The Hidden Treasures

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by Carolyn Keene

  The Hidden Treasures

  Nancy ran her hand over the wall. When she touched one of the bricks, it moved a tiny bit. Nancy slid it out.

  “I’ll bet there’s something in there,” George said.

  Nancy shone a flashlight in the hole. “There is,” she said. She reached in and pulled out the object.

  “It’s a book,” George said. “What’s the title?”

  Nancy held out the book for Bess and George to see. On the front were gold letters that said, “My Diary.”

  “What are we waiting for?” Bess said. Her blue eyes sparkled with excitement. “Let’s read it!”


  Chapter 1: A Hidden Surprise

  Chapter 2: Amelia’s Mystery

  Chapter 3: The Treasure Hunt Begins

  Chapter 4: The Statue’s Secret

  Chapter 5: A Surprising Clue

  Chapter 6: In Jason’s Backyard

  Chapter 7: The Secret under the Stair

  Chapter 8: Found—and Lost Again


  A Hidden Surprise

  You have to help me!” Nancy Drew cried. “I just can’t decide who to do my report on.”

  Nancy was walking home from school with Bess Marvin and George Fayne. They were going to Nancy’s house after school. Bess and George were cousins. They were Nancy’s best friends.

  “You’d better think quickly,” Bess said. “We have to tell Mrs. Reynolds our topics tomorrow.”

  The girls were in the same third-grade class at Carl Sandburg Elementary School in River Heights. Their teacher, Mrs. Reynolds, had given them a social studies assignment. Each student had to do an oral report on someone from their state of Illinois.

  Nancy thought it would be fun to do a report on someone from her own state. But she couldn’t decide whom to pick.

  “Why don’t you choose someone famous, like I did?” Bess said. “I’m doing my report on Abraham Lincoln. He was the sixteenth president of the United States. And he was from Illinois.”

  “I picked Carl Sandburg,” George said. “He’s pretty famous here at Carl Sandburg Elementary School.”

  “Very funny!” Nancy laughed at George’s joke.

  “How about Mary Todd?” Bess asked. “She was Abraham Lincoln’s wife.”

  “That’s a good idea,” Nancy said. “But I’d like to do my report on someone different. Someone nobody knows.”

  Bess laughed. “How are you going to find someone nobody knows?”

  “I mean someone who wasn’t famous,” Nancy answered. “Maybe Hannah can think of someone,” she said as they walked up to her house.

  Hannah Gruen was the Drews’ housekeeper.

  “Hello, girls,” Hannah called. “The workers are almost finished for today.”

  Just then two men in overalls carried a kitchen cabinet out the back door.

  “Nancy!” Bess said. “You’re not moving, are you?”

  “No, we’re not moving,” Nancy answered with a laugh. “I forgot to tell you we’re getting a new kitchen floor and new cabinets, though. We’re also getting the kitchen painted. It’s going to be a mess for a while.”

  Nancy, Bess, and George walked into the kitchen. Nancy looked at the wall where the old cabinets had been. Instead of a white plaster wall, it was now brick.

  “Wow!” Nancy exclaimed. “Did the workers put in that brick wall, Hannah?”

  “No,” Hannah said. “The brick wall was there first. When the workers took down the cabinets, they took off the old plaster, too,” she explained. “Underneath, we discovered the brick wall.”

  Nancy ran her hand over the wall. She could feel that one of the bricks was sticking out. When she touched it, it moved a tiny bit.

  “Look at this,” she called to Bess and George. Nancy pulled on the brick. The brick slid out.

  “I’ll bet there’s something in there,” George said.

  Nancy took a flashlight from a drawer and shone it in the hole. “There is something in there,” she said. “It’s red.”

  “Don’t put your hand in there!” Bess cried. “You’ll get all dirty.”

  Nancy smiled at her friend. “Don’t worry, Bess. I’ll wash my hands later.” She reached in again and felt around. “I’ve got it,” she said. She pulled out the red object and held it up.

  “It’s a book,” George said. “What’s the title?”

  Nancy held out the book for Bess and George to see. On the front were gold letters that said, “My Diary.”

  “It looks old,” George said.

  The diary was made of red leather and had a rusty latch on it. Nancy pushed on the latch until it sprang open. Then she turned to the first page.

  “Listen to this,” Nancy said. She read from the first page:” ‘This diary belongs to Amelia Barton, 1943.’”

  “That’s more than fifty years ago!” George said.

  “Amelia Barton left this diary here fifty years ago?” Bess said.

  “I guess so,” Nancy said. “That also means that Amelia Barton lived in this house.”


  Amelia’s Mystery

  But why did Amelia stick her diary in the wall—where it would get covered up forever?” George asked.

  “Maybe she explains in the diary,” Nancy said.

  “What are we waiting for?” Bess said. Her blue eyes sparkled with excitement. “Let’s read it!”

  The girls ran to the living room and plopped down on the couch. Nancy began to read.

  “BEWARE! Anyone who reads my diary will have to live in the attic FOREVER and be haunted by ghosts. (Especially you, Edward.)

  “Do you think it’s okay to read the diary?” Bess asked.

  “Sure,” Nancy said. “We don’t believe in ghosts, do we?”

  “I don’t think so,” Bess said slowly.

  “I wonder who Edward is,” George said.

  “Let’s read some more,” Nancy said. She turned to the first entry and began to read.

  “January 1, 1943.

  Dear Diary: Happy New Year! And happy new diary—my very first one. I got it for Christmas. It’s red, my very favorite color. Mother told me to write down what was important to me. But I’m only eight years old. Nothing important ever happens to me.”

  “Hey! She’s eight, the same age as we are,” George said.

  “Lots of important stuff happens to us,” Bess said.

  “Yes, like finding an old diary,” Nancy said. She began reading again.

  “Mother said just to write anything I want. She said a diary is private. That means secret. But Edward, the brat, doesn’t know what private means. (I wonder if all little brothers are brats.) I know he would read my diary if he could. So I found a good place to hide it—behind a loose brick in the kitchen wall.”

  “Now we know who Edward is,” George said. “Amelia’s brother.”

  “And we know why she hid the diary behind a loose brick in the kitchen,” Nancy said. “She wanted to hide it from Edward.”

  “Let me read now,” Bess said. Nancy handed her the book, and Bess found her place.

  “I will show my diary to Elizabeth and Ruth because they are my two best friends. They are sisters. They live around the corner and down a few streets. Their father is in the army. People who are in the army move around a lot. Elizabeth and Ruth moved here two years ago. I hope they don’t move now that there’s a war going on.”

  “What war is she talking about?” Bess asked.

  “Let’s ask Hannah,” Nancy said.

  The girls ran to the kitchen to show Hannah the entry in the diary.

  “Amelia is talking about World War Two,” Hannah told them. “That’s when the United States and several other countries fought against Germany and Japan and Italy.”
  “I have a great idea, Nancy,” Bess said. “You can do your report on Amelia.”

  “You’re right, Bess!” Nancy clapped her hands with excitement. “I wanted to do my report on someone different. Amelia is really different.”

  “I wonder if we can figure out where Elizabeth and Ruth lived,” George said.

  “Maybe we can,” Nancy said. “There might be more clues in the diary.”

  “Come on,” Bess said. “Let’s read the rest of it.” She pulled the other two upstairs to Nancy’s room.

  Bess and Nancy sat on Nancy’s bed. George sat on Nancy’s rug next to the bed.

  “My turn to read,” George said.

  “January 5.

  Dear Diary: Elizabeth and Ruth came over today. We played dress-up in the attic, and I showed them my new diary. The attic is a perfect place to play because Edward never goes up there. He thinks there are ghosts in the attic. He’s afraid of the basement, too, but I don’t know why.”

  “I have an idea,” Nancy said. “Let’s go up to the attic and read the diary. It will be spookier up there.”

  “I’m not sure,” Bess said.

  “Cool!” George said.

  On their way to the attic, Nancy stubbed her toe on something. “Ow!” she said. A nail was sticking up from the top stair. “Watch out for that nail,” she told the others. She tapped the nail down with the heel of her shoe so that it would stay in place.

  Nancy opened the attic door. The girls dusted off a large box and sat down. Then they took turns reading the diary. They read all about what it was like to grow up in River Heights in 1943. Amelia and her friends had gone to the same school that Nancy, Bess, and George did.

  Nancy, Bess, and George read all the way to the June entries. They were having so much fun that they lost track of time.

  “Uh-oh,” Bess said. “I wonder what time it is.”

  “My stomach is growling,” George said. “I’ll bet it’s close to dinnertime.”

  “Let me read just one more entry to you,” Nancy said. “You have to hear this.”

  “June 1.

  Dear Diary: Bad news. Next month Elizabeth and Ruth are moving away from River Heights. The army is making their father go to another town because of the war. We promised to write each other every week. But I don’t know if we will ever see each other again.”

  “Oh, no,” Bess said. “This is so sad.”

  “Wait, there’s more,” Nancy said.

  “We decided to do something special before Elizabeth and Ruth leave. We are each going to hide something that reminds us of our friendship. They will be our hidden treasures. Ruth’s treasure is from me. I made it with a heart that fell off one of Mother’s old pins. Elizabeth’s treasure belonged to Aunt Tillie, who was also one of her best friends. (It looks just like Aunt Tillie, too!) My treasure is a gift Grandma gave me when I was little. Now we have to decide where to hide our treasures.”

  “Skip ahead,” George said eagerly. “Let’s see where they hid them.”

  Nancy turned several pages. She began to read.

  “July 6.

  Dear Diary: Elizabeth and Ruth are moving two days from today, so we hid our treasures yesterday. We decided a loose brick is the best hiding place. (That’s where I hide my diary from Edward.) No one ever thinks of looking behind a brick. So Ruth put hers under the new statue of Carl Sandburg in the library park. Elizabeth hid hers under her gazebo. Mine is in the house, where Edward the brat is afraid to go!”

  Nancy looked through the next few pages. “That’s strange,” she said. “Amelia stopped writing in her diary. I wonder why.”

  “Read the last entry,” George said. “Maybe that will give us a clue.”

  “August 6.

  Dear Diary: Edward and I are going to Grandma’s house until school starts. Daddy is making the kitchen bigger, and Mother says it will be too messy around here. I am leaving my diary at home. There isn’t any place to hide it at Grandma’s, and I know Edward will read it. I’ll write all about my trip when I get back.”

  “Now I know why the diary was never finished,” Nancy said. “Amelia hid her diary behind a loose brick in the kitchen wall, right?”

  “Right,” Bess said, nodding her head.

  “Well, Amelia put it there before she went to her grandmother’s,” Nancy went on. “Then her parents fixed up the kitchen.”

  “That’s right,” George said. “After that, Amelia couldn’t get to her diary anymore.”

  The girls sat in silence for a moment. “I’m sorry the diary ended early,” Nancy said. “I like Amelia. I feel as if I know her.”

  Bess nodded. “Me, too. I also like Elizabeth and Ruth. I’m sad they had to move.”

  “You know,” Nancy said slowly, “I was wondering if the treasures are still in their hiding places.”

  “Do you think so?” George asked with a gasp. “They were hidden fifty years ago.”

  “And we don’t even know what the treasures are,” Bess said.

  “But there are clues in the diary,” Nancy replied. “And we haven’t read the whole thing yet.”

  She jumped up from the box. “I think it would be a great idea if we tried to find the treasures.”

  “Okay,” Bess said.

  “Okay for me, too,” George said. “When do we start?”

  “Well, tomorrow’s Friday,” Nancy said. “We could start right after school!


  The Treasure Hunt Begins

  That evening Nancy’s father, Carson Drew, brought pizza home for dinner. “We might have to order in or eat out until the kitchen is finished,” he told Nancy and Hannah.

  “Sounds good to me,” Nancy said as she bit into a steaming-hot slice of pizza.

  “I don’t mind, either,” Hannah said. “I won’t miss cooking for a while.”

  Hannah set the table in the dining room. She used paper plates and plastic forks, knives, and spoons.

  “This is like having an indoor picnic,” Nancy said.

  “Without the ants,” Hannah added.

  Over dinner Nancy told her father about finding the diary behind a brick in the kitchen wall.

  “The diary belonged to a girl named Amelia Barton,” Nancy told him eagerly. “And guess what? She was my age when she wrote it.”

  “She began the diary in 1943,” Hannah added.

  “I wonder what happened to Amelia,” Nancy said.

  “I’ll bet we can find out,” Mr. Drew said.

  “How?” Nancy asked.

  “There are a few different ways. You could ask some of our neighbors,” Mr. Drew said. “Mrs. Ratazchek grew up in this neighborhood. She might remember Amelia and where she moved. We can also look for her on the computer.”

  “The computer?” Nancy said. “Where would we begin?”

  “There are Web sites that combine all the phone books in the country. I’ll show you how to find them over the weekend,” Mr. Drew said.

  “Okay,” Nancy said happily. “Gee, if we could find Amelia . . .” Suddenly she put down her cup of soda and frowned.

  “What’s wrong?” Mr. Drew asked. “Don’t you want to find Amelia?”

  Nancy swallowed and took a deep breath. “Yes,” she said slowly. “But . . . would she be angry at me for reading her diary?”

  Mr. Drew smiled. “I doubt it, Pudding Pie.”

  “Pudding Pie” was Mr. Drew’s special name for Nancy.

  “Amelia is a grown woman now,” Mr. Drew continued. “She wrote her diary a long time ago.”

  “If you think it’s okay,” Nancy said, “I feel better now.” She took a last bite of her pizza.

  After dinner Nancy ran upstairs and put on her nightgown. It was white with red and pink roses on it. Then she curled up in bed with the diary.

  She also took out her special blue notebook. That’s where she always wrote down clues when she was trying to solve a mystery.

  Nancy opened her notebook to a fresh page. On the top she wrote, “The Hidden Tr
easures.” Under that she made two columns. In one column she listed Amelia’s, Elizabeth’s, and Ruth’s names. Beside each girl’s name she wrote a description of her treasure. Then she turned to the diary again.

  As she read, Nancy looked for all the places in the diary that mentioned the treasures. When she found a clue, she wrote it down in her notebook.

  Nancy was still reading the diary when her father came upstairs to tell her it was time for bed.

  “Good night, Daddy,” Nancy said when he kissed her on top of her head. “I’ll finish tomorrow,” she said as her father turned out the light.

  • • •

  The next day Nancy couldn’t wait to tell Mrs. Reynolds about Amelia’s diary.

  “Amelia sounds like a wonderful subject,” Mrs. Reynolds said. “Just make sure there’s enough material in the diary for your report,” she said. “You may need to go to the library to find out more about World War Two, for example.”

  “What’s this about a diary?” a voice said behind Nancy. Nancy turned around quickly. Brenda Carlton was standing there.

  “I heard you talking to Mrs. Reynolds,” Brenda said. “Let me see the diary so I can write a story about it in my newspaper.”

  Brenda’s father owned a newspaper. He helped Brenda put out her own newspaper, called the Carlton News. Brenda wrote the newspaper on the computer.

  Nancy frowned. “You can do an article, Brenda,” she said. “But I can’t let you see the diary. You’ll have to wait for my report.”

  Brenda tossed her long, dark hair back over her shoulder. “I’ll find out about the diary somehow,” she said. “Just look for it in your favorite local newspaper, the Carlton News.”

  “I can’t wait, Brenda,” Nancy said as she took her seat.

  Right after school the three friends headed straight for the library. Nancy told Bess and George about writing down the clues she found in the diary.

  “I think we should look for Ruth’s treasure first,” Nancy said. “It will be the easiest to find because we have all the clues.”

  “Since we’re going to the library, we can look up some stuff for our reports there,” George said.


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