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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 05 Jan 2018, 09:08 
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That "no-one else took his place" comment is really creepy. It sounds as if Reg went round threatening to beat up any other man who so much as glanced in Len's direction! Jack must have been worried that Jo would meet someone else whilst she was in India, but he bided his time anyway. The whole Len-Reg romance really doesn't fit with the rest of the series.

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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 05 Jan 2018, 19:58 
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mynameisdumbnuts wrote:
IIRC, the girls don't drink any milk in Prefects, and that alone makes me think EBD didn't write it. A Chalet School without milk is like a pub without beer.

In the GGBP edition there is an article about whether and to what extent Phyllis M. wrote Prefects. The lack of the milk references and several the other things talked about in this thread are mentioned. I would look this up if I could find my copy. It's not a book I re-read very often. :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Jan 2018, 05:22 
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Alison H wrote:
That "no-one else took his place" comment is really creepy. It sounds as if Reg went round threatening to beat up any other man who so much as glanced in Len's direction!


Yes, that "she's my property" way of thinking is creepy. But, in my experience, it's also the way many men think and behave.

I found out an ex who was hoping to get back together with me, told a guy I was chatting to at a party, that were still together. When I found out I was furious but it was too late and the other guy was scared off.

It could also be read as Reg knows Len is not thinking of boys in 'that' way but eventually she will, and he wants to be front and centre when she does. He knows that on Platz he has no competition, but she will expand her horizons at uni and meet many more people there so the engagement MUST happen before she leaves.

That's why I think Prefects is pushing too hard for the happy ending. The very second Len realises Reg is more than just a friend to her, she gets engaged. Why not give her (and him!) some time?

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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Jan 2018, 09:36 
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There's a really nice section in one of the Lorna Hill Wells books, in which Mariella and Robin have an "understanding" but aren't yet officially engaged, and Mariella thinks how nice it is that they've got this time in which to be enjoying each other's company and getting to know each other better before being caught up in a welter of wedding arrangements and planning to set up home together and everything being "official". I think we can assume that Madge and Jem had that too. With Joey and Jack, as with many couples, the political situation got in the way, but it's something Len and Reg might have had, and don't. They could at least have had the summer, before Len went off to Oxford.

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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 06 Jan 2018, 13:15 
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It also happens with Gillian Linton and Peter and they actually go out on dates. I can't really imagine Len being allowed to go off with Reg even for a walk - or would she be able to with so many siblings around (why don't you take the twins/Mike/Cecil?)


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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 09 Jan 2018, 02:10 
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I like the way EBD handles it in Janie Steps In. David is interested in Nan, and Janie tells her to take it slow - she doesn't know very many young men, and is from a fairly sheltered background, and they haven't spent much time together, while David has been out in the world for years. And it's a couple of years between that conversation and a formal engagement.

With Gillian and Peter, or Madge and Jem, it seems like a more normal romance, because we see them interacting as adults, and even on dates. But they're both very fast - Gillian meets Peter midway through the term, and is engaged by the Christmas play, and Madge and Jem meet part way through the term (aside from that brief meeting at the end of School of) and are engaged by the end. So a couple of months of occasional contact from first meeting to engagement. And the women are working full time at a boarding school, so it's not like they were spending every evening together, or hours on the phone.

With Joey and Jack, or Janie and Julian, we see them transition into an adult friendship before the romance. The man is definitely interested first, but recognizes that the woman is not ready, and is willing to wait. Joey goes off to India for an extended visit, and Janie goes to Europe to study at the conservatory, where they would meet lots of new people, some of them young men. Reg is not only plotting to nail Len down before she meets any other men, he goes to her parents when she's only sixteen and not even allowed to date yet, to firmly stake his claim. And he's being obvious enough that in Prefects, people like Mary-Lou and Con are commenting that Reg will get what he wants.

With Len , Reg is basically the only eligible man she knows. She lives in a small isolated community where the male demographic goes from small children to trained doctors with nothing in between except her brothers. They don't socialize with the locals. She goes to a girls only boarding school.

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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 09 Jan 2018, 04:51 
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jennifer wrote:

With Gillian and Peter, or Madge and Jem, it seems like a more normal romance, because we see them interacting as adults, and even on dates. But they're both very fast - Gillian meets Peter midway through the term, and is engaged by the Christmas play, and Madge and Jem meet part way through the term (aside from that brief meeting at the end of School of) and are engaged by the end. So a couple of months of occasional contact from first meeting to engagement. And the women are working full time at a boarding school, so it's not like they were spending every evening together, or hours on the phone.



It's interesting looking at this from the perspective of 2018, but I've never had an issue with it either as a teenager - on first read - or in later reads as an adult. I think it's because my parents had only been dating for 10 weeks before they got engaged and nobody thought that unusual. This was in 1957 and my mother had just broken off her engagement to another chap - for timings, they broke up at New Year, Mum and Dad had their first date in early February and were engaged by the middle of April 1957. For the record, it wasn't a shotgun affair as the wedding wasn't until March 1958 - and I arrived in August 1960 :oops:

I actually thought both romances were lovely and seemed just right. Far more so than the later efforts.


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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 09 Jan 2018, 09:44 
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jennifer wrote:
I like the way EBD handles it in Janie Steps In. David is interested in Nan, and Janie tells her to take it slow - she doesn't know very many young men, and is from a fairly sheltered background, and they haven't spent much time together, while David has been out in the world for years. And it's a couple of years between that conversation and a formal engagement.


Joey actually says this - that Len only knows her boy cousins and the Richardsons who are practically adopted brothers, so she should meet more men before deciding. That was in Reunion.

Then a few books later she abruptly changes her mind and agrees to Len being engaged before she has even left school. To me, that is one of the biggest indications Prefects was not wholly the work of EBD.

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With Gillian and Peter, or Madge and Jem, it seems like a more normal romance, because we see them interacting as adults, and even on dates.

With Joey and Jack, or Janie and Julian, we see them transition into an adult friendship before the romance.


And Gillian and Madge are both adult women with careers before getting engaged so they had a chance to see something of the world and meet other men. Madge even receives a proposal from a stranger on the train!

While Joey and Janie are both young, they are at least adults, had both been away from the sheltered environment of home and had a chance to meet other men.

And that's what Reg DOESN'T want Len to do. He deliberately grabs her before she leaves his orbit and that's why it feels unfair for her. Her first chance to expand her horizons and meet new people and he insists on imposing a massive tie like an engagement. It makes you wonder just how insecure the guy was to do that.

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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 09 Jan 2018, 10:21 
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It's possible that the idea was just to tie up loose ends before the end of the series. Margot's decision also seems very rushed. OK, she was going to have several years at university before committing herself to entering a convent, so there was plenty of time for her to think it over, but the last girl (one of Gay and Jacynth's friends - Mary?) who said that she wanted to become a nun had very sensibly talked it over with the abbess at the convent she hoped to enter, whereas Margot hasn't really gone into it very thoroughly.

This sometimes happens when a TV series hasn't been recommissioned - either there's a huge rush to tie up the loose ends, or else viewers are left to wonder for all eternity whether X and Y got together in the end, etc, and neither way is ever very satisfactory.

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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 09 Jan 2018, 10:22 
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Joyce wrote:
jennifer wrote:
I like the way EBD handles it in Janie Steps In. David is interested in Nan, and Janie tells her to take it slow - she doesn't know very many young men, and is from a fairly sheltered background, and they haven't spent much time together, while David has been out in the world for years. And it's a couple of years between that conversation and a formal engagement.


Joey actually says this - that Len only knows her boy cousins and the Richardsons who are practically adopted brothers, so she should meet more men before deciding. That was in Reunion.

Then a few books later she abruptly changes her mind and agrees to Len being engaged before she has even left school. To me, that is one of the biggest indications Prefects was not wholly the work of EBD.


Either that or EBD was fully aware Prefects was likely to be her last book and wanted to tie up the lose ends. She died soon after she signed the agreement for it to published, so may not have been up to writing a great book due to ill health.

Who knows, she may have also had a vision and realised there would be future writers out there who would write fill ins, drabbles etc and would refuse to join Reg and Len together like she wanted, so did it the way she did, to force us to deal with it in every drabble/book about Len's future! :wink: :lol: She's probably having a chuckle at our expense and frustration!

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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 09 Jan 2018, 12:52 
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Alison H wrote:
. Margot's decision also seems very rushed. OK, she was going to have several years at university before committing herself to entering a convent, so there was plenty of time for her to think it over, but the last girl (one of Gay and Jacynth's friends - Mary?) who said that she wanted to become a nun had very sensibly talked it over with the abbess at the convent she hoped to enter, whereas Margot hasn't really gone into it very thoroughly.


But it is very clearly hinted at in Theodora. So I think we can assume that she had been thinking about it in the intervening years, even if rather reluctantly. And when she is talking about it to her peers in Althea/Prefects (whichever one it is), she clearly has thought about the implications.


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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 09 Jan 2018, 23:34 
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The romance between Reg and Len was clearly meant to shadow that between Jack and Joey and there are several parallels (the knowing each other from the female "young age", the man being ready before the woman, the man speaking to the legal guardians some time before the woman was aware of the situation, hints in earlier books, hints other people are aware of the situation when the woman isn't plus a "disaster" that triggers the engagement).

It doesn't work as well because the writing is poorer and Len is, in many ways, in a more restricted situation than Joey was (but that, in itself, is partly a function of the poorer writing - for example, there's no interaction with the locals from Gornetz village or the Platz that we are shown, nor are there local friends, both of which are there in the Tyrol books)

I agree that the Reg/Len situation was intended to bring the arc to a neat closure. The problems are those of the standard of writing which had been clearly deteriorating for several books before this one


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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Jan 2018, 00:01 
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The romance between Reg and Len was clearly meant to shadow that between Jack and Joey and there are several parallels.... the man speaking to the legal guardians some time before the woman was aware of the situation

When did Jack speak to Madge and Jem about Jo? I thought Madge was surprised when she walked in on the 'solid lump of comfort' scene?

I think Jack should have told Reg to back off and not push for an engagement. He was well placed to give advice precisely because he had been in that exact situation himself. But unlike Reg, he had been willing to step back and let Jo go away without being tied down.

It's one thing for Len to realise that she cares for Reg as more than a friend; it's a big step to go from there to being engaged before Len has really had time to explore her feelings.


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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Jan 2018, 00:14 
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Victoria wrote:
I agree that the Reg/Len situation was intended to bring the arc to a neat closure. The problems are those of the standard of writing which had been clearly deteriorating for several books before this one


Yep, and this is why I don't get the constant bashing he receives on this board. Several other characters are written poorly in the last few books as well, for example Miss Annersley, but because they're popular everyone is quick to blame the poor writing rather than the character. Reg isn't allowed that excuse, he's firmly labelled as a creep/control freak, and all the positive things about his character that we're shown prior to the situation with Len - his hard work becoming a doctor against the odds, his dedication to his job, his caring friendship with Phoebe, his loyalty to Jack for taking him under his wing - are ignored.

It's made pretty clear in Reunion that EBD was intending to do something similar to the Jo/Jack courtship with Reg and Len. In that book, Jack and Jo are pleased at Reg's interest, but they want Len to have the chance to look around a bit before committing herself. If the series had carried on after Prefects, I'm pretty sure it would have followed that course: Reg merely declaring his interest to Len before she heads off to Oxford, with the engagement not occurring until after she had her degree. It's only rushed because Prefects was definitely going to be the last book and EBD/her publishers wanted everything tied up neatly. Therefore Reg's interest has to be made much more obvious both to Len and the reader, and has the unfortunate effect, coupled with the poor quality of writing, of making him look possessive instead of just keen.

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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Jan 2018, 08:48 
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Yes - in Althea, Joey says that she can't have Althea to stay because she's got a houseful already and Phil is still recovering from a very serious illness, and, instead of saying, fine, I quite understand, I'll see if Biddy or Hilary can help, Miss Annersley guilt trips her into it by pretty much saying that she should be so grateful Phil didn't die that she should be ready to do anything for anyone. That's really quite unpleasant, and very out of character.

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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 10 Jan 2018, 09:43 
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Aquabird wrote:
Victoria wrote:
I agree that the Reg/Len situation was intended to bring the arc to a neat closure. The problems are those of the standard of writing which had been clearly deteriorating for several books before this one


Yep, and this is why I don't get the constant bashing he receives on this board. Several other characters are written poorly in the last few books as well, for example Miss Annersley, but because they're popular everyone is quick to blame the poor writing rather than the character. Reg isn't allowed that excuse, he's firmly labelled as a creep/control freak, and all the positive things about his character that we're shown prior to the situation with Len - his hard work becoming a doctor against the odds, his dedication to his job, his caring friendship with Phoebe, his loyalty to Jack for taking him under his wing - are ignored.

It's made pretty clear in Reunion that EBD was intending to do something similar to the Jo/Jack courtship with Reg and Len. In that book, Jack and Jo are pleased at Reg's interest, but they want Len to have the chance to look around a bit before committing herself. If the series had carried on after Prefects, I'm pretty sure it would have followed that course: Reg merely declaring his interest to Len before she heads off to Oxford, with the engagement not occurring until after she had her degree. It's only rushed because Prefects was definitely going to be the last book and EBD/her publishers wanted everything tied up neatly. Therefore Reg's interest has to be made much more obvious both to Len and the reader, and has the unfortunate effect, coupled with the poor quality of writing, of making him look possessive instead of just keen.

I agree. This is EBD's declining health and wish to "tidy up" the loose ends - nothing more. We may not like the way it is done but it's supposed to be a Happy End to the series.


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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 11 Jan 2018, 09:46 
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Aquabird wrote:
Yep, and this is why I don't get the constant bashing he receives on this board.


For me, it's because he's not a well rounded character. And this is largely as a result of the poor writing later in the series.

The book he features in heavily (Rescue) he is sulky and jealous.

Years go by when his personality and growth, both professionally and personally, occur but that all happens off screen.

Then he appears a little bit in Reunion where we discover he's 'spoken' to Jack about Len. So straight away he's coming across as a tad creepy.

From then onwards he's mentioned much more often but always in the context of keeping an eye on Len and wanting to be more than matey with her - he is 'stalker' guy.

And we don't see him and Len interacting as friends the same way we did with Jack and Joey which would have given their relationship a more well rounded nature.

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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 11 Jan 2018, 10:05 
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His relationship with Phoebe is completely forgotten in the later books, as well. Maybe he could have impressed Len by being a nice brevet uncle to Phoebe's kids, especially as Lucy was Felicity's best friend.

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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 11 Jan 2018, 15:25 
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Having just finished Prefects I have come to the conclusion that it was not written by EBD as the style, language and personalities of some characters do not fit with the previous books. In my opinion Althea was probably started when EBD was experiencing health problems and was intended to be the final book. However, as EBD’s health began to fail it was clear that she would not be able to complete that final book and so Phyllis took it upon herself to finish the series with the writing of Prefects. That’s my theory anyway :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Phyillis Matthewman and the Chalet School
PostPosted: 11 Jan 2018, 20:02 
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The last chapter's really not very EBD at all. It's quite saucy by CS standards :lol: :lol: . Reg is in bed, presumably wearing nothing but a pair of PJs (maybe borrowed from Jack or Stephen :lol: ). Len goes into the bedroom, on her own, and Reg, still in bed, puts his arms round her!

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