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A harum-scarum schoolgirl by Angela Brazil

I think it sounds rather sporty


"Is Pendlemere to be a sort of farm, then?" asked Wendy.

"Looks like it, if we're to keep hens and bees, and grow all our own vegetables! Bags me help with the chickens. I love them when they're all yellow, like canaries. Toddlekins hinted something about launching out into a horse if things prospered."

"A horse! Goody, what fun!" exulted Diana. "I just _adore_ horses! Bags me help with stable-work, then. I'd groom it instead of learning my geography or practising scales. I say, I call this a ripping idea!"

"Don't congratulate yourself too soon," qualified Magsie. "You'll probably find the geography and the scales are tucked in somehow. All the same, I think it sounds rather sporty."

"It will be a change, at any rate, and we'll feel we're marching with the times."

"When does the 'back-to-the-land' teacher come?"

"On Friday, I believe."

Miss Chadwick, the graduate of Birchgate Horticultural College, who was to run the new experiment, arrived at the end of the week, and brought two students as her assistants. They were a fresh, jolly-looking trio, with faces rosy from open-air work, and serviceable hands which caused a considerable flutter among those of the school who went in for manicure. At tea-time they talked gaily of onion-beds, intensive culture, irrigation, proteids, white Wyandottes, trap-nests, insecticides, sugar-beets, and bacteria. Miss Todd, keenly interested, joined in the conversation with the zeal of a neophyte; Miss Beverley, the nature-study side of whose education had been neglected, and who scarcely knew a caterpillar from an earthworm, followed with the uneasy air of one who is out of her depth; the school, eating their bread-and-butter and blackberry jam, sat and listened to the talk at the top end of the table.

"It sounds rather brainy," commented Diana in a whisper.

"Yes," replied Wendy, also in a subdued tone. "Poor old Bunty's floundering hopelessly. Did you hear her ask if they were going to cultivate cucumbers in the open? I nearly exploded! I believe she thinks pineapples grow on pine-trees. She's trying _so_ hard to look as if she knows all about it. I'll be sorry for the infant cabbages if she has the care of them."

"It wouldn't be her job, surely."

"I'd agitate for a 'Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Vegetables' if it were. I believe I'm going to adore Miss Chadwick! She looks so sporty. She wrinkles up her nose when she laughs, just like a baby does."

"The little dark student with the freckles is my fancy."

"Oh! I like the other, with the bobbed hair."

Miss Chadwick, with her assistants Miss Carr and Miss Ormrod, brought a new and decidedly breezy element into the school. They spent Saturday in reviewing the premises, and on Monday they set to work. The girls, who as yet were only in the position of onlookers, watched the operations, much thrilled. All sorts of interesting things began to arrive: portable hen-houses packed in sections, chicken-coops, rolls of galvanized wire netting, iron stakes, the framework of a greenhouse, and a whole cargo of tools. The three enterprising ladies seemed to have some knowledge of carpentry, and at once began to fit parts together and erect sheds. Their sensible land costumes excited admiration and envy.


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