“I will tell you what we will do,” said Mary Bell. “We will go to another window where there are no blocks below, and throw all the shavings out from the kitchen. That will make a soft bed for us to jump upon.”
“Well,” said Bella, “let us do that.”
So they went to the kitchen, and opening one of the windows, they began to gather up the shavings in their arms from off the floor, and to throw them out. They worked very industriously at this undertaking for a long time, until the kitchen floor was entirely cleared. They picked out carefully all the sticks, and blocks, and pieces of board which were mixed with the shavings, before throwing them out, in order that there might be nothing hard in the heap which they were to jump upon. When the work was completed, and all the shavings were out, they went to the window, and leaning over the sill, they looked down.
“I wish we had some more shavings,” said Mary Bell.
“Yes,” said Bella, “that is too far to jump down. We can’t get out any way at all.” So saying, she began to cry.
“Don’t cry, Bella,” said Mary Bell, in a soothing tone. “It is no matter if we can’t get out, for your mother knows that we came here, and if we don’t come home in an hour, she will come for us and let us out.”
“But perhaps there is a ladder somewhere,” added Mary Bell, after a short pause. “Perhaps we can find a ladder that the carpenters have left somewhere about. If there is, we can put it out the window, and then climb down upon it. Let us go and look.”
“Well,” said Bella, “so we will.”
The two children accordingly set off on an exploring tour to find a ladder. Mary Bell went toward the front part of the house, and Bella into the back kitchen. They looked not only in the rooms, but also in the passage-ways and closets, and in every corner where a ladder could possibly be hid. At length, just as Mary Bell was going up the stairs, in order to look into the little attic chambers, she heard Bella calling out from the back part of the house, in a tone of voice expressive of great exultation and joy.
“She has found the ladder,” said Mary Bell, and leaving the stairs she went to meet her.
She found Bella running through the kitchen toward the entry where Mary Bell was, calling out with great appearance of delight,
“I’ve found the key-hole, Mary Bell! I’ve found the key-hole!”
This was indeed true. The lock to which the key that Mary Erskine had given the children belonged, was upon the back door, the principal door of the house being fastened by a bolt. Mary Bell went to the back door, and easily opened it by means of the key. Glad to discover this mode of escape from their thraldom, the children ran out, and capered about upon the back stoop in great glee. Presently they went in again and shut all the windows which they had opened, and then came out, locking the door after them, and set out on their return home.