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By Anne Dean

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Sample text

And she, I discovered, was very grateful for the attention. For she had ‘never set foot in a real abbey before’ and she did ‘most sincerely hope that it was very dreadful and just exactly like what one read about in books …’ Well, she is a sweet-tempered, good-natured girl and so very pretty that I always find great pleasure in looking at her – but I do not believe that she has more than common sense. However, since she is now lying abed with an injured head, I ought not to speak ill of her, and I confess that her eager naivety suits my taste a great deal better than Lucy Crockford’s studied sensibility.

Now, Miss Kent,’ continued Mrs Harman-Foote briskly. ’ ‘Well,’ said Dido cautiously, ‘I would not put it down for a certainty. ’ ‘I should very much value your opinion. ’ A very earnest look accompanied the question. ‘It is of great consequence. ’ ‘Of course,’ murmured Dido, glancing at the poor sensitive child who was now absentmindedly beating the doll’s head against the leg of a chair. ‘But I do not see how he is to be protected. ’ ‘And, if they are, they must be stopped,’ Mrs Harman-Foote said firmly, and watched with a look of tender concern as her son began to wrench the limbs from the broken doll.

She returned to the gallery and he hurried to take her place on the steps. As he passed, his long overcoat stirred something very small which was lying on the stones. She stooped down – but found only a little brown and green feather which seemed to have blown in from somewhere. However, as she was standing up again, she caught sight of something much more sinister. A foot or so away lay the pool which, on first entering the gallery, she had taken for a puddle of rainwater. But, now that she was so close, it was possible to see that it was too dark for water.

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