The Four Marys – Characters
Here’s a brief run down on which Mary is which and other regular characters that appeared in the strip.
Mary Simpson (Simpy)
Simpy is a smart, hard working scholarship girl. She was quite nervous on her first day, and sometimes feels self conscious about not having as much money as the other girls. She also has to deal with some nasty comments from the Snobs, but because she can rely on the other Marys support she rarely lets it get to her. Simpy is also shown to be quite compassionate, she was the first to suggest they help Mr. Crowe out even after he has been nasty to them. She often acts a s peace maker and the most reasonable of the girls. She is drawn as the dark curly haired girl.
Mary Radleigh (Raddy)
Raddy is the daughter of an Earl, but is very down to earth. She hates snobbery. She is quite easy going but can also a bit lazy. She is smart but sometimes needed help with her studies from the other Marys, when she had fallen behind. While she likes being active to an extent, she is also the first one to complain if she’s tired. She is very loyal to her friends and does not like to show favouritism. When her parents couldn’t make it home for Christmas, she turns down the other Marys offers to stay at their houses, as she didn’t want to snub two of them. She is easily recognisable as the only blonde of the group.
Mary Cotter (Cotty)
Cotty is usually the quietest of the group. She is artistically talented, with art and music being her two best subjects. Particularly early stories depicted her as the clumsy one and she was also forgetful at times. She is sometimes superstitious and is most prone to believing in ghost stories and aliens. She was commonly at the heart of ghostly story-lines (such as a musician ghost that stops a motorway being built on St. Elmos, when Mabel appears to have been possessed by Egyptian Mummy, Cotty becomes friends with her and also believing she has been cursed by a gypsy). Her appearance was the most changed over the years, she started off more caricature like but ended up more like the other Marys, though she did keep onto those plaits for a long time.
Mary Field (Fieldy)
She is the sporty one of the group and could be stereo-typically competitive along with it. Swimming and hockey are the two sports she concentrates on most. Still although she liked to win, she is also very fair minded. She is also very confident and one the more popular girls at school. She has the determination to stand up for herself and others when needed. When a strict prefect was targeting the Marys, Fieldy came up with the plan to push her limits, she could sometimes a be a little head strong as well. She changed the least over the years, identifiable for her dark bobbed hair.
The more dominant of the two snobs. Her father was a big building contractor. She was stuck up and arrogant. Not only did she look down on scholarship girls, she didn’t like doing activities she thought were below her station. She also didn’t seem to have any career ambitions, as she could rely on her families money. Sometimes both her and Veronica would bully, first years. She was often boastful, and sometimes played dirty tricks to come up on top. Despite this some stories actually showed her being friendly towards the Marys, showing them a funny picture and even sharing chocolates at times.
Mabel’s loyal friend, often following her biddings. She sometimes could be spiteful, particularly if she felt she was losing her friend. In later stories, she was also shown to be more romantic and more easily misled by a boy’s smooth talking. Overall she was a follower, easily led, she did look down on lower classes as well and was happy to go on and play tricks on the Marys. Sometimes it seemed the Snobs could be inconsistent depending on what the story-line called for, acting nicer than usual at times.
Miss Creef (Creefy)
Sometimes represented as old fashioned, particularly when she came into conflict with Miss Mitchell. I think the strictness is more played up in later years, earlier she is more firm but fair and is even likely to join in games and fun. She is declared as one of the favourite teachers of the school, and she lives for teaching. She is also very generous and kind hearted. She gives Simpy extra lessons for a special exam and she helps out a teacher with a baby giving her the opportunity to work on and still look after the toddler. She dislikes sneaks and admires honesty and hard work.
The original headmistress, she seemed to appear younger as the years went on. While sometimes her and Miss Creef would disagree on things, for the most part they had a close friendship. In fact they had previously been at college together so they had been friends for many years. After she left she sometimes returned making brief appearances as a school inspector or in one instance she temporarily replaces Miss Mitchell while she’s ill. She is very strict and old-fashioned which is not how she was in older stories.
Miss Madeline “Maddy” Mitchell
At the end of the 80s, Miss Mitchell became the new headmistress. She brought a lot of new ideas to the school. She set up shared events with St. Bartophs, experimented with such ideas as having the students run the school for the week and instigated a student court discipline system. Often she would come in conflict with Miss Creef, who didn’t like all these new changes. There was many picture story libraries based on 4 marys while mostly stand alone but some had major impacts on characters; Mitchell meets her future husband, Michael Patterson, in one “The Four Marys at Sea” and got married in another “Wedding Belles”. She had blonde hair and looked quite young (to go with her fresh attitude and contrast to Creefy most likley).
The fair and generous headgirl. She was very understanding and a good listener. She was someone that the girls could turn to for help and was also very proactive in helping the school or solve a mystery or two. In one case where the teachers strike and an chairman takes over as head, Ann dresses up as a school inspector to set him up into giving into the teachers demands. She was prominent in 60s stories but then seems to have disappeared. (Other than showing up in the 70s reprints)
Ailsa was a lonely girl who lived with her aunt who was very overprotective. Ailsa was disabled and had to use a wheelchair. She started communicating secretly with the Marys who mistakenly thought she was being held captive. After this was all cleared up her aunt actually let her join St. Elmos as a day pupil. She was good friends with the Marys, often helping them out. She was a good student and also had a talent for archery.
Raddy’s father, who was also on the board of governors for the school. He often would let the girls know about changes coming to the school. He was active in helping keep the school going whenever it was placed under threat. Like Raddy he did not act self important and stuck up. He was quite a fan of Mitchell’s direction for the school.
When St. Elmos started mixing with the boys school St. Bartophs, the girls became friends with a couple of boys there. They would often hang out down at St. Elmbury and even help each other out. St. Bartoph’s also provided possible romance for the girls of St. Elmos, though for the most part the Marys just kept it as friendships.