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Mary Lennox should really learn to keep her voice down, thinks Susan Merriweather, as she wends her way to the office of the headmistress.

Then again, there's a large number of things that Miss Lennox needs to learn. Such as, for example, how to not hog the time of the most sought-after professor in the school. Also, the inappropriateness of leaving poisoned kidneys in the woods where anything might get at them.

The consequences of not having learned these things could, in combination, be severe.

At any rate, the headmistress certainly thinks so.

****

Strangely, when the furious headmistress informs Mary of her expulsion, Mary does not seem all that terribly upset. Indignant, of course - the suitcase wasn't even hers! - but also, underneath it, faintly smug.

She had not foreseen this way to escape from boarding school, but now that it has been offered her on a silver platter, she's certainly not going to look a gift horse in the mouth.

****

Two days after Mary Lennox leaves in disgrace for Yorkshire, Mr. Gideon Wolfe hands in his resignation, explaining that he has been offered a high-paying position in a private home as a tutor. As a reference, Mr. Fortinbras had been nearly overflowing with praise when interviewed by Mr. Wolfe's prospective employer, no doubt out of a selfless desire to see his colleague go on to greater things.

The headmistress tells him how sorry she is to see him go and her hopes that he will do the school proud, barely masking a strange feeling of relief. Somehow, the longer he remained at the school, the more oddly uncomfortable Mr. Wolfe had made her. Perhaps it was simply the effort of restraining her dog when he was in the vicinity.

The students, of course - particularly one Miss Susan Merriweather - are not nearly so sanguine about this new turn of events, but there is very little that they can do.
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January 2012

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