SarahC SarahC's Comments (member since Sep 03, 2009)


SarahC's comments from the Victorians! group.

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Feb 27, 2014 01:24PM

289 An article about Collins' personal life and also referencing a film starring Tom Hollander. Has anyone seen it?

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/artic...
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Feb 25, 2014 08:04AM

289 It really makes you wonder -- so many stories of maybe unfair or un-rightful inheritance, wills -- a tv series about such. Apart from the extreme case that our novel here discusses -- just in the course of fairly average proceedings of our everyday society --

Do you think "inheritance" causes a reaction in people -- similar to other forms of obtaining money or property -- like "winning" something? I don't intend to be unfair, I do believe that, as a standard, family members should inherit what should be their heritage or what was intended by someone for them to have. However, are there a lot of people who step in and say "What about me, what do I get?" Is that fair expectation? And if it is even slightly unfair expectation, does it grow to a kind of "not being able to see the forest for the trees" kind of thing? What I mean is, do you wind up trading the legacy of a connected, potentially good relationship with family for a load of stuff, money, or property that does not really gain you that much?
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Feb 22, 2014 11:20AM

289 In my view, Magdalen was "concealing herself" from the party she was marrying.
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Feb 22, 2014 09:14AM

289 As Clari also mentions slight variations of spelling seem to fall within another category as well. Families did vary their names slightly quite often, dropping or adding letters throughout the generations. I have also seen accounts of families growing so large and prevalent in one locality that they purposely added an e or an s to make their own particular branch more specific, but not with intent to deceive.
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Feb 22, 2014 08:38AM

289 Everyman wrote: "Irene wrote: "Yes, but what name did she use when she got married? Her marriage would not have been legal unless she used her own name and that is something she could not do. Her marriage was not ..."

Everyman, you mentioned this point in the last thread. I still have been thinking about this false name. I may still be misunderstanding what you say. By introducing herself, or by being introduced by the false Mr. Bygrave as his niece Susan Bygrave, I dont see that Magdalen is legally covered because she did not say specifically that she is not Magdalen Vanstone. I am not sure I see the strength of the debate.
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Feb 20, 2014 08:07PM

289 I think the Between the Scenes following 4 was very well-crafted for its type. I enjoyed that section as much or more as the whole Scene 4 before it. It was a very good telling of the "all heck breaking loose" of the marriage event. And I just found it refreshing that George Bartram displayed a different attitude toward the Andrew Vanstone situation. Not everyone in the family called the shots the same apparently.
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Feb 20, 2014 08:02PM

289 haha, Everyman
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Feb 20, 2014 07:59PM

289 I little incredible even for sensationalist literature!
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Feb 20, 2014 01:56PM

289 Also commenting on your point of the identity of Magdalen -- it IS a concept to ponder that Noel did indeed marry the person he married, regardless of her name. Which makes me further think about how little he knew her. He was only marrying her looks and charm really, even if she hadn't been hiding her identity.
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Feb 20, 2014 01:51PM

289 Everyman wrote: "SarahC wrote: "Norah may still be using the name due to lack of any other to use -- unless it would be Blake (mother's maiden name?)"

If you have no name you're legally entitled to, isn't it fair ..."


Yes, maybe Collins should have written more in particular about the legalities of the name...and if this really happened in life --what would a person typically do? And certainly, for women, that would have affected their future prospects of marriage -- because every darn blemish in their lives seemed to.
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Feb 20, 2014 01:48PM

289 Everyman wrote: "SarahC wrote: "In contrast, Magdalen has purposefully taken the fake name to relieve Noel of his money."

There's an interesting philosophical-legal point in there. She was hiding who she was, cer..."


You make some good points, Everyman. And I know the truth is seldom all told between couples making the best impression before deciding to marry. However, I think Magdalen operates an a higher level of that.
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Feb 19, 2014 02:52PM

289 Yes, I guess it would depend on what the laws were at the time, Whimsical. I was saying the entire plot of Magdalen and Wragge and the use of the assumed names were for the sole purpose of gaining Noel's money. Wragge investigated and found that the marriage could be found void if it was contested due to Magdalen posing as another identity. Could she also be prosecuted under criminal law? I don't know the laws of that time, so I don't know. Aside from the law, from a moral standpoint, that is a different issue.

My point is that Magdalen's circumstance contrasted, for example, with someone who was hiding their identity to protect themselves or protect their family possibly, or possible hide themselves in a shameful situation of some kind. (Let's say Francis wanted to change his name in shame because he thought he had failed his loved ones?) That would be a harmless intent in my opinion.
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Feb 19, 2014 01:34PM

289 Everyman, the difference between Norah using the name Vanstone and Magdalen using the name Bygrave would be criminal intent, would it not? So far in the story, Norah has not used any deceptive devices of any kind. Norah may still be using the name due to lack of any other to use -- unless it would be Blake (mother's maiden name?). In contrast, Magdalen has purposefully taken the fake name to relieve Noel of his money. I don't know if, at the time and place, this would be examined in trial or not.

I may have misunderstood though -- this might not be what you meant with your question.
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Feb 19, 2014 07:46AM

289 Everyman is speaking about Norah at this point though, and how she is addressed in the text -- the introduction to each letter. And Cousin George is referring to her as Miss Vanstone. Of course, he also admits himself as "a miserable sinner." So interesting -- to me a point that family can really "claim" anything it wants to.

And, I suppose, Teresa, married through all the technical steps, but contestable marriage?

So, does the tragic step that Magdalen almost takes (the laudanum) mean that she feels sure that she will have to sell everything in this marriage plan -- including sleeping with this man? We are not sure that this "fake identity" will hold up in court, but does that matter in the bedroom for now? This is the 1847.
Feb 18, 2014 01:06PM

289 Peter wrote: "SarahC wrote: "I know on the last section we discussed main and lesser characters in these novels. Are there any thoughts on Wragge, who clearly is a strong main character in his own right? Of cou..."

I like your analysis. Yes, and does LeCount cooly keep her collection of life under glass while she also struggles to keep her place in this unstable society? -- she has also been set adrift in the word as a widow, so therefore clings to the Vanstone household and fortune -- trying to survive by adapting to the day's changes and challenges.

Among all the characters though, I feel that with Magdalen I am watching an accident waiting to happen. I think because she seems to be giving herself so totally to the plan -- but that will certainly lead to more comment in the next reading section.
Feb 18, 2014 12:59PM

289 Clari wrote: "SarahC wrote: "The story is interesting, but very contrived. Is this the nature of sensationalist fiction and simply to create drama for the readers? Or are we meant to not even take it too serious..."

This is a good point, Clari, and maybe what brings readers back to Collins. The improbable events, tension between characters, etc. are exciting, but the elements of real life -- death, pending poverty, women's issues, etc. are certainly part of the real world, faced then and now by our characters here. Even in the world of men -- how many men were there living on the fringes feeling it necessary to live the life Wragge did? It was a strict culture which favored the landed and wealthy classes -- not a place where too many people had opportunity and an easy time. Collins does give us a chance to think about the world underneath, as you stated it. Class and propriety simply did not "work out" for everyone.
Feb 18, 2014 07:13AM

289 Also, I might suggest, aside from being a character who is bad/good, like/dislike -- instead what do you think he means to the story at this point? This would be a great thread to carry through until the end of our reading.
Feb 18, 2014 07:11AM

289 I know on the last section we discussed main and lesser characters in these novels. Are there any thoughts on Wragge, who clearly is a strong main character in his own right? Of course he is a con-man, but is he surprising to anyone?

I keep thinking about the title of this novel. From a symbolic standpoint, Wragge has given Magdalen two names, not her own, within which to live by the end of this section of the reading. She has already lost the legal claim to the name she was born with. It seems that Wragge's naming of her symbolically represents a general unconcern for this woman's plight. She is one of the many grand schemes listed in his notebooks. One of the headings in his "books" is "Skins to Jump Into." It is strictly business for Wragge.
Feb 18, 2014 06:48AM

289 Everyman wrote: "Whimsical wrote: "I doubt if Magdalin intended to pursue acting as a career, beside it being not a respectable profession, I think it was a means to an end."

We have, I think, to keep in mind that..."


Everyman, you have brought up a distinction in the story, while acting was not accepted for a person of Magdalen's class, she was, at least, performing her act in private residences, and properly chaperoned, as guess you could say, by her "relatives." This was a very good scheme of Wragge.
Feb 18, 2014 06:45AM

289 Peter wrote: "Whimsical wrote: "Clari wrote: "Evelina wrote: "Clari:

a successful acting career is impossible for Magdalen. Collins states it clearly enough that acting for a young girl is nearly same as inappr..."


Peter, yours is a good comment to ponder. Is this the basic question of this novel? The story is interesting, but very contrived. Is this the nature of sensationalist fiction and simply to create drama for the readers? Or are we meant to not even take it too seriously and simply concentrate on the moral decisions of this woman Magdalen, who faces an unethical legal/social system?
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