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 Post subject: If Madge hadn't married Jem
PostPosted: 29 Oct 2017, 13:37 
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Following on from 'if Jo had to earn her own living'.

I said in that thread that if Madge hadn't married Jem, she'd probably have intended Jo to join her in running the school. But then I wondered.

Madge started the school largely in order to provide a home and an education for Jo in a healthy location. Once Jo was grown up, and her health was better, those things were no longer essential.

The school was a success, and Madge was proud of it, but would she have wanted to carry on with it once Jo was an adult, or would she have encouraged Jo to take up a career elsewhere and done something else herself once she no longer had day to day responsibility for Jo?

Or what if Jo had still married young, but Madge had remained single?

The Anschluss would still have changed everything anyway, but I wonder how a still-single Madge would have seen her future as Jo approached the end of her schooldays.


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 Post subject: Re: If Madge hadn't married Jem
PostPosted: 29 Oct 2017, 14:01 
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I certainly think she would have kept on with the Headship if she hadn't married Jem, even after Jo left school. In School At teaching seems to be the only career she considers for herself, and by New House she'd have an established school where she's the Headmistress and business is booming, so she'd be mad to give that up and go back to England to teach in a High School or become a governess or whatever. At the beginning of School At it probably was her intention to give it up once Jo was grown up, as she was only envisioning having a dozen or so girls in a small school probably quite similar to the one EBD herself ran for a while, but she had no idea that the CS would become such a runaway success and expand so enormously in its first few years.

After the Anschluss and the events of the first half of Exile, I think her starting it up again would depend on how much she lost out financially when the Nazis took over. There's a bit about Jem staying behind in Austria after everyone else leaves in order to get compensation for the San, but IIRC there's no mention of whether the school was also recouped for any losses. Possibly Mr Flower and/or Mr Lannis could have backed her financially to help her start up again in Guernsey if she had lost too much money to do it herself.

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 Post subject: Re: If Madge hadn't married Jem
PostPosted: 29 Oct 2017, 14:22 
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Guernsey was chosen because of the San, wasn't it. On her own, Madge would probably have gone straight back to England, where she could settle somewhere with a greater potential pool of pupils. Maybe she'd have gone back to Taverton, where there'd still be people who remembered her. And she would have been on her own by then, without Mdlle Lepattre.

Madge does say they lost quite a lot of money due to the Anschluss, but I don't think it's clear how much of that was the school and how much the San. Mr Flower bought the school buildings, so she'd have had some capital to start with. And I expect he would have backed her further if she'd wanted, but she might have preferred to go it alone if she could.


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 Post subject: Re: If Madge hadn't married Jem
PostPosted: 29 Oct 2017, 18:52 
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Mr Flower bought the original school buildings but the School then bought Der Edel Ritter as a replacement for the original buildings. There's no indication what happened to those buildings (and it was likely that, at best, they would have been forcibly sold very cheaply - same with the San buildings including Die Rosen). We are told that much of the school equipment is recovered so perhaps the same is true of the San but there must have been a major capital loss on the buildings.

Now, we don't know at what point the CS changed from renting their buildings to owning them (for example, they are still renting when Le Petit Chalet is built but they appear to own the buildings when subsequent building work is done). It's possible that it was only Madge's marriage that allowed the buildings to be bought in which case, had she not married, the CS would still have been tenants and the expulsion from Austria would not have been so financially draining.

However, there would still be the issue that the CS ceases to exist at this point.

One of the reasons for going to Austria is that Madge could not afford to set up in England. Whether that situation has changed will depend on how successful the CS has been (there's a mention in one book that the CS brings in an income for the partners) and how much Madge has saved (bear in mind that, if she's been keeping the money in an Austrian bank, she may not be able to get it out of the country).
Although she was running a successful school, she's lost many of her pupils and staff. People aren't going to keep their girls at home in the hope the CS will restart and staff (particularly those without private means) will have been taking other jobs. She's got no idea of what numbers she's likely to attract or who's going to teach them . Effectively, she's starting from scratch again and, as Joey's an adult, part of the original impellent has been been removed.

I can see one likely scenario is that Madge and Joey will go to India where they have close relatives and, therefore, contacts in the local community - and which is cheap relative to England -and for Madge to start a school there, hoping to pick up pupils from her brother's friends.


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 Post subject: Re: If Madge hadn't married Jem
PostPosted: 29 Oct 2017, 19:18 
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If Madge wasn't married to Jem, the move to the Sonnalpe might not have happened; even if the San, and Jem, had been there, Jem wouldn't have had the same interest in protecting the school.

Madge might have been in a position to restart the school sooner if she hadn't been married; she wouldn't have been pregnant when she left Austria, or had the other children. In all likelihood the Bettany children would have gone to Mollie's relatives, since Madge couldn't easily have had them at the school.

She would still have had Robin to consider; any plan she made would have to include her. Otherwise, I agree she might have gone to India; she did say at the beginning she might have considered it, if not for Jo.


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 Post subject: Re: If Madge hadn't married Jem
PostPosted: 30 Oct 2017, 11:12 
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Slightly OT, but I've been reading The Fishing Fleet (by Anne de Courcy) which is about young women visiting India, essentially to get married. They were usually friends or relatives of people already in India, and eventually the term was also used for girls of India-based parents, who had been sent back to England for their education, and were rejoining their families (Mollie Bettany had probably just returned to India after her education when she met Dick).

If Madge didn't have Joey to look after, or if Joey was healthy, she probably would have gone to India with Dick, initially to run their house, and probably would have received a few marriage proposals.


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 Post subject: Re: If Madge hadn't married Jem
PostPosted: 30 Oct 2017, 13:36 
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I've read that too. There were a lot more British men than women in India, so no doubt someone as charming as Madge would soon have bagged a husband had she gone out in the 1920s! But, by the time Joey left school, I think it was becoming clear that British rule in India couldn't last much longer.

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 Post subject: Re: If Madge hadn't married Jem
PostPosted: 31 Oct 2017, 12:07 
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Would she have been able for the work and expense of moving the school back to Guernsey and then the UK without Jem's moral and financial support, I wonder? Without him, she also wouldn't have got to know the Rochelle crowd who were of some assistance in getting the school up and running in Guernsey.

I think she'd have reluctantly closed the school, moved back to the UK and got a job in an English school. How old would she have been at the start of the war? About 32 I think. So maybe she would have been expected to do war work?


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 Post subject: Re: If Madge hadn't married Jem
PostPosted: 31 Oct 2017, 16:13 
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Madge is actually no more qualified to teach than Jo, see other thread, so if she couldn't have restarted the CS back in England, then any school job would have been more likely as a matron, though she's not qualified for that either. Besides, surely she's 'too dear and sweet' to teach if Simone is!
I think it would have been one of the Services for both Madge and Jo if there were no husbands around, and dreary office type jobs after the war. What a good thing Jem and Jack appeared!


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 Post subject: Re: If Madge hadn't married Jem
PostPosted: 31 Oct 2017, 16:33 
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Jo could have enrolled at one of the emergency teacher training colleges established after the war. Many ex-servicemen and women trained at those colleges, so she wouldn't have seemed out of place. Or Jo might have married someone else by then.

Madge might have considered herself too old to go back to college, but her own abilities and whatever skills and experience she'd gained during the war would perhaps have helped her to get a job with some kind of supervisory or management role.

If not the services during the war, I think Madge would have done well as something like a welfare officer for girls in factories, if there were such things.


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 Post subject: Re: If Madge hadn't married Jem
PostPosted: 31 Oct 2017, 17:18 
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It would have been terribly difficult for Madge to go from being her own boss in beautiful Tyrol surroundings, to being at someone else's beck and call in a factory or office, possibly in a city environment. She's stoic so she would have adapted as best she could, but I don't think she'd have been very happy.


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 Post subject: Re: If Madge hadn't married Jem
PostPosted: 31 Oct 2017, 17:20 
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If Madge hadn't been married maybe she wouldn't have stayed in the Tirol after Joey left school? She could have sold her share of the school and invested elsewhere.


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 Post subject: Re: If Madge hadn't married Jem
PostPosted: 31 Oct 2017, 17:48 
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I think Madge was very attached to the school, and proud of what she'd achieved: she says so in Exile, so I don't think she'd just have packed it in after being forced out of Austria by the Anschluss. She'd originally envisioned having only a small school, so maybe she'd have been happy to do that after being forced out of Austria. She could have set up shop back in Taverton, or near wherever her aunts lived, where she'd have had friends/contacts. Those small schools were going out of fashion by the end of the series, but in the late 1930s and the 1940s/50s would still have been a feasible option.

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 Post subject: Re: If Madge hadn't married Jem
PostPosted: 31 Oct 2017, 19:05 
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JayB wrote:
If not the services during the war, I think Madge would have done well as something like a welfare officer for girls in factories, if there were such things.
Some of the larger factories certainly had welfare officers, as my mother worked as one in Loughborough - I remember her commenting that it paid well but was boring, and she joined the WRNS not long after war was declared.


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 Post subject: Re: If Madge hadn't married Jem
PostPosted: 01 Nov 2017, 00:33 
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If Madge hadn't married, by the time the school closed she'd have close to a decade of experience managing a successful school (although not as big as it was with the San's influence). With a lot of the men off at war, she could hopefully have used that experience to get into a management position rather than a dull low level job, even if she wasn't eligible for a mainstream teaching position.

Or if they had some money left over, but restarting wasn't practical, she could have gone to university and done her degree and then gone back to teaching.

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 Post subject: Re: If Madge hadn't married Jem
PostPosted: 05 Nov 2017, 21:57 
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She would have been able to get a teaching post in a private school, although probably not in the State system. And, frankly, such a school would be lucky to have her!


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 Post subject: Re: If Madge hadn't married Jem
PostPosted: 06 Nov 2017, 19:37 
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Mrs Redboots wrote:
She would have been able to get a teaching post in a private school, although probably not in the State system. And, frankly, such a school would be lucky to have her!


Indeed! :)


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 Post subject: Re: If Madge hadn't married Jem
PostPosted: 10 Nov 2017, 02:28 
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Fiona Mc covers all sorts of “What ifs” in relation to this idea in her Margaret Bettany Headmistress Drabble, which is well worth a read or re-read as some really interesting ideas.

http://www.sallydennylibrary.co.uk/view ... hp?sid=650

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