The Go-Between

by

L. P. Hartley

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Mrs. Maudsley Character Analysis

Mrs. Maudsley is the hawkeyed matriarch of Brandham Hall. Most days, she dictates proceedings and is much more dominating than her husband, Mr. Maudsley. She prefers things to be ordered and structured, and is the architect behind the engagement of Marian to Trimingham. That said, she is also prone to bouts of “nervous exhaustion” usually brought on when things don’t go her way. She is suspicious of Marian and comes to suspect Leo, too, of somehow facilitating her daughter’s deception. Such is the shock of discovering Marian’s rebellion that Mrs. Maudsley screams relentlessly and never recovers.

Mrs. Maudsley Quotes in The Go-Between

The The Go-Between quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Maudsley or refer to Mrs. Maudsley . 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:
Social Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the New York Review of Books edition of The Go-Between published in 1953.
Chapter 23 Quotes

To demonstrate my knowledge I began to tell her about the Deadly Nightshade, and then stopped. I found I did not want to speak about it. But she was only half listening.

Related Characters: Leo Colston (speaker), Mrs. Maudsley
Page Number: 237
Explanation and Analysis:

“No, you shall come,” she said, and seized my hand, and it was then we saw them, together on the ground, the Virgin and the Water-Carrier, two bodies moving like one. I think I was more mystified than horrified; it was Mrs. Maudsley’s repeated screams that frightened me, and a shadow on the wall that opened and closed like an umbrella.

Related Characters: Leo Colston (speaker), Mrs. Maudsley (speaker), Marian Maudsley, Ted Burgess
Related Symbols: The Zodiac
Page Number: 244
Explanation and Analysis:
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The Go-Between PDF

Mrs. Maudsley Character Timeline in The Go-Between

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. Maudsley appears in The Go-Between. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Prologue 
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
Fate, Myth, and Magic Theme Icon
...What his younger self should have done, thinks Leo, is called down curses on “ Mrs. Maudsley or her daughter or Ted Burgess or Trimingham.” Present-day Leo hasn’t thought of those people... (full context)
Chapter 1 
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
...grows near, Leo becomes nervous about the trip. He asks his mother to write to Mrs. Maudsley and tell her that Leo has contracted measles and can’t make it. His mother refuses... (full context)
Chapter 2 
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
Masculinity Theme Icon
...and go, with dinners of up to eighteen people. Old Leo remembers Mr. Maudsley and Mrs. Maudsley sitting at either end of the long dining table, the former taking up less space... (full context)
Fate, Myth, and Magic Theme Icon
Old Leo cannot remember Mrs. Maudsley ’s face particularly well—but he sees her often in his dreams. In these, he sees... (full context)
Social Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
Fate, Myth, and Magic Theme Icon
At young Leo’s first dinner at Brandham Hall, Mrs. Maudsley asks him if he is a magician. He says, “not really”—only at school. Leo makes... (full context)
Social Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
Fate, Myth, and Magic Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
...afraid to go close to it and tiptoes away. But he resolves not to tell Mrs. Maudsley about the plant, fearing that she will order the gardeners to destroy it. (full context)
Chapter 3
Social Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
Mrs. Maudsley asks if Leo has forgotten his summer clothes. Not willing to admit he doesn’t really... (full context)
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
Masculinity Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
Mrs. Maudsley asks whether Marian would rather wait till Monday, when Lord Trimingham will have arrived, so... (full context)
Chapter 4
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
...he feels different now he has new clothes. He replies, “’I feel quite another person!” Mrs. Maudsley asks him to come closer so she can admire the outfit, which she likes very... (full context)
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
...his bathing-suit, but he doesn’t know how to swim. Marian says she’ll teach him, but Mrs. Maudsley won’t allow that. Leo’s mother has told her that he is prone to catching a... (full context)
Social Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
Masculinity Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
...his “dreadfully ugly” face, which sustained wounds during the Boer War. He then says that Mrs. Maudsley wants Marian to marry Trimingham, making Leo feel jealous and that he already dislikes the... (full context)
Chapter 5 
Social Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Fate, Myth, and Magic Theme Icon
...front of the house, where some of the others are assembling to go to church. Mrs. Maudsley gives Leo some money so that he can make a donation to the church collection. (full context)
Chapter 6 
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
After lunch back at the Hall, Mrs. Maudsley informs Leo that he is to be moved to a new room due to Marcus’s... (full context)
Chapter 8 
Social Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
Fate, Myth, and Magic Theme Icon
...another: a delicious waking dream.” He then falls asleep. Waking up, he hears Marian and Mrs. Maudsley discussing him. Mrs. Maudsley says that Leo is like Marian’s devoted “little lamb,” and Marian... (full context)
Chapter 11 
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
...Denys and Trimingham discuss how best to get Ted out during the upcoming cricket match. Mrs. Maudsley makes the point that Ted was got out for a “duck” last year. (full context)
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
...go home. She wants him to stay longer and says she will arrange it with Mrs. Maudsley . Leo says that his own mother would miss him, but that he’ll write home... (full context)
Social Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
...“they have any chance” against the Hall team: “It was like trained soldiers fighting natives.” Mrs. Maudsley and the other women from the Hall arrive to watch the match. (full context)
Chapter 12
Social Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Masculinity Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
...Ted hits a long ball that deflects off a fielder’s hand and then nearly hits Mrs. Maudsley in the stand; it scares her but then she laughs about it. (full context)
Chapter 13
Social Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
...teases Leo, but says “you didn’t do so badly after all.” Marcus then talks about Mrs. Maudsley ’s difficulty mixing with the villagers, saying she feels like he does about “the plebs”... (full context)
Chapter 16
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
Fate, Myth, and Magic Theme Icon
...arrival. Marian is pouring out tea for the guests, playing the role of animated host. Mrs. Maudsley , for once, hasn’t joined for tea. Marian pours tea for Leo, and quietly tells... (full context)
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
...to her grandmother’s, meaning Leo will be unable to find her. Trimingham lets slip that Mrs. Maudsley is not well. (full context)
Chapter 17
Social Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
...boys spot a footprint in the path. Marcus tells Leo ironically that he will tell Mrs. Maudsley that they have discovered the footprint of Man Friday (from the book Robinson Crusoe). Marcus... (full context)
Social Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
...they ever break off. Marcus says they do sometimes, and that that is what’s worrying Mrs. Maudsley —but Marian would never be “so folle” (foolish) to leave Trimingham. (full context)
Chapter 18
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
...goes down to breakfast the next morning and notices his letter has now gone. Neither Mrs. Maudsley nor Marian is there. During the morning prayer, Leo considers how he feels about Marian... (full context)
Chapter 19
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
...the highlight of the ball is to be Marian’s arrival on his green bike. If Mrs. Maudsley will let her, Marian will make a grand entrance wearing tights. (full context)
Chapter 20
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
Leo’s mother thinks that it seems fair that Leo “run errands and take messages,” as Mrs. Maudsley has hosted him so kindly. She suggests he doesn’t run so fast on his errands... (full context)
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
Marian and Mrs. Maudsley return. After breakfast on Thursday, Marian takes Leo aside. She asks if Leo missed her,... (full context)
Chapter 22
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
...Brandham Hall has been because of the heat, he wonders. After all, it incapacitated both Mrs. Maudsley and Marcus. (full context)
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
...and tells him that if the errands are too tiring that he ought to ask Mrs. Maudsley if someone else can do them. The present is a tie to go with his... (full context)
Social Class and Hierarchy Theme Icon
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
After breakfast, Mrs. Maudsley announces that “today is Leo’s day,” and asks him how he would like to spend... (full context)
Chapter 23
Love, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
That afternoon, Mrs. Maudsley is unsure what the group should do because of the ominous weather. Marian takes Leo... (full context)
Love, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
...with Leo, telling him to take the letter and making him laugh. The noise brings Mrs. Maudsley outside to ask what the two of them are fighting about. Leo drops the letter,... (full context)
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
Fate, Myth, and Magic Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
Mrs. Maudsley tells Marian not to worry about informing Nannie Robson, and insists on taking Leo for... (full context)
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
They stop by a magnolia with a pink blush, which Mrs. Maudsley says reminds her of Marian. She asks if Marian often sends him on errands to... (full context)
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
Mrs. Maudsley suggests that she can have one of the gardeners take the note. The nearest gardener... (full context)
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
Mrs. Maudsley instructs Leo to take his hands out of his pockets. She warns him that she... (full context)
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
Later on, everyone assembles at the tea-table except for Marian and Mrs. Maudsley . Leo’s birthday cake is on the table. Mrs. Maudsley comes in and informs Leo... (full context)
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
Mrs. Maudsley has put twelve candles on the cake and kept one aside so that it’s not... (full context)
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
...producing a “terrific salvo” and “thunder.” Just then, a butler enters the room to inform Mrs. Maudsley that the carriage has returned empty from Nannie Robson’s—Marian hasn’t been there all day. The... (full context)
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
Mr. Maudsley says they will just have to wait for Marian to arrive, but Mrs. Maudsley says that she is going to look for her. She accuses Leo of knowing where... (full context)
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
Leo and Mrs. Maudsley pass through the hall, where Leo catches a glimpse of the green bicycle. It reminds... (full context)
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
Fate, Myth, and Magic Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
Leo realizes that Mrs. Maudsley is taking them to the outhouse with the deadly nightshade and desperately tries to get... (full context)
Epilogue
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
Love, Sex, and Marriage Theme Icon
...Norwich so she could meet Ted there. He also sees that Marcus must have told Mrs. Maudsley that Leo knew something about Marian’s whereabouts at the time. (full context)
Coming of Age and Trauma Theme Icon
Fate, Myth, and Magic Theme Icon
...Hall. She thinks that Marcus and Denys were both killed in the first world war. Mrs. Maudsley , she informs Leo, had a nervous breakdown. (full context)