“Somebody get some water quick,” Marion directed, as she proceeded to go through the reviving formula in which all of them had been thoroughly drilled.
“I’ll get some,” “Mrs. Eddy” volunteered, indicating by her offer and actions that she was an efficient ally of the kidnappers. She hastened into the kitchen and soon returned with a large dipper of water. Marion took it from her and sprinkled some of the liquid on the faces of the unconscious girls. The latter quickly recovered and sat up.
But meanwhile the five men were not idle. The leader addressed the girls again with more gentle words and manner, realizing, as only an intelligent criminal may do, that a confidence man’s method is the best method for producing a desired illegal effect. In a degree, he was successful, attempting to reassure the captives in the following manner:
“Now, girls, you have nothing to fear from us, if you obey orders. We don’t wish to harm a hair on any of your heads. We are merely determined to get what we have set out for, and we are going to use you to help us get it. If you try to balk our purpose, you must take the consequences. Otherwise you will suffer only such inconveniences as go naturally with the experience of being kidnapped. And try to realize this, that being kidnapped isn’t such a terrible thing if you are in the custody of gentlemen kidnappers. That’s what we are—gentlemen kidnappers. All we ask of you is that you prove yourselves to be what gentlemen kidnappers prefer above all others, namely, real ladylike prisoners.
“Now,” he added after a pause during which he surveyed his audience as if to determine the effect of his words; “as soon as the two young ladies who were so unfortunate as to make the mistake of connecting a tragic prospect with this affair have fully recovered, we will proceed.”
“That fellow is disguised,” declared Marion in a whisper to the girls nearest her. “In fact, all of them are. Observe that every one of them wears a beard, moustache or short side whiskers. Watch their eyes and mouths and every expression on their faces so that we may be able to identify them if we are ever called upon to do so.”
“Now, girls,” said the spokesman with well simulated gentleness, “no more of that. We don’t want to be unduly rude with you, but if there is any more whispering, we’ll have to resort to measures that will make it impossible. Now, I think you are all ready, so just follow the leader and some of us will bring up the rear. We will proceed first into the basement.”
Tremblingly the twelve Camp Fire Girls followed two of the men down the cellar steps. It was evident to them that resistance would be worse than useless. A single blow from the fist of one of those powerful men would stun any of the girls, if it did not knock her unconscious. In fact their captors could make quick work of them if necessary, and, cooped up as they were in this isolated prison, they could scarcely hope to send forth an effective cry of distress before they were rendered physically incapable of sounding further alarm.