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Authors: Julie Campbell

Tags: #Mystery, #YA, #Trixie Belden, #Julie Campbell

The Secret of the Mansion

The Secret of the Mansion
Trixie Belden [1]
Julie Campbell
(2012)
Tags:
Mystery, YA, Trixie Belden, Julie Campbell
Trixie's summer is going to be so boring with her two older brothers away at camp. But then a millionaire’s daughter moves into the next-door mansion, an old miser hides a fortune in his decrepit house, and a runaway kid starts hiding out in Sleepyside!

Trixie Belden 01

 

The Secret of the Mansion

 

by Julie Campbell illustrated by Mary Stevens

 

cover illustration by Michael Koelsch

 

Random House New York 1 Copyright (0 1948, renewed 1976 by Random House, Inc. Cover art copyright

 

0C 2003 by Michael Koelsch. All rights reserved under International and Pan-American Copyright Conventions. Published in the United States by Random House

Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, and simultaneously in Canada by Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto. Originally published

by Golden Books, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc., New York, in 1948. www.randombouse.com/kids

 

Library of Congress Cataloging-in-Publication Data Campbell, Julie, 1908-1999.

 

The secret of the mansion
by Julie Campbell ; illustrated by Mary Stevens cover illustration by Michael Koelsch.<
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p. cm. - (Trixie Belden; #I)

 

Summary: Thirteen-year-old Trixie Belden and her friends search for hidden treasure in a mysterious mansion owned by an old miser.

 

ISBN 0-375-82412-X (trade) - ISBN 0-375-92412-4 Gib. bdg.) [1. Buried treasure-Fiction. 2. Mystery and detective stories.]

 

1. Stevens, Mary, ill. 11. Koelsch, Michael, ill. 111. Title. IV Series. PZ7.C1547 Se 2003 [Ficl-dc2l 2002036990

 

Printed in the United States of America First Random House Edition

 

10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2

 

RANDOM HOUSE and colophon are registered trademarks of Random House, Inc.

 

2 CONTENTS

1. The Haunted House 5
2. Through the Hedge 22
3. A Scream and a Dog 37
4. The Brass Key 54

5. Copperhead! 68

6. A Runaway 80
7. A New Hiding Place 95
8. An Exploring Trip 105
9. Jim’s Discovery 118

1O.The Old Ladder 129

11. A Precious Piece of Paper 137
12. Jed Tomlin’s Colt 151
13. Understanding Regan 164
14. A Night at the Manor House 174

15. Mr. Lytell’s Curiosity 188

16. Unwelcome Guests 204
17. Treasure 216
18. The Moonlight Ride 228
19. The End of the Mansion 239

The Missing Heir 249 3

 

The Haunted House

 

“Oh, Mums,” Trixie moaned, running her hands through her short, sandy curls. “I’ll just die if I don’t have a horse.”

 

Mrs. Belden looked up from the row of tomato plants she was transplanting in the fenced-in vegetable garden.

 

“Trixie,” she said, trying to look stern, “if you died as many times as you thought you were going to, you’d have to be a cat with nine lives to be with

us for one day.”

 

“I don’t care!” Tears of indignation Welled up in Trixie’s round blue eyes. She scooped up a fat little worm, watched it wriggle in the palm of her hand

for a minute, then gently let it go. “With Brian and Mart at camp this summer, I’ll die of boredom. I mean it, Moms.”

 

Mrs. Belden sighed. “You declared you’d suffer the same fate if we didn’t buy you a bike three years ago. Remember?” She stood up, frowning in the glare

of the hot July sun. “Now listen, Trixie, once and for all. If you want to buy a horse like the one you fell in love with at 4 the horse show yesterday,

you will have to earn the money yourself. You know perfectly well the only reason your brothers could go to camp is because they are working as junior

counselors.”

 

Crabapple Farm, Trixie reflected, was really a grand place to live, and she had always had a lot of fun there, but she did wish there was another girl in

the neighborhood. The big estate, known as the Manor House, which bounded the Belden property on the west had been vacant ever since Trixie could remember.

There were no other homes nearby except the crumbling mansion on the eastern hill, where queer old Mr. Frayne lived alone.

 

The three estates faced a quiet country road two miles from the village of Sleepyside that nestled among the Tolling hills on the east bank of the Hudson

River. Trixie’s father worked in the bank in Sleepyside, and Trixie and her brothers went to the village school. She had many friends in Sleepyside, but

she rarely saw them except when school was in session. Now that her brothers Brian and Mart had gone to camp, there was nobody but her little brother,

Bobby, to play with.

 

Trixie impatiently kicked a hole in the dust of the path with her shoe.

 

“It’s not fair. You wouldn’t let me try for a job as a waitress or anything. Maybe I could have gone, too.”

 

“You’re only thirteen,” her mother said patiently.

 

“Next year we might consider something of the sort. Dad and I are really sorry, dear,” she added gently, “that we couldn’t afford to send you to camp this

year.”

 

Trixie suddenly felt ashamed of herself, and she impulsively threw her arms around her mother. “Oh, I know, Moms, and I’m a pest to nag at you. I won’t

any more. I promise.”

 

“You can begin to earn the money for your horse right here, Trixie,” Mrs. Belden said, laughing. “There’s plenty to do around here with Brian and Mart away.

I’ll pay you something every week if you help me with Bobby and the housework. And I know Dad would be glad to increase your allowance if you do some weeding

in the garden every day and take over Mart’s chore of feeding the chickens and gathering the eggs.”

 

“Oh, Moms!” Trixie hugged her mother tighter. “Maybe I could earn five dollars a week. Do you think I could?”

 

Mrs. Belden nodded and smiled. “Something like that,” she said. “At any rate, if you really work, I should think you could count on having a horse next

summer.” She shaded her eyes with one hand and stared at the car that was just coming into the driveway. “Why, isn’t that Dad now? What could have happened

to bring him home from the bank before lunch?”

 

Trixie had already darted through the gate and was racing up the path from the vegetable garden, calling over her shoulder, “I’ll talk to him right now,

and then maybe I can start earning the money for my horse today.”

 

At the top of the driveway, Mr. Belden backed and turned the car around. Trixie jumped on the running board, shouting, “Dad! Mother said I could earn the

money for a horse if I help with the garden and chickens and Bobby. May I? Please, Dad, may I?”

 

Mr. Belden left the motor running but pulled on the emergency brake. “I guess so, Trixie,” he said, “but we’ll talk about that later. I’ve just been to

the hospital,” he spoke to Mrs. Belden as she joined Trixie beside the car. “On my way into the village this morning I found old Mr. Frayne lying at the

foot of his driveway. He was unconscious, and I took him right into the hospital.”

 

“Oh, Peter!” Mrs. Belden cried. “That poor old man living up there all alone! I’ve worried about him so often, but he would never let anyone come near him.

He’s probably been sick for days.”

 

“That’s right,” Mr. Belden said. “He’s suffering from pneumonia complicated by malnutrition. The doctors said 5 there was very little chance that he would

pull through.” “Serves him right,” Trixie said, wiping her grimy hands on her rolled-up blue jeans. “The mean old miser. You should have left him lying

in the driveway, Dad.” Mr. Belden frowned. “Why, Trixie! I don’t like you to talk that way, and you know you don’t mean it. Although Mr. Frayne may not

have always been a very pleasant neighbor, he is still a neighbor.”

 

“I’m sorry, Dad.” Trixie squinted up at the big rambling mansion half-hidden by the trees on top of the hill. “He never seemed like a neighbor to me,” she

added under her breath.

 

As her father drove away, she turned to her mother. “Why, old man Frayne said he’d call the police if he ever caught any of us trespassing. Remember that

time he yelled at Mart and-?”

 

“Now, Trixie,” Mrs. Belden interrupted. “You’re old enough to understand Mr. Frayne’s attitude. He and your father had a disagreement about the boundary

line between the two properties. Of course, Dad didn’t want to take the matter to court because nobody really cares who owns that little patch of the woods,

but Mr. Frayne insisted. Naturally, when the decision went against him he resented it.”

 

Trixie pulled up a piece of grass and chewed it 6 thoughtfully. “Well, his game chickens come down on our property whenever they please, and you don’t complain.

And just last week, Moms, Reddy chased Queenie, the black hen, into Mr. Frayne’s property. I tore after him because I didn’t want him to hurt Queenie,

even though she does belong to the old miser. But I needn’t have worried, because I guess those game hens can take care of themselves. Just as I caught

up to them, she suddenly turned and flew right into Reddy’s face, flapping her wings and squawking and scratching like anything.” Trixie laughed. “Reddy

was the most surprised Irish setter you ever saw. He tucked his tail between his legs and dashed off into the woods, and just then Mr. Frayne burst out

of his house, waving a shotgun and shouting at me. Golly, I was awfully scared for a minute, Moms. He said he’d shoot Reddy if he ever crossed the boundary

line again.”

 

“I’m sorry that happened, dear,” Mrs. Belden said as they strolled back to the garden. “But I honestly don’t think Mr. Frayne would really shoot Reddy.”

 

“I do.” Trixie kicked a pebble across the path. “He’s such a wrinkled little old man with such a cross face. I bet he doesn’t weigh much more than Bobby

does, and in those funny, patched clothes, he looks like a scarecrow. And his land’s in a terrible state. It’s all choked

 

10 7 with weeds and vines except for a clearing right around the house which isn’t a lawn any more, because the chickens have scratched it bare.”

 

“He wasn’t always a wrinkled old man, Trixie,” Mrs. Belden said quietly. “And Ten Acres was once as much of a showplace as the Manor House on the other

hill is now. Grief sometimes changes people, you know. Before Mrs. Frayne died, he was a charming old gentleman, and he and his wife were very kind to

your father and me when we moved up here from the city. That was before you were born, and Brian and Mart were still babies.” She carefully slipped a cardboard

collar around one of the tomato plants. “I’ll never forget the night Mrs. Frayne died. It was a terrible shock to all of us.”

 

“What happened, Mother?” Trixie knelt in the next row and began thinning the feathery little carrots. “All I know is that she was bitten by a copperhead

snake. But you don’t have to die from a copperhead bite. Dad told us all long ago what to do in case any of us were bitten. First, you put on a tourniquet;

then you cut into the fang marks with a knife or a razor blade, and then you suck out the blood to keep the poison from spreading. Didn’t Mr. Frayne know

what to do, Moms?”

 

Mrs. Belden pressed the last tomato plant into place with her fingers and stood up.

 

11 8 “I don’t know, Trixie, but he must have been terribly upset. He absolutely adored his wife. She was a beautiful little old lady, and everyone loved

her.” She slipped off her gloves and wiped her face with her handkerchief. “It happened one evening when they were sitting out in their summerhouse. The

snake must have been curled under Mrs. Frayne’s chair, and she probably kicked it accidentally. When Mrs. Frayne cried out, Mr. Frayne just picked her

up in his arms to rush her to the hospital for the antivenin. Naturally, he took the short cut, and right in the middle of that deserted upper road, the

car broke down. Whether he didn’t know what to do, or was too excited to do anything, I do not know. At any rate, they simply waited there until a car

came along. They waited for hours, and, by that time, it was too late.”

 

“How dreadful, Moms,” Trixie gasped.

 

Shading her eyes with her hand, Mrs. Belden glanced up at the old mansion on the eastern hill.

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