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Chapter five

Letters from Meadowhank School

Letter from Julia Upjohn to her mother:

Dear Mummy,

I’ve settled in now and I like it here very much. There’s another new girl called Jennifer and she and I do things together. We both like tennis, and Jennifer is rather good. She was in Ramat when that revolution started, but she missed it because they were taken away by someone from the Embassy.

I like Miss Bulstrode, but she can be frightening. I’ve heard that she’s going to retire soon and that Miss Vansittart will be the new head teacher, but I’m sure it isn’t true. Miss Rich, our English teacher, is wonderful. When she reads Shakespeare it all seems different and real. Someone told me she wasn’t here last term. We do French with Mademoiselle Blanche, who seems to be bored a lot of the time. Our Games teacher, Miss Springer, is awful. She’s got red hair and smells when she’s hot.

There are a lot of foreign girls here, and a princess who says she was going to marry Prince Ali Yusuf if he hadn’t been killed in that plane crash. Jennifer says that isn’t true, and that Prince Ali liked someone else. Jennifer knows a lot of interesting things.

I know you’re leaving on your trip soon. Don’t forget your passport like you did last time!

Love from Julia

Letter from Jennifer Sutcliffe to her mother

Dear Mummy,

It really isn’t bad here, and I’m enjoying it more than I expected. The weather has been very fine. Do you think I could have a new tennis racquet? Mine feels all wrong. And can I start to learn Greek? I love languages. Some of us are going to London to the theatre next week. The food here is very good. Yesterday we had chicken, and lovely cakes for tea. Your loving daughter, Jennifer

Letter from Ann Shapland to Dennis Rathbone:

Dear Dennis,

I’d love to have dinner with you, but I don’t have any free time until the weekend of the third week of term. I’ll let you know.

It’s rather fun working in a school. But I’m glad I’m not a teacher - I’d go mad!

Yours ever,

Ann

Letter from Miss Johnson to her sister:

Dear Edith,

Everything here is much the same as usual. The summer term is always nice. The garden is looking beautiful and we’ve got a new gardener to help old Briggs - he’s young, strong and good looking, which is a pity. Girls are so silly.

Miss Bulstrode hasn’t said anything more about retiring, so hope she’s changed her mind. If Miss Vansittart became head teacher I really think I’d have to leave.

Give my love to Richard and the children.

Elspeth

Letter from Miss Vansittart to a friend

Dear Gloria,

The summer term has started, and all the new girls are settling in well. But the new Games teacher, Miss Springer, is not a success and the girls don’t like her. She is also rather rude and very nosey, and asks far too many personal questions. Mademoiselle Blanche, the new French teacher, is quite nice but is not a very good teacher.

Miss Bulstrode has not yet talked to me about the future, but I think she has decided what to do. I will be proud to carry on her fine work at Meadowbank.

Yours ever,

Eleanor

Letter from Adam Goodman to Colonel Pikeaway, sent in the usual way:

Princess Shaista arrived in a huge luxury car. I hardly recognized her the next day in her school uniform. I am already on friendly terms with her, and she was asking me about the flowers until the Games teacher, Miss Springer, took her away and told me not to talk to pupils. An old teacher called Miss Chadwick keeps an eye on me, so I’m being careful.

No sign, so far, of anything strange - but I hope something will happen soon.

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