When it came to ballet, Rachel’s word was law. Her godmother was Estelle Raymond, who had been a dancer with the Royal Ballet, and Rachel had grown up in that environment.
“Well, she was certainly *someone*,” pointed out Liddy. “Look, why don’t we just get Meg to ask Aunt Jo about it? I mean, if that photo was taken at Freudesheim, she’d know who the girl is? Stands to reason, surely?”
“Oh, you know Grandma,” said Meg. “She never forgets anyone. She’s bound to know who it is, you’re right. Give me a copy of it, Kerry, and I’ll e-mail it to her.” The girls proceeded to one of the school’s computer rooms, and scanned the picture, then Meg opened her e-mail account.
“Isn’t Mrs Maynard a bit on the old side to be doing e-mail?” asked Ceridwen, as she watched Meg type out her grandmother’s e-mail address.
“Oh, practically crone-like,” replied Meg, showing very little respect for her elders. “But it’s not like she’d turn down the opportunity for further means to gossip, so she got Uncle Steve to set it up for her a few years ago. All of our lot are on it, of course, and she’s badgered the older generations to get themselves hooked up too. Says writing letters is too much like hard work these days, so e-mail’s better. Got a blog, too, for her fifty million photos. The Board of Govs here has been contemplating setting up a way-back-when website for the Dark Ages of the school, and pinching all her snaps.” She typed rapidly, attached the picture file, then clicked send with a flourish of the mouse. “There!”
The next day or so passed uneventfully for the girls up on the Platz, though Ceridwen found herself keeping an eye out for Carey Howard. Not that she had said she would definitely come, Ceridwen reminded herself. From what she could tell, going to Austria had been a big enough thing for Carey, without then bopping off to Switzerland on top of it. And she didn’t strike Ceridwen as the sort of person who routinely gave into temptation. Their time was spent supervising the younger girls, bathing in the school’s swimming pool, and going off on expeditions. Towards the end of half term, the school was unexpectedly host to a most honoured guest: Mrs Josephine Maynard.
The first the sixth formers knew of it was when, coming round the corner to the main drive of the school, Meg gave a shriek of “Auntie Con!” and leapt forward, flinging her arms around a slight woman with generously salted dark hair.
“Hello, darling,” that lady replied, returning the hug. “I thought you might be in Austria for the holiday.” Meg shook her head vigorously, then stepped back.
“But what are you doing here?” she asked, surprise evident in her voice. Con Richardson had very little involvement in her old school. Her only daughter had been a pupil at the Austrian branch, as the Richardsons had lived in Austria for many years because of Roger Richardson’s job as an engineer at the water plant, but Genevieve Richardson, only a couple of years younger than Meg’s own mother, had finished school long ago, and as Roger had by then moved the family back to England, Con had never felt any particular urge to keep up with the various branches’ doings.
“Mamma wanted to come,” said Con, rather unexpectedly. “Len’s not been great since Uncle Reg died, you know, and nobody else was available really, so she asked me to bring her.”
“What on earth for?” demanded Meg, agog with curiosity. Her grandmother might be a formidable woman, and as savvy as she ever had been, but physically she wasn’t very strong, and though still independent, her family made sure that someone was always around for her, especially since Jack Maynard’s death some five years ago.
“I thought you would have known,” said Con. “You sent her that photo, after all!”