“Oh! Nan Sherwood!” cried Laura. “Have you found him?”
The fat man glared at Nan malevolently. “So your name is Sherwood, it is?” he snarled. “You’re the girl that was steering that abominable sled—and you steered it right into me.”
“Oh, no, sir! Not intentionally!” cried the worried Nan.
“Yes, you did!” flatly contradicted the choleric fat man. “I saw you.”
“Oh, Nan Sherwood!” gasped Amelia, “isn’t he mean to say that?”
“Your name’s Sherwood, is it?” growled the man. “I should think I’d had trouble enough with people of that name. Is your father Robert Sherwood, of Tillbury, Illinois?”
“Yes, sir,” replied the wondering Nan.
“Ha! I might have known it,” snarled the man, trying to beat the snow from his clothes. “I heard he had a girl up here at this school. The rascal!”
Professor Krenner had just reached the spot from the top of the hill. From below had hurried the crews of bobsleds number two and three. Linda Riggs, who led one of the crews, heard the angry fat man speaking so unfavorably of Nan Sherwood’s father. She sidled over to his side of the track to catch all that he said.
Nan, amazed and hurt by the fat man’s words and manner, would have withdrawn silently, had it not been for the last phrase the man used in reference to her father. Nan was very loyal, and to hear him called “rascal” was more than she could tamely hear.
“I do not know what you mean, sir,” she said earnestly. “But if you really know my father, you know that what you say of him is wrong. He is not a rascal.”
“I say he is!” ejaculated the man with the grouch.
Here Professor Krenner interfered, and he spoke quite sharply.
“You’ve said enough, Bulson. Are you hurt?”
“I don’t know,” grumbled the fat man.
“He can’t tell till he’s seen his lawyer,” whispered Laura Polk, beginning to giggle.
“Are any of you girls hurt?” queried the professor, his red and white cap awry.
“I don’t think so, Professor,” Bess replied. “Only Nan’s feelings. That man ought to be ashamed of himself for speaking so of Mr. Sherwood.”
“Oh, I know what I’m talking about!” cried the fat man, blusteringly.
“Then you can tell it all to me, Ravell Bulson,” bruskly interposed the professor again. “Come along to my cabin and I’ll fix you up. Mrs. Gleason has arrived at the top of the hill and she will take charge of you young ladies. I am glad none of you is hurt.”
The overturned crew hauled their bobsled out of the drift. Linda Riggs went on with her friends, dragging the Gay Girl.
“I’d like to hear what that fat man has to say about Sherwood’s father,” the ill-natured girl murmured to Cora Courtney, her room-mate. “I wager he isn’t any better than he ought to be.”
“You don’t know,” said Cora.