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The Duke's Children

Anthony Trollope

Book Overview: 

In the last of the six Palliser novels, the sudden death of his wife, Lady Glencora, leaves Plantagenet Palliser, the Duke of Omnium, finding himself in charge of his three children. The eldest, Lord Silverbridge, has recently been expelled from Oxford; his younger brother, Gerald, is about to enter Cambridge; and the youngest, nineteen-year old Lady Mary, has imprudently formed an attachment to Francis Tregear, who, while certainly a gentleman, unfortunately has no income. Before her death, Glencora knew (and approved) of her daughter's attachment; the Duke, however, does not know of it, and is not at all likely to approve. Mrs. Finn (the former Marie Goesler), who was Glencora's closest friend, learns from Mary of her love for Tregear, and is faced with the question of either keeping silent, thus breaking faith with the Duke (who has entrusted Lady Mary to her care) or telling the Duke, and breaking faith with Mary herself.

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Book Excerpt: 
. . .t he thinks no good can be attained by a prolonged correspondence." Such, or of such kind, he thought must be his answer. But would this be a fair return for the solicitude shown by her to his uncle, for the love which had made her so patient a friend to his wife, for the nobility of her own conduct in many things? Then his mind reverted to certain jewels,—supposed to be of enormous value,—which were still in his possession though they were the property of this woman. They had been left to her by his uncle, and she had obstinately refused to take them. Now they were lying packed in the cellars of certain bankers,—but still they were in his custody. What should he now do in this matter? Hitherto, perhaps once in every six months, he had notified to her that he was keeping them as her curator, and she had always repeated that it was a charge from which she could not relieve him. It had become almost a joke between them. But how could he joke with a woman w. . . Read More