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 Post subject: Re: Books: Peggy of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 09 Jul 2017, 22:19 
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Audrey25 wrote:
Oxfordshire Lass wrote:
Just re-reading this one now (trying to get through them in order, fairly certain that I won't get through all of the later Swiss ones though). Struck by Jo's selfishness that she should get to call Molly/cable Madge to let them know that Peggy has been made headgirl rather than letting Peggy tell her mother/aunt herself.

I may be in the minority but I like Peggy (girl not book) as I think that it's nice to see a fairly quiet girl in the foreground sometimes.


I like Peggy too.


So do I, but we're swimming against the tide on that one.

I particularly like the scene where Bride joins Peggy in reading Madge's letter, it's such a nice portrayal of their sisterly relationship.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Peggy of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 09 Jul 2017, 22:20 
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...several years in Switzerland, with all the extra travel costs, and the sports gear, and the cost of half term expeditions, not to mention the new uniform...

Putting the Chalet School in Tyrol in the 1920s and 1930s really did make sense; the economic situation meant that it really was cheaper to have the school in Austria. And there weren't so many fancy extras such as all the winter sports outfits. It probably didn't cost much more than a decent private school in England. And there was a lack of good quality secondary education in the UK, especially for girls.

But by the 1950s, as EBD herself points out, the cost of living in Switzerland is much greater than in the UK, and by this time there is good, free state secondary education available to all in the UK. Many of the professional/academic parents identified by Jennifer in her terrific lists simply wouldn't have been able to afford the Swiss CS, especially if they had more than one daughter, and they wouldn't need to; their daughters, if they were at all intelligent, could go to the local grammar school.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Peggy of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 09 Jul 2017, 23:02 
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Well I am swimming along with you both Aquabird and Audrey!

I have always liked Peggy and think she makes a fine head girl. It's not necessary for the leadership skills to be way up front and obvious. Quiet, gentle influence is fine and I think she has that.

As for not being able to sort out the campaign against her, it seems eminently sensible to me for her to keep out of it and let someone else do it. I don't think it is a sign of weakness at all. Just common sense.

I love the first scene with Polly and Lala - just what I used to do as a child, and even a bit later. It made me feel right at home when I first read the book. I also love the way the book was rounded off with them all doing it "one last time".

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Peggy of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 09 Jul 2017, 23:22 
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There's one of Tom's doll's houses as well - that was always my favourite part of this book as a child. I especially liked that it helped Polly to feel a bit more settled by contributing some hand-painted pictures.

PS For anyone who thinks the idea of 'the feathers of gossip' at the end is a bit far-fetched, it's found in folk stories in both the Jewish and Christian traditions.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Peggy of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 09 Jul 2017, 23:40 
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Thanks for mentioning both those things Noreen. How could I forget the dolls house?

And I've been meaning to mention for a while that the feather story is well-known in Eastern Europe....

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Peggy of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 09 Jul 2017, 23:43 
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:D That story certainly gets around, a bit like the feathers!


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Peggy of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Jul 2017, 03:21 
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Aquabird wrote:
Audrey25 wrote:
Oxfordshire Lass wrote:
Just re-reading this one now (trying to get through them in order, fairly certain that I won't get through all of the later Swiss ones though). Struck by Jo's selfishness that she should get to call Molly/cable Madge to let them know that Peggy has been made headgirl rather than letting Peggy tell her mother/aunt herself.

I may be in the minority but I like Peggy (girl not book) as I think that it's nice to see a fairly quiet girl in the foreground sometimes.


I like Peggy too.


So do I, but we're swimming against the tide on that one.

I particularly like the scene where Bride joins Peggy in reading Madge's letter, it's such a nice portrayal of their sisterly relationship.


I like her too so I'll join the school of salmon swimming upstream!! I actually like the book as well - it feels like a school story should. I don't however like the way that Joey 'reforms' Eilunedd. It doesn't make sense to me.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Peggy of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Jul 2017, 03:30 
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Alison H wrote:
The families of people in Mary-Lou's year thought they'd be paying for seven years at a school in Armishire, and instead ended up paying for several years in Switzerland, with all the extra travel costs, and the sports gear, and the cost of half term expeditions, not to mention the new uniform, and then paying for a year or even two at finishing school as well. I don't suppose any of them were exactly on the breadline, but that's a lot of extra expense :roll: .


They had the option to say no, and keep the daughter at Glendower House which quite a few parents must do because the school in Switzerland starts out with only 100, down from 300.

But every time the excuse is the parents think the girl is too young to go to school on the continent, not that they can't afford it which I am sure was the real reason in many cases!

And I LOVE the fact that the uniform change was just sprung on them during the holidays. :D

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Peggy of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Jul 2017, 09:17 
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I think the problem of liking/not liking Peggy is because we see so little of her in younger years apart from the angelic toddler days. She is a bit prim and bossy in Lavender but she is obviously never a naughty middle. Neither is Bride but she appears in several books with a group of cheerful friends. I think she was destined to be HG from birth but EBD shuffled her appointment early for plot purposes. To me she's a good steady girl perhaps a bit too serious and dull, hence the over-done reaction to the Regency talk. Madge (that iron disciplinarian) was easy-going about Shakespeariana.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Peggy of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Jul 2017, 10:07 
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Noreen wrote:
There's one of Tom's doll's houses as well - that was always my favourite part of this book as a child. I especially liked that it helped Polly to feel a bit more settled by contributing some hand-painted pictures.

PS For anyone who thinks the idea of 'the feathers of gossip' at the end is a bit far-fetched, it's found in folk stories in both the Jewish and Christian traditions.


I don't think the story itself is far fetched. It's Joey running around from window to window, cackling with laughter as Eilunedd tries in vain to catch them that comes across as ridiculous and makes Joey look a bit unhinged.

I agree it's nice to sometimes see a quiet girl come to the fore and be given a position of leadership. For instance, I think Frieda would have made a better Head Girl than Joey.

I think it's more Peggy's perfection in every way that can make her come across as a bit bland and irritating to some of us.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Peggy of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Jul 2017, 10:24 
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Mel wrote:
I think the problem of liking/not liking Peggy is because we see so little of her in younger years apart from the angelic toddler days. She is a bit prim and bossy in Lavender but she is obviously never a naughty middle.


I think the same issue arises with Len - although in Peggy's case it can't really be helped because there are no books set during her time as a younger pupil when most girls have their "naughty" phase :D. By contrast, in this book we see Mary-Lou in detention for messing about in class, being told off by Dickie for shouting out during assembly, and arguing with Phil Craven.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Peggy of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Jul 2017, 12:04 
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Aquabird wrote:
I like Peggy too.

Audrey25 wrote:
So do I, but we're swimming against the tide on that one.


Another one here swimming against the tide. I'm all for the quieter girls getting their chance. I have a great fondness for her, and an even greater one for Bride.

I certainly don't find Peggy 'bland and irritating' at all.



ETA to correct a very stupid mistake. Thanks, Lesley.

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Last edited by MaryR on 10 Jul 2017, 14:07, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Peggy of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Jul 2017, 13:30 
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I don't think this book does Peggy any favours. She's fine as a background, responsible character and older sister.

But putting her at the centre of things doesn't really work for me. The opening scene of the book really does create this contrast between the lively, dishevelled Wintertons and the picture perfect Peggy. And throughout the book you just feel there are more dynamic characters to move the action along and Peggy just feels like an undeserving 'heroine'.

There's nothing actually wrong with her, but I feel EBD is trying to convince us she has a charisma that isn't there, as she also does with Len.

With characters like Frieda and Gillian Linton she just let them be calm, sensible girls and as a result they didn't grate the way Peggy and Len sometimes do.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Peggy of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Jul 2017, 13:58 
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It is actually interesting to compare Peggy in this book to Peggy in Oberland - the year when, if it weren't for the creation of St Mildred's she would normally have been Head Girl. Her characcter has not changed, and she leads by influence and personal example, rather than being a charismatic leader, but she has become more certain and settled in herself. In a sense, she becomes the unofficial Head Girl of St Mildred's.

Her more personal style is also suited to the smaller atmosphere at St Mildred's where she is able to intervene and help girls on a personal level rather than trying to influence the masses. It is rather a pity that she couldn't do ti the other way round - lead a smaller group and then move on to leading the CS. I suppose that was what she had done as form prefect though. She just needed another year to grow up.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Peggy of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Jul 2017, 14:33 
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Would agree with that Miriam.

Although I like Peggy I don't think she is perfect. She probably is quite prim and prissy and she obviously gets Maeve's back up when she tries to take control of her to save her mother.

What I do admire about her is her great love for her mother and how she tries to look after her. She and Bride also have great relationship.

I don't agree she does not have strength of character. When they are younger she is always the voice of reason in form room arguments. She also holds the Bettanys together when their mother is ill. In Bride Leads, she is to a great extent running the Bettany family - no Anna here. She is willing to give up finishing school to help her mother but not such a martyr that she is going to do it without regrets.

In this book it is also remarked that Peggy and Bride often felt they were the parents and Dick and Mollie the children. I wonder if this could be Madge's influence in their upbringing? It is interesting that Maeve, brought up by Mollie, is scatterbrained and a flibbertigibbet.

It's interesting that when she is first told her mother is dangerously ill, she does not want friends around her but locks herself away. I would say this is quite unusual in a book of this nature and I wonder if this is similar to what EBD's own reaction would be on similar circumstances?

Although I like Peggy, I am not keen on Len. Len really is perfect and lacks the lightness of Peggy. Peggy also only seems to want to help where it is required whereas Len is overly conscientious but then I am no doubt biased. ☺


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Peggy of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Jul 2017, 14:40 
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I don't dislike Peggy, just didn't feel she was a great success as head girl needing a little more go about her.
As Miriam says perhaps another year before making her head girl would have helped, but maybe EBD was eager to get the first of the clan into that position.
I like Len but often wish EBD had given her more of a character, some faults, let us see that temper she is stated to have, it would have made her more human.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Peggy of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Jul 2017, 15:22 
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I've been following the thread all week, trying to work out why this is one of my least favourite books. I like Polly and Lalla, and the pretend games, I love Mary-Lou at this age, Peggy bores me a bit but that's not the problem....I find the general impression of the book is one of drabness. Somehow, it feels as if nothing much happens, an impression which doesn't bear analysis, but it just doesn't have that sparkle. I don't like the scene where Nell addresses the school - where were all the staff while this was going on? - but it's a very EBD sort of thing, and doesn't dominate.
One of those things, I suppose. And we've got some corkers to come!


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Peggy of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Jul 2017, 15:44 
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Yes I agree Lucy. There's a certain drabness about this book. After the excitement of the war years and the move to the Island, this book just seems to slump and drag a bit.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Peggy of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Jul 2017, 15:52 
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Could it be that this is a book for younger readers? It is still probably in my top ten but when I was younger - teenager - I read it to bits. I seem to remember it could have been one of the first Armada paperbacks and my copy is in tatters.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Peggy of the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Jul 2017, 16:00 
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Audrey25 wrote:
Could it be that this is a book for younger readers? It is still probably in my top ten but when I was younger - teenager - I read it to bits. I seem to remember it could have been one of the first Armada paperbacks and my copy is in tatters.


Yes, I suppose small children would have looked up to someone like Peggy who was pretty and well liked and part of the central family of the series.

Also times were different. Nowadays I can't imagine my 9 year old niece admiring Peggy. She would find her very dull. Whereas in the 1950s Peggy might have embodied the ideal school girl.


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