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 Post subject: Books: The Chalet School Wins the Trick
PostPosted: 19 Dec 2017, 00:20 
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It’s summertime once more on the Platz with this week’s feature book: The Chalet School Wins the Trick, first published in 1961, and covering the summer term following Leader. A group of girls, relatives of San patients, are left to run wild on the Platz without supervision, and soon become embroiled in a feud with the Chalet School. Notable events:

A week before the summer term is due to begin, Rosalie Dene, up to the eyes in work, is on her way to seek Bill at St Mildred’s when she encounters a group of five girls building a campfire on the school cricket pitch. She admonishes them for trying to light a fire on the Platz where such a thing is forbidden due to the pines and the wooden chalets, and orders them off the premises. The girls cheek her, but leave the grounds reluctantly.
The next person to encounter the gang is Len Maynard, on her way back from a visit to Biddy Courvoisier. She encounters the girls in the pine woods, and they rudely tell her that they loathe her and everyone to do with the school, and they haven’t heard the last of them. Len is deeply amused by the whole thing.
The gang goes on an all-day picnic to Ste Cecilie, and on the way back, the school coaches bringing the girls to the Platz for the new term pass them. The gang are stunned to realise just how big the school is. Unbeknownst to them, they are all to begin at the school in September, Miss Annersley being unable to take them for the summer term as the school is full, as well as it being again the usual policy. All of the girls have relatives in the San, and none of them have any idea just how ill they are, though Audrey, the oldest of the girls, has her suspicions about the seriousness of her father’s TB.
That evening, Audrey explains in detail about Camp Fire to the next oldest girl, Solange. Audrey, unable to join her local Guides due to the timing of the meetings and the distance from her home, had been looking forward to joining her school’s Camp Fire group instead. Her father’s illness and the family’s subsequent removal to Switzerland so that he could be at the San had thwarted any hope of her joining Camp Fire, and so she had planned to start her own, hence their attempt to build a fire on the cricket pitch.
On the first evening back at school, Betty Landon asks Len for the latest Platz news, and we learn that Naomi Elton’s last operation was a complete success and, although it will be months before she can leave the San and she will always have to be careful, by the time she is in her twenties she will have no limp nor need her stick. We also learn that nothing more has been heard of Professor Richardson.
The next day, Va go for a ramble, and Jo Scott, mindful that this is Joan Baker’s last term before she leaves for a secretarial college, asks to partner her. They act as whippers-in on the way up to the Rösleinalpe, and halfway up they spot Win Everett, Audrey’s youngest sister, climbing the bank near the railway. Jo climbs up and catches her, lowering her down to Joan before she can fall onto the live rails. Len and her friends, hearing Win’s yells of indignation, come running back, and Len recognises her.
Len and Ted Grantley take Win back to the Pension Caramie and hand her over to Mrs Gardiner, mother of Val, another of the gang. That evening, Len tells the rest of Va about her encounter with the gang and their declared feud.
Win gets into big trouble over her exploit, and the rest of the gang come in for a talking-to from their elders also over setting her a bad example. They set this row down to the school’s account, and Val, on a trip to Berne with her mother one day, returns with some stink bombs, which she and Audrey’s other young sister, Celia, plot to use on the school.
Their chance comes when the prefects decide to hold a meeting next to the fence at the side of the tennis courts. Having just settled the cricket team and the Tennis Six, the meeting is interrupted when Val and Celia throw the stink bombs into their midst. Disgusted, the prefects wonder who the culprits are, as they know that all of their own girls are at Saturday morning prep and mending, and they have yet to learn about the gang’s vendetta against the school.
Josette and Maeve ask the triplets if they know of any outsiders on the Platz who could have stink bombed them, and Len tells them about her encounter with the gang. Thus alerted, the prefects resolve to keep an eye out for future pranks.
Meanwhile, Nancy Wilmot, Kathie Ferrars and Sharlie Andrews go to English tea at Biddy’s chalet, and on their way back encounter the gang, who make their dislike clear by scowls, giggles, head tossing and, in Win’s case, sticking out her tongue. Stunned, the three mistresses wonder what it’s all about, and that evening Kathie asks Rosalie Dene if she knows who they are. Rosalie tells them about her run-in with the girls during the holidays, and the staff, like the prefects, go on the alert.
The next encounter with the gang involves IIIa, specifically Jack Lambert, Wanda von Eschenau, Renata van Buren and Arda Peik. Out on a ramble, the four are leading the line when they come to a footbridge over which the gang are hanging, looking at the stream. Wanda requests that they be allowed to pass, but the gang refuse, and Jack, Renata and Arda charge at them. Renata slips and wrenches her arm saving herself, Jack bumps her head and loses her hat to the rushing stream, and Celia falls over Win, who is only just saved from falling into the stream by Audrey. Miss Bertram, in charge of the walk, comes up, scolds everyone roundly, and marches the gang along with the form to the Pension Caramie. All culprits are scolded and given punishment lessons, and Audrey receives a serious talk from her mother on lack of responsibility, which does nothing to improve her feelings towards the CS.
The Tennis Six play the girls from a Pension in Geneva, and the entire school turns out to watch. While the building is empty, Val and Celia sneak into the Speisesaal and throw pepper over all the food left out in preparation for Abendessen. Jo Scott discovers the damage first when she comes in to open the jalousies, and she summons the triplets and their friends to help try and clear things up before the rest of the school finds out. Matron, Miss Wilmot and Miss Ferrars help, and with some emergency supplies from Anna at Freudesheim, they manage to produce enough food to disguise what has happened.
At the end of Abendessen, Mlle de Lachenais, who has been taking the meal in Miss Annersley’s absence, informs the girls that Commander Carey has died following an operation, and that the Head is accompanying Mary-Lou and Verity back to Britain to be with Mrs Carey. The triplets and Co. discuss what will happen to Mary-Lou’s archaeology career, fearing that she will have to give it up to look after her mother and Verity.
The prefects discuss the affair – during which we learn that Josette is going to Australia with Madge, Jem, Sybil and the twins, instead of St Mildred’s – and although they are convinced that Audrey and Co. were responsible for ruining the food, they have no proof, and are unable to think of any way of stopping future pranks.
Meanwhile, Audrey deduces from some remarks of her mother’s, as well as the other pension guests, that her father is not going on well, and when she visits him with a note from her mother one day, she sees for herself how ill she is. Wandering off to the pines to think things out, she runs into Mary-Lou, who has just returned from Howells. Mary-Lou introduces herself and asks if she can help, but then Jo arrives with Geoff and Phil, greets them, and makes a chance remark to Audrey about her going to the Chalet School next term. Audrey runs off with her mind in a whirl.
Mary-Lou confirms to Jo that she intends to give up her archaeology career to look after her mother, though she hopes Verity will soon pull herself together when she goes to the Royal College of Music. Jo tells her to invite her mother out to Freudesheim for a while, as Switzerland suits her better anyway, and Mary-Lou agrees.
Audrey runs off blindly and, without realising it, hides in a clump of bushes on the school grounds. As she thinks things through, she begins to realise just how much it must be costing for them to stay at the pension, especially with the loss of her father’s wages, and how much sending them to school would cost. She resolves to talk to her mother about it all as soon as possible, and, on leaving the bushes, realises she is trespassing again. Josette catches her before she can escape, but, seeing how troubled she is, kindly asks if she can help, and escorts her to the drive which is a shorter route back to the pension.
That evening, Audrey and Mrs Everett go for a walk, and when Audrey admits that she is beginning to think about serious matters like money, Mrs Everett is glad to know that she will be able to confide in her from now on. She confirms that they will have to stay on the Platz for some time, but that the San doctors are hopeful Mr Everett will recover. She and Mrs Gardiner are looking out for a chalet they can rent together to save on expense, and she says that Audrey will be going to the CS on Jo’s scholarship, which will mean they only have to find fees for Celia, which makes things easier.
Half-term arrives, and the triplets and Ruey head over to Freudesheim. Meanwhile, Audrey and Co. go for a walk and spot the path to the Auberge. They stop halfway along to have a picnic, and Solange, who has been staying in Montreux for a couple of weeks, tells them that she met Maria Marani, now Maria Maclaren, and heard all sorts of favourable stories about the CS. She admits that she thinks they were mistaken in making an enemy of the school, especially as she has now been told she too will be going there. Jo and the girls come along at that point, and Jo invites them to join up.
The party goes along to the Auberge, and the girls are thrilled with the echoes. Win tries to climb up on the fence to see what makes them, but Len stops her, which does not endear her to Win, who is still holding a grudge against Len, Miss Dene, the school, and everyone who has crossed Audrey, whom she adores. Jo notices her sulks on the way back, but is unable to deduce what is at the bottom of them.
The girls return after half-term and settle down to preparing for GCEs. Va and Vb go for an art lesson with Miss Yolland in the pine woods at the back of the school, but as they are about to pack up and head back for Kaffee, Audrey and Solange burst in on them, having lost Win. Miss Yolland dispatches the triplets, Ruey and Jo Scott to join the hunt and sends the others back to the school. After much hunting, Audrey at lasts finds Win fast asleep under a rock, much to her relief.
Solange has a quarrel with Val over Maria Maclaren, then goes off to join Audrey and Win to find somewhere to read. In a couple of fabulous EBDisms, she tells Audrey that she is going to the CS next term (despite having already broadcast this news two chapters ago), and Audrey in turn has apparently forgotten that Solange was actually on the Auberge trip, and tells her about it.
While the trio are sitting out on a bench reading, Audrey suddenly realises that a thunderstorm is coming up quickly, and they make a run for shelter. They reach the currently-vacant Elisehütte and shelter under the porch, where they are joined by Val and Celia who had gone on their own walk. It is only after the storm is over that the door opens and they find themselves confronted by Mrs Everett and Miss Dene, who have been looking over the chalet.
It is explained that the Everetts, the Gardiners and Solange and her aunt will all be staying at the Elisehütte from now on, having rented it from the Rutherfords who are away on a cruise with Alixe. Audrey shame-facedly apologises to Miss Dene about the camp fire business, and Miss Dene in turn asks why they were making one in the first place. Audrey and Solange explain about Camp Fire, and Miss Dene assures them that although the school can’t offer them that, there will be plenty of other activities for them to take part in.
The school holds an Arabian Nights Sale, and the Caramie gang attend and are shown around by some of the Chalet girls. Tom has been unable to send her usual dolls’ house, but some of the boys from the woodwork club she runs have made their own, and she has sent twelve of them, with the competition to guess as many as possible. One of them is won by Win, much to her delight. Audrey also wins an impromptu competition thought up by Joey to guess Bruno’s weight. Finally, Jo announces to the school at large that there has been a double whammy of Chalet babies that day: Hilary Graves has had a son, and Maria Maclaren has had a daughter.
The exams begin, and the day before the last exam, Jo, noticing how tired Len looks from revising, takes her and a few others down to Lake Thun for a picnic to unwind for a few hours. When they return, they are met at the station by Jack, who informs them that Win is missing again.
It transpires that Win had joined Cecil, Phil and Geoff in the garden at Freudesheim for the day while Audrey and Solange went to the San and Mrs Everett took Val and Celia to the dentist in Berne. Win, still obstinately hating the school, slipped away when Rösli had gone to aid Anna, who had spilt boiling jam on herself. She had gone through the gate into the school grounds, and, hearing Kathie Ferrars taking IIIa for a lesson nearby, had thrown some stink bombs she had purloined from Celia’s drawer, then made a run for it, falling into a pit in the undergrowth beneath some thick bushes and knocking herself out. She is finally found hours later, concussed but otherwise none the worse for her adventure.
Win is severely scolded for causing so much trouble, and Miss Annersley also has a word with Audrey about setting a better example for her younger sisters, but Win does eventually begin to let go of her grudge against the school.

So, thoughts on this book? What do you think of the Caramie gang, their feud against the school and their various other exploits? What about the run ins between them and Rosalie, Len, the mistresses and Jack and Co.? What about Win’s disappearing acts? Thoughts on Commander Carey’s death and the aftermath?

Note: with next Monday being Christmas Day when I am otherwise engaged, the Future thread will go up in two weeks' time. Merry Christmas!

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Wins the Trick
PostPosted: 19 Dec 2017, 02:25 
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This is one of the weakest books IMHO. I simply don't care about the gang and their activities take up the majority of the book.

Couple of things though: Jack tells Rosalie private patient information about Valerie's brother. Not only medical information but also family information.

Quote:
Rosalie smiled broadly. “Valerie Gardiner? She’s here because her elder brother Peter came up for an operation for diseased hip-bone. It’s going to mean two ops, so Jack Maynard told me. Peter had the first on Sunday and came through very well, considering. But they’ve’ got to build him up as far as they can for the really big affair. Probably it won’t come off for another six or eight months. He wants his mother, poor kid! He’s only fourteen. The Gardiners seem to be short on relatives and she’s a widow so there wasn’t much money to send Valerie to boarding-school. She’s up here and she’ll be coming along next term. In the meantime, she and the rest of that crowd are running wild.


Now it's possible to read it as Jack told her about the medical aspect and she got the family information elsewhere but he shouldn't be gossiping about his patients like that in any capacity. It's clearly an authorial device, but is there any other way to get that information without compromising his medical ethics?

Joan Baker is still not regarded as 'one of them'. But she's clearly gotten what she wants from the CS in terms of teaching and improving her languages and has decided to let the rest go. I think it's actually very clever of her.

Telling Josette in front of all her friends that she won't be going to St Mildreds when she had counted on it, is a bit cruel and not at all like Miss Annersley.

There was no way the girls wouldn't gossip about it. And all Miss Annersley had to do was inform Madge that Josette was counting on going to St Mildreds so it might be nice to talk to her about the alternative plans being made.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Wins the Trick
PostPosted: 19 Dec 2017, 03:18 
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EBD wanted the Russells out of the way as she must already have been planning her Reunion book. If Madge had been in England she would have been at the Reunion and that would have put a completely different light on it.

If Josette had gone to St Mildred's, she would probably have been spending her Easter holidays the next year at Freudesheim with Auntie Joey and so, Josette might also have led excursions during the Reunion and, as the founder's daughter would arguably have been more of an attraction than the triplets. It was therefore easier to send Josette off as well. Having Hilda make the announcement made it a faite accompli.

This is a very average book and I don't particularly like the girls, particularly young Win, although Audrey probably does improve.

It is interesting that when the girls stop Len in her tracks at the beginning of the book Len's reaction - surprise, surprise - is to do nothing. The contrast between the 15 year old Len and 15 year old Mary-Lou is almost painful in view of the fact that EBD was trying to make Len ML's successor.

Mary-Lou would have sussed out that underneath, most of the gang were probably quite distressed because of their family circumstances and maybe tried to help, whereas if I remember correctly that does not seem to click with anyone at the CS.

Joey at least does try to help a bit by taking the girls under her wing once or twice.

I don't like the very feminine, all girls together bit, where Joey, the triplets and Ruey are whitewashing the rooms - a bit sweety yuich!

Is this the book where Josette's future occupation changes from physiotherapy to a place in the LSE in about six pages?

NB I have a hardback copy of this book and about 20 pages around the whitewashing segment are repeated Does anyone else have a similar book?


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Wins the Trick
PostPosted: 19 Dec 2017, 04:32 
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I'm kind of mixed on this book.

There are some parts I like - the shift of focus away from the school to the out-of-school Gang adds some nice variety to the series, after a steady sequence of new-girl-fitting-in books. Audrey's maturation is good, as she goes from being pretty childish and oblivious to having a more mature view of things, and thinking of helping her mother. The situation of the parents being well-meaning but pre-occupied and stressed, and therefore not keeping as close an eye on the kids as they should, works pretty well.

On the other hand, there's the horrible lack of confidentiality, both medical and school (doesn't Joey blurt out about the girls coming to the school the next term before they've been told) and adults who need a good smack upside the head (the Australia affair, plus not telling the girls about things like going to the school, or the seriousness of the illnesses, when everyone else knows). With Josette, why on earth didn't Madge pitch it as an offer of a gap year in Australia, which most teenagers would leap at, rather than making it about denying her St Mildred's for Madge's benefit?

I do think the school should have come down *hard* on the two girls over the vandalism of the food. They destroyed lunch for a couple of hundred people, which is not a minor prank. A bill presented to the parents, negotiated down to having the girls work it off in unpleasant chores, would have been appropriate. If the girls are old enough to be running around unsupervised, they're old enough to know not to destroy other people's things. Even without evidence, I'm pretty sure a quick interrogation would have had the girls confess.

The discussion over Mary-Lou's career is rather, particularly the way Verity is written off as being totally useless and a burden on her step-sister. I'm also wondering if they knew that UK archaeology was a thing - Mary-Lou could have shifted her focus to local archaeology, and stayed in the same career.

Also, after the first couple cases of running off, Win should have been leashed.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Wins the Trick
PostPosted: 19 Dec 2017, 04:43 
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jennifer wrote:
The discussion over Mary-Lou's career is rather, particularly the way Verity is written off as being totally useless and a burden on her step-sister. I'm also wondering if they knew that UK archaeology was a thing - Mary-Lou could have shifted her focus to local archaeology, and stayed in the same career.


There's mention made in one book about ML reading a book about Egypt during half-term. I suspect EBD thought that all archaeologists work in Egypt or the Middle East. Time Team was several decades too late!

I've only got the paperback, but it mentions the extra rooms for ML's mother as being 'colour-washed.' What's the difference (if any) between colour-washing and painting? Did colour-washing use water-soluble paint and 'painting' meant oil-based paints?


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Wins the Trick
PostPosted: 19 Dec 2017, 08:58 
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This is definitely not one of my favourites. I really dislike the way the Russells' trip to Australia is presented. It's hard to imagine Madge and Jem behaving like that. If EBD wanted Josette out of the way, why not show her as being really excited about it, like Carola Johnstone who said that a once-in-a-lifetime trip with her parents was a much better prospect than a year at St Mildred's? The feud is just a rehash of the Mystic M plot twenty years earlier.

I don't like the comments about Mary-Lou having to pack in university, either. Doris isn't even ill at this point. It's the mid-1950s - the daughter at home idea was surely on the way out. And the way Verity is turned from the very independent-minded little girl she is originally to a "broken reed" quite upsets me. Doris then obligingly dies, freeing up Mary-Lou ... and, when there are similar stories about Elfie and Peggy planning to give up school because they're "needed at home", adult relatives are conveniently found to take their places looking after their families. Why keep doing the same storyline but never following it through?

Con is shocked by Len's comments, and also (in another book) shocked that Julie Lucy has packed in her legal career. It's nice to see one CS girl looking at things differently!

Oh, and I love the fact that Len and some of the others get a day by the lake because they're "tired" from revising! Funny, no-one ever offered to take me and my schoolfriends out for the day because we were "tired" from revising! It's nice to see revision actually mentioned, though, and the existence of public exams acknowledged.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Wins the Trick
PostPosted: 19 Dec 2017, 10:54 
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bythebrook wrote:

I've only got the paperback, but it mentions the extra rooms for ML's mother as being 'colour-washed.' What's the difference (if any) between colour-washing and painting? Did colour-washing use water-soluble paint and 'painting' meant oil-based paints?

As far as I know "colour-washing" is white-washing with the addition of a little colour which was possible, though not strictly advisable, as apparently the colour could come off on your clothes as you brush past it.

White-washing and painting are not the same....as I know to my cost when trying to paint over a whitewashed ceiling in an old house, without removing/treating the whitewash first.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Wins the Trick
PostPosted: 19 Dec 2017, 11:15 
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I agree with many of the comments above - this is one of the worst books of the series! I replaced most of my Armada paperbacks with a GGBP when they are published but will not be doing so with this title as it's just not worth it.

Poor Josette! She'd set herself up studying at university and then that is all taken away from her, pretty much condemning her to a life at home and marriage soon after. She clearly wanted so much more and whilst this change of circumstances would make many of the CS girls happy, it's sad to see Josette almost forced into that role.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Wins the Trick
PostPosted: 19 Dec 2017, 14:54 
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I would have left Win in the pit.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Wins the Trick
PostPosted: 19 Dec 2017, 19:27 
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Agree with everyone else, not a favourite, and never was, even when I first read it when I was the right age. I didn't warm to Audrey or any of her gang. As Alison says, it was more or less a rehash of the Mystic M plot, but unlike the Mystic M, all these girls (except Win) could be expected to know better. They're older, had been properly brought up, and presumably they'd all been to school before coming to Switzerland; it's not as if they'd grown up without any discipline, as the Balbinis had.

Even after they join the school, it's only really Val who develops much of a personality, and then only as a typical Naughty Middle whom I always get confused with Val Pertwee.

Joey is indiscreet, and Mrs Everett is made to look weak because of it.

In all the discussion about Commander Carey's death and whether ML will have to give up her career to look after Doris, does it occur to anyone that Verity has lost her father, and is in need of support herself?


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Wins the Trick
PostPosted: 19 Dec 2017, 20:12 
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I seem to be in the minority in that I quite like this one – I certainly like it a lot better than Leader. Celia and Val are very interchangeable, but I think Audrey and Solange could have made a nice pairing at the CS. The feud was stupid, but I like the way Audrey starts maturing when she twigs just how ill her father is and how much it’s costing them, and how glad her mother is to be able to confide in her a bit. I think she's one of EBD's better late series creations.

mynameisdumbnuts wrote:
I would have left Win in the pit.

Agree with this. I know the general view on here about corporal punishment, but if ever a kid deserved a smack, Win did!

Those two EBDisms about Solange’s presence/lack of on the Auberge walk and telling the girls she’s going to the CS were howlers. They were hardly minor points; her rhapsodising about Maria takes up about half a chapter. Did EBD read back any of what she’d written? Lovely to see Maria happy, though.

What I did find interesting about the peppered food prank was that it actually went unpunished. As far as we’re told, Celia and Val never get found out or confess to it, as although the school does believe they’re behind it, they can never prove it. That’s highly unusual for EBD, who rarely lets an offence slide, and certainly not one of that magnitude.

What struck me most about this book last night was the lack of subplots. Apart from Commander Carey’s death, the entire book was all about the Caramie gang and the feud. Again, quite unusual, if there's one thing I've noticed doing these summaries it's that there's almost always a couple of side plots to go along with the main story.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Wins the Trick
PostPosted: 20 Dec 2017, 01:00 
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JayB wrote:
In all the discussion about Commander Carey's death and whether ML will have to give up her career to look after Doris, does it occur to anyone that Verity has lost her father, and is in need of support herself?


There is a little bit of sympathy for Verity:

Quote:
Len’s own clan gathered round her and Con asked what she had meant.
“I know she’ll be sorry, but after all, it isn’t as if Uncle Roland had been her own father,” she said. “I think it’s worse for Verity.”
Len stared at her. “Oh, don’t you see?” she burst out. “This may mean the end of Mary-Lou’s career!”


I find Con's POV regarding Comm. Carey's death a bit strange though. 'Uncle Roland' was the only father ML ever knew and we are told in Mary Lou he has a good relationship with her and he goes to see her after the toboggan accident.

Quote:
Poor Josette! She'd set herself up studying at university and then that is all taken away from her, pretty much condemning her to a life at home and marriage soon after. She clearly wanted so much more and whilst this change of circumstances would make many of the CS girls happy, it's sad to see Josette almost forced into that role.


I think if Josette had not been married off, she could have gone back to the UK and the LSE as she wanted to. The trip was only supposed to be for a year and she could have seen it as a 'gap year.'

Wonder if Madge ever considered Josette and Sybil marrying people on the other side of the world was to get away from her?

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Wins the Trick
PostPosted: 20 Dec 2017, 09:08 
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The trip was only supposed to be for a year. Josette couldn't start at university anyway, because she was only 17 and needed to be 18 for her particular course, so all it meant was spending a year in Australia instead of a year of same old, same old at St Mildred's. Most people would have been delighted!

It's hard to tell with Sybil, because her age is so badly EBD-d. She was originally 4 or 5 years older than Josette, but it all gets so messed up that she's supposedly at St Mildred's when Josette is Head Girl. Then their real ages come back into play, so Sybil is 23 and Josette 18 when their respective engagements are announced. If Sybil was 23, she'd already have completed her needlework course by then.

I think EBD wanted the Russells out of the way. Peggy Bettany is also shoved out of the way, when Giles is posted to the West Indies. But I don't see why she couldn't have said that Madge and Jem had suggested that the girls join them in Australia and that the girls were delighted. Most people would have loved the idea of a year in Australia rather than what is basically a wasted year hanging around at St Mildred's waiting to start university.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Wins the Trick
PostPosted: 20 Dec 2017, 13:15 
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Aquabird wrote:
I seem to be in the minority in that I quite like this one – I certainly like it a lot better than Leader. Celia and Val are very interchangeable, but I think Audrey and Solange could have made a nice pairing at the CS.


I agree Aquabird. I read this as a child, and though I liked Ruey the best of the three books in my set, I was hoping Solange and Audrey would have a much bigger role in the series than they did.

I could understand the naughtiness of Val and Celia, who must have been bored out of their minds on the Platz and ripe for mischief. A lot of their behaviour reminded me of some of the girls in my class. In retrospect the pepper prank is overdone, but at the time I was suitably horrified (and impressed) by the scale of it, and the description of the food in this book always made me hungry!

Rereading as an adult, Win would definitely have benefited from a good clip round the ear and a set of leading reins. I think a couple of afternoons on the children's ward at the San might have done all of the girls good in giving them a sense of perspective.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Wins the Trick
PostPosted: 21 Dec 2017, 00:56 
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Sybil is at St. Mildred's until the end of Theodora. So at this point, she could be finishing up her first year of Art Needlework. I'm not sure how long the courses would have been, but if it was more than a year long course, she would actually have had to leave in the middle of it to tag along to Australia with her mother, which is worse that Josette's case.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Wins the Trick
PostPosted: 21 Dec 2017, 09:31 
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jennifer wrote:
Sybil is at St. Mildred's until the end of Theodora. So at this point, she could be finishing up her first year of Art Needlework. I'm not sure how long the courses would have been, but if it was more than a year long course, she would actually have had to leave in the middle of it to tag along to Australia with her mother, which is worse that Josette's case.


She's must be St Millie's in Ruey as she travels with the Swiss contingent to England for Peggy's wedding, so am guessing she is still at St Millie's for that term at least, otherwise if she isn't, then she certainly isn't doing her Art Needlework if she is in Switzerland just before Half Term. There is no mention of Sybil at St Millie's or being in Switzerland after that term nor is there any mention of how Sybil felt about going to Australia.

Josette was understandable. She has to go to Canada for her health and is out there for two years. Before she goes she is one of the leaders of her form with Vi as Mary Lou is fairly new at that point. When she gets back, she has lost her position of leadership in her form and is never consistently with the same group of girls again. Even Madge is thankful she and Jo Scott become friends as she doesn't have a best friend at that point. I can understand Josette might think: 'I don't want to do that again.' I can also understand once she is out in Australia, the appeal of staying, for her, and not having to go back home and start from scratch all over again because all her friends have moved in different directions. Granted she did fall in love, but that is a huge decision as in those days getting back home for a visit would not be an easy feat, financially or practically. And air travel could not have been predicted to have taken off the way that it has these days.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Wins the Trick
PostPosted: 21 Dec 2017, 11:51 
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jennifer wrote:
Sybil is at St. Mildred's until the end of Theodora. So at this point, she could be finishing up her first year of Art Needlework. I'm not sure how long the courses would have been, but if it was more than a year long course, she would actually have had to leave in the middle of it to tag along to Australia with her mother, which is worse that Josette's case.


I don't know what it would have been then, but nowadays it is a rather intensive three year course, and is considered academically equivalent to a degree. My mother once looekd into it for me, hoping I would stay in England and develop my embriodery skills. Had I been planning to stay in England I would have been quite happy to do it, but I wanted to live in Israel, and wasn't willing to spend an extra three years in England developing a skill that would have limited chances of turning into a job afterwards.

I don't know what it would have been in Sybil's day, but now they only accept eight students a year, and there is a very stiff interveiw, where they want to see a lot of your design ideas as well as a wide range of needlework sills. Of course, the MBR just had to put their name down anywhere to be accepted, but realistically Sybil would have had to do a lot more than embroider tray cloths for the sale.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Wins the Trick
PostPosted: 21 Dec 2017, 12:12 
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I'm fairly sure we're told that Sybil is still at St Mildred's at this point. She was still at school in Coming of Age, so, if she'd had two years at St Mildred's as a lot of them did, that would make sense - and maybe the idea was for her to defer her needlework course for a year (obviously CS girls only had to ask, and arrangements would be made for the place to be held!). But I think EBD just conveniently forgot about Sybil's plans - quite apart from the fact that her age is messed up so badly, there's no mention of the needlework course.

I assume Josette starts university in Sydney, because we're told that her husband-to-be is the brother of a friend of hers from university. Presumably, if you were a Chalet School girl, you could just ring up (or even just turn up!) and start on a course at any university, in any country, just like that :lol:. Or maybe (and I'm being very generous here!) there was some sort of reciprocal arrangement between the university she was meant to go to in London, and one in Sydney - a lot of qualifications do "work" in different countries within the Commonwealth.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Wins the Trick
PostPosted: 21 Dec 2017, 12:32 
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Alison H wrote:
I assume Josette starts university in Sydney, because we're told that her husband-to-be is the brother of a friend of hers from university. Presumably, if you were a Chalet School girl, you could just ring up (or even just turn up!) and start on a course at any university, in any country, just like that :lol:. Or maybe (and I'm being very generous here!) there was some sort of reciprocal arrangement between the university she was meant to go to in London, and one in Sydney - a lot of qualifications do "work" in different countries within the Commonwealth.


Josette doesn't arrive in Australia until around October/November which is perfect timing to apply for University here in Australia. Our University year starts in March and finishes in November. Applications are usually around September/October and you find out in January if you got in or not. I can't see Josette having a problem given she did the UK equivalent to the final year of High School and also in the 1950's Australia very much identified and were part of the British Empire. The attitude back then was very much, the more British that came to Australia, the better.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Wins the Trick
PostPosted: 25 Dec 2017, 01:12 
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Alison H wrote:
I assume Josette starts university in Sydney, because we're told that her husband-to-be is the brother of a friend of hers from university.


It could be read several ways - the 'friend' was at university WITH her or the 'friend' was at Sydney University and just happened to meet Josette elsewhere.

I simply don't see Josette going to university while on the trip. Surely it would have been mentioned, even in passing, that she was studying while in Australia?

And the trip was only meant to be for a year so wouldn't they have treated it like a 'gap year' and she would be mentally preparing to go to the LSE when the year was up. The course would be at least 3-4 years so, while she could probably transfer credits, why would they bother?

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Last edited by Joyce on 27 Dec 2017, 03:24, edited 1 time in total.

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