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THE SLIPPER POINT MYSTERY
By AUGUSTA HUIELL SEAMAN
SYNOPSIS OF THE PREVIOUS INSTALMENTS
Two girls, Doris Craig and Sally Carter, who have met and become acquainted on the shore of the little Manituck River and share the secret of a mysterious cave on the banks, have discovered that an underground passage leads from it into the cellar of Miss Camilla Roundtree. She has never before known of its existence, but guesses that it may have been constructed many years before by her father, an ardent abolitionist, to assist the flight of runaway slaves. Of the mysteriously inscribed scrap of paper concealed in the cave she can make nothing till Doris hits on the explanation that it is a secret code. This leads to Miss Roundtree's deciphering a letter left long ago among her father's effects, and from it they learn the fate of Miss Camilla's long-lost brother and clear away the supposed stain that has rested on her family history for many years. From it they also guess that some porcelains and other valuables may be concealed in the tunnel.
THE REAL BURIED TREASURE
immense relief, this sacrifice was not required of her. Instead they had made at once through the woods and across the fields to Miss Ca
milla's, albeit burdened with many strange and, It had been a very dull day indeed for to her mind, useless tools and other impediGenevieve. Had she been able to communi menta. cate her feeling adequately, she would have Miss Camilla's house offered attractions not said she was heartily sick and tired of the a few, chiefly in the way of unlimited cookies program she had been forcibly obliged to fol and other eatables. But her enjoyment of the low. As she sat solitary on the porch of Miss cookies was tempered by the fact that the Camilla's tiny abode, thumb in mouth and tug whole party suddenly took it into their heads ging at the lock of hair with her other hand, to proceed to the cellar, and, what was even she thought it all over resentfully.
worse, to attempt again the loathsome underWhy should she be commanded to sit here all taking of scrambling through the narrow place by herself, in a spot that offered no attractions in the wall and the journey beyond. She herwhatever, and told, nay ordered, not to move self accompanied them as far as the cellar, but from the location, when she was bored beyond further than that she refused to budge. So expression by the entire proceeding. True, they left her with a candle and a seat conthey had left her eatables in generous quan veniently near a barrel of apples. tities (but she had already disposed of these) It transpircd, however, that they did not proand picture-books of many attractive descrip ceed far into the tunnel. She could hear them tions, to while away the weary hours. talking and exclaiming excitedly, and disthe picture-books were an old story now, and cussing whether “this was really twentythe afternoon was growing late. She longed seven,” and “Had n't we better count again?” to go down to the shore and play in the row and, “Shall we saw it out?” and other equally boat, and dabble her bare toes in the water, pointless remarks of a similar nature. Wearyand indulge in the eternally fascinating ex ing of listening to such idle chatter, and replete periment of catching crabs with a piece of with cookies and russet apples, she had finally meat tied to a string and her father's old crab put her head down on the edge of the barrel net. What was the use of living when one and had fallen fast asleep. was doomed to drag out a wonderful afternoon When she had awakened, it was to find them on a tiny, hopelessly uninteresting porch out in all back in the cellar, and Miss Camilla making the backwoods? Existence was nothing but a the pleasant announcement that they would burden.
have luncheon now and get to work in earnest To be sure, the morning had not been with afterward. A soul-satisfying interval folout its pleasant moments. They had rowed up lowed, the only really bright spot in the day the river to their usual landing-place, a trip for Genevieve. But gloom had settled down she always enjoyed, though it had been some upon her once more when they had risen from what marred by the fear that she might be the table. Solemnly they had taken her on again compelled to burrow into the
ound like their laps (at least Miss Camilla had!) and a mole, forsaking the glory of sunshine and ominously Sally had warned her: sparkling water for the dismal dampness of “Now, Genevieve, we've got something that unspeakable hole in the earth. But, to her awfully important to do this afternoon. You
THE SLIPPER POINT MYSTERY
don't like to go down in that dark place, so the porch, but surely, if they were calling her, we've decided not to take you with us. You 'd she ought to try and find them. So she stepped rather stay up here in the sunshine, would n't down from the veranda and ran around to the you?” And she had nodded vigorously an un back of the house. This time she was requalified assent to that proposition. “Well warded. The sound came clearer and more then," Sally had continued, "you stay right on forcefully: this porch or in the sitting-room, and don't “Genevieve !—Genev—ieve !" But where you dare venture a foot away from it. Will still, could it come from? There was not a you promise?” Again Genevieve had nodded. soul in sight. The garden (for it was Miss “Nothing will hurt you if you mind what we Camilla's vegetable garden) was absolutely desay, and by and by we 'll come back and show void of human occupation. But Genevieve you something awfully nice.” Genevieve had
wisely decided to follow the sound, so she seriously doubted the possibility of this latter began to pick her way gingerly between the statement, but she was helpless in their hands. rows of beans, which were climbing on quite
“And here 's plenty of cookies and a glass a forest of tall poles. It was when she had of jam,” Miss Camilla had supplemented, “and passed these that she came upon something we'll come back to you soon, you blessed that caused her a veritable shock. baby!” Then they had all hugged and kissed The ground in Miss Camilla's cucumberher and departed.
patch, for the space ten or twelve feet square, Well, they had not kept their word. She had sunk down into a strange hole, as if in a had heard the little clock in the room within sudden earthquake! What did it all mean? strike and strike and strike, sometimes just one And as Genevieve hesitated on its brink, she bell-like tone, sometimes two and three and was startled almost out of her little shoes to four. She could not yet "tell the time,” but hear her name called faintly and in a muffled she knew enough about a clock to realize that voice from its depths. this indicated the passing of the moments. And “Genev—ieve!” It was the voice of Doris, still there had been no sign of return on the though she could see not the slightest vestige part of the exploring three.
of her. Genevieve whimpered a little and wiped her “Here I am !” answered Genevieve, quavereyes, sad to say, on her sleeve. Then she ingly. “What do you want, Dowis ?" thrust her hand for the fortieth time into the "Oh, thank God!" came the reply. “Go getcooky-jar. But it was empty. And then, in some one! Quick. We 're—buried in here! sheer boredom and despair, she put her head It-caved in. Hurry—baby!” down on the arm of her chair, tucked her "Who s'all I get?” asked Genevieve. And thumb into her mouth and closed her eyes to well she might, for, as far as any one knew, shut out the tiresome scene before her. In there was not a soul within a mile of them. this position she had remained for what seemed “Oh–I don't—know !" came the answering a long, long time, and the clock had sounded voice. “Go find—some one—any one.
We '11 another bell-like stroke, when she was sud die—here—if you—don't !” denly aroused by a sound quite different.
Genevieve was not sure she knew just what At first she did not give it much thought, that last remark meant, but it evidently indibut it came again, louder this time, and she cated something serious. sat up with a jerk. Was some one calling her? “All wight!” she responded. “I'll twy.” It was a strange, muffled sound, and it seemed And she trotted off to the front of the house. as if it were like a voice trying to pronounce Here, however, she stopped to consider. her name.
Where was she to go to find any one? She “Genev—! Genev— !" That was all she could not go home—she did not know the way. could distinguish. Did they want her, possibly She could not go back to the river—the path to go down into the horrible cellar and hole? was full of pitfalls in the shape of thorny She went to the door giving on the cellar steps vines that scratched her face and tripped her and listened. But, though she stood there fully feet; and besides, Sally had particularly warned five minutes, she heard not so much as a breath. her not to venture in that direction—ever. No, it could not be that. She would go out After all, the most likely place to find any one doors again.
was surely along the road, for she had, very But no sooner had she stepped on the porch rarely, when sitting on Miss Camilla's porch, than she heard it again, fainter this time, but observed an occasional wagon driven past. undeniable. Where could it come from? They She would walk along the road and see if she had commanded her not to venture a step from could find anybody.
THE SLIPPER POINT MYSTERY
Had Genevieve been older and with a little gravely. The remark aroused considerable more understanding, she would have com surprise and amused curiosity. prehended the desperate plight that had be "Well, lead us to the 'big hole,'” commanded fallen her sister and Doris and Miss Camilla. Mrs. Craig, laughingly. "Big hole, indeed! And fear would have lent wings to her feet I've been wondering what in the world Doris and she would have scurried to the nearest was up to lately, but I never dreamed she was dwelling as fast as those feet would carry her. engaged in excavating!" But she was scarcely more than a baby. The Genevieve, still gravely, led the way through situation, though peculiar, did not strike her so the forest of bean-poles to the edge of the much as a matter for haste as for patient wait newly sunk depression. ing till the person required should happen “What 's all this?” suddenly demanded Mr. along. As she did n't see any one approaching Craig. “It looks as if there had been a landin either direction, she decided to return to the slide here. Where are the others, little girl? house and keep a strict eye on the road. They 've probably gone elsewhere." So she seated herself on the porch steps,
But Genevieve was not to be moved from her tucked her thumb in her inouth—and waited. original statement. “They in dere !” she inThere was no further calling from the curious sisted, pointing downward. “Dowis called. hole in the back garden, and nothing happened She say, 'Go find some one !'” The baby's for a long, long time. Genevieve had just persistence was not to be questioned. about decided to go back and inquire of Doris Mr. Craig looked grave, and his wife grew what else to do, when suddenly the afternoon pale and frightened. "Oh, Henry, what do stillness was broken by the chug chug of a you suppose can be the matter?" she quavered. motor-car and the honking of its horn. And "I do believe Genevieve is telling the truth.” before Genevieve could jump to her feet, a big “There 's something mighty queer about it,” automobile had come plowing down the sandy he answered hastily. "I can't understand how road and stopped right in front of the gate. in the world it has come about, but if that
“Here's the place !" called out the chauffeur, child is right, there 's been a land-slide or a and jumping down, walked around to open the cave-in of some sort here, and Doris and the door at the side for its occupants to get out. rest are caught in it. Good heavens! If that 's A pleasant-looking man stepped out and gave so, we can't act too quickly!” And he ran his hand to the lady beside him, and, to round to the front of the house shouting to the Genevieve's great astonishment, the lady chauffeur, who had remained in the car: proved to be none other than the mother of “There's been an accident! Drive like mad "Dowis."
to the nearest house and get men and ropes "Well, where 's every one?" inquired the and spades—anything to help dig out some gentleman. “I don't see a soul but this wee people from a cave-in !” tot sitting on the steps.”
The car had shot down the road almost be"Why, there's Genevieve !” cried Mrs. fore he had ceased speaking, and he hurried Craig, who had seen the baby many times be back to the garden. fore. “How are you, dear? Where are the The next hour was a period of indescribable others? Inside?”
suspense and terror to all concerned—all, at "No," answered Genevieve. “In de garden. least, save Genevieve, who sat placidly on Mrs. Dowis, she said, “Come. Find some one !'” Craig's lap (Mr. Craig had brought out a chair
"Oh, they 're in the garden, are they! Well, from Miss Camilla's kitchen) and, thumb in we'll go around there and give them a sur mouth, watched the men furiously hurling the prise, Henry. Doris will simply be bowled soil in great shovelfuls from the curious over to see her 'daddy' here so unexpectedly. "hole." She could not understand why Mrs. And I 'm very anxious to meet this Miss Craig should sob softly at intervals, under her Camilla she has talked so much about. Come breath, nor why the strange gentleman should and show us the way, Genevieve.”
pace back and forth so restlessly and give such The baby obediently took her hand and led sharp, hurried orders. And when he jumped her around to the back of the house, the gen into the hole, with a startled exclamation, and tleman following.
seized the end of a heavy plank, she wondered “But I don't see any one here!” he ex at the unnecessary excitement. claimed, when they had reached the back. It took the united efforts of every man pres“Are n't you mistaken, honey?” This to ent to move that plank, and when they had Genevieve.
forced it aside, Mr. Craig stooped down with a "No, they in big hole!” she announced
"WHO S'ALL I GET?" DEMANDED GENEVIEVE."
And the next thing Genevieve knew, they had lifted out some one and laid her on the ground, inert, apparently lifeless, and so covered with dirt and sand as to be scarcely recognizable. But from the light golden hair, Genevieve knew it to be Doris. Before she realized where she was, Genevieve found herself cascaded from Mrs. Craig's lap, and that lady bending distractedly over the prostrate form.
Again the men emerged from the pit, carrying between them another form which they laid beside Doris. And, with a howl of anguish, Genevieve recognized the red-bronze pigtail of her sister Sally.
By the time Miss Camilla had been extricated from the debris, as lifeless and inert as the other two, the chauffeur had returned at mad speed from the village, bringing with him a doctor and many strange appliances for resuscitation. A pulmotor was put into immediate action, and another period of heartbreaking suspense ensued.
It was Doris who first moaned her way back to life, and, at the physician's orders, was carried into the house at once for further ministrations.
Sally was next to show signs of recovery, but over poor Miss Camilla they had to work hard and long, for, in addition to having been almost smothered, her foot had been caught “But how on earth did you and Mother hapby the falling plank and badly bruised. But pen to be there, Father, just in the nick of she came back to consciousness at last, and her time ?” maryeled Doris, two days later from first words on opening her eyes were:
the depths of several pillows with which she “Do you think we can get that Spode dinner was propped up in bed. set out all right?”
She had been detailing to her parents at A remark that vastly bewildered Mr. Craig, great length the whole story of Sally and the who chanced to be the only one to hear it! cave and the tunnel and Miss Camilla and the
THE SLIPPER POINT MYSTERY hazardous treasure-hunt that had ended her quired Doris. “She hurt her foot, did n't adventure. And now it was her turn to be en
"She certainly did, but she insisted on re"Well,” returned her father, smiling whimsi- maining in her own home, and Sally begged cally, “it was a good deal like what they call her mother to be allowed to stay there with 'the long arm of coincidence' in the story-books, her and the undetachable Genevieve, of course, and yet it was very simple, after all. I'd been and take care of her and wait on her. So there disappointed so many times in my plans to get they are, and there you will proceed in the audown here to see you and your mother, and at tomobile this afternoon, if you feel well last the chance came, the other day, when I enough to make the visit.” could make at least a flying trip, but I had n't "But what about the treasure?" demanded even time to let you know I was coming. I Doris, her eyes beginning to sparkle. arrived at the hotel about lunch-time and gave “If you refer to the trunks and the chestful your mother the surprise of her life by walk of articles that we excavated from that ining in on her unexpectedly. But I was quite teresting hole in Miss Camilla's garden, you disgusted not to find you anywhere about. do well to speak of it as 'treasure’!” answered Your mother told me how you had gone off for her father laughingly; "for beside some valuthe day with your bosom pal, Sally, to visit a able old family silver and quite rare articles of mysterious Miss Camilla, and I suggested that antique jewelry, she had there a collection of we take the car and go to hunt you up. As she china and porcelain that would send a specialwas agreeable to the excursion, we started ist on that line into an absolute spasm of joy. forth, inquiring our way as we went.
I really would not care to predict what it would “It was a merciful providence that got us be worth to any one interested in the subject. there not a moment too soon; and if it had n't “And you can tell your friend Sally, of the been for that little cherubic Genevieve, we adventurous spirit, that she 's got ‘Treasure should have been many minutes too late. So Island licked a mile (to use a very inelegant the next time you go treasure-hunting, young expression) and right here on her own native lady, kindly allow your useless and insigni- territory, too! I take off my hat to you both. ficant dad to accompany you !” And he gave You 've done better than a couple of boys who her ear a playful tweak.
have been playing at pirates and hunting for "Daddy, it was awful-simply awful when their treasure all their youthful days. Hencethat old plank gave way and the earth came forth, when I yearn for blood-curdling advensliding down on us !” she confided to him, tures and hairbreadth escapes, I 'll come to snuggling down in the arm he had placed you two to lead the way!” around her. “At first we did n't think it would But under all his banter, Doris knew that amount to much. But more and more earth her father was serious in the deep interest he came pouring down, and then another plank felt in her strange adventure and all that it loosened and Miss Camilla lost her footing had led to. and fell, and we could n't make our way out past it in either direction, and still the dirt
CHAPTER IX poured in all around us; and Sally and I tried to struggle up through the top, but we could n't
THE SUMMER'S END make any progress.
And at last that third plank bent over and shut us in so we could n't THEY sat together in the canoe, each facing budge, and Sally and Miss Camilla did n't an the other, Doris in the bow and Sally in the swer when I spoke to them, and I knew they 'd stern. A full, mid-September moon painted fainted, and I felt as if I was going to faint its rippling path on the water and picked out in too. But I called and called Genevieve, and silver every detail of shore and river. The at last she answered me. And after that I air was full of the heavy scent of the pines, did n't remember anything more!” With a and the only sound was the ceaseless lap-lap of shudder, she hid her face in her father's sleeve. the lazy ripples at the water's edge. Doris, It had been a very horrible experience.
with her paddle resting on her knees, was “Don't think of it any more, honey. It turned drinking in the radiance of the lovely scene. out all right, in the end. Do you know that “I simply cannot realize I am going home Sally is around as well as ever, now, and came to-morrow and must leave all this !” she sighed. up to the hotel to inquire for you this morning ? Sally dipped her paddle disconsolately and She 's as strong as a little ox, that child !” answered with almost a groan: “If it bothers
“But where is Miss Camilla ?” suddenly in you, how do you suppose it makes me feel?”