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Miss Euphemia Andrew is a recurring minor antagonist in P.L. Travers' 'Mary Poppins' books. In the stage musical Mary Poppins, first staged in London, December 2004, she became the main antagonist. She brought up George Banks, father of protagonists Jane and Michael. When their magical nanny, Mary Poppins, leaves for a while to teach the children a lesson, Miss Andrew comes for a visit. However, Miss Andrew turns out to be a tyrannical nanny who loves nothing more than force-feeding children her "Brimstone and Treacle"-tonic, a gruesome liquor said to contain "Brimstone, Treacle, Codliver Oil and Carbolic Soap".
Role in Books
Miss Andrew first appears in 'Mary Poppins Comes Back.' She arrives for a visit shortly before Mary Poppins returns. Mr. Banks often remembers her with seeming fondness, praising her efficiency and control. Once he hears she is coming, however, he becomes terrified, remembering her as 'the Holy Terror,' and hides from her. Miss Andrew arrives and instantly begins criticizing the house and the children, and decides to take over as the new nanny, instructing Mrs. Banks to send Michael to boarding school while she takes charge of Jane.
Her stay is interrupted by the arrival of Mary Poppins. When Miss Andrew insults her, Mary Poppins shrinks her and traps her in the cage that once held her pet lark. The lark picks the cage up and flies off with it, dropping it a short way away. Returned to her normal size, Miss Andrew takes the warning and leaves.
Later, in 'Mary Poppins Opens the Door,' Jane and Michael have a glimpse of her when Mary Poppins takes them under the sea. This time she is trapped in a bubble, but how this happened is never explained.
Role in the Musical
Miss Andrew makes her appearance in the beginning of act two of the musical. Jane and Michael Banks are the children of the wealthy bank officer George Banks, London 1910. The children are naughty and has driven off every nanny their mother has hired with their antics. The strange nanny Mary Poppins appears to take care of them, and teaches them many lessons about of life through fun, song and a little magic. However, the children turn out to be tough charges even for her, so she leaves for a while to teach them a lesson. In her abscence, a distraught Mrs. Banks hires Miss Andrew, her husband's old nanny. George Banks had spoken of her with praise several times earlier, and Mrs. Banks only wishes to please her husband.
Miss Andrews, an old woman in black, arrives at the stage accompanied by lightning and thunder. She immediately establishes dominion over the household with intimidation, singing of her tyrannical way of rearing children (Brimstone And Treacle, Part 1). She demands Michael go to boarding school immediately- Jane she wants to take charge of personally.
However, the terrified children run away from home again. This distresses Mrs. Banks, who suspects she has made a grave mistake. This also causes her to see why her husband turned out like he did, emotionally distant and obsessed with precision and order. Miss Andrew abuses the rest of the servants while awaiting the children's return- she trusts in cold and hunger driving the children home in time, and intends to feed them large doses of her tonic when they do.
Meanwhile, the children meet a good friend, Bert, in the park, who lifts their spirits. Having learned their lesson by Miss Andrew's reign of terror, the children are reunited with Mary Poppins, who agrees to return to their house and stop Miss Andrew. Upon coming home, the trio discover how she treats the servants. Mary Poppins, however, is more concerned about Miss Andrew's trapped lark, Caruso. It has been sitting in the cage for years, and it is implied Miss Andrew treats it very badly. Mary Poppins frees the lark, seconds before Miss Andrew arrives. Upon seeing the children, she gleefully fetches her "Brimstone and Treacle" bottle, but then notices Mary Poppins, who tells her to pack up and leave immediately. It turns into a musical standoff between the two nannies (Brimstone And Treacle, Part 2) as they preach their way of treating children. Enraged with Caruso being freed, Miss Andrew threatens to punish them all, but Mary Poppins exposes her as the tyrant she is, and gives her a dose of her own medicine. Miss Andrew is forced to down the entire bottle of "Brimstone and Treacle" and is trapped in a birdcage, which vanishes into the ground in a lot of smoke and red lights, presumably to Hell.
- "These children have been spoiled/I arrived here just in time!/By chance I brought the punishment that best befits the crime.."
- "So seek satisfaction from punitive action! Brimstone and Treacle will work!"
- "I won't stand for whining or whinging or whimpering/Crying or lying or sobbing or simpering!"
- "Silly little girl with your new-fangled methods/I bring up children so they know their place!
- "You've let my little lark out of his cage/Now you will bear the full brunt of my raaaaaaage!"