“Miss Mackay laid another scheme and the scheme undid her. There was a highly competitive house system in the Senior School, whose four houses were named Holyrood, Melrose, Argyll and Biggar. Miss Mackay saw to it that the Brodie girls were as far as possible placed in different houses. Jenny was put in Holyrood, Sandy with Mary MacGregor in Melrose, Monica and Eunice went into Argyll and Rose Stanley into Biggar. They were therefore obliged to compete with each other in every walk of life within the school and on the wind-swept hockey fields which lay like the graves of the martyrs exposed to the weather in an outer suburb. It was the team spirit, they were told, that counted now, every house must go all out for the Shield and turn up on Saturday mornings to yell encouragement to the house. Inter-house friendships must not suffer, of course, but the team spirit…
This phrase was enough for the Brodie set who, after two years at Miss Brodie’s, had been well directed as to its meaning.
“Phrases like “the team spirit” are always employed to cut across individualism, love and personal loyalties”, she had said. “Ideas like “the team spirit”, she said, “ought not to be enjoined on the female sex, especially if they are of that dedicated nature whose virtues from time immemorial have been utterly opposed to the concept. Florence Nightingale knew nothing of the team spirit, her mission was to save life regardless of the team to which it belonged. Cleopatra knew nothing of the team spirit if you read your Shakespeare. Take Helen of Troy. And the Queen of England, it is true she attends international sport, but she has to, it is all empty show, she is concerned only with the King’s health and antiques. Where would the team spirit have got Sybil Thorndike? She is the great actress and the rest of the cast have got the team spirit. Pavlova…”
The prime of Miss Jean Brodie
Penguin Books, 1965 (publicado originalmente en el Reino Unido por MacMillan, 1961. La editorial Pre-Textos la publicó en España como La plenitud de la señorita Brodie, 2006)