kindle. I downloaded the whole of Trollope's work for 99p. The contents page was easy to master and could be out in alphabetical or chronological order. I find it almost unbelievable that for less than a pound I have access to the complete Trollope! I enjoyed the reading experience and having downloaded my 'Highlights' onto the computer I found it easy to cut and paste the quotations I wanted for this review. As a result – and as a result of the quality of Trollope's imagery – there are a lot of quotations. The disadvantage of a Kindle edition is not being able to judge how long a book is. 'Locations' are the Kindle substitute for pages but I have yet to judge the length of a work by this means.


...... a good English gentleman-like resolve to hunt twice a week, look after his timber, and live well within his means.

She was plainly dressed, without any full exuberance of costume, and yet everything about her was neat and pretty, and everything had been the object of feminine care. A very plain dress may occasion as much study as the most elaborate, - and may be quite as worthy of the study it has caused. Lady Mason, I am inclined to think, was by no means indifferent to the subject, but then to her belonged the great art of hiding her artifice

They say that the pith of a lady's letter is in the postscript,

His nose--for I should do Mr. Kantwise injustice if I did not mention this feature--seemed to have been compressed almost into nothing by that skin-squeezing operation. It was long enough, taking the measurement down the bridge, and projected sufficiently, counting the distance from the upper lip; but it had all the properties of a line; it possessed length without breadth. There was nothing in it from side to side. If you essayed to pull it, your fingers would meet.

"But if success in life means rampaging about, and never knowing what it is to sit quiet over his own fireside, I for one would as soon manage to do without it."

….........young as he was, knew that the marital shoe was pinching the lady's domestic corn, and he made haste to change the subject.

"Ask them from me whether they know how to make coffee. It does not consist of an unlimited supply of lukewarm water poured over an infinitesimal proportion of chicory. That process, time-honoured in the hotel line, will not produce the beverage called coffee. Will you have the goodness to explain that in the bar as coming from me?"

"Think of him! Am I bound to have thought anything about him by this time?"
"Of course you are;--or at any rate of course you have. I have no doubt that you have composed in your own mind an essay on the character of everybody here. People who think at all always do."

Mr. Furnival was very wrong to swear; doubly wrong to swear before his wife; trebly wrong to swear before a lady visitor; but it must be confessed that there was provocation.

"I ask you to answer me fairly. Is not additional eating an ordinary Englishman's ordinary idea of Christmas-day?"
"I am only an ordinary Englishwoman and therefore cannot say. It is not my idea."
"I believe that the ceremony, as kept by us, is perpetuated by the butchers and beersellers, with a helping hand from the grocers. It is essentially a material festival; and I would not object to it even on that account if it were not so grievously overdone.”
(Wonderfully aposite to the present day as I write this in early autumn having seen a department store with its Christmas tree and decorations all aglow on 5th October.)

He wished that he knew the truth in the matter; or rather he wished he could know whether or no she were innocent, without knowing whether or no she were guilty.

The body dries up and withers away, and the bones grow old; the brain, too, becomes decrepit, as do the sight, the hearing, and the soul. But the heart that is tender once remains tender to the last.

(At the Hunt) - I know no place in which girls receive more worship and attention; but I am not sure but they may carry their enthusiasm too far for their own interests, let their horsemanship be as perfect as it may be.

Dance with a girl three times, and if you like the light of her eye and the tone of voice with which she, breathless, answers your little questions about horseflesh and music--about affairs masculine and feminine,--then take the leap in the dark. There is danger, no doubt; but the moulded wife is, I think, more dangerous.

“You couldn't have a better man than old Solomon Aram. But Solomon Aram is too far east from you, I suppose?"
"Isn't he a Jew?"
"Upon my word I don't know. He's an attorney, and that's enough for me.”

Lady Mason was rich with female charms, and she used them partly with the innocence of the dove, but partly also with the wisdom of the serpent.

(Not to be married -) "I mean any girl whose father is not a gentleman, and whose mother is not a lady; and of whose education among ladies you could not feel certain."

A man in talking to another man about women is always supposed to consider those belonging to himself as exempt from the incidents of the conversation. The dearest friends do not talk to each other about their sisters when they have once left school;

When Augustus told Graham that he had gifts of nature which made him equal to any lady, he did not include his own sister.

If young gentlemen, such as Augustus Staveley, are allowed to amuse themselves with young ladies, surely young ladies such as Miss Furnival should be allowed to play their own cards accordingly.

There be those who say that if a man be anything of a man, he can always insure obedience in his own household. He has the power of the purse and the power of the law; and if, having these, he goes to the wall, it must be because he is a poor creature. Those who so say have probably never tried the position.

Her idea of a woman's duties comprehended the birth, bringing up, education, and settlement in life of children, also due attendance upon a husband, with a close regard to his special taste in cookery.

And then he took it out again, and observed upon the cover the Hamworth post-mark, very clear. Post-marks now-a-days are very clear, and everybody may know whence a letter comes.
(Trollope spent his working life in the Post Office, reaching a fairly senior position before he was enabled to retire because of his authorial income.)

There is great doubt as to what may be the most enviable time of life with a man. I am inclined to think that it is at that period when his children have all been born but have not yet began to go astray or to vex him with disappointment; when his own pecuniary prospects are settled, and he knows pretty well what his tether will allow him; when the appetite is still good and the digestive organs at their full power; when he has ceased to care as to the length of his girdle, and before the doctor warns him against solid breakfasts and port wine after dinner; when his affectations are over and his infirmities have not yet come upon him; while he can still walk his ten miles, and feel some little pride in being able to do so; while he has still nerve to ride his horse to hounds, and can look with some scorn on the ignorance of younger men who have hardly yet learned that noble art. As regards men, this, I think, is the happiest time of life;
but who shall answer the question as regards women? In this respect their lot is more liable to disappointment. With the choicest flowers that blow the sweetest aroma of their perfection lasts but for a moment. The hour that sees them at their fullest glory sees also the beginning of their fall.

AUTHOR Notes:- Anthony Trollope (24 April 1815 – 6 December 1882) was one of the most successful, prolific and respected English novelists of the Victorian era. Some of his best-loved works, collectively known as the Chronicles of Barsetshire, revolve around the imaginary county of Barsetshire. He also wrote penetrating novels on political, social, and gender issues, and on other topical conflicts of his day.

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