Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality

Finishing School Book the First Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

Finishing School Book the First Etiquette & Espionage by Gail Carriger

At Mademoiselle Geraldine's, young ladies learn to finish...everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage—in the politest possible ways, of course. Everything in the school is both decorative and deadly, including the students and teachers.

Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger (Finishing School Book 2)

Curtsies & Conspiracies by Gail Carriger (Finishing School Book 2)

Mademoiselle Geraldine's Academy has an on again off again relationship with a boys school for evil geniuses named Bunson and Lacroix's Boys' Polytechnique.

The school drifts from location to location; it is housed within three dirigibles, mashed together to form one long chain of decks and balloons. It has fewer students than a typical finishing school, these being selectively chosen based on traits that match the school's hidden purposes.

After being taken over by Picklemen for a time during the Great Picklemen Revolt of 1854, the school is crash landed by Sophronia and Monique, and closes its doors to students.

Faculty Edit

  • Mademoiselle Geraldine - Dance, dress, diversion teacher. Unaware of her school's true status as a training ground for spies. The students are supposed to keep her in the dark, but she is actually a skilled intellegencer.
  • Beatrice Lefoux - modern languages, modern weaponry, technological advances teacher
  • Captain Niall - werewolf, weapons teacher
  • Lady Linette de Limmone - music, intelligence gathering, espionage teacher and real headmistress
  • Professor Braithwope - a vampire, history, deportment, vampire lore, vampire defense, etiquette teacher
  • Sister Mathilde Herschel-Teape – (AKA Sister Mattie) household management, medicinal cures, proper poisonings teacher

Notable Students Edit

  • Dimity Plumleigh-Teignmott - Sophronia’s first friend and roommate, unofficial tutor of etiquette for balls and order of precedence
  • Sidheag Maccon, Lady Maccon – Sophronia’s friend, great-great-great-great- granddaughter of Lord Maccon (a werewolf), unofficial tutor of fighting techniques, Agatha's roommate
  • Agatha Woosmoss – Sophronia’s friend, Sidheag’s roommate, unofficial tutor of math and calculating household management - child of wealthy school patron.
  • Preshea Buss – Monique’s roommate, pretty and deadly. Becomes leader of fashion in her year when Monique leaves the school.
  • Monique de Pelouse – Older student who failed her final exam because she did not return with the prototype, sent to take lessons with the 1st year students as punishment, Preshea’s roommate. Said to be a 'teacher's pet'. She is also drone to Professor Braithwope.

Allies and Adversaries Edit

  • Soap – Young man of African descent who shovels coal in the boiler room, Sophronia’s friend, unofficial head of the Sooties.
  • Vieve/Genevieve – Sophronia’s friend, Professor Lefoux’s niece, an inventor who dresses as a boy.
  • Pillover Plumleigh-Teignmott – Dimity’s younger brother, studies at Bunson’s, a sister school to Mademoiselle Geraldine's.
  • Mrs. Barnaclegoose – Friend of Sophronia’s mother, graduate of Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, recommended Sophronia to finishing school.
  • Picklemen – Interested in gaining wealth, power, influence, hired flywaymen to obtain the prototype, identified by a green ribbon tied around his hat.
  • Pistons – Group of young men at Bunson’s who enjoy causing mischief and bullying Pillover, identified by a brass-colored ribbon tied around the hat and gears fastened to the waistcoat. Often Picklemen in training.
  • Flywaymen – Robbers who travel by small airships along the roads where they find victims, or hired sky mercenaries.

Curriculum Edit

Examples of some of the lessons taught at the school:

  • Tips on wielding a cane vs. a parasol vs. an umbrella, taught by Professor Braithwope
  • Quadrille, with Mademoiselle Geraldine
  • Knife fighting, with Captain Niall
  • Proper manners and dress for the theater, with Mademoiselle Geraldine
  • Opera glasses, with Lady Linette
  • Garrotes—killing while seated, with Captain Niall
  • Advanced eyelash fluttering
  • Buying poison and planning dinner on a limited budget
  • Court etiquette
  • Fainting in a crowd to attract attention, with Lady Linette

Standard Armament Edit

All Mademoiselle Geraldine's students are taught to carry an intelligencer's standard armament:

  • Sewing scissors
  • Handkerchief
  • Perfume
  • Lemon
  • Hair ribbon
  • Red lace doily

Official Motto Edit

Ut acerbus terminus: "To the bitter end"

History Edit

School sessions were originally the same as Parliament, which is also where they get their name (as opposed to terms). The old rule of life was that Parliament Sessions don't open until the frost is out of the ground and the foxes begin to breed. So politically minded aristocracy would begin to drift back to town in the early spring. The Season was then broken up into various necessary-to-attend events for girls coming out (age 17).

  • March: Non political families returned to town. 
  • April: everyone is in town, Parliament is in session, and The Season begins in earnest. 
  • May: Royal Academy of Art Annual Exhibition, Derby, and various court balls + concerts + private balls
  • June: Ascot
  • July: Henley Regatta and climactic cricket games: Oxford v. Cambridge and Eton v. Harrow
  • August 12: End of The Season, adjournment of Parliament, opening of grouse hunting season.
  • September 1: Partridge season
  • October 2: Pheasant season
  • November, first Monday: Fox hunting.

College sessions roughly followed the parliament/hunting model.  Christmas was spent at home in the country, January-March was Session One, then short Easter break, April-July/August was Session 2, September-December was Session 3 for Cambridge. Oxford had 4 sessions.

Gail models her school system for the Finishing School books on Cambridge. She feels an alliance to Cambridge, for her maternal grandfather was a Kings College man.

Trivia Edit

  • Uptop: A nickname that the sooties at Mademoiselle Geraldine's use for the school's students and professors, who inhabit the upper parts of the ship.

Extras Edit

FinishingSchool Map sm

Map of Mademoiselle Geraldine's from the front of Manners & Mutiny

Manners & Mutiny includes a detailed map of the school, shown here:
Sophronia's Map-0