Hi

Two teachers talk to each other. One says the other one that she found a piece of paper with some information on it. It said that one of the pupils from the school was abused by her grandma (Phoebe Rigby). The other teacher (Miss Benson) who sees this piece of paper says:

That’s an easy one. Somebody’s trying to pull your leg, Miss Mayfield. If ever’ there was a daft doting old grandmother, Phoebe Rigby is it. This,’ she waved the paper ‘is as though I said you gave yourself three helpings of food every day and made Bobby Fakes go short. See?’

Bobby Fakes was the newcomer, who had very quickly

decided that school was nothing to cry about.

‘But why should anybody play such a joke on me, Miss

Benson?’

‘Well, you’ll remember St Augustine – “Not Angles but angels.” It works the other way, too – “Not angels but

Angles.” You mustn’t be misled by all this flaxen hair and blue eyes.’

So the second teacher doesn't believe that this information is true.

Does "cry about" here mean "nothing special"?

Is "you'll remember" a kind of question like "Do you remember the quote from St Augustine which said ...
Hi,

Two teachers talk to each other. One says the other one that she found a piece of paper with some information on it. It said that one of the pupils from the school was abused by her grandma (Phoebe Rigby). The other teacher (Miss Benson) who sees this piece of paper says:

That’s an easy one. Somebody’s trying to pull your leg, Miss Mayfield. If ever’ there was a daft doting old grandmother, Phoebe Rigby is it. This,’ she waved the paper ‘is as though I said you gave yourself three helpings of food every day and made Bobby Fakes go short. See?’

Bobby Fakes was the newcomer, who had very quickly

decided that school was nothing to cry about.

‘But why should anybody play such a joke on me, Miss

Benson?’

‘Well, you’ll remember St Augustine – “Not Angles but angels.” It works the other way, too – “Not angels but

Angles.” You mustn’t be misled by all this flaxen hair and blue eyes.’

So the second teacher doesn't believe that this information is true.

Does "cry about" here mean "nothing special"? No. Nothing to be sad about. ie school was good, not bad.

Is "you'll remember" a kind of question like "Do you remember the quote from St Augustine which said ...

Yes. It's a polite way to remind someone of something that they may possibly have forgotten about.

Clive
Hi

So there was no reason for him to complain about that school? It seemed to be OK for him?

I have one more question. There's a sentence which starts right behind the sentence "you mustn't be misled by all this flaxen hair and blue eyes" and it says: "As she said this, Sally Benson made a movement of her head, which set her own golden curls astir, and narrowed her blue eyes with a kind of knowing mirth, ranging herself,most endearingly, alongside the Angles who were not angels.

To me it means that she moved her head, moving at the same time her golden curls and narrowing her eyes and by doing all this (or maybe just narrowing her eyes) she ranged herself, very charmingly, with the Angles who were not angels.

I understand that "range herself alongside" and "range herself with" mean the same? So by narrowing her eyes she, in a very charming way (most endearingly) made herself look/resemble the Angles rather than angels. It seems to me that is has some negative connotation.
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Hi,

So there was no reason for him to complain about that school? It seemed to be OK for him? Right.

I have one more question. There's a sentence which starts right behind the sentence "you mustn't be misled by all this flaxen hair and blue eyes" and it says: "As she said this, Sally Benson made a movement of her head, which set her own golden curls astir, and narrowed her blue eyes with a kind of knowing mirth, ranging herself,most endearingly, alongside the Angles who were not angels.

To me it means that she moved her head, moving at the same time her golden curls and narrowing her eyes and by doing all this (or maybe just narrowing her eyes) she ranged herself, very charmingly, with the Angles who were not angels. Yes.

I understand that "range herself alongside" and "range herself with" mean the same? So by narrowing her eyes she, in a very charming way (most endearingly) made herself look/resemble the Angles rather than angels. It seems to me that is has some negative connotation. Yes.

It's a fairly complicated sentence. It hinges on the use of the word 'Angles'. I assume this is a reference to the Angles who, together with the Saxons, made up the original group of people that became 'the English people'. The Angles tended to have blonde hair and blue eyes, as does Sally Benson. The phrase 'the Angles who were not angels' contains a pun, based on the fact that the two words are anagrams of each other.Finally, to say a person resembles an angel is a positive thing. To say they are ranged with (ie allied with, grouped with) people who are not angels is a negative thing.

Is this clear now, or do you need more help?

Clive
I think it's clear now, Clive.

As for the phrase "the Angles who were not angels", there's a certain story:

The story goes that Pope Gregory the Great saw some fair-haired and fair-skinned slaves in a slave market in Italy, and was told that they were Angles. 'Not Angles but angels,' he replied.

I think the teacher by saying:

Well, you’ll remember St Augustine – “Not Angles but

angels.” It works the other way, too – “Not angels but

Angles.” You mustn’t be misled by all this flaxen hair and

blue eyes.’ is trying to say that although the kids at school may look like angels, in reality, they may be Angles (bad kids who like playing tricks on other kids etc.)

Thanks for your thorough reply!