“This is Bates Villa,” said Mrs. Bates. “You undoubtedly got into our car by mistake.”
“I’m sorry this is not the right place,” said Antoinette in a tone of frank regret. “I was so glad when I saw all you girls and thought you were to be our friends.”
“You will be very welcome guests until your guardian comes for you,” said Mrs. Bates in her gracious way.
The Winnebagos were much amused to think that Gladys and Nyoda had missed their chance to ride out in the automobile, and added another verse to the song to be sung when they should arrive on the next Limited. Mrs. Bates found Mr. Thurston’s name in the telephone book and called his residence, but could get no answer. Now, Mr. Scovill had introduced himself to Genevieve and Antoinette as “Mr. Adams.” They did not know his initials and attempts to get him on the wire were futile.
The girls all went down to the car-track when it was time for the next Limited. A regular fusilade of jests and jibes were prepared for Nyoda and Gladys. The Limited appeared and thundered by without stopping. “Not on this one?” said the girls. “What on earth could have happened?”
“Here comes another car,” said Hinpoha; “they’re running a double-header. Nyoda and Gladys must be on this one.” The second car whizzed by with a deafening clatter and a cloud of dust.
“Maybe they’re not coming,” said one of the girls, and disappointment was visible on every face. This jolly party would not be complete without their beloved Guardian and Gladys. Mrs. Bates telephoned to the Evans’s house in town, but there was nobody home. She tried the house where Nyoda lived, but got no satisfaction, for the landlady merely said that Miss Kent had not been home since leaving for school in the morning. The evening passed off as merrily as possible and the girls rose the next morning feeling sure that Nyoda and Gladys would be out on the first car. But the day passed with no sign of them. They telephoned to the Evans’s again and this time they got Mrs. Evans.
“Gladys hasn’t arrived there?” she asked in a frightened voice. “She wasn’t at home last night. Where can she be?” Wonder gave way to anxiety on all sides and there was no more thought of fun.
“They must be out at Mr. Thurston’s, of course,” suggested Antoinette Rogers. Renewed efforts were made to get into communication with Mr. Thurston, but in vain. No answer came from the number which was opposite his name in the telephone book. Genevieve and Antoinette were highly embarrassed at being obliged to stay with strangers, and were not a little mystified over the non-appearance of their guardian.
The days passed in frightful suspense for the parents and friends of the missing girls. The aid of the police was called in, but they could find no clue. Early on the morning of the fourth day Mrs. Evans was called to the phone and was overjoyed to hear Gladys’s voice on the wire. She and Nyoda were at a house on the lake shore and would be home soon. There was a happy home-coming that morning. Nyoda and Gladys told the almost unbelievable tale of their imprisonment and escape from the tower. After lying exhausted on the beach for a time, they had walked until they came to a house where they were warmed and lent dry clothes, for they had lost their bundles in the waves.