“Oh, dear! oh, dear! I’d have been killed if it hadn’t been for you, Walter Mason,” cried Linda, for once so thoroughly shaken out of her pose that she acted and spoke naturally. “How can I ever thank you enough?”
“Say!” blurted out Walter. “You’d better thank Nan, here, too. I couldn’t have grabbed you if it hadn’t been for her. She held Prince and guided the sleigh.”
“Oh, that’s all right!” interjected Nan, at once very much embarrassed. “Anybody would have done the same.”
“’Tisn’t so!” cried Bess. “I just held on and squealed.”
But Linda’s pride was quite broken down. She looked at Nan with her own eyes streaming.
“Oh, Sherwood!” she murmured. “I’ve said awfully mean things about you. I’m so sorry—I really am.”
“Oh, that’s all right!” muttered Nan, almost boyish in her confusion.
“Well, I have! I know I made fun of your medal for bravery. You deserve another for what you just did. Oh, dear! I—I never can thank any of you enough;” and she cried again on Bess Harley’s shoulder.
Walter telephoned to the Graves’ house, telling Linda’s aunt of the accident and of Linda’s predicament, and when a vehicle was sent for the hysterical girl the boy, with Nan and Bess, hurried home to a late luncheon, behind black Prince.
Although Mrs. Mason, naturally, was disturbed over the risk of accident Walter and the girl chums had taken in rescuing Linda Riggs, the interest of the young folks was in, and all their comment upon, the possible change of heart the purse-proud girl had undergone.
“I don’t know about these ‘last hour conversions,’” said the pessimistic Bess. “I should wring the tears out of the shoulder of my coat and bottle ’em. Only tears I ever heard of Linda’s shedding! And they may prove to be crocodile tears at that.”
“Oh, hush, Bess!” said Nan. “Let’s not be cruel.”
“We’ll see how she treats you hereafter,” Grace said. “I, for one, hope Linda has had a change of heart. She’ll be so much happier if she stops quarreling with everybody.”
“And the other girls will have a little more peace, too, I fancy; eh?” threw in her brother, slyly. “But how about this place you want to go to this afternoon, Nan?” he added.
“I should think you had had enough excitement for one day,” Mrs. Mason sighed. “The wonderful vitality of these young creatures! It amazes me. They wish to be on the go all of the time.”
“You see,” Nan explained, “we have only a few more days in Chicago and I am so desirous of finding Sallie and Celia. Poor Mrs. Morton is heart-broken, and I expect Celia’s mother fears all the time for her daughter’s safety, too.”
“Those foolish girls!” Mrs. Mason said. “I am glad you young people haven’t this general craze for exhibiting one’s self in moving pictures.”
“You can’t tell when that may begin, Mother,” chuckled Walter. “When Nan was holding on to Prince and I was dragging Linda out of that sleigh, if a camera-man had been along he could have made some picture—believe me!”