Playing Beatie Bow

by

Ruth Park

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Dorcas “Dovey” Tallisker Character Analysis

A quiet, sweet, beautiful, and lame young woman who is a cousin of the Bows and the granddaughter of Granny Tallisker. After an accident in her childhood during which she and Judah overturned a cart, shattering Dovey’s leg bone, she has suffered pain and a distinctive limp. Dovey is eventually revealed to be betrothed to Judah—as Abigail has fallen in love with Judah, she is saddened by this news, and surprised by her feelings of jealousy and anger toward the unimpeachably sweet Dovey. Despite the tension between the two women, Dovey is always deeply kind to Abigail, and they otherwise share a pleasant, nurturing friendship.

Dorcas “Dovey” Tallisker Quotes in Playing Beatie Bow

The Playing Beatie Bow quotes below are all either spoken by Dorcas “Dovey” Tallisker or refer to Dorcas “Dovey” Tallisker. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Puffin Books edition of Playing Beatie Bow published in 1980.
Chapter 4 Quotes

“Do you have a good or a bad feeling about him, poor bairn?”

Granny sighed. “I hae no clear feelings any more, Dovey. They're as mixed up as folk in fog.”

“But you've no doubt that this little one here is the Stranger?”

The two women spoke in whispers, but Abigail heard them, for the night was almost silent. There was no sound of traffic except a dray's wheels rolling like distant thunder over the cobbles at the docks. She could hear the waves breaking on the rocks of Dawes Point and Walsh Bay.

“Aye, when I first saw her I had a flash, clear as it was when I was a lass. Poor ill-favoured little yellow herring of a thing. But still, it came to me then, she was the Stranger that would save the Gift for the family.”

Abigail was so indignant at the description of herself that she almost opened her eyes.

“And then there was the gown, forebye. I swear, Granny, I almost fainted when I set eyes on it. The very pattern that we worked out between us!”

“And not a needle lifted to it yet,” said Granny.

Related Characters: Granny Tallisker (speaker), Dorcas “Dovey” Tallisker (speaker), Abigail Kirk, Gibbie Bow
Related Symbols: Clothing
Page Number: 50
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 5 Quotes

The first thing was their kindness. How amazingly widespread it was. […] They had taken responsibility for her, nursed and clothed her. Someone had given up her bed, probably Beatie; no one had complained when she was snappish and rude about Dovey's best clothes, about the lack of sanitation; no one had condemned her unsympathetic attitude towards Gibbie.

“I'm not kind,” said Abigail with a sickish surprise. “Look how I went on with Mum when she said she wanted us to get together with Dad again. Look what I did to Dad when I was little, punched him on the nose and made it bleed. Maybe I’ve never been really kind in my life.” […] These Victorians lived in a dangerous world, where a whole family could be wiped out with typhoid fever or smallpox, where a soldier could get a hole in his head that you could put your fist in, where there were no pensions or free hospitals or penicillin or proper education for girls, or even poor boys, probably. Yet, in a way, it was a more human world than the one Abigail called her own.

“I wish I could stay awhile,” she thought, “and find out why all these things are. But I can't think about any of this till I get home. Getting home, that’s what I have to plan.”

Page Number: 75-77
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7 Quotes

“I've nothing to do with it!” cried Abigail. “I came here without wanting to and I want to go home. I've a life of my own, and I want to live it. My mother, I miss her, don't you understand?” she said chokily. She thought fiercely, “I won't cry, I won't.” She waited for a moment, and then said quietly, “I'm not your mysterious Stranger. I'm just someone who came into your life here in some way that's a riddle to me. But I have to go home, I don’t belong here. You must see that.”

“We canna let you go,” said Mrs. Tallisker. She had relinquished Abigail's hand and was sitting up against her pillows. Except for her sunken eyes she looked almost like her own dignified strong self again.

[…]

“But we canna let you go until you have done whatever it is the Stranger must do to preserve the Gift.” Dovey was distressed. “Oh, dear Abby, it may only be for a little while and then we will help you go to your own place. We do understand what you feel, that you long for your ain folk, but we canna let you go . . . you are our only hope, you see.”

Related Characters: Abigail Kirk (speaker), Granny Tallisker (speaker), Dorcas “Dovey” Tallisker (speaker)
Page Number: 107-108
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

“Stay awhile with us,” begged Dovey the next day, “for you're one of the family, Abby, true!”

“No,” said Abigail. “I have to go home; you know that.”

Her green dress looked strange to her; it had been so long since she had seen it. She saw it was not very well made; it was not worthy of the lace-like crochet. Abigail put on the dress. It fitted more tightly across the chest. My figure’s coming at last, she thought. Inside she was cold and without feeling, like a volcano covered with ice.

Related Characters: Abigail Kirk (speaker), Dorcas “Dovey” Tallisker (speaker)
Related Symbols: Clothing
Page Number: 160
Explanation and Analysis:

Abigail saw ahead of her the lamp that lit the steep stairs to the alley which ran down to the playground. Beatie kicked angrily at the kerbstone. Her face was undecided, back to its crabbed urchin look.

“I know you hate me because I fell in love with your brother. Well, he doesn't love me, never did and never will. And I did save Dovey for him.”

“’Twas no more than what you were sent for,” said Beatie churlishly.

Abigail lost her temper. “Oh, you know everything, don't you? Let me tell you, you sulky little pig, you know nothing about love, that's one thing. You have to experience it to know how powerful it is.”

Here she stopped, dumbstruck, remembering who had said the same words to her.

Page Number: 163
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Playing Beatie Bow LitChart as a printable PDF.
Playing Beatie Bow PDF

Dorcas “Dovey” Tallisker Character Timeline in Playing Beatie Bow

The timeline below shows where the character Dorcas “Dovey” Tallisker appears in Playing Beatie Bow. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 3
Time and the Past Theme Icon
...speaking in the same Scottish accent as the little furry girl, urge another person named Dovey to change Abigail’s bandage so that they can see how bad her head is. (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
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...is full of sorrow and fear over what he has done to Abigail. Judah urges Dovey to go look after him, then comes and sits next to Abigail. Granny tells Judah... (full context)
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The Wisdom and Power of Children  Theme Icon
Dovey tucks Abigail back in, lamenting the fact that the poor girl seems to have lost... (full context)
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Judah and Granny go downstairs, and Dovey comes back over to Abigail to place a hand on her forehead. She assures her... (full context)
Chapter 4
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...above her, and as she hears uneven footsteps on the stairs, she realizes the limping Dovey must be looking after it. Soon, Abigail hears Dovey limping into her own room, and... (full context)
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The two women converse in quiet tones—Dovey tells Granny that Judah, a seaman, left to join the crew of the next ship... (full context)
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Granny tells Dovey that she is certain about Abigail—she is the Stranger who will save the Gift for... (full context)
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...that she is indeed, somehow or other, in the last century. She recalls Granny and Dovey’s words from the night before, and wonders what they were talking about when they mentioned... (full context)
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Dovey comes into the room with fresh warm water for Abigail to wash up with. Dovey... (full context)
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...stay in bed. Abigail says she’s bored, and asks if there’s anything she can read. Dovey and Granny are pleasantly surprised that Abigail can read, and lament that Beatie and Gibbie... (full context)
Time and the Past Theme Icon
The Wisdom and Power of Children  Theme Icon
...asks Abigail if she is “godless,” and Abigail claims that she doesn’t remember. Granny implores Dovey to tell Beatie to read to Abigail from the Bible later that day. (full context)
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...to relieve herself, which embarrasses her, but she also gets to spend some time with Dovey and learn more about her. Dovey’s real name is Dorcas Tallisker, and she limps because... (full context)
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Dovey is brushing Abigail’s hair when the two of them hear footsteps coming up the stairs.... (full context)
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...the Stranger, but Beatie, who has been listening at the door, appears and shushes him. Dovey asks Beatie what she did in school that day, and Beatie replies glumly that she... (full context)
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Dovey tells Beatie that Granny wants her to read the Bible to Abigail, and suggests she... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
...two days, Abigail learns a lot about the Bows and the Talliskers from Beatie herself. Dovey Tallisker is a cousin of the Bows, and she was raised by her father and... (full context)
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...between her ugly clothes, her dirty hair, and her head wound, she looks awful, but Dovey insists that “beauty does not matter.” (full context)
Chapter 5
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The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
The Wisdom and Power of Children  Theme Icon
...that he is not long for the world—his doctors have all given up on him. Dovey brings Gibbie and Abigail two bowls of broth and a box of dominoes to play... (full context)
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...watches as he goes down the lane. Abigail goes into the shop, where a frightened Dovey tells Granny that she doesn’t know how Mr. Bow got his hands on the rum.... (full context)
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Granny tells Dovey she is going to go after Samuel, and asks Dovey to help clean up in... (full context)
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Dovey and Granny bring Mr. Bow inside and help him to a bench. The shop is... (full context)
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The women salvage what they can of the ruined treats throughout the shop, and Dovey shows Abigail the many different kinds of candy Mr. Bow makes. Gibbie laments that no... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...day Abigail runs away to go home begins like any other. She is dressed in Dovey’s plain clothes. She has noticed over the last several days that some women, either highborn... (full context)
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After Beatie has gone off to school and Granny and Dovey leave Abigail alone in the shop with the absent-minded Mr. Bow, Abigail seizes her chance... (full context)
Chapter 7
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Judah takes Abigail upstairs and lays her down on her own bed. He asks Dovey how Granny is doing, and Dovey replies that she is “low.” Abigail tries to ask... (full context)
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Dovey gets Abigail ready for bed and leaves her alone, but Beatie enters the room and... (full context)
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In the morning, Abigail awakes to find Dovey kneeling at her bedside, praying that Abigail is still as “innocent as she was when... (full context)
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Abigail begs Dovey to confirm that she is the Stranger. When Dovey does, Abigail implores Dovey to see... (full context)
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Dovey explains that the Gift is not hereditary in the Bow family, but rather in the... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Wisdom and Power of Children  Theme Icon
...the Gift; though she does not want it, she knows it is real. Beatie reminds Dovey of a time when she was sick, and had a dream of a yellow fever... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
...Beatie offers to take it to Gibbie so that Abigail can go and see Granny. Dovey takes Abigail up to Granny’s room. The old woman in the bed is “scarcely recognizable,”... (full context)
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Granny tells Abigail—and Dovey—that now is the time for truth. She asks Abigail if she indeed comes from another... (full context)
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Dovey whispers to Granny what Beatie saw in her dream, and Granny exclaims that it is... (full context)
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The Wisdom and Power of Children  Theme Icon
...her. Abigail tells her that she will run away again and again until she succeeds. Dovey, distressed, begs Abigail to stay until she has done whatever she needs to do, as... (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
...family when she was flung into the past—but then she remembers the conversation she heard Dovey and Granny having the first night she arrived, about the pattern they’d designed but not... (full context)
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The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Abigail, angry, leaves the room and goes downstairs. Dovey follows her down, and attempts to embrace her, but Abigail tells Dovey that she is... (full context)
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Abigail returns to Granny’s room and demands that Granny verify Dovey’s claim. Granny tells Abigail that when Abigail has completed whatever it is she needs to... (full context)
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...it to him. As she begins, Abigail realizes that if Gibbie does not die, only Dovey and Judah are left to fulfill the second half of the prophecy, and momentarily pauses,... (full context)
Chapter 8
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...an education, and though Beatie is tempted, she tells Abigail that she could never leave Dovey. (full context)
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The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
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...much—his wound and resulting illness marred his memory, and he confesses that without Granny and Dovey he does not want to think about what would become of him. Abigail realizes that... (full context)
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The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Dovey is in bed and asleep when Abigail gets to the room—she undresses quickly and gets... (full context)
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
When Abigail arrives in Gibbie’s room, he whines that he wants Dovey—he is scared of the lightning and thunder outside. Abigail sits beside Gibbie and realizes how... (full context)
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Indeed, the heavy rain means that Judah is home more often. Though Dovey worries that a season of so much rain will bring sickness, Abigail is “filled with... (full context)
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The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Dovey’s bad leg acts up in the rain, so she moves upstairs to Granny’s room where... (full context)
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The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
The Wisdom and Power of Children  Theme Icon
...is promised to another. Abigail asks who, and Beatie says that Judah is promised to Dovey, and always has been. (full context)
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
...goes on to explain that because it was Judah who caused the accident that crippled Dovey, he promised to marry her, as not every man wants a lame wife. Beatie says... (full context)
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
...a “stirrer,” and threatens her that if she breathes a word of Abigail’s affections to Dovey, Abigail will be the one to break Beatie’s head. Beatie vindictively tells Abigail that no... (full context)
Chapter 9
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
The Wisdom and Power of Children  Theme Icon
...sorrow. Abigail confesses to Granny that she shook Beatie violently, wishing that it were actually Dovey she was harming. She is afraid, she says, to be nasty to Dovey out of... (full context)
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The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
...on is false. Beatie laments that Granny also told her to keep Abigail’s secret from Dovey. Abigail asks why Beatie is so upset, and whether Granny told her something else. Beatie... (full context)
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
On Sunday, Dovey prepares a picnic basket for Judah, Beatie, and Abigail, but as they prepare for the... (full context)
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...him, but he does not answer her. Abigail quickly tells Judah that she knows about Dovey, and that how she feels about him is not for him to worry about. Judah... (full context)
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...tantrum-throwing Beatie into the boat. Beatie threatens to punch Judah “yeller and green” for betraying Dovey, but Judah—either speaking out of truth or simply to calm Beatie—tells her that there is... (full context)
Chapter 10
Family, Duty, and Connection Theme Icon
The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
...fits have grown worse since her fever. Judah muses aloud at how trusting and tender Dovey is in contrast to Beatie, and admits that he does not want to give her... (full context)
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The Wisdom and Power of Children  Theme Icon
Abigail assures Judah that Beatie won’t say anything to Dovey, as Beatie does not want to hurt her either, but Judah says he knows his... (full context)
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The Wisdom and Power of Children  Theme Icon
Abigail chases Beatie, calling after her not to tell Dovey, but Beatie only calls Abigail “Judas” and tells her to shut up. As the girls... (full context)
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...the fireplace. Abigail realizes there’s no chance of putting out the fire. She asks where Dovey is—Granny says Dovey went upstairs to fetch her bridal chest. (full context)
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The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
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Abigail tells Beatie to help Granny outside—Abigail herself will go up and save Dovey. She finds Dovey trying to drag the chest down the stairs, but Abigail says there’s... (full context)
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The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
...Out there, Abigail can hear the sounds of the fire brigade approaching. She sees that Dovey’s bride chest is stuck on the roof, and pushes it down into the yard of... (full context)
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The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
...under control, but the shop is gone. Abigail feels weak and faint. She spots Granny, Dovey, and Beatie across the street and urges Gibbie to run to them. Abigail then sees... (full context)
Chapter 11
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The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
Time and the Past Theme Icon
...tells Abigail that she has at last done what she was sent to do—she saved Dovey for Judah, and now the Gift has double the chance of survival. Dovey begs Abigail... (full context)
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The Transformative Power of Love Theme Icon
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...as it was on the night she first came. Abigail says her painful goodbyes to Dovey and Judah—Gibbie is asleep and Mr. Bow is in a kind of trance. Last of... (full context)
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...to stop hating her—Judah doesn’t love her after all, and Abigail did end up saving Dovey for him. Beatie says Abigail was only doing what she was “sent for.” Abigail, incensed,... (full context)
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...on without her. As she enters the lobby, she realizes that she is still wearing Dovey’s wool stockings and Granny’s shoes. The key to her own apartment is pinned inside her... (full context)
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...the night goes on, she has a hard time keeping him—and her jealous feelings toward Dovey—out of her head. She wonders if she has become just like all her lovesick classmates,... (full context)
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...takes it upstairs, where she folds it up and places it in the drawer with Dovey’s stockings and Granny’s shoes.  (full context)
Chapter 12
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...Beatie, Granny, and Samuel walking through the street in their best clothes, with Judah and Dovey close behind—they have clearly just been married. She calls to the Bows, but they cannot... (full context)
Chapter 13
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...would die and Beatie would be barren, when really it was “Judah for death, and Dovey for barrenness.” (full context)
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Robert points out, however, that Dovey—or Dorcas, as he knows her—wasn’t barren—she had a child named Judith, but it died alongside... (full context)