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The Adventure of the Venetian Pearls (part 7)

"He didn't really attack me," Nicky answered. She sat on the bed, skipping slightly. "Besides, I didn't want to alarm her. But they're strange, aren't they?"

"How do you mean?"

She shrugged. "I don't know. Maybe it's just because I think a man whose name sounds like an Italian dessert can't be trusted."

Chris grinned.

"How long have you been here for?" he wanted to know.

"Since Saturday. I'm awfully glad you've come. It was so boring over the weekend. The children I've seen so far are either too young or too old to play with. I don't know where they hide the ones that are our age."

"Is there anything interesting to do here at all?"

"Oh, yes! There are incredibly interesting slide-shows in the Church Hall and Bingo at the bigger hotels on the garrison hill every Tuesday, and..."

Chris stared, aghast. That was even worse than he'd imagined! But then Nicky couldn't hold on any longer and burst out with laughter.

"Just kidding!" she gloated. "Actually, there's Gig-Racing every Friday and that's supposed to be very thrilling. I'm looking forward to it. And then there are beaches, rocks and caves and even burial places to explore. The trips to the other islands aren't too expensive either. So, in short, now that you're here, I think we might spend acceptable holidays together."

Chris sighed. "I'm not very keen on visiting burial-places. I've already seen so many on the trips we made with my father."

"Tell me more about it!" Nicky begged. "What kind of graves have you seen?"

"Oh, Minoan ones in Crete, Etruscan graves in Northern Italy, burial-mounds in Cornwall. But why are you asking? Is this some kind of morbid obsession of yours?"

"No!" she answered, embarrassed. "I'm only interested in history."

"Oh, no!" he groaned. "Not another one of those maniacs!"

The next day, Chris asked his cousin to show him round Hugh Town. The 'capital' of the Isles of Scilly was situated on an isthmus and so featured two town beaches. First they had a look at Porthcressa beach where they promised themselves to go for a swim as soon as possible despite the freezing water. Then they bought ice-cream at a shop that boasted to sell the best in all of Cornwall, sat on a bench overlooking the harbour and enjoyed the view.

The Scillonian, a passenger ferry that served the route Penzance-St. Mary's, glided by. She was an imposing sight, especially for somebody who, like Chris, lived in a country where there was no sea.

(To be continued)