Thursday 17 March 2016

A little learning...... a dangerous thing, as the saying goes.   Quite how dangerous it might be we will learn later on.

But I must start with some sad news - in my last post I once again lauded the work of Sheila and Norman Randall and their contribution to Small Worlds.   Norman died many years ago and sadly, in February this year, so too did Sheila.   

It is an abiding sadness to me that she never saw Small Worlds - a planned trip two years ago had to be cancelled because of illness and she never again became well enough to travel.   I owe so much to both the Randalls and one of the last things Sheila sent me was this enchanting tiny dress which she found her younger granddaughter trying to insert a toy dog into.

She hastily came to its rescue, washed it carefully, and despatched it to me.   It is the only example of her knitting, other than the Sasha dress, that I have in England.   I shall miss her.

At the end of my last post I promised further glimpses into the lives of the dolls, and others, occupying the chaise-longue in my bedroom.   So I wove a little tale around the two remaining Victorian females.....

Scene 1:  Picture a schoolroom, complete with strict governess, attentive pupil, and all the paraphernalia of learning......

I asked my granddaughter to write something on the blackboard for me - I have never been able to manage chalk.   She has clearly never heard the views of a well-known Victorian educationist who said, when talking of an examination which included mathematics, "I believe that we should have half the young women in the country in brain fever or a lunatic asylum if they were to make up their minds to try for it".   

Clearly this young governess has survived unscathed.

Her pupil, however, seems quite pleased not to be risking the equation at the moment.   She is instead attempting to emulate Beatrix Potter, whose fungi paintings remain unsurpassed to this day.

As befits all schoolrooms, there is a plentiful supply of interesting books 

Some more interesting than others perhaps....

......and even a reminder of the early stages of learning to read...

Happy Days!

Cut to Scene 2 however.....

Who can this be, reclining on the chaise-longue with flowing locks and silky satin dress?  Can her erst-while pupil actually be kneeling in supplication?   Well, not quite, but the relationship between them has certainly changed.   Miss Prissy Prim has ensnared her pupil's father, whose only fault was to seek to find a caring mother for his growing child.  

Little did he know that the lady had a firm dislike of children, despite the profession into which she had been forced by circumstance.   For the moment she is biding her time.  The little Griselda is still being treated well, allowed to accompany her stepmama to church, both dressed in their finery. 

She is even allowed, on occasion, to make much of stepmama's dog - clearly a cross between a Newfoundland and a lapdog.

But I fear it will not be long before the former Miss Prissy Prim shows herself in her true colours - paying little attention to her stepdaughter, but revelling in the silks and satins of her new station in life.

Perhaps she will not have it all her own way though?   Griselda clearly has a mind of her own.   

"If she can show off what is on the underneath, then so can I!" 
                              I only hope this story has a happy ending.....

And finally, I leave you with the last two inhabitants of that end of my bedroom.   With the best will in the world, I could find no way of incorporating a scatty lamb and a white bear into the tale, so here they are, just bidding you goodbye and thanking you for following thus far.

See you again soon I hope.