“It’s ju-just like swinging too high!” burst out flaxen-haired Lillie.
Nan and Bess had brought their skates slung over their shoulders by the straps. Before getting up off the sled the chums put these on and then were ready to draw the heavy sled back across the ice to the shore.
“Get aboard—all of you!” Bess cried. “All you lazy folks can have a ride!”
“And do hurry!” added Nan. “Here come some more bobs.”
The second sled did not gain momentum enough to slide half-way across the strait between the mainland and the Isle of Hope. But now appeared the “Linda Riggs’ crew,” as Laura called them, and their shiny, new sled. Out of the enveloping grove which masked the side of Pendragon Hill it came, shooting over the last “thank-you-ma’am” and taking the ice with a ringing crash of steel on crystal.
“Got to hand it to ’em!” exclaimed Walter, with admiration. “That’s some sled Linda’s got.”
“So’s ours,” Bess said stoutly. “See, they’re not going to run farther than we did.”
“I don’t know about that,” murmured Nan, honestly.
“Come on!” Bess cried. “Let’s get back and try it again. I know those horrid things can’t beat the Sky-rocket.”
The other girls had already piled upon the bobsled. Walter started them with a push and called a “good-bye” after them. He was going to put on his own skates and skate up the strait to the Mason house. The family was staying here on the shores of Lake Huron much later than usual this year.
Nan Sherwood and Bess Harley had no trouble at all in dragging their mates across the ice upon the Sky-rocket. Linda’s sled, the Gay Girl, did go farther than the first-named sled, and Bess was anxious to get to the top of the hill to try it over again.
“It will never do in this world to let them crow over us,” Bess declared.
She and Nan slipped off their skates at the edge of the ice and all six laid hold of the long rope to pull the Sky-rocket up the hill.
A fourth bobsled rushed past them, the girls screaming and laughing; and then a fifth flew by.
“Mrs. Gleason said she would come over before supper time,” Laura Polk said. Mrs. Gleason was the physical instructor at the Hall.
“Let’s get her on our sled!” cried Bess.
“Let’s!” chorused the others.
But no teacher save Professor Krenner was on the brow of the hill when the Sky-rocket was hauled into position again. This time Nan steered, with firmly braced feet, her mittened hands on the wheel-rim, and her bright eyes staring straight down the course.
“Are you ready?” cried the professor, almost as eager as the girls themselves. Then he blew the warning blast to tell all below on the hillside that the Sky-rocket was coming.
Ta-ra! ta-ra! ta-ra-ra-ra! Ta-rat!
With a rush the sled was off. It disappeared around the evergreen clump. The hum of its runners was dying away when suddenly there sounded a chorus of screams, evidently from the Sky-rocket crew. Following this, a crash and a turmoil of cries, expressing both anger and fright, rang out upon the lower hillside.