Anthony Trollope: Autobiography of Anthony Trollope

19. CHAPTER XIX - "RALPH THE HEIR"--"THE EUSTACE DIAMONDS"--"LADY ANNA"--"AUSTRALIA" (continued)

As must take place on such an occasion, there was some heart-felt grief. But the thing was done, and orders were given for the letting or sale of the house. I may as well say here that it never was let and that it remained unoccupied for two years before it was sold. I lost by the transaction about 800. As I continually hear that other men make money by buying and selling houses, I presume I am not well adapted for transactions of that sort. I have never made money by selling anything except a manuscript. In matters of horseflesh I am so inefficient that I have generally given away horses that I have not wanted.

When we started from Liverpool, in May, 1871, Ralph the Heir was running through the St. Paul's. This was the novel of which Charles Reade afterwards took the plot and made on it a play. I have always thought it to be one of the worst novels I have written, and almost to have justified that dictum that a novelist after fifty should not write love-stories. It was in part a political novel; and that part which appertains to politics, and which recounts the electioneering experiences of the candidates at Percycross, is well enough. Percycross and Beverley were, of course, one and the same place. Neefit, the breeches-maker, and his daughter, are also good in their way,--and Moggs, the daughter's lover, who was not only lover, but also one of the candidates at Percycross as well. But the main thread of the story,--that which tells of the doings of the young gentlemen and young ladies,--the heroes and the heroines,--is not good. Ralph the heir has not much life about him; while Ralph who is not the heir, but is intended to be the real hero, has none. The same may be said of the young ladies,--of whom one, she who was meant to be the chief, has passed utterly out of my mind, without leaving a trace of remembrance behind.

I also left in the hands of the editor of The Fortnightly, ready for production on the 1st of July following, a story called The Eustace Diamonds. In that I think that my friend's dictum was disproved. There is not much love in it; but what there is, is good. The character of Lucy Morris is pretty; and her love is as genuine and as well told as that of Lucy Robarts of Lily Dale.

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