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University of California • Berkeley

From the Bequest

of

Dorothy K. Thomas




T. FISHER UNWIN, PUBLISHER, LONDON



THE TREASURE
SEEKERS



• •




CARROLLIANA.

THE LIFE AND LETTERS
OF LEWIS CARROLL
(Rev. C. L. Dodgson). By
S. Dodgson Collixgwoou.
With 100 Illustrations. New
and cheaper edition. Crown
8vo, cloth gilt, price 3s. 6d.

Opinions of the Press.

"An entirely excellent book." —
Liverpool Daily Post.

" Eminentl}' readable and attrac-
tive."— iVftt' Age.

"All those who love 'Alice'
should make haste to read it." —
St. Raines's Gazette.

THE LEWIS CARROLL
PICTURE BOOK. By

S. Dodgson Collingwood.
Full of Illustrations, from
photographs and drawings by
Lewis Carroll and Others.
Crown 8vo, cloth gilt, 6s.



London : T. FISHER UNWIN.



T*-



'ii®




"Dora and H. 0. had clubbed their money together and bought a melon.



The Story of the
Treasure Seekers

BEING THE ADVENTURES OF
THE BASTABLE CHILDREN
IN SEARCH OF A FORTUNE



BY

E. NESBIT

AUTHOR OF " LAYS AND LEGENDS," " THE
SEVEN DRAGONS," ETC.



WITH ILLUSTRATIONS BY GORDON
BROWN AND LEWIS BAUMER -f -|-



LONDOX

T. FISHER UNWIN

Paternoster Square

1899



[All rights reserved.]



^0
OSWALD BAEEON

WITHOUT WHOM THIS BOOK COULD

NEVEE HAVE BEEN WRITTEN

"THE TKEASUKE SEEKERS " IS DEDICATED

IN MEMORY OF CHILDHOODS

IDENTICAL BUT FOR THE

ACCIDENTS OF TIME

AND SPACE.



CONTENTS



-*o*-



CHAP- PAGE

I. THE COUNCIL OF WAYS AND MEANS . . 3

II. DIGGING FOR TREASURE .... 17

III. BEING DETECTIVES 31

IV. GOOD HUNTING 51

V. THE POET AND THE EDITOR . . . .65

VI. noel's princess 79

VII. BEING BANDITS 95

VIII. BEING EDITORS Ill

IX. THE G. B 133

X. LORD TOTTENHAM ..... 153

XI. CASTILIAN AMOROSO 169

XII. THE NOBLENESS OF OSWALD . . . 195

XIII. THE ROBBER AND THE BURGLAR . . . 219

XIV. THE DIVINING-ROD 249

XV. " LO, THE POOR INDIAN ! " . . . . 265

XVI. THE END OF THE TREASURE SEEKING . 281

ix



LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS



"DORA AND H.O. HAD CLUBBED THEIR MONEY TOGETHER

AND BOUGHT A MELON " . . . . Frontispiece

From a draiving by Lewia Baumer.

" PRESENTLY WE GOT DOWN, CREEPING PAST FATHER'S

STUDY " . . . . . . Facing page 40

From a drawing by Lewis Baumer.

" HE CUT EVERY SINGLE ONE OF HIS BEST BUTTONS OFF " ,, 53

From a drawing by Gordon Brown.

" ' there's POETRY IN NEWSPAPERS,' SAID ALICE " . ,, 55

From a drawing by Gordon Broivn.

"'WELL, WOULD A GUINEA MEET YOUR VIEWS?' HE

ASKED " . . . . . . ,,71

From a draiving by Gordon Brown.

" THE FUNNIEST LITTLE GIRL YOU EVER SAW " . . ,,84

From a drawing by Gordon Brown.

"SHE SAT VERY UPRIGHT ON THE GRASS, WITH HER FAT

LITTLE HANDS IN HER LAP " . . . ,,86

From a draiving by Gordon Brown.

" THE LITTLE GIRL WAS CARRIED AWAY SCREAMING " . ,, 90

From a draiving by Gordon Brown.

" THE OLD GENTLEMAN CAUGHT HIM BY THE COLLAR, AND

CALLED HIM A YOUNG THIEF "... ,, 154

From a drawing by Gordon Brown .

xi



xii LIST OF ILLUSTBATIONS

" GOOD OLD PINCHER HAD GOT LORD TOTTENHAM BY THE

TROUSER-LEG " . . . . FaciiKj piU/e 158

From a drawing by Gordon Brown.

" TO THE POLICE STATION " . . . . „ 161

From a drawing by Gordon Broton.

" WE FOLLOWED HER ON TIPTOE, AND ALICE SANG AS SHE

WENT "...... ,, 254

From a drawing by Gordon Broton.

" SEE THE RICH TREASURE " .... ,, 256

From a draiving by Gordon Brown.

* ' let the priestess set forth the tale in fitting

speech" ....... ,, 259

From a draiving by Gordon Brown.

*' WE were LOOKING OVER THE BANISTERS " . . ,, 265

From a drawing by Gordon Broivn.

" I don't SUPPOSE HE WAS USED TO POLITENESS FROM

boys" ...... ,, 271

From a drawing by Gordon Brown.

*' THE UNCLE WAS VERY FIERCE WITH THE PUDDING " . ,, 275

From a draiving by Gordon Broivn.



CEAPTEB I.



THE TEBASUEE SEEKEES



CHAPTEK I

THE COUNCIL OF WAYS AND MEANS

This is the story of the different ways we
looked for treasure, and I think when you have
read it you will see that we were not lazy
about the looking.

There are some things I must tell before I
begin to tell about the treasure-seeking, because
I have read books myself, and I know how
beastly it is when a story begins, " 'Alas! '
said Hildegarde with a deep sigh, ' we
must look our last on this ancestral home ' "
— and then some one else says some-
thing — and you don't know for pages and
pages where the home is, or who Hildegarde
is or anything about it. Our ancestral home
is in the Lewisham Eoad. It is semi-detached



/



4 THE TEEASUBE SEEKERS

and has a garden, not a large one. We are
the Bastables. There are six of us besides
Father. Our Mother is dead, and if you think
we don't care because I don't tell 3^ou much
about her you only show that you do not
understand people at all. Dora is the eldest.
Then Oswald — and then Dicky. Oswald won
the Latin prize at his preparatory school — and
Dicky is good at sums. Alice and Noel are
twins : they are ten, and Horace Octavius
is my youngest brother. It is one of us that
tells this story — but I shall not tell you which :
only at the very end perhaps I will. While
the story is going on you may be trying to
guess, only I bet you don't.

It was Oswald who first thought of looking
for treasure. Oswald often thinks of very
interesting things. And directly he thought
of it he did not keep it to himself, as some
boys would have done, but he told the others,
and said —

"I'll tell you what, we must go and seek
for treasure : it is always what you do to
restore the fallen fortunes of your House."

Dora said it was all very well. She often
says that. She was trying to mend a large
hole in one of Noel's stockings. He tore it
on a nail when we were playing shipwrecked



THE COUNCIL OF WAYS AND MEANS 5

mariners on top of the chicken-house the
day H. 0. fell off and cut his chin : he has
the scar still. Dora is the only one of
us who ever tries to mend anything. Alice
tries to make things sometimes. Once she
knitted a red scarf for Noel because his chest
is delicate, but it was much wider at one end
than the other, and he wouldn't wear it. So
we used it as a pennon, and it did very well,
because most of our things are black or grey
since Mother died ; and scarlet was a nice
change. Father does not like you to ask for
new things. That was one way we had of
knowing that the fortunes of the ancient
House of Bastable were really fallen. Another
way was that there was no more pocket-money
— except a penny now and then to the little
ones, and people did not come to dinner any
more, like they used to, with pretty dresses,
driving up in cabs — and the carpets got holes
in them — and when the legs came off things
they were not sent to be mended, and we gave
up having the gardener except for the front
garden, and not that very often. And the
silver in the big oak plate-chest that is lined
with green baize all went away to the shop to
have the dents and scratches taken out of it,
and it never came back. We think Father



6 THE TBEASUBE SBEKEES

hadn't enough money to pay the silver man
for taking out the dents and scratches. The
new spoons and forks were yellowy- white, and
not so heavy as the old ones, and they never
shone after the first day or two.

Father was very ill after Mother died ; and
while he was ill his business-partner went to
Spain — and there was never much money
afterwards. I don't know why. Then the
servants left and there was only one, a General.
A great deal of your comfort and happiness
depends on having a good General. The last
but one was nice : she used to make jolly good
currant puddings for us, and let us have the
dish on the floor and pretend it was a wild
boar we were killing with our forks. But the
General we have now nearly always makes
sago puddings, and they are the watery kind,
and you cannot pretend anything with them,
not even islands, like you do with porridge.

Then we left off going to school, and Father
said we should go to a good school as soon as
he could manage it. He said a holiday would
do us all good. We thought he was right,
but we wished he had told us he couldn't afford
it. For of course we knew.

Then a great many people used to come to
the door with envelopes with no stamps on



THE COUNCIL OF WAYS AND MEANS 7

them, and sometimes they got very angry,
and said they were calHng for the last time
before putting it in other hands. I asked
Ehza what that meant, and she kindly
explained it to me, and I was so sorry for
Father.

And once a long, blue paper came ; a police-
man brought it, and we were so frightened.
But Father said it was all right, only when he
went up to kiss the girls after they were in
bed, they said he had been crying, though I'm
sure that's not true. Because only cowards
and snivellers cry, and my Father is the
bravest man in the world.

So you see it was time we looked for treasure ;
and Oswald said so, and Dora said it was
all very well. But the others agreed with
Oswald. So we held a council. Dora was in
the chair — the big dining-room chair, that we
let the fireworks off from, the Fifth of November
when we had the measles and couldn't do it
in the garden. The hole has never been
mended, so now we have that chair in the
nursery, and I think it was cheap at the blow-
ing-up we boys got when the hole was burnt.
We must do something," said Alice,

because the exchequer is empty." She
rattled the money-box as she spoke, and it



u



8 THE TREASURE SEEKERS

really did rattle because we always keep the
bad sixpence in it for luck.

^^ Yes — but what shall we do ? " said Dicky.
^' It's so jolly easy to say let's do something ^
Dicky always wants everything settled exactly.
Father calls him the Definite Article.

" Let's read all the books again. We shall
get lots of ideas out of them." It was Noel
who suggested this, but we made him shut up,
because we knew well enough he only wanted
to get back to his old books. Noel is a poet.
He sold some of his poetry once — and it was
printed, but that does not come in this part of
the story.

Then Dicky said, '' Look here. We'll be
quite quiet for ten minutes by the clock — and
each think of some way to find treasure. And
when we've thought we'll try all the ways one
after the other, beginning with the eldest."

*' I shan't be able to think in ten minutes,
make it half an hour," said H. O. His real
name is Horace Octavius, but we call him
H. 0. because of the advertisement, and it's
not so very long ago he was afraid to pass the
hoarding where it says '^Eat H. O." in big
letters. He says it was when he was a little
boy, but I remember last Christmas but one,
he woke in the middle of the night crying and



THE COUNCIL OF WAYS AND MEANS 9

howling, and they said it was the pudding.
But he told me afterwards he had been dream-
ing that they really had come to eat H. 0.,
and it couldn't have been the pudding, when
you come to think of it, because it was so very
plain.

Well, we made it half an hour — and we all
sat quiet, and thought and thought. And I
made up my mind before two minutes were
over, and I savv^ the others had, all but Dora,
who is always an awful time over everything.
I got pins and needles in my leg from sitting
still so long, and when it was seven minutes
H. 0. cried out —

" Oh, it must be more than half an hour ! "

H. 0. is eight years old, but he cannot tell
the clock yet. Oswald could tell the clock
when he was six.

We all stretched ourselves and began to
speak at once, but Dora put up her hands to
her ears and said —

^' One at a time, please. We aren't playing
Babel." (It is a very good game. Did you
ever play it ?)

So Dora made us all sit in a row on the
floor, in ages, and then she pointed at us with
the finger that had the brass thimble on. Her
silver one got lost when the last General but



10 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS

two went away. We think she must have
forgotten it was Dora's and put it in her box
by mistake. She was a very forgetful girl.
She used to forget what she had spent money
on, so that the change was never quite right.

Oswald spoke first. " I think we might
stop people on Blackheath — with crape masks
and horse-pistols — and say ' Your money or
your life ! Kesistance is useless, we are
armed to the teeth ' — like Dick Turpin and
Claude Duval. It wouldn't matter about not
having horses, because coaches have gone out
too."

Dora screwed up her nose the way she
always does when she is going to talk like the
good elder sister in books, and said, ^' That
would be very wrong : it's like pickpocketing or
taking pennies out of Father's great-coat when
it's hanging in the hall."

I must say I don't think she need have said
that, especially before the little ones — for it
was when I was only four.

But Oswald was not going to let her see he
cared, so he said —

" Oh, very well. I can think of lots of other
ways. We could rescue an old gentleman
from deadly Highwaymen."

" There aren't any," said Dora.



THE COUNCIL OF WAYS AND MEANS 11

" Oh, well, it's all the same — from deadly
peril, then. There's plenty of that. Then he
would turn out to be the Prince of Wales,
and he would say, " My noble, my cherished
preserver ! Here is a million pounds a year.
Eise up. Sir Oswald Bastable."

But the others did not seem to think so, and
it was Alice's turn to say.

She said, *'I think we might try the
divining rod. I'm sure I could do it. I've
often read about it. You hold a stick in your
hands, and when you come to where there is
gold underneath the stick kicks about. So
you know. And you dig."

" Oh," said Dora suddenly, '' I have an
idea. But I'll say last. I hope the divining
rod isn't wrong. I believe it's wrong in the
Bible."

" So is eating pork and ducks," said Dicky.
^' You can't go by that."

"Anyhow, we'll try the other ways first,"
said Dora. " Now, H. 0."

"Let's be Bandits," said H. 0. "I dare
say it's wrong, but it would be fun pre-
tending."

" I'm sure it's wrong," said Dora.

And Dicky said she thought everything
wrong. She said she didn't, and Dicky was



12 THE TBEASUBE SEEKERS

very disagreeable. So Oswald had to make
peace, and he said —

''Dora needn't play if she doesn't want to.
Nobody asked her. And Dicky, don't be an
idiot : do dry up and let's hear what Noel's
idea is."

Dora and Dicky did not looked pleased, but
I kicked Noel under the table to make him
hurry up, and then he said he didn't think he
wanted to play any more. That's the worst
of it. The others are so jolly ready to quarrel.
I told Noel to be a man and not a snivelling
pig, and at last he said he had not made up
his mind whether he would print his poetry
in a book and sell it, or find a princess and
marry her.

"Whichever it is," he added, "none of
you shall want for anything, though Oswald
did kick me and say I was a snivelling pig."

" I didn't," said Oswald, " I told you not to
be." And Alice explained to him that that
was quite the opposite of what he thought. So
he agreed to drop it.

Then Dicky spoke.

"You must all of you have noticed the
advertisements in the papers, telling you that
ladies and gentlemen can easily earn two
pounds a week in their spare time, and to send



THE COUNCIL OF WAYS AND MEANS 13

two shillings for sample and instructions, care-
fully packed free from observation. Now that
we don't go to school all our time is spare
time. So I should think we could easily earn
twenty pounds a week each. That would do
us very w^ell. We'll try some of the other
things first, and directly we have any money
we'll send for the sample and instructions.
And I have another idea, but I must think
about it before I say."

We all said, ''Out with it — what's the other
idea?"

But Dicky said, "No." That is Dicky all
over. He never will show you anything he's
making till it's quite finished, and the same
with his inmost thoughts. But he is pleased
if you seem to want to know, so Oswald
said —

" Keep your silly old secret, then. Now,
Dora, drive ahead. We've all said except
you."

Then Dora jumped up and dropped the
stocking and the thimble (it rolled away, and
we did not find it for days), and said —

" Let's try my way now. Besides, I'm the
eldest, so it's only fair. Let's dig for treasure.
Not any tiresome divining rod — but just plain
digging. People who dig for treasure always



14 THE TREASURE SEEKERS

find it. And then we shall be rich and we
needn't try your ways at all. Some of them
are rather difficult : and I'm certain some
of them are wrong — and we must always
remember that wrong things "

But we told her to shut up and come on,
and she did.

I couldn't help wondering as we went down
to the garden, why Father had never thought
of digging there for treasure instead of going
to his beastly office every day.



CHAPTER II.



15



CHAPTEK II

DIGGING FOE TEEASURE

I AM afraid the last chapter was rather dull.
It is always dull in books when people talk
and talk, and don't do anything, but I was
obliged to put it in, or else you wouldn't have
understood all the rest. The best part of
books is when things are happening. That
is the best part of real things too. This is
why I shall not tell you in this story about all
the days when nothing happened. You will
not catch me saying, " thus the sad days
passed slowly by" — or "the years rolled on
their weary course," or "time went on" —
because it is silly ; of course time goes on —
whether you say so or not. So I shall just
tell you the nice, interesting parts — and in
between you will understand that we had our
meals and got up and went to bed, and dull
things like that. It would be sickening to



17



18 THE TBEASUBE 8EEKEBS

write all that down, though of course it
happens. I said so to Albert-next-door's
uncle, who writes books, and he said, " Quite
right, that's what we call selection, a necessity
of true art." And he is very clever indeed.
So you see.

I have often thought that if the people who
write books for children knew a little more it
would be better. I shall not tell you anything
about us except what I should like to know
about if I was reading the story and you were
writing it. Albert's uncle says I ought to
have put this in the preface, but I never read
prefaces, and it is not much good writing
things just for people to skip. I wonder other
authors have never thought of this.

Well, when we had agreed to dig for treasure
we all went down into the cellar and lighted
the gas. Oswald would have liked to dig there,
but it is stone flags. We looked among the
old boxes and broken chairs and fenders and
empty bottles and things, and at last we found
the spades we had to dig in the sand with
when we went to the seaside three years ago.
They are not silly, babyish, wooden spades,
that split if you look at them, but good iron,
with a blue mark across the top of the iron
part, and yellow wooden handles. We wasted



DIGGING FOB TREASURE 19

a little time getting them dusted, because
the girls wouldn't dig with spades that had
cobwebs on them. Girls would never do for
African explorers or anything like that, they
are too beastly particular.

It was no use doing the thing by halves.
We marked out a sort of square in the mouldy
part of the garden, about three yards across,
and began to dig. But we found nothing
except worms and stones — and the ground was
very hard.

So we thought we'd try another part of the
garden, and we found a place in the big round
flower bed, where the ground was much softer.
We thought we'd make a smaller hole to
begin with, and it was much better. We dug
and dug and dug, and it was jolly hard work !
We got very hot digging, but we found
nothing.

Presently Albert-next-door looked over the
wall. We do not like him very much, but we
let him play with us sometimes, because his
father is dead, and you must not be unkind to
orphans, even if their mothers are alive.
Albert is always very tidy. He wears frilly
collars and velvet knickerbockers. I can't
think how he can bear to.

So we said, "Hullo!"



20 THE TREASURE SEEKERS

And he said, " What are you up to ? "

"We're digging for treasure," said Alice ;
' ' an ancient parchment revealed to us the
place of concealment. Come over and help us.
When we have dug deep enough we shall find
a great pot of red clay, full of gold and
precious jewels."

Albert-next-door only sniggered and said,
''What silly nonsense!" He cannot play
properly at all. It is very strange, because
he has a very nice uncle. You see, Albert-
next-door doesn't care for reading, and he has
not read nearly so many books as we have, so
he is very foolish and ignorant, but it cannot
be helped, and you just have to put up with it
when you want him to do anything. Besides,
it is wrong to be angry with people for not
being so clever as you are yourself. It is not
always their faults.

So Oswald said, "Come and dig! Then

you shall share the treasure when we've found

it."

But he said, "I shan't — I don't like

digging — and I'm just going in to my tea."
" Come along and dig, there's a good boy,"

Alice said. "You can use my spade. It's

much the best "

So he came along and dug, and when once



DIGGING FOR TBEASUBE 21

he was over the wall we kept him at it,
and we worked as well, of course, and the
hole got deep. Pincher worked too — he is
our dog and he is very good at digging.
He digs for rats in the dustbin sometimes,
and gets very dirty. But we love our dog,
even when his face wants washing.

" I expect we shall have to make a tunnel,"
Oswald said, " to reach the rich treasure."
So he jumped into the hole and began to
dig at one side. After that we took it in
turns to dig at the tunnel, and Pincher was
most useful in scraping the earth out of the
tunnel — he does it with his back feet when
you say " Eats ! " and he digs with his front
ones, and burrows with his nose as well.

At last the tunnel was nearly a yard long,
and big enough to creep along to find the
treasure, if only it had been a bit longer.
Now it w^as Albert's turn to go in and dig,
but he funked it.

'' Take your turn like a man," said Oswald
— nobody can say that Oswald doesn't take
his turn like a man. But Albert wouldn't.
So we had to make him, because it was only
fair.

"It's quite easy," Alice said, "You just
crawl in and dig with your hands. Then



22 THE TBEASUBE SEEKEBS

when you come out we can scrape out what
you've done, with the spades. Come — be a
man. You won't notice it being dark in the
tunnel if you shut your eyes tight. We've
all been in except Dora — and she doesn't
like worms."

^^ I don't like worms neither." Albert-next-
door said this ; but we remembered how he
had picked a fat red and black worm up in
his fingers and thrown it at Dora only the
day before.

So we put him in.

But he would not go in head first, the
proper way, and dig with his hands as we
had done, and though Oswald was angry
at the time, for he hates snivellers, yet
afterwards he owned that perhaps it was just
as well. You should never be afraid to own
that perhaps you were mistaken — but it is
cowardly to do it unless you are quite sure
you are in the wrong.

''Let me go in feet first," said Albert-next-
door. "I'll dig with my boots — I will truly,
honour bright."

So we let him get in feet first — and he
did it very slowly and at last he was in,
and only his head sticking out into the hole ;
and all the rest of him in the tunnel.



DIGGING FOR TBEA8UBE 23

"Now dig with your boots," said Oswald;
" and Alice, do catch hold of Pincher, he'll be
digging again in another minute, and perhaps
it would be uncomfortable for Albert if
Pincher threw the mould into his eyes."

You should always try to think of these
little things. Thinking of other people's
comfort makes them like you. Alice held
Pincher, and we all shouted, " Kick ! dig
with your feet, for all you're worth!"

So Albert-next-door began to dig with his
feet, and we stood on the ground over him,
waiting — and all in a minute the ground gave
way, and we tumbled together in a heap :
and when we got up there was a little shallow
hollow where we had been standing, and
Albert-next-door w^as underneath, stuck quite
fast, because the roof of the tunnel had
tumbled in on him. He is a horribly unlucky
boy to have anything to do with.


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