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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Triplets
PostPosted: 21 Jan 2018, 23:43 
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Declaring the Chalet School to be best
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"There is a scene when the triplets are in their cradle when Jo describes their characters, isn't there?"

When they are babies Jo is talking to Madge and saying what sort of books they'll like when they are older - Len will want adventure stories, Con will want fairy stories and Margot stories about naughty children


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Triplets
PostPosted: 22 Jan 2018, 02:22 
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The triplets caused such a stir and always continued to do so. I like reading about them and would not want any taken away. I do wonder though if they were too much for EBD especially as her writing deteriorated and if it might have been better if they had been twins.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Triplets
PostPosted: 22 Jan 2018, 08:43 
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There was a strong group of characters around them - Emerence, Ros, Joan, Ted and Jo, and even lesser characters like Heather, Betty, Alicia, Francie and Ruey all had their parts to play - but they were rather shoved into the background in this book.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Triplets
PostPosted: 23 Jan 2018, 06:32 
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Fiona Mc wrote:
And I think Hilda should have had enough insight and courage to say she needed to step down as Headmistress, if she couldn't be as strict with the Maynards as she was with all the other girls. Hilda doesn't seem to think about the impact that has on the other girls. She certainly doesn't show the Bettany or Russell girls the same level of favouritism, she shows the Maynard girls.


But that would have been a massive indictment on the school itself. And it needs to be pointed out to her from a purely outsider object POV that she is too close to the Maynards.

And who could take on that role? The other mistresses were all too close to the Maynards themselves and Madge would be hopeless.

It's entirely possible that they all do feel Miss Annersley is treating the Maynards the same as everyone else. And only an outsider saying "hold on here!" would provide the jolt they all needed.

What would have been fascinating is if the Landon's showed up and said - so you not only did not bother to tell us at the time so we could come and see Betty, you also did not expel Margot, Margot was allowed to go home to be with her parents while we were kept in the dark and, as a final touch, you also blamed our daughter. Ok then ...

There is a sentence much earlier on in the series where Sybil is described as having to be dragged kicking and screaming to Miss Wilson's (?) office because she knew she was about to be punished.

So that was EBD's way of saying that both women were perfectly capable of punishing the MBR clan.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Triplets
PostPosted: 23 Jan 2018, 10:46 
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Maybe if this had happened in New Mistress Kathy would have said something (or at least recognised it) because she seems to be the only one who cottoned on to the fact the Mary-Lou was treated differently, although she became assimilated by the end of the book


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Triplets
PostPosted: 24 Jan 2018, 09:20 
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I think if that Miss Annersley recognized the need to, say, expel a Maynard for the good of the school or girl, she would have the determination to do it and deal with the consequences.

The problem is that she doesn't seem to notice that she's treating Margot like an aunt and long-term family friend rather than a Headmistress. She's known Margot since she was born, and is close friends with Joey, so the family's various quirks seem normal to her. And she's been with the school for about 20 years at this point, and from the beginning, the school and the clan have been intertwined in a way that is not typical for a school. Sometimes it has a good effect (like Madge hosting girls at half-term in the Tyrol days), other times it causes problems (like when Joey or Margot get special treatment as students). I don't think Margot would have been pushed so hard to be in advanced forms in a different school, for example. And the triplets would definitely have not been sent to Switzerland under the age limit if they hadn't been Maynards.

That's part of the risk with a system that becomes insular - dysfunctional stuff becomes normal - and the CS definitely doesn't trust strangers in important roles, to the point that they insist on bringing in old girls as emergency substitute teachers. It would probably do the school a lot of good at this point to have someone brought in as senior staff (deliberately and carefully chosen, not an emergency scramble), who is experienced but not an old girl or long time staff member, who could look at things from a new perspective, and point out when something was off.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Triplets
PostPosted: 24 Jan 2018, 18:11 
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I think Kathy was the best one to be the head teacher after Hilda. She is not a former pupil and was also interested enough in the school to do such things as produce the famous Christmas play, help with games etc.

I got a huge shock in Challenge when Nancy Wilmot was put in as temporary Head. I would not have expected Kathy to go in at that stage but of the senior staff Nancy was the last person I would have thought of. I would have put Miss Moore or Miss Derwent in before her or pleaded with Mlle.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Triplets
PostPosted: 25 Jan 2018, 18:24 
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But why not Nancy? It's only for one term, and she's had plenty of experience, is head of Maths, and seems to have a sensible head on her shoulders, as well as possessing a delightful sense of humour, something that always works well with children/teenagers. Jeanne de Lachennais commented in one book that she hated admin, so that wouldn't have helped, vibrant and caring as she is, and I don't think Ruth Derwent has enough character to be head, even for one term. They both do have more experience than Miss Moore, mentioned by Audrey. Kathie's too young, with only a few years experience at this point. So who else is there besides Nancy?

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Triplets
PostPosted: 25 Jan 2018, 20:37 
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I don't think Ruth Derwent has enough character to be head, even for one term.

I agree, Miss Derwent's character isn't very well developed. There's nothing about her that really sets her apart from the other mistresses. Whereas Nancy has been a major character ever since the school began in Switzerland.

I think Nancy falls quite well into the space between Old Girl who is too closely identified with the school and complete stranger. She was only at the school for a year or so at the end of her schooldays. She's never been especially close to Jo. And she had more than ten years of varied experiences away from the CS before she returned to teach there, compared to those OGs who came back as soon as they finished their training.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Triplets
PostPosted: 25 Jan 2018, 22:39 
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In a "normal" school the deputy head or senior mistress would be automatically chosen to be acting head. However the CS doesn't have a deputy head as it has two heads. The senior mistress varies in typical EBD-style between Jeanne L. and Ruth D. I can understand why Jeanne was SENIOR but as JayB says,there isn't enough character development of Ruth Derwent to see why EBD named her senior mistress. Purely on years in school there are also Frau Mieders and Sarah Denny. The latter is such a wonderful teacher of multiple subjects and languages - surely she would have been able to turn her hand to being acting head? :D

Of course there is also Plato - the first headmaster? :lol: :lol:


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Triplets
PostPosted: 25 Jan 2018, 22:59 
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This'll all be discussed more when we get to Challenge, but I think the start of that book, when we're told that it will be Nancy who takes over, says it all about how blurred the relationship between the school authorities and the Maynards has become. There's no way that Hilda should have been discussing the suitability of various mistresses to take over as temporary Head with the triplets. She should have just said that Nancy was taking over, end of. The triplets might well have talked about it amongst themselves, and made comments about other mistresses, but they certainly shouldn't have been doing so in front of Hilda.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Triplets
PostPosted: 25 Jan 2018, 23:16 
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Quote:
Purely on years in school there are also Frau Mieders and Sarah Denny. The latter is such a wonderful teacher of multiple subjects and languages - surely she would have been able to turn her hand to being acting head? :D

But being a gifted teacher doesn't necessarily equate to being a good administrator, and as we're told so often, so much of Hilda's work is administration. Hilda obviously is both a good teacher and a good administrator (with Rosalie's support), but I can see that others who considered themselves first and foremost to be teachers wouldn't want to take it on. (I wouldn't myself.)

Jo can make her subject come alive as a teacher, but I wouldn't let her loose anywhere near a headship!


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Triplets
PostPosted: 25 Jan 2018, 23:32 
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In Gay when discussing which staff are left after the bus crash, Madge says it would be cruelty to animals to ask Miss Denny to take over the Headship, and certainly she strikes me as very much someone who prefers to remain in the background doing her own (many and varied) things. I remember being quite struck by the bit in Feud where, while in charge of a walk with Miss Moore, she mixes up the CS and St Hilda's girls as partners to try and make them be more sociable, because it seemed quite out of character for her to take command and do something like that off own bat. If it had been Miss Moore, or Nancy or Kathie or Miss Derwent, it would have made more sense because they're much more forceful personalities and the kind of people who take the initiative, but it seemed really odd coming from a quiet background personality like Miss Denny.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Triplets
PostPosted: 26 Jan 2018, 01:11 
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I always got the impression Nancy did precious little for the school but teach. We never hear of her taking part in anything extra and I never thought she had much go about her.

I don't see whats wrong with Miss Derwent or Miss Moore although a few years down the line Kathy would definitely be best.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Triplets
PostPosted: 26 Jan 2018, 07:43 
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I see Nancy as being good natured, and a competent teacher, but not interested in being anything higher than a department head (of a two person department).

Kathie would be a good Head candidate in the future, but at this point she's only been teaching for four years, is still one of the most junior of the staff, and has no department head experience or anything like that. Although the problem with being Head in the future is her lack of breadth, if she has no experience teaching outside the CS.

For this case, all they need is to have someone as a placeholder for one term, to handle Head-level admin and discipline issues, preside over things and so on. She won't be enacting new policies, and it's the fall term, so there shouldn't be many prospective parents to deal with. So someone like Miss Moore, or Miss Derwent, would be fine.

The main thing that they would have to deal with is that whoever takes over the Head duties won't be able to do their full teaching load, and someone will have to take that over.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Triplets
PostPosted: 26 Jan 2018, 16:25 
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Alison H wrote:
ip between the school authorities and the Maynards has become. There's no way that Hilda should have been discussing the suitability of various mistresses to take over as temporary Head with the triplets. .

She wasn't actually asking them to help her make her decision. That decision had already been made. She wanted their views - and as they're prefects and Head Girl, that seems sensible, as they're the ones who will have to work with the new Head. It seems to me also that it was a method of discovering just how well they can think for themselves, how good at judging character. Yes, she's also interested in them as girls she's known since the day they were born - and why not?

I know I'm going to be shouted down, but decided what the heck! We all have our own ideas on what EBD wrote. :twisted:

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Triplets
PostPosted: 26 Jan 2018, 19:18 
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Aquabird wrote:
In Gay when discussing which staff are left after the bus crash, Madge says it would be cruelty to animals to ask Miss Denny to take over the Headship, and certainly she strikes me as very much someone who prefers to remain in the background doing her own (many and varied) things.


My comments (not just the part here) were meant to be tongue-in-cheek. Interesting, though, to see how you have all reacted. Alison is right; we should discuss this when we get to the appropriate book - although I agree it is possible that EBD was already preparing us for Nancy's promotion. We have another five books to go.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Triplets
PostPosted: 27 Jan 2018, 12:40 
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thefrau46 wrote:
In a "normal" school the deputy head or senior mistress would be automatically chosen to be acting head. However the CS doesn't have a deputy head as it has two heads. The senior mistress varies in typical EBD-style between Jeanne L. and Ruth D. I can understand why Jeanne was SENIOR but as JayB says,there isn't enough character development of Ruth Derwent to see why EBD named her senior mistress. Purely on years in school there are also Frau Mieders and Sarah Denny. The latter is such a wonderful teacher of multiple subjects and languages - surely she would have been able to turn her hand to being acting head? :D

Of course there is also Plato - the first headmaster? :lol: :lol:


When was Ruth Derwent named as Senior Mistress? She occasionally deputised for Hilda for Prayers, but Jeanne would have been with the Catholics then.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Triplets
PostPosted: 27 Jan 2018, 13:21 
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The Encyclopaedia says that Miss Derwent is named as Senior Mistress in Richenda. She's one of several staff members - Frau Mieders is another - who are with the school for decades but never really get a storyline. It's usually Mlle, Biddy, Nancy and Kathie who get caught up in avalanches and so on.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: The Chalet School Triplets
PostPosted: 27 Jan 2018, 13:58 
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Alison H wrote:
The Encyclopaedia says that Miss Derwent is named as Senior Mistress in Richenda. She's one of several staff members - Frau Mieders is another - who are with the school for decades but never really get a storyline. It's usually Mlle, Biddy, Nancy and Kathie who get caught up in avalanches and so on.


Thanks! Excellent subject for a drabble -why was Jeanne demoted for a term?


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