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Ivy Norman kept a close eye on Margot and to her relief she allowed herself to be drawn into the conversations of the other girls on the train.  It wasn’t until the train arrived at Swansea and met up with the rest of the girls that problems seem to start.  Ivy almost missed it but she could hear Margot’s name being said almost like a ripple affect amongst the girls.  Margot squirmed at the attention and glowered in response to all the stares.  Ivy unfortunately had to leave her alone while she went through the list of girls with the other five mistresses.  Almost as soon as she left Margot alone, the Dawbarn twins and Primrose Trevoase raced over to her.

“Margot, what are you doing here?” asked Prudence eagerly.  “I thought you were going to the Swiss branch.  Are Len and Con here as well?” 

“No,” snapped Margot, her bottom lip out.  “I didn’t pass my exams.” 

“I’m sorry,” said Priscilla, “that’s bad luck.” 

“It’s not fair,” said Margot. 

“Why didn’t you work harder and then you could have gone?” Said Prudence, who could generally, be relied on, to say the wrong thing. 

“I did,” exploded Margot.  “I worked really hard but Miss Annersley made the exams too hard.” 

“Why would she do that?” asked Primrose sceptically. 

“And at least you had the chance to go to Switzerland,” put in Jacquetta who standing behind them with Emilia.  “It’s not our fault you didn’t do well in your exams; at least you got the chance to go to Switzerland and you’re not even twelve.  It’s not fair that no one else got that chance especially all the girls who live in Europe already.  You don’t hear Emilia or Tessa de Bersac complaining.” 

Margot scowled at this plain speaking from Jacquetta and the two girls eyed each other with dislike.  Very few people realised how much Jacquetta had wanted her family to move to Switzerland. 


Miss Norman looked around, she could hear raised voices and thought ‘oh no,’ when she saw Margot and Jacquetta look like they were both going to have a stand up fight. 

“Miss Marilliar, Miss Oldroyd, please take over, I need to sort this out,” she murmured to the two mistresses she was working with.  Miss Marilliar smiled at her sympathetically and Ivy hurried towards the girls and heard,

“Jacquetta Mensch!” exclaimed Gisel Mensch scandalised. 

Ivy made a spilt second decision; this was not the time or place to be dealing with this. 

“Gisel,” she said, “would you take all the fourth form girls to their coach please.” 

“Yes Miss Norman,” said Gisel relieved not to have to deal with this in such a public place. 

“Emilia, Jacquetta and Margot, it’s time to go to your coach, please,” said Miss Norman, “I will discuss this with you later.” 

Miss Norman kept Jacquetta with her and sent Margot and Emilia on ahead.  ‘It looked like having Margot at Carnbach was going to be harder than I thought,’ reflected poor Ivy. 


The coaches made the final stage of the journey to Carnbach and the girls eagerly looked around them.  No one from the third form and above had been to the school so there was bedlam for a few moments.  Miss Norman notice Gisel pull Jacquetta to one side and say a few words to her.  She looked at them thoughtfully and then turned her gaze to Margot who was staring stonily ahead of her.  Following her instincts she walked through the throngs of girls laughing and talking with each other and saw Jacquetta leave her sister and join her friends looking somewhat happier. 

“Miss Norman,” said Gisel nervously, when she saw the mistress approach, “Jacquetta is,” she began. 

Miss Norman smiled at the would be Head Girl.  “Gisel,” she said gently, “I think if I talk to Margot about her behaviour at Swansea, I can leave talking to your sister safely to you.” 

Gisel looked at the mistress with gratitude and relief. 

“My belief is Margot complaining about coming here is going to cause a few upsets and Jacquetta is the first she’s managed to upset.  Am I right?” queried Miss Norman. 

Gisel nodded ruefully. 

“Then,” continued Miss Norman, “please pass onto Jacquetta I will overlook this incident, but I won’t do so again.” 

“Yes Miss Norman, thank you,” said Gisel with some relief as a bell clanged and everyone stopped talking and looked towards the entrance of the school. 


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