Chapter XXV. Back Home.

Betty Nelson's chums stared at her. So did Mr. Blackford. Betty herself, with flushed cheeks and flashing eyes, looked at them all in turn. Her idea had stimulated her.

"What--how--I don't see--" stammered Mr. Blackford. "If you--"

"It's this way!" cried Betty, all enthusiasm. "You know you can transfer money by telegraph in a very short time--it only takes a few minutes to do it--really it's quicker than an airship," and she smiled at Mr. Blackford.

"That's so," he admitted. "I see now."

"I'll have my father telegraph the five hundred dollars to me at Judgeville," explained Betty. "Then I can give it to you, and you can telegraph it to your business man in New York. It is sure to reach there before midnight, and you can take up your option, if that is the proper term."

"It is--very proper," said Mr. Blackford. "I believe you have the right idea, Miss Nelson. I should have thought of that myself, but that shows I am really not a good business man."

"Now let's hurry on to town," proceeded Betty. "We haven't any too much time."

It was rather an astonished telegraph operator who, a little later, was confronted by four pretty girls, a man who looked as if he had been in a shipwreck, and a much-flustered lady. The latter was Betty's cousin, at whose house the girls had stopped. It was necessary for the recipient of the money to be identified, and this Betty's cousin, who knew the operator, agreed to look after.

There was a little delay, but not much, and soon Mr. Blackford was in a position to take up his option. A local bank, where the telegraph concern did business, paid over the five hundred in cash, and four hundred of this was at once sent on to New York, by telegraph.

"I hope it reaches my man," said Mr. Blackford. "I have told him to wire me here."

A little later word was received that the transaction had been successfully carried out. Mr. Blackford could now get control of the business.

"And it's all due to you young ladies!" he said, gratefully. "I don't know how to thank you. You are entitled to a reward--"

"Don't you dare mention it!" cried Betty,

"Well, some day I'll pay you back for all you did for me!" he exclaimed, warmly. "I won't forget. And now that I have some money to spare, I'm going to get a new suit of clothes."

He said good-bye to the girls, promising to see them again some time, and then he left, having made arrangements to go on to New York and finish up his business affairs.

"Well, now that it is all over, won't you come on to the house and have supper?" said Betty's cousin, as they came out of the telegraph office. "I must say, you girls know how to do things."

"Oh, you can always trust Betty for that," said Mollie.

"It just did itself," declared Betty. "Everything seemed to work out of its own accord from the time we found the five hundred dollar bill."

"But you helped a lot," insisted Amy.

"Indeed she did," added Grace.

"Well, our walking tour will soon be over," Betty said as they neared her cousin's house. "We'll be home to-morrow. We've had lots of fun, and I think it has done us all good. We'll soon be home."

"But not without a long walk," said Grace, with a sigh. "I wonder what we shall do next? We must keep out of doors."

"We have a long vacation before us--all summer," said Amy. "I do wish we could spend it together."

"Maybe we can," said Betty. "We'll see."

And how the four chums enjoyed the vacation that was opening may be learned by reading the next volume of this series, which will be entitled "The Outdoor Girls at Rainbow Lake; Or, The Stirring Cruise of the Motor Boat Gem."

The stay of the girls at the home of Betty's cousin was most enjoyable. They remained two nights, instead of one, sending word of the change of their plans to their parents. Then, early in the morning, they started for home on the last stage of their tour.

"Twenty-two miles!" sighed Grace, as they set out. "Oh, dear!"

But they were not destined to walk all the way. About five miles from town they saw a big touring car approaching, and as it neared them they beheld Will Ford and his chum Frank in it.

"Hurray!" cried Grace's brother.

"Welcome to our city!" added Frank. "Get in and we'll take you home in style."

"Oh, you boys!" cried Betty, but she and the others got in. Off they started, all of them seemingly talking at once, and in a short time they arrived at Deepdale. They attracted considerable attention as they passed through the town in the car Will and Frank had hired to honor the members of the Camping and Tramping Club.

"But it rather spoiled our record, I think," said Betty. "We were to walk all the way."

"Oh, we walked enough," declared Grace. "I did, anyhow," and she glanced at her shoes.

"But it was fun!" exclaimed Amy.

"Glorious!" cried Mollie.

A little later the four tourists were warmly welcomed at their respective homes, later meeting for a general jollification at Mollie's house.

"Oh, you dears!" cried Betty, trying to caress the twins, Paul and Dodo, both at once. "And we saw the dearest little lost girl. Shall I tell you about her?"

"Dive us tum tandy fust," said Dodo, fastening her big eyes on Grace. "Us 'ikes tandy--don't us, Paul?"

"Us do," was the gurgling answer, and Grace brought out her confections.

And, now that the four girls are safely at home again, we will take leave of them.