Books 16-35

Books 1-15  Books 36-49

Updated 7th May, 2016.

This page is part of COLLECTING BOOKS and MAGAZINES, Blue Mountains, Australia

16. The Abbey Girls again

Biddy Devine lives with her sister, Mary Dorothy, who is 15 years older than her, in a London flat. She is taking secretarial courses, and mixing with a social group whose make up upsets Mary. Jen has recently moved to London for 6 months, while her father undergoes medical treatment. She visits Mary's office, bringing some work from her father, and Mary is selected to do the work. Jen visits Mary at home, bringing some explanatory notes from her father.

Next day, she returns with Joy and they learn something of the problems between Mary and Biddy. They take Mary with them to watch a Folk Dance class. On the advice of the Pixie, a Folk Dance teacher, they invite both girls to a dance party for children in Plaistow, and ensure that both Biddy and Mary dance. The letter Mary later writes to the relatives in Africa reveals a glimpse of the writing talent which had been suppressed for so long. The girls start attending Jen's classes once a week. Joy invites Mary and Biddy to visit the Hall. Biddy enjoys making friends with Rosamund and Maidlin, Mary revels in the peaceful atmosphere and the growing friendship with Joy and Jen. She reveals to them her thwarted wishes to write, and the dream world in which she too often finds refuge.

Rosamund, Maidlin and Biddy trespass in the Manor grounds and take a boat out onto the lake. The boat overturns, Maidlin comes close to drowning. Andrew Marchwood resuscitates her, and sends a message assuring Joy that she will recover. For the first time, Joy feels something other than irritation for him. Joy and Jen consult with the Pixie again about the best way of dealing with Mary. She and Biddy continue to attend Jen's classes. Mary teaches the class for one evening when Jen is unexpectedly unable to do so. Having proved that she could do so successfully, she is persuaded to take on a class of children who need a teacher. As these new interests rouse her from her former dream existence, she hints at starting to write once again, perhaps school stories.

17. The Abbey Girls in Town

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Ruth Devine arrives in London from South Africa expecting to be met by her middle-aged, spinster cousin, Mary. Instead she is greeted by Mary's much younger sister, Biddy, who takes Ruth to their flat in a car borrowed from Jen. Ruth has long been confused by Mary's personality. For too long, the family in South Africa saw Mary as staid and quiet. However, a letter recieved some months ago told of a new life of dancing and wealthy, kind friends. Ruth was eager to learn the reasons behind this sudden change.

Ruth spends a London Christmas with her cousins and is invited along to watch the country and Morris classes to which the sisters have treated themselves. It is at the vacation school that Ruth meets some of the heroines of Mary's uncharacteristic letter, Jen, Joy, Madam and the Pixie, as well as Joy's two schoolgirl wards, Rosamund and Maidlin. It is at the vacation school that the sisters learn of the births of Joan's first daughter and Cicely's first son.

Mary teaches country dancing to a class of poor children in their area. She is asked by Joy to prepare the children for a demonstration for a charity committee. Joy is asked to dance a couple of Morris jigs as a change in the program. The organisers of the program are careless in notifying the guests that the children were trained by Mary, it appears that the crowd think the Joy is the teacher. Ruth is annoyed but not as much as Biddy who speaks out. Mary bears the brunt of Joy's anger and a war of notes ensues.

Sir Andrew Marchwood, who has long been keen on Joy, sees another side of her this evening and makes plans to leave England for South Africa. Previously, he had proposed to Joy, who sent him away while she considered her answer.

A few weeks after the demonstration, the girls meet up again at a London dance party. Mary realises that Joy is not angry with her. The war of notes was merely a venting of Joy's temper. Joy invites the Devine girls to the Hall for Jen's crowning as May Queen. There, in the woods, Mary meets Sir Andrew and suggests that he gives Joy a second chance.

The next day, Joy meets the party on the terrace and announces: "Dear people, I am going to marry the man next door!"

18. Queen of the Abbey Girls (1926)

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Dick and Della Jessop with their sister Shelia attempt to return to the Abbey but they have a car breakdown. Della finds out that Ann Watson is away in the north to see her sick sister and she meets Jen Robins on the garth with Mary Devine, Rosamund, Maidlin and Biddy. She finds out that Joan has a four month old daughter Janetta, and Joy is engaged. Dick meets Jen again and admires her.

Ken Marchwood meets Jen at the Abbey gateway and introduces himself. He meets Rosamund, Maidlin and Biddy and gives them a message from Joy who is in town with Andrew. Joy comes home and hurts Rosamund by obviously preferring Maidlin.

Joy tells Biddy that Marguerite has offered her a job as a junior clerk in her husband's firm at Lyons and offers Mary Devine a job at the Hall representing her interests when she goes away after her marriage. Joy decides to marry in three weeks time. Jen who has gone back to cookery school takes that time off to prepare for the wedding. Maid also takes three weeks off at Joy's request but Rosamund still has to go to school.

Jen is crowned as the beech queen and has a brown train embroidered with yellow daffodils, cowslips, buttercups and laburnum.

Joy decorates a suite of rooms for Mary with beautiful pottery . Joy gets married. Mary Devine goes to the village and sees Nelly Bell at the hostel, she is a dreamer she hears her story about a lost husband. Everyone finds out Joy is going abroad straight away without saying goodbye. Jen plays cricket with Ken but does not want to face the fact he in love with her. Maidlin pines for Joy and mopes. Rosamund attempts to bully her into participating and coaches her at lessons.

Jen escapes to visit Pixie at her caravan and asks for advice. Ken follows her with a message her father is ill and drives her to Yorkshire. He visits her there and they become engaged. Her father dies. She returns to the Abbey. Maid takes up singing lessons and Mary publishes.

19. The Abbey Girls Win Through

Three girls from Mary's old office, among them Ann (Nancy) Rowney, are going on holiday to the Hostel which Joy has opened in Whiteways. On the train, they meet Nell Bell, who works at the Children's Home in the village. Mary had moved to the Hall before Joy's marriage, to take over responsibility for Mrs. Shirley, Rosamund and Maidlin , and Joy's projects in the Village, during the latter's honeymoon trip to Kenya. Joy is expected home any day. Jen, now engaged to Kenneth Marchwood, is staying at the Hall following her father's death - her mother is with Jen's brother and sister-in-law.

Mary's first full-length book, a school story, has been well-received. Nancy visits the Hall to get Mary's autograph for her young stepsister. Jen is devastated to hear of her mother's sudden death. Mary, Maidlin and Rosamund are all helpless in face of her grief, and it is Nancy who gives comfort. Rosamund takes a practical route, teaching the village Folk Dance class which Jen or Mary should have taught. Mary is desperately upset by her inadequacy. Nancy is later able to give her some ideas to hold onto.

Rosamund had previously arranged with Pat Mercer and another couple of girls from school to let them into the Abbey through the secret passages, simply to tease Jen. In the face of Jen's grief, she goes to tell them the stunt is off, but the girls don't understand and angry words are exchanged. The friendship between Mary, the girls and Nancy continues to develop. Rosamund is upset by the quarrel with Pat Mercer and the other girls, but won't admit she could have been in the wrong, too. At a chance meeting during a picnic on the hills, she refuses to accept their apology. Jen returns from her mother's funeral the day before Joy finally returns from Africa. Meantime, the Cook had to go to look after her mother, had an accident and scalded herself, so her sister Grace, a maid at the Hall left abruptly to look after them both.

Nancy offers her services as temporary Cook and moves into the Hall. She confesses to Mary that while the initial purpose of her visit had been to obtain copy about the Hall and the family for a series of articles she was writing, she no longer intends to do so. Instead, she will write about some of the activities in the Village. Maidlin takes fright at Rosamund and Mary's hints that although Joy is indeed coming home, she will have a husband with her. Inevitably, some things will not be the same as before she went away. In awakening her to the need to put Joy's wishes ahead of her own, Jen initiates the slow process of helping Maidlin to grow up. Joy receives a rapturous welcome, particularly from Maidlin, who is finally roused from the half dream in which she had existed during her "mother's" absence. Andrew had remained in Kenya to go on one last safari, but should have been on his way home by now. She learns about the domestic crises, and welcomes Nancy and Nell. Maidlin eventually yields to Rosamund's persuasion and agrees to become the new Hamlet Club Queen in face of Rosamund's need - the alternative would be Pat Mercer.

Joy becomes increasingly anxious about the lack of news from Andrew. Kenneth is initially reassuring, but ultimately, news comes to him that there may be trouble. He tells Jen, alone, and they agree a plan of action should the worst happen. On the night of Maidlin's crowning, Joy and Mary return to the Hall to find a telegram to Joy asking for confirmation of the rumour that all on Andrew's safari have been killed. The shock sends her into premature labour, and after a terrifying night for everyone, she gives birth to twin girls, Elizabeth Joy and Margaret Joan. Jen and Kenneth are married quietly in the Village Church a week later. Mary "gives away" the bride, Maidlin and Rosamund are bridesmaids. Unknown to Jen, Mary and Joy had sent word to the Hamlet Club Queens and a group of friends were at the church to wish her well. Nancy prepared a meal for the select few who were invited back to the Hall. Jen and Kenneth leave. Mary tells the others that a message from Kenya has confirmed Andrew's death. As a result, the newly weds are now Sir Kenneth and Lady Marchwood. She and Nancy break the news to Joy, who, grief-stricken, though not totally unprepared, seeks comfort from her babies. On Monday, Rosamund learns that Pat Mercer's father is dangerously ill in Brussels and her mother has gone to him. She forgets her own resentment of Pat's actions in responding to her present need, and the breach between the girls is healed.

20. The Abbey Girls at Home

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Betty McLean, formerly of Rocklands School, who had known Jen in Yorkshire, and depressed after the death of her twin sister, decides to drop in on Jen at the Hall. She does not know that Jen has recently married Kenneth Marchwood and that Joy has recently lost her husband and given birth to twin girls. She is welcomed with typical generosity by Jen, but, on her way home, is involved in a car accident and has to be brought back to the Abbey, concussed. During this crisis, Rosamund displays strength and commonsense, even rebuking Joy for a thoughtless remark about Maidlin.

Whilst Betty is ill at the Abbey, Jen is torn between her commitment to Betty’s recovery and Joy’s demands. This is another example of Joy’s lack of "realization" of the needs of others and Jen is run ragged physically and emotionally. Eventually, Jen breaks down in tears and, as a result, Joy pulls herself together, goes downstairs for the first time since her widowhood to face up to her responsibilities and helps Jen. This event marks the beginning of Joy’s recovery, especially when she rediscovers her love of music in response to Betty’s requests. It is also a period when Joy grows as a human being in compassion and tolerance.

Ros is suddenly called away to nurse her sick mother in Switzerland and Mary escorts her overseas. As a result, Jen, who is aware that she will shortly have to move back to the Manor, charges Maidlin with becoming Joy’s "friend" rather than her "daughter". After a bout of her usual trepidation, Maidlin takes on new responsibilities and this marks the end of her girlhood.

In the last chapters, Joan comes back from overseas to live permanently 30 miles away, Rosamund comes back to the Hall after the death of her mother, both old Lady Marchwood and Mrs. Shirley die and Jen gives birth to her son, Andrew. Joy is on the verge of opening a Music School for poor but talented girls with Betty in charge.

21 The Abbey Girls Play Up.

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This novel reintroduces Cecily from A Camp Mystery. She has been "adopted" by the Guides, Maribel and Rosalind and is living near Joan Raymond's house. Cecily has joined Joan's folk dancing classes and has made friend with the musical widow Sandy. Maribel and Rosalind come down to visit Cecily after they have heard bad reports about her temper and supposed rudeness to Joan at a folk dancing class. They drive her to Joan's house to explain and apologise. On the way they bump into Jen who is staying with Joan. Joan and Jen both recognise Cecily's outstanding musical ability and sense that her personality is being thwarted by being unable to express it properly and they decide that Cecily should attend Joy's Music School.

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Maribel, Rosalind and Cecily are invited to spend a weekend with Joy and the Guides convince Maidlin to run a Campfire Group for the poorer girls of the neighbourhood. Eventually, too, Joy is persuaded by Jen to help Mary-Dorothy out by running a Girl Guide group in the village. Meanwhile, whilst these arrangements are being made, Maribel meets Scoutmaster Michael Marchwood, a cousin of Kenneth's and they fall in love. Imbued with the spirit of generosity, Cecily persuades Joy to invite Sandy to join the Music School as well.

Rosamund returns from Switzerland for a visit, partly because she has seen a photo of Cecily taken at the Campfire Meeting, and recognises her as the long-lost daughter of an inmate of the Sanatorium. The novel ends with Cecily about to become reunited with her mother.

22. Abbey Girls on Trial

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Audrey and Elspeth Abbot at the Squirrel House hear from their sister Eleanor that she has married Geoffrey Kane in Ceylon. Joan Raymond calls at the teashop and meets Rosamund and Maidlin who tell her about Jen's new baby, Rosemary Jane. Maidlin upsets Elspeth when she comments on her crying. Maidlin returns another day to apologise and makes friends with Audrey and Elspeth.

Rosamund finds out her father has married a girl the same age as her. She then finds out that he is planning to stop her allowance and so she must earn her living. She would like to start a shop. Audrey and Elspeth write to Rosamund (not realising they already know her) and Rosamund realises they are her aunts by marriage.

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She invites them to the Abbey without telling them who they are visiting. They meet Joy, Elizabeth and Margaret, Andrew and Anthony and Nelly Bell as well as Jen and Rosemary Jane. They also meet Mary Devine whose books they have read. Rosamund tells them she wants to open a shop and they invite her to take the empty one next to theirs to sell pottery and hand woven goods. Joy and Maidlin do not want her to go but are persuaded by Jen that she has to. Everyone helps her to decorate her new home. She moves in.

Maidlin writes to her and asks for her advice about the Campfire Girls. Rosamund worries that she will remain dependent on her, so does not advise her and a chasm grows between them. Joy attempts to fix it but makes it worse. Jen talks to Rosamund and suggests she make it up with Maidlin. Rosamund returns to the Abbey with Jen - Maidlin and Rosamund make it up.

Rosamund's father dies. She gets her diploma in cookery. Eleanor falls sick at Malta, on her way home from Ceylon. Audrey and Rosamund travel out to Malta to bring her and Roderick, her baby son, home.

23. Biddy's Secret (1931)

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Ruth Devine is staying with a friend who is pressuring her to marry her brother Gerald. She makes her excuses and travels to meet her cousin Mary. Instead, she is met by Maidlin as Mary has gone to Yorkshire with Jen. Maidlin is to go to visit her estates in Italy, travelling via France. Ruth travels to Paris with Maidlin. She introduces her to Ralph Norman, an American whom she had met on the boat from South Africa.

Maidlin is supposed to meet Biddy at Aix. Instead she meets a young woman bringing a letter from Biddy. They travel to Annecy, where Maidlin finds out that Biddy has secretly married Claude Verdier who has since deserted her and her baby Marie Madelon. Maidlin helps Annette and her mother in their café and meets the Bennett family, who are passing through the area on holiday. She decides not to travel on to Italy but manages to persuade Biddy to go home with her and tell Mary what has happened. She is forgiven by everyone, and a home made for the baby and herself. Later, she receives a letter from Etienne Verdier , Claude's cousin, who shows that he still cares for her.

24. Rosamund's Victory (1933)

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Rena MacKay and Lisabel Durrant (from the Rocklands series) visit the Rose and Squirrel and meet Rosamund who gives them tea in exchange for pruning her roses. Rena and Lisabel have been sent by Mrs Thorburn to fix the garden of a house left to her by an uncle. Rosamund tells them her six week old brother Roderick is coming to live with her.
Rena and Lisabel are surprised at how young Rosamund's "aunts" are. Audrey brings Roderick home, but Eleanor has gone to Devonshire. Rosamund would like Roderick to live permanently with her but Eleanor will not agree to anything more than a temporary stay. Rena finds out from Rosamund that Jenny Wren is a friend of hers. They plan to phone her, and give her a surprise. However , when they make the call, Jen is disturbed because her second son has had a fall and has concussion, so they say nothing.

Rena MacKay and Lisabel Durrant (from the Rocklands series) visit the Rose and Squirrel and meet Rosamund who gives them tea in exchange for pruning her roses. Rena and Lisabel have been sent by Mrs Thorburn to fix the garden of a house left to her by an uncle. Rosamund tells them her six week old brother Roderick is coming to live with her.

Rena and Lisabel are surprised at how young Rosamund's "aunts" are. Audrey brings Roderick home, but Eleanor has gone to Devonshire. Rosamund would like Roderick to live permanently with her but Eleanor will not agree to anything more than a temporary stay. Rena finds out from Rosamund that Jenny Wren is a friend of hers. They plan to phone her, and give her a surprise. However , when they make the call, Jen is disturbed because her second son has had a fall and has concussion, so they say nothing.

Rena and Lisabel meet Joy and the twins at The Rose and Squirrel. Finally, they meet Jen again and talk about Betty McLean who is now head of Joy's Music School and Captain of Joy's Guides.

Eleanor writes and says she wants to return to India. Rosamund worries that she might later claim Roderick should he later become Earl of Kentisbury.

Rufus Courtenay comes to see Rena and asks her to marry him now that he has qualified as a doctor. Eleanor comes to the Rose and Squirrel; she is unwilling for Rosamund to have Roderick permanently. Rufus says his aunt Sheila is giving him Rocklands as she is marrying again and moving away. Rex comes and asks Lisabel to marry him.

Rosamund asks Jen and Kenneth Marchwood to help her gain custody of Roderick. Eventually Eleanor agrees, and leaves for India. Rosamund and Roderick visit the Honorable Geoffrey Kane, the most senior member of the Kane family by virtue of age, and the heir to the current Earl, Geoff, a youth of 16, at Verriton House.

27. The girl who wouldn't make friends (1909)

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Robertina Brent finds out that she has inherited Plas Quellyn and the revenues of the farm Bryn Ceidio and the cottage Moranedd, at Porthdinlleyn from Robert Quellyn, an artist who had wanted to marry her mother when they were young. Robin's father is overseas so she, her mother and brothers Cuthbert and Dicky travel to Wales. They meet Gwyneth Perry (Gwyneth fawr) and Gwyneth Morgan (Gwyneth fach). The latter refuses to speak to them and hides away from them because she has been told that the family will be forced to look after her. Robert Quellyn had adopted her but never changed his will in her favour.

She has a hideaway room in the ruined castle in the grounds of Plas Quellyn and has an ally in Ivor Lloyd. She and everyone else refuse to let the English family see the secret place. Jim Carradine, a friend of the Brents, stays with them while on leave from his ship and falls in love with Gwyneth fawr. He helps the Brents discover Gwyneth fach's secret hiding place and they find Robert Quellyn's famous paintings of Welsh legends there. A week later, Robin goes back by herself to look at them, unaware Gwyneth fach is there. Gwyneth fach, furious her hiding place isdiscovered, frightens Robin into falling off the wall and she is hurt. Grateful that Robin did not betray her, Gwyneth fach finally makes overtures to her. Mrs Brent has to go to Mr Brent who is brought home to a Southampton hospital with typhoid.

Dicky overhears a plot by three men to steal the paintings from the secret hiding place. They lie in wait for them and foil the attempt. Jim and Gwyneth fawr become engaged, Mr & Mrs Brent return and Gwyneth fach becomes their adopted daughter.

26. Patch and a Pawn

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At Kentisbury Geoff is the new Earl. Also there are Rhoda his sister, Bill his cousin, Rosalie Bill’s sister and Tansy the housekeeper’s niece, Roger the doctor’s son and his cousin Patricia Paterson (Patch).  Geoff does silly tricks and Patch rows him.  He is very spoilt and needs the others to tell him how the earl should behave which he doesn’t like.  Geoff and Tansy play chess regularly with a valuable chess set which Geoff plans to give to Tansy when he is older.  A pawn disappears and is found and then the whole chess set is stolen.  Patch sleuths to find it.  Geoff receives a motor bike for his birthday and is not sensible with it.  Tansy idolises Geoff.  Bill and Roger realise that they need to support Geoff to become a good earl.  Bill realises that he likes Patch and would like to get to know her more.

Aunt Rosabel lives at Vairy and Rhoda and Rosalie stay a week with her.  Patch lives near Vairy

27. Maidlin to the Rescue

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Set in the Lake district.
Rachel and Damaris Ellerton are left penniless when their aunt dies and their father has not been in contact.  They are Maidlin’s cousins but Maid does not know about them at all as Aunt Ann has said there is no more family.  When the lawyer says he will contact Maid Rachel writes a nasty letter saying they don’t want her as she has never acknowledged them before.  They get jobs in a tea house on a walking track but it is unsuitable.  Maid and Jen go to find them and make friends with them.  When they realise who Maidlin is they at first reject her but then realise that she had not known of  their existence.  She will rent their farm and organise training for them for Rachel to be her secretary (as Biddy cannot be that now) and for Damaris to return to school to train to be a farmer.  They return to the hall for the twins’ sixth birthday.  All are there:
Joan with Jansy and
Jen with Andrew and Tony and Rosemary Jane
Biddy with Madelon Marie
Rosamund with Roderick
Three blonde girls with Aunt Barbara (Miriam’s girls?)


28. Joy's New Adventure (1935)

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Abigail Ann Alwyn is travelling by train to Joy's music school run by Betty McLean. She is met by Rosamund Kane who discovers Abigail does not want to be there. Abigail is the granddaughter of the modern composer Alwyn. On his death, she has become Sir Ivor Quellyn's ward. Sir Ivor and Joy Marchwood have been developing a friendship. Rosamund takes "Abby" to see the Abbey and then to the Manor grounds to meet Jen who breaks to her the news that Geoff, the young Earl of Kentisbury is dead. This distresses Rosamund, since Geoffrey Kane, who will now become the Earl, has asked her to marry him. Elizabeth and Margaret Marchwood, who are visiting the manor, start a fire in the garden shed. Abigail saves Elizabeth and Tony Marchwood from the fire but is injured herself.

Joy phones to say she will be meeting Sir Ivor's mother and her return to collect the twins will be delayed by a day. The twins are in disgrace.
Rosamund is asked by Geoffrey (who is moving to the castle) to take Roderick, who will now become heir to the title, and go to live with him at Verriton. She plans to ask Abigail to take over the tuckshop which is being opened at the Rose and Squirrel for Woodend School. Joy comes home and walks over to the manor to meet the twins and finds out what has happened. It is arranged for Gail to convalesce at the Hall.
Maidlin comes home from Italy. They prepare for Sir Ivor to visit and he brings teddy bears and chocolates. He hears Maidlin sing and is impressed. Joy mistakes this for a preference for Maidlin as a person, rather than for her. She lashes out at Maid when Sir Ivor sees her in her Campfire gown. Joy runs for advice to Jen at the Manor, while Ivor searches the Hall grounds for her. Maidlin decides to run away to France and asks Gail to accompany her. They go to St. Valery, not far from Boulogne, and only Rosamund is told where they are. Joy and Ivor become engaged and Joy tries to find Maidlin who receives a letter from her (sent on by Rosamund) apologising. Maidlin is called home to help when Margaret has a accident falling down the old steps in the Abbey, and is unconscious.

29. Rosamund's Tuckshop

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Woodend is a new school for girls to prepare for farm life.  Rhoda meets Rosamund at the school tuckshop at Squirrel House.  Rosamund is to  become Lady Kentisbury and displace her mother so she resents her.

Ros saves her and they become friends.

Rhoda’s friend is Sonia Raymond so story mentions Joan, four children, Maidlin and twins.

Robin Brent of Quellyn is also at the school

30. Maidlin Bears the Torch (1937)

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Benedicta receives a message from the headmistress and is to leave school for the afternoon to attend a concert with her mother and cousin. Jim, her brother, refuses to go because the conductor, Sir Ivor Quellyn, had not been enthusiastic about his earlier composing efforts. Also he is fond of Sir Ivor's ward, Gail Alwyn who has "disappeared", and Sir Ivor had refused to tell Jim where she had gone.
At the concert, Benedicta discovers that the new singer Madalena di Ravarati had been their waitress in the café at Annecy two years ago. She also sees Joy and the twins and Rosamund in the box.

Benedicta, Jim and their mother decide to visit the Abbey ruins, Maidlin, deputising for her aunt Ann Watson, shows them round. Learning that Benedicta had been a campfire girl, she invites her to stay on to attend a camp fire ceremony that evening. At the end of it, Jim comes to tell Benedicta her mother is in hospital after a car accident. Benedicta is invited to stay at the Abbey overnight. She meets Jen Marchwood, who tells her that her daughter, Rosemary, may have to have an operation and that she and her husband Ken are really worried.

Everyone is preparing for Rosamund's wedding. Benedicta notices Jim is besotted with Maidlin. She tells Maidlin that his real love is Gail Alwyn and learns that Gail looks after Rosamund's tuckshop and is coming to the wedding. Jen and Ken can't go to the wedding as it is at the same time as Rosemary's operation, and Joan Raymond stays with them. She asks Benedicta to stand by to take a phone message to Joy and Rosamund after the wedding ceremony. Rosemary recovers; Jim and Gail meet again.

Ivor is invited to conduct the David Orchestra in New York for three years. Joy decides to go with him. The twins go missing in the Abbey and Margaret is in danger of falling into the old well. In saving her from falling, Benedicta falls and is badly injured. Rosamund and Geoffrey return from their honeymoon in Scotland.

32. Rosamund's Castle (1938)

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Tansy stays with her aunt at the Dower House when she returns early from school, because of a scarlet fever quarantine. She is highly resentful of Rosamund, the new Countess of Kentisbury and her half brother Roderick, the heir. She is met by Roger and tells him how upset she is at being forgotten by Rhoda and Rosalie, who have left Woodend and gone overseas with Lady Verriton.

Benedicta Bennett arrives at Wood End and meets Daffodil, Robin Brent and Gwyneth Morgan. That night, a fire burns down the kitchen quarters and one wing. Rosamund invites the school to sleep at the Dower House while the school is being rebuilt.

During the first night, Tansy talks to Benedicta and Daffodil to find out more about Wood End, and what Rhoda and Rosalie had done there. She tells them something of her relationship with the girls, and how she had played with both them and the young Earl.

Benedicta is invited to the Castle to meet the Marchwood twins who are staying there. They tell her a secret, that they have discovered an old playroom. Benedicta persuades them to give her the key so she can ask Tansy about the playroom. She talks to Tansy who is obviously upset about the playroom and who snatches the key from her. Benedicta and Daffodil think that Tansy might try to get to the playroom at night and determine to follow her there. As she leaves they follow but lose her in the dark. Half a mile from the Dower House they are frightened by the stag, Alexander the Great. On their return to Dower House are met by Tansy who has obviously gone to the castle in the meantime.

Tansy had been up to the playroom, taken a chess set which she feels was hers to take, and hidden it in a cave in the grounds. The twins find the cave, do not explore it, but do ask Tansy about it. Tansy becomes nervous about them exploring further and finding the hidden chess set.
A few days later, she thinks of a way to frighten the twins away from the cave. She asks offers Rosamund if she can take them for a walk in the park. They encounter Alexander the Great, who terrifies the twins; Tansy, realising the danger, instinctively attempts to protect them.

Rosamund and Maidlin, driving back from visiting, see Alexander threaten Tansy. While Maidlin goes for help, Rosamund saves Tansy from being gored but loses consciousness. Tansy later confesses why she did it and reconciles with Rosamund. Rosamund returns the chess set to Tansy on condition that she will play chess regularly with the Earl, who is a good player. Tansy shows her own competence, and earns the right to keep the set indefinitely, providing she agrees to give the family first refusal should she ever decide to part with it.

Rosamund and Geoffrey's first son, Hugh is born and everyone rejoices. He becomes heir to the title, but his "uncle" Roderick will be raised alongside him.

33. Damaris Dances (1940)

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On her last night at St. Dorothea's, Damaris dances for the girls in her dormitory. She has been secretly practising ever since she left America when she was eight, having learnt ballet there for a year. She is to go to college to be trained to keep hens and bees while Rachel becomes Maidlin's secretary.

Damaris and Rachel travel to Annecy, France with Maidlin who is on her way to Italy. They are to stay for some time so that Rachel can hone her secretarial skills and practise her French. They stay with Madame and Annette at their café. Annette's friend M. Berthelot, manager of the casino, and a ballet buff, sees Damaris dancing to the tune "Shepherd's Hey" which is being played on the wireless. She instinctively starts to dance whenever and wherever she hears that particular piece. M. Berthelot is exited by her performance and introduces her to Madame Bonnet, who has a ballet school in Annecy. She agrees to train her intensively while the girls remain there.

They return to England for a holiday, only to find that Crossriggs is to be compulsorily purchased and demolished as part of a road widening scheme, effectively removing the proposed site of the hen and beekeeping operation. They visit Hiker's Halt with Phillipa, now Head Girl of St. Dorothea's.

They return to the Abbey and see Maidlin initiating Cicely Perowne into Camp Waditaka as its first firemaker. Damaris dances in front of Maidlin and tells her she wants to take up ballet. Maidlin, at first reluctant, then consents. Rosamund helps Damaris decide on her stage name, Mary Damayris. She arranges for Damaris, and Rachel, who will look after her, to live in the housekeeper's quarters at the Kentisbury's London house. Rachel tells Maid she wants to write. Maidlin sings at Queen's hall and for the BBC. Joy hears the broadcast in New York.

Damaris joins the Antoine Ballet as a member of the corps de ballet in the Goose Girl. However she is then excluded because she inserts her own dance steps and extra pirouettes. Madame Roskova, however, encourages her to develop her own version of the Goose girl's dances as a training exercise. When Leonie, the chosen Goose Girl, collapses with appendicitis, Madame Roskova summons Damaris to dance for her - not knowing that Antoine is also watching from behind a screen. He needs no persuading to allow Damaris to replace Leonie and she steps into the part with very few rehearsals. Her performance on opening night is universally acclaimed, and the papers proclaim that a new star is born.

34. Adventure for Two (1941)

On the death of their aunt and guardian Daphne and Elsa Dale find themselves stranded in London with very little money. Because the aunt had paid for Daphne's dancing lessons during her life, she leaves Elsa her cottage in Somerset at Sandylands called Min-Y-Mor. She will move to Min-Y-Mor, while Daphne remains in London to dance with Madame Roskova, who supports and trains her. She will continue to live at Rainbow Corner with another ballet dancer Irene Jones.

Elsa takes a friend Michelle Barker, who is too frail to be living in London, but needs to earn a living, to Min-Y-Mor with her. She gets permission from Admiral Sir Rodney Barron to run a ferry boat service from the sands across the channel to the island, after getting the idea from a visiting scoutmaster, Jim Masterman. Michelle sets up a teashop at the ferry and bakes little rolls called Mickies which she learnt to cook from her mother in France.

Michelle plans to be a dressmaker in winter but Elsa still has to find a way to earn her living when the ferry closes down for the season.
In London, Irene tells Daphne that Leonie, who was to dance the Goose Girl had developed appendicitis and Mary Damayris is to take her part. Daphne gets her place in the corps de ballet and Madame Roskova offers the role of understudy to the Goose Girl. Daphne meets with jealously because of it but Damaris heals the breach between Irene and Daphne by speaking to the corps de ballet and inviting Irene to tea. Mary Damayris creates a ballet for Irene and Daphne. The story of Rainbow Corner is based on a Welsh fairytale, and the music is by John Grant Grandison.

Elsa and Mor (the dog) find caves on the island and she is allowed to run guided tours. the ballet company dances at Sandylands, and Damaris, Daphne, Irene and Rachel come to visit the island.

No 35. Maid of the Abbey

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Anne Bellanne has a surprise for her 17 year old sister, Belinda (Lindy). Anne has just returned from a fortnight at Jen's country place in Yorkshire in attempt to recover from the 'flu, brought on by the failure of her cake shop. The sisters have been invited to stay at a similar hostel in Whiteways village supported by Joy Quellyn. As luck would have it, there is measles in the village and the girls are to stay at the Hall. Lindy hopes to be a concert singer, but the girls cannot afford the training. In staying at the Hall, they will be living under the same roof as Madalena Di Ravarati (Miadlin), a singer, and Lindy's idol.

On their first afternoon at the Hall, Lindy is injured trying to rescue twin Margaret Marchwood from a tree top escapade. The twins adopt Lindy as nursery governess. When the cook, Susie Spindle comes down with the measles, Anne offers to take over in the kitchen.

Young Donald Robertson keeps the twins amused by taking them out sightseeing with Lindy and Maidlin. Maidlin is unconscious that Donald has more serious thoughts about her. She is upset when Mary-Dorothy suggests it might be so. Maidlin sends Donald away and the next day his Uncle, Dr Jock Robertson, an orchestra conductor about 10 years Maidlin's senior visits the Abbey to investigate, and he and Maidlin become engaged.

Maidlin discovers Lindy's singing voice and she and Jock plan Lindy's future. The twins come down with the measles and Lindy stays with them. Elizabeth's case is only slight, Margaret's much worse and the twins need to be separated. The only medicine that works on the twins is the knowledge that the mother Joy Quellyn will be home from New York shortly.

Books 1-15  Books 36-49

Email me with any additions or mistakes at barbaracooper4@bigpond.com

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