|Running away from Basil was bad enough.|
Worse, she had to dress in a shower
curtain to do it...
I do not love martyrs. Can't stand them. So, yes, there's a bit of groaning when Emily Araminta Sarah denies herself of the pleasures of life because little brother must go to medical school--unaware that he's grinding big sister into the dust--or when she harries off from an RDD without securing the last month's wages.
But for the most part, the heroines didn't choose to be orphans or living with elderly aunts or poor or working night duty or mugged on the Tube. It just happened.
It's what The Great Betty does with her heroines when they get on their beam ends that I like so very much. Here's an excerpt from The Promise of Happiness (or Becky and the Baron, the Hot, Hot Baron):
"The dog whimpered gently and she slowed her steps, and said: 'Sorry, Bertie.' Without the animals she could have got away much faster, but the thought hadn't even entered her head. They had been her solace for two years or more and she wasn't going to abandon them. She began to whistle; they were together and hopeful of the future; she had a pitifully small sum in her purse, the clothes she stood up in, by now very wet, and a comb in her pocket--there had been no time for more; but she was free, and so were Bertie and Pooch. She whistled a little louder..."
Whistling. Hope. Better days ahead.
They do come.