We have another Mispeep of the Mistletoe! In this rendition, by Sarah, Turnip looks on through the window as an agitated Miss Climpson informs Lizzy that, “We do not sit on people!”
Sally appears to have fallen over the chair again. Next to the pageant, this is one of my favorite Mistletoe scenes. So, just for fun, here’s the scene itself:
From Chapter Eleven of The Mischief of the Mistletoe….
Turnip clawed away the curtain, shoving the window up high enough that he wouldn’t bang his head on the way through. He had just swung a foot up onto the ledge when a flurry of activity sounded in the hallway. The sound started low, the merest swish and rustle of fabric, like moths battering their wings against a window, and then gained in intensity, with hisses, whispers, and the slap of bare feet against the floor.
Like a cork exploding from a champagne bottle, someone else shot into the room.
“Don’t worry, Miss Dempsey! We’re here now!” cried an exuberant female voice.
Turnip froze, his foot propped at an uncomfortable angle on the window ledge.
“Each for each, that’s what we teach!” caroled another, calling out the school motto. Turnip knew that voice. He knew it far too well. “Ouch! That was my foot! Lizzy!”
“That wasn’t me, it was Agnes,” protested the first voice.
“Sorry,” said Agnes, in a small voice.
“Girls?” ventured Miss Dempsey, from somewhere on the floor. She sounded more than a little bit breathless. Turnip knew just how she felt.
“We’ve come to your rescue,” explained Sally. “We thought you might need us. Ouch!”
“Sorry,” said Lizzy, sounding anything but. “That was me this time. Well, it’s dark in here.”
“Does anyone see the villain?” demanded Sally. “There is a villain, isn’t there?”
The villain had very wisely decided to conduct his own exit. Turnip could hear a low scrabbling sound not far from the window, like someone crawling on his hands and knees.
“Quick!” exclaimed Sally. “He’s trying to escape!”
As his eyes adjusted to the lack of light, Turnip could just vaguely make out his sister snatching up a notebook off the windowsill and rushing forward, wielding it like a club, only to go catapulting over the same table the intruder had knocked over before. The notebook spiraled through the air, spewing bits of paper, before landing thwack on the head of the burglar, who let out a loud curse.
“Oooh, there he goes!” squealed Lizzy, and blundered into Agnes, who reeled sideways and stepped on Sally, who was still on the floor in front of the table.
There was a flurry of feet and the sound of more crockery breaking and a good deal of gasping and stumbling and stubbing of toes and “mind the table!” during which Miss Dempsey made an attempt to call the group to order, Sally was stepped on again as she was trying to get up, Lizzy Reid tripped over the hem of her own robe, Sally and Lizzy banged heads, and Agnes exclaimed, in tones of wonder, “I think I’ve got him!”
“Quick, quick, tie him up,” urged Lizzy, jiggling up and down in place rather than risking the scattered furniture.
“Use my sash! Here!” Sally charged forward, a long strip of fabric dangling from her hand and promptly tripped over the exact same table. Her disembodied voice rose eerily from the floor. “Who left that there?”
“Not me,” said Agnes quickly.
Taking advantage of her inattention, the intruder wrenched himself free from Agnes’s grasp, making a dash for the window.
“Not so fast!” yelled Lizzy, and flung herself chest-first at the intruder. He went down hard, landing with a gasp on the floor, Lizzy on top of him.
Turnip winced in sympathy. That had sounded jolly painful.
“You got him! You got him!” exclaimed Turnip’s sister, jumping up and down like a little girl on Christmas morning.
Lizzy planted her bottom firmly on the intruder’s back. “He’s not going anywhere,” she said smugly.
“Girls!” exclaimed Miss Dempsey, trying belatedly to exert some control over the situation. “Don’t—”
Lizzy gave a little bounce and the intruder made a sound like a dying accordion as all the air rushed out of his lungs.
“Sorry, Miss Dempsey,” said Sally. “Who has the candle?”
“I do,” pronounced a new voice.
Light washed over the room. It glinted off shards of broken porcelain, pooled in the folds of white linen nightdresses, limned the sides of fallen furniture, and blared like twin beacons off the spectacles of the woman holding the candle.
Miss Climpson stepped into the room, the starched ruffles of her dressing gown rustling stiffly as she moved. Her graying brown hair was confined beneath a nightcap of truly impressive proportions. From his vantage point on the far side of the window, it reminded Turnip of a large muffin. A decidedly distressed muffin.
Furniture and girls in white nightdresses littered the room, none of it where it ought to be. Bits of white porcelain were scattered across the blue carpet from what had once been a particularly ugly china cupid. A Meissen shepherdess lay headless in the hearth. Sally, still lying where she had landed, sprawled on the floor in front of an overturned table, her nightcap squashed to one side and her braid over one shoulder. Lizzy Reid was sitting proudly on the back of some poor sod while Agnes Wooliston attempted to locate his hands so she could string a pink-edged sash around them.
Lizzy looked decidedly pleased with herself. It was impossible to discern how the intruder looked. His face was pressed into the ground, from which emerged, from time to time, the odd moaning noise.
“Oh dear, oh dear, oh dear,” Miss Climpson murmured, surveying the tattered remnants of her domain. “Oh dear. Miss Dempsey?”
Unlike the girls, Miss Dempsey was still fully dressed, but her hair had burst its pins, unraveling down her back in a burst of congealed sunshine. It looked, somehow, more dramatic against the demure gray of her day dress than it would have had she been in a nightdress like the others. Turnip had never seen her hair down before; it had always been ruthlessly coiled away, stuck about with pins, with a bonnet squashed down on top of it for good measure. He had known it was blond, but he would never have imagined it would be quite so exuberant.
But, then, that was Miss Dempsey all over, wasn’t it? She pretended to be all shy and quiet, and then there she was, chasing down prowlers in the middle of the night.
At the moment, she was holding a chair up in front of her like a lion-keeper at the Tower, prepared to hold the villain at bay should he make another rush for the window.
She very slowly lowered the chair to the ground as she turned to face the headmistress. “Miss Climpson? I’m afraid we’ve had something of an, er, incident.”
Lizzy Reid giggled.
Sally flapped a hand to shush her.
Miss Climpson blinked behind her thick spectacles, her candle making a slow arc as she took in the scene in front of her. “Is that my china cupid?” she asked first, and then, “Is that a man beneath Miss Reid?”