“What are you doing to pass the time away?” asked the pretty little matron when she had exhausted her own experiences of the last few years. Nyoda told her about her teaching and the guardianship of the Winnebagos. “Camp Fire Girls?” said Mrs. Bates. “How delightful! I think that is one of the best things that ever happened to girls. If I were not so frightfully busy I would take a group too—I may yet. But I wish you would bring your girls out to visit us. We’re living on the Lake Shore for the summer. Camp Fire Girls would certainly know how to have a good time at our place. We have a launch and a sailboat and horses to ride and a tennis court. Can’t you come out next Saturday?” Nyoda thought perhaps they could. “I’ll tell you what to do,” said Mrs. Bates, warming to the scheme. “Come out Friday after school and stay until Sunday night. That will give the girls more chance to do things. We have plenty of room.”
“The same hospitable Norma Williamson as of old,” said Nyoda, smiling at her. “Don’t you remember how we girls used to flock to your room in college, and when it was apparently as fall as it could get you would always make room for one more?”
“I love to have people visit me,” said Mrs. Bates simply.
“By the way,” said Nyoda, as she rose to depart, “how do you get to Bates Villa?”
“Take the Interurban car,” replied Mrs. Bates, “and get off at Stop 42. The Limited leaves the Interurban Station at four o’clock; that would be a good car to come on.”
“All right,” said Nyoda, extending her hand in farewell; “we’ll be there.”
The news of the invitation to spend a week-end in the country was received with a shout by the Winnebagos. Their only regret was that Sahwah would be unable to go. “Never mind, Sahwah,” comforted Nyoda, “Mrs. Bates wants us to come out again when the water is warm enough to go in bathing and by that time your hip will be all right.”
On Friday, after school was out, Nyoda and Gladys left the building together. “You are coming home with me, as we planned, until it is time to take the car?” asked Nyoda.
“I’m afraid I’ll have to go home first, after all,” said Gladys. “I came away in such a hurry this morning that I forgot my sweater and my tennis shoes and I really must have them. You come home with me.”
But on arriving at the Evans house they found nobody home. Gladys rang and waited and rang again, but there was no answer. Gladys frowned with vexation. “I simply must have that sweater and those shoes,” she said. “There’s no use in waiting until some one comes home; it’ll be too late. Mother has gone for the day and father is out of town, and if Katy has been given a day off she won’t be at home until evening. We’ll have to break into the house, that’s all there is to it.”
Feeling like burglars, they tried all the windows on the first floor and the basement. Everything was locked tightly. Gladys began to feel desperate. “Do you suppose I had better break the pantry window,” she asked, “or possibly one of the cellar ones? I’ll pay for it out of my allowance. I think the pantry window would be the best, because the door at the head of the cellar stairs is likely to be locked and we might not be able to get upstairs if we did get into the cellar.”