Snuggled deep under her warm plumeau, the brown-headed sleeper did not stir at the gentle knock at her door; did not move as a figure entered and swept the room with the beam of a torch; and did not even twitch as that intruder crossed the room to switch on the bedside lamp. A gentle shake of the sleeper's shoulder did provoke some kind of movement, though it was of a quite unhelpful kind, seeing the sleeper turn her head away and snuggle ever deeper into the bed clothes.
It was only when that gentle shaking became, rather impatiently, significantly more violent that Kathie Ferrars began to be roused from her deep sleep.
"Mmmnance..." she mumbled into the pillow. "Wha' are you doin'?"
Her enquiry was met with something of a derisive snort, and there was something in the tone of that snort that snapped Kathie from her drowsy stupor. Turning to face the figure standing over her, and blinking in the light, she suddenly realised that the late night visitor to her room was not, exactly, the one she might have expected.
"Not Nancy, I'm afraid," the visitor said rather sternly, making a mental note as she did so to question that lady closely. If Nancy Wilmot was indeed in the habit of making excursions into her friend's room at this unearthly hour, words would have to be had.
"Matey!" Kathie exclaimed, now fully awake. "What's going on?"
A few minutes later, there was a gentle tap on Kathie's door, and in slipped Nancy Wilmot, warmly attired in jumper, dressing gown and hat. She was carrying a pair of slippers.
"I do think you owe us a lie-in for this, Matey," she said, with a cheerfulness that Kathie thought quite impressive given the lateness of the hour.
"Nancy, really!" Matey ignored Nancy's suggestion and looked at her critically. "Is the hat really necessary?"
Nancy grinned and shrugged. "You said it was cold up there." She crossed the room, depositing a pair of slippers next to Kathie. "You left those in my room earlier," she murmured quietly.
As Kathie picked them up with a grateful grin - for she had completely forgotten where they were, and hadn't been overly keen to have to hunt for them under Matron's watchful eye - Matey folded her arms across her chest and rolled her eyes.
"When the pair of you have quite finished, we've got a job to do."
"Quite finished what? We're not even doing anything!" Nancy replied rather mutinously. "Chance would be a fine thing, in this place..."
Matron's voice contained a warning note of rebuke, and Kathie, now clad in her own warm clothes, thought it politic to change the subject.
"How has it happened, Matey?"
An hour or so later, sufficient blankets had been distributed to prevent anyone freezing in their sleep, and Matron sent her two helpers back off to bed though, much to Nancy's chagrin, she had not been persuaded to allow either of them a lie-in in the morning.
"I'm far too wide awake to sleep after all that excitement."
"Me too - want some hot milk?"
"Nancy Wilmot, is that really the best offer you can come up with? I might as well go back to my own bed."
"Well, if you don't want hot milk, how about this?"
There was a pause.
"That is a much better offer..."