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Показать все книги автора/авторов: Martin Ann M.

«The Ghost At Dawn's House», Ann Martin


The Ghost At Dawn's House


Ann M. Martin


Chapter 1.


"Hi! Hello!"

"Oh, wow! Look at your tan! That's disgusting!"

"Your hair, Dawn! It's even blonder than before!"

It was the first meeting of the Baby-sitters Club since Kristy, Claudia, Stacey, Mary Anne, and I (Dawn Schafer), had been separated. It had been our longest separation since the beginning of the club. Two whole weeks. And we'd been scattered from here, inStoneybrook,Connecticut , all the way across the country toCalifornia .

Claudia Kishi and her family had taken a trip to a resort inNew Hampshire . Mary Anne Spier and Stacey McGill had gotten jobs (through the Baby-sitters Club) as mother's helpers, and

had gone toSeaCity , aNew Jersey beach, with the Pike family. Poor Kristy Thomas hadn't gone anywhere. She'd stayed here.

I was the one who went toCalifornia . I went with my little brother, Jeff. Our parents got divorced last winter and Mom moved Jeff and me from nice, warmCalifornia to freezing cold, snowyConnecticut . (Well, it was cold and snowy when we moved here. Now it's August, and hot and humid.) Mom chose Stoneybrook because she grew up here, and her parents still live here. Anyway, it was sort of a messy divorce, and Jeff and I hadn't seen Dad in ages, so Mom arranged for us to spend the first two weeks in August with him.

We got to fly by ourselves and everything. Since we were traveling alone, we were given all sorts of special attention. One stewardess slipped us free headphones. We saw European Vacation, starringChevy Chase . Jeff laughed so hard he nearly got sick, but he recovered in time for dinner and managed to collect extra desserts from all the people around us who didn't want theirs — five in all. (Ordinarily, we're really into health food, but Jeff goes sort of crazy over chocolate cake.) Next, Jeff collected all the packets of salt, pepper, nondairy creamer, instant coffee, sugar, and Jiffee Tow-

elettes he could find. He saved them in a barf bag. The barf bag is now sitting on his bureau at home.

Anyway, you'd think the airplane was the highlight of our trip, but of course it wasn't. What came next was not justCalifornia , but two weeks of Disneyland Daddy — you know, two weeks with a guy who hasn't seen his kids in months and feels really guilty. Guilty enough to take time off from work and give them a whirlwind vacation of beaches, amusement parks, shopping, dinners in restaurants, movies, treats, surprises. ... It was spectacular — except for the fact that a Disneyland Daddy doesn't feel like your father anymore. But I guess he's better than no father at all.

However,California was over now, and I was back. All the members of the Baby-sitters Club were back. And we still had two glorious weeks of summer vacation left before we began eighth grade.

As usual, we gathered for our meeting in Claudia's bedroom. Claudia is the vice-president of the club and the only one of us who has not just her own phone, but her own personal phone number. She's even listed separately in the Stoneybrook telephone directory as Kishi, C.

"Well, let's get down to business," said Kristy, our president. Kristy was the one who'd had the original idea to form the club.

The Baby-sitters Club is really more of a business than a club. The five of us meet three times a week at Claudia's. People call us when they need a sitter. They're willing to wait until our meetings to call, because they reach five of us at once, so they know they're practically guaranteed a sitter. No more calling all over town to track down someone available.

We're very official and responsible about running our club. This is mostly due to Kristy, even though she does get bossy about things every now and then. We keep a record book full of information — the phone numbers and addresses of our clients, an appointment calendar, and a list of our earnings. (We each get to keep whatever money we make, but Kristy always likes to know how the club is doing overall.) We also have a notebook, a sort of diary, in which we're supposed to write up every job we go on. Then we pass the book around so we can all read what's happening with our clients. It's very helpful. But sometimes it's a pain Writing about the jobs. Not all of them are that interesting. Of course, there was the time Kristy ended up dog-sitting in-

stead of baby-sitting. And the time Mary Anne was baby-sitting for a little kid-who got really sick, and found out just how helpful the 911 number can be in a real emergency.

Kristy opened the record book to the appointment pages in case a phone call should come in.

She leaned back in the director's chair and crossed her arms. "I move that we start this meeting by discussing the baby-sitting experiences we've had over the last two weeks."

(We'd all done some sitting, even Claudia and I, who'd technically been on vacation.)

Claudia grinned. "I move that before we start talking, we have a little snack," she said.

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