excerpt from 'Living in the lane' pp. 7-8 (310 words)

excerpt from 'Living in the lane' pp. 7-8 (310 words)

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Living in the lane

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[Earlier in her account Jean Court describes struggling academically at school and being severely and regularly caned. She longed to sing and to act in school productions but was never selected]. 


Our school being the closest to the Prince’s Theatre was chosen to give the pantomime children schooling for the rest of the year. They were billed as the Twelve Little Sunbeams and were all in my class […] On the last day when we broke up for the Christmas holidays […]  the teacher asked the Sunbeams if they would give us a song. A couple of them were willing and did solo numbers each, one singing ‘I’m Willie, just Willie’ and putting the song over with perfect acting prowess. We clapped wildly and then the teacher asked if any of us lesser fry would like to sing something. At once my hand went up. The teacher gave me a forebearing look and said ‘Come along then’. I walked out to the front and began to sing. I chose a song which mother had taught me and which was one of my father’s, when he was in halls. It went like this.


“Before the King I did appear


When we heard me sing he loudly cheered (repeat tra-la’s)

Came to me and said you are a marvel

At singing you have really got the knack

Then from his breast he took a diamond scarf pin

Smiled at me and then—he put it back”.


I thought it would amuse the children and tried my best but the teacher would not let me sing it properly. She kept joining in the tra-la’s and asking if it was right, so the children laughed more at her than me and I felt foolish as usual. 

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excerpt from 'Living in the lane' pp. 7-8 (310 words)


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