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A harum-scarum schoolgirl by Angela Brazil

I've borrowed Loveday's roller skates


Miss

Chadwick, much annoyed at the accident to the cart, treated Diana distantly. Instead of smiling at her when she came into the room, she would look round her or over her head, and flash recognition to somebody else. It was humiliating to find herself out of favour, especially as it was noticed and commented on by her form-mates, all of whom were candidates for Miss Chadwick's friendship. Wendy, toiling away at her punishment task and grumbling at its difficulty, was not at all a cheerful companion. Moreover, it rained--rained for two days and nights without stopping; rained as it only can rain in a northern and mountainous district in the month of November. The fells were covered with mist, rivers ran down the garden paths, and from the eaves came a continual and monotonous drip-drip-drip. Diana, whose letters from Paris had been delayed, and who was home-sick in consequence, vibrated between a fit of the blues and a wild outbreak of spirits. She had reached the stage when she must either laugh or cry. She wandered restlessly round the schoolroom on Saturday afternoon, while the others were amusing themselves with reading, painting, or sewing.

"What a quiet set you are!" she raged. "Anyone would take you for 'Miss Pinkerton's Academy for Young Ladies'! Why can't you wake up? This is the dullest hole I've ever been in in my life. Magsie, stop that eternal sewing, and be sporty! You look like a model for 'gentle maidenhood'. I want to stick a pin

into you, to see what would happen."

"Draw it mild, Stars and Stripes," answered Magsie, biting off the end of her cotton. "And be careful about experiments with pins, or something more may happen than you quite bargain for."

"I don't care! Anything for an excitement! I want some fun, and there'll be a shindy if I don't get it. Wendy! Vi! Sadie! Do brace up and be sports! Let's go on the upper landing and let off steam. It's better than moping here."

Diana, by sheer force of will, carried the day, detached her friends from their several occupations, and bore them, three steps at a time, up the stairs to the top story. The upper landing was long, and had a polished oak floor; it looked gloomy on this wet afternoon, and the rain made a continual patter on the roof. In Diana's eyes, however, it afforded a field for enterprise.

"I've a gorgeous idea!" she purred. "We'll pretend the floor's a skating-rink. I've borrowed Loveday's roller skates, and we'll take it in turns."

That roller skates were hardly meant for indoor amusement did not occur to the girls. They agreed with enthusiasm. In order to share the pleasure Vi and Sadie each buckled one on, and began a series of glides, punctuated by pushes from the other foot. Wendy and Magsie, not to be outdone, began to slide down the polished floor, and Tattie, who had powers of invention, fetched a cake of soap and a sponge, and perfected their activities by making a slippery course along the boards.

"It's like Alpine sports," exulted Wendy, taking a turn with one of the skates, and skimming at top speed. "Can't you just imagine you're in Switzerland? I want to make snowballs. Oh! why can't we do some toboganning? I'd like to go tearing down a hill on a bob-sleigh. It would be priceless."


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