Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Susan at School (Spine)


This is the spine from the 1966 Seagull Library edition of Susan at School, showing Susan taking pride in her St. Ronan's uniform, which consisted of a "royal blue gym tunic, warm grey hooded cloak lined with royal blue" and a "neat grey flannel suit for Sundays".

At St. Ronan's, tradition is adhered to. Charlotte, Midge and Susan are Dragons, meaning that they are in St. George's House. The Carmichael girls' mother, Aunt Lucy and Mrs. Lyle, when they studied at St. Ronan's, were all Dragons; therefore, their daughters and nieces are also allocated to St. George's. It's sad that we never learn more about Charlotte and Midge's mother, nor do we know the cause of her premature departure from this world.

On a lighter note, this book features some characters that had previously been mentioned in the short story Susan's School Play, which was actually set later. Jane Shaw and her publisher agreed to set Susan at School in January, immediately after Susan Pulls the Strings, thereby moving back in time to  tell the tale of Susan's first term at St. Ronan's after the publication of Susan Interferes. The characters that were elaborated on include Hermione Pennington-Smith, now given the nickname of H. P. Sauce, and Elizabeth Rogers, the actress. There are also Susan's teachers, some of whom would feature heavily in the school stories and some who would fade into the background. The two most memorable are Miss Johnson, the Latin teacher, known as Dotty, and Miss Ferrier, the dreaded maths teacher, nicknamed The Ferret. Other teachers include Miss Barclay (English), Mademoiselle Boulanger (French), Miss Eastwood (Science), Miss Wood (History) and the sarcastic Miss Gwynne-Jones (Geography).