But no amount of banging and pounding, no shaking of door knobs, no whistling or shouting served to bring response.
“Throw pebbles at the window,” Patty suggested, and immediately a young hailstorm bombarded the second-story panes.
“No good!” commented Bill. “So here goes!” and without further warning his large and well-aimed foot crashed through a long front window which reached down to the floor.
“Oh, my gracious!” exclaimed Patty. “What a thing to do!”
“The only way is the best way,” returned Bill, gaily. “Now, wait a minute, you girls, I’ll let you in.”
Carefully looking out for the broken glass, Big Bill inserted his hand, sprung back the catch, and opened the window.
“Don’t come in this way,” he cautioned, “I’ll open the front door.”
Farnsworth found himself in a large, pleasant room, evidently a drawing-room. But without pausing to look around, he made for the hall, and tried to open the great front doors.
“Can’t do it,” he called to those outside. “I’ll open another window.”
In a moment, he had thrown up the sash of another long, low window, in a room the other side of the hall, and invited his friends in.
“Couldn’t let you girls walk in on that broken glass,” he explained. “Come in this way, and make yourselves at home.”
“We’re too wet,—we’ll spoil things,” said Patty, hesitating at the long lace curtains and fine floors and rugs.
“Nonsense! Come on! Where do you suppose the electric light key is? Whoo! here we have it!”
A flood of light filled the room, and the girls saw they were in a comfortable, pleasant library or sitting-room, evidently the home of cultured, refined people.
A WELCOME SHELTER
A piano stood open, and Daisy sat at it, striking a few chords of “Home, Sweet Home.”
This made them all laugh, but Farnsworth said, reprovingly, “Come away from that, Daisy. We have to enter this house to shelter ourselves, but we needn’t spoil their belongings unnecessarily.”
Daisy pouted, but she came away from the piano, having already left many drops of water on its keys and shining rosewood case.
Patty smiled appreciatively at Bill’s thoughtfulness, but said, with growing alarm:
“Where do you suppose the people are? They must have heard us come in, even if they were sound asleep.”
“It’s pretty queer, I think,” said Jack.
“Oh!” cried Daisy, “what do you mean? Do you think there’s anything wrong?” and she began to cry, in sheer, hysterical fright and discomfort.
“It is queer,” agreed Bill, looking out into the hall, and listening.
Then Patty’s practical good sense came to her aid.