‘The Three strangers’ and ‘A Vendetta’ are totally different stories but the both develop a sense of mystery about them throughout the duration of the stories. There are frequent red herrings as well.

The main interest of Hardy’s story is to involve you into the story so you would want to read on and see what happens, to see if the culprit gets caught or not.

The interests of Guy de Maupassant are set on revenge and although it may take some time you will get it someday. In ‘A Vendetta’ the story is influenced by emotions such as hate, sadness and anger.

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‘The Three Strangers is a clever story because it makes you believe something right up until the last minute. It makes you believe that the person on the run is the culprit until you find out at the end that he isn’t. This is common in mystery stories and is often used. It adds to the excitement. The main setting in the story is set in a lonely moor in the past where a person is going to get hanged for stealing sheep for his family.

There is a house outside of the village where there is a party. The party is being held by a shepherd and his wife. They have just been to a christening and are celebrating with some friends. There was music, food, mead everything you could want. The atmosphere was excellent. Everyone was dancing apart from the shepherd’s wife.

Two people were playing instruments. One was playing the fiddle and that was accompanied by the ground bass played by Elijah New, the parish clerk. Hardy’s effect on describing the party is that it’s a jolly, merry time and everyone is enjoying themselves. Hardy also personifies the fiddle as a ‘Serpent’ which suggests that it is portrayed as evil and when he mentions the serpents mouth this suggests that the ‘Serpent is a wind instrument.

They see a stranger on a hill, this suggests a sense of mystery because who would be out at that time of night. When the first stranger comes into the story he has a sinister approach.

They see him on a hill walking and they way Hardy describes him is unbelievable. He is putting suspicion into our minds i.e. a red herring because of the storm and his dark clothing. It makes you think he is going to do something or he has already done something. But he just takes shelter and then knocks on the door. When he walks in he hides under his hat for just a second, this also suggests a sense of mystery. It also suggests that he is covering his real self.

He said he wanted some ‘baccy’ but he didn’t have his pipe or tobacco box. This is also a clue of his real identity because in prison you wouldn’t have a pipe and a tobacco box. After that he just retires to the corner and puffed on his pipe. He says he is a wheelwright because they might guess that he was a clockmaker who stole the sheep, so he doesn’t tell them his real job. The shepherd was suspicious of this because the stranger hides his hands when someone said that you can tell a man’s trade by his hands.

They hear another knock. The shepherd was amazed. He said “who could it be at this time of night.” Then the second stranger strolled in. He was jollier than the first stranger and he had no suspicion surrounding him. He sat himself down next to the jug of mead and nodded towards the first stranger.

The shepherdess got quite angry when he asked for more mead, when he had drunk all of the mead out of the big jug. This is big enough for more than three men. This points out that the second stranger was quite plump. He then was asked about what he was doing in these parts. Then the second stranger broke into a song about his job. They were all clues towards him being a hangman. People at the party would probably have reacted with interest and I think a bit of fear.

The first stranger acted very cool and did not show any anxiety when the second stranger started singing about his job. He just sang along with it without a care in the world. He even pretended to be his friend. An example of this is when the second stranger acknowledged his companion. This shows that the second stranger believed that the first stranger was his friend. I like the way hardy does this, it is extremely clever.

Then they hear another knock, this time they are quite frightened. The shepherd is getting a little bit annoyed by this time and says “Walk in!” he says this in a less enthusiastic tone. The third stranger is about to ask a direction, he gets up to. “Can you tell me the way to……”

He looks over to the singing hangman and runs for the door. They all look bemused. Then they hear the sound that alerts people that a prisoner has escaped from prison. This is a red herring because it makes you think that the third stranger is the prisoner and he is running from the hangman.

The men catch up with the third stranger and he seems willing to be taken in. He gets taken to the constable and he says that this is not the man; the man that escaped had a bass voice. We know the first stranger had a bass voice because he was singing along to the hangman’s song in a bass voice

While this is happening the hangman and the clockmaker are at the house chatting. Even then the clockmaker doesn’t lose his cool. They part ways. The third stranger then tells them that he is the brother of the clockmaker. They then realize that they have been fooled by the first stranger and they are angry.

This was an interesting story to read and it had a twist at the end, Hardy is an excellent story writer.

‘A Vendetta’ is a story based on revenge. Emotions such as hate, anger and sadness run through this story. It is based in Corsica which is French, but used to belong to Italy. The way Maupassant describes the scenery surrounding the story is so exciting to read. It makes you put a picture of it into your mind and leaves your imagination to run wild.

Paolo Saverini’s widow lived in a small cottage with her son Antoine and his dog. The dog was a bitch called Frisky. He used Frisky as a gun dog. This builds up a sense of mystery because it suggests that he is into guns and might be with the wrong crowd.

One night Antoine got into a quarrel with Nicholas Ravolati, he was part of the Corsican bandits. He knifed Antoine and he died. This is the basis of the story. When the widow received the body she does not cry or weep. She swears on her son’s dead body that she will get vengeance. This is because she was angry and didn’t know what she was saying. Then the body gets taken inside and she stays with it. Frisky just howls all night long.

Antoine had no brother or relative to take up the vendetta on his behalf. This shows that they were quite a lonely family because no one knew them very well.

Maupassant builds up the sense of mystery by writing. “Entirely alone she sat all day long at her window and gazed at this village dreaming of her vengeance.” This is saying that she is scheming up a plan to make Nicholas pay for what he has done to her. We don’t know what she is thinking or what she is going to do, this adds to the sense of mystery surrounding the story.

The questions that Maupassant asks in the story are unusual in a story of this calibre because it adds to the sense of mystery. It gets the reader involved in the story. They start asking themselves what is going to happen. This is what mystery is all about.

The two stories are different and the same in different ways. Firstly they both develop a sense of mystery throughout the story. They both lead up to a dramatic finish leaving you wanting to read on. Sometimes when you finish a book you want to see what happens in the future and want the author to write another book. This is how I felt about these two books.

Personally when I read a book that is really good I would enjoy reading a sequel as well. These books were enjoyable to read from start to finish and were more enjoyable to write about. They gave me a sense of what people’s fears and apprehensions and how people can hide behind their true selves from others, also how a normal caring person can be turned into a person who can only see their side of a story as in ‘A Vendetta’. Overall I really enjoyed studying these books.


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