A school exchange programme sees girls from Malory Towers paying a visit to the Chalet School.
Name confusions, personality clashes and the usual hair-raising adventures ensue.
St Scholastika's House Characters:
Hilda Annersley, Mary-Lou Trelawney, Verity-Ann Carey, Vi Lucy
09 Feb 2018 Updated:
13 Feb 2018
1. Chapter 1 - The Letter by AilidhNoor
2. Chapter 2 by AilidhNoor
Chapter 1 - The Letter by AilidhNoor
Errors in ages, names, and violent disruptions of personality are entirely my own fault.
Anyone who can supply a surname for Malory Towers Mary-Lou, do let me know, I don't have all the books to hand to check.
‘A school exchange? In Switzerland?’ Felicity Rivers stared at her older sister over her tea cup, eyes wide with surprise. ‘And they want you?’
‘Less of your cheek!’ Darrell retorted automatically, but secretly she shared her sister’s astonishment. She looked again at the letter her mother had handed her. Yes, there it was in black and white; ‘Specially selected…. small party of girls… a month with a school in the Swiss Alps… opportunity to develop language skills…a new way of life…’ And at the end, the firm, swooping signature of her headmistress, Miss Grayling. There was definitely no mistake. They really did want her!
‘Miss Grayling discussed it with us at the end of last term,’ Mrs Rivers explained, seeing her daughter’s bewilderment. ‘She had been in touch with the Chalet School to begin planning the trip, and she had a shortlist of girls she thought might be suitable. I was very proud to hear that your name was right at the top.’
‘But what about my exams?’ Darrell asked, still rather bewildered. ‘And who will cover Games while I’m away? And I’d need new clothes – isn’t it really cold and snowy in Switzerland. And…’
‘All taken care of,’ Mrs Rivers told her, laughing. ‘Your work won’t suffer, and in any case, you should be well prepared by now. I’m sure your deputy is more than capable of managing hockey until you return, and I’ve already bought your winter clothes.
‘It’s a wonderful opportunity,’ Mr Rivers added, folding his paper and setting it next to his plate. ‘I should have liked to take you all to the Alps one day, but the hospital keep me so busy that it’s as much as I can do to snatch an odd weekend away with you all. I’m glad you’ll be going, Darrell, and I am sure you’ll make us and Malory Towers very proud.’
They had four weeks at school before travelling to Switzerland, and Darrell was eager to know who else was coming on the trip. She had already heard from Sally, and knew that her best friend would not be accompanying her. Sally’s little sister Daphne had been very unwell over Christmas, and the family were planning a three month trip to the south of France where they hoped the warmer climate would help Daphne’s recovery.
Darrell was not the only one wondering. On arrival at school it seemed to be the main topic of conversation for the entire Fifth year.
‘Oh, I was never in the running,’ Irene declared, dumping the contents of her night-case onto her bed in preparation for her usual hunt for her health certificate. ‘Can you imagine anyone letting me loose in Europe? I’d get on the wrong train and like as not end up in Vienna. Blow, where is that wretched cert?’
‘Pinned to the inside of your coat, you donkey,’ Belinda intervened as Irene swung round. She unpinned the paper from the lining of Irene’s mackintosh and handed it to her friend. ‘Go on, take it to Matron before you put it down somewhere daft.’
She gave Irene a little push towards the door, and turned back to her own case. ‘I’m going,’ she announced, apparently as an afterthought. ‘Miss Linnie thought it would do my sketching a world of good, and said that they have an amazing art teacher at the Chalet School.’
Alicia Johns, quick as ever, had already unpacked and was stretched comfortably on her bed watching her classmates arrive. ‘Oh, I’m in as well,’ she said. ‘You don’t see me missing out on the fun, and we’re bound to have some larks while we’re there.’
‘What about Betty?’ Darrell asked. Alicia and her best friend were almost inseparable, but Darrell could not imagine any teacher agreeing to them both going. In their early years they had been two of the naughtiest girls in the school, and even now neither girl was adverse to playing tricks.
Alicia looked mournful. ‘No, apparently it’s just girls from North and South Towers on this visit. East and West are visiting a school up in Scotland in the Summer Term. Rotten for them, but apparently it’s quite a good place in its way. Co-ed, and the scenery is just magical.’
More girls came in; pretty Daphne, shy Mary-Lou, Bill and Clarissa with straw from the stables still clinging to their breeches, stern Moira, a slightly chastened looking Catherine, and finally Gwendolyn Lacey.
Darrell noted with some disgust that Gwen appeared even more disagreeable than she had last term. Her long gold hair was tossing wildly – always a danger sign – and she was scowling so fiercely that Belinda was already groping for a pencil. Gwen brushed past them all, dropped her bags on the floor and swung round to glare at them.
‘Have you heard about this trip?’ she demanded, as usual getting straight to the point about what was currently annoying her. ‘A whole month in Switzerland, and apparently I wasn’t even considered for it, even though I always wanted to go there. And I’ve passed my School Cert at last. I had a rotten tutor all holidays and had no fun until it was done, and all for nothing, because Daddy and Miss James said it would be bad for me to miss too much school work.’
‘Dear me, I can’t imagine what gave them that impression,’ Alicia drawled. ‘What a shame for us, a month without your company. How will we manage?’
‘Alicia,’ Darrell said warningly. Gwen’s cheeks were beginning to flush pink, a sure sign she was about to turn on the waterworks, and Darrell felt that she could really not endure a full blown row on the first day of term. ‘What about the rest of you?’ she asked, hoping to change the subject. ‘Alicia, Belinda and I will be going, who else?’
‘I am,’ said Mary-Lou rather timidly. 5 years at the school had done a lot to improve her shyness, but she still tended to be nervous about speaking up in a large group.
Darrell smiled. That was one person she could be jolly glad about. She slipped an arm around the smaller girl and squeezed her waist. ‘Sally isn’t coming on this trip, so I shall rely on you to keep me straight,’ she said kindly, and was rewarded by a broad beam from Mary-Lou
‘Rachel Farley, Lorna Pentravers and Fiona McPhee are going from South Tower,’ Moira said. ‘I asked Jimmy who was going directly I heard. Of course, I wasn’t eligible as I still had work to make up from last year, but that’s not so bad. I shall like having a free hand here.’
Darrell could well believe this. Moira had made herself thoroughly disagreeable the previous term, her domineering attitude almost ruining the school play. She had learnt her lesson, but Darrell guessed she was still pleased at the idea of running the class with some of the more strong-minded members missing.
‘Louella is the other girl from South,’ Daphne said. ‘She lives near me and I met her in the holidays and she told me.’
‘I’m surprised you aren’t going yourself,’ Gwen groused sourly. ‘A chance to hobnob with high society seems right up your street.’
Daphne flushed at this reference to previous sins, but put her chin up. ‘Mother and Father couldn’t afford it, and I hope I’m decent enough not to pester them about it when they’ve said no.’
‘An attitude you would do well to adopt yourself, Gwen,’ Moira said sharply.
Alicia swung herself off her bed and stood up, brushing down her tunic. ‘Well, I’m off to hunt up the South Tower girls and see what they know. Darrell, Belinda, Mary-Lou, coming?’
Having a nightmare with formatting, so please excuse any egregious spacing errors until I can fix them at leisure!
Va were spending the afternoon in their common room, whiling the time away with books, magazines and puzzles, and trying their best not to repine on the fact that heavy snow had spoiled their chances of a walk. As befitted members of a senior form of the Chalet School, they were not making an undue amount of noise, but this did not stop them looking up guiltily when their common room door opened to reveal Miss Annersley.
‘Well, don’t you look like you’ve been caught in the act?’ she teased, her grey eyes twinkling with good humour. ‘Don’t worry girls, I’m not here to scold you. I’ve come to bring you some news.’
Characteristically, Mary-Lou Trelawney was the first to recover.
‘Have a seat, Miss Annersley,’ she urged, unceremoniously turfing Vi Lucy off the wicker chair they had been sharing. ‘There’s a box of humbugs going round too, if this greedy bunch haven’t eaten the lot.'
‘Thank you my dear, but I fear my digestion is not up to sweets at this time of day,’ Miss Annersley responded with a chuckle. She sat down in the indicated chair and smiled round at the eager faces.
‘Girls, I have some news for you, which I hope you will find exciting. The Chalet School has been chosen to be part of a new exchange scheme, where pupils from different boarding schools spend a month studying at another school. They learn about the differences between teaching styles and individual school ethea, and it is hoped they bring back some new ideas for their own school. Next month, a group of students from Malory Towers on the south coast of England will be joining us. They are of a similar age to yourselves, and will be learning and studying beside you. I hope you will make them feel welcome and included as part of the school during their visit, and that through you they will learn a great deal about what it means to be a Chalet School girl.’ She paused for breath, and then threw up her hands in horror as a babel of questions immediately broke out.
‘Girls, girls, have mercy on my poor ears! I haven’t much time, but I’ll try and answer some of your questions. One at a time, please. Hilda, you begin.’
Hilda Jukes blushed red at being thus singled out. ‘Please Miss Annersley, I just wanted to know how many were coming.’
‘There will be eight in total, and next year we will be choosing eight girls for a return trip. Yes, Lesley?’
‘Where will they be sleeping?’ Lesley asked.
‘We will be opening the additional dormitory above Cornflower, and four girls from Cornflower and four from Carnation will be sleeping in there, so that our visitors are sharing with our own girls.’
Cue looks of horror from various members of the two dormitories, which Miss Annersley wisely ignored. ‘Mary-Lou, you had a question?’
‘Yes, what’s an ethea?’ Mary-Lou asked, while her friends shot her withering looks. Fancy wasting a question on a point of vocabulary!
‘Ethea is from the Greek, and is the plural of ethos,’ Miss Annersley told her. ‘If you intend to continue with Classics, I expect you will encounter the phrase in your university studies.’
‘Thank you,’ Mary-Lou said demurely, clearly making a mental note of the word for future use.
‘Rosemary, you wished to ask something?’
‘Yes Miss Annersley,’ stammered Rosemary Lamb, one of the more feather-headed members of the class. ‘Is it boys and girls, or both?’
A close observer would have seen Miss Annersley’s lips twitch, but years of practice allowed her to swallow her laughter, and answer this question with her usual sedateness. ‘All our visitors will be girls, dear. Well, I must run, since I think Matron is waiting for me.’
She left the room with rather more haste than usual, and had any of the girls though to follow her, they would have been treated to the sight of their dignified headmistress half collapsed against the opposite wall, helpless with giggles.
Fortunately for Miss Annersley’s reputation Va were too busy howling down their unfortunate class mate.
‘Oh Rosemary, how could you? You nit wit!’
‘As if we’d be sharing dormitories with boys!’
‘Honestly Baa Lamb, do use your loaf!’
Rosemary subsided under this onslaught with scarlet cheeks. ‘I was just wondering!’ she protested feebly.
‘Well, next time wonder in silence,’ Mary-Lou told her trenchantly. ‘A nice view Miss Annersley will have of us all, thinking we have boys on the brain!’
‘I really didn’t mean it like that!’ poor Rosemary said, going even redder at this.
‘I don’t think Miss Annersley took it that way,’ Lesley interjected peaceably. ‘You leave her alone Mary-Lou, and focus on the important bit. Eight new girls! I wonder what they’ll be like?’
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