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Illustrated by William Nicholson. Limited Editions. Letterpress Shakespeare. Low Stock. Gargantua and Pantagruel. Studies from Nature. Kitagawa Utamaro Illustrator. Limited Editions Limited Editions. Fiction Ideas. Non-Fiction Ideas. Miss Bonnie. I have never thought of it since.
Have you it still? It is in good order. I am glad you reminded me of it-what a fool I was not to think of it before I" He took it down from where it hung on the passage wall in a leather sack. Bonnie, somewhat to her cousin's alarm and amazement, handled the gun confidently and soon satisfied herself of its being in excellent order and ready to fire. The new snow, which had obliterated both their footprints and those of the wolves, made a crisp carpet beneath their feet. Bonnie and Simon kept a vigilant lookout for wolves, and Sylvia did too, though secretly she felt she was almost less afraid of the wolves than of her cousin Bonnie's gun.
However, there was no occasion to use the fowling piece, as the wolves appeared to have left that region for the moment, drawn away, doubtless, by some new quarry. Their journey back to the house was quiet and uninterrupted. Why, the time I was late back from picking wild strawberries, my father had every man on the estate out with pitchforks and muskets! When they reached the great terrace, Bonnie suggested that they should go in by a side entrance, and thus avoid informing Miss Slighcarp of their return.
I dare say that is the reason, Bonnie. I will show you over it tomorrow. Why, what a curious thing! For, glancing in as they walked by, they saw Miss Slighcarp, under the illumination of numerous candles, apparently hard at work searching through a mass of papers. There were papers on chairs, on tables, on the floor. Beyond her, at the far end of the room, similarly engaged, was a gentleman who looked amazingly like Mr. Could it be he? But at the slight noise made by their feet on the snow. Miss Slighcarp turned. She could not see the watchers, who were beyond the lighted area near the window, but she crossed with a decisive step and flung-to the heavy velvet curtains, shutting off the scene within, "What can she be doing?
Morne said he should not get out of bedl" "Perhaps she is familiarizing herself with the contents of your father's papers," Sylvia suggested. And I am not sure that was Mr. We had hardly time to see. How could you? Here's my poor heart been nearly broke in half with fright at thinking you was eaten by the wolves, and Miss Slighcarp saying no such thing, you'd come home soon, and me saying 'Begging your pardon, miss, but you don't know this park and these wolves as I do,' and begging, begging her to tell the men and sound the alarm, but no, my lady knows best what's to be done and it's my belief nothing ever would have been done till we found some boots and buttons of you in the snow and the rest all ate up by wolves if you hadn't come home all by yourselves, you good, wicked, precious, naughty lambs-oA.
We were chased by wolves-though it wasn't exactly our fault-and he hid us in his cave till they were gone. Some say he's a wicked, vagabond gypsy, but I say he's the besthearted, trustiest. Ask him in. Miss Bonnie, and I'll give him the Christmas pudding that was too big to go in my lady's valise. Besides he has Ins bow, and then, too, he can climb trees and swing from branch to branch if they get near him.
Next slie fetched little pipkins of hot, savory soup, sternly saw every mouthful swallowed, and finally hustled them both into Bonnie's big, comfortable bed with the blue swans flying on its curtains. Coming home soon, indeed! As it such a thing were likely! Five The next morning dawned gray and lowering.
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Snow was falling fast out of the heavy sky, the flakes hurrying down like dirty feathers from a leaking mattress. Pattern let the children sleep late, and though when they woke she cosseted them by giving them breakfast in front of the nursery fire, it was not a happy meal. Sylvia felt stiff and tired from her unusual exertions the day before, while poor Bonnie was thinking every minute of her parents' absence: wondering how they had fared on their journey so far, noticing the sad, unaccustomed quietness of the house, which was generally filled with bustle-servants running to and fro, stamp of horses, and her father shouting his orders because he was too impatient to ring the bell.
Sylvia kindly tried to distract her by asking questions about Simon, the boy in the woods. IE seems so strangel Has he no father or mother? He came to my father four or five years ago, one autumn day, and asked if he might live in that cave in the park; he said that he had been working tor a farmer but the man ill-treated him and he had walked half across England to get away from him.
My father asked what he proposed to live on. He said, chestnuts and goose eggs. He had a goose and a gander that he had reared from chicks. Papa took a fancy to him and told him that he might try it-there are hundreds of chestnut trees in the parkbut he said Simon wasn't to come whining to him if he got hungry, he'd have to turn to and work for his living as a garden boy.
No, he lived on chestnuts and reared a great many geese. Shubunkin buys eggs from him, and every spring Simon drives his geese up to London and sells them at the Easter Fair. He gets on famously. Father often says he wishes he had as few worries. Pattern," said Sylvia, looking admiringly at the clothes the maid had brought her. There was a soft, thick woolen dress in a beautiful deep shade of blue that exactly matched her eyes.
Miss Sylvia," Pattern said kindly. Before she left yesterday she bade me make up one out of this cloth, which she had ready with a number of others. Miss Slighcarp had not yet arrived, and the children beguiled the time by wandering round the room and looking at the many beautiful pictures that hung on its walls; then, as the governess still did not appear, Bonnie took Sylvia through a door leading out of the schoolroom into her toyroom. This was a large and beautiful apartment, carpeted in blue, its walls white, its ceiling all-a-sparkle with gilt stars.
In it was every imaginable toy, and many that Sylvia never had imagined even in her most wistful dreams. Occupying the place of honor in the middle of the floor was a stately rocking horse covered with real gray horsehair, and so cunningly carved that he seemed alive. His crystal eyes shone with intelligence. The largest is Miranda, the smallest, at this end she's my favorite is Conchita. Then, Sylvia thought, Annabelle would be quite presentable, and some of the smaller dolls did not look at all proud.
There was a balcony, stairs, two stories, a cooking stove that really worked, and a lot of genuine Queen Anne furniture, including a beautiful walnut chest full of Queen Anne clothes that fitted the children. Sylvia was trying a blue velvet cloak against her, and Bonnie was saying, "Come and look at the other toys, you haven't seen half yet. Sylvia had a tantalizing glimpse of numerous variously shaped brightly colored toys on its shelves as they ran back into the schoolroom. Miss Slighcarp," Bonnie began in her impulsive way, and then she stopped abruptly.
Sylvia noticed her turn extremely pale. The governess, who had been examining some books on the shelves, swung round with equal abruptness. She seemed astonished to see them. Go to your place and sit down. Do not speak until you are spoken to. Sylvia, alarmed, had slipped into her place at the table, but Bonnie, reckless with indignation, stood in front of the governess, glaring at her.
Take it off at oncel It's no better than stealing! In the confusion a bottle of ink was knocked off the table, spilling a long blue trail down the gold velvet skirt. Miss Slighcarp uttered an exclamation of fury. Then she swept from the room. Sylvia remained seated, aghast, for halt a second. Then she ran to the cupboard door-but alasi Miss Slighcarp had taken the key with her. Bonniel Are you all right? It's I, Sylvia. I'll run after her and beg her to let you out. I dare say she will, once she has reflected. She can't have known it was your mother's favorite gown. Since she could not attract Bonnie's attention, she ran after Miss Slighcarp.
After vainly knocking at the governess's bedroom door she went in without waiting for a summons a deed of exceptional bravery for the timid Sylvia. Nobody was there. The ink-stained velvet dress lay flung carelessly on the floor, crushed and torn, so great had Miss Slighcarp's haste been to remove it. Sylvia hurried out again and began to search through the huge house, wandering up this passage and down that, through galleries, into golden drawing rooms, satin-hung boudoirs, billiard rooms, ballrooms, croquet rooms.
At last she found the governess in the Great Hall, surrounded by servants. Miss Slighcarp did not see Sylvia.
:: Joan Aiken - The Wolves of Willoughby Chase ::
She had changed into what was very plainly another of Lady Green's gowns, a rose-colored crepe with aiguillettes of diamonds on the shoulders. It did not fit her very exactly. She seemed to be giving the servants their wages. Sylvia wondered why many of the maids were crying, and why the men looked in general angry and rebellious, until she realized that Miss Slighcarp was paying them off and dismissing them. When the last one had been given his little packet of money, she announced: "Now, let but a glimpse of your faces be seen within ten miles of this house, and I shall send for the constables!
Sylvia was amazed to recognize Mr. Grimshaw, apparently quite restored to health, and in full possession of his faculties. He held a small blunderbuss, and was waving it threateningly, to urge the departing servants out of the great doors and on their way into the snowstorm. Or was he never really ill?
The Wonderful World of Joan Aiken
Can he have known Miss Slighcarp before? He seemed so different on the train. Thank the good Lord I saw you. That wicked Jezebel is paying us all off and sending us away, but she needn't think I'm going to go and leave my darling Miss Bonnie. Do you and she come along to the little blue powder room. Miss Sylvia, this afternoon at five, and we'll talk over what's best to be done. She's locked up! Let her out, Miss Sylvia I Let her out of it quick!
She never could endure to be shut up. Miss Slighcarp has the key. She remembered how to find her way to the little anteroom, and she flew on winged feet to the mother-of-pearl cabinet. She found the key, ran to the schoolroom, opened the door, and in no time had her cheek pressed lovingly against Bonnie's tear-stained one. Oh, Bonnie, she's wicked. Miss Slighcarp's really wickedl She's dismissing all the servants.
Bonnie gazed after the tiny, distant figures, biting her lips. I believe she means to hide somewhere about the house. She is faithful! She might have Pattern sent to prison! There are so many secret hiding places about the house. And in any case all the officers are our friends round here. One of them was Miss Slighcarp's. Sylvia turned pale. Hide, quickly, Bonnie! As there was no time to lose, the two children slipped behind the window curtain.
Miss Slighcarp entered with the footman, James. The little disks formed miniature windows, and, setting her eye to one, Bonnie could see that James's good-natured face wore a sullen expression, which he was attempting to twist into an evil leer. Put them into packing cases. They are to be sent away and sold. It is quite ridiculous to keep this amount of gaudy rubbish for the amusement of two children. She is a badly behaved, ill-conditioned child, and must be disciplined.
She may be let out this evening at half-past eight. Here is the key. Miss Sylvia Green, may lunch in the schoolroom as usual. Plain food, mind. Nothing fancy. From now on the children are to make their own beds, sweep their own rooms, and wash their own plates and clothes. They are all to be sold save four carriage horses. I shall find more suitable occupations for the children than such idle and extravagant pursuits! Now I am going to be busy in the Estate Room. You may bring me a light luncheon at one o'clock: chicken, oyster patties, trifle, and a halfbottle of champagne.
The moment she had gone James went quickly to the closet and unlocked it, saying in a low voice, "She's gone now. Miss Bonnie, you can come out. How dare she sell my toys, and Papa's horses? What is she doing it for? It was arranged that she should come here to look after us by his lawyer in London, Mr. Gripe, And after all, she is a relative. One look at her face would be enough to show the sort she is, you'd think. But I suppose he was worried over her ladyship.
Then before he comes back, I suppose she'll be off. She's kept on three or four servants, just to look after her, like. The worst of it is, she's kept on all the untrustworthy ones, Groach, the keeper, and Marl, the steward that Sir Willoughby was giving another chance to after he was caught pilfering, and Prout, the undergroom that drinks-I dare say she liked the looks of their knavish faces. I saw how it was going, so I tried to make myself look as hangdog and sullen as I could, and the trick worked: she kept me on too.
I couldn't abear to think of you, Miss Bonnie, and Miss Sylvia, being left all alone in the house with that harpy and such a pack of thieves. Poor Pattern had to go; in a mighty taking she was. James's face broke into a slow grin. In the meantime I'd better be getting on with packing up these things, Miss Bonnie, or I shall lose my place and not be able to help you. But you can't! Miss Bonnie dear. She's going to go through 'em when they're in the boxes. I could save out a few, though, I dare say," James said pityingly.
Half-distracted, Bonnie looked among her toys, trying to decide which she could bear to part with- Dolphus must go, for he would be missed, and so must the dolls' house and the bigger dolls, but she saved Concliita, lier favorite, and ;in ivory paint box as big as a tea tray, and the skates, and some of the beautiful clothes from the dolls' house, while Sylvia mournfully sorted out the most interestinglooking and beautifully illustrated books from a large bookcase. Then he'll soon come home. Rather write to Mr.
His ship won't reach a port for three months. Gripe's address in London. What shall I do? For we can't, can't endure this dreadfulness for three months-and then it would be another three months before Papa could come home, even supposing Mamma was well again. I need your help to move a heavy deed box.
I'll bring your luncheon up by and by. The day passed unhappily. As Bonnie was supposed to be shut in the cupboard, she could not leave the schoolroom for fear of meeting Miss Slighcarp, and Sylvia would go nowhere without her. They tried various occupations, reading, sewing, drawing, but had not the heart to pursue them for long. At noon they heard Miss Slighcarp's voice in the passage outside. Bonnie whisked behind the curtain, but the governess did not come in. She was speaking to James again.
Just as soon as the old cat's out of the way I'll bring something betteri" And, sure enough, ten minutes later, he returned carrying a tray covered with a cloth which, when taken off, revealed two dear little roast partridges with bread sauce, red currant jelly, and vegetables. The children ate hungrily, and later James came back with a dish of triBe and took away the meat dishes, carefully covering them again with the cloth before venturing into the corridor.
With that shedragon on the prowl it would be rare and useful to have a secret way into here. You might have a bit of a search for it, Miss Bonnie. It was a big room, its walls covered in white linentold paneling, decorated with carved garlands of roses palmed blue. The children carefully pushed, pulled, and pressed each wooden rose, without result.
An hour, two hours went by, and they were becoming disheartened and beginning to feel that the story of the secret passage must have been merely an idle tale, when Sylvia suggested: "We haven't tried the fireplace, Bonnie. Do you suppose it possible that part of the mantelpiece should be false? It extended for several feet on either side of the fireplace to form two wide panels on which were carved deer with elaborately branching antlers.
The children ran to these and began fingering the antlers and trying to move them. Suddenly Sylvia gave an exclamation- as she pushed the deer's head to one side the whole panel slid away into the wall, leaving a dark aperture like a low, narrow doorway. Let us go m at once and see where it leads. Sylvia, you are the cleverest creature in the world, and I do not know what I should have done if you had not been here EO keep me company. I could not have home it! I have heard that the air in this kind of disused passage is sometimes very foul and will put out a flame.
If we had candles we should-be warned in time. I did not think. Then they slipped cautiously through the narrow opening, Bonnie leading the way. As soon as Sylvia touched it, it rolled smoothly shut. A small plaster knob seemed intended to open it from the inside, but when Bonnie rather impatiently pressed this, it crumbled away in her hand. Sylvia was alarmed at the thought that they might have immured themselves for life, but Bonnie whispered stoutly: "Never mind!
The passage must come out somewhere, and it we are shut up, at least it is no worse than being shut up by Miss Slighcarp. The passage was exceedingly narrow, and presently led them down a flight of steep steps. It was not pitch dark; here and there a tiny hole let in a glimmer of daylight, and, placing her eye to these holes, Bonnie was able to discover their whereabouts.
This is the silver-gilt anteroom. Now we are looking into the armory, those are gun-barrels. Imagine this passage having been here all this time and my never knowing of it! Oh, how I wish Papa and Mamma were at homel What famous times we should have, jumping out and surprising them! And we should discover a whole lot of secrets by overhearing peoples' private conversations. I mean to listen to her all I can! They were at the far end of the large room, and at first out of earshot, but they soon moved nearer to the unseen watchers.
Grimshaw stirring up the logs, and realizing that they must be standing beside the fireplace and that their spyhole was probably concealed in the chimneypiece. It was possible that there was another opening panel, similar to that in the schoolroom, but they were careful not to try pressing any projections, having no wish to be brought suddenly face to face with their enemies. She was reading the document carefully. Grimshaw comfortably. She read on with compressed lips. Mention, too, of his sister Jane, my distant cousin.
Is she likely to come poking her nose and being troublesome? Grimshaw answered. She is extremely elderly and unworldly; moreover, she is frail and unlikely to last long. She will never interfere with our management of the estate. I wiH burn this will then-there, on the fire it goes-and you must set to work at once to forge another, leaving everything to me. Have you practiced the signature sufficiently? Grimshaw said. Miss Slighcarp, meanwhile, was tearing up and burning a great many other documents. Suppose he should, after all, return?
The Wolves of Willoughby Chase (Wolves Chronicles)
He said she could not last another voyage. But even if that plan should miscarry, what then? Sir W. We shall have ample warning of his return and can be clear away and embarked for the colonies before he arrives. We shall never be caught. You will not keep them here? They can go to Gertrude," said Miss Slighcarp ominously.
Now, do not disturb me. I must master the details of this deed. The children tiptoed on. And why was she burning my uncle's will? It was evident that Bonnie did not wish to pursue the matter, and they went on in silence for a while. They came to another spyhole, which looked on to a passage, and then they found themselves up against a blank wall. The secret corridor appeared to have come to a dead end. Even Bonnie's heart sank, for the candles were perilously low, when they heard the ciink of dishes, and a familiar voice, that of James, broke into song so close beside them that they might have been touching him.
The song broke off abruptly. It's us, in here behind the panel! Can you let us out? Suddenly there came a click, and bright cold light and icy air rushed into their hiding place. To think of your really finding the secret passage. That's champion, that is! An outside door led from it to the stable yard, and they could see the whiteness of the new-fallen snow. Since this entrance, too, appeared to have no means of opening it from the inside, James arranged to leave it open, artfully moving a tall cupboard so that it partly obscured the doorway, and hanging a quantity of horse blankets and other draperies to hide the remainder.
It would look too queer. The person in the passage will simply have to knock on the panel until somebody in the room lets them out. Of course we should have to make sure before knocking that she was not in the room. I dare say there is a spyhole. But it still lacked half an hour of five o'clock, the time appointed for the meetingMost unfortunately, as she neared the schoolroom door, she saw the gaunt, bony form of Miss Slighcarp approaching from the other direction, carrying in her arms a pile of linen. Sylvia was greatly alarmed when the governess swept before her into the schoolroom and deposited her burden on the table.
What if Bonnie, not realizing that the governess was in the room, should have the imprudence to knock on the panel and ask to be let out of the secret passage? All these sheets and pillowcases require mending. To work at once, please! If they are not finished by tomorrow you will come under my severe displeasure.
Top 100 Children’s Novels #57: The Wolves of Willoughby Chase by Joan Aiken
Small stitches, mind. She moved to the cupboard door, feeling in the reticule attached to the sash of her dress. Sylvia gasped with fright. On thinking the matter over, the light in that cupboard would not be sufficient to permit her to mend the linen. Just as Miss Slighcarp was about to leave the schoolroom a loud, unmistakable rap sounded from inside the fireplace.
Sylvia, pale with fright, sprang to the fender and began rattling the poker and tongs noisily, pretending to poke up the fire and put a few more pieces of coal on it. The governess paused suspiciously. Miss Slighcarp seemed convinced, and left, after a sharp glance round to make sure that James had obeyed her command to pack up all the children's toys. Fortunately this had been done. The schoolroom and tovroom looked bleak and bare enough with all the gaily colored games and playthings removed, but Sylvia comforted herself by recollecting the hidden store up in the attic. As soon as Miss Slighcarp was safely gone, Sylvia ran to the secret panel and with trembling hands pressed the carved deer's head, praying that she had remembered the correct prong on the antlers--To her unbounded relief the stone panel slid back as before, and Bonnie, black, dusty, laughing, and triumphant, fell out into her arms.
Oh, what a narrow squeak! I had quite thought you were alone in the room, for neither of you had spoken for several moments before I tapped. Is it not provoking, there is no spyhole in this room? The first one looks out on the upstairs landing. But it is possible to hear voices from inside the passage, so long as somebody is speaking. What a mercy that you were so clever with the poker and tongs, Sylvia! Pattern was there already, and greeted them with tears and embraces.
What's to become of us, that's what I should like to know, with that wicked woman in charge of the house? Pattern, what about you? She will have you sent to prison if she catches you here. My fine lady will never set foot up there, you may be certain. And I'll be able to creep down from there and help you with your dressing and put you to bed and look after your things, my poor lambs! Oh that I should live to see such a wicked day! I said, going to see all the windows were shut for the night, and she said, 'Yes, that's right, we want no thieving servants creeping back under cover of dark.
I'd like to know what she thinks she is! But, Miss Bonnie dear, you'd best write off to your papa's lawyer the very first thing, and tell him what's afoot here. Gripe's address, for I have heard Papa say that Mr. Gripe is in charge of her money. It might make her ill, and then she is all on her own. I know! We will write to Dr. He promised that he would come from time to time, in any case, so there would be nothing odd about asking him over.
And very likely he will know Mr. Gripe's direction in London. Do you write the letter and 1 will ride over with it as soon as I get a chance. The old cat wants me for something and I must run. I'll be up to the schoolroom by and by with your suppers. Lett with Pattern, the children told her how they had discovered the secret passage leading to the schoolroom, and she was delighted.
Morne will soon settle her when you tell him what's going on here. There's the stable clock chiming the hour, Sylvia," said Bonnie. It would be terrible if Miss Slighcarp were to accompany him and find me not there! They hardly saw Miss Slighcarp and Mr. Grimshaw, who were too busy discovering what they could make away with from Sir Willoughby's property to have time for the children.
James and Pattern cared for them, bringing their meals and protecting them from contact with the other servants, who were a rough, untrustworthy lot. Several times the secret panel proved exceedingly useful when Miss Slighcarp approached the schoolroom on her daily visit of inspection, and Pattern, busy performing some service for the children, hastily darted through it. There was little enough to do. They dared not be seen skating, and the snowy weather kept them near the house. But one day Prout, the undergroom, finding Bonnie crying for her pony in the empty stable, whispered to her that he had not sold the ponies, only taken them to one of the farms on the estate, and that when the weather was better they might go over there and have a ride.
This news cheered Bonnie a good deal; to lose her pony. Feathers, and the new one that had been bought for Sylvia, on top of everything else, had been almost more than she could bear. At last she decided that she could write to Dr. Morne without incurring suspicion. For a whole day she went about with her face tied up in a shawl, complaining that it ached, and that evening she crept up to the attic where her little desk was hidden and composed a note in her best handwriting, with advice from Sylvia. Dear Doctor, Will you please come to see us, as we don't think Papa would like the things that are happening here and we can't write to him for he is on board Ship.
Miss Slycarp, our wicked Governess, has dismissed all the good old Servants and is making herself into a Tyrant. She wears Mamma's dresses and Mr. Grimshaw is in League with her and they drink champagne every Day. Yours respectfully, Bonnie Green and Sylvia Green Alasi next morning when Bonnie gave James this carefully written note a dreadful thing happened. James had the note in his hand when he met Miss Slighcarp-who seemed to have the knack of appearing always just where she was not wanted-and her sharp eyes immediately fastened upon it.
She wrote a note asking Dr. Morne it he would be so kind as to send her a poultice for it. There is a heavy deed box in the library I want moved, James. Come and attend to it, please, before you deliver the note. Grimshaw, who was in the library, a significant look as she did so. While James was struggling to put the heavy box exactly where Miss Slighcarp required it, under a confusing rain of contradictory instructions, Mr.
Grimshaw quickly glanced at the direction on the note, and then, with his gift for imitating handwriting, copied the address on to a similar envelope with a blank sheet of paper inside. When James's back was turned for an instant he very adroitly exchanged one note for the other. The children cannot be allowed to stay here. James hurriedly saddled one of the carriage horses that remained in the stable, armed himself with a pair of pistols in the saddle holsters and one stuck in his belt, and made off at a gallop for the residence of Dr.
Morne, who lived some five miles beyond the park boundary. Unfortunately when he reached his destination it was only to discover that the doctor had been called from home on an urgent case-a fire in the town of BIastburn in which several people had been injured -and was not. James dared not linger, though he had been intending to reinforce Bonnie's note by himself telling the doctor how bad things were at the Chase- He could only deliver the letter and come away, leaving a message with the doctor's housekeeper imploring Dr.
Mome to visit Miss Bonnie as soon as possible. Then he made his way homeward. A wolf pack picked up his trail and followed him, but his horse, its hoofs winged by fear, kept well ahead, and James discouraged the pursuit by sending a couple of balls into the midst of the wolves, who fell back and decided to look for easier prey.
The dull, dark afternoon passed slowly by. The children worked fitfully at their tasks of mending. Bonnie was no longer locked up, but Miss Slighcarp made it plain that she was still in disgrace, never speaking to her, and giving her cold and sinister looks. The sound of a horse's hoofs had drawn both children to the window on one occasion, when Miss Slighcarp came suddenly into the room. She returned to the library, where she rang for James and gave him orders that utterly puzzled him. Can Bonnie and Sylvia outwit the wicked Miss Slighcarp and her network of criminals, forgers and snitches?
This country is overrun with wolves that roam the forests, providing the perfect setting for a witty and dramatic story spanning the whole country, from the frozen North to the city of London, and peopled with all manner of evil governesses and ancient aunts. Filled with brilliantly-drawn Dickensian characters, it would make an excellent choice for strong preteen readers who like an old-fashioned story with a strong plot and good characterisation. This book often appears on lists of best-loved children's books.
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