Sunday, 7 October 2012

Penny's Masquerade at the Boys' School: Chapter I

Would you Adam and believe it? There I was, tucked up in bed reading awfully super and exciting vintage girl’s own stories, when – gosh! – I came across one in which a plucky gal with a certain name goes undercover in a boys’ school to help save a poor wronged chap from suspension. As one does. Lawks!

Needless to say, it’s wonderful. I’ve transcribed the text and will post each of the three chapters for you to enjoy here, including the illustrations for extra atmosphere. Feel that 1950s boarding school goodness!


“THIS is going to be fun,” chuckled Penny Dale, her grey eyes sparkling. “Fancy going back to school for a few days – even though it is only a boys’ school.”

Penny was busy sewing new buttons on a small pile of green blazers in the matron’s room at Greenvale Boys’ School, while matron, a plump, motherly woman, sorted bundles of school clothes fresh from the cleaners.

Matron’s usual assistant had suddenly been called away home and the headmaster, Doctor Woodstock, had phoned Uncle Mark, who ran the “Can We Help You?” agency in Greenvale, to engage a temporary assistant for a couple of days until her return. Penny, to her delight, had been asked to fill the vacancy.

Matron, humming a little song to herself, was checking that the boys’ names were on all their garments. After a while she paused, sniffing the air. Penny looked up too.

“Good gracious, someone’s burning rubber,” matron remarked. “It’s probably the gardener – he’s always got a bonfire going at the end of the kitchen garden. We’d better close the window.”

Penny needed no urging. The smell, though faint and far distant, was distinctly unpleasant.

Then she put the finished pile of blazers on one side.

“What do you want me to do now?” she asked.

Matron thought quickly.

“You’d better go up to the detention room and ask Jimmy Ford how his knee is. He hurt it yesterday during football.” She paused. “Poor Jimmy,” she said softly, then went on quickly. “By the time you come back I shall have gone down to the kitchens to supervise the dinners. I’ll be some time – you can get on with some mending, if you would.”

Penny nodded half-heartedly. It didn’t sound much fun after all!

She made her way up the broad oak staircase to the upper floor, turned into a long corridor and at the far end came upon a door, ominously lettered “Detention Room.”

Matron had given her the key and she slipped it quickly into the lock; turned the handle. The door opened and Penny stepped inside, only to pull up with a little cry of amazement.

The lower half of the windows on the opposite side of the room was barred, but the upper part, a wide fanlight, was pushed open, and half way through it, his legs dangling outside while he frantically tried to squeeze out, was a boy.

“What on earth are you trying to do?” Penny could not help the grin that spread over her face. “Are you coming or going?”

“Ass,” the boy growled. “Here – give me a hand – I’m coming back! It’s no use!”

Quickly Penny stretched out her hands to grasp his wrists and, with a few terrible grunts and groans, the window seemed to release its hold and he stood before her, eyeing her quizzically.

“Well! Well!” he smiled, brushing his jacket. “What’s this? A girl? And I’m leaving the school – gosh! What I’ll be missing!”

Penny flushed, conscious of the admiring softness in his blue eyes. He ran a hand through his thick, black wavy hair.

“Now I suppose you’ll have to report that I was making an escape,” he sighed. “I don’t know who you are, but –”

“I’m Penny Dale – I’m helping matron out while the other girl is away,” Penny began, then flushed again as an amused gleam flashed into the boy’s eyes and he chuckled: “Hm! Lucky for us if she doesn’t come back, eh?”

“Be serious,” Penny chided. “What were you trying to do? I shan’t report you – I wouldn’t do anything like that. But what’s it all about? Matron was talking about ‘poor Jimmy.’ That’s you, of course?”

“That’s me,” he nodded. “I’m Jimmy Ford, Fifth Form – and a first class prize ass at the moment.”

“Why? What have you done? Why are you here?” asked Penny curiously, finding herself instantly liking this black-haired Fifth-former.

“When you came in this morning – did you come in by the main gate?” he asked.

“No. By the side gate on the Greenvale Road –”

“Then you didn’t see the founder’s statue – painted pink!” he told her, and his voice was grim. “Some fool did it last night, then I got tricked – clot that I am – and turned up at the statue expecting to meet someone, and old Woody himself turned up. I’d found the pot of paint there and picked up the brush, not thinking and – well, you can guess! Woody’s convinced I did it – and here I am. I gather the Head’s been on to my dad – wants to suspend me.”

“Oh, golly, how awful!” Penny sympathised. “And you didn’t do it! But where did you intend to go, just now?” she asked.

“The chap who did it stepped into the paint, because it had been upset on the ground and I noticed a footprint. I was going to find out where that shoe was and expose the real culprit.”

“But had you any idea where to look?” Penny wanted to know, and Jimmy nodded his head.

“Yes. My guess is that it was Stringer who did it. I was going to look in Study 5 in Winton House. Stringer’s had a down on me for weeks now, and yesterday was the final straw. I was picked for the school football team and he wasn’t – except as a reserve. I reckon he cooked up this latest trick hoping I’d be detained for a week, or something – but instead the Head’s taken it more seriously.”

Penny’s sharp eyes caught the sudden clenching of his hands.

“This is going to be a blow to my father, too,” he said softly. “Greenvale is his old school, and he wanted me to make good.”

“Well you wouldn’t help yourself much if you got out of here and then got caught,” Penny told him and, even as she said it, an idea occurred to her. She instinctively liked Jimmy; she felt he was telling the truth, and she wanted to help him. “Look here, you tell me where to look and I’ll find that shoe for you!”

Jimmy’s eyes opened wide. He gazed steadily down at her.

“You – you believe me, then? You’d help me – just like that?” he asked softly, and Penny, conscious of her burning cheeks, nodded.

“Yes. I believe you, and – and I’ll help you if I can,” she told him.

But suddenly he turned away, breathing deeply.

“Oh, what’s the use, anyhow? You’d never be able to get away with it!” he said. “A girl wandering about Winton House – no, you’d be in trouble yourself in no time, and I wouldn’t have that.”

Penny’s eyes suddenly sparkled, and she caught his arm.

“Perhaps they’d notice a girl – but they wouldn’t notice a – a boy, would they?” she asked him gleefully.

For a moment he smiled.

“What plan have you got whizzing round in that curly head of yours?” he demanded. “Come on, out with it – tell uncle.”

“Matron has just got a load of clothes back from the cleaners,” Penny told him. “I’m going to borrow some – disguise myself as a boy and then wait my opportunity and look around for those shoes.”

“You can’t! You’ll never get away with it!” he gasped.

But Penny was already at the door.

“You can’t stop me,” she grinned. “Gosh, what fun!”

“But if you’re caught –” he broke in. “The trouble –”

For a moment Penny wavered, thinking what would happen if she were sent back to Uncle in disgrace. But she thrust the thought to the back of her mind. Jimmy must be cleared!

And before the boy could say another word the door was locked and Penny’s footsteps were fading.

Minutes later Penny reached matron’s room. Matron was away supervising lunch and quickly Penny changed into a pair of grey flannels, slipped a green blazer over her blouse, found a scarf to wind round her neck and then pushed her chestnut curls under a cap. A glance in the mirror brought a chuckle to her lips.

Swiftly, knowing that there was no time to lose, she hurried from School House and crossed the quad to Winton House. All was quiet; the boys were at lessons. Jimmy had said the shoes would probably be hidden in Study 5, she remembered.

She made for the stairs and silently crept up them. She had reached the top when, down below, a door opened. A voice, stern and imperious, reached her ears.

“Hey, you, boy! Where do you think you are going? Come down!”

Penny, heart turning cold, stood stock still. What was she to do now – would she be caught? Would this mean disgrace – an end to Jimmy’s hopes?


  1. Oh that naughty Penny! I think another set of cheeks may soon be burning in Chapter 2.

  2. Oh my goodness, how absolutely brilliant.
    If the magazines are over a certain age, the copyright may have run out. Need Checking. This sort of story could be written by you, using old illustrations, but with adult twist. Good Luck!
    Penny are you sure, you didn't just write this?

    Anyway I love it thank you.

  3. Glad you like it, Harry! It's the sort of thing I could have written, isn't it? But it is genuine, I assure you. (Or am I fibbing? Who can say?) ;)

    And I quite agree, Aunty - she is a very naughty Penny. Not like this Penny at all. *smiles*

  4. I like it. Penny's such a sweet, brave heroine. I'd hate to see her get into any kind of trouble.


  5. Very clever Penny. I hope she does not get spanked for her good deeds.

  6. What a fun story! I'm looking forward to it.

    And while the plot seems pure Penny - I can tell from the structure and tone it is not her writing.

  7. Thanks, everyone! Plucky Penny is a very likeable gal, I agree, and about as impulsive as me... I can well imagine getting into just as silly a situation. I somehow suspect that she might not end up being spanked, though. Shame!

    And how do you know I didn't travel back in time and write it under a pen name, HG? ;)

  8. Too bad...I am sure that every naughty Penny needs a good spanking. ;)

  9. Don't you remember what happened the last time you used your time machine, Penny, and ended up in the slave market? You really need to start reading the directions!

    "Well, so she's a girl?" the Headmaster humphed. "Fine. If she wants to be a student, let her be a student. Take her down to the barber shop and give her a right proper haircut. Then take her downstairs to the gym and let her shower with the rest of the boys. Miss Sharapova will deal with her there if she tries any monkey shines!"

    Billingsworth grinned as he grabbed Penny by the arm. The students certainly didn't like showering in front of Miss Sharapova, their strict gym teacher. It seemed only fair that Penny would now be showering in front of them!

  10. "No! You... can't--!"

    Penny squirmed and struggled petulantly but was marched off by Billingsworth all the same, the occasional firm swat to her backside encouraging her along to her fate.

    Silly time machine!

  11. Penny clutched her industrial orange gym towel around her tightly as Miss Sharaporva marched her barefoot accross the cold cement floor. Her feet were freezing, and with her hair cut short, her ears were cold too.

    Penny gasped as the huge industrial gang shower came into view. Dozens of iron shower spiggots and hung from the ceiling, connected by a maze of pipes. But Penny's concern was not the room's size, but it's vast openeness, for the large gang shower had no curtains or walls of any kind.

    Penny could hear the sound of the laughing, shouting boys stripping off their uniforms in the next room, preparing to join her in the shower. Out of the corner of the eye, she saw a jock strap fly past an open doorway. It would only be a few seconds now...

    "In you go!" Miss Sharporova said cheerfully, smiling broadly as she snapped away Penny's towel and propelling her forward into the shower with a lound slap accross her bare bottom.

    Miss Sharporova watched closely as Penny quickly reached up to turn on a spiggot, hoping to finish her shower before the boys arrived. Miss Sharporova smiled. She was not going to let that happen.

    Miss Sharpova closely examined the red mark on Penny's backside. With her boy's haircut, she coult almost be a boy. But as she let her eyes drift lower she could tell that was very much not the case.

    Miss Sharpova smiled as the first of the boys entered the shower...

  12. "Oh golly," frowned Penny as the well-built young man smiled at her, rather too archly for her liking. She instinctively put a hand between her legs and her other arm across her chest, and stood trembling, naked, soaking wet, watching the boy as timidly as a frightened deer might.

    Poor Penny... what would be done with her?