Camilla (age 11): “I started a club at school today for girls who like old things like parasols, fans, gloves, and hoop skirts. If you’re in the club, you’re not allowed to say ‘cringey,’ ‘vibes,’ or ‘hashtag.’ We don’t know what to call the club, though.”

Gibbs: “Sisterhood of the Modern Grievance. No. How about the Jane Austen Memorial Sisterhood? JAMS for short.”

Paula: “How about the Jane Eyre Memorial Sisterhood. JEMS.”

Gibbs: “Yes! Jane Eyre! Everyone in the club has to read Jane Eyre and then take an oath.”

Camilla: “What would the oath be?”

Gibbs: “I care for myself. The more solitary, the more friendless, the more unsustained I am, the more I will respect myself.  I will keep the law given by God; sanctioned by man.  I will hold to the principles received by me when I was sane, and not mad—as I am now.  Laws and principles are not for the times when there is no temptation: they are for such moments as this, when body and soul rise in mutiny against their rigour; stringent are they; inviolate they shall be.  If at my individual convenience I might break them, what would be their worth?  They have a worth—so I have always believed; and if I cannot believe it now, it is because I am insane—quite insane: with my veins running fire, and my heart beating faster than I can count its throbs.  Preconceived opinions, foregone determinations, are all I have at this hour to stand by: there I plant my foot.”

Camilla: “And you have to put your hand on a copy of Jane Eyre when you say the oath.”

Published by Joshua Gibbs

Sophist. De-activist. Hack. Avid indoorsman.

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