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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Outdoor Girls At Ocean View, Or The Box That Was Found In The Sand - Chapter 13. The Diamond Treasure
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The Outdoor Girls At Ocean View, Or The Box That Was Found In The Sand - Chapter 13. The Diamond Treasure Post by :Riverbraid Category :Long Stories Author :Laura Lee Hope Date :May 2012 Read :3192

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The Outdoor Girls At Ocean View, Or The Box That Was Found In The Sand - Chapter 13. The Diamond Treasure

CHAPTER XIII. THE DIAMOND TREASURE

For a moment the others clustered around Betty like bees in a swarm, saying not a word. The girls could only gasp their astonishment as they looked over the Little Captain's shoulder, as she sat there, holding the black box, the false bottom of which had so unexpectedly opened before their eyes.

The boys were a little more demonstrative.

"How in the world did you do it, Bet?" asked Will.

"Did you know there was some trick about the box?" demanded Roy.

"She's been holding this back," declared Henry, nudging his sister Amy.

"And to think of all the time we wasted on that cipher!" observed Allen, reproachfully.

This seemed to galvanize Betty into speech.

"I didn't know a thing about it!" she declared, earnestly. "I just discovered it by accident. Of course when I found there was a difference in depth between the inside and the outside of the box I began to suspect something. But I didn't dream of--this!"

She motioned to the white package in the secret compartment--a package she had not, as yet, touched.

"But how in the world did you come to discover it, Betty dear?" asked Mollie, with wonder-distended eyes.

"It seemed to open itself," the Little Captain replied. "I just dropped the end of the ruler in the box, and it sprang open."

"You must have touched the secret catch, or spring," was Allen's opinion.

"Let's have a look!" proposed Will. "I always did want to see how one of those hidden mysteries worked. Pass it over, Betty!"

"Indeed, don't you do it!" cried Mollie. "Let's see, first, what is in that package, Betty. You said it was a treasure; didn't you?"

"Well, that's what I said," admitted Betty. "But it will probably be some more meaningless cipher."

"Oh, do open it!" begged Grace. "I'm all on pins and needles----"

"Thinking it may be--chocolates!" teased her brother.

She aimed a futile blow at him, which he did not even dodge.

Betty reached in and lifted the white tissue-paper package from its hiding place. It almost completely filled the space. There was a rustling sound, showing that the paper had acquired no dampness by being buried under the sand in the box.

"Put it on the table," suggested Allen, removing the box from Betty's lap. She turned to the table, near which she had been sitting, when her experiment resulted so unexpectedly. On the soft cloth she laid the paper packet.

"Now don't breathe!" cautioned Mollie, "or the spell will be broken."

No one answered her. They were all too intent on what would be disclosed when those paper folds should be turned back.

"It looks just like--just like--pshaw! I know I've seen packages just like that before, somewhere," said Will. "But I can't, for the life of me, think where it was."

"Was it in a jeweler's window?" asked Amy, in a low voice, from where she stood beside him.

"That's it, little girl! You've struck it!" Will cried, and impulsively he held out his hand, which Amy clasped, blushing the while.

"What's that talk about a jeweler's?" asked Allen.

But no one answered him.

For, at that moment Betty had folded back the white paper, and there to the gaze of all, flashing in the sun which glinted in through an open window, lay a mass of sparkling stones. Thousands of points of light seemed to reflect from them. They seemed to be a multitude of dewdrops shaken from the depths of some big rose, and dropped into the midst of a rainbow.

"Oh!" cried Betty, shrinking back. "Oh!" She could say no more.

"Look!" whispered Grace, and her voice was hoarse.

"Well, I'll be jiggered!" gasped Will.

"Diamonds!" cried Allen. "Betty, you've discovered a fortune in diamonds!"

"Diamonds?" ejaculated Amy, and her voice was a questioning one.

Then there came a silence while they all looked at the flashing heap of stones--there really was a little heap of them.

"Can they really be diamonds?" asked Betty, finding her voice at last.

Allen reached over her shoulder and picked up one of the larger stones. He held it to the light, touched it to the tip of his tongue, rubbed it with his fingers and laid it back. He did the same thing with two others.

"Well?" asked Will, at length. "What's the verdict?"

"I'm no expert, of course," Allen said, slowly, and he seemed to have difficulty in breathing, "but I really think they are diamonds."

"Diamonds? All those?" cried Mollie. "Why, they must be worth--millions!"

They all laughed at that. It seemed a relief from the strain, and to break the spell that hung over them all.

"Hardly millions," spoke Allen, "but if they are really diamonds they will run well up into the thousands."

"But are they really diamonds?" asked Betty.

"As I said, I'm no expert," Allen repeated, "but a jeweler once told me several ways of testing diamonds, and these answer to all those tests. Of course it wouldn't be safe to take my word. We should have a jeweler look at these right away."

"I knew I had seen paper like that before," Will said. "It's just the kind you see loose diamonds displayed in around holiday times in jewelers' windows."

"That doesn't make these diamonds, just because they are in the proper kind of paper," scoffed Roy. "I think they're only moonstones."

"Moonstones aren't that color at all," declared Henry. "They are sort of a smoky shade."

"I guess Roy means rhinestones," said Amy, with a smile.

"That's it," he agreed. "They're only fakes. Who would leave a lot of diamonds like that in a box in the sand?"

"No one would leave them there purposely, to lose them," said Allen. "But I think we've stumbled on a bigger mystery here than we dreamed of. I am sure these are diamonds!"

"I--I'm afraid to hope so," said Betty, with a little laugh.

"Well, it's easy to tell," Allen said. "There's a jeweler in town. He probably doesn't handle many diamonds, but he ought to be able to tell a real one from a false. Let's take one of the smaller stones and ask him what he thinks."

"Oh, yes, let's find out--and as soon as we can!" cried Grace. "Isn't it just--delicious!"

"Delicious!" scoffed Will. "You'd think she was speaking of--chocolates!"

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CHAPTER XIV. SEEKING CLUESThe first shock of the discovery over (and it was a shock to them all, boys included), the young folks began to examine the stones more calmly. They spoke of them as diamonds, and hoped they would prove to be stones of value, and not mere imitations. There were several of fairly large size, and others much smaller; some, according to Allen, of only a sixteenth-karat in weight. "But stones of even that small size may be very valuable if they are pure and well cut," he said. "And what would be the value of the largest ones?"
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CHAPTER XII. THE FALSE BOTTOMFor a moment the queer box itself was forgotten in the wonderment over the cipher. That it would prove a solution to the mystery, if such there was, and that it was not a joke, was believed by all. Even Allen, calm as he usually was, displayed some excitement. The girls themselves could not conceal their eagerness. "How are you going to make sense out of that?" asked Roy, who did not like to spend much time over anything. "It's worse than Greek." "Most ciphers are," agreed Allen. "The only way to translate it is to go
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