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 Post subject: How does Madge find Miss Maynard so quickly?
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2017, 15:41 
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One of the things that always takes me by surprise in 'School At' is how one minute, Madge and Mademoiselle are the only staff, and next minute, they have acquired Miss Maynard who is not just a mathematician but also a geographer - and tri-lingual into the bargain! In another post, I speculated on whether there might have been some previous connection between the Bettanys and the Maynards? Possibly via India?

Miss Maynard must only have been 21-22 at the time, conveniently unemployed (as she was able to travel & start work in early May), and with remarkably liberal parents who were prepared to let her have a bit of a career!

What do others think?


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 Post subject: Re: How does Madge find Miss Maynard so quickly?
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2017, 16:00 
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It's possible that Mollie had to work because the Maynards were struggling to cope with the cost of maintaining their big house in the changing times of the 1920s - I don't suppose Pretty Maids was exactly Downton Abbey, but it still sounds quite large.

There's a mention somewhere of her having been to school in Paris - IIRC, it's a throwaway comment about how she was chatting to Simone during a ramble, because she knew Simone's home city well from having been at school there. Maybe it was the same one that Janie Lucy, Pauline Ozanne and Heather Raphael went to: EBD seems to've been quite into the idea of schools in Paris! So that would explain how she spoke French* ... although she did well to get in a year or two in France and a degree by the age of 21 or 22 :roll:. No idea about German :lol:.

It would make sense for there to have been a previous connection somewhere. The Chalet School was very new at this time, and hadn't had time to establish a reputation. However respectable Madge may have seemed, surely Mollie and her parents would have thought twice about her going off to work in a foreign country for an institution which they knew nothing about: it's not as if she was a penniless Victorian governess answering any random advert in a magazine.


*(Apologies for going off topic, but I was re-reading Problem yesterday and was bemused by Anna going over to the Chalet School to ask Rosalie to come over to Freudesheim and speak to Andre de Bersac, who was hanging on the phone (at the international rate!) because both Joey and Jack were out and she didn't speak French. There's no reason why Anna should have spoken French or Andre should have spoken German, but couldn't Andre have managed to say "Hello, it's Andre de Bersac here. Simone's had a baby boy and they're both fine," in English, which we know Anna spoke, after spending so much time in England during and immediately after the war? CS people are expected to be fluent after about a week!)

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 Post subject: Re: How does Madge find Miss Maynard so quickly?
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2017, 16:30 
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I think there must have been a connection but I also think that Mollie must have been on the continent for some reason because she appears so suddenly. If she didn't want to 'help at home' after uni she would have jumped at the opportunity to teach at the CS. Incidentally when do we find out she is engaged?


On your other point Alison IIRC Simone asks Jo if Anna can speak French in Joey Goes and the answer is yes. Did Anna go to Canada?


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 Post subject: Re: How does Madge find Miss Maynard so quickly?
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2017, 17:44 
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Anna does go to Canada and we are even told that she had to learn some French as the Maynards hd a French-speaking maid. Of course, this would be Canadian-French so perhaps Anna struggled to understand "proper" French particularly over the 'phone


I considered that the Maynards were like the Bettanys in that they regularly travelled to continental Europe on holiday. I could see them spending regular holidays in Switzerland, Germany and Austria (and learning German that way). Given Mollie was a school in Paris, it's also possible that she spent time in Germany specifically learning the language.

In my head canon, I have the Maynards and the Bettanys meeting on one of their jaunts abroad, and Madge and Mollie keeping-up a friendship by post. When Madge starts the CS, she tells Mollie who's at a loose end following the end of her education. Mollie takes the job to fill-in time before getting married - as women of her class often did. Helping-out a friend's not the same as "real" work!


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 Post subject: Re: How does Madge find Miss Maynard so quickly?
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2017, 19:46 
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I think Mollie must be a bit older than 21/22. She's Jack's twin (sometimes!) and he turns up about 2 years later as a fully qualified doctor so must be at least 25/26 if not more.


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 Post subject: Re: How does Madge find Miss Maynard so quickly?
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2017, 21:57 
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Mel wrote:
I think there must have been a connection but I also think that Mollie must have been on the continent for some reason because she appears so suddenly. If she didn't want to 'help at home' after uni she would have jumped at the opportunity to teach at the CS. Incidentally when do we find out she is engaged?
As early as Princess somewhere.

Though it's a good question as to who she got engaged to at that point - her husband in In Camp is referred to as Alasdair MacDonald, in Goes to It as a Mr Bennett, and in Reunion as Kenneth Mackenzie, and in a short story in one of the Chalet Books for Girls (the second, I think, some 20 years after Princess, so a flashback), her fiancé is Ralph Arden...


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 Post subject: Re: How does Madge find Miss Maynard so quickly?
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2017, 22:32 
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Back in the day I wrote a short story (for a FOCS competition?) about how Maynie met the CS.

Its years since I wrote it (or indeed, last read it!), but I think I had Maynie and her mother being on holiday at the Tiernsee, and her somehow being co-opted into helping out. I really must dig it out and see what I came up with...


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 Post subject: Re: How does Madge find Miss Maynard so quickly?
PostPosted: 28 Feb 2017, 03:53 
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Mollie's is 22 or 23 at the beginning of Head Girl (explicitly), so she would have be 20 or 21 when she started teaching. I don't know if it actually ever says that she has a university degree, though.

So I can see her having had a mostly standard High School education in England, and then a couple of years in Europe, practicing languages. Madge doesn't have any education post High school, and I don't think Mlle Lepattre does either. Madge was particularly fond of English, so maybe Mollie was keen on maths and geography as a student.

So if there were a family connection, then Madge, knowing she was engaged, could have written and asked if she were interested in coming to teach for a few years.

After the school starts growing, it would become apparent that they needed university educated teachers, but at the beginning, the plan would have been for Madge to teach what math and geography there was, so hiring another bright and interested High School graduate wouldn't have been out of line.

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