Saturday, April 01, 2017

The Three Clerks

The Three Clerks. Anthony Trollope. 1858. 648 pages. [Source: Bought]

 First sentence: All the English world knows, or knows of, that branch of the Civil Service which is popularly called the Weights and Measures. Every inhabitant of London, and every casual visitor there, has admired the handsome edifice which generally goes by that name, and which stands so conspicuously confronting the Treasury Chambers.

Premise/plot: The Three Clerks that star in Trollope's novel are: Henry (Harry) Norman, Alaric Tudor, and Charley Tudor.  These three will end up courting the three Woodward sisters: Gertrude, Linda, and Katie. Henry Norman takes first one friend and then the other 'home' with him. (His second home, his home-away-from home.) Mrs. Woodward LOVES hosting him for the weekend, and she enjoys some of the fellows he brings with him. The book spans years. The courtships are not rushed at all--in fact the opposite. Romance isn't exactly the genre I'd fit this in!!! Politics, crime, and family drama or melodrama all come to mind first! 

My thoughts: Of the novels I've read so far this year, this is probably my least favorite of Trollope. I had definite opinions on the characters. Of the three clerks, Alaric is my least favorite. I really did like Harry and Charley, but, Charley might be more developed making him slightly more interesting. What we know about Harry: He loves Gertrude; he's rejected by Gertrude; he's angry at his friend for 'stealing' Gertrude and marrying her; he's steady and good. When the crisis comes, he's dependable 100%. Charley's character actually develops throughout the book, and, his character is more transformed or redeemed. I really loved spending time with him. He also provided the MOST entertainment throughout. He was a writer on the side. And readers are treated to his plot ideas, his stories, his conversations with his editor, and reviews of his books. 

  • It is not by our virtues or our vices that we are judged, even by those who know us best; but by such credit for virtues or for vices as we may have acquired.
  • All persons who have a propensity to lecture others have a strong constitutional dislike to being lectured themselves.
  • Wherever there are two men, there will be two opinions.
  • God Almighty could never have intended us to make chimneys of our mouths and noses.
  • ‘Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil!’ Let that petition come forth from a man’s heart, a true and earnest prayer, and he will be so led that he shall not hear the charmer, let him charm ever so wisely.
  • Oh, fathers, mothers, uncles, aunts, guardians, and elderly friends in general, kill seven fatted calves if seven should unfortunately be necessary!
  • In public life when is there time for gratitude? Who ever thinks of other interest than his own?
  • If God forgives us our sins, surely we should so carry ourselves that men may not be ashamed to do so.
  • Woe to those men who go through the world with none but new coats on their backs, with no boots but those of polished leather, with none but new friends to comfort them in adversity.
  • The world, we think, makes a great mistake on the subject of saying, or acting, farewell. The word or deed should partake of the suddenness of electricity; but we all drawl through it at a snail’s pace. We are supposed to tear ourselves from our friends; but tearing is a process which should be done quickly. What is so wretched as lingering over a last kiss, giving the hand for the third time, saying over and over again, ‘Good-bye, John, God bless you; and mind you write!’ Who has not seen his dearest friends standing round the window of a railway carriage, while the train would not start, and has not longed to say to them, ‘Stand not upon the order of your going, but go at once!’ And of all such farewells, the ship’s farewell is the longest and the most dreary. One sits on a damp bench, snuffing up the odour of oil and ropes, cudgelling one’s brains to think what further word of increased tenderness can be spoken. No tenderer word can be spoken. One returns again and again to the weather, to coats and cloaks, perhaps even to sandwiches and the sherry flask. All effect is thus destroyed, and a trespass is made even on the domain of feeling. I remember a line of poetry, learnt in my earliest youth, and which I believe to have emanated from a sentimental Frenchman, a man of genius, with whom my parents were acquainted. It is as follows: — Are you go? — Is you gone? — And I left? — Vera vell! Now the whole business of a farewell is contained in that line. When the moment comes, let that be said; let that be said and felt, and then let the dear ones depart.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Kay 1:14 PM  

Hey Becky!

Love the blog - I like how you included quotes :)

check out my blog if you have a chance!

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