233E: A book with a dumbwaiter, hair embroidery and a bat with writing on its wings

Children’s book, I read this book(s) in the late 60’s. It was a library book and I don’t remember it looking new, just a canvas textured hard-covered book with no paper jacket, so it may have been written sometime earlier. It was quite thick, and there may have been more than one book with the same characters. There are 3 (?) children, two boys and a girl, in a large old house with lots of interesting historical references. One thing I recall is a picture of the same house embroidered with human hair, a type of Victorian handiwork. I looked it up – I don’t think the book was clear on that point. The book did mention the difficulty of embroidering with a black child’s short curly hair – so it may have predated political correctness. My apologies. There was a feeling of almost time travel, or of dreams of events in the lives of the house’s past occupants, and of something mystical about the house. I also remember a dead bat nailed, wings spread, in the bottom of a wooden box. The bat had writing on its wings. There was a dumbwaiter in the house, large enough for the children to ride in. There was younger boy named Ben, not sure if he was one of the children mentioned above or someone from the past. There was something about Ben and a pet monkey, and how Ben related his short suit (suit with shorts rather than long pants, like you sometimes see young boys wearing in old pictures) to the clothes the monkey wore.

3 thoughts on “233E: A book with a dumbwaiter, hair embroidery and a bat with writing on its wings

  1. Dru

    I think you are remembering the Green Knowe series by Lucy M. Boston. The bit about embroidering with a child’s hair comes from The Chimneys of Green Knowe and you’re right, it’s not at all politically correct but I think it’s still very readable. The business with the dead bat comes from An Enemy at Green Knowe and the child dressed as a monkey is back to Chimneys. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Green_Knowe

  2. Sue

    “The Chimneys of Green Knowe” was published in the US as “The Children of Green Knowe.” One of my favorite series as a kid.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.