When Marjorie Alcock awoke from her first night spent in Cornwall,the light from the sun affected her because the house that she was lodging in overlooked the moors :desolate and scary,feral,untended almost.Unlike London,it was sparsely populated and she wondered if the animals outnumbered the humans.
It was Sunday ,the sabbath in Britain still,and a rest day from any activity in StDenis that could be dreamed work.Marjorie,a nominal Anglican knew that that roots of Methodism,it’s strict adherence to Biblical dulls held sway here from Here correspondence with the Educational board .She didn’t want to rock the boat as she wanted to increase the co-operation with he parents in the school.The previous teacher,Edna Giles ,had worked tirelessly in the school ,but she hadn’t fully embraced new educational methods,preferring the almost indoctrination approach that rules based theology loved too.As Edna was a Sunday school teacher,Marjorie would go along with her this morning to see how the children were getting along.
After those initial stirrings of apprehension and regrets about leaving Blackheath,Marjorie sat down to her breakfast with Mrs Jasper.It was just gone 8 but it was very cold in the home that morning and Marjorie knew that that would have to wrap up going out to walk the mile or so to the Sunday school.Comsuming Porridge with salt and water meant that the oats stuck to your teeth,a very u comfortable feeling for Marjorie,and she felt the need to drink another cup of tea.As the tea was laced with Carnation Milk,Marjorie was having to cope with a whole new regime of sights and sounds,and tastes.It seemed as if she really was now in a foreign country.
To Mrs Jasper,it was just her life ,and she got on with it as it were.Mrs Jasper never complained,and to Marjorie she seemed a wholesome women but one who was just sad.Marjorie didn’t really understand about depression or viewed Mrs Jasper as having an illness,but she summed her up as highly intelligent people are apt to do.It would be one of those things that Marjorie would understand,but like her wanting for things to be better for children,that she wouldn’t forget.
Mrs Jasper walked with Marjorie to the church as the Sunday school took place in a building adjoining it.Marjorie noticed that they seemed to be the only ones walking and assumed from this that Mrs Jasper liked to be early.Marjorie noticed the undulating moors,the biting wind that day,and she thought of the first chapter of Wuthering heights that was indeed set in Cornwall.Her imagination running wild,she quite forgot to to notice the scene ahead of her until Mrs Jasper spoke .”Now,Edna isn’t here as yet,and I wonder if she’s not down with her troubles as she has em awful”.Marjorie,not really understanding much of that thought it expedient to ask if she could do anything to help.This was greeted with a look of incredulity by Mrs Jasper.”You be takin the Sunday school,you be the teacher”.
What followed for the next hour was a true baptism into Cornish Methodist Sunday school life for Marjorie.He she was with doubts really about a belief in the almighty at times,with a profound distrust for the hold that religion had in simple folk and the power that it had in the lives of these small communities.
What to do,thought Marjorie,what to do.?
She mustered up her training,her strong ,commanding voice,and marshalled the children into the Sunday school room.
Mrs Bryant,Edna’s assistant was there thank heavens,and she advised Marjorie that they always started with a hymn so they duly sang together.
She was impressed that the children sang so well and so loudly,and as they did,she forgot about all the troubles and just looked at their faces.Some of them were malnourished and sad,but they sang nonetheless.Some of the girls seemed angelic and the boys had chiselled faces and they seemed feral to Marjorie.
As the hymn finished some of the boys started to talk about “whose this new lady then”,Marjorie took this for interest and beckoned to speak to them which she did .
When Marjorie spoke to the children she had a command ,it got them in the palm of
Her hand.She spoke about Jesus wanting children to be close to him,wanting to tell them parables,wanting to watch them play.
Some of the girls had never been taught Sunday school like this because they Had always listened intently,but the boys were just pleased that she didn’t shout at them.
At the end,so many came up to her just to be near her and Marjorie felt a glow ,that glow when you instruct ,when you inspire ,when you impart hope.It would be the start of many many years of association and attention from Marjorie to these children and their children too.
Walking back with Mrs Jasper seemed like a bright time almost to Marjorie,as inside of her ,she was joyful,contented almost.
Marjorie spent the rest of her day trying to remember those faces and some of the names from the school register that she had been given .
Tomorrow,she must teach some of those children English and Maths.She wondered just how willing they would be to learning then.From her notes from the retiring Edna Giles,it would appear that many in her class were struggling with the basics and that would be her job now to show improvement for the board of education.
Looking at her rose cutting,something touched her.Wether it was her imagination,or it had grown because of her watering and the Cornish air,she could have sworn that her rose,her future Poesy had grown.Some of those angelic girls had beautiful faces and Marjorie wondered about having them as bridesmaids.But then ,she hadn’t a suitor as yet and had never had any man show the slightest bit of interest in her.Her passing thought didn’t become rooted in sadness though and she wondered if that was the root of Mrs Jasper melancholic moods.
It would have to wait though,but the watering of her cutting wouldn’t and she must do that write away.