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A harum-scarum schoolgirl by Angela Brazil

Another helped Diana and Wendy out


"We've

lost our wheel!" she gasped.

A crowd immediately collected round the little carriage, which stood lop-sided in the gutter. One passer-by held the horse, another helped Diana and Wendy out; a boy came running up with the wheel that had danced across the street. People stood at shop doors and stared. Sympathetic voices asked if the girls were hurt. Several connoisseurs were feeling Baron's legs. In that most critical and agitating situation, who should be seen riding up from the town but a group of ten cyclists, led by Miss Chadwick, and displaying the familiar hatbands of Pendlemere School. Diana and Wendy turned the colour of boiled beetroot. The cyclists dismounted in a body, and Miss Chadwick, staggered at the amazing spectacle of the wreck before her, took over instant possession. She tilted her bicycle against a lamp-post, sent a boy for a blacksmith, and began to unharness Baron. When he was clear of the shafts, and being led away by a friendly ostler, she demanded explanations. Diana supplied them briefly. Miss Chadwick looked at her keenly, but forbore to comment before the crowd.

"Miss Ormrod and I will stay in town and come back with Miss Todd," she said, with compressed lips. "You and Wendy can ride our bicycles. Miss Carr, will you please go as quickly as you can to the station and explain to Miss Todd what has happened. The train must be in by now. I think, Miss Hampson, you'd better take the girls

on."

It was ignominious to be thus dismissed, and to be forced to mount machines and cycle back to school, instead of having the proud distinction of driving the head mistress. Diana and Wendy felt their feathers fall considerably, especially when they contemplated the fuller explanations which must inevitably follow.

It was quite dark before Miss Todd arrived in the mended cart. She and Miss Chadwick and Miss Ormrod had tea together in the drawing-room.

Later in the evening Diana and Wendy received orders to report themselves in the study. They entered with sober faces. Outside, a band of thrilled intermediates, who had listened with bated breath to the account of the adventure, hung about and discussed possible punishments. Miss Todd was not a mistress to be trifled with, and the trap was her latest toy. It was nearly half an hour before the door opened, and two very subdued and crushed specimens of girlhood issued, mopping their eyes.

"She says Miss Chadwick knew the wheel wasn't safe, and had gone to get a fresh pin for it," volunteered Wendy with a gulp. "But how could _we_ know that? She doesn't believe in practical demonstrations of our lessons, or in self-reliance; she says we've just to do what we are told. She got quite raggy when Diana mentioned it. We mayn't go near the stable for a week, and we've each to learn ten pages of poetry by heart."

"Ten pages! What an atrocious shame!" sympathized Vi. "It'll take all your recreation time this week."

"I know it will, and I wanted to do some sewing."

"She never said _what_ poetry," put in Diana, her moist eyes suddenly twinkling. "I'll learn something out of the _Comic Reciter_--the very maddest and craziest one I can manage to find."

CHAPTER VIII

Armistice Day

Diana had a fairly retentive memory, and learned poetry without much trouble. By far the hardest part of her punishment was to be forbidden to visit the stable for a week. She was sure Baron would miss her, and that, though he might receive other offerings of bread and carrots, he would be looking out and pricking his ears in vain for the friend with whom he had grown to be on such intimate terms.


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