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Authors: Lois Gladys Leppard

Mandie Collection, The: 4 (80 page)

BOOK: Mandie Collection, The: 4
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“If you know anything you haven’t told us already, you had better speak up, for your own good,” Mr. Van Dongen told Maurice as he helped him into the cart.

Maurice paused and said, “They have already sent the message. Everything inside the factory will be destroyed after the workers leave at six o’clock tonight.”

“Six o’clock?” Mr. Van Dongen turned to Albert. “You must ride like your life depends on it and get the authorities to the factory in time. Go now!”

“Yes, sir,” Albert said, turning to his horse still tethered nearby.

“I go, too,” Uncle Ned said to the young man.

“Take one of our horses,” Mr. Van Dongen said. “There’s no time to get your own.”

Albert was off, and Uncle Ned followed quickly on a horse from the Van Dongens’ barn.

Jonathan spoke to Mr. Van Dongen: “I will ride into town with you to take these men.”

Mr. Van Dongen hesitated and then said, “I believe you do know how to handle a gun. Get in.” He handed Jonathan a gun to hold on the prisoners.

The girls watched in excitement as everyone left.

Mandie had picked up Snowball and was comforting him after his fright. Celia held Flour Rat.

Velda came out of the house just then and offered to take the cat so the girls could go. “I will take the cat inside. You two must go home now before it gets too late,” Velda told them as she took Flour Rat from Celia and started toward the front door. “And thank you,” she said.

“You’re welcome. Good-bye,” Mandie said, waving to the girl.

“We’d better hurry back to the house before your grandmother gets back,” Celia told Mandie.

“Right. Let’s go,” Mandie said as she raced off through the flower fields.

When they arrived at the house, they entered through the back door and found Gretchen in the kitchen.

“Well, I’m glad someone is here,” Mandie remarked as she set Snowball down.

“I am sorry for what Anna did,” Gretchen said to them as she stacked plates by the sink.

“Anna? What did she do?” Mandie asked.

“She got the meal ready, put it on the table, and then locked herself in her room while I was gone shopping and Dieter was off on an errand,” Gretchen explained.

“But why did she do that?” Mandie asked.

“I apologize for her. She has never seen an American Indian before and she was afraid of him. She is always afraid of strangers,” Gretchen said.

The girls looked at each other and laughed.

“If she only knew dear old Uncle Ned, she would love him,” Mandie said. “Have my grandmother and Senator Morton come home yet?”

“Not yet, but I am preparing the meal,” Gretchen said. “Anna has gone off to see a sick relative.”

“We had some excitement just now over at the miller’s house,” Mandie told the maid.

Gretchen listened wide-eyed as Mandie and Celia related everything that had occurred.

“Will your Uncle Ned be able to save the factory?” Gretchen asked.

“I think so. He always succeeds in time of trouble,” Mandie told her.

“Mmmm. You young ladies wait in the parlor and I will bring you tea,” the maid offered.

Mandie laughed and said, “Thank you, but we’ve already had tea twice this afternoon. We’ll entertain ourselves until everyone gets back.”

Not long after that, Mrs. Taft and Senator Morton returned. Mandie’s grandmother was anxious to relate the latest news she had heard in town. The Dutch government was making an all-out search for the culprits who mixed the paint at the factory.

Mandie and Celia looked at each other and laughed. Mandie said, “Oh, but Grandmother, they’ve already been caught.” She explained all that had transpired at the miller’s house.

Mrs. Taft was shocked. It was hard for her to believe that the girls had been so closely involved in such a thing. “Oh, dear, I would have had a heart attack,” she said. “I do hope Jonathan and Uncle Ned get back in one piece.”

“I don’t think we have to worry about either one of them,” Senator Morton told her. “You go take a rest until it is time for supper.”

“Yes, I suppose I should,” Mrs. Taft said.

The girls also went to their room to discuss the exciting events of the day. In her mind, Mandie kept seeing Jonathan with that gun. He was so brave. She had falsely accused him, but it was real crooks who had been involved.

She wished the time would pass more quickly and that Jonathan would come back. Mr. Van Dongen dropped him off on his way to
his own house, and when the girls heard Jonathan coming down the hallway, they ran out to talk to him.

“Tell us what happened!” Mandie demanded.

They found the sitting room on their floor and sat down. Jonathan shrugged his shoulders, grinned, and said, “We just took the three to the authorities. They put the two Chinese men in jail and accompanied Maurice to the doctor.”

“Jonathan, I need to talk to you,” Mandie began.

Celia knew they would want to be alone and quickly rose to leave. “I’ll be back in a few minutes,” she said, leaving the room.

Mandie looked straight at Jonathan and said, “I’m sorry. Please forgive me.”

Jonathan grinned at her. “For what?”

Mandie took a deep breath and explained, “I falsely accused you of mixing the blue and the yellow paint at the Delftware factory. Please forgive me. I apologize with all my heart.” She nervously twisted her hands.

“Mandie, you don’t have anything to be sorry about. I didn’t pay any attention to your accusation,” Jonathan said. “I thought we knew each other well enough that we could say anything to each other without feeling bad about it. Just forget it.”

“But I really have been mean to you, Jonathan, and I’m sorry,” Mandie insisted. “I thought you were lying about your not being involved. I should have known better.”

“All right, what do you want me to do about it? Kiss and make up?” He leaned forward teasingly and smacked his lips without touching her cheek.

Mandie moved backward and rubbed her cheek. “Jonathan! Be serious! If you have forgiven me, then we’ll just talk about other things. Do you think Uncle Ned and Albert will get to the authorities in time to save the factory?”

“I’m sure they will,” Jonathan said, sitting down again. “They can travel much faster on horseback than we could in the cart.”

“I hope they’re not gone too long. I can’t stand waiting, not knowing,” Mandie remarked. “By the way, Celia and I found out why everyone disappeared today.” She told him what Anna had done and where the others had been.

Jonathan was amused by it all. By the time Celia came back into the room, Gretchen was announcing the evening meal.

Mrs. Taft decided they should not wait for Uncle Ned because he could be quite late getting back.

It was much later when he finally did return. Mandie, Celia, and Jonathan had waited up for him in the kitchen after the adults retired. When Uncle Ned came through the door they crowded around him.

“Everything fine now,” he told them before they could bombard him with questions.

“And you must be hungry,” Mandie said, going to the stove and opening the warmer. She quickly removed a tray of food that Gretchen had saved for him. She set it on the table nearby and the young people crowded around to listen to Uncle Ned’s story while he ate.

“We got there, plenty of time,” he told them, and then related how the authorities were able to thwart the destruction of the Delftware factory.

“And we got the Chinese men to jail,” Jonathan said. “The authorities accompanied Maurice to the doctor, but he also was under arrest.”

“I suppose this winds up our mystery here in Holland,” Mandie said. “Grandmother says we’ll be leaving shortly for Ireland.”

“And Papoose will find mystery in Ireland, too,” Uncle Ned said with a big smile.

“You always say that, Uncle Ned,” Mandie told him. “How can you be so sure?”

“If no mystery, then Papoose make mystery,” the old Indian said with a big laugh.

“But, Uncle Ned, I don’t make up these mysteries. We always seem to run into them,” Mandie said with a big smile, and then added, “I’m going to look real hard in Ireland, though, what with all those leprechauns I keep hearing about.”

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

LOIS GLADYS LEPPARD worked in Federal Intelligence for thirteen years in various countries around the world. She now makes her home in South Carolina.

The stories of her own mother’s childhood as an orphan in western North Carolina are the basis for many of the incidents incorporated in this series.

Visit her Web site:
www.Mandie.com
.

MANDIE MYSTERIES

Mandie and . . .
. . .
the Secret Tunnel
. . .
the Windmill’s Message
. . .
the Mysterious Bells
. . .
the Invisible Troublemaker
. . .
the Mysterious Fisherman

————

The Mandie Collection: Volume One
(Books 1-5)

The Mandie Collection: Volume Two
(Books 6-10)

The Mandie Collection: Volume Three
(Books 11-15)

The Mandie Collection: Volume Four
(Books 16-20)

The Mandie Collection: Volume Five
(Books 21-23)

The Mandie Collection: Volume Six
(Books 24-26)

The Mandie Collection: Volume Seven
(Books 27-29)

The Mandie Collection: Volume eight
(Books 30-32)

Mandie: Her College Days

New Horizons

BOOK: Mandie Collection, The: 4
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