When I wrote before about Nancy Drew-isms, the words and phrases author Carolyn Keene uses over and over, I can’t believe I left one out! I’ve been chiding myself about that ever since. And, of course, that word is…chide.
Maybe I subconsciously didn’t include “chide” with the Big Three — chagrin, ruefully and fairly flew — because unlike those, I don’t try to purge “chide” from my writing. In fact, I actually used it in a business email recently.
Of course you can “chide” others. But in my memories, Nancy was always chiding herself.
Rapidly she searched her handbag for the key. It was not there. “I must have left the key in the ignition!” she chided herself. (Lilac Inn)
Nancy chided herself for leaving her flashlight in the car and said she would get it. (Old Attic)
Chiding herself for having been duped, Nancy struggled furiously to get away from her captor. (Invisible Intruder)
Looking back, I didn’t realize how often George chides, too. Of course, unlike Nancy, George doesn’t chide herself. She chides Bess.
“Don’t be chicken,” George chided her cousin. (Moss-Covered Mansion)
“Now don’t be silly,” George chided her cousin. “You know very well there are no ghosts.” (Haunted Bridge)
Bess looked uncomfortable and her cousin chided her. “I’m surprised at your falling for such a story,” George said. (Hidden Window)
Come, come George. You might not want to admit it, but let’s face it, Bess usually has a good reason for being timid. And what happens when she goes against her instincts? Oh, let’s see, being chased by a robot and locked up in a hidden tunnel, for one.
But mostly, George’s chiding takes the form of what we would call “fat shaming” today. She constantly chides Bess about her weight — and she can be pretty ruthless about it.
I have no doubt Bess and George love each other very much. In fact, I think they would be lost without each other. But sometimes George’s chiding is a bit too much. Just look at how Bess is starting to react …
Bess opened her large handbag and brought out a box of crackers and a candy bar. She gave them to Ned, saying, “I always carry a little snack for emergency. I guess this is an emergency.” She looked sideways at George as if expecting to be either teased or chided… (Spider Sapphire)
Cousins are some of the most important relationships we will ever have. I absolutely adore my cousins. They can put me in my place when they need to. But…they are more likely to lift me up.
So lay off, George!
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