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Five On A Treasure Island, Page 2

Enid Blyton

  Anne felt offended. "You're not very polite," she said. "You won't find that my brothers take much notice of you if you act as if you knew everything. They're real boys, not pretend boys, like you."

  "Well, if they're going to be nasty to me I shan't take any notice of them," said George, jumping out of bed. "I didn't want any of you to come, anyway. Interfering with my life here! I'm quite happy on my own. Now I've got to put up with a silly girl who likes frocks and dolls, and two stupid boy-cousins!"

  Anne felt that they had made a very bad beginning. She said no more, but got dressed herself too. She put on her grey jeans and a red jersey. George put on jeans too, and a boy's jersey. Just as they were ready the boys hammered on their door.

  "Aren't you ready? Is Georgina there? Cousin Georgina, come out and see us."

  George flung open the door and marched out with her head high. She took no notice of the two surprised boys at all. She stalked downstairs. The other three children looked at one another.

  "She won't answer if you call her Georgina," explained Anne. "She's awfully queer, I think. She says she didn't want us to come because we'll interfere with her. She laughed at me, and was rather rude."

  Julian put his arm round Anne, who looked a bit doleful. "Cheer up!" he said. "You've got us to stick up for you. Come on down to breakfast."

  They were all hungry. The smell of bacon and eggs was very good. They ran down the stairs and said good-morning to their aunt. She was just bringing the breakfast to the table. Their uncle was sitting at the head, reading his paper. He nodded at the children. They sat down without a word, wondering if they were allowed to speak at meals. They always were at home, but their Uncle Quentin looked rather fierce.

  George was there, buttering a piece of toast. She scowled at the three children.

  "Don't look like that, George," said her mother. "I hope you've made friends already. It will be fun for you to play together. You must take your cousins to see the bay this morning and show them the best places to bathe."

  "I'm going fishing," said George.

  Her father looked up at once.

  "You are not," he said. "You are going to show a few good manners for a change, and take your cousins to the bay. Do you hear me?"

  "Yes," said George, with a scowl exactly like her father's.

  "Oh, we can go to the bay by ourselves all right, if George is going fishing," said Anne, at once, thinking that it would be nice not to have George if she was in a bad temper.

  "George will do exactly as she's told," said her father. "If she doesn't, I shall deal with her."

  So, after breakfast, four children got ready to go down to the beach. An easy path led down to the bay, and they ran down happily. Even George lost her frown as she felt the warmth of the sun and saw the dancing sparkles on the blue sea.

  "You go fishing if you want to," said Anne when they were down on the beach. "We won't tell tales of you. We don't want to interfere with you, you know. We've got ourselves for company, and if you don't want to be with us, you needn't."

  "But we'd like you, all the same, if you'd like to be with us," said Julian, generously. He thought George was rude and ill-mannered, but he couldn't help rather liking the look of the straight-backed, short-haired little girl, with her brilliant blue eyes and sulky mouth.

  George stared at him. "I'll see, she said. "I don't make friends with people just because they're my cousins, or something silly like that. I only make friends with people if I like them."

  "So do we," said Julian. "We may not like you, of course."

  "Oh!" said George, as if that thought hadn't occurred to her. "Well- you may not, of course. Lots of people don't like me, now I come to think of it."

  Anne was staring out over the blue bay. At the entrance to it lay a curious rocky island with what looked like an old ruined castle on the top of it.

  "Isn't that a funny place?" she said. "I wonder what it's called."

  "It's called Kirrin Island," said George, her eyes as blue as the sea as she turned to look at it. "It's a lovely place to go to. If I like you, I may take you there some day. But I don't promise. The only way to get there is by boat."

  "Who does the funny island belong to?" asked Julian.

  George made a most surprising answer. "It belongs to me," she said. "At least, it will belong to me- some day! It will be my very own island- and my very own castle!"


  The three children stared at George in the greatest surprise.

  George stared back at them.

  "What do you mean?" said Dick, at last. " Kirrin Island can't belong to you. You're just boasting."

  "No, I'm not," said George. "You ask Mother. If you're not going to believe what I say I won't tell you another word more. But I don't tell untruths. I think it's being a coward if you don't tell the truth- and I'm not a coward."

  Julian remembered that Aunt Fanny had said that George was absolutely truthful, and he scratched his head and looked at George again. How could she be possibly telling the truth?

  "Well, of course we'll believe you if you tell us the truth," he said. "But it does sound a bit extraordinary, you know. Really it does. Children don't usually own islands, even funny little ones like that."

  "It isn't a funny little island," said George, fiercely. "It's lovely. There are rabbits there, as tame as can be- and the big cormorants sit on the other side- and all kinds of gulls go there. The castle is wonderful too, even if it is all in ruins."

  "It sounds fine," said Dick. "How does it belong to you, Georgina?"

  George glared at him and didn't answer.

  "Sorry," said Dick, hastily. "I didn't mean to call you Georgina. I meant to call you George."

  "Go on, George- tell us how the island belongs to you," said Julian, slipping his arm through his sulky little cousin's.

  She pulled away from him at once.

  "Don't do that," she said. "I'm not sure that I want to make friends with you yet."

  "All right, all right," said Julian, losing patience. "Be enemies or anything you like. We don't care. But we like your mother awfully, and we don't want her to think we won't make friends with you."

  "Do you like my mother?" said George, her bright blue eyes softening a little. "Yes- she's a dear, isn't she? Well- all right- I'll tell you how Kirrin Castle belongs to me. Come and sit down here in this corner where nobody can hear us."

  They all sat down in a sandy corner of the beach. George looked across at the little island in the bay.

  "It's like this," she said. "Years ago my mother's people owned nearly all the land around here. Then they got poor, and had to sell most of it. But they could never sell that little island, because nobody thought it worth anything, especially as the castle has been ruined for years."

  "Fancy nobody wanting to buy a dear little island like that!" said Dick. "I'd buy it at once if I had the money."

  "All that's left of what Mother's family owned is our own house, Kirrin Cottage, and a farm a little way off- and Kirrin Island," said George. "Mother says when I'm grown-up it will be mine. She says she doesn't want it now, either, so she's sort of given it to me. It belongs to me. It's my own private island, and I don't let anyone go there unless they get my permission."

  The three children stared at her. They believed every word George said, for it was quite plain that the girl was speaking the truth. Fancy having an island of your very own! They thought she was very lucky indeed.

  "Oh Georgina – I mean George!" said Dick. "I do think you're lucky. It looks such a nice island. I hope you'll be friends with us and take us there one day soon. You simply can't imagine how we'd love it."

  "Well- I might," said George, pleased at the interest she had caused. "I'll see. I never have taken anyone there yet, though some of the boys and girls round here have begged me to. But I don't like them, so I haven't."

  There was a little silence as the four children looked out over the bay to where the isla
nd lay in the distance. The tide was going out. It almost looked as if they could wade over to the island. Dick asked if it was possible.

  "No," said George. "I told you- it's only possible to get to it by boat. It's farther out than it looks-and the water is very, very deep. There are rocks all about too- you have to know exactly where to row a boat, or you bump into them. It's a dangerous bit of coast here. There are a lot of wrecks about."

  "Wrecks!" cried Julian, his eyes shining, "I say! I've never seen an old wreck. Are there any to see?"

  "Not now," said George. "They've all been cleared up. Except one, and that's the other side of the island. It's deep down in the water. You can just see the broken mast if you row over it on a calm day and look down into the water. That wreck really belongs to me too."

  This time the children really could hardly believe George. But she nodded her head firmly.

  "Yes," she said, "it was a ship belonging to one of my great-great-great-grandfathers, or someone like that. He was bringing gold- big bars of gold- back in his ship-and it got wrecked off Kirrin Island."

  "Oooh- what happened to the gold?" asked Anne, her eyes round and big.

  "Nobody knows," said George. "I expect it was stolen out of the ship. Divers have been down to see, of course, but they couldn't find any gold."

  "Golly- this does sound exciting," said Julian. "I wish I could see the wreck."

  "Well- we might perhaps go this afternoon when the tide is right down," said George. "The water is so calm and clear today. We could see a bit of it."

  "Oh, how wonderful!" said Anne. "I do so want to see a real live wreck!"

  The others laughed. "Well, it won't be very alive," said Dick. "I say, George- what about a bathe?"

  "I must go and get Timothy first," said George. She got up.

  "Who's Timothy?" said Dick.

  "Can you keep a secret?" asked George. "Nobody must know at home."

  "Well, go on, what's the secret?" asked Julian. "You can tell us. We're not sneaks."

  "Timothy is my very greatest friend," said George. "I couldn't do without him. But Mother and Father don't like him, so I have to keep him in secret. I'll go and fetch him."

  She ran off up the cliff path. The others watched her go. They thought she was the queerest girl they had ever known.

  "Who in the world can Timothy be?" wondered Julian. "Some fisher-boy, I suppose, that George's parents don't approve of."

  The children, lay back in the soft sand and waited. Soon they heard George's clear voice coming down from the cliff behind them.

  "Come on, Timothy! Come on!"

  They sat up and looked to see what Timothy was like. They saw no fisher-boy- but instead a big brown mongrel dog with an absurdly long tail and a big wide mouth that really seemed to grin! He was bounding all round George, mad with delight. She came running down to them.

  "This is Timothy," she said. "Don't you think he is simply perfect?"

  As a dog, Timothy was far from perfect. He was the wrong shape, his head was too big, his ears were too pricked, his tail was too long and it was quite impossible to say what kind of a dog he was supposed to be. But he was such a mad, friendly, clumsy, laughable creature that every one of the children adored him at once.

  "Oh, you darling!" said Anne, and got a lick on the nose.

  "I say- isn't he grand!" said Dick, and gave Timothy a friendly smack that made the dog bound madly all round him.

  "I wish I had a dog like this," said Julian, who really loved dogs, and had always wanted one of his own. "Oh, George- he's fine. Aren't you proud of him?"

  The little girl smiled, and her face altered at once, and became sunny and pretty. She sat down on the sand and her dog cuddled up to her, licking her wherever he could find a bare piece of skin.

  "I love him awfully," she said. "I found him out on the moors when he was just a pup, a year ago, and I took him home. At first Mother liked him, but when he grew bigger he got terribly naughty."

  "What did he do?" asked Anne.

  "Well, he's an awfully chewy kind of dog," said George. "He chewed up everything he could- a new rug Mother had bought- her nicest hat- Father's slippers- some of his papers, and things like that. And he barked too. I liked his bark, but Father didn't. He said it nearly drove him mad. He hit Timothy and that made me angry, so I was awfully rude to him."

  "Did you get spanked?" said Anne. "I wouldn't like to be rude to your father. He looks fierce."

  George looked out over the bay. Her face had gone sulky again. "Well, it doesn't matter what punishment I got," she said, "but the worst part of all was when Father said I couldn't keep Timothy any more, and Mother backed Father up and said Tim must go. I cried for days- and I never do cry, you know, because boys don't and I like to be like a boy."

  "Boys do cry sometimes," began Anne, looking at Dick, who had been a bit of a cry-baby three or four years back. Dick gave her a sharp nudge, and she said no more.

  George looked at Anne.

  "Boys don't cry," she said, obstinately. "Anyway, I've never seen one, and I always try not to cry myself. It's so babyish. But I just couldn't help it when Timothy had to go. He cried too."

  The children looked with great respect at Timothy. They had not known that a dog could cry before.

  "Do you mean- he cried real tears?" asked Anne.

  "No, not quite," said George. "He's too brave for that. He cried with his voice- howled and howled and looked so miserable that he nearly broke my heart. And then I knew I couldn't possibly part with him."

  "What happened then?" asked Julian.

  "I went to Alf, a fisher-boy I know," said George, "and I asked him if he'd keep Tim for me, if I paid him all the pocket-money I get. He said he would, and so he does. That's why I never have any money to spend- it all has to go on Tim. He seems to eat an awful lot- don't you, Tim?"

  "Woof!" said Tim, and rolled over on his back, all his shaggy legs in the air. Julian tickled him.

  "How do you manage when you want any sweets or ice-creams?" said Anne, who spent most of her pocket-money on things of that sort.

  "I don't manage," said George. "I go without, of course."

  This sounded awful to the other children, who loved ice-creams, chocolates and sweets, and had a good many of them. They stared at George.

  "Well- I suppose the other children who play on the beach share their sweets and ices with you sometimes, don't they?" asked Julian.

  "I don't let them," said George. "If I can never give them any myself it's not fair to take them. So I say no."

  The tinkle of an ice-cream man's bell was heard in the distance. Julian felt in his pocket. He jumped up and rushed off, jingling his money. In a few moments he was back again, carrying four fat chocolate ice-cream bars. He gave one to Dick, and one to Anne, and then held out one to George. She looked at it longingly, but shook her head.

  "No, thanks," she said. "You know what I just said. I haven't any money to buy them, so I can't share mine with you, and I can't take any from you. It's mean to take from people if you can't give even a little back."

  "You can take from us," said Julian, trying to put the ice into George's brown hand. "We're your cousins."

  "No, thanks," said George again. "Though I do think it's nice of you."

  She looked at Julian out of her blue eyes and the boy frowned as he tried to think of a way to make the obstinate little girl take the ice. Then he smiled.

  "Listen," he said, "you've got something we badly want to share- in fact you've got a lot of things we'd like to share, if only you'd let us. You share those with us, and let us share things like ices with you. See?"

  "What things have I got that you want to share?" asked George, in surprise.

  "You've got a dog," said Julian, patting the big brown mongrel. "We'd love to share him with you, he's such a darling. And you've got a lovely island. We'd be simply thrilled if you'd share it sometimes. And you've got a wreck. We'd like to look at it and share it too. Ices and sweets aren't so good a
s those things- but it would be nice to make a bargain and share with each other."

  George looked at the brown eyes that gazed steadily into hers. She couldn't help liking Julian. It wasn't her nature to share anything. She had always been an only child, a lonely, rather misunderstood little girl, fierce and hot-tempered. She had never had any friends of her own. Timothy looked up at Julian and saw that he was offering something nice and chocolately to George. He jumped up and licked the boy with his friendly tongue.

  "There you are, you see- Tim wants to be shared," said Julian, with a laugh. "It would be nice for him to have three new friends."

  "Yes- it would," said George, giving in suddenly, and taking the chocolate bar. "Thank you, Julian. I will share with you. But promise you'll never tell anyone at home that I'm still keeping Timothy?"

  "Of course we'll promise," said Julian. "But I can't imagine that your father or mother would mind, so long as Tim doesn't live in their house. How's the ice? Is it nice?"

  "Ooooh- the loveliest one I've ever tasted!" said George nibbling at it. "It's so cold. I haven't had one this year. It's simply DELICIOUS!"

  Timothy tried to nibble it too. George gave him a few crumbs at the end. Then she turned and smiled at the three children.

  "You're nice," she said. "I'm glad you've come after all. Let's take a boat out this afternoon and row round the island to have a look at the wreck, shall we?"

  "Rather!" said all three at once- and even Timothy wagged his tail as if he understood!


  They all had a bathe that morning, and the boys found that George was a much better swimmer than they were. She was very strong and very fast, and she could swim under water, too, holding her breath for ages.

  "You're jolly good," said Julian, admiringly. "It's a pity Anne isn't a bit better. Anne, you'll have to practise your swimming strokes hard, or you'll never be able to swim out as far as we do."

  They were all very hungry at lunch time. They went back up the cliff-path, hoping there would be lots to eat- and there was! Cold meat and salad, plum-pie and custard, and cheese afterwards. How the children tucked in!