On, on they went, out into the country and along a road that Marion knew led into the heart of the mountains. She could see the dim, shadowy form of High Peak in the distance. Meanwhile, as she peered out eagerly into the darkness with an irrational longing for rescue from some miraculous source—for this was the only kind of rescue that seemed possible under the circumstances—she kept working at the bonds about her wrists and the gag in her mouth slyly and without obvious effort, until with joy she realized that she was at least partly successful.
“I am certain I could shove that thing right out of my mouth and give the most piercing scream ever heard if somebody would only come along and hear me,” she told herself.
The snow kept on falling heavily, much to the alarm of the kidnappers and the joy of the kidnapped, but the automobiles reached the mountains before there was any serious delay. It looked indeed as if the trip would be successful from the point of view of the captors of the Camp Fire Girls. But at last the snow became so deep that the girls could feel that the automobiles were laboring under almost insurmountable difficulties. Marion heard several curses uttered by the chauffeur, and the man inside the car echoed them once or twice. Finally the automobile came to a full stop and the driver could force it along no further. A consultation, with all three of the men taking part, was held.
In the midst of their debate, something happened that changed the aspect of things almost as completely as might have been accomplished if Marion’s dream of a miraculous rescue had been realized. Other persons were on the scene and they were talking to the driver, inquiring if they could be of any assistance.
“We’re a patrol of Boy Scouts,” one of the new arrivals said. “We’ve lost our way, but that doesn’t need hinder our helping you out of your scrape. Maybe you can direct us how to find our way back.”
Marion never felt a more intense thrill in her life than she felt at the sound of that voice. She looked out of the window and saw a group of eight or ten boys, each of them carrying a gun, close to the automobile.
With an effort that had behind it all of the power of the most joyous impulse of her life, she swung her bound clinched fists right through the pane of glass, pushed the gag from her mouth, and shouted:
“Clifford! Clifford! This is Marion. All of us girls are being kidnapped by these men. Shoot these rascals and shoot to kill.”
* * * * *
Thirteen girls in the mountains.
Marion’s plea for aid did not reach Clifford and the other Boy Scouts to whom it was addressed without interruption. The latter half of it came in jerked and disjointed phrases, and the tone of utterance was one of extreme fear and distress. Clifford and Ernie Hunter, the leader of the patrol, although amazed beyond description, realized that this appeal for assistance was no idle one, and it was up to them to do something quickly or action on their part might soon be too late.