Trollope pp 37-45 | Cite as

‘Fine Imagination’ — ‘Admirable Cross Examiner’

  • Justin Mccarthy


My first recollections of Anthony Trollope go back a long way indeed. I do not think I can have been twenty years old when I first saw Trollope, and I saw him under somewhat peculiar conditions. He appeared as a witness in a case which was tried before a Judge of Assize at the Court House of Tralee in the County of Kerry; and I happened to be attending the court as correspondent for a Cork newspaper. Trollope was then employed as an inspector under the Irish Post office; and it had fallen to his lot to be commissioned to inquire into some irregularities in the transmission of letters containing money through certain parts of the country. In those far-off days, when the Post Office order and the postal note had not yet become popular, it was a common practice to send money in the crude form of gold and silver coin from one place to another. Trollope started out upon his quest, and he adopted an ingenious plan. He travelled by the ordinary mail-coach; and before he began his journey he enclosed a marked sovereign to an address at the town which lay farthest along the track which the coach had to travel. After the coach had passed through the first town on his way, Trollope announced himself, at the first place where the coach stopped to change horses, as a Post Office Inspector, and claimed his right to examine the mail-bags.


Northern District Peculiar Condition Silver Coin Home Rule Fine Imagination 
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  1. 3.
    Trollope ran as Liberal candidate for Beverley in the General Election of 1868. See Auto., xvi; Arthur Pollard, Trollope’s Political Novels (1968);Google Scholar
  2. John Halperin, Trollope and Politics: A Study of the Pallisers and Others (1977).CrossRefGoogle Scholar

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© Palgrave Macmillan, a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited 1987

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  • Justin Mccarthy

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