Five Are Together AgainEnid Blyton
BACK FOR THE HOLIDAYS
‘George, can’t you sit still for even a minute!’ said Julian. ‘It’s bad enough to have the train rocking about all over the place, without you falling over my feet all the time, going to look out of first one window and then the other.’
‘Well, we’re nearly at Kirrin - almost home!’ said George. ‘I can’t help feeling excited. I’ve missed old Timmy so much this term, and I just can’t wait to see him! I love to look out of the window and see how much nearer we are to Kirrin. Do you think Timmy will be on the station to meet us, barking madly?’
‘Don’t be an ass,’ said Dick. ‘He’s a clever dog, but not clever enough to read railway time-tables.’
‘He doesn’t need to,’ said George. ‘He always knows when I’m coming home.’
‘I really believe he does,’ said Anne, seriously. ‘Your mother always says how excited he is on the day you are arriving home from school - can’t keep still - keeps going to the front gate and looking down the road.’
‘Dear, dear Timmy!’ said George, falling over Julian’s feet again, as she scrambled once more to the window. ‘We’re nearly there. Look, there’s the signal-box, and the signal is down. HURRAH!’
Her three cousins looked at her in amusement. George was always like this on the way home from school. Her thoughts were full of very little else but her beloved Timmy all the way home. Julian thought how much she looked like a restless boy just then, with her short, curly hair, and her determined expression. George had always longed to be a boy, but as she wasn’t, she made up for it by trying to speak and act like one, and would never answer to her full name of Georgina.
‘We’re coming into Kirrin station!’ yelled George, almost falling out of the window. ‘I can see our porter. Hey, Peters - we’re back again. WE’RE BACK AGAIN!’
The train slid into Kirrin station, and Peters waved and grinned. He had known George since she was a baby. George opened the door and leapt out of the carriage.
‘Home again! Back at Kirrin! Oh, I do hope Timmy will be at the station!’ she said.
But there was no Timmy there. ‘He must have forgotten you were coming,’ said Dick, with a grin, and at once got a scowl from George. Peters came up, smiling all over his face, and gave them his usual welcome. Everyone in Kirrin Village knew the Five - which, of course, included Timmy the dog.
Peters soon had the children’s luggage out, and wheeled it down the platform on his trolley. ‘I’ll send it along to Kirrin Cottage as soon as the van comes,’ he said. ‘Had a good term?’
‘Smashing!’ said Dick. ‘But it seemed very long, as Easter is so late this year. My word - look at the primroses on the railway banks.’
But George had no eyes for anything just then. She was still looking out for Timmy. Where was he? WHY hadn’t he come to the station to meet them? He came last time and the time before! She turned a troubled face to Dick.
‘Do you think he’s ill?’ she asked. ‘Or has he forgotten me? Or...’
‘Oh, don’t be an ass, George,’ said Dick. ‘He is probably in the house somewhere and can’t get out. Look out - the trolley nearly ran you over then.’
George skipped out of the way, glaring. WHERE was Timmy? She was sure he was ill - or had had an accident - or was tied up and couldn’t get away. Perhaps Joan, the cook, had forgotten to let him loose.
‘I’m going to take a taxi home, if I’ve enough money,’ she said, taking out her purse. ‘You others can walk. I must see if anything’s happened to Timmy - he’s never missed meeting our train before.’
‘But George, it’s such a lovely walk to Kirrin Cottage!’ said Anne. ‘You know how you love to see your island - dear old Kirrin Island - as we walk to your mother’s house - and the bay - and hear the waves crashing on the rocks.’
‘I’m taking the station taxi,’ said George, obstinately, counting the money in her purse. ‘If you’d like to come with me, you can. It’s Timmy I want to see, not islands and waves and things! I’m sure he’s ill or has had an accident or something!’
‘All right, George, do as you please,’ said Julian. ‘Hope you find dear old Timmy is perfectly well - and has only forgotten the time of the train. See you later.’
The two brothers, and their sister Anne, set off together, looking forward to the walk to Kirrin Cottage. How lovely to see Kirrin Bay again, and George’s island!
‘Isn’t she lucky to have a real island of her very own!’ said Anne. ‘Fancy it belonging to her family for years and years - and then one day her mother suddenly gives it to George! I bet she worried and worried dear Aunt Fanny until she gave in to old George. I do so hope Timmy is all right; we shan’t enjoy our holidays with George’s mother if there’s anything wrong with Timmy.’
‘Oh, George will probably go and live in Timmy’s kennel with him,’ said Dick, with a chuckle. ‘Ha - look! The sea - and Kirrin Bay - AND the little old island as lovely as ever!’
‘With its gulls circling round, and mewing like cats,’ said Julian. ‘And the old ruined castle there, just exactly the same as usual. Not a single stone fallen out of it, as far as I can see.’
‘You can’t possibly see that at this distance,’ said Anne, screwing up her eyes. ‘Oh, isn’t the first day of the hols heavenly? We seem to have all the time in the world in front of us!’
‘Yes. And then, alas, after a few days, the holidays rush by,’ said Julian. ‘I wonder if George is home by now.’
‘Well, her taxi passed us going at a tremendous pace!’ said Dick. ‘I bet old George was shouting at the driver to go as fast as possible!’
‘Look - there’s Kirrin Cottage - I can just see the chimneys in the distance,’ said Dick. ‘Smoke is coming from one of them.’
‘Funny - why only one?’ said Julian. ‘They usually have the kitchen fire going, and a fire in Uncle Quentin’s study. He’s such a cold mortal when he’s working out all his wonderful figures for his inventions.’
‘Perhaps he’s away,’ said Anne, hopefully. She was rather afraid of George’s hasty-tempered father. ‘I should think Uncle Quentin could do with a holiday at times - he’s always buried in rows and rows of figures.’
‘Well, let’s hope we don’t disturb him too much,’ said Julian. ‘It’s hard on Aunt Fanny if he keeps yelling at everyone. We’ll try and be out of doors most of the time.’
They were nearly at Kirrin Cottage now. As they came near to the front gate, they saw George come running down the garden-path. To Julian’s horror, she was crying bitterly.
‘I say - it does look as if something has happened to old Timmy,’ he said, scared. ‘It’s not like George to cry - she never cries! What can have happened?’
In great alarm they began to run, and Anne shouted as she ran, ‘George! George, what’s the matter? Is something wrong with Timmy? What’s happened?’
‘We can’t stay at home,’ wept George. ‘We’ve got to go away somewhere. Something awful’s happened!’
‘What is it? Tell us, you idiot!’ said Dick, in alarm. ‘For goodness’ sake, what’s happened? Is Timmy run over, or something?’
‘No - it isn’t Timmy,’ said George, wiping her eyes with her hand, because, as usual, she had no handkerchief. ‘It’s Joan - Joan, our dear, darling cook!’
‘What’s the matter with her?’ asked Julian, thinking of all kinds of dreadful things. ‘GEORGE, will you please TELL US!’
‘Joan’s got scarlet fever,’ said George, sniffing dolefully. ‘So we can’t be at Kirrin Cottage.’
‘Why not?’ demanded Dick. ‘Joan will have to go to a fever hospital - and we can all stay at Kirrin Cottage and help your mother. Poor old Joan! But cheer up, George, scarlet fever isn’t muc
h of a thing to have nowadays. Come on - let’s go in and see if we can comfort your mother. Poor old Aunt Fanny, she will be in a stew - with all of us four cousins at Kirrin Cottage too! Never mind, we can...’
‘Stop jabbering, Dick,’ said George, exasperated. ‘We can’t stay at Kirrin Cottage. Mother wouldn’t even let me go in at the front door! She shooed me away, and said I was to wait in the garden, the doctor was coming in a minute or two.’
Someone called to them from a window of Kirrin Cottage. ‘Are you all there, children? Julian, come here, will you?’
They all went into the garden, and saw their Aunt Fanny, George’s mother, leaning out of a bedroom window.
‘Listen, dears,’ she said. ‘Joan has scarlet fever, and is waiting for an ambulance to take her to the hospital, and...’
‘Aunt Fanny - don’t worry. We’ll all turn to and help,’ called back Julian, cheerfully.
‘Dear Julian - you still don’t understand,’ said his aunt. ‘You see, neither your uncle nor I have had scarlet fever - so we are in quarantine, and mustn’t have anyone near us, in case we get it, and give it to them - and that might mean we’d give it to all you four.’
‘Would Timmy get it?’ asked George, still sniffing dolefully.
‘No, of course not. Don’t be silly, George,’ said her mother. ‘Did you ever hear of dogs getting measles or whooping-cough or any of our illnesses? Timmy isn’t in quarantine. You can get him out of his kennel as soon as you like.’
George’s face lit up immediately, and she shot round the back of the house, yelling Timmy’s name. At once there came a volley of barks!
‘Aunt Fanny - what do you want us to do?’ asked Julian. ‘We can’t go to my home, because my people are still in Germany. Should we go to a hotel?’
‘No, dear, I’ll think of somewhere you can all go,’ said his aunt. ‘Good gracious, what a row Timmy is making! Poor Joan - she has such a splitting headache.’
‘Here’s the ambulance,’ cried Anne, as a big hospital van drew up outside the gate. Mrs Kirrin disappeared from the window at once to tell Joan. The ambulance man went up to the front door, his mate behind him carrying a stretcher. The four children watched in surprise. ‘He’s gone to fetch dear old Joan,’ said Julian. And sure enough the stretcher was soon carried out with Joan lying on it, wrapped round in blankets. She waved to the children as the men carried her out.
‘Soon be back!’ she said, in rather a croaky voice. ‘Help Mrs Kirrin if you can. So sorry about this!’
‘Poor Joan,’ said Anne, with tears in her eyes. ‘Get better quickly, Joan. We shall miss you so!’
The ambulance door closed and the van went off very smoothly and quietly.
‘Whatever shall we do?’ said Dick, turning to Julian. ‘Can’t go home - can’t stay here! Oh, here’s TIMMY! How are you, Tim, old thing? Thank goodness
you can’t get scarlet fever. Don’t knock me over, old boy. Down! Gosh, what a licky dog you are!’
Timmy was the only one in high spirits. The others felt really down in the dumps. Oh dear - what was to be done? Where could they go? What a horrid beginning to a holiday! Down, Timmy, DOWN! What a dog! Anyone would think he had never even heard of scarlet fever! WILL you get down, Timmy!
PLANS FOR THE FIVE
George was still looking upset. What with her fears that Timmy might be ill or hurt, and now her distress at Joan being carried off in the ambulance, she wasn’t much help to anyone.
‘Do stop sniffing, George,’ said Anne. ‘We’ve just got to be sensible and think of some way out of this.’
‘I’m going to find Mother,’ said George. ‘I don’t care if she’s in quarantine or not.'
‘Oh no you’re not,’ said Julian, taking her firmly by the arm. ‘You jolly well know what quarantine means. When you had whooping-cough you weren’t allowed to come near any of us, in case we caught it too. You were infectious, and that meant that you didn’t have close contact with anybody for at least a few weeks. I think it’s only two weeks for scarlet fever, so it won’t be too bad.’
George went on sniffing, trying to pull away from Julian’s hand. Julian winked at Dick, and said something that made George pull herself together at once.
‘Well, REALLY, George!’ he said. ‘You’re acting just like a weepy girl. Poor Georgina! Poor little old Georgina!’
George stopped sniffing immediately and glared at Julian in fury. If there was one thing she really hated it was to be told she was acting like a silly girl! And how awful to be called by her real name, Georgina! She gave Julian a hefty punch, and he grinned at her, warding her off.
‘That’s better,’ he said. ‘Cheer up! Just look at Timmy staring at you in amazement. He’s hardly ever heard you crying before.’
‘I’m NOT crying!’ said George. ‘I’m - well, I’m upset about Joan. And it’s awful to have nowhere to go.’
‘I can hear Aunt Fanny telephoning,’ said Anne, who had very sharp ears. She fondled Timmy’s head, and he licked her hand. He had already given everyone a wonderful welcome, whining with pleasure, and licking lavishly. He had been mad with joy to see George again, and was surprised and sad to find her looking so miserable now. Dear Timmy - he certainly belonged to the Five!
‘Let’s sit down and wait for Aunt Fanny,’ said Julian, settling himself on the grass. ‘We look a bit silly standing staring at Kirrin Cottage like this. Aunt Fanny will come to the window in a minute. She is sure to have thought of a good idea for us. TIMMY! I shan’t stay sitting down for long if you keep licking my neck like that. I shall send you for a towel in a minute, so that I can wipe it dry!’
The little joke made everyone feel better. They were all sitting on the grass now, and Timmy went lovingly from one to the other. All his family back again - it was too good to be true! He settled down at last, his head on George’s knee, George’s hand caressing his ears.
‘Aunt Fanny’s put down the telephone,’ said Anne. ‘Now she’ll come to the window.’
‘You’ve got ears like a dog - just as good as Timmy’s,’ said Dick. ‘I couldn’t hear a thing!’
‘Here’s Mother!’ said George, and leapt to her feet as Mrs Kirrin came to the window and leaned out.
‘It’s all right, dears,’ she called. ‘I’ve been able to arrange something for you. I have been telephoning the scientist that your father has been working with, George - Professor Hayling. He was coming here for a day or two, and when I told him he couldn’t because we’re in quarantine, he at once said that you must all go there - and that Tinker, his son - you remember him, don’t you - would be delighted to have your company!’
‘Tinker! Goodness, yes, I shall never forget him - or his monkey either!’ said Julian. ‘He’s the boy who owns that old lighthouse at Demon’s Rocks! We went to stay there with him, and had a marvellous time.’
‘Well - you’re not staying at the lighthouse, I’m afraid,’ said his aunt, from the window. ‘Apparently a storm blew up one night and damaged it, and it’s not safe to live in any more.’
Groans from all the Five, of course, Timmy joining in as usual! ‘Where are we to go then? To Tinker’s home?’ asked Dick.
‘Yes. You can get a bus from here, at Little Hollow, that will take you almost to Big Hollow, where Professor Hayling lives,’ said Aunt Fanny. ‘You’re to go today. I’m so very sorry about this, dears, but it’s just one of those things we have to put up with. I’m sure you’ll have a good time with Tinker, and that monkey of his. What was it called now?’
‘Mischief,’ said everyone together, and Anne smiled in delight to think of being with the naughty little creature, and watching its wicked ways.
‘The bus will pass in ten minutes,’ said her aunt. ‘Julian, if you can’t manage to get your things on the bus, ask the gardener over the way to help you. And have a good time, dears, and send me a card or two. I’ll let you know how we get on - but I really don’t think that either your uncle or I will catch scarlet f
ever, so don’t worry. And I’ll send you some money to spend. You’d better run for the bus now.’
‘Right, Aunt Fanny, and thank you!’ called Julian. ‘I’ll look after everyone and keep them in order - especially old George. Don’t worry at all - and I DO hope you or uncle don’t go down with the fever. Good-bye.’
They all went to the front gate where the luggage still stood. ‘Anne, go out into the road and stop the bus when it comes,’ ordered Julian. ‘Then Dick and I will heave our bags aboard. Gosh, I wonder what it will be like with old Tinker at Big Hollow. I’ve a feeling it might be rather exciting!’
‘I don’t think so,’ said George, mournfully. ‘I like Tinker all right - he’s funny - and that little monkey is a darling - such a naughty little thing too. But oh dear, don’t you remember what it was like when Tinker’s father came to stay with us? It was awful! He never remembered to come to meals, and was always losing his coat or his hanky or his money, and losing his temper too. I got very tired of him.’
‘Well, he’ll probably get very tired of us!’ said Julian. ‘He won’t find it very funny to have four kids parked on him, especially if he’s in the middle of difficult work - to say nothing of a rather large, licky dog leaping round the house as well.’
‘Timmy isn’t likely to lick him,’ said George, at once, and put on one of her scowls. ‘I didn’t like Tinker’s father at all.’
‘Well, don’t look like a thunderstorm,’ said Julian. ‘I don’t expect he’ll like any of us either. But it’s decent of him to give us an invitation to stay at Big Hollow, and we’re jolly well going to behave ourselves, see? There’s to be no back-chat from you, George - even if he dares to disapprove of Timmy!’
‘He’d better not,’ said George. ‘In fact, I’ve a good mind not to go. I think I’ll live in the summer-house with Timmy, at the bottom of the garden!’
‘You will NOT!’ said Julian, taking firm hold of her arm. ‘You’ll play fair, come with us, and behave properly! Listen, there’s the bus. Come on, we’ll all wave, and hope the driver has a few empty seats.’