The Taming of the Honourable Angelina / Miss High and Mighty

  • The Taming of the Honourable Angelina  Judy: #526 (7 February 1970) –  #536 (18 April 1970)
  • Reprinted – Judy: #998 (24 February 1979) – #1008 (05 May 1979)
  • Reprinted as Miss High and Mighty Judy: #1584 (19 May 1990)  – #1594 (28 July 1990)

Plot

Lost in bad winter weather on the remote Welsh mountains, the  Honourable Angelina Frensham is taken in and given shelter by young Marion Benson and her two brothers, John and Tim,  at the Mountain Retreat, a pony farm. Angelina, a rich and spoilt girl, is not happy to be forced to stay at a farm with so few comforts and even refuses to do the smallest things to help out and pay back the Benson’s kindness. When she gets up in the morning she still expects her breakfast to be brought to her. Marion is quick to shoot her down, she and her brothers,  were working for hours before Angelina got up and she would have to feed herself. The Bensons have a lot of hard work ahead of them as it looks like they will be snowed in for weeks, the last thing they need is to have to look after a spoilt girl too. But Angelina does not see it that way. She can’t understand why they slave away for their ponies and she believes she is smarter then them and is determined not to become as pitiful as them!

Hearing on the radio that there is a search party for her, she decides to light the hay-rick on fire to attract the attention of a passing plane. The Bensons quickly put out the flames, they can’t believe she’d be so selfish  as to burn their pony’s feed on the gamble of being spotted. Angelina hates them for ruining her chance  of going home, but Marion’s through being o kind. She is not cruel enough to kick her out, but she does take her bedroom back, as she had let Angelina sleep there the first night, she can now sleep on chair in the kitchen.

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Angelina continues to be stubborn, selfish and destructive. She threatens them, that her influential father will destroy their farm when she gets back and she  breaks the radio in frustration when she thinks its not working, even though it just needed new batteries. She also tries to ride one of the ponies but in such weather it would be dangerous and the Bensons stop her. She slips as she storms away, and stubbornly refuse to move, complaining of hurt foot. While Marion nearly relents to help her, John convinces her to stay strong that Angelina needs a lesson, sure enough she soon comes hobbling inside. She still hasn’t learnt much though as she hoards food after hearing it will have to be rationed. Figuring she’s hidden food somewhere, Marion locks her in the bedroom while they search for the food. They don’t realise how much damage Angelina can cause, as she breaks a window to escape, cutting herself in the process and allowing precious heat to escape. The Bensons are worried of the danger she places them in but of course Angelina only thinks they are being unnecessarily cruel to her.

honourable angelina

Marion sees the first glimmer of hope that Angelina isn’t all bad, when she attempts to run away. A foal gets out and follows her, Angelina can’t let it die in the snow so she brings it back. She doe catch a chill from being out in the snow, while Marion softens up, John still takes a hard view of her. He is proved right, as Angelina pretends to still be ill when she’s recovered to get out of chores, and breaks their only thermometer so she’s not discovered. Her actions have consequences again as she plays music and dances around, while the others are out working and her shawl catches fire. Luckily John and Tim, hearing the music had come to investigate and save her rolling her in the snow. Later when Angelina questions why Marion is keeping the burnt shawl, she explains that it is one of the last keepsakes she has left of her mother. Angelina is sorry and opens up to Marion about her own dead mother. She develops another fever but this time after she recovers, she does turn over a new leaf and wants to show her gratitude and help.

It turns out though that Angelina’s “help” is worse than her laziness! Not being used to chores, everything she tries ends up doubling Marion’s work as she tries to fix her mistakes. The Benson’s don’t openly criticize her efforts but she does overhear them, and now she cares what they think, she feels foolish and useless. She does manage to help get one of the Pony’s to take his medicine, using a trick she’d seen her groomsman do. This helps regain her confidence.

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After this Angelina becomes a lot happier at Mountain Retreat, and actually has decided to stay even after the snow clears. Of course she doesn’t tell the Bensons instead she schemes in her own Angelina way! With the snow clearing, the Bensons now have access to public telephone. Angelina rings her father and tells him she’s safe but in Birmingham, sending him on a wild goose chase. She later cuts the phone line so no one will be able to ring her father. Not considering it’s the only phone for those around her and she is horrified when an elderly neighbour falls ill and a doctor can’t be phoned for. To make amends she rides to the doctor’s house in the bad weather. Seeing the error of her ways, she rings her father and tells him where she really is, then returns to the Bensons and confesses to them. They treat her kindly, as they have come to appreciate the changes in her and will even miss her when she’s gone. When Marion hurts her hand Angelina cares for her and does the work around the house while waiting for her father to arrive. She is upset when her father doesn’t come himself but instead sends the chauffeur to collect her, passing on the message that he will get lawyers to sort out the phone box damage. She refuses to go though, until her father collects her himself and she will face up to the consequences of her actions herself.

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Her father does show up and is surprised to see his daughter working hard.  Marion and Angela think that will be angry at seeing his daughter doing some lowly jobs but it turns out he is glad to see Angelina happy. It turns out he didn’t come to collect her initially himself as he believed she wouldn’t care either way. Both have them had been mistaken in how each other felt. Angelina is now happier to go home with her father, but on the car ride home, Lord Frensham can see, she would be a lot happier staying with the Bensons. He tells her to go back to them and if they agree, he will buy her partnership in the pony farm. The Bensons happily welcome Angelina back.

Thoughts

This is a good redemption story, even when Angelina has changed for the better, it shows that it is not always that simple to leave your bad traits behind. When she cuts the phone line in order to get what she wants, it shows her thoughtlessness and selfish nature is still there. But that just makes her human, she makes mistakes but she tries to fix them and faces up to the consequences.

At first she can be a frustrating character to read, she is self-centered and believes that she is being wronged. She sees the Bensons as being cruel and harsh for no reason, she doesn’t see how her actions endanger them. The Benson’s sympathies soon wear out and they know they have to be hard on her and you can see their frustrations with Angelina. But they also see the good in her. Throughout we slowly see what has made Angelina the way she is, losing her mother at a young age, having a father that works all the time and just buys her what she wants. She was surrounded by people doing work for her but didn’t have any real friends. Interesting it seems bad communication has led to the deterioration of her and her father’s relationship, both believe the other doesn’t care. It’s clear Lord Frensham, is not a snob, he doesn’t look down on the Bensons and he only wants to see his daughter happy. It is a pity that he didn’t open up to his daughter before, as he could have passed good values on to her instead of assuming she only wanted material things.

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While Angelina at first thinks the Bensons are foolish working so hard for so little, she soon begins to admire them. I wonder if part of her resentment was that her father works so much that he seemed to have little time for her. The difference is the Bensons work together and Angelina learns the satisfaction of a job well done and true friendship. The Benson’s are kind people but they certainly won’t be taken advantage of. Marion is the first to soften to her and see her good qualities, but in the end they all grow to like and respect her. When she leaves with her father Marion believes Angelina’s promises of visits will soon be forgotten as life goes on. She is happy to be proved wrong when Angelina comes back. Angelina has given something to them too, she brought excitement into their life, friendship, she eventually helps with the running of her farm and sharing of knowledge. For Marion in particular she brings female companionship.

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3 thoughts on “The Taming of the Honourable Angelina / Miss High and Mighty

  1. I like redemption stories where the reforming of the girl is well thought through, as is the case here. In some stories it isn’t . In one Tammy story, the title of which I don’t have on me, the spoiled, snobby, selfish girl goes through no change at all in the story despite the efforts of the people she has to stay with for three months. But then – bang – she changes – just like that.

    In many redemption stories the change comes quickly. In others, such as this one, it takes more time and does not go smoothly. Old habits die hard and the girl relapses into them on several occasions.

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