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Animals in Norah Lofts

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message 1: by Barbara (last edited Jan 19, 2017 03:05PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2110 comments Nl is full of animals and her love of them shines through doesn't it? And we all seem to love them too and often post well- remembered little vignettes. So I've opened this and will move (well, cut and paste) some of our latest ones.

Here they all are, below.


message 2: by Barbara (last edited Jan 19, 2017 03:04PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2110 comments by Susan

Jan 16, 2017 06:19AM

Thinking back to animals, remember there was a dog that bit Balthazar's wrist (How Far to Bethlehem) Also, remember that Felicity Hatton named all her dogs and horses "George" after George Turnbull who tried to trick her into believing they were married (by proxy) in order to get her fortune. I remember she asked him to get a decent girl to stand proxy and not someone like "Poll, knock on the wall for a penny (or sixpence!"

: by Barbara (last edited Jan 17, 2017 09:24PM)

Jan 17, 2017 09:23PM


Barbara Hoyland Susan wrote: "Thinking back to animals, remember there was a dog that bit Balthazar's wrist (How Far to Bethlehem) Also, remember that Felicity Hatton named all her dogs and horses "George" after George Turnbull..."

Yes and speaking of biting dogs, there was a dog who bit Colin Lowrie's wrist when he unsuccessfully escaped the slave plantation ( Patty her name was , the dog) in Out Of This Nettle
Plus of course the wonderful huge white dog in The Devil In Clevely who bit the terrible the Mundford.

(both dogs acting under orders I have to hastily add)
message 20: by Sylvia

5 hours, 38 min ago


Sylvia - Didn't Lady Alice Rowhedge also get bitten by a mad dog while being held in a cell awaiting execution as a witch? It seems like her way with animals was one reason for her condemnation. I don't believe the bite affected her, but she did not die from burning.

(One comfort in losing your memory is that rereading is like reading anew!)

by Susan

4 hours, 31 min ago


Susan | 159 comments Sylvia wrote: "Didn't Lady Alice Rowhedge also get bitten by a mad dog while being held in a cell awaiting execution as a witch? It seems like her way with animals was one reason for her condemnation. I don't bel..."
Yes, she did get bitten by a mad dog, and she was surprised because animals had always loved her. She cheated the fire by falling into a frenzy and then a coma, so died before burning. Also, when she went to the clay pit where she had "seen" the sheep that Robin was accused of stealing, there was a great Herdhound that farmers kept hungry and it had been attacking the sheep, but she shouted at it and stared it down and it slunk off.
Also, remember she made all the Parliamentary soldiers horses "stand" and they refused to move, when she outwitted the officer saying she needed to sit on her horse's back for the final part of the trick. Then she rode off to warn the men on the road bringing the boots for the King's army, but was too late.

: by Sylvia

2 hours, 47 min ago

Sylvia ( So Susan, it was the bite of the mad dog that saved Lady Alice from her execution? Making those soldiers' horses stand was a fascinating event, too. And I think she also led horses out of a burning barn when younger.


message 3: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2110 comments And I also remember the horses, the poor overworked, undernourished horses that the brave, but ultimately tragic young Emmie Bacon (in White Hell of Pity ) crept out to feed at night , in that terrible "Cold Comfort Farm" place.


message 4: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 704 comments When I read Bless This House, I rather wondered about the mad dog. I lived in an area where there was a rabies scare every few years, and I knew that there was quite a bit of time between the bite and the disease.

(Digression! Sylvia, you may get a kick out of this part: I also knew what to do if you were bitten by a dog that might be mad--you had someone cut off its head and send it to Charleston. I went through much of my adult life secure in that knowledge, until it occurred to me that Charleston hadn't been my state capital for several decades. Meanwhile, I had lived in the assurance that a box containing a dog's head and addressed to "Charleston" would be properly dealt with. Sorry if this is too horrific!)

Back to Lady Alice's deliverer, I suspect that someone pointed out to NL after BTH was published that one didn't develop rabies and die immediately after being bitten. So in one of her last novels, I think The Old Priory, the narrator tosses a powder of Lady Alice's own compounding through the cell window, and the little black dog was just a coincidence (or a red herring ;) ).

Another memorable dog is the one guarding Knight's Acre when Joanna arrives back that cold night. It growls menacingly at her, but she tells it to get out of her way, and it does. (We don't know what is to become of Joanna at the end of The Lonely Furrow, but apparently she's going to avoid being placed in a convent. She couldn't marry Henry, but I imagine she married *someone*. Might Alice have been descended from her?)


message 5: by Barbara (last edited Jan 22, 2017 06:26PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2110 comments MaryC wrote: "When I read Bless This House, I rather wondered about the mad dog. I lived in an area where there was a rabies scare every few years, and I knew that there was quite a bit of time between the bite ..."

Yes poor little black dog , I agree s/he was a coincidence or red herring -and the death certainly added to Lady Alice's legendary status.

It was Godfrey's dog who growled at Joanna wasn't it? He had been bought as a present by his father Henry with strict instructions that he, Guard, was to be just that , a guard dog and to not have titbits from the table and certainly not to sleep inside and most certainly not to sleep on anyone's bed ..... Hah!


message 6: by Sylvia (new)

Sylvia (sylviab) | 1361 comments Mary, I never heard of that West Virginia "test" for rabies, but I have to say that if I had had a thing to do with it, Charleston would have received the whole dog, maybe packed in flowers!

I don't recall the account of Lady Alice's death coming up in The Old Priory, not that I can recall anything previous to this moment.

I do remember Guard being ruined as a guard dog. I think there was also a pet dog featured in Afternoon of an Autocrat who was painted as a disguise and having something to do with ancient evil rituals, maybe helping to foil the perpetrators. There was also a pet cat in this book, more of an NL rarity!


message 7: by Robin (new)

Robin Grant | 71 comments MaryC said this: "In one of her last novels, I think The Old Priory, the narrator tosses a powder of Lady Alice's own compounding through the cell window, and the little black dog was just a coincidence (or a red herring ;)"

I think the book was Pargeters. I think the character's name was Sarah Woodley-Mercer. She colluded with Lady Alice and also was a friend, and she felt she had to do something when she was condemned to such a horrific death.


message 8: by Sylvia (new)

Sylvia (sylviab) | 1361 comments In looking back, Susan mentioned in Post 2 about the white dog in Afternoon of an Autocrat (alt. title "The Devil in Clevely") who bit the evil Mundford.

In reading other threads, I was reminded of three instances of performing bears being mistreated: Pert Tom's Owd Muscovy, killed when Martin's son let him out of his cage to dance because he wanted to show off his music skills; Maude Reed trying to save a bear from a bear-baiting; and Blondel saving a performing bear in The Lute Player. All of these examples were related to us by Barbara in other threads.


message 9: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2110 comments Robin wrote: "MaryC said this: "In one of her last novels, I think The Old Priory, the narrator tosses a powder of Lady Alice's own compounding through the cell window, and the little black dog was just a coinci..."

Yes, indeed that's who it was !

PS Nice to see you back Robin , hope you will be joining in the next group read .


message 10: by Susan (new)

Susan | 179 comments Hello Barbara, I have been thinking a lot about NLs great books and hope I can read them soon, as at the moment, I cannot concentrate. My mind just wanders away since I lost my dear husband.
Just remembered also the white horse in the first chapter of The Lute Player that got eaten by the hungry people when Blondel thought he could feed them all! He was not the favourite lad then, and that ended his stay with the Monks. So many wonderful stories that we can read again and again. Wish I had written down each time I had read one of her books. I started reading them way back in 1966. First one was The Old Vine.


message 11: by Robin (new)

Robin Grant | 71 comments Thanks, Barbara! Yes, I've been following the conversations and lurking. :) Looking forward to the next group read!


message 12: by Robin (new)

Robin Grant | 71 comments Susan wrote: "Hello Barbara, I have been thinking a lot about NLs great books and hope I can read them soon, as at the moment, I cannot concentrate. My mind just wanders away since I lost my dear husband.
Just r..."


Susan, I'm so sorry about your loss, and the tough time you're having! It's doubly hard when your usual comforts like reading don't work. I'm saying a prayer for you--and that you'll be able to concentrate and enjoy your activities.


message 13: by Sylvia (new)

Sylvia (sylviab) | 1361 comments Robin, that was such a loving message to our Susan. I love your statement about "lurking!" We must have many members who also "lurk" and that is a good circumstance, although we do wish more would comment. I look forward to reading your posts on our next discussion, which seems to be leaning toward a new read of our old favorite, The Town House Trilogy...many animal references in those volumes!


message 14: by Susan (new)

Susan | 179 comments Thank you so much for your prayer Robin, it is much appreciated.
I am indeed struggling . Some times are better than others. We were married for 53 years so it is a long time. We were indeed blessed. Never thought we would see our Golden Wedding with our 20 year age gap. He was 94 when I lost him. A veteran of the Artic Convoys, so had been through a lot during the war, including spending 15 hours in the Atlantic when his ship sank. I am hoping that my concentration will improve. I am determined to try to do the things I enjoy, as he would not want me to just sit and brood. Too many happy memories of me. Thank you again.


message 15: by Susan (new)

Susan | 179 comments Sylvia wrote: "Robin, that was such a loving message to our Susan. I love your statement about "lurking!" We must have many members who also "lurk" and that is a good circumstance, although we do wish more would ..."
Hello Sylvia, yes that was indeed a lovely message from Robin, much appreciated. I am testing my brain power when I lay in bed at night and cannot sleep by going through her books and trying to remember Animals, different names i.e. Turnbull, etc, and it might help me to concentrate more so I can start to re-read our dear NL's books. I hope you and Rychard are OK. Take care of yourselves.


message 16: by Barbara (last edited Jan 26, 2017 07:18PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2110 comments Susan wrote: "Sylvia wrote: "Robin, that was such a loving message to our Susan. I love your statement about "lurking!" We must have many members who also "lurk" and that is a good circumstance, although we do w..."

I have sent you a private message through the 'friend ' part of the board Susan.

Animals do abound in NL don't they? Always loving handled and objects of affection and/or pity . I mentioned the horses in WHOP, so grateful for a tiny bit of affection and extra food . But that is animals isn't it? - so generous and so forgiving with their silent support in times of grief and misery. Most of all I love Gyp, the elderly sheepdog belonging to Kit in You're Best Alone. Could get tearful at that ending anytime !

I also remember the gruff father in the House at Old Vine, he who bought it as failing commercial concern and whose daughter spent her whole life wanting to restore it - and who ultimately came to a tragic end when killed by David Armstrong, poor woman. Well the gruff father , who NEVER went in for affection and caresses, still would have "jumped into the river with his boots on to save Nip" , his sheepdog .


message 17: by Susan (new)

Susan | 179 comments Oh yes, she was a great lover of animals. The are part of our lives too. I do not think I have ever read You Are Best Along. How strange! I do not even own a copy. I must get one.
Oh yes, I remember the gruff father who would have jumped into the river with his boots on to save Nip.
Thank you for the private message Barbara, I have replied to that.


message 18: by Robin (new)

Robin Grant | 71 comments Wow, lots to reply to! Susan, I really do feel for you. My father died a couple of years ago and he and my mother had been married just short of 65 years. And a friend just lost her husband this week. So the pain you're describing seems all too real to me!

Sylvia and others, The Town House would be great. It's one of my favorites but not one I have re-read as recently as some others.

And as for animals, I love the way NL often telegraphs the true character of someone in a story by their treatment of animals, good or bad. I always loved that Mary in the beginning of How Far to Bethlehem was fretting over the suffering of a donkey and trying to relieve its burden at the beginning of the book--I believe at the time she received the announcement from the angel, although it's been awhile since I've read it.


message 19: by Susan (new)

Susan | 179 comments Robin wrote: "Wow, lots to reply to! Susan, I really do feel for you. My father died a couple of years ago and he and my mother had been married just short of 65 years. And a friend just lost her husband this we..." Yes Robin, losing loved ones is so very hard and hurtful. Sorry for your loss and for your friend's too, which is so raw. Saying a prayer for your friend. Have you still got your Mother Robin? That is a long time to be married, bless them.

Yes, I remember Mary worrying about the donkey because the sack of nails was digging in the donkey. It was very poignant too, because when she took the sack on her own back, the nails dug in, and of course, that was a link to the pain that her Son Jesus suffered when he was nailed to the cross. It must have been awful for her watching him suffer. Yes, it was just prior to her receiving the announcement from Angel Gabriel .
Take care of yourselves.


message 20: by Sylvia (new)

Sylvia (sylviab) | 1361 comments Also in HFTB was the story of Melchoir's preparations for his trip, leaving behind his servant (slave?) Senya, who loved him and knew she'd never see him again, and the little pig, which was all they had left before starvation.


message 21: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 704 comments Susan, I must have missed your first message, but I'm very sorry to learn your news! Your husband must have been a fine man--one of what we on this side of the Atlantic call our Greatest Generation. I'll add you to my prayers.


message 22: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2110 comments Sylvia wrote: "Also in HFTB was the story of Melchoir's preparations for his trip, leaving behind his servant (slave?) Senya, who loved him and knew she'd never see him again, and the little pig, which was all th..."

Oh yes, the little pig - his 'short and hungry life' . Makes me tearful every time! As do Mary's donkeys of course, such powerful imagery and symbolism there

And I've just remembered Stumpy , the little dog belonging to the man who Emmie (hopelessly) loves , in White Hell Of Pity . When she asks the man if he will miss her , he says yes and she asks, far too eagerly ," oh why" " He says 'because you have eyes just like Stumpy's'"
Oh dear .....


message 23: by Susan (new)

Susan | 179 comments MaryC wrote: "Susan, I must have missed your first message, but I'm very sorry to learn your news! Your husband must have been a fine man--one of what we on this side of the Atlantic call our Greatest Generation..."
Thank you Mary. Yes, he was a fine man. Veteran of the Artic Convoys and a hard worker, wonderful husband and father. As you say, one of our Greatest Generation. At least we have wonderful memories, but he is missed so very much. Thank you for your prayers Mary.


message 24: by Susan (new)

Susan | 179 comments Barbara wrote: "Sylvia wrote: "Also in HFTB was the story of Melchoir's preparations for his trip, leaving behind his servant (slave?) Senya, who loved him and knew she'd never see him again, and the little pig, w..." Yes, that poor little pig who squealed because he thought he was going to be fed. And little Stumpy with his lovely eyes. Also, how touching that Melchoir named his camel Senya after his servant. She loved him all her life and he did not realise, maybe only at the end. How touching are these little tales in NL; s wonderful stories.


message 25: by Sylvia (last edited Jan 30, 2017 11:47AM) (new)

Sylvia (sylviab) | 1361 comments In "The House at Sunset," Felicity Hatton, raised in a poor part of London, a child of a gambler, when orphaned moved to the Old Vine in Baildon to live with her father's cousin, Rupert, an eccentric. She fell in love with a young lawyer, George Turnbull, whose uncle gave him room and board but no pay. He had already gotten to know Felicity, but when he copied Rupert's will for his uncle and found out that Felicity would inherit the Old Vine and Rupert's estate, he proposed to her and made a plan, convincing her to marry him via a London proxy. After he left for London, Felicity found out that he had lied to her about not knowing the contents of Rupert's will and had in fact copied it out, she took steps to make sure that his proxy plan would be invalid. After her escape from George, she became known as an eccentric like Rupert, and one habit she formed was to name everything "George." Her hunter was George Rider, her hound George Rumbelow, her lapdog George Yapp, etc. Years later when asked "Why George?" she said that she knew a lawyer named George "to whom she owed a great deal." People thought it typical of her that she never employed this lawyer or his business.

Later on, Felicity makes a marriage deal with a vagabond with whom she conceives twins in her late 30s. As agreed, he leaves before their birth, and Felicity dies just 3 weeks after giving birth. Her son later owns a favorite horse that he names George Rufus, and his twin sister names one George Burke.


message 26: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2110 comments Sylvia wrote: "In "The House at Sunset," Felicity Hatton, raised in a poor part of London, a child of a gambler, when orphaned moved to the Old Vine in Baildon to live with her father's cousin, Rupert, an eccentr..."

So funny. I particularly like George Rumbelow and George Yapp!

Syb, I find the little pig in HWTB unbearably sad, I don't really know why know him above all other s .


message 27: by Barbara (last edited Jan 30, 2017 01:25AM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2110 comments Susan wrote: "Oh yes, she was a great lover of animals. The are part of our lives too. I do not think I have ever read You Are Best Along. How strange! I do not even own a copy. I must get one.
Oh yes, I rememb..."


You're Best Alone ( I think it may have an alternate title too? ) is one of her 'contemporaries' I think one of the best of them myself. Kit and his dog are each others own wonderful sole companions , until........


message 28: by Susan (new)

Susan | 179 comments Barbara wrote: "Susan wrote: "Oh yes, she was a great lover of animals. The are part of our lives too. I do not think I have ever read You Are Best Along. How strange! I do not even own a copy. I must get one.
Oh..."

Is it set in modern day, or back in time as so many of NLs books were?


message 29: by Sylvia (last edited Jan 30, 2017 12:15PM) (new)

Sylvia (sylviab) | 1361 comments Susan, I checked (hope that's okay, Barbara) on this title, "You're Best Alone, and there is no alternative title. It is one of NL's "modern" stories, taking place in the 20th century, and motor vehicles are driven. It was published in 1943. In a former discussion, it was brought out that there were restrictions on books published during wartime, in the use of paper and content. It is not a lengthy book, but an excellent story, and I agree with Barbara that it is one of NL's best modern stories.

Note: We have a good, 43 post discussion on this book, but several commented that they had never read or heard of this title. The discussion is listed under the Peter Curtis/Juliet Astley pseudos, but my pb by Fawcett displays NORAH LOFTS in big letters, so I would search for the book under Lofts first.


message 30: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2110 comments Sylvia wrote: "Susan, I checked (hope that's okay, Barbara) on this title, "You're Best Alone, and there is no alternative title. It is one of NL's "modern" stories, taking place in the 20th century, and motor ve..."

Oh thank you Sylvia, such good info! I'd forgotten we actually had a discussion
It is perhaps one benefit of an ageing memory , to be able to revisit, almost as new!


message 31: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2110 comments Now we are onto the group read of The Town House we will have many favourite NL animals like donkeys and bears, all drawn with such reality and compassion.


message 32: by Sylvia (new)

Sylvia (sylviab) | 1361 comments In The Town House, Old Betsy, a seller of herring, who says she is one of the few who travel to the sea to collect fresh herring and then delivers them inland via donkey as far as Baildon. Traveling on the abandoned Roman road toward Baildon, one of her large baskets, which her donkey carries on either side, breaks, so she stops there for the night to rest and cook her supper of roasted herring. The smell of her cooking saves the lives of the literally starving Martin and Kate who follow their noses out of the dense forest.

When the trio reaches Baildon, Old Betsy is offered money for her donkey's foal, but she says she will only consider separating them when the foal is weaned. Old Betsy is one of NL's unforgettable minor characters.


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