Maynard is a Common Surname by Someone
Summary: When Alistair MacDonald is posted in the Tyrol, his wife, Mollie, is happy to be back. She wants to find her brother, with whom she lost contact decades ago. After all, he'll be lonely having lived alone for so long with only a maid for company. Little does she know, there's a suprise in store for her...
Categories: Ste Therese's House Characters: Bride Bettany, Cecil Maynard, Charles Maynard, Con Maynard, David Russell, Dick Bettany, Felicity Maynard, Felix Maynard, Geoff Maynard, Jack Maynard, Jackie Bettany, Jem Russell, Jo (Bettany) Maynard, Len Maynard, Madge (Bettany) Russell, Margot Maynard, Mike Maynard, Minor character(s), Mollie (Carew) Bettany, Peggy Bettany, Phil Maynard, Reg Entwistle, Rix Bettany, Roger Richardson, Ruey Richardson, Stephen Maynard, Sybil Russell
School Period: Future
School Name: Chalet School
Genre: Family, Romance
Challenges:
Series: Maynard Madness
Chapters: 8 Completed: No Word count: 4977 Read: 15391 Published: 30 Dec 2013 Updated: 14 Mar 2014

1. Arrival by Someone

2. Fish and Chips by Someone

3. The Summit of the Sonnenscheinspitze by Someone

4. A Former Pupil by Someone

5. Das Haus Rot by Someone

6. The Snow by Someone

7. Mollie Visits Die Blumen... by Someone

8. ...and So do Her Children by Someone

Arrival by Someone
"I'm going for a walk, dear." Mollie MacDonald, née Maynard, kissed her husband and donned her brown fur coat and flowery hat and stepped outside the door of their new house, Das Haus Rot, on the shores of the Tiernsee.

She breathed in the dry, fresh air of the Tyrolean Alps and began to walk briskly, her heels making a business-like clipping sound on the frosted grass.

She sat down on a bench and deliberated as to what to do first. She could head up to the Sonnalpe and visit the Russells, or her little brother, Jack, in the house which she had had built for him. Or, she could visit the Chalet School, and see how it was getting on after all these years.

Well, it wouldn't be fair to visit the Russells before Jack, and her brother would probably be at work at the big Sanatorium. She had no particular desire to go home and help Alistair unpack, she had already helped him get through all of the boxes bar two, and she had finished exploring their new house and deciding what should go where, so that just left the School. Yes, she would visit the School.

On her way, she found her seven children, Matthew, Peter, Ermintrude, Oliver, Betty, George and Jane, all now in their twenties, walking primly along the lake-path like the well brought-up young people they were. She waved to them, and Ermintrude called to her.

"You were right, Mother. The lake really IS bluer than anything we've ever seen!" Then, she remembered that a lady does not raise her voice, and dried up.

Mrs. MacDonald kept on walking until she reached the familiar old Chalet. She opened the gate in the fence and walked briskly up the lawn.

A group of girls were sitting, well muffled up, on the lawn, painting the frosted grass.

A young woman sat at an easel facing them, teaching them about adding effect to their paintings. She had a well-modulated voice, a familiar sounding voice which she couldn't quite place, and when the teacher turned her face towards her, she saw that her face was the same - it tugged at her memory, but she couldn't quite place it.

So instead, she admired it, for it certainly was pretty. She had a slightly tip-tilted nose with a sprinkling of freckles across it, and a small mouth with well-cut, ruby-red lips, but her most prominent feature was her smoky grey eyes, which were soft and gentle at the moment, but Mrs. MacDonald guessed that their stare could turn piercing if you dared disobey her. She had chestnut hair tied back loosely with a yellow ribbon, and she wore a yellow trench coat and a matching hat with a small brim - one of those hats that look like bowlers, only with flat tops. Her scarf was also yellow, and she wore nailed boots over thick yellow socks and stockings. So, she was experienced in the Alps.

"Excuse me, do you have an appointment with Miss Annersley?"

"Miss Annersley?" Mrs. MacDonald was taken aback.

"Yes, the Head. Take that as a 'no', then." Without realising, the woman had dropped into the speech pattern she used at home.

"What about Mademoiselle LePâttre?"

The woman's face clouded over. "She died."

"When?"

"When the School moved to Guernsey during the war. The year we were born."

"We?"

"Yes, she's a triplet!" said one of the girls impressively. Her face was similarly nice to look at, with big black eyes and curly black hair down to her hips.

"A triplet?" asked Mrs. MacDonald.

"Shut it, Cecil!" called the teacher over her shoulder. "Sorry, I don't speak to all of them like that, she's my sister. Yes, I'm a triplet. That's not important right now. Miss Maynard." She held her hand out for the visitor to shake.

"Mrs. MacDonald. I used to teach here. I was also Miss Maynard!"

She failed to register the young woman's thoughtful expression as she turned to walk into the Chalet, thinking identical thoughts, but coming to a different conclusion.

After all, Maynard is a common surname, isn't it?
Fish and Chips by Someone
On the second day of the holidays, the MacDonald clan, excluding the parents, went for one of their prim Winter walks. They strolled in single file along the lake-path, and started to climb the Sonnenscheinspitze mountain. As they reached a fork in the path, one way leading to the summit, the other round the back of the mountain, they stopped, indecisive.

"I believe" said Matthew "that the back of the mountain is a more suitable walk for the attire in which we are clothed. You know what Mother would say if we came back with our garments smeared in a most unsavoury substance." (He meant mud, by the way.)

"Splendid, old chap!" said Peter. "We would find ourselves most refreshed, but not taxed."

"Oh, but boys" protested Ermintrude "surely the point of walking on a mountain is to attempt to reach the summit? It would be a novel tale to relate to Mother and Father, would it not?"

Everyone looked shocked.

"Ermintrude!" gasped Betsy. "Think what you are saying! Mother would surely not consent to allow us to roam up mountains as ladies! It is most unladylike! It is against everything which we have been brought up to believe!"

Jane, who had been having similar thoughts to her eldest sister, wavered, but Ermintrude held firm.

"No, surely that is not true, for Mother climbed many a mountain with the young ladies of the Chalet School. I am going. I know by now how to prevent my attire from being contaminated with any unsavoury dust which may otherwise choose to cling to me."

So Ermintrude set off alone, walking in the elegant gait (which included straight legs) which had been drummed into her ever since she took her first steps. It was not long before her legs began to ache and she looked around for a bench or some other suitable place to rest.

She spotted a hollow, created by two weeping willow trees which had grown entwined over the years and now shielded whoever was inside from the world with its thick blanket of leaves.

Approaching it, she was surprised to hear voices coming from it, many voices, raised in happy chatter. While the voices suggested many people, they all seemed to be having one conversation. A meeting, perhaps. Then a thought struck her. What if it was a criminal meeting? Or at least some sort of illicit activity? Ermintrude had been Head Girl at her school, the ridiculously posh Queen Anne's. She had been very effective, as she could sniff out trouble almost before it happened, and she had had a knack for making sure that the culprits were apprehended and given a suitable punishment. She could not bear the thought of wrongdoing going unpunished. She braced herself and strode in in her best 'you've-been-caught' way.

Everyone stopped and turned to stare curiously at her. It was a very mixed bag of people. There were both genders, various ages, different nationalities, but there was one very puzzling thing: most of them looked like her.

There were too many to describe individually, but most had blue eyes which she recognised instantly: they were identical to those of her mother and some of her siblings. They stared at her, she stared at them. Some were dark. Some were blonde. Many were red-headed. Some wore crisp white dresses. Others wore jeans. Some were pristine. Some were scruffy. Most were somewhere in between. But still, there were those eyes. Why did those strangers bear such a family resemblance to her when she had never seen them before?

The strangers ponderings were along the same lines as hers. This new intruder was the same, but different. Her chocolate brown eyes caught theirs as being familiar. She had inherited their colour from her father, but their shape from her mother. Her hair, like theirs, was curly, and, like them, she had a mixture of blonde and dark genes on both sides of the family, only where, for the party so happily seated around the hollow, this had resulted in everything from a lovely Titian chestnut to a rich gold threaded with red, in Ermintrude's case it had darkened from her babyhood tea-colour to a brown which was neither dark nor light, but midway between, although nearer the dark end of the spectrum than the light. Her lips were very small and shrewed, but a soft rose-red which was pleasant to look at.

Her clothes were outrageously outdated. She wore a purple dress which came down to her mid-calves, in a cut reminiscient of fashion in the First World War. Her dainty feet were clad in spats with Louis heels and her coat was a black ankle-length garment againin the style of seventy years ago. It was trimmed with white faux fur and she had a hat to match and a white faux fur muff. Her hair was loose about her shoulders, coming midway down her back, and, although this could not be seen under the hat, it was clipped back off her face with hair slides decorated with sprays of white and purple fabric roses.

Her eyes roved disapprovingly over their poses. They were all seated comfortably on the ground or on a branch, slouching around. One well-built young blonde man had his arm around the waist of a delicately pretty chestnut-haired, grey-eyed young woman, who was leaning against his shoulder. Ermintrude sniffed disdainfully. Then she sniffed again. And again. Her nose, set at an elegant angle, had caught the whiff of fish and chips.

Fish and chips. That holy combination. That meal that rots the stomach and the teeth with its high fat content. The common, badly-bred people's dinner, so their mother had told them whenever they had dared to ask for it. Only the most tempting odour that had ever reached Ermintrude's pretty little nose.

She looked around and spied many a package of the heavenly dinner dotted around the hollow. Then she spoke.

"May I...I mean, may I introduce myself. I am Ermintrude Mary Catherine MacDonald. Who are you?"

"The Mob." answered a young woman with those eyes and a curly red-gold bob.

"What?"

"That is what Jo and Jack call us." said a young girl with an olive complexion and a thick Spanish accent to match it.

"Who are Jo and Jack?" asked Ermintrude.

"They are our parents." chipped in a young angelic looking girl whose thick black ringlets came to her thighs and whose square blue eyes literally sparkled.

"Why do you not call them 'Mother' and 'Father'?" asked Ermintrude, but then had a thought. "I say, are they Josephine and John or Joseph and Jaqueline?"

"Josephine and John." said a curly-haired beauty clad in jeans. "And most of us do call them Mamma and Papa - Mamma likes to do things differently - but some of us - not me - are adopted, but Mamma and Papa never pretend to be their real parents, so all their wards call them by their Christian names."

"Oh, I see." said Ermintrude, who plainly didn't. "And now suppose you tell me your names."

After collecting each name, one of the younger girls - introduced as Poppy - asked suddenly "How old are you?"

"Twenty-seven."

"Gosh!" said Poppy. "That's older than Roger! He's twenty-five. I'm five."

"Would you like a chip?" asked the chestnut-haired woman who was called Len.

"No-" Ermintrude broke off mid-word. "We are not really allowed them."

"Not allowed chips?!" cried everyone in unison.

"No. Mother says that they are for badly-bred children. She does not like them, but they smell so tempting."

"Go on!" said Margot. "She'll never know!"

And quite before she knew it, Ermintrude was eating chips with the Mob and complaining about the strict rules imposed on her and her siblings. She was happy to be with them and arranged to meet them in the same hollow the next day so that they might be introduced to the other six MacDonalds.

Then, she swanned home and bragged unashamedly to them about having eaten chips.
The Summit of the Sonnenscheinspitze by Someone
The next day, Ermintrude approached her siblings.

"Have we any plans for how to spend the day? For on a glorious day like today, surely we must go outside?"

"I believe, from the twinkle in your eye, sister dear, that we need not plan, as you have already." smiled Peter.

"Yes, you believe correctly." returned his sister.

---

An hour later, the MacDonalds' eldest daughter was happily leading her siblings to the foot of the Sonnenscheinspitze.

"I promised that we would meet them here." she told them almost excitedly. "I am to introduce you all and we are to meet their cousins. Their mother, you see, has twins in the family, a brother and sister, and both are married, with families. They say that their cousins have mostly left school, but there are sixteen-year-old twin boys, and they have a fourteen-year-old cousin."

"You have still not explained who 'they' are." pointed out Betsy. "I, personally, am envisioning a crowd of young men."

"Ah." teased Oliver "All females do at your age."

Betsy was too well-brought-up to rise, so Ermintrude explained.

"They are a crowd of, apparently, brothers and sisters, some adopted, of varying ages. The eldest is 25 years old. They youngest are barely a few months of age - actually, no, nearly a year, Len told me. Ah, there she is!"

They spotted a young woman who was waving frantically. Ermintrude waved back, in a more stately way.

"Come on, you people!" cried Len, then grinned round at them all as they reached her. "Follow me, and we'll meet everybody else."

Introductions were made, Len to Matthew, Peter, Oliver, Betsy, George and Jane, and the MacDonalds to the Maynards' cousins.

"These are Peggy, Rix, Bride, Jackie, Maurice, Maeve and Daphne; Davie, Sybil, Josette, Ailie, Kevin and Kester."

Hands were shaken, much to many people's surprise, the Maynards had not made any implication as to the formality of the MacDonalds' manners.

"Come on." said Josette. "Let's go."

---

It was an exhausting climb for the MacDonalds, who had never climbed before and had not expected to, and had walked in a stately manner with decidedly straight legs. They were grateful when they could seat themselves down neatly on the soft grass where, with their backs straight and chins up, they struck a sharp contrast with the lolling Maynards, Bettanys and Russells.

Everyone was grateful for the lavish picnic that the families' various maids had provided, and again the MacDonalds stood out as they ate daintily, mostly taking the meat pies and apples. The others took everything, being starving hungry.

The talk turned to family matters, and George puffed himself up, looking important.

"Mother has decided that, as we have settled here, she is to find her eldest brother and re-unite with him. He is a doctor at the Sonnalpe Sanatorium."

Len frowned as she nibbled a patê-filled roll. Her conversation with the first Miss Maynard had returned to her, and things were slowly sliding into place. Yes, Papa had a sister who had married and moved away...

---

That evening, the group went into town. The Maynards had recounted the amazing tale of how the MacDonalds had never eaten fish and chips. That was their dinner.
A Former Pupil by Someone
The next day, Mollie herself went for a stroll round by the lake.

She could see two figures in the distance, one smaller than the other. They got closer and closer, and they proved to be a mother and a young girl, the latter of whom was clinging to her mother's hand.

The girl, she had never seen before, and yet she was still familiar, in that same way as Miss Maynard had been. Her eyes were big and blue and her hair was primrose-fair in a way that reminded her of her mother. The heart-shape of her face and the well-cut lips reminded Mollie of someone, but the blue frock coat, tam o' shanter and Mary-Janes showed her nothing. She was pouring forth to her mother about something that Mollie was too far away to hear, and the woman was nodding happily and adding in her own remarks.

Then Mollie got a proper look at the mother.

Her hair was long, she was taller, she had subtle curves now, but there was no mistaking her, the look in her black eyes was exactly the same as Mollie remembered it, she was unmistakably...

"Joey!" she cried, and the little girl stared at her as though she were mad, but the recognition in Jo's face was palpable.

"Maynie." she smiled. Oh, dear. As soon as Jack had got wind of her arrival in the Tyrol, they had made a plan to approach her together and break the news of her marriage gently to her. Jack had promised to do all the talking, but Jo was still quite certain that she would be called upon to say something, and she knew that she was going to be asked why. She wasn't quite sure how one tells one's former Mathematics teacher - the worst subject ever - that one has fallen for their eldest brother, no matter how fall-for-able he is.

But Jack wasn't here. She would have to handle this alone.

"Is that you daughter?" asked Mollie. Jo nodded, reasoning that there was no point in lying.

"Are you married?" Mollie gave a little laugh. "Of course, none of us ever believed you.when you said you'd be a maiden aunt! Now you're married and with a child to boot! I suppose you've found a nice politician, like I have, to take care of you and your affairs. Same age as you, probably, none of this nonsense about marrying an older or younger man! You'll have to point him out to me one day." she finished, leaving Jo staring open-mouthed after her.
Das Haus Rot by Someone
A few days later, the MacDonald seven gathered in the sitting-room while their parents had a long and boring conversation about God knows what.

"I believe" began Oliver "that the Maynards are very much the undignified types that Mother warned us off when we were small children."

"Oliver!" cried Ermintrude, who had taken a real shine to what she had seen of the Mob. "You cannot say that! You barely know them!"

"Yet" said Peter "you know them little better. How can you be sure of their respectability?"

Ermintrude was inscensed, speechless with rage. The belief that her brothers thought that her new-found friends were unsuitable was alien to her. She did not make many friends as a rule, but the 'Die Blumen Lot' and their cousins were so...attractive.

Jane came to her sister's rescue. "Surely they deserve a chance?! Quite frankly, I believe them to be most well-mannered."

Matthew joined in at this point. He felt that, as the eldest, it was his duty to keep the family together and in with the right crowd.

"If I were to honestly express my opinion of them, I am rather worried about their upbringing - meaning, of course, their parents."

"Why? What will you find fault with now?" demanded Jane. Ermintrude just glared at her brothers.

"Well" explained Matthew "there seem to be an awful lot of them. To put it bluntly, I worry about..." He paused. "about how much they have been told, and at what age. You understand, about...Biology." he said delicately, before continuing. "I am concerned about what effect the parents'...possible behaviour may have on the innocence of the children."

Betsy's hand had flown to her mouth. Now, though, she felt called upon to help her sisters and their new friends. "What do you suggest we do?"

"I do not suggest that we do anything." said Matthew smoothly "Merely that Mother may like to meet up with this family's parents and speak to them so that she may determine what they are like and deduce whether the Maynards are suitable from there."

"We are not babies." snapped Betsy "We do not need her organising our affairs for us. We have all left school, she now trusts us to pass our own judgement."

"As the eldest, it is my responsibility to see that you don't pass incorrect judgement!" cried Matthew heatedly.

"Oh, really!" shrieked Betsy shrilly. "Well, you might as well say that to their poor little faces!"

"That would not be polite!" said Matthew triumphantly.

"Polite!" cried Betsy. "Where is the politeness in this discussion?" She suddenly turned on George, who had been watching the scene unfold with horrified eyes. "Where are you in this?"

George, surprised at being called on so suddenly, said nothing at first, but then slowly turned to his brothers.

"The girls are right. You have no right to make negative assumptions about the respectability of our fellows without a shred of evidence."

"Do numbers not count?" cried Peter.

"How do you know that the parents were unconventional about it?" countered George neatly. Ermintrude gave a sniff.

"Come on. Let us go and be no longer in the company of such...such utter...cads!"

Everyone gasped at her language, but Jane, George and Betsy swept out of the drawing-room into Ermintrude's boudior, and there, they decided that they were hungry, and Jane was halfway to the door before she turned on her heel and rang the bell instead. Well-brought-up people like themselves, go into the kitchen? They must be losing their touch!

But still...the Mob seemed to be perpetually hungry...

Ermintrude laughed as she leant back - what bad breeding! - in her chair. Maybe they were being subconciously influenced!

Be as that may, for the first time ever, a rift had been caused in the MacDonald family.
The Snow by Someone
Ermintrude would have liked to have spoken to the Maynards the next day, to warn them what her three eldest brothers thought of them, and besides, she was quite sure that Len, her own particular favourite, would know what to do, but she couldn't, because the next day, the snows came.

She had woken up that morning to find sparkling drops of white starting to drift past her window. She would have gone out despite them but, as the day went on, the flakes danced faster and faster and even Ermintrude, whose prissy-prim nature hid a steely constitution, was forced to admit that staying at home appeared to be the only option.

All seven of them watched, entranced, as the snow began its dance, faster and faster, wilder and wilder, like poor old Karen and her cursd red shoes, until the MacDonalds felt quite dizzy watching it.

They had never had snow like this in New Zealand, and, very proper though they were, they could not help their minds filling with happy thoughts of tobogganning and skiing, sledging and skating. Perhaps the Maynards would teach them.

"I want to apologise." said Peter suddenly. "I have thought over my words and realised that what I said about the Maynards was, in fact, quite misguided."

Ermintrude did a little mental jig of joy. It was five and two now, but boy, those two were going down fighting!
Mollie Visits Die Blumen... by Someone
When at last the snow stopped, Mollie went out for a walk to clear her head. It had been a while since she had seen Tyrolean snow and she wanted to remember what it was like.

She remembered her resolution on first arriving in the Tyrol and remembered that she had not yet visited Die Blumen to see if her brother was still there and, if he was, how he was getting on.

She changed her direction and walked briskly up to the Sonnalpe and at last came to Die Blumen. She rang the doorbell and, much to her surprise, Jo answered.

"Jo!" cried Mollie in greeting. "I didn't know you lived here!"

To her puzzlement, Jo blushed. "I...I've lived here ever since we...my family and I...moved here...the Tyrol, that is!"

"And Jo, do you know where Jack is now? My brother?"

Jo looked even more uncomfortable.

"Er. He's...still at the...San." Then she broke off. She did not know how she was to explain away knowing Jack's exact location. When the right moment was upon them, Jack had promised to do the talking.

"Oh." Mollie smiled pleasantly, then spotted some knitting left in an armchair. "I didn't know you could knit, Jo!"

"I can't." Jo admitted. "It's my daughter's."

"Oh, do you have a daughter?" demanded Mollie curiously.

Jo briefly considered coming out and telling her former teacher (now her sister-in-law, thought Jo uncomfortably) everything, without Jack's help, but almost immediately abandoned the idea. She was very bad at explaining, and she also wondered what her husband would have to say.

"Yes." she said guardedly.

"And you still meed to introduce me to your husband!" beamed Mollie, with no idea of how awkward she was making the younger woman feel. "Or is it someone I know?"

That nearly finished Jo, but she kept her counsel and merely nodded, aware of the ambiguity of this answer.

Mollie, to Jo's relief, gave Jo a last smile and departed. Jo shut the door and then used it as a shiled so that her former teacher would not see her mime wiping sweat from her brow.

"Now, Vina!" she smiled at her young daughter, who was sitting on the hearthrug playing with her dolls. "That was close! You should pity your father and I, you should!"
...and So do Her Children by Someone
"Ermintrude!"

Ermintrude looked up at the sound of the voice calling her name and she saw Len waving.

"Len!"

"You bored?"

Ermintrude was reluctant to critisise the activity her mother had picked out for her - a quiet stroll -, but she was forced to admit that her friend was right.

"Yes."

"Come to ours!" offered Len readily. "You can meet Mamma!"


"Oh, that would be lovely, thank you." smiled Ermintrude. "I am not accquainted with your mother."

"Oh, you might have heard of her!" called Len. "Lots of girls have read her books and you'd be the right age."

"Her books." said Ermintrude primly. "Expound."

"She's Josephine M. Bettany!" shrieked Len, who was immensely proud of this fact.

"Oh, yes." Ermintrude nodded. "Mother wished we girls to read them. She taught her mathematics."

Len frowned. It looked as though things were beginning to fall into place.

"But I found them unsuitable, as did Mother, and she stopped us reading them." continued Ermintrude and Len was stunned. "She said that she was very disappointed that a Chalet Old Girl could write such sinful rubbish."

"Whyever did she say that?!" demanded Len.

"Well, what we read was Tessa in Tyrol, and it promoted bad and ungainly behaviour."

"How?"

"Well, Tessa runs down the stairs with such grea regularity, and not once is she reprimanded for lack of decorum!"

"Well, maybe you'll change your mind once you've met her." Len caught Ermintrude by her arm and dragged her off, allowing her, though, to collect her siblings, who had patched up their quarrel, but Oliver and Matthew still had their doubts about the Maynards.

Len led them up the mountain-path and along a shelf to a lovely white chalet with a blue roof. There was a white palisade fence running round it and screwed to one panel to the left of the gate was a ceramic sign with an Art Nouveau design and curly writing which read "Die Blumen". The MacDonalds gave up on counting storeys and windows, as there were many, of the sash kind, painted white like the walls. There were no frescos, as there were on Das Haus Rot, but it was still very nice to look at. A generously sized garden, one side of which was edged by forest, surrounded the house.

"This is the place." smiled Len. "The door's always unlocked during the day when there's someone in the house. We're like cats, we come and go as and when we please."

She pushed open the door, and called, at the top of healthy lungs "MAMMA! WE HAVE VISITORS!"

A call floated back down the stairs. "Oh, good! Anyone we know?"

"They're my new friends!" returned Len. "The MacDonalds!"

"Oh, good!" came back the call.

It was followed by a woman who certainly did not look her fifty years - so much so, in fact, that Ermintrude wondered if she really was old enough to be Len's mother - and her face showed openness, and a fluttering manner, slightly hectic, and feverish in her actions. She struck such a contrast from Ermintrude's own mother that she wondered if this strange woman really was a mother, with a successful writing career to boot.

"Pleased to meet you, Mrs...?" Matthew drew out the end of the greeting so that it became a question.

"Maynard." supplied the woman. "And it's Joey. You might as well start as you're bound to finish!" She shook the MacDonalds' proffered hands with equanimity.

"Are you, then," asked Betsy of Len "the second Miss Maynard who my mother met on our first day here?"

Len nodded thoughtfully. "Yes." she said slowly after a while.

"So!" smiled Joey suddenly. "What're we going to do?"

Everyone thought for a minute.

"Come on!" interrupted Jo, leading the crowd into the sitting room.

"Could we ask the Bettanys and Russells to come?" asked a girl with very pale skin and hair that was dark to an equal measure. The MacDonalds had not met her before, as she disliked going outside during the Winter months and had, when her siblings were outside, stayed indoors, attempting to get through the enormous pile of holiday homework that the teacher at the small day school that she and Cecil attended had set her unfortunate class. (Cecil herself was procrastinating doing it.) She had, however, been mentioned in conversation, and the MacDonalds knew her to be Maidlin Sanders.
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