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The Enchanted Castle


There were three of them Jerry, Jimmy, and Kathleen. Of course, Jerry's
name was Gerald, and not Jeremiah, whatever you may think; and
Jimmy's name was James; and Kathleen was never called by her name at
all, but Cathy, or Catty, or Puss Cat, when her brothers were pleased
with her, and Scratch Cat when they were not pleased. And they were at
school in a little town in the West of England the boys at one school, of
course, and the girl at another, because the sensible habit of having boys
and girls at the same school is not yet as common as I hope it will be
some day. They used to see each other on Saturdays and Sundays at the
house of a kind maiden lady; but it was one of those houses where it is
impossible to play. You know the kind of house, don't you? There is a
sort of a something about that kind of house that makes you hardly able
even to talk to each other when you are left alone, and playing seems un-
natural and affected. So they looked forward to the holidays, when they
should all go home and be together all day long, in a house where play-
ing was natural and conversation possible, and where the Hampshire
forests and fields were full of interesting things to do and see. Their
Cousin Betty was to be there too, and there were plans. Betty's school
broke up before theirs, and so she got to the Hampshire home first, and
the moment she got there she began to have measles, so that my three
couldn't go home at all. You may imagine their feelings. The thought of
seven weeks at Miss Hervey's was not to be borne, and all three wrote
home and said so. This astonished their parents very much, because they
had always thought it was so nice for the children to have dear Miss
Hervey's to go to. However, they were "jolly decent about it , as Jerry
said, and after a lot of letters and telegrams, it was arranged that the
boys should go and stay at Kathleen's school, where there were now no
girls left and no mistresses except the French one.
"It'll be better than being at Miss Hervey's," said Kathleen, when the
boys came round to ask Mademoiselle when it would be convenient for
them to come; "and, besides, our school's not half so ugly as yours. We
do have tablecloths on the tables and curtains at the windows, and yours
is all deal boards, and desks, and inkiness."
When they had gone to pack their boxes Kathleen made all the rooms
as pretty as she could with flowers in jam jars marigolds chiefly, because
there was nothing much else in the back garden. There were geraniums
in the front garden, and calceolarias and lobelias; of course, the children
were not allowed to pick these.
"We ought to have some sort of play to keep us going through the holi-
days," said Kathleen, when tea was over, and she had unpacked and
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