The Lost Middy

George Manville Fenn
The Lost Middy, by George
Manville Fenn

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Title: The Lost Middy Being the Secret of the Smugglers' Gap
Author: George Manville Fenn
Illustrator: Stanley L. Wood
Release Date: May 4, 2007 [EBook #21318]
Language: English
Character set encoding: ASCII

Produced by Nick Hodson of London, England

The Lost Middy, being the Secret of the Smugglers' Gap, by George
Manville Fenn.

This is yet another tension-packed teenagers' novel from the pen of G.
Manville Fenn. The hero is a sixteen-year-old called Aleck, who is an
orphan being brought up by his uncle, whose main interest in life is
writing a book of history. They live by the sea, and Aleck's great
pleasure is to take his little sailing boat along the coast, often in the
company of a pensioned-off man-o'-war's man, called Tom Bodger.
They get involved with a press-gang raid by one of HM sloops, which is
accompanied by a revenue cutter. Some of the men of the neighbouring
hamlets are taken by the press-gang, but a middy from the sloop is also
taken by the local smugglers, and hidden in the very cave where they
normally hide their spoils.
Unfortunately Aleck also stumbles on the track of the smugglers, and
gets shut up in the same cave. Both entrances of the cave are blocked
up. There is no possible escape. NH
There was a loud rattling noise, as if money was being shaken up in a
box. A loud crashing bang, as if someone had banged the box down on
a table. A rap, as if a knife had been dropped. Then somebody, in a
petulant voice full of vexation and irritability, roared out:
And that's exactly how it was, leaving Aleck Donne, who looked about
sixteen or seventeen, scratching vigorously at his crisp hair as he sat
back, with his elbows resting upon those of the big wooden arm-chair,
staring at the money-box before him.

"I call it foolishness," he said, aloud, talking, of course, to himself, for
there was no one else in the comfortable room, the window of which
opened out upon the most quaint garden ever seen. "It's all right to save
up your money in a box and keep on dropping it through a slit; but how
about getting it out? Here, I'll go and smash the stupid old thing up
directly on the block in the wood-shed."
But instead of carrying out his threat, he leaned forward, picked up the
curved round-ended table-knife he had dashed down, seized the
money-box again, shook it with jingling effect, held it upside down
above his eyes, and began to operate with the knife-blade through the
narrow slit in the centre of the lid.
For a good quarter of an hour by the big old eight-day clock in the
corner did the boy work away, shaking the box till some coin or
another was over the slit, and then operating with the knife-blade,
trying and trying to get the piece of money up on edge so that it would
drop through; and again and again, as the reward of his indefatigable
perseverance, nearly succeeding, but never quite. For so sure as he
pushed it up or tilted it down, the coin made a dash and glided away,
making the drops of perspiration start out on the boy's forehead, and
forcing him into a struggle with his temper which resulted in his
gaining the victory again, till that thin old half-crown was coaxed well
into sight and forced flat against the knife-blade. The boy then began to
manipulate the knife with extreme caution as he kept on making a soft
purring noise, ah-h-h-h-ha! full of triumphant satisfaction, while a big
curled-up tabby tom-cat, which had taken possession of the fellow
chair to that occupied by Aleck, twitched one ear, opened one eye, and
then seeing that the purring sound was only a feeble imitation, went off
to sleep again.
"Got you at last!" muttered the lad. "Half a crown; just buy all I want,
and--bother!" he yelled, and, raising the box on high with both hands,
he dashed it down upon the slate hearth with all his might.
Temper had won this time. Aleck had suffered a disastrous defeat, and
he sat there with his forehead puckered up, staring at the
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