“Oh, she has—and Bessie never seems to get; angry. I don’t understand that—it’s my worst fault, I think. Losing my temper, I mean. Though I’m better than I used to be. Well—good-night.”
The next day was Sunday, and, of course, there was none of the work about the farm that the girls of the Camp Fire enjoyed so much. They went to church in the morning, and when they returned Bessie was surprised to see Charlie Jamieson, the lawyer, Eleanor Mercer’s cousin, sitting on the front piazza. Eleanor took Bessie with her when she went to greet him.
“No bad news, Charlie?” she said, anxiously. He was looking after the interests of Bessie and of Zara, whose father, unjustly accused as Charlie and the girls believed, of counterfeiting, was in prison in the city from which the Camp Fire Girls came. Charlie Jamieson had about decided that his imprisonment was the result of a conspiracy in which Farmer Weeks, from Bessie’s home town, Hedgeville, was mixed up with a Mr. Holmes, a rich merchant of the city. The reason for the persecution of the two girls and of Zara’s father was a mystery, but Jamieson had made up his mind to solve it.
“No—not bad news, exactly,” he said. “But I’ve had a talk with Holmes, and I’m worried, Eleanor. You know, that was a pretty bold thing he did the other day, when he trapped Bessie into going with him for an automobile ride and tried to kidnap her. That’s a serious offense, and a man in Holmes’s position in the city wouldn’t be mixed up in it unless there was a very important reason. And from the way he talked to me I’m more convinced than ever that he will just be waiting for a chance to try it again.”
“What did he say to you, Charlie?”
“Oh, nothing very definite. He advised me to drop this case. He reminded me that he had a good deal of influence—and that he could bring me a lot of business, or keep it away. And he said that if I didn’t quit meddling with this business I’d have reason to feel sorry.”
“What did you tell him?”
“To get out of my office before I kicked him out! He didn’t like that, I can tell you. But I noticed that he got out. But here’s the point. Are you still planning that camping trip to Lake?”
“Yes—I think it would be splendid there.”
“Well, why don’t you start pretty soon?” Holmes knows this country very well, and he’s got so much money that, if he spends it, he can probably find people to do what he wants. Up there it’s lonely country, and pretty wild, and you could keep an eye on Bessie and Zara even better than you can here. I don’t know why he wants to have them in his power, but it’s quite evident that their plans depend on that for success, and our best plan, as long as we’re in the dark this way, and don’t know the answer to all these puzzling things, is to keep things as they are. I’m convinced that they can’t do anything that need worry us much as long as we have Bessie and Zara safe and sound.”