London, 1934

Author:  abbeybufo [ Sat Mar 29, 2008 11:12 pm ]
Post subject:  London, 1934

I've decided to put this story here rather than hold up New Ideas to tell it when the facts are discovered there. It fits into the world of New Ideas - because I needed something to have happened to Rosalie for the purposes of that plot. But it could have happened to her anyway - nothing I say here is contrary to pure canon (unlike NI :wink: )

Pretty, fair-haired Rosalie Dene looked very trig as she boarded the tube at Wood Green station that would take her to Holborn Kingsway. It was an exciting new beginning, she told herself, quelling the butterflies which were disturbing her recently consumed breakfast, and attempting to emulate Miss Annersley, her favourite teacher, and appear as calm and efficient to the outside world, regardless of any turmoil within, as she had when she was Second Prefect dealing with unruly middles at the Chalet School. Now 18, she had left school just over a year ago when her parents had returned to England from the West Indies. She had spent most of the intervening time at home, helping her mother, but was now striking out for an independent life.

Her parents had been remarkably encouraging, she reflected, when she had first tentatively mentioned her ambition for wider horizons than the small Devon town where her father, Canon Dene, had his living, and her mother was involved in all the duties pertaining to a busy parish. Her father had extra duties at the Cathedral, too, but those did not impinge on his family except on the occasions that the Bishop decided to make a Visit. Whilst her help at home had been welcomed, they seemed to understand her desire for something more than home could provide, and she had been surprised at their positive reaction. They had talked through her options, and once she had decided on Secretarial training, had insisted that she go to the most prestigious available — the Pitman College in Southampton Row, London — and had arranged for her to lodge with the vicar of a North London parish, whose own children had grown up and flown the nest, for the three months that the course would last. From there it was a reasonably easy journey of nine tube stops each day, with no changes.

Later she would discover that a large part of her parents’ reason to let her leave home was her mother’s recent diagnosis of cancer. Canon and Mrs Dene did not want their daughter to watch her mother’s decline, and in sparing her that, had unwittingly put her in the way of an even greater distress.

Author:  Fi [ Sat Mar 29, 2008 11:19 pm ]
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This looks really interesting abbeybufo. I'm looking forward to reading more about Rosalie's past.

Author:  roversgirl [ Sat Mar 29, 2008 11:24 pm ]
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Thanks. :)

Author:  Alison H [ Sat Mar 29, 2008 11:45 pm ]
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Looking forward to more of this.

Author:  di [ Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:06 am ]
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This does look interesting. I wonder what could have caused Rosalie such distress. I could hazard a guess but it would be too horrible to contemplate :cry:

Author:  Mona [ Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:26 am ]
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Interesting start, I'm looking forward to seeing more. Thanks!

Author:  Rosalin [ Sun Mar 30, 2008 7:18 pm ]
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Poor Rosalie, sounds like she's in for a bad time with her mother dying as well as what ever has upset her so in New Ideas.

Thanks Ruth.

Author:  abbeybufo [ Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:03 pm ]
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Thanks for the encouragement. Have a little more.

As the college classes did not start until half past nine in the mornings, Rosalie was spared the worst of the rush hour, but she had been advised that even so, Holborn Kingsway would be the better tube station to use than Russell Square. The escalators at Holborn were nerve-wracking enough, but she certainly did not like the sound of having to pack into a crowded lift, or, despite her youth and vigour, tackling the climb of one hundred and seventy-seven steps up a spiral stair! So although the walk, once she came up into the September air and turned north again up Southampton Row, was a little longer than if she had left the underground at Russell Square, it must, she thought as she swung into an easy stride along the pavement, be an easier journey this way round. She could always try going down the staircase one afternoon, or even brave one of the lifts; though she disliked being enclosed in such things, and was uncertain whether it would be worse to be in one alone — what would happen if it failed? or find herself in it with someone unsavoury — what did other girls in London do?

Resolutely banishing such thoughts, she approached the big college building with rising excitement, and soon found herself in a beginners class learning her basic hooks and the twenty-four consonant symbols. At mid-morning break she found herself in the canteen queue for coffee with a dark-haired girl of about her age whom she had noticed in her class. This damsel introduced herself as Jill Murray, and the two chattered companionably until it was time to go to the typing class, where they found themselves at adjacent desks, chanting ‘A S D F G ; L K J H’ along with the rest of the class, as they learnt their first row of letters and how to find the home keys. All in all, thought Rosalie, as she sat down that evening to the kippers her landlady, Mrs Ellis, had provided, it had not been a bad start.

Term had begun on the Tuesday, and by the end of the week she was into the swing of things. The journey had become almost second nature, her friendship with Jill was progressing nicely, and several other girls in the same ‘cohort’ of beginners were starting to be pally as well. After lunch on Saturday, the morning having been spent at college, Mrs Ellis asked if she had any plans for the afternoon; it was understood that Sunday in the vicarage would be quiet. It being her first weekend, Rosalie had not known what might be expected of her, so although Jill had asked her to look round the shops, she had postponed that pleasure until the following weekend, when she could warn Mrs Ellis of her intentions, and had gone home after college had ended at midday.

“I hadn’t any plans,” she confessed. “My friend from college asked me to go out with her, but I wasn’t sure — I mean I didn’t know if you’d want me to do anything for you —” she faltered to a close.

“Bless you, no!” replied her landlady. “There’s nothing I need doing; and I’ll warrant you haven’t any mending yet yourself. No, I thought you might like a little walk round the area. There isn’t much to see — most of it’s a fairly ordinary area — but I’m sure it’s fresher air than you get down at Russell Square. There’s a nice park, for instance, if you turn the opposite way up High Road from the way you go to get to the tube station, and it’s a pleasant walk if you cross the road here and go along the path under the trees.”

Rosalie thanked her, and put on her hat and coat, and enjoyed a pleasant walk round Woodside Park. She spent a little while looking at a game of bowls on the green, and then watched children on the swings. But eventually she felt chilly, and returned to the warm kitchen of St Michael’s vicarage, with flushed healthy cheeks. As she walked in, a young man who had obviously been there some time, got to his feet. “Don’t go, Ronald, dear.” Mrs Ellis obviously knew the lad well. “Rosalie, this is Ronald Morris from just along Bounds Green Road. His mother is a leading light in the Mothers’ Union, and a great help to me.”

Rosalie knew how valuable such a neighbour would be to the vicar’s wife, and smiled shyly at Ronald, who insisted that he must be leaving; he had only popped round to deliver a message from his mother, and he hoped he’d see Rosalie again. Meanwhile he was going out this evening to a meeting, so they must excuse him. And he beat a hasty retreat.

“He’s a Scout or something,” Mrs Ellis said fondly. “Nice lad; shame about his father.”

Rosalie looked a question and her landlady sighed. “He was gassed in the War. Never really got over it. Ronald was only a baby when he left — he’s twenty now — and Jack couldn’t seem to settle when he got back. Jealous of the boy too, because Ann Morris had given all her time to him. Anyway, he never managed to keep a job for long, though eventually he got a War Pension — and he had to fight for that — but he died in ’29; the drink did for him in the end.”

“Surely not?” Rosalie was shocked.

“Oh my dear it’s quite common. Particularly some of them who came back to find no jobs. At least Jack Morris had his own house — it had been his mother’s — so he didn’t have to find rent. And Ann is quite comfortable; she has a part-time job in the grocery shop, and the Government pay her a widow’s pension.”

Author:  Alison H [ Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:20 pm ]
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Hmm ... is Ronald the reason for Rosalie's later issues?

Author:  Lesley [ Sun Mar 30, 2008 10:26 pm ]
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A sad, but realistic tale for some - they were promised a land fit for heroes, but didn't get it. :cry:

Thanks Ruth.

Author:  Karry [ Mon Mar 31, 2008 6:41 am ]
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Just wikied Holborn Kingsway - and thearchitect was Leslie Green!

Author:  di [ Mon Mar 31, 2008 9:08 am ]
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Oh, how I remember typing lessons!! :roll: I was deemed to be one of the 'less able' at my Grammar School and had to have, typing lessons so that I'd have a chance of some type of employment [their words, not mine] I ended up at Dartford College of P.E. and am still teaching after 30 years. having achieved a degree, Dip.SW and Dip. Couns. on the way. Just shows how wrong 'they' were!

I'm really enjoying this - thanks muchley. :)

Author:  Jenefer [ Mon Mar 31, 2008 3:18 pm ]
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I also remember typing lessons. We used to type to music played on a wind up gramophone - this was the late 60s. Whenever I hear Liberty Bell by Souza, my fingers start to type asdfgf asdfgf asdfgf and so on.

Author:  leahbelle [ Mon Mar 31, 2008 5:17 pm ]
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I remember typing lessons too. Our teacher used to make us take touch typing tests blindfolded. That strikes me as rather strange now!

Author:  Liz K [ Mon Mar 31, 2008 7:48 pm ]
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Don't know the name of the music we typed to but our teacher always used to say to us "if you get to the bottom of the page, girls, go back to the top and start again" and we'd all laugh because that would mean we were doing something in the region of 200-300 wpm.

And she said it EVERY week, so it soon began to wear a little.

Author:  Fiona Mc [ Mon Mar 31, 2008 11:31 pm ]
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Thanks. This is looking intriguing and am glad Rosalie is getting her own story

Author:  Rosalin [ Tue Apr 01, 2008 3:28 pm ]
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Feeling sorry for Ronald at the moment, but might have to stop if he hurts Rosalie.

Thanks Ruth.

Author:  PaulineS [ Tue Apr 01, 2008 8:59 pm ]
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I did not have typing lessons as I was on a pre-nursing course, another option for the less academic! However some of the girls did and they had a shield over the keyboard so the could not see it. The teacher for typing and shorthand had though taught my father pre war in the same skills.

Author:  linda [ Tue Apr 01, 2008 10:09 pm ]
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I went to Pitman's College in Leeds and learned shorthand, typing, bookkeeping and commerce. Perhaps I could have applied for a job at the CS!! :lol: :lol: :lol:

Thanks, Ruth

Author:  abbeybufo [ Sat Apr 05, 2008 12:28 pm ]
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Thanks, Jenefer, for the Sousa reference which I’ve used here, as I never went to typing classes, but learnt — or perhaps ‘half-learnt’ would be a more accurate description, plus I’m very naughty and keep looking at the keyboard :shock: — on a programme called ‘Flying Fingers’ that was on a previous computer :lol:

“. . . and Ronnie’s doing quite well — but I must remember to call him Ronald, he was always Ronnie as a boy; probably always will be to his Mum, but he doesn’t like it now — Ronald, then, works as a clerk in the Treasurer’s Department in the Council Offices,” Mrs Ellis continued. “He seems a good steady worker, and of course he pays his Mum a nice bit from his wages — salary I suppose it is, working for the Council! And he runs a sort of Scout group; and belongs to another, his Mum says. But it isn’t the local one. He goes to his meetings on the tube — now then, I thought we’d have a nice bit of ham for supper, how does that sound?”

And Rosalie replied that she thought that sounded very nice indeed.


After church next morning Rosalie waited for the Reverend and Mrs Ellis to finish saying goodbye to the congregation. She had been mildly distracted during the service, with which she had been familiar as long as she could remember, by the beautiful windows in St Michaels, many of which had been installed shortly after the building was completed in the middle of the last century, so were now more than seventy years old. Indeed she was glad she had been shown the church when she had arrived on Monday, for had the stained glass been new to her, she might have been even more diverted. Most of the glass had been installed in the 1860s as memorial windows, nearly all to the same family, and had been made, so Mr Ellis had told her as he showed her around, by a very famous firm from Derby.

As she stood in the autumn sunshine, very neat in her blue Sunday frock, jacket and hat, Ronald and an older lady who must, Rosalie realised, be his mother, approached her, and she smiled a greeting. Mrs Morris, for it was indeed she, introduced herself and after they had chatted about the weather for a few moments Mrs Ellis joined them. The two older ladies were soon deep in the arrangements for decorating St Michaels for the forthcoming Harvest Festival Service, leaving Rosalie and Ronald looking shyly at each other.

After a moment’s hesitation, Ronald asked about Rosalie’s course and how it was going, and from there the conversation moved to books they had both read, and music. But when Ronald started to talk about films, they came upon a gap in Rosalie’s knowledge. At school in Austria there had been little opportunity to go to the movies, which in any case would not have been the same as the English and American pictures Ronald had seen in London. Indeed Rosalie’s experiences of the talkies was almost nil, for in Devon, since she had been at home, the nearest big cinema was in Exeter, although the town hall in her little market town had been known to have special showings of some films — but never anything that Canon and Mrs Dene had wanted to see, and it had not occurred to them or to Rosalie for her to go alone or with anyone else.

Ronald’s enthusiasm for Fred Astaire, Greta Garbo and Katharine Hepburn intrigued Rosalie, and she found herself agreeing to his rather hesitant suggestion that she accompany him to Queen Christina starring Garbo, which was showing at the Stoll Picture Theatre, Kingsway, not far from Holborn tube station, that week. They fixed on the Thursday evening, when Ronald would meet her after college had finished, and they would first go three stops further down the Piccadilly line to Piccadilly Circus itself, to have tea in the Lyons Corner House there, before seeing the film.

By the Thursday, Rosalie was feeling more familiar with the hooks and dots that comprise shorthand, and her typing had progressed to practising to the tune of Souza’s ‘Liberty Bell’, and other marches, played on a gramophone in the corner of the room. Their teacher was very alert to its need for frequent winding, and there was no opportunity allowed of their slowing pace or rhythm as the motor ran down.

Thanks to Mrs Ellis’s hints she was also a little nervous and excited about the coming evening’s events, as that lady had continued to emphasise Ronald’s ‘steady’ qualities until one evening, when Rosalie had gone up to her room, the vicar had taken his wife aside and said, “You’ll be telling her what a good catch the boy is soon, Penny. Leave her alone. She must decide for herself about people, and she isn’t here to get a husband; she’s here to go to college and perhaps to enjoy herself a bit while she can.” Stephen Ellis was further into Canon Dene’s confidence than he had revealed to his wife, and he knew that the Denes wanted Rosalie to have this time free from worries, though having now met the girl, he thought she was probably a strong enough character to stand by her parents in their time of trouble. But that was not for him to decide, so he contented himself with warning his wife from further advocacy on Ronald’s behalf, and allowing himself a mild teasing — though accurate — remark about how attractive Rosalie looked, when she came down to breakfast on Thursday morning wearing a light woollen frock, rather than her normal college blouse and skirt, and with a silk scarf at her neck.

Jill had teased Rosalie a little as well, for Rosalie had told her as soon as she saw her on Monday morning that she was to go to the pictures on the Thursday. Indeed she had suggested Jill join them, but that young lady only laughed, “I’m not going to play gooseberry on your first date!” and then, seeing Rosalie’s puzzled look, explained, “This boy has asked you out. It wouldn’t be at all polite for someone else to make a third — that’s called playing gooseberry; when you’ve seen a few more films you’ll pick up some of the expressions.”

Rosalie was still not entirely sure she understood, but said no more to Jill about the outing. But as usual she and Jill were together for most of the week, so it was not surprising that on the Thursday evening the two of them came down the steps of the tall Pitman building together to where Ronald was waiting, and that Rosalie naturally introduced her two friends to each other. Ronald’s acknowledgement was perfunctory, however, and Jill very quickly took her leave, to walk up to Euston Square to catch her tube to Wembley, on the Metropolitan line, while Ronald and Rosalie walked the other way, he with a small frown between his fair hair and his blue eyes, and Rosalie puzzled, and a little distressed at his obvious rudeness to her friend.

Author:  Lesley [ Sat Apr 05, 2008 1:02 pm ]
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Now I was all prepared to give this Ronald the benefit of the doubt up until the last section :evil: ...nice one Ruth! :wink:

Thank you.

Author:  Cath V-P [ Sat Apr 05, 2008 1:08 pm ]
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Oh dear, he sounds as if he might be possessive..... :(

Author:  Fiona Mc [ Sat Apr 05, 2008 2:53 pm ]
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I'm actually wondering if he's a bit on the snobbish side? Thanks

Author:  Alison H [ Sat Apr 05, 2008 3:19 pm ]
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Rosalie's very naive, isn't she? Not quite sure what to make of Ronald :? . Thanks for the update!

Author:  roversgirl [ Sat Apr 05, 2008 4:31 pm ]
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Poor Rosalie...

Author:  PaulineS [ Sat Apr 05, 2008 4:49 pm ]
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The Chalet School did not prepare its students for life outside its narrow confinds did it? Poor Rosalie, so innocent about life and away from her parents.

Author:  MaryR [ Sat Apr 05, 2008 8:35 pm ]
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Thanks, Ruth. Just caught up with this.

Author:  di [ Sat Apr 05, 2008 9:42 pm ]
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Oh dear, the deep and serious type! Is Ronald jealous of Rosalie's friends already? Sounds a shifty character to me :roll:
Thanks, Ruth.

Author:  abbeybufo [ Sun Apr 06, 2008 10:15 am ]
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Ronald soon recovered his equilibrium, and apologised when he realised how much his reaction had upset Rosalie. Over a substantial tea of salmon and cucumber sandwiches, toasted teacakes and éclairs they soon regained their former footing, as Ronald was obviously doing his best to banish the bad impression he acknowledged he had made earlier. They had a pleasant evening altogether, becoming even more friendly, at the end of which Ronald delivered her to the vicarage front door, where Mrs Ellis invited him in for a cup of cocoa. This he declined, however, not even coming inside, but saying he would need to be up early for work in the morning, as he knew Rosalie would for college, and he would call in on Saturday afternoon as usual.

It was the first of many such outings, though Ronald did not meet Rosalie directly from college again. They often met at one of the Corner Houses, and went to several different cinemas, depending on which film took their fancy. The Friday Evening Standard carried the listings for the following week’s films; Ronald would bring it round to the vicarage shortly after lunch on Saturday and they would discuss what they wanted to see. After the first week or two, Ronald suggested that he and Rosalie go for a walk in the park once this all-important decision had been made, and this too soon became part of the normal pattern of her week.

College continued to be well within Rosalie’s capabilities, and she and Jill were still enjoying sharing their free time during the day, and often had their lunch together. Rosalie had been slightly embarrassed on the morning after her first outing with Ronald, as she remembered his discourtesy towards Jill, but Jill herself did not allude to it, merely asking what the picture had been like. Thereafter she always asked how the film had been, when she knew Rosalie would have seen one the previous evening, but did not again refer to Ronald.

One Saturday afternoon in October Ronald asked if Rosalie would like to go to his meeting that evening.

“I thought it was a Scout Group you belonged to! Is it a guest evening?” she exclaimed.

“What gave you that idea?”

“Something Mrs Ellis said.”

“Oh. No, it’s more a sort of youth club. I thought you might like to come.”
“Thank you.”

Rosalie thought it would be interesting to meet some of Ronald’s friends, and was ready and waiting after tea for Ronald to collect her.

Author:  Lesley [ Sun Apr 06, 2008 10:22 am ]
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Very suspicious of Ronald - well done Ruth! :lol:

Thank you.

Author:  roversgirl [ Sun Apr 06, 2008 10:23 am ]
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That doesn't sound so good... Thanks for the update :)

Author:  PaulineS [ Sun Apr 06, 2008 2:37 pm ]
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Worried about the "youth club" now.

Author:  Lesley [ Sun Apr 06, 2008 3:06 pm ]
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Have just had a thought as to what type of youth club it could be.... :shock:

Author:  abbeybufo [ Sun Apr 06, 2008 3:37 pm ]
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Lesley wrote:
Have just had a thought as to what type of youth club it could be.... :shock:

Will this help you make up your mind? :twisted:

“Yes, it was a very pleasant evening.” Rosalie was sitting with Penny Ellis on Sunday morning after breakfast, while Stephen Ellis had gone over to the church for the eight o’clock service. “Everyone was friendly, and they seemed very interested that I’d been at school in Austria. A lot of them asked me about that.”

“I knew you’d been to boarding school, but I hadn’t realise it was abroad,” was Penny’s reply.

“Oh, yes, well, it didn’t seem out of the ordinary to me I suppose. I was in it almost from the beginning; I went there in the second term they were open. The older sister of a girl I and my cousins had been at school with in Devon started up a school by the Tiernsee, and of course Jo, her sister, went to it, with another friend from the High School. Jo’s still there – she’s Head Girl this year. It’s a beautiful part of the world; I was sorry to leave it.” And she lapsed into a half-dream of memories of the view of the beautiful blue Tiernsee with the Tiernjoch behind.


The weeks went by and Rosalie became a regular at the Saturday evenings — not going every week, certainly, but two or three times a month. There were usually between twenty and thirty there, girls and boys, most of them in their mid to late teens, and she was still surprised to be asked by more and more of them for details of her school in Austria.

“I can’t understand it,” she said to Ronald on the way back home one evening.

“Well, I suppose we’re all interested in life in Austria and Germany at the moment, with all the developments going on there,” was his response. “I shouldn’t worry about it. At least it gives you something to talk about.” And Rosalie, who was still a little shy, and found it difficult in many social situations to make small talk, agreed that it did.

Author:  Lesley [ Sun Apr 06, 2008 3:40 pm ]
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Oh yes, that confirms it - poor Rosalie. :cry:

Thanks Ruth.

Author:  di [ Sun Apr 06, 2008 3:47 pm ]
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mmmm! Not sure about his intentions, is he part of the Oswald Mosely lot?
{I think that was his name, weren't his followers 'Black Shirts' or 'Brown' I can't remember]Whatever it doesn't bode well for Rosalie. Thanks for the update, 2 in one day, luxury!

Author:  MaryR [ Sun Apr 06, 2008 4:12 pm ]
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Oh, help, and no one to clue her in. :cry:

Thanks, Ruth

Author:  Alison H [ Sun Apr 06, 2008 4:20 pm ]
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Oswald Mosley's lot were the Black Shirts.

Ruth, this is fascinating - I'd imagined various things about Ronald but hadn't thought of this.

Author:  roversgirl [ Sun Apr 06, 2008 4:51 pm ]
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Wow - I had not even considered something of that nature! Poor Rosalie. This is fantastic - thank you :)

Author:  Liz K [ Sun Apr 06, 2008 5:32 pm ]
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Author:  PaulineS [ Sun Apr 06, 2008 8:37 pm ]
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I agree Rosalie needs help. I wonder what Jill knows about Ronald and if she could warn Rosalie?
:help: :help: :help:

Author:  Fiona Mc [ Sun Apr 06, 2008 9:06 pm ]
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Poor Rosalie

Author:  Joan the Dwarf [ Sun Apr 06, 2008 10:06 pm ]
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Yikes. Is Jill Jewish or some other hate-figure?

Author:  Cath V-P [ Mon Apr 07, 2008 2:19 am ]
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Oh goodness, that does sound so ominous - I hadn't thought of Mosley and his minions before reading these two posts, but it makes a horrible sort of sense.

Author:  Miss Di [ Mon Apr 07, 2008 2:30 am ]
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Oh dear this is all sounding rather scary. I didn't think of such a 'youth club' until you all put it into my brain.

Author:  abbeybufo [ Mon Apr 07, 2008 6:02 pm ]
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Thanks, Lesley for your advice on timing :lol:
Well-spotted Joan :wink:
There will in fact now be two more posts after this one, as I have split what I originally thought would be the penultimate into two sections, of which this is the first :twisted:

It was mid-December and the college term, and with it Rosalie’s course, was coming to a close. She was getting good marks, and her speeds in both shorthand and typing were building well; her tutors told her she would be assured of a good junior secretarial post when she left. This did not worry her unduly at the moment, for her father had told her in a letter that he had arranged for her to go back to the Sonnalpe and be Dr Russell’s secretary ‘to gain experience’. She had been pleased at the thought of returning to the place she had spent such happy schooldays, and did not yet realise that this was another ploy to keep her from watching her mother suffer.

One day she asked Jill what she was doing for Christmas and was surprised to learn that her friend did not celebrate it. For a moment she was lost for words, but Jill explained that her family was Jewish, and that although they were not strict orthodox, they certainly did not acknowledge Christian festivals.

Rosalie’s upbringing, although Church of England at home, had additionally included the ecumenical ideas of the Chalet School. Its first headmistress, Madge Bettany — now Mrs Russell, of course, and still called ‘Madame’ by past and present pupils of the School, whether to her face or when they thought of her — had arranged from the beginning that Catholics and Protestants should worship separately, but respect each other’s views. And she remembered Madame’s courtesy to the elderly Jewish jeweller in Spartz, where all the pupils regularly took their watches for repair and overhaul. But Jill seemed to be of a better class than Herr Goldmann — she shook herself. Class prejudice had no place here, this was her friend, who was waiting for her reaction with a quizzical smile.

“Did you not realise?” she asked gently.

“I never even gave it a thought!” Rosalie was pink with embarrassment. “We were taught not to discuss religion at school — not outside RI lessons, anyway, so as far as I was concerned it wasn’t something I would ever bring up in conversation —”

“So now you do know, are you going to cut me like your anti-Semitic boyfriend did?” was the understandably bitter next question.

“Was that — oh! I had no idea —” she was close to tears now, and Jill could see that Rosalie really had not the slightest understanding of the social and political situation they were in.

Author:  di [ Mon Apr 07, 2008 6:22 pm ]
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Poor Rosalie, what a sheltered life they led at school. I wonder at the wisdm of her parents not telling her of her mother's illness. I do hope they relent in order for her to say her goodbyes. As for Ronald - well, I'm glad that Jill has put her straight and hope she'll have nothing more to do with him. Perhaps that's what causes her distress. After all he won't take kindly to her taking Jill's side.
This is great reading, Ruth.

Author:  Lesley [ Mon Apr 07, 2008 6:36 pm ]
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Poor Rosalie - though do wonder how Ronald knew Jill was Jewish? Doubt if Rosalie will be happy about being kept away from her mother - hope Hilda Annersley will be able to help when she goes back to the Tyrol.

Thanks Ruth.

Author:  PaulineS [ Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:18 pm ]
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Hope Rosalie can see her mother before she goes out to San and be some what prepared. Hope Ronald and his friends do not harm Rosalie other than verbally. We know they do something but I hope it is only Rosalie's pride which is hurt. That will be difficult enough with her mother's illness.

Author:  roversgirl [ Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:18 pm ]
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Oh poor Rosalie - I don't know that she only protected at school though - I think that's a sign of the times. Thanks for the update. :)

Author:  Fiona Mc [ Mon Apr 07, 2008 7:42 pm ]
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I'm wondering how Ronald knew Jill was Jewish and add to the hopes Rosalie gets to say her good-byes to her Mother

Author:  MaryR [ Mon Apr 07, 2008 8:43 pm ]
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But in those days women were more shielded from such things as death by their men-folk, so Rosalie wasn't unusual in that, but, just like Hilda, the shock will be enormous when it happens, without what seems to be looming here....

Thanks, Ruth.

Author:  Alison H [ Mon Apr 07, 2008 9:50 pm ]
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Rosalie really is clueless in the real world, isn't she?

Author:  macyrose [ Tue Apr 08, 2008 12:12 am ]
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Rotten Ronald deserves a push down the nearest steep staircase.

Author:  Miss Di [ Tue Apr 08, 2008 4:29 am ]
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Oh dear. I can see as a minister's brat she would have had less than zero experience with Jewish members of the community, but surely she had noticed the changing atmosphere in Austria?

This is a very engaging story abbeybufo.

Author:  Cath V-P [ Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:12 am ]
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I don't know that she would have noticed at that point; I suspect the Sonnalpe and School were a fairly self-contained society, and Rosalie would have been focussed on its affairs. Poor Rosalie, what a shock for her - and somehow I don't think Ronald is going to be pleasant about this.

Author:  Jennie [ Tue Apr 08, 2008 2:18 pm ]
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I don't like the sound of Ronald, or his group wanting to know all about the Tiernsee area.

I also think that he will prove to be spiteful and malicious if he is crossed.

Author:  Sugar [ Tue Apr 08, 2008 3:36 pm ]
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Ohhh poor Rosalie - what an awful situation to be in! Abbey this is fascinating. I always thought Rosalie was frightfully neglected erally as a character. And I agree with whoever said Ronald needs shoving down a staircase!

Author:  abbeybufo [ Tue Apr 08, 2008 8:32 pm ]
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Jill’s last remark was based on how she reacted to Ronald’s rudeness. I’m trying to be fair to her sensibilities here; she’s obviously met prejudice before, and may be looking for it, though as you will see she is accidentally correct in her assessment of him.

This whole story has not been easy to write so I hope you feel it has worked. There is one final post after this.

Jill’s immediate family had been in the London area since the late nineteenth century; her grandfather and grandmother had separately come from Russia and Poland and met and married in the East End of London. Her grandfather’s surname had long since become anglicised. They had moved out to the Wembley area after the Great War, in which her uncle had been killed, along with other Jewish ‘Tommies’ so poignantly eulogised by the poet Isaac Rosenberg.

    Break of Day in the Trenches

    The darkness crumbles away
    It is the same old druid Time as ever,
    Only a live thing leaps my hand,
    A queer sardonic rat,
    As I pull the parapet's poppy
    To stick behind my ear.
    Droll rat, they would shoot you if they knew
    Your cosmopolitan sympathies,
    Now you have touched this English hand
    You will do the same to a German
    Soon, no doubt, if it be your pleasure
    To cross the sleeping green between.
    It seems you inwardly grin as you pass
    Strong eyes, fine limbs, haughty athletes,
    Less chanced than you for life,
    Bonds to the whims of murder,
    Sprawled in the bowels of the earth,
    The torn fields of France.
    What do you see in our eyes
    At the shrieking iron and flame
    Hurled through still heavens?
    What quaver — what heart aghast?
    Poppies whose roots are in men's veins
    Drop, and are ever dropping;
    But mine in my ear is safe,
    Just a little white with the dust.

Now the Wembley community was growing and becoming middle-class; her brother was a doctor, her cousin a university don. The new temporary synagogue had been consecrated at Wembley only this last September, as the community had celebrated becoming official with the induction of its first minister by the Chief Rabbi. Jill’s family might not be as strictly observant as many of their neighbours, but they were part of that community. And they had recently been joined by cousins from Poland and Germany — cousins who came with tales of a growing menace since Adolf Hitler, himself an Austrian by birth, had become the German Chancellor, a menace which had worsened since his proclamation as Führer in the August of this year.


But that was a larger problem which she could at present do nothing about. All she could do right now was to assure Rosalie that although she had been hurt by Ronald’s evident distaste at her presence at Rosalie’s side that evening in September, she did not hold that against Rosalie herself, since she realised that Rosalie was not remotely aware of what had occurred or what it had meant. It was just possible, she decided, that she had overreacted to his abrupt manner.

Eventually she had made Rosalie see a little of all this, and they had parted still on friendly terms, though their relationship for the rest of the week that their course had to run was not as easy and uncomplicated as before.

On the Saturday Ronald came round as usual, although there would be no cinema next week, since Rosalie was to go home to Devon for Christmas on Monday. Initially he took her rather stilted manner with him to be a sign of her reluctance to leave, for he had become used to spending time with her, and was beginning to consider that she would make him a suitable, compliant wife, and a mother for the blue-eyed children he was looking forward to bringing into the world. On their walk, however, it became apparent to him that something had upset her, and that she was, it appeared, blaming him for it. Her natural reluctance for confrontation meant that she did not explain fully what was wrong, which she might with hindsight have been wiser to do there and then. He set himself to be as charming as possible to ‘jolly her out of the mood’ as he saw it, and succeeded in so far that she agreed to come with him to the club that evening.


Most of the girls were absent that particular Saturday night; helping with Christmas preparations at home, it was understood, but Rosalie was as ever the centre of a group of young people asking about her time in Austria. Now, enlightened by Jill’s revelations, she suddenly saw what they were all after, and indeed since that serious conversation with Jill she had studied the newspapers more closely, and realised that the man everyone at the club spoke of with such approbation, Sir Oswald Mosley, was himself an admirer of Hitler and all his works.

With a growing anger — for once roused she was anything but compliant, Rosalie began to answer back on some of the points being made by the one or two girls who were present, and was sufficiently fired up to contradict point blank a remark made by one of the boys that Ronald was obviously in agreement with. The atmosphere around her changed imperceptibly. She was still the focus of their attention, but that attention was no longer approving, it became menacing. The lads, for many of them were no more than fifteen, though some few were nearly the same age as Ronald, began to move closer, until she was surrounded, and they began taunting her, calling her a Jew-lover, and other, horrible names — names she had never heard before.

Everywhere she looked were eyes full of hate — all these young men she had thought were her friends. But there was no friend for her here, no one to help her. She looked for Ronald, but he was in the midst of them, not taunting as the others did, but his eyes were cold, disapproving and, she thought, disappointed. She tried to go towards the door, but they were all around her; there was no escape. As she moved, the ring of boys moved with her; if she tried to get through, she was swung round and pushed to the other side of the circle. It became a crazy game — and it was a game to them, she realised. This would be how they would treat, not just Jill and her race, but anyone who did not fit with their ideas and their beliefs.

Had she but known it, it was in effect a small rehearsal for the Cable Street Riots that would take place two years hence, when these boys would be nearer men — though they were well-grown and strong even now. She was indeed fortunate that most of them were not thinking as men, for they still thought in terms of violence, fighting like boys, and looking to hurt. If they had been any older she might have been subjected to rape as well as the minor battering she was getting at their hands. In later years, when she had a fuller knowledge of what men could do, she would add that dread to her nightmare of being surrounded by young men’s eyes full of hate; cold, gloating, blue or grey eyes . . .

Author:  Lesley [ Tue Apr 08, 2008 8:45 pm ]
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Yes, she was indeed lucky that the boys were not a little older/mature - but even so - poor Rosalie - what a dreadful way to suddenly confront evil. :evil:

((((Ruth)))) - never nice to have to write this sort of thing. :kiss:

Author:  PaulineS [ Tue Apr 08, 2008 9:08 pm ]
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Ruth thank you. It must have been tough to right this. Glad it was no worse for Rosalie, but understand how she would work out the possible consequences in the future and it have increasing effects on her.

Author:  Alison H [ Tue Apr 08, 2008 10:20 pm ]
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Thanks for writing this, Ruth.

Author:  Vick [ Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:17 pm ]
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Poor Rosalie.

Thanks abbeybufo.

Author:  roversgirl [ Tue Apr 08, 2008 11:23 pm ]
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Thanks for this. Well-written and excellent :)

Author:  Cath V-P [ Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:17 am ]
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How frightening for her to realise that they've stopped seeing her as a person. No wonder this has haunted her.

Thank you Ruth - and I agree, this sort of thing is hard to write.

Author:  Fiona Mc [ Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:33 am ]
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Poor Rosalie. This is a tough thing for her to face and it would be harder to to deal with when the full implication of it all hits her as it has in later years.
Thanks for writing something so hard to write about so well

Author:  di [ Wed Apr 09, 2008 6:58 am ]
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My heart goes out to Rosalie, how frightened she must have been, surrounded by so many youths all intent on giving her a hard time because of her loyalty to a friend and country she knew and loved.
I echo the words of others before me about the difficulty in writing about such a sensitive topic. Thanks, Ruth.

Author:  Liz K [ Wed Apr 09, 2008 9:01 am ]
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Bet that took some doing, Ruth, you certainly scared me.

Author:  Mona [ Wed Apr 09, 2008 12:36 pm ]
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Thank you Ruth.

Author:  abbeybufo [ Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:10 pm ]
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Final post - as so often in real life, the villains don't get their just desserts, I'm afraid :(

When Rosalie next knew anything, she was in her own bed at St Michael’s vicarage. Her bedside clock was showing five o’clock, and it was dark outside. Penny Ellis was hovering nervously.

“There, are you all right now, my dear?”

“I — I don’t know.”

“There, there. Nasty shock it was for you. Good job Ronnie — Ronald I mean — was there.”

So Ronald must have brought her home. This did not seem quite right to Rosalie, but she had only a hazy idea at the moment of what had happened, so she said, “I don’t exactly remember —”

“Gang of hooligans, Ronald said. Set on you both on your way back from the youth club.” She had been told now that it was not the Scouts. “Ronald fought them off and half-carried you back. He didn’t say too much — modest as ever — but he brought you safe here. And you’ll be going home in the morning,” she ended cheerily.

Rosalie’s eyes filled with angry tears, which Penny Ellis interpreted as distress at the forthcoming parting from Ronald. “I’m sure he’ll write to you,” she tried to comfort Rosalie. “He won’t be able to come and see you off tomorrow, of course, because of work. I’ll leave you now, there’s a nice cup of tea beside you, and I’ll bring your supper later. You’ve slept all night and nearly all day. No wonder after a doing like that!” and she left the room.

But Rosalie’s mind was whirling. Odd memories were beginning to come back. Had Ronald been at all ashamed of what had happened, she wondered? And when had he cooked up the story of both of them being attacked? She realised she must have fainted, and had a vague idea now of being put into a car — had John, the other leader, brought them home? She knew he had an Austin Seven. She would never know precisely what had occurred, that when she had fallen senseless to the floor the previous evening, Ronald had suddenly woken up to the fact that he would be held responsible by his mother and the vicar for her safe return. She was unaware that John had helped him bring her away from the chanting younger boys, and had driven them to the end of the road, leaving Ronald to half-carry her the last few yards to the vicarage door.


When her father came to collect her on Monday morning, she was driven away from Wood Green without giving it a backward look. Ronald did not, of course, write, nor would Rosalie have so much as opened any missive that might have come from him. She later understood that his ‘youth club’ was a junior branch of Mosley’s Blackshirts, and came to wonder at her own naïveté. She was at this stage just thankful she had not come to more serious physical harm.

It was not until after she had started working at the Sanatorium in January 1935 that anyone would realise the long-term mental trauma that the incident had caused. Nor would it ever come out that it was reports of her innocent chatter that a few years later led the Nazi authorities in Innsbruck to look rather more closely at the set-up at the School and the Sonnalpe than they might otherwise have done.

The End

Author:  Alison H [ Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:12 pm ]
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Chilling ... thanks for writing this, though.

Author:  roversgirl [ Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:15 pm ]
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I appreciate how hard it must have been to write - Poor Rosalie. :( Thanks very much for writing this. It fits very well with the real series. Thank you. :)

Author:  Jennie [ Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:17 pm ]
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Poor Rosalie, what a horrifying experience for her.

Author:  Mona [ Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:27 pm ]
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How awful for Rosalie. Thanks.

Author:  JustJen [ Wed Apr 09, 2008 5:50 pm ]
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That was avery chilling story abbeybufo.
Thanks for sharing

Author:  Lesley [ Wed Apr 09, 2008 8:04 pm ]
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Poor Rosalie - and she has been bottling all this up until now? Hope the CS can help her.

Thanks Ruth - could we have an update on what happened to Ronald? I would like to think, at some point, he did get some sort of balancing for what he did.

Author:  di [ Wed Apr 09, 2008 8:12 pm ]
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Oh, poor, poor Rosalie, I do feel for her. What a dreadful thing to happen to her on her first experience of having a boy friend. No wonder she has traumas at the thought of boys being admitted to the C.S.
It's a good thing that her innocent involvement with the Junior branch of the Black shirts was never connected to the interest the Nazis paid to the school and San - she would never have forgiven herself.
Many thanks, Ruth, this was an enthralling story and so sensitively written.

Author:  abbeybufo [ Wed Apr 09, 2008 8:19 pm ]
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Lesley wrote:
Thanks Ruth - could we have an update on what happened to Ronald? I would like to think, at some point, he did get some sort of balancing for what he did.

Not here, Lesley, but I think Rosalie may get to hear what becomes of him, in which case she will tell Hilda at some stage in NI :twisted:

Author:  Lesley [ Wed Apr 09, 2008 8:27 pm ]
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abbeybufo wrote:
Lesley wrote:
Thanks Ruth - could we have an update on what happened to Ronald? I would like to think, at some point, he did get some sort of balancing for what he did.

Not here, Lesley, but I think Rosalie may get to hear what becomes of him, in which case she will tell Hilda at some stage in NI :twisted:

Oh good! :lol:

Author:  Elbee [ Wed Apr 09, 2008 8:45 pm ]
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Poor Rosalie, what an awful experience, no wonder she doesn't like the idea of boys at the CS :( .

Thanks Abbeybufo.

Author:  PaulineS [ Wed Apr 09, 2008 9:31 pm ]
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Abbeybufo thanks for a gripping drabble which fitd in so well with EBD cannon, but which she would never have written.

Hope Mary, Hilda and Matey can help Rosalie now.

Author:  Sugar [ Wed Apr 09, 2008 9:36 pm ]
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No wonder Rosalie is so against boys at the CS! Hope Hilda et al can help her.

Author:  Anjali [ Thu Apr 10, 2008 2:52 am ]
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Thanks Abbeybufo, this was so sad yet very good.

Author:  keren [ Thu Apr 10, 2008 7:04 am ]
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Lesley wrote:
Poor Rosalie - and she has been bottling all this up until now? Hope the CS can help her.

Thanks Ruth - could we have an update on what happened to Ronald? I would like to think, at some point, he did get some sort of balancing for what he did.

Very stiring story.
Being in Austria straight before the war must also have brought it all back.

A number of things could have happened, he could have got his just deserts (got killed as a soldier in the war), or he could have made good, e.g. got called up, fought in the war, saved people's lives and been among the soldiers who freed Bergen Belsen, and then understood the significance of his "youth club" and realized how wrong he had been and then been one of the people who helped the refugees.

Author:  meerium [ Thu Apr 10, 2008 11:49 am ]
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Gosh, this was good. Incredibly atmospheric, and claustrophobic. And what a sucker punch that last paragraph was! Poor Rosalie.

Thanks, Ruth!

Author:  Karoline [ Thu Apr 10, 2008 12:20 pm ]
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Poor Rosalie :( Thanks Ruth

Author:  crystaltips [ Sat Apr 12, 2008 11:15 pm ]
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Just caught up with this. What a harrowing experience for Rosalie when she was so unworldly.
Must have been a difficult one to write, thank you Abbeybufo.

Author:  MaryR [ Sun Apr 13, 2008 5:02 pm ]
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Thank you, Ruth.

Author:  Elder in Ontario [ Sun Apr 13, 2008 5:25 pm ]
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Have been away, and have just read this straight through from the beginning. What an experience for the hitherto very sheltered Rosalie to have had to endure. Like others, I question her father's wisdom in not telling her about her mother's illness - even though I know that this often did happen. Hilda Annersley's own experience springs to mind here.

Thanks for writing this, Abbeybufo - I'm sure it was hard to write, but it's very telling.

Author:  Miss Di [ Mon Apr 14, 2008 5:14 am ]
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Really engrosing Abbeybufo. And horrifying.

Author:  leahbelle [ Mon Apr 14, 2008 5:12 pm ]
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Poor Rosalie. That must have been hard to write. It was a compelling read.

Author:  Elle [ Tue Apr 15, 2008 10:19 pm ]
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Eessh. That was spine tingling. Thanks.

Author:  abbeygirl [ Fri Apr 18, 2008 1:08 pm ]
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Very chilling Ruth - but how sad that Rosalie's only experience of life on the "outside" was so appalling - no wonder she was happy to stay at the Chalet school.

Author:  Rosalin [ Sun Apr 20, 2008 2:41 pm ]
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Very interesting and well written account. It certainly explains why she feels the way she does about having boys in the school.

Thanks Ruth.

Author:  Maeve [ Fri May 02, 2008 9:04 pm ]
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This was really good, abbeybuffo, although so sad. Rosalie is such a great character that it's fantastic to read about some of her missing years. Thanks for writing it :)

Author:  JellySheep [ Tue May 13, 2008 2:10 pm ]
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This is really good, though chilling, and it explains quite a few things, like why there are no men in her life later.

Author:  patmac [ Thu May 29, 2008 7:34 pm ]
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Slowly catching up with drabbles and have just read this right through. Very chilling and a good 'explanation' for how the Nazis came to concentrate on teh CS. Now, I have to add NI to my must reads :roll:

Thank you Abbeybufo

Author:  abbeybufo [ Fri Jul 25, 2008 11:06 am ]
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Mods please archive now - this story is complete.

Thanks :D

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