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Title: Girls of the Morning-Glory Camp Fire
Author: Hornibrook, Isabel
Language: English
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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.

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                  GIRLS OF THE MORNING-GLORY CAMP FIRE

                                   BY

                           ISABEL HORNIBROOK

         AUTHOR OF “CAMP AND TRAIL,” “FROM KEEL TO KITE,” ETC.

                       _ILLUSTRATED BY JOHN GOSS_

                                 BOSTON

                       LOTHROP, LEE & SHEPARD CO.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

                         Published April, 1916

                            Copyright, 1916,
                     BY LOTHROP, LEE & SHEPARD CO.

                         _All Rights Reserved_

                  Girls of the Morning-Glory Camp Fire

                             NORWOOD PRESS
                          BERWICK & SMITH CO.
                             NORWOOD, MASS.
                                U. S. A.

------------------------------------------------------------------------

               _Dedicated to Ruth, Eleanor, and Margaret_

------------------------------------------------------------------------

[Illustration: The great burnished top was set to spinning madly upon a
flat stone.]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

    The author expresses her indebtedness to Dr. Frank G. Speck of
    the University of Pennsylvania and to Dr. Jacob D. Sapir for
    permission to reprint the nonsense-syllables and music of the
    Leaf Dance, from their records made among the Indians, published
    in “Ceremonial Songs of the Creek and Yuchi Indians.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------

                                CONTENTS

                I A STROLLING PIANO
               II PLAYGROUND PEACEMAKERS
              III CAPTAIN ANDY TAKES OFF HIS HAT
               IV THE LAKESIDE COUNCIL FIRE
                V A MINIATURE
               VI THE GREEN CROSS
              VII MARY-JANE PEG
             VIII THE SUGARLOAF
               IX WOOD GATHERERS AMONG THE DUNES
                X THE ASTRONOMER
               XI KULLÍBIGAN
              XII FLOURED GLASS
             XIII WIND AGAINST TIDE
              XIV THE CASTAWAY
               XV IN THE QUICKSANDS’ GRIP
              XVI THE SUN-DOLLAR
             XVII A MONOGRAM ON A COIN
            XVIII THE TORCH BEARER

------------------------------------------------------------------------

                             ILLUSTRATIONS

    The great burnished top was set to spinning madly upon a flat
    stone.

    Her left hand had snatched at the dragging reins

    “She won’t fail. She can’t! I see the _red_!”

    “An’ you’ll laugh back at the fears, once you join the
    Morning-Glory Camp Fire”

    On, ploughing on, through the wet, oozing sands

    A large, antique silver coin of a size and stamp such as neither
    Boy Scout nor Camp Fire Girl had ever seen before

------------------------------------------------------------------------

                  GIRLS OF THE MORNING-GLORY CAMP FIRE



                               CHAPTER I

                           A STROLLING PIANO


“Why did she choose ‘Morning-Glory’ as her tribe name?” asked Mŭnkwŏn
the Rainbow of Sesooā the Flame, as Rainbow and Flame, with girlish arms
entwining, stood beneath the shelter of the Silver Twins, two kingly
birch-trees, so identical in stature even to their topmost jeweled
crowns of leaves flashing in the July sun, so alike in the silver
symmetry of each fair limb as to be named the Twins.

These silver kings were one-hearted, too, in their benevolent purpose in
life, which was to unite in casting a brotherly shade over a certain
corner of the broad city playground, dotted with children from every
clime, and incidentally to fan the flushed cheeks of the two girls
directly beneath them, bound together by a girdling rainbow that played
about their waists, woven by the sun’s shuttle amid the quivering
birch-leaves, fit symbol of their binding Camp Fire sisterhood.

Sesooā’s eyes danced, lit by a tiny golden flame that uncurled itself in
their demure hazel like a firefly alighting on a brown leaf. She caught
her lower lip between the pretty incisors that decorated the front of
her mouth as she scrutinized the semi-distant figure of a
sixteen-year-old girl—perhaps nearer to seventeen—clad in a loose
lavender smock to her knees, whence to her ankles there was a gleam of
white skirt, with the most bewitching, frilled summer “Tam” of lavender,
matching her smock, shielding her brown head, sheltering her face, like
the hood of a flower. This floral figure leaned against the open door of
a handsome automobile which was standing upon the playground avenue.

“I’m sure it’s beyond me to tell why Jessica Holley (Jessica _Dee_
Holley; she always likes to bring the unusual little middle name
in, because it was her mother’s, I suppose), why she chose
_Welatáwesit_, which is the only Indian equivalent she could find
for Morning-Glory—literally meaning ‘Climbing Plant’ or ‘Pretty
Flower’ for her Camp Fire name. But I believe there’s a story
attached to the choice, some ‘cunning’ little anecdote of her
childhood. Wish I could ferret it out! She seems, always, to have
been called ‘Glory,’ nearly as much as Jessica,” answered Sesooā
racily, she who in every-day life bore no flaming cognomen, but
was plain little, gay little, Sally Davenport, as full of quips
and quirks, of lightning impulses and sudden turns as the wheeling
firefly in her eyes.

“Goody! I’d like to hear the anecdote, too. The Morning-Glory name suits
her so well that I thought she must have dreamed it—that it came to her
in sleep—as I dreamed mine,” laughed the Rainbow, whose rightful name
when she was not clad in a leather-fringed robe of khaki, in moccasins
and head-band, and seated by a Council Fire, was Arline Champion. “But I
call it absurd, meanly absurd, that if there’s any story about her and
her name, we should not hear it, we who have named our Camp Fire (and
it’s the best in the city, too, though I say it myself!), our whole
group or tribe of fourteen girls, after her,” she went on with a stamp
of her foot on the playground sod and with rainbowed emphasis; she was
the shell-tinted, demurely shining kind of fifteen-year-old girl who
unconsciously aims at carrying a rainbow in her pocket, to brighten the
dull or tear-wet day.

“Oh! we didn’t exactly ‘name it after her,’” demurred Sally. “She
happened to come here last winter to visit those rich girls, the
Deerings, who are all fluff an’ stuff; that exactly describes them,
Olive and Sybil——” There was the least little green tinge of the
spitfire about Sesooā’s flame now as she shot a glance toward two girls
seated in the waiting automobile together with an older woman, evidently
chaperon to the band of girls. “Oh! I say, pinch me; I shouldn’t have
said that, should I, seeing that they brought us here in their car? But
’twas the first time they ever did it, though my father is
head-bookkeeper in their father’s office at the Works; and I’ll engage
’twas Morning-Glory—Jessica—who suggested it, as we all wanted to visit
this playground where there are so many foreign children, to see them
dance their folk dances,” she ran on, speech flitting away from its
starting-point in the wake of her firefly dance, which vivaciously
hovered from one object or group of objects to another.

Arline waited for it to alight again on Jessica, as it presently did.

“Well! as I was saying,” reverted Sally, “you remember how she came here
last February just when we were beginning to organize our Camp Fire
group, when we had secured Miss Darina Dewey as Guardian (I think she’s
a love of a Guardian and I like her unusual first name, too, though some
of the girls don’t!) but before we had applied for our Charter, when we
were searching for a name for our new Camp Fire circle, raking over
Indian names like leaves until—goodness! we seemed half-smothered in
them.” Sally paused for breath, breathlessly smothered, indeed, by the
sunlit torrent of her own words, which had a trick of inundating a
listener.

“It was at our second meeting, I think, at Miss Dewey’s house,” she went
on, “that Jessica came in, all snow an’ sparkle from her eyes to her
toes, and introduced herself by showing a transfer card signed by the
Guardian of a Camp Fire circle in a small town in Pennsylvania to which
she had belonged, the Akiyuhapi Camp Fire.”

“The Are-you-happy Camp Fire! Sounds just like that!” put in Arline,
rainbowed with mirthful memory. “Jessica told us that she had already
been initiated as a Wood Gatherer and showed her silver fagot ring. But
we were a little flabbergasted, weren’t we, when she sprang her Indian
name on us, by which she had chosen to be known among Camp Fire circles:
Welatáwesit; it sounded musical as she pronounced it, but it seemed a
mouthful! She partly explained it (d’you remember?) by saying that when
she was choosing her symbolic name—as all Camp Fire Girls do—she wanted,
for a special reason which she kept to herself, to take that of a
flower, Morning-Glory. And that Penobscot Indian word was the nearest
she could get to it, the morning-glory not being originally a native
plant.”

“Yes, and it was at that very meeting, after we had welcomed Jessica
with open arms as a Camp Fire Sister”—thus Sally again took up the
fascinating thread of reminiscence—“that when each girl had told her
symbolic name, Indian or otherwise, and how she came to choose it to
express some special wish or aim, that we fell back upon digging for one
for the new Camp Fire itself, the new circle or tribe. And then, don’t
you remember”—Sesooā’s voice rose to a pitch of excitement—“how Betty
Ayres, little fair-haired Betty, who’s _so_ enthusiastic and about as
big as a minute—she’s just four feet, five inches and a half——”

“My! but your minutes do stretch—like elastic,” put in Arline, with a
rallying elbow poke.

“Humph! Piffle! Betty jumped up suddenly as if she saw a vision, with an
idea swelling up so big in her that she seemed to grow two inches on the
strength of it. ‘_Girls!_’ she cried, ‘I’m just tired of browsing among
Indian dictionaries, searching for a novel name for our new Camp Fire
circle. Why don’t we call it, right away, the Morning-Glory Camp Fire?
There’s a name that will reflect glory on us!’ said little Betty, half
sobbing and half shining. ‘It suggests so much—so much that I can’t just
put into words of——’”

“‘Of the Morning of Life, the Glory of Girlhood—and _vice versa_—isn’t
that what you mean, Betty dear?’ said our Guardian, helping her out!”
This reminiscent contribution came from Arline. “And then Miss Dewey
went on to say how she thought herself that it would be a glorious
name for us who are Daughters of the Sun, so to speak, having the Sun
as our general symbol. So the Morning-Glory Camp Fire we are! And when
we camp out this summer upon the Sugarloaf Peninsula where the
sand-dunes are white as snow, we’re going to call our great,
ramshackle wooden shanty, with one side quite open to the airs of
heaven, Camp Morning-Glory. So much glory that we shan’t know
ourselves, eh? But all this”—slowly—“doesn’t bring us one little bit
nearer to answering the question which I asked you at first, why our
Glory-girl, Jessica, chose her symbolic name at the beginning. Since
it put so much into our heads we’ve got a right to know all about it!”
with another laughing stamp upon the playground grass. “I can’t bear
mystery; if there’s a secret as big as my thumb, even if it’s about
nothing or next to nothing, I want to know it.”

“Oh, mystery—I love mystery! Bubbling mystery!” Sesooā rose on tiptoe
under the Silver Twins, looking rather like a Baltimore oriole, that
vivid flame-bird, for she, too, wore the latest thing in girlish smock
frocks of a dainty peach-color very closely related to orange, shirred
or smocked with black by her own clever little fingers that had
fashioned the garment, too, the which had won her a green honor-bead to
string upon the Camp Fire Girl’s necklace that she wore on ceremonial
occasions.

Those fingers had draped the little orange Tam O’Shanter, as well, which
covered her crisp, dark hair, a masterpiece of head-gear more jaunty,
less hood-like than that of the flower-like figure leaning against the
auto’s side to which the wheeling firefly of her glance now turned.

“Oh, bubbles! I’m going right over now to ask her why she chose her
Morning-Glory name and symbol,” she went on, each word a tinted bubble
of laughing curiosity painting itself upon the sunshine. “Absurd, but I
am! If there’s any foolish little child-story woven in with the choice,
this is the very time and place to hear it, here on the public
playground, with all those children—such funny, foreign-looking tots
most of them!—dancing ‘Pop Goes the Weasel!’ Pouf! I feel like dancing
with them.”

And the human oriole flitting forth from the friendly shade of the Twins
fluttered her shirred plumage in a gleeful _pas seul_ upon the
playground grass, where the sun-glare transformed her into an orange
flame, while her ears, attuned to all merry sounds, drank in the shrill
music of five-and-thirty children’s voices (the number ought to have
been even, but in that gleeful chorus there was one silent throat), six
dancing sets, shouting with a strange babel of foreign accents, to the
accompaniment of their stamping feet, the old nonsense-rhyme of the
sixteenth century:

                    “Half a pound of twopenny rice,
                      Half a pound of treacle,
                    Stir it up and make it nice
                      _Pop_ goes the weasel!”

[Illustration: musical score]

hummed Sally, in flaming echo, and stood still.

All the while, that versatile quirk in her nature, corresponding to the
flitting firefly in her eyes, which rendered her attention easily
diverted when she wasn’t gravely in earnest, changed her all at once
from an eager bubble of curiosity, that must burst if it did not
penetrate a trifling secret, into an absorbed spectator. She hung upon
the fringe of the playground dances, intent upon every rhythmic movement
as the leading couple in each juvenile set (it happened to be a little
earringed, lustrous-eyed Syrian girl footing it with a small Turk for a
partner in that nearest) formed an arch with their uplifted arms for a
gay little dancer to pass beneath.

“Oh-h! don’t they catch on well and dance prettily, these playground
children?” murmured Sesooā softly to the quivering interest in her own
heart. “I’m awfully glad that Jessica proposed our visiting this
playground to-day where there are so many little foreigners not born in
this country or whose parents haven’t been long here. She”—dreamily
soliloquizing, with a glance at that lavender-smocked figure—“said that,
last year, she and the other members of the Akiyuhapi Camp Fire in that
Pennsylvanian milling town, where she became a Camp Fire Girl, did so
much voluntary work upon the public playground, largely among the little
immigrants, teaching them American songs, American games, telling them
stories, settling their squabbles. Well! I guess I’m not going to bother
her with questions about her ‘Morning-Glory’ name just now. Over there
where _she’s_ standing”—flashing another glance at the gray auto, with
two girls in it and one leaning against its silver door-knob—“I’d have
to bray like a jackass to be heard above the music of that absurd piano,
perched upon a low cart. Goody!” with a sudden, excited movement of her
vivid shoulders. “I shouldn’t like to be that _perched-up_ pianist. Just
suppose the playground horse should take it into his head to pop—to
dance—to _chase the weasel, too_?”

Was it any suddenly restless movement on the part of that four-footed
servant of the city which drew the strolling piano upon a low cart from
playground to playground to thresh out music for the children’s
dances—was it that which flashed the thought backward over his flicking
tail, over the head of the pounding pianist seated upon a light cane
chair before the lashed piano, flashed it into Sally’s brain? That, or
the elfin dance of sunbeams upon his stamping hoofs which, together with
the popping dance-cries of the children and the louder popping of the
musical instrument behind him—deliriously out of tune, too—must surely
infect the staidest horse?

Sally did not know which launched the apprehension, the tickling
sunbeams or the restless hoofs and head. But she was used to horses. She
found herself mechanically straightening up, controlling the giddy
dance-spirit in her own soles, moving nearer—nearer—to the low cart as
if she could not help it.

A brilliant orange streak in the sunlight she, flecked oriole-like with
black, from the velvet ribbon that lent tone to that saucy little Tam,
to the black needlework stars upon the heaving girlish breast.

Then all at once this human flame-bird weaving its way in and out
between sets of dancing children was halted by a musical crash, brought
up short on tiptoe by a screaming commotion through which rang a
nightmare of treble chords wildly sustained by the pianist’s right hand
blundering among the shrieking keys of the elevated piano, while her
left arm waved on high, imploring help, the whole seeming a premature,
mad finale to the popping music, to which every voice upon the
playground, animate and inanimate, lent a cry—discordantly at that!

The effect was so feverishly funny that Sally, who had the oriole’s gay
spirit within her orange-smocked breast, vented a shriek as loud as any,
to swell the confusion, automatically clapping her fingers to her ears.

The voices of some fourscore children had popped explosively from song
and shout to scare-note and shriek, a conglomerate shriek, strengthened
by every foreign accent under the sun (any cry ever hurled from the
crumbling Tower of Babel was nothing to it!), a shriek that hung,
sustained, in air together with the rasping, squelching notes of that
unfinished musical measure which seemed to tatter the air itself.

“Ouch! My s-soul!” murmured Sally under her breath. “The horse! It’s
the—_horse_. He is bolting, with the piano lashed to the cart behind
him. And the—poor—pianist!”

It needed no more. She saw the girl-musician’s left arm waving,
imploring, saw her rock upon the light cane chair before the instrument
that was _not_ lashed to the rocking cart; she heard the horse’s
mutinous snort, heard it strangely echoed in dumb fashion by a pair of
parted childish lips near her; crowning all, she caught the terrified
shriek of a small boy who clutched at his raven-black hair and what
English he could muster as he started toward a sand-pile ahead, yelling,
“Mine babee—mine babee! Horse he go kill her; she—she go _all—deaded_!”

And like the flame from the cloud leaped the answering fire in
Sesooā—little Camp Fire Girl!

“The driver—the boy driver—he ought to be _shot_; he’s umpiring a
baseball game,” was the first distinct thought that leaped to her mind
as, like an oriole on the wing, she sped across the sunlit grass in the
wake of the still rocking cart, the fiendishly howling piano, the
screaming, swaying pianist. The second lightning conviction was: “It’s
_up-hill_ and the horse can’t really run very fast with that absurd
piano behind him! He’s dancing all over the place, rather than wildly
running, now!... Rolie showed me—has told me so often—how to stop a
runaway!”

Rolie was her Boy Scout brother and that gallant fourteen-year-old Scout
seemed to run neck and neck with her in this crisis, whispering heart
into her, advising her movements.

The firefly in her eyes, soaring, golden, above consternation, has lit
now upon the horse’s quivering haunch—on his black mane.

“After all, he’s only a horse; I’ve not alone ridden one, but, as a Camp
Fire Girl, have saddled and bridled and fed an’ currycombed it, too,
every day for the past month!” whizzed thought, darting ahead of her as
with another springy step or two her right hand has seized the cart’s
shaft to hold on and prevent herself from falling in the supreme effort
she is about to make.

Her left hand, attached to a strong little wrist for a girl not yet
sixteen, has snatched at the dragging reins, holding them short, is
trying to pull the horse’s head down, turn it toward her!

Only a horse! And a brother-horse was such a friend of hers! The firefly
bore that thought upon its wings as it wheeled above doubt, resistance,
wrenching strain that was tugging her soft young arms from their
sockets—her feet from the solid earth.

Only a horse! But a maddened horse, distracted by the shrieking ivories
behind him!

Her girl’s strength against his!

Yet his rebel-crest was lowering. His lifted forelegs were uncurling,
the waving hoofs that cared not what they smashed returning sanely to
the sod.

And over the tumult of his heated horse-play, the inflaming echo of the
music playing upon his generally patient nerves, rose the voice of the
Camp Fire Girl as one who understands, gentling, soothing:

“Whoa! Whoa-a! old horse. There! there! good boy. Qui-quiet—now!
_The-ere!_”

[Illustration: Her left hand has snatched at the dragging reins.]

A snort that shook the earth under her feet, a jolt and rattle of the
low cart and lashed piano, straining at its moorings to the cart, an
hysterical sob from the pianist, and a girl life-saver stood outlined
for one flaming minute at the horse’s head, queen of the equine dance,
mistress of him and the situation, her hand to her side, her breath
coming in great, ragged gasps that claimed to be sobs, too, sobs of
wonder at how she ever did it!

“Well done, little girl! Good work! Well done, little Oriole in the
orange smock!” came from spectators known and unknown. “How on earth did
you have the presence of mind to do it—to stop him so quickly?”

“I’m a Camp Fire Girl. I ought to have my wits about me!”

Sesooā threw back her head and let them see the flame in her eyes, the
flame kindled at that new-born Fire whose divine essence is to “Give
Service!”

Suddenly that flame cowered and ran to hide in the tremble that swept
over her from head to foot, a sick shudder that carried with it, also,
the heroine’s grateful ecstasy as she looked ahead, only six short feet,
at a raven-haired small boy flinging himself with a jumble of foreign
cries and broken English at a playground sand-box, where, amid other
tiny tots, a black-haired baby of eighteen months crawled safely like an
insect, at the heart of the silvery pile.



                               CHAPTER II

                         PLAYGROUND PEACEMAKERS


The pianist had been helped from her cane perch by a grown-up girl, a
young school-teacher who led the playground dances and who had run a
close race with Sesooā to the rescue; although, as she frankly blurted
out now, it was doubtful whether she would have had the courage and
skill to stop the runaway in good form, as cleverly as the Camp Fire
Girl had done.

It all hinged upon this, as Sally knew, that a black-maned, fifteen or
sixteen hands high equine dancer, with a howling piano behind him,
presents an infinitely more paralyzing spectacle to the maid, young or
old, who has never come to close quarters with a horse in his stable
than it would to one who had bridled and unbridled, harnessed and
unharnessed him, fed, cared for and petted him intimately—even though
the incentive to such laborious care might be partly a decorative one,
the reward of another red honor-bead to string upon her Camp Fire Girl’s
necklace.

There was one thing to which the orange-smocked maid had not become
accustomed, however; that was to sterilizing the flame of her little
tongue, lest it should materially hurt anybody, when hot fire was
kindled within her from good cause.

“You ought to be shot,” she told the schoolboy driver who had
deserted temporarily from the horse’s head; “you ought—ought to be
shut up in jail for a month! What sort of stuff have you got in
you”—breathlessly—“skedaddling off to a ball game, instead of
looking after the cart and piano? Suppose he had killed her?”
pointing to the shaken pianist who had sunk upon a bench beneath a
beautiful, circular catalpa tree just bursting into flower.

“Oh, Kafoozalem! I didn’t think that old fire-horse would run even if
there was a charging battery behind him; he’s as old as Methusaleh,”
muttered the boy rather sulkily.

“What! did he once belong to the fire department?” Sesooā was stroking
the black mane very gently just now.

“Yes, the city sold him to a livery stable when he got too old to hit
the pace with the other horses when a fire alarm was turned in an’ when
he was too worn-out to look spry in a hack, the liveryman bargained him
back on to the city; now he’s playing the fool carting round a piano for
‘Pop Goes the Weasel!’” The youthful driver snorted between laughter and
commiseration.

“Oh! the poor old fellow; perhaps he mistook the singing of the
children—it was shrill enough to beat the band—and the popping music
behind him for some new-fangled kind of alarm invented since his day; so
he just bolted—and danced when he found he couldn’t make it—couldn’t
climb the hill dragging the cart and piano, with the pianist playing
still! There now! you old hero of a worn-out fire-horse, aren’t you glad
you didn’t end your days in disgrace by killing somebody?” cooed the
Camp Fire Girl to the aged rebel whose black nose was now nuzzling her
waist in friendly fashion.

“Yes, I ought to have stopped playing directly _he_ began to dance,”
confessed the girl-musician, “but I simply lost presence of mind. It got
on my nerves this morning driving round these poor parts of the city,
perched up in front of the cart beside the driver, like an
organ-grinder’s wife.”

“Well, you won’t have to do it after this week probably,” comforted the
other schoolteacher who led the dances; “the supervisor of playgrounds
says that he’s going to station a graphophone on every playground where
there isn’t a piano in a schoolhouse close by. You see the playground
system is only newly established here in Clevedon and they haven’t got
it running very well yet. Hello! Jacob, so your ‘babee’ didn’t get hurt,
eh; you’ll have to thank this lady for stopping the horse before he
trampled the sand-pile where the tiny children were.” So she addressed
the raven-haired small boy in a dingy little hanging blouse of red
velvet, whose foreign cries had topped the tumult.

“How old are you, Jacob?” questioned the heroine of the moment, sparing
the child and his broken English an attempt at compliance.

Jacob Kominski, Polish Jew, struck a dramatic attitude and blinked at
her solemnly.

“‘Old’!” he echoed. “Yes’day I be s-six; next day to-mow-wow I be
seven,” speculatively leaning his head to one side; “som’day to-day I’s
five—I is _all_ de olds in de world!” passionately.

“Somehow he looks it, doesn’t he?” broke in another girlish voice with a
laugh in it and a tender note, too, tender as the dawn, a very
morning-glory note, that came well from under the lavender Tam
O’Shanter, as the girl in the silken smock frock, the subject of
conversation earlier, linked her arm through Sally’s. “Come here, Jacob!
Aren’t they ‘cunning,’ these playground children? We used to have such
lots of fun with them last year—not here, of course! Oh, Sally, you’re
the—bravest—thing!”

“Am I?” breathed Sally, nestling close to the lavender smock; the
Glory-girl, as her Camp Fire Sisters had a trick of calling Jessica, was
not only the oldest member of their organized circle, not only wore upon
the little finger of her left hand the silver fagot ring, symbol of
membership—as Sally did upon hers which had caught the horse’s reins—but
she was on the verge of attaining higher rank in her society, of
becoming a “Fire Maker”; in a word, she was regarded as the flower, not
in name alone, of the Morning-Glory Camp Fire, the tribe that was her
namesake, in a way.

“Oh! yes, indeed, you were very brave. However did you screw up courage
to do it, to run beside the cart and catch the horse’s head? I’d have
been afraid of being knocked down—trampled!”

“So would I! And I! Or of having the cart go over me!” Such was the duet
of applause which followed on the heels of Jessica’s praise from still
two other pairs of girlish lips; namely from the two girls in white who
had been seated in the automobile against whom the little spitfire flame
of Sally’s tongue had been launched, a little while ago, when she
scathingly pronounced them “all fluff and stuff!”

The nobler flame which had burned in her during her late heroic act had
altogether consumed petty jealousies and criticisms for the time being;
she took their congratulations well and gratefully, while Arline, her
dearest chum and Camp Fire Sister with whom she had exchanged memories
under the Twins, fondled her upon the side that was not in possession of
Jessica.

“The pianist is braver than I was, for, see there! she’s going to mount
the cart and play again,” suggested Sesooā presently, growing a little
tired of being “fussed over.” “She _is_ gritty, if you like it!”

“So she is!” acquiesced the older of the two Deering girls who owned the
luxurious motorcar in waiting upon the playground avenue; her name was
Olive; to the unprejudiced eye she did not seem to be composed of
super-light and “fluffy” stuff; at sixteen and a half, nearly the same
age as Jessica, she was already a beauty, from the glossy, ringlet
curl—as black as Jacob Kominski’s locks, but so silkily fine that it did
not seem to belong to the same category of human hair—tucked behind her
small ear, to the toe of her seven-dollar shoe. “And it must be so
perfectly horrid driving round in front of that piano and cart!” added
Olive of the blue-black curl, throwing a glance at the mounting pianist
from her dark, girlishly dreamy, Southern eyes.

“You may be sure she doesn’t play organ-grinder for fun!” laughed
Arline. “She’s a young school-teacher who has to support her mother, so
the playground teacher who leads the dances says, and she adds to her
salary by playing for the children’s singing games and folk-dances
during the playground season. Now! if only one girl who’s a member of
our Camp Fire were here—Ruth Marley, who aims at a musical career and
plays for our Camp Fire songs and dances, how nicely _she_ could help
her out by mounting the cart and pounding away at ‘Pop Goes the Weasel’
(I wonder if they’re going to begin that again?) instead of her.”

“Tooraloo! Somebody seems to be beginning something—stirring up a new
fuss—over there!” suddenly suggested Sally, who was preening her orange
and black plumage, anxiously smoothing it to make sure there was no mark
where the penitent old fire-horse had caressed her. “Goody! what’s up
now: a battle, an earthquake—or merely somebody drowning in that
two-foot-and-a-half-deep bathing pool—or some other playground trifle?”

“It’s a—a fight, I think” quavered a new voice whose staid quality
dripped sedately upon the laughing girlish sarcasm.

“A fight! A fight between two boys—two small boys! Where is it? Over
there—d’you see—at the foot of the giant stride—beyond those seesawing
teeter-ladders!” All the five maidens in summer Tams and Panamas were
breathlessly exclaiming together, now, directing their gaze across
half-an-acre of playground at a piece of athletic apparatus glittering
rather like a tall steel gibbet against the blue and white sky, up whose
skeleton ladders juvenile athletes were one by one climbing to try their
prowess at sliding or jumping down; at the foot of this “giant stride” a
ring of boys, with even one or two men among them, had sprung up as
mysteriously as the growth of corn on a hot night.

“Yes, I’m sure it’s a fight between some of the playground children,”
said the sedate voice again, coming from the middle-aged woman who had
sat in the automobile with the two Deering girls before the escapade of
the horse, whom Olive and Sybil—yes, and Jessica Holley, too—called
Cousin Anne.

“A quarrel between two little boys who are pommeling each other black
and blue, I suppose,” she went on with tremulous anxiety. “Where—where’s
the playground teacher?”

“The one who leads the dances is comforting the shaken pianist before
she begins to play again—telling the driver to move the cart and piano
to a shady spot. Her back’s turned,” gasped Arline.

“Never mind! If it’s a fight between two little boys, I guess I can stop
it—these foreign children, some of them, are dreadful for
quarreling—I’ve settled playground fights before,” broke in a sudden,
quivering cry from Morning-Glory, whose Indian name was Welatáwesit.

“Now, maybe, she’ll be pommeled herself; they may rain blows on her if
she gets between them!” wailed Olive in a tone which showed her fondness
for Jessica.

“Yes, and it seems so—so low-down to mix all up in a squealing fight
between two dirty little foreigners!” Sybil Deering, two years younger
than her sister, and rather fluffy in appearance from her present,
superficial pout to her loose, light hair and diaphanous frills,
wrinkled up a pert little nose that was inclined to point toward Heaven.

“Well! what would you have her do?” challenged Sesooā rather savagely;
“let them fight on, until their eyes are all ‘bunged up’ and you could
hardly tell their faces from a rubber ball, smeared with red paint, eh?
There’s no fear of _her_!” Sally nodded toward the back of the lavender,
flower-like figure making toward that mushroom ring of human applaudists
which a fight, or the rumor of a fight, can collect quicker than
anything else on this mortal earth. “You needn’t worry about her; she
has received an honor for patriotism—a red, white, and blue
honor-bead—for work she did on a public playground last year. I’m off to
back her up!”

And Sesooā, again the orange-smocked flame, started in the wake of the
lavender patriot, Arline, too, asking questions as they sped over the
grass of a seven-year-old American boy who was not quite so keen about
the pugilistic display as his companions.

“It’s Polie an’ Lithuish,” he not very lucidly explained. “Lithuish he
was trying to climb the steel ladder of the ‘stride,’” pointing toward
that giant piece of the apparatus of play. “Polie he pulled him down,
an’ trod on his toe an’ Lithuish went for him. I guess the Polander boy,
he’s the strongest; he’s got ‘Lithie’ down once a’ready!”

He had thrown him again as the girlish patriot in the lavender smock
saw, when she darted through the loose ring of older boys, swelled by a
bored loafer or two, arrived at so-called man’s estate, who were
enjoying the fight and telling them to “Go to it!”

Pole and Lithuanian, sprigs of neighboring foreign races, dwelling next
to each other in Europe, they were fighting like small wild things,
tooth and claw! Polie of the flashing dark eyes, red lips and round
seal-brown head had the better of it; he had flung the taller, fair
Lithuanian boy into a bed of flowering canna, where his bleeding nose
sowed an extra crop of ruddy blossoms.

“Oh! _stop it_!” cried the Morning-Glory chokingly, laying hold on
Polie’s uplifted arm—although the spectacle was much more savage than
she had dreamt of—and hanging on bravely, even, while he launched a
sturdy nine-year-old kick at her white skirt and lavender ankle. “Oh!
you older boys ought to be ashamed of yourselves—egging them on!
Can’t—can’t somebody—_stop—it_?” for the blue-eyed Lithuanian boy was on
his feet again, gory but unconquered.

“Well! I guess somebody _will_, little lady,” boomed a great voice
behind her. “I’d have bore down upon this ‘scrap’ sooner, but for a
busted spar!”

The Morning-Glory turned and looked up into a massive face which—thought
being very nimble in moments like these—she silently likened all in one
gasping instant to two words from a Camp Fire song: “Sheltering Flame!”
It was tanned, weathered, and reddened to the florid hue of a red
sunset, showing a narrow sky-line of blue, radiating protection, that
corresponded to an eye-line.

From that sea-blue eye the girl’s glance involuntarily darted downward
to the “busted spar,” a lame pillar of a right leg whose limp was
painfully visible even as the newcomer took three hasty strides forward
and dropped a powerful hand upon a shoulder of each of the small boys,
holding them wide apart in a grip that they might as well try to lift a
lighthouse as to break.

The stranger caught her glance and smiled. “Oh! it’s mended now, that
damaged spar,” he said, answering her look; “and ’tisn’t a recent
injury, anyway. Here, now! You two hop-o’-my-thumb rascals”—shaking the
belligerents—“you ease off there an’ don’t get fiery again or, by my
word, you’ll both march off this playground to the taste o’ the
stick—sore and strong—see?”

There was nothing for them to do but to “see”—see reason—held in that
mighty grip. Under a few scathing words from this peacemaker, who was
physically, at any rate, a man of weight, for he must have tipped the
scale at over two hundred pounds and was ruggedly tall, the ring of
applauders melted away into the sunshine like an untimely frost.

“I wish I could ha’ got my hands on _them_ at the same time and given
’em a shaking,” blurted out the flaming peacemaker. “Egging little chaps
like these two on!” his gaze traveling back and forth between Polie’s
swelling black eye and the nose of Lithuish. “Gosh! they did go at it
hard, for young uns. But ’twas only a little sketch of a fight.”

“‘_Sketch_’? I should call it a—a sanguinary picture,” gasped the girl
with a half-hysterical little laugh, pointing to the pug-nose of
Lithuish.

“Good for you!” The stranger dropped a smiling look on her from under
his bushy, gray eyebrows, pleased at her ready wit. “Well! I guess you
can go back to your own folks now with an easy mind,” he suggested.
“I’ll keep these butting kids in order,” with a roving glance at the
waiting automobile and the group under the fragrant catalpa tree.

“Here’s a playground teacher coming, too,” said Morning-Glory, as a
brawny young man, in a dripping khaki shirt and trousers that rained
diamonds, approached, hugging a great, wet, white ball. “He’s been away
over there evidently teaching some of the children to play water-polo in
that shallow bathing-pool.”

She pointed to a broad, artificial sheet of water fed by city hydrants,
with a rainbowed fountain in the center.

“Gee whiz! they’d need a score o’ teachers here to direct all these
children’s play—it’s a large an’ crowded playground,” remarked the
captor of Polie and Lithuish, now interposing his massive body between
them. “An’ great kingdom!”—looking around him with a gust of
laughter—“there’s more foreign _spice_ on this playground than ever old
King Solomon collected in his ships from the four quarters of the
earth.”

“You mean that these little foreigners have lots of hot ‘pep’ in them,
eh?” flashed Sally, who had just come up, liking to air a little slang.

“Sure, that’s what I do mean!” The lame peacemaker lifted a
nautical-looking cap from his grizzled hair in fatherly farewell to the
girls as they moved off. “So long!” he said kindly. “Maybe we’ll run
across each other again.”

“Maybe we will!” Morning-Glory, otherwise Jessica, threw him a backward
smile over her lavender shoulder. “I’m sure he’s a sea-captain—or was,”
she said, retracing her way toward the catalpa tree between Sally and
Arline. “I’m interested in sea-captains because my great-grandfather was
one; I have a little old miniature of him painted on ivory which
belonged to Mother; she—she left it to me,” with a catch of the breath.
“He has brown hair an’ bluish eyes the color of mine; somewhere about
seventy or eighty years ago he commanded a big ship and sailed out of
Newburyport—the only Newburyport in the United States.... Oh, if only he
_could_ be alive now, then I’d really belong to somebody, not just be
thrust on to people who aren’t any relatives at all, no matter how kind
they are!” she added under her breath—so low that neither Sally nor
Arline heard—with a passionate quiver of the lip and a glance at the
Deering automobile flashing in gray and silver, with a faultless
chauffeur on the front seat.

“Well! I’m a Camp Fire Girl, anyway.” So she silently caught herself up
with a return of the morning-glory look, slightly bedewed. “And ‘Whoso
standeth by that Fire, flame-fanned, shall never stand alone!’ What!
that plucky pianist is really beginning on ‘Pop Goes the Weasel’ again,”
she exclaimed, as renewed strains from the elevated piano floated over
the playground.

“Let us hope the weasel will pop to a finish this time!” laughed Arline,
as they reached the catalpa tree and stood once more, grouped with
Olive, Sybil, and their chaperoning cousin, under its fanning,
heart-shaped leaves. “Now! I wonder to what nationality that little girl
in the coarse gray frock belongs?” went on the Rainbow, sweeping with
her glance the sets of skipping children again being marshaled for the
folk-dance.

“Do you mean the one with the big, patient, purple eyes—eyes like a wood
anemone?” asked Jessica; she who had taken for her Camp Fire name a
climbing flower loved flowers of all kinds, especially wild ones.

“Yes, and with a toe sticking out through her old shoe! And she can’t
keep her mouth shut, although, apparently, no words come from it. I do
believe it was _her_ queer croaking gasps that I heard with the foreign
babel and the shrill ‘Oh’s’ and ‘Ah’s’ of all the other children, when I
ran to stop the horse!” bleated Sally.

“I wonder if there’s anything wrong with her; whether
she’s—what-d’you-call-it—defective in any way?” came in languid
speculation from Olive.

“Girls!” Cousin Anne sadly settled the question. “I believe she’s deaf
and dumb.”

“Deaf and dumb! That explains her. Oh, poor tot!” The Morning-Glory,
whose dance-loving feet had been keeping time to the popping music,
unrhythmically swung one of them off at a sharp angle, as if a rude
pebble had struck her ankle in its silken stocking, hurting it more than
Polie’s kick. “Deaf and dumb! Then she can’t hear the music. And she’s
so awkward, moves so slowly and clumsily, that the other children don’t
want to dance with her!.... Oh! she almost makes one cry.” Jessica
brushed the blue-gray eyes that, according to her, resembled her
ancestor’s in the old miniature. “See her standing still in the middle
of the fun, plucking at the gathers of her gray frock, looking up at the
other children, trying to find out what they’re going to do next!”

“Yes, and one of those other children will take her hand as a partner
when the teacher insists, then drop it directly she looks the other way!
They don’t want to dance with her silent tongue and old, broken shoes,”
said Olive Deering.

“Then _I’m_ going to dance with her, if the teacher will let me. We’ll
form a set of our own, we two, if we can’t fit in anywhere! You don’t
mind keeping the auto waiting a little longer, do you, Cousin Anne?”

The last words were flashed back over Jessica’s smocked shoulder, with a
tremulous tilt of her upper lip that hung between a laugh and a sob.
Already she was mingling with the juvenile dancers, a tall purple and
white Morning-Glory amid that garden of racial buds, of little children
from every clime.

The dumb child’s hand was in hers, after a few low words to the
playground teacher, who abstracted one odd child from the nearest set
and installed the new couple in her place. Jessica’s foot in its
patent-leather pump and lilac stocking was thrust forth side by side
with the rusty, out-at-toe footwear, the Morning-Glory swaying upon its
inner tendril, the yearning tendril of Love, teaching the grey, cramped
bud beside her to sway and step—to glide and pirouette—too.

The glide was only a clumsy shuffle. But there grew a light in the dumb
child’s eyes, those eyes of purple patience, so that those who watched
its dawning flicker from under the catalpa tree felt their throats
tickle.

It did not go out with the final popping of the long-suffering weasel.
For, now, the pianist, quite herself again, had struck up the gay,
frolicking music of a Vineyard Dance. And side by side those mismatched
partners, the seventeen-year-old Camp Fire Girl, the eight-year-old
deaf-mute, were scampering through it, enacting all the vineyard drama
of growth,—Jessica by dumb show instructing, after a fashion, the child
at her side.

Hand in hand they knelt on one knee on the playground grass, making gay
pretense of planting grape-seeds in the warm ground. Step by step—stamp,
stamp, stamp!—they circled round, with arms uplifted, with groping
fingers plucking counterfeit grapes of sunshine from imaginary vines,
that violet light growing in the dumb child’s eyes, while she strove to
ape each gesture and movement of her companion, as if—transfigured—she
peeped through the gates ajar of fairy-land, had her first real glimpse
of the joy of childhood.

Suddenly, her feet lagged; she dragged upon Jessica’s hand. She stood
still. Her big eyes were uplifted to the white cloud-foam drifting
across the blue sea of the July sky. Then they dropped wonderingly to
her partner’s face.

“Look! Look! Look!” cried Arline with a frank, glad sob. “I verily
believe she thinks Heaven is short an angel to-day, one having dropped
down from the clouds, especially to dance with her!”



                              CHAPTER III

                     CAPTAIN ANDY TAKES OFF HIS HAT


“Great Neptune! I do declare, she dances as lightly as a Mother Carey
chicken balancing upon a wave.”

“You should say, rather, that she dances like a morning-glory in the
breeze!” Sesooā looked laughingly up into the face of the massive
peacemaker who had separated the two little fighting foreigners; he had
delivered them over to the tender mercies of the playground teacher who
carried the dripping white water-ball in his arms, while he, the lame
stranger whom Jessica opined was a sea-captain, withdrew to a better
position for watching the dancing which brought him near to the group
under the circular catalpa tree.

“An’ why should I say she dances like a ‘morning-glory,’ may I ask? I
don’t know much about flowers, but I know a whole lot about
foam-chickens, Carey chickens—stormy petrels you’d call ’em, most
likely: and they’re the lightest, most buoyant things on God’s earth!
You should _see them_,” went on the stranger expressively, “with their
small wings spread, balancing on a wave-crest, little feet digging down
into the foam, never sinking, disappearing into a watery hollow one
minute, up again the next, crowing on the top of another foam-hill! I
say she dances like _that_, the girl who’s footing it with the little
creature in the broken old shoes and grey frock—as if the wave could
never catch her!” There was a little genial mist, like light spray from
the stormwater of which he spoke, in the stranger’s eye now, as it
followed Jessica and her dumb partner through the last gay stampede of
the vineyard dance. “And here’s hoping that the storm-wave never will
swallow her!” he added with an eye of such merry fatherly kindness that
Sally, part of whose bringing-up it had been not to hold familiar
converse with strangers, absolutely forgot to place him in that category
and immediately gave her racy little tongue all the freedom it desired.

“That sounds awful-ly nice what you say about her,” she remarked. “And
I’ll tell her you said it; she’ll be pleased to hear it because she has
made up her mind that you’re a sea-captain and her great-grandfather was
one, owned a big ship and sailed out of Newburyport.”

“Ha! The only Newburyport in the United States, with its plaguy sand-bar
at the mouth of the Merrimac River, so that ships can sail out of that
port, when they’re in ballast, but never put in there, when they’re
loaded, after a long voyage!”

“Ye-es,” murmured Sally, not interested. “But fancy thinking so much
about one’s great-grandfather! However, I’m going to set to work and
look up mine now, my grandparents and great-grandparents an’ what they
did—so’s to win a patriotic honor-bead for my Camp Fire Girl’s necklace!
But it’s different with _her_”—volubly indicating the deaf-and-dumb
child’s partner, who was now guiding her, with expressive pantomime,
through the mazy windings of a ribbon dance—“she thinks so much of that
old sea-captain ancestor because she’s got his miniature and because I
don’t believe she has any living relatives to think about. Her father
and mother are both dead. She’s staying with the Deerings who own that
beautiful automobile but I don’t think she’s related to them, except
through their elderly cousin”—nodding toward the bench under the catalpa
tree—“who’s her cousin, too.”

“What is the girl’s name?” asked the grey-haired peacemaker.

“Jessica Dee Holley.”

“Ha! ‘Dee’ sounds like an old Newburyport name; leastways I’ve seen it
in old entries.”

“That was her mother’s name. But she isn’t alone, although she has no
near relatives, because she’s a Camp Fire Girl, and we ‘cleave to our
Camp Fire Sisters whenever, wherever we find them!’” Sesooā threw back
her head with the same loyal gesture as that wherewith she had faced the
world after stopping the horse; the golden firefly in her eyes hovering
directly over the Camp Fire flame in her heart.

From the ranks of the juvenile dancers came, now, the joyful lilt of
another song.

                    “Two by two,
                    Two by two,
                    Here we go!
                    With merry hearts,
                    And a cheerful song,
                    As we march in the double row.”

Two by two, yes, Jessica and her little silent partner leading with a
vim, she singing for both!

Again Sally’s throat tickled and the firefly bore a little mist upon its
wings as she noted the new spirit which had crept into the deaf-and-dumb
child’s movements, into the clumsy, ill-shod feet, into the grey, stocky
little figure, into the small, stubby fingers which no longer plucked
wistfully at the gathers of her coarse frock, but brightly spread
themselves in an inspired attempt to copy the waving gestures of the
wonderful partner in shining lavender and white who had dropped from the
clouds for her.

The sight _was_ moving. The firefly in Sally’s eyes went in out of the
rain.

“She’s going to be initiated as a Fire Maker at our next Council Fire
gathering,” she murmured, nodding toward Jessica and hardly caring
whether her impromptu companion understood her meaning or not. “But,
oh”—blinking bright drops from her eyelids—“she ought to be a Torch
Bearer! She’s a Torch Bearer already! Look at the light which she has
brought into that little dumb girl’s eyes—she has lit a torch in her
heart.”

“Well! I guess she has,” returned the big stranger in a moved voice,
too.

“I don’t know whether you know much about Camp Fire Girls.”—Sesooā
dashed the bright drops away and the firefly reappeared, hovering over a
dimple—“but when a girl joins the society she takes a symbolic name,
generally an Indian one, that signifies something she aims particularly
to do or be. Jessica chose that of a climbing flower, the
morning-glory—or its nearest Indian equivalent—for some little secret
reason of her own; that’s what made it seem funny—incongruous—you know,
when you said she danced like a stormy petrel, a Mother Carey chicken,”
poutingly.

“Ah-h!” The stranger drew his massive brows together ruminating for a
minute, his eyes on the wavy ribbon dance. “Ah! but, maybe, the two
aren’t so wide apart as you think.” He turned and nodded at her. “Take a
stormy morning at sea, now. I’ve seen the dawn, the morning-glory to be,
come up, just a little grey flutter in the sky—like a dove-grey chicken
that the foam had hatched—the foam that was piled like a great, pale egg
against the horizon! It’s a funny world, little girl,” with an
all-comprehensive wink of the sea-blue eye. “Things an’ meanings of
things are never such miles apart but that you can link ’em, somehow;
an’ that’s true of more than foam and flower!”

“Why—_Captain Andy_!”

“_Why-y!_ Miss Winter!”

Cousin Anne had risen suddenly from the bench under the catalpa tree,
shocked at seeing one of the girls whom she was chaperoning holding free
converse with a stranger. Now she was advancing with warmly outstretched
hand.

“Why! Miss Winter, I never expected to meet you here.” The massive
stranger, standing bareheaded in the sunshine, was as cordially shaking
that proffered hand.

“It’s Captain Andy, my dears!” Miss Anne Winter beckoned to the two
Deering girls, her relatives and special charges. “Olive! this is
Captain Andrew Davis who saved your Cousin Marvin’s life, with that of
several other young men—college chums—when they were wrecked, while
yachting a couple of years ago, off the Newfoundland Coast. You
remember?” flutteringly.

“Oh! yes, indeed.” Olive extended a gracious, girlish hand; she was
conscious of a little creepy thrill at meeting a real live hero,
especially one who carried the heroism done up in such massive bulk, but
she had heard her Cousin Marvin—before the rescue—speak of this Captain
Andy Davis as being a sea-captain in no grand, mercantile way, as
commanding no big barque, but only what Marvin—likewise before the
rescue—dubbed a smelly fish-kettle, otherwise a New England
fishing-schooner, little over a hundred feet in length from stem to
taffrail.

Heroism had its noble uses, of course, especially when one had been
stranded for hours as Marvin and those other college boys were upon
sharp, naked rocks, seeing their yacht broken to pieces by the
mountainous swell of an old sea after a storm, death staring them in the
face, with no hope of rescue, until Captain Andy and his gallant
“fish-kettle” hove in sight and bore down upon them—until Captain Andy,
with a volunteer from his crew, launched a dory and succeeded in saving
their lives at the extreme risk of his own.

Olive remembered hearing Marvin say that he did not believe there was
another mariner upon the Massachusetts coast who could have “pulled off
that rescue” with the sea as it was then. She thrilled again, looking up
into the keen blue eye under the heavy lid, into the face which had made
Jessica think of sheltering flame. At the same time, she could not help
seeing a gulf—a broad gulf with floating shapes of fishy decks, horny
hands, scaly oilskins—intervene between her and her sister, daughters of
the bi-millionaire owner of big machine works for the manufacture of
textile machinery, and this limping weather-beaten master mariner.

Sybil did not even take the trouble to be as friendly as she was.

Meanwhile Cousin Anne, Miss Anne Winter, was introducing Captain Andy
Davis in proper form to Arline and Sally, mentioning the fact that the
grateful Marvin had taken her to visit him when last she was in
Gloucester.

“Oh, I must have felt it in my fingers—or in my tongue—that I knew you,
or ought to know you, or that somebody here knew you, or I never would
have talked to you so freely!” declared Sally in an orange flutter.

“And how do you come to be in Clevedon just now?” questioned Miss Anne,
interrogating the weather-beaten face.

“My artist sent for me.” That florid visage bloomed all over with a
boyish smile that gleamed somewhat shamefacedly through the thick, fair
eyelashes, not yet turned grey. “She said she hadn’t got my ground
colors right—gee! I didn’t know I had any, except when my vessel was
grounded in the mud. ‘Carnation colors’ she called ’em—jiminy!”

His breezy bubble of laughter was caught and tossed further by Sally and
Arline who eagerly hung upon the novelty of his speech.

“The artist is Miss Loretta Dewey, isn’t she?” So Miss Anne took him up.
“She has taken you for the subject of her sea picture: ‘The Breaker
King.’”

“Yes. I’m highly flattered. I had other business in this city, too,
besides fixing my carnation colors,” with again that boyish laugh
stirring the thick eyelashes. “I’ve been in correspondence with a lady
here, a cousin of the artist’s, about renting one of my new camps at the
mouth of the Exmouth River—tidal river, you know—for the summer.” (Sally
caught her breath as if she were fishing for it, rose on tiptoe, stared
at him breathlessly.) “The fact is, Miss Winter, I’m tired of being a
hayseed,” the ex-mariner went on—“tried it for two years an’ couldn’t
take to it.”

“What have you done with your little farm among the Essex woods?”

“Turned it over to my hired man. Oh! he’s a reformed character, he’ll
run it all right; he’s got two anchors out now to leeward an’ win’ard,
which means he was married a year ago an’ had a son born last month.
Guess he had the baby baptized a Scout,” with a twinkle; “he said that
’twas watching the Boy Scouts an’ their manly doin’s that first started
him to wanting to hit a man’s trail, at last—make a man of himself.”

But Miss Anne knew that it was Captain Andy who had followed up the
unconscious work of the Scouts by taking that hired man, hopeless
graduate of a reform school, and setting him on his feet again.

“You’re not thinking of going to sea any more?” she asked.

“No, my damaged spar kind o’ interferes with that.” The mariner looked
down at his lame right leg where the sea left its mark on him in his
last terrible fight with it. “But I’m gettin’ as near to the ocean as I
can while staying ashore,” he volunteered. “I put in this past spring
building three big, rambling wooden shanties—they ain’t much more—which
I call camps, on the edge of some white sand-dunes, wildest spot on the
coast of Massachusetts, where the tidal river meets the bay, or sea.”

“Oh! it’s not the Sugarloaf sand-dunes?” squeaked Sesooā, her voice thin
and wiry with excitement.

“Very place! The white Sugarloaf Peninsula! Just a hundred acres, or so,
of tall, snowy sand-hills in that part o’ the dunes, and wild life
a-plenty on dune an’ river—bird, fish, an’ mammal, or seal! I’ve rented
two of the camps already”—went on the speaker, in the teeth of a now
prevalent gust of excitement which, blowing toward him, threatened to
sweep him off his feet—“one to a family, t’other to a _flock_; to a
lady, right here in this city of Clevedon, who’s going to bring ten or
twelve young girls with her, to camp out, some of ’em lately started
upon a cruise of their ’teens, others about midway of the voyage,” with
a deep gurgle of laughter like the briny bubble of the sea.

“Did she—did she say they were a Camp Fire Group?” Sesooā’s hands were
clasped upon a flame of suspense so eager that it almost scorched them.

“Come to think of it, now, I guess she did! I’ve heard a lot about that
tribe, in general, lately. Boy Scouts an’ Camp Fire Girls, they’re in
the spot light just now.”

“They deserve to be. And was the Guardian’s—the lady’s—name Miss Dewey?”

“You’ve hit it. I’m to be watch-dog and life-guard to the flock—I’ll
have a tent o’ my own near.”

“Then, it’s us! It’s us, Captain Andy!” cried the Rainbow and the Flame
together. “It’s our Morning-Glory Camp Fire that has rented your camp
for the remainder of this month of July and all the month of August—the
Green Corn Moon. Oh, we’re so glad to have met you—that you’re going to
be our camp guard and protector!”

“Land o’ Goshen! you ain’t got no corner on the gladness; that I tell
you.” The old lifesaver beamed. “Is she coming, too?” pointing to the
girlish figure in the flower-like Tam among the shifting playground
sets. “Is she going to camp on the dunes, too, the one that dances like
a foam-chicken or a foam-clot—the Morning-Glory one?”

“Of course she is.”

“I suppose, now, you’d call her a—what-d’ye-call-it—anæsthetic dancer,
eh?” with an inquisitive twinkle.

“Æsthetic,” corrected Olive, smiling a superior little smile.
“Anæsthetic is a thing that puts people to sleep when they’re in pain—a
medicine.”

“Oh! aye, I put my foot in the medicine, did I?” gasped the squelched
captain, his “carnation colors” deepening.

From the playground came the cooing words of yet another song, dramatic,
disconnected, marking the close of the afternoon’s singing games and
folk-dances:

                “Bluebird, bluebird, through my window!”

                        “Oh, Jennie, I’m tired!”

At the two random lines, children’s heads were dropped each upon the
other’s shoulder in mock fatigue, resting there a moment in drowsy
confidence.

“Turk, Armenian, Teuton, Slav, an’ almost every other race thrown
in—Lord! if that ain’t a Peace Conference to beat the Hague,” muttered
Captain Andy, his eyes watering as they scanned the faces of those
foreign buds.

“I think he’s great—and I don’t mean it slangily either! He _is_ Great,”
said impulsive Sally in an aside to Olive. “Oh! why don’t Sybil and you
join our Camp Fire tribe and camp with us, too, upon his Sugarloaf
dunes. I feel like shouting when I think of the fun we’ll have, rowing
and swimming, singing and dancing our Indian dances, the Leaf Dance and
Duck Dance that Morning-Glory is going to teach us—she learned them from
a professor who learned them from the Indians—among those crystal,
sugary, sandy dunes.”

“Yes, and cooking your own meals, by turns, laundering your own blouses,
washing camp dishes—glorifying work, as you call it! That wouldn’t suit
me.” Olive shook her satin curl. “Sybil and I—with Cousin Anne, of
course—are going to spend August at an hotel on the North Shore. _We’ll_
have plenty of dancing, too; it’s a very fashionable, exclusive hotel
and the most expensive teacher of up-to-date dances is coming from New
York to give lessons to the guests, including Sybil and me; I teased
Father until he said we might learn from him—otherwise, we shan’t have a
study or a thing to do but to amuse ourselves all day long.”

The bright flame of Sally’s enthusiasm wavered and paled like a
candle-flame in garish sunshine. Her face fell. To her versatile,
girlish fancy the picture which Olive painted of the coming August was
richer in coloring, more dazzlingly gilded in frame—with the modern
dancing thrown in—than any that the crystal Sugarloaf could offer, even
when peopled with fringed and beaded Camp Fire Girls.

Crestfallen, she looked at Captain Andy, partly to hide her chagrin.

He was staring fixedly at the playground before him, where a dumb child
unable to reach up and drop her head upon a seventeen-year-old girl’s
lavender shoulder—as the other children were doing with their
partners—laid it upon her breast.

“Bless her heart of gold, that girl!” he breathed, his strong face
working. “Whether you call her ‘Morning-Glory’ or foam-chicken, I say
bless her heart for calling the bluebird through a dumb child’s window
when she can’t call it for herself.... I had a little sister, long ago,
born deaf an’ dumb; she only lived to be four. I played with her until
she died.... I take off my hat to that Camp Fire Girl.”

“Oh-h!” exploded Sesooā between a sob and a song which together cleared
the horizon and righted her toppling enthusiasm; that in girlhood to
which Captain Andy, hero of a hundred sea-fights, bared his head, as he
reverently did, was best worth while; unwittingly he, a connoisseur in
Life, had put his finger on that which was lacking in Olive’s picture,
present in this: the seeking Beauty not for oneself alone, not in one’s
own life only, but to see it blossom in dull, sad, silent corners of the
human garden, the Camp Fire ideal.

Swept upon a tide of reaction Sally turned passionately to Cousin Anne.
“Oh, Jessica is the dandiest girl,” she exclaimed, slangy with emotion.
“Oh! Miss Anne, I do want to ask you a question; do _you_ know, won’t
you tell me, why she was bent on choosing Morning-Glory as her Camp Fire
name and emblem, why she was called ‘Glory’ as a pet name before?”

“It was because of a little incident in her childhood.”

“Yes, I know! And this playground, teeming with children, is the very
place to hear it,” seconded Arline, chiming in.

“Well, I don’t think she would mind my telling you girls, it’s such a
trifling little story, but because it’s so tenderly connected with her
mother, who died a little more than two years ago, she doesn’t care to
speak of it herself; her mother was my cousin.”

“Yes?” breathed the expectant girls.

“I used to visit them when Jessica was a little child; she loved flowers
from the time she was a baby girl, and her mother invented a ‘flower
game’ which she used to play with her at night after the child was in
bed, so that she might fall asleep with a happy impression on her mind;
the mother would begin, ‘I am your rose,’ to which the drowsy little
voice would answer, ‘I am your violet,’ or something like that and so on
through all the flowers they could name, until Jessica was asleep.

“Well! one night the game went on as usual: ‘I am your rose,’ ‘I am your
vi’let;’ ‘I am your pansy,’ ‘I am your lily;’ ‘I am your dandelion,’ ‘I
am your _nasturt’um_;’ ‘I am your lily of the valley,’ but to this there
was no answer—the mother had the last word—Jessica was fast asleep.

“Early next morning, however, her mother was awakened by two little arms
stealing round her neck, by a moist little mouth pressed to her cheek
and a child’s voice saying softly into her ear: ‘Mamma! Mamma! I am your
morning-glory!’

“Somehow, under cover of sleep, the seed of the flower game had lingered
in her mind all night, to blossom in the morning.” Miss Anne gently
blinked at such mysteries, looking before her at the dissolving
playground sets.

“Oh-h, if that isn’t the sweetest child-story!” burst from Sally in
subdued applause. “I’m so glad that you told it to us, satisfied our
curiosity.”

“Yes, and we’ll have such a pretty little anecdote to relate, in turn,
at our next Council Fire gathering—when we’re supposed to tell of some
kind deed which we’ve seen done—about how the Morning-Glory danced with
the dumb child, gave her such a good time this morning. I wish I could
write it up in verse—even blank verse,” yearned Arline aspiringly.
“You’ll be there, won’t you, Miss Anne?”

“Of course she will; it’s to be held outdoors, if the weather is fine,
upon the lake shore at the foot of Wigwam Hill, where you can almost see
the ghosts of Indians—who camped there in numbers, nearly two hundred
years ago—moving about. Of course she’ll be there and Captain Andy, too,
to see me light a fire without matches and watch us dance the Leaf
Dance!” Sesooā whirled like an orange leaf in a gust of reinstated
enthusiasm. “Hurrah for our Morning-Glory Camp Fire! Hurrah and hurrah
again for Camp Morning-Glory—our camp that is to be—on the far-away
Sugarloaf!” her mind’s eye exploring those white Sugarloaf dunes, amid
which she would revel, Puck-like, fairy-like, by the light of the Green
Corn Moon.



                               CHAPTER IV

                        A LAKESIDE COUNCIL FIRE


                      “Wo-he-lo for aye,
                      Wo-he-lo for aye, Wo-he-lo,
                      Wo-he-lo, Wo-he-lo for aye!
                      Wo-he-lo for work,
                      Wo-he-lo for health,
                      Wo-he-lo, Wo-he-lo,
                      Wo-he-lo for Love!”

On Wigwam Hill the pine-tree—the noble standing pine, emblem of
“simplicity and strength,” symbol of membership in the Camp Fire
Sisterhood—bent its head, listening with every needle, as if it knew
itself the special patron of this winding chant. Maple and elm-tree,
amid whose rich foliage reposed like flaming birds of paradise the last
rays of the setting sun, fluttered their approval as the chanting
procession wound beneath them. The white-birch-tree rocked with
applause. The evening breeze curled the ears of the lake and bade it
listen to “Wohelo!”

Only the great-horned, straw-eyed owl, a life prisoner on the lake
shore—imprisoned years ago by some naturalist who led a hermit’s
existence within a stone’s throw of the water—ruffled his dappled
plumage until he looked as big as an eagle upon the dim perch of his
cage-house, and pessimistically hissed the chant.

He might have hooted, but in captivity he had lost his voice, was as
dumb, so far as natural expression went, as the little deaf-mute of the
city playground, reduced to declaring his feelings,—highly embittered
ones,—by a goose-like hiss.

“Poor old owl, I do feel so sorry for you—you poor, soured old
prisoner!” murmured the fringed and beaded leader of the chanting Wohelo
procession, winding out from the leafy foot of Wigwam Hill past the
captive’s cage, as she met the painted eye, golden as a wheaten straw
and as lifeless, with a little black dot of a pupil within the yellow
ring.

Whereupon the captive opened his beak until she could almost see past
the roots of the pink, kitten-like tongue down into his stomach, and
hissed her, turning his head upon its swivel neck, without moving
another muscle or feather of his body, until he faced, now, sideways,
now, directly backward, taking stock of the girl-leader’s brown-robed
followers. At intervals he lowered over the painted-looking straw-eye
the tiny, mysterious curtain, grey as asbestos, which he kept tucked up
under his eyelid, as if the stately procession of fourteen brown figures
gliding, single file, in and out among the outstanding tree-trunks, with
pearly glitter of head-band and flash of many-colored honor-beads upon
girlish necks, dazzled him.

“Good land! is it old Wigwam Hill—or the maidens who sleep in that
Indian graveyard on the top of it—come to life?” gasped Captain Andy to
his “artist” who had kept him in the city in order to paint his ground
colors, the hardy flame of the skin, the indomitable blue of the eye,
for her picture of “The Breaker King.” “Only I’ll wager those
dead-an’-gone maidens couldn’t touch _these_ in looks or in the bravery
of their beads an’ fixings; I’ve seen all sorts of fashions an’ rigs,
but this is a style of its own—eh?” He gave a breezy puff of admiration
as his mariner’s eye followed the procession of maidens in
leather-fringed khaki, lit by embroidery and bead, the filleted figures
whose hair fell in long braids to their waists, Morning-Glory (to-night
to be initiated into higher rank) leading, as they crossed an open space
upon the lake shore and glided past a stationary figure of mature grace,
with a yellow sun embroidered upon the left breast of her ceremonial
dress, which matched theirs.

“It is Gheezies, our Guardian—Guardian of the Morning-Glory Camp Fire,”
was the joyous recognition in each girlish breast, as the members of the
procession, in turn, saluted her with a hand-sign, their right arms
gracefully upraised, following the curves of an imaginary flame, the
hand-sign of fire; fire of the heart and fire of the hearth, fire of the
sun and fire beneath the shingled or slated roof-tree that shelters a
home, being the glowing symbol of the Camp Fire Girl.

One of the saluting figures, third in the procession, which even in
ceremonial beads and fringes had something familiar about it to Captain
Andy, had a small bow of polished wood slung upon her right arm upraised
in the hand-sign.

“Well! I wondered, bein’ Indian maidens, that they had no bows an’
arrows among ’em; that redeems it,” muttered the highly diverted
captain.

“Oh, but she isn’t going to shoot an arrow from that bow, else you and I
might look out for punctures!” laughed the artist. “She’s going to coax
the arrow of fire out of dull wood with it—see the notched fireboard and
drill in her left hand—going to kindle the Council Fire without
matches!”

“Well, if she does that, she’ll make me sit up an’ take notice! My word!
how often I’ve tried that trick, raked over heaven an’ earth, as you
might say, for the means o’ making a fire—an’ that more’n once, too—when
I’ve been shipwrecked and freezing all night on a lonesome shore.”

“Hadn’t you any matches?” questioned Olive Deering who sat upon a fallen
pine-log near the captain’s boulder, also a guest at this open-air
Council Fire, not yet kindled.

“The sea took ’em when it ripped off my sou’wester, the matches being in
a flannel pocket of its lining. I tell you, little lady, I had hard work
to hold on to my scalp, an’ so had every member o’ my crew, too,
swimming forty or fifty yards to fight for a foothold on naked rocks, in
an icy sea that pounded a man as if bent on breaking every bone in his
body—that was the worst time when we were wrecked off the island o’
Grand Manan in a November breeze, when some of us spent the night
clinging to icy ledges, t’others crawled up, bleeding an’ frost-bitten,
to where there was wood—Lord! what we wouldn’t ha’ given to know the
secret o’ getting fire without matches _then_. You don’t tell me a girl
can do it? I guess she may, perhaps—when sprats swallow sharks, as we
sailors say!” he added, with a sceptical chuckle.

“Well! wait and see the shark eaten up—the impossible done!” laughed the
artist trustfully.

In the gathering dusk Olive’s dark eyebrows were drawn together; from
her windfall log, where she sat side by side with Sybil, she looked
sidewise scrutinizingly at the grey-haired master mariner; she was
beginning to see the gulf which yawned between him and her filled not
with shapes of slimy decks, gurry-pens and fish-scaled oilskins, but
with the towering masts of human courage and heroism that reached unto
the sky, piercing Death’s very shadow, outsailing and outwitting that
pale spectre a hundred times to save human life.

“I wonder—I wonder whether ‘the sprat will swallow the shark’: whether
Sally will really succeed in getting fire without matches?” she
quivered, leaning forward with a new interest in the performance which
had, before, seemed merely spectacular, what the boys would call a
“showing-off stunt.”

And, now, the fringed and beaded Camp Fire Girl was kneeling on her
right knee upon the burnished sod of the lake shore, her left foot
pressing down hard upon the flat fireboard in which there was a little
scooped pit or hollow merging into a notch in the edge of the board,
resting upon a thin little wooden tray placed beneath it.

Her left hand—its wide-sleeved arm braced against the knee of that
firmly planted left leg—grasped the handle or socket of her upright
drill, about a dozen inches in length, her right steadily worked back
and forth the bow, drawn taut by its leather thong, which rested upon
that socket at the top of the drill, whose sharpened lower point, thus
worked, turned boringly in the scooped hollow of the fireboard—grinding
its soft punky wood into a brown sawdust which in a few seconds turned
_black_ as it fell upon the tray beneath.

It was a wonderful picture—so the artist thought—this linking of the far
past with the present, primitive woman with civilization, while old
Wigwam Hill looked darkly on.

Captain Andy was, indeed, sitting up and taking notice, his massive
figure leaning slightly forward, hands outspread upon his knees, in
breathless interest: was “the sprat,” actually, going to “eat up the
shark,” a girl achieve the feat—perform the igniting wonder—which
bearded men in the grip of deadly cold and desolation had attempted in
vain?

True, in these strange days, he had seen a Boy Scout work that fire
trick and get a spark in about thirty seconds. But a girl!

“Seems to me I know that little fire-witch, too,” he murmured to the
artist. “Ain’t she the one that was fluttering round like an oriole in
orange and black on the playground t’other day an’ that made friends?...
My living sakes! she’s _got it_. See—see _her smoke_!” meaning the black
powdered wood running out of the notch in the edge of the fireboard onto
the tray, under the steady grinding of the drill—not the fire-witch,
Sesooā.

Yes, grey and hopeful, it rose, that tiny cloud of smoke upon the golden
air. Sally’s Camp Fire Sisters held their breath, poised on tiptoe. Wood
Gatherers they, according to rank and in deed, who had been gathering
inflammable birch-bark and fat pine-splinters, piling them together, in
hope and faith, as the nucleus of their coming Council Fire.

“Oh! I shall _die_ if she doesn’t get the flame, now she’s got the
smoke!” quavered little fair-haired Betty Ayres, whose Camp Fire name
was Psuti, the Holly, fluttering, with arms outspread, like a brown moth
with a touch of gold upon its wings. “Sesooā will be so mortified if she
fails, with visitors present.”

“She won’t fail. She can’t! I see the _red_! Don’t you—don’t you see it,
the red spark?” The quivering cry came from Mŭnkwŏn, Arline.

Yes, the airy smoke was increasing, wheeling upward in a tiny spiral and
at its heart appeared the miracle—a dull red spark, like a fire-seed
sown by the vanished sun.

“Hurrah! _she’s_ got it. Hush, don’t speak! Don’t startle her. She has
yet to make it burn.”

But, now, Sesooā—one breathing, quivering foster-flame herself, with
cheeks on fire—was holding some tinder, shredded cedar-wood, down upon
the spark, shielded by a fragment of birch-bark. It was the crucial
moment of all. Rising upon one knee, gently she blew upon it, the
fire-witch, fanning it with the quivering breath of her own life.

[Illustration: “She won’t fail. She can’t! I see the _RED!_”]

It blazed. The day was won.

“Good life alive! that stumps me; I never thought of a girl doing that.”
The cry came in a tempestuous gust from Captain Andy.

“She got the fire in exactly fifty-one seconds from the time she started
drilling; I timed her.” The artist was peering through the dusk at the
watch upon her knee.

“Well, they’ll light their Council Fire now; it ought to be a booming
one. Here’s for gathering some good chunks from the edge of the woods to
swell it!” The captain, who had already found his feet in excitement,
limped toward the tree-clad foot of Wigwam Hill—whistling and chanting
boisterously, boyishly, in amazed elation over the feat which he had
witnessed:

                     “Singing whack fol de ri-do!
                       ’Twill comfort their souls,
                     To get such fine fagots,
                       When they’ve got no coals!

                     “Young Maidee, young Maidee,
                       If I tell you true,
                     I’m keeping some fagots
                       And sticks, too, for you!”

“We’ll accept the fagots, although we generally don’t take any help in
the building of our Council Fire!” cried one of the girlish Wood
Gatherers running toward him in the gloaming, holding up her left hand
on which the silver fagot ring gleamed. “But don’t you dare—_dare_ sing
the rest of that song on peril of your life! I can sing it, too:

                      “A woman, a dog,
                        And an old walnut-tree,
                      The more that you whacks ’em
                        The better they’ll be!

We’re Camp Fire Girls; we grow by working, not by whacking.”

“Whoo! Whoo! Hulla-baloo! Peppercorns and fire-sticks! Have I put my
foot in it again, as I did on the playground, mixing up medicine and
dancing?” roared the rueful mariner. “There! even that old caged bird is
hissing me, as if he had a goose-head, not an owl’s, upon his swivel
shoulders.”

So, fanned by laughter, fostered with song, the Council Fire grew until
it threw a far reflection on the lake waters and lit up many a nook
known to Indian maidens of yore, at the foot of the historic hill.

“Now comes the most important part of the Council Fire program, the
initiation of one girl into the rank of Fire Maker, higher than that of
Wood Gatherer, which she has borne since her first initiation!”

So spoke the artist after certain preliminary ceremonies had taken
place, such as the awarding of new honor-beads, two red honors to Sesooā
for feats of horseback riding and for feeding, petting, and combing a
horse from mane to tail during a period of thirty days—a prancing
routine dignified as Health Craft!

Other honors, flame-colored mostly, were chiefly for homely duties such
as girls had always performed, often with a shrug that labeled them
humdrum, seeing no glamor about them until they were painted rose-color
forever by an honor-bead strung upon a leather thong, by the light of
the magically kindled Council Fire.

“Who’s the lucky girl that gains higher rank?” yawned Captain Andy whose
masculine interest flagged a little. “If you don’t stop hissing, I’ll
wring your swivel neck!” this to the owl. “I tried freeing that bird
this evening when the old naturalist’s back was turned—couldn’t warm to
the idea of his enduring a prison life-sentence—and, will you believe
it, he couldn’t fly two yards, had lost his wing-power, as well as his
hoot, through not using it. I had to hustle him back into his cage, with
a bitten finger, to prevent the camp dogs from getting him. Ha! so
that’s the candidate for rank, eh”—looking toward the Council Fire
again—“the Morning-Glory girl that dances like a leaf in a gust, or a
foam-chicken—or anything else that’s lighter’n a puff?”

Welatáwesit was giving a demonstration of another kind now, vaunting her
skill at first aid by bandaging Betty. Then something white, larger than
a bandage, fluttered in the flame-stabled twilight; it might have been a
child’s frock.

Softly through the dusk came the voice of the deaf-and-dumb child’s
partner, consecrating her girlish powers to the fire of humankind:

                       “For I will tend,
                       As my fathers have tended,
                       And my fathers’ fathers,
                       Since time began,
                       The fire that is called,
                       The love of man for man,
                       The love of man for God.”

“An’ without those two fires this old world would be about as warm an’
cheerful as an ice-jammed hull, eh?” commented Captain Andy, intent upon
the mature figure of the Guardian who, ruddily outlined in the
flame-light, was placing upon the arm of the new Fire Maker the silver
insignia of her rank, the Fire Maker’s bracelet.

“I think Jessica is the sort of girl who naturally tends that heart-fire
without which the world would be out in the cold!” remarked Cousin Anne
at this point, leaning forward from her seat upon a fallen tree-trunk.
“One of her Camp Fire Sisters, Mŭnkwŏn—who is at the head of her high
school class in composition—has blossomed forth into blank verse to
celebrate the little incident of her dancing with the deaf-mute on the
playground—and some other things which she has been trying to do for the
child.”

“Yes, there’s Arline fluttering her poetic wing-feathers now!” smiled
the artist.

“She does well to flutter ’em.” Captain Andy looked from under his heavy
eyelids, massive like all else about him, at the girlish figure sitting
nearest to the Council Fire, holding a paper near to the blaze which
picked out the sportive rainbows of embroidery on her dress and in her
pearly head-band. “Thunder! if she didn’t _preen_ ’em at all, even if
they’re only pin-feathers, she might lose the use of some valu’ble ones,
like the poor old owl, there, that gave me a sore finger for trying to
coax him to fly,” breezily.

“Hush! listen; she’s beginning,” adjured Olive, as a rainbowed voice,
arching a little cloud of girlish embarrassment, fell upon the
firelight:

               “When the Moon of Thunder causeth
               School to cease and fields to blossom,
               Sendeth forth its quivering light-bolt,
               Heats the earth with dazzling sun-ray,
               Come the children to the Playground,
               Come the merry-hearted children,
               Group round swing and teeter-ladder,
               Dance their strange and quaint folk-dances
               Underneath the flowering shade-tree,
               Frolic in the sparkling water,
               Shallow pool of rainbowed water,
               But there cometh one among them,
               Maiden of eight summers only,
               Heareth not a note of music,
               Hath no voice for song or laughter,
               Slow of foot and dull of eye she,
               And the pitying children shun her.
               Then the flower of the Camp Fire,
               ‘Pretty Flower,’ Morning-Glory,
               With a foot as light as foam-clot
               And a tender heart within her,
               Takes that sad-eyed maiden gently
               By the hand and gaily leads her,
               Wins her to pick grapes in fancy,
               Grapes of sunshine from the greensward,
               Calls the Bluebird through her window
               To sing its song within that dumb heart,
               Fashions her a robe of linen,
               Brings her moccasin of leather....”

(“’Twas I who bought the ‘moccasins,’—such a pretty little pair of shoes
with buckles!” put in Olive _sotto voce_.)

                  “And where’er her Camp Fire Sisters
                  Pitch their tents by lake or river,
                  This the deed shall be remembered
                  Of Welatáwesit—Morning-Glory!”

wound up Arline triumphantly, much to the embarrassment of the subject
of the poem who sat midway of the circle round the Council Fire,
shielding her scorched cheeks from the flame-light.

“Good! I call that pretty good!” Captain Andy clapped heartily. “’Tain’t
poetry, but it goes—like a vessel under a ‘jury rig,’” with a
discounting wink.

“Pshaw! I could write _rafts_ of that stuff,” came softly from Olive
Deering. “I do try my hand at it sometimes, but Sybil laughs at me.”

“Yes, no sooner did she get here this evening than she fell to composing
a poem about that old caged owl:

               “An owl he longed for his greenwood tree,
                 Was pining to be free,
               And never a goose in the farmyard wide
                 Hissed half so sore as he!

That’s how it went!” laughed airy Sybil.

“Come now! to my mind that goes better than the other,” chuckled the
mariner, whose one idea of verse was a lyric or a limerick. “Poetry that
has no rhyme to it is a lame makeshift, like a ‘jury rig’ replacing real
spars. So your little sister laughs at your—um-m—poetic wing-feathers,
does she?” looking directly at Olive. “Well, I wouldn’t stunt ’em for
all that! Seems to me, now, that Council Fire is a pretty good incubator
for the hatching out of new wing-feathers—or pin-feathers, eh?”
chuckling again.

“Jolly Neptune! which wing are they waving now, the right or the left—or
have they grown a third, a new-fangled one, all in a hurry?” he inquired
of his invisible sea-god, after an interval, as strange, crooning
syllables, weirdly repeated, fell upon his ear:

                         “Gā’ hyo nē’ _he_
                         Hé ga’ hyo nē _he ya_
                         Gā hyo nē’ hé
                         Hé ga hyo nē _he ya_
                         Hó dji ge hyá!”

The fringed and beaded maidens were on their feet now, circling,
shuffling, Indian fashion, round the fire, the leader shaking a child’s
hand-rattle aloft between the fingers of her right hand whose arm waved
mystically toward the fire.

“I do believe _she’s_ the one that dared me to sing the last verse of
that old fagot-song about a woman, a dog and an old walnut-tree bein’
improved by whacking!” rumbled the captain, rubbing his hands. “Gee
whiz! it’s a good entertainment. And it ought to be, to keep a man o’ my
age sitting for an hour an’ a half on a cold stone!” ruefully feeling
his boulder-bench.

“Yes, she’s the very one: her Camp Fire name is Wĕltaak, meaning music,
and she has the G clef, together with a bar of music, woven as a symbol
into her head-band,” said Sybil.

“She’s ‘some singer,’ too. I wonder if the ghosts on old Wigwam Hill are
waking up to listen to this?”

Captain Andy glanced behind him, swaying with a half-superstitious
shudder as the sweet, eerie notes of the dance-music fell upon his ear:

[Illustration: Musical Score]

Old Wigwam Hill did, indeed, seem, in an interlude of the dance, to
ruffle every leaf upon its sides as if, Rip-Van-Winkle-like, it had
fallen asleep a couple of hundred years ago, was now rubbing its eyes
and waking up to be saluted by sounds much like those which had set it
dozing, when braves in bonnets of feathers danced with their painted
squaws upon the lake shore.

“That’s an Indian dance, the Leaf Dance, in honor of the
leaves—_idiwissi_, or ‘tree hair’—thanking them for their grateful
shade,” explained Olive, watching the winding, gesturing figures of the
Camp Fire Girls, whose ceremonial dresses the Council Fire lit up with
wonderfully dramatic effect as they circled round and round it.

“Morning-Glory taught it to them; she learned it from a friend who
picked it up in the camps of the Creek Indians,” supplemented the
artist.

“But those queer little Indian words that they’re chanting have no
meaning; they’re just nonsense syllables such as ‘Tara-ra boom de ay!’
or something like that,” laughed Sybil.

“Goodness! how I wish a little niece o’ mine, named Kitty Sill, who
spends half her time mooning under orchard leaves, could watch that
dance,” suddenly interjected the captain in tones that seemed to come up
from his boots they were so deep and yearning. “She’s a queer little
thing, fourteen last month an’ as shy—just as shy as a sickle-bill
curlew!” searching for a simile.

“What makes her like that?” asked Olive; she was beginning to feel an
unaccountable interest in everything connected with Captain Andy; his
nautical humor set against the harrowing experiences of his life,
combined with his rescue of her Cousin Marvin, had, by this time, set
every pulse of hero-worship in her throbbing.

“Search me! I don’t know what makes Kitty like that,” came the answer in
a sort of deep, protesting shout. “Maybe, now, the well-bred _pig_ that
she confides in more’n she does in her family knows, but if she does,
confound it! she ain’t telling.”

“A pet pig-g! Ugh!” Sybil shuddered.

“Her mother thinks that little Kitty has taken a troublesome notion o’
some sort into her head that makes her so faint-hearted an’ foolish. Who
knows but that if she were to join these new-fangled—or old-fangled—Camp
Fire Girls an’ grow a few extry wing-feathers—high-colored ones, so to
speak, such as learning how to start a fire without matches, an’ dance
like a leaf on a tree—she’d forget all about it?” speculatively.

“Oh! I’m sure she would,” came from Olive with a fervor that surprised
herself. “That old owl is a horrible example against clipping one’s
wings, not using any little powers one has!” laughingly. “You listen to
that, Sybil, and don’t laugh at my flights any more!”

Yet that night when in the sanctum of her own room Olive seated herself
upon a corner of her bed—a rare breach of orderliness for her—and
thence, as from a white throne, reviewed the evening’s proceedings which
she marshaled before her, her thoughts did not long dwell upon poetic
flights or matchless fires—or even upon the dramatic Leaf Dance.

They rested chiefly upon the initiation of the new Fire Maker, of a girl
standing before the Council Fire, promising to tend, as her fathers had
tended, those twin-fires which are the very heart-flame of humanity,
without which, as Captain Andy said, the world would be cold as an
ice-jammed hull.

Feeling is life. And there is nothing like a romantic ritual for
stirring emotion. Olive felt it tingle all over her.

Her chin quivered as she looked up at the picture of a beautiful woman
upon the delicately tinted wall of the pretty bedroom—that of the mother
who had died when she was twelve.

The dark Southern eyes, which her own reflected, called to her.

She rose and stood before the picture.

“Mother!” she whispered, palpitating. “Mother!” above a breath. “I am
scarce sixteen and a half now: I—might—begin to take your place more
with Father—and with Sybil, too!”

When, in that holy of holies, a girl’s prayer-nook, Olive knelt a little
later, the growing wing-feather for which she prayed was not a
rhyming-power—nor power to match any one of the feats which she had
to-night seen performed—but that she might soar to be like her mother.



                               CHAPTER V

                              A MINIATURE


“Jessica! Ho! Jessica-a. Olive is looking for you-u, Jessica. She’s gone
into the library now.” Sybil Deering’s high, laughing voice, rilling and
trilling on terminal vowels like the spring note of a meadow-lark, rang
up the broad staircase of the Deering mansion.

“Oh! is she? I’m coming. I’ll be down in just a minute,” sang back the
girlish tones which had called the Bluebird on the playground; in the
smallest of the guest-rooms upstairs—a pretty nest, like Olive’s
bedroom—Jessica Holley laid down a paint-brush, closed a box of
water-colors which looked as if it had seen service in other hands than
hers, thrust aside a smeared palette, daubed with burnt sienna, yellow
and black, on which she had been experimenting with colors in order to
get something like the right shade for a Camp Fire Girl’s ceremonial
dress of khaki and, forthwith, proceeded to the library.

“Jessica, when are we going to take those things to the little
deaf-and-dumb girl, the frock you made for her—which you exhibited at
the Council Fire last night—and the shoes I bought? I’m just longing to
see her in them,” said Olive directly she showed her nose within the
realm of books.

“Immediately after luncheon; I’ve got a plan. I’m going to call up
Arline and Sally—Betty Ayres wants to come with us, too—and tell them
about it; we’ll time our start so’s to arrive on the playground a little
after two o’clock, before the playground teachers get back from dinner,
and if little ’Becca is there (did I tell you I had found out that her
name is Rebecca?) we’ll just inveigle her into a shed and dress her up
in the new finery, throw away the old shoes, perhaps, the grey frock,
too—then, when the teachers turn up and the dancing begins, the other
children won’t know her.”

“She won’t know herself. Did you find out whether she was born deaf and
dumb?”

“No. She became stone-deaf at four years old after scarlet fever; then
she gradually lost the power of speech, too, so her mother told one of
the playground teachers. Her parents are Russian Jews who have only been
a couple of years in this country. The teacher thinks that some of the
croaking sounds she makes are fragments of words in her own tongue that
she remembers. And once when some boys were shouting ‘Swing! Swing!’
upon the playground, ’Becca said ‘Swing!’ quite clearly, as if she
caught some vibration of the sound.”

“I should think she could be taught to speak again by and by.” Olive
looked hopeful. “Come out of your dreamland, Jessica,” she added
laughingly; “stick to Rebecca and the playground plan! Whenever you’re
in the library, morning, noon or night, you’re staring at that
stained-glass window. I believe you’ve fallen in love with the young
scribe who’s bending over a parchment book in it.”

“No, but I’m in love with his brown robe.” Jessica’s eyes went up to the
rich gold-brown of the young monk’s habit. “I’ve just been trying to get
something like that tint on my palette up-stairs, so as to paint the
ceremonial dress on the figure of a Camp Fire Girl. Besides”—the
blue-grey eyes of Morning-Glory rested reverently upon the soft radiance
of the painted window through which the daylight flickered,
glorified—“besides, as you know, Olive, my father was a stained-glass
artist; he designed beautiful windows like that, worked out his designs
in water-colors on paper and afterward—when the great sheet of glass had
been properly prepared—painted the window itself—oil-painting, using
metallic paints.”

“Is that how it’s done?” queried Olive. “I love this library window. And
I like to study the stained-glass windows in church, too—sometimes I
forget to say my prayers when I’m looking at them!” in merry penitence.

“I, too! My father used to paint the saints’ and cherubs’ heads so
beautifully, painting both sides of the glass, the figure in some dull
tint, brown or grey, on the right side, to face the people and the
brilliant, the illuminating colors, as he called them, upon the back,
the other side of the sheet of glass, so’s to shine through,” looking up
at the translucent rays streaming through the brown monkish figure.

“Did you use to watch him while he was painting?”

“Occasionally I did, perched on a chair beside his tall, oblong easel
that had the glass upon it.... He let me when he could, because he had
it all planned out that I—too——”

The last words were very thin and low and broke off, their snapped
thread being lost in the rich tangle of colors, ruby and gold, with
other glories wonderfully interwoven, which bathed that corner of the
room where the pictured medieval scribe sat poring over his written
book.

Olive moved a little uneasily. She felt uncomfortable when Jessica spoke
of her father, because, having lost a mother herself, she understood
what bereavement meant, but to lose both parents, as the other girl had
done, to have absolutely no nearer living relative than Cousin Anne,
related to Jessica through her mother’s mother as she was to Olive
through her father’s father; that was terrible, indeed!

Therefore out of her fidgetings Olive evolved a remark which led away
from the glorious window and stained glass in general.

“Do you know, I think that it was just too awfully good of you to spend
all day yesterday sewing upon that white frock for little ’Becca, the
dumb child,” she said with girlish gush.

“Oh! that was nothing; I enjoyed doing it. Cousin Anne deserves more
than half the praise; ’twas she who bought the material; I—I didn’t have
the money!”

Jessica spoke rather absent-mindedly, her gaze still wavering between
the ruby window-nook and Olive.

“What!” breathed the latter. “Oh, you poor dear! Jessica, Father never
thought of it, I’m sure, but I’m going to drop a hint to him, this very
day, that he might make you a monthly allowance for pocket-money, now
that you’ve come to live with us for a year or two, just as he does with
Sybil and me. Oh-h! you wouldn’t like it, eh?” in crestfallen echo.

“_Olive!_” The Morning-Glory’s arms fell limply to her sides. Her skin,
naturally clear and colorless as a pure white specimen of her
name-flower, looked wan in the gold and crimson shafts of light
streaming from the stained window. “Oh-h! Olive, I wouldn’t have you do
that, hint _anything_—not for the world. Oh, don’t you think I feel it
enough—that I——”

The gusty words splashed through the first drops of a tear-fall so
sudden that it seemed as if the rainbowed colors had begun to drip.

A wet and crumpled-up Morning-Glory, all draggled upon its vine of
girlish courage, dropped into a library chair, turning a streaming face
to hide against the leather chair-back.

“Oh, honey, I never—meant——” came brokenly from Olive.

“I know—I know you never meant to be anything but lovely to me!” sobbed
the figure in the chair. “But, oh”—wildly weeping—“if my father _or_ my
mother could have lived! I know that your father, Olive—that Mr.
Deering—invited me to come here for this last year or so that I’ll be in
high school, when he had never even seen me, simply because Cousin Anne
was so worried about my having nowhere—nowhere to go after Auntie (of
course, she wasn’t really my auntie, only a friend of Mother’s who took
me in after Mother died) sailed for China with her husband who’s a
missionary. They didn’t think that China, the part that she’s going to,
would be good for me!” pathetically.

“I’m sure it wouldn’t—pig-tails and Boxers and stuff!” wailed Olive
helplessly, her face wet too, as if the window’s melting shafts of color
dripped upon it. “There, Jessica! There, Jess _darling_; you know we all
just love to have you with us!” perching upon the arm of the library
chair, laying her beautiful dark head with the ringlet curl against the
stricken brown one.

The curl tickled Jessica’s neck; impulsively she caught and kissed it,
fondled it like a flower against her wet cheek.

“Yes, ev-er-ybody has been so good to me,” she gasped, reviving enough
for heartfelt emphasis. “You’ve shared things with me, Sybil and you;
and Cousin Anne insists on giving me a little pocket-money from time to
time, just as she gives me clothes—she’s so dear!—and just as she’s
insisting on paying my camp-board in that seashore camp, so that I may
have the fun of going with the other girls to those beautiful Sugarloaf
sand-dunes.”

Sugarloaf! Never did sugar-lump drop into a tart cup with more
ameliorating sweetness than dropped that word, now, into the troubled
waters pulsing to and fro between the girls’ hearts, although it
breathed of brine, not sugar.

Olive started, sat up straight upon the chair-arm. She had thought of
more words to conjure with, to win back joy or, at any rate, distract
from sorrow.

“Jessica!” she said solemnly, “I’ve got a _teeter-ladder_ in my brain.
Ever since we visited the playground that day I’ve had a teeter-ladder
in my head.”

Jessica choked upon the next sob which mixed itself up with her startled
breath. Her nose ceased burrowing in the leather nest of a chair-button.
She sat up and turned her face round.

“Oh! you needn’t stare at me; I’m not going out of my mind; I haven’t
got a _giant stride_ there, too,” laughingly. “But the ladder keeps
seesawing all the time; it’s like a game of ‘Jenkins: Hands up! Hands
down!’ One minute the ladder teeters down toward the Sugarloaf, and the
hotel, that Father proposed our going to this summer, Sybil and I, is
away up in the air, with the teacher of modern dancing from whom we’re
to take lessons, crowing on top: Cock-a-doodle-doo! Tooraloo! Like that!

“Next minute down with the hotel—up with the Sugarloaf and the Camp Fire
Girls dancing the Leaf Dance among the white dunes!”

Olive had stars in the dreamy black of her eyes, now; they were gazing
far away.

“What on earth do you mean: not that you’re thinking of becoming a Camp
Fire Girl—joining our Morning-Glory Camp Fire? Oh, you know how I’ve
wanted you to do that, Olive!” A little lightning-spurt of excitement
flashed through Jessica’s tears. “Oh, Sugarloaf and _sugarloons_!” she
gasped, shaky laughter beginning to patter like crystal hail through the
rain-drops, the end of the shower. “Why, ’twould just be sugar through
and through that camping trip if Sybil and you should come with us.”

“I’m not so sure of that,” Olive shook her head sagely. “If I were to
try my hand at the camp cooking, I’m afraid the effects would be bitter,
not sweet,” with a grimace. “You know Father says that my cookery ought
to be tried first on the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals before any member of the animal kingdom should be allowed to
partake of it!” Here, even the satiny ringlet curling down Olive’s white
neck on to the shoulder of her white dress laughed—she clung to that
black curl since she put her hair up, for good, six months before.

“I suppose that if Mother had lived I’d have learned to do a great many
things that I don’t know much about now,” she went on softly. “Cook
never wanted us in the kitchen; so we stayed out of it. Cousin Anne says
that I’m not a bit ‘domestic.’ But sometimes”—the dark eyes shone
wistfully—“something just swells up so big in me that I feel as if I
shall simply burst if I don’t get it out of my system!” becoming, in
turn, tragically confidential. “I’ve tried working it off in the rhymes
that Sybil laughs at; I persuaded Father to let me take painting lessons
outside of school-hours, but I don’t believe I’ll ever paint anything
that a _cow_ would care to look at,” laughing ruefully, “whatever you
may do! Cook (you know she cooked for Father and Mother before I was
born and she’s Irish) saw one of my pictures and I heard her say to
herself: ‘Tear an’ ages! looks as if that old guinea-hen had got some
paint on her claws and scratched on the paper.’ Truth and honor! that’s
what she did say!”

Jessica was now laughing spasmodically, the bright drops upon her
eyelashes winking at the other girl’s gropings after self-expression.

“All I can do, it seems to me, is, as I heard Captain Andy singing to
himself last night during part of the Council Fire program, to:

               “‘Laugh a little and sing a little,
               And work a little and play a little,
               And fiddle a little and foot it a little,
                   As bravely as I can!’”

Olive laughingly footed it round the library, burlesquing her own
limitations. “And I don’t know whether I could even ‘foot it’ very far
if it came to a tramp,” she said over her shoulder. “Goodness! since
Sybil and I have used the automobile so much, as Father drives himself
in the smaller car, I don’t even ‘sing the song of feet’ except when I
play tennis or go round the golf course with Dad.... Perhaps, if I
joined the Camp Fire Girls, I might grow a few new wing-feathers, as
Captain Andy wants his little niece to do—the niece that moons in an
orchard and goes round with a pet pig and a duck for followers—she must
be awfully ‘_witchetty_,’ eh?”

“I should think so!” came from a now smiling Morning-Glory in the
leather chair.

“Gracious! there’s the luncheon bell and we must get through with the
meal as quickly as we can if we’re to carry out your plan, Jess, of
getting to the playground and dressing up little ’Becca before the
teachers get back and the folk-dancing begins.”

“Oh! I must run and bathe my face.” Jessica made for the library-door in
a flurry. “First—first, I want to hug you, Olive. And you won’t think,
will you, that I’m not just _too_ awfully grateful to you all for making
me so—so happy here?

“It was meddling with Papa’s old paint-box this morning that broke me
all up,” added the seventeen-year-old girl to herself, dashing up the
broad staircase which she had descended a little while ago, to her own
room. “That, and thinking of how I used sometimes to sit by him when he
was painting a saint’s head on glass for some beautiful window!” (A
vigorous splash with a cold sponge.) “Mother said he ran to Saints’
Heads!” (Splash and choke!) “And _he_ used to say that I inherited his
talent and love of color and that girls were taking up stained-glass
work—window-painting—now, making a success of it, too. I only wish _I_
could!” (Splash, splash, splash, and a girl forcing a dripping sponge
into her mouth, to drown a returning sob, because she felt that it would
not be “game” to depress with tears or the semblance of them the midday
meal of those who had generously given her a home!) “And, whatever
comes, I’ve got to be as brave as my great-gran’daddy!” she gasped the
next minute, through her set teeth, glancing at a small table, on which,
beside the disturbing paint-box, lay an old-fashioned, oval leather
case, with a tarnished gold stripe round its edge.

Towel in hand, Jessica impulsively sprang toward the table, touched a
spring and disclosed a small miniature, older still than the case,
painted on ivory, set in gold, showing a face which, if the artist of
ninety-odd years ago painted truly, was very like the Morning-Glory one
now hanging over it: the same crest of light brown hair over the
forehead, the same naturally laughing grey-blue eyes. “My mother’s
grandfather, Captain Josiah Dee, you were a very handsome young man when
that miniature was painted, let me tell you!” she gurgled, biting upon a
corner of the damask towel in a fighting attempt to regain composure by
forcing her thoughts to dwell lightly for a minute upon the manly
shoulders in the blue coat with brass buttons and the high stock-collar
under a dimpled chin—her own had a dimple like it! “You have such a
_living_ smile; you always seem to be alive and laughing at me when I
feel blue! Well! You saved lots of lives when you commanded a big ship,
but were drowned, yourself, at last. I must be as brave as you were!
And, great-gran’daddy dear, let me tell you, too, I’m not altogether
alone, because I’ve got Cousin Anne and I’m a Camp Fire Girl—and Olive’s
a dear; wouldn’t she be a dream—just a Camp Fire Girl’s dream—in a
ceremonial dress and beaded head-band, with her black hair in two long
plaits and her dark eyes?”

The oval case shut with a click.

Olive’s hair and eyes looked as dreamily beautiful in a simple white
dress as they would have done in gold-brown khaki when, three-quarters
of an hour later, she wended her way, together with four other girls,
toward that poor and crowded quarter of the city of Clevedon whose tall
factory chimneys enshrined the public playground—largely a garden of
foreign buds—whither their steps were bent.

Yet not one of her companions envied that hair its raven lustre or the
grace of the small head it crowned, for if they were not all four
beauties, at least they were true daughters of Columbia who, fair
herself, seldom or never hatches an ugly duckling.

There _was_ one point of envy among them, so far as Sally, Betty, and
Arline were concerned—the glass buttons on Jessica’s blouse!

“Oh! those ‘Wohelo’ heart-shaped buttons!” Sally’s eyes and the July
sky-beams together picked out the decorative W—she was sure it meant to
be a W—within the blue heart of glass. “And that white blouse with the
blue facings—it just brings out the color of your eyes, ‘Glory,’”
calling Jessica, the oldest of the quintette, by the name which, growing
out of an incident, had clung to her in childhood, to blossom later into
her Camp Fire title.

“Cousin Anne gave it to me on my birthday and my lavender smock frock,
too; I made the lavender Tam myself.” The Morning-Glory was utterly
smiling again, forgetting even the brass buttons on the coat of her
great-grandfather, the only relative besides Cousin Anne who seemed to
her, in a way, to live and preside over her girlhood, forgetting them
and him in that jolliest of youth’s experiences, to be abroad with a
small band of admiring individuals of its own age and sex.

Looking back, mentally, she saw that seventeenth birthday, separated
from her only by a hand-span of fourteen days, standing in the way and
smiling at her, not yet hidden by any curve in the highroad of life nor
blotted out by any startling event.

Looking forward, literally, she saw a different vision in ugly contrast
to delicate smock and Wohelo blouse: a vision that at a distance
suggested nothing so strongly as a bedizened magpie.

“Who’s that swinging on the garden gate?” burst forth Betty.

“Oh! it’s that girl with the funny surname—‘Tingle,’ isn’t it—who
entered high school last January.” The pretty shell-pink tints of
Arline’s complexion—her strong point—deepened with disfavor as she
looked ahead at the restless gate, one of a scattered row decorating one
side of a raw new street whose lately erected dwellings faced
depressingly upon vacant lots, piles of sand and earth, a wheelbarrow or
two, and the gaping bones of skeleton houses.

“Yes, and if ever there was a surname invented that rang true to life,
it’s that one—so far as she’s concerned!” Sally, throwing up her eyes,
rose to a dramatic outburst. “Penelope _Tingle_! Just think of it! And
she gives you the ‘tingles’ all over when you come within a yard of her.
The ‘Black and White Warbler’ some of the high school boys who are
interested in bird-study call her, because her voice is so high an’ thin
an’ wiry and her laugh like a hiss.”

“Her clothes would set me tingling worse than her voice; they talk to
you before ever you get near her!” Olive’s nostrils quivered.

“Hush! we’re almost upon her—and the white gate,” came from Jessica.

“Hul-lo-a! Hullo! Sal-ly.” The voice which rang out from that swinging
gate as the quintette of girls ranged abreast of it had at this moment
more of the stinging quality of a blue jay’s when it wakes one at
sunrise than of any species of warbler; the Tingle girl’s clothing must
partly have inspired the boys’ nickname: black and white of the loudest
upright stripes upon the swinging skirt, black and white in brindled
circles on the too visible expanse of stockings, enlivened by a wisp of
a rose-colored girdle and an old-rose felt hat with a tarnished quill.

These latter touches of color being a trifle faded had the dejected air
of not being able to vie with the thick ruddiness of Penelope’s wrists
which clung to the gate-bars and the florid hue of her plump cheeks.

“Hullo-o, Sally! Is—is it ‘nobody home’ this morning? Don’t you want to
speak to me?” challenged the jay-like voice, as Penelope’s face hung out
over the gate.

At this the golden firefly in Sally’s eyes wheeled doubtfully, now
toward that raw, new white gate, now toward Olive: Olive, whose father
was a very important personage, indeed, and _her_ father’s employer at
the Works; Olive, who had plainly inherited the flower of good breeding,
nourished in the soil of wealth. And reading a contempt for Tingles and
tingling voices in Olive’s face, little _horse-loving_ Sally, who
generally could be the best kind of a small sportswoman, figuratively
gathered her garments (neat and trim as when she was mounted, from her
simple whip-cord skirt to her Camp Fire Girl’s knockabout hat) about her
and, like the priest and Levite of old, passed by on the other side,
leaving Penelope to her wounding manners and with a bruise in her heart.

All of which means that she returned Penelope’s vociferous greeting with
a stiff nod only suited to the inside of an ice-house!

The Tingle girl ceased swinging as if petrified and stared after her;
then she burst into a high shriek of exasperated laughter and hailed a
boy upon a vacant lot across the street.

“Hullo! Rolie,” she cried, “do you know that there’s a frost this
morning; it froze hard here just now,” pointing her slangy sarcasm by a
red forefinger leveled at Sally’s receding back.

“Ss-sh! you’re crazy,” expostulated the lad who wore a Boy Scout suit.

“If I’m ‘crazy,’ you’re hazy—hazy in the brain! He! He! He! Hi! Ha!” The
retort and the shrill laughter followed the quintette of girls down the
street.

“Isn’t she dreadful?” gasped fair little Betty who had named the
Morning-Glory Camp Fire. “I should think she _is_ one big tingle;
henceforth I’ll feel her a mile off!”

“Perfectly horrid!” acquiesced Olive.

Sally’s under-lip suddenly quivered; one of her lightning changes of
mood breezed up in her, almost wafting her back toward the gate; she
felt the same twinge of penitence that occasionally nipped her for
having once lightly denounced Olive and her sister Sybil as “all fluff
and stuff,” chiefly because, hitherto, they had taken little notice of
her, when, now, she was forced to admit that Olive’s inner fabric was
anything but unduly “fluffy.”

“Perhaps it’s not Penelope’s fault that she’s like that,” she put
forward slowly. “The Tingles haven’t been long in the city and they come
to our church, so my mother went to call on Mrs. Tingle—she’s not the
tingling sort at all; she’s a very nice, refined woman—but isn’t it
strange she has the very same affliction, in a way, as that
deaf-and-dumb child whom we’re going to see now?” glancing at a white
parcel under Jessica’s arm. “She’s absolutely deaf, too, having lost her
hearing after an illness, and is losing her speech, also, so that she
has to write things down for callers. Mother said that she lacked the
very sense that would enable her to correct Penelope’s manners. But the
funny part of it is,” ran on Sally volubly, “that she said Pen—Penny, as
she calls her—was her right hand about the house, working so hard—since
her father lost money lately—and managing her young brothers so well.”

“Imagine it! There must be two Pennies, then, one of brass, the other of
gold,” laughed Jessica.

“Yes, when Mother told all that to the Guardian of our Camp Fire, Miss
Dewey, she said it was too bad that Penelope shouldn’t have her hard
duties touched up and made interesting by winning honor-beads for them
and that she was going to invite her to join our Morning-Glory Camp
Fire—there’s no Camp Fire circle at the church that Pen and I attend.
Miss Dewey thinks that it would tone her down a lot to wear a ceremonial
dress and sing stately songs, with mystic motions.”

“Goodness! you might as well try to make a parrot pray,” interjected
Betty.

“I don’t know—now!” This from the Rainbow, Arline. “Don’t you remember,
Sally, how you and I felt about a year ago when we were just
fifteen”—with a great air of maturity—“we felt awkward and as if nobody
loved us,” plaintively; “we didn’t know whether to put our hair up or
not; we felt too old to run and play with the boys as we used to do——”

“You won’t feel that way when you’re eighteen; I’ll soon be young enough
for it again,” put in Morning-Glory sagely.

“And yet we weren’t old enough to do as our older sisters and friends
did, receive formal calls from boys and have them invite us very
prettily to go to places!” Thus the Rainbow again took up the chant of a
fifteen-year-old girl’s problems, ending with this _Jubilate_: “’Twas
then that ‘Camp Fire’ came in so well, wasn’t it? Since it took hold of
us, six months ago, we’ve been just so busy doing new things, dressing
up and winning honors, that we haven’t had time to think of ourselves at
all. Maybe Penelope is at the awkward age, too, without any home help
such as we had.”

“Maybe so! Let’s drop the tingling penny now, anyway!” suggested Betty
with a chuckle. “Arline says she feels too old to race with boys as she
used to do, but whether we run _with_ them or not, we’ll run into them,
I expect, when we go camping this summer, for Captain Andy says that
there’s a Boy Scout Camp on some other sand-dunes, just across the river
from the Sugarloaf, with harbor seals and breakers an’ quicksands and
all sorts of queer obstacles between them and us!”

“Too bad! Boys come in handy, sometimes, when you fish off the rocks
with a pole and don’t want to handle the bait,” suggested Sally
reflectively.

“I hear that there will be two Boy Scout troops in that camp,”
discoursed Betty again, “one from the neighborhood of this city and one
from that wild tidal river an’ bay region where we’re going; the
Scoutmasters are cousins. Well! here we are at the playground now.”

“Tired, Olive?” Jessica linked her arm tenderly through Olive Deering’s;
that library scene had drawn them very close together.

“No-o,” answered Olive absent-mindedly, hardly hearing her own
monosyllable because of the swish of that teeter-ladder of indecision in
her brain, now seesawing at a gallop: “If that tingling Penelope should
join the Morning-Glory Camp Fire and go with these other girls to the
camp on the Sugarloaf dunes, I sha’n’t; Sybil and I will go to that big,
beautiful hotel and simply amuse ourselves!” So thought said. And so she
left it, with the hotel swinging on high, a dizzy castle in the air.

“Oh! here’s that funny little Jacob, who’s ‘all de olds in de world,’
running to meet us,” cried Morning-Glory meanwhile. “I hope we’ll find
poor little silent ’Becca as easily; ’twill be such fun to dress her up
and ‘make her over’ before the teachers get back to the playground,
after dinner, and the afternoon dancing begins!” hugging her
tissue-paper parcel, containing the white frock in which every stitch
had been set by her own patient fingers, together with the buckled
shoes, Olive’s gift.

Jacob of the raven locks seemed almost as much excited as when the horse
bolted with the playground piano: his small brown fingers clutched the
hem of his hanging blouse.

“Ha! we haf de big fire las’ night to our house,” he proclaimed. “My
babee”—pointing to the insect-like infant whom Sally had saved from
being trampled by stopping the playground horse—“my babee she get a
match an’ de pape’ an’ she wipe dem on de wall an’ de fire come. An’
w’en de big mans w’at make de fire out shay: ‘Who make dis fire?’ my
babee she shay: ‘Me! Me! Me!’”

“What a depraved little ‘firebug’—isn’t that the police word? Sorry I
saved her!” exclaimed Sally.

Jessica did not linger for Jacob’s dramatic recital; she was walking on
over the broad public playground, past the Silver Twins and the
flowering catalpa tree on the edge of whose island of shade she had
called the Bluebird through a dumb child’s window, on toward the great,
gleaming bathing-pool—that artificial sheet of shallow water—in an eager
search for little ’Becca.

By her side ran a self-constituted escort, a strange, foreign child whom
she had not seen before, catching with elfin fingers at the silver
bracelet, the Fire Maker’s bracelet, last night received, on Jessica’s
wrist.

“Ach! you haf de prit-ty br-racelet,” murmured the little foreigner’s
guttural accents. “I haf de br-racelet-te, too, to _my_ home. I haf de
gol’ necklace to my home. I haf de pink silk stocking; I haf de blue
silk stocking”—thrusting forward, first, one thin leg, then the other,
in coarse and faded cotton. “I haf de _lots_ of ice-cr-ream to my home!”

“Poor little thing; she probably hasn’t got a single one of them!” The
Morning-Glory’s eyes were misty as she looked down upon the small
braggart.

“Where are you _going_?” shrieked Jacob after her.

“To the moon!” she answered absently, looking steadily ahead, searching
the feathery edges of the wide bathing-pool in which some barelegged
children were paddling for little ’Becca in the out-at-toe shoes and
coarse grey frock, in order to transform her into something like a stout
fairy, before the folk-dancing should begin.

“To de—moon? Take me!” screamed Jacob, all agog for any excursion in
such good company.

Was it from the moon—the now invisible Thunder Moon of July—or from the
edge of some far planet of gloom that the sudden cry came, a cry with a
note of menace in it, of sobbing horror, of fear, wiping out Jacob’s
childish plea from the face of the sunshine?

A cry in the guttural accents, the broken English that attacked the
girls’ ears everywhere on this playground!

A cry that mocked the fragrance of the pyramidal catalpa blossoms and
blanched the rainbowed fountain at the heart of the bathing-pool until
it frowned like a specter!

“’Becca!” gasped Jessica, flattening her soft parcel against her heaving
breast. “_’Becca!_” She knew not why she said it.



                               CHAPTER VI

                            THE GREEN CROSS


The next minute she knew.

The splashing cries which came from the feathered edges of the
bathing-pool rushed toward her like a great water-wave tipped with
foreign foam, about which there was nothing articulate until, presently,
the spray of one clear shriek was tossed up: “’Becca! Rebecca!”

The Morning-Glory’s face was a very white flower now, all crumpled by
fear, as was the flattened parcel she hugged, the parcel that was to
have worked a metamorphosis.

“’Becca she—she go down, stay down, under de water. She haf eat de green
apple—she sick—she down under de water—she not come up—eugh!” So the
spray-like shriek spread itself out into a cloud of words as a little
French girl of six or seven in a bathing-suit came flying, wild-eyed,
toward the one tall figure she saw, the girl with shiny blue glass
buttons on her blouse, who frantically hugged a small parcel.

“Where? Where? _Show me where!_” The figure dropped the parcel with a
scream and seized the hand of the newsbearer. “Show me where!”

Down into the feathery ripples—the tiny ripples that broke so gently
upon their earthy rim as if protesting that their shallow innocence
couldn’t do any harm—they went together, barelegged child and skirted
girl who didn’t even wait to toss off a shoe.

“’Becca she canno’ speak—no’ cry, like me—jus’ ketch her ‘tummy’ an’
fall—no’ come up!” The raving child vivaciously illustrated her meaning
by pounding with a wet left fist upon her own little rounded stomach,
rather full of unripe apples, too.

“Where? Where?” was all the girl could say. “Drowning! She must be
_drowning_ in two or three feet of water—lying on the bottom of the
bathing-pool!” raged her thought, storming like a thunderclap in her
ears.

The sheet-like pool was wide and wan, covering half an acre, no depth of
color anywhere, except where the brilliant afternoon sun created an
island sunburst in the water around the fountain and where near the
pool’s edge it showed topsy-turvy, moving pictures, pink and yellow, of
children standing or promenading on their heads, as if in fear.

Jessica’s agonized promenade was short and splashing. Now the water rose
above her knees as she dragged herself and her clothing through it!
“Where? _Where?_” was still all her seemingly water-logged tongue could
say.

“I’ll t’ink some dere—dere she’ll go down,—’Becca!” answered, at last,
the pluckily wading, little French child, who clung to her right hand,
pointing to a rainbow-shaft from the fountain leveled downward, too,
like an exploring finger.

And there the rainbow and Jessica found her—at the burnished point to
which she in her dumb play had waded forth through two feet and a half
of water to catch that rainbow—lying all dressed in the old grey frock
and broken footwear beneath the island sunburst of the fountain.

Here the girl, looking down, saw a dark spot, a hair-fringed mound upon
the pool’s bottom, barely covered by a glassy inch or two of
ripples—_head submerged_!

With a choking cry she stooped and dragged it up, lifted it. She was
strong and athletic for her seventeen years, but her whole girlish
framework rocked and shuddered, almost collapsed, as she did so, bowed
by an unexpected gust of weight.

The dumb child was eight years old, stout and chunky; now, unconscious,
clogged by the leaden weight of water in her little clothing, swamped by
green fruit, she would have made a taxing burden for a man.

“Father—Father in Heaven, give me strength—help me—strength to carry her
out of the pool! Strength, Father—_strength_!”

Half-aloud, irrepressibly, the cry that ever comes first in dire need
rocked between the young girl’s parted, gasping lips—she rocking with
it, to the roots, like a sapling in flood.

The childish mound of weight and water sank again until it touched the
glassy ripples, seeming as if it dragged her very flesh with it, while
the French child, submerged to her wallowing armpits, moaned beside her.

Then the round, strained arm that flashed with the silver of the Fire
Maker’s bracelet, aided by its fellow, managed, somehow, to gather up
that leaden weight again, to hold it above the thin sheet of water, to
start with it, staggering toward the earthen bank.

“Is she drowned—dead? How long did she lie there? How far can I carry
her?” The questions spun like a water-worked wheel in Jessica’s brain,
grinding out each staggering step. “Oh! isn’t it horrible? And we were
going to dress her up! The frock I made her! Green apples! _Cramp!..._
Oh, I’m letting her down! It’s too much. I—c-can’t!”

The girl’s dizzy gaze swam before her to the bank. She saw the catalpa
tree—a hundred miles off! She saw strange, steely shapes of playground
apparatus on another continent, as it were. Dimly she beheld the forms
of other girls, her companions, who had come with her, wading through
the light, crisp feathers of water to her help.

Then she saw something else. She heard a shout. Down the playground
slope to the innocent looking pool’s edge, like an arrow launched from
nowhere, tore a brown figure, coming at the rate of a hundred yards to a
dozen seconds.

It was a knightly figure, tall, slimly erect, with green and red
stripes, together with many rich, quivering points of color flashing in
an embroidered jumble upon its right sleeve, the highest color-point
_green_ that gleamed like an emerald eye against a blood-red background
as the flying water hit it.

And where she wore the silver of rank upon her braceleted arm, tortured
in a half-fainting effort to struggle onward with her dripping burden,
it showed a kindred gleam of silver in the eagle drooping from a red,
white, and blue ribbon on its left breast.

“Hang on, just a second! Hold up—I’ll take her!” It seemed to be the
American Eagle, dangling from the tricolored ribbon, that screamed the
encouragement.

Another second, and the arm that wore the Fire Maker’s bracelet, typical
of the fire at the heart that waters could not quench, had yielded its
unconscious burden—swamping cargo of green apples and all—to that
stronger right arm with the dancing specks of color upon the sleeve.

“Do you know how long she’s been under water? One of the children just
told me what was going on here!” panted the newcomer with the silver
eagle on his breast as he laid poor little Rebecca, silent forever, as
it seemed, face downward, upon the nearest patch of playground grass
where the sunbeams mocked her wet, weed-like hair and the broken old
shoes, as full of water, now, as she was herself.

“I don’t know how long she lay there—on the bottom of the pool.”
Involuntarily Jessica pressed her left hand to her heart which was doing
strange “stunts,” while with her right she helped the tired French child
to the bank.

“And I don’t know whether there’s life in her still or not!” The lad in
khaki had breathlessly flung his broad, olive-green hat upon the grass
and was stretching Rebecca’s limp arms out on either side of her head,
not a quiver of which gave token that the torch of her dumb existence
was still alight in some covert corner of her dripping body. He looked
up at the other four girls, Jessica’s companions, who, wet about the
ankles, were hovering, pale-faced, near. “One or two of you had better
run to the nearest pay-station and telephone for a doctor,” he gasped,
“if there isn’t a doctor’s office near. _We_ may not be able to bring
her to! It may take the pulmotor—I could use that if we had it. Turn her
face a little to one side, so that she can get the air!” This to his
fellow-worker, Jessica, who obeyed, her breath hissing between her teeth
in long, shivering, yearning gasps.

“Who’d ever have thought of any child drowning in that toy pool—two feet
an’ a half of water at deepest?” groaned the lad as he knelt astride of
the prostrate little figure, now looking haggard and horrified.

“Two feet and a half of water—and green apples!” Jessica corrected him.

His hands were quickly finding the spaces between the rigid little
limbs. Alternately he pressed with all the weight of his strong young
shoulders upon them, then relaxed, setting up a bellows-like motion to
expel the playground pool—as much of it as ’Becca had swallowed—from her
air-passages and draw in fresh air.

“Could you get at my watch in my vest pocket and time this?”

Jessica obeyed.

“Two of the girls have gone to find a doctor,” she said, glancing at the
disappearing forms of Sally and Betty. “Keep away; we mustn’t get too
near”—this to the other two—“we mustn’t take the air from her.”

“_You_ know something about first aid then; are you timing this work? It
ought to be about a dozen strokes to a minute.” The bestriding lad
directed his question to the first rescuer—the girl-rescuer—by the
motion of an eyelid, the while his strong hands, tanned to the color of
his khaki uniform, rose and fell rhythmically upon the framework of
’Becca’s dumb little heart, he trying so hard to breathe for her through
those brown hands, to force artificial respiration.

The silver swooping eagle above his heaving heart shook and palpitated
with his efforts.

A redness grew under his eyes, as under Jessica’s, where horror and
anxiety laid their congesting fingers.

But the many rich points of color upon his khaki sleeve, yellow, green,
red, white, each of them a little embroidered design in silk, mingled
their merits with the sunbeams which wove of them a rich arabesque that
flashed and played beneath the most noticeable of the badges, the
emerald eye against a blood-red background which shone, green as hope,
when he took the little victim of the bathing-pool from Jessica’s arms.

No peering eye, indeed, this merit badge, but the green cross of the
first aid, awarded for proficiency in succor, hopeful still upon its red
ground, enclosed in a green circle.

Suddenly that verdant hope of which it spoke blossomed! It thrilled and
rioted through Jessica.

“Oh! perhaps we sha’n’t need a doctor—or the pulmotor. I saw her eyelids
quiver. She may not have been three minutes under water.” The timing
watch in the girl’s hand shook. “Keep off the other children,
Olive—Arline—don’t let them get near, to draw the oxygen from her!”

Yes, slowly the breath of life was wavering back into its dumb
tabernacle: through ’Becca’s blue, swollen lips came a slow, uncertain
shiver, drawn from the hands working upon her, a quivering gasp.

“Oh! can’t I rub her a little now, toward the heart—to start it up—I
know just how; I have a Red Cross diploma for first aid—I’m a Camp Fire
Girl!” The sobbing, gurgling exclamation burst from Jessica; on the
heels of the sob came a little whistling, thrush-like note like the
beginning of a song, a song of succor.

“Yes, I think you might—now—while I ‘piece in’ her breathing.”

“Here, Olive, you hold the watch; it isn’t so important to time the
pressures any more; she’s coming round—coming round all right!”

With the timepiece upon her palm ticking little Rebecca’s life back,
measuring the intervals between her reviving gasps, Olive stood and
watched.

Golden lad! Dripping girl, a year his junior! Camp Fire Girl! Eagle
Scout! Together they worked and rubbed. And life, kindly life, so
reluctant to quit even a dumb tabernacle, answered their call, stealing
upon slow wings of returning circulation through the silent child’s
body.

Suddenly the timepiece trembled in the hand that held it. That of which
Olive had spoken in the library as swelling up so big in her at times;
the nameless tide of a young girl’s ideals, of her rapture at beauty,
her adoration of the Father’s Presence she saw in it, her dim drawings
toward service and hero-worship; that impulsive tide rose so high in her
now that it had to find a temporary outlet in the tears of agitation and
relief stealing down her cheeks.

Only a temporary one! Olive had groped girlishly to find a channel of
self-expression for that tide; she had tried to let it ooze out of her
in rhyming, to work it off in painting—or attempts thereat.

But here she was quivering from head to foot with the sudden discovery
that in the living picture before her, the prostrate child and those two
kneeling figures upon the playground grass, there was something nobler
than pen or paint-brush could depict, the highest form of
self-expression.

And her heart surging up within her vaguely named that picture,
“Succor.”

Succor was in the healing warmth of the sunlight that, now again, made
its brightness felt.

Succor seemed waving its wings among the branches of the near-by
willow-tree that brooded over the scene—not one helpless wing, but two:
the Will to help and the trained Ability to do it.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Three hours later two girls sat one on each side of a cot in the
children’s ward of a city hospital. Things had happened in the meantime.
A doctor had arrived in an automobile and after some gentle soundings
and poundings of ’Becca’s anatomy to locate the undigested fruit that
swamped her, had carried her off to the hospital, declaring that her
after treatment was important.

The after treatment she was receiving now was in the shape of a big
waxen queen doll from Olive, a creature that could mechanically call
upon its royal parents by the titles of “Papa” and “Mamma,” as its
little human owner couldn’t.

“It seemed too bad that she shouldn’t have some present, seeing that we
couldn’t dress her up to-day—or for many days to come,” remarked Olive
Deering, looking across at Jessica who was holding the dumb child’s
stubby little fingers. “I wish we knew the name of the Boy Scout who
helped you to save her!”

“’Twas _I_ who helped _him_; he worked over her until he brought her to.
He was an Eagle Scout, too, the highest rank among the Scouts.”

“Think of it!”

“All those little colored designs embroidered on his sleeve were his
twenty-one merit badges.”

Silence for a few minutes while ’Becca’s right hand fondled the doll.

“Glory!” In a low and thrilling voice Olive broke the stillness of the
ward where most of the children slept, calling the other girl by the pet
name of her childhood. “Glory! the ladder has dipped once for all toward
the Sugarloaf; no, I don’t mean that; I mean that the Sugarloaf and Camp
Morning-Glory and camping out with the girls of the Morning-Glory Camp
Fire are all on top for me—and for Sybil, too, if I can make her; the
hotel is nowhere!”

“Do you really mean it, that you want to become a Camp Fire Girl at
last?”

“I want to do something worth while!” Olive’s lip quivered; she spoke
passionately. “I want to do something with—with spice in it! I felt
that, to-day, when I saw you working to bring ’Becca round—you and that
boy.... I want to dance the Leaf Dance and, maybe, to inflict my rhymes
on other girls without their laughing at me,” emotion dwindling down to
laughter.

“But perhaps your father will wish you to go to that hotel, Sybil and
you, with Cousin Anne.”

“Father, no! He approves of the Camp Fire movement; I’ve heard him say
so. He thinks with Captain Andy”—laughingly—“that it’s a pretty good
incubator for the growth of new wing-feathers—unusual power to do
things.”

“Or power to do unusual things, eh?”

“Either will answer! I’m sure Cousin Anne would be delighted to get off
on her own hook this summer, without any of us girls. And ’twill be lots
better for Sybil than going to an hotel and lording it over half-a-dozen
boys, whose parents are staying there, and who wait on her all the
time—fight over her, maybe, as two of them did, last year—because they
think she’s fairy-like and pretty.” There was a look of her beautiful
mother in Olive’s eyes now.

“As for me, I’ve quite made up my mind; I’m not going to lose my hoot
through not using it, like that poor old straw-eyed owl,” wound up the
Camp Fire recruit. “I don’t care”—rising to a dramatic outburst—“if
there should be a dozen tingling Penelopes and half-a-dozen _witchetty_
nieces of Captain Andy’s, each with a pig for a pupil, in the camp,
I’ll—what is it you say—I’ll ‘cleave to my Camp Fire Sisters whenever,
wherever I find them!’”

Half laughing, half crying, she stretched her hand across the cot.
Jessica grasped it. The pledge of sisterhood was made and ratified upon
the heart of a dumb child.



                              CHAPTER VII

                             MARY-JANE PEG


Mary-Jane Peg was munching a green apple. Green apples had never swamped
her. To her they were the prize and the poetry of existence.

Other things were well enough in their way, such as a daily mess that
had as many flavors in it as there were airs in a musical medley or
scents in a _pot-pourri_. A succulent cabbage or young turnip weren’t
bad. Indeed, so far as satisfying hunger went, all was grist that came
to the mill of her astounding digestion, roots, leaves, land-turtle’s
eggs found among potato rows, anything, everything went, from a lately
hatched chicken killed by herself to an old shoe of her owner’s.

But the real greens of life, that which lent to it a bitter-sweet
rapture, were the hard windfall apples of July, shaken by the orchard
breeze from a tree whose fruit would not ripen until fall; she preferred
them even to a red astrachan, with the early bloom of maturity upon its
cheek.

“Ungh! Ung-gh!” muttered Mary-Jane, closing her white eyelashes until
her little grey-green eye almost vanished into her head over which two
quivering upright ears stood sentinel. “Ungh! Ungh!” That apple tasted
uncommonly good. She nodded over it like a hungry child over his bread
and milk when it exactly hits his taste. As its tart juices slid down
her capacious throat she said a grunting grace to the universe and
started upon a rooting search for another.

“Oh! Mary-Jane Peg, how—how everlastingly happy you are! You haven’t a
_thing_ to worry you!”

As the envious human voice fell upon Mary-Jane’s now slanting ears,
coming from the edge of a shabby, swaying hammock slung between two
orchard trees, the muncher of green apples raised her head and,
happening at that moment to be in the vicinity of that hammock, rubbed
her white-haired side against a pair of small muslin knees drooping over
its edge. “Ungh! Ungh!” she vouchsafed in a snort of semi-intelligent
sympathy. “Ungh! _Un-ngh!_” her conversation, except in some squealing
emergency, being monotonously limited to this monosyllable.

“Oh, Mary-Jane! Oh, Mary-Jane Peg, I don’t want to die—to die before you
do—I don’t _want_ to die young!”

It was a frankly doomed cry now; had there been an executioner in
waiting behind an orchard tree, had Mary-Jane Peg been the sheriff whose
business it was to hurry a victim off to an untimely end, the voice
could not have carried more pathetic conviction.

“_Die!_ Lord ha’ mercy! who’s talking about dying?—not you, Kitty? You
talking about ‘stepping out’ at the advanced age of fourteen!” came a
blusterous voice, suddenly breezing-up among the apple and cherry trees.

The doomed one, the occupant of the hammock and owner of the muslin
knees, dropped, startled, to her feet and whisked around like a shaken
leaf, the orchard zephyr fluttering the hem of her green muslin frock,
lengthened to suit her years, but falling shrunkenly short in that
respect.

“You don’t want to _die_, eh?” challenged the breezy voice again in an
orchard gust. “You don’t want to die before that pampered pig that’s
_hazaracking_ round here, surfeiting herself with windfall apples. Well!
she’s sure to lie down an’ grunt her last, some time, if she don’t make
tasty bacon first, but where’s the fun of sitting in a hammock, talking
to her about it? That’s what I’d like to know!”

“She’ll never make bacon—although she may after I’m gone!” This last was
a plaintive after-clap of thought; the wearer of the muslin dress of
shrunken green looked up with melting defiance into the face which upon
a far-away city playground had reminded a Camp Fire Girl of “sheltering
flame.”

It flamed protectively now all over the massive features as its narrowed
blue eyes from under their heavy, weather-beaten eyelids dropped a
glance half of amusement, half of deep concern, that floated downward
quite a distance like the petal of a flower to alight on the brown head
of the little four-feet-seven figure in green.

Yes, it was scarcely half an inch taller, that figure, than the buoyant
little form of Betty Ayres, whose Camp Fire name was Psuti, the Holly,
chosen from a book of symbols because the holly is “gayest when other
trees are bare.”

There was a sort of grimness rather than gaiety about this other small
girlish figure palpitating under the orchard trees as if at its core
there was a spike rather than an elastic spring, that steely spike being
fairly well covered up by the rounded, childish form, whose curves were
not quite as well-filled out as they ought to be, the curly brown hair
and dimpling face—quite a shade paler than nature intended—and the
mischievous brown eyes, more liquid than Sally’s, now amber pools of
sunlight in which a tiny brown trout seemed perversely to leap, refusing
to be caught.

Captain Andy, looking down upon the brown head, made up his mind that,
now or never, he _would_ catch that little perverse troutlet which had
been dodging him and everybody else for some months and extract the
spiky hook about which it played in Kitty’s being; in other words, that
he would get at the grim core of secret fear, or whatever it might be,
which, as he put it to himself, seemed to be eating the very heart out
of the child.

“Come! let’s sit down an’ talk a while; I’m just full to the hatches
with things I want to tell you, Kitty,” he said. “That hammock looks too
skittish to bear my weight; let’s put for the seat under the cherry-tree
there, the tree that you an’ I did some grafting on last spring,”
indicating a bandaged trunk on which a surgical operation had been
performed. “Neat piece of vegetable surgery it was, too, grafting a slip
from a tree bearing fine ox-heart cherries on to one bearing mighty poor
bleeding-hearts, eh?” muttered the captain as he caught the hand of his
little grandniece, Kitty Sill. “Sounds some like a parable that!” under
his breath. “Maybe there’s the same ticklish job ahead o’ me, now, to
graft something on to _this_ little bleeding heart,” glancing askance at
Kitty’s face with its set lips in contrast to the fluctuating dimples.
“But, first, to find out why it bleeds—and there I’ve got my work before
me!... Let’s see, what d’ye call that crunching pig that you swap
secrets with, here, secrets you won’t tell your mother?” he asked aloud.

“Mary-Jane _Peg_.” Kitty linked the two first names, emphasizing the
last like a surname. “She won a prize at a fair; she’s a pedigreed pig.”

“Ungh! Ungh!” corroborated Mary-Jane, boastfully, rubbing herself
against the captain’s legs as he seated himself with his grandniece.

“Avast there!” boomed Captain Andy. “I haven’t got any prizes, nor yarns
to swap with you, either,” applying the toe of his boot to the pink-shot
side of the pedigreed pig. “Don’t you—don’t you come hazaracking around
me!”

Mary-Jane understood that raging word beginning with “h” as little as
Kitty Sill did, and Kitty had never found it in a school dictionary yet,
but, somehow, it always cowed her as it did the corkscrew-tailed pig;
Mary-Jane made off and Kitty felt constrained to answer something when
her great-uncle baldly put the question to her: “Now then, chicken, out
with it; what did you mean by talking ’bout dying—dying young, too, as
if you meant it?”

But the trout was not caught yet, nor the spiky hook extracted: Kitty
opened her mouth, indeed, but this is what she coolly said, with a
little, sly smile of mischief, kicking at a leg of the orchard bench
with the heel of her swinging slipper:

“Well, I don’t know but what it would be better to die young than have
the things that preacher said come true!” with nonchalant indifference.

“What did he say? Where did you hear him?”

“Two years ago at Ma’am Barrows’s house; he had a meeting Sunday
afternoon; she said he was a revival preacher,”—the foot swinging
vehemently—“but most o’ the folks let on that they considered him a
‘survival,’ or something like that.”

“What did he preach about?”

“Oh! I don’t take any stock in it now; I did then; he talked a whole lot
about wrath an’ anger comin’ in pailfuls on the earth—that’s what I
understood him to say—and ’bout folks calling on the rocks to fall on
them an’ hide ’em, so’s the hot wrath couldn’t strike.”

“And what did you do, little Kitty?” Captain Andy was much interested,
although he knew he had not got at the spiky secret yet.

“Me!” Kitty raised her level brown eyebrows; the dimples flashed. “Me!
Why, I just came home, all tuckered out, and went down to the bottom of
the orchard there and picked out that big, tall rock near the stream
that has a bed of soft earth under it, an’ I thought that, if worst came
to worst, I’d lie down and call on _that_ rock to fall, for ’twas the
earth that would, really, tumble on to me—an’ that wouldn’t hurt very
much!”

If only the preacher could have seen Kitty’s outwitting expression, her
swinging shoe!

Her granduncle stared at her a minute. Then the orchard rang with his
gusty laugh.

“Great Kingdom! if you ain’t the sly-boots,” he blankly ejaculated. “If
you haven’t an eye to business, picking out a rock that’s bedded in good
soft earth so’s the earth might smother, but not mangle you, cheating
the anger of the Almighty!”

But Captain Andy’s laughter was a brief puff. It died summarily. He rose
and paced the orchard, thrusting Mary-Jane out of the way with his
meditative foot, his figure looming massively against the background of
fruit-trees.

Just as suddenly he sat down again and touched Kitty’s hand with a horny
forefinger, his face at this moment a sheltering flame, indeed, fed by
an inner fire.

“Kitty child! listen to me,” he said. “You ain’t so ready to tell me
things, but I’m going to tell you something that I never told yet to a
soul outside my wife—your gran’aunt, Kitty—who died more’n five years
ago. Kitty, I’ve led a rough an’ racking life, take it all together,
with maybe more storm than shine in it—I’ve gone winter-fishing for
years to the far-away ocean fishing-grounds an’ that’s about the hardest
life a man can lead—an’ he’s sure to ask at times what’s the meaning of
it all. Kitty, I don’t set up to know the meaning. But two or three
times in my life, once when I was a boy of your age, again when I was a
tossed seaman standing to the wheel o’ my vessel at twilight, something
has come to me like a flash an’ I’ve seemed to see surer than sunlight
the Power behind everything an’—and it was the ‘Big Good Thing,’ as
somebody calls it, Fatherhood an’ Truth an’ Understanding—and it isn’t
dropping rocks on anybody. Pretty often we roll ’em on to ourselves,
though, or get on the rocks, whichever way you like to put it, by taking
false bearings, by our mistakes and the like. Now, little girl, don’t
you go and make the big mistake of shutting up tighter’n a clam on any
secret that’s troubling you—sharing it only with a pig!

“Bless your heart!” went on the moved captain after an interval during
which tears had begun to steal down his grandniece’s cheeks. “Why, bless
your heart, dearie, Death and I ain’t strangers. I’ve seen him and his
shadow often enough to know him pretty well, an’ two-thirds of the time
I’ve ousted him, too, when he was just setting up a claim.” Something
superb stirred in the speaker’s tones at memory of the lives he had
saved. “An’, maybe, if he was casting an eye on you at all—else why
should you talk about ‘dying young’—I might be able to drive him off
again.”

“It—’twas what _Aunt Hannah_ said,” began Kitty weakly, no longer
perverse. “She said it to Aunt Kate, sitting on this very seat under the
cherry-tree, only last spring. I”—with a stifled sob—“was playing ’round
with Mary-Jane and my little topknot duck; she thought I didn’t hear.”

“Great Neptune, I’d as lief be with Davy Jones as to live with that
woman’s scarecrow tongue; she’s always ridden by a nightmare or a
daymare or something.” Captain Andy sprang to his feet again with
nautical restlessness, but he did not pace the orchard; he stood glaring
down in a half-savage, half-tender way on Kitty.

“What did she say—what scare was she passing on to somebody then? Now,
out with it—no bushwhacking—no beatin’ about the bush—you can’t get by
me, you know!”

Kitty rubbed the back of a freckled little hand against her right eye
and her right dimple blossomed forth; already she was feeling better,
deriving a comfort which neither Mary-Jane nor the topknot duck nor any
other member of her animal kingdom could impart; if this heroic
granduncle of hers would rather depart this life with Davy Jones (the
fabulous gentleman who summons sailors when death claims them at last)
than to live with the tongue and the scares of Mrs. Hannah Beals, her
aunt by marriage, then, perhaps, there wasn’t much in the spiky scare
which the said Aunt Hannah had planted in her heart three months
earlier.

“She said I was the livin’ image of my Aunt Lottie, father’s sister, who
died when she was less than seventeen,” returned Kitty sedately. “Then
Aunt Kate said she thought I looked a little peaked and thin—that I
ought to go round more with girls of my own age.”

“So you ought! An’ that’s what I’m going to talk to you about
presently,” put in the listener. “Well! an’ did Aunt Hannah drive the
nightmare then?” laughingly.

“_She_ said that she didn’t see as ’twould do much good for me to go
round more with girls an’ boys, go to their parties an’ such-like,
because I was so like my Aunt Lottie in looks and ways that it seemed
borne in on her—that’s what she said—that I’d start a cough one o’ these
fine days, not far off, and go as Aunt Lottie did; an’ that I was
looking more like it every day, getting thinner”—sniff—Kitty wiped away
a tear.

“Gosh! I wish I had the _keelhauling_ of that woman; she’d go down under
a vessel’s keel an’ she’d never come up again! Now, Kitty child, listen
to me!” Captain Andy touched the child’s shoulder. “And take it from me
as straight that you’re like your Aunt Lottie”—Kitty sniffed forlornly
again—“and you’re not like her; she was a grain taller an’ a bit
narrower in the chest than you are,” critically eyeing the small green
figure in the shrunken muslin dress. “But, even with that handicap, she
wouldn’t have faded away before she was seventeen—not a bit of it—if
she’d got it fast in her head, like those Camp Fire Girls who are in one
of my camps over on the Sugarloaf sand-dunes, that to ‘Hold on to
Health’ comes pretty near being the strongest point in the law of life.

“She was ambitious about her studies; she had her heart set on going to
college; it was, with her, come home from high school, peck at her
dinner, then out into this orchard, not to swap gossip with a pig an’ a
crested duck, but to sit in a hammock with a study-book, or if ’twas
winter, she’d be half the afternoon poring over that book or another, in
her own little bedroom, maybe, and come down, weazened an’
blue-nosed”—sadly—“to peck like a bird at her supper. I told her mother
that Lottie was going ahead on that tack under more sail than she could
carry. ‘Take her out o’ school,’ I said; ‘turn her loose in the woods.
I’ll teach her to swim an’ dive until she’s as much at home in the water
as a young harbor-seal and has the appetite of a shark!’ ... Land!
there’s a fine bathing-beach half-a-mile from this orchard, but she
couldn’t swim any farther than that pedigreed pig there, ’bout the only
animal that can’t hold its own in the water. Can you? Can you swim
farther than Mary-Jane Peg?” He frowned fiercely on Kitty.

“Ye-es—with water-wings,” she faltered, “I can swim ten yards.”

“‘Ten yards! Water-wings!’ Gumph! An’ you of my breed! That’s the way
with about half the boys an’ girls on this cape, of sea-faring stock,
too! Can’t swim a stroke until some summer visitor who spends
nine-tenths o’ the year away from the ocean takes pity on ’em and
teaches ’em—then they’ll hand his name down to their children as a
water-god who had Neptune ‘skun a mile.’” Honk! Captain Andy’s angry
laughter scaled the bandaged tree.

“But to come back to Lottie!” He reseated himself mournfully. “Well,
p’raps her mother would have hearkened to my advice, but the child
herself was set against it, an’ nobody said her nay. She graduated from
high school at sixteen with tall honors—an’ a face the color of
sea-foam. The following winter she overworked at college, studied about
every minute when she wasn’t waiting on table to win her way through,
broke down, came home with a cough that turned to a galloping
consumption or something o’ the sort—they buried her in the spring.”

Kitty drew a long sob-like breath.

“Well now, you ha’n’t got the over-study fever, but you’ve anchored in
this orchard too long, with a pig an’ a duck for crew, fishing up
scares. It’s ‘Up anchor!’ now; you’re going to be ready for me to-morrow
when I come for you in my power-boat—I’ve been talking to your mother
about it already—an’ you’ll spend a couple o’ weeks, at any rate, in one
or other of those camps on the white Sugarloaf Peninsula, either among
the Camp Fire Girls or sleeping in my big tent if you prefer it. You’ll
do things ’long with other girls (that Mary-Jane she’s a mighty
intelligent pig, but a silent partner), you’ll slide down sand-hills,
watch the seals, learn to swim, breast-stroke, crawl-stroke——”

“I won’t do it!” That little brown trout, a minnow of perversity, leaped
again in the amber pool of Kitty’s eyes.

But the flying-dolphin-like gleam in Captain Andy’s swallowed it up at a
gulp.

“Oh, tut, tut! Avast there! What I say _goes_, this trip!” The
granduncle stamped his foot on the orchard buttercups just as he had
many a time stamped it at Death upon a reeking deck which the seas were
pounding like an earthquake, bidding that grim spectre begone; so he was
bent on driving off his shadow now.

“They—they’d only laugh at me, those Camp Fire Girls; they wear short
skirts or bloomers an’ middy blouses—I’ve seen a tribe of them
before—an’ they dress up grandly at ceremonial meetings; I have only
frocks like these; an’ they’d laugh at me for chumming with a pig an’ a
duck an’ some hens.”

“I’ll warrant they wouldn’t. They’d give you a colored honor-bead,
instead, to string on a leather thong round your neck—that is if you
joined them—for knowing so much about a farmyard. As for the Camp Fire
duds, I’ll see that you have ’em when you need ’em. Bless your heart,
little Kitty, you won’t know yourself in green bloomers—any more’n a
vessel seems to know herself when she gets her first suit o’ sails on
and feels herself moving; all your fears’ll run to hide an’ laugh at you
out o’ the knees of those bloomers. An’ you’ll laugh back at the fears
once you join the Morning-Glory Camp Fire.”

“Is that what they call it?” A dawn-pink stole into Kitty’s cheeks.

“Sure. And they call the biggest o’ my camps that they roost in at
night, twelve of ’em—not all the tribe could come—Camp Morning-Glory.
Sounds slick, doesn’t it? Sounds as if they had hit the sun’s trail,
doesn’t it? And, by gracious! they have. They’re a lighthearted tribe,
always ‘on deck,’ always alert an’ doing something, swimming or rowing,
dressing up in Indian toggery, singing, sliding, cooking—middling good
cookery, too—I’ve tasted it—laundering their own blouses, even one or
two rich girls among ’em, whose father could charter a laundry for the
whole outfit an’ not miss it—‘glorifying work,’ they call it!”

“But—I don’t want to go.” Perversity’s last stand!

“Ah, but hearken a minute; do you know what I’m going to do when I get
back to the Sugarloaf this afternoon? I’m going to prowl about the white
sand-dunes until I find a nice hard chunk o’ birch-wood—there’s all
sorts o’ driftage among those dunes, even to planks and great big logs
washed down from Maine lumber camps an’ trundled ashore there—what d’you
suppose I want that birch-chunk for?”

Kitty’s eyes widened.

“I’m going to make a top of it—a guessing-top, to spin on a flat
stone—about a foot long that top’s to be, nine inches in circumference
near the point, thirty at the head-end; ’twill be painted with symbols
an’ it’s called by an Indian name ‘_Kullibígan_.’ It’s a magic top; it
tells fortunes.”

“Non-sense!”

“You wait and see! ’Twas the Morning-Glory who thought of that game;
she’s the prettiest little dancer and her name is Jessica, the sort of
girl”—Captain Andy looked at some old-farm buildings beyond the orchard
and drew his comparison, now, from the farm, not the foam—“the sort of
girl who if she was run through a milk separator would come out all
cream! From what I gather she’s pretty much alone in the world, too, has
her own way to make; that don’t down her; she’s a Morning-Glory in spite
of it—that’s her Camp Fire name.”

[Illustration: “An’ you’ll laugh back at the fears, once you join the
Morning-Glory Camp Fire.”]

“How did she learn about the Indian top?”

“Why! she learned of it from a professor who watched the Indian maidens
play the Kullibígan spinner game in their own camps or on their
reservations. They ask it a question about who’s going to marry first or
that sort of thing, sitting round in a scattered ring, and the one
toward whom the big painted top falls after it has spun itself dizzy,
why, it has pitched on her for the answer to the question.”

“Something like playing ‘This year, next year, some time, never,’ with a
holly leaf!”

“Hum-m! You see you might ask that Kullibígan guessing-top which of you
were going to die young—you sitting round among the Camp Fire Girls—an’
it mightn’t topple your way at all.”

The Doomed One crowed triumphantly; Kullibígan had sent the orchard
spectre that stalked her scampering, when Mary-Jane Peg had failed to
root him out.



                              CHAPTER VIII

                             THE SUGARLOAF


                     “It’s a long way to shore now,
                         It’s a long way to go!”

So sang a laughing voice to the blossoming wave that was barely two
inches below the singer’s lips!

So full of frolic was that voice chanting amid the foam, as the
white-flowering waves broke about a girl-swimmer, that it would be hard
for an onlooker to believe that those tidal waves, themselves, were not
sentient sharers of her joy.

               “It’s a long way to shore now,
                 It’s a long way to go,
               It’s a long way to shore now,
                 To the dearest girls I know!
               Good-by, Morning-Glory!
                 Farewell, Betty, fair!
               It’s a long—long—way to yonder shore now,
                 But _my_ heart’s right there!”

improvised Sally again, breasting a foam-hill through the watery
transparency of which her bare arms laughed—no other word could so well
express their exuberant motions—while her shoulders in the blue
bathing-suit, with a flame-colored emblem on the breast, held a mimic
boxing-match with the waves and her head in its red silk turban nodded
saucily to her “heart”—or its reflection—upon “yonder shore,” some sixty
yards away.

“She swims like a fish, that Sesooā one—_that’s_ her Camp Fire name,”
commented Captain Andy as he wended his way along a white beach,
bordered on one side by the incoming surge of a tidal river, on the
other by a snowy rampart of sand-hills plumed with vegetation.

His remark was directed to a shrinking little figure by his side in a
“lengthened” muslin dress, brown-dotted, now, and a wide leghorn hat,
too childish for her years, with broad streamers of laundered white
ribbon hanging down her back.

“They’re strong on names, those Camp Fire Girls,” remarked the florid
seaman, encouragingly making conversation, as the small footsteps beside
him flagged. “I’m blessed if they didn’t go to work an’ hunt up one—an
Indian name with a meaning—for me. It had only twenty-two letters to
it.”

“What did it mean?” questioned Kitty, shyly, as her granduncle paused to
watch the frolicking figure amid the foam-hills with the flaming symbol
of crossed logs upon her breast—signifying that among the Camp Fire
Girls she held the rank of Wood Gatherer—and other girlish figures
bathing, diving or swimming near her.

“Mean! It was taken from the Ojibway language and it meant something
like ‘Wind-in-the-trees-Man!’ They said my voice, or my roar, was like
that. But I up an’ said that the name was too long—a comber—knocked me
over like a big wave—d’ye understand? And that I objected to being
called a ‘Big Wind,’ anyhow! Then they handed me out another just for
fun, to keep up the atmosphere of the camp, as they said.”

“And what’s that one?” asked Kitty Sill, her brown eyes feasting
themselves upon the water-pommeled figures of girls about her own age.

“Let’s see now! Can I remember it? Something like Men-o-ki-gá-bo; yes, I
guess that’s it!”

“An’ what on earth does that mean?”

“‘Standing Tall!’ Ain’t that a bully name?” The mariner reared his
massive bulk with a highly amused twinkle in his eye which surveyed the
bathers, too. “Fancy me play-acting with Indian names at my age, when
I’m cruising toward seventy! But it pleases them an’ don’t hurt me. The
Morning-Glory chose the latter name, the girl I was speaking to you
about yesterday. _There_ she goes, diving nigh on fifteen feet off that
high rock; she dives as well as dances like a foam-chicken! You stick to
her like a limpet, little Kitty, if you’re shy-like among the strange
girls, and I’ll warrant you’ll soon feel at home! But I guess you will
with any of them; they’re a kind-hearted tribe.”

“Tell me some more of their dressing-up names!” Kitty shook her
laundered ribbons. The little brown troutlet leaped in the sunlight in
her blinking eyes, but it was an eager, not a perverse, minnow now;
greedy for the bait of a new interest.

“Oh, tooraloo! Ask me an easy one. Well, I guess I can make a hit at the
name of that tall girl that’s toeing the water there on the edge of the
beach, making up her mind to go in; I wrote her Camp Fire name down
because I considered it the best of the bunch.” Captain Andy took a
penciled slip from his vest pocket. “U-l-i-d-a-h-á-s-u!” he spelled out
slowly. “That’s a Penobscot Indian word cut down from one of fifteen
letters and it means ‘Peace’; she wants to be a peacemaker, that girl,
to do her bit now an’ when she grows up toward bringing peace
everywhere. She has a dove in her head-band.”

“Who’s the girl with the red cheeks—an’——?”

“And the scream like a curlew! Can’t tell you her dressing-up name,
Kitty. But her ordinary one is Penelope, with a kind of extraordinary
surname: Tingle, an’ gee! she is one big tingle, was about as
mild-mannered as a hurricane when she came here first, but she’s
simmering down a little, by degrees. See that dark-haired girl who’s
sitting on the steps of the biggest camp building—Camp Morning-Glory
they call it?” The captain wheeled shoreward and looked toward a
scattered trio of new camps, lightly built frame houses, in a curve of
the white crescent beach.

“The one who has just come out of the water and taken the handkerchief
off her head?” Kitty inquired.

“Yes, she’s one of the rich girls I spoke of. The first time I saw her
she talked some frilly stuff about going to an hotel, she and her
sister, an’ dancing all summer—something like that—now she foots it an’
sings with the rest of the girls and cooks an’ launders, and learns how
to run a motor-boat and pull a good oar, too, an’ thinks it all a lark.
Her father has millions, I guess, and wears a mite o’ pink ribbon on his
coat that makes him look like a foreign di-_plo_-mat—I heard him
speechify after a public dinner when I was in the city of Clevedon about
three weeks ago.”

“What’s that for?” inquired Kitty’s laundered ribbons waving in the
sea-breeze and taking the words from her lips.

“The scrap o’ ribbon! Why! to show that his ancestors did truly come
over here on the _Mayflower_—as yours an’ mine did, Kitty, for the
matter o’ that, on a bunchy old hooker called the _Angel Gabriel_. That
girl’s name is Olive Deering; her mother was a beautiful Southerner, so
I understand, an’ the girl herself is, as a seaman would say, A. I. in
p’int of looks from her keel to her truck-head!” Captain Andy chuckled.

A slow swish of wings in the air! A great bird rising majestically from
the water’s edge where it had been feeding on fish at a point where the
tidal ripples broke gently upon the white sands that gleamed through
them like milk in a crystal vase.

Kitty turned eagerly to watch its flight toward the dunes, the white
expanse of sand-hills, some of which were sand-snows right to the top
that rose to two hundred feet, or thereabouts, above sea level; others
shone with the faint pink of delicate flesh owing to the shadow cast by
the vegetation, the sparse grass that stood up like the scanty hair on a
baby’s head.

The deep hollows between the peaks were pink and purple with the
riotous, blossoming beach-pea or emerald with low trees and shrubs,
basswood, bitter-sweet, bayberry and barberry.

One sand-valley held a crystal basin left by the tide where a score of
sandpipers were bathing.

Over all sailed the magnificent bird—great wings heavily flapping—like a
grey slate against the sky, in length measuring about four feet from the
tip of its six-inch beak to the end-feather of its insignificant tail,
its little yellow eye slanting down sidelong on Kitty, which, of course,
she could not see, its long neck gracefully stretched.

“Know what bird that is?” asked her granduncle.

“Some sort of crane.” So the fluttering ribbon again made answer,
playing with her reply.

“‘Crane!’ Balderdash! It’s a great Blue Heron. See ’em pretty often
round here! There were three of ’em standing in a row upon this beach at
the very time that I landed my first boat-load of Camp Fire Girls
here—looked just as if the birds were lined up on deck for a welcome.”

“How funny!” cried Kitty, showing her dimples.

“Say! but it tickled the girls. The birds flew off, but slowly; they
seem to know the law protects ’em now. One of the girls, the very one we
were talking about, got so excited that she came near upsetting the
rowboat I was landing them in. She cried out that, when she was
initiated, she was going to take the Blue Heron for her Camp Fire name
because it had such a splendid spread o’ wings. I shouldn’t wonder if
she first thought of becoming a Camp Fire Girl through seeing an old
owl, with a goose’s head on his shoulders, that could neither fly nor
hoot, had lost his natural powers through not using them.”

“Do the other girls call her the Blue Heron?”

“They call her by the Indian word for it. You come along over now and
we’ll ask her what that is!” Captain Andy began a strategic move forward
in the direction of Camp Morning-Glory.

Kitty began a crab-like backward one.

“No-o! I don’t know any girls like her and her sister (isn’t that the
sister sitting near her on the sands?)—they’re too grand for me, eh?”
Her dimples fluctuated tentatively.

“Grand! Fiddlestick! Is it of the money or the Mayflower emblem you’re
thinking, child? Pshaw, Kittykins”—the captain let out his deep, droll
laugh—“I guess you can come near matching that last any day, with your
old chimney built for five smokes! I’ve read the builder’s contract
myself, dated 1718, for that big T-shaped chimney, to be ‘built of
brick, for five smokes!’ And by the red, brick breast of that old
chimney your fathers an’ your fathers’ fathers, ever since, have tended
the fire o’ love to God and man, that the Camp Fire Girls aim to tend.
They’re patriotic, those girls; they get honor-beads, so they tell me,
for looking up their gran’parents an’ great-gran’parents—and their
occupations; all that went to the building up of this great country;
they’ll welcome you and your _five smokes_ with open arms.”

It was a very smoky background for a pathetically shy little figure as
Kitty advanced over the white sands toward the triple steps of the
largest of the wooden camps, open at one side to the airs of heaven. But
it needed no backing of ancestral smokes, that shrinking figure in the
childish, flapping hat and dotted muslin.

For Olive, still in her wet bathing-suit, with her dark hair hanging,
loose and long, about her, saw the little stranger coming.

The childish dress, rustic and old-fashioned, but dainty and demure, the
pretty dimples, each nesting a freckle, the liquid, amber-brown eyes in
which that tiny flashing minnow seemed to come and go with shy
feeling—not sure of its owner’s reception—all these simply reached out
and took Olive by the heart, bringing her to her feet in a jump, the
water swishing in her bathing shoes.

“Why! it’s _Kitty_,” she cried. “Captain Andy’s Kitty! Oh, Kitty, we’re
just so glad to see you! We were dying for you to come!”

No distant or smoky welcome this! Kitty flirted her wide, starched
skirts as might a pleased bird its tail. The happy water rose to her
eyes. She cast one far-away mental glance to Mary-Jane Peg and the
orchard with its bandaged trees as she felt Olive’s wet arm about her
shoulders.

“Oh! I must kiss you,” said Olive Deering, “although it’s too bad to wet
you all up, Kitty. We’ve been watching for you all day, ever since
Captain Andy told us he was going to fetch you here in his motor-boat.
Captain Andy’s so good to us,” breathing briny gratitude; “he’s always
on watch to see that we don’t go too far out when bathing, those of us
who can’t swim very well yet.”

“Oh! you’re coming on—you’re coming on!” encouraged the mariner, whose
camp name was Menokigábo.

“And he has taught us a lot about rowing and steering, a little about
sailing, too!”

“Can’t do much with a sailboat here; it’s too near the mouth of the
river. Tide’s too tricky,” remarked the captain. “That’s the bar where
those curly breakers are, Kitty,” dropping his hand on his niece’s arm
and whirling her round to face a white line of breakers about a mile
down-river; beyond which flared the blue breadth of the comparatively
open sea. “That’s the sand-bar where river an’ bay meet. Pretty rough
water there, breaking on the Neck—the sandy neck of those other
sand-dunes on the opposite side of the river! Mustn’t get carried down
there in a boat, any of you girls! _Quicksands_, too! The Neck is
_studdled_ with ’em.”

“What does ‘studdled’ mean?” Olive’s briny lips blew the words like a
pickled kiss into Kitty’s ear.

“I don’t know. Search—me!” quiveringly.

“I wonder the Boy Scouts don’t get caught among the wicked quicksands,
seeing that they’re camping somewhere among those other dunes.” It was
Sybil Deering who spoke. Sybil was not yet a Camp Fire Girl, although
her elder sister who was to spend two months in camp had already been
initiated as a Wood Gatherer; Sybil felt that the occasional presence of
boys would add sauce to this crystalline Sugarloaf on which she found
herself.

She had not been in bathing and she yawned in the hot sun as she sent
her gaze sweeping over as much of that white Sugarloaf Peninsula as she
could see, a hundred acres of sand-dunes taking their name from the
highest peak, a pillar-like loaf of sand that sparkled like
sugar-frosting in the hot sun.

“Oh, they know how to steer clear o’ the quicksands, I guess,” answered
Captain Andy, answering on behalf of the Boy Scouts whose invisible camp
was somewhere among the lesser sand-hills on the other side of the tidal
river, here, nearly two miles across. “But quicksands’ll fool you,” he
went on meditatively. “That’s why they’re so _turrible_ dangerous; they
look just like the firm sand, seem like it, too, when you plant one foot
on them, but bring up the other, bend your weight on it an’ immediately
you’ll hear the water rushing in under you and you’ll begin to sink—an’
it’s the one thing next to impossible under Heaven to drag you out!”

“How long does it take to—to sink out of sight?” asked Arline
Champion—who had just come up out of the water rainbowed with
brine—feeling awfully creepy.

“’Bout five minutes. Get caught in one o’ those sand-traps, nobody ever
knows what becomes of you!”

There was a pervading, unanimous shudder, gathering up into it all the
little minor shivers of the wet bathers.

“You’d better tell Jessica that,” volunteered little Betty Ayres from
the edge of the dripping group. “She goes out in the rowboat, alone, the
most; she might get swept down there—an’ stranded.”

“That reminds me, I saw the Morning-Glory, early to-day, doing a strange
stunt; she was sitting under a rock with a sheet o’ something—dull glass
it seemed like—on her knee, bending over it. I thought she was looking
at herself in it an’ called to her, chaffing-like! She jumped up and ran
away. She seemed kind o’ vexed at being caught.”

There was a general, wondering laugh, ousting the shudder, as one and
another pair of girlish eyes sought the turbaned head of Morning-Glory,
the foam-chicken, amid the waves.

Olive spoke first when the puzzled mirth subsided.

“Come up here, little Kitty,” she said. “Sit on the steps—I’m going to
dress in a minute; I’m just sunning myself—and tell us what you used to
do on the farm where you live and in the orchard. How did you amuse
yourself?”

“Mostly I played with the ducks an’ hens—an’ with Mary-Jane Peg,”
replied Kitty’s lips and fluttering ribbons gravely.

“Who is Mary-Jane Peg?”

“She’s a pig—a very nice pig.”

“He! He! _He!_ Hi!... Ha! Isn’t she too green for anything—the greenest
little hayseed, greenest little guy—naming a _pig_ like that?”

No need to ask whence came the tingling titter! Penelope had come up out
of the water, too, Penelope of the swinging gate who, in view of her
home handicaps and her sisterly service to younger brothers, _had_ been
invited by the Guardian of the Morning-Glory Camp Fire to join its
circle and camp out, here, with its members.

“He! He! Ha-a-a!” rattled on Penny and, suddenly, in the midst of her
stampeding laughter became conscious of a chill, that her mirth and her
remark, both, shot wild, skated like pebbles over a frozen surface,
grated upon an icy silence.

The chill suddenly started a fever. Desperately she ran down the white
beach to hide her burning cheeks in the water.

“I said she had the mild manners of a hurricane—a Caribbean Sea
hurricane!” mumbled Captain Andy between puffs of laughter. “Her core is
gusty, but it’s good. Well! I must be off to hunt up a chunk o’ birch
wood or some other hard wood to whittle it into a big top—otherwise you
can’t play that Kullibígan guessing-game to-night. An’ Kitty wants to
ask a question of that fortune-telling top, eh, Kitty?” He dropped a
wink upon the Doomed One, whose conviction of early death was melting
away, like snow in May, into the filmy, sunlight haze that hung over the
sand-peaks of the Sugarloaf. “No! you stay here along with the other
girls an’ get acquainted. I’ll be back soon.”

But he was not thinking of his grandniece as he walked off to prowl
among the dunes; he was philosophizing about girlhood in general.
“Girls, even the best of ’em, are freakish. You can’t understand ’em,”
he told his masculine old heart. “They cut queer capers, sometimes, just
like a vessel! Now, what was the Morning-Glory one doing to-day, sitting
an’ looking at herself in that pane o’ glass on her lap—an’ running off
without a word as if I caught her, or came near catching her, in a
crime? Her eyes looked red, too, when next I met her. And there’s
nothing to cry over in her looks; she’s pretty as her name-flower.
But”—soliloquizing further to a silvery birch-log, part of the driftwood
scattered everywhere among the dunes, as he notched it with his
pocket-knife, to test its suitability for a spinner or guessing-top—“but
it’s hard for a girl like her to lose both parents before she’s
seventeen, to have no regular home an’ no money, be dependent for a
while on those who are no kin, as I believe’s the case!”

Meditating thus upon the invisible storm and stress that might beset
even a girl’s life set Captain Andy crooning about the actual storms
amid which his life had been spent as he bore the birch-log to his
watchman’s tent upon the beach, to saw off a foot of it for a revolving
top.

                   “If howling winds and roaring seas
                   Give proof of coming danger ...”

he sang, broke off and took up the song again on the farther side of a
mumbled gap as he commenced his whittling:

                “When perils gather round
                All sense of danger’s drowned,
                  We despise it to a man!
                We sing a little and laugh a little
                And work a little an’ play a little
                And fiddle a little an’ foot it a little
                  As bravely as we can!
                  As bravely as we can! Yaho-o!”



                               CHAPTER IX

                     WOOD GATHERERS AMONG THE DUNES


“Hullo! Maidens, have all the braves gone hunting?” Thus boomed
Menokigábo, known before he entered upon this Sugarloaf life of glamor
at the beck of a dozen Camp Fire Girls as Captain Andy and at the rooms
of the Master Mariners’ Association as Captain Andrew Davis. “All the
braves gone a-hunting, eh?”

“No braves around this camp except you, Capt’n Andy!” One or two of the
answering voices sounded the least trifle disconsolate—or wistful.

So far as supplying the male element went, Captain Andy was massive, but
not a mass!

His admiration, however, of the sunset picture upon the beach before him
could hardly have been outdone by any male mass, juvenile or adult.

“My! but you Camp Fire Girls do make the world look ‘gallus,’” he burst
forth in seaman’s phraseology.

“What does that mean?” Ten voices rose together in asking this question.

“Royal-looking.”

“Oh! goody! he says we look royal; we’re princesses, Indian princesses,
for this evening.” Morning-Glory strutted along the flushed sands in all
her fringed and beaded bravery of ceremonial attire, beaming like the
purple and white morning-glory in her head-band as if she had never
known a lonely moment.

“But where are the bows an’ arrows, maidens? Why! you haven’t even got a
_harpoon_ among you, in case a school of blackfish should come in,”
bantered Menokigábo, named for his stature “Standing Tall,” named by the
maidens, in jest, as they told him, so that he might fit in with the
general atmosphere of their camp.

“We’ll bring the bows and arrows next time we come,” answered Gheezies,
the Guardian of the Camp Fire tribe, with the yellow sun embroidered on
her bosom, this being the meaning of her name and her own particular
symbol as it was the general emblem of all Camp Fire tribes.

She was standing by a budding camp fire which had just begun to blossom
in a nest of rocks upon the beach, eclipsed by the sun’s fading
splendors.

Scattered around her were her maidens, all in ceremonial dress, with
their long braids hanging, head-bands gleaming, moccasined feet spurning
the sands in an evening ecstasy of dressing up. Daughters of the Sun!
Children of Camp Morning-Glory! What wonder that the old sea-dog said
they made the world look “royal.”

“Hullo! see, I’ve got the Kullibígan all ready.” He pointed to a
foot-long top of spinning dimensions and silvery lustre in his hand.
“’Tain’t painted yet, but I guess that won’t lessen the magic—’twill
answer all your questions by an’ by just as well.”

“I’m going to paint it all over with symbols to-morrow,” burst forth
Jessica, touching the carefully polished wood. “I’m going to paint the
emblem of our Morning-Glory Camp Fire which is an ocean sunrise—the dawn
coming up like a foam-chicken, as Captain Andy—I mean Menokigábo—says,
and my own symbol, a morning-glory flower and all the symbols of my Camp
Fire Sisters that I can crowd on to it.”

“Great guns! ’twill surely be ‘some top’ then,” ejaculated old “Standing
Tall,” looming massive against the waning sunlight. “Why! _Kitty_.”

Some one had come sliding pell-mell down the nearest sand-peak and
reaching him in a rush, flung her arms around him, or tried to. Well
might he exclaim!

Kitty, not in Indian dress, although her hair hung in two chestnut
braids down her back! But a Kitty in olive-green bloomers silvered with
sand! Kitty in a middy blouse too large for her—her sleeves rolled
up—with the brightest dancing eyes and a delicate pink flush burnishing
the gold of the freckles on her cheeks!

“Don’t tell Mary-Jane Peg,” implored Kitty, quaintly, looking down at
her bloomers; “she’d be shocked.”

“Oh, land!” The captain simply roared.

“Sybil lent me these—wasn’t it good of her?” The Doomed One thrust
forward one bloomered leg, into whose bagginess her orchard scares had
evidently run to hide and had lost themselves. “_Sally_ lent me the
blouse,” glancing at her companion, in ceremonial dress, who had slid
down the sand-hill with her, and whose arms were full of fuel gathered
among the dunes, dead, silvery limbs of juniper, with driftwood and
wreckwood. “Oh, Uncle Andy, I’m having such a good time! I’ve made up my
mind that I want to be a Camp Fire Girl; you can order the dress an’—an’
fixin’s for me any time you want to!” saucily.

“Good life! can I? You jumped to it pretty quickly, didn’t you?” as if
he were addressing the dancing minnow in Kitty’s eyes.

“It’s not surprising that she should swallow the new bait so quickly,”
he muttered in an aside to the Guardian of the Camp Fire whose tender
eyes rested upon this new recruit’s transformed face. “There are no
children in the two families living nearest to her father’s
old-fashioned farmhouse with the gambrel roof and T-shaped chimney. And
those that she went to school with she didn’t take to—though she ought
to have been forced to do so—these girls have made her take to them;
they’ve burned up her shyness, somehow.”

“Kitty is learning that ‘it is the discovery of ourselves outside
ourselves which makes us glad,’” quoted Gheezies the gracious Guardian,
with the little feathery rings of grey hair, light as thistle-fluff
among her dark locks, playing about her pearly head-band. “She sees
herself reflected in each one of these girls with whom she has come in
contact under circumstances novel enough to open her eyes to the
reflection and already she’s a new Kitty. Already she’s sharing the team
spirit, the joy of doing things together!” looking down on the slender,
withered arms of juniper which Kitty had been gathering, too, among the
sand-hills and had flung down in her rush upon her great-uncle.

Not one frowning face left a mote on that shining mirror of girlhood in
which Kitty saw her own heart, its natural aims and desires, not
Penelope’s even; Penelope had been rather quiet ever since she hid her
laugh, her graceless tongue and flaming cheeks in the water.

“I’m going up among the dunes to gather some more wood,” she announced
now. “We haven’t nearly enough to make a good fire to cook our supper
and have it burn on and on in a jolly Council Fire afterward,” looking
at the wigwam-like heap of fuel already piled upon the sands.

“Lovely!” responded Olive, meaning the idea, not the setter-forth
thereof, although Penelope looked a very different Pen from the gaudy
tomboy of the gate; no human hurricane could be a hurricane in
ceremonial dress; there was a poetry about the leather fringes, the soft
hue of the brown khaki, the shimmering head-band and embroidered
moccasins which chastened the commonness of Penny’s speech.

To-night her clothes did not “talk” to you afar off; they thrilled you
with a sense of some romance recovered which the world had lost a while.

And no setting for them could have been more perfect than the white
beach and sand-hills, gleaming like lesser Alps, of the Sugarloaf
Peninsula, flushed pink by the sunset.

“Oh! isn’t it all too beautiful?” breathed Olive who had a chord in her
heart that vibrated with a joy as of heaven to Nature’s beauty, as she
linked her fringed arm through Penelope’s, feeling a twinge of regret
for the silent rebuff which the latter’s rude tongue had brought upon
her earlier in the day; this feeling it was which prompted Olive to be
her wood-gathering companion now, in collecting juniper and driftage
from among the burnished dunes.

She might have had a worse companion than Penelope, for the tingling
Penny, though her junior, was much the better climber of the two, and it
was toilsome work, ploughing up well-nigh perpendicular sand-peaks,
sometimes, through a jungle of vegetation that snared one’s every step.

“Don’t get into that thatch-grass, Cask!” warned Penelope; “I did the
other day and was bitten by a thatch-spider; it poisoned me _something
aw-ful_!”

“Spiders! Thatch-spiders! Ugh-h.” Olive shuddered at the rank dull-green
thatch of one sand-hill, whose ungainliness seemed to have something in
common with Penelope’s speech. “You don’t pronounce my Camp Fire name
properly,” she said after a minute during which she had given the
spider-breeding thatch-grass a wide berth. “You call me ‘Cask’: the a
ought to be longer and softer in Kask; that’s the Indian for Blue Heron,
the Penobscot Indian.”

“I think it’s a star name, Cask,” murmured Penelope, giving the title
exactly the same intonation as before. “And you’ve got your symbolic
name nailed onto you all right, Olive, because you’ve already been
initiated as a Wood Gatherer and taken rank among the Camp Fire Girls,”
glancing at the fagot ring on Olive’s little finger. “I haven’t; I’m
only on probation, although they don’t ‘stump’ from wearing the
ceremonial dress and being called by the Indian name that I’ve chosen:
Awatawéssu; that’s Penobscot, too.”

The poetry of the name which even Pen’s pronunciation could not mar was
so at variance with Penelope’s slangy speech that the Blue Heron, poised
on a white sand-peak, her fringed arms outspread in their loose sleeves,
as if she were about to take wing through the joy-filled universe, had
to laugh.

“Oh! Penny, you’re too funny,” she said. “Yours is really a _star_
name,” dreamily, “for it means ‘a star,’ doesn’t it?”

“Yes, getting down to bed-rock, as the boys say, it means ‘A creature
far above!’” Suddenly the younger girl’s mood changed. Her moccasined
foot kicked the fine sand into the air as if she were starting it off on
a rainbowed quest to find the Star, her namesake, along a climbing trail
where she knew she would find it hard to follow. “A—Creature—Far—Above!”
she repeated slowly. “I guess that’s what I need to be! Since—since I’ve
taken that name”—scarcely above a whisper—“I feel, somehow, low-down,
because I’m always ‘putting my foot in it’; I did this morning, laughing
at that little orchard Kitty directly she got here. An’ I’m too slangy.
Mother doesn’t hear me, you know, or she’d correct me.... And there’s so
much to be done for the boys, where a girl has three brothers younger
than herself, that it didn’t seem to matter how I _spoke_—or much what I
wore—so long’s I could get things—done.”

A silvery star peeping out as the sun declined, peering down at the
sand-hills, saw her namesake’s eyes full of sore tears.

Olive stared a minute. Then her arms went round Penelope.

“Oh! you dear,” she gasped. “Oh! you dear!” wetly, too.

They had come out to gather dead juniper; they found the living
fire-wood, the magic fuel of deep sympathy, mutual girlish
comprehension.

It doubled their joy in a minute or two. For Penelope’s pangs were
evanescent. They danced in the snowy sand-valleys, gathering up the
khaki skirts of their ceremonial dresses into puckered bags for their
driftwood fagots—brine-whitened chunks, some of them easily splintered
and rendered portable, which had been swept in by the garnering tide
from many a distant shore—together with withered limbs of basswood and
juniper, native to the dunes.

They tried vainly to drag along in their train a very ancient captive, a
bleached, branching cedar-stump, driftwood, too, which gleamed like a
white marble monument amid the sands that had alternately covered and
uncovered it for many hundreds of years.

Olive scraped its surface with her Camp Fire Girl’s pocket-knife and was
delighted that she could tell by the flesh-pink of the wood underneath
that it _was_ cedar; one of the first flights which Blue Heron had made
about the camp into the fairy-land of unacquired knowledge was the
learning from Captain Andy to tell one kind of wood from another,
whether it was alive and growing or merely dead driftage.

“It makes one love trees all the more when you can tell how they differ
in their wood as well as in their branches and leaves,” she murmured,
now, as the girls wandered on, picking here a wild rose, there a lacy
blossom of thoroughwort or of the everlasting white—blossoming spirit of
these white dunes—which Olive stuck into her black braid of hair.

“Well, we’ve got about all the wood we want, now; don’t you think so?”
suggested Penelope, at last. “And it’s time we got back to the beach and
our camp fire; Sesooā and Mŭnkwŏn, Sally and Arline, will be cooking
supper; they’re cooks to-day, you know; they’re going to toast bacon on
twigs and Arline has made a blackberry shortcake with those blackberries
that we found yesterday in the woods up the river.”

“Here’s hoping that ’twill taste better than my apple-shortcake, which
Captain Andy said was ‘chunky’ when I took a piece over to his tent! But
I’ll do better next time. See if I don’t!” laughed Blue Heron, dropping
her fuel and flapping her winged sleeves as if for a new flight. “Oh!
Pen, I simply can’t go back—yet,” she quavered; “not if they begin
supper without us. I don’t believe we’ll ever have another
evening—another sunset—quite so lovely as this. I want to climb that
tall peak and see the view; I will, too, if I never taste another
mouthful!”

They capered up the lower, easy slope of the hill, fringes waving, just
in that mood when feet would wither if they didn’t dance and the heart
must burst if it couldn’t worship.

“Oh! how near it brings one to—to Things—like the altar rails at
Confirmation,” whispered Olive, half to herself, her gasping breath a
shrine for panting feeling when, with slower steps, she had mastered the
summit of this hundred-feet snow-peak and looked down upon lesser dunes,
creamily piled, sown with sunset roses, upon a crystalline hollow like a
mimic glacier where fairies skated and away at the sundown glories
crowning the snow-drift dunes of the opposite shore beyond the tidal
river’s blue.

There all heaven seemed let loose, the heaven that lives in color; the
elder girl’s soul was steeped in it; with cords woven of every hue in
the spectrum it linked each holy moment of her life and wove it into the
present minute: again, across the gulf of a year, she felt the touch of
consecrating hands upon her head, heard the prayer: “Defend, oh, Lord,
this Thy child with Thy Heavenly grace...!”

It was no far-away Lord of grace and glory now; the sunset made a
highway to His Presence.

“That she may daily increase in Thy Holy Spirit more and more...!”

What better translation of that than the Camp Fire spirit: the quest of
beauty, truth, service, health, happiness, love?

Olive’s lips quivered as, with a loving, expanding desire for human
contact, she again put an arm around Penelope. Penelope nestled close to
her. They clung together upon the white apex of that peak, the apex of
girlish feeling, in such a moment as should ever prevent outward
differences from separating them again.

Penelope stirred uneasily. “I’ve got the dune-fever,” she said. “You set
me going, Olive! I just can’t go back to camp with our fagots until I
climb that other peak, just beyond this one, to see how the sunset looks
from there!”

“All right! Let’s!” responded Olive recklessly. “Our Guardian or Captain
Andy will be coming out to look for us, though! Well! it won’t take very
long. We really will go back then. Oh! wait for me, Pen!” as Penelope,
scarlet of cheek, sturdy of foot, panting in breath, ploughed up that
still farther peak, like a brown goat, her braids and fringes waving.

                      “Stay, Sweetheart, stay!
                      Stay, till I _ketch_ thee!”

  panted Olive, as she neared the top, making the sand-dunes ring with
the merry hail of an old song.

                  “Hey ding a ding a ding!
                  This _ketching_ is a pretty thing!”

“Is it, though?” sarcastically inquired a voice. “I don’t think it’s a
‘very pretty thing!’” in the sourest of masculine voices that ever
planted a sting in a girlish paradise. “Oh, jiggaroo! I don’t think
‘ketching’s’ pretty: I’m caught—an’ I don’t like it!”

Both girls jumped. The grumbling shout came from a sandy shoulder of the
peak on which they were standing, a peak whose shoulder-blade stood out,
clad in dark, olive-green basswood. Was it a goblin voice?

Beneath one glossy shrub showed a yellow-brown mound—a huddled, abject
mound—a shade lighter in hue than their own ceremonial dresses.

Under the waning gold of the sunset it looked jaundiced. Jaundiced,
truly, yellow-green with despair, if tones suggest color, and surly—the
surliest ever—was the renewed shout that came from it, flung up from the
olive-green clump of basswood into the teeth of the girls, the lips that
launched the grumble being hidden.

“Oh, guree!” so it sullenly ran. “If that isn’t like girls! If they must
sing on a trail, why can’t they sing something sensible! ‘Ketching!’
‘Sweetheart!’ Stuff to make a fellow sick—sicker’n he is already!
Oh-h-h! _Ouch!_”

The despondent groan in which the complaint ended seemed to rock the
very sand-hill to its shifty foundations.



                               CHAPTER X

                             THE ASTRONOMER


“It’s a Boy!” Both girls burst forth simultaneously, explosively, with
the discovery. The explosion was followed by an inarticulate rumble made
up of mirth, that was one part trepidation at this boy’s very singular
behavior, and of the gratification which variety always brings in its
train, for in three weeks and three days of camping they had not seen a
boy, saving at long range.

One of Captain Andy’s wooden camps upon the Sugarloaf beach, flanking
their own Camp Morning-Glory, was unoccupied. The other sheltered an
elderly naturalist and his wife—young people there were none, outside of
their own group.

“But what a fat boy!” Penelope’s gaze was measuring the padded breadth
of the yellow-brown shoulders, hunched and bowed. “Ever see such a fat
thing in your life?” The hills rang with her giggle, half-hysterical
now, for the sun was departing, shadows creeping among the dunes; she
was not absolutely sure that this bloated yellowish back, persistently
toward her, was human.

Was it a swollen spectre of the Sugarloaf?

And while the girls stood clinging to each other in nervous indecision
they became definitely conscious of a distant, organ-like volume of
sound coming from no point in sight; they had heard it right along, but,
knowing whence it boomed, paid no attention to it. It was the roar of
the breakers at high tide, breaking upon the sand-bar, half a mile off,
where the tidal river met the open bay, or sea.

It sounded louder here than on the beach near their camp and the
incessant, invisible sobbing added to the mystery enveloping that surly
back.

All of a sudden the Mystery turned plump around and addressed them.

“For the love o’ Mike!” it burst forth irritably, “why do you stand
there staring; why don’t you offer to do something for a fellow who’s a
‘goner,’ eh?”

“Are you a ‘goner’?” Penelope plucked up heart to ask; the yellow-brown
Mystery was presenting not a back, but a shoulder to her now, together
with a short, thick neck, a double chin and the fat profile of a head,
covered with clammy hair, which, inclining to one side like a bird’s,
looked up at her sidelong.

That slanting gaze became an amazed one presently; the owner of the
flesh-cushioned back, whether human or goblin, was evidently struck for
a moment by the unique spectacle of two fringed and moccasined maidens,
with their hair in long braids, head-bands on their foreheads, colored
beads upon their necks, looking down at him from under the waving wing
of dusk, their pedestal a white sand-hill.

But his interest in anything outside himself and his clump of basswood
was evidently momentary.

“Of course I’m a _goner_,” he reaffirmed glumly. “Can’t you see it to
look at me?” in the tone of one whose plight exempts him from the
civilities of life. “I’m just making my will.”

He pointed with the dignity of a dying sage to a little grey book upon
his knee and waved a stub of pencil.

“Gee! he’s crazy,” ejaculated Penelope—and Olive was deaf to her slang
now.

“No, I’m not ‘crazy,’” came up from the basswood. “I’m poisoned.”

“Poisoned! With—what?” It was Olive’s startled lips which put the
question.

“Arsenate of lead.”

Here was a thunderclap, indeed, which shook the sands under the girls’
feet; neither of them knew much about poisons, but this sounded deadly.

“Yes, I guess I’m done for. If you can’t do anything for me, don’t stand
staring down at me! I want to make my will in peace.” The fat fingers
which held the stubby pencil waved it solemnly and then began to write
again in the little grey book which had a vivid colored picture on the
cover.

“If I’m to go”—the youthful testator looked up with something like a sob
of self-admiration—“if I have to go, I want to die like a plucky—Scout.”

“Ho! He’s a Boy Scout.” Penelope caught her breath. She squeezed Olive’s
hand in a convulsive grip. She rose to tiptoe on the sand-peak.
Something was rising up in Penelope, stretching itself like a body of
fire within her own frame so that she felt it in every extremity of her
actual body, something was queening it within her, the motherly impulse,
the _mothering_ impulse fed and fostered by the care of three younger
brothers.

This fat Scout called himself a “goner.” His puffy cheeks looked pale,
too, in the waning golden light; so did the double chin bent over the
pencil.

But just so, a year ago, had her thirteen-year-old brother Jim moaned
that he was a “goner” when he fell fifteen feet from a tin roof that he
was painting and broke his arm in three places.

Jim’s father was away, his deaf mother could not hear the doctor’s
requests—the doctor whom Pen hastily summoned; it was Penelope, herself,
not then fifteen, who had waited upon the surgeon, furnished
safety-pins, etc., while he manipulated his ether bottle and bandages.

It was Penelope who had shrunk into a corner and sobbed and prayed while
Jim was taking the ether, but it was Penelope, too, who, when that
surgeon needed further help, had stumbled forth from her corner, had
bravely stretched herself on the bed beside Jim and held the ether pad
to his nostrils and mouth, sticking to the task even when she felt her
own senses reeling off into dizzy sickness.

And it was Penelope, now, who tossed Olive’s arm which was around her
away, as if it were a lifeless limb of juniper, who in another moment
was crouching by the clump of basswood, beside the boy who had made up
his mind that he had to “go” and was scribbling his boyish bequests.

Fiercely she grasped his arm in its khaki uniform and shook it!

“Listen to me! _Look_ at me!” she gasped. “Where did you get the arsenic
or lead or whatever it was?”

“Arsenate of lead!” corrected the testator, mildly now. “Dead-deadly
poison—poisons you _some_ if it only trickles over your body!”

Penny’s cheeks lost a good deal of their color which ebbed away into a
hard little island of red under each cheek-bone.

“Where did you get it?” she repeated.

“In the woods over there, beyond the creek, where the trees and the
berries and the ground an’ all were sprayed with it.”

“Were you alone? Was anybody with you?”

“Kenjo was. He’s another Scout. He’s gone off over the dunes to try an’
find a house, or camp, to get something to give me. But I guess it’s no
use!” with a deep gulp that in a girl would have been a collapsing sob.

“Mercy!” The fingers of Penelope’s left hand distractedly clawed her
cheek; her eyes, sharpened to a glittering point, pierced the victim’s
face as she thrust her own near to it.

Suddenly she wheeled and changed her tactics.

“Here! let me see the _will_ you’re making: ‘To my brother Basil I leave
my push-mobile, stern wheel is off, he can fix it, to my chum Snuffy I
leave my mandolin, it has two strings busted, b-but——’” read Penelope
aloud in high, strained tones which exploded in a quavering shriek.

She flung the book—it was a Boy Scout diary, with the will scrawled and
misspelt upon a blank page headed Memoranda—she flung it from her into
the heart of the basswood.

“Look here!” Like a hurricane she turned on the victim. “I don’t say
you’re making all this up, but I do believe that, down deep, you’re not
sure you’re poisoned an’ are going to die right away. You only think you
think you are!”

How on earth Penelope’s girlish intuition leaped to the fact that there
was more of melodrama than of hopeless tragedy in this strange scene
among the pale dunes Olive did not know, but at heart she felt herself
going down on her shaking knees to Penelope for the way in which the
younger girl handled the situation, even though Penny’s next words were
delivered with her crudest gust.

“Where do you feel _bad_, anyhow?” She leveled her forefinger at the
victim who, deprived of the melancholy satisfaction of making his will
and bequeathing his lame treasures, slanted his gaze up at her, his
short neck with its double chin thrust forward; there was a fat quiver
of that chin now as if he were uncertain whether to follow her hopeful
lead, or not.

“‘Ba-ad!’” he echoed waveringly. “Why! I’ve got a circus in my head or a
merry-go-round—something that’s wheeling an’ spinning.”

“You’re just dizzy. Have you been wandering round in the woods?”

“Yes, quite a bit.”

“Where else do you feel _poisoned_? Have you got cramps?”

The victim rubbed his waist-line: “No, but I feel kind o’ sick an’—an’
’s if ’twas low tide inside me.”

“Pshaw, ten to one you’re hungry! An’ they’re cooking supper over at our
camp on the beach. Goodness! I can just smell the bacon toasting here;
can’t you, Olive?”

“Ye-es,” fibbed Blue Heron, spreading her dainty nostrils toward the
broad sandy acres of up-hill and down-hill which separated the trio from
the camp fire—that was later to be a Council Fire—on the beach.

“Bacon!” The victim stirred; a hungry shudder shook him that gave way to
a renewed shiver of despair; he stretched out an arm to recover his
book.

“No, you sha’n’t have it! You’re not going to die and leave your ‘busted
mandolin.’... He! He! He! Hi!” Penelope’s giggle rang out shrilly. “How
long is it since you swallowed the poison? You haven’t told yet how you
came to take it!”

“I’ll tell you,” struck in another voice. A manly-looking Boy Scout
appeared suddenly from behind the basswood, his broad hat pushed back
from a haggard face. “I went off to get help for him,” he explained. “I
saw some camps, but they were a good way off. I thought I’d come back
and haul him over there, where I could give him an antidote, you know,
whites of eggs or salt an’ water—or something somebody would let me
have.”

“We have got all those things at our camp,” suggested Olive eagerly.

“You see, I don’t know how much he really is poisoned.” This older Scout
looked down upon the fat victim. “It all happened this way: We’re
camping with a whole lot of other Scouts in that Boy Scout camp among
the dunes on the opposite side of the river. Well! to-day our
Scoutmaster said that Fatty an’ I might take the rowboat—we call him
that—his name is Tommy Orr——”

“Most times they call me the Astronomer, because they say I’m always
looking up,” mildly interjected the poisoned one.

“So you are; fat boys who have short necks mostly do; they can’t look at
you straight!” threw in Penelope.

“Ha! Indeed! Is that so?” The victim straightened himself more than he
had done yet, to glare at her sarcastically, then collapsed into a
huddle again. “Well, go on, Kenjo, tell them about the dead chewink with
the blackberry in its beak,” he sighed. “We call _him_ Kenjo Red,” with
a fat wave of the hand toward his brother Scout, “because we don’t need
a fire in camp while we have his head.”

The newcomer, whose scalp-locks escaping from under his broad hat were
indeed of the firiest hue, only smiled in a tired way and hastily took
up the tale of woe where he dropped it.

“Well, we two took the boat, rowed across to this side of the river and
up Loaf Creek, the little creek that runs in round the Sugarloaf——”

“Yes, I know; we’re going to explore it some day,” put in Olive
excitedly. “Was it in the woods at the head of the creek that he got the
poison?”

“Yes, the ground was all sprayed white with it in one place, but Tommy
didn’t notice it at first; he’s only been three months a Scout. We had
been wandering about the woods—they were pretty thick—after we landed
from the boat and didn’t quite know where we were! Tommy walked on ahead
o’ me while I was trying to take our bearings; he had been eating
blackberries an’ went on eating ’em——”

“Sour they were, too—mean sour!” interjected Tenderfoot Tommy Orr.

“When I started after him I saw that the ground was all sprayed white
here and there with the lead poison that the State uses for getting rid
of caterpillar pests and I yelled to him to stop. Just a little farther
on we came upon two dead rabbits and three dead birds; one o’ the birds,
a chewink—little grey ground-robbin, you know—had a half-pecked
blackberry in its beak; another, a wild canary, was stiffening out, with
a berry ’longside it.”

This looked horribly serious. Tenderfoot Orr groaned aloud and rubbed
his cushioned waist-line.

“Well! Tommy made up his mind then that he was a ‘goner’ as well as the
chewink. I saw no house or camp near, so I hustled him back to the boat,
rowed down the creek, landed here on the Sugarloaf, where I left him a
few minutes ago, to look around and see in which direction there was a
camp.”

“Ours is the nearest: we’ll give you all the antidotes you want—salt and
water enough to float the boat—or the boy! Goody, how that bacon
smells!” Penelope sniffed vigorously to the dune breeze. “_We_ must be
getting back anyway, mustn’t we, Olive? They won’t know what on earth’s
become of us. Oh, come along!” She seized the tenderfoot’s fat arm as
she might have seized that of her brother Jim. “Never mind the little
diarybook; exercise your will, now, instead of making it!”

And with a heavy groan, led by the mythical odors of bacon sizzling over
an outdoor fire, the hungry tenderfoot picked up his broad hat that
rested like an olive-green mushroom in a near-by patch of sage-brush, so
alike in hue that it would be hard to tell one from the other, arose and
followed her.

Near where the dunes sloped down into the beach, the anxious party came
upon Captain Andy. He eyed the girls aslant, reprovingly.

“Well! you two would be a good pair to send after trouble,” he remarked
caustically, “you take so long in getting back. I was just starting off
on a cruise to look for you.”

“Hullo, Capt’n Andy!” boomed Kenjo, intercepting a reply by his joyous
greeting to an old friend: “Yes”—reproachfully—“you’re all taken up with
the Camp Fire Girls now—Scouts don’t get a look-in!”

“Petticoats first—bloomers, rather!” chuckled the jolly mariner. “Skirts
go ahead—meaning skirts have the preference, especially when they’re
new-fangled skirts like these!” pointing to the khaki ceremonial dresses
of the two excited girls who had forgotten all about the fuel they
gathered.

“Hey! what’s the matter with this Scout? He don’t look very chipper.”

The captain laid a hand on Tommy’s shoulder.

“He’s poisoned—_poisoned dead_—or thinks he is; from eating blackberries
an’ arsenic an’ lead!” explained Penny with great lucidity.

In a few words Kenjo cleared up the situation.

“How long is it since he ate those blackberries?” asked Captain Andy,
gravely. “An hour yet?”

“Oh, I guess it is—pretty nearly an hour, anyway.”

“Well! let me tell you that if he had got enough of that arsenate of
lead into him to finish him as it did the birds an’ rabbits, he’d hear
more from it by this time. You’d have horrible cramps by now an’ you’d
look a heap worse than you do!” The captain gazed down reassuringly on
Tenderfoot Tommy, alias “the Astronomer,” who, with fat neck thrust
forward, was slanting a very anxious look up at him.

“So _she_ said. She said I only b’lieved I b’lieved I was poisoned.
She’s a brick.” The Astronomer blinked at Penelope now.

“I’m a star,” she informed him. “That’s my Camp Fire name; as you’re an
Astronomer you can look up to me all you want to!” Nobody blamed Pen for
her giggle then. “You see, that dead chewink and the wild canary might
have pecked at some more poisoned stuff besides the blackberries,” she
sagely suggested. “Maybe the sprayed poison wasn’t on the berries at
all.”

“That’s so!” assented Captain Andy. “You come over to my tent at the
foot o’ the dunes”—he pushed Tommy along by the shoulder. “I know the
signs of that poison, for I’ve used it myself; I’ll examine you an’ dose
you, if necessary; if not, you can have some supper. It’s all ready down
there on the beach. Great guns! I was feelin’ scared about you and so
was the Guardian, Miss Dewey.” He looked at the two tired girls. “I
thought, maybe, you were never coming back to play that Kullibígan game
to-night, after my whittling out the witchtop for you!”



                               CHAPTER XI

                               KULLIBÍGAN


The Indian game of Kullibígan was in full swing.

Supper was over, a wonderful outdoor banquet, for which the high tide
furnished the orchestra, the white sands the table linen, with the last
rays of the dying sun showering bouquets upon its damask.

As if in answer to Captain Andy’s question earlier in the evening when
he beheld the bevy of maidens in Indian dress upon the beach, there were
two unexpected “braves” at the feast and hungry guests they were; Kenjo,
who was entered upon the school-roll of his native town as Kenneth
Jordan, bearing in mind that “A Scout is courteous,” the fifth point of
the Scout Law, insisted on toasting fresh relays of bacon for the hungry
girls and for the Astronomer, who ate enormously.

Captain Andy, in the absence of any severe symptoms of lead poisoning,
had come to the conclusion that the tenderfoot was not going to share
the fate of the chewink, that he, apparently, did not stand in need,
even, of an antidote; still, as a precautionary measure, he flooded him
inwardly with strong tea, beneficial in any case of poisoning, until the
fat Astronomer declared that he could hear his final mouthfuls of cake
splash as they went down.

The after-banquet songs were furnished by the hostesses who chanted
their “Wohelo!” cheer, greatly to the edification of the Scouts,
followed by their song, “Mystic Fire,” gracefully dramatized by the
waving of fringed arms, the swaying of girlish forms around the camp
fire upon the twilight sands, lending the final touch of romance to the
white wildness of the Sugarloaf, moving the flame of admiration in Kenjo
to flicker up into:

“Gee! I thought we Boy Scouts were the ‘whole show’ when it came to new
stunts, but I guess it’s as Captain Andy says, ‘Skirts go ahead!’” with
a boyish laugh.

“Well! _you’ll_ show _them_ something by ’n’ by, when it gets dark, when
you signal with lanterns or an old broom dipped in kerosene to our camp
on the dunes across the river to say we’re safe here, for Captain Andy
says he won’t let us row back there to-night,” spoke up the now drowsy
Astronomer. “He says we can sleep in his tent—a bully tent, divided up
into rooms—at the foot of a sand-hill; he was going to have his niece
there, but he says she can bunk with the girls.” Tommy waved a fat hand
in the direction of Kitty.

“_I_ don’t care; that’s what I want to do,” spoke up little Kitty,
erstwhile of “the bleeding heart,” rejoicing in the freedom of her green
bloomers. “Morning-Glory—I can’t pronounce her Indian name—says I can
sleep with her,” shyly. “And we’ll wake up early and watch the dawn
across the river and I may help her cook the breakfast—she’s to be one
of the cooks to-morrow.”

“Indeed, you may, but don’t mistake me for Mary-Jane Peg in your sleep;
I don’t want to be taken for a pig in a poke!” laughed Jessica,
otherwise Welatáwesit. “And now for Kullibígan! What question shall we
ask it first?”

“Who’ll be married first?” suggested the Astronomer. “That’s what girls
always want to know, isn’t it?”

And then the excitement of the night began in earnest.

The great burnished top, painted by firelight, was set to spinning madly
upon a flat stone set in the sand, surrounded by a ring of sitting
girls; it revolved dizzily for many seconds, then fell over upon its
broad head, as if bowing to Kitty.

The laughter that followed this exploit of the guessing-top made dunes
and sea ring; Kitty was to be wedded first, instead of prematurely
departing this life.

“Let us ask it something sensible, something that might have an answer
in the near future,” suggested Betty Ayres—gay little Betty, whose Camp
Fire name was Psuti, the Holly—after sundry other riddles had been
propounded to the Kullibígan top for divination—questions as distant in
speculation and wild in their answer as the lot which had fallen upon
Kitty. “Let’s ask who’ll be the first to attain the highest rank among
the Camp Fire Girls, and become a Torch Bearer!”

“Good!” approved Gheezies, the presiding Guardian of the Fire.

Psuti, with two little hands upon the broadest point of the tall top’s
circumference, skilfully set it revolving upon the stone; as before, it
seemed to have no sense of the fitness of things; it toppled toward her,
as nearly as its falling direction—a wide point of debate—could be
determined, she having swiftly resumed her seat in the circle.

“Pshaw! it doesn’t know much: Morning-Glory will be the first Torch
Bearer; she’s a Fire Maker already,” burst impetuously from one or two
of the girls. “And she’s going to do some work among _little_ girls when
we go back to the city, form a Nest of Blue Birds, as it’s called, among
the poor children of that big playground which we visited, show them how
to dress their dolls and so forth,” suggested Sesooā, “make them happy
once a week for three months; that’s part of the test for becoming a
Torch Bearer.”

“I suppose you’ll draw that little deaf-and-dumb girl whose life you
saved into the nest—eh?” Mŭnkwŏn turned inquiringly toward
Morning-Glory. “Whew! I’ll never forget that day—the shock we all got!”
The breast of Arline’s ceremonial dress, embroidered with her rainbow
symbol, heaved; the many-colored honor-beads upon her neck shook.
“Fancy! the poor child drowning, or next door to it, in two feet and a
half of water!”

“Two feet and a half of water! Drowning! A deaf-and-dumb child!” Nobody
had noticed the “shock” which Kenjo experienced as the Rainbow’s words
fell upon his ear, reaching him where he squatted on the sands, just
outside the circle of girls gathered round the fortune-telling top, now
lying idle upon the flat stone.

“Is—is a Torch Bearer the highest rank among the Camp Fire Girls?” Kenjo
went on to ask eagerly, thrusting the flame of his red head dangerously
near to the Council Fire. “To be an Eagle Scout is the highest a fellow
can go among the Boy Scouts—and mighty few ever get there! A Scout must
have twenty-one merit badges for that! But we have an Eagle Scout in our
camp,” proudly. “He’s a sort of Assistant Scoutmaster, directing the
athletics. _He_ saved a deaf-and-dumb child from drowning in shallow
water this summer—dragged her out and brought her to, resuscitated her;
a Camp Fire Girl helped him.”

“Helped _him_! He helped _her_, you mea-ean!” The excited challenge
delivered in three girlish voices rose to a screaming trio. “Where did
it happen? What’s his name?” followed in a minor key.

“Yes, where did it happen?” gasped the Blue Heron, Olive, bending
excitedly forward from her place near the fire.

“In the city of Clevedon, I think. Stack comes from there or from some
town near it; he was dressed for a big Boy Scout Rally at the Clevedon
Armory and was taking a short cut across a public playground when he
heard a lot of children yelling—girls shrieking——”

“_We_ weren’t shrieking at all! There!” flung out Sesooā between her
teeth. “If ‘Stack’ is the only name he’s got, I don’t think much of it.”
The firefly in Sally’s eyes danced upon the twilight.

“That’s what we call him in camp; his name is Miles Stackpole.”

“That’s better,” came from Morning-Glory, Miles’s partner in that
playground rescue.

“Stack said the girl who helped was a pippin.” Here the Astronomer who
had been dozing upon the firelit sands suddenly awoke from a dream in
which Penelope’s red cheek was a poisoned cherry and he a chewink
pecking at it to his destruction. “He said she was a peach and could do
something,” went on Tenderfoot Tommy; “that she wasn’t all fluff an’
stuff or frills an’ stuff, like most girls, afraid of a little wetting!”

“Oh! _indeed_? A lot he must know about girls!” Every voice in the
feminine circle went to swell this sarcasm or something like it.

Each feminine soul there felt that life could not be all mystic motions
and ceremonial dresses, their rich cream at present, nor yet bloomers
and middy blouses; all looked forward to the pleasing variety of frilly
hours again, with hearts, if only for the space of a short party-hour,
correspondingly frivolous.

Meanwhile the Astronomer, with his gaze slanting upward from the sands
and trained upon the feminine circle, was suffering at the hands of
Kenjo who had tried to stifle his confidences.

“Oh! Won’t Stack just lick you when we get back to camp and he hears how
you gave him away?” scolded the older Scout. “You go to sleep again;
that’s the only time you’re safe, Fatty. We’re going to ask the
Kullibígan top another question, something exciting, with real ‘pep’ in
it, this time: ‘Who’s going to dig up a fortune from the sands?’ May I
come in on the answer to this?” Ken appealed eagerly to the Guardian of
the Camp Fire.

“Certainly. And may you come in on the fortune, too, if there is one!”
Thus Gheezies gave her smiling consent, tagging it with a good wish.

“Oh! that’s too far-fetched to be exciting; nobody really believes in
finding Captain Kidd’s treasure nowadays, although Captain Andy says
that some of it was certainly hidden along the coast here, but that the
tidal current must have sucked it out into the river long ago,”
protested Betty, in a fringed flutter.

“And Stack says that he met a professor of something who was round here
studying tides, and the prof said he didn’t believe that the current
could do any such thing!” threw back Ken hotly.

“Oh! it’s such a hackneyed old question, anyway.” Thus Morning-Glory
backed up Betty.

“A regular ‘chestnut,’” yawned Penelope, who was getting sleepy.

“Well! isn’t a ‘chestnut yarn’ the best kind to anchor to with a hope of
its coming true?” Kenjo appealed to the Guardian with a fire that
matched his ruddy hair. “At least”—muttering low—“I think I learned in
high school that some old fellow said that.”

“He said a ‘platitude’ was; I’m not sure but that they’re one and the
same thing,” replied Gheezies, with a smile.

“Ah, but we’ve something to anchor to besides a ‘chestnut’—Stack and I!”
Kenneth Jordan, second-class Scout, thrust his fiery head close to
Jessica’s and spoke in a hollow voice of mystery scarcely to be heard in
the firelit twilight beyond her ear, although Sesooā, on the other side
of him, caught crumbs of the confidence. “We said we wouldn’t tell
anybody lest they’d laugh at us for digging.” The Scout became a husky
shell for his secret. “But I guess, maybe, Stack won’t mind my telling
you as you helped him save that dumb child. He an’ I”—the secret began
to crack the shell—“he an’ I were down on the Neck yesterday,” jerking
an elbow in the direction of the sand-bar at the river’s mouth, “and
there was an old man there, hunting big hen-clams, at low tide; he told
us he was over ninety; we asked him how long he expected to live an’ he
said: ‘Down here, you live as long as you want to!’”

“Is _that_ the secret?”

There was a shout from the girls. Ken’s voice had risen like the tide
upon the old clam-hunter’s words. It sank mysteriously again.

“We asked him, too”—the secret was popping out now in Jessica’s favored
ear—“whether _he_ believed there was treasure hidden along that beach or
among the dunes. He said, ‘Sure as a hen-clam hops there is!’ Then he
put his face close to Stack’s—he hadn’t a tooth—and pointed to a certain
spot among the dunes and said that a few years ago (we dug out of him
that ’twas about thirty) a handful of old gold and silver coins had been
picked up there. We pumped him further, but his mind wandered, he didn’t
seem able to pin it long to anything, he only mumbled and shuffled off
after a big hen-clam—surf-clam, you know—that tried to get away from him
by hopping off on its one funny little leg that it thrust out of the
shell. ’Twas the queerest thing you ever saw to watch him trying to rake
it up with his iron fork.”

“Must ha’ been! A hopping clam!” This set Penny giggling, for the
Scout’s voice had risen again upon the irrelevant matter of the aged
clam-hunter’s raking among the treasures left by the last high tide.

Her paroxysm brought Kenjo to himself and to his manners, set him
diffidently apologizing to the Guardian for daring to drop a secret
within her magic ring, at the other end of her firelit circle.

“Stack’d go for me for doing such a thing,” he gasped. “I guess I put my
foot in it, too, like Fatty! Well! here goes for pumping the
guessing-top about that treasure!”

With a strong twist of his tanned hands he set the Kullibígan revolving;
it spun itself dizzy and fell between Sally and Arline.

“Never mind; we’ll try again; best two out of three!” cried the Scout.
“Now, then, old top, spin your _durndest_. Tell us who digs up a fortune
from the sands!”

The Kullibígan answered his appeal, thrilled him with a
half-superstitious tingle from neck to heel by sprawling over toward
him.

“Again! Again! Once more!”

It fell precipitately toward Morning-Glory, turned a somersault and
stood upon its head.

“Well! it has given _me_ one chance to come in on the treasure, anyhow.”
Thus Kenjo, crestfallen over its last dizzy feat, consoled himself.
“Stack an’ I’ll dig; you bet we’ll dig; we’ll take Toiney into the
secret. I believe he’d scent a coin as he scents a spring a mile off!”

“Who’s Toiney!” For the last minute the girls had sat very still, not a
leather fringe stirring; now they spoke again.

“Toiney! Oh! he’s an Assistant Scoutmaster who gives us lessons in
wood-lore and in tracking an’ trailing; he’s a French Canadian, with a
strain of Indian in him. Well!” Kenjo heaved a long breath. “He’ll be
organizing a search party to look for us—if he hasn’t done so already.
_He’s_ the stuff, although I guess you girls would call him queer
stuff!”

“Are you going to try to signal to the opposite dunes to let them know
you’re safe?” asked the Camp Fire Girl whose name meant Peace.

“I’m not going to ‘try.’ I’m going to do it, signal by semaphore code
the word ‘Safe,’ if Captain Andy can let me have a couple of camp
lanterns—that is, if I can make ’em see me at our camp, get their
attention!”

“I guess I have only one lantern that’s strong enough to be seen at a
distance,” responded the mariner.

“Well! if you have some kerosene oil and an old broom that you don’t
mind being burned up?”

“Hurrah! we’ll furnish you with that,” cried the girls, all eager for
the exhibition.

And, now, the Boy Scouts had their innings so far as a “showing-off
stunt” was concerned.

Scaling a very high rock whose base was laved by the tide, pushing the
corn broom for a burnt offering before him, Ken drew up the lantern and
oil-can shoved aloft by the captain.

A ring of excited girls, with their Guardian, scattered to a little
distance whence they could have a good view of the signaling Scout and
his performance.

One minute, and the oil-soaked broom flamed, its blaze streaming forth,
a mighty flare-up, to be seen miles off!

The Scout waved the burning besom to and fro, making strange, mysterious
passes with it, before attempting to signal a message. “If I can only
get their attention at our camp!” he muttered yearningly.

There were a few very anxious moments.

Then Captain Andy roared up to the signalman:

“It’s all right! You’ve got ’em! They see you. There’s a light showing
upon a peak of those other dunes that wasn’t there before. Most likely
they were out searching an’ watching for a signal from you. Go ahead
with the message!”

Then Ken lowered the lantern with its strong reflector almost to his
feet, his left arm held the blazing broom at arm’s length—sowing a
hissing fire-crop in the sea—to form the letter S.

“Safe. Kenjo.” He spelled it out by the code, fiery letter by letter.

“Isn’t it wonderful—that _fire-talk_?” breathed little Kitty; Mary-Jane
Peg and the orchard seemed very far away; she had not begun to live
until now.

“Broom’s not burned out yet, Cap!” shouted down the Scout to Captain
Andy. “Here’s for signaling a message that’ll keep ’em guessing all
night!”

“What’s that?”

“‘Safe at Camp Morning-Glory’! Sounds as if we were camping on the sun’s
trail. Here goes! Watch—me!”

The broom-handle, sprayed with oil, was sacrificed to Glory, the
lingering flame of the besom, of the compressed corn fibre, having given
out.

But if ever a camp broom perished gloriously, that one did.

Its waterside illumination set the sea aflame, lit up the brown, beaded
figures of the girls, caused far distant lighthouses, with other
nocturnal eyes gleaming from headland and hill up and down the opposite
shore of the river, to pale and wink themselves out for the moment.

Ken tossed the handle into the river, a proud Scout having demonstrated
that along every line it was not “Skirts go ahead—skirts take the lead!”
even if they were ceremonial skirts.

“Well! I guess our Scoutmaster and Toiney will feel easy about us now;
they surely got some of that message I flashed ’em,” he proclaimed
sliding down the rock, feeling like a king-boy. “’Twas good of you girls
to let me make a fire-stick an’ fiddlestick out o’ your camp broom,”
laughing triumphantly. “We owe you a supper, too, Tommy an’ I—I hope
you’ll let us pay it back some time!”

“Oh! yes, when we visit your camp—if we ever do. Boys can’t cook like
girls, though!”

“Can’t they? Haw! Haw!” came in accents of cotton-wool irony from the
Astronomer’s padded throat. “We’ll give you red-flannel hash, with
frills to it. I say, Ken, let’s give ’em something now—let’s give a
rousing Scout yell for them! _She_”—leveling a fat finger at
Penelope—“first got me to thinking that I only thought I thought, she
thought I was poisoned. Hey! that was the way of it, wasn’t it?”
appealing to the convulsed Penny. “Now, then, rise to it, Kenjo!”

The youthful signalman fought shy of this ebullition at first, but on
Captain Andy’s saying approvingly: “That’s the very caper! Good idea,
Ken; go ahead an’ drive it!” he did drive the patriotic yell in honor of
their girl-hostesses with all the might that was in him.

With his arm across the Astronomer’s fat back as the latter stood with
cushioned legs wide apart upon the sands, Tommy’s arm, likewise,
embracing his backbone, swaying together like double bellows, they
pantingly drove that yell while the dune-breeze joined in and the
sonorous gush of the high tide, too, seemed to proclaim that it _was_
the “very caper,” a proper tribute, indeed.

                             “A-M-E-R-I-C-A
                       Boy Scouts!    Boy Scouts!
                                U. S. A.
                  Camp Fire Girls!    Camp Fire Girls!
                          _Camp Fire Girls!_”

“Oh-h!” It was a prolonged ejaculation; the girls’ eyes were wet and
winking above the wreathing smiles upon their lips as the notes boomed
off over the night-tide, setting the river a-roar.

“Oh, this has been a won-der-ful evening altogether,” said the Guardian,
her face an illumination that beamed softly upon the final echo which
seemed to strike those distant dunes upon the opposite side of the
tidal-river.

“Aye! Boy Scouts and Camp Fire Girls!” chuckled Captain Andy
meditatively. “Boy Scouts and Camp Fire Girls, theirs—_theirs_ is the
coming tide!”



                              CHAPTER XII

                             FLOURED GLASS


Sesooā heard a sob. A frank sob that published the trouble of some
girl’s heart to the dunes and to the sea! And Sally did not know what to
do about it.

It was the first sob she had heard during the six weeks that the girls
of the Morning-Glory Camp Fire had been camping on the white Sugarloaf.

“Somebody is thinking that it’s nearly the end of August and that we’ll
be going back to the city pretty soon!” she surmised. “Oh-h, to be a
_seal_!” The golden spark in her eyes, the dancing firefly, lit out over
the waves and hovered above a sleek dog-like head, but larger than a
dog’s, appearing above the water some fifty yards from the white beach
on which she stood. “Oh, to be a harbor seal and stay here always to sun
oneself on a sands-pit in summer and in winter ride an ice-cake, as the
seals do! I was made to be a wild thing!” Her laughter rippled, clear
and low, like the ebbing tide, but she dammed it up lest it should
intrude upon the feeling betrayed by that other unaccountable sound
which she had just heard, coming from the farther side of a barrier of
rock that intersected the beach.

“I wonder, now, which of the girls it is?” she silently speculated. “Is
Kitty yearning for her orchard and the grunting society of Mary-Jane
Peg? But she seems so happy here among us! Yet, perhaps, the scare we
got three days ago upset her, when that big seal dived under our rowboat
and upset it, half-way up ’Loaf Creek! Oh, bubbles! that _was_ a bad
_spill_.” Here another low splash of laughter dropped its liquid notes
to mingle with the distant mirth of the tide, breaking far out, as
Sesooā, in thought, glanced past the rock-barrier, past some acres of
intervening dunes freshly swept by a southwesterly wind, at the winding
blue creek, Sugarloaf Creek, that crept in round the back of the
Sugarloaf Peninsula until it lost itself in the woods where the fat
Astronomer came to grief.

“Captain Andy says we were lucky to see a seal out of the water even at
the cost of a ducking,” she ruminated further, “and that we, probably,
wouldn’t have done so at all if that great big fellow, weighing a couple
of hundred pounds or so, hadn’t gone far up the creek after the ‘feed,’
meaning the huge eel that he was devouring, half out of water, when we
rowed round a marshy bend right on to him.... Goodness! of all the
‘mix-ups’ then! I’ll never forget it!” The last words formed themselves
aloud in her laughter-filled throat. “Six of us girls struggling in the
water! Sybil and Kitty an’ Betty up to their necks although ’Loaf Creek
is shallow! And that big, spotted harbor seal which bumped into us and
capsized us, just making for the creek’s mouth as hard as he could swim!
I guess he knew where the deep water was, all right!”

She stood gazing out at the receding tide, seeing again the sleek head
of the capsizing mammal as he put for the open water, the tidal channel,
doubtless, vowing by the shades of his ancestors, the tidal tadpoles,
that he would never be caught up a narrow creek again by a boat-load of
shrieking girls.

“I hardly think it’s Kitty who is sorrowful or ‘peeved’ over something.”
Sally was conscious of the thought which crowded out the seal as another
low, gulping noise, mysteriously like a sob, came from the other side of
the crusted barrier of rock. “That doesn’t sound like Kitty, either!”
She put her ear to the crusty rock-heart. “Kitty Sill behaved as well as
any of us all through the ducking in the creek—our wildest adventure as
yet—all she said when it was over and we were safe in the boat again
was: ‘Will you tell Mary-Jane Peg that I was brave?’ She’s simply
_killing_ with her talk about that pedigreed pig! She’s the funniest
little thing! And Jessica vowed she’d make a special call on
Mary-Jane.... Oh, _gracious_!” Sally’s hands came softly together upon a
flame of dismay that scorched their palms. “Good gracious, I do believe
it’s Jessica, herself—Morning-Glory, if you please—who’s having a quiet
cry ‘all by her lonely’! And she’s the most popular girl in camp.”

The camp favorite, the most popular girl, had, nevertheless, if sounds
could be trusted, a pent-up trouble of some kind which she wasn’t
withholding from the sea; there was a restless movement on the other
side of the rock as if somebody rolled over on the sands, followed by a
lonely, grieved sobbing that appealed to the ebbing tide for comfort.

Now, all at once, impulsive Sally was filled with a jealousy of that
low-ebb tide for being chosen as a confidant; she would have liked to
thrust it farther out still. Before she knew what she was doing this
feeling and another, overwhelming curiosity, spread wide their wings and
wafted her lightly over the rock-barrier.

She descended with a pounce upon the other side and immediately began to
flutter and cackle inarticulately, like a hen in a flowerbed.

The patch of white beach beyond the rock-fence was fairly abloom with
colored articles which attracted the scanty sunshine that, to-day, was
having a tilt with the ruffling southwesterly wind as to which should
rule the weather.

One sunbeam poked his finger inquisitively among the small blocks of
paint in a box of water-colors lying open upon the sands. Another
slanted his eye like an amused connoisseur at a sheet of cardboard
pinned down by a chunk of pale driftwood and bearing a crude, very
highly colored painting of blue water between dauby green marsh-banks
and of a boat being upset by some fabulous sea-monster that was
apparently trying to climb into it.

Sally jumped to the conclusion that this was meant for a kind of
“colored supplement” comic illustration of the accident which had
happened in ’Loaf Creek, on which her thoughts had lately been dwelling,
for the seal had the ears of a jackass and claws an inch long upon his
fore-flippers which grappled the side of the boat.

She cackled exceedingly at sight of it and shuffled in the sand, like
the hen who has found not colors only, but something fruitful, also, in
the bed of bloom.

Then she caught her breath with an amazed start, like Captain Andy’s
when he saw the same sort of thing; a third sunbeam was surveying
himself under difficulties in a sheet of glass about the size of a small
window-pane, which looked as if it had been floured over, dulled and
whitened by a very watery paste of some kind.

“Gee whiz!” exclaimed Sally who thought that she had eschewed slang with
Penelope before her eyes as a horrible example. “What are you doing with
the pane of glass, Jessica dearie, mixing biscuits on it?” with a low
explosion of laughter.

“No-o,” mumbled the owner of the flowerbed who, with face averted from
the intruder, looked rather like a glossy, green shrub trained and
clipped into fantastic shape, of the style which, once upon a time,
presided over old-fashioned gardens; for her sweater of dark green wool
and her Camp Fire Girl’s Tam O’Shanter finished with an emerald pompon
matched in hue her olive-green khaki skirt—all of which apparently
failed to create a verdant atmosphere of spring in her young heart at
present.

“Are you trying cookery experiments on the glass?” laughed Sesooā, much
mystified and excitingly tickled by curiosity, for her roving gaze now
took in among the litter of articles on the sands a little earthenware
crock with a paste that looked like very thin, dyspeptic dough in it.
“Olive—Blue Heron—says that her father used to declare that her cookery
ought to be tried upon the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to
Animals before human beings were allowed to partake of it—that was
before she became a Camp Fire Girl—but you’re testing it on the pane of
glass. Why! Jess—Jessica—Morning-Glory—I didn’t mean to tease you,
honey; you’re not _peeved_ with me for finding you here all alone and
feeling blue, are you?” Sesooā flung herself upon her knees on the
wind-ruffled sand and slipped an arm around the green shoulders of her
Camp Fire Sister whose breast was again ploughed by random sobs.

Sally—the little oriole of the city playground—was gay in throat and
inquisitive as that orange-and-black songster, but she was wonderfully
soft of heart, too; she bit her lip and puckered up her eye-corners,
determined that, if she could help it, a Camp Fire Sister should not
weep alone any more than she should stand alone.

Then in the space of one long breath her working face was smoothed out
as if an electric iron passed over it. Her glance had fallen again upon
the dauby comic picture of the blue creek and the boat with half-formed
human figures, some of which were being wildly shot into the air by a
dragon-like seal.

“Ha! you were painting _that_—our ducking in ’Loaf Creek—for little
Rebecca, weren’t you?” Caressingly she dropped her chin upon the green
heave of Morning-Glory’s shoulders. “You’re going to send it to her, eh?
But surely you’re not crying about her? She probably doesn’t realize
that she’s deaf-and-dumb, different from other children. And you’ve done
so much for her, dearie, saving her life and all—the Eagle Scout only
came in on the tail-end of the rescue. And you can do more when we go
back to the city.”

“Oh! what d’you take me for? F-Fudge! I’m not crying about her—I’m not
so—so soft—what earthly g-good would it do her?”

The Morning-Glory’s broken accents were snappish, scraping against a
rasp within.

“Well! you needn’t eat me up for suggesting it.” Sally withdrew her chin
and made a face at the green shoulders whose back was still toward her.
“I’m going away if you’re as cross as a thorn!”

“I wish to goodness you would! No, I _don’t_! Come here, Sally!” Jessica
stretched out a hand as the other girl rose to her feet. “I don’t mean
to be raspy and snappy; I have tried to live up to the Camp Fire law all
the time we’ve been here, to ‘Be happy!’ I oughtn’t to say that, for it
didn’t really take any ‘trying’—I have been! But every one of the rest
of you girls have a home to go back to—when this—this jolly camping-time
is over. I haven’t!”

“Haven’t you a home with the Deerings, with Olive and Sybil and their
awfully rich father—and your Cousin Anne?”

“Olive heard, to-day, from her father that he’s going to be married
again in the fall; Sybil doesn’t know it yet; she only told me. Olive is
away off on a sand-hill, now, making up her mind to be lovely to the new
stepmother because she thinks that’s what her own mother would have her
do. But”—a long-drawn gasp—“perhaps the new wife won’t want Cousin Anne
or me in the house—me, anyway, as I’m no relation at all to the
Deerings.”

“Pshaw, I’ll bet she’ll be delighted to have you! If not, Cousin Anne
and you can live together.”

“Cousin Anne hasn’t enough money to support herself, much less me! She
had, but she lost most of it a few years ago by the failure of a mining
company in which she had invested largely. She had just enough left for
‘pin money’, as Mr. Deering, who’s her cousin, told her; so he offered
her a home in his house to be a kind of mother to his daughters and
superintend their education. Then”—another long gasp shaking the
moss-green shoulders—“then when the friend of Mother’s who took me in
after my mother died nearly two years and a half ago—(I used to help her
with her housework, this friend, and call her ‘Auntie’ though she wasn’t
any relation, either), when she had to go to China with her husband,
Cousin Anne was so worried, not knowing what was to become of me, that
Mr. Deering, to please her, I suppose, invited me on a visit to his home
for a year, or a year and a half, until I get through high school....
But oh!—oh! it’s hard for a girl like me to lose _both_ father and
mother—not to belong to anybody—really.”

Yet, even as her lips quivered upon this climax of her sorrow,
Morning-Glory sat deliberately up, exposing her face to Sally’s voice,
and gazed off at the far-out tide which the ever-quickening
southwesterly wind was ruffling with a prophecy of squalls and rain,
determined not to make a scene here on the cloudy sands as she did in
the Deerings’ library under the glamor of that painted window where the
young monk pored over a parchment book.

But the association of _then_ and now presently made her chin tremble
again; blindly she caught at Sally’s hand.

“You—you were laughing at my pasty sheet of glass,” she gasped. “But
this morning, when I got thinking how, in ten days, now, we’ll leave
these lovely Sugarloaf dunes, go back to the city and to school, to hard
work, studying, I felt that if—if I could only study along the lines
Father had picked out for me, I wouldn’t mind _quite_ so much—that it
would seem to bring me nearer to him and to my mother, too.”

“What did he want you to do?”

“He had it all planned before he died three years ago that I was to take
up _his_ work—study art and design—become an artist. He thought I could
by an’ by earn my living, as he did, by getting into the designing-room
connected with some big stained-glass works where they turn out
beautiful painted windows.... He”—breathlessly—“he said I had just the
same love of color that he had. And I have! I have!” passionately. “When
I wake early and watch a dawn here over the river and those opposite
white dunes, I feel it—feel it in my very toes!” curling up those
tingling members.

“Ha-a!” Sesooā laughed shortly, but it wasn’t a mirthful chuckle; the
firefly was snuffed out in her eyes, the golden sparkle that lent such
life to them.

“And why can’t you become an artist—or a designer—look forward to
earning your living in that way?” she gravely asked.

“Oh, because I’ve no money, not a dollar, not a cent!” shiveringly. “And
I should have _some_ in order to educate me properly; I’d have to take a
long art course in some School of Design—or Institute——”

“But if you were to tell Olive—her father is so rich!”

“Sally! Do you think I want to ‘sponge’ on them? No, I’ll just have to
work ever so hard when we go back to the city, finishing out my course
in the Commercial High School, learning to be an expert typist, so that
I can earn my living as a stenographer. Other girls _like_ that—the
noisy room with fifty typewriters going together—I don’t!”

“Every one to his taste! I’d prefer it to painting on glass. Were you
trying to do that this morning?” glancing at the befloured pane.

“Yes, father used to prepare the glass first by rubbing it with lime (I
hadn’t any lime) and then spreading the thinnest layer of common paste
over it; when that dried he’d lay the sheet of glass over the paper
design which he had already painted and outline the design in
pencil—make a cartoon, as he said—on the glass. I was just trying my
hand on common glass”—whimsically—“thinking how it would be if some day
I could paint a design for a beautiful Camp Fire Girls’ colored window.”

Slowly Morning-Glory raised the dulled glass and gave a glimpse of a
crudely painted design underneath, which yet showed original talent; the
figure of a Camp Fire Girl in a ceremonial dress and pearly head-band,
her feet poised upon cloud-billows that looked very like ethereal
footballs at the present stage of the crude design; over her glowed what
was meant to be a sunburst, in one hand was a variegated flower, a
morning-glory, in the other an unrolling scroll intended to bear the
magic watchword, “Wohelo!”

“Oh! I think it’s lovely. Oh! aren’t you clever? You ought to get a
National Honor from Headquarters for even thinking out such a thing,”
effervesced Sally. “Oh! I wish you could ‘cut’ the typewriters and do
what you want to do. Haven’t you any relatives on your father’s side
who’d help you out?”

“No; his only sister died when she was young; there are just some
cousins who have large families of their own.” Jessica laid down the
pasty pane of glass, too cloudily dulled to be ever painted on
successfully.

Suddenly Sesooā skipped to her feet and began kicking at the pale sands
like an explorer.

“_O dear!_” she gasped, trying to be funny, and failing, “why can’t what
the Kullibígan guessing-top promised come true and some of us dig up a
fortune from the sands?”

“Not much likelihood of that! Besides the fortune-telling top was so
divided in its spinning mind about who was to find it!” Morning-Glory
laughed chokingly.

“And aren’t there any other living relatives of your mother’s?”

“Yes, one—my dear, handsome great-gran’father in the old miniature!” The
speaker dimpled through the tear-stains on her cheeks, her voice rocked
between a sob and a song, her white teeth flashed at the dead-low tide
which was just on the turn and thinking of flowing back again. “_He’s_
alive to me! I wish I had brought the ivory miniature down here with me;
then you girls would have fallen in love with him in his blue coat and
brass buttons—he has the _livingest_, merriest smile—the miniature was
painted when he was a very young man; he was over forty when he was
drowned, sticking to his ship and one helpless passenger to the last,
while most of the crew tried to escape in boats.”

“I should think you’d like to go over to the old town of Newburyport
where you told me he once lived and see it—it’s not so awfully far from
here by motor-boat and train.”

At this Jessica winced again; such a longing had been in her breast all
summer, but she was a loyal, loving girl who hated to draw more than was
necessary on Cousin Anne’s resources while in camp and even a
forty-mile, roundabout journey would cost something.

“My great-grandfather, Captain Josiah Dee, only sailed out of
Newburyport and down the Merrimac River, over the sand-bar at its mouth,
when his ship, _The Wave Queen_, was simply ‘ballasted,’ so Mother told
me; then he’d make a long trip to the West Indies and when he came back
heavily loaded—or the ship was—he’d put into Baltimore or New York,—some
big seaport! He made a good deal of money, but spent nearly all of it;
his wife died in 1839 and the next year he went away on his last voyage;
before he came back his only son, my grandfather, heard a rumor of gold
in California and started off there to make a fortune, taking only the
miniature in a wooden case that he made for it and a little old Bible
with him.”

“Did he make a fortune?”

“No, he never got farther than the Isthmus of Panama; it was so hard to
reach the Pacific Coast in those days. He was sick after landing on the
Isthmus and stayed there a long time. Any letters that may have been
sent never reached him. At last he got back to America, to New York, and
there heard that _The Wave Queen_ had been wrecked on her last voyage
and every one aboard her, captain and crew, lost.”

“Ugh-h! he must have felt bad then,” came softly from Sesooā.

“He did. He drew out a little money that my great-grandfather had
deposited in a New York bank in his son’s name and his own, and took
ship right away for England where _his_ grandparents had come from. But
he must have been restless,” meditatively; “he came back to America
again, just after the Civil War, settled in the South and married quite
late in life; my mother was his only child.... Always he kept the old
miniature for which he had a leather case made and, oh! I’m so glad he
did.” The Morning-Glory’s lip quivered again, but the moisture in her
eyes sparkled. “Whenever I look at it, I feel that, whatever happens, I
just must be as ‘game’ as my great-gran’daddy who was a hero, by all
accounts, and saved as many lives as Captain Andy did. Perhaps he, too,
sang Captain Andy’s old sea-song about ‘when perils gather round’:

               “‘We sing a little and laugh a little
               And work a little and play a little
               And fiddle a little and foot it a little,
                   As bravely as we can!
                   As bravely as we can!’

And that’s what I’m going to do even among a storm of typewriters!”

“Yes, and you have ten whole days yet before you need think about facing
that storm! And picture the fun we’re going to have in the meantime!”
Sally crowed over the cheering prospect. “Think of the Grand Council
Fire meeting which our Guardian is arranging, when we’re to meet and
have a picnic with two other Camp Fire tribes of this region, the
Granite Shore Tribe and the Twin-Light Tribe.”

“It’s the Twin-Light Tribe, who take their name from the twin
lighthouses on Thatcher’s Island, who want to give a party in our honor,
next week, at an hotel on the mainland and invite some of the Boy
Scouts, too, from their camp on the dunes, across the river.” Jessica’s
eyes shone now between her red eyelids like twin-lights waking up.
“Then, indeed, we’ll all ‘foot it a little’ in the old-fashioned
dances—as bravely as we can!”

“Yes—and, Jessica honey!” Sesooā crept close to her Camp Fire Sister,
her voice a loving croon. “If the new Mrs. Deering shouldn’t really want
you to stay on in the Deering Mansion, as it’s called, why! you can come
to us—Father an’ Mother would love to have you—for a long visit. They’re
so dear!” with a yearning quaver in the voice. “Our home isn’t grand
like the Deerings’—but——”

“But ‘your heart’s right there,’ isn’t it?”

The two girls clung together upon the cloudy beach while the rising
southwester footed it round them.



                              CHAPTER XIII

                           WIND AGAINST TIDE


                        “As bravely as we can!”

Jessica chanted the words to her painted oars, bright, talkative oars
that spoke through many vivid emblems painted on blade and handle by
herself and her Camp Fire Sisters.

A tongue of flame licked the dripping blade of one of them, mocking the
water in which it was dipped, where Sesooā had gaudily painted her Camp
Fire symbol, so characteristic of the little fire-witch who had mastered
the art of getting fire without matches.

“Dear little Sally! if I could love one girl of our Morning-Glory Camp
Fire better than another ’twould be Sally, next to Olive!” So said the
girl-rower to herself, answering the appeal of the spray-feathered
flame. “And ’twas so nice of her to go off and leave me to myself for a
little while after I’d told her all my story—what I was crying about—I
do feel a step happier for telling her!” smiling tremulously. “Her going
will give me time for just half-an-hour’s row, alone, before dinner. And
the water isn’t very rough near shore, though there’s a wild tumble of
tide out in the middle of the river. This sou’wester is a ripping
breeze!”

Thus the would-be designer of a painted window, enshrining the form of a
Camp Fire Girl and consecrated to her ideals, soliloquized as she,
Jessica Dee Holley, rowed briskly out from the Sugarloaf shore toward
the wild-looking water that foamed and leaped at the broad heart of the
tidal river.

The tide was still so low that she had difficulty in shoving off her
flat-bottomed dory which Captain Andy had put at the service of the
girls, but the feat was accomplished at last, at the cost of wet ankles.

“Never mind! I’ll change when I get back. I couldn’t have a row after
dinner; it’s going to ‘rain pitchforks,’” the girl had told herself as
she finally took her seat in the boat. “It’s breezing up for a good hard
blow, too—sou’westerly squall, maybe—a mighty bad squall when it blows
off the Sugarloaf, over a hundred acres of tall sand-hills, so Captain
Andy says. I sha’n’t go out far! But I love the sea when it gets an
angry rake on”—again mentally quoting the captain. “I like to feel
myself mistress of it in a boat—I suppose that’s my great-grandfather
coming alive in me!”

It would have been so much better if this one of her dead and gone
relatives who seemed to have been a power could have “come alive”
outside her, to smooth her way and steer her girlish course, so the
rower thought, and rowed on thinking about him, his adventures on the
deep, his life-saving achievements when he rescued the shipwrecked crews
of other vessels. In high school she had read about Ulysses—hero of the
greatest poem of antiquity—who was represented as being such a
strong-hearted sailor, but Ulysses played second fiddle to her
great-grandfather in her youthful imagination.

Thinking of the latter now, of the gallant shoulders in the blue coat,
the dimpled chin, the hair and eyes so like her own, as everybody
said—thinking of these as depicted in the old miniature which she had
left locked in her desk in the Deering Mansion for safety—lent a glamor
to the hard, short sea, wildly tipped with foam, that was springing up
about her boat.

It might well be termed the sea, that part of the tidal river on which
she was vaguely rowing, for the sand-bar at the river’s mouth where the
breakers combed and foamed and the brown, sandy point called the Neck,
on which those breakers threw their white bonnets aloft, was less than a
mile away.

And what Jessica did not realize while she spun romances about that
sailor-ancestor of hers and while she felt the daring drop of sea-blood
inherited from him revel in her veins, was that the strong sou’westerly
wind blowing offshore, gaining tremendous force as it drove across the
hundred acres of pale sand-hills that made up the Sugarloaf Peninsula,
was sweeping her steadily down nearer to where the white fangs of those
breakers were set in the brown throat of the Neck.

She felt comfortably safe, for the water upon which she had launched her
boat, and, indeed, for nearly half a mile offshore where she was
aimlessly rowing about, though choppy and white-capped, was not
dangerously rough, not so rough but that she could turn back and land
again when she chose, for the Sugarloaf sand-dunes whose highest peak
rose to two hundred feet above sea-level acted as a windbreak, so that
the tremendous, ever-increasing force of the squally gusts only struck
outside that half-mile belt of comparative calmness.

How hard they hit when they did strike, lashing the middle of the river
into a whirlpool, angered by the tide which had just turned and was
feebly opposing them, the dreaming Morning-Glory, exulting in being
mistress of them and of her boat, did not know.

She never meant to be foolhardy. She knew that to obey that stringent
point of the Camp Fire Law: “Hold on to Health!” she must not only care
for her body and steer clear of sickness when she could, but that over
and above that, _far more important_ still, she must avoid unnecessary
and aimless danger, for in the latter case, nine times out of ten, she
would imperil not her own life alone, but some other life more mature
and in the world’s estimate more valuable—as has sadly happened once
among Camp Fire ranks—a life that might be nobly given in trying to save
her.

In what followed she was largely the victim of ignorance—because the
word-pictures to which she had listened, painting squalls upon the tidal
river near its mouth, fell so short of the reality—and of the absence of
Captain Andy who had taken a party of other campers up the river in his
motor-boat, as well as of her desire to work off, in rowing, the
grieving depression which had clung to her on the beach.

She did fling it overboard; as the choppy waves belabored the dory’s
nose she presently laughed aloud as she chastised them with her painted
oars, feeling that theirs was just rough play, the wild, boisterous
sport of a young dog, proud of his strength, who shows all his teeth in
his gambols, but will never close them upon his friends.

She laughed and chanted exultantly a line of some old sea-song while the
gusts tore at the green pompon of her woolen Tam O’Shanter and tried to
snatch the jaunty, tight-fitting cap itself off her head.

“Ouch!

                    “‘The wind she blow a hurricane,
                      By ’n’ by she blow some more!’

I’m having lots of fun with you!” she sang to them. “And now I guess
it’s high time for me to turn back; it must be almost dinner-hour;
Gheezies, our Guardian, and the girls may be getting anxious about me!
Goodness! how the wind is whipping up the fine sand of the dunes; it’s
hovering like pale clouds over the Sugarloaf.”

This sand-fog spreading its storm-wings above the white hills that
formed the background of Camp Morning-Glory looked ominous. She caught
her breath; it tickled her throat, suddenly, with a feather of fear. She
wished she had not come out so far.

              “‘It’s a long, long way to yonder shore now!
                  But my heart’s _right_ there!’”

she sang, all in a flutter, determined to keep her courage up, gazing
shoreward toward the distant camp under whose sheltering roof her Camp
Fire Sisters must be even now gathering for the midday meal.

“Whew! I must be getting into the really rough water, out toward the
middle of the river. This—this is no joke!” she cried aloud wildly the
next minute as a larger wave than any she had encountered yet not only
boisterously showed its teeth, but seemed to fasten them cruelly in the
dory, shaking the little boat until its planks creaked as she tried to
turn it and drenching her from pompon to shoe-tip with spray.

“Never mind:

               “‘When perils gather round,
               All sense of danger’s drowned,
                 We despise it to a man!
               We sing a little and laugh a little....’”

And even while she tried to sing and laugh the Peril was upon her.

A raving, squalling gust swooped out from that sand-fog swirling over
the pale hills of the Sugarloaf; it seemed to mount in delirium to the
lowering sky—from which all the sun-rays had fled to hide—and kick over
a bucket of fresh water there. Then it roared as it shook its wet wings
over the sea; its dripping tail struck the puny dory, just far enough
out to be so struck with overwhelming force—and not all the strength of
girl or boy, either, could stand or make headway against it.

“Oh-h! there goes my green Tam.” It was such a heart-broken wail, such a
sob, that the wild, wet gust must have had the heart of a fiend to
withstand it and sweep the green Tam O’Shanter, which depended for
safety upon the clinging fit of its woven wool, mockingly away from the
boat’s side.

It was beyond girl-nature not to make a frantic attempt to recover it—to
row after it for a few battling strokes.

But those wheeling strokes were the death-knell of safety, of safety’s
last chance.

The now terrified rower saw the pretty, warm head-gear, which she had
bought out of the little pocket-money given her from time to time by
Cousin Anne, dance upon the wave for a moment—a green blossom upon a
white tendril of foam—just beyond her reach.

She did not see its soaked collapse; she lost sight of it, of everything
without and within her, except a blinding aching terror, for, all in a
moment, the dory and she were whirling at the heart of a water-spout.

The rain let loose by that last fierce gust drenched her sweater and
short skirt.

A second gust blowing with equal ferocity offshore, and yet another,
turned loose by the descending squall, spun her boat out toward the
whirlpool heart of the river where the baby tide, like a lion’s whelp,
fought the tiger gusts.

A reeling minute, the spray as well as the rain soaking and blinding
her, the wind tearing loose her drenched hair, driving it across her
face as if it would steal that, too, and whipping the breath out of her
body, while the decorated oars wavered in her wet grasp that desperately
tried to hold on to them, slipping between the racked row-locks which
shook like chattering teeth!

Then those mad gusts rushed on to continue their fight with the incoming
tide nearer to the mouth of the river, dragging the dory in their train,
or brother-gusts, following, spun and drove it, really it mattered not
which—nothing mattered now—for the fierce, wet onslaught of wind had
taken, not a girl’s streaming hair, indeed, but something far more
precious at the moment—one of her painted oars.

“Oh! what’s to become of me? I can’t row—I couldn’t, anyway! Will
anybody see me from shore? Captain Andy might put off in a boat to save
me, but he’s away up the river! The Boy Scouts! Their camp is far over
among those other dunes, near the open sea, on the farther side of
them!” Wildly Jessica’s gaze swept the pale beach and dunes lining the
opposite shore of the river from the Sugarloaf as she drew in her second
symbol-painted oar, now helpless, while the wind gnashed at its emblems
and the foam hissed Sally’s flame.

Nowhere along the drab, rain-pelted line of beach, sands-pit and tall
dune on either side of her was there a sign of a boat putting off—any
indication that somebody saw her plight and would make an attempt, at
least, to rescue her.

Indeed, along the whole coast of Massachusetts, north and south, no
wilder or more lonely spot could be picked out than the mouth of this
tidal river, left for nearly two-thirds of the year entirely to the
harbor-seals and an occasional sportsman or professional gunner!

“Oh, I’ll be swept down—down—among the breakers on the bar!” The girl’s
fingers interlocked convulsively as she cowered upon the middle
thwart-seat of the boat, her eyes blindfolded by spray, her face
working, discolored by fear, her wet knees groveling at the swollen roar
of those breakers, heard even when they were farther off and invisible,
among the crystalline sand-mounds of the Sugarloaf.

They crisped and curled and reared themselves through transparent sheets
of rain like a pale wall between her and another world. Beyond them,
even if by a miracle she should be swept past and through them alive,
was the foamy vastness of the open sea where such frail things as a girl
and a dory must surely be swallowed up in the tumult and tumble.

“Oh! I _can’t_ be drowned. I can’t be _drowned_.” Frightened to a
frenzy, her bent knees stiffened, she made a movement to stand up in the
wildly rocking boat, to shout, scream, shriek for help to one shore, or
both—shriek her loudest against the roar of wind, rain and spray.

The fatal impulse almost overcame her. She was stumbling, staggering to
her feet, when like a wave from nowhere, flooding her agonized
consciousness, came a memory of Captain Andy’s instructions to her and
her Camp Fire Sisters, how to act if ever, by any most unlikely chance,
they should be caught in such a peril.

“Lie flat,” he said. “Flat as a flounder! Slip down under the
thwart-seats, make yourself one with the dory’s bottom. In such a
‘fearsome fix’ a girl who couldn’t keep a grip of herself would stand up
and holler! A Camp Fire Girl, with presence of mind, would know enough
to lie flat!”

Trembling, this Camp Fire Girl sank back upon the shaking thwart. She
closed her eyelids tight, the bursting tears mingling with the spray
behind them. And the roar of the breakers was lost in the voice of
prayer crying passionately in her own young heart.

As on one July day, nearly two months before, she had prayed desperately
for physical strength to carry the dripping, bowing weight of a
deaf-and-dumb child out of a playground pool, so now she prayed for
soul-strength to carry her torch of presence of mind through these
swirling, drowning waters—for self-grip!

And self-control came to her.

Down she slipped, down, until her shuddering body pressed the boat’s
bottom, until she lay on her back, flattened out under the dripping,
shiny cross-seats.

And with the obedient action came a gleam of hope, like a play of
lightning through the rain, for Captain Andy had given a reason for his
advice: that the dory being flat-bottomed the waves by themselves would
never capsize her; neither was it likely that she would ship enough
water even among the breakers to swamp her; that a girl in her—even
though carried out to sea—would stand a fair chance, if she could only
“hold on to herself,” of being picked up when the squall was over.

So Morning-Glory, flattened to a flounder—and wet as ever was
flounder-fish yet—“held on to herself” and prayed and thought of her
Camp Fire Sisters.

“I wonder if they miss me—they must—and whether they see the boat
drifting down to the breakers on the bar?” she questioned as the roar of
those breakers swelled to a crash in her ears, as she could see the
white wave-tops rising furiously on either side of the boat, plucking
off their ghastly head-feathers of spray and tossing them in upon her
like a watery coverlet, while she lay on her back in her cradle, the
boat’s bottom.

That was just before a change came.

Yes, her Camp Fire Sisters and their Guardian did see the driven dory,
were at this moment plucking their hearts out in anguish.

They were rending the streaming heavens with their cries, scouring the
sodden Sugarloaf to find another boat and somebody strong to go after
her while the dearest girl in their camp was being swept in a curtained
drive of rain, upon a roaring bed of waves, out toward the mouth of the
roar, the Bar, where the breakers curled in an ecstasy, piling white on
white, pale as climbing death.



                              CHAPTER XIV

                              THE CASTAWAY


All of a sudden the girl so wildly cradled amid the breakers, with her
wet, white face staring up from the boat’s bottom at the rain-washed,
frowning sky, through sheets of spray, clear as rain, that swept over
her, was vaguely conscious of some change in the forces that drove and
whirled her.

She stopped bailing out the water that threatened to fill the little
dory, sat up and peered over the edge of her dripping cradle.

Presence of mind grows like all other virtues. Just behind her head as
she lay flat in the boat, stuck in a little wooden pocket of the dory,
was what Captain Andy called a bailer-scoop, like a parlor coal-shovel,
with no handle to speak of.

Jessica, after she got a grip on herself and did the hardest thing that
a girl could do under the circumstances—to lie flat, outwardly calm, and
let herself be spun and whirled in the trough of the sea, driven whither
the wind chose to carry her—remembered its existence.

Slipping a hand behind her, she drew it out of the “rising” pocket in
which it was stuck and began to ladle out the water on either side of
her as one might ladle soup.

She soon realized the wisdom of Captain Andy’s advice, for while she lay
“flat as a pancake” or a flounder, the buoyant, flat-bottomed dory rode
the waves, bow on, side on, stern on, any way on, without capsizing;
indeed, the little boat seemed to enjoy the wet dance.

And, now and again, strange as it may seem, the girl felt a queer thrill
of enjoyment or excitement shoot through her fear, although she was very
much ashamed of the unconscious foolhardiness which had got her into
such a plight as this and was at intervals tortured by the thought of
how others must be suffering, now, on her account, her fellow-campers on
the Sugarloaf, Guardian and Camp Fire Girls.

There was one human companion who seemed to be near her, although long
ago the seas had closed over him, just because her girlish imagination
saw in him such an heroic figure; that was her great-grandfather.

It was when she thought of him that she felt the thrill of exhilaration;
she was having an experience on a small scale of the brine-fighting
perils amid which his life, as a sea-captain, had been passed and she
grew more and more determined to meet it with a courage worthy of his
great-grandchild.

So, when the dory mounted on the back of a white-headed comber and then
slid down into a hollow, shipping a small torrent of water over its
side, so that she lay in a pool, her short skirt, green, woolen sweater
and uncovered hair soaked, she raised herself a little cautiously and
bailed “for all she was worth,” knowing that the one imminent danger was
that, between the united deluge of rain and wave, the plucky twelve-foot
boat might fill and be swamped.

Thus she managed to hold drowning at bay until she became aware of the
before-mentioned change in the forces at war with her; for one thing the
rain grew lighter; there was a break in the heavy clouds above; the
sou’westerly gusts seemed tired of roaring and chopping up the tidal
waves; they sank to a lull like a beating of weary wings in the air
about her and over the wild bar just ahead of her boat.

And then, all at once, the dory began upon a new figure in its watery
dance to the tune of a new, piping whisper in the wind; it stood still,
shuddering and rocking, the brave boat, as if afraid to go farther, then
it sidled this way and that, waddled like a stranded duck, waltzed with
a wave as partner, backed like a perverse donkey, cut about every caper
that a rudderless rowboat could devise.

“I do believe the wind is shifting!” Jessica’s heart waltzed with the
dory. “It’s changing round to the east—I’m sure of it—if it’s with the
tide, instead of against it, I may be swept back up the river again.”

It was a dismaying prospect. Half an hour of such vagrant drifting as
she had experienced was enough for a lifetime.

“Or I may—I may be swept ashore somewhere! It is hauling to the east;
I’m certain of it!”

She knew something about the four winds and their direction; she had
been keeping a scientific record of them for a month, together with the
clouds, rain, fog or mist which, day by day, drifted over Camp
Morning-Glory, in order to obtain a new honor-bead, a brown honor for
“Camp Craft,” to string upon the leather thong about her neck, worn on
ceremonial occasions.

If the wind blew from the east it certainly would not hurl her straight
on until she struck the wild heart of the breakers on the bar.

What it would do with her she didn’t know. As she felt the dory spun and
jostled in every direction, lifted high upon the white shoulder of one
wave which crowed as it tossed it to another, she just sat and cowered
under the cold lash of the spray, her heart-strings like bowstrings
strained almost to snapping, with waiting for watery developments.

“That—that’s what Captain Andy calls the Neck—that sandy point jutting
out there! Oh, if the boat would only, once, stop dancing and touch
bottom!” she gasped aloud, stretching out her right arm toward that
brown Neck of sand as if to encircle it. “Goody! I feel inside o’ me
like a flooded attic, with everything, odds an’ ends of furniture,
drifting round and bumping together.”

Her teeth clicked upon the gurgle of hysterical laughter—partly a bumped
sole—that accompanied his soliloquy.

Another bump! A grounding shock! The dory was rubbing its nose against a
long finger of sand slanting out from the Neck.

A receding surf-wave dragged it back. But the girl was on her feet like
a wet flash and stumbling forward over the cross-seats. Sobbing,
panting, she jumped over the rocking, receding bow right into the heavy,
breaker-ridden surf dashing upon the Neck.

It was a bold splash that sent the wheeling sea-gulls circling off,
amazed. And it was a bolder wade through the shallow fringes of surf and
on, ploughing on, through the wet, oozing sands to gain a foothold upon
some firmer sands of the brown Neck.

Once she turned and moaned a temporary farewell to the brave little
dory, her watery cradle, that had stood so much. She knew enough about
boats to be sure that no craft with a keel could have served her so
well.

“Oh! I _hate_ to leave you to be pounded some more,” she gasped aloud,
in the wildness surrounding her. “But you—you’ll be picked up later!”
addressing the buffeted boat that was now, again, revolving in a
maelstrom. “The squall is pretty well over at last; the sun will be
coming out in a few minutes.”

There was, indeed, a pale glint all over these drab and lonely sands
(she had never been in so lonely a spot before) which seemed to herald
such a friendly move on the sun’s part.

The rain had entirely ceased. The wind was piping in an intermittent
whistle, shrill, but low, before beginning to blow vigorously from the
east.

Between the roar of the surf-waves a silence fell in which she could
hear her heart pounding as she dragged herself along in her wet
clothing, the water swishing in her canvas shoes which sank deep into
the wet sands at every step.

The silence seemed to whisper to her a word: _Quicksands_. She drew a
lost gasp as she remembered how Captain Andy said that a portion of the
Neck with its flanking sandspits, as well as parts of the wet beach
toward which she was heavily plodding, were, at low water, “studdled”
with them—the tide was still far out.

Terrified anew, she put down her hands and crept along, animal-like, on
all fours, feeling the sodden sands ahead of her to try to find out
whether they were firm or not—the sands that Captain Andy said could
“fool one” with their traps.

Now and again they oozed like a wet sponge. With difficulty she dragged
her feet out.

Would she ever reach a firm, fairly dry spot, real _terra firma_?

[Illustration: On, ploughing on, through the wet, oozing sands.]

She straightened herself, looking ahead as, silently, she put the weary
question to her utterly strange surroundings.

Courage! The beach for which she was heading was now only about thirty
yards away, a narrow strip which, instinct told her, was generally bare
even at high water. On the land side it sloped abruptly up into a row of
sand-hills, the white dunes upon the opposite side of the river from the
Sugarloaf Peninsula, which had long been distantly familiar to her eye,
the dunes to some far peak of which Kenjo had signaled by means of a
lantern and blazing broom.

With the memory of that fire-talk, of the signaled message: “Safe at
Camp Morning-Glory,” hope blazed in her as blazed the broom-handle. If
she could only reach the Boy Scouts’ Camp somewhere among these dunes,
all her troubles would be over.

She felt a momentary qualm of vanity about presenting herself as such a
wet and draggled castaway and put up a hand to her loose, streaming
hair, to make sure it was still all there.

“Oh, what does it matter if I do look a sight after all I’ve been
through; they won’t care!” she told herself impatiently. “Goodness!
their camp must be nearer than I thought. What was tha-at? A—shout?”

A shout it might be or a savage roar or the bellow of an animal; it came
from some point invisible behind the first line of sand-hills; at first
it carried no words with it. Then, as the girl stood quaking, wondering
what sort of shore she had been cast on, came a second distant cry
freighted with a hoarse challenge.

“Hólà! Hólà!” it said. “Why forre you raise de Cain dere—dig, dig,
_dig_—all time dig?”

“Well! this is the very time to _dig_—after the rain—if you want to find
anything,” returned a second voice, without the same element of guttural
wildness in it that characterized the first.

“They’re _Boy Scouts_, digging for treasure—the treasure that Kenjo was
questioning the Kullibígan fortune-telling top about!”

Jessica leaped to the conclusion on the wings of an amazed and sudden
peal of laughter that rocked her in her deep and spongy tracks.

“Who ever, ever heard of boys being so foolish?”

But never was folly so welcome! She had been about to drop warily upon
all fours again, so as not to throw all her weight at once upon any
treacherous patch of sand that she might come to. Now, she tucked her
hair behind her ears and ploughed on boldly upright—no more harm could
come to her, with those mirthful voices so near.

She wished she could see the vain diggers. She stared hard at the
sand-hill from behind whose wind-scarred, rain-gullied rampart resounded
their prospecting shouts.

She thought she must be catching the treasure-seeking contagion herself,
or else that her drifting trip down-river to the bar had crazed her; she
did actually see, under the glint of the lightening sky, a tiny
something that flashed like silver in one of the wet, riven grooves of
that sand-hill.

“Pshaw! it’s only a piece of glass or a bright shell,” she thought. “But
it shines like a welcoming eye.”

She was eager, poor girlish castaway, to get near to anything that
looked bright and welcoming amid the wild solitude around her and more
eager still to arrive within easy hail of the infatuated diggers hidden
from her by the sandy pyramid thatched with long, rain-wet beach-grass,
just beginning to turn yellow.

Fixing her eyes upon the gold-green wave of that grass as it bowed to
the careering gusts now lightly skipping out of the east, she
unthinkingly set her left foot down in a sandy hollow. That left foot
reported that the sand there was firm.

But the right had a different story to tell. As she heavily dragged that
right foot out of its last footprint in which it had sunk more than
ankle-deep, moved it forward in front of the left and let her weight
come on it, there was a swishing, sucking, horrible sound in the sands
beneath her.

With all her might she tried to pull the right foot out again—and
couldn’t.

Neither could she dislodge the left one.

With her very first struggle she sank above her knees in the spongy
sands that still hissed as they sucked in water far down beneath the
treacherous surface.

“Help! Help! Oh-h, _help_! I’m—sinking!”

Her cry in its ghastly terror appealed to the sand-hills before her, to
everything in heaven and on earth, as it rose shrilly above the roar of
the surf on the Neck of the breakers upon the bar.



                               CHAPTER XV

                        IN THE QUICKSANDS’ GRIP


“That was a girl’s cry, Stack!” Kenjo Red—Kenjo the youthful signal-man
of the blazing broom performance—lifted his red head that flamed like a
beacon amid the wet drabness of the dunes and stopped digging with a
small shovel in the side of a sand-mound. “A—a girl’s cry!” he repeated,
startled.

“By George! it _was_. Somewhere the lace is screaming for help! A
woman—or a girl—must be drowning or sinking—somewhere!” Miles Stackpole
jumped to his feet as he spoke, a ludicrously sanded figure; he had
almost tunneled right through one sand-hill in a fevered search for the
buried treasure which, according to local tradition, had been hidden by
some hardy pirate of old among these wild sand-dunes.

The mumbled tale of the aged hunter after one-legged hen-clams to the
effect that, about a quarter of a century prior to this squally day,
certain gold and silver coins, a handful of them, stamped like no
coinage ever current in the United States, had been picked up on, or
near, this very spot, had infected Stack with the gold-fever, with a
get-rich-quick delirium that showed in his strained eyes as he held his
breath for a moment, trying to decide from what quarter came that
feminine cry.

Farther off a third figure stood at attention, too, listening with deep
snorts, gulping breaths, like those of a woodland moose whose long ear
is trained to catch a faint sound on the wind.

A strange, lithe figure this third in a rough blue shirt that showed a
brown, sinewy throat, high cowhide boots that reached to the knee, but
were as destitute of heels as a Camp Fire Girl’s moccasins, and a bright
red knitted cap fitting down over his head, with a scarlet tassel that
flirted with the young gust from the east as he stood on a low
sand-hill, alert to catch another cry.

Hardly the interval of three seconds elapsed before it came, quivering
with the same horrified, passionate terror as the first.

At its first appealing note Stack started off, dashing up the tunneled
sand-hill with long springs—like the wild deer that so often traversed
these lonely dunes—and down the sandy pyramid upon the other side,
landing, breathless, upon the narrow strip of beach for which Jessica
had been making. Thence he had a view of the broad, jutting point called
the Neck and of its flanking sandspits, brown areas of sand on which the
wild tide was slowly encroaching, and of something sticking up like a
dark stump from a sinister patch of sands, not thirty yards off, the
sinking figure of a girl in a dark sweater, already nearly buried to the
waist.

Without a shade of hesitation Miles Stackpole, Eagle Scout, made a
valiant dash for the wetter sands to reach that figure.

The agonized victim saw him coming. In a vague way she recognized him.
He had no green and red stripes, no rich points of color, embroidered
merit badges, upon his sleeve to-day, no swooping eagle upon his breast.
But he was the same tanned, eighteen-year-old lad who had taken the
heavy deaf-and-dumb child, swamped by a cargo of green apples, from her
dripping arms.

“Keep quiet! Don’t move!” he screamed to her. “More you struggle, faster
you sink! I’ll——”

The brave pledge of help was never given. At the moment when he was
within twenty feet of her, Jessica, transfixed, saw him rock and sway,
saw one side of him grow suddenly shorter, beheld him, with admirable
presence of mind, thrust his left leg out straight along the surface of
the sands instead of setting its foot down,, and throw his khaki-clad
body over to the left side, thus preventing his weight from falling upon
the right leg which had already sunk deep.

He was helpless, caught in a patch of watery quicksands worse, even,
than that which imprisoned her, seeing that the sucking sands gave way
under the first pressure and let the bottomless water ooze in down deep
beneath him.

In that position he was such a strange, in any other circumstances would
have been such a ludicrous, figure, swaying on one leg, with the other
stuck out level, like a performing acrobat or a barn-yard goose, that a
weird shriek of laughter, palsied by terror, rocked forth from the
girl’s throat.

Since she had seen the advent of this friendly human being from the
sand-hills her fear was not so distracted as it had been, at first, in
the drifting boat; whereas, if she had only known it, lying in a pool of
water in a dory’s bottom among breakers was safety itself compared with
her present peril.

In another few seconds, however, she felt the very framework of her
sinking body freeze and stiffen, her heart drop down—down—like a stone
which the quicksands swallowed before they devoured the rest of her, for
she saw that her would-be rescuer, caught by the leg, with his arms in
their khaki sleeves helplessly flapping like brown wings, fingers
clutching at air in a desperate attempt to preserve his acrobatic
position, was as powerless to extricate himself as she was—and, inch by
inch, she was silently sinking farther.

It was as if an invisible monster, with a painless knack, was eating
her, bit by bit, alive.

She looked beyond the swaying figure, shrunken upon one side, and saw a
bare red head; it seemed to her that in some different world, ages
before, she had seen that same red head on a boy outlined in the light
of an oily, blazing broom.

She shrieked to the head for help. But somebody fiendishly put a
restraining hand upon the shoulder belonging to the head and thrust the
boy’s figure back as it began to advance toward her.

And what was this third heartless being doing? He was running away from
her. Running up and down, this way and that, in frantic search, upon the
beach.

Then, all at once, she heard a shout from him, a sort of defiant bellow
wild as the roar of the southwesterly squall in which her sufferings had
begun, primitive as the thunder of the surf upon the bar:

“Hólà! Hol’ up! I come!”

Before that big shout the sucking sands seemed to tremble as death, at
times, cowers before Life.

It was Life, invincible Life, that was bearing down upon her now, as her
glazed eyes dimly saw, a figure instinct with life, courage and resource
from its high boots to the red, bobbing thing that danced like flame
about its head as it ran.

On his shoulder this strange being carried, like a feather, a ten-foot
plank, a stout piece of driftage which in his wild hither and thither
search he had picked up on the beach—the beach which, here and there,
was starred with silvery driftwood, just as were the Sugarloaf dunes,
much of it being traveled logs or planks, lumber-waifs, swept across the
bay from the mouth of some Maine river.

The red-crested being with the long thing on his shoulder came abreast
of the brown manly figure still balancing itself upon one leg in the
quicksands,—made a movement as if to lay down the plank as a bridge
toward it.

But the Eagle Scout, racked with the effort to keep his left leg stuck
out level upon the yielding surface, while his right had sunk to the
thigh, shrieked at him:

“Don’t mind me!... _Her!_”

And almost immediately thereupon Jessica felt two hoisting hands under
her armpits which were only a few inches above the sandy surface now. A
figure loomed beside her balancing itself upon the long plank laid down
over the watery sands, that brine-whitened plank supporting it in the
same way that long snow-shoes will support a man upon soft snow where,
without them, he would sink to his neck.

And now began the desperate tug of war between Life and Death, the fight
for a girl’s life!

Captain Andy had classed it as the one feat of rescue next to
impossible, to save a victim more than half of whose body had sunk in a
patch of quicksands. At another time he had spoken of those sands which
sucked in water beneath the surface as “clinging like a cat,” a clawed
wildcat, to anything on which they got a sucking hold.

He had told how they would grip an upright board partially sunk in them
as in a mould, so that no strength of his could dislodge it.

But if the sands held on to their prey like a wildcat, the being upon
the plank, with a ruddy tassel bobbing about his swarthy face, like a
live flame flickering out from the fire in his body, had the fierce
tenacity of a bulldog.

The froth came out upon his lip as he strained every sinew to raise the
girl’s body an inch, to lift her by her armpits and shoulders.

The breath fairly shrieked through his nostrils and open mouth with his
hoisting struggles, as if he were a derrick with a whining pulley inside
him.

He was a woodsman. In his veins coursed the irresistible life of the
woods which when the sap runs freely in the hidden roots of a young tree
will make it cleave the solid rock in order to find daylight and grow,
if every other outlet is denied it.

It was like cleaving the granite rock to draw this girl’s body,
three-parts sunken, back to daylight—a terrible duel between sand and
man—in which Jessica felt as if her arms were being torn quivering from
their sockets.

But, glory to Life! the man won.

Little by little the quicksands loosened their sucking hold; inch by
inch she was lifted until the sands had no further claim even upon her
feet in their soaking canvas shoes.

Then, free, she was borne along the bridging plank in the arms which had
rescued her and on over the sands to the very first firm spot, where she
was thrown down almost violently in the rescuer’s hurry to get back with
the plank to the aid of the Eagle Scout whose distorted body could not
maintain its crooked position any longer, even for dear life’s sake.

Jessica felt a boyish hand helping her to her feet, presently, and
guiding her along to the beach, she following blindly.

The boy’s head was very red, his face like chalk.

“Oh!” he said, and she recognized Kenjo’s voice. “_Oh-h!_ if Toiney
hadn’t been here, you’d have kept on going an’ going—you’d have sunk out
o’ sight in five minutes. I—I couldn’t ha’ got out to you, after Stack
got stuck!”

“‘Five minutes!’” The girl stopped and stared at him wildly, snatching
her hand away. “Oh, I should think you’d know enough not to say a thing
like that—to me!”

Her nerves gave way. She threw herself down on the drying beach and
sobbed and sobbed as she had never cried even in childhood when,
according to her Cousin Anne, she had the happiest child-disposition in
the world, when she took her gaiety to bed with her, played a “flower
game” with her mother at night and won the name of Morning-Glory.

The Morning-Glory had been through too sore a storm to lift its head for
a while; it cowered, beaten and draggled upon its vine: in other words,
Jessica, wet to the skin through her heavy sweater, sand-coated from her
shoulders to her canvas toes, curled down upon the beach, her cold cheek
pillowed upon its safe sands and utterly refused to be comforted.

In vain the two Boy Scouts assured her that she was all right now, that
just as soon as she got over her fright they would take her to their Boy
Scout Camp away off among the dunes or, better still, to another summer
camp, not so distant, where there were women and she could get some dry
clothes, because “we don’t want to rig a Camp Fire Girl up as a boy!”
said Kenjo half-bashfully.

The overwrought girl paid no heed to them. At last as the nervous storm
spent itself, she lifted her head a little and noticed sitting before
her on the beach a figure in a blue shirt with a close-fitting red,
tasseled cap upon its head and a long plank at its feet.

It was Toiney, her lithe, sinewy figure rescuer, whom she had heard
Kenjo laud as being “queer stuff, but _the_ stuff,” on the evening that
Ken and his brother Scout who imagined himself poisoned had spent at the
girls’ camp on the Sugarloaf.

Vaguely she remembered hearing Kenjo say that this Toiney was a
French-Canadian with a little remote strain of Indian blood in him, who
gave the Scouts lessons in wood-craft, trailing and tracking.

Presently Toiney glanced round at her and muttered consolingly in the
funniest jumble of dialect French and broken English: “Tiens! ma fille,
t’as pas besoin to _cryee_—engh?” Then he began to relieve his feelings
by softly abusing the quicksands. “Ach, diable! she’s devil quicksan’,”
he gurgled. “_She’s_ bad, dam’ devil quicksan’!” the flicking of his red
tassel lending color to the curses.

“Oh! don’t call the—the quicksands ‘she’!” Morning-Glory suddenly sat
up, indignant on behalf of her sex, a little hysterical spasm of
laughter contending with her sobs; because she was no pure, passionless
flower, but a very human girl, it did her a rousing lot of good to hear
the quicksands called bad names, after their treating her so meanly when
the sea had cast her ashore among them.

“Engh?” Toiney grunted questioningly as he looked over his blue shoulder
at her. “Sapré! w’at time I’ll see you sink in her, I’ll t’ink I see
two, t’ree girl go down!”

“Oh! one was enough.” Jessica’s laugh pattered now between her
chattering teeth, like sunlit hail through rain; she understood her
rescuer’s description of the dazed horror in which he had sought up and
down for a saving plank.

“How on earth did you come to be by yourself on that lonely part of the
Neck—and so wet, too?” asked Miles Stackpole whose skin had not the
golden hue at this minute that it showed when he worked for the
resuscitation of little, deaf-and-dumb Rebecca; instead it betrayed a
greenish tinge around the edges of his tan; three or four minutes of
being trapped by one leg in wicked quicksands, knowing that the other
limb, stretched out along their sucking surface, was very slowly
sinking, too, that he would certainly be swallowed up alive if help did
not come, and quickly, was no enviable experience.

And he understood the peril better than the girl-victim upon whose
sand-plastered, draggled condition he now looked with chivalrous pity
while he questioned her.

“I was out in a rowboat, alone, on the river when the squall came on; I
lost an oar—I hope the other one is in the dory still; they were such
pretty oars, all painted over on blades and handles with our Camp Fire
symbols—at first I wanted to stand up in the boat and yell and yell—I
was so frightened—for it was just frightfully rough; it seemed every
minute as if the waves would roll the dory over, topsy-turvy. But I
remembered that”—the girl’s voice was still broken and breathless—“that
Captain Andy told us Camp Fire Girls that if one of us was ever caught
in such a predicament and couldn’t row, the only hope was to flatten
oneself to a flounder in the dory’s bottom. Well! I did—and a pretty wet
flounder I was.”

“Then that sou’westerly squall swept the boat down the river, I suppose,
before the wind shifted round to the east,” suggested Stack. “Were you
cast ashore on the Neck?”

“I felt the dory’s bottom touch—then d’you suppose ’twould take me long
to _flounder_ out of her?” chuckled the girl. The Morning-Glory spirit,
the little touch of humor, though draggled, was reviving in her.

“If it hadn’t been for hearing your voices among the dunes I might have
got along all right, for Captain Andy had warned us about quicksands and
said ‘they’d fool you,’ so I crept along on all fours, at first, after
landing, teetering this way an’ that—you might have taken me for a seal
if you’d seen me from a distance!” laughing shakily.

“But ’twas all so wild and lonely!” with a gasp. “I wanted to get where
the voices were. And”—a sudden recollection came to her,—she dimpled
mischievously—“I heard you shout to each other about digging—digging for
buried treasure—Kenjo told us what the very old man who was hunting
hen-clams said about strange coins being picked up near here.... I saw
something bright, like silver, flashing after the rain, in the side of
that sand-hill there—I thought I might get ahead of you....”

“_Where_ was it?” Stack was up like an arrow; the gold-microbe working
in him again as an antidote to the quicksands’ scare. “Can you show me
where it was?”

He moistened his lips eagerly.

Morning-Glory, appealed to thus, dragged herself, with his help, to her
feet; the eyes which were so like her great-grandfather’s in the old
miniature searched gravely the side of the sand-pyramid.

“No, I can’t—see—it—now. Ye-es, I do, though!There it is!” She pointed
triumphantly to a sparkle in one of the wind-hollowed grooves of the wet
sand-hill.

“Where? Where? Yes, I see—I’m on to it now!”

Stack was ploughing up the sodden sand-peak, in his drab gaiters and
sand-coated khaki, only a shade less quickly than he had crossed it a
few minutes before on hearing the girl’s cry for help.

He reached the sandy niche of the “bright shell,” stooped and picked up
something.

Those below saw him reel as he looked at it, as if he had a sunstroke.

The next minute dunes, beach, Neck, sands-pits—the very quicksands
themselves—rang with a new cry, wild, amazed, whooping, triumphant.

“_Oh-h!_ let’s go an’ see what it is—what he’s found!” gasped the girl
who had seen the bright thing from afar.

“I guess you won’t find it easy climbing in those wet clothes! Here, let
me help you!” volunteered Kenjo, aflame all over with a curiosity
greater than Boy Scout had ever known before.

Up the wet sand-mound they plodded. Toiney, picking up the dwarf-stemmed
pipe which he had thrown away in his search for a plank, arose and
followed them.

“My eye! Stack’s gone clean daffy over something,” panted Kenjo.

Well might he gasp; Miles Stackpole, Eagle Scout, was yelling like a
Comanche, dancing like a madman among the wet, plumy beach-grass that
thatched the tall sand-mound.

“What is it? What have you found?” The foremost climbers, hand in hand,
were stumbling, tripping—shrieking in a clamorous duet.

“Oh! look and see. Our fortune’s made! There must—_must_ be more where
this came from!”

That which the finder held out to his companions, that which the
sou’westerly squall had unearthed, unsanded, rather, upon the side of
this wet sand-dune was a large, antique silver coin of a size and stamp
such as neither Boy Scouts nor Camp Fire Girl had ever seen before, even
in their dreams of fairy-land.



                              CHAPTER XVI

                             THE SUN-DOLLAR


“My word! it’s stamped with a sunburst on one side, on the other with a
ship.”

“Yes, and with a burning mountain an’ a horn thrown in!” Kenjo’s tongue
clicked against the roof of his mouth with excitement as he replied to
the shrieked comment from Miles.

“A sunburst and a ship!” Jessica clasped her hands wildly; she too began
to foot it upon the sandy hillside, to dance, not lightly as a
foam-chicken, but heavily as a very wet and draggled one on the skirts
of the still dripping vegetation. “Oh, _wasn’t_ it queer that I should
be the one to find it, for our Camp Fire Girls’ symbol is the Sun—and I
have always loved _ships_?” She did not mention the source of her
affection for sailing ships in the glamor that surrounded the figure of
her great-grandparent, as she looked eagerly, greedily at the large
silver coin lying on Stack’s brown palm, winking up at a fellow-sunburst
in the sky where fair weather was beginning to reassert itself.

[Illustration: A large, antique silver coin of a size and stamp such as
neither Boy Scout nor Camp Fire Girl had ever seen before.]

But the Eagle Scout showed no inclination to hand over to her the coin.
He only began to gesticulate and explain the situation to Toiney whose
tassel had, forthwith, a bobbing spasm.

“Houp-e-la! Ciel! he fin’ de dolla’—de silvare dolla’—_l’argent blanc_.”
Now it was Toiney’s turn to waltz on the hillside, with his tassel. “He
fin’ _l’argent blanc_! Ain’ he de smarty?” looking excitedly at Stack.
“Ciel! I’ll go forre dig, too, me. Oh!

                          “Rond! Rond! Rond!
                          Petit pie pon ton!”

With this wild roundelay, which had no sane meaning whatever, upon his
lip, Toiney turned his clay pipe which had about an inch and a half of
stem—his _petit boucane_, as he called it—upside down between his lips
and fell to clawing at the sands with his swarthy hands as if he would
root the very heart out of this rich sand-hill.

That was the digging signal for the other three!

The Camp Fire Girl forgot that she was wet through and that others must
be anxious about her. Stack forgot that he had ever roosted on one leg
in quicksands. Kenjo forgot that he was Kenjo and possessed a red head.
One and all they clawed with their fingers, dug and scraped with heels
and toes, until the sodden sand-hill looked as if a regiment of
roosters, each with an attendant flock of hens, had pecked and wallowed
there for a week.

“There must—_must_ be more where this coin came from!” Such was their
battle-cry; now and again one or other of them sounded it.

Now and again, too, each one had a lucid interval of demanding to see
the sunburst coin anew, to examine afresh its stamp and half-obliterated
inscription.

Miles—otherwise Stack—would then take it from his vest pocket and turn
it over on his palm; he did not want it to go out of his keeping, which
Jessica privately thought was very mean of him, as she claimed the
distinction of seeing it first and had paid dearly for that initial
glimpse, too.

“And I persuaded myself it was only a piece of glass or a bright shell!”
she exclaimed from time to time, having the feminine trick of reverting
to mistakes. “Can you make out the date on it?” she demanded very
practically after one such reversion.

“No, I can’t!” Stack examined the coin more critically than he had yet
taken the time to do in his frantic eagerness to find more. “The last
figures look like a 3 and an 8. But it might be 1638 or 1838—date’s
partly worn off. Houp-la! wasn’t it somewhere about 1638 that Captain
Kidd was flourishing? My history’s hazy. Gee—if we’re on the track of
some of _his_ buried treasure when other people have been digging for
ages and consulting all sorts of fake fortune-tellers and never even got
upon the trail of a hoard!”

“We consulted the Indian top.” Kenjo’s voice had a thrill of
semi-superstition.

“Yes, but the Kullibígan couldn’t make up its mind which of us would dig
up a fortune from the sands; you came in on it, so did I, so did
Arline—that’s nothing!” Thus Jessica laughed him down. “Wait a minute!”
She caught at Miles’s arm. “I want to see if I can make out more of the
inscription before you put it—the coin—back into your pocket again. You
needn’t be so afraid that some one is going to snap it out of your
hand!” haughtily.

Thus shamed, Stack suspended digging for an age-long interval of a
minute and held the coin on lingering exhibition, right and obverse
sides.

“Oh! isn’t it a dandy sunburst, with stars above it?” So Jessica gloated
over its ancient stamp. “I can partly make out the inscription over the
sunburst, too: it’s REPUB—then something else, and then PERUANA. I can
read that clearly, but not the rest.”

“Underneath the letters look like CUZCO,” spelled out Kenjo. “And—oh!
don’t be stingy, Stack; let’s look at it a minute longer—and in the
middle of the sunburst there are a few black dots that seem to be meant
for the two eyes, the nose and mouth of a face—a queer sun-face! Oh! Ha!
Ha!” Ken’s boyish laugh rang out with a fire that matched his hair.

“Now for the reverse side: the ship is on that,” pleaded Jessica
hungrily.

“Yes, and the volcano and the horn—an’ something like a castle!”
muttered Miles. “But we’re _wasting time_!” The coin vanished again into
his pocket. “It’s me for digging, I tell you—digging hard! If we can
find some more—a hoard of them—our fortune’s made.... I’d be glad to
have _my_ fortune made for me,” he continued, presently, out of the
heart of a sand-spout; “I enter ‘Tech’ in the fall and for the next four
years I’ll have to work all vacation-time in order to push myself
through—help pay college expenses. Oh, goody, if this coin and others
would only lend me a boost!”

“I need a ‘boost,’ as you call it, too; I’ll have to earn my own living
when I graduate from high school, with no one to help me,” quavered
Jessica, shivering all over in her wetness, beginning to realize that,
back of frenzied excitement, she was very clammy and exhausted. “And—and
I can’t earn my living in the way I’d like to do unless I get hold of
some money!” She fell to scratching like a wet hen.

Stack looked at her through the sand-squall which he was raising; this
was the second time that he had seen her and on both occasions her
clothing looked as if she had been dragged through a river, but he
decided that if she were ever dry she’d be pretty, and if, after he
entered Tech, he was duly elected to his chosen fraternity, she should
be his guest during Frat week when the freshmen entertained their
friends.

Here he came out of fairy-land, fortune-land, for a moment, to hear the
distant, strong chug, chug of a motor-boat upon the river above the
Neck.

“If I get rich out of this, I’m going to have a motorcycle,” burst forth
Kenjo, that distant chug shaping _his_ dream.

                          “Rond! Rond! Rond!”

chanted Toiney; he did not open his heart like the young people, but as
he incessantly clawed and dug, he had dreams, pathetic in their
grandeur, about swaggering back to a rural spot near Quebec, where his
old mother still clattered round in wooden shoes, as one who had made
“_beeg fortune_ on United State’.”

Never before were such silvery air-castles constructed out of so little
metal as that contained in one tarnished coin—a coin of a goodly size,
however, larger than a fifty-cent piece, almost as big as an American
dollar.

Suddenly through the glittering halls of those castles in the air
resounded an earthly shout that, momentarily, shattered them; it was
accompanied by a swish of oars; the chug, chug of the power-boat had
ceased.

“Ahoy there! For heaven’s sake! have you all turned into a _passel_ of
hens?” It was Captain Andy’s amazed shout as he landed from his rowboat
on a point of the sands which experience had taught him to be safe. “I’m
after one hen, to take her back with me!” pointing to the scratching
Jessica. “A nice scare she’s given us all—I found the dory bobbing up
the river. An’ by gracious! my heart’s been in my mouth since. What in
thunder are you diggin’ like that for? Mad as March hares, all of you!”

“Humph! Perhaps we’re not so crazy as you think. Look at that!” With a
lordly air Stack drew out the coin and held it forth in its silver
beauty, stained and worn by long burial, for the captain to see, as he
drew near. “What d’you think of our madness now?” He gulped and gasped.

“Why! Why! It’s one of those old sun-dollars!” Captain Andy, receiving
it upon his own palm and turning it over (Stack was not afraid to trust
it to _him_), looked pleased, highly pleased, and interested, but not
wildly carried away as befitted one who held the first-fruit of a
fortune in his hand.

“One of those old Peruvian sun-dollars from the wreck that took place
here between sixty an’ seventy years ago, when I was a small boy!” he
exclaimed again. “It’s a handsome coin, all right! But if you dig till
all’s blue, I’ll warrant you’ll never find another of ’em, or if you
should, ’twould be only one at a time an’ far between; the river isn’t
giving back enough of them together to make anybody rich; an’ the river
only got _one_ bag of those coins when the old brig went to pieces!”

“Sun-dollar! Wreck! Brig! What wreck?” The challenging cries were hurled
at him by two stiffening, defiant boys and one clucking, scratching
girl. “Come to think of it, that old clam-hunter did mumble something
about a wreck!” added Stack in crestfallen reflection.

“Yes, it’s goin’ on for seventy years ago, now, that a sailing vessel, a
brig from South Peru, which had many bags of these an’ other Peruvian
coins, both gold an’ silver, aboard—was rich in specie, as they say—was
wrecked in the bay, outside the bar. The gale drove her up the river;
I’ve often heard about it; my father was one o’ the men who put off in
rowboats to rescue the crew an’ they did save ’em all, though ’twas
night, and saved most o’ the money-bags, too. But one bag of coins fell
into the river, when they were lowering it in the dark into a boat.
Folks dragged the channel with nets for it afterward, but that
river-channel,” pointing out toward the middle of the heaving tide where
his motor-boat rocked, moored to a stump-buoy, “is so ‘studdled’ up with
hollows an’ gullies that you never can recover anything from it that it
doesn’t give up of its own accord, when wind and tide make it.”

Captain Andy looked from the sunburst coin to the three young
faces—sorry at heart that with his cruel crowbar of truth he must
shatter their castles—and at Toiney digging still, digging patiently on.

“Storm-wind and tide did make the river-bed give up a few of those
coins, three or four, maybe; they were picked up near this spot by a man
I know a long time after the wreck took place. Now! you’ve found
another, but I guess that’s all you’ll find if you dig till Doomsday.
This is a pretty souvenir, though! Who’s to keep it?” Captain Andy
turned the coin over in his hand and looked at Jessica who had
hopelessly given up scratching and was ready to accompany him to the
rowboat, thence out to the waiting motor-boat and from there, in a quick
run, back to the Sugarloaf, her Camp Fire Sisters and Camp
Morning-Glory.

“I saw it first,” proclaimed the girl, eagerly eyeing the sun-dollar.

“I picked it up,” said the boy, with greed in his claiming eye—in spite
of the fact that he was eighteen years old and an Eagle Scout.

He had risked his life for the girl by dashing out among the quicksands
at her cry. He had come very near giving it by sinking altogether when
he refused to be rescued first. And yet he was unwilling that she should
have the treasure trove, the sunburst coin. He took it from Captain
Andy’s hand, from Captain Andy whose code of chivalry, now and always,
might be summed up in three words: “Skirts go ahead;” in land speech,
“Ladies have the preference!”

“I don’t care! _He_ can keep it if he wants to!”

Jessica tossed her head with its loose tangle of wet hair.

So indignant was she at this greed for possession, this covetousness on
the part of an Eagle Scout, or any other Scout, that she marched off
down to the rowboat, ahead of Captain Andy, without thinking of saying
good-bye to Toiney, her rescuer, and without as much as casting a glance
at the miserly Miles who had played the acrobat on one leg amid
quicksands for her sake!

                  *       *       *       *       *

“Well! if he isn’t the Meanest Thing!” So spoke Betty Ayres as she
twirled an egg-beater upon the following morning before a glowing stove
in the kitchen of Camp Morning-Glory. “Eagle Scout, indeed! I’d like to
whip _him_ instead of these yolks.”

“Yes, keeping that beautiful, big old silver coin after you had seen it
first! And he seemed so—so different when he worked over that dumb child
to bring her to!” flamed Sally.

“Oh! you _never_ can tell about boys; you never can understand them,”
sighed Arline, airing the time-worn complaint of each sex about the
other.

“I understand a lot about them; I’ve three brothers and I cured the
Astronomer,” maintained Penelope sturdily. “I doubt if Tenderfoot Tommy
would have acted like that.”

“A letter for somebody! A Scout gave it to me to give to you!” Captain
Andy—otherwise “Standing Tall,” ducked his head through the broad screen
door and handed a thick envelope to Jessica, who looked pale, red-eyed
and snuffled a little, but, beyond that, was none the worse for
yesterday’s experiences. “The chap who gave it to me got up early an’
rowed over from the opposite dunes. There’s something in it, I think!”
added Menokigábo, with a twinkle in his eye.

“Girls! it’s the coin—the silver sunburst coin!” Jessica tore open the
envelope; inside were some hastily written lines, without any
conventional beginning:

    “The sun-dollar belongs to you. You saw it first. Sorry I
    behaved like a chump yesterday! I have put your initials in a
    little monogram under the sunburst and got in the date of this
    year, too, when it was found, in tiny figures at the side.

    “I found out what the name-letters were from Kenjo who says that
    he heard your name in full on the evening that he signaled to us
    from your camp.

    “A Scout is honorable!

                                                            “MILES.”

“Well—if he isn’t splendid!”

“He must be a fine fellow!”

“We want to meet him.”

“So you will when the Camp Fire Girls of the Twin-Light Tribe give that
party at the hotel on the mainland!”

Captain Andy withdrew, smiling to himself at the new feminine flutter,
the abrupt change of tune.

“But if that isn’t just like a boy”—this from Betty—“a boy’s one idea of
owning anything is to carve initials upon it! I believe he’d scratch
them on the pearly gates of heaven if he could only find his way there
and set up a claim for himself or somebody else!”

“Never mind! Isn’t it a beautiful old sunburst coin?” Jessica winked
away a bright drop of moisture as she passed the sun-dollar round for
inspection. “It really was quite too awfully good of him to give it up,
wasn’t it?” with a little catch of delight in her throat.

“I believe that, in his place, I’d have been tempted to think that
possession is nine points of the law,” laughed Olive. “But for a Camp
Fire Girl belonging to a society whose general symbol is the sun, that
silver sunburst coin is the loveliest souvenir of her camping-out
time—so appropriate!”

“So appropriate,” echoed its lucky possessor, smiling like the gayest
morning-glory that ever fluttered in a morning gust which awoke it to
the sun, “so appropriate that do you know what I’m going to do, girls?”
rising on ecstatic tiptoe.

“I know!” nodded fair-haired Betty with the air of a cynic. “You’re
thinking of getting Captain Andy to bore a little hole in it and wearing
it round your neck for a while. ’Fess, now!”

“Ha! Betty means to insinuate that if a boy’s one idea of owning a thing
is to carve a name or initials upon it, a girl’s first thought is to use
it to make her look more ‘fetching’—eh?” Sally pointed an accusing
finger at Betty. “I wouldn’t be sarcastic if I were you, ‘Holly’!”

“But that’s just what I did think of doing with it,” owned
Morning-Glory, subsiding to the soles of her feet again. “With the
exception of my Fire Maker’s bracelet,” holding up her rounded right
arm, “and my fagot ring, I have little or no jewelry, as the rest of you
girls have. If it was only forty or fifty years ago, now, I could wear
that beautiful old miniature of my great-grandfather—it’s set in real
gold. As I can’t, I’d like to wear this,” gloating over the large silver
disc from which Miles had removed the stain of long burial ere he finely
engraved or, rather, scratched the girl-owner’s monogram upon it with
the sharpest blade of his penknife so skilfully that it really did not
mar by incongruity the quaint beauty of the radiating sunburst, having
the queer old sun-face, like a microscopic mask in the center.

“Well, I’d wear it as a pendant if I wanted to! I’ve got a thin little
silver chain, Jess, that I’ll lend you while we’re here,” volunteered
Arline. “Pouf!” blowing scorn on Betty’s sarcastic scruples. “Why! it’s
hardly any bigger than the silver medals which some of the high school
girls wear in the spring in honor of their boy friends, in athletics,
who have won them on the track team or in the high jump or some other
event.”

“To be sure! People will only think that I have a friend who came in
second in the mile or half-mile at ‘interscholastics.’” Morning-Glory
fluttered gaily again upon the highest tendril of joy’s vine. “I paid
dearly for being the first to see the old coin,” with a momentary
shudder. “Now I may have the pleasure of wearing it to that party which
the Twin-Light Tribe is going to give at which we’ll play old-fashioned
games—dance old-fashioned dances—all the girls who don’t belong to our
‘Morning-Glory Tribe’ will just keep guessing and guessing as to what
sort of new-fangled athletic medal it is!”



                              CHAPTER XVII

                          A MONOGRAM ON A COIN


But no Camp Fire Girl or Boy Scout, either, who assembled at the
invitation of the Twin-Light Tribe at an hotel upon the mainland of the
Massachusetts North Shore, indulged in any wild or random guesses about
the large, silver disc, curiously stamped with a sunburst, which rose
and fell with the excited breathing of one happy girl of the
Morning-Glory Tribe when she put in an appearance at the long-expected
party.

The Twin-Light Tribe was an enthusiastic band of Camp Fire Girls who had
taken their name from the twin lights, the two golden, saving eyes of a
lighthouse guarding their shore.

Being eager for the obtaining of new honor-beads to string upon the
leather thongs about their girlish necks, they had arranged to give a
large party at which the girls and boys would be equal in number, where
all the youthful guests should take part in at least two old-fashioned
dances—the boys being instructed on the spur of the moment by the girls
if they could not skilfully foot it already in the old-time figures of
“Pop Goes the Weasel,” “Chorus Jig,” or any two more stately American
dances popular long ago.

For this achievement every participating member of the Twin-Light Tribe
was to receive a red, white, and blue honor for patriotism, a
distinction which might have been extended to the father of one of them
who put the ballroom of the seaside hotel of which he was manager at the
service of the Camp Fire Girls for a certain evening and who lent
generous aid, too, along the lines of refreshments.

The large room was radiant with electric bulbs disguised as Chinese and
Japanese lanterns which pointed many a rainbowed finger of light at the
silver sun-dollar gleaming upon Jessica’s breast when she entered the
hall. But nobody, neither the benevolent manager nor the guests,
all—with the exception of Scoutmasters and Camp Fire Guardians—under
twenty, was ignorant by this time of the details of its strange
discovery.

Two of the Boy Scouts, going for milk to a farmhouse beyond the dunes
where their camp was situated, upon the evening of the most terrible and
exciting day in the life of one Camp Fire Girl, Jessica Dee Holley, had
told about the finding of the old coin in the wet side of a sand-hill.

The farmer from whom they procured their milk reported the news at the
nearest post-office when he drove round with his full cans next morning.
The postmaster telephoned it to a newspaper reporter. Inside of
thirty-six hours practically the whole of Wessex County, Massachusetts,
knew that another of the old sun-stamped Peruvian _pesos_, lost from the
South American brig wrecked off the coast nearly three-quarters of a
century before, had been found by two Boy Scouts and by a girl who had
been swept down the tidal river in a squall in an opposite direction to
that taken by the drifting brig which the furious gale of long ago had
driven in from the bay, over the bar, to break to pieces in the river.

Even the few resident guests still staying on at the hotel, now that
September had set in, had heard or read the story, too, touched up by a
reporter’s imagination, and were anxious to meet the heroine of the
drifting dory accident who to-night wore the beautiful old _peso_, or
dollar, on a silver chain around her neck.

“There’s a man out there in the hotel corridor who says he’s interested
in old coins. I was talking to him just now; he’s like all the rest; he
wants to see the sun-dollar,” remarked Miles Stackpole, Eagle Scout, to
the coin’s possessor, looking down at the silver sunburst dangling upon
the breast of her white dress.

At this patriotic party the Scouts, by request, wore their uniform.
Miles was resplendent with all his merit badges below the service
stripes upon his right sleeve; the American Eagle in silver swooped from
the red, white and blue ribbon hanging from the silver bar upon his left
breast. On his collar was embroidered in dull gold B. S. A.: Boy Scouts
of America; together with the number of the troop to which he belonged.

Other lads from his camp numbering over twenty, including Kenjo and the
fat Astronomer, looked debonair and smart in their khaki uniforms, too.

But the Camp Fire Girls had, for to-night, abandoned their
leather-fringed khaki; they were not in ceremonial dress; each wore a
conventional party-frock or the fairest apology for one which she
happened to have brought with her to camp, the girlish costumes ranging
widely from Olive Deering’s frilled yellow silk in which she looked like
a chrysanthemum, the first of the season, to Sally’s white skirt and
orange smock, minus the saucy Tam—wherein she was again the little
Baltimore oriole of the city playground—and to Penelope’s white duck
skirt and “fancy” waist which the girls had between them fashioned for
her, having ruled out her old “black and white warbler” attire with the
faded girdle.

“There! the piano is just striking up ‘Pop Goes the Weasel’ now,” went
on Miles after an interval during which Jessica had expressed a happy
willingness that the hotel guest who was interested in venerable coins
should have his desire gratified and examine the sun-dollar. “You and I
are to dance this together in the leading set. After it’s over, we’ll
put the sunburst coin on exhibition.”

“Pop Goes the Weasel! Dear me! the last time I danced it was on a public
playground with that poor little deaf-and-dumb foreign child whom,
between us, we rescued from drowning in the shallow bathing-pool,”
murmured Morning-Glory, in fancy seeing little Rebecca’s big-eyed face
under the Chinese lantern above her. “Ha! there’s Captain Andy looking
in at us, with the hotel guests; he paid me the ‘dandiest’ compliment
that day, so the girls told me”—laughing merrily—“he said I was so light
on my feet that I danced like a Mother Carey chicken on a foam hill;
what d’you think of that?”

“Well, I bet you do! I can tell better, though, after the Weasel has
popped,” laughed Stack, as this leading couple in the leading set stood
with arms arched for a gay little dancer (it happened to be orchard
Kitty who had been duly instructed beforehand in the popping figures) to
pass beneath.

Never did a weasel pop to a finish more triumphantly; never did the
large handsomely decorated room where fashionable seashore visitors held
revel during the summer echo and reëcho to happier laughter, more joyous
dance-cries; never certainly did its decorative panels smile upon a
company so fraught with promise for the future of their native land as
this assemblage of Scouts in khaki and their Camp Fire Sisters.

“Now, when you’ve rested, we’ll exhibit the _peso_, the Peruvian
sun-dollar, to all who want to see it!” suggested Miles when the dance
was over and he was fanning his partner with his broad hat, to be worn
later when the Boy Scouts were to give an exhibition, go through some
drilling and signaling “stunts” for the entertainment of their
hostesses.

“I’m rested now, but don’t show it off to too many people at once,”
pleaded the girl shyly. “If they’re hotel guests bring them one by one
or two at a time—I hate facing a crowd!”

Stack divined that she did not want to run the gauntlet of many
questions about her experiences on the day when she had been a castaway
on the Neck and espied the coin-waif, from the wreck of long ago,
flashing from its wet niche in a sand-hill.

“All right!” he agreed. “We’ll hold a reception for the sun’s face on
the sun-dollar, though if I was the sun I’d boycott Peru forever—never
shine on ’em again—for caricaturing me like that! I’ll usher guests in
one by one; ladies first, then that lawyer-chap to whom I was speaking a
while ago who’s interested in coins.” Miles nodded toward a tall, thin
man lounging just inside the doorway of the room.

“Did he tell you he was a lawyer?”

“Not in so many words, but he said that he was only resting at this
hotel for a day or two and that, then, he was going on to old
Newburyport on the Merrimac River, thirty or forty roundabout miles from
here, on a quest that was not exactly legal business; he did not say
what sort of search it was, but why should he mention that it wasn’t a
legal matter if he wasn’t side-stepping his own line, eh?” beamed Miles,
fanning more vehemently with his Scout’s hat.

“Newburyport! Old Newburyport—the only Newburyport in the United
States!” sighed the girl. “I have been wanting all summer long to go
there; my great-gran’father lived there once; at least, he used to sail
out of Newburyport on his long voyages to the West Indies; he went all
round the world sometimes.”

This was the gayest evening of her life, the most utterly happy one
since she had lost her parents, yet as young Stackpole went off to
summon the lawyer who was “side-stepping his own legal line” by taking
up with some matter outside it, she felt as if her heart shrank until it
was the size of a peanut, squeezed by poverty’s iron hand; she had not
been able even to afford the train fare to Newburyport, a town in the
same State, without imposing on Cousin Anne.

“Never mind, it won’t always be so; I’ll soon be independent, earning
money in some way, even among a storm of typewriters! And I’ll always
have the silver sunburst to remind me of this happy summer and that, as
a Camp Fire Girl, I’m a daughter of the Sun,” she murmured to herself
even as her hand went up to the back of her neck to unfasten Arline’s
silver chain, in order that the stranger might examine her coin-pendant
closely.

“It certainly is a most beautiful specimen of Peruvian coinage,” that
stranger was exclaiming presently after Miles had duly introduced him to
its owner. “Do you mind if I take it over there to the farther end of
the room where there are some electric lights that aren’t dressed up
like Chinese mandarins, so’s to see it better?”

“Not at all!” they agreed and followed him like happy children, Miles
and Jessica.

Several of Jessica’s Camp Fire Sisters of the Morning-Glory Tribe,
hovering around their sweet-faced Guardian, also migrated to that far
end of the long room where there were no swinging, red-and-yellow,
mandarin lights; so did two or three of the Scouts, with Captain Andy,
looming massive in this hall of revelry, at their heels.

“Yes, I don’t think these South Peruvian _pesos_ were issued after
1838,” remarked the lawyer, his words dropping clearly into the heart of
the lull between the music and dances. “I can make out the inscription
above the sun-stamp fairly well: ‘_Repub Sud Peruana_,’ and that
grotesque little sun-face—like a microscopic All-hallowe’en face—at the
heart of the sunburst. But—but what is this fresh engraving, if you can
call it so, beneath it?”

“My initials in a tiny monogram,” laughed Jessica. “He put them
there”—glancing up at Miles—“in honor of my seeing it first.”

“What _Philistinism_! What youthful arrogance!” gasped the lawyer half
under his breath. “Why, it spoils the ancient stamp!” angrily.

“Not so! I made too slick a job of it for that!” maintained the
eighteen-year-old Scout, with a chuckle, not caring in the least that an
elderly lawyer who was “side-stepping his own job” should denounce his
act as that of a spoiling Philistine; nobody else of the group or
throng, now augmented by almost every young person in the room, exactly
caught the stranger’s words and meaning, with the exception of the Camp
Fire Guardian.

“I’ll wager no silversmith could have done it better with the tool I
had, the fine blade of my penknife,” boasted Stack, peering down at the
minute, intertwined letters under the sunburst; “you see they were easy
letters to weave into a monogram: J. D. H.: Jessica Dee Holley!”

“Dee! Dee! Is your middle name _Dee_?” The irate lawyer’s expression
changed as if a flash of lightning from the electric bulbs overhead
struck him. “Dee!” he reiterated. “It’s not a common surname; I have, as
yet, only got upon the track of a few families of that name. And I
can’t—I can’t go about asking every one I meet what his or her middle
name is, if it happens to begin with D.” He looked appealingly at
Jessica, shifting the old coin upon his wrinkled palm.

“No, of course not.” Morning-Glory did not know whether to laugh or
hide; she thought he was slightly deranged and edged a little closer to
Miles.

“I’m going on to Newburyport on the Merrimac River in a day or two, to
see whether I can, in person, get upon the trail of any Dees whose
ancestors lived there,” went on the man who was on a “side-stepping”
quest.

“Well! you needn’t go any farther,” proclaimed Stack excitedly, his Boy
Scout’s trained detective-instinct leading him to believe that there was
“something in the wind.” “Do some pumping—I mean questioning—here first!
Miss Holley’s middle name is Dee and she has just told me that her
great-grandfather—on her mother’s side, I suppose—came from Newburyport.
He was a sea-captain.”

“A sea-captain!” More lightning struck the lawyer, so it seemed; he made
a few prancing, forward steps. “Was he drowned?”

“Yes, in the year 1840, so Mother told me.” There was the germ of a sob
in Jessica’s answer; she did not take kindly to abrupt questioning about
this heroic, handsome ancestor whose memory she idolized.

“What was his name, his full name—may I ask?”

“Captain Josiah Flint Dee, sir.” The great-grandchild spoke the name
proudly, although she was beginning to tremble and shiver, she didn’t
know why; was it possible that the ancestor whose dimpled chin, blue
eyes and live smile—preserved on ivory all these years—had been the
living companion of her loneliest, _sorrowfulest_ hours, was
really—really—coming alive, at last, in some deed of his, to bless her?

Not for an instant was she so disloyal to the gallant shoulders and the
fine head in the old miniature as to imagine that any deed of his could
shame her.

So she threw back her own brown head and looked the queer questioner,
who was still holding her sun-dollar upon his palm, straight in the eye
as she added:

“Yes, my great-grandfather’s name is written in a small Bible that I
have, which was printed very long ago, in which an s is formed like an
f,” with a catch of the breath. “My grandfather’s name is written on the
fly-leaf, too, and my grandmother’s and my mother’s.”

“All named Dee! Well! Well! And I might never have found that out, might
never have thought of questioning you—for, of course, I can’t go about
asking people _what their middle names are_—if it hadn’t been for your
monogram scratched on this old coin.”

“‘Youthful arrogance,’ eh?” quoted Miles with a wink, flinging the words
back in the lawyer’s teeth. “I call it a heaven-sent inspiration if
there’s anything back of your questions, sir!” The Eagle Scout darted an
eagle look, but a respectful one at the same time, at the elderly legal
stranger.

“If there is any purpose back of ’em, I say go ahead an’ drive it—no
more bushwhacking—you’re upsetting the little girl and holding up the
dancing—spoiling the party!” threw in Captain Andy with a paternal look
at Jessica who was now leaning against her Camp Fire Guardian.

“Why! of course there’s a purpose back of them,” replied the lawyer with
dignity. “I am in possession of knowledge that _may_ be of benefit to
this young lady to whom I was so accidentally introduced through looking
at the coin she found. But in order to determine beyond doubt whether—or
not—she really is heir to a trifling old legacy, I must ask a few more
questions.”

“Heir! Legacy! _Gee!_” Tenderfoot Tommy Orr licked his lips as he
hovered upon the skirts of the ring which had formed around Jessica, his
short, fat neck thrust forward, his gaze slanted inquiringly upward at
one and another of the now thoroughly excited group. “Legacy! Gee whiz!
That sounds slick,” puffed the Astronomer.

“I’m sure I’m on the right track at last,” murmured the lawyer, mentally
squinting backward at certain letters of inquiry he had written during
the past few weeks to people whose surname was Dee in various parts of
the country, which had brought no satisfactory results. “But there may
be other heirs or heiresses beside this young lady—other descendants of
Captain Josiah Dee. Are you an only child?” he inquired of Jessica.

“Yes. I had a little brother who died when he was a baby.”

“And your mother—she was an only child, too?”

“Yes. And my grandfather was an only son; at least he was the only one
to grow up; he ran away from home, that is, went away soon after he was
twenty on hearing a rumor of gold being found in California; that was
while my great-grandfather was away on the voyage from which he never
came back; he was lost in a storm with his ship _The Wave Queen_.”

“_The Wave Queen!_ Ha! We’re getting on.” The lawyer rubbed his palms
together upon the old sunburst coin as if he were petting it.

“Your grandfather was a gold-hunter, eh? Did he own the little old Bible
you speak of with the names on the fly-leaf? That would come in handy as
evidence.”

“Yes; my mother said that was the only thing he took away with him,
beside his outfit, when he started for California, that and a little
miniature painted on ivory of his father; both had belonged to his
mother—my great-gran’mother.” Jessica’s voice faltered a little as she
leaned against the Guardian of the Camp Fire, Miss Dewey; lawyers did
seem to do no end of bushwhacking, beating about the bush; at the next
leveled question, however, she straightened up; her eyes shone.

“Did you ever hear of your great-grandfather’s saving the life of a
Boston merchant or petty trader, named Orlando Norton, at sea?”

“No, but I know he saved a whole lot—of—lives,” with a proud quiver in
the voice.

“Well! I may come to the point at last and tell you that on one of his
voyages he did save the life of Orlando Norton whom he found clinging to
a spar in mid-ocean, after the passenger ship on which he was aboard was
wrecked. And this Orlando Norton was grateful; he wasn’t a rich man, but
he left Captain Josiah Dee a small legacy at the time of his death which
occurred while your great-grandfather was away on his last voyage from
which he never came back. So the legacy went unclaimed. The Judge of
Probate ordered it to be deposited in a Boston savings bank until some
claimant turned up. None has ever done so—efforts were made at the time
to reach your grandfather, but they failed—so the sum has lain there for
nearly seventy-five years, swelling and multiplying at compound
interest, doubling itself every twenty-five years or so.”

Dead silence as the legal tones ceased; among the girls not a hair
ribbon stirred! As for the Boy Scouts, only the Astronomer’s padded
gasps, sounding as if they emanated from a throat lined with
cotton-wool, made themselves heard; others were holding their breath.

“Great guns! I’d like to ask how this matter of a legacy came to be
hauled forward again after such a long time had elapsed?” Captain Andy
suddenly thrust a massive shoulder into the midst of the group.

“Simply because of late years there has been a law obliging all banks to
publish, at intervals, a list of their unclaimed deposits in leading
newspapers. Probably if Miss Jessica Dee Holley and her parents weren’t
living in New England, they never saw that list, but I did, and not
having much legal business on hand, I thought I’d manufacture a little
by trying to look up heirs for two or three of the oldest legacies still
unclaimed.” Thus the lawyer explained his “side-stepping quest.” He was
silent for a moment, gathering breath for a dramatic climax; then he
stretched out his right arm and put the old sunburst coin, with its
dangling chain, back in Jessica’s hand.

“Here is your sun-dollar, my dear,” he said in fatherly tones; “it has
brought you a very strange piece of good fortune; through your initials
on the coin—which irritated me at first—I was led to question you; and,
now, I haven’t the slightest hesitation in saying that I am sure you are
the heiress to that old legacy—a debt of gratitude to your
great-grandfather for saving a life—and that, with my assistance, you
can claim it at any time.”

“Oh! Oh! Oh-h!” These bomb-like exclamations, fired off into the
stillness of the great room with its decorated panels and portly, gaudy
lanterns, were for a minute the only sound to be heard. “Don’t
faint—Jessica!” pleaded the Astronomer then.

“How much is the legacy?” Miles spoke huskily.

The lawyer cleared his throat. “Well! money looked bigger in those days,
I suppose, and the merchant was a comparatively poor man,” he prefaced;
“the original legacy was only three hundred dollars.”

“Three hundred! He didn’t put a big price on his life.” Miles kicked
vehemently at a chair.

Every one’s elated countenance fell—with the exception of the
new-found heiress who was thinking proudly of that deed of her
great-grandfather—three hundred dollars: it was better than nothing!
But it was a very small windfall which had fallen among them with a
very big thud and they resented the noise it made.

“Ah! but you forget”—a smile crept over the lawyer’s face—“you forget
that the legacy has lain in that savings bank at compound interest,
compounding and compounding for nearly seventy-five years; I can’t
compute exactly its present amount at a moment’s notice, but I know that
it is in the neighborhood of twenty-five hundred dollars; that isn’t
such a bad little nest-egg for pin-money, eh,” smiling at Jessica’s
white face, “even when my small fee is deducted?”

Silence again.

“Twenty-five hundred!” The shriek came from Sesooā. With a spring Sally
flung herself upon the “modest heiress,” flung her arms about her. “Oh!
Jessica,” she cried. “Jessica, darling! you can go to a school of art—to
a dozen schools of art, if you want to, now!” wildly. “She thought she
must earn her living as a stenographer in a business office!” Sally
flashed round upon the company, a smocked flame. “And—and she didn’t
want to—though I’d like it well enough—because she loves _color_ and she
has the makings in her of being an artist, a designer like her father,
painting beautiful windows with saints’ heads—and things! She says girls
do that, sometimes, now. An’ she wants to—but she must have an
education—and to design a Camp Fire Girls’ colored window, some day, if
ever we girls get a grand National Building!”

Sally had soared to a hill of imagination from which she crowed upon the
listeners like a veritable flame-bird, mocking coherency.

“Oh! Jessica, why didn’t you tell _me_ that?” whispered Olive Deering.

“I couldn’t—Olive lovey!”

The heiress in a modest way looked very white and trembling. “I always
felt—I always felt that my great-grandfather _lived_ in some way!” she
breathed. Tears oozed out between her eyelids.

It was a crucial moment. Then Tenderfoot Tommy Orr grew splendid. With
the rolling gait of a very fat boy, chin thrust out, he ploughed through
the circle and seized Morning-Glory’s hand in both of his.

“I say! you just come an’ have some fruit punch,” he commanded, waving
his Scout’s hat toward a far-away table. “Waiter has just brought it in!
Legacies an’ stuff are all right, but I’m—_parched_!” in the same tone
that he had proclaimed how he was poisoned.... “I’m too short for you to
take my arm, but you can hang on _tight_ to my hand!” he added in
Jessica’s ear, as he steered her for the distant table.

“You’re a good Scout, Tommy,” applauded Miles huskily. “Goodness! to
think that one of us, in a way, did dig up a fortune from the sands
after all—or something like it!”

“Miles!” The Guardian of the Morning-Glory Camp Fire seized young
Stackpole’s arm as if he were her son or as if she had known him all her
life. “Miles—that’s your name, isn’t it—for pity’s sake! get hold of the
hotel pianist who has been playing for the dances; ask her—ask
her”—breathlessly—“to strike up Portland Fancy or the Virginia Reel,
something, anything lively, and set the girls to dancing.”

“Yes, let them work it off through their feet; if not we’ll have a
scene!... Jiminy twisters! I want to make a scene myself!” added Miles
Stackpole, Eagle Scout, stopping to whoop in the act of obediently
crossing the room. “_I_ want to wrestle somebody: I want to get
out-of-doors and yell and yell—and _yell_—and kick over the Man in the
Moon!”



                             CHAPTER XVIII

                            THE TORCH BEARER


                 “That light which has been given to me
                 I desire to pass undimmed to others!”

The voice which repeated this high desire, the purest the human heart
can know, was Jessica’s.

It was a voice which thrilled and trembled just as it had done over six
months before when, by the lakeside Council Fire, Morning-Glory had
given her girlish pledge to tend, even as her fathers and fathers’
fathers had tended, the sacred heart-fire of humanity—kernel of its
hearth fire, too—the love of man for man, the love of man for God.

That she _had_ been tending it in lowly places where, otherwise, that
flame would have been a feeble flicker, where in one case it would have
been hidden under the heavy bushel of a deaf ear and silent tongue in a
child’s head, was shown by the presence of four little girls whom she
had made happy once a week for three months, thus meeting one of the
requirements for gaining the highest rank among Camp Fire Girls.

This group of children, aged about eight or nine years, was known by the
beautiful name of a Bluebird Nest, called after the azure harbinger-bird
whose appearance in spring, as a great naturalist says, is the signal
for sky and earth to meet, as their hues do in his plumage, in other
words a call for them to cease their winter strife and prepare for
summer.

And these little human Bluebirds, now in the early spring of life, were
preparing for the summer of being Camp Fire Girls; that is three of them
were; the fourth, the deaf-and-dumb Rebecca of the city playground, was
so handicapped and retarded by her affliction that nobody could prophesy
what her future would be; suffice it that, at present, she was happy!

There was a sparkle in those patient, purple eyes of hers which held no
ray when the girls first saw her on the public playground, lacking a
little partner in the folk-dance. Of all the lights which the new Torch
Bearer, Jessica, whose Camp Fire name was Morning-Glory, might pass on
undimmed to others from the happy glow within herself and from the lamp
of those Ideals which, like a wise virgin of the parable, she kept
trimmed and burning, none would be more heavenly than that torch first
kindled in a dumb lamb’s heart.

“But, do you know, I don’t believe that little ’Becca is going to be
dumb always,” remarked Mŭnkwŏn, Arline, arching the future with her
rainbow symbol, when the ceremony of initiating one member of the
Morning-Glory Camp Fire into the highest rank was over, when the girls
were seated in a semicircle on the floor, before a blazing Council Fire.
“You may remember,” addressing the crescent company, “how the playground
teacher said that, once, when the children were all yelling ‘Swing!
Swing!’ at the tops of their voices—and those foreign children can
scream both in their own language and every other—Rebecca seemed to
catch some sound or vibration and said ‘swing’ plainly, too!”

“Oh! even if she remains deaf, she can, no doubt, be taught to speak,
later on, by means of the oral method or lip-reading,” suggested
Gheezies, the Guardian of the Camp Fire.

“Yes,” Arline spoke passionately, “this evening, before the signal came
for us to march in, and take our places round the Council Fire, I knelt
beside her for five minutes saying ‘Glory’ over and over, forming it
_big_, with my lips close to her face; I want that to be the first word
she says, if she ever does begin to speak, in honor of Welatáwesit, our
Morning-Glory,” with a moist glance at Jessica, “who rescued her from
drowning and kept the torch of life in her little body!”

“Yes, and who first:

               “Called the Bluebird through her window
               To sing its song within that dumb heart,”

quoted Gheezies. “Does Mŭnkwŏn remember the blank verse effusion in
which she celebrated that playground incident?”

“Of course I do! But nobody has yet got sufficient poetic steam
up”—Arline laughed—“as to write a really dramatic poem telling how she
was saved from drowning in two feet and a half of water by a Camp Fire
Girl and Eagle Scout.”

“Oh! we’ll leave that to the future airy flights of Kask, the Blue
Heron,” chimed in Betty, smiling at Olive who sat facing her in this
Council Fire crescent, grouped indoors upon a January night, around a
ruddy hearth. “Blue Heron will surely try out her poetic pin-feathers,
some day; it was the fear of losing them, I think, of being reduced to
hissing instead of hooting, like that poor captive owl, which first
induced _her_ to become a Camp Fire Girl.”

“That may be—partly!” laughed Olive. “But all last summer while we were
camping on those white, fairy Sugarloaf dunes, I was too much taken up
with exercising my wings in other directions to think about little
rhyming flights. And”—gasping slightly—“since we’ve been back in the
city I’ve had plenty to do, too—with my father’s marriage and all that!”

Blue Heron, as she gazed into the fire, at the red velvet of its
blazing, hickory back-log, was thinking dreamily of the pure wing-power
for which she had prayed on that evening, more than six months before,
when she sat, as a spectator, at a lakeside Council Fire, that she might
soar into likeness to her mother. Of late, with a few human tumbles, she
had been winging upward on pinions of tact and unselfishness that
brooded gracefully over the crisis in her home life when her father gave
a new mistress to the household where she had hoped to reign in that
mother’s stead. Thus she helped Sybil to adjust herself, too.

In consequence, Olive already loved her stepmother whom, prior to the
marriage, she hardly knew, all the more because the new wife evinced a
cordial desire that Cousin Anne and Jessica should remain members of the
family even after the latter graduated from high school, that is if the
education in art which she was to pay for out of her wonderfully
discovered legacy could be carried on in the city of Clevedon.

And what was the new Torch Bearer, who had been initiated as a Fire
Maker a little over six months before, thinking of as she, too, gazed
into the velvety red of blazing hickory and birch logs, topped by a blue
crest of rippling flame, a delicate fluorescence?

Chiefly she, Morning-Glory, was dwelling on that old, saving deed of her
great-grandfather’s which had arisen out of the past to bless her (to
justify the feeling of her lonely hours that, somehow, in some way, he
lived to companion her), to enable her to follow in her father’s
footsteps, by and by, as a designer of stained-glass glories, this
bringing her in feeling nearer to him, too.

Already Jessica, or Welatáwesit, wore upon her fringed sleeve a Shuta
National honor (Shuta meaning to create) awarded her by the highest
council of the Camp Fire Girls for her design—crudely imperfect as
yet—for a beautiful stained-glass window, representing the figure and
ideals of a Camp Fire Girl. A window which, at some future golden date,
might filter and glorify the daylight as it streamed into a National
Temple dedicated to American girlhood, to its desire to preserve a
romantic savor of its predecessor upon this soil, the Indian girlhood,
whose poetic folk-lore, dress and customs seemed in danger of vanishing
until the Camp Fire Girl stepped upon the scene to unite in her
captivating person the poetry of the past, the progress of the present!

From the honor emblem upon her khaki sleeve Jessica’s young gaze
wandered back to her beaded leather necklace and to the large silver
coin, stamped with a sunburst which she still, upon certain occasions,
wore round her neck, the ancient sun-dollar with her monogram minutely
engraved beneath the radiating rays, which had been so instrumental in
linking her with her ancestor’s life-saving deed.

“Won’t it go beautifully with your Torch Bearer’s pin which has a rising
sun as part of the design on it?” suggested Penelope who, to-night, as
she dreamed by the Council Fire in ceremonial dress which had a
“poetizing” effect on her, as Sally said, looked transformed from the
Penelope of the restless gate, creating a tingling atmosphere about her
that, according to Betty, could be felt a mile off.

“Yes, I feel like a true child of the Sun, wearing both of them! And
isn’t it a strange coincidence that the old coin found by a Camp Fire
Girl—or first spied by her—should be stamped with a sunburst?”
Morning-Glory fingered the sun-dollar, silver-gilt in the firelight. “I
have been reading up about Peruvian coinage,” she went on reflectively,
“and I find that the sunburst stamp with those funny little black dots
representing a grotesque sun-face in the center is a relic of the
sun-worship of the old Incas, former inhabitants of Peru, who carved the
sun’s face on everything.”

“I’ll never forget that lawyer’s expression when it dawned on him that
the date of this year and a girl’s initials on the sun-dollar, which at
first he regarded as an insult to its stately inscription and ancient
stamp, were actually proving a clue for him to find an heir to one of
the old legacies for which he was looking up claimants.” This amused
remark came from Gheezies, Guardian of the Fire, who sat on the right of
the blazing logs. “I’m sure that Morning-Glory will go down to history
in that part of the country as the heroine in the case of the most
remarkable legacy that ever a girl fell heir to!”

“Yes, and think of the wild excitement of the Twin-Light Tribe over
having such a dramatic scene take place at their party!” gasped Ruth
Marley, whose Camp Fire name signified Music and who had the G clef in
her head-band. “Why! their Christmas letter to us was full of it. I’d
like to hear that sisterly epistle again.”

“So would I! And I! And I! Also the letter from Captain Andy—our
‘Standing Tall’—in which he speaks of the present he’s sending us!” came
in tones of laughter from one and another of the fourteen beaded maidens
seated round the Council Fire, while the four Bluebirds, nestling near,
played happily with their dolls, which Morning-Glory, in her one
afternoon a week spent with them in the room of a Children’s Friend
Society, had taught them how to dress.

“Oh! Captain Andy used to feel badly because we had no bows and arrows
last summer (we’ll have to practice archery before we ever camp out with
him again) to go with our Indian dress and not even a harpoon, as he
used to say jokingly, in case ‘a school of blackfish came in,’” laughed
Sesooā. “And so he’s sending us a spear, the sword of a swordfish which
he killed himself and polished up—I mean he polished the sword and
_polished off_ the poor fish. He says we can harpoon hearts with it!”

“It will go well with our painted ‘buffalo robe’ bearing the figure of a
Camp Fire Girl; we’ll hang it on the wall, then it will make our room
like an Indian lodge, with hunting weapons,” romanced Morning-Glory,
gazing round the pretty, firelit meeting-room in the Guardian’s house,
dedicated to the use of the Morning-Glory Camp Fire which bore none but
the slenderest resemblance to a red man’s lodge, with its pretty
window-curtains made, embroidered and hung by the girls’ own hands, its
leather table-cover, sofa pillows and Record Book bound in sheepskin.

Into almost every article in that room, with the bare exception of the
furniture, had been woven the personality of some member of the
Morning-Glory Tribe who met there, who had helped to make or decorate
it—that girlish tribe being likewise responsible for keeping the room
swept, garnished and in order.

“There—there is another letter which I want to read to you, as it’s
connected with our camping days—and with the worst adventure I ever had
in my life!” went on Jessica breathlessly, after a minute or two. “Or,
rather, I think I’ll let Gheezies, our Guardian, read it!” The girl’s
face was “swept,” now, by a variety of expressions ranging from a sunny
gust of amusement to the dark semblance of a shudder wafted by memory
across its buoyant brightness.

Gheezies, holding a candle near to the page, smudged, blurred and
strangely covered with a scrawl of handwriting, read slowly and with
difficulty, mentally supplying punctuation and other conventional marks:

    “CHÈRE MAD’SELLE, DEAR FRIEN’:

    “It gif me grate plaisir to rote you dese line. Yes’day w’en I
    go on top o’ post-office w’at you t’ink I see, heem littel box.
    Ciel! I am so glad I feel lak’ cry. Ach! la jolie montre—de
    silvare—I haf not de word—I am so fool....”

Here the queer scrawl broke off indefinitely.

Underneath the letter was continued, as follows, in a fine bold hand
over several pages:

    “Toiney sent me this ‘specimen scribble’ in which he has tried
    to thank you for the silver watch you sent him in memory of the
    day when he pulled you out of a patch of horrible quicksands
    while I revolved on one leg, unable to get to you.

    “I’m so glad you remembered him with it, at Christmas—the watch
    came out of the legacy, I suppose—and you may bet he was tickled
    when he went ‘on top of post-office,’ meaning into it, and was
    presented with the registered box! I don’t know how he got so
    far with his letter, some one must have helped him, for I didn’t
    think he knew enough English to say Boo! straight....”

Here the reading was interrupted by a gasp that was almost a sob from
Jessica; straight English had not been necessary to translate the fire
of the woodsman’s arm which forced the “devil quicksands” to relax their
sucking grip upon her body.

    “He sent me the letter, asking me to fix it up with lots of
    _paint_—my expression, of course—excuse slang!...”

“That means all the nice speeches you can think of!” interjected
Penelope explanatorily.

    “So here goes; I enclose ’dese line’ from him and add my
    comments—and sundries!

    “I have been plugging away for dear life at Tech and working
    through the Christmas holidays. It means a stiff grind for the
    next four years if I’m to take my B.C.E. degree—Bachelor of
    Civil Engineering—at the end of that time.

    “Have you decided yet in what School of Design you’re going to
    learn how to paint Saints’ heads on glass? More power to the
    legacy!

    “Gracious! when I think of how that ripping sou’westerly squall
    which swept you in the dory on to the Neck made the sand-hill
    ‘cough up’ that old sun-dollar and of all that it brought you, I
    want to yell and yell, like a madman. I’ll wager that Kenjo
    does, too! And didn’t the Astronomer play up at the party when
    he thought you were going to faint or cry? Good for Tenderfoot
    Tommy!

    “Thank you for the help which you Camp Fire Girls are giving us
    by selling tickets for our big Boy Scout Rally which takes place
    this month!

    “Hoping to see you soon,

                                                   “Your friend,
                                                   MILES STACKPOLE.”

“That’s a nice letter from the Eagle Scout,” commented Gheezies, handing
the sheets back to Morning-Glory, “and Toiney’s mongrel scrawl is worth
keeping. Now for the best letter of all which I have kept for the last
on this our first meeting after Christmas when, as we agreed, we are
talking over our camping experiences, remembering absent friends and
dwelling on the messages they sent us! This is from Kitty—Kitty Sill—our
Camp Fire Sister!” The Guardian jubilantly waved an envelope. “In it she
tells of how she, little chicken-hearted, orchard Kitty, who——”

“Who, as Captain Andy used to say, was ‘shy as a long-billed curlew’!”
interjected Olive in low, laughing tones. “I beg your pardon, Gheezies,
for interrupting!”

“Yes, how ‘shy’ Kitty has been instrumental in starting another Camp
Fire group among the girls of her scattered neighborhood and has induced
their school-teacher to act as Guardian. Now, what do you suppose
they’re going to call this new Camp Fire?”

“’Twouldn’t be Kitty if it wasn’t original,” chuckled Morning-Glory.
“It’s altogether too bad that they can’t enroll Mary-Jane Peg!”

“They’ve decided to call it the Five-Smoke Camp Fire after the old
farmhouse in which Kitty lives because that house is still sometimes
described in their locality as the house of the big chimney or the farm
of the five smokes owing, no doubt, to the fact that in early days after
the house was built about two hundred years ago, Kitty’s ancestors could
afford five fires going together, while other families of the settlers
had only one.”

“The ‘Five-Smoke Camp Fire’? Isn’t it a great name? A dandy name!” burst
from one and another of the crescent-group applaudingly.

“It is. And as there’s no smoke without fire, let us hope that it will
kindle a five-pointed blaze in the world in honor of Wohelo: Work,
Health, Love. Now, I’ll read you Kitty’s letter!

“You see, she says that they, the members of this new Camp Fire circle,
have just received their Charter from Headquarters,” added the Guardian
softly when the reading was finished. “It seems to me that it would draw
us near to them, to our Camp Fire Sisters everywhere, if we were to
unite in repeating the beautiful words of that Charter which hangs,
framed, upon our wall.”

“Yes! Oh, yes! Let us!” One girlish face after another was uplifted to a
glint of framed glass above them through which the leaping flame of
their Council Fire picked out, here and there, a colored capital.

Like a rolling wave that begins with a murmur and rises to a mountain,
their voices broke in unison upon the shores of the fire island:

           “This is your Charter. Make it live,
           And find here hidden within its page
           The Deeper Meaning—
           The right to join the Circle’s Sisterhood,
           Your Hearts to beat in touch and tune with theirs;
           The right to kindle at their Flaming Fire
           Your own, and see within its Glow
           The Spirit-Flame of Work, Love-ordered....”

Higher soared the crest of the Council Fire, illumining many a fair
young face, unlocking with its key of flame the circle of individual
hearts until, awed, it penetrated even to that hidden Light of Life in
which all were one, while there broke upon the illumination like a holy
challenge the crowning right for which the Camp Fire stands:

              “The Right to live the Exultant Life
              That grows akin to Nature’s Throbbing Heart;
              The Right to dream, and dreaming,
              Know the Deep, Primal Things,
              The Soul of Beauty and the Heart of Truth.”


                                THE END

------------------------------------------------------------------------

                           From Keel to Kite

How Oakley Rose Became a Naval Architect

By ISABEL HORNIBROOK

12mo Cloth Illustrated $1.50

[Illustration: image of book cover]

The story of an up-to-date boy who achieves his ambition against a
headwind of difficulty. Son of a Gloucester “skipper” lost on Georges,
he is brought up by his grandfather, and inheriting a keen love of
vessels, desires to become a naval architect. Obliged to leave high
school, he goes to work in an Essex shipyard, hoping to obtain a
practical knowledge of vessels. He studies naval architecture there in
rainy intervals when shipbuilding is impossible; takes a fishing trip to
Georges, and another, full of exciting adventure, to the halibut
fletching grounds off the coast of Labrador.

“Boys who delight in adventure, briskly told, will surely find
entertainment and profit in reading this wholesome and lively
story.”—_New York Examiner._


Camp and Trail

By ISABEL HORNIBROOK

12mo Cloth Illustrated $1.50

[Illustration: image of book cover]

A story for boys and girls who delight in adventure. Two English boys
with their friend, an American collegian, go into the woods of Maine to
hunt deer and moose. But they never kill wantonly or for mere sport—only
for food or in self-defence. They study the ways of the great game of
the woods, and breathe in health, inspiration and noble thoughts with
the odor of the pines and the air of lake and mountain.

For sale by all booksellers or sent postpaid on receipt of price by the
publishers

                   LOTHROP, LEE & SHEPARD CO., BOSTON

------------------------------------------------------------------------

                           JEAN CABOT SERIES

                        By GERTRUDE FISHER SCOTT

                     Illustrated by Arthur O. Scott
                               12mo Cloth
                 Price, Net, $1.00 each Postpaid, $1.10

JEAN CABOT AT ASHTON

[Illustration: image of book cover]

Here is the “real thing” in a girl’s college story. Older authors can
invent situations and supply excellently written general delineations of
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JEAN CABOT IN THE BRITISH ISLES

This is a college story, although dealing with a summer vacation, and
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JEAN CABOT IN CAP AND GOWN

Jean Cabot is a superb young woman, physically and mentally, but
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JEAN CABOT AT THE HOUSE WITH THE BLUE SHUTTERS

Such a group as Jean and her most intimate friends could not scatter at
once, as do most college companions after graduation, and six of them
under the chaperonage of a married older graduate and member of the same
sorority spend a most eventful summer in a historic farm-house in Maine.

For sale by all booksellers, or sent postpaid on receipt of price by the
publishers

                   Lothrop, Lee & Shepard Co. Boston





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