|As the mistresses read the various parts of the play, pausing occasionally for Miss Annersley to explain the setting, the Chalet girls were too engrossed to notice that the Head Girl was missing. When she sidled in late, halfway through the reading, she was able to take a seat at the back without anyone seeing her. |
Earlier, a very bored Puck had approached Len; she was slim and pretty and had hair just like a Cheerio, plus she was the Head Girl, and he appreciated prestige as much as looks. But it wasn’t easy. Didn’t she realise he was interested? His best chat-up lines had elicited nothing more from Len than a comment that if he didn’t try to improve his grammar, he’d have the Headmistress down on him (a comment that made him pause for a while until he figured out that Len did not mean what he thought she meant). When he attempted to impress her with his muscles, she recommended putting on a blazer before he caught his death of cold. And then Matey would be down on him as well (another, shuddering, pause).
He had to rethink his tactics. Clearly his usual ones weren’t going to get him anywhere. So he turned on the full force of his brown eyes.
“Actually I wanted to ask for your help. You see, I’m no good at languages. Is there any way you could...”
“Oh, don’t be silly,” said Len. “You’ll be speaking French and German fluently in no time. You won’t be able to help it when you hear nothing else all day. I’d be happy to give you some vocabulary, and if you study ten words every day, you’ll find it will really help.”
“Oh yes,” said Puck, “I’d really like you to give me some.... vocabulary.”
“Come along,” said the oblivious Len, and with a smirk, Puck followed.
He had to pretend to study the lists she gave him for a moment, but when she offered him lemonade, he added his own special ingredient to both glasses when she wasn’t looking, and from then on he found things went much more easily for him.
When they left the Head Girl’s study, Len’s jaunty ponytail was looking decidedly dishevelled, and Puck had to hold on to her to stop her from weaving all over the corridor. He was feeling rather pleased with himself when a voice interrupted his thoughts.
“Len? Are you feeling all right?”
A doctor was approaching them.
“I just popped over to bring Matron some supplies,” he went on. “Is there anything I can do?”
“Who’s this dude?” asked Puck.
“That’s Reg,” Len giggled. “He knows what he wants, apparently.”
“I know what he wants – a knuckle sandwich.”
Reg made the mistake of demanding that Puck step away from Len, which he did, only to stride towards the doctor with his fists up. Len almost fell over, and leaned against the wall while she waited for the floor to stop moving. Reg put up his own fists, which shook, and squared up to the interloper.
Len decided to escape to Hall.
Reg ended up out cold on the floor and having to be dragged to San.
Puck ended up in Miss Annersley’s office, waiting under Miss Dene’s supervision for her to return. He wasn’t too worried. They might be old ladies, but they weren’t bad looking.
Len found it hard to sit upright, but luckily nobody was looking at her. They were all watching Rachel, who stood up and cleared her throat, much to the astonishment of the reading Staff.