Strange things are happening on the bleak and windy moors…
The English word stay has many meanings and uses. In this session, we bring you BBC Learning English’s own version of the classic story Jamaica Inn – and we’ve found many different ways to use the word stay in it.

Learn more here:


Hello, I’m Mariam. Today’s story is set on the bleak and windy moors of Cornwall and features a young strong woman who witnesses some strange goings on when she goes to live in a pub called Jamaica Inn.

The woman is called Mary and after her mother dies she goes to stay with her aunt at Jamaica Inn. It’s a cold and lonely place and is run by her scary and abusive uncle, Joss. Mary’s aunt tells her to stay out of his way. Mary soon realises that Jamaica Inn is not a nice place to live but she decides to stay on to look after her aunt – and then things start to happen.

The Inn is a quiet place because nobody chooses to stay over due to its terrible reputation but one Saturday night, a noisy group of Joss’s friends come to drink. They’re very rude to Mary and she goes to hide in her bedroom. That night she stays up to see what’s going on, and out of her window, she sees horses and wagons horses moving in the yard. She also hears Joss arguing with a man who he then hits – knocking him to the floor. Mary doesn’t like what she sees and the next day, she tells the local magistrate, Squire Bassat. He searches the Inn for any clues but finds nothing. She then meets the local vicar, Mr Davey, who she confides in – but he tells her that she doesn’t know enough about Joss and shouldn’t involve the law.

Later, Mary meets a man called Jem who turns out to be Joss’s brother. She is suspicious of him and decides to stay away from him but after a while she realises he can be trusted and they spend some happy time together at a horse fair, where Jem sells ponies. However, at the end of the fair, Jem disappears and Mary is worried he’s been arrested for selling stolen ponies. She runs back to the Inn across the dark and wet countryside. When she gets back, she is met by Joss and his gang of drunken men – they are up to no good.

I’ll leave the story there for now. But join me in again in part two to find out what Joss and his friends are up to. Bye for now.

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