The Tin Trumpet Incident of 1883 is one of the earliest events described in the Swallows and Amazons series. A toy trumpet belonging to the young Tommy Jolys was trodden on by his sister, and Tommy reacted by "lying on the nursery floor ... howling and kicking," (resulting in his being) "very properly chastised" by his mother (PM29)
Maria's impression of Tommy's character was to last a lifetime; even his war service and firefighting credentials were unable to dispel her disdain.
Clue to Maria's and Tommy's ages
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You are standing into danger. This article or section contains conjecture.
As Maria was old enough, witnessing this incident, to feel condescending towards Tommy, it is possible to estimate her age. Assume Tommy to be aged between say 3 and 5 (old enough to hold a trumpet; young enough to hold a tantrum). Maria was at this point old enough to be unimpressed with Tommy's behaviour and to have formed a self-perception of her maturity, let's say between 6 and 10. So Maria was probably born no later than 1877; Tommy born no earlier than 1878.
On the other hand, since Maria is demonstrably intolerant of many types of juvenile behaviour, no upper limit to her age during the Tin Trumpet Incident can be estimated.
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