Jill and her mother come to see the Penberthys, who own Rapide, whom Jill’s mother hopes will be her promised new pony. However, Rapide seems to take an instant dislike to Jill, and the feeling is mutual. Jill also can’t bear his jumping action; she describes him as ‘the rocking-horse fly’. However, Jill doesn’t want to be beaten by Rapide so they buy him. She is completely unenthusiastic when he arrives, to the extent of stabling him at Mrs Darcy’s.
Once Mrs Darcy points out Rapide’s behaviour is probably due to being ill-treated at his previous home Jill has a change of heart.
Jill and Ann fo on to find, and lose, a hound; Jill and Diana have a duck hunt when they try and ring Diana’s aunt’s ducks (helped by Mercy Dulbottle). Mrs Darcy’s stables are going through a hard time because of competition from the new Lime Farm Stables, so Jill and her friends start a club to Boost Mrs Darcy. The club withers fairly soon, but then Mrs Darcy has to go and look after her brother’s horses, so Jill and her friends help at the stables. There is a wobble when Mrs Darcy’s Blue Smoke has a fit of the vapours and convinces Wendy and Jill that she is dying, but otherwise all goes well: Jill succeeds in teaching the three Cholly-Sawcutt girls to ride, and their famous father, Captain Cholly-Sawcutt, does an open day for the stables. The Lime Farm Stables close, owing money everywhere, and the book ends with Jill coming second on Rapide in the Hunter Trials.
A small section at the beginning of Chapter Two where Jill’s mother buys cigarettes is cut in the Knight version. Interestingly, this is also cut from the Hampton Library hardback – early political correctness? It’s difficult to see that including it would have made much difference to the length.
Printing history of Jill Has Two Ponies
Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1952, illus Caney
Hampton Library, date uncertain, illus Caney
Armada, 1960s (date uncertain), cover Mary Gernat, illus Caney
Knight, 1968, illus Bonar Dunlop (two cover variants exist of this edition)
Knight, 1973, cover W D Underwood, internal illustrations Bonar Dunlop
Hodder, 1974, hardback with photographic cover, frontis Elisabeth Grant
Knight, 1983, cover David Cox Studios, illus Bonar Dunlop
Knight, later 1980s printing, uncertain date
Hodder, 1996, cover Adrian Lascom
Fidra Books, Edinburgh, 2013, illus Caney
Author: Ruby Ferguson