• TABLE OF CONTENTS
HIDE
 Front Cover
 Front Matter
 Half Title
 Advertising
 Frontispiece
 Title Page
 Dedication
 Table of Contents
 List of Illustrations
 The council of ways and means
 Digging for treasure
 Being detectives
 Good hunting
 The poet and the editor
 Noel's princess
 Being bandits
 Being editors
 The G. B.
 Lord Tottenham
 Castilian Amoroso
 The nobleness of Oswald
 The robber and the burglar
 The divining-rod
 "Lo, the poor Indian!"
 The end of the treasure seekin...
 Back Matter
 Back Cover
 Spine






Group Title: story of the treasure seekers
Title: The story of the treasure seekers
CITATION THUMBNAILS PAGE TURNER PAGE IMAGE ZOOMABLE
Full Citation
STANDARD VIEW MARC VIEW
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00087559/00001
 Material Information
Title: The story of the treasure seekers being the adventures of the Bastable children in search of a fortune
Physical Description: xii, 296, 2 p., 17 leaves of plates : ill. ; 21 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Nesbit, E ( Edith ), 1858-1924
Browne, Gordon, 1858-1932 ( Illustrator )
Baumer, Lewis Christopher Edward, 1870-1963 ( Illustrator )
Unwin, T. Fisher ( Thomas Fisher ), 1848-1935 ( Publisher )
Gresham Press ( Printer )
Unwin Brothers (Firm) ( Printer )
Publisher: T. Fisher Unwin
Place of Publication: London
Manufacturer: Gresham Press ; Unwin Brothers
Publication Date: 1899
 Subjects
Subject: Children -- Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Conduct of life -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Treasure troves -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Brothers and sisters -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Motherless families -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Imagination -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Play -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Wealth -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Uncles -- Juvenile fiction   ( lcsh )
Family stories -- 1899   ( local )
Bldn -- 1899
Genre: Family stories   ( local )
novel   ( marcgt )
Spatial Coverage: England -- London
England -- Woking
 Notes
Statement of Responsibility: by E. Nesbit ; with illustrations by Gordon Brown sic and Lewis Baumer.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00087559
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002234862
notis - ALH5299
oclc - 17682128

Table of Contents
    Front Cover
        Page i
        Page i-a
    Front Matter
        Page ii
    Half Title
        Page iii
    Advertising
        Page iv
    Frontispiece
        Page v
    Title Page
        Page vi
        Page vii
    Dedication
        Page viii
    Table of Contents
        Page ix
        Page x
    List of Illustrations
        Page xi
        Page xii
    The council of ways and means
        Page 1
        Page 2
        Page 3
        Page 4
        Page 5
        Page 6
        Page 7
        Page 8
        Page 9
        Page 10
        Page 11
        Page 12
        Page 13
        Page 14
    Digging for treasure
        Page 15
        Page 16
        Page 17
        Page 18
        Page 19
        Page 20
        Page 21
        Page 22
        Page 23
        Page 24
        Page 25
        Page 26
        Page 27
        Page 28
    Being detectives
        Page 29
        Page 30
        Page 31
        Page 32
        Page 33
        Page 34
        Page 35
        Page 36
        Page 37
        Page 38
        Page 39
        Page 40
        Page 40a
        Page 41
        Page 42
        Page 43
        Page 44
        Page 45
        Page 46
        Page 47
        Page 48
    Good hunting
        Page 49
        Page 50
        Page 51
        Page 52
        Page 52a
        Page 53
        Page 54
        Page 54a
        Page 55
        Page 56
        Page 57
        Page 58
        Page 59
        Page 60
        Page 61
        Page 62
    The poet and the editor
        Page 63
        Page 64
        Page 65
        Page 66
        Page 67
        Page 68
        Page 69
        Page 70
        Page 70a
        Page 71
        Page 72
        Page 73
        Page 74
        Page 75
        Page 76
    Noel's princess
        Page 77
        Page 78
        Page 79
        Page 80
        Page 81
        Page 82
        Page 83
        Page 84
        Page 84a
        Page 85
        Page 86
        Page 86a
        Page 87
        Page 88
        Page 89
        Page 90
        Page 90a
        Page 91
        Page 92
    Being bandits
        Page 93
        Page 94
        Page 95
        Page 96
        Page 97
        Page 98
        Page 99
        Page 100
        Page 101
        Page 102
        Page 103
        Page 104
        Page 105
        Page 106
        Page 107
        Page 108
    Being editors
        Page 109
        Page 110
        Page 111
        Page 112
        Page 113
        Page 114
        Page 115
        Page 116
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Page 120
        Page 121
        Page 122
        Page 123
        Page 124
        Page 125
        Page 126
        Page 127
        Page 128
        Page 129
        Page 130
    The G. B.
        Page 131
        Page 132
        Page 133
        Page 134
        Page 135
        Page 136
        Page 137
        Page 138
        Page 139
        Page 140
        Page 141
        Page 142
        Page 143
        Page 144
        Page 145
        Page 146
        Page 147
        Page 148
        Page 149
        Page 150
    Lord Tottenham
        Page 151
        Page 152
        Page 153
        Page 154
        Page 154a
        Page 155
        Page 156
        Page 157
        Page 158
        Page 158a
        Page 159
        Page 160
        Page 160a
        Page 161
        Page 162
        Page 163
        Page 164
        Page 165
        Page 166
    Castilian Amoroso
        Page 167
        Page 168
        Page 169
        Page 170
        Page 171
        Page 172
        Page 173
        Page 174
        Page 175
        Page 176
        Page 177
        Page 178
        Page 179
        Page 180
        Page 181
        Page 182
        Page 183
        Page 184
        Page 185
        Page 186
        Page 187
        Page 188
        Page 189
        Page 190
        Page 191
        Page 192
    The nobleness of Oswald
        Page 193
        Page 194
        Page 195
        Page 196
        Page 197
        Page 198
        Page 199
        Page 200
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        Page 207
        Page 208
        Page 209
        Page 210
        Page 211
        Page 212
        Page 213
        Page 214
        Page 215
        Page 216
    The robber and the burglar
        Page 217
        Page 218
        Page 219
        Page 220
        Page 221
        Page 222
        Page 223
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
    The divining-rod
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
        Page 254a
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 256a
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 258a
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
    "Lo, the poor Indian!"
        Page 263
        Page 264
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 270a
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 274a
        Page 275
        Page 276
        Page 277
        Page 278
    The end of the treasure seeking
        Page 279
        Page 280
        Page 281
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
        Page 285
        Page 286
        Page 287
        Page 288
        Page 289
        Page 290
        Page 291
        Page 292
        Page 293
        Page 294
        Page 295
        Page 296
    Back Matter
        Page 297
        Page 298
    Back Cover
        Page 299
        Page 300
    Spine
        Page 301
Full Text




(4
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The Baldwin Library
Univrsity
dof
F1,id,


Q 43










































T. FISHER UNWIN, PUBLISHER, LONDON









THE TREASURE
SEEKERS

























CARROLLIANA.

THE LIFE AND LETTERS
OF LEWIS CARROLL
(Rev. C. L. Dodgson). By
S. DODGSON COLLINGWOOD.
With loo Illustrations. New
and cheaper edition. Crown
8vo, cloth gilt, price 3s. 6d.
Opinions of the Press.
"An entirely excellent book."-
Liverpool Daily Post.
"Eminently readable andattrac-
tive."-New Age.
"All those who love 'Alice'
should make haste to read it."-
St. Yames's Gazette.
THE LEWIS CARROLL
PICTURE BOOK. By
S. DODGSON COLLINGWOOD.
Full of Illustrations, from
photographs and drawings by
LEWIS CARROLL and Others.
Crown 8vo, cloth gilt, 6s.

LONDON: T. FISHER UNWIN.























I -


"Dora and H. 0. had clubbed their money together and bought a melon."








The Story of the


Treasure Seekers

BEING THE ADVENTURES OF
THE BASTABLE CHILDREN
IN SEARCH OF A FORTUNE


BY
E. NESBIT
AUTHOR OF LAYS AND LEGENDS," THE
SEVEN DRAGONS," ETC.








WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY GORDON
BROWN AND LEWIS BAUMER + -








LONDON
T, FISHER UNWIN
PATERNOSTER SQUARE
1899





















































[All rights reserved.]
























To

OSWALD BARRON

WITHOUT WHOM THIS BOOK COULD

NEVER HAVE BEEN WRITTEN

"THE TREASURE SEEKERS" IS DEDICATED

IN MEMORY OF CHILDHOODS

IDENTICAL BUT FOR THE

ACCIDENTS OF TIME

AND SPACE.

























CONTENTS


THE COUNCIL OF WAYS AND MEANS

DIGGING FOR TREASURE

BEING DETECTIVES

GOOD HUNTING .

THE POET AND THE EDITOR .

NOEL'S PRINCESS

BEING BANDITS .

BEING EDITORS .

THE G. B.

LORD TOTTENHAM .

CASTILIAN AMOROSO

THE NOBLENESS OF OSWALD

THE ROBBER AND THE BURGLAR

THE DIVINING-ROD

" LO, THE POOR INDIAN "

THE END OF THE TREASURE SEEKING


CHAP.
I.

II.

III.

IV.

V.

VI.

VII.

VIII.

IX.

X.

XI.

XII.

XIII.

XIV.

XV.

XVI.


PAGE
S 3

17

31

51

S65

79

95

111

.133

153

.169

S195

. 219

249

265

281























LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


"DORA AND H.O. HAD CLUBBED THEIR MONEY TOGETHER
AND BOUGHT A MELON "
From a drawing by Lewis Baumer.

"PRESENTLY WE GOT DOWN, CREEPING PAST FATHER'S
STUDY .
From a drawing by Lewis Baumer.

SHE CUT EVERY SINGLE ONE OF HIS BEST BUTTONS OFF "
From a drawing by Gordon Brown.

' THERE'S POETRY IN NEWSPAPERS,' SAID ALICE "
From a drawing by Gordon Brown.

"'WELL, WOULD A GUINEA MEET YOUR VIEWS?' HE
ASKED .
From a drawing by Gordon Brown.

"THE FUNNIEST LITTLE GIRL YOU EVER SAW .
From a drawing by Gordon Brown.

"SHE SAT VERY UPRIGHT ON THE GRASS, WITH HER FAT
LITTLE HANDS IN HER LAP "
From a drawing by Gordon Brown.

STHE LITTLE GIRL WAS CARRIED AWAY SCREAMING "
From a drawing by Gordon Brown.

STHE OLD GENTLEMAN CAUGHT HIM BY THE COLLAR, AND
CALLED HIM A YOUNG THIEF "
From a drawing by Gordon Brown.


Frontispiece




Facing page 40


S 53


55




S71


84




S86


90




154








LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS


GOOD OLD PINCHER HAD GOT LORD TOTTENHAM BY THE
TROUSER-LEG
From a drawing by Gordon Brown.

STO THE POLICE STATION
From a drawing by Gordon Brown.

"WE FOLLOWED HER ON TIPTOE, AND ALICE SANG AS SHE
WENT "
From a drawing by Gordon Brown.

SSEE THE RICH TREASURE
From a drawing by Gordon Brown.

"LET THE PRIESTESS SET FORTH THE TALE IN FITTING
SPEECH
From a drawing by Gordon Brown.

" WE WERE LOOKING OVER THE BANISTERS "
From a drawing by Gordon Brown.

"I DON'T SUPPOSE HE WAS USED TO POLITENESS FROM
BOYS
From a drawing by Gordon Brown.

" THE UNCLE WAS VERY FIERCE WITH THE PUDDING"
From a drawing by Gordon Brown.


Facing page 158


S 161




S 254


256




259


S 265




271


S 275


























CHAPTER I.



















2















THE TREASURE SEEKERS


CHAPTER I

THE COUNCIL OF WAYS AND MEANS

THIS is the story of the different ways we
looked for treasure, and I think when you have
read it you will see that we were not lazy
about the looking.
There are some things I must tell before I
begin to tell about the treasure-seeking, because
I have read books myself, and I know how
beastly it is when a story begins, "' Alas!'
said Hildegarde with a deep sigh, we
must look our last on this ancestral home "
-and then some one else says some-
thing-and you don't know for pages and
pages where the home is, or who Hildegarde
is or anything about it. Our ancestral home
is in the Lewisham Road. It is semi-detached






THE TREASURE SEEKERS


and has a garden, not a large one. We are
the Bastables. There are six of us besides
Father. Our Mother is dead, and if you think
we don't care because I don't tell you much
about her you only show that you do not
understand people at all. Dora is the eldest.
Then Oswald-and then Dicky. Oswald won
the Latin prize at his preparatory school-and
Dicky is good at sums. Alice and Noel are
twins: they are ten, and Horace Octavius
is my youngest brother. It is one of us that
tells this story-but I shall not tell you which:
only at the very end perhaps I will. While
the story is going on you may be trying to
guess, only I bet you don't.
It was Oswald who first thought of looking
for treasure. Oswald often thinks of very
interesting things. And directly he thought
of it he did not keep it to himself, as some
boys would have done, but he told the others,
and said-
"I'll tell you what, we must go and seek
for treasure: it is always what you do to
restore the fallen fortunes of your House."
Dora said it was all very well. She often
says that. She was trying to mend a large
hole in one of Noel's stockings. He tore it
on a nail when we were playing shipwrecked






THE COUNCIL OF WAYS AND MEANS


mariners on top of the chicken-house the
day H. O. fell off and cut his chin: he has
the scar still. Dora is the only one of
us who ever tries to mend anything. Alice
tries to make things sometimes. Once she
knitted a red scarf for Noel because his chest
is delicate, but it was much wider at one end
than the other, and he wouldn't wear it. So
we used it as a pennon, and it did very well,
because most of our things are black or grey
since Mother died; and scarlet was a nice
change.. Father does not like you to ask for
new things. That was one way we had of
knowing that the fortunes of the ancient
House of Bastable were really fallen. Another
way was that there was no more pocket-money
-except a penny now and then to the little
ones, and people did not come to dinner any
more, like they used to, with pretty dresses,
driving up in cabs-and the carpets got holes
in them-and when the legs came off things
they were not sent to be mended, and we gave
up having the gardener except for the front
garden, and not that very often. And the
silver in the big oak plate-chest that is lined
with green baize all went away to the shop to
have the dents and scratches taken out of it,
and it never came back. We think Father






THE TREASURE SBEKERS


hadn't enough money to pay the silver man
for taking out the dents and scratches. The
new spoons and forks were yellowy-white, and
not so heavy as the old ones, and they never
shone after the first day or two.
Father was very ill after Mother died; and
while he was ill his business-partner went to
Spain-and there was never much money
afterwards. I don't know why. Then the
servants left and there was only one, a General.
A great deal of your comfort and happiness
depends on having a good General. The last
but one was nice: she used to make jolly good
currant puddings for us, and let us have the
dish on the floor and pretend it was a wild
boar we were killing with our forks. But the
General we have now nearly always makes
sago puddings, and they are the watery kind,
and you cannot pretend anything with them,
not even islands, like you do with porridge.
Then we left off going to school, and Father
said we should go to a good school as soon as
he could manage it. He said a holiday would
do us all good. We thought he was right,
but we wished he had told us he couldn't afford
it. For of course we knew.
Then a great many people used to come to
the door with envelopes with no stamps on






THE COUNCIL OF WAYS AND MEANS


them, and sometimes they got very angry,
and said they were calling for the last time
before putting it in other hands. I asked
Eliza what that meant, and she kindly
explained it to me, and I was so sorry for
Father.
And once a long, blue paper came; a police-
man brought it, and we were so frightened.
But Father said it was all right, only when he
went up to kiss the girls after they were in
bed, they said he had been crying, though I'm
sure that's not true. Because only cowards
and snivellers cry, and my Father is the
bravest man in the world.
So you see it was time we looked for treasure;
and Oswald said so, and Dora said it was
all very well. But the others agreed with
Oswald. So we held a council. Dora was in
the chair-the big dining-room chair, that we
let the fireworks off from, the Fifth of November
when we had the measles and couldn't do it
in the garden. The hole has never been
mended, so now we have that chair in the
nursery, and I think it was cheap at the blow-
ing-up we boys got when the hole was burnt.
"We must do something," said Alice,
"because the exchequer is empty." She
rattled the money-box as she spoke, and it






THE TREASURE SEEKERS


really did rattle because we always keep the
bad sixpence in it for luck.
Yes-but what shall we do ? said Dicky.
"It's so jolly easy to say let's do something."
Dicky always wants everything settled exactly.
Father calls him the Definite Article.
"Let's read all the books again. We shall
get lots of ideas out of them." It was Noel
who suggested this, but we made him shut up,
because we knew well enough he only wanted
to get back to his old books. Noel is a poet.
He sold some of his poetry once-and it was
printed, but that does not come in this part of
the story.
Then Dicky said, "Look here. We'll be
quite quiet for ten minutes by the clock-and
each think of some way to find treasure. And
when we've thought we'll try all the ways one
after the other, beginning with the eldest."
I shan't be able to think in ten minutes,
make it half an hour," said H. 0. His real
name is Horace Octavius, but we call him
H. 0. because of the advertisement, and it's
not so very long ago he was afraid to pass the
hoarding where it says Eat H. O." in big
letters. He says it was when he was a little
boy, but I remember last Christmas but one,
he woke in the middle of the night crying and






THE COUNCIL OF WAYS AND MEANS


howling, and they said it was the pudding.
But he told me afterwards he had been dream-
ing that they really had come to eat H. 0.,
and it couldn't have been the pudding, when
you come to think of it, because it was so very
plain.
Well, we made it half an hour-and we all
sat quiet, and thought and thought. And I
made up my mind before two minutes were
over, and I saw the others had, all but Dora,
who is always an awful time over everything.
I got pins and needles in my leg from sitting
still so long, and when it was seven minutes
H. 0. cried out-
"Oh, it must be more than half an hour !"
H. 0. is eight years old, but he cannot tell
the clock yet. Oswald could tell the clock
when he was six.
We all stretched ourselves and began to
speak at once, but Dora put up her hands to
her ears and said-
One at a time, please. We aren't playing
Babel." (It is a very good game. Did you
ever play it ?)
So Dora made us all sit in a row on the
floor, in ages, and then she pointed at us with
the finger that had the brass thimble on. Her
silver one got lost when the last General but






THE TREASURE SEEKERS


two went away. We think she must have
forgotten it was Dora's and put it in her box
by mistake. She was a very forgetful girl.
She used to forget what she had spent money
on, so that the change was never quite right.
Oswald spoke first. I think we might
stop people on Blackheath-with crape masks
and horse-pistols-and say 'Your money or
your life Resistance is useless, we are
armed to the teeth '-like Dick Turpin and
Claude Duval. It wouldn't matter about not
having horses, because coaches have gone out
too."
Dora screwed up her nose the way she
always does when she is going to talk like the
good elder sister in books, and said, "That
would be very wrong : it's like pickpocketing or
taking pennies out of Father's great-coat when
it's hanging in the hall."
I must say I don't think she need have said
that, especially before the little ones-for it
was when I was only four.
But Oswald was not going to let her see he
cared, so he said-
Oh, very well. I can think of lots of other
ways. We could rescue an old gentleman
from deadly Highwaymen."
There aren't any," said Dora.






THE COUNCIL OF WAYS AND MEANS


Oh, well, it's all the same-from deadly
peril, then. There's plenty of that. Then he
would turn out to be the Prince of Wales,
and he would say, "My noble, my cherished
preserver Here is a million pounds a year.
Rise up, Sir Oswald Bastable."
But the others did not seem to think so, and
it was Alice's turn to say.
She said, "I think we might try the
divining rod. I'm sure I could do it. I've
often read about it. You hold a stick in your
hands, and when you come to where there is
gold underneath the stick kicks about. So
you know. And you dig."
"Oh," said Dora suddenly, I have an
idea. But I'll say last. I hope the divining
rod isn't wrong. I believe it's wrong in the
Bible."
So is eating pork and ducks," said Dicky.
" You can't go by that."
"Anyhow, we'll try the other ways first,"
said Dora. Now, H. O."
"Let's be Bandits," said H. 0. "I dare
say it's wrong, but it would be fun pre-
tending."
I'm sure it's wrong," said Dora.
And Dicky said she thought everything
wrong. She said she didn't, and Dicky was






THE TREASURE SEEKERS


very disagreeable. So Oswald had to make
peace, and he said-
"Dora needn't play if she doesn't want to.
Nobody asked her. And Dicky, don't be an
idiot: do dry up and let's hear what Noel's
idea is."
Dora and Dicky did not looked pleased, but
I kicked Noel under the table to make him
hurry up, and then he said he didn't think he
wanted to play any more. That's the worst
of it. The others are so jolly ready to quarrel.
I told Noel to be a man and not a snivelling
pig, and at last he said he had not made up
his mind whether he would print his poetry
in a book and sell it, or find a princess and
marry her.
"Whichever it is," he added, "none of
you shall want for anything, though Oswald
did kick me and say I was a snivelling pig."
I didn't," said Oswald, I told you not to
be." And Alice explained to him that that
was quite the opposite of what he thought. So
he agreed to drop it.
Then Dicky spoke.
"You must all of you have noticed the
advertisements in the papers, telling you that
ladies and gentlemen can easily earn two
pounds a week in their spare time, and to send






THE COUNCIL OF WAYS AND MEANS


two shillings for sample and instructions, care-
fully packed free from observation. Now that
we don't go to school all our time is spare
time. So I should think we could easily earn
twenty pounds a week each. That would do
us very well. We'll try some of the other
things first, and directly we have any money
we'll send for the sample and instructions.
And I have another idea, but I must think
about it before I say."
We all said, "Out with it-what's the other
idea? "
But Dicky said, "No." That is Dicky all
over. He never will show you anything he's
making till it's quite finished, and the same
with his inmost thoughts. But he is pleased
if you seem to want to know, so Oswald
said-
Keep your silly old secret, then. Now,
Dora, drive ahead. We've all said except
you."
Then Dora jumped up and dropped the
stocking and the thimble (it rolled away, and
we did not find it for days), and said-
"Let's try my way now. Besides, I'm the
eldest, so it's only fair. Let's dig for treasure.
Not any tiresome divining rod-but just plain
digging. People who dig for treasure always







14 THE TREASURE SEEKERS

find it. And then we shall be rich and we
needn't try your ways at all. Some of them
are rather difficult: and I'm certain some
of them are wrong-and we must always
remember that wrong things- "
But we told her to shut up and come on,
and she did.
I couldn't help wondering as we went down
to the garden, why Father had never thought
of digging there for treasure instead of going
to his beastly office every day.





























CHAPTER II.




















15















CHAPTER II


DIGGING FOR TREASURE

I AM afraid the last chapter was rather dull.
It is always dull in books when people talk
and talk, and don't do anything, but I was
obliged to put it in, or else you wouldn't have
understood all the rest. The best part of
books is when things are happening. That
is the best part of real things too. This is
why I shall not tell you in this story about all
the days when nothing happened. You will
not catch me saying, "thus the sad days
passed slowly by "-or "the years rolled on
their weary course," or "time went on"-
because it is silly; of course time goes on-
whether you say so or not. So I shall just
tell you the nice, interesting parts-and in
between you will understand that we had our
meals and got up and went to bed, and dull
things like that. It would be sickening to
3 17






18 THE TREASURE SEEKERS

write all that down, though of course it
happens. I said so to Albert-next-door's
uncle, who writes books, and he said, Quite
right, that's what we call selection, a necessity
of true art." And he is very clever indeed.
So you see.
I have often thought that if the people who
write books for children knew a little more it
would be better. I shall not tell you anything
about us except what I should like to know
about if I was reading the story and you were
writing it. Albert's uncle says I ought to
have put this in the preface, but I never read
prefaces, and it is not much good writing
things just for people to skip. I wonder other
authors have never thought of this.
Well, when we had agreed to dig for treasure
we all went down into the cellar and lighted
the gas. Oswald would have liked to dig there,
but it is stone flags. We looked among the
old boxes and broken chairs and fenders and
empty bottles and things, and at last we found
the spades we had to dig in the sand with
when we went to the seaside three years ago.
They are not silly, babyish, wooden spades,
that split if you look at them, but good iron,
with a blue mark across the top of the iron
part, and yellow wooden handles. We wasted






DIGGING FOR TBRASURE


a little time getting them dusted, because
the girls wouldn't dig with spades that had
cobwebs on them. Girls would never do for
African explorers or anything like that, they
are too beastly particular.
It was no use doing the thing by halves.
We marked out a sort of square in the mouldy
part of the garden, about three yards across,
and began to dig. But we found nothing
except worms and stones-and the ground was
very hard.
So we thought we'd try another part of the
garden, and we found a place in the big round
flower bed, where the ground was much softer.
We thought we'd make a smaller hole to
begin with, and it was much better. We dug
and dug and dug, and it was jolly hard work!
We got very hot digging, but we found
nothing.
Presently Albert-next-door looked over the
wall. We do not like him very much, but we
let him play with us sometimes, because his
father is dead, and you must not be unkind to
orphans, even if their mothers are alive.
Albert is always very tidy. He wears frilly
collars and velvet knickerbockers. I can't
think how he can bear to.
So we said, "Hullo! "






THE TREASURE SEEKERS


And he said, "What are you up to ? "
"We're digging for treasure," said Alice;
"an ancient parchment revealed to us the
place of concealment. Come over and help us.
When we have dug deep enough we shall find
a great pot of red clay, full of gold and
precious jewels."
Albert-next-door only sniggered and said,
"What silly nonsense!" He cannot play
properly at all. It is very strange, because
he has a very nice uncle. You see, Albert-
next-door doesn't care for reading, and he has
not read nearly so many books as we have, so
he is very foolish and ignorant, but it cannot
be helped, and you just have to put up with it
when you want him to do anything. Besides,
it is wrong to be angry with people for not
being so clever as you are yourself. It is not
always their faults.
So Oswald said, "Come and dig! Then
you shall share the treasure when we've found
it."
But he said, "I shan't I don't like
digging-and I'm just going in to my tea."
Come along and dig, there's a good boy,"
Alice said. "You can use my spade. It's
much the best--"
So he came along and dug, and when once







DIGGING FOR TREASURE


he was over the wall we kept him at it,
and we worked as well, of course, and the
hole got deep. Pincher worked too-he is
our dog and he is very good at digging.
He digs for rats in the dustbin sometimes,
and gets very dirty. But we love our dog,
even when his face wants washing.
I expect we shall have to make a tunnel,"
Oswald said, "to reach the rich treasure."
So he jumped into the hole and began to
dig at one side. After that we took it in
turns to dig at the tunnel, and Pincher was
most useful in scraping the earth out of the
tunnel-he does it with his back feet when
you say Rats and he digs with his front
ones, and burrows with his nose as well.
At last the tunnel was nearly a yard long,
and big enough to creep along to find the
treasure, if only it had been a bit longer.
Now it was Albert's turn to go in and dig,
but he funked it.
Take your turn like a man," said Oswald
-nobody can say that Oswald doesn't take
his turn like a man. But Albert wouldn't.
So we had to make him, because it was only
fair.
"It's quite easy," Alice said, "You just
crawl in and dig with your hands. Then






THE TREASURE SEEKERS


when you come out we can scrape out what
you've done, with the spades. Come-be a
man. You won't notice it being dark in the
tunnel if you shut your eyes tight. We've
all been in except Dora-and she doesn't
like worms."
"I don't like worms neither." Albert-next-
door said this; but we remembered how he
had picked a fat red and black worm up in
his fingers and thrown it at Dora only the
day before.
So we put him in.
But he would not go in head first, the
proper way, and dig with his hands as we
had done, and though Oswald was angry
at the time, for he hates snivellers, yet
afterwards he owned that perhaps it was just
as well. You should never be afraid to own
that perhaps you were mistaken-but it is
cowardly to do it unless you are quite sure
you are in the wrong.
"Let me go in feet first," said Albert-next-
door. I'll dig with my boots-I will truly,
honour bright."
So we let him get in feet first-and he
did it very slowly and at last he was in,
and only his head sticking out into the hole;
and all the rest of him in the tunnel.






DIGGING FOR TREASURE


Now dig with your boots," said Oswald;
"and Alice, do catch hold of Pincher, he'll be
digging again in another minute, and perhaps
it would be uncomfortable for Albert if
Pincher threw the mould into his eyes."
You should always try to think of these
little things. Thinking of other people's
comfort makes them like you. Alice held
Pincher, and we all shouted, Kick! dig
with your feet, for all you're worth!"
So Albert-next-door began to dig with his
feet, and we stood on the ground over him,
waiting-and all in a minute the ground gave
way, and we tumbled together in a heap:
and when we got up there was a little shallow
hollow where we had been standing, and
Albert-next-door was underneath, stuck quite
fast, because the roof of the tunnel had
tumbled in on him. He is a horribly unlucky
boy to have anything to do with.
It was dreadful the way he cried and
screamed, though he had to own it didn't
hurt, only it was rather heavy and he couldn't
move his legs. We would have dug him
out all right enough, in time, but he screamed
so we were afraid the police would come,
so Dicky climbed over the wall, to tell the
cook there to tell Albert-next-door's uncle he






THE TREASURE SEEKERS


had been buried by mistake, and to come
and help dig him out.
Dicky was a long time gone. We won-
dered what had become of him, and all the
while the screaming went on and on, for
we had taken the loose earth off Albert's
face so that he could scream quite easily
and comfortably.
Presently Dicky came back and Albert-next-
door's uncle came with him. He has very
long legs, and his hair is light and his face
is brown. He has been to sea, but now he
writes books. I like him.
He told his nephew to stow it, so Albert
did, and then he asked him if he was hurt-
and Albert had to say he wasn't, for though
he is a coward and very unlucky, he is not
a liar like some boys are.
This promises to be a protracted if agree-
able task," said Albert next door's uncle,
rubbing his hands and looking at the hole
with Albert's head in it. "I will get another
spade," so he fetched the big spade out of
the next door garden tool-shed, and began
to dig his nephew out.
"Mind you keep very still," he said, or
I might chunk a bit out of you with the
spade." Then after a while he said-






DIGGING FOR TREASURE


"I confess that I am not absolutely in-
sensible to the dramatic interest of the
situation. My curiosity is excited. I own
that I should like to know how my nephew
happened to be buried. But don't tell me
if you'd rather not. I suppose no force was
used?"
"Only moral force," said Alice. They
used to talk a lot about moral force at the
High School where she went, and in case
you don't know what it means I'll tell you
that it is making people do what they don't
want to, just by slanging them, or laughing
at them, or promising them things if they're
good.
Only moral force, eh ? said Albert-next-
door's uncle. "Well? "
"Well," Dora said, "I'm very sorry it
happened to Albert-I'd rather it had been
one of us. It would have been my turn to
go into the tunnel, only I don't like worms,
so they let me off. You see we were digging
for treasure."
"Yes," said Alice, "and I think we were
just coming to the underground passage that
leads to the secret hoard, when the tunnel
fell in on Albert. He is so unlucky," and she
sighed.







THE TREASURE SEEKERS ,


Then Albert-next-door began to scream
again, and his uncle wiped his face-his own
face, not Albert's-with his silk handkerchief,
and then he put it in his trousers pocket.
It seems a strange place to put a hand-
kerchief, but he had his coat and waistcoat
off and I suppose he wanted the handkerchief
handy. Digging is warm work.
He told Albert-next-door to drop it, or
he wouldn't proceed further in the matter,
so Albert stopped screaming, and presently
his uncle finished digging him out. Albert
did look so funny, with his hair all dusty
and his velvet suit covered with mould and
his face muddy with earth and crying.
We all said how sorry we were, but he
wouldn't say a word back to us. He was
most awfully sick to think he'd been the
one buried, when it might just as well have
been one of us. I felt myself that it was hard
lines.
So you were digging for treasure," said
Albert-next-door's uncle, wiping his face again
with his handkerchief. "Well, I fear that
your chances of success are small. I have
made a careful study of the whole subject.
What I don't know about buried treasure is
not worth knowing. And I never knew more







DIGGING FOR TREASURE


than one coin buried in any one garden-
and that is generally-- Hullo-what's
that ?"
He pointed to something shining in the
hole he had just dragged Albert out of.
Oswald picked it up. It was a half-crown.
We looked at each other, speechless with
surprise and delight, like in books.
"Well, that's lucky, at all events," said
Albert-next-door's uncle. "Let's see, that's
fivepence each for you."
"It's fourpence-something; I can't do
fractions," said Dicky; "there are seven of
us, you see."
Oh, you count Albert as one of yourselves
on this occasion, eh ?"
"Of course," said Alice; "and I say, he
was buried after all. Why shouldn't we let
him have the odd somethings, and we'll have
fourpence each."
We all agreed to this, and told Albert-next-
door we would bring his share as soon as
we could get the half-crown changed. He
cheered up a little at that, and his uncle
wiped his face again-he did look hot-and
began to put on his coat and waistcoat.
When he had done it he stooped and picked
up something. He held it up, and you will







28 THE TREASURE SEEKERS

hardly believe it, but it is quite true-it
was another half-crown !
To think that there should be two! he
said; in all my experience of buried treasure
I never heard of such a thing "
I wish Albert-next-door's uncle would come
treasure-seeking with us regularly; he must
have very sharp eyes: for Dora says she was
looking just the minute before at the very
place where the second half-crown was picked
up from, and she never saw it.



























CHAPTER III.




















29















CHAPTER III


BEING DETECTIVES

THE next thing that happened to us was very
interesting. It was as real as the half-crowns
-not just pretending. I shall try to write it
as like a real book as I can. Of course we
have read Mr. Sherlock Holmes, as well as
the yellow-covered books with pictures outside
that are so badly printed; and you get them
for fourpence halfpenny at the bookstall
when the corners of them are beginning to
curl up and get dirty, with people looking to
see how the story ends when they are waiting
for trains. I think this is most unfair to the
boy at the bookstall. The books are written
by a gentleman named Gaboriau, and Albert's
uncle says they are the worst translations in
the world-and written in vile English. Of
course they're not like Kipling, but they're
jolly good stories. And we had just been






THE TREASURE SEEKERS


reading a book by Dick Diddlington-that's
not his right name, but I khow all about libel
actions, so I shall not say ,what his name is
really, because his books are rot. Only they
put it into our heads to do what I am going
to narrate.
It was in September, and we were not to go
to the seaside because it is so expensive, even if
you go to Sheerness, where it is all tin cans and
old boots and no sand at all. But every one
else went, even the people next door-not
Albert's side, but the other. Their servant
told Eliza they were all going to Scarborough,
and next day sure enough all the blinds were
down and the shutters up, and the milk was
not left any more. There is a big horse-
chestnut tree between their garden and ours,
very useful for getting conkers out of and for
making stuff to rub on your chilblains. This
prevented our seeing whether the blinds were
down at the back as well, but Dicky climbed
to the top of the tree and looked, and they
were.
It was jolly hot weather, and very stuffy
indoors-we used to play a good deal in the
garden. We made a tent out of the kitchen
clothes-horse and some blankets off our beds,
and though it was quite as hot in the tent as






BEING DETECTIVES


in the house it was a very different sort of
hotness. Albert's uncle called it the Turkish
Bath. It is not nice to be kept from the sea-
side, but we know that we have much to be
thankful for. We might be poor little children
living in a crowded alley where even at
summer noon hardly a ray of sunlight
penetrates; clothed in rags and with bare
feet-though I do not mind holes in my clothes
myself, and bare feet would not be at all bad
in this sort of weather. Indeed we do, some-
times, when we are playing at things which
require it. It was shipwrecked mariners that
day, I remember, and we were all in the
blanket tent. We had just finished eating
the things we had saved, at the peril of our
lives, from the fast-sinking vessel. They were
rather nice things. Two pennyworth of cocoa-
nut candy-it was got in Greenwich, where it
is four ounces a penny-three apples, some
macaroni-the straight sort, that is so useful
to suck things through-some raw rice, and a
large piece of cold suet pudding that Alice
nicked from the larder when she went to get
the rice and macaroni. And when we had
finished some one said-
"I should like to be a detective."
I wish to be quite fair, but I cannot remem-






THE TREASURE SEEKERS


ber exactly who said it. Oswald thinks he said
it, and Dora says it was Dicky, but Oswald
is too much of a man to quarrel about a
little thing like that.
"I should like to be a detective," said-
perhaps it was Dicky, but I think not-" and
find out strange and hidden crimes."
You have to be much cleverer than you
are," said H. O.
Not so very," Alice said, because when
you've read the books you know what the
things mean: the red hair on the handle of
the knife, or the grains of white powder on
the velvet collar of the villain's overcoat. I
believe we could do it."
"I shouldn't like to have anything to do
with murders," said Dora; somehow it
doesn't seem safe- "
"And it always ends in the poor murderer
being hanged," said Alice.
We explained to her why murderers have
to be hanged, but she only said, I don't
care. I'm sure no one would ever do murder-
ing twice. Think of the blood and things, and
what you would see when you woke up in the
night! I shouldn't mind being a detective to
lie in wait for a gang of coiners, now, and
spring upon them unawares, and secure them






BEING DETECTIVES


-single handed, you know, or with only my
faithful bloodhound."
She stroked Pincher's ears, but he had gone
to sleep because he knew well enough that all
the suet pudding was finished. He is a very
sensible dog.
You always get hold of the wrong end of
the stick," Oswald said. You can't choose
what crimes you'll be a detective about. You
just have to get a suspicious circumstance,
and then you look for a clue and follow it up.
Whether it turns out a murder or a missing
will is just a fluke."
That's one way," Dicky said. "Another
is to get a paper and find two advertisements
or bits of news that fit. Like this: 'Young
Lady Missing,' and then it tells about all the
clothes she had on, and the gold locket she
wore, and the colour of her hair, and all that;
and then in another piece of the paper you
see, Gold locket found,' and then it all
comes out."
We sent H. 0. for the paper at once, but we
could not make any of the things fit in. The
two best were about how some burglars broke
into a place in Holloway where they made
preserved tongues and invalid delicacies, and
carried off a lot of .them. And on another






THE TBEASUBE SEEKERS


page there was, Mysterious deaths in Hollo-
way." Oswald thought there was something
in it, and so did Albert's uncle when we asked
him, but the others thought not, so Oswald
agreed to drop it. Besides, Holloway is a long
way off. All the time we were talking about
the paper Alice seemed to be thinking about
something else, and when we had done she
said-
I believe we might be detectives ourselves,
but I should not like to get anybody into
trouble."
Not murderers or robbers ? Dicky asked.
It wouldn't be murderers," she said; but
I have noticed something strange. Only I
feel a little frightened. Let's ask Albert's
uncle first."
Alice is a jolly sight too fond of asking
grown-up people things. And we all said it
was Tommy-rot, and she was to tell us.
Well, promise you won't do anything with-
out me," Alice said, and we promised. Then
she said-
This is a dark secret, and any one who
thinks it is better not to be involved in a
career of crime-discovery had better go away
ere yet it be too late."
So Dora said she had had enough of tents,







BEING DETECTIVES


and she was going to look at the shops. H.O.
went with her because he had twopence to
spend. They thought it was only a game of
Alice's, but Oswald knew by the way she
spoke. He can nearly always tell. And
when people are not telling the truth Oswald
generally knows by the way they look with
their eyes. Oswald is not proud of being able
to do this. He knows it is through no merit
of his own that he is much cleverer than some
people.
When they had gone, the rest of us got
closer together and said-
"Now then."
Well," Alice said, you know the house
next door? The people have gone to Scar-
borough. And the house is shut up. But
last night I saw a light in the windows."
We asked her how and when, because her
room is in the front, and she couldn't possibly
have seen. And then she said-
"I'll tell you if you boys will promise not
ever to go fishing again without me."
So we had to promise. Then she said-
"It was last night. I had forgotten to
feed my rabbits, and I woke up and remem-
bered it. And I was afraid I should find
them dead in the morning, like Oswald did."







THE TREASURE SEEKERS


It wasn't my fault," Oswald said; "there
was something the matter with the beasts. I
fed them right enough."
Alice said she didn't mean that, and she
went on-
"I came down into the garden, and I saw a
light in the house, and dark figures moving
about. I thought perhaps it was burglars,
but Father hadn't come home, and Eliza had
gone to bed, so I couldn't do anything. Only
I thought perhaps I would tell the rest of you."
"Why didn't you tell us this morning? "
Noel asked. And Alice explained that she
did not want to get any one into trouble, even
burglars. But we might watch to-night,"
she said, "'and see if we see the light again."
They might have been burglars," Noel
said. He was sucking the last bit of his
macaroni. You know the people next door
are very grand. They won't know us-and
they go out in a real private carriage some-
times. And they have an 'At Home' day,
and people come in cabs. I daresay they
have piles of plate and jewelry and rich bro-
cades, and furs of price and things like that.
Let us keep watch to-night."
It's no use watching to-night," Dicky
said; if it's only burglars they won't come







BEING DETECTIVES


again. But there are other things besides
burglars that are discovered in empty houses
where lights are seen moving."
"You mean coiners," said Oswald at once.
"I wonder what the reward is for setting the
police on their track ? "
Dicky thought it ought to be something fat,
because coiners are always a desperate gang;
and the machinery they make the coins with
is so heavy and handy for knocking down
detectives.
Then it was tea-time, and we went in; and
Dora and H. O. had clubbed their money to-
gether and bought a melon; quite a big one,
and only a little bit squashy at one end. It
was very good, and then we washed the
seeds and made things with them and with
pins and cotton. And nobody said any more
about watching the house next door.
Only when we went to bed Dicky took off
his coat and waistcoat, but he stopped at his
braces, and said-
"What about the coiners ?'
Oswaldhad taken off his collar and tie, and
he was just going to say the same, so he
said, Of course I meant to watch, only my
collar's rather tight, so I thought I'd take
it off first."






THE TREASURE SEEKERS


Dicky said he did not think the girls ought
to be in it, because there might be danger,
but Oswald reminded him that they had pro-
mised Alice, and that a promise is a sacred
thing, even when you'd much rather not. So
Oswald got Alice alone under pretence of
showing her a caterpillar-Dora does not like
them, and she screamed and ran away when
Oswald offered to show it her. Then Oswald
explained, and Alice agreed to come and watch
if she could. This made us later than we
ought to have been, because Alice had to wait
till Dora was quiet and then creep out very
slowly, for fear of the boards creaking. The
girls sleep with their room-door open for fear
of burglars. Alice had kept on her clothes
under her nightgown when Dora wasn't look-
ing, and presently we got down creeping past
Father's study, and out at the glass door that
leads on to the verandah and the iron steps into
the garden. And we went down very quietly,
and got into the chestnut tree, and then I felt
that we had only been playing what Albert's
uncle calls our favourite instrument-I mean
the Fool. For the house next door was as dark
as dark. Then suddenly we heard a sound-
it came from the gate at the end of the
garden. All the gardens have gates; they
















ir, ,


-4,iI


"Presently we got down creeping past father's study.







BEING DETECTIVES


lead into a kind of lane that runs behind
them. It is a sort of back way, very conve-
nient when you don't want to say exactly
where you are going. We heard the gate at
the end of the next garden click, and Dicky
nudged Alice so that she would have fallen
out of the tree if it had not been for Oswald's
extraordinary presence of mind. Oswald
squeezed Alice's arm tight, and we all looked;
and the others were rather frightened be-
cause really we had not exactly expected any-
thing to happen except perhaps a light. But
now a muffled figure, shrouded in a dark cloak,
came swiftly up the path of the next door
garden. And we could see that under its
cloak the figure carried a mysterious burden.
The figure was dressed to look like a woman
in a sailor hat.
We held our breath as it passed under the
tree where we were, and then it tapped very
gently on the back door and was let in, and
then a light appeared in the window of the
downstairs back breakfast-room. But the
shutters were up.
Dicky said, "My eye and wouldn't the
others be sick to think they hadn't been in
this! but Alice didn't half like it-and as she
is a girl I do not blame her. Indeed, I







THE TREASURE SEEKERS


thought myself at first that perhaps it would
be better to retire for the present, and return
later with a strongly armed force.
It's not burglars ;" Alice whispered, the
mysterious stranger was bringing things in,
not taking them out. They must be coiners
-and oh, Oswald !-don't let's The things
they coin with must hurt very much. Do
let's go to bed!"
But Dicky said he was going to see; if
there was a reward for finding out things like
this he would like to have the reward.
They locked the back door," he whispered,
"I heard it go. And I could look in quite
well through the holes in the shutters and be
back over the wall long before they'd got the
door open, even if they started to do it at
once."
There were holes at the top of the shutters
the shape of hearts, and the yellow light came
out through them as well as through the
chinks of the shutters.
Oswald said if Dicky went he should, be-
cause he was the eldest; and Alice said, If
any one goes it ought to be me, because I
thought of it."
So Oswald said, Well, go then "; and she
said, "Not for anything!" And she begged







BEING DETECTIVES


us not to, and we talked about it in the tree
till we were all quite hoarse with whispering.
At last we decided on a plan of action.
Alice was to stay in the tree, and scream
"Murder!" if anything happened. Dicky and
I were to get down into the next garden and
take it in turns to peep.
So we got down as quietly as we could, but
the tree made much more noise than it does
in the day, and several times we paused, fear-
ing that all was discovered. But nothing
happened.
There was a pile of red flower-pots under
the window and one very large one was on the
window-ledge. It seemed as if it was the
hand of Destiny had placed it there, and
the geranium in it was dead, and there was
nothing to stop your standing on it-so Oswald
did. He went first because he is the eldest,
and though Dicky tried to stop him because
he thought of it first it could not be, on
account of not being able to say anything.
So Oswald stood on the flower-pot and tried
to look through one of the holes. He did not
really expect to see the coiners at their fell
work, though he had pretended to when we
were talking in the tree. But if he had seen
them pouring the base molten metal into tin







THE TREASURE SEEKERS


moulds the shape of half-crowns he would
not have been half so astonished as he was at
the spectacle now revealed.
At first he could see little, because the hole
had unfortunately been made a little too high,
so that the eye of the detective should only
see the Prodigal Son in a shiny frame on the
opposite wall. But Oswald held on to the
window-frame and stood on tiptoe and then he
saw.
There was no furnace, and no base metal,
no bearded men in leather aprons with tongs
and things, but just a table with a table-cloth
on it for supper, and a tin of salmon and a
lettuce and some bottled beer. And there on
a chair was the cloak and the hat of the
mysterious stranger, and the two people sitting
at the table were the two youngest grown-up
daughters of the lady next door, and one of
them was saying-
"So I got the salmon three-halfpence
cheaper, and the lettuces are only six a penny
in the Broadway, just fancy! We must save
as much as ever we can on our housekeeping
money if we want to go away decent next
year."
And the other said, "I wish we could all
go every year, or else- Really, I almost
wish-"






BEING DETECTIVES


And all the time Oswald was looking Dicky
was pulling at his jacket to make him get
down and let Dicky have a squint. And just
as she said I almost," Dicky pulled too hard
and Oswald felt himself toppling on the giddy
verge of the big flower-pot. Putting forth all
his strength our hero strove to recover his
equi-what's-its-name, but it was now lost
beyond recall.
You've done it this time! he said, then
he fell heavily among the flower-pots piled
below. He heard them crash and rattle and
crack, and then his head struck against an
iron pillar used for holding up the next door
verandah. His eyes closed and he knew no more.
Now you will perhaps expect that at this
moment Alice would have cried "Murder! "
If you think so you little know what girls are.
Directly she was left alone in that tree she
made a bolt to tell Albert's uncle all about it
and bring him to our rescue in case the
coiners' gang was a very desperate one. And
just when I fell, Albert's uncle was getting
over the wall. Alice never screamed at all
when Oswald fell, but Dicky thinks he heard
Albert's uncle say, Confound those kids!"
which would not have been kind or polite, so
I hope he did not say it.






THE TBEASURR SEEKERS


The people next door did not come out to
see what the row was. Albert's uncle did not
wait for them to come out. He picked up
Oswald and carried the insensible body of the
gallant young detective to the wall, laid it on
the top, and then climbed over and bore his life-
less burden into our house and put it on the
sofa in Father's study. Father was out, so we
needn't have crept so when we were getting into
the garden. Then Oswald was restored to
consciousness, and his head tied up, and sent
to bed, and next day there was a lump on his
young brow as big as a turkey's egg, and very
uncomfortable.
Albert's uncle came in next day and talked
to each of us separately. To Oswald he said
many unpleasant things about ungentlemanly
to spy on ladies, and about minding your own
business; and when I began to tell him what I
had heard he told me to shut up, and altogether
he made me more uncomfortable than the
bump did.
Oswald did not say anything to any one, but
next day, as the shadows of eve were falling,
he crept away, and wrote on a piece of paper,
" I want to speak to you," and shoved it
through the hole like a heart in the top of the
next door shutters.






BEING DETECTIVES


And the youngest ydung lady put an eye to
the heart-shaped hole, and then opened the
shutter and said "Well?" very crossly.
Then Oswald said-
"I am very sorry, and I beg your pardon.
We wanted to be detectives, and we thought a
gang of coiners infested your house, so we
looked through your window last night. I
saw the lettuce, and I heard what you said
about the salmon being three-halfpence
cheaper, and I know it is very dishonourable
to pry into other people's secrets, especially
ladies', and I never will again if you will for-
give me this once."
Then the lady frowned and then she laughed,
and then she said-
So it was you tumbling into the flower-
pots last night ? We thought it was burglars.
It frightened us horribly. Why, what a bump
on your poor head "
And then she talked to me a bit, and pre-
sently she said she and her sister had not
wished people to know they were at home,
because- and then she stopped short and
grew very red, and I said, I thought you
were all at Scarborough; your servant told
Eliza so. Why didn't you want people to
know you were at home? "






48 THE TREASURE SEEKERS

The lady got redder still, and then she
laughed and said-
Never mind the reason why. I hope your
head doesn't hurt much. Thank you for
your nice, manly little speech. You've nothing
to be ashamed of, at any rate." Then she
kissed me, and I did not mind. And then she
said, Run away now, dear. I'm going to-
I'm going to pull up the blinds and open the
shutters, and I want to do it at once, before it
gets dark, so that every one can see we're at
home, and not at Scarborough."



























CHAPTER IV.



















5 49














CHAPTER IV


GOOD HUNTING

WHEN we had got that four shillings by digging
for treasure we ought, by rights, to have tried
Dicky's idea of answering the advertisement
about ladies and gentlemen and spare time and
two pounds a week, but there were several
things we rather wanted.
Dora wanted a new pair of scissors, and she
said she was going to get them with her eight-
pence. But Alice said-
"You ought to get her those, Oswald,
because you know you broke the points off
hers getting the marble out of the brass
thimble."
It was quite true, though I had almost for-
gotten it, but then it was H. 0. who jammed
the marble into the thimble first of all. So I
said-
"It's H. O.'s fault as much as mine, any-
how. Why shouldn't he pay ?"
51







THE TREASURE SEEKERS


Oswald didn't so much mind paying for the
beastly scissors, but he hates injustice of every
kind.
He's such a little kid," said Dicky, and of
course H. O. said he wasn't a little kid, and it
very nearly came to being a row between
them. But Oswald knows when to be gene-
rous; so he said-
"Look here! I'll pay sixpence of the scis-
sors, and H. 0. shall pay the rest, to teach
him to be careful."
H. 0. agreed: he is not at all a mean kid,
but I found out afterwards that Alice paid
his share out of her own money.
Then we wanted some new paints, and Noel
wanted a pencil and a halfpenny account-book
to write poetry with, and it does seem hard
never to have any apples. So, somehow or
other nearly all the money got spent, and we
agreed that we must let the advertisement
run loose a little longer.
I only hope," Alice said, that they won't
have got all the ladies and gentlemen they
want before we have got the money to write
for the sample and instructions."
And I was a little afraid myself, because it
seemed such a splendid chance ; but we looked
in the paper every day, and the advertisement














































































"He cut every single one of his best buttons off."


*





GOOD HUNTING


was always there, so we thought it was all
right.
Then we had the detective try-on-and it
proved no go; and then, when all the money
was gone, except a halfpenny of mine and two-
pence of Noel's and threepence of Dicky's and
a few pennies that the girls had left, we held
another council.
Dora was sewing the buttons on H. O.'s
Sunday things. He got himself a knife with
his money, and he cut every single one of his
best buttons off. You've no idea how many
buttons there are on a suit. Dora counted
them. There are twenty-four, counting the
little ones on the sleeves that don't undo.
Alice was trying to teach Pincher to beg;
but he has too much sense when he knows
you've got nothing in your hands, and the
rest of us were roasting potatoes under the
fire. We had made a fire on purpose, though
it was rather warm. They are very good if
you cut away the burnt parts-but you ought
to wash them first, or you are a dirty boy.
Well, what can we do ?" said Dicky.
"You are so fond of saying 'Let's do some-
thing! and never saying what."
We can't try the advertisement yet. Shall
we try rescuing some one ? said Oswald. It







THE TREASURE SEEKERS


was his own idea, but he didn't insist on doing
it, though he is next to the eldest, for he
knows it is bad manners to make people do
what you want, when they would rather not.
What was Noel's plan ? Alice asked.
"A Princess or a poetry book,"' said Noel
sleepily. He was lying on his back on the
sofa, kicking his legs. Only I shall look for
the Princess all by myself. But I'll let you
see her when we're married."
Have you got enough poetry to make a
book ? Dicky asked that, and it was rather
sensible of him, because when Noel came to
look there were only seven of his poems that
any of us could understand. There was the
"Wreck of the Malabar," and the poem he
wrote when Eliza took us to hear the Reviving
Preacher, and everybody cried, and Father
said it must have been the Preacher's Elo-
quence.
So No6l wrote-
Oh Eloquence and what art thou?
Ay what art thou? because we cried
And everybody cried inside
When they came out their eyes were red-
And it was your doing Father said.
But Noel told Alice he got the first line and
a half from a book a boy at school was going












































"'There's poetry in newspapers,' said Alice."







GOOD HUNTING


to write when he had time. Besides this there
were the "Lines on a Dead Black Beetle
that was poisoned :-

Oh Beetle how I weep to see
Thee lying on thy poor back !
It is so very sad indeed.
You were so shiny and black.
I wish you were alive again
But Eliza says wishing it is nonsense and a shame.

It was very good beetle poison, and there
were hundreds of them lying dead-but Noel
only wrote a piece of poetry for one of them.
He said he hadn't time to do them all, and the
worst of it was he didn't know which one he'd
written it to-so Alice couldn't bury the beetle
and put the lines on its grave, though she
wanted to very much.
Well, it was quite plain that there wasn't
enough poetry for a book.
We might wait a year or two," said Noel.
" I shall be sure to make some more sometime.
I thought of a piece about a fly this morning
that knew condensed milk was sticky."
"But we want the money now," said Dicky,
" and you can go on writing just the same. It
will come in sometime or other."
There's poetry in newspapers," said Alice.






THE TREASURE SEEKERS


" Down, Pincher you'll never be a clever dog,
so it's no good trying."
"Do they pay for it ? Dicky thought of
that; he often thinks of things that are really
important, even if they are a little dull.
"I don't know. But I shouldn't think any
one would let them print their poetry without.
I wouldn't I know." That was Dora; but
Noel said he wouldn't mind if he didn't get
paid, so long as he saw his poetry printed and
his name at the end.
"We might try, anyway," said Oswald. He
is always willing to give other people's ideas
a fair trial.
So we copied out "The Wreck of the
Malabar and the other six poems on draw-
ing-paper-Dora did it, she writes best-and
Oswald drew a picture of the Malabar going
down with all hands. It was a full-rigged
schooner, and all the ropes and sails were
correct; because my cousin is in the Navy,
and he showed me.
We thought a long time whether we'd write
a letter and send it by post with the poetry-
and Dora thought it would be best. But Noel
said he couldn't beai not to know at once if
the paper would print the poetry, so we de-
cided to take it.






GOOD HUNTING


I went with No8l, because I am the& eldest,
and he is not old enough to go to London
by himself. Dicky said poetry was rot-and
he was glad he hadn't got to make a fool of
himself : that was because there was not enough
money for him to go with us. H. 0. couldn't
come either, but he came to the station to see
us off, and waved his cap and called out
" Good hunting! as the train started.
There was a lady in spectacles in the corner.
She was writing with a pencil on the edges of
long strips of paper that had print all down
them.
When the train started she asked-
"What was that he said? "
So Oswald answered-
"It was Good hunting '-it's out of the
Jungle book!"
"That's very pleasant to hear," the lady
said; "I am very pleased to meet people who
know their Jungle book. And where are you
off to-the Zoological Gardens to look for
Bagheera ? "
We were pleased, too, to meet some one who
knew the Jungle book.
So Oswald said-
We are going to restore the fallen fortunes
of the House of Bastable-and we have all







THE TREASURE SEEKERS


thought of -different ways-and we're going
to try them all. Noel's way is poetry. I
suppose great poets get paid?"
The lady laughed-she was awfully jolly-
and said she was a sort of poet, too, and the
long strips of paper were the proofs of her
new book of stories. Because before a book
is made into a real book with pages and a
cover, they sometimes print it all on strips of
paper, and the writer make marks on it with
a pencil to show the printers what idiots they
are not to understand what a writer means to
have printed.
We told her all about digging for treasure,
and what we meant to do. Then she asked
to see Noel's poetry-and he said he didn't
like-so she said, "Look here-if you'll show
me yours I'll show you some of mine." So
he agreed.
The jolly lady read Noil's poetry, and she
said she liked it very much. And she thought
a great deal of the picture of the Malabar.
And then she said, I write serious poetry
like yours myself, too, but I have a piece here
that I think you will like because it's about a
boy." She gave it to us-and so I can copy
it down, and I will, for it shows that some
grown-up ladies are not so silly as others. I like







GOOD HUNTING 59

it better than Noel's poetry, thougI told him
I did not, because he looked as if h was going
to cry. This was very wrong, for you should
always speak the truth, however unhappy it
makes people. And I generally do. But I
did not want him crying in the railway
carriage.
The lady's piece of poetry:-

Oh when I wake up in my bed
And see the sun all fat and red,
I'm glad to have another day
For all my different kinds of play.

There are so many things to do-
The things that make a man of you,
If grown-ups did not get so vexed
And wonder what you will do next.

I often wonder whether they
Ever made up our kinds of play-
If they were always good as gold
And only did what they were told

They like you best to play with tops
And toys in boxes, bought in shops;
They do not even know the names
Of really interesting games.

They will not let you play with fire
Or trip your sisters up with wire,
They grudge the tea-tray for a drum,
Or booby-traps when callers come.







THE TREASURE SEEKERS


They don't like fishing, and it's true
You 3tnetimes soak a suit or two :
Theytook on fireworks, though they're dry,
With quite a disapproving eye.

They do not understand the way
To get the most out of your day:
They do not know how hunger feels
Nor what you need between your meals.

And when you're sent to bed at night
They're happy, but they're not polite,
For through the door you hear them say:
He's done his mischief for the day! "

She told us a lot of other pieces but I can-
not remember them, and she talked to us all
the way up, and when we got nearly to Cannon
Street she said-
I've got two new shillings here! Do you
think they would help to smooth the path to
Fame?"
Noel said, Thank you," and was going to
take the shilling. But Oswald, who always
remembers what he is told, said-
Thank you very much, but Father told
us we ought never to take anything from
strangers."
That's a nasty one," said the lady-she
didn't talk a bit like a real lady, but more like
a jolly sort of grown-up boy in a dress and hat






GOOD HUNTING


-" a very nasty one But don't you think as
Noel and I are both poets I might be considered
a sort of relation? You've heard of brother
poets, haven't you? Don't you think Noel
and I are aunt and nephew poets, or some
relationship of that kind ? "
I didn't know what to say, and she went
on-
"It's awfully straight of you to stick to
what your Father tells you, but look here,
you take the shillings, and here's my card.
When you get home tell your Father all about
it, and if he says No, you can just bring the
shillings back to me."
So we took the shillings, and she shook
hands with us and said, Goodbye, and good
hunting! "
We did tell Father about it, and he said it
was all right, and when he looked at the card
he told us we were highly honoured, for the
lady wrote better poetry than any other lady
alive now. We had never heard of her, and she
seemed much too jolly for a poet. Good old
Kipling We owe him those two shillings, as
well as the Jungle books!




























CHAPTER V.





















63















CHAPTER V


THE POET AND THE EDITOR

IT was not bad sport-being in London en-
tirely on our own hook. We asked the way
to Fleet Street, where Father says all the
newspaper offices are. They said straight on
down Ludgate Hill-but it turned out to be
quite another way. At least we didn't go
straight on.
We got to St. Paul's. Noel would go in,
and we saw where Gordon was buried-at
least the monument. It is very flat, con-
sidering what a man he was.
When we came out we walked a long way,
and when we asked a policeman he said we'd
better go back through Smithfield. So we did.
They don't burn people any more there now,
so it was rather dull, besides being a long
way, and Noel got very tired. He's a peaky
little chap; it comes of being a poet, I think.







THE TREASURE SEEKERS


We had a bun or two at different shops-out
of the shillings-and it was quite late in the
afternoon when we got to Fleet Street. The
gas was lighted and the electric lights. There
is a jolly Bovril sign that comes off and on in
different coloured lamps. We went to the
Daily Recorder office, and asked to see the
Editor. It is a big office, very bright, with
brass and mahogany and electric lights.
They told us the Editor wasn't there, but
at another office. So we went down a dirty
street, to a very dull-looking place. There
was a man there inside, in a glass case, as
if he was a museum, and he told us to write
down our names and our business. So Oswald
wrote-
OSWALD BASTABLE.
NOEL BASTABLE.
Business very private indeed.

Then we waited on the stone stairs; it was
very draughty. And the man in the glass
case looked at us as if we were the museum
instead of him. We waited a long time, and
then a boy came down and said-
The Editor can't see you. Will you
please write your business? And he laughed.
I wanted to punch his head.







THE POET AND THE EDITOR


But Noil said, Yes, I'll write it if you'll
give me a pen and ink, and a sheet of paper
and an envelope."
The boy said he'd better write by post. But
Noel is a bit pig-headed; it's his worst fault,
so he said-
No, I'll write it now." So I backed him
up by saying-
Look at the price penny stamps are since
the coal strike "
So the boy grinned, and the man in the
glass case gave us pen and paper, and Noel
wrote. Oswald writes better than he does;
but Noel would do it; and it took a very long
time, and then it was inky.
"DEAR MR. EDITOR,-I want you to print
my poetry and pay for it, and I am a friend Q
of Mrs. Leslie's; she is a poet too.
"Your affectionate friend,
NOEL BASTABLE."
He licked the envelope a good deal, so that
that boy shouldn't read it going upstairs; and
he wrote Very private" outside, and gave
the letter to the boy. I thought it wasn't any
good; but in a minute the grinning boy came
back, and he was quite respectful, and said-
The Editor says, please will you step up?"






THE TREASURE SEEKERS


We stepped up. There were a lot of stairs
and passages, and a queer sort of humming,
hammering sound and a very funny smell.
The boy was now very polite, and said it was
the ink we smelt, and the noise was the
printing machines.
After going through a lot of cold passages
we came to a door; the boy opened it, and let
us go in. There was a large room, with a big,
soft, blue-and-red carpet, and a roaring fire,
though it was only October; and a large table
with drawers, and littered with papers, just
like the one in father's study. A gentleman
was sitting at one side of the table; he had a
light moustache and light eyes, and he looked
very young to be an editor-not nearly so old
as Father. He looked very tired and sleepy,
as if he had got up very early in the morning;
but he was kind, and we liked him. Oswald
thought he looked clever. Oswald is con-
sidered a judge of faces.
Well," said he, so you are Mrs. Leslie's
friends ? "
"I think so," said Noel; "at least she
gave us each a shilling, and she wished us
'good hunting!'"
Good hunting, eh? Well, what about
this poetry of yours? Which is the poet?'







THE POET AND THE EDITOR


I can't think how he could have asked!
Oswald is said to be a very manly-looking boy
for his age. However, I thought it would look
duffing to be offended, so I said-
"This is my brother Noel. He is the poet."
Noel had turned quite pale. He is dis-
gustingly like a girl in some ways. The
Editor told us to sit down, and he took the
poems from Noel, and began to read them.
Noel got paler and paler; I really thought he
was going to faint, like he did when I held his
hand under the cold water tap, after I had
accidentally cut him with my chisel. When
the Editor had read the first poem-it was the
one about the beetle-he got up and stood'
with his back to us. It was not manners;
but Nobel thinks he did it "to conceal his
emotion," as they do in books.
He read all the poems, and then he said-
I like your poetry very much, young man.
I'll give you-let me see; how much shall
I give you for it ? "
"As much as ever you can," said Noel.
"You see I want a good deal of money to
restore the fallen fortunes of the house of
Bastable."
The gentleman put on some eye-glasses and
looked hard at us, Then he sat down.







THE TREASURE SEEKERS


That's a good idea," said he. "Tell me
how you came to think of it. And, I say,
have you had any tea ? They've just sent
out for mine."
He rang a tingly bell, and the boy brought
in a tray with a teapot and a thick cup and
saucer and things, and he had to fetch another
tray for us, when he was told to; and we had
tea with the Editor of the Daily Recorder. I
suppose.it was a very proud moment for Noil,
though I did not think of that till afterwards.
The Editor asked us a lot of questions, and we
told him a good deal, though of course I did
not tell a stranger all our reasons for thinking
that the family fortunes wanted restoring.
We stayed about half an hour, and when we
were going away he said again-
"I shall print all your poems, my poet;
and now what do you think they're worth? "
"I don't know," Noel said. "You see I
didn't write them to sell."
"Why did you write them then?" he
asked.
Noel said he didn't know; he supposed
because he wanted to.
Art for Art's sake, eh ? said the Editor,
and he seemed quite delighted, as though
Nool had said something clever.



































rrd












'Wll wul a i m y vws e a s









____ ___ "'Well, would a guinea m~eetyoun' viawu ? 'he auked."







THE POET AND THE EDITOR 71

Well, would a guinea meet your views ? "
he asked.
I have read of people being at a loss for
words, and dumb with emotion, and I've read
of people being turned to stone with astonish-
ment, or joy, or something, but I never knew
how silly it looked till I saw Noel standing
staring at the Editor with his mouth open.
He went red and he went white, and then he
got crimson, as if you were rubbing more and
more crimson lake on a palette. But he
didn't say a word, so Oswald had to say-
I should jolly well think so."
So the Editor gave Noel a sovereign and
a shilling, and he shook hands with us both,
but he thumped No6l on the back and said-
Buck up, old man! It's your first guinea,
but it won't be your last. Now go along
home, and in about ten years you can bring
me some more poety. Not before-see ? I'm
just taking this poetry of yours because I like
it very much; but we don't put poetry in this
paper at all. I shall have to put it in another
paper I knowlt of."
"What do you put in your paper?" I
asked, for Father always takes the Daily
Chronicle, and I didn't know what the Recorder
was like. We chose it because it has such a







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glorious office, and a clock outside lighted
up.
"Oh, news," said he, "and dull articles,
and things about Celebrities. If you knew
any Celebrities, now?"
Noel asked him what Celebrities were.
Oh, the Queen and the Princes, and people
with titles, and people who write, or sing, or
act-or do something clever or wicked."
"I don't know anybody wicked," said
Oswald, wishing he had known Dick Turpin,
or Claude Duval, so as to be able to tell the
Editor things about them. "But I know
some one with a title-Lord Tottenham."
The mad old Protectionist, eh ? How
did you come to know him? "
We don't know him to speak to. But he
goes over the heath every day at three, and
he strides along like a giant-with a black
cloak like Lord Tennyson's flying behind him,
and he talks to himself like one o'clock."
"What does he say?" The Editor had
sat down again, and he was fiddling" with a
blue pencil.
We only heard him once, close enough to
understand, and then he said, The curse of
the country, sir-ruin and desolation !' And
then he went striding along again, hitting at







THE POET AND THE EDITOR


the furze-bushes as if they were the heads of
his enemies."
"Excellent descriptive touch," said the
Editor. "Well, go on."
That's all I know about him, except that
he stops in the middle of the Heath every day,
and he looks all round to see if there's any
one about; and if there isn't, he takes his
collar off."
The Editor interrupted-which is considered
rude-and said--
"You're not romancing ? "
I beg your pardon ? said Oswald.
Drawing the long bow, I mean," said the
Editor.
Oswald drew himself up, and said he wasn't
a liar.
The Editor only laughed, and said romanc-
ing and lying were not at all the same; only
it'was important to know'what you were
playing at. So Oswald accepted his apology,
and went on.
We were hiding among the furze-bushes
one day, and we saw him do it. He took off
his collar, and he put on a clean one, and he
threw the other among the furze-bushes. We
picked it up afterwards, and it was a beastly
paper one! "






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Thank you," said the Editor, and he got
up and put his hand in his pocket. That's
well worth five shillings, and here they are.
Would you like to see round the printing
offices before you go home ? "
I pocketed my five bob, and thanked him,
and I said we should like it very much. He
called another gentleman and said something
we couldn't hear. Then he said goodbye
again; and all this time Noel hadn't said a
word. But now he said, "I've made a poem
about you. It is called 'Lines to a Noble
Editor.' Shall I write it down?"
The Editor gave him the blue pencil, and
he sat down at the Editor's table and wrote.
It was this, he told me afterwards as well as
he could remember-
May Life's choicest blessings be your lot
I think you ought to be very blest
For you are going to print my poems-
And you may have this one as well as the rest."
"Thank you," said the Editor. "I don't
think I ever had a poem addressed to me
before. I shall treasure it, I assure you."
Then the other gentleman said something
about Mecenas, and we went off to see the
printing office with at least one pound
seven in our pockets.






THE POET AND THE EDITOR


It was good hunting, and no mistake !
But he never put Noel's poetry in the
Daily Recorder. It was quite a long time
afterwards we saw a sort of story thing in a
magazine, on the station bookstall, and that
kind, sleepy-looking Editor had written it, I
suppose. It was not at all amusing. It said
a lot about Noel and me, describing us all
wrong, and saying how we had tea with the
Editor; and all Noel's poems were in the
story thing. I think myself the Editor
seemed to make game of them, but Noel was
quite pleased to see them printed-so that's
all right.
It wasn't my poetry anyhow, I am glad to
say.






















CHAPTER VI.














CHAPTER VI


NOEL'S PRINCESS

SHE happened quite accidentally. We were
not looking for a Princess at all just then;
but Noel had said he was going to find a
Princess all by himself, and marry her-and
he really did. Which was rather odd, because
when people say things are going to befall,
very often they don't. It was different, of
course, with the prophets of old.
We did not get any treasure by it, except
twelve chocolate drops; but we might have
done, and it was an adventure, anyhow.
Greenwich Park is a jolly good place to
play in, especially the parts that aren't near
Greenwich. The parts near the Heath are
first-rate. I often wish the Park was nearer
our house; but I suppose a Park is a difficult
thing to move.
Sometimes we get Eliza to put lunch in a
79






THE TREASURE SEEKERS,


basket, and we go up to the Park. She likes
that-it saves cooking dinner for us; and
sometimes she says of her own accord, I've
made some pasties for you, and you might as
well go into the Park as not. It's a lovely
day."
She always tells us to rinse out the cup at
the drinking-fountain, and the girls do; but
I always put my head under the tap and
drink. Then you are an intrepid hunter at
a mountain stream-and besides, you're sure
it's clean. Dicky does the same, and so does
H. 0. But Noel always drinks out of the cup.
He says it is a golden goblet, wrought by
enchanted gnomes.
The day the Princess happened was a fine,
hot day, last October, and we were quite
tired with the walk up to the Park.

We always go in by the little gate at the top
of Croom's Hill. It is the postern gate that
things always happen at in stories. It was
dusty walking, but when we got in the Park
it was ripping, so we rested a bit, and lay on
our backs, and looked up at the trees, and
wished we could play monkeys. I have done
it before now, but the Park-keeper makes a
row if he catches you.







NOEL'S PRINCESS


When we'd rested a little, Alice said-
It was a long way to the enchanted wood,
but it is very nice now we are there. I
wonder what we shall find in it ?"
We shall find deer," said Dicky, "if we
go to look; but they go on the other side of
the Park because of the people with buns."
Saying buns made us think of lunch, so we
had it; and when we had done we scratched
a hole under a tree and buried the papers,
because we know it spoils pretty places to
leave beastly, greasy papers lying about. I
remember Mother teaching me and Dora that,
when we were quite little. I wish everybody's
parents would teach them this useful lesson,
and the same about orange-peel.
When we'd eaten everything there was,
Alice whispered-
"I see the white witch bear yonder among
the trees! Let's track it and slay it in its
lair."
"I am the bear," said Nojl; so he crept
away, and we followed him among the trees.
Often the witch bear was out of sight, and
then you didn't know where it would jump
out from; but sometimes we saw it, and just
followed.
When we catch it there'll be a great






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fight," said Oswald; "and I shall be Count
Folko of Mont Faucon."
"I'll be Gabrielle," said Dora. She is the
only one of us who likes doing girl's parts.
"I'll be Sintram," said Alice; and H. O.
can be the Little Master."
What about Dicky ? "
Oh, I can be the Pilgrim with the bones."
Hist whispered Alice. See his white
fairy fur gleaming amid yonder covert! "
And I saw a bit of white too. It was Noel's
collar, and it had come undone at the back.
We hunted the bear in and out of the trees,
and then we lost him altogether; and sud-
denly we found the wall of the Park-in a
place where I'm sure there wasn't a wall
before. Noel wasn't anywhere about, and
there was a door in the wall. And it was
open; so we went through.
"The bear has hidden himself in these
mountain fastnesses," Oswald said. "I will
draw my good sword and after him."
So I drew the umbrella, which Dora always
will bring in case it rains, because Noel gets
a cold on the chest at the least thing-and
we went in.
The other side of the wall it was a stable
yard, all cobble stones. There was nobody







NOEL'S PRINCESS


about-but we could hear a man rubbing
down a horse and hissing in the stable; so
we crept very quietly past, and Alice whis-
pered-
"'Tis the lair of the Monster Serpent; I
hear his deadly hiss Beware Courage and
despatch! "
We went over the stones on tiptoe, and we
found another wall with another door in it on
the other side. We went through that too,
on tiptoe. It really was an adventure. And
there we were in a shrubbery, and we saw
something white through the trees. Dora
said it was the white bear. That is so like
Dora. She always begins to take part in a
play just when the rest of us are getting tired
of it. I don't mean this unkindly, because
I am very fond of Dora. I cannot forget how
kind she was when I had bronchitis; and
ingratitude is a dreadful vice. But it is
quite true.
"It is not a bear," said Oswald; and we
all went on, still on tiptoe, round a twisty
path and on to a lawn, and there was Noel.
His collar had come undone, as I said, and he
had an inky mark on his face that he made
just before we left the house, and he wouldn't
let Dora wash it off, and one of his boot-laces




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