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Horrid Folk in NL

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message 1: by Barbara (last edited May 23, 2018 01:19AM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2250 comments In our group read of Copsi Castle Sylvia was trying to remember a book with a similar scenario , ie a terrible husband whose behaviour had to be kept secret . In trawling through my memory , though I have not recalled a very similar one , I did recall of lots of horrid characters (what my mother would have called " nasty pieces of work " ) so I thought it might be fun to start a thread of them . If gets too grim , we could make it a dual thread of Horrids and Lovelies maybe ?

In the all-round as well as husband stakes , Dave Glenny from Road To Revelation has to rank high , if not first, don't you think?
Mr Draper from Lovers All Untrue, whilst - I guess, not to be anachronistic - was not technically abusive, was a terrible, domineering, controlling father and husband.
The sadistic Caroline Stancy from To See A Fine Lady must rank very high too, and though we never meet him , her husband seems to have been awful, a sexual and physical abuser whose death she hastened, if not caused....


message 2: by Cheryl (new)

Cheryl | 97 comments Oh, I think Caroline Stancy caused her husband's death, although it was passed off as "what do you expect, a heavy drinker like that, bound to die early". Mrs. Stancy is also an example of how NL seems to say that really, it's environment that is a cause of evil, and that if Caroline Stancy had been in a situation in which social pressure prevented her from expressing her sadistic tendencies, she would have been a respected teacher. I'm a bit on the fence - on the one hand, Caroline doesn't seem to have many redeeming qualities (maybe intelligence and organizational skills) but on the other hand, she certainly had no early training in controlling her impulses, since she was spoiled rotten as a child.


message 3: by Sylvia (new)

Sylvia (sylviab) | 1361 comments I love the idea of these "Horrids" being collected here, but I hope we leave the "Lovelies" out of it, because we already have one for them called "Favorite Memorable Characters" which I believe you stipulated as mainly for the minor though unforgettable people, Barbara. I have a feeling this will be a long thread, since there is one despicable in every NL!

Cheryl, in our discussion of TSAFL, I remember our sympathy rising up for Mrs. Stancy at the end, but also there was some argument for hoping that she was hanged!


message 4: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 712 comments Barbara wrote: "In the all-round as well as husband stakes , Dave Glenny from Road To Revelation has to rank high , if not first, don't you think? "

Speaking of Road to Revelation, there's also the awful Nancy Jurer. (And here's an awful thought: Suppose those two had been the last survivors of the party, with still no help in sight.)


message 5: by Tanya (new)

Tanya Mendonsa | 610 comments How about the horrid, fat slavedriving landlord Job in " Hester Roon " ? The way he used his servants to the bone; especially poor Effie, Hester's mother; and the gloating with which he watches Hester grow into her beauty, ripe for the plucking ?


message 6: by Barbara (last edited May 25, 2018 08:21PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2250 comments Oh yes Mary , Nancy Jurer.. She had of course a fairly awful childhood, but I seem to remember she made a very conscious decision to serve her body and its needs as being the one sure way of gratification.
Dave Glenny , well, he had a loving childhood didn't he, but was ( fairly easily it seems ) corrupted by his frightful uncle .

And yes Tanya , the hail-fellow-well-met Job Wainwright , to whom customers were God and woman employees, slaves. I remember the particularly nasty scene where he forces Hester to the new room and locks her in and is shown to be sexually enjoying hurting her as he does it. NL subtly suggests that since he is old and fat , he is saving this 'energy' for later . Ugh.

I take your point Sylvia, yes, we have favourites elsewhere . Let's just keep this one nasty then, lol.


message 7: by Debbie (new)

Debbie | 46 comments The first nasty I thought of was "The Nabob" from Bless This House-- Mr. Sandell (did he even have a first name? I can't remember.) A colder, nastier, more deliberately unpleasant character would be hard to imagine!


message 8: by Tanya (new)

Tanya Mendonsa | 610 comments That is true, but, remember, he had provocation....when his son sked him why her was so terribly unfair and cutting to Olivia, his daughter,Mr. Sandell says, "well, if you've been bitten by a yellow haired dog with floppy ears " ( or something like that ), " it stands to reason that you wouldn't care for one if you met it again...Olivia was the image of his wife, whom he was mad about and killing himself in India to make a fortune for , while she was amusing herself with a young man who played the sitar and wrote poetry....and with whom she stayed, when Mr. Sandell came back with a fortune to India, something her son doesn't know...so there is some justification for his nastiness, I think....and, in the ned, Olivia, forced to marry the repltilian old man, who's a friend of her father's, leads him a merry dance all his life and has five handsome, strapping sons !


message 9: by Tanya (new)

Tanya Mendonsa | 610 comments And Olivia lives on at the palatial Gore Park and becomes a martinet. It is also striking to see, in NL's books, how events and/or actions like these leave their mark on the onlookers, who are peripherally involved, like Olivia's brother, who never married, and, when this tale ends, is in the process of willing his own fortune to Olivia's favourite son.


message 10: by Barbara (last edited Apr 16, 2020 11:55PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2250 comments Tanya wrote: "And Olivia lives on at the palatial Gore Park and becomes a martinet. It is also striking to see, in NL's books, how events and/or actions like these leave their mark on the onlookers, who are peri..."

Yes indeed, like Hester's young first lover, the groom who believed her to have jilted him and gone off willingly with the awful Wainwright and vows to make any girl he meets in future to suffer because of it. Come to think of it, there is a boy in Hester's childhood of whom it is suggested that he makes his future wife suffer in memory of when Hester played that trick scattering the geese

Olivia's trajectory is a bit like the married equivalent of the unmarried younger daughter, Ellen in Lovers All Untrue who gains an ascendancy over the horrid father Mr Draper in his later years . And has charge of the housekeeping and all that gets eaten …...

Perhaps worst of all - because he had no conceivable excuse except greed and desire - is David Armstrong, the son of the saintly grocer in The House At Sunset who actually allowed someone to be hanged for murders he himself committed.


message 11: by Peggy (last edited Jun 03, 2018 10:48AM) (new)

Peggy (peggy908) | 959 comments Pert Tom in The Town House, who lets Martin's family burn to death; actually one of the reasons I don't want to re-read the book.

Folks, I have been posting but for some reason, my comments are disappearing. I just posted this one for the second time. I hope it stays here.


message 12: by Barbara (last edited Jul 25, 2018 08:27PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2250 comments I am just re reading "Is There Anyone There ?" one of NLs books of (often supernatural) short stories. In the one entitled "Pesticide" there a truly horrible man , called Mr Jenkins, an Elder in a narrow fundamentalist sect who the heroine's family's former maid Effie has married and with whom she has gone to 'spend a holiday' . Really it's because her feckless parents and much older siblings don't know what to do with her for the summer while they are all off doing various things .

Jennie may be only ten, but she is observant and well read and precocious and quickly sees the egregious Mr Jenkins for what he is , mildly sadistic, certainly a bully and a supremely patriarchal, slave driving domestic tyrant . Bit like Farmer Greenwood in ( I think ) Lonely Furrow

It is the work in which NL has one of her priceless exchanges

Jennie - "What is Mr Jenkins an Elder of?"
Effie - "The Chosen of Abraham"
Jennie - "Oh, is he a Jew? "
Effie - " No dear, he's Welsh"

Both are is completely innocent here of course, knowing Abraham only from the OT and almost certainly never having met anyone Jewish in their whole lives..

PS I belatedly realise of course that 'Is there anybody there? " is the first line of De La Mare's "The Listeners" and very suitable too! " Pesticide" is the only story in it that is NOT supernatural it seems.


message 13: by Tanya (new)

Tanya Mendonsa | 610 comments Mistress Babcock in " The Old Priory " is surely a monster, always dressed in the red of the harlot, with her tongue flickering out every time she speaks to a " likely " man, with her brood of filthy children, her daughter Marion whom she forces into prostitution, and her poor second husband, who is generally known by her name, who slaves at his tannery. It is especially revolting the way she torments poor Lettice Tresize, who is forced to share her beloved Priory with her, by turning the garden and as much as she can of the house into a filthy shambles, denying her access, use of any of the garden and even a clothesline, simply because of her evil temper.


message 14: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2250 comments Any more awful people ? I was thinking of Sorrel's father in The Brittle Glass. Not the very worst , but a cold and heartless man, greatly prioritising his son over his daughter, to the extent he blames her for bringing some infection into the house which makes her and the boy ill, but kills the boy . She is banished from his sight forever..... .


message 15: by Tanya (new)

Tanya Mendonsa | 610 comments Of course, there is the real life Henry viii in " the concubine", who held so many people's lives in his hands, and who lost interest in any woman once he had had her, as poor Anne Boleyn learned to her cost, not to mention her head....and wilsey, and Thomas more, and scores of saintly prelates like Bishop Fisher.


message 16: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2250 comments True, very true and whilst I would not like to be an apologist for Henry VIII at all, he was for many years in constant and unremitting severe pain.

And unremitting pain in an absolute monarch is a frightening thing !


message 17: by Barbara (last edited Apr 17, 2020 12:00AM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2250 comments I want to add Eli Smith to the tally, from Pargeters and his equally awful mother . Cold, joyless, miserable, penny pinching , carping, ungrateful .

It is likely Eli was a blackmailer too.


message 18: by Jan (new)

Jan Andrew | 32 comments Lady Rosaleen in Nethergate. Excellent picture of a manipulative narcissist/sociopath. 😈


message 19: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2250 comments Jan wrote: "Lady Rosaleen in Nethergate. Excellent picture of a manipulative narcissist/sociopath. 😈"

Ah yes Lady Rosaleen. And so good at passing as a sweet, even loving, courteous lady - at least to her besotted husband.


message 20: by Jan (new)

Jan Andrew | 32 comments Yes. That's what narcissist/sociopaths do!


message 21: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 712 comments Yes, one could almost weep when John Franklin reflects that, if Rosaleen had known Alan had fathered her cousin's child, "she would have made him marry her."


message 22: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2250 comments MaryC wrote: "Yes, one could almost weep when John Franklin reflects that, if Rosaleen had known Alan had fathered her cousin's child, "she would have made him marry her.""

Poor deluded man . Though he became pretty horrid himself in later life didn't he?


message 23: by Peggy (new)

Peggy (peggy908) | 959 comments I think Lady Rosaleen had to know Alan was the father and she just didn’t care due to her jealousy. She was really warped—and lucky she married a man who refused to see any of her faults.


message 24: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 712 comments Debbie wrote: "The first nasty I thought of was "The Nabob" from Bless This House-- Mr. Sandell (did he even have a first name? I can't remember.) A colder, nastier, more deliberately unpleasant character would b..."

Yesss!


message 25: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2250 comments MaryC wrote: "Debbie wrote: "The first nasty I thought of was "The Nabob" from Bless This House-- Mr. Sandell (did he even have a first name? I can't remember.) A colder, nastier, more deliberately unpleasant ch..."

Yes, one of a couple of characters NL had be vengeful or at least threaten vengeance to women because of what one woman did to them. There were two in Hester Roon , one a boy she avenged herself on by scattering the geese he was minding , and the other was the young groom with whom she had an affair and who believed - on no evidence or history - that she had gone willingly with the awful Job Wainright ( another Bad Person)

Both of them threatened that every woman in their future would pay for this . Ugh.


message 26: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2250 comments Doing our group read of Lady Living Alone put me in mind of this thread and I thought I'd add the calculating , cheating , lying , unfaithful ( and worse) Terry Munce to it ......


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