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Title: Mary Lee the Red Cross Girl
Author: Hart, Helen
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Mary Lee the Red Cross Girl" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.



Transcriber's note:

      Inconsistent hyphenation and spelling in the original book
      have been preserved. Obvious typographical errors have been
      corrected.

      Text enclosed by underscores is in italics (_italics_).

      The sentence "He had been very lonesome for him.", starting
      on page 103, may be missing words.



MARY LEE THE RED CROSS GIRL

by

HELEN HART

Illustrated by Alice Carsey



Whitman Publishing Co.
Racine ·· Chicago

Copyright 1917 by
Whitman Publishing Co.
Racine ·· Chicago



     Dedicated to Jane R.
     who makes an ideal
     Red Cross Girl in the
     opinion of the Author



CONTENTS


     Chapter                                 Page

          I. SPRING AT THE FARM                15

         II. WELCOME GUESTS                    21

        III. A MERRY PARTY                     29

         IV. FIRST AID                         37

          V. MARY LEE WRITES A LETTER          43

         VI. A PICNIC                          52

        VII. VISITING THE SANITARIUM           63

       VIII. PREPARATIONS FOR THE WEDDING      69

         IX. DR. PAYSON EMPLOYS MARY LEE       76

          X. AUNT MADGE IS MARRIED             83

         XI. BUSY DAYS                         89

        XII. INDIAN JIM'S LUCKY STRIKE        100

       XIII. A HAPPY RED CROSS GROUP          112

        XIV. MARY LEE MEETS AN OLD FRIEND     118

         XV. MARY LEE'S LEGACY                125

        XVI. A MASTER STORY TELLER            132

       XVII. AUNT MADGE RETURNS TO THE
             CITY                             147

      XVIII. MARY LEE MAKES A DECISION        155

        XIX. LETTY AND MARY LEE SELL LIBERTY
             BONDS                            162

         XX. PREPARING FOR RED CROSS WORK     169

        XXI. "WHAT SHALL WE WEAR?"            175

       XXII. WORKING FOR "LIBERTY"            182

      XXIII. BACK ON THE FARM                 190

       XXIV. BOUND FOR THE CAMP               196

        XXV. LOST IN THE WOODS                204

       XXVI. RETURNING HOME                   211

      XXVII. ANOTHER ADVENTURE                215

     XXVIII. "HELP! HELP!"                    219

       XXIX. LETTY'S SURPRISE                 228



ILLUSTRATIONS


                                             Page

     MARY LEE LEARNED QUICKLY AND THOROUGHLY
                             (Color frontispiece)

     "THE GIRLS MISS YOU SO MUCH"              25

     MARY LEE CAME TRIPPING DOWN THE ROAD      39

     THE SICK MAN DICTATES A LETTER            49

     BOB MAKES HIMSELF USEFUL AT THE PICNIC    55

     SAVAGE WAS THE FACE OF BLACK EAGLE       137

     HE MADE IT A POINT TO CALL ON MARY LEE   151

     MARY LEE WRITES TO BOB                   185

     "HAVE YOU COME TO STAY?"                 188



     MARY LEE, THE
     RED CROSS
     GIRL



MARY LEE

The Red Cross Girl



CHAPTER I

SPRING AT THE FARM


"From whom is the letter, Mary Lee?" asked Mrs. Quinn as she glanced
up from her sewing.

"From Bobbie, and he says that they will land about the 15th. He wants
to come right out here to the country to see our cozy new home. Oh,
dear, I can hardly wait to see him!" exclaimed Mary Lee, her eyes
sparkling.

"Does he say that the French doctors have helped him any?" further
questioned Mrs. Quinn.

"Helped him any?" repeated Mary Lee, "why, he's cured. He isn't a
cripple any more at all. Just think, he can walk again, as well as I
can. Isn't it a lovely world?" and the impetuous child threw her arms
about Mrs. Quinn's neck and gave her a good hug.

Just then a voice from the outside called: "Oh, Mary Lee, come quick.
We've found something to show you."

It was Eddie Quinn, the youngest boy, and Mary Lee upon hearing his
excited voice, lost no time in rushing out to see what new delight was
in store for her.

Mrs. Quinn leaned back in her comfortable chair in the sunny south bay
window, and as her eyes wandered about the cheerful room and out over
the peaceful woodland view, her thoughts flashed back to the past.

How different things were now from what they had been when Mary
Lee--the little waif from the orphanage--had first come into their
home as a mother's helper! They were then living in the crowded
tenement district of New York City. How much sickness they had had!
How often her husband had been thrown out of work! If it hadn't been
for hopeful little Mary Lee they all would have lost courage. She put
her little shoulder to the wheel with such determination that it
seemed as if her efforts had pulled them out of the dreadful rut into
which they were gradually sinking.

Yes, Mary Lee was always doing something for somebody. How brave she
was the day she had saved Bob Cameron from drowning in Central Park!
He was a little crippled boy who lived in one of the stately mansions
on Fifth Avenue. A strong friendship, encouraged by Bob's grateful
parents, had sprung up between the two children. It had meant much
to Mary Lee. Her narrow little life began to broaden out--and
consequently so did that of the Quinns. Bob's Aunt Madge had taken a
great fancy to Mary Lee and had made it possible for her to become a
Campfire Girl.

Then there was dear Doctor Anderson. He had operated on Mrs. Quinn
when she had been so ill. Seeing earnest little Mary Lee doing her
best to help this worthy but unfortunate family along, he too had
become interested. It was he who had made it possible for them to move
out in the country where they could live on his farm. Mr. Quinn had
shown his gratitude by proving himself a most capable manager the
past year.

Was it any wonder as Mrs. Quinn sat thinking over all these things
that a tear or two trickled down her cheeks? But it was not from
sadness--for her heart was filled with the joy of living, and
overflowing with love for Mary Lee, the little girl who had brought
good fortune and sunshine into her home.

In the meantime, Tom and Eddie had led Mary Lee over to a low-branched
tree to behold their "surprise."

"It's a nest," whispered Eddie. "A real nest. See, it's just new!"

"So it is," said Mary Lee. "What a cozy little home! But where do you
suppose Father Bird and Mother Bird are? Did we frighten them away?"

"No," said Eddie, "it was empty when we first saw it. But let's hide
and maybe they will come back."

"Oh no," said Mary Lee, "let's go away before they return. If they
suspected anyone was around they might move their nest. Won't it be
fun when we can see the little bird's eggs, and afterwards the little
birdies themselves? But you must not tell anyone about this nest, will
you? Now promise," commanded Mary Lee.

Both boys promised. They also agreed not to look at their nest more
than once a day.

"Now, see who wins the race to your father over there in the field,"
challenged Mary Lee. "One, two, three, go!"

The children were off. Tom won the race.

"Huh," said he, "I wouldn't let any girl beat me."

"Well, you wait until next time and maybe you will change your mind,"
answered Mary Lee.

"Have you come to help, children?" Mr. Quinn greeted them.

While the boys assisted their father, Mary Lee returned to the house.
As she came to the kitchen door, she thought she heard voices. Then as
she opened the door and went through the kitchen, she heard Mrs. Quinn
say:

"She will be here any moment. Won't she be glad to see you both!"

Mary Lee just jumped into the room, for she guessed who the visitors
were.

"Aunt Madge and Dr. Anderson--I'm so happy!" And the girl ran into
Miss Cameron's arms.



CHAPTER II

WELCOME GUESTS


"My," said Aunt Madge, "how you are growing, Mary Lee. I never knew
you to look so well and so pretty. Who said country life would not
agree with our Mary Lee?"

"Not I, for one," replied Dr. Anderson, as if the question were
directed at him. "My own candid opinion is that, no matter what the
place might be, if it had any idea of not agreeing with the young lady
it would very soon change its mind. Things simply cannot help but
agree with Mary Lee!"

"Surely, it isn't because she's idle," added Mrs. Quinn. "You never
saw anyone so busy and so anxious to do so many things. If I were to
let her have her way, Miss Cameron, I would be sitting in my rocker
all day with my arms folded." Then Mrs. Quinn bethought herself of
her duties as hostess. "Surely, you are counting on staying for
supper, such as it is, I hope?"

Both visitors laughed.

"We certainly are, Mrs. Quinn. We half suspected you would ask us,"
answered Dr. Anderson, with a twinkle in his eye. "Although I will
confess that Miss Cameron had some scruples about coming at this
hour."

"Yes," said that young lady, "it does look as if we were just forcing
ourselves upon you, doesn't it?"

"Nonsense," replied Mrs. Quinn decidedly. "If you folks are not
welcome here at all times, nobody is. But I had better start supper,
if you will excuse me?"

"Certainly," said the doctor. "In the meantime I shall go down to the
field to talk things over with Mr. Quinn. I suppose you will accept
our invitation to go out in the automobile after supper, Mary Lee? We
thought you and Mrs. Quinn would like a ride."

"Like it," enthusiastically replied the girl, "I'd love it."

"It's nice of you to include me and I shall be glad to go," added Mrs.
Quinn on her way to the kitchen.

"I suspect you two have more than a few things to talk about and are
waiting for me to follow Mrs. Quinn's excellent example," said the
doctor, making for the door.

"Indeed we are," replied Aunt Madge laughingly. "Mary Lee and I are
going to have a perfectly splendid chat."

The two friends did visit for many minutes, but Mary Lee did not seem
to be quite at ease. She wanted to stay and talk with Aunt Madge, yet
she felt it was her duty to set the table and help Mrs. Quinn.

Aunt Madge must have guessed what she was thinking about for she
suddenly spoke up.

"I know what's on your mind, Mary Lee, you dear, conscientious child.
Come, we'll both help set the table, shall we?"

"Do you really want to do that?" asked Mary Lee delightedly.

"Yes, I would like to very much," answered Aunt Madge.

It took but a little while to set the table and complete the rest of
the necessary work. It was done with many laughs and much enjoyment.
When the two were through they entered the kitchen and insisted on
helping Mrs. Quinn.

But that lady shooed them out and would have none of them.

"Be off with you. You have time for a fifteen minute walk."

"Shall we?" asked Aunt Madge. And without waiting for an answer, she
was off, Mary Lee at her side.

They could not have wanted the walk very much, for when they sighted
the big oak which was but a little way down the road, they made
themselves comfortable beneath it. They were really anxious to have a
heart to heart talk and this was just the place for it.

"Well, my dear, you can now ask me all the questions that are stored
up in that little mind of yours. I shall try my best to answer them."

Mary Lee needed no second invitation. She fairly swamped Aunt Madge
with her deluge of questions.

  [Illustration: "THE GIRLS MISS YOU SO MUCH."]

"How are the Campfire Girls, Aunt Madge? Did they tell you when they
were coming out here? Didn't Ruth and Edith and Letty send any
messages with you? Have you heard the wonderful news that Bobbie and
Mr. and Mrs. Cameron are coming home at last? And, Aunt Madge--"

But Aunt Madge laughed and interrupted the girl at this point.

"Wait, wait, Mary Lee. I guess I had better call a halt to your
questions else I will not have time to answer them all before supper.
Yes, the Campfire Girls asked me to be sure to give you their love and
to tell you that they miss you ever so much. Letty and Ruth and Edith
are coming out for next Saturday and Sunday so they did not send any
message. In fact, my dear, they thought at first that they would not
tell you at all and just surprise you. But they could not keep the
secret and so they allowed me to tell you. Are you glad?"

"Glad," replied Mary Lee, with glistening eyes. "That means they will
be here in two days."

"Yes. And now as to the last question. I do know that the Camerons are
coming home, although I heard the news only yesterday. Isn't it
marvelous that Bobbie is cured and will be just like other boys?"

"Now, my dear, I am going to tell you a piece of news which may
startle you." Aunt Madge paused a moment as she felt the telltale
blushes mounting to her cheeks.

"Doctor Anderson and I are to be married next September on the
eighteenth."

Mary Lee beamed. "My--" was all that she could say.

Then the two, like silly little school girls, spent a few minutes in
embraces, tears and kisses.

"I'm so glad, so glad," said Mary Lee after she had somewhat
recovered. "I just know how happy you both are. And, Aunt Madge, Dr.
Anderson is a dear and I love him almost as much as I love you."

"Well, don't you ever love him more than you do me." Aunt Madge
pretended to be very stern as she shook her finger warningly at Mary
Lee.

"I don't think I could do that," said Mary Lee, very seriously.
"Where are you going to live when you are married?" she questioned,
still filled with the wonder of the news.

"We are building a dear little home and it promises to look
wonderfully lovely. My dear, you are to come and stay with us, ever so
many times. You will, won't you, Mary Lee?"

"I certainly will," said Mary Lee, decidedly. "It will be like home to
me."

Aunt Madge embraced the girl again. "You are such a comfort, little
girl. And now, I think it is almost time to turn back," she suggested,
after a silence of many minutes. "I hope we shall not be late for
supper."

They made their way back to the house.

It was not a moment too soon, for as they approached they could hear
the vigorous summons of the supper bell which was being sturdily
wielded by Tom. They ran the last hundred yards and arrived at the
house out of breath.



CHAPTER III

A MERRY PARTY


Dr. Anderson and Mr. Quinn were already in the dining room, having
arrived a few minutes earlier. They were still busily talking when
Aunt Madge and Mary Lee entered.

Mr. Quinn had completed his report of the work that had been done at
the farm and was enthusiastic about the prospects for the coming
summer and fall. The arrival of the newcomers halted the conversation.
The doctor looked toward his fiancee inquiringly, and she nodded gayly
to him, whereupon he grinned boyishly at Mary Lee and she smiled back
at him.

"Well, Mary Lee, now that you know the secret, we can tell the rest of
the folks," and he immediately proceeded to do so.

Mr. and Mrs. Quinn were delighted and their good wishes were cordial
and sincere. They were very fond of these two friends and they felt
they owed much to them. Mixed with their gratefulness and appreciation
was the glad feeling that this romance had been partly cemented
through them and through their Mary Lee.

"Madge, dear," said Dr. Anderson, as they sat at the table partaking
of the excellent and well-cooked supper. "Mr. Quinn has done splendid
work here, but I cannot get him to admit that he works too hard."

"I hope it will be the means of his making lots of money," replied
Miss Cameron. "I'm glad he shares in the profits due to his labor and
good management. Dear, you were extremely fortunate to find so good a
manager."

"That I was," affirmed the doctor.

But Mrs. Quinn couldn't see it that way. "Fortunate, you fortunate?
Why, it's we who have to bless our lucky stars for being here."

Mr. Quinn nodded his head very decidedly in confirmation.

"That is the truth, friends," he said. "My wife finds it a real
delight to live out here, and you know, work is never hard or arduous
when one is in love with it. Moreover, it's just the place for the
children and for Mary Lee, too."

The doctor turned to the latter.

"I suppose you know, young lady, that you are to come to the city this
fall and enter high school. Both Mr. and Mrs. Quinn know of it and
have agreed that it is the thing for you to do."

Mary Lee turned her happy, joyful face first toward Dr. Anderson and
then toward Aunt Madge and Mr. and Mrs. Quinn.

"And if I go," she spoke slowly as if she were realizing what it all
meant, "I shall be with Ruth and Letty and the other girls and I can
be at the Campfire Girls' meetings and see Bobbie and, oh, ever so
many other things, can't I?"

Then her face clouded suddenly.

"But won't Mrs. Quinn need me here?" she asked. "Oh, I'm sure she
will, and it's wicked for me to think of anything else. And anyway, I
love it here, so much."

"I'll not need you, my dear, except for your smiles and cheerfulness,"
said Mrs. Quinn from the kitchen. "You can just make up your mind you
are going." And Mrs. Quinn spoke very decidedly.

"You see," added Aunt Madge, "you really need the schooling. You are
getting older and there are things you must learn and which you cannot
acquire except in school. You must have an education to get on in the
world."

"By the way," interrupted the doctor, "has Mary Lee ever thought of
what she is going to be when she grows up?"

Everyone in the room looked at the girl expectantly.

"When I grow up," said Mary Lee, speaking in a way which showed she
had made up her mind long ago, "I am going to be a nurse--a Red Cross
nurse. In the meantime I am going to be a Red Cross Girl."

"Why, of course," replied the doctor. "I remember now you did say last
year that you wanted to be a nurse when you grew older. Isn't it
fortunate," he continued, "that I can help you because I am a
physician. We will certainly give you lots of chances to become a good
nurse and in the meantime you can learn much as 'Mary Lee, our Red
Cross Girl.'"

"Why, that's fine," said Aunt Madge enthusiastically, while the boys
clapped their hands, and Mr. and Mrs. Quinn both smiled proudly.

"And," added Aunt Madge, "what Mary Lee has learned in the way of
first aid to the injured as a Campfire Girl, will help her materially
to be a good and capable Red Cross Girl."

Mary Lee just beamed. She was too happy to speak but her looks
expressed her feelings.

A very quiet though determined voice now spoke up.

"I'm going to be a farmer boy, and when I grow up I'm going to be a
farmer-man, just like father." It was Eddie, the younger of the two
boys.

"Why, of course," agreed the doctor, after the laugh was over, and
looking at Mr. Quinn, who was smiling with great pride. "And I hope
you will make as good a farmer as your father, Eddie. And, Tom, what
are you going to be when you grow up?"

Tom spoke bashfully but yet none the less decisively.

"I'm going to be a real sailor and go all over the world."

"That's splendid, Tom," said Aunt Madge.

"Yes, Tom," added the doctor. "There are a lot of sailors-to-be until
they reach the age of ten, so you won't be lonely."

The merry supper party was now over. Aunt Madge insisted upon helping
to clear the table and to dry the dishes. While the three were busily
at work, Dr. Anderson and Mr. Quinn went out on the porch, to smoke.

For a few moments the men puffed away in silence. Then Mr. Quinn
resumed the subject they had been discussing before supper.

"You say you are having an investigation made, doctor?"

"Yes, Mr. Quinn. Mr. Cameron left instructions to do so before he went
to Europe. Some day we may know who Mary Lee's parents were. I feel
sure of that."

"I hope so," answered the older man. "She has done so much for other
folks, I hope we shall be able to do something worth while for her."

Mr. Quinn continued after a pause.

"Do you know, Dr. Anderson, the child has absolute faith that some day
she and her relations, those that are still alive, will be reunited?"

"If that's the case, I think it would not be wise to let Mary Lee know
anything of the search that is being made because something might turn
up to shatter her hopes."

Mr. Quinn nodded understandingly.

A few minutes later, the ladies came out on the porch. The boys had
already gone to their room as was their usual custom.

"Are we all ready for our ride?" the doctor asked.

Aunt Madge nodded. They invited Mr. Quinn to join them, but he had
some last duties to perform and he wanted to retire early. So he bade
the guests good-night.

The next minute the machine was gliding down the road.



CHAPTER IV

FIRST AID


High above, the sun beat down relentlessly. Not a breath of air
stirred. There was the sleepy droning of the everlasting insects, the
number of which seemed always magnified at such a time. There had been
no rain for many a day. The dust was thick along the roads. Now and
then a passing automobile left an instant's breeze to be more than
paid for in the swirl of dust.

A solitary figure was scuffling along wearily. A casual glance marked
him as a knight of the road, a tramp. But if you had stopped to
observe a little more closely, you would have noted that he was not of
that type, unkempt and bedraggled though he appeared.

He had stopped at the last house on the road and then, after no little
hesitation, had asked for a drink of water. He had rested for a few
minutes--then he had gone on. The people in the house had noticed his
obvious weariness and had asked him if he did not wish to rest. But
the evident and simple kindness of the woman, who was Mrs. Quinn, had
seemingly embarrassed the man.

"Thank you kindly, ma'am," he had replied huskily, "but I must be on
my way."

And so he had trudged wearily on. Every move on this hot, breezeless
day was an ache, as if he were stepping on live and tender nerves. He
had been able to make but one half mile in an hour. Then nature could
do no more--and with a sigh, he had fallen to the ground. The heat had
proved his master.

Along the road from the village which was two miles from the house
where he had stopped, came Mary Lee. For her the heat had no terrors.
There was beauty in this day, hot and merciless though it had seemed
but a little while before. And, as you traveled with her, you also
partook of the joy she received from Nature, because, whatever its
guise, it was Nature nevertheless.

  [Illustration: MARY LEE CAME TRIPPING DOWN THE ROAD]

It was months since Dr. Anderson and Aunt Madge had visited her.
Letty and Ruth had come almost every other week after that first
spring visit. She had seen Bob, too, almost the day after he had
arrived from abroad. With him had come his mother and his father. It
had been a wonderful summer for Mary Lee.

How her heart rejoiced at the sight of Bob, who had gotten out of the
auto a little way down the road so that Mary Lee, who had been his
playmate and friend, could see him walk up the road, no longer
crippled but like other boys. Bob had stayed over for a few days. Mr.
and Mrs. Cameron had been greatly pleased with Mary Lee. They were
surprised at the way she had grown and admired the tanned cheeks and
the clear eyes.

Bobbie was to come out again at the end of July and a few days later
Ruth and Edith and Letty were to come. And while all of them were at
the farm, Aunt Madge and Dr. Anderson would drive out.

As Mary Lee came tripping down the road, some of the joy in her was
for the days to come. She was not only thinking of the coming of her
friends but also of September when she would join these friends in
the city and be as one of them. A spirit of gratefulness mingled with
her other emotions as she thought of the rapid changes that had taken
place in the short time she had been out of the orphanage.

"Some day," she said very softly, "I am going to make my friends very
proud that they are my friends." It never occurred to this simple,
lovely little girl, that she had already given them cause for their
pride in the mutual friendship.

"When Bob and the girls come we can visit the Sanitarium. If we can
only get Dr. Anderson to go with us he can explain things to us and in
that way we can learn so much more. Then, too, we can have real
campfires and meetings and Bobbie can visit us as a Boy Scout."

So her mind planned it all, as she hastened along. There was no need
for hurrying, but it was never in the nature of this girl to move
slowly. But often she stopped along the road for there were many
things that drew her interest.

"You poor things," she said to some dry and withered looking ferns
along the way. "I shall practice being a real Red Cross Girl with
you." She hurried into the woods somewhat farther down the road and
from a brooklet brought some water with which to give the ferns new
life.

This act set her to dreaming of her future when she would be a Red
Cross Nurse and of Dr. Anderson who was to give her the opportunity to
gain the necessary experience. It was great work to relieve and cure
the sick.

Then across her line of vision came a blurred form which she could not
make out. She hurried forward. As she neared it she saw the body of a
man lying prone upon the ground.

For one moment there was a scared, helpless feeling within the girl.
There was a great sinking in her heart. She seemed very small, very
helpless. Then from somewhere within her a small voice whispered:

"Mary Lee, you are a Red Cross Girl."



CHAPTER V

MARY LEE WRITES A LETTER


Mary Lee could never remember how she managed to place the unconscious
form of the man against the tree so that the branches would afford
some shade and protection from the sun's merciless heat.

From the gate at which she was standing and from where she was
searching the road for Mary Lee's return, Mrs. Quinn saw the girl
running. She noticed her excitement and so hurried forward to meet
her.

"What is it, dear? What has happened?" she questioned anxiously.

Mary Lee told her. From the account, Mrs. Quinn judged that the man
had had an attack of sunstroke. She calmed the excited girl and
immediately went about obtaining the necessary ice to use on the
stricken man.

The girl found good use for a first aid book which had been presented
to her at one of the Campfire meetings. From it she learned that
mustard on the nape of the neck or the forehead would help to bring a
person back to consciousness. She immediately went into the kitchen
and procured some.

Mr. Quinn was not about and so the two, Mrs. Quinn with the ice and
Mary Lee with the mustard, hurried to the unconscious man, first
sending Tom after Mr. Quinn to bring the carriage to them.

They found him still unconscious. Mary Lee applied the ice and then
put a plentiful supply of the mustard upon the nape of the man's neck.
Then both watched anxiously for signs of a return to consciousness. It
seemed hours before there was a flicker of returning life; as a matter
of fact, it was less than ten minutes. When Mr. Quinn arrived with the
carriage the man had regained consciousness, but he was obviously
quite weak.

"I think we had better take him to the Sanitarium," said Mary Lee,
"they will know what to do there."

Mrs. Quinn agreed. She returned home, her husband driving toward the
Sanitarium, Mary Lee on the rear seat holding the man's head and
applying the ice. The drive was over two miles and during almost all
of that time, the sick man was either too weak to speak or lacked the
inclination to do so.

As they turned into the driveway which led to the hospital, he spoke
in a low, weak voice: "I'm sorry to give you all this trouble, young
lady. It is a misfortune for me as well as for all of you." Then he
paused for a second either through weakness or as if debating
something in his mind.

"I wonder if I can impose on your goodness a little more?" he asked as
the carriage stopped at the entrance and Mr. Quinn went inside to
speak to the proper authorities. "Could you come and see me in the
morning? I must have something attended to tomorrow and I suppose," he
continued wanly and with the ghost of a smile, "I shall have to stay
here at least that long."

"I shall be glad to come," answered Mary Lee. "Please do not worry. I
am sure that it will be but a day or two before you are up and about
again."

An interne and two orderlies now came out of the hospital door with a
stretcher. They carried the sick man into the emergency ward but would
not allow either Mr. Quinn or Mary Lee to follow. They were told that
they would probably be allowed to visit in the morning.

But the man's case was evidently quite serious. Mary Lee called the
next day and was informed that the patient had a high temperature and
that it was impossible to permit any visitors. She was not allowed to
see him until the fourth day. It worried her because of her promise
and the man's evident anxiety to have the "something" attended to at
once. On the fourth day, she was informed that the man was still weak
but had insisted on seeing her. The nurse who spoke to her warned her
not to stay too long.

Even as she opened the door she felt the surcharged eagerness of the
man. He wasted no time in any greetings.

"The doctor tells me I cannot hope to leave here for at least another
week. He claims it is under-nourishment more than the heat." He rested
a moment.

"My name is Tom Marshall," he continued slowly. "I was on my way home
from Mexico where I have been for many years. About two months ago, I
remember the day so well, the home of my mother and father and of my
early youth seemed to be calling to me in a way I could not resist. I
had been away from it for over fifteen years and not once before that
time had I been homesick or felt the desire to go home. But the new
feeling was such that a little boy feels--I wanted my mother more than
anything else in the world.

"My partner and I have a mine down there. We think it is a silver
mine, but so far it has been hard to pinch anything out of it and we
have found it a difficult matter even to exist. My partner is an
Indian but he would shame many white men. I have never known a
squarer, whiter man. He found the mine. We both feel it is certain to
make good some day.

"Enough of that, except to say that I went to him and told him how I
felt. He insisted that I make the trip home. Together, we scraped up
enough money to bring me back about half the distance. I wrote home,
the first letter I had written, I am ashamed to say, in four years. I
told mother that I was coming home and to write me to St. Louis care
of the General Delivery."

The man paused again. He was watching the girl. He seemed to regain
strength.

"I suppose you wonder why I tell you all this. You will soon see. At
St. Louis a letter was waiting for me. It was from my cousin, not from
my mother. I learned that father had died three years ago and that my
mother was very sick. She had been overjoyed at the news that I was
coming. But my cousin advised me to hasten my return, as he considered
my mother's condition extremely serious.

"I got as far as this by freight train, my money having given out at
St. Louis. The headway was slow and yet I could not stop to earn the
money to travel any other way. I have had very little food, how little
I had I never stopped to consider. My one desire has been to get
home."

  [Illustration: THE SICK MAN DICTATES A LETTER]

"You see," the man continued in an eager way, "it seems that all the
desire to see mother that I should have had all these years is crowded
into the present. I had figured on cutting through to the river and
stowing myself in one of the boats which would bring me nearer home;
but the heat and the lack of food were too much for me, and here I
am."

The man paused once more. Mary Lee wondered if she were not staying
too long; if the man were not going past his strength. Yet he seemed
anxious to complete what he had to say.

"I have prayed that my mother live till I reach home. I want her to
know that I am delayed. Will you please write my cousin? Tell him that
I am very near and that I shall soon be well enough, but that he must
not tell mother about my illness, just that I am surely coming. He
must also let me know at once how she is.

"You see, young lady, I cannot write myself just now, as the doctors
think I am still too weak. I wanted this letter written four days ago.
I am sure you will write understandingly. Will you do it for me?"

"I shall be very glad to," answered Mary Lee. "I am going to ask your
cousin to telegraph regarding your mother's condition."

The man nodded as if too spent to talk further. He handed Mary Lee a
crumpled slip of paper on which was written the address for the
letter.



CHAPTER VI

A PICNIC


Ten days later found Tom Marshall home. The telegram had come from his
cousin stating that the condition of his mother was unchanged. Mary
Lee had told the Quinns of the case and Mr. Quinn had paid a visit to
the sick man. He had talked to him for a little while and convinced as
to the truth of the man's story, had offered to lend him the money
which would take him home.

Marshall had returned the money with a letter of thanks immediately
upon his arrival home.

Now the end of July had come. Letty and Ruth and Bob all came from the
city on the same train. There was a delightful meeting at the town
depot, and much happy, excited chattering on the part of the girls. On
the way home, Mary Lee said:

"I have planned a picnic lunch for this afternoon. I know a lovely
spot and then we can take a long walk afterwards."

"I'll tell you what," said Bob. "If we could get some steak or chops I
would give you the best eating you ever had. Father showed me how
campers cook."

That sounded exciting to the girls. It meant, of course, stopping off
at the village general store which in itself was a novelty. Mary Lee
telephoned Mrs. Quinn and obtained permission to make the purchases.
But Bob insisted that the buying of the chops was his part of the
party and insisted so strongly that he won his point.

They drove home and when they passed the spot where Mary Lee had
discovered the unconscious Tom Marshall she showed the place to her
friends and told them the story.

"My, but you were brave, Mary Lee," said Letty admiringly. "I would
have been so frightened I would have fainted."

The guests helped in the preparation for the picnic as did Tom and
Eddie who had also been invited so that Bob wouldn't feel it was a
girls' affair. Besides, Mary Lee knew how much they would like it. It
was after midday before they started on the picnic, and more than a
half hour later before they reached their destination. It was truly a
pleasant spot. A brook was running nearby and the trees grew so
closely together that they formed a regular bower. The girls were so
delighted that they immediately decided to use the place for all
future meetings and named it Campfire Nook. In the meantime Bob and
Eddie were hunting for a large flat rock on which to fry the chops,
while Tom gathered wood.

"Did you girls bring any matches?" suddenly asked Ruth.

Letty looked at Mary Lee, who in turn looked blank.

"Of course, we need matches for a fire," added Letty. "I'll warrant
you Bob forgot all about them too."

It struck the girls as a great joke, even though they were beginning
to be hungry. They decided that they would not say anything to Bob
until he had everything ready and realized for himself that there were
no matches with which to start the fire.

  [Illustration: BOB MAKES HIMSELF USEFUL AT THE PICNIC]

When Eddie and Bob returned the girls said nothing about forgetting
the matches, but waited to see the fun.

But Bob fooled them. He brought forth some matches from his pocket and
lighted the fire in the approved way.

"Did you have them all the time?" asked Letty, somewhat crestfallen.

"Why, of course," answered Bob as if he could never forget so
important a thing, when, as a matter of fact, he had only recalled
that he would need matches at the last moment.

As soon as the big flat stone Eddie found had been cleaned and heated
in the fire, the chops were well seasoned and placed upon it.

The meat smelled and looked so appetizing that the girls stopped their
own preparations to watch it cook.

Bob turned the chops with a would-be fork which he had made from a
small branch, and soon the first supply was ready.

"Isn't Bob clever, to be able to do this?" said Mary Lee as she ate
her chop.

"Aren't they delicious?" commented Letty, while Ruth nodded in assent.

The boys were even more enthusiastic and everyone took a second
helping. It made Bob very happy to have his experiment turn out so
successfully. In addition to the chops there were delightful
sandwiches, and Mrs. Quinn had furnished some delicious fruit and
fresh cake.

After lunch was over, the girls sat about anxious to have a talk. Bob,
Eddie and Tom thought they would like to investigate the source of the
brook and so they were off.

"Aren't you excited about Aunt Madge being married, Mary Lee?" asked
Letty.

"Yes," added Ruth, "and I know who are to be the bridesmaids."

If Ruth expected that this information would cause a commotion, she
was not a bit disappointed.

"You do?" queried Letty.

"Can you tell us?" asked Mary Lee.

Ruth pretended she did not hear them, having found something on one
of the trees which interested her.

Letty and Mary Lee laughingly and excitedly surrounded her, urging her
to give them the information.

"Won't you tell us?" repeated Mary Lee coaxingly.

"Oh, it isn't a secret," answered Ruth, "and I can tell you."

"Well," said Letty decidedly, "I know that you and Mary Lee will be
two of the bridesmaids."

"There are some things you do know, Letty," said Ruth teasingly. "Then
there are other things you do not know."

"I know I am not to be one of them," remarked Mary Lee. She meant it,
too. There were so many nice girls who would naturally be chosen
before her. "But I am sure that Letty will be one. I just feel sure of
that," she added.

"Well, there are some things you also know, but there are many things
you do not," answered Ruth trying hard to be evasive.

Mary Lee and Letty sprang up to encircle Ruth and compel her to give
them the news, but the latter was just as quick in escaping them. Mary
Lee, however, soon caught her and held her so that she could not move.

"Now, will you tell?" asked Letty.

"I was dying to tell all the time," replied Ruth laughingly.

"The bridesmaids will be--" and she paused. "I think I have
forgotten." Mischief was still in her eyes.

Letty pretended to be very threatening, while Mary Lee took a firmer
hold.

"Oh, yes," continued Ruth, "now I remember. They are to be Edith--and,
of course, you sillies, we are the other three."

The conversation then changed to what they would wear, for to all of
them the coming occasion was one of the most important of their lives.

"What will you wear?" asked Mary Lee. She was excited over what the
two friends intended to wear even though she knew that she herself
would have to wear her party dress which was a simple little white
organdie with a pink sash. She was thankful though she had a leghorn
hat with pink streamers. Her white canvas slippers with lisle
stockings would have to do.

"What do you girls think of my wearing my pink crepe-de-chine dress
and my new pink hat with those pretty rosebuds and foliage encircling
the crown, and pink slippers and stockings?" asked Letty.

"I know I am not going to be anywhere up to you, Letty. I can only
wear my white dress over pink China silk and a white hat with a very
pale pink bow, and white buckskin slippers with white silk stockings,"
said Ruth.

"Well, no matter what we may wear," said Letty, "Mary Lee will be the
prettiest of us all. Tell us your plans, Mary Lee," she added.

"Mine are very simple, for it isn't hard to decide when you haven't
many things to pick from," was the unembarrassed answer. "I haven't
much else than my white organdie party dress."

After discussing what they would wear at the wedding the girls next
talked over their plans for school the coming fall.

"The nicest part of it all is that you are to stay with me," said
Letty to Mary Lee.

Just then there was a shout from the boys who were on the other side
of the brook, so the girls hurried forward to meet them.

It was now after five o'clock and time to go home. Bob and Mary Lee
managed to walk along together.

"Well, Bob," asked the girl, "what are you going to do this fall?"

"I'm to go to the academy, father says. He wants me to mingle with
other boys. I shall be glad to do so, too."

"You and your father are great friends now, aren't you?" questioned
Mary Lee.

"We certainly are. Dad's great and he teaches me many things," the boy
replied. "I tell you, it's wonderful to be like other boys and be able
to do what they do. It seems to me I will never cease marveling at it.
Do you know, Mary Lee," the boy continued, "both mother and father
think just everything of you? Father often says that your coming
seemed to bring rays of sunshine into our house which have always
stayed."

The girl blushed. "How kind they are to say such delightful things,"
she exclaimed. "It is glorious to have such friends," she continued
gratefully.

Letty and Ruth joined them at this moment. The house was now but a
little way down the road. Both Bob and Mary Lee were glad to have had
this talk, short though it was.



CHAPTER VII

VISITING THE SANITARIUM


Aunt Madge and Dr. Anderson were to come out two days later. There was
so much to do in these two days, however, that the time flew quickly.
Mary Lee did not neglect her duties but with the help of her friends
she was able to get through early so that most of the day was free.
The first picnic lunch had been so successful that they had
unanimously planned for another. There were, however, so many other
things to do that it was put off for the arrival of the newcomers.

Dr. Anderson brought his car and almost in the first moment of his
arrival had made plans for a long ride, but Mary Lee reminded him of
her plan to visit the Sanitarium.

"Well, Mary Lee," he agreed good humoredly. "Of course, it will be
talking shop for me to take you youngsters through, but if that is
what you wish, I will gladly do so."

"Suppose we take our ride later," suggested Bob, who felt more at
liberty to suggest than the others because Aunt Madge was his aunt and
Dr. Anderson would soon be his uncle. "We could stay out late and you
could return to town in the morning."

Aunt Madge laughed. "It's not so easily planned as all that, but even
then I think we can manage."

Dr. Anderson telephoned the hospital as soon as they reached the
house. He obtained permission almost at once to go through with his
party. His business with Mr. Quinn was transacted in half an hour and
so it was still quite early in the morning when they reached the
hospital. It was a large institution which made a specialty of certain
kinds of cases, but it also had an emergency ward.

The doctor explained so thoroughly, yet so simply, to his listeners as
they went through the operating rooms, etc., that they could not help
having a good conception of the necessary treatment of the sick.

In the midst of an explanation he saw Mary Lee's attention centered on
a nurse who was taking the temperature of a patient.

"Yes, Mary Lee, that is what you will be doing some day. You have made
a splendid choice of profession. It will take many years--there is
much you must learn. I know," he continued, jestingly, "folks will be
glad to get sick just so that they can have Dr. Anderson treat them
and Nurse Mary Lee take care of them."

"It isn't going to take as many years as you think," loyally replied
Bob, taking up the cudgels, "for Mary Lee has already begun." And he
told Aunt Madge and the doctor of Tom Marshall. To Bob, because he was
a boy, the part that had to do with the silver mine in Mexico was
important and so he dwelt upon it.

"Tom Marshall told Mary Lee that he has a partner who is an Indian and
who is a whiter and squarer man than many white men," concluded the
boy.

For one moment, Dr. Anderson wondered at this last remark the boy had
made.

"An Indian for a partner, eh?" he remarked. Then he laughed at the
foolishness of his thought. Of course, there could be no connection
between Jim Lee, the Indian who had been a servant to Mary Lee's
mother out West, and this Indian Bob had spoken about.

"You didn't say what the Indian's name was, did you?" he asked.

Mary Lee answered, "No, I never thought to ask."

"Well, let's be on," Dr. Anderson said, casting away all thoughts and
conjectures as to the possibilities along this line. "That was a good
home remedy you applied to the man, Mary Lee," he continued, changing
the subject by referring to the mustard the girl had applied for the
sunstroke.

It was long past the time for lunch when they left the hospital.
Probably Mary Lee learned more than any one of the others from this
visit, for everything had been of such vital interest to her. She
remembered much of what the doctor had told them.

Immediately after the late lunch which Mrs. Quinn had prepared for
them they started out. The girls noticed with astonishment that Aunt
Madge was driving the auto.

"Oh, yes," she replied in answer to their exclamations, "Dr. Anderson
taught me. I find it easy to drive here in comparison with the city.
It isn't hard," she added with all the certainty of one who has
already learned.

"Tell you what, Madge, dear, I'll teach one or two of these
youngsters. Shall I?"

"What a fine idea," Aunt Madge replied, giving up her seat.

Neither Letty nor Ruth would attempt it, however. Bob already knew,
but Mary Lee welcomed the opportunity of learning.

Dr. Anderson found her an apt pupil and after the first hour he let
her drive the car alone, taking the precaution, of course, of keeping
his foot on the emergency clutch. At the end of another half hour, the
doctor replaced her and put on extra speed.

The car whizzed along now. At four o'clock he found a suitable place
and stopped. The whole party got out and made themselves comfortable.

Aunt Madge broke the news of the girls' appointment as bridesmaids.

"Too bad, Bob, you are not quite old enough, or I would make you my
best man," said the doctor.

"At any rate, I'll be there," the boy replied. But the girls were not
listening. They were eagerly discussing their plans with Aunt Madge.
The doctor and Bob looked at them with much amusement and then walked
down past the car and on.

It was soon time to return, however. Long after seven the party
reached the house. Neither Aunt Madge nor Dr. Anderson could stay over
and they began their long trip home.

The girls and Bob were a tired, happy lot and retired almost at once.



CHAPTER VIII

PREPARATIONS FOR THE WEDDING


At last September came. Mary Lee reached the city ready for school and
her duties as bridesmaid. She had left the Quinn home with mixed
feeling; sadness at parting from such good friends and joy at the
thought of entering new experiences; it was exhilarating to come to a
turning point in life.

For the Quinns, however, Mary Lee's departure had brought only sorrow.
They tried hard to be unselfish, to be glad for her sake. But they
felt intuitively that she had gone for good, that she would never
return, and their attempt to appear glad, if the truth must be told,
was a sorry failure.

Mrs. Cameron had taken it for granted that when Mary Lee came to the
city, she would make her home with them, and Ruth had hopes of having
her stay at her house. Letty, however, had insistently claimed that
Mary Lee should stay with her. In fact, Mary Lee had been Letty's
guest the very first night. Considerable debate came up the second day
over this question, when Mary Lee and Letty had called for Ruth and
the three had made a call on Mrs. Cameron. Dr. Anderson had been a
luncheon guest and was still there when the girls arrived as, of
course, was Aunt Madge.

The argument as to where Mary Lee should stay became quite heated
although it was carried on with good nature. Each one was insistent
about carrying her point. The prospective guest, and Aunt Madge as
well as the doctor had found the discussion amusing and the latter, in
particular, man like, poked fun at all of them.

"Well, Mary Lee," he remarked, "no one would class you as an
undesirable. Nor could you be considered in the light of a poor
relation."

"From the way you folks talk," added Aunt Madge, "one would never
infer that the victim had any rights in the matter nor that there
might be a possibility that she would have a preference as to where
she would like to stay."

Nothing could have flustered Mary Lee more than this. She showed such
distress and embarrassment at any likelihood of having to decide the
argument, that Aunt Madge took instant pity upon her. She regretted
her interference and came quickly to the relief of the girl.

"No," she interposed. "On second thought, we shouldn't let her decide.
I'm certain that it would be pleasant for Mary Lee at any of your
homes."

"Yes," said Dr. Anderson, "we must keep her out of this important
discussion, slave that she is," he added with mock ferocity.

Everyone laughed but Letty. She was so anxious to have the question
decided in her favor that she did not even hear what Dr. Anderson had
just said. She had listened with some dismay and misgiving to the
first suggestion that Mary Lee be allowed to choose her own home. The
new Letty dared not hope that she would be chosen in preference to
Ruth and Mrs. Cameron.

"I know what we will do," Dr. Anderson said. "We two, I mean," and he
nodded his head toward Aunt Madge to avoid calling her name. One of
the delightful things about him was that he could not overcome the
habit, try as he would, of blushing when mentioning his fiancee by
name. Worst of all, their friends were acquainted with this
characteristic. He was annoyed with himself for not being able to
overcome it, and, wisely so he thought he had decided to avoid the
amused watchfulness of these friends by failing to mention her by
name. This time, he was fairly caught.

"Which two do you mean?" Mary Lee asked innocently even as Aunt Madge,
Mrs. Cameron and the girls watched him with laughing eyes. "Which
two?" the girl repeated.

Dr. Anderson scowled.

"Why, Madge and myself," he replied and then could feel himself
turning brick red even though he made every effort to appear
unconcerned. And while they all laughed, he continued as if he did not
hear them:

"Madge and I will be the judges as to where Mary Lee is to stay. You
are all to prove prior rights as they do in all claims upon valuable
property."

Neither Mrs. Cameron nor Ruth, however, could bring forth any such
proof except that the former had never considered that there could be
any question about it. As for Ruth, she had just hoped that Mary Lee
would naturally want to stay with her.

"Well, then," triumphantly declared Letty, "Mary Lee was invited by me
long, long ago, when she first moved out to the farm. Weren't you,
Mary Lee?" she asked as she pointed an excited finger straight at the
girl. She was so much in earnest that it raised another laugh.

"I was," answered Mary Lee, and in her heart there was a great warmth
and affection for all these dear friends who were so earnest in their
desire to have her stay with them and in particular for this
warm-hearted, impetuous Letty.

"The jury will now retire," said Dr. Anderson.

Aunt Madge and he went into a far corner and were in earnest
discussion for several minutes. Finally they returned.

"We, the jury, decided that Mary Lee is to stay with Letty. But--" and
the doctor paused impressively--"she is to make long visits to the
other claimants at reasonable times, and in view of the valuable
services of the jury she is to make equally long visits to the jury
after a certain very happy event takes place."

There was more laughter and general satisfaction on the part of all.

Before the girls left Mrs. Cameron called Mary Lee aside for a moment.

"My dear," she said, "I have ordered a party gown for you to wear at
the wedding. Can't you stay here until tomorrow and try it on?"

Mary Lee was greatly distressed. "Oh, I'm so sorry, Mrs. Cameron, but
I can't accept your wonderful gift. You are so kind and it is so very
tempting." She paused.

"You see," she continued, "I have my pretty white organdie dress which
is almost new. I do not wish to become further indebted to any of you;
you have all been so kind and I already owe you so much. I just hoped
that my simple dress would do. Dear Mrs. Cameron, I hope so to earn
enough to pay my way while in the city in order that I can be
self-reliant."

Mrs. Cameron thought for a moment. It was a little hard to overcome
her disappointment. She had set her heart upon this gift.

"You know," continued Mary Lee, and there were tears in her eyes at
the disappointment she was causing, "I appreciate your kindness so
much. But I do hope you can see my side of it," she concluded.

"You shall have your way, my dear," answered Mrs. Cameron bravely and
wholeheartedly, as she took the girl in her arms and gave her a good,
motherly hug.



CHAPTER IX

DR. PAYSON EMPLOYS MARY LEE


The week of the wedding arrived. It proved a feverish time for them
all. The days flew swiftly. The two preceding weeks had been a mad
rush, so they all thought, and they now decided that these last days
fittingly capped the climax. For the girls, this last week brought the
important--but up to now, neglected--event of school opening strongly
to their attention. It was to take place three days after the wedding.
There was need to plan and prepare for that as well.

It was Mary Lee who found time to be of help to everyone. The
excitement left her untouched. There were things she also had to plan
and do, yet she proved a blessing to the harrassed and distracted
bride who preferred her help to that of anyone else. The girl also was
able to help Mrs. Cameron whose responsibilities as matron and
hostess were great. Ruth, too, usually independent, welcomed her help.
As for Letty, full of the excitement of these days, it required all of
Mary Lee's strength of mind to counteract the desire of the former to
stay up night after night to discuss the coming events. Mary Lee was
the necessary balance for such a nature as Letty's.

With all this, Mary Lee set to work to carry out certain other plans
that had nothing to do with either of the two important events. And,
strangely, too, she was able to enlist the services of Dr. Anderson at
this time.

That poor man, with each day's nearer approach to the event found
himself of less and less importance. There was little opportunity to
see his fiancee who was enmeshed in numberless engagements with
dressmakers and, so it seemed to him, with everybody in town but
himself.

Mary Lee found him in this frame of mind on the morning she called at
his office, only three days before the wedding. She had been surprised
to find that he would be glad to see her at any time, when she called
him on the telephone.

"I didn't dare expect that I could see you so soon," she apologized
after greetings had been exchanged. "All I could do was to hope for
it."

The doctor, however, gave no sign of being very busy. On the contrary,
he seemed to indicate that he had prepared for a long and pleasant
visit with her.

"I haven't a thing to do," he remarked. "I turned over my practice for
the next two months to Dr. Stewart on the presumption that I could be
fairly useful to _her_ and because, so I thought, of the opportunities
I would have to see _her_. Then, too, I had a large number of things
that required attention.

"And," he added with a wry face, "I have found plenty of time to
attend to the things that required attention, for, lo and behold, I
find _her_ without any time for me and the kind of help I can give
_her_, she doesn't need. So you see, Mary Lee, I have lots of time on
my hands and am glad of the chance to see any friends who have time
for me."

"Dr. Anderson," the girl came directly to the subject nearest her
heart, "I wondered if you would not know someone who perhaps would be
in need of the services of a girl like myself for after school hours."

The doctor whistled in amazement.

"Honestly, young lady, you are a creature of surprises. What made you
think of that, when there are so many of your friends who would make
you more than welcome?"

"I know they would," the girl replied, "but I shall never feel content
to live on their bounty and I shall only be happy when I am as
independent as is possible."

"You are right, Mary Lee," he agreed in hearty approval. "It is the
only normal thing to do. Well," and he paused in deep thought. He knew
that Mary Lee would be mortified if he should suggest that he employ
her, for that would make it seem as if she were bidding for a position
in his office in an indirect way. He knew her well enough to be quite
certain that it would be best to place her elsewhere.

"I shall see some of my friends who are likely to need an able
assistant part time. Of course, with the training you desire you
naturally would prefer a doctor's office."

Mary Lee nodded in assent. After a few inquiries as to the hours the
girl would be able to give to the new duties and a friendly warning,
which the doctor decided was almost unnecessary as to the demands of
employers, the subject was changed and the conversation changed to
Aunt Madge. The girl tried hard to give the doctor an idea of how busy
his fiancee was, the many things that needed attention and the
tremendous amount of preparations necessary for it. Even though he had
but a small conception of it all, she felt that she had made him
understand a little more closely.

At the end of a half hour, she departed after thanking him warmly for
his interest.

The doctor was prompt in making inquiries. One of his friends, Dr.
Payson, could use Mary Lee's services after school hours and Saturday
mornings. But he would also need her at ten o'clock for one hour on
two mornings of each week.

Dr. Anderson immediately called her up with the good news.

"Of course, it does not pay much, but Payson will probably find you
useful and give you every opportunity to learn. It will be good
experience and of great help to you later, when you enter training
school. The money it pays is as much as three dollars every week," the
doctor added laughingly and apologetically.

But if that sum did not seem big to him, it did to Mary Lee and she
told him so. It had been more than she had expected. The only hitch
was the question of being free at ten on two school mornings.

She consulted Letty in reference to this and received the welcome
assurance from her that study hours were often arranged so that free
time could be obtained.

She called on Dr. Payson with Dr. Anderson. He proved to be a kindly,
middle aged man and from all appearances seemed satisfied as to her
possible usefulness to him. Mary Lee did not know that Dr. Anderson
had given a full account of her sense of responsibility and likable
qualities and that it was his enthusiastic recommendation that had
persuaded his friend to try Mary Lee instead of employing an older
assistant for full time.

"Well, Mary," he started to say, but Dr. Anderson interrupted him.

"Not Mary, Payson, not Mary. This young lady's name is Mary Lee. Be
sure to remember the Lee. We sometimes think that her mother did not
name her Lee after a loyal Indian, as she would have us believe, but
because she wanted her little girl's name to sound as if it were
Mer-ri-ly. That name fits her."

As Mary Lee blushed, Dr. Payson remarked laughingly, "I am sure I
shall find her very pleasant and agreeable. I shall also be sure to
remember that it is Mary Lee I am to call her, in the future."



CHAPTER X

AUNT MADGE IS MARRIED


Aunt Madge had always been a firm believer in simplicity and she made
that the predominating tone of the ceremony. She had a fair share of
worldly riches and yet she had not, as our readers who have grown to
know her must readily realize, ever made use of her wealth for garish
display. There was a fine dignity and charm about the ceremony of the
marriage that came through the gifted touch of true womanhood.

It was at an old church, beautiful, stately and with that atmosphere
that brings of itself devoutness, religious fervor and conviction. A
wonderful organ played, as down the aisle came Ruth and Edith,
followed by Letty and Mary Lee. The four girls were as fair as the
flowers they carried and made a charming picture that brought forth a
murmur of admiration. About them, too, as if to fit in with the
entire impressiveness, was a sense of quiet and repose that to those
who knew them measured the significance and importance of the event
for them.

Mrs. Cameron as matron of honor followed, and Dr. Payson escorted the
bride. The bridegroom? He had been waiting with Dr. Payson, his best
man, at the altar throughout the entire ordeal. But we shall speak of
him a little later, for our eyes are upon the bride as she goes,
slowly and yet in perfect time of music, down the broad aisle to the
altar.

All brides are beautiful. And yet, Margaret Cameron made a picture
that was to stay in the minds of those present for many a day. One
stores away memories and impressions of that kind.

We are so built that everything must be symbolized. For as one thinks
of green woods, there is sure to come the picture of one certain spot,
one certain nook to symbolize it; so, for many of those present, there
would, in the same way, come a picture of Margaret Cameron as she
appeared that day, whenever thereafter weddings and brides were spoken
about. The fineness of her! She carried a shower bouquet of white
roses and lilies of the valley. Her head-dress was very becoming--a
bridal veil prettily arranged--and her gown was a simple creation of
white satin draped gracefully, trimmed with some rare old lace which
belonged to her mother, and which had adorned her bridal gown.

We wish we could defy the conventional and the expected and say for
the groom that he was fully at ease, self-contained, in full command
of the situation. Poor man, we wish we could say it and remain
truthful. We could not do both. Never was any man more in need of
help. Dr. Payson had a busy time of it. His whispered instructions
fell on deaf ears, the owner of which was too scared to even hear. At
the proper time, too, he was almost dragged to the proper place.

He did, however, manage to answer, "I will" distinctly. And as if that
had been the goal, once he did that, some of his composure came back
to him.

Dr. Payson always insisted thereafter that his friend had primed
himself for the "I will" and was unequal to anything else.

"Why, I actually felt sorry for him," he said. "His knees were
trembling and knocking against each other. I couldn't make out the
thing he was mumbling but I feel certain he was only rehearsing to
himself 'I will, I will, I will.'"

There was the usual rush of friends after the Reverend Dr. Arthur had
tied the knot, and the shower of congratulations. It was the plan of
the married couple to leave at once. To the new benedict, it seemed,
however, that the number of their friends was unlimited and the time
they took to offer their good wishes hours and hours. But all things
have an end and so the Andersons were off at last. Mrs. Anderson had
found the opportunity for an affectionate leave-taking from her girls
and also from Bob Cameron. She had promised to write to them, too.

Some of the tenseness of the last few days seemed to go with the
couple. Mrs. Cameron sighed with relief--relief over the fact that
there had been no hitch and that the event had gone through so
smoothly. Belief, too, that the worry and bustle were over.

For the girls there came a moment of reaction. Just what would take
the place of the excitement and planning of the last few weeks? School
seemed tame in comparison. Even the fact that Mary Lee had procured a
position for some of her spare time had not created the furore that it
would have under ordinary circumstances.

"It certainly seems strange to think of Aunt Madge as Mrs. Anderson,
doesn't it?" asked Ruth as the party started for the door.

"And I suppose that's what we'll have to call her, too, instead of
Aunt Madge," added Letty ruefully.

"And precious little we shall see of her from now on, I suppose," was
Edith's contribution.

"I declare when I grow up I just won't marry and desert my friends, I
just won't." The sense of injury was growing stronger and it was so
voiced by Letty.

The rest of the girls laughed at her.

"You'll be the very first one, Letty dear," Mary Lee answered her, as
she gave the impetuous Letty an affectionate hug. "Come, girls, let's
plan for school," she added.

Dr. Payson was just entering his car as they came to the street.

"Don't forget, Mary Lee," he called to her. "Be sure to report on
time."

"I certainly will," answered Mary Lee.



CHAPTER XI

BUSY DAYS


Ten days later school was already in full swing. Mary Lee had been
placed in a grade lower than her friends because she had lost so much
time while at the orphanage and at the Quinns. She had been able to
arrange for the necessary spare time and so was able to become Dr.
Payson's "assistant," as he jokingly called her.

Each of the girls had received a card from the Andersons who were now
in the Adirondacks and who were to remain there for several weeks.
Mary Lee had also received a letter from Tom Marshall, forwarded to
her by Mrs. Quinn. He was on his way to Mexico and he told her that
his mother had died, but so peacefully that it had left him no
bitterness. His sorrow held only the regret that he had not been more
with his mother during the last few years. He thanked Mary Lee again
for her help and voiced the hope that he would see her again some day.

Pleasant days followed each other. The girl enjoyed her work at Dr.
Payson's office as much as she did school. What time she did not
devote to her studies and to the office was spent agreeably with the
other girls.

It had been decided to hold the Campfire meetings on Friday nights and
the girls were doing fairly well in the absence of their leader, Aunt
Madge. Following Mary Lee's example, they were desirous of being Red
Cross girls.

Ruth, who was secretary, was instructed to write to the Red Cross
Committee volunteering the services of the seven girls.

"What can we do?" Alice Brown, one of the girls, pessimistically
asked.

"Why, we can make bandages, after a few lessons," replied Mary Lee.

"And some of us can sew and knit," added Letty.

"Oh," said Alice, as if a light had struck her. "Why of course."

Before they could get a reply to their letter, the President and
Congress had declared war against Germany. This made them doubly eager
for their answer and with the idea of preparing ahead of time, at Mary
Lee's suggestion, they immediately invited Miss Walker, a friend of
Mrs. Anderson, who was a trained nurse, to teach them how to make such
bandages as might be needed. Miss Walker readily consented to give one
evening a week to teaching them.

The war came somewhat close to Mary Lee when Dr. Payson told her that
he intended to answer the first call for physicians.

"Would you like to come along?" he asked her jestingly.

The girl took his question seriously and for a moment was not sure.
She pictured the wounded and dying with her ready imagination and felt
as if she would not be equal to it.

Then a new and clearer thought came.

"If I'm to be a nurse," she said determinedly to herself, "I mustn't
think of such things. I mustn't think of myself at all."

But Dr. Payson, who had watched the serious minded girl with
considerable amusement, added:

"There isn't any need for sudden decision on your part. I'm afraid you
couldn't come even if you would. You are somewhat young, for one
thing, and I hope there won't ever come a time when they will need
anybody so young," he concluded as a serious look came into his eyes.

Then he changed the subject and went into a detailed explanation of
what was to be done with a case that was to come in a little later
that day, and how he would expect Mary Lee to assist him. She listened
carefully as she was anxious to get practical experience.

"I wish I could have you here all the time," Dr. Payson remarked a
little later. "You are such a help. I tell you this because I feel
sure it won't turn your head."

The girl flushed with gratification and vowed to herself that she
would give her very best to her work always. And although Dr. Payson
did not add it, he had noticed with considerable satisfaction how neat
the girl was and how strong a point she made of keeping things in
order.

In the midst of a number of questions one afternoon, a sudden thought
struck her and she stopped short.

"I'm sorry, Dr. Payson, I should not be bothering you with my many
questions," she remarked contritely. "I didn't realize before, how
many I ask."

"You are not bothering me," he answered with decision. "I want you to
ask questions; in that way I shall be able to get your best help, so
be sure you always do."

After that Mary Lee, taking him at his word, never hesitated. In this
way she was learning much and daily growing more efficient.

Letty, for one, was keenly interested in Mary Lee's position and at
such time when she was free she begged to be allowed to go with her to
Dr. Payson's office. But excepting Saturday mornings when Dr. Payson
did not come to the office, Mary Lee, much as she would have liked to
have Letty with her, had to reluctantly refuse permission. She felt
that the situation was not play and even on the Saturday mornings that
Letty did come she made her help in getting things in order.

School events were now in full swing. Mary Lee became a member of the
Basket Ball Team because of her quickness and strength. At the same
time Letty was made a substitute.

At one of the Campfire meetings Mary Lee suggested to the other girls
that they start a large Junior Red Cross Group at High School.

The idea took like wildfire at school and over forty girls made
application at the first meeting.

The idea had the enthusiastic backing of Miss James who was a teacher
in English at the school and who had been made the director of the
group by the faculty.

"Suppose," said Miss James, "we form a Committee on Plans. There will
be so much to do and so many in the school who will be anxious to join
that we should have plans formed."

The girls all agreed. Besides Miss James seven girls were appointed,
and Mary Lee, Letty and Ruth were three of them.

As if to help the Committee on Plans the answer from the Red Cross
Committee came to Ruth the next morning.

Ruth read the letter through breathlessly, and then hurried over to
meet Letty and Mary Lee before their departure for school.

The two girls were just leaving the house as Ruth turned the corner.

"Mary Lee, Letty!" she called to them excitedly and waved the letter.

Passers-by stopped and smiled at the girl and her excitement but she
was heedless of the stir she was causing.

Mary Lee and Letty turned at the call and hurried to meet her.

"I've got the letter! I've got the letter!" she exclaimed.

"Will they let us do anything? What do they say? Let's sit down and
read it," Letty responded with great eagerness.

Mary Lee, not a bit less excited, turned to see where they could sit
down.

"Let's sit down here," she directed and the three girls seated
themselves on the steps of Letty's house. Mary Lee then immediately
turned to the letter.

It was of considerable length. It told the girls that the help they
could give at the time was threefold. While some of it might not at
first thought be the Red Cross work, as they probably had associated
their idea of it, it was, as they would realize after a little
thought, the best kind of Red Cross help. The letter closed very
nicely, after outlining the things they could do, with an appreciation
of their offer which was so opportune and the assurance that their
help was greatly needed.

"My," said Mary Lee, "it's like ready made plans for our committee.
Let's hurry and show it to Miss James. We'll be late if we stop and
talk it over, there is so much to consider."

So the girls hurried to school with a consciousness that the
opportunity for service was straight ahead of them and in definite,
concrete form.

After the first period, the three girls were free and they
immediately hastened to see Miss James.

"It is perfectly splendid, isn't it?" was her comment after reading
the letter through. "I wonder how many of the rest of the committee
can be excused so that we can go over this letter at once."

Two of the other girls could come and they did. Miss James then read
the letter aloud.

"You see, girls, they want us to plan along three different lines.
First, and this is the plan that we all had--we should turn to making
useful things which would be used by our soldiers and our allies. You
see, they want us to be very practical about this.

"Second, they want every member of this group to help in the planting
of some vegetable garden. That is a splendid practical idea, not hard
to follow and it should prove of great benefit inasmuch as the food
supply of the country would be materially increased.

"Third, they want us to form a division whose work will be to call
attention of households to the great need of eliminating luxuries, and
being economical and frugal. That, too, is possible for us to do.

"Of course, young ladies, we by ourselves can do our share. But it
helps to know that there are to be other groups like our own formed
throughout the country--for that means we shall be a part of a very
big thing."

"Isn't it fine?" Mary Lee added with great enthusiasm. "President
Wilson said the other day that help, such as this, is just as
necessary and useful as the service the soldier gives."

"We'll call a meeting of the group tomorrow afternoon, shall we?"
asked Miss James. "This afternoon we can get a report into definite
shape."

"But, Miss James," interrupted Letty. "If we have our meeting this
afternoon, Mary Lee cannot be present. She is at Dr. Payson's; nor can
she come tomorrow afternoon, or any afternoon."

Miss James turned to Mary Lee who nodded her head in confirmation.

"You see," she remarked apologetically, "I work afternoons and
Saturday mornings at Dr. Payson's office. But please," the girl added,
"you have your meeting and I'll help as I can."

"Well, there's one thing we know--we want Mary Lee with us, don't we
girls?" asked Miss James.

The girls agreed with decisive unanimity.

"So we will have our meetings at seven tonight and tomorrow, if all of
you can arrange to have an early dinner. I hope that this is
satisfactory. And in the meantime, girls, think about this and about
any ideas that are practical and feasible. Above everything else, let
us prove that we are a very practical, useful group."

It was almost time for the next period and so the girls made their way
to their classrooms.



CHAPTER XII

INDIAN JIM'S LUCKY STRIKE


With the reader's permission we shall turn our attention to Tom
Marshall who was returning to Mexico at the time we last heard of him.
He had left his Indian partner prospecting there, for both of them had
hopes in the possibilities of the mine despite its apparent
fruitlessness.

There was a warm friendship between the two men who had grown to know
each other in their solitude. It was the Indian who had urged Tom to
make his trip home and who had insisted that the latter take most of
their small capital on hand for his expenses.

His return was at best a weary trip. He had left the train at El Paso,
then had made his way westward and at a lonely point had crossed over
into Mexico. Despite the outlaw bands everywhere he had no trouble on
the way, although he had been on the road for over two weeks.

He had now quickened his pace for he was on the last lap. His
weariness fell from him like a discarded mantle. In his heart was a
great eagerness to see his friend and still a hope that he had proved
successful. A rather vague hope--for the man's optimism which had
always been strong, in the last few years had received some severe
jolts.

At last he could see their hut. He could make out the figure of the
Indian carrying water toward it. He hastened his step.

The keen ear of the Indian must have heard him, for he suddenly stood
erect and with his eyes shaded by his left hand he searched the road.
Then he saw Marshall approaching. He watched him for a moment,
motionless, without any semblance of feeling. Then suddenly he
answered the waving, shouting greeting of his partner with a whoop and
no less swiftly and eagerly hurried forward to meet him.

"Hello, Tom, I'm glad to see you."

"No less than I am, old man. It's good to get back and I certainly
missed you."

The Indian smiled his pleasure. He had associated so long with the
white people that he spoke, except at rare moments, after the manner
of his white brothers. Even his habits, thoughts and manners were no
different and to the ordinary observer it would have been impossible
to recognize him as an Indian, except for his copper-hued complexion.

"I'm sorry about your mother, Tom, but it was a blessed thing for you
to have been home before she passed away."

"That is was, partner. But I had some time getting there." And he went
into the story of how he made his way, and how sickness had overcome
him.

"I don't know what I would have done without the help of a little
angel of mercy who took me to the hospital, wrote home for me and then
saw to it that I got enough money to get home."

The Indian listened interestedly.

"Now tell me what has happened here," Tom added.

"Well, I've had some proof that there is silver here. Not much proof,
but some. I have been waiting for you to come back so that we could
rig up another block and tackle and bore and go to it at a certain
point that may show results. I think there is some chance of its
proving 'pay dirt.'"

"I shall be ready at any time," replied Tom. "It would be splendid if
we could make a strike, wouldn't it?"

The Indian nodded his head; then as something came to his mind, he
added:

"Barton is coming this way tomorrow and we can get him to bring us
some things we need from the States. He'll be back next week."

"Good," replied Marshall. "I will also give him a few letters I want
mailed."

Tom turned to the writing of his letters. One was to his cousin. He
wrote a short note to Mary Lee thanking her for her letter which he
received at El Paso. He spoke of his partner and of the bare
possibility of finding silver in plenty at the mine.

The Indian smoked his pipe while his partner was writing, watching him
with a feeling of contentment. He had been very lonesome for him. He
was of the type that become strongly attached to people and the
acquaintance of this man now so busily writing was the second of his
great friendships. Now his mind wandered a little back to the time,
more than twelve years before, when he had had other friends.

He was brought back to the present with a start.

"Here is that little girl that did so much for me," Marshall, unaware
of the flow of his friend's thoughts, interrupted, as he handed the
envelope and letter to him.

The man looked at the envelope with passing interest. But even as he
looked, a strange thrill came over him. He rubbed his eyes and looked
again. Were his eyes playing tricks with his wandering thoughts? He
rubbed them again. Then he turned to his partner who was watching him
curiously.

What was this miracle that brought the past back to him? Surely it was
naught but a trick, a coincidence!

To Tom Marshall, watching him with increasing interest, the Indian
turned questioningly, and even as he turned there suddenly came to
the white man similarity of names, for his partner was named Jim Lee.
Yet, surely the girl was not Indian.

Jim Lee's emotion brought his words back to the beauty of Indian
phrasing.

"The Great Spirit gives strange proof of his greatness. My partner,
who is very dear to me, will listen while I tell him the story of what
has been.

"Fifteen years ago and even more, I was up in Alaska. A man, a
stranger to me, risked his life and saved mine. More than that, he
shared the little he had with me, through the long winter, even though
he went hungry often. That was brave and it was good. So I, who had no
call of bloodfolk, found my call there. Stewart and I, we did things,
but it brought no returns in white man's gold. Then this man returned
to where his family was waiting and he was sorrowful that he could
bring no wealth. I went with him. Could I do more?

"A fine man was he. The Great Spirit called him about three years
later and he answered. And even as he passed on to the Great Beyond,
he turned to me and wished that I would do what I could for his loved
ones.

"It was little enough I could do, but that little I did. Gentle and
kind was Mrs. Stewart; and little Mary, but two years old, was a great
playmate. The days were cheerful and even comfortable. Mrs. Stewart
named Mary--Mary Lee--for two reasons: For me, and because it sounded
as if it were Merri-ly. And a merry spirit she was.

"The little girl was eight years old when the Great Spirit called
again and this time Mrs. Stewart made answer. A sorry time it was; but
sorrier days were to come, for they who plan things decided that Jim
Lee, because he was an Indian, was not the proper person to take care
of one who was dearer than all life to him.

"They took the little girl away even as she cried and would not go.
She went East and they would not tell me where. And then I decided
that perhaps it was better so. She was young and would forget. Perhaps
she would be happier.

"And now you come and bring back--from out of the past--news of a very
dear one. So blame me not, if I am moved. I shall leave you, my
brother, for an hour or so, for I would be alone."

The Indian walked out of the hut. For more than three hours Tom
Marshall was alone. Then Lee returned, but he offered no comment and
the white man respected his wish for silence.

"Shall I write and tell Mary Lee that you are here?" Tom Marshall
inquired the next morning. "Or, perhaps you would like to write to her
yourself?"

Lee made no answer for a moment and seemed to be debating the
question.

"No, thank you, I think not. We will wait," he finally decided.

Barton came the next morning and took the mail and also promised to do
the necessary shopping for them.

The two men turned to the work in hand. It was not long before they
were ready for further drilling and before the month was up they were
fairly assured of prospective success. If the vein did not "peter out"
their fortune was certain.

But they made no mention of their probable success to the one or two
stray Mexicans who passed. They would not be in possession very long
if the news were made public.

Jim Lee had by now received all the information that Marshall could
give him of Mary Lee. Moreover he had made Tom repeat it to him a
dozen times at least.

On the day when their success was no longer in doubt, Tom was painting
in glowing colors his plans and what he would do with his share of the
mine. The Indian, however, gave no inkling of his intentions. Tom
noticed the fact.

"What are you going to do with your share, Jim?" he asked.

"My share is for Mary Lee. It could not be otherwise."

Tom nodded understandingly. He already realized how much the Indian's
loyalty and faith were wrapped up in the girl. It was because of the
debt his partner owed to Stewart and because of his added devotion to
the girl.

"Tom," the Indian added, "now that the subject is up, I might as well
tell you my wishes. If anything happens to me, you will see that my
share is turned over to her, will you?"

"Of course," was the answer. "But nothing is going to happen to you,
and if there is going to be any turning over, it will be done by you."

The days that followed were eager, eventful days. Jim Lee was able to
make a safe trip over the border and make a deposit of a large supply
of the silver without anyone's being the wiser. He informed the
president of the bank of the need of secrecy and that gentleman saw to
it that no inkling of the source of the silver leaked out. Then a week
or so later Tom came over with another supply which had been stored.

In two months there was over fifty thousand dollars to their credit at
the bank.

Then rumors and actual proofs of the approach of the revolutionists
came to them. One morning Tom spoke of this and wondered how long it
would be safe for them to continue carrying the silver across the
border without being discovered.

"It seems to me," he added thoughtfully, "it might pay us to play
safe. What do you think of destroying all evidence of the fact that
this mine exists and leaving here for a year or so? Things might be
safer for us then and we would always have the mine. In the meantime
we have this money on deposit to help us along."

"I've thought of that," replied Jim Lee. "We might even be able to
sell the mine to people who would be ready to take the risk or who
would wait for the safe and settled times."

"I hadn't thought of that," was Tom's comment. "We probably could
sell--it is only a question of whether we wish to."

Once they had come to a decision they immediately set to work to
destroy all clues and made it appear as if the location had been
forsaken as worthless. They made good work of it. After they were
through they felt that there was small probability of anyone's making
any investigation.

A few days later they returned to the States. They drew out what money
they needed.

"We'll go North for a while. First we'll stop at my house, then we'll
go to the city and visit Mary Lee. Is that satisfactory, Jim?"

Jim agreed. They reached Tom Marshall's home, but stayed for a few
days only. Tom could see how eager his friend was to see the girl and
so he hastened their departure.



CHAPTER XIII

A HAPPY RED CROSS GROUP


It was not very long before the Red Cross Group at the High School was
busily at work, following the outline suggested by the Red Cross
Committee. The group was made up of thirty girls, each of whom gave
five hours a week to sewing, knitting and in a smaller measure
preparing bandages.

Another group of about the same number had already prepared gardens
for the growth of vegetables and berries. Letty and Mary Lee had
planned for a garden of string beans. It was Letty's suggestion that
each girl specialize in one thing and that all the vegetables were to
be brought to the school and sold when ready. With a few slight
changes this plan was adopted. Ruth had set to work to grow potatoes
and corn.

Miss James had made them all understand that while their gardens
would need constant attention, the returns would be rather slow in
coming and that only by constant watching would their work prove
successful.

The third group had set to work to canvass a district which had been
assigned to the High School and in twos and threes were already
earnestly bringing to the attention of both the thoughtful and
thoughtless the need of economizing.

"It isn't so much that we ourselves will need it. The President has
told us how much the other warring countries wasted at the beginning
and that they were now suffering in consequence. It is our duty to
help our allies as much as we can and this way will be your share and
my share."

This was Mary Lee's best argument and it usually brought promises to
do what was possible and also offers of help.

On Saturday afternoon all the girls were reporting what they had done.

When they had finished, Mary Lee asked Miss James if there was
anything she wished to tell the girls.

"Only this," was the response, "What the girls are doing in the way of
getting stockings, mittens and shirts is of great value. Thanks to the
co-operation of all groups such as this, our soldiers will be fairly
well supplied. But I really believe that the girls who are visiting
families and making them think of economy are doing just as effective
and valuable work. And the gardeners are going to get a lot of
satisfaction from their work."

"Before we adjourn, I have one or two suggestions which you may think
it worth while to follow," said Mary Lee.

"Our Red Cross Group might suggest to the Mayor that the parks be
made, at least such parts as could be used for such purposes, into
small gardens to grow cabbage, lettuce, cauliflower, squash and other
vegetables. Furthermore, a little further out in the suburbs, we might
get the consent of the railroad companies to let families use the land
that they call their right of way, for planting of vegetables. This
would be in line with the work planned for us."

"What capital ideas," said Miss James while the girls applauded.

"I move," said one of the girls, "that Miss James and Mary Lee be
appointed a committee to take up both these questions and that we all
offer our help should they need it."

The motion was seconded and passed unanimously.

When Mary Lee reported for work the following Monday, Dr. Payson was
waiting for her.

"Didn't Dr. Anderson tell me that you have had some experience in the
handling of babies?" he inquired.

"I have had," was the girl's answer. "At the orphanage they arranged
it so that the older girls attended to the babies and at Mrs. Quinn's,
because she was not well, I had to take almost complete care of the
child."

"Good," was the doctor's answer. "I will have to go to the
Richardsons' home about five-thirty. I have been there once already
this afternoon, but will need some help when I go there again. I know
it is past your hour but I hope you can come with me. Miss Doyle, who
is the nurse I called for, is on another case, so I cannot get her."

"I shall be glad to go," replied Mary Lee.

"I thought you would," Dr. Payson remarked.

At five-thirty the doctor and Mary Lee drove off. It was about fifteen
minutes' ride to the Richardson home.

"The child is ailing," the doctor informed her. "It isn't teething and
it isn't the ordinary children's ailments. I wanted them to get a
specialist in children's diseases, but they insist on having me. It
isn't very serious, but you will have to help me and possibly hold the
child's attention while I do a little prying."

The anxious mother was waiting for them.

"Is the child any better?" the doctor asked.

"He hasn't seemed to be in pain but he has a high temperature,"
answered Mrs. Richardson.

"Well, it isn't anything serious or it would have been apparent by
now. So we needn't worry. Mary Lee will give the child this laxative
and if he isn't normal in two hours, please let me know. You needn't
send for the specialist now. If you had sent for him earlier, you
would have saved some worry, for he probably would have realized that
it wasn't serious where I simply made sure."

"Well, I'd much rather have you make sure than have anyone make a
quick guess," answered Mrs. Richardson, much relieved.

In the meantime, thanks to Mary Lee's soothing and practiced touch,
the child had perceptibly calmed and the doctor found his temperature
already nearer normal.

Mrs. Richardson thanked Mary Lee for her help as they left.

"Of course," said Dr. Payson, as he took the girl to her home in his
car, "every mother should worry; but a child of poor parents would
hardly get so much attention."

And then Dr. Payson changed the subject and questioned Mary Lee as to
the Red Cross work her group was doing.



CHAPTER XIV

MARY LEE MEETS AN OLD FRIEND


While plans were being forwarded for the Red Cross Group's effective
aid, two of our friends--Tom Marshall and Indian Jim--were on their
way to New York City. The latter intended to enlist in the army as
soon as he had paid a visit to Mary Lee.

It was fun for Tom Marshall to draw comparisons between their present
mode of traveling and that of his previous journey which had been made
partly on foot and partly on freight trains. It made the comforts of
the Pullman in which they were now riding, seem ideal.

As they were speeding along, the conversation turned to Jim Lee's
intention of enlisting.

"I shall enlist, too," Tom remarked, "but I have no desire to serve
longer than the war."

Lee, however, argued against his doing so. He dwelt upon the
advisability of his holding off for a time.

"One of us will be sufficient for the present, partner. It is your
duty to stay behind and negotiate the possible sale of our mine. I
should feel uneasy if I thought provision had not been made for its
safety and the income turned over to Mary Lee."

"Very well," his partner replied. "When we get to the city I shall
call upon some people, who will, in all probability, be interested and
see if I cannot dispose of it at a fair figure. I guess an immediate
sale is the best thing even if we do have to sacrifice a few thousand
dollars."

"I think so," the Indian agreed. "At any rate, I shall be satisfied
with your judgment in the matter."

Two hours later they reached their destination. Tom Marshall had
received Mary Lee's address in one of her letters and although he had
not told her who his partner was, he had given her some idea of the
good fortune their mine had brought them.

The two men made their way to a hotel. They had purchased some city
clothes at the time they entered the States on their return from
Mexico. Now they secured some more ready made and fashionable suits
and it would have been difficult to recognize in the trim, well garbed
figures, the rough and unkempt prospectors of little more than a month
before. Each one of them took great pride in appearing at his best
before Mary Lee.

Tom Marshall recollected that Mary Lee had written him of her
afternoon position with Dr. Payson so the two men decided not to call
until evening. To Tom, accustomed to his partner's moods and feelings,
it was apparent that despite his dispassionate and stolid expression,
he was burning with eagerness to see the girl who represented all his
earthly ties. And Marshall, himself, was anxious to see his young
friend, to be able to thank her again, in person, for her kindness at
a time when he needed such kindness and help.

The hour for calling came at last and the two men started for Letty's
home.

A butler opened the door and they asked to see Miss Mary Lee. They
were ushered into the drawing room.

Two girls entered the room a few minutes later.

Tom Marshall bowed to Mary Lee. The Indian looked intently and eagerly
at the two girls, then his face cleared, for he now knew which was
Mary Lee.

In the same instant the girl recognized Tom Marshall. She came toward
him impetuously and with welcoming hand. So excited was she, she
failed to pay much attention to his companion.

"Why, this is a surprise! I'm glad to see you. So glad you came. This
is Miss Saunders, Mr. Marshall, and Letty, this is Mr. Tom Marshall.
You've heard me speak of him, haven't you?"

"Indeed, I have. Won't you both sit down?" Letty invited, not
forgetting, in her excitement, the need for hospitality and her duties
as hostess. "Mother will be here in a moment," she added.

While Letty had been speaking, Mary Lee had turned, for the first
time really aware of the presence of Tom Marshall's friend. For a
brief second the man's intent gaze disturbed her. Only for a second,
however, then came the consciousness of having met the man before. But
she could not place him in her mind.

"This is Mr. Lee, my partner," interrupted Tom Marshall, observing the
two.

"Mr. Lee?" Mary Lee questioned, with a swift intake of her breath as
dawning realization came. "Mr. Lee?" she repeated. Then a sudden glad
light came into her eyes. "Why, it's Jim Lee, my Jim! Letty, he's
Indian Jim!" And the girl rushed into his arms not knowing whether to
laugh or cry and doing both.

"There, there, little girl, it's all right. Jim's here and Jim will
take care of you."

"Jim, I never thought I was going to see you again. And I've missed
you all the time, all the time."

Letty watched her friend with great wonderment. The usually calm and
collected Mary Lee was in a state of great excitement--a thing so
unusual as to be worth observing.

Mrs. Saunders came into the room at that moment and the two men were
introduced by the excited Mary Lee who made a haven of that good
woman's kindly arms. Mrs. Saunders was a devoted, indulgent mother.
She had developed a great affection for the motherless Mary Lee. She
was also a woman of quick and unusually good judgment. She liked the
looks of these two men, which fact was not at all strange for they
both showed in open countenance, the honesty and cleanliness of
outdoor and right living.

Mrs. Saunders made them feel thoroughly at home. She knew the story of
Mary Lee and so understood who Jim Lee was. She very naturally
realized how delighted the girl must feel at Jim Lee's coming.

For two hours they sat and talked over things, bringing up to the
present moment the important events in Mary Lee's life as well as
those of interest in Jim Lee's.

The two men then departed, promising to come again. Without Mary Lee's
knowledge, they had arranged with Mrs. Saunders for a meeting with
Mr. Saunders the following morning. That gentleman had not returned
home up to the moment they were leaving.



CHAPTER XV

MARY LEE'S LEGACY


"You see, Mr. Saunders, it isn't a question of our wanting any money,"
said Tom Marshall. "Mr. Lee is anxious to make safe provision for Mary
Lee out of the net proceeds of his share of the mine. As for my share,
I can wait until such time as the buyers are ready to turn over the
proceeds."

"The ore is there, all right, but the mine needs capital." Jim Lee was
now speaking. "We want to turn it over to the right hands, that is
all. That will benefit us most."

Mr. Saunders was a banker. As a business proposition, he was keenly
interested. He very naturally took some precautions, asked many
questions, but he seemed fairly well convinced at the end.

"I shall be able to arrange a meeting for you and probably find a way
that will be best for all concerned, if you will both call again this
afternoon."

The end of the day found the whole matter closed up. A company was
formed in which the two partners received a one-third share. If the
mine proved of great value, they were each to receive $100,000 in
addition. Jim Lee's share, by an extra provision, was to be paid out
in income to Mary Lee. He also made provision with Mr. Saunders to
turn over $15,000 of his available cash to the girl. It was finally
decided that Tom Marshall was not to enlist but to stay and manage the
mine.

That night the two men again called at the Saunders home. Indian Jim
told Mary Lee of his intention to enlist. The girl did not try to
dissuade him.

Then he went into the details, very simply, of what he wanted to do
with his money. The girl listened quietly. To her, Jim represented
family--so closely allied had he been to it--so much was he connected
with all her recollections of it.

"I don't know what to say, Jim," she remarked. "To tell you I don't
think you should turn over that money to me is needless, almost. Let
us put it this way: whatever money there is, I shall gladly count as
if it were partly my own; but for you to turn it over entirely to me,
isn't fair. Let it be for both of us."

The Indian smiled at her with great affection. He made no answer. He
did not tell her he had already made every provision. Instead, he told
her how much she meant to him, what a big debt he had owed her father.
"This," he said, "is but a small way of repaying it."

A few days later Jim was enrolled in the cavalry. His application had
been quickly approved--men like him were needed. But until he joined
his company the two men and Mary Lee, when she was free, and Letty,
too, spent many happy hours together. Tom Marshall's time was also
well spent and plans for proper equipment were being hurried for an
immediate start on the mine. Mr. Saunders was a quick, able worker and
he obtained results immediately.

"Won't it be fine," said Letty one holiday morning, "for you to have
all this money! You won't have to work any longer at Dr. Payson's,
will you?"

But Mary Lee laughed.

"Of course, I'll not give up my work," she asserted. "I'm learning
lots. Furthermore, I want to become a nurse and Dr. Payson agrees that
it is the best kind of training to begin as I have."

"But don't you find it awfully hard to give up your afternoons--in
fact, all your time, to work and study?" asked the less serious-minded
girl.

"Letty, dear, I do get so much fun out of my work at Dr. Payson's.
It's delightful--and wouldn't you call it recreation to be able to do
the things our Red Cross Group is doing? It is such a wonderful
opportunity."

"I suppose it is," the other girl answered uncertainly. "Hello,
there's the mail man," she added as from the window she saw him turn
in at their house. "I wonder if he has any mail for you and me?"

Almost at the same moment Ruth was ushered into the room. She saw
Letty go through the mail and pick out two letters. One, Letty gave to
Mary Lee, the other, she quickly opened.

"Well!" Letty exclaimed after reading her letter, "it certainly is
time."

"Won't we be glad to see her?" added Mary Lee, as she finished her
letter.

Ruth was all excitement. "Is Aunt Madge coming home?" she asked
eagerly.

"Mrs. Anderson, if you please, young lady," Letty answered
reprovingly.

"Wonder if I have a letter home, too," commented Ruth.

"I suppose you have, dear," replied Mary Lee assuringly.

"I have news for you, Ruth. May I tell her, Mary Lee?"

The girl nodded her assent. These two girls were her best friends. She
knew how glad Ruth would be because of her good fortune.

Letty told Ruth about the money that Jim Lee had turned over for Mary
Lee's use. Ruth's eyes opened with wonder and pleasure.

"Isn't that fine! I'm so glad, Mary Lee, dear."

"When does Jim Lee join the army?" she asked.

"I guess the day after tomorrow. He's coming here tonight."

"I wonder if we cannot get him to tell us an Indian story when he
comes," remarked Letty.

"He may," Mary Lee replied. "Will you come over tonight, Ruth?" she
asked.

"Yes, come to dinner," added Letty.

Ruth agreed.

"When does Mrs. Anderson come home, Mary Lee?" she asked as she
started to go.

"Next Saturday afternoon. Isn't that fine, for I am free on that
afternoon and can go with you and meet her," was the reply. "Bob is
coming home with them, too."

"I didn't know he was with them," Ruth said in surprise.

"Yes, he's been there for a week. It is but a short distance from his
school, so he went over."

"Be sure to come tonight," Letty reminded the departing girl. "We'll
hear a good story if Mr. Lee will tell it."

"I won't forget," replied Ruth.



CHAPTER XVI

A MASTER STORY TELLER


Jim Lee and Tom Marshall were prompt in their expected call, and they
found Mary Lee and Letty as well as Ruth waiting to receive them.

It was the kind of an evening that is usually associated with the
month of March. The rain was coming down in a steady downpour, there
was a chill to the wind; altogether it was a night in which folks
welcomed the warmth of an open grate fire.

Letty, all excitement, brought up the subject of a story--a story such
as only Jim Lee could tell--of the Indian of long ago.

"I'm afraid," remarked the Indian, "that the kind of stories I used to
tell Mary Lee would be considered entirely too youthful by you young
ladies."

"But we'd like to hear one, I'm sure we would," replied Ruth.

"Yes, Jim do tell us one. I know we will enjoy it."

"Very well," was the answer. "I see there's no escape and so I had
better make the best of it.

"Long, long ago, in the land you now know as Colorado, there lived a
strong tribe--the Wah-hi-tis--well known for their ability in war.
Their name was used by the squaws of the other tribes to frighten the
little papooses who were wont to whimper.

"When I say it was long, long ago, I do not mean a hundred, or two
hundred, or five hundred years ago. I speak of thousands of years
before the white man came from across the big waters--the white man
who has forced out, who has swallowed up the Indian so that we are
becoming like the buffalo, a rarity.

"There came a chief, Black Eagle, descendant from many chiefs. He was
wise and great and his strength was like that of the buffalo and his
swiftness like that of the eagle. With an iron hand he ruled, but he
was ever kind and considerate except when anger or rage overcame him.
Then none was more cruel, more terrible.

"Wise men of many tribes came to visit him and it is said that great
gifts were sent to him from the distant lands of Mexico; even from the
small seas, they sent him offerings, for it was known that his
friendship was a blessing and his enmity a thing of which to be wary.

"Proud were the young bucks who served under Black Eagle. In their
sojourns they had but to exclaim with fine disdain, 'I am a
Wah-hi-ti!' and they were immediately offered hospitality and
friendship.

"Black Eagle had two wives. Swift Bear, his father, had mated him to
Swift Water, daughter of a neighboring chief. But then came Laughing
Eyes, young and beautiful, and her--Black Eagle loved at sight. And
since it was permitted that chiefs have more than one mate, Black
Eagle took Laughing Eyes unto himself.

"Swift Water, his first wife, felt the black rage of hate and
envy--and who could blame her? But Black Eagle had already given
proof of his terrible outbursts of wrath and she dared not object.
She suffered silently.

"Thus, many years passed. Swift Water gave Black Eagle a son, but only
after Laughing Eyes had given birth to a beautiful babe, also a son,
who had been named Natawara. Swift Water's son was named Black Fox.

"Both sons grew to sturdy manhood and gradually even Swift Water and
Laughing Eyes learned to know each other. Some of the bitterness left
the heart of Swift Water. Yet, her life was sad because Natawara was
to succeed as chief instead of her own son, Black Fox.

"But sturdy though both sons were, there was a strange difference
between the two. Could these both be sons of the same father? Black
Fox from early youth loved the tales of combat, liked to hear of the
victories of his illustrious fathers; and he would dream of the day
when he too would go out and say, 'I am a Wah-hi-ti, a son of Black
Eagle.'

"Natawara, however, was different. He loved to hear the wise men tell
of the long ago, and yet it was not of combats that he sought to
hear. Often he would look to the far west and say:

"'I would travel far. Over the many mountains I would roam; for the
Great Spirit gives us but a short time and there is much to see.'

"'He will be a great man, a great chief,' said the wise men. But in
their hearts was a dark doubt which they dared not voice, for the
anger of Black Eagle was a thing of dread. And wherefore should they
be the bearers of bad news?

"For Natawara had laughed at combats. 'Wherefore shall I kill?' said
he. 'I would rather, far rather, seek the things of the world than
death.'

"'A coward's speech,' the wise men whispered, one to the other. But
word of their whisperings came to Black Fox. Then he showed some of
the anger of his father.

"'No coward is Natawara. Who says so? I shall hear and the vengeance
of Black Fox is not light.'

"But the whispering grew. It came even to the ears of the Black Eagle
who was then on an expedition to the far Wyoming.

  [Illustration: DARK AND SAVAGE WAS THE FACE OF THE BLACK EAGLE]

"Fearful was his rage and black scorn was in his heart. He who
whispered would feel the might and strength of the chief of the
Wah-hi-ti.

"'And as for you, you witch,' he said to the old squaw who had taunted
him after his men had razed the camp of the Cheyennes, 'you shall die!
A fearful death you shall die, for lies are the things you say. No
Wah-hi-ti is a coward, no Wah-hi-ti dare say of Natawara that he is a
coward, for Natawara is the son of a chief; he is to be a chief and he
would kill.'

"So he returned. And the squaws who came to meet the returning
warriors, even the braves who had been left at home, drew away, for
dark and savage and fearful was the face of the Black Eagle.

"'Where is Natawara?' he cried.

"Only Black Fox dared to come forward. He had but just returned from a
victorious conquest.

"'Natawara made a trip of three months beside the running brook that
leads to the big water.'

"'Is there one, even more than one, who thinks of Natawara as a
coward?' the chief cried.

"But none, of course, answered. Side glances were exchanged. So the
news had come to the Great Chief.

"'No coward is my brother,' Black Fox replied. 'None dare so say, for
my arm would gain double its strength if I heard aught of it.'

"'Speak thou for thyself. Cannot Natawara make his own fights, answer
insults himself?'

"'His is a great spirit; to him such taunts are but water even on a
duck's back. He loves not combat--rather he would voyage everywhere;
but none here holds his strength, none his true courage.'

"Black Fox's eyes flashed. He made a picture that brought fire to his
father's eyes.

"'So I would have you, my son, speak--even so. But Natawara is my son,
too. Soon I shall join the Great Spirit and if he is to be chief, he
must be like the great chiefs before him. He must not own the soul of
a squaw.'

"Then after three moons, even as Black Eagle waited, his rage still
with him, came Natawara home. There came with him a tamed fox,
following as does a dog.

"'I have brought him to my brother who bears his name.'

"But Laughing Eyes called to him and instead of laughter there was
dread in her eyes.

"'Go to your father who has called and is waiting.'

"So Natawara went.

"What befell there, no one can tell for it shall remain a thing of
mystery; but those who saw have said that when Natawara came forth his
face bore a wondrous light as if the Great Spirit had touched it. He
bade farewell to his mother and was away.

"Black Eagle's heart was crushed; but his stern resolve held and the
next day Black Fox (who courageously announced that his brother
Natawara should be chief, should he ever return) was proclaimed as the
next in line. And truly as he stood there, his black eyes flashing,
the fox--gift of his brother Natawara--beside him, he made the true
figure of a chief."

Jim Lee paused. "I fear," he said, "my story is of too great length."

But Mary Lee breathlessly replied, "Please go on. Tell us of
Natawara."

"Did he come back?" Letty demanded.

"Wasn't his brother splendid?" was Ruth's comment.

Jim Lee turned to Mrs. Saunders who nodded her head to continue.

"Years passed," Jim Lee continued, "and with the years came more fame
to the name of Wah-hi-tis. Black Eagle joined the Great Spirit and
there was much sorrow everywhere.

"And with the years Natawara became a name forgotten. Forgotten did I
say? True, except by his mother, Laughing Eyes. Her name became a
misnomer; rather it should have been eyes that held the rain, so sad
was she. Black Fox, loyal heart, also remembered, and after his mother
died, he made the mother of Natawara even as his mother.

"But war, he found a great game. Love came, too. White Cloud became
his wife. A gentle soul was she who loved him and his great strength
and her second love went forth to Laughing Eyes.

"In the meantime Natawara went everywhere. The sadness left him, for
life was before him. No longer was he a Wah-hi-ti. He made his home
everywhere, learned many things. From the Sioux he learned how to use
a wondrous thing even like the present ax. Elsewhere he found what
iron would do. Then, too, he learned the use of many medicines. This
last art he prized most. And with the years, throughout the land, word
went forth of his healing touch, his healing medicines. Medicine-men
spoke of the Healer everywhere. His was a life of love. What would the
many tribes have thought had the truth been known--that here was
Natawara, a Wah-hi-ti and son of that great chief, Black Eagle, and
brother even of the Black Fox!

"So then a son was born to Black Fox--a son who promised to continue
the great name of the Wah-hi-ti. Richer and more powerful had grown
this nation and the land it held.

"But black clouds appeared. Black Buffalo, the son, had a strange
sickness and the medicine men could not cure, try as they would. It
was a time of great sorrow.

"The chief medicine man came unto the chief.

"'None can help Black Buffalo but the Healer. Send you for him; but
send not as the great chief, but only as a father who suffers, for the
Healer knows not the call of chief or slave, as such, but only as a
call.'

"'I shall go to him myself,' replied Black Fox, 'as a father whose son
ails and whom the medicine men, professedly wise, cannot cure.'

"So Black Fox went forth. Seven moons of great haste and he came upon
the home of the Healer.

"A great change had come unto both, so that neither knew the other
except that within both of them was a great call which could not be
explained. Black Fox dared not tell his name for the Healer had many
other calls and his partiality was for the poor and the needy. Rather
he spoke of the great love he held for his sick son and of the mother
at home.

"The Healer heard the father's call and went forth. To the Wah-hi-tis
he went, in his heart a great desire to see the land of his youth.
Even so, he stopped often for the stricken were everywhere.

"So they came to the home of the Wah-hi-tis, to the old home of
Natawara. Black Buffalo was on his couch, but not as the son of a
chief, only as a Wah-hi-ti.

"As the medicine men watched, the Healer deftly applied his lotions,
applied his touch.

"'The boy shall be well within fourteen moons. I shall stay if the
chief will send everywhere word that I am here. But who is the chief
of the Wah-hi-tis?'

"'Know you not?' replied one of the medicine men who knew the great
desire of Black Fox to keep his and his son's name secret. 'It is
Black Fox.'

"A strange look came into the Healer's face but he said nothing.

"On the third day came Laughing Eyes to see the patient.

"Yet as she entered the room, she it was who knew.

"'Natawara, my son! Natawara is here! Wonderful is the Great Spirit.'
And she took him in her arms even as she did when he was but a youth.

"'It is Natawara, Natawara, son of Black Eagle!'

"The news traveled fast. Black Fox came at a great pace.

"'The Healer is your brother. It is Natawara.' A great light was in
his eyes. Brother and brother clasped hands, for each was filled with
a great joy.

"'It is good,' said the Healer.

"'You are our chief,' said Black Fox.

"'Not so,' was the reply. 'The leader is here and here lies the leader
to come. My kingdom is elsewhere. I would that he who is saved should
not feel the call to battle except for the things that are worth the
fight.'

"'So I shall teach him,' spoke up White Cloud, a great resolve in her
eyes.

"'So it shall be, my brother,' announced Black Fox.

"But when the fourteen moons had come and gone so also had Natawara."

Jim Lee paused.

There was a silence of many moments. It spoke the appreciation of the
three girls.

"There's a lesson in the story for today, isn't there?" said Mrs.
Saunders.



CHAPTER XVII

AUNT MADGE RETURNS TO THE CITY


Jim Lee left on Thursday to join his regiment. There was a quiet
leave-taking between Mary Lee and the man. Neither showed emotion--it
was kept within the depths of their hearts. On Friday Tom Marshall
left with several men for the mine. Mr. Saunders was to follow a few
days later.

Mary Lee received some disquieting news on the same day. Dr. Payson
informed her that with the return of Dr. Anderson he intended to join
the first assignment of physicians and nurses bound for France. He
felt, however, that her services could be used by Dr. Anderson to good
advantage. Her experience would be of great help and under Dr.
Anderson she would continue to progress.

Saturday afternoon found the old Campfire Group awaiting the train
which was late.

"Won't Aunt Madge be pleased with our Red Cross work at the school?"
commented Grace Olcott.

"Wonder if she'll be displeased at our group's merging with the Red
Cross work?" remarked Edith.

"Of course, she won't," answered Ruth. "Will she, Mary Lee?"

The girls had an idea that Mary Lee's opinion and decision on most
things was usually sound.

"I'm sure she won't. She'll feel that it was a very democratic and
sensible thing to do," was Mary Lee's answer.

The train was in at last and the waiting girls stood on tiptoe
watching the passengers as they came from the coaches.

"I see her, I see her," called Letty. "And there's Dr. Anderson and
Bob, too."

But the other girls were no less quick in seeing the Andersons and
there was excited gesticulating as well as calls. Finally, Mrs.
Anderson saw them. She waved her hand and drew her husband's
attention to the girls. The doctor lifted his hat and smiled at them.

Bob made his way through the throng for he also had espied them.

He was the first to get to the gate.

"Hello girls!" he called. "Hello, Mary Lee, it's good to see you."

"I'm glad to see you, too," answered the girl. By that time Aunt Madge
had also arrived and the former had embraced and kissed all the girls.

"Well, Mary Lee," she said, when it was her turn, "when I see you I
feel I'm at home."

"It certainly does seem so," added her husband who was keenly
interested in his favorite. "Dr. Payson has been giving me some good
reports of you, young lady."

Several of the girls had come in cars, so it was an easy matter to
take everyone home.

Mary Lee was seated with the Andersons. Bob was in the car with Ruth.

As they sped homeward, the conversation between Ruth and Bob
naturally turned to Mary Lee.

"Do you know that Jim Lee and Tom Marshall were here? And that Jim Lee
joined the army?"

Bob didn't know a thing about it as Mary Lee had not written to tell
him. Ruth was not a bit averse to telling him all about Jim Lee.

"He's so nice and so romantic. And he's turned over his share of the
money from his mine to Mary Lee. And Tom Marshall has returned to the
mine. You'd like them both, Bob."

"Guess I would," replied Bob. "Wish I could have gone with Mr.
Marshall to the mine. I'm glad Mary Lee has seen Mr. Lee and I'm glad
he's nice," he added.

"Isn't it all wonderful?" Ruth concluded as they reached the home of
the Andersons.

Bob, too, got out at this point for he was going to stay with his aunt
as his mother and father were out of town. He, therefore, did not get
another chance that afternoon to talk to Mary Lee.

  [Illustration: HE MADE IT A POINT TO CALL ON MARY LEE]

Bob, however, made up for lost time the next day for he made it a
point to call on Mary Lee. He was to be in the city for only that day
as he was due at school on Monday.

Mary Lee greeted him warmly. Somehow, the stiffness of their greeting
the day before was gone. Neither could tell just why they had been so
cool and so formally polite upon seeing each other, unless it was due
to the fact that so many others were about.

"I wish you had been here to see Jim and Mr. Marshall, Bob. I told
them so much about you and they were very anxious to meet you."

"No more than I am to meet them," was the reply of the boy. "Tell me
something more about everything. Ruth told me but I want to hear it
first-hand."

Mary Lee went into an account of the meeting and everything that had
happened. The boy listened intently.

She then gave him an account of the Red Cross work and what the girls
had done.

Bob was deeply interested.

"Our Boy Scouts at school are doing good work too. They are all
anxious to spend vacation time on farms. I hope to get permission from
mother and father to go to one during the summer. There isn't a boy at
school who isn't anxious to help at this time and I wish you could see
the big garden we have there. I wonder if Jim Lee will go to France,"
the boy added.

"He is anxious to go, but of course no one knows what is to be done,"
replied Mary Lee.

"Isn't it great to be part of such a big undertaking? Of course, war
is terrible, but I've often envied the boys and men who lived during
the Civil War. Now we are living in even bigger times and it's great
to help, even if only in a small way."

"I noticed yesterday how naturally you walk, Bob. No one would ever
suspect you had ever been lame."

The boy flushed with pride. He was proud of the fact that he was now
like other boys. He valued the use of both his limbs, the more,
because he had been so long without their use. Nothing pleased him so
much as to be told he was like other boys.

Letty came in a little later and the three took a long walk.

"Isn't Bob brave to travel by himself on a sleeper? I'd be scared,"
said Letty.

"Huh," answered the boy, "that's because you're a girl. At that," he
added, "I'll bet Mary Lee wouldn't be afraid."



CHAPTER XVIII

MARY LEE MAKES A DECISION


It need not be thought for an instant that, in the rush of events of
the last few days, the work of the Red Cross Group had lessened.

On the contrary, the Mayor had replied almost at once and had given
his permission, including that of the Commissioner of Parks, for the
use of one of the parks in the neighborhood of the High School. In
addition he had told them that other groups and clubs in other
sections were receiving permission in the same way.

Monday brought a letter from the president of the railroad company. He
told them that no written permission could be given but that any
gardening done on their property would be respected by that company.
Upon receipt of this information Miss James had written the
newspapers so that proper publicity could be given the fact and people
avail themselves of the opportunity to obtain a garden plot.

The Red Cross Girls met that night. Over one hundred and fifty now
belonged. All of them had donated some money at every meeting and the
group now sent seventy-five dollars in cash to the Red Cross
Committee. At this meeting they were divided into six groups of
twenty-five each and each group assigned to certain definite work on
the big garden they were to start in the park. This idea had been
suggested by one of the men on the Park Board who had been a visitor
at the meeting.

But it was a late spring. The weather stayed cold despite the
eagerness and desire for warmth and sunshine on the part of the Red
Cross workers. The girls felt that they had done almost everything
possible in their gardening, and although a few found their interest
abating, the larger number kept pluckily at the duty assigned to each.

The days passed swiftly now. Mrs. Anderson soon made the girls
understand that she was still Aunt Madge to them. She renewed her
interest in their doings and was able to help Miss James in the
organization and planning of the Red Cross Group.

Throughout the country the realization of war came slowly. Somehow it
was hard to believe that the country was at war, hard to realize that
the German nation, so long on friendly terms with our own land, was
now an enemy. It dawned slowly in people's minds.

New York City was never so gay. Soldiers were everywhere. One felt,
however, that beneath the outward gayety and color the city was
prepared for whatever might come.

A rare treat was given to Mary Lee and Letty who were invited by Dr.
Anderson to accompany Mrs. Anderson and himself to a point of vantage
where they could see General Joffre and the ex-premier of France,
Monsieur Viviani. Never had the two girls been so impressed as they
were by the simple, kindly looking old man in the uniform of France.
There was a greatness about him which both girls felt. And Mary Lee
also felt that it was a history-making epoch. She was glad that in the
future she would be able to say that she had seen the big man of
France. He was a character that one could never forget.

In the meantime, Dr. Payson was making ready to close his office and
to turn over his practice to Dr. Anderson. He had been pledged to
secrecy as to sailing so his friends did not know just when he would
be on his way to France.

Mary Lee thought of the doctor's departure with many regrets. It had
been valuable time that she had spent at his office; and although the
girl had felt that he was in earnest as to her possible usefulness to
Dr. Anderson, something Aunt Madge had said made Mary Lee decide that
she could not accept, even if Dr. Anderson felt in duty bound to offer
her the position.

Aunt Madge and the girl had been shopping one Saturday afternoon. The
former was evidently still unaware of Dr. Payson's intention of going
to the front. The conversation had turned to Mary Lee's work at the
doctor's office and Aunt Madge was as interested as was the girl.

"You see, dear, I, too, am helping Dr. Anderson in the same way. He
has been so considerate, so kind. He objected to it at first, wanted
to get the services of someone, although, as he regretfully said,
'there is only one Mary Lee.' He felt that it would be too much of a
tax for me. He also added some silly, manlike remark about not wanting
his wife to be his assistant. But I think he understands now. You see,
dear, it is such a fine thing to be able to look forward to doing
something worth while, to be able to help my husband. It is useful
work, too, and I am learning rapidly."

After that, of course, Mary Lee had no regrets in not offering her
services to Dr. Anderson. At an early opportunity she brought the
subject up before Dr. Payson.

"I hope you haven't spoken to Dr. Anderson as to my going over to his
office when you leave, Doctor."

The doctor looked at her in surprise.

"Have you decided that it is too hard work, my dear? I know it is and
I do not blame you; especially so, since you are to receive a small
income through Mr. Lee's fund. No, I haven't spoken to him as yet,"
the Doctor continued. "I intend to do so within the next two days,
however. I'm glad you spoke about it because this is the time to make
up your mind."

The girl flushed. She was hurt that the doctor should think she would
so easily give up her life work.

"It isn't that I don't want to do the work. That isn't why I don't
want you to talk to Dr. Anderson."

The girl paused uncertainly. She was not quite sure that she wanted to
tell the real reason. Then her uncertainty vanished--it was the thing
to do.

"You see, Dr. Payson, Mrs. Anderson is helping the doctor, and she
loves the work. Dr. Anderson gave his consent but reluctantly. If you
tell him to employ me, he might be even more reluctant about letting
Aunt Madge help him. She loves it. So I thought it best to just let it
be known that I can't spare the time. I shall give so much more time
to the Red Cross Group, but," and the girl looked squarely into the
doctor's eyes, "I don't want you, or any one else, to think that I am
undecided as to the profession I am to follow. I couldn't ever be
happy and not become a nurse."

Dr. Payson looked at the flushed girl admiringly. "I should have known
by this time how you feel about it, Mary Lee. I shall not speak to Dr.
Anderson about you. And you are right, it will be a very good thing in
every way for Mrs. Anderson to do the work."

"I knew you would understand," the girl gratefully acknowledged.

A little later her afternoon's work was over and she left the office.
The doctor, however, remained. He did not work, but sat silently
thinking. An uncertain little smile played about his mouth. A day or
two more and he would be off for the war. He welcomed the opportunity
as do all true surgeons. But he knew there would often come to him the
memory of this bright, serious-minded, unselfish young girl.

"She's true blue," he finally commented as he prepared to depart.



CHAPTER XIX

LETTY AND MARY LEE SELL LIBERTY BONDS


Mr. Saunders, Letty's father, came home early the following evening.
He had been down to Mexico and had just returned. Permission had been
given by the Mexican Government for the furtherance of their plans.
Tom Marshall, so he reported, was already busily at work and the
prospects were very bright. Mr. Saunders spoke enthusiastically about
the young man, and his ability. And his respect for Jim Lee had
greatly increased from the accounts he had received from Tom Marshall
and one or two of the men who were located in the neighborhood.

Both Letty and Mary Lee were, of course, greatly interested, the
latter for the best of reasons, although she somehow could not grasp
the idea that more wealth was to be hers. She was gratified that
Letty's father--a careful, shrewd and conservative business
man--should have made an exception in behalf of her friends.

Toward the end of the evening the girls suddenly bethought themselves
of a plan they had formulated a few days before the arrival of Letty's
father.

It was Letty who opened the campaign.

"We feel it our patriotic duty to sell you a Liberty Bond--or more
than one," the girl added as the idea suddenly came to her that one
was not very much for her rich father to buy.

"Oh," her father ejaculated in surprise. "And why, young lady?" And
his words sounded so serious and businesslike that neither Letty nor
Mary Lee noticed the humor lurking in his eyes. "Why should you feel
it to be your duty to sell them to me?"

"It is not only our duty to sell bonds, but it is the duty of everyone
in the country." It was Mary Lee who answered and even as she spoke a
sudden idea came to her mind. It was still a little hazy and so she
said nothing more.

"How many do you think I should buy?" Mr. Saunders queried trying hard
to maintain a business-like appearance.

"How many?" Letty repeated. She tried hard to think of a number that
would seem consistent. It was apparent to her father that she was
flustered.

"I think five would be right," and then it occurred to her that five
wasn't enough. "I mean ten--or perhaps eight," the girl finally
concluded, rather lamely.

"Well, my dears, it may interest you to know that I have bought not
ten, nor eight, but two hundred; and I am to buy some more within the
next few days."

"My," said Letty, in awed tones into which there crept a measure of
disappointment. "Then we cannot sell you any? Not even one?" she added
coaxingly, with a sudden renewal of hope.

"You see, Mr. Saunders," Mary Lee turned to the work in hand with the
feeling that her own idea would follow as a matter of course, "we
girls in the Red Cross Group have each volunteered to sell at least
five Liberty Bonds. Letty and I are to sell to some other people, but
we counted on you, too."

"And you don't want your count to be in vain, do you?"

"No, sir," both girls replied.

"All right then, I'll buy ten. Is that satisfactory?"

Letty hugged her father and both girls danced in glee over their first
success. Mr. Saunders looked at them with great pride and
satisfaction.

Mary Lee suddenly sobered and became business-like.

"Mr. Saunders," she spoke diffidently.

"Any other business into which you desire to inveigle me?" he
questioned.

"Yes, sir," the girl replied, while Letty looked at her, a little
uncertain as to what was coming.

The girl continued: "The money that Jim left for my use--I was
wondering; of course, I don't know if it can be done--if it couldn't
buy some Liberty Bonds."

Mr. Saunders laughed. "Of course it could. It wouldn't be so bad an
investment either. We'll begin by buying a hundred shares for you."

"Thank you," Mary Lee replied, proud that Jim's money was to be used
in this way.

"Can we turn the order in?" asked the practical Letty.

"I suppose you can," her father replied.

"That means, Letty," Mary Lee exclaimed in awe, "that we already have
one hundred and ten bonds sold. And we must sell some to the Andersons
and to the Camerons. I shall write to Tom Marshall and ask him to buy
some, too."

"It may be that I shall have a surprise for you by tomorrow, too," Mr.
Saunders added. He was interested in their success but he also felt
that their efforts should not be too easily successful. He decided to
call up the Andersons and also the Camerons who were to return from
Florida within the next few days and tell them not to be too easy in
complying and the reasons for it. The work of getting subscriptions
would be so much more worth-while if it did not bring too easy
returns.

"I suppose you girls know why these bonds are being issued and why
they are called Liberty Bonds."

"It is money for the war, and because Germany is not a democratic
nation the fight against it is called a fight for Liberty, isn't it?"
Mary Lee questioned.

"There's more to it than that. If the hour were not so late I would
give you some of the reasons for issuing these bonds; but Mary Lee
gives the kernel in her explanation. Isn't it time for these young
ladies to go to bed, mother?" he asked as Mrs. Saunders came into the
room.

"That is the reason for my being here at this minute. It is time, my
dears. Ten o'clock has struck long since."

But the girls would not go until they had excitedly explained their
success in selling Liberty Bonds.

"I'm disappointed, my dears," Mrs. Saunders said. "Hurt, too. You
never thought of asking me."

The girls looked at her for the first time in the light of a customer.

"And what is more," Letty's mother added, taking advantage of the
pause on the girls' part due to their surprise, "you can't sell me any
tonight for it is too late."

"But we surely will tomorrow," Letty replied. "So let's be off to bed,
Mary Lee."



CHAPTER XX

PREPARING FOR RED CROSS WORK


Mary Lee and Letty permitted but a small part of the morning to pass
before they brought up the subject of Mrs. Saunders' purchase.

"But, my dears, I'm not so sure that I care to buy from people who did
not consider me a possible customer. I think I'll buy from someone who
will give sufficient and proper importance to my purchase."

But the girls could not be put off so easily and it ended by Letty's
mother laughingly agreeing to buy fifty bonds.

The meeting of the Red Cross Group was held that afternoon and both of
the girls were elated with the report they were to make. Their initial
success was but a spur to them for further successes and they were
keen to solicit from all the other people they knew. They felt no
qualms about it, for it was a patriotic duty.

Miss James was amazed by the success of the members of the group and
was strong in her approval.

"Altogether," she announced, "the sixty girls who have volunteered to
do this work have sold a little less than fifteen hundred bonds.
Truly, a remarkable showing. It will be interesting to hear some of
the accounts. Don't you think so?"

The girls agreed. Mabel Strong, one of the girls, was called on for
her report.

"I sold ten bonds to my father," she announced. "My brother will buy
five. However, I have only counted those I have sold."

As report followed report, it was found that in most instances those
bonds that were sold were to members of families. An exception was the
case of Pauline Antisdale, whose father was a well known surgeon.

"My father was one of the first to subscribe," she reported. "I was
too late, so he said. I did not know what to do. Then I decided to see
my father's patients for two days. Father thought for a long time
before he gave the necessary permission. But," Pauline concluded in a
quick manner which evidenced her excitement, "I sold fifteen bonds in
this way."

"Good," Miss James exclaimed, while the entire group applauded. "That
idea was original and worth while."

"I'm one of those who had to count on my family," Letty explained
apologetically. "Mary Lee and I worked as partners. Mary Lee, in
addition made father buy at least one hundred bonds for her money. And
she has written to a Mr. Marshall in Mexico who will be sure to buy
some Liberty Bonds too. And we are certain to bring in some more
sales, in a few days."

Other girls made reports. When quite a number had been made, Miss
James addressed the girls.

"Of course, your success is quite wonderful. May I add, however, that
such deeds as Pauline's and Mary Lee's stand out. Of course, Mary Lee
was able to use some money which was her own but she showed that she
did not ask anyone else to do what she was not willing to do herself.
Pauline and several of the other girls have shown originality. As you
all know, it is the desire of the President to have all the people
subscribe to the Liberty Bonds. It would be a simple matter if only
those who are specially well-to-do should subscribe.

"We will continue the sale of Liberty Bonds for ten more days. After
that we shall have to turn our attention to getting contributions for
the Red Cross work. How much do you think we can pledge our group to
collect?"

There was a pause of many minutes. Finally Ruth inquired:

"How much do they expect us to collect?"

The other girls nodded in approval of the question.

"Well," Miss James answered, "Mrs. Anderson and I saw the local
representative of the Red Cross Committee, as you know. I told them
that we had one hundred and twenty girls, some more active than
others, some better able to collect subscriptions than others,
although all are equally willing. They thought we should be able to
collect three hundred dollars. Do you think that is too much?"

The girls thought for a few minutes.

"If each of us collected two dollars and fifty cents, that would mean
three hundred dollars, would it not, Miss James?" one of the girls
asked.

Miss James nodded her head in assent.

"We will be able to do that, of course. Let us pledge that much but
make a private pledge to ourselves that we get at least five hundred
dollars. I so move," said Mary Lee.

"I second that," said Ruth excitedly, while many of the other girls
showed their approval of the idea.

"Very well, then," said Miss James. "We'll understand, however, that
no actual attempts will be made until next week so that it does not
interfere with the sale of the bonds.

"We are to have Mrs. Frances Billings for a visit next Friday evening.
The Committee on Plans will arrange for a reception. Mrs. Billings,
as you all know, is an official of the Red Cross work and it will be
splendid for us to have her visit us. The Committee on Plans will meet
tomorrow. Is there anything else?"

But nothing else had to be taken up that afternoon and the group
adjourned.



CHAPTER XXI

"WHAT SHALL WE WEAR?"


Mrs. Anderson's interest in the girls had not abated in the least
because of her marriage. She had watched with pride the work they had
done as members of the Red Cross Group.

One morning each of the former Campfire Girls received an invitation
to dinner at the Anderson home. Formal dinner invitations did not come
often to the girls; they were not old enough as yet. You may be sure
that it left them an excited, eager lot. The very next morning Aunt
Madge received eight very formal acceptances.

She smiled for she realized that the girls were very much flattered by
the dignity of the invitation. She had purposely made it so for that
very reason.

Thursday morning, the day of the party, found two girls greatly
excited, on their way to school.

"I haven't a thing to wear," said Letty, with true feminine
consistency.

"Nonsense," replied Mary Lee. "You surely can wear your pale blue
voile. It goes so well with your pretty new hat. But as for myself, I
haven't a fit dress for a formal dinner party."

Now, Mary Lee had purchased, with the aid of Letty and Mrs. Saunders,
two or three simple gowns, but as this dinner was to be formal, she
was afraid none of her dresses would do for the occasion.

"Silly," replied Letty, "if I had that love of a Georgette crepe I
wouldn't worry a minute."

"I guess," remarked Mary Lee with great truth, "we never have the
thing that is altogether satisfactory, it is always something we'd
like to have."

School was but a half day. It was so near the end of the term that an
unusual amount of free time was permitted. The Campfire girls were
glad to have this leisure. They actually thought they needed it for
getting ready.

As a matter of fact, none of them really started to dress until five
o'clock.

At six-thirty Letty and Mary Lee arrived. Mrs. Anderson was in formal
evening dress as was Dr. Anderson.

"I'm sure there are going to be older folks at the dinner," Ruth, who
had already arrived, whispered to Letty. "Look," and when the host and
hostess were engaged elsewhere she pointed to the formality of their
attire.

"I don't think so," replied Mary Lee, who had overheard. "It's going
to be our party only and they are treating us as grown-ups, that is
all."

And so it proved.

The girls arrived promptly. The dinner was one of many courses. When
it was over, Dr. Anderson arose and said:

"I don't know just where I fit in. I guess I'm just a husband; but
Mrs. Anderson thought I should tell you that we're very proud of our
Campfire Girls and the unselfish work they have done; and since your
work was the equal of work done by people who are grown-up, we
thought the most fitting occasion would be a very formal dinner. It is
on such occasions that older folks usually tell each other how clever
and good they are.

"But seriously, girls, your unselfish work in this great cause is what
makes one happy in belonging to such a country. When the time comes,
all of us, young and old, will give the best that is in us for our
country. Pretty soon my time will come, and I shall not fail to answer
the call. But when I go, it will not be I who will do the worth-while
thing--it will be my wife, who will see me go, smilingly and bravely,
because it's the thing I must do.

"It is you girls and you women, you see, who more and more are doing
the big thing in a war like this."

Dr. Anderson continued: "I've been very fortunate in knowing you young
ladies and learning of your noble work. I can readily understand why
my wife thinks so much of you. And, of course," Dr. Anderson's eyes
twinkled, "I can understand why you all think so much of her."

The girls laughed as Dr. Anderson sat down.

"One of the reasons," said Aunt Madge, "I invited you tonight was to
extend another invitation. We are leaving for Mount Hope over
Decoration Day. All of you girls deserve a rest and I think it can be
arranged for you to go with us. You can leave Wednesday and come back
Saturday."

The girls applauded enthusiastically.

"Good," said Letty.

"Won't it be heavenly?" said Ruth, equally enthusiastic.

"It will be different from our Thanksgiving party, for at least it is
spring--and I love spring," said Grace Olcott.

"You're the one that loved winter, too," said Clara.

"Well, I did," replied Grace, not a whit abashed, "I like them all as
they come."

"If we have half as good a time," said Irma, "I'll be satisfied."

Letty and Mary Lee said nothing. The memory of that Thanksgiving party
when Letty had tried to make trouble for Mary Lee was not a pleasant
one for Letty. Mary Lee also thought of it. She looked at Letty into
whose eyes tears began to well.

"It's all right," whispered Mary Lee, as she put her hand over
Letty's, but in a way that the other people could not see. "We're good
friends now. Let's forget all of that."

Letty forced back her tears and gave her friend's hand a loving pat.

"Of course," said Aunt Madge, "you will have to receive the necessary
permission both at school and at home. I hope you will be successful."

"Now, girls," Mrs. Anderson continued, "let's make no plans for our
party and instead talk of what we can do in the way of making folks
buy more Liberty Bonds. You see, we want to sell more among the people
who would buy but a few shares."

The conversation turned to how the Red Cross Girls could further help.
Many suggestions were made and discussed.

"I want to tell you," said Mary Lee, "that the Red Cross Committee
intends to go out for more money as soon as the sale of the Liberty
Bonds closes."

"Do you think we should wait and do our work for the Red Cross?" asked
Edith.

"I realize, of course, how well you girls have already done. Miss
James has given me the amount of subscriptions that the Red Cross
Girls have been able to obtain. It's truly wonderful. Perhaps we might
turn our efforts toward the Red Cross collections," said Aunt Madge.

"Suppose," Mary Lee suggested, "that we only accept Aunt Madge's
invitation on condition that we get $16,000 worth of Liberty Bonds
sold. That means each of us must sell $2,000 worth."

"Good idea, Mary Lee," Dr. Anderson cried enthusiastically.

"We'll do it," said the rest of the girls.

A little later the girls departed. It was a most enjoyable party, they
all agreed.



CHAPTER XXII

WORKING FOR "LIBERTY"


A few days later Mary Lee received a letter from Tom Marshall. He had
replied at once to her letter. He told her that he had instructed Mr.
Saunders to arrange with her to buy his share of Liberty Bonds. Things
were going along well and the mine was a great success. He also told
her that he had forwarded his name for registration so that he could
be conscripted when the time came.

"What do you hear of Jim Lee?" he inquired.

Lee had written only once to her, as the girl suddenly realized. It
was over ten days since she had heard from him.

But the afternoon brought a short note in which he announced that he
had been transferred to the Artillery Division. He was going to see
more active service, he wrote.

When Mr. Saunders came home both Letty and Mary Lee were waiting for
him.

"How many bonds did Mr. Marshall tell you to buy, dad?" asked Letty.

"Why should he tell me to buy any bonds?" her father replied.

"Why, he wrote Mary Lee that he had communicated with you; and we must
get four thousand dollars' worth sold," she added.

"Must?" Mr. Saunders repeated.

"Otherwise--so we have pledged--we cannot go on the Decoration Day
party with Mrs. Anderson," Mary Lee added.

"You mean that you have set a mark which you must attain in order to
allow yourselves to go?"

The girls nodded their heads very vigorously.

"Well, I call that a fine thing," replied Letty's father. "You may put
Marshall down for fifteen hundred dollars, and I want to add that if
you don't make the mark, come to me. I won't buy any more, but I'll
see that you get a chance to sell some. Now, be off with you, while I
dress for dinner," and Mr. Saunders chuckled to himself.

"And they worry about this country, when even the little girls are so
serious-minded," he remarked to himself.

Mary Lee, together with Letty, called on the Camerons the next day.

"Now," said Mary Lee, "to business, for that is what we came for."

"Has Mr. Cameron bought any Liberty Bonds? Have you? Will Bob buy
any?"

"My goodness," replied Mrs. Cameron, "I don't know whether Mr. Cameron
did or didn't. I know I did not. I never even thought of it. I don't
think Bob did, either."

"Well, you should buy some," Mary Lee advised. "You see, the country
needs the money. Uncle Sam is behind these bonds and he pays three and
one-half per cent."

"Three and one-half per cent?" repeated Mrs. Cameron. "My bank and my
other bonds pay only three per cent."

  [Illustration: MARY LEE WRITES TO BOB]

"And better than that," added Letty, "you don't have to pay taxes on
Liberty Bonds."

"It sounds so attractive," said Mrs. Cameron. "But I know very little
of such things. I'll leave it to Mr. Cameron. If I buy any, part of
them will be bought through you."

"Thank you," the girls replied. They told her about their pledge.

"Better write to Bob and ask him to telegraph you if he will buy two
shares. I think he can buy that many," suggested Mrs. Cameron.

"I'll do it at once," said Mary Lee, and proceeded to suit action to
words.

"Here comes Mr. Cameron's car," Letty called.

Mr. Cameron came in almost at once and greeted Mary Lee warmly.

"It's good to see you again," he remarked as he removed his gloves.

Mary Lee did not allow much time to elapse before she stated the
purpose of their call.

"I'm sorry, girls. Of course, I've already bought the bonds. They are
too good an investment to let pass."

"What's more, I've bought some for Mrs. Cameron, too. However," and he
paused, "between us we should be able to buy forty or fifty bonds.
Don't you think so, mother?"

Mrs. Cameron smiling assented.

"Will that do?" he asked.

"Do? Do? Why, you're a dear," Mary Lee replied.

They stayed for tea and had a pleasant visit. The girls promised to
call when they returned from Mount Hope.

"If we go," said Letty. "We may not be successful in getting the
subscriptions."

"We simply must," replied Mary Lee.

"Tell you what I'll do," said Mary Lee. "I feel as if I should go out
to see the Quinns. I owe them a call. Perhaps I can make Mr. Quinn
understand how good these bonds are and if he has any savings he might
want to buy some of them."

"I'll go with you," Letty replied.

  [Illustration: "HELLO, MARY LEE, HAVE YOU COME TO STAY?"]

The call on the Quinns was made the next day. The girls took the train
and walked to the home from the station. Mary Lee was delighted with
the farm; it showed great improvement over the year before.

Mrs. Quinn came to the door, one hand shading her eyes and the other
partly lifting the apron which she wore while busy in the kitchen.

"Well, if it isn't Mary Lee and Miss Saunders!" she exclaimed.

Hearing the exclamation, two sturdy boys rushed past her and were
shaking hands with the girls before the mother had a chance.

"Hello, Mary Lee," they greeted her joyfully. "Have you come to stay?"

"No, but I'm glad I'm here."

Mrs. Quinn took Mary Lee in her arms. "I'm so glad to see you, dear,
so glad."

"I'm going for father," announced Tom. He was off with a rush, the
other boy close at his heels.



CHAPTER XXIII

BACK ON THE FARM.


The girls sat on the porch during the entire afternoon. Mr. and Mrs.
Quinn were with them.

"It is so comfortable and cheerful out here," Mary Lee remarked.

"It's a wonderful place, isn't it?" added Letty as she looked about.

"Yes, and it will always seem like home to me," Mary Lee replied.

"We had a great summer last year. The farm did very well. This year
promises to be much better. I tell you, it's a great place," and Mr.
Quinn beamed.

"Mr. Quinn has been waiting for Dr. Anderson to come out. He has saved
considerable money and he wants Dr. Anderson to deposit it for him,"
volunteered Mrs. Quinn.

Letty looked at Mary Lee who in turn looked at her.

"That's a queer coincidence," said the girl. "One reason why we came
out was to find out if you and Mr. Quinn didn't want to buy some
Liberty Bonds." Mary Lee then went on to explain about them and also
told about the investments everyone she knew had made. "It pays fairly
well, you see."

"More than that," replied Mr. Quinn, "it's for Uncle Sam. I know
something about it, but just hadn't decided that it applied to me.
When you get back, Mary Lee," he continued, "will you get Dr.
Anderson's consent? I have seven hundred dollars I can put into these
bonds."

"I will ask Dr. Anderson to write you about this investment," Mary Lee
readily replied. "He'll probably buy yours with his own."

The important business completed, the girls reluctantly disturbed
their own comfort to follow the boys about the entire farm. The baby,
over three years old now, was awake by this time.

Mary Lee was quite disappointed over the fact that the child did not
remember her, but she made friends very quickly with both of them.

When the girls reached home it was close to eight. The next two days
were hurried ones.

A telegram came for Mary Lee Monday night. At first she was greatly
alarmed.

"It's from Bob, of course," Letty reminded her.

"Why, to be sure." She tore open the envelope as she spoke.

"He is going to buy three bonds," she cried delightedly as she handed
the telegram to Letty.

"That gives us $850 over," Mary Lee announced after a few seconds'
calculation.

"Some of the other girls may not have enough," Letty remarked. "At any
rate, we'll know tomorrow whether we go or not."

The meeting was in the afternoon. Some of the girls had fallen short
in the number they sold, but Edith, alone, had sold four thousand
dollars' worth. The total amount--the girls held their breath while it
was being figured--was nineteen thousand.

"So we can all go?" asked Ruth.

"Yes, you can go," replied Aunt Madge. "And to show you how much faith
I had in you, I've gotten everything ready. We shall leave tomorrow
morning at ten, from the Grand Central Station."

"Let's not take any more things than we need," said Mary Lee.

"Very well," answered Letty. "We'll use a steamer trunk for both of
us. We simply can't use anything smaller, can we?"

"I thought perhaps we could," replied Mary Lee rather meekly. "But
we'll compromise on a small trunk, as you say."

The girls were all ready by dinner time. After dinner they visited
Ruth, who lived close by.

"I'm so glad you came, for you can help me decide what to take with
me."

"Well, if you'll take our advice," said Mary Lee, "you won't take
much."

"I don't expect to," replied Ruth.

"You don't?" exclaimed the other two girls in amazement. "Look what
you already have laid out and I suppose you'll declare that you
haven't half your things," said Mary Lee.

"Here, let's show you," added Letty, who forgot that Mary Lee had
earlier in the day urged her to cut down her own luggage.

Despite the excited exclamations of Ruth over things she insisted she
must have, the two other girls determinedly had their way.

"Now, isn't this better?" asked Mary Lee, when they were through
packing, and her trunk, but half the size of the original, still had
room for more things. "You mustn't forget you are only going for a few
days."

"Very well," replied Ruth, "I suppose you're right. But please," she
begged, "just let me include these shoes--just these."

"Shall we, Letty?" asked Mary Lee, pretending to be stern, but the
least bit undecided.

"If it's only these shoes, we will," replied her chum.

"Thank you," Ruth said with mock humility. "Thank you very much."



CHAPTER XXIV

BOUND FOR THE CAMP


Spring was late in the year 1917. The trees were just beginning to
show in full foliage and the grass had the freshness and fragrance
that only the early mornings of spring can give to it.

Mary Lee, Letty and Ruth had awakened and dressed at four o'clock that
morning. Mary Lee had suggested the night before that they do this and
the two girls had loyally but sleepily carried out the plan.

The party bound for Mount Hope had left on the seven o'clock
Adirondack Express, the night before. When the three girls reached the
observation platform, after going through a long line of sleeping
coaches, the train was running parallel with Champlain and was nearing
Plattsburg.

It was a gorgeous sight and the three stood for several minutes
enwrapped in its splendor.

The lake, with the woods running close to its shore, presented a
picture of crystal-like clearness. On the other side of it, the White
and Green mountains were beginning to show in more definite outline.
The sun, too, began to herald the dawn of the new day, forming a rosy
pink in the eastern sky, just over the mountain ranges.

"My," said Letty. "I'm glad we did get up."

"We never really saw the Adirondacks before, did we?" added Ruth.

"If Mary Lee had ever been up here before," Letty further remarked,
"I'm sure she never would have missed doing this kind of thing. It
_took_ her to get us to do it now; without her, I think we would have
come up here again and again and never have summoned sufficient energy
to get up so early."

On Mary Lee, the clearing outlines of the towering mountains on both
sides of her, the magnificance of the lake, had all made a tremendous
impression. Never had sunrise meant so much to her.

The girl had never, from that first day, when she was brought to the
city, ever been further away from it than the farm. The beauty of this
new environment dazzled her. Her two friends, though not nearly so
impressionable, yet found themselves stilled by the majesty of the
quiet everywhere.

So engrossed were the girls that they did not notice that Dr. Anderson
had stopped just inside the door and was watching them as well as the
dawning day.

He stood there for ten minutes, then came out and joined them.

Mary Lee gave him a brilliant smile. The three girls looked very
pretty and attractive in their blouses.

"Isn't it perfect?" she offered with a sigh of pure joy in the
splendor all about her.

The doctor nodded smilingly.

"It certainly is that," he answered.

A little later the train entered Plattsburg.

"There's a two hour wait here, girls," Dr. Anderson informed them.
"While the sleepy-heads are getting up, let's go up to see the famous
Plattsburg camp. Shall we?"

"Splendid," replied Letty enthusiastically, "let's."

"Of course," added the doctor, "we have but little time and so shall
not be able to see very much. But even that little should prove
interesting. Many of our officers for the war will be turned out here
and some of our great men have come here for training."

As the doctor had remarked there was but little time to spend at the
camp. The sergeant on guard showed them all that could be seen at that
hour. Both Dr. Anderson and Mary Lee were specially interested in the
first aid equipment. Although they had to make a hurried departure
they were glad to have had this closer view of a camp destined to make
history.

It was almost six-thirty when they returned to the train which was
scheduled to leave in twenty minutes. They found Mrs. Anderson and one
or two of the girls already awake.

"We've had a heavenly morning, Aunt Madge," said Mary Lee.

"And I suppose you called the rest of us sleepy-heads for not being
with you?" Aunt Madge answered.

"I never had any idea it could be so beautiful," Mary Lee said in
reply to a question of Mrs. Anderson's.

"Well, dear, you will find it even more so as we climb the
Adirondacks. We are to do that from now until we reach our point.
Let's all have breakfast, at least all of us who are awake and ready
for it. I suppose you early risers must be starved."

The three chums suddenly realized how hungry they were. It had not
occurred to them until the subject was mentioned.

It was almost nine o'clock when the party reached their station. The
Anderson camp was twelve miles away and the two automobiles waiting
for them took almost an hour to climb to it.

Mary Lee as well as the rest of the girls found the whole trip a
panorama of delights.

The country was wild and seemed to have escaped civilization.

"To think," said one of the girls, "that a place as wild as this
should be so near so big a city. It's hard to imagine, isn't it?"

The camp picked by Dr. Anderson was truly in a wonderful spot. Far
from human habitation it was hidden from the narrow road up which the
automobiles had come. It was three-quarters of the way to the top of
Mount Hope. Nearby Lake Ormond, a small body of water was almost
hidden by trees and bushes all about it.

The girls quickly changed to clothes that were comfortable and
suitable. Some of them found hammocks, some walked down to the lake.

Dr. Anderson had told them that there were no fixed plans and that
each one could do the thing that seemed most desirable.

When he went into the house to interview the caretakers, Mrs. Anderson
and several of the girls found a comfortable nook. Irma and Clara who
were not inclined to be as strenuous as the rest of the girls joined
her. Mrs. Anderson was doing some sewing. Clara welcomed the
opportunity to finish some beautiful tatting and Irma was equally
anxious to finish a story she had begun on the train.

Mary Lee, Letty, Ruth and Edith had decided on following one of the
narrow foot-paths to the top of Mt. Hope. They stopped for a few
minutes and added to the group about Aunt Madge.

"I'm so glad I came," said Edith. "There never was such a place."

"How did you ever find it?" asked Clara, looking up from her yoke.

"It must have been a wonderful place for your honeymoon," said the
sentimental Irma.

"Yes, we think it rather pleasant," replied the hostess. "It would not
have been easy to find, you may be sure. But Dr. Anderson knows this
part of the Adirondacks well and he claims that he picked this spot
long ago for just such a purpose."

"Wasn't that lovely?" Irma remarked, delighted at any promise of
romance.

"It's going to be very dear to us, always," Aunt Madge added. "And if
our dear friends get half the fun and joy out of being here that we
do we shall indeed think they are having a happy visit."

"Well, I for my part feel that I've already had an awful lot crowded
into my holiday," said Mary Lee. "All the pleasure that's coming is so
much added."

"Be sure to get back for lunch," Aunt Madge cautioned the four girls
as they started off.

"We wouldn't miss it for the world," Letty called back.



CHAPTER XXV

LOST IN THE WOODS


Letty and Edith were soon considerably ahead of Ruth and Mary Lee who
stopped often at the many pretty spots along the way.

"Isn't it lovely the way the path trails and yet continues ever
upward?" said Mary Lee as the two made their way slowly ahead.

"It seems so far from the city and war and Liberty Bonds," replied
Ruth dreamily.

"But it's our country and it simply adds to our reason for being proud
of it," the other girl answered. "But you are right, it is far away
from things."

At first the voices ahead were clearly distinct but now they were no
longer heard. The road, too, in one or two places trailed into the
woods and Mary Lee and Ruth found that it was necessary to keep a
sharp lookout not to wander off on one of these side trails.

"Here's how we can tell," the former suddenly called to Ruth. "See
these trees. Someone must have marked them so as to show how to go."

"It's what they call a blazed trail, I guess," Ruth replied. "I've
often heard my brother tell how he and his guide had found it
necessary to blaze trails as they go."

"I wonder where Letty and Edith are," Mary Lee suddenly remarked. "We
haven't heard their voices for a long time."

The two girls called for their friends. But there was no answer.

"Let's hurry," said Ruth beginning to be alarmed.

They hurried out but found no sign of their friends nor any answer to
their calls.

"I wonder where they can be," said Mary Lee. "Do you suppose they
wandered off on one of these trails? I suppose that's what they have
done," she added, answering her own question.

"Let's turn back, Mary Lee," Ruth advised.

They did this at once. Mary Lee felt certain that the two girls could
not have gone much further ahead.

They came across one or two of the side trails but there was no sign
of footprints. At one of these narrow paths they did see the mark of
feet but after cutting into the woods for several hundred yards, they
decided it was the point where they had found themselves branching off
on their way up.

They did not cease their calls but were unable to get a response.

By this time it was midday and they were far from the camp. They had
lost considerable time in zagzaging uncertainly from one point to
another in their anxiety to locate their friends.

"I wonder, Ruth," Mary Lee questioned her friend, "whether you could
find your way back and get help. It's only about two miles from here."

"What will you do in the meantime?" Ruth replied. "I hate to leave you
alone."

"I shall try to locate them. But I shall be always coming back to
this point, so that you will know where to find me. See, I shall put
this branch in the middle of the trail so that you will know."

Ruth hurried off. Mary Lee tied her handkerchief on a small branch of
another tree so that there would be no mistake. She realized that Ruth
would not be able to bring help in less than an hour and so decided
she was going to study the number of trails within a half mile and
follow the one that seemed the most likely.

A little further up the mountain she found a path that seemed almost
as wide as the main trail and decided to follow it. She had gone but a
little way when she noticed that it cut directly to her right and
began to go down hill.

Now she hurried and began to call again. She received no answer but
decided to continue on her way.

The woods became thicker. The thorns and trailing branches scratched
her arms and her face but she was unmindful of this. She made sure,
however, of her way back. She had no wish to join the lost.

She had cut into the woods about a mile by now and had ceased her
calls. The woods were thick about her and almost inaccessible.

"I must turn back," she thought dejectedly. "They're not this way."
Her dress was torn, her hair too, was not in its usual neat order.

"Letty, oh Letty," she called with a last forlorn hope.

There was silence for a few seconds. Then from a considerable
distance, she heard an answering voice.

A little uncertain as to the location and inclined to believe that the
hail might come from Dr. Anderson and the rescue party, she called
again.

The answer was clearer and seemed to come from about a quarter of a
mile ahead of her.

She hurried forward. Soon she heard someone tearing through the brush
and finally Letty and Edith appeared.

As soon as the two girls saw Mary Lee they sat down and began to cry.

"Aren't we the sillies?" said Edith tearfully. "We didn't think of
crying until you found us."

"We're certainly glad you did find us," Letty added.

The two girls presented a sorry picture. Their faces and arms were
scratched even more than Mary Lee's. Their dresses, too, were torn and
one of Letty's stockings had a big hole in it.

The three hurried back to the point Mary Lee had marked. As well as
the two girls could, they explained how they had wandered off on a
side trail without being aware of it. Then they had suddenly realized
they were in the thick of the woods. They had halloaed, but could not
hear any answer.

Dr. Anderson and Aunt Madge were already waiting for them. The girls
could hear them calling their names and Mary Lee shouted in response
that she found the two.

When the party reached the camp, there were three girls who could not
decide whether they were too hungry to be tired or too tired to be
hungry.

After luncheon had been finished and the girls' scratches dressed,
Dr. Anderson joined his wife.

"Better not tell those children what a narrow escape they had. It is
best for them not to know that there have been people lost in these
woods who have starved to death."

"I think, too, we had better not let them go off by themselves again,"
replied Mrs. Anderson. "They're not all Mary Lees, you know."

So the Andersons made light of the fact that Letty and Edith had
strayed off.

By the next day, the girls had almost forgotten the incident in the
excitement of the pleasures and enjoyment of the vacation.



CHAPTER XXVI

RETURNING HOME


The stay at Mount Hope came to a close much too swiftly for the girls,
who had never enjoyed any outing so much. Bob had come on Saturday for
the two days and after the first half hour of stiffness and shyness
over being in the company of so many girls he found himself thoroughly
at home.

The boy had grown more manly. Mary Lee soon found that he preferred
the company of boys now. She was glad of that, even though she knew
that it took something from their own close friendship. She wanted Bob
to be a boy's boy and he was certainly proving himself that.

He was greatly interested in the success of the girls' "Liberty" sale.
Mary Lee told him of the plans for the Red Cross week which was to
begin on June 18th. The boy knew of that for his mother had written to
him about it and he told Mary Lee of the plans his school had made to
help during the same week.

"I'm one of the committee, too," he told her with great pride.

It was a still bright day when the party started for the station in
the automobiles after waving a farewell to the caretakers. The train
was due at the station at five o'clock. Aunt Madge had no wish to rush
things and so had decided on an early start.

Bob left them at Plattsburg. He was to cross Champlain to Burlington
and from there take a train for the school.

It was the idea of the girls that they would stay awake until late in
the evening. But ten o'clock found most of them in their berths. At
seven o'clock the following morning, the train arrived at the Grand
Central. Letty, Edith and Mary Lee still showed traces of the
scratches they had received in the woods. But they were not in the
least disturbed by this for they carried the pleasantest recollections
of a delightful party. If the truth were told, the incident of being
lost, now that it was a thing of the past, carried a certain zest.

Letty had been quite vexed at herself for having cried when Mary Lee
found them. She would have liked to pretend that she had not been at
all frightened.

Edith, however, made an outright admission of how frightened she had
been.

"And Letty," she rebuked the latter, "you know how scared you were.
You needn't try to pretend you weren't."

"Well, _I was_, and so was Ruth," Mary Lee admitted.

"I suppose I must admit that I was, too," Letty ruefully added.
"Though I would have liked to pretend that I was brave."

"Letty," said Aunt Madge very gravely as she put her arm about her and
gave her a hug, "it's the brave people who are scared and frightened.
It's people who are able to overcome their fear who are truly brave."

The girls gathered together at the station and surrounded the
Andersons. Aunt Madge, happy, somewhat embarrassed, was the center of
the group and received the evidence of the good time the girls had had
with flushed face and genuine pleasure. People passing by stopped to
watch the pretty party.

"Now for school," said Edith, as the girls began to separate to get
ready for the same. "Another month and our real vacation time begins."

"Yes," replied Mary Lee, "but we mustn't, in the meantime, forget the
things we must plan and do for the Red Cross before that vacation time
comes. Remember our promise, don't you, for the week of June 18th?"

"We certainly do," replied the other girls enthusiastically.



CHAPTER XXVII

ANOTHER ADVENTURE


"Oh, what a long week this is!" cried Letty, a few days later as she
walked home from school with Mary Lee and Edith.

"Yes, school is certainly dragging along at a slow pace these last few
weeks," added Edith.

"I suppose it's because our thoughts are more on our coming vacation
than on our studies," said Mary Lee. "We ought to feel bright and
perfectly willing to work hard after our delightful outing, but
somehow I must confess I don't."

"Neither do I. The taste of fun we had was so good we want more. I
wish some one would invite us to another week-end party or something,"
said Letty.

"Oh, wouldn't that be great! Mother has some friends who are at their
lovely country home over on Long Island. If they would only invite us
over," said Edith.

They had just reached Letty's home when they spied the postman coming
out.

"Did you leave a letter for me?" cried Letty.

"Yes, indeed," replied the postman, "a nice big fat one, too."

"Oh, come on in, girls, till I see if there's anything worth while in
it," cried Letty bounding up the front steps.

The girls were glad to stop in for awhile, for the house was cool and
delightful, while the heat outside was intense for a June day.

Letty tore the letter open hurriedly, and glanced first of all at the
signature.

"Oh, girls, it's from Cousin Edna! What do you suppose she wants?"

"Why not read it and see?" asked Edith, who was quite consumed with
curiosity.

Letty did. A smile lighted up her face as she turned over the first
page. By the time she finished the letter she was ready to dance, she
was so excited.

"Calm yourself, child, calm yourself, till we know what it's all
about," cried Mary Lee.

"Talk about luck!" exclaimed Letty. "Just think, Cousin Edna's Camp
Fire Group is off on a camping expedition. She thinks it would be a
'lark' if some of our girls could come over and visit them for a day
or so at their camp."

"_Can_ we?" cried Edith, "well, I should say we could. Tomorrow is
Friday, so why not go this week? I'm sure my mother will consent to
let me go. Whom else shall we ask beside us three?"

"Nobody," said Letty. "We can have a better time if we go by
ourselves. Cousin Edna says they are living in tents about five miles
out from the railroad station. Of course we shall have to 'hike' all
the way over from the station, but won't it be fun? We can wear our
khaki suits and carry our blankets strapped around us. The camp is on
the beach and we can take our swimming suits along."

"And we can sleep on the beach," cried Mary Lee, "and watch the stars.
I've always wanted to do that."

"Come on home," cried Edith to Mary Lee, "and see what mother has to
say. I'm sure she will think it a lovely plan. Letty, you find your
mother and get her consent."

"When shall we start?" cried Letty.

"Tomorrow afternoon, right after school," said Mary Lee. "We can go by
train to Port Washington and 'hike' over to the camp."

"Yes," said Letty, "I'll have father look up the time-table and see
how late a train we can get, so that we can do our walking as the sun
is setting. The woods will be so pretty then."

"But suppose it gets dark before we reach camp," said Edith.

"All the more fun. We can take along a flash-light. Father has one
that gives out a big light. He bought it when he went fishing not long
ago. I'll ask him to lend it to us," said Letty, "and mother has some
regular U. S. Army blankets that she takes when we go to the mountains
every summer. She'll let us each take one. They will be just the thing
if we want to sleep on the beach."



CHAPTER XXVIII

"HELP! HELP!"


When the three girls started on their expedition the next day, they
were the center of attention at the depot. Each wore a khaki suit,
consisting of a middy blouse and bloomers, heavy leggings and soft
felt hat. Their blankets were thrown over their shoulders and strapped
at the side. Inside the rolled blanket each had a sweater, a bathing
suit and a cap. One girl carried a camera, one a box of lunch and the
other a flash light.

"Aren't we loaded though?" cried Letty as they seated themselves in
the train.

"I should say so. I feel like Tartarin when he started to climb the
Alps," said Edith.

"I never heard of Tartarin," said Mary Lee. "Who was he?"

"Didn't you ever read 'Tartarin of Tarascon,' by Alphonse Daudet?"
asked Letty.

"No, but I've heard of Daudet. He was a celebrated Frenchman, wasn't
he?"

"Yes, and Tartarin was the dearest old fellow. He started out to climb
the Alps--loaded himself with rope, woolen clothing, Alpine stick,
etc. We had to read the book last year in our French class," said
Letty.

"Wasn't it the hardest French you ever read?" asked Edith. "It seemed
to me I had to use my dictionary for every other word. But dear me,
why talk about school and studies when we're off on a 'lark'?"

"That's what I say," said Mary Lee. "Let's make up a song that we can
sing as we trudge along the road."

"How about using the tune of 'The Bear Went Over the Mountain'?" asked
Edith.

"Just the thing," cried Letty. "How's this?--

"We took our beds on our ba-acks--"

"Oh, no," said Mary Lee. "It's better to say 'we took our beds on our
shoulders.'"

The girls were so busy working on their song that they were surprised
when the conductor called "Port Washington."

How the townspeople did stare as the three girls set out down the
road! Several soldiers, standing on a corner smiled as they whistled
the song:

     "Oh here she comes, there she goes
     All dressed up in her Sunday clothes."

"Don't you feel like a freak?" asked Edith, rather sorry now she had
worn her bloomer suit.

"Indeed I don't," answered Letty. "These khaki bloomer suits are the
latest fad for 'hikers.' I had a letter from my aunt who is at a
fashionable summer resort in Michigan. She said that there was a party
of young people spending the week end at the same hotel and that all
the young women of the party wore bloomer suits and looked just too
cute for anything. They are university students and had walked all the
way from Chicago. They were making a study of the sand dunes, lake
currents and change of river beds. A professor was with them."

"How delightful," said Mary Lee. "I'd love to join a party like that,
only I'd rather study Botany."

By this time the road led into a deep wood where the setting sun
flashed its red light through the verdant foliage.

"Isn't this ideal?" exclaimed Edith. "Look at those noble looking
trees!"

"What kind are they?" asked Letty. "I never could tell one tree from
another."

"Those are red oak and those over there are white," explained Mary
Lee.

"They look just alike to me," said Letty. "How can you tell which is
which?"

"The red oak has pointed leaves and its acorns ripen every year. But
the white oak's leaves are rounded and it takes two years for its
acorns to ripen," explained Mary Lee.

"Oh, look here," cried Edith, bending over a bed of dry leaves.
"Here's an Indian pipe growing. I haven't seen one for years."

"Why, it's pure white," said Letty. "Not a bit of green on it. Even
the root and the stem are white. It is like a regular miniature white
clay pipe, isn't it?"

"One could almost blow soap bubbles through it," added Edith. "But
come, girls, we must hurry on. It will be dark before we know it."

"Who is afraid?" said Mary Lee, "we have a flash light."

"How would you like to have a cup of sassafras tea?" asked Edith,
examining a small shrub.

"Where would you get the sassafras?" asked Letty.

"Come over here and help me pull up this baby tree and I'll show you,"
said Edith.

All three girls pulled and up came the little tree, roots and all.
Then Edith took her jack knife which hung on a chain from her belt and
peeled off bits of the bark down around the roots, and gave each of
the girls a taste.

"It's sassafras all right," said Edith, "but it doesn't look like the
kind the women sell on the street corners in town. That's more reddish
looking. Why is that, I wonder?"

"Don't ask me," said Edith. "I think I'm smart enough in knowing it's
sassafras. Why worry over its color?"

"Oh, here's a snail in its shell," said Mary Lee, picking up a round,
brownish shell from the sandy path. "Come out here, Mr. Snail and show
yourself," she said, holding the end of a long stick at the opening of
the shell.

After a few minutes, there was a movement within, and out came a head.

"Look at its horns," said Letty. "Aren't they long?"

"Those aren't horns, those are its eyes at the very end of what appear
to be horns. Watch, it is crawling entirely out of its shell. Isn't it
funny looking, as it crawls along, carrying its shell on its back?"
said Mary Lee.

"And to think people eat the horrid little things," said Letty.

"They do?" exclaimed Mary Lee. "Whoever would eat them?"

"The French are very fond of them," explained Letty. "Haven't you ever
seen the word 'escargots' on the menu cards?"

"I have," said Edith, "but I must confess that my French is so limited
I never dreamed it meant snails, though."

By this time the road led again into the open, with woods on one side
and farm lands on the other. The sun had now disappeared and night
would soon settle down, so the girls quickened their pace.

"Do you think we can make it before it's pitch dark?" asked Edith, the
most timid of the crowd. "It seems to me we have walked about five
miles already."

"Oh, no, we haven't, but I do think we are within two miles or so of
our destination. Cousin Edna and the Camp Fire Guardian are going to
walk out and meet us. I suppose they have started by this time," said
Letty.

"I'm glad we don't have to go through any more woods. This road is
fine and hard," said Edith.

It was now quite dark, so Mary Lee walked ahead and flashed on the
light.

Suddenly they heard a strange noise.

"Oh, what is that?" cried Edith, rushing on ahead, not waiting to find
out from which direction the sound came.

Suddenly there was a dreadful scream from Edith, on ahead. "Help,
help!" she cried. "Oh, girls, where am I?"

Mary Lee and Letty rushed on ahead, flashing the light. In the middle
of the road sat Edith and near her was stretched a big cow, half
asleep.

Edith, in trying to run from the mooing cow, had run upon it instead.
It had evidently strolled away from a nearby farmhouse.

"The big boob," said Edith, "to stretch itself out in the middle of
the road. It was a dreadful sensation to fall against that big hot
animal, and not know what it was," she laughingly said, now beginning
to see the funny side of the incident.

"Listen," said Letty, "what's that whistle?"

"It's the Campfire Guardian's whistle," exclaimed Mary Lee. "They must
be near us now."

"What a relief," sighed Edith, picking herself up, and trudging on
after the others.

When Cousin Edna and the Camp Fire Guardian met the girls, there was
great rejoicing and before long all five arrived at camp.

The "hikers" were pretty tired, so they soon unstrapped their blankets
and made ready to sleep.

"I'm so glad Cousin Edna could manage to get us cots to sleep on up
here in the tents. I'm too tired to try it on the beach tonight," said
Letty.

"Me too," said Edith. "Falling over that cow in the pitch dark was
sensation enough for one night."

"Perhaps we'll feel more like it tomorrow night. I'd hate to go back
to town without sleeping down on the beach one night," said Mary Lee,
unrolling her blanket.

"Isn't this a scheme to sleep in our bathing suits, so as to be all
ready to run down and take a dip at sunrise tomorrow morning!"
exclaimed Letty.

"I should say so. I do so love to take an early morning plunge," said
Mary Lee, jumping into bed.



CHAPTER XXIX

LETTY'S SURPRISE


"My! doesn't this bacon taste delicious!" exclaimed Mary Lee, the next
morning as the Campfire Girls were gathered for breakfast in the mess
tent.

"And this corn bread and the cantaloupe," added Letty. "That early
plunge surely gives one a great appetite, doesn't it?"

"Yes, indeed, but don't eat so slow. Remember we have to wash our
dishes and clear up our own tents before we can do what we like."

"That's so," said Mary Lee, "see, some of the girls are through
already."

As each girl finished, she gathered up her own dishes, walked to the
end of the big table and washed and rinsed them in the big pans,
placed there for that purpose.

After breakfast the tents were put in order, and when everything was
ready the guardian inspected them all, to see which tent should be
awarded first honors for the day.

The Guardian was about to select the tent in which Letty's cousin Edna
slept when she discovered a hair pin sticking up between the boards in
front of the tent.

"My, isn't she a strict Campfire Guardian?" whispered Edith to Letty.

"I should say so! Weren't we lucky to have Aunt Madge for our
Guardian?" said Letty, "instead of one like her?"

Cousin Edna came up just then to tell the girls that she wanted them
to come over and meet her friend Josephine.

"She's the dearest little French girl. Her father was killed two years
ago over in France. Immediately afterwards she and her mother came to
this country to raise funds for the French Red Cross. The mother can't
think of anything but the war. She's a regular fanatic on the subject.
She gives lectures around at the houses of the 'four hundred' and has
made no end of big money for the good cause."

"But how did the daughter get to be a Campfire Girl?" asked Edith.

"The Guardian of our camp met her several times at lectures and felt
sorry for her. She seemed to be growing melancholy from so much war
talk. She never went anywhere except with her mother, so our Guardian
took her under her wing, asked her to join our camp and now she's the
favorite everywhere. She's getting her color back and is almost jolly
at times."

"I suppose she can tell blood-curdling stories about the war scenes
she saw before coming to this country."

"Yes, indeed; but we try to get her mind off the war because it has
such a depressing effect on her. But she can tell you the most
fascinating things about 'gay Paree' before the war. Her father was a
member of President Poincaire's cabinet before he enlisted, and she
used to attend all the state balls at the Elysee Palace."

"How thrilling!" exclaimed Letty. "Do introduce us."

"Isn't she a perfect darling?" whispered Edith to Mary Lee, after the
introduction was over.

The girls then passed a delightful hour, playing their ukuleles and
telling stories.

At eleven o'clock all went down to the beach for a swim. What fun they
had diving from the spring board and learning the "Australian Crawl."

After dinner they had rest-hour till 2:30. They had to keep pretty
quiet, so our three "hikers," Cousin Edna and the French girl decided
to sit outside their tent and read.

"But whatever shall we read?" asked Letty.

"We have some books here," said Cousin Edna, rummaging around in an
empty soap box, which stood on end, and took the place of a wash-stand
in the tent.

"How are these titles: 'Woodland Nymphs,' 'Oh Jerry, Be Careful,' 'Mr.
Ripling Sees it Too,' 'The Baby and the Bachelor'?"

"That's the one," cried all the girls in chorus as the last title was
called out.

The book proved to be an interesting one. In fact, it made them laugh
so, that it was not long before the Guardian came to hush them up and
to remind them that it was "rest hour."

"Are we going to have our beach supper tonight?" asked Cousin Edna.

"Yes, and if you like," replied the Guardian, "we can take our
blankets and sleep all night on the beach."

"Lovely," cried all the girls at once. "Let's get ready at once, shall
we?"

Soon the picnic basket was packed and off they started to a pretty
point two miles down the sandy beach.

The first thing they did upon arriving was to gather enough wood to
make a fire.

Then they hunted up a large clean-looking stone and put it in the fire
to heat.

While this was heating some of the girls gathered long blades of
strong grass and wove two mats the size of the top of the stone.

As soon as the stone was heated, they pulled it out of the fire and
dug a big hole in the sand in which they placed it. Around and over it
they put hot ashes. They had brought a supply of nice fresh fish
already cleaned and seasoned. These they placed between the grass
mats and then covered the mats over with more ashes.

"Do you mean to say that the fish will cook like that?" asked Mary
Lee.

"Indeed they will," said Cousin Edna, "and they will be so delicious
you will wish you could have them cooked like that all the time."

"How long will it take to cook them that way?" asked Letty.

"About an hour," replied Cousin Edna. "In the meantime, we can all
gather wood for our big fire tonight. We are going to roast corn and
toast marshmallows this evening."

"We have a lot of wood already," said Letty. "See the big pile over
there!"

"Bless you, child, that's nothing. We have to have enough to keep the
fire going all night."

"All night?" exclaimed Edith. "Whoever has to sit up and tend it all
night? I'd certainly hate that job."

"Oh, no one has to tend the fire _all_ night. A number of us are
chosen and each one has to keep watch an hour at a time," explained
Cousin Edna.

"It must be hard to sit up a whole hour; I'm sure I'd go off to
sleep," said Letty.

"You can doze if you like, but you have to keep one eye on the fire.
You see, it gets very chilly on the beach before morning and the fire
helps a lot. Besides, it keeps away the mosquitoes."

What a delicious beach supper they had and what a delightful evening
they passed afterwards, telling stories, etc.

When nine o'clock came each girl put on her sweater and rolled herself
in her blanket.

"Here's where I sleep," said Letty, throwing herself down on the beach
and piling sand into a heap for a pillow.

"Good idea," said Edith, "let's all make pillows out of sand."

The night on the beach proved to be a delightful one, to all but one
of the girls. She woke up next morning with a stiff neck from sleeping
in a cramped position, and could not go in bathing.

Thanks, however, to Mary Lee's training under Dr. Payson, and her Red
Cross first aid lessons, she knew just how to massage the girl's neck
and thus relieved the pain in a short time.

After bathing, the girls all walked back to camp, where the cook had
prepared a good substantial breakfast for them. They then passed the
day quietly as it was Sunday. Late that afternoon, Letty, Mary Lee and
Edith said good-bye and started on their homeward journey.

"Wasn't it a delightful trip?" said Mary Lee, as they finally reached
the railroad station.

"Just splendid," answered the two other girls in one breath.

"I have some good news for you, too," said Letty.

"Oh, don't keep us in suspense," cried Edith.

"I have invited Cousin Edna and her little French friend Josephine to
come and spend a week with us when we go up to our log cabin in the
Catskills in July," said Letty. "Mother said I could invite a party of
girls for a week, before she begins to fill the house with her
company. You see, there will be five of us."

"Oh, Letty, you darling," cried Edith, leaning over and giving her a
hug.

"That's the best plan of any," said Mary Lee. "I'd love to go if you
will let me devote a part of the time to making those 'housewives'
that we have to make. You know, Uncle Sam only provides one housewife
for each four soldiers and that is not enough. Each soldier must have
his own."

"Indeed he should," said Letty. "Now that brother Ted's number was
chosen in the draft, I am going to get right down to serious work and
do everything I can to help. We can devote a certain part of each day
to our Red Cross work and in that way set a good example to all the
nearby summer colonies. You ought to see the quantity of yarn that
mother is laying away to take up there for knitting wristlets and
scarves."

"It won't be like work up there, either," said Mary Lee. "I've heard
it's just wonderful up in the Catskill mountains."

"It is," answered Letty, "and our cabin is immense. It has a porch
screened in on three sides, a wonderful fireplace, and the most
fragrant pillows of pine needles. You'll just love it, I know."

"Here we are at the station, already," cried Edith. "After we ferry
over, let's take a taxi up home. It's Sunday, you know, and I'd hate
to meet anyone in these togs."

"I don't particularly care about how we look, but a taxi would be just
the thing," exclaimed Letty. "I'm beginning to feel tired."

"The next few weeks of school won't drag a particle," said Edith, "now
that we have our mountain trip to look forward to."

"Indeed not, thanks to Letty," said Mary Lee, giving her hand an
affectionate squeeze.





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