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epilogue
chapter 23
chapter 22
chapter 21
chapter 20
chapter 19
chapter 18
chapter 17
chapter 16
chapter 15
chapter 14
chapter 13
chapter 12
chapter 11
chapter 10
chapter 9
chapter 8
chapter 7
chapter 6
chapter 5
chapter 4
chapter 3
chapter 2
chapter 1

The Famous Five: The Final Adventure.
A tribute to Enid Blyton.

Chapter 2.
Exploring the Hotel.

A hotel porter held the taxi door open for the five and Aunt Fanny to alight. He was dressed in a splendid blue uniform with an abundance of gold braiding. "Welcome to 'The Mayfair Hotel'," he announced, in a gruff voice.
    They all thanked him and followed the luggage, which had been picked up by two less prestigious porters, into the hotel foyer. They were immediately greeted by a dark man in a pin-striped suit whose waistcoat buttons strained to contain a rather ample stomach. He smiled broadly at the four children and their Aunt. "Mrs. Kirren, how lovely to see you. And are these the guests you've told me about?"
   Aunt Fanny nodded and turned to the four waiting patiently. "Children, this is Mr. Tyler. He is the manager of the Mayfair Hotel."
    Julian led the others into introducing themselves and shaking hands with Mr. Tyler, who continued to smile most agreeably. "Well, what a nice bunch of children you seem to be. Not too rowdy? I hope!"
   The four laughed politely at this comment, but had already taken an instant dislike to this rather greasy character.
    Suddenly Timmy, who had grown rather bored at being left out, darted forward and licked the man on his hand.
   Mr. Tyler's smile disappeared at once. "What is this dog doing here? Who let him in?"
   George ran over and pulled Timmy away from the angry manager. "Timmy is my dog," she said indignantly. "He is staying at the hotel with me."
   Mr. Tyler tried to compose himself and force back his charming smile. "My dear boy, of course the dog can stay here, but outside in the kennels. I have a strict rule against animals being allowed inside the hotel."
   George turned to her Mother, hoping for support. "Mother, it is just not fair. Timmy has had to spend all school term in kennels. You know how he likes to sleep with me."
   Aunt Fanny clasped her daughter by the shoulder. "I am afraid you will have to do as Mr. Tyler says. Timmy will be fine and you can see him as much as you like."
   The stocky manager called a porter over. "Take this dog to the kennels and see that it is fed."
   George bent down and spoke into Timmy's ear. "Don't worry, Tim. I'll get you to my room somehow." She glared defiantly at the manager.
   Timmy was taken away and the four children shown to their rooms.
"You are on the fifth floor along with myself and your Uncle," said Aunt Fanny. "I tried to get your rooms next door to ours, but I'm afraid they only had rooms at the other end of the corridor."
   The children smiled to themselves. This was just how they liked it. Not too close to the grown-ups. The four rushed along the corridor to find their rooms. George and Anne found theirs and good: Julian and Dick were staying directly opposite.
   Anne quickly entered her room and exclaimed in delight. "Oh! It is so pretty in here and look at the view from the window. I can see right across Hyde Park and there is a snaky lake running down the middle. George, come and look, quickly."
   George sauntered in. She was less impressed with frivolity than Anne, but even she had to admit the room was super.
   As soon as the luggage was brought up the two girls began to unpack. Anne looked across at her cousin. "George, you can't just stuff your clothes into the drawers. Fold them up properly, like this."
   But George took no notice. She was eager to be out and explore the hotel. The two boys burst in, impatient to be off. "Come on girls, what is taking you so long?"
   "It's not me," grumbled George. "Anne has to have everything so neat." Anne looked at her still half-full suitcase and then at the eager faces of the others. "Oh! Come on then. Let's go."
   The four children went out locking the room behind them.
   "Right," said Julian. "Which way now?"
   "I think we should go back down to the ground floor," offered Dick. "It will only be other people's rooms above us."
   Everyone agreed. They ran down the five flights of stairs to the foyer, that was much busier than it had been earlier, but nobody took much notice of the four children wandering about. They found a large room with half laid tables.
    "I bet this is where we will be eating all our meals," said Dick. "Let's hope the food is good."
   The others laughed. "Is that all you think about, Dick?"
   "I believe food is very important for a decent holiday. Hey, who's this?" They all turned to see a petite girl of about Anne's age come in, carrying an armful of tablecloths. She was dressed very smartly in a black dress, white apron and a hat pinned to her head. The girl looked startled to see them and stopped in her tracks.
   At once Julian stepped forward and introduced himself. "Hello, I'm Julian and this is Anne, Dick and George. We have come to stay with my Aunt and Uncle for a few weeks."
   The girl looked at him in surprise. She obviously was not used to being treated in such a respectful manner and looked around at the children, shyly. "My name is Louise. I work here as a maid."
   Julian smiled at her. "Well, it is very nice to meet you. I hope you don't mind us nosing about."
   "Oh! No," said Louise. "I just came to finish laying the tables. Is there anything else you would like to see?"
   George jumped at the opportunity. "Yes. Do you know where the kennels are?"
    The maid nodded. "Of course, if you follow me I will show you." She placed her load on a table and led them along a corridor out into a large backyard. "You can hear the animals long before you see them."
   It was true. The children were greeted with a volley of barks and yelps even before they had turned the corner. George rushed ahead to find Timmy. Was he alright? Yes, Timmy was fine. He jumped up at George as if he had not seen her for days, instead of just a few hours.
   "He's had a mighty fine meal," laughed the boy who helped out in the kennels. "Never seen a dog eat so much in my life."
   Louise introduced him. "This is Henry. He works in the kennels from morning 'til night and all the animals adore him. Don't they, Henry?"
   Henry touched his cap, slightly embarrassed. "Well, I don't know about that Louise."
The children all laughed at his red face. "I think you are being too modest, Henry," giggled Anne. "Look at Timmy."
   And sure enough, Timmy was fawning around him as they had only seen him act with George.
   George pulled him away, rather cross. "Well, thank you Henry for looking after him but Timmy is going to stay with me from now on."
   They all looked at her in amazement. What was she going to do? Sleep in the kennels?
   "No, I am going to smuggle him up to my room."
   Julian looked sternly at her. "George, you are not going to start making trouble on our first day?"
   George glared back. "Timmy is my dog and he is going to stay in my room."
   "I don't see how you are going to smuggle him up." Said Dick. "Someone else is sure to see you with a dog tucked up your jumper."
   Even George had to laugh at the thought of doing this.
   Suddenly, Louise gave a yell "I know what we can do. Take him up in the service lift. Your room is at the same end of the corridor. It would be quite easy to slip Timmy in without anyone seeing."
   George stared at her. "Do you think it would work?"
   Louise nodded "Of course. The entrance to the lift is through that door there." She pointed to the corner of the yard. "It is locked from the inside. I will have to go through the kitchen to open it. The lift is only big enough to take you, me and Timmy. Julian, Dick and Anne can go to your room by the main lift in the foyer and unlock your door in readiness." With that she sped off.
   Dick looked after her in admiration. "Well, she sure is spunky."
   George nudged him. "Come on, daydreamer, we have to get going."
   They thanked Henry for all he had done. George took Timmy to the corner of the yard and the other three raced up to the fifth floor to prepare the way.
   Very soon, George heard the sound of the key turning in the lock and the door swung open to reveal a beaming Louise. Timmy was a little surprised at being pushed into the small lift, but was happy enough when the two girls squeezed in as well.
   Louise pressed the button to start the lift on its upward journey and turned to George. "I will knock for you at seven-thirty tomorrow morning to take Timmy back down to the kennels. That way no-one will suspect him of staying in your room."
   The others were waiting for them on the fifth floor. "It's OK. The coast is clear."
   They all rushed, giggling, into George and Anne's room and thankfully closed the door. "Phew! That was lucky."
   Timmy jumped on George's bed and made himself at home. This is where he was going to sleep for the night.
   Everyone laughed. "Well, at least Timmy has settled in alright."
   Suddenly Louise gave a start. "Oh my! It's five o'clock already and I haven't finished laying the dinner tables. I must go." She said a hurried goodbye and dashed out.
   Julian and Dick got up also. "We had better go and get cleaned up for dinner. We seem to have got ourselves rather dirty."

In half an hour the children were ready to join Aunt Fanny and Uncle Quentin in the dining room. They spotted them already seated at a large table on the far side.
   Aunt Fanny waved them over. "Look, Quentin, the children are here." Uncle Quentin looked at them with a puzzled expression on his face. "By Jove! George what are you doing here? And your cousins as well. What a nice surprise."
   Aunt Fanny sighed at her husband. "Quentin, how could you forget that the children were coming today? I have been telling you for weeks."
   The four sat down at the table, laughing. They could never understand how such a clever man as Uncle Quentin could forget all the most ordinary, everyday things that were so easy to remember.
   Julian turned to his Uncle. "I am sorry you didn't realise we were arriving today, but I do hope this doesn't mean that we can't come and listen to your speech on Saturday."
   The scientist smiled at his nephew in delight. What a well-mannered, sensible lad he was. Quentin slapped him on the back. "I should be delighted to have you there, my lad, delighted."
   Aunt Fanny relaxed. Julian always knew how to sooth his Uncle. George and her father were so alike with their quick, fiery tempers, but they were also very forgiving and their tempers soon died down. She knew she would be able to enjoy her meal in peace now.
   And what a meal it was; roast beef with potatoes, greens and runner beans, all covered in delicious, hot gravy.
    The four children sat back convinced they could eat no more, but when they saw the huge bowls of homemade apple pie and custard they felt impelled to try some. And ended up eating the lot.
   "That," stated Dick, "was scrumplicious."
   The others laughed at his new word. "Where did you get that from?"
   "It's a mixture of scrumptious and delicious, which just about describes that meal," he explained.
"Well," said his Aunt, getting up from the table. "Your Uncle and I have arranged to go to the theatre tonight. Will you four be alright by yourselves?"
   They all nodded. "Of course we will."

The evening was spent playing cards in the hotel lounge. Anne ran up to her room to get the cards, while the others arranged themselves around a table.
They spotted Louise just as they had finished their first game and invited her over to play, but she had a lot of work to do before going to bed.
   "Right," said Dick. "I am determined to win tonight. I'm fed up with Julian always beating me."
   As it was, George turned out to be the overall winner of the evening. She yawned, "I would give you the chance to catch up, but I'm pooped."
   Julian looked at his watch, "Well, it is nine o'clock and we have had a pretty busy day. How about we all head off to bed?"
   The others agreed and went up to their rooms, yawning.
   Julian popped his head round the girls' door just as they had finished cleaning their teeth. "It's breakfast at eight and then we will make an early start on all the sights of London."
   The girls nodded, "OK. See you in the morning." He grinned and disappeared.
   "Last one in bed turns the light out," George said, jumping into hers.
    Anne laughed. "Yes, alright. I'll do it." She turned off the light and jumped into bed, too. What an exciting day it had been. She wondered what surprises there would be tomorrow.

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