003:1/2 The adventures of James Bond Jr.

I just found this article, and I think there's no thread for this book so I decided to start one. Have you read it ? What did you think of it ? Some say that Arthur Calder-Marshall wrote this book but I guess it's not 100% confirmed yet.


http://www.mentalfloss.com/article/70751/no-one-knows-who-wrote-james-bond-novel

Comments

  • DariusDarius UK
    edited November 2015 Posts: 354
    Hmmm... interesting.

    I pains me to admit that this one passed under the radar, although this book is still readily available used, although it's now long out of print.

    The mystery of the author's true identity is what intrigues me the most though. It's possible, indeed highly likely, that IFP are remaining tight-lipped about this for legal reasons, which suggests that if the real author were to be revealed, it would trigger litigation for breach of contract, assuming the real author was contracted to another publisher at the time of publication. If this is the case, then the real author is likely to be a major bankable "name" writer of the time, especially since the secret remains carefully guarded until this very day. This means then that this author's work is still likely under copyright.

    I suppose the only way to gain clues here is to buy a copy of this book and read it. The game's afoot! ;)
  • 007InVT007InVT Classified
    Posts: 893
    Good thread.

    There is a rumour that John Pearson wrote it but I think that's unlikely. Why it's STILL so hush hush is mystery, since no one really cares except for a few of us probably.
  • ClarkDevlinClarkDevlin Martinis, Girls and Guns
    Posts: 13,625
    It was not known who wrote The Adventures of James Bond Junior 003½, although many authors had been named as possibilities including Roald Dahl and Kingsley Amis. Amis was usually seen as unlikely since a year later he released Colonel Sun under the pseudonym Robert Markham, however, unlike R. D. Mascott, Amis's authoring of Colonel Sun was never a secret. Amis's writing style was also not similar to Mascott. Roald Dahl on the other hand did share some similarities specifically with one book he wrote in 1975, Danny, the Champion of the World. In 1967, Roald Dahl completed the screenplay for You Only Live Twice for Eon Productions, the same year The Adventures of James Bond Junior 003½ was published. Although there was evidence to suggest Dahl may have written 003½, there was equally as much evidence to suggest he had not.

    Several authorities attributed the novel to Arthur Calder-Marshall. Calder-Marshall had written a number of similar books especially in style and his descriptions of characters and environments in his books The Magic of My Youth (1951) and The Scarlet Boy (1961). It had also been suggested that the initials R. D. are a play on the name Arthur, which is typically shortened to Artie.

    Several years ago, the now defunct 007Forever.com website made a detailed case for the claim that Arthur Calder-Marshall was indeed the author behind the R.D. Mascott pseudonym. This incredibly detailed analysis focused greatly on the writing style, and compared specific paragraphs from "003½: The Adventures Of James Bond Junior" to several of Calder-Marshall’s novels which were published at roughly around the same time.

    As reported at Her Majesty’s Secret Servant, the identity of Mascott was kept a secret for decades until it was confirmed by his executors to be Arthur Calder-Marshall (August 19, 1908 – April 17, 1992).

    Taken from Wikipedia:
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Adventures_of_James_Bond_Junior_003½#The_author
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 3,613
    Interesting stuff, @dragonsky.

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  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    edited August 4 Posts: 3,613
    Possessing a copy of the Random House US edition, I can begin comment.


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    The opening passages.
    003½: The Adventures of James Bond Junior, R.D. Mascott, 1968. (1966)

    003½
    THE ADVENTURES OF JAMES BOND JUNIOR


    It's not easy to be the nephew of someone as famous as James
    "007" Bond.

    The younger James Bond has played "secret agent" so often
    that his friends think it's just another game when he says there's
    something going on at a nearby estate.

    But James wonders why the new owner has sealed off the
    grounds with barbed wire and vicious dogs. Is he just a mad
    millionaire? Or is there method in his madness?

    With the help of an unlikely ally, a grubby, shop-lifting girl
    named Sheelagh, James undertakes a daring adventure in which
    he displays the same courage and resourcefulness that made his
    uncle famous.

    So I'm absorbing the set-up of this James Bond as the son of Captain (David) Bond, he's an only child living with mother and father, but with frequent moves kind of isolating him over time. And apparently dealing with the family association as nephew of James Bond the VERY well-known secret agent, the wink-wink-nudge-nudge--he can't live up to HIS reputation. But apparently will try.
    CHAPTER 1
    The Reason Why Not
    Dar es Salaam


    ...
    "Tell me, what's it like, James, being overshadowed by 007?"
    Mrs. Frame asked. "And why ever did that father of yours call
    you James, knowing the trouble it'd cause you?"

    James told her that he'd never met James Bond. His parents
    never saw him--he was always on some mission or other.

    "But I wrote to him once. You know, as man to man. I thought,
    well, we had something in common."

    "And...?"

    "He sent me a sheath knife. But he didn't really say much--
    not like he understood, I mean."

    Some interesting stuff in Chapter 1 obviously for a younger audience.
    But am I supposed to have "dirty thoughts" for "a grubby, shop-lifting girl" I'm left wondering.

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  • Posts: 3,250
    The french edition :

    758_001.jpg

    And yes, I have it, having bought it in 1973 or so. Funny thing, the man who did the cover and the interior illustrations was Maurice Paulin, who, among other things, did the same for a young readers spy series (for the same publisher) called Langelot. More details here :

    coolfrenchcomics.com/langelot.htm

    As for the Sheath knife, I guess it would be that model, Bond being british and all :

    britmodcomm.jpg
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 3,613
    That's an awesome image @Gerard, I did a quick search for more of a throwing knife but settled for something else obviously. Yours is on the mark.
  • edited July 31 Posts: 3,250
    An interior colour illustration, showing James Jr. And Sheelagh :

    13407685694_7db9e1bbee_o.jpg
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    edited August 4 Posts: 3,613
    CHAPTER 2
    The Girl behind the Fence


    [James on his way to the Merck cottage.]
    ...
    Where the Windlehurst footpath joined the bridle path there
    was no undergrowth, except for some weeds growing close to the
    wire fence. Through these weeds, James saw someone in the
    pasture, close to the wire. As he walked quietly down, he saw
    that it was a girl.

    She was kneeling down, half-turned from him. The pattern of
    her cotton dress was so faded it was indistinguishable. Her straw-
    berry colored hair looked as if it hadn't been washed, combed or
    brushed for ages. He could not see what he was bent over, but
    from the way her shoulders shook and the strange noises she
    made she seemed to be crying.

    The girl did not hear his approach and James got close enough
    to see that she was staring at something brown and furry, round
    which blue bottles were buzzing, angry at being disturbed.

    James knelt down, not two yards away. She took no more
    notice of him than of the blue bottles. Tears ran down her
    freckled, grubby face, leaving clean streaks. Every so often she
    sobbed. She was only a kid, but she was beautiful in a wild way.

    As he did not want to scare her by speaking, James willed
    her to turn and see him.

    Suddenly she looked round. She had long, light lashes, like a
    cow's. But her green-yellow eyes were like a cat's. For a moment
    James thought that she was scared. Then her eyes blazed. Her muscles
    tautened, as if, like a crouching panther, she might suddenly
    leap.

    Needless to say James is humbled (or should be) by her reaction to their meeting. And the chapter touches on death and danger.

    Unknown to me, the British term "blue bottles" for bluebottle fly or bottlebee.
    Maybe Richard Chopping's real world inspiration for his cover art.

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  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 3,613
    CHAPTER 3
    The Silent Guardians


    ...
    There was no mention of dogs, no need of it. As James stopped
    opposite the gate, an Alsation ran out from the farmyard like a
    bull trotting into the bullring. He looked round and then, seeing
    James, he bounded barking toward him. Close behind came an
    Alsation bitch, trying to make up for slowness by baring even
    louder.

    Despite the protection of the barricade, James stepped back-
    ward. They were magnificent beasts. There was such a ferocity in
    the baring of their teeth that they seemed spoiling to get at him,
    and such power in their bodes that James thought they could
    clear the barricade if they wanted. He had to reassure himself
    that they were guard dogs, trained not to go out and attack but
    to stand and defend.

    I took notice of the author using an opportunity to introduce the word "bitch" into his book for young adults. In another passage I'm surprised by something sometimes taken as a phallic symbol, can't guess the intent here. Maybe I'm overly sensitive on these points.

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  • Posts: 2,392
    Thanks for sharing parts of the books here, really appraciate it
  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    edited August 18 Posts: 3,613
    CHAPTER 4
    When is a Public
    Footpath Private?


    ..................................................At the back there was a map
    of the estate. The Windlehurst footpath was marked as public
    and the path on the other side of Breakneck Lane leading to
    Underfold was also marked as public, but the middle bit crossing
    the Hazeley Hall Estate was not. So Mr. Merck was legally within
    his rights to block the path from Lower Farm to Breakneck Lane.
    Perhaps, thought James, that was why Mr. Merck had bought
    Hazeley Hall. It gave him a large estate from which the public
    could be barred. He now understood the silence of the two men.
    He had made a fool of himself. He put back the catalogue.

    The only way to get to Mr. Merck was to go right up his
    front drive. Should he bicycle there or what?

    Just then Nobby Scales drove up in his mail truck. Nobby's
    delivery round took him along the Windlehurst road, down
    Breakneck Lane right past the entrance to Hazeley Hall, and
    then over the river to Marsham.

    James opened the window.

    "Hey, Nobby!" he shouted. "Give me a lift!"
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  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 3,613
    CHAPTER 5
    The Occupier, Hazeley Hall


    .................Nobby Scales was a very knowing character.
    There seemed no job he hadn't had before becoming a
    mailman. As a result of this wide experience, he had a fund of
    inner secrets.

    "Of course, knowin' it from the inside..." was a favourite
    beginning to his sentences, or "Strictly confidential..."

    "There are things I could tell you," he would go on, nodding
    his head and either winking or laying his index finger on the
    side of his nose, "what would make your 'air stand on end, they
    would."

    What what these things were, he never specified.

    "Cor," he would say when pressed for details, "if you seen
    what I seen! You wouldn't credit it. You just wouldn't credit it!"

    Being a mailman suited him no end, especially the postcards.

    "That card what the Commander got from Ma Sales. You
    shoulda seen that card, you reely should. Strike a light! Wonder
    it didn't burn the post bag." His voice sunk to a whisper. "All
    in code, of course. They say 'e'd retired!" He shook his head.
    "Once in Naval Intelligence, always in Naval Intelligence! All
    the world knows that."
    Short of spoilers hopefully, there is surprising violence in this chapter. And what I thought was misrepresented on the book covers is shown to be accurate after all. Plus of course it's hard being a civil servant.
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  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 3,613
    CHAPTER 6
    The Shoplifter


    ..........................In Marsham change is more noticeable than
    in a town--who has a new car, a new hat, a new shop front.
    Even the people you don't know to speak to, you know by sight.
    And in three months they can alter astonishingly, James thought.

    There was time to kill before he could meet Squirrel and the
    Pride, so James wandered around the village. He went into Wool-
    worth's to buy a quarter-pound of assorted sweets. At the candy
    counter, he immediately saw the tow-haired girl from Lower
    Farm. She was standing next to a large woman who was order-
    ing several different kinds of sweets. The woman had a loaded
    shopping basket over her arm.

    A stranger would have thought that the girl was the large
    woman's daughter, waiting patiently for her mother to finish.
    James, standing on the side, could see the girl's hand creep up
    between the shopping basket and the body of the large woman.
    It went up quietly and was as quietly withdrawn. Then the girl
    moved away, as if she was interested in something else.

    To make some sense of the story, I'll start with very brief descriptions of the chapters then keep up with the rest. Spoilers, obviously.
    Chapter 1: The Reason Why Not Dar es Salaam
    James resists a family outing to Dar es Salaam--he has his own agenda and business to take care of. To recover belongings from Hazeley Hall, where Mrs. Frame allowed him access to a one-room cottage. Some observations on 007 and the family relationship.

    Chapter 2: The Girl Behind the Fence
    James on his own is surprised that his access to the cottage is blocked by a sign that warns "KEEP OUT--DANGER FIERCE DOGS". The owner Mr. Merck isn't so accessible. James comes across a blond girl and death--she's crying over a dead (Alsation) puppy. He's first sorry, then is compelled to deny being responsible for the death.

    Chapter 3: The Silent Guardians
    Another footpath access to Lower Farm is blocked by wire and warning signs. Alsatians roam the grounds--fierce guard dogs, trained to stand and defend rather than attack rationalizes James. Two odd men stand in the distance, the blond girl appears. James shouts an appeal to them and the girl, it's not answered. She eats a banana. A red-haired woman pulls her away and inside. James is outraged by what he sees as public rights of access being violated.

    Chapter 4: When is a Private Footpath Public
    James shares the details with Mrs. Raggles, leaving out the dead puppy and the girl. A more adult conversation for him, he's frustrated but recognizes Mr. Merck is within his rights to buy up land like Hazeley Hall and deny access. But he wants his belongings and hitches a ride on Nobby Scales' mail truck.

    Chapter 5: The Occupier, Hazeley Hall
    Actions evolve that place James in the vehicle entering Hazeley Hall. He's witness to a ferocious Doberman pinscher on a chain, and this part of the mail run is described as a gauntlet. Following a contentious interaction with Mr. Merck, Nobby snaps and shockingly runs down the chained dog with his truck. The frantic mood continues after their hasty exit, James is sickened by the death. He's ready to support Nobby and go to the police, Nobby refuses that help.

    Chapter 6: The Shoplifter
    At Woolworth's James observes the blond girl Sheelagh shoplifting, her interests include sweets and draw-rin' stuff. He offers better drawing materials when he retrieves them from Hazeley Hall. She's doubtful.

    James refers to Sheelagh as:
    "The bog-rose! ... A favorite flower of mine.
    But sooner to flower than the cultivated varieties."

    Andromeda polifolia Marsh Andromeda, Bog rosemary
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  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 3,613
    CHAPTER 7
    The Pride of Lions

    ..........................The Pride of Lions had been James' idea
    during his last year at Marsham Primary. He had been encour-
    aged by Alfie Maws, the landlord of the Lion and the Unicorn,
    whose son Bobbie was in the same class. Alfie Maws had con-
    verted the stables at the public house into a sort of gym and
    game room. But most of the activities of the Pride had been
    centered on the ammunition dump on the grounds of Hazeley
    Hall, with the permission of Mrs. Frame. That was why James
    wanted to see Squirrel Joram, who became King of the Pride
    after James went away to prep school and the others moved into
    the Secondary Modern. The Pride must resent the fencing-in of
    Hazeley Hall as much as he did--perhaps more.
    ...
    "So where are we?" Bill Asher said. "Back where we started."

    "You don't know judo," James said.

    "For crying out loud!" Squirrel raised a laugh.

    James waited for the laugh to end. "I've been learning it. The
    principal's easy. You don't go against. You go with."
    "What d'you go with with with?" Squirrel asked. And there was
    another laugh, but the Lions were excited at the exchange.

    "The guard dogs."

    James told them about Nobby Scales's killing the Doberman
    pinscher. "I think there's only the two Alsatians tonight," he
    said. "They won't have had the time to get another guard dog. Just
    two guard dogs for the whole of Hazeley. One of them may be
    chained, in place of the Doberman pinscher."

    "Or they'll padlock the front gate and leave both dogs loose,"
    Squirrel said. Squirrel was a sharp second-in-command."

    "That's right Squirrel," James said. "We've got to find out.
    But the point is, these dogs bark. They bark like mad."

    "So what?" asked Charlie North.

    "We were talking of being a nuisance," James said. "Ringing
    someone's doorbell and running away--that could be against
    the law. But making somebody's dog bark! That's judo. You don't
    trespass. You're just there. They make their own nuisance. And
    if they're scared of somebody getting in..."

    There was a murmur of appreciation. "Keep 'em up all night.
    String 'em up and down the wire."

    "Operation Barker!" Squirrel said. "It's an idea. But, golly,
    can we do it?"
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  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    edited September 17 Posts: 3,613
    CHAPTER 8
    Operation Barker


    ...
    James' party and Squirrel's set off together at dusk. Jon Long
    was waiting for them where their ways parted. he came to meet
    them as they hove into the night. He looked perplexed. "It's jolly
    queer," he said. "I done like you told. But it didn't work out."

    He had presented himself at the at the barricade and had rattled on
    the wire with a stick. But there was no barking. Just this one dog
    came loping over. But he didn't bark. He stood watching Jon and
    when Jon put his hand on the barbed wire, he growled and
    showed his teeth. Jon walked along the wire fence and the Alsa-
    tian followed him silently, stopping when he stopped, moving on
    again when he moved.

    Once Jon put his hand up and grasped the wire as if he was
    going to climb up it. Immediately the Alsatian sprang for the
    wire and nearly had Jon's fingers.

    There were no lights downstairs at the farmhouse. But there
    was one light in an upstairs room. Jon blew his whistle several
    times, but no one came. At last the curtain in the lighted room
    was drawn. A girl looked out. (Jon didn't say what girl, but
    Jimmy was sure that it was Sheelagh.) She didn't call out and
    Jon did not blow the whistle again. There didn't seem any point.

    "Well," Squirrel said, "there's no one there--only the girl. And
    the dog won't bark. So bang goes Operation Barker!"
    The others looked at James.

    James didn't care about Operation Barker. It was a pretty silly
    idea to begin with. He'd thought of it just as an exercise to get
    the Lions used to working together as a team, so that they'd be
    ready when "the balloon went up." He looked at the other
    five--or rather, four, because at that moment Jon Long said, "I
    must be pushing," and made off back to Marsham. James didn't
    dare to take them into his confidence. They'd just laugh and tell
    him to stop playing 007.

    "No," he said. "Operation Barker is more important than ever!"
    __1_thumb200.jpgsuperthumb.jpg?t=1508906079


    Next:
    CHAPTER 9
    Combined Operations




  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 3,613
    CHAPTER 9
    Combined Operations


    ...
    Bobbie Maws said nothing, but Bill Asher said, "Aren't you
    taking this rather seriously, Jim?"

    "It's either something or nothing," James said. "If it's some-
    thing, it's serious, dangerous. If it isn't it's a waste of time. But
    either way it's not a game."

    He walked on without the other two.

    After a few moments of muttering, they followed him. But
    when they reached the bottom of the hill, where the ditch broad-
    ened into a sort of a boggy swamp, the lights of a car appeared
    reflect round the corner of the crest.

    "Down!" shouted James, throwing himself face down in the
    bog. It was too much for Bobbie Maws and Bill Asher. They
    turned and started walking back toward Marsham.

    About ten yards away, they stood in the road, trying to
    thumb a lift from the downcoming car.
    Looking up, James could see that it was Sir Cuthbert's Jaguar.
    The Commander might have stopped to give James a life (if
    his clothes hadn't been sopping). But he didn't stop for the
    sons of a tavernkeeper and a pharmacist. He raised his head-
    lights and sounded the horn. As the Jaguar swept by without
    dropping speed, James saw there was a woman beside the Com-
    mander, not Lady Conningtower, but a blond womand, much
    younger, who was leaning forward and laughing.

    Bobby and Bill jumped back onto the verge, swearing with
    fright.

    James stood up. the front of his shirt and trousers were
    dripping wet.

    "Come home, Jim," Bill said, "you can't go on like that.
    You're not 007 you know."
    James does go on in the dark. Reaching a barbed wire fence, he sights two men in a truck by the point of light appearing with each drag on their cigarettes. Hazeley Lodge is in view.

    A second military truck arrives, the first joins it. He sees Miss Hubbard's Ford Anglia come and go. A black Humber automobile appears at the exit.
    ...
    He could have sworn it was the bearded face of the
    ginger Negro, under a dark, peaked cap.

    As it turned the corner, the Humber's lights leapt full on;
    and from the dome in the centre of the roof flashed the blue
    winking eye of the police!
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    Next:
    CHAPTER 10
    The Wrath of Mrs. Raggles



  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    edited September 29 Posts: 3,613
    CHAPTER 10
    The Wrath of Mrs. Raggles


    ...
    But a furious Mrs. Raggles pounced on him the moment he
    came in. "Yes, I know you telephoned earlier, but that's no
    excuse," she said, "not for being this late!"

    She held him away from her, looking at his torn and sopping
    clothes, his face and hands deliberately smeared with mud for
    camouflage. "If I'd known what I'd let meself in for, I never
    would've promised I'd do for you. And never again. Get up
    them stairs, James Bond, and wash yer face and 'ands, and put
    yer pyjams on."

    If he hadn't felt so exhausted, James would have protested.
    But Mrs. Raggles had been building up her fury all evening.
    "You nearly had me ringing the police," she shouted upstairs.
    "Wait till your Dad and Mum hear about this. You'll get a
    paddle-bum. Good mind to give it you meself."
    "You just try!" he snapped.

    "I would an' all, if you was mine."

    "Well I'm not!" He turned and shouted down the stairs.
    "I'm nobody's. I'm MINE!"

    As he washed himself under the shower, James thought about
    the words that had just sprung out of his mouth: "I'm mine."
    As the shower freshened him, he realize that this was what
    happened when you grew up, you became yours, nobody else's.
    So did your problems.
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    ...
    Mrs. Raggles was not impressed. Had James told her too
    much or hand't he told her enough? Or was she frightened of
    anything which had to do with Them? James felt her disap-
    proval build up, like an abscess beneath a tooth. It burst as he
    finished the tart. She plucked the empty plate away from him.
    "Well, that's quite enough of that!" she said. "An' the sooner
    you get to bed the better, me lad."

    "But Mrs. Raggles, you don't see..."

    "I see only too well," she said. "You've got that uncle of
    yours on the brain. Your Mum warned me. And I'm not going
    to have any of that 007 nonsense in this house, not while I'm
    responsible." She tossed her head. "That I won't!" She did it so
    vigorously that spoon and fork fell from the plate.

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    James makes an awkward phone call to the Commander, but Lady Conningtower picks up. He'll have to talk to the Commander the next day, about seeing him in the Jaguar. (What he didn't share: Sir Cuthbert was accompanied by a young blonde woman.)

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    Next:
    CHAPTER 11
    Treed



  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    Posts: 3,613
    CHAPTER 11
    Treed


    ...
    He heard when they reached the fallen oak, because of the
    Alsatian's barking. The dog had found James' scent and came
    running down the side of the field, his barking growing louder
    and louder until he stopped beneath the standing oak. There
    he stopped, alternately barking and trying to leap up the tree.

    James's heart beat so hard that he was afraid the girl would
    hear it down below. Then Sheelagh started calling, "Jimmy!
    Jimmy!" Her voice was pleading, not a bit like a key snitcher's.
    James climbed quietly down until he could see her face turned
    upward. She spoke to the Alsation and he stopped barking and
    went and sat on his haunches away from the tree.

    "What you doin'?" Sheelagh asked. "Come on down! Don't
    say yer skeered?"

    "Wouldn't you be," James asked, "if I had that dog?" But
    he felt silly, seeing the Alsatian so obediently tame.

    Sheelagh stroked the dog's head. "It's Satan," she said. "He
    won't hurt you, if I sez so." She knelt by the dog, pointing up
    the tree at James. "Satan!" she said. "Friend! Friend!"

    So James continues his plan to get to the cottage and retrieve his possessions.

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    Next:
    CHAPTER 12
    Not Quite a Boy,
    Not Yet a Man

  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    edited October 13 Posts: 3,613
    CHAPTER 12
    Not Quite a Boy,
    Not Yet a Man


    ...
    James went to the cottage and opened it. He thought what a
    pity he should meet a girl who'd be fun to play with, just when
    there were more important things to do.

    He took out his large box of colored pencils. It was a folly to
    give her all, and pettiness not to. He would be foolish, he de-
    cided, not petty. He selected three sizes of brushes, half a dozen
    poster paints, an HH and a BB pencil, a big used sketching pad.
    That was the lot.
    Then he thought better. Sheelagh would prefer a completely
    new sketching pad half the size of a big one partly used. He
    did them all up in brown paper and sealed the package with
    tape. And with a felt-tip pen he wrote NOT TO BE OPENED TILL
    LATER. He was not going to have her looking over his gift and
    haggling with him about whether the drawing things were what
    she really wanted.

    "But what'll I do when you're gorn, Jimmy?" she said forlornly.

    "Draw, girl, draw!" he said. "I want to see what you've done
    when I come back."

    And though he had never intended this, as he said these words
    he realized that he had an opportunity to use Sheelagh to spy
    on her own people.

    No, said part of James that he was still a child, No. But the
    other part of James said, Yes. And why not?
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    Next:
    CHAPTER 13
    Mrs. Raggles Gives a Blessing


  • RichardTheBruceRichardTheBruce I'm motivated by my Duty.
    edited October 20 Posts: 3,613
    CHAPTER 13
    Mrs. Raggles Gives a Blessing


    "I'd beat the daylights out of you, if you was
    my boy," said Mrs. Raggles, "which mind you you're not, so I
    won't. But just you look at that clock. Twenty past ten! You go
    out mushrooming and you don't even find no mushrooms! It's
    not fair to me, Jimmy. What're you up to?"
    James could tell Mrs. Raggles what he was up to. He wasn't
    certain himself. "I don't want breakfast anyway," he said,
    though he was ravenous. "So don't bother."

    If he had asked for breakfast, Mrs. Raggles would have told
    him he was too late. As it was, she hurried off to cook up an
    enormous meal, which she could insist on his eating. James
    wished that Sheelagh was as predictable as Mrs. Raggles.

    The half-folded Daily Clarion was lying on the table. The one
    banner headline in huge capitals was a single word:

    ROBBERY

    ...
    £2 M GOLD GRAB
    JEWEL GANG STRIKES AGAIN?
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    ...
    "Don't you see Jimmy, you can't do nothing on your own,"
    Mrs. Raggles said. "It's not for you or me. It's for Them." She
    was very serious. Though James did not have Mrs. Raggles' be-
    lief in "Them," he couldn't see at the moment what he or the
    Pride could do. He looked crestfallen. And he was not playacting.
    He felt it.
    "If you make some sandwiches, I could take the bike," he sug-
    gested. "Maybe go for a swim in the lake. See what Squirrel's
    doing."

    Mrs. Raggles made a hopeless gesture with her hands. "I've
    given me word to your Dad and Mum," she said. "What'll they
    say?... They'd never forgive me... I'd never forgive meself
    if anything happened.

    He had learned that, as far as grownups were concerned--
    apart, of course, from the paid tormentors of the young like
    schoolmasters--to be a schoolboy is to wear a cloak of invisibility.
    Nothing he thinks or does can matter to adults.
    James helped Mrs. Raggles make the sandwiches and fill a
    thermos with iced lemonade. "We might make a long day of
    it," he said, "but you're not to fuss, see!"

    When he went to the door, Mrs. Raggles, having seen every-
    thing packed in his saddlebag, suddenly took hold of his head
    in her hands. "You're a proper little devil, Jimmy," she said
    and kissed him on the forehead. "Bless you and keep you out of
    trouble."

    If anyone had been looking, James would have blushed with
    shame. But as it was, the kiss and the blessing lightened his
    heart as he cycled away.
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    Next:
    CHAPTER 14
    Young Fool, Old Fools

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