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In the tenth instalment of the Swallows and Amazons series, the young crew come face-to-face with the fiercest pirate of the South China Seas.
'So long,' called the harbourmaster. 'Don't run into Missee Lee!'
The Swallows, Amazons and Captain Flint are on a round-the-world voyage. It's been plain sailing for a hundred ports and now they are on their way to China. A friendly harbourmaster has given them a warning: to watch out for pirates roaming the waters around the Chinese coast, but they haven't paid much heed. Until the day that Gibber the monkey accidentally sinks the faithful Wild Cat. Separated, captured, miles from home, the Swallows and Amazons are about to meet their fate and the pirate who holds it: the legendary Missee Lee.
Wriggling their bones because a sleeping-bag is not much of a mattress when you sleep on a wooden floor, they scrambled up, and remembered the visitor they had not seen. “It’s no good looking at the table,” said John. “The books have gone.” “I thought perhaps I’d dreamed it,” said Titty. “I wish you had,” said John. “What I can’t understand is why whoever it was didn’t touch anything else.” “Somebody get the kettle filled,” said Susan, who was already busy with the Primus. Roger was off in a
all ours,” said Peggy. “If they’re going to chop our heads off it won’t matter,” said Roger. “I mean, not having the things won’t matter. Not our heads.” He felt his neck as if to make sure his head was still firmly in its place. “Oh well,” he added, “Captain Flint won’t let them. But I do think they might give us some breakfast.” Boom! It was the gong that they had heard the night before. Ten thrumming strokes. They had already heard a good deal of moving about and talking in the courtyard.
came out and tried to stretch himself. Each of the two big Chinese grabbed one arm. The junk captain, again with a glance at Nancy, brought a pair of handcuffs from behind his back and clapped them on Captain Flint’s wrists. “Oh,” said Titty. But Captain Flint just jingled the handcuffs as if they were ornaments and smiled at the Chinese. “Stout fellows,” said Captain Flint. “Too much strong. Look at them now. Pleased as Punch. It’s just as well to make everybody happy. As for you, you son of
“I’m very sorry. I did it without thinking.” “Not Latin,” she said, “that last line, but velly good.” “Our chaps always put it in,” said Roger, whose face was like sunshine breaking through clouds. “I thought you’d just forgotten to finish it.” “Do you know any more?” asked Miss Lee. “No Latin ones,” said Roger. “Of course the men who haven’t really started Latin sometimes put something in English.” “What do they write?” asked Miss Lee. “Very dull,” said Roger. “They just write: ‘He who
Velly solly. All a lie. But what can I do? I chop off the head of the captain. Velly good. But plisoners will still be dlowned. The same thing will happen if you stay here. A stone will fall down a cliff. Poison in food. A man shoots a pigeon and hits Loger by mistake. No. Better no more Camblidge, no more lessons, and my velly good students must tly to go away.” “But how?” asked Nancy. “If we could have Swallow and Amazon,” said John. “Our two boats.” “Too small,” said Miss Lee. “Too slow.”