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By Arthur Ransome

A undying vintage, superbly rejacketed.
BACKSTORY: attempt your wisdom of Coot membership boats and research extra approximately recognizing birds.
Tom Dudgeon has do away with a motor cruiser from its moorings to guard a coot's nest, yet now the cruiser is looking low and high for him -- even providing a gift. Tom accepts a call for participation for a week's cruise to coach his new acquaintances, Dick and Dorothea tips to sail. you could not get a greater sailor than Tom yet can he fairly remain one leap sooner than his pursuers lengthy adequate to accomplish the voyage?"

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They left the shed and went not far away of the home in the direction of the river. a delightful voice known as from above them. “I’m coming down in a minute. ” Dorothea seemed gratefully up, and there has been Mrs. Dudgeon at one of many higher home windows. That was once o.k.. little need to give an explanation for to a stranger. Mrs. Dudgeon used to be most likely tucking up the newborn, after taking him in from the backyard. It used to be in basic terms 4 o’clock, yet already no longer so hot because it were. And now Mrs. Dudgeon was once coming down. the instant had come whilst the undesirable information needed to be damaged to her. “What shall I inform her? ” stated Dorothea desperately. “Just inform her they’ve acquired him,” acknowledged Dick. “She’ll recognize what to do. ” there have been steps at the gravel course less than the home windows and Mrs. Dudgeon got here around the condo. One examine Dorothea’s face was once sufficient to inform her that anything used to be unsuitable. “Did you must see me approximately whatever? ” she requested kindly, glancing up on the open window above her. “We won’t speak the following. i would like him to get a bit sleep. Let’s pass and sit via the river. ” yet they didn't take a seat. simply as they got here to the fairway backyard seat, Dick referred to as out, “Here they're! ” And there have been Port and Starboard rowing down the river, towing the little Titmouse astern. “Oh! Oh! ” cried Mrs. Dudgeon. “What has occurred to Tom? ” “They’ve obtained him,” acknowledged Dorothea wretchedly. She was once at the very fringe of tears. “They’ve obtained him. We have been too past due. I knew we'd be. And now they’ve received him. …” She observed Tom a prisoner, in chains most likely, locked up, in any case … bread and water … the captive outlaw … Tom! yet Mrs. Dudgeon used to be seeing whatever a long way worse. there has been Tom’s boat, a halyard flapping unfastened in regards to the mast, Tom’s boat, towed via the twins … towed. … yet the place used to be Tom? … these dreadful squalls over the marshes. … Small boats do capsize so simply. … He may perhaps swim. … Water-weeds. … Cramp. … nobody may possibly ever make certain. … “Nell, Bess,” she cried out to the rowers. “What is it? the place is he? ” after which Dick, Dorothea and Mrs. Dudgeon observed the free package deal of sail circulate within the towed Titmouse. A hump rose within the canvas. The backyard, one finish of which was once resting around the gunwale, lifted. Tom grinned at them from beneath it after which made a dreadful face that intended “Keep quiet! ” The hump within the sail shrank down. The Titmouse appeared as empty as sooner than. “Gee whizz! ” Dorothea grew to become in time to determine a small boy bounce joyfully excessive into the air and disappear not far away of the home. Joe, too, had inspiration there has been not anything to be performed yet to get aid from the grown-up global. He had come, like Dorothea, to inform Mrs. Dudgeon what had occurred. there has been little need of that now, and Joe was once long gone like a flash. Port and Starboard confirmed no signal of forestalling. Port chuckled, yet just for a second. With grave, severe faces, they rowed progressively on down the river. Mrs. Dudgeon had became relatively white, yet now she laughed, partially at herself for ever having proposal that anything could be flawed. “So that’s all right,” she stated. “What used to be it you desired to inform me? ” yet like Joe, Dick and Dorothea had now not anything to inform.

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