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 Post subject: Peggy Bettany
PostPosted: 31 Mar 2017, 22:45 
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Recently I have been reading quite a few of the CS books which feature the older Peggy Bettany - CS in the Oberland, Peggy of the Chalet School ( which was a great favourite when I was younger) to name but two. I quite regularly read The Wrong CS and Carola Storms and also very much like the beginning of Bride Leads.

I like Peggy. She is a "nice" girl and always tries to do the right thing. She adores her mother probably even more so because she she was separated from her for so long. I get the impression the separation affected Peggy more than it did Bride.

After Mollie's operation Peggy is willing to give up finishing school and come home to help her mother. She is not perfect though so she does have some regrets at having to give up school earlier than she thought.

She is also a loyal friend - Daphne is always her best friend - and has lots of friends.

Peggy and Bride are very close and they are fond of both their Bettany aunts.

Yet, whilst Bride seems very popular on the posts here, Peggy seems to be less so. I wondered the reason for this and others views of Peggy.


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 Post subject: Re: Peggy Bettany
PostPosted: 31 Mar 2017, 23:47 
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I agree Peggy is a 'nice' girl, affectionate, pretty, domesticated, but there doesn't seem to be much more to her character. She doesn't seem forceful enough to be a really effective HG.

She is young for the role; while sixteen year olds might be HG in the Tyrol years, that didn't tend to happen once the school had re-established itself in Armishire. I wonder if she would've been appointed if there had been any other candidates. Joan and Dickie were the two strongest prefects, I think, and Joan was Games and Dickie hadn't been at the School long enough.

Peggy shows her weakness over the Eluned affair. She didn't listen to Joan and Dickie when they tried to warn her, and in the end, it was the other prefects, with Nell's help, who dealt with it. Dickie takes on the role that should have been Peggy's, and Peggy ends up sidelined in her own book. Can't imagine that happening with any other HG.

In Bride, the prefects do all keep running to Jo for advice about Diana, but Bride is proactive in seeking a solution; she doesn't deny there's a problem.

It's fortunate that Dick came into money and Peggy didn't have to earn her own living, because she doesn't seem to have had any career ambitions.


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 Post subject: Re: Peggy Bettany
PostPosted: 01 Apr 2017, 02:35 
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JayB wrote:
It's fortunate that Dick came into money and Peggy didn't have to earn her own living, because she doesn't seem to have had any career ambitions.


I'm going to get whacked for this, but perhaps one of the reasons Peggy is not as well regarded is precisely because she, as she describes herself "an old fashioned girl with old fashioned tastes'

It makes her seem like an anachronism even in the days EBD was writing.

I also found it strange that the prefects did not bring up the issues with Eilunned with her as Dickie and Daphne take charge to come to a resolution.

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Peggy Bettany
PostPosted: 01 Apr 2017, 03:33 
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I'm one of the ones who is not a fan of Peggy.

It's mostly the way she is portrayed as *so* perfect. She's the kind of girl about whom adults would say "Why can't you be more like Peggy..." when you come in untidy, or grumble about chores, or trip over something, or argue with your siblings, or don't want to get out of bed in the morning.

She's daintily built and extremely pretty (without being flashy), always perfectly groomed, with shiny brushed hair, tidy clothes and ladylike hat, and the exact right amount of makeup use for CSland. She's obedient and sweet, with a gentle dignity, and not only always does things perfectly, but also takes it on herself to make sure everyone else is doing what they are supposed to. She works conscientiously, and gets good grades, without being bookish or overly smart, does well at sports without being a tomboy. She's domestic, and has no particular ambitions beyond helping her mother.

And there's an air she has, where she is completely sure the way she does things and views things is 100% correct, and the way everyone else should approach things.

It might also be that the first book I encountered older Peggy in was her eponymous book, when she first shows up as a deliberate contrast to how rude and disobedient and slovenly and generally unsatisfactory the Winterton girls are.

I much prefer someone like Bride, who is not particularly pretty and wears glasses and is a bookworm, and used to being a bit in her older sister's shadow. Or someone like Gisela Marani, whose is ladylike and well behaved and domestic in a much more natural way. Or even Len, who can be irritatingly perfect, but has an underlying thread of anxiety about doing things write, rather than Peggy's complacency.

In Peggy, the other prefects *do* warn Peggy about Eilunedd, but Peggy shuts them down pretty hard, and says

Quote:
I don't understand you, Joan. It isn't in the least like you. You've always been so fair


and then laughs at them.

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 Post subject: Re: Peggy Bettany
PostPosted: 01 Apr 2017, 08:28 
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I don't think there's anything particularly wrong with Peggy, but I think she's bland compared to the other major characters. She lacks the forcefulness and charm of Jo and Mary-Lou, she doesn't have interesting flaws like Sybil or Margot, and she's not as intelligent and playful as Bride. She's got less sparkle than other beautiful, dainty, well-behaved girls such as the Robin and even Len. I like her best in Oberland when she's helping Edna (Elma? The one with the dodgy boyfriend) and shows some real character.

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 Post subject: Re: Peggy Bettany
PostPosted: 01 Apr 2017, 08:56 
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I agree that she's shown as being too perfect, especially in Peggy. First of all, her dainty matters and polite behaviour towards adults is contrasted with that of Polly and Lalla. Then she doesn't realise what Eilunedd's up to but, instead of this being shown as her being a poor leader, it's presented as proving that she's such a wonderful person that she couldn't even imagine that someone else could be so horrible ... a bit like Melanie Wilkes in Gone With The Wind, who is such a good person that she can't believe there's anything between her best friend Scarlett and her husband Ashley because she can't believe that they'd do that to her.

As Joyce says, she's an anachronism in the post-war era in that she just wants to go home and "help Mummy", but most of her school year are the same. Very few of those in Oberland plan to get jobs, whereas, in the next year, every single person (except Rosalie Way and one other girl) plans to get a job. It's not very realistic that there'd be such a big change in one year, but it's not just Peggy ... but she's the one we hear about, and she makes such a contrast to Bride.

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 Post subject: Re: Peggy Bettany
PostPosted: 01 Apr 2017, 11:18 
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I agree that as HG she was too perfect too soon with no anxieties and her treatment of the Middles during the 'regency' prank is far too harsh and officious especially compared to Madge who just tells Jo to stop when she and her friends speak 'Shakespeariana.' We never see Peggy as a junior or middle only briefly in Lavender and Twins when she is definitely on the side of law and order. She seems to have inherited none of Mollie's charm and vivacity or Dick's humour and easy-going ways but rather the 'headmistressy' side of Madge during her years at the Sonnalpe. The scene with the Wintertons makes me on their side against Peggy and her well-brushed curls with blue eyes wide with astonishment.


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 Post subject: Re: Peggy Bettany
PostPosted: 01 Apr 2017, 11:35 
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Alison H wrote:
she just wants to go home and "help Mummy", but most of her school year are the same.


Yes, come to think of it her year did seem to want to go to the Oberland rather than uni or work.

But only a few books before this in Island, the sixth form girls talk to Joey about their career and study plans which are all varied and interesting.

So it seems a bit out of place that Peggy's year which are younger were all 'stay at home' girls. But maybe it was a plot device to get the Oberland branch up and running with some familiar faces!

cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Peggy Bettany
PostPosted: 01 Apr 2017, 12:41 
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Quote:
The scene with the Wintertons makes me on their side against Peggy and her well-brushed curls with blue eyes wide with astonishment.

Yes, I always think that's unfair. Polly and Lala are in their private sitting room and not expecting visitors, why shouldn't they be lazing around looking a bit scruffy.

And then later Peggy makes that pointed remark about 'being so rude as to keep your mother waiting'. Maybe it was, but it's not for her to start lecturing someone who she's only just met when she's a guest in their house. It really makes her look priggish.

Polly and Lala are actually much more typical teenagers than Peggy is!

Peggy would have perhaps been suited to the role of nursery governess, if nursery governesses weren't also out of date by then. If she'd had to work, I suppose she'd have ended up doing shorthand and typing in a small office somewhere until she married.


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 Post subject: Re: Peggy Bettany
PostPosted: 01 Apr 2017, 13:13 
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It's the same kind of thing in Oberland. Girls from other schools have unsuitable boyfriends, play cards on Sundays and lack social graces. By comparison, the CS girls are all paragons of virtue, so Peggy, as their leader, seems prissy even though she's quite a strong character in that book. And we don't see her as a Naughty Middle. Maybe she was just unlucky with the plots EBD gave her!

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 Post subject: Re: Peggy Bettany
PostPosted: 01 Apr 2017, 15:24 
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I've never been so keen on Peggy, for all the reasons adduced here, with an additional really silly one - I don't like her name. I'm sure if they'd shortened Margaret to Meg instead I'd have liked her better! As a child I was obsessed with names and where they ranked in my 'likes', Peggy was low down the list along with Mary and Betty and Edna...


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 Post subject: Re: Peggy Bettany
PostPosted: 01 Apr 2017, 21:02 
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The name that I think truly awful is Muriel. My apologies if any Muriels on here.

In a way Peggy is maybe a bit like Len but Len seems more of an all-rounder and, of course, Len is also very clever and less sure of herself.

I wonder was it partly the fact that the four eldest Bettanys had to do without their own parents for so long that helped shape Peggy's character? Maybe as the oldest girl she felt a bit responsible for the other three. Kind as Madge was they could have felt a bit isolated at times.

In Bride Leads, it mentions that sometimes Peggy and Bride felt they were the parents because Dick and Mollie were so light hearted.

Yes, I liked EBD making out that Peggy was on a higher level than the rest of the girls which was why she did not think Eiluned was being nasty.

I thought the whispering campaign might have been quite difficult for Peggy to deal with when it was being directed against her.

Should Jo and the feathers have been involved? I suppose though Dickie & Co only dealt with the girls whereas Jo pointed Eiluned in the right direction.

Peggy and some of the other girls do seem a throwback to another age but were they typical of some girls of their class? As someone else suggested if Peggy had wanted paid employment she could have done some kind of office work and continued to stay with her parents.

I wonder if Daphne did any kind of paid work? Later on, Nita and her family move near where Daphne lives.

A very refined lot possibly because of the finishing school angle!


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 Post subject: Re: Peggy Bettany
PostPosted: 02 Apr 2017, 03:25 
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Audrey25 wrote:
I wonder was it partly the fact that the four eldest Bettanys had to do without their own parents for so long that helped shape Peggy's character? Maybe as the oldest girl she felt a bit responsible for the other three.


I wrote a drabble ages ago in which Bride explains to Mauve that Peggy always 'mothered' them because the Bettanys were away so long in India. This made her seem much older and bossy without necessarily meaning to be. The story was to explore the slight tension we are told about in Wrong between Peggy and Mauve.

mynameisdumbnuts wrote:
I like her best in Oberland when she's helping Edna (Elma? The one with the dodgy boyfriend) and shows some real character.


But even there Peggy comes across as very priggish about smoking and playing cards.

And, at the age of 17, is embarrassed about asking her friend about how she feels about a guy. And she calls him a 'hunk' which now would be a compliment. :D

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Peggy Bettany
PostPosted: 02 Apr 2017, 03:56 
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Once Welsen is established, we don't actually hear much about what many of the girls are planning on doing after leaving school - instead of "home to help" or "university" or "business school" they head off to the finishing branch. So for Bride and Peggy's years, they may well have all sorts of ambitions, but we don't find out about them.

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 Post subject: Re: Peggy Bettany
PostPosted: 02 Apr 2017, 08:21 
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Joyce wrote:


mynameisdumbnuts wrote:
I like her best in Oberland when she's helping Edna (Elma? The one with the dodgy boyfriend) and shows some real character.


But even there Peggy comes across as very priggish about smoking and playing cards.

And, at the age of 17, is embarrassed about asking her friend about how she feels about a guy. And she calls him a 'hunk' which now would be a compliment. :D

Cheers,
Joyce


It's been a while since I've read Oberland, but isn't Peggy parroting the stance of the school when it comes to the cards? I agree she does it the wrong way and it's not her place to correct her peers, but I see this more as trying to help a fellow student stay out of trouble than inherent priggishness. Or perhaps it's both.

I think Peggy comes across as more head-girlish in Oberland than she does in her own book, and I think she's more interesting for it. It's a shame it's a bit late!

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 Post subject: Re: Peggy Bettany
PostPosted: 02 Apr 2017, 12:39 
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mynameisdumbnuts wrote:
It's been a while since I've read Oberland, but isn't Peggy parroting the stance of the school when it comes to the cards?


The book says this:
"The girls were free to do as they chose in the afternoon, though all of them understood very well that there were limits to that, and they all four knew that none of the staff was likely to smile on cards on Sunday."

So it's more like an unwritten rule than anything else. But when Miss Norton catches them they are told smoking and playing cards IS against the rules.

But the book is quite confusing in that way. EBD goes out of her way to say there were few if any rules at the finishing branch and then promptly introduces some.

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Peggy Bettany
PostPosted: 02 Apr 2017, 18:04 
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I appreciate I'm making quite a sweeping statement here but why is it this board, generally speaking, seems to have such an issue with the nice girls and the kind girls, especially if they're in positions of power? Nice and kind doesn't always equate to weak. I have so often been bullied and humiliated by nasty types who have been put in charge because they are viewed as "strong".
But for me the truly strong people aren't nasty bullies or bitches.

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 Post subject: Re: Peggy Bettany
PostPosted: 02 Apr 2017, 18:35 
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RubyGates wrote:
I appreciate I'm making quite a sweeping statement here but why is it this board, generally speaking, seems to have such an issue with the nice girls and the kind girls, especially if they're in positions of power? Nice and kind doesn't always equate to weak. I have so often been bullied and humiliated by nasty types who have been put in charge because they are viewed as "strong".
But for me the truly strong people aren't nasty bullies or bitches.

Well said, RubyGates. I can't see anything wrong with nice, kind girls either.


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 Post subject: Re: Peggy Bettany
PostPosted: 02 Apr 2017, 18:54 
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I have no problem with Peggy either. I do prefer reading about Bride and her gang, but I find Peggy perfectly inoffensive.

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 Post subject: Re: Peggy Bettany
PostPosted: 02 Apr 2017, 19:30 
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I don't suppose anyone would disagree that Peggy is nice and inoffensive, but being HG, and carrying the main storyline in a book, requires something more. If being nice and inoffensive was enough, then Rosalie could have been HG instead of Grizel, or Frieda instead of Joey.


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