Institutionalised - Volume 2
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St Mary's Hospital School - the motto: through obedience comes learning, through discipline comes obedience. Humiliating enough that it should be proudly emblazoned on the front of the gymslip, the breat pocket of the stiffly starched blouse, the little open-fronted waist-length cape - that fastened so tightly at the throat and that she wore of occasion over the top - and just about every other item of clothing to boot. As a statement of intent that fine embroidery spoke volumes; the crossed crook-handled canes as a heraldic device was of particularly questionable value, practically openly stating to the world that here was a young lady subject to the kind of physical chastisement that most would have assumed had long been consigned to history. But then again, the uniform itself was a thing of the past, an anachronistic throwback to long-obsolete values and the mentality of seen-but-not-heard, quiet-as-a-mouse submissive femininity. Bad enough, then, that she was way past school age - worse still that the institution in question was little more than the outcome of a gleam in a psychologist's eye. Elsewhere, another young womnan, already resigned to her ugly green and white striped nylon prison uniform dress, was beginning to appreciate the real meaning behing the nomenclature: Victorian Workhouse. Both have in common that they are at loggerheads with their respective guardians, both are volunteers having been persuaded of the advisability of building a financial buffer before starting university, but more importantly before undertaking mounting a legal challenge for their inheritance and rights. The financial return for a 90 day residential clinical trial had seemed too good to be true - perhaps it was. For both these young women it had been far easier to hoin than it was was turning out it would be to leave - there was always some obstruction, some excuse, some extension to their stay, justifiable by one clause or another. Both young women were now learning the hard way that freedom could be as tenous as a spidery signature scrawled on a crumpled document.
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