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Cecil Maynard’s marks were poor and getting worse. Miss Annersley, Miss Ferrars and Miss Patterson, who had joined the staff of the Chalet School only at the beginning of the school year, sat in conference over them in Miss Annersley’s elegant private salon.

“If it were just her English literature, then we could concentrate on that, however it seems as though her French is a problem as well?” Kathie Ferrars looked upset. She was genuinely fond of Cecil, whom she had known for many years. “And her Geography is just dreadful! I doubt she's learnt anything during the last two months.”

Elizabeth Patterson was less emotionally-attached.

“It's not just her marks, my dear. It's her general attitude! Sulky, belligerent, she flares up if one even looks at her! I noticed it got worse after Christmas, but I couldn't account for anything that might have caused it.”

Miss Annersley was thinking deeply. “That awful time that we thought John Bettany was drowned - but no, I remember talking to her and she didn't know him well enough to be deeply distressed. Poor Daphne was inconsolable, although trying to be brave.”

“Oh yes. I’ve never met him, but I met the other Bettanys and I’ve heard about him. Rosalind told me she was very upset. Maybe Cecil was upset because Daphne was so distressed?” Kathie suggested.

“I think they may have had a falling-out,” Miss Patterson said, thinking aloud. She was new to the Chalet School, but as she taught Senior English she saw a lot of Daphne and Cecil. “In fact, I think Cecil seems to have fallen out with most of the Sixth this term. Whenever I see her out of lessons, she's on her own and looking quite miserable.”

“I haven't noticed that, but I do think there must be something wrong. She started the year so well but if she carries on then I don't think she'll get any A levels or if she scrapes them, they won't be good enough for Oxford, as she wanted.”

“Perhaps Daphne could speak to her? After all, they are cousins.”

“I think it might be best handled by Joey and Jack,” Miss Annersley said. “They'll be back tomorrow afternoon. By the way, Kathie, you will meet John Bettany as he's coming to work in the San for a few months. I understand from Joey that he and David Russell will be staying at Freudesheim.”

“I’ve met Dr Russell,” Kathie said, “That will be nice for Daphne, and the Maynards too. Is he fully recovered?”

“I believe so. They will arrive on Thursday, so I will invite them for coffee when they're settled. It does make one feel elderly to see Madge and Mollie’s children so grown up!”

They resumed their conference, with Miss Patterson promising to keep an eye on Cecil and the Headmistress herself resolving to arrange a meeting with the Maynards.

*

Knowing nothing of this, Cecil sighed over her Geography prep. It was a warm and pleasant day and she longed to be outside rather than in the library, however with the exams looming, she had no choice.

She looked up as Daphne came quietly in to find a book from the literary criticism shelf. Cecil was library prefect, but it was very low on her priority list nowadays.

Turning back to her notes, she ignored Daphne for the next few moments, but she couldn't really ignore her taking all the books out and stacking them on the floor.

She scraped her chair back, drawing glances herself from the other members of the Sixth present, and stormed over.

“What are you doing?” She demanded, not caring to keep her voice down.

Daphne looked up, her own expression showing she was annoyed, however conscious of their audience, kept her tones low.

“Your job, apparently! None of these books are in order, list have just been shoved back in regardless! It's not fair, Cecil. We all have work to do as well as our Prefect duties, and nobody else is neglecting hers.” Daphne spoke in French, the language of the day, but there was no mistaking her meaning.

“Better run to Auntie Hilda then and tell her I'm not fit to be Library Pree!” Cecil cried.

“I'll do nothing of the kind,” Daphne said calmly, putting the books into order on the shelf. “We’re not kids, Cecil. We're leaving school for good in July! You couldn't act like this at Oxford.”

The word Oxford touched a nerve. For a moment, Cecil hated her cousin so much she could have hit her. It shocked her so much that she took a step back; then turned and fled, leaving her work behind.

She ran down the corridor, breaking all rules, and out into the gardens, through the playing fields and very shortly, on the road just past the School’s two chapels. There, completely out of bounds, she slowed to a walk to get her breath back.

Oh how she hated Daphne! Everything had been good until she had arrived; she’d had friends, even amongst the mistresses, and her work had been going so well.

Deep in thought, she paid no heed to any possible oncoming traffic until the fast approaching car nearly hit her; in fact, if the young driver hadn’t have been able to swerve, he would have knocked her off the path and down to the valley below.

Shaking, she watched the driver get out of the car, thankful it wasn’t anyone she knew. He seemed shocked, and firstly shouted at her in Schweizerdeutsch, before recovering, apologising and asking if she were hurt.

Cecil shook her head; the shock made her realise just how many rules she was breaking. She knew she had to get back to school.

“What’s your name?” The young man asked. He was probably only a few years

“Daphne Bettany,” Cecil lied.

“I’m sorry, let me drive you to where you’re going,” he said. “I am Max Aebischer; I am a pharmaceutical salesman, I was coming from the Gornetz Sanitorium…”

“No, thank you - I am fine - I’m sorry - I must go,” Cecil darted away and ran back to the playing fields at once. Someone connected to the San! It was worse than she had thought. Thank goodness she had given Daphne’s name! She hoped he hadn’t noticed her uniform dress or connected it with the school; fervently she hoped he would never mention it to anyone at the San.

She was fortunate and managed to make it back to the playing fields without being caught. She relaxed slightly, but knew she should go back to the library quickly to collect her books before Kaffee und Kuchen to be totally safe.



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