English Composition

On 24th March 1925, fifteen-year-old Mavis submitted the following story, written for homework, in her final year at MLC. It received a mark of 19/20.

"Day breaks on a cold, dreary world. The sun keeps well under the clouds, quite oblivious of the fact that the poor unfortunates of the earth are longing, nay praying, for his appearance.

People rise from their beds with long faces and cold, pinched-looking noses. Almost their first words are exclamations of the extreme coldness of the day and they rub their hands together and stamp about to give the correct emphasis to their speech.

Travellers wrap themselves up in ultra-thick overcoats and scarfs and at every inn, call for a cup of steaming coffee, which they swallow hurriedly.

The doors and windows of the houses are kept fastened and huge fires burn in the grates and everyone tries, literally speaking, to sit on them. The thought of ices and cold drinks force people to shudder but the odour which comes from a tavern-kitchen is one of the most delicious smells anyone can imagine.

There are some joys on a cold day for some lucky people, one of which is to be able to enjoy a cozy chair, a bright fire and an interesting book. But those miserable people who have to go out into the murky streets are to be pitied. They hurry along, looking neither to right nor left, their common object is to escape the sting of the rain and the ice-cold wind. Their noses are the color of an over-ripe tomato and their cheeks purple; altogether they look anything but pleased. As they pass by a forge they envy the blacksmith before his glowing fire; they linger for a second and button up their coats, which are already buttoned up as far as possible, and hasten on.

Small news-boys at the street corners, with bare, numbed feet and tattered clothing, are one of the most pitiable sights to be seen. They huddle in doorways, their ragged garments fluttering in the wind, and they look intensely miserable. The passers-by, for the most part, hurry on unheeding them, but now and again and opulent, old gentleman with many layers of coats on, but a kind heart under all, drops a coin into their cold, blue hands. They are so cold that they are almost unable to thank him, but their faces light up with pleasure.

The gossips who like to hang over the fences and chat about the latest fashions are, on such a day as this, deprived of their best amusement. Everybody is sharp with everybody else, evidently the outcome of the sharp wind and on the whole it is a most unpleasant and aggravating day."

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Page of homework book.

Pages from Mavis' English homework book, 24th March 1925.

Page of homework book.