- Five Go Down to the Sea
Infobox Book |
name = Five Go Down To The Sea
language = English
series = The Famous Five series
genre = Mystery,
Hodder & Stoughton
media_type = Print (
isbn = NA
Five Have A Wonderful Time("1952")
Five Go to Mystery Moor("1954")
Five Go Down To The Sea (published in 1953) is a popular children's book written by
Enid Blyton. It is the twelfth novel in the Famous Five series of books.
The five are due to go on a short biking trip to Tremannon in Cornwall. Anne makes a comment that she'd rather not have any adventures on this trip: she'd rather just have a "jolly nice time". Julian laughs and suggests everyone just ignore should ignore any whiff of adventure that comes their way and surprisingly the others reluctantly agree. They set off by train to Cornwall, with Dick getting a puncture for the second time in the series just before they arrive at the station. It is not a problem as he pumps it up and they arrive just in time to see the train come in, and with the help of the friendly porter (who seems to know them all pretty well) they label their bikes and climb aboard. Apparently the Five's luggage has "gone on ahead of them" so there's no need to worry about that. The Five don't get off the train straight away because they don't realize where they are until the driver impatiently comes along the platform to tell them they've arrived.
The Five arrive at Tremannon Farm, where they have arranged to stay, with their luggage presumably already unpacked for them. They meet a plump little woman with a friendly smile named Mrs Penruthlan who's a marvellous cook and is concerned the children should eat as much as they possibly can. Her husband arrives home (referred to as Mr Penruthlan), a "strange and magnificent figure of a man—tall, well over six feet, broadly built, and as dark as a sunburnt Spaniard." The description goes on to say that "his mane of hair was black and curly, and his eyes were as black as his hair." The only things he appears to say are "Ah" and "Ock" which, to the wife, means all sorts of different things. The Five settle into Tremannon Farm, in their quaint and very small rooms, with the exciting knowledge that the travelling performers (known as "Barnies") are coming to town
The Five have to deal with a scruffy kid called Yan that keeps following them around and spying from afar, something which annoys Julian.He peeks at the Five from afar, spying on them all day long—much to Julian's annoyance. However he is a nice enough kid, with dimples when he smiles, which Anne seems to like. He is also fond of Timmy, and Timmy seems to love him back, much to George's annoyance.
The Five take a picnic hamper along to Grandad's house and he regales them with tales of old, about how "Wreckers" used to shine a light on wild and windy nights to draw ships onto the rocks; hundreds drowned, and their ships plundered for loot. But although no ships have been wrecked in a very long time, says the old man, the light still shines from time to time... Naturally this causes a little disbelief among the Five, who clearly don't stand for any ghostly nonsense. But, Grandad insists, he's seen the light himself three times that year already! It can only be seen from one spot inland, and he warns the children that it will shine again next time there's a wild and windy night. It turns out to be wild and windy that same night.
But anyway, when George asks if they're going to go walking about that night to see if there's a light, Julian laughs and says no, of course not—they'd get drenched, and it's not safe to be exposed to lightning like that. So they all go to bed like good children. But Julian and Dick can't sleep, and Julian suddenly decides that now that it's stopped raining he and his brother can head off into the night to see if they can spot that light shining after all. Off Julian and Dick go, and it's not long before they spot someone up ahead, climbing over a stile. Who can it be? They follow in the darkness—but then a hand shoots out and grabs Dick by the shoulder! After much struggling the boys escape and follow the man at a safe distance as he heads down to the farmhouse...and goes in! The man just walks in the front door, bold as brass. It must be Mr Penruthlan, sneaking about in the darkness!
The boys call it a night. What a waste of time, Julian thinks. They ended up following their host, getting almost caught by him, and following him back home! No sign of a light shining from the tower, either.
The next morning George is reproachful of Julian for going out without telling her. But when Yan shows up and tells them there was indeed a light shining in the night, they all decide to investigate further. Julian and Dick will go out again, the next night, to see if they can spot this flashing light. George suprisingly makes no comment about this, seemingly happy to be confined to her bedroom with Anne. Meanwhile Julian tells Yan firmly that the small boy is not to go out that night—as if Julian has any right to tell the boy what to do.
For the rest of the day, though, there's work to do. The Barnies are going to be playing in the barn, so it needs clearing out and getting ready. The Five meet the whole team of Barnies and get along very nicely with the happy bunch—except the Guv'nor, who's a grumpy, unsmiling, tetchy man. (Sounds like he's probably involved in something criminal then!) Sid and Mr Binks are an interesting couple of guys, a double-act who become the very funny and very popular Clopper the Horse.
That night Julian and Dick head off again into the darkness—and are annoyingly joined by Yan, who shows them the way to the spot where you can see the light flashing. Sure enough, there it is—a flashing light! How mysterious! On the way back to the farmhouse Julian and Dick spot a torchlight shining inside the barn, and they peer inside to see Mr Penruthlan going through the pockets of the Barnies' coats! Disgusted, Julian says Mr Penruthlan must be mad, doing such a thing. The next day they discover he's not only sneaking about in the night but lying to his good wife about it too; he apparently slept like a log all night, says Mrs Penruthlan, but the Five know better.
More work setting up the barn follows the next day. Julian and Dick are desperate to try on the horse costume, but Sid and Mr Binks aren't having any of it. They'd lose their jobs, they explain, if they let the precious Clopper suit out of their sight—especially the head, which Sid has to carry around with him all the time. Day and night he has the head in his possession, never letting it out of his sight. Still, Julian and Dick are determined to "have a go" and their chance arises later, after the first successful show, when Sid and Mr Binks have gone to join the merriments and the Guv'nor has offered to keep the costume in his possession for the time being. But the Guv'nor is not in the barn where he's supposed to be, as Julian and Dick find out when they take a meal out to him. But...the Clopper suit is lying about unattended!
There follows a funny scene where Julian takes the head and Dick becomes the horse's hindquarters. They zip together the two halves of the suit and prance about, finding it more difficult than they imagined. But then the Guv'nor returns—and is horrified and angry to see his precious Clopper barging past him and escaping into the night. Apparently he "let out a loud roar and gave chase"...but somehow, inexplicably, Julian and Dick manage to give him the slip because a little later, when Julian and Dick manage to unzip the suit and escape, they return to the barn to find the Guv'nor still there, inside, striding about and looking extremely angry.
After all the shenanigans and various mysterious happenings—the shining light, and the odd behavior of Mr Penruthlan—it's time for the adventure to really get started. The children go to visit the old tower, from which the light shines at night.
* [http://www.enidblyton.net/famous-five/index.html Review at EnidBlyton.net]
* [http://www.enidblytonsociety.co.uk Enid Blyton society]
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