It was the day that the name of the Year Prize winner would be posted on the bulletin board. Adam had feigned unconcern, but Josh had pushed his way through the crowd to scan the board.He yelled the news across the crowded hallway.“Adam, you’ve won you’ve won the Year Prize!”Adam, stunned, became rooted to the spot as his friends crowded round in a welter of hand-shaking, back-slapping congratulations. The babble of voices in the hallway suddenly seemed distant, and he felt slightly dizzy. He’d won! In the midst of so much talent!But maybe Josh had made a mistake? His turmoil of emotions was suddenly stilled by Constance slipping her hand into his, and giving him a formal little handshake.“Congratulations, Adam. I’m happy for you,” was all she said, but he fancied that her eyes were just a little too bright, her voice slightly tremulous.She’d wanted that prize so badly. Adam longed to throw his arms round her, to console her, to whisper that he would give anything to win the only prize that mattered to him . . .Kirsty’s voice shattered the moment.“Adam, you’ve won the prize! I just saw it on the board!”Kirsty catapulted herself into the group, her red hair flying, breathless with excitement. Constance smiled a little and stepped back, leaving his little sister to hug him and to jump up and down with excitement at the same time.“A celebration is called for,” Josh announced in a very solemn voice. “I had a feeling you’d win, Adam, my boy. So I have secured the use of Mrs Dinnimont’s front parlour.”“A party?” Kirsty’s voice was eager.Josh cleared his throat like a small rotund Master of Ceremonies.“Let’s just call it an early soire. My landlady is much too dignified to get involved in a frivolity like a party.”“Can I come? I’m all finished modelling for the day!” Kirsty was caught up in the excitement.“Well, I don’t suppose that one more will cause a problem. There’s only half a dozen in our crowd, anyway, and you’re the sister of the prizewinner, after all.”The six friends and Kirsty walked the short distance along the street to Josh’s lodgings. Adam and Josh led the way, followed by the cousins Ben and Marcus. Bringing up the rear was Constance, walking alongside Clarissa, who clearly thought Adam wonderful and who seemed vaguely irritated by Kirsty’s presence.“I see you’ve tagged along again, then.” She linked arms with Constance and shot a dismissive glance at Kirsty.Constance disengaged her arm.“And you’re very welcome, Kirsty.” She smiled. “Now, tell us about your adventures as an artist’s model!”Kirsty grinned.“I fell asleep once fell off the plinth! I thought I’d get the sack, but the class couldna stop laughing, and luckily it was Mr Scoular in charge that day. He’s a nice man, so everything was all right.”Clarissa looked bored.“I wonder if old Dinnimont’ll be on sentry duty today?” she remarked as they reached the front door of the big double-fronted house.Mrs Dinnimont was a tall, stately woman with a crown of silver hair which matched the silver-topped walking-stick used to tap out warning of her approach. Her aristocratic face registered permanent disapproval.Josh was referred to as a “house guest” rather than a lodger. He was tucked away out of sight in one of the attics, and it had been made clear to him that he would have to do his own cooking and cleaning. Mrs Dinnimont had been used to servants and felt that cooking was “beneath her”. The whole house nestled beneath a fine layer of dust, because Mrs Dinnimont kept falling out with the succession of girls who came to clean it.“Josh is here simply because I am a patron of the arts. And that is why, from time to time, I will give you the use of my front parlour,” had been her first announcement to the friends.Which was also why, from time to time, they gathered there rather than in the crowded caf near the Art School. Josh served tea and coffee, and for a few precious hours the talk of famous artists, plans for the future and all those things that mattered to art students swirled round and round.There were rules to be kept, of course. The parlour door must remain open. No-one must visit any other part of the house except Josh, who had the freedom of the kitchen.“And there must be no hilarity or hanky-panky!” she warned sternly.