“I know they’re tired, ma’am, and I wasn’t aimin’ to let them do any more walkin’. I’ve got more sense than that. But we could rig up a sort of a swing chair, so’s two of the boys could carry one of them, easily. Then we could take her over there, and she could tell us which was him, and never be tired at all. She’d be jest as comfortable, ma’am, as if she was a settin’ here by the lake, watchin’ the water.”
“Well, I suppose we can manage it if you do it that way, Andrew, if you think it’s really necessary.”
When it came to a choice, since it was necessary for only one of the girls to go, Dolly insisted on being the one.
“Bessie is much more tired than I am,” she said, stoutly. “I was carried a good part of the way and she tramped all around with that wretched little Lolla, when she thought Lolla wanted to help her get me away. So I’m going, and Bessie shall stay here and rest”
“Don’t, make no difference to me,” said Andrew “Let the other girls come along with us, if you like, Miss Eleanor. And you can stay hind here with the one that stays to rest. See!”
And so it was arranged. Bessie, lying on a cot that had been brought from Eleanor’s tent, watched Dolly being carried off in the litter that had been hastily improvised, and Eleanor sat beside her.
“You’ve certainly earned a rest, Bessie,” said Eleanor, happily. It delighted her to think that Bessie, whom she had befriended, should prove herself so well worthy of her confidence. “I don’t know what we’d have done without you. I’m afraid that Dolly would still be there in the woods if you’d just called us, as most girls would have done.”
“I don’t quite understand one thing, even yet, Bessie,” continued Eleanor, frowning, “You know, at first, it seemed as if the idea we had was right; that this man had some crazy idea that he might be able to make a gypsy of Dolly.
“I’m beginning to think that there was some powerful reason back of what he did; that he expected to make a great deal of money out of kidnapping her. It seems, too, as if he knew where we were going to be, and who we all were, more than he had had any chance to find out.”
“I thought of that, too,” said Bessie. “If it had been Zara he tried to steal—but it was Dolly. And she hasn’t been mixed up at all in our affairs.”
“I know, and that’s what is so puzzling, Bessie. Maybe if they catch him, though, he’ll tell why he did it. I think those guides will frighten him. They’re all perfectly furious, and they’ll make him sorry he ever tried to do anything of the sort, I think—Why, Bessie! What’s the matter?”
“Don’t turn around, Miss Eleanor. But I saw a pair of eyes, just behind you. I wonder if he could have sneaked back around and come here?”
“Oh, I wish we’d had one of the men stay, I was afraid of something like that, Bessie.”
“I’m going to find out, Miss Eleanor. I’ll pretend I don’t suspect anything, and get up to go into the tent. Then, if it’s John, I think he’ll show himself.”