Get to Know the Parents

Article by Laura Canning (February 2, 2005)

Mr and Mrs Rivers are Darrell's parents, and jolly sensible they are too. Mr Rivers echoes Miss Grayling's advice to Darrell at the start of her first term, and turns up in time to save Sally from appendicitis. He also ticks off Mr Jones for 'disgraceful driving'. Mrs Rivers turns up at half terms appropriately attired, and kisses Darrell goodbye in a sensible manner. Not like...

Mrs Lacey and Miss Winter are Gwendoline's mother and governess, who are seen as fully responsible for producing the spoilt and vain Gwen. They dote on her every word, believe her lies about being the best swimmer in the school, and instantly believe her about having a weak heart. Although Gwen seems to have grown up a bit when her father becomes ill, Mrs Lacey is as weak as ever.

Mr Lacey is stern and straightforward, poor Mr Lacey despairs of daughter Gwen. He sees right through her and wants to know why she can't be a better person (see above). He is very saddened and disappointed when he finds out that Gwen is faking her weak heart, and tells her some home truths that make her cry. He is pressured by all three women into letting Gwen go to finishing school in Switzerland, and makes himself ill by overwork. Gwen leaves school to get a job to help support the family.

Mr Jones is used primarily by Blyton to show the influence of 'bad' parents, Mr Jones is loud, rich and uncouth. He embarrasses Jo at half-term by his overly familiar manner and is not liked by the girls or their parents. He has a flash car and drives it badly, almost knocking Mr Rivers off the road. 'Cheeky Charlie', as he calls himself, encourages Jo to do as she likes and not to worry about grades, and is soundly ticked off by Miss Grayling when Jo is expelled.

Mrs Jones was seen at half-term in the last book where she is equally embarrassed by Mr Jones' behaviour.