He waited, evidently listening to Weeks.
“Yes, that’s right. You’ll be there, eh? You’ve got the papers? Well, don’t leave them at home. We don’t want any mistake about this. I had a lot of luck, didn’t expect to be able to do it so soon, or so easily. I’ll tell you about that later. Jericho, then. You won’t be late? And an hour from now. This is risky work, Weeks. If you make any of your fool breaks this time, you’ll hear from me. Well, good-bye!”
As he said good-bye Bessie slipped back to the automobile, and when Holmes came out, all bluff good-nature, only Bessie’s heightened color showed that anything out of the ordinary had happened to her. As soon as she returned, Dolly began to hurl question after question at her, but Bessie refused to answer.
“Keep quiet, Dolly!” she urged. “I’ll tell you all about it when I can, but this isn’t the time to talk. You don’t want to let Mr. Holmes know what I was doing, do you? Well, please keep quiet, then!”
Of course, if Holmes planned to do anything wrong, he would not have revealed his plans boldly to the loafers in the store who had been listening to his telephone conversation. Bessie understood that what he had said probably meant more to Farmer Weeks than it could to her or any casual listener. But, even so, there was plenty to disturb her in what she had heard. Evidently the danger point was Jericho, and she tried hard to remember what she had ever heard about that place. It was a little town, she thought, not far from Hedgeville—and, then, suddenly, she got a clue to the whole plot. She realized why the change in their direction had worried her. They were going toward Hedgeville, back toward the section of the country from which she and Zara had escaped with so much difficulty on account of Farmer Weeks’s vindictive pursuit.
And she remembered, too, Charlie Jamieson’s warning about crossing the state line. That, then, was what Holmes meant to do—get her into the state where, although she did not understand exactly how, she was in danger of being deprived of her liberty for a time at least. It would be easy enough, in the automobile. State lines are not well marked along country roads. Even now she might have crossed that imaginary boundary that spelled the difference between safety and peril for her.
“Listen to me, Dolly,” she whispered, when she had finished revolving her thoughts. “I don’t know what’s going to happen, but I’m sure that Mr. Holmes is trying to get me back to the people I had to run away from in Hedgeville. You remember—you know what happened when we were on our way to General Seeley’s place, when that man caught Zara and carried her off?”
Dolly nodded, greatly excited.
“So you can see that I may get into a lot of trouble, Dolly. You’ll help me, won’t you?”
“Of course I will! And I’m awfully sorry for getting you into it in the first place, Bessie.”