Archive for September 2nd, 2008

September 2, 2008

More G.O quoteage

This one’s from Angela Brazil‘s The Jolliest School of All (1922 according to this site, though Wikipedia seems to think it doesn’t exist) in which a bunch of English (and American and Australian and South African, as long as they have English ancestry) girls attend a school in Naples which only caters to Anglo girls. There are some amazing moments, such as the bullying of one girl because she has a French surname and is from Jersey, and the statement that the school comprises the best of various countries (Italian scenery, French decor, English people) , and the insistence of the head girl that the students are not to put on the airs of “these foreign girls”, but this bit is by far my favourite:

“Girls,” she began, “I asked you to come here because I want to have a talk with you about our school life. You’ll all agree with me that we love the Villa Camellia. It’s a unique school. I don’t suppose there’s another exactly like it in the whole world. Why it’s so peculiar is that we’re a set of Anglo-Saxon girls in the midst of a foreign-speaking country. We ourselves are collected from different continents—some are Americans, some English, some from Australia, or New Zealand, or South Africa—but we all talk the same Anglo-Saxon tongue, and we’re bound together by the same race traditions. Large schools in England or America take a great pride in their foundation, and they play other schools at games and record their victories. We can’t do that here, because there are no foreign teams worth challenging, so we’ve always had to be our own rivals and have form matches. In a way, it hasn’t been altogether good for us. We’ve got into the bad habit of thinking of the school in sections, instead of as one united whole. I’ve even heard squabbles among you as to whether California or Cape Colony or New South Wales are the most go-ahead places to live in. Now, instead of scrapping, we ought to be glad to join hands. If[249] you think of it, it’s a tremendous advantage to grow up among Anglo-Saxon girls from other countries and hear their views about things. It ought to keep you from being narrow, at any rate. You get fresh ideas and rub your corners off. What I want you particularly to think about, is this: it’s the duty of all English-speaking people to cling together. If they’ve ever had any differences it’s time they forgot them. The world seems to be in the melting-pot at present, and there are many strange prophecies about the future. Black and yellow races are increasing and growing so rapidly that they may be ready to brim over their boundaries some day and swamp the white civilizations. Anglo-Saxons ought to be prepared, and to stand hand in hand to help one another. I’ve been reading some queer things lately. One is that a new continent is slowly rising out of the Pacific Ocean—Lemuria they call it—and some day, hundreds of years hence, there may be land there instead of water, and people living on it. They say too that the center of gravity of both the British Empire and the United States is moving towards the Pacific. Sydney may grow more important than London, and San Francisco than New York when the trade routes make them fresh pivots of energy. Another funny thing I read is that as the world is changing a new race seems to be emerging. Travelers say that the modern children in Australia don’t look in the least like English children or French children, or any European nation—they are[250] a fresh type. America has been populated by people from practically all the older countries, but I read that children who are being born there now differ in their head measurements from babies of the older races. Perhaps some of you may be interested in this and some of you may only be bored, but what I want to rub in is that if a new, and perhaps superior, race is evolving it’s surely part of our work to help it on. Here we all are, girls from England, America, and the British Colonies, of the same race and speaking the same language. Let us make an Anglo-Saxon League, and pledge ourselves that wherever we go over the face of the world we will carry with us the best traditions. We’re out for Peace, not War, and Peace comes through sympathy. The women of those great eastern nations, the Chinese, the Japanese, and the Hindoos, who are only just awakening to a sense of freedom, will look to us Westerners for their example. Can’t we hold out the hand of sisterhood to them, and teach them our highest ideals, so that in the centuries to come they may be our friends instead of our enemies? It’s a case of ‘Take up the White Man’s burden.’ We stand together, not as Scotch, or Canadians, or New Zealanders or Americans, but as good Anglo-Saxons, the apostles of peace, not ‘frightfulness.’

(Also see this)