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About Peggy Saville   By: (1857-1917)

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About Peggy Saville, by Mrs George de Horne Vaizey.

I have used part of the same introduction for this book, as I did for one of the books about Pixie O'Shaughnessy, not because the books are anything like the same, but because the observations are equally valid.

This is another excellent book by Mrs de Horne Vaizey, dating from the end of the nineteenth century. While of course it is dated in its references to the world around its actors, yet nevertheless their emotions are well described, and no doubt are timeless.

Some older children are being educated at a Vicarage near Brighton, along with the vicar's own three. Peggy Saville is a "new girl", having previously lived in India, where her parents still are. She has great talent in some directions, but still has to add up by counting on her fingers! She certainly gets up to some tricks, though.

There is a fire at a dance given by the titled family of one of the pupils, from which Peggy rescues the daughter of the house. Both girls are injured, Peggy the more severely, but eventually they are both on the way to recovery.

In some ways the world around the people in the book is recognisable today, in a way which a book written thirty or forty years before would not have been. They have electricity, telephones, trains, buses, and many other things that we still use regularly today. Of course one major difference is that few people today have servants, while middle class and upper class families of the eighteen nineties would certainly have had them.

So it is not so very dated after all. But I do think there is a real value in reading the book. Oddly enough, I think that a boy would benefit from reading any of the author's books, more than a girl would, because it would give him an insight into the girlish mind which he could not so easily otherwise obtain.




The afternoon post had come in, and the Vicar of Renton stood in the bay window of his library reading his budget of letters. He was a tall, thin man, with a close shaven face, which had no beauty of feature, but which was wonderfully attractive all the same. It was not an old face, but it was deeply lined, and those who knew and loved him best could tell the meaning of each of those eloquent tracings. The deep vertical mark running up the forehead meant sorrow. It had been stamped there for ever on the night when Hubert, his first born, had been brought back, cold and lifeless, from the river to which he had hurried forth but an hour before, a picture of happy boyhood. The vicar's brow had been smooth enough before that day. The furrow was graven to the memory of Teddy, the golden haired lad who had first taught him the joys of fatherhood. The network of lines about the eyes were caused by the hundred and one little worries of everyday life, and the strain of working a delicate body to its fullest pitch; and the two long, deep streaks down the cheeks bore testimony to that happy sense of humour which showed the bright side of a question, and helped him out of many a slough of despair. This afternoon, as he stood reading his letters one by one, the different lines deepened, or smoothed out, according to the nature of the missive. Now he smiled, now he sighed, anon he crumpled up his face in puzzled thought, until the last letter of all was reached, when he did all three in succession, ending up with a low whistle of surprise

"Edith! This is from Mrs Saville. Just look at this!"

Instantly there came a sound of hurried rising from the other end of the room; a work basket swayed to and fro on a rickety gipsy table, and the vicar's wife walked towards him, rolling half a dozen reels of thread in her wake with an air of fine indifference... Continue reading book >>

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