There was a significant silence after this remark.
“Did you really see who it was with me?” Miss Jones questioned anxiously. “Would you know the face if you saw it again?”
“I don’t know,” was Madge’s stiff reply, “but I believe I should.”
“Won’t you promise me that you will not tell the other girls?” Miss Jones whispered, as they crossed the deck and came to the door of their little cabin. “I am not asking you to do anything wrong, only asking you to trust me and believe that I do not think I am doing a wrong by not taking you into my confidence.”
“Very well, I will keep your secret,” returned Madge slowly. “I do not wish you to leave us, Miss Jones. I wish you to stay and take care of us, just as you planned to do.”
“You are only saying that, dear, because you know I have no other place to go for my holiday, and you are afraid my health will suffer. You must not think of my health. I can not stay with you just for my own sake.”
“Then stay for ours,” said Madge shortly, and without further words she went into the cabin and climbed into her berth.
Sleep was far from weighing down her eyelids. She lay awake for some time, wondering why clouds and distrust should so often spring up among human beings when everything seemed arranged for their perfect happiness.
She generously made up her mind, however, never to trouble their chaperon with questions about her mysterious visitor, but she determined to discover for herself who that boy was, and whether he had come aboard the boat to rob them.
THEIR UNKNOWN JAILER
“Madge Morton, what do you mean sleeping until seven o’clock, the first morning we are on our houseboat?” cried Phil, poking her head in the cabin door. “I would have awakened you before now, only Miss Jones would not let me. Lillian and Eleanor have been waiting for you in their bathing suits for a long while. Do let’s have a salt water plunge before breakfast.”
Springing from her berth, Madge made a dash for her bathing suit, which she had laid out the night before.
The girls were over the side of the boat in a hurry, swimming about in the water with gleeful shouts. The odor of frying bacon, which was presently wafted to their nostrils from the door of the houseboat kitchen, was something the bathers were too hungry to resist, and with one accord, they swam toward their boat.
It had been arranged that Miss Jones was to get the breakfast, Lillian and Eleanor the luncheon, and Phil and Madge, who were the most ambitious of the cooks, though not the most proficient, were to cook the dinner.
Madge noticed that Miss Jones looked whiter than usual, but the other girls saw no difference in their chaperon as they clambered up over the side of the boat to get ready for breakfast.