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 Post subject: Books: Challenge for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2018, 00:29 
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We move into the final year of the series with the last winter term book: Challenge for the Chalet School, first published in 1966 and covering the term after Summer Term. Miss Annersley goes on an educational tour of schools, leaving the Headship of the CS in the hands of maths mistress Nancy Wilmot. Two new girls, Evelyn Ross and Jocelyn Marvell, join the Seniors and Middles respectively and make waves in very different ways. Notable events:

At the end of the summer holidays, Miss Annersley has a meeting with the Maynard triplets and informs them that she will be away from the school for the term, having been invited to take part in an international tour of schools. The stunned triplets mull over possible candidates for the temporary Headship, and Len guesses Miss Wilmot, which Miss Annersley confirms.
The Head also tells Margot that she will be Games Prefect this year, and Con will be editor of The Chaletian. She also asks the triplets to keep an eye on new girl Evelyn Ross, who at sixteen is older than most new girls and whose mother is very ill at the San.
Meanwhile, Evelyn is at the San, having just had the news broken that instead of having left school altogether as she had expected, she will be going to the CS for her final year, much to her dismay. Not at all relishing the idea of going to such a big school after having been an important member of her previous small private school, she decides to walk along the Platz and take a look at it. While on her walk, Jo Maynard drives past her and waves to her, much to her astonishment, and she wonders who she is.
On reaching the station for the mountain railway, feeling hot and tired, she meets Eugen Courvoisier, who is waiting to pick up Biddy and their children. He greets Evelyn pleasantly, reassures her about her mother, and offers her a lift back to her pension, which she gratefully accepts. Biddy greets her warmly when they arrive, and when they stop off at Adlersnest on the way to the pension, she is also introduced to Hilary Graves and her two daughters. The whole encounter makes her feel better and shakes her out of her sulks.
The first day of term arrives, and Evelyn finds herself placed in Va, sheepdogged by Lesley Anderson. When the girls have arrived and are lined up on the drive, Miss Wilmot makes the announcement that she will be the temporary Head, leaving the girls stunned. After Abendessen and Prayers, she gives the girls more details, then leaves the Seniors to dance.
Evelyn is introduced to some new dances and several girls, including Jane Carew, Janice Chester and Len, who introduces herself as Dr Maynard’s daughter and tells her they would have had her over to Freudesheim before now if it hadn’t been for Phil, who developed polio the previous term and is still unable to use her left leg.
The next day, lessons begin, and after a ramble in which Jane asks Evelyn to partner her, Evelyn goes along to lessons with Va. She causes a sensation when Margot Maynard dashes in to ask which game she prefers between hockey and lacrosse, and Evelyn replies that she doesn’t like games. Moira Carroll, severely lacking in tact, criticises Evelyn’s last school for their lack of games, and Lesley hastens to intervene after Evelyn retaliates.
After ten days or so, Evelyn begins to find her feet, but is no happier. Lesley, although still sheepdogging her, is showing no inclination to be real friends. Jane, the only other girl for whom Evelyn feels any attraction, is already part of a group with José Helston, Dilys Edwards and Adrienne Desmoines, and Jane’s main reason for being friendly at all is that she feels sorry for Evelyn with her mother being in the San.
Meanwhile, having put her name down for hockey as being the lesser of two evils, Evelyn makes no effort to play well and is pulled up by Margot for it, infuriating her and causing her to answer back, which does not endear her either to Margot or her form. That evening at prep, she has a row with Moira over who gets to use a book of Miss Derwent’s first, culminating in her threatening to tell Miss Derwent she couldn’t do her work because of it, much to the shock and disgust of Va. Margot hears the scene and catechises Moira and Evelyn sharply for the row.
By the next day, Moira has cooled down and apologises to Evelyn, who refuses to accept it. Disgusted by her behaviour and her threat to sneak the night before, Va send her to Coventry, and she soon begins to feel very miserable. Matey is quick to notice it and how she is refusing food, and urges Miss Wilmot to step in. Miss Wilmot sends for Lesley, Va’s form prefect, and tells her that matters need to be resolved, both for Evelyn’s sake and before the rest of the school becomes infected by the same chilly atmosphere.
Led by Lesley, Va make some friendly overtures towards Evelyn, and she begins to feel happier again. She is further cheered up when Miss Dene takes the Third XI for hockey practice instead of Margot, as Miss Dene realises that chastising her for poor play only sets her back up, and instead tries encouraging her, with better results. A pleasant ramble to the Auberge also helps to lift her spirits.
The Sunday before half-term, Evelyn goes to visit her mother at the San, accompanied by Felicity, who is going to visit the slowly-recovering Phil. Jo drives them over, and a chance remark from Jo revealing just how ill her mother has been stuns her, for she had had no idea of it.
When Evelyn enters her mother’s room, she does her best to keep her quiet and chatters about school doings, but when she inadvertently makes her laugh and go off into a coughing fit, she is badly frightened and has to be ushered out. Matron Graves takes her into her office and cheers her up with coffee and a reassurance that her mother is really getting on well now, but she goes back to school much graver.
Meanwhile, in Upper IVa, Erica Standish is pulled up for not having her atlas, but swears to an irate Miss Ferrars that she put it away in her locker. Evelyn arrives in the geography room with it just then, having found it amongst her own books, and when Victoria Wood backs up Erica’s claim that she had put it away properly, form prefect Agneta Gabrielli tells Miss Ferrars that everyone in the form has had a similar issue of missing one book or another.
Miss Ferrars marches Upper IVa back to their form room to check their lockers, and it is soon discovered that everyone in the form is either missing something, or has an item belonging t someone else amongst their own things. Before she can do anything about it, Miss Ferrars, who has been fighting stomach pains all day, collapses.
Miss Wilmot hears the resulting pandemonium and sends for Matron, Gaudenz and Jack Maynard, then sends the rest of the form away and comforts Miss Ferrars until Matron and Gaudenz arrive to take her away to the study until she can be taken to the San. Seeing the pile of items from the lockers on the mistress’s desk, Miss Wilmot fights the urge to go dashing to the study to see what’s going on there, summons Upper IVa back and reassures them, then asks for the meaning of the loot on the table, which the girls explain.
Miss Ferrars is successfully operated on for appendicitis, putting her out of the proceedings for the next six weeks. At Mittagessen, the girls discuss the event and what they will do for a Nativity Play producer without her, until Miss Wilmot stands up and tells them that after rest period, they are to go to their form rooms and empty their desks and lockers, causing much speculation amongst the girls.
Although items are discovered well and truly mixed up across the school, Miss Wilmot does nothing about it for the time being. The culprits are soon revealed to be eight girls from Lower IV, led by new girl and firebrand Jocelyn Marvell. Carlotta von Eschenau, younger sister of Wanda, had recounted the Lost Property prank played by Ailie Russell’s gang some years before (see Trials), and Jocelyn instigates a similar prank on Upper IVa, who have been adopting a superior attitude to Lower IV. Sneaking out of prep while Len is with Matron, they attempt yet another raid on Upper IVa’s lockers, but are caught red-handed by Miss Wilmot.
Although only Jocelyn’s gang took part in the prank, the whole of Lower IV knew and agreed with it, and Miss Wilmot isolates them for the rest of the evening and lectures them on their vengeful behaviour. Jocelyn and her gang are docked of their pocket money and tuck for a week, and are forced to apologise in person to Upper IVa.
Miss Annersley comes to the school for a weekend’s flying visit, and suggests that they ask Stacie Benson, who is still at Freudesheim, to take over Junior geography and maths while Miss Ferrars is hors de combat, with the prefects to take over producing the Nativity Play and Miss Derwent as an advisor.
A week after half-term, the two Fifths split up for games, and Margot and sub-prefect Joan Dancey are in charge of the hockey match. Margot is in a bad temper, as she had hoped to be excused the period to look over some work she had left undone. She snaps at the girls and pulls them up constantly for accidental faults, especially Evelyn, who fumes inwardly. When Margot yells at her to strike the ball instead of being so cautious, she hits it so hard it bounces off a tuft and hits Lesley in the elbow.
The result of Lesley’s accident is a chipped elbow, putting her out of hockey for the rest of the term, and Margot bitterly regrets her treatment of the girls that afternoon, especially after overhearing the two Fifths discussing it and blaming her, rather than Evelyn, for the accident. She goes to Miss Burnett and confesses, and Miss Burnett consoles her.
Jo sends over the Nativity Play, and Evelyn, who is keen on acting, hopes for a speaking part and asks Va eagerly for details about previous plays. Jocelyn, on the other hand, is uninterested until she hears the play actually read out, then finds herself struck by it to the point that she hopes for even just a tiny speaking part herself.
Lower IV decide that they have seen enough of Stacie Benson to play a prank on her to see how she will take it. Jocelyn proposes that they coat the drawer of the mistress’s desk with cobbler’s wax to stick it shut, and the form agrees. However, when Stacie goes to get the mark book out of the drawer and is unable to open it, she guesses it is a joke. Jocelyn and her fellow conspirator Sandra Johnson own up, but as the entire form was in on it, Stacie forfeits all their marks until the drawer can be opened to get the mark book, docks their pocket money to pay for the damage to the drawer, and every mistress who comes to take the form for the rest of the day also tell them what they think of them.
The next day, Stacie comes across a white-faced Evelyn standing in the corridor staring out of the window. Evelyn says she has just been told her mother has suffered a haemorrhage and she isn’t allowed to go to her, and so Miss Wilmot had sent her to try and do some lessons if she could. Stacie, at a loss on how to deal with her, takes her into an empty classroom, and is thankful when footsteps approach and Mary-Lou, who has been told the news by Jo, looks in.
Mary-Lou takes Evelyn to the Annexe and comforts her, telling her about her own mother and how she had pulled up after relapses. Her warm sympathy helps Evelyn, and after three days the news finally comes that Mrs Ross has turned the corner and is pulling up again.
Jocelyn’s next exploit is to attempt to go around the common room without touching the floor, but a table collapses underneath her and she bangs her head. Matey whisks her off to attend to it and send her to bed, and Miss Wilmot scolds the rest of the form for not stopping her doing something so dangerous and condemns them to never being left unsupervised for the rest of the term.
Jocelyn has a bad day which culminates in her raging at Len and Ted during a rehearsal for the play, resigning her part and storming out of the room. She bumps into Stacie, who wrenches her back in an effort to save herself from falling, runs away from her and spends the rest of the day ignoring the rest of her form. After she snaps at Ottillie Sneider at bedtime for trying to make amends, Lower IV give up and send her to Coventry. Their scathing remarks about her rouse all Jocelyn’s worst feelings, and she decides to run away.
The next morning, while the rest of the school is walking across to the chapels for the mid-morning church services, Jocelyn sees her chance and escapes. She takes the road to Ste Cecilie, but, knowing that the Sheppards live there and that Grizel would smell a rat if she saw the Chalet uniform, she instead turns off another path halfway along which leads up to a shelf called the Rundbrett. By the time she reaches it, it has begun to snow, and after trying in vain to get into a locked shepherd’s hut, she makes for a chalet a little way away, slips in the snow and falls. At that moment, Mary-Lou comes racing up and lifts her up.
It transpires that Stacie, still worried about Jocelyn after the row the day before, had planned to ask her to tea at Freudesheim with herself and Mary-Lou, hoping that the latter could talk some sense into Jocelyn. However, she notices that Jocelyn is not at church, and she knows from Matron that no one is ill. Remembering her own unhappy first term (see Eustacia), she confides in Mary-Lou that she thinks Jocelyn was miserable enough to have run away, not to England, but simply to cause the school as much trouble as possible.
As Stacie’s back is still aching from the wrench, Mary-Lou sets off alone with Bruno to search for Jocelyn, sure that she can’t have got far. Bruno soon picks up her scent and leads Mary-Lou to the Rundbrett, where they arrive just in time to see Jocelyn fall. Knowing that the chalet belongs to a recently-deceased widow, Mary-Lou gets in by breaking a window and drags Jocelyn inside, forcing her awake with hot chocolate and soup.
The snow finally stops, and Mary-Lou drags Jocelyn back down to the Platz, where Jack Maynard comes along in his car by chance and picks them up. As Stacie and Mary-Lou had told no one else about that day’s events, nobody has been worried by Jocelyn’s running away, but she herself has been badly shaken.
The term ends with the Nativity Play, overseen by Miss Ferrars who returns to the school at the beginning of December, along with Miss Annersley, who is joyfully welcomed back by Miss Wilmot, who vows never to take on the Headship again. Phil Maynard’s recovery continues, and Evelyn is told that though her mother will be cured in time, she will always be frail.

So, thoughts on the final winter term book? What do you think of the idea of the school having to do without Miss Annersley for a term? What do you think of Nancy Wilmot’s tenure in the hotseat? Thoughts on Evelyn and Jocelyn? What about Lower IV’s antics?

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Challenge for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2018, 08:24 
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The opening chapter is more than a bit cringe inducing. First, there's Miss Annersley discussing the leadership merits of the staff with two of her students :shock: which is completely inappropriate and unprofessional. Then Con is assigned the magazine editorship, which has almost always been a job that was decided by the prefects, with only the Head Girl, Second Prefect and Games Prefects being Head's appointments. I wonder what the rest of the prefects thought when they arrived and found that the job had already been given out.

I actually sympathize with Evelyn quite a bit. She was attending a day school she liked, had finished her exams, and was looking forward to probably being Head Girl for a year before going to a business college. Then she gets uprooted, sent to a boarding school school where she's not only not a prefect, but has been demoted to fifth form, and is dumped into a totally different curriculum and culture. I'm not at all surprised she didn't happily fit in, but chafed at things like being expected to take up hockey with enthusiasm.

The school itself is not well set up to take in seniors, and they admit that. But they still have girls who are at the Platz due to family situations, and need something to do. It would have made more sense for Evelyn to go to the finishing branch, which would have other language novices, and more freedom. She'd have been on the young end of the age range, but probably a lot happier.

Regarding Margot - she should never have been Games Prefect. Sure, she's sporty, but she's also known for being abrupt and sharp tongued, with a temper she can't control, and a lack of people skills. Putting her in the [refect position that requires the most interaction with younger girls was a bad idea, and setting her up to fail.

Jocelyn is a bit bland. I think she's supposed to be a replacement for Jack in the naught middle category, but is mostly just a brat.

Some other off things - the insistence of the school on having a substitute teacher who absolutely had to be an old girl is really quite insular. Surely they'd have had to have a plan about what they'd do if a mistress was out for an extended period of time. Also doesn't Joey blurt out private medical information to Evelyn? I also kind of wonder about Mary-Lou comforting Evelyn with her own experiences with her mother, given that her mother died.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Challenge for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2018, 08:54 
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I like Evelyn, but she doesn't do much after this book.

The idea of someone standing in for Hilda for a term is interesting, but I'm not keen on the triplets giving their comments about who was and wasn't suitable. Matey speaks to Nancy as if she's a naughty Middle, not the acting Head, which says a lot about the problems you can get if someone is promoted from the ranks to a senior job. And, much as I like Stacie, I object to her being expected to leave her own work because she "knows what she owes the school" - she was so unhappy there that she ran away, and I don't think it's much to the school's credit that it's become so insular that the thought of getting a temp who isn't an Old Girl is deemed unthinkable.

This is also the book with the famous "Kathie, darling," comment in it, and Nancy's face being a "revelation" to Victoria. It could well just be meant to indicate that Kathie was very ill and Nancy was very worried, but it could certainly be interpreted as meaning that they were a lot more than just good friends.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Challenge for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2018, 09:27 
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I read this book for the first time a couple of months ago and was looking forward to it as I’ve seen many comments about it being the best of the late Swiss books. I was however very disappointed with it.

Although it was good to see Nancy taking a leadership role, I don’t think that Hilda would have left it so late to organise her sojourn and that she would have told Nancy well in advance the previous term to prepare her for new role.

I couldn’t take to Jocelyn or any of her classmates (whose names I have already forgotten!) - as characters they seemed bland and underdeveloped.

Regarding Stacie as a teacher I too find it questionable that it was necessary for her to be ex-CS, especially as she had no teaching experience. If they wanted ex-CS only with no teaching experience they could have gone for Joan Baker who I’m sure would have livened things up a little. :lol: I am a Stacie fan though so nice to see her again :)


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Challenge for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2018, 13:37 
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Evelyn only appears in this book. And little Marie-Claire, whom Joey was so keen on adopting just one book before, vanishes from the Freudesheim nursery in this book. There's a mention of Joey being tied down by Phil, Geoff and Cecil so she can't substitute teach maths (!?!?).

Matey's reprimand of Nancy is uncalled for, too. Nancy is acting as Head of 400 students, plus a couple dozen staff, and she's supposed to monitor them all well enough to notice that one student is having social problems, *and* is supposed to personally intervene? That should be something that the form mistress or other mistresses are keeping an eye on, not the Head. Or let Matey fix it, for that matter.

If the school is so adamant that they won't bring in outsiders, then they really should over-staff, so that if two mistresses are out sick, they aren't panicked into running through a list of old girls to see who they can guilt into substitute teach.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Challenge for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2018, 19:16 
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I don't think so much of the "Kathie, darling" but I do think a lot about the expression on Nancy's face and that it made Victoria want to make herself scarce.

In a book now I would not think anything about it but in a book for schoolgirls written in the sixties? Did EBD write this with no real awareness of the way it sounded? Maybe it was the characters pushing the action or did EBD only mean they were very, very close friends and Kathy, that term, was in a sense Nancy's responsibility? Does anybody know EBD's background in this regard because maybe what she was writing was quite natural to her?

Was EBD also that term trying out what a CS without Hilda as head would be like? She did something similar putting Madge to Canada to see how the CS (and the readers) would react to no Madge. Was Nancy going to become the permament head in a year or two?

For me, Nancy did not work as head. I saw her as being too lackadaisical and lightweight.

If Hilda was going to go, would Nell also have gone. Who would have been her replacement? I would at least have liked Nell to get the chance of heading the CS proper even for only a short time, before it was offered to Nancy or anyone else.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Challenge for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2018, 19:18 
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Quote:
Matey's reprimand of Nancy is uncalled for

Matey was on some kind of power trip in this book. Maybe only Hilda could keep her under control. She also dragged Len away from supervision duties to tidy her drawers. It was established back in New House that the matron doesn't go into the HG's room. Even if that rule had changed, calling Len away when she was supposed to be supervising younger girls wasn't really on.

I'd have thought some of the more senior mistresses would have had a quiet word with Hilda long ago about the way in which Matey was allowed to disrupt their lessons over untidy cubicles. Wouldn't it be more effective to make the girl do it in her free time, anyway?

I do have quite a lot of niggles with this book, mostly already mentioned in this thread, but overall it and Two Sams are my favourites of the later books. It's quite different from the previous 'substitute head' story, and it is nice to see more from the staff pov. It is one of the things which sets EBD apart from other school story writers.

Wouldn't Stacie have some experience of teaching undergraduates? Not the same as teaching schoolgirls, of course, but she would know about things like preparing for public exams.

I think Evelyn is a fairly successful attempt by EBD at a different type of girl. I'd have quite liked to see her as a prefect, if the series had continued, but there were plenty of other prefect candidates in that year, so I don't suppose she'd have been chosen.

I agree she's the type of girl St Mildred's should have been aiming to attract, offering intensive language tuition and secretarial skills.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Challenge for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 27 Feb 2018, 20:18 
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Nancy is pretty adamant all the way through how much she's hating the job and can't wait to hand the reins back, so I'm not sure why people think she'd want to take over permanently when Miss Annersley retires. Personally I think Miss Derwent would have done a better job, she comes across as a bit more serious and authority-like than the easygoing Nancy, but I suppose she'd need a bit more screen time first to build up her character, whereas Nancy's been a lot more developed in past books.

Even though she's not supposed to be particularly likeable, I found myself really sympathising with Evelyn, uprooted at what should have been the pinnacle of her school career, pottering about alone in another country while her seriously ill mother is in the San, and forced to start again in a new school for just one year, and not even in one of the Sixths! And I'm right there with her on the loathing of games, too. I agree she'd have been a lot better off doing an intense languages course at St Mildred's to help boost her secretarial prospects.

Jocelyn is just a pain. Not quite as bad as Jack Lambert (who thankfully has been more or less absent from the past couple of books), but still more of an annoying pest rather than a 'nice naughtiness' like the Quintette in their heyday, or Mary-Lou and Co. as Middles. I'm very glad her silly running away escapade didn't have the effect she wanted of making everyone frantic with worry about her, and I hope she learnt a sharp lesson from it.

I agree that Margot should never have been made Games Prefect, especially after the bookend incident in Triplets which proved that she still had serious issues with her temper. At the very least she deserved a severe reprimand for Hockeygate, but once again the Maynard favouritism comes to the fore with Peggy Burnett just thinking about how she has a 'hard row to hoe'. :roll: I actually read JayB's excellent alternative take on the hockey aftermath before I read the book proper, and was stunned at just how lightly Margot got off in the real thing. If I were Evelyn I'd have struck that ball at her, not Lesley, and told her to stick her precious hockey where the sun don't shine.

This book is also home to one of my all-time favourite EBDisms:
Quote:
"Now, IIIb, you go with Miss Burnett and Miss Moore, and your prefects are Primrose Trevoase and Jeanne Daudet.
Your ramble is up the toboggan path and down by the stream through the pinewoods."
"And our escorts?" demanded a small voice.
"Miss Carey and Miss Lawrence, and Maria Zinkel and Con for prefects."
Exit IIIb, highly delighted!


EBDisms between different books or even chapters, OK, things will slip through the net. But the same paragraph? :roll:

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Challenge for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 28 Feb 2018, 01:21 
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jennifer wrote:
The opening chapter is more than a bit cringe inducing... Con is assigned the magazine editorship, which has almost always been a job that was decided by the prefects, with only the Head Girl, Second Prefect and Games Prefects being Head's appointments. I wonder what the rest of the prefects thought when they arrived and found that the job had already been given out.


As an ex-editor, it always bugged me that Con was given the job because she likes writing. Editors spend their time chasing up articles, editing them for spelling, grammar etc and very seldom have time to do any kind of writing of their own.

And you must also possess incredible tact when explaining changes or cuts which were made to the stories or why they were not used at all.

Now, I realise the girls don't see the articles till they are printed, but we are constantly told that Con has little or no tact and I can imagine her blurting out "well, the story you wrote was garbage, so I binned it."

And Len says it will help Con in her future career as a writer. No, it won't! Editing, sub editing and writing and researching for the novels which Con wants to write, are completely different skills. And it's surprising that EBD, who must have worked closely with editors throughout her writing career, can make such a basic mistake.

Aquabird wrote:
I agree that Margot should never have been made Games Prefect, especially after the bookend incident in Triplets which proved that she still had serious issues with her temper.


But remember the bookend incident was covered up by the authorities so unless Alicia or Betty blabbed, the other girls have no idea what happened. They might wonder why Margot was not made a prefect when both her sisters are, and the blow to her pride would be extensive if they started gossiping about it.

So Miss Annersley says this to her:

Quote:
Kindly don’t talk nonsense to me, Margot. Whatever may have happened in the past is past. You’ve put all that behind you. Nowadays, there isn’t a girl in the school who has a better influence for decency and straight thinking.


Except it's not true. Later she overhears the middles talking about her and Janice says:

Quote:
“Just what I said. Margot was in a fume about something and she nagged. You all know what she’s like when she loses her rag. She just let loose. If she’d sat on her rage it wouldn’t have happened.”


So if even the younger girls know she has self control issues, then it makes no sense Margot was allowed to stay as GP, let alone still coach the younger girls. If the bookend incident was covered up, then hockeygate was right out in the open.

The treatment of Margot really does show EBD's decline in writing powers and I really get the feeling Margot got away from her and she was left with a character who patently needed harsher treatment but the author was unable to provide it.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Challenge for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 28 Feb 2018, 18:02 
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I’m not sure EBD ever even met an editor, let alone knew what one did!!

But the editor of the Chaletian was often someone with writerly inclinations - possibly, they were just choosing articles, writing a fee themselves to fill in the gaps, and laying out the magazine, not actually editing the articles themselves? Or am I misremembering?


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Challenge for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 28 Feb 2018, 18:23 
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Stumped by Lower Four's quiz
Stumped by Lower Four's quiz
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I should think the Chaletian editor's job was mostly chasing up people to submit articles. Wasn't there one year, mentioned retrospectively, when they didn't have enough contributions, and had to use material left over from previous years?

Then I suppose she'd make sure there was a balance of items - contributions from Seniors, Middles and Juniors, not too many accounts of lacrosse matches and school excursions - and if necessary dash off a poem or a short story herself if needed as space fillers.

Editing is different from fiction writing, but Con will have to edit her own work, and work with editors, if she wants a career as a writer, and she will have to meet deadlines and write to specific requirements regarding length and house style. It can't hurt for her to get some experience of life on the other side of the desk.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Challenge for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 28 Feb 2018, 18:53 
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This book feels like two shorter books squashed together -- part one Evelyn, part one Jocelyn. I wish EBD had fleshed out Evelyn's part some more, perhaps creating and resolving the conflict with Jane she sets up earlier then annoyingly forgets, rather than bring in Jocelyn, who adds very little to the overall story.

Joyce wrote:
As an ex-editor, it always bugged me that Con was given the job because she likes writing. Editors spend their time chasing up articles, editing them for spelling, grammar etc and very seldom have time to do any kind of writing of their own.

And you must also possess incredible tact when explaining changes or cuts which were made to the stories or why they were not used at all.

Now, I realise the girls don't see the articles till they are printed, but we are constantly told that Con has little or no tact and I can imagine her blurting out "well, the story you wrote was garbage, so I binned it."

And Len says it will help Con in her future career as a writer. No, it won't! Editing, sub editing and writing and researching for the novels which Con wants to write, are completely different skills. And it's surprising that EBD, who must have worked closely with editors throughout her writing career, can make such a basic mistake.


I agree to a point: Writing and editing are two different skill sets and being good at one doesn't make you good at the other. However, hands-on editing could help Con think critically about her own writing, from diction to a work's overall structure, which is valuable whatever kind of writing you do. It would also help her understand editors' decision-making and why they might make changes to her own work.

I always thought Con would be better suited as library prefect anyway. She's a voracious reader and seems more suited to recommending books and quietly working around them.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Challenge for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 28 Feb 2018, 23:17 
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Just on a different note, I appreciate that the educational tour is a plot device to get Hilda off the scene, and don't suppose EBD thought too much about it, but it does suggest that the Chalet School was heavily involved in something like the Girls' Schools Association or the National Association of Headmasters and Headmistresses, and had a very prestigious reputation within it, with Hilda attending conferences and making speeches which were covered by the press, etc :D .

I know I'm overthinking this ...

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Challenge for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 01 Mar 2018, 01:31 
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I suspect the magazine wouldn't have involved heavy editing for content - the editor would likely collect the submissions, select items that was appropriate, had a variety of different forms and topics represented, and would fill up the size of the magazine, and probably poke the other prefects for things like Games reports.

Maybe there'd be a read-through for spelling and punctuation, but this would all be hand-written, so anything more would be a huge amount of work.

I suspect that's basically what EBD got for her books - language editing, but little in the way of story editing.

Oh, and while this would probably be *useful* experience for Con as a writer, to see things from an editor's point of view, it doesn't mean that it would be something she was actually good at.

As an aside - for the prefect mix, I'd have made Ted the Head Girl, Len second prefect, Con the librarian, and Margot would have had something that didn't involve coaching - something like staff and form rooms, or music.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Challenge for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 01 Mar 2018, 09:45 
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mynameisdumbnuts wrote:
I always thought Con would be better suited as library prefect anyway. She's a voracious reader and seems more suited to recommending books and quietly working around them.


Yes, definitely. I see her as the librarian prefect as that seems more suited to her talents and interests.

I just don't see Con as having the skills required to be a good editor. While the actual editing required for a school magazine might be minimal, she still needs to do a lot of chasing up for articles and be very organised.

We are told she's dreamy and tactless. And maybe the job was given to her to help jolt her out of that, she might also have made a total hash of it and end up completely demoralised.

JayB wrote:
Editing is different from fiction writing, but Con will have to edit her own work, and work with editors, if she wants a career as a writer, and she will have to meet deadlines and write to specific requirements regarding length and house style. It can't hurt for her to get some experience of life on the other side of the desk.


In theory, yes. Sadly, in practice, no. Let's just leave it at that. :D And the reason why immense tact is required in dealing with writers.

mynameisdumbnuts wrote:
This book feels like two shorter books squashed together -- part one Evelyn, part one Jocelyn. I wish EBD had fleshed out Evelyn's part some more, perhaps creating and resolving the conflict with Jane she sets up earlier then annoyingly forgets, rather than bring in Jocelyn, who adds very little to the overall story.


I prefer Evelyn to Jocelyn who annoys the daylights out of me. And yes, I wish EBD had continued with the Jane storyline because I would've loved to know exactly what the issue was that arose.

Having an older girl as the new girl is very interesting. She clearly resents being there for, at best, one year of school life. And it's very tough to enter a school that late when friendship groups are already developed and you need to 'muscle' your way in because it's highly unlikely another new girl will join at the same time.

The other option was to send Evelyn to St Mildred's but EBD would then need to write back and forth between the school and St Mildred's and maybe introduce new characters as her classmates. If Evelyn did go there, then what CS old girls would she have been with?

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Challenge for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 01 Mar 2018, 13:37 
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I don't know anything about editing but surely what would stop Con being good at it would apply to anybody and Con was meant to have been the person who was brilliant at English?

I do think Con would have been best as Library Prefect though because a bossier type might have been better as Magazine Editor. Maybe Margot although maybe not such a good idea to have her chasing up people. In fact, should Margot have been a prefect at all?

Len and Ted would possibly have been better swapped around. I don't read the final year books very often but I suppose we are told what particular roles the other prefects carry out?


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Challenge for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 01 Mar 2018, 13:40 
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The others appear from nowhere, apart from Ruey. Where did Marie Huber, Maria Zinkel et al come from?

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Challenge for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 01 Mar 2018, 13:51 
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The main prefect jobs are Head, Second, Games and Second Games (appointments) Art, Music, Staff & Form rooms, Magazine, Stationary, Hobbies, Second Hobbies (sometimes), Library, Second Library (sometimes). At various times there are also Bank, Third Games, Lost Property, Juniors and Pets.

The last year, Jeanne Daudet is Staff/Form Rooms, Primrose is second games, Eve Hurrell is senior library, Marie Huber is Music and Kirsten Johanssen is Stationary. There are eighteen girls mentioned as prefect, though, that year.

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 Post subject: Re: Books: Challenge for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 01 Mar 2018, 17:28 
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There was a Carmela, or a similar name as well. It could have been she - or Eve - that the triplets have the careers/Len going to marriage Reg conversation with in one of the last books, or at least she is therevwhen they start talking.

The ones I remember about the same age as the triplets or slightly older are Ted, Ruey, Richenda, Sue, Frankie (Francie?), Betty, Alicia. A bit younger were Audrey and Melanie.


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 Post subject: Re: Books: Challenge for the Chalet School
PostPosted: 02 Mar 2018, 04:02 
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I missed Carmela - she's Hobbies in the last year. And Joan Dancey is Hockey captain and Ruey Lacrosse captain.

The full list of prefects mentioned in the last year are Len, Con, Margot, Ted, Eve Hurrell, Louise Grunbaum, Carmela Walther, Priscilla Dawbarn, Primrose Trevoase, Jean Daudet, Joan Dancey, Ruey Richardson, Maria Zinkel, Marie Huber, Henriette Zendl/Zengal, Connie Winter, Audrey Everett, Melanie Lucas, Kirsten Johanssen, and Gabrielle Meynolles.
(all 23 of them!)

Sue, Richenda, Francie Heather, Betty, Alicia and Eloise Dafflon are prefects the previous year, but leave a year before the triplets.

Ruey would have made more sense as Games Prefect - she's sporty, she seems to enjoy coaching, and she's planning on being a Games Mistress. Then a second to back her up who is more into hockey than lacrosse.

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