Looking down, she could see that they were indeed right above the lake, without a foot of ground at the bottom of the tower. No other part of the house was visible from this angle. The waves roared and dashed on the cliff below, and a strong wind was blowing from the west. “It looks as if a storm were coming,” said Nyoda in a low tone. The night was wearing away fast and the girls knew that it was safer to escape under cover of darkness. About three o’clock in the morning the storm broke, a terrific thunder shower. The tower swayed in the wind and at each crash they held their breath, thinking that the house had been struck. The spray from the waves as they were flung against the rocks often came in through the open window. Both girls looked down into the boiling sea beneath them and drew back with a shudder. “Wait until the storm is over,” said Gladys.
“It may be daylight then,” said Nyoda. Howling like an imprisoned giant, the wind hurled itself against the side of the tower. “There’s one thing about it,” said Nyoda, “we never can swim in those waves with skirts on. I’m going to have a bathing suit.” Taking the blankets from the bed, she made them into straight narrow sacks, cutting various holes in them so as to leave the arms and limbs free.
When the storm had abated somewhat they prepared for the plunge. The first faint streaks of dawn were showing in the east. Gladys crept out on the sill and then shrank back. The surface of the water seemed miles below her. “I can’t do it, Nyoda,” she panted.
“Yes, you can,” said Nyoda, patting her on the shoulder. “You aren’t going to lose your nerve at this stage of the game, are you? ’Screw your courage to the sticking point,’ We have our fate in our own hands now. ‘Who hesitates is lost.’”
“But the water is so far away,” shuddered Gladys.
“What of that?” said Nyoda. “It’s perfectly safe to jump. The water is very deep along the shore here. Think, just one leap and then we’re out of this!”
Gladys still hung back. “You go first,” she pleaded.
Nyoda made a motion to go and then stopped. “No,” she said firmly, “I’d rather you went first. You might be afraid to follow me afterward. Brace up; remember you’re a Winnebago!”
This had its effect and without allowing herself to stop to think Gladys tossed her bundle of clothes out of the window and, closing her eyes, dropped from the sill. There was a wild moment of suspense as she sank downward through the gloom, and then she struck the water and it rolled over her head. It was icy cold and for a minute she felt numb. Then the waves parted over her head and she felt the wind blowing against her face. A great splash beside her terrified her for an instant, and then she remembered that it was Nyoda jumping in after her. In a moment a head came up nearby and Nyoda inquired calmly how she enjoyed the bathing. “It’s g-r-r-e-a-t,” said Gladys with chattering teeth.