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Chapter 40

Back in the Castle

His Lordship was the first one to get out of the bus and slowly approached what once had been his castle. There were no walls any longer and a big heap of debris indicated the place of the entrance hall. The only upright things were the two door posts, the door hanging in the loose hinges. McShredder paused in front of the door relicts.

“McClown, you lazy chap, come and open the door for your master!”

The butler only goggled at milord while George laughed and waved to them.

“You’ll get along. Tell me if you need me!”

He drove back to the road and the butler cautiously opened the door. He hardly had pulled at it a little when it crashed down and overturned the door posts.

“Thank you, McClown”, milord said after the dust had settled. “Go and find my armchair and then I would be grateful if you would tidy up a little.”

With a loud sigh Frido McClown set down the hamster-trunk between some bricks and opened the lid. Then he went searching for the armchair while His Lordship filled his pipe.

“Hey, guys, we’re back in the castle”, chief engineer Botchy exclaimed and scrambled out of the suitcase. “That’s the pits”, Flecki groaned. “We’ve really come far.”
“Anyhow, we’ve been at the beach”, Tuffy said. “That was quite nice.”

By now the mayor had climbed a heap of debris and thought it time to cheer up the hamsters with a little speech.

“Dear friends”, he began, “it was a long way, and I am proud to say that…”

Nobody ever learned what he was proud on because the debris heap collapsed.

“I’m sorry, little hamster”, they heard the voice of Frido McClown, “but I’m looking for milord’s armchair. What need you scramble about in all this debris?”

He set the scolding mayor down between the other hamsters and continued his search. Suddenly it crashed and where the butler had been standing was nothing but a cloud of dust.

“McClown, did you find my armchair?”

No answer. Slowly the dust settled but the butler still was gone. The hamsters curiously craned their necks when McShredder cautiously approached the place where Frido McClown just had been standing. He was looking at a large hole in the floor.

“McClown, stop this hide and seek. Back to your work! I can’t do everything myself.”

Still no answer and now he desperately turned to the hamsters. Goldi was right in front of him and McShredder pointed at him.

“How about doing some work for your food? I have been feeding you all the time, after all!”
"Dos, ssik ym ruf !1 was the prompt answer.

“Eh? Toss something rough? What do you mean?” Lord McShredder looked about him, quite at a loss. Then his face lit up. “Ah, no bad idea, little rodent.”

He took up a brick and tossed it into the hole. A loud outcry confirmed he had hit a target.

“McClown, will you now stop fooling around and busy yourself with tidying up, please.”
“Sir”, the muffled voice of the butler could be heard, “I’ve touched down on old dishes.”
“Old dishes, McClown? How am I to take that? Did you hide dirty dishes in the cellar?”
“But, Sir, we never had a cellar.”
“You are quite right, McClown, so where the hell have you landed and how the devil am I to get you out of there?”

Chief Botchy, Flecki, and Goldi in the meantime had scrambled down the hole to check the matter because they very well knew that with the butler they would get food. So they were most disappointed when all around they found nothing by useless scrap. Dirty over and over, they reappeared out of the darkness and with a hoarse cry Lord McShredder darted at Flecki. As Flecki was quick, His Lordship only landed in the debris and excitedly shouted:
“What did you find, little rodent? Come to Uncle Lord, show him!”

But Flecki saw that she was off and hid behind some bricks.

“What’s all that fuss about?” Tuffy inquired after she found the panting Flecki.
“That’s my brooch, I found it! I always wanted to have jewellery like this. Just look!”

With big, shining eyes Tuffy looked at the brooch. It was ornamented artfully and though it was dirty, nothing could take off its golden shine. Without doubt it was very valuable and the old lord had seen that at a glance. He in the meantime had found the long curtain of the former living room and thrown down one end of it into the hole where his butler was sitting. The other end he fastened at the frame of the former kitchen door. Huffing and puffing, he dragged at the curtain while his butler was clinging to the other end.

“McClown”, His Lordship groaned, while he dragged up the butler inch by inch, “have you taken along something of the - er - dishes?”
“N-no, Sir, I haven’t”, was the short reply.

Milord nodded slowly. Then he let the curtain go and the butler fell back with a shriek. A loud clatter indicated his arrival at the ground.

“Sorry, McClown, the curtain - er - slipped out of my hands. But if you are down there anyhow, pocket some of the - er - dishes and bring them up.”
“I will, Sir, but please get me out of here!”
“Without fail, McClown”, McShredder purred and again dragged up the curtain.

This time it did not take long until the panting butler was out of the hole and in front of his master.

1(Hamstish: Kiss my fur, Idiot)