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Wyllard's Weird
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2019 Group Reads - Archives > Wyllard's Weird Sept 1-7: Vol III Ch 1 to end of Vol III, Ch 7 (One Who Must Remember)

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message 1: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1805 comments Mod
As we suspected, there is an interruption in Hilda and Bothwell’s plans to wed, when Lady Valeria convinces Hilda that Bothwell is marrying her out of a sense of duty, and that his heart and his best future lie with Lady Valeria herself. Hilda makes a surprisingly clever plan to flee to Paris wth the assistance of her music teacher, and moves into a residence with an artistic family, who we soon learn are friends of Sigismond Trottier. We later learn that M. Tillet was a friend of Georges and painted M. de Maucroix before his death.

We see Edward persisting in his quest, even to the point of missing his sister’s wedding. Clearly, he has come to believe that Wyllard is the guilty party in the death of Marie Prevol and her lover, and by extension likely guilty in the death of Leonie Lamarque.

What do you think of Hilda’s flight? Was it a believable step for her to take?

What do you think Edward plans to do with his findings, should he discover that Julian Wyllard was guilty of the three murders?

What do you think of Braddon’s plotting of the mystery and of Healthcote’s sleuthing? Was this novel ever listed as an early mystery novel?


message 2: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 2786 comments Mod
I think Hilda should have had a serious talk with Bothwell instead of just taking Valeria's version as the truth. I thought she would have had more sense than to take the word of a total stranger without getting the real facts of the matter.

I think that Edward will have to deal with a difficult situation if it turns out that Julian was guilty. Does he break Dora's heart when she realizes she is married to a murderer? Or does he fail to bring a murderer to justice?


Piyangie | 145 comments I too agree with Rosemarie. Hilda should have consulted Bothwell without running away like that. It was not just for Bothwell. After all he has pledged himself and committed towards working out a living and building a home for them. Hilda never struck me as a woman who would run. I viewed her as a woman who would confront. Guess she is weaker than I thought her to be.


Piyangie | 145 comments Heathcote never ceased loving Dora, so he wouldn't do anything to bring distress to her. So my guess is if Julian turns to be the murderer, he might not take any action against him as a deference to Dora. Besides as it is Julian has been punished by a higher law.


Jenny | 124 comments I could have done without the whole “Hilda runs away” subplot. And now her brother will be visiting the Tillet residence for a sketch of Georges, discover her and be able to bring her and Bothwell together again. At the time it was probably seen as a romantic, noble gesture but by today’s standards it just seems ridiculous and overly dramatic to “martyr” yourself for love.
I’m glad the last chapter of the reading brought us back to the murder investigation. I agree that Heathcote will allow a higher justice to take its course. Julian will die sooner rather later. Maybe from some fit brought on by being confronted with his guilt? And then we will here from him how Leonie fell from the train. Possibly it was truly an accidental fall if she recognized her aunt’s murderer?


message 6: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 2786 comments Mod
Jenny, I agree with you about Hilda, but maybe readers of the time liked that sort of thing.
My favourite character is Heathcote and I enjoy his efforts to uncover the mystery.


Jenny | 124 comments I agree, Rosemarie, Heathcote is my favorite. I do like Hilda as well, other than her decision to run away. I suspect my 15 year old self would have found this stunt wildly romantic- I’m now middle aged and disillusioned!!


message 8: by Lori, Moderator (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lori Goshert (lori_laleh) | 1298 comments Mod
I was actually hoping Heathcote would find Hilda quickly in Paris and that she would be instrumental in helping him with the mystery. Well, I guess there's not much mystery left. Heathcote knows most of the story and just needs proof.

I don't think Heathcote himself yet knows what he's going to do. He seemed bent on revenge before he met the Dowager, and her attitude seems to have changed his mind. I think he will enjoy confronting Julian, but he won't turn him in to the police or tell Dora his secret. Julian himself might tell her, out of guilt, and I think the shock will kill him soon. Good riddance.

Things might have been different if Leonie had any living relatives left, as Heathcote would have been obliged to consider their wishes for Julian's fate. Julian murdered three people, and the only living relative left of them is the Dowager, who would accept Julian's illness as justice enough.


message 9: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1805 comments Mod
Rosemarie wrote: "I think Hilda should have had a serious talk with Bothwell instead of just taking Valeria's version as the truth. I thought she would have had more sense than to take the word of a total stranger w..."

While I partly agree, the delicious duplicity of Valeria's argument was that Bothwell would feel obliged to honour his vows to Hilda and no matter how he felt about Valeria he would never desert Hilda, no matter what she said to him. So Hilda was made to believe that Bothwell would be a gentleman and never tell her the truth-the only way she could release him was to be the one who left. Valeria also pointed out that no one could prefer a life of work teaching dull students rather than one of intellectual gatherings and exalted socializing, and possibly getting into Parliament or doing something grand in the future, an opportunity that only Valeria could offer him. So on both counts Hilda felt she was giving Bothwell a better life, not believing that Bothwell could truly prefer her simplicity and their future life together to that which Valeria could offer.


message 10: by Rosemarie, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Rosemarie | 2786 comments Mod
That makes a lot of sense, Frances. Hilda is young and has led a sheltered life, and Valeria certainly has a way with words.


Linda | 228 comments Well, Valeria certainly pulled a nasty trick on Bothwell, didn’t she. I didn’t expect her to go directly to Hilda, though. She is more bold than I first took her for! I’m OK with the subplot of Hilda running off to Paris, and I think that Valeria made a good case for Hilda to do so without first consulting Bothwell, even though Hilda held strong to the fact that Bothwell lived Hilda.

However, the coincidence of having Hilda board with the Tillet family, which so happens to be where M Tillet lives and who was acquainted with Georges, and is now where Edward is about to search for, is all a bit too coincidental. I will overlook that, though, just as I overlook all the coincidences that Dickens through into his novels. :)

I agree that Heathcote seems to have changed his mind in what to do if/when he finally gets concrete evidence pointing to Wyllard as the murderer during his last interview. I don’t think he wants to hurt Dora in revealing that she was married to a murderer, and the fact that Leonie doesn’t have any living relatives makes the possible decision to keep it a secret that much easier.

Down to the home stretch now. I’m excited to see how this all wraps up!


message 12: by Emma (new) - rated it 3 stars

Emma (emmalaybourn) | 298 comments Linda wrote: ".... all a bit too coincidental. I will overlook that, though, just as I overlook all the coincidences that Dickens through into his novels. :) "

Yes, I too felt that coincidence was a bit clunky. Dickens seems to disguise his coincidences a little better, perhaps because his books tend to have such a huge proliferation of characters that it doesn't seem so unlikely when they meet.

Having said that, I don't recall any of Dickens's heroines showing the gumption and independent spirit that Hilda shows when she runs away. I feared at first that her trip could end in disaster, but having made the decision to run away (however unnecessarily) Hilda is actually quite sensible about it.


Piyangie | 145 comments Emma wrote: "I don't recall any of Dickens's heroines showing the gumption and independent spirit that Hilda shows when she runs away. I..."

I have met one such heroine in Dickens's Our Mutual Friend who runs away from the man she loves (but on different circumstances). But overall I think he preferred to have male heroines.


message 14: by Robin P, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Robin P | 2069 comments Mod
Valeria really has a lot of nerve! Also, it seems she really cared about Bothwell in her way. With all her money, she could now marry someone more important. True, there are those rumors about her. But as we have seen in Trollope, if she married someone with clout, they could help squelch the rumors. As readers, we have zero sympathy for her. It's kind of like the movie Fatal Attraction. The woman scorned is an out-and-out villain, which isn't exactly a feminist thought.

Hilda was surprisingly resourceful in her plans and the various letters she wrote. But yes, of course, talking to each other would have cleared things up. As a kid, I once realized that most of the plots of sitcoms would have been immediately resolved if people just talked to each other!


Linda | 228 comments Emma wrote: "Dickens seems to disguise his coincidences a little better, perhaps because his books tend to have such a huge proliferation of characters that it doesn't seem so unlikely when they meet."

That's a great point, Emma.


message 16: by Frances, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Frances (francesab) | 1805 comments Mod
Robin wrote: "As a kid, I once realized that most of the plots of sitcoms would have been immediately resolved if people just talked to each other!"

I also remember thinking that-a lot of good literature would be very short if people did the sensible thing more often!


message 17: by Deborah, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4461 comments Mod
Jenny wrote: "I could have done without the whole “Hilda runs away” subplot. And now her brother will be visiting the Tillet residence for a sketch of Georges, discover her and be able to bring her and Bothwell ..."

Hilda running away didn’t bother me. I saw it as her taking control of her own life which few women did in that time. I think readers of the day would see her as a strong woman.


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