lizziec: (owl)
[personal profile] lizziec
Yet another Chalet Story - short and complete :) This is the last of my drabbles for now :)

“Mother, you must come and open our Bonfire night display! It wouldn’t be the same without you!” pleaded Phil (the frail one) as she dragged Joey across the Freudesheim lawn, through the gate in the hedge and onto the school grounds.

Although Joey responded to this flattery, she couldn’t help complaining to Phil about how the school was going downhill. “Honestly, I can’t understand this adoption of new traditions, and we have never celebrated Guy Fawkes night before. It makes no sense to celebrate the horrific torture of a Catholic to keep the Catholics repressed when there are so many Catholics at the school itself. Really, I can’t be opening this every year, I don’t really agree with it, but as you are in such a bind this year I suppose I will have to. I’ll be speaking to Miss Annersley first thing tomorrow though or my name is not Josephine Mary Maynard. If they must have an outdoor celebration like this anyway I don’t understand why it must be in November, with the weather as it is here…” She tailed off her grumbling as they reached the gathering. It was dark and she could see very little as she was led up the steps to the platform set up for her as Lady Opener by Phil who it must be noted ran back down the steps as fast as her legs could carry her. As Joey noticed this she reflected that her frailty must have made her shy. “Ah well,” she thought, “we can tackle that over the summer holidays. I must get Cecil to take Phil under her wing again…”

At that moment Joey noticed that there was no microphone on the platform and she was in what appeared to be a cage. As she realised that the back slammed down and she was trapped. Simultaneously bright lights around the grounds were switched on and she noticed that the stage was actually on top of a large bonfire that was still being built below her. It took a while for her to realise the reason she was there was not a mistake, rather a deliberate attempt to be rid of her. While she felt rather put out she couldn’t help making a few simple observations. “Really, the school is suffering without Guides, their fire building is all wrong,” Joey muttered to herself and proceeded to help those below by yelling down instructions on how they could be much more efficient in their building of the bonfire underneath her.

The middles working below ignored her and grinned to themselves as they added the finishing touches.

The circle of women around the outside began to move in as the girls moved away and Joey started in surprise as the hooded woman who was giving the orders revealed herself to be her own sister. At Madame’s word the select group of mistresses and prefects who had been special victims of Joey’s advice moved in and set the fire alight. As the rest of the school swayed in the firelight, happy to be rid of Joey’s interference in just a few short minutes and Gaudenz (simple handyman), helped by her own husband, Jack (head of the San), set off the first of the fireworks Joey couldn’t help giving the last of her advice as she spoke for the last time (well more of a yell) that the fire was not nearly hot enough to get rid of her body and suggested that they added a little more wood if they wanted to do a thorough job. Len (responsible), Con (dreamy) and Margot (bad) decided to act on this advice, throwing on some more bundles of wood and small pine trees before flinging some petrol over the whole lot for good measure, grinning at the fun they were having and agreeing amongst themselves it was the best birthday they had ever had.

As the conflagration burned bright, hot and high the school, Platz residents and San staff looked satisfied and finally understood the full satisfaction that must have been felt in the early years of guy burning. Forever among those who were present 5th November would no longer be Bonfire night or Guy Fawkes night – it was Joey Maynard night.

It should be recorded that among the future families of old girls who had been present on that occasion were forever puzzled as to why the guys built for the bonfires appeared to have earphones on. Most were too afraid to ask, but for those who did all they got was an evil glint in the women’s eyes and an entreaty in a curiously high pitched voice (as if the person were about to burst out in evil laughter) to “ask no questions and I’ll tell you no lies” and the matter was always allowed to drop.

In the school the matter was never mentioned again, but as the years passed, staff that had been there on that night were always extra cheerful on 5th November and for no reason that the girls in later years could see, it was always a special festival day at which the newly formed Guide company took pride of place. For those on the outside it just became one of the many odd things about the Chalet School, one of “those” traditions.

However those present celebrated it in the future they always kept the memory of the Chalet School bonfire treasured in their hearts and minds.

Date: 26 January 2008 08:50 pm (UTC)
From: [identity profile] lady-cereza.livejournal.com
I feel so stalkery saying this but I think I saw you in town today :)

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