View Full Version : Mr Hartright's contract

02-22-2015, 07:43 AM
I have recently started reading this. I am intrigued by Mr Hartright's contract:

His contract was for four months certain.
He was to teach two young ladies in painting and to repair and mount a collection of drawings.
He was to be paid four guineas a week and be treated on the footing of a gentleman.
Excellent references of character and abilities required.

In reality he appears to have been employed as a companion for the two young ladies. The uncle is an invalid and everyone else is a servant. Limmeridge House appears to be rather isolated. The duties are hardly onerous. One of the young ladies likes painting and is already quite good at it. The other is not particularly interested in painting, but is happy to spend time with her sister. Four guineas a week is quite good pay on top of meals and a room.

There's something fishy going on; I'd bet my mortgage on it.

03-07-2015, 07:43 AM
I am making slow progress on this book. There was nothing particularly fishy about Hartright's contract. He was employed mainly to divert the young ladies and to mount Mr Fairlie's collection of drawings, art being one of the few things Mr Fairlie cares about. It was rather coincidental that Mr Hartright had met Anne Catherick already in London, but I will let that pass.

I quite like the character of Anne Catherick, the woman in white. You can see that, yes, she is mentally fragile, maybe even unwell, and certainly eccentric; nevertheless, certainly not mad and needing locking up in a lunatic asylum.

The book has an unusual narrative structure. I have come across books with a first and second narrator before, in which the first narrator reports the words of the second narrator: Wuthering Heights, The Time Machine and The Rime of the Ancient Mariner are examples of that. I have come across books with a first person narrator and an omniscient narrator: Bleak House was like that. I have come across books written mostly from one person's perspective, but then switches to another for a chapter, sometimes hilariously, for example in Saturday Night and Sunday Morning and in one Jeeves and Wooster books, in which one chapter was narrated by Jeeves. I have come across books in which the narrator changed with each chapter, e.g. Trainspotting. I cannot remember reading before a book in which one long section was narrated from one person's perspective, and then the next long section narrated by another's.