Ralph the Heir cover

Ralph the Heir

Anthony Trollope (1815-1882)

1. Sir Thomas
2. Popham Villa
3. What Happened On The Lawn At Popham Villa
4. Mary Bonner
5. Mr. Neefit And His Family
6. Mrs. Neefit's Little Dinner
7. You Are One Of Us Now
8. Ralph Newton's Troubles
9. Ontario Moggs
10. Sir Thomas In His Chambers
11. Newton Priory
12. Mrs. Brownlow
13. Mr. Neefit Is Disturbed
14. The Rev. Gregory Newton
15. Clarissa Waits
16. The Cheshire Cheese
17. Ralph Newton's Doubts
18. We Won't Sell Brownriggs
19. Polly's Answer
20. The Conservatives Of Percycross
21. The Liberals Of Percycross
22. Ralph Newton's Decision
23. "I'll Be A Hypocrite If You Choose"
24. "I Find I Must"
25. "Mr. Griffenbottom"
26. Moggs, Purity, And The Rights Of Labour
27. The Moonbeam
28. The New Heir Counts His Chickens
29. The Election
30. "Miss Mary Is In Luck"
31. It Is All Settled
32. Sir Thomas At Home
33. "Tell Me And I'll Tell You"
34. Alone In The House
35. "She'll Accept You, Of Course"
36. Neefit Means To Stick To It
37. "He Must Marry Her"
38. For Two Reasons
39. Horseleeches
40. What Sir Thomas Thought About It
41. A Broken Heart
42. Not Broken-Hearted
43. Once More
44. The Petition
45. "Never Give A Thing Up"
46. Mr. Neefit Again
47. The Way Which Shows That They Mean It
48. Mr. Moggs Walks Towards Edgeware
49. Among The Pictures
50. Another Failure
51. Music Has Charms
52. Gus Eardham
53. The End Of Polly Neefit
54. My Mary
55. Cookham
56. Ralph Newton Is Bowled Away
57. Clarissa's Fate
58. Conclusion

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Summary

As usual, Trollope creates a nice variety of characters of different English classes, sentiments and positions. The primary themes are the inheritance of property, extravagance or reason in the spending of assets, the mating of young people, and the electoral practices of the time. The election chapters are based on Trollope's own experiences when he ran for Parliament.There are, of course, many subplots which allow Trollope to express, through dialog, his opinions about greed, snobbery, work ethics and dandyism. Trollope probably regretted the duplicative naming of his characters after a while; we have two Gregory Newtons, uncle (and present Squire of Newton) and one of his nephews. Then there are several Ralphs: the (deceased) father, Ralph his son (the heir), and Ralph (not the heir) the son of the uncle Gregory! As they appear, Trollope has to interject "not the heir", or "the other Ralph". Ralph the heir is an extravagant, easy living young man who has spent himself into debt, and is faced with having to either sell his right to the family property, or marrying a wealthy tradesman's (a breeches maker cutely named Mr. Neefit) daughter. Four young women are major characters, and these are sought by the two Ralphs, young Gregory, and a bootmaker, Ontario Moggs (don't you love the names?). These include the fairly sedate daughters of the family lawyer, a ravishing West Indian beauty come to live with them, and the tradesman's daughter. There are the classic novel "misunderstandings" from errors in communication; while the reader knows the real circumstances, the characters can't resolve issues apparently standing in the way of love or friendship. This is one of the few novels in which the reader can applaud such a misunderstanding, keeping the undeserving heir from unmerited success in his wooing. ( Arnold Banner)