“Yes’m,” Inez said, eating and drinking eagerly. “But a nice feller in a drug store—a night clerk, I guess youse call him—took me in after one o’clock, an’ give me something to eat, and fixed up me head.”
“What a kind man!” exclaimed Bess.
“So you see, Inez, there are some kind folks in the world,” said Nan, smiling at the waif. “Some kind ones beside us.”
“Yep,” the child admitted. “But not rich folks like youse.”
“Goodness, child!” gasped Grace. “We’re not rich.”
Inez stared at her with a mouthful poised upon her knife. “Cracky!” she ejaculated. “What do youse call it? Furs, and fine dresses, and nothin’ ter do but sport around—Hi! if youse girls from Washington Park ain’t rich, what d’ye call it?”
Nan was looking serious again. “I guess the child is right,” she said, with a little sigh. “We are rich. Compared with what she has, we’re as rich as old King Midas.”
“For goodness’ sake!” cried Bess. “I hope not—at least, not in ears.”
The others laughed; but Nan added: “I guess we don’t realize how well off we are.”
“Hear! hear!” murmured Walter. “Being sure of three meals a day would be riches to this poor little thing.”
“Hi!” ejaculated Inez, still eating greedily. “That’d be Heaven, that would!”
“But do let her finish her story, girls,” urged Bess. “Go on, dear. What happened to you after the kind druggist took you in?”
“I staid all night there,” said Inez. “He fixed me a bunk on an old lounge in the back room. An’ next morning a girl I useter see at Mother Beasley’s seen me and brought me over here. She ain’t well now and her money’s about run out, I reckon. Say! did youse ever find them two greenies youse was lookin’ for?” she suddenly asked Nan.
“Oh, no! We’re looking for them now,” Nan replied. “Have you seen them, Inez?”
“I dunno. I b’lieve my friend may know something about them.”
“You mean the girl you are with?” Nan asked.
“Who is she?” asked Bess.
“She’s one o’ them movin’ picture actorines. She does stunts.”
“’Stunts’?” repeated Walter, while Nan and Bess looked at each other with interest. “What sort of ‘stunts,’ pray?”
“Hard jobs. Risky ones, too. And that last one she went out on she got an awful cold. Whew! I been expectin’ her to cough herself to pieces.”
“But what did she do?” repeated the curious Walter.
“Oh, she was out in the country with the X.L.Y. Company. She was playin’ a boy’s part—she’s as thin as I am, but tall and lanky. Makes up fine as a boy,” said Inez, with some enthusiasm.
“She was supposed to be a boy helpin’ some robbers. They put her through a ventilator into a sleepin’ car standin’ in the railroad yards. That’s where she got cold,” Inez added, “for she had to dress awful light so’s to wiggle through the ventilator winder. It was a cold mornin’, an’ she came back ter town ’most dead.”