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A harum-scarum schoolgirl by Angela Brazil

She did not like to be called a slacker



Diana's face was a study.

"I had no authority from your father and mother to allow you to accept invitations."

"But I _know_ they'd let me! Oh, Miss Todd, I simply _must_!"

"That's for me to decide, Diana, not you, and I say 'no'."

Mistress and pupil looked at each other squarely. Miss Todd's mouth was set in a firm line. Evidently she considered that she was fighting a campaign against Diana, and she meant to carry this outpost. Diana had the sense to realize her defeat. She drooped her lashes over her eyes.

"May I send a note to Cousin Cora?" she asked in a strangled voice.

"You can if you wish, and I'll write to her myself, and explain that it is against our rules."

Murmuring something that sounded dangerously like "Strafe rules!" Diana darted upstairs for blotting-pad and fountain-pen. She frowned hard while she scribbled, thumped the envelope as she closed it, then ran down to give it into the personal charge of the chauffeur. She would have added some comments for his benefit, had Miss Hampson not been standing upon the doorstep.

"You're not coming, miss?" enquired Thompson civilly, but with evident astonishment.

"_No!_" grunted

Diana, turning indoors and clumping down the hall past Miss Todd's study with footsteps heavy enough to justify the demand for felt slippers.

She was too angry at the moment to mind what happened, and the Principal, who was wise in her generation, allowed her to stamp by unchallenged.

At tea-time, at preparation, at evening recreation, and at supper Diana sat with a thunder-cloud on her face. When she went to bed it burst. She squatted in a limp heap on the floor and raged at fate.

"I'm sorry, but you're really making a most fearful fuss!" said Loveday, whose sympathy and sense of fitness were playing see-saw. "It's one of the rules of the school that we don't go away for odd holidays. We may have Friday to Monday at half-term, but even Mrs. Gifford never let anyone off in the middle of the week to stay a night. You're only served the same as everybody else. Why can't you take it sporting?"

"You don't understand!" wailed Diana, mopping her moist cheeks.

"Do get up from the floor, at any rate. It looks so weak to be huddled up like a bundle of rags. You haven't brushed your hair yet. Don't be a slacker, Diana!"

Thus morally prodded, Diana rose dejectedly, put on her bedroom slippers, and took the hair-brush which her room-mate handed. She did not like to be called a slacker, particularly by Loveday. The atmosphere was not altogether harmonious: she felt as if their thoughts were running round in circles, and had not yet met at a mutual angle of comprehension.

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