Tag Archives: Quakers

Flowering Spring

I’m always looking out for echoes of Jacquetta (or at least mentions of female archaeologists)  in the books and other media of her time.  I read a lot of mid-twentieth century fiction, especially “girlsown” school and other classic stories.  I was delighted to find an echo of her in a character in  “Flowering Spring”, by Elfrida Vipont (Oxford University Press, 1960), the fourth in a series about Kit Haverard, who becomes a singer, and her niece Laura, who wants to act.  The stories feature the whole Quaker family network: Laura’s uncle Miles marries Rachel Charlbury, who reminds me very much of Jacquetta.  Rachel is described as “a well-known archaeologist and had the advantage of possessing an attractive television personality.  Everyone was familiar with her clear-cut, intellectual features, her pleasant, well-modulated voice and her impeccable taste in clothes”.   My favourite reaction to the news of the marriage is from Laura’s academic father: “‘You don’t mean to say – not Rachel Charlbury!’ exclaimed Professor Haverard, nearly losing control of the car in his excitement”.

Rachel, although a minor character, plays a key role in supporting Laura and showing her how an independent woman can be happy.  Rachel’s proposed dig in India also lays ghosts for Aunt Milly, as she supports the dig which will bring development to the area where her lover was killed.