The outdoor girls in the.., p.26
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       The Outdoor Girls in the Saddle; Or, The Girl Miner of Gold Run, p.26

          
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  CHAPTER XXV

  INNOCENT

  "That was good, Allen," said Mr. Nelson appreciatively, as the youngfellow rejoined the group. "You've licked him in fine shape."

  "And we want to thank you for the way you have handled things for us,Allen," added Mrs. Nelson, warmly. "We might have got into all sorts oftrouble if it hadn't been for you."

  The young lawyer was tremendously embarrassed by this praise, thoughBetty was aglow with it. It was splendid to have her family so fond ofAllen.

  The latter noticed her silence, and under cover of the generalconversation commented upon it.

  "How feels the millionairess this morning?" he asked lightly, thoughBetty felt that there was a deeper meaning hidden behind the words.

  "I'm feeling splendid," she answered, her voice vibrating with the joyof living. "Who wouldn't be--with all this?" and she waved her hand overthe bustling scene.

  In spite of the excitement of all these wonderful happenings, the girls,especially Betty, had thought almost constantly of the poor musicianwhom his neighbors called the Hermit of Gold Run.

  He never came down to help Dan Higgins and Meggy any more, probably,Grace said, scared off by the bustle and confusion of the new gold boom.Meggy had mentioned casually once or twice that she still took food tothe desperate man.

  "If he only doesn't give himself up to the authorities before we getnews from the East!" Betty, worried, exclaimed over and over again.

  Then one day, along with the other letters in the mail, there arrived animportant looking document from New York addressed to Allen.

  The latter was out at the gold diggings at the time, and the girlsfairly lassoed him, bringing him home protesting but helpless.

  "I say, what's the row?" he demanded, and for answer Mollie thrust theimportant missive into his hand.

  "Read!" she commanded dramatically. "And tell us what lies within."

  Allen tore the envelope open and read the letter hastily through whilethe girls crowded around him and tried to read over his shoulder.

  Then he jumped to his feet and waved the paper at them excitedly.

  "By Jove!" he cried, "this proves that Betty was right. The man didn'tkill his brother--simply injured him. He was taken to the hospital andhe recovered long since. The manager says he has been trying to locatePaul Loup for weeks. He is losing a fortune every day----"

  But Betty could wait no longer. She snatched the letter from him andread it through aloud while the girls gaped at her.

  "Come on," she cried, reaching for her sailor hat and pushing it down onher shapely little head. "Don't stand there like wooden Indians. We'vegot to take this news to Paul Loup."

  Bent on their joyful mission, the girls approached the lonely littlecabin in the woods swiftly. As they came near they heard again that samehauntingly sweet melody that had so moved them the first time they hadheard it.

  Yet now that they understood the pain that prompted the rendering ofthat exquisite harmony, it seemed too bitterly sad to be beautiful, andtheir hearts ached dully in sympathy with Paul Loup's despair.

  Tears were in Betty's eyes, but there was a smile on her lips, as shepushed open the door of the little shack and stood waiting on thethreshold.

  The musician saw her, ended the throbbing melody with a crash ofdiscord, and gazed at her mutely. In all his tall, gaunt body only hisglowing eyes seemed really alive, but in those eyes there was a welcomethat gave Betty courage.

  "Look!" she cried, holding out the paper to him. "This is from yourmanager. Read it--and see that you are innocent."

  Slowly the man laid down his violin and bow, slowly he took the paperfrom Betty's trembling fingers. Like a man in a daze he read itthrough--then read it through again.

  "I did not kill him--my brother," he murmured aloud. "My brother--that Ilove--I did not kill him. He is alive--he is well. _Mon Dieu_, then I amfree! Paul Loup--he is not a murderer--a hunted thing. He is again theartist--free--_free_----" His voice, which had been gradually rising asthe truth bore in upon him, rose to a jubilant shout and he threw outhis arms passionately as though to encompass them all in his newly foundlove of life. "The world----" he said brokenly, "the world is verybeautiful!"

  * * * * *

  Silently the girls rode through the sunshine and shadow-filled forest,their hearts filled with a happiness so poignant it seemed almost pain.

  "What a wonderful, wonderful summer!" breathed Mollie. "I don't believewe have ever had one like it, girls."

  "I wish we didn't have to go home," sighed Amy. "I shall miss mybeautiful Lady so," and she laid a loving hand on the little animal'sarching neck.

  "What about me?" wailed Grace. "I know I shall cry myself to sleep,longing for Nabob. He's one of the best chums I ever had."

  But the Little Captain did not hear them. Over and over again, like anecho, her mind was repeating those words of Paul Loup: "The world isvery beautiful."

  "Girls," she murmured dreamily, "everybody is so happy--and I'm sohappy--oh, please, don't wake me up--anybody!"

  And so, at the end of a wonderful outing, with life stretchinggloriously before them, we will once more sadly, reluctantly, wavefarewell to the Outdoor Girls.

  THE END

  THE OUTDOOR GIRLS SERIES

  By LAURA LEE HOPE

  Author of the "Bobbsey Twin Books" and "Bunny Brown" Series.

  * * * * *

  12mo. BOUND IN CLOTH. ILLUSTRATED. UNIFORM STYLE OF BINDING.

  * * * * *

  These tales take in the various adventures participated in by severalbright, up-to-date girls who love outdoor life. They are clean andwholesome, free from sensationalism, absorbing from the first chapter tothe last.

  THE OUTDOOR GIRLS OF DEEPDALE Or Camping and Tramping for Fun and Health.

  Telling how the girls organized their Camping and Tramping Club, howthey went on a tour, and of various adventures which befell them.

  THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT RAINBOW LAKE Or Stirring Cruise of the Motor Boat Gem.

  One of the girls becomes the proud possessor of a motor boat and invitesher club members to take a trip down the river to Rainbow Lake, abeautiful sheet of water lying between the mountains.

  THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN A MOTOR CAR Or The Haunted Mansion of Shadow Valley.

  One of the girls has learned to run a big motor car, and she invites theclub to go on a tour to visit some distant relatives. On the way theystop at a deserted mansion and make a surprising discovery.

  THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN A WINTER CAMP Or Glorious Days on Skates and Ice Boats.

  In this story, the scene is shifted to a winter season. The girls havesome jolly times skating and ice boating, and visit a hunters' camp inthe big woods.

  THE OUTDOOR GIRLS IN FLORIDA Or Wintering in the Sunny South.

  The parents of one of the girls have bought an orange grove in Florida,and her companions are invited to visit the place. They take a trip intothe interior, where several unusual things happen.

  THE OUTDOOR GIRLS AT OCEAN VIEW Or The Box that Was Found in the Sand.

  The girls have great fun and solve a mystery while on an outing alongthe New England coast.

  THE OUTDOOR GIRLS ON PINE ISLAND Or A Cave and What it Contained.

  A bright, healthful story, full of good times at a bungalow camp on PineIsland.

  * * * * *

  GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK

  THE GIRLS OF CENTRAL HIGH SERIES

  By GERTRUDE W. MORRISON

  * * * * *

  12mo. BOUND IN CLOTH. ILLUSTRATED. UNIFORM STYLE OF BINDING.

  * * * * *

  Here is a series full of the spirit of high school life of to-day. Thegirls are real flesh-and-blood characters, and we follow them withinterest in school and out. There are many contested matches on trackand field, and on the water, as well as doings in the classroom and onthe school stage. There is plenty of fun and excitement, all clean, pureand wholesome.

  THE GIRLS OF CENTRAL HIGH Or Rivals for all Honors.

  A stirring tale of high school life, full of fun, with a touch ofmystery and a strange initiation.

  THE GIRLS OF CENTRAL HIGH ON LAKE LUNA Or The Crew That Won.

  Telling of water sports and fun galore, and of fine times in camp.

  THE GIRLS OF CENTRAL HIGH AT BASKETBALL Or The Great Gymnasium Mystery.

  Here we have a number of thrilling contests at basketball and inaddition, the solving of a mystery which had bothered the high schoolauthorities for a long while.

  THE GIRLS OF CENTRAL HIGH ON THE STAGE Or The Play That Took the Prize.

  How the girls went in for theatricals and how one of them wrote a playwhich afterward was made over for the professional stage and brought insome much-needed money.

  THE GIRLS OF CENTRAL HIGH ON TRACK AND FIELD Or The Girl Champions of the School League

  This story takes in high school athletics in their most approved andup-to-date fashion. Full of fun and excitement.

  THE GIRLS OF CENTRAL HIGH IN CAMP Or The Old Professor's Secret.

  The girls went camping on Acorn Island and had a delightful time atboating, swimming and picnic parties.

  * * * * *

  GROSSET & DUNLAP, PUBLISHERS, NEW YORK

  * * * * *

  Transcriber's Notes:

  Obvious punctuation errors repaired.

  Page 122, "draw" changed to "drawer". (dresser drawer)

  Page 153, "get's" changed to "gets". (Winner gets)

  Page 191, "Accessaries" changed to "Accessories" (Accessories after the)

  Page 204, "too" changed to "to". (I've got to!)

 
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