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A harum-scarum schoolgirl by Angela Brazil

Who with Wendy and Vi had joined the seniors


"I don't believe there's one of us who'd go across for a five-pound-note," said Ida. "What offers? Don't all speak at once!"

The girls smiled, and were turning away to follow Miss Todd, when Geraldine stopped and held up a finger.

"What's that noise?" she asked.

"I don't hear anything but the stream," said Ida doubtfully.

"I do, though," said Diana, who with Wendy and Vi had joined the seniors. "It sounds like somebody whimpering."

"I'm going down the bank to see."

The others followed Geraldine, and swung themselves down to the water level. Sitting under the arch formed by the roots of the tree was a small boy of about seven, rubbing two swimming eyes with two grimy little fists and sobbing lustily.

"Hallo! What's the matter here?" said Geraldine briskly. "Where do you come from, and why don't you go home? Are you lost?"

At the mention of "home" the little fellow's tears redoubled, and the whimper rose to a roar. Ida sat down on the rock beside him, and tried to comfort him. It was a difficult process to get any coherent or sensible replies to her questions, but after considerable coaxing, and a last piece of chocolate which Wendy fortunately fished from her pocket, she managed to wring from him that his name was Harry, that he lived at a farm on the other side of the torrent, that he had come down to the river with several other boys, and that they had dared him to cross by the fallen tree. Once over, he was too frightened to go back, and, after waiting and calling to him for some time, the other boys had run away. How was he going to get home?

The situation was difficult, for there was no bridge across the river for many miles. Unless the child could go back the way he had come, it was a problem what was to be done.

"You were a silly boy ever to try to cross," said Geraldine sententiously.

"They said I durstn't!" sobbed the small sinner.

"Oh, don't scold him!" pleaded Diana. "I do know so exactly how he felt. I've often been dared to do things myself, and done them, though I shivered."

"Well, you'd surely never do such a silly thing as cross that tree?"

[Illustration: TWO PAIRS OF BARE FEET WENT SPLASHING JOYOUSLY INTO THE BROOK]

"Wouldn't I? I believe I'm going to do it now."

"Diana!"

"He's got to get home somehow. Look here, Harry!"--Diana knelt on the pebbles, and put her arm round the little blue-jerseyed figure--"suppose I were to go too, would you dare to cross again? We'd both crawl on our hands and knees."

The sobs stopped, while Harry took a swift survey of her face. Apparently he found it satisfactory.

"If you'll go first," he stammered.

"Then come along--we've no time to waste," said Diana, springing up and giving him her hand.

"Diana! You surely don't mean----" began Geraldine in eager remonstrance.


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