[] THE next day the boys came back. Anne and George went to meet them with Timothy. George drove the pony-trap, and Tim sat beside her. Anne could hardly wait for the train to stop at the station. She ran along the platform, looking for Julian and Dick in the carriages that passed.

[] Then she saw them. They were looking out of a window at the back of the train, waving and yelling.

[] 'Anne! Anne! Here we are! Hallo, George! Oh, there's Timothy!'

[] 'Julian! Dick!' yelled Anne. Timothy began to bark and leap about. It was most exciting.

[] 'Oh, Julian! It's lovely to see you both again!' cried Anne, giving her two brothers a hug each. Timothy leapt up and licked them both. He was beside himself with joy. Now he had all the children around him that he loved.

[] The three children and the dog stood happily together, all talking at once whilst the porter got the luggage out of the train. Anne suddenly remembered George. She looked round her. She was nowhere to be seen, although she had come on the station platform with Anne.

[] 'Where's old George?' said Julian. 'I saw her here when I waved out of the window.'

[] 'She must have gone back to the pony-trap,' said Anne. 'Tell the porter to bring your trunks out to the trap, Julian. Come along! We'll go and find George.'

[] George was standing by the pony, holding his head. She looked rather gloomy, Anne thought. The boys went up to her.

[] 'Hallo, George, old thing!' cried Julian, and gave her a hug. Dick did the same.

[] 'What's up?' asked Anne, wondering at George's sudden silence.

[] 'I believe George felt left-cut!' said Julian with a grin. 'Funny old Georgina!'

[] 'Don't call me Georgina!' said the little girl fiercely. The boys laughed.

[] 'Ah, it's the same fierce old George, all right,' said Dick, and he gave the girl a friendly slap on the shoulder. 'Oh, George - it's good to see you again. Do you remember our marvellous adventures in the summer?'

[] George felt her awkwardness slipping away from her. She had felt left-out when she had seen the great welcome that the two boys gave to their small sister -' but no one could sulk for long with Julian and Dick. They just wouldn't let anyone feel left-out or awkward or sulky.

[] The four children climbed into the trap. The porter heaved in the two trunks. There was only just room for them. Timothy sat on top of the trunks, his tail wagging nineteen to the dozen, and his tongue hanging out because he was panting with delight.

[] 'You two girls were lucky to be able to take Tim to school with you,' said Dick, patting the big dog lovingly.

'No pets are allowed at our school. Awfully hard on those fellows who like live things.'

[] 'Thompson Minor kept white mice,' said Julian. 'And one day they escaped and met Matron round a corner of the passage. She squealed the place down.'

[] The girls laughed. The boys always had funny tales to tell when they got home.

[] 'And Kennedy keeps snails,' said Dick. 'You know, snails sleep for the winter - but Kennedy kept his in far too warm a place, and they all crawled out of their box and went up the walls. You should have heard how we laughed when the geography master asked Thompson to point out Cape Town on the map - and there was one of the snails in the very place!'

[] Everyone laughed again. It was so good to be all together once more. They were very much of an age -Julian was twelve, George and Dick were eleven, and Anne was ten. Holidays and Christmas time were in front of them. No wonder they laughed at everything, even the silliest little joke!

[] 'It's good that Mummy is getting on all right, isn't it?' said Dick, as the pony went along the road at a spanking trot. T was disappointed not to go home, I must say - I did want to go to see Aladdin and the Lamp, and the Circus - but still, it's good to be back at Kirrin Cottage again. I wish we could have some more exciting adventures. Not a hope of that this time, though.'

[] 'There's one snag about these holls,' said Julian. 'And that's the tutor. I hear we've got to have one because Dick and I missed so much school this term, and we've got to take scholarship exams next summer.'

[] 'Yes,' said Anne. 'I wonder what he'll be like. I do hope he will be a sport. Uncle Quentin is going to choose one today.'

[] Julian and Dick made faces at one another. They felt sure that any tutor chosen by Uncle Quentin would be anything but a sport. Uncle Quentin's idea of a tutor would be somebody strict and gloomy and forbidding.

Never mind! He wouldn't come for a day or two. And he might be fun. The boys cheered up and pulled Timothy's thick coat. The dog pretended to growl and bite. He wasn't worried about tutors. Lucky Timothy!

[] They all arrived at Kirrin Cottage. The boys were really pleased to see their aunt, and rather relieved when she said that their uncle had not yet come back.

[] 'He's gone to see two or three men who have answered the advertisement for a tutor,' she said. 'He won't be long before he's back.'

[] 'Mother, I haven't got to do lessons in the holls too, have I?' asked George. Nothing had yet been said to her about this, and she longed to know.

[] 'Oh yes, George,' said her mother. 'Your father has seen your report, and although it isn't really a bad one, and we certainly didn't expect a marvellous one, still it does show that you are behind your age in some things. A little extra coaching will soon help you along.'

[] George looked gloomy. She had expected this but it was tiresome all the same. 'Anne's the only one who won't have to do lessons,' she said.

[] I'll do some too,' promised Anne. 'Perhaps not always, George, if it's a very fine day, for instance - but sometimes, just to keep you company.'

[] 'Thanks,' said George. 'But you needn't. I shall have Timmy.'

[] George's mother looked doubtful about this. 'We'll have to see what the tutor says about that, she said.

[] 'Mother! If the tutor says I can't have Timothy in the room, I jolly well won't do holiday lessons!’ began George, fiercely.

[] Her mother laughed. 'Well, well - here's our fierce, hot-tempered George again!’ she said. 'Go along, you two boys, and wash your hands and do your hair. You seem to have collected all the smuts on the railway.'

[] The children and Timothy went upstairs. It was such fun to be five again. They always counted Tim as one of themselves. He went everywhere with them, and really seemed to understand every single word they said.

[] 'I wonder what sort of a tutor Uncle Quentin will choose,' said Dick, as he scrubbed his nails. 'If only he would choose the right kind - someone jolly and full of fun, who knows that holiday lessons are sickening to have, and tries to make up for them by being a sport out of lesson-time. I suppose we'll have to work every morning.'

[] 'Hurry up. I want my tea,' said Julian. 'Come on down, Dick. We'll know about the tutor soon enough P

[] They all went down together, and sat round the table. Joanna the cook had made a lovely lot of buns and a great big cake. There was not much left of either by the " time the four children had finished!

[] Uncle Quentin returned just as they were finishing. He seemed rather pleased with himself. He shook hands with the two boys and asked them if they had had a good term.

[] 'Did you get a tutor, Uncle Quentin?' asked Anne, who could see that everyone was simply bursting to know this.

[] 'Ah - yes, I did,' said her uncle. He sat down, whilst Aunt Fanny poured him out a cup of tea. 'I interviewed three applicants, and had almost chosen the last one, when another fellow came in, all in a hurry. Said he had only just seen the advertisement, and hoped he wasn't too late.'

[] 'Did you choose him?' asked Dick.

[] 'I did,' said his uncle. 'He seemed a most intelligent fellow. Even knew about me and my work! And he had the most wonderful letters of recommendation.'

[] 'I don't think the children need to know all these details,' murmured Aunt Fanny. 'Anyway - you asked him to come?'

[] 'Oh yes,' said Uncle Quentin. 'He's a good bit older than the others - they were rather young fellows - this one seems very responsible and intelligent. I'm sure you'll like him, Fanny. He'll fit in here very well. I feel I would like to have him to talk to me sometimes in the evening.'

[] The children couldn't help feeling that the new tutor sounded rather alarming. Their uncle smiled at the gloomy faces.

[] 'You'll like Mr. Roland,' he said. 'He knows how to handle youngsters - knows he's got to be very firm, and to see that you know a good bit more at the end of the holidays than you did at the beginning.'

[] This sounded even more alarming. All four children wished heartily that Aunt Fanny had been to choose the tutor, and not Uncle Quentin.

[] 'When is he coming?' asked George.

[] 'Tomorrow,' said her father. 'You can all go to meet him at the station. That will be a nice welcome for him.'

[] 'We had thought of taking the bus and going to do a bit of Christmas shopping,' said Julian, seeing Anne looked very disappointed.

[] 'Oh, no, you must certainly go and meet Mr. Roland,' said his uncle. 'I told him you would. And mind you, you four - no nonsense with him! You've to do as you're told, and you must work hard with him, because your father is paying very high fees for his coaching. I'm paying a third, because I want him to coach George a little too - so George, you must do your best.'

[] 'I'll try,' said George. 'If he's nice, I'll do my very best.'

[] 'You'll do your best whether you think him nice or not!' said her father, frowning. 'He will arrive by the ten-thirty train. Be sure to be there in time.'

[] 'I do hope he won't be too strict,’ said Dick, that evening, when the five of them were alone for a minute or two. 'It's going to spoil the holls, if we have someone down on us all the time. And I do hope he'll like Timothy.’

[] George looked up at once. 'Like Timothy!' she said. 'Of course he'll like Timothy! How couldn't he?’

[] 'Well - your father didn't like Timothy very much last summer,’ said Dick. T don't see how anyone could dislike darling Tim - but there are people who don't like dogs, you know, George.'

[] 'If Mr. Roland doesn't like Timothy, I'll not do a single thing for him,' said George. 'Not one single thing!'

[] 'She's gone all fierce again!' said Dick, with a laugh. 'My word - the sparks will fly if Mr. Roland dares to dislike our Timothy!'