“Yes, I do, Dolly. I wonder if Miss Eleanor and Mr. Jamieson will believe that I was right about Mr. Holmes now? They laughed at me before when I said that I wouldn’t trust him, and was so sure that he had something to do with Zara’s being carried off—”
“Why, what’s that, Bessie? I hadn’t heard of that at all.”
“Oh, I forgot! You don’t know about that, do you? Well, this is a good chance to tell you.”
So Bessie told Dolly something of the strange and involved affair of Zara and her father, and of Zara’s mysterious disappearance from the Mercer house in the middle of the night.
“I’ll bet they fooled her, just the way Mr. Holmes fooled me,” said Dolly, excitedly. “He looks so nice, and he’s so smooth and clever, and he talks to you as if he wanted to be your best friend. I don’t believe they carried her off. I think they fooled her, so that she was willing to go with them.”
“That’s just what I think, Dolly, and this business today makes me worry about her more than ever. I think we ought to try to get her away from them and back with us just as soon as we can.”
“I suppose they wanted you because you know too much,” said Dolly, thoughtfully. “They probably thought that you would try to get Zara away from them.”
“I think there’s more than that, though, Dolly,” said Bessie, her eyes shining with excitement. “I don’t know what it is, but I’ve just got a sort of funny feeling that they know something about me that I don’t know, and that they don’t want me or my real friends to find out. I’m going to be just as careful as I can be, anyhow. Have you got that map we took from the car? I want to see just where this car will take us.”
Dolly produced the map, and they bent their heads over it. No one on the car seemed to be paying much attention to them. There were only two or three passengers, and Bessie thought they had not seen the manner in which they had boarded the car. But the conductor, coming around for fares, had noticed that there was something out of the ordinary about their presence. He was smiling when he held out his hands for the fare.
“Gave that young feller the slip pretty neatly back there where you got aboard,” he remarked. “Which of you was he after? Don’t blame him much—pretty young ladies like you!”
“Oh, he’s just a stupid boy! We didn’t want him riding with us,” said Dolly, “so we tried to make him think we weren’t coming on this car, and then jumped aboard when it was too late for him to follow us.”
“I saw you—I saw you,” chuckled the conductor. “So did Hank. He’s my motorman, and the best one on the line. That’s why he started the car to goin’ so quickly. Lots of excitement around this way this morning.”
“How’s that?” asked Bessie.
“Oh, there was a city feller over to Jericho kickin’ that a couple of girls had stolen his automobile. Me, I don’t believe it—didn’t like his looks. Serves him right, I say, if they did.”