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“How are you feeling?” Cornelia looked the picture of concern as she crept into San under Matron’s watchful eye.

“Much better,” I told her. In fact I was bored to tears, having had to pretend to be sick as a result of being out in the storm. They had let me back to the Chalet School, but only this far, and I still had at least another day of this to come. I’d even prefer maths to this.

“I’ve brought you the latest Lavender book,” said Corney, sitting down on the chair by my bed.

“Lavender?” I asked.

“Oh, where have you been? They’re mighty good books. I can’t believe you’ve never read one.” Then she looked at me, considering. “Actually, since it’s you, I kind of can.”

“Thanks,” I laughed. I took the book and flicked through it. Well, why not. It was better than staring at the ceiling.

“Rose, why did you run away?” she asked, more serious. “Was it because of the uniform thing and having to do mending and all that? If so, I’m awful sorry to have got you into it. I wish I’d never thought of the idea.”

“Oh, no! It wasn’t that at all.” I cast around for some kind of excuse. “I was... I suppose I was a bit homesick and I just wanted to see someone who was family. Corney, you haven’t been blaming yourself all this time, have you?”


“Well, you’d better stop it right now. It wasn’t your fault at all. It was silly of me to go. I thought the rain had stopped.” She looked unconvinced, and I repeated, “It wasn’t anything to do with you, and that was pretty crazy, but it was funny seeing everyone in the wrong clothes.”

Cornelia relaxed, and grinned. “Well, I guess you’ve paid for it all right. You do look better, though. So you really weren’t trying to leave the school for good?”

I shook my head and smiled back at her, as Matron walked over to tell her that her visit had been long enough.

“I’d never do that,” I told her. “I’m glad I came to the Chalet School.”

And – which surprised me – I really was.

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