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A voice reached the two girls. "Robin! Stop a minute! I think we're being followed!"

 

A couple of footsteps followed, and then the sound started to get quieter.

 

"Where did you think of putting the paper?" the same girl asked.

 

"In the stone heap over there," a younger voice from who Miranda thought was the Robin the other girl had mentioned said, "There is a tiny crevice, and Jo and I thought it would be a very safe hiding-place. What do you think, Hilary?"

 

The girl called Hilary pondered for a moment. "It probably would have been," she said, "But not now, Rob. Whoever was after us - and I'll bet it was that sickening small boy - knows of this place. He could easily show someone the way here, and they'd soon pull down that heap of stones and find our vow. I'm sure the Nazis would make a fearful fuss about even a schoolgirl's affair."

 

"Well, what are we to do, then?" asked Robin. "Take it back with us? But then how shall we keep it safe?"

 

"We must take it back with us," said Hilary. "Can you bear the darkness a little, Rob? If so, I'll switch this thing off. It's newly charged, but it would be a pity to use it unnecessarily, when we may need it rather badly later on."

 

"Why? What do you mean?" asked Robin.

 

"Well, whoever was following us seems to have given that up; but I'm fairly certain he'll be sitting at the mouth of this place, waiting to catch us. In that case, the list is unsafer than ever. So I want to see if we can possibly find another way out.

 

"I don't think there is one. Joey and I looked, but we couldn't find one," Robin said.

 

"Quite likely. But then it wasn't a case of have-to. This is. Now, Robin, you get behind those stones, and stay there. I'm going to explore and see what I can find."

 

Although Jodie and Miranda did not know it, Hilary was looking at the passage they were in.

 

Hilary called Robin to her side.

 

"Can you hold me?" asked Robin.

 

"Hold two of you, kiddy. On to my back! Now, get to my shoulders. Right? Then take the torch and see if you can flash it round that cleft. I'll steady you. Carefully, now. We don't want an accident in this hole."

 

Robin reached up and saw into the cleft. Jodie and Miranda could see in the torches light.

Jodie looked at the girl. She looked quite pretty.

 

Robin was shocked to see the two girls. The three didn't utter a word until Hilary called, "What's there, Rob?"

 

"There's two girls, in a passage," Robin managed to say. Hilary lowered her.

 

"Could they be Nazis?" Robin said.

 

"I don't know, it's hard to tell, especially as I haven't seen them," Hilary replied, looking at the cleft.

 

Miranda crawled to the cleft so no-one heard her. Jodie followed her.

 

"HI THERE!" Miranda called.

 

"There is no need to shout," whispered Jodie.

 

"Hello. Who are you?" asked Robin.

 

"I'm Miranda and I came from the future. This is Jodie, also from the future," Miranda said.

 

"Are you Nazis?" the question passed Robins lips before she could stop it.

 

"There aren't any Nazis in the future, so far as I'm aware," Jodie said.

 

"Oh?" was all Robin could say.

 

"We ought to get up there," Hilary said.

 

Robin clambered up Hilary and jumped up into the passage.

 

"Rob, are you all right? What is it like?" Hilary asked.

 

"Half left, I would have thought," Jodie said, cheerfully.

 

"I was speaking to Robin," said Hilary.

 

"Ever so much lighter," said Robin, trying to make peace. "Can you get up, Hilary? I believe we can get out this way, and these two ought to come with us. There must be a big hole somewhere, and it faces to the west, for the sunlight is pouring in,"

 

"Rob! I'm going to toss up the girdle from my frock. See if you can find a knob at either side of the opening to fasten it - clove-hitch knots, mind. Then I'll jump, and if it holds I think I can haul myself up. Are there any knobs?"

 

Jodie found a knob. "There's one here," she said.

 

"And one a little higher," Robin said. "It won't be straight. Will that matter? It is not much,"

 

"So long as it isn't too squint! Here you are; catch!" Hilary tossed up the bundle, and Robin tied it on the knob, and it was secure.

 

"It's ready, Hilary. Can you manage?"

 

"I've got to. Shine the light on it, Rob, so I have some idea where to grab. Now then! I'm coming!" and she managed to get up, and reached there just as Joey entered the cave, although the girls weren't to know.

 

The 4 girls went down the passage, and reached the hole. There was a bush in the way.

Hilary produced her scout-knife, and cut a chunk. They were quiet as they could. Hilary didn't cut much, and the girls wriggled through. Their hair did make it look as if they'd been dragged through a hedge backwards.

 

"We can't stop a minute!" Hilary said, grabbing Robins hand and Jodie's hand. "It will be dark in no time, and I haven't the faintest idea where we are."

 

"I have, though." Robin said. "We are just about ten minutes from the summit, and it is a straight path down to the Sonnalpe. Also, Hilary, it will be a starry night, and the moon rises early. We shall be quite safe. But had we not better return to the picnic place?"

 

"No, straight home is our best bet. Don't talk, you three. Keep your breath for the journey. You'll need it," Hilary said.

 

The 4 girls marched down the path, Hilary setting the pace, and all 4 girls at one point or another felt they'd never get there. Then they saw the twinkling lights of a car.

 

"Hilary! And our Vogelein! What are you doing out here at this hour? And who are the two other girls? I do not recognise them,"

 

"Gottfried!" cried Robin. "Oh, but I am glad to see thee! We have been having a picnic, and Hilary and I were seperated from the rest, and Hilary would come down instead of going to seek them."

 

"Oh, and these two we picked up when we were seperated. Their names are Miranda and Jodie." Hilary added.

 

"Now we will have you all home speedily. Have the others reached school yet?" Gottfried asked.

 

"I've no idea," said Hilary. "I shouldn't think so. But if we go back to school, someone could take the car and go to meet them. I knew Rob mustn't be out in the night-air, so I just hustled her back, and I don't know about these two," Hilary said.

 

"And were quite right," The Doctor said. "Our Blumchen is not a night-blooming flower. She is best in the house then,"

 

He dropped off Hilary at the school, and Jodie and Miranda. Hilary started to explain Jodie and Miranda to Miss Annersley. Miss Annersley just shoved the 3 girls to bed, after hunting out beds available for Jodie and Miranda, and prepared to see Jodie and Miranda in the morning, at any rate.

 

"Now, girls, what are your full names?" Miss Annersley asked.

 

"Miranda Josephine Entwistle,"

 

"Jodie Samantha Hilary Jane Maria Bakewell,"

 

"How old are you both?"

 

"14 and 3 months," Jodie said.

 

"14 years 3 months," Miranda said.

 

They looked at each other.

 

"Right. You came from the future, you said?"

 

"Totally from the future. And isn't it the late 1930s?" Jodie said.

 

"Yes," Miss Annersley said shortly.

 

"So the Nazis are about here, aren't they? One of Grandmamma's books told of an escape from them, and she talked about it about being based on fact. She's still a brilliant author, and she was at the Chalet School but now she isn't." Miranda said really quickly.

 

"Parents names?" Miss Annersley said, not understanding Miranda's speak.

 

"Reginald Entwistle and Helena Maynard,"

 

"Peter Robertson and Joan Dill,"

 

"Right, well, - oh, the ‘phones going," Miss Annersley said. "Hello. No? Oh dear. And they've been engaged for about a month. Accusations of Espionage? Can't people go for an innocent picnic sometimes? And most of them are children. Yes, it's best if we move the school, but where? Oh, but the pupils come first. Oh? Good decision. Margot can't stand too much. France, yes. Bye," and put the phone down.

 

"Why don't you two join the party going down to Spartz to shop? If you want to go, then you'll have to promise to be good," The girls promised, and joined the crew last-minute with Robin and Joey. Also going were Bill, Maria Marani, Jeanne, Evadne, Cornelia, Lorenz Maico, and Daisy.




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