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Finally, the first day of school arrived and Monica Marilliar along with Ivy Norman went to meet a number of the girls at Armiford train station.

“Auntie Mon, Auntie Mon!” exclaimed a small seven year old girl who hurtled herself towards Monica.  “Isn’t this so exciting?  I get to go to your school with you.”  Monica laughed outright and leaned down to hug her small cousin and god daughter.

Monica’s younger and favourite cousin Alixe MacNab had married soon after leaving school.  Her husband Ross Maxwell had joined Dr Marilliar’s medical practice and had fallen for quiet Alixe MacNab.  The two had married quietly soon after and their joy was complete when Alixe gave birth to a baby girl whom she named Lucia Christine after her own mother and her Aunt Christine.  The entire Marilliar family had been touched beyond words when Alixe had given her daughter her aunts’ name.  Alixe and Ross lived close by to the practice and little Lucy was a favourite within the whole family.

“How are you scragamouche?  Have you lost Mummy already?” asked Monica good humouredly.  It was a source of constant amusement to her that Ross and Alixe were two of the quietest, shyest people she had ever met and their daughter was the friendliest, noisiest child she had ever met, who never knew the meaning of the word shy. 

“No,” said Lucy Maxwell dancing around with excitement.  “She an’ Daddy are coming but they’re being slow and Mummy said I could run on ahead so long as I she could still see me.” 

“And can she,” teased Monica. 

“Of course Auntie Mon, cos there they are,” and Lucy pointed to her parents walking down the platform.

Monica smiled at Alixe.  “I’ve never seen Luce so excited,” she said.

“I know,” said Alixe feelingly, “she’s so desperately wanted to come to the Chalet School for your first term and when we said she could she’s been like this ever since.”

“I’m sure she will settle down once school starts,” said Monica soothingly, “and I’ll keep an eye on her.”

Alixe smiled in relief at Monica, “I’m glad,” she said.  “When she gets this excited she usually ends up crying or throwing a tantrum or something in reaction to it all.”

“Auntie Mon,” queried Lucy pulling on her aunt’s arm, “where are the girls who will be in my form.” 

“I’m not sure,” said Monica with a smile, “we are expecting a number of girls and I think there are two or three that will be in your form.  They’ll be here soon I expect.  How about you let Mummy find you a seat in that carriage?”

“Can I sit with you please?” asked Lucy eagerly, “please Auntie Mon.” 

“If you want to,” laughed Monica, “but now we’re on the way to school you will need to remember to call me Miss Marilliar, all right.”

Lucy nodded mournfully.  “I’ll try to remember,” she said and started dragging her mother off with her.

 

“Excuse me,” said a woman’s voice politely, “are you a mistress from the Chalet School?”

Monica turned to face the voice and nearly gasped aloud for there before her was the most beautiful woman she had ever seen.  “Yes it is,” she managed.  “My name is Miss Marilliar and I’m the Games Mistress at the Chalet School.”

The woman smiled used to the reaction she got from her looks.  “This is my daughter Jocelyn Erroll; she’s in the First Form.” 

Monica smiled down at the little girl who smiled shyly up at the Mistress.  “How do you do,” Jocelyn said clinging to her Mother.

“Hullo Jocelyn,” said Monica, “there’s another little girl, named Lucy who will be in your form.  She’s on the carriage deciding where to sit.  How would you like to join her?”

That would be wonderful said Mrs Erroll.  “Now do I need to speak to the other Mistress as well, or...?”

Monica shook her head wondering at the nervous look Mrs Erroll threw in Miss Norman’s direction.

“No,” was all she said and wondered at the look of relief that passed over the woman’s face.

“Well, I’ll say good bye now,” and the woman hugged her daughter good-bye.  “Be good Jocelyn and have a good term.  I’ll see you at half term.” 

Jocelyn nodded starting to look upset at the thought of being separated from her mother. 

 

Monica noticed this.  “How would you like to come with me she said holding out her hand, I know of another girl who is dying to meet other girls in her form and she’s new,  just like you.”  Jocelyn nodded, still looking a little upset and homesick.

“Aun-Miss Marilliar, I found a seat,” greeted Lucy with a giggle at the slip. 

Monica tried not to laugh.  “Lucy, this is Jocelyn.  She’s new like you and is in First Form with you.” 

“Aren’t you so excited,” burst out Lucy.  “My Mummy and all my Auntie’s went to this school.  Did yours?” 

Jocelyn nodded.  “My Auntie was Head Girl,” she said. 

“My Auntie was Games Prefect,” said Lucy importantly. 

“And my mother was the very first Head Girl for the whole school,” said a new voice. 

“This is Hilda Mensch,” said Monica, placing the girl next to Jocelyn.  “She’s in first Form with the two of you.”  Monica smothered a grin as Lucy chattered away, drawing the other two into her conversation.

 

The train is about to leave said Miss Norman slightly breathlessly.  “All the girls have arrived, which is a relief.  How are the others getting along,” she asked nodding to the three little first formers. 

Monica smiled.  “Comparing notes on whose family has the most distinguished history,” she said with a grin.  “I think they’re all getting along which is good.”

“Good,” said Ivy with relief.  “Margot is looking like a thundercloud so I’ll keep an eye on her.  I don’t want her exploding before we get to school.  It’s the last thing we need.”  Monica nodded and offered to make the rounds which Ivy Norman accepted gratefully.




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