Bess quickly lost her timidity—as she always did—and the ride was most enjoyable. When the first exuberance of Prince’s spirit had worn off, and he was going along more quietly, the girls told Walter what they had seen and heard at the motion picture studio.
“Great luck!” pronounced the boy. “I’d like to get into one of those places and see ’em make pictures. I’ve seen ’em on the street; but that’s different. It must be great.”
“But we didn’t find Sallie and Celia there,” complained Nan.
“You didn’t expect to, did you?” returned the boy. “But I know where that street is. We’ll go around there after lunch if mother says we may, and look for that girl who knows them.”
The chums had caught sight of the same thing at the same moment. Just ahead was a heavy sleigh, with plumes on the corner-posts, drawn by two big horses. They could not mistake the turnout. It belonged to the Graves’ family with whom Linda Riggs was staying.
The chums had not seen Linda since the evening of the party, when the railroad president’s daughter had acted in such an unladylike manner.
“I see the big pung,” laughed Walter. “And I bet Linda’s in it, all alone in her glory. Pearl told me she hated the thing; but that her grandmother considers it the only winter equipage fit to ride in. You ought to see the old chariot they go out in in summer.
“Hello,” he added. “Got to pull up here.”
A policeman on horseback had suddenly ridden into the middle of the driveway. Just ahead there was a crossing and along the side road came clanging a hospital ambulance, evidently on an emergency call.
The white-painted truck skidded around the corner, the doctor on the rear step, in his summerish looking white ducks, swinging far out to balance the weight of the car.
The pair of horses drawing the Graves’ sleigh, snorted, pulled aside and rose, pawing, on their hind legs. The coachman had not been ready for such a move and he was pitched out on his head.
The girls and Walter heard a shrill scream of terror. The footman left the sleigh in a hurry, too—jumping in a panic. Off the two frightened horses dashed—not up the boulevard, but along the side street.
“That’s Linda,” gasped Bess.
“And she’s alone,” added Nan.
“Say! she’s going to get all the grandeur she wants in a minute,” exclaimed Walter. “Why didn’t she jump, too, when she had the chance?”
He turned Prince into the track behind the swaying sleigh. The black horse seemed immediately to scent the chase. He snorted and increased his stride.
“Oh, Walter! Can you catch them?” Nan cried.
“I bet Prince can,” the boy replied, between his set teeth.
The policeman on horseback was of course ahead in the chase after the runaways. But the snow on this side road was softer than on the speedway, and it balled under his horse’s hoofs.