In Ayala’s Angel by Anthony Trollope, we are treated to a light-hearted account of the pursuit of matrimonial joy by a number of characters. Its fundamental style, that we typically amuse angels unawares, is pursued through the development of its main character, Ayala Dormer. Ayala resists the straitjacket of cultural and gender stereotyping common in 19th century England by refusing to marry for cash, choosing rather to await her “Angel of Light,” whatever the effects. The book’s thesis is that in staying focussed on elegant castles integrated in air, one risks of being blinded to the extremely things that would bring the best happiness.
The Dosetts and the Tringles
In Ayala’s Angel, the eponymous Ayala, together with older sibling Lucy, is orphaned at age19 Ayala is sent to cope with the sisters’ Auntie Emmeline, who is wed to wealthy City lender Sir Thomas Tringle; Lucy’s lot is with their fairly bad Uncle Reginald Dosett and his wife Margaret. Both adoptive households reside in London, however otherwise lead greatly various way of lives. The Tringles have every possible high-end at their extravagant Queen’s Gate home, in addition to other houses and regular journeys abroad. The Dosetts’ currently stretched budget is further straitened by Lucy’s arrival in their middle, with any holiday being compulsorily enjoyed “within the economical precincts of Kingsbury Crescent,” their year-round house. Nevertheless, Ayala’s perky character triggers many clashes with the Tringles, and numerous arguments erupt, especially with Cousin Augusta. Things cap when, during a family see to Rome, Ayala scorns the obdurate attentions of her lovelorn Cousin Tom, calling him a “silly lout” right to his doting mother’s face. The upset Aunt Emmeline retaliates swiftly; upon their return to England, she swaps the sisters, sending Ayala to cope with the impoverished Dosetts while the quieter Lucy participates in the luxurious lifestyle of Queen’s Gate.
A Memorable Cast of Characters
In Italy, however, Ayala had actually made a buddy in the half-English Marchesa Baldoni, who now visits her at Kingsbury Crescent and introduces her to various London connections. Of these, she gets on especially well with Colonel Jonathan Stubbs, and with Girl Albury, sibling of the Marchesa and buddy of the Colonel. Other unique characters from the book include Frank Houston, a rakish, oddly capitivating gold-digger; the Honourable Septimus Traffick, Member of Parliament and sponger extraordinaire; and Larry Twentyman, a gentleman farmer who rather shone at the book’s more special occasions. Significant portraits consist of the constancy of Imogene Docimer, the fecklessness of Gertrude Tringle, the ponderous oversights of Captain Batsby and the lunatic acts of the besotted Tom Tringle, all associated in Trollope’s inimitable design:
“ A cop whom Tom had actually struck with his fist in the pit of the stomach had actually not been civil enough to accept this mark of familiarity with great humour. He had actually been much troubled by the blow, and had actually firmly insisted upon providing statement to this result before the magistrate.“
Tom Tringle admits defeat not, pursuing Ayala right as much as Kingsbury Crescent. The look of 2 additional suitors similarly desirous of her hand in marital relationship more irritates, rather than flatters, our beleaguered heroine: none of them is considered deserving of the title “Angle of Light,” that ethereal being whom she made certain to identify as quickly as he put in an appearance. Ayala at first encounters as a little bit of a flibbertigibbet, however ends up to have terrific intelligence, understanding and depth of character. The central story issues how she ultimately makes a choice from amongst her numerous suitors.
A Happy Ending
The authors moves skillfully through the different settings of the story, providing a sense of continuity while weaving its threads together, rushing us forward for wedding events and other pressing occasions, returning in leisurely style to pick up the threads of Ayala’s and others’ stories. There is the inevitable description of hunts and balls, however likewise some gripping soliloquies. In this work, and particularly in the development of Ayala’s character, Trollope reveals terrific insight into the human mind. Detailed correspondence showcases the author’s ability in depicting states of being. There are letters in between the two sisters, between the indigent Isadore Hamel (Lucy’s suitor) and his choleric father, in between the Marchesa Baldoni and her protégée Ayala. Things sometimes get complicated but, by the end of the book, all the main characters are safely married off, shaken off or shipped off, and it is an embarassment to bid farewell. This is certainly a book to read, to savour and to revisit.