Full book "The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie" (1961) by Muriel Sarah Spark on English!!!

Dorothy Zbornak
Dorothy Zbornak

На всякий случай выложу адрес, где был найден полный вариант книги, вдруг у кого-то откроется. У меня почему-то не вышло. Ну, ладно.
Итак, www.hlitgroup.org/reads/ThePrimeOfMissJeanBrodi...

The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie
by Muriel Spark (1961)
The boys, as they talked to the girls from Marcia Blaine School, stood on the far side of their bicycles holding the handlebars, which established a protective fence of bicycle between the sexes, and the impression that at any moment the boys were likely to be away.
The girls could not take off their panama hats because this was not far from the school gates and hatlessness was an offence. Certain departures from the proper set of the hat on the head were overlooked in the case of fourth-form girls and upwards so long as nobody wore their hat at an angle. But there were other subtle variants from the ordinary rule of wearing the brim turned up at the back and down at the front. The five girls, standing very close to each other because of the boys, wore their hats each with a definite difference.
These girls formed the Brodie set. That was what they had been called even before the headmistress had given them the name, in scorn, when they had moved from the Junior to the Senior school at the age of twelve. At that time they had been immediately recognisable as Miss Brodie's pupils, being vastly informed on a lot of subjects irrelevant to the authorised curriculum, as the headmistress said, and useless to the school as a school. These girls were discovered to have heard of the Buchmanites and Mussolini, the Italian Renaissance painters, the advantages to the skin of cleansing cream and witch-hazel over honest soap and water, and the word "menarche"; the interior decoration of the London house of the author of Winnie the Pooh had been described to them, as had the love lives of Charlotte Bronte and of Miss Brodie herself. They were aware of the existence of Einstein and the arguments of those who considered the Bible to be untrue. They knew the rudiments of astrology but not the date of the Battle of Flodden or the capital of Finland. All of the Brodie set, save one, counted on its fingers, as had Miss Brodie, with accurate results more or less.
By the time they were sixteen, and had reached the fourth form, and loitered beyond the gates after school, and had adapted themselves to the orthodox regime, they remained unmistakably Brodie, and were all famous in the school, which is to say they were held in suspicion and not much liking. They had no team spirit and very little in common with each other outside their continuing friendship with Jean Brodie. She still taught in the Junior department. She was held in great suspicion.
Marcia Blaine School for Girls was a day school which had been partially endowed in the middle of the nineteenth century by the wealthy widow of an Edinburgh book-binder. She had been an admirer of Garibaldi before she died. Her manly portrait hung in the great hall, and was honoured every Founder's Day by a bunch of hard-wearing flowers such as chrysanthemums or dahlias. These were placed in a vase beneath the portrait, upon a lectern which also held an open Bible with the text underlined in red ink, "O where shall I find a virtuous woman, for her price is above rubies."
The girls who loitered beneath the tree, shoulder to shoulder, very close to each other because of the boys, were all famous for something. Now, at sixteen, Monica Douglas was a prefect, famous mostly for mathematics which she could do in her brain, and for her anger which, when it was lively enough, drove her to slap out to right and left. She had a very red nose, winter and summer, long dark plaits, and fat, peg-like legs. Since she had turned sixteen, Monica wore her panama hat rather higher on her head than normal, perched as if it were too small and as if she knew she looked grotesque in any case.
Rose Stanley was famous for sex. Her hat was placed quite unobtrusively on her blonde short hair, but she dented in the crown on either side.
Eunice Gardiner, small, neat and famous for her spritely gymnastics and glamorous swimming, had the brim of her hat turned up at the front and down at the back.
Sandy Stranger wore it turned up all round and as far back on her head as it could possibly go; to assist this, she had attached to her hat a strip of elastic which went under the chin. Sometimes Sandy chewed this elastic and when it was chewed down she sewed on a new piece. She was merely notorious for her small, almost nonexistent, eyes, but she was famous for her vowel sounds which, long ago in the long past, in the Junior school, had enraptured Miss Brodie. "Well, come and recite for us please, because it has been a tiring day."
She left the web, she left the loom, She made three paces thro' the room, She saw the water-lily bloom, She saw the helmet and the plume, She look'd down to Camelot.
"It lifts one up," Miss Brodie usually said, passing her hand outward from her breast towards the class of ten-year-old girls who were listening for the bell which would release them. "Where there is no vision," Miss Brodie had assured them, "the people perish. Eunice, come and do a somersault in order that we may have comic relief."
But now, the boys with their bicycles were cheerfully insulting Jenny Gray about her way of speech which she had got from her elocution classes. She was going to be an actress. She was Sandy's best friend. She wore her hat with the front brim bent sharply downward; she was the prettiest and most graceful girl of the set, and this was her fame. "Don't be a lout, Andrew," she said with her uppish tone. There were three Andrews among the five boys, and these three Andrews now started mimicking Jenny: "Don't be a lout, Andrew," while the girls laughed beneath their bobbing panamas.
Along came Mary Macgregor, the last member of the set, whose fame rested on her being a silent lump, a nobody whom everybody could blame. With her was an outsider, Joyce Emily Hammond, the very rich girl, their delinquent, who had been recently sent to Blaine as a last hope, because no other school, no governess, could manage her. She still wore the green uniform of her old school. The others wore deep violet. The most she had done, so far, was to throw paper pellets sometimes at the singing master. She insisted on the use of her two names, Joyce Emily. This Joyce Emily was trying very hard to get into the famous set, and thought the two names might establish her as a something, but there was no chance of it and she could not see why.
Joyce Emily said, "There's a teacher coming out," and nodded towards the gates.
Two of the Andrews wheeled their bicycles out on to the road and departed. The other three boys remained defiantly, but looking the other way as if they might have stopped to admire the clouds on the Pentland Hills. The girls crowded round each other as if in discussion. "Good afternoon," said Miss Brodie when she approached the group. "I haven't seen you for some days. I think we won't detain these young men and their bicycles. Good afternoon, boys." The famous set moved off with her, and Joyce, the new delinquent, followed. "I think I haven't met this new girl," said Miss Brodie, looking closely at Joyce. And when they were introduced she said: "Well, we must be on our way, my dear."
Sandy looked back as Joyce Emily walked, and then skipped, leggy and uncontrolled for her age, in the opposite direction, and the Brodie set was left to their secret life as it had been six years ago in their childhood.
"I am putting old heads on your young shoulders," Miss Brodie had told them at that time, "and all my pupils are the crème de la crème."
Sandy looked with her little screwed-up eyes at Monica's very red nose and remembered this saying as she followed the set in the wake of Miss Brodie.
"I should like you girls to come to supper tomorrow night," Miss Brodie said. "Make sure you are free."
"The Dramatic Society..." murmured Jenny.
"Send an excuse," said Miss Brodie. "I have to consult you about a new plot which is afoot to force me to resign. Needless to say, I shall not resign." She spoke calmly as she always did in spite of her forceful words.
Miss Brodie never discussed her affairs with the other members of the staff, but only with those former pupils whom she had trained up in her confidence. There had been previous plots to remove her from Blaine, which had been foiled.
"It has been suggested again that I should apply for a post at one of the progressive schools, where my methods would be more suited to the system than they are at Blaine. But I shall not apply for a post at a crank school. I shall remain at this education factory. There needs must be a leaven in the lump. Give me a girl at an impressionable age, and she is mine for life."
The Brodie set smiled in understanding of various kinds.
Miss Brodie forced her brown eyes to flash as a meaningful accompaniment to her quiet voice. She looked a mighty woman with her dark Roman profile in the sun. The Brodie set did not for a moment doubt that she would prevail. As soon expect Julius Caesar to apply for a job at a crank school as Miss Brodie. She would never resign. If the authorities wanted to get rid of her she would have to be assassinated.
"Who are the gang, this time?" said Rose, who was famous for sex-appeal.
"We shall discuss tomorrow night the persons who oppose me," said Miss Brodie. "But rest assured they shall not succeed."
"No," said everyone. "No, of course they won't."
"Not while I am in my prime," she said. "These years are still the years of my prime. It is important to recognise the years of one's prime, always remember that. Here is my tram car. I daresay I'll not get a seat. This is nineteen-thirty-six. The age of chivalry is past."
Six years previously, Miss Brodie had led her new class into the garden for a history lesson underneath the big elm. On the way through the school corridors they passed the headmistress's study. The door was wide open, the room was empty.
"Little girls," said Miss Brodie, "come and observe this."
They clustered round the open door while she pointed to a large poster pinned with drawing-pins on the opposite wall within the room. It depicted a man's big face. Underneath were the words "Safety First."
"This is Stanley Baldwin who got in as Prime Minister and got out again ere long," said Miss Brodie. "Miss Mackay retains him on the wall because she believes in the slogan 'Safety First.' But Safety does not come first. Goodness, Truth and Beauty come first. Follow me."
This was the first intimation, to the girls, of an odds between Miss Brodie and the rest of the teaching staff. Indeed, to some of them, it was the first time they had realised it was possible for people glued together in grown-up authority to differ at all. Taking inward note of this, and with the exhilarating feeling of being in on the faint smell of row, without being endangered by it, they followed dangerous Miss Brodie into the secure shade of the elm.
Often, that sunny autumn, when the weather permitted, the small girls took their lessons seated on three benches arranged about the elm.
"Hold up your books," said Miss Brodie quite often that autumn, "prop them up in your hands, in case of intruders. If there are any intruders, we are doing our history lesson... our poetry... English grammar."
The small girls held up their books with their eyes not on them, but on Miss Brodie.
"Meantime I will tell you about my last summer holiday in Egypt... I will tell you about care of the skin, and of the hands... about the Frenchman I met in the train to Biarritz... and I must tell you about the Italian paintings I saw. Who is the greatest Italian painter?"
"Leonardo da Vinci, Miss Brodie."
"That is incorrect. The answer is Giotto, he is my favourite."
Some days it seemed to Sandy that Miss Brodie's chest was flat, no bulges at all, but straight as her back. On other days her chest was breast-shaped and large, very noticeable, something for Sandy to sit and peer at through her tiny eyes while Miss Brodie on a day of lessons indoors stood erect, with her brown head held high, staring out of the window like Joan of Arc as she spoke.
"I have frequently told you, and the holidays just past have convinced me, that my prime has truly begun. One's prime is elusive. You little girls, when you grow up, must be on the alert to recognise your prime at whatever time of your life it may occur. You must then live it to the full. Mary, what have you got under your desk, what are you looking at?"
Mary sat lump-like and too stupid to invent something. She was too stupid ever to tell a lie, she didn't know how to cover up.
"A comic, Miss Brodie," she said.
"Do you mean a comedian, a droll?"
Everyone tittered.
"A comic paper," said Mary.
"A comic paper, forsooth. How old are you?"
"Ten, ma'am."
"You are too old for comic papers at ten. Give it to me."
Miss Brodie looked at the coloured sheets. "Tiger Tim's forsooth," she said, and threw it into the waste-paper basket. Perceiving all eyes upon it she lifted it out of the basket, tore it up beyond redemption and put it back again.
"Attend to me, girls. One's prime is the moment one was born for. Now that my prime has begun — Sandy, your attention is wandering. What have I been talking about?"
"Your prime, Miss Brodie."
"If anyone comes along," said Miss Brodie, "in the course of the following lesson, remember that it is the hour for English grammar. Meantime I will tell you a little of my life when I was younger than I am now, though six years older than the man himself."
She leaned against the elm. It was one of the last autumn days when the leaves were falling in little gusts. They fell on the children who were thankful for this excuse to wriggle and for the allowable movements in brushing the leaves from their hair and laps.
"Season of mists and mellow fruitfulness. I was engaged to a young man at the beginning of the War but he fell on Flanders Field," said Miss Brodie. "Are you thinking, Sandy, of doing a day's washing?"
"No, Miss Brodie."
"Because you have got your sleeves rolled up. I won't have to do with girls who roll up the sleeves of their blouses, however fine the weather. Roll them down at once, we are civilized beings. He fell the week before Armistice was declared. He fell like an autumn leaf, although he was only twenty-two years of age. When we go indoors we shall look on the map at Flanders, and the spot where my lover was laid before you were born. He was poor. He came from Ayrshire, a countryman, but a hardworking and clever scholar. He said, when he asked me to marry him, "We shall have to drink water and walk slow." That was Hugh's country way of expressing that we would live quietly. We shall drink water and walk slow. What does the saying signify, Rose?"
"That you would live quietly, Miss Brodie," said Rose Stanley who six years later had a great reputation for sex.
The story of Miss Brodie's felled fiancé was well on its way when the headmistress, Miss Mackay, was seen to approach across the lawn. Tears had already started to drop from Sandy's little pig-like eyes and Sandy's tears now affected her friend Jenny, later famous in the school for her beauty, who gave a sob and groped up the leg of her knickers for her handkerchief. "Hugh was killed," said Miss Brodie, "a week before the Armistice. After that there was a general election and people were saying, 'Hang the Kaiser!' Hugh was one of the Flowers of the Forest, lying in his grave." Rose Stanley had now begun to weep. Sandy slid her wet eyes sideways, watching the advance of Miss Mackay, head and shoulders forward, across the lawn.
"I am come to see you and I have to be off," she said. "What are you little girls crying for?"
"They are moved by a story I have been telling them. We are having a history lesson," said Miss Brodie, catching a falling leaf neatly in her hand as she spoke.
"Crying over a story at ten years of age!" said Miss Mackay to the girls who had stragglingly risen from the benches, still dazed with Hugh the warrior. "I am only come to see you and I must be off. Well, girls, the new term has begun. I hope you all had a splendid summer holiday and I look forward to seeing your splendid essays on how you spent them. You shouldn't be crying over history at the age of ten. My word!"
"You did well," said Miss Brodie to the class, when Miss Mackay had gone, "not to answer the question put to you. It is well, when in difficulties, to say never a word, neither black nor white. Speech is silver but silence is golden. Mary, are you listening? What was I saying?"
Mary Macgregor, lumpy, with merely two eyes, a nose and a mouth like a snowman, who was later famous for being stupid and always to blame and who, at the age of twenty-three, lost her life in a hotel fire, ventured, "Golden."
"What did I say was golden?"
Mary cast her eyes around her and up above. Sandy whispered, "The falling leaves."
"The falling leaves," said Mary.
"Plainly," said Miss Brodie, "you were not listening to me. If only you small girls would listen to me I would make of you the crème de la crème."

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@темы: Расцвет мисс Джин Броди, Мюриэл Спарк, The Prime of Miss Jean Brodie

2012-01-06 в 19:18 

Dorothy Zbornak
Dorothy Zbornak
Mary Macgregor, although she lived into her twenty-fourth year, never quite realised that Jean Brodie's confidences were not shared with the rest of the staff and that her love-story was given out only to her pupils. She had not thought much about Jean Brodie, certainly never disliked her, when, a year after the outbreak of the Second World War, she joined the Wrens, and was clumsy and incompetent, and was much blamed. читать дальше

2012-01-06 в 19:23 

Dorothy Zbornak
Dorothy Zbornak
"Let's go to the museum next Sunday," Sandy said. "It's research."
"Would you be allowed to go alone with me?"
Sandy, who was notorious for not being allowed to go out and about without a grown-up person, said, "I don't think so. Perhaps we could get someone to take us."
"We could ask Miss Brodie."
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2012-01-06 в 19:23 

Dorothy Zbornak
Dorothy Zbornak
"Let's go to the museum next Sunday," Sandy said. "It's research."
"Would you be allowed to go alone with me?"
Sandy, who was notorious for not being allowed to go out and about without a grown-up person, said, "I don't think so. Perhaps we could get someone to take us."
"We could ask Miss Brodie."
Miss Brodie frequently took the little girls to the art galleries and museums, so this seemed feasible.
"But suppose," said Sandy, "she won't let us look at the statue if it's naked."
"I don't think she would notice that it was naked," Jenny said. "She just wouldn't see its thingummyjig."
"I know," said Sandy. "Miss Brodie's above all that."
It was time for Jenny to go home with her mother, all the way in the tram car through the haunted November twilight of Edinburgh across the Dean Bridge. Sandy waved from the window, and wondered if Jenny, too, had the feeling of leading a double life, fraught with problems that even a millionaire did not have to face. It was well known that millionaires led double lives. The evening paper rattle-snaked its way through the letter box and there was suddenly a six-o'clock feeling in the house.
Miss Brodie was reciting poetry to the class at a quarter to four, to raise their minds before they went home. Miss Brodie's eyes were half shut and her head was thrown back:
In the stormy east wind straining,
The pale yellow woods were waning,
The broad stream in his banks complaining,
Heavily the low sky raining
Over tower'd Camelot.
Sandy watched Miss Brodie through her little pale eyes, screwed them smaller and shut her lips tight.
Rose Stanley was pulling threads from the girdle of her gym tunic. Jenny was enthralled by the poem, her lips were parted, she was never bored. Sandy was never bored, but she had to lead a double life of her own in order never to be bored.
Down she came and found a boat Beneath a willow left afloat, And round about the prow she wrote The Lady of Shalott.
"By what means did your Ladyship write these words?" Sandy enquired in her mind with her lips shut tight.
"There was a pot of white paint and a brush which happened to be standing upon the grassy verge," replied the Lady of Shalott graciously. "It was left there no doubt by some heedless member of the Unemployed."
"Alas, and in all that rain!" said Sandy for want of something better to say, while Miss Brodie's voice soared up to the ceiling, and curled round the feet of the Senior girls upstairs.
The Lady of Shalott placed a white hand on Sandy's shoulder and gazed at her for a space. "That one so young and beautiful should be so ill-fated in love!" she said in low sad tones.
"What can be the meaning of these words?" cried Sandy in alarm, with her little eyes screwed on Miss Brodie and her lips shut tight.
Miss Brodie said: "Sandy, are you in pain?"
Sandy looked astonished.
"You girls," said Miss Brodie, "must learn to cultivate an expression of composure. It is one of the best assets of a woman, an expression of composure, come foul, come fair. Regard the Mona Lisa over yonder!"
All heads turned to look at the reproduction which Miss Brodie had brought back from her travels and pinned on the wall. Mona Lisa in her prime smiled in steady composure even though she had just come from the dentist and her lower jaw was swollen.
"She is older than the rocks on which she sits. Would that I had been given charge of you girls when you were seven. I sometimes fear it's too late, now. If you had been mine when you were seven you would have been the crème de la crème. Sandy, come and read some stanzas and let us hear your vowel sounds."
Sandy, being half-English, made the most of her vowels, it was her only fame. Rose Stanley was not yet famous for sex, and it was not she but Eunice Gardiner who had approached Sandy and Jenny with a Bible, pointing out the words, "The babe leapt in her womb." Sandy and Jenny said she was dirty and threatened to tell on her. Jenny was already famous for her prettiness and had a sweet voice, so that Mr. Lowther, who came to teach singing, would watch her admiringly as she sang "Come see where golden-hearted spring..."; and he twitched her ringlets, the more daringly since Miss Brodie always stayed with her pupils during the singing lesson. He twitched her ringlets and looked at Miss Brodie like a child showing off its tricks and almost as if testing Miss Brodie to see if she were at all willing to conspire in his un-Edinburgh conduct.
Mr. Lowther was small, with a long body and short legs. His hair and moustache were red-gold. He curled his hand round the back of his ear and inclined his head towards each girl to test her voice. "Sing ah!"
"Ah!" sang Jenny, high and pure as the sea maiden of the Hebrides whom Sandy had been talking about. But her eyes swivelled over to catch Sandy's.
Miss Brodie ushered the girls from the music room and, gathering them about her, said, "You girls are my vocation. If I were to receive a proposal of marriage tomorrow from the Lord Lyon King-of-Arms I would decline it. I am dedicated to you in my prime. Form a single file, now, please, and walk with your heads up, up like Sybil Thorndike, a woman of noble mien."
Sandy craned back her head, pointed her freckled nose in the air and fixed her little pig-like eyes on the ceiling as she walked along in the file.
"What are you doing, Sandy?"
"Walking like Sybil Thorndike, ma'am."
"One day, Sandy, you will go too far."
Sandy looked hurt and puzzled.
"Yes," said Miss Brodie, "I have my eye upon you, Sandy. I observe a frivolous nature. I fear you will never belong to life's elite or, as one might say, the crème de la crème."
When they had returned to the classroom Rose Stanley said, "I've got ink on my blouse."
"Go to the science room and have the stain removed; but remember it is very bad for the tussore."
Sometimes the girls would put a little spot of ink on a sleeve of their tussore silk blouses so that they might be sent to the science room in the Senior school. There a thrilling teacher, a Miss Lockhart, wearing a white overall, with her grey short hair set back in waves from a tanned and weathered golfer's face, would pour a small drop of white liquid from a large jar on to a piece of cotton wool. With this, she would dab the ink-spot on the sleeve, silently holding the girl's arm, intently absorbed in the task. Rose Stanley went to the science room with her inky blouse only because she was bored, but Sandy and Jenny got ink on their blouses at discreet intervals of four weeks, so that they could go and have their arms held by Miss Lockhart who seemed to carry six inches of pure air around her person wherever she moved in that strange-smelling room. This long room was her natural setting and she had lost something of her quality when Sandy saw her walking from the school in her box-pleat tweeds over to her sports car like an ordinary teacher.
Miss Lockhart in the science room was to Sandy something apart, surrounded by three lanes of long benches set out with jars half-full of coloured crystals and powders and liquids, ochre and bronze and metal grey and cobalt blue, glass vessels of curious shapes, bulbous, or with pipe-like stems. Only once when Sandy went to the science room was there a lesson in progress. The older girls, big girls, some with bulging chests, were standing in couples at the benches, with gas jets burning before them. They held a glass tube full of green stuff in their hands and were dancing the tube in the flame, dozens of dancing green tubes and flames, all along the benches. The bare winter top branches of the trees brushed the windows of this long room, and beyond that was the cold winter sky with a huge red sun. Sandy, on that occasion, had the presence of mind to remember that her schooldays were supposed to be the happiest days of her life and she took the compelling news back to Jenny that the Senior School was going to be marvellous and Miss Lockhart was beautiful.

2012-01-06 в 19:28 

Dorothy Zbornak
Dorothy Zbornak
"All the girls in the science room were doing just as they liked," said Sandy, "and that's what they were supposed to be doing."
"We do a lot of what we like in Miss Brodie's class," Jenny said. "My mummy says Miss Brodie gives us too much freedom."
"She's not supposed to give us freedom, she's supposed to give us lessons," said Sandy. "But the science class is supposed to be free, it's allowed."
"Well, I like being in Miss Brodie's," Jenny said.
"So do I," Sandy said. "She takes an interest in our general knowledge, my mother says."
All the same, the visits to the science room were Sandy's most secret joy, and she calculated very carefully the intervals between one ink-spot and another, so that there should be no suspicion on Miss Brodie's part that the spots were not an accident. Miss Lockhart would hold her arm and carefully dab the inkstain on her sleeve while Sandy stood enthralled by the long room which was this science teacher's rightful place, and by the lawful glamour of everything there. It was on the occasion when Rose Stanley, after the singing lesson, was sent to the science room to get ink off her blouse that Miss Brodie told her class, "You must be more careful with your ink. I can't have my girls going up and down to the science room like this. We must keep our good name."
She added, "Art is greater than science. Art comes first, and then science."
The large map had been rolled down over the blackboard because they had started the geography lesson. Miss Brodie turned with her pointer to show where Alaska lay. But she turned again to the class and said: "Art and religion first; then philosophy; lastly science. That is the order of the great subjects of life, that's their order of importance."
This was the first winter of the two years that this class spent with Miss Brodie. It had turned nineteen-thirty-one. Miss Brodie had already selected her favourites, or rather those whom she could trust; or rather those whose parents she could trust not to lodge complaints about the more advanced and seditious aspects of her educational policy, these parents being either too enlightened to complain or too unenlightened, or too awed by their good fortune in getting their girls' education at endowed rates, or too trusting to question the value of what their daughters were learning at this school of sound reputation. Miss Brodie's special girls were taken home to tea and bidden not to tell the others, they were taken into her confidence, they understood her private life and her feud with the headmistress and the allies of the headmistress. They learned what troubles in her career Miss Brodie encountered on their behalf. "It is for the sake of you girls — my influence, now, in the years of my prime." This was the beginning of the Brodie set. Eunice Gardiner was so quiet at first, it was difficult to see why she had been drawn in by Miss Brodie. But eventually she cut capers for the relief and amusement of the tea-parties, doing cart-wheels on the carpet. "You are an Ariel," said Miss Brodie. Then Eunice began to chatter. She was not allowed to do cart-wheels on Sundays, for in many ways Miss Brodie was an Edinburgh spinster of the deepest dye. Eunice Gardiner did somersaults on the mat only at Saturday gatherings before high teas, or afterwards on Miss Brodie's kitchen linoleum, while the other girls were washing up and licking honey from the depleted comb off their fingers as they passed it over to be put away in the food cupboard. It was twenty-eight years after Eunice did the splits in Miss Brodie's flat that she, who had become a nurse and married a doctor, said to her husband one evening:
"Next year when we go for the Festival———"
She was making a wool rug, pulling at a different stitch.
"Yes?" he said.
"When we go to Edinburgh," she said, "remind me while we're there to go and visit Miss Brodie's grave."
"Who was Miss Brodie?"
"A teacher of mine, she was full of culture. She was an Edinburgh Festival all on her own. She used to give us teas at her flat and tell us about her prime."
"Prime what?"
"Her prime of life. She fell for an Egyptian courier once, on her travels, and came back and told us all about it. She had a few favourites. I was one of them. I did the splits and made her laugh, you know."
"I always knew your upbringing was a bit peculiar."
"But she wasn't mad. She was as sane as anything. She knew exactly what she was doing. She told us all about her love life, too."
"Let's have it then."
"Oh, it's a long story. She was just a spinster. I must take flowers to her grave — I wonder if I could find it?"
"When did she die?"
"Just after the war. She was retired by then. Her retirement was rather a tragedy, she was forced to retire before time. The head never liked her. There's a long story attached to Miss Brodie's retirement. She was betrayed by one of her own girls, we were called the Brodie set. I never found out which one betrayed her."
It is time now to speak of the long walk through the old parts of Edinburgh where Miss Brodie took her set, dressed in their deep violet coats and black velour hats with the green and white crest, one Friday in March when the school's central heating system had broken down and everyone else had been muffled up and sent home. The wind blew from the icy Forth and the sky was loaded with forthcoming snow. Mary Macgregor walked with Sandy because Jenny had gone home. Monica Douglas, later famous for being able to do real mathematics in her head, and for her anger, walked behind them with her dark red face, broad nose and dark pigtails falling from her black hat and her legs already shaped like pegs in their black wool stockings. By her side walked Rose Stanley, tall and blonde with a yellow-pale skin, who had not yet won her reputation for sex, and whose conversation was all about trains, cranes, motor cars, Meccanos and other boys' affairs. She was not interested in the works of engines or the constructive powers of the Meccanos, but she knew their names, the variety of colours in which they came, the makes of motor cars and their horse-power, the various prices of the Meccano sets. She was also an energetic climber of walls and trees. And although these concerns at Rose Stanley's eleventh year marked her as a tomboy, they did not go deep into her femininity and it was her superficial knowledge of these topics alone, as if they had been a conscious preparation, which stood her in good stead a few years later with the boys.
With Rose walked Miss Brodie, head up, like Sybil Thorndike, her nose arched and proud. She wore her loose brown tweed coat with the beaver collar tightly buttoned, her brown felt hat with the brim up at one side and down at the other. Behind Miss Brodie, last in the group, little Eunice Gardiner who, twenty-eight years later, said of Miss Brodie, "I must visit her grave," gave a skip between each of her walking steps as if she might even break into pirouettes on the pavement, so that Miss Brodie, turning round, said from time to time, "Now, Eunice!" And, from time to time again, Miss Brodie would fall behind to keep Eunice company.
Sandy, who had been reading Kidnapped, was having a conversation with the hero, Alan Breck, and was glad to be with Mary Macgregor because it was not necessary to talk to Mary.
"Mary, you may speak quietly to Sandy."
"Sandy won't talk to me," said Mary who later, in that hotel fire, ran hither and thither till she died.
"Sandy cannot talk to you if you are so stupid and disagreeable. Try to wear an agreeable expression at least, Mary."
"Sandy, you must take this message o'er the heather to the Macphersons," said Alan Breck. "My life depends upon it, and the Cause no less."
"I shall never fail you, Alan Breck," said Sandy. "Never."
"Mary," said Miss Brodie, from behind, "please try not to lag behind Sandy."
Sandy kept pacing ahead, fired on by Alan Breck whose ardour and thankfulness, as Sandy prepared to set off across the heather, had reached touching proportions.
Mary tried to keep up with her. They were crossing the Meadows, a gusty expanse of common land, glaring green under the snowy sky. Their destination was the Old Town, for Miss Brodie had said they should see where history had been lived; and their route had brought them to the Middle Meadow Walk.
Eunice, unaccompanied at the back, began to hop to a rhyme which she repeated to herself:
Edinburgh, Leith, Portobello, Musselburgh And Dalkeith.
Then she changed to the other foot.
Edinburgh, Leith...
Miss Brodie turned round and hushed her, then called forward to Mary Macgregor who was staring at an Indian student who was approaching, "Mary, don't you want to walk tidily?"
"Mary," said Sandy, "stop staring at the brown man."
The nagged child looked numbly at Sandy and tried to quicken her pace. But Sandy was walking unevenly, in little spurts forward and little halts, as Alan Breck began to sing to her his ditty before she took to the heather to deliver the message that was going to save Alan's life. He sang:
This is the song of the sword of Alan:
The smith made it,
The fire set it;

2012-01-06 в 20:07 

Dorothy Zbornak
Dorothy Zbornak
Now it shines in the hand of Alan Breck.
Then Alan Breck clapped her shoulder and said, "Sandy, you are a brave lass and want nothing in courage that any King's man might possess."
"Don't walk so fast," mumbled Mary.
"You aren't walking with your head up," said Sandy. "Keep it up, up."
Then suddenly Sandy wanted to be kind to Mary Macgregor, and thought of the possibilities of feeling nice from being nice to Mary instead of blaming her. Miss Brodie's voice from behind was saying to Rose Stanley, "You are all heroines in the making. Britain must be a fit country for heroines to live in. The League of Nations..." The sound of Miss Brodie's presence, just when it was on the tip of Sandy's tongue to be nice to Mary Macgregor, arrested the urge. Sandy looked back at her companions, and understood them as a body with Miss Brodie for the head. She perceived herself, the absent Jenny, the ever-blamed Mary, Rose, Eunice and Monica, all in a frightening little moment, in unified compliance to the destiny of Miss Brodie, as if God had willed them to birth for that purpose.
She was even more frightened then, by her temptation to be nice to Mary Macgregor, since by this action she would separate herself, and be lonely, and blameable in a more dreadful way than Mary who, although officially the faulty one, was at least inside Miss Brodie's category of heroines in the making. So, for good fellowship's sake, Sandy said to Mary, "I wouldn't be walking with you if Jenny was here." And Mary said, "I know." Then Sandy started to hate herself again and to nag on and on at Mary, with the feeling that if you did a thing a lot of times, you made it into a right thing. Mary started to cry, but quietly, so that Miss Brodie could not see. Sandy was unable to cope and decided to stride on and be a married lady having an argument with her husband:
"Well, Colin, it's rather hard on a woman when the lights have fused and there isn't a man in the house."
"Dearest Sandy, how was I to know..."
As they came to the end of the Meadows a group of Girl Guides came by. Miss Brodie's brood, all but Mary, walked past with eyes ahead. Mary stared at the dark blue big girls with their regimented vigorous look and broader accents of speech than the Brodie girls used when in Miss Brodie's presence. They passed, and Sandy said to Mary, "It's rude to stare." And Mary said, "I wasn't staring." Meanwhile Miss Brodie was being questioned by the girls behind on the question of the Brownies and the Girl Guides, for quite a lot of the other girls in the Junior School were Brownies.
"For those who like that sort of thing," said Miss Brodie in her best Edinburgh voice, "that is the sort of thing they like."
So Brownies and Guides were ruled out. Sandy recalled Miss Brodie's admiration for Mussolini's marching troops, and the picture she had brought back from Italy showing the triumphant march of the black uniforms in Rome.
"These are the fascisti," said Miss Brodie, and spelt it out. "What are these men, Rose?"
"The fascisti, Miss Brodie."
They were dark as anything and all marching in the straightest of files, with their hands raised at the same angle, while Mussolini stood on a platform like a gym teacher or a Guides mistress and watched them. Mussolini had put an end to unemployment with his fascisti and there was no litter in the streets. It occurred to Sandy, there at the end of the Middle Meadow Walk, that the Brodie set was Miss Brodie's fascisti, not to the naked eye, marching along, but all knit together for her need and in another way, marching along. That was all right, but it seemed, too, that Miss Brodie's disapproval of the Girl Guides had jealousy in it, there was an inconsistency, a fault. Perhaps the Guides were too much a rival fascisti, and Miss Brodie could not bear it. Sandy thought she might see about joining the Brownies. Then the group-fright seized her again, and it was necessary to put the idea aside, because she loved Miss Brodie.
"We make good company for each other, Sandy," said Alan Breck, crunching beneath his feet the broken glass in the blood on the floor of the ship's round-house. And taking a knife from the table, he cut off one of the silver buttons from his coat. "Wherever you show that button," he said, "the friends of Alan Breck will come around you."
"We turn to the right," said Miss Brodie.
They approached the Old Town which none of the girls had properly seen before, because none of their parents was so historically minded as to be moved to conduct their young into the reeking network of slums which the Old Town constituted in those years. The Canongate, The Grassmarket, The Lawnmarket, were names which betokened a misty region of crime and desperation: "Lawnmarket Man Jailed."
Only Eunice Gardiner and Monica Douglas had already traversed the High Street on foot on the Royal Mile from the Castle or Holyrood. Sandy had been taken to Holyrood in an uncle's car and had seen the bed, too short and too broad, where Mary Queen of Scots had slept, and the tiny room, smaller than their own scullery at home, where the Queen had played cards with Rizzio. Now they were in a great square, the Grassmarket, with the Castle, which was in any case everywhere, rearing between a big gap in the houses where the aristocracy used to live. It was Sandy's first experience of a foreign country, which intimates itself by its new smells and shapes and its new poor. A man sat on the icy-cold pavement, he just sat. A crowd of children, some without shoes, were playing some fight game, and some boys shouted after Miss Brodie's violet-clad company, with words that the girls had not heard before, but rightly understood to be obscene. Children and women with shawls came in and out of the dark closes. Sandy found she was holding Mary's hand in her bewilderment, all the girls were holding hands, while Miss Brodie talked of history. Into the High Street, and "John Knox," said Miss Brodie, "was an embittered man. He could never be at ease with the gay French Queen. We of Edinburgh owe a lot to the French. We are Europeans." The smell was amazingly terrible. In the middle of the road farther up the High Street a crowd was gathered. "Walk past quietly," said Miss Brodie.
A man and a woman stood in the midst of the crowd which had formed a ring round them. They were shouting at each other and the man hit the woman twice across the head. Another woman, very little, with cropped black hair, a red face and a big mouth, came forward and took the man by the arm. She said:
"I'll be your man."
From time to time throughout her life Sandy pondered this, for she was certain that the little woman's words were "I'll be your man," not "I'll be your woman," and it was never explained.
And many times throughout her life Sandy knew with a shock, when speaking to people whose childhood had been in Edinburgh, that there were other people's Edinburghs quite different from hers, and with which she held only the names of districts and streets and monuments in common. Similarly, there were other people's nineteen-thirties. So that, in her middle age, when she was at last allowed all those visitors to the convent — so many visitors being against the Rule, but a special dispensation was enforced on Sandy because of her Treatise — when a man said, "I must have been at school in Edinburgh at the same time as you, Sister Helena," Sandy, who was now some years Sister Helena of the Transfiguration, clutched the bars of the grille as was her way, and peered at him through her little faint eyes and asked him to describe his schooldays and his school, and the Edinburgh he had known. And it turned out, once more, that his was a different Edinburgh from Sandy's. His school, where he was a boarder, had been cold and grey. His teachers had been supercilious Englishmen, "or near-Englishmen," said the visitor, "with third-rate degrees." Sandy could not remember ever having questioned the quality of her teachers' degrees, and the school had always been lit with the sun or, in winter, with a pearly north light. "But Edinburgh," said the man, "was a beautiful city, more beautiful then than it is now. Of course, the slums have been cleared. The Old Town was always my favourite. We used to love to explore the Grassmarket and so on. Architecturally speaking, there is no finer sight in Europe."

2012-01-06 в 20:13 

Dorothy Zbornak
Dorothy Zbornak
"I once was taken for a walk through the Canongate," Sandy said, "but I was frightened by the squalor."
"Well, it was the 'thirties," said the man. "Tell me, Sister Helena, what would you say was your greatest influence during the 'thirties? I mean, during your teens. Did you read Auden and Eliot?"
"No," said Sandy.
"We boys were very keen on Auden and that group of course. We wanted to go and fight in the Spanish Civil War. On the Republican side, of course. Did you take sides in the Spanish Civil War at your school?"
"Well, not exactly," said Sandy. "It was all different for us."
"You weren't a Catholic then, of course?"
"No," said Sandy.
"The influences of one's teens are very important," said the man.
"Oh yes," said Sandy, "even if they provide something to react against."
"What was your biggest influence, then, Sister Helena? Was it political, personal? Was it Calvinism?"
"Oh no," said Sandy. "But there was a Miss Jean Brodie in her prime." She clutched the bars of the grille as if she wanted to escape from the dim parlour beyond, for she was not composed like the other nuns who sat, when they received their rare visitors, well back in the darkness with folded hands. But Sandy always leaned forward and peered, clutching the bars with both hands, and the other sisters remarked it and said that Sister Helena had too much to bear from the world since she had published her psychological book which was so unexpectedly famed. But the dispensation was forced upon Sandy, and she clutched the bars and received the choice visitors, the psychologists and the Catholic seekers, and the higher journalist ladies and the academics who wanted to question her about her odd psychological treatise on the nature of moral perception, called "The Transfiguration of the Commonplace."
"We will not go into St. Giles'," said Miss Brodie, "because the day draws late. But I presume you have all been to St. Giles' Cathedral?"
They had nearly all been in St. Giles' with its tattered blood-stained banners of the past. Sandy had not been there, and did not want to go. The outsides of old Edinburgh churches frightened her, they were of such dark stone, like presences almost the colour of the Castle rock, and were built so warningly with their upraised fingers.
Miss Brodie had shown them a picture of Cologne Cathedral, like a wedding cake, which looked as if it had been built for pleasure and festivities, and parties given by the Prodigal Son in his early career. But the insides of Scottish churches were more reassuring because during the services they contained people, and no ghosts at all. Sandy, Rose Stanley and Monica Douglas were of believing though not church-going families. Jenny Gray and Mary Macgregor were Presbyterians and went to Sunday School. Eunice Gardiner was Episcopalian and claimed that she did not believe in Jesus, but in the Father, Son and Holy Ghost. Sandy, who believed in ghosts, felt that the Holy Ghost was a feasible proposition. The whole question was, during this winter term, being laid open by Miss Brodie who, at the same time as adhering to the strict Church of Scotland habits of her youth, and keeping the Sabbath, was now, in her prime, attending evening classes in comparative religion at the University. So her pupils heard all about it, and learned for the first time that some honest people did not believe in God, nor even Allah. But the girls were set to study the Gospels with diligence for their truth and goodness, and to read them aloud for their beauty.
Their walk had brought them into broad Chambers Street. The group had changed its order, and was now walking three abreast, with Miss Brodie in front between Sandy and Rose. "I am summoned to see the headmistress at morning break on Monday," said Miss Brodie. "I have no doubt Miss Mackay wishes to question my methods of instruction. It has happened before. It will happen again. Meanwhile, I follow my principles of education and give of my best in my prime. The word 'education' comes from the root e from ex, out, and duco, I lead. It means a leading out. To me education is a leading out of what is already there in the pupil's soul. To Miss Mackay it is a putting in of something that is not there, and that is not what I call education, I call it intrusion, from the Latin root prefix in meaning in and the stem trudo, I thrust. Miss Mackay's method is to thrust a lot of information into the pupil's head; mine is a leading out of knowledge, and that is true education as is proved by the root meaning. Now Miss Mackay has accused me of putting ideas into my girls' heads, but in fact that is her practice and mine is quite the opposite. Never let it be said that I put ideas into your heads. What is the meaning of education, Sandy?"
"To lead out," said Sandy who was composing a formal invitation to Alan Breck, a year and a day after their breath-taking flight through the heather.
Miss Sandy Stranger requests the pleasure of Mr. Alan Breck's company at dinner on Tuesday the 6th of January at 8 o'clock.
That would surprise the hero of Kidnapped coming unexpectedly from Sandy's new address in the lonely harbour house on the coast of Fife — described in a novel by the daughter of John Buchan — of which Sandy had now by devious means become the mistress. Alan Breck would arrive in full Highland dress. Supposing that passion struck upon them in the course of the evening and they were swept away into sexual intercourse? She saw the picture of it happening in her mind, and Sandy could not stand for this spoiling. She argued with herself, surely people have time to think, they have to stop to think while they are taking their clothes off, and if they stop to think, how can they be swept away?
"That is a Citroen," said Rose Stanley about a motor car that had passed by. "They are French."
"Sandy, dear, don't rush. Take my hand," said Miss Brodie. "Rose, your mind is full of motor cars. There is nothing wrong with motor cars, of course, but there are higher things. I'm sure Sandy's mind is not on motor cars, she is paying attention to my conversation like a well-mannered girl."
And if people take their clothes off in front of each other, thought Sandy, it is so rude, they are bound to be put off their passion for a moment. And if they are put off just for a single moment, how can they be swept away in the urge? If it all happens in a flash...


Sarcastic Witch Dorothy Zbornak