Castle Richmond opens with Trollope pointing to English prejudice against the inhabitants of Ireland: “That there is a strong feeling against things Irish it is impossible to deny. Irish servants need not apply; Irish acquaintances are treated with limited confidence; Irish cousins are regarded as being decidedly dangerous; and Irish stories are not popular with the booksellers.” At several points in the novel Trollope, a quintessential English voice, goes out of his way to defend the Irish. Here, for example, he defends their expressions of emotion, taking the opportunity to contradict that “great latter-day philosopher,” Thomas Carlyle. When the Fitzgerald women pay a last visit to the local children and their mothers, they receive an emotional send-off, Trollope tells us, and “the sobs now were no longer low and tearful, but they had grown into long, protracted groanings, and loud wailings, and clapping of hands, and tearings of the hair.” At this point the narrator asks, “O, my reader, have you ever seen a railway train taking its departure from an Irish station, with a freight of Irish emigrants? if so, you know how the hair is torn, and how the hands are clapped, and how the low moanings gradually swell into notes of loud lamentation.” To unsympathetic English readers who claim it “means nothing” he responds,

But such men and women are wrong. It means much; it means this: that those who are separated, not only love each other, but are anxious to tell each other that they so love. We have all heard of demonstrative people. A demonstrative person, I take it, is he who is desirous of speaking out what is in his heart. For myself I am inclined to think that such speaking out has its good ends. "The faculty of silence! is it not of all things the most beautiful?" That is the doctrine preached by a great latter-day philosopher; for myself, I think that the faculty of speech is much more beautiful—of speech if it be made but by howlings, and wailings, and loud clappings of the hand. What is in a man, let it come out and be known to those around him; if it be bad it will find correction; if it be good it will spread and be beneficent. [Chapter 32, “Preparations for Going”]


Trollope, Anthony. Castle Richmond. London & New York: 1906. Project Gutenberg. E-text prepared by Charles Aldarondo, Charles Franks, and revised by Rita Bailey and Joseph E. Loewenstein, M.D.. 5 August 2013.

The Warden Theme and subject

Last modified 12 August 2013