As before my personal copy is a Methuen from 1957 – a 12th reprint/impression of the original. The new version is the most modern of any paperbacks I have used so far, an Egmont copy from 2014.
CHAPTER SIX: MRS MINNS DOES A LOT OF TALKING
Mrs Minns is the subject of several changes in this chapter. First she is described as a a round fat woman. This has become a round tubby woman. Somehow tubby is better?
Her elbows are no longer described as podgy, and she and her cheeks are not fat now either but no other descriptive word is added instead.
Italics are removed every time they appear.
- And I shouldn’t be surprised
- Mr Peeks was far too much a gentleman
- is that his real name?
- no more back-chat from you
- perhaps he fired the cottage
That last one is also changed to set fire to the cottage.
Mrs Minns’ also suffers some kitchen updates, her larder is now a st0re-cupboard (yes, hyphenated!) and her dripping has been replaced with butter though it is still in a basin.
Some of her speech has likewise been changed. She had said more than anyone else in the kingdom, this is now in the country, and when telling Lily off it was for talking like that to your elders and betters. This has been changed to like that to me.
The rents in Mr Smellie’s clothes are now tears.
Then Sweetie the cat is subjected to the editor’s pen. After being trod on by Mr Hick she had come into the kitchen with her tail swollen to twice its size. Now that is her tail in the air.
How many more times am I to tell you to keep her under control? I shall have her drowned appears in both editions, spoken by Mr Hick, but the next two sentences are cut entirely.
Sir, the day you drown my cat I walk out! said Mrs. Minns, laying down the rolling-pin with a thump.
Mr Hick glared at the cook as if he would like to drown her as well as the cat.
If they felt the need to remove references to drowning, he could have threatened to have her taken to the pound or given away to a farm.
CHAPTER SEVEN: THE TRAMP – CLEAR ORF! – AND FATTY!
The editors really hate hyphens. Again, every instance of them is removed and leaves the dialogue flatter without the emphasis they give.
It isn’t really very funny, but it seems as if it is.
We are getting on
we can rule him out
That is going to be a problem
What’s bitten you?
Hyphens also come under attack, examples include hay-rick which becomes hayrick and in Mr Goon’s colloquial speak, this-ere becoming this ‘ere. Then again they leave his come-alonga-me with the hyphens in it.
And lastly, several changes have been made to the final scene in the field.
The policeman kicked out at him is removed when Buster is dancing around his ankles.
Then Mr Goon no longer has the desire to pull Fatty to his feet and shake him.
After Fatty falls from the hay-rick (or hayrick) it originally read that except for a good shaking, and some fine big bruises, Fatty was not hurt at all and that His fat had kept him from breaking any bones!
These have been changed to except for a few bruises, Fatty was not hurt at all and He had not broken any bones!
As usual most of this doesn’t make any sense. Mr Goon did not shake Fatty, his being shaken is from falling to the ground from a height! Then to say he wasn’t hurt, then he had not broken any bones… it doesn’t real well and it doesn’t flow. We know he can’t have broken bones because he wasn’t hurt!
So that is 32 changes in those two chapters, bringing us to 69 in total!