Monday, January 7, 2013

Flashman's Lady Chapter 2

In the second chapter of Flashman's Lady Harry finds that he can't get rid of Don Solomon Haslam. The man is wealthy and extremely well connected. He moves in low and high circles equally easily and everyone other than Harry himself seems to fall under his spell. Haslam is a  real charmer, and he's so like Flashman in many ways that it may be why Harry himself has a bad feeling about the man.

Not only does Elspeth quite like him, but strangely enough so does Morrison. This seems to be largely because there's a big push for industrial reform and this will affect Morrison who uses child labour in his factories and has money invested in mining, which was also a big offender when it came to child labour. Haslam has information about the reforms and cultivates Morrison by feeding him and sympathising with him. Haslam is cultivating Morrison to get to Elspeth. When the older man falls sick he suggests a trip to his holdings in the South China sea. Harry is all too happy for him to take Morrison, but he forbids Elspeth to accompany her father.

While all this is going on Harry is busy. He's playing cricket professionally and trying to carry on an affair with a Mrs Leo Lade, the paramour of an old school Duke.

Tighe approaches him again and enquires as to whether Flashman received the money he sent him. Harry doesn't realise it, but by taking money from the man he's become Tighe's way of cheating the system and if the news goes public it could ruin Harry. Tighe wasn't a character I liked. I know he's a villain, so you're not supposed to, but it was the heavy accent that MacDonald Fraser had given the man, he was barely intelligible.

The chapter ends with another delightful extract from Elspeth's diary, edited by by her sister. You get the impression from her diary that Elspeth is not only a good deal more intelligent and more devoted to her husband than he ever gives her credit for.

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