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3 Settling in at Spring Cottage
  3 Settling in at Spring Cottage
  The first day or two were very happy days indeed. The four children and Kiki wandered about asthey pleased, and Jack1 found so many hundreds of nests that he marvelled2 to see them. He wasmad on birds, and would spend hours watching them, if the others let him.
  He got very excited one day because he said he saw an eagle. ‘An eagle!’ said Dinahdisbelievingly. ‘Why, I thought eagles were extinct, and couldn’t be found any more – like thatGreat Auk you always used to be talking about.’
  ‘Well, eagles aren’t extinct,’ said Jack scornfully. ‘That just shows how little you know. I’msure this was an eagle. It soared up and up and up into the air just as eagles are said to do. I believeit was a Golden Eagle.’
  ‘Is it dangerous?’ said Dinah.
  ‘Well, I suppose it might attack you if you went too near its nest,’ said Jack, ‘Golly – I wonderif it is nesting anywhere near here!’
  ‘Well, I’m not going eagle-nesting,’ said Dinah firmly. ‘Anyway, Jack, you’ve found about ahundred nests already – surely that’s enough for you without wanting to see an eagle’s nest aswell.’
  Jack never took birds’ eggs, nor did he disturb the sitting birds at all. No bird was ever afraid ofhim, any more than any animal was ever afraid of Philip. If Lucy or Dinah so much as looked at anest, the sitting bird seemed frightened and flew off – but she would allow Jack to stroke her,without moving a feather! It was very odd.
  Kiki always came with them on their excursions, sitting on Jack’s shoulder. He had taught hernot to make a sound when he wanted to watch any bird, but Kiki seemed to object to the rooks thatlived around. There was a large rookery in one clump4 of trees not far off, and Kiki would often goto sit on a nearby branch and address rude remarks to the astonished rooks.
  ‘It’s a pity they can’t answer her back,’ said Philip. ‘But all they say is “Caw-caw-caw.”’
  ‘Yes, and Kiki says it too, now,’ said Jack. ‘She goes on cawing for ages unless I stop her.
  Don’t you, Kiki?’
  Kiki took Jack’s ear into her sharp curved beak5 and fondled it gently. She loved Jack to talk toher. She made a cracking noise with her beak, and said lovingly, ‘Caw-caw-caw-caw-caw . . .’
  ‘All right, that’s enough,’ said Jack. ‘Go and listen to a nightingale or something and imitatethat! A rooks caw isn’t anything to marvel3 at. Stop, Kiki!’
  Kiki stopped, and gave a realistic sneeze. ‘Where’s your hanky, where’s your hanky?’ she said.
  To Lucy-Ann’s delight, Jack gave her a hanky, and Kiki spent the next minute or two holding itin her clawed foot and dabbing6 her beak with it, sniffing7 all the time.
  ‘New trick,’ explained Jack, with a grin. ‘Good, isn’t it?’
  There were gorgeous walks around the cottage. It was about three miles to the little village, andexcept for the few houses and the one general shop there, there were no other houses save for afarm or two, and a lonely farm cottage here and there in the hills.
  ‘We’re not likely to have any adventures here,’ said Philip. ‘It’s all so quiet and peaceful. Thevillage folk have hardly a word to say, have they? They say “Ah, that’s right” to everything.’
  ‘They’re amazed by Kiki,’ said Dinah.
  Ah, that’s right,’ said Jack, imitating the speech of the villagers.
  Kiki immediately did the same. ‘Do you remember when Kiki got locked up in a caveunderground, and the man who locked her up heard her talking to herself, and thought she wasme?’ said Jack, remembering the adventure of the summer before. ‘My word, that was anadventure!’
  ‘I’d like another adventure, really,’ said Philip. ‘But I don’t expect we’ll have another all ourlives long.’
  ‘Well, they say adventures come to the adventurous,’ said Jack. ‘And we’re pretty adventurous,I think. I don’t see why we shouldn’t have plenty more.’
  ‘I wish we could go up and explore that strange castle,’ said Dinah longingly8, looking up towhere it towered on the summit of the hill. ‘It looks such an odd place, so deserted9 and lonely,standing up there, frowning over the valley. Mother says something horrid10 once happened there,but she doesn’t know what.’
  ‘We’ll try and find out,’ said Jack promptly11. He always liked hair-raising tales. ‘I expect peoplewere killed there, or something.’
  ‘Oooh, how horrid – I don’t want to go up there,’ said Lucy-Ann at once.
  ‘Well, Mother said we weren’t to, anyhow,’ said Dinah.
  ‘She might let us go eagle-nesting,’ said Philip. And if our search took us near the castle, wecouldn’t very well help it, could we?’
  ‘We’d better tell her, if we do go anywhere near,’ said Jack, who didn’t like the idea ofdeceiving Philip’s kindly12 mother in any way. ‘I’ll ask her if she minds.’
  So he asked her that evening. Aunt Allie, I believe there may be an eagle’s nest somewhere onthe top of this hill,’ he said. ‘It’s so high it’s almost a mountain – and that’s where eagles nest, youknow. You wouldn’t mind if I tried to find the nest, would you?’
  ‘No, not if you are careful,’ said Mrs Mannering. ‘But would your hunt take you anywhere nearthe old castle?’
  ‘Well, it might,’ said Jack honestly. ‘But you can trust us not to fool about on any landslides,Aunt Allie. We shouldn’t dream of getting the girls into danger.’
  Apparently there was a cloudburst on the top of this hill some years back,’ said Mrs Mannering,‘and such a deluge13 of water fell that it undermined the foundations of the castle, and most of theroad up to it slid away down the hillside. So, you see, it really might be very dangerous to exploreup there.’
  ‘We’ll be very careful,’ promised Jack, delighted that Mrs Mannering hadn’t forbidden outrighttheir going up the hill to the castle.
  He told the others, and they were thrilled. ‘We’ll go up tomorrow, shall we?’ said Jack. ‘I reallydo want to hunt about to see if there is any sign of an eagle’s nest.’
  That afternoon, in their wanderings, they had a curious feeling of being followed. Once or twiceJack turned round, sure that someone was behind them. But there was never anyone there.
  ‘Funny,’ he said to Philip in a low voice. ‘I felt certain there was someone behind us then – Iheard the crack of a twig14 – as if someone had trodden on it and broken it.’
  ‘Yes – I thought so too,’ said Philip. He looked puzzled. ‘I tell you what, Jack. When we getinto that patch of trees, I’ll crouch15 down behind a bush and stop, whilst you others go on. Then, ifthere’s anyone following behind us for some reason, I’ll see them.’
  The girls were told what Philip was going to do. They too had felt that there was someonebehind them. They all walked into the patch of trees, and then, when he came to a convenientlythick bush, Philip dropped down suddenly behind it and hid, whilst the others walked on, talkingloudly.
  Philip lay there and listened. He could hear nothing at first. Then he heard a rustle16 and his heartbeat fast. Who was it tracking them, and why? There didn’t seem any sense in it.
  Someone came up to his bush. Someone crept past without seeing him. Philip gazed at theSomeone and was so astonished that he let out an exclamation17.
  A girl with ragged18 clothes, bare feet and wild, curling hair jumped violently and turned round.
  In a trice Philip had jumped up and had hold of her wrists. He did not hold her roughly, but heheld her too firmly for her to get away. She tried to bite him, and kicked out with her bare feet.
  ‘Now don’t be silly,’ said Philip. ‘I’ll let you go when you tell me who you are and why you arefollowing us.’
  The girl said nothing, but glared at Philip out of black eyes. The others, hearing Philip’s voice,came running back.
  ‘This is the person who was following us, but I can’t get a word out of her,’ said Philip.
  ‘She’s a wild girl,’ said Dinah. The girl scowled19 at her. Then she glanced at Kiki, on Jack’sshoulder, and stared as if she couldn’t take her eyes off her.
  ‘I believe she was only following us to get a glimpse of the parrot!’ said Philip, with a laugh. ‘Isthat right, wild girl?’
  The girl nodded, ‘Ah, that’s right,’ she said.
  ‘Ah, that’s right,’ said Kiki. The girl stared and gave a laugh of surprise. It altered her face atonce, and gave her a merry, mischievous20 look.
  ‘What’s your name?’ asked Philip, letting go her wrists.
  ‘Tassie,’ said the girl. ‘I saw that bird, and I came after you. I didn’t mean no harm. I live roundthe hill with my mother. I know where you live. I know all you do.’
  ‘Oh – been spying round a bit, and following us, I suppose!’ said Jack. ‘Do you know thishillside well?’
  Tassie nodded. Her bright black eyes hardly left Kiki. She seemed fascinated by the parrot.
  ‘Pop goes the weasel,’ said Kiki to her, in a solemn voice. ‘Open your book at page six.’
  ‘I say – do you know if the eagles nest on this hill?’ asked Jack suddenly. He thought it quitelikely that this wild little girl might know things like that.
  ‘What’s an eagle?’ said Tassie.
  ‘A big bird,’ said Jack. ‘A very big bird with a curved beak, and . . .’
  ‘Like your bird there?’ said Tassie, pointing to Kiki.
  ‘Oh no,’ said Jack. ‘Well – never mind. If you don’t know what an eagle is like, you won’tknow where it nests either.’
  ‘It’s time to go back home,’ said Philip. ‘I’m hungry. Tassie, take us the shortest way home!’
  To Philip’s surprise Tassie turned round and plunged21 down the hillside, as sure-footed as a goat.
  The others followed. She took them such a short cut that all of them were amazed when they sawSpring Cottage in front of them.
  ‘Thanks, Tassie,’ said Philip, and Kiki echoed his words. ‘Thanks, Tassie.’
  Tassie smiled, and her usual, rather sulky look fled. ‘I’ll see you again,’ she said, and turned togo.
  ‘Did you say you lived at that old cottage round the hill?’ yelled Jack after her.
  ‘Ah, that’s right!’ she shouted back, and disappeared into the bushes.


1 jack 53Hxp     
  • I am looking for the headphone jack.我正在找寻头戴式耳机插孔。
  • He lifted the car with a jack to change the flat tyre.他用千斤顶把车顶起来换下瘪轮胎。
2 marvelled 11581b63f48d58076e19f7de58613f45     
v.惊奇,对…感到惊奇( marvel的过去式和过去分词 )
  • I marvelled that he suddenly left college. 我对他突然离开大学感到惊奇。 来自《简明英汉词典》
  • I marvelled at your boldness. 我对你的大胆感到惊奇。 来自《简明英汉词典》
3 marvel b2xyG     
  • The robot is a marvel of modern engineering.机器人是现代工程技术的奇迹。
  • The operation was a marvel of medical skill.这次手术是医术上的一个奇迹。
4 clump xXfzH     
  • A stream meandered gently through a clump of trees.一条小溪从树丛中蜿蜒穿过。
  • It was as if he had hacked with his thick boots at a clump of bluebells.仿佛他用自己的厚靴子无情地践踏了一丛野风信子。
5 beak 8y1zGA     
  • The bird had a worm in its beak.鸟儿嘴里叼着一条虫。
  • This bird employs its beak as a weapon.这种鸟用嘴作武器。
6 dabbing 0af3ac3dccf99cc3a3e030e7d8b1143a     
  • She was crying and dabbing at her eyes with a handkerchief. 她一边哭一边用手绢轻按眼睛。
  • Huei-fang was leaning against a willow, dabbing her eyes with a handkerchief. 四小姐蕙芳正靠在一棵杨柳树上用手帕揉眼睛。 来自子夜部分
7 sniffing 50b6416c50a7d3793e6172a8514a0576     
n.探查法v.以鼻吸气,嗅,闻( sniff的现在分词 );抽鼻子(尤指哭泣、患感冒等时出声地用鼻子吸气);抱怨,不以为然地说
  • We all had colds and couldn't stop sniffing and sneezing. 我们都感冒了,一个劲地抽鼻子,打喷嚏。
  • They all had colds and were sniffing and sneezing. 他们都伤风了,呼呼喘气而且打喷嚏。 来自《现代英汉综合大词典》
8 longingly 2015a05d76baba3c9d884d5f144fac69     
adv. 渴望地 热望地
  • He looked longingly at the food on the table. 他眼巴巴地盯着桌上的食物。
  • Over drinks,he speaks longingly of his trip to Latin America. 他带着留恋的心情,一边喝酒一边叙述他的拉丁美洲之行。
9 deserted GukzoL     
  • The deserted village was filled with a deathly silence.这个荒废的村庄死一般的寂静。
  • The enemy chieftain was opposed and deserted by his followers.敌人头目众叛亲离。
10 horrid arozZj     
  • I'm not going to the horrid dinner party.我不打算去参加这次讨厌的宴会。
  • The medicine is horrid and she couldn't get it down.这种药很难吃,她咽不下去。
11 promptly LRMxm     
  • He paid the money back promptly.他立即还了钱。
  • She promptly seized the opportunity his absence gave her.她立即抓住了因他不在场给她创造的机会。
12 kindly tpUzhQ     
  • Her neighbours spoke of her as kindly and hospitable.她的邻居都说她和蔼可亲、热情好客。
  • A shadow passed over the kindly face of the old woman.一道阴影掠过老太太慈祥的面孔。
13 deluge a9nyg     
  • This little stream can become a deluge when it rains heavily.雨大的时候,这条小溪能变作洪流。
  • I got caught in the deluge on the way home.我在回家的路上遇到倾盆大雨。
14 twig VK1zg     
  • He heard the sharp crack of a twig.他听到树枝清脆的断裂声。
  • The sharp sound of a twig snapping scared the badger away.细枝突然折断的刺耳声把獾惊跑了。
15 crouch Oz4xX     
  • I crouched on the ground.我蹲在地上。
  • He crouched down beside him.他在他的旁边蹲下来。
16 rustle thPyl     
  • She heard a rustle in the bushes.她听到灌木丛中一阵沙沙声。
  • He heard a rustle of leaves in the breeze.他听到树叶在微风中发出的沙沙声。
17 exclamation onBxZ     
  • He could not restrain an exclamation of approval.他禁不住喝一声采。
  • The author used three exclamation marks at the end of the last sentence to wake up the readers.作者在文章的最后一句连用了三个惊叹号,以引起读者的注意。
18 ragged KC0y8     
  • A ragged shout went up from the small crowd.这一小群人发出了刺耳的喊叫。
  • Ragged clothing infers poverty.破衣烂衫意味着贫穷。
19 scowled b83aa6db95e414d3ef876bc7fd16d80d     
怒视,生气地皱眉( scowl的过去式和过去分词 )
  • He scowled his displeasure. 他满脸嗔色。
  • The teacher scowled at his noisy class. 老师对他那喧闹的课堂板着脸。
20 mischievous mischievous     
  • He is a mischievous but lovable boy.他是一个淘气但可爱的小孩。
  • A mischievous cur must be tied short.恶狗必须拴得短。
21 plunged 06a599a54b33c9d941718dccc7739582     
v.颠簸( plunge的过去式和过去分词 );暴跌;骤降;突降
  • The train derailed and plunged into the river. 火车脱轨栽进了河里。
  • She lost her balance and plunged 100 feet to her death. 她没有站稳,从100英尺的高处跌下摔死了。


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