Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Lucy Snowe's first time teaching

Could I but have spoken in my own tongue, I felt as if I might have gained a hearing; for, in the first place, though I knew I looked a poor creature, and in many respects actually was so, yet nature had given me a voice that could make itself heard, if lifted in excitement or deepened by emotion. In the second place, while I had not flow, only a hesitanting trickle of language, in ordinary circumstances, yet-under stimulus such as was now rife through the mutinous mass- I could, in English, have rolled out readily phrases stigmatized; and then with some sarcasm, flavoured with contemptuous bitterness, for the ringleaders, and relived with easy banter for the weaker, but less knavish followers, it seemed to me that one might possibly get command over this wild herd and and bring them into training, at least. All I could now do was to walk up to Blanche-Mademoiselle de Melcy, a young baronne- the eldest, tallest, handsomest, and most vicious stand before her desk, take from under her hand her exercise-book, remount the estrade, deliberately read the composition, which I found very stupid, and as deliberately, and in the face of teh whole school, year the blotted page in two.
This action availed to draw attention and check noise. One girl alone, quite in the background, persevered in the riot with undiminished energy. I looked at her attentively. She had a pale undiminished energy. I looked at her attentively. She had a pale face, hair like night, broad stron eyebrows, decided features, and dark, mutinous, sinister eye: I noted that she sat close by a little door; which door; I was well aware, opened into a small closet where books were kepst. She was standing up for the purpose of conducting her clamour with freer energies. I measured her stature and calculated her strength. She seemed both tall and wiry; but so the conflict were brief and the attack unexpected, I thought I might manage her.
Advanced up the room, looking as cool and careless as I possibly could in short, ayant l'air de rien;* I slightly pushed the door and found it was ajar. In an instant, and with sharpness, I had turned on her. In anothe instant she occupied the closet, the door was shut, and the keyin my pocket.

~Villette chapter 8

*Having the air of doing nothing


1 comment:

  1. Aaah, I can't imagine being a teacher, let alone in a foreign country! Love "Villette", though...excellent book.