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Mystery of the Vanished Prince

Энид Блэйтон (Enid Blyton)

What a Waste of Holidays!


“I haven’t liked these holidays one bit,” said Bets, dolefully, to Pip. “No Larry, no Daisy, no Fatty - a real waste of summer holidays!”

“Well, you’ve had me,” said Pip. “Haven’t I taken you for bike-rides and picnics and things?”

“Yes - but only because Mother said you were to,” said Bets, still gloomy. “I mean - you had to do it because Mother kept saying I’d be lonely. It was nice of you - but I did know you were doing it because it was your duty, or something like that.”

“I think you’re very ungrateful,” said Pip, in a huff.

Bets sighed. “There you are - in a huff again already, Pip! I do, do wish the others were here. It’s the first hols that every one but us have been away.”

“Well, the other three will be back in a few days’ time,” said Pip. “We shall still have two or three weeks left of these hols.”

“But will there be enough time for a mystery?” asked Bets, rolling over to find a shadier place on the gras. “We nearly always have a mystery to solve in the hols. I haven’t always liked our mysteries - but somehow I miss it when we don’t have one.”

“Well, find one then,” said Pip. “What I miss most is old Buster.”

“Oh yes,” said Bets, thinking of Fatty’s joyful, mad little Scottie dog. “I miss him, too. The only person I keep seeing that I don’t want to see is Mr. Goon.”

Mr. Goon was the village policeman, a pompous and ponderous fellow, always at war with the five children. Bets seemed to meet him three or four times a day, cycling heavily here and there, ringing his bell violently round every corner.

“Look - there’s the postman,” said Pip. “Go and see if he’s got anything for us, Bets. There might be a card from old Fatty.”

Bets got up. It was very hot and although she wore only a sun-suit of frilly cotton, she still felt as if she was going to melt. She went to meet the postman, who was cycling up the drive.

“Hallo, postman!” she called. “I’ll take the letters.”

“Right, Missy. Two cards - one for you and one for your brother,” said the postman. “That’s all.”

Bets took them. “Oh, good!” she said. “One’s from Fatty - and it’s for me!”

She ran back to Pip. “A card for you from Larry and Daisy,” she said, “and one for me from Fatty. Let’s see what they say…”