Precisely as he spoke one of the straps gave downward a little, and then rested firm; it was not a half-inch, but it jarred the performers.
"Gerty, I'm slipping," cried Anne. "We shall fall!"
"No, we sha'n't, silly," said the other, quickly. "Hold on. Comstock, swing me the rope."
Stephen Blake sprang to the stage and swung her the rope by which they had climbed to the upper bar. It fell short and Gerty missed it. Anne screamed, and slipped visibly.
"You can't hold," said Gerty. "Let go my feet. Let me drop."
"You'll be killed," called Anne, slipping still more.
"Drop me, I say!" shouted the resolute Gerty, while the whole audience rose in excitement. Instantly the hands of the elder girl opened and down fell Gerty, headforemost, full twelve feet, striking heavily on her shoulder, while Anne, relieved of the weight, recovered easily her position and slipped down into Stephen's arms. She threw herself down beside the little comrade whose presence of mind had saved at least one of them.
"O Gerty, are you killed?" she said.
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