“Anastasia! Helena! What is the meaning of all this? The rest of you except the prefects, please go away and don’t come back—and don’t repeat any of what has occurred, whatever has occurred.”

It was none other than Miss Timber herself, headache only now a nagging pain. “And Kendra, please take that horrible look off your face! It is not remotely becoming in a young girl. Now, Anastasia, what is the answer to my question?”

Stacie, too speechless with wrath at her public rebuke to reply, shut her mouth firmly.

“Please, we’re fine,” Nellie offered with a cool quietness.

“Did I ask you to intervene? No? Then quiet, if you please,” Miss Timber was at her most dignified, and not in the mood to spare a pupil’s feelings when she needed reducing to her proper status.

“If you’re not going to choose to answer, you may come to my study with me, Anastasia. Kendra and Helena shall accompany us, as they both seem to be negatively mixed up in this. Alyssa, you are in charge. Maggie and Klipso will help you to sort and distribute the contents of the post box.” Miss Timber issued her commands all too crisply before marching the unfortunate trio off to her lair, as the girls affectionately—or otherwise, in such a case—called it.

Each of the delinquents was a prefect, and so order marks or a loss of privileges would not do for punishment. The rebukes were stinging, Miss Timber in her just-mostly-recovered state not feeling inclined to extract the whole story from stubborn lips, and she warned them all against wrongdoings for fear of their prefectships.

This truly hit home with Stacie Whitt, being so very proud of her position, though, like most pretentious autocrats, thinking it only right that she should be there. Ken Peters left the office quaking, knowing how disappointed her father would be if she was disgraced in such a way. It was Nellie who was the least touched of the three.

As for the post box affair, the job of ruling the sort was handed over to the Fifth Form. The given excuse for such a change was that the Sixth were simply too busy to attend to such a thing, but shrewd Cina Lee guessed that there was more to it than that.

Nellie, so far as the Sixth were concerned, was labelled ‘to blame’ for the entire business—quite inexplicably; but the story only gained in Maggie Haroldson’s recounting of it.

The End

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