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Archived Group Reads 2014 > No Name 2014 Scene 4; Feb 15

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message 1: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1418 comments This is for discussion of this section of the novel.


message 2: by Elsbeth (new)

Elsbeth (elsbethgm) At first I really just didn't like them both (captain Waggle and Mrs. Lecount)- now I just admire how smart they react to the schemes of the other person! (I still don't like them, but at least it is fun to read!).
Altought you tend to forget that Magdalen is behind a lot of stuff - you get a bit the feeling of two chess-players: Mrs. Lecount wants to protect her king (Noel Vanstone) from the queen (Magdalen) of the other (Waggle). But of course the original plan to marry Noel Vanstone is from Magdalen. I am very curious to know what she will do once that goal is acchieved...


message 3: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (tnorbraten) | 107 comments You can see where Wragge is getting emotionally attached to Magdelene. He agrees to her plan, not for money, but for revenge on Noel the Miser. He is treating Magdelene very carefully, like a daughter.


message 4: by Mehrdad (new)

Mehrdad Kermani Wragge and Lecount are a great pair! They raise up the ante at every turn. It's almost dizzying how they can read each other's motives and try to one up the other. I'm on the final chapter of this scene and I'm dreading what magdalen decides to do. I almost feel like putting it off until tomorrow because whatever she decides, it will determine the course of the novel. However I'm much too intrigued and will push thru.


message 5: by Whimsical (new)

Whimsical (goodreadscomb_flowers) | 187 comments Teresa wrote: "You can see where Wragge is getting emotionally attached to Magdelene. He agrees to her plan, not for money, but for revenge on Noel the Miser. He is treating Magdelene very carefully, like a dau..."

Yes, I agree. But, old battle axe, Lecount is shrewd and evil and will not loosen her hatred for the Vanstones or her grip of control over Noel.


message 6: by Whimsical (new)

Whimsical (goodreadscomb_flowers) | 187 comments Elsbeth wrote: "At first I really just didn't like them both (captain Waggle and Mrs. Lecount)- now I just admire how smart they react to the schemes of the other person! (I still don't like them, but at least it ..."

I don't care for Wragge's lifestyle or profession, (I use that word loosely), however; he is so funny, that one can't help but like him.

If you were to cast an actor in the role of Horatio Wragge, which actor comes to mind? I think immediately of John Inman who played the part of Mr. Humphries in the British comedy "Are You Being Served?"


message 7: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (tnorbraten) | 107 comments I was thinking of who would play the parts on the movie. Meryl Streep for Mrs Lecount.


message 8: by Whimsical (last edited Feb 09, 2014 08:32PM) (new)

Whimsical (goodreadscomb_flowers) | 187 comments Teresa wrote: "I was thinking of who would play the parts on the movie. Meryl Streep for Mrs Lecount."

I would cast Shirley McClain as Ms. Lecount.


message 9: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (tnorbraten) | 107 comments After re-reading the description of Noel Vanstone, I'm not sure I can imagine myself willing to marry Hume like Magdalene is. Yuck. I wonder if the marriage is consummated.


message 10: by Whimsical (new)

Whimsical (goodreadscomb_flowers) | 187 comments Teresa wrote: "After re-reading the description of Noel Vanstone, I'm not sure I can imagine myself willing to marry Hume like Magdalene is. Yuck. I wonder if the marriage is consummated."

I don't think she ever did because her reason for the marriage was to get back the inheritance that was taken from her and her sister. She detested him!


message 11: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (tnorbraten) | 107 comments Isn't this just making you read and read? It's a "can't put it down" book.


message 12: by Whimsical (new)

Whimsical (goodreadscomb_flowers) | 187 comments Teresa wrote: "Isn't this just making you read and read? It's a "can't put it down" book."

I finished reading it last night. Now, I can't wait to read Collin's other novels. So many books, so little time!


message 13: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (tnorbraten) | 107 comments Whimsical wrote: I finished reading it last night. Now, I can't wait to read Collin's other novels. So many books, so l..."
He's most famous for "The Woman in White" and "The Moonstone", but people who are in the Wilkie Collins fan club really like "No Name" and "Armadale" best. Armadale is a wonderful book with another strong female character (Miss Qwilt, yup, spelt like that!).


message 14: by Whimsical (new)

Whimsical (goodreadscomb_flowers) | 187 comments Teresa wrote: "Whimsical wrote: I finished reading it last night. Now, I can't wait to read Collin's other novels. So many books, so l..."
He's most famous for "The Woman in White" and "The Moonstone", but peo..."


Thanks, Teresa.


message 15: by Elsbeth (new)

Elsbeth (elsbethgm) Teresa wrote: "Isn't this just making you read and read? It's a "can't put it down" book."

I totally agree! I'm now starting on part 7, can't wait to see what happens next!


message 16: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (tnorbraten) | 107 comments Lecount and Wragge! I love how he's insulted that she thinks she can take him in. Perhaps the best section of the book?


message 17: by Irene (new)

Irene (zavrou) Teresa wrote: "Lecount and Wragge! I love how he's insulted that she thinks she can take him in. Perhaps the best section of the book?"

I agree...best section of the book so far


message 18: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (tnorbraten) | 107 comments I'm confused. If they had to abandon Magdelen's trunk back at the York train station, how does she have so much stuff? Now I'm reading about her locking away the bible from Combe-Raven. She also had the acting parts back in an earlier section. Wouldn't those be in the trunk? She wasn't walking the walks of York hauling around a bag of stuff. Oops, Wilkie.


message 19: by Whimsical (new)

Whimsical (goodreadscomb_flowers) | 187 comments Teresa wrote: "I'm confused. If they had to abandon Magdelen's trunk back at the York train station, how does she have so much stuff? Now I'm reading about her locking away the bible from Combe-Raven. She also..."

Remember, Wragge made her a new wardrobe for the plays. She only carried with her a limited wardrobe because she sold most of her things in order to have money to live off.


message 20: by Irene (new)

Irene (zavrou) This part confused me also. Wragge would not allow Magdalen to go and get her trunk from the train station and it was never mentioned that he had collected it either. All her 'precious' bits she carried on her person in a bag which she had made for that purpose.


message 21: by Whimsical (last edited Feb 13, 2014 04:58PM) (new)

Whimsical (goodreadscomb_flowers) | 187 comments Irene wrote: "This part confused me also. Wragge would not allow Magdalen to go and get her trunk from the train station and it was never mentioned that he had collected it either. All her 'precious' bits she ca..."

She perhaps was not phased by this because the most
precious bits she had on her person, in that silk draws-string bag she made. In it, she had her fathers words from the last letter he wrote and a lock of Frank's hair. I also think that at that time in her life, clothing and such were the least of her concerns. I also think that she was starting to deteriorate mentally from all the strain of her experiences (the death of parents so close together, esp. her dad, losing her inheritance, it seems twice, as the uncle did not leave a will and so the inheritance automatically went to his son and wanting with all her might to get back said inheritance and also Frank going off to China. Don't forget that part of the inheritance as stipulated by her Dad would make up her dowry. She was also extremely concerned about her sister Norah. She was dealing with an overwhelming amount of stress for someone so young (she was still a teenager, stubborn and driven).


message 22: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (tnorbraten) | 107 comments Again, Laudanum is made of Opium mixed with Alcohol. Yummy!


message 23: by Whimsical (new)

Whimsical (goodreadscomb_flowers) | 187 comments Teresa wrote: "Again, Laudanum is made of Opium mixed with Alcohol. Yummy!"

Deadly.


Evelina | AvalinahsBooks (avalinahsbooks) | 89 comments one interesting thing that I've realized upon reading this.. Magdalen was going to enter Michael Vanstone's home under an assumed name (had he not died). She also wants to become friends with his son under an assumed name, but not while changing her appearance in any way. Today, this would be a ridiculous thing to think of. After all, the internet or at least the photos we can make of each other are enough of a device to ensure this could never happen - without some really, really serious disguise (or, well, if your uncle was Mr. Whatshisname, forgot the name.. the character who could barely see in various cartoons and sketches..). anywho, I wouldn't even think of it. And yet to Collins it seems perfectly normal, cause after all.. the only ones who could confirm Magdalen's looks would be her sister and her governess, maybe some other servants. So he really has no way of knowing if this is her or not. Curious, isn't it? Just makes me think of how the world has changed, and how some things that are totally natural to us might have been very different back then.


message 25: by Irene (new)

Irene (zavrou) Teresa wrote: "Again, Laudanum is made of Opium mixed with Alcohol. Yummy!"

You are bad!


message 26: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2507 comments Teresa wrote: " I wonder if the marriage is consummated.
"


I wonder whether we'll ever find out. I bet not, and I bet it never was.


message 27: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2507 comments I am getting really annoyed with this book. It goes on and on until I want to scream at Collins to do something other than this perpetual bickering and back-and-forth between Wragge and Lecount. It was interesting for twenty pages. It was getting too much for the next twenty pages. By the next twenty, and the next twenty, it was ENOUGH, ALREADY!

I found myself rapidly skimming a lot of that, just to get on with something happening.


message 28: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (tnorbraten) | 107 comments Something that is said later makes me think that it isn't consummated. _I_ wouldn't!


message 29: by Bharathi (last edited Feb 17, 2014 08:07AM) (new)

Bharathi (bharathi14) | 158 comments Everyman wrote: "I am getting really annoyed with this book. It goes on and on until I want to scream at Collins to do something other than this perpetual bickering and back-and-forth between Wragge and Lecount. ..."

The original version of the book was serialized. I think when Collins started the quarrel between Lecount and Wragge, he did not plan it to go for long. But I think the readers would have enjoyed the back and forth that he kept at it for such a long time. It does not make sense in the current format though.


message 30: by Peter (last edited Feb 17, 2014 04:41PM) (new)

Peter Bharathi wrote: "Everyman wrote: "I am getting really annoyed with this book. It goes on and on until I want to scream at Collins to do something other than this perpetual bickering and back-and-forth between Wrag..."

I think your comment is very probable. While the Lecount - Wragge episode is drawn out, the reading audience would, I believe, embrace it. A verbal duel between two capable people would have been a strong point of interest.


message 31: by Whimsical (new)

Whimsical (goodreadscomb_flowers) | 187 comments Peter wrote: "Bharathi wrote: "Everyman wrote: "I am getting really annoyed with this book. It goes on and on until I want to scream at Collins to do something other than this perpetual bickering and back-and-f..."

I found it to be quite entertaining, myself. I am no actor but to play the part of Mr Wraggle, to be able to deliver those lines would have been grand! I think, his lines are hilarious.


message 32: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (tnorbraten) | 107 comments Collins wrote a play called "The New Magdalen". I don't know if it was a dramatization of this book.


message 33: by Peter (new)

Peter Whimsical wrote: "Peter wrote: "Bharathi wrote: "Everyman wrote: "I am getting really annoyed with this book. It goes on and on until I want to scream at Collins to do something other than this perpetual bickering ..."

I'm not an actor either, but I imagine it would be much more fun to play an evil person than a good one. With the opportunity to deliver clever, witty, incisive lines as well as be on the shady side of goodness would be a delight. I don't know my Collins in any depth. Are there any existing letters, correspondence or notes that tell us what Collins was thinking, planning, doing, or even how much he enjoyed the creation of Wraggles?


message 34: by Sam (new)

Sam | 10 comments "...Noel Vanstone presented himself at North Shingles - with the ardour of a lover inextinguishably in his bosom, through the superincumbent mental fog of a thoroughly bewildered man."

I like that description. It sums up Noel's character quite well.


message 35: by Whimsical (last edited Feb 17, 2014 05:48PM) (new)

Whimsical (goodreadscomb_flowers) | 187 comments Peter wrote: "Whimsical wrote: "Peter wrote: "Bharathi wrote: "Everyman wrote: "I am getting really annoyed with this book. It goes on and on until I want to scream at Collins to do something other than this pe..."

Still on the subject of acting: the part of Wraggles could be played by male or female because he is always dressed in his frock coat and hat etc. I have read where in the Regency and no doubt during the Victorian era, women played the part of men on stage allot. Perdita and Caroline Lamb come to mind.

About your second question, I don't have an answer, however I read today that in this novel, Collins had much to say about "commerce" which I did not even recognize--Magdalin as a travelling actress, of course Wragge and his wife and Magdalin "all staying in the neighborhood of Vauxhall Garden, the fabled public amusement park, now defunct." Of course there are many more examples of references or allusion to commerce through out the novel which I won't bore you with here. Lastly, these references to commerce by Collins in the characters of Wraggle, his wife and Magdalin and others never once entered my mind while reading.


message 36: by Clarissa (new)

Clarissa (clariann) | 535 comments Evelina wrote: "one interesting thing that I've realized upon reading this.. Magdalen was going to enter Michael Vanstone's home under an assumed name (had he not died). She also wants to become friends with his s..."

It is an interesting theme which is explored in seventeenth century comedies like Ben Jonson's when lots of people started moving to London and you didn't know your neighbour anymore. It opens up the grounds for being tricked, identities being fluid, and questions who you can trust.
I think sensational novels by their nature are based on the secrets behind the socially accepted facade.
This novel's title 'No Name' immediately focuses on mystery and the insecurity of not knowing something as simple as someone's moniker.


Evelina | AvalinahsBooks (avalinahsbooks) | 89 comments can you name the comedy in question? maybe i'd like to check it out


message 38: by Clarissa (new)

Clarissa (clariann) | 535 comments I am not sure whether I enjoyed this section or not. The Lecount and Wragge duel of minds was entertaining and page-turning. The morals are interesting. I thought Wragge was more sympathetic in this section, but there are hardly any qualms about sending a woman on a long journey across Europe thinking her brother's dying (although I admit within the narrative they indicate she cares more about the possible inheritance than her brother's well being). And if he had any care for Magdalen he surely would have stopped the scheme as she clearly mentally deteriorated before his eyes.

My main problems though were that Wragge is a man who examines and thinks through all the details, I could not believe such a character would not obtain a full account of Lecount's surprise visit from his wife and thus see the significance of the dress.
Magdalen's break down, although believable, meant that the spark that delighted in the first section of the novel fades from the narrative. I wanted her to remain the strong young woman set on her course, not someone who's fallen into a depression and feels unable to control events. In this section she is positioned as a victim, even though everything moves according to her initial plan. I actually found myself feeling more sympathy for the dreadful Noel at some points, as he thinks he's found a pretty woman who loves him for the first time in his life, and is incapable of perceiving that she's really repulsed by him.
I did internally groan at the introduction of the Kirke figure. I'm usually happy to accept and enjoy coincidences in Victorian novels (like Wragge happening to be in the exact right spot in York where Magdalen runs away to), but Kirke felt so contrived. I'm assuming he's going to reappear as some sort of romantic hero, but with a modern mind, a man of forty who gets so turned by the looks of a teenage girl that he has to instantly leave his sister before he's driven to distraction, makes me cringe I'm afraid.


message 39: by Peter (last edited Feb 18, 2014 08:27AM) (new)

Peter Clari wrote: "I am not sure whether I enjoyed this section or not. The Lecount and Wragge duel of minds was entertaining and page-turning. The morals are interesting. I thought Wragge was more sympathetic in thi..."

Hi Clari

Your comment about how a man of forty could get turned by the looks of a teenage girl and how that would drive him to leave his sister is eerie when we consider that Collins's good friend Charles Dickens did leave his wife and ten children to pursue a much younger woman by the name of Ellen Lawless Ternan.

The separation of Dickens and his wife occurred in 1858. Dickens and Collins were members/authors of a theatre group and that is, in fact, where the Dickens/Ternan relationship commenced. No Name was published in 1862.

Truth is sometimes (or is it too often) stranger than fiction.


message 40: by Clarissa (new)

Clarissa (clariann) | 535 comments Peter wrote: "The separation of Dickens and his wife occurred in 1858. Dickens and Collins were members/authors of a theatre group and that is, in fact, where the Dickens/Ternan relationship commenced. No Name was published in 1862."

That is an interesting autobiographical point that I'd forgotten all about, Ellen Ternan was an actress as well, wasn't she? Seeing Collins' friendship with Dickens I assume he doesn't judge too harshly older men who are turned by teenage women. At least Kirke doesn't have a wife or children!


message 41: by Peter (new)

Peter Hi Clari

Yes, indeed, Ellen Turnan as well as her sister and mother were all actresses. Collins, Dickens and Turnan shared the stage frequently. There is a photo of the entire acting troupe that shows them all together. Wouldn't it have been wonderful to have seen a production of "The Frozen Deep" with them all on stage at the same time?


message 42: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2507 comments Clari wrote: "Magdalen's break down, although believable, meant that the spark that delighted in the first section of the novel fades from the narrative. I wanted her to remain the strong young woman set on her course, not someone who's fallen into a depression and feels unable to control events."

That's a nice point. She is like a rider who gets on a horse thinking she can control it, but then the horse suddenly bolts and she is left hanging on for dear life and helpless to do anything but go wherever the horse wants to take her. Which is usually to some sort of disaster.


message 43: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2507 comments Well, Collins may claim that Magdalen and Norah have no names, but in the Between the Scenes section after Scene 4 he calls her Norah Vanstone.

From Norah Vanstone to Mr. Pendril.
"Portland Place, Wednesday.
"DEAR MR. PENDRIL—


And she signs that letter Norah Vanstone. So she hasn't accepted that she isn't entitled to the name, and Collins doesn't enforce the principle he set forth that she has no right to the name.


message 44: by Teresa (new)

Teresa (tnorbraten) | 107 comments After her marriage, she's got Vanstone as a last name, legally. Well, going into the marriage under fraud and lying about her age, but she's legally Mrs Vanstone.


message 45: by SarahC (last edited Feb 19, 2014 07:47AM) (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1418 comments 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.


message 46: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2507 comments Teresa wrote: "After her marriage, she's got Vanstone as a last name, legally. Well, going into the marriage under fraud and lying about her age, but she's legally Mrs Vanstone."

That's true about Magdalen. But not about Norah, who still uses the Vanstone last name which we were told she wasn't entitled to.


message 47: by Everyman (new)

Everyman | 2507 comments Is there any legal difference between Magdalen having falsely used the Bygrave name she isn't entitled to and Norah using the Vanstone name she isn't entitled to? I don't see it. Morally, maybe, since Norah had previously been known by that name, but legally, no, they are both apparently using last names they aren't legally entitled to.


message 48: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1418 comments 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.


message 49: by Whimsical (new)

Whimsical (goodreadscomb_flowers) | 187 comments SarahC wrote: "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 devi..."

I can't see the criminal intent in using a different name. She did not steal or injury anyone. Yes, she was being deceptive but was anyone harmed?


message 50: by SarahC (new)

SarahC (sarahcarmack) | 1418 comments 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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