Cornish Adventure

A war was raging in Europe but no one would have guessed it in the tiny

village of Warstone on Sea in Cornwall. Apart from the refugees down

from London, there was no indication of anything untoward happening

in that part of the world., and the refugees had certainly livened up the

village both for the children from the village and the adults delegated to

look after them.

In fact, Mrs. Hope at the village Post office said it was the very best thing

that had happened to the village in a long time. New blood, she had

it. Of course, there were those who didn’t want them there, but then, they

didn’t want any children there, it was not only refugees. They had

forgotten they had been children themselves long ago. Or, perhaps they

thought that they, like Topsy, had just growed.

The Sun was shining as Tony and Leigh Grindell, twins, raced each other

down the hill on their bicycles to the village in the valley.

The house where they lived was very nice but it was quite a long way

away from their friends in the village, and always they had that dreadful

hill to climb afterwards to get home. Their father was the vicar and he

his wife, with the twins lived in the village all the time.
They had been delighted when the refugee children had come to stay.
There had been very few children in the village of the twins age and
consequently they had no one to play with, other than themselves.
Mrs.Grindell knew how important it was for children of their age, almost
eleven years old, to be able to mix with other children of a similar age.
There was the added disadvantage of where they were situated because

the vicarage was at the top of the hill with the Church. It was handy for

when they had to go to church, they didn’t have far to go, whereas

everyone else in the village had to climb the hill, or ride up the hill if

had a car, but there weren’t many of them. Petrol was rationed and cars


It had become altogether better for the twins after they had received the

bicycles for their Birthday and then they could zoom down the hill, it

had traffic of any kind on a Sunday and not much of it, so was quite safe.

They did however still had to walk back up pushing their bicycles, they

didn’t seem to notice that fact. It was so good to have friends.

Their house was in fact on the cliff top overlooking the sea and they

hear the waves breaking over the rocks far below.When there was a

the very old house rattled and the wind seemed to whistle in at all the

cracks. In the winter it was a cold house too, with draughts everywhere.It

was rumoured that long ago Smugglers had used the caves below the

to bring in their contraband, and that the Vicarage had a secret passage

leading down to the caves. If that was the case, then some vicar in

times must have been in with the smugglers, otherwise they couldn’t have

used the house without the vicar’s knowledge. No one had ever found it

and the twins had looked hard enough. Knocking on walls to see if any

them were hollow.The idea of smugglers and secret passages appealed to

their sense of adventure

The twins had received a telephone call from their friend Phil- one of the

refugees who lived with Mrs. Hope at the Post Office – half an hour

with an urgent message to meet the gang at the usual place. There

Mother though had other ideas and made them finish their meal before

would allow them to go. This didn’t go down very well but they

The usual place was The Treehouse they had built in old Farmer Bullitt’s

orchard. Farmer Bullitt a rather fat jolly man who always had a piece of

straw sticking out of his mouth and a smile for everyone, knew about the

treehouse was but he was quite happy for them to play there. That way he

knew where they were and they wouldn’t be bothering his livestock with

their rushing around and noisy games. Father Bullitt had pigs, and hens

and cows for milk, because of this no one in the village ever went

He had a soft spot for the gang did Farmer Bullitt, they had saved Daisy

She had been in the low meadow munching grass waiting for the

birth of her calf. There had been quite a lot of rain and the meadow was

soggy. Perhaps it would have held the weight of a child or even a man,

not a full grown cow heavily in calf, and she had sunk up to her knees in

the bog. The children had happened to be passing and saw the poor

predicament. ‘Come on chaps’ Phil had shouted and they had raced across

to the cow who had looked at them with huge liquid eyes. ’You would

think she knew we were here to help her’ Wendy had rubbed the wet nose

of the cow, who had given a low moan. Phil untied the long length of

heavy rope she always wore around her waist like a belt. Even when the

other children had teased her about the rope she had insisted on wearing


‘You never know when you might need it. Be prepared is my motto’ she

had retorted, and kept on wearing it. She made a lasso of the rope and

hung it over the cow’s head. ’ Perhaps we should tie a knot in the rope

innstead of a slip knot’ volunteered Matthew ’In case when we pull on it

she starts to choke.’ ‘Well done, Matthew’ his friend David was most

impressed with the way Matthew had thought the problem through and

come to the right conclusion.

Three children at the front to pull and four at the back to push. The cow

resisted at first and just moaned. ‘Come on girl help yourself’ said Phil

whose only previous experience of cow’s had been a picture of one on

butcher’s shop window in the town where he mother had shopped, before

Phil had been evacuated and come to live in the village.

The cow seemed to understand and pushed with her front legs to try and

get a firm grip with her feet on the turf. The children at the rear heaved

and pushed and slowly the cow started to move. She dug in her hooves

and with a great burst of vigour dragged herself free, violently flinging

children pushing at the rear headfirst into the mud. Everyone laughed,

the mud splattered friends. They removed the lariat from the cow’s neck

and she ambled off to seek fresh tasty grass to munch on.

Two days later Farmer Bullitt had told the friends that Daisy had had a

lovely calf, a heifer, which he had explained meant it was a girl. They

were delighted, but no more than Farmer Bullitt. Since that time he could

find no fault with them, and wouldn’t allow anyone else to either.

Most of the people in the village liked them but of course there was always the odd ones who were for ever complaining about this or that or

the other. Real or imagined.

Sometimes the gang didn’t even know what they were complaining

but would rather whatever it was it did not get back to the ears of their

parents or the people who were responsible for them for the duration of

war.,the children felt sure that the adults would believe the villagers


Just because the villagers were older, and possibly wiser, didn’t mean

were always right. After all, all the children knew it was grown ups who

had started the war.

Tony and Leigh rushed to the orchard, they were sure they would be last

there, because everyone else lived or stayed in the village itself, and

get there quickly.They were right, they were the last there.

‘Hi you two, thought you were never coming’. shouted Phil from over in

the corner of the makeshift house.

‘Mum made us finish our meal’ the boys shouted in unison.

This was a little quirk they had, they seemed to think

and speak together most of the time. ‘Well you’re here now, I think every-

one is.’ she said looking around. Yes, Phil was a girl, Phillipa actually,

she was as tough as any boy could possibly be, and very brave, they all

knew that, because when Mrs. Miller’s little kitten got stuck up a tree it

was Phil who had climbed up and got it down before the Fire Engine

arrived. And it was a jolly high tree.

Phil’s father was a captain in the army and was fighting somewhere in

Germany, of course no one knew where, it was top secret, and her mother
helped with the Women’s Voluntary Service making sure that all the
people who had been bombed out of their homes, had food and shelter.
They had lived in London where most of the war was being fought in
England and enemy bombers had come every night and dropped bombs,
large areas of the city were on fire and damaged when the raids had
passed. Phil had been sent to the country to keep her safe from harm. She
had been upset at first at leaving her parents and her home, but once she
made friends she settled down and had made herself at home with
Mrs.Hope who was very kind to her. Mrs.Hope liked all children and
could usually find a sweet for any who visited the Post Office, mostly it
was toffee which she made herself. But very good.

There were four boys and three girls in the gang. Tony and Leigh, the

twins, who were identical, tall and thin with wirey black curly hair which

they tried unsuccessfully most of the time to control by pushing it back

with their hands.

Phil, or Philippa really, was quite tall for her age with bright auburn hair

which looked a little like a bird’s nest because she was always in such a

hurry to rush to a new adventure, it hardly ever got combed in the

Matthew by contrast was always spick and span, smaller than the other

boys he was very pale skinned with light blonde hair and he always

so very clean. He was living while the war lasted with Captain. & Mrs.

Hobbs at the Deanery, a big house near the sea. His father had been

reported missing in France, fighting in the army, and his mother had been

killed when a bomb had hit the hospital where she worked. He had been

glad to be sent away to Cornwall, away from his sad memories., and the

terror of war in a city which was being bombed constantly. Where great

clouds of dust and debris hung in the air after each raid, and one could

hardly see or breath either..

In the country there was none of that, or the fear that went with it.

Hobbs lived at home with him and Mrs.Hobbs, he had been invalided out

of the Navy due to wounds received in a battle which had blown up his


David who was quite stocky with brown hair like his sister Wendy who

was almost the same size and shape as him, they lived temporarily with
Mrs.Trotter-Smythe in her huge house. They had lived with their parents

in Southampton, which was also on the bomber raid agenda. They had
been sad to leave their parents but knew it was for their own good, and
now that they were in Cornwall, they found it quite exciting.

Since their arrival, but absolutely nothing to do with their arrival, Mrs.

Trotter-Smythe the lady to whom they had been allocated, had had to go

into hospital and consequently the children were staying at Thorpe

with Mr.Hodges the butler, caretaker and handyman., and his wife, who

was at that time visiting he daughter who had just had a baby, so it was

just them and Mr.Hodges. He was a wonderful man, and could anything

the house that a woman could do..

Lastly there was Sue, the very smallest of the group, slightly built with

pretty blonde pigtails, she lived in the village with her parents, her father

was the local policeman.

They all went to the local primary school but when the summer holidays

were over, which would be in five weeks time, then they all would go to

the Secondary School in Marston Town, two miles inland from the sea..

It was a big school, not a bit like their nice little village

school, and they were all a tiny bit apprehensive about it. The good thing

was they all had each other for company. It wouldn’t make breaking in a

new school quite so bad. They would have all liked to stay in the village

school but it was just too small for all the children when the new starters

and the younger evacuees were enrolled..

’David and Wendy have something to tell you all, they already told me

is why I phoned you all for a meeting.’ said Phil excitedly.

‘Come on tell us’ blurted Tony and Leigh together.

‘Wait a bit then, give us a chance’. said Wendy. ’David will tell you

anyway, he knows more than me’.

David, Wendy’s brother, was older but only by a year. ’I was in Mrs

Trotter-Smythe’s garden this morning playing with our ball when it

bounced into the shrubbery. . Well, you know Mrs. Trotter-Smythe is in

the hospital and has been for quite a long time now, and we are staying

with Mr.Hodges until she’s well’. he said.

‘Yes, yes, get on with it’ they all chorused together.

’Well, I saw someone sneaking into the house. Well I think they were

sneaking into the house.’ he muttered.

‘Oh come on, they either were or they weren’t’. went up the chorus.

’Well, I saw them one minute and the next they were gone, so they must

have sneaked into Mrs. Trotter-Smythe’s house, ’cos there was nowhere

else to go, was there?.’ David finished.

‘And it wasn’t Mr.Hodges the caretaker was it?’ asked Phil.

’No it definitely was not Mr. Hodges, he is all bent up and very very old,

and besides we know him well, we see him every day. He looks after us.’

replied David, feeling a bit vexed.

‘Did you tell the Police?’ asked Sue, always the practical one.

’Well no. I told Wendy and she said to tell Phil and then we would tell

all, and maybe we could catch the burglar ourselves.’ David said.

‘Was it a man?’ asked Phil.

‘I think so,’. replied David.

‘Do you not know if it was a man or a woman?’ asked Phil a little


‘Well, they were wearing a kind of cloak thing.’ David said almost in


‘Like Superman?’ asked Tony and Leigh together.

‘No, not like Superman, like a cloak. I don’t know, it was a kind of cloak

thing. I couldn’t see it properly.’he retorted.

There was a stunned silence for a moment as they thought about the

implications of going after burglars, especially burglars in cloaks, when

was said and done the burglar might be armed. He could have a jemmy or

whatever burglars used when they went burglarizing, and he might be

and he might chase them, and worse still, he might catch them.. But, it

didn’t take a lot of thinking about, it sounded as if it could possibly be

be a real adventure, they had not had many these holidays. It had to

be better than just sitting about or throwing a ball around. It’d been a rather dull holiday really up to now, except for Daisy the cow, and

the thought of apprehending a burglar and saving Mrs.Trotter-Smythe’s

house from a thief appealed to them greatly.

‘Right, we have to have a plan of action’ said Phil, pulling out a notebook

and pencil.

‘Oh, not a plan of action’ moaned the twins.

’Well how do you suggest we go about catching a burglar without a plan

action?’ Phil asked.

‘Suppose you’re right’. they said. bowing to her apparent superior


‘When exactly did you see the burglar David?’ she asked.

‘Just before lunch, around 12 o’clock I should think.’ he answered.

‘Do you think he will still be there after all this time’ asked Matthew, who

until that time had sat quietly. Matthew wore spectacles and was always

little afraid they would get broken into his face, and was always

hesitant about joining in some of the rougher tumbles his friends got into.

‘I don’t know, but we could go and take a look around, couldn’t we?’

David. Wendy nodded in agreement. She was equally as tough,

or liked to think she was, as her brother and the other boys, and certainly

tougher than Sue who was quite a timid little soul really but very kind,

and was always there to help anyone with their homework or anything

else they asked of her.

’It’s worth a try’. said Phil. ’Lets just go and take a quick look round, but

keep down chaps. We don’t want to give the game away.’

Phil called everyone chaps, even the girls. Her father was a Captain in

Army, and she had heard him calling his men ‘the chaps’. So her

‘men’ were all chaps. Because without a doubt Phil was the leader of the


The Sun was just starting to dip behind the Trees on its trip to visit

Australia when they arrived at the wall which enclosed Thorpe Towers.

It was a very imposing house, with of course Towers. These stuck at

every corner of the house making it very grand indeed. There was a long

drive up to the front of the house and lawns at either side of the drive. On

the outer circumference of the lawns were Trees, firs and deciduous

gave lots of cover for the intrepid detectives to hide in on their way to


house. They didn’t want to go up the drive for obvious reasons, they did

not want the burglar to see them and take flight. They wanted to catch

red-handed, so to speak.

As they got almost to the house walls they saw a figure in a Royal

Blue Cloak and what looked like a plumed hat move out from the trees

toward the house. The friends clung to each other in fright. ‘Gosh, it’s

him’. said David holding on tightly to Phil’s sleeve.

‘Looks as if he is going to a fancy dress party not to burglarize a house’

was her tart reply.

As they watched, the figure arrived at the wall of the house and seemed

pass straight through as if there was no wall there at all.

‘Where did he go?’ asked Matthew taking off his spectacles and cleaning

them, blaming them for his failure to see where the burglar went.

‘He seemed to just go through the wall’. said Sue with a little shiver. She

was not sure that what they were doing was such a good idea. After all he

was a very big man, and they were only kids.

’We had better go and knock on the door and see if Mr.Hodges is alright

first’. said Phil taking charge. ’The burglar could have hurt him or

‘Oh I hope not’ cried Wendy ’Who would look after us then? We cannot

back home we’ll get bombed on.’

’Don’t worry old thing, it’ll be alright’ David tried to reassure her.

The gang kind of sidled up to the door, none of them wanting to be the

first to arrive there. They knocked on the huge Lion face knocker. They could hear it boom inside the house. They waited, there was no reply.

They knocked again, louder this time. BOOM BOOM they heard inside.

‘In a minute, in a minute, I’m coming, I’m coming, what’s your rush?’ they

heard on the other side of the door. David and Wendy breathed a sigh of


The huge door creaked open just a crack and something white flashed

their legs, they all gave a shriek. It was only Mrs.Trotter-Smythes very

large and furry Persian Cat on his way to freedom. The door creaked

further and there was Mr. Hodges, faithful caretaker and retainer of

the Trotter-Smythes since he was a lad. He had started out as under

footman, then footman and then when his father, who was Butler, had

retired he had taken over the job. He was now a very old man and had

long since passed retiring age, but Mrs.Trotter-Smythe, who was about

same age, kept him on as caretaker of the house. After all, he had lived at

the house since he was a boy and had had no other home. Thorpe Towers

was his home.

‘Now what is it you want? knocking fit to wake the dead you were.’ he

peering at them through tiny very thick glasses.

‘We came to see if you were o.k.’ announced Phil.’ we saw a burglar come

out of the house and we were worried in case he had hurt you.

‘Well, that’s exceeding kind of you young sirs and misses. A burglar you

say? where did he get in?’. he asked looking back into the house as if you

confirm what they had said.

‘Well that’s just it, he seemed to just walk straight through the wall.’ said

Sue speaking up for the first time.

‘Straight through the wall eh?’ he said scratching his head.

’Don’t you believe us’ asked the twins together.

‘Oh, I believe you young sirs, but that weren’t no burglar you saw, that

would be Sir.Richard.’ he said.

‘Sir Richard?’ they all chorused together this time.

’Aye. Many say that Sir Richard forsook his family and left them to be

massacred by the Roundheads. Sir Richard Armstrong. He were a

in the Cavaliers, and he was said to be a fine upstanding gentleman, he

had brought his army to come and warn his family that the Roundheads

were on their way.’ he looked into the house as he spoke almost in a

whisper. ’ Some say he haunts the place because of his feelings of guilt,

others that he haunts the place looking for those who did him in.’

The gang all had goosebumps but listened to the story spellbound.

‘You mean it was a Gh…ost we saw’. Matthew almost stuttered the


’Well, yes, in a manner of speaking like. Many folk have said they have

seen Sir Richard, but I have to admit I never have’. said Mr.Hodges.

’Tell you what, seen as you were so kind to come and make sure I was you put it, would you like to come and see the dungeons in the

house? ‘cos that is where he has always seen.’ he went on.

’They are the wine cellars now of course, but you can

still see where the dungeons was once upon a time’.

‘Yes please’. said Phil answering for all of them.

‘Will Sir Richard be there now?’ asked Matthew a little uneasily.

’I have no idea young sir, you be the ones who have seen him, but I am

sure he would do you no harm, even if he was’. Mr.Hodges smiled as he

said this last.

They all moved into the house as Mr.Hodges held open the great wooden

door studded with big black nails and enormous hinges and hasps.

The house inside was beautiful, it was very very old and had been

maintained in the manner in which it had been originally furnished .

Mr.Hodges led them through the hall and then through the kitchen, along

passage into the scullery and then down two flights of stairs into what

now the wine cellars, but had been the dungeons. It was very dark and

very cold down there. The children huddled a bit, not only to keep warm

either, they had heard of safety in numbers, and none wanted to meet a

ghost alone. It was bad enough with friends.

If asked they would have had to admit to be a tiny bit frightened too.

’They say the night Sir.Richard vanished, a terrible thunder storm was

blowing and howling around the house, and some say he tried to escape

boat and was drowned in the storm. His father, Sir Thomas Armstrong, a

lovely man it was said, would never have it that his son Sir Richard

had deserted them and the army at all, and that some terrible disaster had

overtaken him, murdered even, though his body was never found.’

Mr.Hodges lit some wall sconces with a box of matches from his pocket

and when these lights glowed it did not seem so frightening.

They could see then a lot of separate doors. These were the dungeons

Mr.Hodges explained. ‘You can go in if you want.’ he told them.

They weren’t so sure, but the intrepid Phil soon got her nerve back and

said ‘Come on chaps, let’s take a look, we might as well while we are

Still huddling together they went into one of the dungeons. Mr. Hodges

brought one of the wall sconces he had unhooked from the wall so they

could see.

In the silence they heard a low moaning noise.

’What’s that?’ cried the twins in terror, grabbing hold of each other.

‘Nought but the wind young fellows, nothing to worry about’. Mr.Hodges

replied cheerfully.

They were all very pleased Mr.Hodges was with them, he really felt like

tower of strength even though he was a great age, but he was still bigger

than them.

’What’s that down there?’ asked David looking around the dungeon.

They all looked at the place David was pointing to. There was a tiny hole

in the stone near the floor. David poked his finger through, ’It’s hollow’

said amazed.

‘Hollow?’ echoed Mr.Hodges. ’I thought all the walls in here were the

same, four feet thick throughout.

‘No. look!’. said David wiggling his finger inside the hole.

‘Lets have a closer look young sir’. said Mr.Hodges, holding the sconce

near floor level. ‘Well I’ll be,’ he said. ’you’re right, it’s a hole right

Just let me get something to poke into it and make it bigger and then

we’ll see what’s what.’

Mr.Hodges looked around and found what looked like a tyre iron, only

they were sure it wasn’t, but had some other use to do with wine.

He pushed it into the hole and pushed and poked it around, the wall

to crumble and quite big lumps fell off onto the floor around their feet. It

was very soft and a kind of yellowy colour, not at all like the colour of

walls which were grey. When he had quite a big hole he put his head

down close to the floor to see in. ’Looks like another room in there, well

my, would you believe it?. There is a chair and a table as well from the

looks of it. Anyone small enough to go in and take a look?. I’ll go and

fetch a torch so whoever goes can see what they are doing. Anyone


he asked looking around the group.

’Sue’s the smallest’. said Phil. ‘I would like to go but I’m afraid I am a bit

big. How about it Sue?’

Sue was filled with trepidation, but she did not want her friends to think

her a coward, so putting on a brave face she said ‘Alright, I’ll have a go,

but please don’t any of you leave me will you? she implored.

’I’ll come with you’ said Matthew. ’I’m not much bigger than you and we

can keep each other company.’

The other members of the gang were amazed at Matthew offering to go

with Sue, because if the truth be known they were all a little frightened of

going into the hole, and they knew he had never volunteered to do

anything remotely fearful or dangerous before.

Mr.Hodges came back with a large torch. ’Got this out of the car, should

do the trick’ he said, handing the torch to Sue.

The beam of the torch lit up the entire room as she squeezed herself

through the hole closely followed by Matthew. She shone it around. It

a proper room. It even had pictures on the walls, well, not exactly

when they shone the torch onto them. They were maps with armies

on them. This must have been the room that Sir Richard used to plot his

campaigns. As Sue brought the torch round, she gave a little scream and

grabbed hold of Matthew very tightly swinging the torch away from what

she had seen which had frightened her.

’What’s the matter?’ came a chorus of anxious voices from outside the


Matthew took the torch from Sue who still held tightly onto him, and

shone it where she had previously been looking when she had screamed.

When Matthew saw what had frightened her, his hand holding the torch

started to shake, but he tried to hold it steady. He did not want to frighten

Sue any more than she was frightened already.

‘Its a.. a.. a.. skeleton’ he managed to get out at last.

‘A skeleton?’ came the chorus back, Mr.Hodge’s incredulous voice


’Yes, its sitting at the table with a quill pen in its hand and its been

on a piece of parchment. I think it must be Sir.Richard ’cos there is a

plumed hat on the table and a cloak over the back of the chair it is sitting

on.’ Matthew informed the listening crowd. He was amazed at how Matthew would have liked to have a further look around but he didn’t

Sue upset, so he shone the torch at the opening and Sue crawled through.

Just before he left Matthew picked up the manuscript from the table and

carefully rolled the piece of parchment.

Once out of the hole the pair were inundated with questions from the

others and also from Mr.Hodges, who was as excited as they by the find.’

Well by Jove,’ he said ’Looks like old Sir Thomas was right, Sir Richard

didn’t leave them in the lurch after all. Looks like he got himself locked

thereby someone who wanted the family caught by the Roundheads, cos

whoever it was would know Sir Richard would never allow that to


‘Will you phone for the Police Mr Hodges please’ asked Phil.’ The sooner

we do it the better. Though I don’t think we can have disturbed the crime

scene do you?’

They all chuckled at this, because the crime scene must have been in the

sixteen hundreds to have been at the time of the Cavaliers and


‘Oh I don’t know, my Dad says nothing must be touched at all.’ explained


‘Maybe I shouldn’t have taken this away then’ said Matthew bring the

rolled parchment into view.

’Don’t you worry none young sir, I’ll take the blame if there is any

said Mr. Hodges kindly.

While they waited for the Police, Mr.Hodges made some tea and

produced some very splendid cakes from a tin in the kitchen. ’Mrs. Bullock makes

these cakes and she makes a wonderful batch of scones as well, but I’m

afraid we’ve eaten all of those’. he said nodding at David and Wendy as

settled the things on the kitchen table and they all gladly took a cup of

Most of them didn’t ever drink tea, but they were delighted to do so on

occasion. Mr.Hodges had told them it settled the nerves, and they were

sure he was right.

Outside they could hear thunder crashing and sheets of lightening lit up

windows, but a strange kind of peace had come over the house and the

group sitting around the kitchen table drinking their tea and eating their


It didn’t take long for the local Policeman to arrive in the form of Sue’s

Father. He couldn’t believe his eyes when he saw his disheveled daughter

sitting there drinking tea. ‘What ever are you doing here Sue?’ he asked

’shouldn’t you be at home with your mum?’

Sue tried to explain but was a little overcome with her adventure and her

fright, so simply burst into tears.

Inspector Price, Sue’s dad, took her in his arms and cuddled her and said

the others ’Would any of you like to fill me in with the details, Sue


a bit overwrought.’

They all started to talk at once.

‘Whoa, Steady’ he said ‘One at a time please, who is going to be spokesperson?’ he looked around the table at them all.

‘Me’ chirped up Phil.’What happened Inspector Price was that we all

thought we were going to catch a burglar and instead we caught a ghost.’

she managed to get it all out with one intake of breath.

‘Caught a Ghost? Whatever have you lot been up to?’ asked the Inspector

taking out his pocketbook to write down the details of this very unlikely


After many interruptions from the others when they thought she had

missed any little detail out of the narrative, eventually the story


’I’d better take a look at this Ghost of yours I think’ said the Inspector and

they all led him to the dungeon which was the skeleton of Sir Richards

last abode.

He didn’t climb into the chamber, but merely looked through the hole.

’Well it looks if it was a murder, then it was a very long time ago. He

have just starved to death, shackled to the floor like that.’ he said

making notes in his book. ’but we still have to go through all the

proceedings, Coroner etc., so I might as well get onto that immediately.

Can I use your phone Mr.Hodges?’

After making his call in the hall, he came back into the kitchen where the

children were waiting.

‘There is something else’ said Matthew timidly. He handed over the

Parchment manuscript which had been on the table under the quill pen.

‘Anything else?’ asked the Inspector quite sternly.

‘No’. answered Matthew keeping his eyes directed at the floor.

‘Well, lets take a look at this anyway, it might give us a clue, and it isn’t

if it is going to give up fingerprints is it?’ he said quite jovially this time,

which made Matthew raise his head with a little hope in his heart that he

was not in for some kind of punishment.

Inspector Price looked at the manuscript, turning it one way and then the

other.’ I cannot make head nor tail of this’ he said looking baffled.

’It’ll likely be in Olde English and probably some Latin too.’ volunteered

Mr. Hodges.’ Seeing as it was sixteen hundred and something.

‘Of course’. said Inspector Price looking suitably chaised.’Silly of me to

expect to be able to read it. We’ll have to get it to an expert of some

‘Our Dad reads Latin’ chirped up the twins.

‘Now there is a good idea, we will get him to try and translate it for us.’

said the Inspector. ’but I think now you lot should be getting back home

and into bed, I think you have had enough excitement for one day. I’m

my Suzy has. Come on I’ll run you home in the Police car, it’ll be ages

before the Coroner’s officer gets here he’s coming from Marston, and I’m

sure Mr.Hodges will look after everything and keep our crime site safe’

this last he said with a wink at Mr. Hodges.

‘Aye that I will, Sir Richard hasn’t moved in all these yearas I don’t

suppose he will be off anywhere tonight.’ Mr.Hodges said with a chuckle.

The very next day saw the children on the doorstep of the Reverend

Grindell clambering to know what he had made of the manuscript which

Sue’s father had left with him.

He took them through to his study and persuaded them to sit down, they

were so excited they were almost jumping up and down.

He rolled the parchment out onto his desk and looked closely at it.

‘Well’ he said scratching his thinning hair ’ It would appear to be in some

kind of Olde English and Latin like you said, and the ink is rather faded

with age, but I will do my best to make it sound like English without

the gist.’

He started to read outloud. This is Sir Richard’s Story;

I, Richard Armstrong sixth Earl of Blantyre on this Twentythird day of
our Lord One thousand six hundred and twenty seven. Wish it to be
public knowledge that one Edward Percy, Lieutenant in the Army of his
Majesty the King Charles of England is a traitor to his King and
Country. A blaggard and a thief, and unless the hand of God can save
me from this place, a murderer.
I came to be in this dungeon, courtesy of said Edward Percy who
although a knight, I will not besmirch the good name of knighthood by
using his title, a title which he does not deserve.
Whilst at my writing desk plotting a course of action to defeat the Army
of one Oliver Cromwell who did desireth to commit a felony upon the
house of my Father Sir Thomas Armstrong whereby his army would seize
the house and possessions to obtain funds for his cause. I had ridden in
haste with my Army from London to warn my father Sir Thomas and
draw up a plan of attack.
And whilst at this writing table the blaggard Percy struck. He hit me
from behind with the hilt of his sword rendering me unconscious. When I
gained my senses I was fastened to this chair and he and two others who
were of his persuasion were plastering up the wall with wattle and darb
to conceal my tomb. He said I could stay here until I rot, which I fear
may be the case.
I do have candle and wick, tinderbox, a roll of parchment and quill with
ink and intend to set out the details of my ordeal, for I will not rest until
the blaggard Percy is known to all men as a coward and traitor.
He did fail in one respect. The treasure which the good and honest folk
of this Country and the Lords and Ladies of the Land did contribute to
the cause of the King in his fight against the tyranny of the madness of
one Oliver Cromwell is outside his reach. This I had hidden in the event
it did cause temptation amongst my men. I now know that it did cause
temptation to Percy, but he will never get his hands on it, for only I know
where it lies. Until this document is read or I regain my freedom it will
lie there undisturbed.
In the black darkness, wet and damp, but protected by the metal case in
which it lies. Only twice daily can it be disturbed.
I had no fear to die for my King and Country, but I did not believe I
would die so ignominiously as in the dungeon of my own home.
Sir Richard Armstrong.Bart.

‘Wow!’ was the general consensus of opinion on the contents of the


‘What do you think it means ?’ asked Wendy.

’Well, there is obviously some treasure hidden around here somewhere.

Richard hid it so that other fellow Percy couldn’t find it, and it’s still

hidden’. answered her brother.

‘Gosh, do you think we could find it?’ asked Matthew his normally pale

face quite flushed with excitement.

‘We could jolly well try’ was the reaction of Phil and ‘Yeah!’ was the

response of the twins. Sue looked excited but said nothing.

’That bit about being where it was dark and wet and could only be got

twice a day. What do you think he meant?’ Wendy was very interested in

that part of the message.

’I think it might be in a cave which is under the sea except for twice a

when the tide goes out.’ volunteered Matthew.

They all looked at him in astonishment. They couldn’t believe that quiet,

shy Matthew could come up with that so quickly, they had all thought

thought about it and got nothing., and here was he coming up with this

widea of what the message might mean.

’Do you know chaps ’exclaimed Phil ’I do believe Matthew has got it.

Come on we’ll take a look around at caves and things.’

David looked aghast ’But Phil there are a mass of caves. Which one are

going to look at? Or do you intend to look at all of them. I think it would

be a better idea if we asked Mr.Hobbs at the Deanery to help us.’

‘My Mr.Hobbs do you mean’ asked Matthew swallowing hard.

’Yes. He was a Naval Officer before he hurt his leg at the beginning of

war and he’ll know all about the caves, and tides and everything.’ David

was now very excited.

‘I really don’t think we should.’ murmured Matthew. ’ He isn’t well

sometimes and he sits around a lot with his head in his hands and makes

wonderful funny moany noises.’

‘All the more reason to ask him ’declared Phil. ’It’ll takes his mind off

himself. My father always says you should always take your mind off


‘Yes. But what if he doesn’t want his mind taken off them?’ started

Matthew but was interrupted by the rest of the gang.

‘We can try can’t we?’ they chorused.

‘Oh yes, you can try’ Matthew muttered almost to himself. He had seen

Captain. Hobbs looking so miserable he could only put it down to the

that he was so unhappy because of being unable to walk and being in a

wheelchair. He hadn’t thought along the lines that perhaps the Captain was

unhappy because he had had to leave his beloved service of his Country,

he couldn’t fight to help save the war, and now felt useless.

Cornish Adventure


Co Durham, United Kingdom

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