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Carl Goodwin was feeling exceptionally grumpy on Monday. Mr. Kensington had written to say that he must stay at the Chalet, and he was feeling quite overcome by all these scheming women. Sometimes he would see even the staff break off quickly as he entered a room, eyeing him suspiciously and beginning to talk rather hurriedly about the weather. The two members of staff involved in the brawl were closer friends than ever – Carl wondered sometimes if it had just been his imagination and decided not to mention it to Mr. Kensington again, just in case.

 

Nowadays, every class inspected was rushed, but meticulous. He did not know it, but the Mistresses had all decided that he was to be given no chance to ask any questions.

 

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Back in London, Thekla von Stift was in a determined discussion with Mr. Kensington. She was still using her best powers of persuasion to convince him to take Mr. Goodwin from the Chalet School and send an unbiased inspector. Her boss, however, had very different ideas.

 

“No, no. We shall make him stay even longer, and if this School can really work the miracles with people that you have to me about, we shall save it. I am afraid that this School relies only on its so-called brilliant manoeuvres.”

 

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Mademoiselle and Madge were having a meeting in the Head’s Study, when there was a very indistinguishable tab on the door and it was thrust open by the inspector himself.

 

“Good afternoon, Mr. Goodwin. Would you like some short-bread?” asked Madge.

 

He stared at her as if short-bread and business would react violently with each other, and she shrugged elegantly and put the tin away.

 

He went straight to the point. “I have come to inform you of your inspection results.”

 

Mademoiselle frowned slightly. “So soon?”

 

“Yes,” Goodwin smiled nastily, “So soon.”

 

“Very well. Come, let us hear them.”

 

“No, I am afraid that there is nothing to be said about the results. I am also afraid that I have to inform you that the Chalet School is closing down.”

 

Madge and Mademoiselle resisted the urge to hit him, and even managed to control their faces in expressions of serenity. Mrs. Russell was the most shocked. All those years of hard work, and all for nothing.

 

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Outside the Head’s Study, Simone was waiting to speak to her cousin when she heard those words. She had not meant to, but she had heard them all the same. She scampered off to find Joey. Jo would know what to do.

 

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Inside the room, Mr. Goodwin was not finished. In fact, he had to pause for a while, because he was quite shocked at the calm manner in which the ladies received the news.

 

“However,” he continued, “My boss has written to inform me that I will stay on, and that some business back in England has made him change his mind. I will stay for the summer, and if there is no distinguishable improvement before then, the School will certainly close down. For now, it is quite safe.”

 

Mademoiselle rose stiffly. “Thank you, sir, for not shocking us with the bad news. We shall be quite happy to have you stay for the summer as our guest, and you will be as welcome as you always were.”

 

Feeling that the good lady was mocking him, Goodwin left the room, and decided to walk on the lake path to clear his head.

 

As soon as he stepped out of the door, he knew that something had gone wrong, for although all the girls were supposed to be resting or sleeping at this time, this wall of silence was somehow waiting; waiting for something to happen. He tried to shrug it off, and walked towards his room, the study which had been donated to him quite recently.

 

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Meanwhile, after speaking to Simone, Joey was in an urgent discussion with Juliet Carrick. Finally, Juliet gave in and twisted her engagement ring off her fourth finger. She looked drawn and pale with worry, but plastered on a smile and headed downstairs.

 

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Goodwin was walking down towards the door of his study when he saw Juliet leaning against his door, smiling at him. He started, shocked, and then smiled back.

 

“I came to ask about the inspection results. I know that whether you go soon or not depends on that.” Juliet somehow managed to look sad at the prospect.

 

Goodwin shook his head, “No, the school needs more reviewing. It is very complicated.” He shook his head slightly. There was no chance of him telling her exactly what the plan was. “So I will stay for the remainder of the summer. By the by, Miss Carrick, I am going for a walk around the lake this evening, would you care to accompany me?”

 

“It would be lovely. Yes, we shall invite Jo, Marie, and Frieda, and…”

 

“No, no. We shall not involve the girls – I believe that they are quite against me at the moment.” Goodwin had seized his chance and now he would not let it go. Juliet sighed, and then nodded.

 

“Very well. I will come alone.” She managed one more smile before saying goodbye and walking to her room.

 

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That evening, Joey Bettany stood at the window and watched two figured strolling by the lake. Her plan was working, but who knew if it would last?

 




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