Authors: Enid Blyton
Second Form at Malory Towers
First published 1948
This version based on 2006 edition
“I've simply loved the hols,” said Darrell, as she got into her father's car, ready to set off to school once more. “But I'm glad it's time for school again. I've been eight weeks away from it!”
“Well, well, how simply terrible!” said her father. Is your mother ready, or must I hoot? It's an extraordinary thing that I'm always the first one ready. Ah, here comes Mother!”
Mrs. Rivers hurried down the steps. “Oh dear, have I kept you waiting?” she said. “The telephone went at the last minute. It was Sally Hope's mother, Darrell, asking what time we shall be along to pick up Sally and take her with us.”
Sally Hope was Darrell's best friend. Mr. Rivers, Darrell's father, was motoring them both down to Malory Towers, their school in Cornwall They were setting off very early so that they would be there before dark, and Sally was going with them.
“I hate leaving home but I just can't help being excited at going back again,” said Darrell. This will be my fifth term at Malory Towers, Mother—and I'm to be in the Second Form. I
“Well, you're thirteen now, so it's time you went up,” said her mother, settling down in the car. “You will quite look down on the first form, won't you? - think they are mere babies!”
“I suppose I shall,” said Darrell with a laugh. “Well, the third form look down on
—so we're all kept in our places!”
“There's your little sister waving to you,” said her father, as the car slid down the drive. “She will miss you, Darrell.”
Darrell waved frantically. “Good-bye. Felicity!” she yelled. “
be coming to Malory Towers some-time, then we'll go together!”
The car purred out of the drive into the road. Darrell took a last look back at her home. She would not see it again for three months. She felt a little sad—but then, being a sensible girl, she cheered up at once and set her thoughts on Malory Towers. She had grown to love her school very much in the last year, and she was proud that she belonged to it. Four terms in the first form with Miss Potts lay behind her—now she had a year in the second form to look forward to.
They arrived at Sally Hope's house in an hour's time. Sally was ready for them, her school trunk and her night-case standing beside her on the steps. With her was her mother, and by them stood a toddler of about eighteen months, clutching at Sally's hand.
“Hallo, Sally! Hallo, Daffy!” shouted Darrell in excitement. “Good, you're ready!”
The trunk was put in the boot at the back of the car with Darrell's. The night-case was strapped on the grid. Sally's lacrosse stick was shoved in with the odds and ends, and then she got in herself.
“Want to come too!” called Daffy, her eyes full of tears as she saw her beloved Sally going away.
“Good-bye. Mother dear! I'll write as soon as I can!” called Sally. “Good-bye. Daffy darling.”
The car slid off again, and Daffy began to howl. Sally looked a little upset “I hate leaving Mother.” she said, “and now I hate leaving Daffy, too. She's lovely now—she can run everywhere, and she talks awfully well.”
“Do you remember how yon hated her when she was a baby?” said Darrell. “Now I bet you wouldn't be without her. It's fun to have a sister.”
“Yes, I was horrid to her,” said Sally, remembering. That was an awful first term I had at Malory Towers—I was so miserable, thinking I'd been sent away from home to make room for Daffy, the new baby. I hated you too, Darrell—isn't it queer to think of?”
“And now we're best friends,” said Darrell with a laugh. I say—who do you think win be head of the second form this term, Sally? Katherine's in the third form now, so she won't be. It'll be somebody else.”
“Alicia perhaps.” said Sally. “She's about the oldest”
I know—but do you think she would make a good head?” said Darrell, doubtfully. “I know she's awfully clever, and gets top marks in anything—but don't you think she's too fond of playing the fool?”
“She might stop that if she was head of the form,” said Sally. “What Alicia wants is a bit of responsibility, I think. She just won't take any. You know she was asked to run the Nature Walks last term, and she wouldn't. But I can think of another reason why she wouldn't make a good head girl.”
“What?” asked Darrell, enjoying this gossip about her schoolfellows.
“Well, she's rather hard,” said Sally. “She wouldn't bother to help people if they were in trouble, she wouldn't bother herself to be kind, she'd just be head-of-the-form and give orders, and see that they were kept, and nothing else—and you do want something else in a head-girl, don't you think so?”
“Well, who do you think is fit to be head of the form?” demanded Darrell. “What about you! You size people up awfully well, and you're fine when anybody's upset or in trouble. And you're so—well, so
, somehow. You don't fly off the handle like I do, or get all worked up about things. I'd love you to be head.”
“I wouldn't want to be,” said Sally, “and any way, there's no chance of it. I think you would be fine as head of the form, Darrell—you really would. Everyone likes you and trusts you.”
For a wild moment Darrell wondered if it was possible that she might be chosen! It was true that all the girls, except one or two, really liked and trusted her.
“But there's my temper, still,” she said, regretfully. Look how I flared up last term when Marigold ticked me off at tennis, thinking I was somebody else. I didn't know she'd made a mistake, of course—but just think how I yelled at her and flung my racket down and stamped off. I can't think what came over me.”
“Oh, the sun was too much for you and lots of us that day,” said Sally, comfortingly. “You don't usually lose your temper for silly things like that. You
learning to keep it for things it's useful for! Like going for that ass of a Gwendoline Mary, for instance!”
Darrell laughed. “Yes, she really is an idiot isn't she? Do you remember how silly she was over Miss Terry, that singing mistress we had last term—the one that took Mr. Young's place for two months? I thought Miss Terry was stupid to put up with it.”
“Oh, Gwendoline will always be silly over
body,” said Sally. “She's that kind. I expect she'll pick on somebody this term too, to worship and follow round. Well, thank goodness it's not likely to be
“I hope there'll be some new girls,” said Darrell. “It's fun sizing them up, isn't it? - and seeing what they're like.”
“There are sure to be some,” said Sally. “I say -wouldn't it be funny if Mary-Lou was told to be head-girl!” Both girls laughed. Mary-Lou was devoted to both Sally and Darrell, though Darrell was her heroine -and the girls liked little Mary-Lou very much. But she was such a timid little thing, shrinking away from all idea of responsibility, that it was quite funny to picture her face if she was ever told she was to be head of the form.
“She'd have a blue fit and go up in smoke.” said Darrell. “But she's
better now, Sally. Do you remember how she used to shake at the knees when she was scared? She hardly ever does that now. We've all been decent to her and not scared her, and we've made her believe in herself—so she's different She'll never be so bad again.”
It was a long, long drive to Cornwall. The journey was broken by picnic meals, taken by the wayside, sitting on heather or grass. Mrs. Rivers took the wheel of the car once to relieve her husband. The girls sat at the back and talked or drowsed, as the journey lengthened out.
“Not very far now,” said Mr. Rivers, who was back at the wheel. “We may see some other cars on their way to the school, too. Look out for them.”
They soon saw one—a low red car belonging to Irene's people. Irene was at the back and waved violently, almost knocking off her father's glasses, as he sat at the wheel. The car swerved.
“Isn't that just like Irene,” said Sally, with a grin. “Hey. Irene! Had good hols. ?”
The two cars kept more or less together, and the girls looked back at Irene's merry face. They liked her. She was a clever girl especially at music, but a real scatterbrain otherwise, always forgetting things and losing them. But she was so good-humoured that nobody could be cross with her for long.
“There's another car! Whose is it?” said Sally, as a third one came in from a side-road, complete with school trunk at the back. It swung away ahead of them.
“One of the bigger girls,” said Darrell. “Looks like Georgina Thomas. I wonder who will be head of the whole school this year. Pamela's gone now. I hope Georgina won't. She's too bossy for anything.”
Now they were very near the school and it suddenly came into sight round a comer. The girls looked at it in silence. They both liked their school immensely and were very proud of it. They saw the great grey building, with a rounded tower at each end—North Tower, South Tower, East and West. A creeper, now turning red, climbed almost up to the roof.
“Our castle!” said Darrell, proudly. “Malory Towers. Best school in the world.”
Soon the car swung up to the big flight of steps leading to the great front door. Other cars were in the drive, and groups of chattering girls stood about. Gay voices called across the drive.
“Hallo. Lucy! Look, there's Freda! Isn't she brown? Had good hols, Freda? You look as if you'd lived in the water, you're so brown.”
“Hallo, Jenny! Did you get my letters? You never answered one, you pig. Hey, Tessie. Look out for my night-case. Take your great feet off it!”
“Good-bye. Mother! Good-bye. Daddy! I'll write as soon as I've settled in. Don't forget to feed my pet mice, will you?”
“Get out of the way there! You'll be run over by that car! Oh, it's Betty Hill. Betty, Betty! Have you brought any tricks or jokes back with you?”