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CHAPTER XXV THE FIRE FILM
"All ready now, Russ!"

"All ready, Mr. Pertell."

"Then start off. Be ready with the torch there, Sandy, and touch off the pile of hay and straw inside the barn when I give the word. Then come out for the bucket brigade."

"Yes, sir."

It was the day after the finding of the money box, for there had been so much excitement attending that episode, that Mr. Pertell thought it wise to postpone the fire scene. But now all was in readiness for it.

"All ready now!" called the manager, and the play began. There were several preliminary scenes before the final one of the burning barn, and these were successfully run off, Russ filming them one after the other.

There was no hitch, so well had the play been rehearsed. Now came the time when Ruth and Alice were to take refuge in the barn, the action being supposed to occur after a chase when they wished to escape from a rascally guardian.

The firing of the barn (in the play) was supposed to be done by an enemy of the farmer, and was not done to entrap the girls, of whose presence the incendiary supposedly knew nothing.

But the girls were locked in the barn when the fire broke out, and necessarily must be rescued.

"Touch her off!" cried the manager at the proper point, and Sandy set fire to a pile of hay and straw inside the barn. This would make considerable smoke, and smoke always shows up well in moving pictures.

"Get ready with the water now!" called Mr. Pertell. "I want a lively bucket brigade scene here!"

Sandy and his force, of whom Wellington Bunn was one, ran back and forth from the water barrel, carrying the filled buckets and splashing the contents on the flames.

The fire was now at its height.

"All ready for the rescue!" ordered the manager. "Up with the ladder and get after the girls, Paul. Mr. Sneed, you're in on this."

Up the ladder climbed Paul, and with an axe he began chopping away at the roof. This was the place prepared beforehand, and Ruth and Alice were to be drawn up through the hole that went down into the secret room where the money box had been found.

"Quick!" cried Paul, as he made the splinters fly. This was only for the effect, as the section on the roof was all ready to come away. "Hurry up, Sneed!" called the young fellow. "It's getting pretty hot here. We'll have to follow each other closely down the ladder."

"We can't get away from here any too soon for me," the other answered. "This is the worst yet."

In another moment the secret room was exposed. Ruth and Alice were in it, a little afraid, after all, that something might happen.

"Come on!" cried Paul reaching down his hands. Alice climbed up on a chair in the room, and Paul lifted her out on the roof. Then Mr. Sneed did the same for Ruth.

Putting the girls over their shoulders, in the manner in which firemen make rescues, the two started down the ladder.

In spite of Mr. Sneed's fear, nothing happened. The rescue went off finely, and even those not taking part in it applauded as it came to a close and Ruth and Alice, who were supposed to have fainted, were revived.

Then their parts ended, for that particular scene, but the barn continued to burn, as was intended, and soon it was a glowing heap of embers and ashes. The work of the bucket brigade had not been successful, nor had it been intended that it should be.

The final scenes of the play—away from the fire—were made, and then the players could rest.

"I hope it's a success," said the manager, with a sigh. "We have worked hard enough over it."

And a few days later word came back from New York, whither the film had been sent, that it was a great success, and one of the best dramas the Comet Company had ever put over. The scenes where Alice and Ruth were rescued were particularly fine.

"Well, I wonder what sort of 'stunts' we'll have to do next, Ruth?" remarked Alice as they were in their room in the old farm house one morning, about a week after the barn fire.

"There is no telling," was the answer. "Mr. Pertell has some plans, but I don't believe they are ready yet."

"Yes they are, my dears!" exclaimed Mr. DeVere, as he entered the room. "We have just received word that the entire company will spend some months in the backwoods, getting pictures of winter scenes."

"Oh, the woods in winter!" cried Alice. "I'll just love that; won't you, Ruth?"

"I think I shall. But I do hope we won't have so much excitement as we've had here."

Whether they did or did not may be learned by reading the next volume of this series, to be called: "The Moving Picture Girls Snowbound; Or, the Proof on the Film."

Happy days followed at Oak Farm, for after the hard work of the season Mr. Pertell decided to give his company a little vacation. And the Apgars were happy, too, for the foreclosure proceedings were stopped by the satisfying of the mortgage with Uncle Isaac's money.

Mrs. Delamont sent on for Rex III, and Alice bade the fine animal good-bye rather sadly, for she had grown very fond of him.

"Come on," said Paul to her one day, "we'll take a walk, and maybe we can find another dog."

"Not like Rex, though," laughed Alice, as she set off with the young fellow. And now, for a time, we will take leave of the Moving Picture Girls.

THE END


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