The Go-Between

by

L. P. Hartley

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Lord Trimingham the Ninth Viscount / Hugh Character Analysis

Trimingham is the ninth Viscount and landlord of the Brandham Hall estate. He has just returned from service for the British Empire in the Boer War, in which he sustained an unsightly facial injury. Trimingham is engaged to Marian, a marriage which suits both parties as the Maudsleys have more money than he does but he has the rights to the estate. He is a prime example of the late-Victorian gentleman, never giving much of himself away and always behaving in line with the social manners expected of his class. He betrays very little emotion, and always treats Leo with respect. In fact, it’s Trimingham who comes up with Leo’s nickname, Mercury—the messenger of the gods—that Leo so enjoys at first. Leo is in awe of Trimingham’s status and also sees him as someone who can help him understand the world. That’s why, when worried about whether there will be a fatal duel between Trimingham and Ted, Leo asks Trimingham about romantic relationships. In this moment, Trimingham offers Leo the advice that “nothing is ever a lady’s fault”—which Leo can’t make work in light of what he knows of Marian’s actions. It transpires that Trimingham dies in 1910, but stood by Marian after the revelation of her affair. He even took care of her love child with Ted, treating the baby as his own. It’s not clear, though, whether that response comes from humane concern for Marian and the child, or from a desire to save face and maintain his status in society—the likelihood, on the evidence of the book, is both.

Lord Trimingham the Ninth Viscount / Hugh Quotes in The Go-Between

The The Go-Between quotes below are all either spoken by Lord Trimingham the Ninth Viscount / Hugh or refer to Lord Trimingham the Ninth Viscount / Hugh . For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Social Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the New York Review of Books edition of The Go-Between published in 1953.
Chapter 3 Quotes

I came to dread these pleasantries, they seemed to spring up all around me like rows of gas-jets scorching me, and I turned redder than I was already. The frightful feeling of being marked out for ridicule came back in all its strength. I don’t think I was unduly sensitive; in my experience most people mind being laughed at more than anything else. What causes wars, what makes them drag on so interminably, than the fear of losing face?

Related Symbols: The Heat / The Thermometer
Page Number: 38
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 6  Quotes

But the idea of goodness did attract me, for I did not regard it as the opposite of sin. I saw it as something bright and positive and sustaining, like the sunshine, something to be adored, but from afar.

The idea of the assembled Viscounts contained it for me, and the Maudsleys, as their viceroys, enjoyed it too, not so incontestably, but enough to separate them from other human beings. They were a race apart, super-adults, not bound by the same laws of life as little boys.

Page Number: 64
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7  Quotes

I was in love with the heat, I felt for it what the convert feels for his new religion…And without my being aware of it, the climate of my emotions had undergone a change. I was no longer satisfied with the small change of experience which had hitherto contented me. I wanted to deal in larger sums. I wanted to enjoy continuously the afflatus of spirit that I had when I was walking to Lord Trimingham and he admitted to being a Viscount. To be in tune with all that Brandham Hall meant, I must increase my stature, I must act on a grander scale. Perhaps all these desires had been dormant in me for years, and the Zodiac had been their latest manifestation.

Page Number: 69
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8  Quotes

The messenger of the gods! I thought of that, and even when the attention of the gods had been withdrawn from me, it seemed to enhance my status. I pictured myself threading my way through the Zodiac, calling on one star after another.

Related Symbols: The Zodiac
Page Number: 83
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

“Phew! Three times I nearly had to cat…And you looked so pi, Leo, really dreadfully pi. So did everybody, while you were singing that church thing about the angels taking care of you. They all looked as if they were thinking about their dear dead ones, and Burgess looked as if he might be going to blub. Of course it’s difficult to know how Trimingham feels because of his face, but he didn’t half crack you up to Mama. He’ll eat out of your hand now.

Page Number: 140-141
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 14 Quotes

Nothing is ever a lady’s fault; you’ll learn that.

Page Number: 149
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 18 Quotes

Lady-killer: what did that mean? I didn’t like to ask too many questions. I did not think, however, Ted would kill Marian: Man-killer, that was what I had been afraid of. Now the fear had passed away, lost its reality with the rest of my life at Brandham Hall. I could scarcely believe that I had once felt I ought to warn Lord Trimingham of his peril. The ninth Viscount would never know that I had saved him from the fate of the fifth. By removing myself I had removed the danger: it was my master-stroke.

Page Number: 188
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 20 Quotes

“Marian, why don’t you marry Ted?”

It was only for a moment, but in that moment her face reflected all the misery she had been going through; it was a heart’s history in a look. ‘I couldn’t, I couldn’t!” She wailed. “Can’t you see why?”

I thought I did and since so many barriers between us were being overturned I added—it seemed only logical:

“But why are you going to marry Hugh if you don’t want to?”

“Because I must marry him,” she said. “You wouldn’t understand. I must. I’ve got to!” Her lips trembled and she burst into tears.

Page Number: 211-212
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Go-Between PDF

Lord Trimingham the Ninth Viscount / Hugh Character Timeline in The Go-Between

The timeline below shows where the character Lord Trimingham the Ninth Viscount / Hugh appears in The Go-Between. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue 
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...Leo, is called down curses on “Mrs. Maudsley or her daughter or Ted Burgess or Trimingham.” Present-day Leo hasn’t thought of those people since his youth because he felt that was... (full context)
Chapter 3
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Mrs. Maudsley asks whether Marian would rather wait till Monday, when Lord Trimingham will have arrived, so they can all go to Norwich together. Mr. Maudsley and Denys... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...Marian and Denys, walk down some tree-lined paths towards the water. Marcus tells Leo that Trimingham will be arriving that evening and warns of his “dreadfully ugly” face, which sustained wounds... (full context)
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...down after getting hot from farm work. Denys tells him not to hurry and that Trimingham will arrive that evening. (full context)
Chapter 5 
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...Sunday morning, Marcus isn’t feeling well and stays in bed. He asks Leo to give Trimingham his regards. Leo feels Trimingham to be a “weight” on his thoughts, and considers whether... (full context)
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Trimingham sits next to Leo at breakfast. Leo can’t help noticing the bad scarring on one... (full context)
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Leo wonders why the Maudsleys are making such a fuss about Trimingham’s arrival. To Leo, he seems to be of a social position “below that of a... (full context)
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After waiting for Trimingham, the group starts walking to church. Leo walks with Marian, who asks him if he... (full context)
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Leo notices Trimingham catching up with them and tells Marian. She responds disinterestedly. When Trimingham does catch up,... (full context)
Chapter 6 
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...embedded in the walls and notices that each one is dedicated to the different Viscount Triminghams through the years. He counts seven of them, but wonders why he can’t see the... (full context)
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The church service ends and Leo notices Trimingham receiving a lot of attention. On the walk home, Marian heads straight to the front... (full context)
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Trimingham walks beside Leo and introduces himself. Leo calls him Mr. Trimingham, which Trimingham says is... (full context)
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Leo realizes that Trimingham is the ninth Viscount. He asks if he should call him “my Lord,” but Trimingham... (full context)
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Trimingham ask Leo if he is on good terms with Marian. Hearing that he is, he... (full context)
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...with Marian and gives her the message. She thanks him and asks Leo to thank Trimingham for her. Trimingham seems a little disappointed at her response. (full context)
Chapter 7 
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...knee. Mr. Maudsley remarks that he has heard that Ted is a “good-looking chap,” and Trimingham states that he needs to have word with Ted. Marian sits “hawk-like,” ignoring the discussion... (full context)
Chapter 8 
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Old Leo recalls the change that came over Brandham Hall when Trimingham arrived. Before his arrival there was a more jovial, carefree atmosphere; afterwards everyone is more... (full context)
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...main narrative, a group from Brandham Hall goes for a picnic. Marian sits close to Trimingham, and Leo tries to get near them. Trimingham notices Leo and calls out to him,... (full context)
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...enjoys the simple, factual exchange, comparing it to the “conversation of the gods” of Marian, Trimingham, and the others. He believes that, with “the gods,” it is not always his place... (full context)
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...feels he can only give a “feeble” account of his time so far. He mentions Trimingham calling him “Mercury,” how nice Marian is to him, Marcus being unwell (but not specifically... (full context)
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Leo wanders aimlessly near the lawn, trying to avoid being seen, but Trimingham notices him and calls out. He tells Leo that he and the others can’t find... (full context)
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...asks him whether he likes Ted, to which he replies that he does, but likes Trimingham better because where Ted is only a farmer, the latter is a Viscount. Marian tells... (full context)
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...Marian suddenly decides she has a headache and doesn’t want to play. Leo tells her Trimingham will be disappointed. Marian changes her mind and says that she will go. As she... (full context)
Chapter 9 
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...about to tell Marian about the newfound difficulty he foresees in taking the letters when Trimingham appears in the room. “Like lightning” Marian thrusts the letter in Leo’s pocket before Trimingham... (full context)
Chapter 11 
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...Leo’s time at Brandham Hall and a “disappointing” seventy-eight degrees Fahrenheit. At breakfast, Denys and Trimingham discuss how best to get Ted out during the upcoming cricket match. Mrs. Maudsley makes... (full context)
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Denys reminds Trimingham that they are short by one man of having the full eleven required for their... (full context)
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Leo lingers by the door of the smoking room, and Trimingham calls out to him after the mens’ deliberation: “Mercury!” He informs Leo that they have... (full context)
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...in the team. He asks Marian if she would like to hear the message from Trimingham; she answers, “not specially,” surprising Leo. Marian is looking at roses in a bowl, lamenting... (full context)
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...mother would miss him, but that he’ll write home and ask. Leo then tells Marian Trimingham’s message; she says she will sing the requested song if Trimingham will sing “She Wore... (full context)
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Leo returns to Trimingham and delivers Marian’s reply. He seems hurt by the answer, telling Leo, “I don’t sing.”... (full context)
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The members of the two teams shake hands with each other, with Trimingham making the introductions. He introduces Leo to Ted (who is on the other team), but... (full context)
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...the spectators, being members of the village, will be supporting the village team. He wants Trimingham especially to do well in the match, “partly because I liked him … and partly... (full context)
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Trimingham hits a couple of good shots, but only manages to score eleven runs before he... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...whose hand was struck by the ball is now injured. He is unable to continue. Trimingham calls up their twelfth-man to come on as a replacement: Leo. As Leo walks onto... (full context)
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Trimingham bowls a ball at Ted, who strikes a “glorious drive.” Leo now feels strongly that... (full context)
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Leo catches the ball, the impact knocking him over. The spectators applaud him, and Trimingham comes over to congratulate Leo on catching Ted out and winning the match for the... (full context)
Chapter 13
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...the accompanist who was due to play the piano for the singers has not arrived. Trimingham asks for a volunteer accompanist. Nobody seems willing, but eventually Marian gets up and walks... (full context)
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...upon to sing. He is reluctant to go up, but the villagers heckle him relentlessly. Trimingham adds his voice to theirs, saying, “Now don’t disappoint us, Ted.” (full context)
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...finished, Marian and Ted bow to the audience. Ted’s movements are awkward and jerky, leading Trimingham to say to the person next to him, “not very gallant, is he?” Another guest... (full context)
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After other guests sing their songs, Trimingham asks Leo to perform. He apprehensively climbs the stage, feeling his “mouth going dry.” Marian... (full context)
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Later on, Marian sings the song Lord Trimingham requested. It sings of “the joys of home”—the peace of a “thatched cottage”—which Leo thinks... (full context)
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...might be going to blub.” Marcus tells Leo a secret: Marian is engaged to marry Trimingham. He asks Leo if he is glad, to which Leo replies, “Yes, I am. I’m... (full context)
Chapter 14
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...world, at one with his “dream life.” Furthermore, he is happy that Marian will marry Trimingham, whom he considers “his idol.” (full context)
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...longer be required to take messages between Marian and Ted, due to her engagement to Trimingham. Although he likes Ted in a “half-admiring, half-hating way,” the “spell” of Ted’s physical presence... (full context)
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After the service, Leo walks home with Trimingham. They talk about how well Marian plays the piano, and Leo asks Trimingham why there... (full context)
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Leo asks Trimingham whether the untimely death of the fifth Viscount was his wife’s fault. Trimingham insists “nothing... (full context)
Chapter 15
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Later at lunch, Leo keeps thinking about two fragments of his conversation with Trimingham: that nothing is a lady’s fault and that it might be necessary to kill someone... (full context)
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...as he has to visit his grandmother with Marian. He reminds Leo that Marian and Trimingham’s engagement is a secret. Marcus asks if Leo will spend his afternoon sliding down the... (full context)
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...[his] life seemed to collapse.” Leo thinks it’s wrong that if she is engaged to Trimingham she should be “friendly” with another man, and that it might lead to murder. (full context)
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Leo tells Marian he can’t take her letter because Trimingham might be upset. She reacts angrily, insisting that the letters are only “a business matter.”... (full context)
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...was with an “ulterior motive.” At this realization he begins to cry, but holds onto Trimingham’s advice that “nothing is ever a lady’s fault.” (full context)
Chapter 16
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...knows she is often concerned about Leo overheating. Privately, Leo fears that Ted will shoot Trimingham because of Marian. (full context)
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Later on, Trimingham stops Leo in the hallway. Leo thinks that if he returns home, Ted and Marian’s... (full context)
Chapter 17
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...informs Leo that she is worried that Marian will not stick to her engagement to Trimingham. (full context)
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...that is what’s worrying Mrs. Maudsley—but Marian would never be “so folle” (foolish) to leave Trimingham. (full context)
Chapter 18
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Later on, Leo seeks out Trimingham and finds him in the smoking room. He asks Trimingham if he knows anything about... (full context)
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Mr. Maudsley enters the room and tells Trimingham that he should show Leo the pictures on the wall. The pictures, by the painter... (full context)
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Trimingham tells Mr. Maudsley that he and Leo had just been talking about Ted. Trimingham says... (full context)
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...womanizing. Leo leaves the room; as he does so, he hears Mr. Maudsley say to Trimingham that he has heard that Ted has “a woman up this way.” (full context)
Chapter 19
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...and go to fight in the Boer War. Ted asks who told Leo; Leo says Trimingham. Ted is aware of Marian and Trimingham’s engagement and says that he might go to... (full context)
Chapter 20
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...Leo isn’t sure if she’s serious, but asks if men are hard-hearted too—he can’t imagine Trimingham being so, anyway. (full context)
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...asks whether soldiers have to sleep on the floor. She says she has no doubt Trimingham had to. Leo asks if Ted will have to sleep on the floor, “when he... (full context)
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Marian asks whether Trimingham “made” Ted say he would join the forces. Leo says that Ted is “strong” and... (full context)
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Marian asks whether Trimingham said why he wanted Ted to enlist. Leo says that it’s because Ted is a... (full context)
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Leo appeals to Marian not to create conflict between Trimingham and Ted. He tells her that Trimingham doesn’t know about her messages with Ted, and... (full context)
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...Ted. Marian tearfully exclaims that marrying Ted would be impossible, and that she must marry Trimingham. When Marian cries, she no longer seems like a deceiver who has abused Leo’s trust... (full context)
Chapter 21
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...about what she plans to do. Leo worries about what will happen between Ted and Trimingham. Leo wonders whose fault the situation is. Though he feels sympathy for Ted, he thinks... (full context)
Chapter 22
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...his more luxurious green suit. After prayers, Leo is lightly teased for his clothes, but Trimingham defends him—he says Leo is “quite right” to wear a Norfolk jacket in Norfolk. Furthermore,... (full context)
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...heard about from Leo’s mother). The group much prefers the tie Leo’s mother bought, but Trimingham gets Leo to let him try on his aunt’s tie, which he thinks is quite... (full context)
Epilogue
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...happened to everyone. He goes to the church and learns from the mural tablets that Trimingham had died in 1910. It also tells of a tenth Viscount, born in 1901, who... (full context)
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Leo stops the young man and asks if there is still a Lord Trimingham—an eleventh Viscount—living at Brandham Hall. In fact, the young man replies that he is Lord... (full context)
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...he had stayed at Brandham in his youth and knew his grandfather, the ninth Lord Trimingham. The eleventh Lord Trimingham disconcertedly asks if Leo had known his grandmother, Marian, too. He... (full context)
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Marian tells Leo that Trimingham (the ninth) married her regardless of her affair and behaved very honorably towards her. Mr.... (full context)