Read The Yellow House Mystery Online

Authors: Gertrude Warner

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The Yellow House Mystery

The Yellow House Mystery

GERTRUDE CHANDLER WARNER
Illustrated by Mary Gehr

ALBERT WHITMAN & Company, Chicago, Illinois

Contents

CHAPTER

  
1   The Cave

  
2   A Wedding

  
3   The Mystery

  
4   The Tin Box

  
5   The Next Move

  
6   Starting for Camp

  
7   Company in the Woods

  
8   The Lumber Camp

  
9   Almost Starving

10   Potato Camp

11   Old Village

12   A Hunt for Benny

13   The Tin Box Again

14   The Hermit

15   Starting for Home

16   A Happy Home

About the Author

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CHAPTER
2

A Wedding

W
hat a day it was for the Alden children when the rocks were all taken away. The floor of the cave was smooth sand, just right for digging. More men came to the island that day, and the digging began.

“Isn’t it funny to see grown-up men digging in the sand,” said Benny.

“Watch them, Benny,” said Alice. “You will see them put things in that big box.”

Sure enough, the men often found broken pieces of a dish, or a smooth stone, and carefully put them in a box. The children never grew tired of watching them. Every day after school they went over to the island to see what the men had found.

Henry could not come until late on some days, for he had to row with the high school crew on the river. He had been Captain of the high school crew for a year. But as soon as he came, he always helped Joe carry the boxes to the boat.

One day the box was so heavy that Henry could not get it to the boat. “I’m sorry, Joe,” he said. “Let’s stop here at the yellow house and sit down for a minute. This is harder work than rowing.”

Joe was glad too, to sit down on the wooden steps of the little yellow house.

Soon Benny was looking in all the windows. “Let’s go into this house some time,” he said.

“I wonder why we never did, Joe,” said Jessie. “Do you know why Grandfather doesn’t like to talk about it?”

“No,” said Joe. “I never asked him because he seemed so sad about it. I think it has a mystery. Some day Alice and I are going into the house and solve the mystery.”

“Without us?” cried Benny.

“Yes, sir, without anybody!” said Joe.

“You don’t
really
mean you’d go without us?” Benny asked. He could hardly believe his ears.

“Don’t tease him, Joe,” said Alice suddenly. She put her hand gently on Joe’s arm. “Let’s tell him! Let’s tell them all!”

“Ho-hum. Maybe you don’t need to tell us. Maybe we can guess,” cried Benny.

“All right. Go ahead and guess,” laughed Joe. He took Alice’s hand and held it.

“You make it too easy,” said Benny. He looked at Henry. “Didn’t I tell you? I told you a long time ago.”

“It wasn’t true a long time ago,” said Joe.

“Let’s guess,” said Violet, taking Alice’s other hand. “Does the secret have anything to do with music?”

“Yes!” said Joe and Benny together.

“Will everyone wear beautiful clothes?” asked Jessie smiling.

“Yes,” answered Joe and Benny.

“Will there be a cake, and maybe a beautiful ring?” asked Henry.

“Right here!” said Joe. He held up Alice’s hand. On it was a beautiful new ring.

“Funny we didn’t see that,” said Jessie.

“Not so funny, dear,” said Alice. “It went on just this minute.”

“For good,” said Joe.

“Where are you going to live, Alice?” Violet asked suddenly.

“Well, you know Joe has the whole top floor of that big house all to himself,” Alice said. “He says he needs company, so we will live there together.”

“Oh, boy! Right in the same house with us, just the same as ever!” Benny shouted.

“Does Grandfather know?” asked Henry.

“Well, yes,” said Joe. “We told him yesterday. He said we could have the top floor. After all, it’s his house.”

“Will the wedding be in our house too?” asked Jessie.

“Yes. We want Violet to play the wedding music on her violin, and we want Watch to wear a big white ribbon and come to the wedding too.”

“He won’t like the ribbon,” said Benny. “But he won’t bark if Jessie tells him not to. When is the wedding going to be?”

“As soon as you get out of school,” answered Joe. “Then, you children won’t be busy. And Alice and I will have done a lot of work in the cave.”

“I can’t wait till school is out,” said Benny.

“I guess you’ll have to,” laughed Joe.

What a wedding the Alden wedding was! Everyone talked about it afterward for days. Alice was very lovely in her beautiful white dress. Violet played for the wedding on her violin, with three other players. She wore a long violet dress. Jessie wore blue.

Watch wore his big white ribbon, and he did not bark until it was all over. When everyone was out on the porch saying good-by to Joe and Alice, he barked and barked. By then it didn’t matter, for everyone was laughing and talking.

The children did not know what to do with themselves right after Joe and Alice had gone. They tried to read. When it was almost time for supper, Jessie said, “I wonder where they are going on their wedding trip.”

“I don’t know myself,” said her grandfather. “People don’t tell where they are going.”

“They will be back in two weeks,” said Violet. “Let’s go upstairs again and look at their lovely home.”

Even Mr. Alden went up with the children. Watch came along too. He was always happy when he was with his four children.

Mr. Alden sat down in a big easy chair while Violet and Jessie looked again at the pretty blue and white kitchen. They went into the sunny bedroom, and back to the pleasant living room.

The new dishes were set in piles in the clean cupboards. “It will be such fun for them to keep house here,” cried Jessie. “Everything is in such good order. Alice will love it.”

“Won’t we have a wonderful time this summer,” said Benny. “When Joe comes back he is sure to have some fine ideas.”

“Maybe they won’t want us around, though,” said Jessie. “We must be careful about that.”

“Well then,” said Benny,
“we
can think up the ideas, and ask them to do things with us.”

“A very good plan, my boy,” said Mr. Alden with a smile. “If they don’t want to, they can always say no.”

Then they heard a step on the stairs. It was Mrs. McGregor, the housekeeper. She was a kind little lady, and took fine care of the children. Her hair was white and her eyes were blue.

“Supper is ready,” she said with a smile.

“I hope I can have some more wedding cake,” said Benny. “I just love weddings, don’t you, Mrs. McGregor?” He took her hand.

“Yes, my dear,” said Mrs. McGregor, smiling at the little boy. “Your cousin Joe has a fine wife, and he is a fine young man himself. It was a lovely wedding.”

Then Violet thought, as she had often thought before, that there was something sad about Mrs. McGregor. “Yes,” she said to herself, “she is sad even when she smiles.”

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CHAPTER
4

The Tin Box

I
t seemed a long time to the four children before Joe and Alice came home. But at last they drove up to the front door in a new station wagon.

“It’s Joe!” shouted Benny. “He’s got a new station wagon!” He ran down the steps. “Oh, Joe, why did you buy a station wagon when there are only two of you?”

“Guess!” said Joe, laughing. He jumped out and gave his hand to his beautiful young wife.

Then the other children ran out to see Joe and Alice. Everyone was laughing and talking at once. They took bags and boxes and went into the house. Watch barked and jumped around, to show how glad he was to see Joe again.

“I bet you got a station wagon so we could go too,” cried Benny.

“That’s right,” said Alice, smiling at him. “Won’t we have a lot of fun in that station wagon!”

“We know where to go first,” Benny went on. “Want us to tell you?”

“Children, children! Do let Alice sit down one minute,” said Mr. Alden as he came out into the hall. “You have lots of time, you know. Come in, Alice, and let them talk.”

But the children could not wait. Before they knew it, they were telling all about the mystery of the little yellow house.

“What a story!” said Joe. “I’ve wondered about that house myself. I’d like to go inside.”

“We waited for you to go with us,” said Henry.

“Will you both go?” asked Jessie.

“Of course we will,” said Alice.

Joe laughed. “Well,” he said, “it looks as if we would go right back to Surprise Island.”

“Today?” cried Benny.

“Yes, today!” said Joe and Alice together.

Mr. Alden laughed. “Let’s have lunch first,” he said.

“You’re right, Grandfather,” said Violet. “Alice ought to see the presents in her house. Beautiful dishes and things. They came after the wedding, Alice.”

“Lots of food, too,” said Benny. “All in tin cans. A whole ham. And whole chickens and things. But won’t you eat lunch with us just today?”

“Of course we will,” said Joe. “You can show us the tin cans when we come back from the island. How will that be?”

“Fine,” said Benny. “We can go to the dock in the new station wagon. I guess Captain Daniel will be surprised to see us.”

“I guess so, too,” laughed Joe. “We just said good-by to him.”

Soon it was time for lunch. Henry was thinking what to take to the yellow house. “I shall take my tools,” he said to Jessie, as he sat beside her at the table. “Maybe we’ll need them. I don’t think of anything else, do you?”

“A flashlight,” said Joe, who had heard them. “There aren’t any lights there.”

“Oh, thank you, Joe,” cried Jessie. “I’m glad you don’t think we are silly to go.”

“Indeed I don’t. It sounds very interesting. Alice thinks so, too.”

“You did pick out a very nice girl,” said Benny.

“Thank you, Benny,” said Alice laughing.

“Is there room for me?” asked Mr. Alden, to everyone’s surprise.

“Room for you!” said Violet going over to her grandfather. “There’s always room for you!”

Just the same, they were all surprised and delighted that Mr. Alden wanted to go.

“There are chairs for you to sit in,” said Benny. “I saw them through the window. Oh, I wish we were there this minute.”

In about an hour, Benny had his wish. The whole family left the boat at the dock on Surprise Island, and now stood at the front steps of the little yellow house. They went up the four wooden steps. Mr. Alden himself opened the door. They went in the front room and looked around.

There was a table in the middle of the room. Old papers were on it. There was a fireplace with a brick chimney painted white on one side of the room. There was a desk on the other side. Everything was covered with dust.

“This is the very room where Bill sat reading the paper, Joe,” said Henry.

“The queer grating noise came from this room,” said Jessie.

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