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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 17.
Julian and Dick's Adventure.

Leicester Square has its clubs, restaurants and cinemas, and Piccadilly Circus: shops, bars and bright neon signs. Trafalgar Square, on the other hand, has embassies, offices and, of course, The National Gallery. At night Leicester Square and Piccadilly Circus are brightly lit and alive with people. In comparison, Trafalgar Square, only five minutes walking distance, is dark and empty.
   That is how it was on this particular evening. George and Anne were leaning against the statue of a lion, with Timmy at their feet, while Julian and Dick were sitting on the steps of Nelson's Column.
   "It's getting quite cold," said Anne, stamping her feet. "I am going for a little walk to try and get warm."
   Anne passed a group of people banging drums outside The South African Embassy: a demonstration of some sort. On the far side of the square, two tramps sat on a bench sharing a bottle. Anne had almost returned to where George was standing when she spotted a figure crossing the road, heading in their direction. He was wearing a dark, heavy overcoat and a trilby hat. "Could this be Sir Peter Brooke?"
   Anne reached George and conveyed her suspicions.
   George nodded. "It could be, look! He has just stopped right next to the lion."
   The other three men arrived together. They passed so close to where George and Anne were standing, that the two girls nearly jumped out of their skins.
   Julian and Dick had not seen Sir Peter, he was hidden from their view, but they had seen the other three men pass close to Anne and George.
   "Let's go across to the others," said Julian. "They seem to have a better view than us."
   The two boys went over and stood facing George and Anne.
   "It would look suspicious if we all faced the same way," said Julian. "Would you give a commentary on what is happening, George."
   George stood on the step in front of Julian and surreptitiously peered over his shoulder. "At the moment they are just standing in a group, talking," she said. "Now they seem to be checking their watches... and shaking hands with each other. Oh gosh! Sir Peter has walked off on his own to the right and the other three have gone in the opposite direction."
   Julian turned to size up the situation. "Right!" he said. "George, Anne and Timmy can follow Sir Peter while Dick and I will go after the others. Good luck, and remember, as soon as you find out what they are up to, go straight to the Police."
   The three men were easy to follow: Two tall figures and the smaller, Peregrine Turner. Julian and Dick kept to the shadows.
   "They seem to be heading in the direction of 'The Tower of London'," observed Dick. "Hold on, they've stopped."
   Julian and Dick held back as they watched the three men exchange words. The big man, Johnson, waved and took a left turn. The other two continued straight on.
   "We will follow Turner and West," decided Julian. "They are much bigger fish."
   The men passed 'The Tower of London', stopping for a second to gaze at its fortressed structure before crossing the Tower Bridge Road and entering St. Katherine's Dock.
   "Things seem to be going as much as we would have expected," mused Julian, as they watched the men unlock the boathouse and disappear inside.
   "What do we do now?" asked Dick.
   "Wait five minutes and then follow them in," replied Julian. "I would not suppose for one minute they have left the door unlocked, so it looks like it will have to be a touch of 'up the drainpipe'."
   "Julian, do you remember George saying she heard the men mention something about a boat, that night she was hiding in the boathouse?" asked Dick.
   Julian frowned in thought. "Yes, I do remember a boat being mentioned. Why?"
   "Well, maybe it is moored in the dock somewhere close by," continued Dick. "Shall we take look?"
   The two boys walked quickly over to the waters edge. A typical assortment of boats was moored in St. Katherine's Dock that night: A few tugs, two modern fibreglass launches, a speedboat and a sailing sloop from another era.
   "Maybe the speed boat," offered Julian.
   "Yes, maybe," agreed Dick, half-heartedly, "But hey! What's that over there?"
   Dick was pointing to a long, narrow boat moored just behind one of the tugs, tucked in close to the quay and secured at each end by a rope. It was a strange looking vessel, lying low in the water and having a curved roof, with a number of hatches along its length, totally enclosing the hull. The whole craft was painted a very dark green with lighter, wavy flecks, daubed on after, achieving a perfect camouflage against the background of water.
   "My money's on that one," said Dick. "Come on, let's go back and try that door."
   Julian lifted up the catch and lent on the door. It swung open easily. "Bingo!" he said, with a grin. "Their first mistake."
   The interior of the boathouse was just as George had described.
   "We know where we have to go," said Dick, pulling back the sacking.
   The boys did exactly as George had done two nights before, following the flex down the tunnel and taking the left hand fork.
   Suddenly Julian stopped, turned off his torch and put his mouth close to Dick's ear. "There is a light ahead," he whispered.
   They continued forward, slowly and with caution. There was a solitary naked light bulb hanging from the roof revealing two wheelbarrows, one behind the other, but not a man in sight.
   "I think they are down that other shaft, on the right hand wall," whispered Dick.
   Julian held Dick's arm and motioned him to be quiet and stay where he was. He then dropped to the floor of the tunnel and crawled slowly and quietly below the shaft opening.
   Dick followed suit.
   Soon they were both safely on the other side of the shaft, breathing a quiet sigh of relief.
   Dick tapped Julian on the shoulder and pointed up the tunnel.    "The laser," he whispered.
   Sure enough, a few yards up the tunnel, beyond the mounds of earth, stood the laser seemingly safe and sound.
   The boys hid behind the earth and waited. Muffled men's voices could be heard, emanating from the hole in the wall.

Unbeknown to Julian and Dick, thirty or forty feet above their heads was 'The Tower of London', looking peaceful and majestic on this misty spring evening. A crescent moon had just risen in the sky. The chimes of 'Big Ben' could be heard in the distance.
   On the first stroke of eleven, a dark figure emerged out of the shadows on the parapet that surrounded The Tower. He was dressed all in black including the balaclava on his head. It was Johnson and in his hand was a wire and attached to the end of the wire, a glass ball the size of a melon. He began to swing the ball around his head, as he had practiced so many times in the park. Once, twice, three times. The ball, with the wire trailing behind, left his hand and soared high into the air, over the moat, over the wall that surrounded 'The Tower' and smashed into the side of an interior building. The glass ball burst open, spewing out thousands upon thousands of tiny strips of silver foil glistening in the floodlights. Immediately an alarm bell pierced the quiet of the night. Then another and another, as the foil, caught by gusts of wind, wafted around the grounds of 'The Tower'...and finally an ear-shattering siren.
   Underneath the balaclava Johnson afforded himself a grin of satisfaction, turned, vaulted a fence and scrambled up the embankment to a motorbike parked on the road above. He donned his helmet and roared off in the direction of Westminster.

Down below in the tunnel, Julian and Dick heard the sound of some sort of mechanism swing into action: a smooth, sliding noise, a click and finally a deadened thud. There was some faint scrabbling noises and then silence for three or four minutes. The boys were beginning to think something had gone wrong when out popped Peregrine Turner from the shaft entrance, dragging a large, bulging sack, quickly followed by David West dragging an equally bulging sack. The two men attached their torches to the front of the wheelbarrows and gently lifted in the sacks.
   "Ready?" said Turner.
   "When you are," replied West.
   And they both galloped off down the tunnel pushing the wheelbarrows as fast as their little legs would allow.
   "Well, I wonder what all that was about?" said Dick, at last.
   "Let's go and find out."
   The two boys climbed into the hole, crawled along the shaft and jumped down into the room beyond.
   It was not the empty room George had described. In the centre was a large ring of empty glass shelves. Empty, that is, except for ornate placards that described what once had adorned these shelves.
   Dick shone his torch onto the nearest black velvet covered placard. In heavy gold embossing were the words 'The Imperial Crown of India'. On another: 'The Royal Sceptre with Cross' and yet another: 'Saint Edward's Crown'.
   For a moment both boys were speechless.
   "Good grief!" exclaimed Dick, finally. "The Crown Jewels. They've stolen The Crown Jewels!"
   "Let's get out of here quick," said Julian.
   They scrambled out through the shaft, ran down the tunnel to the next shaft, their torches picking out the now abandoned wheelbarrows.
   On entering the boathouse, Julian tried the door.
   "Damn! Would you believe it, the door is locked."
   "Come on, Julian, this way," said Dick, and climbed the ladder to the loft. "Good old George," said Dick, when he saw the rope she had left behind. He glanced around the loft, searching for a suitable anchorage point.
   "Here," said Julian, trying his weight on some steel racking that was screwed to the wall.
Dick quickly secured the end of the rope and threw the coil out of the window. "Age before beauty," he joked.
   Julian laughed as he swung himself out of the window. He was glad at times like this, that both Dick and himself had had experience in rock climbing. Dick quickly followed Julian down the rope and soon they were both standing together outside.
   "What's that noise?" asked Dick, putting his head on one side.
   Julian listened too. "A siren and alarm bells coming from The Tower," he said. "It would seem the authorities have discovered that 'The Jewels' are missing. Let's go and see if that boat we saw earlier is still there."
   They ran over to where the strange vessel had been moored. Nothing!
   "Look! There it is," shouted Dick.
   The long, narrow boat could just be seen turning into the waterway that led to the open river. In a moment it was gone.
   "Come on, let's go and find a policeman," said Dick.
   But Julian did not follow.
   He sat down on a capstan besides the waters edge and said, "we have a problem."
   Dick put a hand on his brother's shoulder. "You are shaking, Julian, whatever is the matter?"
   "I just do not believe what has happened!"
   "What do you mean you don't believe what's happened?" asked Dick, in amazement.
   "Just that," replied Julian. "We know a big, round, empty metallic room, deep in the heart of 'Tower Hill', suddenly, as if by magic, becomes full of 'The Crown Jewels'. It sounds too far fetched. Unbelievable! And if I don't believe it, how do you expect the Police to. They will think we are a couple of cranks and throw us in jail."
   "What do you suggest, then?" asked Dick.
   "Nothing. That is the problem. I have nothing to suggest."
   Dick leaned over, grabbed Julian by the arm and pulled him up. "Come on," he said, "let's get out of here. We'll sort it out as we go."
   The two boys ran out of 'St. Katherine's Dock' and up the hill towards the Tower. Here the siren and alarm bells were very loud indeed. A large helicopter hovered over Tower Hill with two thick ropes dangling from its belly. Dark shapes of soldiers could be seen sliding down the ropes into The Tower grounds. Crowds of people lined the wall overlooking The Tower, drawn as people often are to scenes of trouble.
   "Let's go further on up the hill," shouted Julian, above the din. "I can't see any Police here."
   Julian and Dick continued to run up Cannon Street. Ahead they could see another crowd of people, milling around, totally blocking the road. Beyond them was a line of flashing blue lights.
   Julian grabbed a young man on the edge of the crowd. "Can you tell me what is happening?" he demanded.
   "Yes," said the young man. "There has been a suspected break in at The Tower and the Police have cordoned off the whole area. They are checking everyone before letting them through. It will take at least an hour before we get out of here."
   At that moment something large flew out of the crowd and hit Dick in the chest, almost bowling him over.

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