The Readers Review: Literature from 1714 to 1910 discussion

The Haunted Hotel: A Mystery of Modern Venice
This topic is about The Haunted Hotel
33 views
2015 Group Reads - Archives > The Haunted Hotel - Part 3 & 4 - Chapters XIII-XVIII

Comments Showing 1-28 of 28 (28 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

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

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4468 comments Mod
Ferrari is still missing. Agnes has become the governess, and Henry is still in pursuit of her. The insurance has been paid. The Countess and Baron leave for America. We now enter the hotel in Venice where the Westwick family members have some interesting experiences.

One thing I found odd was the rooms in the hotel were being dried by steam. Steam doesn't seem like a drying agent to me. Madge, do you know anything about this?

No questions this week, as I want to encourage your own thoughts.


Silver I question the reliability of the Countess's maid in her account of the events leading up to the disappearance of Ferrari. She seemed to take delight in the reactions which she was receiving from Agnes with some of the scandalous and disturbing things she insinuated.

This made me wonder if indeed she was embellishing things simply to get attention and to rise the reaction of which she seemed to desire.


message 3: by Madge UK (new)

Madge UK (madgeuk) | 2934 comments Deborah #1: When I was a gel.....steam (vapour) cleaning was used by companies to get rid of infestations of bed bugs in slum areas but there are now modern versions for general cleaning:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/artic...

It was an Italian invention hence its use in Venice at that time to clean the hotel room. Here is some info:

http://www.toxicfreecleaning.com/#!dr...


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

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4468 comments Mod
Silver wrote: "I question the reliability of the Countess's maid in her account of the events leading up to the disappearance of Ferrari. She seemed to take delight in the reactions which she was receiving from A..."

An interesting perspective. To me she came across as a holier than thou type of person who was very rigid in her thinking.


message 5: by Deborah, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4468 comments Mod
Madge wrote: "Deborah #1: When I was a gel.....steam (vapour) cleaning was used by companies to get rid of infestations of bed bugs in slum areas but there are now modern versions for general cleaning:

http://..."


Thx Madge.


Chris Wolff | 1 comments I believe they used to steam wallpaper to clean off the residue from lamps, candles and cigars.


message 7: by Madge UK (new)

Madge UK (madgeuk) | 2934 comments Thanks for that additional info Chris.


Silver I was amused by the Hotel manager changing the number of room 14 to 13A. I was wondering how exactly is just changing the rooms number supposed to resolve the problem?

It reminds me of the way in which some Hotels do not have a 13th floor (or at least they do not call it 13, they just go from 12 to 14, but of course it is still technically the 13th floor.


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

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4468 comments Mod
Silver, I was thinking the same thing and got a kick out ift he fact that the manager chose 13 for the new number.


Silver Deborah wrote: "Silver, I was thinking the same thing and got a kick out ift he fact that the manager chose 13 for the new number."

Yes I thought it was interesting that he choose the number 13, and it made me wonder when the whole superstition about 13 really started to become popular, I thought it originally dated back to around the middle ages.


message 11: by Pip (new) - rated it 2 stars

Pip | 468 comments I'd always heard it was to do with thirteen at the table for the Last Supper.

It's also the age at which children become teenagers...
This is a little bit dated, but the premise is still much the same : https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dLuEY6j...


message 12: by Pip (last edited Jan 27, 2015 02:51PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Pip | 468 comments I think Collins must have chosen room 14 precisely so that the only option to keep the numeration in order would have been to have a 13A - for pure spook value. Otherwise, what? 15 minus?!


Lynnm | 3027 comments I got a kick out of the room number change as well...typical businesspeople....can't trust them. ;)

Because I've read on, I'm afraid to post anything in case of spoilers. But I will say that this book reminds me of a old, overly dramatic "B" horror film. Yet, I'm enjoying it.


message 14: by Ami (last edited Jan 29, 2015 08:55AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ami | 153 comments Silver wrote: "I question the reliability of the Countess's maid in her account of the events leading up to the disappearance of Ferrari. She seemed to take delight in the reactions which she was receiving from A..."

Yes, I noticed this too. I highlighted how she was described as to experiencing a visible grim enjoyment and the undistinguished relish of disappointment that she was inflicting at Agnes' reaction. Mrs. Rolland seems to be very manipulating...(XIII)? However, in spite of Mrs. Rolland's credibility, I still think Mr. Ferrari and the Baron are in cahoots together.


message 15: by Sara (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sara (phantomswife) Lynnm wrote: "I got a kick out of the room number change as well...typical businesspeople....can't trust them. ;)

Because I've read on, I'm afraid to post anything in case of spoilers. But I will say that this..."


I too have read ahead and now feel I must be very careful not to give away anything.

I was interested to note that when describing Mrs. Rolland "strangers, on a first introduction to her, were accustomed to wonder why she was not a man." I noticed this particularly in light of our earlier discussion of how Collins deals with his female characters.

It certainly seems that her account of the conversation between Ferrari and the Baron as to what he would do for a thousand pounds would indicate some nefarious business between the two. But, it is Lord M who appears to send Emily the money, not the Baron.

I loved the reason Henry was given Room 14 in the first place...those darned spoiled Americans. "The limit of American endurance is found in the obsolete institution of a bedroom candle. The American traveller, in the present case, declined to believe that his bedroom was in a complete finished state without a gas-burner." An encapsulation of what Collins thought of Americans?

"I had the hope that what seemed reality to me was only mad delusion, after all--I even asked the question of an English doctor!" Does it strike anyone else that whatever happened was a carefully planned event of which the Countess had prior knowledge. She indeed asked the doctor before she was even married to the Lord. Collins walks a tight-rope between the Countess as a victim of madness and the Countess as a fiend.


message 16: by Madge UK (new)

Madge UK (madgeuk) | 2934 comments Yes it is like an old black and white movie Lynn:)


message 17: by Ami (last edited Jan 29, 2015 10:56AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ami | 153 comments Chapter XIII
Henry's pursuit of Agnes, I find, suffocating...Like Pepe le Pew? If I didn't find him to be such a seedy individual, I would be inclined to think Henry was just love-sick, but even his adoration for Agnes feels disingenuous? I was glad to see Agnes "finally" lose her patience with him in Chaper XVI when Henry went against the advice of Lady Montbarry and pursued Agnes yet again. I loved seeing the petulant and impatient side of her..."Finally!"

I too question the credibility of Mrs. Rolland, but her account of Mr. Ferrari's last words to her If I could afford it, I would leave the place too; but I can't afford it makes it seem as if he were aware of his obligations, that's he didn't just abandon his wife without reason.

Chapter XIV
Am I understanding correctly, seventeen years have passed since the renovation of the hotel began, or the original castle's construction?

Chapter XV
I'm wondering if Henry even used the Old Nurse's money as an investment in the hotel after reading he had invested a small sum of money for the nurse (not very considerately, as I think)?

Chapter XVII
Henry's list of symptoms: depression, discomfort and lack of appetite come and ago upon his being in the vicinity of the hotel. As a potential investor in this hotel, isn't it a little suspect for Henry to make his experience vocal in a public room...Wouldn't he be worried it would detract others from staying, or coming back? I thought it was poor form on Henry's part, but maybe he didn't invest in the hotel, period, which could possibly shed further light on the observation made in CH XVI regarding the Old Nurse's investment?

***I'll finish with XVIII in a few***


message 18: by Deborah, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4468 comments Mod
Lynnm wrote: "I got a kick out of the room number change as well...typical businesspeople....can't trust them. ;)

Because I've read on, I'm afraid to post anything in case of spoilers. But I will say that this..."


I finished it long ago so am very watchful of what I post


message 19: by Ami (last edited Jan 29, 2015 10:47AM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Ami | 153 comments Sara wrote: "Lynnm wrote: "I got a kick out of the room number change as well...typical businesspeople....can't trust them. ;)

Because I've read on, I'm afraid to post anything in case of spoilers. But I will..."

Chapter XVII

The American traveller, in the present case, declined to believe that his bedroom was in a complete finished state without a gas-burner." An encapsulation of what Collins thought of Americans?

Or how about the line The Americans are not only the most hospitable people to be found on the face of the earth--they are (under certain conditions) the most patient and good-tempered people as well? I think the perception of America and its citizenry, by those living in Victorian England, was that it was picture perfect compared to the perils of Britain...The whole "grass is greener mentality?" I thought it was funny...I wonder what Collins would say about Americans now? LOL!


message 20: by Sara (last edited Jan 29, 2015 11:49AM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sara (phantomswife) Ami said: Or how about the line The Americans are not only the most hospitable people to be found on the face of the earth--they are (under certain conditions) the most patient and good-tempered people as well? I think the perception of America and its citizenry, by those living in Victorian England, was that it was picture perfect compared to the perils of Britain...The whole "grass is greener mentality?" I thought it was funny...I wonder what Collins would say about Americans now? LOL!

Laughing as well. I don't think most people would describe us, on whole, as patient and good-tempered now. Perhaps you are right about the "grass is greener", I probably have an idealized view of some of the place I have never visited.


message 21: by Madge UK (new)

Madge UK (madgeuk) | 2934 comments It is odd that Collins had this idealised view of America as his friend Charles Dickens didn't after his visit there, partly because of the problems he had with American publishers not acknowledging his copyright. Dickens expressed some his criticisms of America and Americans in Martin Chuzzlewit which some of you may have read.


message 22: by Pip (new) - rated it 2 stars

Pip | 468 comments As far as stereotypes go, my impression of United Statians is that they are very good tempered. Warm, hospitable and sociable. Patient? No idea, but the fact that you put up with George W Bush for two terms says a lot ;-))


message 23: by Pip (new) - rated it 2 stars

Pip | 468 comments I'm also afraid I haven't participated as much as I would have because I read the novel too quickly and too long ago. I remember being happy when we finally got to Venice, but disappointed that there wasn't more description of the city to add to the gothic atmosphere. I can't help wishing he'd collaborated with Dickens on this!


message 24: by Pip (new) - rated it 2 stars

Pip | 468 comments Ami wrote: "Chapter XIV
Am I understanding correctly, seventeen years have passed since the renovation of the hotel began, or the original castle's construction"


I had a look back at this and I don't understand either. The text says the renovations were "worthy of the splendour of the grandest hotel in Italy, in the now bygone period of seventeen years since." Is this a reference to a famous Italian hotel which contemporary readers would understand? Seventeen years have not passed since the supposed death of Montbarry, and I believe the building was a much older palazzo: In chapter V, Ferrari describes it in a letter as "a damp, mouldy, rambling old palace."
Has anyone got any other ideas? Have I missed something?


message 25: by Sara (new) - rated it 3 stars

Sara (phantomswife) Pip wrote: "Ami wrote: "Chapter XIV
Am I understanding correctly, seventeen years have passed since the renovation of the hotel began, or the original castle's construction"

I had a look back at this and I do..."


Could he mean that this hotel rivaled the hotel that had been the "best" for the previous seventeen years? It is confusing, but we know for sure that nothing like that amount of time has passed since the death of Lord M.


message 26: by Emma (new) - rated it 2 stars

Emma (emmalaybourn) | 298 comments Pip wrote: "Ami wrote: "Chapter XIV
Am I understanding correctly, seventeen years have passed since the renovation of the hotel began, or the original castle's construction..."


I took this to mean that the events narrated in the book were all supposed to have taken part seventeen years previously (though admittedly I can't remember any other evidence for this, and since I'm reading it on my Kindle I can't just flip through it to check :(


message 27: by Deborah, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4468 comments Mod
I think Sara has it right. 17 years have not passed since the death, as evidenced by Agnes' wards being still young.


message 28: by Deborah, Moderator (new) - rated it 4 stars

Deborah (deborahkliegl) | 4468 comments Mod
Pip wrote: "As far as stereotypes go, my impression of United Statians is that they are very good tempered. Warm, hospitable and sociable. Patient? No idea, but the fact that you put up with George W Bush for ..."

Lol Pip. Being American I would say most are no longer good tempered nor patient.


back to top