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 Post subject: Toning down the Maynards' wealth?
PostPosted: 20 Jul 2019, 23:11 
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There was a comment - Terry, if you're reading this, I think it was yours :D - in another forum earlier about Len saying she was going to pay for Cecil's education. Several CS characters help their families out financially, but this seems odd, given that the Maynards are hardly on a low income. I usually take it as EBD trying to make Len seem self-sacrificing, especially as Len's also the one who expects Mary-Lou to give up her career to babysit Doris (there's no mention of Doris herself or Mary-Lou suggesting it, and Con finds it odd), but now I'm wondering if EBD was trying to tone down the impression that the Maynards were very well-to-do.

We also get Joey telling Hilda that they probably won't be able to afford to have any more children (as if they didn't have plenty already!) and are relying on Stephen getting a scholarship, and Margot moaning about how she wishes they were really rich and Len telling her that they aren't. But it's all later on. The original story was that the Bettanys had lost most of their money, but then Madge and Joey both marry well and everything gets grander and grander. Madge and Jem's "chalet" develops a building room, like a stately home, and, by Gay, the Round House is full of valuable furniture and china. Probably from Jem's parents, but even so. And the Maynards move into an enormous house which used to be a hotel.

EJO does something similar with the Abbey books: the Shirleys originally move to the Abbey because they're short of money, then, by the end of the series, half the characters seem to be married to earls or at least baronets :D . But I'm wondering if EBD decided to tone things down, maybe because she or her publishers thought that tastes in books were changing. In Noel Streatfeild's Gemma series, which starts in the late 1960s, the children go to a comprehensive school in an industrial town, which is a long way from Enid Blyton or Dorita Fairlie Bruce. Or am I overthinking this :lol: ?

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 Post subject: Re: Toning down the Maynards' wealth?
PostPosted: 21 Jul 2019, 09:36 
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Is there a reference somewhere that the tirplets aren't going to St Mildred's as they can't afford it? School is free for them but Millies wouldn't be. Can't remember where I think I've seen this. The house must have been expensive to run, and even with free school for the girls, 11 children + adopteeset would have required a pretty large income.


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 Post subject: Re: Toning down the Maynards' wealth?
PostPosted: 21 Jul 2019, 10:17 
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It was me Alison re Len :wink:

I've also had the impression, and have used it in one of my stories, that whilst the CS was free for the triplets, Millies wouldn't be.I don't know if it is actually mentioned in one of the books though.

I have often thought that the Maynards lifestyle exceeded their income, 11 children plus all the add on's would not come cheaply and we only know of Jacks salary and the occasional book by Joey.Yes she was popular apprantley but I cannot see the royalties of children's books being huge. There is one occasion where she states that she had just received a cheque and so were quite well off at that moment.

The large house always struck me as weird, even weirder that it seemed to grow like the Tardis at times, growing extra unknown wings for various visitors.How much does housing cost in Switzerland, and they hadn't even sold their UK house to fund it, which suggests they had money...or did the San pay a relocation allowance?


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 Post subject: Re: Toning down the Maynards' wealth?
PostPosted: 21 Jul 2019, 13:34 
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There are hints that they try to be economical. They can't sell Pretty Maids because of presumably death duties and hand it over to the National Trust. When they buy St Scholasticas they sell Plas Howell. Jo says they can't keep three houses going - but then they make a colossal annexe to the Tirol house with extra bedrooms, workshop for the boys, sitting room for the girls - and it's a holiday home! What happened to the Yorkshire house? The triplets stay on for an extra year at school for no reason than plot purposes, so EBD had to come up with a reason, or the triplets would have been almost 20 before they got to university. I don't remember reading that the Maynards couldn't afford Millies, I though it was the triplets' decision.


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 Post subject: Re: Toning down the Maynards' wealth?
PostPosted: 21 Jul 2019, 15:04 
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I'm never sure who owned the house in Yorkshire. The Maynards, de Bersacs, von und zu Wertheims, von Ahlens all seem to have a share in it at certain times. Marie is definitely staying there one summer holiday, because someone wants to go but can't because her children have got friends staying, but I'm not sure what use it would have been to them all once they'd moved to France/Austria/Switzerland. I think the Russells sometimes have a share in it, as well.

One of the triplets - I forget which one - says that they wanted to go to St Mildred's, but Jack says that the school "needs" them, which is ridiculous! Even Mary-Lou was allowed to leave school and move on with her life once she'd had her time in the VIth form!

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 Post subject: Re: Toning down the Maynards' wealth?
PostPosted: 21 Jul 2019, 17:02 
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I don't know how much the adoptees would actually have cost them. The Richardsons seem to have a well off father (who was privately funding his space travel plans!) and when the Maynards take responsibility for them the legal and financial issues are included.

Erica would have had money from her parents, some of which could have been used for her support and education.

Adrienne is pretty much left destitute, but Robin takes over a lot of the financial responsibility for her, telling Jo to use the money that had been left in her hands when Robin entered religion to provide for Adrienne's needs.

Clare is the one that would have cost them money, since they straight out adopted her. May e that's why she tends to disappear - she was sent out to earn her living!

Of course, all of this would have required some fairly careful accounting to keep track of everything. One can only hope they had a good accountant, and Joey wasn't responsible for it all!

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 Post subject: Re: Toning down the Maynards' wealth?
PostPosted: 22 Jul 2019, 07:06 
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I think EBD maybe did try and tone their wealth down a little, maybe to make them slightly more comparable to the reader. In one of the books the Freudesheim salon is described as something like "shabby but clean". It got a lot of use with all Joey's visitors but I cannot really imagine it as shabby. I am sure the Maynard children would not have been allowed to rampage through it.

I imagine Jack possibly had some sort of private income. When the Maynards and Russells are in Canada it states in one of the books that they are going to pay for Rosalie, Miss Wilson, Miss Annersley and possibly Mlle as well, to fly out there to see them in the Christmas holidays as their Christmas presents. Now that could not have been cheap. It was possibly inherited but the Maynards also had a Steinway (or similar) grand piano which must have cost a bomb.

In Reunion, the meals the company have out all seem to be paid by Joey - arranged in advance. For a couple of dozen people, that would soon mount up. Even her home food bill could not have been cheap, providing food for all these people.

They don't seem to have gone in for very lavish hols, spending them in the holiday home a few years but think of the cost of getting there and running the place. They must have been more than comfortably off.


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 Post subject: Re: Toning down the Maynards' wealth?
PostPosted: 23 Jul 2019, 17:36 
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The Maynard's lifestyle is rather contradictory. I think we're supposed to see them as solidly middle class - not wealthy, but not poor either. But they are definitely living a more than middle class lifestyle! They have a gigantic family and can put them all in good private schools (even though the girls are free, there are still five boys, plus travel to and from England, and fees for extra activities for the girls), 12 kids to put through university, an absolutely gigantic house, a substantial vacation home in Austria, a household staff that does all the cleaning and laundry and child-care, music lessons and instruments for the kids. When Joey is feeling poorly, she can be put to bed for a week and the household isn't disrupted. And they can adopt a random child without having to stop and do financial math.

Jack has a private income of some sort (and Joey stresses that Reg has a private income, so that Len won't be expected to live off just a doctor's income), and the older four have convenient inheritances to pay for university. Plus they've got the devoted Anna and Rosli, who can do the work of a full staff and have time left over to make lemon biscuits and walk the dog. I also assume that the Richardsons and Erica would have money to support them.

My mental picture of a more realistic situation for a family that size with a doctor's income would involve a much smaller house (multiple kids per bedroom) and no vacation home. Joey's book income could cover the cost of childcare and daily help, but she would be doing a lot more household work and kid wrangling in the evenings and weekends. Private school would be a real struggle to pay for that many kids, and there would be a very strong push towards getting scholarships for university. And they probably wouldn't be able to afford to adopt a small child.

Madge and Jem's lifestyle makes more sense to me. Jem seems to come from money, as he could afford to found the San in the first place, and he's running a very successful business (as does Madge). They also have fewer kids to support.

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 Post subject: Re: Toning down the Maynards' wealth?
PostPosted: 23 Jul 2019, 19:57 
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As Jennifer says, Jem and Madge's lifestyle makes sense but the Maynards not so much!

EBD seems to have been wanting us to see something different from the reality.


Last edited by Audrey25 on 23 Jul 2019, 19:59, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Toning down the Maynards' wealth?
PostPosted: 23 Jul 2019, 19:58 
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I guess the questions are: does Joey get an income from the school, on top of free fees for her girls, and does Freudesheim “come with” the job of head of the Swiss San (or, was bought by the San company or Jem, I suppose, for Joey and Jack) - or did Jack / Joey buy it themselves?

EBD always forgets the death duties, too. That would have depleted the inheritance Jack got as the last surviving Maynard son.

I guess we are supposed to think Jack is on rather more than just a “typical doctor” salary, and that Joey is a very successful author. But her royalties would have been highly variable, and who knows what either of those “jobs” would really mean in terms of an annual income.


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 Post subject: Re: Toning down the Maynards' wealth?
PostPosted: 23 Jul 2019, 20:23 
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I don't think Freudesheim comes with the job. Originally I am sure Jack was to have been having a house built for the family but it suddenly changes to a former guest house which he buys.

The moving costs were definitely paid by the Maynards because Jo talks about the amount of money it cost.

I could be wrong here but I don't think Jack had any financial interest in the Sans. If he did, he would have had to put money in and they were so very much Jem's.

Also, Jem was given the first option to manage the Swiss San so it is not as if the Welsh San was Jem's and the Swiss one Jack's! It also mentions, in the early Swiss days, Jem flying when he went to visit the Swiss San so it looks as if he was boss.

Joey and money from the school I don't know about. The original money did presumably belong to the three of them but it was Madge that makes the go of the school and she talks about "my school" in Exile. There is never a hint in the Swiss days, for instance, that Joey has any interest in the running of the school.

I am inclined to think that at some point Madge paid Dick and Jo off but that they could have a small number of shares as do staff.


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 Post subject: Re: Toning down the Maynards' wealth?
PostPosted: 23 Jul 2019, 21:21 
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Well, Die Rosen was originally the house Jem built, but later on, we discover it has become the house of the San head, so things do change over time....

But yes, you’re likely right.

With the school, I’m not so sure. Madge sank the inheritance of all three Bettany siblings (such as that was) into it, neither Joey nor Dick ever significantly participated in running it, but “their money” was pretty fundamental at the beginning and their hard work and support of the venture, in various ways. Maybe they got a payout for “their shares” when it became a limited company, but we don’t hear about that - if they did, maybe Jo has a private income too.

A whole lot of maybe!!


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 Post subject: Re: Toning down the Maynards' wealth?
PostPosted: 24 Jul 2019, 07:02 
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Caroline wrote:
EBD always forgets the death duties, too. That would have depleted the inheritance Jack got as the last surviving Maynard son.


I remember a discussion here about death duties a few years ago. It looks like 'The Squire' and Bob Maynard died within a few years of each other, which would have made the duties onerous. Wasn't that explained as the reason why Pretty Maids was given over to the National Trust? (and the climate not being suitable for Joey apparently).

With the school, I think it was the investment of all three Bettanys, which is why all of them got to send their girls free of charge. They sold the house in Cornwall/Devon to raise the funds to start it, which would have belonged to all three children. I'm not sure how much profit it would have made, especially as they seemed to constantly have building works going on in the Switzerland books.

The original Chalet School was owned by Herr Braun. I'm not sure whether Madge bought the school and grounds later, considering the extra buildings of three houses (St Clare, St Scholastica and the staff house of St Hilda). Jem bought the hotel on the Sonnalpe in Exile but apparently managed to sell the San etc. to Mr Flower when they had to leave Austria.

The school buildings in Guernsey were rented, as was Plas Howell and St Briavels. It's only when the school moved to Switzerland that they bought property again.


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 Post subject: Re: Toning down the Maynards' wealth?
PostPosted: 24 Jul 2019, 12:55 
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Audrey25 wrote:
When the Maynards and Russells are in Canada it states in one of the books that they are going to pay for Rosalie, Miss Wilson, Miss Annersley and possibly Mlle as well, to fly out there to see them in the Christmas holidays as their Christmas presents.


It was in Shocks, Audrey, but Jack made it quite clear that "We four" were offering the trip only to Rosalie, as her Christmas present. I presume, by we four, he meant himself and Jo, Madge and Jem were all doing the paying. It would have been an enormous amount to pay for all four of them - although, when Rosalie says it costs the earth to fly over, Jack actually replies, "By no means." Go figure!

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 Post subject: Re: Toning down the Maynards' wealth?
PostPosted: 26 Jul 2019, 00:35 
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MaryR wrote:
Audrey25 wrote:
When the Maynards and Russells are in Canada it states in one of the books that they are going to pay for Rosalie, Miss Wilson, Miss Annersley and possibly Mlle as well, to fly out there to see them in the Christmas holidays as their Christmas presents.


It was in Shocks, Audrey, but Jack made it quite clear that "We four" were offering the trip only to Rosalie, as her Christmas present. I presume, by we four, he meant himself and Jo, Madge and Jem were all doing the paying. It would have been an enormous amount to pay for all four of them - although, when Rosalie says it costs the earth to fly over, Jack actually replies, "By no means." Go figure!


You are right, Mary. I had always read it as I said above but it is quite clear it is only Rosalie! She deserved the treat. Maybe not quite so rich!


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 Post subject: Re: Toning down the Maynards' wealth?
PostPosted: 26 Jul 2019, 10:23 
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Even so, it is very generous gift in order that Rosalie can see Robin again before she becomes a nun. Why Rosalie I wonder?


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 Post subject: Re: Toning down the Maynards' wealth?
PostPosted: 27 Jul 2019, 04:03 
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Mel wrote:
Even so, it is very generous gift in order that Rosalie can see Robin again before she becomes a nun. Why Rosalie I wonder?

I wonder if the two headmistresses were going to Canada anyway, to consult with Madge? In which case, offering to pay for Rosalie so she can come too makes more sense - having no idea of tax law, but I'd assume that the Chalet School could write off the expense incurred in having two headmistresses and the school secretary consulting with the owner in Canada?

Robin returns to England anyway before becoming a nun, so it's not as though it was her last chance to see Rosalie.


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 Post subject: Re: Toning down the Maynards' wealth?
PostPosted: 27 Jul 2019, 14:28 
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In Adrienne - much, much later than Shocks - Hilda is about to go to Toronto, and says to Adrienne she'll take her to Canada to meet with Robin (now her second cousin) as she herself is to visit some old friends and attend to one or two business matters - presumably meeting up with Madge to talk school matters, so the school probably is paying, as bythebrook suggests.

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 Post subject: Re: Toning down the Maynards' wealth?
PostPosted: 27 Jul 2019, 15:41 
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In Excitements Joey says she will donate the money from her next book to the chapel fund and Jack will double it. Which suggests a fair amount of disposable income.


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 Post subject: Re: Toning down the Maynards' wealth?
PostPosted: 27 Jul 2019, 20:23 
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I doubt they would have had to pay much to put their children through university - for a start, not all of them would have gone. People didn't, back in the day - okay, we know the triplets planned to, but we don't know about any of the others. Also, back then, it was free, and you even got a maintenance grant from your local authority. Having said that, I don't know that the Maynards would have qualified on either count, since they didn't live in the UK, but maybe they could fudge things so they had a UK address - the Quadrant, perhaps?


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