Page:Cartoon portraits and biographical sketches of men of the day.djvu/127

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Anthony Trollope.

books. These readers are types: the realist loving reality, which he finds; the idealist seeking for the noble, unselfish, poetic, which he does not find. Trollope's point of view is real and perfectly natural, but it is low.

His parsons, whether they are bishops, prebendaries, deans, vicars, or curates, are, as a rule, the selfish men of everyday life. Their wives are more worldly and selfish than they. What, then, is the mission of the novelist to educate or to depict? The numerous readers of the popular author must answer this.

Literary fame is a thing of slow growth, generally. Anthony Trollope began with a story, historical and dull, entitled 'La Vendee,' published by Colburn in 1850. He had missed his mark, but he soon rectified the mistake. In 1855 he published 'The Warden,' being the history of the Rev. Septimus Harding, warden of Hiram's Hospital, in the city of Barchester. Two years later, 'Barchester Towers' appeared; in 1858, 'Dr. Thorne,' another story of churchmen; and in the same year, 'The Three Clerks,' a story of legal and political life. In 1859, the prolific pen of the author furnished Mudie's subscribers with 'The Bertrams,' and an Irish story, 'The Kellys and the O'Kellys.' In the next year (1860), 'Castle Richmond' made its appearance; and then Thackeray invited Mr. Trollope to open the ball in 'The Cornhill' with a new story. This story, 'Framley Parsonage,' is one of his best productions. It is a charming piece of genre painting in ink, and did its part in maintaining his reputation, if it did not add anything to it. 'Orley Farm' (1862), 'Rachel Ray' (1863), 'The Small House at Allington,' and 'Can you forgive her?' followed in 1864, almost together; 'Miss Mackenzie' in '65, and 'The Belton Estate' in '66. In '67, 'The Last Chronicle of Barset,' and 'The Claverings;' in '69, 'He knew he was right,' and 'Phineas Finn.' 'The Vicar of Bulhampton,' 'Sir Harry Hotspur of Humblethwaite,' 'Ralph the Heir,' and 'The Golden Lion of Granpere,' close the list.

What other novelist has written as many stories of even merit? They are all below the high mark of the great writers; but all are interesting, all show good sound art in their manipulation. They represent a great total of work conscientiously performed. It seems well, in these fast times, to keep the ball rolling. Mrs. Henry Wood, Miss Braddon, and Anthony