Authors: Lois Gladys Leppard
Copyright Â© 2006
Lois Gladys Leppard
Cover design by Lookout Design
MANDIEÂ® and SNOWBALLÂ® are registered trademarks of Lois Gladys Leppard.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any meansâelectronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwiseâwithout the prior written permission of the publisher and copyright owners.
Published by Bethany House Publishers
11400 Hampshire Avenue South
Bloomington, Minnesota 55438
Bethany House Publishers is a division of
Baker Publishing Group, Grand Rapids, Michigan.
Ebook edition created 2012
Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data is on file at the Library of Congress, Washington, DC.
What Grown-Up Fans of M
“I'm twenty years old. I've been reading the M
ever since I was seven. My mother started buying them for me and I could consume one book in about a day! I can't wait to pass the books on to my girls when [my husband and I] start to have a family.”
âHeather I., Puerto Rico
“I have been reading your books almost as long as I can remember. Now I am twenty-one years old. I have saved all of my books and plan to give them to my daughters when I get married and have children. I really enjoy being able to read nice, clean books, and I feel like I have grown up with Mandie, Joe, Celia, and the others. I look forward to reading M
âElizabeth C., Texas
“I'm eighteen and I absolutely love the M
. While I am reading them I feel as though I am there with her solving the mysteries.”
âJessica S., Texas
“While I am approaching thirty, I have been reading M
since I was a young girl. I appreciate you writing books that are so captivating to young girls (and older girls) and have such a positive message. Psalm 56:3 was one of the first Bible verses I memorized, and I still find myself reciting it at frightening times, just like Mandie.”
âKim D., South Carolina
“I love your Mandie series. I started reading them when I was eleven years old and am still reading them at the age of twenty. I was so intrigued with the books. I was able to see a little of myself in Mandie and her adventures. I can hardly wait for the next book to come out. I am particularly interested in the relationship between Mandie and Joe, being a romantic at heart.”
âStacy W., Ohio
A friend in need is a friend indeed.
With many thanks to the following who were indeed friends in time of need:
First and foremost, my dear friend of twenty-four years, Carol Johnson, who made the M
possible, and her assistant, Dana; my son, Donn, for keeping the Web site going, and my daughter-in-law, Shannon, for support; my neighbors Marsha and Rick Frans, who saved me from the ice storm we had during the work on this book; my old-time friend Alma Furman, for advice and friendship; Barbara Franks of CrossWay for setting up all those book signings and for giving support; Lowell Sweat, for keeping the yard in order; Karen Schillinger, my longtime friend who helped in so many ways; my sister, Belle Langford, for her support; my lifetime friend Frances Granger, for listening; and of courseâ
Â Â Â Â Â Â To all those Mandie Fan Club members who have stayed in touch with Mandie.
God bless you all
I must remind myself that I am now a young lady entering college, and my deportment should be in accordance with 1904 social graces
, Amanda Elizabeth Shaw silently told herself as she stood in the registration line of the Charleston Ladies' College. She felt her temper rise at the way her grandmother was taking over with the school officials at the desk.
Mandie lowered her dark blond lashes, turned, and surreptitiously looked at the other young ladies waiting in line behind her. They were all definitely listening and observing. She smiled slightly, but everyone avoided eye contact with herâ except for a tall, thin girl with lots of black curly hair who stood halfway down the line. The girl met Mandie's gaze, her eyes never fluttering, as she stared. Mandie felt uncomfortable and turned back around to face the front of the line.
Her grandmother was ruining everything as she interrogated the woman behind the desk about the social life at the college. “I want to be assured that my granddaughter has the benefit of
social life here such as she has been accustomed to back home. What do you have to offer in that respect?”
“Of course, Mrs. Taft,” the woman quickly replied. “We have many . . .”
Mandie felt her face grow hot as she tried to block out the rest of the conversation. She was here to learnâand learn in a hurryâhow to manage the enormous family fortune that would come to her someday. She would find her own social connections without help from her grandmother. At least the school was far enough away from her grandmother's home in Asheville, North Carolina, that Mandie's grandmother would not be able to control everything as she had done at the Misses Heathwood's School for Girls, where Mandie had graduated from this past spring.
Her navy travel suit was too warm for the humid Charleston weather, but Mandie's nervousness was also making her perspire. Her right shoe pinched her big toe, so she shifted her weight now and then to relieve it.
If only her mother could have come, but she was not able to travel. She was going to have a baby, and women who were “showing” did not appear in public. Uncle John, Mandie's father's brother who had married Mandie's mother after her father's death, could not be persuaded to leave her mother's side, because they had already lost one baby a few years ago.
Mandie bowed her head and said a silent prayer for her mother. She wanted a little brother or sister and prayed that this baby would live, and that her mother would not go through life-threatening problems this time.
“Miss Shaw.” The woman behind the desk had spoken and was looking directly at Mandie. “I believe we have all the paper work completed now. You will report with the other new young ladies tomorrow morning at nine o'clock sharp in the chapel to receive further instructions.”
“Yes, ma'am. Thank you, ma'am,” Mandie replied with a grateful smile. She straightened up and felt relieved as her grandmother left the desk.
Since the registration was done in alphabetical order, her friend Celia Hamilton and Celia's mother, Jane Hamilton, had already finished and were waiting for Mandie and Mrs. Taft in the sitting room.
“Now that we have the girls registered, we should go on up to their room. Their trunks have surely been delivered by now,” Mrs. Taft told Celia's mother.
“I should think so,” Mrs. Hamilton replied, rising from the settee by the window.
Celia also stood up, then turned to Mandie and said, “I'll certainly be glad to change out of this travel suit.”
“I was thinking the same thing,” Mandie agreed as they followed the older ladies toward the door. “I noticed most of the girls in line were wearing something more comfortable.”
The ladies went out the back door of the main building and crossed a driveway winding between the dormitory and another large building. Buggies and other vehicles were parked along the way. Mandie glanced at them, saw several young men standing
around, and whispered to Celia, “What are those boys doing here? This is an all-girls school!”
Celia covered her mouth with her hand and whispered back, “They're probably brothers of girls who are registering.”
As the ladies walked closer to where the boys were standing, Mandie caught the eye of the tallest one, then quickly looked away. The boys continued their conversation loudly enough for Mandie and Celia to overhear.
“Yes, they do say that boardinghouse is haunted,” the tall, thin young man was saying.
“Ah, now, I don't believe in ghosts,” a shorter fellow replied.
“This is your first year here. Just wait until you get acquainted with some of the locals. They'll tell you all about it,” the tall fellow said.
The third one shrugged and said, “No matter, we'll be at the College of Charleston, anyhow.”
won't have to worry about it, but if there is overfill at this college, some of the young ladies will have to stay in the boardinghouse. It could be your sister,” the tall fellow pointed out to the shorter one.
The young men discontinued their conversation as Mandie and Celia walked by.
As soon as they were past the two fellows, Mandie covered her mouth and whispered to Celia, “They were just trying to get our attention.”
“Yes, I'm sure there is not a haunted boardinghouse here in
Charleston,” Celia said quietly. “At least, I have never heard of one.”
“We can ask Mary Lou Dunnigan. She lives in this town, so she would know,” Mandie said.
“I wonder if she has registered yet,” Celia said.
“The out-of-town students register first, so she will probably be around tomorrow,” Mandie reminded her. “But it will be nice to see her again after the summer break from the Misses Heathwood's School.”
Celia nodded in agreement as she and Mandie followed Mrs. Taft and Mrs. Hamilton across the courtyard.
“I just wonder if there really is anything haunted here in this town,” Mandie whispered to Celia. “It's really old, you know, with lots of history about it.”
Mrs. Taft, hurrying ahead, stopped to look back and say, “Come on, girls. We have lots to do today.”
“Yes, ma'am,” both girls chorused, walking faster to catch up.
When they approached the door to the dormitory building, Mandie glanced back and accidentally looked directly at the tall fellow standing in the driveway, who was still watching her. Mandie felt her face turn red and she quickly followed Celia into the building.
Inside the huge double doors of the stone dormitory was a desk with an older woman sitting behind it. A sign on it read
Stop here for admittance
. Mrs. Taft approached the woman.
“Hello, I am Mrs. Taft,” she explained. “This is my
granddaughter, Amanda Shaw, and her friend Celia Hamilton, and Mrs. Hamilton, Celia's mother.”
The woman behind the desk quickly scanned a list of names in front of her, then looked up and smiled. “Yes, ma'am, Mrs. Taft. Their room is on the second floor, number 200.” Then, looking at Mandie and Celia, she said, “Remember, girls, that you must sign in and out every time you enter or leave the dormitory.”
“Thank you,” Mrs. Taft replied and walked on toward the huge staircase.
“So we are going to be on the second floor,” Mandie said to Celia as they and Mrs. Hamilton followed.
“And we have a guard to pass in order to get in and out of the building,” Celia commented, glancing back at the woman at the desk. “I think that's a good thing. I'll feel safer with someone checking everyone in and out.”