Saturday, May 13, 2017

Doctor Thorne

Doctor Thorne. Anthony Trollope. 1858. 639 pages. [Source: Bought]

First sentence: Before the reader is introduced to the modest country medical practitioner who is to be the chief personage of the following tale, it will be well that he should be made acquainted with some particulars as to the locality in which, and the neighbours among whom, our doctor followed his profession.

Premise/plot: Frank Gresham LOVES, LOVES, LOVES Mary Thorne, the doctor's niece. BUT. His family is in financial trouble, in debt. It being the nineteenth century and work being a horrible suggestion for a young man, Frank is told that he MUST--no doubt about it--MARRY for MONEY. Since Mary doesn't have money, she won't do at all. His parents have different ways of going about separating the two. But essentially Frank spends a year or two away from 'the love of his life.' And Mary spends those years being shunned by a family that formerly welcomed and received her as one of their own. Meanwhile, Doctor Thorne is busy doctoring a local family of drunkards. He tends first the father, then the son. Unbeknownst to the community, but not unknown to him, these are Mary's maternal relatives--her very, very, very wealthy relatives (Scatcherds). But their background--their status--is low. The doctor knows that there's a possibility that Mary will be extremely rich one day. But he has to keep this a big secret since it's just a possibility. If the current heir lives and is able to overcome his alcoholism...or if he lives past his twenty-fifth birthday...then the money won't be Mary's at all. Mary herself doesn't know the connection.

My thoughts: I really LOVE this third book in the Barsetshire series by Anthony Trollope. It's a romance with plenty of drama and gossip. It's a good, old-fashioned romance. Modern readers may be less than impressed that one of the big love scenes works its way up to holding hands for a few minutes. But as for me, I really enjoyed it for what it was.

I also loved to see the bond between Doctor Thorne and his niece. 

If you appreciate Anthony Trollope, if you look upon him as a particular friend--as I do--then you'll love Doctor Thorne.

Doctor Thorne promising the child's mother to take her in and raise her as his very own:
“She is my niece,” said the doctor, taking up the tiny infant in his huge hands; “she is already the nearest thing, the only thing that I have in this world. I am her uncle, Mary. If you will go with this man I will be father to her and mother to her. Of what bread I eat, she shall eat; of what cup I drink, she shall drink. See, Mary, here is the Bible;” and he covered the book with his hand. “Leave her to me, and by this word she shall be my child.”
Other favorite quotes:
It is so much easier to preach than to practise.
How is one to have an opinion if one does not get it by looking at the things which happen around us? 
Habit is second nature, man; and a stronger nature than the first. 
Our sheep have to put up with our spiritual doses whether they like them or not. 
People must be bound together. They must depend on each other. Of course, misfortunes may come; but it is cowardly to be afraid of them beforehand. 
“You haven’t got another cup of tea, have you?” “Oh, uncle! you have had five.” “No, my dear! not five; only four — only four, I assure you; I have been very particular to count. I had one while I was—” “Five uncle; indeed and indeed.” “Well, then, as I hate the prejudice which attaches luck to an odd number, I’ll have a sixth to show that I am not superstitious.” 
When one is impatient, five minutes is as the duration of all time, and a quarter of an hour is eternity. 
It’s hard to say in these days what is wrong and what is not. 
See the world on all sides if you have an opportunity; and, believe me, a good dinner now and then is a very good thing. 
We strain at our gnats with a vengeance, but we swallow our camels with ease. 
How can I tell him to be sober when I have been a beast all my life myself? How can I advise him? That’s where it is! It is that that now kills me. Advise! Why, when I speak to him he treats me like a child. 
You ain’t worth a shilling, and yet you regret nothing. I am worth half a million in one way or the other, and I regret everything — everything — everything! 
Alas! she-dragons are not easily convinced of the innocence of any one. 
It is so hard to throw off a tyrant; so much easier to yield, when we have been in the habit of yielding. 
“I don’t give a straw for the world.” “That is a mistake, my boy; you do care for it, and would be very foolish if you did not. What you mean is, that, on this particular point, you value your love more than the world’s opinion.” “Well, yes, that is what I mean.” 
when one is specially invited to be candid, one is naturally set upon one’s guard. 
Wounds sometimes must be opened in order that they may be healed. 
Who can console a heart that has lost all that it possessed?
Love can only be paid in its own coin: it knows of no other legal tender.

© 2017 Becky Laney of Becky's Book Reviews


Jillian said...

This one sounds kind of awesome...

hopeinbrazil said...

Thanks for reminding me of what a lovely book this is. Time for a re-read. (I, too, think of Trollope as a friend!)