The Mysterious Howling
Fifteen-year-old Miss Penelope Lumley, a recent graduate of the Swanburne Academy for Poor Bright Females, is hired as governess to three young children who have been raised by wolves and must teach them to behave in a civilized manner quickly, in preparation for a Christmas ball.
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It would have been pleasant to have parents, of course, or at least parents whom she could more clearly recall....She recalled being told about a mother and father who needed to take a long, dangerous journey and would someday return for her - or perhaps that was something she had read in a book. It was hard to be sure after so many years.
“All this trotting to and fro will be the” - _huff!_ - “death of me!” she wheezed, although, as you already know, regular aerobic exercise was far more likely to improve her cardiovascular fitness than cause her demise.
She had chosen Dante because she found the rhyme scheme pleasingly jaunty, but she realized too late that the _Inferno_’s tale of sinners being cruelly punished in the afterlife was much too bloody and disturbing to be suitable for young minds. Penelope could tell this by the way the children hung on her every word and demanded “More, more!” each time she reached the end of a canto and tried to stop.
Penelope had long ago accepted that a thick mane of glossy, bouncy ringlets was not destined to be hers. However, she had read many books in which girls who start out plain blossom into great beauties, and almost as many in which girls who stay plain are loved all the more for their warm hearts and good common sense. Penelope was confident that one fate or the other would be hers eventually, and so she tried not to give the matter too much thought.
When the impossible becomes merely difficult, that’s when you know you’ve won.
Wearing it gave her more rather than less confidence, and that is precisely what a well-chosen outfit ought to do.
Penelope was left with the impression that titles were more important than profession and land was more important than business, but money was far more important than any other sort of accomplishment.
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