So there we were, in our dorm, highly excited and chatting away ten to the dozen. Mr Melman yelled through the wall to tell us to be quiet, then Miss Livingstone appeared and waited while we all climbed into bed. She turned off the light, warning us not to make any noise and disappeared down to the lower floor.
I pushed the button on my fart machine remote control and I was gratified to hear quite a blood curdling noise from the next room. Three presses later and Mr Melman put his head round our door to warn me that he would cane me if I did it again. Well, of course, as my regular readers know, I do like a challenge, or if a Beak is reading this, my finger slipped, and there was a rather long howling noise. Mr Melman disappeared for a few minutes, then returned with his straight cane, the one that stings. He ordered me over the end of my bed and administered twelve fairly hard strokes. Before he had managed to get out of the room, I had the machine going again, and was once again directed to bend over the end of the bed. This continued for some time until I decided I didn't really want to sleep on my tummy all night.
For a while silence reigned. We had decided that Midnight would be the best time for the Feast, that being the traditional time. It was almost Midnight when I slipped out of the room and made my way along the corridor. There was a backwash of light from the stairs which threw into perfect silhouette the head of Mr Melman as he lurked behind the frosted glass window on the top landing. I quietly back tracked and reported to Shell and Sarah that there was a Beak on the prowl. We kept the door slightly open, and after about ten minutes we heard Mr Melman's door close. Again we cracked open the door and surveyed the corridor. Nothing. I stepped out into the corridor, took two steps towards the stairs and Mr Melman's head popped out of his doorway like a demented tortoise emerging from its shell. He chased us back into the room, ordered us to bend over the foot of our beds, and punished us again before telling us to get to sleep.
Again we left it for a good ten minutes, and this time when I left our dorm, I studied his door very carefully, no light spilling out around it, dead silence within, just the creaks as the house settled for the night. We had made it past the head of the first stairs on our way to wake up Tommy Mac when Mr Melman and Miss Livingstone surfaced on the top landing. I kid you not, they were like a pair of demons at the pantomime, they only needed a puff of green smoke to announce themselves to finish off the effect! Miss Livingstone sent Shell and Sarah back to the dorm, and told Mr Melman to deal with me. As the corridor was quite narrow at that point, he sent me along to the wider part at the head of the second set of stairs because he could get "a better swing there" and told me to bend over. As he was caning me, Chris's door opened and he came out to ask Mr Melman to kindly make less noise! Mr Melman chased him back into his dorm with several cracks of the cane across his bottom!
By this time I had lost count of how many strokes I'd been awarded, and I was seriously contemplating sleeping for the rest of the night. The other two looked slightly ruffled after Miss L's administrations too! However, we New Grange Manor pupils are made of sterner stuff, and although I was dozing quite nicely when Tommy mac and Chris nipped into our dorm, I quickly became wide awake. They had slipped down the second set of stairs, then came up the other set so that they avoided Mr Melman's door to some extent.
We had all the goodies packed, and went out one by one, very quietly, and crept down the stairs. We recc'ed the lower landing (the Beaks' landing), there was no sound, and no lights, so we slipped along to the head of the main staircase and carefully made our way downstairs. We decided we would use the Staff Room. There's comfortable settees in there, and a nice rug on the floor. We spread out the food and sweets. Chris had brought beer, and we had Pimms (which I had never tasted before but found very delicious) and vodka with apple juice and I think cider. Yes, I know that as Pupils we are not allowed to drink alcohol, but as we were being so naughty anyway, we thought we may as well be hanged for a sheep as a lamb.
Hanging didn't come into it though. Caning did. We were just getting into the swing of things when the door flew open and Mr Melman stood there, looking like an avenging angel, in maroon pyjamas! He read us the riot act, and told us to pack all the stuff away. We packed it into two bags, one plastic, one a bright orange Iceland bag. As Head Girl I was called up first to bend over the bench. He's obviously a man who needs his beauty sleep to keep his temperament sunny, and I realised by stroke two of twelve that he was a tad miffed. The others were called up in turn for their dozen. Someone managed to purloin the plastic bag of goodies, I think it may have been Tommy Mac, and get them out of the Staff Room while Mr Melman was otherwise engaged, but the orange bag remained there. At least it did until the following morning, when observing that the Staff Room was empty, and the Beaks otherwise engaged, I nipped in there (yes, I know it's out of bounds, but then, I wanted my goodies back) retrieved the bag and concealed it elsewhere!
We returned to our dormitories, somewhat sore and chastened, but thrilled that we had managed to pull off a Midnight Feast even if it had been curtailed a bit early. And so to bed, to sleep the sleep of the innocent.