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THE BEGINNING OF THINGS

One night at their home in London, father, mother, Roberta(also known as Bobbie), Peter and
Phyllis are talking about Peters broken model engine when there is a knock on the front door.
Two gentlemen come to see father and talk for a long time. Father speaks briefly with mother
and mysteriously leaves home. The next morning, mother leaves for London and returns in
the evening, looking tired. She requests the children to be good while she is away and not to
ask any question about father. Several horrid weeks pass by and one morning, mother tells
the children that they are moving to a little white house near railway line in the country. They
take the train and arrive at their new home in the dark.
PETER AND THE COAL
The family does not get a decent supper as they think Mrs. Viney has not prepared it for them.
Mother prepares what she can and off they go to bed. The next morning, the children wake up
feeling excited in their new home. They discover that a nearby field backs onto a railway line
but the railway station is too far to see from where they are. Before supper the children
decides to go to the railway station. They have a lot to see and a large heap of coal catches
Peters attention. When Peter steals coal from the station yard, he is caught by the Station
Master. Peter thinks that taking some coals from the middle of the heap is harmless. The
Station Master warns them that what they have done is stealing because the coal belongs to
the railway station. It is only then they realize what they have done is wrong.
THE OLD GENTLEMAN
By now the children know the time when the trains pass. Every morning, they will wave to an
old gentleman who always waves back at them. They pretended that the old man knows their
father and takes their love to him in London. One day, their mother becomes very ill and
Bobbie resolves to do something positive to help. The children paint the words, LOOK OUT
AT THE STATION on a large white sheet and wave it at the 9.15 train the next day. When the
train is about ready to leave, Phyllis passes a letter to the Old Gentleman. In the evening, a
large box of supplies is delivered to the children with all the things they have asked for.
CHAPTER 4: BOBBIES RIDE
When their mother finally recovers from her illness, they confess to her what they have done
earlier. The family later celebrates Bobbies 12th birthday, all dressed in their best. Bobbie
receives various presents from the family including Peter who reluctantly has to give her the
broken half of his toy train filled with sweets. Her lovely birthday party however ends on a sad
note when she realizes that her mother is very upset later that night. Bobbie secretly wants to
repair Peters broken train. She goes to the station and accidentally gets into the engine of
one of the trains. Feeling scared, she seeks help from two railway workers. The two men not
only repair the toy but also make sure she arrives home safely. Weeks later, Bobbie
introduces Peter and Phyllis to the friendly engine driver and Jim, the fireman.

SAVING THE TRAIN


The children witness a landslide that covers the railway line. The children prevent an imminent
accident by waving the girls red petticoats. The train comes to rest just in time, at about
twenty metres from where Bobbie stands on the tracks. Weeks later, a ceremony is held at the
station to commemorate the childrens bravery. The Old Gentleman presents the children with
a gold watch each and meets their mother at home. The children relay that eventful day to
their mother.
A BIRTHDAY FOR PERKS
The childrens mother has just sold a story and suggests having some cakes for tea. Bobbie
requests that they have it on Perkss birthday and mother agrees. Peter comes up with an
idea to ask the villagers for little gifts, confident that they will give something to a person as
nice as perks. Some of the villagers are delighted with the idea but others, such as Mrs.
Ransome simply brushes them off. The three children, however, go home and collect several
roses for Mrs. Ransome since it is her birthday. That kind gesture touches Mrs. Ransomes
heart and she gives the children several apples as well as her dead grandchilds pram for
Perkss son. The children bring the gifts to Perkss house and wait for his arrival so as to
surprise him. In spite of this, perks becomes upset as he sees the gifts as a form of charity.
The children explain that these gifts are given sincerely and perks relents. He asks the three
children to stay for tea.
THE TERRIBLE SECRET
Bobbie discovers the reason for her fathers disappearance when she reads the newspaper
article. Deeply upset, she refuses to believe that he is a spy and is imprisoned. Her mother
attempts to explain that her father has been falsely accused of selling government secrets to
another country. Bobbie believes in her fathers innocence and decides to write to the old
gentleman to clear his name.
THE BOY IN THE RED SHIRT
The boy in red goes missing during a hare and hounds game organised by thier school.
Bobbie and her siblings enter the dark railway tunnel to look for him. They find him lying by the
railway track with a broken leg. Bobbie stays with the injured boy, Jim, in the dark tunnel while
peter and Phyllis seek help from the farm. The children take jim home for medical attention.
They later learn that Jim is the grandchild of the old gentleman whom they have met earlier.
The old gentleman visits the little white house where Jim is taken care of. Mother offers
herself to take care of Jim until he gets better. The old gentleman is grateful to the family.
When the old gentleman leaves the house, he has a private chat with Bobbie about her father.
He says that he has received the letter and has been looking into the case. He believes that
her father is innocent.
THE MAN AT THE STATION
The children wave at the passing 9.15 train and all the passengers respond. At the station, an
overjoyed Mr. Perks, who has read about bobbies father in the newspaper, greets her. A
London train stops at the station and Bobbie sees her father return after serving his sentence
in prison. They return home happy and reunited.