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Reunited for the summer, the Swallows and Amazons with Dick and Dorothea launch a prospecting expedition to find the lost gold mine of the high hills above the lake. But the mining camp runs into all sorts of trouble: not only the danger of fire in the drought ridden countryside but also scary encounters with unsafe tunnels. Worst of all is the sinister Squashy Hat, who appears to be a rival prospector and who's certainly a spy - how can they keep working without him discovering what they've found?
(Originally published in 1936)
picked up the thing he had set on the rock and had put it in his pocket. He stood for a moment looking towards Kanchenjunga, then turned, and set off walking over the uneven ground. “He’s coming this way,” said Roger. “He’s seen us,” whispered Dorothea. “Dead still, everybody,” said Nancy. The distant figure was moving fast, now across bare rock, now knee-deep in bracken, now working along the sheep tracks through the heather. “He hasn’t seen anything,” said John. “He’s going down to the
Titty, and with that they left the little pool and hurried on up the track after the leader of the expedition. “Yes there is,” said Dick suddenly, stopping short. “Is what?” asked Titty. “Spoor,” said Dick. “You can see someone’s been this way. Cutting sticks.” He pointed at some new twigs lying on the ground. “She may have been laying a patteran,” said Titty. “You know, to show which way she went. But the sticks aren’t crossing.” “Here’s some more,” said Dick. “She’s just been chopping as
calmly. “We’ll be able to get out where Squashy Hat got in. He didn’t get in here …” Dick’s words somehow surprised everybody. With the mouth of the tunnel being suddenly closed behind them, the others had forgotten that they could still go forward even if they could not go back. “Come on,” said Titty. “As quick as ever we can. Susan’ll be looking for us almost at once. She’d sent me to bring you home for grub.” Roger tugged at the string. It was no good. He pulled it with all his force, and
At the time, when he had heard the way Slater Bob spoke of Squashy Hat, he had agreed with Titty. But now he was not so sure. There was so much he wanted to ask. “Couldn’t we go and see him without telling him everything?” he said. “But we don’t want to,” said Nancy. “Not with him and Squashy being blood brothers and all that.” “But perhaps they aren’t,” said Dick. “Of course they are,” said Titty. “You heard what Slater Bob said.” “Couldn’t we manage to show our stuff to Slater Bob without
miners blinked at her with eyes reddened by the smoke. Hands, faces, clothes were black with charcoal. “It’s quite safe,” said Nancy. “It wasn’t smoke you saw. Only steam. Go on, Peggy. Don’t stop blowing.” “Wough … Wough … Wough.” The regular noise of the bellows, that had slackened for a moment, went on. Dick dropped another handful of charcoal in at the top. “Nay, but stop it!” said Mrs Tyson. “If you’ve owt to cook, you can come down and use the kitchen range.” “We can’t stop now,” said