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   Chapter 25 RUNAWAYS OF A DIFFERENT KIND

Nan Sherwood's Winter Holidays; Or, Rescuing the Runaways By Annie Roe Carr Characters: 6714

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02


The chums, on leaving the moving picture studio, stopped to read more carefully the card Mr. Gray, the director, had given them. The street on which Jennie Albert lived was quite unknown to Nan and Bess and they did not know how to find it.

Besides, Nan remembered that Mrs. Mason trusted her to go to the moving picture studio, and to return without venturing into any strange part of the town.

"Of course," groaned Bess, "we shall have to go back and ask her."

"Walter will find the place for us," Nan said cheerfully.

"Oh-Walter! I hate to depend so on a boy."

"You're a ridiculous girl," laughed her chum. "What does it matter whom we depend upon? We must have somebody's help in every little thing in this world, I guess."

"Our sex depends too much upon the other sex," repeated Elizabeth, primly, but with dancing eyes.

"Votes for Women!" chuckled Nan. "You are ripe for the suffragist platform, Bessie. I listened to that friend of Mrs. Mason's talking the other day, too. She is a lovely lady, and I believe the world will be better-in time-if women vote. It is growing better, anyway.

"She told a funny story about a dear old lady who was quite converted to the cause until she learned that to obtain the right to vote in the first place, women must depend upon the men to give it to them. So, to be consistent, the old lady said she must refuse to accept _any_thing at the hands of the other sex-the vote included!"

"There!" cried Bess, suddenly. "Talk about angels-"

"And you hear their sleighbells," finished Nan. "Hi, Walter! Hi!"

They had come out upon the boulevard, and approaching along the snow-covered driveway was Walter Mason's spirited black horse and Walter driving in his roomy cutter.

The horse was a pacer and he came up the drive with that rolling action peculiar to his kind, but which takes one over the road very rapidly. A white fleck of foam spotted the pacer's shiny chest. He was sleek and handsome, but with his rolling, unblinded eyes and his red nostrils, he looked ready to bolt at any moment.

Walter, however, had never had an accident with Prince and had been familiar with the horse from the time it was broken to harness. Mr. Mason was quite proud of his son's horsemanship.

Walter saw Nan as she leaped over the windrow of heaped up snow into the roadway, and with a word brought Prince to a stop without going far beyond the two girls. There he circled about and came back to the side of the driveway where Nan and Bess awaited him.

"Hop in, girls. There's room for two more, all right," cried Walter.

"I'll sit between you. One get in one side-the other on t'other. 'Round

here, Nan-that's it! Now pull the robe up and tuck it in-sit on it.

Prince wants to travel to-day. We'll have a nice ride."

"Oh-o-o!" gasped Bess, as they started. "Not too fast, Walter."

"I won't throw the clutch into high-gear," promised Walter, laughing. "Look out for the flying ice, girls. I haven't the screen up, for I want to see what we're about."

Walter wore automobile goggles, and sat on the edge of the seat between the two girls, with his elbows free and feet braced. If another sleigh whizzed past, going in the same direction, Prince's ears went back and he tugged at the bit. He did not like to be passed on the speedway.

Bess quickly lost her timidity-as

she always did-and the ride was most enjoyable. When the first exuberance of Prince's spirit had worn off, and he was going along more quietly, the girls told Walter what they had seen and heard at the motion picture studio.

"Great luck!" pronounced the boy. "I'd like to get into one of those places and see 'em make pictures. I've seen 'em on the street; but that's different. It must be great."

"But we didn't find Sallie and Celia there," complained Nan.

"You didn't expect to, did you?" returned the boy. "But I know where that street is. We'll go around there after lunch if mother says we may, and look for that girl who knows them."

"Oh, Bess!"

"Oh, Nan!"

The chums had caught sight of the same thing at the same moment. Just ahead was a heavy sleigh, with plumes on the corner-posts, drawn by two big horses. They could not mistake the turnout. It belonged to the Graves' family with whom Linda Riggs was staying.

The chums had not seen Linda since the evening of the party, when the railroad president's daughter had acted in such an unladylike manner.

"I see the big pung," laughed Walter. "And I bet Linda's in it, all alone in her glory. Pearl told me she hated the thing; but that her grandmother considers it the only winter equipage fit to ride in. You ought to see the old chariot they go out in in summer.

"Hello," he added. "Got to pull up here."

A policeman on horseback had suddenly ridden into the middle of the driveway. Just ahead there was a crossing and along the side road came clanging a hospital ambulance, evidently on an emergency call.

The white-painted truck skidded around the corner, the doctor on the rear step, in his summerish looking white ducks, swinging far out to balance the weight of the car.

The pair of horses drawing the Graves' sleigh, snorted, pulled aside and rose, pawing, on their hind legs. The coachman had not been ready for such a move and he was pitched out on his head.

The girls and Walter heard a shrill scream of terror. The footman left the sleigh in a hurry, too-jumping in a panic. Off the two frightened horses dashed-not up the boulevard, but along the side street.

"That's Linda," gasped Bess.

"And she's alone," added Nan.

"Say! she's going to get all the grandeur she wants in a minute," exclaimed Walter. "Why didn't she jump, too, when she had the chance?"

He turned Prince into the track behind the swaying sleigh. The black horse seemed immediately to scent the chase. He snorted and increased his stride.

"Oh, Walter! Can you catch them?" Nan cried.

"I bet Prince can," the boy replied, between his set teeth.

The policeman on horseback was of course ahead in the chase after the runaways. But the snow on this side road was softer than on the speedway, and it balled under his horse's hoofs.

The black horse driven by Walter Mason was more sure-footed than the policeman's mount. The latter slipped and lost its stride. Prince went past the floundering horse like a flash.

The swaying sleigh was just ahead now. Walter drew Prince to one side so that the cutter would clear the sleigh in passing.

The chums could see poor, frightened Linda crouching in the bottom of the sleigh, clinging with both hands to one of the straps from which the plumes streamed. Her face was white and she looked almost ready to faint.

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