The New House Captain by Dorita Fairlie Bruce

 The New House Captain cover

The New House Captain by Dorita Fairlie Bruce was first published in 1928 but my copy is a reprint from the 1950s – going by the illustrations, there’s no date in the front.

This is the first book in this Dorita Fairlie Bruce series which features Springdale School. The school is located in the west of Scotland, Ayrshire I believe but sadly there wasn’t much in the way of Scottish atmosphere in the book, apart from one character who was a Glaswegian and supposedly had a rough accent, but there was no dialect written in any sort of Glaswegian.

However the story itself was quite entertaining with the headmistress’s unexpected choice of Peggy Willoughby to be the captain of The Rowans house. Peggy’s best friend Diana had been sure that she would be the captain and she’s more than a bit miffed to miss out on what she regarded as her right – to her best friend. To Peggy’s dismay Diana more or less drops her as a friend, using the fact that she has to study for a scholarship to sideline Peggy instead of supporting her and siding with the ghastly Sydney whenever she could. Sydney is a girl who has no team spirit and is only interested in herself.

Obviously there’s a lot more to it than this. I had read a book in this series previously and there were lots of descriptions of the Scottish countryside and a plenty of Scots dialect dialogue in it. The New House Captain is the first book in the series so I assume that the author decided in the later books that she should make the Scottish setting more obvious, which I think was a good decision. However my copy of the book was published by Spring Books, not the usual Blackie of the original books so there’s a possibility that this edition has been gutted of its Scottish atmosphere.

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