April 14,1896
Elizabeth Bassett

Dr. Phallic discussed seasons in class today. He was of course speaking of our planet’s hypothesized elliptical orbit on a tilted axis around the sun. I found it illuminating to learn that while one hemisphere of the Earth is in Spring the opposite hemisphere is in Autumn. Extraordinary really to imagine the beginning of life co-existing with the end of life only separated by an invisible hemispherical divide we call the equator.

The equator is a fascination in itself. Consider a zone in which seasonal rotation is nearly non-existent. Travel further and further from this temperate zone and imagine ripples of life and death emanating in opposite directions. We describe this incredible balance in scientific terms, and yet it seems clear to me there is a deeper explanation than elliptical orbits and tilted axis. At the core is it not a vindication of the spirituality of balance. Life and death, good and evil, man and woman, it is the balance of opposites that gives each component its worth.

While Dr. Phallic discussed the effects of seasonal change on plants and animals, I considered the effects of balance on people. My thoughts wandered to the rising conflicts within the walls of Carrington Manor. It occurs to me the opposites are not enough to create balance.

The recent rumors about Primrose College’s future have stirred a mixture of emotions. In general two camps have formed with opposite views. Those views are easily categorized as those in favor of young men joining us in the classroom and those who are opposed. If opposites alone created balance then there would be peace in Carrington Manor.

Clearly peace has escaped the walls and fled for safer ground. I would do the same if only I could without sacrificing my education. Just this morning, Margaret Spooner and Catherine Defoe indulged in a fit of hair pulling after unsuccessfully arguing their perspectives on the matter.

Catherine is rather short and small framed while Margaret is noticeably tall. No doubt they are opposites in more than their opinions. I must admit I was surprised to see Catherine coming out on top. I do not believe either was harmed during their altercation, but Mrs. Carrington wounded their pride shortly after.

It is a rare day for girls to be punished in the main hall. Mrs. Carrington made it clear she has zero tolerance for bickering or fighting in her home. Watching the heavy birching they each received was almost as painful as receiving one. I am sure this morning’s scene will deter such actions in the near future, but the tension inside Carrington Manor is palpable and future incidents are most certainly assured unless a balance can be struck.

Which brings me back to my realization. Every opposites needs its equator. The equator is not just the beginning, it is the ending, it is the peacemaker. This is what I sense is missing from Carrington Manor at the moment. In most aspects Mrs. Carrington has fulfilled the role of the equator but in the latest rash of arguments she is as divisive as the rest of us, Where is our middle ground?

“Miss Basset!” Dr Phallic said with an annoyed tone.

My classmates giggled. I flushed red and swallowed.

“Yes, sir.” I replied.

“Nice of you to join us, Miss Bassett.”

“I am sorry, sir. What can I--”

“You can fetch me the paddle from the wall, remove your dress, and lie over the stool. In that order.”

I breathed in deeply and stood to face my fate. My classmates were full of smirks and giggles making my journey all the more humbling. I caught Penelope’s eye for just a moment. She would enjoy my suffering especially so. We have not spoken since last Thursday in the Providence School House.

I had thought my peace offering would repair the damage between us. Obviously I was wrong. No doubt, in time Edith will learn it was my betrayal which exposed her to Mrs. Carrington. I think I will abandon the concept of friends for now. I seem much better suited toward creating enemies.

These were my thoughts while lying exposed over Dr. Phallic’s stool;

  • “Are not paddles for rowing?”
    “Is a paddling in the classroom worse than a birching in the hall?”
    “How did tiny Catherine manage to overpower Margaret?”
    “Will Edith attempt to blackmail me when she discovers my hand in her discovery?”
    “Will Jonathon propose to Penelope?”
    “Why did that brown haired girl in my nightmares seem so familiar?”
    “Will the teachers still bare our bottoms when there are boys in the room?”
    “I hope Mrs. Carrington is in a better mood tonight.”

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

A delightful post. It shows a charming and humorous, light touch (perhaps the wrong term to use of that paddle's impact!).
Mr R Fane