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The Circus of Adventure

Enid Blyton

  Enid Blyton, who died in 1968, is one of the most successful children’s authors of all time. She wrote over seven hundred books, which have been translated into more than forty languages and have sold more than 400 million copies around the world. Enid Blyton’s stories of magic, adventure and friendship continue to enchant children the world over. Enid Blyton’s beloved works include The Famous Five, Malory Towers, The Faraway Tree and the Adventure series.

  Titles in the Adventure series:

  1. The Island of Adventure

  2. The Castle of Adventure

  3. The Valley of Adventure

  4. The Sea of Adventure

  5. The Mountain of Adventure

  6. The Ship of Adventure

  7. The Circus of Adventure

  8. The River of Adventure

  First published 1952 by Macmillan Children’s Books

  This edition published 2007 by Macmillan Children’s Books

  This electronic edition published 2010 by Macmillan Children’s Books

  a division of Macmillan Publishers Limited

  Pan Macmillan, 20 New Wharf Road, London N1 9RR

  Basingstoke and Oxford

  Associated companies throughout the world

  ISBN 978-0-330-52073-7 in Adobe Reader format

  ISBN 978-0-330-52072-0 in Adobe Digital Editions format

  ISBN 978-0-330-52072-0 in Mobipocket format

  Text copyright © 1952 Enid Blyton Limited. All rights reserved. Enid Blyton’s signature mark is a trademark of Enid Blyton Limited (a Chorion company). All rights reserved.

  You may not copy, store, distribute, transmit, reproduce or otherwise make available this publication (or any part of it) in any form, or by any means (electronic, digital, optical, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise), without the prior written permission of the publisher. Any person who does any unauthorized act in relation to this publication may be liable to criminal prosecution and civil claims for damages.

  A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library.

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  Home from school


  Arrival of Gustavus


  Gussy and Kiki


  Off to Little Brockleton


  Quarry Cottage


  Mostly about Gussy


  A surprising announcement


  Bill explains


  An afternoon out


  An urgent call


  Happenings in the night




  The extra passenger


  Jack is on his own


  The map comes in useful


  With the circus


  Borken at last!


  Up to the castle!


  An adventure in the night


  The way out


  A daring plan




  Beware the bears!


  Morning comes!


  The camp is searched


  The pedlar’s van


  A surprise – and a plan


  To Borken Castle again!


  An exciting time


  ‘God Save the King!’


  Home from school

  The quiet house was quiet no longer! The four children were back from boarding school, and were even now dragging in their trunks, shouting to one another. Kiki the parrot joined in the general excitement, of course, and screeched loudly.

  ‘Aunt Allie! We’re back!’ yelled Jack. ‘Be quiet, Kiki! I can’t hear myself shout!’

  ‘Mother! Where are you?’ called Dinah. ‘We’re home again!’

  Her mother appeared in a hurry, smiles all over her face. ‘Dinah! Philip! I didn’t expect you quite so soon. Well, Lucy-Ann, you’ve grown! And Philip, you look bursting with health!’

  ‘I don’t know why,’ grinned Philip, giving Mrs Cunningham a big hug. ‘The food at school is so frightful I never eat any of it!’

  ‘Same old story!’ said Mrs Cunningham, laughing. ‘Hallo, Kiki! Say how do you do!’

  ‘How do you do?’ said the parrot, solemnly, and held out her left foot as if to shake hands.

  ‘New trick,’ said Jack. ‘But wrong foot, old thing. Don’t you know your left from your right yet?’

  ‘Left, right, left, right, left, right,’ said Kiki at once, and began marking time remarkably well. ‘Left, right, left …’

  ‘That’s enough,’ said Jack. He turned to Mrs Cunningham. ‘How’s Bill? Is he here too?’

  ‘He meant to be here to welcome you all,’ said Mrs Cunningham, Bill’s wife. ‘But he had a sudden ’phone call this morning, took the car, and went racing off to London all in a hurry.’

  The four children groaned. ‘It isn’t some job that’s turned up just as we’re home for the Easter hols, is it?’ said Lucy-Ann. ‘Bill’s always got some secret work to do just at the wrong time!’

  ‘Well, I hope it isn’t,’ said Mrs Cunningham. ‘I’m expecting him to telephone at any moment to say if he’s going to be back tonight or not.’

  ‘Mother! Shall we unpack down here and take our things up straight away?’ called Dinah. ‘Four trunks lying about the hall leave no room to move.’

  ‘Yes. But leave two of the trunks downstairs when they’re empty,’ said her mother. ‘We’re going off on a holiday tomorrow, all of us together!’

  This was news to the children. They clustered round Mrs Cunningham at once. ‘You never said a word in your letters! Where are we going? Why didn’t you tell us before?’

  ‘Well, it was really Bill’s idea, not mine,’ said Mrs Cunningham. ‘He just thought it would make a nice change. I was surprised myself when he arranged it.’

  ‘Arranged it! And never said a word to us!’ said Philip. ‘I say – is anything up? It seems funny that Bill did it all of a sudden. Last time I saw him, when he came down to school to see us, he was talking about what we’d all do at home in the four weeks’ Easter hols.’

  ‘I don’t really think there’s anything peculiar about it,’ said his mother. ‘Bill gets these sudden ideas, you know.’

  ‘Well – where are we all going to, then?’ asked Jack, pushing Kiki off the sideboard, where she was trying to take the lid off the biscuit jar.

  ‘It’s a place called Little Brockleton,’ said Mrs Cunningham. ‘Very quiet. In the middle of the country. Just the kind of place you all like. You can mess about in old things all day long.’

  ‘Little Brockleton,’ said Philip. ‘Brock means badger. I wonder if there are badgers there. I’ve always wanted to study badgers. Lovely little bear-like beasts.’

  ‘Well, you’ll be happy then,’ said Dinah. ‘I suppose that means you’ll be keeping a couple of badgers for pets before we know where we are! Ugh!’

  ‘Badgers are very nice animals,’ began Philip. ‘Clean and most particular in their habits, and …’

  Lucy-Ann gave a little squeal of laughter. �
�Oh dear – they don’t sound a bit like you then, Philip!’

  ‘Don’t interrupt like that and don’t make silly remarks,’ said Philip. ‘I was saying, about badgers …’

  But nobody wanted to listen. Jack had a question he wanted to ask. ‘Are there any decent birds round about Little Brockleton?’ he said. ‘Where is it? By the sea?’

  Jack was as mad as ever about birds. So long as he could do birdwatching of some kind he was happy. Mrs Cunningham laughed at him.

  ‘You and your birds, Jack, and Philip and his badgers! I can’t tell you anything about the birds there – the same ones as usual, I suppose. Now – what about these trunks? We’ll unpack the lot; take the boys’ trunks upstairs, and leave the girls’ to take with us to Little Brockleton – they are not quite so hard-used as yours!’

  ‘Can we have something to eat after we’ve unpacked?’ asked Philip. ‘I’m famished. The school food, you know, is so …’

  ‘Yes – I’ve heard all that before, Philip,’ said his mother. You’ll have a fine lunch in half an hour – yes, your favourite – cold meat, salad, baked beans in tomato sauce, potatoes in their jackets, heaps of tomatoes …’

  ‘Oh, good!’ said everyone at once, and Kiki hopped solemnly from one leg to another.

  ‘Good!’ she said. ‘Good! Good morning, good night, good!’

  The unpacking began. ‘Kiki was dreadful in the train home,’ said Jack, struggling with an armful of clothes, and dropping half of them. ‘She got under the carriage seat to pick over some old toffee papers there, and such a nice old man got in. Kiki stuffed the toffee papers into the turn-ups of his trousers – you should just have seen his face when he bent down and saw them!’

  ‘And then she began to bark like a dog,’ said Lucy-Ann with a giggle, ‘and the poor old man leapt off his seat as if he’d been shot.’

  ‘Bang-bang,’ put in Kiki. ‘Pop-pop. Pop goes the weasel. Wipe your feet and shut the door.’

  ‘Oh, Kiki! It’s nice to have you again with your silly talk,’ said Mrs Cunningham, laughing. Kiki put up her crest and sidled over to her. She rubbed her head against Mrs Cunningham’s hand like a cat.

  ‘I always expect you to purr, Kiki, when you do that,’ said Mrs Cunningham, scratching the parrot’s head.

  The unpacking was soon done. It was very simple really. Dirty clothes were pitched into the enormous linen-basket, the rest were pitched into drawers.

  ‘Can’t think why people ever make a fuss about packing or unpacking,’ said Jack. ‘Kiki, take your head out of my pocket. What’s this sudden craze for toffees? Do you want to get your beak stuck so that you can’t talk?’

  Kiki took her head out of Jack’s pocket, and screeched triumphantly. She had found a toffee. Now she would have a perfectly lovely time unwrapping the paper, talking to herself all the while.

  ‘Well, that’ll keep her quiet for a bit,’ said Dinah thankfully. ‘Kiki’s always so noisy when she’s excited.’

  ‘So are you,’ said Philip at once. Dinah glared at him.

  ‘Shut up, you two,’ said Jack. ‘No sparring on the first day of hols. Gosh, look at Lucy-Ann going up the stairs dropping a pair of socks on every step!’

  The telephone bell rang. Mrs Cunningham ran to answer it. ‘That will be Bill!’ she said.

  It was. There was a short conversation which consisted mostly of ‘Yes. No. I see. I suppose so. No, of course not. Yes. Yes. No, Bill. Right. Yes, I’ll explain. See you tonight then. Goodbye.’

  ‘What’s he say?’ asked Lucy-Ann. ‘Is he coming soon? I do want to see him.’

  ‘Yes, he’s coming this evening, about half past five,’ said Mrs Cunningham. The four children didn’t think she looked very pleased. She opened her mouth to say something, hesitated, and then closed it again.

  ‘Mother, what was it you said you’d explain?’ said Philip at once. ‘We heard you say, “Yes, I’ll explain”. Was it something you had to tell us? What is it?’

  ‘Don’t say it’s anything horrid,’ said Lucy-Ann. ‘Bill is coming away with us, isn’t he?’

  ‘Oh yes,’ said Mrs Cunningham. ‘Well – I hope you won’t mind, my dears – but he badly wants us to take someone else with us.’

  ‘Who?’ asked everyone at once, and they all looked so fierce that Mrs Cunningham was quite surprised.

  ‘Not his old aunt?’ said Dinah. ‘Oh, Mother, don’t say it’s someone we’ve got to be on our best behaviour with all the time.’

  ‘No, of course not,’ said her mother. ‘It’s a small boy – the nephew of a friend of Bill’s.’

  ‘Do we know him? What’s his name?’ asked Jack.

  ‘Bill didn’t tell me his name,’ said Mrs Cunningham.

  ‘Why can’t he go to his own home for the holidays?’ asked Dinah in disgust. ‘I don’t like small boys. Why should we have to have him? He’ll probably spoil everything for us!’

  ‘Oh no he won’t,’ said Philip, at once. ‘Small boys have to toe the line with us, don’t they, Jack? We get enough of them and their fatheadedness at school – we know how to deal with them all right.’

  ‘Yes, but why has he got to come to us?’ persisted Dinah. ‘Hasn’t he got a home?’

  ‘Oh yes – but he’s a foreigner,’ said her mother. ‘He’s been sent to school in England to have a good English education. I should imagine his family want him to have a few weeks in a British family now, and experience a little of our homelife. Also, I gather there is some difficulty at his home at the moment – illness, I should think.’

  ‘Oh well – we’ll have to make the best of it,’ said Lucy-Ann, picturing a very little, homesick boy, and thinking that she would comfort him and make a fuss of him.

  ‘We’ll park him with you then, Lucy-Ann,’ said Dinah, who didn’t like small boys at all, or small girls either. ‘You can wheel him about in a pram and put him to bed at night!’

  ‘Don’t be silly, Dinah. He won’t be as small as that!’ said her mother. ‘Now – have you finished? It’s almost lunchtime, so go and wash your hands and brush your hair.’

  ‘Wash your hands, brush your hair, wipe your feet, blow your nose,’ shouted Kiki. ‘Brush your hands, blow your feet, wipe your – your – your …’

  ‘Yes – you’ve got a bit muddled, old thing,’ said Jack with a laugh. Kiki flew to his shoulder, and began to pull at Jack’s ear lovingly. Then, as she heard the sound of the gong suddenly booming out, she gave a loud screech and flew into the dining room. She knew what that sound meant!

  ‘Jack! Kiki will peck all the tomatoes if you don’t keep an eye on her,’ called Mrs Cunningham. ‘Go after her, quickly!’

  But there was no need to say that – everyone had rushed to the dining room at the first sound of the gong!


  Arrival of Gustavus

  The afternoon was spent in looking all over the house to see if any changes had been made, and in exploring the garden from end to end to see what flowers were out, what edible things there were (only lettuces, alas!) and to introduce Kiki to six new hens.

  ‘There’s a new carpet in the guest room,’ said Lucy-Ann. ‘But that’s all the changes there are. I’m glad. I don’t like to come home and find anything changed. I suppose this small boy will sleep in the guest room, Aunt Allie?’

  ‘Yes,’ said Mrs Cunningham. ‘I’m getting it ready in a minute or two. Go and join the others in the garden. You can pick a few daffodils, if you like – we want some in the hall.’

  Lucy-Ann wandered off happily. The very first day of the holidays was always heavenly. All the first few days went slowly, and the thought of days and days of holiday ahead was one to dwell on contentedly almost every minute.

  ‘Lucy-Ann! Come here! Kiki’s having the time of her life!’ called Jack. ‘Look at her showing off in front of the new hens!’

  Kiki was sitting on a post in the hen run. The six hens were gathered admiringly around her.

  ‘Cluck-cluck-cluck,’ they said to one another, and one stret
ched herself on tiptoe and flapped her wings as if trying to fly. Kiki put her head on one side, stretched herself on tiptoe too, spread her wings wide and took off. She sailed down to the surprised hens.

  ‘Cluck-luck-luck, urrrrrrk!’ she said, earnestly. ‘Cluck-luck-luck, urrrrrrk!’

  ‘Cluck-uck-uck, cluck!’ said the hens, in admiration, and went nearer. One hen daringly pecked at one of the parrot’s tail feathers.

  This was insolence! Kiki danced round the alarmed hens, making a noise like an aeroplane in trouble. The hens took to their heels and fled into the hen house, almost tumbling over one another as they tried to squeeze in at the narrow doorway two at a time.

  Kiki waddled after them, clucking again. Mrs Cunningham called from a window.

  ‘Children! The hens will never lay us eggs if you let Kiki scare them.’

  ‘Kiki’s gone into the hen house – she’ll probably sit in a nesting box and try to lay an egg like the hens!’ called Jack. ‘Come out, Kiki.’

  Kiki came back and looked inquiringly out of the little doorway. ‘Polly put the kettle on,’ she said, peaceably, ‘cluck-luck-luck, urrrrrrk!’

  She flew to Jack’s shoulder, and the hens looked at one another in relief. Was it safe to go out and wander round yet?

  ‘There’s the next-door cat,’ said Dinah. ‘Come to see what all the fuss is about, I expect! Hang on to Kiki, Jack.’

  ‘Oh, she’ll bark like a dog if the cat comes any nearer,’ said Jack. ‘Come on – let’s see what the gardener has got in the greenhouse.’

  It was a pleasant sunny afternoon, and the four really enjoyed themselves ‘mooching about’ as Jack called it. They all longed for Bill to arrive. Then the family would be complete – except, of course, that it would have one too many, if he really brought the unexpected boy with him!