The American Senator
The American Senator
“She herself did not care much for pleasure. But she did care to be a great lady…one who could snub others, one who could show real diamonds when others wore paste…”
With Arabella Trefoil, Trollope created one of his most formidable characters.
Arabella's determination to find a rich husband is at the heart of The American Senator, and her character is one of Trollope's most famous and vivid creations.
Tall, blonde, beautiful, stately, Arabella is thirty and has been on the marital market for nearly ten years, held there by her grasping mother, Lady Augustus.
She is engaged to the stiff civil service diplomat John Morton who becomes the heir to Bragton Hall, an estate of some substance in the Midlands.
Its sorry state of repair instills doubts both in Arabella and her mealy-mouthed mother; doubts compounded by the wealthy Lord Rufford of Rufford Hall, who is altogether a more enticing prospect.
Arabella does not expect love: indeed, it is debatable whether she ever did. Faced with Lord Rufford's considerable wealth, and in the presence of her fiancé, she goes after the aristocrat, ultimately stumbling at the last hurdle.
Arabella is a magnificently unsentimental anti-heroine. She is not a keen sportswoman but, in pursuit of the huntsman Rufford, is quite the huntress, plotting out and adapting her strategy over the course of several months in an attempt to snare her prey.
There is no sentiment whatever about Arabella, just levelheaded practicality supported by a dash of ruthlessness.
The difficulties which Arabella faces lie in her own brutal self-awareness of the facts of life as she perceives them: she has no friends, everyone knows she is actively seeking a fortune, and she makes little pretense about it.
Arabella Trefoil is an endlessly intriguing character and one of the most memorable ever created.
ANTHONY TROLLOPE (1815-1882) was a British novelist and journalist, one of the most successful, prolific and respected English novelists of the Victorian era. He wrote insightful novels on political, social, and gender issues, and on other topical matters. Among his masterworks are the Palliser novels, The Warden, Barchester Towers, and The Way We Live Now.