The Twins at St Clare’s – How has Blyton’s original text fared in a modern edition? part 5

I have read through another three chapters this week (or really, six as I’ve got to read each twice). Earlier posts are in parts one, two, three and four.


As I’m sure I mentioned in the first post, this chapter title has been shortened for the Egmont edition. It is now just A broken window. 

The circus appears in this chapter and not surprisingly that means there are some reasonably substantial changes. In the original text the girls see the horses being galloped round, and five clumsy-looking bears ambling along with their trainer. Egmont have removed the bears so the sentence reads horses being galloped round with their trainer. Funnily enough it’s apparently acceptable to use chimpanzees in a circus, but not bears, as Sammy is still in the book.

A few minor changes have been made, the girls formerly leaned over the gate, now it is written that they leant over. The circus times were given as 6.30 to 8.30 and they are now expressed as six-thirty to eight-thirty. The vita-glass in the classroom window is now called special glass, and the cost has changed from 20 shillings to 20 pounds. I think the money updates rather fall down here. Twenty pounds seems like a rather small amount to a) replace a windowpane and b) for an entire class to go to the circus. It’s clearly said that it would cost one shilling for each girl to go to the circus, which is believable, yet when that is modernised to one pound per ticket it becomes silly. Even at a special discounted rate for a school you couldn’t get a ticket for a pound.


There is only one major edit in this chapter – where a short paragraph about the bears is removed.

Everyone was intent on watching the five bears, who were now playing ring-a-ring-of-roses with their trainer. ‘All fall down’ chanted their trainer, and just as the four girls went out, down fell the five bears in the ring, for all the world as if they were children.

It’s a pity as we skip from the girls getting up from their seats right to them collecting their bikes now.

The only other new change is that Mr Galliano’s moustaches have become his moustache. A moustache these days is almost exclusively referred to in the singular, and it does sound rather strange to hear about a man’s moustaches (as if he may have one above his lip and another on his forehead, perhaps).

We also see a couple of continuing changes like maids to staff and lino to floor.


I could barely spot anything altered in this chapter. We do have sick-room updated to sickbay but that’s already appeared before. The only other thing is the addition of a question mark to a rather rhetorical question, weren’t we idiots to rush off like that the other night.

Returning to the circus for a moment you may also think it strange that bears are cut from the text, but Jumbo the elephant still makes an appearance! Surely it is more cruel to shut an elephant in a cage and transport him around the country than it is a few small bears?

That’s just ten changes across those three chapters. Though if you counted every word they had cut (instead of each sentence) it would be an awful lot more. We are now at 63 changes for the book so far.

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2 Responses to The Twins at St Clare’s – How has Blyton’s original text fared in a modern edition? part 5

  1. The Fact says:

    Could you review the text from the secret seven as well as the difference from the famous five. Could you also do the aubiobooks for the secret seven you can get them on iTunes.


  2. Francis says:

    Obviously we are not allowed to mention punishment! You are right, Fiona – 1/- was a lot of money.
    Brilliant survey. Thank you so much.


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