Daisy Pulls It Off

Genre: Comedy
24 Views


ACT I:

Grangewood School for GIRLS.

MISS GIBSON the Headmistress, the Staff and Pupils

welcome the audience to the school as they enter the

auditorium. Moving among the audience with such

words as “Hello to you”. “So glad you could make sports

day”, “Ah! an old girl” etc. A teacher plays suitable tunes

on the piano. When everyone is in, MISS GIBSON stands

centre stage with the staff and pupils in a semi-circle

around her.

MISS GIBSON (to the audience) Good evening. May I, before we

begin the evening’s entertainment, take this opportunity to

welcome you—parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles,

aunts, friends and, for aught I know, grandparents too—to

Grangewood School for Girls. Today marks the twentyfifth anniversary of the founding of the school, twenty-five

years of consistent sporting and academic achievement, of

targets striven towards and goals attained, of aspiration

and realization, from which has evolved amongst pupils

and staff, a tradition of fairness to one’s fellow creatures,

loyalty to school and country, a sense of duty and honour,

of being straight and playing the game, and above all, a

tradition of happy girls. May that tradition still be cleaven

to on the fiftieth anniversary of this establishment.

VOICE OFF Hear, hear.

MISS GIBSON I won’t detain you any longer except to explain

that each form in the school has assumed responsibility for

one entire evening’s entertainment during the course of this

festival week. The mantle of responsibility falls tonight,

by lottery, on the Fourth form, together with a little help

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2 daisy pulls it off

from members of staff, who have asked me to announce

their offering, a play in two acts entitled Daisy Pulls It

Off. Thank you.

Everyone exits except DAISY who puts on a dressinggown and stands centre stage.

DAISY (to the audience) Daisy Meredith, daredevil, tomboy,

possessed of a brilliant mind, exuberant, quick-witted, fond

of practical jokes, honourable, honest, courageous, straight

in all things and…an elementary school pupil. Father—dead.

Mother—a former opera singer who struggles to keep a

home together for herself, Daisy, and Daisy’s brothers—Dick,

Douglas, Daniel and Duncan in a small terraced house in

London’s East End, by giving music lessons to private pupils.

Daisy has recently taken an exam which will, if she succeeds

in passing it, enable her to gain a place as the first ever

scholarship pupil at Grangewood Girls School, one of the

most famous educational establishments in the country. If,

however, she fails the exam, she must leave her elementary

school at the end of the year and take up some form of illpaid menial work to which she is little suited. Thank you.

(To herself ) I do wish the postman would hurry and bring

the letter containing the exam results—but it isn’t even eight

o’clock yet. I must win the scholarship, I so want to go to

Grangewood. How topping it would be to learn Latin and

Greek, to play hockey on their famous pitch, to make friends

with all those jolly girls and have midnight feasts and get

into fearful scrapes just like they do in books. I should miss

mother…and Dick, Douglas, Daniel and Duncan of course…

and all my chums at elementary school. But I must win

the scholarship for the sake of others as well as for myself,

for if I, the first scholarship pupil at Grangewood, make a

success of the scheme, Grangewood will open its doors to

other elementary school pupils, as poor as myself.

SYBIL BURLINGTON enters.

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act i 3

SYBIL So, elementary schoolgirls at Grangewood; bringing

their dishonesty, filth and guttersnipe ways with them and

generally lowering the tone of the place. Well, we’ll see

about that. (She starts to exit—then stops and turns. To

the audience) Oh, Sybil Burlington, Vice-Captain of the

Upper Fourth, and conceited, beautiful, only daughter of

very wealthy parents.

SYBIL exits.

DAISY Mother! Oh, Mother, I’m through! I’ve got the scholarship!

I can go to Grangewood!

MOTHER enters and during the following helps DAISY

get into the rest of her school uniform.

MOTHER Daisy, dear, that’s splendid, I’m so glad and proud.

DAISY I hope I make a success of it.

MOTHER You will, my dear, you’ve got this far.

DAISY I’ll have a good education, pass all my exams and then,

when I leave, find a job as a teacher in an elementary

school and perhaps I’ll earn enough money to buy you the

country cottage you’ve always wanted, and to pay for Dick,

Douglas, Daniel and Duncan’s education if they haven’t

won scholarships by then. (To the audience) The summer

holidays passed all too slowly for Daisy, that is, until the

time came to say goodbye to those she loved best.

MOTHER Board the train, Daisy, dear, otherwise you’ll find

yourself on the platform and the train steaming off without

you. Oh, the boys asked me to give you this. (She hands

DAISY a small package)

DAISY Write often, Mother, I’ll be dying to know what you’re

all doing, and any news you may hear of my old school pals.

MOTHER God bless you, Daisy, dear, I know you’ll do absolutely

splendidly and make us all even prouder of you, if that’s

possible. And remember, Daisy, keep your chin up, and never

tell a lie or do anything mean or underhand. You might find

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4 daisy pulls it off

boarding school life strange or perhaps difficult at first, but

be straight with everyone and you’ll pull through.

A whistle blows, off.

DAISY We’re off—oh, Mother—

MOTHER and DAISY hug and kiss.

MOTHER Goodbye, my darling—write soon…

DAISY See you at the end of term!

MOTHER exits.

SYBIL BURLINGTON and BELINDA MATHIESON enter.

SYBIL (to the audience) Meanwhile, in the adjoining carriage…

BELINDA (to the audience) Belinda Mathieson, Captain of the

Upper Fourth and best all round sportswoman of that form.

(To SYBIL) What utter rot you talk, Sybil, not all elementary

school kids live in filthy hovels with thieving fathers and

drunken sluttish mothers. Take a walk through Esher any

day. And if this… Daisy Meredith is brainy enough to win

a scholarship to Grangewood, she’s as much right to a good

education as the rest of us there.

SYBIL But don’t you see, Belinda, that if this Meredith girl

proves a success then Grangewood will lose the type of

person that’s made it into the kind of school it is today. I

heard several girls—and teachers—last term saying how

unhappy they were about the scheme.

BELINDA Even Miss Gibson?

SYBIL Miss Gibson will soon see sense when exam standards

drop and girls leave and Grangewood loses every sports

trophy it’s ever won. Hockey and tennis aren’t taught in

elementary schools.

BELINDA How frightful.

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act i 5

DAISY (to the audience) The journey passed miserably for Daisy

until the train made a stop at a small country station.

CLARE BEAUMONT enters.

CLARE (to the audience) Clare Beaumont, Head Girl and Sports

Captain of Grangewood School, a shining example of true

British girlhood. (To DAISY) Excuse me, are any of these

seats taken?

DAISY Just mine.

CLARE Bound for Grangewood School, I see.

DAISY Yes.

CLARE I don’t recall having seen you before.

DAISY No, it’s my first term, actually.

CLARE Well, I’m sure you’ll be tremendously happy with

us, Grangewood is the jolliest school in England. Clare

Beaumont, by the way, sixth.

DAISY Daisy Meredith.

CLARE Daisy Meredith…

DAISY Yes, I’m to be in the Upper Fourth.

CLARE Of course, you must be the girl who won the scholarship.

DAISY The first of many such girls, I hope.

CLARE That’s the spirit, kiddie, but there are a few silly little

rotters in the school who aren’t too keen on scholarship

pupils being admitted. I’d lie low if I were you, for the first

month or so until they’ve got used to the idea being made

flesh. Buck-up, child, there are some quite decent girls in

the Fourth, you’ll pull through.

DAISY I jolly well hope to.

CLARE Here we are at the station.

ALICE (offstage) Clare! Clare, old girl!

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6 daisy pulls it off

CLARE Coming! The school is only five minutes away, you’ll find

it easily enough, just follow the others. Chin-up, kiddie…

ALICE (offstage) Clare!

CLARE See you later, I expect.

All the GIRLS and mistresses enter with luggage, acting

out DAISY’s words as she speaks.

DAISY (to the audience) Daisy stepped on to the platform of the

tiny country station, scarcely able to push her way through

the crowd of laughing, chattering girls—girls of all shapes

and sizes—girls merrily exchanging greetings and holiday

reminiscences with chums whom they had not seen for seven

long weeks—girls who in the blue and white colours of

Grangewood School resembled not so much a whirlpool, as

so many tumbling, foaming little waves rushing shorewards

on the incoming tide and breaking thankfully on the warm,

yellow sands of home. Mistresses suddenly appeared on the

platform and began to shepherd the bubbling throng into

the lane that led to the school. They rounded the corner—I

say!—and there stood Grangewood School, a rambling

red-brick Elizabethan mansion, its mullioned windows

twinkling in the sun like so many welcoming eyes beneath

curious twisted chimneys. Flowers of every scent and hue

bordered the smooth green lawns, and there behind the

house stretched the tennis courts and playing fields for

which Grangewood was justly renowned. As they passed

through the great stone gates, the girls—as one—turned

to look at the sapphire sea beating against the chalky cliffs

on which the school so proudly stood. What an absolutely

gorgeous place, I’m going to be so immensely happy here.

TRIXIE Isn’t it heavenly?

DAISY I’m knocked over entirely.

TRIXIE (to the audience) Trixie Martin, madcap and poet of

the Upper Fourth. (To DAISY) I say aren’t you a new bug…

I mean girl.

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act i 7

DAISY Yes, Daisy Meredith.

TRIXIE Daisy Meredith?

DAISY That’s right, I’m to be in the Upper Fourth.

TRIXIE O Jubilate, that’s my form. Perhaps we can have desks

next to each other. One can have an uncommonly good time

at Grangewood so long as one doesn’t upset the Prees or

mistresses too much. I say, are you fond of setting up stunts?

DAISY I should say. I’ve got four brothers and we constantly

play tricks on each other.

TRIXIE Can you swim?

DAISY A little.

TRIXIE Capital, you’ll soon improve, for if the weather’s fine

enough the entire school goes for an early morning dip in

the sea. There’s an absolutely scrummy beach at the bottom

of the cliffs with a secret path leading down to it known

only to ourselves.

DAISY How perfectly ripping.

CLARE and ALICE enter.

TRIXIE That’s Clare Beaumont, over there, she’s—

DAISY I’ve met her.

TRIXIE How uncommonly lucky. Clare is Grangewood’s Sports

Captain and Head Girl, she’s a first-rate tennis and hockey

player as well as having a brain. We all adore her. Her people,

well, her mother, actually own Grangewood…

DAISY I say!

TRIXIE …her family used to live in the building and then just

over twenty years ago, they started to lose money after old

Sir Digby Beaumont died and so they leased it out to the

school govenors. Each year the Beaumonts have lost more

and more money and now it looks as though they might

have to sell to the School Governors. There is talk that

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8 daisy pulls it off

the family fortunes could be saved if only the Beaumont

treasure could be found!

DAISY Treasure!

TRIXIE Yes! I’ve hunted for hours tapping walls, looking for

secret panels and trapdoors and clues, and so have scores

of other girls, but it’s probably only hearsay, nothing’s ever

been found.

MONICA SMITHERS enters.

MONICA Trixie Martin, you’re to go and see Matron at once,

she’s in a fearful mood over something.

TRIXIE Oh dash it! Mother’s probably not name-tagged my

new socks. See you at tea, I expect, Daisy.

TRIXIE exits.

MONICA (to the audience) Monica Smithers, school toady and

chief crony of Sybil Burlington. (To DAISY) I say, I’ve not

seen you before.

DAISY It’s my first day at Grangewood—Daisy Meredith.

MONICA Daisy…oh, the scholarship girl.

DAISY That’s right.

MONICA Ever been to school before?

DAISY Yes, of…

MONICA Read and write, can you?

DAISY What on…

MONICA Elementary schoolgirls are a new breed at Grangewood,

you see, we’ve no idea what to expect. Not that I’ve ever been

in a position to meet anyone from an elementary school

before, Mummy and Daddy are so frightfully particular

about that kind of thing. Of course, in our situation one

has to be, some people will do anything for money. Oh, by

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act i 9

the way, Miss Gibson always likes to see new girls in her

study on their first day.

DAISY Really?

MONICA Up this staircase, first door on the right.

DAISY Thank you.

MONICA exits.

What a sickening girl! Now where did she say, up the

staircase, and the first door on the right. Now to meet the

Head.

DAISY knocks on the door—no answer. She knocks

again—still no answer.

ALICE FITZPATRICK enters.

ALICE (to the audience) Alice Fitzpatrick, Prefect, Deputy Sports

Captain and best chum of Clare Beaumont. (To DAISY) And

what are you knocking on there for, child?

DAISY I’ve got to see Miss Gibson.

ALICE Well, it’s not in there you’ll find Miss Gibson, see, ’tis

only a broom cupboard.

DAISY Oh, but I was told…

ALICE Someone playing a trick on you, was it? I’ll take you

meself to Miss Gibson. You’re a new girl by the look of things.

DAISY Yes, I am. My name’s Daisy Meredith and I’m to be in

the Upper Fourth.

ALICE Daisy…well that’s a nice enough name. Are you fond of

games, hockey, tennis and suchlike?

DAISY I enjoy playing cricket and football with my brothers, but

I’ve not had much opportunity to play hockey or tennis, you

see they didn’t teach them at my last school. Only rounders.

ALICE Is that a fact?

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10 daisy pulls it off

DAISY But I know all the rules for hockey and tennis, I swotted

up on them from books at home.

ALICE Reading’s not quite the same as doing, but if you have

the sporting spirit you’ll do finely. Play the game, that’s

what we say here, play up and play the game—and it’s a

poor view we take of any girl who doesn’t play it.

DAISY (indicating a wooden board) What’s that?

ALICE The School Honours Board. A record of achievements by

girls whom Grangewood is truly proud to have had within

its portals.

DAISY (narrating) Daisy gazed wistfully at the simple oak

boards with the names graven in gold of former pupils. I

mean Grangewood to be proud of me one day and perhaps

my name to shine amongst theirs.

ALICE Here we are, child, Miss Gibson’s room.

DAISY Fearfully kind of you to help me.

ALICE All my pleasure, child. Run along in, Miss Gibson will

not bite your head off.

ALICE exits.

MISS GIBSON enters.

MISS GIBSON (to the audience) Miss Gibson, young, much-loved,

headmistress of Grangewood School.

DAISY Daisy Meredith, ma’am.

MISS GIBSON Welcome, my dear, to Grangewood, how very

pleased we are to have you here.

DAISY Thank you.

MISS GIBSON I need not say, of course, that the advent of

Grangewood’s first scholarship pupil—one who has arrived

here by way of intellect and not by way of parental monetary

wealth—has caused a certain amount of trepidation within

the school. Much will be expected of you, both morally

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act i 11

and intellectually, but from the scholastic reports I have

received of you and from the impressions I have of the girl

standing here before me, I am sure that you will fulfil all

expectations. Everyone will be anxious to help you in any

way you may require during your first few weeks here—as

we do all new girls. I hope you will be very happy here, my

dear, and will always stay true to the motto of Grangewood,

which is also that of the Beaumont family whose ancestral

home this is—Honesta quam magna—How great are noble

things. Now I’m sure you’re tired, Daisy, the supper bell will

be ringing shortly and Matron will wish to see you before

then. I trust you will settle in quickly, my child. Well, run

along.

DAISY Thank you, Miss Gibson.

MISS GIBSON exits.

Phew.

TRIXIE enters.

TRIXIE Hello. I say, isn’t it capital, you’re to be in the same

dormy as me!

DAISY How glorious!

TRIXIE Dormy number five, one of the best, it looks out over

the sea…

DAISY How topping.

TRIXIE Worst luck is, we’ve to share it with that stuck-up pair

of prigs, Sybil Burlington and Monica Smithers. I expect

Miss Gibson thinks they’ll set us a good example. Miss

Gibson is an uncommonly jolly headmistress, but I feel she

can be immensely misguided sometimes. Still, Jean Jeffrey

and Dora Johnston are next door in number three so we

can organize a stunt or two between the four of us.

DAISY Midnight feasts.

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12 daisy pulls it off

TRIXIE A chum after my own heart. I say, what’s that? (She

indicates the package given to DAISY earlier by her MOTHER)

DAISY A farewell present from my four brothers. I shall miss

them tremendously, I’ve never been away from home before.

TRIXIE Grangewood’s a decent place, you’ll survive.

DAISY It’s queer, Trixie, but I already feel strangely at home in

Grangewood, almost as if I’d been here before.

A bell rings, off.

TRIXIE O Jubilate, there goes the supper bell. Come on, we

can sit wherever we like first day back.

TRIXIE exits.

DAISY (to the audience) After supper, a substantial if plain

meal, during which due to the jolly conversation of her

friend, Daisy failed to notice the somewhat disdainful and

curious glances cast at her by several of her fellow pupils,

Daisy decided to take a stroll into the great hall to study

the ancestral portraits of the Beaumont family which hung

there. Oh! (She opens the package) A frog! I know!

DAISY exits one side of the stage (to the dormitory),

re-enters minus the small brown package, then exits

the other side.

TRIXIE then enters and goes through the dormitory door

then re-enters and exits giggling.

SYBIL and MONICA enter, in dressing-gowns.

SYBIL Honestly, Monica, it’s the absolute limit, not only do we

have to suffer this girl in the same form room, but we have

to share the hitherto unpolluted air of our dormy with her

as well. Not to mention that tiresome little wretch, Trixie

Martin. And it’s one of the nicest dormys in the school.

MONICA Have you noticed, Sybil, how extraordinarily chummy

Trixie is with the Meredith girl?

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act i 13

SYBIL Yes, we must put a stop to that. For the sake of

Grangewood.

SYBIL } (together) Honesta quam Magna. MONICA

TRIXIE enters.

TRIXIE Hello, Sybil, Monica. Daisy here?

SYBIL Whom?

TRIXIE You know Daisy Meredith, she’s in our dormy.

SYBIL The scholarship girl?

TRIXIE That’s right, Daisy Meredith.

SYBIL Trixie, if you really care for Grangewood and wish to

maintain its tone and its reputation on the playing field,

not forgetting the good name of the Upper Fourth, you will

cease your friendship with Daisy Meredith.

TRIXIE Why?

SYBIL Scholarship girls are different from us, they’re poor,

perhaps not intellectually, but certainly morally.

TRIXIE Perhaps they should be given a chance to rise from

their poorness.

SYBIL And what will happen to us, to Grangewood, to England,

the Empire? We have to accept, Trixie, that different classes

of people exist in this world.

TRIXIE You’re an unspeakable snob, Sybil. I heard all about the

meeting you held in the common-room, give Daisy a perfectly

ghastly time of it so she’ll want to leave Grangewood. Well

I, for one, won’t have anything to do with such a thoroughly

horrid scheme. Daisy’s a capital girl, she got here through

brains not money, and I mean to stick by her.

TRIXIE exits.

SYBIL Silly little rotter.

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14 daisy pulls it off

MONICA Well, I think you’re right, Sybil.

SYBIL Thank you, Monica, it’s a sad thing when there are only

two people in an entire school who really care about it. I’ll

take my cocoa to bed, I think.

MONICA And me.

SYBIL and MONICA exit to the dormitory.

Screams are heard off. Seconds later SYBIL enters holding

a rubber frog, with MONICA holding a hairbrush. TRIXIE

and DAISY enter at the same time.

SYBIL Who, may I ask, put these in our beds?

DAISY } (together) Your beds?

TRIXIE:

SYBIL Yes.

DAISY I’m afraid it was I who put the frog into your bed, I’m

fearfully sorry, you see I thought it was Trixie’s bed and the

frog was a present from…

SYBIL Just the sort of behaviour one expects from…

TRIXIE And I put the hairbrush into your bed, Monica, thinking

that it was Daisy’s.

MONICA } (together) Typical. SYBIL

TRIXIE Only ragging, nothing to pour the vials of wrath about.

Daisy, our two dormy mates, Sybil Burlington and Monica

Smithers.

DAISY Hello.

TRIXIE Monica, Sybil, allow me to introduce Daisy Meredith,

newest ornament of the Upper Fourth.

MONICA } (together) H’m! SYBIL

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act i 15

TRIXIE Scooterons-nous, Daisy? We won’t get our cocoa

otherwise.

TRIXIE exits.

DAISY Yes. Jolly nice to have met you both.

MONICA and SYBIL exit.

(narrating) After a delightful early morning dip in the

sparkling sea, a short prayer service and a jolly breakfast,

or brekker as it was known amongst the girls, Daisy, with the

rest of her form, trooped into the Upper Fourth classroom,

there to commence her first lesson, English composition.

DAISY exits.

The pupils, including SYBIL and MONICA, enter the

classroom.

SYBIL and MONICA, unseen by the others, smear chalk

on DAISY’s desk seat and put a comic under her desk lid.

MISS GRANVILLE enters.

MISS GRANVILLE (to the audience) Miss Granville, the firm but

fair form-mistress of the Upper Fourth, one of the teachers

with strong doubts on the efficacy of scholarship pupils at

Grangewood. (To the pupils) Good morning, girls.

GIRLS Good morning, Miss Granville.

MISS GRANVILLE Now girls, open your poetry books please, at

page number fifty-five. We are going to read “Ye Mariners

of England” a Naval Ode by Thomas Campbell. Daisy, Daisy

Meredith, can we hear you read this please. Stand out here.

The GIRLS giggle as DAISY comes out with the chalk

smeared on the back of her gymslip.

DAISY Ye Mariners of England

That guard our native seas!

Whose flag has braved a thousand years

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16 daisy pulls it off

The battle and the breeze!

Your glorious standard launch again

To meet another foe;

And sweep through the deep,

While the stormy tempests blow!

While the battle rages loud and long

And the stormy winds do blow.

MISS GRANVILLE Girls, please, I will not have this giggling

during my lesson. The holidays finished yesterday, you are

here to work. Thank you, Daisy, an excellent reading, you

may return to your seat. Belinda, will you… Daisy, come

here please. What is that on the back of your gymslip? You

have a white patch on the back of your gymslip.

DAISY It’s chalk, Miss Granville.

MISS GRANVILLE Brush it off then. Why on earth you are covered

with chalk I cannot imagine. Please remember, Daisy, you

are not in elementary school now, we like Grangewood

girls to look presentable not as though they have been

tobogganing down the sides of chalk pits. You may return

to your place. Monica, have you anything to say to me?

Then kindly refrain from gossiping to your neighbours. I

have a brief appointment to keep with Miss Gibson, so I

will leave you to study the poem alone, and also the poems

on pages fifty-four, fifty-seven and fifty-eight. For your

composition after you’ve read the poems, I want you to

choose one of the following exercises. Pens ready? One. Is

Patriotism productive of poetry? If so, why? Two. Summarize

in headings the causes of England’s greatness. Three. What

difference would it make to the world if the British Isles

were submerged by the sea? Daisy, what do I see protruding

from beneath your desk lid? A comic.

DAISY But it isn’t…

MISS GRANVILLE I shall confiscate this. Comics—dreadful

rags—are confined to the common room. I would usually

give an order mark for such an offence, but as you are new

I shall let you off. There is a copy of the school rules on the

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act i 17

notice board. I suggest you make a point of reading them.

Girls, I shall see you shortly. Belinda, take charge please.

BELINDA Yes, Miss Granville.

MISS GRANVILLE exits.

DAISY I’d like to thank whoever was responsible for nearly

getting me an order mark.

MONICA Shhhhh.

TRIXIE First time you’ve ever kept silent without a mistress

in the room, Monica.

MONICA Tit for tat.

TRIXIE Stunts are fine, Sybil, as long as one doesn’t land one’s

victim in a hole. Order marks aren’t my idea of fun.

SYBIL Is your friend incapable of speaking up for herself?

DAISY No, just speechless at some people’s meanness.

BELINDA As Captain of the form, I ask you to kindly chuck all

this talking and get down to some work before a mistress

comes along and hears us.

Silence. Then from outside comes the sound of someone

whistling the tune “ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT”.

DAISY looks up as though the tune touches an old memory

that she can’t recall.

DAISY Belinda, who is that whistling outside?

BELINDA Mr Thompson. He’s employed here as an assistant

gardener. Rather a mystery man, he lives alone in a tiny

cottage in the middle of Cramphorn Wood. Where he comes

from no one knows. He suddenly appeared in the area about

ten years ago, apparently. He hasn’t a wife or any relatives

that visit him or anything of that sort.

DAISY Poor man.

MONICA I say, Sybil, isn’t Meredith a name of Welsh origin?

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18 daisy pulls it off

SYBIL I do believe it is, Monica.

MONICA My father tells me that the Welsh keep their house

coals in their baths. How quaint.

DAISY Why are you being so beastly to me, both of you? You’ve

paid me back for the frog-in-the-bed stunt.

SYBIL Are elementary school-kids incapable of taking a joke?

BELINDA Chuck it, Sybil, you really are being pretty hateful.

This is Daisy’s first morning here, we should be showing

her what Grangewood girls are made of, not acting like a

pack of mean cats. And I, for one, won’t stand to hear her

called an elementary school-kid, she’s a Grangewood girl

now, one of us, scholarship or not.

SYBIL You needn’t be so beastly pi, Belinda…

BELINDA I refuse to discuss the matter further.

SYBIL Very well, Belinda, you form your own little gallery of

plaster saints, but you’ll soon see whether I’m right or not,

all of you.

A bell rings off.

MR SCOBLOWSKI enters.

The GIRLS stand up.

MR SCOBLOWSKI (to the audience) Mr Scoblowski, the enigmatic,

Russian, music-teacher. Good morning, girls.

GIRLS Good morning, Mr Scoblowski.

MR SCOBLOWSKI Remain standing. Now to begin we will all

sing the song The Ash Grove.

The GIRLS sing the song. MR SCOBLOWSKI walks among

them listening to their voices.

H’mm. We have much work to do if you are to present

yourselves well at the end of term concert. You sing straight

from the throat not enough from here, you strain the voice

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act i 19

otherwise. However, there is one excellent voice among you.

(He indicates DAISY) It is this young lady who sings so

sublimely. Sing the next verse alone if you please.

DAISY sings the verse.

Excellent, excellent. Did you mark how she controlled her

voice and her breathing. What is your name? You are a

new girl.

DAISY Daisy Meredith.

MR SCOBLOWSKI Ah, Meredith, a Welsh name. You have a voice

truly representative of that musical nation. I shall see that

you have a solo in the end of term concert. Excellent voice,

excellent. And you, Miss Burlington, will have to prove to

me that you are not as tone-deaf as you seem to be, if you

wish also to take your place in the choir. Now we will sing

the song Cherry Ripe.

They sing the song.

After the song everyone exits except DAISY and TRIXIE

who fling themselves to the ground.

DAISY I say, my head’s absolutely spinning.

TRIXIE You’re doing uncommonly well, Daisy, everyone’s

tremendously impressed.

DAISY All except Monica and Sybil.

TRIXIE They’re thoroughly piggy and nasty, don’t let’s waste

our dinner break over them. You speak French like a native,

I didn’t think they taught it in elementary schools.

DAISY They don’t, my mother taught me.

TRIXIE My word!

DAISY And Italian, all my brothers speak it too. You see, she

used to be an opera singer.

TRIXIE A singer?

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20 daisy pulls it off

DAISY I’m afraid so.

TRIXIE Oh no, I find it tremendously exciting.

Pause.

DAISY I say, Trixie…let’s form a Secret Society.

TRIXIE A Secret Society?

DAISY Yes, just like they do in schools in books. I know, a

treasure-hunting society, its object to seek out the treasure

of Grangewood School and so rescue the Beaumonts from

penury. We could ask some of the others if they’d like to

become members.

TRIXIE They won’t and anyway everyone else has stopped

believing that the treasure exists. As a rule one ceases to

believe in it by the time one reaches the Lower Third, rather

like fairies and Father Christmas. Everyone that is except

poetical types such as myself, romantically minded new girls

and possibly Clare. No, let it just be the two of us.

DAISY And let’s call ourselves, I know, the Dark Horse Secret

Society.

TRIXIE Oh yes…!

DAISY It can be our secret symbol whenever we have to write

each other notes.

TRIXIE Oh heavenly! We must have a motto too, a password.

Um…audacia et virtute adepta…too long! Absque virtute

nihil…no! Ah, how about this, hinc spes effulget!

DAISY Yes. Sorry, I’ve no idea what it means. I’ve no Latin.

TRIXIE Hence hope shines forth!

DAISY Oh topping, Trixie! Hence hope shines forth.

A bell rings off.

TRIXIE We’d better dash, there goes the bell for afternoon

games. Hockey for the fourth.

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act i 21

DAISY I expect I shall get horribly beaten. I’ve never played

hockey before.

TRIXIE Hockey is a team game, you play as a team and win or

lose as one, remember that.

DAISY I will.

DAISY and TRIXIE exit.

CLARE and ALICE enter with hockey sticks.

ALICE Isn’t it a fine thing to be back in the old school, to be

standing on this pitch where we’ve fought so many battles.

CLARE Yes, Alice, it is as you say, a fine thing. You know, I’m

almost glad this is my final year at Grangewood, for it may

be the last year that the name of Beaumont will appear

upon the title deeds.

ALICE Dear girl!

CLARE The truth of the matter is, Alice, we’re up a gum tree.

What with poor mother’s medical fees and my younger

brother—

ALICE Digby?

CLARE Yes, dear Digby’s school fees have still to be met, and

the rent of the cottage is far too high for us. I was talking

with mother before I came back. Unless a miracle happens,

we’ll have to sell to the School Governors by Christmas. I

offered to leave school and find employment as a teacher,

but mother wouldn’t hear of it. I must say, I’m not looking

forward to leaving all this, going out into the world and

becoming a proper grown-up. They say Grangewood is

supposed to mirror the world. I wonder… My goodness,

someone’s playing a first rate game of hockey over here.

ALICE It’s the Upper Fourth…a practice game by the looks of

things. Who’s that child there? She can certainly pass balls.

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22 daisy pulls it off

CLARE It’s the new kiddie, the scholarship girl, Daisy Meredith.

With some proper coaching she could be a decent player.

Look at her, never funking a single ball.

ALICE Learnt all the rules from a book, I was told.

CLARE A sportsman as well as a scholar.

ALICE There’s one whose name will grace the First Eleven.

CLARE Well, old girl, let’s go off to our own practice, we’ve a

match to win on Saturday, the opening knock-out game of

the County Championships. Perhaps this year we’ll come

out tops.

ALICE Instead of runners-up as we have been for the past ten

years to Vearncombe Young Ladies College.

VOICE (offstage) Clare! Alice!

CLARE There’s Diana calling us. As the middles say—scooteronsnous, Alice.

CLARE exits.

ALICE We’ll beat them this year, for Grangewood…for Clare.

We must.

ALICE exits.

DAISY and TRIXIE enter.

DAISY (narrating) For a while, Daisy’s life at Grangewood

passed uneventfully, apart from the odd unpleasantness

from Sybil and Monica. Then one evening after prep while

she and Trixie were systematically tapping wooden wall

panels in the hope of finding a secret passage which would

lead them to the hidden treasure…

MR SCOBLOWSKI enters.

MR SCOBLOWSKI What are you girls doing here? Don’t you

know that this gallery is out of bounds to all but teachers

and prefects.

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act i 23

TRIXIE Yes, Sir.

MR SCOBLOWSKI Then kindly tell me the reason why you are

here or I shall report you to your form mistress.

Pause.

If you choose not to tell me, you will have to tell Miss

Granville. And perhaps receive an order mark.

DAISY We were looking for the treasure, sir…

MR SCOBLOWSKI Treasure?

DAISY The lost treasure of the Beaumont family.

MR SCOBLOWSKI Ah, I see. Well, you will not find it here. I

myself, have often sought its whereabouts and have carefully

examined this entire section of the building, and now I

believe this treasure to be a legend, a mere myth. However,

should you come across any clue elsewhere in the school, I

should be most happy to know of it. I am much fascinated

by the folktales of the English. Good night, ladies.

MR SCOBLOWSKI exits.

TRIXIE Why the dickens did you tell him what we were doing,

Daisy?

DAISY We would have had to have told Miss Granville, otherwise,

who would certainly have given us an order mark for going

out of bounds.

TRIXIE Oh, what a dismal beastly sell, it’s obvious Mr

Scoblowski’s after the treasure for himself.

DAISY Probably to try and help his Bolshevik friends.

TRIXIE We simply must try out the rest of this gallery. But how?

DAISY I know, how about sneaking out of the dormy at dead

of night.

TRIXIE Oh, yes.

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24 daisy pulls it off

DAISY Perhaps we could borrow a couple of cloaks from Matron

and disguise ourselves as ghostly monks to scare off anyone

who might see us.

TRIXIE Capital suggestion.

A bell rings off.

Supper bell.

DAISY Not a word to anyone, Trixie.

TRIXIE Until I wake you.

TRIXIE } (together) Hinc spes effulget. DAISY

They both shake hands—a special handshake—then exit.

MONICA and SYBIL enter in dressing-gowns.

SYBIL The scheme isn’t working out, Monica.

MONICA It is in small ways, Sybil.

SYBIL So small that it’s going to take twenty years for her to

collect enough order marks to get a bad conduct mark. No,

Monica, she’s doing fearfully well in everyone’s books, we’ve

got to move drastically…and fast.

Whistling is heard, off—“ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT”,

MONICA listens to it intently.

Look, Monica, do you like this solid silver bracelet Daddy

sent me as a pre-birthday present? I say, Monica, do look…

MONICA Oh, sorry Sybil.

SYBIL I’ve permission from Miss Gibson for Daddy to take

me out to a slap-up birthday tea in town and then off to a

concert afterwards and Daddy said I might invite a friend

to accompany me. I’m thinking of asking you, Monica.

MONICA Oh, Sybil, I’d adore it.

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act i 25

SYBIL All serene then. Now I’m going to read some Keats in

preparation for the school poetry competition. I mean to win

it this year, not to be pipped at the post by that wretched

Trixie Martin.

MONICA When do entries have to be in?

SYBIL Oh, in three to four weeks I believe. Why, Monica, are

you thinking of entering?

MONICA Yes…oh… I mean, I could never hope to write anything

that would be half as good as anything of yours, Sybil, but

I do have a tremendous fancy to have a bash at it. Just to

show that Daisy Meredith a thing or two.

SYBIL Well, bash away to your heart’s content… I’m off to bed.

SYBIL and MONICA exit.

A clock strikes two—night.

TRIXIE and DAISY enter in long black cloaks with hoods.

DAISY trips noisily.

DAISY Ooh!

TRIXIE Shhh!

DAISY I say, Trixie, it’s fearfully dark.

TRIXIE I’ve brought a torch.

DAISY Oh, scrummy. I say, did you hear Sybil snoring?

They both giggle.

TRIXIE Come on—to the gallery. Now we must be very quiet.

DAISY and TRIXIE creep up the stairs.

SYBIL enters. She creeps stealthily across the stage and

exits.

We’re almost there. I say, what’s that?

DAISY What?

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26 daisy pulls it off

TRIXIE Look! There’s a light burning beneath the door of the

second form common room…and voices.

DAISY Burglars!

TRIXIE Shhh!

DAISY We must wake Miss Gibson.

TRIXIE And get into a frightful row for being here ourselves?

DAISY But surely we should consider school property before

ourselves?

TRIXIE I daresay, you’re right, Daisy, I’ll go to Miss Gibson

with you. But hold fire for a second or two…

DAISY Trixie!

TRIXIE Shhh! I’ll take a tiny peep through the keyhole just to

make sure.

DAISY Of what? What can you see?

TRIXIE (giggling) Oh Jemima! What a sell!

DAISY Can I have a look?

TRIXIE It’s the second form up to their ears in a midnight feast.

Let me have another peep, Daisy…doughnuts, toffee-apples,

vanilla sandwiches… I’ve a good mind to go in there and

demand a share for keeping quiet.

CLARE enters quietly.

CLARE Trixie Martin! Daisy Meredith!

BOTH Clare!

CLARE Perhaps you will both come and see me in my study

tomorrow morning and inform me of the purpose behind

this midnight visitation.

TRIXIE But Clare…

CLARE I’ll wake Miss Calder to deal with those babes. I’ll see

you both tomorrow.

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act i 27

CLARE exits.

TRIXIE Jemima! We’re for it now.

DAISY Will Clare report us to Miss Gibson, do you think?

TRIXIE If she thinks we’ve been utterly evil, she might. No,

the worst of it is, is whether the Second form recognized

our voices or not. They’ll think we were absolute sneaks

if they did.

DAISY They wouldn’t think that, would they?

TRIXIE How else could Clare have discovered them? What

we’ve got to find out is, who sneaked on us!

DAISY and TRIXIE exit.

CLARE and ALICE enter CLARE’s study.

CLARE …if only you’d seen them, Alice, they looked so

wonderfully comic dressed up in two of Matron’s cloaks,

supposed to be monks or something equally ghostly.

ALICE How absolutely sublime.

CLARE Yes, it was rather a hoot, though it gave me a perfect

fright at first.

ALICE Oh, Clare.

CLARE What I’d like to know is how they got themselves involved

in keeping watch for a Second form feast. The Fourth always

look on the Seconds as such babes.

ALICE Do you not remember the fine japes we used to get up

to in our young days?

CLARE What utter little horrors we were. Do you remember

that winter we went on the midnight skating expedition…

ALICE …and Katy Collins falling through the thin ice.

They fall about laughing. Knocking is heard on the

study door.

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28 daisy pulls it off

CLARE Oh, here they are.

ALICE I’ll leave you to it, me darlin’ girl, I’ve a flute lesson in

town.

CLARE See you on the field at one, Alice.

ALICE Cheeriosa!

CLARE Don’t let Miss Gibson hear you slanging like that.

ALICE exits, passing DAISY and TRIXIE on her way out.

Come in, you two.

DAISY and TRIXIE enter.

Now perhaps the pair of you will tell me why you took it

upon yourselves last night to break a good many school-rules

and at the same time risk getting the Second form into a

jolly serious fix. Remember as Fourths you are responsible

for setting a good example to the lower school, not leading

them into situations which you know to be contrary to the

rules of Grangewood.

TRIXIE We had nothing to do with the Seconds’ feast, truly,

Clare.

DAISY Honour bright.

CLARE Then why on earth…

DAISY The truth of the matter is, Clare, we were searching for

the treasure, the Beaumont treasure, and we were on our way

to the East Gallery to rap panels and all that kind of thing,

when we stumbled across the Seconds knocking off buns.

We know that the East Gallery is out of bounds which is

why we disguised ourselves, but we’re both dreadfully sorry.

CLARE (to the audience) The corners of Clare’s mouth twitched,

and it was with some effort that she hastily pulled herself

together. I see.

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act i 29

TRIXIE We’re immensely sorry for getting you up in the middle

of the night too.

CLARE Well, I shan’t report you to Miss Gibson…

DAISY } (together) Oh, thanks most awfully, Clare. TRIXIE

CLARE But as you, Trixie, have been here the longest and ought

to know better than to…

DAISY Please, Clare, it was my idea just as much as Trixie’s.

TRIXIE Thank you, Daisy.

CLARE Very well, on Saturday from lunch until teatime, you

will both stay within the confines of the school building.

TRIXIE Oh, but we shall miss the first knock-out match of the

County Hockey Championships.

CLARE Well, my dear child, it’s high time you gave up kiddish

stunts.

DAISY Clare, is there any truth in the story of the Beaumont

treasure?

CLARE How serious are you both about finding it?

DAISY } (together) Immensely serious. TRIXIE

CLARE Then I will tell you—yes, the Beaumont treasure does

exist.

DAISY and TRIXIE both gasp.

You see, kiddies, the mystery centres around my grandfather,

the late Sir Digby Beaumont. Now, he was a tremendously

eccentric gentleman, who, as he got older, became more and

more impatient with the new ideas and as he thought, lower

standards of the younger generation. This led to endless

arguments in the family, especially with the younger of his

two sons, my Uncle David, who left home after a particularly

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vehement quarrel with Sir Digby and has never been seen

or heard of since.

TRIXIE How fearful.

CLARE Shortly after this awful quarrel, Sir Digby died and his

wealth—all manner of family heirlooms, money, valuables—

disappeared. In his will it was revealed that he had hidden

this treasure somewhere within the walls of Grangewood,

and a set of clues leading to its whereabouts, so complicated

that the treasure can only be uncovered by whosoever has wit

enough to unravel these clues. My father hunted unceasingly

for the treasure right up until his death four years ago, but

since then no one’s had much impetus to carry on with the

search. Oh, the will did say another important clue lies with

my Uncle David, but as he’s been gone twenty years or so,

there’s little hope there.

DAISY I was looking at the portraits of your family in the Great

Hall and I noticed that one of the frames was empty.

CLARE Yes. Now that contained the only known portrait of

my Uncle David. My grandfather had it removed after the

quarrel.

TRIXIE How perfectly tragic.

DAISY Was your grandfather a scientist?

CLARE Why do you ask?

DAISY In his portrait he’s holding a jolly queer looking

instrument of some kind.

CLARE It’s a device apparently, for measuring the distances

between stars, my grandfather was tremendously keen on

astronomy.

TRIXIE How uncommonly rare.

A bell rings, off.

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act i 31

CLARE There goes the bell for end of break. Off you go, kiddies,

and thank you most awfully for showing such an interest

in the treasure.

TRIXIE I tell you, Clare, we mean to find it for you.

CLARE Remember no more midnight expeditions.

TRIXIE We’ll be perfect seraphs.

DAISY Honour bright.

CLARE exits.

TRIXIE What an out and out sport!

DAISY Clare is absolutely the most adorable girl I’ve ever met,

I’d risk anything for her.

TRIXIE Except I wish she wouldn’t call us kiddies.

DAISY Better than being called babes like the Firsts and Seconds.

TRIXIE I say, Daisy, did you notice how fearfully sad Clare

looked—just for a moment—when she mentioned her father’s

death?

DAISY Yes, I know just how she jolly well feels.

TRIXIE Why, is your father…

DAISY Yes, ten years ago. He was a ship’s doctor in the Royal

Navy. He was reported missing, believed dead, when his

ship went down in the Baltic during the Battle of…

TRIXIE I’m immensely sorry.

DAISY I was fearfully young of course, when it happened. I

say, we must hurry. Miss Granville will be wild if we’re late

for her class.

TRIXIE I wish you’d slack off a bit Daisy, I’m sure you’ll end

up with brain fever if you carry on at this rate.

They enter the Form Room.

O Jubilate, we’re first in.

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DAISY I say, look at that on the board, “We don’t stand for

sneaks at Grangewood, especially elementary ones”.

TRIXIE Jemima! Someone risked their neck to write that.

DAISY It must be the Seconds, they recognized our voices last

night.

TRIXIE Here come the others. Quick, the blackboard!

DAISY and TRIXIE rush towards the blackboard.

SYBIL, MONICA, BELINDA and DORA enter.

SYBIL Sneak.

MONICA giggles.

Elementary sneak.

MISS GRANVILLE enters.

MISS GRANVILLE Good morning, girls.

GIRLS Good morning, Miss Granville.

MISS GRANVILLE Thank-you, Trixie and Daisy for cleaning the

blackboard, but it really wasn’t necessary to wipe off today’s

list of essay topics. Take an order mark each and return to

your seats please. Now, I have here the essays handed in by

you all last week on the subject of Shelley’s poem, “Ode to the

West Wind”, some of which were extremely good and others

which were lamentable to say the least. Dora Johnston,

kindly refrain from rattling that ink-well. One essay, which

I thought exceptional in content, I was forced to give halfmarks to owing to the blots and inky fingerprints which

almost obliterated it. If you are incapable, Daisy Meredith,

of coping with a pen and ink, you will have to use a pencil.

Let me see no more work like this.

MISS GRANVILLE holds up DAISY’s book—the class gasps.

DAISY But…

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act i 33

MISS GRANVILLE Have you anything to say to me regarding

the atrocious condition of this book, Daisy?

DAISY Yes, Miss Granville. I did not hand in my work in that

condition, I give you my word.

MISS GRANVILLE Then your word cannot be worth very much,

Daisy. Are you suggesting that these blots appeared of their

own volition?

DAISY No… I…

MISS GRANVILLE Or are you perhaps suggesting someone else

had a hand in creating this mess?

SYBIL Sneak.

DAISY No… I don’t know. All I know is, that when I wrote my

essay it was perfectly clear of any blots.

MISS GRANVILLE (narrating) Miss Granville hesitated…she

believed the morals if not the intellects of elementary

schoolgirls to be lower than those of the type of girl normally

to be found at Grangewood…yet…honesty shone forth from

Daisy’s face and the ring of truth was within her speech.

(To DAISY) Very well. Daisy, I shall take your word for it

this time, that you really believed that the essay you handed

in was presentable, but I think that next time, perhaps, a

little blotting paper would not come amiss. Now, who is this

week’s book monitor? Ah, Belinda, will you please return

these exercise books to their owners. Thank you. Now girls,

just a brief word on the topics for this year’s School Poetry

competition, details of which you will also find pinned to

the notice-board. There are two subjects, from which you

must choose one only; the first being “Heroes”. Have you

all got that? “Heroes”. Belinda, have you a pencil-sharpener

you can lend Dora Johnston, please? The second subject

being a poem which must bear the title, “The Meditations

of a Lighthouse”. These poems must not exceed fifty lines

in length and must be handed in by Friday week.

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DAISY (narrating) Daisy found it a struggle to concentrate for

the rest of that lesson. She was convinced that Sybil had had

a hand in defacing her essay, for one of Sybil’s responsibilities

as Vice-Captain of the form was to collect prep-work and

hand it in to the appropriate teacher, thereby giving her

the opportunity to wreak any damage she chose. But how

was she to prove it without committing the despicable sin

of sneaking? If only Sybil didn’t hate me so. Life would

be absolute bliss if she and I were chums. I’m convinced

she has some good in her, as most prickly pears have, but

she mustn’t be allowed to carry on her beastly stunts and

to palter with the honour of the Upper Fourth or that of

Grangewood. Honesta quam magna. Hinc spes effulget.

A bell rings off.

MISS GRANVILLE exits.

MR THOMPSON is heard whistling “ALL THROUGH

THE NIGHT” outside.

TRIXIE There goes Mr Thompson with an immense basket of

apples.

DORA Fearful shame that. I’ve been planning a raid on the

orchard for days. Doesn’t look as if there’s any point now.

SYBIL Honestly, I shall write to Mummy and Daddy about

the frightful state Grangewood’s rapidly sinking into. First

sneaking scholarship girls, now thieving—

TRIXIE That’s beastly unfair of you, Sybil.

SYBIL The entire school is in a ferment. The Seconds have had

their pocket money stopped for a fortnight and aren’t to have

any cakes or jam at tea for a week. Isn’t that so, Monica?

MONICA Entirely, Sybil, entirely.

SYBIL Is it right that the honour of the Upper Fourth and the

morals of one of its members, namely Trixie Martin, should

be thrown into disrepute by one girl.

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act i 35

BELINDA Rot, Sybil.

MONICA You’ll see if it’s rot.

TRIXIE We all shall. Daisy and I will go and see the Seconds

ourselves and tell them that whoever sneaked upon us was

responsible for their discovery. And what’s more, we intend

to find the person responsible and expose her to the entire

school.

MR SCOBLOWSKI enters.

MR SCOBLOWSKI (narrating) At that moment, however,

Mr Scoblowski entered the form room to commence his

Geography lesson with the Fourth. (To the pupils) Good

morning, girls.

GIRLS Good morning, Mr Scoblowski.

MR SCOBLOWSKI Please open your Geography text books at

page thiry-one. This morning we will study Peru.

DAISY (narrating) Daisy opened her book at the appropriate

page and as she did so, a slip of printed paper fluttered from

the book and on to the floor. Daisy paled as she picked it

up, suddenly aware that Sybil Burlington had also read the

words printed on the piece of paper.

MR SCOBLOWSKI I will first of all announce the results of last

Wednesday’s Geography test, beginning from the bottom.

Sybil Burlington—twenty-one out of one hundred marks.

Dora Johnston—forty-eight. Monica Smithers—seventy-four.

Trixie Martin—eighty-one. Belinda Mathieson—ninety-one.

Daisy Meredith—ninety-three. Well done, especially Belinda

and Daisy. Sybil, I am surprised at you, your marks are

usually better than this. If they continue to be this appalling,

I shall have you sent down to the First Form for Geography

lessons.

MONICA giggles. SYBIL glares.

DAISY (narrating) Geography was the second lesson that

morning which failed to leave any impression upon Daisy’s

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36 daisy pulls it off

mind, which was whirling upon another matter far removed

from the jungles and mountains of Peru.

A bell rings off.

MR SCOBLOWSKI You may put away your books now, girls. I

would like to see in the main music-room this afternoon

at four o’clock, those girls who are singing solo in the end

of term concert. Thank you.

MR SCOBLOWSKI exits followed by everyone else except

DAISY and SYBIL.

DAISY (narrating) As the Upper Fourth prepared to go to

lunch, Sybil Burlington caught Daisy’s arm.

SYBIL Look here, Daisy Meredith, unless you devise some means

of getting yourself removed from Grangewood within the

next fortnight, I shall tell Miss Gibson of what I saw, printed

on that piece of paper.

DAISY (narrating) For the piece of paper to which Sybil referred

had printed upon it the answers to the previous Wednesday’s

Geography test.

SYBIL And we don’t stand for cheats at Grangewood.

Curtain.

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ACT II:

In the darkness schoolgirl voices are heard chanting.

VOICES A tongue like a snake, a beak like a drake

A cheat like a cat and a sneak like a rat!

Daisy Meredith is a funny one

She’s got a face like a pickled onion

A nose like a squashed tomato

And two bandy legs.

The lights come up in the common room where TRIXIE

is finishing her poem and DAISY is darning a sock.

DAISY I say, Trixie, when do you suppose the Seconds will give

up this sneaking and cat-calling stunt?

TRIXIE In a week or two, if they’ve any sense of honour. They

have rather got their knives into you, old girl. I suppose

Sybil’s been feeding them all this elementary school bilge.

She and Monica went out on to the field this afternoon

looking like queens of tragedy. They absolutely detest

games—sure sign of a rotter.

DAISY I wonder how the match is going, it’s jolly sickening not

to know which side the cheers are for.

TRIXIE I would have gone without cakes and jam for a year

just to have seen the match and Clare’s playing.

MR THOMPSON is heard whistling “ALL THROUGH

THE NIGHT”, off.

I say, Daisy, will you let me read your poem when it’s finished?

DAISY I’m fearfully sorry, Trixie, old chum, but no. Please don’t

be offended but I think it’s tremendously bad form to show

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competition entries to one’s fellow competitors, it can lead

to colossal temptation.

TRIXIE I understand perfectly, Daisy, old thing, I think it’s a

thoroughly decent idea.

DAISY I haven’t even begun mine yet, though I will say that my

choice of title is “The Meditations of a Lighthouse”.

TRIXIE Mine’s the jolly old “Heroes”. I’ve practically finished.

DAISY ( finishing the darning) There, that’s done, Matron ought

to be well satisfied. I say, what shall we do now?

TRIXIE Beastly boring being shut up in here. I know, let’s

treasure-hunt, let’s revive the Dark Horse Secret Society.

DAISY Topping idea! Where do you suggest we begin our search?

TRIXIE Not along the East Gallery, that’s for certain. Have to

wait until we’re prefects to get down there.

DAISY Look here, Trixie, we need ideas, let’s go to the library and

see if we can find any books about other treasure-seekers, or

a book on codes or even a biography of Sir Digby Beaumont.

TRIXIE Capital suggestion. Let’s go down the back stairs, less

chance of Matron or any of the maids seeing us.

DAISY Why? Is the library normally out of bounds?

TRIXIE Yes, unless there’s a prefect or mistress in there. But

we didn’t promise Clare not to go in the library, did we? I

say, someone’s coming…quick…hide down here.

They hide as MR SCOBLOWSKI enters with a notebook

and pencil furiously making notes about the ancestral

portraits in the hall.

TRIXIE almost sneezes out loud, but DAISY stops her by

putting her hand over TRIXIE’s mouth.

Phew! That was a near thing. I say, Daisy, why do you suppose

he’s writing such volumes about the ancestral portraits?

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act ii 39

DAISY I can’t say for certain, but I’ve a pretty good idea…

TRIXIE Daisy, you don’t suppose…

MR SCOBLOWSKI exits.

DAISY That’s just the point, Trixie, old chum, I do.

TRIXIE I wonder how much he knows that we don’t…perhaps

we should tell Clare or Miss Gibson what we suspect.

DAISY No, Trixie, we must solve this ourselves. I put you on

your honour not to divulge a single word about our hunt

to anyone from now on, not even to Clare or Miss Gibson,

until we find the treasure.

TRIXIE I won’t breathe a syllable…even if it means missing the

next hockey knockout.

DAISY Trixie, you’re a trump.

TRIXIE Daisy, that’s queer, look at that device that the old

fellow, Sir Digby’s holding, seems to sort of…stand out from

the rest of the picture.

DAISY Brighter shade of paint than the rest, that’s all. Come

on, to the library…so many books, it’s frightfully difficult

to know where to look.

TRIXIE Heaps of biographies over here…

DAISY Here’s a volume on codes and ciphers.

TRIXIE Here’s one by the old boy himself. Hey, there’s lots of

them…most of them seem to be about astronomy.

DAISY Let’s find every one of them we can, we’ve stacks of time

to look through them all.

TRIXIE Well, those are all of Sir Digby’s books that I can find.

DAISY Right, now we must scour absolutely every page of every

book. We’re looking for sheets of paper slipped in between

the pages, scribbled notes in the margin, that kind of thing.

TRIXIE My goodness, Daisy, you have got brains.

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DAISY You’ve not so prodigiously few yourself.

DAISY and TRIXIE look through the books.

ALICE and CLARE enter, carrying hockey sticks.

ALICE How’s Diana?

CLARE She’s definitely out now for the second half—Matron

will never let her play with a broken ankle.

ALICE The vantage is ours.

CLARE I’m not so jolly certain, Alice.

ALICE We’re leading by six goals to one.

CLARE That goalie of Thorphurst’s is first-rate, I’ve had umpteen

pots at the goal, but Diana was the only girl able to get one in.

ALICE Julia is a jolly decent substitute.

CLARE Can’t afford to get complacent, Alice.

A whistle blows, off.

There goes the whistle for the second half. Watch that left

inner, Alice.

ALICE I’ll stick to her like a shadow.

CLARE and ALICE exit.

TRIXIE If we don’t find a clue, I shall simply expire.

DAISY Hinc spes effulget.

TRIXIE It’d be such a mean horrid beastly sell if we didn’t.

Pause.

I say, Daisy, listen to this…

My first is above where cherubim reign

My second in Sagittarius nickname

My third in…

DAISY Let me see.

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act ii 41

TRIXIE Some joker defacing school property.

DAISY But Trixie, don’t you see…?

TRIXIE See what?

DAISY This is it…what we’ve been searching for…the clue!

TRIXIE O Jubilate! Jemima! Someone’s coming this way.

DAISY Quick, underneath the table.

They get under the library table.

TRIXIE The book! (She grabs the book)

A second later MR SCOBLOWSKI enters. He sees the books

and examines them.

MR SCOBLOWSKI Goodness gracious… Sir Digby Beaumont…

I wonder.

BELINDA enters.

BELINDA Mr Scoblowski! Mr Scoblowski! Mr Thompson’s here

to see you.

MR SCOBLOWSKI Dash it!

MR SCOBLOWSKI and BELINDA exit.

TRIXIE That proves it, it jolly well proves it, he’s after the

treasure! I wonder if Mr Thompson has anything to do

with it, I’ve noticed that he and Mr Scoblowski are pretty

thick together.

DAISY Trixie, let’s copy this clue down before Mr Scoblowski

returns.

TRIXIE I say, Daisy let’s tear the page out so that Mr Scoblowski

can’t find it.

DAISY We can’t deface school property.

TRIXIE Let’s take the whole book then.

DAISY That would be stealing.

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42 daisy pulls it off

TRIXIE Not really it wouldn’t, we’d only be borrowing it… it’s

for the sake of the school.

DAISY Well, I don’t know…

TRIXIE And Clare.

DAISY Right-o!

TRIXIE O Jubilate, Daisy, I knew you’d see sense.

DAISY Let’s put all these other books away then, quickly.

DAISY and TRIXIE return the books to the shelves.

MR SCOBLOWSKI (offstage) Well, I will see you this evening—I

have not the time now, I’m extremely busy.

TRIXIE Daisy, he’s coming back! Quick, up the stairs!

MR SCOBLOWSKI I have a Geography lesson to prepare—I’m

sorry, I’m sorry.

MR SCOBLOWSKI enters, and sees the books are no longer

there.

H’mm, h’mm.

MR SCOBLOWSKI exits.

DAISY Phew! In the nick of time. Now for that clue.

TRIXIE Read it out, Daisy.

DAISY My first is above where cherubim reign.

My second in Sagittarius nickname.

My third in the eighth of Saturn’s great brood

My fourth is in Aries and doth provide food

My fifth at the end of the first planet lies

My sixth spangles brightly the late evening skies

My seventh lies in the beast that the starry twins follow

My eighth the north night skies with brave colours swallow

My last lies in the hue of the warrior planet

And there if you read me aright you will have it.

Take my initials in the order they’re writ

And your way to the final clue will be lit.

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act ii 43

I say, Trixie, how glorious.

TRIXIE A real clue! Quick, we must work it out. (She writes

down the answers to the clues)

DAISY My first is above where cherubim reign…well that’s easy

enough… Heaven.

TRIXIE So H is our first letter. The second is A for Archer…

Sagittarius.

DAISY Wise child. My third is the eighth of Saturn’s great brood…

here’s a conundrum, I didn’t know Saturn had any children.

TRIXIE Didn’t think he had a wife.

DAISY Think, Trixie, think.

TRIXIE I’m racking my brains. A dictionary of astronomy, that’s

what we need.

DAISY Trixie, this book’s got a glossary.

TRIXIE Uncommonly handy.

DAISY Scorpio… Sirius… Star-gazer… Saturn! Saturn, rings,

distance from earth, moons…moons! Moons! Brood!

TRIXIE The eighth, what’s the name of the eighth moon?

DAISY Iapetus.

TRIXIE I. Next?

DAISY My fourth is in Aries and doth provide food…ah, Aries

the Ram.

TRIXIE We’re getting on famously. Hair we’ve got.

DAISY My fifth at the end of the first planet lies… Mercury… Y.

TRIXIE I say! Hairy!

DAISY Hairy?

TRIXIE ’Swat it says.

DAISY My sixth spangles brightly the late evening skies…

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TRIXIE Stars! S!

DAISY Topping, Trixie. Now the beast that the starry twins

follow…

TRIXIE Pollux and Castor… Taurus the Bull! Taurus!

DAISY My eighth the north night skies with brave colours

swallow. North? Why north I wonder?

TRIXIE I know, Northern Lights. Aurora something… Aurora

borry…

DAISY Never mind, we’ve got the A. My last lies in the hue of

the Warrior Planet.

TRIXIE Mars! Red! It’s red!

DAISY And there if you read me aright you will have it.

TRIXIE Hairy star.

DAISY Doesn’t make sense.

TRIXIE Have a look in the glossary.

DAISY Nothing about hairy stars in here. Trixie, perhaps we’ve

got it wrong.

TRIXIE Perhaps it’s an astronomical symbol.

DAISY Queer sort of symbol.

TRIXIE Perhaps Sir Digby was a lunatic.

MONICA and SYBIL’s voices are heard off.

DAISY Voices! The match must be over.

TRIXIE We must hide the book.

DAISY Where?

TRIXIE In your boot-hole. Hairy star, don’t forget it, Daisy,

hairy star.

TRIXIE and DAISY exit.

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act ii 45

SYBIL and MONICA enter, MONICA carrying a bag of

buns.

MONICA I say, Sybil, are you sure no one can see us?

SYBIL Honestly, Monica, you really are green sometimes.

Everyone’s too taken up with the match to notice our absence.

MONICA Here are the buns. I’m afraid, Sybil, they’re the tiniest

bit damp, it’s muddy in the tea-tent.

SYBIL I bag the creamy one.

They eat the buns.

MONICA Isn’t this blissful?

SYBIL How wild they’d all be if they could see us—instead of

swiping at their silly balls.

MONICA Especially Daisy Meredith.

SYBIL All swank, she’s hopeless really. Fearfully good idea of

yours, that Geography paper, Monica.

MONICA You inspired it, Sybil. It would have been nothing

without you to carry it through.

SYBIL I fear for Grangewood if the Meredith girl remains to

taint it for very much longer. Clare and the mistresses are

ready to kiss her boots at present, but they’ll soon change

their tune especially when my next scheme comes to fruition.

MONICA Oh Sybil, I do think you have the most gorgeous

character of anyone I know.

SYBIL I daresay you’re right. Come on, I want to finish my poem.

SYBIL and MONICA exit.

CLARE (offstage) Three cheers for Thorphurst, the gallant losers.

Hip, hip…

There is cheering off.

CLARE and ALICE enter, exhausted.

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46 daisy pulls it off

What a dickens of a game.

ALICE Sure, I didn’t know if I was coming or going.

CLARE How’s your shin, Alice?

ALICE Bruised—like a thunder cloud. ’Tis a sight better I’ll be

bound than Diana’s ankle…

CLARE Or Carol’s knee…

ALICE Or Jane’s cracked rib.

CLARE I scarcely like to think about the team we will have to

scrape together for the next match.

ALICE And the final, if we reach it.

CLARE Still, buck up, old thing, there are some jolly decent

players in the Fifth.

ALICE Have you not remembered, Clare, that in the week of

the finals the Fifth are away in France.

CLARE ’Nuff said. That leaves the Fourth—Belinda, Trixie and

the new girl. Chin-up, Alice, a miracle may happen and our

injured may recover in time to play. Let’s wash and change,

then go and cheer up the wounded soldiers in the San.

There is a shriek, off.

My word, it’s Mademoiselle.

MADEMOISELLE enters.

MADEMOISELLE (to the audience) Mademoiselle, the scatterbrained French mistress of Grangewood. (To CLARE and

ALICE) Tiens! C’est abominable! A thief  ’as been in ze library

and taken a most valuable book. It is I who am to blame

n’est-ce pas. For I am on library duty this week.

CLARE Steady on, Mademoiselle, are you absolutely sure the

book has been stolen?

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act ii 47

MADEMOISELLE Positive. For I come in to see zat all is well

after ze splendid ’ockey match and pouf! I see a big gap

on ze shelf.

CLARE Which book was it, Mademoiselle, can you remember?

MADEMOISELLE Mais oui! It belonged to your esteemed

grandpère and was about ze stars in ze ’eavens. I ’ave looked

at it often in great wonder. I must find Miss Gibson and

tell ’er what ’as occurred.

CLARE I’ll come with you, Mademoiselle, for this concerns me

very much. See you in the San, Alice.

CLARE and MADEMOISELLE exit.

ALICE Things are lookin’ black for you indeed, me darlin’ girl.

ALICE exits.

Everyone enters for Assembly, singing the hymn “LORD

OF ALL HOPEFULNESS”.

TRIXIE (to DAISY) I found this in the dormy, it’s addressed to you.

DAISY (narrating) Reluctantly Daisy opened the envelope,

a feeling of grim foreboding stealing over her. Sybil

Burlington’s spidery handwriting revealed itself… “one week

or Grangewood will know the truth about the Geography

paper”. Daisy paled.

TRIXIE I say, Daisy, bad news?

DAISY (to TRIXIE) No, I’ve a headache. (Narrating) That

Geography paper—how had it come to be in her desk? Daisy

half-suspected Sybil of the deed except that the look of

surprise on the girl’s face had seemed genuine. How she

longed to make a clean breast of the affair to Miss Gibson

or Clare—but who would believe the word of an elementary

schoolgirl in the face of such condemning evidence and

against that of a wealthy, beautiful self-assured Grangewood

scholar, especially one who desired her departure so keenly.

(To herself ) But I can’t leave Grangewood, I love it so and

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48 daisy pulls it off

mother would be tremendously upset. I know, I’ll destroy

the Geography paper then no one need be any the wiser.

Why on earth didn’t I think of that sooner?

MISS GIBSON Now we come to the morning’s notices. The match

on Saturday against Thorphurst was won, as you all know,

by Grangewood six-three.

Everyone cheers.

A splendid effort by all concerned—which means that

Grangewood goes through to the semi-final. Several injuries

were sustained by our players which means that the First

Eleven will be on the look-out for possible substitutes for

the next match, and the final, if we are fortunate enough

to reach it. This of course, will give members of the Fifth

and Fourth forms a chance to show their mettle.

DAISY How topping.

TRIXIE How scrummy.

MISS GIBSON A list of those girls being considered is pinned

on the school notice-board. I have been informed that

several girls on their way to specialized music lessons in

the town have been observed conversing with boys from St

Hugo’s County Grammar School. This must stop. Mingling

with brothers, cousins and boys at supervised social events

is perfectly in order, but this casual hob-nobbing can do

nothing but harm to Grangewood’s reputation. A natureramble to Pebble Cove will be led by Miss Waller on Sunday

afternoon for any girls interested—names in by Wednesday

please. Finally, I come to a matter of the utmost gravity.

A book of astronomy, part of the Sir Digby Beaumont

Collection, has been taken—I hesitate to say stolen—from

the school library. We believe it to have been purloined by

someone who possibly does not realize that books may not

be taken from the library without express permission from

either myself or the mistress-in-charge for that week. If

the person who has the book would care to come and see

me privately this morning, I will say nothing about the

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act ii 49

matter. However, if no one owns up, afternoon games will

be cancelled…

Everyone gasps.

…and the entire school kept within bounds for the next

three days.

Everyone gasps again.

School dismissed.

All exit except for DAISY and TRIXIE.

TRIXIE We really are in deadly peril now. What atrocious luck

that the book should be missed so soon.

DAISY If we hand it back, Mr Scoblowski is sure to discover

the clue.

TRIXIE I say, Daisy, do you think he suspects that we’re the

culprits, after all, we’ve actually told him that we’re looking

for the treasure.

DAISY He may sneak on us.

TRIXIE Oh, Daisy, how frightful. Perhaps we should chuck the

whole affair in.

DAISY And let the Bolsheviks get their hands on the treasure?

TRIXIE You’re right, Daisy, for the sake of the school…

DAISY …and England. No, we must keep extremely quiet about

the whole affair and admit to nothing.

TRIXIE Honesta quam magna.

TRIXIE } (together) Hinc spes effulget. DAISY

GIRLS enter and gather around the school notice-board.

TRIXIE I say, look at the crowd around the notice-board. Let

us through, Winnie. Daisy! You and I and Belinda are all

down for the hockey trials on Thursday.

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50 daisy pulls it off

DAISY How spiffing.

WINNIE Even more spiffing if someone returns that beastly

book and we get our three games periods back.

TRIXIE I say, Daisy, where are you off to?

DAISY I left something in my desk.

TRIXIE Right-o!

The GIRLS and TRIXIE exit.

DAISY enters the classroom.

DAISY Now to destroy that Geography paper. (She looks in her

desk) It’s gone!

MONICA enters.

MONICA Sybil asked me to tell you that she’s borrowed your

Geography text book for prep. But here, I’ll lend you mine.

MONICA exits.

DAISY The beasts! I sometimes wish I’d never heard of

Grangewood. But I’ll show them, I’ll show them what the

Merediths are made of… I’ll show you, Sybil Burlington. Tell

who you like about the Geography paper, I’ll not admit to

something that isn’t my fault, I’ll not submit to blackmail.

I’m staying at Grangewood—yes, until the Sixth form, Sybil

Burlington, until the Sixth form.

TRIXIE enters.

TRIXIE Come on, Daisy, we’d better cut along to the lab.

WINNIE IRVING enters.

WINNIE (to the audience) Winnie Irving, a member of the Second

Form. (To DAISY) I say, Daisy Meredith?

DAISY Yes?

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act ii 51

WINNIE I’ve a message for you from the Second and First

forms—we don’t stand for sneaks at Grangewood and

until such time as you either apologize to us for your low

behaviour, reform or leave the school, we are sending you

and Trixie Martin to Coventry.

WINNIE exits.

TRIXIE I’d like to wipe the ground with the cheeky little beggar.

DAISY I sometimes think that Grangewood is a perfectly horrible,

miserable school.

TRIXIE You need bucking-up, old chum. (Pause) Got it! I’ll

arrange an inter-dormy bottle-fight.

DAISY What’s that?

TRIXIE It’s like a pillow-fight but with hot-water bottles. You

fill them half-full of water for extra suppleness and then

bang! You’re off. It’s a prime stunt. We’ll do it tomorrow

night after prayers when the Prees are having their baths.

DAISY Sounds a topping idea, I feel better already.

Whistling of “ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT” is heard,

off.

What is the name of that tune that Mr Thompson always

whistles, do you know, Trixie?

TRIXIE Dash it, I can’t think…a Welsh song, you should know

it, Daisy… All Through the Night, that’s the one.

DAISY It’s queer, Trixie, but it’s frightfully reminiscent of

something.

TRIXIE Your mater probably sang it to you when you were but

an infant on her knee.

DAISY And he always whistles the same tune.

TRIXIE Slightly cracked, poor old chap, so they say. Avoids

people like the plague.

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52 daisy pulls it off

A bell rings off.

I say, we’ll be late for Science if we don’t dash.

TRIXIE dashes off.

DAISY takes a book from her desk and goes to follow

TRIXIE.

MR SCOBLOWSKI enters.

DAISY bumps into MR SCOBLOWSKI.

DAISY Excuse me, Mr Scoblowski, I’m late for a class.

MR SCOBLOWSKI Ah, I hope it is not because you were treasurehunting!

DAISY No, we’ve given up all that ever since we discovered that

only juniors believe in the treasure.

MR SCOBLOWSKI (narrating) Mr Scoblowski was not convinced,

however. (He grabs DAISY’s arm) I know very well that you

and the other girl have the book hidden away…

DAISY Ow! Mr Scoblowski, you’re hurting my arm.

MR SCOBLOWSKI But I intend to find it! It is imperative, you

do not realize…

TRIXIE enters.

TRIXIE I say, Daisy, are you coming? What the…

MR SCOBLOWSKI exits.

Daisy!

DAISY He knows we’ve got the book.

TRIXIE There’s only one thing for it, we must discover the

secret of the hairy star!

TRIXIE and DAISY exit.

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act ii 53

A clock chimes nine.

MONICA enters in her dressing-gown and sits and reads

a comic. SYBIL enters carrying a book.

SYBIL Monica!

MONICA Sybil!

SYBIL I’ve just discovered this in Daisy Meredith’s boot-hole.

(Pause) It’s the book, Monica.

MONICA How absolutely splendid.

SYBIL How despicably low. I’ll replace it and leave you, Monica,

to see that the proper persons are informed.

MONICA They will be, Sybil, they will be.

SYBIL exits with the book.

GIRLS, including DAISY and TRIXIE, enter having a

bottle-fight. SYBIL returns and joins in the fight.

ALICE enters.

ALICE Daisy Meredith! Just what are you doing with that hotwater bottle? Kindly remove it…and the rest of you children

can return to whichever dormy you belong to, at once! Interdormy bottle-fights, I wonder who thought of that one.

SYBIL But you used to—

ALICE Yes, I know we used to do it at your age, but we took

great care not to get caught.

BELINDA We thought all the Prees were having baths.

ALICE We can’t all get in at the same time. Enough of this

ragging, an order mark to any girl who’s not in her own

dormy by the time I’ve counted to ten. Sybil Burlington,

please wait in my study, I wish to have a word with you.

ALICE and the other GIRLS exit.

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54 daisy pulls it off

DAISY and TRIXIE join MONICA.

DAISY Phew! Alice is in a pixie mood.

TRIXIE A regular sport though, always gives one a chance.

I had an absolutely scrummy tussle with Jill Timms and

Rosie Wildgust from the Third and then Jill’s hot-water

bottle burst!

DAISY Matron will be frightfully fed-up about that.

TRIXIE Oh, Matron’s a sport, she’ll gather the joyful gist.

“ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT” is heard being whistled

outside.

DAISY Why didn’t you join in the bottle-fight, Monica?

MONICA I’m not feeling well.

DAISY Let’s play a game to jolly you up, we’ve heaps of time

before lights out.

TRIXIE That’s a topping idea, Daisy.

DAISY How about a game we all know, I know—the Dictionary

Game.

TRIXIE Right-o!

DAISY Here we are, pencils, paper and a small pocket dictionary.

(She hands the pencils and paper round)

TRIXIE Goodness, what amazing pockets.

DAISY I’ve a penknife, string and coughsweets as well. My

four brothers are Boy Scouts you see, and their motto is

“Be Prepared” for any emergency.

TRIXIE I bags to be first on it.

DAISY No, Trixie, I bags to be first on it.

TRIXIE Right-o. You do know how to play, don’t you Monica?

MONICA Of course I do.

TRIXIE First word, Daisy?

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act ii 55

DAISY First word, well it’s a name really…hairy star.

TRIXIE Hairy star?

DAISY Hairy star.

TRIXIE There’s no such word.

MONICA Yes, there is. I’m not quite sure I can remember what

it means.

They write down their definitions.

DAISY Right-o, all done? Hand them over. Now a hairy star…

is a species of fungus found growing under beech trees, a

Colonial term for the Union Jack, or a comet so-called in

ancient times because its fiery tail resembled that of a—

ALICE enters.

ALICE Well, well, this is a cosy little confab. Did you not hear

me call for lights out?

DAISY No, sorry Alice, we didn’t.

MONICA Sybil’s our dormy monitor, don’t we have to wait for

her to tell us?

ALICE Sybil’s with me for the minute. Now off you all run to

your beds.

MONICA Goodnight, Alice.

ALICE Goodnight, Monica.

TRIXIE ’Night, Alice.

ALICE Goodnight, Trixie.

DAISY Good…

ALICE Daisy, can I speak with you for a minute?

DAISY Yes.

TRIXIE and MONICA exit.

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56 daisy pulls it off

ALICE Are you well, child, you’ve been looking a wee bit pale

of late?

DAISY I’m in splendid form, thank you, Alice.

ALICE You’ve been sleeping at nights?

DAISY Like the proverbial log.

ALICE I think I’ll ask Matron to dose you up on cod-liver oil

for a while.

DAISY Look here, Alice…

ALICE You’re too peaky looking for my liking and besides, we

need fighters not wraithes in the First Eleven. But it’s not

that I wish to speak to you of. In the midst of that battle you

were all engaged in ten minutes ago, a Junior passed me

on her way to the San sporting a black eye she’d received in

the onslaught. She’d been set upon by a crowd led by Sybil

Burlington, for refusing to join them in a foray against

the Sneak of the Fourth, as I believe you’re known. Now,

does this have anything to do with the fact that when Clare

pounced on you and Trixie that night she also happed upon

the Seconds feasting, who now see you as a sneak?

DAISY I’d rather not say, Alice.

ALICE I’ve no intention of fighting any battles on your behalf,

child, but right must be seen to exist where it does. Would

you like me to have a discreet word with the Seconds?

DAISY No. Thanks awfully, Alice, but I mean to settle this on

my own account.

ALICE Are you sure, child?

DAISY Absolutely.

ALICE Very well, off you run to bed then, kiddie.

DAISY Alice…

ALICE Yes, child?

DAISY You aren’t rowing Sybil on my account, are you?

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act ii 57

ALICE No, rest assured. I can’t allow anyone, least of all a

Vice-Captain of a form, to run around the school dishing

out black eyes to all and sundry. Young Sybil will be on her

way to Miss Gibson if she crosses my path again.

DAISY I say.

ALICE Goodnight, child.

DAISY Goodnight, Alice.

ALICE exits.

TRIXIE rushes on.

TRIXIE Oh, Daisy, the hairy star!

DAISY I know, oh Trixie, how glorious!

TRIXIE How uncommonly brainy of you to think up such a

scheme…

DAISY How tremendously decent of Monica.

TRIXIE We must act at once, before Mr Scoblowski.

DAISY Tomorrow.

TRIXIE Tomorrow.

DAISY } (together) Hinc spes effulget. TRIXIE

Everyone enters for Assembly, singing the hymn, “LET

US WITH A GLADSOME MIND”.

MISS GIBSON The morning’s notices. I learnt with great

displeasure from Matron this morning that not a few girls

have reported to her with burst hot-water bottles, the result

it would seem of a dormitory prank. In future, all hot-water

bottles similarly destroyed will be replaced with the aid of

contributions from pocket-money. Persistent offenders will

be relieved of their hot-water bottles and given hot bricks

wrapped in flannel to take to bed. Now on to more pleasant

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58 daisy pulls it off

matters. Grangewood has reached the final of the County

Hockey Championships…

Everyone cheers.

…and will meet Vearncombe Young Ladies College next

Saturday for the match which will be played here on

Grangewood’s own hockey pitch.

Everyone cheers.

Owing to the Fifth form’s enforced absence from school this

week, any substitutes required will be selected by Clare from

the Fourth form. Not the happiest circumstances under

which to meet such leviathans as Vearncombe, but remember

girls, that even if we lose this very vital match, as long as

you play the game, to the best of your very considerable

abilities, you will not have failed Grangewood. Finally, it

gives me tremendous delight to announce the results of this

year’s School Poetry Competition. While many of the entries

were worthy of high commendation, all credit this year

must go to the Upper Fourth who have produced the two

winning entries. In second place we have “The Meditations

of a Lighthouse” submitted by Sybil Burlington.

There is applause.

TRIXIE My word! What a stunner!

MISS GIBSON …and this year’s winning entry is a poem on the

subject of “Heroes” penned by Daisy Meredith.

There is applause.

TRIXIE I say, well done.

DAISY But Trixie, I didn’t…

MISS GIBSON Quiet girls, please. I now take great pleasure in

reading an extract from this indeed excellent piece of work.

“Heroes” by Daisy Meredith.

Through centuries wrapped in clouds of black

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act ii 59

Where injustice cruel doth rage

There sometimes glows a candle bright

That darkness to assuage.

DAISY Trixie! Please listen…

MISS GIBSON Poor folk crushed by tyrant’s hand of privilege

bereft—

TRIXIE If you please, Miss Gibson—

MISS GIBSON I am available in my study after Assembly for

question or comment, Trixie Martin.

TRIXIE I’m sorry, Miss Gibson, but that poem you are reading

out was not written by Daisy Meredith. I wrote it.

There is a gasp from the GIRLS.

MISS GIBSON Is this correct, Daisy?

DAISY Yes, Miss Gibson.

MISS GIBSON Is this your handwriting, Trixie?

TRIXIE Yes, Miss Gibson.

MISS GIBSON Most odd, and yet it has Daisy’s name written

upon it.

DAISY On my honour, Miss Gibson, I honestly had no idea…

oh Trixie, surely you don’t believe…

MISS GIBSON Silence if you please, girls, silence. Trixie, I’ll

speak to you in a moment. Daisy Meredith, you are to go

to my study and wait for me there.

DAISY But Miss Gibson…

MISS GIBSON Please go. School dismissed.

DAISY exits. Everyone disperses.

BELINDA (to TRIXIE) What a beastly business! I would never

have thought Daisy capable of such a frightful plot.

MISS GIBSON Thank you, Belinda.

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60 daisy pulls it off

BELINDA exits.

(to TRIXIE) Don’t worry, Trixie, we’ll sort this out. Off you go.

TRIXIE exits.

DAISY and MISS GIBSON enter MISS GIBSON’s study.

Daisy, this kind of affair grieves me intensely, especially when

it concerns a girl in whom so much faith and expectation

has been placed and whose academic and sporting future

looked so bright. Now you say that you had no idea that

Trixie Marlin’s poem was submitted under your name?

DAISY None at all, on my honour. Miss Gibson.

MISS GIBSON And yet the name Daisy Meredith inscribed on

the top of the entry compares remarkably well with other

examples of your signature.

DAISY But Miss Gibson, I would never do such a thing to Trixie,

she’s my best chum.

MISS GIBSON Not even in fun?

DAISY Not even in fun, Miss Gibson.

MISS GIBSON A certain member of your form, I shall not mention

her name, came to me with your Geography text book in

which I found this—a printed list of answers to a Geography

test set some time ago in which you came out top.

DAISY Miss Gibson, honestly, I had no idea… I didn’t see it

until…

MISS GIBSON And this… (She produces the astronomy book) …

was discovered at the back of your boot-hole.

DAISY I borrowed it, I can’t tell you why, it’s a point of honour,

Miss Gibson, but I swear to you I had absolutely nothing

to do with the poem or the Geography test.

MISS GIBSON I must say, Daisy, I find it extremely difficult to

believe anything of a girl who remained silent whilst her

school-fellows suffered the loss of three days games and

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act ii 61

confinement to school grounds because of something she

had not the courage to own up to. A girl also blind to the

distress that this seeming theft has caused to the Beaumont

family, particularly Clare.

DAISY I would never do anything to hurt Clare, Miss Gibson.

MISS GIBSON I can only conclude, my dear, that perhaps we

have demanded a little too much of you. The gulf between

such schools as Grangewood and the elementary kind may

be wider than we dream and I see the events of the past few

weeks being as much my fault as yours, in having placed you

under the tremendous pressures resulting in the matters

now under discussion.

DAISY I’m awfully sorry, Miss Gibson, but as far as academic

work and games go, I have not found myself under any

of the tremendous pressures you mention, neither am I

conscious of any enormous gulf between Grangewood and

my previous school, as you are, if the gulf you speak of is

mainly moral as you seem to imply. The only pressures I

have encountered here are those from girls who because they

have money, therefore have influence, a remarkably queer

notion to my mind, and whose only code of conduct is that

of lying, sneaking and bullying, and seeing fit to wipe the

ground with me because in my ignorant elementary school

way, I try to live up to the high standards set here, and to

their irritation, succeed.

MISS GIBSON That will do, Daisy Meredith. I shall attempt to

get to the bottom of the accusations against you and will

report my findings along with an academic and character

assessment on you, to a meeting of the School Governors,

to be held next Monday, when it will be decided whether

or not, to keep you on at Grangewood. Until that time you

will be given a room in the Sanatorium where you will

sleep, your meals will be brought to you and you will be

given specially prepared classwork to do. You will not be

allowed to speak to any of your school-fellows or they to

you, only to myself, teaching staff and Matron. You will

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62 daisy pulls it off

be in Matron’s charge and she will also arrange for your

recreation periods. You may go.

DAISY Miss Gibson, on my honour, I swear I am innocent of

the charges laid against me.

MISS GIBSON exits.

DAISY goes into the Sanatorium and throws herself on

a bed.

Oh mother, mother…oh Clare, if only I could explain to

you…and Trixie…but now I never shall.

TRIXIE enters.

TRIXIE Psst!

DAISY Trixie.

TRIXIE Oh, Daisy!

DAISY You’ll get into fearful trouble if they find you here.

TRIXIE I know. It’s perfectly beastly, we’ve been ordered not

to speak to you on pain of death.

DAISY Oh Trixie, do you absolutely wish to goodness you’d never

even met me? Do you believe I entered your poem as mine?

TRIXIE No, old chum, not for so much as a minute. I’m

immensely sorry I spoke out in Assembly and not to Miss

Gibson in private, I’m afraid I lost my rag.

DAISY I would have done exactly the same in your position

though it’s fearfully hard not to be dismal when everyone

else believes I did do it. They found Sir Digby’s book you

know, I suppose Clare detests me now.

TRIXIE The book! Mr Scoblowski! The treasure! Daisy, we

must stop him!

DAISY How? I’m not supposed to leave this room except to go

to piano practice.

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act ii 63

TRIXIE I’m not supposed to be in it. I’ll work out some sort of a

scheme… I’ll also find out who rigged the poetry competition.

DAISY Probably someone’s idea of a joke.

TRIXIE Queer sort of a joke. There are fearful rumours too,

about you cribbing for a Geography test. What is the truth,

Daisy?

DAISY I’m afraid I can’t say, I’m not a sneak whatever else I

may be.

TRIXIE It wouldn’t surprise me if Sybil Burlington didn’t have

a hand in this somewhere.

A bell goes, off.

Dash it, there goes the bell.

DAISY I’m so glad you don’t absolutely loathe me, Trixie.

TRIXIE Buck-up, Daisy, old girl, I’ll get you out of this piggy

little mess, see if I don’t.

DAISY Thanks awfully, Trixie. I must go to piano practice.

TRIXIE I’ll creep up and see you later. Cheeriosa.

DAISY } (together) Hinc spes effulget. TRIXIE

TRIXIE and DAISY exit.

CLARE and ALICE enter.

CLARE Two days to the final, Diana’s still out, Carol’s hurt her

knee again, and the Fifth away. It’s no use, Alice, we shall

have to put in some of those babes from the Fourth.

TRIXIE enters and stops to eavesdrop.

ALICE It’s two we shall need.

CLARE And if we’re to beat Vearncombe this year, they’ve got

to be good.

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64 daisy pulls it off

ALICE There’s Trixie Martin, splendid little player when she

puts her mind to it.

CLARE Belinda Mathieson.

ALICE She’s decent.

CLARE Well, that’s our team.

Beautiful piano playing is suddenly heard.

Who’s that who plays so beautifully?

ALICE The wee girl, Daisy Meredith.

CLARE A mistress surely.

ALICE No, Daisy Meredith. Matron allows her to practise when

a music-room lies empty.

CLARE Poor child, anyone who plays like that cannot surely be

guilty of the things she’s been accused of.

ALICE It’s my belief she isn’t.

CLARE If only we had proof, Alice. I must say, I’ve noticed that

certain elements in the school have done their best to make

life tough for that kiddie.

ALICE Can we not find that proof?

CLARE We haven’t much time, the School Governors meet to

discuss her fate on Monday. I suppose we could have a jolly

good go at clearing her name though.

ALICE Even though she did walk off with your grandfather’s

book…and deprived the school of three days’ games.

CLARE I was awfully fed-up about that, I admit.

ALICE Daisy told Miss Gibson she held back on a point of

honour…and I’ll tell you something now, I don’t believe

that a girl like Daisy who loves her games would hold back

for less.

CLARE She’s always struck me as a frightfully decent kid.

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act ii 65

TRIXIE exits.

ALICE And don’t you find it queer now, that such a girl should

deliberately set out to ruin herself? And to expose herself

as a cheat and a leech upon her best friend.

CLARE That settles it, Alice, we will carry out our own

investigation into this affair. Thank you, old thing, for

reminding me that as well as being Games Captain of

Grangewood, I am Head Girl.

ALICE Sure, it’s a deputy’s duty.

There is a sudden shrieking and commotion off, and

the piano playing stops.

CLARE I say, what a row.

BELINDA enters.

BELINDA It’s Trixie Martin, she’s twisted her ankle. I’m going

to find Matron.

BELINDA exits.

ALICE Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

CLARE There goes another member of our First Eleven.

ALICE Nil desperandum, me darlin’ Clare.

CLARE We’re sunk. Might as well hand the trophy over to

Vearncombe now.

ALICE We’ll find another substitute.

CLARE Who else is there good enough?

DAISY’s piano playing suddenly surges forth.

ALICE Wee Daisy Meredith.

CLARE Do you think Miss Gibson will be persuaded?

ALICE She must—for the sake of the school.

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66 daisy pulls it off

CLARE and ALICE exit.

DAISY enters the San with a hockey stick, TRIXIE follows

on crutches.

They knock a hockey ball about between them.

TRIXIE Goal!

DAISY Shhh. Matron will hear you and pack you off back to

jolly old bed.

TRIXIE And deprive me of the chance of seeing you play for

Grangewood? Fat chance. She’d have the dickens of a deadly

fight on her hands.

DAISY I say, Trixie, I’m horribly afraid I shall prove the most

frightful muff.

TRIXIE You haven’t muffed any practice games.

DAISY This is different. We shall be playing an absolutely firstclass team not just eleven substitutes, and I feel I must justify

Clare and Alice’s faith in me after the tremendously hard

job they must have had persuading Miss Gibson to let me

play. I say, do you think any of the Grangewood girls will

let on that one of their team is under threat of expulsion?

TRIXIE They wouldn’t be such a pack of mean cats. If anyone,

even that reptile, Sybil Burlington, uttered a word, I would

cold-pig them every morning ’til the end of term.

DAISY I say, would you really?

TRIXIE With immense gratification. I say, it’s capital the two

of us being here in the San.

DAISY Things have been a lot jollier since you twisted your

ankle, I admit. Gets us even further away from discovering

the Beaumont treasure though. I lie awake at night and

think about it.

TRIXIE No wonder you’re looking so pale and ghastly.

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act ii 67

DAISY Rot! I’m fit as a fiddle. It would be topping though if

we could find it before I leave. I do so want to make it up

to everyone for being such a frightful disappointment.

A bell rings off.

I must go and join the others on the field.

TRIXIE Good luck, Daisy, old thing, play up and play the game.

DAISY Thanks awfully, Trixie.

TRIXIE I saved this doughnut for you, to give you extra strength

for the match.

DAISY Trixie, you’re a real chum.

TRIXIE Hinc spes effulget.

DAISY exits.

TRIXIE walks over to the window putting aside her

crutches.

Hinc spes effulget, Daisy, hinc spes effulget.

DAISY, CLARE, ALICE and BELINDA enter with hockey

sticks. They take up their positions on the pitch. They

don’t actually move from where they stand.

A whistle blows.

Bully off. Grangewood have the ball.

CLARE Centre forward to right inner.

ALICE Right inner to centre forward.

CLARE Centre forward to left wing.

DAISY Tackle by Vearncombe!

TRIXIE Vearncombe have the ball. Don’t let them past, oh

don’t let them past…they’re getting through…where’s the

left back…the left back!

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68 daisy pulls it off

ALL No.

TRIXIE Vearncombe have scored the first goal of the match.

A whistle blows for off.

Bully-off… Grangewood again.

CLARE Centre forward to right inner.

ALICE Right inner to right wing.

BELINDA Tackle by Vearncombe!

TRIXIE Vearncombe take the ball! Left back to left inner…they’re

passing down the field. The wing is clear again, mark her!

Mark her! Desperate tackle by Clare—to no avail…

ALL No!

TRIXIE Vearncombe score the second goal.

A whistle blows off.

CLARE Half time.

CLARE, ALICE, BELINDA and DAISY unfreeze from their

hockey positions.

BELINDA Looks as though we shall be beaten hollow.

DAISY Things do look dreadfully grim.

ALICE We’ll beat them, we must.

CLARE I say, chin-up, Grangewood. Vearncombe are a firstrate team but we still have the second half in which to

draw level. Those tackles of yours weren’t half bad, young

Belinda, but you must decide what to do with the ball once

you’ve got it. Daisy, don’t let those backs crowd you as they

were doing. Remember all of you, when you have the ball,

get rid of it fast, don’t hug it to yourselves and remember,

above all, attack is the best form of defence. We’re allowing

Vearncombe French leave to do as they wish at the moment.

The vantage will be theirs this half with the wind behind

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act ii 69

them so we must play hard, play up and play the game.

Remember—the honour of Grangewood is at stake.

A whistle blows off. CLARE, ALICE, BELINDA and DAISY

take their positions again.

TRIXIE They’re off.

CLARE Centre forward to left inner.

BELINDA Left inner back to centre forward.

CLARE Centre forward to…

TRIXIE Vearncombe snatch the ball. Oh, hard luck!

DAISY Tackle by…

TRIXIE Daisy! She’s got the ball…oh quickly, pass it out…

DAISY Left wing back to right inner…

ALICE Right inner shoots!

ALL Goal!

TRIXIE Hurray!

CLARE That’s the spirit, keep it up.

A whistle blows off.

TRIXIE Vearncombe take the ball! Passing it out to their left

wing! Grangewood! Where are you?

BELINDA Right half closes in. Drives the ball across to…

CLARE Centre forward to…

BELINDA Right inner. And back to…

CLARE Centre forward.

TRIXIE Oh no, Clare’s missed it! Don’t lose it! Don’t lose it!

Saved by…

BELINDA …the centre half! A short pass to…

ALICE Left inner to…

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70 daisy pulls it off

DAISY Left wing! Left wing to…

TRIXIE No, Daisy, you’re clear! Oh, shoot, Daisy! Shoot! Shoot!

ALL Goal!

TRIXIE Two all and seven minutes left to play. Play up school,

play up! Hinc spes effulget, Daisy! Hinc spes effulget! There’s

some rotten little beasts booing her, led by Sybil no doubt.

The whistle blows for off.

CLARE Centre forward to right wing!

ALICE Right wing to…

TRIXIE Oh, Vearncombe have got the ball! Grangewood!

Grangewood! Grangewood!

CLARE Tackle by…

TRIXIE Clare! Pass it out! Pass it out! Oh, no! She’s gone down

on the mud. Jemima! Who’s that speeding up the pitch?

It’s Daisy! She’s got the ball! Daisy Left wing…

BELINDA To right inner…

ALICE To centre forward…

CLARE To left inner…

DAISY To left wing…

TRIXIE Shoot Daisy! Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!

ALL Goal!

TRIXIE Oh, good shot!

The whistle blows, and there is tumultuous cheering.

Everyone hugs each other.

ALICE Oh, my darlin’ girl!

CLARE I don’t believe it, Alice, we’ve jolly well won.

BELINDA First-rate play, Daisy.

DAISY I did it for Grangewood.

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act ii 71

CLARE The first time within living memory that anyone has

beaten Vearncombe. Well done all of you, a splendid effort,

a game to go down in the annals of Grangewood. But well

done to you, kiddie, we’ve got you to thank for all this. Now

off to the Victory tea!

Everyone exits except DAISY and ALICE.

ALICE Are you not coming to the tea, Daisy?

DAISY No, Miss Gibson said I was to go straight back to the

San after the match. Don’t say anything to Clare, she’s so

awfully bucked. I wouldn’t want to be a wet blanket.

ALICE exits.

DAISY joins TRIXIE in the San who has taken up her

crutches again.

TRIXIE Capital, Daisy, you were absolutely, uncommonly,

spiffingly glorious. Daisy…?

DAISY They booed me, Trixie, they booed me.

TRIXIE exits.

Night. A clock chimes twelve. DAISY puts on a dressinggown and gets into bed.

( narrating) Two hours after lights out, try how she might,

Daisy could not sleep. The events of the day circled her

brain, and the knowledge that largely due to her efforts in

winning the hockey-match, the school had been awarded

a half-holiday, caused her to ponder even more upon the

unworthy actions of those responsible for her present dismal

plight. Outside, the wind howled, rattling the window-panes

in their frames and sending the waves booming round the

headland.

MR THOMPSON and MR SCOBLOWSKI enter another

part of the stage with a torch which they shine on the

ancestral portraits.

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72 daisy pulls it off

How queer, someone patrolling the corridors with a torch.

Matron is long in bed and surely none of the staff would be

up at such an hour, unless the juniors are up to some stunt.

MR SCOBLOWSKI and MR THOMPSON exit.

“ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT” is heard being whistled.

How odd. Perhaps Mr Thompson’s planning a burglary…

what’s that?

WINNIE IRVING enters.

I say, Winnie Irving.

WINNIE You must come quickly.

DAISY Come? Where to? Whatever’s happened?

WINNIE Several of us were having a midnight feast in one

of the caves in the bay to celebrate today’s victory, when

suddenly, almost before we had time to notice, the tide crept

in covering our path out and so we had to retreat up the

side of the cliff. It was only when we reached the top that

we realized Monica and Sybil weren’t with us. They must

have wandered off and also got cut off because we discovered

them clinging to a ledge further along the coast. We couldn’t

find any rope to pull them up with so we thought we’d tie

some sheets together to make one. Only thing is, none of us

know anything about knots so we thought as you’ll probably

be expelled anyway and know about knots, we’d enlist your

help. Please help us, Daisy. I could wake Miss Gibson, but

we’d get into the most fearful row.

DAISY Half a sec. (She gets out of bed) You take my sheets

(narrating) Daisy and her companion set off along the cliff

path that led to the bay.

The GIRLS act out the story they are telling.

WINNIE The wind was so strong that it flattened the long grass

on the cliff-tops…

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act ii 73

DAISY And a three-quarters moon scudded in and out of the

ragged black clouds.

WINNIE Out at sea the wind-whipped waves tossed themselves

so high into the air that the two girls could taste the saltspray on their lips…

DORA, BELINDA, SYBIL and MONICA enter.

DORA } (together) Winnie!

BELINDA:

WINNIE We’re here.

DAISY Daisy leaned over as far as she dared, and there, many

feet below, were the pale, pleading faces of Sybil and Monica.

(To WINNIE) A reef-knot that’s what we need. There! That’s

done! Sybil! Monica! I’m going to throw a line down to

you and I want you to grab hold of it and we’ll haul you

up one at a time.

WINNIE Daisy lowered the sheets…

DORA A rock tied into the end as ballast…

BELINDA And presently she felt an answering tug.

DAISY Right-o, heave.

WINNIE Slowly but steadily they hauled in the sheet and on

the end of it…

SYBIL Sybil.

SYBIL collapses.

DAISY Are you all right, Sybil?

SYBIL I am…but Monica…she’s in a deadly funk, she won’t

budge from off the ledge. I tried to persuade her to come

up first but she refused point-blank.

DAISY Monica! Monica! It’s no good, she’s perfectly insensible

to anything but her own fear. I’ll have to go down and bring

her up myself! Now listen you three, I want you to play the

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74 daisy pulls it off

line out slowly and then when I’m ready to bring Monica

up, I’ll give a tug twice on the end of the line and you must

pull for all you’re worth. Do you understand?

ALL Yes.

DAISY Right-o, I’m off.

BELINDA Gingerly, Daisy swung herself down to the narrow

and rapidly crumbling ledge to which Monica clung.

DAISY Monica, I’m going to tie this sheet around your waist to

stop you from falling and then I’m going to put my arms

round you to make it even less likely that you fall and then

we’re both going up the side of the cliff together. Understand?

MONICA Nooooo!

DAISY Monica if you don’t do as I say we’ll fall—both of us—into

that morass below. Do you understand now?

MONICA Yes.

DAISY Good. Daisy tugged twice on the line and slowly Monica

began to be hauled up the cliff-face, Daisy frantically

searching for hand and footholds so as to relieve the burden

slightly on the others. We’re almost there, Monica, hang on.

MONICA Wh…what’s that roaring sound?

DAISY Daisy glanced downwards just in time to see the ledge on

which she and Monica had been lately standing disappear

into the wild sea. Her heart skipped a beat—just the sea

and the wind, Monica, nothing to worry about.

BELINDA Practically sweating blood…

WINNIE And almost at their last breath…

DORA Winnie, Dora and Belinda hauled the now almost

unconscious Monica to the top.

BELINDA Finally, Daisy herself was pulled to safety.

DORA Whereupon, they all collapsed.

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act ii 75

Pause.

BELINDA I say, we ought to make a move back before we all

die of pneumonia.

DAISY Good idea.

MONICA I’m dreadfully sorry, Daisy, I was in such a beastly funk.

DAISY I wasn’t feeling so tremendously heroic myself.

SYBIL Yes, I must say, it was jolly decent of you to rescue us.

DAISY Anyone would have done the same.

WINNIE They stumbled along the cliff-path back to school,

exhausted in mind and body…

DAISY Especially Daisy, who after a week of sleepless nights

wasn’t sure whether or not all that had just happened hadn’t

been a dream.

Everyone exits except DAISY.

Daisy followed last to close the school gates behind the

others. She paused, for a final look at the silvery moon

illuminating the unruly sea.

MISS GIBSON enters.

MISS GIBSON Daisy Meredith!

DAISY My word! Miss Gibson!

MISS GIBSON You were forbidden to leave the Sanatorium

without my express permission. Can I place no trust in

you? Have you no sense of honour? Well you will flout the

rules of Grangewood no longer. See me tomorrow morning

in my study at nine. Now go to bed this instant.

MISS GIBSON exits.

DAISY It’s no good, everything I do is wrong, I just don’t belong

in Grangewood. Perhaps I am as bad as they say I am. But I’m

not. I’m not. I can’t bear it any longer, I’ll run away—that’s

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76 daisy pulls it off

what I’ll do, I’ll go back home to mother—and Dick, Douglas,

Daniel and Duncan, they love me, they believe in me. Oh,

Mother, Mother, I wish, you were here now, I need you so

badly… I’m coming home, Mother, I’m coming home. Hardly

conscious of her actions, Daisy passed like a sleep-walker

through the school corridors and down into the great hall.

Some instinct, she knew not what, caused her to turn and

gaze at the grim, commanding portrait of the late Sir Digby

Beaumont. Daisy gasped—for the peculiar astronomical

device that Sir Digby held was radiating a green glowing

light of its own. Luminous paint! Daisy advanced closer to

the portrait and there on the rim of the device was depicted

a symbol she knew all too well, that of a comet…

MR THOMPSON enters behind DAISY.

…the hairy star, and beside it, graven in tiny letters were

the words—“This panel where the hairy star doth shine,

conceals the treasure, press the symbol mine”.

DAISY presses the symbol and the treasure is revealed

behind a secret panel.

MR THOMPSON Daisy.

DAISY turns.

DAISY Father. (She faints)

There is a blackout.

Everyone enters for Assembly singing “FOR ALL THE

SAINTS” as the lights come up.

MISS GIBSON I have distressing and important news concerning

one of your number—Daisy Meredith. At present, Daisy lies

dangerously ill in the Sanatorium, suffering, it is suspected,

from brain-fever, resulting we think from the trouble in

which she has been involved here. She cries wildly in her

delirium of dishonour, exams and the like. We fear she may

not last the week and she is certainly too ill to be moved to

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act ii 77

a hospital. However, the crisis point determining whether

Daisy lives or dies will be reached this evening and we ask

you all to be quieter than usual in your activities, particularly

if any of them take place on the lawns outside the San.

TRIXIE Oh poor, poor Daisy.

SYBIL Miss Gibson.

MISS GIBSON Yes, Sybil?

SYBIL I have something to say which I would like the school

to hear as well as you, Miss Gibson.

MISS GIBSON Can you not come and tell me later in my…

SYBIL No, Miss Gibson, I’m sorry, I must speak now.

MISS GIBSON Very well, continue.

SYBIL Everyone…well most people, believe Daisy Meredith

to be a cheat, a liar, a sneak and an absolute rotter. Well…

she isn’t. She’s one of the pluckiest, most honourable, and

sporting girls you could hope to meet. Last night she rescued

Monica and me from certain death when we were stranded

on a cliff-face after a midnight feast we held, in which she

was not involved. It was I who substituted Daisy’s name for

Trixie’s on the winning poem and entered Daisy’s poem under

my name and came second, I who encouraged another girl

in my form to plant the answers to the Geography test in

Daisy’s book, and I who sneaked on the Second’s midnight

feast and let Daisy take blame… (She bursts into tears) I’m

a perfectly hateful pig, it’s me who should be expelled not

Daisy. And if she dies then it’s my fault.

MISS GIBSON Well, Sybil, I am glad you have had the courage

and honour, belated though it is, to confess the true state

of things, though I cannot say how sorry I am, that a girl

who has been at Grangewood as long as you have, should

have fallen into such dark and evil ways. I must ask you

to accompany me to my study and to take leave of your

classmates for what I feel will be the last time. It may also

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78 daisy pulls it off

interest you to know that the Beaumont treasure has been

discovered…

Everyone gasps.

TRIXIE I say!

MISS GIBSON …by Daisy Meredith and her father who is known

to us as Mr Thompson, but whose true identity is that of

Sir David Beaumont…

CLARE Uncle David!

MISS GIBSON …the younger son of Sir Digby Beaumont.

SYBIL bursts into more tears.

TRIXIE Jemima!

MISS GIBSON School dismissed.

Everyone begins to disperse.

TRIXIE O Jubilate! I knew it would all come right in the end,

I knew it. (Narrating) Daisy’s crisis of health that night

took its turn…for the better, and after a day or two, she was

able to leave her sick-bed albeit in a weakened condition.

DAISY, her father—MR THOMPSON—and TRIXIE enter

the Sanatorium.

MR THOMPSON You see, my father, Sir Digby Beaumont, objected

fiercely to my taking an opera-singer as wife, and after a

particularly vehement quarrel with him I left Grangewood

for good, changed my name by deed poll, married my

sweetheart and moved to Wales.

DAISY Where you had spent many happy boyhood holidays,

isn’t that right, Father?

MR THOMPSON It certainly is, my darling. We bore a family and

lived very happily, I earning a living as a doctor until war

broke out and so, wishing to serve my country, I enlisted in

the Navy. However, one day my ship was torpedoed, sunk

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act ii 79

and I survived by clinging to a spar of wood in the sea for

two days until I was rescued by a passing ship, whereupon

I lost consciousness for over a week. On coming to, it was

discovered I had lost all memory of who I was and where

I had come from—all written proof of my identity having

been washed away during my ordeal at sea. I was utterly

destitute and friendless and might have remained so, had

it not been for a Russian Count on board ship, escaping

the horrors of the Revolution, who befriended me. As luck

would have it, he was destined for England and after gaining

a job at an English Girls’ Public School he found work and

shelter for me. That teacher’s name was…

DAISY } (together) Mr Scoblowski! TRIXIE

MR THOMPSON My memory returned gradually over the years

and to my surprise, I realized that not only did I work in

the grounds of my birthplace but that my daughter was a

pupil at the school which had since been founded there. I

determined not to reveal myself to Daisy until I could offer

her something other than my poverty—though there is no

shame in being poor. So, with Mr Scoblowski, I plotted to

recover the fortune which my father had hidden.

DAISY That explains Mr Scoblowski’s strange manner towards us.

TRIXIE And also the clue that Sir Digby said lay with his younger

son, that tune you were always whistling, Sir David.

TRIXIE } (together) All Through the Night. DAISY

MR THOMPSON Ever my favourite tune, I confess.

TRIXIE The link with the luminous device…

DAISY …and the comet…

TRIXIE …the hairy star!

CLARE enters.

DAISY Clare!

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80 daisy pulls it off

CLARE Good afternoon, my plucky young cousin. Uncle David.

The entire school awaits your return.

MR THOMPSON That won’t be for a while, I’m afraid, this scholar

is going on a convalescing holiday first.

CLARE Well deserved, I say.

TRIXIE Hear, hear.

CLARE In a while, if you look out of the window, you will see

that wretched imp, Sybil Burlington, depart Grangewood

forever.

DAISY They aren’t expelling her?

CLARE I should jolly well think they are after all that she’s

confessed to.

DAISY Oh Clare, please don’t let them expel her, allow her one

last chance. She must have some good in her to have owned

up the way she did, it must have taken considerable pluck.

It isn’t her fault that snobbish attitudes were bred into her,

Grangewood can help change them. Please Clare, do be

a sport and have a word with Miss Gibson on my behalf.

CLARE Very well, child, I’ll do my level best, I suppose every

worm can turn. I’ll catch Sybil before she leaves Miss

Gibson’s study. But I say, this is all becoming uncommonly

dismal. There’s to be games and dancing this evening, and

the school would simply adore it if you could come down

and see them—before you go. Just for a moment. Will you?

TRIXIE Everyone would be immensely bucked.

MR THOMPSON I’ll be by your side.

DAISY Very well. It’s topping of them to want to see me.

CLARE Splendid.

A bell rings off.

TRIXIE Must go, old chum, there’s the bell for prep.

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act ii 81

CLARE Yes, I must go too I’m afraid. I’ve to supervise the babes.

See you later, kiddie.

CLARE and TRIXIE exit.

MR THOMPSON I’ll leave you to dress, Daisy, I must send a

telegram to mother.

DAISY Oh father, I’m so tremendously happy.

MR THOMPSON So am I, darling, more than I could ever say.

They kiss.

MR THOMPSON exits.

SYBIL enters.

DAISY Sybil, how absolutely top-hole to see you.

SYBIL Daisy…you don’t know what a beast I’ve been… I’m so…

DAISY Sybil, don’t.

DAISY and SYBIL hug.

SYBIL You’ve saved me from expulsion.

DAISY Oh, I’m so frightfully glad you’re staying, now we can

be friends.

SYBIL Can we? Can we really?

DAISY Of course we can, my poor darling. I say, buck-up old

thing. Will you come down to the hall with me, I need

someone’s arm to lean on?

DAISY and SYBIL hug.

Everyone enters the Great Hall. Some of the GIRLS enter

dancing the “GAY GORDONS”.

CLARE Girls, I would like to announce our two guests of

honour for this evening, though heaven knows, they need

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82 daisy pulls it off

no announcing. First of all, Sir David Beaumont, whom I

am very pleased to call Uncle.

Everyone cheers.

And secondly, Daisy Meredith or Beaumont, as she will

from henceforth be known and whom I am delighted and

very proud to call cousin. School—I give you the heroine

of Grangewood, Daisy Meredith!

There is very loud cheering.

MISS GIBSON Quiet, girls, please, Sir David has a few words

to say to us all.

MR THOMPSON I am not an experienced or indeed a good

speaker at the best of times, of which this is one, but I will

say that the recovery of the Beaumont treasure has not

only enabled me to rediscover my family and disclose my

true identity, and keep Grangewood within the Beaumont

family, but that some of the money from the treasure will

go towards funding a scholarship for another elementary

schoolgirl to attend Grangewood which will be called the

Daisy Meredith Scholarship.

Everyone cheers.

DAISY First of all, thanks awfully for the absolutely top-hole

reception you’ve given my father and me this evening. I’m

proud to be once again a girl of Grangewood, of the Upper

Fourth.

BELINDA We’re proud of you, Daisy.

During the course of DAISY’s following speech a look

of displeasure appears on MISS GIBSON’s face, which

disappears as CLARE speaks.

DAISY Secondly, I ask you all to accept with open arms the

scholarship girls who come to Grangewood. They may have

heaps to learn from you about Grangewood’s sporting and

academic tradition, but my word, have you a lot to learn

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act ii 83

from them. The beginning we have made here in admitting

elementary schoolgirls is small, but I look forward to the

day when Grangewood along with other public schools in

England, becomes truly public and admits all scholars,

monied or not, within its portals of learning and to the

day when there is a Grangewood in every city, town and

village in England.

There is tumultuous cheering.

CLARE Girls, girls, before Daisy leaves us for a well-deserved

convalesence, I am going to ask her to lead us all in singing

the school song. Daisy…

The introduction to the school song is played by a teacher

on the piano.

TRIXIE Oh Daisy, how perfectly scrummy everything has turned

out to be!

DAISY And what fun lies ahead!

“SCHOOL SONG”

ALL (singing)

IN DAYS OF YORE THE FEMALE SEX

OF LEARNING THEY HAD NONE

BUT NOW THANKS TO BOLD PIONEERS

EDUCATION THEY HAVE WON.

PROUD GIRLS AND WOMEN TEACH AND LEARN

IN MANY A FAMOUS HALL

BUT OF THEM ALL THERE’S NONE MORE DEAR

THAN THAT OF GRANGEWOOD SCHOOL.

LONG MAY YE FLOURISH GRANGEWOOD SCHOOL

GLORIOUS IS THY NAME

HONESTA QUAM MAGNA IS OUR CALL

AS WE STRIVE TO PLAY THE GAME.

Curtain.

ACT I:

Grangewood School for GIRLS.

MISS GIBSON the Headmistress, the Staff and Pupils

welcome the audience to the school as they enter the

auditorium. Moving among the audience with such

words as “Hello to you”. “So glad you could make sports

day”, “Ah! an old girl” etc. A teacher plays suitable tunes

on the piano. When everyone is in, MISS GIBSON stands

centre stage with the staff and pupils in a semi-circle

around her.

MISS GIBSON (to the audience) Good evening. May I, before we

begin the evening’s entertainment, take this opportunity to

welcome you—parents, brothers, sisters, cousins, uncles,

aunts, friends and, for aught I know, grandparents too—to

Grangewood School for Girls. Today marks the twentyfifth anniversary of the founding of the school, twenty-five

years of consistent sporting and academic achievement, of

targets striven towards and goals attained, of aspiration

and realization, from which has evolved amongst pupils

and staff, a tradition of fairness to one’s fellow creatures,

loyalty to school and country, a sense of duty and honour,

of being straight and playing the game, and above all, a

tradition of happy girls. May that tradition still be cleaven

to on the fiftieth anniversary of this establishment.

VOICE OFF Hear, hear.

MISS GIBSON I won’t detain you any longer except to explain

that each form in the school has assumed responsibility for

one entire evening’s entertainment during the course of this

festival week. The mantle of responsibility falls tonight,

by lottery, on the Fourth form, together with a little help

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2 daisy pulls it off

from members of staff, who have asked me to announce

their offering, a play in two acts entitled Daisy Pulls It

Off. Thank you.

Everyone exits except DAISY who puts on a dressinggown and stands centre stage.

DAISY (to the audience) Daisy Meredith, daredevil, tomboy,

possessed of a brilliant mind, exuberant, quick-witted, fond

of practical jokes, honourable, honest, courageous, straight

in all things and…an elementary school pupil. Father—dead.

Mother—a former opera singer who struggles to keep a

home together for herself, Daisy, and Daisy’s brothers—Dick,

Douglas, Daniel and Duncan in a small terraced house in

London’s East End, by giving music lessons to private pupils.

Daisy has recently taken an exam which will, if she succeeds

in passing it, enable her to gain a place as the first ever

scholarship pupil at Grangewood Girls School, one of the

most famous educational establishments in the country. If,

however, she fails the exam, she must leave her elementary

school at the end of the year and take up some form of illpaid menial work to which she is little suited. Thank you.

(To herself ) I do wish the postman would hurry and bring

the letter containing the exam results—but it isn’t even eight

o’clock yet. I must win the scholarship, I so want to go to

Grangewood. How topping it would be to learn Latin and

Greek, to play hockey on their famous pitch, to make friends

with all those jolly girls and have midnight feasts and get

into fearful scrapes just like they do in books. I should miss

mother…and Dick, Douglas, Daniel and Duncan of course…

and all my chums at elementary school. But I must win

the scholarship for the sake of others as well as for myself,

for if I, the first scholarship pupil at Grangewood, make a

success of the scheme, Grangewood will open its doors to

other elementary school pupils, as poor as myself.

SYBIL BURLINGTON enters.

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act i 3

SYBIL So, elementary schoolgirls at Grangewood; bringing

their dishonesty, filth and guttersnipe ways with them and

generally lowering the tone of the place. Well, we’ll see

about that. (She starts to exit—then stops and turns. To

the audience) Oh, Sybil Burlington, Vice-Captain of the

Upper Fourth, and conceited, beautiful, only daughter of

very wealthy parents.

SYBIL exits.

DAISY Mother! Oh, Mother, I’m through! I’ve got the scholarship!

I can go to Grangewood!

MOTHER enters and during the following helps DAISY

get into the rest of her school uniform.

MOTHER Daisy, dear, that’s splendid, I’m so glad and proud.

DAISY I hope I make a success of it.

MOTHER You will, my dear, you’ve got this far.

DAISY I’ll have a good education, pass all my exams and then,

when I leave, find a job as a teacher in an elementary

school and perhaps I’ll earn enough money to buy you the

country cottage you’ve always wanted, and to pay for Dick,

Douglas, Daniel and Duncan’s education if they haven’t

won scholarships by then. (To the audience) The summer

holidays passed all too slowly for Daisy, that is, until the

time came to say goodbye to those she loved best.

MOTHER Board the train, Daisy, dear, otherwise you’ll find

yourself on the platform and the train steaming off without

you. Oh, the boys asked me to give you this. (She hands

DAISY a small package)

DAISY Write often, Mother, I’ll be dying to know what you’re

all doing, and any news you may hear of my old school pals.

MOTHER God bless you, Daisy, dear, I know you’ll do absolutely

splendidly and make us all even prouder of you, if that’s

possible. And remember, Daisy, keep your chin up, and never

tell a lie or do anything mean or underhand. You might find

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4 daisy pulls it off

boarding school life strange or perhaps difficult at first, but

be straight with everyone and you’ll pull through.

A whistle blows, off.

DAISY We’re off—oh, Mother—

MOTHER and DAISY hug and kiss.

MOTHER Goodbye, my darling—write soon…

DAISY See you at the end of term!

MOTHER exits.

SYBIL BURLINGTON and BELINDA MATHIESON enter.

SYBIL (to the audience) Meanwhile, in the adjoining carriage…

BELINDA (to the audience) Belinda Mathieson, Captain of the

Upper Fourth and best all round sportswoman of that form.

(To SYBIL) What utter rot you talk, Sybil, not all elementary

school kids live in filthy hovels with thieving fathers and

drunken sluttish mothers. Take a walk through Esher any

day. And if this… Daisy Meredith is brainy enough to win

a scholarship to Grangewood, she’s as much right to a good

education as the rest of us there.

SYBIL But don’t you see, Belinda, that if this Meredith girl

proves a success then Grangewood will lose the type of

person that’s made it into the kind of school it is today. I

heard several girls—and teachers—last term saying how

unhappy they were about the scheme.

BELINDA Even Miss Gibson?

SYBIL Miss Gibson will soon see sense when exam standards

drop and girls leave and Grangewood loses every sports

trophy it’s ever won. Hockey and tennis aren’t taught in

elementary schools.

BELINDA How frightful.

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act i 5

DAISY (to the audience) The journey passed miserably for Daisy

until the train made a stop at a small country station.

CLARE BEAUMONT enters.

CLARE (to the audience) Clare Beaumont, Head Girl and Sports

Captain of Grangewood School, a shining example of true

British girlhood. (To DAISY) Excuse me, are any of these

seats taken?

DAISY Just mine.

CLARE Bound for Grangewood School, I see.

DAISY Yes.

CLARE I don’t recall having seen you before.

DAISY No, it’s my first term, actually.

CLARE Well, I’m sure you’ll be tremendously happy with

us, Grangewood is the jolliest school in England. Clare

Beaumont, by the way, sixth.

DAISY Daisy Meredith.

CLARE Daisy Meredith…

DAISY Yes, I’m to be in the Upper Fourth.

CLARE Of course, you must be the girl who won the scholarship.

DAISY The first of many such girls, I hope.

CLARE That’s the spirit, kiddie, but there are a few silly little

rotters in the school who aren’t too keen on scholarship

pupils being admitted. I’d lie low if I were you, for the first

month or so until they’ve got used to the idea being made

flesh. Buck-up, child, there are some quite decent girls in

the Fourth, you’ll pull through.

DAISY I jolly well hope to.

CLARE Here we are at the station.

ALICE (offstage) Clare! Clare, old girl!

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6 daisy pulls it off

CLARE Coming! The school is only five minutes away, you’ll find

it easily enough, just follow the others. Chin-up, kiddie…

ALICE (offstage) Clare!

CLARE See you later, I expect.

All the GIRLS and mistresses enter with luggage, acting

out DAISY’s words as she speaks.

DAISY (to the audience) Daisy stepped on to the platform of the

tiny country station, scarcely able to push her way through

the crowd of laughing, chattering girls—girls of all shapes

and sizes—girls merrily exchanging greetings and holiday

reminiscences with chums whom they had not seen for seven

long weeks—girls who in the blue and white colours of

Grangewood School resembled not so much a whirlpool, as

so many tumbling, foaming little waves rushing shorewards

on the incoming tide and breaking thankfully on the warm,

yellow sands of home. Mistresses suddenly appeared on the

platform and began to shepherd the bubbling throng into

the lane that led to the school. They rounded the corner—I

say!—and there stood Grangewood School, a rambling

red-brick Elizabethan mansion, its mullioned windows

twinkling in the sun like so many welcoming eyes beneath

curious twisted chimneys. Flowers of every scent and hue

bordered the smooth green lawns, and there behind the

house stretched the tennis courts and playing fields for

which Grangewood was justly renowned. As they passed

through the great stone gates, the girls—as one—turned

to look at the sapphire sea beating against the chalky cliffs

on which the school so proudly stood. What an absolutely

gorgeous place, I’m going to be so immensely happy here.

TRIXIE Isn’t it heavenly?

DAISY I’m knocked over entirely.

TRIXIE (to the audience) Trixie Martin, madcap and poet of

the Upper Fourth. (To DAISY) I say aren’t you a new bug…

I mean girl.

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act i 7

DAISY Yes, Daisy Meredith.

TRIXIE Daisy Meredith?

DAISY That’s right, I’m to be in the Upper Fourth.

TRIXIE O Jubilate, that’s my form. Perhaps we can have desks

next to each other. One can have an uncommonly good time

at Grangewood so long as one doesn’t upset the Prees or

mistresses too much. I say, are you fond of setting up stunts?

DAISY I should say. I’ve got four brothers and we constantly

play tricks on each other.

TRIXIE Can you swim?

DAISY A little.

TRIXIE Capital, you’ll soon improve, for if the weather’s fine

enough the entire school goes for an early morning dip in

the sea. There’s an absolutely scrummy beach at the bottom

of the cliffs with a secret path leading down to it known

only to ourselves.

DAISY How perfectly ripping.

CLARE and ALICE enter.

TRIXIE That’s Clare Beaumont, over there, she’s—

DAISY I’ve met her.

TRIXIE How uncommonly lucky. Clare is Grangewood’s Sports

Captain and Head Girl, she’s a first-rate tennis and hockey

player as well as having a brain. We all adore her. Her people,

well, her mother, actually own Grangewood…

DAISY I say!

TRIXIE …her family used to live in the building and then just

over twenty years ago, they started to lose money after old

Sir Digby Beaumont died and so they leased it out to the

school govenors. Each year the Beaumonts have lost more

and more money and now it looks as though they might

have to sell to the School Governors. There is talk that

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8 daisy pulls it off

the family fortunes could be saved if only the Beaumont

treasure could be found!

DAISY Treasure!

TRIXIE Yes! I’ve hunted for hours tapping walls, looking for

secret panels and trapdoors and clues, and so have scores

of other girls, but it’s probably only hearsay, nothing’s ever

been found.

MONICA SMITHERS enters.

MONICA Trixie Martin, you’re to go and see Matron at once,

she’s in a fearful mood over something.

TRIXIE Oh dash it! Mother’s probably not name-tagged my

new socks. See you at tea, I expect, Daisy.

TRIXIE exits.

MONICA (to the audience) Monica Smithers, school toady and

chief crony of Sybil Burlington. (To DAISY) I say, I’ve not

seen you before.

DAISY It’s my first day at Grangewood—Daisy Meredith.

MONICA Daisy…oh, the scholarship girl.

DAISY That’s right.

MONICA Ever been to school before?

DAISY Yes, of…

MONICA Read and write, can you?

DAISY What on…

MONICA Elementary schoolgirls are a new breed at Grangewood,

you see, we’ve no idea what to expect. Not that I’ve ever been

in a position to meet anyone from an elementary school

before, Mummy and Daddy are so frightfully particular

about that kind of thing. Of course, in our situation one

has to be, some people will do anything for money. Oh, by

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act i 9

the way, Miss Gibson always likes to see new girls in her

study on their first day.

DAISY Really?

MONICA Up this staircase, first door on the right.

DAISY Thank you.

MONICA exits.

What a sickening girl! Now where did she say, up the

staircase, and the first door on the right. Now to meet the

Head.

DAISY knocks on the door—no answer. She knocks

again—still no answer.

ALICE FITZPATRICK enters.

ALICE (to the audience) Alice Fitzpatrick, Prefect, Deputy Sports

Captain and best chum of Clare Beaumont. (To DAISY) And

what are you knocking on there for, child?

DAISY I’ve got to see Miss Gibson.

ALICE Well, it’s not in there you’ll find Miss Gibson, see, ’tis

only a broom cupboard.

DAISY Oh, but I was told…

ALICE Someone playing a trick on you, was it? I’ll take you

meself to Miss Gibson. You’re a new girl by the look of things.

DAISY Yes, I am. My name’s Daisy Meredith and I’m to be in

the Upper Fourth.

ALICE Daisy…well that’s a nice enough name. Are you fond of

games, hockey, tennis and suchlike?

DAISY I enjoy playing cricket and football with my brothers, but

I’ve not had much opportunity to play hockey or tennis, you

see they didn’t teach them at my last school. Only rounders.

ALICE Is that a fact?

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10 daisy pulls it off

DAISY But I know all the rules for hockey and tennis, I swotted

up on them from books at home.

ALICE Reading’s not quite the same as doing, but if you have

the sporting spirit you’ll do finely. Play the game, that’s

what we say here, play up and play the game—and it’s a

poor view we take of any girl who doesn’t play it.

DAISY (indicating a wooden board) What’s that?

ALICE The School Honours Board. A record of achievements by

girls whom Grangewood is truly proud to have had within

its portals.

DAISY (narrating) Daisy gazed wistfully at the simple oak

boards with the names graven in gold of former pupils. I

mean Grangewood to be proud of me one day and perhaps

my name to shine amongst theirs.

ALICE Here we are, child, Miss Gibson’s room.

DAISY Fearfully kind of you to help me.

ALICE All my pleasure, child. Run along in, Miss Gibson will

not bite your head off.

ALICE exits.

MISS GIBSON enters.

MISS GIBSON (to the audience) Miss Gibson, young, much-loved,

headmistress of Grangewood School.

DAISY Daisy Meredith, ma’am.

MISS GIBSON Welcome, my dear, to Grangewood, how very

pleased we are to have you here.

DAISY Thank you.

MISS GIBSON I need not say, of course, that the advent of

Grangewood’s first scholarship pupil—one who has arrived

here by way of intellect and not by way of parental monetary

wealth—has caused a certain amount of trepidation within

the school. Much will be expected of you, both morally

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act i 11

and intellectually, but from the scholastic reports I have

received of you and from the impressions I have of the girl

standing here before me, I am sure that you will fulfil all

expectations. Everyone will be anxious to help you in any

way you may require during your first few weeks here—as

we do all new girls. I hope you will be very happy here, my

dear, and will always stay true to the motto of Grangewood,

which is also that of the Beaumont family whose ancestral

home this is—Honesta quam magna—How great are noble

things. Now I’m sure you’re tired, Daisy, the supper bell will

be ringing shortly and Matron will wish to see you before

then. I trust you will settle in quickly, my child. Well, run

along.

DAISY Thank you, Miss Gibson.

MISS GIBSON exits.

Phew.

TRIXIE enters.

TRIXIE Hello. I say, isn’t it capital, you’re to be in the same

dormy as me!

DAISY How glorious!

TRIXIE Dormy number five, one of the best, it looks out over

the sea…

DAISY How topping.

TRIXIE Worst luck is, we’ve to share it with that stuck-up pair

of prigs, Sybil Burlington and Monica Smithers. I expect

Miss Gibson thinks they’ll set us a good example. Miss

Gibson is an uncommonly jolly headmistress, but I feel she

can be immensely misguided sometimes. Still, Jean Jeffrey

and Dora Johnston are next door in number three so we

can organize a stunt or two between the four of us.

DAISY Midnight feasts.

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12 daisy pulls it off

TRIXIE A chum after my own heart. I say, what’s that? (She

indicates the package given to DAISY earlier by her MOTHER)

DAISY A farewell present from my four brothers. I shall miss

them tremendously, I’ve never been away from home before.

TRIXIE Grangewood’s a decent place, you’ll survive.

DAISY It’s queer, Trixie, but I already feel strangely at home in

Grangewood, almost as if I’d been here before.

A bell rings, off.

TRIXIE O Jubilate, there goes the supper bell. Come on, we

can sit wherever we like first day back.

TRIXIE exits.

DAISY (to the audience) After supper, a substantial if plain

meal, during which due to the jolly conversation of her

friend, Daisy failed to notice the somewhat disdainful and

curious glances cast at her by several of her fellow pupils,

Daisy decided to take a stroll into the great hall to study

the ancestral portraits of the Beaumont family which hung

there. Oh! (She opens the package) A frog! I know!

DAISY exits one side of the stage (to the dormitory),

re-enters minus the small brown package, then exits

the other side.

TRIXIE then enters and goes through the dormitory door

then re-enters and exits giggling.

SYBIL and MONICA enter, in dressing-gowns.

SYBIL Honestly, Monica, it’s the absolute limit, not only do we

have to suffer this girl in the same form room, but we have

to share the hitherto unpolluted air of our dormy with her

as well. Not to mention that tiresome little wretch, Trixie

Martin. And it’s one of the nicest dormys in the school.

MONICA Have you noticed, Sybil, how extraordinarily chummy

Trixie is with the Meredith girl?

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act i 13

SYBIL Yes, we must put a stop to that. For the sake of

Grangewood.

SYBIL } (together) Honesta quam Magna. MONICA

TRIXIE enters.

TRIXIE Hello, Sybil, Monica. Daisy here?

SYBIL Whom?

TRIXIE You know Daisy Meredith, she’s in our dormy.

SYBIL The scholarship girl?

TRIXIE That’s right, Daisy Meredith.

SYBIL Trixie, if you really care for Grangewood and wish to

maintain its tone and its reputation on the playing field,

not forgetting the good name of the Upper Fourth, you will

cease your friendship with Daisy Meredith.

TRIXIE Why?

SYBIL Scholarship girls are different from us, they’re poor,

perhaps not intellectually, but certainly morally.

TRIXIE Perhaps they should be given a chance to rise from

their poorness.

SYBIL And what will happen to us, to Grangewood, to England,

the Empire? We have to accept, Trixie, that different classes

of people exist in this world.

TRIXIE You’re an unspeakable snob, Sybil. I heard all about the

meeting you held in the common-room, give Daisy a perfectly

ghastly time of it so she’ll want to leave Grangewood. Well

I, for one, won’t have anything to do with such a thoroughly

horrid scheme. Daisy’s a capital girl, she got here through

brains not money, and I mean to stick by her.

TRIXIE exits.

SYBIL Silly little rotter.

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14 daisy pulls it off

MONICA Well, I think you’re right, Sybil.

SYBIL Thank you, Monica, it’s a sad thing when there are only

two people in an entire school who really care about it. I’ll

take my cocoa to bed, I think.

MONICA And me.

SYBIL and MONICA exit to the dormitory.

Screams are heard off. Seconds later SYBIL enters holding

a rubber frog, with MONICA holding a hairbrush. TRIXIE

and DAISY enter at the same time.

SYBIL Who, may I ask, put these in our beds?

DAISY } (together) Your beds?

TRIXIE:

SYBIL Yes.

DAISY I’m afraid it was I who put the frog into your bed, I’m

fearfully sorry, you see I thought it was Trixie’s bed and the

frog was a present from…

SYBIL Just the sort of behaviour one expects from…

TRIXIE And I put the hairbrush into your bed, Monica, thinking

that it was Daisy’s.

MONICA } (together) Typical. SYBIL

TRIXIE Only ragging, nothing to pour the vials of wrath about.

Daisy, our two dormy mates, Sybil Burlington and Monica

Smithers.

DAISY Hello.

TRIXIE Monica, Sybil, allow me to introduce Daisy Meredith,

newest ornament of the Upper Fourth.

MONICA } (together) H’m! SYBIL

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act i 15

TRIXIE Scooterons-nous, Daisy? We won’t get our cocoa

otherwise.

TRIXIE exits.

DAISY Yes. Jolly nice to have met you both.

MONICA and SYBIL exit.

(narrating) After a delightful early morning dip in the

sparkling sea, a short prayer service and a jolly breakfast,

or brekker as it was known amongst the girls, Daisy, with the

rest of her form, trooped into the Upper Fourth classroom,

there to commence her first lesson, English composition.

DAISY exits.

The pupils, including SYBIL and MONICA, enter the

classroom.

SYBIL and MONICA, unseen by the others, smear chalk

on DAISY’s desk seat and put a comic under her desk lid.

MISS GRANVILLE enters.

MISS GRANVILLE (to the audience) Miss Granville, the firm but

fair form-mistress of the Upper Fourth, one of the teachers

with strong doubts on the efficacy of scholarship pupils at

Grangewood. (To the pupils) Good morning, girls.

GIRLS Good morning, Miss Granville.

MISS GRANVILLE Now girls, open your poetry books please, at

page number fifty-five. We are going to read “Ye Mariners

of England” a Naval Ode by Thomas Campbell. Daisy, Daisy

Meredith, can we hear you read this please. Stand out here.

The GIRLS giggle as DAISY comes out with the chalk

smeared on the back of her gymslip.

DAISY Ye Mariners of England

That guard our native seas!

Whose flag has braved a thousand years

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16 daisy pulls it off

The battle and the breeze!

Your glorious standard launch again

To meet another foe;

And sweep through the deep,

While the stormy tempests blow!

While the battle rages loud and long

And the stormy winds do blow.

MISS GRANVILLE Girls, please, I will not have this giggling

during my lesson. The holidays finished yesterday, you are

here to work. Thank you, Daisy, an excellent reading, you

may return to your seat. Belinda, will you… Daisy, come

here please. What is that on the back of your gymslip? You

have a white patch on the back of your gymslip.

DAISY It’s chalk, Miss Granville.

MISS GRANVILLE Brush it off then. Why on earth you are covered

with chalk I cannot imagine. Please remember, Daisy, you

are not in elementary school now, we like Grangewood

girls to look presentable not as though they have been

tobogganing down the sides of chalk pits. You may return

to your place. Monica, have you anything to say to me?

Then kindly refrain from gossiping to your neighbours. I

have a brief appointment to keep with Miss Gibson, so I

will leave you to study the poem alone, and also the poems

on pages fifty-four, fifty-seven and fifty-eight. For your

composition after you’ve read the poems, I want you to

choose one of the following exercises. Pens ready? One. Is

Patriotism productive of poetry? If so, why? Two. Summarize

in headings the causes of England’s greatness. Three. What

difference would it make to the world if the British Isles

were submerged by the sea? Daisy, what do I see protruding

from beneath your desk lid? A comic.

DAISY But it isn’t…

MISS GRANVILLE I shall confiscate this. Comics—dreadful

rags—are confined to the common room. I would usually

give an order mark for such an offence, but as you are new

I shall let you off. There is a copy of the school rules on the

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act i 17

notice board. I suggest you make a point of reading them.

Girls, I shall see you shortly. Belinda, take charge please.

BELINDA Yes, Miss Granville.

MISS GRANVILLE exits.

DAISY I’d like to thank whoever was responsible for nearly

getting me an order mark.

MONICA Shhhhh.

TRIXIE First time you’ve ever kept silent without a mistress

in the room, Monica.

MONICA Tit for tat.

TRIXIE Stunts are fine, Sybil, as long as one doesn’t land one’s

victim in a hole. Order marks aren’t my idea of fun.

SYBIL Is your friend incapable of speaking up for herself?

DAISY No, just speechless at some people’s meanness.

BELINDA As Captain of the form, I ask you to kindly chuck all

this talking and get down to some work before a mistress

comes along and hears us.

Silence. Then from outside comes the sound of someone

whistling the tune “ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT”.

DAISY looks up as though the tune touches an old memory

that she can’t recall.

DAISY Belinda, who is that whistling outside?

BELINDA Mr Thompson. He’s employed here as an assistant

gardener. Rather a mystery man, he lives alone in a tiny

cottage in the middle of Cramphorn Wood. Where he comes

from no one knows. He suddenly appeared in the area about

ten years ago, apparently. He hasn’t a wife or any relatives

that visit him or anything of that sort.

DAISY Poor man.

MONICA I say, Sybil, isn’t Meredith a name of Welsh origin?

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18 daisy pulls it off

SYBIL I do believe it is, Monica.

MONICA My father tells me that the Welsh keep their house

coals in their baths. How quaint.

DAISY Why are you being so beastly to me, both of you? You’ve

paid me back for the frog-in-the-bed stunt.

SYBIL Are elementary school-kids incapable of taking a joke?

BELINDA Chuck it, Sybil, you really are being pretty hateful.

This is Daisy’s first morning here, we should be showing

her what Grangewood girls are made of, not acting like a

pack of mean cats. And I, for one, won’t stand to hear her

called an elementary school-kid, she’s a Grangewood girl

now, one of us, scholarship or not.

SYBIL You needn’t be so beastly pi, Belinda…

BELINDA I refuse to discuss the matter further.

SYBIL Very well, Belinda, you form your own little gallery of

plaster saints, but you’ll soon see whether I’m right or not,

all of you.

A bell rings off.

MR SCOBLOWSKI enters.

The GIRLS stand up.

MR SCOBLOWSKI (to the audience) Mr Scoblowski, the enigmatic,

Russian, music-teacher. Good morning, girls.

GIRLS Good morning, Mr Scoblowski.

MR SCOBLOWSKI Remain standing. Now to begin we will all

sing the song The Ash Grove.

The GIRLS sing the song. MR SCOBLOWSKI walks among

them listening to their voices.

H’mm. We have much work to do if you are to present

yourselves well at the end of term concert. You sing straight

from the throat not enough from here, you strain the voice

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act i 19

otherwise. However, there is one excellent voice among you.

(He indicates DAISY) It is this young lady who sings so

sublimely. Sing the next verse alone if you please.

DAISY sings the verse.

Excellent, excellent. Did you mark how she controlled her

voice and her breathing. What is your name? You are a

new girl.

DAISY Daisy Meredith.

MR SCOBLOWSKI Ah, Meredith, a Welsh name. You have a voice

truly representative of that musical nation. I shall see that

you have a solo in the end of term concert. Excellent voice,

excellent. And you, Miss Burlington, will have to prove to

me that you are not as tone-deaf as you seem to be, if you

wish also to take your place in the choir. Now we will sing

the song Cherry Ripe.

They sing the song.

After the song everyone exits except DAISY and TRIXIE

who fling themselves to the ground.

DAISY I say, my head’s absolutely spinning.

TRIXIE You’re doing uncommonly well, Daisy, everyone’s

tremendously impressed.

DAISY All except Monica and Sybil.

TRIXIE They’re thoroughly piggy and nasty, don’t let’s waste

our dinner break over them. You speak French like a native,

I didn’t think they taught it in elementary schools.

DAISY They don’t, my mother taught me.

TRIXIE My word!

DAISY And Italian, all my brothers speak it too. You see, she

used to be an opera singer.

TRIXIE A singer?

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20 daisy pulls it off

DAISY I’m afraid so.

TRIXIE Oh no, I find it tremendously exciting.

Pause.

DAISY I say, Trixie…let’s form a Secret Society.

TRIXIE A Secret Society?

DAISY Yes, just like they do in schools in books. I know, a

treasure-hunting society, its object to seek out the treasure

of Grangewood School and so rescue the Beaumonts from

penury. We could ask some of the others if they’d like to

become members.

TRIXIE They won’t and anyway everyone else has stopped

believing that the treasure exists. As a rule one ceases to

believe in it by the time one reaches the Lower Third, rather

like fairies and Father Christmas. Everyone that is except

poetical types such as myself, romantically minded new girls

and possibly Clare. No, let it just be the two of us.

DAISY And let’s call ourselves, I know, the Dark Horse Secret

Society.

TRIXIE Oh yes…!

DAISY It can be our secret symbol whenever we have to write

each other notes.

TRIXIE Oh heavenly! We must have a motto too, a password.

Um…audacia et virtute adepta…too long! Absque virtute

nihil…no! Ah, how about this, hinc spes effulget!

DAISY Yes. Sorry, I’ve no idea what it means. I’ve no Latin.

TRIXIE Hence hope shines forth!

DAISY Oh topping, Trixie! Hence hope shines forth.

A bell rings off.

TRIXIE We’d better dash, there goes the bell for afternoon

games. Hockey for the fourth.

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act i 21

DAISY I expect I shall get horribly beaten. I’ve never played

hockey before.

TRIXIE Hockey is a team game, you play as a team and win or

lose as one, remember that.

DAISY I will.

DAISY and TRIXIE exit.

CLARE and ALICE enter with hockey sticks.

ALICE Isn’t it a fine thing to be back in the old school, to be

standing on this pitch where we’ve fought so many battles.

CLARE Yes, Alice, it is as you say, a fine thing. You know, I’m

almost glad this is my final year at Grangewood, for it may

be the last year that the name of Beaumont will appear

upon the title deeds.

ALICE Dear girl!

CLARE The truth of the matter is, Alice, we’re up a gum tree.

What with poor mother’s medical fees and my younger

brother—

ALICE Digby?

CLARE Yes, dear Digby’s school fees have still to be met, and

the rent of the cottage is far too high for us. I was talking

with mother before I came back. Unless a miracle happens,

we’ll have to sell to the School Governors by Christmas. I

offered to leave school and find employment as a teacher,

but mother wouldn’t hear of it. I must say, I’m not looking

forward to leaving all this, going out into the world and

becoming a proper grown-up. They say Grangewood is

supposed to mirror the world. I wonder… My goodness,

someone’s playing a first rate game of hockey over here.

ALICE It’s the Upper Fourth…a practice game by the looks of

things. Who’s that child there? She can certainly pass balls.

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22 daisy pulls it off

CLARE It’s the new kiddie, the scholarship girl, Daisy Meredith.

With some proper coaching she could be a decent player.

Look at her, never funking a single ball.

ALICE Learnt all the rules from a book, I was told.

CLARE A sportsman as well as a scholar.

ALICE There’s one whose name will grace the First Eleven.

CLARE Well, old girl, let’s go off to our own practice, we’ve a

match to win on Saturday, the opening knock-out game of

the County Championships. Perhaps this year we’ll come

out tops.

ALICE Instead of runners-up as we have been for the past ten

years to Vearncombe Young Ladies College.

VOICE (offstage) Clare! Alice!

CLARE There’s Diana calling us. As the middles say—scooteronsnous, Alice.

CLARE exits.

ALICE We’ll beat them this year, for Grangewood…for Clare.

We must.

ALICE exits.

DAISY and TRIXIE enter.

DAISY (narrating) For a while, Daisy’s life at Grangewood

passed uneventfully, apart from the odd unpleasantness

from Sybil and Monica. Then one evening after prep while

she and Trixie were systematically tapping wooden wall

panels in the hope of finding a secret passage which would

lead them to the hidden treasure…

MR SCOBLOWSKI enters.

MR SCOBLOWSKI What are you girls doing here? Don’t you

know that this gallery is out of bounds to all but teachers

and prefects.

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act i 23

TRIXIE Yes, Sir.

MR SCOBLOWSKI Then kindly tell me the reason why you are

here or I shall report you to your form mistress.

Pause.

If you choose not to tell me, you will have to tell Miss

Granville. And perhaps receive an order mark.

DAISY We were looking for the treasure, sir…

MR SCOBLOWSKI Treasure?

DAISY The lost treasure of the Beaumont family.

MR SCOBLOWSKI Ah, I see. Well, you will not find it here. I

myself, have often sought its whereabouts and have carefully

examined this entire section of the building, and now I

believe this treasure to be a legend, a mere myth. However,

should you come across any clue elsewhere in the school, I

should be most happy to know of it. I am much fascinated

by the folktales of the English. Good night, ladies.

MR SCOBLOWSKI exits.

TRIXIE Why the dickens did you tell him what we were doing,

Daisy?

DAISY We would have had to have told Miss Granville, otherwise,

who would certainly have given us an order mark for going

out of bounds.

TRIXIE Oh, what a dismal beastly sell, it’s obvious Mr

Scoblowski’s after the treasure for himself.

DAISY Probably to try and help his Bolshevik friends.

TRIXIE We simply must try out the rest of this gallery. But how?

DAISY I know, how about sneaking out of the dormy at dead

of night.

TRIXIE Oh, yes.

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24 daisy pulls it off

DAISY Perhaps we could borrow a couple of cloaks from Matron

and disguise ourselves as ghostly monks to scare off anyone

who might see us.

TRIXIE Capital suggestion.

A bell rings off.

Supper bell.

DAISY Not a word to anyone, Trixie.

TRIXIE Until I wake you.

TRIXIE } (together) Hinc spes effulget. DAISY

They both shake hands—a special handshake—then exit.

MONICA and SYBIL enter in dressing-gowns.

SYBIL The scheme isn’t working out, Monica.

MONICA It is in small ways, Sybil.

SYBIL So small that it’s going to take twenty years for her to

collect enough order marks to get a bad conduct mark. No,

Monica, she’s doing fearfully well in everyone’s books, we’ve

got to move drastically…and fast.

Whistling is heard, off—“ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT”,

MONICA listens to it intently.

Look, Monica, do you like this solid silver bracelet Daddy

sent me as a pre-birthday present? I say, Monica, do look…

MONICA Oh, sorry Sybil.

SYBIL I’ve permission from Miss Gibson for Daddy to take

me out to a slap-up birthday tea in town and then off to a

concert afterwards and Daddy said I might invite a friend

to accompany me. I’m thinking of asking you, Monica.

MONICA Oh, Sybil, I’d adore it.

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act i 25

SYBIL All serene then. Now I’m going to read some Keats in

preparation for the school poetry competition. I mean to win

it this year, not to be pipped at the post by that wretched

Trixie Martin.

MONICA When do entries have to be in?

SYBIL Oh, in three to four weeks I believe. Why, Monica, are

you thinking of entering?

MONICA Yes…oh… I mean, I could never hope to write anything

that would be half as good as anything of yours, Sybil, but

I do have a tremendous fancy to have a bash at it. Just to

show that Daisy Meredith a thing or two.

SYBIL Well, bash away to your heart’s content… I’m off to bed.

SYBIL and MONICA exit.

A clock strikes two—night.

TRIXIE and DAISY enter in long black cloaks with hoods.

DAISY trips noisily.

DAISY Ooh!

TRIXIE Shhh!

DAISY I say, Trixie, it’s fearfully dark.

TRIXIE I’ve brought a torch.

DAISY Oh, scrummy. I say, did you hear Sybil snoring?

They both giggle.

TRIXIE Come on—to the gallery. Now we must be very quiet.

DAISY and TRIXIE creep up the stairs.

SYBIL enters. She creeps stealthily across the stage and

exits.

We’re almost there. I say, what’s that?

DAISY What?

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26 daisy pulls it off

TRIXIE Look! There’s a light burning beneath the door of the

second form common room…and voices.

DAISY Burglars!

TRIXIE Shhh!

DAISY We must wake Miss Gibson.

TRIXIE And get into a frightful row for being here ourselves?

DAISY But surely we should consider school property before

ourselves?

TRIXIE I daresay, you’re right, Daisy, I’ll go to Miss Gibson

with you. But hold fire for a second or two…

DAISY Trixie!

TRIXIE Shhh! I’ll take a tiny peep through the keyhole just to

make sure.

DAISY Of what? What can you see?

TRIXIE (giggling) Oh Jemima! What a sell!

DAISY Can I have a look?

TRIXIE It’s the second form up to their ears in a midnight feast.

Let me have another peep, Daisy…doughnuts, toffee-apples,

vanilla sandwiches… I’ve a good mind to go in there and

demand a share for keeping quiet.

CLARE enters quietly.

CLARE Trixie Martin! Daisy Meredith!

BOTH Clare!

CLARE Perhaps you will both come and see me in my study

tomorrow morning and inform me of the purpose behind

this midnight visitation.

TRIXIE But Clare…

CLARE I’ll wake Miss Calder to deal with those babes. I’ll see

you both tomorrow.

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act i 27

CLARE exits.

TRIXIE Jemima! We’re for it now.

DAISY Will Clare report us to Miss Gibson, do you think?

TRIXIE If she thinks we’ve been utterly evil, she might. No,

the worst of it is, is whether the Second form recognized

our voices or not. They’ll think we were absolute sneaks

if they did.

DAISY They wouldn’t think that, would they?

TRIXIE How else could Clare have discovered them? What

we’ve got to find out is, who sneaked on us!

DAISY and TRIXIE exit.

CLARE and ALICE enter CLARE’s study.

CLARE …if only you’d seen them, Alice, they looked so

wonderfully comic dressed up in two of Matron’s cloaks,

supposed to be monks or something equally ghostly.

ALICE How absolutely sublime.

CLARE Yes, it was rather a hoot, though it gave me a perfect

fright at first.

ALICE Oh, Clare.

CLARE What I’d like to know is how they got themselves involved

in keeping watch for a Second form feast. The Fourth always

look on the Seconds as such babes.

ALICE Do you not remember the fine japes we used to get up

to in our young days?

CLARE What utter little horrors we were. Do you remember

that winter we went on the midnight skating expedition…

ALICE …and Katy Collins falling through the thin ice.

They fall about laughing. Knocking is heard on the

study door.

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28 daisy pulls it off

CLARE Oh, here they are.

ALICE I’ll leave you to it, me darlin’ girl, I’ve a flute lesson in

town.

CLARE See you on the field at one, Alice.

ALICE Cheeriosa!

CLARE Don’t let Miss Gibson hear you slanging like that.

ALICE exits, passing DAISY and TRIXIE on her way out.

Come in, you two.

DAISY and TRIXIE enter.

Now perhaps the pair of you will tell me why you took it

upon yourselves last night to break a good many school-rules

and at the same time risk getting the Second form into a

jolly serious fix. Remember as Fourths you are responsible

for setting a good example to the lower school, not leading

them into situations which you know to be contrary to the

rules of Grangewood.

TRIXIE We had nothing to do with the Seconds’ feast, truly,

Clare.

DAISY Honour bright.

CLARE Then why on earth…

DAISY The truth of the matter is, Clare, we were searching for

the treasure, the Beaumont treasure, and we were on our way

to the East Gallery to rap panels and all that kind of thing,

when we stumbled across the Seconds knocking off buns.

We know that the East Gallery is out of bounds which is

why we disguised ourselves, but we’re both dreadfully sorry.

CLARE (to the audience) The corners of Clare’s mouth twitched,

and it was with some effort that she hastily pulled herself

together. I see.

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act i 29

TRIXIE We’re immensely sorry for getting you up in the middle

of the night too.

CLARE Well, I shan’t report you to Miss Gibson…

DAISY } (together) Oh, thanks most awfully, Clare. TRIXIE

CLARE But as you, Trixie, have been here the longest and ought

to know better than to…

DAISY Please, Clare, it was my idea just as much as Trixie’s.

TRIXIE Thank you, Daisy.

CLARE Very well, on Saturday from lunch until teatime, you

will both stay within the confines of the school building.

TRIXIE Oh, but we shall miss the first knock-out match of the

County Hockey Championships.

CLARE Well, my dear child, it’s high time you gave up kiddish

stunts.

DAISY Clare, is there any truth in the story of the Beaumont

treasure?

CLARE How serious are you both about finding it?

DAISY } (together) Immensely serious. TRIXIE

CLARE Then I will tell you—yes, the Beaumont treasure does

exist.

DAISY and TRIXIE both gasp.

You see, kiddies, the mystery centres around my grandfather,

the late Sir Digby Beaumont. Now, he was a tremendously

eccentric gentleman, who, as he got older, became more and

more impatient with the new ideas and as he thought, lower

standards of the younger generation. This led to endless

arguments in the family, especially with the younger of his

two sons, my Uncle David, who left home after a particularly

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30 daisy pulls it off

vehement quarrel with Sir Digby and has never been seen

or heard of since.

TRIXIE How fearful.

CLARE Shortly after this awful quarrel, Sir Digby died and his

wealth—all manner of family heirlooms, money, valuables—

disappeared. In his will it was revealed that he had hidden

this treasure somewhere within the walls of Grangewood,

and a set of clues leading to its whereabouts, so complicated

that the treasure can only be uncovered by whosoever has wit

enough to unravel these clues. My father hunted unceasingly

for the treasure right up until his death four years ago, but

since then no one’s had much impetus to carry on with the

search. Oh, the will did say another important clue lies with

my Uncle David, but as he’s been gone twenty years or so,

there’s little hope there.

DAISY I was looking at the portraits of your family in the Great

Hall and I noticed that one of the frames was empty.

CLARE Yes. Now that contained the only known portrait of

my Uncle David. My grandfather had it removed after the

quarrel.

TRIXIE How perfectly tragic.

DAISY Was your grandfather a scientist?

CLARE Why do you ask?

DAISY In his portrait he’s holding a jolly queer looking

instrument of some kind.

CLARE It’s a device apparently, for measuring the distances

between stars, my grandfather was tremendously keen on

astronomy.

TRIXIE How uncommonly rare.

A bell rings, off.

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act i 31

CLARE There goes the bell for end of break. Off you go, kiddies,

and thank you most awfully for showing such an interest

in the treasure.

TRIXIE I tell you, Clare, we mean to find it for you.

CLARE Remember no more midnight expeditions.

TRIXIE We’ll be perfect seraphs.

DAISY Honour bright.

CLARE exits.

TRIXIE What an out and out sport!

DAISY Clare is absolutely the most adorable girl I’ve ever met,

I’d risk anything for her.

TRIXIE Except I wish she wouldn’t call us kiddies.

DAISY Better than being called babes like the Firsts and Seconds.

TRIXIE I say, Daisy, did you notice how fearfully sad Clare

looked—just for a moment—when she mentioned her father’s

death?

DAISY Yes, I know just how she jolly well feels.

TRIXIE Why, is your father…

DAISY Yes, ten years ago. He was a ship’s doctor in the Royal

Navy. He was reported missing, believed dead, when his

ship went down in the Baltic during the Battle of…

TRIXIE I’m immensely sorry.

DAISY I was fearfully young of course, when it happened. I

say, we must hurry. Miss Granville will be wild if we’re late

for her class.

TRIXIE I wish you’d slack off a bit Daisy, I’m sure you’ll end

up with brain fever if you carry on at this rate.

They enter the Form Room.

O Jubilate, we’re first in.

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DAISY I say, look at that on the board, “We don’t stand for

sneaks at Grangewood, especially elementary ones”.

TRIXIE Jemima! Someone risked their neck to write that.

DAISY It must be the Seconds, they recognized our voices last

night.

TRIXIE Here come the others. Quick, the blackboard!

DAISY and TRIXIE rush towards the blackboard.

SYBIL, MONICA, BELINDA and DORA enter.

SYBIL Sneak.

MONICA giggles.

Elementary sneak.

MISS GRANVILLE enters.

MISS GRANVILLE Good morning, girls.

GIRLS Good morning, Miss Granville.

MISS GRANVILLE Thank-you, Trixie and Daisy for cleaning the

blackboard, but it really wasn’t necessary to wipe off today’s

list of essay topics. Take an order mark each and return to

your seats please. Now, I have here the essays handed in by

you all last week on the subject of Shelley’s poem, “Ode to the

West Wind”, some of which were extremely good and others

which were lamentable to say the least. Dora Johnston,

kindly refrain from rattling that ink-well. One essay, which

I thought exceptional in content, I was forced to give halfmarks to owing to the blots and inky fingerprints which

almost obliterated it. If you are incapable, Daisy Meredith,

of coping with a pen and ink, you will have to use a pencil.

Let me see no more work like this.

MISS GRANVILLE holds up DAISY’s book—the class gasps.

DAISY But…

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act i 33

MISS GRANVILLE Have you anything to say to me regarding

the atrocious condition of this book, Daisy?

DAISY Yes, Miss Granville. I did not hand in my work in that

condition, I give you my word.

MISS GRANVILLE Then your word cannot be worth very much,

Daisy. Are you suggesting that these blots appeared of their

own volition?

DAISY No… I…

MISS GRANVILLE Or are you perhaps suggesting someone else

had a hand in creating this mess?

SYBIL Sneak.

DAISY No… I don’t know. All I know is, that when I wrote my

essay it was perfectly clear of any blots.

MISS GRANVILLE (narrating) Miss Granville hesitated…she

believed the morals if not the intellects of elementary

schoolgirls to be lower than those of the type of girl normally

to be found at Grangewood…yet…honesty shone forth from

Daisy’s face and the ring of truth was within her speech.

(To DAISY) Very well. Daisy, I shall take your word for it

this time, that you really believed that the essay you handed

in was presentable, but I think that next time, perhaps, a

little blotting paper would not come amiss. Now, who is this

week’s book monitor? Ah, Belinda, will you please return

these exercise books to their owners. Thank you. Now girls,

just a brief word on the topics for this year’s School Poetry

competition, details of which you will also find pinned to

the notice-board. There are two subjects, from which you

must choose one only; the first being “Heroes”. Have you

all got that? “Heroes”. Belinda, have you a pencil-sharpener

you can lend Dora Johnston, please? The second subject

being a poem which must bear the title, “The Meditations

of a Lighthouse”. These poems must not exceed fifty lines

in length and must be handed in by Friday week.

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DAISY (narrating) Daisy found it a struggle to concentrate for

the rest of that lesson. She was convinced that Sybil had had

a hand in defacing her essay, for one of Sybil’s responsibilities

as Vice-Captain of the form was to collect prep-work and

hand it in to the appropriate teacher, thereby giving her

the opportunity to wreak any damage she chose. But how

was she to prove it without committing the despicable sin

of sneaking? If only Sybil didn’t hate me so. Life would

be absolute bliss if she and I were chums. I’m convinced

she has some good in her, as most prickly pears have, but

she mustn’t be allowed to carry on her beastly stunts and

to palter with the honour of the Upper Fourth or that of

Grangewood. Honesta quam magna. Hinc spes effulget.

A bell rings off.

MISS GRANVILLE exits.

MR THOMPSON is heard whistling “ALL THROUGH

THE NIGHT” outside.

TRIXIE There goes Mr Thompson with an immense basket of

apples.

DORA Fearful shame that. I’ve been planning a raid on the

orchard for days. Doesn’t look as if there’s any point now.

SYBIL Honestly, I shall write to Mummy and Daddy about

the frightful state Grangewood’s rapidly sinking into. First

sneaking scholarship girls, now thieving—

TRIXIE That’s beastly unfair of you, Sybil.

SYBIL The entire school is in a ferment. The Seconds have had

their pocket money stopped for a fortnight and aren’t to have

any cakes or jam at tea for a week. Isn’t that so, Monica?

MONICA Entirely, Sybil, entirely.

SYBIL Is it right that the honour of the Upper Fourth and the

morals of one of its members, namely Trixie Martin, should

be thrown into disrepute by one girl.

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act i 35

BELINDA Rot, Sybil.

MONICA You’ll see if it’s rot.

TRIXIE We all shall. Daisy and I will go and see the Seconds

ourselves and tell them that whoever sneaked upon us was

responsible for their discovery. And what’s more, we intend

to find the person responsible and expose her to the entire

school.

MR SCOBLOWSKI enters.

MR SCOBLOWSKI (narrating) At that moment, however,

Mr Scoblowski entered the form room to commence his

Geography lesson with the Fourth. (To the pupils) Good

morning, girls.

GIRLS Good morning, Mr Scoblowski.

MR SCOBLOWSKI Please open your Geography text books at

page thiry-one. This morning we will study Peru.

DAISY (narrating) Daisy opened her book at the appropriate

page and as she did so, a slip of printed paper fluttered from

the book and on to the floor. Daisy paled as she picked it

up, suddenly aware that Sybil Burlington had also read the

words printed on the piece of paper.

MR SCOBLOWSKI I will first of all announce the results of last

Wednesday’s Geography test, beginning from the bottom.

Sybil Burlington—twenty-one out of one hundred marks.

Dora Johnston—forty-eight. Monica Smithers—seventy-four.

Trixie Martin—eighty-one. Belinda Mathieson—ninety-one.

Daisy Meredith—ninety-three. Well done, especially Belinda

and Daisy. Sybil, I am surprised at you, your marks are

usually better than this. If they continue to be this appalling,

I shall have you sent down to the First Form for Geography

lessons.

MONICA giggles. SYBIL glares.

DAISY (narrating) Geography was the second lesson that

morning which failed to leave any impression upon Daisy’s

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36 daisy pulls it off

mind, which was whirling upon another matter far removed

from the jungles and mountains of Peru.

A bell rings off.

MR SCOBLOWSKI You may put away your books now, girls. I

would like to see in the main music-room this afternoon

at four o’clock, those girls who are singing solo in the end

of term concert. Thank you.

MR SCOBLOWSKI exits followed by everyone else except

DAISY and SYBIL.

DAISY (narrating) As the Upper Fourth prepared to go to

lunch, Sybil Burlington caught Daisy’s arm.

SYBIL Look here, Daisy Meredith, unless you devise some means

of getting yourself removed from Grangewood within the

next fortnight, I shall tell Miss Gibson of what I saw, printed

on that piece of paper.

DAISY (narrating) For the piece of paper to which Sybil referred

had printed upon it the answers to the previous Wednesday’s

Geography test.

SYBIL And we don’t stand for cheats at Grangewood.

Curtain.

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37

ACT II:

In the darkness schoolgirl voices are heard chanting.

VOICES A tongue like a snake, a beak like a drake

A cheat like a cat and a sneak like a rat!

Daisy Meredith is a funny one

She’s got a face like a pickled onion

A nose like a squashed tomato

And two bandy legs.

The lights come up in the common room where TRIXIE

is finishing her poem and DAISY is darning a sock.

DAISY I say, Trixie, when do you suppose the Seconds will give

up this sneaking and cat-calling stunt?

TRIXIE In a week or two, if they’ve any sense of honour. They

have rather got their knives into you, old girl. I suppose

Sybil’s been feeding them all this elementary school bilge.

She and Monica went out on to the field this afternoon

looking like queens of tragedy. They absolutely detest

games—sure sign of a rotter.

DAISY I wonder how the match is going, it’s jolly sickening not

to know which side the cheers are for.

TRIXIE I would have gone without cakes and jam for a year

just to have seen the match and Clare’s playing.

MR THOMPSON is heard whistling “ALL THROUGH

THE NIGHT”, off.

I say, Daisy, will you let me read your poem when it’s finished?

DAISY I’m fearfully sorry, Trixie, old chum, but no. Please don’t

be offended but I think it’s tremendously bad form to show

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38 daisy pulls it off

competition entries to one’s fellow competitors, it can lead

to colossal temptation.

TRIXIE I understand perfectly, Daisy, old thing, I think it’s a

thoroughly decent idea.

DAISY I haven’t even begun mine yet, though I will say that my

choice of title is “The Meditations of a Lighthouse”.

TRIXIE Mine’s the jolly old “Heroes”. I’ve practically finished.

DAISY ( finishing the darning) There, that’s done, Matron ought

to be well satisfied. I say, what shall we do now?

TRIXIE Beastly boring being shut up in here. I know, let’s

treasure-hunt, let’s revive the Dark Horse Secret Society.

DAISY Topping idea! Where do you suggest we begin our search?

TRIXIE Not along the East Gallery, that’s for certain. Have to

wait until we’re prefects to get down there.

DAISY Look here, Trixie, we need ideas, let’s go to the library and

see if we can find any books about other treasure-seekers, or

a book on codes or even a biography of Sir Digby Beaumont.

TRIXIE Capital suggestion. Let’s go down the back stairs, less

chance of Matron or any of the maids seeing us.

DAISY Why? Is the library normally out of bounds?

TRIXIE Yes, unless there’s a prefect or mistress in there. But

we didn’t promise Clare not to go in the library, did we? I

say, someone’s coming…quick…hide down here.

They hide as MR SCOBLOWSKI enters with a notebook

and pencil furiously making notes about the ancestral

portraits in the hall.

TRIXIE almost sneezes out loud, but DAISY stops her by

putting her hand over TRIXIE’s mouth.

Phew! That was a near thing. I say, Daisy, why do you suppose

he’s writing such volumes about the ancestral portraits?

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act ii 39

DAISY I can’t say for certain, but I’ve a pretty good idea…

TRIXIE Daisy, you don’t suppose…

MR SCOBLOWSKI exits.

DAISY That’s just the point, Trixie, old chum, I do.

TRIXIE I wonder how much he knows that we don’t…perhaps

we should tell Clare or Miss Gibson what we suspect.

DAISY No, Trixie, we must solve this ourselves. I put you on

your honour not to divulge a single word about our hunt

to anyone from now on, not even to Clare or Miss Gibson,

until we find the treasure.

TRIXIE I won’t breathe a syllable…even if it means missing the

next hockey knockout.

DAISY Trixie, you’re a trump.

TRIXIE Daisy, that’s queer, look at that device that the old

fellow, Sir Digby’s holding, seems to sort of…stand out from

the rest of the picture.

DAISY Brighter shade of paint than the rest, that’s all. Come

on, to the library…so many books, it’s frightfully difficult

to know where to look.

TRIXIE Heaps of biographies over here…

DAISY Here’s a volume on codes and ciphers.

TRIXIE Here’s one by the old boy himself. Hey, there’s lots of

them…most of them seem to be about astronomy.

DAISY Let’s find every one of them we can, we’ve stacks of time

to look through them all.

TRIXIE Well, those are all of Sir Digby’s books that I can find.

DAISY Right, now we must scour absolutely every page of every

book. We’re looking for sheets of paper slipped in between

the pages, scribbled notes in the margin, that kind of thing.

TRIXIE My goodness, Daisy, you have got brains.

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40 daisy pulls it off

DAISY You’ve not so prodigiously few yourself.

DAISY and TRIXIE look through the books.

ALICE and CLARE enter, carrying hockey sticks.

ALICE How’s Diana?

CLARE She’s definitely out now for the second half—Matron

will never let her play with a broken ankle.

ALICE The vantage is ours.

CLARE I’m not so jolly certain, Alice.

ALICE We’re leading by six goals to one.

CLARE That goalie of Thorphurst’s is first-rate, I’ve had umpteen

pots at the goal, but Diana was the only girl able to get one in.

ALICE Julia is a jolly decent substitute.

CLARE Can’t afford to get complacent, Alice.

A whistle blows, off.

There goes the whistle for the second half. Watch that left

inner, Alice.

ALICE I’ll stick to her like a shadow.

CLARE and ALICE exit.

TRIXIE If we don’t find a clue, I shall simply expire.

DAISY Hinc spes effulget.

TRIXIE It’d be such a mean horrid beastly sell if we didn’t.

Pause.

I say, Daisy, listen to this…

My first is above where cherubim reign

My second in Sagittarius nickname

My third in…

DAISY Let me see.

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act ii 41

TRIXIE Some joker defacing school property.

DAISY But Trixie, don’t you see…?

TRIXIE See what?

DAISY This is it…what we’ve been searching for…the clue!

TRIXIE O Jubilate! Jemima! Someone’s coming this way.

DAISY Quick, underneath the table.

They get under the library table.

TRIXIE The book! (She grabs the book)

A second later MR SCOBLOWSKI enters. He sees the books

and examines them.

MR SCOBLOWSKI Goodness gracious… Sir Digby Beaumont…

I wonder.

BELINDA enters.

BELINDA Mr Scoblowski! Mr Scoblowski! Mr Thompson’s here

to see you.

MR SCOBLOWSKI Dash it!

MR SCOBLOWSKI and BELINDA exit.

TRIXIE That proves it, it jolly well proves it, he’s after the

treasure! I wonder if Mr Thompson has anything to do

with it, I’ve noticed that he and Mr Scoblowski are pretty

thick together.

DAISY Trixie, let’s copy this clue down before Mr Scoblowski

returns.

TRIXIE I say, Daisy let’s tear the page out so that Mr Scoblowski

can’t find it.

DAISY We can’t deface school property.

TRIXIE Let’s take the whole book then.

DAISY That would be stealing.

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42 daisy pulls it off

TRIXIE Not really it wouldn’t, we’d only be borrowing it… it’s

for the sake of the school.

DAISY Well, I don’t know…

TRIXIE And Clare.

DAISY Right-o!

TRIXIE O Jubilate, Daisy, I knew you’d see sense.

DAISY Let’s put all these other books away then, quickly.

DAISY and TRIXIE return the books to the shelves.

MR SCOBLOWSKI (offstage) Well, I will see you this evening—I

have not the time now, I’m extremely busy.

TRIXIE Daisy, he’s coming back! Quick, up the stairs!

MR SCOBLOWSKI I have a Geography lesson to prepare—I’m

sorry, I’m sorry.

MR SCOBLOWSKI enters, and sees the books are no longer

there.

H’mm, h’mm.

MR SCOBLOWSKI exits.

DAISY Phew! In the nick of time. Now for that clue.

TRIXIE Read it out, Daisy.

DAISY My first is above where cherubim reign.

My second in Sagittarius nickname.

My third in the eighth of Saturn’s great brood

My fourth is in Aries and doth provide food

My fifth at the end of the first planet lies

My sixth spangles brightly the late evening skies

My seventh lies in the beast that the starry twins follow

My eighth the north night skies with brave colours swallow

My last lies in the hue of the warrior planet

And there if you read me aright you will have it.

Take my initials in the order they’re writ

And your way to the final clue will be lit.

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act ii 43

I say, Trixie, how glorious.

TRIXIE A real clue! Quick, we must work it out. (She writes

down the answers to the clues)

DAISY My first is above where cherubim reign…well that’s easy

enough… Heaven.

TRIXIE So H is our first letter. The second is A for Archer…

Sagittarius.

DAISY Wise child. My third is the eighth of Saturn’s great brood…

here’s a conundrum, I didn’t know Saturn had any children.

TRIXIE Didn’t think he had a wife.

DAISY Think, Trixie, think.

TRIXIE I’m racking my brains. A dictionary of astronomy, that’s

what we need.

DAISY Trixie, this book’s got a glossary.

TRIXIE Uncommonly handy.

DAISY Scorpio… Sirius… Star-gazer… Saturn! Saturn, rings,

distance from earth, moons…moons! Moons! Brood!

TRIXIE The eighth, what’s the name of the eighth moon?

DAISY Iapetus.

TRIXIE I. Next?

DAISY My fourth is in Aries and doth provide food…ah, Aries

the Ram.

TRIXIE We’re getting on famously. Hair we’ve got.

DAISY My fifth at the end of the first planet lies… Mercury… Y.

TRIXIE I say! Hairy!

DAISY Hairy?

TRIXIE ’Swat it says.

DAISY My sixth spangles brightly the late evening skies…

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TRIXIE Stars! S!

DAISY Topping, Trixie. Now the beast that the starry twins

follow…

TRIXIE Pollux and Castor… Taurus the Bull! Taurus!

DAISY My eighth the north night skies with brave colours

swallow. North? Why north I wonder?

TRIXIE I know, Northern Lights. Aurora something… Aurora

borry…

DAISY Never mind, we’ve got the A. My last lies in the hue of

the Warrior Planet.

TRIXIE Mars! Red! It’s red!

DAISY And there if you read me aright you will have it.

TRIXIE Hairy star.

DAISY Doesn’t make sense.

TRIXIE Have a look in the glossary.

DAISY Nothing about hairy stars in here. Trixie, perhaps we’ve

got it wrong.

TRIXIE Perhaps it’s an astronomical symbol.

DAISY Queer sort of symbol.

TRIXIE Perhaps Sir Digby was a lunatic.

MONICA and SYBIL’s voices are heard off.

DAISY Voices! The match must be over.

TRIXIE We must hide the book.

DAISY Where?

TRIXIE In your boot-hole. Hairy star, don’t forget it, Daisy,

hairy star.

TRIXIE and DAISY exit.

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act ii 45

SYBIL and MONICA enter, MONICA carrying a bag of

buns.

MONICA I say, Sybil, are you sure no one can see us?

SYBIL Honestly, Monica, you really are green sometimes.

Everyone’s too taken up with the match to notice our absence.

MONICA Here are the buns. I’m afraid, Sybil, they’re the tiniest

bit damp, it’s muddy in the tea-tent.

SYBIL I bag the creamy one.

They eat the buns.

MONICA Isn’t this blissful?

SYBIL How wild they’d all be if they could see us—instead of

swiping at their silly balls.

MONICA Especially Daisy Meredith.

SYBIL All swank, she’s hopeless really. Fearfully good idea of

yours, that Geography paper, Monica.

MONICA You inspired it, Sybil. It would have been nothing

without you to carry it through.

SYBIL I fear for Grangewood if the Meredith girl remains to

taint it for very much longer. Clare and the mistresses are

ready to kiss her boots at present, but they’ll soon change

their tune especially when my next scheme comes to fruition.

MONICA Oh Sybil, I do think you have the most gorgeous

character of anyone I know.

SYBIL I daresay you’re right. Come on, I want to finish my poem.

SYBIL and MONICA exit.

CLARE (offstage) Three cheers for Thorphurst, the gallant losers.

Hip, hip…

There is cheering off.

CLARE and ALICE enter, exhausted.

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46 daisy pulls it off

What a dickens of a game.

ALICE Sure, I didn’t know if I was coming or going.

CLARE How’s your shin, Alice?

ALICE Bruised—like a thunder cloud. ’Tis a sight better I’ll be

bound than Diana’s ankle…

CLARE Or Carol’s knee…

ALICE Or Jane’s cracked rib.

CLARE I scarcely like to think about the team we will have to

scrape together for the next match.

ALICE And the final, if we reach it.

CLARE Still, buck up, old thing, there are some jolly decent

players in the Fifth.

ALICE Have you not remembered, Clare, that in the week of

the finals the Fifth are away in France.

CLARE ’Nuff said. That leaves the Fourth—Belinda, Trixie and

the new girl. Chin-up, Alice, a miracle may happen and our

injured may recover in time to play. Let’s wash and change,

then go and cheer up the wounded soldiers in the San.

There is a shriek, off.

My word, it’s Mademoiselle.

MADEMOISELLE enters.

MADEMOISELLE (to the audience) Mademoiselle, the scatterbrained French mistress of Grangewood. (To CLARE and

ALICE) Tiens! C’est abominable! A thief  ’as been in ze library

and taken a most valuable book. It is I who am to blame

n’est-ce pas. For I am on library duty this week.

CLARE Steady on, Mademoiselle, are you absolutely sure the

book has been stolen?

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act ii 47

MADEMOISELLE Positive. For I come in to see zat all is well

after ze splendid ’ockey match and pouf! I see a big gap

on ze shelf.

CLARE Which book was it, Mademoiselle, can you remember?

MADEMOISELLE Mais oui! It belonged to your esteemed

grandpère and was about ze stars in ze ’eavens. I ’ave looked

at it often in great wonder. I must find Miss Gibson and

tell ’er what ’as occurred.

CLARE I’ll come with you, Mademoiselle, for this concerns me

very much. See you in the San, Alice.

CLARE and MADEMOISELLE exit.

ALICE Things are lookin’ black for you indeed, me darlin’ girl.

ALICE exits.

Everyone enters for Assembly, singing the hymn “LORD

OF ALL HOPEFULNESS”.

TRIXIE (to DAISY) I found this in the dormy, it’s addressed to you.

DAISY (narrating) Reluctantly Daisy opened the envelope,

a feeling of grim foreboding stealing over her. Sybil

Burlington’s spidery handwriting revealed itself… “one week

or Grangewood will know the truth about the Geography

paper”. Daisy paled.

TRIXIE I say, Daisy, bad news?

DAISY (to TRIXIE) No, I’ve a headache. (Narrating) That

Geography paper—how had it come to be in her desk? Daisy

half-suspected Sybil of the deed except that the look of

surprise on the girl’s face had seemed genuine. How she

longed to make a clean breast of the affair to Miss Gibson

or Clare—but who would believe the word of an elementary

schoolgirl in the face of such condemning evidence and

against that of a wealthy, beautiful self-assured Grangewood

scholar, especially one who desired her departure so keenly.

(To herself ) But I can’t leave Grangewood, I love it so and

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48 daisy pulls it off

mother would be tremendously upset. I know, I’ll destroy

the Geography paper then no one need be any the wiser.

Why on earth didn’t I think of that sooner?

MISS GIBSON Now we come to the morning’s notices. The match

on Saturday against Thorphurst was won, as you all know,

by Grangewood six-three.

Everyone cheers.

A splendid effort by all concerned—which means that

Grangewood goes through to the semi-final. Several injuries

were sustained by our players which means that the First

Eleven will be on the look-out for possible substitutes for

the next match, and the final, if we are fortunate enough

to reach it. This of course, will give members of the Fifth

and Fourth forms a chance to show their mettle.

DAISY How topping.

TRIXIE How scrummy.

MISS GIBSON A list of those girls being considered is pinned

on the school notice-board. I have been informed that

several girls on their way to specialized music lessons in

the town have been observed conversing with boys from St

Hugo’s County Grammar School. This must stop. Mingling

with brothers, cousins and boys at supervised social events

is perfectly in order, but this casual hob-nobbing can do

nothing but harm to Grangewood’s reputation. A natureramble to Pebble Cove will be led by Miss Waller on Sunday

afternoon for any girls interested—names in by Wednesday

please. Finally, I come to a matter of the utmost gravity.

A book of astronomy, part of the Sir Digby Beaumont

Collection, has been taken—I hesitate to say stolen—from

the school library. We believe it to have been purloined by

someone who possibly does not realize that books may not

be taken from the library without express permission from

either myself or the mistress-in-charge for that week. If

the person who has the book would care to come and see

me privately this morning, I will say nothing about the

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act ii 49

matter. However, if no one owns up, afternoon games will

be cancelled…

Everyone gasps.

…and the entire school kept within bounds for the next

three days.

Everyone gasps again.

School dismissed.

All exit except for DAISY and TRIXIE.

TRIXIE We really are in deadly peril now. What atrocious luck

that the book should be missed so soon.

DAISY If we hand it back, Mr Scoblowski is sure to discover

the clue.

TRIXIE I say, Daisy, do you think he suspects that we’re the

culprits, after all, we’ve actually told him that we’re looking

for the treasure.

DAISY He may sneak on us.

TRIXIE Oh, Daisy, how frightful. Perhaps we should chuck the

whole affair in.

DAISY And let the Bolsheviks get their hands on the treasure?

TRIXIE You’re right, Daisy, for the sake of the school…

DAISY …and England. No, we must keep extremely quiet about

the whole affair and admit to nothing.

TRIXIE Honesta quam magna.

TRIXIE } (together) Hinc spes effulget. DAISY

GIRLS enter and gather around the school notice-board.

TRIXIE I say, look at the crowd around the notice-board. Let

us through, Winnie. Daisy! You and I and Belinda are all

down for the hockey trials on Thursday.

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50 daisy pulls it off

DAISY How spiffing.

WINNIE Even more spiffing if someone returns that beastly

book and we get our three games periods back.

TRIXIE I say, Daisy, where are you off to?

DAISY I left something in my desk.

TRIXIE Right-o!

The GIRLS and TRIXIE exit.

DAISY enters the classroom.

DAISY Now to destroy that Geography paper. (She looks in her

desk) It’s gone!

MONICA enters.

MONICA Sybil asked me to tell you that she’s borrowed your

Geography text book for prep. But here, I’ll lend you mine.

MONICA exits.

DAISY The beasts! I sometimes wish I’d never heard of

Grangewood. But I’ll show them, I’ll show them what the

Merediths are made of… I’ll show you, Sybil Burlington. Tell

who you like about the Geography paper, I’ll not admit to

something that isn’t my fault, I’ll not submit to blackmail.

I’m staying at Grangewood—yes, until the Sixth form, Sybil

Burlington, until the Sixth form.

TRIXIE enters.

TRIXIE Come on, Daisy, we’d better cut along to the lab.

WINNIE IRVING enters.

WINNIE (to the audience) Winnie Irving, a member of the Second

Form. (To DAISY) I say, Daisy Meredith?

DAISY Yes?

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act ii 51

WINNIE I’ve a message for you from the Second and First

forms—we don’t stand for sneaks at Grangewood and

until such time as you either apologize to us for your low

behaviour, reform or leave the school, we are sending you

and Trixie Martin to Coventry.

WINNIE exits.

TRIXIE I’d like to wipe the ground with the cheeky little beggar.

DAISY I sometimes think that Grangewood is a perfectly horrible,

miserable school.

TRIXIE You need bucking-up, old chum. (Pause) Got it! I’ll

arrange an inter-dormy bottle-fight.

DAISY What’s that?

TRIXIE It’s like a pillow-fight but with hot-water bottles. You

fill them half-full of water for extra suppleness and then

bang! You’re off. It’s a prime stunt. We’ll do it tomorrow

night after prayers when the Prees are having their baths.

DAISY Sounds a topping idea, I feel better already.

Whistling of “ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT” is heard,

off.

What is the name of that tune that Mr Thompson always

whistles, do you know, Trixie?

TRIXIE Dash it, I can’t think…a Welsh song, you should know

it, Daisy… All Through the Night, that’s the one.

DAISY It’s queer, Trixie, but it’s frightfully reminiscent of

something.

TRIXIE Your mater probably sang it to you when you were but

an infant on her knee.

DAISY And he always whistles the same tune.

TRIXIE Slightly cracked, poor old chap, so they say. Avoids

people like the plague.

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52 daisy pulls it off

A bell rings off.

I say, we’ll be late for Science if we don’t dash.

TRIXIE dashes off.

DAISY takes a book from her desk and goes to follow

TRIXIE.

MR SCOBLOWSKI enters.

DAISY bumps into MR SCOBLOWSKI.

DAISY Excuse me, Mr Scoblowski, I’m late for a class.

MR SCOBLOWSKI Ah, I hope it is not because you were treasurehunting!

DAISY No, we’ve given up all that ever since we discovered that

only juniors believe in the treasure.

MR SCOBLOWSKI (narrating) Mr Scoblowski was not convinced,

however. (He grabs DAISY’s arm) I know very well that you

and the other girl have the book hidden away…

DAISY Ow! Mr Scoblowski, you’re hurting my arm.

MR SCOBLOWSKI But I intend to find it! It is imperative, you

do not realize…

TRIXIE enters.

TRIXIE I say, Daisy, are you coming? What the…

MR SCOBLOWSKI exits.

Daisy!

DAISY He knows we’ve got the book.

TRIXIE There’s only one thing for it, we must discover the

secret of the hairy star!

TRIXIE and DAISY exit.

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act ii 53

A clock chimes nine.

MONICA enters in her dressing-gown and sits and reads

a comic. SYBIL enters carrying a book.

SYBIL Monica!

MONICA Sybil!

SYBIL I’ve just discovered this in Daisy Meredith’s boot-hole.

(Pause) It’s the book, Monica.

MONICA How absolutely splendid.

SYBIL How despicably low. I’ll replace it and leave you, Monica,

to see that the proper persons are informed.

MONICA They will be, Sybil, they will be.

SYBIL exits with the book.

GIRLS, including DAISY and TRIXIE, enter having a

bottle-fight. SYBIL returns and joins in the fight.

ALICE enters.

ALICE Daisy Meredith! Just what are you doing with that hotwater bottle? Kindly remove it…and the rest of you children

can return to whichever dormy you belong to, at once! Interdormy bottle-fights, I wonder who thought of that one.

SYBIL But you used to—

ALICE Yes, I know we used to do it at your age, but we took

great care not to get caught.

BELINDA We thought all the Prees were having baths.

ALICE We can’t all get in at the same time. Enough of this

ragging, an order mark to any girl who’s not in her own

dormy by the time I’ve counted to ten. Sybil Burlington,

please wait in my study, I wish to have a word with you.

ALICE and the other GIRLS exit.

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54 daisy pulls it off

DAISY and TRIXIE join MONICA.

DAISY Phew! Alice is in a pixie mood.

TRIXIE A regular sport though, always gives one a chance.

I had an absolutely scrummy tussle with Jill Timms and

Rosie Wildgust from the Third and then Jill’s hot-water

bottle burst!

DAISY Matron will be frightfully fed-up about that.

TRIXIE Oh, Matron’s a sport, she’ll gather the joyful gist.

“ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT” is heard being whistled

outside.

DAISY Why didn’t you join in the bottle-fight, Monica?

MONICA I’m not feeling well.

DAISY Let’s play a game to jolly you up, we’ve heaps of time

before lights out.

TRIXIE That’s a topping idea, Daisy.

DAISY How about a game we all know, I know—the Dictionary

Game.

TRIXIE Right-o!

DAISY Here we are, pencils, paper and a small pocket dictionary.

(She hands the pencils and paper round)

TRIXIE Goodness, what amazing pockets.

DAISY I’ve a penknife, string and coughsweets as well. My

four brothers are Boy Scouts you see, and their motto is

“Be Prepared” for any emergency.

TRIXIE I bags to be first on it.

DAISY No, Trixie, I bags to be first on it.

TRIXIE Right-o. You do know how to play, don’t you Monica?

MONICA Of course I do.

TRIXIE First word, Daisy?

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act ii 55

DAISY First word, well it’s a name really…hairy star.

TRIXIE Hairy star?

DAISY Hairy star.

TRIXIE There’s no such word.

MONICA Yes, there is. I’m not quite sure I can remember what

it means.

They write down their definitions.

DAISY Right-o, all done? Hand them over. Now a hairy star…

is a species of fungus found growing under beech trees, a

Colonial term for the Union Jack, or a comet so-called in

ancient times because its fiery tail resembled that of a—

ALICE enters.

ALICE Well, well, this is a cosy little confab. Did you not hear

me call for lights out?

DAISY No, sorry Alice, we didn’t.

MONICA Sybil’s our dormy monitor, don’t we have to wait for

her to tell us?

ALICE Sybil’s with me for the minute. Now off you all run to

your beds.

MONICA Goodnight, Alice.

ALICE Goodnight, Monica.

TRIXIE ’Night, Alice.

ALICE Goodnight, Trixie.

DAISY Good…

ALICE Daisy, can I speak with you for a minute?

DAISY Yes.

TRIXIE and MONICA exit.

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56 daisy pulls it off

ALICE Are you well, child, you’ve been looking a wee bit pale

of late?

DAISY I’m in splendid form, thank you, Alice.

ALICE You’ve been sleeping at nights?

DAISY Like the proverbial log.

ALICE I think I’ll ask Matron to dose you up on cod-liver oil

for a while.

DAISY Look here, Alice…

ALICE You’re too peaky looking for my liking and besides, we

need fighters not wraithes in the First Eleven. But it’s not

that I wish to speak to you of. In the midst of that battle you

were all engaged in ten minutes ago, a Junior passed me

on her way to the San sporting a black eye she’d received in

the onslaught. She’d been set upon by a crowd led by Sybil

Burlington, for refusing to join them in a foray against

the Sneak of the Fourth, as I believe you’re known. Now,

does this have anything to do with the fact that when Clare

pounced on you and Trixie that night she also happed upon

the Seconds feasting, who now see you as a sneak?

DAISY I’d rather not say, Alice.

ALICE I’ve no intention of fighting any battles on your behalf,

child, but right must be seen to exist where it does. Would

you like me to have a discreet word with the Seconds?

DAISY No. Thanks awfully, Alice, but I mean to settle this on

my own account.

ALICE Are you sure, child?

DAISY Absolutely.

ALICE Very well, off you run to bed then, kiddie.

DAISY Alice…

ALICE Yes, child?

DAISY You aren’t rowing Sybil on my account, are you?

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act ii 57

ALICE No, rest assured. I can’t allow anyone, least of all a

Vice-Captain of a form, to run around the school dishing

out black eyes to all and sundry. Young Sybil will be on her

way to Miss Gibson if she crosses my path again.

DAISY I say.

ALICE Goodnight, child.

DAISY Goodnight, Alice.

ALICE exits.

TRIXIE rushes on.

TRIXIE Oh, Daisy, the hairy star!

DAISY I know, oh Trixie, how glorious!

TRIXIE How uncommonly brainy of you to think up such a

scheme…

DAISY How tremendously decent of Monica.

TRIXIE We must act at once, before Mr Scoblowski.

DAISY Tomorrow.

TRIXIE Tomorrow.

DAISY } (together) Hinc spes effulget. TRIXIE

Everyone enters for Assembly, singing the hymn, “LET

US WITH A GLADSOME MIND”.

MISS GIBSON The morning’s notices. I learnt with great

displeasure from Matron this morning that not a few girls

have reported to her with burst hot-water bottles, the result

it would seem of a dormitory prank. In future, all hot-water

bottles similarly destroyed will be replaced with the aid of

contributions from pocket-money. Persistent offenders will

be relieved of their hot-water bottles and given hot bricks

wrapped in flannel to take to bed. Now on to more pleasant

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58 daisy pulls it off

matters. Grangewood has reached the final of the County

Hockey Championships…

Everyone cheers.

…and will meet Vearncombe Young Ladies College next

Saturday for the match which will be played here on

Grangewood’s own hockey pitch.

Everyone cheers.

Owing to the Fifth form’s enforced absence from school this

week, any substitutes required will be selected by Clare from

the Fourth form. Not the happiest circumstances under

which to meet such leviathans as Vearncombe, but remember

girls, that even if we lose this very vital match, as long as

you play the game, to the best of your very considerable

abilities, you will not have failed Grangewood. Finally, it

gives me tremendous delight to announce the results of this

year’s School Poetry Competition. While many of the entries

were worthy of high commendation, all credit this year

must go to the Upper Fourth who have produced the two

winning entries. In second place we have “The Meditations

of a Lighthouse” submitted by Sybil Burlington.

There is applause.

TRIXIE My word! What a stunner!

MISS GIBSON …and this year’s winning entry is a poem on the

subject of “Heroes” penned by Daisy Meredith.

There is applause.

TRIXIE I say, well done.

DAISY But Trixie, I didn’t…

MISS GIBSON Quiet girls, please. I now take great pleasure in

reading an extract from this indeed excellent piece of work.

“Heroes” by Daisy Meredith.

Through centuries wrapped in clouds of black

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act ii 59

Where injustice cruel doth rage

There sometimes glows a candle bright

That darkness to assuage.

DAISY Trixie! Please listen…

MISS GIBSON Poor folk crushed by tyrant’s hand of privilege

bereft—

TRIXIE If you please, Miss Gibson—

MISS GIBSON I am available in my study after Assembly for

question or comment, Trixie Martin.

TRIXIE I’m sorry, Miss Gibson, but that poem you are reading

out was not written by Daisy Meredith. I wrote it.

There is a gasp from the GIRLS.

MISS GIBSON Is this correct, Daisy?

DAISY Yes, Miss Gibson.

MISS GIBSON Is this your handwriting, Trixie?

TRIXIE Yes, Miss Gibson.

MISS GIBSON Most odd, and yet it has Daisy’s name written

upon it.

DAISY On my honour, Miss Gibson, I honestly had no idea…

oh Trixie, surely you don’t believe…

MISS GIBSON Silence if you please, girls, silence. Trixie, I’ll

speak to you in a moment. Daisy Meredith, you are to go

to my study and wait for me there.

DAISY But Miss Gibson…

MISS GIBSON Please go. School dismissed.

DAISY exits. Everyone disperses.

BELINDA (to TRIXIE) What a beastly business! I would never

have thought Daisy capable of such a frightful plot.

MISS GIBSON Thank you, Belinda.

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60 daisy pulls it off

BELINDA exits.

(to TRIXIE) Don’t worry, Trixie, we’ll sort this out. Off you go.

TRIXIE exits.

DAISY and MISS GIBSON enter MISS GIBSON’s study.

Daisy, this kind of affair grieves me intensely, especially when

it concerns a girl in whom so much faith and expectation

has been placed and whose academic and sporting future

looked so bright. Now you say that you had no idea that

Trixie Marlin’s poem was submitted under your name?

DAISY None at all, on my honour. Miss Gibson.

MISS GIBSON And yet the name Daisy Meredith inscribed on

the top of the entry compares remarkably well with other

examples of your signature.

DAISY But Miss Gibson, I would never do such a thing to Trixie,

she’s my best chum.

MISS GIBSON Not even in fun?

DAISY Not even in fun, Miss Gibson.

MISS GIBSON A certain member of your form, I shall not mention

her name, came to me with your Geography text book in

which I found this—a printed list of answers to a Geography

test set some time ago in which you came out top.

DAISY Miss Gibson, honestly, I had no idea… I didn’t see it

until…

MISS GIBSON And this… (She produces the astronomy book) …

was discovered at the back of your boot-hole.

DAISY I borrowed it, I can’t tell you why, it’s a point of honour,

Miss Gibson, but I swear to you I had absolutely nothing

to do with the poem or the Geography test.

MISS GIBSON I must say, Daisy, I find it extremely difficult to

believe anything of a girl who remained silent whilst her

school-fellows suffered the loss of three days games and

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act ii 61

confinement to school grounds because of something she

had not the courage to own up to. A girl also blind to the

distress that this seeming theft has caused to the Beaumont

family, particularly Clare.

DAISY I would never do anything to hurt Clare, Miss Gibson.

MISS GIBSON I can only conclude, my dear, that perhaps we

have demanded a little too much of you. The gulf between

such schools as Grangewood and the elementary kind may

be wider than we dream and I see the events of the past few

weeks being as much my fault as yours, in having placed you

under the tremendous pressures resulting in the matters

now under discussion.

DAISY I’m awfully sorry, Miss Gibson, but as far as academic

work and games go, I have not found myself under any

of the tremendous pressures you mention, neither am I

conscious of any enormous gulf between Grangewood and

my previous school, as you are, if the gulf you speak of is

mainly moral as you seem to imply. The only pressures I

have encountered here are those from girls who because they

have money, therefore have influence, a remarkably queer

notion to my mind, and whose only code of conduct is that

of lying, sneaking and bullying, and seeing fit to wipe the

ground with me because in my ignorant elementary school

way, I try to live up to the high standards set here, and to

their irritation, succeed.

MISS GIBSON That will do, Daisy Meredith. I shall attempt to

get to the bottom of the accusations against you and will

report my findings along with an academic and character

assessment on you, to a meeting of the School Governors,

to be held next Monday, when it will be decided whether

or not, to keep you on at Grangewood. Until that time you

will be given a room in the Sanatorium where you will

sleep, your meals will be brought to you and you will be

given specially prepared classwork to do. You will not be

allowed to speak to any of your school-fellows or they to

you, only to myself, teaching staff and Matron. You will

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62 daisy pulls it off

be in Matron’s charge and she will also arrange for your

recreation periods. You may go.

DAISY Miss Gibson, on my honour, I swear I am innocent of

the charges laid against me.

MISS GIBSON exits.

DAISY goes into the Sanatorium and throws herself on

a bed.

Oh mother, mother…oh Clare, if only I could explain to

you…and Trixie…but now I never shall.

TRIXIE enters.

TRIXIE Psst!

DAISY Trixie.

TRIXIE Oh, Daisy!

DAISY You’ll get into fearful trouble if they find you here.

TRIXIE I know. It’s perfectly beastly, we’ve been ordered not

to speak to you on pain of death.

DAISY Oh Trixie, do you absolutely wish to goodness you’d never

even met me? Do you believe I entered your poem as mine?

TRIXIE No, old chum, not for so much as a minute. I’m

immensely sorry I spoke out in Assembly and not to Miss

Gibson in private, I’m afraid I lost my rag.

DAISY I would have done exactly the same in your position

though it’s fearfully hard not to be dismal when everyone

else believes I did do it. They found Sir Digby’s book you

know, I suppose Clare detests me now.

TRIXIE The book! Mr Scoblowski! The treasure! Daisy, we

must stop him!

DAISY How? I’m not supposed to leave this room except to go

to piano practice.

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act ii 63

TRIXIE I’m not supposed to be in it. I’ll work out some sort of a

scheme… I’ll also find out who rigged the poetry competition.

DAISY Probably someone’s idea of a joke.

TRIXIE Queer sort of a joke. There are fearful rumours too,

about you cribbing for a Geography test. What is the truth,

Daisy?

DAISY I’m afraid I can’t say, I’m not a sneak whatever else I

may be.

TRIXIE It wouldn’t surprise me if Sybil Burlington didn’t have

a hand in this somewhere.

A bell goes, off.

Dash it, there goes the bell.

DAISY I’m so glad you don’t absolutely loathe me, Trixie.

TRIXIE Buck-up, Daisy, old girl, I’ll get you out of this piggy

little mess, see if I don’t.

DAISY Thanks awfully, Trixie. I must go to piano practice.

TRIXIE I’ll creep up and see you later. Cheeriosa.

DAISY } (together) Hinc spes effulget. TRIXIE

TRIXIE and DAISY exit.

CLARE and ALICE enter.

CLARE Two days to the final, Diana’s still out, Carol’s hurt her

knee again, and the Fifth away. It’s no use, Alice, we shall

have to put in some of those babes from the Fourth.

TRIXIE enters and stops to eavesdrop.

ALICE It’s two we shall need.

CLARE And if we’re to beat Vearncombe this year, they’ve got

to be good.

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64 daisy pulls it off

ALICE There’s Trixie Martin, splendid little player when she

puts her mind to it.

CLARE Belinda Mathieson.

ALICE She’s decent.

CLARE Well, that’s our team.

Beautiful piano playing is suddenly heard.

Who’s that who plays so beautifully?

ALICE The wee girl, Daisy Meredith.

CLARE A mistress surely.

ALICE No, Daisy Meredith. Matron allows her to practise when

a music-room lies empty.

CLARE Poor child, anyone who plays like that cannot surely be

guilty of the things she’s been accused of.

ALICE It’s my belief she isn’t.

CLARE If only we had proof, Alice. I must say, I’ve noticed that

certain elements in the school have done their best to make

life tough for that kiddie.

ALICE Can we not find that proof?

CLARE We haven’t much time, the School Governors meet to

discuss her fate on Monday. I suppose we could have a jolly

good go at clearing her name though.

ALICE Even though she did walk off with your grandfather’s

book…and deprived the school of three days’ games.

CLARE I was awfully fed-up about that, I admit.

ALICE Daisy told Miss Gibson she held back on a point of

honour…and I’ll tell you something now, I don’t believe

that a girl like Daisy who loves her games would hold back

for less.

CLARE She’s always struck me as a frightfully decent kid.

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act ii 65

TRIXIE exits.

ALICE And don’t you find it queer now, that such a girl should

deliberately set out to ruin herself? And to expose herself

as a cheat and a leech upon her best friend.

CLARE That settles it, Alice, we will carry out our own

investigation into this affair. Thank you, old thing, for

reminding me that as well as being Games Captain of

Grangewood, I am Head Girl.

ALICE Sure, it’s a deputy’s duty.

There is a sudden shrieking and commotion off, and

the piano playing stops.

CLARE I say, what a row.

BELINDA enters.

BELINDA It’s Trixie Martin, she’s twisted her ankle. I’m going

to find Matron.

BELINDA exits.

ALICE Jesus, Mary and Joseph!

CLARE There goes another member of our First Eleven.

ALICE Nil desperandum, me darlin’ Clare.

CLARE We’re sunk. Might as well hand the trophy over to

Vearncombe now.

ALICE We’ll find another substitute.

CLARE Who else is there good enough?

DAISY’s piano playing suddenly surges forth.

ALICE Wee Daisy Meredith.

CLARE Do you think Miss Gibson will be persuaded?

ALICE She must—for the sake of the school.

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66 daisy pulls it off

CLARE and ALICE exit.

DAISY enters the San with a hockey stick, TRIXIE follows

on crutches.

They knock a hockey ball about between them.

TRIXIE Goal!

DAISY Shhh. Matron will hear you and pack you off back to

jolly old bed.

TRIXIE And deprive me of the chance of seeing you play for

Grangewood? Fat chance. She’d have the dickens of a deadly

fight on her hands.

DAISY I say, Trixie, I’m horribly afraid I shall prove the most

frightful muff.

TRIXIE You haven’t muffed any practice games.

DAISY This is different. We shall be playing an absolutely firstclass team not just eleven substitutes, and I feel I must justify

Clare and Alice’s faith in me after the tremendously hard

job they must have had persuading Miss Gibson to let me

play. I say, do you think any of the Grangewood girls will

let on that one of their team is under threat of expulsion?

TRIXIE They wouldn’t be such a pack of mean cats. If anyone,

even that reptile, Sybil Burlington, uttered a word, I would

cold-pig them every morning ’til the end of term.

DAISY I say, would you really?

TRIXIE With immense gratification. I say, it’s capital the two

of us being here in the San.

DAISY Things have been a lot jollier since you twisted your

ankle, I admit. Gets us even further away from discovering

the Beaumont treasure though. I lie awake at night and

think about it.

TRIXIE No wonder you’re looking so pale and ghastly.

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act ii 67

DAISY Rot! I’m fit as a fiddle. It would be topping though if

we could find it before I leave. I do so want to make it up

to everyone for being such a frightful disappointment.

A bell rings off.

I must go and join the others on the field.

TRIXIE Good luck, Daisy, old thing, play up and play the game.

DAISY Thanks awfully, Trixie.

TRIXIE I saved this doughnut for you, to give you extra strength

for the match.

DAISY Trixie, you’re a real chum.

TRIXIE Hinc spes effulget.

DAISY exits.

TRIXIE walks over to the window putting aside her

crutches.

Hinc spes effulget, Daisy, hinc spes effulget.

DAISY, CLARE, ALICE and BELINDA enter with hockey

sticks. They take up their positions on the pitch. They

don’t actually move from where they stand.

A whistle blows.

Bully off. Grangewood have the ball.

CLARE Centre forward to right inner.

ALICE Right inner to centre forward.

CLARE Centre forward to left wing.

DAISY Tackle by Vearncombe!

TRIXIE Vearncombe have the ball. Don’t let them past, oh

don’t let them past…they’re getting through…where’s the

left back…the left back!

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68 daisy pulls it off

ALL No.

TRIXIE Vearncombe have scored the first goal of the match.

A whistle blows for off.

Bully-off… Grangewood again.

CLARE Centre forward to right inner.

ALICE Right inner to right wing.

BELINDA Tackle by Vearncombe!

TRIXIE Vearncombe take the ball! Left back to left inner…they’re

passing down the field. The wing is clear again, mark her!

Mark her! Desperate tackle by Clare—to no avail…

ALL No!

TRIXIE Vearncombe score the second goal.

A whistle blows off.

CLARE Half time.

CLARE, ALICE, BELINDA and DAISY unfreeze from their

hockey positions.

BELINDA Looks as though we shall be beaten hollow.

DAISY Things do look dreadfully grim.

ALICE We’ll beat them, we must.

CLARE I say, chin-up, Grangewood. Vearncombe are a firstrate team but we still have the second half in which to

draw level. Those tackles of yours weren’t half bad, young

Belinda, but you must decide what to do with the ball once

you’ve got it. Daisy, don’t let those backs crowd you as they

were doing. Remember all of you, when you have the ball,

get rid of it fast, don’t hug it to yourselves and remember,

above all, attack is the best form of defence. We’re allowing

Vearncombe French leave to do as they wish at the moment.

The vantage will be theirs this half with the wind behind

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act ii 69

them so we must play hard, play up and play the game.

Remember—the honour of Grangewood is at stake.

A whistle blows off. CLARE, ALICE, BELINDA and DAISY

take their positions again.

TRIXIE They’re off.

CLARE Centre forward to left inner.

BELINDA Left inner back to centre forward.

CLARE Centre forward to…

TRIXIE Vearncombe snatch the ball. Oh, hard luck!

DAISY Tackle by…

TRIXIE Daisy! She’s got the ball…oh quickly, pass it out…

DAISY Left wing back to right inner…

ALICE Right inner shoots!

ALL Goal!

TRIXIE Hurray!

CLARE That’s the spirit, keep it up.

A whistle blows off.

TRIXIE Vearncombe take the ball! Passing it out to their left

wing! Grangewood! Where are you?

BELINDA Right half closes in. Drives the ball across to…

CLARE Centre forward to…

BELINDA Right inner. And back to…

CLARE Centre forward.

TRIXIE Oh no, Clare’s missed it! Don’t lose it! Don’t lose it!

Saved by…

BELINDA …the centre half! A short pass to…

ALICE Left inner to…

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70 daisy pulls it off

DAISY Left wing! Left wing to…

TRIXIE No, Daisy, you’re clear! Oh, shoot, Daisy! Shoot! Shoot!

ALL Goal!

TRIXIE Two all and seven minutes left to play. Play up school,

play up! Hinc spes effulget, Daisy! Hinc spes effulget! There’s

some rotten little beasts booing her, led by Sybil no doubt.

The whistle blows for off.

CLARE Centre forward to right wing!

ALICE Right wing to…

TRIXIE Oh, Vearncombe have got the ball! Grangewood!

Grangewood! Grangewood!

CLARE Tackle by…

TRIXIE Clare! Pass it out! Pass it out! Oh, no! She’s gone down

on the mud. Jemima! Who’s that speeding up the pitch?

It’s Daisy! She’s got the ball! Daisy Left wing…

BELINDA To right inner…

ALICE To centre forward…

CLARE To left inner…

DAISY To left wing…

TRIXIE Shoot Daisy! Shoot! Shoot! Shoot!

ALL Goal!

TRIXIE Oh, good shot!

The whistle blows, and there is tumultuous cheering.

Everyone hugs each other.

ALICE Oh, my darlin’ girl!

CLARE I don’t believe it, Alice, we’ve jolly well won.

BELINDA First-rate play, Daisy.

DAISY I did it for Grangewood.

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act ii 71

CLARE The first time within living memory that anyone has

beaten Vearncombe. Well done all of you, a splendid effort,

a game to go down in the annals of Grangewood. But well

done to you, kiddie, we’ve got you to thank for all this. Now

off to the Victory tea!

Everyone exits except DAISY and ALICE.

ALICE Are you not coming to the tea, Daisy?

DAISY No, Miss Gibson said I was to go straight back to the

San after the match. Don’t say anything to Clare, she’s so

awfully bucked. I wouldn’t want to be a wet blanket.

ALICE exits.

DAISY joins TRIXIE in the San who has taken up her

crutches again.

TRIXIE Capital, Daisy, you were absolutely, uncommonly,

spiffingly glorious. Daisy…?

DAISY They booed me, Trixie, they booed me.

TRIXIE exits.

Night. A clock chimes twelve. DAISY puts on a dressinggown and gets into bed.

( narrating) Two hours after lights out, try how she might,

Daisy could not sleep. The events of the day circled her

brain, and the knowledge that largely due to her efforts in

winning the hockey-match, the school had been awarded

a half-holiday, caused her to ponder even more upon the

unworthy actions of those responsible for her present dismal

plight. Outside, the wind howled, rattling the window-panes

in their frames and sending the waves booming round the

headland.

MR THOMPSON and MR SCOBLOWSKI enter another

part of the stage with a torch which they shine on the

ancestral portraits.

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72 daisy pulls it off

How queer, someone patrolling the corridors with a torch.

Matron is long in bed and surely none of the staff would be

up at such an hour, unless the juniors are up to some stunt.

MR SCOBLOWSKI and MR THOMPSON exit.

“ALL THROUGH THE NIGHT” is heard being whistled.

How odd. Perhaps Mr Thompson’s planning a burglary…

what’s that?

WINNIE IRVING enters.

I say, Winnie Irving.

WINNIE You must come quickly.

DAISY Come? Where to? Whatever’s happened?

WINNIE Several of us were having a midnight feast in one

of the caves in the bay to celebrate today’s victory, when

suddenly, almost before we had time to notice, the tide crept

in covering our path out and so we had to retreat up the

side of the cliff. It was only when we reached the top that

we realized Monica and Sybil weren’t with us. They must

have wandered off and also got cut off because we discovered

them clinging to a ledge further along the coast. We couldn’t

find any rope to pull them up with so we thought we’d tie

some sheets together to make one. Only thing is, none of us

know anything about knots so we thought as you’ll probably

be expelled anyway and know about knots, we’d enlist your

help. Please help us, Daisy. I could wake Miss Gibson, but

we’d get into the most fearful row.

DAISY Half a sec. (She gets out of bed) You take my sheets

(narrating) Daisy and her companion set off along the cliff

path that led to the bay.

The GIRLS act out the story they are telling.

WINNIE The wind was so strong that it flattened the long grass

on the cliff-tops…

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act ii 73

DAISY And a three-quarters moon scudded in and out of the

ragged black clouds.

WINNIE Out at sea the wind-whipped waves tossed themselves

so high into the air that the two girls could taste the saltspray on their lips…

DORA, BELINDA, SYBIL and MONICA enter.

DORA } (together) Winnie!

BELINDA:

WINNIE We’re here.

DAISY Daisy leaned over as far as she dared, and there, many

feet below, were the pale, pleading faces of Sybil and Monica.

(To WINNIE) A reef-knot that’s what we need. There! That’s

done! Sybil! Monica! I’m going to throw a line down to

you and I want you to grab hold of it and we’ll haul you

up one at a time.

WINNIE Daisy lowered the sheets…

DORA A rock tied into the end as ballast…

BELINDA And presently she felt an answering tug.

DAISY Right-o, heave.

WINNIE Slowly but steadily they hauled in the sheet and on

the end of it…

SYBIL Sybil.

SYBIL collapses.

DAISY Are you all right, Sybil?

SYBIL I am…but Monica…she’s in a deadly funk, she won’t

budge from off the ledge. I tried to persuade her to come

up first but she refused point-blank.

DAISY Monica! Monica! It’s no good, she’s perfectly insensible

to anything but her own fear. I’ll have to go down and bring

her up myself! Now listen you three, I want you to play the

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74 daisy pulls it off

line out slowly and then when I’m ready to bring Monica

up, I’ll give a tug twice on the end of the line and you must

pull for all you’re worth. Do you understand?

ALL Yes.

DAISY Right-o, I’m off.

BELINDA Gingerly, Daisy swung herself down to the narrow

and rapidly crumbling ledge to which Monica clung.

DAISY Monica, I’m going to tie this sheet around your waist to

stop you from falling and then I’m going to put my arms

round you to make it even less likely that you fall and then

we’re both going up the side of the cliff together. Understand?

MONICA Nooooo!

DAISY Monica if you don’t do as I say we’ll fall—both of us—into

that morass below. Do you understand now?

MONICA Yes.

DAISY Good. Daisy tugged twice on the line and slowly Monica

began to be hauled up the cliff-face, Daisy frantically

searching for hand and footholds so as to relieve the burden

slightly on the others. We’re almost there, Monica, hang on.

MONICA Wh…what’s that roaring sound?

DAISY Daisy glanced downwards just in time to see the ledge on

which she and Monica had been lately standing disappear

into the wild sea. Her heart skipped a beat—just the sea

and the wind, Monica, nothing to worry about.

BELINDA Practically sweating blood…

WINNIE And almost at their last breath…

DORA Winnie, Dora and Belinda hauled the now almost

unconscious Monica to the top.

BELINDA Finally, Daisy herself was pulled to safety.

DORA Whereupon, they all collapsed.

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act ii 75

Pause.

BELINDA I say, we ought to make a move back before we all

die of pneumonia.

DAISY Good idea.

MONICA I’m dreadfully sorry, Daisy, I was in such a beastly funk.

DAISY I wasn’t feeling so tremendously heroic myself.

SYBIL Yes, I must say, it was jolly decent of you to rescue us.

DAISY Anyone would have done the same.

WINNIE They stumbled along the cliff-path back to school,

exhausted in mind and body…

DAISY Especially Daisy, who after a week of sleepless nights

wasn’t sure whether or not all that had just happened hadn’t

been a dream.

Everyone exits except DAISY.

Daisy followed last to close the school gates behind the

others. She paused, for a final look at the silvery moon

illuminating the unruly sea.

MISS GIBSON enters.

MISS GIBSON Daisy Meredith!

DAISY My word! Miss Gibson!

MISS GIBSON You were forbidden to leave the Sanatorium

without my express permission. Can I place no trust in

you? Have you no sense of honour? Well you will flout the

rules of Grangewood no longer. See me tomorrow morning

in my study at nine. Now go to bed this instant.

MISS GIBSON exits.

DAISY It’s no good, everything I do is wrong, I just don’t belong

in Grangewood. Perhaps I am as bad as they say I am. But I’m

not. I’m not. I can’t bear it any longer, I’ll run away—that’s

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76 daisy pulls it off

what I’ll do, I’ll go back home to mother—and Dick, Douglas,

Daniel and Duncan, they love me, they believe in me. Oh,

Mother, Mother, I wish, you were here now, I need you so

badly… I’m coming home, Mother, I’m coming home. Hardly

conscious of her actions, Daisy passed like a sleep-walker

through the school corridors and down into the great hall.

Some instinct, she knew not what, caused her to turn and

gaze at the grim, commanding portrait of the late Sir Digby

Beaumont. Daisy gasped—for the peculiar astronomical

device that Sir Digby held was radiating a green glowing

light of its own. Luminous paint! Daisy advanced closer to

the portrait and there on the rim of the device was depicted

a symbol she knew all too well, that of a comet…

MR THOMPSON enters behind DAISY.

…the hairy star, and beside it, graven in tiny letters were

the words—“This panel where the hairy star doth shine,

conceals the treasure, press the symbol mine”.

DAISY presses the symbol and the treasure is revealed

behind a secret panel.

MR THOMPSON Daisy.

DAISY turns.

DAISY Father. (She faints)

There is a blackout.

Everyone enters for Assembly singing “FOR ALL THE

SAINTS” as the lights come up.

MISS GIBSON I have distressing and important news concerning

one of your number—Daisy Meredith. At present, Daisy lies

dangerously ill in the Sanatorium, suffering, it is suspected,

from brain-fever, resulting we think from the trouble in

which she has been involved here. She cries wildly in her

delirium of dishonour, exams and the like. We fear she may

not last the week and she is certainly too ill to be moved to

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act ii 77

a hospital. However, the crisis point determining whether

Daisy lives or dies will be reached this evening and we ask

you all to be quieter than usual in your activities, particularly

if any of them take place on the lawns outside the San.

TRIXIE Oh poor, poor Daisy.

SYBIL Miss Gibson.

MISS GIBSON Yes, Sybil?

SYBIL I have something to say which I would like the school

to hear as well as you, Miss Gibson.

MISS GIBSON Can you not come and tell me later in my…

SYBIL No, Miss Gibson, I’m sorry, I must speak now.

MISS GIBSON Very well, continue.

SYBIL Everyone…well most people, believe Daisy Meredith

to be a cheat, a liar, a sneak and an absolute rotter. Well…

she isn’t. She’s one of the pluckiest, most honourable, and

sporting girls you could hope to meet. Last night she rescued

Monica and me from certain death when we were stranded

on a cliff-face after a midnight feast we held, in which she

was not involved. It was I who substituted Daisy’s name for

Trixie’s on the winning poem and entered Daisy’s poem under

my name and came second, I who encouraged another girl

in my form to plant the answers to the Geography test in

Daisy’s book, and I who sneaked on the Second’s midnight

feast and let Daisy take blame… (She bursts into tears) I’m

a perfectly hateful pig, it’s me who should be expelled not

Daisy. And if she dies then it’s my fault.

MISS GIBSON Well, Sybil, I am glad you have had the courage

and honour, belated though it is, to confess the true state

of things, though I cannot say how sorry I am, that a girl

who has been at Grangewood as long as you have, should

have fallen into such dark and evil ways. I must ask you

to accompany me to my study and to take leave of your

classmates for what I feel will be the last time. It may also

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78 daisy pulls it off

interest you to know that the Beaumont treasure has been

discovered…

Everyone gasps.

TRIXIE I say!

MISS GIBSON …by Daisy Meredith and her father who is known

to us as Mr Thompson, but whose true identity is that of

Sir David Beaumont…

CLARE Uncle David!

MISS GIBSON …the younger son of Sir Digby Beaumont.

SYBIL bursts into more tears.

TRIXIE Jemima!

MISS GIBSON School dismissed.

Everyone begins to disperse.

TRIXIE O Jubilate! I knew it would all come right in the end,

I knew it. (Narrating) Daisy’s crisis of health that night

took its turn…for the better, and after a day or two, she was

able to leave her sick-bed albeit in a weakened condition.

DAISY, her father—MR THOMPSON—and TRIXIE enter

the Sanatorium.

MR THOMPSON You see, my father, Sir Digby Beaumont, objected

fiercely to my taking an opera-singer as wife, and after a

particularly vehement quarrel with him I left Grangewood

for good, changed my name by deed poll, married my

sweetheart and moved to Wales.

DAISY Where you had spent many happy boyhood holidays,

isn’t that right, Father?

MR THOMPSON It certainly is, my darling. We bore a family and

lived very happily, I earning a living as a doctor until war

broke out and so, wishing to serve my country, I enlisted in

the Navy. However, one day my ship was torpedoed, sunk

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act ii 79

and I survived by clinging to a spar of wood in the sea for

two days until I was rescued by a passing ship, whereupon

I lost consciousness for over a week. On coming to, it was

discovered I had lost all memory of who I was and where

I had come from—all written proof of my identity having

been washed away during my ordeal at sea. I was utterly

destitute and friendless and might have remained so, had

it not been for a Russian Count on board ship, escaping

the horrors of the Revolution, who befriended me. As luck

would have it, he was destined for England and after gaining

a job at an English Girls’ Public School he found work and

shelter for me. That teacher’s name was…

DAISY } (together) Mr Scoblowski! TRIXIE

MR THOMPSON My memory returned gradually over the years

and to my surprise, I realized that not only did I work in

the grounds of my birthplace but that my daughter was a

pupil at the school which had since been founded there. I

determined not to reveal myself to Daisy until I could offer

her something other than my poverty—though there is no

shame in being poor. So, with Mr Scoblowski, I plotted to

recover the fortune which my father had hidden.

DAISY That explains Mr Scoblowski’s strange manner towards us.

TRIXIE And also the clue that Sir Digby said lay with his younger

son, that tune you were always whistling, Sir David.

TRIXIE } (together) All Through the Night. DAISY

MR THOMPSON Ever my favourite tune, I confess.

TRIXIE The link with the luminous device…

DAISY …and the comet…

TRIXIE …the hairy star!

CLARE enters.

DAISY Clare!

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80 daisy pulls it off

CLARE Good afternoon, my plucky young cousin. Uncle David.

The entire school awaits your return.

MR THOMPSON That won’t be for a while, I’m afraid, this scholar

is going on a convalescing holiday first.

CLARE Well deserved, I say.

TRIXIE Hear, hear.

CLARE In a while, if you look out of the window, you will see

that wretched imp, Sybil Burlington, depart Grangewood

forever.

DAISY They aren’t expelling her?

CLARE I should jolly well think they are after all that she’s

confessed to.

DAISY Oh Clare, please don’t let them expel her, allow her one

last chance. She must have some good in her to have owned

up the way she did, it must have taken considerable pluck.

It isn’t her fault that snobbish attitudes were bred into her,

Grangewood can help change them. Please Clare, do be

a sport and have a word with Miss Gibson on my behalf.

CLARE Very well, child, I’ll do my level best, I suppose every

worm can turn. I’ll catch Sybil before she leaves Miss

Gibson’s study. But I say, this is all becoming uncommonly

dismal. There’s to be games and dancing this evening, and

the school would simply adore it if you could come down

and see them—before you go. Just for a moment. Will you?

TRIXIE Everyone would be immensely bucked.

MR THOMPSON I’ll be by your side.

DAISY Very well. It’s topping of them to want to see me.

CLARE Splendid.

A bell rings off.

TRIXIE Must go, old chum, there’s the bell for prep.

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act ii 81

CLARE Yes, I must go too I’m afraid. I’ve to supervise the babes.

See you later, kiddie.

CLARE and TRIXIE exit.

MR THOMPSON I’ll leave you to dress, Daisy, I must send a

telegram to mother.

DAISY Oh father, I’m so tremendously happy.

MR THOMPSON So am I, darling, more than I could ever say.

They kiss.

MR THOMPSON exits.

SYBIL enters.

DAISY Sybil, how absolutely top-hole to see you.

SYBIL Daisy…you don’t know what a beast I’ve been… I’m so…

DAISY Sybil, don’t.

DAISY and SYBIL hug.

SYBIL You’ve saved me from expulsion.

DAISY Oh, I’m so frightfully glad you’re staying, now we can

be friends.

SYBIL Can we? Can we really?

DAISY Of course we can, my poor darling. I say, buck-up old

thing. Will you come down to the hall with me, I need

someone’s arm to lean on?

DAISY and SYBIL hug.

Everyone enters the Great Hall. Some of the GIRLS enter

dancing the “GAY GORDONS”.

CLARE Girls, I would like to announce our two guests of

honour for this evening, though heaven knows, they need

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82 daisy pulls it off

no announcing. First of all, Sir David Beaumont, whom I

am very pleased to call Uncle.

Everyone cheers.

And secondly, Daisy Meredith or Beaumont, as she will

from henceforth be known and whom I am delighted and

very proud to call cousin. School—I give you the heroine

of Grangewood, Daisy Meredith!

There is very loud cheering.

MISS GIBSON Quiet, girls, please, Sir David has a few words

to say to us all.

MR THOMPSON I am not an experienced or indeed a good

speaker at the best of times, of which this is one, but I will

say that the recovery of the Beaumont treasure has not

only enabled me to rediscover my family and disclose my

true identity, and keep Grangewood within the Beaumont

family, but that some of the money from the treasure will

go towards funding a scholarship for another elementary

schoolgirl to attend Grangewood which will be called the

Daisy Meredith Scholarship.

Everyone cheers.

DAISY First of all, thanks awfully for the absolutely top-hole

reception you’ve given my father and me this evening. I’m

proud to be once again a girl of Grangewood, of the Upper

Fourth.

BELINDA We’re proud of you, Daisy.

During the course of DAISY’s following speech a look

of displeasure appears on MISS GIBSON’s face, which

disappears as CLARE speaks.

DAISY Secondly, I ask you all to accept with open arms the

scholarship girls who come to Grangewood. They may have

heaps to learn from you about Grangewood’s sporting and

academic tradition, but my word, have you a lot to learn

from them. The beginning we have made here in admitting

elementary schoolgirls is small, but I look forward to the

day when Grangewood along with other public schools in

England, becomes truly public and admits all scholars,

monied or not, within its portals of learning and to the

day when there is a Grangewood in every city, town and

village in England.

There is tumultuous cheering.

CLARE Girls, girls, before Daisy leaves us for a well-deserved

convalesence, I am going to ask her to lead us all in singing

the school song. Daisy…

The introduction to the school song is played by a teacher

on the piano.

TRIXIE Oh Daisy, how perfectly scrummy everything has turned

out to be!

DAISY And what fun lies ahead!

“SCHOOL SONG”

ALL (singing)

IN DAYS OF YORE THE FEMALE SEX

OF LEARNING THEY HAD NONE

BUT NOW THANKS TO BOLD PIONEERS

EDUCATION THEY HAVE WON.

PROUD GIRLS AND WOMEN TEACH AND LEARN

IN MANY A FAMOUS HALL

BUT OF THEM ALL THERE’S NONE MORE DEAR

THAN THAT OF GRANGEWOOD SCHOOL.

LONG MAY YE FLOURISH GRANGEWOOD SCHOOL

GLORIOUS IS THY NAME

HONESTA QUAM MAGNA IS OUR CALL

AS WE STRIVE TO PLAY THE GAME.

Curtain.

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