(From To Brave a New World)
On their first meeting – upon he saving her from having walked out of her Teaching career for not conforming – she confesses to him her dream
“My castle is my own school where I can practice everything I believe in”, she began apostolically; “my castle is an ever increasing string of competent literate children who scamper through life on their own recognisances to illuminate the world around them for owing nothing to anybody”, she trailed away aware she had shot her bolt – then determined to add to its damnation, “I want to create the fertiliser for the re-birth of our people so they can again be the leaders of the world in the culture they used to be”, she sailed off into the dream which had fuelled her last few years. “I want to re-create the English Enlightenment which lit the world after the prescriptive Licensing Laws were lapsed like those great luminaries of The Lunar Club who rode to meet their friends by moonlight to ride the waves of their imagination discussing Men and Matter to build a new world – they who sprang out of an age of repression like we are in now – I may only be 25 but I’ve done a hell of a lot of reading specially through the fantastic period of unfettered intellectual endeavour which tossed convention’s gods in the bin to show us truth so England soared ahead to become the intellectual powerhouse of Europe – while France, locked in its furious Papist censorship, guillotined its premier chemist Lavoisier – so I want to make many kids like me to rebuild the Brave New World they created with such eclat – I want my kids to be ‘a light to lighten the world’”, to collapse into his chest exhausted by her temerity.
A little later on their way to visit an abandoned school which he has the money to buy so from which she could build her castle
“Where did ‘Oh Flight of Birds’ come from Fiona, it was utterly gorgeous”, he asked intrigued she could remember it so wholesale. “Oh I wrote it for my children a couple of years ago Angus”, she replied a little doubtfully, “when I saw exactly what we’re seeing now because I wanted to show them what poetry really ought to do – dance and sing to transport you somewhere else – they learned it like I did because it did transport them so we chanted it together – starry-eyes”, she trailed away remembering back to children’s happy voices singing the words to be spiked into a realisation.
“English words Angus”, she enthused, “built from the most magnificent language the world has ever used – we’re English Angus, our culture of freedom depends on English, is written by English’s time-laden words, yet we’re abandoning it in schools because they’re being swamped by immigrants who don’t speak it so the indigenous people are becoming disenfranchised because the lessons being taught in a myriad other languages so they become the un-preferred in their own land Angus – which is the true hell of ‘immigration’ through the active taking over of the country by abandoning its language and so its culture – which is the road to nemesis – not in my world”, she sizzled sitting back, “for which Angus”, she readdressed ‘language’ briskly, “I shall do what I’ve been trying to do but haven’t had the time in the bloody Curriculum which is to have every child read aloud every day, and not just a little either because I shall have story-time where a whole class reads a story page by page, each child reading aloud, sequentially, so they acquire some notion of performing while acquiring a personal pride of presence by building their self-confidence – a very powerful force”.
MacFarlane intrigued by the reasons which drove all this girl did asked, “what will you read”? “Easy one that”, she smiled across, “but don’t laugh because I shall use Mr Lang’s Fairy-Books which have enough stories in to last a lifetime and the PC creeps can’t complain because they’re taken from all over the world – they’re written in beautiful language for a start so children will acquire an immediate feel for the well-written while being Fairy-Stories they appeal across all the humanities – so none of the revolting ill-written dystopic debauchery making heroes out of murder in organised games which so disgraces children’s literature today – all the classicists have extolled reading Fairy-Stories to children for their treatment of the great universalities common to all humanity”. “A command of words Angus”, she avowed, “allows you to order your thoughts so you can create effectively then also so you can command people to bring your creation about” – “I know Fiona”, he corroborated fondly, “anything I may have achieved I have done so because of a power with words – not particularly my engineering skills – to form the idea then be able to explain myself so carry people with me – very powerful stuff indeed because once children have the power of words they can educate themselves to whatever level they need to, whenever – so all the rest is surplus to requirements”.
She sat back, eyes closed, assembling the raison d’être of her castle for children, “Angus I want youth to be so fired into dreams by language it follows the fiery cross to the cross-roads then is happy to follow where it listeth to accept that death for a dream they know can live by their commitment is greater than dying in the ditch of unknowing – I want to breed children so fired by language they go out into life to make it their own – not others’ – so I want to teach them to write so they can express themselves because it’s no good ‘dreaming’ if you can’t convince people your dream is a goodie”, she smiled inside her head at the memory, “I won first prize in my Prep-School story writing competition one year, I was eight, with a Story called ‘The Yellow Ghost’, can’t remember anything about it now but I can remember the title with what it did for my self-belief – so I want to run writing competitions to get children into the ideas of writing”, then suddenly brought back to reality by the loom of a T junction ahead.
© Margaret Montrose www.thegoldenpath.co.uk