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Josefa buried herself deeper under her bed clothes. 

“It’s not time to get up yet is it,” she moaned, her voice muffled. 

“Afraid so,” said Armine amused, “and you’re first on the list for a bath. 

Josefa groaned.  “I’ll swap with you, Gretchen, if you like?” she said hopefully.  “That way I’ll get five more minutes.” 

Armine laughed, “If you don’t get up I’ll yank the covers off,” she threatened, “or bring back a wet sponge.” 

Josefa made a face at her and stumbled out of bed while Gretchen silently handed her, her sponge bag before returning to finish stripping her own bed. 

 “I don’t want to get up,” whined Celia.  “It’s too early.” 

“It’s time to,” said Armine briskly who in one night had realised Celia was a bit of a complainer and a whiner.  She hadn’t failed to notice the looks the girls exchanged, when Celia complained bitterly the night before about the early bed time.  Josefa on the other hand was good natured to the extreme so Armine could easily laugh off her dislike of early mornings.  Armine turned away after she saw Celia get up with ill grace and start striping her bed.  Armine checked her dorm one last time and hurried off for her own cold bath.  She only hoped the girls would keep moving while she was gone.  She returned to see Celia still dawdling, while the others were all in various stages of getting ready for the day with Gretchen being the quickest.  She was waiting for her own bath time having completed everything else.  She hurriedly dressed and then turned to Celia. 

“Celia you need to keep moving if you want to be ready on time, said Armine. 

“It’s too early,” whined Celia.  “I don’t see why we should make our own beds.  The maids should do it.” 

“It’s the rule,” said Armine barely keeping her patience.  “Now it’s time for your bath.  You’re last with Gretchen.” 

“It’s not fair I’m last!” complained Celia.  “I don’t like being last.” 

“Everyone takes there turn to go last,” explained Armine patiently.  “Come on, you don’t want to be late for breakfast.  And especially not on the first morning,” she added when Celia made no move. 

Celia trudged off slowly after Gretchen.  Armine hurried to finish the last of her own duties and was relieved to almost everyone was ready when the bell rang again.  Celia was still putting on her shoes. 

“Everyone line up,” she directed.  “Celia, you need to hurry up,” she said kindly. 

Celia burst into tears.  “Stop being so mean to me,” she stormed. 

Armine looked startled until she heard a calm voice say, “What’s going on here?” 

Armine looked up to see Miss Stephens standing in the room.  “Celia, you need to stop crying,” said Miss Stephens briskly.  “Surely you’re too old to cry at the drop of a hat these days.” 

Miss Stephens had taught Celia for the last two years and knew her ways. 

“Now stand in line with the rest and girls start marching off.” 

 

The girls did as they were told and Miss Stephens gently touched Armine’s arm intimating she wanted to talk to the girl.  Armine waited with an inward sigh. 

“Armine,” said Miss Stephens kindly, “Celia tends to cry at the drop of a hat so don’t worry about it too much.  Keep going the way you are and you will be right.  The girls themselves will sort her out.” 

“Thanks Miss Stephens,” said Armine feeling relieved. 

“Run along then” said Miss Stephens with a twinkle in her eyes.  She was right.  As soon as the girls reached their common room they turned as one onto Celia.

“What do you mean by starting to howl like that?” demanded Josefa.  “Were you trying to get Armine into trouble with Miss Stephens.”

“She was being mean,” said Celia her bottom like trembling.

“She was not!” exclaimed Angela Carter.  “All she did was, tell you to keep moving so we wouldn’t be late.”

“She was too,” said Celia the easy tears started to flow.

“For goodness sake don’t be such a waterspout,” said Rosamund turning in disgust.  “Aren’t you too old to cry at the drop of a hat?  We’re in Upper Fourth now, not Kindergarten.” 

Celia’s tears dried up when she saw everyone looking at her in disgust; even her own friend Lydia Sackett and she turned and walked away. 

 

“Where’s Doris?” asked Josefa looking around.  “I thought she would be here.” 

“She’s been promoted to Vb,” said Cherry gloomily.  “She was top with Mary Lou last term and she was one of the oldest in the form so she’s been promoted.”  Cherry gave a sudden grin.  “I don’t think she’s too happy about it cos Anne Gordon and Marion Tovey have gone up too.”

“Thank goodness we don’t have them with us this term,” said Josefa fervently.  “Anne’s not too bad,  but Marion…” 

 

It was safe to say Marion Tovey hadn’t endeared herself to any of the girls in IVa in the two terms she had been at the Chalet School which was partially the reason Miss Annersley had recommended Miss Edwards promote her. 

“She might stand a chance of making friends in another form,” said Miss Annersley.  “I think after all the problems she caused in her first term have made such an impression on the girls, that although they’re polite and not actively rude, none of them are actually friends with her.  She’s sinned too much against their code and she’s a good year older than most of them.” 

Miss Edwards agreed reluctantly for Marion’s work was no where near at Fifth Form level which would mean intense coaching on the part of the Mistresses.

“Poor Doris though,” put in Anne Carter.  “It’s hard lines being promoted with them and she’s on her own.” And the others agreed.

“I’m exhausted,” said Maria Ileana dropping into her chair at the breakfast table. 

“It’s not that bad,” said Lesceline laughingly. 

“I wouldn’t be too sure about that,” said Maria Ileana darkly.  “They kept chattering like magpies and wouldn’t get ready.” 

“At least they didn’t start crying over nothing,” said Armine feelingly, still annoyed at Celia antics. 

“No-o,” said Maria Ileana thoughtfully, “but if they don’t settle down they will be in tears by bedtime.” 

“Hopefully that will be a mistresses problem,” said Lesceline soothingly.

“Don’t talk to me about dormitories,” said another voice. 

“How bad is it, Jen?” asked Lesceline teasingly. 

Jen Penrose made a face.  “I don’t know whose idea it was to put me in charge of the Lower Third girls,” she said feelingly. 

“Neither do we,” teased Di Vedin sitting across from her, “they’re likely in the nearest loony bin.” 

“Thank you very much,” said Jen pulling a face and giving an unwilling smile at the chuckles that went around the table. 

 

Two terms ago another school had joined forces with the Chalet School and despite difficulties between the two schools it did cause one unexpected benefit; many of the older girls whom had been against the government of the school had started to stand up and defend the school against the newcomers, who didn’t always agree with the traditions of the school.  Jennifer Penrose and her coterie were one such group who had been pulled more firmly into the school.

“I’m just glad I wasn’t made Dormitory Prefect,” said Lara Wylie lazily. 

“I think the Head would have more sense,” said Di scathingly. 

Lara chuckled annoyingly. 

“Where’s Zoe?” asked Armine curiously, “I haven’t seen her.”

“She wanted to go to Switzerland,” explained Lara, “and Dad said as she had been doing better with her school work, she could go.”

“You didn’t want to go?” asked someone else.

Lara shook her head.  “I’ve no desire to travel,” she said frankly, “and most my friends are still here and I don’t particularly want to leave them.”

Lesceline nodded.  “I can understand that, though you must miss Zoe.”

Lara nodded without saying anything for that had been a sore point between the twins when Zoe had decided she wanted to go to Switzerland and Lara decided she wanted to stay.  Although neither girl had said much to the other, neither had liked the idea of separating.  They had grown up side by side sharing the same group of friends throughout their school career, however, Zoe had started to grow away from their friends and Lara almost without realising it had resented Zoe for growing apart from her.

“I wonder who will be Head Girl this term?” asked Armine changing the subject.  “Does anyone have any ideas?”

That certainly perked everyone on the table’s interest. 

“I would say most of VIa will be Prefects,” said Jennifer consideringly.  “We usually have at least twelve prefects and there is only nine in the form and can’t see how they could leave anyone out from being a prefect.  Do you?”

Maria Ileana shook her head “And we still have over two hundred or so girls,” she answered, “so there is a good chance some of the girls in VIb will be prefects.”

“I wonder who they picked,” said Di scrutinising the girls on the table opposite her.

“Di!” exclaimed Lesceline, “you can’t stare at them like that.” 

Di grinned with usual insouciance.  “Joanna Reay would have to be one,” she said easily.  “She’s slated for Games Prefect next year.  “I don’t know who they’ll pick this year cos none of them are all-rounders.”  

“Gisel, maybe?” said Lesceline doubtfully.  “She’s good at cricket.  Lorna Wills is the best at Tennis and Lacrosse.” 

“And Gwynneth Jones is the best at Hockey and Swimming,” interjected Armine, whose own games were Cricket and Lacrosse. 

Miss Edwards rang the small bell at her table.  “Girls,” she said pleasantly, “you will be dismissed shortly to finish off your dormitory duties and then we will have our assembly.  You have five minutes to finish off and then you’re dismissed.”

 

The chatter subsided to a dull roar.  The girls soon finished breakfast and hurried through their dormitory duties.  Armine didn’t have any further trouble with Celia though the girl looked sulky, which Armine ignored.  




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