‘Go to Villette,’ said an inward Voice; prompted doubtless by the recollection of this slight sentence uttered carelessly and at random by Miss Fanshawe, as she bid me good-bye:
‘I wish you would come to Madame Beck’s; she has some marmots whom you might look after: she wants an English gouvernante, or was wanting one two months ago.’….
Before you pronounce on the rashness of the proceeding, reader, look-back to the point whence I started; consider the desert I had left, note how little I perilled: mine was the game where the player cannot lose and may win.
How silly am I?! I had thought that Villette was a person, the woman on the front cover perhaps? Now I know that Villette is a fictional place near France, to which Lucy Snowe has decided to venture after London. A brave woman, with ‘no social significance and little burdened by cash’, the story becomes curiouser and curiouser.
Following the advice of Miss Fanshawe, Lucy arrives in Villette. She inquires of a stranger where she might find an inn suitable for spending the night, but upon being followed by two suspicious men, ends up at Madame Beck’s as Ginevre Fanshawe originally suggested. There, she is first hired as a nurse-maid for the children, then as an English teacher for the older girls. (Love how she overcame their taunting by first tearing the sheet of one’s exercise book in half before the entire class, then putting another girl in the closet and pocketing the key!)
When the child Fifine breaks her arm, a doctor is summoned. He turns out to be none other than the very man who suggested the inn upon her arrival at Villette. I’m feeling a little love in the air now, at least on the part of our Lucy Snowe, not to mention other women who seem to swoon over Dr. John.
Find more thoughts from those who are reading along at Unputdownables.