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 Post subject: Re: Books: Theodora and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 16 Nov 2017, 16:53 
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I always just took that to mean that all the other girls, their parents and the teachers were made aware that Ted had been expelled, and maybe any visitors who'd seen the bareback riding display thing were discreetly made aware that the girl responsible was no longer at the school ... although the word "publicly" does make it sound as if the school had taken out an advert in the London Gazette or something :roll: :lol:.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Theodora and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 16 Nov 2017, 22:02 
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Love Con in this book. She was a tad blunt maybe, but Len's pussyfooting around Margot's jealousy wasn't getting anywhere, Margot needed to be told point-blank how disgusting her behavior was, and I love how Con does it, all dignified and cold.


Len does this again and I often think the way Len handles Margot (wanting to shield her from getting into trouble) is very much the same way she handles Jack in later years. I think Len struggles with seeing and accepting the worst about someone and does seem to struggle with allowing that person to have to face the consequences of their behavior. Len seems to take more responsibility for someone's bad behavior than the person in question does for themselves.

I think Margot should have been punished more however, I wonder if Hilda tends to keep the private bad behavior quiet. In Problem, when Joan eavesdrops and then runs away, other than apologizing the the Carey's and the mistresses involved, she isn't punished after a very thorough talking to from Hilda. I know Hilda gives Margot a thorough talking to and Jack is only told as Hilda doesn't know what to do about the clock. I wonder if Hilda didn't like publicly punishing someone if the behavior was less known? Margot was also repentant about her behavior and that does go a long way with Hilda as it had after Joan, Dianna, Marion etc.

The School only ever expelled when the girl in question wasn't repentant. Thekla wasn't repentant and Mademoiselle said she would have reconsidered had she expressed sorrow for her behavior. Betty had to be as her life wouldn't have been worth living, but Hilda does try to help her afterwards. Hilda does say to Margot after the bookend incident that it was her last chance as she couldn't risk the danger to the other girls.

I do like in Ruey that EBD does show Margot's up and downs with trying really hard to pull herself up

I only have the abridged version so don't know if there is more that was cut out in the Armada books and therefore we don't see the fuller story of the clock incident. (I do know it's one of the more heavily cut books).

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Theodora and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 17 Nov 2017, 00:02 
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I think EBD planned that Margot would be a reformed character after this incident. At the end of the book we are fast-forwarded to an older Margot who tells Hilda that the clock helped her during bad times. She also mentions her 'heart's desire' which is the first intimation that she plans to become a nun. Sadly, EBD doesn't allow her to reform completely, perhaps because she couldn't let Margot's wickedness go for some reason. There could have been another story for Margot in Triplets which showed her in a good light for once.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Theodora and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 17 Nov 2017, 02:17 
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This was a favourite when I first read it, when I was the right age. I had a lot of sympathy for Ted, and liked the way her friendship with Len and Rosamund developed.

I feel now that Mary Lou took too much on herself, or was allowed to take too much on. Prefects dealing with things like the Lost Property prank is one thing; this was much more serious.

I also think it was very unfair of her to bring up Ted's past history, which she wasn't even supposed to know about. Ted had done nothing wrong, and it went against everything Joey had said about her having a fresh start.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Theodora and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 17 Nov 2017, 08:25 
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The HB version does have more detail about Margot struggling with her devil, if I recall correctly, which makes her a bit more sympathetic.

The problem with a truly reformed Margot would be that she could eclipse Len, as she has a much stronger personality. With Margot as the bad girl, and Con lost in a dream, Len can be in the forefront of the story.

I know Mary-Lou means well here, and is trying to both help the triplets and keep Joey from worrying, but I do think she oversteps when she asks to go along on the half-term trip. The mistresses know what's going on, and would be perfectly capable of handling it.

I suspect Mary-Lou would have a hard time adapting to Oxford. She's bright and energetic, kind and hardworking, a natural leader, and goes out of her way to help people. But she's also coming from a pretty sheltered background - first, a small town where she didn't mix with the locals, then the CS, where right from the start, she was part of the inner circle. And, for a variety of reasons, she's been extra special at the CS, and repeatedly told that she can get away with things that other people can't, and solve problems no one else can. It caused some problems with Miss Ferrars, but the solution was for Miss Ferrars to change her mind and realize that yes, Mary-Lou was special.

At Oxford, I can see her, with the best of intentions, ploughing in to fix fellow students, and getting into a mess as a result, particularly if things blow up and she finds out that the authorities aren't backing her. Or trying her breezy, among-equals style of conversation on crusty old professors who really aren't all that keen on women getting degrees in the first place. I think she'd eventually figure things out, but it could get pretty bad before that.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Theodora and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 17 Nov 2017, 08:54 
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The mistresses played along with it, though. Mlle de Lachennais should have been severely reprimanded by Miss Annersley for disclosing confidential information about Ted to another girl. She should have kindly and politely thanked Mary-Lou for the heads up, and told her to go off to Ticino and enjoy the break with her own friends.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Theodora and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 17 Nov 2017, 10:55 
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I fail to see why ML should have any problems at all once at university. She never allows the fact that people praise her constantly go to her head, and is willing to listen to her friends' advice. She's mature, competent, hard-working, thoughtful, selfless, caring, always willing to go out on a limb for folk, and is able to laugh at herself - always a saving grace

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Theodora and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 17 Nov 2017, 15:47 
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...and besides, she was at university in a fictionalised version of England almost sixty years ago, where her author would never have allowed her to have serious problems. :|

Tempting as it may be for people to speculate on what would have happened to her at university as we ourselves have experienced it in the real world, it remains speculation. I think she would have fitted in pretty well, too, Mary - Oxford always did offer places based on character as well as brain power, after all, and if your face fitted, so to speak, you might well be OK if eccentric or a Personality. And even then, universities would normally have other people around to help students with problems.

Back to the book, though - like JayB, I read this when I was the right age, although admittedly on the upper end of it. By contrast, despite liking Ted very much, I've never been entirely comfortable with it, particularly the ending, where my relief at the apparent resolution is tinged with feeling deeply sorry for just about everyone (with the possible exception of Ted's mother). The clock episode is a little too moralistic (Vaizey-esque!) for my taste, especially since, as Alison H has already commented, the whole Emmy-leaving-being-a-secret thing is so obviously a plot device. The moral of the clock would have stood up just as well without, but I do think working a story out backwards was a favourite device of EMBD's.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Theodora and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 17 Nov 2017, 17:21 
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Alison H wrote:
I always just took that to mean that all the other girls, their parents and the teachers were made aware that Ted had been expelled, and maybe any visitors who'd seen the bareback riding display thing were discreetly made aware that the girl responsible was no longer at the school ... although the word "publicly" does make it sound as if the school had taken out an advert in the London Gazette or something :roll: :lol:.


I always imagined Ted on some kind of stage with the school gathered round while the head reads a list of her faults and declares her outcast, like an extreme version of what happened to Jane Eyre!

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Theodora and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 17 Nov 2017, 21:14 
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I don't think Mary Lou's words to Len about leaving her sisters alone had much lasting impact, because she gets completely the opposite message at home.

And what were Len and Con supposed to do? Margot and Emerence were breaking rules; once they knew about it, the other two couldn't turn a blind eye, or they too (and Ted and Rosamund) would have been complicit in the rule breaking. .


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Theodora and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 17 Nov 2017, 22:07 
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The clock incident, set apart from the context of Margot's treatment of Ted, is interesting because it's more a question of unwritten rules and etiquette and knowing that something wasn't the Done Thing than actual school rules. We know that borrowing wasn't allowed, but I doubt that there was an official rule that girls weren't meant to give or receive expensive presents from each other, because the situation would never usually have arisen.

I feel a bit sorry for Emerence in all this. OK, she knew that it wasn't the done thing, but her dad had given her money to buy leaving presents for her friends, and Margot had been her closest friend for years and there was a real chance that they'd never see each other again, and she was trying to do something nice by getting Margot something that she really liked. And then, the next thing she knew, this almighty row had kicked off. It must have ruined her last few days at school, and finding out that her best friend had treated another person so badly must have been a nasty shock. She, like Ted, is collateral damage is Margot's jealousy of her sisters' friendships, and it's sad for both of them.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Theodora and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 17 Nov 2017, 22:32 
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There was a school rule about handing money/cheques into Bank, which presumably was partly intended to prevent that kind of extravagance, especially when the girl with money was influenced by a much stronger personality.

From the triplets' point of view, Margot's acceptance of the clock was primarily against a home rule, not a school rule - they all knew their parents wouldn't allow Margot to accept such a valuable gift.

(Nicola Marlow has qualms of conscience for similar reasons when Miranda gives her an expensive, nearly new, but unwanted posh frock.)


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Theodora and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 17 Nov 2017, 22:51 
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I am another who does not think that Mary Lou would have had many problems at Oxford. She was friendly, mature, caring and good at working people out. When she did go wrong with Kathy, she was sorry and wanted to make amends. I think at Oxford she would have helped the homesick and those who wanted to fit in but didn't know how.

Whilst she had been sheltered from life before joining the CS a lot had happened to her since. She had lost her father and seen the great sadness of her mother and gran. She had lost her gran and done her best to go forward then her stepfather had gone and she was left with her mother and Verity. She had seen her mother through her illness until her death. I would have thought that she then would have drifted a little from Verity with the family tie gone and Verity's marriage and motherhood.

We never hear of her having problems at Oxford and she is happy to go on with her career. She was also still presumably close to Clem and Tony and also Vi.

Margot was a problem for the CS staff to deal with but if they were brought in at an earlier time would that also have meant Jo being brought in? Apart from the fact she was pregnant could Jo actually have dealt with Margot? It seems to me that Jo has never dealt with the misdemeanours of the more grown-up Margot so leaving it with just another pupil made it less formal.

Also EBD wanted Mary Lou to go out in a blaze of glory and she did and she deserved to and too true she deserved her prize just "for being Mary Lou".

When Len is ticked off for running after her sisters too much it is probably the only thing EBD could think of without having to acknowledge that she had made Len perfect and as others have said Len is encouraged at home to run after siblings. I think it hurt EBD Len having to have any ticking off as in the next book she has Joey telling Len more or less that Len has always been perfect.

As for Emerence and the clock Emerence was not over bright and only wanted to please Margot. It was good though that the CS did seem to suit Emerence and she left it a nice person. Maybe though it did not suit Margot quite so well.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Theodora and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 17 Nov 2017, 23:07 
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Emerence was not over bright and only wanted to please Margot.

I think Emerence was always very, very immature for her age. Even given Margot's 'surface sophistication', a seventeen year old shouldn't have been so much under the influence of a girl three years younger. While Emerence might have felt some regret at leaving school, at that age, she should surely also have been looking forward to moving on to a new stage in her life.

I suppose it's partly a consequence of being wealthy; Emerence has never had to think about the future, or having a job or a career. But then again if she'd been more mature she would have given some thought to what she was going to do once she left school, even if she didn't need to work.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Theodora and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 18 Nov 2017, 10:59 
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Having not been brought up like a true Chalet girl, I'm afraid my attitude was very much "why on earth shouldn't Emmy give Margot a clock if she wants?!" Which would avoided the whole mess really.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Theodora and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 19 Nov 2017, 02:02 
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Kate wrote:
Having not been brought up like a true Chalet girl, I'm afraid my attitude was very much "why on earth shouldn't Emmy give Margot a clock if she wants?!" Which would avoided the whole mess really.


It was the massive cost of the gift which was the concern. Emmy broke the school rules by 'suppressing' the cheque which she was supposed to put into the bank and have the money portioned out to her.

There's also a basic feeling of appropriateness of how much the girls should spend on each other to avoid extravagance and envy. In Enid Blyton, the girls buy small gifts for each other on their birthdays and the problem always arises when the gifts are expensive ones.

Margot also knew her parents wouldn't like it if she accepted an expensive gift. I know my mother would have agreed with Joey because she would feel we had to reciprocate and we might not be able to afford it.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Theodora and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 19 Nov 2017, 02:03 
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JayB wrote:
And what were Len and Con supposed to do? Margot and Emerence were breaking rules; once they knew about it, the other two couldn't turn a blind eye, or they too (and Ted and Rosamund) would have been complicit in the rule breaking. .


There's an earlier incident at home when a window gets broken because the Triplets are playing "catchies" in the house. When Margot eventually confesses that she broke the window, Len says that they couldn't say anything if Margot didn't want to. That sounds to me exactly as though Margot would have expected them to keep their mouths shut - and Len and Con were likely to do so.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Theodora and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 19 Nov 2017, 13:46 
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Margot also knew her parents wouldn't like it if she accepted an expensive gift. I know my mother would have agreed with Joey because she would feel we had to reciprocate and we might not be able to afford it.

My parents wouldn't have been comfortable with me being on the giving or receiving end of this.

I think giving expensive gifts comes dangerously close to 'buying' friendship. I think also for young and impressionable girls, the idea could take hold that friendship is measured or demonstrated by the value of gifts exchanged. Girls like ML, Kat Gordon, Jo Scott, Con Maynard, wouldn't be sucked into competitive gift giving, but some might be.

I'd find it similarly inappropriate if Reg, for example, started giving Len expensive gifts once they were engaged.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Theodora and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 19 Nov 2017, 15:42 
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One of the girls in Enid Blyton's St Clare's books - is it Eileen? - starts buying expensive presents, and then it turns out that she's stolen the money because she's desperate to make friends and thinks that buying presents is the best way to do it. To be fair to Emerence, her wealthy father had sent her a lot of money to buy presents for her friends, and she's always very generous - doesn't she offer to lend someone (Barbara?) a collar, even though lending is forbidden - but, being from such a well-off family, I think it just doesn't occur to her that other people might feel awkward about it. She wouldn't have dreamt of expecting an expensive present back, any more than Evadne would have expected anything in return for taking Rosalie to the Riviera to convalesce in the previous book, but these things can get awkward, especially at school.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Theodora and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 19 Nov 2017, 15:48 
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I think she tries to give collar and cuff sets when it's pointing out lending is forbidden

But on the lending is forbidden note I'm sure at one point Tom is told they can't exchange money because of this rule - when I'm sure what she was meaning was swapping the physical value of coinage for the same physical value (ie 2 thruppences for 3 tuppences - thats not lending each person has what they always had) and Len not using her sister's toothpaste because they can't lend - but uses Anna's salt


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