Titch’s Secret Society Chapter 4

CHAPTER 4

Titch is Suspicious

The group stared at each other dumbfounded for a few moments. It was Bunny, greatly excited by his sudden gift, who broke the silence.

“Well, I must say, that was very generous of him.”

Titch was staring hard after the distant figure now getting fainter in the dim light. “I wonder why he did it?” he mused.

“So’s Bunny could get a new ball of course,” stated Gogs simply, seeing nothing complicated in the situation at all.

“We’d better collect all our gear before it gets dark,” said Miff.

The boys walked away from the abbey ruins in the direction of their cricket gear which was just a grey heap in the quickly gathering dusk. Each took his own equipment and they walked slowly along the common away from the Straight Mile in the direction of the coast road which led to Bunny’s house.

The other four noticed that Titch was very quiet as they walked along. He appeared to be deep in thought.

“Why do you think he gave me the five pound note, Titch?” asked Bunny.

“I don’t know,” replied Titch slowly, “but it struck me that he wanted to get rid of us mighty quick.”

“Yes, I suppose he did really,” admitted Bunny, half agreeing.

“But he didn’t want us messing up their equipment,” put in Smudgie. “If they paid a lot of money for it, I don’t blame him.”

“The five of us searched those ruins pretty well for the cricket ball,” stated Titch. “How much equipment did we find? None!”

“But he told us it was carefully hidden,” persisted Smudgie.

“So he said,” replied Titch. “But if it was as carefully hidden as all that, there wouldn’t be much chance of us damaging it would there?”

“No, I suppose not,” agreed Smudgie who could see the sense in Titch’s argument.

“Yes, I hadn’t thought of that,” said Bunny. “We looked around quite a bit for my ball and we didn’t see any sign of any equipment nor any wires or anything.”

“And another thing that puzzles me,” said Titch, “is where that first man came from. I could see the whole of the common between the Straight Mile and the ruins; he didn’t  walk across that way.” He turned to Smudgie and Gogs. “You two were the first to see him. Which way did he come?”

Smudgie and Gogs looked at each other with puzzled frowns.

“I don’t know,” drawled Gogs. “I was looking on the ground for the ball just near the entrance to the old passage. Suddenly somebody grabbed me by the collar. I looked round and there he was. He had Smudgie too.”

“Did you see him approaching, Smudgie?” asked Titch.

“No, come to think of it, I didn’t. It all happened pretty sudden like and . . .”

“Then there’s only one place he could have come from,” broke in Titch snapping his fingers. “He must have been down in the old passage.”

“But why on earth should he have been down there?” asked Bunny.

“Perhaps that’s where they’ve put their equipment,” suggested Miff.

“Yes, and that’s why we didn’t see it,” said Gogs triumphantly with the air of one who has just solved a difficult problem.

“Don’t be such a nitwit,” said Titch. “He said it was all carefully hidden. That passage ends in the flight of steps that goes down into the cellar. There’s nothing down there at all except a few chunks of old stone. They wouldn’t be able to hide much down there.”

“My father told me that the monks used to store food down there,” added Bunny. “I expect that’s why it’s so bare.”

“Well, it all sounds very fishy to me,” continued Titch. “I think those men are up to something.”

“Up to something?” queried Smudgie. “What on earth could they be up to in a ruined old abbey? My dad says even I’m safe to be let loose in the abbey ‘cause all the damage that can be done was done years ago.”

“Oh, I don’t mean they meant to damage anything,” replied Titch. “But you don’t get a couple of grown men lurking around a place like that without good reason.”

“But remember that man said they belonged to some London society or other and that they were going to investigate the abbey ghost. I call that a good reason,” returned Miff.

“Yes, but as Titch says,” argued Bunny, “we didn’t see a sign of any equipment, so how do we know he was telling the truth?”

“Mmmm . . . I suppose that’s true,” agreed Smudgie.


Bunny led the way to the large greenhouse

    By this time the boys had reached the entrance to the drive which led up to Bunny’s house. It was a large building standing in its own grounds and Mr Francis had bought it only a few months previously. Bunny led the way to the large greenhouse near the garden hedge. It was in here that the boys kept all their cricket gear.

“My dad’s having a big shed built over there,” said Bunny. “We’ll be able to put our cricket stuff in there when it’s up. You can’t see it now it’s dark, but a man came today and cleared a patch of ground. Then he put some wooden pegs in it and…”

“Bernard! Is that you dear?” Bunny’s mother was calling from the back door of the house.

“Yes, Mum. It’s only me and the boys.”

“Come along then. It’s time to come in now,” she called.

“Huh!” exclaimed Miff. “Isn’t it funny how mothers want you in just when it gets dark?”

“I suppose I’d better go,” said Bunny grudgingly. “Otherwise I’ll only get a row from my Dad. Just wait till I tell them about the five pound note though.”

“Don’t tell them!” burst out Titch.

“Why ever not?”

“Well,” said Titch in a low confidential voice, “I’ve been thinking.” The other four gathered round curiously. They knew that when Titch used that tone of voice he was going to say something interesting.

“I think the little matter of those two men and their ghost investigations wants looking into and I think we ought to do it. If grownups get to hear about it they’ll want to stop us straight away – you know what they’re like. So, if you don’t say anything about the five pounds, Bunny, they won’t ask any questions.”

“No. All right,” agreed Bunny. I won’t say a word for the time being.”

“But what are we going to do?” asked Gogs quivering with expectation.

“Well, I suggest we meet here in the greenhouse tomorrow and talk the matter over. We’ll have more time to make our plans. It’s absolutely pitch dark now and we’ve got to go home.”

“That’ll be OK,” said Bunny. “The gardener is not working here tomorrow, so we can use the greenhouse. Suppose we meet here at 10 o’clock in the morning?”

The others mumbled their agreement.

“Then that’s all settled,” said Titch. “We’ll all meet here tomorrow morning at ten.”

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