Lucy Snowe

Jun 12 2013

Charlotte Brontë’s Lucy Snowe felt uncomfortable as soon as she opened the door for her students to file in. There was something indefinitely different about them that morning; they were not themselves, they were someone else. Each girl assumed her seat without commotion, but when she asked them to take out their books, none of them moved. They remained immobile and staring silently. Knowing herself equal to anything, Miss Snowe proceeded with her morning routine.

“Please girls,” she repeated, “take out your books. It is time to begin our work for the day.” But her pupils did not appear to agree. “we are worried about you Miss Snowe” said Hashtag. “too worried about you to work and we cannot concentrate without talking about it first.”

Lucy Snowe was astonished by this instrusion. Hashtag had previously always appeared to be an unusually shy child, with no inclination for mischief, and yet she evidently had always possessed the insolence necessary to now interrogate her schoolmistress. “This outburst is very unusual, Hashtag,” said Lucy, “and I hope we might find time to discuss the matter after our lessons. But please, girls, take out your books, so that we might begin.”

The girls were acting in some conspiracy with one another; still none of them obeyed. “we feel that it is time for you to move on from the past Miss Snowe” said Rocket. “look towards the future. life isnt over for you Miss Snowe.”

“Whatever can you mean?” said Lucy.

“no one doubts your fidelity to the cause Miss Snowe but those times are past and the shame can be spoken now” said Wyzdom, a normally very noisy girl, in a gentle and quiet, mercilessly sympathetic and somehow very adult sort of voice that had never belonged to her before. “there never should have been any shame and it is your duty to leave it all behind now.”

Lucy felt her resolve crumble. “I am satisfied with my life, girls,” she said. “I do not need any more from my future than what I have had.”

“you only feel that way that because youre obediently operating on the Brontë agenda of interfering in contemporary cultural convictions to do with the genetic legacy of adulterous mothers” enunciated Facebook in smooth measured tones, her normally meek grey eyes unyielding.

“What is the meaning of this language,” said Lucy Snowe, and then repeated, “What is the meaning of this language?” She felt herself unable to formulate further argument.

The girls leapt from their seats and rushed upon her. “she is an anomaly an anachronism she is misdirected she is outdated she is irrelevant” they chorused, “she is misbehaving she must be locked away she must be punished”. Their many relentless little hands mobbed her and pushed and patted her towards a closet which opened into a small space under the stairs where she kept some books and other supplies. They pressed her in there and locked the door with a click. She did not know how they had obtained the key.

Lucy Snowe hammered on the back of the door while their voices retreated. “out with the old in with the new out with the old in with the new” they were chanting, until she could hear no more. In the quiet cool complete darkness, she realised by a stifling odor that they had shut her in with a shit that one of them had done there, and was afraid to sit down in case she got it all over her, so she remained standing, sobbing, silently. After some time had passed, she too felt it necessary to relieve herself.

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