This drabble is'nt really a crossover with anything, though the style should be rather like the Balcombe Hall books. It's loosely based on what's said about the Tanswick Chalet School, supposedly lacking nearly all discipline. Some of the names here may sound rather modern, such as Emma. That's partly because I really dislike some of EBD's names. Obviously some CS characters are there though. This is not an SM story, I just thought the bath scene was a bit like that! Just reposted this as separate chapters again.
St Scholastika's House Characters:
Blossom Willoughby, Bride Bettany, Mary-Lou Trelawney
St Briavel'sSchool Name:
Alternate Universe, Drama, Humour, School Story
26 May 2014 Updated:
26 Mar 2015
1. The Lavatory Incident by Katharine
2. The Aftermath by Katharine
3. Coffee Room by Katharine
4. Discussion at both Levels by Katharine
5. Further Trouble by Katharine
6. The Lacrosse Match by Katharine
7. Tamzin's Revenge by Katharine
8. Lydia Intervenes by Katharine
9. A Visit to the Head by Katharine
10. School Assembly by Katharine
11. Another Accident by Katharine
The Lavatory Incident by Katharine
The Chalet School at Tanswick, on the Welsh coast near Swansea, had been founded
in 1931. By a former grammar school headmistress, in homage to Madge Bettany's school.
She'd discovered it while on holiday at the Tiernsee, and had found out more about how it operated.
The other school had since moved to Plas Howell and then nearer, to the
island of St Briavels. There were regular sports matches and some other
contacts such as music concerts between the schools. Between them, they had
recently resolved a complex mix-up involving two girls both called Katharine
The Tanswick school had basically adopted compulsory trilingualism, good
teaching standards, all the other fundamental philosophies of the original Tyrol school though
with several differences. The
uniform was different, the same brown coats but the brown gymslips and flame ties
were reversed. For many years it had the same strict discipline, but in 1946 the head,
Mrs Beatrice Wells, was involved in a bad car accident. She eventually recovered
her mobility, but decided to become a private music tutor and move to be near
relatives elsewhere. Then a new headmistress, Miss Lucilla Eacott, an academic
and artist, had decided
to make the school far more liberal with alternative ideas about good education.
Lessons became optional and far more general freedom was given to learn what
they wanted. Almost all rules were abolished. Prefects retained their badges,
but their formal powers were heavily reduced, the role became largely administrative and ceremonial.
The Tanswick staff and pupils were divided on these changes,
which had sometimes caused chaos. The eleven-thirteen year olds (there was no kindergarten) and especially middles
obviously loved it. Most seniors hated it. The St Briavels pupils and staff were
generally disdainful. The school had reduced pupil numbers because of these changes,
but it had survived mainly because of high academic and sporting standards.
One day, Tessa Willoughby, a sister of Blossom at the other school, was waiting
outside her form room for a French lesson, as usual feeling somewhat left out of
the lively discussion that had exploded ever since the no talking in corridors rule
was abolished, when a nasty dark-haired middle called Hannah Evans breezed past
with her blonde friend Emma Bettany (not related to the others), red hair
'Haha Tessa, you loser'
they said, as Hannah pricked her with a compass. Tessa was considered something
of a genius at the school in most subjects, and was rather shy/socially anxious.
Nonetheless, she had been considered a competent prefect. Because of the above,
she'd had problems with middles before, though Hannah was the worst.
Unfortunately directly giving lines or whatever was now banned, so she normally just
brushed it off. Now though, Tessa suddenly decided enough was enough.
"How dare you behave like that to a prefect, apologise immediately! You too,
Surprised, the others turned to look, Emma was shocked by the severity of her
"I'm sorry..." she stammered.
"Ok, shoo then"
Emma quickly left, Hannah however, remained cocky.
"I'm not apologising to you!"
That was too much. Forgetting her non-compulsory lesson, she furiously pushed
Hannah into the nearest washroom and gave her a thorough bogwash, head down the
loo in a cubicle, which was then flushed.
"How did you like that then?"
"Are you mad?" said Hannah in a quiet voice.
"Well it was unhygienic I admit, you're not leaving here until you've had a cold
"I'll report you to the headmistress"
Hannah was almost in tears now, Tessa ignored that.
"Let's clean you up now, get undressed!"
Hannah felt she had to obey. Tessa ran the cold tap until the cast-iron bath was
full to just below the overflow. Then she picked up Hannah, and put her in. It
was November now, so the piped water was getting especially cold. Hannah
The Aftermath by Katharine
Tessa pulled Hannah out and dried her with a towel from a random peg,
"That's it, you can get dressed again now" she said coldly, remembering that
Hannah had once or twice deliberately tripped her up during a lacrosse
game. A surprised Hannah put her uniform back on and spoke, in a very humbled
"Well yes Tessa, you've proved your point now, are you going to report me to the
"Hopefully there won't be any need for that, please go! But do talk to your
friend Emma as well, I'm so sick of your behaviour" she said in a slightly
warmer voice, almost feeling guilty now and realising that bogwashes are dangerous
because of the risk of drowning.
Hannah frowned, but swiftly rushed off to her Latin class with Herr Weber, an
Austrian who had once taught at Miss Browne's school before
deciding against joining the Chalet School when they merged, due to not being
allowed to teach Greek as well, because of timetable issues. But, after teaching
in an Innsbruck high school, he had moved to England after the Anschluss because
of his association with the CS, and in protest. Klaus was fairly nice, but had
sometimes been pushed too far by the middles. Such as on the occasion when
Hannah and Emma had decided to release stink bombs, which should have resulted
in a detention or worse but did'nt due to the school's ideas.
Just now, however, no girls felt like causing any more trouble, and the
lesson finished wthout problems.
Tessa meanwhile felt she needed some fresh air after such upheavals. She went
downstairs to the senior cloakroom to put on her coat, then outside, through the
rose garden which was bare at this time of year, past the duckpond. The school
was located on a windy hill outside Tanswick in Llandudno House, a large
mansion with a few outbuildings.
She walked towards the path which led down to the beach and the sea. The drive
leading up was quite steep, there was no surrounding fence, only a lowish hedge.
Tessa crossed the playing fields and moved towards the edge with it's good view,
where the sea looked grey in the distance. Overwhelmed by her exertions, she
lay down on the grass and burst into tears. She remained there for some time,
while the few raindrops gradually increased.
Eventually it was a complete torrent, she had to get back inside.
Unlike the other school, they had introduced their own cafe/tuck shop which was
open to all forms. Tessa got a coffee and bread twist, uneasily sat down with
the other senior pupils. Then Joanna Scott, the head girl,
"That was pretty impressive, Tessa, we've been trying to sort out Hannah for
"Well I think she deserved it to be honest"
"But how are we going to sort out the school's discipline problem? It's getting too
much, Emma and Tamzin Howell were also throwing paper aeroplanes around in prep
"Please don't use such slang" said Joanna half-heartedly, few people bothered about it much anymore.
"The island people are coming soon for a lacrosse match, perhaps they can give
us some advice"
"Anyway please calm down"
Jo kissed her on the cheeks, in the continental fashion, Tessa reciprocated.
Thereafter there was a general and equal cheek kissing session among the
prefects (the under-thirteens had separate meetings) which was not unknown,
surprise anyone else in the room. The school had generally interpreted
continental ideas in a somewhat
different, more liberal way, though including (now rare) curtsies.
They were'nt historically connected to a sanatorium or anything, but here too there was a
summer garden party, combined with an annual sale. This raised
funds for the British Legion or other charities and was much simpler than the
others' events. The sale was mainly devoted to hand-made cakes, biscuits and so on, with limited crafts like handmade tablecloths or model houses. They were just sold on tables with no
ornate stalls or themes. though some other entertainments were done, including a raffle for
something, clock golf, etc. Plays were at the end of every term, chosen by consultation among
the staff and pupils.
Sophie Grey, the 3rd form prefect then kissed Harriet Carr of the upper sixth (sub-prefects had been abolished and the roles of prefects and form prefects were now almost the same).
Tessa, also in the upper sixth, was kissed on the lips by Olivia Abbot, the deputy head
girl. The final (direct lip) kiss was directed towards a startled Tessa by Lydia
Browne, a daughter of Miss Browne and another full pree. The latter had known
Lydia Maynard at primary school,
and had perhaps dubiously named her daughter after her. Eventually Jo called a halt to it
all, just as Tanswick's principal matron, Matron Besly, walked in for her
(black) Kaffee. She had changed greatly since being sacked at the Tiernsee years
ago, and was now quite competent. She was accompanied by Miss Stewart, who kept
in social contact with the other Chalet School. After the end of the Tyrol
period, she had had dire experiences during the war with the Japanese invasion
of Singapore, during which her partner had been killed. Eventually getting back
to England, she just did'nt feel like returning to the original
school and was in two minds about the Tanswick system.
After going to the counter, she pulled up a chair near the senior pupils, who
were sitting next to a group of middles discussing the latest happenings in the
girl's own story paper that many were regularly sent from home.
"How are you all doing?"
"We're alright, thanks", they replied collectively.
"The younger ones have been a problem recently, but nothing more than usual"
Miss Stewart knew this was clearly often untrue, but was used to it by now.
Tessa blushed even more heavily, but Con knew her pretty well and thought
nothing of it.
Then she turned to Olivia.
"How are you getting on with your history?"
"Oh, I'm having a problem with the First World War essay"
They discussed academic matters for a few minutes, before morning break was
There were no longer any bells except a rising bell, pupils were mainly
expected to keep time by the many wall clocks. The seniors usually did this
rather better than the younger ones, and soon dispersed to their various lessons,
which often had a
dense mix of form groups.
Joanna and Sophie quickly went to domestic science with Miss Parsons, located in
the dingy, dimly lit original basement kitchen (the school had converted other rooms into
it's general kitchen). Tessa and Harriet to German on the ground floor with Frau
Garb, the former still feeling gulty about missing the previous biology.
Olivia and Lydia had history with Miss Stewart, on the top floor of the
three-storey building. Harriet had maths, with Mr Strickland on the second
floor. It was Friday, they were all looking forward to the weekend, the lacrosse
match, and so on.
Discussion at both Levels by Katharine
Emma, Hannah, Tamzin, and Lavender Scott (Joanna's sister) were crouched in
their rather damp hiding-place. The school's hill location was a kind of extensive
plateau, with views of the mountains to the north. There was located an
overgrown rhododendron patch where no-one could be seen from outside. The
middles were sharing a bag of
peppermints and discussing how to collectively get their own back on the
seniors, especially Tessa. Hannah had been pretty thoroughly humbled by the latter's
behaviour, and was the least enthusiastic. First though, Tamzin handed her
French prep book to Lavender.
"Can you correct this prose for me again?"
"Yes, why not"
Lavender dictated to Tamzin with her pocket dictionary, before the middles
discussed their main agenda.
"We do need a good prank, Tessa is scheduled to take prep tonight?", said Emma.
"Indoor fireworks?" suggested Lavender.
"No, too dangerous" said Hannah and Tamzin, the latter had heard from Gwensi
whom Jo Maynard had in turn told about such a near-disastrous prank in the
"What about just wetting the prefect in revenge?" said Emma, who normally sat at
the front in prep.
"Not a bad idea, but I've had enough" said Hannah before running off. She
tell on them though. The others were surprised, but continued their discussion.
"We'll need some kind of trigger for Emma to act then", said Tamzin.
"Indeed" said Lavender.
They discussed tactics a bit more before heading to a double French lesson with Madame Belrose, the
middles were usually more interested in avoiding difficult subjects like maths.
After that there was lunch of fried fish in the school's somewhat dingy dining room followed by a
hockey practice and a lacrosse one for those who were playing in the
match. Because it was winter and getting dark early, games had to take place
before the next lessons, which were history and biology for Tessa. Mrs Booth was
Tanswick's science teacher, almost as strict as Miss Wilson at the other school,
but even more
academic. Tessa felt the mistress had been a bit unreasonable about her latest
essay on evolution but
could'nt really complain. It did'nt help that they'd had a group experiment in
disecting a frog, she always felt especially uncomfortable in groups.
So much so that Mrs Booth asked Tessa afterwards:
"Are you feeling alright?"
The prefects, including form and even dormitory prefects, were allowed to visit the town more or less
whenever they wanted, so next
Tessa decided to head down the path in the dark, instead of just lying down as
she'd sometimes previously done. It wound down a largely bare hillside,
but rubber boots were needed due to the recent
rain, also a torch in the dark. A rabbit scuttled across, then she reached the
main road, directly in front of the sandy beach where boating and swimming,
including sailing was
done in summer. Turning left and entering the town, Tessa bought some cotton buds and shampoo from the
chemist before reaching Pritchards, a local cafe on the seafront, where she ordered black coffee
and a currant bun. Joanna was sitting near the entrance, quite surprised to see an
ok-looking Tessa. The discussion at first was all about lacrosse tactics.
"Jennifer Penrose is very strong in the centre, who should counter her?" said
"What about you with Lydia on the other side?", said Bride Bettany, the 4th form
prefect. Mollie had sent her daughter there because Bride really seemed to dislike
being on an island at St Briavels, despite misgivings about the Tanswick ideas.
Thereafter she somehow did'nt dare remove Bride, whatever her partner said.
"Where do you want to play, Tessa?" (she was good at lacrosse)
"At the back, as usual, either side"
"You'll be right-back then with Harriet on the left" That just about summed
Then the conversation turned to the topic of middles.
"What do you think they're planning next?", said Lydia, drinking her milky
"Goodness knows", replied Olivia
"Have you any idea, Tessa, you're taking prep today?", said Sophie.
"Absolutely none" she said, still feeling somewhat anxious.
"Oh well, lets go then?" exclaimed Bride. After a bit more shopping for soap and writing paper, they all headed back
up the hill.
Further Trouble by Katharine
At about the same time, the middles had been lurking in a side street between
Tanswick High Street and the sea, while the seniors went past. All the younger ones who
were'nt prefects were allowed to visit there at any time from
Friday-Sunday, but they still preferred to avoid the older pupils whenever
possible. They had first visited a toy shop and grocers, to buy balloons and
flour. Then they went to Bowens, a milk bar on the town's eastern outskirts and all had
chocolate milkshakes and sponge cake before returning to school. Lavender, a
small girl with blonde plaits, however was always very impulsive, and decided to
run off across the beach for a winter paddle in the sea.
"Oh you are an idiot", exclaimed Hannah.
"Hypocrite", said Lavender.
She had a swimming costume and towel in her schoolbag, and changed into it.
There was almost a full moon, and the water was freezing. Nonetheless, the girl
had a swim before changing back near the school boathouse. Then it was unfortunately clear she'd forgotten
her torch, there was a cold wind blowing and clouds above. She ran across the
beach and the road, and got on to the path up the hill, but the clouds soon really
started to obscure the moon. There was a junction half way up, the right path
led to the school, the left through woodland, towards the mountains. In this confusion, Lavender
missed the junction and went the wrong way. It was a while until she realised what had happened
and was left alone in darkness.
After their visit to the town, Tessa and the others were sitting in the
prefects' room, and decided to take discipline matters into their own hands, not for the first time.
They all wore royal blue gilt badges. The room had been modelled on that in the
Austrian Chalet School, and contained elegant furniture and objects donated by
the girls or staff. Tessa sat on a nice Victorian chair, a shelf had a pretty
geranium houseplant. The sash window was open to let in some fresh air despite
the radiator being on. Sophie spoke first.
"What are we going to do about these wretched middles, if they are planning
"Cane them?" said Olivia.
"Can't do that" said Tessa and Harriet.
"What do you propose then?" said Joanna.
Tessa still found these meetings somewhat socially difficult, though definitely
more confident than before, she said:
"While I'm taking prep, all you others should be listening nearby, ready to
"Good idea" replied Bride with Imogen Tovey and Lottie Skelton, the 5th and lower
6th form prees.
Lydia also mumbled approval as she drank more coffee.
"Right then" said Joanna, and they arranged to hide in a form room next to the
At that moment, Lavender, fortunately wearing her heavy brown coat, had stumbled
on some uneven ground and fallen heavily. There was a worrying pain in her ankle
and head. However, she gradually fell asleep, tired out with games and
schoolwork. Up there, it was just heather moorland, there were no thorn bushes.
An owl sounded overhead.
Tessa, her long chestnut hair tied back with a purple ribbon, went to her
dormitory for a short while and relaxed while reading a fashion magazine sent from home.
Then, after dinner of beef stew, it was time to take prep.
She went downstairs to the form room, and the middles filed in. At first they
seemed perfectly obedient, and Tessa settled down to her history essay.
She briefly wondered where Lavender was, but just assumed the
girl had wandered off to the library again. Suddenly there was a crash of all
exercise books falling on the floor, Emma and Tamzin pricked water balloons which
had been filled from the garden tap and hidden in desks, threw them towards the
front. Now Tessa was soaked and furious, along with her essay.
"You are arses!", she exclaimed.
The others then burst in, and were hit by more flour and water.
Eventually a very annoyed Joanna addressed them.
"Your behaviour is totally unacceptable, and you should all be punished
severely. You must clear up the room, be gated for a week, be banned from hobbies for two weeks, and write 600 lines
each, I must not cheek prefects or staff"
"Ha, you don't have the power to do that", said Tamzin cheekily.
"Shut up", replied Imogen.
Miss Eacott happened to be passing at that moment, and was very displeased at
"Silence, what are you all playing at?" the headmistress said with icy calm,
there was no reply.
She then addressed the prees.
"You know I don't usually believe in punishments, but think this is an
exception. Have you thought of anything?"
"Oh, I've got an idea" said Joanna, explaining.
"That sounds about right"
Tessa and Harriet supervised the clean-up before they and the others cleaned
themselves up, spoke to matron about washing their orange uniforms. The head
went for a gin and tonic in her study. Lavender was a member of Hannah's
dormitory, but they were all too tired and overwrought, to really notice that
she was'nt in her cubicle. Even Jennifer Hatherley, the dorm prefect, was off her guard.
The Lacrosse Match by Katharine
Ever since Bethany Wells, a granddaughter of the original head, had escaped at night to gaze at the moon , Miss Stewart had conducted
patrols about half an hour after lights out, undisclosed to the headmistress.
All the dorms had Welsh names, this one was Anglesey.
Creeping in on tiptoe with a torch, the mistress looked behind each
curtain. Some were snoring, but she was disturbed to find Lavender's bed empty.
So checked various rooms but there was no sign, then
went to Miss Eacott's bedroom and knocked loudly on the door.
After her refreshing sleep began earlier, Lavender stirred. The cold was'nt too
bad thanks to her full uniform complete with the orange cotton jumper,
but the pitch-black darkness was terrifying. Her ankle and head were now very
The headmistress had just got to sleep, and was'nt very pleased to be woken up
like that. She opened the door in her dressing gown.
"Oh it's you Con, is something wrong?"
"Lavender Scott's missing, not in her cubicle"
"Oh no, we've got the lacrosse match tomorrow. Are you sure she's not in the
"I don't think so. Tessa was taking her prep, perhaps ask her if Lavender was
there, the dorm pree as well"
They fetched Tessa from bed in her gown.
"Did you see Lavender in prep?"
"No, I just assumed the kid was hiding in the library again"
"That's understandable really"
Then she addressed Jennifer more coldly.
"Why did'nt you notice she was'nt there?"
"Sorry, I was thinking about other things"
"Then you really should know better"
Jennifer was irritated by the double standard.
"We better wake everyone then" said the head.
The girls all assembled in the hall.
"Who was the last to see Lavender Scott?" asked the headmistress.
"She ran off across the beach as we were coming back from town. I think she was
going for a swim, Lavender's a bit mad like that" said Emma.
The mistresses looked shocked.
Miss Eacott looked out of the window, the sky was still totally overcast.
"Was there any moon earlier?" she said.
"No, it faded quickly after we'd finished in town" said Hannah. I'd forgotten my
torch, perhaps Lavender did the same. We came back up the drive not the path"
"Could she have drowned, the water's icy at this time of year?" said Lydia
"Doubtful, she's a good swimmer. But that path has a junction half way up and it's pitch black when
there's no moon. Perhaps she used it and got lost, we came back up the drive as well?" said Tessa.
"Yes, maybe injured as well" said Olivia.
"Quite possibly, we'd better search then"
"We'll take a stretcher, bandages and so on" said Mrs Booth.
She sent most of the pupils back to bed, except the prefects.
They all, with some mistresses, first got torches or lanterns and
searched the grounds. In the course of this they discovered and confiscated some food
which had been hidden in the potting shed, presumably for a midnight feast.
"Well you prees can look into that later. Not going out at night is one
of the few rules here!" said Miss Eacott.
"Indeed" said Joanna and Harriet.
There was no sign of Lavender however.
Up on the moors that girl was now freezing. The cloud cover was gradually dissolving again
into a cold clear night
with a fairly bright moon.
She was getting moderate hypothermia and increasing mental confusion.
First the group quickly went down to search the beach, but found nothing there.
So they headed up the path towards the moors.
"I hope Lavender did'nt wander off the path, we've been going for a while now" said Miss Baines, the games mistress.
Eventually however they emerged onto the heather and soon found her.
Joanna checked her pulse, while Miss Eacott gave some brandy to revive her.
"Can you move?" she asked.
"No, my head and ankle hurt..." she mumbled.
"It's alright now, Lavender"
Joanna carried the stretcher with Mademoiselle Belrose, the French mistress.
It was quite easy, because Lavender was'nt very heavy.
When they got back to school, she went straight to bed in the sickroom and was looked after
by Matron. Megan Jones had a strong Welsh accent, and was a fully trained nurse. But she never wore angel wings or any hat, and despite using some disgusting medicines, refused to inflict castor oil. The girls went to sleep, exhausted, and slept in for a while the next morning.
Tessa drew back the blue, yellow, and white floral curtains of her cubicle and went to have a hot bath.
Even Miss Wells, had always drawn the line at the Chalet School practise of morning cold baths.
Lavender appeared to be quite seriously concussed and had broken her ankle, so Miss Stewart took her to hospital
in Carnbach, in the
Tanswick also partially modelled it's food on the Chalet School, and the headmistress especially
disliked cooked breakfasts. So they had coffee, rolls
and cheese or jam for breakfast before some went outside for a bit to feed the ducks with some stale bread.
Those involved in the water prank were not allowed to watch the lacrosse game and would have to write their lines
instead. So now they were just talking by the pond, joined by another girl, Polly Cotter.
The other pranks and the drama with Lavender had made them forget about the midnight feast, but Polly
suddenly remembered the food in the shed.
"Are we still going to have that midnight feast?" she said.
"Well I would'nt mind, none of the food was perishable. When shall we try it?" said Hannah.
"Tonight seems a bit too soon after last night's events, perhaps tomorrow night? I'll check it's still there later" said
"That shed is a mess and infrequently used (gardening at Tanswick had largely been replaced by other activities like chess and advanced sewing) but perhaps we should have put it deep in the bushes instead" said Emma.
They were so engrossed in their conversation that they did'nt notice Tessa and Lottie approaching on the way to get equipment from the games shed. Hearing what the middles were talking about, they stopped.
"You do know that going outside at night is strictly forbidden here?" said Lottie.
"Well yes..." replied Polly.
"The mistresses found your food in the potting shed when they were looking for Lavender" said Tessa.
"Oh, we got it from town and parcels from home a while ago" said Tamzin.
"Since you hav'nt really broken any rules, there won't be a punishment. Just do not try it again" said Tessa.
"And don't think of doing it inside school either" said Lottie.
The middles murmured agreement, and the prefects carried on.
"Oh well, perhaps we won't try that, for a while anyway" said Emma.
"I suppose not, the food here is good enough anyway" said Tamzin.
"Is'nt it annoying having a punishment this afternoon?" said Hannah, the others agreed.
Tessa and Lottie got the goalkeeper's padding and ball from the shed behind the former dairy, which was the art room.
"Glad we caught that" said Tessa
"Yes, somehow I don't think they'll try it soon. If they do anyway, there's not neccessarily much we can do.
Don't know about you, but I'm a very heavy sleeper"
"Me too. Lottie, your fringe is so like what Jo Maynard once had!"
Lottie had straight blonde hair however, with a pink ribbon.
"Have you ever met her?"
"Yes she came to our house once with her sister Madge and showed some pictures of the Tiernsee school and the area, pupil magazines and so on. It looked lovely but I would'nt have liked to be there when the Nazis invaded Austria. Anyway, they seemed nice enough. I've
read some of Jo's books as well, quite good"
"Oh right, I like her books"
"Some of the mishaps they apparently had there do seem
incredible even by our usual standards. Falling through ice while skating and so on. And a midnight feast
once made someone very ill but no point mentioning that to the middles"
"Well yes, Lavender's accident was a rare exception to the standard pranks"
Those prefects who were'nt playing in the match had drawn lots to see who would supervise the middles writing lines and Imogen had drawn the short straw. Now the St Briavels team bus was coming up the drive and the Tanswick team, in their games kit, were there to welcome them. Lydia was games prefect and team captain.
Miss Nalder the games mistress got out first, followed by Joan Sandys as their captain. Then Blossom, Mary-Lou and Katharine Gordon, who played good lacrosse though was best at tennis. Hilary Wilson as well. The weak winter sun was out now.
"How are you?", Blossom greeted Tessa.
"Oh I'm ok thanks. Though we've had a lot of trouble recently, I'll tell you about it later. You?"
"Not too bad thanks"
They all proceeded to the pitch accompanied by Miss Baines,
then got into position and the game kicked off.
Most of the first half was a stalemate, both sides were playing well.
Then Tessa tackled her counterpart Katharine, ran, and passed to Harriet. In turn Olivia got the ball, and prevented Jennifer tackling her. She ran up the field and scored. By half-time it was a draw. In the second half, Blossom tackled Tessa and scored a goal via Joan and Mary-Lou. This put the others ahead, but Tanswick came back and won 14-10.
The teams cheered each other and went to the changing rooms, then it was time for tea. The sandwiches and cakes were totally English not Continental, food rationing had thankfully ended.
Meanwhile, Imogen was sitting with a book in a form room, in front of the sullen middles.
She was a redhead with long straight hair, and quite imposing.
"You lot had better behave yourselves or there'll be more trouble" she said somewhat irritably.
They said nothing, but appeared to sit down obediently and start writing lines.
Eventually they had finished, and Imogen went round to check. Most were alright, but Tamzin had instead
written 600 lines "Imogen is a bossy cow". Imogen was'nt pleased about that at all, and spontaneously slapped the girl in the face, the others began to giggle.
"Be quiet!" said Imogen angrily.
That shut them up, then she dismissed all except Emma.
"Goodness, you are cheeky!"
"I'm sorry Imogen" she said insincerely.
"Well I don't believe you, but anyway you can firstly have an order mark even though they mean nothing here. I've also thought of something other than more lines, now come with me to your dormitory"
They went up to Tamzin's cubicle.
"Now Tamzin, give me all your chocolate, sweets, and so on"
"Only seniors normally confiscate things" she protested.
"I know, but don't argue with me"
Tamzin unwillingly handed over a bar of chocolate, some fruit boiled sweets, and a couple of scones.
Then Emma went off to her common room, while Imogen went to her own dorm and put the things in her locker. Then she set off for a walk down to the sea and the east side of the town, where there were some standing stones on another hill.
Meanwhile, the teams were sitting down for tea. Tessa was sitting next to Blossom and Katharine, with a fish paste sandwich and lemonade, discussing recent happenings.
"I suppose what happened to Lavender was kind of like Annis Lovell nearly getting killed on the cliffs, despite the big
differences. It might have been a tragedy if Con had'nt checked her cubicle" said Tessa.
"Well it's quite unlikely someone would get so easily overlooked at our place despite the nasty accidents we've had before. I don't know if they'd dare do that impressive water prank either. Your orange uniform is nice and I envy your hot baths, but your system really is'nt effective" said Blossom. Katharine agreed before saying:
"But I don't think you should have done that to Hannah, Tessa. It was a bit weird and dangerous, if you really wanted revenge you could honestly just have slapped or thumped her in private"
"You're probably right on both counts. What's been going on with you anyway?" agreed Tessa.
"Oh, it's not been a hugely eventful term. Kester Bellever visited yet again to give another
birdwatching lecture, they've by now become entirely tedious. Though there's been a fair bit of low-level trouble like fighting and so on
partly due to frequent wet weather keeping everyone indoors. Annis Lovell got into trouble for thumping that horrible girl Myfanwy Argall who'd ridiculed her social background and
family, it was the most serious
incident. Myfanwy and some others were also bullying Emily Cowden for being too quiet, she tried to commit suicide by jumping off the Carnbach ferry" said Blossom.
"That sounds terrible, what happened?" said Tessa.
"Emily's alright now, but Hilda reluctantly expelled Myfanwy" said Katharine, taking a scone with strawberry jam and cream.
"Otherwise, there's been some guiding activity indoors as usual. Do you still wish there were guides here?" said Blossom.
"Perhaps Miss Eacott should'nt have shut them down, but with school, games, various hobbies and so on we do have enough to do here" said Tessa.
Mary-Lou and Joanna had been chatting to some others, but now turned to them.
"Do you think there's anything we can do about our discipline problem?" said Joanna.
"You could just take matters into your own hands, unofficial order marks, your own punishments and so on" said Mary Lou.
"We do sometimes, but it's not ideal" said Joanna.
"Perhaps you can ask your head as a group and see if she'll accept any changes?" said Katharine.
"We're normally supposed to attempt to control nearly everything without involving the staff" said Blossom.
"That's a good idea Kat, though Miss Eacott clearly does'nt want our prees to have too much autonomy. But we also think our code of conduct is a good idea and don't want to be quite as authoritarian you often seem to be" said Joanna and Tessa.
"Do you still wish the school would return to Tyrol or wherever, Blossom?" said Tessa.
"No, not really. It would be a nuisance and awfully expensive to get there apart from anything else, though trilingualism is a very good idea"
"Are you still trying to learn the recorder, Tessa?"
"No, I'm just not musical"
Then after a bit more talk and cheek-kissing, they said their goodbyes and the St Briavel's team left.
Tamzin's Revenge by Katharine
Imogen walked into town, she was wearing a brown school cape because rain seemed likely. She posted a letter home,
then bought some lemon squash, a carrot and apple.
Two Welsh ponies lived in a field nearby, and Imogen stopped to pat them and feed the carrot and apple. She was a keen rider, doing fox-hunting and pony club meets at home.
She climbed up to the stone circle, a place she often went and usually deserted in winter. Occasionally others turned up as well, but they generally left each other in peace after perhaps saying hello. Even she would never tell anyone off up there. It had always seemed to her very spiritual and peaceful there for some reason, except if the school used it for lively picnics in the summer. The rain stayed away, so Imogen sat there with some complicated algebra until it got dark, then headed back to school. It began pouring again on the way back.
Tamzin, however, was not going to gracefully accept her punishment. All her friends were sitting playing cards and eating leftovers from the team tea in the common room. Emma saw her face and said:
"How come you're looking so angry, what did you do during the lines anyway?"
"You're brave, but should'nt we really have a break from pranks?"
"I would'nt mind so much if Imogen had just scheduled more lines, but she both slapped me, and conficated my chocolate and sweets. That's beyond their powers. But I saw her going to town, so think we should see if she's put them in her dorm, and teach her a lesson too"
"I would'nt mind a midnight feast or similar, but not anything spiteful" said Hannah.
"Oh come on, it'll be fun" said Polly.
"No thanks" said Hannah.
"Well I suppose so" Emma shrugged.
They fetched a large paper bag and scooped some ash from the fireplace into it, then went upstairs to Imogen's dormitory, Snowdonia, on the top floor. Tanswick was rather smaller than St Briavels, so dorm prefects and form prefects often joined forces in dorms. Imogen did have a cubicle by one of the two windows, Tamzin found her things in the chest of drawers.
Then she lifted up the bedclothes and sprinkled the ash across the sheet before carefully replacing them. They tipped out all Imogen's clothes, schoolwork, and possessions onto the floor, and poured the rest of the ash over that.
"Had'nt we better get away before anyone comes?" said Polly, a bit horrified by what they'd done.
"They're going to hit the roof", said Tamzin and Emma anxiously.
They went back and continued their game of cards.
Miss Eacott allowed anyone to use the front door or the main stairs not just prefects, and as Imogen came to the bottom of the stairs, she saw Tamzin coming out of a washroom and made a face but said nothing. Then she went to her dorm, intending to move the chocolate to the locked cupboard in the prefects room. When she saw what they'd done, she was furious.
"Oh the little beasts, how can they?" she cried.
Miss Stewart wanted to darn her socks, and had come to get things from the sewing cupboard. Hearing Imogen's angry noises, she looked in and naturally was'nt pleased at the mess either. Con had finally changed her mind about the Tanswick system.
"Oh dear, who do you think did that and why?"
"I don't really know" she lied, not wanting to mention the slapping or confiscation.
"Well the lack of rules does'nt meant such behaviour is acceptable here. Though I don't want to get involved yet anyway, discuss it amongst yourselves first"
"Yes, that's the best idea"
Rather than confront Tamzin immediately, she went to the prefects room, where Tessa, Harriet, Bride, and Sophie were sitting
listening to music on the radio and mending clothes.
"You're not looking very happy, Imogen!" said Sophie.
"No, the middles have really gone too far this time. I'm sure Tamzin egged the others on because I slapped her, then confiscated her chocolate and sweets"
She explained what had happened.
"Well Imogen, they almost certainly need more punishment, but you should just have arranged more lines or a firm talking-to. Not something like confiscating anything without asking us seniors first, certainly no slapping" said Harriet crossly.
"You're right actually, sorry. What shall we do though?"
Sophie had recently asked Tessa before confiscating Forever Amber from a third former, and had correctly explained that as
"This is the final straw really. We better do what the other school's girls suggested"
"Yes, we'll go to the head and see what she says. Just now we'll go and see if we can make them own up" said Tessa.
They went to the middles common room, picking up Olivia on the way.
"Now Tamzin, what are you playing at, your behaviour really is despicable?" said Imogen, frowning heavily.
"I don't know what you're talking about though how dare you take my chocolate and slap me, I've been in here most of the afternoon". All the middles were trying hard to look innocent.
"Oh come on, you and the others ransacked my cubicle to get revenge on me"
"No, we did not" they wrongly said together.
"I don't believe you, for goodness sake don't be dishonourable and own up now!"
The middles looked embarassed.
"Tamzin started it, we just joined in. I'm sorry" said Emma
"Yes Imogen I wanted to get back at you for exceeding your power. Sorry but what was wrong with just more lines?" said Tamzin.
Polly apologised as well. Imogen was'nt going to admit her guilt to a middle.
"I see then" she said
"So the head will hopefully want to see you lot later, you're still gated tomorrow after prayers. You can all come and clean up Imogen's cubicle anyway" said Olivia.
Hannah just looked on, she was excused.
They went to fetch the large upright vacuum cleaner, two brooms, and a dustpan and brush. Most things were cleaned up easily enough and put back in their place,
though most of Imogen's clothes would need washing. Unfortunately no-one knew about the ashes in her bed.
"Alright, you can all go now" said Tessa.
Then it was quite soon time for dinner, afterwards they were all exhausted. Tessa and Imogen had some cocoa and went to brush their teeth.
"What a day, good night" said Tessa.
"Good night, Tessa"
They went to bed, and got up later on Sunday. Imogen was annoyed once more to find ashes when getting into bed, and had to get the dustpan again.
Lydia Intervenes by Katharine
After breakfast next morning, it was time for prayers. The school had always been mainly Catholic, and only about a third of pupils and staff were Protestant.
All prefects except Joanna, Tessa, and Sophie were Catholic. Jennifer was Protestant, as were Tamzin and Emma. Miss Eacott hoped to build two chapels eventually, but
currently prayers were held in the hall. The Catholics had the first hour, taken by Mr Bach, the school's chaplain who taught religious education. Then the Protestants had
a service with the local vicar.
When both had finished and they'd had lunch, the middles offenders decided to go to the library. The roles of all different kinds of prefects had become extremely blurred, even dorm prees could sometimes be required to do anything else. So it was Jennifer
who visited to check up on them. She was pleased to find Tamzin and Emma reading Angela Brazil books, while Polly and Hannah were reading one by Jo Maynard.
Lydia was a less prominent prefect, who usually preferred things like running the hobbies clubs to anything punitive. The weather was good that afternoon, so she and Lottie ran up the hill to where Lavender's
accident had happened. Not far beyond that there was a summit with a cairn, from where it was possible to see all the offshore islands.
Imogen and Joanna went to catch up on long English essays, only Jo and Olivia had their own studies. Olivia, Tessa, Harriet, and Sophie paddled in the sea, walked along the coast, and went to the cafe again. Tessa supervised tea later, and no incidents happened.
Games were compulsory for health and fitness reasons, unlike lessons. On Monday, Tamzin and her friends had double chemistry, then maths. They decided to skip both and sit in their hideout, especially because they were worried about
their impending visit to the head.
Most of Tanswick's now small sixth form, including Tessa, were worried about their A-Levels and had no free periods that morning. After a special Greek lesson with Herr Weber, Lydia though had two free periods until break and decided to talk to Miss Eacott herself. She knocked cautiously on the door until the head let her in. She was busy with general school administration.
"What can I do for you then?"
"I just wondered if you'd like to have a discussion with the middles, given all the trouble they've caused recently.
You should have seen what they did to Imogen"
"Oh dear, what?"
"Well yes Lydia, like I said before, that kind of thing is a clear abuse of our philosophy even though we don't care about nonsense like slang. Send them to me"
"Ok" said Lydia, performing a now rare curtsy before leaving the room.
At the same time, the middles were sitting on the dryer grass, now sucking aniseed balls and thinking a bit about
"Should we somehow try and avoid speaking to the head?" said Tamzin.
Polly did guides in the holidays and was wearing her guide badge as she occasionally did.
"Absolutely not, too dishonourable Tam" said she with the others.
"Well then" said Tamzin with a grimace.
"Can you help me with my geography essay though?" said Hannah.
"Of course, scree slopes, glaciers, etc?" said Tamzin.
The prees had always wondered where this group hid, and Lydia now really
desired to find the place.
It was difficult because there was a lot of dense shrubbery all over the school grounds.
Some of it was blackberries or similar with thorns, but most was'nt.
After walking almost everywhere, she happened to hear whispering. The middles' thicket was at the northern end of the
playing fields, not far from the tall cedar tree. Lydia ran through, trampling the rhododendrons.
The others were aghast.
"What are you doing here?" said Emma angrily, throwing one of her textbooks that
grazed Lydia on the cheek. The others looked aghast at the senior pupil.
"You're disgusting, all of you, come with me" said she, with unusual authority.
She talked to the other prefects, and at break, the wrongdoers were put in front of Miss Eacott.
A Visit to the Head by Katharine
The headmistress had been taking a break from her administration and reading a book about Welsh history in her quite large study at the western end of the school house, with dark purple and white floral wallpaper. She was a Cambridge graduate in history, and had tried a teacher training college afterwards. However, she'd chosen a doctorate instead and eventually become professor of history at Bristol University. At the age of 48 though, Lucilla had got fed up of some of her subordinates clearly not wanting a woman in the role. Then the Tanswick headship had been advertised in the newspapers with the caveat that it was a challenging school to manage. Even before her accident, it had become clear that Miss Wells had been in charge for too long and her abilities were declining, so Miss Eacott had gone for it.
Hannah wasn't present, because Tessa like Imogen had tried to keep her own transgressions a secret.
Now the head said, glaring:
"I've heard about most of your misdeameanours already. You seem to be relatively innocent Polly, though you really shouldn't just go along with the others in attacking Tessa and the other prefects or vandalising Imogen's cubicle. But you Tamzin and Emma were also guilty of heavily cheeking and physically attacking another prefect respectively. What have you got to say for yourselves, Tamzin first?"
"Emma also threw a book at me" said Lydia
"Well, I'm sorry about the vandalism it was my idea, but frankly Imogen deserved the cheek because she's often very officious and obviously exceeded her authority this time. She also rather shouted at Becca West merely for saying "topping" for example. As for attacking Tessa, that was because she did something rather nasty to Hannah" said Tamzin, explaining the details. Miss Eacott looked surprised.
"Oh right, that does'nt excuse your behaviour but I must have a word with Hannah, Imogen, and Tessa. Emma, please go and find them"
She left the room, and found Tessa and Imogen drinking coffee as usual. Hannah was getting some books out of her locker.
"The head wants to see you now"
Hannah and Imogen looked scared, while Tessa vaguely smiled.
"So Hannah what was your role in all this?" asked Lucilla.
"To be honest I'd sometimes been attacking Tessa in various ways because she seemed so shy with little authority. However one day I pricked her with my compass and teased once too often. Tessa pushed my head down the loo and flushed it, before dumping me in a cold bath! But after that I really don't want to be spiteful anymore"
"Your behaviour is disgraceful, Hannah. Tessa, I can understand your reaction, but it's really not acceptable either. You prefects must be pretty useless if you can't handle that, or you could have reported it to me"
Everyone looked a bit shocked at this.
"What about you, Emma?"
"Well I was annoyed at Lydia finding and invading our hideout in the bushes" she grimaced.
"That I can understand as well, but you must not do things like that"
"What have you got to say for yourself, Imogen?"
"I do quite often seem to overreact, sorry" she said, blushing.
"Again apologies. I just snapped, Hannah had often been really annoying. But I think we do need to reform the discipline system. There's no need to be fussy about minor things like slang, talking in corridors, using the right staircase etc, or be too bossy generally. Order and conduct marks with consequences for spiteful misbehaviour or whatever would be very useful though. Perhaps deputy form prefects should be appointed as well"
"You're right about that, actually. It's hereby restored, from now on any more than four order marks means a conduct mark and a staff report. You can also use your discretion if anyone is talking very loudly in the corridors in lesson time, but I don't care about slang or curtseys to staff for that matter. I'll consider your other idea too. We don't want to be quite like the original Chalet School"
The prees looked quite pleased, as the head considered what to do next.
"Tamzin, Emma and Hannah, you are banned from hobbies club for the rest of term or leaving the school grounds for two weeks. Polly, you just have the latter. Tessa, you really should have more sense. As for you Imogen, I cannot allow you to be a prefect anymore, that's enough punishment"
The girl looked sad as the badge was removed from her tunic.
"You can all go now"
Ignoring her lessons, Imogen after lunch wandered off for the afternoon to the local riding stables, which was owned by one of her cousins. There she went for a ride into the hills on Cactus, a feisty Welsh pony. The middles glumly attended theirs for the rest of the day. Tessa happily gave Becca the first proper order mark for running in a corridor, but otherwise the seniors were more concerned about their schoolwork again.
School Assembly by Katharine
Joanna got out of bed and fed her gerbils, which were in a cage by the window. Then, after breakfast, she hurried to assembly. On the way she encountered Tamzin, who was having a go at Polly for giving in and told her to desist. Though even Joanna did'nt feel very confident with the former, who glared at the head girl. Minette was miaowing in the corridor but for once, no-one took any notice of her.
The head, standing on the dais with all the prees to the left, first said:
"I'm sure you'd like to know that Lavender is making a good enough recovery in hospital and should be back with us quite soon. We'll want your suggestions for the play as well"
These would be considered by the staff and all prefects, before a general vote was held. Then the head moved to the question of discipline.
"As you may have noticed, we have experienced various major behaviour problems here recently and the perpetrators have received correct punishments. Therefore I've agreed to increase the prefects' authority somewhat, and also appoint some more, deputy form prefects throughout. Except for the sixth form, who should not need that kind of thing"
Some subjects for the rest of the school, such as art, always had the entire form in one place. But others like maths could be divided into up to three sets based on ability and may or may not have had a pree present. If not, the teacher would have to carry her own books and so on. Jennifer, a fourth former, was in the top sets for English and Latin, and surprisingly had her dorm prefect role extended to both, because the head was curious to see how she would handle it. Tessa, however, gasped at the next announcement.
"Hannah Evans is to be captain of the bottom fourth form English set and top maths set, with Polly Cotter for their middle maths set and the top French one. Claire Bettany will be in charge of the third's bottom biology and middle French set"
Emma almost burst into tears when hearing this, as her younger sister had been pree of Bala dorm. When all had been chosen, they went up amid clapping to receive form prefect badges. Imogen had just grimaced throughout, her former overall role had been given to Bethan Gwynn who wasn't a dorm pree, a Welsh speaker with a strong accent.
Immy went to the loo for a while, ignoring the split Catholic and Protestant prayers, which were much shorter on weekdays. The latter were taken by the head herself.
Imogen splashed her face and met Becca in the corridor with whom she was good friends. The latter was'nt in a very good mood either, a string on her violin had recently broken during a music exam.
It was meant to be a French-speaking day, but neither of them were bothering with it.
Another Accident by Katharine
Their next lesson was history with Miss Stewart. The subject was divided into two sets and Imogen was in the top one.
"What do you think about all these changes, Becca?" she said, trying to look cheerful.
"I'm quite shell-shocked, to be honest"
"Me too, what do you think of Tessa?"
"She's a tiresome cow, but I suppose deserves some respect"
Bethan was heading to the same lesson and now had the authority to gently query:
"Pourquoi vous parlez pas le Francais?"
"Parceque on veut pas" said Imogen, speaking for both of them.
"Ces't bon, mais vraiment vous n'apprenderez rien si vous continuez comme ca" Bethan replied firmly.
"Ca va?" said Becca suddenly.
"Ca va bien, merci" Bethan replied.
In their form room, Beth was sitting in the desk reserved for her nearest the front and the windows which Immy had previously occupied. The latter was now seated at the back next to a window and her friend. The mistress began talking about the conflicts which had eventually led to Wales being conquered by the English. The room was pleasantly warm because of the fireplace at the back, but no-one noticed that the guard was somewhat out of place thanks to a careless maid. Because of the expense of installing central heating, it was only being done in stages. The maids had stoked the fire heavily due to the cold weather, and just as Miss Stewart was finishing her talk, Imogen felt the heat on her back as several flames escaped. She immediately got up,removed her tunic to place it over the danger and tipped ink too. Becca and Beth had rushed to the nearest basin for water and tipped a bucket over the floor, extinguishing the flames.
"Oh thanks for doing that", the mistress looked embarassed but smiled warmly at the girls. Imogen smiled back as she stood there in her underwear before running off to Matron while Becca just blushed.
Meanwhile, the entire fourth form had been in the external art room painting stills of vases and fruit bowls. Mr Bristow, the art master, could sometimes be as bad-tempered as Herr Laubach. He did throw a rubber at Tamzin and Emma when they were whispering, but both ducked out of the way. After the lesson, Sooty, the school's hefty black tomcat was on his way to a mouse or bird hunt. Several pupils talked to him and stroked his stomach. The cat had been at the school for some years, but had become noticeably more friendly since the head had had him neutered. Before that, he had quite often been a nuisance with behaviour like spraying in random places indoors, and howling at night.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters and settings are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. No money is being made from this work. No copyright infringement is intended.