New Girl Attitude

August 27, 1896
Edith Bowen

Of all the new girls this year, there is only one who stands out. At first I was inclined to feel sorry for her. It was clear to me, she would be ostracized by her peers and I know only too well how that feels. Her clothing is merely more than tatters, even I was more fortunate than that when I arrived. I wondered at first if she too was an orphan, but soon learned she was from the frontier.

I have often dreamed of heading west and opening the first school house in some remote town. If she is any example of the life though, then my dreams are just that. Cleanliness is clearly something she is unaccustomed to, not to mention her manners are strained at best and missing entirely in many situation. Her speech is slurred and loaded with contractions that I doubt even Penelope Sumter could understand.

I spotted her immediately when she exited the train. I admit when I first saw the poor girl I had no inclination that she might be a Primrose student. I honestly assumed she was there to find work in the city. There is plenty of room for those willing to work for low wages. However, I was taken by surprise. She was followed by none other than Jonathon Goulding and he was carrying her cases. How she managed that feat I do not know other than the obvious, Mr. Goulding is a gentleman.

When she spoke to Mrs. Carrington at the station it was with the confidence of a woman twice her age and the manners of someone half it. Although I cannot say I blame her entirely, Mrs. Carrington’s own attitude toward the girl was less than warm and far short of welcoming.

“Miss Waters, I presume?” Mrs. Carrington asked her.

“Yep, that’s me.” She replied.

I was embarrassed for her.

“You are late.”

“I arrived with the train, Ma’am no earlier or later than it was.” She replied.

“Indeed and yet you were the last to exit.”

“I wasn’t seated with the others and there was an accident with one of my cases.”

“I am sure there are frequently accidents where you are concerned, but clumsiness is not an accident.”

“Begging your pardon, but I don’t see how we know each other well enough for you to be making assumption about my character.”

“I have seen enough girls like you before. Now take your place, we’ll have a further discussion back at the dormitory.”

“As you like, but if the looks of the ladies here are any indication, you’ve never met a girl like me before.” She said.

Mrs. Carrington had opened her mouth to reply but the girl had all ready turned her back and walked away to the end of the line of waiting girls. I was astounded at the behavior, but at the same time I was a bit perturbed at Mrs. Carrington. It was agreed upon that the first years would be my domain and yet here on the very first day she was crossing that line. I am sure it is only the first of many occasions.

Back at the dormitory, Mrs. Carrington and Miss Waters disappeared into the den for a long while. I was somewhat surprised at the duration but not at all shocked that Mrs. Carrington would induct her with a proper spanking after the train station. However when they emerged it was Mrs. Carrington with tears in her eyes and flushed cheeks. The Waters girl was straight backed and her face was full of pride. What I would not give to have been a fly on the wall in that den!

I cornered Miss Waters briefly on the same afternoon.

“You have not made a very good start here.” I said.

“I don’t recall asking for your opinion.” She replied.

“I am Edith, your dormitory aide for the year.” I said, trying to keep matters civil.

“I’ll keep it in mind when I need aid.”

“If you keep with this attitude, the spanking you received earlier will only be the first of many.”

“You are mistaken if that is what you think happened earlier.”

“I am very much aware of what happens to girls in Mrs. Carrington’s den. Do not bother lying to me about it.”

“You’ve got some nerve. Do you accuse everyone of lying on acquaintance?”

“As I said I know what happens…”

“Clearly, you know less than you think. Now if you’ll excuse me I have things to unpack.”

“Very well. We will have ample opportunity to talk in the days to come. You are going to need some settling in, more than most.”

“What I need is to be allowed to go about my business without nosey little snobs like yourself interfering.”

My anger nearly got the better of me, but in the end I decided a little goodwill would be better in the long run.

“My apologies, my intention was to help not to interfere. Go about your business as you please.” I said biting my tongue to keep the anger inside.

She walked away and indeed if she was spanked, she gave no outward sign of it.

As the week has progressed and the girls have settled into the routines of Carrington Manor, Miss Waters has made few if any friends that I can see. She remains aloof and rude and surprisingly proud. I can see, she will be a true test of my abilities. If I can succeed with a girl like her, then I can succeed with anyone.

1 comment:

Paul said...

Ashley, a frontier girl indeed, she'll set the fox among the chickens.
Warm hugs,