“I think the other boys is asleep,” he said, “but best make sure. Well, Diana?”
“You must go at once—no, not just at once, but as soon as the dawn breaks. That man’s coming for them at nine, and once in his hands——!” Diana shook her head, and though she said no more the boy understood her, that then all hope of escape would be gone.
“I’ll be ready,” said Tim.
A BOAT AND A BABY.
“And now I have a
The children were still sleeping when the first straggling feeble rays of dawn began to creep through the darkness. Diana stood at the door of the van and looked anxiously at the sunrise. Her experienced eye soon saw that it was going to be a fine day, and she gave a sigh of relief. She was still dressed as she had been the night before, for she had not slept, not lain down even—so great had been her fear of falling asleep—at all. She had spent all the dark hours in preparing for the flight of the little prisoners—all that her hands, untrained in such matters as sewing and mending, could do to make the twins appear in decent guise on their return to their own home had been done. And now all was ready. There was nothing to do but to wake them and explain to them what was before them. Tim was already up and off—for she had arranged with him to meet the children a little way out of the town, and he had tapped at the door of the van as he passed.
There was no one stirring among the queer inhabitants of the fair, as Diana remarked with satisfaction. Everything was perfectly still, and with a sigh the gipsy girl stepped up into the van again and went through to the inner part. Duke and Pamela were lying much as they had been the evening before. It seemed a pity to wake them, but it had to be done. Diana stooped down and gently shook Duke’s arm.
“Master,” she said,—“master and missy, you must wake up.”
Duke opened his sleepy eyes and stared before him; Pamela, more quickly awakened, started up, crying:
“What is it, Diana? It isn’t that naughty man come for us?”
“No, no,” said the gipsy, glad to see that Pamela had her wits about her. “It is that Tim is ready to run away with you, as you’ve so often planned. And you must get up and dress as quick as you can before Mick or any one is awake, for the man will be coming this morning, and I must have you ever so far away before then.”
Her words completely aroused both children. In an instant they were on their feet, nervously eager to be dressed and off. There was no question of baths this morning, but Diana washed their faces and hands well, and smoothed their tangled hair.
“I must make them as tidy as I can,” she said to herself with a sob in her throat.
Duke saw with satisfaction that his nankin suit—which Diana had persuaded him not to wear the day before, having lent him a pair of trowsers of Tim’s, which she had washed on purpose, and in which, doubled up nearly to his waist, he looked very funny—was quite clean; and Pamela, to her still greater surprise, found herself attired in a tidy little skirt and jacket of dark blue stuff, with a little hood of the same for her head.