“She’s a grand old dame, isn’t she?” commented Liddy with a grin, when they were alone.
“You must be happy,” said Ceridwen. “To have found out about your mother.” Carey nodded.
“Yes. You have no idea, what I’d been told…” At Ceridwen’s sympathetic face, she expounded a little, but shook her head after a while. “Well, that’s all in the past, really. Anyway, shall we go for a walk? It’s such a lovely afternoon.” The others agreed, and they set out, ambling rather aimlessly, chatting about this and that. Carey mentioned her plans of going back to studying and the two girls who were, as Liddy said, absolutely swimming in careers advice, gave her some tips on the best way to go about it.
They had just reached a bend in the path, when Ceridwen caught Carey’s arm and swung her round, so that they were heading up a little side path that led up to a shelf in the mountain.
”Let’s go this way,” she said, rather bossily. “I’ve always wanted to.” Carey frowned at the girl’s unusual manner, but acquiesced. Liddy, who had been able to see further round the bend, raised an eyebrow knowingly, but said nothing. They were marching at a fairly stiff pace, when they heard someone behind, and though Ceridwen ploughed on regardless, Carey and Liddy turned to see who it was.
“Peter! What a surprise!” Carey stepped forward, smiling.
“Hello! I thought it was you I saw! How are you?”
“Very well, thank you. I think you met my friends the other day?”
“I did indeed. Hello, girls! So, are you going anywhere specific?”
“Just having a wander.”
“I don’t suppose you’d like to wander with me? I was thinking of getting the steamer round to Tiernkirche. There’s supposed to be a pretty good museum down there. What about it?” Carey looked indecisive.
“Well, it’s just I invited Ceridwen and Liddy for tea – it seems a bit impolite to just dash off.”
“Oh, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind, would you, girls?” Ceridwen opened her mouth to answer, but Liddy answered before she could say anything.
“Course we wouldn’t!”
“You could come with us?” offered Carey, aware of Ceridwen’s black expression, and unsure as to its meaning.
“Fraid not. There isn’t time to get there and back before we need to be at school. We’ll just get the steamer round the other way. We’ll pop in at Die Blumen, if you like, and let them know where you’ve gone.”
“Oh, that’d be lovely, Liddy, thanks! I wouldn’t want them to worry.”
They all descended to the main path together, and then parted with waves and goodbyes. The Chalet girls walked slowly towards Die Blumen, and Liddy slipped an arm round Ceridwen.
“Oh, Kerry, sweetie!” Ceridwen shrugged the arm off.
“Oh, don’t, Liddy, for God’s sake! I know I’m acting like a kid. It’s embarrassing enough without your sympathy. I don’t know why I get like this.”
“Well, it’s obvious.” Ceridwen groaned.
“Yes, I know that part! I mean, y’know, the acting like an idiot. Usually nothing much bothers me.”
“The dispassionate Miss Lytton!”
“Well, I am, usually!”
“You know what they say. ‘Oh, the tears we waste and the fears we waste/And the work of our head and hand/Belong to the woman who did not know/And did not understand.’*”
“Oh, boil your head!”
*This is by Kipling. Or something like it is by Kipling. Don’t remember what it’s called. No, really, honestly, I don’t!!