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HOME > Short Stories > Dorothy Dale's School Rivals > CHAPTER III THE GET-AWAY
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Amy Brooks had sunk in the bog!

The weight of the soggy earth had dragged her down, until she lay helpless, clinging to some underbrush!

And how dark it was now!

“Quick! Quick!” called Dorothy. “This may be a bog hole!”

“Team play! Team play!” shouted Tavia, and instantly every girl, whether leading or following, was making for the spot from which Amy’s cries came.

The girl was imbedded in the black, wet bog as if she had been cemented there!

Even Tavia had no suggestion to offer, but stood gazing in hopeless amazement.

Dorothy was running about, trying to find a firm footing from which to reach out to the imperilled girl.

Although it was September, the late afternoons were damp and chilly, and as the girls, almost21 feverish from the over-excitement, ran this way and that, in hope of finding some sort of board or plank to make a way to Amy, their shouts of fright and cries for help, rent the air, and turned the scene, so lately one of merriment, into terror and danger for everyone of them.

“Oh, it’s all my fault!” wailed Tavia. “I should not have risked it so near dark.”

“It’s nobody’s fault,” replied Dorothy, “but this is the time to act. Come Tavia, we may get a fence rail. I see some old black stuff, like wood, over there,” and she did her best to hurry over the wet ground, that threatened to hold her fast at every step.

In the meantime the other girls were trying to get Amy out. Molly Richards was the oldest and strongest, and she ventured near the spring until the others called to her that she would presently be worse off than Amy. A pile of light travelling coats were tossed over to Amy and she kept herself from going deeper in the bog by making these fast to the brushwood near her.

“Here we are!” called Dorothy, and with one end of the old moss-covered fence rail on her shoulder, and the other end upon Tavia’s, the two girls made their way to the brink of the bog hole.

It took but a few minutes to get the rail over22 the swamp-like pit, where a spring sluggishly bubbled.

“There,” called Dorothy, “now see if it will hold you, Amy.”

But there was no need to direct Amy. Her rescue was too welcome to wait for orders. Throwing her arms firmly over the rail she dragged herself out of the mud until she was sitting on the long piece of wood.

“Be careful,” called Tavia. “Hold tight, and we will all pull the rail over to this side.”

In spite of the peril the situation was almost comical, and the girls lost no opportunity of cheering and otherwise dispelling the fast settling gloam.

“We ought to carry you to the road this way,” suggested Nita Brant, “you are so soaking wet, and horribly muddy——”

“Thank you, but I am too anxious to walk. I doubt if I shall get the use of my ankles for a month,” replied Amy. “My! but that was awful! I was saying my prayers, I tell you.”

“But what shall we do now?” inquired Ned, who, on account of her injured arm, could not help in the rail ride.

“Go directly back to the train,” said Dorothy. “Listen! That was a train whistle! Oh, if it should start——”

“A train sure enough!” declared Jean, who23 had held back. “That’s what we get for following—a leader.”

Her tone was full of contempt, and everyone noticed it.

“Too bad you came,” replied Tavia, who never cared for good manners, when there was a chance for sarcasm, “for that is the wrecking train, I think, and they might have taken you on the hand car. Wouldn’t it have been fun?”

The idea of that fashionably dressed girl riding on a hand car with train men!

“Now let me down,” insisted Amy. “I’m going to run after that whistle even if it proves to be a fog horn!”

“Oh, don’t—go near—the water!” shouted Tavia, and, as she spoke, a big touring automobile dashed by.

“Another life-saver lost!” declared Dorothy. “If only we could have made them see us!”

“Oh, mercy!” gasped Nita, “There come two men with guns on their shoulders!”

“Just snipe hunters, likely,” said Dorothy, but she was noticed to hurry toward the road.

It was not a great distance back to the standing train, and, as the girls came within hearing of some passengers on the rear platform, someone called:

“Oh you Glenwood girls! You have missed it. The touring car came from your school to24 get you, and is now driving all over the country looking for strayed, lost or stolen girls.”

“The Glenwood machine! Oh, do let me cry!” begged Tavia. “If I don’t cry within the next three minutes, I’ll die of internal deluge.”

She stepped to the platform. Dorothy was the next to mount, but she paused to help Edna.

“Back safely?” asked the man who had bandaged the strained arm. “We were greatly worried. I could scarcely keep mother from going after you,” and the handsome elderly lady who had been standing aside with him, came forward and extended her hand to Dorothy.

“My baseball player!” groaned Tavia into Molly’s ear. “Lost again, but I think he’s an artist. I’ll get him to paint me.”

By this time the young ladies were passing into the car. When the other passengers heard of the accident, and beheld Amy’s almost solidly bog-cemented garments, there was no end to the excitement.

“I think,” said the young man, “that I can arrange to get this car, or half of it, for you young ladies for the night. As there are no chairs nor sleepers to be had it may be well to make sure of something.”

“Oh, thank you so much,” said Dorothy, who was still acting as leader, although she hardly knew what to do or say. “This is awful! And25 to think that we missed the car! The school principal, Mrs. Pangborn, will be ill of anxiety.”

“There is no possible way of getting a message away from here,” replied the other. “But at least they know the train is safe.”

“But they also know that we were not in it,” objected Dorothy. “Mrs. Pangborn probably heard of the delay caused by the broken bridge, and sent for us.”

“There’s just one way, and perhaps I can make it. May I leave mother with you?” and the young man quickly picked up his cap, leaving the car before anyone had time to know what he was going to do.

“I’ll be back in about an hour,” he called, and then the girls were once more conscious of the loneliness of being “just girls.” Men know so much better what ought to be done in emergencies.

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