Companion to Summer Half

Summer Half. Young Colin Keith decides to become a schoolmaster at Southbridge for the summer half term in order to support himself, rather than follow his father into the law. This is the introduction to Southbridge School, which is prominent in many of AT’s novels. Highlights: Philip Winter is disastrously engaged to Rose Birkett; Everard Carter feels “love at first sight” for Kate Keith; the beginning of Noel Merton’s delighted friendship with boisterous Lydia Keith; scenes of life at prep school (cricket matches, chameleons, floods, tea parties, Matron); a rainy picnic on the river. Philip is rescued from Rose, Colin is rescued from schoolmastering, Everard wins Kate. No earth-shaking events, but a great book.

 

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

Andrew Youngest of Helen Keith’s grandfather’s second family. Married a Miss Winter (his second wife) whose parents were from Bermuda and who supposedly had a trace of black blood. SH
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 a 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
Bishop of Barchester Never mentioned by name. Parsimonious, low-church, unpopular. One son, said to be “in mission field” but really worked in an office at Westminster. Preached love for Germans, Communists, etc., and was a Liberal. Nicknamed “Old Gasbag.” Worthy successor to Trollope’s Bishop Proudie. Never made on “on-stage” appearance. SH, B, BL, CBI, NR, MH, GU, HM, MB, PBO, PE, OBH, CC, DD, HR2, JC, WDIM, ESR, NTL, DA, CQ, LAA, 3S&T
Bradford Elderly Southbridge Jr. Classics master, replaced (briefly) by Colin Keith. SH
Brown, Farmer Of Northbridge. Owner of Parsley Island where Swan and Tony  Morland camped and where a rain-soaked picnic helped to begin the breakup of Philip Winter and Rose Birkett. SH
Bunce d. 1957. “Old Bunce,” the ferryman at Northbridge. Claimed the war would start in the fall because he knew the signs. Daughters Effie and Ruby. Foul-mouthed domestic tyrant, suspected of beating his daughters (who probably deserved it). Probably meant to be a descendant of Trollope’s Bunce, senior bedesman in Hiram’s Hospital, though Old Bunce represents all the negative traits of the “lower orders,” unlike Trollope’s Bunce. SH, CBI, NR, MB, PE, OBH, JC, WDIM, DA, LAA, 3S&T
Bunce, Effie Came by the day to do for Miss Pemberton in Northbridge. Worked at Master’s Dairy near Hallbury in MB. Had several illegitimate children by unknown fathers. SH, NR, MB, OBH, WDIM, NTL, DA, LAA, 3S&T
Bunce, Mrs. Wife of “Old Bunce” the ferryman, but in reality never married him. Died of excessive quantities of gin. SH, NR, MB, PE, WDIM, LAA
Bunce, Ruby Like her sister Effie, she was slovenly but hard-working, amoral, haphazard, and near illiterate. Had several illegitimate offspring by unknown fathers. SH, NR, WDIM, NTL, DA, LAA, 3S&T
Bunce, Young Son of “Old Bunce.” He was 63 and was hit with a mattock by Hibberd for digging a grave in “Hibberd’s churchyard” while Hibberd was delirious with flu. Cowman for the Mertons at Northbridge. SH, NR, OBH, WDIM, 3S&T
Carter, Archdeacon Great-uncle of Everard. Wife Lady Sibyl. They were both Egyptologists and “both mad.” SH
Carter, Everard b. 1909?. Southbridge School History master and Housemaster who succeeded Mr. Birkett as Headmaster. Became engaged to Kate Keith in SH. Cambridge man. Retired by time of 3S&T. Lived at Northbridge Rectory after retirement. SH, B, CBI, GU, MB, PBO, PE, LAR, OBH, CC, DD, HR2, JC, WDIM, ESR, NTL, DA, CQ, LAA, 3S&T
Carter, Lady Sibyl 1802-?. Widow of Archdeacon Carter. Her father was governor of an Indian province. SH
Crawley, Josiah Canon, Dean of Barchester. First seen as a friend of Lady Pomfret in PT. Eight children, 17 grandchildren in PE. Had shared digs with George Knox at Oxford. Once blackballed Sir Ogilvy Hibberd for Polyanthus Club. Grandson of Josiah Crawley, curate of Hogglestock in Trollope’s novels. Opposed Bishop’s parsimony and low-church, Liberal views. DH, SH, PT, B, CBI, NR, MH, GU, HM, MB, PBO, PE, LAR, OBH, CC, DD, HR2, JC, WDIM, ESR, DA, CQ, LAA, 3S&T
Crawley, Josiah Grandfather of Dean of Barchester, most prominent in Trollope’s Framley Parsonage and Last Chronicle of Barset. Moody, unhappy, ascetic, conscientious, hard-working curate of Hogglestock. Vindicated of stealing a cheque in Last Chronicle. Son Bob, daughters Grace and Jane, wife Mary. Later Vicar of St. Ewold’s. SH, CBI, HM, LAR, OBH, DD, HR2, JC, DA, CQ, LAA
Crawley, Mrs. Wife of Josiah Crawley, Dean of Barchester. Gave lavish teas to county families, subtly underscoring the miserliness of the Bishop and Bishopess at the Palace. Two sons, six daughters, including Secunda, Tertia, Octavia. SH, BL, CBI, NR, MH, GU, HM, MB, PBO, LAR, OBH, CC, DD, HR2, JC, WDIM, NTL, DA, CQ, LAA, 3S&T
Damper, Dr. J. J. Honorary Canon of Barchester. Former Head of Southbridge School (1849-56). Author of several hymns including the Duke of Omnium’s favorite, “Each morn we humbly bow the face. Before the coming of Thy Grace.” Also author of the Southbridge School Carmen. Wrote travel book Peregrinations in Palestine. SH, CBI, PE
Dandridge, Amber Barchester High School student. Refused swimming colors by Miss Pettinger for cheeking Miss Moore in the bookroom. SH
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
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
Fairweather, Geoffrey Elder brother of John. Sister Edith married Robert Keith. Contemporary of Tony Morland at Southbridge. Not brilliant, but good athlete, captain of boxing. School nickname “Fairy.” Married Geraldine Birkett, had son John. Became a Colonel in the Barsetshire Regt. during war. DH, SH, CBI, GU, PBO, PE, JC, CQ
Fairweather, Mary d. 1946. Mother of Edith Keith, Geoffrey, and John Fairweather. Spoiled her grandchildren. Died in PE. SH, PE
Featherstonehaugh 1920-1939. Captain of Rowing at Southbridge School in ’37, went into Nigerian police. Killed when Lancashire was torpedoed and sunk. Contemporary of Tony Morland, Swan, and Hacker. Very shy. Enamored of Matron when in Junior form. Special prize for Greek was named for his uncle. SH, CBI, PBO, ESR
Gibbon Chameleon belonging to Percy Hacker of Southbridge School. Name was changed from Greta Garbo. SH, GU, PE
Hacker, Percy b. 1921. First encountered in SH as a very silent Southbridge student, friend of Tony Morland. Had pet chameleon named Gibbon, which he once offered to Philip Winter for coaching him before a scholarship exam. Once left the hot tap running and nearly flooded the lower dorm. In Ministry of Information during war. Became fellow and senior classics tutor at Lazarus College, later Latin Chair at Redbrick Univ. Author of well-known Latin text. SH, CBI, GU, MB, PBO, DD, HR2, JC, WDIM, ESR, NTL, 3S&T
Harrison Replaced Colin Keith as Junior Classics master at Southbridge School. Broke his leg in Lake District so Colin had to take the mixed 5th form. SH
Harwood, C d. 1939. Cricket pro who attended Southbridge. Once hit a ball from nets through window of Lower Dorm of Everard Carter’s house, crushing a print of the Martyrdom of St. Ursula. Mark that remained was called the “Martyr’s Memorial.” SH, CBI
Holinshed A parent of one of the Southbridge School students in Tony Morland’s time. Had seven children. “Disgraced his family” by taking Holy Orders at an advanced age and having family prayers no matter where they were. SH, CBI
Holinshed Senior boy at Southbridge with a chance at mathematical scholarship. Once was given a C- in General Knowledge by Philip Winter. Concerned because he couldn’t get into the armed forces at the beginning of the war. SH, CBI, GU
Jessie Head housemaid for Everard and Kate Carter. Eyesight too poor for war service, but would never wear her glasses. Had a brother who was a milkman, a cousin in laundry in Southbridge. SH, CBI, GU, PBO, PE, CC, ESR, CQ
Keith, Catherine b. 1935. Daughter of Robert and Edith (Fairweather) Keith. SH, GU, WDIM
Keith, Colin b. 1912. First seen in SH as a new master at Southbridge School, then read law with Noel Merton. Gunnery officer with Territorials in war, served in N. Africa. Became successful barrister, author of Keith on Lemon on Running Powers, the last word on railway law. Briefly infatuated with Peggy Arbuthnot and fond of Susan Dean; finally became engaged to Eleanor Grantly in OBH, proving sister Lydia wrong when she dubbed him a “perpetual uncle.” SH, B, GU, PBO, PE, LAR, OBH, CC, DD, HR2, WDIM, CQ, LAA
Keith, Edith Fairweather Wife of Robert Keith, sister of John and Geoffrey Fairweather. Mother of Catherine, Henry, and another. Former Head Girl at Barchester High School and a favorite of Miss Pettinger. Hearty and athletic, was once captain of school cricket and hockey. SH, CBI, GU, PE, OBH, WDIM
Keith, Helen Mother of Robert, Kate, Colin, and Lydia. Boring and domestic, not very intelligent. Lived at Northbridge Manor. Had “a bit of a heart.” During war went to Bournemouth to live with her sister Kate. Dead by WDIM 1954. SH, B, CBI, NR, GU, PE, OBH, HR2, JC, WDIM
Keith, Henry d. 1939. Resident of Northbridge Manor. Wife Helen. Killed when struck by a lorry when leaving Old Lord Pomfret’s funeral. Country-squirish landowner and solicitor. SH, B, CBI, PE, LAR, OBH, HR2, WDIM, CQ, LAA
Keith, Henry b. 1932. Son of Robert and Edith (Fairweather) Keith. SH, CBI, GU, WDIM
Keith, Kate b. 1916. Became engaged to Everard Carter in SH. Boring and domestic but nice. Children Bobbie, Angela, Philip, and Noel. SH, B, CBI, GU, MB, PE, OBH, CC, DD, JC, WDIM, CQ, LAA, 3S&T
Keith, Lydia Tomboyish younger sister of Robert, Kate, and Colin. Awkward, gauche, boisterous, and energetic, until marriage to Noel Merton moved her energy into constructive channels. Children Lavinia, Harry, Jessica. During war she miscarried her first child because of overwork. Hurt by Noel’s flirtation with Peggy Arbuthnot in PE but was reconciled to her husband, whom she loved dearly. SH, B, CBI, NR, U, HM, MB, PBO, PE, LAR, OBH, CC, DD, HR2, JC, WDIM, ESR, DA, CQ, LAA, 3S&T
Keith, Robert Brother of Kate, Colin, and Lydia. Wife Edith. Senior partner of Keith and Keith law firm. Bought home in Nutfield in GU and sold Northbridge Manor to brother-in-law Noel Merton. SH, CBI, NR, MH, GU, PE, OBH, CC, DD, HR2, WDIM, ESR, CQ, LAA, 3S&T
Lemon Author of Lemon on Running Powers, the ultimate legal authority on railroads, which Colin Keith found fascinating. SH
Lob, Herr Musician and band conductor to whom Rose Birkett was once engaged. SH
Lorimer d. 1937. Classics master at Southbridge (died in SH). Elderly Scotsman with genius for coaching who crammed Hacker into his Oxford scholarship. Author of standard Latin text. Replaced by Philip Winter. Had sister in Perthshire. SH, GU, MB, PE, LAR, DD, JC, ESR
Merton, Noel First seen in SH as a young barrister. Married Lydia Keith having fallen in love with her gradually while watching her grow up. Had miraculous escape at Dunkirk, convalesced at Beliers Priory near Worsted. Later in Military Intelligence. He and Lydia bought her old home, Northbridge Manor. Had flirtation with Peggy Arbuthnot in PE which caused rare friction with Lydia. (Jessica Dean straightened him out.) Became a QC, ran for Parliament in 1952. Became Sir Noel after Queen Elizabeth’s coronation. SH, B, CBI, NR, GU, MB, PBO, PE, LAR, OBH, CC, DD, JC, WDIM, ESR, DA, CQ, LAA, 3S&T
Moore, Miss Teacher at BarchesterHigh School. SH
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 her 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
Mowbray Student in Carter’s House at Southbridge. Once won the sack race but developed pneumonia. SH
Norris, The Hon. Mr. While at Lazarus College he became entangled with a barmaid at the Devonguilla Arms who was already married, but subsequently married Eleanora Purvis, a nice young lady. Once an acquaintance of Colin Keith (who was Eleanora’s cousin) at Oxford. SH, HM
Oswald Cousin of Mrs. Helen Keith. Was head of mission school in Calcutta, and became a bishop. SH
Palmer Parlourmaid for the Keiths at Northbridge Manor. SH, CBI, PE, OBH, WDIM, LAA, 3S&T
Pettinger, Bertha Headmistress of Barchester High School. Highly unpopular. Known to the girls as “The Beast.” Had tired waved hair and painted her face. Madeleine Sparling lived with her before the Hosiers’ Girls’ School moved to Harefield Park. Received OBE when she retired. SH, B, CBI, NR, GU, HM, MB, PBO, PE, LAR, OBH, DD, JC, WDIM, 3S&T
Protheroe Master at Southbridge School who returned after a brief time in Canada. Tony Morland considered him strict because he gave impositions for pushing a chap at drill and drawing pictures in his Ovid. DH, SH
Purvis, Marian Aunt of Helen Keith. Third daughter of her father’s second marriage. Daughter Eleanora. SH
Purvis, The Hon. Eleanora Wife of the Hon. Mr. Norris of Lazarus College. Mother’s name was Marian. Cousin of Helen Keith. SH, HM
Sanders Chauffeur for Keiths at Northbridge. SH, CBI
Smalley, Mr. Master at Barchester High to whom Rose Birkett was briefly engaged. SH
Smith, “Holy Joe” Southbridge School chaplain. Once played football for Cambridge. Avid reader of thrillers. Fond of animals. SH, CBI, PE, LAR, CC, JC, CQ, LAA
Smith, Mr. Justice Tried cases of the London and Mid-Western Railroad in 1847. SH
Swan, Eric b. 1921. First seen as Southbridge School student who irritated Philip Winter by “looking at him through his spectacles.” Friend and classmate of Tony Morland and Percy Hacker. Went to Cambridge. Married Justinia Lufton after once being in love with Grace Grantly. Was in Africa during war. Became master at Beliers Priory School, later replaced Everard Carter as head of Southbridge School. SH, CBI, PBO, PE, LAR, OBH, DD, HR2, JC, WDIM, ESR, NTL, CQ, LAA, 3S&T
Swan, Flora Ramsey Old school friend of Mrs. Grantly, mother of Eric Swan. Her husband died during war. SH, HR2, JC
Sylvia Mrs. Birkett’s cocker spaniel. HR1, DH, SH
Turnbull Junior Classics master at Southbridge. Killed in WWI. SH
Twicker Gardener for the Keiths. Married the Keiths’ old Nannie. Name is spelled “Twitcher” in some books. Dead by time of LAA. SH, PE, WDIM, LAA
Twicker, Nannie The Keiths’ Nannie. Married the gardener before the war. Thought poorly of her own grown children because they weren’t gentry. SH, GU, LAR, OBH, DD, WDIM, ESR, LAA
Van Storck, Lt. Officer to whom Rose Birkett was once engaged. SH
Villars, Rev. Gregory b. 1886. Vicar of Northbridge. Former headmaster of Coppin’s School. Canon of Barchester by LAX. SH, CBI, NR, GU, MB, PE, CC, JC, WDIM, DA, CQ, LAA
Villars, Verena b. 1892. Wife of Rev. Gregory Villars, vicar of Northbridge. Typical languid, middle-aged, attractive Thirkell heroine. Had “a bit of a heart.” Two sons. SH, CBI, NR, GU, MB, PE, DD, JC, WDIM, DA, CQ, LAA, 3S&T
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
Winter, Miss Wife of Helen Keith’s uncle Andrew. Supposedly had a trace of black blood as her parents lived in Bermuda. SH
Winter, Philip Under-housemaster to Everard Carter at Southbridge School, where he was Senior Classics Master. Son of a clergyman. At first meeting, a hot-tempered communist sympathizer. Was engaged to Rose Birkett, the nitwit daughter of the headmaster, and was extremely jealous. Became unengaged on day of memorable picnic on an island in the Rising River at Northbridge, culminating in Rose’s throwing her ring at him (a relief to all concerned). Joined the Territorials during the war, rose to rank of Colonel, and lost his communist sympathies. Was called “Carrots” and “Fireworks” in school because of red hair. Married Leslie Waring, started Priory School in Beliers Priory, later moved school to Harefield. SH, CBI, GU, MB, PBO, PE, LAR, OBH, CC, DD, HR2, JC, ESR, CQ, LAA, 3S&T

Valid HTML 4.01!