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The Secret of Moonacre Resource - Characters


‘Marmaduke Scarlet, at your service, young Mistress,’ he said in a crisp squeaky voice. Yet though his manner was abrupt he seemed well disposed towards her, for there suddenly flashed across his face a smile so broad that the ends of it seemed to run into his ears, and his small round sparkling black eyes twinkled at her very pleasantly.

Never had she seen such a creature, and her lips parted slightly in astonishment. His sense of smell, like that of all good cooks, was obviously very highly developed indeed. His large mouth was a great half-moon of generosity when he smiled, a rat-trap of determination when he shut it. He was a delight to the eye because of the sparkling cleanliness of his person and the brightness of his clothes.

It was a delight to watch Marmaduke Scarlet making pastry, for if ever a man was a master-craftsman at his work that man was Marmaduke. He wielded his rolling-pin like a king’s sceptre, and so light was his pastry that it looked more like sea-foam than dough as he flicked it over on his board… Then he started to make the decorations for the top of it, his skilful fingers pinching out flowers and leaves from the dough with an artistry that any sculptor might have envied.

It seemed that Marmaduke Scarlet had finished cooking for the moment. He stacked his cooking things neatly together... Maria dared to speak at last.

Abridged from Chapter 5, The Little White Horse, by Elizabeth Goudge
Copyright ©1946. Extract reprinted by permission.

  • Highlight the words and phrases used to describe Marmaduke’s voice, smile, eyes and clothes. How do these words make you feel about the character?
  • What two metaphors are used to describe Marmaduke’s mouth? What effect does this language have?
  • Marmaduke is compared to two different kinds of people to help describe the way he works in the kitchen. What are they? Why do you think the author used these comparisons?
  • Now watch the clip. What effects have been used to show Marmaduke is a fun and interesting character?
Teachers Notes