Bessie was surprised to find that Dolly seemed to have conquered her nervousness and her fear of the strange situation in which she was placed. A little while before she had seemed almost on the verge of a collapse, and Bessie had been afraid that her chum, unused to hardships of any sort, and to roughing it, as country girls almost all learn to do from the time they are very small, was going to break down. But now Dolly seemed to be as resolute and as unafraid as Bessie herself, and the knowledge naturally cheered Bessie, since it assured her that she would not have to bear the burden alone.
So they started, as Dolly had suggested, walking along through the woods, perhaps a hundred feet back from the road. They could not be seen themselves, but, by moving to the side of the little rise or bank along the road from time to time, they were able to see what was going on. For most of the distance they were unable to see anything at all. The road seemed to be little used, and they passed only one house on the way to the trolley station.
They had warning of their approach to the trolley some time before it was in sight, too, when they heard the wires singing as a car passed along.
“Now we’re getting near the place,” said Dolly, happily. “Oh, but it’s going to be fun, Bessie! You’re just going to let me run things now for a little while, for a change. I’ve got a splendid plan—and I’ll tell you about it in good time.”
As they neared the trolley line the woods began to get somewhat thinner, and Dolly grew nervous.
“I hope the ground isn’t too clear around the track, Bessie,” she said. “That wouldn’t be good for my plan at all.”
But her fears were groundless, for, as it turned out, the trolley line ran right through the woods on their side of the road, although on the other side the trees had all been cleared away. Soon they saw a little shed, and a bench outside. And on the bench, watching the road in the direction from which they had come, sat Jake Hoover.
“Now, listen,” said Dolly. “Jake doesn’t know me, you see, and I’m going right out there and talk to him. I bet he’ll be glad to talk to me, too, and I’ll keep him busy, so that you can sneak over the tracks and get to the other side. Then you wait there until you hear a car coming. See? And when it comes, get on from the other side. I’ll be holding Jake’s attention, and I don’t believe he’ll ever see you at all. I’ll get aboard, too, and you can manage so that he won’t be able to see you on the car. Even if he does, I don’t believe the men would let him touch you, but he won’t, until the car begins to move, and then it will be too late.”
“But, Dolly, do you think you can keep Jake Hoover quiet? Suppose he knows you, he’d suspect right away that I was in the neighborhood. And then there’s another thing. Mr. Holmes may have told him what sort of clothes you are wearing.”
“I never thought of that, Bessie. That’s so. Oh, I know! You change dresses with me, right here. He’s so stupid that he’d never think of our doing that, I know.”