cover image: The Small House at Allington by Anthony Trollope

“It always is right in the novels. That’s why I don’t like them. They are too sweet.”

“That’s why I do like them, because they are so sweet. A sermon is not to tell you what you are, but what you ought to be; and a novel should tell you not what you are to get, but what you’d like to get.”

Years ago, an acquaintance disclosed that his mother now read nothing but Trollope. That is: She would read through all the novels, and by the time she was done, it was time to start over. (Analogies to the Golden Gate Bridge present themselves.) That’s the kind of thing you can do when an author’s oeuvre includes, if I remember rightly, forty-seven novels.

The Small House at Allington was originally published in The Cornhill Magazine in twenty installments of three chapters each, beginning in Vol. VI no. 3 (September 1862) and winding up in Vol. IX no. 4 (April 1864). Trivia: For its first few years, the editor of Cornhill was another Big Name, William Makepeace Thackeray. He retired shortly before Small House began its run—and died in 1863, so he never got to read how it turns out.


John Everett Millais signature

The Small House at Allington was illustrated by the same Millais-and-Dalziel combination—artist and engraver(s)—seen in Orley Farm. For more about both, see that title. In addition to a full-page picture, each installment opened with a decorative initial, which the book leaves out. I have, as usual, restored them.

Dalziel signature

In the periodical, the illustration was always placed at the beginning of the installment. In the book, each was moved close to the text it illustrates—with the obvious exception of the two frontispieces, which I have moved to their appro­priate place in the text.

The final two installments had no illustration; the second-to-last had no decorative initial. Was Millais called away unexpectedly?

The Dales and Others

The book focuses on the Dale family:

Two of the male leads are unfortunately named Crofts and Crosbie. Trollope seems to do this pretty often, though I don’t think it is intentional. Luckily they are never in the same place at the same time.

And speaking of Crofts . . . In Cornhill, the doctor’s name started out as “Croft”, singular, changing to “Crofts” in the fifth installment (a new volume, though this may be coincidence). In the book it is “Crofts” from the outset.

Later we will meet assorted other characters from the Anthony Trollope Extended Universe. That includes Plantagenet Palliser, heir to the Duke of Omnium. If anyone wondered, he is “Mr. Palliser” rather than Lord Something-or-Other because he is the Duke’s nephew, not his son. Technically he is only heir-presumptive, not heir-apparent—the Duke could, at any time, marry and beget a son—and will remain so until the moment of the Duke’s death.

Houses Large and Small

As explained in an early chapter, the “Small House” of the title doesn’t mean a house that happens not to be very big. Instead it is what, in a grander property, would be called the Dower House. It was previously occupied by the Squire’s widowed mother, and now by his widowed sister-in-law.

Characters in this book are very concerned with money. So it may be useful to list some figures from Beeton’s Book of Household Management, published at very nearly the same time as Small House. If your annual income was X, your household would include Y:


After the third occurrence of forms like “it behoved him” or “it would now behove him” I had to look it up—and learned that “behove” was and remains an accepted British variant of “behoove”.

I also became acquainted with “flit” in the specific sense of “move house”. (This one intrigued me because its Norwegian cognate, flytte, similarly carries both meanings: to move-in-general, or to move house.)

Every now and then, the author decides that “De Courcy” or “De Guest” should instead be “de Courcy” or “de Guest”. I have left them as I found them.


The text of this ebook is based on the two-volume Smith, Elder (London 1864) edition: Volume I, Volume II. In the printed book, each volume’s chapters were numbered from I through XXX, thirty per volume. For the ebook have restored the serial’s continuous numbering, from I through LX (sixty). As described above, the two frontispieces have been moved to the chapters they “belong” to.

Typographical errors are marked with mouse-hover popups and are listed again at the end of each chapter. The word “invisible” means that the letter or punctuation mark is missing, but there is an appropriately sized blank space. “Corrected from Cornhill” means that I had doubts, so I checked the book’s reading against the serial.






in two volumes.



[The right of Translation is reserved.]


Volume I.
I. The Squire of Allington 1
II. The Two Pearls of Allington 9
III. The Widow Dale of Allington 20
IV. Mrs. Roper’s Boarding-House 31
V. About L. D. 41
VI. Beautiful Days 49
VII. The Beginning of Troubles 62
VIII. It Cannot Be 75
IX. Mrs. Dale’s Little Party 83
X. Mrs. Lupex and Amelia Roper 95
XI. Social Life 103
XII. Lilian Dale Becomes a Butterfly 111
XIII. A Visit to Guestwick 126
XIV. John Eames Takes a Walk 136
XV. The Last Day 143
XVI. Mr. Crosbie meets an Old Clergyman on his way to Courcy Castle 155
XVII. Courcy Castle 162
XVIII. Lily Dale’s First Love-Letter 177
XIX. The Squire Makes a Visit to the Small House 185
XX. Dr. Crofts 195
XXI. John Eames Encounters Two Adventures, and displays Great Courage in both 203
XXII. Lord De Guest at Home 216
XXIII. Mr. Plantagenet Palliser 225
XXIV. A Mother-in-Law and a Father-in-Law 243
XXV. Adolphus Crosbie Spends an Evening at his Club 249
XXVI. Lord De Courcy in the Bosom of his Family 259
XXVII. “On my Honour, I do not understand it.” 269
XXVIII. The Board 280
XXIX. John Eames Returns to Burton Crescent 291
XXX. Is it from Him? 301
Volume II.
XXXI. The Wounded Fawn 1
XXXII. Pawkins’s in Jermyn Street 10
XXXIII. “The Time will Come” 20
XXXIV. The Combat 32
XXXV. Væ Victis 40
XXXVI. “See, the Conquering Hero Comes” 52
XXXVII. An Old Man’s Complaint 64
XXXVIII. Dr. Crofts is called in 72
XXXIX. Dr. Crofts is Turned out 83
XL. Preparations for the Wedding 95
XLI. Domestic Troubles 109
XLII. Lily’s Bedside 118
XLIII. Fie, Fie 127
XLIV. Valentine’s Day at Allington 139
XLV. Valentine’s Day in London 148
XLVI. John Eames at his Office 160
XLVII. The New Private Secretary 172
XLVIII. Nemesis 181
XLIX. Preparations for Going 192
L. Mrs. Dale is Thankful for a Good Thing 202
LI. John Eames does Things which he Ought not to have Done 210
LII. The First Visit to the Guestwick Bridge 224
LIII. Loquitur Hopkins 234
LIV. The Second Visit to the Guestwick Bridge 243
LV. Not very Fie Fie after all 254
LVI. Showing how Mr. Crosbie became again a Happy Man 267
LVII. Lilian Dale Vanquishes her Mother 276
LVIII. The Fate of the Small House 286
LIX. John Eames becomes a Man 296
LX. Conclusion 306


Volume I.
Mr. Palliser and Lady Dumbello Frontispiece.
“Please, Ma’am, can we have the Peas to shell?” To face page 23
“And you love me!” said she 44
“It’s all the Fault of the naughty Birds.” 67
“Mr. Cradell, your hand,” said Lupex 104
“Why, it’s young Eames.” 140
“He is of that sort that they make the Angels of,” said the Verger 159
“And have I not really loved you?” 210
“Devotedly attached to the young Man!” 267
The Board 285
Volume II.
“Why, on earth, on Sunday?” Frontispiece.
“Won’t you take some more Wine?” To face page 13
“And you went in at him on the Station?” 53
“Let me beg you to think over the matter again” 80
“That might do” 100
“Mamma,” she said at last, “it is over now, I’m sure” 144
“Bell, here’s the Inkstand” 198
“She has refused me, and it is all over” 253