Clover Moon’s Great Escape
I was running. Running from home. I can’t take it anymore. Old Ma Robinson would be slapping me crazy right now so I can’t go back.
I’ve been through cities, markets and even countryside. I won’t stop until I find shelter. I think of Mother. I think she called me Clover Moon for luck. Now I’m not so sure.
After a while I see London. There was a strange building where I thought I might be able to stay. Someone saw me lingering outside the vast gates and caught me by the scruff of the neck and dragged me inside.
The lady was thin, bony and had a horrid nose. I plucked up the courage to speak to her.
‘Miss, excuse me, but what is your name?’ I asked, timidly.
‘Where are we going?’
‘To your dormitory!’
We turned a corner and a black door stood there with a plate that said ‘GIRLS’ DORMITORY’. She thrust me in there and said, ‘This is your bed.’
Eventually girls started filing in. They got undressed and put on long white gowns. They got into bed and gossiped.
The girl next to me smiled and asked what my name was. ‘Clover Moon,’ I replied.
She sighed. ‘It’s beautiful!’
‘What’s your name?’ I asked.
‘That’s nice, too.’
‘Do you want to be friends?’ She asked me.
‘Yes, please!’ I said.
‘Okay, see you in the morning.’
Our first lesson was darning. I just couldn’t get the hang of it. Hetty was amazing at it but nobody congratulated her.
Matron patrolled the corridors and threatened me that if I didn’t get better I would go in the tench.
Hetty told me about the tench. ‘It’s a dark place where rats go and you don’t come out for hours.’
Gulp. I think I’ll try my best at darning next time.
Hetty keeps on telling me that she will escape. She swears.
She tells me the boys are going to try as well. I wonder how Hetty manages to meet up with the boys? Well, one night I got my answer…
Hetty ran off in the middle of the night and I followed her. She turned a corner, opened a door and went up a ladder.
I followed her up the ladder and when I got to the top I gaped in amazement. Hetty had her own secret tower! She seemed to have lots of friends. There was Polly, Mythys, Gideon, Jed and many others.
It was lit with candles and covered with drawings and bunting. The seats were stolen boxes. Everyone sat down and immediately started talking about the escape plan.
‘We’ll make a handkerchief chain and abseil down the wall then run off into the city!’
The night of the escape plan was here. We ran down the never-ending corridors, our scratchy brown dresses hurting us. When we got to the courtyard we stopped and waited for the boys.
When they eventually arrived they ran out through the courtyard and we followed. They tossed the chain over the wall.
‘Hey! Girls go first,’ Hetty reminded them, and she scrambled up the wall. When she got to the top she stopped and waited for me. I did pretty well, but at the top my foot slipped and the chain broke.
I managed to get my feet over the top. The climb down was very hard. Once I was down, we ran far into London, but we didn’t know where to go or what to do.
We have no spare clothes or food. We have no money. What are we going to do…
By Scarlet MacKenzie, Leighton Buzzard
Fabulous story-writing, Scarlet! We felt as if we were right beside Clover and Hetty as they made their daring escape from the Foundling Hospital. We wonder how they’ll survive out on the streets of London… perhaps you’ll write a second installment?
Scarlet has won a signed copy of Clover Moon!