Jun. 17th, 2017

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I was reading an Angela Brazil book the other day - you, know, as you do, who doesn't read 1920s girl's books? (I was on a train for five hours and they're free on project gutenberg, don't judge :P). Anyway, Angela Brazil does have a tendency to rather sentimental friendships, and to fancy names for her heroines, which combined, from a modern perspective, spectacularly in the following paragraphs:

She admired Lesbia, much as a boy would, for her pretty hair, her dainty movements, and the general Celtic glamour that hung about her; she behaved, indeed, more like a youth in love than an ordinary schoolgirl chum. Her large soulful eyes would gaze at her idol during classes as if she were composing sonnets, and she haunted her round the school till the girls christened her "Lesbia's shadow".
"She's queer, of course, but in a way she's rather a sport," declared Kathleen, discussing the new-comer in the cloakroom.
"Yes, she's certainly queer. She never does anything in the least like anybody else," agreed Ermie Hall.

I know, I know, language evolves, and generally I can take the sentimentalism in stride, but the magnificent combination of a heroine named Lesbia and an admirer described as 'a youth in love' and 'queer' in the space of five lines really made me giggle.

Side note, the names, oh goodness! I'm sure there's another Lesbia as a supporting character somewhere, but then as heroines you have Winona, Aldred, Rona, Ingred and Quenrede, Merle, Raymonde (and actually all her friends deserve a mention: Fauvette, Morvyth, Aveline, and Ardiune, if you please! There's the comparatively normal Katherine and Valentine, but still), and more I'm sure. She will occasionally drop to a Peggy or Patty or Mildred for the lead, but even then there's sure to be fancy names among the supporting characters. (I've always suspected Angela Brazil to be one of the people Elinor Brent-Dyer was gently mocking when she had Joey give her characters fancy names in her first attempt at writing).

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