#1: Mademoiselle Le Pâttre Author: Catherine, Location: Newcastle upon TynePosted: Fri May 30, 2008 10:11 am Having just read Jo Returns and the start of New CS, I was wondering if anyone had any ideas as to what it was that was wrong with her?
#2: Author: Lesley, Location: Allhallows, KentPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 11:00 am Heart problems sound reasonable - with her being too ill to cope with the anaethetic when, if she could have the op it would cure her. I did wonder though about cancer - but don't know just how much the average layman would have known about that in the thirties.
#3: Author: Tor, Location: LondonPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 11:13 am I'd always assumed cancer, but I don't know why. Perhaps because my Nan died of it at roughly the same time I read the early books, so I just associate the two.
Still, the mysterious, consuming nature of her illness, and slow decline make sense if it was cancer...
#4: Author: abbeybufo, Location: in a world of her ownPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 11:17 am I've always thought cancer, plus a weak heart, so they couldn't safely do the op that might have removed the tumour [wherever it was].
But I don't know where that came from, apart from me making that assumption, as I first read these titles when already an adult.
#5: Author: Alison H, Location: ManchesterPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 11:21 am I'd always assumed cancer too, although I'm not sure why.
EBD is sometimes pretty vague about illnesses and medical conditions. I'm not sure if it's because she didn't know much about them, because she didn't think they were suitable to write about in children's books, or because she was writing at a time when cancer, in particular, wouldn't have been spoken about much.
There's TB, of course, and there are numerous cases of measles, chicken pox and scarlet fever, and of course bronchitis and pleurisy and pneumonia in the early days, and we're told that Mollie Bettany has goitre and that Phil Maynard has polio, but then we get things like Joey's "displaced organ" and Rosamund Sefton (Jessica Wayne's stepsister)'s mysterious condition.
#6: Author: Katherine, Location: London, UKPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 11:54 am But if it was cancer, surely they wouldn’t have said she would live for many years but always be an invalid. I thought it was just the fact that the War came that killed her.
#7: Author: KathrynW, Location: LondonPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 2:24 pm I always presumed that it was just a general EBD style 'illness' with symptoms that fitted the plot...
#8: Author: LizzieC, Location: Canterbury, UKPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 4:16 pm I assumed it was a stroke. Don't know why really, except that to me it explained why she was an invalid for the rest of her life.
#9: Author: evelyn38, Location: Rochester KentPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 7:31 pm I assumed it was a brain haemorrhage - as she had to have a dangerous operation. However, I am not sure how much brain surgery was done in the '30's. Not a lot, I imagine.
#10: Author: Alison H, Location: ManchesterPosted: Fri May 30, 2008 9:54 pm The fact that everyone seems to've assumed something different says a lot about how vague EBD was .
#11: Author: Laura V, Location: Perth, AustraliaPosted: Sat May 31, 2008 11:04 am it could just be old age seeing as people didn't live as long back then
#12: Author: evelyn38, Location: Rochester KentPosted: Sat May 31, 2008 2:13 pm Laura V wrote
it could just be old age seeing as people didn't live as long back then
That might have been the cause of her death, age plus the stress of escape from Austria, but she was definitely unexpectedly and dangerously ill with something which required an operation, and though she survived it, meant that she was to remain an invalid.
Stroke (as Lizzie suggested) or blood clot seems right to me, the more I think about it.[/b]
#13: Author: JayB, Location: SE EnglandPosted: Sat May 31, 2008 6:28 pm She had been suffering from severe headaches in the run up to her collapse, so maybe a brain tumour which caused her to become increasingly disabled? I never had the impression she was more than middle aged.
And her death, whatever the cause, seems to have been unexpected, since we're told that some of the older girls had been planning to visit France in the Easter holidays to see her. So in autumn 1939 she must have been expected to live at least another six to eight months or so (and presumably was expected to remain mentally competent too). Presumably her heart, which was known to be weak, suddenly gave out.
She would have left Tyrol in early summer 1938 when the School and San closed and everyone else left (isn't it said that she was taken by ambulance?) so she lived for well over a year after that.