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Jane Badger Books

Joanna Cannan: Jean series eBook bundle

Joanna Cannan: Jean series eBook bundle

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Save and buy both the Jean eBooks published by Jane Badger Books

Another Pony for Jean; More Ponies for Jean


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Grown-up people are very irritating. On glorious summer evenings when you want to stay out in the orchard and they want you to go to bed, or when you are out hunting and they want to go home and you don’t, they say quite calmly that all good things come to an end. I never think about nice things ending, but of course that makes it all the more awful when they do, and I must say it was truly awful when only a week or two after the gymkhana, where I rode Cavalier and he was so good and obliging, and the fancy-dress party, which I gave in his honour, Mummy said that we must go up to London and see about new clothes for school. I hate London. I had enough of pavements, and walking nicely, and not seeing any animals but sparrows and the ducks in Kensington Gardens, when we were living there, so I stopped eating my porridge and said reproachfully, “Oh, Mummy, surely we needn’t go yet. There’s plenty of time.”

“My dear Jean,” said Mummy, calmly eating her porridge, “there are only ten days now before you go to school.”
I was horrified. Of course I knew that I was going to school, but, as I said before, I never think about nice things ending, and I had thought that there were still weeks and weeks of the holidays left. I hadn’t even started to make a house for my young bantams, and my young cockerel, Donald Cameron of Lochiel, was beginning to treat his father, Charles Edward, in a most disrespectful way.

I said, “Oh, dear!”

Mummy said, “I hope you’re not going to be like your cousin Camilla.”

My cousin Camilla is Daddy’s niece. She is an awful child with curls, who cries whenever she has to do anything she doesn’t want, like taking a dose, or going to bed or to school.

I was furious with Mummy for thinking that I could be like my cousin Camilla. I said, “Of course not. Only I was going to start my bantam house to-day.”

Mummy said, “You’ve been going to start that bantam house every day these holidays. I think you’d better get one ready-made.”

I said, “Oh, no. It would be made by machinery and it would only fall down.” So Mummy, who is always very agreeable, said that I could order the wood by telephone before we went to London and then I should be able to start first thing next day. By the time that we had finished breakfast it was half-past nine and the timber merchant would be open, so I went and telephoned and Mummy went upstairs to look out some Londonish clothes.

The timber merchant was very obliging, and when I said that I wanted to make a small but nice bantam house, he said he would figure out how much wood to send. I told him not to consider expense as they were very well bred bantams, and he said he wouldn’t, so I said good-bye and thank you, and went upstairs.

I found Mummy in my bedroom having the giggles over my clothes. Except for the jodhs which Daddy had given me for Christmas, I hadn’t had any new clothes since we left London, partly because you don’t need new clothes in the country and partly because we had been too poor to buy any. The clothes that Mummy had got out and put on the bed were the ones I had had when we were living in London. There was a crushed-strawberry coat with fur on it, but I had used that to feed the chickens in when it snowed, and it had got wet and curled up and the chickens’ mash had stuck to it. There were some cotton frocks but they looked absolutely teeny, and when I tried them on they didn’t come nearly to my knees and I looked just like a stork or a flamingo. There was a skirt, but barbed wire had torn that, so we decided that the only thing I could do was to go in my riding clothes and pretend that I was going to try a pony or had just been riding fashionably in the Park.

I had already got my jodhs on, so I only had to wash and then I went out to the orchard and gave Cavalier a feed of hay. He was still turned out, but I was feeding hay to him because I was very anxious that he shouldn’t get thin again and there is not much goodness in the grass in September.

As usual he was very pleased to see me. One of the many nice things about him is that he doesn’t think it’s funny to refuse to be caught. My cousin Camilla’s pony, Hesperus, has a very tiresome sense of humour. He waits for you to get near enough to touch him and then up go his heels and down goes his head and he gallops off, and then stops and waits for you to get near again and, when you do, up go his heels and down goes his head and he gallops off a bit farther. Cavalier does make jokes but they are really funny ones. Sometimes when I want to put his bridle on he holds his head up high where he knows I can’t reach it and makes awful camel faces with his lips, and on windy days he pretends that he is a wild horse and flies about the orchard throwing up his heels at the gander.

Well, I told Cavalier that I was going to horrid old London and we shook hands politely. He is awfully intelligent and I had taught him to shake hands in one morning. Then I took some burrs out of his tail, and then I looked at him for a bit, and then I heard Mummy hooting the horn of the car most impatiently. So I rushed across the orchard and out through the gate and, being in a hurry, I did a very silly thing, which you will hear about later.

Mummy was rather cross and said that we should miss the train and what on earth had I been doing? I said I had been standing and looking, but grown-ups never count that as an excuse in spite of the poem which says What is this life if full of care, We have no time to stand and stare? However, we did catch the train and had time to buy Horse and Hound, so I spent the journey reading it and pretending I was a millionaire and choosing horses out of the advertisements.

When we got to London we travelled by the Underground, and whenever anybody looked at us Mummy asked me if I had enjoyed my ride or whether there had been a lot of other people riding in the Park, and I invented a riding-master called Captain Wisp, and told her stories about him and we got the giggles. Then we got to the shop and went to the Children’s Outfitting Department. Of course Mummy had left the Castlethorpe clothes list behind, but the shop had got one.

It was awful trying on the school clothes. They were hot and pricked, and after a bit I couldn’t stand still any longer, and the lady who was serving us kept on sighing and saying she would be much quicker if the young lady would stand perfectly still and hold up her head. She said that yesterday she had been trying things on Lady Montgomery’s little girl and she had stood like a statue. Mummy said that she was sorry to hear that, because it could only mean that Lady Montgomery’s little girl was sickening for something. Sometimes I think my parents are too strict, but I must say they do stand up for me to other people.

At last we had finished with the silly old school things, so we went to the restaurant and had lunch. I had a cutlet and green peas and a strawberry ice, which was rather small, and lemonade—not fizzy. Then we went to spend my ten shillings. Daddy had given me the ten shillings to spend in London.

I hadn’t had so much money for ages. Just before Christmas Cousin Agnes had given me a ten-shilling note, but that was for the Pony Club entrance fee and subscription, and I had only the remains—four and tenpence halfpenny—to spend on Christmas presents. Then on my birthday my Cheltenham aunt had sent me ten shillings but, as you will remember if you read the other book I wrote, I had borrowed five shillings from my cousin, Guy, to enter for the gymkhana, and so there had only been five shillings of that left and it had just melted on things like carrots for Cavalier and acid drops for me and two real linen handkerchiefs with “C” on them, which had been my birthday present to Daddy. I felt awfully rich now with a whole ten shillings.

We went to the Ironmongery Department first and I bought two proper galvanised water troughs, one for Charles Edward and his wives, who are called Henrietta Maria and Flora Macdonald, and one for my young bantams. They were one and sixpence each, so that left seven shillings.

Then we went up to the dogs’ department and I bought two lovely collars, one for Shadow and one for Sally. I took ages making up my mind whether to have pale blue or green or scarlet or yellow, and Mummy wandered off and looked at dresses, and the man who was serving me went away and sold a toy dog’s basket to a fat and pig-like lady. At last I made up my mind to have yellow because, after all, cocker spaniels are sporting dogs and yellow is a sporting colour; and when I had paid for the collars and they had been wrapped up, I had to go and hunt in the dull and dismal Dress Department for Mummy.

I found her looking at a pink frock, which she said was pretty, so I tactfully agreed and said could we go to the Saddlery Department? Mummy said yes, and asked if I had any money left. The collars had cost half a crown each, so I now had two shillings.

The Saddlery Department was lovely; it smelled of leather, and I did wish that I had enough money to buy Cavalier a new and beautiful saddle and bridle, not to mention a dark-blue day rug with a yellow binding and my initials. But it is no use wishing for saddles and bridles when you have only got two shillings, so I looked for something more suited to my means, and presently I saw some lovely red, white and blue halters. As you may remember, Shadow and Sally’s two naughty children, Spick and Span, had chewed up Cavalier’s halter, and, though I had mended it with string and a bodkin, it was very decayed-looking and not at all worthy of him. The red, white and blue halters were only one and threepence each, so I bought one and then I had ninepence.

While I was buying my halter Mummy had wandered off again, this time into the Bag and Trunk Department, and when I found her she said that we had better be getting back to Paddington. So we took the Underground again and at a shop in the subway I saw some very smart Londonish carrots. They were threepence a pound, so I bought three pounds and got rid of my ninepence.
We had tea at Paddington and then we journeyed home. I undid all my parcels and spread them out on the seat and looked at them, and then I read the advertisements in Horse and Hound again and added a few more horses to my imaginary stable.

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Who's in the book?

Another Pony for Jean
Human: Jean Leslie, Mr and Mrs Leslie, Lord , Camilla, Guy, Martin, Cousin Agnes, Lord Highmoor
Equines: Cavalier, Charity, Hesperus, Red Knight, Blackbird
More Ponies for Jean
Human: Jean Leslie, Mr and Mrs Leslie, Judy Charteris, Jane Beauchamp,
Equines: Cavalier, Charity, Micky and Minnie, Hesperus, Topsy, Tom (Black Auster), Red Morning, Tamarisk

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