Ellise Darby pulled the sitting room curtains aside and looked out the window. "What's taking themso long?"
'Who are you waiting for?" asked Mrs. Darby.
"Agnes and Fran," explained Ellise. "I didn't know you were interested in potholing," said Mr. Darby.
Remember when I took you to Kitley Caves? You hated being underground. "Why (lid you join the club?" asked Mrs. Darby.
"It wasAgnes' idea," explained Ellise. Boys, boys, boys."
"Shut up!" said Ellise.
"Stop teasing your sister, Neville," said Mrs. Darby.
Ellise ran to open the door. Agnes and Fran were standing outside.
"Come inside," Mr. Darby called from the sitting room. Mr. and Mrs. Darby said hello to the girls. Ellise, Agnes and Fran had been friends since they were little, and they still spent a lot of timetogether. Agnes Snow was short dark. 'Don't worry about us," said Agnes. 'I do worry' said Mr. Darby. What happened?" asked Fran.
Mr. Darby frowned. Sometimes the tunnelsit through solid rock, so they were quite safe, but in other places the rock wasn't so solid and the tunnels were weak. The tin mine that we explored was very old. 'Oh, no!" exclaimed Ellise. "What a frightening story!" said Fran."Potholing is dangerous," said Mr. Darby.
Agnes drove the other girls to the Derbyshire Potholers' Club, which was located in a Victorian building in central Derby. Mr. Brady, the club leader, stopped what he was saying to welcome the girls. "We're going to ore a cave in the Peak District National Park. About fifteen people raised their hands. The cave we are going to explore isveryinteresting," said Mr. Brady. Mr. Brady showed theclub members a map of the cave. Mr. Brady rolled upthemap and put it away. A middle-aged man in the front row raised his hand. Ifthe match burns, there is ugh oxygen. A lot of caves were formed by underground rivers, and the rock is full cracks. Fran raised her hand. Don't shout too loudly' said Mr. Brady. You will need climbing ropes, good boots andwarm clothing. "Hi, I'm Ellise Darby," she said.
"Are you going on the trip next Saturday?" asked Ellise.
"Exploring caves is fun, but it's hard work."
"Where can we get all the equipment we need?" asked Ellise.
On the way home, Agnes and Fran teased Ellise about the boys. "Who do you like better, Boris or Nigel?"
Ellise smiled but didn't answer.
"I didn't join the club to meet boys," saidAgnes. "I'm serious about potholing.
At 6:1 5, Agnes drove by Ellise's her up.
"My parentsare the same' said Fran. "Boris and Nigel walked with the three girls. Everyone was hot and thirsty by the time they arrived at the entrance to the cave.
Brady. 'Quite a lot of people seem to come here," said Fran. 'Very few people go deeper inside, though' said Nigel. 'Has anyone ever beenlost here?" asked Ellise, but Nigel didn't know. Oncea friendand I went into a cave in Scotland. When the group had to crawl througha narrow tunnel and then climb down a rope toa lower cave, Ellise and Agnes managed asily.
Agnes was having a good time. Agnes wanted to explore a small passage near the place where she found thefossil, but Mr. Brady said that there wasn't enough time. Agnes wasdisappointed but she didn't argue.
It was easy to follow the red dots of spray paint back to the first cavern.
Agnescarried a heavy bag of rock samples. Ellise was upset, too. She liked Nigel, but he'd spent the whole day taking care of Fran.
The climbing was really exciting," said Fran.
"I want to go back to the cave, said Agnes. "Tomorrow morning. We could go really early,"argued Agnes. 'Why don't we ask Nigel and Boris to join us?" suggested Fran. 'No," said Ellise. She was still angry with Fran. 'We don't need men to take care of us," agreed Agnes. "We can have a proper breakfast later," said Agnes.
Very quietly, the three girls left the hotel. "It's simple," said Agnes. Ellise, who last, noticed that Fran didn't slip even once this morning. In forty minutes the...