"Four o'clock. Teatime."

- Emily

Emily, or Emily-with-a-y, is an inmate of The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls and the main protagonist of the Asylum Letters part of Emilie Autumn's novel.

History[edit | edit source]

Emily was born into a poor family in Victorian England. Her life was uneventful for a child and her only prized possession was her grandfather's weathered old violin, which she taught herself how to play in the corners of her father's favorite dark tavern. There she would sometimes stand on the table and play for the drunkards; this earned her the attention of a passing talent scout.

Emily is given to the man for a small sum of money, and he enrolls her in his music school,The Unfortunate Girls' Music Conservatoire, where she studies music for a number of years. However, the Conservatoire turns out to be little more than a place for young girls to be trained to the liking of the highest bidders, to whom they are sold into servitude. Emily is eventually sold into the care of the Count de Rothsberg, who has previously purchased young girls from the establishment.

After a series of abuses, Emily and the Count's maid, Anne, attempt to make an escape. Emily procures a key from Anne that is a skeleton key for the mansion. They find themselves cornered on a bridge after their attempted escape and make the decision to jump together into the Thames below, considering this to be the only freedom they'll ever know.

Emily survives.

After discovering Anne perished in the waters, Emily heads out to London. It does not take long for her to be arrested for loitering and stealing a loaf of bread. Someone comes to collect her - Madame Mournington of The Asylum for Wayward Victorian Girls. Emily has been institutionalized by the Count.

Life in the Asylum[edit | edit source]

Without any hopes of release, Emily has no choice but to adapt to her new environment. She is subjected to the same brutality as all the other girls, but for some reason head physician, Dr. Stockill, takes a personal interest in watching her suffer, often calling her to his office. She becomes inducted into The Striped Stocking Society by Jolie Rouge, a secret group that exists to offer emotional support to their members.

To thank her for providing one of their fallen comrades with a proper burial, Plague Rats Basil and Sir Edward presents Emily with Suffer the bear.

Emily is part of the Ophelia Gallery along with other inmates, an event wherein the girls are displayed circus-style for the pleasure of the attendees. Meanwhile, new doctors have entered the Asylum, and Emily is subjected to a hysterectomy after a miscarriage. She is later made poster girl of the prostitution ring through the photographs taken of her being published in print. She befriends the photographer, Thomson. 

After the Asylum becomes more of an experimental laboratory than a storage bin for unwanted girls, Emily is given a key to the Asylum by Madame Mournington. She attempts to free the girls, but she fails after being discovered by Dr. Stockill; however, the key that Anne gave her takes on a supernatural element and takes the place of the Asylum Key. Emily is able to free the inmates and they take over the Asylum, killing the Doctors and Chasers.

Emily becomes the head of the newly freed Asylum, helping new girls find sanctuary when they are dropped off on the Asylum's doorsteps. On New Year's Eve, the building crumbles, and she and the other inmates jump from the rooftops to take their lives themselves in a mass suicide.

Appearance and personality[edit | edit source]

While not initially experienced due to her sheltered and very strict upbringing, Emily later becomes wise to how the world around her works, a great advantage in adapting to daily life in the Asylum. Emily is both talented with her hands and studious, having spent most of her free time at the Conservatoire reading history books and world literature. She is very gifted with the violin and plays a wide range of classical works. While mostly kind and open-minded, Emily does have a hot temper which she lets show on occasion.

Emily describes herself as having green eyes, long red hair and pale skin. The altercation with the Count also left her with a heart-shaped scar under her right eye.

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