JANE IN SPACE
Miss Polly Connor
Chapter 13 – In which Miss Austen lectures on feminism and gender issues
A long ponytail fell down the ensign’s back, where it had been confined by the cap — which in itself proved nothing. Many a man had fine and flowing locks — but the fullness of the accompanying lips, those wide and star-bright grey eyes and — not to be indelicate — the generosity of the chest beneath a uniform so odd that no private of the British Navy would ever have consented to don it…
“Why, you are a girl!” Miss Austen accused the creature, quite astonished. Not a lady, mind you, clad in pantaloons and some species of riding boot, her hair — a woman’s glory — hidden away, and her manners, well, more suited to a bootblack or farmhand. And, besides…
“Medical duties?” she queried, in addition. “Why, how can that be so? How might you be entrusted with any such, of the weaker sex as you are? A nurse, perhaps,” she allowed, looking critically again at this young miss’s bearing and appearance. For everyone knew nurses not to be a respectable society of women, and often enough only a synonym for females of light virtue.
“No medical school of any repute would accept a female to enroll as a scholar,” she sniffed, looking aside to the smooth grey wall of her little prison and cubicle.