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.