Friday, August 13, 2004


Triumphantly Jill went ski-ing down the slope. It seemed that she would win the race after all. But suddenly she saw Brian lying on top of the snow-bank, holding out a startling notice.

This is a detail from a larger illustration of the story "Not Wanted at the Holiday Chalet" one of several in Girls' Crystal Annual 1948 which I purchased today on this most ominous of days.

The sign in the op shop said Please Ask for Assistance for items displayed in Window. So I did. But Alas! I encountered difficulty in communicating with the kindly attendant, who misinterpreted my pointing and after some degree of physical contortion, kept furnishing unwanted items. Suddenly there was a startling noise as in her quest she brushed several pieces of crockery and miscellaneous teak. I apologised of course, although nothing had been broken. The elusive 48 was finally fished out and bagged, and has been added to my crystal collection.

Other stories in this volume include The Mongrel who made Good, The Harum-Scarum's Surprising Half Holiday and Carol's Strange Adventure in China by Enid Boyten - which sounds like a hybrid of B and Blyton. In the great tradition of Schoolgirl Literature, it seems Enid was a man, in this case a Horace.

Comments: beware

An illustration worthy of the great Glenn Baxter. I have a modest but carefully selected collection of boys' public school novels. Probably my favourite is 'The Hill' by Horace Ansley Vachell, as close to homo-erotic as the Victorians allowed themselves to go. The dust-cover announces it as 'A fine, upstanding, thoroughly manly novel'. Mm...
Posted by Dick at August 13, 2004 04:56 PM

The great Baxter indeed - (an inspiration).

Hmm - only read a few Manly books, but 'the Hill' sounds intriguing. Last year I read Pillikin of course, by Hylton Cleaver
and read about Percy Westerman.

I always loved the the 'Picture Stories' in the Girls annuals as a child, and am quite disappointed to find that the old faves hadn't arrived by 1948.

I've also just discovered where the wonderful site Collecting Children's Books and Magazines is now located
A great reference site.
Posted by boynton at August 13, 2004 07:00 PM

I used to teach Glenn Baxter's son, Harry. I met GB several times at report meetings & the like & found him to be a very friendly, very funny guy with few illusions about his son, who at that time was exploring the outer reaches of what adolescence is all about.

On the subject of writers of schoolgirl fiction who turned out to be men, have you ever checked out the Philip Larkin schoolgirl stories? I believe they're all published now.
Posted by Dick at August 14, 2004 08:23 AM

I'm not sure what happened, it might have been 'Enid to Eden', but that index of authors led to 'The Flint Heart'
a book I myself once owned.
Which led to this:
and in its turn to this:

and there you go.
Posted by vernaculo at August 14, 2004 11:02 AM

Drats. I came looking for ice-cream, and all I find is this book-talk.

PS: Enid Horace? Gosh. That's an odd name.
Posted by Julian Dick at August 14, 2004 02:20 PM

Dick - I hadn't known of Larkin's larkin' (or not) with the genre, but googled and it looks good.,6761,709502,00.html
although one can get a little 'lost in transgendering...' of blokes writing as girls with crushes on seniors. I notice in 1948 there's a about a girl who masquerades as a boy.
"What's your special line of sport, my boy?"
Susy gulped trying to look suitably nonchalent.
"Net- I mean football, Uncle!" she gasped...

written by Renee Frazer/Ronald Fleming.
A text to study.

Thanks for the links vernaculo. The endorsment of The Flint Heart makes me want to seek a copy.
And a copy of The Farmer's wife.

Sorry Julian - No Ices here on such a cold august day.
Not even some Toffee Shocks, Google Buns or Pop Biscuits to go.

PS this is the closest I could get to your order.

Posted by boynton at August 14, 2004 03:51 PM

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