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Madame Davis


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[COLOR=Indigo][I]Monday, September 11, 1899[/I]

As Mary Davis walked past the windows toward the assembly hall (which had been, in the mansion?s days before the Home was established, a ballroom), she could see that the trees lining the very edge of her property were already beginning to shed their green coats, revealing the brilliant red, yellows, and oranges beneath. Fall was coming and, with it, the beginning of a new school year at her estate.

It had been twenty-five years since she had established the Home for Gifted Children, almost exactly to the day. Mary could not believe it had been so long ago, and yet, she could, as she saw her graying hair and felt the typical aches and pains of someone who was nearly 52 years old.

There was no time to focus on such things, though. She had a school to run.

When she opened the doors into the assembly, she could see the students sitting in their chairs. Smiling, she walked through the room slowly, holding her head high like a proper lady of her stature. She was dressed nattily, in quiet, muted colors that nonetheless spoke to her position as the headmistress of this school. As she looked around the hall, Mary recognized some faces, and some she did not, just like almost every school year that had come before it.

Mary walked to the front of the hall and onto the stage, nodding to the teachers who were sitting in chairs on the stage as she made her way to the podium. She wrapped her gloved hand around the gavel sitting on the podium and lightly tapped the gavel against it, getting the attention of the small crowd. When she was sure she had the attention of the majority of the people in the room, she began to speak.

?Thank you, ladies and gentlemen.? She spoke clearly and loudly enough to be heard at the back of the hall. ?I would like to welcome you to the Home for Gifted Children. As some of you may have inferred, I am Madame Davis, the headmistress of this school. All of you have different reasons for coming here, I assume, but we are all here to gain the knowledge to control the special gifts we have inherited. Be assured that you will gain this knowledge ? but only if you put enough time into learning what your instructors and I are attempting to teach.?

Clearing her throat quietly, she continued. ?There are only a few things I would like to say before we begin this new school year. Those of you who have been here before will no doubt know that I tell everyone this every year, but I believe it bears repeating.?

She pointed to the doorway into the assembly hall. ?Do you see those doors? As soon as you walked through it, you have become equal. Race, creed, nationality, social status ? none of these things matter in my facility. You are all students, and I expect you to conduct yourselves as such. You are to respect each other as equals, no matter where you come from, for you are all here for the same purpose.?

Mary then turned to glance at the people who were sitting behind her at this assembly and gave them a smile and a nod. ?These are your instructors, who will introduce themselves in their respective classrooms this morning. They will teach you everything you need to know to survive in this world. They are former students of mine, and I am very proud to have them at my school. I expect you, as students, to give them the proper respect that they deserve.?

?Now, ladies and gentlemen, it is time for you to report to your classes. I do hope everyone has received a schedule before you entered the assembly hall. If not, please report to the front desk to receive one. If you do not have a class scheduled for nine o?clock this morning, please report to the field behind the Home for your first training exercise.? She clapped her hands together and smiled. ?I wish you the best of luck in your endeavors, and I expect that you will enjoy your stay here at the Home for Gifted Children. Thank you.? With that, she bowed her head respectfully and walked away from the podium, the signal for the students to begin filing out of the hall.


[B]OOC:[/B] If you are a teacher, please report to your class at this time. If you are a student, start figuring out where you're supposed to go. For a list of the subjects, please look to [B][URL=http://www.otakuboards.com/showthread.php?p=671256#post671256]this post[/URL] [/B] in the [B][URL=http://www.otakuboards.com/showthread.php?t=48676]Underground thread[/URL] [/B]. Of course, if you are not in the assembly hall for whatever reason, feel free to post about that, also.[/COLOR]
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[B]Journal Entry[/B]
Sunday, Sept 10, 1899

I am writing this as we wait for our baggage to clear customs. We are finally in New York! This is my first time out of Europe, and I must say? it seems very familiar. Quite a bit like London, really. The only difference is their accents and the statue in the middle of the harbour. Both are horrid. There must be other differences though; I?ve heard that cricket isn?t terribly popular and instead people play something called ?baseball?. I don?t believe a word of it. Cricket is in style [I]everywhere[/I]!

The weather certainly is like London?s? foggy and smoggy, with a bit of a chill in the air. It wouldn?t surprise me at all should it begin to rain. Dreadfully lucky I didn?t put my pea-jacket in my trunk, what?

The crossing itself was fairly uneventful. I do think travel by steamer is less elegant than by sailing vessel, and it smells worse too. This is, however, the price we pay for convenience, and it wouldn?t do to start at this new school a week late because of the wind. I also learned ever so much about steamships, I can even disassemble several parts with only minimal damage to the equipment while under sail power. I?m sure I could do it again without ANY damage, but the captain suggested that the other passengers might not enjoy another six hour delay while the engineer helped me put it back together. I don?t see why they were upset, though, since we spent the six hours under sail power and we didn?t actually lose any time and the engines worked just as well as they did before. The captain was so helpful in getting us off the ship quickly. Too helpful, I think, though I disagree with Sophia that I was the cause of his drinking problem. I was planning on offering my services to him should he need any errands done in New York, but Sophia got That Look in her eyes so I didn?t.

Speaking of the school, I really have no idea what to expect. First, it has both boys and girls in it! Aunt Susan was apoplectic when she heard about that, but father always has said says that I shouldn?t pay her any mind because the Bassington-Edwards are?I wish I had Sophia?s memory? something about? ah, yes...

[ink blot]

Hmm. Perhaps I shouldn?t write that down. In any case then there is this talk of the ?eccentricities? of the students and faculty. I?m sure I shouldn?t believe all the rumors I have heard, but even if one eliminates all but the most reliable of sources, one gets the impression that the school is? odd. Sophia certainly would qualify, but not I. My only odd skill is to play games of chance very well!

Ah but I must stop writing now, I see one of the customs officers approaching. He?s frowning at our baggage tags, and there?s a porter behind him with Sophia?s luggage but not mine. And now he is looking at me as if he is sucking on a lemon. This is going to be a long day.

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Guest zoetheshort
Sarah Miller sat in the assembly hall with her fellow students. Looking around, she saw a wide variety of faces, boys and girls, different ages, and (to her slight dismay) different social classes. The depressingly dull uniforms couldn’t hide that. But. Sarah was not here to judge, she was here to learn. She looked down at her course listing- history, algebra, geology- very exciting subject, that!- rhetoric, Latin (“Just give me a copy of Ovid or Caesar’s dispatches from Gaul and I can do quite well on my own, thank you- but perhaps we shall learn a bit of the history, the society, one can only hope…” ), and her elective, needlework. This would be her last year at Madame Davis’s as a student. She hoped, fervently, to be allowed to teach next year. It was either that or go to a…normal…women’s college until she married. And that idea was not in the least appealing.

Mind back to the present, though. Madame Davis had finished her introductory speech and it was time to go to class.
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Guest Spawnie
Catherine smoothed down her skirts as she stood. She needed to make her way to her first class of the day, Physiology, and she'd only just memorized the layout of the school. It would not do to get lost on the first day of classes.

[I]Drat this crowd[/I], she thought. She'd known there were a fair number of students here, but she hadn't really expected so many. She would have to be very, very careful, to keep from repeating the incident at Grandmother's house. It was not an experience she wished to go through again.

Clutching her books to her chest, she slipped through the crowd of students, careful to keep her hands from brushing against anyone, and started to make her way to the door.
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??Oh, I don?t know?it?s blue, for heaven?s sakes! I--Well, all right, you?ve got a point there, blueberries are blue too, but see, that?s different?? Having been deeply engaged in a quietly intense discussion on the very serious matter of foreign cheeses with the French instructor, Sheaves was admittedly rather slow to notice the arrival of their very esteemed Headmistress at the entrance of the Assembly Hall, where teachers and students alike were gathered for the beginning of the school year. A quick elbow in his ribs by Mr. Lautrec (who was obviously paying much more attention that he was) swiftly remedied this and after he flushed and nearly dropped the top joint of his pinky in embarrassment, he belatedly redirected his attention from creamy bleu and fontinella to the regal figure making her way across the stage and behind the podium.

He listened alertly to Madam Davis? speech, or at least, he tried his best; he always loved to hear what others had to say but unfortunately also had always been quite poor at paying attention in school...gossiping about the latest scandal happening in the girl?s dorm or how that frog managed to find its way into poor Jimmy Croft?s knickers during lunch (however, due to little Jimmy?s nervous habit of spectacularly combusting when provoked, most of the students? sympathy was for the frog) had always been much more interesting that listening to old Houghton drone on about the staggering importance of crossing t?s and dotting i?s and how to measure exact margins and all that rubbish which Sheaves had never managed to find particularly useful in his adult life. Luckily, Madam Davis had always been a figure that always commanded his interest, and because he was rather nervous about starting his first year teaching and was determined to do things right, his attention managed not to wander too far during the speech; he clapped at her ending words on time along with the rest, as opposed to after a few beats with a jab in the side as his cue.

Gathering his book-bag, Sheaves weaved his way through the masses of students and teachers exiting the Assembly Hall, waving and smiling and voicing the odd ?how do you do?? at familiar faces as he went. Swept along with the crowd, he continued until he had reached his appointed classroom near the end of the hall, the noise of bustling activity quieting as he closed the door behind him. Setting his bag on the study-worn wooden desk at the side of the classroom, he walked over to pull open the Venetian blinds, bathing himself in a shaft of golden autumn sunlight. He took a deep breath to steady his nerves and promptly dissolved into a coughing fit, having just inhaled a lungful of flying dust dislodged from the slats of the blinds when he had yanked them open, which, needless to say, did nothing for his nerves whatsoever.
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Guest MothDarkfire
Lydia listens to Madame Davis' speech with interest, but she had trouble believing that the prejudices and hates of a lifetime could be shed with the act of walking through a door. Things just didn't work that way in her experience, especially when she was the one at the bottom of the ladder.

She rises with the others and frowns at the schedule she'd been given. Having never learned to read, it was little more than gibberish to her. She looks around quietly for someone in charge that can help her, but sees no-one that she can bring herself to approach. She stands, chewing her bottom lip nervously and trying to decide what to do before she gives up and follows the last of the students out into the hall, where she finds a spot under one of the windows to wait for someone that'll hopefully help her without teasing her for her lack of education.

[i]This's gotta be less of a problem![/i] she thinks privately. When she'd gone in to take the exams and had to explain there that she couldn't read the woman had shaken her head, but said that she'd be taken care of. Taken care of.. what did that mean exactly? That she'd be tossed back and forth between teachers that didn't have time for her, like at the public school? That she'd be sent to classes where she did nothing but sit in the back of the class and try to grasp at the concepts being taught? If that was the case, then there was no way she'd hang around here. She could still find work in some factory somewhere, or she could join her Mamma in the rich man's house, as a maid or something.
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Guest elainemc
As the headmistress concluded, Dollie reviewed her copy of her class schedule: arithmetic, penmanship, and world *and* American history. She sighed. None of it sounded especially enthralling, but she knew that her father and stepmother expected her to do well. She smoothed her skirt and straightened her cuffs a little self-consciously.

She'd met her roommate, Lydia Petrakis-- what an odd name!-- already, and couldn't quite decide if she would like the other girl or not. She seemed terribly common, but then, Mother Ada would expect her to be kind to Lydia, as she hadn't had Dollie's advantages. And it would be *too* awful to go through the year at odds with the girl she'd be with the most.

She couldn't help but wonder what sort of classes there would be to handle the... the special talents they all presumably possessed, and if they would be harder, or easier, than the regular curriculum. She had a feeling that this was going to be a very difficult year, in many ways. One comfort, at least: if it was dreadful, she knew Papa would take her out again.

Then she frowned slightly. That sounded like running away, didn't it? And *that* sounded cowardly-- not at all like Colomba Aldonza Esmerelda de la Silva, the heroine of [i]Flight of the Silver Dove, or, A Lady of Courage[/i]. She shook her head sharply and hurried on her way, wondering who she would meet in this strange, strange place.

She nodded politely, first to a girl her own age with black curls, then a older girl with sand-brown hair done up prettily. She couldn't see Lydia in the crowd; in fact, she didn't see anyone else she knew; and suddenly, she felt much smaller, much younger, and much less impressive than she had just moments before.
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[COLOR=DarkGreen][I]Geometry, Rhetoric, American History, Bookkeeping, Physiology, Singing, Topical Events and...Latin.[/I]

Rori sighed as she looked down at her schedule.

[I]Busy year....busy year...[/I] This was to be her last at Madam's before she would have to decide whether to request a job teaching and continue living in the relative safety of the Academy, or if she would take a risk and get a job outside of it. [I]Not thinking about that now...we have all year to do so...[/I] She turned back to her schedule. [I]And I signed up for Latin...why? You know it is going to sound rather funny coming out in an Irish accent...[/I] She grinned as she remembered her atempts to learn it in previous years, the Latin teacher had sent her away telling her to learn "proper english" before even [I]attempting[/I] to learn Latin.

[I]I know how to [B]speak[/B] it properly now...so lets hope the [B]accent's[/B] not a problem...[/I] At the clapping she loked up, Madam had just concluded her speech.

Rori looked around for her roommate, they both had Physiology as their first class. [I]Eyuck...plants and bugs and animals...[/I] Raised in cities for most of her life, she hadn't encountered these very often, and, to be perfectly honest, didn't like them that much anyways...cats were good, but other than that...eh.

Spotting Catherine exiting through one of the doors, Rori got up to follow. Looking down at her hands as she headed towards the door, she noticed that her schedule was...severely singed. [I]Oh, that's great....going to have to get a new one...later, of course, as [B]class[/B] is now.[/I] She hurried out the door towards the classroom. [/COLOR]
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Guest Spawnie
As she was taking her sweet time getting to class, Catherine had plenty of time to look around, trying to orient herself. She glanced behind her to make sure she wasn't in anyone's way, and saw Rori leaving the assembly hall. She smiled and stopped, waiting by one wall for her roommate. She'd completely forgotten that they had their first class of the day together; she'd been more preoccupied listening to Madame Davis' speech and wondering if she would be able to do well in this school.

"Hello, Rori!" she called out. "Would you like to walk to class together?"
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[COLOR=DarkSlateBlue]Laura Brooks sighed, glancing over the empty desks. Her classroom looked neat and orderly...and that was about to change. It always did. This was her third year teaching for Madame Davis; her second as a full teacher...last year, she had made the mistake of assuming that all students were on [i]her[/i] side. This was, she had soon discovered, not the case. She wasn't going to make the same mistake again.

She paced in front of her desk, between the first row of student's seats and her own, enjoying the momentary quiet. She'd decided to start easy today. Plants. Plants didn't have thoughts; if they did, she didn't hear them. Waiting to know your class before you brought in, say...a panther was always a good idea. She winced slightly, remembering that little debacle. It had been a learning expirience for both her [I]and[/I] her students...they had learned that panthers do not like shrieks or being startled, and she had learned that Madame Davis did not care for panthers. Or at least not panthers in her classroom. Or at least not [i]live[/i] panthers.

[I]This year,[/I] she resolved, [I]there will be no disasters.[/I] Even as she thought it, she knew just how silly a statement that was. Disasters were attracked to this place. She immediately amended her statement. [i]That I can prevent, anyway.[/i]

Her classroom door swung open, admitting her first group of her students. She settled in behind her desk, and waited for the rest to arrive.[/COLOR]
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Felix looked around with wide eyes. He?d never been around so many people from different places, outside of the London dockyard and Themes Estuary which he was forbidden to visit unescorted anymore. Vaguely, he wondered if he?d be able to visit the New York dockyard. He doubted it, the place seemed to be pretty strict, but it was always worth a try.

Gathering his thoughts, he trotted over to the Mathematics and Physics professor who was wandering to his classroom. ?Professor Kerenski!? He absently clicked his heels and gave a brief bow before launching into his introduction.

Kerenski raised an hand and cut him off before he started. ?Ah, Herr von Liebesleide. The lucky noble. So glad to make your acquaintance. What can I do for you??

Felix gawked for a moment, then continued, ?I just wished to confirm my placement in your physics and algebra classes.?

?Yes, Herr von Leibeslied, I have the great pleasure of teaching both those classes, and indeed you did test out of geometry and arithmetic. This is a source of great annoyance to me, Herr von Leibesliede; because of your late arrival my class numbers are off, but we all make do with what we have, eh? A word of warning, though. You are not to interfere with my physics classes or the statistics portion of the algebra class. I understand that unlikely things ?happen? around you. Not in my class, do you understand, mein Herr??

?Yes professor.? Thoroughly cowed, Felix slunk off to Biology and sat very quietly at the back of Ms. Brook?s class, wondering if his luggage had arrived yet.
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It was times like this that Molly was glad that someone in her family had bothered to teach her to read. She read over her schedule while everyone around her clapped for Madame Davis. First up she had Physiology, which a classmate had been nice enough to tell her was Biology. If she understood right, it was a class all about plants and animals, how they worked and the like. That definitely sounded good to her, anything where she could learn more about her rooted friends. Her hand strayed to the leather pouch on her neck and she smiled brightly as she continued down the paper.

Later on the list she also had Arithmetic, a math class. Math?well she had learned to count and that sort of thing. Molly paused, her brow furrowing as she tried to imagine what sorts of things she?d learn there. One of her brothers had once told her all about division and multiplication. It sounded hard and a bit pointless to her. Adding and subtracted seemed like all she needed but still, learning was learning and she wanted knowledge.

Penmanship, History, Singing, Latin?suddenly a hand fell on Molly?s shoulder and she jumped, only to see one of the other students smiling at her.

?Come on kid, everyone?s leaving.? The boy said with a laugh. Sure enough, she?d been so engrossed with her classes that most of the others had long filed out of the room.

?Ah thanks!? Molly blushed, feeling embarrassed. Still at least someone had bothered to shake her out of la-la land. She grabbed her satchel and stuffed her schedule in it, determined not to get distracted again. Hastily she rushed down the halls of the school, overwhelmed that a place could be so large. It was easy to get taken in by such a strange, beautiful new place, especially for a girl from such a sightless little town. Part of her wanted to go through the tour one more time, to gaze around in wonder at such a wonderful school.

Still, it was almost time for class to start so she had to hurry. Or had class already started? Molly stopped dead in her tracks and sighed, reaching back in her bag to search for her class list once more. Yep, she was late for Biology and going in the completely wrong direction. She didn?t waste another moment and rushed off down a different hallway. Molly really hoped she hadn?t missed much as she finally reached the classroom door. Sure enough, everyone else was already there and the teacher looked up as she entered.

She was smiling and excited but Molly could tell it was going to be a long day already.
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He was having a wonderful time. The children were having a wonderful time.

This was not good.

Barely fifteen minutes into the class period, Sheaves found himself seated upon the edge of his worn-out desk facing a sea of young faces, papers and pens rolling about the glossy table-top willy-nilly as he waved his arms empathically to make some sort of very important point in the class? current topic of choice-- the marvels of modern bed slippers. So useful, so soft, so cozy?

In his defense, it wasn?t that he hadn?t [i]tried[/i] to keep the lesson in some sort of order, the small, childish, petulant part of his mind protested. He did start off according to plan: first he had taken roll (two children missing; perhaps they had gotten lost in the long corridors somewhere) and introduced himself and then he had the children stand up introduce their own selves and their powers and their favorite hobbies and then he had started outlining their study course on the board and then before he knew it, they were debating the advantages of fleece to linen in relation to the soles of one?s feet.

A couple of the students too shy to join the conversation sat awkwardly at their desks, unwilling to speak, averting their eyes and fiddling with their books and papers. Sheaves quickly remedied this problem with a direct question regarding whether the key purpose of slippers was insulation or comfort, and soon, nearly the entirety of the class was involved (Participation equals extra points, children!). A very few of the serious, more studious pupils were, god forbid, actually on task, busily completing the writing assignment he had vaguely remembered issuing, the scratching of their metal-tipped pens on paper stopping every now and then as the student paused to glare pointedly at Sheaves when the enthused discussion rose too loudly.

At least the students were getting a bit of exercise in public speaking, he sheepishly thought as his mouth babbled excitedly on to a nice fair-haired young girl about the pros and cons of training canines to retrieve bedtime footwear. It was still only the first day of school, anyways.
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