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Mourning Mademoiselle
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Author:  MJKB [ Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:18 pm ]
Post subject:  Mourning Mademoiselle

I'm reading the unabridged Exile and loving every word of it. The chapter in which the news about Mdle death is announced to the School is particularly moving, as is poor Cornelia's reaction. It struck me though, that as one of the co founders of the CS the School should have been closed on the day of her funeral as a mark of respect. I don't go along with the "it's what she would have wished" thing. How can anyone know that? I'd rather like to think that my colleagues would flock to my funeral and that the School would close out of respect! I rather fancy the idea of the students forming a guard of honour as my coffin is carried in. Perhaps some of the boys could carry it.....I'm getting carried away here, it's the Celt in me, no doubt.

Author:  Pat [ Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:37 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

It would have been lovely. Trouble is that I'm pretty certain she died in France, which would have been a little awkward.

Author:  Clare [ Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

Could EBD have been playing into the "stiff upper lip"? War had started, death was going to be inevitable - maybe she wanted to send a message about life continuing as normal...

We'd only get time off if the teacher died "in service". Our former head passed away near the end of term and school stayed open. I know of a local school which was run by nuns, and the nuns still teach there - if one of them passes away the school is closed for the funeral.

Author:  Newiegirl [ Tue Sep 22, 2009 8:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

Whenever I read this book I think I must have missed an earlier book (which I may have done) as I can't recall ever hearing that Cornelia was particularly close to Mlle. What kind of relationship did they have?

Author:  Sugar [ Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:03 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

I worked at a school where the SENCO was off on long term sick, I started after she'd gone off sick, and she died in Feb half term. We wanted the school closed as she'd worked there for nearly 40 years and the entire community knew her but mainly so ALL her colleagues could go ( only 2 didn't know her) but the LEA said no. 90% of the staff went and we managed but it would have been nice to make it feasible for everyone to go.

A few wks later someone who worked in school from MGSS jumped off a tower block but only the Head and a staff rep went to her funeral.

Author:  MJKB [ Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

Clare wrote:
Could EBD have been playing into the "stiff upper lip"? War had started, death was going to be inevitable - maybe she wanted to send a message about life continuing as normal...


You may be right there, and that would be understandable. But surely they could have closed the School in the morning for her Requim Mass and they could have organised a Protestant prayer service for others to attend. If Madge had died (I was going to say God forbid - she's so real to me sometimes!) I wonder would they have treated her obsequies in the same way.

Author:  Sunglass [ Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:22 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

MJKB wrote:
I'm getting carried away here, it's the Celt in me, no doubt.


No, but it's an Irish attitude to funerals, because I recognise it in me, too! I've often been rather taken aback, since I've lived in various places out of Ireland, that many people only go to funerals if they're invited, or are particularly close to the dead person, so that they seem quite shrunken and 'private' affairs, rather than the entire town closing in respect, blinds down, everyone travelling long distances if necessary to attend the funeral, and often crowding outside the church or funeral home. (OT and I'm often shocked to meet people of my own age who have never seen a dead person - which feels very odd to an Irish person who's been at wakes and removals since childhood!)

I agree, from an Irish point of view, the 'carry on as normal' after Mademoiselle's death is a bit shocking and disrespectful. I would at least have expected a requiem mass and Madge and senior staff going to the funeral (if it was safe - can't remember whether this was during the war?) But this is possibly me just not getting English attitudes to death...

Author:  Alison H [ Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:36 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

My old office closed for the day on the day of our boss's funeral :cry: , but that was partly for practical reasons as everyone wanted to attend the service.

One of our teachers died when I was at school :cry: but the school didn't close. It was different with Mlle, though: it was quite a small school, and a boarding school, and most of the staff and girls had known her well. If the funeral'd been held nearby then I'm sure anyone who wanted to go would have been given permission, but even with it not being possible to go to the funeral I'm surprised that they didn't hold some sort of memorial service. Was anything donated in her memory when the school chapels were consecrated? Can't remember.

I'm inclined to agree with Clare about playing into the stiff upper lip idea because of the War. We see Simone, whom we know is a very emotional person, putting on a brave face and forcing herself to carry on as normal. I can't imagine that happening in any other book.

Newiegirl, I always thought I'd missed something about Cornelia and Mlle as well!

Author:  Abi [ Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:43 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

Alison H wrote:
Newiegirl, I always thought I'd missed something about Cornelia and Mlle as well!


Me too!

The stiff upper lip thing does sound likely, especially during the war - I think if it had happened in the Tyrol before the war there would have been a much bigger thing made of it. I can see the girls maybe being allowed to go to the funeral if they wanted. But with the war on, I guess maybe it shrank a little in comparison, or was simply a good way of showing individual and collective courage.

Author:  Nightwing [ Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

Newiegirl wrote:
What kind of relationship did they have?


We never actually "see" their relationship - the first hint of it is in New, I think, when Joey joins the prefects in their night-time Middle-hunting, and Cornelia crashes the Middles' party before she realises the prefects are there! We're told that Cornelia generally hides her affection for Mlle, so Joey (and possibly Matron?) is one of the few people who learns how she felt.

I do think that this is one of the more believable "behind-the-scenes" stories, though. Mlle is the Headmistress when Cornelia joins the school, and given her propensity for trouble-making I'm sure she would have spent rather a lot of time with her :D and Mlle would have had quite a lot of influence over her.

Author:  MJKB [ Tue Sep 22, 2009 9:54 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

Sunglass wrote:
I agree, from an Irish point of view, the 'carry on as normal' after Mademoiselle's death is a bit shocking and disrespectful. I would at least have expected a requiem mass and Madge and senior staff going to the funeral (if it was safe - can't remember whether this was during the war?) But this is possibly me just not getting English attitudes to death...
Yes. I'd like to have read that Madge etc attended the mass and that the School closed for at least the duration of the mass itself.
There is a big difference between the Irish and the English with regard to customs surrounding death. Imho, the Irish have a healthier way of dealing with loss, certainly on an emotional level. When my father died there was a very large attendance at his funeral and, although I was upset, I was still sharply focussed on who was there and who wasn't, and who should have been there but hadn't bothered to attend. The rites and ceremonies over the two days of the funeral, together with the respect that people show the family by attending the funeral, help in the early stages of grieving. I hope I haven't offended anyone by saying this, but it boils down to different traditions and customs. Also, England is an industrial country whereas Ireland up to fairly recently was rural, with rural customs and traditions.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Wed Sep 23, 2009 6:46 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

When my grandfather's funeral was held, all of his former work colleagues from Purnells turned up. It was really sad, because they said that the only time they get to see each other now is when they attend a funeral for one of their gang :cry: (Incidentally, to actually add some interest for you here, Clarissa Cridland took the service being a good friend of my grandfather). But I can see why people want funerals to be family only affairs, as well, because it's the family who is mourning most, presumably, and they may not want others to see their grief or be there at the final goodbye.

I quite like the fact that we never see Corney and Mlle's relationship, it being so private makes it seem more realistic somehow. I don't know about shutting the school, though, I agree that in war there would have had to have been a certain amount of "stiff upper lip". And EBD had so much to squeeze into that book already, I don't suppose that she wanted to dedicate any more room than she did to something as depressing as a death when she could be talking about runaway German spies.

Author:  Mel [ Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:13 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

As a teacher, the death of a pupil is harrowing. Our Head insisted that any pupil who wanted to attend the Requiem Mass might do so, and the school laid on transport etc. I think this helped the parents to see rows and rows of the child's school friends. Some of the kids went along because they had never been to a funeral before, but it gave them the experience and an insight into what death and grief is all about. So many parents won't let children (I don't mean babies) attend funerals of even close relatives such as grandparents 'because they might get upset.' Isn't death the best reason for being 'upset'? I sometimes find EBD's brisk attitude to death rather uncomfortable.

Author:  Sunglass [ Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:19 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

MJKB wrote:
Imho, the Irish have a healthier way of dealing with loss, certainly on an emotional level. When my father died there was a very large attendance at his funeral and, although I was upset, I was still sharply focussed on who was there and who wasn't, and who should have been there but hadn't bothered to attend. The rites and ceremonies over the two days of the funeral, together with the respect that people show the family by attending the funeral, help in the early stages of grieving.


I agree with every word. I think smaller 'private' funerals enforce on the family of the dead person an awful sense that their loss is only theirs, whereas the Irish tendency for anyone who can possibly attend to attend, even if they didn't know the person all that well, because they're a distant connection, or the neighbour of someone related, makes you feel your individual loss is tied in to everyone's loss. I grieved desperately for my grandfather, whom I'd lived with all my life, so that he was a third parent, but when I think of the funeral now, my memory is of every business in town with the shutters down, and that neighbours from where my mother grew up drove 40 miles to all three parts of the funeral, even though they'd only met him a few times.

And the sheer amount of ritual and numbers of people you are feeding and watering is a primitive but pretty effective way of battling through the early stages of grief by going to three different bits of funeral, making ham sandwiches and essentially having a massive party at your house. I also think that having a set of behaviours and formulae for dealing with loss means people are less frightened and embarrassed by it - you don't get people crossing the road to avoid a bereaved person because they simply don't know what to say to them... I think it makes a difference, too, that Irish funerals, at least Catholic ones, are always immediately after the death, rather than a week or two later...

I know it's a matter of just EBD's different philosophy of death, but I would have said, arguably, that Simone, Cornelia and all the staff who had known and loved Mademoiselle, would have benefited from some kind of collective ritual...?

Author:  andydaly [ Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:43 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

Sunglass wrote:
I agree, from an Irish point of view, the 'carry on as normal' after Mademoiselle's death is a bit shocking and disrespectful.


I agree too! My father's funeral was huge, and literally hundreds of people spent two days coming along and saying "He was the nicest man I ever met. I am so sorry he is dead. You'll miss him dreadfully.", and it was a great acknowledgement of the depth of our own loss and the theirs.

A teacher died while I was at school, and the school was closed for a half day to attend her Requiem Mass, and the honour guard was made up of pupils, if I remember rightly. Attendance at the Mass was compulsory. A sibling of one of the girls in school died (the sibling did not attend the school) and anyone who wanted was allowed time off to go to the funeral.

For Mademoiselle, I would've expected a service at the school for those who couldn't travel, and all those who were in a position to do so, attend the funeral, but definitely that the school be closed for the day of it. I certainly wouldn't have thought Simone should be expected to keep a stiff upper lip. Surely no-one would've thought the worse of her for being upset over the death of a beloved close relation like Mademoiselle?

Author:  Jennie [ Wed Sep 23, 2009 1:04 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

When two of my colleagues died in service, the school was closed for the afternoons of the services, which in effect meant that no pupils turned up for school that day as they couldn't go anywhere for the afternoons, and the buses couldn't come at lunchtime to take them home.

All the staff attended the services, and staff from other schools came as well.

I think that the difference between us and the Irish is that we don't have a removal service the evening before the funeral. and we don't have the American custom of a public viewing of the body before the funeral.

Author:  Sugar [ Wed Sep 23, 2009 1:38 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

I know I've posted already so sorry for going off on a tangent again.

I was just thinking about the closing the school thing and what my ex-convent school did on the day of my dad's funeral. School was open as usual, it was only the father of a girl who'd died after all but they held a Mass and everyone attended then they started lessons after break. They did the same for another girl but as it didn't clash she and her family came to the Mass.

I do find it odd that Mlle's death was swept under the carpet in terms of stiff upper lip and keep calm and carry on but I think the war had a huge impact on how death was dealt with in the CS.

Author:  andi [ Wed Sep 23, 2009 1:42 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

andydaly wrote:
I certainly wouldn't have thought Simone should be expected to keep a stiff upper lip. Surely no-one would've thought the worse of her for being upset over the death of a beloved close relation like Mademoiselle?


I'm working from memory here so I may be wrong, but I think that Miss Annersley did suggest to Simone that she take some time off, but that Simone herself wanted to carry on 'as normal' - maybe a sort of temporary being in denial until she could face the fact of Mademoiselle having died? (Sorry, not very coherently expressed!)

Author:  Chelsea [ Wed Sep 23, 2009 1:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

Honestly? I would have *hated* two days of "I am so sorry she is dead. You'll miss her dreadfully." It would have driven me insane.

Perhaps because my mum's death was not a shock (and after the week spend in the ICU we were already so drained emotionally and physically) but, for my family, a private funeral and burial was definitely the right thing. We did have a "memorial party" (complete with loot bags, becaus my mum didn't think it a party if there were no loot bags) two days after the funeral/burial because we knew that other people would want a change to say good-bye. And, because we knew we could all handle a few hours of "I am so sorry she is dead. You'll miss her dreadfully."

Based on what I've read today, you'd have all thought us disrespectful, but my mum died on Wednesday, we buried her Friday, had the Memorial on Sunday and were back at work/school on Monday. It just worked for us. My dad, brother, and I did go away for a long weekend the next weekend.

Author:  andydaly [ Wed Sep 23, 2009 2:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

andi wrote:
I'm working from memory here so I may be wrong, but I think that Miss Annersley did suggest to Simone that she take some time off, but that Simone herself wanted to carry on 'as normal' - maybe a sort of temporary being in denial until she could face the fact of Mademoiselle having died? (Sorry, not very coherently expressed!)


You're right. I suppose I was thinking she did so because people expected it of her (the all-new, unemotional Simone), but it seems to be just how she wanted to deal with it.

Chelsea wrote:
Honestly? I would have *hated* two days of "I am so sorry she is dead. You'll miss her dreadfully." It would have driven me insane.


Yes, honestly. It was nice. It was difficult, but it was nice, to know that so many others loved him, and cared enough to be there and tell us so. It wasn't just two solid days of lugubrious platitudes. People spent a good portion of the time telling funny stories about him, or sharing memories of him. It was nice.

As you say though, it is different for every family and every person, and what worked for us would have driven another family around the bend!

Author:  Emma A [ Wed Sep 23, 2009 2:21 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

IIRC, it's when Mlle Lepattre is first taken ill, during Jo Returns, that Cornelia's love and affection for her is first really stated clearly. Thereafter, EBD shows Cornelia's worry and grieving quite consistently, I think.

Author:  Smile :) [ Wed Sep 23, 2009 3:23 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

Yes it seemed bizarre to me to that Cornelia's close relationship with Mdlle is only mentioned when she is taken ill but never before. It never occurred to me that the school should be closed on the day of the funeral but now that you meantion it it seems like a reasonable idea especially considering that it was quite a close knit school. certainly it wouldn't be the sort of thing to happen here I don't think!

Author:  Mel [ Wed Sep 23, 2009 3:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

I think the Cornelia/Mdle thing is retrospective. EBD had been deciding to get rid of Mdle and desperately wanted a back story for her, as she had been a fairly shadowy character.

Author:  Kate [ Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:25 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

andydaly wrote:
Chelsea wrote:
Honestly? I would have *hated* two days of "I am so sorry she is dead. You'll miss her dreadfully." It would have driven me insane.


Yes, honestly. It was nice. It was difficult, but it was nice, to know that so many others loved him, and cared enough to be there and tell us so. It wasn't just two solid days of lugubrious platitudes. People spent a good portion of the time telling funny stories about him, or sharing memories of him. It was nice.

As you say though, it is different for every family and every person, and what worked for us would have driven another family around the bend!

I'm with the Irish on this one. My father had two wakes (because he worked in one county and was from another) and one funeral mass and so we had three days of it. I found it so comforting to know that I wasn't the only one feeling the loss and that there were people I'd never even met before coming to support me and my family - and people who'd never met him came specifically to support me. All my friends from college and school came. And there is a stock phrase "I'm sorry for your troubles" that comes from the Irish (is oth liom do bhris.) and is very handy for people who don't know what to say.

Jennie wrote:
I think that the difference between us and the Irish is that we don't have a removal service the evening before the funeral. and we don't have the American custom of a public viewing of the body before the funeral.

Is that an American custom? We do it in Ireland traditionally too.

A relative of mine (he's actually my grandfather's cousin, but was really more like a great uncle to me) died recently at the age of 101. He had a traditional wake/funeral - people in the house all night before the removal in the morning, with live traditional music, whiskey and lots of Rosaries.

Author:  Chelsea [ Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:33 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

andydaly wrote:
Chelsea wrote:
Honestly? I would have *hated* two days of "I am so sorry she is dead. You'll miss her dreadfully." It would have driven me insane.


Yes, honestly. It was nice. It was difficult, but it was nice, to know that so many others loved him, and cared enough to be there and tell us so. It wasn't just two solid days of lugubrious platitudes. People spent a good portion of the time telling funny stories about him, or sharing memories of him. It was nice.

As you say though, it is different for every family and every person, and what worked for us would have driven another family around the bend!


Sorry, my "honestly?" wasn't meant to be asking if *you* honestly believed it. More, saying that, to be honest, *for me* it would have been awful.

I guess I'm just getting the sense from the way a lot of people are posting is that they think that their way (the "Irish" way) is better. When phrases like "disrespectful" and "shocking' are use to describe the way in which you dealt the death of a loved one, it can be offensive.

Author:  trig [ Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:35 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

Irish funeral rites seems much more community based and thorough than the general English experience, from what posters have said, but it may be a large town vs rural community thing? My Mum's funeral (in the Isle of Man) was very much a community affair and for myself I was quite overcome by the hundreds of people who came to give their respects. (Mind you - my Mum was a Personality so they all knew her personally :) )

I've always liked the Cornelia/Mademoiselle issue as it gave Cornelia (one of my favourite characters - a bad girl who reforms enough but not too much to become a Len-tyoe) an extra dimension. EBD allows her to be lonely/ lacking in female role model although she is rich and priviledged.

Closing the school etc would have been a mark of respect but not in keeping with the stiff upper lip mentality of the time. Perhaps EBD and the general British public feared a repeat of 14-18 useless thousands deaths, so didn't want to highlight one.

Author:  Kate [ Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:41 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

Chelsea wrote:
I guess I'm just getting the sense from the way a lot of people are posting is that they think that their way (the "Irish" way) is better. When phrases like "disrespectful" and "shocking' are use to describe the way in which you dealt the death of a loved one, it can be offensive.

For my part, I think the Irish way is better for *me*. I completely understand that it's not for others and what shocks me is normal for them and what is normal for me shocks them - my aunt's husband (who is English) got very upset at my grandfather's funeral because it was so different and shocking to him. I'm sure no one else meant to suggest that any other way is wrong, it would just be wrong for them and probably for most people in our country. There are many cultural traditions that seem shocking to other cultures.

Author:  MJKB [ Wed Sep 23, 2009 4:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

Kate wrote:
andydaly wrote:
Chelsea wrote:
Honestly? I would have *hated* two days of "I am so sorry she is dead. You'll miss her dreadfully." It would have driven me insane.


Before my father's funeral I thought I'd feel the same way. A few years before that event I remember being quite horrified hearing an elderly cousin saying she'd counted the cars at her mother's funeral. "How could anyone be aware of such a thing at a parent's funeral" I thought until I found myself with the same heightened sense of presensism (is there such a word?) at dad's. Maybe it is part of the Irish psychic to indulge rather than repress the emotions brought on by bereavement. It doesn't mean we care more than our British counterparts, it just means that we have a more overtly emotional way of responding. I felt so moved when I was in the mourning car on my way to the graveyard that strangers actually paused and blessed themselves as we passed. It seemed as though they were acknowledging my father's spirit.
Mind you,

Author:  andydaly [ Wed Sep 23, 2009 5:14 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

Chelsea wrote:
Sorry, my "honestly?" wasn't meant to be asking if *you* honestly believed it. More, saying that, to be honest, *for me* it would have been awful.

I guess I'm just getting the sense from the way a lot of people are posting is that they think that their way (the "Irish" way) is better. When phrases like "disrespectful" and "shocking' are use to describe the way in which you dealt the death of a loved one, it can be offensive.


Oh right, I'm with you now.

Listen, I'm really very sorry if you have been hurt by anything you've read here, I genuinely didn't mean to offend you. As I read it and agreed with it, the phrase "disrespectful and shocking" was used very specifically about the fact that the school didn't seem to take any time at all to mark Mlle's passing. I certainly meant no disrespect to you or your family, nor to your way of dealing with the loss of your mother, and as I said before, different things work for different people and families. Again, if I have offended you, I am sorry.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Wed Sep 23, 2009 5:39 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

I think that it depends on ther person who's being mourned as well - some people would want a big affair with everyone there, others would prefer a quieter ceremony. It also depends on the context; when the family lost a baby a few years back, his parents decided to have a very quiet service without even a wake afterwards, but for older people that will probably be quite different.

I agree that closing the school might have seemed respectful, but I think that it overlooks the fact that at least a sizeable minority of the school didn't know Mlle, and that certainly those who want to honour her most - Simone and Cornelia - express a wish to do so privately.

Author:  shesings [ Wed Sep 23, 2009 6:15 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

I am very sad this evening because I have an unpostponeable school visit tomorrow morning and so I'll miss the funeral of my first boyfriend's wife who died very suddenly last week and who was also at school with us.

We've never lived within handy distance since leaving school so we've probably only actually met about half a dozen times in the last 40 years but I feel that I should be there to pay my respects.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Wed Sep 23, 2009 7:56 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

((shesings)) Even if it isn't a close contact, it is still difficult to lose someone. I hope that you manage to pay your respects, even if you can't make the funeral.

Author:  Alison H [ Wed Sep 23, 2009 8:20 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

((shesings)) - sorry that you won't be able to make the funeral.

I don't think EBD ever "shows" a funeral, does she? Grossmutter Mensch actually dies on stage, so to speak - we actually "see" the family sitting by her bedside and Jem checking for a pulse and finding that she's gone :cry: , but we don't actually see the funeral. Doris Trelawney/Carey's might have been another obvious one to show, but we don't see that either.

& the school doesn't do anything when Herr Laubach dies - I know he wasn't as senior a figure as Mlle was, but he'd been teaching there until a couple of years before he died so almost all the girls and staff would have known him. In a way that's even sadder, because Mlle had her cousins but Herr Laubach doesn't seem to've had anyone except the people at the school :cry:. Presumably a lot of the CS people went to the funeral, but it's never actually mentioned.

Author:  Sarah_G-G [ Wed Sep 23, 2009 8:51 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

In a way although I am surprised that the school didn't do more at Mademoiselle's death, in a way I'm not that surprised they didn't make a huge thing of it. By the time she left, how many of the girls would really remember her, realistically? The staff would of course, and the older girls, so it's a real shame there wasn't some sort of service for all of them (or at least, taht we weren't shown one), but I'm not sure offhand how much even a lot of the Middles would have had to do with her. When is her last book as Head Mistress? Exploits or so? So none of the ex-Saints would have come across her more than a handful of times and a lot of the girls didn't follow the school from Austria anyway. In the atmosphere at the time, the expectation that they would keep a stiff upper lip and soldier on, with so much tragedy surrounding them, I'm not sure it's all that strange that the mistresses chose not to have a large, all school funeral.

As far as large funerals go, I'm with Chelsea. I'd have hated a funeral that lasted 2 days after my mother died- for me one day of it was plenty. Same for the funerals for my Grandad and then Grandma a few years ago. Different things definitely suit different people, and for me I far prefer being able to get back to my everyday life as soon as possible. It's what you're used to as well, and I can understand something like that being a bigger occasion in a smaller and closer (or traditionally smaller and closer) community. Grandma and Grandad's funerals were easier purely because I was at uni then so much more involved in keeping the days running smoothly, but at 11 I don't know that I could have coped with 2 days of people telling me how sorry they were and near-strangers offering to be mother-figures if I needed them, however nice I knew they were being.

Author:  Mia [ Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:00 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

I'm a fan of the quiet and dignified private funeral myself, but I do know what's 'best' is different for everyone.

Author:  Nightwing [ Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

trig wrote:
I've always liked the Cornelia/Mademoiselle issue as it gave Cornelia (one of my favourite characters - a bad girl who reforms enough but not too much to become a Len-tyoe) an extra dimension. EBD allows her to be lonely/ lacking in female role model although she is rich and privileged.


I agree! I really like Cornelia, and showing her loss and her connection to Mlle really makes her death real to me.

Alison H wrote:
I don't think EBD ever "shows" a funeral, does she?


As things go, we don't really see that many important life moments through religious ceremony at all. Despite the many, many marriages in the books, we only actually 'see' a few weddings in any amount of detail (although a number are described in retrospect) and I can only think of one christening/baptism off the top of my head. Perhaps EBD didn't want to potentially put off her readers by writing a ceremony that was either too Catholic or too Protestant?

Author:  Mrs Redboots [ Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:12 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

I have to admit that when my father-in-law died I found the Irish way of coping with it difficult - I "took it strange" as he would have said. There were some good things, but he died on the Thursday, and by Sunday afternoon we were on our way back to London, and All was Over - whereas in England the date for the funeral would have only just been being set. And I felt bewildered, because I didn't know how to grieve.

Mind you, it would have been a lot easier if my in-laws had been the type of family where whisky was served instead of the endless cups of tea that were the only beverage in sight! It was the only time that I have ever regretting giving up smoking to give myself an excuse to get out of the noise and clamour for a few minutes.

Author:  Alison H [ Wed Sep 23, 2009 9:27 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

I can only think of one christening (Stephen's) as well. I love the weddings we do see, and there are several major characters whose weddings I'm sorry we don't get to see ... but I suppose that after the first few books weddings and christenings were coming so thick and fast that there'd've been no room for anything else if we'd seen them all :lol: .

Author:  shesings [ Wed Sep 23, 2009 10:32 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

Thanks, Chubbymonkey and Alison - big hugs back to you both!

We tend to be midway between England and Ireland on this. We don't have viewing in the house much nowadays but still sometimes in the funeral home or church. And it's the norm that you do go to the funerals of friends, neighbours, workmates, colleagues, and often their close relatives that you may or may not have actually met. Whether you go for the purvey and wake or not depends on how close the acquaintance was.

Author:  JayB [ Thu Sep 24, 2009 3:02 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

But they do have a service for Mdlle:
Quote:
The tiny private chapel at the Chalet School, built for the many Catholic girls who were members, was filled to overflowing for the Requiem. All the doctors from the Sanatorium attended, for they had all known and admired the dead woman, who had borne tortures with such courage. Mrs Chester, Mrs Ozanne, and Mr and Mrs Lucy, with their adopted sister, Nan Blakeney, also came, and the entire School was present

As to closing the School completely, that would have been difficult as it was a boarding school. If they hadn't had lessons, what else could the girls have done?

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Thu Sep 24, 2009 3:52 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

:oops: Thanks for the correction, JayB! I, for one, seem to have forgotten that...

Author:  JB [ Thu Sep 24, 2009 4:06 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

Well, I had no idea there was a private chapel at the school in Guernsey.

:oops: alongside Ariel

Author:  trig [ Thu Sep 24, 2009 4:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

Amazing how quickly that private chapel was built! (In wartime, in a location traditionally short of materials :) )

Or I suppose they could have consecrated part of the school buildings? I had forgotten it as well, but now looking back that is the time Polly Herriot is convinced Gertrud is a spy as she is looking superior over the proceedings. I have never really understood this - didn't the Nazi's have funerals too? Why would she be looking superior? Or perhaps that was her funeral face for someone she had never met?

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Thu Sep 24, 2009 4:17 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

What an odd description! Surely the last feeling one has at a funeral is superiority?

Unless she was so lost in thought she didn't realise, I suppose.

Author:  LauraMcC [ Thu Sep 24, 2009 5:45 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

I always assumed that she couldn't understand why everyone was so upset over the death of a mistress, especially as she didn't know Mademoiselle. I mean, at her old school she probably hated all her mistresses, and felt that her lack of caring meant that she was superior over the others. She never came across as being very caring, and at this stage had never known how vto mourn for someone. Or something... :dontknow:

Author:  delrima [ Thu Sep 24, 2009 6:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

Or was it that the Nazis weren't too hot on religion? All that peasant superstition would make a young nazi spyling feel superior perhaps :dontknow:

Author:  Squirrel [ Thu Sep 24, 2009 7:16 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

Possibly she's so frightened about the life of her own Mother, and what might happen were she to fail in this attempt, that she's rather cut off from the concerns of the others.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Thu Sep 24, 2009 9:58 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

Oh, sorry, this is Gertrude! I thought Polly was looking superior :shock: :oops:

Author:  hac61 [ Fri Sep 25, 2009 10:06 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

trig wrote:
Amazing how quickly that private chapel was built! (In wartime, in a location traditionally short of materials :) )


If it was an old house that the school had taken over, it may have had it's own chapel well before the school arrived. Many old houses had chapels attached or even planned in the building itself.


hac

Author:  JayB [ Fri Sep 25, 2009 10:44 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

I thought they'd probably made an existing room in the house into a chapel. Maybe there wasn't a Catholic church near enough for the girls to go to.

The War hadn't started when they were getting the house ready for the School, so there shouldn't have been any problems with getting materials, labour etc, and getting them across from the mainland if necessary - whether from England or France.

Author:  judithR [ Fri Sep 25, 2009 11:56 am ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

[quote="JayB"]I thought they'd probably made an existing room in the house into a chapel. Maybe there wasn't a Catholic church near enough for the girls to go to. quote]

The RCs on the board will probably correct me but I don't think consecration/dedication would be necessary. All they would realy need is a table for an altar so a classroom could be used. When our church was burnt down - arson in the late 1980s - we used the curate's front room & then the school hall until a meeting room could be cleaned up. None of these venues were specifically dedicated/consecrated.

I mean, of course, none of these venues was...

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Fri Sep 25, 2009 12:11 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

I would second the suggestion that as an old house it might have had its own chapel - we have one on the uni campus, though it's been converted to a lecture hall.

I would have thought that anywhere the school took would have had to have at least the potential for chapels, as it wouldn't always be possible for them to get to a local church and worship is clearly very important to them.

Author:  Sugar [ Fri Sep 25, 2009 1:44 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

OT

ChubbyMonkey wrote:
I would second the suggestion that as an old house it might have had its own chapel - we have one on the uni campus, though it's been converted to a lecture hall.


I always thought there was on St Matt's campus. Is the one you're thinking of there?

Our school was a convent so we had a chapel but main school mass took place in the hall cos there was so many of us and that was just a table turned into an altar. I loved our school chapel though it was so beautiful. I think any room in Sarres could have been made into a suitable space.

Author:  ChubbyMonkey [ Fri Sep 25, 2009 1:46 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

That's the one! As far as I know it's been converted, anyway :?

Author:  Mel [ Fri Sep 25, 2009 3:30 pm ]
Post subject:  Re: Mourning Mademoiselle

It says that it was 'built' for the RCs so wouldn't have been a private chapel or a room. I think it is one of EBD's throwaway lines for plot reasons, when you think of all the fund-raising etc in Switzerland.

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