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Life was continuing as normal for the 12 and 13 year olds in the Lower Fourth. Felicity Maynard, Lucy Peters, and Jean Morrison had made a quartet with new girl Bethany Stapleton, and they'd already thwarted an attempt by the Upper Third to get on their nerves and had found out first when the gate to Freudesheim had been waxed so it couldn't open. It had since been fixed, but the culprit had not been caught.

Monday morning saw Bethany in her cubicle, moving swiftly and yet casually through the morning routine. She had been well-drilled through it like all new girls, and now it was just another normal part of her routine. Bed, Bathroom, and brushing hair. Dressing self and praying. After everything was completed, she perched on her chair and quietly contemplated the day ahead for a very short while, before going with the rest of the dormitory down to breakfast, or whatever they called it.

Bethany wasn't particularly talkative at the morning meal. She was not very comfortable with French, having hardly done any before. On English and German days, she was a lot more comfortable, and it showed, but today she was putting the odd 'oui' into a conversation carried out by Jean, Carlotta von Ahlen, and one of the other girls, Anastasia Mucci. Carlotta had practically been trilingual from birth, and Jean and Anastasia were both well accustomed in the Chalet School ways, so they were far more comfortable with it. None of them were prepared to risk speaking English or even German, as Wanda von Eschenau, a prefect, was in earshot.

Prayers followed, and then did a walk. Here, Jean and Bethany happily got away with speaking English, the prefects and teachers on the walk were far enough away.

"So what was your life like?" Jean asked. "Before you came here, I mean,"

"It was great," Bethany replied. "Most of the time it was me and my sister; we used to play wherever we liked, usually in large fields or in forests. We moved around a lot, with my parents, and Frau Hoffmann, our governess. We moved around in Germany for longer than I remember, but then we came back to England when I was ten, to a small village. Frau Hoffmann left us at that point, she wanted to live closer to her family. Alice and I went to the local village school, which was a new experience for both of us as we were used to doing lessons in German, not English, and we weren't used to being around other people our age. We learnt quickly to deal with these things, though,"

"Sounds great," Jean replied. "I didn't know you had a sister,"

"Oh, yeah," Bethany replied. "Alice, our April fool. Well, she's not a fool, but she was born on April Fool's day. She's about the same age as young Cecily, Fliss's sister,"

"One day older," Jean confirmed. "What's Alice like? Does she worship you?"

"Nah," Bethany responded. "We're very much friends with little room for sibling worship. We compete quite a bit, but we're on good terms, and I hope to keep it that way,"

After the walk, Bethany (and everyone else) went to make their beds the Matey-approved standard way. Practice was making perfect here, and soon everyone was heading to their lessons.

Bethany tried her hardest through her lessons. She payed attention, asked for clarification when she had problems interpreting the French given, and when it was time to get on with some work she kept her head down and scribbled on. Break was a case of talking in English with Felicity, Lucy, and Jean, and thereby that three were fined by a passing Prefect (Beth was still exempt from this rule as a new girl, although she was reminded that by Thursday and onwards, she'd get the same treatment as everyone else).

After Mittagessen, the girls headed firstly for Art. After starting on the lesson's work, Miss Yolland went around, helping everyone with their problems, and giving good feedback.

"I like what you're doing," Miss Yolland said, or at least, said the French equivalent, to Beth. "Fairly original. However, look at the size of that person, compared to that house. You might want a better scale there,"

Games was a lot more active. Bethany played the game fiercely, often getting reminded of the rules (it helped for five minutes each time). She and Jean owned the game, and it was remarked that if Bethany could keep her wildness back, she'd make a great player.

"Ugh, I hate Games," Felicity said, as the girls made their way back to the main school for a tidy-up before Kaffee und Kuchen. "They make you so sweaty and hot!"

"You're ferocious on the field, though, Beth," Lucy said. "I'd like to see you and you, Jean, against each other! That would be a spectacular battle!"

Prep came after Kaffee und Kuchen, an hour and a half of it, before some free time spent playing card games.

"Got the old maid again," Felicity grumbled, at the end of their second game.

"Maybe it's a sign," Lucy teased. "All hail Felicity, our favourite maiden aunt!"

"I'm not a maiden aunt!" Felicity objected.

"No," Lucy agreed. "But Len -"

"Lena," Felicity interrupted Lucy.

"Lena, then, why did she have to change it? Anyway, she'll want kids, won't she? When she's married,"

"But by then, I'll be old enough to marry, and I'm jolly well going to do so!" Felicity declared.

"How perfectly dull," Jean said. "I'm going travelling, wherever I like, and see how different people live,"

"I'm going to teach," Lucy chipped in. "A nice small school somewhere. What do you want to do, Beth?"

"I don't know," Bethany replied. "Something I like, probably,"

Free time preceded Abendessen, which preceded more free time. Bethany and Jean joined with some of their other form-mates while Lucy stuck her nose in a book and was instantly oblivious to the fact that there were people in that room, and Felicity occupied herself with some impatient Patience. It was a seemingly short time to the end of the day and the bedtime routines, and going to sleep to wake up for another day on the morrow.

 




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