Monday, May 30, 2011

Quote of the Day

Mrs. Storm got Sara set up with a Knickerbocker Glory and then sidled her second bombshell into the conversation.
"We're not going to the farm," she said. This was such a manifestly ridiculous statement that Sara paid no attention to it but went on expounding the merits of Farthinglands. When she did realize that her mother was not trying to be funny, another contretemps between her breathing apparatus and the Knickerbocker Glory was this time narrowly averted.
"When you've finished blowing your ice cream all over the room," said Caroline, "perhaps you'll be quiet and let Aunt Margaret tell us where we are going."
"Have a cookie," suggested Caroline's mother.
"Well," said Sara, "yes, perhaps I will."
Her mother went on with her tale: "While we were in the middle of discussing where we should go for holidays, a letter arrived from Uncle Thomas."
"Not Uncle Thomas from Vienna?" said Sara and, as her mother nodded, turned to Caroline. "There you are Caroline, I told you I had an Uncle Thomas in Vienna; maybe you'll believe me now."

From HIGHLAND HOLIDAY, Chapter 1, Two Bombshells.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

The Crew of the Belinda (3)

Yet another edition of The Crew of the Belinda, this time a Children's Press edition, heavily abridged: over 100 pages shorter than the original story. Thanks to Pam from Cape Town for sending this.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Quote of the Day

Meantime, Dr. Partridge had struggled to a sitting position, shouting furiously and almost incoherently at the girls "... such treatment... not at all what he was accustomed to... train to catch... friendly terms... such treatment... after a friendly chat... scarcely expected to be set upon in this scandalous fashion... train to catch... man in his position... head of an art gallery... important appointments in London..."
"Oh, put a sock in it!" said Kay rudely.
Dr. Partridge, brought up short in his tirade, gasped.
"You know quite well that you're not the head of any art gallery," Kay continued. "You know quite well that you organised those picture robberies at Falconhurst and Claire. You know quite well that you're nothing but a common thief..." The audience round them, by this time quite large, now gasped, but Kay swept on, "You know quite well that at this very moment the Head of a Cherub is wrapped up in that parcel" - and she lifted her arm and pointed a dramatic finger at the newspaper parcel.
Dr. Partridge was - apparently - quivering with rage. "How, how dare you, you insolent girl! There is nothing in that parcel but papers which are important only to myself," he breathed, his moustache woffling violently.
"Well, we can prove it," Kay swept on. "I'm holding onto his legs and I'm jolly well not letting go, but Nicky - Nicky, unwrap that thing and prove it."
Nicky, only too pleased, leant over and picked up the roll of newspapers which had follen to the ground in the struggle. Lynette said, "Kay!" urgently and, when Kay paid no attention, bent over and began whispering in her ear. Kay, the light of battle in her eyes, brushed her away like a troublesome fly.
Nicky unrolled the newspaper, and the crowd bent forward, breathing heavily. Underneath was more newspaper; underneath was more newspaper; and more - and more....

From NEW HOUSE AT NORTHMEAD, Chapter 15, Rough Girls.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Moochers Abroad Frontispiece

This is quite a rare scan, the frontispiece from The Moochers Abroad.

Quote of the Day

"Yes," said Mr. Pengelly, "we're going to decide the fate of your school tonight..."
"Ugh, Jan," began Mrs. Pengelly in a vexed voice, "and I've taken care to say nothing..."
"My dear soul! What's the matter with 'ee? 'Tes no secret."
"Mr. Pengelly, what do you mean?" asked Katherine, never at any time backward. Fiona and Isobel were looking somewhat alarmed.
Mr. Pengelly laughed. "'Tes nawthen'. The lease of the School laands falls due this year, and 'tes a question of renewing the lease. Council won't say No to Pendragon Manor."
"I wish I could be sure of that," said Mrs. Pengelly. "You know as well as I do that there's talk of the Ministry of Education taking over the land. Aye, and the school with it."
"Good gracious me!" said Fiona. Was every school to which she and Katherine were sent liable to crumble about their ears?

From THE MOOCHERS, Chapter 6, The Rumours Begin. Mr. Pengelly is Cornish, which accounts for the strange spelling. Note that Mrs. Pengelly uses the expression Ugh, which is an expression of disgust today. It was an editor at Collins, Jocelyn T. Oliver, who felt it was time to change it to Och. So, we see Ugh used in the early Susan books, but in the later ones and Crooks Tour, the girls say Och. Jocelyn Oliver was the inspiration for Mr. Parfitt in Crooked Sixpence, and wrote to the author that he was pleased to be "immortalised" in the book. When Mr. Oliver moved to Nelson Publishers, Jane Shaw agreed to write some books for him, which explains why the Penny and Northmead books were published by Nelson.

Thursday, May 26, 2011

Susan and the Saucepan

The scene just prior to the quote of the day in No Trouble for Susan. Backstage, Susan starts messing around with a saucepan, which gets stuck on Charlotte's head, forcing Midge to stand in for her in the play.

Quote of the Day

It was so awful, she said afterwards, that she went through the whole thing in a daze and didn't feel a thing. But the fact of the matter was that Midge got such a thunderous welcome when she came on to the stage and everything she did thereafter was received with such roars of laughter that she was quite carried away and mimed and danced and acted as if she had been on the stage all her life. So having got through that scene very successfully, she then retired to her bower where she sank down on her flowery couch and went thankfully to sleep. And the only thing was, that she was so tired after the mad rush at the bookshop and so worn out by all that had happened since, that she really did go to sleep. The voices of the actors, the laughter of the audience merged into a distant blur of sound and finally faded away altogether; Midge wriggled herself into a more comfortable position, sighed once and drifted off into oblivion.

From NO TROUBLE FOR SUSAN, Chapter 13, Mad Success. After Susan accidentally sticks a pot onto Charlotte's head, Midge is forced to stand in for her. But Midge is exhausted after a long day at the bookshop and falls asleep after her performance - in full view of the audience!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Dizzy & Alison Illustration

Although Alison, the narrator, is the straight man in order to offset the eccentric Dizzy, she does have a couple of quirks of her own. One gripe that runs through Anything Can Happen is her dislike of the concierges in Paris buildings. She considers them to be grumpy little power mongers, ruling the foyer from their little cubicles. However, towards the end she seems to lighten up a bit towards them and even engages in conversation with Madame Bertholet's concierge.

Quote of the Day

The linen on the beds was snowy-white and there were enormous great white billowing sort of eiderdowns on each bed. Aunt Lucy dredged her memory and said that she thought they were called duvets, and that although they looked rather fun they were really frightful because if you kept them on you were apt to die of prickly heat, and if you didn't, you died of cold.

From SUSAN INTERFERES, Chapter 1, Last Boat to Rosendorf. Thanks again to Pam for suggesting this.

Monday, May 23, 2011

Adventures of a Snowman

Here's another illustration from the 1954 short story Adventures of a Snowman.

Quote of the Day

In the car the chatter gradually died and one by one the girls sank into gloomy silence, even Susan.  Aunt Lucy, after a few studiously bright remarks which met with little reponse except groans, said accusingly, "Well, I don't know why you should all be so miserable, you'll like it when you get there, you know you do!"
"Like it when we get there!" thought Midge.  Aunt Lucy must be mad. Perhaps some people liked school, she thought, but if they did they must be mad too and anyway, she wasn't one of them. Charlotte quoted with great feeling, "Shades of the prison house begin to close..."

From SUSAN AT SCHOOL, Chapter 1, New Girls. Thanks to Pam for suggesting this quote. It's hard to understand why the Carmichael family spent so much on trying to get these girls educated since during all their time at the school they seemed to learn absolutely nothing, the only knowledge they had appearing to come from books that they read during the holidays!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Fivepenny Mystery

The cover of Fivepenny Mystery, which takes Penny to the Austrian Tyrol.

Quote of the Day

"Wouldn't you rather have tea with - with Peregrine?" asked Midge, catching sight of a gleam of red out of the corner of her eye. After all, if Charlotte had deserted to the other camp, what more likely that their nice Mr. Dean would go over too, if he wasn't there already?
"Frankly," said Mr. Dean, "no."
Well that was some comfort and they settled themselves at a very nice table from which they could command an excellent view of all that was going on. Midge and Susan regretted this a few minutes later when Charlotte sat down at a near-by table with the hated Gascoigne.
"I hope the sight of them doesn't put me off my food," said Susan to Midge as Mr. Dean ordered tea.
"I hope her food chokes her," said Midge.
"It won't," said Susan sadly. "There's no justice in this world."
"I hope he's madly boring about his silly old digs and she doesn't understand a word he says," said Midge.
"I hope he didn't dig up a single old broken pot," said Susan.
"I hope he fell in all the holes," said Midge.
Mr. Dean said mildly, "You sound like a couple of old witches uttering spells. What has poor Adrian done to deserve this?
Susan blushed furiously and Midge said uncomfortably, "Oh sorry, Mr. Dean, we shouldn't have been talking like this in front of you. After all, perhaps they're friends of yours."
"You've eaten their salt," said Susan solemnly.
"Mm," Mr. Dean agreed. "I nearly ate their frogs as well. Peregrine put a frog in my soup and everybody thought it was funny except me."
This cheered Midge and Susan up enormously. "We think Pea-green is quite boringly unfunny," Midge said happily, "but I must say that everybody else simply shrieks with laughter at his antics."

From SUSAN RUSHES IN, Chapter 10, Interesting and Curious Objects.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Quote of the Day

I promise you, that enormous creature was so near us that he, or was it she, nearly brushed against the back of the car. If we had put a hand through the window we could have touched him, if you can imagine anyone wanting to. This is the end, I thought, and shut my eyes and crouched down in my seat with my shoulders up to my ears. But the great beast didn't seem to have us on his agenda at all; he simply ignored us, padded into the bush beside the road with his vast feet and, what was even more wonderful, his friend on the road waved his trunk at us for the last time and ponderously moved into the bush beside him. Tommy shot forward with all speed.
"Well," said Dizzy, craning her neck round for a last look, "that was exciting."

From NOTHING HAPPENED AFTER ALL, Chapter 2, On Safari, describing Alison's shock at her encounter with an elephant.

Tessa's Trying Tackle

When Gabrielle Gascoigne moves to St. Ronan's she decides that, among her numerous other skills, her hockey could be a boon to the school. Boasting that at her last school they had assured her she could play for Surrey, the ghastly girl annoys even members of her own team with her showing off. However, for all its merits, one player she would never encounter at Surrey would be the hopeless Tessa. Terrified by Gabrielle's onslought, the dreamy girl literally buries her face in the sand, or the field in this case, sending Gabrielle sprawling, resulting in a sprained ankle. That gets rid of her for a couple of days, but much to Susan's fury, her nemesis is inevitably promoted to Saturday's B game. This is the first illustration by, R. A. Branton, from Susan's Trying Term

Monday, May 9, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Well?" he snapped, not very pleasantly.
Stan touched his helmet politely. "Beg pardon, sir," he said, "just making a few enquiries."
"At this time of night?"
Stan looked surprised. "T'isn't nine yet, sir..."
"Where I come from," said the man, "people are often asleep by nine."
Where did he come from? we wondered. Did grown up people go to bed at nine o'clock in Russia?
"Well, I'm sure I'm very sorry, sir," Stan was saying politely, "to have disturbed you so late like, but we have the matter of a missing old gentleman on our hands, and from information received we think that he might be in this house."
"In this house!" the man repeated in a voice of utter astonishment. "But I've only just got here myself and there was no old gentleman here when I arrived, I can assure you!" He seemed to have recovered from his earlier ill temper.
"Just got here, sir?" Stan was saying in his pleasant, low voice.
"Yes, I've just come from South Africa on a visit. I rented this place and moved in a couple of days ago. Haven't had time to get straight. Made up a bed and was only too glad to turn in early. But come in and look around for yourself."
Taking off his helmet Stan stepped into the hall. We stepped in after him. The man seemed to notice us for the first time. "This the source of the information?" he said, but quite pleasantly, grinning as a matter of fact. "Aren't you the kids whose dog fell in the pond?"

From WILLOW GREEN MYSTERY, Chapter 5, Blunder at Willow Green.

The Boathouse Fire

The dramatic scene in Chapter 12 of Threepenny Bit when the boathouse catches fire.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Quote of the Day

The girls and Bill beamed and nodded delightedly, but their delight was short-lived, put to an end by Mrs. Weatherby’s next words. "A reward, Sergeant?" she said. "Oh, I don’t think that’s at all necessary..."
Joe murmured. "But such a valuable brooch, Mrs. Weatherby. And one of the cleaners, you know." He grinned as Susan, who nodded in violent agreement several times.
Mrs. Weatherby shrieked down the telephone, "Valuable, Sergeant? Where did you get that idea? My little brooch is very precious to me, Sergeant, it belonged to my mother, you know, but it has no value..."
"Oh, my mistake, Mrs. Weatherby, madam," said Joe smoothly, "I thought you told me it was worth hundreds of pounds. Ten per cent," he added casually, "is quite a usual reward."
"The sentimental value, of course I meant, Sergeant," Mrs. Weatherby interrupted quickly. "But perhaps you could arrange to give the cleaner half a crown or so."
"You can tell me about that when you come in to identify the brooch, Mrs. Weatherby," said Joe. "After all," he added, a little spitefully, "it might not be your brooch... Mean old skinflint," he went on, after he had put down the receiver.
"Half a crown!" Susan was snorting. "Honestly, it's hopeless! Half a crown! We never seem to be able to get our hands on big money!"

From NO TROUBLE FOR SUSAN, Chapter 11, Think it Over.

Twopence Coloured Chapter 1

At the beginning of every Penny story there is a half-page sketch. Here we can see Penny and Jill perusing brochures of Brittany, where they will go for their next holiday. Although the text of all the books clearly states that Penny and Jill are so similar that they are often mistaken for twins, the artist has decided to give Jill dark hair, probably to help the reader tell who's who. I don't care for this sort of interference very much, but I can understand the reasons for it.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Quote of the Day

"Dead faint my foot," said Susan. "Someone slipped him a Mickey Finn."
Midge turned her head slowly and gazed at her cousin. "Someone slipped him a Mickey Finn?" she repeated in a blank voice.
"Knock-out drops, whatever you like to call them," said Susan. "Someone's always slipping someone a Mickey Finn in the books I read."
"Well, fancy," said Midge. She added slowly, "Who on earth would want to do that to the poor chap..." and then fixed Susan with a stern eye. "Susan...! Was it...?"
Susan giggled. "Where would I get a Mickey Finn?" she said. "No, I reckon if he didn't do it himself that girl did it. All that messing about changing seats and changing trays, stupid way to behave unless she was manoeuvring to get next to him..."
In Midge's opinion people very often did behave stupidly, much oftener than they slipped other people Mickey Finns, for instance. Still, it would only get Susan worked up if she argued with her too much, so she asked cautiously, "What would be the point of all that, then?"
"Well," said Susan cheerfully, "they might be, say, f'r instance, spies. Smuggling the secret papers out of England."
Midge guffawed. "Surely that's a bit old hat, Susie?" she said.

From WHERE IS SUSAN? Chapter 1, Sunday, September the Third. This is the tenth Susan book, which sees Susan and Midge travelling to Venice to meet Charlotte and reunite with Mr. and Mrs. Lyle, who are returning from South Africa. Unfortunately, and they don't know it yet, they are also going to meet up with the ghastly Gascoignes! By this time, Jane Shaw herself was tired of the Carmichaels' awful neighbours, and this would be their final appearance, with the exception of a couple of passing references in A Job for Susan.