Five Are Together Again, Page 2Enid Blyton
Anne had already stopped the bus, and run round to the back of it to ask the conductor if he could help with the bags. He knew the children very well, and leapt down at once.
‘You’re going back to school pretty quick!’ he said. ‘I thought the schools had only just broken up.’
‘They have,’ said Julian, ‘but we’re off to stay at Big Hollow. The bus goes there, doesn’t it?’
‘Yes, we go right through the village of Big Hollow,’ said the conductor, carrying three bags at once, much to Julian’s envy. ‘Whereabouts are you staying there?’
‘At Professor Hayling’s house,’ said Julian. ‘I think that’s called Big Hollow too, like the village.’
‘Ah, we pass it,’ said the conductor, ‘I’ll stop the bus just outside and give you a hand with your things again. My word - you’ll have to mind your Ps and Qs there - old Professor Hayling’s a bit peculiar, you know. Goes off the handle properly if things don’t go his way! Once a horse got into his garden and believe it or not he chased that horse for two miles, shouting at it all the way. And bless me, when he got back home, tired out, there was that horse, chewing up his garden again. The horse was cute - he’d taken a short cut back. Yes - you be careful how you behave at Big Hollow. The old man might get cross and pop you into one of his queer machines and grind you up into little pieces!’
The four children laughed. ‘Oh, the old Professor is all right,’ said Julian. ‘A bit forgetful, like most people who work with their brains all the time. My brain goes fairly slowly - but my Uncle Quentin’s goes about a hundred miles an hour, and I bet the Professor’s does too! We’ll be all right!’
Away went the bus, bumping over the road from Kirrin and Little Hollow, and on to Big Hollow. The four children gazed out of the windows as they passed alongside the shore, where the sea shone as blue as cornflowers, and once more saw Kirrin Island out in the big bay.
‘Wish we were going there!’ sighed George. ‘We’ll have to take a picnic meal there sometime, and enjoy ourselves. I’d like old Tinker to visit my island. He may have a lighthouse of his own, but having an island is MUCH better!’
‘I think I agree with you,’ said Julian. ‘Tinker’s lighthouse is certainly lovely and all on its own, and the view from it is amazing - but there’s something about Kirrin Island that I love. Islands are quite different from anything else!’
‘Yes. They are,’ said Anne. ‘I’d like one too. A very little one, so that I could see all round it at one glance. And I’d like one little cave to sleep in - just big enough for me.’
‘You’d soon be lonely, Anne,’ said Dick, giving his sister a friendly pat. ‘You love to have people round you, you like to be friendly!’
‘So does Timmy!’ said Julian, as Timmy left his place by George’s knee and went to sniff at a net-bag held by an old man, who at once fondled the big dog, and fumbled for a biscuit out of a paper bag. ‘Timmy doesn’t mind how many people there are around, so long as one or two of them has a biscuit or a bone to hand out!’
‘Come to heel, Timmy,’ said George. ‘You’re not to go round begging, telling people you are half-starved! I should think you eat more than any other dog in Kirrin. Who eats the cat’s dinner whenever he can, I should like to know?’
Timmy gave George a loving lick and settled down beside her, his head on her shoes. He got up politely every time someone entered or left the bus. The conductor was most impressed.
‘I wish all dogs were as good on my bus as yours,’ he told George. ‘You’d better get ready to jump out. Our next stop is supposed to be a little way beyond Big Hollow, but I’ll ring my bell, and the driver will stop for a moment, and you can get out.’
‘Thanks awfully,’ said Julian, gratefully, and when the bus stopped with a jerk a minute later, all the Five were ready to jump out.
The bus went on, and left them standing outside a large wooden gate. The drive from it led steeply downwards, and a large house could just be seen hidden in a hollow by great trees.
‘Big Hollow!’ said Julian. ‘Well - here we are. What a queer place - sort of mysterious and brooding. Now to find old Tinker! I bet he’ll be pleased to see us all, especially Timmy! Help me with the bags, Dick!’
BIG HOLLOW - AND TINKER AND MISCHIEF AGAIN!
The four children and Timmy went through the big, heavy gate, which groaned loudly. Timmy was very startled to hear the mournful creak, and barked sharply.
‘Sh!’ said George. ‘You’ll get into trouble with the Professor, Timmy, if you raise your voice like that. I expect we’ll have to talk in whispers, so as not to disturb the Professor - so just see if you can whisper too.’
Timmy gave a small whine. He knew he couldn’t whisper! He trotted at George’s heel as they all went down the steep drive to the house. It was a queer house, built sideways to the drive, and had astonishingly few windows.
‘I expect Professor Hayling is afraid of people peering in at his work,’ said Anne. ‘It’s very, very secret, isn’t it?’
‘I know he uses miles and miles of figures,’ said Dick. ‘Tinker told me one day that his monkey Mischief once chewed up a page of figures when he was very small - and Professor Hayling chased him for a whole hour, hoping to catch him and find even a few bits of paper still in his mouth, so that he could rescue at least part of his figures. But Mischief fled down a rabbit-hole and didn’t come up for two days, so it wasn’t any good.’
Everyone smiled at the thought of poor Mischief hiding down a rabbit-hole. ‘You couldn’t do that, Timmy old thing!’ said Julian. ‘So just be careful of any paper you eat.’
‘He wouldn’t be so silly,’ said George, at once. ‘He knows perfectly well what’s eatable and what’s not.’
‘Ha! Does he?’ said Anne. ‘Well, I’d just like to know what kind of food he thought my blue slipper was that he chewed up last hols!’
‘Don’t tell tales of him,’ said George. ‘He only chewed it because someone shut him in your bedroom and he hadn’t anything else to do.’
‘Woof,’ said Timmy, quite agreeing. He gave Anne’s hand a little lick, as if to say, ‘Very sorry, Anne - but I was so bored!’
‘Dear Timmy! I wouldn’t mind if you chewed up all my slippers!’ said Anne. ‘But it would be nice if you chose the very oldest ones!’
Timmy suddenly stopped and looked into the bushes. He gave a low growl! George put her hand on his collar at once. She was always afraid of snakes in the spring time.
‘It might be an adder!’ she said. ‘The dog next door trod on one last year, so I heard, and his leg swelled up terribly, and he was in great pain. Come away now, Timmy - it’s an adder, with poison in its fangs!’
But Timmy went on growling. Then he suddenly stood still and sniffed hard. He gave an excited whimper and pulled away from George, jumping into the bushes - and out came, not a snake, but Mischief, Tinker’s bright-eyed little monkey!
He at once leapt on to the dog’s broad back, put his little monkey fingers under Timmy’s collar, and chattered in delight. Timmy nearly dislocated his neck trying to twist his head round to lick him!
‘Mischief!’ cried everyone at once, in real delight. ‘You’ve come to welcome us!’
And the little monkey, jabbering away excitedly in monkey-language, leapt first on to George’s shoulder, and then on to Julian’s. He pulled Julian’s hair, twisted his right ear round, and then leapt from him to Dick, and on to Anne’s shoulder. He cuddled into her neck, his eyes bright and brown, looking very happy.
‘Oh! Isn’t he pleased to see us again!’ said Anne, delighted. ‘Mischief, where’s Tinker?’
Mischief jumped off Anne’s shoulder and scampered down the drive as if he quite understood all that Anne had said. The children raced after him - and then a stentorian voice suddenly roared at them from one side of the drive.
‘What are you doing here? Clear out! This is private ground. I’ll fetch the police. Clear OUT!’
The Five stop
ped still in fright - and then Julian saw who it was - Professor Hayling! He stepped forward at once. ‘Good afternoon, sir,’ he said. ‘I hope we didn’t disturb you, but you did tell my aunt we could come here.’
‘Your aunt? Who’s your aunt? I don’t know any aunt!’ roared the Professor. ‘You’re sight-seers, that’s what you are! Come to pry into my work, just because there was a piece about it in some silly paper! You’re the third lot today. Clear out, I tell you - and take that dog too. How DARE you!’
‘But sir - don’t you really know us?’ said Julian, very startled. ‘You came to stay at our house, you know, and...’
‘Stuff and nonsense! I haven’t been away for years!’ shouted the Professor. Mischief, the monkey, was so frightened that he leapt away into the bushes, making a funny little crying noise.
‘I hope he fetches Tinker,’ said Julian, in a low voice to Dick. ‘The Professor has forgotten who we are, and why we’ve come. Let’s retreat a bit.’
But as they went cautiously back up the steep path, followed by the angry Professor, a loud voice hailed them, and Tinker came racing up with Mischief on his shoulder, clinging to his hair. So the little monkey had gone to fetch him. ‘Good for him!’ thought Julian, pleased.
‘Dad! Don’t yell at our friends like that!’ cried Tinker, dancing about in front of his angry father. ‘You asked them here yourself, you know you did!’
‘I DID NOT!’ said the Professor. ‘Who are they?’
‘Well, George, that girl, is the daughter of Mr Kirrin, and the others are his niece and nephews. And that’s their dog, Timmy. And you asked them all here because Mr and Mrs Kirrin are in quarantine for scarlet fever,’ shouted Tinker, still dancing about in front of his father.
‘Stop jigging about like that,’ said the Professor, crossly. ‘I don’t remember asking them. I would have told Jenny the maid, if I had.’
‘You did tell her!’ shouted Tinker, still jigging about, with Mischief the monkey jigging too in delight. ‘She’s already made up the beds. I helped her. She’s angry because you left your breakfast and now it’s almost dinner-time. She’s cleared it away.’
‘Bless us all - so that’s why I feel so hungry and cross!’ said Professor Hayling, and he began to laugh. He had a tremendous laugh, and the children couldn’t help laughing too. What an odd fellow - so brainy, such a fine scientist - with the most enormous amount of knowledge in his head - and yet no memory for such ordinary things as breakfast and visitors and telephone calls.
‘It was just a misunderstanding, sir,’ said Julian, politely. ‘It was very, very kind of you to invite us here when we can’t be at home because of the scarlet fever. We’ll try not to be a nuisance, and if there’s anything we can do to help you, please ask us. We’ll make as little noise as possible, and keep out of your way, of course.’
‘You hear that, Tinker?’ said Professor Hayling, suddenly swinging round on the startled Tinker. ‘Why can’t you do the same - make a very little noise, and keep out of my way? You know I’m very busy now - on a MOST IMPORTANT project.’ He turned to Julian. ‘You’ll be very welcome if you keep Tinker out of my way. And NOBODY - absolutely NOBODY - is to go up into that tower. Understand?’
They all looked up to where he was pointing, and saw a tall, slender tower rising up amid the trees. It had curious tentacle-like rods sticking out at the top, and these shook slightly in the breeze.
‘And don’t ask me questions about it,’ went on the Professor, looking fiercely at George. ‘Your father’s the only other man who knows what it’s for, and he knows how to keep his mouth shut.’
‘None of us would dream of prying, sir,’ said Julian. ‘It’s very, very kind of you to offer to have us here, and do believe me when I say we shan’t be any trouble to you at all - but a help if you’ll allow us.’
‘Ah well, you sound a sensible fellow, I must say,’ said the Professor, who had now calmed down, and looked quite peaceable. ‘Well, I’ll say good-bye for now and go and have my breakfast. I hope it’s fried eggs and bacon. I’m very hungry.’
‘Dad - Jenny’s cleared your breakfast AWAY! I told you that before!’ said Tinker in despair. ‘It’s almost dinner-time, now.’
‘Ah good - good!’ said the Professor. ‘I’ll come at once.’
And he led the way indoors, followed by the five children, with Timmy and Mischief, all looking rather worried. Really, nobody ever knew what the Professor was going to do or say next!
Jenny certainly had a good dinner for them all. There was a large and delicious stew with carrots, onions and peas swimming in the gravy, and plenty of potatoes. Everyone tucked in well, and Mischief, who loved the peas, took quite a few from Tinker’s plate, his little paw creeping up, and neatly snatching a pea from the gravy.
The girls went out to help bring in the next course, which was a big steamed pudding with plenty of raisins in it. Mischief at once jigged up and down in delight, for he loved raisins. He leapt on to the table, and received a sharp smack from the Professor, who unfortunately smacked the pudding dish at the same time, making the pudding jump in the air.
‘Good gracious, Dad - we nearly lost the pudding!’ cried Tinker. ‘And it’s my favourite. Oh, don’t give us such small pieces! Mischief, get off the table. You are NOT to put your paw into the white sauce!’
So Mischief disappeared under the table, where he received quite a lot of raisins from various kindly hands, unseen by the Professor. Timmy felt rather left out. He was under the table too, having been rather scared by the Professor’s angry voice, but as he didn’t very much like raisins, he wasn’t as lucky as Mischief.
‘Ha - I enjoyed that!’ said the Professor, having cleaned his plate thoroughly. ‘Nothing like a good breakfast!’
‘It was midday dinner, Dad!’ said Tinker. ‘You don’t have pudding at breakfast.’
‘Dear me, of course - that was pudding!’ said his father, and laughed his great laugh. ‘Now you can all do exactly what you like, so long as you do NOT go into my study, OR my workroom OR that tower. AND DON’T MEDDLE WITH ANYTHING! Mischief, get off the water-jug, you’ll upset it. Can’t you teach that monkey some table-manners, Tinker?’
And with that he marched out of the room, and disappeared into some mysterious passage that apparently led to his study or workroom. Everyone heaved a sigh of relief.
‘We’ll clear away and then I’ll show you your rooms,’ said Tinker. ‘I do hope you won’t find it too dull here.’
Dull, Tinker! You needn’t worry! There is far too much excitement waiting for the Five - and you too! Just wait a bit, and see!
JENNY HAS A VERY GOOD IDEA
Tinker raced out to the kitchen to fetch a tray or two. He made a most peculiar noise as he went, and for a moment Timmy looked extremely startled.
‘Goodness - don’t say that Tinker still has that awful habit of pretending to be some kind of car!’ groaned Julian. ‘How on earth does his father put up with it? What’s he think he is now? A motor-bicycle, by the sound of it.’
There was a sudden crash and a loud yell. The Five raced down the kitchen passage to find out what had happened, Timmy at the front.
‘Accident!’ bellowed Tinker, scrambling up from the floor. ‘I took the bend too quickly, and my front wheel skidded, and I went bang into a wall! I’ve bent my mudguard.’
‘Tinker - do you mean to say you’re still being fatheaded enough to pretend to be cars and bicycles and tractors and lorries,’ demanded Julian. ‘You nearly drove us all mad, driving about all over the house, when you stayed with us. Have you got to be a machine of some sort?’
‘Yes,’ said Tinker, rubbing one of his arms. ‘It sort of comes over me, and away I go. You should have heard me being a lorry absolutely loaded with new cars for delivery yesterday. Dad really thought it was a great lorry and he rushed out into the drive to send it away. But it was only me. I hooted too - like this!’
And the sound of a loud and deep hooter immedia
tely filled the passage! Julian shoved Tinker into the kitchen and shut the door.
‘I should have thought that your father would have been driven completely mad by now!’ he said. ‘Now you just shut up. Can’t you grow up a bit?’
‘No,’ said Tinker, sullenly. ‘I don’t want to grow up. I might be like my father and forget to eat my meals, and go out with one sock on and one off. And I’d hate to forget my meals. Just think how awful it would be! I’d always be hungry.’
Julian couldn’t help laughing. ‘Pick up your tray, and help to clear away!’ he said. ‘And if you simply can’t HELP being a car sometimes, for goodness sake go outside! It sounds frightful in the house. You’re much too good at awful noises.’
‘Oh, am I really good?’ said Tinker, pleased. ‘I suppose you wouldn’t like to hear me being one of those new planes that go over here sometimes, making a queer, droning noise?’
‘No. I WOULD NOT!’ said Julian, firmly. ‘Now will you PLEASE get that tray, Tinker. And tell Mischief to get off my right foot. He seems to think it’s a chair.’
But Mischief clung to Julian’s ankle and refused to move. ‘All right, all right,’ said Julian. ‘I shall just have to walk about all day with you riding on my foot.’
‘If you stamp as you walk, he soon gets off,’ remarked Tinker.
‘Why didn’t you tell me that just now?’ asked Julian, and stamped a few steps round the room. Mischief leapt off his foot at once, and sat on a table, making an angry noise.
‘He sits on Dad’s foot for ages, even when he walks about,’ said Tinker. ‘But Dad doesn’t even notice him there! He even sat on Dad’s head once, and Dad thought he was wearing his hat indoors and tried to take it off. But it was only Mischief there!’