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SHE WANTS TO HAVE MONEY OF HER OWN
I’m Betty and I’m sixteen. My birthday is on the 1st of February. I’m still at school. I like the following subjects: English, needlework and housecraft. Housecraft? Well, we learn cooking and how to look after a house and … oh! I can hear the telephone. Excuse me. “Hallo? Hallo? Yes, Betty Brown is speaking. Saturday next? Yes, Mrs. Smith. That’s the 18th of February, isn’t it? Yes, thank you, Mrs. Smith, 6 o’clock. Yes, 6 o’clock sharp. Sixteen, Wilberforce Road.”
Mrs. Smith is one of Mummy’s friends. I don’t know her very well, but I know she has two children. Here is Mummy now.
“Mummy, can I go to Mrs. Smith’s on Saturday? She and Mr. Smith are going to the cinema, and they want me to baby-sit.”
“Till when, Betty?”
“Till ten thirty, Mummy. Oh, please, Mummy, can I go?”
“ You are coming home at ten thirty, Betty – don’t forget! Ask Mrs. Smith to bring you home in the car.”
It’s Saturday night, and the time is seven thirty. George and Tom are going to bed. George is seven and Tom is eight. They don’t like going to bed.
“Come on, George! To bed!”
“Wait a minute,” says George, “I want a drink!”
“I want a drink,” says Tom.
I get them a drink.
“Come on, boys! Bedtime!”
“Read us a story, Betty.”
“What story do you want me to read?”
“About Little Red Riding Hood.”
I read a story.
“Now, come on, boys! Bedtime!”
“There is a ghost in the bedroom, Betty!”
“There isn’t, Tom! Please go to bed, boys!”
They are in bed at last. It’s eight thirty. I go downstairs, into the sitting-room. I get out my books. I am going to do my homework. There’s a big television set and the programme is very good. There’s a play called “Hamlet”. I have been watching this play for 1 ½ hours. And there’s a box of chocolate on the table with a note: “Betty, these are for you! – Mrs. Smith.”
When the play is over, I have eaten all the chocolates. I turn off the television set. What’s the time? It’s 10 o’clock. I open the door and listen. Are the boys asleep?
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Silence. I go upstairs. The Smiths’ house is big, and there are a lot of doors. Here is the boys’ bedroom. I open the door. It is dark inside. Silence. They are asleep. I go into the room, it’s very dark inside, but I can see. Where are the boys? The beds are empty!
Of course, Tom and George are playing. They are under the bed! No, they’re not under the bed. They’re in the bathroom! No, they’re not in the bathroom. Perhaps they’re in the sitting-room? No! In the kitchen? No! Where are they?
Silence. It is ten thirty! I can hear Mr. and Mrs. Smith at the door. Help!
“Hallo, Betty,” says Mrs. Smith. “Are the boys asleep? I’m going upstairs to see them.”
We go upstairs. As we come to the boys’ bedroom, I stop. How can I tell them where the boys are? But Mrs. Smith walks to the next door. She opens that door and looks in.
“They are sleeping like angels,” she says.
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