Anastasia attends the Chalet School with a music scholarship from Margia Stevens.
Ste Therese's House Characters:
Cecil Maynard, Elsie Carr, Jo (Bettany) Maynard, Kathie Ferrars, Margia Stevens, Phil Maynard
05 Jun 2011 Updated:
05 Jun 2011
1. Chapter 1 by Charli
2. Chapter 2 by Charli
3. Chapter 3 by Charli
4. Chapter 4 by Charli
5. Chapter 5 by Charli
6. Chapter 6 by Charli
7. Chapter 7 by Charli
Margia Alvintzi was sitting at her large, black, grand piano with a small frown of concentration on her pretty face. She replayed a passage of Johan Strauss’s ‘Tales from the Vienna Woods.’ She continued to play and the frown was replaced by a dreamy contented expression as the beautiful, clear notes sounded out from beneath her delicate fingers.
A knock on the music room door interrupted her mid-passage and she glanced up to see Gilda, the local girl she had employed to help with her daughter following Jonathan Alvintzi’s death a year previously, standing under the door frame.
‘Excuse me Madame, but this letter has just arrived for you.’ Gilda entered the room holding a white envelope out in front of her.
‘Thank you,” Margia stepped away from the piano and took the envelope with a smile. She then sat back down on the stool. Having comfortably positioned herself, she attempted to decipher the untidy scrawl she recognised as her friend Elsie Carr’s writing. She smiled as she remembered some of the fun times spent at the Chalet School with Elsie. Then her expression changed to one of astonishment, for this letter contained a surprising plea for help.
Anastasia Brown sat curled up in the window alcove in the drawing
room, buried in Joey Bettany’s latest book. The sound of her parents
drawing near disturbed her and, with a sigh she closed the book. The fifteen year old’s blonde hair hung down past her shoulders in a ponytail. As they entered the room she looked up with her piercing pale blue eyes.
Anastasia had suffered a bout of pneumonia the previous year. Her parents were famous ice skaters, a profession assisted by the many lochs of the Scottish Highlands, which freeze during winter. Anastasia was skating with them when she had fallen over and cracked the deceptively thinning ice, sinking under the surface into the freezing water. She was quickly rescued, but her lungs suffered and she had been unwell for several months.
Olivia and Edward Brown were heading on tour to Scandinavia. They had spoken to Anastasia’s doctor who advised against her following them there. He was adamant that she needed to be somewhere the climate would benefit her health. Luckily the Doctor had a friend whose daughter went to the Chalet School in Switzerland. He suggested it would be a good place for Anastasia to go whilst her parents were away, especially as the school had a good reputation for placing great importance on the health of its pupils. The problem was, Mr. and Mrs. Brown were not rich and the Chalet School fees were substantial. The doctor said he would talk to his friend about this, as it really was the best way to solve their problem.
Elsie explained in her letter that the main reason for writing to Margia was to remind her of an idea she had once mentioned about providing a scholarship for the Chalet School.
“Do you remember my friend, Dr Jones? Well he has advised a patient of his to attend the Chalet School. Unfortunately, the fees are too much for her parents, but the girl would benefit from attending for health reasons while her parents are away. I can tell you that Anastasia is a bright young thing, and shows exceptional promise at playing the violin as well as composing her own music. I told Dr Jones that I had a musician friend who had attended the school and had once mentioned giving a scholarship for musically-gifted children. I know things have been difficult for you recently, having to look after Cassie on your own, but I feel Anastasia would make you proud if she had your scholarship.”
Elsie went on to tell Margia all the latest news about Evvy and Ilonka, two other school friends, and asked some questions on how Margia’s latest composition was coming along.
Margia, however, did not read these bits yet as she was thinking about Elsie’s request. She had not given any more thought to the proposed scholarship after the death of her beloved husband in a car accident whilst on a tour of Austria with the Vienna Philharmonic Orchestra.
Jonathon Alvintzi had been a conductor with Vienna’s prestigious orchestra. He was unfortunately killed as he was returning home, full of excitement to see his new baby daughter. Margia remembered his joy expressed in his last letter to her, and a tear glistened down trickled down her left cheek.
‘Well’, she thought, once she was composed again, ‘This Anastasia does sound like she needs the Chalet School, and as she is so musical, I think Jonathan would be proud for me to give her the scholarship. In fact that’s what I will call it, the Jonathan Alvintzi Scholarship. Part of receiving this scholarship means its owner will get additional time allocated to musical study and practice.’
And so it was decided. The first Jonathan Alvintzi scholarship was to go to Anastasia Brown.
Hilda Annersley, Headmistress of the Chalet School in Switzerland, was sitting enjoying a few moments of peace before the first girls arrived for the start of the new term.
Her ponderings were interrupted by a knock on her study door and Rosalie Dene, her secretary and former pupil stuck her head round the door.
Miss Annersley smiled at her. “What have you got there for me, Rosalie?” she asked suspiciously, for Rosalie was holding a letter in her hand.
“It’s a letter from Vienna, Margia Stevens, I mean Alvintzi, I presume.” Rosalie replied.
“That’s strange,” Hilda mused. “ I only had a letter from her last week, donating the scholarship for the new girl. I wonder what she could want now.”
“Search me.” Rosalie grinned. “Maybe you should open it and find out” At which cheeky remark she left the room leaving her Head with an amused look on her face at the audacity of her younger colleague.
Hilda opened the letter with an eagerness she reserved for any letter from an old girl.
The sound of the school coaches arriving interrupted her and finishing her letter she left her study to go and welcome the girls, with a thoughtful look on her face.
Miss Annersley smiled at the throng of girls as they crowded into the entrance hall.
“I bid you all welcome’ she said in her musical, low pitched voice. ”For now please go to your dormitories and unpack until you hear the gong for Abendessen. Seniors, could you please help the juniors once you have finished your own unpacking?”
Philippa Maynard turned to face the new girl. On their arrival to the school, Miss Dene had asked her to sheepdog Anastasia as they were in the same form.
“Come with me, and I’ll show you to our dormitory. We’re in Wallflower, and I’ve been made Dormitory Pree this term.” This last was said with a feeling of disgust. In some ways Philippa was like her mother at the same age, and resented responsibility. The school authorities, however, felt that Miss Philippa was growing up to show quiet leadership skills, along with the sensitive side both her mother and her older sister Len possessed. For this reason it was decided to trial her in a position of relatively small responsibility this term to prepare her for prefectship next year.
Anastasia followed Philippa up to the dormitory, thinking she had never seen a girl with quite such red hair before.
Once they had arrived in Wallflower, with its pretty curtains covered in colourful flowers, Philiappa advised her to unpack her trunk and fill her drawers in the way Matron deemed acceptable. She then set to work with her unpacking and arranging of photos until the gong rang for Abendessen.
After Abendessen, Miss Annersley walked to the stage of the Saal.
Anastasia, who was sitting between Philippa and Win Everrett, looked up at her new Headmistress with admiration. Miss Annersley, tall and graceful with clear eyes that had never yet needed glasses, was well liked by her pupils. Anastasia thought how differently she looked to her previous Headmistress. However, Miss Annersley addressing the tables of girls interrupted her thoughts.
“Well done on getting your unpacking done Girls. Matron has informed me that all the seniors and most of the juniors have finished. Now, Miss Dene has pinned your form lists up on the hallway notice board. Congratulations to those of you who had earned a remove. Before you go to your common rooms for the evening I will now tell you the Prefects for this term.”
The girls gave her their undivided attention as they heard this. Their Head Girl had left at the end of last term, and they were anxious to know who the new one would be.
That night as the girls were preparing for bed, Philippa was a mixture of nerves and excitement. Her sister, Cecil, had been named as Head Girl earlier in the evening, following in the footsteps of her older sisters, including Felicity who was now a member of the Royal Ballet School and Len, now married, and teaching at the school. Philippa felt that Cecil, a friendly and popular girl, would make a good Head Girl.
Although her thoughts were preoccupied with this, she still took her duties as dormitory prefect seriously. She made sure that Anastasia understood the bathroom schedule for the morning and that she was aware of the dormitory rules.
As Anastasia was snuggling down under her plumeau she noticed her cubicle curtains open slightly. A head with a mop of curly brown hair appeared and Marie Courvoisier grinned at her.
‘Night Ana’, she said. ‘See you in the morning. The fun will really begin then.’
Her head quickly disappeared and Anastasia imagined this was because ‘visiting’ of cubicles was not allowed. She smiled at the friendly shortening of her name. As she fell asleep she felt sure that she would enjoy herself at the Chalet School.
Anastasia awoke to the sound of a bell ringing. She looked around her in confusion until she remembered where she was. She gave a contented sigh and began to curl back up under her plumeau when Phil shouted, ’Up you get girls, show a leg!’
Anastasia wondered what on earth ‘show a leg meant’, but she readily clambered out of bed. Phil’s tousled red head appeared round her curtains.
‘Morning Ana, when I say show a leg , you need to stick your leg out from under your curtain so I know you’re up.’
She grinned at Ana’s obvious surprise. “It’s a tradition from back in the dark ages when mamma was at school. Hurry up ‘cos you’re first in the bather this morning. I’ll show you where it is.’
Ana grabbed her washing stuff together and ran off after Phil. Whilst they were hurrying down the corridor Phil explained that the Chalet School girls were allowed to take cold or chill-off baths in the mornings. Ana grimaced at the thought of a cold bath and ran herself a lukewarm one instead. When she had finished she left the taps running for the next girl, as Phil had asked her to do, and scurried back to the dormitory.
Once there, she found she had little time to make her bed just the way Matey liked it, or brush her hair properly, if she were to be ready to join the line for Frühstück.
As they marched downstairs she found herself next to Marie in the line, who gave her a cheeky grin again, but shook her head to imply they could not talk on the corridors.
This is as far as I have got so far! More to follow soon, I hope!
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