AT STRATHAWAY BRIDGE

“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. 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 innocent 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, protected 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 of 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 fairly 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 the 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
quickest 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–sink 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?