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A daily record of what I'm thinking about what I'm reading

To read about movies and TV shows I'm watching, visit my other blog: Elliot's Watching

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Slpe in love

Slope in love (Barchester Towers) is sometimes hysterical and a great example of Trollope's sly sense of humor - he has this priggish, insidious underling to Bishop Proudie in a dilemma: whom to love? He would really like to marry the widow Eleanor Bold - she's got a 1,000 pounds a year! - but he finds himself smitten by the beautiful Signora, Dr. Stanhope's daughter, abandoned some time back by (but still married to) her no-good Italian husband. As Trollope reminds: a man who tries to sit between two stools will fall to the floor. So Slope writes a long letter to Eleanor trying so hard to strike exactly the right notes, proper and businesslike as to the sinecure he's trying to secure for her father but also showing affection - but not too much! - although he goes over the top in the really funny paragraph about her son (about whom he obviously cares very little) playing w/ her "tresses." If she has any sense at all she'll laugh aloud when she reads this letter. Meanwhile, as said letter is being delivered, he visits the Signor, finds her alone on her sofa (she's a self-declared invalid who must always sit on a sofa - today we'd probably call it a chaise - and be carried around by 3 servants). She flirts and teases mercilessly and gets Slope to declare his love for her - even though loving a married woman goes against all of Slope's rigid, almost Puritanical preaching - a complete fool and hypocrite, in that it's completely obvious to all readers that the Signora is playing with him, like a child who is cruel to a pet. Trollope give a great account of Slope taking hold of the Signora's hand: like a rose in the hand of a carrot! We can see where he's headed and it couldn't happen to a less likable man: he's like a venomous and conniving Malvolio.

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