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ENID BLYTONS OMNIBUS!

Other Books by Enid Blyton


BIRDS OK OUR GARDENS THE ANIMAL BOOK MR. GALLIANO'S CIRCUS HURRAH FOR THE CIRCUS I CIRCUS DAYS AGAIN COMIC TO THE CIRCUS ! THE ADVENTUROUS FOUR THE ADVENTUROUS FOUR AGAIN ! THE NAUGHTIEST GIRL IN THE SCHOOL ' THE NAUGHTIEST GIRL AGAIN THE NAUGHTIEST GIRL IS A MONITOR THE ENCHANTED WOOD THE MAGIC FARAWAY TREE THE FOLK OF THE FARAWAY TREE ADVENTURES OF THE WISHING-CHAIR THE WISHING-CHAIR AGAIN NAUGHTY AMELIA JANE AMELIA JANE AGAIN ! THE ADVENTURES OF BINKLE AND FLIP THE BOOK OF FAIRIES THE BOOK OF BROWNIES MISTER MEDDLE'S MISCHIEF MISTER MEDDLE'S MUDDLES THE ADVENTURES OF MR. PINK-WHISTLE MR. PINK-WHISTLE INTERFERES HELLO, MR. TWIDDLE ! DON'T BE SILLY, MR. TWIDDLE ! BIMBO AND TOPSY THE THREE GOLLIWOGS JOSIE, CLICK AND BUN AND THE LITTLE TREE HOUSE THE FURTHER ADVENTURES OF JOSIE, CLICK AND BUN JOSIE, CLICK AND BUN AGAIN MORE ABOUT JOSIE, CLICK AND BUN WELCOME, JOSIE, CLICK AND BUN ! DAME SLAP AND HER SCHOOL BUMPY AND HIS BUS UP THE FARAWAY TREE

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Copyright All Rights Reserved

First published 1952

Printed in Great Britain by Wyman & Sons Ltd. London, Reading and Fakenham

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PASSENGERS IN THE OMNIBUS

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JOURNEY I:

OFF WITH THE ADVENTUROUS FOUR AGAIN!


JOURNEY II:

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GOOD OLD WISHING-CHAIR !


JOURNEY III:

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A CIRCUS ADVENTURE.

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JOURNEY IV:

THE FARAWAY TREE


JOURNEY V:

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HERE'S THE NAUGHTIEST GIRL AGAIN!

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PASSENGERS IN THE OMNIBUS


Off With the Adventurous Four Again!
Illustrations: Jessie Land Story: Sunny Stories Nos.521 - 524 Nov 30, 1951 - Jan 11, 1952

Good Old Wishing-Chair!


Illustrations: Hilda McGavin Story: Sunny Stories Nos.525 - 528 Jan 25 - Mar 7, 1952

A Circus Adventure {Galliano's Circus}


Illustrations: E.H. Davie Story: Sunny Stories Nos.529 - 532 Mar 21 - May 2, 1952

The Faraway Tree


Illustrations: Dorothy M. Wheeler Story: Sunny Stories Nos.533 - 536 May 16 - Jun 27, 1952

Here's the Naughtiest Girl Again!


Illustrations: Bruno Kay Story: Sunny Stories Nos.537 - 541 Jun 11 - Sep 5, 1952

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OFF WITH THE ADVENTUROUS FOUR AGAIN!


I. Which Island Shall We Choose ? II. "Hadn't We Better Look Out?" III. There's Something Very Peculiar! IV. Quite a Nice Little Outing, Wasn't It?

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CHAPTER I WHICH ISLAND SHALL WE CHOOSE?


A FISHER-BOY stood by his red-sailed fishing boat. He screwed up his eyes in the sun, and watched a little house not far off. Would those three children never come ? He sat down on the edge of his fine little fishing-boat. It was called the Andy, and that was the boy's name, too. Andy was tall and brown and his eyes shone like the blue sea behind him. He drummed his bare heels impatiently on the side of the boat. Then he heard a yell and saw three children racing out of the little house he had been watching. " Here they are at last! " he said, and stood up, waving. Tom came first, a wiry boy of twelve, with flaming red hair. Then came the twins, his sisters Mary and Jill, their long golden plaits flying behind them. They flung themselves on Andy and almost" knocked him over. " Now, now," he said, fending them off. " You're late. I almost set off without you." " Sorry, Andybut Mother made us finish some jobs," said Jill. " Anyway, we've got all the day, haven't we ? And it doesn't even matter what time we get back to-night because Mother's going to spend the night with a friendand there's only deaf old Jeanie at home. She says she's not going to wait up for us! We can creep in any time we like. So hurrah for a day on the sea ! "

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" Got plenty of food, Andy ?" asked Tom anxiously. "Any sausages?" " Ay, there's a tin for you," said Andy, grinning. " What a one you are for sausages, Tom. Look down in the cabin and see if you think there's enough food to last you! " Tom squinted down into the tiny cabin. Yes, there seemed plenty to eat and drink. Good. " Help me up with the sail," called Andy. " There's a strong breeze this morning. We'll scud along at a fine pace." Once on the sea, the two boys put up the sail. Andy took the tiller. The wind filled the little red sail and the boat fled along like a live thing. ' This is what I like," said Jill, contentedly, letting her hand drag in the cool, clear water. " The look of the sea, the smell of the sea, and the feel of the sea. Lovely ! " " I think every single boy and girl ought to have a boat," announced Mary.A boat to row and to
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sail. There's nothing like it! Oh, Andyaren't you lucky to have a boat of your very own like this ? Oooohwhat a lot of spray ! I'm drenched ! " The boat had cut into a sudden wave and a shower of salty spray had fallen over the twins. They shook "their golden heads. " Lovely ! " said Mary-. " Do it again, Andy!" " Where are we going ? " asked Tom. " Have you made up your mind yet, Andy ? You said you'd take us to one of the little islands round about." , "I've not made up my mind!" said Andy, his brown hand on the tiller. " I thought maybe we'd just cruise round a few, and you could pick one you fancied. We could have a picnic there." ' One with birds, please," said Jill. " Yes. With tame birds," said Mary, " tame enough to let us go right up to them." Andy laughed. "Right! You can pick one. with tame birds then. But don't blame me if you get pecked." The boat sped on over the water. The sea was a cornflower blue in the distance, but round the boat it was a lovely emerald green, and it glittered as they cut through it. " The land is getting farther and farther away," said Jill. " It's almost as if the coast was going away from us, not us away from the coast! What a good thing there's a stiff breeze." " Yes. We'd be cooked if there wasn't," said Tom. " Andy, did you catch a lot of fish this week ? Was your father pleased ? " " He was fine and pleased," said Andy. " If he hadn't been I'd not have been given this day off. Like to take a turn at the tiller, Tom ? She's going beautifully this morningseems as if she's enjoying the trip as much as we are ! " Jill patted the little boat. " Of course she's enjoying it," she said. " That's what's so nice about a boat.

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She comes alive on the sea, and enjoys everything, too. I'd like to be a boat and rush along like this, bouncing and bobbing over the waves." " Yesand it must be nice at night to make your bed on the waters and hear the little plash-plash-plash against your sides," said Mary. " And lovely to feel your sail billow out and pull you along ! " The land was now so far away that it was impossible to see even the high church tower. The coast lay like a blue, undulating line on the horizon. The Andy had certainly gone at top speed with the wind !

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" Let's look out for the islands now," said Andy. " We'll be seeing them soon." " I suppose we'll be the only people on any of them," said Tom. "That's what I like. I don't like crowds. I like to be with a few people I like and go adventuring. That's the life for me ! " " Well, you seem to enjoy school all right," said Jill, lazily. " Whenever we come down for your Sports Day you're always right in the very middle of a yelling, pushing crowd of boysI don't see you huddled away in a corner with just one or two." " Oh, wellschool's different," said Tom. " It's nice being in a crowd then. AhI see the first island ! " Everyone looked where Tom pointed. It was so small and so far away that at first the girls couldn't see it, though Andy's sharp, long-sighted eyes had actually seen it even before Tom had. " Yes, that's an island," said Jill. " What sort is it, Andy?" " No good to us," said Andy. " Just a half-mile or so of bare rock. Even the birds don't like it much. The waves sweep it from end to end in a storm." " Golly ! I'd like to be on it in a storm, and feel the waves sweeping round my feet," said Tom. " You wouldn't! They'd sweep round your neck ! " said Andy, drily. " Lookwe're coming near it now. It's not much of an island." The Andy swooped nearer. " No," said Tom, " it's a poor sort of islandall sea weedy. I can't see even a bird. We pass this one by ! On, Andy, on ! " They left the rocky little island behind, and another one loomed up, with yet another to the right. " This is fun," said Jill, standing up and taking hold of the mast. " Andy, do you know every one of these little islands scattered on the sea here? "
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" Oh no," said Andy. " There are too many about fifty or sixty, I should think. All too small or too bleak to live on, besides being too far from the mainland for comfort. I know some of them and I've landed on a good few. Now, you watch carefully as we cruise by and see if there's one to your liking tame birds and all! " They sailed by island after island. Some were flattish, some had towering rocks, some were bare and some were covered with wiry grass and pink sea-thrift. Most of them were very small and some were joined to each other by long ridges of rock. " There's one with birds! " cried Jill, pointing. " Look ! And it seems a nice kind of island, with plenty of grass and cushions of thrift. Sail round it, Andy." Andy took the tiller from Tom and the boat made a tour round the little island. At one part Andy thought he wouldn't get round, because a ridge of rock ran right out on to the next island. But his sharp eyes caught sight of a little channel where the rocky ridge appeared to break or dip down. He cautiously sailed the Andy up and peered down. The water was deep and clearso on went the Andy through the narrow little channel between the rocky ridges. "WellI think this is the island for us," said Tom. " It looks well-grown with grass, and there are plenty of birds aboutespecially on that high cliff on the west side of the island. Let's land here, Andy." Andy looked about for a cove to send the boat into. He saw exactly what he wanteda sloping". sandy cove where waves ran up and back. He waited for a big wave and then rode in on it. He leapt out as the wave ran back, and held the boat. He flung the rope round a convenient rock.

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They all sprang out. The wet sand felt cool to their hot feet. They pulled the boat up a little way, but she was too heavy to pull up far. "Nowshall we explore firstor watch the birds of have a meal ? " said Jill. " I bet I know what Tom will say. He'll want his sausages ! That means we'll have to make a fire to cook them." " No," said Tom. " It's too hot for sausages. We'll open a tin of ham and have it with the new bread Jeanie gave us. Andy, let's get out enough food and carry it with us now, and go to find a good place to have it in." They chose out the food they wanteda tin of ham, the bread, two crisp lettuces in a wet cloth, a bag of red tomatoes, and a basket of ripe plums. " That's what I call a jolly nice meal," said Tom, pleased. " What about the drinks ? I Could drink a bathful of lemonade!" " Well, find the bath first," said Jill. " I've got

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the drinksa bottle of orangeade and a bottle of water to go with it. Or perhaps I'd better bring two bottles of waterif you're all as thirsty as I am you'll need them ! " They set off, carrying the food. Tom suddenly stopped. " Blow ! We've left behind the tin-opener as usual. Why do we always forget it ? " " I've got it," said Andy. " Come on. What about going up to the top of that cliff there ? There are plenty of birds on the rocky ledges to watch. We'll get a fine breeze there, too." " And a wonderful view ! " said Jill. " And cushions of pink thrift to sit on ! " said Mary. " It's so nice of it to grow in tufts like this. I like the little pink flowers, too. I sayisn't the sea blue ! " It certainly wasand when they were all sitting on cushions of thrift, high up on the cliff, it seemed unbelievably blue. The breeze blew strongly and kept them nice and cool. " This is fine," said Tom, opening the tin of ham. " Nobody near us for miles and miles and miles. No trippers. .No horrible litter. Just us and the birds and the sea." <( A very, very peaceful day," said Jill. But she spoke too soon. It wasn't going to be quite such a .peaceful day as she though

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CHAPTER II "HADN'T WE BETTER LOOK OUT?"


THE picnic lasted quite a long time. Tom said it was a pity to leave any of the ham, so they didn't. The tomatoes were so nice and juicy that they went far too quickly, and Tom said he'd like some more. All right. Have as many as you like," said Jill. " But you'll have to go and get them. You've just finished the last one." Tom was too lazy to get up and go back to the boat. So he delved into the basket of plums instead. Jill hastily removed it after a bit. " There ought to be quite a nice lot of plum trees springing up on this island next year," said Tom, spitting out his sixth stone. " People coming here will be most astonished. I say look at that gull. It's coming right up to us. Well, you wanted tame birds, Jill. Here's one for you." The gull was a young one. It was quite unafraid, and had probably never even seen a human being before. It was very inquisitive indeed. The children watched it, wonderingly. It walked right up to Tom, put its head on one side and stared at him solemnly. Tom put his head on one side and stared back. The twins laughed. The gull then stared at Tom's bare feet, lunged at his big toe and gave it an enormous peck. Tom gave a tremendous yell, and rolled away quickly. He sat

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up and rubbed his bruised toe, glaring at the surprised gull. " What did you do that for ? Don't you know a toe when you see one ? You're too tame for my liking. Go away and be wild ! " The gull listened, and then walked over to Andy, who held out a bit of bread to it. It pecked at it, swallowed greedily and looked round for more. It walked right over Andy's legs and made for Tom again. The twins roared. Andy made a noise like a gull calling, and the bird looked even more surprised. It

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opened its great wings and flapped them, giving an answering call. " My wordwhat a wind'" said Tom. "Hey, gull, you almost blew my hair off then. Can't you go and flap yourself a bit farther off ? Oh, my, he's coming for me again." The gull caused them a great deal of amusement. It was so very friendly and so very inquisitive. It pecked at the ribbons on the girls' plaits, it stood on Jill's foot, it even tried to sit on Tom's head but he wouldn't let it. It pecked a plum out of the basket and swallowed it whole, stone and all. "Here! That's enough ! " said Tom, in a hurry, snatching the basket up. "You've had the plum I'd got my eye on. Don't you know they're bad for gulls ? " " My wordhere come a few of his friends," said Andy, amused. Sure enough three or four more gulls were walking up to join their friend. Tom stood up. " I feel it's time to go," he said. " I shan't have a toe left to stand on, soon ! " But the gulls were scared when he suddenly stood

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up, and with a great sweep of wings they flew back " to their rocky ledge on the cliff, where they sat together, looking out to sea. Tom sat down again. , The picnic was soon finished, and all the orangeade was drunk. " Have to take the bags and tin and bottles back to the boat," said Jill, sleepily. " Who's going to ? " " Oh, let's sit here in peace for a while," said Mary. " I could do with a nap. But first I'm going to climb up to the top of that little rocky hill and see how many islands I can see from there. I should be able to see all round the island then." She got up and climbed the rocky hill. It went up almost to a point, and Mary sat right at the very top, enjoying the strong breeze and the hot sun. Islands to the left, islands to the right, islands all found ! How exciting they looked ! How queer that nobody lived there. They were empty except for the birds. Not even a rabbit lived on the little rocky islands. Mary gazed at the next island to theirs the one almost joined to it by the ridge of rock through which was the channel where their boat had sailed. It looked an island much like theirs, but far rougher and hillier. And then Mary stared. She could see something. But what was it ? Something white was flying and fluttering in the air. Not smoke. It didn't look like smoke. It looked almost like tiny white birds. She called to Jill. " Jillhave you got the glasses ? Bring them here, will you ? I want to look through them at something puzzling on the next island." Jill brought them. Mary set them to her eyes and stared through them. Now she would be able to see what the white things were.

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" How very queer ! " she said. " They look exactly like bits of paperletters or something ! They can't be, though. No trippers ever come to these islands. Look through the glasses, Jill, and see what you think! " Jill focused the glasses on the white things. She nodded. " Yesit's paper of some kind, flying in the breeze. How peculiar. Who would come here with paper and let it loose on an island ? It's just nonsense." By now the boys were interested, too, and they came up. Each in turn looked through the glasses, and all of them agreed that for some reason or other papers were flying about on the next island. " But whose papersand how did they get there and why ? " said Tom, puzzled. " Dropped by an aeroplane ? " suggested Jill. " What! Dropped on a lonely island like that ? What for ? " said Tom, scornfully. " Or do you mean by accident ? " " WellI suppose it might have been by accident," said Jill. " These islands are off the route of any aeroplane," said Andy. " You'll not see one here from one year's end to another. Those papers could only have been brought by boat." " WellI suppose we must just put them down to trippers ! " said Mary. " How disgusting ! Why bring a load of newspapersor whatever they are and leave them there to fly about ? " " It's a bit peculiar," said Andy. " Well, come on, we can't stay here all day looking at papers flying about. Let's take our own litter back to the boat. And then what shall we do ? Explore this island ? Make -friends with any more gulls ? " " Oh, nonot that," said Tom, hastily. " I can

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hardly walk as it is, my big toe is so bruised. No let's do a spot of exploring." " I'd like to go and see what those papers are, flying about the next island," said Jill, unexpectedly. " Wellthat's not a bad idea," said Tom. " Not at all a bad idea. The thing ishow do we get there ? By boat ? It would be a bit of a fag to get the Andy and sail off again." " Wellcouldn't we walk along that ridge of rocks and swim across the little channel we went through, and then climb up the opposite ridge of rocks and Walk to the next island that way ? " asked Jill. " Oh, yes ! We meant to have a bathe, anyway ! " said Mary, pleased. " Let's go back to the boat with our bottles and things, change into our bathing-suits, and go off to the next island for the afternoon. We can easily swim across that little channel. It will make an exciting bathe."

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Everyone thought this a very good idea. They went back to the Andy with their litter, and changed into bathing-things. " Lovely ! " said Jill. " It's far too hot to wear clothes to-day. I wonder we didn't come out in bathing-suits, anyway ! " The tide was hi a little, but the Andy was quite safe. The children stowed away their litter, and put the bottles and the basket into the cabin. Tom got some bars of chocolate and put them into a waterproof bag round his neck. " Just in case we get hungry before we get back," he explained. " You never know ! " " Well, after that enormous meal I don't feel as if I shall be hungry for about two days," said Jill. " / shan't want any of your chocolate ! " They set off. They soon came to where the rocky ridge stretched out from their own island. They walked lightly along it in their bare feet. They soon found that it was better to walk on the lower part, which was occasionally washed by the waves, than on the upper part, which was burnt hot by the sun and scorched their feet. It was fairly easy to cross the ridge, though sometimes they had to clamber round on hands and knees in case they slipped. They came to where the rocks dipped right down into the sea, making the little channel way. They climbed down to where the ridge reached the water and looked into the channel. " Can't see any bottom at all," said Tom, peering down. " Looks as if the rocks break off. Well, in we go, and swim across. It looks gorgeous ! " They dived in one after another. They could all swim like fish, of course, and even the girls were very strong swimmers. They swam swiftly across the gleaming channel, enjoying the cool water on their bodies. They didn't want to climb out when they

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got to the other side, it was so lovely in the water. So they swam about for a bit, splashing one another, and clutching at legs, and swimming under the water with their eyes open, watching for anything exciting down below. But there was nothing to see, not even a fish, and at last they pulled themselves up on the rocks opposite. " Well! I'm still hot! " said Jill. " Wasn't that lovely ? " " Heavenly," said Mary. " I'm not hot, though. I'd like to climb up the ridge and go on to the next island." " Well, come on, then," said Andy. " I'd like to go, too." They clambered along that ridge and came to the next island. It was not as green as theirs, though cushions of seapinks grew here and there, and tufts of wiry grass sprang up where there was any earth. " Nowwhereabouts did we see that paper flying ? " said Jill, stopping. " Oh lookthat's a bit, I'm sure ! Yes, it is look, blowing over there." They ran to the piece of paper. It flapped along like a live thing. Tom pounced on it and picked it up. The others crowded round him. " It's a kind of document," said Tom. " It's got all kinds of queer numbers and things on itand look, where it's torn, there's a bit of a plan or something. What can it be ? " " I don't know," said Jill. " Butit looks sort of important to me ! Let's go and pick up some of the other papers. They must be somewhere about. This is really very peculiar. Tomyou don't suppose there's anyone here, do you ? Hadn't we better look out ? "

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CHAPTER III THERE'S SOMETHING VERY PECULIAR!


FOR the first time the four children felt that there might be someone else on the islands besides themselves ! It wasn't really a very nice thought. Where was the boat that anyone else might have come in ? There was no sign of one. It might, of course, be hidden away in some cove they couldn't see. On the other hand, someone might have come and goneleaving behind a mass of papers to blow about. But how very strange, if so ! " Let's find some more papers," said Jill, and they went forward, keeping a look-out. It wasn't long before they came on four or five more, flapping about in the breeze. They were much the same as the first one they had picked up, except that one was on blue paper instead of cream. " More figuresmore plans," said Tom, looking at them. " And such tiny writing I can hardly read it and if I could read it all I'd not understand it! Andy, what are these papers ?" " I don't know much about these things," said the fisherboy, slowly, " but it seems to me they're plans of some kind. I don't know what of. Maybe a building, maybe a liner, maybe a submarineI don't know. But why they're blowing about here beats me ! If they're stolenand I think they may bewhy scatter them over an island ! Why not use them,

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copy them perhaps and then burn them ? Or at least keep them in some safe place ? It's queer." "Who do they belong to, anyway ? " said Jill, looking all round as if she expected the owner to appear. " Someone must have brought them here. Where's he gone ? " " Goodness knows," said Andy. " But I tell you what I think I think we should collect all we see and take them back to the Andy with us. If they're important it would be the right thing to doand if they're notwell, it won't matter." "Yes. That's a good idea," said Jill, and she picked up a few more. She Straightened them out, folded them neatly, and put them together. The others began to do the same.

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Then Tom gave an exclamation. " I say! Come and look here ! " He was behind a rock. The others ran to him at once. They saw him bending over what looked like a suit-case. It was open, and from it came the papers that flew about everywhere ! Even as they looked, the wind tugged at another in the case, and sent it high into the air. Mary caught it. It was a blue one, and had another lot of figures and diagrams on it. " A suit-case! " said Andy, amazed. " Full of papers. Who put it there ? And why has it been left open ? " " More and more mysterious," said Jill. She looked carefully at the suit-case. It was not a very good oneit was made of imitation leather and had cheap locks. She suddenly saw that one end of it was badly dented. " Look," she said. " See the dentit's had a fall been dropped from a height, I should think. Goodness, do you suppose an aeroplane has dropped it ? " '.*' No ! It would have been bashed to pieces," said Tom. He looked at the dented end of the case, and then glanced upwards. They were in a rocky spot, open to the wind and sun except behind them where a tall cliff rose up, towering high. " I bet it's fallen from somewhere on this rocky wall," said Tom. " If it did, whichever end it fell on would be dented by the rock it hitthe case would burst open its claspsand the papers would fly out one by one in the wind. That's the solution, I think." " Yes. But it doesn't solve the question of who owns the case, how it got here, and why it fell off the cliff," said Andy, soberly. " I rather think there must be people on this island." " I hope not," said Jill. " I don't feel as if I should like them very much."

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They looked up at the rocky cliff above them. About twothirds of the way up a dark place showed. Was it a cave of some sort ? " I'll go up and see," said Andy, and began to clamber up at once. The others watched him in silence. Andy came to the cave and looked in at the entrance. Then he made a sign to the others to be silent, and very quietly he clambered back. " Two men there," he whispered. " Sound asleep. On the ledge of the cave's entrance there is another casebut it seems only to have clothes in. There's a picnic basket, too. Who in the world are they ? And how did they get here and why ? " " I can't think," said Tom, puzzled. " Unless unless they've stolen all these plans and documents, got a boat in the night, came here, and are waiting for someone to fetch the casewaiting to hand everything over for payment." " You may be right," said Andy. " Anyway, I think we should pick up all the papers we can see, stuff them into the case and take it away with us. There's something very peculiar about the whole thing. We'd better be quick, though. Those men may wake up at any minute." The four children began to stuff the papers into the case as fast as they could. But, before they could finish picking up every one, they heard the sound of voices from the cave above. " Quick ! " said Tom, shutting the case in a hurry, " we'd better take this and go. They'll be out in a minute. If we keep behind this hill we can get down to the ridge, of rocks without being seen." They set off as quietly as they could, Andy and Tom carrying the suit-case between them. It wasn't really very heavy because it only held papers. They hurried as much as possible and came to the rocky ridge.

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" Get to the other side, then if the men come out of the cave and look- round they won't see us," said Andy. So down they clambered to the east side of the ridge and kept out of sight as they made their way to the channel between the rocks. But there they had a setback. How were they going to get the suit-case across the channel without soaking the papers inside and probably destroying them ? That was a puzzle! They couldn't risk wetting the papersthey might be quite priceless. " Look hereI've got an idea," said Andy at last. " Let's hide the suit-case somewhere here. Then I'll swim across by myself, go along the ridge on the other side, make my way to the Andy, and push her off on the water. I'll sail her here, to the channel, and you can all get into her as I passand chuck the suit-case down on deck. It won't hurt itand if it bursts open again, well, we must just see that the wind doesn't get the papers ! " " jolly good idea," said Tom. " You go off now, Andy, and get the boat. We'll hide the suit-case somewhere near and wait for you." Andy slid into the water, and they watched him swim swiftly across the little channel. He clambered out on the other side, waved to them, and then went across the rocks to the mainland. He disappeared, and the others sat down and looked at one another. " Suppose those men go looking for the suit-case and find us ? " said Jill, fearfully. " What do we say ? " " We just say we're picnicking here for the day," said Tom. " And we'll say we're being picked up by somebody later on. That's perfectly truebut the men may think that a boat has dropped us here for the day and will fetch us this evening." " I seeso they won't guess we've already got a boat here
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and are going off in itwith the papers ! " said Jill. " I do wish we hadn't got to stick on this island, because of the suit-case. I'd feel much safer on the other one !" " So would I," said Mary. " I don't know why we didn't go with Andyexcept that I don't want to leave Tom on his own." " I wouldn't have minded," said Tom. " Look out I can hear the men. They sound pretty angry ! " Sure enough, the two men appeared in the distance, and the children cowered down behind a rock. " We haven't hidden the suit-case yet. We are idiots ! " whispered Tom. He pulled it nearer to him, and looked round desperately for a hiding-place. " Lookthere's a hole under this rock," whispered Jill. " It would just about take the case. Shove it under, and I'll pull off -some seaweed and drape it over the hole to hide the case ! " Tom pushed the case into the hole quickly, and the girls pulled seaweed from the rocks around and began to drape

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it so that the hole and the suit-case were well-hidden. Jill sat with her legs dangling over it, and her heart began to beat quickly as she heard the voices of the men coming nearer. " They've seen us ! " said Tom. " They'll yell in a minute." He was right. The men suddenly caught sight of them -and stopped in astonishment. " Hey ! You children ! What in the world are you doing here ? " shouted one of the men, " Hallo ! We're here picnicking for the day ! " yelled Tom, waving as if he were pleased to see them. " Are you ? This is a nice island, isn't it ? " The two men came right up. They looked wary and suspicious. " Look here," said the other man, who had a beard and looked rather fierce, " look here we've lost a suit-case. Have you seen one ? " " A suit-case ! What a funny thing to lose on an island like this ! " said Jill, with a laugh. " I expect it's blown out to sea with the papers ! " " What papers ? " snapped the first man. " Did you see any ?1-" " Oh, yesthey were blowing about all over the place," said Mary. " Heaps of them. I expect there are plenty scattered over the island still. They can't all have blown out to sea ! " " How did the case get open ? And where is it now ? " said the bearded man, to his friend. He turned to the .children again. "How did you get here ? By boat ? " "Oh yes, of course," said Tom. " But we've got to wait till we're picked up again." " I see. I suppose the boat dropped you here this morning, and will pick you up this evening," said the first man.

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" When are you going ? " asked Jill, innocently. " Is a boat coming to pick you up, too ? Did you come to watch the birds or something ? " " Eryes, yeswe're bird-watchers," said the bearded, man, hurriedly. " Weerwe had a suitcase full of papers about birdsnotes, you know and we're upset to find our case gone, and the papers, too. We'll have to look over the island and pick up all we can. Erwhat part of the island is your boat coming to call for you ? " " Lookthere's a paper ! " cried Tom, anxious to get away from the subject of boats. The men turned and saw a piece in the distance. One ran to get it. The other joined him and they looked at it, nodding.

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They talked together for a while, and then came back to the children, looking stern. " Now look here," said the bearded man, " we're not satisfied with what you've told us. We think you've got that suit-case somewhereand what is more we think you may have a boat in some cove or other. Tell us the truth and we'll let you goif not, well, we'll find your boat, scuttle her, and leave you here on this deserted island by yourselves ! " " All right," said Tom, boldly, " if you think we're thieves, and aren't telling the truth, you look for the suit-case and hunt in every cove of this island for our boat! " " We will! " said the bearded man, getting angry. He turned to his friend. " Stay here and watch these kids," he said. "I'm going all over the island to see if I can find where they've put the caseand I'm going to look for their boat, too. That'll be the end of it if I find it! " " I'll watch the kids," said the other man grimly, and he sat down nearby. Tom winked at the two frightened girls. The men didn't for one moment dream that their boat was on the next island, not on this onenor did they dream that the suit-case was at that moment under Jill's dangling legs ! But, oh dearhow Tom hoped that Andy didn't come too soon with the boat!

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CHAPTER IV QUITE A NICE LITTLE OUTING, WASN'T IT ?


THE bearded man went off to look for the suitcase and the boat. On the way the children saw him bend down to pick up one or two more papers. " We must have missed those," they thought. " Blow ! " Tom got up and clambered up and down the rocks. Mary joined him. But Jill sat still, feeling that if she didn't sit on the seaweed that dangled down over the hidden suit-case, it might slip and expose it! That would be dreadful. " By the way," said Tom, going up to the man who was watching them, " you said you were bird-watchers, didn't you? Have you seen that lovely Cormorpetrel ? And did you notice all the Kittygillies ? Lovely, aren't they ? " The girls knew that Tom was making up these birdnames but the man didn't. He nodded surlily. ' Yes, lovely birds." ' Where did you say your boat was ? " asked Tom, beginning to enjoy himself. " Or did somebody drop you here ? And is somebody coming to fetch you ? If not we could give you a lift home ourselves." The man scowled. " Keep your mouth shut," he said. "I'm not talking to silly kids like you. You tell me where your boat is and I'll tell you where mine is ! " " Can't tell you that if I'm to keep my mouth shut ! " said Tom. " Anyway, your friend will soon tell you if he finds our boat."

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It seemed a long time till the bearded man came back. He must have walked over the tiny island two or three times, hunting here and there, and he had also walked all round the beaches and examined every little inlet to see if he could find a boat. When at last he came towards them once more the children saw that he had picked up quite a few papers. He shook his head as he came up to the first man. "No boat," he said. " I've looked in every cove. They told the truththeir boat is nowhere on this island they must be going to be picked up to-night. I haven't found the suitcase, though." " Perhaps one of those big gulls carried it off, said Jill

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innocently, pointing to where an enormous gull glided with widespread wings over their heads. " Pah ! " said the man. " Well, let me tell you this, you kids if you've taken that suitcase of ours, we shall know it because we shall be on the watch for your boat to come tonightand if we see you going down to it with a suitcase, you'll be very VERY sorry. Fred, go up to that hill-top there and sit down. You can see all round the island from there and you'd see a boat coming in miles away. The mainland is over there keep a strict watch in that direction and all round too." The other man nodded. He got up and walked to the hill the bearded man pointed out. It was in the middle of the island and was very high. He sat himself down on the top. The bearded man gave the three children one of his best scowls, and went off, apparently to look for more blown-about papers. ' He won't find many more," whispered Tom. ' We picked up practically all there were! Gosh-if only

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he knew that Jill is sitting practically on top of his precious suit-case ! " " Don't! " said Jill. " I felt as if he must see it through my legs and the seaweed every time he looked in my direction." " What do we do now ? " asked Mary. " Wait for Andy ? That man up on the hill will spot the red sail as soon as Andy comes round." " If only we could tell Andy not to put it up ! " said Tom. " If he rowed round he might not be seen. Those rocks would hide him, and I don't think that fellow up there can see right down to where we are, I'm pretty sure he can't see the channel." "Andy's a jolly long time," said Mary. "I feel rather worried about him. Surely he should be here by now ? " " Yes, he should," said Tom. " I'm just wondering if he's found that he can't shove the boat off. It might have sunk down into the sand or something. Anyway, the tide was coming in so he might be able to get it on the water then. We can only wait. Oh, I say \ I've just thought of something ! " " What ? " said the two girls, eagerly. " This," said Tom, producing the waterproof bag he had brought. " The chocolate ! You could do with it now, I bet! Or do you still feel you can't eat anything, Jill ? " "I feel frightfully hungry," said Jill. "Thank goodness you brought the chocolate. I expect it's all squishy and smells of oil-skin, but I shan't mind ! " It was squishy, and it did smell of oilskin, but certainly no one minded. They ate it all except for a piece they kept for Andy. " I wonder what the time is," said Jill at last. " The sun's going down. I do wish Andy would come. I suppose you could slip into the water, swim across

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the channel and go and find Andy, couldn't you, Tom ? He might have had an accident, or something." Tom considered. " No. I don't think I'd better do that. If that fellow up there saw me, I would give the game away properly. He'd guess our boat was on the next island if he spotted me swimming across. But I'll go when it's a bit darker." " Let's play catch or something," said Mary. " I'm getting a bit cold in my bathing-things. It'll warm us up ! " So they played rather a dangerous game of catch on the rocks. Still, it warmed them up. By the time they were tired of it the sun was just disappearing. " Now it will soon get dark," said Jill. " Hallo ! Here's Mr. Beard again ! " So it was. He came up to the children. " It looks as if your boat isn't coming for you," he said. ' What do you suppose has happened ? Weren't they going to pick you up in daylight ? " "I can't imagine what's happened!" said Tom, truthfully. ' What about your boat ? Is it coming at night ? A motor-boat, perhaps ? " The bearded man didn't answer. He joined the other man on the hill, and they talked earnestly together. Tom suddenly gave the girls a nudge. " Look ! Our boat! The sail isn't up, thank goodness ! Andy's rowing." ' They won't see him nowit's getting too dark," said Jill. " What about the suit-case ? Do we get it out now ? " " No. Not till the boat is exactly in the middle of the channel. Then we'll drag out the case and drop it, plonk, on the deck," said Tom. " I'll do that. You two girls go down to the lowest rock now, ready to dive in and swim to the boat."

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Jill and Mary went obediently down to the lowest rocks and waited, trembling with excitement. They could just make out the two men sitting on the high, rocky hill, Andy and the boat came nearer and nearer. How the children hoped he would not hail them ! He didn't. He rowed carefully into the channel and at once spotted the two girls. They dived in cleanly and swam the few strokes to the boat. And at that moment one of the men gave a loud shout. " What's that ? Lookit's a boata rowing boat, too ! Where did it come from ? Quick, those children will be away in it. Stop itwe must stop it! " Andy pulled the two girls into the boat, and then worked it as near to the rocks as he could without danger. He could see Tom dragging out the suit-case from under the seaweedy rock. " Quick ! " he called. " They're coming ! Quick, Tom ! " Poor Tom was being as quick as ever he could but the suit-case had swollen a little with the damp under the rock, and was now jammed fast. He tugged and tugged, hearing the shouts and the running foot-steps coming nearer and nearer. BLOW ! Would this suit-case never come out ? It came out with such a rush that Tom fell down the rock below and almost rolled right down into the water. He clutched at a handful of seaweed and saved himself. The suitcase slid on top of him. He rolled over, got up, snatched at the handle and went as quickly as he dared over the slippery rocks. A big stone came whizzing near his head. He ducked. Goodness ! Those fellows were throwing bits of rock and stones at him ! Another stone hit the suit-case, and then one glanced off his ankle, making him wince.

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" Chuck it, heave it in ! " shouted Andy. " I'm just here I'm near enough for you to jump in, too. Come on, Tom ! " Tom saw the boat just below him. He heaved the suitcase up and threw it down to the boat. It almost knocked Andy over. The girls pulled it quickly to one side and waited for Tom to jump in, too. But he missed his footing and fell between the boat and the rocks. He spluttered and gasped and grabbed at the side of the boat. Andy caught hold of him and hauled him in. A large piece of rock bounced on deck and the girls screamed. Andy seized the oars and rowed for dear life. The men clambered swiftly down the rocks and came to

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the channel. But the boat had slid out of it now and was making for the open sea. " Come onwe'll swim after it! " yelled the bearded man. " We can catch it! " Both men dived in and began a terrific side-crawl, making headway at once. " The sail! Put up the sail! " shouted Andy, rowing frantically. " Tom, Jill, Maryput up the sail! " The three worked desperately at the ropes. The sail unfolded. It went upit shook out, and the wind immediately filled it ! Andy shipped the oars and picked up the bit of rock from the deck. He looked so fierce that the girls felt alarmed. What was he going to do? The bearded man had caught up the boat ! He was a wonderful swimmer, and he was now clinging to the side trying to haul himself up, panting hard. Andy raised the rock. " Take your hands off my boat or I'll make you ! " he shouted. " Take them off ! " The man took one look at the rock that he himself had thrown at Tom, and sank back into the sea. He wasn't going to have his hands struck by that heavy rock! The children watched him treading water, panting, glaring at them as if he would like to drown them all ! The sail was billowing out and the Andy was surging along well now, with Andy at the tiller. The man was soon lost to sight. So were the two islands ! It was getting really dark now, and Andy would have to go carefully, or they would find themselves sailing the seas till morning ! " Phew ! " said Tom, flopping down on the deck. " What an excitement! I nearly had a fit when I fell into the water instead of stepping on deck ! Andy, why were you so long ? "

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" Well, first I couldn't get the boat off the sand," said Andy. " And I thought I'd go up to that cliff-top where we had our picnic and see if I could signal to you that I'd be a bit of time coming. So up I went -and I spotted the men talking to you, so I guessed I'd better wait till it was getting dark before I brought the boat round. That's why I didn't put up the sail, of course. I didn't want it to be seen." " Clever old Andy ! " said Jill, hugging him. " We got worried about you. I bet those men are kicking themselves now. They know we've got their precious suit-case and most of the papersand we're off home with them." ' Yes, and I bet they hope the boat that is coming to get them will be along to-night! " said Mary. " Or else they'll be taken off in a police-boat! " ' We'd better telephone the police as soon as we get back," said Tom. " I'd love to know what these papers are that we've got! " Andy took them all back safely. He steered by the stars he knew so well, and by the time the moon was up the Andy was nosing along the little jetty. She was soon tied up, and the four children left her to bob peacefully there. Tom carried the suit-case home, and then rang up the police. Jeanie was in bed and fast asleep ! What she was missing ! It proved to be quite an exciting night. The papers in the suit-case were, as the children had thought, all stolen. ' Hush-hush plans for something I mustn't even mention! " said the big Superintendent, shovelling I hem back quickly into the case. " I don't know who this case belongs to but we'll borrow it for the time being. My wordhalf the police in the kingdom have been looking for these papers ! " " Are they so very valuable ? " said Tom. " Would

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it have been a terrible loss if they hadn't been found ? " " Oh, we've got copies," said the Superintendent, snapping the suit-case shut. " But the point iswe don't want anyone else to have them ; especially the fellows you got them from. They were probably waiting for a fast motor-launch to pick them up, and were going to hand them over to someone in the know and get a vast sum for them." " Shall you fetch the men yourself ? " said Jill. " No," said the Superintendent, grinning. " I guess they'll be dealt with all right by the fellows who come for the plans. We shan't hear any more of them they'll run half round the world to get away from the fury of the people who come for the plans and find they aren't there ! Wellthanks for your good work. Quite a nice little outing, wasn't it ? " " Fine," said Andy. " Best picnic we've ever had ! I could do with a few more like that, sir ! " " So could we ! " said the others, and went to the door to see Andy and the Superintendent off. " Good night! " called everyone, and Jeanie upstairs woke up with a jump. " Those children ! " she said, sleepily. " What ever have they been up to now ? "

THE END

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51

GOOD OLD WISHING-CHAIR!


I. Home for Half-Term II. Cree-ee-eak III. An Adventurous Night

IV. Land of Wishes

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CHAPTER I HOME FOR HALF-TERM


A LITTLE pixie peeped anxiously into the window of a small playroom built at the bottom of a garden. A robin flew down beside him and sang a little song. " What's the matter, Chinky ? What do you want ? What are you looking for ? " " I'm looking for Mollie and Peter," said Chinky. " I've got the Wishing-Chair hidden under a bush just near here, and I'm waiting for the children to come home, so that I can get into this playroom of theirs and put the chair safely in its corner." " But you know that the children are away at boardingschool," said the robin, with a little trill. " How foolish you are! " " I'm not," said Chinky. " They're coming home at halfterm, just for a few days. They told me so and I promised to bring the chair from my mother's, where I've been looking after ithoping that perhaps it would grow its wings just for their half-term. So I'm not foolish, you see ! " " Sorry," said the robin. " Shall I go and find out if they are up at the house ? I haven't heard them yetand usually they make a lot of noise when they come home. Wait here, and I'll find out." He flew off. He peeped into all the windows, his perky little head on one side. There was nobody to be seen at all except the cook in the kitchen. She was busy making cakes.

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" Ahthe children's favourite chocolate buns ! " thought the robin. " I can hear them now, banging at the front door. What a pity their mother isn't here to welcome them ! " Mrs. Williams, the cook, hurried to the front door. Two children burst in at once, each carrying a small case. It was Mollie and Peter, home for the half-term ! " Hallo, Mrs. Willy! Where's Mother ? " cried Peter. " Welcome home, Master Peter," said Mrs. Williams, " and you, too, Miss Mollie. Your mother says she's very, very sorry, but she's had to go off to your Granny, who's been taken ill. But she'll be home

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before you have to go back to school on Tuesdayand I'm to look after you." " Oh," said the children, disappointed. Home didn't somehow seem like home without Mother there. They felt rather miserable. " What about Daddy ?" asked Mollie. " He's away," said Mrs.Williams. "Didn't your mother tell you that in her last letter ?'' " Oh, yes," said Mollie, remembering. " I forgot. Oh dear-half-term without either Mother or Daddy how horrid ! "I've made you your favourite chocolate buns," said Mrs. Williams, following them indoors. "And I've got ice-cream for you, too, and honey in the comb. And your mother says she has ordered twenty-four bottles of ginger-beer and orangeade for you this week-end, and you can take it down to your playroom."

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" Oh, wellthat sounds good," said Peter, cheering up. ' We'll just pop upstairs with our things, Mrs. Willyand then what about your honey in the comb and chocolate buns ? We're starving ! We simply never get enough to eat at school, you know ! " " Rubbish ! " said Mrs. Williams. " You're both as plump as can be ! " The two children went up the stairs two at a time. They stood at a landing window, looking down to the bottom of the garden. They could quite well see the roof of their playroom there. They looked at each other in excitement. " I hope Chinky is there," said Mollie. " Because if he is, and has got the Wishing-Chair with him, we shall be able to fly off on an adventure or two without bothering about anyone! It's always difficult to slip off in it when Mother and Daddy are at homeand we just have to keep the chair a secret. It would be too dreadful if it was put into a museum, and taken right away from us. It must be very, very valuable." ' Yes. We're really very lucky to have a wishing-chair of our own," said Peter. " It's a long time since we got it now. Come onlet's put our things in our bedrooms, and then ask Mrs. Willy to let us take our tea down to the playroom. Perhaps Chinky is there." " He may be waiting outside," said Mollie. " He can't get in because the door is locked. I shall love to see his dear little pixie face again. We're lucky to have a pixie for a friend ! " Mrs. Willy was quite pleased to let them have a tray of goodies to take down to the playroom with them. She piled it with buns and new bread and butter, and a slab of honey in the comb, biscuits, and ice-cream out of the frig. It did look good ! ' I'll take some ginger beer down under my arm,"

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said Peter. " I can manage the tray, too, if you'll bring the biscuits and ice-creamthey look as if they might slip about!" " I'll get the key of the playroom, too," said Mollie, and she took it off its hook. Then, feeling excited, the two of them went carefully down the garden path, carrying everything between them. Would Chinky be waiting for them ? He was, of course, because the robin had flown down to tell him that the children were coming. He hid behind some tall hollyhocks, and leapt out on them as they came up to the door of the playroom. " Mollie ! Peter ! I'm here ! " " Chinky ! We are glad to see you ! " said Mollie. " Wait till I put down all this stuff and I'll give you a hug ! There ! " She gave the little pixie such a hug that he almost choked. He beamed all over his face. " Where's the key ? " he said. " I'll open the door. I want to get the Wishing-Chair inside before anyone sees it. There's a tiresome little brownie who keeps on wanting to sit in it." He unlocked the door of the playroom and they all went in. Chinky helped them with the food, and then ran to get the Wishing-Chair. He staggered in with it, beaming. " I tipped that tiresome brownie off the seat, and he fell into some nettles," said Chinky. " He shouted like anything. Well, does the chair look just the same as ever ? " " Oh, yes! " said Mollie, in delight, looking at the polished wooden chair. " Your mother does keep it well polished, Chinky. Did it grow its wings and fly off at all, while we were away at school this term ? " "It grew its wings once," said Chinky, " but as I was in bed with a cold I couldn't fly off anywhere exciting in itso I tied it to one of the legs of my bed, in

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case it tried to do anything silly, like flying out of the window." Mollie giggled. " And did it try ? " she asked. " Oh, yesit woke me up in the middle of the night, flapping its wings and tugging at my bed," said Chinky with a grin. " But it couldn't get away, and in the morning its wings had gone again. So that was all right." " I do so hope it will grow its wings this week-end," said Peter. " We've only got a few days' holiday, then we go back to school againand as Mother and Daddy are both away we really could go off on an adventure or two without any difficulty." " I expect it will," said Chinky, looking at the chair. He felt its legs to see if there were any bumps coming, which meant that its wings were sprouting. But he couldn't feel any. What a pity!

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Soon they were all sitting down enjoying Mrs. Williams's buns and ice-cream. It was a hot day, so they drank rather a lot of the ginger-beer. " It won't last long if we drink it at this rate ! " said Peter. " I sayI wonder if Mrs. W7illy would mind if we lived down here in the playroom all this week-endslept here, too ? " " That would be fun ! " said Mollie. " I don't see why we shouldn't. You could come too, Chinky." It was very easy to arrange. Mrs. Williams smiled and nodded. " Yes, you do that," she said. " Your mother said I was to let you do what you liked, so long as it wasn't anything silly. I'll take down bedding for you." " Oh, no," said Peter, hurriedly. " We'll take it all down, Mrs. Willy." He didn't want any questions about the WishingChair! " And Mrs. Willy, we could have all our meals down there, if you like. We don't want anything hot, you know, this weather. If you could give us some tins and a bottle of milk, we could pick our own fruit and salad out of the garden. We shouldn't be any bother to you at all then." " You're no bother ! " said Mrs. Williams. " But you do just what you like this week-end, so long as you're good and happy. I'll give you tins and milk and anything else you wantand don't be afraid I'll come bothering you, because I won't! I know how children like to have their own little secrets, and I shan't come snooping round ! " Well, that was grand ! Now they could go and live in the playroom, and sleep there, tooand if the Wishing-Chair grew its wings at any time, they would know at once ! They would hear it beginning to creak, and see the bumps growing on its legs and the wings sprouting. Not a minute would be wasted !

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It was fun taking down everything to the gay little playroom. Chinky kept out of sight, of course, because nobody knew anything about him. He was as much of a secret as the Wishing-Chair ! " There now," said Mollie, at last. " Everything is ready for usfooddrink, toobeddingand a cushion and rug for you, Chinky. We're going to have a lovely time ! WishingChair, grow your wings as soon as you can, and everything will be perfect ! " The Wishing-Chair gave the tiniest little cree-ee-eak. " Did you hear that ? " said Chinky. " Perhaps it will grow its wings soon. We'll have to keep a watch. Where shall we go to, if it does grow its wings ? " " Is there a Land of Lost Things, or something like that ? " said Peter. " I got into awful trouble this term because I lost my watch. Or what about going to a Land of Circuses or Fairs? I'd love to see a whole lot of those at once." " I never heard of those lands," said Chinky. " Why don't we just let the chair take us somewhere on its own ? It would be fun not to know where we are going ! " " Oooh, yes," said Peter. " That would be really exciting. Chair, do you hear us ? Grow your wings and you can take us anywhere you like. But do, do hurry up!\"

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CHAPTER II CREE-EE-EAK
MOLLIE and Peter spent a very jolly evening with Chinky, down in the playroom. They played snap and happy families and ludo, and all the time they watched the WishingChair to see if it would grow its wings. They did so long to fly off on an adventure again. But the chair stood there quietly, and when it was halfpast eight the children were so sleepy that they felt they really must go to bed. " We'd better go and have a bath up at the house," said Peter. " I feel dirty, travelling all the way home by train. We'll dress properly again, just in case the Wishing-Chair grows its wings and flies off with us. We'll say good-night to Mrs. Willy, too, so that she doesn't feel she's got to come down to see if we're all right." Just as they went out of the door they saw somebody disappearing round the corner. " Who was that peeping ? " said Mollie at once. " Quick, run and see, Peter." Peter raced round the corner of the playroom and saw a little brownie dive into a bush. He yelled at him. " Hey, what do you think you are doing, peeping about here ? You wait till I catch you ! " A cheeky face looked out of the bush. " I just want to see your chair grow wings, that's all. It's a Wishing-Chair, isn't it ? Can't I watch it grow wings ? " " No, you can't," said Peter. " No peeping and prying in our garden, please ! Keep out! "

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The brownie made a rude face and pulled his head back into the leaves. Chinky ran out of the playroom to see what the shouting was about. " It's that brownie you told us about, the one who sat in the Wishing-Chair," said Peter. " Keep an eye open for him, Chinky. We don't want him telling everyone our secret." " I'll watch," said Chinky. He yelled at the bush where the brownie had gone. " Hey, you little snooper ! If I see you again I'll tie you to a witch's broomstick and send you off to the moon ! "

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There was no answer. The children went off to the house to have their bath and Chinky went back to the playroom. Mrs. Willy gave Peter and Mollie a jam sponge sandwich she had made, and another bottle of milk. " Could you give us some eggs, too ? " asked Peter. " Then we could boil them ourselves for breakfast on our own little stove. We wouldn't need to come in for breakfast then." Mrs. Willy laughed. " You're not going to bother me much, are you ? " she said. " Well, here you are, four new-laid eggsand you'd better take a new loaf down with you, and some more butter. You're sure you'll be all right ? " " Oh, yes," said Mollie. " We love being on our own like this with Ch------" Peter gave her such a nudge that she almost fell over. She stopped and went red. Goodness gracious, she had almost said Chinky's name ! Mrs. Williams didn't seem to have noticed anything, though. She added a pot of marmalade to the tray, and Peter took it. ' Well, I suppose I'll see you when you want more food ! " she said. " And not before. Have a nice time and don't get into mischief ! " Peter and Mollie went down the garden path with the tray. Good! Now they wouldn't need to go up to the house for breakfast, so if the chair grew its wings that night they would have time for a nice long adventure ! Just as they got near the playroom they heard a noise of shouting and slapping. " I told you I'd smack you if I found you peeping again ! " they heard Chinky say. " Coming right into the playroom like that ! " Slap, slap, slap ! " Howl all you like, you'll get a worse smacking if you come back again. What's up with you that you won't do as you're told ? "

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" You horrid thing! " wept the little brownie. " Your hand's very hard. You hurt me. I'll pay you out, yes, I will! " Slap! Yell! Howl! Then came the sound of running feet and the little brownie almost bumped into the two children. He knocked the tray and an egg leaped right off it and landed on his head. It broke, and in an instant he had a cap of yellow yolk ! Mollie and Peter laughed. The little brownie couldn't think what had happened to him. "I'll pay you out," he cried. " I will, I will! " He disappeared into the tall hollyhocks, grumbling and wailing. Dear, dearwhat a silly little fellow he was, to be sure ! " Well, he's gone," said Peter. " And so is one of

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our eggs. Never mind, we've still got three left, one for each of us. Hey, Chinky, you've been having more trouble with that brownie, I see." " Yes. But I don't think he'll be back again in a hurry," said Chinky. " I smacked him hard. I know who he is now. He's little Nose-About, a spoilt little brownie who sticks his nose into everything. His mother didn't spank him enough when he was little, so people have to keep on spanking him now. I say what a lovely sponge sandwich ! Are we going to have some now ? " They sat down to have their supper. It was a lovely summer's evening, still quite light. As they sat by the doorway, munching big slices of jam sandwich, a purple cloud blew up. Big drops of rain fell, and yet the sun still shone brightly", for it was not covered by the cloud. " There's a rainbow, look ! " said Mollie, and they all gazed at the lovely, shimmering rainbow that suddenly shone out in the sky. " I do wish the chair would grow its wings, because I'd love to go to the rainbow and see if I could find a crock of gold where it touches the ground." " Yes, I'd like that, too," said Chinky. " I don't believe anyone has ever found the crock of gold yet. They say you have to slide right down the rainbow itself and land with a bump on the patch of ground where the crock is hidden." " Let's go right into the garden and see if we can spot where the rainbow-end touches," said Mollie. So out they went, but as the end of the rainbow disappeared behind some high trees they couldn't make up their minds where it touched. " It's miles away, anyhow," said Peter. " Isn't it a lovely thing ? It's like a bridge of many colours." They heard a sudden little scuffling sound and turned quickly. " Was that that tiresome brownie again ? " said Chinky, frowning. " Anybody see him ? "
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Nobody had. Nobody had spied him scuttling into the playroom. Nobody saw where he went. Peter felt uneasy. " I believe he's slipped into the playroom," he said. " We'd better look." They went in and hunted round. They looked into every corner, and Mollie even looked inside the dolls' house because she thought he might have been able to squeeze himself in at the door. " He's not in the playroom," said Peter at last. " We've looked simply everywhere. Let's shut the door now, and keep him out. It's still very light, and the rainbow is still lovely, though not so bright as it was. We'd better go to bed. I'm really sleepy." Mollie looked longingly at the Wishing-Chair. " If only it would grow its wings ! " she said. " I just feel like an adventure ! " The two children had mattresses to lie on. Chinky had a cushion and a rug. They all settled down, yawning. How lovely the very first evening was ! Half-term seemed to be quite long when it was still only the first day. Mollie fell asleep first. Chinky gave an enormous yawn, and then he fell asleep, too. Peter lay watching the rainbow fading gradually. He could see part of it through the window. His eyes fell shut. His thoughts went crooked, and he was almost asleep when something woke him. " Creeeee-eak ! " Peter opened his eyes. What was that noise that had slipped into his first moment of dreaming ? His eyes shut again. " Cree-ee-ee-EAK ! " Ah! . That woke up Peter properly. He sat up quickly. He knew that noise all right! It was made

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by the Wishing-Chair. It was about to grow its lovely wings of green and yellow ! He sat and stared at the chair. Could he see bumps coming on its legs ? He was almost sure he could. Yesthere was a big one on the right front legand now another on the left. He could see bumps on the back legs, too. Then one bump sprouted a few green feathers ! Hurrah ! The Wishing-Chair was growing its wings for them. What luck ! Peter reached over to Chinky and gave him a little shake. He did the same to Mollie. " Wake up ! The chair's growing its wings. We can fly off in it to-night!'' Both Mollie and Chinky woke up with a jump. Chinky leapt up and ran to the chair. His face beamed at them.

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" Yes ! Look at its lovely wings sprouting out good big ones ! Quick, open the door, and we'll all get into the chair and away we'll go ! " Peter flung the door open. Chinky and Mollie were already sitting in the chair. It flapped its wings and rose a few inches. "Wait for Peter!" cried Mollie, in a fright. Peter leapt across to the chair and sat himself firmly on the seat. Chinky sat himself on the back to make more room. Ahthey were off ! " Tell the chair where to go," said Peter. " Or shall we just let it take us where it wants to ? " " Chair, go to the rainbow! " suddenly cried a voice, and the chair, which was flying in the opposite direction, changed its course and flew towards the almost-faded rainbow. It had flown right out of the door and up into the air, the children and Chinky holding fast to it, all feeling very excited. " Who said that ? " asked Peter. " Did you, Mollie ? Or you, Chinky ? " They both said no. All three gazed at one another, puzzled. Then who had said it ? There was nobody on the chair but themselves. Whose voice had commanded the chair to go to the rainbow ? " I expect it was that silly little brownie, calling from the ground," said Peter at last. " He must have seen us flying off, and yelled out to the chair to go to the rainbow. Wellshall we go ? " " Might as well," said Chinky. " Go on, Chairgo to the rainbow ! " And immediately a voice chimed in : " That's what I said! Go to the rainbow, Chair ! " Who could it be ? And where was the speaker ? How very, very peculiar !

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CHAPTER III AN ADVENTUROUS NIGHT


THERE must be somebody invisible on the chair with us ! " said Chinky. " Quickfeel about on the seat and on the arms and back. Feel everywhereand catch hold of whoever it is." Well, they all felt here and there, but not one of them could feel anybody. They heard a little giggle, but it was quite impossible to find whoever it was giggling. " Surely the chair itself can't have grown a voice and a giggle," said Peter at last. " Of course not. It wouldn't be so silly," said Chinky. "Gracioushere we are at the rainbow already! " So they were. They landed right on the top of the shimmering bow. " It's ' like a coloured, curving bridge," said Mollie, putting her foot down to it. " Oh, Peterwe can walk on it. I never, never thought of that." She jumped down to the rainbowand immediately she gave a scream. " Oh, it's slippery ! I'm sliding down ! Oh, Peter, help me!" Sure enough, poor Mollie had sat down with a bump, and was slithering down the curving rainbow at top speed. "Follow her, Chair, follow her!" yelled Peter. " No, don't! " shouted the strange voice, and the

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chair stopped at once. That made Peter angry. He began to yell at the top of his voice. "You. do as I tell you, Chair. Follow Mollie, follow Mollie, follow Mollie, follow. ..." And because his voice was loud and he shouted without stopping, the chair couldn't hear the other little voice that called to it to stop. It slid down the rainbow headlong after Mollie, who was now nearly at the bottom. Chinky held on tightly, looking scared. Would the chair be able to stop at the bottom of the rainbow ? It wouldn't have been able to stop, that was certainbut before it reached the bottom it spread its green-yellow wings and flew right off the rainbow, hovering in the air before it flew down to Mollie. " That was clever of it," said Peter, with a sigh of relief. " Mollie, are you all right ? "

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" I fell on a tuffet of grass, or I'd have had a dreadful bump," said Mollie. " Let me get on to the chair again. I don't want it to fly off without me. Oh what's this ? " She pointed to something half-buried in the grass. It had a handle at one side and she gave it a tug. Something bright and shining flew out of it. " Mollie ! It's the crock of gold ! " shouted Peter. " The one that is hidden where the rainbow end touches. We've found it! All because you slid all the way down and landed by it with a bump. Let's pull it up." He and Chinky jumped off the chair to go to Mollie. All three took hold of the handle of the crock and tugged. It came up out of the ground with a rush, and all three fell over. " There it isand, my word, it's full of gold ! " said Peter. He put his hand into the crock and ran the gold through his fingers. " Who would have thought we would be the first to find the gold at the rainbow's end?" "Let's carry it to the chair and take it with us," said Mollie. " I don't know what we're going to do with it, though ! We could give it away bit by bit to all the poor people we meet, perhaps." They lifted the gold on to the seat of the nearby WishingChair. They were just about to climb on beside it when the strange little voice cried out again. " Off you go, Wishing-Chair! Go to the BrownieMountain ! " The chair rose up, flapping its wings. It almost got away-but Peter managed to catch hold of the bottom of its right front leg. He held on for all he was worth, and Mollie helped him. They pulled the chair down between them, and climbed on to it. " This is amazing!" said Chinky. " Who is it that

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keeps calling out ? Where can he be ? Even if he is invisible we should be able to feel him ! He nearly got away with the chair, and the gold, too. My word, if I get hold of him I'll turn him into a fly and blow him into a spider's web ! " " Chair, go to the Old Woman Who Lives in a Shoe ! " cried the voice suddenly, and the chair shot off to the east. " Oh, no ! " yelled Peter, angrily. " We're not going there for the Old Woman to get hold of us. Chair, go where you like! " The chair set off to the west, then, changing its course so suddenly that Chinky almost fell off the back. It flew over a land of gleaming towers. Chinky peered down. " This is the Land of Bells, I think," he said. "There are bells in every tower. Yes, listenyou can hear them." " Ding-dong, dong-dong, dell! " rang dozens and dozens of bells, echoing all through the sky round them. The Wishing-Chair didn't attempt to go down. It kept high above the tall, gleaming towers, and soon it had left the Land of Bells far behind. " It's beginning to get really dark now," said Peter, peering down. " Where do you suppose the chair is going to ?" " I think it's rather cross," said Chinky. " It's begun to creak a bit. I wonder why ? We haven't done anything to make it angry. I wish it wouldn't swing about so. It feels as if it's trying to shake us off." "Yes, it does," said Mollie. "Hold tight, everyone ! I say, lookis that a town down there ? Chinky, do you know what it is ? " Chinky peered down. " Yesit's the Town of Bad Dreams. Gracious, I hope we don't go there. We don't want to fall into a bad dream and not know how to get out of it! "

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"Go on farther, Chair," commanded Peter at once. A little voice called out, too, " Go farther ! Go to the Brownie Mountain ! " "There's that voice again," said Chinky crossly. " Chair, take no notice. You belong to us and you have to do what we say ! Go farther but go where you like. We want an adventure before we go back home." The chair suddenly began to drop downwards. Chinky peered to see where they were going. " We've passed the Town of Bad Dreams. We're dropping down to the Village of Gobbo . Yes that's right. Dear me, I wonder why ? Gobbo is the head of all the brownies, and bad ones are sent to him to be punished." A loud wail rose on the air. " Oh my, oh^ my ! Chair, go to the Brownie Mountain, I tell you ! " But the chair took no notice. It flew right down to the ground, and immediately two stern-looking brownies came up, both with long beards and shaggy eyebrows.

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" Who has been brought to be punished ? " said one. " Which of you is a bad brownie ? " " Not one of us," said Peter, puzzled. " Mollie and I are childrenand Chinky here is a pixie." " Well, go away again, then," said one of the brownies. " Landing is not allowed here unless naughty brownies are to be taken before our chief, Gobbo." " Right. Chair, fly away again," said Peter. Up flew the chairbut one of the brownies suddenly gave a loud cry and caught hold of the right-hand wing. The chair almost tipped over, and Chinky fell right off the back. He landed with a bump on the ground. " What did you do that for ? " he shouted to the brownie. Then he stared in surprise. The two brownies pulled the children off the chair, which was now back again on the groundand then they turned the chair upside-down ! It creaked angrily. " Don't do that! " said Peter, astonished. Then he stared, even more astonished ! Underneath the chair, clinging desperately to it, was the naughty little brownie who had peeped and pried outside the playroom ! " Look at that! " cried Mollie. " It's Nose-About,

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the tiresome brownie ! He must have slipped into the playroom and clung to the underneath of the chair so that we couldn't see him. And he flew off with us, and tried to make the chair go where he wanted to." " And when we found the rainbow gold he wanted to go off to Brownie Mountain with it. That's where he lives, I expect," said Peter. " It was his voice we kept hearing ! He was underneath the seat of the chair all the time." " No wonder the chair took us to the Village of Gobbo, then," said Chinky. " It knew he was under it and wanted him to be punished. Brownies, take him away. He's a nuisance." " No, no ! Mercy, mercy ! " wept the little brownie. " Forgive me ! I just wanted a ride, that's all. And when I saw the gold I thought I'd make the chair go to my home with it then I'd be rich all my life." " You're very bad and you want punishing," said Peter. " I'm not at all sorry for you." " One spanking every day for a month," said one of the brownies, solemnly, clutching hold of the frightened brownie. " And he will never be allowed to go back home." The little brownie wailed loudly. " But my mother will miss me so. She loves me, she does really. I do lots of jobs for her. And my little sister loves me, too. I take her to school each day. Do, do let me go. I only wanted the gold for my mother." Mollie suddenly felt sorry for him. She knew how much her mother would miss her if she were taken away. And perhaps this naughty little brownie was quite good and kind at home. She put her hand on the arm of one of the brownies. " Let him go, please. He's sorry now. He won't be bad again." " Oh, yes he will," said the brownie. " His mother

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didn't spank him when she should, so he's growing into a perfect nuisance. We'll soon cure him." " No, no, no," wailed the little brownie. " I'll tell my mother to smack me, really I will. Let me go. I want my mother, I do, I do." " How much will you charge us for letting him go ? " asked Mollie, much to Peter's surprise. The two brownies talked together about this. " Well," said one at last, " our master, the Great Gobbo, is laying out some wonderful rose-gardens, but he hasn't enough money to finish them. We will let this brownie go if you pay us a fine of one thousand gold pieces. And that's cheap ! " " It isn't," said Mollie. " Peter, help me to count out the gold in this crock. I don't think there are as many as a thousand pieces, though. We'll just see." They all began to count, the little brownie too. They counted one hundredthen twothen three and four and fiveand, will you believe it, in that rainbow-crock there were exactly one thousand and one pieces of gold ! '' There you area thousand pieces," said Peter, handing them over. " We'll have the odd oneand the crock, too, because it will look nice on our playroom mantelpiece. Now can we go ? " " Yes, certainly," said the brownies, delighted. " But we must warn this little brownie that next time the fine will be two thousand pieces ! Good-bye ! " " Good-bye," called everyone, and up went the WishingChair into the air again. Where to next ? " Thank you," said the small brownie, in a humble Voice. " Thank you very much. Please drop me at Brownie Mountain, will you ? "

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CHAPTER IV LAND OF WISHES


" WELL, brownie, you were lucky to have a kind friend like Mollie to pay your fine," said * Chinky, who wasn't really very pleased about it at all. " Behave yourself, pleaseor I shall tell your mother all about you." The chair was a bit crowded now, with the two children, the brownie, and the pixie, and the empty crock as well. Peter had the one piece of gold that was left. He had put it into his pocket. " I'll take you to the Land of Wishes if you like," said the small brownie, humbly. He was very anxious to please them all now. " You can have as many wishes as you like this weekend because it's the Princess Peronel's birthday. I've an invitation ticket. Look." He pulled a rather crumpled ticket from his pocket. It certainly was an invitation. " But it's for you, not for us," said Peter. " It says ' For Brownie Nose-About and Friends,' " said the brownie. "I'm Nose-Aboutand you're my friends, aren't you ? Oh, please do say you are ! " " Wellall right, we're your friends then," said Peter. " Mollie certainly was a friend to you in the Village of Gobbo ! Chinky, shall we go to the Land of Wishes ? I know quite a few wishes I'd like to wish ! " " Yes, let's go," said Chinky. " Nose-About, you'd better tell the chair to go, because you're the only one that has the invitation."

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So, in rather an important voice, Nose-About told the chair where to go. " To the Land of Wishes, please," he said. " To the Princess Peronel's birthday party." The chair gave a little creak and flew straight upwards. It was very dark now and stars were out in the sky. Mollie began to feel sleepy. She nodded her head and leaned against Peter. Peter nodded his head, too, and both of them slept soundly. Chinky and Nose-About kept guard. The chair flew all night long, for the Land of Wishes was a long, long way away. The sun was up and the sky was full of light when at last the two children awoke. Below them was a land of flowers and lakes and streams and shining palaces. How lovely ! " Does everyone live in a palace here ? " asked Mollie, marvelling at so many palaces. " Oh, yes. It's easy enough to wish for one," said NoseAbout, peering down. " And then when you're

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tired of living in an enormous place with windows everywhere, you just wish for a rose-covered cottage. Would you like a palace for a bit ? I'll wish you one ! " The chair flew downwards. It landed in a field of shining, star-like flowers. " Here we are," said the brownie. " I'll wish for a palace to begin withand then we can be princes and a princess, and go to the Princess Peronel's birthday party. I wish for a palace with one thousand and one windows ! " And silently and shimmeringly a tall, slender palace rose up around them. The sun shone in through hundreds of windows. " I'll just count if there are a thousand and one," said Nose-About. " Oh no! We simply can't count up to a thousand and one all over again ! " groaned Peter. " I say look at the WishingChair. It's standing on that platform there wishing it was a throne ! " " I wish it was a throne ! " said Mollie at once. And dear me, the good old Wishing-Chair changed into a gleaming throne, with a big red velvet cushion on its seat and tassels hanging down its back. It looked very grand indeed. Peter went and sat on it. "I wish I was a Prince ! " he said. And to Mollie's enormous surprise her brother suddenly looked like a very handsome little prince, with a circlet of gold round his head and a beautiful cloak hanging from his velvetclad shoulders. He grinned at Mollie. " Better wish yourself to be a Princess before I order you about! " he said. " I feel like giving a whole lot of orders ! Where's my horse ? Where are my dogs ? Where are my servants ? " Well, before very long Mollie was a Princess, and looked quite beautiful in a dress that swept the ground and twinkled with thousands of bright jewels as she

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walked. Chinky wished himself a new suit and a new wand. Nose-About still felt very humble so he didn't wish for anything for himself but only things for the others. He wished for horses and dogs and cats and servants and ice-creams and everything he could think of. " I think we've got enough dogs, Nose-About," said Peter at last. " And I'd rather not have any more ice-creams. I feel rather as if I'd like a good breakfast. All the clocks you wished for have just struck nine o'clock. I feel hungry." The brownie wished for so much porridge and bacon and eggs that there was enough for the cats and dogs too. The servants had taken the horses out of the palace, which made Mollie feel more comfortable, because when the brownie had first wished for them they kept galloping round the enormous room. She was afraid of being knocked over. That was a most exciting morning. When the children got into the way of wishing there was no end to the things they thought of ! " I feel like snowballing! I wish for plenty of snow ! " said Peter, suddenly. And outside the palace windows fell the snowflakes, thick and fast. There was soon enough for a game. It was very easy to wish the snow away when they were tired of snowballing and wish for something elsean aeroplane they could fly, or a train they could drive. " I wish this would last all over our week-end," sighed Mollie. "I'm enjoying it so." " WellI suppose it will," said Peter, " now you've wished it, the wish will come true. But what about Mother ? She won't like it if we stay away all the time." " I'll wish her here, then," said Mollie. But Peter wouldn't let her.

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"No. Don't," he said. " If she's with Granny she wouldn't like leaving herand it would upset Granny to see Mother suddenly disappear. We'll just enjoy ourselves here, and then try and explain to Mother when we get home." The Princess's party was wonderful. It began at four o'clock that afternoon, and lasted till past midnight. There was a birthday cake that was so very big it took six little servants to cut it into slices. One hundred candles burned on it! How old Peronel must be ! " A hundred years old is young for a fairy," said Chinky. " See how beautiful the Princess still is." She certainly was. Peter wished hard for a dance with herand at once she glided over to him, and danced as lightly as a moth. "Now

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can say I've danced with a princess ! " thought Peter, pleased. The next day came and slid away happily. Then the next day and the next. The children grew used to having every single wish granted. " A big chocolate ice at once ! " And hey presto, it came. " A tame lion to ride on ! " There it was, purring like a cat. " Wings on my back to fly high , above the trees ! " And there they were, fluttering strongly, carrying Mollie high in the air. What a truly lovely feeling. On that fourth day the children didn't wish quite so many things. " Tired of wishing ? " asked Chinky, who hadn't really wished many things. " Ah people always get tired of wishes coming true after a time." " I can't seem to think of any more," said Peter. " I keep thinking of Mother," said Mollie. " I do so hope she isn't worried about us. We've got to go back home to-day, Peterdo you realise that ? It's the day we have to go back to school. It's a pity we've had so little time at home. We. shall hardly have seen Daddy and Mother at all." " Oh goodnesshow the week-end has flown," said Peter. " I wanted to do quite a lot of things at home, too. I wanted to get out my electric trainand didn't you want to take your dolls out just once in their pram, Mollie ? " " Yes. I did," said Mollie. " Oh dearI do wish' we had the week-end in front of us still, so that we ' could enjoy being at home, too ! I feel as if we've rather wasted it now. Peter, I think we ought to go back. We've a train to catch, you know. We mustn't be late back for school." " All right. Chinky, we'd better change the throne back to the Wishing-Chair," said Peter. " Wish for its wings, will you? They've gone, but a wish will bring them back, in the Land of Wishes ! "
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It did, of course. As soon as the throne had changed back into the Wishing-Chair they knew so well, Chinky wished for the wings to growand they sprouted out gaily, at once, looking bigger than ever. " You coming, Nose-About ? " said Peter to the little brownie. " No. I'm going back home to my mother," he said. "Good-bye. Thank you for being kind to me." " Well, you've certainly repaid our kindness ! " said Mollie. " I've never had such a wonderful time in my life. Noware we all ready ? Wishing-Chair, home, please, as fast as you can ! " It was a long, long way back from the Land of Wishes. They all three went sound asleep, and the chair was careful not to jolt them at all in case they fell off. It flew down to the playroom at last, and went in gently at the door. It tipped out Mollie and Peter on to their mattresses, and Chinky on to his cushion. The crock that had contained the rainbow gold tipped out, too, and fell on to the carpet. Luckily it didn't break. The children groaned a little, and then slept on soundly, curled up on their mattresses. The chair Stood still. Its greenyellow wings disappeared gradually. It was just a chair. And then there came a loud knocking at the door, End a loud voice, too. '' Master Peter! Miss Mollie! How 1 ate you are sleeping! Haven't you had your breakfast yet? Your mother has telephoned to say that Granny is much better and he'll be home to lunch. Isn't that good news ? " The children woke up with a jump and stared at Mrs. Williams' smiling face. She was looking in at the door. Peter sat up and rubbed his eyes.

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" Well, I declare ! " said Mrs. Williams. " You are not in your night-things ! You don't mean to say you didn't go to bed properly last night ? Do wake up. It's half-past ten already ! " " Half-past ten ? " said Mollie, amazed. " What day is it, Mrs. Willy ? " " Saturday, to be sure ! " said Mrs. Williams, surprised. " You came home yesterday, that was Friday and so to-day's Saturday ! " " Butbut surely it's Tuesday or perhaps even Wednesday," said Mollie, remembering the wonderful weekend in the Land of Wishes. " Aren't we due back at school? " " Bless us all, you're asleep and dreaming ! " said Mrs. Williams. ' Well, I must be getting on with my work. It's Saturday morning, half-past ten, and your mother will be home for lunch. Nowdo you understand that ? " And off she went, quite puzzled. She hadn't seen Chinky on the cushion. He was still fast asleep ! Mollie looked at Peter and her eyes shone. " Peter, oh Peter ! " she said, " do you remember that I wished we had the week-end in front of us still ? Well, that wish has come true, too. We've had the week-end once in our palaceand now we're going to have it all over again at home. Could anything be nicer ! " " Marvellous ! " said Peter, jumping up. " Simply marvellous ! Wake up, you lazy old Chinky. We've good news for you. It's not Tuesdayit's only Saturday ! " So there they are, just going to welcome their mother back again, and looking forward to a wonderful half-term. " Crreee-eee-eak! " says the good old Wishing-Chair, happily.
THE END

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86

A CIRCUS ADVENTURE
I. II. III. In Camp Again Two Bad Boys At the End of the Show

IV. Good Dog, Lucky !

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CHAPTER 1 IN CAMP AGAIN


THE circus was going to Little Carlington. As it came by all the village children ran beside it, cheering and shouting in excitement. " Look at the great big elephant pulling that caravan ! See him waving his trunk about ! " " I say, is that a chimpanzee ? Why, he's all dressed up ! He's wearing a jersey and trousers and a straw hat ! " " Look at the monkeys peeping out of their cages ! Oh, there's one sitting on that man's shoulder'it's dressed like a little old woman ! " " Here come the horsesaren't they beautiful, and don't their coats shine ! " A caravan passed byvery smart, painted in yellow with blue wheels and a blue chimney. A boy sat at the front, driving the horse. Beside him was a girl with curly hair and brilliant blue eyes. Between them sat a terrier, a bright-eyed dog with a tail that never stopped wagging ! The boy was Jimmy, the girl was Lotta. Both belonged to the circus, and Lucky was Jimmy's clever little dog, who went into the circus ring with him each night. Lotta waved to the cheering children, smiling. Then she suddenly made a face at them. Jimmy saw her and gave her a hard nudge with his elbow. " Stop it, Lotta ! I've told you before it's silly to make rude faces. You only make people cross."

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Lotta made a rude face at Jimmy. Then she laughed, and patted Lucky. " I expect I'll still be making faces when I'm an old woman," she said. " You'll be a jolly ugly old woman, then," said Jimmy. " Well, here's our field. We've been on the move two whole days and nightsit will be good to stay in one place for a few weeks ! " All the caravans went slowly in through the big field gate. Here the circus folk would put up the great circus tent, with the big ring inside, and the scores of benches for the village people to sit on. Oona, the acrobat, came up, walking on his hands as usual, his hat on one foot. The village children loved him. Some of the boys tried to walk on their hands, too, but they fell over at once. Lotta leapt down, and went over to the children. " This is how you do it ! " she said, and turned herself lightly upside down. She walked cleverly on her hands, and then turned cartwheels over and over, first hands, then feet, then hands again, just like a turning wheel!
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" Ooooh ! " said all the watching children, staring in amazement. " You come to our circus and you'll see me doing this all round the ring," cried Lotta. "And I'll be riding horses, too, standing on their backs and jumping from one to another ! " Sticky Stanley, the clown, came up. He pretended to fall over his feet. He bent down, put his feet straight, and fell over them again. The children roared. " Come and see Mr. Galliano's Circus ! ' shouted Sticky Stanley, and began to walk on his hands just like Oona, the acrobat, and Lotta. "Where's Mr. Galliano? " cried the children. Where's the ringmaster ? We want to see him." ' There he is ! " shouted Jimmy, pointing to a big caravan in front. " Lookhe's getting out now. Look out for his whipit's half a mile long ! " _ Sure enough, there was Mr. Galliano getting out of his magnificent caravan. He was a big man, dressed in a bright red coat, dazzling white breeches, and big
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black top-boots. He wore a black top hat well on one side, and he smiled through his long, pointed moustache. He carried a whip with a very long lash. He raised it, and cracked it loudly, with a noise like a pistol-shot. CRACK ! All the children jumped. What a whip ! Mr. Galliano pointed to a spray of leaves at the top of the nearby hedge ; then he cracked his whip again, and the end of the lash neatly took off the spray of leaves ! " Do it again, do it again ! " cried the children, but Mr. Galliano shook his head. He raised his big top hat and strode through the field-gate, smiling. He was the ringmaster, strict, hot-tempered, warmhearted and generous. When things went well with his circus he wore his hat well on one side. When things went badly, or something displeased him, he wore his hat straight up on his head. Then the circus folk went carefully, not knowing who would get into trouble next ! " Jimmyhelp Mr. Volla with the bears ! " called Mr. Galliano. " His caravan has got stuck in a rut, and the bears are upset." " Take the reins, Lotta, and drive the caravan into the field," said Jimmy, giving the reins to Lotta. " You know where to put it-next to your father's. I'll take Lucky with me." Jimmy jumped down from his caravan and ran to help Mr. Volla. The bears inside the cage behind the caravan were grunting loudly. What had happened ? Why had they stopped? What was all the excitement ? Mr. Volla was trying to get his caravan to move. " Hup, then, up ! " he shouted to his horses. " Hey, Jimmygo into the bears' cage and keep them quiet. I can hear Dobby getting in a fine old state ! "

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Dobby was the youngest of his five bears, a funny, clumsy, loving little bear. Jimmy was very fond of him. He undid the doors of the cage and went in, closing them carefully behind him. Lucky slipped in, too. All the animals loved Lucky, and not one of them had ever tried to harm her. " Dobby, don't be silly ! What's up ? " said Jimmy, going to the little bear, who was padding up and down, scared. The other bears grunted. Dobby went over to Jimmy and hugged his leg. Jimmy sat down in a corner and the little bear clambered all over him, grunting happily. Grizel, a big bear, lumbered over, half jealous. She tried to push Dobby away, but jimmy gave her a friendly punch. " No, keep off. You're too big to clamber over me too. Play with Lucky ! " Lucky ran round Grizel, pretending to snap at her. It was a game she knew well. The other three bears sat and watched, forgetting their alarm. " Jimmyare you all right ? We're getting Jumbo to pull us out," called Mr. Volla. " It's the thick mud that's holding us back." " Yes, we're all right," called back Jimmy. " Dobby's all over me as usual, and Grizel is playing with Lucky. I'll stay in the cage till we're safely in the field." Jumbo, the great big elephant, was brought up by Mr. Tonks, his keeper. " Soon have you out of this, Volla," said Mr. Tonks. "I'm sure I don't know what this circus would do without Jumbo ! " " Hrrrrumph! " said Jumbo, quite agreeing. A little girl pressed near, and Jumbo raised his trunk. He blew hard down it and the little girl's hat flew right off her head. She squealed and all the other children laughed. " Now, now, Jumbo, no tricks," said Mr. Tonks. " That

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little girl won't come and see you in the circus if you do things like that! " " Oh, but I will, I will! " cried the little girl, in delight. "Do it again, Jumbo, do it again ! " But Jumbo was now busy heaving the caravan out of the mud. One big heave and out it came, followed by the bears' cage behind. The bears were jolted, but they didn't mind. Jimmy was there, and he wasn't frightened, so why should they be ? Jimmy was a marvel with the animals. They all loved him, and he loved them. Mr. Galliano had once said that even tigers would eat out of Jimmy's hand ! Soon the whole circus was safely in the field. Two village boys followed. Mr. Tonks shouted at them.

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" Now then, you ! No kids allowed in the field except circus kids. Get out! " The boys took no notice, and walked defiantly over to the monkeys' cage. Mr. Lilliput, their owner, was there. He shouted at the boys, too. " Clear off! You heard what was said. No kids allowed here while we're settling in." " Why ? We shan't do any harm," said one of the boys, sulkily. " Think you own the earth, do you ? " Jimmy appeared, out of the bears' cage. The two boys eyed him. As he passed them quickly to go to his own caravan, one of the boys put out a foot and tripped him. They laughed. " Must be blind," said one. " Or some kind of clown," said the other. Jimmy leapt up and swung round, red with rage. He shot out his fist at the boy who had tripped him up and the blow landed on the boy's ear, as he swiftly turned his head away. Then they both turned on Jimmy, and down he went in the mud. But not for long ! Old Jumbo,
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who was nearby, lumbered up, picked up one of the boys with his trunk, neatly threw him aside and then picked up the other boy. He held him squirming in his trunk, yelling out in fright. The circus folk gathered round, laughing, not attempting to rescue him. " What are you going to do with him, Jumbo ?." said Mr. Tonks. " Like to throw him into the stream over there?" " No, no, no ! " yelled the boy, wriggling. " Let me go, let me go ! " " Drop him, Jumbo," ordered Mr. Tonks, and Jumbo did what he was told, dropping the boy neatly into a thick patch of churned up mud. The two boys ran off, one almost in tears. " We'll pay you out, you dirty circus crowd ! " yelled one boy when he was well out of reach. " You look outwe'll jolly well pay you out! " " Bah ! " said Mr. Tonks scornfully, and Jumbo lifted his trunk and sent a loud jeer after the boys. " Hrrrrumph ! " " Now, get busy ! " suddenly shouted Mr. Galliano, appearing round a caravan. " Where's Brownie ? Oh, there you are. Jimmy, go with Brownie and help him arrange the caravans round the field. Lotta, go to your mother's dogs. They want quieting. Bless us all, do I have to tell you what to do, yes, no ? " Soon the two village boys were forgotten as the circus folk settled into their new camping-place. Brownie, Jimmy's father, hurried round the camp, giving a hand to everyone, for he was carpenter and handyman to the circus, jimmy helped. Lotta stood with her mother's troupe of dogs round her, looking happy. It was fun being on the road but it was even better fun to be in camp again. The circus would soon be performing once more, and everyone would be happy !

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CHAPTER II TWO BAD BOYS


IN three days the circus was ready to give its first show. The " big top " was up, the great tent in which the show was given. Jimmy's father had set out the benches as usual, and done many repair jobs. Lotta-s mother and Jimmy's had been busy washing and mending the clothes of the circus folk. However dirty and untidy they looked in the camp, they always looked spick and span in the ring. " You look such a dirty little grub, Lotta," said Mrs. Brown, Jimmy's mother, as the little girl came into her caravan. " Nobody would ever think you were the same little girl when you go into the ring with your silvery wings, fluffy dress and shining hair ! " " Oh, wellthat's different," said Lotta. " What about Jimmy ? He looks grand enough in the ring, too, when he takes Lucky in to perform. Did you know Lucky is learning a new trick, Mrs. Brown ? " "And what's that?" asked Mrs. Brown, sewing silver buttons on to a little green cape. " Well, Jimmy's got ten skittles, each numbered," said Lotta. " And when Jimmy sets them up he calls out a number and Lucky fetches the right skittle ! " " Oh, yesand she fetches it because Jimmy has rubbed it with a sausage or something ! " said Mrs. Brown. " Not much of a trick, that! Still, she's a clever little creaturethe cleverest dog I ever did see."

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" I've just been grooming my horse, Black Beauty," said Lotta. " She's shining like a mirror! Mr. Galliano has given me some new plumes for her to wear. Won't she look lovely, Mrs. Brown, tossing her head with its big, black feathers ? " " She certainly will," said Mrs. Brown. " Now, if you're going to chatter for hours, Lotta, just thread a needle and help to sew on these buttons." " Oh, I'm just going," said Lotta, at once. " Hallo who's snooping round your caravan ? " A boy's face was looking in at the window. " It's one of those awful boys again ! " cried Lotta, and shot out of the caravan. " What are you doing, prying round ? " she shouted. " You've been sent away before, you and your ugly friend there!" " We don't let girls talk to us like that," said the

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first boy. You're a dirty little grub. Go and wash your face! Now, Lotta didn't in the least mind being called a dirty little grub by Mrs. Brown, but she wasn't going to have these boys calling her names ! She rushed at them at top speed, and took the first one so much by surprise that he sat down in a puddle. She stooped and picked up a clod of earth and threw it straight into the second boy's amazed face. " Here ! " said the boy, angrily, spitting out bits of earth. " Stop it ! " He swung round at Lotta and caught her arms roughly. She yelled at the top of her voice. And who should come to her rescue but Sammy the chimpanzee ! He had been sitting peacefully outside Mr. Wally's caravan, peeling an orange, and when he heard Lotta's yells he sprang up, dropping his orange in fright. What ! Somebody had got hold of his friend Lotta ? Sammy was furious. He .raced clumsily over* to where the two boys were shaking Lotta vigorously. He flung himself on one of the boys, making an angry, chattering noise. " Oh who is it what is it ? " yelled the boy. "Here you, girl call him off ! " Lotta hesitated. She was very tempted not to call off Sammy, but she knew he might bite the boys and maul them. He was so very strong. Then she grinned. All right she would call the chimpanzee off but she would give him a little treat ! "Sammy! Stop!" she commanded. "Stand away ! You can chase them if they run." Sammy didn't want to let these boys go, but he obeyed Lotta. He stood beside them, dressed in his jersey and shorts, but his straw hat had fallen off. He looked very fierce indeed.

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" Let's go," said one boy to the other, and they turned away. "Wait," said Lotta. "Sammy, go through their pockets ! " Now this was a trick that Mr. Wally had taught Sammy to perform in the ring. He kept a packet of cigarettes in his pocket, and a box of matches, and he had taught Sammy to take these from his pocket when he was not looking. Then Sammy lighted a cigarette, and the audience always roared with laughter at Mr. Wally's comical look of surprise when he suddenly turned round and saw Sammy. Sammy was delighted to go through somebody else's pockets ! He ran his black fingers through all the pockets in the two boys' clothes. They Stood still, trembling, not knowing how gentle the big creature's nature was, or how friendly he usually was to every- one.

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Out came a dirty hanky, a notebook, a stump of a pencil, some toffees wrapped in paper, an apple, some bits of string and a penknife. Sammy put them all into his own pockets, grunting in delight. He unwrapped one of the toffees and offered it politely to Lotta. " Those are our toffees," said one of the boys, angrily. " Well, they're not now," said Lotta, rubbing her arm where the boys had held it. " They're Sammy's. Look, here comes Mr. Galliano with his whip. I'll tell him about you ! " But the boys were even more scared at the look of Mr. Galliano than of Sammy the chimp, and they took to their heels and fled to the hedge, which they scrambled through at top speed.

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They felt safer on the other side. They stood and yelled at Lotta. " You look out! There's trouble coming to you, Miss Dirty Grub ! You look out for yourself." Lotta didn't bother to reply. She considered that she had paid the boys out well. They wouldn't come near the circus camp again, she felt certain ! She went to find Jimmy to tell him about the boys. He had been taking the performing dogs for a long walk over the hills. Lotta usually went, too, but she had been very busy getting her horse, Black Beauty, ready for the opening performance that night. She saw Jimmy coming down the distant hill and ran to meet him. The dogs were let off the leash as soon as Jimmy saw her coming, and ran to meet her, tumbling over one another in their eagerness to reach her. " Down, Pincher ! Down, Toby ! Oh, Lucky, don't prance round in that muddy patch ! I'll have to spend ages bathing you, you dirty little dogand you were only scrubbed yesterday ! " Lotta told Jimmy about the two boys. He frowned when he heard how they had held her by the arms. " I'll look out for them, and tell them a few things," he said. " I wonder if they're planning any mischief ? 'Do you remember, Lottaonce a boy got into the camp and let the horses loose one night ? " '" Yes. And one of them plunged into the stream and broke its leg," said Lotta, remembering how upset she had been. " Well, if those boys try any tricks like that they'll be sorry. I think I'll have Black Beauty tethered by my caravan while we're here. You've scared me, Jimmy ! I wouldn't like anything to happen to her ! " The circus opened that night, and the villagers from miles around came trooping to see it. Mr. Galliano's

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Circus ! Why, it was famous all over the country ! " I hope they've got those monkeys," said one of the visitors. "I saw them before, when the circus came to a town I stayed at. They had a tea-party, and they were so funny. One poured a cup of milk down another monkey's neck ! " " It's the horses I want to see," said another. " They dance, you knowwaltz in time to the music. Circus horses are always such beautiful creatures." " I want to see the clowns," said a child. " There's one called Sticky Stanley that my aunt remembers seeing. - He put stilts on one day under long, long trousers, and walked into the ring looking like a giant! " The circus folk were always excited when the first performance came along. Lights blazed out, the band struck up, the ring was freshly strewn with sawdust. People poured in and filled up the benches. Lotta and Jimmy peeped round the curtains which soon would be swung back to allow the performers to go into the ring. " It's a full house ! " said Jimmy. " Lucky, look out there, little dog. You've got to do your best tonight, for all those people." " Wuff, wuff," agreed Lucky. " I shall put on your little soft rubber socks," said Jimmy, " and you can walk your own little tightrope ! " " I love to see her do that," said Lotta, patting the excited little dog. " She does so love it tooshe's a proper circus dog, Jimmy, isn't she ? " Lucky certainly brought the house down whenever she walked on the little low tightrope specially put up for her by Jimmy. She had a wonderful sense of balance, and had never once fallen off. Jimmy was sure she boasted about it to all the other dogs !
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Trumpets sounded, and the circus folk sprang into their places behind the curtain, ready for the grand parade round the ring. Tan-tan-tara. TAN-TAN-TARA! In went the horses first of all, stepping proudly, tossing their plumed heads. In went Sticky Stanley and all the other clowns, tripping each other up, performing ridiculous somersaults, hitting each other with balloons. In went the performing dogs with Lai, Lotta's mother, and in went Mr. Volla with his bears, little Dobby shambling along hand in hand with him. Lotta went too, on her lovely Black Beauty. Jimmy followed, with Lucky prancing round him, a gay pleated ruff round her little furry neck. What a brave, gay show they were, and how the people cheered and clapped. That first performance was a grand success. Everyone clapped till their hands were sore. Jimmy and Lotta had to come on again and again and bow. " Everyone loves my little Lotta! " said Lai, proudly. " Everyone is clapping her." But she wasn't quite right. Two people were not cheering for Lotta, or clapping her. Two people were angry at her success that evening. They were not in the big tent. They were outside, peering through a hole that they had made with a knife. Nobody saw or heard them. They were the two boys who had worried Lotta that morning. " Bah ! " said one, when they spied Lotta through the hole in the tent. " That dirty little grub again ! "

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CHAPTER III AT THE END OF THE SHOW


THE boys watched right to the end of the show. The night was very dark, and they were well hidden in the shadows. " Better look out now, Sid, in case anyone sees us when they come out of the show," said one. " We're all right, Jeff," said Sid. " We can mix with the crowd." They did mix with the crowd, sauntering along as if they, like everyone else, had paid for their seats and had sat in the big tent. They followed Lilliput as he took his monkeys to their cage, and shut them in. He put Jemima with them, too, because he knew he would be busy for a while. The two boys stood back in the little crowd and watched. They saw Mr. Wally come along with Sammy the chimpanzee, and go to his caravan too. He put Sammy in. Sammy lived with Mr. Wally. He had a bunk in his fine caravan, and Mr. Wally treated him just as if he were a child. Sammy dressed himself each day, brushed his fur and washed his face. It was really marvellous to watch him. Sammy didn't want to be left by himself in the caravan. He was excited by the circus performance. He loved the crowds, the lights, the cheering and the clapping. He sat on the bunk, picking at the sheet

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there. He should have begun to undress himself, but he didn't. Sid and Jeff watched Mr. Wally shutting the chimpanzee into the caravan. They noticed that he didn't lock it, but merely slid an outside bolt to keep the chimpanzee inside. Sid looked at Jeff, raising his eyebrows. Jeff nodded. A little shiver of excitement ran down his back. He and Sid were always on the lookout for mischief and now, here was some, right under their noses ! They could slip the bolt and open the chimp's door ! Nobody would know. It was dark just there, and the people had now gone to see the beautiful horses being led out of the big tent. Sid climbed up to look into the window of the caravan, but it was dark inside and he could see nothing. Sammy could see him, though, dark as it was ! The

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chimpanzee had eyes as sharp as a cat's at night. He sat quite still, his eyes on the window. He heard a little noise at the door, and he looked there. Was it Mr. Wally coming back ? No, it didn't sound like him. He heard the bolt outside being slid back slowly and carefully. Then the door moved a little, and was left slightly ajar. Sammy sat and listened, puzzled. Who was out there? He didn't like it. He made a small grunting noise and bared his teeth. If any enemy was going _to come in, Sammy was ready for him ! But no enemy came. Instead, stealthy footsteps moved silently away, as the two boys left the caravan, nudging each other as they went, delighted with the mischief they had done. They came to the caravan where the monkeys were. From inside came an excited chattering and bickering. The monkeys, like the chimpanzee, were excited. They were talking over the thrills of the evening. Little Jemina, Lilliputs greatest pet, -

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watched eagerly for him to come back. Then she would throw herself at him, sit on his shoulder, cuddle into his neck and nibble his ear lovingly. But Lilliput didn't come. He was always busy on the first night of the circus opening. The two boys heard the excited monkeys. They nudged one another. Was this caravan unlocked, too ? Could they open this door and hope that the monkeys would all escape ? "We mustn't be caught," whispered Sid to Jeff. "We'd get into an awful row if we were." "We could always say that we saw that girl and that boywhat's his name ? Jimmywe could say we saw them opening the vans," whispered back Jeff. "Feel along this door, Sidis there an outside bolt ? " There wasn't. But, on the other hand, the door was not even locked! It was just closed, for not one of the monkeys could open it from inside. Lilliput knew that none of the Circus folk would go to his van, and he rarely locked it when he knew he was coming back in a short while.

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Jeff found the handle. He turned it quietly. Although it seemed to make no noise at all, all the monkeys inside heard it, and stiffened. Who was coming in ? Nobody. The door was simply opened a few inches and left ajar. The monkeys, silent now, stared at the door. Through the crack they could see the lights that flared over the entrance of the big tent some distance away. Not far off there came a bellowing snort from Jumbo. He was tethered to a great tree. His sharp little eyes had seen the two prowling boys, and he knew them at once. How did he know them ? He couldn't see them clearly, he couldn't smell them, nor could he hear them. And yet Jumbo knew these two boys, and knew, too, that they had been up to mischief. .Clever Old Jumbo ! He tugged at his strong rope. It would not break. He gave a mighty " hrrrrumph ! " and made a lot of people jump. But nobody took much notice. Sammy got out of his caravan first. He went cautiously to the door and pushed it open a little more. He wondered where Mr. Wally was. He wanted him. He wanted to be fussed and praised and given the tit-bits he always had after a show. He muttered to himself. He would go and find his master. He must be somewhere out there. Sammy could easily sniff him out! Sammy slipped out of the door, and jumped down into the darkness. He crossed over to the monkeys' caravan and stopped. What were the monkeys doing ? Sammy knew them all and liked them, though they sometimes teased him unmercifullyespecially little Jemima, who had taken his straw hat from him dozens of times ! Sammy stuck his nose in the door, opening it wider.

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He made a few friendly noises. The monkeys knew him at once and Jemima bounded over. She landed on his shoulder and felt for his hat, but he was not wearing it. So she gave his fur a sharp tug and then threw herself to the ground, scampering away in her little coat and skirt at top speed. All the other monkeys followed, except one, who was too tired. They followed Jemimaand she followed big Sammy. Sammy kept away from the crowds. He was looking for Mr. Wally among the caravans, but he couldn't find him anywhere. He came at last to Jimmy's caravan, clambered up on a wheel and peered through the window. Was his beloved master there, talking with that nice boy, Jimmy ? No, he wasn't. Jimmy's mother was there, though, cooking something on her little oil-stove. She looked up suddenly at a noise from the window, just as Sammy slid away from it. " Good gracious'for a moment I thought that was Sammy ! " she said to herself. " But he'll be safely in Wally's caravan. I'm fancying things ! " Sammy lumbered over to the hedge. On the other side he could see people going down the lane. Was Mr. Wally with them ? He decided to go and see. He squeezed through a gap and found himself in the dark lane. The people were all going home together, chattering and laughing. Some carried torches, and shone the beams on the ground to make sure they did not walk in muddy patches. Sammy walked with them. It was so dark that nobody knew he was a chimpanzee. He lumbered along between a man and a boy, with two women in front. A woman behind shone her torch on his legs, but he WM wearing trousers, so the woman thought he was a

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little man. Not one person guessed that a chimpanzee was mixing with them, walking back to their village. Sammy began to feel excited. This was fun ! He hadn't been in such a crowd before, like this, all on his own. He longed to take someone's hand, just as he so often took Mr. Wally's. He slid his hand through the arm of the boy next to him. The boy thought it was some friend of his and took hold of the hand. It was furry ! He gave a yell and pushed the surprised chimp away. "Dad! Dad! Who's that ? He's got fur on his hands ! " cried the boy. His father laughed. " Oh, you've got the circus on your brain. You'll be thinking it was the chimpanzee next! " Sammy slid away, frightened by the boy's shout. He longed for Mr. Wally. He stopped by a bush and wondered what to do. He was lost now, so the only thing was to follow the crowds. He padded on again. Behind him, scampering along in the shadows, came Jemima. The other monkeys, frightened, had bounded back to the circus field, and were sitting on the roof of their caravan, waiting for Lilliput to come. They cowered down, feeling that they were naughty they shouldn't have left their caravan ! But they couldn't

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get back into it because the wind had blown the door shut. Soon Lilliput came, still dressed in his gay circus-ring suit. He was whistling softly, pleased with the evening's success, pleased with his clever troupe of monkeys. He opened the caravan door and shone his bright torch inside. Only one monkey was there, the tired one, who had fallen asleep. She opened her eyes now and blinked. Lilliput stared round the van in alarm. " Linda ! Where are the other monkeys ? " he cried, to the only one left. " What has happened ? " Linda chattered and came over to Lilliput. And then the other monkeys on the top of the van chattered, too. Wally went out and flashed his torch over them. " What are you doing there ? Who let you out ? Come in at once, all of you ! " Down they all came, leaping and scampering. Lilliput watched them. Then he called anxiously, " Jemima ! Jemima, where are you ? " But his favourite little monkey was not there. No amount of calling brought her to the van. Lilliput shut the door, locked it, and turned round, sick at heart. What had happened to little Jemima ? And then he heard a loud shout nearby. It was Mr. Wally. He had gone into his caravan and found it empty. Where was Sammy ? " Sammy's gone ! " he yelled. " SAMMY'S GONE ! Come out and look for him, all of you. He's gone ! " "So has Jemima!" called Lilliput, running up. " Get Mr. Galliano, Wally. This is serious. If they've gone with the crowds, there'll be trouble. Where can they be ? "

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CHAPTER IV GOOD DOG, LUCKY!


WHAT a to-do there was at once over the whole of the camp. Everyone came from their caravans to hear the news. Mr. Galliano strode over in his white breeches and no coat, and with his hat straight on his head. Bad luck of any sort always made him put his hat on dead straight instead of gaily on one side. " Sammy gone ! " he said, astonished. " Wally, we must get him. He'll get scared and might go for someone. We don't want him to be shot by some idiot." " Oh, no, no! " wailed poor Mr. Wally, in the greatest alarm. " Don't say such things, Mr. Galliano. Jemima's gone, too." " Search every corner of the camp," commanded Mr. Galliano. " Put on all the brightest lights. Hurry ! " Jimmy was half-undressed when he heard the disturbance. Lotta came to fetch him. " Jimmy! Sammy's gone and Jemima, too. Do come ! " " Sammy's gone! " said Mrs. Brown, Jimmy's mother, suddenly remembering the face at the window that night. " Did you say Sammy ? I'm sure I saw him peeping in my window to-night. He must have been looking for you, Jimmy, " Motherdid you really see him ? " said Jimmy, an idea coming into his mind at once. " Where's Lucky ? Lucky, come here. You can help. . Lotta,

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nip over to Mr. Wally's caravan and bring something of Sammy's here. Quick ! " Lotta was very quick. She came back with Sammy's pyjamas. He slept in pyjamas just as his master did. Jimmy took them. He bent down to Lucky. " Smell," he said. " These are Sammy's, Luckyyou can smell they are Sammy's. Now come outside with me. We'll find out if you can smell whether Sammy was really here tonight, peeping in through the window if he was, you can sniff his trail for me, and show me the way he went! " " Oh, Jimmythat's clever of you," said Lotta. " We must find him. He escaped once before, and he was nearly shot. Sniff about, Lucky, sniff well I" Lucky knew the pyjamas were Sammy's

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He smelt Sammy's footmarks outside the van, too. He sniffed round, found the trail and set off. " He's got it! " said Jimmy, excited. " Wait, Lucky I must slip your lead on or you may go too fast for us." Lucky led the two children here and there, and then made for the hedge. He came to the gap where the chimpanzee had squeezed through, and went through it himself, followed by Jimmy and Lotta. Then off he went down the lane, tugging at the lead, following Sammy's fresh, strong scent. " Clever dog, good dog," panted Jimmy. " Take us to Sammy. Oh, Lotta, I wonder where he isand Jemima, too." Sammy was at that very moment wandering through the town, still followed by Jemima. He had bumped into a very scared old gentleman, who had immediately rung up the police and reported that a " very big monkey followed by a very small one" had just bumped into him round a corner. " Ah," said the policeman, " is that so, sir ? That was a chimpanzee, the big one, sirjust reported lost from the circus." The old gentleman nearly fainted. A chimpanzee ! Worse and worse. He decided to remain in the street telephone box till the animal was caught, even if he had to stay there till morning. Sammy was frightened and very tired. So was Jemima. Neither of them had the faintest idea of the way back to the circus. Jemima gave a little whimpering cry and Sammy turned round. She leapt on to his shoulder, cuddling into his neck, and the two went on again together. They came to a wall. Sammy leapt to the top and looked down into the dark garden below. There was a shed or hut at one side. It looked a little like a van

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without wheels to the chimpanzee, as he peered through the darkness. He decided to go to it and creep in there. Perhaps Mr. Wally would come and find him. So he made his way to it, and pushed open the door. Inside were some sacks and old boxes. Sammy thankfully curled up on a sack with Jemima cuddled against him. Not far behind were Jimmy and Lotta, with Lucky tugging at the lead, going at top speed up and down the streets where Sammy and Jemima had wandered. " What a way they went! " panted Lotta as they both ran after the excited little dog. Lucky came to the wall on the top of which Sammy

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had jumped. The trail came to an unexpected end there, of course. Lucky stopped and sniffed all round. No there was no scent after this. " Better go into this garden and snoop round," said Jimmy. "Perhaps Sammy jumped up on the wall. That would break his trail, of course." They cautiously went in at the gate. It creaked and somebody standing under a tree not far off heard it. It was a policeman, and he swung round at once. He thought he saw two shadowy figures by the gate, and went silently over to it. Was it burglars ? Jimmy and Lotta felt themselves pulled along by Lucky at once, as soon as they got into the garden. He had picked up the trail again, of course ! He made for the little shed, whining with excitement. He knew he was near to Sammy and Jemima now !

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Just as the three got to the shed, and Jimmy was feeling for the door, there came the flash of a strong light full on them, and a stern voice said, " And what do you think you are up to ? You just come along with me ! " It was the policeman who had come in at the gate, had heard the noise they made, and now had caught them in his lantern's light. Jimmy almost jumped out of his skin, and Lotta gave a gasp. " We're looking for a chimpanzee," said Jimmy. " He's quite near heremy dog's on his trail." " Hoa chimpanzee ! " said the policeman, most disbelievingly. " That's a fine tale, I must say. You're a couple of bad children, no doubt about it going to break in somewhere, weren't you ? " " No, of course not," said Lotta, indignantly. " We are looking for a chimpanzee. I believe he's in this shed." " What do you take me for ? " said the policeman, coming right up to them. " Fairy-tales don't go far with me. You wait till my chief comes along in a minute or two, and try that tale on him. I'm going to take you to the police-station, and we'll meet my chief on the way." Lotta shook off his hand furiously. " Don't! We must find Sammy. Jemima's gone, too. You don't understand how important it is to find them both. I'm sure they are in this shed." A voice suddenly came from the gate. " What's all this going on ? Is that you, Jones ? " " Yes, sir," said the policeman, glad to hear his chief's voice. " I've got two kids here, sirabout to break into this shed, I should say. Stuffing me up with tales about looking for a chimpanzee they are! Says he's about here somewhereI don't think ! "

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"' A chimp ? That must be the one reported to us a few minutes ago," said the chief. " He's dangerous, Jones. Have you got a weapon of some sort ? " " There's a heavy spade here, sirand a chopper," said the policeman, startled. He picked up the chopper and gave the spade to his chief. Jimmy was scared. Nobodynobody must try to kill Sammy why, he was as gentle as Jemima ! Sammy and Jemima heard the voices. Sammy came to the door of the shed, blinking in the light from the lantern. " There he isthat's a chimp all right! " shouted the chief. " Throw the chopper at himget him, quick, before he gets us!"

"

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No, no ! " shouted Jimmy and Lotta at exactly the same moment, and they flung themselves on the alarmed Sammy. But to his delight they were his friends, Lotta and Jimmy, and he put his great arms round them at once. " Stand away from that chimp," ordered the chief. " You'll get hurt. We've got to get him somehow. And good gracious is that a baby chimp behind ? " " Noit's Jemima! " cried Jimmy, in delight. "Oh, Jemima, you went with Sammy, did you ? Now we've got you both. Please, sir, let us take them back to the circus. We've been hunting for them before they came to any harm. Their owners will be so glad to have them back." " I can't let you two children take a dangerous animal like that through the streets," said the chief of police. " He ought to be tied up. Here, now, herewhat do you think you're doing ? " ' " Just taking Sammy home," said Jimmy, firmly, pushing by the two burly policemen. " Don't try to stop ushe may bite you. And don't try any funny games with the chopper or the spade, because you might hurt us. That's right, Jemima, you ride on Lotta's shoulder. Good-night, sir ! " The policemen couldn't do anything but let Lotta, Jimmy, Lucky, Sammy and Jemima pass. The two men drew back in alarm as Sammy showed his teeth at them, but he was only smiling ! " Better follow them to the circus to make sure they're going there," said the chief, uneasily. So they walked behind the strange little company, still carrying the spade and the chopper! " Wally, Wally! We've got Sammy! " yelled Jimmy as soon as they reached the camp. " And Jemima, too ! Lucky trailed them for us ! " Sammy leapt on Mr. Wally in delight, and almost

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strangled him in his joy at being with him again. Jemima cuddled against Lilliput, getting right under his coat and vest and against his chest. " Do you feel safe there ? " asked Lilliput, fondling her. " How did you get loose ? Naughty little Jemima ! " " You did well, Jimmy and Lotta," said Mr. Galliano, suddenly looming up in the camp lights. " Always, always you do well, yes ? Good children. You shall come to my caravan and share a supper with me, yes, no ? " " Oh, thank you, sir," said Jimmy. " I hope it's sausages! " " It is sausages," said Mr. Galliano. " You like them, yes?" " This is a nice, happy ending," whispered Lotta, as she walked beside Jimmy to Mr. Galliano's grand caravan, from which came a magnificent smell of fried sausages and onions. It wasn't quite the end of the adventure though not for the two bad boys, anyhow ! They came up the next day to hear what had happened because of their mischiefand who should see them but Jumbo the elephant! Jumbo looked at them. He remembered their curious behaviour of the night before. Jumbo didn't forget things like that. He didn't in the least like these boys, and he knew they should not be in the circus field. He lumbered over to them. Before they knew what was happening first Sid was taken up in Jumbo's big trunk and thrown up into a treeand then Jeff was taken up. He was thrown high, toobut he didn't land in the treehe landed on top of Mr. Galliano's caravan ! And out came Mr. Galliano in a rage, his great whip in his hand. " What do you think you are doing,

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climbing on my caravan ? " he roared. " And you, up that tree? You think the camp belongs to you, yes, no ? " And then he began cracking that long whip of his. Crack ! The lash swept Jeff's boots as he ran at top speed over the field. Crack ! It caught Sid round the middle of his legs and stung him well and truly. " Run, yes, runand come back for more whip if you want to ! " bellowed Mr. Galliano, bringing everyone out to watch in astonishment. CRACK ! The whip-lash whizzed through the air again and caught Jeff on the hand. He yelled. CRACK ! It caught Sid on his right ear, and he howled, too. How it stung ! And how clever Mr. Galliano was, sending the tip of his lash to ears and fingers and ankles as the two bad boys stumbled across the field ! " They won't come back again," said Lotta, pleased. She was right. They didn't! How everyone laughedyes, even Sammy !

THE END

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123

THE FARAWAY TREE


I. Up to the Land of Toys II. They Get Into Trouble III. Mr. Oom-Boom-Boom

IV. In Santa Claus' Castle

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CHAPTER I UP TO THE LAND OF TOYS


KNOCKITY-KNOCK-KNOCK! Bang-bang-BANG ! Rat-a-tatta-TAT ! " Good gracious ! It sounds as if somebody's at the door ! " said Jo. " I'll go and open it, Mother." He went to open the doorand outside, looking very impatient, stood the old Saucepan Man. He was all hung about with pots and pans and kettles as usual, and had a saucepan for a hat. " Hallo," said the Saucepan Man, " didn't you hear me knock ? I've come to tell you that we must go to the top of the Faraway Tree to-morrow. There's a very nice land coming there." ' What is it ? " asked Jo. ' The Land of Toys," said Saucepan. " You could bring a basket with you and collect quite a nice lot in time for Christmas." " Oh, what a good idea ! " said Jo. He called to his two sisters. " Bessie ! Fanny ! Did you hear what the Saucepan Man said ? " " Yes ! " they cried, running to the door. " Oh, Saucepan, we really must come. Can we just help ourselves to toys, do you suppose ? " " Well, I've an aunt there," said Saucepan, " and if I tell her you're my friends, you, can have what you want. Can you meet me at the top of the Faraway Tree to-morrow morning? " " Oh, yesand will Moonface and Silky be coming, too? " asked Bessie, joyfully. " We haven't seen them for ages."

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" We'll have fun! " said Fanny. " Yes, please," said Saucepan unexpectedly. "I'd like one very much." " Like what ? " said Bessie, astonished. " What you just offered mea bun," said Saucepan, looking round for it. " Oh.you suddenly went deaf," said Bessie. " I just saidwe'll have FUN." "Oh! All the same, I'd like abun," said Saucepan. He often went deaf and heard things wrong, because his saucepans and kettles made such a noise as he walked about, that he found it quite difficult to hear properly. Jo got him a bun out of the cake-tin. He went off, munching happily, his pans rattling and clanging round him. "See you to-morrow ! " he called. The next day the three children set off to the Faraway

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Tree. Into the dark Enchanted Wood they went, and followed the winding path they knew so well. The trees whispered round them as they went. They always seemed to have secrets to tell one another. " Wisha-wishawisha," they whispered. They came to the Faraway Tree in the middle of the wood. It looked even more enormous than usual. It towered up to the clouds, and the children couldn't even see the top of it. Its trunk was so big that it was quite a walk to go all the way round it! "Hurrah! The tree's growing blackberries today," said Jo, picking some big ripe ones." "Well, it shouldn't, then," said Bessie. " Blackberries grow on bushes, not on trees. The Faraway Tree's made a mistake ! " They began to climb the tree. A little way up it stopped growing blackberries and grew pine-cones !

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" Not so good," said Jo. " We can't eat pine-cones, Faraway Tree." " It's a very exciting tree, this," .said Fanny. " Always growing different things all the way up and having people living in it, tooand a slippery-slide all the way inside from the top to the bottom. I'm glad we live near a tree like this. We're lucky." " Yes. I bet a lot of children wish they lived near it, too," said Jo, helping Bessie over a steep bit. "My word, the adventures we've had !." " Look outI can hear Dame Washalot's dirty water coming down ! " yelled Fanny suddenly. And, sure enough, down came a cascade of soapy water, running down the trunk, splashing on the boughs, and soaking a little pixie who was sitting nearby. " Bother ! " she said. " And I brought an umbrella with me, too, in case I didn't hear the water coming ! " Jo laughed. " I should put on a bathing-suit next time and not bother about an umbrella," he said. " Anyway, the sun will soon dry you ! " They went up, passing little windows in the Faraway Tree, and came to Silky's small yellow door. They knocked, but there was no answer. " She's gone up to the top of the tree, I expect," said Jo. Come onwe don't want to keep the others waiting." They climbed right up to Moonface's little door. From inside came the sound of chattering, and the noise of jangling and clanging. . ' . " The Saucepan Man's there all right," said Jo. And the others, too, I should think." He banged on the door. Moonface opened it, beaming all over his big round face. " Oh, come in," he said. " We're just having a snack before we go."
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" What sort of snack ? " asked Bessie, going in with the others. " Pop biscuits ? I love those." " Nosomething Saucepan bought when he was in the Land of Surprises," said Moonface. " Well-I-Never Rolls." " What a peculiar name," said Jo, looking at the dish of nice crusty little rolls, " What do they taste of ? " " Try one," said Moonface. " And tell us ! " Jo took a roll and bit into it. " Tastes of cheese," he said. " Nowell I never, it tastes of ginger now. No, it doesn't'it's chocolate! And now it tastes of coconutand it's got bits of coconut in itno, they've goneit's treacly now. Well I never!" " Yes. Most peculiar, isn't it ? " said Moonface. " No wonder they're called Well-I-Never Rolls. You just simply never know what they'll taste of next. Every chew you have tastes of something different." " Jolly good," said Jo. " I'll have another. My this tastes of pickled onionsno, it doesn'tit's custardlovely ! " " Mustard," said Saucepan in disgust. " I'd hate one to taste of mustard. " I said CUSTARD," said Jo, and then made a face. " Oh, my word, it is mustard now. Horrible ! " " Just what I said. Mustard," said Saucepan. He bit into his. " Ahmint! Delicious! Why, it's mint sauce, I can taste the tiny bits of mint." " You'll find you've got lamb next," said Silky. Saucepan looked surprised. " Noit isn't ham," he said. " I said LAMB ! " shouted Silky. " No, it's not jam," said Saucepan. " Dear me it's lamb! Lamb and mint saucehow clever! Really, these rolls are remarkable." So they were. The six of them finished up the whole dish of them. " I wish I'd brought heaps more," said Saucepan, getting up. " Well, aren't we going up to the Land of Toys ? Do hurry up."
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They were all ready. They went out of Moonface's little round room and climbed up the topmost branch into a cloud. They came to the little yellow ladder that led upwards through the last bit of the cloud. The Land of Toys should be at the top ! Saucepan went first. He climbed off the topmost rung of the ladder, and called down to the others. " Yes, it's here. Come on ! " Up they all went, and at last stood in the Land of Toys. But there seemed to be no toys about at all. Saucepan pointed to a town not far off. Flags were flying gaily from little houses. " There's the Village of Toys," he said. " Now we'll go and find my aunt." They set off to the village. But when they got there, Saucepan stopped and looked puzzled. " Dear me," he said, " this isn't the Land I hoped.

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The toys are all alivelook, isn't that a Teddy Bear walking about ? " " Yes," said Bessie. " Good graciouswe can't take toys like these away to play with at home ! They're as big as we are!" " I'll find my aunt," said Saucepan, and they all walked down the village street, meeting three or four black golliwogs, a curious man who had no legs but just wobbled along, and some pretty little dolls. Saucepan's aunt was nowhere to be found. She kept a toyshop, and, of course, there was no toyshop there, because the toys lived in little houses made of coloured wooden bricks. " Your aunt lives in the other land, you silly," said Silky. " This must be Toyland, not the Land of Toys." " Oh, welllet's enjoy ourselves, anyway," said Saucepan. " Here comes another Wobbly Man. Let's try and push him over." The Wobbly Man was astonished and annoyed when

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Saucepan gave him a punch. He wobbled over backwards and then came forwards again, only to get another punch, this time from Moonface. " How dare you ? " cried the Wobbly Man in a rage. " That's not the way for visitors to behave ! I'll report you to the Captain of the Soldiers ! " He wobbled off at a remarkable speed. The three children and Silky felt a bit scared. " You shouldn't go round punching people, Saucepan," said Jo. " Not even to see them wobble. I do hope we shan't get into trouble." Saucepan suddenly went deaf and didn't hear. He hardly ever did hear when somebody scolded him. " Look, there's a clockwork mouse running along ! " he said, pointing. " Run, mouse, run! Meow ! MEOW ! " The clockwork mouse was very frightened when it heard Saucepan mewing. It turned and ran off at top speed, almost bumping into a toy soldier. " Lookthere's the captain of the soldiers," said Bessie, afraid. " And the Wobbly Man is with him. He's complained of us, as he said he would. We'd better run away." " No," said Jo. " We can easily explain, and Saucepan must say he's sorry." Up marched the soldier, clickety-click, as smart as could be. He salutedclick ! " You must come with me," said the Captain, in a most commanding voice. " You are not toys, and should not be here. Also your behaviour must be looked into. Follow me, quick MARCH ! " " We'd better follow," said Jo. " He can't do any-. thing to us ; he's only a toy, even if he is alive. And I must say I'd rather like to see what that toy fortress is like inside." So they all followed the soldier and the Wobbly Man. Whatever was going to happen ?
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CHAPTER II THEY GET INTO TROUBLE


THE Captain took them through the village and up to the wooden fortress. It was very like a toy fortress that Jo had once had. It even had a wooden drawbridge that could be pulled up or let down. It was let down for them to walk over. Guns stood here and there. Jo went up to one. " Funny old gun ! " he said. " Look, there's a knob to pull back and then let go, just like the toy cannon I had in my little fortress at home." He pulled back the knob, let it goand then BANG ! The gun went off with a most tremendous noise ! The Wobbly Man was so shocked that he almost fell over, and it took a lot of wobbles for him to stand upright again. The toys in the village below were so frightened when the gun went BANG that they tore out of their little houses and ran for their lives ! The Captain was very angry indeed. " Now see what you've done ! " he said to Jo. " Let off the gun, and scared everybody ! You must be mad." " I'm very sorry," said poor Jo. " I never thought the gun would go off like that." " Well, what did you think it would do ? " said the Captain, in a rage. " Whistle a tune or dance a jig ? " Nobody dared to laugh. The Captain led them on again, and soon they came to a door that led into a

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wooden tower, They went in and found themselves in a room with a table and a chair at one end, and nothing else. The Captain sat himself down in the chair. " Stand up straight," he said. Everyone stood up very straight, even Saucepan. " Salute," said the Captain, and everyone saluted, though Moonface used the wrong hand. " Dismiss ! " said the Captain, and everyone stared. What did he mean ? " Nothat's wrong," said the Captain. " Don't dismiss. Stand at ease." They obeyed. The Captain rapped loudly on the table. " You are accused of not being toys. You are accused of punching Wobbly Men. You are accused of setting off guns. You" " Only one Wobbly Man, and one gun," said Jo. " We're sorry and we won't do it again. We'll dismiss now !" But before they could go they heard the noise of marching feet, and into the room came about fifty soldiers, all very wooden. They surrounded the children and the others. "To the deepest dungeon with them ! " ordered the Captain. "NO!" shouted Jo, and he pushed the nearest soldier hard. The soldier fell against the man next to him

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and knocked him over. That one fell against the next one and he went down, too, knocking the soldier next to himand before five seconds had passed every soldier was lying flat on the floor. " It's like when we put dominoes in a rowknock the first over, and down goes the whole row ! " said Fanny with a giggle. The Captain looked most alarmed. What was he to do with people like these ? Good graciousone push, and all his men were down ! He banged on the table. " Order ! Order ! Get up ! Do you think you are skittles, men ? " The men got up, but not one of them would go near the little group of six prisoners. " Now listen," said the Captain. " Either you become toys, or you go to the deepest dungeon. You can choose." " All rightwe'll be toys, then ! " said Jo with a grin. " I'll be a clockwork clown, and go head-over-heels all the time!" He began to go head-over-heels all round the room, and knocked into one of the soldiers. Down they all went again, like a row of skittles ! " Rightyou're a clockwork clown," said the Captain. "What will you be?" and he pointed at Moonface. " A Teddy Bear," grinned Moonface, "with a growl in my middle." And he pressed himself in the middle and pretended to growl. " I'll be a pretty doll," said Silky, and began to walk about stiffly like a doll. " And I'll be a golliwog ! " said the Saucepan Man. " I'll go and black my face as soon as we get out of here! " " We'll be dolls," said Bessie and Fanny together, and they walked about stiffly like Silky, giggling all the time.

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" Right," said the Captain thankfully. " You are now toys, and can remain in Toyland. Dis-MISS ! " The six of them went out, laughing, Jo still turning headover-heels, just for fun. They went over the drawbridge and into the town. In the distance they saw an enormous Noah's Ark. " Let's go and see the animals coming out two by two," said Bessie, and they set off. Fanny was just going to say something to Saucepan, who was in front of her, when she stopped. She stared hard. She saw something really very peculiar. Saucepan a saucepan for a hat, as usualbut, dear me, he suddenly grown a mop of extremely black hair! The saucepan sat on top of it, looking rather queer. " Saucepan," said Fanny, astonished. " Saucepan, what's wrong with you ? " Saucepan turned round, surprised, and everyone got

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a tremendous shock. His face was as black as soot! " He's a golliwog ! " said Fanny, with a squeal. Saucepanyou're a golliwog ! You said you would be, and now you are." They were all most astonished. They stared and stared at poor Saucepan. How queer to see his face all black, topped by a mop of golliwog hair ! Saucepan looked at himself in one of his bright pans, which he used as a looking-glass. He was shocked to see such a black face looking back at him. He gazed round at the others, scared. Then he gave a shout and pointed to Jo. " Well! Look at him ! He's a clockwork clown now, hat and ah1! Yes, and he's got a key in his back ! Jo, you're a clown! No wonder you keep going head-over-heels!" Jo turned another somersault at once. The others gazed at him. Yes, Jo was a clown,

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with a clown's hat and dress. His face was daubed in red and white like a clown's too. Fanny looked at the others, and squealed again. "Look at Moon-facehe's a fat, round little Teddy Bear, with a round, Teddy Bear face that's hardly like Moonface's at all! Oh, Moonfaceis it really you ? " " Yes," said Moon-face, putting up his hand to feel his face. " Oh dearI've gone all furry. Where are my clothes ? Theyve gone." Jo pressed him in the middle and a most alarming growl came outgrrrrrrrrr ! " Don't," said Silky. " You made me jump. Don't press him again, Jo. Oh, I saythis is dreadful. We're all toys. Look at me ! " " You're not so bad," said Jo, looking at her. " You are just about the prettiest little doll I ever saw. And Bessie and Fanny are dolls, too. Look at them walking about, as stiff as can be. Bessie, can you sit down ? " " Not very easily," said Bessie, trying to sit on a nearby wall. " I can't seem to bend. And I can't hut my eyes, either." " Perhaps they will shut when you lie down," said Moonface, speaking in a funny growly voice. So Bessie lay down on some grass for a moment and At once her eyes shut! " Yes. We're really toys," said Fanny. " It must

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have begun happening when we said we'd be toys, and chose what we'd be. But we only said it for fun." " I know. But you never know what will happen in the lands that come to the top of the Faraway Tree," groaned Jo. " Moonface, will we stop being toys when we get out of this land?" " No, I don't think so," said the teddy bear. " And anyway, how do you think you are going to go head-over-heels down the Faraway Tree ? We'll just have to hope this will all wear off." " I don't like being a golliwog," said Saucepan mournfully. " I feel silly. Do you suppose my face will come white again if I wash it ? " " No," said Jo, turning head-over-heels for about the fiftieth time ; " Golliwogs always stay black. It's your hair that looks so funny with that saucepan stuck on top of it. Why don't you take it off ? " " Well, I should get a cold," said Saucepan. " I always wear a hat. I don't feel right without a saucepan for a hat." " You certainly don't look right now," said Moonface, in his growly voice. " Nor do you," said Saucepan. " I wish you'd look like Moonface again. I don't like you like that." " Oh, come on," said Jo, going head-over-heels again. " Let's explore Toy Village and hope all this wears off. If only I didn't have to go head-over-heels so often ! I'm getting very tired of it." " So are we," said Fanny, getting out of his way. " Do keep over there, Joyou'll knock me over." The little company went on through Toy Village. Nobody took much notice of them now, because they looked exactly like toys. Golliwogs rushed about, looking very busy, and teddy bears lazed round, fat and cheerful-looking. Dolls of all kinds went here

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and there, and they saw the little clockwork mouse again. " Meow ! " said Saucepan, and it fled. " You're unkind to it," said Fanny. " It's a dear little thing. Oh, dearI do feel funny, walking stiffly like this. I'm sure I couldn't run, even if I had to ! " " Look, here come the Noah's Ark Animals," said Jo, getting up from another somersault. " Two by

two, just as they ought to. Two lions, two bears, two rabbits ..." " Two ducks, two mice," went on Fanny. " MEOW ! " said Saucepan at once again. " Meow! " But the Noah's Ark mice took no notice of him. However, somebody else did ! Behind the mice were two cats, and one of them left the row of animals and came over to Saucepan, glaring at him. " What did you say just then ? " said the wooden eat, " Meow," said Saucepan, " meow, meow, meow ! " " How dare you call me such rude names ! " said the Cat, and showed claws in her wooden paws. Saucepan backed away hurriedly. " I didn't call you names," he said. " I just said, meow, meow, meow,' to the mice."

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" Well, that means, ' You're a very ugly cat with a crooked tail! ' " said the cat angrily. " My tail is not crooked. Don't use cat-language if you don't know what it means ! " " Get back into the line, cat! " called Mr. Noah, and the cat obeyed. Saucepan was very thankful. Dear, dearto think those simple meows had meant all that in cat-language ! He really must be careful. " Let's go on," he said to the others, who were as surprised as he was. " Old Moonface might suddenly begin to growl, and goodness knows what that might mean in bearlanguage ! We don't want those two white bears and the two brown ones to come after us. " Well, let's go another way," said Jo, gloomily turning another somersault: " Blow this head-over-heels business. I'm tired of it! " They turned down another way. Oh, dearwas this strange spell wearing off yet ? It didn't seem like it !

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CHAPTER III MR. OOM-BOOM-BOOM


THEY came to a little garage. A very black golliwog was busy putting petrol into a car driven by another golliwog. They looked at Saucepan in surprise as he came along with the others. " Hallo ! " said the garage golliwog, " what's the idea of wearing a saucepan for a hat ? I can't say I've ever seen a golliwog wearing a hat before." ' Well, you've seen one now," said Saucepan, not very politely. " Bother this awful mop of hair. I hate it. It makes me look like a golliwog." ' Wellbut you are a golliwog, black face and all," said the golly, staring. ' That's just where you're wrong," said Saucepan. " I'm not. I hate being one. Ugly creatures, black as soot! " " Stop it, Saucepan," said Jo, warningly. He turned to the surprised golliwog. ' You must excuse him," he said ; " he's really a Saucepan Man, as you can see. And I'm not really a clockwork clown, I'm a boy. Ohexcuse me, I can feel another somersault coming on ! " He turned head-over-heels and then stood up straight again. " I see," said the golliwog. " Well, I should just hate to be an ugly little Saucepan Man, so I know what he feels about being a golliwog-though golliwogs

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are very handsome creatureslike myself. He ought to be pleased he's turned into one." " Well, we really like being ourselves best," said Fanny. " I'm a little girl, not a doll. And this Teddy Bear is really Moonface." " Never heard of him," said the golliwog. " Didn't know there were such things as moonfaces." Fanny giggled. Silky went up to the golliwog and smiled at him. " Please do help us," she said. The golliwog stared at her. He thought she was the very prettiest little doll he had ever seen in Toy Village. The golliwog who was inside the car leaned out. " Of course we'll help you," he said. " What do you want us to do ? " " Well, we did hope all this would wear off," said Silky in a little high doll's voice that sounded rather sweet. " But it hasn't. And we wondered if you knew how we could get back into ourselves again." The two golliwogs looked at one another. " Difficult," said one. " Very," said the other. ' What about the old Spell-Maker, Mr. Oom-Boom-Boom ? " said the first one. " If he's in a good temper, he might do something for them." ' Yes. But if he's in a bad temper, he might turn them into something worse," said the second golly.
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" Then we won't go there," said Jo hurriedly, and turned another somersault. " We could see if he's in a good or bad temper before we say anything," said the golliwog. " I'll take you there in my car, if you can all squeeze in." " Wellwe might try," said Moonface, his little round teddy bear face looking worried. The golliwog made Silky sit next to him. He thought she was really beautiful, and very sweet. " I am sure, if you went to ask Mr. Oom-Boom-Boom a favour he would say ' yes ' at once," he said. " I never saw anyone quite so pretty as you." " Well, you're a very handsome golliwog," said Silky, and that pleased him very much. They all squeezed into the car somehow, waved to the friendly garage golliwog, and set off. " I feel a somersault coming on," said Jo suddenly. "I'm so sorrybut will you please stop the car so that I can get out and turn head-over-heels ? " " You're going to be a bit of a nuisance," said the

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golliwog driver. " Can't you do about a dozen, and make those do for a while ? " " I'll try," said poor Jo. So he got out and did nine, but no more would come, so he got back into the car. " I do wish you didn't wear so many pans and kettles," he said to Saucepan. " Move that kettle, will you ? It's sticking its spout into me." " Kettles don't have snouts," said Saucepan. " SPOUT, I said, not Snout," said Jo crossly. " Now there's something else sticking into me a saucepan handle." " I haven't got any candles," said Saucepan, mishearing again. " You know I haven't. You're just making a fuss, with all your chatter about snouts and candles. " I said SHOUTS and PANDLES," bawled Jo, losing his temper. " No, I don't mean that I mean, I mean . . ." " Pouts and scandles," said Fanny with a squeal of laughter. " Be quiet, you two. Saucepan, dear, be sensible. He meant Spouts and Handles look, they're sticking into him." " Well, why didn't he say so then," grumbled Saucepan, moving the kettle and the saucepan and sticking them into Moonface instead. " Goodness, Moonface, what are you growling about now ? '' Moonface turned his teddy bear face to Saucepan. " You're not kind," he said. " No, I don't mind," said Saucepan, whose hearing had gone quite wrong with the noise of the car and the jangling of his pans. " Of course I don't mind. Why should I mind ? Mind what, anyhow ? " " Stop talking," said the golliwog at the wheel. " I keep listening and it all sounds so mad that I'm sure I shall drive into a tree or something. Anyway, I want to talk to this dear little Silky doll here."

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Nobody talked after that except Silky and the golliwog. The car went on and on, and at last Jo wanted to get out and go head-over-heels again. " Can you stop ? " he called. " Good gracious me, I've gone right past Mr. Oom-Boom-Boom!" said the golliwog, putting on the brake so suddenly that the saucepan flew off Saucepan's head and rolled away down the road. " Yes, get out and somersault for a bit while I turn the car round." So Jo turned about ten somersaults, while the golliwog turned the car round again. Then back they went to findMr. Oom-Boom-Boom. " Don't start talking to Silky or you'll go right past again," begged Fanny. But this time the golliwog kept an eye open for Mr. Oom-Boom-Boom's house and suddenly put on the brakes again. ' There goes another of my saucepans," groaned Suacepan. " Do we have to stop so suddenly ? " Nobody took any notice of him. They stared at a funny little door set in a grassy hill. On it was printed in bold black letters : OOM-BOOM-BOOM. KNOCK SEVEN TIMES " Silky, you go," said Fanny. " Perhaps Oom-BoomBoom will be nice to you. You really do look very sweet."
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" All right. I'll knock," said Silky bravely, though she felt very scared. She got out of the car, and went up to the little door. She took hold of the knocker and knocked seven times blam-blam-blam-blam-blam-blam-blam ! A loud voice came from inside. " Stop knocking. Once is quite enough ! " " Oh, dearhe's in a bad temper ! " called the golliwog. " Come back quickly, Silky, and we'll drive off." " I can't come," wailed Silky. ' The knocker has got hold of my hand. It won't let go ! " Jo jumped out at once and went to her help. But Silky was quite right. The knocker had fast hold of her hand and wouldn't let it go. Moonface went to help, too, and then the Saucepan Man, his black golliwog face looking very worried. And just at that very moment the door opened, pulling poor Silky with it, and a voice boomed out loudly : " WHAT'S ALL THIS ? DISTURBING ME IN THE MIDDLE OF MY SPELLS ! "

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Everyone thought that Oom-Boom-Boom was a very good name for him, booming at them like that. But he wasn't a bit like his voice. He was an old brownie with a beard so long that it trailed behind him. He had big, pointed ears, and wore a funny little round hat with feelers on it like a butterfly's. His eyes were as green as grass and very bright indeed. He frowned at them alland then he saw Silky, still held by the knocker. " Ah," he said, and a smile broke over his face like the sun shining out suddenly. " Ah ! What a dear little doll! No wonder my knocker wouldn't let you go. Where did you come from ? I've never seen a doll as pretty as you ! Do you know where you ought to be ? " " No," said Silky, with a gasp. ' You ought to be standing at the very top of the great big Christmas Tree that Santa Claus has in his castle ! " said OomBoom-Boom in his booming voice. " He's always looking for the prettiest doll in the world to put there, but he's never found one as pretty as you yet!" " I'm not a doll," said Silky. " I'm a pixie. I've been turned into a doll today." "Let her go, knocker," said the brownie. " Come in, all of you. Why have you paid me this visit ? " " He seems in a very good temper

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now," whispered Jo to Moonface. " I think it's safe to go in." They all went in and the door shut with a bang that made them jump. Inside there was a narrow, very winding passage that led into the hill. They followed the brownie down it, everybody stumbling over his very long beard that trailed out behind him. He didn't seem to mind. He took them to a big room with a very low ceiling. A great fire burned in the middle, but the flames were green, not red, and no heat came from them. " I was just making a few spells," said Oom-BoomBoom, his big voice echoing all round the room. " I'm a spellmaker, you know." " Yes. That's why we came," said Silky, feeling very nervous. " Please, dear Mr. Oom-Boom-Boom, will you use a spell to help us. We want to go back to our right selves. I'm a pixie, really, as I told you." " And we're really little girls," said Bessie and Fanny. " And this clown is a boy, and the golliwog is old Saucepan Man ..." " And I'm Moonface," said Moonface, his little teddy bear face looking very earnest. " Please do help us." " Ha," said Oom-Boom-Boom, looking round at them and beaming, " well, I don't mind doing that. That's easy. But I'll do it on one condition." " What's that ? " asked Jo, his heart sinking. "I'll turn five of you back to your own shapesbut I want this little doll here, the very pretty one, to stay with me so that I can sell her to Santa Claus to put on the top of his Christmas Tree! It will be such an honour for her. You'd love that, wouldn't you, my pretty dear ? " he said to Silky, turning to her.

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Silky looked very frightened. " WellI'll stay and let you sell me to Santa Claus," she said, " if you will use a spell on the others." " Oh, dear, darling Silky ! " said Moonface, putting his furry arm round her, " how sweet you are ! But we wouldn't let you. We'd never leave you here alone." " Never," said Jo. " NEVER ! " " Never, never, never, never," said Jo, Bessie and Fanny. " I'm going to stay," said Silky, looking as if she was going to cry, but smiling at them all the same. " It won't be so bad, going to Santa Claus, though it sounds very dull standing on the top of his Christmas Tree. But it's for you, you see, so I want to do it." " Of course she wants to do it," said Oom-Boom-Boom. " She's a sensible little doll." " Be quiet," said Jo. " I tell you we won't let her do it! We'd rather be toys all our lives long than that! " Then Mr.' Oom-Boom-Boom lost his temper. He rushed at Jo'but Jo did a very clever thing. He caught him by his very long beard, dragged him to a big table and tied him to it with his beard, making dozens of knots ! " Now, quick, let's go ! " he cried. " Sorry about tying you up, Oom-Boom-Boom, but you're not going to have Silky. Run, everyone ! " They ran up the winding passage and came out on the hillside. And oh, joy, there was the golliwog waiting in his car! What a wonderful sight!

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CHAPTER IV IN SANTA GLAUS' CASTLE


JO got to the car first. " Quick! " he cried. " I can hear Oom-Boom-Boom coming ! He must have got free." So he had ! He appeared at the door of his queer house, and they saw that he had freed himself by cutting his beard short. He did look queer. The golliwog revved up his car and it shot off, almost before Saucepan was safely in. A kettle flew, clanging, down the road, and Saucepan groaned. " Well, thank goodness that kettle's gone," said Jo. "It can't stick into me again. Oh, dearI feel I want to turn headover-heels." " Well, you can't," said Moonface firmly. " Unless you want to be caught by that Oom-Boom-Boom fellow. Here, Saucepan, hang on to Jo, and stop him turning head-over-heels in the car ! " It was difficult to stop him, but they managed it. After they had gone a good way the golliwog stopped the car for a talk, and Jo took the chance of turning about a dozen somersaults. " You know, I think you ought to go to the Land of Santa Claus," said the golliwog. " I do really. Not to give him Silky, of course, that would never do but to tell him you aren't toys and to ask him if he can stop you being what you aren't." " That's a bit muddling," said Moonface, trying to work it out. " Yesit seems a good idea. After all, he deals in toys, doesn't he ? He must know them

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very well. He'll be able to tell we're not real toys, and might help us." " We know he's kind," said Silky. " He's so fond of children. Let's go to him. How can we get there, though ? This land may stay at the top of the Faraway Tree for some time and the Land of Santa Claus may not be the next one to arrive." " That's true enough," said the golliwog. " Actually the next Land on the time-table is the Land of Squalls, which doesn't sound too good. But I'll tell you what I can do for you!" " What! " asked Jo. " I can drive you to the next station and put you on a train for the Land of Santa Claus," said the golliwog. " I happened to notice that some trains there do go to his Land. What about it, friends ? " " A very good idea," said everyone, and off they went. They came to a funny little station after a while, and they all got out. " I wish you could stay in my Land for ever, little

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Silky doll," said the golliwog to Silky. " You really are the prettiest thing I ever saw. But there you'd be unhappy and I couldn't bear that." " I'll write to you," said Silky. "Will you really?" said the golliwog. " Do you know, I've never had a letter in my life! It would make me feel important ! Look, there's a train in ! " "I say! This train's going to the Land of Santa Claus ! What a bit of luck!" cried Moonface. " Good-bye, Golly. You really have been a good friend. I'll write to you." " My wordfancy me getting two letters ! " said the delighted golliwog. . " We'll all write," said Jo, shaking his black hand warmly. " Good-bye. It's been lovely meeting you." Silky gave him a kiss and he nearly cried for joy. " I've never been kissed before," he said. " Never. A kissand lettersmy word, lama, lucky golliwog ! " They all climbed into the train and waved good-bye. " Nice fellow, that golliwog," said Jo. " Well, we're off again. I wonder how far it is." , It was quite a long way, and they all fell asleep. A porter wakened them up at last. " Hey, you !

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Don't you want to get out here ? " he said. " This is where toys usually get out." They scrambled out because the station board said, " Get out here for the Castle of Santa Claus ! " "Just in time," said Jo, yawning. " Oh, myhere I go, turning head-over-heels again ! " " There's the castle-r-look ! " said Bessie, pointing to a magnificent castle with many towers, rising high on a hill nearby. " And, goodnesslook at the snow ! Anyone would think it was winter here." " Oh, it always is," said the porter. " It wouldn't be much good for sleighs, would it, if there wasn't snow ? Is Santa Claus expecting you ? His sleigh usually meets the train, in case there are any visitors for him." " Is that it down there ? " asked Moonface, pointing down into the snowy station yard. A sleigh was there, with four fine reindeer, whose bells jingled as they moved restlessly. A small red imp held the reins. "Yes, that's the sleigh. Better go and get in," said the porter. He stared hard at Silky. "I sayisn't that a pretty doll ? I bet Santa Claus will want her for his own Christmas Tree." They went to the sleigh and got into it. To Santa Claus , please, said Jo, and
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off they went, gliding smoothly over the snow, drawn by the four eager reindeer. They arrived at the castle. They felt rather nervous when they saw how big and grand it was. They stood at an enormous door, carved with all kinds of toys, and rang a great bell. The door swung open. " Please come in," said a teddy bear, dressed just like a footman. " Santa Claus will see you in a few minutes." They went into a big hall and then into a great room, where many little imps and goblins were at work. " You might like to look round while you're waiting." said the bear footman. " You'll see the imps painting the dolls' houses, and the goblins putting growls into us bears, and you'll see how the somersaults are put into the clockwork clowns." " I don't want to see that," said Jo, feeling at once that he wanted to go head-over-heels. He turned a few and then stood up again. " What are those imps doing over there ? " he said.

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" Putting the hum into tops," said the footman. " But don't go too near. One of the hums might get into you by mistake, and that's such a nuisance, you know ! " They stood at a safe distance, watching. It was very interesting indeed. So many things were going on ; there was so much to see and hear, that they almost forgot they were toys themselves. " How's your growl, bear ? " said a little imp, running up to Moonface. He punched him in the middle and Moonface growled deeply. " Grrrrrr! Leave me alone ! I don't like people doing that. Grrrrrrr ! " " Is your face black enough ? " cried another imp, running up with a large brush and a pot of black paint, and looking up at Saucepan's black face. " Another dab or two, sir?" " Go away," said Saucepan. " I'm not a golliwog. Don't you DARE to dab me with that paint." " Lookoh, lookisn't that Santa Claus himself ? " cried Bessie, suddenly, as a big man came into the room dressed in bright red. He wore a hood trimmed with white, and his jolly face had eyes that twinkled brightly. " Yes. It's Santa Claus ! " cried Jo. Santa Claus heard him and came over at once. He looked in surprise at Silky. " Why ! " he said, " where did you come from ? You weren't made in my castle, by imps and goblins. You are the loveliest doll I've ever seen. I've a good mind to keep you for myself and put you at the very top of my own big Christmas Tree." " No, no, please not! " said Silky. Santa Claus looked down at the others. He seemed puzzled. " Where do you all come from ? " he said. " I am quite sure I have never had any toys made like you.

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This golliwog, dressed up in kettles and saucepans, for instanceand this funny little bear. He doesn't seem like a proper teddy." " We're not proper toys ! " said Bessie. " Santa Claus, we got turned into toys in the Castle of the Toy Soldiers. I'm a little girl, really." " And I'm Moonface, who lives at the top of the Faraway Tree," said Moonface. " What! The famous Moonface, who has a slippery-slip in his room, going down the tree from the top to the bottom ! " cried Santa Claus. " My wordI've often wanted to see that! Do you think I'm too fat to go down it ? " " Nono, I don't think so," said Moonface, looking at him. " I could give you two cushions to sit on instead of one. Sir, if you'd like to come now, you can go up and down the Faraway Tree as often as you like'We'll haul you up in the washing-basket every time you arrive at the bottom, and you can slide down again from the top ! " " Let's go now," said Santa Claus in delight. " Well, wellto think I'm meeting the famous Moonface at last! And I suppose this darling doll is Silky the pixie. And of course this is the old Saucepan Man ! " "But how do you know about us ? " asked Moonface, astonished. " Oh, I've heard about you from the children," said Santa Claus. "They keep asking me for books about you, to go into their

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Christmas stockingslet's see, there are three books about youand they looked so exciting that I read them all. I did want to meet you ! " Well, wasn't that a bit of luck ? Santa Claus called for his sleigh and they all got in. "To the top of the Faraway Tree," commanded Santa Claus, and away they went. It didn't take very long. In quite a little while the sleigh landed on a broad bough near the top of the tree, and they all got out. " My room is just a bit higher up," said Moonface, and led the way. They were soon in his little round room. He pointed to the curious hole in the middle of the floor. " There you are," he said. " That's the slippery-slip, sirit goes round and round from top to bottom of the treeand you fly out of a trapdoor at the bottom, and land on a soft cushion of moss." " Splendid ! " said Santa Claus. " Will somebody else go first, please ? Dear meit's exactly the same as I read about in the books ! " " ErI suppose you couldn't just change us back to our ordinary selves, could you ? " asked Jo, afraid that in his excitement Santa Claus might forget to do what they so badly wanted. " I feel as if I'm going to somersault again, and I don't want to turn head-over-heels all the way down the slipperyslip." " Change you back ? Yes, of course ; it's easy ! " said Santa Claus. " The slippery-slip is just the right place for a spell. Shut your eyes, please." They all shut their eyes. Santa Claus touched each one gently, chanting a curious little song : " Go in as you are, Come out as you were, Go in as you are, Come out as you were I "
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They opened their eyes. Moonface got a cushion and pulled Bessie on to it. He gave her a tremendous push and she shot down the slippery-slip at top speed round and round and then out she flew through the trapdoor at the bottom, and landed on a tuft of moss. " Oh ! " she said, breathless. " Oh ! I'm myself again. I'm not a stiff-jointed doll any longerand I can shut and open my eyes properly ! " She got upand out of the trapdoor flew Jo. " Jo ! You're all right again ! You're you ! " cried Bessie in "delight. " And here comes Silkyshe's not a doll any moreand here's Fannyshe's all right, too. Look outhere's the old Saucepan Manhurrah, his face isn't black ! " " And he's not got his mop of hair," said Silky. " I'm rather sorry. I liked him with all that hair. Good old Saucepan." And then, WhoooooOOOOOSH ! The trapdoor shot open with a bang and out sailed Santa Claus, his hood on the back of his head ! Bump ! He went on to the cushion of moss, and sat there, panting and full of delight. "What a thrill! WHAT a thrill! Better than anything I've got in my castle."

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" Look out ! Here comes Moonface ! " cried Jo, and out came Moonface, no longer a fat teddy bear, but his own beaming self once more. ' I'd like to do that again," said Santa Claus, standing up. " How did you say we got back to the top of the tree ? In a basket ? " ' Yes," said Jo," but if you don't mind, sir, we won't come with the others. You see, our mother will be wondering about us. So we'd better say goodbye and thank you very much." " Good-bye. See you next Christmas," said Santa Claus. "I'll bring you something extra fine. Ah here comes the basket, let down on a rope. Do we get in ? " The last thing that Jo, Bessie and Fanny saw was Santa Claus in the big basket, being pulled slowly up by all the squirrels at the top of the tree. Moonface and Silky and Saucepan were with him, leaning over the edge of the basket, waving to them. ' WellI suppose dear old Santa Claus will be going down that slippery-slip till it's dark," said Jo. " Oh, dear surely I'm not going to turn head-over-heels again ! I feel just like it ! " " Oh, you'll soon get out of the habit," said Bessie. ' I still feel as if I want to walk stiffly like a doll. I saywasn't that an adventure ! " ' We'll never have a better one," said Fanny. Oh, yes, you will, Fanny, Bessie and Jo. You just wait and see !

THE END

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HERE'S THE NAUGHTIEST GIRL AGAIN!

I. Back at Whyteleafe School II. Patrick Comes up Against Elizabeth III. Julian's Little Trick IV. Patrick in Trouble V. At Midnight

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CHAPTER ONE Back at Whyteleafe School


IT WAS the summer term at Whyteleafe School. All the children were back again - Elizabeth, Julian, Harry, John, Martin, Rosemary and the rest. They rushed round the school excitedly, glad to be back. 'Summer term! My favourite term!' said Elizabeth Allen, pleased. 'Hi, Julian - come and look at my new tennis racket!' Julian came over, humming a little song. His green eyes twinkled at Elizabeth. 'Hallo,' he said. 'What are you going to be this term, Elizabeth? Naughtiest girl in the school? Best girl? Silliest?' Elizabeth laughed and gave Julian a punch. 'I'm a monitor, as you jolly well know,' she said. 'I'm going to do my best, and be a monitor all the term - not be chucked out in the middle, as I was last term. What about you! 'Oh, I'm going to do my best, too - but I've got all sorts of bests,' said Julian, grinning. Ill beat you at work this term, for one thing - and I'll beat you at tennis - and I'll beat you at thinking out a few little tricks to make life cheerful - and...' 'Oh, Julian - I hope you'll think of a few tricks,' said Elizabeth. 'But please don't put sneezing powder in the pages of my books again - honestly, it's awful to have to keep on and on sneezing without stopping.'

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'Right,' said Julian, Ill make a note of it!' Elizabeth was just going to say something more when she caught sight of a boy in the distance. He was so like Julian that she stared in surprise. Same black untidy hair, same green eyes - but what a sulky face! 'Look - there's somebody who looks very like you,' said Elizabeth. 'He must be a new boy.' Julian turned. 'Yes - that's a cousin of mine. He's got rather a big opinion of himself, as you'll soon find out. He didn't want to come to Whyteleafe School at all.' 'Why ever not?' said Elizabeth, who simply couldn't imagine anyone not wanting to come. 'Well - he's not very fond of me,' said Julian. 'He doesn't like people who can do things better than he can - and he'll be in our form.' 'And when you use your brains you'll be top whenever you want to!' said Elizabeth. 'Even top of me!' 'That's easy,' said Julian, and got another punch. 'But, quite seriously, Elizabeth, go slow with Patrick - he can be very spiteful. Don't play the heavy monitor with him too soon or too much.' 'I shall tick him off if he doesn't toe the line,' said

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Elizabeth at once. 'How will he behave, do you think?' 'A bit like you behaved when you first came!' said Julian, twinkling at her. 'Don't you remember? You were the Naughtiest Girl in the School - and you meant to be, too! The things you did!' Elizabeth went bright pink. 'You needn't keep reminding me of that first term,' she said. 'I was awful. I just can't think how I could have behaved like that.' 'Well, I wasn't there then,' said Julian, 'but I've heard plenty about it. I bet you'll always be known as the Naughtiest Girl, even if you go on being a monitor for the rest of your school days and end up as Head-Girl!' 'Gosh - I'd never be that,' said Elizabeth. 'Whoever heard of a Naughtiest Girl ending up as Head? Here comes your cousin, Julian.' Julian swung round. 'Hallo, Patrick,' he said. 'Finding your way about a bit? This is Elizabeth. She's a friend of mine and if you want any help in anything, go to her, because she's a monitor.' 'I'm not likely to go to any friend of yours for help!' said Patrick in a high and mighty voice. 'And, by the way, you don't need to spread around the news that I'm your cousin - I'm not really proud of having you for a cousin! Too swollenheaded for my taste!' He went off, hands in pockets. Julian glared after him. '
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If he wasn't new I'd shake him till his teeth rattled!' he said. Elizabeth was indignant, too. 'What a cheek from a new boy!' she said. 'Well, he won't cheek me ! If he does I'll report him.' A bell rang just then, and everyone hurried in to a meal. Elizabeth scrambled for her place at table. She beamed round at everyone. How good it was to be back among all her friends! John Terry grinned at her across the table. 'Going to help in the garden this term?' he called. 'Have you seen all the seeds that have come up since last term? We shall have a fine show this summer.' John was partly responsible for the gardens of the school. He loved gardening and was very good at it. Elizabeth nodded back at him. 'Yes - of course I'll help. I love messing about in the garden.' Elizabeth was going to be busy this term! She meant to ride each day on one of the school ponies. She meant to practise her tennis hard and get into one of the school teams. She meant to help John with the gardens. She was determined to beat Julian as top of the form whenever she could, and that meant a lot of hard work -and she meant to be a good monitor. Somebody else meant to beat Julian, too! That was Patrick, his cousin. Patrick was jealous of Julian - he had always been glad when he had heard that his cousin didn't work hard at school,

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and had continually been bottom. He knew that Julian had good brains, and it pleased him that he hadn't used them. All the same, he hadn't wanted to go to Whyteleafe School. 'Mixed boys and girls!' he thought, scornfully. 'I'd rather go to an all-boys' school. Look at mat Elizabeth now fancy me having to take orders from a girl! Well -1 shan't pay much attention to her, anyway!' He set himself to make a good impression on the others in his form. He entered into everything, and because he was good at games, and could be very comical when he tried, he was soon wellliked. He hadn't Julian's gift of making extraordinary noises - but how he wished he had! Julian could cluck exactly like a hen laying an egg - he could buzz like a blue-bottle fly, drone like a bumble-bee, and make very strange noises like nothing at all. Patrick had often tried to imitate noises, but he couldn't. For one thing everyone knew he was making them, and that gave the game away. 'Nobody ever knows

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that Julian is doing the noises,' thought Patrick enviously. 'Last Christmas, when he came to us for a party, he imitated a dog whining, and we all hunted round the house for ages - and though I looked and looked at Julian, I couldn't see a single movement of his mouth or throat.' Patrick soon found that Whyteleafe wasn't at all the 'sissy' kind of school he had expected. His class worked hard and played hard, practically every boy or girl had a hobby, and if anything went wrong it was reported at the big Meeting held by the school each week. This was a kind of Parliament, at which everything was discussed frankly by the children themselves. Complaints were heard, grumbles were made and set right, money was distributed evenly, plans were made. Rita and William, the head-boy and head-girl, presided. If punishments had to be meted out, they said what they were to be. Twelve monitors sat on the platform with them - a kind of jury, Elizabeth always thought. She was very proud to be on the platform, one of the twelve monitors. At first Patrick had been pleased to hear mat he was to be in Julian's form. He had frequently heard his father and mother say what a pity it was that a boy with good brains like Julian should so often be bottom. He didn't know that the term before Julian had begun to use his brains well, and could always be top of the form if he wanted to be! So it was a shock to him to find that in the first week's marks Julian was top, Elizabeth was second, and he was tied third with somebody else. 'I thought you made a point of being at the bottom of the form,' he said to Julian. 'Or so I always heard.' 'You heard right,' said Julian, quite amiably.

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'I just didn't happen to want to be top, that was all. But I do now. Did you want to be top, Patrick? Bad luck that I happen to be using my brains this term, isn't it?' Patrick turned away. All right - he'd work harder still. He wasn't going to play second fiddle to Julian. He pondered over his tennis. He was good at that. He would take special coaching and practise hard - Julian wasn't much good at tennis! It would do him good to be taken down a peg! Then one day he came up against Elizabeth. She was the only person in the form he didn't try to be nice to. She was Julian's friend and a monitor - that was enough for Patrick! He hardly ever addressed a word to her, and if ever she came up to a group he was with he walked away. Elizabeth laughed at first, but soon it infuriated her. She longed to pull him up for something, but the chance didn't come for three weeks. Then a notice was put on the board for a meeting. 'Meeting of the Garden Committee, at five o'clock sharp,' said the notice. 'All the first form must attend as well, as volunteers are wanted to help with the weeding.' Patrick was in the first form. He saw the notice and ignored it. Why should he go? He wasn't interested in gardening, he hated weeding, and he certainly wasn't going to volunteer to do anything in the gardens! He went off to have a quiet practise by himself, taking his racket and tennis balls with him. There was a wall at the side of the school against which he could hit the balls and strike them continually on the rebound. So, when the meeting gathered, Patrick was not there! John, who was in charge, looked round. 'Are we all here?' he said.

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'No. Patrick isn't,' said Elizabeth at once. 'I bet I know where he is, too! Practising hitting balls against the side-wall. I saw him pass the window with his racket.' 'Oh! Well, he's got to come,' said John. 'You are a monitor, Elizabeth. Fetch him, will you?' 'Right,' said Elizabeth, pleased at being able to make Patrick 'toe the line' for once. 'I can hear the thud-thud of the balls against the wall now. I'll bring him along at once!' And off she went, quite sure she could make Patrick obey her!

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CHAPTER TWO Patrick Comes Up Against Elizabeth


ELIZABETH HURRIED round to the side of the school. Thud, thud, thud, she heard the balls being hit regularly against the wall. She turned the corner and called out to Patrick. 'Hey! You're supposed to be at the Garden Meeting. You'd better come at once.' 'Get out of my way, please,' said Patrick. 'I'm practising.' Elizabeth glared. 'John sent me,' she said. 'All right. I send you back,' said Patrick, almost hitting Elizabeth with one of the balls, as he sent it against the wall near her. 'Don't be an idiot,' said Elizabeth, trying not to lose her temper. 'You know I'm a monitor, don't you? Well, you've got to come when you're told. It's no good having monitors unless they're obeyed, you know that.' 'I'm not obeying a girl,' said Patrick. 'Do go away. I shall get annoyed with you in a minute.' Elizabeth promptly proceeded to get even more annoyed with the infuriating Patrick. She rushed at him and wrenched away his racket. He was so taken by surprise that he let it slip out of his hands. Then Elizabeth raced away at top speed with it! Patrick tore after her in a rage. Elizabeth turned a corner and deftly threw the racket into a middle of a bush. Then on she went without stopping, back to the Meeting.

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She arrived there, panting. Before she could say a word to the startled Meeting, Patrick arrived, too, fuming. 'Where's my racket? How dare you snatch it like that? Elizabeth, what have you done with my racket?' Elizabeth said nothing. John looked surprised, but pointed to a seat. 'Sit down, Patrick,' he said. 'We've been waiting for you?' 'I haven't come to your silly Meeting,' said Patrick, furiously. 'I've come after Elizabeth for my racket!' Sit down,' ordered John. 'You're at the Meeting now, and here you'll stay. You won't get your racket till the Meeting is over - and not then if you don't behave yourself! Patrick was so surprised at John's determined voice that he sat down. He looked all round for his racket, making up his mind to snatch it and go. But he couldn't see it, which was not surprising, as it was still outside in the bushes! Patrick didn't hear a word of the Meeting.

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He glared at Elizabeth's triumphant face. He scowled at the little smile on Julian's. Julian was amused at Elizabeth's method of bringing his unwilling cousin to the Meeting, and he wondered where she had put the racket. Elizabeth forgot about Patrick in her interest in the Meeting, She was very fond of gardening, and John regarded her as one of his right-hand helpers. He kept consulting her, and she was pleased. She didn't notice that the sky had clouded over and that it had begun to rain. It was only when it suddenly pelted against the window that she looked out and saw the torrents of rain that were falling. Even then she didn't think about the racket outside in the bushes. She didn't think of it till the Meeting was over. Then John turned to the bored and sulky Patrick. 'Now you can have your racket back from Elizabeth,' he said. 'And please remember if a Meeting of the whole form is arranged, you've got to come to it.' Patrick scowled. Elizabeth suddenly remembered where she had put his racket - in the middle of the bushes. Goodness

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- had it got wet in the rain? She knew it was a new racket, and that Patrick was intensely proud of it. She wished she could go and get it out of the bushes and dry it before she gave it to Patrick. But he gave her no chance to do that. He followed close at her heels when she went out of the room. She walked out of the garden door and went to the wet bushes. It was still pouring with rain. She fished out the soaked racket. Patrick stared at it in horror and anger. '"You beast! You flung my new racket there in the pouring rain! It'll be ruined.' 'It wasn't raining when I put it there, you know it wasn't,' said Elizabeth. 'Well, why didn't you go out and get it when the rain began?' said Patrick furiously. 'You left it there on purpose! You meant the rain to spoil it! Just like a girl!' 'I didn't mean to spoil it!' said Elizabeth angrily. 'I didn't even notice it was raining till nearly the end of the Meeting and then I forgot all about your racket. It's your fault for not coming to the Meeting, so that I had to fetch you!' Patrick was wiping the strings with his handkerchief. He was trembling with rage and disappointment. His lovely new racket! 'I hate you for this,' he said. 'Now you'll go and laugh about it with Julian, and be glad you've ruined my racket there wasn't a better one in the school! You'll both be glad it's spoilt!' 'Patrick, don't be silly,' said Elizabeth. 'Look - I'm very sorry I didn't think of your racket being out in the rain. If I'd remembered it, I'd have gone to get it at once. And of course Julian and I won't be glad if it's spoilt.' 'Yes, you will. I detest you both,' said Patrick,

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his face bright red, and his green eyes flaming like Julian's did when he was angry. 'I'll get even with you! You're just exactly the kind of mean, catty girl I'd expect my cocky cousin to befriends with!' He tucked his racket under his arm, and walked off in a rage, the rain still pouring down as he went. Elizabeth shook back her wet curls. Blow! What an idiot she had been to forget the racket when it began to rain. She really was sorry about that. Julian met her as she went back. 'Gosh, you are wet!' he said. 'What happened? Where did you put his racket? Not out in the rain, I hope!' 'Yes, I did - but I didn't mean to,' said Elizabeth, soberly, and she told Julian what had happened, and what Patrick had said. 'He never liked me before, Julian, and now he's really

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furious with me. He hates you, too, doesn't he? Oh, dear, I do hope he won't do anything silly now. He really looked as if he'd like to hit me with his racket!' 'He probably would have if he hadn't thought his racket would be hurt more than you would!' said Julian. 'Cheer up what can he do to pay you back - or me either? Nothing that matters. Come on into the gym - there'll be games going on there.' Patrick made a great fuss about his precious racket. He told everyone what had happened. He spoke of having to get all the strings replaced, and when the next School Meeting was held, he actually got up and asked for the money to have his racket completely restrung! He stood up when William said, 'Any complaints, please?' Anyone could then stand up and lodge a complaint, big or small. Patrick leapt to his feet before anyone else. 'I have a complaint!' he said. 'Against a monitor, Elizabeth Allen. She left my racket out in the rain and it's ruined. I want to ask for money out of the School money-box so that I can pay for it to be restrung.' 'Elizabeth - perhaps you'd like to say

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something about this,' said William, the head-boy, in surprise. Elizabeth stood up, feeling embarrassed. She related truthfully what had happened, and added that she was very sorry about the racket being left out in the wet 'But it wasn't for very long,' she said, 'and I'm sure, William, that it doesn't need restringing.' 'Have you the racket with you?' William asked Patrick. 'No? Well, go and get it. I know a good bit about rackets and I can tell you at once what wants doing.' Patrick went to get the racket with a very bad grace. He came back and gave it to William. 'Look - there's a string gone already!' he said, pointing to the broken string. Elizabeth stared in dismay. William examined the racket very carefully. Then he put it down and looked sternly at Patrick. 'That string is not frayed or split,' he said. 'It has been cut. The racket does not need restringing - only that one string needs putting in. Who cut it, Patrick? Tell me that?' 'How should I know?' said Patrick, sulkily. There was a short silence. 'Now listen,' said William, 'you yourself must pay for that one string being renewed. The rain had nothing to do with its being broken. I think you know that very well. Every other string is perfectly all right. If you still want the whole racket restrung, you can save up the two pounds you are allowed each week, and pay for it yourselfbut it will take you more than a term's money!' Patrick snatched up his racket without a word. He glanced at Elizabeth. She looked scornfully back. So he had actually cut a string in his own racket to try and make out that she had really spoilt it by leaving it for a few minutes in the rain! What a thing to do!

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Patrick made a sudden face at her, and then left the platform with his racket. He passed by Julian and saw a little smile on his face. He almost hit him with the racket! Ill pay you both back!' he said in a whisper, and marched right out of the hall. 'Don't call him back,' said Rita, the head-girl, to William. 'He's a new boy. He's got to learn our ways! Now - any more Complaints?' There were none. Nor were there any Grumbles. William hammered his fist on the table as a little talking broke out. 'You may dismiss,' he said. 'The Meeting is over.' Elizabeth sped to Julian. 'Oh, Julian - isn't Patrick MEAN! Did he really cut that string, do you think? It did look exactly as if it had been cut.' 'Of course he did,' said Julian. 'He's an idiot. We'd better look out for him now, Elizabeth. He may really try to pay you back!' 'Pooh! I'm not afraid of Patrick,' said Elizabeth. And she wasn't!

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CHAPTER THREE Julian's Little Trick


PATRICK BROODED over the whole affair. He had a sulky nature; and could not easily forget anything that upset him. He completely ignored Julian and Elizabeth, turning his back on them whenever they came near. This only amused them, however, and in the end Julian turned the joke against Patrick by calling out warningly whenever he or Elizabeth went near him: 'Be ready to turn your back, Patrick. Here we come again! Hurry up and turn, or you'll see us!' Patrick tried in vain to think of some big, triumphant way of getting back at Julian and Elizabeth. He was bitterly disappointed that Julian was so good at his class work. His cousin had always been so don't-carish over that, so he had heard, and Patrick had looked forward to crowing over him and being top each week. But no matter how hard Patrick worked, Julian seemed to be able to work harder! Julian had brilliant brains, found learning easy, and was determined that Patrick should not once beat him in marks. Patrick was second one week - beating Elizabeth. But Julian was still triumphantly top, a full ten marks ahead of Patrick. Miss Ranger, the class mistress, was amazed at the high marks that Julian, Patrick and Elizabeth showed each week! She didn't know how hard they were vying with one another. Patrick decided to concentrate on tennis, and beat
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Julian at that. Julian was good, but he wasn't keen on being in any of the school tennis teams. He said it meant too much hard work to keep in practice! 'All the same, Julian, you'd better get some practice in,' said Elizabeth, 'because that cousin of yours is getting jolly good. I watched him playing with some boys older than he is, and he was as good as they were. He'll be in one of the top teams if you don't look out - and won't he crow over you! Do, do beat him, Julian.' 'Blow you, Elizabeth,' said Julian, and pretended to sigh heavily. 'What with working like a slave to keep ahead of you and Patrick in class - and now having to tire myself out with tennis, to beat Patrick, my life's not worth living! What about you taking him on at tennis?' 'I do try - but he's got a much harder serve than I have,' said Elizabeth, honestly. 'Go on, Julian - you can be much better than Patrick, and I'd jump for joy if you got into the second team, which is what he wants to do!' Julian tried - and Patrick had the disappointment of being well and truly beaten by his cousin when they played against each other two weeks after that! Patrick hadn't realized that Julian had become so good, and he was humiliated and disappointed. 'If gets into the second team instead of me I'll hit him on the head!' thought Patrick, going off the court with a very gloomy face. 'He doesn't really care about tennis, and I do. He's only doing it to spite me.' 'Jolly good, Julian!' said Elizabeth, giving him a thump on the back as he came whistling off the court, having collected all the balls that Patrick had been too annoyed to pick up. 'Did you see his face? He looked as sick as a hen left out in the rain!' 'Oh well - it's rather a shame really,' said Julian.
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'I don't care if I'm good at tennis or not, and he does. But seeing that he only wants to have the pleasure of crowing over me if he beats me, I don't mind beating him!' 'Yes - and you don't crow!' said Elizabeth. 'I hope you get into the second team and go and play against Hickling Green School, Julian -that's always such a good outing.' Julian began to get a bit bored with his extra efforts at lessons and tennis. He was also working very hard at making a model aeroplane, for he was very clever with his hands. All this concentration made him feel suddenly stale. He began to plan a little pleasure for his form. Noises off? Something weird up the chimney? He thought hard, and a sudden grin came on his face. 'The chimney! I sit fairly near the fireplace, and I could work something in the chimney. Now - let's see.' When his classroom was empty, Julian went in cautiously. He crouched down by the chimney and looked up it. It was rather narrow. A broad mantelpiece

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was over the fireplace, and this Julian examined very carefully. He had noticed last winter that, when the wind was in a certain direction, little eddies of smoke came out from under the mantelpiece. He was looking for the crack from which they must have come. 'There must be a crack or a hole somewhere,' thought Julian, 'or the smoke wouldn't get out from the chimney under the mantelpiece and into the room. Ah - here it is!' He had found the crack, where the cement had worn away. He took a chisel and made the hole considerably bigger. He poked the chisel some way through, and then decided that the hole was big enough for his purpose. He took a piece of string and tied a penknife to one end. He poked the knife through the hole, and gave it a push. It clattered into the chimney, fell down and suddenly appeared in the hearth! 'Ha! Good!' said Julian, pleased. He still had hold of the string that went into the hole. He knocked a small tack in on the underside of the wooden

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mantelpiece and then tied the string to it firmly. He tested it. Yes, it held well. He undid the knife from the other end of the string, which hung down the chimney into the fireplace. He then disappeared into the corridor and fetched a small bell that was kept there to summon Matron if she was needed in a hurry. He went back into the classroom and carefully tied the bell to the end of the string that hung down the chimney. Then he undid the other end from the nail, and pulled it, so that the bell was dragged out of sight up the chimney! Then Julian gave a little tug to the string he held, and a muffled and rather weird tinkle came from up the chimney! Julian chuckled. He ran the end of the string under the mantelpiece and held it in place by little staples he drove into the wood. The string fell down the side of the fireplace just by his chair. Julian sat down and bent over his desk, holding the end of the string in his hand. He tugged it - and a mournful little jingle came from the inside of me chimney!

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'A nice little treat for the class this afternoon,' thought Julian, and tied the string to one leg of his chair. Miss Ranger took the class that afternoon. It was a geography lesson, rather dull. Julian waited for a moment of silence and then gave the string tied to his chair leg a little tug. At once it pulled the bell hanging in the chimney and a sudden little jingle sounded in the room. Everyone looked up. Julian did too. He meant to be as surprised as anyone else! He tugged the string again. Jingle-tinkle-tink went the bell, obligingly. 'What's that noise?' asked Miss Ranger, puzzled. 'It sounds exactly like a bell somewhere. Where is it ringing? Has anyone got a bell with them this afternoon?' 'No, Miss Ranger!' chorused everyone except Julian. He tugged again, and the bell jangled quite loudly. 'Well - it sounds up the chimney!' said John. 'But how could a bell ring in the chimney?' 'It couldn't,' said Miss Ranger, firmly. 'So we won't ask you or anyone else to go crawling up the chimney to look for bells there, John. Stand up, everyone, and put your hands above your heads. If anyone has a bell, and can ring it when his hands are above his head, he will be clever!' Everyone stood with hands above their heads, Julian too. Jingle-jingle-jing! The bell rang again. Julian had managed to get his foot to the string and jerk it! A babble of noise broke out at once. 'Nobody's got a bell and yet it rang again! Miss Ranger, what is it? Miss Ranger, it's peculiar! Where is it, do you suppose? Can't we look for it?' 'No,' said Miss Ranger, firmly, imagining a bevy

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of excited children crawling over the room and completely ruining the rest of the geography lesson. 'Bell or no bell, we go on with the lesson. Sit!' They sat and the bell immediately rang a merry peal. 'Take no notice,' commanded Miss Ranger, who was just as puzzled as anyone else, but determined not to show it. 'I have only one more thing to say about this bell - and that is, if I find out that anyone in this class is plaguing us with a jingling bell, I shall do a bit of plaguing myself- and the culprit will be very, very sorry for himself!' After that they all settled down, and although the bell rang plaintively at intervals, and the children began to giggle each time, nobody dared to take much notice of it. As soon as the class was ended and Miss Ranger was safely out of the room, John ran to the chimney. 'It sounded as if it came from here,' he said. 'I know it did!' He put his hand up the chimney and groped about. Tinkle, jing! He had touched the bell! 'It is up here!' he cried. 'I thought so. But how on earth did it get there?' He turned and saw Julian's grinning face. He laughed. 'Julian! It's one of your ridiculous tricks - but HOW did you get the bell hanging there?' 'Easy!' said Julian, and showed the interested class how he had managed it. Only one of them sneered. That was Patrick, of course. 'What a childish trick! I'm sure Miss Ranger will be very scornful about it when I tell her.' He was immediately pushed down hard on a chair and three or four children pinned him down firmly. 'Sneak! Telltale! We'll never speak to you again if you do that.' 'All right, all right. I was only joking,' said Patrick,

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trying to push them off, afraid of making them dislike him. They let him go. John had pulled the bell down from the chimney and now it lay on the floor nearby. Patrick gave it a vicious kick, and it slid jangling over the floor. Julian smiled broadly. 'Taking it out on the bell instead of on me, I suppose?' he said. 'Pity you can't see a joke, Patrick.' The next day a really peculiar thing happened. It was Miss Ranger's class again, this time in maths. All the children were copying sums down from the blackboard, when once more there was a curious noise from the chimney. Everyone raised their heads and grinned. Was this another trick of old Julian's? But he looked as surprised as they did. The noise came again, a struggling kind of noise, then came a series of high squeaks, and a little soot fell down the chimney. 'Now whatever is this? said Miss Ranger, exasperated. She suddenly thought of Julian and his tricks. She looked straight at him. 'Julian -is this one of your tricks? Answer me truthfully, please.'
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'No, Miss Ranger. It isn't one of my tricks. I can't imagine what is going on in the chimney,' said Julian, quite truthfully. Squeak, squeak, chirri-chirri-chirrup! Patrick got up. 'Julian's not telling the truth!' he said. 'It was his chimney trick yesterday -and it's his trick again today! Look up the chimney and you'll see his trick, Miss Ranger! He's a frightful fibber!'

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CHAPTER FOUR Patrick in Trouble


THE WHOLE class stared at Patrick in amazement and disgust. Julian shrugged his shoulders. 'I do assure you, Miss Ranger, I haven't the faintest idea what is going on up our chimney,' he said. 'You DO know! You've put something up there again!' cried Patrick, in a fury. 'Just to suck up to the class and make them think you're marvellous!' 'That's enough,' said Miss Ranger. And then, quite suddenly, with another series of squeaks and chirps, something fell down the chimney and came to rest with a little thud on the hearth! 'Chirrup!' it said, feebly. The children stared at it. 'A baby starling - and golly, here comes another!' cried Harry, as a second black little creature arrived beside the other. "There must have been a starling's nest up the chimney and these two have wriggled out and fallen down. Poor little things!' 'Sucks to you, Patrick,' said Elizabeth, in delight. 'You can't say that Julian built the starling's nest or turned out the young starlings, can you! Sucks to you!' 'Elizabeth, I don't like that vulgar expression,' said Miss Ranger, coldly. 'John, take those two poor little creatures and put them outside in a bush where perhaps their starling parents may see them and feed them. Patrick, take that scowl off your face.'

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'It was Julian who put the bell up the chimney yesterday, anyhow!' blurted out Patrick. 'So what are you going to do about that? 'Nothing,' said Miss Ranger, calmly. 'Sit down in your places, everyone. We are now going on with our lesson - and I must warn you all that I do NOT feel in the mood for any more disturbances, whispers or giggles.' The children bent over their books, but there were many scornful glances thrown at Patrick. He bent over his book too, kicking himself for thinking that was a trick of Julian's - and for being unable to prevent himself from blurting out about the bell-trick. He hurried out in front of the others afterwards, afraid that they would take him to task. He ran to get his racket, meaning to go and bang the balls at the side-wall, to work off some of his anger. But the class followed him, and soon he was surrounded by an angry little company. Elizabeth advanced on him, her eyes gleaming. 'I may as well tell you,' she began, 'that sooner or later Complaints will be made about you at the next School Meeting, and' 'Shut up,' said Patrick, and threw a ball up into the air to hit against the wall. 'Go away, all of you. I'm fed up with this school - and most of all I'm fed up with my grinning, veryvery-clever cousin - and with Elizabeth, the cocky, high-andmighty monitor!' Elizabeth tried to grab his racket, to make him stop playing about - he should be made to listen to what was being said! But Patrick swung it away and then raised it again to hit another ball. He hit Elizabeth instead! Crack! The racket descended heavily on her right shoulder and she yelled. Julian leapt at Patrick, his face blazing. Coward! To hit a girl!
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He caught Patrick by the shoulder, and held him tightly. 'We'll call a Meeting tonight!' he said. 'We'll say that for the rest of this term Patrick shall not play tennis again! We'll confiscate his racket for hitting Elizabeth.' 'Let me go! said Patrick, fiercely. 'It was an accident - but I'm glad I hit her, all the same. She deserved it! Call your Meeting if you like -I shan't be there! And I'll tell you this, Julian - you're only doing this to keep me out of the second team, because you want to be in it yourself, instead of me!' He flung Julian off, made a dive under the arms held up to stop him, and tore away at top speed. 'Let him go,' said Rosemary. 'Elizabeth, are you hurt?' 'No. Not really,' said Elizabeth. 'Only bruised. Isn't he a beast, though? Julian, it's bad luck on you to have a cousin like that!' 'We'll send him to Coventry! We won't speak to him for the rest of the term! We'll see that he doesn't touch a racket again!' said several voices. 'Telling a fib about Julian!'
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'Wasn't it strange, though, those birds falling down the chimney the very day after Julian had put a bell up there!' 'Jolly decent of Miss Ranger not to say anything more about it when Patrick blurted out the truth,' said John. A monitor from the second form appeared round the corner. 'I say! What's happening? Didn't you hear the bell, you idiots? You won't get anything to eat if you don't hurry up. I've been sent to find you.' 'Oh goodness -we never even heard the bell!' said Elizabeth, still rubbing her shoulder. 'Come on, everyone. All this has made me feel jolly hungry.' Patrick did not come in to the meal. Miss Ranger did not inquire about him. She knew that he was upset and probably did not want to appear in public just then. Nobody bothered about him. Let him miss his meal if he wanted to. Do him good! That was what most of his class thought. Elizabeth and Julian did not attempt to call a big School Meeting that night after all. When they had cooled down a bit it seemed rather silly to air the grievances of the first form in front of the whole school. 'After all, the next Meeting is on Saturday,' said Elizabeth. 'If Patrick doesn't behave himself for the rest of the week, we'll make a formal Complaint about him then, and deal with him. I don't really believe he meant to hit me, Julian.' 'Well, perhaps not,' said Julian. 'He's an unpleasant bit of work, though, isn't he? I wish he hadn't come here. It's hard enough to beat you in order to be top of the form - it's getting to be even harder to beat Patrick - and I'm really a bit tired of practising my tennis at every moment, just so that he won't be in the second team!'

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'It's jolly good for you to work hard at things!' said Elizabeth, remembering how don't-carish Julian had been the term before. 'I wonder where Patrick is? He hasn't shown up at all.' 'Good thing too,' said Julian. 'I expect he doesn't want to face the form. They'll do to him what he's been doing to you and me they'll turn their backs whenever he appears!' 'Where did you put his racket?' asked Elizabeth. 'Have you hidden it so that he can't get it?' 'Yes. I've put a note in his desk to say that he can have it back if he apologizes to you,' said Julian. 'Otherwise, he won't have it.' 'Oh, dear -1 don't really like all this upset,' said Elizabeth. 'It makes me have feelings that aren't at all suitable to a monitor. Even if Patrick comes and apologizes

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- and I believe he'd rather lose his racket than do that -1 shan't feel like accepting his apology. I might say something rude and begin die upset all over again.' 'Well, do,' said Julian with a grin. 'I've no objection!' 'Come and have a game of tennis,' said Elizabeth. 'Let's slash out at the balls and work some of our crossness out of us. Come on!' So out they went and were soon hitting the balls with a will. When they had finished they looked about for Patrick. Would he come and apologize? He must have seen the note in his desk by now. But he was still nowhere to be seen!

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CHAPTER FIVE At Midnight


THE CHILDREN were allowed to take their tea into the garden that day and have little picnics in friendly groups. That was always fun. Elizabeth, Julian, John, Harry, Rosemary and Joan found a place in the shade by some bushes. 'Anyone seen Patrick?' asked Elizabeth, biting into bread and honey. 'Yes. I saw him coming out of our classroom,' said John. 'I don't know where he is now though. Having tea by himself somewhere, I expect, brooding over his woes.' 'Oh, well - don't let's think about him any more,' said Elizabeth. 'He's keeping out of our way and I'm not surprised.' They thought no more about Patrick. Elizabeth went back with the others to fetch her prep and do it out-of-doors that lovely warm evening. But it was difficult to learn French verbs when the swallows swooped and darted in the sky, and bees hummed happily in the flowers around. French verbs didn't go well with swallows and bees. When they all went up to bed Elizabeth looked round once more for Patrick. She hated to go to bed without making up a quarrel, though she had often done so. She called to Julian as he went to the boys' dormitory. 'Julian! See if Patrick is in your dormy.' He wasn't. Julian began to feel a bit worried.

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Where was the idiot? Sulking somewhere? He debated whether or not to report that Patrick hadn't come up to bed. He decided that he wouldn't not for a little while, anyhow. 'If I do report him, and he's hiding somewhere, waiting till we're all in bed because he's afraid of being jeered at, he'll get into more trouble,' thought Julian. 'And he'll think I've reported him just for that reason - to get him into a row. Blow him! Well, I'll get into bed, and wait till he comes before I go to sleep.' He told this to John and Harry, who shared the dormy with him and Patrick. They agreed to do the same as Julian - wait till Patrick came before they went to sleep. 'And we won't rag him at all,' said Harry. 'He's had a pretty poor day.' But - alas for their good
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resolves - every boy was fast asleep before five minutes had gone! The girls fell asleep, too - but Elizabeth kept waking up and wondering about Patrick. As she turned over for about the twelfth time, she thought she heard a rustling of paper. She sat up in bed and groped for what she had heard. Yes - there was a bit of paper somewhere in her bed. It must have slipped down there when she had got in. She pulled it out. She put on her light and read what was written there. It was a note from Patrick! 'ELIZABETH, You can believe me or not, but I didn't mean to hit you, and I apologize for my racket slipping down on your shoulder like that. It was partly your fault for grabbing at it. I wish I hadn't blurted out about Julian's trick, too, but I said it without thinking. You won't be bothered with me any more. I'm fed up with Whyteleafe and I'm going away tonight as soon as it's dark. I'm going home. It was mean to take my racket away from me. I would have liked to take it with me. There's no use in staying at Whyteleafe - Julian is determined to out-do me in everything - but the tennis isn't fair, because I really could do well at that, and I might have got into the second team. Nobody likes me now. I don't like anybody either, least of all you. I hope there's a good old upset about me running away -it will serve this beastly school right! PATRICK' Elizabeth read this in the greatest horror. She sat staring at the letter in a panic. Patrick must have slid it under the sheet
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for her to find it when she got into bed, and it had slipped down when she got in. What a pity she hadn't read it hours before - she might have stopped Patrick from being such an idiot as to run away! She slipped on her dressing-gown and went to Julian's dormy. She put her head round the door and called softly: 'Julian! Julian!' Julian was a light sleeper. He awoke at once. He went to the door. 'What are you doing here?' he said. 'You'll get into a frightful row.' 'It's about Patrick,' said Elizabeth. 'Come down into our classroom and read a note he's left in my bed. It's urgent, Julian.' Julian put on his dressing-gown and the two went down into their classroom. They did not dare to switch on the light, but shone their torches on to the note. Julian read it in dismay. 'I say! The fathead! We'll have the police looking for him, and Whyteleafe in the papers, and there'll be a frightful disturbance,' he groaned. 'What in the world are we to do?'

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'When do you suppose he went?' whispered Elizabeth. 'He wouldn't go till it was dark, would he? It can't have been dark very long because these summer nights are light for ages. Should we snoop round a bit and see if we can see anything of him?' 'We could. But he'll be gone,' said Julian, feeling most uncomfortable at the thought of having to go and wake the head-master and two head-mistresses, and show them the note. He began to feel that he hadn't come very well out of the affair himself. It was possible that the grown-ups might think him rattier mean to have deliberately tried to out-shine Patrick, and not give him a chance to make good at anything. There was no sign of Patrick, so the two decided most reluctantly to go and tell someone in authority. They made their way down the back stairs of the school, meaning to go through to the hall and up the stairs to where the staff bedrooms were.

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And then, as they went down the back stairs, they heard a sound. They stopped. What was that? Where did it come from? 'It's in the cupboard,' whispered Julian. 'Look - over there, where all the sports things are kept. But Patrick can't be there!' Another sound came from the cupboard - a sound as if the door was being jiggled a little. The two crept up to it. The key was in the lock. Julian did not touch the key, but cautiously turned the handle. The door would not open. It was obviously locked on the outside. 'Whoever's in there is locked in,' whispered Julian. They looked at one another. 'It can't be Patrick. He wouldn't go to this cupboard - it's only got spare sports things in.' Julian spoke quietly at the crack of the door. 'Who's in here?' A voice answered at once.' Who's that? I'm locked in here. I'm Patrick. Let me out.' Elizabeth clutched at Julian joyfully. So Patrick hadn't gone! Julian was glad, too. He put his mouth to the crack again. 'Patrick. It's me, Julian - and Elizabeth's here, too. We found your note just now. You're an idiot. We are idiots, too, so we're quits.' There was a silence. 'You let me out at once,' came Patrick's voice, rather shaky. 'All right - on one condition,' said Julian. 'Do you promise to give up your mad idea of running off tonight, and will you go straight to bed?' 'No,' said Patrick. 'All right. We're off to bed,' said Julian. A frantic voice came from inside the cupboard. 'Don't go! It's horrible in here - smelly and lonely and uncomfortable. Let me out. I won't run off. I promise.'
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'How did you get locked in here?' asked Julian, still not turning the key. 'Well I badly wanted to take my racket with me,' said Patrick's voice, 'and I didn't know where it had been hidden. So I looked everywhere. The last place I thought of was this old sports cupboard - but while I was looking someone came along, slammed the door and locked me in.' 'Matron, I expect,' said Julian. 'She's always slamming doors and locking them. Well - I'll let you out.' He unlocked the door and shone his torch into the cupboard. Patrick was there, blinking, looking very tousled and untidy, and rather white in the face. Elizabeth felt sorry for him. She slid her arm through his. 'Patrick! I know you didn't mean to hit me! Of course I know it. I think we all got silly and excited. We none of us behaved very well.' 'You didn't come to any meals,' said Julian, remembering. 'Aren't you hungry?' 'Yes,' said Patrick going upstairs with them.

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'Come and have some of my tuck, then,' said Julian. 'But don't give me away, because we're not supposed to have food at night. Elizabeth, look the other way. Being a monitor, you can't approve!' 'Oh, dear - can't I? But I Jo,' said Elizabeth. 'Patrick, I'll give you back your racket.' She disappeared. The boys looked at one another. Julian shoved some more biscuits at Patrick. 'I don't really want to be in the second team,' said Julian, in a casual, ordinary voice. 'I just thought I would be to show you I could be. But all this practising bores me. In any case, you'll always be better than me in that. So go ahead.' 'Oh! Well, thanks,' said Patrick, seeing that this was Julian's way of patching up a quarrel. 'And I don't particularly want to slave to be top of the form. You're welcome to that position. We'll - er - split our brains, shall we?' 'Not a bad idea,' said Julian, munching a biscuit himself. 'Easier for us both. Hullo, here's Elizabeth back again.' Elizabeth came in with the racket. 'Here you are, Patrick - and don't you dare hit me again with it!' Patrick eagerly took his precious racket. Elizabeth suddenly realized what a tremendous lot he thought of it. She stared at him and he stared back. Then he suddenly smiled. 'Whatever would people think if they saw us all here, munching biscuits at this time of night!' he said. 'Now, don't you go reporting us at the next Meeting, Elizabeth!' 'Come on - we must go to bed!' said Julian hearing the clock strike midnight. 'We shall all be bottom of the form if we go on like this -staying up till past midnight!'

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They crept upstairs very quietly and said goodnight on the landing. Elizabeth got into bed feeling at peace. Who would have thought things would turn out like this after all? Perhaps Patrick would settle down and be as proud of Whyteleafe as they all were. Julian got into bed and was asleep at once. Patrick was in bed, too - but he was rather uncomfortable: he had taken his racket with him, feeling that he really couldn't let it out of his sight now; and it was a very hard and knobbly bed-fellow! 'Whyteleafe School's not so bad,' thought Patrick. 'Julian's not so bad, either. And as for Elizabeth, why, she's really quite nice. I'm very much afraid - very much afraid - I'm going to like her!'

THE END

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