Five Get Into Trouble
don't want strangers here, stealing our goods. I'll set my dogs on you if you come again!'

    Julian turned to go, half-afraid that the extraordinary old man would set his dogs on him.
    The fel ow stood there in the half-dark, yelling abuse at Julian and George as they made their way out of the farm-yard.

    'Well! We'll never go there again!' said George, furious at their treatment. 'He's mad as a hatter.'

    'Yes. And I don't much fancy his food, either,' said Julian. 'Stil , it's all we'll get tonight!'

    They followed Timmy back to the woods. They were glad they had him, because otherwise they might have missed the way. But Timmy knew it. Once he had been along a certain route Timmy always knew it again. He ran on now, sniffing here and there, occasional y waiting for the others to catch him up.

    Then he stiffened and growled softly. George put her hand on his collar. Somebody must be coming.

    Somebody was coming! It was Richard on his way to find them. He was stil shouting and yelling, and the noise he made had already come to Timmy's sharp ears. It soon came to Julian's, and George's too, as they stood there waiting.

    'Julian! Where are you? Where's Timmy? I want Timmy! They're after me, I tel you; they're after me.'

    'Listen — it sounds like Richard? said Julian, startled. 'What in the world is he doing here?
    — and yelling like that too! Come on — we must find out. Something's happened. I hope Dick and Anne are all right.'

    They ran up the path as fast as they could in the twilight. Soon they met Richard, who had now stopped shouting, and was stumbling along, half-sobbing.

    'Richard! What's up?' cried Julian. Richard ran to him and flung himself against him.
    Timmy did not go to him, but stood there in surprise. George stared through the twilight, puzzled. What in the world had happened?

    'Julian! Oh Julian! I'm scared stiff,' panted Richard, hanging on to Julian's arm.

    'Pull yourself together,' said Julian, in the calm voice that had made a good effect on Richard. 'I bet you're just making a sil y fuss. What's happened? Did you find your aunt was out or something? And come racing after us?'

    'My aunt's away,' said Richard, speaking in a calmer voice. 'She . . .'

    'Away!' said Julian, in surprise. 'But didn't your mother know that when she said you could
    . . .?'

    'I didn't ask my mother's permission to come,' cried Richard. 'I didn't even go back home when you thought I did! I just biked straight to Croker's Corner and waited for you. I wanted to come with you, you see — and I knew my mother wouldn't let me.'

    This was said with a great air of bravado. Julian was disgusted.

    'I'm ashamed of you,' he said. 'Tel ing us lies like that!'

    'I didn't know my aunt was away,' said Richard, all his sudden cockiness gone when he heard Julian's scornful voice. 'I thought she'd be there — and I was going to tell her to telephone my mother and say I'd gone for a trip with you. Then I thought I'd come biking after you and — and . . .'

    'And tell us your aunt was away, and could you come with us?' finished Julian, stil scornful y. 'A deceitful and ridiculous plan. I'd have sent you back at once; you might have known that.'

    'Yes, I know. But I might have had a whole night camping out with you,' said Richard, in a small voice. 'I've never done things like that. I . . .'

    'What I want to know is, what were you scared of when you came rushing along, yelling and crying,' said Julian, impatiently.

    'Oh Julian — it was horrible,' said Richard, and he suddenly clutched Julian's arm again.
    'You see — I biked down back to my aunt's gate — and out into the lane — and I was just going along the way to Middlecombe Woods when a car met me. And I saw who was in the car!'

    'Well, who?' said Julian, feeling as if he could shake Richard.

    'It was — it was Rooky!' said Richard, in a trembling voice.

    'Who's he?' said Julian, and George gave an impatient click. Would Richard never tell his story

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