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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Outdoor Girls On Pine Island - Chapter 1. The Runaway Car
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The Outdoor Girls On Pine Island - Chapter 1. The Runaway Car Post by :johlum Category :Long Stories Author :Laura Lee Hope Date :May 2012 Read :2317

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The Outdoor Girls On Pine Island - Chapter 1. The Runaway Car

CHAPTER I. THE RUNAWAY CAR

"The boys will be here in five minutes!" cried Mollie Billette, bursting in upon her friend, dark hair flying and eyes alight. "You'd better get on your hat."

"What boys and why the hat?" returned Grace Ford who, pretty and graceful, as always, was provokingly calm.

"I'll answer any and everything if you will only get ready. Oh, have you got to go upstairs? Hurry then," and Mollie swung her feet impatiently as Grace detached herself from the great chair slowly and gracefully and started out into the hall.

"If you will come upstairs with me, Mollie," Grace suggested, "perhaps you will deign to tell me why you rush in here like a whirlwind and insist on my putting on my hat to go goodness knows where."

"Oh, all right, if you will only hurry," cried Mollie in desperation, and jumping from her chair she propelled her friend in most undignified haste up the broad stairway--Grace protesting at every step.

"Here's your coat. Now don't talk--act!" Mollie was commanding when Grace took her firmly by her two shoulders and backed her up against the wall.

"Now listen here, young lady," she said, looking sternly down into her friend's laughing eyes. "It's my turn to talk. I refuse to budge another step until you have explained, to my perfect satisfaction, the cause of all this rush."

"Well, since you feel that way about it," laughed Mollie, "suppose you let me--sit down."

"Will you tell me about it if I let you go? Promise!"

"Uh-huh," said Mollie, and so she was released. "There isn't much to tell anyway," she went on. "Betty and I met Frank Haley and Will a few minutes ago and Frank happened to remark that it was a splendid day for an auto ride. We agreed with him--that's all."

"Fine--but where's Betty?" and Grace adjusted her tiny toque with care before the huge mirror.

"Oh, she's coming, just as soon as she lets her mother know where she's off to. We wanted Amy to go along too--stopped in there on the way down--but Mrs. Stonington isn't feeling well and Amy thought she ought to stay with her."

"I'm sorry for that. But would there have been room for all of us in Frank's car, anyway?"

"Oh, yes, it's a big seven-passenger affair. Mr. Nelson says it is a wonder. Just think! I can only squeeze five into mine," and Mollie drew a long sigh at Fate.

"How ungrateful, Mollie--most girls would be glad of the chance to ride around in a neat little machine like yours. Why, I'd even be thankful for a tiny runabout."

"There it is now," Mollie said as a motor horn tooted insistently on the drive below. "Don't let's keep them waiting."

"Hello, girls, we'd have been here sooner if Betty hadn't delayed us." It was Frank Haley who spoke, a handsome young fellow, whose merry grey eyes showed that he deserved his name--the first part of it, at least. "Come, 'fess up, Betty," he added, turning to the bright-eyed, rosy-cheeked girl beside him.

"I'm afraid I did keep them waiting, girls--about two minutes," Betty Nelson admitted, then added in defense: "But I couldn't go looking the way I was, you know."

"I don't see why not. I didn't see anything wrong."

"That doesn't prove a single thing, Frank," Grace retorted as he opened the door for the girls. "Boys never do."

"Don't they though?" Frank objected. "Do you mean to say I don't know that that little whatever-you-may-call-it in your hat is quite considerable----"

"Class?" finished Will, who had been busy tucking in the robe about Mollie's feet. "Personally I think we're a pretty fine crowd, take us all together."

"Well, did you ever hear such--Frank, don't you think we'd better get started before he says anything worse?" and Betty turned appealingly to Frank.

"Just as you say," he answered obligingly, and at his words the great car glided noiselessly down the drive and out into the street.

"Where to?" called Will from the tonneau. "How about a little spin in the country, Frank?"

"Ask the girls," was the reply. "What they say goes."

"Oh, yes, let's," said Mollie eagerly. "It is just getting so green and beautiful now. Summer is the only time in the year anyway."

"The winter didn't seem to bother you girls much last year," Frank broke in. "If I could go to Florida every winter, the cold and wintry blasts would have no more terrors for me."

"Oh, well, it was wonderful--in more ways than one," this last so low that only Will heard it, as Grace squeezed his hand under cover of the robe. You see, Will was her brother, and they were very fond of each other, as well they might be.

"Whom did you wave to then, Betty?" Mollie asked, as the car swung off into the country road. "I didn't see them till we were almost past."

"Alice Jallow and her friend, Kitty Rossmore. They're always together," Betty answered, then added: "By the way, Mollie, it seems to me you were just saying you had something good to tell."

"My aunt has a bungalow out on Pine Island. It's a lovely place, the bungalow, I mean, not the island, although if all they say is true, I shouldn't wonder if that's all right too."

"But, Mollie, what has that to do with us?" Grace interrupted. "Is she going to ask you to make her a visit?"

"No. It's lots better than that. You see Uncle James wants to take her to Europe this summer and so----"

"Oh, Mollie!" Betty interrupted, her eyes sparkling. "You don't mean----"

"Yes I do--exactly," and Mollie settled back with a contented sigh.

"I'm afraid I am very stupid to-day," Grace remarked.

"More than usual?" asked Will, the irrepressible, with a twinkle in his eye.

"Why don't you see, Grace?" Betty's face was radiant. "Can't you see Mollie means that we are to occupy that vacated bungalow this summer?"

"But please, girls, don't get your minds made up to it yet, for nothing is really settled, you know. Perhaps I should have waited till I was sure before I spoke of it." Mollie seemed to be doubtful.

"Oh, it's certain to turn out all right," said Betty, with conviction. "Everything has that we have ever planned before, and there is no reason why this should be an exception."

"And even if it doesn't, just think what fun we will have thinking about it," added Grace, philosophically, at which they all laughed.

"Anyway you are a dear, Mollie, for having such lovely relatives," cried Betty gaily. "If I could only climb over this seat, I'd give you two great big hugs, one for each of them."

"Nobody calls me a dear and offers to hug me, and I've got the loveliest relatives in the world--you can ask them if you don't believe me," and Frank managed to look very pathetic and forlorn.

All this time they had been getting farther and farther out into the country and now Frank put on extra speed to ascend the rather steep incline directly in front of them.

"Your car runs like a dream, Frank," Betty was saying as they reached the top. "Look at that great big haystack down there--it must have taken some time to gather it in. Why don't you slow down a little? Don't you think--oh, what is it, Frank?" for she had noticed the set lines of his mouth and the look of terror that had flashed into his eyes. "Oh, Frank!" she cried again.

"Sit tight," he muttered through clenched teeth. "The brake won't work!"

On, on dashed the great machine, swaying from side to side and gaining velocity with each second, while the girls, with terror tugging at their hearts, sat still--and waited.

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