Part 3 out of 3
"I should think that anything that made you feel small would--"
Gladys again interrupted the flow of Chapa's wit, directed this time
against Hinpoha's bulk.
"I'm going to bed," she announced. There was a scramble for the robes
and for comfortable places in the tonneau, and it took much adjusting
and readjusting before there was anything resembling quiet in the
bedchamber of the Striped Beetle. But weariness can snore even on the
floor boards of a car and that long walk over the road had done its
work for at least two of the girls. The last thing they heard was
Hinpoha drowsily spouting:
"Let me sleep in a car by the side of the road,
Where the hop toads are croaking near-by,
With Medmangi's camera between my knees stowed,
And Gladys's foot in my eye!"
And then, when they were all nicely settled and had dropped off to
sleep, Hinpoha had the nightmare and screamed the most blood-curdling
screams and cried out that the apple tree was hugging her to death,
which sounded nonsensical, but was really suggestive. For, in the
morning she discovered that green apples are gone but not forgotten
when used as an article of diet and sat doubled up in silent agony on
the floor of the car and announced she was dying.
"It serves you right," said Medmangi, in her best doctor manner. "You
were in such a hurry to eat them that you ate every one that came along
without waiting to find out whether it was ripe or not. The rest of us
stuck to the ripe ones and we're all right."
"Well, the unripe ones are sticking to me," groaned Hinpoha, unhappily.
Mr. Bob laid his head on her knee with an air of sympathy. Where
Hinpoha is concerned he never stops to think whether the sympathy is
deserved or not.
"What family do apples belong to, anyway?" asked Gladys idly, seeing it
was time to turn Medmangi aside from preaching to Hinpoha.
"Not my family," said Chapa, "we're all peaches."
"Forget-me-not family," said Hinpoha, with another groan.
They ate more apples for breakfast, except Hinpoha, who pretended not
to see when they offered them to her. Then Gladys decided to walk to
town again to see what cheer there was there.
"Up, up, Hinpoha," she cried, "and join me in my morning stroll."
"You should say 'Double up, Hinpoha', like 'double up Lucy'," said
Chapa, and then dodged as Hinpoha's hand reached out for her hair.
Hinpoha tried to stand up, but immediately sat down again, and Chapa
went to town with Gladys.
They sat and watched the repairmen fixing the wires of the telegraph
and, after a while, the messages began to pour in again. And one of
them was the one that brought joy to Gladys's soul and as soon as the
formalities were gone through she had actual money once more. They
bought enough gasoline to bring the Striped Beetle in and returned to
the anchored ones in triumph. They found that during their absence
Hinpoha had manufactured a large "For Rent" sign and hung it on the
front of the car, intending, as she said, to go into business and rent
out the car at a dollar an hour until they had enough money to proceed.
"How were you intending to rent it out without any gasoline to run it?"
"Make them pay in advance," replied Hinpoha.
"With the constant stream of foot-sore pedestrians over this road it
would no doubt have been profitable," said Gladys, scanning the road up
and down. There was not a living being in sight. But Gladys knew the
reason now, for she had seen the washout.
To get the Striped Beetle back to town they had to drive through
private property to reach the other road. After eating breakfast--the
first real meal they had had since the morning before--they set out
once more for Rochester to meet Nyoda.
"So it's money makes the Striped Beetle go," said Hinpoha reflectively,
as they sped along. "And I had been thinking all the while it was
When the gust of wind overtook us that night while Sahwah and Nakwisi
and I were struggling to shut the gate we had run against in the
darkness, Nakwisi and I jumped into the Glow-worm in haste and we all
thought Sahwah was in too. But in running for the car she slipped in
the mud and fell flat on her face in the puddle. By the time she had
picked herself up and wiped the mud out of her eyes the Glow-worm was
gone. Slopping along in the pools of water she ran shouting down the
road. She could hear the engine of the Glow-worm throbbing in the
distance; then the sound began to die away. She knew then that they had
not yet noticed her absence, but they must presently and would return
for her. So she set out in the direction in which the car had vanished,
going, as she supposed, to meet them. The road was so dark she could
not see her hand in front of her eyes, and what with the wind moaning
mournfully and the rain falling all around her, it was rather a dismal
walk. On one side of her was a stretch of swamp where frogs glumped and
piped in every known key. Sahwah is not nervous, however, and to her
the voice of a frog is simply the voice of a frog and not the wail of a
banshee, and anyway, her mind was occupied with pulling her feet out of
the mud in the road and setting them in again. And she was straining
her ears for the sound of the Glow-worm, and all other noises made
little or no impression on her.
It seemed to her that it was high time the others had missed her and
were coming back to pick her up. "Probably stuck in the mud somewhere,"
was her consoling thought, "and I'll come upon them if I keep going far
And so she kept on pulling her feet out of the mud and setting them in
again. By and by the road narrowed down until it seemed no more than a
path, and then without warning it ended abruptly against a building.
Sahwah had been looking at her feet and not into the distance, and due
to the force of inertia which we learned about in the Physics class,
which keeps people going once they have started, she did not stop as
soon as the road did and ran her nose smartly against the building,
which proved to be a barn, Sahwah drew back with a start, rubbing her
injured nose. Gradually, the fact dawned on her that she was lost. She
looked for the road from which she had strayed, but it seemed to have
rolled itself up and departed. The croaking of the frogs came from
everywhere and she could not locate the swamp. She walked around for
awhile, and finally, did walk into the swamp, but there was no road
anywhere near. There was water, water, everywhere. Sahwah, who had once
declared she could never get enough of water, got enough of it that
She thought of the wicked uncle brook in _Undine_ which had risen
up and covered the land, and she wondered if something of the kind had
not happened again. She railed inwardly against the darkness of the
country roads and wished with all her heart for the lighted byways of
the city, with their rows of cheerful lights on posts and their
frequent catch basins that were capable of subduing the most rampant
uncle brook. Several times more she fell, and once she stepped into a
puddle over her shoe-tops. Then she fell against a fence and tore her
skirt. Then, when she was sure she had found the road again she ran
plump into the barn again, from a different side this time. A window
frame minus a window told that the barn was empty and with a grunt of
utter disgust at the wetness of the world in general, Sahwah climbed in
and stood on a dry floor. She made up her mind to stay there until the
sound of the engine would tell her that the Glow-worm had come for her.
As the time went by and no familiar throbbing rose on the air, she
began to have cold chills when she realized that we might not yet have
noticed her absence, and might be miles away by that time.
"At any rate," she decided, "I'm going to stay in here until it stops
raining. If I get any wetter somebody'll take me for a sponge." She
took off her jacket and wrung the water out of it and then wrung the
water from the tail of her skirt, where it had been dripping on her
ankles. Luckily she could not see herself in the darkness, for the
green color from her veil had run in streaks all over her face and she
looked like a savage painted for the war-path.
A half hour drizzled by and then she heard the most welcome sound in
the world, the honk of the Glow-worm's horn. Then she saw the glimmer
of the headlights coming toward her out of the distance. And the
strangest part of it was that the road was in just the opposite
direction from where she thought it was. She climbed out of the barn
window and ran toward the lights, landing in a puddle in the road with
a mighty splash. The next minute the lights were full on her and the
car came to a sudden stop.
"You will run off and leave me, will you?" she called, running forward.
Then she paused. The driver at the wheel was not Nyoda, but a man.
There was no one else in the car.
"Excuse me," she said, stepping back. "I thought you were friends of
mine." And the car moved on.
But if Sahwah had not found the Glow-worm she had, at least, found the
road, and she made up her mind not to lose it again until she had come
upon the others. Dawn found her still trudging along, very wet, very
muddy, very tired and very much puzzled. For she had not come upon the
Glow-worm stuck in the mud as she had expected.
The rain had stopped and the sun was opening a watery eye on the
horizon. The east wind was rising and ushering in the day. The frogs
ceased croaking and the birds began to twitter. It was a morning to
delight the soul, that is, any but a lonely soul which was wandering
around, wet to the knees, unutterably weary, separated from its kindred
souls, and without a cent of money. Sahwah had left her purse in the
Glow-worm. By the position of the sun she discovered that she was
traveling toward the west. The events of the night before were like a
dream in her mind. The storm, the ball, the finding of the necklace in
Nyoda's pocket and the flight in the rain were all jumbled together.
She sat down on a stone by the roadside to think things over, and let
down her damp hair to fly in the wind. For once in her life Sahwah was
at a loss what to do next. So she sat still and waited for inspiration.
The sun dried her hair and her coat and the mud on her shoes. The wild
asters along the road craned their necks to get a look at this great
muddy creature that sat in their midst, and a bird or two paused
inquiringly before her.
"I shall sit here," she said aloud, quoting the Frog Footman in
_Alice in Wonderland_, "till tomorrow, or next day, maybe." It
suddenly seemed to Sahwah as if she would like nothing better than to
sit there forever. The stone she was sitting on was so soft and
comfortable, and the sun was so warm and pleasant and the breeze was so
soft and caressing. The song of the birds became very loud and clear;
then it began to melt away. Sahwah's head nodded; then she slid off the
stone and lay full length in the grass, sleeping as soundly as a babe
in its cradle.
Mr. and Mrs. James Watterson of Chicago were motoring back to their
home from the races in Indianapolis. The night before the Indianapolis
papers had been full of the disappearance of Margery Anderson and the
efforts her uncle was making to recover her. He even offered a reward
for information concerning her whereabouts. The papers said he had gone
to Chicago to follow up a clue. Mrs. Watterson had read every word of
the article with great interest. She did not know the Andersons and she
was not particularly interested in them and their troubles, but she had
nothing else to do at the moment, her husband having gone out and left
her alone in the hotel, so she read and reread the details of the
affair until she knew them by heart.
The next morning, on their way north, they came upon Sahwah sleeping in
the road. "Somebody dead or hurt here," exclaimed Mr. Watterson, and he
stopped the car and jumped out. Sahwah's face was streaked with green
from the soaked veil and she looked absolutely ghastly. And her arm was
twisted under her head in the peculiar position in which Sahwah always
sleeps, so that it looked as if she had fallen on it.
"Her heart's beating," announced Mr. Watterson, after investigating.
Mrs. Watterson came out and also looked Sahwah over. A handkerchief was
dangling half out of the pocket of Sahwah's coat and a name written on
it in indelible ink caught the woman's eye. That name was _Margery
Anderson_. Sahwah had gotten something into her eye the day before,
and not having a handkerchief handy--Sahwah never has when she wants
one--Margery had handed her one of hers. At the sight of that name Mrs.
Watterson was in a flutter of excitement. The story in the newspaper
was fresh in her mind. "It's that Anderson girl!" she exclaimed,
holding up the handkerchief.
Quickly they lifted Sahwah, still sleeping, into the car. They thought
she was unconscious and I believe their idea was to take her to the
next house they came to. But, of course, as soon as the car started
Sahwah woke up and looked with a gasp of surprise into the faces near
her. At first when she felt the throb of the engine under her she had
thought she was in the Glow-worm. Mr. and Mrs. Watterson were as
surprised as she was. They had not expected her to come to life in just
Of course, Sahwah wanted to know where she was and whither she was
"You are going to your friends, my dear," replied Mrs. Watterson.
"Do you know where they are?" asked Sahwah, wondering how they had come
upon the whereabouts of the Glow-worm. Mrs. Watterson merely smiled
ambiguously. Sahwah looked at her with instant suspicion. "Who are
you?" she demanded. "And where are you taking me?" Mrs. Watterson
smiled again, somewhat uncertainly this time. There is something about
Sahwah's direct gaze that is a trifle disconcerting.
"I am a friend of your uncle's"--she told the falsehood glibly--"and I
am taking you back to him."
"My uncle?" echoed Sahwah, wonderingly. "Taking me back to him?" She
was completely at sea. Mrs. Watterson did not answer. She looked away,
over the green fields they were passing. She was having visions of the
Sahwah clutched her arm. "I don't believe it," she said. "I don't know
you. Stop the car and let me out." Mr. Watterson drove a little faster.
Sahwah rose in the seat and looked as if she were about to cast herself
headlong from the car. Mrs. Watterson took a firm hold of her coat and
pulled her back into the seat.
"Sit right where you are, Margery Anderson!" she said. "We will let you
out when we turn you over to your uncle in Chicago and not before."
Sahwah looked petrified. Margery Anderson! "You've made a mistake," she
said. "I'm not Margery Anderson."
"Don't tell lies, my dear," said Mrs. Watterson. "You are Margery
Anderson." And she drew the handkerchief from Sahwah's pocket and held
it before her eyes with a triumphant flourish. Sahwah was so overcome
with astonishment that she could not speak for a moment and it was just
as well that she could not, or she might have explained how she came to
be carrying Margery's handkerchief and that would have revealed the
whereabouts of the real Margery.
Mrs. Watterson was triumphantly quoting from the newspaper article:
"Tall, slender, brown eyes and hair, one upper front tooth shorter than
the remainder of the row--"
Sahwah, while actually resembling Margery no more than red-haired
Hinpoha did, yet fitted the description perfectly!
An idea had come into Sahwah's mind. She abandoned her half-formed plan
of jumping from the car the moment it should slow up for any reason.
Since these people insisted that she was Margery Anderson in spite of
all she could say to the contrary, well and good, there was so much
less chance of Margery's being discovered. After all the trouble they
had taken so far to return the girl to her mother it would never do for
her to betray her. So she sat silent under Mrs. Watterson's fire of
cross questioning as to where she had been since running away, which
Mrs. Watterson took for conclusive proof that she was Margery.
"Did you say my--my uncle was in Chicago?" Sahwah asked at last.
Mrs. Watterson replied affirmatively. Sahwah was inwardly jubilant but
the expression of her face never altered. It was all right as long as
they were taking her to Chicago. Once confronted with Margery's uncle,
if he were there, the truth would come out and she would be free to go
as she pleased. Then she could go directly to the Carrie Wentworth Inn
and await the arrival of the others. She chuckled to herself, as she
pictured the meeting between this man and woman and Margery's uncle and
their discomfiture when they discovered that they had bagged the wrong
bird. Sahwah is keen on humorous situations.
But how was Nyoda to know that she was safe in Chicago? She might spend
endless time looking for her, nearly wild with anxiety, thinking some
misfortune had befallen her. Sahwah puzzled awhile and then her
originality came to her rescue. Somewhere on this very road Nyoda had
vanished the night before, and she herself had walked, as she supposed,
in a straight line from the gate. She did not know that the light of
the strange automobile she had seen from the barn had lured her across
to an entirely different road. Well then, she reflected, it was
reasonable to believe that Nyoda would be making inquiries for her
along this road. Very well, she would drop a clue. With the swiftness
of chain lightning she whipped her little address book out of her
pocket and wrote on a leaf:
"To those interested:
Picked up by tourists. On way to Carrie Wentworth Inn, Chicago.
Sarah Ann Brewster."
For obvious reasons she made no mention of having been mistaken for
She tied the address book in the corner of her green veil while Mrs.
Watterson looked on curiously. Then she tied the veil around her hat to
give it weight and threw it out of the car into the road just in front
of a house. The green veil shone like a headlight and could not fail to
attract attention. Thus someone would get the information that would
eventually reach Nyoda. Then, Sahwah-like, having overcome her
perplexities, she settled down to enjoy her trip. Surely a worse fate
might have befallen her, she decided, after being lost from her
companions, than to wake up and find herself being hurried toward the
city which had been her destination in the first place.
At that time Sahwah thought that the fates were kind to her, but ever
since she has declared that they had a special grudge against her in
making her miss the spectacular finish of our trip to Chicago. Sahwah,
who was the only one who would really have enjoyed that exciting ride,
was doomed to a personally conducted tour. I consider it unfair myself.
But was there a single feature about the whole trip that was as it
should have been?
Sahwah's ride to Chicago was tame enough although the circumstances of
it were rather melodramatic. She did not make any thrilling escape such
as jumping from the moving car onto a passing train the way they do in
the movies, or shrieking that she was being abducted and, as a result,
being rescued by a handsome young man who became infatuated with her on
the spot and declared himself willing to wait the weary years until she
was grown up, when he could claim her for his own. That was the trouble
with our adventures all the way through; while they were thrilling
enough at the time they were happening, they lacked the quality that is
in all book adventures, that of having any permanent after-effects.
While there were several men mixed up in our trip none of us came home
with our fate sealed, that is, none of us but----
But I am rambling again. It is as hard for me to keep on the main track
of my story as it was for the Glow-worm to stay on the sign-posted
highway. If I am not careful I will be telling the end of it somewhere
along the middle, and that would be rather confusing for the reader who
likes to turn to the back of the book to see how things come out before
beginning the story. Nyoda said I should put a notice in the
frontispiece saying that the end was on page so-and-so instead of the
last chapter, and save such readers the trouble of hunting for it. As
it is, I am afraid the last chapter will be crowded with afterthought
incidents which I forgot to put in as I went along, and which should
really be part of the story. But after all, I suppose it is immaterial
in what order they come, for, by the time the reader has finished the
book she will have them all, which is no more than she would have done
if they had all been fitted together in the proper order. And she
always has the privilege of rearranging them to suit herself.
Mr. Watterson, as well as his wife, had doubtless been picturing to
himself the dramatic moment in Mr. Anderson's office, when his niece
should be turned over to him. He began to look important and self-
conscious as they entered the city. Both he and his wife looked at the
people around them in the street with a you-don't-know-whom-we-have-in-
this-car expression, while Sahwah put on a very doleful countenance.
Secretly she could hardly wait for the meeting to take place. They
crossed the city and began threading their way through the down-town
streets, crowded with the traffic of a busy week afternoon. Mr.
Watterson, thinking of the coming interview on Michigan Avenue, failed
to notice that a traffic policeman was waving peremptorily for him to
back up from a crowded corner. The result was that he became involved
in the line of vehicles which was coming through from the cross street
and rammed an electric coupe containing two ladies and a poodle. The
coupe tipped over onto the curb and the ladies were badly shaken and
the poodle was cut by flying glass, or the ladies were cut by the
flying poodle, I forget which. Mr. Watterson and his party emerged from
the crush under the escort of a police officer who directed the finish
of the tour. Their destination was the police station.
"What a tale of adventure we will have to tell Nyoda when we find her,"
said Gladys, as the Striped Beetle followed its nose Rochesterward. "It
will make Sahwah green with envy. She is always so eager for adventure.
And there never was such a combination as we have experienced. First,
we picked up a girl in trouble, then we got quarantined; next, we lost
our trunk and followed a man all the way to Indianapolis, thinking that
he had it, which he didn't; then we were robbed of all our money and
the Striped Beetle at one fell swoop, and were stranded on a country
road without a cent or a drop of gas and had to spend the night in the
car. There certainly never was such a chapter of events. The Count for
the next Ceremonial will be a regular book.
"I wonder what the girls in Rochester have been doing all this time
while they have been waiting for us?"
"Migwan's writing poetry, of course," said Hinpoha, "and Sahwah's
getting into mischief and Nakwisi's staring into space through her spy-
glass. It's easy enough to guess what they are doing."
"Well, anyway, they know why we were delayed," said Chapa. "You got a
second wire off to Nyoda before the storm?"
"Yes," said Gladys, "I sent it right after I wired for money."
Hinpoha sat silent for a long time. "A penny for your thoughts," said
Gladys. "I can't help thinking about the scarf," said Hinpoha. "I
brought it along because I was afraid something would happen to it if I
left it behind, and here we had to lose it on the way. I would rather
lose anything than that." And she sighed and looked so woe-begone that
it quite affected the spirits of the others.
"Nyoda can help us find the trunk," said Gladys confidently, thinking
with relief as they neared Rochester that Nyoda would soon be at the
helm of the expedition again. This thought filled them all with so much
cheer that even Hinpoha brightened up. She ceased thinking about the
scarf and looked at the flying landscape.
"As a sight-seeing trip this has been somewhat of a failure," she said.
"And I had intended making so many sketches of the interesting things
we saw on the way to put into the Count, but the only thing that comes
to my mind now is the picture of ourselves, always standing around
wondering what to do next"
"You might draw a picture of the pain you had from eating green
apples," suggested Chapa.
"That pain was about the only real thing about the whole trip," said
Hinpoha. "All the rest seems like a dream."
Hinpoha began idly sketching herself running away from a large apple on
legs which was pursuing her. And that is the only picture we have of
the whole trip!
The girls got to Rochester about noon and went immediately to Number 43
Main Street. Mrs. Moffat came to the door and when she saw the girls in
tan suits and green veils she closed it all but a crack.
"My rooms are all taken," she said, coldly.
"We don't want rooms, we want someone who is staying here," said
Gladys. "Is Miss Kent here with three girls?"
"No, she isn't," said Mrs. Moffat "They came here as bold as brass, but
you can bet they didn't stay long after I found out about them. Do you
belong to her company, too? You're dressed just like the rest of them."
"Why yes, we belong to her party," said Gladys, bewildered beyond words
at this reception. "Will you please tell us what--"
But Mrs. Moffat closed the door in their faces with a resounding bang
and no amount of ringing would induce her to open it again. The girls
were simply staggered. What could be the meaning of the woman's words?
"You can bet they didn't stay long after I found out about them." After
she found out what about us? When had we left the house and where were
we now? They stood around the Striped Beetle irresolutely.
"If she only hadn't shut the door in our faces before we could ask some
more questions!" said Gladys. "I don't suppose it would do any good to
try again; she'd do the same thing a second time."
Just then a small boy came whistling down the street and Gladys had an
idea. Getting the girls quickly into the car she drove down to meet
him. When they met him they were well away from the house. Gladys
called him to her. "I'll give you ten cents," she said, "if you'll go
to Number 43 Main Street and ask the lady where the girls in the tan
suits, who stayed at her house, went when they left. Maybe you had
better go around to the back door," she added.
"Give me the ten cents first," said the boy, squinting his eyes
"Not until you bring back the answer," said Gladys. "I won't go unless
you give me a nickel first," he maintained, firmly. Gladys gave him the
nickel and he departed in the direction of Number 43. Still keeping out
of sight of the house, they awaited his return. In five minutes he was
"She says she doesn't know where they went" he said, speaking in an
unnecessarily loud voice, the way young boys do. "She says she doesn't
keep track of rogues. Where's the other nickel?"
Stupefied, Gladys gave it to him and he ran off down the street "What
did he say?" she gasped. "She doesn't keep track of rogues? She turned
them out of the house when she found out about them? Whatever has
happened? What made her think the girls were rogues? And where did they
They were standing almost within a stone's throw of Number 22 Spring
Street, where we had gone from Mrs. Moffat's, but, of course, there was
no sign on the house to tell them we had been there.
"Well," said Gladys, "they were here in Rochester, that much we know,
and perhaps they are here yet. Somebody must have seen them. Where do
you think we had better go to inquire?"
"Do you see a candy store anywhere?" asked Hinpoha. "Sahwah would
surely have to buy some candy if she saw any. Whenever I lose her
downtown at home I go straight to the nearest candy store, and I
invariably find her, standing on one foot and unable to make up her
mind whether she should buy chocolates or Boston wafers."
Accordingly, they visited each of the three candy stores on Main
Street, and Hinpoha bought a mixed collection of stale chocolates and
peppermint drops while they were making their inquiries, but they came
out about as wise as they went in. The tan quartet they were seeking
had evidently not invested in candy. "Sahwah's either reformed or short
of cash," said Hinpoha, decidedly. Which half of that statement was
true at that particular moment the reader already knows.
Next, they reached the "department" store which carried everything from
handkerchiefs to plows. The proprietor started when they entered and
looked keenly at their suits. To their questions about the other four
he replied that he hadn't seen them, and if he had he wouldn't know
where they were now.
"What a queer thing to say!" exclaimed Gladys, when they were outside
once more. "'If he had seen them he wouldn't know where they were now.'
It sounds almost like what the woman said, 'She didn't keep track of
rogues.' What on earth has happened?"
While they were standing there the boy to whom they had given the dime
came walking by again. He walked past several times, and finally he
stood still near them. "Say," he called, "will you give me another dime
if I tell you something?" He was very red-headed and very freckled, and
his eyes were screwed up in an unpleasant squint which might have been
dishonesty and might have been the effect of sunlight, but, at any
rate, they weren't much taken with his looks. Still, he might be honest
"What do you know?" parried Gladys.
"I saw the girls you're looking for," he said.
"Where?" asked Gladys, eagerly.
"Give me the ten cents first," he demanded. Gladys gave him a dime.
"They had their car fixed at the garage over there," he said. "They
came in with a lamp and a fender smashed. I was in the garage and I saw
them. They were talking to a young fellow on a motor-bike. Afterward, I
seen them leaving town and pretty soon I seen the fellow starting after
"What day was that?" asked Gladys.
"It was Thursday morning when they came in," he said, "and it was
Friday afternoon when they went out."
Friday afternoon! And that was Saturday! The girls hastened over to the
garage and inquired about the Glow-worm.
"There was a car like that in here Thursday morning," agreed the
proprietor. "The right headlight and the right front fender were
broken. They had run into a limousine in the fog the night before. I
had it all fixed up by three in the afternoon and they came and got the
car, but pretty soon they brought it back and said they weren't going
to leave town that night. One of the girls was sick, they said. They
got it the next morning and I haven't seen them since. But I heard them
tell a young fellow that came in to get his motorcycle looked over that
they were going to Chicago. By the way, you say there were four girls
in tan suits. There were five when they brought the car in in the
Well might the girls be puzzled by the three things they had found out
First. Nyoda and the other girls were considered rogues by the woman at
Number 43 Main Street.
Second. There were five girls in the Glow-worm instead of four.
Third. Nyoda had gone on to Chicago instead of waiting for them as they
had requested in their message and had left no word for them.
"It's as clear as mud," said Hinpoha, who was plunged into deepest
gloom again, now that Nyoda was not there and there was no one to
advise them what to do about the trunk.
"Did she get our telegram?" wondered Gladys. "We might go down to the
office and find out if it was delivered."
The first one was delivered, they were informed. The messenger boy who
had delivered it (the company had only two) was in at the time and he
testified that he had gone to Number 43 Main Street and was told that
the parties had left, and he was on his way back to the office when he
saw them standing in the road beside the automobile and gave it to
them. He knew them because he had been delivering a message in the
hotel the day before when they had come there and asked for rooms, and
he had overheard the clerk telling them to go to Number 43 Main Street
because the hotel was filled with convention delegates. He also said
that there were five girls in the party instead of four. But no second
telegram had been received at the office.
Gladys rubbed her head wearily. The puzzle was getting deeper all the
while. For the hundredth time she wondered what could have induced
Nyoda to keep running away from them like that. Nyoda, who was the
chaperon of the party, and who had promised her mother that she would
never let the girls out of her sight!
"Well, if Nyoda's gone to Chicago," she said, "there's nothing left for
us to do but go too, although I don't know what to make of it."
So, puzzled and perplexed, they looked up the route to Chicago from
Rochester and set out to follow it.
"We aren't very good hounds in this game," sighed Hinpoha, "or we'd
have run down our hare before this."
"But it's such an uncommonly fast hare," sighed Gladys. "And it leaves
such amazing and apparently contradictory footprints."
"Hi," said Chapa, "look at the crowd in this town. What do you suppose
has happened?" In fact, the streets of the village through which they
were passing were choked with vehicles of every kind and the sidewalks
were crowded with people.
"It's a band," said Hinpoha, "I hear the music."
Mr. Bob began to quiver with excitement and whine, and Hinpoha caught
him firmly by the collar and held him so he could not jump out again.
"It's a circus parade!" cried Gladys. And sure enough, it was. From a
side street the crimson and gold wagons began to stream into the main
How it happened they were never able to tell, but the next thing they
knew they were in the line of the parade and were being swept along
with the procession. They could not turn out because the street was too
narrow. They had to keep going along, behind a huge towering wagon with
pictures of ferocious wild beasts painted on its sides, which drew
shrieks of excitement from the children on the sidewalk, and just ahead
of the line of elephants. Gladys slowed the car down to a crawl and
wondered every minute if she could keep it going so slowly. They could
easily be taken for a part of the circus, for the Striped Beetle is
rather a conspicuous car outside of the fact that it had the Winnebago
banner draped across the back, and besides the girls were all dressed
"What do you suppose they are?" they heard one small boy shout at
"Look like snake charmers," answered the second. Hinpoha giggled.
"That's meant for you, Gladys," she said. "Tain't either snake
charmers," said a third small boy. "It's the fat lady." And he pointed
directly at Hinpoha. Gladys laughed so she nearly lost control of the
car while Hinpoha turned fiery red.
Without warning the elephant directly behind them thrust his trunk into
the car and picked up Medmangi's camera, to the immense delight of the
crowd on the sidewalk. After much prodding from his rider he released
it again, dropping it safely into Medmangi's lap. All the rest of the
ride Medmangi kept her head over her shoulder so she could watch what
the beast was doing. He kept blinking at her knowingly, and every few
minutes he would extend his trunk toward the car in a playful manner
and send her into a panic, and then he would drop it decorously to the
ground like a limp piece of hose, with a sound in his throat that
resembled a chuckle.
"Poor beast," she said, after watching him plod rather wearily along
for several blocks, "a circus life is no snap."
"He's better off than we are," said Hinpoha crossly, "for he has his
trunk, and that's more than we have." Hinpoha's temper had been
slightly ruffled by her having been mistaken for the fat lady.
"We'd still have our trunk if we carried it in the front the way he
does, instead of in the back," said Medmangi.
Mr. Bob was nearly barking his head off at the shouting boys, and about
drove the girls frantic with his noise. Gladys's hands were shaking as
she held on to the steering-wheel, while Hinpoha vainly tried to
silence him. Chapa dared Medmangi to reach out her hand and touch the
elephant's trunk and she did so. The elephant sneezed a sneeze that
nearly unseated his rider and blew Chapa's hat off. Medmangi screamed
and ducked under the seat, thinking that the beast was about to attack
her. Gladys turned around to see what she was screaming at and just
then the red and gold mountain ahead of her stood still for a minute,
with the result that she bumped into it. It resounded with a hollow
clang and something inside set up a fearful roaring like a whole jungle
full of wild beasts. Then the small boys shouted worse than ever and
the perspiration stood out on Gladys's forehead.
"Stop that dog barking, or I shall go wild," she said.
After numerous ineffectual commands and shakes, Hinpoha rolled Mr. Bob
in one of the robes, which nearly smothered him, but produced the
desired result. Save for a few smothered growls and "oofs" nothing more
was heard from him.
Then, as Hinpoha always said afterward, after the parade the real
circus began. The man-killing anaconda got loose. How it happened no
one ever found out, but the first thing anybody knew, there he was,
tearing down the middle of the street like an express train. "How does
he go so fast without wheels?" gasped Gladys, as he shot by them.
Then there was a scene of pandemonium. The crowd tried to scatter, but
it was packed in so closely between the buildings and the street that
there was no place to scatter to. Most of the stores had been closed in
honor of the greatest show on earth, and the thieves that accompanied
it and the people found only locked doors when they tried to enter the
stores. Shrieks filled the air. The whole line of elephants began
"Oh, if we could only get out of this," cried Gladys.
The next minute they were out of it, but in a manner they had not
foreseen. For down from one of the painted wagons a man leaped directly
into the Striped Beetle, picked Gladys up as if she had been a feather,
lifted her over the back of the seat into the tonneau and took the
wheel himself. Round went the Striped Beetle into the side street
through a gap in the line of wagons and after the snake. The scattering
of the people told the trail it was taking, and a low cloud of dust
lengthening rapidly along the road showed that it was still in the
middle of the street. Up one street and down another they flew, as fast
as the Striped Beetle would go, with the snake always a length ahead of
them. At last, it darted across the sidewalk, up the front walk of a
brick mansion, up the front steps and in at the open front door.
Wild screams from within indicated that his presence had been observed.
The next instant two maids tried to issue from the door at the same
instant and stuck there in the doorway, fighting to get out, until both
were shot out as from the mouth of a cannon by the impact of the body
of a man, coming behind them down the stairs. They rolled down the
steps, picked themselves up, and rushed out of the gate and up the
street, closely followed by the man in shirt sleeves, shouting wildly
that it was only a drop he had taken for his rheumatism, but he would
never take another. Shaken and breathless as they were, the girls
laughed until they cried at the trail of superstitious terror left by
the man-killing anaconda. The man who had taken such cool possession of
the Striped Beetle jumped out and followed the snake into the house.
When he returned some five minutes later the man-eater was wrapped
around his body in great coils. Gladys got one look at the monster
which the man evidently intended placing in the car, and then she was
over the back of the seat and behind the steering-wheel, and the
Striped Beetle went gliding off down the street.
"There's one thing I object to being, and that's careful mover of a
circus," she said through her teeth. She was still too breathless to
talk properly. "I'd just as soon take the man back to his wagon, but I
won't sit beside a snake. There's nothing in the etiquette book about
how to behave toward them and I'm afraid I might do the wrong thing and
rouse his ire."
We were well into the country before she slackened her dizzy pace and
the circus and the man-killing anaconda were left far behind. Hinpoha
was still giggling about the man who thought he was seeing snakes and
had forgotten all about poor Mr. Bob, who was still wrapped in his
muffling blanket. A convulsive movement of the roll in her arms brought
her back to earth and she undid the bundle in time to save him from
being completely smothered. All the rest of the trip Mr. Bob retired
under the seat every time anyone touched that blanket.
Later in the afternoon they stopped for gasoline and while the tank was
being filled were entertained by the loud-voiced conversation of two
men who were standing against the wall of the gasoline station.
"But I tell you it isn't my trunk," said the first, "and I'm not going
to carry it. The rear end of the car hits the bumpers now every time we
strike a bump in the road and I won't have any unnecessary weight back
"Oh say, be a good sport and carry it," said the second man. "It's a
good looking trunk and I can get something for it when we get back to
the city. But I hate to pay express on it."
"How did you get it, anyway?" asked the first man.
Gladys, who had pricked up her ears at the word "trunk" and was
intently listening to the above conversation, was disappointed in not
hearing the end of it. For, with the question just recorded the two men
moved across the street toward a car which stood there. Just then the
tank of the Striped Beetle was filled and they were released. Gladys
steered across the street just as the engine of the other car started
up. But she had caught a glimpse of the trunk under discussion,
standing on the unoccupied rear seat of the car, and there, full in the
sunlight, were the initials GME, Cleveland, O. Without a doubt it was
The other car gained speed rapidly and began to draw away from them.
Gladys put the Striped Beetle on its mettle and followed. They passed
through several towns at the same high rate of speed, never gaining on
the car ahead of them until it stopped in front of a hotel in one
place. Gladys also stopped. She jumped out of the car and was alongside
the other before either man was out. She began without preliminary.
"Excuse me," she said, "but we have lost our trunk from our car and the
one you have is exactly like it. Would you mind telling me whether it
is your own or not?" The two men looked at each other.
One of them, the one who had objected to carrying the trunk, flushed
red and looked uncomfortable. As he was driving the car it was to him
that Gladys had addressed her remarks.
"It's not mine," he answered. "It belongs to Mr. Johnson, this
"Yes, it's mine," said the man referred to, as if daring her to dispute
Gladys was nonplused. There was something queer about their possession
of the trunk she knew from the conversation she had overheard.
"You say your name is Johnson?" she asked. "Then how does it come that
you have the initials GME--my initials--on your trunk?"
The man glared at her in silence. A crowd began to gather around them
on the sidewalk. A policeman elbowed his way to the front. "What's the
matter here?" he asked.
"Lady says the man stole her trunk," replied one of the bystanders.
Gladys grew hot all over when she heard that, because she had not said
a word about the man's having stolen the trunk, although that thought
was uppermost in her mind.
"How about it?" asked the policeman.
"It's none of your business," growled the man addressed as Mr. Johnson.
"That's my trunk, whether those are my initials or not. It was given me
in exchange for something else."
"But I believe it's mine," said Gladys, looking helplessly around the
circle of faces. "It was stolen off our car in Ft. Wayne."
"It was no such thing," said Mr. Johnson, hotly. "We'll soon find out,"
said the policeman. "What was in your trunk, lady?"
Gladys described several articles which were inside, and mentioned that
it was lined with grey and had the same initials on the inside of the
"Open the trunk," said the Solomon in brass buttons.
Mr. Johnson had no key, which was another suspicious fact. Gladys
produced her key and unlocked the trunk. It was absolutely empty. There
was the grey lining all right and the initials on the inside of the
cover, GME, Cleveland, O.
"Disposed of the contents," said a voice from the sidewalk.
Hinpoha, who had been on a pinnacle of hope for her scarf ever since
they had recognized the trunk, slumped into despair again when she saw
that it was empty.
"Is that your trunk, lady?" asked the policeman.
"It looks like it," said Gladys.
"It answered her description all right," said the voice in the circle.
"Where did you get the trunk and from whom?" asked the policeman of Mr.
"None of your business," replied that individual, with a savage look.
"But it's mine, I tell you."
Here his companion pulled out his watch and uttered an exclamation.
"Give her the trunk and come along," he said, in a stage whisper.
"We'll never make it if we stand here bantering all day."
Scowling like a thundercloud, Mr. Johnson gave the trunk a savage kick
as it stood on the sidewalk and got back into the car, snapping out
that it was his and never would have given it up if he wasn't in such a
tearing hurry. The grey car glided away in a cloud of dust and the
policeman lifted the trunk to the rack of the Striped Beetle.
"Fellow stole it, all right," rose the murmurs on every side, "or he
wouldn't have been so willing to give it up. Probably threw the
contents away. Well, you've got the trunk, lady, and that's worth more
than what was in it."
Hinpoha could not agree with this, of course. That scarf was worth more
in her eyes than the price of a dozen trunks, and she was not very much
overjoyed at having the trunk returned without the scarf, for it was
certain now that the contents were stolen and would never be recovered.
They arrived in Chicago during the afternoon and went directly to the
Carrie Wentworth Inn. As they got out at the curb a man lounged down
from the doorway and approached them. "You are under arrest," he said,
"Arrest!" gasped Gladys, thinking of all the traffic rules she might
have broken in crossing the busy corner they just passed. "What for?
And who are you, anyway, you're not a policeman."
The man opened his coat and showed an official badge. "I'm a policeman
all right, you'll find," he said, calmly.
"What have we done?" gasped Gladys. The trunk was in her mind now. What
if it were not theirs after all and they were to be accused of stealing
"You are wanted in connection with an attempt to steal a diamond
necklace from the home of Simon McClure," said the detective, for such
"What?" said Gladys, in sheer amazement. "I never heard of such a
"Tell that to the police," said the man facetiously, "and in the
meantime, just come along with me." He got into the car and motion them
to follow. Too much dazed to resist, they obeyed.
Sahwah's vanishing from the car was so uncanny and mysterious that, for
a few minutes, we could think of nothing but a supernatural agency. The
wind was like the wail of a banshee, and to our excited eyes the mist
wraiths hovering over the swamp were like dancing figures. The croaking
of the frogs was suddenly full of menace. They were not real frogs
croaking down there in the mud; they were evil spirits dwelling in the
swamp and they held the secret of Sahwah's disappearance. Shudders ran
up and down our spines and the perspiration began to break out in our
"Did Sahwah get into the car again after she helped you open the gate?"
At the sound of her voice our fear of the supernatural vanished and we
were back to reality again. We were lost on a lonely road, it is true,
but it was a (more or less) solid dirt road in the misty mid-region of
Indiana, and not a ghoul-haunted pathway in the misty mid-region of
We all declared Sahwah had gotten into the car.
"She couldn't have," maintained Nyoda. "We haven't stopped since then
and she couldn't have fallen out while we were going without making a
splash that would have sent the water over the car."
"It's nearly a foot deep most of the way." We thought hard about the
circumstances attendant upon our getting back into the car and it came
to us that we were not positive, after all, that Sahwah had been with
"That wind--don't you remember?" said Nakwisi. "It whipped the corner
of my veil into my eye and I couldn't open it again for some time after
I remembered the wind. It had wrapped my veil around my face so that I
couldn't see anything, and in my blindness I had slammed the door on my
finger, and the pain made me forget everything else. It hadn't been a
propitious time to count noses. I had dropped into the corner of the
seat trying to get my finger into my mouth through the folds of my
veil, and the effort not to cry out with pain made me faint. I had not
even noticed when the car started. Margery was on the front seat with
Nyoda and they had thought, of course, that Sahwah was in the back with
Nakwisi and me. Well, it was evident that she wasn't.
"Poor Sahwah," said Nyoda. "Such a night to be waiting at the gate!"
"Backward, turn backward, Glow-worm, in your flight,
Rescue poor Sahwah from her muddy plight!"
Which was easier said than done. That road was built for traveling
ahead and not for turning. On one side was the swamp and on the other a
steep drop off into a lake.
"We're in the straight and narrow path all right," said Nyoda, viewing
the landscape. Then she sarcastically began to quote from a well-known
automobile advertisement which emphasized the superiority of a long
wheel base, whatever that is. "The Glow-worm simply won't make the
turn," she said. "Here's one instance when the worm won't turn."
"It's a long worm that knows no turning," I misquoted.
Nyoda tried again, and this time, with its rear wheels in the swamp and
its front lamps hanging over the precipice, the Glow-worm did turn. We
were limp as rags from the strain by the time we were safely back in
the road. I had been trying to make up my mind which would do the least
damage to my clothes, landing in the swamp or in the lake, and had just
about decided on the lake as the lesser of the two evils, as I couldn't
get much wetter anyhow, when Nyoda called out, "It's all over."
"If you're speaking of the mud it certainly is all over," I said,
feeling of the spatters on the back of the seat.
"Mud baths are hygienic," said Nyoda drily, if anyone can be said to
speak drily when they are dripping at every corner. "Be a sport if you
can't be a philosopher." Which statement contained food for reflection,
as they say in books.
We made our way slowly and splashily back to the mud-wreathed gate,
alas, we shoved sir--Gracious! I'm tobogganing into a quotation again!
But, like the girl in the poem when the lover comes back to the gate
after many years, Sahwah wasn't there. We called, oh, how we did call!
With voices as hoarse as the frogs in the swamp.
"We might as well stop calling," said Nyoda, disgustedly. "She won't be
able to tell the difference between us and the frogs."
But we kept on calling just the same and a hideous echo from somewhere
threw our words back at us in a broken, mocking answer. That was all.
We were paralyzed with fear that Sahwah had wandered into the swamp or
had fallen over the precipice in the dark into the lake. We turned the
lights of the car on the swamp for a long distance, but saw nothing.
I shuddered until my teeth chattered at that lonely stretch of marsh.
Given the choice between a graveyard at night and a swamp, I think I
should take the graveyard. The nice friendly ghosts that sit on
tombstones are so much more cheerful than the nameless and shapeless
Things that flit over a swamp at night. The yellow circle thrown by the
Glow-worm's lamps was the only thing that linked us to earth and
reason. Within that circle the mysterious shadows melted and no spirits
dared dance. Then without warning the yellow circle dimmed and
vanished, and left us completely at the mercy of the Shapes. The lights
had gone out on the Glow-worm.
"Probably short circuited," we heard Nyoda's voice say.
"Where was Moses when the light went out?" I asked, trying to be
Margery trembled and clung to Nyoda. The swamp now seemed a living
thing that clutched at us with hands. And somewhere in that darkness
that pressed around us Sahwah was wandering around lost, or perhaps
lying helpless in the water. It is not my intention to dwell on the
unpleasant features of our trip any more than I have to. But somehow
that night stands out more clearly in my memory than any of the other
events. Nyoda says it is because I am gifted, or rather cursed, with a
constructive imagination, and see and hear things that aren't there. I
suppose it is true, because I can see whole armies marching in the sky,
and boats and horses and dragons, when the other girls only see clouds.
But I know I heard sounds in that swamp that night that weren't
earthly; voices that sang tunes and children that cried, and things
that fiddled and shrieked and sobbed and laughed and whispered and
gurgled and moaned.
Our hunt for Sahwah had to be given up because without lights we dared
not venture forth on the road for fear of running into the swamp.
"Sit up in front, Migwan, and be the headlight; you're bright enough,"
said Nyoda, cheerfully.
"I'm having an eclipse to-night," I replied.
So we sat still in the Glow-worm not far from the gate which had been
the fountain and origin of all the trouble and wished fervently, not
for Blucher or night, but for Sahwah or morning. And the reader knows
which one of them came.
The rain stopped about dawn and the east began to redden and then we
knew there was going to be a sunrise. I have been glad to see many
things in my life; but I never was so glad to see anything, as I was,
when the sun began to rise that morning after the night of water.
Viewed in the magic light of morning, the road was not so bad, while
the lake, rippling in the wind, was a thing of beauty, and the swamp
was merely a swamp. The gate was right at the corner of a fence which
enclosed a very large farm. We could just barely see the house and barn
in the distance, set up on a sort of hill. The property ended on this
end at the gate, and just beyond it began the descent to the lake. How
we had gotten inside that fence the night before we never found out. We
must have crossed that entire farm in the darkness on a private road
which we mistook for the main road.
In the broad light of day we descended the steep way down to the lake
and examined every foot of ground around it. It was all soft mud and if
Sahwah had been down there she must have left traces of some kind. But
the surface was unbroken save for a few tracks of birds. Clearly, she
had not fallen over the edge. Where, then, had she gone. The mud around
the gate was such soup that no footprints could be seen. Oh, if the
gate could only speak!
"Could she have possibly found her way up to that farmhouse?" I asked.
"I don't see how she ever did it in the dark, but still it's a
So we dragged the gate open again and drove up to the farmhouse. The
men were just starting to work in the fields. It must be nice to work
where you can see the earth wake up every morning. There are times when
I simply long to be a milkmaid. A lean, sun-burned woman was washing
clothes out under the trees and she looked up in surprise when we
appeared. No, Sahwah had not been there. The mystery was still a
mystery. But from the height of the farmhouse we saw what we had not
seen from the level of the road, and that was that there was another
road running parallel to the one we had been on, skirting the swamp on
the other side and bordered by thick trees. From the gate we had
thought that those trees grew in the swamp, as we could not see the
road beyond it. Sahwah must have blundered into that road in the
darkness, we concluded, and thought she was going after us.
We found a narrow lane leading to it, covered with water for most of
its length, and there, sure enough, we saw deep footprints in the new
road. We followed these, expecting to come upon her sitting in the
wayside every minute. But the footprints went on. There were no houses
along here; the only building we passed was an empty red barn covered
over with tobacco advertisements. A little farther on the road ran into
a highway and so did the footprints. A little beyond the turn Nyoda
spied something lying in the road. How she managed to see it is beyond
me, but Nyoda has eyes like a hawk. It was a button from Sahwah's coat.
Sahwah's button-shedding habit is very useful as a clue.
"Here is a button; Sahwah can't be very far now," said Nyoda,
cheerfully. A sign post we passed said "Lafayette 20 miles." At last we
knew where we were. Deep ruts in the road showed where a car had passed
just ahead of us. Then all of a sudden the footprints came to a stop;
ended abruptly in the road, as if Sahwah had suddenly soared up into
the air. There was a low stone where the footprints came to a stop and
around it the mud was all trampled down.
At first we were frightened to death, thinking that Sahwah had been
attacked and carried off. But the footprints did not lead anywhere. "Of
course, they don't," said Nyoda. "Whoever made them got into that car
and Sahwah did too. It's the car that's traveling ahead of us. It
stopped and picked Sahwah up." (Just how literally Sahwah had been
"picked up" we did not guess.)
"What will we do now?" asked Nakwisi.
"Follow the car," replied Nyoda.
"It sounds like Cadmus and 'follow the cow'," said I.
So we followed the ruts. The sun was up fair and warm by this time and
we were beginning to dry off beautifully. I took off my soaked shoes
and tied them out on the mud guard where they could bake. Nakwisi went
me one better in the scheme of decoration and hung hers on the lamp
bracket. Then we hung up our wet coats where they could fly in the
wind. Margery was cold all the time and we let her have the exclusive
use of the one robe, and the rest of us took turns being wrapped in the
Winnebago banner. It was blanket shaped and made of heavy felt and
served the purpose admirably. In a moment of forethought Sahwah had
taken it down from the back of the car just before we were caught in
the storm, and so it had escaped being soaked also.
"This is traveling _de luxe_" said I, stretching out my stockinged
feet on the foot rail, and wiggling my cramped toes.
"I don't know about de looks," said Nyoda with a twinkle, "but as long
as no one sees you it doesn't matter."
"Who's making puns now?" inquired Nakwisi, severely.
"What's this in the road?" asked Nyoda presently, as we came upon a
bundle of bright green.
We stopped and picked it up. "It's a veil just like ours, and a hat,"
said Nyoda. "It's Sahwah's veil and hat!" she exclaimed, looking in the
hatband where Sahwah's name was written. Then she discovered something
tied in the veil. It was Sahwah's address book and on the first page
was scrawled a message:
"To those interested:
Picked up by tourists. On way to Carrie Wentworth Inn, Chicago.
SARAH ANN BREWSTER."
Beside the signature was the familiar Sunfish which is Sahwah's symbol.
There was no doubt about the note being genuine. Besides, it could only
be quick-witted Sahwah who would think of leaving a blaze in the road
on the slender chance that we would be coming along that way. How it
smoothed everything out! Not knowing that we were so close behind her,
Sahwah had had a chance to go on to Chicago, and would simply go to our
hotel and wait until we came! What a long headed one Sahwah was, to be
sure! We could have played hide and seek with each other around those
roads for days and never found each other, the way the children did
around the voting booth, but by clearing out altogether and going to
our place of rendezvous she knew the chances of our meeting were much
greater. How she had managed to find tourists who were on the way to
Chicago was a piece of luck which could only have befallen Sahwah.
"I think the best thing for us to do is to hunt some breakfast and then
make for Chicago as fast as we can," said Nyoda. "I've been thinking
that that would be the best way to find the others. We don't seem to
have been very successful in running around the country after them, and
if they managed to get the wire we sent to Chicago the other day they
will probably find us if we go there too."
"Did Gladys start out with us, or didn't she?" asked Nakwisi,
thoughtfully. "I think sometimes it was all a delusion, and there were
no more than four of us at the start."
"Sometimes I think so too," I agreed. Was the Striped Beetle a myth? We
had almost forgotten our original quest in the chase after Sahwah.
We still debated uncertainly whether we had better go back to
Indianapolis and hunt for Gladys, now that we were reasonably certain
where Sahwah was, or go on to Chicago and make sure of her, at least.
There were so many arguments on both sides that we could come to no
decision and so we flipped a coin for it. Chicago won and the die was
cast. The next move was breakfast and a place to clean up. We looked as
though we had been fished out of the lake. Breakfast we would find in
the town of Lafayette, which we were approaching. But we faltered by
the wayside as usual. Whether or not that had any bearing on what
happened later I don't know, but Nyoda says it would have been the same
anyway, only different. Which is rather a neat little phrase, after
all, in spite of being impure English. To me our stop over was simply
another move in the game of checkers Fate was playing with us as
The thing which caused us to falter by the wayside before we reached
Lafayette was a sign on a big, old-fashioned farmhouse near the road
TOURISTS TOOK IN
Meals 35 cents
Nyoda couldn't resist the delicious humor of it. She stopped before the
door. "You aren't going to stop here, are you?" I inquired.
"I want to be 'took in'," declared Nyoda. "Just as if all the other
places don't do the same thing; only they aren't quite so frank about
it. I want to see the creator of that sign. So we drove into the big,
shady yard and parked the panting Glow-worm at the end of the long
drive under arching trees. Then we went up on the side porch and
knocked at the screen door while a black cat inspected us drowsily from
the cushioned depths of a porch chair. A bustling, red-faced woman came
to the door.
"We're tourists," said Nyoda, "and we want to be took in. We want
"Come in an' set on the table," said the woman, and we knew we had
found the author of the "Tourists Took In" sign.
Upon our asking for water and soap we were directed to a room on the
second floor where a bowl and pitcher stood on a wash-stand and a towel
hung over a chair.
"After having had such a dose of water last night I didn't think I'd
ever care to wash again," said Nakwisi, "but that wash bowl's the best
thing I've seen yet this morning. Hurry up and give me my turn."
I got through as quickly as possible to stop her clamoring, and while
she scrubbed and primped I strolled over to the window, which
overlooked the road in front of the house. The high spots were already
drying in the warm wind. As I stood there I saw a speck coming down the
road which gradually grew to the proportions of a man on a motorcycle
exceeding the speed limit by about ten miles. He came to a stop in
front of the house with such a jerk that I thought he would pitch off
onto his head. He leaned the motorcycle against the porch and came up
the steps, and as he did so I recognized the light-haired young man
that had been in Rochester when we were. I must say it gave me a little
thrill of pleasure to see him again.
The woman had evidently gone to the door in answer to his knock, for we
heard her voice the next instant. Every word came up distinctly through
the open window.
"Are there five young ladies in tan suits here?" he demanded.
The woman was evidently offended at his curt manner. "What business is
it of yours?" she asked, in a harsh voice.
"See here," he said sternly, "if you're in league with them and are
trying to hide them you'll get into trouble. They're wanted by the
police, and I'm here to arrest them."
We looked at each other thunderstruck. Wanted by the police! It was all
a part of the strange mystery that had been surrounding us for the last
few days. Could they be after us on account of the necklace?
"Tell me at once," persisted the man, "are they here, or did they go
The woman evidently saw visions of her four breakfasts remaining
uneaten and consequently un-paid for if she delivered us up, and tried
to parley. "There's no such people here," she said brazenly, "they went
by over an hour ago."
"They did nothing of the kind," said the young man, "they turned in
here. I saw them across the field where the road turns."
"You can come in an' set in the parlor," said the woman firmly, "an'
don't you set a foot in the rest of the house, an' I'll bring them to
We heard the front door open and close; then a movement in the room
below us and the squeak of a chair as somebody sat down. Then we heard
the door shut and the footsteps of the woman toward the back part of
"I believe she locked him in," said Nyoda, laughing in the midst of her
bewilderment, "and she doesn't mean to produce us until we've paid for
that breakfast. It's too bad to disappoint her, but necessity comes
"What do you mean to do?" I asked.
Margery was as pale as a ghost. "It's my uncle after me," she gasped.
"Oh, don't let them get me!"
I was too stupefied to say another word. That the nice young man with
the light hair should turn out to be a police agent after us was too
much for my comprehension.
Nyoda held up her hand for us to be silent and led us on tiptoe into a
room which opened off at one side of the hall. She led us to the
window, and we could see that it overlooked the yard on the other side
from the dining-room and, that it opened out on a porch roof. A little
way off we saw the Glow-worm standing under the trees. Nyoda crept out
of the window and swung herself down to the ground by means of a flower
trellis and we followed, helping Margery. Then we raced across the yard
to the Glow-worm and started it just as a car drove by tooting its horn
for dear life so that the sound of our engine was drowned in the noise.
We reached the road without going past the house and Nyoda opened the
throttle wide. The last glimpse we had of the house where the tourists
were "took in" was of a motorcycle leaning up against the porch. Our
one thought was to get Margery safely to Chicago before the detective
got her and took her back to her uncle. Nyoda had friends in Chicago
who would take Margery in until she could go safely to Louisville in
the event we could not take her with us. We knew that it would not be
long before the man on the motorcycle would find out that we had
escaped and would take the road after us, and we must not lose a
minute. Lafayette flew by our eyes a mere line of stores and houses; we
hardly slackened our speed going through, and then we began the long
run northward to Chicago. We saw people turn to look at us as we rushed
along, and then their faces blurred and vanished from sight. Now and
then a chicken flew up right under the very wheels and once we ran over
one. But we went on, on, unheeding. Then we struck a stretch of soft
road and thought for a minute we were going to get stuck.
"Would you get through any better if you threw me overboard?" asked
Nakwisi. "I'm pretty heavy." Nyoda only smiled and put on more speed
and we went through. Margery's face was chalk white and her eyes were
wide with fear; but excited as I was, I was enjoying the flight
immensely. This was life. I thought of all the famous rides in history
that I used to thrill over; _Paul Revere's Ride, How they Brought the
Good News from Ghent to Aix, Tam o' Shanter's Famous Ride_, and all
the others. Sahwah will regret to her dying day that she missed it.
Halfway to Chicago, Nakwisi, who was keeping a sharp lookout with her
spy-glass, reported that there was a motorcycle chasing us about half a
mile behind. The Glow-worm leapt forward a trifle faster under Nyoda's
steady hand, but she never flicked an eyelash. Nyoda is simply a marvel
of self-control in an emergency.
Soon we could all see the pursuer without the aid of the glass. He was
gaining on us rapidly. We were approaching a railroad crossing and
there was a train coming. If we had to wait until it went by we would
be overtaken surely. Nyoda measured the distance between the train and
the crossing with a swift eye and put on the last bit of speed of which
the Glow-worm was capable. We bumped across the tracks just as the
gates were beginning to go down. A minute later the way behind us was
cut off by one of those interminably long, slow moving freight trains,
and one the other side of the barrier was the impotent pursuer.
But the time gained by this lucky incident merely postponed the
inevitable end of the chase. When did a loaded car ever outrun a
motorcycle? We watched him approaching, helpless to ward off the thing
which was coming, yet running on at the top of our speed, hoping
against hope that his gas would give out or he would run into
something. But none of these things happened and he drew alongside of
us and caught hold of the fender.
Nyoda slowed down and came to a stop. "What do you want?" she asked,
"Your little game is up," said the man, quietly.
Nyoda faced him bravely, determined not to give Margery up without a
struggle. "Will you kindly tell me what you mean?" she asked.
The motorcyclist grinned. "Don't try to play off innocent," he said,
severely. "You know as well as I do what I mean. But it isn't you I'm
after most," he continued. "It's this one," and he pointed to Margery.
Margery buried her face in Nyoda's arm. Nyoda saw it was no use. "Are
you looking for Margery Anderson?" she asked.
"Margery Anderson!" said the man, with another grin. "That's a new one
on me. But she changes so often there's no keeping track of her. She
may be Margery Anderson now, but the one I'm after is Sal Jordan,
better known as 'Light Fingered Sal', the slickest pickpocket and
shoplifter between New York and San Francisco."
We all stared at him open-mouthed. "Oh, you may have forgotten about
it," he said sarcastically, "but I'll refresh your memory." He was
speaking to Margery now. "After you robbed that jewelry store in Toledo
you got away with such a narrow squeak that the doors of the police
station almost closed on you. Your friends didn't dare show themselves
in town, so they went riding around in an automobile, pretending they
were tourists, and you joined them out in the country somewhere. I've
had my eye on you ever since you left Ft. Wayne. But we had word you
were going to Indianapolis to carry on another little piece of business
and I thought I'd let you go free awhile and catch you with the goods
on. But you gave me the slip and didn't go, and I must say you've led
me a fine chase. But it's all over now and you'll go along with me to
Chicago like a little lamb with all your pretty friends."
He looked us over carefully. "Where's the other one?" he asked,
suddenly. "There were five of you before. Great Scott!" he exclaimed.
"You've sent her back to Indianapolis. Pretty cute, Sal, but it won't
do any good. They're watching for her."
We sat petrified, looking at Margery. She had collapsed on the seat
with her face in her hands--the very picture of Admission of Guilt.
"Margery!" cried Nyoda, "is it true?"
But Margery shook her head. "I don't know anything about it," she said.
"You're mistaken," said Nyoda cooly to the man, "we know nothing
whatever about this Sal person." Just then she drew her hand from her
pocket with a convulsive movement, and out flew the scarab at the man's
feet. He picked it up with a triumphant movement.
"Oh, no, you don't know anything about it," he said. "But you are
carrying Sal's scarab, which is the countersign between the members of
her gang. As I mentioned before, your little game is up."
"Margery!" said Nyoda the second time, "is it true?" But Margery buried
her face in her hands and said nothing.
Our thoughts went whirling in somersaults. The girl we had picked up
was not Margery, but "Light Fingered Sal", a pickpocket!
The appearance of the scarab and the scene at the ball when Nyoda had
found the necklace in her pocket came over us like a flash. What dupes
we had been never to suspect the truth before!
The procession moved on again with the motorcyclist keeping hold of the
fender. Thus it was that we came into Chicago, under police escort, and
were chaperoned up the steps of the police station.
Once inside, we blinked around with greater wonder than we had at
anything which had happened so far.
Against the wall were standing in a row: Gladys, Chapa, Medmangi,
Hinpoha, Sahwah between a strange man and woman, four young women we
had never seen before but who wore suits and veils exactly like ours,
and a girl in a blue suit.
Before we had finished staring at each other in stupefied surprise the
door opened again, and a woman ran in, at the sight of whom "Sal"
darted forward and threw herself into her arms.
"Margery!" cried the newcomer.
"Mother!" cried the girl.
A few steps behind the woman came a man and he looked coldly at the
two. "You have forestalled us, I see, Mrs. Anderson," he said, coldly.
The girl was Margery Anderson after all! I shall never forget the
expression on the light-haired detective's face when he saw Margery
rush into that woman's arms. He turned all shades of red and purple and
looked ready to burst.
"Confound that Sal!" we heard him mutter under his breath. "She's given
us the slip again."
Then we happened to look at Sahwah and the two people with whom she was
standing. Sahwah was doubled up with laughter and the man and woman
were as surprised looking as the detective. The man reminded me of
nothing so much as a collapsed balloon.
It was the queerest police station scene anyone could imagine. Instead
of making charges against us the various policemen and detectives all
looked bewildered and uncertain how to proceed. Everybody looked at
everybody else; and everybody waited to see what would happen next. And
things kept right on happening. The door opened a second time and an
officer came in leading a young woman in a stylish blue suit. Her
appearance seemed to create a profound sensation with Gladys and
Hinpoha and Chapa and Medmangi; they all uttered an exclamation at once
and started forward. The one in blue looked at them and then burst into
a mocking laugh. The four unknown girls dressed like us and the other
one in blue seemed to be good friends of hers for they hailed each
"The game's up, dearies," said the newcomer, gaily. "My, but I did have
the good time, though, playing the abused little maiden. Took you in
beautifully, didn't I?" she said over her shoulder to Gladys. "Maybe
Sal can't act like an angel when she wants to!"
"Light Fingered Sal!" exclaimed the detective who had brought us in,
staring at her fascinated. "And all the rest of your company! Can't
really blame me for getting on the wrong scent," he remarked, looking
from them to us. "The only description I had was the suits and they are
identical. Well, you're safe home, Sal, safe home at last," he added,
with a grin. Sal and her companions were taken out then and we saw them
Then we heard the officer who had brought her in tell his tale to the
detective. A man in an automobile had come to him that morning and said
he had been robbed of his pocketbook and watch by a young woman he had
picked up on the road. He had run into her and knocked her down and was
taking her to her home. After he had put her down at the address she
gave him he discovered that his property was missing and returned to
the house, but could get no answer to his ring. The officer took note
of the address and promised to keep an eye on the place. Later on he
saw a young woman come out of the house and enter a near-by pawn shop.
He followed her and saw that she was pawning the watch whose
description had been given him. He arrested her and discovered she was
the famous Light Fingered Sal, whom the police of a dozen cities were
looking for. The house was searched, but the other inmates had fled.
But it seems that they were fleeing in an automobile and went several
miles beyond the speed limit with the result that they were brought
into the station, where their real identity was established. They were
the four tourists in tan and the one in blue, whom we had blindly
followed out of Toledo, thinking they were Gladys and the other girls
in the Striped Beetle. Sal still had the man's purse in her pocket when
she was brought into the station and the owner was notified of that
fact while we stood there.
Again, it was these friends of Sal's who had been ahead of us at the
hotel in Ft. Wayne, whom the check man had told us about and who had
left for Chicago by way of Ligonier. Together with Sal, they had
committed some daring thefts in Toledo stores, and when the police had
almost caught them they had escaped in an automobile. There had been no
time to wait for Sal; they trusted her to join them somewhere along the
road. The police were so hot on her trail that she had to spend the
night in the empty storeroom where Hinpoha had found her, waiting until
after dark that night to venture out. Then Mr. Bob had blundered in on
her hiding-place, followed by Hinpoha. Sal saw her chance of working on
Hinpoha's sympathies and so getting out of Toledo, and how she
accomplished it we already know. She told her a well fabricated tale of
being accused wrongfully of taking a paper from the office safe, and
played the role of the helpless country girl in the city, with the
result that the girls took her in tow and set out to find Nyoda. She
assumed airs of helplessness until they did not think her capable of
lacing her own shoes. All the while she was keeping a sharp lookout for
the police along the road. At the same time she found out that the
girls were carrying all their money in their handbags.
At first, she had intended staying with them until she got to Chicago,
as that was her destination, but the losing of the trunk made them go
to Indianapolis, where the automobile races had drawn great crowds from
everywhere. She was sorely tempted to break away from the girls there
and slip into the crowd, where she could gather a rich harvest; but she
had been afraid that the police would be watching for her and decided
that the prudent thing would be to go to Chicago. But after they had
actually left Indianapolis and she began to think of what she had
missed, she wished she had stayed there. She blinded the girls to her
real character by pretending to know nothing about any kind of worldly
pleasure and amusement, and acted as though she disapproved of
everything gay, and Gladys had remarked somewhat loftily that when she
had seen a little more of life she would not be so narrow in her views!
Then the girls had seen the flowers growing beside the river and had
gotten out of the car to walk among them, leaving her to sit in the car
and hold their purses. It was as if opportunity had fallen directly
into her lap. The lure of the crowd at Indianapolis was too strong and
she started to drive back, leaving the girls minus their money and
their car. But some distance down the road the car had come to a stop
and she could not make it go on. She did not know that the gasoline had
given out. She abandoned it in the road and walked across country until
she came to the electric line, which she had taken into Indianapolis.
She had a narrow escape from the police there and took the train for
Chicago. There she had been run into by the man in the automobile and
her fertile brain had whispered to her to feign injury and have him
take her home. While she was in the car she had managed to get the
watch and purse. Later she tried to pawn the watch and was caught.
The detective, who had started out from Toledo after her had never seen
her or her companions and had somehow gotten onto our trail and
believed we were the ones. He had made no attempt to arrest us when he
first came up with us, because he believed there were still others in
her crowd and he wanted to wait until she joined them in Chicago and so
get a bigger catch in his net, when he finally drew it in. He had
waited around Rochester simply on our account; there had been nothing
the matter with his motorcycle at all. We had told him ourselves we
were going to Chicago, and then he had heard Nyoda telegraphing to
friends at the Carrie Wentworth Inn there. He had told Mrs. Moffat to
keep a close watch on us because we were dangerous characters, and she
had promptly put us out of the house. The news spread through the town
like wild-fire that there was a gang of pickpockets there and wherever
we went we were watched. That accounted for the queer actions of the
various storekeepers. But then, who had given us the address of 22
Spring Street when Mrs. Moffat had turned us out? That point still
remained to be cleared up.
When we abruptly left town in the direction of Indianapolis the
detective had followed us, but the storm had thrown him off our track.
He had come across us the next day near Lafayette and had made up his
mind to hold on to us that time. Our headlong flight when we became
aware of his presence drove all doubt away as to our being the ones,
and then when he had seen the scarab the last link was forged in the
chain which held us.
The timely arrest of Sal and her companions and the arrival of
Margery's mother had naturally wrought sad havoc with the charges upon
which we had all been brought into the station, and instead of feeling
like criminals we all sat around and talked as if we were perfectly at
home in a police station. The facts I am telling you somewhat in order
all came out bit by bit and sometimes everybody talked at once, so it
would be useless to try to put it down just the way it was said.
When Nyoda finally got the floor, she told about the finding of the
scarab and about our being taken into the McClure home and sent down to
the ballroom where she later found the diamond necklace in her pocket.
This tale created a profound sensation and now it was the turn of the
detective who had brought in Gladys and those girls to look foolish.
The police asked us the minutest details about the appearance of the
servants who had admitted us. We told about the maid Carrie with the
black eyes which were not the same height and one of the detectives
nodded his head eagerly. "Black-Eyed Susan," he said. "She's one of the
crowd we're after." He also recognized the footman with the blue vein
in his nose and the chauffeur with the crooked fingers. We were praised
highly for having observed those little things.
Then it was that we found the solution of the mystery which had been
tantalizing us since the night of the ball, and which we thought we had
found when we believed Margery to be Sal. That diamond robbery had been
skilfully planned as soon as the invitations for the ball were sent.
Three of the crowd were in the employ of Mrs. McClure. It happened that
these three did not know Sal and her intimates personally. They had
been instructed that on the evening of the ball five young women would
arrive in an automobile. They were to be admitted into the house and
gotten into the ballroom. Carrie was to do the actual robbery, slipping
the necklace into the pocket of one of the five. They would then leave
the ballroom and ride away. Their automobile was to be kept in
readiness at the door and the way made clear when the time came. The
mark of identification of these five was to be a certain scarab which
one would carry in her pocket. Naturally, when Nyoda had dropped the
scarab out of her pocket that day the chauffeur had taken us for the
five. The rest you know.
The only hitch in their plans had been the maid Agnes. Carrie had an
idea that she suspected her for some reason or other and was afraid she
would think there was something strange in our being admitted into the
house and made ready for the ball. She had therefore taken advantage of
our drenched condition to pretend that we were merely seeking shelter
from the storm. Then, in Agnes's hearing, she had come in and said that
Mrs. McClure wanted us to attend the ball. That made everything regular
in Agnes's eyes and apparently cleared Carrie of connivance.
The person who had put the scarab into Nyoda's pocket had been still
another member of the crowd who had gotten on the trail of the wrong
ones. He was to drop it into the pocket of one of the five girls in
motor costumes who would be at the Ft. Wayne hotel at a certain time.
The real ones found themselves too closely watched by the police to
attempt the diamond robbery, and abandoned it, heading straight for
Chicago. Thus they went through Ft. Wayne a day before they were
expected and did not stop. We came on the day they were expected and
got away before he could give it to us. He, therefore, trailed us to
Rochester and dropped it into Nyoda's pocket when she sat in the
restaurant eating lunch.
Of course, we did not find out everyone of these facts in the police
station that day, although I am telling them as if we did. One of Sal's
companions later turned state's evidence and it was from her statement
that we got the whole story. When the scarab was produced everybody
crowded around it curiously. It was one which was stolen from a private
collection in Boston some time before, and occasional rumors had leaked
out about it's being used as a sign of identification between members
of the gang who were so scattered that they did not all know each
The light-haired detective left in a great hurry to get the three
servants in the McClure home. I might say right here, however, that he
never got them, for they had fled on the finding of the necklace in the
jardinier, fearing an investigation.
There was so much that happened that afternoon in the police station
that I really don't know what to tell first. I suppose the reader has
been wondering all the time what has become of Margery Anderson and how
it happened that her mother appeared on the scene just at that time. It
seems that she was in Chicago on business and had gone to the office of
her brother-in-law, Margery's uncle. He was out and she was waiting for
him. While she was there she heard the stenographer take a message over
the telephone to the effect that Margery was in the police station, and
leaving the office hurriedly she had gone right down, determined to get
there before Margery's uncle did. She found Margery as we already know,
not in the company of the man and woman, as she had expected, but with
us three. When Margery's uncle finally received the message he also
hastened to the station, but it was too late. Margery was with her mother
and he could not take her away again.
Sahwah came over and stood by us, breaking into giggles every few
minutes at the discomfiture of Mr. and Mrs. Watterson, in spite of her
heroic efforts to keep a straight face. Her captors left the station
very red and uncomfortable after their little business with the police
By the time all our stories were told we were good friends with the
police lieutenant and all the officers standing around, who were
inclined to be pleased with us because we had helped bring Sal and
her crowd into their hands. This would be a feather in their cap,
although, of course, we would get no official credit.
Finally, there were only Nyoda and the seven Winnebagos left in the
station, and when one of the officers offered to show us around Nyoda
accepted the invitation gladly. She is always anxious that we should
see as much as possible. Nyoda stood and talked to the matron a long
time while we went on through, and when we came back she was invisible.
We waited awhile, but she did not appear.
"She's probably waiting for us out in the room where the fat one is,"
said Sahwah. "The fat one" was her disrespectful way of referring to
the police chief. (Sahwah saw me writing this down and corrected me,
saying that he wasn't the chief; he was a lieutenant, because we were
in a branch station, but I have always thought of him as chief.) So we
moved back toward the "main reception-room".
"What's in there?" asked Sahwah, pointing to a closed door. Sahwah,
like the Elephant's Child, was filled with 'satiable' curiosity.
"It's the matron's room," answered the row of brass buttons, who was
"May we look in?" asked Sahwah.
"May if you like," answered the row of buttons.
Sahwah quietly opened the door and we looked in. We looked in and we
kept on looking. In fact, we couldn't have taken our eyes away if we
had wanted to. For there in that matron's office--the matron was not
there--stood Nyoda, and there stood the Frog, _and he had his arms
around her and he was kissing her_!
By the time we had gotten our breath back again they were miles apart,
nearly the whole width of the carpet runner, and the Frog had his
goggles off and explanations were in full swing. The Frog was Sherry,
Nyoda's camp serenader of the summer before. They had been corresponding
ever since and he had been to see her several times, although we did not
know it. They had been almost engaged at the beginning of the summer
and then they quarreled and Nyoda sent him away.
He was touring the country all by himself in a mood of great dejection
and happened to see us in the dining-room at Toledo. He followed so he
could be near her. His big goggles and the mustache he had grown during
the summer were an effectual disguise. He had kept a respectful
distance, afraid to make himself known, for fear Nyoda would order him
off. So he had followed us and it was a merry chase we had led him, I must
say. When the impudent young man had spoken to us in the hotel parlor
at Wellsville he had promptly called him down for it and that had caused
the uproar we had heard when we ran out to the garage. Later, he had
led us out of the burning hotel to the back window where we made our
escape. Then, while we were in the house dressing, he had gone to get
the Glow-worm out of the threatened garage. He was driving it across the
park to a place of safety when we had seen him and thought he was
stealing the car. He wouldn't even take advantage of the great service
he had rendered us in piloting us through the burning building to present
himself to Nyoda. When we thought he was making off with Margery he
was taking a girl to her home in the next town. It seemed that everything
conspired to make the poor man appear the villain when he was in reality
He thought he had lost us that night in the fog, but the next morning
he turned around and there we were behind him. When Nyoda tried to
overtake him, he fled. But he had followed us to Rochester and it had
been he who had given us the address of the woman on Spring Street
after Mrs. Moffat had turned us out. He had heard Nyoda arguing with
Mrs. Moffat at the front door and thought it was about the price of the
rooms; he did not know that we were in any such predicament as we were.
He had found out that we intended going to Chicago and when we
disappeared so suddenly from the town he thought we had gone there and
had followed, but did not overtake us. Inside the city he had run into
Light Fingered Sal and while charitably taking her to her home, as he
supposed, she had relieved him of his watch and his money. He had
notified the police and some time later had been summoned to the --th
precinct station to recover his property. There he had seen Nyoda in
the matrons' office. What happened between that time and the moment
when Sahwah opened the door was never made public, but it was evidently
highly satisfactory to him.
There remains but one more tangled thread to straighten out. That
concerns the trunks. We did not find out the truth until long after.
Gladys's trunk had actually been put onto Mr. Hansen's car in Ft.
Wayne, but he had lost it on the way and it was picked up by a man who
went through Wellsville the night of the fire. In the excitement it was
left in the garage, where it was found by the proprietor and sent us in
answer to our description. The one which we had left in Wellsville was
taken by the salesman of the Curline stuff and returned to Gladys's
address several weeks later, rather battered on the outside, but still
intact as to contents. Gladys was aghast when she thought of the trunk
she had forcibly wrested from the man on the road. She left it there in
the police station in the hope that the real owner would get it some
day. That was the last we ever heard of it. Whether the man had
actually stolen it, and who the initials GME of Cleveland referred to
we never found out.
The reason Gladys's second wire to us in Rochester was not received was
that she had absent-mindedly written Rochester, N. Y., instead of
Well, as far as adventures are concerned, the tale of our trip is told.
The rest was uneventful and the telling of it would be uninteresting,
as it would consist mainly of descriptions of scenery and places, which
the reader already knows by heart from other books. Sherry hinted
strongly that a red car would be a great addition to our color scheme,
but Nyoda firmly refused to let him come with us. She had enough to
look after when she had us, she insisted, without trying to keep him out
of mischief. Besides, ours was a strictly family party and he was not one
of the family--yet. So he meekly continued his journey to Denver as
originally planned, while we went south to Louisville.
Then once more we followed "along the road that leads the way," the
yellow road unwinding like a ribbon under our wheels, but this time we
didn't build any Rain Jinx before we started.