NANCY DREW, an attractive girl of eighteen, was driving home along a country road in her new, dark-blue convertible. She had just delivered some legal papers for her father.
"It was sweet of Dad to give me this car for my birthday," she thought. "And it's fun to help him in his work."
Her father, Carson Drew, a well-known lawyer in their home town of River Heights, frequently discussed puzzling aspects of cases with his blond, blue-eyed daughter.
Smiling, Nancy said to herself, "Dad depends on my intuition."
An instant later she gasped in horror. From the lawn of a house just ahead of her a little girl about five years of age had darted into the roadway. A van, turning out of the driveway of the house, was barely fifty feet away from her. As the driver vigorously sounded the horn in warning, the child became confused and ran directly in front of the van. Miraculously, the little girl managed to cross the road safely and pull herself up onto a low wall, which formed one side Of a bridge. But the next second, as the van sped away, the child lost her balance and toppled off the wall out of sight!
"Oh my goodness!" Nancy cried out, slamming on her brakes. She had visions of the child plunging into the water below, perhaps striking her head fatally on a rock
Nancy leaped out of her car and dashed across the road. At the foot of the embankment, she could see the curly-haired little girl lying motionless, the right side of her body in the water.
"I hope—" Nancy dared not complete the harrowing thought as she climbed down the steep slope.
When she reached the child, she saw to her great relief that the little girl was breathing normally and no water had entered her nose or mouth. A quick examination showed that she had suffered no broken bones.
Gently Nancy lifted the little girl, and holding her firmly in both arms, struggled to the top of the embankment. Then she hurried across the road and up the driveway to the child's house.
At this moment the front door flew open and an elderly woman rushed out, crying, "Judy! Judy!"
"I'm sure she'll be all right," said Nancy quickly.
The woman, seeing Nancy's car, asked excitedly, "Did you run into her?"
"No, no. Judy fell off the bridge." Nancy quickly explained what had taken place.
By this time another woman, slightly younger, had hurried from the house. "Our baby! What has happened to her?"
As the woman reached out to take Judy, Nancy said soothingly, "Judy's going to be all right. I'll carry her into the house and lay her on a couch."
One of the women opened the screen door and the other directed, "This way."
Nancy carried her little burden through a hallway and into a small, old-fashioned living room. As soon as she laid the child on the couch, Judy began to murmur and turn her head from side to side.
"I believe she'll come to in a few minutes," said Nancy.
The two women watched Judy intently as they introduced themselves as Edna and Mary Turner, great-aunts of the little girl.
"Judy lives with us," explained Edna, the older sister. "We're bringing her up."
Nancy was somewhat surprised to hear that these elderly women were rearing such a small child. She gave her name and address, just as Judy opened her eyes and looked around. Seeing Nancy, she asked, "Who are you?"
"My name is Nancy. I'm glad to know you, Judy."
"Did you see me fall?"
Nancy nodded, as the child's Aunt Mary said, "She rescued you from the river after you fell in."
Judy began to cry. "I'll never, never run into the road again, really I won't!" she told her aunts.
Nancy said she was sure that Judy never would. She patted the child, who smiled up at her. Although Nancy felt that Judy would be all right, she decided to stay a few minutes longer to see if she could be of help. The child's wet clothes were removed and a robe put on her.
Mary Turner started for the kitchen door. "I'd better get some medication and wet compresses for Judy. She's getting a good-sized lump on her head. Nancy, will you come with me?"
She led the way to the kitchen and headed for a first-aid cabinet which hung on the wall.
"I want to apologize to you, Nancy, for thinking you hit Judy," the woman said. "I guess Edna and I lost our heads. You see, Judy is very precious to us. We brought up her mother, who had been an only child and was orphaned when she was a little girl. The same thing happened to Judy. Her parents were killed in a boat explosion three years ago. The poor little girl has no close relatives except Edna and me."
"Judy looks very healthy and happy," Nancy said quickly, "so I'm sure she must love it here."
Mary smiled. "We do the best we can on our small income. Sometimes it just doesn't suffice, though. We sold some old furniture to the two men in that van you saw. I don't know who they were, but I guess the price was all right."
Mary Turner's thoughts went back to little Judy. "She's so little now that Edna and I are able to manage with our small income. But we worry about the future. We're dressmakers but our fingers aren't so nimble with the needle as they used to be.
"To tell you the truth, Nancy, at the time Judy's parents were killed, Edna and I wondered whether we would be able to take care of Judy properly. But we decided to try it and now we wouldn't part with her for anything in the world. She's won our hearts completely."
Nancy was touched by the story. She knew what was in the minds of the Turner sisters—living costs would become higher, and with their advancing years, their own income would become lower.
"Unfortunately," Mary went on, "Judy's parents left very little money. But they were extremely bright people and Judy is going to be like them. She ought to study music and dancing, and have a college education. But I'm afraid we'll never be able to give her those things."
Nancy said reassuringly, "Judy may be able to win a scholarship, or get other financial aid."
Mary, finding Nancy a sympathetic listener, continued, "A cousin of our father's named Josiah Crowley used to help us. But he passed away a couple of months ago. For years he used to pay us long visits and was very generous with his money." Miss Turner sighed. "He always promised to remember us in his will—he loved little Judy—and I am afraid Edna and I came to depend on that in