“Prussian Blue” (hommage à Christa W.) – story layout, 2004

Writing Desk: Sketchbook: story layout “Prussian Blue” (2004)

*****

PRUSSIAN BLUE

A short J/7 Über (max. 40 to 50 pgs.?) in two parts

A strict, protestant boarding school; turn-of-the-century. Girls only; adolescent energy vs. disciplining; lots of adoring going on. The headmistress slightly sadistic (ork lesbian), helpless herself, sexuality only perverted anymore –

Into this environment, the girl, 17 – to attend the last class only; and a little too old to be bend and broken by the rules; shocked by the school principles, forced into the uniform, lost. Sensitive, but brave.

Meets the teacher. The teacher about 30; would be a married beauty in the outer world; but between unwanted marriage and barely tolerated old maiden existence in her brother’s household chose the teaching; only way to learn; close to convent life, but then… she is consciously gay, but has disciplined herself to the utmost. Sometimes a young girl will catch her fleeting attention. Very fleeting. Not even enough for more than a slight guilty feeling. She is following the rules. A mode of passive resistance – doing her duties with devotion, devotion she is not allowed to give to anything else. She can’t allow herself. And she would be vivid, and warm, and passionate, but discipline extinguishes all that. There is serving. There is work.

Until the girl comes along, catching more than fleeting attention. Turning her world upside down. Testing and testing and straining and generally questioning her discipline.

Feelings are mutual. Feelings are strong. Little lapses happen.

Perverse headmistress is suspicious. Teacher and girl engage in sublimated affection. Headmistress still suspicious.

Teacher, to save both the girl and herself, withdraws; sacrificing her affection. The girl does not understand, is desperate. Teacher, who can’t reveal herself any more, is even more desperate. Teacher believes girl will get over her sooner or later, she won’t be selfish, she is old, she will stay in the school, the girl will leave for the outer world, be married, be the sparkling salon beauty the teacher herself did not want to be. Could not be.

The teacher renounces, she has no hope for her heart, the girl is still young, and idealistic, and brave and vows to love the teacher evermore. The teacher does not dare to believe.

The half-rejected girl, perhaps he waited outside in the rain for the teacher, gets sick – in this case, pneumonia, the teacher cares but can’t show, and what she shows the unconscious girl does not notice.

The teacher has to visit a relative; the school year is almost over, a quick good-bye in between teacher and girl, but in the teacher’s absence, the girl is already taken out of school, forced to leave without adieu – believing the teacher does not care enough, or avoided it, not knowing the teacher had no idea.

Upon the teacher’s return, the headmistress takes pleasure in telling the teacher that the girl left the school and is about to be married. The teacher is stricken. It is late at night. She is overtired. She half-faints down a staircase. Headmistress half pushed her. The teacher is seriously injured.

In this moment, the girl, now betrothed, wakes at her parents’ home. Wedding preparations are surrounding her, while she, who raged as she was taken away from school, is calm. She does not want to marry. She wants her teacher. The withdrawing teacher had told her she would have to marry, that this was how things were, but the girl does not want to give in.

While the girl’s parents are willing to force the issue, they seek for a more diplomatic cause and try to convince her of the common good of this marriage she was raised towards.

The girl agrees to the marriage under one condition: She wants to invite some people from her former school. Her confidante. One or two other girls. The teacher. To see her once more, she will marry the man her parents chose.

The teacher is not yet in a condition to travel, her recovering is still not to be taken for granted. Three girls from the school show up at the girl’s wedding without the teacher. Do they have a message? A sign? Does the girl assume the teacher died? The former confidante might admit that the teacher is not the same since the girl left; and the girl, in her wedding dress, will tell the foreign man at her side, who is the teacher’s age, that she agrees to marrying him. And thinks to herself, but not to loving him. For her heart is taken already.

[End Part one]

Seven years have passed. School girls listen to some of the chattier kitchen personnel tell stories about how the teacher once was, before she fell down the staircase. Has a slight limp now. The night she learned the girl was gone. She recovered. She teaches. She has become softer like people turn softer with sorrow. Ever since the accident, her health is not the same.

The teacher has never forgotten the girl, accepting it as one other sacrifice in a long line her life seems to consist of, but the old spark is there about the girl, unchanged.

The girl has turned into a young married woman with two kids. A daughter of six, a boy of four years. Her husband pursues a successful military career; often abroad while she resides in his family’s mansion, an idyllic countryside place that is not satisfying the girl’s thirst for knowledge. There are the servants for company, the occasional festivity, and one of her husband’s parents, who is nearly blind (Mother or father? Which is better?) The military world, with their command structure and soldier wives, even though she is one of them herself, remains strange to her.

The girl’s husband is a typical military man. He has not much knowledge about treating women apart from those he pays for it, but he is not unkind. Just ignorant, and been in the service structure for so long that it eliminated personal thought beyond a very limited range that centers around horses and cigars. He knows that his wife is a gem to his house, he does not restrict her pursuit of knowledge, and he is proud of her, with the respect of the one who knows that he will never understand her. Perhaps he does not even have gallant adventures. And sleeping with soldier girls is hardly betraying an honest wife. With a wife, you rather have children than sex. She is alien to him – she is cool to his touch, and quiet. But she makes a good wife, and manages his house. She gives good advice, she does not whine, she does not ask for fancy gifts or parties. He is not cruel. He is not dumb. He loves his kids, though he does not really have an idea what to do with them. Among all his discipline, he manages the serene calm of one who adapted the schedule of military into his blood and made it his own.

He agrees to the idea of taking in a teacher for his children rather then send them away to boarding schools at a too young age; looking for a suitable candidate he comes upon his wife’s former teacher (although he is not aware of that fact)

The teacher, her health overstrained at school, accepts the position as private teacher, not knowing whom she will be working for – she does not want to leave school as much as she is fed up with the games of the headmistress (who might have a hopeless, never admitted crush on her herself – shows when the teacher leaves. Softness in her eyes).

The first meeting between teacher and girl will very much depend on the fact whether the girl planned this or not – in which case she would stand there, smirk as far as possible while being solemn, and think “evermore – told you so, didn’t I?”. – Girl does not expect her, she enters, and the girl is standing on the landing of stairs inside, in a dressing gown, her daughter half hiding behind her and upon seeing the teacher she is crashing the Chinese vase she was arranging flowers in.

In either case, both are overwhelmed with the fact that their feeling have not vanished. And they quickly grow even more. The teacher, to whom the kids soon look up, is of course determined to not make a scandal in the house of the man who pays her, and does not even believe it possible that the girl would consider anything more direct than the sublimated affection game they played at school already. The teacher’s health returns with the lack of stress, and countryside surroundings.

The girl’s husband is usually abroad. He likes the teacher, who makes him feel like a younger brother even though they are of the same age. He has respect for her. She frightens him a bit.

The roles have changed. Here, the girl is the mistress. Her pregnancies have rendered her with a bit more weight, she is not a slim gawky teenager anymore but a gorgeous woman any man (or teacher) would dream of,  and resistance is futile in the end since the girl finally seduces the teacher.

Only slightly subdued relationship ensues. Blind parent is not much of an obstacle. Husband is seldom home (well, he could die, but that might be a bit too much…). Life is pretty good.

Husband dies, Teacher and girl settle in together, old blind parent whom teacher is taking good care of agrees. They still have to hide, of course, but not too much. (Prussian land reform of 1900 arrange rights to property).

7 thoughts on ““Prussian Blue” (hommage à Christa W.) – story layout, 2004”

  1. “Husband is seldom home (well, he could die, but that might be a bit too much…). Life is pretty good.”
    LOL!
    You have to write this, even if it takes another ten years.

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    1. You’re commenting on these gimmicks? Seriously? *LOL*

      Though this story is the only one I still might get to (though when, when?!) since I love the tone and setting it would have. – You do the graphic art, I do the story? Perhaps for our 40th, with brainstorming in London?! 😉

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  2. I like your ideas here 🙂 I think that the girl should not know that her old teacher is coming, but that the husban knows about her from her parents and his wife telling him a little about her schooling. He remembered his wife saying only once that this teacher was the best woman and teacher she had ever met, and so that’s who he picks. That way it isn’t the terribly cliche “accidental meeting”, although I do often enjoy those stories anyway *chuckle*

    I think the parent should be a father. Someone learned, who loves books and knowledge. His only regrets about going blind are not being able to tend his orchids or roses, see his granddaughter when she asked him if her dress looked pretty (maybe shortly after she learend to talk??). The old man finds comfort in sitting in the giant library with his daughter in law, where she often reads to him. He likes having his grandson sit on his knee, and chatter on about his games in the gardens out back, and playing with his puppy.
    The grandfather would be so taken with his daughter in law that once his son died, he would indulge any whim of hers, if it made her happy and didn’t damage his grandchildren’s lives.

    But then again, those are just my thoughts 🙂 I’m sure you’d find great ways to make this story work. I’d love to see you write it *smile*

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    1. thanks; this one is still in the “maybe” queue at Rykoe’s insistence!
      It’s been a few years since I last worked on it, but if I remember correctly, it was a female, and not a male parent figure to sort out ownership issues – Prussian Law got reformed only in 1900, before a woman couold not own property and after the husband’s death, it would fall back to the father, and I wanted there to be a chance that it would fall to the girl (and the teacher).
      Ah, darn, now I’ve got this story idea stuck in my head again. Thank you for your thoughts!

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  3. Oh I agree. Please write this. There’s a strange serendipity at work here – I discovered this blog today and only watched the Lili Palmer version of Madchen in Uniform not 3 days ago. Can’t argue with such signs like these!

    If you’ll permit a small suggestion/request just because I *love* angst – when the teacher arrives at the house, the girl may be less pleased. Could she harbour some resentment/anger against her teacher who seemingly rejected her all those years ago? Who didn’t bother to show up at her wedding with no word or apology? How dare she intrude on the life she has painfully carved for herself now. Perhaps she is a little cold to begin with…until she finds out about the cause of the limp.

    Just my 2 cents so apologies if I’m being presumptuous. I can only echo all other comments to date – please do write this. There’s so little J7 fic out there now, this would be so awesome.

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    1. Thanks, WeirdTwin! – I never thought this would get so much attention. Chances of this being written after all are improving by the minute (and Rykoe is sitting somewhere gleefully rubbing her hands…)

      The posted layout is only a first sketch, so there would probably be quite a few changes, and if the characters lead to angst, well, then there will be angst. 😉 (I am wondering now whether it would even be socially appropriate to invite the teacher for the wedding? Who does the invites around 1900? The bride’s parents?) I really haven’t touched this since I write it down, it would need quite a bit of detailing work.

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  4. The girl could say she invited the teacher do to her taking such loving care of her while she was ill. Like an aunt, since her own mother is alive?

    Also, i saw an old movie (Clint Eastwood was very young/unknown star in the lead) where the matron wanted the young girls affections for herself. It’s the first time i saw desire between women, though it was one sided and wicked. The matron killed the young soldier and hugged the grieving girl with a sigh of satisfaction that the girl was now only with her! Maybe your watchful matron is harboring her own desires and thus rejected, she pushes (half push as you say) our lovely teacher?

    The question of property ownership is a good dramatic point. Perhaps she would be in jeopardy of loosing all, until the law was changed. Imagine being told your home would go to the nearest male relative– even one you don’t know, just because women cannot own property. We had the same laws here in the US. There are rare few places that did not occur.

    There are documented cases of women posing as men so they could settle and own land. There was a movie about one such woman in the US.

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