“I can’t believe you won’t give even a sniff at what this meeting is about,” grumbled Joey to her sister Madge.
“You know I can’t Joey,” answered Madge a trifle impatiently, “It wouldn’t be fair to any of the other shareholders and I do wish you would stop going on about it. Can’t you give it a rest?”
Joey looked a little shamefaced. “I hate not knowing,” she said in an injured voice. “You’ve never kept the Chalet School business from me before. And you know how much I like being the first to know things.”
Madge smiled. If truth was known she was positively relishing being the only one in the complete picture of all the upcoming extraordinary general meeting of the Chalet School was going to entail.
“That was then and now the school is a company not a family business,” was all she said sedately. “All I can say is you will have a chance to catch up with a few old friends and have a few surprises as well.”
“Humph,” was all Joey said before giving it up as a bad job.
The sisters sat in silence for a few moments before Joey started up again.
“So who will be there?” she asked casually striving to keep the curiosity out of her voice.
Madge hid a smile. “The three Heads,” she began, “Hilda, Nell, and Dollie Edwards.” Joey’s eyebrows suddenly rose at this. “Dollie’s coming out?” she asked feeling slightly breathless. “She’s never been out here has she?”
Madge shook her head, “No,” she agreed, “and when we were discussing the location we decided that we’d have it here in Switzerland as both the school proper and St Millie’s were here and we knew you would be happy to put everyone up if we needed any extra beds,” added Madge mischievously.
“Madge, you didn’t tell me that,” yelped Joey and Madge chuckled. “All the shareholders will be there and most the Mistresses as well.” She stopped and eyed Joey. “Perhaps you should prepare some beds for all the people turning up rather than just sitting there.”
“I’m not moving until you tell me exactly what is going to happen at this meeting,” threatened Joey.
Madge simply smiled. “You wouldn’t want them to catch you out,” she said placidly refusing to rise to the bait. “I can imagine your face when they turn up on your doorstep and you have to run around getting their beds ready while I get to chat with everyone. You wouldn’t want to miss out on that,” ended Madge tantalisingly.
Joey got up grumbling, “You could help,” she said slightly put out. It wasn’t until she reached the door that she was stopped by Madge’s peals of laughter.
“Madge,” said Joey, “I believe you were having me on.”
“Oh Joey,” choked Madge, “your face. Do you really think I would do that to you and Anna?”
“Humph,” snorted Joey.
“What’s so funny?” asked a well loved voice.
“Jem, Jack,” said Madge standing up. “I just tormenting Joey about the meeting this afternoon,” and Madge went into gales of laughter while Joey glowered at her.
Jem’s eye’s twinkled as he winked at Jack and Madge, “you mean she still doesn’t know,” he said in a shocked voice.
Madge shook her head while Jem looked pityingly at his younger sister-in-law. “Well you’re in for a few shocks then,” he said gently and the three of them went into gales of laughter at Joey’s outraged face at the thought Jem might know more than she did in regards to her beloved school.
“Relax Jo, Madge hasn’t told me –much,” Jem said when he stopped laughing.
“You’re enjoying this,” Joey accused her sister.
“Of course,” answered Madge promptly, “the amount of times you’ve teased me, it’s about time I got my own back.”
Joey relaxed at this. “I know she said a little shamefacedly, I’m sorry Madge. I just wish I knew what bomb you’re planning on dropping onto us.”
“You’ll see,” was all Madge merely said an amused smile playing with her lips.
That afternoon the two sisters walked to the school and into the main Hall. Hilda and Nell met them.
“Madame,” said Hilda, “welcome. The Hall is set up as requested and almost everyone is here. Rosalie is caught on the phone but as soon as she arrives we can make a start. She’s agreed to act as secretary for this.”
Madge nodded. “She seemed to be the most apt out of all the secretaries of the school having been here the longest.”
“Madame,” said a breathless voice, “it’s lovely to see you again.”
“And you too, Rosalie,” said Madge warmly. “Well, I think we should make a start.”
Madge walked to the lectern feeling unaccountably nervous. She was fully aware of the bombshell’s she was about to drop and was a little unsure as to how everyone would react, not least her sister Joey.
“I would like to call this extraordinary general meeting to order,” she said faintly. Silence gradually fell in the auditorium and Madge looked around at everyone present. Almost all the entire staff at both Swiss branches and some of the staff from the Carnbach branch were present along with all the shareholders. Madge’s eyes finally fell onto her sister Joey.
‘She was the reason I started this school,’ she thought, ‘just so we could be together and I could raise her.’
Madge shook herself mentally and unfolded her notes, placing them on the lectern and began again in a stronger voice. “I would like to welcome you all here today and thank you for coming to this meeting. There are several items that I will be discussing which pertain to the future of this school and so I would appreciate it if we could address each item separately and in its entirety.”
“But, first of all I would like Rosalie to go through the minutes of the last meeting before I start. Thank you Rosalie.”
Rosalie smiled at Madge and sedately walked to the lectern and started to read in her clear voice.