Last Term at Malory Towers, Page 2Enid Blyton
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When supper-lime came, ihe girls could see who was back and who wasn't. They could see the new girls in their Tower and ihey could see any new mistresses. Each Tower had its own common-rooms and dining-rooms. Norih Tower, where Darrell and her Iriends were, overlooked the sea, and was supposed to be the best Tower of all - though naturally the girls in the other Towers thought the same ol theirs!
Darrell was sure there would be no new girls at all in the sixth. It was rare for a new girl to come so late to Malory Towers. She was very much surprised to see two new faces at the sixth-form table!
One girl was tall and sturdy and rather masculine looking, with her short cropped hair, and big legs and feet. The other was small, beautifully made, and had small hands and feet. As soon as she spoke, Darrell realized that she was French..
Mam'zelle Dupont introduced the girl, with one of her beaming smiles.
'Girls! This is Suzanne! She is niece to Mam'zelle Rougier who is in South Tower, but there is no room there for her, so she has come to me here. She will be in the sixth form - and she must learn the language well. Eh, Suzanne?'
'Certainement, Mam'zelle Dupont,' answered Suzanne, in a demure voice. She flashed a quick look round at the sixth-formers with bright black eyes, then lowered them again. Darrell felt a sudden liking for her.
'Ah non - you must not say one word of French, you bad girl!' scolded Mam'zelle. 'You must say "Certane- lee", not "certainement"!'
'Zer-tane-leee,' drawled Suzanne, and the girls laughed. Darrell nudged Sally.
'She's going to have some fun with Mam'zelle,' she said, in a low voice. 'And we're going to have some fun with Suzanne''
Mam'zelle then turned to the other new girl. 'And this is - how do you call yourself?' she asked the sturdy newcomer. 'Amanda Shoutalot?'
The girls laughed. The new girl gave Mam'zelle a rather contemptuous look. 'No - Amanda Chartelow/ she said, in a loud voice.
'Ah - that is what I said,' protested Mam'zelle. Amanda Shoutalot. Poor Amanda - her school has been burned down by fire! Helm - it exists no longer!'
Nobody quite knew what to say. Amanda took some more bread, and ignored Mam'zelle. Gwen entered headlong into the gap in the conversation.
'Oh dear - what a dreadful thing! Did anyone get hurt?'
'No,' said Amanda, helping herself to more salad. 'It happened in the holidays. You probably read about it in ;he papers. It was Trenigan Towers.'
'Gosh, yes - I did read about it/ said Sally, remem¬bering. 'Trenigan Towers! That's about the most famous school for sport in the country, isn't it? I mean - you win every single match you play, and you win all the tennis shields and lacrosse cups?'
'That's right/ said Amanda. 'Well, it's gone. There wasn't time to find another building in a hurry, so we all had to scatter and find other schools. I don't know- how long I'll be here - maybe a term, maybe longer. You haven't much of a name for sport, have you, at Maiorv lowers?'
This was rather too much irom a new girl, even if she
had come into the sixth form, and had arrived from a famous sports school. Darrell stared at her coldly.
'We're not loo had,' she said.
'Perhaps you'd like to give us a little coaching,' said Alicia in the smooth voice that most of the girls recognized as dangerous.
'I might,' said Amanda, and said no more. The girls glanced at one another. Then they looked at Amanda and saw how strong she must he. She was a great hefty girl about five foot ten inches tall. How much did she weigh?
Must be thirteen stone, I should think! thought Darrell, comparing Amanda with the slim, elegant French girl. Goodness - have we got to put up with her all the term? 1 shall find it hard to squash her]
Sally was thinking the same. She was games captain lor the whole school, a most important position. What Sally said had to be taken notice of, from the sixth form down to the first. Sally was a first-rate tennis player, a first-rate lacrosse player, and one of the finest swimmers Malory Towers had ever had. Nobody but Darrell could beat her at tennis, and that very seldom.
She took another look at the stolid, rather scornful- looking Amanda. It was going to be very verv difficult to give orders to her - especially as Amanda might easily prove to be a better tennis player and swimmer than even Sally herself. Sally was not as hefty as Amanda, though she was strong and supple.
'You were lucky to be able to find a place at Malory Towers,' gushed Gwen.
'Was I?' said Amanda, coldly, staring at Gwen as if she didn't like her at all. Gwen blinked. What a horrible girl! She hoped Alicia would be able to deal with her. Alicia could deal with anybody - her sharp tongue was quicker and more cutting than anyone else's in the school.
'I suppose you'll be going in lor the Olympic Games.'
said Alicia, meaning to be sarcastic. 'They're held next ear in . . .'
'Oh yes. 1 should think I shall go in lor about five different events,' said Amanda, calmly. 'My coach at Trenigan said 1 ought to win at least two.'
The girls gasped. Alicia looked taken aback. It had never entered her head that her scornful remark could be true. She looked so discomfited that Irene grinned.
'We ought to feel very honoured to have you here, Amanda!' she drawled.
'Thanks,' said Amanda, without looking at her.
'Amanda is such a beeg, beeg girl,' began Mam'zelle, mistaking Amanda's ungraciousness for shyness. 'She will be so marvellous at tennis. Sally, perhaps she will be m the Second Team, n'est-ce pas?'
Nobody replied to this. Sally merely grunted. Maiu'/elle pushed on, under the impression that she was putting 'this great beeg Amanda' at her ease.
'How tall are you, Amanda?' she asked, feeling that the girl must be at least seven feet tall; she had made plump little Mam'zelle feel so short when she had walked in beside her! 'And how many - er - how do you say it - how many pebbles do you weigh?'
There was a squeal of laughter from the table. Even Amanda deigned to smile. Mam'zelle gazed round indignantly.
'What have 1 said?' she demanded. 'Is it not right - pebbles?'
'No - stones, Mam'zelle,' chorused the girls, in delight. Our weight is measured by stones, not pebbles.'
'Stones - pebbles - they are the same,' said Mam'/elle. Never, never shall I learn this English language.'
The bell rang for the meal to end. All the giris got up, laughing. Dear old Mam'zelle - her mistakes would fill a
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Darrell and her friends went up to her
gossip. There were 1 he usual crowd - Sally, Alicia, Belinda, Irene, Mary-Lou, Bill and Clarissa. Mavis was not there.
'It seems strange without Mavis,' said Sally. 'She's gone to train as a singer now. Perhaps we shall all crowd into her concerts one day!'
T miss quiet old Janet too,' said Darrell. 'She is training as a dress designer. She ought to be jolly good at it! Do you remember the marvellous dresses she made lor us when we gave that pantomime in the tilth lorm?'
'Catherine has left too,' said Alicia. 'Thank goodness! I never knew such a door-mat in my lile. No wonder we called her Saint Catherine!'
'She wasn't so bad.' said Mary-Lou, loyally. 'It was only that she did like doing things lor people so much.'
'She did them in the wrong way, that's all,' said Bill.
She always made herseif such a manyi. What's she going to do?'
'She's going to stay at home and help Mama,' said Alicia, rather maliciously. 'It'll suit her down to the ground. Mama thinks herself a bit of an invalid, I gather
-so Catherine will really enjoy herself, being a saintly little daughter.'
'Don't be unkind, Alicia,' said Mary-Lou. 'Catherine was kind underneath her door-mat ways.'
T take your word for it,' said Alicia, smiling at Mary- Lou. 'Don't get all hot and bothered. This is only a good old gossip! What are von going to do when you leave next year, Mary-Lou?'
'I'm leaving sooner than that,' said Mary-Lou. 'I've made up my mind what I'm going to be, and I'm going off to train in September. I'm going to be a hospital nurse
-a children's nurse. I never wanted to be anything else, reallv. I'm going to train at Great Ormond Street Hospital, it's all settled.'
The others looked at quiet, loval, idealistic Mary-Lou.
Immediately each one oi them saw that she had chosen the right career lor herself. Nursing was a vocation - something you lclt you had to do, tor the sake ol other people. It was absolutely right for Mary-Lou.
'I can't imagine anything you'd love better, Mary- Lou!' said Darrell, warmly, it's exactly right for you, and v// '/y exactly right for it! Lucky children who have you to nurse them!'
Mary-Lou looked pleased and embarrassed. She looked round at the others. 'What are we all going to do?' she said. 'Belinda's easy, ol course.'
'Yes. I've yet to be an artist,' said Belinda. 'I always knew that. It's easy, of course, when you've got a gift. You can't do anything else but use it.'
'And Irene will study music,' said Sally. 'That's easy too. Bill - what about you - and Clarissa? You are both o mad on horses that I can't imagine vou taking a job unless it's on horseback.'
Clarissa looked at Bill. She grinned. 'You've hit the nail on the head,' she said. 'Our job will be on horseback. Won't it, Bill?'
Bill nodded. 'Yes. Clarissa and I are going to run a riding school together.'
'You're not!' exclaimed the others, amazed and interested.
'Yes, we are. We decided it last hols,' explained C larissa. 'I was staying with Bill, and we heard there were some stables for sale. We thought we'd like to get iliem, take our own horses, buy a lew more, and begin a riiiing school. Actually it's not very tar Irom here. We did wonder if we could get Miss Grayling to let us have some Malory Towers girls tor pupils.'
'IW'//!' said Alicia, in deep admiration. 'It you two aten't dark horses!'
There was a yell of laughter at this typical Alicia joke. Lull grinned. She never said verv much hut she was a
most determined young person. Nobody had any doubt at all but that the Bill-Clarissa riding school would be very successful indeed.
'I'll see that all my children are your pupils, when they come to Malory Towers,' promised Alicia, with a grin. 'Fancy you two thinking all this out and never saying a word!'
There was a short silence. It seemed as if most of them knew what they were going to do when they left school - and had chosen rightly.
'Well, Sally and I are going to college,' said Darrell. 'And so is Alicia - and Betty is coming too. We're all going to St Andrews up in Scotland, and what a good time we'll have!'
'You'll feel funny at first - being the youngest again, instead of the oldest,' said Belinda. 'I suppose you'll take Arts, Darrell. and eventually be a writer?'
'I don't know,' said Darrell. 'It's what I'd like to be. But, you see, Sally and I are not as lucky as you and Irene, Belinda. We haven't a gift that sticks out a mile - or a vocation like Mary-Lou. We've got to find what we're best fitted for, and we can do that at the University. We'll jolly well have to use our brains there, too. We'll be up against some brilliant people.'
Sally got up. 'Where did we put those biscuits, Darrell?' she said. 'Talking always makes me hungry. That's one thing that still makes me think we're not really very grown-up, even though we sometimes think we're getting on that way - we always feel so hungry. Grown-ups never seem to feel like that!'
'Long live our appetites!' said Alicia, taking a biscuit. 'And may our shadows never grow less!'
iss Grc(ijlinfs r
Next day everyone awoke to the sound of the loud clang of the dressing-bell. New girls sat up in bed, startled, unused to the loud morning bell. Second-formers grunted and rolled over for another snooze. They were a notoriously lazy form that year. Darrell was always leasing her second-form sister. Felicity, about it.
'Lazy lot of kids,' she said. 'Always rushing down to breakfast with your ties half-knotted and your shoes .mdonc. I wonder Miss Tarker doesn't deal out punish¬ments by the hundred!'
'Oh, old Nosey does!' grinned Felicity. 'Was she as bad hi your time, Darrell, always nosing into this and that?'
'Never you mind,' said Darrell, remembering how she herself as a second-former had scrambled down to breakfast once with only one stocking on. 'How's that awful Josephine getting on?'
'Oh, throwing her weight about as usual,' said Felicity. 'Susan and I don't take much notice of her. It's when she comes up against June that she gets it hot! June simply pulverizes her! Serves her right.'
Darrell was quite sure that June would be able to pulverize' anyone, as Felicity called it. June was Alicia's -Ming cousin, a very tough and aggressive young person, ·nlv slightly mellowed so far by her stay at Malory lowers. She was very like Alicia, and had Alicia's quick 'ongue and sharp humour. She also had Alicia's love of ru ks, and everyone who taught her had learned to keep ;>,'v sharp e e indeed on lime
Except Mam'zelle Dupont! Anyone could play a joke on her and get away with it. But it was getting more difficult now, since Mam'zelle had discovered that there were actually booklets and leaflets sent out by firms, describing their jokes and tricks. She had made an intensive study of these, and was now much more on the alert.
'Do you remember when Mam'zelle played a trick on usT said Felicity, giggling as she remembered. 'She bought a set of false celluloid teeth and fitted them over her own - do you remember? And everyone she smiled at had a fit, she looked so monstrous!'
'Yes, I shall never forget,' said Darrell. 'Dear old Mam'zelle. 1 do wish she'd play a "treek" this last term. That's her one and only so far.'
One or two girls still hadn't come back, because of illness or some good reason Moira in the sixth form was due back that day. She and Sally worked well together over the games time-tables and matches - but otherwise Moira was still not very likeable.
'She's always so jolly sure of herself - so determined to be cock-of-the-walk!' complained the girls. 'Never in the wrong, mustn't be contradicted - the great high-and- mighty Moira!'
Darrell caught sight of Amanda, the new sixth-lormer, going past. Something in the determined, confident walk reminded her of Moira. She smiled to herself.
'How will Moira like Amanda? It'll be funny to watch them together. There'll be some battles this term! Well - it's always more interesting when things happen. I wouldn't want my very last term to be dull.'
She went to the common-room after breakfast to find the others in her form. Sally was there, and Mary-Lou and Belinda.
The bell for the first class will soon go.' said Darrell. '1 suppose vve'd better go down.'
Someone knocked at the door. 'Come in!' called Darrell. A scared-looking second-former put her nose round the door. 'Please,' she began.
'Come right in,' said Belinda. 'We like to know the face has got a body. We shan't eat you!'
The second-former inserted her body into the room loo. 'Please,' she said, 'Miss Grayling says will one of you take the new girls to her. She says not the new sixth- former, but any others in North Tower. She's waiting now.'
'Right,' said Darrell. 'Buzz off. Are the girls waiting in the hall, as usual?'
'Yes, please,' said the scared one, and buzzed off thankfully.
'I'll take the kids in/ said Mary-Lou, getting up. New girls always had to go to the Head on the morning of the second day. Miss Grayling liked to give them an idea of what was expected of them at Malory Towers and. as a rule, no girl forgot those few grave words. Darrell had never forgotten them.
She remembered them now and suddenly put out a hand to stop Mary-Lou.
'Mary-Lou - let me take them in. It's my job, anyway - and I just feel I'd somehow like to hear Miss Grayling talk to the new girls as she once talked to us. I'll go!'
'Right,' said Mary-Lou, understanding at once. She sat down again. Darrell went out of the room and into the hall. The n
ew girls were there, five of them. Three were first-formers, one was a second-former and one a third-former. They all looked uncomfortable and rather scared.
'It's the head-girl!' hissed the third-former. 'Mind vour Ps and Qs.'
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Nobody had any intention of not minding them. The little first-formers looked with wide eyes at this big, important sixth-former. Darrell remembered how scared she had been of sixth-formers too, six vears back, and
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she smiled kindly at them.
'Come along, kids. I'll take you in. Don't look so scared. You've come to the finest school in the world, so you're lucky!'
Darrell took the five girls to the Head Mistress's room, and stopped outside a door painted a deep cream colour. She knocked.
A low, familiar voice called out, 'Come in!'
Darrell opened the door. 'I've brought the new girls to you, Miss Grayling,' she said.
'Thank you, Darrell,' said the Head. She was sitting at her desk, writing, a grey-haired, calm-faced woman, with startlingly blue eyes and a determined mouth. She looked at the five trembling girls standing in lront ol her, her blue eyes going from one to the other, considering each girl closely.
What did she see in them? Darrell wondered. Did she see the bad - and the good ? Did she see which girls could be trusted and which couldn't? Did she know which of them would accept responsibility and do well in the school, and which would be failures?
Miss Grayling spoke to each girl in her low, clear voice, asking their names and forms. Then she addressed them all gravely. Darrell listened as intently as the youngsters, remembering the words from six years back.
T want you all to iisten to me for a minute or two. One clay you will leave this school and go out into the world as young women. You should take with you eager minds, kind hearts and a will to help. You should take with you a good understanding of many things and a willingness to accept responsibility, and show yourselves as women to be loved and trusted. All these things you will be able to learn at Malory Towers - if you will.'