Companion to High Rising

1.   High Rising.   In this book, as in most of AT's first six or seven books, the cast of characters is still manageable in size and the stories are not filled with digressions, as are the later ones. This book introduces one of the two or three characters that probably most closely reveal Thirkell's representation of herself - Laura Morland, a widow with four sons, including the endearing but irritating Tony. In this book his one-track mind is obsessed with model trains. There are the usually mildly romantic complications - Laura receives a proposal from her publisher Adrian Coates (although he really loves Sibyl Knox, daughter of neighbor George Knox.) Dr. Ford is fond of Laura's part-time secretary Anne Todd, who is saddled with her dotty and ailing mother. The major plot complication is caused by neurotic but attractive Una Grey, George Knox's secretary, who is out to marry her employer. George's friends recognize Una as the jealousy-ridden, fiery-tempered harridan that she is, and rescue him from her wiles with the help of the Birketts of Southbridge School. Thirkell uses the relations between her characters as a vehicle with which to express her opinions, comic scenes, observations on life and human nature, and character insights. The action takes place in the little villages of High Rising and Low Rising, where not much really happens. Adrian wins Sibyl, and George wins Anne. Not her best, but a good beginning that leads to better things!

Book title and abbreviation

High Rising HR1
Wild Strawberries WS
The Demon in the House DH
Mrs. Morland and Son MMS
August Folly AF
Summer Half SH
Pomfret Towers PT
The Brandons B
Before Lunch BL
Cheerfulness Breaks In CBI
Northbridge Rectory NR
Marling Hall MH
Growing Up GU
The Headmistress HM
Miss Bunting MB
Peace Breaks Out PBO
Private Enterprise PE
Love Among the Ruins LAR
The Old Bank House OBH
County Chronicle CC
The Duke's Daughter DD
Happy Return HR2
Jutland Cottage JC
What Did It Mean? WDIM
Enter Sir Robert ESR
Never Too Late NTL
A Double Affair DA
Close Quarters CQ
Love at All Ages LAA
Three Score and Ten 3S&T

Character, description and book abbreviations

Annie

"Mr. Knox's Annie." Housekeeper for George Knox at Low Rising Manor House both before and after his marriage to Anne Todd. Sister of Lord Stoke's footman, Albert.

HR1, DH, 3S&T, MMS

Benny

Boxing instructor for upper form at Southbridge School. Former great Army boxer.

HR1

Birkett, Amy

Wife of William Birkett, headmaster of Southbridge School. "Ma Birky" to the schoolboys. Daughters Rose and Geraldine. Close friend of Laura Morland, the novelist.

HR1, DH, SH, CBI, NR, GU, MB, PBO, PE, LAR, OBH, CC, HR2, JC, WDIM, 3S&T, MMS

Birkett, Geraldine

Younger daughter of William and Amy Birkett. Attended Barchester High School. As high school student, fond of the more gruesome aspects of nursing and medicine. Worked in Barchester Infirmary during war. Infatuated with Fritz Gissing until she finally saw him in his true colors. Married Geoffrey Fairweather. Son John.

HR1, SH, B, CBI, GU, MB, PBO, PE, OBH, CC, DD, JC, NTL, CQ

Birkett, Rose

Older daughter of William and Amy Birkett. Beautiful but mentally negligible. Engaged six or more times, including to Philip Winter in SH until she threw her ring at him at the Keiths'. Always had an oft- repeated catchword (perfectly foul, meager, dispiriting, shattering, etc.) In CBI married John Fairweather of the Royal Navy, who could control his "elegant nitwit" well. Stationed abroad most of the war in Washington, S. America, Portugal, etc. Returned to England after war and became much more sensible, often helping others with their problems. Children Henry, Amy, two others all born 1940-1946.

HR1, SH, CBI, GU, MB, PBO, PE, LAR, OBH, CC, DD, HR2, JC, WDIM, ESR, NTL, DA, CQ, LAA, 3S&T

Birkett, William (Henry?)

Headmaster of Southbridge School. Usually called William, but is called Henry in GU and 3S&T. Had been assistant master and Head of the Prep School before becoming Headmaster. Retired in 1947 and took the Dower House at Worsted.

HR1, SH, CBI, NR, GU, MB, PBO, PE, LAR, OBH, CC, HR2, JC, WDIM, ESR, DA, CQ, LAA, 3S&T

Boncassen, Isabel

Beautiful American heiress. Married Lady Cora Palliser's grandfather, Lord Silverbridge (son of the Duke of Omnium). Principle character in Trollope's The Duke's Children. She was accepted only reluctantly by the Duke.

HR1, CC, DD, JC

Brown, Sid

Worked for railroad as Stationmaster at Stoke Dry.

HR1, LAA, MMS

Coates, Adrian

Publisher of Laura Morland's books. Lived in London and had some "Jewish blood." Proposed to Mrs. Morland under the influence of a motor wreck and George Knox's punch, was refused (to his relief), later married Knox's daughter Sibyl.

HR1, DH, PT, B, CBI, NR, MH, MB, PBO, LAR, CC, DD, HR2, JC, WDIM, ESR, LAA, 3S&T, MMS

Dudley, Matron Poppy

Matron at Southbridge School, aunt of George Empson the wireless expert. Frequently at odds with Mr. Ferris, the Housemaster.

HR1, DH, SH, CBI, GU, MB, PBO, PE, CC, HR2, JC, ESR, NTL, CQ, 3S&T, MMS

Edward

Handyman at Southbridge School. Became butler there when Simnet left.

HR1, DH, CBI, GU, PE, CC, JC, NTL, CQ

Empson, George

Southbridge School Matron Poppy Dudley's nephew. Normally a wireless operator and electrician on luxury liners to New York, he wired Editha Cottage for the Arbuthnots, with a running commentary on old wiring and proper method for rewiring that almost drove them crazy. His ship was RMS Vomitorium. Torpedoed twice during war.

HR1, SH, CBI, GU, PE, CC, HR2, JC, NTL, CQ, 3S&T

Fairfield

Member of firm Johns and Fairfield, publishers of George Knox's books.

HR1, PT, CBI, MH, LAR, HR2, JC, CQ

Ferris, Mr.

Assistant Maths master at Southbridge School, son of a country doctor. Tony Morland's housemaster and scoutmaster, constantly at odds with Matron. Later became one of H.M.'s Inspectors of Secondary Schools.

HR1, DH, CBI

Ford, Dr. James.

Kindly, garrulous and gossipy old G.P. at High Rising. Proposed to Anne Todd and was refused in HR1. Proposed to Sylvia Gould in DH, married her 20 years later after she had a broken engagement in GU. Could be very brusque to those he disliked.

HR1, DH, B, CBI, GU, MB, PE, OBH, CC, DD, JC, WDIM, ESR, NTL, DA, CQ, LAA, 3S&T, MMS

Goble

"Young Goble," son of Edgewood Post Mistress. Good at auto repair.

HR1

Grey, Una

Former secretary at Southbridge School, discharged because of nervous instability, then secretary to George Knox at High Rising. Known to Mrs. Morland and Mrs. Birkett as "The Incubus," she made a permanent exit from High Rising after failing to get George Knox to marry her. Mentioned later as having married a naval man after great exertions, after having been companion to old Mrs. Knox.

HR1, DH, 3S&T

Hargreaves, Dr., Featherly

Well-known consultant whose daughter is engaged to Bob Perry

HR1, LAR

Johns

Publisher in firm of Johns and Fairfield. Published George Knox, Hermione Rivers, and Susan Barton. Uncle of Mr. Wickham. His wife was well-known for giving extremely dull parties for literary lions.

HR1, DH, PT, CBI, MH, PE, LAR, OBH, CC, HR2, JC, CQ, LAA, 3S&T

Johnson

Southbridge "old boy" who became junior master at Southbridge. When he was a student, his hair fixative was used by Tony Morland.

HR1, CBI

Jowett

Master of Balliol.

HR1

Knox, George

Pompous, verbose historical novelist who could turn a single sentence into a discourse of parenthetical expressions. Widower, lived in High Rising with his daughter Sibyl. Escaped the clutches of his secretary, Una Grey, and became engaged to Anne Todd in HR1.

HR1, DH, B, CBI, MH, GU, MB, PE, CC, DD, HR2, WDIM, ESR, NTL, DA, LAA, 3S&T, MMS

Knox, Mrs.

"Old Mrs. Knox," mother of George. Resided in large Victorian house in London. "Eccentric and crabby." A Frenchwoman, she had lived in England since her marriage. House was in Rutland Gate.

HR1, DH, B, MB, 3S&T

Knox, Sibyl

Daughter of widower George Knox of High Rising. Rather silly, and, after an unsuccessful attempt to become a writer, became engaged to Adrian Coates, publisher, in HR1. 3 children by time of CBI, eldest is Laura.

HR1, DH, PT, CBI, GU, MB, DD, LAA, 3S&T, MMS

Koska, Madame

Main character in series of romantic suspense-thrillers by Mrs. Morland. Ran a designer dress shop and repeatedly saved the British Empire.

HR1, DH, MH, MB, PBO, PE, LAR, OBH, CC, DD, HR2, JC, WDIM, SR, DA, CQ, LAA, 3S&T, MMS

MacHenry

Stoker's father. He was called Stoker because of his occupation of shoveling coke at the gas-works. Resided at Plaistow (pronounced "Plaster.")

HR1

Mallow, Mrs.

"Mr. Knox's Annie's aunt," housekeeper to Dr. Ford at High Rising. Aunt by marriage of High Rising stationmaster. Widow of previous doctor's gardener.

HR1, DH, LAA, 3S&T

Mason

Lower school sergeant at Southbridge.

HR1, CBI

Morland, Dick

b. 1911. Son of Henry and Laura Morland. Serving in, China before war. Mentioned as serving in destroyer Flatiron during war.

HR1, DH, B, CBI, GU, MB, OBH, CC, DD, JC, WDIM, 3S&T

Morland, Gerald

b. 1917. Son of Henry and Laura Morland. Explorer in Mexico. Married just before war, had unspecified children. Attended Southbridge School.

HR1, DH, B, CBI, GU, MB, OBH, CC, DD, JC, WDIM, LAA, 3S&T

Morland, Henry

Deceased husband of Laura Morland. Somewhat of a nonentity, Laura said he was "quite easy to get on with and then he died."

HR1, DH, NR, GU, MB, JC, LAA, 3S&T

Morland, John

Son of Henry and Laura Morland. Stationed in, Burma. In Navy during war. Married, attended Southbridge School.

HR1, DH, B, CBI, GU, MB, OBH, CC, DD, JC, WDIM, LAA, 3S&T

Morland, Laura

b. 1891. Widow of Henry Morland, sons Dick, John, Gerald, and Tony. Lived at High Rising. Author of Madame Koska mystery thrillers, which she began writing to support herself and sons. Also wrote two books anonymously. Attractive but rather scatter-brained, tended to lose glasses and hairpins. Acted as unofficial secretary at Southbridge School during war. It is generally thought that she is at least partially based on the author herself, though AT was, by repute, a more sardonic personality than Laura Morland.

HR1, DH, SH,B, CBI, NR, MH,GU, MB, PBO, PE, LAR, OBH, CC, DD, JC, WDIM, ESR, NTL,DA, CQ, LAA, 3S&T, MMS

Morland, Tony

b. 1921. Son of Henry and Laura Morland. Student at Southbridge School at first appearance, major interest was model trains. Became Sr. Monitor at Southbridge. Talkative, self-centered, well- intentioned with frequently disastrous results, one-track mind when a child. Attended Oxford. In Army in, Burma during war. Worked for Red Tape and Sealing Wax Office after war. Married with four children.

HR1, WS, DH, SH,B, CBI, NR, MH,GU, MB, PBO, PE, LAR, OBH, CC, DD, JC, WDIM, ESR, NTL, LAA, 3S&T, MMS

Stoke, Lord Thomas

b. 1866. Ancient and eccentric antiquarian, half-brother of Lucasta Bond. A bachelor who once loved Edith Thorne (who married Old Lord Pomfret). Traveled by horse and carriage or on horseback in defiance of modern age. Was convinced that everything he dug up was Viking remains. Extremely and conveniently deaf. In NTL, he is called Algernon Courcy Stoke and is said to have been born in 1876.

HR1, DH, PT, B, BL, CBI, MH, GU, MB, PBO, PE, LAR, OBH, CC, DD, JC, WDIM, ESR, NTL, DA, CQ, LAA, 3S&T, MMS

Stoker, Mrs.

Housekeeper to Laura Morland at High Rising. Garrulous, irreverent, dictatorial, and easily offended but with a soft spot for Tony Morland.

HR1, DH, CBI, HR2, ESR, NTL, DA, LAA, 3S&T, MMS

Swift-Hetherington, J.W.

Student at Southbridge School whose gym shorts were used by Tony Morland to mop up hair fixative he spilled. Also a participant in boxing competition against Fairweather.

HR1, DH, CBI

Sylvia

Mrs. Birkett's cocker spaniel.

HR1, DH, SH

Todd, Anne

Laura Morland's secretary, married George Knox, novelist and windbag, of High Rising, after turning down proposal from Dr. Ford. WVS secretary in war. Competent and practical, unlike her garrulous husband.

HR1, DH, GU, MB, PBO, PE, ESR, NTL, LAA, 3S&T

Todd, Mrs.

d.1933. Slightly dotty invalid mother of Anne Todd. Placed huge orders with local merchants for things they neither needed nor could afford. Lived at High Rising, died at end of HR1, freeing Anne to marry George Knox.

HR1, DH, LAA, 3S&T

Watson

Housemaster at Southbridge School. His wife shut herself up whenever their son was in a boxing match.

HR1, CBI

Wesendonk, Robert

Friend of Tony Morland at Southbridge School. Intelligent but never said anything (only uttered once in several books where appeared.) Interested in model trains and electricity. Had three sisters and was fond of babies. Played harmonica to indicate emotional moods. Later became an Olympic swimmer.

HR1, DH, SH, MB, 3S&T, MMS

Valid HTML 4.01!