NATIONAL STRIP CARTOON! WEEKLY
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new AND utJEKPUORCD \ MY SISEN6TH
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?Ju> 44cU*eHf**toe4 of P.C.49
FROM THE FAMOUS RADIO
series by ALAN STRANK5
PJLOT ACA/NST fW£ WOXLD
by Chad Varab
The story so far
"Will you come into my
my foal!" snorted Geoff, as be
scrutinised Ihc gloomy, rambling
old house the Vicar was pointing
at. "It looks ready to fall down any moment!"
"What do wc do now?" broke in Ken
impatiently. "Do we rush the place, or sneak
up on it? And have you a gun, in case Gog
"I don't know where you get your ideas of
Secret Service work, laddie," be said. "We're
not going to arrest Gog, or engage in gun-
play, if I can help it. I wouldn't have brought
a kid like you if I were'"
"Not going to arrest him?" Ken looked
horrified. "But he he's a dirty traitor!"
"So tlific's message alleged, if I decoded it
correctly," said the Vicar. "But we've no
proof of it, yet."
"And if we rush in without thinking," con-
tributed Geoff, "we shall probably not get
the proof we want-"
U felled Mm as neatly as if he'd been pale-axed
"It would be 'andy if wc could get 'im to
lead us to some of 'is mates afore e suspects
as we're on 'is track," suggested Dick, speak-
ing in his usual deliberate way.
"Thai's the idea," said Geoff, looking at
Dick shrewdly, as if he were noticing him for
(be first time. "Now, here are your orders.
You, Dick, wUI cruise unobtrusively about
in the neighbourhood, keeping your eyes
open, and never getting too far away in case
any of us needs to be picked up in a hurry.
Use your own discretion - after your last
remark i'm sure you've got plenty." Dick
coloured slightly, but his stolid northern (ate
betrayed no other sign of pleasure at this
word of praise. "You, Bill, will call on Gog,
announcing yourself as "the Vicar'. He won't
think to ask whether it's this parish that
you're the Vicar of. and you can keep hint
talking about anything you like to use as an
excuse for your call. A subscription to your
Organ Fund, or something."
"We haven't an Organ Fund," objected
'Burglar Bill', "and I reseat the suggestion
that if I call on anyone it's most likely to be
a begging expedition!'
"Well, think of something bettor if you
can," retorted Geoff. "The mail] thing is, to
keep him talking whilst 1 snoop around and
see if He's got Ted Iliffe imprisoned there. If
you can get anything incriminating out of
Gog, so much the better, but whatever you
do, don't arouse his suspicions."
"What about me?" asked Ken glumly,
thinking he was going to be left out. "Can't
I come with you, Mr. Geoff?"
"I'd nearly forgotten you, sonny," said the
Secret Service man, getting out of the car.
"No, you go with the Vicar. He can truth-
fully introduce you as 'one of my boys'
you're in his Club, aren't you? - and Gog
will probably assume you're his son."
. "Heaven forbid!" exclaimed the Vicar.
Dick chuckled and drove off. When Ken
turned back from waving to him, Geoff had
vanished and the Vicar was already striding
along the drive. Ken ran and caught him
The Vicar pressed his thumb firmly on the
door -bell. A shifty-eyed manservant opened
the door a few inches and looked at them
suspiciously through the crack.
"What do you want?" he askerL
The Rev. BUI Read pushed the door
"Don't peer at me as if I were a tramp, my
man!" he boomed. "And do you usually
address callers in that uncivil way?"
The man looked as if he would have liked
to say something rude if the clergyman had
looked less like a prize-fighter.
"Kindly tell Professor Gog Ihc Vicar is
calling upon him."
"He's not in," said the man; then, as
"Burglar Bill's" jaw stuck out pugnaciously,
he added reluctantly, "sir".
"Nonsense! I know he's in, so you're cither
lying or mistaken. I'll give you the benefit of
the doubt, and assume the latter."
"Well, I'll go and sec, but if he is, he'll be
loo busy to see you sir," answered the
fellow uneasily. He tried to shut the door, but
the visitor's number ten shoe was in the way,
so he retreated, glancing back murderously
over his shoulder.
"How'm I doing T' asked the Vicar out of
the turner of his mouth.
"Fine, sir!" enthused Ken. "1 think we'll
The "gaolbird" returned.
"The professor is very busy, sir, but he says
be will spare you one minute if you'll wait a
moment," he said. He made no move to
admit them, so the Vicar strode purposefully
in with Ken at his heels.
"We'll wait in the drawing-room," he
announced firmly. "You've kept us on the
doorstep too long as it is."
The man looked as if he were about to
argue the point, then shrugged his shoulders
and led the way to a room that was beauti-
fully furnished but didn't look as if it was
"You needn't wak," snapped the Vicar.
The servant looked daggers, but went. The
Vicar jerked his head at Ken, and the boy
stood by the door with his ear dose to it
whilst his companion tried the drawers of
the desk. They were all locked, but the Vicar
plucked off the top slwet of the blotter and
crammed it into his pocket.
"Ssst!" hissed Ken, moving away from the
door. When the Professor entered, they were
both apparently absorbed in an oil painting
so dark that no one could tell if it was a
family portrait or two cows.
The Professor was obliging enough to look
exactly like Ken's idea of a Professor. He had
grey rumpled hair hedging in a shiny bald
pate, a walrus moustache, yesterday's egg on
his waistcoat, semicircular teases to his
glasses, and a preoccupied expression.
"My dear fellow P boomed the Vicar
genially, advancing with outstretched hand.
He had a grip like a bear, and the Professor
winced. "How delightful to see you again! It
has been a long time, hasn't it?"
"No flies on Burglar Bill!" thought Ken.
"Gog can't be sure they haven't met before,
and he'll have a job to find out without
"Yes - yes, indeed!" stammered the Pro-
fessor uncertainly. He looked wildly round,
noticed Ken, and addressed him with relief.
"Ha, my boy! I haven't' met job before, have
I ? What's your name ?"
If the Professor, assuming they were father
and sort, had hoped for a mention uf the
surname of his unwelcome visitors he was
"Well, Mr. - cr - cr - well. Vicar, what can
1 do for you?"
The Vicar obtained somewhat grudging
permission to sit down and light his pipe, and
launched info a long and involved account of
the difficulties of running young people's
dubs, the shakiness of much Church finance,
the problems of juvenile delinquency, and
many kindred mailers. He approached the
sdhject of a "small subscription " from
several different angles, but sheered off every
time his victim reached for his cheque-book
and tried to pin him down in a definite
amount or to discover to whom or what the
cheque should be made payable. Ken could
almost feel sorry for the Professor, who was
hopping about from one leg to the other in
his impatience to gel rid of his callers, and
trying in vain to get a word in edgeways.
"Burglar Bill" was nutting up a marvellous
performance, pretending to be hard of hearing
and booming away non-slop. When Ken
slipped to the door muttering something
about going to the lavatory, the Professor
was too distraught to nonce, though the
Vicar looked up with a warning frown.
ONCi- outside the door. Ken listened intently
for any sign of the footman's presence,
and (hen dodged up the stairs. The lavatory
door was open, so he shut it in case he
shuuld have to pretend that he couldn't find
the place. He passed swiftly along the
corridor, trying doors cautiously until he
came to one that was locked. He lapped
gently on this one, saying with breathless
politeness, "Are you going to be in there
much longer?" so that if anyone but Ted
lliffe were in he could claim that he had mis-
understood the nature of the room. However,
there was no reply, and when he applied his
eye to the keyhole he caught a glimpse of
what appeared to be electrical apparatus.
He was just about to open a green baize
door when he heard footsteps from the other
side of it, and had to nip into the nearest un-
locked room He closed the door behind htm
a fraction of a second before the other door
slammed gently on its spring, and waited,
scarcely breathing, for the footsteps to pass.
They did pass, for a few paces - (hen they
returned, and he pressed himself against the
wall as the door opened.
'"Come on out ot it!" growled a voice
which he recognised as tlvat of the uncouth
Ken was too paralysed to move. His
stomach seemed to turn over and he clenched
The voice spoke again, cajoltngly this time.
"Come on, now! 1 shan't hurt you!"
There was something more frightening (o
Ken in this coaxing than in the previous
angry tone. He found himself thinking "Will
you walk into my parlour? said the spider to
the fly". Then the voice continued, mote in-
sistently, "Chi-clu-chi-chi-chi!"and it was all
Ken could do to stop himself letting out his
breath with relief. There was a plaintive
"miaou w!" and a tiny thump as the cat
jumped off the bed, and Ken caught a glimpse
of the back of the footman's head as he bent
to pick up a huge marmalade cat by the scruff
of its neck. Then the door was closed and the
He gave a little hysterical giggle, then
checked himself. He found himself tremb ling.
and sat on the bed to recover. Rut knowing
thai the Vicar might not be able to keep Gog
talking much longer, he soon made for the
green baize door and tiptoed up the stairs
which ii concealed.
There was no doubl which of the allies wax
Ihe scientist's prison. One of the doors was
reinforced, and had a grille in it so that food
could be passed through without the gaoler
entering. Ken pulled back the bolt securing
the grille, and opened the panel.
The man sitting on the pallet-bed in the cell
didn't trouble to look up, until Ken whis- '
pered hoarsely, "Are you Ted fJiffe?" Then
the man leapt to his feet and came across to
"Who are you?" he demanded.
"My name's Ken. My pal Jim found you
in that cellar, but when Dick and my sister
and I went for you, you'd gone."
"Yes, they came back for me within about
ten minutes of Jim going for help. I'm glad
they didn't catch him. How did you get here?
Are you alone?"
"No - I came with Dick and the Vicar and
his friend Geoff from M.I.5. Dick's still in
the car, the Vicar's keeping Gog talking, and
Mr. Geoff's looking for you."
The prisoner looked suddenly wary.
"Can you get me out without Geoff's
help? Where is he?"
"I don't know," answered Ken to both
questions. '"Will that footman he coming
"I expect so - my lummy says it's lime for
lunch. Can you pick a lock?"
"I shouldn't think so - I never have, except
on my suitcase once when I lost the key."
"Well, try with this," said Dr. Ililfe, hand
ing a piece of metal through the grille.
"Can'l you do it from your side?" asked
"No keyhole, and I've nothing to cut
through with. Hurry, man?"
Under Ihe direction of the imprisoned
scientist. Ken twisted the bent metal in the
lock, but although it would turn in several pos-
it tons, It would noi lift all the wards at once.
"Give me it back a minute!"
Dr. Ililfe wrested with the implement for
some lime oui of Ken's line of vision. Ken
tried the other I wo doors on this landing, but
they were locked. There was nowhere to hide
if the manservant should return.
The prisoner passed the pick-lock back.
Ken was still wrestling frantically with it
when he heard the rattle of crockery ap-
proaching the baize door.
The sudden appearance or the man with the
torn my -gun was like a cold douche lo Ray,
Anna. Jim and I'm. in their moment of exal-
lalion. Apart from whirling to face him, they
stood in frozen immobility, like statues. It
was Pru who broke the spell.
"Why, Mr. Cosh," she exclaimed, "what-
ever are you doing here?"
Ray slapped his thigh disgustedly.
"Of course!" he said. "Albert Cosh! I
knew I'd s
The man's beady little eyes gleamed with
"So you recognise me now, do you? All
the more reason lo see you never gel out of
here alive! Now stick 'em up and lurn
"Take no notice of him!" commanded
Anna, scornfully. Jim guiltily lowered his
hands again, and glanced at Pru lo see if
she'd noticed his action. "Like all bullies, he's
a coward! Go on, shoot, if you dare - that
thick neck of yours would just suit a hang-
" Don't you try me too far '." snarled the man.
"Do as you're told, and don't Iry any tricks,
or I might do something you'd be sorry for!"
"You might panic and do something you'd
be sorry for," admitted Anna.
So saying, she began to walk deliberately
towards him, her eyes on his. Ray needed no
clearer hint lo approach him too.
"Get back, you fools!" shrieked Cosh.
The advancing pair neither faltered nor
hastened. Cosh backed away until he bumped
into the porch. Then, with his back against
the wall, he closed his eyes and was about lo
blaze away wildly when something crashed
on his head and knocked the weapon from his
The first burst wrecked ihe front tyre
grasp. Jim had pushed the ladder over and it had
felled him as neatly as if he'd been pole-axed.
Ray lifted the ladder with his one good
hand, and Anna snatched up the tommy-gun
which had been trapped under ii.
"Let's get out of here!" suggested Jim
They all made their way as quickly as
possible to the place where Pru had climbed
Ihe wall. There was no sign of pursuit.
Infuriatlngly, there seemed to be no traffic
at all just when they wanted to thumb a lift.
They walked on, one of them looking back
frequently for signs of a hue and cry. They
had walked about a quarter of a mile when
Jim yelled: "Car just driven out of Figtree's
gate !" They dashed for a five-barred gate into
a field, and were climbing over it, when Pru,
who had been giving Ray a leg-up, suddenly
rushed back into the middle of Ihe road,
yelling and waving. As the others saw the
reason they clambered back, too, A taxi was
approaching at iis top speed of about forty
miles an hour.
It pulled up alongside them, and they all
piled in on top of Dr. Briggs, Jim darting
round to the other door to save lime. "Turn,
driver - that car's after us, and they're
armed !" yelled Ray.
"Blimey!" moaned the cabby, fumbling
agitatedly with his gears. "If- 1 ever get ant
o' this alive . . ,"
He had the cab sprawled right across the
road as the other car approached at speed.
The pursuers pulled up with a shriek of
brakes, but by the time they had leapt oul,
the cab was off, and they had to get in again.
The brief start they had was being rapidly
reduced by the faster car when Dr. Briggs
said, very politely for him, "Excuse me,
young lady", and took Ihe tommy-gun from
Anna, who seemed to have forgotten she
still had it, and leaned out of the window.
There was a noisy stuttering sound, and Jim
yelled "Gol 'emT"
The Doctor's first burst had wrecked both
the front tyres of the pursuing car. which was
now bumping along almost out of control.
As it stopped, a man sprang out and fired at
the retreating taxi, but Ihe only tyre he hit was
the spare one, and the cab was soon out of
"Don't you ever try to 'ire my cab again,
any of you," shouted the terrified driver,
swerving dangerously as he turned lo glare
at his passengers. "1 shall want double fare,
and damages, that I shall. You did oughter 'a
knowed better. Dr. Briggs."
The Doctor ignored him. He was sitting
back between Jim and Pru, with a beatific
smile on his face.
"I'm a man of peace," he remarked
dreamily. "A respectable citizen pursuing an
honourable calling. I've been deprived of my
car, I've had my taxi snaffled under my very
nose by a young hussy who wants a good
spanking, and I've been left on the fringe of
all the excitement of the last sixteen hours or
so, and / don't mind- It's all been worth it."
"I'm glad to bear you say that. Doctor,"
said Ray grimly, "because if thai 'plane isn't
going to machine-gun us, I'll send back my
To be continued next week
and WONDERFUL STAMP
Containing SAN MARINO
large multi-coloured stamp
depicting President Roose-
velt; FRENCH MOROCCO mint pictorial; large
GREECE "Leaping Bull" issued before the war;
grand CHINA Airmail showing Aeroplane over the
Great Wall; JUGOSLAVIA King Alexander as
Prince; 3 BELGIUM axaunemontins (Ostend-
Dover mail boat. Woman making lace, and An-
tarctic Expedition); set of 3 HINDENBURG; set
of 4 HUNGARY famous men; ROD MANIA 1922
Coronation 50 bani ; and finally a large 1946 stamp of FRANCE 20 Frames with a
fine view of Pointc du Raz. this stamp alone is catalogued I0rL These 17 scarce
stamps will be sent ABSOLUTELY FREE to every collector who asks to
SEE a selection of our Famous Approvals. (Enclose 2jd.)
. . . and over 1,000
other orders and decorations.
Boys like you are needed
Ihe proud Royal Air Force tradition.
You'll get a fine technical and general
and learn a skilled trade. It's
a grand life — lots of sport — everything
found- -good food — pocket money. It
flying career and promotion.
^V <* RESCUES LOST
PROFESSOR BRITTAIN EXPLAINS: X-RAY
MAGftAM OF HOT CAT
A *\/\ y
HAV9 WERE OifFBAl IfiP
Write lo Professor Brittain, c/o eagle, if you have any questions or problems you would like him to deal with. He will be on this page from time lo time.
SETH AND SHORTY - COWBOYS
HEROES OF THE CLOUDS
SOME IDEA OF
DISCOVERING THE COUNTRYSIDE
IS CH6WED INTO BALLS OF P<
,V\AKES THE CELLS WHIL1H FORM HER NEST. THE FIRST CELI
FASTENED TO THE ROOK OF THE COMPARTMENT, TO W
MOfiE LAYERS HANGING DOWNWAWOS. IN THESE CELLS T
; ARE LAID, ANP WHEN THE GRUBS MArCH, SHE FEEDS
INSECTS AND CATERPILLARS.
HEN THE FlHST VOUNG WASPS COMg
OM THE CELLS THEY HELP THE QUEFN 8Y
ILARGlNG THE NEST, BUILDING MORE
CELLS.AND BRINGING FOOD TO THE NEW
GRU9S, FOR THE QuEEN NOW STAYS AT
HGMC AND DEVOTES HER TJME TO LAVING
THERE IS ANOTHER TYPE OF WASP. THE
HANGS ITS NEST
FROM BRANCHES OF BUSHES OR TREES
THE CELLS ARE ftuILT IN eXACTLY T "
SAME /WINNER. WITH AN OUTER
COVERING OF PAPERY *
THE WOOD l".IVaP 13 SLIGHTLY
Smaller than the
AND EDITOR'S PAGE
The Editor's Office
43 Shoe Lane, London, EC -4
WHAT is Philuminism? It is,
according to David E. Tut hill
of Plymouth, the collecting of
That's something we learned from the
"What do you like best" Competition in
faou No. 3. (Incidentally there art quite
a large number of "Philum mists" in the
Wc were very nearly snowed under, but not
quite, by all the lists of hobbies you sent
along, and very interesting lists Ihcy were loo.
Selecting the one we liked best was a tremen-
dous job; so much so, that we have decided
to award three prizes instead of one.
Freda Austin of? Chant rey Road,, Brixton
sent in the list for which we are awarding the
first of the prizes. Her interests apart from
what we might call the usual hobbies, like
those we listed on the coupon include
"Dressing up", '"Doing the Housework",
"Making Snow-men", "Reading the Bible",
"Sitting in the Dark". "Going on Bus Rides",
"Shorthand and Typing", "Nursing", "Dress-
making", "Watching Weddings". "Baby
Minding", "Making Noises" and fifty-four
more. It seemed to us a most varied and
enterprising lisi. showing a good deal of
Two others we have picked out for prizes
are Frank L. Tebbs. 136 Lichfield Road,
Beconttec, whose list includes pisciculture.
(We are learning a number of new words in
this competition; I imagine that pisciculture
means 'care of fish'J. And John Bowers. 21
Bancroft Road, Newark -on-Trent, who inclu-
des archery and puppetry among his interests.
I also think we ought to send five bob io
David Tuthill for leaching us what philu-
There are a great many other lists almost
equally good arid wc have certainly been
astonished by the wide variety of hobbies and
interests shown by -EAGLE readers. We are
going carefully through all (he lists so as to
get a clear picture of what you like doing
most. It will be a very great Itclp in planning
further activities of the Club. It is clear that
we shall have to organise a good number of
hobby groups in which all Eaglers wilh similar
interests can join. So far, you remember, we
have made a slarl wilh forming the Model
This week, we announce our second mug
tir thf MONTH. You'll agree, we feel sure,
that it is a thoroughly deserved award.
Here arc the names of some others who
have been elected mugs. We shall announce
others from time to time in later issues as
There is, for example, 16-ycar-oW John
Wilkins from Lincoln who has saved two
people from drowning in a year. He is patrol
leader of the 22nd Troop of Lincoln Scouts
and has been awarded, the gilt cross and bar.
There is Victor Crouch of 103 Galloway
Road, Shepherd's Bush, London, who one
day saw iwo boys driving a dog olTaciirfinto
the sea. He tackled the hoys and got hadly
hurt. But he kept on and then, although there
weie glass and stones in the water, he jumped
in and saved the dog from being washed out
There is Elizabeth Me Hutchison who came
across a little girl of three playing on the foot-
path. The little girl dashed into the road after
her ball - in the path of an oncoming car.
Elizabeth ran out and grabbed the little girl
and got her back to the pavement just in lime.
There is Roy Davies of 18 Spark Street,
Birmingham. He has given up many weeks of
his lime to look after an elderly couple who
have been ill and had no one tocare for them.
We have only room for these four examples
this week. They all seem to us to have done
something special which deserves the award
of the Mugs Badge. There are many others
to tell you about later.
M H& OF THE MONTH
Eleven-year-old Anthony Peel of
Leigh Avenue, Mai pie, Cheshire,
returned to his home late one night
soaked to the skin and covered with
mud. He was spanked and sent to
bed for ''falling into a pond."
The true story was not known until
a little later when Mrs. Dowse called
at the Peel's and disclosed that
Anthony was a hero. He had rescued
her boy Barm- from the 6 ft. deep
Peak Forest Canal. He had heard
cries and ran to the canal bank, dived
in and brought Baine to the side.
There are prizes for oil cooiptti lions again this Keek. You can tend all
your entries in one envelope, hut please put your name and address
and Huh number on each. Address to Competition, EAGLE, 4 Nrw
Street Square, London, E.C.4.
1. SEQUELS From the thousands of replies received to the Kilt-In competition
some weeks ago it is obvious that a great many or you are very keen on drawing. So
here is something rather more difficult. Our artist has drawn one picture and has left
the empty square for you to use your imagination and draw the succeeding part, the
sequel. If you don't want to cut the page trace the blank square on to a piece of paper.
National Savings Certificates of £1 will be given for the three most original -Sequels''
received not later lhan June 21sl.
2.POPULARITY COMPETITION, N « . 2 Write on a postcard,
in order numbered 1 to 6, your choice of the six books you have read wiiich you
enjoyed most. Prizes of a £1 National Savings Certificate will be awarded to those
wlio give correctly the books in the order of popularity agreed by the judges.
3. THE NOISES THEY MAKE: You all know that parrots talk and
monkeys chatter, but do you know the noises made by (a) donkeys, (b) horses,
(c) lapwings, (d) seagulls, (e) hens, (I") hyena, (g) deer, (h) cricket, (i) grasshopper?
A prize of a 10/6 National Savings Certificate will go to the sender of the first correct
solution opened on June 21st.
CART A IN PUGW ASH
hash Lonergan's Quest
By MOORE RAYMOND
The story so far
pleaded : "You a
Lash froze in his tracks, startler ahead
MO POKE suddenly stepped out
from behind (Ik tree. He carried a
boomerang and spear. Crying
some native word, he again
hurled his boomerang.
Yabbayabba, watching its swift curving
Right, raised his millanulla in readiness to
strike the weapon and bring it to the ground.
Then Mopoke silently flung a spear. It was
limed to reach Yabbayabba at the same mom-
ent as the boomerang on its longer Right.
The trick caught Yabbayabba off his guard.
He was just about to strike at the boomerang
when he glimpsed the Hashing spear. He
hurled himself to the ground just in time.
So accurate was Mopoke 's judgment that
the two weapons reached the spot simul-
taneously. Unluckily, the boomerang hit one
end of the whizzing spear, and both went
flying into a dense and thorny waitawhile
bush. Luckily, they were well out of reach of
Yabbayabba, now on his feet again.
"Hard luck, Mopoke!" called Lash,
straining at the rope around his feet. New
hope of rescue had given him renewed
strength, and he thought he could detect a
loosening of the bonds.
With a cry Yabbayabba leapt at Mopoke,
whom he now believed to be unarmed.
But all the time Mopoke had concealed in
his left hand a small but deadly weapon. It
was a smooth, egg-shaped pebble he slipped
into his right hand. He flung it with all his
might at the onrushing Yabbayabba.
The stone struck the black in the middle of
the forehead. He grunted, spun round, flung
wide his weapons, and fell flat on his back
"Mopoke!" he exclaimed, reaching out a
hand. "Put it there, cobber!"
Shyly yet proudly, the aborigine clasped
Lash's brown hand in his huge black paw.
Then Lash instructed him to mount the horse
that stood beside Monarch.
His first thought had been to take Yabba-
yabba prisoner, march him along to the
police, and turn him over as a self-confessed
But he quickly decided that Yabbayabba
could wail. The black murderer was only an
ignorant hireling. There were bigger fish to
'To Opal town," said Lash, urging
Monarch into an amble.
"No, no, boss!" cried Mopoke. "Go longu
father fella. Koala."
"Your father?" Lash was puzzled.
Then Mopoke told the story the young man
was aching to hear - the story of how the
black managed to arrive in time to save him.
It was all very simple. Mopoke's father.
Koala, had sent his son to ask Lash to come
up into the hills, where he would learn some
very important news.
Koala himself did not come down from his
hiding-place, because he was being hunted by
Yabbayabba. Koala had been one of the
blacks who had discovered Uncle Peter's body
that tragic day. He had seen Yabbayabba
running away from the scene of the crime.
He knew too much for Yabbayabba, who
was out to silence htm.
But that was not all the news. Koala had
something extremely important 10 show Lash.
It was something to do with opals.
"Could he have made an opal strike?"
Lash asked him excitedly.
Mopoke went on to say how be went oil to
Oonawidgee in search of Lash.
When he learned from Rawhide O'Reilly
that Lash had ridden off in pursuit of Dago
Messiter, the aborigine made for Coolabah
"You runnem all night?" suggested Lash
Mopoke chuckled and went on to tell how
he had arrived at the homestead before dawn.
Then, when daylight came, he saw Lash being
put in charge of Yabbayabba and being taken
off into the bush.
Speaking in blackfellow English, Lash said:
"I'll do what your father asks, Mopoke.
I'm sure it must be very important and
urgent news. But first I'm going to Opallown.
"I've got an idea I might find out some-
thing about The Hunchback in Opallown
this morning . . . something to do with last
night's robbery ■ • - something that might
lead us to his secret headquarters."
They went cantering off through the scrub
to the deserted township.
About half-a-mile from the deserted town-
ship. Lash and Mopoke reined their horses to
a walk. This was the roughrider's first pre-
They had not gone far when Monarch
whinnied. Both horses pricked their ears.
"There's a horse ahead," Lash told him-
self "Maybe more than one. Did a horse
whinny in Opallown and give warning of our
The roughrider and his companion dis-
mounted and tied up their horses. They
approached Opaltown quietly and on foot.
"'Wait longa here a bit," he said to Mopoke.
Standing hidden in the last patch of scrub on
the outskirts of Opaltown. they gazed down
(he dusty road that ran through (he tumhle-
II was deserted. Not even a snake or goanna
or frill lizard ran across the sun-scorched
Yet Lash sensed there was someone about.
"Mine tinkit fella longa here," he murmured
Lash made for the mouldering building
that was once the township's bank. It was
here he had first discovered the strongbox
clues that connected The Hunchback with
On ncaring the place, he signalled Mopoke
to move off and try 'o approach the bank
from the front. The black silently disappeared.
Crack ! U was the unmistakable sound of a
breaking twig, snapped by someone's weight
on the brittle wood. Lash froze in his tracks,
"There's somebody behind that fence," he
told himself as he crouched low and began to
inch his way forward. He was acutely aware
that he might at any moment be confronted
with the menace known as The Hunchback.
He crept silently forward till he had almost
reached the vine-curtained fence. He held his
breath and listened.
sheer 500 feel above the hills
Lash edged further forward and, resting a
hand on one of the palings, started to
draw aside the curtain of leaves.
The paling was rotten, and it gave way.
The roughrider fell forward on to the fence,
and the whole thing collapsed.
As he went sprawling. Lash heard a yell of
surprise. Before he could disentangle himself
the muzzle of a rifle was shoved within an
inch of his nose. "Suck 'em up!" cried a shrill
voice. "Or I'll drill you!"
Lash burst into laughter. The holder of the
gun looked momentarily astonished. Then he
gave a joyful cry of recognition.
"Rawhide and I came up lookin' for you,"
said Squib breathlessly. "He's bavin' a squrz
on that side o' the road and I'm lookin' on
this. And I'm the one that's found vou!"
Mopoke appeared as if by magic. He had
heard the pair's laughter, and came to in-
Rawhide heard it, too. He arrived to find
Lash, Squib, and Mopoke squatting on the
Mopoke plucked al Lash's sleeve and
e quick longa Koala fella,
"Too right, Mopoke. We won't waste any
more time here. We've already made enough
noise to scare anybody away. So get your
Soon the four companions were riding
north towards the hills again.
Now it was Mopoke who led the group.
He picked bis way among the basalt boulders,
winding in and out of the gums, ironbarks,
Suddenly they came to a clearing bordered
by wattle trees golden with bloom.
Mopoke's father. Koala, awaited them.
The greying tufts of hair on either side of his
head gave the blackfellow an appearance
like the bear after which he was named.
Lash, who had known Koala since child-
hood, jumped down and shook the old man's
He briefly repeated what Mopoke had told
the roughrider - bow lit had seen Yabba-
yabba running from the scene of Uncle
Peter's murder, and how a great piece of opal
was clutched in the lifeless hand of the man
who was carried by the blacks to the home-
stead of Coolabah Creek station.
"Opal !" exclaimed the old aborigine,
pointing further into the hills. "Plenty opal
longa bird humpy."
"What's he mean?" asked Rawhide. "Bird
humpy. That means bird's house."
"Why waste time talking about it?" asked
Lash as he remounted. "Let's go and see."
With an agile ease surprising in a man of
his age. Koala vaulted up behind Mopoke,
who once more rode ahead into the hills.
The slope grew steeper and stonier. The
gullies became ravines. Then, suddenly, they
rode out of the scrub and saw Candle Peak.
Ages ago, when the crust of the earth in
these regions was undergoing the convulsions
of settling down to rest, a deep-down volcanic
force thrust up a finger of rock. Roughly
cylindrical in shape, it looked something tike
the stump of a lighted candle to the explorer
who saw it with the glow of sunrise at its peak.
"Bunyip longa there, eh. Koala T' laughed
Rawhide, pointing to the peak with precipi-
tous sides I hat rose a sheer 500 feet above the
Koala did not approve of the joke. Like
the rest of the blacks, he believed the tradi-
tional story about the inaccessible peak
being inhabited by a bunyip. The bunyip is a
fearsome, fabulous creature of the bush.
Koala instructed Mopoke to rein their
horse to a hall. Pointing down to the bottom
of the ravine, he said; "Findcm Missa
Lonergan longa there."
"Then it must be somewhere around here
he found that bonzer bit of Opal," suggested
"Missa Messiter come longa here with
plenty fella," went on Mopoke. "All fella
lookem, lookem, lookem. No findem opal."
Koala slid off the horse and turned to the
others with a grin that mingled pride and
cunning. "This fella findcm budgeree opal,"
he told them.
So they all dismounted and followed htm
across the stony slope to a clump of mulga
trees at the foot of Candle Peak.
"Ssssh-h-h!" whispered the old black,
quietly leading the way through the trees.
Soon he stopped and pointed, muttering:
"Opal longa bird humpy."
"It's a bower bird's nest!" exclaimed
"Not a nest," corrected Lash in a soft
"A bower bird's playground. They
As they moved closer to the bower
fashioned out of tall, dry grass intertwined at
the top by the bird's weaving beak. Squib
remembered what he had learned from the
book . . . how the bird collected pebbles, bits
of glass, bright things of every description,
and made little heaps to decorate his bower.
"Strike me handsome!" exclaimed Raw-
hide aloud. "Look at the opals!"
(To be continued)
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