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The Town House Trilogy - 2009 > Rupert Hatton's Story

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message 1: by [deleted user] (last edited Dec 11, 2008 04:32PM) (new)

This story was written for the younger set and is an offshoot from another of Norah Lofts books. The fascinating thing about Rupert Hatton is that he was born to play the violin. He has a terrible struggle to be allowed to play and even has to leave home but I don't want to spoil it anymore than I have if you have not read it yet. I will just give this first paragraph from the book:
"I was a week or two short of being eight years old when I noticed the violin for the first time. I must have seen it many times before, for I often went into my Uncle Flowerdew's room and it lay on top of the shelves where he kept his books. Perhaps until then I had not been tall enough to see it well enough to notice."
His Uncle Flowerdew is mentioned here and he is also a character from another book. If I remember right he was a spy. Does anyone else remember him being a spy?


message 2: by Werner (new)

Werner | 707 comments Yes --he's one of the characters in The House at Old Vine, and as a young man, he serves as a spy for the Parliamentary side in the English Civil War.


message 3: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes, Rupert Hatton was the son of the woman from the Fens. He was somewhat spoiled but I also saw his "stepfather" as dangerous and vicious. If I remember right his real father died of TB?
Rupert escapes to London when he gets Danielli to take him in and teach him to play the violin better.


message 4: by [deleted user] (new)

Werner wrote: "Yes --he's one of the characters in The House at Old Vine, and as a young man, he serves as a spy for the Parliamentary side in the English Civil War."
Thanks Werner, I couldn't recall what war this was. That part was extremely interesting to me how those two fell in love even tho they were both on the opposites sides.
Another spy was Lady Alice but that was a different war if I remember right. She later became a ghost riding her black stallion on the "Ladies Ride". I think she might have been responsible for the death of Sir Richard Shelmadine but Norah Lofts kinda leaves a person guessing on that.




message 5: by Werner (new)

Werner | 707 comments I haven't read the book/story that Lady Alice appears in (though I'd like to sometime!), so I can't say what her political loyalties were.

It's been a long time since I read the Old Vine trilogy, but I don't recall Rupert actually betraying anybody. And yes, his real father died before he was born (he was conceived out of wedlock); Lofts doesn't use the term TB, but the symptoms are consistent.


message 6: by [deleted user] (new)

My sympathies were always with Rupert and his mother. After all his "stepfather" was horribly abusing his mother both mentally and physically. He was very wicked IMO and I was glad when he died. It seems his real father died even before he was born of TB if I remember right. Yes, he had a bad cough so I assume that too. She also wrote about some musicians in the Lonely Furrow trilogy and one of them came home to die.
Lady Alice is mentioned in several books. At the moment I can't recall which one most of her story. I know she was a good friend to Jassy and Jassy carried her poison to the jail. But I have a bad memory so able to read these books over. I read about ten of them every year and the next year another ten. I can forget all my troubles when reading one.


message 7: by Barbara (last edited Jan 02, 2009 12:27AM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2232 comments Lady Alice's story (Rowhedge) is basically in Bless This House: the house called Merravey. She died in prison,of rabies from a bite by a little dog who she put her hand through the bars to pet. It was said that even this was part of her withchcraft,as this way she escaped the terrible death by burning that she was condemned to.
This was at the end of the Civil War, before Jassy's time I think. I don't recall any crossover with her and Jassy, and Jassy was hanged, along with the little brain-damaged maid who loved her, Lindy. No poison involved,at least not with Jassy and Lindy's deaths, the poison was administered to the man Jassy married, Dilys' awful father, who she married in order to eventually get Mortiboys for the man she really loved, Barney. It was poor Lindy who gave the poison the the husband, unknown to Jassy and not really able to understand what she was setting in motion.
I do believe Jassy to be the most tragic of Nl's heroine's, what do others think?


message 8: by Djo (new)

Djo | 128 comments Barbara is right - Jassy and Lady Alice lived in different times.



message 9: by Djo (new)

Djo | 128 comments Going back to Rupert. I also felt sorry for him, to an extent. His 'stepfather' used him mercilessly to get back at Rupert's mother for deceiving him. She started an affair with him, told him she was pregnant and he honorably married her, but she was already pregnant by another man. Only when Rupert showed an natural talent with the violin was his true parentage revealed, although Rupert never knew.

Rupert was a spoiled brat, highly intelligent and pretty amoral. I only felt sorry for him with the way he was treated as a child, and being forbidden to pursue his talent with music. This culminated in Rupert poisoning his 'stepfather'.

It did strike me as karma that he later suffered a stroke, leaving him unable to play the violin anymore.


message 10: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 19, 2009 06:53PM) (new)

Oh, I don't recall him suffering a stroke but I was glad when he poisoned his stepfather. It did get to me and reminded me of East of Eden where the woman burns down the house on her parents! I felt someone should have told him the truth about his parentage. Did anyone ever do so? His poor mother was totally beaten down by life.

I felt Mr. Flowerdew should have told him. Since he had been a spy at one time, right? He should have had the courage to speak up. But then I guess the woman from the Fens would have suffered more altho it was hard to see how her suffering could have been greater.

Another one I admired was the one who had the blue beads!!! Didn't she marry Flowerdew? She was the one who knew the priest was walled up and starving and didn't say a word!! Another very precocious brat but she also had my sympathy to some extent. Sometimes I like these villains more than any of the other characters who seem too boring!


message 11: by Djo (new)

Djo | 128 comments I think his mother should have told Rupert the truth after his 'stepfather' er, died! But then these things weren't discussed in those days. I guess it wouldn't have been considered as any of Rupert's business! I think Mr Flowerdew would have told him if he hadn't sat on that bench by the sundial and suffered a lowering of spirit.He lost all his oomph at that point.

Elizabeth Kentwoode had the blue beads and allowed the priest to die. Her nephew's wife marries Flowerdew (after she'd been widowed of course!). Her name was Barbara (nee Hatton) - it was her and Flowerdew who buried the priest's remains under a yew tree at the bottom of the garden, by a stone seat. They both felt a 'strange' feeling in that place. I'd have to re-read the book to see if anything else had happened at that spot.


message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

I would sure like to know what happened at that stone seat. If you figure out please be sure to post it.

Didn't Barbara become very much like Elizabeth Kentwoode? Elizabeth destroyed her first marriage didn't she by somehow making some comment. Her son was carrying on with Barbara's half sister who was a bar maid? Or married to the bar owner? He died when he was trying to save the huguenots who were weaving silk? I think the plague had struck which reminds me there is a new Plague group that just opened. You list the titles of any books about great epidemics and plague. I need to list this book? But which one was it? and also The Last of the Wine as it opens many are dying of plague I think.


message 13: by Werner (new)

Werner | 707 comments I don't actually recall the details of The House at Old Vine well enough to know the facts on Elizabeth's son. But I definitely do remember that Barbara's character never developed along the lines of Elizabeth's, who was completely ruthless and self- centered. Barbara was always a decent person, and concerned about others. (You can tell Elizabeth didn't have much of my sympathy. :-) I find the villains fascinating, but not appealing.)


message 14: by Barbara (last edited Jan 20, 2009 04:35PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2232 comments Oh yes, I'd forgotten about the priests burial ( or rather eventual burial)at the bottom of the garden and the fact that it felt like the 'right' spot. I can;t rememember if anything else happened on that spot either..
But it put me in mind of , I think- correct me if I'm wrong - a body lying undisturbed in The One Bull (Wayside Tavern) The smell of corruption went up and out in some way so no one detected it . I think the same thing happened to Elizabeth Kentwoode's priest, ie the smell going up and out undetected.
Being a bit ghoulish, I;m always interested in this sort of detail!


message 15: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2232 comments djo, I like your take on Rupert, I think I did him an injustice, just seeing him as a spoiled brat ( remember him bumping the book down on his mothers hand and driving the sewing needle into her thumb? Not on purpose, but he couldn't care less that he had done it , wanting only for someone to "listen to me read")
But you are right, he was only a child and in the hands of fairly merciless forces. And terribly thwarted, artistically.
A kind of brattier version of Richard and Anne's son Walter in Old Vine ( I think? )


message 16: by Djo (new)

Djo | 128 comments Yes - I saw a resemblance to Walter too. Walter had musical talent, he also inherited his grandmother's wandering gypsy spirit. This is, of course, if you think that Anne was pregnant by Richard rather than Denys the routier (wasn't she naughty!), which I do.

Walter came over to me as a nice boy, but very self-centred and self-absorbed. His only real interest in life was to be a strolling minstrel, which he eventually fulfilled. As he never had any children that we know of, the genes were passed down via Maude.


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