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The Camp Fire Girls Solve a Mystery; Or, The Christmas Adventure at Carver House By Hildegard G. Frey Characters: 3022

Updated: 2017-12-01 00:02

Migwan ran into the house and burst breathlessly in upon the merrymakers.

"Nyoda!" she cried in a frightened voice, "Hercules is-" Then she stopped as though she had seen a ghost, for there sat Hercules in his monk's costume, just as he had been all evening!

"What's the matter?" asked Nyoda in alarm, seeing her pale face and staring eyes.

Migwan clutched her convulsively. "There's a man outside," she panted, "that looks just like Hercules, and when I spoke to him he fell down on the ground!"

In an instant all was pandemonium. Everybody rushed for the kitchen door and ran out into the yard, where the figure of a man lay dark upon the snow. Sherry tore off his mask and flung it away, and bending over the prostrate man turned his flashlight full on his face.

"It is Hercules!" he exclaimed in astonishment.

"Is he dead?" faltered Migwan.

"No, he's breathing, but he's unconscious," said Sherry. "It's his heart, I suppose. He's been having spells with it lately. Run into the house, somebody, and get that leather covered flask in the medicine chest."

Justice raced in for the flask and Sherry raised Hercules' head from the ground and poured some of the brandy between his lips. In a few minutes the old man began to stir and mutter, and Nyoda, holding his wrist, felt his pulse come up. They carried him to his room in the stable and laid him down on his bed, and Nyoda found the heart drops which Hercules had been taking for some time.

"But where is the one I thought was H

ercules-the one with the monk's suit on?" cried Migwan, after the first fright about Hercules had subsided.

Sherry and the boys looked at one another dumfounded. None of them had known, as Migwan did, that the brown robe and cowl presumably covered Hercules. They looked about for the brown figure that had moved so unobtrusively amongst them that evening. It had vanished.

"He's gone!" shouted Sherry excitedly. "There's something queer going on here."

The monk was certainly not in the house any longer, and there were no footprints in the snow outside the house.

"Did he fly away?" asked Sherry in perplexity.

Justice jumped up with a great exclamation. "The secret passage!" he shouted, "he's gone down the secret passage!"

They flew back inside the house to the stair landing, half expecting to find it standing open, but it was closed and looked perfectly natural. Sherry grasped the post, the landing slid out and the four went down the ladder. Justice gave a triumphant exclamation when he reached the bottom. "The barricades are taken down! He did come this way!"

They hurried through the door into the passage, half expecting to see a figure flying along ahead of them, but the passage was empty and no sound of a footfall broke the silence. They searched the place thoroughly, but nowhere did they find their man hidden. Behind the chest in the cave, however, Justice pounced upon something with a shout. It was the long brown costume that had been worn by the monk at the party.

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