Following on from the discussion about the triplets being boarders, what about Sue Meadows, the only other day girl in the Swiss era? I think this had the potential to be one of the most interesting storylines in the Swiss era, but unfortunately it sort of faded into the background
. The narrative voice is quite critical of the Elstobs, but surely there has to be some sympathy for Leila, who's stuck in hospital, and Mrs Elstob, who's lost her husband and is terrified that she's going to lose her only child as well. But then there's poor Sue, who's in this rather Victorian situation of being a "companion" to her sick cousin, and is forced to miss out on all the extra-curricular activities and even some lesson time so that she can "amuse" Leila. It's a rare instance of the CS's attempts to intervene hitting a brick wall: Hilda speaks to Mrs Elstob on Sue's behalf, but it doesn't seem to have any effect.
We aren't told anything about Sue's parents. Have they agreed to this set-up because Mrs Elstob has agreed to pay for Sue to attend the CS and they don't want to deny her an opportunity they wouldn't be able to afford themselves? Has Mrs Elstob guilt-tripped them into it? Or are they just genuinely sorry for Leila and feeling that her needs must come first? And we never get to hear Sue's voice either: other people clearly feel that she's getting a raw deal, but Sue doesn't get to express her own views.
Con Maynard's also brought into this situation when Leila, who's refusing treatment, insists on seeing her, against the better judgement of Jack and Joey who are concerned that it will be too upsetting (Con is only 11 at the time). Con doesn't get many storylines and I'd love to have seen her be the one, later on, to persuade Mrs Elstob to show more consideration for Sue ... but the Con-Leila friendship also vanishes into the ether
I think it's a really interesting situation because there isn't clear right or wrong: like most things in life, it's complicated and there's no way of resolving it in a way that will really suit everyone. Maybe that's why it gets left: it's too awkward.