|A drawing of some of the Chalet school girls|
(I cannot find a picture of Robin on the Internet)
Robinette Humphries comes to The Chalet School (a girl’s boarding school in the Austrian Tyrol mountains near Innsbruck) when she is six, soon after her Russian mother passed away with tuberculosis. As Robin inherited her mother’s weakness and frailty, she must be protected to make sure that the disease that killed her mother doesn’t strike her too. So, whilst her father, Captain Humphries travels around on business, Robin is sent to The Chalet School where the air is fresher and clearer so that she can grow stronger until all danger of tuberculosis is over in her late teens.
Robin is such an adorable little character who I couldn’t help but love, with a sweet and loving nature that doesn’t grow spoilt even when she is petted all the time. At first when she arrives at the Chalet School, she can’t speak much English as she spoke French at home, which is very cute and as Jo looks after and befriends ‘the baby,’ she pronounces her name as ‘Zoë.’
Here is a few sentences from the chapter where she first arrives: ‘
The whole of the day was devoted by the girls to the Robin, with whom they all fell in love once. She was a dear little girl, very happy and sunshiny, as her father had said, and very shy.
Robin is often called Engelkind (in German), meaning Angel child by the local Tyrol residents. Her singing is also described as that of an angel, especially when she is singing the song that her mother sang to get Robin to sleep, which is called The Red Safaran.
Here is a description of her from Jo of The Chalet School:
Such a lovely baby face! With curly black hair clustering over her small head, and long black lashes resting on her rosy cheeks, which were tear stained.
As I mentioned before, the Robin and Jo become like sisters because she stays with Jo and her elder sister (the head mistress) Madge during the holidays. The two are devoted to each other and Robin is very subdued when she can’t see Jo much and gets extremely worried when Jo- who is also a fragile girl- falls ill. Jo is also very protective of Robin, always fearing tuberculosis and one time, not eating or thinking of anything else while there is a threat for Robin.
I love the Robinette, Robin or the Robin (however you like to call her!) with her tragic story of her mother death and her struggle with keeping away the threat of it infecting her too. Although she is almost too cherub like for real life (but not all the time!), that is part of her charm.