The next thing which happened was half term. Joanne and co had been wildly excited to find that this time they were to start in St Moritz-Bad for a few days, visiting the Dorf end while they were there, before heading to Zermatt in Valais. This information had not meant much to Rachel, but she had told them that it was hard for her to get excited about going anywhere without knowing anything about it.
Sally went for the big book on Swiss canton’s and looked out the picture of the Matterhorn. “Look Rachel, this is the best way I can explain why we are so excited at going to Zermatt. Look at her. She is the best part of the scenery in Zermatt. I can’t tell you how close we will get to her, but if we had the right weather I’d love to ski on her!”
Then Joanne chipped in “I doubt we will manage that Sally” And then she turned the conversation a little further “St Moritz is a lovely place as well Rachel, for the most part anyhow.”
Rachel understood at least a little about what they were getting at. The mountain was indeed lovely.
They were even more pleased when the mistresses told them that the journey from St Moritz to Zermatt would be using the Glacier express. It was a long journey, and expensive, but it would give them some stunning views.
The staff had taken over a small Chalet in each place for the girls to stay in, and as they were slightly older than the middles, and could be trusted a reasonable extent they were allotted groups to stay in the apartments in.
The number of girls per apartment depended on the size – one of them was for one person, another held up to six at a time. “We shall be within walking distance of the village of Zermatt, and the station which leads to the Matterhorn expeditions” Miss Darleigh told them while they were travelling to St Moritz.
“Not that we will be doing anything other than looking at it” Mrs Entwhistle put in quickly. “We couldn’t take anyone up it. No one is experienced enough a climber. “And I wouldn’t like to attempt it if it’s snowing either” Miss Darleigh put in.
Kathy Ferrars, who had asked if she could tag on to their party, in the knowledge that with Nancy and co retiring she would have to get to know many of her juniors quite a bit better than she did already, agreed with this statement.
After looking around their first destination a little the girls worked out a programme for their first few days. There would be no sightseeing on Sunday, they were all too tired, after their long journey, and barring church they would be taking life easily.
Rachel looked around her in disgust. “I thought you said Swiss houses were pretty. I can see something of it of course, but what about those awful block buildings?” she remarked in an undertone.
Joanne smiled at her, “I guess that even the prettiest of places has some buildings which are less attractive than others” she responded quietly, “Anyhow; there are plenty of prettier things about the place.”
They were settled in the lakeside area, very close to the entrance, and more or less next to the Olympic jump which was built in 1926. The mistresses were pleased that it was closed most of the year, but some of the sporty girls, such as Sally, spent a fair amount of time there.
They had plans over the next 2 days to try and visit 3 of the different sights which the staff thought would be of interest to the girls. These were the Mili Weber House, the Slanting tower, and Heidi’s hut.
The greater majority of these were on the hillside, in St Moritz-Dorf. Miss Ferrars was outlining how they were going to make their trip to the Mili Weber house on Monday morning when Rachel decided, quite unintentionally, to give the others a shock.
Kathy was saying “We leave and walk to the bus station then we have to catch the bus to Dorf, it won’t take that long, but with the weather we have been having recently I think it’s a bit safer all round if we use public transport rather than walking!”
A few minutes later Rachel suddenly asked. “May I be excused from this trip please?” The girls all looked up in astonishment; this trip was one they had been waiting for. “Why do you want to miss it out Rachel?” The question came from Tamara Darleigh who was standing behind her.
“Well, she just said we have to catch a bus. I’d be sorry for my poor hands doing that, if I wasn’t squashed altogether!” She told the mistress, a funny glint in her eye. The girls looked at her blankly until Tamara responded with “And I’d be sorry for the one throwing it!”
At that the others laughed, and they joined in knowing that their little bit of fun had come together nicely.
A few minutes later Sally turned to Rachel and said. “I really don’t get how you pair understand each other so well. You only met just over a month ago, and yet you get on as if you have known each other all your lives. How come?”
Rachel responded without thinking. “Oh that’s easy, she’s like me!” The other girls looked up at this, each one knowing what she was referring to. Suddenly she gasped. “Oh I shouldn’t have said that. I’m so sorry Miss Darleigh.” She looked very upset, and Tamara hastened to reassure her.
“It’s alright Rachel, no harm done this time.” She spoke lightly, never letting anyone suspect her fears as to what this revelation might mean for her relationship with Sally, for she was aware that this new reform had only gone so deep and a mistress with the disorder was rather different to a playmate having it.
A few minutes later when they had managed to withdraw from the other girls for a minute she continued. “Rachel, you are going to have to think before you speak though. It’s something which you will need to be able to do as an adult. Think about it ok?” Rachel was standing as close to the mistress as she possibly could at this time, but having been given this challenge she agreed that she would try. Then, having received a reassuring squeeze to the shoulders she slipped off to her room to try and recover her equilibrium again.
It took her a good few minutes to do this, and she was only just coming to terms with what she had done, and what the mistress had said when Joanne banged on her door and told her they were about to leave.
“I think I might just stay here” Rachel told her. “Why on earth?” Gasped Joanne “I know that you were only having a laugh earlier on, and you were looking forwards to the trip. Come on Rach, what’s the matter?”
Rachel laughed shakily “I guess I’m not yet used to making silly mistakes. I shouldn’t have said what I did. It’s none of my business.”
Joanne looked at her seriously. How was she supposed to respond to this one? “Rachel, I know that you will be upset about it, anyone would be. I know you are probably feeling worse about it – you couldn’t tell me that with the way you get stressed out, this hasn’t affected your stress levels. Well, you could, but I wouldn’t believe you!”
She stopped, and decided to go on a little bit more gently. “Honey, you can react in this in the same way you have to every other stressor. I can see how it helps you to hide away for a bit. Did you ever think though, about how much you would miss if you did?
“I don’t know that our crowd will ever come here again. I know we haven’t repeated any of our other expeditions, and this is possibly the only opportunity you will have to go to the house, to see the tower, or to visit the hut.”
Then as Rachel still seemed hesitant, “Come on Rach, if you stay behind not only will Sally, Tan and the rest of our crowd miss you, but Miss Darleigh or Mrs Entwistle will have to stay behind with you and that would spoil it for them and for the rest. Please.”
Sighing Rachel agreed that she would come, and knowing that it wouldn’t do to do it half heartedly she managed to cover up the way she was feeling and look like she was enjoying life.
Author's Chapter Notes:
Thank you once again all for the comments and likes on the last part of the story. I hope you enjoy the continuing saga! :)