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Hot and flustered, I was running miserably toward
the village when I turned a corner and saw, to my
consternation, the narrow, stooping figure of Mr.
Star. His eyes were on the ground, so I had time to
slow down to a dignified walk. I advanced to meet
him with all the nonchalance that I could muster at
the moment. The silver-haired schoolmaster greeted
me with his usual courtesy, as though he had forgot-
ten that he had been attempting to teach me arith-
metic and geography all the morning. But I was
aware of the mild inquiry in his glance. If only I'd
been carrying my green butterfly-net instead of the
rather clumsy old hunting-crop of which I was usually
so proud! I have never been a clever dissembler,, so I
have no doubt that my whole demeanour expressed
the concealment of delinquency. Mr. Star removed
his black wideawake hat, wiped his forehead with a
red handkerchief, and genially ejaculated, "Well,
well; what a gloriously fine afternoon we are having!"

As I was unable to say anything at all in reply, he
continued, with gentle jocularity (running his eyes
over the brown corduroy riding-suit which I was just
beginning to grow out of), "And what have you
done with your pony? You look almost as if you'd
lost him."

At this appallingly intuitive comment I gazed
guiltily down at my gaiters and muttered abruptly,
"Oh, I'm going to take him out after tea; I was just
out for a walk."

My voice died unhappily away into the dusty
sunshine. . . . After tea! For all I knew, darling
Rob Roy might be dead by then. . , . For two pins
I could have burst into tears at that moment, but I
managed to control my feelings: Mr. Star tactfully
informed me that he must be getting on his way, and