The Fortune Hunter: A Novel of New York Society

Anna Cora MOWATT RITCHIE (1819 - 1870)

Mowatt wrote The Fortune Hunter to be submitted to a contest held by the New World newspaper. (The novel won the $100 prize.) Contest rules dictated that the title of the work, that the setting had to be New York, and that the text had to be completed within six months. So, recycling a few characters from short stories written under the pen name “Helen Berkeley,” Mowatt quickly created a tale that started with two fashionable fellows in search of wealthy wives -- Brainard and Ellery. They, in turn, are pursued by the inexorable debt collector, Mr. Badger. Then the reader is introduced to the objects of the bachelors’ chase, the Clinton sisters. The elder sister, Rachel, has become so disgusted with this cynical game of fortune hunting that she has decided to renounce her claim to her portion of her father’s fortune to escape the mendacity of suitors like Brainard and Ellery. Ester, the melodramatic, Byron-quoting, younger sister (who is now trying to go by the name Estelle) is perfectly happy to play the game, as long as it is by the rules she sets. Love is no game to Miss Arria Walton, the penniless orphan ward of the Clinton’s father and best friend of the sisters, who is desperately in love with young Dr. Edgar Chadwick. Rapid twists and turns of fate and sudden reversals of fortune characterize the plot of this comic melodrama that is part Jane Austen, part Charles Dickens, but establishes a delightful Victorian Americana flavoring all of its own. - Summary by Kelly S. Taylor

Genre(s): Published 1800 -1900

Language: English

Section Chapter Reader Time
Play 01 Chapter I Kelly S. Taylor
Play 02 Chapter II Kelly S. Taylor
Play 03 Chapter III Kelly S. Taylor
Play 04 Chapter IV Kelly S. Taylor
Play 05 Chapter V Kelly S. Taylor
Play 06 Chapter VI Kelly S. Taylor
Play 07 Chapter VII Kelly S. Taylor
Play 08 Chapter VIII Kelly S. Taylor
Play 09 Chapter IX Kelly S. Taylor
Play 10 Chapter X Kelly S. Taylor
Play 11 Chapter XI Kelly S. Taylor
Play 12 Chapter XII Kelly S. Taylor
Play 13 Chapter XIII Kelly S. Taylor
Play 14 Chapter XIV Kelly S. Taylor
Play 15 Chapter XV Kelly S. Taylor
Play 16 Chapter XVI Kelly S. Taylor
Play 17 Chapter XVIII Kelly S. Taylor
Play 18 Chapter XVII Kelly S. Taylor
Play 19 Chapter XIX Kelly S. Taylor
Play 20 Chapter XX Kelly S. Taylor
Play 21 Chapter XXI Kelly S. Taylor
Play 22 Chapter XXII Kelly S. Taylor