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In the tenth instalment of the Swallows and Amazons series, the young crew come face-to-face with the fiercest pirate of the South China Seas.
'So long,' called the harbourmaster. 'Don't run into Missee Lee!'
The Swallows, Amazons and Captain Flint are on a round-the-world voyage. It's been plain sailing for a hundred ports and now they are on their way to China. A friendly harbourmaster has given them a warning: to watch out for pirates roaming the waters around the Chinese coast, but they haven't paid much heed. Until the day that Gibber the monkey accidentally sinks the faithful Wild Cat. Separated, captured, miles from home, the Swallows and Amazons are about to meet their fate and the pirate who holds it: the legendary Missee Lee.
standing by the deckhouse with his sextant at his eye. John was beside him with a stopwatch. At any moment now the sun would be at its highest, Captain Flint and John would work out latitude and longitude and presently a new red-inked circle on the chart would show exactly where they were. Titty and Roger were watching the navigators, Susan was sewing, sitting on the skylight, and Nancy was up at the foremast cross-trees looking hopefully out through a telescope. “Now,” called Captain Flint.
nodded, and the amah and the two men went out. “We will have English tea,” said Miss Lee. “Stlong … with milk. … And plenty of sugar. You are surplised?” “Well, yes, rather,” said John. “We didn’t expect …” “I will explain,” said Miss Lee, sitting down at her table, pushing the reading-desk a little further to one side, and beginning to pour out tea. “Sit down. Take cushions. Sit how you like. On the floor. Like a Camblidge sing-song. Solly no more chairs. Tomollow. And now, tell me your names
safe because you cannot get away, because no one knows you are here, and because even if you could get away you would not know how to come back with gunboats. But they think better to chop off heads and have no trouble. Chang thinks it is safe to keep your Captain Flint because he is Amelican not English. …” Her eyes narrowed still more. “It is a bargain. Quid plo quo. I keep my students. Chang keeps his Amelican.” “But he isn’t American,” said Nancy. “I did not think he was,” said Miss Lee.
get away.” “But we’ve got to some time,” said Susan. “How?” asked Miss Lee. “You could let Chang’s captain, the one who picked us up, take us out to sea till we meet an English ship,” said Nancy. “All light,” said Miss Lee angrily. “Nan-see, you have no blains. Chang’s captain take you out to sea. He will come back next day and say he stopped a British steamer and put you all aboard. I tell you, he will say that. But I tell you, Chang is aflaid. Wu is aflaid. My counsellor is aflaid. Chang’s
dragon. The three crowds met, each with its dragon and there were fresh shouts of laughter from the folk of Tiger and Turtle when they saw that the Dragon Island dragon had a young one copying its every movement. The dragons met and parted, dancing their way among the houses, waiting for the signal. It came at last with the deep booming of the gong, twenty-two times. “Missee Lee!” There was a sudden swirl among the crowds. Wherever they were in the town, the dragons turned and made for the