Wolves of Willoughby Chase - Character Work
Year 7 read "The Wolves of Willoughby Chase" as their Easter holiday reader in English, and their first task this term was to write in character, as Sylvia, about one of her dramatic escapes.
Below is one member of 7M's excellent piece, where Sylvia recounts to her grandchildren how she and her cousin Bonnie escaped from the evil clutches of Mrs Brisket's terrible orphanage.
“Grandma Sylvia, tell us another bedtime story, please!”
“Okay, children. I will tell you one.”
This continues last night’s story where we got sent to Mrs Brisket’s orphan ‘home’ and were starting to plan to get out of there. One cold winter night when Bonnie was doing the outside work after she threw a bucket full of gravy at the cook’s face, she spotted Simon coming down the front lane. After checking that Mrs Brisket was not watching her, Bonnie rushed over to Simon and informed him about all the treacherous times that we’d had in this place and then schemed an escape plan.
Suddenly, a coal cart appeared and shouted, “COAL UP, COAL UP” and Mrs Brisket walked out to meet him and ordered 30 sacks. Then, spying Simon yelled, “Who is this!” Without hesitation, he proclaimed that he was selling geese and proceeded to sell her some after bargaining for a while. Shortly after they had unloaded the goods into the coal cellar, Bonnie went in for dinner.
Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted that Mrs Brisket had left the key in the lock of the coal cellar. Thinking on his toes, he carved a little bit of the clay from underneath the snow and, after rubbing it in his hands for a while until it was soft, pressed both sides of the key onto it. Half-an-hour later when Bonnie came back after her measly meal, Simon explained that Pattern and James would make us some clothes so that we wouldn’t be recognised as being from the orphanage. He promised to be back within a week so that he had time to source a blacksmith to make the printed key. There was only one thing left, how to get into the coal cellar. After some thought, Bonnie realised that it was where Mrs Brisket locked them up if they were naughty (which was quite often for her); the problem was, I didn’t go in there that often.
Coincidentally, that night I missed my dinner, so Bonnie and I had a chance to chat together. As soon as heard that there was a chance to escape from that wretched place my face went even paler than before because of my ill-health. Firstly, we discussed where we would go after escaping because we knew that the evil Miss Slighcarp would find us. So, we decided to go and visit your Great-Aunt Jane. I was so excited to see her again and just the thought of it filled me with anticipation. Bonnie looked everyday for the escaping equipment from Simon but to no avail. The next night the education officer came around to, well, see how well we were being educated I suppose. But as I mentioned earlier I wasn’t very well at that time and since Mrs Brisket had us standing upright an hour before the inspector came round so unfortunately almost immediately after he came through the front doors I fainted and fell to the ground!
I was taken to the locker room for sick children and all I got was a ladle of cold porridge, but I was too ill to eat that. I was just about to sleep when Bonnie rushed in. I don’t know what I would have done without her! She brought with her a raw egg and mixed it in with the water that had recently been placed been placed beside me. It didn’t look nice, but Bonnie assured me that it would make me feel better and, surprisingly, it wasn’t that bad.
But suddenly, we heard Mrs Brisket’s footsteps pound down the stairs and Bonnie dashed away just as quickly as she had come. When Bonnie went outside to do her outdoor work, guess what she found! True to his word, Simon had left a key and a note which read ‘Tomorrow night at ten, look under the hay bales’ Bonnie filled with excitement and rushed over to the hay bales and found two outfits a boy’s and a girl’s ( she guessed that the girl’s was for me). She put the clothes in the coal cellar and hid them behind a heap of coal. During the evening, I got another visit from Bonnie with a raw egg as well. Because I didn’t want to worry her I didn’t tell Bonnie that I was so ill that I feared I wouldn’t make the journey!
“I can’t tell you any more tonight darlings, it’s time for bed!”
Photo by steffiheufelder--942784