“Tony Kytes The Arch Deceiver” and “Spiv In Love” and stories of a man being ‘spoilt for choice’ with women. The stories detail how the main character takes a liking to a number of different women at the same time, and end up in a situation they wouldn’t want to be in. The general idea of these stories is “what goes around comes around”, with the men getting their ‘just desserts’ at the end. The plot of both stories is similar. The main characters, both men, take a liking to several women.
Both were into something serious with one woman, in “Tony Kytes” the main character is engaged to someone, and in “Spiv In Love” the main character is going “steady” with someone. In “Tony Kytes” we see the main character on his way home offering lifts to three different women and hiding them from one another, one of them, Milly, is the one he is engaged to. At the end of the story the three women emerge from hiding in the carriage and find out about each other.
After the two women leave Tony, he is left with his original partner Milly. In “Spiv In Love”, the character ends his relationship with his “steady”, Eunice, and meets up with Myra. Shortly afterwards he starts up with Eunice again, but keeps thinking about Myra. Eunice realises this and leaves the spiv again. The stories are set at different times and in different places. It appears that “Tony Kytes” is set in the West Country area, somewhere like Dorset or Wessex.
The characters’ dialect and accent such as the words “thee” and ” ‘ee” being used instead of “you”; also the continuous mention of farms and ploughmen and the fact that Thomas Hardy was born in Dorset and took an interest in the Dorset and Wessex area also hints that the story is set in a rural country area. The horse-drawn carriage is mentioned throughout the story, so it is expected that the story is set before the invention of the motor car. “Spiv In Love” is set in the London area, around the 1950s. This is found simply from the description of his clothes.
He describes himself as wearing a coronation-blue suit, which suggests that the coronation of the Queen took place sometime close to the story, in the 1950s. Describing his hat, he informs us that the “paid thirty bob for it in Charing Cross Road”, Charing Cross Road is an area of London. Here we have two completely different scenes; one set in a western rural country area and one in the urban area of London. In terms of class and social setting, both scenarios are alike. Neither upper nor lower class, the main characters in each of the stories have a reasonable social background.