Easy As Falling Off a Bike pt 3227

The Weekly Dormouse.
(aka Bike, est. 2007)
Part 3227
by Angharad

Copyright© 2017 Angharad

  
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“Ah, Lady Cameron, could you step into my office?” asked Sister Maria when I went to collect the girls. Usually when it’s this formal one of the little madams has done something they shouldn’t have and I’ll bet I can guess just which one.

“Please take a seat,” she said proffering the chair opposite her. “It’s about young Trish...”

“She’s not hurt is she?” my heart raced as I’d blithely supposed she’d created mayhem again whereas in fact she could be lying injured awaiting me to take her home.

“No no, nothing like that, no it’s Sister Euphorbia, who’s feeling the anguish.”

“Oh I’m sorry, would you like me to apologise to her?”

“No, that won’t be necessary.”

“Has Trish done so?”

“No—she claims she has nothing to apologise for.”

“Really? So of what is she accused?”

“Well as you know, we are in Advent and Christmas is fast approaching.”

“It would be very difficult to avoid some contact with the Christmas industry.”

“Quite,” she said knowingly. “Well, we usually teach the nativity to all our classes in the hope that some of the better qualities of the infant Jesus will rub off on our pupils.”

“What did she do?” I sighed having a pretty good idea.

“Sister was in mid class telling them about the nativity in the stable in Bethlehem, when someone mentioned the word cobblers.” I felt myself blush, still it was better than bollocks, which she has been known to use. “Thinking that someone had thought of the shoe repairer being possibly operating from the stable yard, Sister Euphorbia paused her narrative to see who had interrupted her and I’m afraid it was young Trish.”

Oh shit, “Really?” I’ll kill her. I felt myself growing warmer.

“Yes and it wasn’t to ask about shoe repairs it was an expression of disbelief.”

“She seems quite happy to accept her Christmas presents...” I said rather lamely. “Isn’t that supposed to derive from the magi giving the infant Jesus the gold, frankincense and myrrh?” I knew that was cobblers too, but it might appease her.

“You don’t believe that for one minute do you?” she threw back at me, “No the present giving is older than Christianity—which I’m sure you know all too well.”

I shrugged and blushed.

“Your daughter then quoted chapter and verse, including verse numbers of the discrepancies in the gospels about the birth of Our Lord and then told Sister Euphorbia, that the historical evidence doesn’t back it up either and there was no census and even if there had been, Joseph would not have had to return to his birth place to register.”

I wondered which book of mine she’d been reading this time. I’m fascinated by the truth about the period not the allegories or mythologies and therefore have several books by various historians some of whom believe and some don’t—in the story in the gospels.

“Where did she get the term, parthenogenesis?”

“Uh—I’m a biologist if you remember?” Oh boy she really did her research, the little monkey—the problem is I don’t know whether I should reprimand her or congratulate her on the job. “It means...”

“I know fine well what it means, Professor...”

“Sorry,” I felt the warmth surge through me again.

“I’m aware it only applies to a small number of vertebrates mainly fish.”

“Uh yes.”

“I’m also aware it would mean that were it to happen in humans, Jesus would have been a girl.”

“Probably.”

“But that doesn’t take account of divine intervention.”

Neither do I, so I sat silently.

“It’s a miracle story.”

“Yes I’m well aware of the details, even though I share Trish’s view...”

“That it never happened?”

I nodded.

“But it’s so important to Christianity...”

“Is it? I’d have thought it undermined it somewhat.”

She did a double take. “What d’you mean by that?”

“Christianity has some wonderful elements and some of those have supported the evolution of caring societies in many places, making the parable of the good Samaritan a reality. Sadly in recent years it seems to have lost its way somewhat as we seem to be more interested in satisfying our greed rather than the needs of others. Jesus also preached to anyone and associated with all sorts of minorities and spoke of loving our neighbours. We don’t need miracles or fairy tales just the will to be kind and caring to those less fortunate than ourselves.”

She stared at me for several moments making me wonder if I’d overstepped the mark again—can’t think where Trish gets it from—then she smiled.

“You’ve enlightened me again, Lady Catherine—thank you.”

I blushed furiously. “I have?”

“Yes, sometimes we need to be reminded about the essence of Christianity and the love of Our Lord for other people. Thank you.”

“And what would you like me to do about Trish?” I said having given her a moment to reflect on her insight.

“Please ask her to think about other people’s feelings before she shows her cleverness. Sister Euphorbia said she felt absolutely drained.”

“Euphorbia?” I queried aware of a glint in my eye which I was trying hard not to allow to form a smirk.

“Euphorbia, yes, why?”

“Euphorbia is the spurge family.”

“What of it?”

“They were used as purgatives—you said she felt drained.”

“Purg...Oh dear I see what you mean. I can see where that child gets her cleverness.” She smirked and shook her head.

As we were about to leave her office she said, “That blue in your jacket is like the colour Our Lady wears in all the portraits.”

“Well I have worn it once too.”

“You what?”

“When I was in junior school I got drafted to cover a girl who was playing the Virgin Mary and who went sick at short notice.”

“I’m sure you made a very lovely one.”

“Uh—I was a boy at the time—or they thought I was.” * I blushed again.

“Lady Catherine, you were never a boy and perhaps this was God’s way of showing both you and the others that this was the case. Now go and repossess your girls and take them home—I’m sure they’re all starving by now.”

We shook hands and i went off to find my children. They were sitting in the corridor by the door to the playground waiting for me and chatting quietly.

“Oh there you are,” said Trish, “we wondered where you were.”

“I’ve been talking to your headmistress, I wonder if you can think why that was?”

“She wants you to present the prizes again?”

“No,” I said sharply.

“She wants a loan from the bank?” Trish was beginning to colour up.

“I think Mummy knows about it, Trish, you’d better ‘fess up,” advised Livvie and Hannah agreed.

“Well the old bat was spouting all these fairy tales and I knew they were wrong, so...”

“So you just had to put her right?”

“Yes, exactly that.” Replied Trish and I saw Danielle purse her lips and shake her head.

“Did it occur to you that those stories were important to your teacher?”

“But they’re just stories.”

“To you they may be, to her they are part of her faith and what right do you have to challenge that?”

“But it was all cobblers.”

“To you maybe. Tomorrow you will go and apologise to Sister Euphorbia and give her a letter saying why you are sorry. You will write that letter tonight and you will show it to me when you’ve done so. If I don’t deem it suitable then you will rewrite it until it is—do you understand?”

“But you tell us to challenge misinformation,” she began to sniff.

“It’s the manner in which you do it, young lady and it isn’t just an excuse to show that you are better read or cleverer. She may well have done the same research and still held to her beliefs.”

“She’d have to be stupid then.”

“Trish, that is your opinion you have no right to state it publicly. She is your teacher and you owe her some respect.”

It was a subdued group of schoolgirls who entered the people carrier as we went home. Sometimes I wonder if things would be easier if they weren’t so bright—but then—they wouldn’t be them, would they, any more than Sister Euphorbia would be without her beliefs and we have no right to tell her that she’s wrong.

* https://bigclosetr.us/topshelf/fiction/41235/nativity-play - One I did earlier but worth another look.

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