View Full Version : The Small House at Allington

09-16-2007, 01:37 PM
Dear Friends of Online-Literature Forum:

This is my first time at this forum, so "Hello" to everyone who may actually read this comment.

This summer I read The Small House at Allington. The book is quite long, but worth reading attentively. I was rather surprised to find in the Afterword of the book the statement that of all the novels in the Barset Chronicles, this one Trollope liked the least, and that he considered Lilly Dale to be a prig, on account of her decision never to marry. As for me, I found her to be true to herself. Each of us is different, and what matters really is to be true to our own conscience, no matter what others think, presuming of course that we are not violating basic moral principles.

This book teaches us the tremendous impact falling in love has upon many women, well illustrated by Lillian Dale's plight after having discovered that her lover was planning to marry another woman out of desire for social-climbing (and whom he actually does not love!).

In the case of Lilly Dale, it appears that we men usually do not realize how much women are transformed through the experience of falling in love, even if only once in their lives. Because of our ignorance of the depth of women's emotional life, we tend to lack sufficient respect for them by allowing our influences upon them to go unchecked (by ourselves).

Another interesting detail in The Small House at Allington is the determination by Lillian and her mother and sister Belle, near the end of the book, to depart from the Small House, even though this is so disheartening to the owner (the Earl of Allington). This decision to leave is so firm, that any other alternative would appear impossible. The fact that after Belle gets married and leaves, Lilly and her mother were actually able to change their minds points out the need we all have to not be afraid to modify our decisions, no matter how much our pride would have us stick to them. Only decisions which would not violate moral principles should be adhered to through thick and thin. When it only has to do with our hurt pride, we should be willing to suffocate our own stubborness. This made me realize how many times in life I have seen myself forced to change my decisions, and actually the only pain caused was to my own pride. I can always recover from that.

I think the book has a lot to teach us, particularly as a character study, for example, on the fickleness and vanity of some people (viz. Lilly's lover). This served as a warning to myself, to be careful on responsibility in my relationships with other persons in life.

I hope you enjoy this book. This was the fourth one I have read in the Barset Chronicles. Two of the others (Barchester Towers and The Last Chronicle of Barset) I had listened to on audio-cassettes. Fantastic books!

Thank you for allowing me to express my opinion.

09-17-2007, 12:32 AM
Interesting... I just happened to pick this up at the bookstore the other day, sort of on a whim. I look forward to reading it. And welcome, carpentermap!

12-15-2008, 05:22 PM
Glad that you are enjoying Trollope, Carpentermap. Personally I find him a much better and more readable author than Dickens (who can be cloyingly sentimental, and whose plot twists sometimes border on the ridiculous). All of Trollope's novels repay the reader's attention - have you read the Palliser Novels yet? - I particularly enjoyed "The Eustace Diamonds". All of Trollope's characters are very believable. He portrays real people, unlike Dickens' saccharine-sweet heroines and dyed-in-the-wool villains.

You can imagine all of Trollope's characters actually living and breathing, and they have a sense of humour which is intelligent and perceptive.

06-08-2009, 02:53 PM
I agree with you, pauline_gangof4. Trollope does a lot more for me than Dickens. As you say, the characters in Trollope's novels are real people, who remind us so much of people we know. Because you have recommended the Palliser Novels, I am going to have to get into them. I am still plowing through one of his books, called The Way We Live Now, and have posted a comment on it under that title.

03-22-2014, 12:55 PM
After having read several of Trollope's books, I reflect fondly on The Small House at Allington. This is a book that is well worth reading. I still feel sorry for Lilly's lover, not the one who jilted her, but the one who persevered to the end of the novel but never was able to sing of victory.