“With that in mind however, we do need to let everyone know who has who in their form.” Dollie turned to Margery Alton.
“Margery you have the Kinders. They’re mostly day girls aged between five and seven. I think there will be the odd boarder, but most don’t like being parted from their children at such a young age. We do have two and they are Crystal and Natalie Carr and they’re seven.”
“Why on earth are we getting them so young?” asked Margery wide eyed.
“Their father has been posted to the Middle East and his wife has gone with him. Keep an eye on them because it is a big change for them. We have them in a dormitory with all the first formers who are boarding. Your form prefect is Kathleen Marlow.”
“Good,” said Margery, with relief. “Kathleen is a pretty sensible kid and friendly with everyone.”
“May,” said Dollie, “you have about fifteen girls in first form and about six boarders. You have half a dozen new girls. Gaynor Christy is your form prefect with Hilda Mensch as the second form prefect.”
“I’m sure they’ll be fine,” said May Phipps placidly.
Dollie eyes twinkled at Margery. “Margery we did listen to your recommendations.”
Margery pulled a face at her headmistress.
“Why Gaynor?” asked Lorna curiously.
“She’s the friendliest kid going around,” answered Margery promptly. “You could put Gaynor next to any new or shy child and they would soon know everyone in the form and be in the thick of everything. She just has a way of including everyone into her circle.”
“That will be a help if half the form are new,” said May thankfully. “It’s always good having a few girls who don’t know the meaning of the word shy and Hilda Mensch is just as happy go lucky so the two should work well together.”
“Well I’m glad you’re pleased,” said Dollie with a smile.
They worked there way up through the forms. Joan Robinson knew most of her form from the previous year, so Dollie moved quickly onto IIa with Joanna Linders.
“Joanna, your Form Prefect is Barbara Hewlett with Renata Van Buren as her second. Renata has a friend from Holland starting this term called Arda Peik. Other than Arda, Sophie Martin and Daisy Rose, you have all old girls. Barbara is a helpful, sensible thing so you shouldn’t have too many problems with your form.”
“Good,” smiled Joanna looking relieved. She felt nervous teaching for the first time.
“Kay, you have Lower IIIb with Dilys Edwards as Form Prefect and Janice Chester her second. I know you know your form so we’ll leave them. The only new girl you have is Laura Martin, and I’m sure Anne will tell you Laura is a model student,” said Dollie smiling at Laura’s mother, while Anne Martin made a face at her Headmistress. “Laura and Sophie have heard all about Margia’s schooldays,” said Anne feelingly, “so I wouldn’t be too surprised if they resurrect a few of the things she got up to.”
Margia only chuckled, “I’m sure Joanna will survive given what her sister Emmie got up to when I was prefect and I’m sure Kay has plenty of experience dealing with mischief.
It sounds like Laura will fit right in with Ailie and Janice and co, said Kay cheerfully, “I don’t mind mischief too much, so long as it’s just that, mischief.”
“Moving right along,” said Dollie firmly, “I don’t know about you but I do want to get this meeting over fairly soon.”
The three subsided and Dollie continued.
“Anne, Lower IIIa has Hannah Lewis as Form Prefect and Lesley Anderson is her second. Lower IIIa tends to be a quieter group.”
Anne nodded. “Thanks,” was all she said.
“Ivy Norman has Upper Third,” said Dollie starting to look slightly anxious. She took a deep breath before continuing. “Margot Maynard will be in that form.”
“Margot Maynard!” exclaimed Ivy Stephens, “but I thought she, Len and Con were going to Switzerland?”
Dollie and Ivy Norman exchanged looks. “Margot did badly in some of her exams, so much so, she wasn’t promoted to Lower IV, and as that is the lowest form in Switzerland, she isn’t allowed to go,” explained Dollie. “I do know Margot has taken it very badly.”
“Oh poor Margot,” said Caitlin Oldroyd compassionately. “First she was in Canada away from the other two, and now she’s here on her own.”
“Yes, well,” said Dollie more briskly, “she knew her going depended on her promotion to the next form and so this is the consequence. She is also fully aware that she is here for the next year regardless of how well she does. Miss Annersley refuses to accept her unless she can prove she can do well for the whole school year. Margot, of course, is understandably upset, and is continually complaining the exams were too hard.”
Dollie looked at all the mistresses. “I hope we can make some allowances for her, but please, don’t accept any bad behaviour.”
The other mistresses murmured their assent and conversation soon moved onto the Fourths.
“Margia, we’ve given you Lower IVa.” Dollie’s eyes twinkled; “we thought you would be the best to deal with this form as it has some of the naughtiest girls in it.”
Margia grimaced at her Headmistress. “I wasn’t that bad,” she said with a grin.
“You do have Prudence Dawbarn as well as half a dozen other girls who seem to think their aim in life is to get into mischief,” said Dollie
“At least Priscilla and Primrose are in Upper IVb,” said Ivy Stephens feelingly. “I believe Primrose’s Father said Miss Annersley should buy a cane and use it on her in her first term.”
“They’re not that bad are they,” asked Maria Marani alarmed for the said two girls were in her form.
“No-o,” said Ivy thoughtfully. “They still do mad things but they’re a little better now. Primrose came from the other Chalet School and basically they were allowed to what they liked when they liked. A whole group of them were wished on us when the school closed. I would have to say at least they’re honest, and they’re no worse than a dozen other girls that I’ve taught here. But Patience Seawell and Peronelle Lewis are with Prudence and they’re just as bad. I’m just glad my form has started to grow up a little.”
“Who’s the form prefect?” asked Margia interestedly.
“Thyra Bjornessen and Stella Porter,” replied Dollie promptly. “Thyra has her head screwed on.”
“And she’s a natural leader and used to dealing with imps from her sister Signa,” observed Caitlin.
“And mine?” asked Maria quietly.
“Ruth Herbert and Rose Stewart is her second,” said Dollie. “Ruth’s older three sisters are in Switzerland but her parents don’t want to send her until she’s at least 14. Ruth a jolly, sensible kid, whereas Rose is more serious and sedate.”
“I won’t go through your form Ivy as you know them all except, Doris Hill, Marion Tovey and Anne Gordon have all been promoted. Doris topped her form with Mary Lou last term and Marion and Anne are certainly old enough to be promoted at nearly sixteen. They’re certainly too old for Upper IVa,” said Dollie
“Well I’m not sorry to be losing Marion,” said Ivy feelingly. “She always seems to have a chip on her shoulder.”
“You also still have Cherry Christy in your form,” said Dollie looking straight at Ivy.
“Why?” asked Ivy looking startled. “I always thought she was going to Switzerland with the others. Her polio hasn’t returned has it?”
Dollie shook her head. “No. Her mother Carey had a nasty accident over the holidays, and although she’s going to recover, it will be a long haul. Cherry has point blank refused to go so far away while her mother is ill and Michel doesn’t have the heart to send her. Cherry was beside herself and is only just starting to recover from the shock of it all. I know they were extremely worried at one point that she wouldn’t make it. They know she is now but it was touch and go for awhile there.”
Oh, the poor thing!” exclaimed Ivy and although Maria Marani said nothing, the look in her eyes showed deep understanding and sympathy.
“Dickie is caring for Binkie, which is a load off Michel Christy’s mind, but watch Gaynor, May. She’s more confused by it all, than anything else.
May nodded and the conversation soon moved onto other things.
“Ivy, Josefa Von Weithern is your Form Prefect with Rosamund Williams as her second,” continued Dollie determined to wrap up the Staff Meeting before Kaffee und Kuchen. “Caitlin, yours is Clare Fenton with Judy O’Connor as her second. Lorna, you have Maria Von Gluck as Form Prefect and Leceline Prideaux is her second and Samantha you do have the four Sub Prefects as well as Gillian Moggeridge as Form Prefect. Lorna and Samantha nodded.”
“Now,” continued Dollie briskly, “I don’t know if any of you have noticed, but Matron Gould is missing.”
“I did wonder what you had done to the Matron,” chuckled Margia.
“Matron has a streaming head cold,” said Dollie, “and has quarantined herself until she’s over it. She should be back by the Friday after term starts. Ivy Norman has kindly offered to sort out the San and supervise the unpacking etcetera, but she will need a hand with it.”
“I can help,” offered Joanna Linders quickly. “And I will too,” added Caitlin.
“Thanks,” smiled Ivy at them both.
“How are the Art and Music rooms coming along?” inquired Dollie of Anne and Margia.
“Art’s done,” said Anne. “Laura and Soph have helped me get it finished and then they ‘helped’ Margia.”
“I’m finished,” put in Margia, “and I have the lesson and practice timetable sorted, so I can help anyone that needs it.”
“I could do with a hand,” said Monica looking up. “Most the Games things are sorted but I do have the Gym to go through.”
“Would anyone help out with Library?” asked Dollie. “We still have some of the Junior books to go through.”
“I can,” offered Lorna, “and so can I,” added Samantha. Dollie nodded. “Thank you,” was all she said.
“I think that’s everything so how about we all meet back in the Dinning Room for Abendessen in two hours.” The mistresses nodded and scattered laughing and talking.
Dollie led Samantha and Lorna to the Library. “This shouldn’t take long,” she said, “I’m glad I have you on your own as I would like to talk to you both about your forms.”
Lorna looked surprised while Samantha looked thoughtful, but neither girl said anything until the library books had been sorted.
“Now that that’s done,” said Dollie, “I would like to talk about your forms. Before I start though, Samantha do you prefer Samantha or do you have a short.”
“Its Sami,” said Samantha easily. “The only time I ever get Samantha is if I’m in trouble.”
“Well, Sami it is,” said Dollie with a smile.
“Now,” continued Dollie, “Lorna and Sami you both have difficult forms. A lot of the old Tanswick girls are in your forms and most of the old Chalet School girls in your form don’t have a lot of character.”
Lorna’s face gave away her thoughts clearly. She had no earthly use for slackers having been a born student. Hardworking and clever she had been the youngest in her form throughout her school career.
Dollie smiled at her sympathetically.
“Lorna, one of the reason’s we gave you this particular form is your old Headmistress, Miss Grace said you were extraordinarily hardworking and you and your friends made hard work the fashion in your form. She said you continued to inspire your pupils to work hard as a mistress.”
“You do have some potential leaders in your form namely Maria Ileana, Leceline, Marie LeCoudelec, Di Vedin, Ruth Lamont, Anne Whitney and Armine Brown. They’re more or less hardworking and very friendly with everyone. You then also have Jennifer Penrose and her gang who tend to be easily led and try and get away with as much as possible. Jennifer has pulled up a lot in the past year and therefore so has the rest of her gang but they do tend to slack when they can get away with it and are empty headed girls on the whole. Watch Lara Wylie, her twin Zoe has pulled up completely and so her parents have allowed her to go the Swiss branch whereas Lara has been so lazy that they refused to consider it for her and of course she resents it. Ruth was meant to go if she did well in her exams and she did do well but her Aunt and Uncle died and her three cousins are being sent here. The Swiss branch was too expensive for all four. Ruth is pretty disappointed but is dealing with it pretty well.
We’re actually hoping you will be able to inspire them to work.”
Dollie took a deep breath, “there is one good thing and that is Jennifer and co tended to clash with a number of girls whom have all transferred to the Swiss branch. They do however, like Maria Ileana and the rest and don’t resent their leadership as much as they did Blossom Willoughby and Hilary Wilson.”
“I see,” murmured Lorna, wondering how on earth she would cope.
“It won’t be so bad,” said Dollie reassuringly, “I do think the girls need some friendly encouragement and with a new mistress, they may see it as a fresh chance to improve. You don’t know them and so haven’t formed any judgements except by what I’ve said.”
“And is my form similar to Lorna’s?” asked Sami interestedly.
Dollie nodded, “except there is a difference. You do have a few girls who do try but their groundwork lets them down. At least half your form came from Tanswick, as did yours Lorna and they are the reason we decided to break the two forms into sets. With smaller classes, the girls will get the attention they need.”
“Anyway,” and Dollie stood up, “if there are any problems please let me know and I’ll do my best to help.”
Dollie left the two girls staring after her.
“Phew,” said Sami, “This is going to be more complicated than I thought.”
“I know,” nodded Lorna. “I must admit I don’t have time for slackers. In fact I always tended to be the youngest in my form, because I worked so hard,” she said shamefacedly. “I know most school girls tend to take life pretty easily at some point but I never did. I don’t know how I’m going to go with girls who don’t like to work. It’s all very well and good saying some will see us as a new person they can impress, but some won’t at all.”
“I know,” agreed Sami with a sigh. “I don’t know about you but I’m hoping for the best.”
All the mistresses worked hard and by Abendessen everything was ready for the term.
And more than one wondered how the first term at Carnbach would turn out.