“’Good-bye, dear Paw and Maw, and a hundred kisses for Maw from
“’P.S.—I won’t be known by my own name in the movies. I’ve picked a real nice sounding one, and so has Celia.’”
“There! You see?” said Mrs. Morton, who had taken the apron down so she could hear Nan the better. “We can’t never trace ’em, because they’ll be going by some silly names. Dear, dear me, Peke! Somethin’ must be done.”
“I dunno what, Maw,” groaned the big man, hopelessly.
“What city have they gone to?” asked Bess, abruptly.
“Why, Miss,” explained Mr. Morton, “they could go to half a dozen cities from Littleton. Of course they didn’t stay there, although Littleton’s a big town.”
“Chicago?” queried Bess.
“Perhaps. But they could get to Detroit, or Indianapolis, or even to Cincinnati.”
“There are more picture making concerns in Chicago,” suggested Nan, quietly, “than in the other cities named, I am sure. And the fare to Chicago is less than to the others.”
“Right you air, Miss!” agreed Si Snubbins. “That’s where them pesky gals have set out for, I ain’t a doubt.”
“And how are we goin’ to get ’em back?” murmured Mr. Morton.
“The good Lord won’t let no harm come to the dears, I hope and pray,” said his wife, wiping her eyes. “Somebody’ll be good to ’em if they get sick or hungry. There! We ain’t showin’ very good manners to our guests, Peke. These girls are off that train where there ain’t a bite to eat, I do suppose; and they must be half starved. Let’s have supper. You pull up a chair, too, Si.”
“All right, Miz’ Morton,” agreed Mr. Snubbins, briskly.
Nan felt some diffidence in accepting the good woman’s hospitality. She whispered again to Bess:
“Shall we stay? They’re in such trouble.”
“But goodness!” interrupted Bess. “I’m hungry. And we want to get her interested in the kiddies aboard the train.”
“Yes, that’s so,” agreed Nan.
“Come, girls,” Mrs. Morton called from the other room. “Come right in and lay off your things—do. You are pretty dears—both of you. City girls, I’spect?”
“No, ma’am,” Nan replied. “We live in a small town when we are at home. But we’ve been to boarding school and are on our way home for Christmas.”
“And after that,” Bess added briskly, “we’re going to Chicago for two—whole—weeks!”
“You air? Well, well! D’you hear that, Peke?” as her husband came heavily into the room.
“What is it, Maw?”
“These girls are going to Chicago. If our Sallie and Si’s Celia have gone there, mebbe these girls might come across them.”
“Oh, Mrs. Morton!” cried Nan. “If we do, we will surely send them home to you. Or, if they are foolish enough not to want to come, we’ll let you know at once where they are.”