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A harum-scarum schoolgirl by Angela Brazil

Ten minutes later Lennie Browne


It

was much to Miss Todd's credit that she was able to take her fresh duties quite calmly, and without any fuss or exhibition of nerves. She was not a nervy woman, to begin with, and she had made a great point of cultivating self-control. With her tall figure, clear grey eyes, bright complexion, and abundant chestnut hair, she made a very favourable impression upon those parents who had brought their daughters back to school in person. At the moment when Wendy, Sadie, Tattie, Magsie, and Vi were sitting grousing in the wheelbarrow, Miss Todd, in the drawing-room, was completing an arrangement which was largely to affect their future.

"It's very short notice, of course," she was saying. "But, as it happens, there's a vacant bed, and I can manage it perfectly well."

"That's just a real relief to me!" replied a pleasant American voice from the sofa. "We can't take Diana with us to Paris, and I don't want to burden my cousin with her, so I said to my husband: 'There's nothing for it but school, only it must be a good one'. Well, we motored along to the nearest clergyman, introduced ourselves, and asked him to recommend a real first-class, high-toned British school that would take in Diana, and he said: 'Why, there's one on the spot here--you needn't go any farther!' Time was getting short, so we brought her right along. I must say I'm satisfied with all I've seen, and the talk I've had with you, and I feel we're leaving

her in good hands. My cousin, Mrs. Burritt, will send over the rest of her things from Petteridge, and if there's anything else she needs please get it for her. Well, Steve, if we've to catch that 4.30 train, we must be going."

The tall dark gentleman in the arm-chair consulted his watch and rose hastily.

"Just time if we put on some speed; but the roads are execrable," he vouchsafed.

The central figure around whom this conversation had revolved had been sitting in the window gazing at the view over the lake. She now turned her head sharply, with an inscrutable expression in her dark grey eyes, and, walking across to her father, linked her arm in his. He bent down and whispered a few rapid words into her ear. Her mother patted her on the shoulder reassuringly.

"You're going to have a good time, Diana. Why, I expect you won't be wanting us to come back, you'll be so happy here. Address your letters under cover of the American Embassy, Paris, till we send you the name of our hotel. Good-bye! Be a good child and a credit to us."

The leave-taking was perhaps purposely cut short. Mr. and Mrs. Hewlitt each bestowed a swift kiss upon their daughter, then made a hasty exit to their waiting car, and were whirled away in the direction of Glenbury Station and the 4.30 train, and their ultimate destination of Paris.

Ten minutes later Lennie Browne, one of the juniors, disturbed the quintette on the wheelbarrow with a message.

"Miss Todd's sent me to find you," she announced. "You've got to come and make friends with a new girl."

Sadie, Vi, and Tattie quitted their seats so suddenly that Magsie and Wendy, still resting on the handles, came croppers on to the grass. Wendy rolled over into a comfortable position, and did not trouble to rise.

"Bunkum!" she remarked incredulously. "Don't try to rag _me_, Lennie Browne, for it won't come off. As it happens, I asked Toddlekins half an hour ago, and she said there were _no_ new girls. There!"


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