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A harum-scarum schoolgirl by Angela Brazil

When Diana got an idea into her head


"It's

a pity we can't call up a vision of them!"

"No, thank you!" said Miss Carr, who was a practical person, and not given to romance. "I've not the slightest desire to see spooks. I'm quite content with modern life, and don't want fourteenth-century ghosts gliding about the place. Get on with your work, Diana! I'm more concerned with apple-trees than with the old monks."

When Diana got an idea into her head, however, it was apt to stick. She had a lively imagination, and she liked to picture what the Abbey had once been. She read the account of it in the local guidebook and in Chadwick's _Northern Antiquities_, which she borrowed from the library, and she further devoured Scott's _The Monastery_. Steeped in this mediaeval atmosphere, she began to tell the girls such vivid stories of the doings of the brethren that they almost believed her. She invented several fictitious characters: Brother Amos, Brother Lawrence, Brother John, and Prior Andrew, and gave a most circumstantial account of their adventures.

"How do you know what they used to do?" asked Jess, much impressed.

"I guess I sort of feel it," said Diana. "It's almost like remembering."

"Some people think we come back to earth and live again. Were you one of the old monks, Di?"

"She must have been an unholy one, if she

was!" interrupted Sadie. "Anybody less like a monk than 'Stars and Stripes' I couldn't think of!"

"There were all sorts, of course. I've told you Brother Lawrence was up to tricks sometimes, and got the discipline. The Prior used to be down on him, just as Toddlekins is down on us. He was more sinner than saint. That's why he can't rest quietly."

"Doesn't he rest?" Jess's voice held a note of uneasiness.

"No, I don't think he does. I've a kind of feeling that he haunts the place, coming back to find out what it's like now."

"An earth-bound spirit!" gasped Jess.

"Yes, he's got some sins to expiate, you see."

The conversation was growing creepy. Sadie, Tattie, Jess, and Peggy, who with Diana were squatting near the schoolroom fire in the gloaming, moved a little nearer together. There is comfort in physical contact. The fact that Brother Lawrence was entirely an invention of Diana's did not relieve the tenseness of the situation; she had talked about him so often that she seemed to have conjured him up. They could almost see his white habit gliding along the corridor, and his unsaintly eyes gleaming from under his cowl. They began to wish he had behaved better during his lifetime, or at any rate that he had not chosen to revisit the scenes of his old sins.

"If I were really to see him I'd have forty fits!" shivered Peggy, who was a superstitious little soul who threw spilt salt over her left shoulder, and curtsied religiously to the new moon.

"It isn't everybody can see ghosts," declared Diana. "You've got to have the psychic faculty. Some people can feel they're there, even when they can't see them."

"Oh, that would be _far_ worse! It would be awful to know something was in the room, and not be able to see it!" exploded Jess. "Tattie, may I come and sleep in your bed to-night?"

"There's not much room, but you can if you like," conceded Tattie; "so long as Geraldine doesn't find out."


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