Page:Studies of a Biographer 4.djvu/205

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191
ANTHONY TROLLOPE

of England remonstrated with him because one of his heroines was tempted to leave her husband for a lover. Trollope replied forcibly enough by asking him whether he ever denounced adultery from his pulpit. If so, why should not the same denunciation be uttered from the pulpit of the novelist? The dignitary judiciously invited him to spend a week in the country and talk over the subject. The visit never came off, and, if that dignitary be now alive, he probably looks back with some regret to the Trollope standard. In one novel Trollope ventured upon a bolder step, and described the career of a female outcast, but the difficulty imposed a good many limitations. If a novelist is to be a preacher, he cannot simply overlook what he ought to denounce. Trollope was, in principle, a thorough 'realist,' but he had to write in popular magazines and submit to their conventions. It may be a difficult question whether a 'realistic' description of vice makes vice more disgusting or stimulates a morbid interest. Trollope, at any rate, was in the awkward position of a realist bound to ignore realities. He had to leave gaps in his pictures of life, and gaps—according to some tastes—in the only really interesting places.