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 Post subject: Books: The Chalet School and Rosalie
PostPosted: 12 Jun 2017, 22:51 
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Having Miss Ferrars as Form Mistress
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Short one this week, and some cracking EBDisms to boot. :wink: Although first published in 1951, the same year as Carola, the novella The Chalet School and Rosalie is set during the Armishire era, the summer term just after Tom Tackles. Tom, now settled in at the school, finds herself roped into looking after new girl Rosalie Way, who is as unlike her as she could possibly be. Notable events:

At York station, Tom Gay is saying her goodbyes to her mother when the mother of a new girl asks her to take charge of her daughter. Mrs Gay happily volunteers a reluctant Tom for the job.
On the train, which is late, Tom observes to Rosalie that they will be meeting Gay Lambert, now Games Prefect, and Jacynth Hardy, the Second Prefect, at Leeds (bear in mind that two terms previously in Mystery, Gay was in Lower Fifth and Jacynth in Upper Fourth!).
At Leeds, Tom and Rosalie are just in time for the next train, where they meet up with Gay, Jacynth and another new girl Joanna Reay, whose incessant questions and cheekiness soon puts Tom’s back up.
Rosalie explains to Tom that she is nearly thirteen, and that she has never been to a proper school before, only lessons at the local Rectory with girls which included the four Herbert sisters, who join the school later on in the series.
On arrival at the school, Rosalie is dismayed to learn that although she is in the same form and House as Tom, she is not in the same dormitory. On the first morning after breakfast, when the members of Upper Third are choosing whether to specialise in tennis or cricket, Rosalie picks cricket, of which she has no experience at all, instead of tennis which she has played, so that she can be with Tom.
The girls head off on a morning walk, and Tom, paired with Rosalie, curiously asks how much cricket she has played, and observes she looks more of a tennis person. Rosalie replies she has played tennis, but really wants to learn cricket. Tom bluntly advises her that she should stick with tennis if it’s her game, unless she turns out to be a natural genius at cricket.
After a few practice sessions at both tennis and cricket, Miss Burn firmly tells Rosalie that she will be specialising in tennis, not cricket, as she is far better at the former. Rosalie hides herself in the bushes to cry over it, and is discovered by Gay Lambert, who talks her into submission and takes her over to the tennis courts to join a set which includes Tom. She spots something in Rosalie’s expression which tells her that she has developed a crush on Tom, and is both amused and anxious at how Tom will take it.
Later that day, while walking on the drive, Rosalie admits to Tom that she is to do extra tennis instead of cricket, but that she wanted to be with Tom, and asks if they can be friends. Tom, finally grasping the full situation, is stunned that someone has developed an affection for her, and has no idea how to handle it. Beth Chester catches them still standing in the drive long after the bell has gone and sends them to the Head.
After a telling off from the newly returned Miss Annersley, Tom and Rosalie are sent to prep, which is being taken by Daisy, who has toothache. She snaps at them for being late, and then at Vanna Ozanne when she pushes her chair back and hits the desk behind her, covering her frock with ink. Finally, when Rosalie catches her thumb on her mapping pen and cries out in pain, then knocks her desk over as she stands up, Daisy gives her such an over the top telling off that the furious Upper Third contemplate revolution and Rosalie herself completely loses her temper, shouts at Daisy and runs out into the garden. Daisy follows her, apologises and takes her to Matron.
The next morning, Rosalie wakes up early, and breaks several rules by dressing and going out for a walk without either asking permission or getting anything to eat or drink first. Tom, who has also woken early and received permission from Miss Wilson to do some gardening, meets her and explains about the rules, and offers to be friends if she really wants it. Rosalie, still hurt from the scene on the drive the night before, rejects her and walks off alone, much to Tom’s indignation.
Later that morning, Rosalie faints during a French lesson, due to the fact that she played with her breakfast as well as not eating before going on her walk, and is sent to bed for a couple of days. Tom declares that she asked for it.
Half term arrives, and it is arranged that there will be a picnic to Tintern Abbey on the Saturday, and a trip to Stratford on the Monday to see As You Like It. Unfortunately it rains on the Saturday, so the staff, drawing on memories of the sheets-and-pillowcases party in Tyrol, arrange a fancy dress party for that evening. News also comes that morning that Jo has given birth to another son, Charles Richard, although she has had a bad time and is very weak.
Tom and Rosalie pair up for the fancy dress party and go as Solomon and the Queen of Sheba, and Tom is astonished when their costumes are voted the most ingenious.
The day after the trip to Stratford, everyone is so tired out that sundry rows break out among the girls, including Tom and Rosalie. The latter gets so worked up when Tom accidentally breaks one of her knitting needles that she flares out and then runs off.
When Rosalie fails to turn up for dinner and Upper Third’s hunt for her proves fruitless, they are forced to report her missing to the staff. Daisy is summoned from Plas Gwyn and she suggests they look in the secret hidey hole in the yew hedge where she, Gwensi and Beth got lost back in Goes To It. Tom is sent in to investigate and discovers her trapped there, her hair having got caught on some of the branches. She is forced to cut her free with a knife, and Rosalie, after being sent to Matron, ends up having to have her hair bobbed.
After coming back into school, Rosalie admits to the others that she has been an idiot, and they console her that everyone is at some point.

So, what do you think of Rosalie, and her ‘pash’ for tomboy Tom? Do you think Tom handles the situation well? Do you like the half-term events?

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Rosalie
PostPosted: 13 Jun 2017, 02:53 
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Quote:
only lessons at the local Rectory with girls which included the four Herbert sisters, who join the school later on in the series.


We are also told two of the Herbert girls are twins. But when they show up at the school a while later, they no longer are!

I love Tom's reaction to Rosalie's crush especially given her feelings for Daisy the book before. But Tom is shown being very uncomfortable but willing to stay friends with Rosalie despite this, which is actually quite a mature kind hearted way to behave.

However, one aspect of the book that never really gelled with me was this: when Rosalie and Tom go to Miss Annersley and Miss Wilson, they notice Rosalie has been crying. She lies and says she tripped over a piece of string. Except she didn't and even if she did, that's NOT why she is crying. Tom looks at her approvingly - for being able to think on her feet and lie.

This happens a few times in EBD's books - in Gerry, we are told the girls tell the truth unless someone else is about to get into trouble, in which case you lie with conviction.

So what is EBD's idea of honesty? And what is the school girl code of when they should or should not lie?

Tom is sold to us as upright and truthful and disliking even the appearance of dishonesty yet when a girl lies right in front of her, she looks approving.

Cheers,
Joyce

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Last edited by Joyce on 13 Jun 2017, 10:05, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Rosalie
PostPosted: 13 Jun 2017, 07:28 
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That's an interesting point about the lying. What I'd say the "code" is over the series is

- Lying to get yourself out of trouble is definitely wrong.

- Lying to keep someone else out of trouble is sometimes okay.

- Refusing to speak to keep someone out of trouble is fine.

- Refusing to speak or staying quiet if someone else get in trouble for something you've done is wrong.

- Telling on someone when it's likely to get them into trouble is wrong.

- Except sometimes when safety issues are involved.

There's another interesting example in this book. When Rosalie is missing, Daisy has an idea where she might be, but can't tell the mistresses until she's checked with Gwensi in spite of the fact that Rosalie might be in serious trouble. So the promise to Gwensi is more important than Rosalie's safety.

I don't have particularly strong feelings about this book in general. The story is okay, but rather slight and not as engaging as Tom Tackles. And the level of EBDisms is kind of distracting, even by CS book standards. Seeing Tom on the other end of a crush is entertaining.

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Ring the bells that still can ring; Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything; That's how the light gets in
Anthem: Leonard Cohen



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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Rosalie
PostPosted: 13 Jun 2017, 07:41 
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I feel EBD was having a Dr Seuss moment with Gay, Way and Reay.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Rosalie
PostPosted: 14 Jun 2017, 17:07 
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I don't have much to say which has not already been said.

The whole Way/Gay rhyming thing is a bit much Also the schoolgirl code of honour. If any person does something wrong they should be prepared to take the blame, or else behave. If this means other people "telling on them", fair enough! The reprimand is what they deserve and might help make her a better person!

I think Tom was quite right in the previous book to be a bit disgusted at the girls making signs to borrow stuff. Why on earth could they not ask out loud?

Tom proves again in this book what a nice person she is.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Rosalie
PostPosted: 14 Jun 2017, 18:41 
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I think some of the schoolgirl code gets a bit priggy. Prep takes place in silence so that girls can get on with their work. One underhand, dishonest girl asks for a bungee/eraser/rubber by mime and no-one is disturbed - the honest type asks loudly and clearly thus disturbing the whole room. Tom demanding that Rosalie should go at once to confess to Matron that she has creased a blouse by sitting on it is another example. None of Tom's business IMO.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Rosalie
PostPosted: 15 Jun 2017, 02:52 
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jennifer wrote:
- Lying to keep someone else out of trouble is sometimes okay.


And this is what Rosalie was doing. I guess getting out of the question by saying "Sorry, I can't answer that question" is hard because it would only lead to more questions which would be impossible to get out of.

Mel wrote:
Tom demanding that Rosalie should go at once to confess to Matron that she has creased a blouse by sitting on it is another example. None of Tom's business IMO.


Rosalie was trying to deceive Matron by putting her blouse in the dirty laundry bag which Tom says is lying by default.

Another example of her shining honesty which I cannot reconcile with her approving of lying going on right in front of her.

Cheers,
Joyce

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Rosalie
PostPosted: 15 Jun 2017, 07:22 
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I always enjoy the preparations for the impromptu fancy dress, and I appreciate the effort that goes into drawing Tom and Rosalie, but at the end of the day, it all feels a bit 'storm in a teacup' to me. I probably wouldn't notice it so much in a full-sized book, in fairness!


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Rosalie
PostPosted: 15 Jun 2017, 11:29 
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I suppose they all lie about their health 'Don't fuss - I'm fine!' except perhaps if directly questioned by Matey.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Rosalie
PostPosted: 16 Jun 2017, 00:44 
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Thinking about it, I don't think Rosalie is lying to keep Tom out of trouble. She's lying because admitting that you were crying is shameful. So by the standards of Tom's upbringing, that's an admirably masculine thing to do.

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Ring the bells that still can ring; Forget your perfect offering
There is a crack in everything; That's how the light gets in
Anthem: Leonard Cohen



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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Rosalie
PostPosted: 16 Jun 2017, 09:46 
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I agree. It's a stiff upper lip thing. Tom sees crying due to "feelings" as a negative, girlie thing, and is proud of Rosalie for covering this up by pretending to have been crying for a legitimately manly reason - i.e. saying she actually hurt herself.

My question would be (it's a long time I read the book): how approving is EBD of either standpoint - Tom / Tom's father and boyish stiff upper lip versus Rosalie's ultra feminity with watering pot tendencies? Isn't she really making quite the contrast between these two extremes and saying actually neither is ideal?

It's actually a bit of an exagerated throw back to the early days of the CS when feminine Simone was desperate to be exclusive friends with Joey, whereas Joey and Co wanted to be "sporting" schoolgirls just slightly in the boys public school mode...


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Rosalie
PostPosted: 20 Jun 2017, 07:51 
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I thought that Rosalie choosing a particular sport because her friend had chosen it, rather than because it was what she'd have chosen herself, was actually very normal, typical teenage girl behaviour :D .

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School and Rosalie
PostPosted: 20 Jun 2017, 11:12 
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It's odd that the two 'crushes' in the series are from the two tomboys Tom and Jack to two of the most sensible girls Daisy and Len.


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