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Mystery #05 — The Mystery of the Missing Necklace tff-5, Page 2

Enid Blyton

  The others looked at him. "There's no more money," said Pip. "We spent it all."

  "I've got some," said Fatty, and dug his hand into his pocket. He always had plenty of money, much to the envy of the others, who had pocket-money each Saturday and had to make that do for the week, like most children. But Fatty had plenty of rich relations, who seemed to pour money into his pockets in a most lavish way.

  "Mother says it's bad for you to have so much money," said Pip. "She's always saying that."

  "It probably is bad for me," said Fatty, "but I'm not going round telling my relations to stop giving me tips. Now, who wants another ice-cream? Bets?"

  "Oh, Fatty, I couldn't," sighed Bets sadly. "I'd love to, but I know I can't. I feel a bit sick already."

  "Well, go outside," said Pip unfeelingly. "No thanks, Fatty. I don't feel sick, but I shan't eat any supper if I have another, and then Mother will stop all ice-creams for a week, or something awful."

  Larry and Daisy said they couldn't possibly eat another either, so Fatty had a second one all by himself, and this time he said he tasted every spoonful, so it wasn't wasted as the first one had been.

  Mr. Goon came back on his bicycle, just as the children left the shop. "There he is again!" said Fatty admiringly. "I've never seen him move so quickly. Good evening, Mr. Goon!"

  Mr. Goon was just getting off his bicycle to go into the police-station again. He glanced at Fatty, and took no notice of him. Fatty was annoyed.

  "You seem extremely busy, Mr. Goon," he said. "Solving another mystery, I suppose? Nice to get the old brains to work, isn't it? I could do with a bit of that myself, after lazing away most of these holidays."

  "Oh? You got some brains then?" said Mr. Goon sarcastically. "That's good hearing, that is. But I'm busy now, and can't stop to talk about your brains, Master Frederick. There's Big Things going on, see, and I've got plenty to do without wasting my time talking to you."

  "Big Things?" said Fatty, suddenly interested. "What, another Mystery, Mr. Goon? I say—that's..."

  "Yes, another Mystery," said Mr. Goon, almost bursting with importance. "And I'm IN CHARGE of it, see? I'm the one that's tackling it, not you interfering kids. And not a word do I tell you about it, not one word. It's Secret and Important, and it's a Matter for the police!"

  "But Mr. Goon—you know how we ..." began Fatty anxiously; but the policeman, feeling for once that he had got the better of Fatty, interrupted loftily.

  "All I know about you is that you're a conceited, interfering kid what ought to be put in his place and kept there—you and your nasty barking dog! This here case is mine, and I'm already getting on with it, and what's more I’ll get Promotion over this as sure as my name is Theophilus Goon," said the policeman, marching up the steps to the police-station. "You clear-orf now!"

  "What a blow!" muttered poor, disappointed Fatty, as Goon disappeared through the door. He and the others walked home slowly, discussing all that Clear-Orf had said.

  'To mink of that fat policeman at work on a perfectly gorgeous new mystery that we don't know a thing about!" said Fatty, looking so miserable that Bets put her arm through his. "It's maddening. And the worst of it is that I simply don't see how we are going to find out a thing, if Goon won't tell us."

  "Even Buster's upset about it," said Bets. "He's got his tail right down. So have you, poor Fatty. Never mind—you're going to try out your grown-up disguise tomorrow—that will be a bit of excitement for you, Fatty. And for us too!"

  "Yes, it will," said Fatty, cheering up a little. "Well—I'll be getting back home now. Got to practise my disguise a bit before I try it out on you all tomorrow. Solong!"

  Fatty Disguises Himself.

  Next morning Larry had a note from Fatty.

  "Go down to the side-shows by the river this afternoon. I'll meet you somewhere in disguise. Bet you won't know me!


  Larry showed the note to Pip and Bets when he went to see them that morning. Bets was thrilled. "What will Fatty be dressed in? I bet I'll know him! Oh, I can't wait for this afternoon to come!"

  Larry's mother gave him some money to spend at the side-shows when she heard they were all going there that afternoon. They set off at two o'clock, ready to spot Fatty, no matter how well he was disguised.

  As they walked down the village street an old bent man came shuffling up towards them. He stooped badly and dragged his feet, which were in old boots, the toes cracked and the heels worn down. He wore a straggly sandy-grey beard, and had shaggy grey eyebrows, and he looked extremely dirty. His coat sagged away from his bent shoulders, and his corduroy trousers were tied up with string at the knees.

  His hat was too large for him and was crammed down over his head. He had a stick in his hand and used it to help himself along. He shuffled to a bench and sat down in the sun, sniffing loudly.

  "That's Fatty! I know it is!" said Bets. "It's just the sort of disguise he'd put on. Isn't he clever? "

  The old man took a pipe out of his pocket and began to stuff it with tobacco.

  "Fancy Fatty even thinking of bringing a pipe!" said Pip. "I bet he's watched his father stuffing tobacco into his pipe. Golly—don't say he's even going to smoke it!"

  Apparently he was! Great puffs of rather evil-smelling, strong smoke came wafting out from the old man. The children stared. "I shouldn't have thought Fatty could smoke," said Larry. "He oughtn't to. He's not old enough. But I suppose if he's in disguise..."

  The old fellow sniffed loudly and then wiped his hand across his nose. Bets giggled. "Oh dear! Fatty is really simply marvellous. I do think he is. He must have been practising that awful sniffle for ages."

  Larry went over to the old man and sat down beside him. "Hallo, Fatty!" he said. "Jolly good, old boy! But we all recognized you at once!"

  The old man took absolutely no notice at all. He went on puffing at his pipe and clouds of the smoke floated into Larry's face.

  "Fatty! Stop it! You'll make yourself sick if you smoke like that!" said Larry. The others joined him and sat there, giggling. Pip gave the old man a punch in the ribs, "Hey, Fatty! You can stop pretending now. We know it's you!"

  The old man felt the punch and looked round indignantly, his eyes almost hidden under his shaggy eyebrows. He moved a little way away from Larry and Pip and went on smoking.

  "Fatty! Shut up smoking and talk to us, idiot!" said Pip. The old man took his pipe out of his mouth, put his hand behind his ear, and said "Wassat?"

  "He's pretending to be deaf now!” said Bets, and giggled again.

  "Ah? " said the old man, looking puzzled. "Wassat? "

  "What does 'Wassat' mean?" asked Bets.

  "It means 'What's that' of course," said Larry. "Hey, Fatty, stop it now. Give up, and tell us we're right. We all spotted you at once."

  "Wassat?" said the old man again and put his hand behind his ear once more. It was a very peculiar ear, large and flat and purple red. Bets gazed at it and then nudged Daisy.

  "Daisy I We've made a frightful mistake! It's not Fatty. Look at his ears!”

  Every one gazed at the old fellow's ears. No—not even Fatty could make his ears go like that. And they were not false ears either. They were quite real, not very clean, and remarkably hairy. In fact, they were most unpleasant ears.

  "Golly! It isn’t Fatty!" said Pip, gazing at the ears. "What must the old man think of us?"

  "Wassat?" said the old man again, evidently extremely puzzled at the children's familiar behaviour towards him.

  "Well, thank goodness the poor old thing is deaf," said Daisy, feeling ashamed of their mistake. "Come on Larry, come on, Pip, We've made an idiotic mistake! How Fatty would laugh if he knew!"

  "He's probably hiding somewhere around and grinning to himself like anything," said Pip. They left the puzzled old man sitting on his bench and went off down the street again. They met the baker, and Bets gave him a long and piercing stare, wondering if he could by any chance be Fatty. But he wasn't. He was much too tall.
  Then they met the window-cleaner, and as he was rather plump, and just about Fatty's height, they all went and pretended to examine his barrow of ladders and pails, taking cautious glances at him to find out whether or not he could be Fatty in disguise.

  "Here! What's the matter with you kids?" said the window-cleaner. "Haven't you ever seen ladders and pails before? And what are you giving me them looks for? Anything wrong with me today? "

  "No," said Larry hurriedly, for the window-cleaner sounded rather annoyed. "It's just that—er—these sliding ladders—er—are rather interesting!"

  "Oh, are they?" said the window-cleaner disbelievingly. "Well, let me tell you this..."

  But the children didn't listen to what he had to tell them. They hurried off, rather red in the face.

  "I say! We shall get into trouble if we go squinting at every one to find out if they really are Fatty," said Larry. "Well have to look at people a bit more carefully—I mean, without them knowing it."

  "There he is—I'm sure of it!" said Bets suddenly, as they went over the level-crossing to the river-side, where the side-shows were. "Look—that porter with the moustache. That's Fatty, all right!”

  The porter was wheeling a barrow up the platform, and the others stood and admired him. "He wheels it exactly like a real porter," said Bets. "Why do porters always wear waistcoats and no coats at railway stations?

  I'm sure that's Fatty. It's just the way he walks. And he's plump like Fatty too."

  She raised her voice and hailed the porter. "Hey, Fatty I Fatty!"

  The porter turned round. He set his barrow down on the ground and walked towards them, looking angry.

  "Who are you calling Fatty?" he demanded, his face red under his porter's cap. "You hold your tongue, you cheeky kids!"

  The children stared at him. "It is Fatty," said Bets. "Look, that's just how his hair sticks out when he wears a hat. Fatty I We know it's you!”

  "Now you look here!" said the porter, coming nearer, "if you wasn't a little girl I'd come over and shake you good and proper. Calling me names! You ought to be ashamed of yourself, you did!"

  "It isn't Fatty, you idiot," said Pip angrily to Bets. "Fatty isn't as short in the arms. Now you've got us into trouble!"

  But very luckily for them, a train came thundering in at that moment and the porter had to run to open and shut doors and see to luggage. The children hastily left the level-crossing and ran down to the river.

  "You stupid, Bets! You'll get us all into trouble if you keep on imagining every one is Fatty," said Pip. "Calling out 'Fatty' like that—especially as the porter was fat. He must have thought you were disgustingly rude."

  "Oh dear—yes, I suppose it did sound awfully rude," said Bets, almost in tears. "But I did think it was Fatty. I'll be more careful next time, Pip."

  They came to the side-shows, which made a kind of Fair alongside the river road. There was a Roundabout, the Hoopla game, the Bumping Motor-Cars, and the Waxwork Show. The children looked at the people crowding in and out of the Fair, and tried to see anyone that might be Fatty.

  Bets was scared now to recognize any one as Fatty. She kept seeing people she thought might be Fatty and followed them around till she knew they weren't. The others did the same. Some people saw that they were being followed and didn't like it. They turned and glared.

  "What you doing, keeping on my heels like this?" one man snapped at Larry. "Think I'm going to give you money for the Roundabout?"

  Larry went red and slipped away. He imagined Fatty somewhere near, tickled to death to see the Find-Outers trying in vain to spot him. Where could he be?

  "I think I've found him!" whispered Bets to Pip, catching hold of his arm. "He's the man selling the Roundabout tickets! He's just like Fatty, only he's got a black beard and thick black hair, and gold ear-rings in his ears, and an almost black face."

  "Well, he doesn't sound 'just like Fatty' to me!" said Pip scornfully. "I'm tired of your spotting the wrong people, Bets. Where's this fellow?"

  "I told you. Selling Roundabout tickets," said Bets, and though Pip felt quite certain that not even Fatty would be allowed to sell Roundabout tickets, he went to see. The man flashed a grin at him and held up a bunch of tickets.

  "A lovely ride!" he chanted. "A lovely ride on the Roundabout. Only sixpence for a lovely ride!”

  Pip went and bought a ticket. He looked hard at the man, who gave him another cheeky grin. Pip grinned back.

  "So it is you! " he said. "Jolly good, Fatty!"

  "What you talking about?" said the Roundabout-man in surprise. "And who are you calling Fatty?"

  Pip didn't like to say any more somehow, though he really was quite certain it was Fatty. He got on the Roundabout, chose a lion that went miraculously up and down as well as round and round, and enjoyed his ride.

  He winked at the ticket-man as he got off and the man winked back. "Funny kid, aren't you?" said the man. Pip went to the others. "I've found Fatty," he said. "At least, I suppose it was Bets who did, really. It's the man who sells the tickets for the Roundabout."

  "Oh no it isn't," said Larry. "Daisy and I have found Fatty too. It's the man who stands and shouts to people to come and have a go at the Hoopla. See—over there!"

  "But it can't be!" said Pip. "He'd never be allowed to have a job like that. No, you're wrong. I don't think that can be Fatty."

  "Well, and I don't think the Roundabout ticket-man is right, after all," said Bets unexpectedly. "I know I did think so. But I don't any more. His feet are much too small. He's got silly little feet. Fatty's got enormous feet. However much you disguise yourself you can't make big feet into small ones!"

  "I bet Fatty could!" said Daisy . "He's a marvel.”

  "And I think he's the ticket-man at the Roundabout," said Pip, obstinately. "Well—we'll see. We'll have some fun, get tea over there, and wait for Fatty to show himself in his own good time!"

  Fun at the Fair.

  Having more or less decided the question of Fatty's disguise, though Bets was very doubtful indeed, the four children had some fun.

  Bets bought some of the wooden Hoopla rings from the man that Larry and Daisy were certain was Fatty in disguise, and managed to ring a dear little clock. She was really delighted. She held out her hand for the clock, her eyes shining with joy. "It will do nicely for my bedroom mantelpiece," she said happily.

  "Sorry," said the Hoopla-man. "The ring didn't go quite over the clock, Miss."

  "But it did," said poor Bets. "It did. It didn't even touch the clock. It was the best throw I've ever done!”

  "You didn't ring it properly, Miss," said the man. The other Hoopla-man, that Larry and Daisy thought was Fatty, looked on, and said nothing. Daisy, certain that it was Fatty, appealed to him, sorry to see little Bets being cheated out of the cheap little clock.

  "She did win it, didn't she? Make this man let her have it!”

  "Sorry, Miss. She didn't ring it properly," said that l too. And then Bets walked off, dragging the others with her. "Now do you think that man is Fatty?" she said fiercely. "He would have let me have the clock at once! Fatty is never unkind. He can't be Fatty!"

  "Well—he might have to say a thing like that," argued Larry. "The other man might have got angry with him and given him a punch. I still think it's Fatty."

  They went on the Roundabout, and in the Bumping Cars. Pip took Bets, and Larry went with Daisy, and with many squeals and yells they crashed into one another, and shook themselves and the little cars almost to pieces. It really was fun.

  "Now let's go into the Waxwork Show," said Larry.

  "Oh, it's too hot," said Daisy. "Really it is. Besides, I don't much Eke waxwork figures—they scare me a bit—they look so real, and yet they never even blink!"

  "I want to see them," said Bets, who had never been inside a Waxwork Show in her life, and was longing to. "They've got Queen Elizabeth in there, all dressed up beautifully, and Napoleon, with his hand tucked into his waistcoat, and Nelson with one arm and one ey
e, and..."

  "Oh well, let's go in and see all these wonderful persons," said Daisy. "But it's a marvel to me they don't all melt in this weather. I feel as if I'm melting myself. We'd better have ice-creams after this."

  They paid their money and went in. The show was in a small hall. A red-headed boy took their money, scratching his head violently with one hand as he handed them tickets with the other. Bets stared at him. Could he be Fatty? Fatty had a red-headed wig and eyebrows, and he could put freckles all over his face, just like the ones this boy had. But Fatty had said he would be in a grown-up disguise—so he couldn't be this dirty-looking boy. Still—Bets couldn't help staring hard at him.

  The boy put out his tongue at her.

  "Stare away!” he said. "Never seen red hair before, I suppose!"

  Bets went red and joined the others. All round the little hall, arranged on steps that raised each row of figures up behind the others, were the wax people. They stood there, still and silent, fixed looks on their pink faces, staring without blinking.

  Pip and Larry liked them, but the two girls felt uncomfortable to have so many strange figures looking at them.

  "There's Queen Elizabeth!" said Pip, pointing to a very grand-looking wax figure at the end of the little hall. "And there's Sir Walter Raleigh putting down his cloak for her to walk on. They're jolly good."

  "What grand clothes she wears," said Bets, "and I like her big ruff. And look at all her beautiful jewellery. I'm surprised people don't steal it!"

  "Pooh! All bought at Woolworth's!" said Pip. "I say—here's Nelson. I didn't know he was such a little chap."

  "Oh—and here's Winston Churchill," said Bets in delight. She had a terrific admiration for this great statesman, and kept a photo of him on her mantelpiece. "With his cigar and all. He looks the best of the lot!”

  "Look—there's a girl selling sweets," said Larry suddenly, winking at Pip. "Here, Bets, go and buy some chocolate for us." He gave the little girl some money and she went to the sweet-girl, who stood nearby with a tray of bags and boxes.