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Wednesday, March 2, 2011

The Ending

Domestic Bliss (1863), W. Muschamp
Trollope must like happy endings.

There are a number of curious marriages.  Aside from the marriage of Marie Melmotte and Hamilton Fisker detailed in the previous post, another strange marriage involves Georgiana Longestaffe.  After her previous engagement to Brehgert dissolves, Georgiana frets about growing older as a single woman and starts up an imtimacy with a curate from a nearby parish who is not introduced to the reader until and appears only in chapter 95.  The two grow close and elope in a matter of weeks.  Upon their return, they are accepted as husband and wife and Mr. Longestaffe helps them purchase a small living and the couple that only recently met lives in "connubial bliss" (Ch. 95). 

Another strange though humorous marriage occurs between Madame Melmotte and Herr Croll, the German assistant of the former's late husband.  Croll and Madame Melmotte both have been victim's of the late financier and use this common thread to strike up an intimacy.  The humorous part is that Madame Melmotte, who, like Croll leaves England after the debacle, decides that she cannot go to New York, where her husband is known, as a Melmotte, so she decides she must marry to change her name and that "Croll would do as well as any other" (Ch. 98).  Obviously, love is not a motive in this marriage, as Madame concludes that both have money, thus making the match a desirable one. 

Lady Carbury rejected Mr. Broune earlier in the novel and he appeared relieved at her rejection, but the two end up as a couple as well.  However, whereas Trollope had satirized her earlier in the novel, at one point calling her "false from head to foot," he makes her a figure of sympathy at the end, particularly with the line "at last real peace should be in her reach" (Ch. 99).  Broune rids her of Felix, sending the latter to Germany to help (trouble?) a clergyman.  Broune also has money, so she no longer has to pursue a futile literary career to take care of her family. 

Finally, the one marriage that seemed determined to happen from the beginning, despite a number of road blocks is that of Paul and Hetta.  Roger proves his worth when he gives Carbury Manor to Paul and Hetta, with the condition that their future son carry the Carbury name.  Ultimately, Roger decides he must do what will make Hetta happy:

But then over these convictions there came a third,—equally strong,—which told him that the girl loved the younger man and did not love him, and that if he loved the girl it was his duty as a man to prove his love by doing what he could to make her happy (Ch. 100).

Consequently, everyone (except maybe Felix) seems to enjoy a somewhat happy ending.

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