Mrs Cunningham Again!
The children followed Bill to the inn. There was faint light on in the kitchen. They trooped in at the back door and into the kitchen. What an exciting night it had been! The children were almost asleep, and their eyelids were drooping sleepily. Suddenly Kiki gave the most alarming screech and flew off Jack’s shoulder. There, sitting at the table in the kitchen with her hands cupped round a large mug of hot cocoa was Mrs Cunningham! Her face was pale and worried, but she looked quite well. Kiki sailed to her shoulder and sat there. Mrs Cunningham looked up and the worry fell away from her face at once! She hugged the children all in one and gave Bill a great big bear hug! Mrs Jordans was bustling about the kitchen hunting for spoons and she smiled to herself when she saw ‘Mr Big Bill’ again. She hugged the children and gave Bill a peck of a kiss on the cheek! He smiled at her and gave her a hug too.
Raymond, Howard and Sammy smiled all around, glad to have finished another case. They sat down at the other side of the table. Mrs Jordans fetched them all a cup of cocoa. They drank them thirstily. Bill sat down beside his wife and the children gathered round too. “Where have you been?” asked Mrs Cunningham, letting her husband put his arm around her shoulder. “I’ve been ever so worried about you, and I just got better yesterday, so I packed up all my things and came here. I’ve just arrived now, and we heard this dreadful throbbing noise outside, didn’t we, Mrs Jordans?” poor Mrs Cunningham said.
“We certainly did,” Mrs Jordans said, looking through her drawers, “Oh, gosh, where are those stupid spoons?”
“I suppose you don’t know about that, do you?” asked Mrs Cunningham, turning to her husband. Bill winked at the children and they laughed.
Mrs Cunningham watched, suspiciously. “What are you not telling me?” she asked. She couldn’t help but laugh too. “Are you going to explain?” But there was such a lot to explain!
The children began at once, with how they camped on Lowfell Hill, and how they found a secret room in the hill. How they thought Howard and Raymond were the criminals and how they were taken prisoners by the enemies. When Mrs Cunningham heard how the children had been on a helicopter, swerving dangerously through the night, amongst revolvers, empty or otherwise, she gasped. “Bill!” she cried, “You said it wouldn’t happen again, right at the very start of these holidays, and what do you go and do at the first possible chance, drag these poor children into another of your dreadful hair raising adventures!” she said, smacking him sharply on the leg. Bill tried to look surprised, and hurt, but he couldn’t help laughing.
Mrs Cunningham looked very comical when she was trying to tell someone off, though she didn’t mean to. Soon the children were sipping hot cocoa, and Mrs Jordans gave up hunting for ‘those dratted spoons’. She joined the little party round the table, bringing over a plate full of delicious looking chocolate cookies. She really was enjoying having the children, Mrs Cunningham and Mr Big Bill to stay! Jack was explaining to everyone exactly how the marsh draining machinery worked, and Raymond was smiling secretly to himself. “What will happen to the Foresters treasure, Bill?” asked Lucy-Ann suddenly, remembering the old treasure which had lay beneath the marsh for years and years.
“The marsh will gradually close back in and cover it all up again, including the dam. It will stay beneath the marsh for many more years, where it belongs. By tomorrow morning, there will be nothing to be seen of it,” Bill replied.
The children felt disappointed. So they wouldn’t see the Foresters treasure after all… Bill saw their disappointed reactions and hurriedly added: “Though tomorrow will be a busy day.” The children looked up at once, and his wife turned her head sharply towards him.
“Why, Bill?” asked Lucy-Ann, curiously.
“Because I have to return a helicopter to the Military, and I don’t you about any of you, but I rather fancied a fly about first…” The children stared at Bill in delight.
“We’ll come!” they cried at the tops of their voices. And so they would!
“We’d better get you lot up to bed,” said Mrs Cunningham, suddenly. “Have you seen the time?” None of the children felt like going to sleep, there was so much to think about! Then they figured they would need to be fresh for the morning and hurried upstairs to their old rooms, which were now empty. All four of them hurried to wash, except Kiki of course, who would just sit on her perch as far away from the water as possible.
“What a thrilling night we’ve had!” Jack said, brushing his teeth, “I only wish we could have it again! Wasn’t Bill fine, how he tackled those men!”
“He certainly was,” said Philip, who was also brushing his teeth at the little basin in the boys bedroom. “And I can’t wait to fly in that helicopter tomorrow. I might even ask Bill if I can have a go at flying it!” the boy said excitedly. The boys door was open, and the girls could hear what they were saying.
A scornful face arrived at the door. “You?” said Dinah, “Fly a helicopter, Bill should never let you! You would most probably crash it!” Her brother gave her a friendly punch. “I only wish we could start this adventure again,” said Jack, sorrowfully.
“I don’t, I think it’s been jolly frightening. Especially when that horrid man was threatening Bill with his revolver,” Lucy-Ann said.
“Well, it was empty, silly.” said Jack, smiling at his sister. “Anyway, goodnight!” The girls said goodnight and retired to their own room.
We must leave them all now, lying fast asleep in their little crooked beds in their small slanting bedrooms, at Lowfell Inn. Kiki is asleep too, but only just. Don’t make a sound or you’ll wake her. All are dreaming avidly about their adventures the following day. Bill and Mrs Cunningham are coming to bed now too, tired and sleepy eyed. What an exciting day it has been. And look at the children’s camp, all empty now and unusually quiet. What a thrilling adventure they had, and of course there are many more to come! How can children like these keep out of adventure? It seems to tag along with them wherever they go!