The Motor Girls Through New England Part 31
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"Well, I cannot agree with you that one fond of animals--that is excessively fond--is always very fond of mankind," she said. "Still, in Leland's case, it was a curious mixture of both."
"He will become a great man," prophesied Hazel.
"If he does not kill himself in the trying," said the sister. "He came too near it in the fire. But suppose he should insist on--on digging sewers?"
"Oh, you could restrain him. That would be insane!" declared Bess.
"I don't know about that. Sewers have to be dug," contended Leland's sister.
"I wish we might meet him," ventured Bess. "I am sure he would be an inspiration."
Poor Bess! Always saying things backwards. He would be an inspiration--in digging sewers!
"Well, you may some day, if he ever consents to become civilized again,"
said Dr. Robbins. "You see, he may take to the lecture platform, but very likely the platform will be against his principles. He will want to shout from the housetops!"
A step in the hall attracted them. It was Ed.
"Jack and I are going to town," he said, his face flushed with excitement. "The detectives claim to have a clew."
"Oh, good! I knew Dr. Robbins would bring luck," declared Belle, actually springing up from the couch. "I am going out in the air. I feel as if Cora were here already!"
"Easy, Belle," cautioned the doctor. "We must insist upon discipline for your mind and body. You must not waste energy. It is well to be hopeful, but bad to get excited."
"But I can't help it."
"Now, girls, we will let you know at once over the 'phone if we have any news," promised Ed, making his adieux. "We really are hopeful."
Hope, as contagious as fear, had sprung into the heart of each of them.
Yes, there must soon be news of Cora!
"We are to go out to-day!" Helka's face was beaming when she gave this news to Cora. The latter had longed so for the suns.h.i.+ne since shut up in the big upper room.
"In the grounds, of course. They do not let us on the highway."
"And does that satisfy you? You could go--if you chose."
"Well, I could, and I could not. I would be afraid if I ran away that old Mother Hull's face would kill me in my sleep. She is a dreadful woman."
"But that is superst.i.tious. No dream can kill. I wish that was all that held me here," and Cora sighed deeply.
"But you have promised not to try to escape while you are in my charge," Helka reminded her. "And surely you will keep that promise!"
There was alarm in her voice. Helka had not told Cora all of her fears.
"Yes, I will not run away from you. I doubt if I could do so, at any rate."
"Indeed, you could not, but you might be foolish enough to try. I keep hoping for you all the time."
"You are very good to me, Helka, and I hope that whatever becomes of me I will not lose you entirely. But sometimes I have a fearful dread. I feel as if I will choke from actual fear."
"I don't blame you. The faces of some of our tribe are enough to strangle one. But I have promised to take care of you, and you need fear no violence, at any rate."
They were seated on the floor, as usual. Presently Lena appeared.
"Fetch the walking dresses--the brown and the black," said Helka. "We are going out in the woods."
"Sam did not go to town," ventured Lena.
"Why?" asked the queen sharply.
"I don't know. He asked if you were going out."
"Indeed! Perhaps he expects to walk with us. Well, don't hurry with the things. We have all day."
Cora was disappointed. The very thought of getting out of doors had brought her hope--hope that some one might see her, hope for something so vague she could not name it.
"Can't we go out this morning?" she asked. "The day is so delightful."
Helka gave her a meaning glance. "I wish Sam would bring me some fruit," she said to Lena. "Tell him I have not had any for days, and say that the last--from the farm was delicious."
"All right," a.s.sented Lena, "I think he--will go."
"I think he will," agreed Helka. "He never fails me when I ask for anything. Sam is ambitious."
She was bright and cheery again. Yes, they would take their walk, and Cora would be out in the great, free, wide world once more.
"How do you manage to get such up-to-date clothes?" she asked Helka, as she inspected the tailor-made walking dress of really good cut and material.
"Why, I have a girl friend in New York who sends by express a new gown each season. You see, it would not do for me to attract attention when I am out in the grounds."
"But, if you did attract attention, would not that possibly help you to get away?"
"My dear, the situation is very complex. You see, I have a respectable lover, and I live every day in hopes of some time joining him. Should our band get into disrepute, which it surely would do if discovered here, I should feel disgraced. Besides"--and she looked very serious--"there are other reasons why I cannot make any desperate move for freedom."
Cora thought it wise not to press her further. It was a strange situation, but surely the woman was honest and kind, and had befriended Cora in her darkest hour. What more could she ask now?
Helka gave Cora a choice of the dresses, and she took the black costume. There was scarcely any perceptible difference in their sizes, and when gowned Helka declared Cora looked "_chic_." Helka herself looked quite the society lady, her tight-fitting brown costume suiting her admirably.
Cora was trembling with antic.i.p.ation. She wondered if they would be allowed to roam about at will, or how they would be guarded. Finally Helka was ready.
The Motor Girls Through New England Part 31
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The Motor Girls Through New England Part 31 summary
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