The Marvelous Magic of Miss Mabel

The Marvelous Magic of Miss Mabel by Natasha Lowe

Book: The Marvelous Magic of Miss Mabel by Natasha Lowe Read Free Book Online
Authors: Natasha Lowe
whispered. “If only they had come in a little later.”
    When they got to the head of the line, Mabel waited until Mrs. Bainbridge, the cook, had turned her back for a moment to stir a pot of peas, and then quickly, before she noticed, Mabel poured her homemade potion all over the liver. There was a hissing noise, and a cloud of brown steam rose from the pan.
    â€œSmells delicious,” Mabel said, as Mrs. Bainbridge turned around. She gave Mabel a suspicious glare. The girls behind her smothered their giggles, and Mabel guessed that Tabitha had been spreading the word.
    â€œSmellslike it always smells,” Mrs. Bainbridge said, scooping a large piece onto Mabel’s plate. “Like liver.”
    Except as Mabel lifted the plate to her nose, a lovely chocolaty waft of steam blew into her face. She carried her lunch to an empty table and sat down. Ruby and Tabitha followed. Mabel sliced off a tiny corner of liver and put it cautiously between her teeth. The other girls watched as Mabel closed her eyes for a moment and moaned softly. “It’s delicious,” she said. “Really delicious.” Warm, creamy chocolate flooded her mouth, and Mabel laughed in delight. “The best thing I’ve ever eaten.” Not hesitating, she cut a large chunk of liver and shoved it into her mouth.
    â€œOh, it is so good,” Ruby sighed, nibbling a piece off her fork. She looked around the dining room, sounding panicky. “I hope there’s going to be enough for seconds.” Picking the liver up in her hands, Ruby started gulping it down.
    â€œMabel, this is amazing,” Tabitha gushed, forking up liver as fast as she could. “I can’t stop eating it.” Her cheeks bulged like a hamster’s.
    Groans of pleasure filled the dining hall as girls gobbled down their liver at alarming speed. Lucy Habersham was hunched over her plate, licking up chocolate juice.
    â€œWhat is going on?” Miss Seymour cried out,watching Winifred grab a piece of liver out of Diana’s hands. Nancy Cox stole the last piece off her best friend, Emily’s, plate, and turned away to eat it before Emily could snatch it back.
    â€œSit down at once,” Miss Reed, the flying teacher, barked, pushing aside her plate of chicken. The teachers had a separate menu on Mondays—all except for Miss Lyons, who taught palm reading, and was one of the only people in the school who actually liked liver. Miss Lyons had shoved back her chair and was making a mad dash toward the food line.
    â€œSeconds,” Charlotte Monroe screamed, charging after Miss Lyons. There was a scraping of chairs, and a stampede of girls suddenly hurtled toward the counter.
    Most of the teachers had reached for their smelling salts, while Miss Brewer banged her cane on the floor over and over again. “Will you stop this right now!” Her face was puce colored and her mouth still moved, but there was so much noise in the dining hall it was difficult to hear what she was saying.
    The big metal tray that was now empty of liver clattered to the floor, and girls elbowed each other out of the way, getting down on their knees and slurping up the juice. When the last fleck of liver had been sucked, chewed, and licked out of sight, a shameful hush settled over the room.
    Mabel’spalms were damp, and a sick dread sloshed in her stomach. “I’m not quite sure what happened,” she murmured.
    â€œDon’t say a word,” Tabitha hissed. “Do not confess, Mabel.”
    â€œWe’re in this together,” Ruby agreed, touching her friend’s arm.
    â€œWinifred won’t be. If she knows it’s me, she’s bound to tell.”
    Miss Brewer stood on the teacher’s podium, looking around at the girls. When she spoke, her voice was tight with anger. Words ricocheted around the hall like pistol bullets. “Would someone care to explain what just happened? Because however good a cook Mrs.

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