[In “Nemesis,” chapter 48 of The Small House at Allington Crosbie, Trollope's cad, the social-climber who jilted the lovely Lily Dale for Lady Alexandrina de Courcy, finds himself in a loveless, boring marriage but obtains no relief from his club, the Sebight, because, once he is married, the narrator tells us, his fellow clubman assume he wants to spend most of his leisure time at home. Trollope, himself a member of the Athenaeum, here contradicts recent scholarship like that of Barbara Black's A Room of His Own: A Literary-Cultural Study of Victorian Clubland (2013), which much overemphasizes the role of clubs in allowing men to escape their wives. She quotes Trollope, but not this passage. — George P. Landow]

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t was very dull. He was obliged to acknowledge to himself, when he thought over the subject, that the life which he was leading was dull. Though he could go into his club without annoyance, nobody there ever thought of asking him to join them at dinner. It was taken for granted that he was going to dine at home; and in the absence of any provocation to the contrary, he always did dine at home. He had now been in his house for three weeks, and had been asked with his wife to a few bridal dinner-parties, given chiefly by friends of the De Courcy family. Except on such occasions he never passed an evening out of his own house, and had not yet, since his marriage, dined once away from his wife. He told himself that his good conduct in this respect was the result of his own resolution; but, nevertheless, he felt that there was nothing else left for him to do. Nobody asked him to go to the theatre. Nobody begged him to drop in of an evening. Men never asked him why he did not play a rubber. He would generally saunter into Sebright's after he left his office, and lounge about the room for half an hour, talking to a few men. Nobody was uncivil to him. But he knew that the whole thing was changed, and he resolved, with some wisdom, to accommodate himself to his altered circumstances.


Trollope, Anthony. The Small House at Allington. Project Gutenberg E-text prepared by Andrew Turek and revised by Joseph E. Loewenstein, M.D., and an anonymous Project Gutenberg volunteer.

Victorian clubland

Last modified 26 September 2013