Sunday, August 21, 2011

Quote of the Day

"But, Susan!" her mother said. "Sir Arthur Symes! Rich! Art collector! Heaven knows what!"
"I know what - just an old crook. Everybody in Wichwood knows he's an old crook," said Susan. "He's a miser, to start with. He'd sink to any depths to save a sixpence-"
"Well, I dare say," said Mrs. Lyle, "but that's a far cry from stealing-"
"We don't know that he actually stole anything," said Susan, trying to be fair. "We can't know that until Maggie has checked tomorrow. But there's soemthing in that room that he's interested in. This is the second time we've seen him hanging round that room, isn't it, Tessa?"
Tessa nodded.
Her father looked at Susan rather helplessly. "I'll go to Charles in the morning," he said. "Before we say anything to the police."
"Och, darling, Uncle Charles won't know anything about him. He's too busy taking temperatures and writing out prescriptions to know what's going on. He never knows the gossip. You talk to Aunt Lucy - she'll tell you about that old crook."
"But how could any normal person do a thing like that?" Mrs. Lyle couldn't get over it.
"He's not normal," said Susan. "He thinks he can do what he likes because he's so rich and important."
Mr. and Mrs. Lyle had come home five minutes after Susan and Tessa had successfully flushed the Bad Bart from Bluebeard's Chamber. They found the girls in a high state of excitement, denouncing the nefarious doings of that old crook, Sir Arthur Symes, clamouring to get into the house to telephone Joe Taylor - at least Susan was.
"Did you see him, too, Tessa?" Mrs. Lyle asked, thinking that her daughter might be suffering from a disordered imagination, a thing that had happened once or twice before in her life.
"Oh, yes, Mrs. Lyle! Scuttling away like a great black bat! He's a dreadful old man," said Tessa. "I hit him over the head with my umbrella yesterday," she said, pleased at the recollection.

From A JOB FOR SUSAN, Chapter 6, Strange Behaviour of a Wicked Baronet. Susan's parents are back from South Africa and have their own house in Wichwood Village. Mrs. Lyle has allowed Maggie, who runs the local art gallery, to store some of her things in a room, joking that it's a "regular Bluebeard's Chamber". Maggie thinks it's all worthless junk, but Sir Arthur doesn't agree, and has been trying to break into the room. For his wicked labours, Sir Arthur earned a bash on the head from Tessa, wielding her umbrella.
I think there's a misprint when Susan calls her father Darling; she usually calls him Daddy and I've never heard a Scottish girl address her father like that. There's another funny misprint in Susan Interferes, when the text tells us that Aunt Lucy and Caroline had rooms overlooking Mount Pilatus. Of course, it should have been Charlotte.