“That is so,” Nan said, with more assurance. “But of course they know what has happened to the train. We’re in no real danger.”
“We—ell, I s’pose not,” admitted Bess, slowly. “But it does seem funny.”
Nan chuckled. “As long as we see anything funny in the situation, I guess we shall get along all right.”
“Oh! you know what I mean,” her chum said. “I wonder where that door leads to?”
“Into another car,” Nan said demurely.
“Is that so, Miss Smartie?” cried Bess. “But what car?”
She tried the door. It gave entrance to a baggage coach, dimly lit by a lantern swinging from the roof. Nobody was in the car and the girls walked hesitatingly forward.
“Oh!” squealed Bess, suddenly. “Here’s my trunk.”
“And here’s mine,” Nan said, and stopped to pat the side of the battered, brown box stenciled “N.S.” on its end. Nan had something very precious in that trunk, and to tell the truth she wished she had that precious possession out of the trunk right then.
“It’s awfully cold in here, Bess,” she said slowly.
“I guess they haven’t got the steam turned on in this flat, either,” returned Bess, laughing. “Nothing to freeze here but the trunks. Oh! oh! what’s that?”
Her startled cry was caused by a sudden sound from a dark corner—a whimpering cry that might have been a baby’s.
“The poor thing!” cried Nan, darting toward the sound. “They have forgotten it, I know.”
“A baby in a baggage car?” gasped Bess. “Whoever heard the like?”
WAIFS AND STRAYS
“What a cruel, cruel thing!” Nan murmured.
“I never supposed the railroad took babies as baggage,” said her chum wonderingly.
At that Nan uttered a laugh that was half a sob. “Silly! reach down that lantern, please. Stand on the box. I’ll show you what sort of a baby it is.”
Bess obeyed her injunction and brought the light. Nan was kneeling in the corner before a small crate of slats in which was a beautiful, brown-eyed, silky haired water spaniel—nothing but a puppy—that was licking her hands through his prison bars and wriggling his little body as best he could in the narrow quarters to show his affection and delight.
“Well, I never!” cried Bess, falling on her knees before the dog’s carrier, and likewise worshipping. “Isn’t he the cunning, tootsie-wootsie sing? ’E ’ittle dear! Oh, Nan! isn’t he a love? How soft his tiny tongue is,” for the puppy was indiscriminate in his expressions of affection.
“I believe the men must have forgotten him,” said Nan.
“It’s a murderin’ shame, as cook would say,” Bess declared. “Let’s let him out.”
“Oh, no! we mustn’t—not till we’ve asked leave.”
“Well, who’ll we ask?” demanded Bess.
“The baggage-man, of course,” said Nan, jumping up. “I believe he’s hungry, too.”