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.