“I sure will,” said Walter, hugely pleased. “Say, they play all sorts of games over there—forfeits an’ post office an’—”
Bessie had to laugh at Dolly’s look of mystification.
“Come on, Dolly,” she said. “We mustn’t keep Walter from his work or he’ll be getting into trouble. We can see him again some time when he isn’t so busy.” And as they walked off she told Dolly about the country games the boy had spoken of—games in which kissing played a large part.
“The country isn’t as nice as I thought,” said Dolly dolefully. “I’m so thirsty, and there’s no place to buy even sarsaparilla!”
“Maybe not, but I can show you something better than that for your thirst, Dolly. See that rocky place over there, under the trees! I’ll bet there’s a spring there. Let’s find out.”
Sure enough, there was a spring, carefully covered, and a cup, so that anyone working in the fields could get water, and even Dolly had to admit that no ice-cream soda had ever quenched her thirst as well.
“What delicious water!” she exclaimed. “Where’s the ice?”
“There isn’t any, silly!” laughed Bessie. “It’s cold like that because it comes bubbling right up out of the ground.”
“I bet that’s just the sort of water they sell in bottles in the city, because it’s so much purer than the city water,” said Dolly. “But that’s an awfully little spring, Bessie.”
“The basin isn’t very big, but that doesn’t mean that there isn’t always plenty of water. You see, no matter how much you take out, there’s always more coming. See that little brook? Well, this spring feeds that, and it runs off and joins other brooks, but there’s always water here just the same. Of course, in a drought, if there was no rain for a long time, it might dry up, but it doesn’t look as if that ever happened here.”
“Well, it is good water, and that’s a lot better than nothing,” said Dolly. “Come on! We started for the road. Let’s go down and sit on the fence and watch the people go by.”
So they made their way on through the field until they came to the road, and there they sat on the fence, enjoying some apples that Bessie had pronounced eatable, after several attempts by Dolly to consume some from half a dozen trees that would have caused her a good deal of pain later. Two or three automobiles passed as they sat there, and Dolly looked at their occupants enviously.
“If we had a car, Bessie,” she said, “we could get to some place where they sell ice-cream soda in no time, and be back in plenty of time for lunch, too. I wish some friend of mine would come along in one of those motors!”
None did, but, vastly to Bessie’s surprise, they had not been there long before a big green touring car that had shot by them a few minutes before so fast that they could not see its occupants at all, came back, doubling on its course, and stopped in the road just before them. And on the driver’s seat, discarding his goggles so that Bessie could recognize him, was Mr. Holmes—the man who had taken her and Miss Mercer for a ride, and whom she felt she had so much reason to distrust!