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So of course I am rereading, now that this is work; and I have reached Eustacia Goes To The Chalet School, number six in the series. It strikes me that this may be my favourite, at least among the early titles. It has what will become the classic storyline - new girl is insufferable, for reasons given; puts everybody's backs up, among girls and staff both; does something stupid and has bad accident as a result; spends time in bed, realises the errors of her ways and is thus redeemed - and it's a fine example of this future trope.

Indeed, right from page one it is full of Brent-Dyerisms.

The opening line: There is no disguising the fact that Eustacia Benson was the most arrant little prig that ever existed. No worries for Elinor about "Show, don't tell" - she's always happy to come down with a resounding judgement, so that we all know just where we stand.

Later in the same para: We have little difficulty in guessing the effect of these theories when we meet Eustacia for the first time one day in November [...] Something else I love about EMB-D, her cheerfully being prepared not only to insert herself into the narrative, but her readers too. Marshalling us all along in a croc, pointing out what we're here to learn. She's an adept.

And then, next para, In the preceding June, Mrs Benson had developed a cold, which she had insisted on treating herself. The result was that the cold rapidly went to her lungs, and, six days later, Eustacia found herself motherless. Again, this is the Chalet School world in a nutshell; common viruses turn lethal at the drop of a nurse's disregarded cap. Only proper medical attention, sought out at the earliest moment, can save you from the consequences of your own folly (and even then, in serious cases, it needs to be backed up with prayer). Wet feet will give you a cold; a cold will turn readily to rheumatic fever or pneumonia. Tuberculosis is only a neglected cough away. (To be fair, Elinor's best friend at school died of TB, which left her with a lifelong anxiety about it: which is why there is always a TB sanatorium just up the mountain from the Chalet School, which is why so many old girls get to marry doctors...)

And to be fairer still, Elinor was not the only one to have sickness on her mind. I myself notoriously turn to her books as comfort reads when I'm sick. I wasn't sick when I started this reread, I was working. I have spent much of the last week on the sofa, feeling vaguely unwell, in what I can only assume to be a classic confusion of cause and effect...
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So I was, as you know, unwell; and it has been for a long time the tradition in my parts that when my internal cupboards are in disarray (actually that's a Kiplingism, but I rather like it, so) I read Chalet School books until I feel better.

So I have been doing that. Rather heedlessly, I began at the beginning; which, given my propensities, does appear to mean that I am committed to a series reread rather than just a few volumes at random. Hey-ho.

To facilitate this, I've just been putting the books in order. Which is to say, I have put in order those that I can find. I appear to be missing several. Where is Lavender Laughs? Where is A Genius At? Where...? usw (It's Saturday; it's German day.)

Maybe they wouldn't all fit in the one box. I do still have boxes not unpacked; I can still hope they'll turn up. I will do that. *nods*

In the meantime, and in less perturbing news, this putting-in-order has turned up a handful of duplicates. If anyone's interested in swapsies, or other modes of exchange, talk to me. We're talking reprint hardbacks, decent reading copies, with or without dustwrappers: The Head Girl of the Chalet School, Jo Returns to the Chalet School, The Chalet School Goes To It.


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November 2017

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