The game went on for several minutes, with Judy crying out in delight. "You're the bestest batter I ever played with, Nancy," she declared.
After ten minutes of play, Nancy said, "Let's go into the house now, Judy. I want to talk to your aunties."
Judy skipped ahead and announced her new playmate's arrival.
"Hello, Nancy," the women said as she entered the living room.
"We were watching the game from the window," said Mary Turner. "This is a real thrill for Judy. Edna and I are very poor at hitting the birdie."
"It was lots of fun," Nancy replied. "I'm glad to see you all again."
She now asked whether the police had located the thieves who had taken the silver heirlooms from the house.
"Not yet," Mary answered. "And what's worse, we found that several other pieces had been taken, too."
"What a shame!" Nancy exclaimed. "But I'm sure the stolen articles will be found." Then she added, "I came here on a particular mission."
"Your story about Mr. Josiah Crowley intrigued me. Then, the other day, I met two girls, Grace and Allison Hoover, who told me of a similar promise from him regarding his will."
"How amazing!" Edna Turner exclaimed. "I heard Josiah mention the Hoovers and Allison's beautiful voice."
"Dad and I have become very much interested in the case and are inclined to agree with you and the Hoovers that Mr. Crowley may have written another will shortly before his death and hidden it some place."
"Oh, wouldn't it be wonderful if such a will could be found!" Mary exclaimed. "It might mean all the difference in the world to Judy's future."
"What I want to do," Nancy went on, "is talk to as many of Mr. Crowley's relatives as I can find. Some place I may pick up a clue to where a more recent will is hidden. Tell me, do any of his other relatives live around here?"
"Yes. Three that I can think of," Edna answered.
She went on to say that two cousins, who had never married, lived on a farm just outside Titusville. "Their names are Fred and William Mathews."
Suddenly the Turner sisters blushed a deep pink. They glanced at each other, then back at Nancy. Finally Edna said:
"Many years ago Fred proposed to Mary, and William to me, and we came near accepting. But just at that time we had the great tragedy in the family and took Judy's mother to rear, so we decided not to marry."
An embarrassing pause was broken by Judy. "Some day my aunties are going to give me one of my mother's dollies, Nancy. Isn't that nice?"
"It certainly is," Nancy agreed. "And you must be sure to show it to me." Then she asked the sisters, "What relation are the Mathews to Mr. Crowley?"
"First cousins on his mother's side."
"Do you think they would mind my asking them some questions, even though I'm a stranger?"
"Not at all," Mary replied. "They're very fine gentlemen."
"And tell them Mary and I sent you," Edna added.
"How far is Titusville from here?" Nancy inquired.
"Oh, not more than five miles on Route 10A. You could drive there in a few minutes. It's on the way to Masonville. Nancy, won't you stay and have lunch with us?"
Eager to continue her work, the young sleuth was about to refuse, but Judy put in an invitation also. "Please, oh please, Nancy. And while my aunties are fixing it, you and I can play badminton."
"All right," Nancy agreed. "And thank you very much."
It was nearly two o'clock when she finally was ready to depart.
"Oh, Mary," said Edna suddenly, "we forgot to tell Nancy about Josiah's wife's cousin, Mrs. Abby Rowen. She'd be apt to know more about the will than anyone else."
"That's right! You really should call on her, Nancy. She took care of Josiah one time when he was sick, and he thought the world of her. He often declared he intended to leave her something. She's a widow and has very little."
"Even a few thousand dollars would mean a lot to her," Edna added. "Abby must be over eighty years of age, and growing forgetful. She has no children and there's no one to look after her."
"Where shall I find Mrs. Rowen?" Nancy asked, hoping it was not far away.
"Abby lives on the West Lake Road," Edna responded. "It's a good many miles from here."
"Then I shan't have time to go there today," the young sleuth said. "But I'll surely see her as soon as I can. And now I must be going."
Nancy thanked the Turner sisters and said good-by. But before she could leave, Judy insisted upon showing how she could jump rope and do all kinds of dancing steps with a hoop on the lawn.
"Judy entertains us all the time," Mary remarked. "We believe she's very talented."
Nancy thought so too. As she drove off, she again hoped that money would become available for a very special education for Judy.
After Nancy had gone five miles along the designated route, she began to watch the mailboxes. Soon she noticed one which bore the name Mat-hews. The farmhouse stood back a distance from the road and had a wide sweep of lawn in front of it Near the house a man was riding a small tractor, mowing the grass.
Nancy drove down the narrow lane which led into the grounds, and stopped opposite the spot where the man was working. The man's back was toward her, and he apparently had not heard the car above the noise of the tractor, so she waited.
Looking toward the house, Nancy suddenly saw a sight that appalled her. Wedged between two stones of a broken wall was a police dog puppy whining pitifully. Nancy dashed forward and released the little animal. As it continued to whimper, she cuddled the pup in her arms and began to examine its paws.
"Why, you poor thing!" Nancy said, seeing a tear in the flesh of one hind leg. "This must be taken care of right away."
She decided to carry the puppy over to the man on the mower. As Nancy walked across the lane, she suddenly heard an angry growl near her. Looking back, she saw a huge police dog, evidently the pup's mother, bounding toward her.
"It's all right," Nancy called soothingly to the dog. "I'm not going to take your baby away."
She took two more strides, but got no farther. With a fierce snarl the dog leaped on Nancy, knocking her flat!