ABBEY SERIES SYNOPSIS
Updated 12th January, 2006.
page is part of
COLLECTING BOOKS and MAGAZINES,
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SERVING COLLECTORS SINCE JULY, 1997
Wonderful News!! Some rare EJO's are being reprinted DETAILS
Brief outlines of each of the books in the Abbey series will appear shortly so you can find out what happened in the books you don't have.
Books are listed in reading order - the last few will be done soon many thanks to the numerous people who have helped with writing & proof reading.
I have tried to not use seagull editions - where possible for the illustrations, as many of you will familiar with them and I hope you will enjoy seeing a range of different editions. The same pictures were often used for the seagull edition as the previous edition but the part of the picture on the spine was cut off so the twins are missing on SONG and Vinny on SCHOOLGIRL JEN and so on.
No. 1 The Girls Of The Hamlet Club
|Cicely Hobart travels with her father to Whiteleaf near
Wycombe to be on call should her estranged grandmother, who is ailing, want to see her.
Cicely makes friends with Miriam and her school chum, Marguerite, who is half French. When Cicely tells Miriam and Marguerite she is about to attend their school in Wycombe she is puzzled when they apparently keep their distance from her.
On attending school she discovers that there are two groups of girls - the town girls who come from well-to-do, paying families; and the girls from hamlets in the hills who come from poor families and are at school on scholarships. The girls from the hamlets have been excluded from the clubs conducted by the town girls by expensive subscription fees. Cicely is invited by the town girls to join their clubs but she declines. Instead she forms a country dancing and ramble club with the hamlet girls. They keep the club secret. They call it the Hamlet Club and their motto, 'To be or not to be', holds special meaning for both Cicely and her new friend Margia Lane - to make the right choices even if they entail personal sacrifice.
Cicely teaches the Hamlet Club country-dances she learnt from her previous school. Margia plays violin for the club.
Cicely's grandmother calls for her and she goes to live with her grandparents at their home, Broadway End.
Because of sickness the school play, an important annual event to which all the town are invited, cannot go on. Cicely, receiving permission from a curious headmistress (Miss Macey), appeals to the reluctant Hamlet Club to abandon their secrecy to help the school. They perform a series of dances and crown Miriam as the May Queen to save the situation. The Hamlet Club thus earn the grudging respect of the school.
No. 2 The Abbey Girls
|Joy and Joan, red headed fifteen year old cousins with a month between them, are the image of their twin fathers. They both live with Mrs Shirley, Joans mother, who is the caretaker of Gracedieu Abbey. Joan misses school (they are too poor for their schooling to continue) and struggles with her studies at home by herself. Joy, a musical genius, has no interest in studying anything but music and when not at her beloved piano she goes for long tramps around the countryside leaving Joan and her mother to do all the work.|
Cicely takes the Hamlet Club on a ramble to show them the beautiful Gracedieu Abbey and strikes up a friendship with Joan who acts as their guide to the abbey. Cicely offers Joan a "Hamlet scholarship" to Wycombe school which is funded annually by her grandfather. After much heart-searching Joan begs Cicely to offer the scholarship to Joy instead. Joan can work alone at home but Joy needs supervision and the chance to "do something" with her musical talent.
When Joy arrives at school she discovers that there are two rival factions, the "Saints" - original members of the Hamlet Club who helped the school in a difficult situation - and the "Sinners" - those who begrudge the Saints their new standing. Each faction has backed a candidate for Queen. Cicely proposes that they elect their newest member, Joy, who is too new to be either Saint or Sinner. Diplomatically (as her sympathies lie with the Saints) Joy asks Carry Carter (a Sinner) to be her "bridesmaid".
Sir Antony Abinger, owner of Abinger Hall and Gracedieu Abbey, sees Joy and Joan dancing a minuet on the cloister garth and begins to develop a friendship with Joan when he tests her on her knowledge of the abbey.
A row between Joy and Carry following the mysterious disappearance of Joys outspoken "guidebook of good advice to a queen" makes for uncomfortable times in the school but is later forgotten when Sir Antony dies after a stroke. Mrs Shirley tells the girls that he was Joys grandfather and when it is found that his estranged son died two years earlier Joy inherits Abinger Hall and Joan is left the abbey, "because of her love for it". Joan can now go to school and Joy announces that another candidate for the Hamlet scholarship must be found.
Cicely is as pleased as everyone else when Joan is unanimously elected as the next Queen of the Hamlet Club and is crowned as the Violet Queen.
No. 3 The Girls Of The Abbey School
|Jen, a new junior at Miss Maceys school in Wycombe,
is enthralled by the crowning of the May Queen, Joan Shirley from the Abbey, and makes
friends with Jack who explains the happenings to her.
One of the school boarders is diagnosed with diphtheria and the school drains, the cause of the problem, must be taken up. Joy offers the use of Abinger Hall as there is room for the boarders to sleep and the sitting rooms are big enough for classes. Jen goes to the Hall earlier than the others and develops friendships with Joan, Joy and Mrs Shirley and begins to learn to dance.
The caretaker of the abbey, Mrs Watson, is forced to look after the children she had previously been nanny to in London, Dick and Della Jessop, who run wild in the abbey and discover some secret passages. They are made to stay at the Hall so they cannot get into more mischief. Jen and Jack (14 years old) "adopt" Della (who is thirteen) and try to bring her up nicely. They discover the abbey treasures - the church plate, prayer book and manuscripts, the abbots crucifix. Jenny-Wren discovers amongst the treasures a book written by one of the lay brothers, Ambrose, who had fallen in love with the daughter of the abbey patron, Lady Jehane.
Joan plans a midnight feast and dance on the abbey garth with Margia to play for them.
Dick, angry that Della has deserted him, goes back into the passages with Mrs Watsons nephew, Micky, and breaks his leg falling into the old abbey well. When Joan and Miss Macey go into the tunnels to find Dick they also discover St Ethelwyns Well, the old church, Abbot Michaels tomb, and Jehanes jewels which had been hidden by Ambrose.
Joan is thrilled with the additions to her abbey and the stories which go with them. Peggy Gilks asks the question that is in everyones mind, "Has the abbey any more secrets?"
No. 4 Schooldays At The Abbey
|Janice McDonald, an Australian girl, of Scottish descent,
is left money by Tony Abinger (Joys uncle) who had been going to marry her mother.
She comes to Wycombe with her aunt and attends the Hamlet Club's fifth May Day coronation
of the violet May Queen, Joan. The next day she visits the abbey and Joan takes her over
it. A month later Janice (Jandy Mac) writes to Miss Macey from Scotland and asks if she
can come to the school for the rest of the term.
The school is staying at the Hall because of diphtheria in the school. Joan and Joy agree to Jandy coming to the Hall. Joan gives up her room and sleeps in the Abbey. Jandy joins the Hamlet Club and on a walk with Joan, she tells about the Scottish cousin, Alec Fraser, a sailor, who wants to marry her.
Jandy receives an upsetting letter from Alec who tells her about a man who had come on board his ship claiming that he had been shipwrecked with Tony Abinger who died at Christmas, not two years earlier as previously thought. As Tony's father had died before this, he would have inherited the Abbey and the Hall instead of Joy and Joan, passing his inheritance to Jandy. The sailor had Tonys ring with seven small sapphires and engraved with roses and fleur-de-lis, to prove his story.
Joy had a similar ring from her mother, Joyce (Tonys sister). Jen remembers from Ambroses book that this ring had belonged to Lady Jehane, made by Ambrose. However on inspection, Joy's ring is not Lady Jehane's as it lacks roses and fleur-de-lis.
Joan, Joy, Jandy and Jen discover the "Monks Path" and on the hill they find seven white stones and a cave that contains Tony Abinger's diary. The cave was at the end of the Monk's Path and known as the Hermit's Cell. Jandy is very relieved when Alec writes to her and tells her the original story about Tony's death was disproved by the First Mate he was also saved from the wreck and he said that Tony died before the ship was wrecked (before his fathers death). The lawyers send her Tony's ring, Jehanes ring which Tony had copied for Joys mother. Jandy insists the ring is then given to Joan as it is "part of the Abbey".
No. 5 Secrets Of The Abbey (1939)
|Muriel is to be crowned the sixth May Queen and Jen becomes
Joan's maid of honour. Jen goes to the Abbey for the weekend and is invited to stay again
later as Jandy Mac is coming to stay there before marrying Alec and going to Samoa to
Jen is being pressured at school to drop the Hamlet Club and play cricket (no Junior can do both) because Jandy Mac had previously taught Jen a 'magic twist' when bowling. Jen, after a tussle, agrees to play cricket that summer and instructs Beetle on how to "maid" Joan. The first match is not a success. The second match is, however, with Jen taking seven wickets.
Jen travels to the Hall ready to greet Jandy Mac who brings with her a map that she had found among Tony Abinger's papers. The map had been drawn by the highwayman, Old Miles, whose descendants had farmed King Bottom's Farm, The map is of the old underground church and carefully marks a rubbish heap. Joan, Joy, Jandy and Jen dig behind the rubbish heap one Sunday afternoon to find a door in the wall. They climb down steps and go along a passage into a room where there is a great stone chest. They find six golden guineas in a bag, possibly left by Old Miles the Highwayman.
Joy and Jen return to the Hall for a compass and more torches. When they arrive back, Joan and Jandy Mac have disappeared - they were in the stone chest which hid the secret entrance to a tunnel. Joy accidentally pushes Jen who twists her foot and so she stays next to the chest while the other three enter the tunnel. Jen discovers that she is sitting on Ambrose's grave; meanwhile the hidden door has shut. Alternately crawling and hopping Jen struggles back to the garth and alerts a reading party from Oxford who dig out the missing three from the other end of passage near the gatehouse.
On a second trip they find the highwayman's hoard of rings, brooches, locket, purse, necklaces and, in a niche near his grave, a box containing Ambrose's diary and keepsake ring which is given to Jen. The hoard is divided between the girls and the reading party are each given a golden guinea.
The Hamlet Club have a dance at the Hall and are reminded of the meaning of their motto by the President who uses Jen as "the text of her sermon".
6. Stowaways in the Abbey
|Jen Robins is again staying at the Hall for a weekend
visit. Her friend, Jacqueline, (Jacky-boy) is expected the Saturday morning because of
games committee meeting. Jen awakens Saturday morning with a thrilling idea about how to
prove the ownership of the purse and locket she was given after their discovery in the
She is refused entry to Joan's room by Mrs Shirley, who suspects the cousins have the measles.
Jen has to ring Jacky-boy to cancel the weekend visit, only to find that Jack, too will be in quarantine. The Wilmot's housemaid is also down with measles. The plan is made for Jack to come to the Hall Tuesday for a week's visit, providing neither younger girl shows sign of measles in the meantime.
Jen arranges to spend Monday night in the Abbey alone, After an outdoor supper, Jen goes to bed in Joan's room, only too be awakened by someone trying to enter the room. Jen meets with Susan (Susie) Spindle, a housemaid at the Hall and her brother Timothy who is in service at the Marchwood house in Town. Jen learns that Timothy has run away because of his theft of Two shillings, and having been falsely accused of touching the absent Kenneth Marchwood's things. Jen feeds Timothy the last of her supper and sends Susie home, and Timothy to his hideout near the underground church
The next morning she tells Joan, Romeo & Juliet style Timothy's story and begs Joan to protect her "Stowaway". Timothy's plan had been to make his way to the seaside and stowaway on a ship. Joan explains that the Abbey is no longer sanctuary, but encourages Jen to write to Sir Keith Marchwood to give the boy another chance.
Jacky-boy arrives, and Jen tells of her plan to slip in to the Manor next door to try and locate a portrait of a girl wearing Jen's locket. Jack is at first reluctant but goes along with Jen's plan. Whilst at the Manor, they find a portrait of a girl, dressed in Elizabethan clothes wearing Jen's locket. Jen & Jack are trapped at the Manor by the unexpected arrival of Sir Keith Marchwood. The girls are nearly caught in their attempt to run away. Jen's conscience is too much for her and sneaks home for the locket and purse and returns to the Manor.
Back at the Manor, Sir Keith interviews the girls and tells them the story of the first Katharine Mrachwood and her teenage marriage to Peregrine Abinger of the Hall. Jen writes her will and is given the purse and locket for her life time. Sir Keith then directs the girls to a pair of paintings of the Abbey's great church, which Jen does her best to obtain for Joan.
The girls head home only to find Joy hanging from her bedroom window. Jack, a doctor's daughter insists she go inside, but the damage is done and Joy comes down with pneumonia.
The doctor is consulted and during the night, Mrs Shirley collapses with the strain.
Jen and Jack help out around the house during Joy's illness and on the day when Joy's illness is most critical, the girls go for a walk in the hills. On their return they are told by Susie that Joy's fever has broken. In a display of joy and happiness, Jen dances a jig, and then tells Susie about the paintings.
On the day Jack is due to leave, Joan hails them from her window asking about the church paintings, saying that Susie had told her some of the story. Heart broken that her surprise had been ruined, Jen tells Joan the whole story, but is very angry at young Susie. Susie herself, rushes away to the Abbey where she cries herself into a case of the measles, but rests a little easier once she is forgiven by Jen.
The paintings are sent to the Hall and arrangements are made for them to be hung in the Refectory and a party arranged. Sir Keith visits the Abbey the day of the party and is warmly thanked by all the girls for his generosity. 47. Dancer from the Abbey
The night of Roslind's coronation, Mary-Damayris announces to her sister Rachel, the Abbey Guardian, and Bendidicta, Damaris' assistant gardener that she will be able to dance professionally again. The next morning, Brian Grandison, son of John Grant Grandison the composer of some of Damaris' ballets, pays a call on Damaris at the Abbey.
Rachel is upset by the prospect of Damaris returning to the stage and is grateful when Damaris is told that she will need six month's training and massage treatment before she can begin performing again. It is Rachel's hope that Damaris will marry and settle down.
On a visit to Bell's Farm next door, Brian and Benedicta examine a bowl in a field which animals use as a drinking trough. The members of a tea party held by Jen at the manor visit the Abbey and are excited by the story told by old Mrs Edwards. The story goes back several generations and reveals that Ambrose himself left the bowl, part of the Abbey church font in the field in an attempt to hide it from King Henry's men who had destroyed the Abbey.
Damaris works hard but is upset when Rachel asks her after a musical evening at the Hall whom Damaris thinks Brian comes to visit. Damaris is forced to face her feelings for Brian, when Rachel suggests that is Benedicta that he visits.
After completion of Damaris' training, she and Rachel head north to their old farm. It is there that Damaris decides that she cares enough for Brian to give up her dancing career. Brian is summoned and proposes to Damaris.
Damaris' first performance is eagerly awaited and she is given a standing ovation as she leaps on stage for the first time. Brian is overwhelmed by the response to Damaris' return.
The next morning, Damaris is back home at the Abbey dressed in shorts and working in her garden waiting for Brian's visit and convinces him that she is ready to give up her career with a June wedding.
7. Schoolgirl Jen at the Abbey
|Jen is staying with Joan at the Abbey again, as her family are away from home. Joy and Mrs Shirley have gone to the seaside as Joy needs to recuperate from measles. As they wait for Jandy Mac to make a farewell visit, Jen discovers the beloved old elm tree outside the Abbey must be removed because of disease. She meets Vinny Miles, from a nearby farm, who also regrets the tree's passing, as Joan used to tell the children stories there. Jen befriends Vinny, and her Uncle Boniface, who used to be the Abbey custodian. Jen saves Vinny when the tree falls on her, and is bruised and shaken. Joan agrees to old Boniface living out his years in the Abbey, but Joy disapproves, as the Abbey will no longer be their private spot.|
Sir Kenneth Marchwood visits Jen when she is still laid up with her injuries, and brings her a sketchbook that belonged to his ancestress Katharine Marchwood, who married Joy's ancestor, Peregrine Abinger. There are drawings of animals and birds, of Ambrose, and also working drawings by the artist who painted pictures of the Abbey church. Vinny also brings a book for Jen. It's a diary kept by the highwayman's little daughter, Jane Miles, who had a hidihole in the chapter house. There is also a map, which leads to the discovery of Ambrose's rosary.
There is still the problem of Boniface, living in the Abbey, and Vinny, who is unhappy living with her foster family. The girls help her to write to her father in Canada, who sends the money for her fare and for old Boniface to accompany her -- Vinny's Mother is his daughter. All seems settled until Boniface becomes too nervous to travel. In the end, Jandy volunteers to change her travel plans to help out, and escorts them both to their new homes. Jandy goes back to Sydney to marry her Alec, promising to name her first daughter after Joan.
8. Strangers in the Abbey
|Joan finds she has cousins, the daughters of her mother's dead sister. and the younger of them, Frederica, or Rykie, is to stay with them. The elder Belle, is going to Hollywood to try her luck. Joy is resentful; the girl has been thrust upon them, but Joan says they must do their best for Mrs Shirley's sake. They decide to have Jen, the same age as Rykie, to stay and ride to school with her. On May Day, Nesta is crowned as the honesty Queen.|
Rykie arrives alone; Belle has not accompanied her and the girls and Mrs Shirley feel this. Even more extraordinary--Rykie is wearing make-up and has permed hair. She is very sophisticated and can't quite hide that she despises their country ways. She is not even interested in the Abbey. But she admires Joy as the wealthy owner of the Hall. She doesn't want to go to school, intending to start training for the stage immediately, but Joan insists. Rykie is reconciled when she discovers the dramatic society is casting for 'As You Like It,' and manages to get herself the part of Jaques, even though it had already been given to someone else, Joan tells Jen that she will broaden their minds as she embodies 'The Opposite Point of View'.
Because Rykie must stay late at school to rehearse, Jen must stay too-- Joan does not trust Rykie to behave alone. Jen teaches the little ones singing games; they are a great success at a later garden party. Belle does well in Hollywood and wants Rykie to join her, but no one will provide the fare. Despite the play, Rykie is desperate to go and makes plans, sending and receiving mysterious letters.
One night Jen is awakened by noises and she and Joan surprise Rykie and a young man in the Abbey, obviously intending to steal Jehane's jewels. It is the half-brother, Angus, a talented violinist. The jewels would have paid for lessons for him and the fare for Rykie. Rykie is ashamed of herself. Joy and Joan decide to help Angus and sell a ruby to pay for violin lessons. Angus comes to apologies, and Rykie agrees to write a confession to Belle.
Belle herself arrives with a wealthy new husband, Terry. They will take Rykie to live with them in Hollywood, and see she finishes her education. First, she must choose between taking part in the school play, or accompanying the newly-weds to Europe. She is now embued with enough Abbey spirit to make the right choice.
9. Selma at the Abbey
|Belle and Rykie's half brother, Angus, has a girlfriend, Selma Andersson. She is orphaned and lives in Glasgow, working in a shop. Angus, aided by music lessons purchased with Joy and Joan's ruby, intends to become a famous violinist some day, and realises Selma will not be able to cope with life as his wife. He asks the Abbey Girls to have Selma to stay and to see to her social education. They agree, and suggest she go to school for a while since she is only sixteen. They borrow Jen again to help out.|
Selma fits happily into the family. Unlike Rykie, she feels the spirit of the Abbey, likes the cats, and is a keen dancer and a good student. Terry, Angus's brother-in -law, has given him some money, and he uses this for Selma's school fees. Joan sets her a programme of reading: Dickens and Jane Austen. She also gives her hints about grammar but encourages her to keep her Scottish accent. Angus comes to stay. They see an improvement in his playing , and he sees that Selma has made a lot of progress. He plays at a dance party but the President will not allow Scottish dances to be taught.
That night, burglars break into the house, at first Jen suspects Angus, but it's a village lad and an accomplice after the jewels; Angus hears the disturbance and tackles them. He is concussed, and his arm is broken. There is a risk that he may not be able to play his violin successfully again, Selma realises how much she cares for him.
The would-be thieves are relatives of Anne Watson, One has taken sanctuary in the Abbey, the other is retarded. Angus begs them off because of his own past attempt at thieving, and the girls agree not to prosecute. But they feel the jewels are a liability. They bury most of them in the crypt but keep some aside to make brooches as a symbol of their adventure. Angus has a ring ready for Selma and they become officially engaged. His arm recovers and he takes Selma to meet her Swedish relations. Belle and Terry come to the rescue again, tale Selma to live with them in Hollywood and arrange lessons there for Angus. Jandy Mac has a daughter, Joan, and 'Beetle' is crowned as the Stripy Queen.
10. Tomboys at the Abbey
|It is just after 'Beetle's' crowning, and Jen discovers
that her friend Jack must leave school after one more term, to live in London. To have
more time with her, she resigns from the Hamlet Club to play cricket. Joan needs a new
maid, so Jen chooses a new girl Anne (who one day will be Queen Clover). Joy suggests both
Jen and Jack be invited to live at the Hall for the summer term, to allow them to be more
together, They egg Joy on to all sorts of pranks.
Joy tells the girls that the Hall was once called 'Holyoake House.' They decide to look for a holy, or maybe hollow, oak tree. Then they meet Gudrun, who is one of Selma's Swedish cousin. Gudrun wants to be an actress, but her grandmother, with whom she lives, won't agree.
The grandmother has sent her to England with her uncle, hoping the trip will take her mind off things. Gudrun having heard about Joan's kindness from Selma, has run away to seek her advise. The girls persuade her to seek her uncle's permission to stay with them.
Uncle comes to the Abbey for advice, and tells the girls that his son Karl wants to marry Gudrun. The girls suggest she lives with them for a while. They take her to consult with the school's drama teacher. Meanwhile Joy's solicitor has regained for her the ruby that was sold to help Angus. Jen lets out that the jewels have been hidden, and Jack plagues her to reveal the rest of the secret. They quarrel about it, but Joy, with unusual tact, settles things with Jack. She and Jen get lost in the underground passages, after climbing down a likely-looking oak. They come out on the garth, and decide they must have found the highwayman's escape route. The oak could have been planted by Ambrose, in memory of an earlier sacred one.
Gudrun goes to be with her dying grandmother, sorts things out with Karl, agreeing each to have their own career, and comes back to join a repertory company. She has her grandmother's pearl ring as an engagement ring, and Joan and Joy give her a matching brooch from Jehane's jewels. Later she receives good notices in the part of Viola. Jen and Jack get brooches of wood from the Holy Oak.
No. 11 Abbey Girls Go Back to School (1922)
Cicely tells Joan she is off to Ceylon again and Joan breaks the news that Jen who is now sixteen has to leave school and return home to Yorkshire as her father is ill. On her return to Yorkshire, Jen receives records from the Hamlet Club and determines to teach the village and Tin Town girls dancing. Mummers arrive at Christmas and after they perform in the Grange Kitchen, Jen dances morris for them. A stranger with the crowd following the mummers dances with Jen and criticises her dancing. Jen starts her classes with the village and Tin Town girls.
Jen receives an invitation from Cicely to join herself, Joan, Joy at Cheltenham dance school in August. Jack also comes to the school and they board with Mrs Hunt sharing a room with Tomentil Grant and "Miss Newcastle". They also meet Karen Wilson and Tazy Kingston, also boarding with Mrs Hunt. Tazy and Karen are from a school in Switzerland and Karen is to marry Rennie Brown, son of Sir Rennie Brown, the famous doctor.
They have their first class at the college with Madam who criticises their dancing of Newcastle, most of their dancing is wrong as they took the instructions from books. Madam agrees they can stay in the class so long as they dont mind being corrected. They meet the Director at morning school (also called the Prophet because he collects the dances and songs from all over the country and passes them on others), Joy has brought Belinda, her motor bike, and gives Jan and Jack rides in the afternoon. Later they have to change classes and have Pixie as a teacher. Pixie asks Joan to "look after Captain Raymond". Jack Raymond's friend, Dick Everett, joins then. He had met Cicely on board ship and Jen at the Grange at Christmas when his sister Avice danced with her.
Joy has an accident with Belinda; Jen, a passenger, ends up in hospital. Mrs Robins come to Cheltenham to be with Jen at the Hospital. At first it is possible that Jen may never walk again let alone dance. She gradually recovers and Joan returns with them to Yorkshire
Six months later there is a dance evening at Darley's Barn for the Hamlet Club. Madam and the Pixie attend. Joan and Cicely become engaged to Jack and Dick. Mirry brought her baby girl and Marguerite her French husband. Mirry's sister, Babs, is May Queen.
No. 12 The Go-ahead Schoolgirl
No.13. Tickles and the School was Different
No. 14 Jen of the Abbey School (1927)
|Miss Deane, Betty, Tickles, Margot, Sara and Barbara from
Rocklands had to take shelter from rain while on a walk on the moor. Two village boys took
shelter in the other half of the divided shed and unaware of the girls, danced a morris
dance. They tell the Rocklands group they learn dancing from Miss Jen at the Grange.
The schoolgirls made friends with Jen and attend a folk dance show at the Grange put on by children from the village and Tin Town.
Tickles, Margot, Sara and Barbara leave early to buy sweets; they go to Tin Town to visit Archie who had sprained his foot and see Rose who is a cripple. They return to tell Jen and suggest she dances for Rose. She does and they ask her to dance again for Mrs Thorburn's invalid nephew Wriggles.
A new girl, Rhoda, had seen the dancing at the Grange and was able to point out faults in Jen's dancing. Jen acknowledges she has been told so before and that she is to go to Cheltenham soon for dancing school and she will find out how bad her dancing is.
Jen returns from Cheltenham injured from the motor bike accident, Joan comes to keep her company. Rena MacKay, together with Lisabel Durrant from the valley, worked in the school garden after her father died during the time she was at school at Rocklands. Rose knits a yellow and purple jumper for Jen. Everyone brings presents for Jen's "welcome " day. Rose brings her jumper; Archie brings his morris pipe that he had from his grandfather. Jen writes to Avice Everett to find out about the pipe. On a visit, Tickles and the other juniors take the jumper and hide it in Rena's cave. The pipe is missing and the jumper has gone from the cave. Archie returns the pipe to Jen at night- his brother Charlie had taken to sell after he heard it was worth lots of money. Rena and Lisabel get the jumper (with Jen's embroidery for Madam's wedding present) back from a tramp. They then find a man in the snow with a similar pipe he is unconscious and is carrying the wallet belonging to the son (whose yacht has been lost at sea) of Jen neighbor.. Pixie identifies the pipe so that if the old man doesnt regain consciousness they may still get news of the lost yacht.
The Rocklands School Girls and Jen's villages & Tin Town children enter a dance competition and do very well..
15. The New Abbey Girls
Maidlin has been sent to stay with her aunt, Ann Watson, the caretaker at the Abbey, because of the illness of the aunt with whom she usually lives. Her father, an Italian, works abroad, her mother died at her birth. The day after Joan's wedding, Joy receives a letter from Miss Macey, asking her to take a boarder, Rosamund Kane, to live at the Hall and travel daily to school. ROSAMUND'S parents are abroad, and living in Wycombe does not suit her. Jen, who had been Joan's bridesmaid and is staying at the Hall, hears that her father is ill again and may come to London for treatment. Until this is settled, she will remain at the Hall. .
Joy and Jen have an unexpected visitor, but realising it is Madam, they have no qualms about meeting her in their favoured morning attire of tunics. They attempt to take her through the secret passage to the Hall, to escape tourists who have arrived to see the Abbey, but the their torch battery runs out, and they are stuck in the dark. They do Morris jigs to keep warm until Ann hears them and comes to help. They emerge onto the garth to find to their dismay that the visitors are Sir Andrew Marchwood and his mother.
Ann Watson has heard from Maidlin's father that his parents are dead, leaving Maidlin the heiress to their estates in Italy on his own death. Concerned that Maidlin needs a different environment as an heiress, she asks Joy to look after her. Maidlin is furious that Ann asked, although it later transpires that she herself passionately wanted to live with Joy. Joy initially hesitates, but gradually realises that by helping the girls, she can give back something to a society which has given her so much in her inheritance from her grandfather. In addition, she can help the less fortunate children from London's East End, by taking them out for drives.
Rosamund and Maidlin move in. Rosamund leads the life of a normal, jolly schoolgirl, Maidlin widens her experience of life with trips to London, to visit her lawyer, shop and attend folk dance parties, etc. She develops a passionate loyalty to Joy, whose affections are stirred in response. Sir Andrew Marchwood and his mother make a formal call on Joy at the Hall during a Hamlet Club party. Rosamund is chosen as the next Hamlet Club Queen. Joy receives a letter from Maidlin's lawyer, telling of her father's death, which means that she now becomes heir to her grandparent's estates in Italy. Maidlin is assured that she can continue to stay with Joy, who suggests she should go to school with Rosamund.
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
|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
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!"
No. 18 Queen of the Abbey Girls (1926)
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
|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 Bettys recovery and Joys demands. This is another example of Joys 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 Joys recovery, especially when she rediscovers her love of music in response to Bettys 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 Joys "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.
No.21 The Abbey Girls Play Up.
|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.|
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.
No. 22 Abbey Girls on Trial
|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.
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.
No. 23 Biddy's Secret (1931)
|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
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.
No. 24 Rosamund's Victory (1933)
|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
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.
No. 27 The girl who wouldn't make friends (1909)
|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
discovered, 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.
No. 26 Patch and a Pawn
No. 27 Maidlin to the Rescue
No. 28 Joy's New Adventure (1935)
|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.
No 29. Rosamund's Tuckshop
No. 30 Maidlin Bears the Torch (1937)
|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.
No. 32 Rosamund's Castle (1938)
|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.
No. 33 Damaris Dances (1940)
|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
|Anne Bellanne has a surprise for her 17 year old sister,
Belinda (Lindy). Anne has just returned from a fortnight at Jean'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.
No. 36 New Girls at Woodend (1957)
|Miss Rainey, Head of Wood End School, allows juniors into
the school for the first time. Jannine, Moira, Diane, Bridget are looked after by Robin
Brent, Head Girl. The other seniors are Gwyneth Morgan (Robin's adopted sister), Benedicta
Bennett and Daffodil Trenow. Another junior, Jean-Anne, comes later embarrassed about
wearing the school gardening uniform in public.
Diane is appointed captain of the juniors. The juniors play truant to collect bluebells for Robin's birthday and are seen by Gail Alwyn who operates the tuckshop at the Rose and Squirrel. On the way back they see an accident between a car and a cyclist. Robin finds them; the bluebells are left at the Rose and Squirrel.
On the news that night they hear about the accident and the call for
witnesses. They confess to Miss Rainey who arranges for them to be interviewed by the
police. Their evidence clears the car driver Colonel Brandon, who invites them to tea to
meet his daughter Brenda.
A former gardening mistress, Mrs Courtenay, nee Lisabel Durrant comes back to Woodend to teach for a few months, while her husband is overseas on business. She brings her baby Lisabel Rose with her. All the juniors love the baby, but it is Jean-Anne who spends the most time helping Mrs. Courtenay take care of her.
The juniors go riding with Mrs Courtenay. When Brenda drops out of a tree to tell the girls she is coming to the school with them, the horses bolt. Mrs Courtenay is taken unconscious to the Rose and Squirrel. Jean-Anne, drawing what she has learned, looks after the baby.
Brenda comes to Miss Rainey to confess that she was responsible for the accident. She is accepted into the school on probation. Later, she plans to take the juniors to look at her rabbits. Jannine, Bridget and Jean-Anne refuse, but Diane goes with her. Miss Cathcart, head of the parent school at Cliff End visits. When the school lines up for a parade of honour, the juniors and Robin, who has gone looking for them, are missing. They are punished by losing their round frocks.
Mrs. Courtenay recovers and returns to school in triumph. Miss Rainey decides that Diane should no longer be Junior Captain, and wants to appoint Jannine in her place, but Jannine refuses. However, as the story ends, it is clear that, should the head ask her again, she will accept the appointment.
37. JANDY MAC COMES BACK
|Janice Fraser and her daughter, Joan (Littlejan) go to visit Joan Raymond. On arrival, they find Joan has just given birth to a second son. Littlejan's comments are overheard by a rider sitting on the grass verge. She identifies Janice as the Jandy Mac of earlier years, and introduces herself as Rosamund Kane - one of Joy's adopted 'twins'. She insists on taking them home with her - the fact that she is Lady Kentisbury is only revealed as they reach the Castle. Littlejan complains her nickname is childish; Rosamund gives her the sobriquet Joan-Two.|
Rosamund takes the two visitors to the Manor to surprise Jen, who insists they stay with her. Her husband is injured in an accident near their Yorkshire home, and she rushes off there with her baby and nurse. After a brief meeting with Joy's twins and other 'adoptee,' Maidlin, in the Abbey grounds, Jandy, Littlejan and Jen's other two younger children are swept off to Kentisbury by Rosamund, who arranges for Tansy Lillico to come and be company for Littlejan.
Littlejan and Tansy suspect that the chauffeur, Mr. Jackson, is plotting some crime. Rosamund arranges a birthday picnic for Rosemary Marchwood and all the other children, including baby Hugh Verriton, the Kentisbury's son. At the last minute, Rosemary is ill, and the Head Nurse must stay with her. Agatha, Tansy and Littlejan take charge of the rest, who leave in a car driven by Mr. Jackson. Disobeying Rosamund's strict orders not to leave the Home Park, he heads for the river bank, where his accomplices are waiting with a launch. They kidnap Agatha, Tansy, Hugh, his stepbrother Roderick and Mike Marchwood, leaving an injured Littlejan on the riverbank. Discovering that Hugh is the heir, they take him and Agatha, and abandon the others. Jandy Mac has seen the entire proceedings from a distance and rides frantically to alert the police. Littlejan is rescued and brought back to Kentisbury; later, Tansy and the two boys are found and brought back safely. After a long night of suspense, the kidnappers are arrested, and Hugh and Agatha brought home.
Lord Kentisbury makes Tansy and Littlejan a present of a horse each. Littlejan discloses that when her mother returns to Samoa, she will remain in England and go to the Wycombe school. Rosamund give Janice seven sapphires to have made into a ring, which, among other things, will remind her that her daughter will not lack for 'guardians' during her time in England.
38. TWO JOANS AT THE ABBEY
|Jandy Mac and Littlejan finally visit Joan Raymond and her
family. Joan tells Jandy that she and her family will spend some months at the Hall,
enabling Maidlin to go and stay with Rosamund to shop for her trousseau while leaving the
twins safely in Joan's charge. Jansy teases Littlejan about the twins' stern governess,
but when Littlejan and her mother arrive at the Hall, she discovers that Miss Belinda
(Lindy) is, in fact only a couple of years her senior.
Jandy is summoned to Scotland, where her aunt is ill, leaving Littlejan at the Hall. Littlejan and Lindy rapidly become firm friends. Maidlin and her fiancée Jock arrange a family picnic at the site they have chosen for their new home.
The twins, in their search for a billet for Littlejan's pony, Chestnut, have found a tunnel in the Abbey grounds. They and Jansy explore it, and find themselves in the big barn at the next farm. All well versed in stories of the Abbey, they immediately recognise the figure of the Abbot, Michael, over the door. Returning through the tunnel, the group is trapped when Jansy pulls out a dangerous looking brick from the roof, causing it to collapse. A second brick falls and injures Jansy. Littlejan explores the tunnel, and is also injured in another roof fall.
Maidlin and Rosamund visit, and Littlejan persuades the twins to show the adults their find. Joan joyfully reclaims the Abbey Tithe Barn, and the farmer, John Edwards, is happy to yield possession. Jen, making an unexpected visit from Yorkshire, welcomes the Barn in typical fashion, playing her Morris pipe while the others dance. Jandy makes a flying visit from Scotland to "inspect Littlejan's bandages", and is reassured that her daughter has settled very happily at the Hall.
A month later, as preparations are under way for a Hamlet Club party to welcome the barn, John Edwards discovers an Abbey bell, Cecilia, who rings out her first welcome to call dancers to the party. Joan Raymond gives Littlejan a green dancing frock, matching those of the twins and Jansy. She presents Jandy with the book of pictures of Littlejan which Jack Raymond has made for her to take away with her. Littlejan makes it clear that she has already imbued the Spirit of the Abbey, and Jandy is once again reassured that her daughter will be well looked after during her time in England.
No. 39 Abbey Champion (1946)
Jandy Mac is staying with at the Hall
with Joan for Maidlin's wedding but is called home to help move to Ceylon. Joan is looking
after the Hall while Joy is in New York, and while major renovations are being done at her
own home, Rayleigh Park. Joy was due to come home for the wedding but a serious operation
and the premature birth of a new baby, prevent her homecoming.
Littlejan is to stay on at the Hall and to go to school at Wycombe with
Jansy. Maid gets married. Rachel and Damaris, Jansy and the twins were her bridesmaids.
Miss Macey and the Hamlet Club queens attend as well as the Camp Fire Girls.
Littlejan talks to Mary Dorothy about the Hamlet Club, saying that none of the senior girls are interested in it any more and the dances are stale. Mary persuades her to talk to Joan, who suggests she talks to the President about the problem. Jen is upset because Kenneth is not recovering from his car accident in Yorkshire. She decides to return to Yorkshire to be with him. Mary Dorothy goes with her to help.
Littlejan sees the President. They decide to organise a weekend dancing school with a teacher from London and to revive a traditional Folk Play, first performed at school, during Maidlin's reign, and including St. George, the Fool or Slasher or Doctor or Priest. Tazy Kingston, who once shared rooms with Joy, Joan, Jen and Cicily at a Cheltenham Folk Dance School, and now Mrs Thistleton, is the weekend school teacher. Littlejan has the idea of the Hamlet Club presenting Margia Lane with a gold medal to mark her 21 years of playing for the Club. There is a dance evening with a procession of queens. The Folk play is performed at Christmas, to loud acclaim. A second weekend school, featuring a repeat performance of the play, is set for the end of the Christmas holidays, but postponed when Jansy develops chickenpox and Littlejan quarantines herself to help look after her. A one-day event takes place at the end of January.
At a party held in the Tithe barn in February, Littlejan is selected as the new Queen, and chooses marigolds as her flower. She is crowned, with Jean as her maid. Rosamund has twin daughters Rosabel and Rosalin. Maidlin has twin girls Marjorie Joy and Dorothy Rose. Jandy Mac has a daughter Cecily Rose.
No. 40 Daring Doranne (1945)
Doranne Hardie lives at Rainbow Corner, a hostel for working girls, with two ballet dancers, Daphne Dale and Irene Jones. Her aunt Dora Anne Mackie, a widow, invites her to live with her at Dunoon, The Vale Sussex for companionship. She meets Geoffrey, a large golden cat, Mrs Voak and Maureen from next door who lives with her grandparents. Maureen is not allowed to see her big brother Marius, an airman from the nearby aerodrome called Rainbows after the big house but he sometimes visits her on his bike and Maureen (Mops) asks Doranne to help them meet.
Doranne meets Marius and Maureen hints that Aunt Dora Anne has a
different name and has a strange visitor. Doranne tells her aunt about Maureen and Marius
and her aunt tells her about Mr James, her lawyer.
Doranne goes out for the day and comes back to find out her aunt has died. Gwen comes from Rainbow Corner to stay with her for company. Mr James tells Doranne that she has been left a large estate including Rainbows as well as the cottage Dunoon. Doranne and Gwen drive out to Rainbows and while eating the gooseberries are caught by the caretaker Alexander Duffy. Marius Doring is brought over from the aerodrome to vouch for her identity. He tells her that her aunt leased out the aerodrome for five years and asks to continue to do so and build a village for the airmen and their families to live close by.
Back home Maureen tells Doranne that her grandmother is dying and her doctor Sir James is in Guersey. Marius is there on business and Doranne arranges for him to fly Sir James back to treat his grandmother. Doranne decides to turn Rainbows into a village for the airmen and musicians. Marius goes missing but is found.
No. 41 Elsa Puts Things Right (1944)
Nancibel Morgan lives with Margery (Polly Paine) her mother (Aunty Poll and Pouffe, the brown and yellow cat at a shop. Because Aunty Poll sent money to her sister, she cannot restock the shop but Nancibel is able to make money selling photos to a chemist and she plans to start up a goody shop with Margery and Aunty Poll. A friend, Robin Farnham, normally away at Bristol studying farming, came to visit and offered to sell Nancibel's photos to Knights at Bristol. On a later visit he tells Nancibel about Elsa Dale operating a ferry at Sandylands,. Nancibel resents Elsa doing this because her (Nancibel's) grandfather had operated the ferry.
Then Nancibel receives a letter that her other grandfather, Sir John
Seymour, had left her twenty pounds in his will, which means that she and Polly can now
start up the shop. At first, Nancibel wants to call it the Seymour Arms.
Gilbert and Annemaria, Mya for short, determine to meet her. On his journey to Priorsbury Gilbert meets Nancibel in the marshes and offers her a lift. Mya also blurts out how the grandfather left Nancibel twenty pounds out of spite to her father, and Nancibel rushes off very upset.
Gilbert and Mya meet Aunty Poll and Polly Paine and talk over Nancibel's problem with Elsa Dale with them. Gilbert and Mya take Nancibel on a visit to Sandylands and while Gilbert is driving his car, he runs over a small boy. This turns out to be Billy who operated Elsa's ferry. Nancibel offers to operate the ferry for the day while Elsa guides visitors through the caves.
Nancibel tells Elsa how she felt when she found out Elsa was operating her grandfather's ferry. Elsa is distressed by this and Nancibel apologises. She leaves the ferry unsecured and it slips its mooring and floats away. The girls have to walk round home, which is a much longer journey than the ferry trip is, and Nancibel misses her bus home. She stays the night with Elsa, who offers to share the ferry operation with her. Nancibel decides to stay with Polly, but she and Elsa become friends.
Robin comes to meet her, bringing a letter from her South African uncle offering her an annual allowance. Nancy and Polly decide to call the shop 'The Nance and Polly" . Nancibel visits Summerton and dresses up like her ancestress, giving Gilbert ideas about the future, but he soon realises that with Robin around, Nancibel's affections are already firmly fixed elsewhere.
42. ROBINS IN THE ABBEY
Robin Brent, owner of Plas Quellyn, in North Wales, returns to England on the same liner as Joy and her family and becomes friendly with Lindy Bellane and the twins. Joy, who would have liked Plas Quellyn to come to her boys through her husband, Ivor, holds aloof, but when Robin hears of her father's accident, joins Lindy in insisting the girl come home to the Hall with them.
Rosamund and Maidlin, each with their twin babies, greet Joy at the Hall. Maidlin and her family move into The Pallant. The twins and Littlejan find Michael, the companion Abbey bell. Joan Raymond's third daughter is born. Jen and Kenneth leave on a long trip, which will complete his recovery from his accident and allow Jen, too, to rest. Ivor Quellyn and a cousin, Rob, a painter with a strong musical bent, arrive during the Hamlet Club's party in Joy's honour.