“Oh, oh! You would give me orders when I bring you breakfast? No, no, Peter; that won’t do. Come, she is safe there; come and eat with me, where she cannot put a spell on your food to make it choke you.”
“Do you think she would do that?”
That was Peter’s voice, stupid and filled with doubt. Bessie laughed at Lolla’s cleverness. Peter, she thought, would be just the sort of man to yield to the fears of superstition.
“I know she would; she hates us. Come, Peter; does it not look good?”
“Give it to me. There, I’ll catch you—”
Then there was a sound of scuffling and running, but Bessie, noticing that it drew further and further away, laughed. Lolla was a real strategist. She understood how to handle the big gypsy, evidently. And a moment later Bessie, her nerves quivering, all alert as she waited for the signal, heard the notes of Lolla’s song. At once she rushed down, broke through the tangled growth, and was at Dolly’s side, cutting away at the cords that bound Dolly, and, first of all, tearing the handkerchief from her mouth.
“It’s all right now, we’re safe, Dolly. Only you’ll have to come quickly, dear, when I get you free. There, that’s it. Are you stiff? Can you Stand up?”
“I guess so,” gasped Dolly. “Oh, I’d do anything to get away from here. Bessie, look!”
Bessie turned, to face Peter and Lolla, their faces twisted into malignant grins. Lolla had betrayed her!
THE MYSTERIOUS VOICE
For a moment Bessie stared at the two gypsies, their eyes glowing with malicious triumph, and delight at her shocked face, in such dazed astonishment that she could not speak at all. She had been completely outwitted and hoodwinked. She had trusted Lolla utterly; had made up her mind that the girl’s jealousy was not feigned.
Even now, for a wild moment, the thought flashed through her mind that perhaps Lolla had been unable to help herself; that Peter might have insisted on coming back, and that Lolla was forced, in order to be of help later on, to seem to fall in with his plans.
But Lolla herself soon robbed her of the comfort that lay in such a thought.
“You thought I would betray my people!” she cried, shrilly. “We do not do that; no, no! Ah, but it was easy to deceive you! When I saw you I knew you would be dangerous. I could not hold you by force until John came, I had to trick you. I thought we would catch you when you went up there. I did not think you would be brave enough to go down the rocks.”
Bessie said not a word, but only clung to Dolly’s hand and stared at the treacherous gypsy.
“So then, when you had gone, I had to find you again, and send word to Peter to do as I said, so that we could catch you, and stop you from going to your friends and telling them where we had hidden your friend who is there with you now. Now we have two, instead of one. Oh, I have done well, have I not, Peter?”