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A Pair of Schoolgirls by Angela Brazil

We could walk along the embankment to Longacre


Carter promised she'd take us a botanizing ramble some afternoon," said Dorothy.

"So she did. We must keep her to her word. Let us try to catch her now in the corridor, and see if we can get her to name a definite day. Ask Mavie and Grace to come too. They're the keenest next to us."

The little group of enthusiasts waylaid the mistress as she came out of the library, and, reminding her of the projected expedition, nailed her to the point.

"Very well, we will decide on next Saturday afternoon, provided, of course, that it's a fine day," replied Miss Carter.

"And the place?" asked Alison.

"I think we can't do better than Beechfield. We could walk along the embankment to Longacre, and take the train back from there. We ought to find plenty of flowers on the way."

"And we might stop and have tea somewhere," suggested Alison, who was determined to make an outing of it.

"Yes, so we might. There's an inn by the river about half-way to Longacre, and several cottages that cater for visitors."

"We can start quite early, I suppose?"

"I'll look up the railway guide, and pin a programme on the notice board to-morrow."

"There, you see!" said Alison,

as the deputation returned in triumph, "there's nothing like sticking to a thing. I believe in people keeping promises when they make them."

"We shall have a ripping afternoon. Miss Carter is ever so jolly."

"And I expect she'll be jollier still when she's 'off duty'."

Notwithstanding the tempting nature of the programme, only ten put down their names for the botanizing expedition. In summer there were many diversions for Saturday's holiday--the tennis season was in full swing, and the girls had attractions at their own homes that outweighed a country ramble.

"It's far nicer without too many," declared Alison. "I've been school excursions before, at Leamstead, and it's generally so hard to get everybody to come along. Half the party is always lagging behind, and then a dozen come running up and want all the explanations over again, just when the mistress has finished describing something. You waste an immense amount of time in collecting people. I mean to stick to Miss Carter like glue the whole afternoon."

"Absorbing information like a piece of blotting-paper!" laughed Mavie. "Quite a new character for you, Alison Clarke."

"Don't mock. You're as keen on going as I am myself."

The ten Nature students met Miss Carter at Coleminster station at half-past two on the Saturday, and started off for Beechfield, which was on a different line from Hurford and Latchworth. Neither Dorothy nor Alison knew the place, so to them at least it had the charm of novelty.

"I've often walked over the fields to Longacre," said Grace Russell, "but I don't mind going again. It will seem fresh if we're looking for flowers. I like an object when I'm out."

"And I like the fun of being out, object or no object," said Mavie. "I honestly confess I'm looking forward to tea-time."

"You shameless materialist!" said Miss Carter. "You shan't have a single cup unless you can name a dozen flowers. I shall put you through an examination first."

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