“The reports from Miss Smail, Reverend Gillan, and Reverend Hastie pointed to mismanagement and a lack of harmony between Scottish College and the Female Mission.” Mrs. Stevenson makes a dismissive gesture with her hand. “Miss Smail’s charges are without merit, however Mr. Hastie made several suggestions for the restoration of harmony.”
I try to adopt the humble expression Mrs. Stevenson seems to expect, but I’m confused. “Excuse me, but why would you accept Mr. Hastie’s suggestions when he wants to usurp my authority?”
“Yes, the entire situation is a muddle.” Mrs. Stevenson looks exasperated. “The Investigating Committee includes the Ladies’ Association in its deliberations, but the Foreign Mission Committee has a stronger influence. The long and the short of it is that if you continue as Lady Superintendent, you must comply with new rules.” She stands up and walks to the window, her hands clenched by her side.
I allow her to collect herself before I speak. It occurs to me that the bigger issue is about who controls the Ladies’ Association. The missions sponsored by the Ladies’ Association are incidental to church politics. How can I turn this to my advantage? I turn to Mrs. Williamson.
“Will I be subordinate to Reverend Hastie? That is the only thing I can’t bear.”
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