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Third Year at Malory Towers

Enid Blyton

  Malory Towers - 03

  Third Year at Malory Towers


  Enid Blyton


  DARRELL was busy helping her mother to pack her clothes to take back to boarding-school. Her little sister Felicity was watching, wishing that she too was going with Darreli.

  'Cheer up, Felicity!' said Darreli. 'You'll be coming back with me in September. Won't she, Mother?'

  'I hope so,' said her mother. 'Miss Grayling said she thought she would have room for her then. Oh, Darreli, surely you don't want all those books! They make your trunk so heavy.'

  'Mother, I do!' said Darreli. 'And do let me take back my roller-skates. We're allowed to skate round the courtyard now. It's such fun.'

  'All right,' said Mrs. Rivers. 'But it means unpacking half the trunk, because they must go at the bottom. Oh dear—did we mark your new bedroom slippers?"

  'No!' groaned Darreli. 'Felicity, be a darling and mark them for me. Matron absolutely goes off the deep end if she finds anything not marked.'

  Felicity darted off to get a pen. She was eleven and Darreli was fourteen. How she longed to go to Malory Towers too! According to Darreli it was the finest school in the kingdom!

  T wish we hadn't got to call for that new girl,' said Darreli, bent over her trunk. 'What's her name now, Mother? I keep forgetting it.'

  'Zerelda,' said her mother. 'Zerelda Brass.'

  'Golly!' said Darreli. 'Zerelda! Whatever will she be like?'

  'Oh, all right, I expect,' said Mrs. Rivers. 'She's American, you know. But her English grandmother has asked her over




  here for a year, and she's to go to Malory Towers. It's a marvel they were able to take her at short notice like that.'

  'What's she like?' asked Darrell. 'Have you seen her?'

  'No. Only a photograph,' said Mrs. Rivers. 'She looked about twenty there! But she's only fifteen, I think.'

  'Fifteen! Then she won't be in my form,' said Darrell. 'She'll be in one higher up. Mother, isn't it a shame Sally's in quarantine for mumps? She'll be late coming back.'

  Sally Hope was Darrell's best friend at school. Usually they arrived together at Malory Towers, for either Darrell's father or Sally's drove them down together in their cars. But this time Sally would be late because of the mumps quarantine.

  'You'll have to write and tell her everything,' said Mrs. Rivers. 'Oh, thank you, Felicity—you've marked the slippers beautifully. Have you put in your bed-jacket, Darrell? Oh yes, there it is. Well, now we're really getting on. Where's the list? I'll just run down it and see if we have left anything out.'

  'If Sally hadn't been in quarantine we wouldn't have had to call for Zerelda,' said Darrell. 'There wouldn't have been room. Mother, I have a feeling she will be awful. Whatever shall we talk about to her all the way down to Cornwall?'

  'Good gracious—can't you talk about Malory Towers?' said her mother. 'You seem to be able to talk about it for hours on end at home.'

  At last the packing was all done. Then there was the usual hunt for the key of the trunk, which always disappeared regularly each holiday.

  'Have you signed my health certificate. Mother?' asked Darrell. 'Where is it? In my night-case? Right. I wonder if Irene will have got hers safely this term?'

  Felicity giggled. She loved hearing about the harum-scarum Irene who always started off safely with her health certificate, and could never find it when she arrived.

  Darrell's father was driving her mother and Darrell down to Malory Towers the next day. They had to start early, so all the packing was done the day before. All that Darrell had to do the next day was to go round the house and garden with Felicity and say good-bye to everything, even the hens!

  'I shan't have to say good-bye to you in September, Felicity,' said Darrell. 'Well, good-bye, now, and just see you get on well in games this term, so that I can be proud of you when you come to Malory Towers!'

  They were off at last, purring away down the road to the West Country. It was a lovely day in January, cold and sunny. Darrell pulled the rug round her. She was sitting alone at the back of the car. Her mother was in front. Soon they would come to Zerelda's house and then Darrell would have her at the back with her.

  Zerelda lived in a big house about fifty miles along the way. Her grandmother had been a great friend of Mrs. Rivers' mother, and it was really Darrell's Gran that had asked Mrs. Rivers if she could fetch Zerelda and take her down to the school with Darrell.

  'I think it would be so nice if she and Darrell could have a good long talk about the school,' said Darrell's Granny. 'Zerelda is sure to feel a bit queer, going to a school in a different country.'

  But Darrell didn't feel very pleased about it. She was disappointed that they couldn't fetch Sally, her friend, and somehow she didn't like the sound of Zerelda. Was it the unusual name? Or was it that she felt her mother didn't altogether like the sound of Zerelda either? Anyway, they would soon see!

  'Here's Notting,' said Mr. Rivers, seeing the name on a signpost. 'This is where we call for the American, isn't it?'

  'Yes,' said Mrs. Rivers, looking at a card in her hand. 'Turn to the right by the church. Go up the hill. Turn to the right again at the top and you will see a big white house.



  That's where Zerelda is living.'

  They soon drew up at a big white house, almost a mansion. A butler opened the door. Then a smart, little old lady came running out, the friend of Darrell's Granny.

  'This is kind of you!' she said. 'Zerelda! Are you ready? Here they are.'

  No Zerelda appeared. Mrs. Rivers said they wouldn't come in and have coffee, as they wanted to be at the school before dark.

  'If Zerelda is ready, we'll set off straight away,' said Mr. Rivers. He felt a little annoyed. Where was this Zerelda? She ought to have been ready and waiting! He went to the back of the car and got ready a strap for the luggage.

  'Zerelda! Come at once!' called her grandmother. She turned to the butler. 'Do you know where Miss Zerelda is? Oh dear, where can she be?'

  It was some minutes before Zerelda appeared. And when she did arrive Darrell couldn't think that it was Zerelda! She suddenly saw a tall, willowy person come down the stairs, with glinting hair the colour of brass, arranged in a big roll on the top of her head, with curls cascading over her shoulders.

  Darell stared. Who was this? She looked like somebody out of the films. And, good gracious, she had lipstick on surely?

  It couldn't be Zerelda. This girl looked about twenty. She came forward with a lazy smile.

  'Oh! Zerelda! Where were you?' said her grandmother. 'You've kept us waiting.'

  'Sorry,' drawled Zerelda. Her grandmother introduced her to the Rivers family. Mr. Rivers looked impatient. He hated to be kept waiting—and he didn't like the look of this Zerelda much!

  Neither did Darrell. In fact, she felt quite alarmed. Zerelda must be seventeen or eighteen at least! Whatever would they talk about in the car?

  'You'd better put on your school hat,' said her grandmother, handing it to Zerelda.

  'What! Wear that terrible thing!' said Zerelda. 'Gee, Gran'ma, I never shall!'

  Darrell didn't dare to say that she would certainly have to. She was quite tongue-tied. Zerelda seemed really grown¬up to her. It wasn't only her looks, and the way she did her hair—it was her self-confident manner, and her grown-up way of talking.

  She slid gracefully into the seat by Darell. 'Now, Zerelda, you remember you're going to an English school, to learn a few English ways,' said her grand
mother, at the window of the car. 'Oh dear, wipe that lipstick off your mouth. I've told you again and again it won't do here. You seem to think you're eighteen, but you're only a schoolgirl. Now mind you...'

  Mr. Rivers, feeling that talk between Zerelda and her grandmother would probably go on for some time, put in his clutch and revved up the car. 'Good-bye!' said Mrs. Rivers, feeling that they might stay there for ever if she didn't firmly say good-bye.

  The car moved off. Zerelda's grandmother was left still talking at top speed in the drive. Mr. Rivers heaved a sigh of relief, and looked at his wife out of the corner of his eye. She looked back. Darrell caught the look and felt a little comforted. Daddy and Mother thought the same about Zerelda as she did!

  'Have you got enough rug?' Darrell asked politely.

  'Yes, thanks,' said Zerelda. There was a silence. Darrell racked her brains to think what to say.

  'Would you like me to tell you something about Malory Towers?' she asked Zerelda at last.

  'Go ahead, honey,' said Zerelda, rather sleepily. 'Spill the beans. What's our class-teacher like?'

  'Well—you won't be in my class, because you're fifteen.



  aren't you?' said Darrell.

  'Nearly sixteen,' said Zerelda, patting the big roll on the top of her head. 'No, I guess I won't be in your class. You're not very big are you?'

  'I'm as big as anyone else in my form,' said Darrell, and she thought to herself that if she wore her hair in the same ridiculous way as Zerelda did, she too would look tall.

  She began to talk about Malory Towers. It was her favourite subject, so her voice went on and on, telling about the great school with its four big towers, one at each end— the courtyard in the middle—the enormous pool in the rocks, filled by the sea each tide, where the girls bathed in the summer-time.

  'And in each tower are the dormies where we sleep, and our common-rooms—the rooms we play about in, you know, when we're not in class," said Darrell. 'Our house-mistress is Miss Potts. By the way, which tower are you in?'

  There was no answer. Darrell looked in angry indignation at Zerelda. She was fast asleep! She hadn't heard a single word of all that Darrell had been telling her! Well!


  DARRELL was so annoyed with Zerelda for falling asleep whilst she told her all about her beloved Malory Towers that she made up her mind not to say another word when Zerelda deigned to wake up.

  She took a good look at the American girl. She was certainly very striking-looking, though her mane of hair was not really a very nice shade of gold. Darrell thought that Brass was a good surname for Zerelda. Her hair did look brassy! Darrell wondered if it had been dyed. But no, surely nobody would let her do that. Perhaps girls grew up more quickly in America though?

  'It's a pity she's coming to Malory towers,' thought Darrell, looking closely at Zerelda's beautifully powdered face, with its curling eye-lashes and rosy cheeks. 'She just won't fit. Though Gwendoline will love her, I expect! But Gwendoline Mary always does lose her silly heart to people like Zerelda!'

  Mr. Rivers looked back at the sleeping Zerelda and gave Darrell a comradely grin. She smiled back. She wondered what Zerelda's father and mother could be like; she thought they must be pretty queer to have a daughter like Zerelda.

  Then she gave hereself a little shake. 'She may be quite nice really. It may just be because she comes from a country that lets its girls grow up sooner than ours do,' thought Darrell. She was a very fair and just girl and she made up her mind to give Zerelda a chance.

  'Though thank goodness she'll be in a higher form, as she's nearly sixteen,' thought Darrell. T shan't see much of her. I hope she's not in North Tower. Oh dear—whatever would Miss Potts think of her if she was!'

  She thought of the downright Miss Potts. She thought of





  plump, sensible Matron who never stood any nonsense from anyone. And she thought of the mistress who took the third form, in which Darrell had already been for a term.

  'Miss Peters! Gracious! She'd have a fit if Zerelda was in her form!' thought Darrell, seeing the mannish, hearty-voiced Miss Peters in her mind's eye. 'It's really almost a pity she won't be in my form. I'd love to see Miss Peters deal with Zerelda!'

  Darrell was tired when they at last reached Malory Towers. They had stopped twice on the way for meals, and Zerelda had awakened, and talked in a gracious, grown-up manner to Mr. and Mrs. Rivers. Apparently she thought England was 'just wunnerful'. She also thought that she, Zerelda, could teach it a few things.

  Mrs. Rivers was polite and friendly, as she always was to everyone. Mr. Rivers, who had no patience with people like Zerelda, talked to Darrell and ignored the American girl.

  'Say, isn't your father wunnerful?' said Zerelda to Darrell, when they were speeding on their way again. 'Those great eyes of his—and the black beetling brows? Wunnerful!'

  Darrell wanted to giggle. She longed to tell her father about his 'black beetling brows' but there was no chance.

  'Tell me about this school of yours,' said Zerelda, sweetly, thinking that Darrell was rather silent.

  'I've told you already,' said Darrell, rather stiffly, 'but

  you must have been bored because you went to sleep.'

  'Say, isn't that just too bad?' said Zerelda, apologetically.

  'There's no time to tell you anything, anyway,' said Darrell,

  'because here we are!' Her eyes shone as they always did

  when they saw Malory Towers again for the first time.

  The car swept up to the front door. It always seemed like the entrance to a castle, to Darrell. The big drive was now crowded with cars, and girls of all ages were rushing about, carrying bags and lacrosse sticks.

  'Come on,' said Darrell, to Zerelda. 'Let's get out. Golly,

  it's grand to be back! Hallo, Belinda! I say, Irene, got your health certificate? Hallo, Jean. Heard about Sally? She's in quarantine. Sickening, isn't it?'

  Jean caught sight of Zerelda getting out of the car, and stared as if she couldn't believe her eyes. Zerelda still had no hat on, and her hair cascaded down her shoulders, and the roll on top glinted in a ray of late sunshine.

  'Golly—who's that? Some relation of yours?' said Jean.

  Darrell giggled. 'No, thank goodness. She's a new girl!'

  'No My word, what does she think she's come to Malory Towers for? To act in the films?'

  Darrell darted here and there among her friends, happy and excited. Her father undid the trunks, and the school porter carried them in. Darrell caught sight of the label on Zerelda's trunk. 'North Tower'.

  'Blow! She's in our tower after all,' she thought. 'Hallo, Alicia! Had good hols?'

  Alicia came up, her bright eyes gleaming. 'Super!' she said. 'My word—who's that?'

  'New girl,' said Darrell. 'I know how you feel, /couldn't take my eyes off her either when I first saw her. Unbelievable, isn't she?'

  'Look—there's our dear Gwendoline Mary having a weep on Mother's shoulder as usual!' said Alicia, her attention caught by the sight of Gwendoline's mother, who was dabbing away tears as she said good-bye to Gwendoline.

  'There's Miss Winter, Gwendoline's old governess, too,' said Darrell. 'No wonder poor Gwen never get any better— always Mother's Darling Pet. We get some sense into her in term-time, and then she loses it all again in the hols.'

  Gwendoline caught sight of Zerelda and stared in surprise. A look of great admiration came over her face. Alicia nudged Darrell.

  'Gwendoline's going to worship Zerelda. Look! Don't you know that expression on her face? Zerelda will have at least





  one willing slave!'

  Gwendoline said something to her mother and her governess. They both looked at Zerelda.
But it was plain that neither of them liked that look of her as much as Gwendoline did.

  'Good-bye, darling,' said her mother, still dabbing her eyes. 'Write to me heaps of times.'

  But Gwendoline Mary was not paying much attention. She was wondering if anyone was looking after Zerelda. Could she possibly go up to her and offer to show her round? Then she saw that Darrell was with her. Darrell would soon push her off if she went up, she knew.

  Zerelda stood looking round at all the bustle and excitement. She was dressed in the same brown coat, brown stocking and shoes as the others, and yet she managed to look quite different. She didn't seem to notice the curious glances thrown at her.

  Darrell, seeing her father and mother about to go, rushed over to them to say good-bye.

  'It's so nice to see you plunging into everything so happily as soon as you're back,' said her mother, pleased to see how gladly everyone greeted Darrell. 'You are no longer one of the smaller ones, Darrell—you seem quite big compared to the first-and second-formers now!'

  'I should think so! Babies!' said Darrell, with a laugh. 'Good-bye, darlings. I'll write on Sunday as usual. Give Felicity my love and tell her Malory Towers is as nice as


  The car moved off down the drive. Darrell waved till it was gone. Then she felt a punch on the back and turned to see Irene there. 'Darrell! Come along to Matron with me. I can't find my health certificate.'

  'Irene! I don't believe you;' said Darrell. 'Yes, I'll come. Where's my night-case? Oh, there it is. Hie, Gwendoline, look out with that lacrosse stick of yours. That's twice you've

  tripped me up.'

  Darrell suddenly remembered Zerelda. 'Oh golly! I've forgotten Zerelda. She's going to be in North tower too. I'd better get her or she'll be feeling absolutely lost. I know how I felt when I came here first—everyone laughing and ragging and talking and I didn't know a soul!'