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A College Girl   By: (1857-1917)

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A College Girl

By Mrs George de Horne Vaizey Here is a book about the young girl and her awakening to the world by this talented author. Darsie, the heroine, is selected by an old aunt to come and spend a year or so as her companion. The old woman tries to coach Darsie in matters of deportment and behaviour. This would be pretty odious if it were not for the presence locally of a young family of boys and girls of Darsie's age, whom, being rich and living rather grandly, the aunt allows Darsie to know. The first half of the book describes the times they had. The old aunt promises Darsie that she will make available the funds needed for Darsie to go up to Cambridge as a student at Newnham, a girls' college.

When the second half of the book begins the old aunt has just died, and Darsie feels glad that the poor old lady will be relieved of all her pains. The years of studentship are well described, and the friends that Darsie made come and go through the story. Finally we reach the last exams. Darsie does quite well, but is not in the First Class. She has a Second, which will be enough for her to be able to go and teach at some less distinguished school. But her friend Dan, one of those whom we met in the first half of the book, has obtained a First Class Honours degree, and the book ends with him asking her to marry him. What he doesn't know, and I suppose the author didn't either, is that young men going to teach at a top rate boys' school are expected to spend their spare time coaching sports, and not to be married. In fact they would be better to have achieved a "Blue" at Oxford or Cambridge than a good degree.

I have had to make a slightly strange and annoying change to the name of one of the girls in the story. I changed Vi Vernon to Vie Vernon. The reason was that otherwise the speech generator always read her name as "Six Vernon". What we have now sounds correct, but if you read the book you will see this mis spelling two dozen times. My apologies for doing this, but you will understand why I did it.

It is a good read, and as always I recommend making an audiobook of it, so that you can listen to it. NH





This is the tale of two terraces, of two families who lived therein, of several boys and many girls, and especially of one Darsie, her education, adventures, and ultimate romance.

Darsie was the second daughter in a family of six, and by reason of her upsetting nature had won for herself that privilege of priority which by all approved traditions should have belonged to Clemence, the elder sister. Clemence was serene and blonde; in virtue of her seventeen years her pigtail was now worn doubled up, and her skirts had reached the discreet level of her ankles. She had a soft pink and white face, and a pretty red mouth, the lips of which permanently fell apart, disclosing two small white teeth in the centre of the upper gum, because of which peculiarity her affectionate family had bestowed upon her the nickname of "Bunnie." Perhaps the cognomen had something to do with her subordinate position. It was impossible to imagine any one with the name of "Bunnie" queening it over that will o' the wisp, that electric flash, that tantalising, audacious creature who is the heroine of these pages.

Darsie at fifteen! How shall one describe her to the unfortunates who have never beheld her in the flesh? It is for most girls an awkward age, an age of angles, of ungainly bulk, of awkward ways, self conscious speech, crass ignorance, and sublime conceit. Clemence had passed through this stage with much suffering of spirits on her own part and that of her relations; Lavender, the third daughter, showed at thirteen preliminary symptoms of appalling violence; but Darsie remained as ever that fascinating combination of a child and a woman of the world, which had been her characteristic from earliest youth... Continue reading book >>

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