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Miss Lee and Latin

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Posted by Robin Selby on December 29, 2018 at 03:35:56 user RobinSelby.

I have forgotten, if I ever knew, how Ransome got the idea that Miss Lee would keep her ‘guests’ indefinitely and teach them Latin. Presumably it was something to do with the character of Madame Sun Yat Sen, but so far as I can see she had nothing to do with Cambridge.

But I do wonder if Waugh’s ‘The Man Who Liked Dickens’ played any part. Tony Last is kept prisoner in the Amazon jungle by a lunatic who forces him to read the works of Dickens.

There are obvious parallels, which may cast some light on Miss Lee’s mental state. By any rational calculation the detention of the ‘guests’ was not fair to them or their families, and gave rise to dangerous instability in the eyes of the Taicoons. Yet Miss Lee managed to convince herself that her father would be pleased. This irrational belief underlines the sacrifice she made in leaving Cambridge, but leaves one to wonder what effect it had on her mental health.

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