"And now, Peter," said the lady when the story was finished, "you must write at once to tell the good people of Broek that your adventures have reached their height, that you and your fellow travelers have all been taken prisoners."
"Indeed, I shall do no such thing," laughed Peter. "We must leave tomorrow at noon."
But the sister had already decided differently, and a Holland lady is not to be easily turned from her purpose. In short, she held forth such strong temptations and was so bright and cheerful and said so many coaxing and unanswerable things, both in English and Dutch, that the boys were all delighted when it was settled that they should remain at The Hague for at least two days.
Next the grand skating race was talked over; Mevrouw van Gend gladly promised to be present on the occasion. "I shall witness your triumph, Peter," she said, "for you are the fastest skater I ever knew."
Peter blushed and gave a slight cough as Carl answered for him.
"Ah, mevrouw, he is swift, but all the Broek boys are fine skaters--even the rag pickers," and he thought bitterly of poor Hans.
The lady laughed. "That will make the race all the more exciting," she said. "But I shall wish each of you to be the winner."
At this moment her husband Mynheer van Gend came in, and the enchantment falling upon the boys was complete.