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The Enchanted Castle


arranged the boys clothes in the painted chests of drawers, feeling very
grown-up and careful as she neatly laid the different sorts of clothes in
tidy little heaps in the drawers. "Suppose we write a book."
"You couldn't," said Jimmy.
"I didn't mean me, of course," said Kathleen, a little injured; "I meant
us."
"Too much fag," said Gerald briefly.
"If we wrote a book," Kathleen persisted, "about what the insides of
schools really are like, people would read it and say how clever we
were."
"More likely expel us," said Gerald. "No; we'll have an out-of-doors
game bandits, or something like that. It wouldn't be bad if we could get a
cave and keep stores in it, and have our meals there."
"There aren't any caves," said Jimmy, who was fond of contradicting
everyone. "And, besides, your precious Mamselle won't let us go out
alone, as likely as not."
"Oh, we'll see about that," said Gerald. "I'll go and talk to her like a
father."
"Like that?" Kathleen pointed the thumb of scorn at him, and he
looked in the glass.
"To brush his hair and his clothes and to wash his face and hands was
to our hero but the work of a moment," said Gerald, and went to suit the
action to the word.
It was a very sleek boy, brown and thin and interesting-looking, that
knocked at the door of the parlour where Mademoiselle sat reading a
yellow-covered book and wishing vain wishes. Gerald could always
make himself look interesting at a moment's notice, a very useful accom-
plishment in dealing with strange grown-ups. It was done by opening
his grey eyes rather wide, allowing the corners of his mouth to droop,
and assuming a gentle, pleading expression, resembling that of the late
little Lord Fauntleroy who must, by the way, be quite old now, and an
awful prig.
"Entrez!" said Mademoiselle, in shrill French accents. So he entered.
"Eh bien?" she said rather impatiently.
"I hope I am not disturbing you," said Gerald, in whose mouth, it
seemed, butter would not have melted.
"But no," she said, somewhat softened. "What is it that you desire?"
"I thought I ought to come and say how do you do," said Gerald,
"because of you being the lady of the house."
He held out the newly-washed hand, still damp and red. She took it.
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