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JASSY > Jassy

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message 1: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2099 comments Hello All Norah Lofts fans- I'm not sure if there are any rules I should be following, so please feel free to advise on protocol if you see me transgressing.
I think other people seem to be doing it chronolgically, ie reading or re-reading the book and commentating as they go. Would you like to do it this way, or just generally ?

message 2: by [deleted user] (new)

Genesis in Exile - She was a local girl, OF RATHER PECULIAR PARENTAGE....' So this story is told by Barney Hatton, who lived next door and took an interest in his neighbors.
I first set eyes on Jassy Woodroffe on the Michaelmas Day before my fourteenth birthday. I was supposed to be working on the garden; but the scene of my labour wsa well out of sight from the house, so as soon as I heard voices, and hoof-beats and wheels on the road outside, I went to the place where our garden wall had fallen in and watched our new neighbors take possession of the last little cottage at the end of the Green.
There was little to hope for of interest in the arrival of mere cottage people; but I hated gardening and the circumstances that made it necessary for me to do it, so bored and miserable, I was in the mood to welcome any interruption.

His description of Jassy kinda of makes me think of the little girl on the Adams family, do you get the same impression? I believe I am thinking of Tuesday???

message 3: by Djo (new)

Djo | 127 comments I always forget when Michaelmas Day is - I've just looked it up. It is Sept 29th, and is one of the quarter days for the UK (when wages and rents were paid etc), so an important date.

message 4: by [deleted user] (last edited Jan 23, 2009 08:05PM) (new)

Was Jassy a flawed character? Others saw her as different. But I actually think Barney may have been more flawed, what do you think?

message 5: by Djo (new)

Djo | 127 comments Just going back to when Jassy and her parents moved to the Green (I meant to write this post a few days ago).

The initial description of Jassy's father, Tom Woodroffe, portrays him as a clumsy, hesitant man and perhaps rather simple. It turns out that he is an excellent carpenter and a preacher too.

The mother, Sari, was a Stannary. Stannaries were a Norfolk tribe of gypsies. At that time gypsies were shunned, so life was not easy for Jassy with such a mother. Sari seemed more interested in going for walks, making cures for animals - Jassy later said to Barney that she shouldn't be living in a house.

I loved the description of his converting Bob Wicks, the local blacksmith and bully. Nothing like some fisticuffs before preaching about God. Great stuff!

message 6: by Djo (new)

Djo | 127 comments I think Jassy was bound to be different, given her parentage. A preacher and a gypsy? That's not going to produce a typical girl. I'm not sure I'd say flawed, but she was highly manipulative.

Barney became bitter as a child (IMHO) when he realised what his father had lost. He resented losing his inheritance and became obsessed with getting it back. On the whole though, I think he came over a rather a nice lad.

message 7: by [deleted user] (new)

Djo wrote: "I think Jassy was bound to be different, given her parentage. A preacher and a gypsy? That's not going to produce a typical girl. I'm not sure I'd say flawed, but she was highly manipulative.


Well, Barney did seem to save her life when those other children were attacking her which I thought was very brave of him. Didn't he fall in love with Nick Helmar's daughter, can't think of her name. And Jassy fixed it so that he could have her too?


message 8: by Barbara (last edited Feb 15, 2009 07:05PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2099 comments Djo wrote: "I think Jassy was bound to be different, given her parentage. I'm not sure I'd say flawed, but she was highly manipulative.

I'm certainly on the side of saying Jassy was not flawed ( except in the sense that none of us is perfect ).I hadn't thought of her as manipulative until now actually. She was a fixer, that's for sure , but generally fixing it so other people ( Barney, Dilys) could have what they wanted.
I see her as a loner, even a misfit, clever girl with no real outlet for her talents and sadly , fatally drawn to a man of obsessive character. If only Barney could have got obsessed with Jassy, no one on earth would have helped him more to get whatever he wanted.
I think Jassy is NL's most tragic heroine all in all.


message 9: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes, I agree with you Barbara. I never thought of her as manipulative but she certainly knew how to get things done. She was probably NL most fascinating character to me. Norah Lofts probably wrote about the most interesting people. Her characters always seemed extremely real to me. I could believe in them and in their problems.
The person I knew in my own life who was most manipulative was always saying that her daughter was and it interested me that she could never see that she and her daughter were just alike!

message 10: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2099 comments Alice wrote: " how to get She was probably NL most fascinating character to me. ..."

And Hester Roon. Oh and Araminta Glover.

message 11: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2099 comments Alice wrote: "Oh, yes, Araminta Glover! How I admired her. What a hideous job she had. That was very much like a concentration camp wasn't it? "
The job at Caroline Stancey's dairy you mean? I didn't see it like a concentration camp, more like the more awful forms of mission schools for 'natives'

message 12: by [deleted user] (new)

Yes, the horrible job at Caroline Stancey's dairy. She was a slave driver and deranged the mind of that one woman who did commit murder I believe due to Caroline's brain washing. I once read that the person most likely to do murder are super neat perfectionist types. The article said if you are going to pick up a hitch hiker always pick up a messy one never the super groomed one wearing a suit!!!
Of course there was something wrong with that poor woman anyway that she couldn't think for herself and see how evil Caroline was. It reminds of those experiments they did where they got people to shock others in the name of science. Ghost Busters had some funny spoof on that.
I was reading Discover magazine and had for my siggie line for a few days something from there that surprised me. I thought we were all becoming "homogenized" and more alike but the article said that was totaly wrong that we are becoming more and more different. (March 2009 Discover)
Did they really do stuff like that to natives? How horrible. The only mission schools I remember reading about were in James Mitchener's Hawaii. I cried and cried over them dying from high fever with measles.

message 13: by Barbara (last edited Feb 19, 2009 03:46PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2099 comments Alice wrote: "Yes, the horrible job at Caroline Stancey's dairy. She was a slave driver and deranged the mind of that one woman who did commit murder I believe due to Caroline's brain washing."
Caroline Stancy committed the murder herself, she killed Nancy the brainwashed girl you are talking about. She couldn't kill Araminta who was now 'spoken for' an she couldn't t kill Susie who belonged to the Poor Farm, so she turned her mad temper on Nancy.

message 14: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2099 comments Alice wrote: "Thanks for these reminders! I had a biopsy today and still in pain. "
So sorry to hear that, hope all is well and results a re good

ღ Carol jinx~☆~☔ | 11 comments Barbara wrote: "Djo wrote: "I think Jassy was bound to be different, given her parentage. I'm not sure I'd say flawed, but she was highly manipulative.
I'm certainly on the side of saying Jassy was not flawe..."

Barbara wrote: "Djo wrote: "I think Jassy was bound to be different, given her parentage. I'm not sure I'd say flawed, but she was highly manipulative.
I'm certainly on the side of saying Jassy was not flawe..."

I agree that she was the most tragic heroine. She sacrificed everything to give Barney what he was obsessed with. I think it is so sad that she couldn't prove her innocence. I wonder if Barney would be happy with the house knowing what Jassy had to do for it!

message 16: by [deleted user] (new)

I suspect that Barney was self centered enough he would have been glad to get his house back under any circumstances. Do I read him wrong? I liked him but he just wasn't the incredible person that Jassy was. But she was extremely rare I am sure.

message 17: by Barbara (last edited Sep 22, 2009 12:31AM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2099 comments deleted user wrote: "I suspect that Barney was self centered enough he would have been glad to get his house back under any circumstances. Do I read him wrong? I liked him but he just wasn't the incredible person that..."

I don't know how this Jassy thread just came to peter out ( I must be to blame since I was supposed to be moderating and let it go , I can't imagine why, I loved Jassy. So sorry )
Shall we start up again, or has that boat sailed as they say on TV?

message 18: by Susan (new)

Susan | 179 comments Just found this wonderful forum for Norah Lofts! I love her books!

I think that "Jassy" is very moving and emotive, and Belinda Wicks is such a sad little character, with her great love of Jassy.
I have seen the film they made from the book, but must admit I prefer the book ending, and not the "happy" one that the film makers created! Also they changed the name of the house which I did not like!

message 19: by Sallie (new)

Sallie | 306 comments Oh, I never knew there was a Jassy film!!! What was the name of it?

message 20: by Susan (new)

Susan | 179 comments The film was called "JASSY" and was made in 1947. Margaret Lockwood played Jassy,
Dennis Price, Patricia Roc, and Basil Sydney were also in it.

I felt it was disappointing after reading the book though, and they changed the ending, and Jassy did not hang. It all seemed a bit too glamorous, the costumes must have been very costly.
I was looking forward to seeing it so much too.
They changed the name of the house too (I do not know why they did that!) Instead of Mortiboys, they called it Mordelaine.

There was another film made from a short story called "Chinese Finale" - this was in the book "I Met a Gypsy". The film was called "7 Women"

message 21: by Sallie (new)

Sallie | 306 comments Thanks, Susan. I'll look them up in the BBC video catalog although there probably isn't enough interest to warrent having copies for sale. I could always picture Jassy's homely little face & big forehead so clearly.

message 22: by Susan (new)

Susan | 179 comments That was one of the reasons I was disappointed with the film, the fact that Margaret Lockwood did not fit the description of Jassy - she is too good looking.
The actress who played Belinda (the name escapes me) was wonderful though, very moving performance.
I have just seen that there are three videos (not new) on but I shall not be buying one, but you may enjoy the film. Maybe I expected too much! Do let me know if you have any luck!

message 23: by Sallie (new)

Sallie | 306 comments Thanks! Maybe I'll try that & will let you know. If I get one I'll make a copy (going to jail?) and send it to you.

message 24: by Susan (new)

Susan | 179 comments Thanks Sallie, (going to jail together!) ha ha.
It might be available on other sites too. I know that hasn't got one though.
I think that Jassy was NLs first book wasn't it? I was so sad to read of her death just after I had read her last book Pargeters.

message 25: by Sallie (new)

Sallie | 306 comments We were in England on vacation with another couple in the 70's. We had the colossal nerve to write her & she invited us for sherry at her ancient home in Bury St. Edmonds! Of course we went. And weren't the husbands thrilled. There is a picture on the back of one of her book jackets of Norah sitting on a chintz couch - the very one I sat on! She was a gracious lady and always appreciated those who read her work. My favorite comment of hers - during the war - "If it weren't for my gin and cigaretts I could have lived on a pound a week." !!!!!!!! What a hoot

message 26: by Susan (new)

Susan | 179 comments Wow, Sallie, how lucky you were to actually meet our heroine Norah Lofts! It must have been a wonderful experience for you. I shall have to look out for that picture of the chintz couch that you sat on! She sounds as if, as well as being a wonderful writer, she was a very down to earth and lovely lady.

I had to smile at her comment "If it weren't for my gin and cigarettes, I could have lived on a pound a week!"

I often wanted to write to her, and always backed out of it. I did not know whether it was the right thing to do or not. I do regret not taking the "Bull by the Horns" and doing it!

Do you know if she had any children? I know that one of her great loves was old houses, and it shows in her descriptions of houses in her books! She made me "see" them!

message 27: by Susan (new)

Susan | 179 comments Hi Sylvia and all. Yes, it is indeed like having penpals! We are scattered all around the world! How great that NL is so much loved globally! Where are you Sylvia?

Just a bit of trivia! I goggled "Layer Wood" and it brought up Symethe's Green in Essex and there was Layer Wood! Map, and two photographs! I know it is not "The" Layer Wood, but it did seem spooky to me at that moment! I could imagine all of those characters re-living their time in Layer!

message 28: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 701 comments Susan wrote: "The film was called "JASSY" and was made in 1947. Margaret Lockwood played Jassy,
Dennis Price, Patricia Roc, and Basil Sydney were also in it.

I had heard about that film but understood that it had long been unavailable. Then a day or two ago I found a comment on this site from someone who had just seen z video of it. Is it also on DVD? In the area format for North America, or only for Europe? I'd love to see it! Margaret Lockwood is one of my favorite actrresses, even though I've seen only two of her movies, and I wouldn't mind itx having a happy ending at all! (I was glad to read that, soon after Hardy published Tess of the D'Urbervilles, he received letters from lawyers all over the country protesting tht no jury would ever have convicted her, and it occurred to me after I also saw the film that, if Angel had stood up at the trial and announced that HE, not Tess, had kille d Alex, the whole case might have been thrown out.)

message 29: by Susan (new)

Susan | 179 comments

Hi Mary,

Well, here is the link to Amazon, and they have VHS Tapes only, which would not be multi regional. I do not know if Jassy has been made into a DVD. The last time I saw it was on the TV. I will have a search around and see if I can find anything else out as to whether a DVD has been, or is going to be made.

I agree with you about Tess of the D'Ubervilles. It was so sad. We have seen a recent remake of this for TV and it was very good, but Angel did let her down, and yes, I am sure that a jury would not have convicted her.

I am off now to get the meal ready, and see what my husband is up to!

message 30: by Susan (new)

Susan | 179 comments I have just finished reading Jassy (yet again!) and each time I read it, I find something new in it, that makes you think about the characters. This time around, I found myself enchanted by "Lunatic Eclipse" the tale told my Belinda Wicks. The way NL describes how she is visited by an Angel who ties her and Jassy's hearts together is so very moving, and when she tries to tell them that she poisoned "old Nick" - Dilys's father. She tries so hard, but no one understands her. She must have felt so very distrait that Jassy was to hang for something she never did. Jassy was the only one who treated her like a human being, and Belinda's devotion to her was so touching. I just loved all the little descriptions of her meetings with the Angel, and when she let the window into her room because it was at her window. NL truly knows how to tug on your heart strings (just as the chord joining Jassy and Belinda's heart tugged on hers and was so painful.

I will never tire of reading NL's wonderful books!

message 31: by Mary (new)

Mary C | 21 comments The second NL book I ever read (Eleanor the Queen was the first) was Silver Nutmeg, when I was fourteen, and the ending made me wary of her books a while. Although I read Bless This house soon after and reread it many times, I was sad that things turned out badly for so many of the characters, but glad that at the end it appeared that a descendant of Phyllis Whymark and a legitimate descendant (maybe) of Rawley Rowhedge would pull everything back together at last. What does this have to do with Jassy?? Only that NL wrote quite a few books in which basically good, innocent people were destroyed. There's more than one way in which she resembled Hardy!

message 32: by [deleted user] (new)

Hi Mary, Lots of NL characters die too which makes it seem more like real life. You never know what Norah is going to do with them. I didn't remember this book only that long ago I liked it.


message 33: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2099 comments Cassie said
"Ok, so I finished Jassy. I'm sorry all, I don't see why this is such a favorite? I didn't care for any of the characters especially. And I couldn't figure out what was up with Jassy, was she evil like people thought or was she just misunderstood? Maybe it's because I like the books that follow a place more than one that follows a character. I thought I might like it better if we could hear Jassy's thoughts. I also wondered if someone was poisoning Dylis. And was it Jassy? And what was with the Angel? It just didn't seem to fit. Ok, so I know I've just committed NL sacrilege. I'm sorry. :(

I just went back and read the relevant bits re the possibility of Dilys being poisoned in the light of yoru suggestion. You know, I STILL don't think she was , I think it was migraine and I think her migraines were brought on by stress. What mostly seemed to stress her was being thwarted or made to do things she didn't want to. I really don't think Jassy did anything , though I do agree that much was made of the way in which Dilys' bouts of illness came on around Jassy and particularly mention was made of medicine I guess.
I don't think Jassy was evil, I think she was tragic actually, doomed to be always an outsider and doubly doomed to love a man who didn't give her second thought in 'that ' way. Loved by nobody really except poor Lindy who was, in the end, the instrument of her death . Lindy' Angel was just a hallucination of her poor disordered mind I think.

message 34: by MaryC (last edited Jun 23, 2010 07:50PM) (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 701 comments I agree that Jassy was definitely not evil! Barbara's description of her as a tragic misfit seems very accurate, and I'd add that she was a victim of others' prejudice. Meggie took a dislike to her, though I'm not sure why. Because she was half Stannary? Because she was bright? As for Beth Twysdale's aversion, it seems hard to be sure what was cause and what was effect. In any case, Jassy loved Barney, and I think she loved her father.

Jassy was also a good friend to Dilys until Dilys betrayed her--not so much by becoming involved with Barney as by somehow letting Jassy realize that she was just toying with him. Before that, Jassy had even lied and taken the blame to cover for Dilys that night they slipped out of school. Then, am I just imagining this, or does Jassy actually say at some point that the reason she got Nick Helmer to sign over Mortiboys to her was so that she could give it to Barney and Dilys as a wedding present? Anyway, although Stephen Fennell reflects bitterly in Nethergate that Barney had seduced Dilys, the fact is that SHE seduced HIM.

And of course Jassy was kind to Lindy. Maybe she saw Lindy as having the life SHE might have had if she hadn't been blessed with a good mind. But whatever her motives, I can't see Jassy as evil--just different, intelligent, and slightly uncanny.

message 35: by [deleted user] (last edited Jun 23, 2010 02:11PM) (new)

I never thought that Dily's was being poisoned. How interesting that we all get different things. I think Dily's had migraines. Her huband's approach to her in another book (think it was Nethergate) was very amusing to me.

message 36: by Barbara (last edited Nov 05, 2010 11:57PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2099 comments Looking through this thread , I realise I was a very remiss moderator and just sort of let it get sidetracked and peter out with no real attempt on my part to keep it flowing .And Jassy is one of my very favourites.

Maybe just to end it properly ( after months, sorry again )we could say what we thought of the ending - was it inevitable? Would you have preferred the movie ending where she did not , apparently, die - btw what did happen in the end of the movie version? Could Barney have been a decent husband to her? If they had had children, would some of them have inherited the gypsy power as in The Reed family in the House Trilogy and in I Met A Gypsy...........

message 37: by Barbara (last edited Nov 07, 2010 12:06AM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2099 comments Yes, that's true Barney did get Mortiboys in the end , but it would have been nice for Jassy to have what she wanted too. She never really did, all her life, have what she wanted, always an outsider to her social group and to love . Her marrying Dilys' awful father was pretty much an altruistic act I thought.
Her tragic ending is very satisfying from an literary/aesthetic view point , if that makes sense, but I still think of her as THE most tragic of all NL's women. Even poor pathetic Lindy had her love and her angel.

message 38: by Sherry (new)

Sherry | 122 comments I don't recall who Lindy is. Yes, Jassy's story is vry sad, and I do believe all she did was to help those she cared about.

message 39: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2099 comments Me too, though many people dont seem to!

Lindy was Belinda Wicks, the brain-damaged girl who loved Jassy so much she thought she was helping her by killing Dilys' father . The action got them both hanged as Jassy was blamed and Lindy couldn't explain

message 40: by Sherry (new)

Sherry | 122 comments Thanks, Barbara. I remember now.

message 41: by Sallie (new)

Sallie | 306 comments Weren't there two old wrecks, man and wife, one of whom was called Lindy. They were given a bundle of straw to sleep on in the attic and hid their stash of gold coins there to be found many decades later. No one went into the attic - ghosts after a fire - Effie involved in there somewhere. HIdden in one book (Michael and All) and found in another (Hster Roon)? They are all running together now!!!!!!!!!!

message 42: by Sherry (new)

Sherry | 122 comments I'm sure someone else will know for sure, but I think the gold was hidden in a straw mattress by Hester Roon's mother who pilfered it from guests during her career in the inn. Effie may have found it, and given a coin or two to the old couple.

message 43: by Sallie (new)

Sallie | 306 comments Yes, that sounds right. Don't know why I thought the little old woman, trying to help the old man up the stairs all the way to the top, called him Lindy, love.

message 44: by Barbara (last edited Nov 10, 2010 10:58PM) (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2099 comments Yes Peggy, me too- I wonder what he might have felt if he had known what Jassy was willing to do to give him his heart's desire . When the lawyer suggested that Jassy's last letter, which told him, more or less, was terribly sad she wanted to him to tear it up but he was unwilling,so Lindy did it for her . Jassy's hands wouldn't work for some psychologcal reason.

message 45: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 701 comments I've wondered about Barney afterward, too. All we're ever told is what Dilys says in Nethergate--that he's working to put Mortiboys back on its feet. Since she's thinking of him as a possible husband for Annabel, we can infer that he's not married yet, but that's all.

Incidentally, I loved the ending of Nethergate. Isn't it cinematic? The role of the latest John Franklin would be a good one for some young actor to debut in, since it's a small part that turns out to be significant. We'd see him first escorting Annabel back to school that night, and we might think that that was the extent of his role in the story; then Annabel and Stephen come back to Ockley that evening months later, and the camera pans in on two rapt faces looking at each other as the music swells--

message 46: by Barbara (new)

Barbara (sema4dogz) | 2099 comments So many of NL are cinematic aren't they . Jassy too of course , tho I understand the only filmed version had a horribly Hollywoodised ending

message 47: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 701 comments I wouldn't mind seeing Jassy acquitted! Do she and Barney get together in the film?

Another sequence that I would love to see filmed is Mattie Captoft's happy ending. I can envision her going about her affairs in her sailors' shelter and seeing the moon wax and wane a couple of times, and thinking (voice over), "Oh, David, you've married an old woman!" And then one morning she wakes up sick and, pulling herself up from throwing up, becomes radiant as the realization dawns on her (music). Then fast-forward to Mattie with a baby in her arms and David beaming at both of them.

message 48: by Kayli (new)

Kayli | 2 comments So, if anyone is still reading this, what DO you think was up with Jassy's hands that last morning in prison when they were 'dead' and she had to sign her will with the pen in her mouth-- all very dramatic, of course, but what happened? The only thing that it seems to me would make her hands dead like that is to somehow have the blood circulation cut off, like she tied them or somehow sat on them or something??? What did you think it was?

And by the way, I just finished reading Jassy tonight, and I just loooved Lindy as a narrator. It was amazing how well she knew what people were, and how succinctly she could put it-- this person had a bad shape, this person had a mostly good shape, with a bad shape only coming infrequently, Dilys had a good then bad then good then bad-- it perfectly encapsulates how she was so wishy washy in her decisions, and doing what she knew was wrong.

I thought Jassy was pretty awesome, and she and Barney would have really been perfect for each other if given half a chance (meaning, Dilys out of the picture). What a shame.

message 49: by Peggy (last edited Sep 12, 2012 04:42AM) (new)

Peggy (peggy908) | 875 comments Great question, I think Barbara touched briefly on the idea that it was due to some type of psychological impact. It seems like an odd touch and not really necessary to the story except to make it more memorable! It's not anything I've run across in any other books. Maybe it's a good subject for a Google search! But if it was due to a psychological cause rather than physical, it does raise the question, was Jassy more guilty in some way than we realized?

Lindy's narrative was very special to the book; she had a more childlike insight but as you said, very perceptive. Jassy and Barney were so well suited but as you pointed out on another thread, the happy endings are pretty rare.

message 50: by MaryC (new)

MaryC Clawsey | 701 comments It seems to me that the happy endings are more frequent in the later books.

As for Jassy's hands, I always supposed it was some kind of psychomatic condition, but I think it was also a literary mechanism for Lindy, as the narrator, to hear the terms of the letter Jassy had to have Mr. Turnbull write to Barney for her. Even though Barney never saw it, WE know what it said.

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