'The Chokey,' Hortensia went on, 'is a very tall but very narrow cupboard. The floor is only ten inches square so you can't sit down or squat in it.'
"'The Chokey,' Hortensia went on, 'is a very tall but very narrow cupboard. The floor is only ten inches square so you can't sit down or squat in it. You have to stand.'" - Matilda
Hortensia is the battle-hardened ten-year-old who teaches Matilda Wormwood and her friend Lavender what their headmistress, Miss Trunchbull, is really about. "Welcome to borstal," she says to them in the Crunchem Hall playground.
Hortensia is well versed in the art of Trunchbull-baiting - or at least, that's what she tells Matilda and Lavender. After explaining what The Chokey is, she goes on to tell them about the many times she's found herself imprisoned inside it. Like after the time she poured Golden Syrup onto the Trunchbull's chair. Or the time she put itching powder in her gym knickers.
Matilda and Lavender are "enthralled" by Hortensia. "It's like a war," Matilda says, after hearing her tales of life at Crunchem.
Actress Kira Spencer Hesser played Hortensia in the 1996 film adaptation of Matilda.
You're darn right it's like a war...And the casualties are terrific.
Roald Dahl's Matilda