This is the last book in the Palliser Series, being the story of the Duke of Omnium whose wife has died and is left to deal with his three children as young adults. Lady Mary has shocked her father by falling in love with, and wanting to marry, a commoner. His oldest son Lord Silverbridge, enters politics opposing his father’s conservative views, and also falls for a woman who is unfavourable to the Duke. Not only is she a commoner, but she is American. He and his younger brother Gerald also involve themselves with gambling, and lose thousands of pounds of the family fortune.
”There is no such mischievous nonsense in all the world as equality. That is what father says. What men ought to want is liberty.”
“as he cared no longer for the light that lies in a lady’s eye, there was not much left to him in the world but cards and racing.”
“Sir Timothy was a fluent speaker, and when there was nothing to be said was possessed of great plenty of words. And he was gifted with that peculiar power which enables a man to have the last word in every encounter,—a power which we are apt to call repartee, which is in truth the readiness which comes from continual practice.”
“Mrs. Montacute Jones, who lived in Grosvenor Place and had a country house in Gloucestershire, and a place for young men to shoot at in Scotland, also kept a suburban elysium at Roehampton, in order that she might give two garden-parties every year. When it is said that all these costly luxuries appertained to Mrs. Montacute Jones, it is to be understood that they did in truth belong to Mr. Jones, of whom nobody heard much. But of Mrs. Jones,—that is, Mrs. Montacute Jones,—everybody heard a great deal. She was an old lady who devoted her life to the amusement of—not only her friends, but very many who were not her friends. No doubt she was fond of Lords and Countesses, and worked very hard to get round her all the rank and fashion of the day. It must be acknowledged that she was a worldly old woman. But no more good-natured old woman lived in London, and everybody liked to be asked to her garden-parties.”
Anthony Trollope has created the world of upper-class Victorian England in this well-written feel-good domestic drama of dukes and duchesses, lords and ladies, country houses and garden parties, private men’s clubs and fox hunts. The writing abounds with dialogue that is sharp and fresh considering its publication date, and quite playful and amusing. The characters are richly developed. It is easy to see why this series is so popular with people who love period dramas