Thursday, August 6, 2015

Breton Adventure (colour frontispiece)

Although I knew about the two frontispieces for Bernese Adventure, I did not know until last week that an edition of Breton Adventure had a colour frontis. The scene depicted is from Chapter 14, Capture of a Car Thief and shows The Man of Mystery exiting a chemist's shop and being accused of stealing Madame's car, while a small crowd of passers-by and a policeman look on. However, Sara, as usual, has got it wrong and The Man of Mystery was actually driving his own car. Once again, The Man of Mystery forgives Sara for being mean to him. Thanks to Elizabeth Lindsay for providing the scan. 

Quote of the Day

They slipped out by the side door and made their way with considerable difficulty to the Sparrow's hut, knocking into trees, stumbling over roots and getting entangled generally in the undergrowth. But when they unlocked the door of the hut and saw the costumes lying in bright heaps on the Sparrow's rather dusty benches, all their difficulties and even their large accumulation of lines and punishments were forgotten. They slapped each other on the back triumphantly and then began to gather up the costumes.
"We'll take them straight up to Big School now and give everybody a surprise," gloated Kay.
"Surprise" was putting it mildly.

From NORTHMEAD NUISANCE, Chapter 8, A Spoke in Gail's Wheel.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

Breton Holiday (frontispiece)

This is the first ever illustration for a Jane Shaw book, the frontispiece for Breton holiday, drawn by A. H. Watson in 1939. 

Abridgement of Breton Holiday and Bernese Holiday

Whenever I have read about Breton Adventure and Bernese Adventure, they are always described as "slightly abridged" versions of the original Holiday books. In Susan and Friends, detailed descriptions are given of two scenes that were edited or deleted prior to the publication of Bernese Adventure, both from Chapter 11. On Page 105, it says that when Caroline and Sara were on the train to Interlaken, "the nice blue-eyed guard came and passed the time of day with them; and when they reached Interlaken, Sara went quite wild over the shops". In Bernese Holiday, the train journey scene is longer, with Sara thinking that the guard's name is Bob because he has the letters BOB emblazoned on his cap. Caroline explains that the letters actually stand for Bernese Oberland Bahn. The other deleted scene takes place the next morning, when Sara awakes early and is delighted to find that it is snowing. After breakfast, Caroline and Vanessa decide to take advantage of the cold snap to write some post cards. The next paragraph begins: "Two days later, the snow had gone, the sun came out again and the flowers reappeared..." However, in Bernese Holiday, while the others are writing their post cards, Sara borrows the hotel owner's skis and has a go at skiing. Caroline eventually has to come out and dig her out of a snow drift. One of the members of the Jane Shaw Facebook group, who has a copy of Bernese Holiday, also recalls what she refers to as some "curtailed dialogue" but could not be more specific as she had conducted her comparison some time ago. I recently purchased a copy of Breton Holiday and looked forward to comparing it with the reissued version. However, as far as I can tell, there was no abridging of the story at all. The above photograph shows the contents page of Breton Holiday on the left and the Adventure on the right. They are identical. So, although the original book is much thicker, there are no extra scenes. The only differences are that the dedication to Jane Shaw's parents is omitted from the Adventure and that the Holiday has a black and white frontispiece drawn by Alice Helena Watson. My copy of Breton Adventure has no frontispiece, although I've been told that some editions of the book did have one. Bernese Adventure has had two frontispieces, one colour and one black and white, which you can see by clicking here and here.

Quote of the Day

That evening Mrs Eliot had a brain-wave. She discussed it with Dr Eliot, and as soon as the family were all off to school she took the two little figures which had been with the box of junk out of the china cabinet, and wrapping them up in cotton-wool and tissue paper she took them into town, to a little antique shop into whose windows she had often gazed. She came out without them, beaming, and then she went home and telephoned Mrs. Rivett. ... And then she could hardly wait for the children to come home from school and for Dr Eliot to come home from his patients, but when they all did she dropped her bombshell.

From VENTURE TO SOUTH AFRICA, Chapter 14, Jennifer Changes Her Mind.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Crew of the Belinda (cover and spine)

Quote of the Day

"You can go round by the main road," said Mrs. Pengelly, "but it's a nice walk down the side of the Haven and over the cliff. I've got a basket with a lid that you can put wee Thomas in, and he'll be no trouble to you."
"Oh, is Thomas going?" asked Fiona regretfully, "I'll miss him."
"He's going to a good home," said Mrs. Pengelly, "and the Sandercock children are mad to have him."
She gave the girls full directions for finding the house, and put Thomas into his basket. Thomas took a poor view of his imprisonment and objected piteously.

From THE MOOCHERS ABROAD, Chapter 4, Curiouser and Curiouser.

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Photos of Arran

On the ferry approaching Arran.

East coast of Arran.

Cir Mhor from Broddick Bay.

The bus stop at Blackwaterfoot.

The bridge at Blackwaterfoot.

View of the Goatfell.

The String Road. Like Penny and her father, I also smelled the peat when we reached the top. However, the bus was going too fast for me to glimpse the view of the sea on both sides of the island at the same time.

Views of Arran from Troon Beach

These photos were taken at the end of April this year, but the mountains were still snow-capped. Cir Mhor (pronounced Keer Vor) features in Penny Foolish, when Penny goes for a climb with Kenneth and Especth. The Goatfell does not feature in Jane Shaw's stories, but when she and her husband retired to Arran in 1978, they had their house built so that the front afforded them an excellent view of the Goatfell.

The little isle of Ailsa Craig, just to the south of Arran.

Another view of the snow-capped peaks.

Quote of the Day

The worst was nothing like what they expected. They were lying by themselves sun-bathing at the grève the next afternoon, when a young man, slight, but with a body which seemed to be entirely composed of springs, came bounding down the path with a dog at his heels. Coming over to the girls, he grinned till his eyes crinkled up and disappeared, shook hands, and announced himself as Raymond.

From BRETON HOLIDAY, Chapter 2, They Meet Artichokes, Ajax - and Raymond.

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Breton Holiday Dedication

Breton Holiday contains the first of the cryptic dedications that permeated Jane Shaw's books throughout her career. Her first dedication, quite appropriately, is to her parents. M.W.P. is her mother, Margaret Wilson Patrick. J.P. is her father, John Patrick. This dedication was not included in the reissued version of the story, Breton Adventure in 1953, probably because the price of paper had soared in the early 1950s and because paper was still rationed in those post-War days.

Breton Holiday (Blue Boards)

Breton Holiday

This week, my copy of Breton Holiday arrived from Peakirk Books. It is much fatter than the later Breton Adventure. Published in 1939, it has very thick paper that has yellowed far less than my copy of Breton Adventure, which was published 14 years later. Quite a treasure.

Jane Shaw Pilgrimage 2015: Park School

After leaving Newton Place, where Jane Shaw's house is located, you turn right up Elderslie Street until you come to Clairmont Gardens.

After climbing these steps, walk along.

Lynedoch Street, where Park School is located.

25 Lynedoch Street. The words Park School remain on the gate, but the school itself closed long ago and was converted into flats.

Close-up view. Jane Shaw  studied here from 1919 to 1928. After school she went to Glasgow University to study English Literature and Language.

View from the school. Lynedoch Crescent is just across the street.

View of Lynedoch Street to the left when exiting the school.

View to the right, "down the hill", where Ricky, Julie and Fay walked in Crooks Limited.

Full view of Park School.

View from "down the hill".

Woodlands Road, where the girls debated waiting for the bus or walking to the next stop.

Crew of the Belinda (New Challenge Library)

Crew of the Belinda (boards)

Interesting lilac boards of my 1947 edition of The Crew of the Belinda.

Quote of the Day

Fanny opened the door which looked on to the Loch. "What about burglars?" she quavered.
Lilias laughed bitterly. "You seem to forget the state of our finances," she said.
"Yes, but do the burglars know about that?" said Fanny.

From THE CREW OF THE BELINDA, Chapter 6, More Miracles.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Susan Muddles Through (1st edition spine)

The illustration used on the spine of the first edition of Susan Muddles Through is different from the one used in the Seagull Library edition, although it depicts the same scene. In Chapter 6, Investigating Cap'n Dan, Susan decides that the old sailor is involved in what she calls "shady activities" and, in Chapter 7, Gossip, Susan and Bill pry open the box of lobsters that Cap´n Dan leaves by the side of the road to be picked up and shipped to London. They are sure that the old skinflint is smuggling diamonds. To their chagrin and disappointment, however, the crate does not contain diamonds. Furthermore, Susan is not expecting the lobsters to be alive, and some of them escape and run onto the road. Susan and Bill have to get them back in and get the crate sealed up again before the arrival of the bus. Once again, one of Susan's hare-brained schemes has gone awry, much to the frustration of Midge and Bill, who have allowed themselves to be suckered into yet another one of her mad escapades.

Quote of the Day

It was certainly dark enough. The autumn mists had crept back again and there did not seem to be even a star in the sky. Susan and Midge went cautiously through the field in front of the house, and as Susan said, she wouldn't have thought it possible that there should be so many thistles growing in one field.
"I didn't think that there were so many thistles in the world," said Midge. "And I've stood on them all. My legs are all scratched and bleeding. It'll be a wonder if I don't bleed to death."

From SUSAN MUDDLES THROUGH, Chapter 9, Suspect Number Two.

Susan Muddles Through Colour Frontispiece

For several months I had my eye on a first edition of Susan Muddles Through that was on sale at Peakirk Books. The attraction lay in this colour frontispiece, depicting a scene from Chapter 9, Suspect Number Two. Susan and Midge, on a nocturnal excursion, are terrified of a "headless monster, pale, misty-white and wavering in the glow of Susan's torch,with dim eyes that squinted horribly from a formless face". In the end I couldn't resist and am now the proud owner of this book.

Jane Shaw Pilgrimage 2015: Newton Place

On 20th April, 2015, I was in Scotland and made a few visits to important locations in Jane Shaw's life and stories. Just off Sauchiehall Street is Newton Place, where Jane Shaw lived during her entire childhood.

The Patrick family lived at Number 9, about half way along the very short street. Today the house is called Technology House.

View of the house from across the street.

View of the whole house.

Close-up of number and Technology House name plate. Strange that there is nothing to commemorate Jane Shaw here at all. Just another forgotten author. Sad.

Nice view of the front door.

Looking back at the end of the street.

Leaving Newton Place. Jane Shaw would walk out this end of the street on school days on her way to Park School, which is only about ten minutes' walk.

Friday, March 27, 2015

Quote of the Day

Gabrielle was so taken aback that for a second she just stood there while Susan rained blows on her head; she then recovered, seized the first thing that came to her hand - which happened to be a jugsaw puzzle with which one of the Removes proposed to amuse herself after supper - and hit Susan over the head with that. As the pieces fell round Susan like a miniature snow-storm, she reeled a bit, then went into the attack again and kept on banging Gabrielle over the head with Gail's book, which made the most satisfactory and resounding thuds. Gabrielle, retreating, put up her arms to cover her head, but Susan was still getting in some shrewd blows, amid yells of encouragement from the Removes who hadn't seen such a fight since they had left the kindergarten - when suddenly the door was flung open and a prefect called Avril Barrett strode into the room.

From SUSAN'S TRYING TERM, Chapter 6, More Trouble.

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Jane Shaw Postcard

Last year my friend Jan Johnson sent me this postcard that she picked up at a book sale in Crail. The postcard was issued to promote the publication of Susan and Friends: the Jane Shaw Companion in 2002. The following information is given on the back of the card:

Jane Shaw and Alison Lindsay, 1994 (photo: Ernest Marchand)
Susan and Friends: the Jane Shaw Companion (2002), edited by Alison Lindsay, is published by Bettany Press, price 
£14.99 including UK postage).

Jumble Sale

An illustration from Jane Shaw's last published short story, Jumble Sale (1963).

Monkton Combe near Bath

This is the countryside between Bath and Monkton Combe, which served as the setting for three of the Penny books (Threepenny Bit, Fourpenny Fair and Crooked Sixpence). In Twopence Coloured, Penny and Jill become friends with Laura and John Mallory during their trip to France. The Mallory siblings invite the girls to visit them in Monkton Combe (in the book the village is called Friars Combe). The Carter sisters become regular visitors to the area. The village is used once again in the novella by "Jean Bell", A Girl with Ideas, penned after the Penny series had been laid to rest. In that story, the village is given the name of Thornton Combe.

Quote of the Day

They went out to the Masters' garden and waited there for the police. Inspector Collins was absolutely delighted to catch George and said all sorts of nice things to Penny. In George's pocket he found the missing fifty pounds and gave it to Stephen to return to the vicar.
"Better hurry back and put his mind at rest, poor old chap," said Stephen, and they all raced back to the Fair in his rattle-trap.

From FOURPENNY FAIR, Chapter 15, Proof.

Monday, March 23, 2015

Family Trouble

Illustration from the very beginning of Family Trouble. Nicky has just fallen out of the apple tree and nearly "flattened" Edward.

Quote of the Day

I thought of retiring to bed with a headache, but as I had never done such a thing in the whole of my life before, far less on Carnival day, that would start all sorts of awkward questions from the family. And I must say at this point that it's very, very difficult to do anything at all out of the ordinary, such as retiring to bed on Carnival day, when you have a family like mine standing round and asking questions.


Sunday, March 22, 2015

Dotty's Latin Quotes

Twice in the Susan books Miss Johnson speaks Latin to Susan. The first time is at the end of Chapter 2 of Susan at School, when Susan gets stuck in the window and Dotty tries to free her. She tells Susan to be patient, with the Latin proverb Festinatio tarda est, which is equivalent to our More haste, less speed. The second time is in Chapter 14 of Susan's Trying Term. Again speaking philosophically, Dotty quotes Plautus, saying Quid te igitur retulit Beneficium esse oratione, si ad rem auxilium emortuum est? This means What was the use of being bountiful in talk if all real help was dead in you? Although Susan agrees with her teacher, we are told that "her knowledge of Latin consisted of amo, amas, amat and she wasn't even too sure of that". This is yet another example of Susan and the Carmichaels' parents continuing to throw money away on a private education for their children, even though it is obvious that they never learn anything.

Where is Susan? (full dj)

A complete and very well preserved dust jacket of Where is Susan? Click on the image for a much enlarged view. On the left are ads for the Jean series.

Moochers Abroad (spine)

Willow Green School

Sometimes people ask me about a Jane Shaw book with the title of Willow Green School. "Is it any good and where can I get hold of a copy?" The answer is that you can't get it because this book does not exist. There are three books in the Thomas series: Looking After Thomas, Willow Green Mystery and The Tall Man. The first and third stories are set in Paris and Interlaken, respectively. Willow Green Mystery is set in Kent but there is no school called Willow Green School. The Waring boys attend a prep school called Bishop's and the girls go Ridgeways. But the book is in not a school story. So where did the myth of "Willow Green School" originate? The answer is that on the Collecting Books and Magazines website there is a Jane Shaw page with a partial bibliography, and one of the books listed there is Willow Green School, a misprint.

Quote of the Day

Robin opened his mouth to put Sara in her place, when Uncle Thomas intervened hurriedly:
"Much as I'd like to have you boys beside me, I think it would be better if you went in the back. More room." So Sara made a triumphant face at Robin, and climing into the front seat, was proceeding to make herself comfortable, when her mother looked up from the welter of luggage and bicycles and boys which was surrounding her and said:
"Don't sit about, Sara, get up and do something."

From HIGHLAND HOLIDAY, Chapter 2, Arran Revisited.

Saturday, March 21, 2015

Moochers Abroad (blurb)

The rather wordy blurb from the back cover of The Moochers Abroad, published by Lutterworth Press in 1951.

Note on HotGL: Angela's Name

The two heroines of House of the Glimmering Light are, first of all, Angela Winter and, in a slightly secondary role, Noël Sinclair. However, when the girls introduce themselves, the following curious dialogue about their names takes place:

"Noël Semple," said the girl. "What's yours?"
"Angela Winter."
"Between us," murmured Noël, we sound like a Christmas carol-."
Angela giggled. "As a matter of fact, my name isn't really Angela at all, it's Elizabeth, but once when I was small I got involved in a pageant as one of those Non Angli, sed Angeli experts - you know - and my Aunt Fanny must have been feeling sentimental, for she said I was such a living example of it that she insisted on calling me Angela ever after. So she says, but she never liked the name Elizabeth."

This is puzzling. Why all this apparently unnecessary fuss over Angela's name? I've tried to think of some possible reasons:

1. Jane Shaw is saying in a roundabout way that she's not too keen on the name Elizabeth. This theory crumbled at once. Amanda's Spies, The Crew of the Belinda and The Matchmakers all have sympathetic characters named Elizabeth. There is also Elizabeth Rogers, the budding actress and classmate of Susan's at St. Ronan's, and Dizzy from Anything Can Happen and Nothing Happened After All;

2. This passage sets up Angela's "angelic" nature and appearance, which will help her in the undercover work she is going to become involved in;

3. It's a way of emphasizing the close bond between Angela and her aunt, which will be important later on in the story.

I think the latter two reasons are quite possible, but maybe there is something else at play here.

Quote of the Day

As she watched, unexpectedly, so unexpectedly that she jumped, a little graceful ship in full sail came across the path of the moon on the water. It came so silently, without lights, it had such an inexplicable air of strangeness that despite its beauty she felt there was something wrong about it, something uncanny: no living thing could she see on board. The moon went behind a cloud, the Loch was darkened, but still the white ship gleamed.

From HOUSE OF THE GLIMMERING LIGHT, Chapter 5, The White Ship.