Then, when the car was out of sight around the corner, Bessie’s power of movement seemed to be restored to her as mysteriously as it had been taken away. Her first impulse was to cry out and arouse the household. But the futility of that soon struck her, and she remembered what Charlie Jamieson had said. If anything happened, if she was frightened, she was to call on him. And certainly something had happened. Of her alarm there could be no doubt. She was shaking like a leaf, as if she were exposed to a cold wind, although the night was hot and even sultry.
Swiftly she sought for and found the telephone number the lawyer had written down for her. Then, in her bare feet, lest she make a noise and arouse the whole household, she crept downstairs to reach the telephone.
“Oh, I do hope they won’t see me or hear me,” she breathed to herself. “There’s nothing they can do, and maybe, if I get hold of Mr. Jamieson at once, we can have Zara back before they know she’s gone.”
At that hour of the night it was hard work to get the connection she wanted, and Bessie chafed at the delay, knowing that every moment might be precious, were Zara in real danger. But she got the number at last, after Central had tried to convince her no one would answer at such a time.
“What’s happened? Has something gone wrong?” Jamieson asked anxiously as soon as he recognized her voice.
“Oh, I’m terribly afraid it has—and it was all my fault! I was asleep, Mr. Jamieson—and Zara’s gone!”
“By herself, or don’t you know?”
“I don’t know positively, but I think she was taken off in a big automobile. But, Mr. Jamieson, I think she wanted to go!”
“Why, what makes you think that?”
“She’s taken all the things that were given to her. And then, she got out so quietly that I didn’t hear her. If anyone had carried her away, they’d have waked me up, I’m sure.”
“That’s bad—if she went away of her own accord. Makes it harder to find her, harder to get her back.”
“What shall we do, Mr. Jamieson? You will try to get her back, won’t you, even if she did go with them willingly?”
“Yes, yes, of course! I’ll come out right away. Better not tell the others yet, if you haven’t done it already.”
Then Bessie told him about the automobile, and the number she had seen.
“Oh, that’s different!” he exclaimed. “There’s no use my coming to the house then—not right away, at least. I’ll find out whose car that is right away—and then perhaps we’ll be able to get a clue more quickly. Someone is almost sure to have noticed that number, you see. Policemen have a way of keeping their eyes on car numbers as late as this, just on the chance that there may be something wrong about people who are chasing around in this town when they ought to be in bed. You go back to sleep, if you can. I’ll let you know as soon as there’s something new.”