Naughtiest Girl 9: Naughtiest Girl Wants To WinEnid Blyton
Wants To Win
Written by Anne Digby
Illustrated by Kate Hindley
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF ENID BLYTON
THE NAUGHTIEST GIRL QUIZ
THE NAUGHTIEST GIRL THROUGH THE YEARS . . .
WHAT THEY DID AT MISS BROWN’S SCHOOL
Have you read them all?
More from Enid Blyton
If you liked this you’ll love . . .
by Cressida Cowell
bestselling author of the
How to Train Your Dragon series
Like so many, many children before and after me, Enid Blyton’s books played a crucial role in turning my nine-year-old self into a passionate reader.
That is because Enid Blyton had an extraordinary knack for writing the kind of books that children actually want to read, rather than the kind of books that adults think they should read.
Enid Blyton could tap into children’s dreams, children’s desires, children’s wishes, with pin-point accuracy. She knew that every child, however good and well-behaved they might look on the outside, secretly longed to be Elizabeth Allen, the naughtiest kid in the school. I’m afraid I entirely cheered Elizabeth on, as she defied her parents, the headmistresses, her schoolmates, and the very serious School Meetings. If anything, I wanted her to be even naughtier.
But the Naughtiest Girl books were really my favourite of Enid Blyton’s school stories because of Whyteleafe, a very different school from Malory Towers or St Clare’s. What if there could be a school in which discipline was administered by the children rather than the adults? In which all money was given in at the start of the term and distributed amongst the children along socialist lines? Wouldn’t this be the kind of school that children would actually want to go to, rather than the kind of school that children have to go to?
It was an interesting proposition to a nine-year-old, and it remains an interesting proposition.
I hope you enjoy this story as much as I did when I was nine years old.
The real Kerry Dane
‘STOP A minute, Daddy!’ cried Elizabeth Allen, flinging herself in front of the luggage-trolley. ‘Please – I need to get something out of my trunk.’
The long summer holidays were over. Elizabeth and her father were at the big London rail terminal where she would catch her train back to boarding-school. Mr Allen had business to do in London today, so had driven her up to the station by car.
They’d arrived more than half an hour early but, to Elizabeth’s delight, her friends Julian and Joan were already at the station and keeping a lookout for her. She had rushed off to speak to them at once.
Now the three children caught up with Mr Allen as he laboured along with the laden luggage-trolley, looking for Platform 14.
‘You’ll never guess what Julian and Joan have just told me!’ exclaimed Elizabeth, as her father braked. ‘Kerry Dane’s due at any moment. The real Kerry Dane herself!’
‘And who might she be?’ asked Mr Allen.
‘Oh, Daddy!’ Elizabeth was already clearing her tuck-box and sports things off the top of her school trunk. It was a smart brown trunk with E. ALLEN painted on it in black letters. ‘You know – Zara’s Journey! That wonderful film Mummy took me to in the holidays. Joan’s seen it, too. Everybody has!’
‘Ah. The one that you and your mother went to see twice? Starring the young girl that nobody’s ever heard of?’
‘Yes, Kerry Dane! She was an ordinary London schoolgirl until the film people found her, but now everybody’s heard of her. Everybody except you, Daddy! And she’s really marvellous.’ Elizabeth dropped to her knees beside the trolley and managed to get her trunk open. She flung back the lid. ‘I really admire her. She’s exactly the sort of person that I would like to be.’
Elizabeth was hunting feverishly through her trunk, scattering its contents as she went. Books, garments and photo frames were starting to spill out. But she couldn’t find what she was looking for. Where was it? Oh, surely she hadn’t forgotten to bring it this term . . . ?
‘You say she’s due here? At the station?’ asked Mr Allen, in surprise. ‘Well, even if she is, Elizabeth, this is hardly the time or the place to start unpacking your trunk!’
‘Not the station, sir,’ explained Julian, his green eyes glinting with amusement at the sight of Elizabeth down on her knees, passers-by having to step round her. ‘The big cinema next door. The film’s playing to packed houses and we gather she’ll be stopping by at ten o’clock to chat to all the fans in the queue.’
‘She’ll get wet then,’ observed Mr Allen. ‘It’s raining.’
‘There’s a notice outside the cinema,’ Joan rushed on. ‘Julian spotted it coming in!’ In her own quiet way, Joan was as excited as Elizabeth. ‘We’re hoping we’ll have time to get her autograph.’
‘Hooray!’ cried Elizabeth, waving something in triumph. ‘My autograph book. I was sure I’d packed it. It was right at the bottom. Isn’t that typical? Sorry, Daddy.’
While the others quickly stuffed everything back into the trunk and closed the lid, Elizabeth stroked the white leather binding of her prized autograph book. She peeped inside. Some of the Leavers had written messages in it at the end of last term. And there were two very special entries from William and Rita, who had been the head boy and head girl. What a fine thing it would be to get Kerry Dane’s autograph as well! It would be another treasured signature to add to her collection.
‘We won’t be long, Daddy,’ she said quickly, as she helped her father stack the rest of her belongings back on the trolley.
‘Now, just a minute,’ her father protested. ‘I can’t have you missing the train, you know. I’m not sure I can allow—’
‘Oh, please, Daddy!’ she begged. ‘I’ll never, ever get a chance like this again. We won’t miss the train, I promise. We’ve got half an hour!’ She turned and appealed to her friends for support. ‘We wouldn’t dream of missing the train, would we?’
‘Certainly not,’ agreed Joan.
‘I absolutely couldn’t bear to miss it!’ vowed Elizabeth.
It was the simple truth. She had been looking forward for days to the train journey back to Whyteleafe School. There would be lots of people she knew on board and some new pupils as well. It was always very exciting. And she was going up a form. She was going into the second form! There would be an election for a new head boy and head girl as soon as they got back to school and second formers were allowed to vote in it!
‘I’ll make sure we’re all back in good time. Platform 14, isn’t it, sir?’ said Julian, sounding his most grown-up. ‘The cinema’s just through the archway over there. Bang next door to the station!’
‘And Joan’s a monitor, so she’ll make sure, too,’ pleaded Elizabeth. She noticed that the other two had sensibly retained their raincoats when getting their luggage put on the train. ‘I’ll even
wear my mac if you like, Daddy, so my school uniform doesn’t get wet.’
‘Very well,’ relented her father. He knew how much Elizabeth hated wearing her old mac. He fished it out of a carrier bag and handed it to her. ‘I’ll get your luggage put on the train and meet you by the ticket barrier in fifteen minutes, then.’
‘Oh, thank you, Daddy!’
The three friends raced out of the station and over to the cinema. Although it was early in the day, queues had already formed. The cinema illuminations shone down on the rainy pavements. ZARA’S JOURNEY, they signalled brightly, STARRING KERRY DANE. And there was the notice that Julian had spotted earlier:
We are pleased to announce a surprise visit from Miss Kerry Dane. She will be here to speak to the queues and sign autographs between 10.00 a.m.–10.15 a.m. today.
The notice stood at the cinema’s main entrance in front of the big glass doors. A policeman and a commissionaire in a bright red uniform were keeping the entrance clear.
‘If you wish to see Miss Dane, please take your places in the cinema queue. Otherwise, pass along,’ the doorman was saying. ‘Miss Dane’s car will be arriving at any moment.’
Excitedly, Elizabeth linked arms with her two friends. Her autograph book was safely stowed in her raincoat pocket.
‘You didn’t imagine it, then, Julian!’ she said. ‘Isn’t it sporting of her to want to come and speak to the queues on a horrid wet morning like this?’
‘She pops up at cinemas a lot,’ ventured Joan. ‘I’ve read about it in the papers. She says she really likes to meet her fans.’
‘It’s all good publicity, I suppose,’ grinned Julian. ‘It’s clever not to announce it in advance, so she doesn’t have to cope with a big crowd each time. I can’t wait to see my cousin Patrick’s face when I pull out Kerry Dane’s autograph. I shall sell it to him for a tidy sum. He’s been raving about her film all holidays!’
‘Where should we stand and wait?’ said Joan, anxiously. ‘We’re not allowed to hang around outside. We’ll get moved on.’
‘In the queue, of course!’ replied Julian. ‘We’ll pretend we’re waiting to go into the film like everybody else.’
The shortest queue was the one for the most expensive seats. It was sheltered from the rain by an awning. With Julian whistling nonchalantly, the three friends tagged on the back of it.
‘I feel a bit guilty!’ whispered Joan.
‘It’s only for a few moments,’ Elizabeth pointed out. ‘It must be nearly ten o’clock now.’
‘As a matter of fact,’ said Julian, glancing at his watch and then at the road, ‘it’s five past! And no sign of her car yet. If she’s only staying till quarter-past, she’d better buck up!’
But Elizabeth wasn’t listening.
‘Look, Joan!’ she was exclaiming. ‘Do you remember this bit?’
The two girls had turned to gaze at the slim showcase fixed to the wall behind them. It contained, behind glass, a selection of film stills that portrayed dramatic moments from the story. The clip that Elizabeth was pointing to showed Kerry Dane, her golden hair matted and her face streaked with tears, stumbling down a mountainside with a small child in her arms.
‘Yes!’ agreed Joan, gazing at the still. ‘My heart was in my mouth. I was convinced that little Stefan was going to die. After everything that Zara had done to get the younger children out of the war zone, to get them to safety. And they were so nearly home . . .’
Deeply engrossed, the two friends started to discuss the film. Together, they relived the story of how the brave refugee girl, Zara, played by Kerry Dane, had led a group of village children out of a war zone, narrowly escaping land mines and enemy fire. Then had come a terrible journey over the mountains, through storms and blizzards, with little food and no warm clothes, trying to reach the safety of her uncle’s farm, in the next valley. Zara had given all her rations to the younger children and towards the end only kept herself alive by eating snow. And then Stefan, the smallest of the children, had fallen desperately ill . . .
‘I liked the bit when Zara made a raft and rowed the children across the river, one by one,’ sighed Elizabeth. ‘You remember – when they found that the bridge had been blown up? Oh, wasn’t she brave? A born leader. I’m sure Kerry Dane must be a brilliant person, in real life. It all seemed so true . . .’
‘But where’s she got to today?’ came Julian’s voice, sounding cross.
‘Oh!’ Elizabeth spun round to face Julian. He had been watching out for the car all this time. ‘Is it getting late then?’
‘It’s nearly quarter-past.’ He shrugged. ‘I’m afraid our train goes in fifteen minutes.’
‘Then we must get back to the station,’ said Joan, looking crestfallen.
‘Surely we can wait another five minutes—?’ protested Elizabeth.
And suddenly a cheer went up. A car had arrived, its brakes squealing loudly, its tyres spraying water.
A radiant figure jumped out of the back of the small blue car. The mane of golden hair was unmistakable. So were the huge brown eyes and sweetly smiling mouth.
‘It’s her!’ everyone cried.
‘It’s Kerry Dane!’
It was a thrilling moment for Elizabeth and Joan. The real-life Kerry Dane – at last. And she looked as pretty off the screen as on it!
But then came a disappointment. She ran through the rain, straight past the queues and up the cinema steps. The doorman was standing at the ready, waiting to open one of the big glass doors.
Pressing forward, Elizabeth could see the cinema manager and his staff inside. They were lined up in the foyer, waiting to present a bouquet of flowers.
The urgent hand signal that the car driver gave to the young actress, as she turned to face the waiting crowd, told Elizabeth the worst. Kerry wasn’t staying! The car was already moving off at speed, round to the back of the cinema, preparing for her to leave from a rear exit.
From the top step, the teenage actress gave a short address. It was charming and very spontaneous:
‘It’s wonderful to see you all here. I hope you will enjoy watching Zara’s Journey every bit as much as I enjoyed acting in it. If you like the film, do please remember to tell all your friends about it! I so badly wanted to meet some of you this morning and stay and chat. But what can I say . . . ?
‘Well, I know one thing I can say! It’s a lot easier coming over mountains and through blizzards and storms than it ever is trying to get through the London traffic!’
There was appreciative laughter from the crowd.
‘So now I’m in big trouble!’ she told them. ‘I’m due somewhere else later, way outside of London. My driver, who is also my father, says I shouldn’t be here at all – but I couldn’t bear to let you down. Now all I can do is say bless you all. And run inside and give my thanks to the manager and his staff. Then on my way!’
It was such a friendly little speech that everyone swallowed their disappointment and applauded. Smiling and waving goodbye, Kerry Dane was ushered into the foyer. Most people pushed forward to witness her shaking hands with the cinema staff. What a beautiful bouquet!
But not Elizabeth. Elizabeth was hanging back. She had taken her autograph book out, gripped with a sudden excitement.
‘Let’s race round to the back of the cinema!’ she whispered. ‘She’s going to leave by the back way, it’s obvious!’
Joan looked worried.
‘Don’t be silly, Elizabeth!’ Julian smiled. ‘We’ve only got ten minutes!’
‘That’s long enough! She’ll be out in a minute! I want to get her autograph, even if you two don’t!’ she exclaimed hot-headedly. ‘I’m not going to give up now!’
Elizabeth shot away. She rushed round the side of the building, following the route that the blue car had taken. The rain w
as getting heavier. She was splashing through puddles but she didn’t care.
‘Kerry Dane seems nice,’ she thought, eagerly. ‘I’m sure she won’t mind! I just hope I’m in time. You can tell she’s in a tearing hurry!’
It had hardly been the moment to stop and have a debate with Julian!
She could hear his voice somewhere behind her and the sound of running footsteps. He and Joan were chasing after her, trying to fetch her back! But for once, the Naughtiest Girl decided, she didn’t care if she was living up to her nickname. She was not going to allow herself to be thwarted – she must get that autograph!
She had been running fast and was now somewhere at the back of the big cinema building. Blindly, she rushed into the first turning she came to, but it led to a dead end. She merely found herself staring at a fence and a row of black wheelie bins.
‘Drat, it must be the next turning!’ she realized, as she heard Julian and Joan go racing past, still calling her name.
Then, to her dismay, there came the sound of an engine starting up. She turned.
A blue car nosed into view across the top of her turning, coming from the next one along.
‘She’s leaving. I’ve missed her!’ thought Elizabeth.
But, with a squeal of brakes, the car suddenly stopped.
Elizabeth stared, open-mouthed. Kerry Dane was leaping out of the back, still holding her big bouquet of flowers. She was running into the little cul-de-sac. She was heading straight for Elizabeth!
How could this be? For a moment Elizabeth wondered if her friends had somehow explained . . .
No! She was racing straight past Elizabeth without so much as a glance. Golden hair flying, she reached the nearest wheelie bin and flung back the lid.
The car horn was honking.
‘Shut up, Daddy!’ she cried out. ‘I won’t be a sec. I can’t take these stupid things with me. I’ve got to get rid of them!’
Julian and Joan reappeared, just in time to see Kerry Dane drop the bouquet in the dustbin and slam down the lid!