Sunday, January 16, 2011


The Small House at Allington

Excerpts from Anthony Trollope, The Small House at Allington:

Chapter I:
But, nevertheless, the place looked like a church, and I can hardly say so much for all the modern edifices which have been built in my days towards the glory of God.
Chapter II: his slippered years...
'I don't like those slang words, Lily.'

'What slang words?'

'You know what you called Bernard's friend.'

'Oh; a swell. I fancy I do like slang. I think it's awfully jolly to talk about things being jolly. Only that I was afraid of your nerves I should have called him stunning. It's so slow, you know, to use nothing but words out of a dictionary.'
There is a kind of enjoyment to be had in society, in which very few words are necessary.
Chapter IV:
I doubt whether any girl would be satisfied with her lover's mind if she knew the whole of it.
Chapter VII:
'I am always making horrid little speeches, for which I should like to cut out my tongue afterwards.'
Chapter XII:
It is very hard, that necessity of listening to a man who says nothing.
He had begun by declaring that he would tell her all; but sometimes it is not easy, that task of telling a person everything. There are things which will not get themselves told.
He knew every acre of his own estate, and every tree upon it, as thoroughly as a lady knows the ornaments in her drawing-room.
Chapter XVII:
The Lady Rosina was very religious; and I do not know that she was conspicuous in any other way, unless it might be that she somewhat resembled her father in her temper. It was of the Lady Rosina that the servants were afraid, especially with reference to that so-called day of rest which, under her dominion, had become to many of them a day of restless torment. It had not always been so with the Lady Rosina; but her eyes had been opened by the wife of a great church dignitary in the neighbourhood, and she had undergone regeneration. How great may be the misery inflicted by an energetic, unmarried, healthy woman in that condition,—a woman with no husband, or children, or duties, to distract her from her work,—I pray that my readers may never know.
Chapter XXIII:
'I am unworthy of her, and will tell her so,' he said to himself. How many a false hound of a man has endeavoured to salve his own conscience by such mock humility?
Chapter XXVII:
'It is so new to me. It makes me feel that the world is changed, and that it is no longer worth a man's while to live in it.'
Chapter XXVIII:
If he could only wipe out the last fortnight from the facts of his existence! But fortnights such as those are not to be wiped out,—not even with many sorrowful years of tedious scrubbing.
A self-imposed trouble will not allow itself to be banished. If a man lose a thousand pounds by a friend's fault, or by a turn in the wheel of fortune, he can, if he be a man, put his grief down and trample it under foot; he can exorcise the spirit of his grievance, and bid the evil one depart from out of his house. But such exorcism is not to be used when the sorrow has come from a man's own folly and sin;—especially not if it has come from his own selfishness. Such are the cases which make men drink; which drive them on to the avoidance of all thought; which create gamblers and reckless prodigals; which are the promoters of suicide.
Indeed, there were not wanting those who said that Major Fiasco was already in receipt of a liberal income, for which he gave no work in return; that he merely filled a chair for four hours a day four or five days a week, signing his name to certain forms and documents, reading, or pretending to read, certain papers, but, in truth, doing no good.
'I never saw a man so little elated by good fortune in my life,' said Mr Optimist.

'Ah, he's got something on his mind,' said Butterwell. 'He's going to be married, I believe.'

'If that's the case, it's no wonder he shouldn't be elated,' said Major Fiasco, who was himself a bachelor.
Chapter XXXI:
'I suppose the world is different nowadays.' The world is different; but the squire by no means acknowledged in his heart that there had been any improvement.
Chapter XLIII:
We are not content in looking to our newspapers for all the information that earth and human intellect can afford; but we demand from them what we might demand if a daily sheet could come to us from the world of spirits. The result, of course, is this,—that the papers do pretend that they have come daily from the world of spirits; but the oracles are very doubtful, as were those of old.
Chapter XLVI:
'You don't dislike late hours, I suppose.'

'Coming late to the office you mean? Oh, no, not in the least.'

'Staying late,—staying late.'
Chapter L:
It is the view which the mind takes of a thing which creates the sorrow that arises from it. If the heart were always malleable and the feelings could be controlled, who would permit himself to be tormented by any of the reverses which affection meets? Death would create no sorrow, ingratitude would lose its sting; and the betrayal of love would do no injury beyond that which it might entail upon worldly circumstances. But the heart is not malleable; nor will the feelings admit of such control.
Chapter LV:
He had come, therefore, and now stood alone, sullen in a corner, telling himself that all was vanity. Yes; to the vain all will be vanity; and to the poor of heart all will be poor.
chapter LVIII:
'And remember what it is that I say; with your grief I do sympathise, but not with any outward expression of it;—not with melancholy looks, and a sad voice, and an unhappy gait. A man should always be able to drink his wine and seem to enjoy it. If he can't, he is so much less of a man than he would be otherwise,—not so much more, as some people seem to think.'

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