Naughtiest Girl 9: Naughtiest Girl Wants To Win, Page 2Enid Blyton
Elizabeth was stunned but nevertheless as the actress turned and came racing back, she rushed to meet her, her autograph book outstretched.
‘Please, Miss Dane, will you sign this for me?’ she gasped.
The girl turned on her in contempt. The transformation from her screen persona was now complete. Gone were the pretty smile and warm manner. The eyes glittered, the expression was hard.
‘Of course I won’t, you little pest!’ She brushed Elizabeth’s book away. ‘Can’t you see I’m in a hurry?’
The autograph book went flying out of Elizabeth’s hand and landed in a puddle.
‘My book!’ cried Elizabeth furiously, as she dived to rescue it. ‘You’ve made it all wet and messy!’
‘Just like you, then!’ Kerry Dane called back over her shoulder, as she ran the last few steps to the waiting car.
She scrambled on board and the car zoomed away.
Elizabeth stood there for a moment or two, clutching her book, speechless at the girl’s rudeness.
‘How mean!’ said Joan, taking the book and gently wiping it with a tissue.
‘Did you see what she did with those beautiful flowers?’ asked Elizabeth, finding her voice. ‘Lovely fresh flowers too – wasn’t that a cruel thing to do?’
‘We thought she would be such a nice person,’ said Joan, every bit as shocked as Elizabeth. ‘But she isn’t. She isn’t nice at all.’
‘She’s absolutely horrible!’ stated Elizabeth.
Julian had not been under the spell of Kerry Dane’s film, having never seen it.
‘You told your father we were going to meet the real Kerry Dane,’ he pointed out. He gave a wry smile. ‘And now we have.’
‘Daddy!’ realized Elizabeth, in horror. ‘The train! Now we’re going to miss the train!’
‘No, we’re not,’ said Julian, glancing at his watch. ‘Not if we run!’
‘I’ll give Daddy the flowers to take back for Mummy!’ exclaimed Elizabeth, darting back to the dustbin. ‘That will cheer him up!’
Five minutes later Elizabeth had cheered up considerably herself. She had said goodbye to her father and now they were safely aboard the train.
‘You see, Julian! I told you we had plenty of time!’
It had been an embarrassing episode. It had been humiliating. Kerry Dane had turned out to be a completely different person in real life. A hateful person! But Elizabeth had no intention of talking about it to anybody. She could forget all about her now.
She was going back to Whyteleafe, the best school in the world.
The train moved off, then immediately juddered to a halt. Somewhere, right at the back, a late arrival climbed aboard the First Class section laden down with luggage.
Then came the sound of banging doors and another blast from the guard’s whistle . . . and at last they were on their way.
Belinda surprises Elizabeth
‘I’VE ALREADY decided who I’m going to vote for!’ announced Elizabeth some time later, as the train rattled merrily along.
The rain had stopped and the sun was trying to come out. Her raincoat was stowed on the luggage rack and her damp curls were almost dry again in the warm railway carriage. Her father had been too surprised by those lovely fresh flowers to be cross with her. Elizabeth felt at peace with the world again.
Some of her classmates were on the train. They had caught up with their holiday news and then discussed going into the second form. Mr Leslie would be their new form teacher. Julian was pleased about that. Mr Leslie was the science master and a great favourite with the boys. But the girls liked him, too.
‘He’s quite strict about school work, though,’ Joan had told the others. Being older than Elizabeth, Joan was already in the next class and was now a second form monitor. ‘He expects quite a lot from us and is always saying that we’re not first formers any more!’
‘And neither are we!’ Elizabeth had said proudly.
And her thoughts had turned to the forthcoming election for a new head boy and girl. As second formers they were allowed to vote, unlike the first formers and the babies in the junior class!
‘I’ve been thinking about it all holidays,’ she said excitedly. ‘You know, the election for the new heads.’
‘I can’t imagine anyone but William and Rita running the school Meetings,’ confessed Jenny. ‘They were both so marvellous, weren’t they? They were always so fair and came to the right decisions. And we could all look up to them!’
‘Yes, the new ones will have to be people the whole school can look up to!’ agreed Martin.
‘So who are you going to vote for, Elizabeth?’ asked Belinda.
‘For head boy, I think Thomas,’ she replied firmly.
Everybody at once murmured agreement.
‘Yes, he’d be excellent,’ nodded Julian. ‘He’s got real leadership qualities. And who’s your head girl then, Elizabeth?’
Elizabeth hesitated. She didn’t want to rush what she was going to say. It was important to her.
‘I’ve thought about it a lot,’ she said. ‘At first I couldn’t think of anyone who’d be able to step into Rita’s shoes! And then gradually it dawned on me – Emma!’
Elizabeth’s suggestion created an instant buzz of interest.
‘Emma?’ said Belinda.
‘Isn’t she a bit quiet?’ mused Jenny.
But Joan was nodding her head. She had gone into the next carriage earlier, to talk to her friend Susan. And she’d noticed Emma sitting with some new junior pupils who’d looked rather scared and homesick. Joan had admired the way that the senior girl was finding time to chat to them and was getting them to smile.
‘I think I agree with you, Elizabeth,’ she said eagerly. ‘I do believe Emma would be just right. In her own special way, that is.’
‘Yes. Excellent,’ said Julian, after thinking about it.
But Martin looked doubtful.
‘She seems sort of shy to me,’ he said. ‘Especially as she’d have to speak up in front of the whole school all the time. And make sure to hold everyone’s attention! Emma’s nice but she’s sort of soft-spoken . . .’
‘Strong underneath, though!’ decided Julian. ‘There’s no softness there, if you ask me. I think Emma’s got authority but it’s the best sort. It’s quiet authority . . .’
‘Rita wasn’t exactly loud, Martin!’ Elizabeth pointed out, rather impatiently. ‘I bet Rita was very like Emma before she was elected head girl. Was she, Belinda? You must have been at Whyteleafe then.’
Belinda had been at Whyteleafe longer than the others. She had joined in the junior class. She frowned now, deep in thought.
‘Why, Elizabeth, I do believe you’re right! I remember overhearing some of the teachers say that Rita was a bit too young and as quiet as a mouse and might not be able to keep order! But they were proved wrong. Rita was nervous at the first Meeting or two. But after that she was such a success she stayed on as head girl for two years running.’
‘There, Martin!’ said Elizabeth.
‘Lucky the teachers don’t have any say in it then, isn’t it?’ laughed Julian. ‘I think all schools should be run by the pupils, the way ours is.’
‘What about Nora?’ asked Jenny, suddenly. ‘She wouldn’t be nervous of going on the platform.’
‘She’d be good in some ways,’ said Belinda, her mind now made up, ‘but I don’t think she’d be as good as Emma . . .’
They discussed it further. By the end, Elizabeth felt well satisfied. Everyone seemed to agree that Thomas was the right choice for head boy. And apart from Martin, who didn’t know who he wanted, and Jenny, who still favoured Nora, everyone seemed to agree with her about Emma.
Because of the way that Whyteleafe School was run, in Elizabeth�
��s opinion it was extremely important to get the right head boy and head girl. And she’d set her heart on Thomas and Emma. She felt that this discussion was a promising start.
Then suddenly, near the end of the train journey, Belinda raised something which made Elizabeth’s scalp prickle with excitement.
‘We haven’t even talked about our own election! For a monitor to replace Susan. Now she’s going up into the third form, we’ll need someone new. We’ve got Joan, of course, but the second form always has two.’
She was looking straight at Elizabeth!
‘We all think you should be the other monitor, Elizabeth,’ explained Jenny. ‘We talked amongst ourselves at the end of last term and everyone agreed. Would you be willing to stand?’
‘I – I—’
Elizabeth was quite lost for words. Speechless with pleasure! She had already been a monitor once and William and Rita had promised that her chance to be a monitor would surely come again. But she’d never expected it to come so soon!
‘You see, Elizabeth,’ Joan said gently, having been in on the secret, ‘everyone thinks it was very fine the way you stood down in favour of Susan last term. And that it’s only fair you should take her place now she’s going up.’
‘Not to mention all the things you’ve done for the school. Even if we do always think of you as the Naughtiest Girl!’ laughed Kathleen. ‘We were really proud of you last term, Elizabeth. We were proud that you were in our form!’
‘So would you be willing to stand?’ repeated Jenny.
‘Oh, yes, please!’ exclaimed Elizabeth, glancing across at Joan in delight. Their classmates wanted her to be a monitor again, with her best friend Joan! The two of them would be second form monitors together. ‘There’s nothing I’d like better!’ she added.
What a wonderful surprise. What a marvellous term this was going to be!
They all piled off at the station and watched their luggage being loaded on to the school coach. Julian gave Elizabeth’s back a pat. There was an amused gleam in his eyes.
‘Well, well. It looks as though the Naughtiest Girl is going to be made a monitor again. At the first Meeting. When will that be? This Saturday? Can she last that long without misbehaving?’
‘Of course I can, Julian,’ replied Elizabeth, refusing to be amused. ‘I’m going to jolly well make certain of that!’
That, at least, was her intention.
A grand entrance
ON THE coach they joined all the other boys and girls who’d been on the train. There were plenty of new first formers and junior class pupils. They were losing their shyness now and chattering away, excited to think that they’d be seeing their new school very soon. Mr Johns and Miss Thomas, who had both accompanied the train from London, checked names off on a list. Elizabeth and Joan looked round eagerly, wondering if there were any new pupils for their own class.
‘Good. All aboard. Off we go!’ said Mr Johns.
Soon the coach had left the town far behind and was labouring up the steep hill towards the school. A white station taxi overtook them on the hill. There were two large suitcases on its roof rack. Julian, always alert, watched it turn in through the gates of Whyteleafe School, ahead of them.
‘I wonder who’s in that taxi from the station?’ he said to Elizabeth. ‘There would have been room for them on the coach.’
‘Perhaps it’s a new teacher,’ responded Elizabeth absently. She hadn’t even noticed the taxi overtake them.
She was thinking instead about the coming Saturday. She was imagining the scene at the first school Meeting of the year. The results of the election for head boy and head girl would be announced. Thomas and Emma would take their rightful places at the special table on the platform. As a monitor, Joan would be seated on the platform already. Then any new monitors required would be chosen by their respective classmates. Elizabeth would proudly leave the second form benches and take her place up on the platform with Joan and the rest.
Together with the other monitors they would be helping their fine new head girl and head boy to govern the school . . .
The coach pulled up.
‘We’re here now, everyone.’
That was Emma’s voice. The senior girl was standing at the exit, helping the teachers. Some of the new pupils were clambering about, peering out of the windows, trying to get a good look at their new school.
‘No kneeling on seats, please,’ she said, quietly but firmly. ‘All the new children are to leave the coach first. Before you do so, please show me your hand baggage. Nothing is to be left on the bus! The girls will then please line up outside with Miss Thomas and the boys with Mr Johns. You will be shown to your dormitories and have a wash before dinner. Your main luggage will be sent upstairs later.’
Obediently, the new pupils queued up to leave the coach, showing Emma their hand baggage as they went. They were longing to get inside the building now, to see their new living quarters.
So, too, was Elizabeth. She waited impatiently for the last of the younger children to be ushered off the coach. She knew that she and Joan were to be in the same dormitory this year. But who would they be sharing with? And which room?
Just as their turn came to get off the coach, a small fair-haired boy reappeared and clambered back on board. He looked rather scared.
‘Please, miss,’ he said to Emma, blinking, ‘I think I’ve left my teddy bear behind. I was sure it was in my carrier bag.’
‘Don’t look so frightened, Rupert!’ replied the senior girl. ‘We must try to find it quickly. We can’t keep Mr Johns waiting.’
Elizabeth glanced around the empty seats at the front. Suddenly she spotted a furry paw sticking out from under one of the seats.
‘I can see it!’ she laughed, diving forward to pick it up. ‘It’s fallen on the floor!’
She handed it to the grateful boy. What a dear little face he had, she thought. He looked a rather dreamy child.
‘There you are, Rupert,’ smiled Emma. ‘Say thank you to Elizabeth. And my name’s Emma, by the way.’
As the bewildered child ran to join the other new juniors, Emma turned to Elizabeth with a gentle laugh. How pretty she looked when she laughed! thought Elizabeth. And how clever of her to have memorized the boy’s name already. There were so many new ones this term.
‘Well spotted, Elizabeth,’ she said. ‘I think we’re all going to have to keep a motherly eye on Rupert. He’s rather young for his age.’
‘He thinks you’re a teacher, Emma!’
‘He’ll soon find out that I’m just an ordinary pupil, like him,’ laughed the senior girl.
Elizabeth gave Joan a meaningful glance.
‘I very much hope that Emma won’t be an ordinary pupil for much longer!’ she said. ‘Don’t you, Joan?’
‘Yes, she’s certainly got my vote!’ agreed Joan.
‘I can’t understand why Jenny thinks Nora might be better!’ complained Elizabeth.
To their delight, the two friends found that they had been put in Room 14. And they were sharing with Jenny and Kathleen.
‘What a lovely sunny room!’ exclaimed Elizabeth. She ran to the window. ‘And look at the view! We can see right across the grounds. Does anybody want this bed in the corner, or can I have it?’
‘I like this one by the door,’ said Kathleen.
‘And I’m happy with this one by the window,’ said Jenny good-naturedly.
The four girls went off to the bathrooms to wash and tidy up before dinner. When they got back to Room 14, they found their luggage waiting for them. It had been brought up from the coach.
‘What’s in your tuck-box. Elizabeth?’ asked Kathleen, hungrily. ‘Let’s see!’
howed them the big chocolate cake that she’d brought from home, to be shared out at teatime.
‘I know I’ll be starving again by then!’ she said happily. ‘I’m going to practise my table tennis this afternoon, after we’ve unpacked. If I can find someone to practise with!’
Second formers were eligible to play table tennis and to be chosen for school teams. Elizabeth had always loved the game and she knew she was good at it. She was pleased that she was old enough now to play it at Whyteleafe. She was longing to make one of the teams and play matches against other schools.
As they all looked in each other’s tuck-boxes, the four girls got hungrier and hungrier.
‘That strawberry cake, Joan!’ sighed Elizabeth. ‘It’s almost unbearable to look at it.’
‘Mummy and I made it together,’ said Joan proudly.
Luckily, before they could be tempted further, the dinner-bell went.
In fact, it was the second dinner-bell. They had somehow missed hearing the first one.
The girls raced downstairs to the dining-hall, quickly realizing that everybody else was already inside. Dinner was always served late on the first day of term, to allow time for all the pupils to get back. This made the boys and girls very hungry indeed. They knew there would be an extra special meal today, with plenty of delicious meat and gravy and fresh vegetables from the school gardens. No wonder all the other pupils had got there early.
‘What kept you?’ frowned Julian. There was a strange look on his face.
He had saved Elizabeth and Joan places at a big table by the window.
‘What’s the matter with you, Julian?’ laughed Elizabeth. ‘We didn’t hear the first bell, that’s all.’
But she quickly realized that there was something unusual afoot. All their classmates were in a huddle round the table, talking in low voices. Julian’s cousin Patrick kept looking round, as though expecting something.
It wasn’t just happening at their table, either. An air of expectancy hung all around the dining-hall.
‘Whatever’s going on, Julian?’ she asked.