“Why,” said Nan, with assurance, “I’d look through the express matter and see if there wasn’t a case of canned milk going somewhere—”
“Great! Hurrah for our Nan!” broke in Bess Harley, in admiration. “Who’d ever have thought of that?”
“But we couldn’t do that, Miss,” said the baggage-man, scratching his head. “We’d get into trouble with the company.”
“So the poor dog must starve,” said Bess, saucily.
“Guess he’ll have to take his chance with the rest of us,” said the man.
“Oh! You don’t mean we’re all in danger of starvation?” gasped Bess, upon whose mind this possibility had not dawned before.
“Well—” said the man, and then stopped.
“They’ll come and dig us out, won’t they?” demanded Bess.
“Then we won’t starve,” she said, with satisfaction.
But Nan did not comment upon this at all. She only said, with confidence:
“Of course you can let this poor doggy out of the cage and we will be good to him.”
“Well, Miss, that altogether depends upon the conductor, you know. It’s against the rules for a dog to be taken into a passenger coach.”
“I do think,” cried Bess, “that this is the very meanest railroad that ever was. I am sure that Linda Riggs’ father owns it. To keep a poor, dear, little dog like that, freezing and starving, in an old baggage car.”
“Do you know President Riggs, Miss?” interrupted the baggage-man.
“Why—” began Bess, but her chum interposed before she could go further.
“We know Mr. Riggs’ daughter very well. She goes to school where we do, at Lakeview Hall. She was on this train till it was split at the Junction, last evening.”
“Well, indeed, Miss, you tell that to Mr. Carter. If you are friends of Mr. Riggs’ daughter, maybe he’ll stretch a point and let you take the dog into the Pullman. I don’t suppose anybody will object at a time like this.”
“How could you, Nan?” demanded Bess, in a whisper. “Playing up Linda Riggs’ name for a favor?”
“Not for ourselves, no, indeed!” returned Nan, in the same low tone. “But for the poor doggy, yes.”
“Say! I wonder what she’d say if she knew?”
“Something mean, of course,” replied Nan, calmly. “But we’ll save that poor dog if we can. Come on and find this Conductor Carter.”
They left the puppy yelping after them as they returned to the Pullman. The cars felt colder now and the girls heard many complaints as they walked through to the rear. The conductor, the porter said, had gone back into the smoking car. That car was between the Pullman and the day coaches.
When Nan rather timidly opened the door of the smoking car a burst of sound rushed out, almost startling in its volume—piercing cries of children, shrill tones of women’s voices, the guttural scolding of men, the expostulations of the conductor himself, who had a group of complainants about him, and the thunderous snoring of a fat man in the nearest seat, who slept with his feet cocked up on another seat and a handkerchief over his face.