Saturday, June 13, 2009

The Brownie Scouts in the Circus Part 1

As reported in previous posts, I purchased some of Mildred Wirt Benson's documents, including several outlines. Among these documents are two drafts of the outline for Patsy and Pudge at the Circus and an outline for The Brownies and the Golden Chariot. All three of these outlines are early versions of what later became the second volume in the Brownie Scouts series, The Brownie Scouts in the Circus.

One of the Patsy and Pudge outlines has some scribbled notes in pencil which are very hard to read. Patsy and Pudge's names are marked out and the scribbled notes mention "Brownies" and "Veve." For those who have not read the Brownie Scouts series, the primary characters are Veve McGuire, Connie Williams, their troop leader, Miss Gordon, and the other girls in the troop.

In the Patsy and Pudge story, Patsy Gordon lives next door to Pudge Willmore. An animal trainer, Jim Cardale, and a boy bareback rider, Elwin Leitsall, are two secondary characters who appear in the story.

Patsy and Pudge dig dandelions in the Gordons' front yard to make money for the children to buy kites. While flying their kites, the children spot a sign advertising a circus. The children plan a circus of their own. Pudge tries walking across a clothesline stretched across a pond and falls into the water. All of these events occur in the Brownie Scouts book, except that Veve is the one who falls in the pond.

The Patsy and Pudge story has an event that does not occur in the Brownie Scouts book. Pudge has to watch the baby, but he wants to leave. He tacks the baby's dress to the floor so he and Patsy can go ask a boy if they might borrow his clown suit.

Other events are also very similar to the events of the Brownie Scouts book. The children have their circus. Neighborhood boys cause a disturbance and leave when a policeman arrives at the circus. The children go to watch the circus as it unloads at the train station. A lion escapes, and the trainer Jim Cardale gets the lion back in its cage.

The children go to the circus with Mr. Gordon. While at the circus, Mr. Gordon's wallet is stolen. The circus detective thinks that the thief is likely "Pickpocket Joe." The children meet the circus rider, Elwin, who acts like living with the circus is the greatest. The next day, Patsy and Pudge get into an open box car and are accidentally carried away when the circus leaves on the train. The children are discovered later, and a telegram is sent to their parents.

The children become better acquainted with Elwin and realize that his life is very hard. Patsy and Pudge know that they are fortunate not to be part of the circus. Mr. Gordon sends a telegram stating that he will arrive later that evening to pick up the children.

Patsy and Pudge learn that Elwin has to perform a new trick that night, and he is afraid. In the margin is the note "a Brownie is not afraid," which is a quote that appears in the Brownie Scouts book.

During that night's show, the children spot the pickpocket, and the man is captured. Mr. Gordon arrives, and the children leave with him.

The Patsy and Pudge outline follows the overall same plot as The Brownie Scouts in the Circus. In the Brownie Scouts book, Mr. Gordon becomes the troop leader, Miss Gordon. Veve is something of a composite of Patsy and Pudge, and Connie takes up part of the role of Patsy. Elwin becomes a girl bareback rider, Eva, in the book.

—to be continued

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