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Introduction by David Skilton
John Henry Newman said of Trollope after reading The Bertrams: 'There is a touch of scepticism which I have never seen in him before': it is an oddly moody and melancholic work.' Cajoled by his miserly uncle into going up to Oxford, George Bertram excels there, and befriending a fellow student, vicar's son Arthur Wilkinson, he wonders if he too has a vocation for the Church. His uncle, with his wealthy merchant's feet planted squarely in the world of commerce, tries to dissuade him, which prompts George to postpone any vocational decisions while going on a grand tour of The Holy Land. There he meets his degenerate father Sir Lionel, who holds a pathetic military sinecure in Persia and sponges from everyone. In fact he has no interest whatever in his son's welfare, and though charming proves utterly hollow. More happily, George meets and falls in love with Caroline Waddington, who is his uncle's granddaughter. Caroline persuades George to study for the Bar, refusing to marry him without money. With no help from their rich relative, the couple squabble for over two years before mutually deciding to part. On impulse, Caroline marries Sir Henry Harcourt, an ambitious Tory barrister, only to discover that his interest lies in the fortune which he mistakenly thinks she will inherit from her grandfather. She leaves him, and immediately his careful schemes begin to collapse, whilst George and Caroline try to repair some mutual damage: the house they share is 'quiet', there are no children. But, unexpectedly, Trollope writes: 'they are not unhappy'. Trollope once advised a friend intending to be ordained: 'Don't. Nothing cripples a man more certainly', and George Bertram's character echoes this. But Trollope tries to balance the novel, adding a sub-plot involving Arthur Wilkinson, who is trapped in his father's parish, takes the salary of a curate, and gives a share of his income to his mother and sisters. Trouble occurs when Arthur marries, his mother soon forgetting that the money derives from her son. Both friends yearn for successful lives, both try - despite dependent parents - to attain some degree of probity, and their attempts contrast with the greedy ambition of Henry Harcourt. Criticised for being 'too much like life' The Bertrams has a dark tone, yet, scattered with comical minor characters, it seems very fresh and modern.
Publication Price: £35.00/$70.00
Introduction by R C Terry
John Caldigate, disinherited by his father after sowing a deal too many wild oats, sets sail for Australia to make his fortune in the goldfields of New South Wales. He meets the adventuress Euphemia Smith, widow of a drunken actor and herself a sometime music-hall entertainer, and the two conduct an indiscreet onboard romance. Surprisingly, Caldigate makes a success of his gold prospecting, and meets up again with Euphemia in Sydney; she sets up home with him posing as his wife, but inevitably the couple quarrel and separate. Returning to England a rich man, Caldigate is reconciled with his father, and marries a previous love, the sweet-natured Hester Bolton: shortly afterwards the couple have a child. Euphemia, now styling herself Euphemia Caldigate, makes a timely re-emergence and attempts to blackmail her former lover by alleging - among other claims - that his marriage is bigamous and his child therefore illegitimate. The ensuing trial goes against Caldigate, and he finds himself in truly hot water for the first time. His innocence hangs upon the proof of a forged postmark, and here Trollope uses both his expert knowledge from his job at the Post Office and considerable ingenuity to resolve the story. John Blackwood told Trollope he found the eponymous hero 'too cold and complacent' to command any sympathy, whilst complimenting other parts of the tale. In fact this is essential to Trollope's purpose and by his deftness with the novel's narrative technique in presenting us with such a character he virtually defies us to like him (he did something similar with the character of Harry in The Claverings). He throws his character into clear relief by the depiction of Euphemia Smith. She is one of the author's most complex creations, and one of his cleverest 'wicked women'. Her tactics are subtle, for she warns Caldigate against herself when they first meet: "Women are prehensile things which have to cling to something for nourishment and support. When I come across such a one as you I naturally put out my feelers". Using the Australian Goldrush of the 1870s as a backdrop, Trollope creates an intense, psychological feel to the novel. Also included is the marvellous portrait of Hester Bolton's fanatically religious mother, ceaselessly quoting from the bible and so disapproving of her daughter's marriage that she attends the ceremony clad in mourning
Publication Price: £37.00/$74.00
Harry Heathcote of Gangoil
Introduction by P D Edwards
Harry Heathcote is a strong-willed, headstrong young man of twenty-four, a 'squatter' running a sheep station of 120,000 acres at Gangoil in Queensland, deep in the Australian bush. He has a young wife Mary, and has also brought her elder unmarried sister Kate Daly to live with them. Harry has lost a strip of land between his station and the river - quite legitimately - , to a 'free selector' called Giles Medlicot who has used it to construct a sugar plantation and mill. Because of this, relations are frosty between the two men. Harry's imperiousness has made him enemies, amongst them a disreputable family of neighbouring cattle farmers, the Brownbies. On Christmas Eve, two of Harry's disgruntled former employees - with the aid of the Brownbies - deliberately start a fire on his land. Harry only has his aboriginal hand Jacko to help him avert disaster for the station, until Giles Medlicot lends his support...
The Golden Lion of Granpere
Introduction by Anthony Juckes
Marie Bromar is the much-loved niece of Michel Voss, the innkeeper of The Golden Lion. She has loved Michel's son George since they were both small and she first came to live with the family. It is only because Michel Voss regards this love as an inconvenience (because he dislikes change and is used to having his own way), that he quarrels with his son; but he expresses his opposition to the idea of their union strongly enough to drive George away to Colmar, a few miles over the mountains, to live at a nearby inn and run it for the female proprietor. It is George's inability openly to express his true feelings for Marie that further leads his father into folly. Unaware of the unofficial engagement between Marie and his son, Michel encourages the oily, slick Adrian Urmand, a prosperous linen merchant from Basle, to ask for Marie's hand. And it is Marie's reluctance to accept him that spurs the well-intentioned but overbearing Michel to go further than he should and insist on having his own way. Far from vacillating between two lovers as any ordinary Trollope heroine might do, Marie Bromar finds herself in a different but equally impossible situation: in love with her guardian's son, a relationship which he frowns upon, yet reluctant to disobey his wishes, although all her instincts bridle against what he wants. For Marie is in a difficult position within the inn: not quite family, certainly not a servant, but somewhere in between, with the head of the establishment acting as her parent. It is her uncle's lifelong affection and generosity towards her which finally persuades Marie to consent to a betrothal to Adrian Urmand against her will, whilst still vainly hoping for some sign of faith from George. The novel veers from dark to light in tone, and singularly refuses to take anyone's side. The reader is invited to sympathise with Marie's plight, but also with Adrian Urmand's justifiable indignation when he discovers that a 'yes' from his beloved probably means 'no'; and also with Michel Voss's incomprehension at what he at first perceives to be wedding nerves from his niece, but quickly comes to realise is passion for another man; and even for the vacillating George Voss who, in exile over the mountain road, is tormented by the conflicting stories which reach him in a series of chinese whispers. That same road is used for the central scene in the novel, where Michel, mortified that he has totally misjudged his niece's love for his son, and stuck with the aggrieved and unlucky suitor Adrian Urmand, forces his family along the road for a dismal, damp and hilarious picnic. It is a comic setpiece, the author conducting each of the characters with their differing agendas towards an amusing conclusion.
Introduction by Mervyn Horder
Still in search of a success after the failure of his first two (Irish-themed) novels, in his third Trollope turned for inspiration to revolutionary France, specifically the Vendean uprising in France just after the execution of Louis XVI.
The area in France known as La Vendee is situated just below Brittany where the coastline turns due south. The Memoires of the Marquise de la Rochejaquelin had first been published in England in 1816 in a translation by Walter Scott, and Trollope used them as the basis for his novel. (He certainly had no direct knowledge of the area, as he admitted in his Autobiography.) The Vendean uprising itself was composed of wealthy landowning noblemen and - ironically - a great number of peasant smallholders, eager that the traditional ways of church and state should not be swept away. The plot of the novel follows the beginning of the Vendean's uprising and their initial successes, first at Chatillon, Thouars and Fontenoy, culminating in their success at besieging Saumur and finally capturing it. Their success is short-lived, and the Republican armies invade the province burning towns, villages and chateaux in their wake. Trollope's cleverness lies in basing his novel on some real people and mixing them in with invented characters of his own, the result being vaguely similar to Dumas in its intent and scope. Henri de Larochejaquelin was a real person, and the second - very youthful - leader of the Vendean troops. He is heir to property in the province of Poitou, the Chateau of Durbelliere, and Trollope invents a family for him, including his sister Agatha, and crippled father, the old Marquis. Another real character is Charles de Lescure, cousin of Henri and himself a wealthy landowner, living at Clisson in Poitou and Commander-in-chief of the Royalist party. Trollope gives him a sister Marie, romantically involved with Henri. Also real is the character Jacques Cathlineau, a peasant smallholder who, as a result of his loyalty and belief in the Royalists' cause, was rewarded by being made general-in-chief. The main character in the novel whom Trollope invented is that of Adolphe Denot, the anti-hero and turncoat of the story, initially a friend to Henri and Charles. Handsome, vain, a show-off, he is in love with Henri's sister Agatha, and when she rejects him turns against the cause and joins the Republicans against his former friends. He later leads the Republican forces in a raid on the chateau in an ultimately unsuccessful attempt to seize Agatha.
Introduction by Joanna Trollope
Linda Tressel was the second of three novels Trollope intended to publish anonymously in the 1860s. All three were written in an emphatically different style, none more so than this one. It is also no coincidence that they are all set in Europe: Linda Tressell is set in Nuremberg, then part of Bavaria. Like the other two, Nina Balatka and The Golden Lion of Granpere, it is a romance, and as Joanna Trollope has pointed out, it retains a flavour of the fairy tale.
Linda Tressell is orphaned as a little girl, and her fanatically religious aunt, Charlotte Staubach, has left Cologne to come and live with her niece in the red-gabled family house, situated on an island in the middle of the river which runs through the town. The house belongs to Linda as her only heirloom from her father. Aunt Charlotte is, because of her own sacrifice, to have a life interest in the house, but to supplement their meagre income they have taken in a lodger, Peter Steinmarc, a middle-aged town clerk. The only other occupant of the house is a devoted elderly housekeeper called Tetchen. The story concerns Aunt Charlotte's increasingly misguided attempts to make Linda, now aged twenty, marry Peter Steinmarc. The clerk sees an oportunity to gain status, a desirable property on the river, and a pretty young wife. Linda, however, is already secretly in love with Steinmarc's young cousin, Ludovic Valcarm. Aunt Charlotte is dismayed by this news, for she considers Ludovic to be entirely unsuitable. She is quite right, but for entirely the wrong reasons: her disapproval derives from her religious scruples and her hope that a man of Steinmarc's age will be able to tame Linda and crush any flightiness within her. In fact, Valcarm is a wild young man who is suspected by the town authorities of being an anarchist. The innocent Linda, who has led an extremely sheltered life with her aunt, is completely unversed in the ways of the world and of course swept off her feet when Ludovic Valcarm crosses the river to the island and - with Tetchen's misguided connivance - breaks into the house to see Linda whilst her aunt is out at church.
Linda is finally pressured into eloping with her lover, when her aunt insists that she marry the stuffy clerk. But Valcarm is swiftly arrested by the authorities and Linda returns to face outrage and shame from her aunt, and rejection by the affronted Steinmarc. Her ultimate fate can be guessed at, for there is much made all the way through the novel of Aunt Charlotte's desire to 'crush' Linda. Her aim seems to be to eradicate all feelings of sensuality, love, affection and romance from her niece's heart, indeed to break it. Trollope reflects here upon the insurmountable difficulties faced by a young nineteenth-century girl, caught uncomfortably - and finally crushed - between the differing aspirations of three people wholly insensitive to her own true feelings.
Publication Price: £25.50/$51.00
Introduction by Angela Thirlwell
Set in the old Bohemian capital of Prague, Nina Balatka focuses on the burgeoning relationship between the beautiful Nina Balatka, daughter of a bankrupt merchant Joseph, and Anton Trendellsohn, son of Joseph's former Jewish partner. The Trendellsohns own the house in which the Balatkas live, yet when the growing love between Anton and Nina becomes apparent, Nina's wealthy and anti-semitic relatives try to prevent their marriage. Nina's uncle, Karil Zamenoy, has in his keeping the deeds for the Balatka house, yet when Anton asks for them he is told that Nina now has them. Nina denies this, telling Anton to search her desk if he does not believe her. He does so, and finds the documents which have been planted there . . .
Publication Price: £26.00/$52.00
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