Dividing Lines

August 16, 1896
Edith Bowen

“If you have time this evening, there are matters we should discuss.” Mrs. Carrington said.

We were in the kitchen, preparing dinner.

“Certainly. I had only planned on reading a little before retiring, but it is nothing of consequence.”

That was the extent of our talking in the kitchen beyond the occasional necessities for assistance. It was clear to me that our former relationship was gone forever and building a new one will be a long and arduous road.

At the conclusion of the meal, we cleared the table and scrubbed the dishes clean. The silence was deafening as they say. I do not understand why whatever matters we had to discuss could not be discussed while we toiled mindlessly in the kitchen, but it is simply another of our difference coming to light.

When at last we settled in her den, we were joined by Mr. Carrington. I had not expected him but clearly Mrs. Carrington had.

“As you know we have only a week before the students arrive.” Mr. Carrington began.

“Yes.” I replied.

“I thought it would be a good idea if we decided just how we will divide the duties during the first weeks. After, I expect there will be some divergence, but initially it will be important for us to concentrate our efforts and avoid duplication.” Mrs. Carrington said.

“This makes sense to me, although I am hesitant to agree that there should be divergence over time. Surely, it makes more sense to have defined roles?” I said.

“There can come situations which we do not have the foresight to define.” Mr. Carrington said.
“Of this I am certain. I still believe defined roles will minimize the difficulties experienced when the unexpected does occur.”

“Perhaps you should explain yourself?” Mrs. Carrington said.

“If we define our roles along matters of which we have certainty and are certain to not change, we will have defined roles with ability and flexibility to deal with whatever comes our way.” I said.

“What do you have in mind?” Mr. Carrington asked.

“I was thinking it would be best to divide our responsibilities not by the duties to the girls in general but in regards to their standing at Primrose College. For example, one of us could be charged with the new girls and the other with the returning girls. If that split is insufficient it could one with first and second years and the one with third and beyond.” I said.

“Logical.” Mr. Carrington said.

“That will not work at all. The problem is not too many girls, it is too many duties to handle with each girl.” Mrs. Carrington replied.

“Would not those duties seem more manageable with a smaller group of girls? Have you not handled all these duties in the past and only in the last year felt overwhelmed?” Mr. Carrington asked.

“Well yes, but the duties have grown as have the number of girls in attendance.” Mrs. Carrington replied.

“Edith’s thoughts make sense on this matter. With less girls to deal with the duties become more manageable and indeed such splitting does make it simpler to attach responsibilities to each of you without fear of duplication or confusion.” Mr. Carrington said.

Mrs. Carrington looked annoyed but she only nodded her head in surrender.

“So then all that is left is to determine where to draw the line and decide who will be responsible for each group.” Mr. Carrington said.

“According the records, we have as many new girls coming in as we have in all other years combined.” Mrs. Carrington said.

“Then it would make sense that one of us is to see to the new girls and the other to the rest.” I said.

“Yes.” Mr. Carrington said.

“What role would you prefer?” Mrs. Carrington asked.

“Either is acceptable but given the choice I think I would prefer to work with the new students. They are less likely to object to my role and cause us both problems.” I said.

“Then it is settled.” Mr. Carrington said.

“I will need a comprehensive explanation of the expectations you have for me.” I said.

“I will give you a copy of what the Dean provides for us.” Mrs. Carrington said.

‘Thank you. I do not wish to inadvertently cross over any lines.” I said.

“It is best not to cross them at all.” Mr. Carrington said.

“In regards to our role here, I agree.” I said.

It was clear though, he was not talking about the dormitory and in fact, neither was I.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Ashley, point taken.
Warm hugs,