left no hope; for the fates had evidently decreed that candy was not to prosper on this unpropitious night.
"The hot pan has melted and sunk in the snow, perhaps," said Fanny, digging into the drift where it was left.
"Those old cats have got it, I guess," suggested Maud, too much overwhelmed by this second blow to howl as usual.
"The gate isn't locked, and some beggar has stolen it. I hope it will do them good," added Polly, returning from her exploring expedition.
"If Tom could get out, I should think he'd carried it off; but not being a rat, he can't go through the bits of windows; so, it wasn't him," said Fanny, disconsolately, for she began to think this double loss a punishment for letting angry passions rise.
"Let's open the door and tell him about it," proposed Polly.
"He'll crow over us. No; we'll open it and go to bed, and he can come out when he likes. Provoking boy! if he hadn't plagued us so, we should have had a nice time."
Unbolting the cellar door, the girls announced to the invisible captive that they were through, and then departed much depressed. Half-way up the second flight, they all stopped as suddenly as if they had seen a ghost; for looking over the banisters was Tom's face, crocky but triumphant, and in either hand a junk of candy, which he waved above them as he vanished, with the tantalizing remark, "Don't you wish you had some?"
"How in the world did he get out?" cried Fanny,