She had been betrayed, by the one person she had trusted more than anyone else in the world. She could not grasp it, could not believe it. And she had been dismissed from Marcia Blaine, her last refuge, her last reason for living.
Quietly, numbly, she packed up her things and walked down the hallway of Marcia Blaine for the last time. She secured her things to the back of her bicycle and rode home.
What would she do now? She had nothing left to live for, nothing at all. She had no family, no lover, no friends, no job...
Teddy. She would go to Teddy!
She stood up from her kitchen table, then sank down again as the events of last night came back to her.
She had bade him "arrivederci"; she had said goodbye to him forever. She could not go to ask him to take her back – he meant so much more to her than that. If she went back to him now, it would seem to him that she was only consenting to be with him because she had lost her job. Oh, why had she chosen teaching over love? If she had chosen Teddy over her job, then she would not be in this situation now. Or if she was in this situation, she would not be alone.
Jean began to cry. Her pride, her damned pride, had ruined her life, once and for all. Well, she would not let her pride ruin the ending of her life, at least. Dabbing her tears away, she picked up her purse and left her flat, walking around the corner to the drugstore.
She purchased cyanide and tartaric acid; she was forced to sign the chemist's book for the cyanide, and claimed that it was for a wasps' nest. After her purchases were complete, she returned home. Placing the cyanide and tartaric acid aside for a moment, she went to her desk and began to write several letters – one to Teddy Lloyd, one to Monica Maclaren, and one to Jenny Gray.
Three hours and many tears later, she had finished. She addressed and stamped the letter to Teddy, then went downstairs to place it in the post box. When she returned to her flat, she set a few things aside on her kitchen table, propping the letters to Jenny and Monica in front of them. She set her will on the table as well.
Finished with her final preparations for her death, Jean then prepared the poison she would take to kill herself. Placing the tartaric acid and the cyanide in two separate glasses, in just enough water to dissolve them, she then mixed the two solutions together, creating hydrocyanic acid. She knew that a sip would kill her almost instantly, and she poured most of the poison down the sink, leaving only enough to ensure her death.
She went to her bedroom and, lying on the bed, drained the glass. She held the acid in her mouth just long enough to set the glass on the nightstand, then lay back against the pillows and swallowed. She died instantly.
Three days after Jean Brodie's dismissal from Marcia Blaine, Teddy Lloyd, her former lover, received a letter from her in the mail. He opened the envelope with a sickening feeling of foreboding.
By the time you receive this letter, I will be dead. There was nothing left for me, Teddy, not after Sandy betrayed me. Sandy, the one girl I trusted more than anyone, betrayed me. Teaching was the only refuge I had left, and now it is gone forever.
Teddy, the reason that I would never return to your studio was because I could not trust myself to resist you. To be perfectly honest, Teddy, I never wanted to keep myself from falling into your arms again. I love you, Teddy – I love you so much. I resisted you for so long because I wanted nothing to jeopardise my teaching career, and choosing teaching over you was the worst mistake I ever made.
And it is only now, now, after I had bid you "arrivederci", that I realise this. I won't ask you to take me back – I couldn't – and if I don't have you, or my teaching, then there is no longer a reason for living.
I wish that I had not denied you for so long, though I am glad that we had that one night together in the studio. That was the best and the happiest night of my life.
Oh, Teddy – I have not been able to forget our one night together. Even now, seven years later, I still remember every touch, every caress, every kiss of that night. The way that you looked at me as we made love... oh, Teddy...
Teddy, I want you to know that I never loved Gordon. I only turned to him because I would not allow myself to submit to you. He was nothing to me, absolutely nothing. I never loved him. And when we were in bed together... I never felt anything, Teddy, except longing for you.
Oh, my love... I am sorry. I know that I have hurt you, but know that I have hurt myself a thousand times more. I can no longer bear the pain of living without you, Teddy.
I am a stupid, foolish woman. I never should have rejected your love. But now I will pay the price for my folly.
For the rest of my life, and into the hereafter, know that I will regret all the time I could have, should have spent with you, but did not, because of my own foolish pride. I regret that I never will see the portrait you painted of me. And most of all, I regret not knowing what might have been between us.
Goodbye, Teddy. I love you, love you so much, love you forever.
He tucked the letter into his pocket and ran nearly two miles across Edinburgh to her flat. He tried the door; it was unlocked. He stepped into the flat. Everything was in order. Several trinkets were sitting on her kitchen table, each with an envelope in front of them. He ignored them, turning to the door he presumed led to her bedroom.
She lay on the bed, her face pale, an empty glass sitting on her nightstand. He rushed over to her, taking her hand in his, feeling for a pulse.
There was no pulse. She was gone.
"Jean," he said, choking back a sob. He stroked her cheek. "Jean, wake up," he begged her, tears falling down his face. "Jean, please wake up."
She did not move.
"Wake up, Jean!" he cried angrily, taking her by the shoulders and shaking her. "Damn it, Jean, wake up!" He stopped shaking her, and took her into his arms, sobbing.
"Oh, Jean," he wept. "My darling, darling Jean." The tears flowed thick and fast, soaking her hair, but she could not feel his tears. She could not feel anything anymore, and would never feel anything ever again.