Posts tagged ‘Jane Fairweather’

February 2nd, 2017

Seditious Literature (1895)

A period piece depicting attitudes of the Victorian Era

By Jane Fairweather

It all began quietly enough over breakfast.

Papa suddenly remarked (between ingesting a rather large piece of bacon): “Has anybody except me noticed this horrific style for young women? There was a piece about it in the Times yesterday.”

“Papa, you know I don’t read the Times!” Georgina, the daughter of the household, replied just a touch ironically.

“Well you should!” Her father snapped. “Then you would have something to talk about with young men at Assemblies and Balls. There has not been the slightest sign of you becoming engaged and the costs are getting very tedious. And I am weary of seeing you reading old books about King Arthur and Greek heroes! If you are going to read such things, I wish you’d choose a solid modern poet like Tennyson. There might be at any rate one young man who might prick up his ears if you started to talk about Tennyson, not that there will be that many of them. It’s not that I want you to marry a huntin’ and fishin’ type, you know, but you need to find someone, my girl, for the sake of your own future and I wish you’d get on with it. And quite frankly the boys won’t have read the old books and you will bore them stiff!”
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December 7th, 2016

A Question of Proof

A period story set in a girls’ boarding school.

By Jane Fairweather

“Please Miss Robson, I have forgotten my swimming things. Can I just watch the others?”

“Eleanor Carter,” said Miss Robson from the melancholy heights of her thirtieth birthday. “This is the third time in three weeks. I have been patient with you up to now because you are a Sixth Former, and I do not like to discipline Sixth Formers. I was prepared to believe it was the forgetfulness of your butterfly mind the first week. The second time I raised my eyebrows, but decided I would put it down, yet again, to the mechanics of your butterfly mind and give you the benefit 0f the doubt.”
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November 14th, 2016

Black Marks

Forgetting homework and then arguing with a teacher is never a good idea.

 By Jane Fairweather

Pamela Ash was feeling edgy. On Monday, in a flash of unwise temper, she had answered back to Jacko, which you did not do, even if, as frequently happened, the Geography teacher had got it wrong. Very unfairly in her view, she had been given two black marks for insolence, which was one more than she had ever had. Well, except for that term in the Fourth Form when she had been naughty on principle till she got bored with it.

It was Thursday, and she could still end up with three or even four black marks by Friday. If you got to three, you had half an hour’s detention after school which was not too bad in itself, but it went on till half past four and that meant she would miss the last school bus and that meant she would have to catch two buses instead of one. By the time her Mother had insisted that she must eat her meal, she would probably miss the interesting thriller at the cinema, since that meant catching yet another bus. The timing would be very tight.
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October 13th, 2016

The Betrayal

Historical drama as a lady remembers a former servant and lover

By Jane Fairweather

“So were you there when my Lord Strafford got his head chopped off?” The very bright ten year old William asked his grandmother, who had just admitted to being in London just before the Civil War in 1641-42, and who he therefore expected to know all about those momentous events.

“As I just told you, I was one of the Queen’s ladies and, no, I did not go to see that great man suffer. It would have been disloyal to the Queen, whose own head was not that far from the block at the time. They talked of her, my lord Strafford and the Archbishop as the King’s evil councillors. She was, in fact, the only one of the three who did not have her head chopped off, but we thought of it as a real possibility at the time. Besides, I liked my Lord Strafford; he grew up not that far away from the house of my father in Yorkshire and we saw him occasionally when I was a child, before the King sent him to govern Ireland, you know. He was not as fierce as you might think from what people say now; he could be quite kind to a little girl.”
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September 24th, 2016

Dilemmas after the Nature Walk

Exploring a close pupil/teacher relationship.

By Jane Fairweather

“You may all be seated.” Miss Johnson proclaimed from the small stage at the front of the Hall, now the hymn was sung and the prayers said.

There was a rustle of skirts and gym slips as the younger girls of Corry Hall School sat down cross legged on the polished wood floor and the Five Uppers and Sixth Form sat down on the chairs that went with their seniority in the school. Mary Gulliver noticed that all three of her friends were shuffling much more on their bottoms than they would normally have done.

“There is a fair chance that we won’t get it at all and she will just blame Miss Black for getting us into it. We just have to stick to our version. And even if we do get the stick, which I doubt, she won’t be as hard on us as she would be on Mary by herself. If Mary admits what she really did, she will be really for it.” Sarah, or in full, Sarah Vane-Scott, the imperious, but very quiet daughter of a full colonel, had observed both on the previous afternoon and on several occasions since.
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August 24th, 2016

The Archaeologist’s Mistress

An affair with a married man leads to a guilty conscience

Jane Fairweather

As she drove she kept thinking about the very strange beginning of it all. Gerald had been directing the excavations of a fine Roman villa near her parents’ house and she had been a very willing volunteer. She and Gerald had flirted more than a little already, but that was nothing unusual for her with men.

That morning she had been bending right over gazing intently at something at the bottom of a trench she was working on, which later turned out to be a fine Roman brooch. He had crept up on her and given her a very sharp slap that had made her jump up and clutch the seat of her slacks and very nearly fall into the trench.
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July 13th, 2016

The Prank and After

Initiation for a new girl means trouble when it all goes wrong

Jane Fairweather

Jenn was staggering along the gravel path and the rain was pouring. Water was getting into her shoes and her socks were soaked. Although she had brought a rain coat it was no protection at all and water was trickling down her neck and soaking through her shoulders into the light summer dress she had put on because she had been afraid her normal gym slip would get in the way of the awkward climbing she had to do. And her bra and even her cotton pants were beginning to feel damp. And her hair was unbelievably wet, for she had not brought a hat, thinking it was one more thing to carry and, anyway, a school hat would pick you out a mile off.
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June 14th, 2016

Aunt Selima

A period piece with an American setting

By Jane Fairweather

It was a dream; of course it was a dream, but it was so vivid. Lucille was on the deck of the schooner (she knew enough about sailing ships to know it was a schooner). The sails had been furled, presumably by the pirates, and the schooner was tied to the larger pirate vessel, which still had its guns protruding from its side. The valiant little crew of the schooner were all dead and lying there on the deck. Some were covered in blood. Some were not covered in blood. Lucille noticed there were nooses hanging from one of the masts. Presumably they had been hanged by the angry pirates, who she could hear muttering that these idiots should have surrendered and not given them such a fight and the pickings were not worth the effort, let alone the loss of their captain. Then someone was asking what should they do with the girl, which was her, presumably. Then another someone was saying that they might as well have their fun with her. And then a voice with the sound of authority in it, it sounded very like her father, was saying that sort of fun always caused trouble; but they would have a different sort of fun with her. Then they were rigging a plank over the side of the schooner and were pushing her towards it and pricking her backside with a cutlass. Then she was out on the plank and it was bending under her weight; and then she was falling…
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May 13th, 2016

Coming of Age

A headmaster seeks permission to cane a girl but her father has other ideas.

By Jane Fairweather

“What do you two think you are doing?” The voice of Mr Oakley thundered.

At around five foot and three inches, he was a diminutive man by the standards of the male staff at Kingsley Grammar and generally regarded as making up for this deficiency by quite excessive aggro towards his students. Perhaps Fiona Gibbon, who was actually quite proud of being five foot nine, thought the fact that he always wore a coloured shirt, which today was verging on red, was part of the same scheme of things; she really did not like Mr Oakley.
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April 19th, 2016

A Question of Law

Circumstances of war make for unusual actions in a school.

By Jane Fairweather

It was heavenly on top of these Cornish cliffs, Jaqueline Hawkins thought; the sky was a radiant blue, the sea a most beautiful green and no cloud to be seen. Jaqueline fixed her eye on the criss-crossings of a couple of large birds. In Greece, at one time, they would have been thought of as gods in disguise, so beautiful were their movements.

And apart from the sea’s quiet lapping it was so quiet. In London, before Miss Charlton, their headmistress, had girded up her loins and moved Hawk House School to the peace of the West Country, there had been constant background noise from the artillery in Flanders on the Western Front, besides the city noises of rumbling carts and screeching trains, and from time to time the explosion of the bombs from the great beetle-like German planes, the ‘Gothas’, those modern Harpies whose advent had decided Miss Charlton to move her school.
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