Dolly seemed to be a good deal chastened after her talk with Eleanor, and Bessie felt glad that the Guardian, though she evidently did not take the episode of the gypsy as seriously as did Bessie, had still thought it worth while to let Dolly think she did.
“I’m going to stay close to the camp after this, Bessie,” she said. “And, oh, Miss Eleanor said that there were footprints this morning near the water that a deer must have made. I’ve got my camera here; suppose we try to get a picture of one tonight? We could go to sleep early, and then get up. Miss Eleanor said it would be all right, just for the two of us. She said if any more sat up it would frighten the deer.”
“All right,” agreed Bessie. “That would be lots of fun.”
So they slept for an hour or so, and then, about midnight, got up and went down to the shore of the lake, to a spot where a narrow trail came out of the woods. There they hid themselves behind some brush and placed Dolly’s camera and a flashlight powder, to be ready in case the deer appeared.
They waited a long time. But at last there was a rustling in the trees, and they could hear the branches being pushed aside as some creature made its way slowly toward the water.
“All ready, Bessie?” whispered Dolly. “When I give you a squeeze press that button; that will set the flashlight off, and I’ll take the picture as you do it.”
They waited tensely, and Bessie was as excited as Dolly herself. She felt as if she could scarcely wait for the signal. Dolly held her left hand loosely, and two or three times she thought the grip was tightening. But the signal came at last, and there was a blinding flash. But it was not a deer which stood out in the glare; it was the gypsy who had pursued Dolly!
A THIEF IN THE NIGHT
The glare of the explosion lasted for only a moment. Dolly’s eyes were fixed on the camera, as she bent her head down, and Bessie realized, thankfully, that she had not seen the evil face of the gypsy. As for the man, he cried out once, but the sound of his voice was drowned by the noise of the explosion. And then, as soon as the flashlight powder had burned out, the light was succeeded by a darkness so black that no one could have seen anything, so great was the contrast between it and the preceding illumination.
“Come, Dolly! Quick! Don’t stop to argue! Run!” urged Bessie.
She seized Dolly’s hand in hers, and made off, running down by the lake, and, for a few steps, actually through the water. Her one object was to get back to the camp as quickly as possible. She thought, and the event proved that she was right, the gypsy, if he saw them nearing the camp fire, which was still burning brightly, would not dare to follow them very closely.
He had no means of knowing that there were no men in the camp, and, while he might not have been afraid to follow them right into camp had he known that, Bessie judged correctly that he would take no more chances than were necessary.