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The Best of Sherlock Holmes

by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

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Student Question

What conditions must Violet Hunter abide by to work for Mr. Rucastle in "The Copper Beeches", and why does she change her decision?

Expert Answers

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Mr. Jephro Rucastle wanted Miss Violet to do a few unusual things that would not be usually expected of a governess. Rucastle wanted her to be willing to wear any dress that his wife gave her to wear.

If you were asked to wear any dress which we might give you, you would not object to our little whim. Heh?

Also, she was to not have any problems in being seated at places around the house where they told her to while wearing the dress.

Or to sit here, or sit there, that would not be offensive to you?

The final condition was that she would have to cut her hair short before she started her duties.

Or to cut your hair quite short before you come to us?

Miss Violet was fine with the first two tasks that she would be asked to perform but cutting her hair, which she considered were very beautiful and which she was very fond of, was not something she was initially willing to do, in spite of the fact that she would lose the 100 pounds a year that Rucastle was offering.

Later, she decided to reconsider her decision to reject the offer when Rucastle agreed to raise her pay to 120 pounds a year. For advice and a second opinion she decided to visit Sherlock Holmes.

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