Books: The Tells of Childhood

THE LITTLE GIRLS by Elizabeth Bowen. 307 pages. Knopf. $4.95.

Dicey, Mumbo and Sheikie were bosomless chums at St. Agatha's, an all-too-proper girls' school in the south of England. They carried on like so many Peck's bad boys in bloomers, planted a gelignite bomb in a bicycle shed, conned free rides in horse-drawn victorias, raced down High Street frothing at the mouth with lemon sherbet powder to convince townspeople that they were possessed by devils. But their biggest adventure in that ill-fated summer of 1914 came the night they buried a coffer of "valuable...

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