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A harum-scarum schoolgirl by Angela Brazil

The next motor omnibus would come through at seven


"Can't!

Got to go 'ome to my tea," returned the youth, whose small teeth were already in the toffee. "Cobbes's is down there!" pointing an arm like a sign-post in the direction of a by-street.

Diana and Wendy did not even wait to discuss the expediency of thus side-tracking. The magic lure of fireworks drew them on, and with one accord they trotted off to seek Mrs. Cobbes's shop. It took a little hunting about and asking to find it; and then Mrs. Cobbes was stout and slow, and seemed to need an eternity of time to wrap up their purchases in an old piece of newspaper.

"We shall have to hurry!" said Diana, emerging at last, hugging her parcel, and dragging Spot away from the pursuit of an impudent and provocative tabby cat, with a torn ear, that was spitting at him from the railings.

They did hurry. They nearly ran up Jessamine Street and Vine Street, and clattered up the steps behind the post office into Castle Street, and tacked through the crowd into the yard of the Queen's Hotel. A whole row of conveyances was standing with shafts down, but the familiar governess car was not among them. Perhaps it had been put inside the coach-house.

"Miss Todd's trap, did you say?" replied the ostler, removing the fag-end of a cigarette from his lips. "Why, she's gone! I harnessed her only five minutes ago!"

Here was a blow indeed!

They had never expected Miss Todd to drive away without them, though, considering that she did not know they had been left behind by the omnibus, she was scarcely to be blamed for doing so. The two girls looked serious as they walked into the street again. Somehow they felt aggrieved.

"If the rest haven't started, Magsie and Vi might take us behind them on their bicycles," suggested Wendy dubiously. "Hodson's would know if they've gone. They were to call for some parcels there."

It proved a forlorn hope. The girl behind the counter assured them that a party on bicycles, wearing brown tam-o'-shanters, had come and claimed their purchases, and ridden off up the street ringing their bells. The next motor-omnibus would come through at seven. It was always crowded, and no doubt would be particularly full to-night.

"There's nothing else for it, Di--we shall have to walk," said Wendy blankly.

"Whew! It's a pretty good step."

"Six miles."

"Je-hoshaphat!"

"Well, it's no use waiting for the 'bus. We should never get places."

"Let's take that short cut that Stuart was talking about. She said it saves two miles."

"What a brain wave! It's only a quarter past four. We'd be home long before dark. You can walk four miles an hour, can't you?"

"Ra-ther!"


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