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“Not leave this spot to-night!”

The exclamation came in chorus from every Glenwood girl, and there was a low, moaning sort of echo-encore from the young man with the medicine case.

What should they do? They could not swim, that was certain, so they would have to wait.

To break the monotony of this wait we will tell our readers something of the other books of this series, and thus enable them to get a keener insight into the characters we are now following, as well as making a little bow of introduction to those we are meeting for the first time.

In the first book, entitled “Dorothy Dale; A Girl of To-Day,” we find the Dale family; the Major, an ideal, dear, kindly father; the two sons, Joe and little Roger, and Dorothy, the daughter. Tavia Travers, a girl of opposite temperament to that of Dorothy’s, is a great friend of the prettiest girl in Dalton, Dorothy Dale.12 Tavia is fearless and fearful; Dorothy is clear-minded, well balanced and capable. In this story is related how Dorothy gets a clew to the unlawful detention of a poor little girl, and in the parlance of those who use “quick” English—Tavia for instance—Dorothy “rounds up” the culprit and takes little Nellie away from a home of misery and poverty.

Our second volume was “Dorothy Dale at Glenwood School.” Glenwood School is situated in the mountains of New England, and the pupils there come from many parts of the country, even the South being represented. “Glen School” is not an asylum for the refuge of young girls whose mothers are “too busy” to bring them up. Neither are the girls there of the type who believe that boarding school life is a lark, with original slang at each end; and an attractive centre piece about mid-way, devoted to the composition of verbal putty-blowers, constructed to “get even” with teachers; nothing of the sort. But there is time for fun, as well as for work and for adventure, and a time for girlhood walks, and talks in the shady ways of the pretty school.

This second story deals with the peculiar complications that so readily arise when girls and boys get on well together, in the wholesome sports of youth, until that other element, “Jealousy” makes its grim appearance. Then the innocent13 nonsense of Tavia, and the deliberate, open-hearted ventures and adventures of Dorothy, are turned about so as to become almost a tragedy at Glenwood.

In “Dorothy Dale’s Great Secret,” our third volume, there is a real secret. Not a little kindergarten whisper, but a matter which so closely affects Tavia’s career that Dorothy takes all sorts of risks to hold that secret from others, until the opportune time for explanation arrives.

“Dorothy Dale and Her Chums,” is the title of the fourth book. This is a real story—a plot that deals in mystery and adventure, of a gypsy girl in a cave, stolen goods, and so many thrilling mysteries that Dorothy was kept busy solving them.

Then “Dorothy Dale’s Queer Holidays,” shows how very queer some holidays may be, indeed, when girls and boys unite to discover the mystery of an old castle, where they eventually find and rescue an aged and demented man. But this is not accomplished without stirring adventures, not the smallest of which was the night spent in the old mansion, when the young folks had been overtaken by so heavy a snowstorm that their automobile could not make its way back to North Birchland. The two cousins of Dorothy, Nat and Ned, with other boy friends, protected14 the frightened girls until rescue finally came at almost daybreak.

The story of a mistaken identity is told of in the sixth volume of the series, “Dorothy Dale’s Camping Days.” To be mistaken for a demented girl, captured and held in the hot, blistering attic of a farmhouse, then taken to a sanitarium, where Dorothy is really believed to be the girl who escaped from that institution, was surely an ordeal for Dorothy. But not less is the latter part of that story, where the real sick girl is found by our friends, Dorothy and Tavia, and the joyous conclusion of her complete recovery, and the opening of a new life to this girl, so dear to her mother’s heart, and so loved by her friends, make up for all the suffering.

So Dorothy Dale has had some experience, and we hope, in the present volume, she will sustain her reputation, as that of the up-to-date girl, with will power and ambition, “tied with a little blue bow of sentiment.”

We left them at Strathaway Bridge, and night is coming, as it always does come, just when there are so many daylight things to be done.

In the excitement that followed the announcement that the bridge was down, and the train could not cross the river until morning, all the water that Tavia had inadvertently poured down Jean Faval’s neck was dried up in the heat of15 gulped exclamations. Even Jean left her seat and joined the conversation on ways and means that were being held in the seats on the opposite side of the car. There were so many suggestions—some wanted to bribe the porter for sleeping quarters, as the trip to Glenwood did not originally require such a luxury; Rose-Mary wanted to get permission to “run” one car for the “Glens,” and camp out in it; Tavia wanted to get up a committee on food-quest, with time-table drinking cups apiece. Dorothy thought it might be a good idea to consult the conductor and have an official statement. The gentleman (“King” they called him now) excused himself, and left the girls so forlorn, all alone there, in a heaped-up convention, that Tavia declared he was a card sharp, and that Ned would get blood poison from the bandages he had put on her wrist. Moreover, Tavia also declared that he had gone forth to “trim” the scared car people at that minute. “For,” she said, her bronze hair fairly showing electrical sparks, “any one would do anything in a case like this. No place to sleep, nothing to eat, just a bunch of loony girls, and—me,” and she wound up with coming down on Ned’s box of butter cups (the candy kind), that happened to be under the lame arm.

It was strange how much that one man had been to the Glenwood contingent. They had fairly16 stopped talking since his departure. A night on that train now seemed impossible. Tavia went to the last seat in the car, and dared any one to follow her until she had thought it out. This did not take long, for “out” must have been very near the surface.

“I have it!” she shouted, going back to seat seven.

“Where?” asked Dorothy.

“What?” demanded Dick.

“Havies!” begged Ned.

“Corkies!” joked Cologne.

“We may go!” announced Tavia, now standing on Jean’s pretty dress that happened to spread itself over the seat from which she decided to orate. “We may go. We may walk. It is only three miles over the cove bridge and I pity Glen to-night when jelly-round comes. We’ll lick the plates!”

“Whatever do you mean, Tavia?” asked Dorothy. “The bridge cannot be repaired to-night.”

“The bridge may sink or swim, but there won’t be one of us ‘waiting at the bridge,’” and she hummed a tune gaily.

“But what shall we do?” asked little Amy Brooks. “We can’t fly?”

“More’s the pity,” answered Tavia. “Next time I take this trip I’ll carry a box kite over the17 green flag. No, but this is what you can do, my dears. Take up your things—every mussed paper bag of them, and hurry with me across the meadow. The road comes out just at the Green Edge trolley line, and that line is wound around Glenwood tower! It crosses Strathaway River on a small bridge below this railroad one. Come on!”

Everyone gasped. That Tavia should have thought of this!

“But, Tavia,” objected Dorothy, “how are we to know that we can cross the meadow? It is almost dark!”

“More reason why we should hurry to find out,” answered the daring one. “Come on, or I’m gone.”

“But our tickets, and the conductor, and all that?” inquired Nita Brant, with ambiguous precision.

“We will all make over a total assignment to you—you may stay with the ship, Nita, but we run!”

It was funny to see how those girls did scamper from the last car of that train. The dainty travelling bags, gifts of “friends on departing,” were now all tangled up in the scant skirts, that did double service of being a part of wearing apparel—small part—and also answering for a carryall of the old time conception. It was the quickest18 way, and that was what counted. Jean Faval did drop her gold purse just as she was alighting (she did not “get off”) but Tavia was so anxious that all should escape that she crawled under the oily wheels and dragged out the golden trinket. The new girl thanked her, and, for the time, an armistice was established.

“Are we all here?” called Dorothy, who was assisting Edna because of the lame arm.

“All but King, and he is cleaning out the other cars,” replied Tavia. “There, look out, Dick! Land sakes alive! We won’t have thread and needles enough in the tower to sew our tears, if this keeps up. Dick, you have ruined your flounce on that brake.”

Molly Richards (otherwise Dick) looked hopelessly at the torn needlework skirt. “Oh, well,” she said, making the ground, “I never liked that anyway. The pattern was true-lover’s-knot, and I’m just glad I——”

“Broke the knot,” put in Dorothy. “Tavia, wherever are you leading us to? This must be a turf bog!”

“Leadin’ on to vict’ry,” replied the girl who was almost running ahead. “I have been over this bog before.”

“But not at this season, when the water comes in,” cautioned Dorothy. “However, girls, I am willing to take the same risk that you all take—sink19 or swim,” and she ran along after Tavia, while the others followed, like American soldiers taking their initial trip through a rice field.

Every step was uncertain—every foot was put in the bog with a shudder or groan, and pulled out with a shout.

“I can’t do it,” declared Nita Brant. “These are my best silk hose.”

“Hose,” yelled back Tavia, “we’ll take up a collection on repairs when we get to Glen.”

“And my—velvet—ties!” exclaimed Jean Faval. “They feel like wooden shoes!”

“We’ll put them up at auction,” suggested Dorothy, good humoredly. “The only thing that really worries me is Edna’s sprained arm.”

“Why didn’t you fetch the doc then?” asked Tavia, but before an answer could be ventured there was a scream, and even the happy girls of Glenwood stopped.

What had happened?

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