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Full text of "Laughing Torso"

PRIVATE    ACADEMY

CHAPTER II          THE    CALMING    INFLUENCE    OF    THE
PRIVATE ACADEMY FOR YOUNG LADIES
ONE day a grim aunt appeared; she said that
boarding school was the only place for me, so I
was sent to a high-class Academy for young Ladies
at Westgate-on-Sea. I was plunged in gloom. My
Father wrote quoting from Thackeray, I can't re-
member the exact quotation, but it was about the
boy who was sad at school, not because he was sorry
to leave his parents, but because the school was a
very uncomfortable place. He was right, but it
pained me at the time and I did miss the bathing-
machine boys. My Grandmother had fitted me out
in a splendid manner. I had a bag with my initials
on it, a writing-case from the Army and Navy Stores
with initials too, and a fine Bible with large print
handsomely bound in leather with my name in gold.
I was thrilled to see my name in print. I shared a
room with another girl. Apart from her beautiful
red hair which was curly and hung down to her
waist, I decided that she was the same kind of gutless
half-wit as the rest of the sex. I cried all that night
and she cried too. I cried, mostly from rage and a
feeling of being caged in: she cried because she
loved her parents. I cried daily for a week.
On Sunday we went to church. The altar walls
and ceiling were painted blue with silver stars; after
gazing at the stars during the sermon I had an idea.
" Why not run away? " At seven-thirty the next
morning I saw that my room-mate was still asleep;
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