Saturday, September 22, 2012
Wednesday, September 19, 2012
In an old chest of drawers, unobtrusively mingled with old maps, old water-colours and worthless prints, they found ancient parchments, manuscripts with crabbed old English script, vellum lovingly illuminated by medieval monks. Naturally, the children could not identify them, but that they were the proceeds of previous robberies by the Mad Collector they were certain.
From SUSAN'S HELPING HAND, Chapter 10, Susan Makes a Mistake.
Saturday, September 15, 2012
Friday, September 14, 2012
Miss Barclay went leaping down the beach to examine the depth of water, but came back disconsolate. "We could never get Celia round now, disabled as she is - I doubt if any of us could do it, with the waves crashing in like that. Anyway, it's too dangerous to try - there is nothing else for it - we'll just have to climb up beyond high-water mark and wait for the tide to do down. Thank goodness the cliff doesn't become sheer till above high-water mark."
From THE MOOCHERS ABROAD, Chapter 2, The Picnic. Despite the title, the characters spend a considerable amount of time actually getting out of Cornwall. First they are trapped at the school in quarantine for the mumps. Then in this chapter, Celia has sprained her ankle and the girls and Miss Barclay are cut off by the tide and have to spend several hours on the cliff waiting for the tide to go out. It is only in Chapter 5 that they finally leave England. This is in contrast with Jane Shaw's other holiday stories, which either begin already in the foreign country (Breton Adventure, Susan Interferes, Fivepenny Mystery) or see the characters in the new country fairly quickly (Crooks Tour, Twopence Coloured, Susan's Kind Heart).
Thursday, September 13, 2012
|While I was reading Fivepenny Mystery last year, I published this illustration with comments, which you can read here. But the scan I posted was pretty shabby and the paper was clearly yellowing. Now we have a cleaned up version. This is definitely my favourite scene from all of the Penny books. It is very cleverly written and, as I've said before, it's my opinion that Jane Shaw achieved the highest level of her writing with this book. Fivepenny Mystery was published by Nelson in 1958, when the author was at the pinnacle of her career. It was at this time that she published Susan at School, Susan's School Play and Susan and the Home-made Bomb. 1958 was definitely a very good year.|
"There, there, don't cry little cabbage," Sara said, and ran through all the French endearments she could think of, followed by literal translations of English ones, each new effort being greeted by a lustier bellow than the one before. Sara was being reluctantly forced to the conclusion that the infant had taken a dislike to her on sight when she saw a gleam of hope. Scrabbling in her bag she brought out a piece of Toblerone, rather tattered as to its wrappings but still recognizable. The crying stopped as suddenly as if a tap had been turned off.
From BRETON ADVENTURE, Chapter 13, Sara Does Some Rescue Work.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
We went to Bush-pig's home for lunch that day, and had what is called a braaivleis. We would have called it a barbecue. The Logans' beautiful house led on to a beautiful garden with a tennis court and a swimming-pool in the far distance. Many servants in spotless white suits flitted about and perhaps twenty people had this enormous lunch, steak and chops and sausages cooked on an open fire and salads of all kinds and puddings to finish with made of pineapples and grenadillas.
From VENTURE TO SOUTH AFRICA, Chapter 1, The Chance of a Lifetime.
Sunday, September 9, 2012
The rather ancient dinghy which belonged to the school was to be done up to look like a Roman galley and come sailing across the lake from behind the little island. It would mean a lot of work, Miss Merriman warned them, getting the Roman galley ready; there would be prows to make a sail. But far from grumbling about the amount of work involved, everybody was wildly enthusiastic. Messing about with paint was just the kind of thing they liked.
From NEW HOUSE AT NORTHMEAD, Chapter 5, Startling News.
Thursday, September 6, 2012
|A scene from Chapter 3, when David mistakes an elderly man in a wheelchair for Mr. Starky and loses control of the wheelchair, which procedes to hurtle down a hill. Much to everyone's surprise, the man enjoys the little jaunt!|
"Oh, help," said Jennifer, "what is it this time? Some footling little thing you've got, and you expect us to get all worked up about it. You two are always getting excited about nothing. And do sit up, Mike - you look awful leaning over the table like that."
From VENTURE TO SOUTH AFRICA, Chapter 3, Cheering Up Jennifer. We can see that Jennifer really needs cheering up. She's definitely Jane Shaw's grouchiest character.
Wednesday, September 5, 2012
"I don't see how we dare risk a meeting," said Caroline, "in case they find out where the book is. We've just got to get to Rhöndorf first."
"Gosh, yes!" said Sara, her impish little face screwed up in an expression of grim determination. "Step on the gas, John, and race them to it."
From BERNESE ADVENTURE, Chapter 13.
Sunday, September 2, 2012
Ricky and Julie were now hopping about on the pavement like a couple of demented fleas. "We must do something! We must stop them! Caught in the act! What shall we do? How can we stop them?" Ricky was muttering, dithering as usual.
From CROOKS LIMITED.
Saturday, September 1, 2012
The characters' names are a very important aspect of Jane Shaw's stories and were all given very careful consideration; so much so that she would write stories and leave spaces where the names should be, only filling them in later on after the characters had been well established and a suitable name could be given to them. Even before you meet them, the names Susan, Charlotte and Midge tell you a great deal about them. The same is doubly true for the Gascoignes. So it's a bit surprising that Midge's real name varies a little. In most of the books, when she gives her real name it is spelled Margery, but in Susan Rushes In and A Job for Susan the spelling is Marjorie. A bit unusual for an author who took such care over her characters' names.