|“||As a teacher, I don't have very much money, so I had to resort to a life of crime||„|
|~ Mrs. Bass' justification for her theft|
|“||They're bank robbers!||„|
|~ Mrs. Bass ironically accuses the Baudelaire orphans|
Mrs. Bass is one of the main antagonists in Lemony Snicket's fifth book in A Series of Unfortunate Events, which is The Austere Academy, alongside Vice Principal Nero. She later returns as a much larger antagonistic role in The Penultimate Peril.
Mrs. Bass is the Maths teacher at Prufock Preparatory School, a rigid boarding school famous for its motto Remember you will die. She runs the classroom like a tyrant, ordering her students to be as obsessed with measurements as she is.
Lemony Snicket says that there's nothing wrong with measuring things, as Klaus can recall a time when he measured the Baudelaire mansion one wet afternoon. However, an obsession is only evil enough when one enforces others to love what you love, as Mrs. Bass does with her students. This is pushing the line.
Role in the books
The Austere Academy
Mrs. Bass is first mentioned by Vice Principal Nero, the main antagonist, when he introduces the Baudelaires to their lesson schedule. Mrs. Bass is Klaus' teacher. She starts off by being pleasant enough but soon enforces her unhealthy obsession with measuring things. Mrs. Bass is said to be so ruthlessly obsessed with measurements that she barely notices what her students are doing. She just walks about handing the students odd objects to measure (such as the skeleton of a cat) then stands there and shouts "Measure!" and the kids do just that, then report the measurements back to her, and there's a test every so often.
Klaus happily has the lessons with Isadora Quagmire, his best friend in the school, which lightens up Mrs. Bass' tedium somewhat.
Overall, Mrs. Bass barely does anything villainous in this book - but soon after Count Olaf takes the Quagmires into his hostage and the Baudelaires are expelled, Mrs. Bass gets cranky and insults all the staff and students. Lemony Snicket says she was wanted for bank robbery, because she got an invitation by a mysterious J.S. inviting her to a wealthy party at the Hotel Denouement, telling her to bring her valuables.
Mrs. Bass claims she had no valuables being a maths teacher so she had to rob a bank to get some. Its heavily implied the stolen money from Mulctuary Money Management she has was the infamous Baudelaire fortune.
Mrs. Bass successfully evaded the Law, and she and Vice Principal Nero along with the other teacher Mr. Remora were invited to the Hotel Denouement. Mr. Remora was the only non-villainous member of the trio, yet somehow he stuck around with them. Mrs. Bass had to protect her loot, and yet somehow she carelessly left it sitting on a window seat with the black words "PROPERTY OF MULCTUARY MONEY MANAGEMENT" emblazoned on it.
The Penultimate Peril
|“||I'll have ten grams of rice, one tenth of a hectogram of shrimp vindaloo, a deckagram of chana aloo masala, one thousand centigrams of tandoori salmon, four samosas with a surface area of nineteen cubic centimeters, five decileters of mango lassi, and a sada rava dosai that's exactly nineteen centimeters long.||„|
|~ Mrs Bass showing her love of measurement when ordering lunch at an Indian restaurant|
Mrs. Bass was first observed by Sunny Baudelaire in the window room of the Hotel Denouement. Mrs. Bass was, oddly, wearing a white mask and appeared to be acting all paranoid like she believed the cops would get her. She admitted she could eat a dekagram of rice and she had stolen something from the bank which was said to be the Baudelaire fortune, which Sunny could clearly see in the window seat.
Mrs. Bass then accompanied Vice Principal Nero and Mr. Remora to the suspicious Indian restaurant which was infamous for having bad food, and Hal (a man from the Heimlich Hospital who had been the Baudelaire's unofficial guardian there) appeared and tried conversing with them in Sebald Code. However, being enemies of V.F.D. and uncaring for codes, Vice Principal Nero and Mrs. Bass dismissed it.
Mrs. Bass ordered lunch down to the mathematical lengths of the necessary food, then had a suspicious conversation about running from the Law with Vice Principal Nero.
Afterwards, Mrs. Bass was woken up at midnight by Dewey Denouement's murder, and was as confused as everybody else. When the story alighted that the Baudelaire "murderers" were present, Mrs. Bass was quick to pin the blame on them to get them arrested.
In the court trail the next morning, Mrs. Bass handed over financial records as evidence and blueprints of banks.
When the Baudelaires recognized the voices of the judges and identified them as the man with a beard but no hair and the woman with hair but no beard (the leaders of the Schism of V.F.D.) pandemonium erupted (as everyone wore blindfolds) and everyone argued whether or not the Baudelaires were telling the truth. All the villains disbelieved them, specially Esme Squalor and Mrs. Bass, who regarded the Baudelaires as bank robbers, alarming Mr. Poe who asked who had said that.
Mrs. Bass may have died in the ensuing fire which Sunny set to destroy the Hotel and warn V.F.D of their failure, however, Lemony Snicket says Mrs. Bass may have changed her name and may live next door to you, indicating she may have in fact survived.
Mrs. Bass was a cranky, paranoid woman, who only cared about valuables and money over respect for others. She seemed to get on well with Vice Principal Nero, perhaps because of their shared villainous interests, and she seemed romantically involved with Mr. Remora. She was as clever as Count Olaf because she evaded the law through several months, from the fifth book to the twelfth book.