Angela Brazil taught me a lot of things. There’s a lot of fun to be had with a camp fire and a well meaning lady of suitable class to ‘pash’ on. Don’t go for a walk in the countryside without a handy story on the local mythology. And never ever drive a motor car when you’ve not taken off the brake.
I admit that a lot of her work borders on bonkers now but Angela Brazil retains a very special place in my heart primarily for her mean vocabulary. Take this extract of the first 10 pages from The Luckiest Girl In The School.
sighed Mrs. Woodward / suggested Percy / volunteered Winona / objected Winona / said Percy / replied Mrs. Woodward / she asked her brother / replied that light-hearted youth / said Winona / she said / interrupted Winona / ejaculated Winona / she exclaimed / wavered Mrs. Woodward / he declared / exclaimed Percy / groaned Winona / flared Winona / teased Percy / said Letty / retorted Winona / said Percy blandly / declared Winona aggrievedly.
Ten pages of solid stuff (with naturally a brief dalliance to describe Winona’s appearance, local flora and fauna) and Brazil practically kills herself before having to use “said” again. It’s amazing. It’s like she has a vendetta against verbs of one syllable.
Brazil is an education and one I recommend most heartily. If she does nothing else, she’ll help out your vocabulary. But do feel free to skip past the interminable “Teacher Regales A Local Legend Whilst The Girls Are On A Nature Walk” chapter – I really won’t judge you as I’ll be doing the exact same thing!