(From Mr. Goodwin, the Chalet School to Mr. Kensington, Crane Street, London)
I have need to inform you that although the days of my full inspection are not complete, I must return home, or at least get away from this school.
My reasons? Here they are. My first impression on entering the school was the lack of politeness and welcome. The teachers ignored me; some laughed at my questions even! But it was the girls that were the most startling of all. Although they said nothing, they shot me the looks of deepest loathing and whispered behind my back to each other. Even the Prefects, who hold such responsibility at the Chalet School, made a nasty comment about me behind my back, which I heard as I walked past their door. The head girl, one Josephine Bettany, is the owner’s sister and thinks that therefore she can rule the earth. She herself cheeked me on one occasion when I was inspecting their prefect meeting.
However, there is a slight hitch where the Princess of Belsornia is concerned. I believe what we have heard from Miss Thekla von Stift is, in fact, a lie, so I think it would be best if you followed through and perhaps get in touch with the Belsornian court.
My last point is definitely the deciding point. I was walking by the window of the secretary’s study, when I heard a loud commotion coming from the inside and paused to look. What I saw was too of the minor teachers, Miss Dene and Miss Cochrane, having a stand-up fight – yes! Really!
Therefore, my dear Sir, you must look directly into the closure of the Chalet School.
(From Josephine Bettany, the Chalet school, to her brother Dick Bettany, India)
How is India? And Molly and everyone else? Of course I have to start off with that, but now to the important stuff.
I am sure Madge has told you that we have a new inspector, Carl Goodwin. Well, to put it…nicely…he is an absolute nightmare! He told me myself that I should punish Marie for being late for the Prefect’s Meeting, when everyone knows she was helping the babes down at le Petit Chalet. I explained to him, and he took it as downright cheek!
I haven't much more time to write because I’m going for another Guide Badge, but please do give me some brotherly advice! I am quite certain that he will close us down out of pure spite!
All my love to everyone,
(From Thekla von Stift, location unknown, to her father Mr. von Stift, Hotel Martine, London)
I know that you are furious with me for leaving you like that, but I needed time and space to think.
I have thought now, and have decided that all the theories that you yourself brought me up with were absolutely idiotic. I will choose my friends in my own manner and nothing you say will stop me.
Although I know I have made a fool of myself at the Chalet School, I now see where I went wrong. Or where you went wrong. It was my upbringing. You yourself would never understand the friendship between people of different classes and that is your own fault. You brought me up to see the world, yes. But it was a world warped and twisted through your own eyes. From now, I believe I can find my own way. I have a job, young though I may seem to you, as a secretary at a new firm, and have no need of depending on you any further.
I shall write to he head of the Chalet School and inform her that I am sorry for all I have done wrong, and ask for her forgiveness.
You yourself, Father, have nothing to forgive, for although I have acted on my own wishes, they are the right ones.
Thekla von Stift
P.S. I have changed my name, and there will be no point in looking for me. Thekla.
Thekla regarded her ink-stained hands calmly and walked over to the window of her new office. Crane Street was as busy as ever, but her eyes were glazed, unseeing. She knew that she would have to confess who she was to Mr. Kensington, to explain that the school was a good one; it was her who had been in the wrong. And she knew that however long she delayed it, she would have to write that letter to Mademoiselle.
Mr. Kensington stared at her. “So you are Thekla von Stift. Well, that solves a few problems. But I am afraid we will have to follow through with this school, because I have had a letter from Goodwin to declare that it must be closed down. I will tell him to wait and keep his eyes and ears open. I suppose I will be calling you Miss von Stift, now, and not Miss Carrey?”
“That would be correct, Sir.” Thekla felt slightly small beside this jolly, exuberant man.
“Very well. But if I were you, I wouldn’t expect this school to last long. It seems as if it really does have a problem – teachers fighting, and all that.”
“Teachers fighting?” Thekla gasped, “Never!”
“Oh, yes. A Miss Cochrane and Miss…” he checked the letter in his hand, “Dene.”
“No! It cannot be!”
“Unfortunately, it must be. Goodwin would not lie to me – exaggerate, certainly, but never lie. No, I doubt that this Chalet School will last much more than a month.”