The Hidden Treasures

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The Hidden Treasures Page 3

by Carolyn Keene

  “I’m sorry we have to go,” she said. “Jason has a dentist appointment.”

  “Oh, that’s okay,” Nancy said. She pulled on Chip’s leash. “We were going anyway.”

  “As if we would come here to visit Jason,” Bess said under her breath.

  The girls followed Jason out the back gate. When he got into the car, he rolled down his window and leaned out. “I still want to know why you were sneaking around in my yard,” he said.

  The girls watched Mrs. Hutchings back out and drive around the corner. Then Nancy said, “We’re going back. We have to check out the bricks under the gazebo. That’s where Elizabeth’s treasure is.”

  Bess shuddered. “Why do we have to?”

  “Because the diary said Elizabeth’s treasure was under the gazebo,” Nancy said. “We have to look for a loose brick.”

  The girls went back into the yard.

  “Look!” Nancy said. “The brick with A.T. on it is sticking out a little. See if you can get it out, Bess.”

  Bess gasped. “But what about Aunt Tillie?”

  “This isn’t a gravestone, silly,” Nancy said. “Aunt Tillie was buried in the yard, remember, not under the gazebo.”

  “I took out the last brick, Bess,” George said. “Don’t you want to find one of the treasures?”

  Bess squinched up her nose and pushed the brick with one finger. It moved a little. “It is loose,” Bess whispered excitedly.

  Bess pushed the brick back and forth with her fingertips. After a moment it was out. “I did it!” she said proudly.

  “Good work,” Nancy said. “Now see if anything’s in the hole.”

  Bess swallowed. “I just know there’s a worm in there.” Then she closed her eyes and slowly slid her hand inside the opening.

  “I feel something,” she said. She pulled her hand out and opened her eyes. “Look! It’s a necklace!” she shouted happily.

  But before Nancy and George could look at the treasure, they heard the Hutchingses’ car drive up. Nancy grabbed Chip. Then she and George and Bess all ducked down behind the gazebo.

  “Oh, no! We forgot!” George whispered, nodding toward the yard. Nancy looked over. She saw the brick with A.T. on it lying in the grass. “What if Jason sees it?”

  Jason got out of the car and came through the gate. “Wait! I see something, Mom,” he yelled, heading toward the gazebo. The girls crouched down, holding their breath.

  To Nancy’s horror, Chip began growling softly. Quickly Nancy shoved her hand into her pocket and took out a dog treat. She held it out for Chip to sniff. The puppy thumped her tail happily.

  Jason ran up the gazebo steps. “Here they are, Mom!” he called out.

  He’s seen us, Nancy thought. What am I going to tell his mother?

  Then Jason ran back down the stairs waving a pair of gloves. The girls heard the door slam shut and the car back out of the driveway.

  As soon as the car was gone, George jumped up and shoved the A.T. brick back into place. “Let’s go before they come back again.”

  The girls ran through the gate and down the front sidewalk. They didn’t stop until they were in front of Nancy’s house.

  The girls flopped down on the front lawn. “Whew!” Bess panted. “That was too close.” She pulled the necklace out of her pocket. Hanging from it was a silver charm.

  “It’s a dog,” George said.

  Nancy frowned. “But Amelia wrote that the charm looked just like Aunt Tillie. That wasn’t a very nice thing to say.”

  Bess turned the charm over. “There’s something written on the back. It says, ‘My name is Aunt Tillie. If you find me lost, take me home to. . .’”

  Bess laughed. “Hey! It’s Jason’s address.” Then her mouth dropped open. “This is a dog tag!” she cried. “Aunt Tillie was a dog!”


  The Secret under the Stair

  You mean Aunt Tillie was Elizabeth’s dog?” George said. “Not her aunt?”

  Bess nodded her head. She couldn’t say anything because she was laughing so hard. Nancy burst out laughing, too. George couldn’t hold herself back.

  After a minute Bess put the necklace around her neck. She looked down at it.

  “I have to go home now,” George said. “It’s my mom’s turn to pick us up, and she and my dad are going out tonight”

  “Let’s look for Amelia’s treasure tomorrow,” Bess said. “We know it’s at your house, Nancy.”

  “Okay,” Nancy agreed. “And we can work on our oral reports, too.”

  • • •

  Bess and George arrived at Nancy’s early Sunday afternoon. “Which comes first?” Nancy asked. “Report or treasure?”

  “Treasure!” Bess and George both said.

  “Where do we start?” Bess asked.

  “Amelia’s treasure is probably behind a brick, too,” Nancy said. “That’s where she hid her diary. So let’s look at the kitchen wall first.”

  The girls felt all the bricks they could reach, but none of them was loose.

  Nancy checked her blue notebook for clues. “It has to be somewhere Edward was afraid to go,” she said. “Wait! He was afraid of the basement, remember? Let’s look there next.”

  The girls searched the basement for half an hour. Finally George said, “We’ve covered every inch of the basement. I don’t think the treasure is here.”

  “There’s one more place Edward wouldn’t go,” Nancy said. “The attic.”

  The girls bounded up the stairs. Nancy tripped on the top stair and almost fell.

  “Ow!” she cried, sitting down. “I stubbed my toe on that stupid nail again!”

  She rubbed the tip of her shoe. “That nail is poking up. Maybe I should pull it out this time instead of putting it back in.”

  Nancy grabbed the nail and pulled hard. To her amazement, the top of the stair lifted up like a lid.

  “It’s a secret compartment,” Bess whispered.

  “It really is a secret,” Nancy said. “I didn’t even know it was here.”

  George opened the lid all the way. “There’s something inside here!” she said.

  Nancy lifted out a tin box with a flower pattern on it. “Someone hid this on purpose,” she said excitedly. “I’ll bet it’s Amelia’s treasure.”

  Gently she lifted the lid. But the box was empty.

  “Edward really was a brat, I think,” Nancy said. “He found Amelia’s treasure after all!”

  There was a lump in her throat. “I really wanted to find all the treasures,” she said sadly.

  “Now you don’t have a treasure,” Bess said. “That’s not fair.”

  “We’ll share our treasures with you,” George said.

  “That’s okay,” Nancy said. “I have the diary.”

  The three girls clomped down the stairs sadly. “Let’s see what Hannah got us for lunch,” Nancy said.

  When Hannah saw the box, she said, “Where on earth did you find my old button box?”

  “It’s yours?” Nancy said.

  Hannah turned the box over in her hands. “Yes. It disappeared when they were putting new floorboards in the attic. Where did you find it?”

  “In a secret compartment at the top of the stairs,” George explained.

  “The carpenters put a new step on the top stair, too,” Hannah said. “I used to have some sewing things in the attic. My button box must have gotten in that stair by accident.”

  “It’s yours!” Nancy shouted, giving Hannah a big hug. “Hooray!”

  “And why does that make you so happy?” Hannah asked with a smile.

  “Because that means the box isn’t Amelia’s!” Nancy said. Suddenly she became serious. “Are there any bricks in the attic?” she asked Hannah.

  “There’s a brick chimney up there,” Hannah said. “Look behind the old clothes chest by—”

  But before she could finish, the girls had run back up the stairs.

  Nancy wriggled behind the chest of drawers up in the attic. “Here’s th
e chimney,” she said.

  She began feeling the bricks. “There’s a loose one,” she cried. She stuck her hand inside. “I have it! I’m sure it’s the treasure!”

  “Well, hurry and come out so we can see it,” Bess said.

  Finally Nancy crawled out from behind the chest and stood up. She held out a small cameo brooch. “Amelia’s grandmother gave this to her, remember?” she said.

  “It’s beautiful,” Bess said.

  “Here. Put it on,” George said. She pinned the brooch to Nancy’s blouse.

  “I want to look at it in the mirror,” Nancy said. She stood on her tiptoes so that she could see herself in the mirror above the chest. Then the girls went downstairs for lunch.

  Hannah had fixed some tuna salad sandwiches for lunch. While they ate, the girls showed Mr. Drew the treasures.

  “Now that we’ve found all the treasures, I’m ready to do my report on Amelia,” Nancy said.

  “Who are you two reporting on?” Mr. Drew asked Bess and George.

  “My report is on Abraham Lincoln,” Bess said. “He didn’t move to Illinois until he was twenty-one years old. But he lived here until he was elected president.”

  “I picked Carl Sandburg,” George told Mr. Drew. “He was a famous poet who lived in Chicago. Plus our school was named after him.”

  “I wish I knew what happened to Amelia when she grew up,” Nancy said. “So far, I can only talk about her childhood.”

  Just then they heard the doorbell ring. “Can you get that, Nancy?” Mr. Drew said. He had a smile on his face.

  “Sure, Daddy,” Nancy said. She ran to the front door. When she opened the door, a woman and a man were standing there. Nancy didn’t recognize them.

  “Hello,” the woman said. She was tall and thin, with light brown hair. She was wearing a red suit with navy blue shoes and a purse to match. “I’m looking for Nancy Drew,” she said.

  “That’s me,” Nancy replied.

  “My name is Mrs. Fremont,” the woman said. “I understand you have something of mine.”

  “I do?” Nancy said.

  “Let me explain,” Mrs. Fremont said. “Before my name was Fremont, it was Barton. I’m Amelia Barton. And I believe you have my diary.”

  Nancy was so shocked, she didn’t know what to say.

  “And there’s my brooch!” Mrs. Fremont said, looking at Nancy’s blouse.


  Found—and Lost Again

  Yes, it’s your brooch,” Nancy blurted out. “We found your diary and all the hidden treasures, too. And we’re sorry!”

  To Nancy’s surprise, Amelia Fremont smiled a big smile. “Good!” she exclaimed. “I’m happy you found everything.”

  Before Nancy could say anything, Mrs. Fremont turned to the man beside her. He was dressed in a gray suit and was wearing a hat.

  “This is my brother, Edward,” Mrs. Fremont said. “You read about him, didn’t you?”

  Edward Barton took off his hat and bowed. “How do you do, young lady?” he said.

  Nancy liked the twinkle in his eye. “How do you do?” she replied.

  It’s Edward the brat, she thought. But he’s so polite. He doesn’t seem like a brat.

  “Your father invited us over,” Amelia Fremont went on. “May we come in?”

  “Oh! Oh, of course,” Nancy said. She opened the door wide.

  “Daddy!” she called out. “We have company.”

  Nancy turned around. There stood Mr. Drew with a big grin on his face. George and Bess were peeking out from behind him, their eyes wide.

  Mr. Drew put his arm around Nancy’s shoulder. “I didn’t tell you I reached Mr. Barton, Nancy. He gave me Mrs. Fremont’s number. I hope you don’t mind. I wanted to surprise you.”

  “You did, Daddy.” Nancy gulped. “But it’s a wonderful surprise.”

  “Let’s go sit down and talk,” Mr. Drew said, leading everyone to the living room.

  Nancy introduced Bess and George to Amelia Fremont and Edward Barton. “We’re best friends,” she explained to Mrs. Fremont. “Like you and Elizabeth and Ruth.”

  Mrs. Fremont’s eyes glistened for a moment. Nancy thought she might start to cry.

  “Elizabeth and Ruth and I are still friends, even though they moved away,” Amelia Fremont told the girls. “We were your age when we hid our treasures.”

  She settled back in her chair. “Now,” she said. “Tell me how you found them. Don’t leave anything out.”

  Nancy and Bess and George took turns telling the whole story. Soon everyone was talking and laughing. Edward Barton loved the story about Aunt Tillie the best.

  “We thought Aunt Tillie was a real aunt,” Nancy said with a laugh.

  Suddenly she stopped laughing. “Are you mad that I told my teacher about your diary?” she asked Amelia Fremont.

  “Oh, no,” Mrs. Fremont said, shaking her head. “Believe me, I don’t mind if anyone reads it now.”

  She paused and looked at the three friends. “And that’s not all,” she said. “I told Elizabeth and Ruth that you found our treasures, and we all agree. We want you girls to keep them.”

  “You mean it?” Bess exclaimed. “Oh, thank you!”

  George looked down at her ring and smiled.

  Nancy gulped. She had something to say that might make everyone mad at her.

  “Thank you, Mrs. Fremont,” Nancy said. “I hope you don’t mind, but I’ve been thinking about something.” She squirmed in her chair. “I . . . I’d like to put everything back.”

  “You would?” George asked.

  “But why?” Bess asked, clutching the charm on Elizabeth’s necklace.

  “Well, this way other people might find the diary,” Nancy began. “And if they do, maybe they’ll follow the clues in it and find the hidden treasures again.”

  Nancy looked at Bess and George. “They would have as much fun as we did finding the treasures.”

  Everyone in the room sat quietly for a moment.

  Finally George said, “That’s a great idea, Nancy.”

  “I guess I think so, too,” Bess said. Then she brightened up. “But I still hate to give up Aunt Tillie.” Everyone laughed.

  Amelia Fremont nodded her head. “It’s a splendid idea, Nancy. But before you put the diary back, could you do something for me.”

  Nancy nodded.

  “I’d like it if you three girls wrote in it—something about your friendship.”

  “I like that idea,” Nancy said. “If someone else finds the diary, maybe she will write about her friends, too.”

  Edward Barton had been looking through the diary. “How could you write such awful things about me, Sis?” he said. “You called me a brat!”

  He pretended to be hurt. Then his eyes twinkled. “And I was!” he told the girls.

  After Amelia Fremont and Edward Barton left, Nancy hugged her father. “Thanks, Daddy. It was great to meet Amelia.”

  “Now you can do your report on her whole life,” Mr. Drew said.

  “Oh, right! My report,” Nancy said. She turned to Bess and George. “We’d better finish them.”

  “And write in Amelia’s diary,” Bess reminded her.

  When Bess and George left that afternoon, Nancy gave them each a big hug. “I know we will always be friends like Amelia and Elizabeth and Ruth,” she told them. “But I still hope you never move!”

  • • •

  On Monday morning Nancy couldn’t wait for social studies. That’s when Mrs. Reynolds’s students were giving their oral reports.

  “Well, class, who wants to give the first report?” Mrs. Reynolds asked. Nancy raised her hand high.

  “All right, Nancy,” Mrs. Reynolds said. “Go ahead.”

  Nancy walked to the head of the class. “My report is on Amelia Barton,” she began. “She’s not a famous person. But she lived in my house fifty years ago. Now she lives near Chicago.”

  Nancy held up the diary. “I met Amelia through this book,” she went on. “It’s a
diary that she kept in 1943. She was my age then—eight years old.”

  Nancy described finding the diary and the treasures. Then she held up a photo of Amelia and her family. “This is Amelia now. I met her and Edward yesterday. My dad and I found her, using our computer.”

  Nancy told the class about Amelia’s children and grandchildren and everything she could remember from the diary and Amelia herself.

  When Nancy finished, the class clapped. Everyone, that is, except Brenda Carlton.

  “Excellent, Nancy,” Mrs. Reynolds said. “You certainly found someone different to report on.”

  Brenda glared at Nancy as she headed back to her seat. “I knew this was a good story,” Brenda whispered to her. “It’s all your fault I didn’t get to write it up for my newspaper.”

  Nancy smiled. “You should look for loose bricks,” she whispered. She giggled and slid into her seat. “Good stories are always hiding behind them.”

  • • •

  That evening, Nancy put the diary back behind the brick. The next day the workers were going to put more plaster on the wall.

  Then, just before she went to sleep, Nancy opened her blue notebook. She found the page for “The Hidden Treasures Mystery.” At the bottom she wrote:

  I learned something this weekend. Sometimes the best thing about finding a treasure is not keeping it. Sometimes it’s more fun to leave it for others to find, too.

  Case closed. (Unless someone else opens it in fifty years!)

  This book is a work of fiction. Any references to historical events, real people, or real locales are used fictitiously. Other names, characters, places, and incidents are the product of the author’s imagination, and any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.


  An imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division

  1230 Avenue of the Americas, New York, NY 10020

  Copyright © 1998 by Simon & Schuster, Inc.

  Produced by Mega-Books, Inc.

  All rights reserved, including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form.


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