Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Elsie Books, Original and Updated Versions

I recently blogged about the "Elsie Dinsmore" series. This post is what could be called a sequel.
I've already mentioned a couple of differences between the original series and the updated books.
The anti-Catholic element is removed.
Elsie reads a more modern Bible (not even PUBLISHED
when the books take place!)
Here are a few other differences:
Some characters are fleshed out a bit more.
The stereotypical language of the African-Americans is eliminated.
On a Sunday in "Elsie's Holidays", Elsie won't read "a fictitious moral tale, without a particle of religious truth in it, and Elsie’s conscience told her, entirely unfit for Sabbath reading." 
This, even though her father is very ill.
In the modern, "Elsie's Impossible Choice," the book is changed
into a newspaper.  And, more importantly, the author points out that Elsie may have been mistaken in this instance, for we are permitted to do good on Sunday, and reading a newspaper to her sick father may be considered doing good.  This, to me, is
a great improvement over the original!
In "Elsie's Girlhood," Elsie reads "The Wide, Wide World," which had just been published.  In the new version, (whose name escapes me) she reads "David Copperfield."

I see most of these changes as an improvement, but there is one that I regret.
In "Elsie Dinsmore," Elsie is unjustly punished because of the governesses misrepresentation of her behavior one day by being made to stay in her father's study and have only bread and water for dinner.  The servant, Pompey, brings it and offers to get something better before her father finishes his meal.  Elsie thanks him, but says that she can't deceive her father,
and she is not at all hungry.
He lingered a moment, seeming loath to leave her to dine upon such fare.
"You had better go now, Pompey," she said gently; "I am afraid you will be wanted."
He turned and left the room muttering something about "disagreeable, good-for-nothing Miss Day!"
In the updated version, the words "disagreeable, good-for-nothing Miss Day!" are eliminated.  That is what I regret.

I think I mentioned that I had the updated books, but lost them when I moved.  Someday I will replace them.