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Title: Campfire Girls' Lake Camp - or, Searching for New Adventures
Author: Benson, Irene Elliott
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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              [Illustration: Campfire Girls at Twin Lake]



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



                            Campfire Girls’

                               Lake Camp


                               ... OR ...

                      Searching For New Adventures

                                   By
                          IRENE ELLIOTT BENSON

                    [Illustration: Publisher’s Logo]

                        M. A. DONOHUE & COMPANY
                         Chicago      New York


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



                         CAMPFIRE GIRLS’ SERIES



    Campfire Girls in the Alleghany Mountains;
    Campfire Girls in the Country;
    Campfire Girls’ Trip Up the River;
    Campfire Girls’ Outing;
    Campfire Girls on a Hike;
    Campfire Girls at Twin Lakes;


                               Copyright
                                  1918
                          M. A. Donohue & Co.


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



                                CONTENTS

                                -------

         Chapter                                           Page
              I About Teeth and Teddy Bears                  9
             II A Special Meeting Called                    13
            III A Boy and a Fortune                         18
             IV The Girls Vote “Aye”                        23
              V Honors and Spies                            27
             VI A Telegram En Route                         32
            VII A Double-Room Mystery                       36
           VIII Planning in Secret                          42
             IX Further Plans                               47
              X A Trip to Stony Point                       51
             XI Miss Perfume Interferes                     56
            XII The Man in the Auto                         61
           XIII A Nonsense Plot                             65
            XIV Sparring for a Fee                          70
             XV Langford Gets a Check                       75
            XVI Langford Checks Up                          82
           XVII A Day of Hard Work                          87
          XVIII Planning                                    91
            XIX Watched                                     95
             XX A Missile                                  100
            XXI “Sh”                                       104
           XXII The Graham Girls Call                      108
          XXIII “High C”                                   115
           XXIV The Runaway                                120
            XXV A Little Scrapper                          125
           XXVI Ammunition and Catapults                   130
          XXVII The Ghost                                  136
         XXVIII A Bump on the Head                         141
           XXIX A Cruel Woman                              146
            XXX The Girls Win                              151

         Book 2 A Princess of the Woods                    155

          Story Edna’s Sacrifice                           304


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



                         CAMPFIRE GIRLS SERIES

                                -------

               HOW ETHEL HOLLISTER BECAME A CAMPFIRE GIRL
           ETHEL HOLLISTER’S SECOND SUMMER AS A CAMPFIRE GIRL
                     CAMPFIRE GIRLS MOUNTAINEERING
                     CAMPFIRE GIRL’S RURAL RETREAT
                      CAMPFIRE GIRLS IN THE FOREST
                       CAMPFIRE GIRL’S LAKE CAMP

                                -------

                          List Price 75¢ Each



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



                     CAMP FIRE GIRLS AT TWIN LAKES

                                   OR

                     The Quest of a Summer Vacation

                          BY STELLA M. FRANCIS


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

                               CHAPTER I.

                      ABOUT TEETH AND TEDDY BEARS.


“Girls, I have some great news for you. I’m sure you’ll be interested,
and I hope you’ll be as delighted as I am. Come on, all of you. Gather
around in a circle just as if we were going to have a Council Fire and
I’ll tell you something that will—that will—Teddy Bear your teeth.”

A chorus of laughter, just a little derisive, greeted Katherine Crane’s
enigmatical figure of speech. The merriment came from eleven members of
Flamingo Camp Fire, who proceeded to form an arc of a circle in front of
the speaker on the hillside grass plot near the white canvas tents of
the girls’ camp.

“What does it mean to Teddy Bear your teeth?” inquired Julietta Hyde
with mock impatience. “Come, Katherine, you are as much of a problem
with your ideas as Harriet Newcomb is with her big words. Do you know
the nicknames some of us are thinking of giving to her?”

“No, what is it?” Katherine asked.

“Polly.”

“Polly? Why Polly?” was the next question of the user of obscure figures
of speech, who seemed by this time to have forgotten the subject that
she started to introduce when she opened the conversation.

“Polly Syllable, of course,” Julietta answered, and the burst of
laughter that followed would have been enough to silence the most
ambitious joker, but this girl fun-maker was not in the least ambitious,
so she laughed appreciatively with the others.

“Well, anyway,” she declared after the merriment had subsided; “Harriet
always uses her polysyllables correctly, so I am not in the least
offended at your comparison of my obscurities with her profundities.
There, how’s that? Don’t you think you’d better call me Polly, too?”

“Not till you explain to us what it means to Teddy Bear one’s teeth,”
Azalia Atwood stipulated sternly. “What I’m afraid of is that you’re
trying to introduce politics into this club, and we won’t stand for that
a minute.”

“Oh, yes, Julietta, you may have your wish, if what Azalia says is
true,” Marie Crismore announced so eagerly that everybody present knew
that she had an idea and waited expectantly for it to come out. “We’ll
call you Polly—Polly Tix.”

Of course everybody laughed at this, and then Harriet Newcomb demanded,
that her rival for enigmatical honors make good.

“What does it mean to Teddy Bear one’s teeth?” she demanded.

“Oh, you girls are making too much of that remark,” Katherine protested
modestly. “I really am astonished at every one of you, ashamed of you,
in fact, for failing to get me. I meant that you would be
delighted—dee-light-ed—get me?—dee-light-ed.”

“Oh, I get you,” Helen Nash announced, lifting her hand over her head
with an “I know, teacher,” attitude.

“Well, Helen, get up and speak your piece,” Katherine directed.

“You referred to the way Theodore Roosevelt shows his teeth when he says
he’s “dee-light-ed”; but we got you wrong. When you said you would tell
us something that would ‘Teddy Bear’ our teeth, you meant b-a-r-e, not
b-e-a-r. When Teddy laughs, he bares his teeth. Isn’t that it?”

“This isn’t the first time that Helen Nash has proved herself a regular
Sherlock Holmes,” Marion Stanlock declared enthusiastically. “We are
pretty well equipped with brains in this camp, I want to tell you. We
have Harriet, the walking dictionary; Katherine, the girl enigma; and
Helen, the detective.”

“Every girl is supposed to be a puzzle,” Ernestine Johanson reminded. “I
don’t like to snatch any honors away from anyone, but, you know, we
should always have the truth.”

“Yes, let us have the truth about this interesting, Teddy-teeth-baring,
dee-light-ing announcement that Katherine has to make to us,” Estelle
Adler implored.

“The delay wasn’t my fault,” Katherine said, with an attitude of
“perfect willingness if all this nonsense will stop.” “But here comes
Miss Ladd. Let’s wait for her to join us, for I know you will all want
her opinion of the proposition I am going to put to you.”

Miss Harriet Ladd, Guardian of the Fire, bearing a large bouquet of wild
flowers that she had just gathered in timber and along the bank of the
stream, joined the group of girls seated on the grass a minute later,
and then all waited expectantly for Katherine to begin.


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



                               CHAPTER II

                       A SPECIAL MEETING CALLED.


Fern hollow—begging the indulgence of those who have read the earlier
volume of this series—is a deep, richly vegetated ravine or gully
forming one of a series of scenic convolutions of the surface of the
earth which gave the neighboring town of Fairberry a wide reputation as
a place of beauty.

The thirteen Camp Fire Girls, who had pitched their tents on the lower
hillside, a few hundred feet from a boisterous, gravel-and-boulder
bedded stream known as Butter creek, were students at Hiawatha
Institute, a girls’ school in a neighboring state. The students of that
school were all Camp Fire Girls, and it was not an uncommon thing for
individual Fires to spend parts of their vacations together at favorite
camping places. On the present occasion the members of Flamingo Fire
were guests of one of their own number, Hazel Edwards, on the farm of
the latter’s aunt, Mrs. Hannah Hutchins, which included a considerable
section of the scenic Ravine known as Fern hollow.

They had had some startling adventures in the last few weeks, and
although several days had elapsed since the windup in these events and
it seemed that a season of quiet, peaceful camp life was in store for
them, still they were sufficiently keyed up to the unusual in life to
accept surprises and astonishing climaxes as almost matters of course.

But all of these experiences had not rendered them restless and
discontented when events slowed down to the ordinary course of every-day
life, including three meals a day, eight hours’ sleep, and a program of
tramps, exercises and honor endeavors. The girls were really glad to
return to their schedule and their handbook for instructions as to how
they should occupy their time. After all, adventures make entertaining
reading, but very few, if any, persons normally constituted would choose
a melodramatic career if offered as an alternative along with an
even-tenor existence.

All within one week, these girls had witnessed the execution of an
astonishing plot by a band of skilled lawbreakers and subsequently had
followed Mrs. Hutchins through a series of experiences relative to the
loss of a large amount of property, which she held in trust for a
relative of her late husband, and its recovery through the brilliant and
energetic endeavors of some of the members of the Camp Fire,
particularly Hazel Edwards and Harriet Newcomb. The chief culprit, Percy
Teich, a nephew of Mrs. Hutchins’ late husband, had been captured, had
escaped, had been captured again and lodged in jail, and clews as to the
identity of a number of the rest had been worked out by the police, so
that the hope was expressed confidently that eventually they, too, would
be caught.

“Mrs. Hutchins is very grateful for the part this Camp Fire took in the
recovery of the lost securities of which she was trustee,” Katherine
announced by way of introducing her “great news” to the members of the
Fire who assembled in response to her call. “Of course Hazel did the
really big things, assisted and encouraged by the companionship of
Harriet and Violet, but Mrs. Hutchins feels like thanking us all for
being here and looking pleasant.”

Hazel Edwards, niece of Mrs. Hutchins, was not present during this
conversation. By prearranged purpose, she was absent from the camp when
Katherine put to the other girls the proposition made by the wealthy
aunt of their girl hostess. The reason it was decided best for her to
remain away while the other girls were considering the plan was that it
was feared that her presence might tend to suppress arguments against
its acceptance, and that was a possibility which Hazel and her aunt
wished to avoid. So Katherine was selected to lay the matter before the
Camp Fire because she was no more chummy with Hazel than any of the
other girls.

“Let’s make this a special business meeting,” suggested Miss Ladd, who
had already discussed the proposition with Katherine and Mrs. Hutchins.
“What Katherine has to say interests you as an organization. You’d have
to bring the matter up at a business meeting anyway to take action on it
and our regular one is two weeks ahead. We can’t wait that long if we
are going to do anything on the subject.”

It was a little after 10 o’clock and the girls had been working for the
last hour at various occupations which appeared on their several routine
schedules for this part of the day. In fact, all of their regular
academic and hand-work study hours were in the morning. Just before
Katherine called the girls together, they were seated here and there in
shaded spots on camp chairs or on the grass in the vicinity of the camp,
occupied thus:

Violet Munday and Marie Crismore were studying the lives of well-known
Indians. Julietta Hyde and Estelle Adler were reading a book of Indian
legends and making a study of Indian symbols. Harriet Newcomb and Azalia
Atwood were studying the Camp Fire hand-sign language. Ernestine
Johanson and Ethel Zimmerman were crocheting some luncheon sets. Ruth
Hazelton and Helen Nash were mending their ceremonial gowns. Marion
Stanlock was making a beaded head band and Katherine Crane, secretary of
the Fire, was looking over the minutes of the last meeting and preparing
a new book in which to enter the records of the next meeting.

Everybody signifying assent to the Guardian’s suggestion, a meeting was
declared and called to order, the Wohelo Song was sung, the roll was
called, the minutes of the last meeting were read, the reports of the
treasurer and committees were deferred, as were also the recording of
honors in the Record Book and the decorating of the count, and then the
Guardian called for new business. This was the occasion for Katherine to
address the meeting formally on the matter she had in mind.


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



                              CHAPTER III

                          A BOY AND A FORTUNE.


“Now,” said Katherine after all the preliminaries of a business meeting
had been gone through, “I’ll begin all over again, so that this whole
proceeding may be thoroughly regular. I admit I went at it rather
spasmodically, but you know we girls are constituted along sentimental
lines, and that is one of the handicaps we are up against in our efforts
to develop strong-willed characters like those of men.”

“I don’t agree with you,” Marie Crismore put in with a rather saucy
pout. “I don’t believe we are built along sentimental lines at all. I’ve
known lots of men—boys—a few, I mean—and have heard of many more who
were just as sentimental as the most sentimental girl.”

There were several half-suppressed titters in the semicircle of Camp
Fire Girls before whom Katherine stood as she began her address. Marie
was an unusually pretty girl, a fact which of itself was quite enough to
arouse the humor of laughing eyes when she commented on the
sentimentality of the opposite sex. Moreover, her evident confusion as
she tangled herself up, in her efforts to avoid personal embarrassment,
was exceedingly amusing.

“I would suggest, Katherine,” Miss Ladd interposed, “that you be careful
to make your statement simple and direct and not say anything that is
likely to start an argument. If you will do that we shall be able to get
through much more rapidly and more satisfactorily.”

Katherine accepted this as good advice and continued along the lines
suggested.

“Well, the main facts are these,” she said; “Mrs. Hutchins has learned
that the child whose property she holds in trust is not being cared for
and treated as one would expect a young heir to be treated, and
something like $3,000 a year is being paid to the people who have him in
charge for his support and education. The people who have him in charge
get this money in monthly installments and make no report to anybody as
to the welfare of their ward.

“The name of this young heir is Glen Irving. He is a son of Mrs.
Hutchins’ late husband’s nephew. When Glen’s father died he left most of
his property in trust for the boy and made Mr. Hutchins trustee, and
when Mr. Hutchins died, the trusteeship passed on to Mrs. Hutchins under
the terms of the will.

“That, you girls know, is the property which was lost for a year and a
half following Mr. Hutchins’ death because he had hidden the securities
where they could not be found. Although Hazel, no doubt assisted very
much by Harriet, is really the one who discovered those securities and
returned them to her aunt, still Mrs. Hutchins seems disposed to give us
all some of the credit.

“For several months reports have reached Mrs. Hutchins that her
grandnephew has not been receiving the best of care from the relatives
who have charge of him. She has tried in various ways to find out how
much truth there was in these reports, but was unsuccessful. Little
Glen, who is only 10 years old, has been in the charge of an uncle and
aunt on his mother’s side ever since he became an orphan three or four
years ago. His father, in his will, named this uncle and aunt as Glen’s
caretakers, but privately executed another instrument in which he gave
Mr. and Mrs. Hutchins guardianship powers to supervise the welfare of
little Glen. It was understood that these powers were not to be
exercised unless special conditions made it necessary for them to step
in and take charge of the boy.

“Mrs. Hutchins wants to find out now whether such conditions exist. At
the time of the death of Glen’s father, he lived in Baltimore, and his
uncle and aunt, who took charge of him, lived there, too. It seems that
they were only moderately well-to-do and the $3,000 a year they got for
the care and education of the boy was a boon to them. Of course, $3,000
a year was more than was needed, but that was the provision made by his
father in his will, and as long as they had possession of the boy they
were entitled to the money. Moreover, Mrs. Hutchins understands that
Glen’s father desired to pay the caretakers of his child so well that
there could be no doubt that he would get the best of everything he
needed, particularly education.

“But apparently his father made a big mistake in selecting the persons
who were to take the places of father and mother to the little boy. If
reports are true, they have been using most of the money on themselves
and their own children and Glen has received but indifferent clothes,
care, and education. Now I am coming to the main point of my statement
to you.

“Mrs. Hutchins talked the matter over with Miss Ladd and me and asked us
to put it up to you in this way: She was wondering if we wouldn’t like
to make a trip to the place where Glen is living and find out how he is
treated. Mrs. Hutchins has an idea that we are a pretty clever set of
girls and there is no use of trying to argue her out of it. So that much
must be agreed to so far as she is concerned. She wants to pay all of
our expenses and has worked out quite an elaborate plan; or rather she
and her lawyer worked it out together. Really, it is very interesting.”

“Why, she wants us to be real detectives,” exclaimed Violet Munday
excitedly.

“No, don’t put it that way,” Julietta Hyde objected. “Just say she wants
us to take the parts of fourteen Lady Sherlock Holmeses in a Juvenile
drama in real life.”

“Very cleverly expressed,” Miss Ladd remarked admiringly. “Detective is
entirely too coarse a term to apply to any of my Camp Fire Girls and I
won’t stand for it.”

“We might call ourselves special agents, operatives, secret emissaries,
or mystery probers,” Harriet Newcomb suggested.

“Yes, we could expect something like that from our walking dictionary,”
said Ernestine Johanson. “But whatever we call ourselves, I am ready to
vote aye. Come on with your—or Mrs. Hutchins and her lawyers’—plan,
Katherine. I’m impatient to hear the rest of it.”

Katherine produced an envelope from her middy-blouse pocket and drew
from it a folded paper, which she unfolded and spread out before her.


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



                               CHAPTER IV

                         THE GIRLS VOTE “AYE”.


“Before I take up the plan outlined by Mrs. Hutchins and her lawyer,”
Katherine continued, as she unfolded the paper, “I want to explain one
circumstance that might be confusing if left unexplained. As I said, the
uncle and aunt who have Glen in charge live in Baltimore. They do not
own any real estate, but rent a rather expensive apartment, which they
never could support on the family income aside from the monthly payments
received from Mrs. Hutchins as trustee of Glen’s estate. This family’s
name is Graham, and its head, James Graham, is a bookkeeper receiving a
salary of about $1,800 a year. In these war times, when the cost of
living is so high, that is a very moderate salary on which to support a
family of six: father, mother, two girls and two boys, including Glen.

“But this family, according to reports that have reached Mrs. Hutchins,
is living in clover. Mr. Graham, who is a hard working man, still holds
his bookkeeping position, but in this instance it is a case of
‘everybody loafs but father.’ He is said to be a very much henpecked
husband. Mrs. Graham is said to be the financial dictator of the family.

“Now, Mrs. Graham seems to be a woman of much social ambition. Among the
necessaries of the best social equipment, you know, is a summer cottage
in a society summer resort with sufficient means to support it
respectably and leisure in the summer to spend at the resort. It is said
that the Grahams have all this. They have purchased or leased a cottage
at Twin Lakes, which you know is only about a hundred miles from
Hiawatha Institute. I think that every one of us has been there at one
time or another. It is about three hundred miles from here.

“What Mrs. Hutchins wants us to do is to make a trip to Twin Lakes,
pitch our tents and start a Camp Fire program just as if we were there
to put in a season of recreation and honor work. But meanwhile, she
wants us to become acquainted with the Graham family, cultivate an
intimacy with them, if you please, and be able to report back to her
just what conditions we find in their family circle, just how Glen is
treated, and whether or not he gets reasonable benefits from the money
given to the Grahams for his support and education.

“I have given you in detail, I think, what is outlined on this paper I
hold in my hand. I don’t think I have left out anything except the names
of the children of the Graham family. But there are no names at all on
this paper. The reason for this is that it was thought best not to
disclose the identity of the family for the information of any other
person into whose hands it might fall, if it should be lost by us. The
names are indicated thus: ‘A’ stands for the oldest member of the
family, Mrs. Graham, for she is two years older than her husband and the
real head of the household; ‘B’ stands for the next younger, Mr. Graham;
‘C’ stands for Addie, the oldest daughter; ‘D’ for the next daughter,
Olga; ‘E’ for the only son, James, named after his father; and ‘F’
stands for Glen. There, you have the whole proposition. What do you want
to do with it? Mrs. Hutchins, I neglected to mention, wants to pay all
of our expenses and hire help to take off our hands all the labor of
moving our camp.”

Replies were not slow coming. Nearly every one of the girls had
something to say, as indicated by the eager attitudes of all and
requests from several to be recognized by the Guardian, who was “in the
chair.” Azalia Atwood was the first one called upon.

“I think the proposition of Mrs. Hutchins is simply great,” the latter
declared with vim. “It’s delightfully romantic, sounds like a story with
a plot, and would make fourteen heroines out of us if we were successful
in our mission.”

“I want to warn you against one danger,” Miss Ladd interposed at this
point. “The natural thing for you to do at the start, after hearing this
lengthy indictment of the Graham family, is to conclude that they are a
bad lot and to feel an eagerness to set out to prove it. Now, I admit
that that is my feeling in this matter, but I know also that there is a
possibility of mistake. The Grahams may be high class people, but they
may have enemies who are trying to injure them. If you take up the
proposition of Mrs. Hutchins, you must keep this possibility in mind,
for unless you do, you might do not only the Grahams a great injustice,
but little Glen as well. It would be a pity to tear him away from a
perfectly good home that has been vilified by false accusations made by
unscrupulous enemies.”

The discussion was continued for nearly an hour, the written
instructions in Katherine’s possession were read aloud and then a vote
was taken. It was unanimous, in favor of performing the task proposed by
Mrs. Hutchins.


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



                               CHAPTER V

                           HONORS AND SPIES.


“Why couldn’t this expedition be arranged so that we girls could all win
some honors out of it?” Ruth Hazelton inquired, after the details of
Mrs. Hutchins’ plan had been discussed thoroughly and the vote had been
taken.

“That is a good suggestion,” said Miss Ladd. “What kind of honors would
you propose Ruth?”

The latter was silent for some minutes. She was going over in her mind
the list of home-craft, health-craft, camp-craft, hand-craft,
nature-lore, business and patriotism honors provided for by the
organization, but none of them seemed to fit in with the program of the
proposed secret investigation.

“I don’t think of any,” she said at last. “There aren’t any, are there?”

“No, there are not,” the Guardian replied. “But now is the time for the
exercise of a little ingenuity. Who speaks first with an idea?”

“I have one,” announced Ethel Zimmerman eagerly.

“Well, what is it, Ethel?” Miss Ladd inquired.

“Local honors,” replied the girl with the first idea. “Each Camp Fire is
authorized to create local honors and award special beads and other
emblems to those who make the requirements.”

“Under what circumstances is such a proceeding authorized?” was Miss
Ladd’s next question.

“When it is found that local conditions call for the awarding of honors
not provided for in the elective list.”

“Do such honors count for anything in the qualifications for higher
rank?”

“They do not,” Ethel answered like a pupil who had learned her lesson
very well and felt no hesitancy in making her recitation.

“What kind of honor would you confer on me if I exhibited great skill in
spying on someone else?” asked Helen Nash in her usual cool and
deliberate manner.

A problematical smile lit up the faces of several of the girls who
caught the significance of this suggestion. Miss Ladd smiled, too, but
not so problematically.

“You mean to point out the incongruity of honors and spies, I presume,”
the Guardian interpreted, addressing Helen.

“Not very seriously,” the latter replied with an expression of dry
humor. “I couldn’t resist the temptation to ask the question and,
moreover, it occurred to me that a little discussion on the subject of
honors and spies might help to complete our study of the problem before
us.”

“Do you mean that we are going to be spies?” Violet Munday questioned.

“Why, of course we are,” Helen replied, with a half-twinkle in her eyes.

“I don’t like the idea of spying on anybody and would rather call it
something else,” said Marie Crismore. “First someone calls us detectives
and then somebody calls us spies. What next? Ugh!”

“Why don’t you like to spy on anybody?” asked Harriet Newcomb.

“Well,” Marie answered hesitatingly; “you know that there are thousands
of foreign spies in this country trying to help our enemies in Europe,
and I don’t like to be classed with them.”

“That’s patriotic,” said Helen, the twinkle in her eyes becoming
brighter. “But you must remember that there are spies and spies, good
spies and bad spies. All of our law-enforcement officials are spies in
their attempts to crush crime. Your mother was a spy when she watched
you as a little tot stealing into the pantry to poke your fist into the
jam. That is what Mrs. Hutchins suspects is taking place now. Someone
has got his or her fist in the jam. We must go and peek in through the
pantry door.”

“Oh, if you put it that way, it’ll be lots of fun,” Marie exclaimed
eagerly. “I’d just like to catch ’em with their fists all—all—smeared!”

She brought the last word out so ecstatically that everybody laughed.

“I’m afraid you have fallen into the pit that I warned you against,”
Miss Ladd said, addressing Marie. “You mustn’t start out eager to prove
the persons, under suspicion, guilty.”

“Then we must drive out of our minds the picture of the fists smeared
with jam,” deplored Marie with a playful pout.

“I fear that you must,” was the smiling concurrence of the Guardian.

“Very well; I’m a good soldier,” said Marie, straightening up as if
ready to “shoulder arms.” “I won’t imagine any jam until I see it.”

“Here comes Hazel,” cried Julietta, and everybody looked in the
direction indicated.

Hazel Edwards had taken advantage of this occasion to go to her aunt’s
house and thence to the city Red Cross headquarters for a new supply of
yarn for their army and navy knitting. As she emerged from the timber
and continued along the edge of the woods toward the site of the camp,
the assembled campers could see that she carried a good-sized bundle
under one arm.

“She’s got some more yarn, and we can now take up our knitting again,”
said Ethel Zimmerman, who had proved herself to be the most rapid of all
the members of the Camp Fire with the needles.

Although the business of the meeting was finished, by tacit agreement
those present decided not to adjourn until Hazel arrived and received
official notice of what had been done.

“I’m delighted with your decision,” Hazel said eagerly. “And, do you
know, I believe we are going to have some adventure. I’ve been talking
the matter over with Aunt Hannah and she has told me a lot of very
interesting things. But when do you want to go?”

“We haven’t discussed that yet,” Miss Ladd replied. “I suppose we could
go almost any time.”

“Let’s go at once,” proposed Marion Stanlock. “We haven’t anything to
keep us here and we can come back as soon as—as soon as we find the jam
on somebody’s fist.”

This figure of speech called for an explanation for Hazel’s benefit.
Then Ruth Hazelton moved that the Camp Fire place itself at Mrs.
Hutchins’ service to leave for Twin Lakes as soon as she thought best,
and this motion was carried unanimously.

“I move that Katherine Crane be appointed a committee of one to notify
Mrs. Hutchins of our action and get instructions from her for our next
move,” said Violet Munday.

“Second the motion,” said Azalia Atwood.

“Question!” shouted Harriet Newcomb.

“Those in favor say aye,” said Miss Ladd.

A hearty chorus of “ayes” was the response.

“Contrary minded, no.”

Silence.

“The ayes have it.”

The meeting adjourned.


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



                               CHAPTER VI

                          A TELEGRAM EN ROUTE.


At 9 o’clock in the morning two days later, a train of three coaches,
two sleepers and a parlor car, pulled out of Fairberry northwest bound.
It was a clear midsummer day, not oppressively warm. The atmosphere had
been freshened by a generous shower of rain a few hours before sunup.

In the parlor car near one end sat a group of thirteen girls and one
young woman. The latter, Miss Ladd, Guardian of Flamingo Camp Fire, we
will hereafter designate as “one of the girls.” She was indeed scarcely
more than a girl, having passed her voting majority by less than a year.

The last two days had been devoted principally to preparations for this
trip. Mrs. Hutchins had engaged two men who struck the tents and packed
these and all the other camp paraphernalia and expressed the entire
outfit to Twin Lakes station. On the morning before us, Mrs. Hutchins
accompanied the fourteen girls to the train at the Fairberry depot and
bade them good-byee and wished them success in their enterprise.

There were few other passengers in the parlor car when the Camp Fire
Girls entered. One old gentleman obligingly moved forward from a seat at
the rear end, and the new passengers were able to occupy a section all
by themselves.

Before starting for the train, Miss Ladd called her little flock of
“spies” together and gave them a short lecture.

“Now, girls,” she said with keen deliberation, “we are about to embark
on a venture that has in it elements which will put many of your
qualities to severe test. And these tests are going to begin right away.
Perhaps the first will be a test of your ability to hold your tongues.
That’s pretty hard for a bevy of girls who like to talk better than
anything else, isn’t it?”

“Do you really mean to accuse us of liking to talk better than anything
else?” inquired Marie Crismore, flushing prettily.

“I didn’t say so, did I?” was the Guardian’s answering query.

“Not exactly. But you meant it, didn’t you?”

“I refuse to be pinned down to an answer,” replied Miss Ladd, smiling
enigmatically. “I suspect that if I leave you something to guess about
on that subject it may sink in deeper. Now, can any of you surmise what
specifically I am driving at?”

Nobody ventured an answer, and Miss Ladd continued:

“Don’t talk about our mission to Twin Lakes except on secret occasions.
Don’t drop remarks now and then or here and there that may be overheard
and make someone listen for more. For instance, on the train, forget
that you are on anything except a mere pleasure trip or Camp Fire
excursion. Be absolutely certain that you don’t drop any remarks that
might arouse anybody’s curiosity or suspicion. It might, you know, get
to the very people whom we wish to keep in ignorance concerning our
moves and motives.”

“I see you are bound to make sure enough spies out of us,” said Marie
Crismore pertly. “Well, I’m going to start out with the determination of
pulling my hat down over my eyes, hiding in every shadow I see and
peeking around every corner I can get to. Oh, I’m going to be some
sleuth, believe me.”

“What will you say when you catch somebody with jam on his fingers?”
Harriet Newcomb inquired.

Marie leaned forward eagerly and answered dramatically:

“I’ll suddenly appear before the villain and shout: ‘Halt, you are my
prisoner! Throw up your jammed hands!’”

After the laugh that greeted this response subsided, Miss Ladd closed
her lecture thus:

“I think you all appreciate the importance now of keeping your thoughts
to yourselves except when we are in conference. I’m glad to see you have
a lot of fun over this subject, but don’t let your gay spirits cause you
to permit any unguarded remarks to escape.”

On the train the girls all got out their knitting, and soon their
needles were plying merrily away on sleeveless sweaters, socks, helmets,
and wristlets for the boys at the front, timing their work by their
wrist watches for patriotism honors. True to their resolve, following
Miss Ladd’s warning lecture, they kept the subject of their mission out
of their conversation, and it is probable that no reference to it would
have been made during the entire 300-mile journey if something had not
happened which forced it keenly to the attention of every one of them.

The train on which they were traveling was a limited and the first stop
was fifty miles from Fairberry. A few moments after the train stopped, a
telegraph messenger walked into the front entrance of the parlor car and
called out:

“Telegram for Miss Harriet Ladd.”

The latter arose and received the message, signed the receipt blank, and
tore open the envelope. Imagine her astonishment as she read the
following:

“Miss Harriet Ladd, parlor car, Pocahontas Limited: Attorney Pierce
Langford is on your train, first coach. Bought ticket for Twin Lakes.
Small man, squint eyes, smooth face. Watch out for him. Letter follows
telegram, Mrs. Hannah Hutchins.”


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



                              CHAPTER VII

                         A DOUBLE-ROOM MYSTERY.


Miss Ladd passed the telegram around among the girls after writing the
following explanation at the foot of the message:

“Pierce Langford is the Fairberry attorney that represented scheming
relatives of Mrs. Hutchins’ late husband, who attempted to force money
out of her after the disappearance of the securities belonging to Glen
Irving’s estate. Leave this matter to me and don’t talk about it until
we reach Twin Lakes.”

Nothing further was said about the incident during the rest of the
journey, as requested by Miss Ladd. The girls knitted, rested, chatted,
read, and wrote a few post-cards or “train letters” to friends. But
although there was not a word of conversation among the Camp Fire
members relative to the passenger named in Mrs. Hutchins’ telegram, yet
the subject was not absent from their minds much of the time.

They were being followed! No other construction could be put upon the
telegram. But for what purpose? What did the unscrupulous lawyer—that
was the way Mrs. Hutchins had once referred to Pierce Langford—have in
mind to do? Would he make trouble for them in any way that would place
them in an embarrassing position? These girls had had experiences in the
last year which were likely to make them apprehensive of almost anything
under such circumstances as these.

Warned of the presence on the train of a probable agent of the family
that Mrs. Hutchins had under suspicion, the girls were constantly on the
alert for some evidence of his interest in them and their movements. And
they were rewarded to this extent: In the course of the journey,
Langford paid the conductor the extra mileage for parlor car privileges,
and as he transferred from the coach, not one of the Flamingoites failed
to observe the fact that in personal appearance he answered strikingly
the description of the man referred to in the telegram received by Miss
Ladd.

The squint-eyed man of mystery, in the coolest and most nonchalant
manner, took a seat a short distance in front of the bevy of knitting
Camp Fire Girls, unfolded a newspaper and appeared to bury himself in
its contents, oblivious to all else about him.

Half an hour later he arose and left the car, passing out toward the
rear end of the train. Another half hour elapsed and he did not
reappear. Then Katherine Crane and Hazel Edwards put away their knitting
and announced that they were going back into the observation car and
look over the magazines. They did not communicate to each other their
real purpose in making this move, but neither had any doubt as to what
was going on in the mind of the other. Marie Crismore looked at them
with a little squint of intelligence and said as she arose from her
chair:

“I think I’ll go, too, for a change.”

But this is what she interpolated to herself:

“They’re going back there to spy, and I think I’ll go and spy, too.”

They found Langford in the observation car, apparently asleep in a
chair. Katherine, who entered first, declared afterwards that she was
positive she saw him close his eyes like a flash and lapse into an
appearance of drowsiness, but if she was not in error, his subsequent
manner was a very clever simulation of midday slumber. Three or four
times in the course of the next hour he shifted his position and half
opened his eyes, but drooped back quickly into the most comfortable
appearance of somnolent lassitude.

The three girls were certain that all this was pure “make-believe,” but
they did not communicate their conviction to each other by look or
suggestion of any kind. They played their part very well, and it is
quite possible that Langford, peeking through his eyewinkers, was
considerably puzzled by their manner. He had no reason to believe that
he was known to them by name or reputation, much less by personal
appearance.

It was in fact a game of spy on both sides during most of the journey,
with little but mystifying results. The train reached Twin Lakes at
about sundown, and even then the girls had discovered no positive
evidence as to the “squint-eyed man’s” purpose in taking the trip they
were taking. And Langford, as he left the train, could not confidently
say to himself that he had detected any suggestion of interest on their
part because of his presence on the train.

Flamingo Camp Fire rode in an omnibus to the principal hotel in the
town, the Crandell house, and were assigned to rooms on the second
floor. They had had their supper on the train and proceeded at once to
prepare for a night’s rest. Still no words were exchanged among them
relative to the purpose of their visit or the mysterious, squint-eyed
passenger concerning whom all of them felt an irrepressible curiosity
and not a little apprehension.

Miss Ladd occupied a room with Katherine Crane. After making a general
survey of the floor and noting the location of the rooms of the other
girls, they entered their own apartment and closed the door. Marie
Crismore and Julietta Hyde occupied the room immediately south of
theirs, but to none of them had the room immediately north been
assigned.

“I wonder if the next room north is occupied,” Katherine remarked as she
took off her hat and laid it on a shelf in the closet.

“Someone is entering now,” Miss Ladd whispered, lifting her hand with a
warning for low-toned conversation.

The exchange of a few indistinct words between two persons could be
heard; then one of them left, and the other was heard moving about in
the room.

“That’s one of the hotel men who just brought a new guest up,” Katherine
remarked.

“And I’m going to find out who it is,” the Guardian declared in a low
tone, turning toward the door.

“I’ll go with you,” said Katherine, and together they went down to the
office.

They sought the register at once and began looking over the list of
arrivals. Presently Miss Ladd pointed with her finger the following
registration:

“Pierce Langford, Fairberry, Room 36.”

Miss Ladd and Katherine occupied Room 35.

“Anything you wish, ladies?” asked the proprietor, who stood behind the
desk.

“Yes,” Miss Ladd answered. “We want another room.”

“I’ll have to give you single rooms, if that one is not satisfactory,”
was the reply. “All my double rooms are filled.”

“Isn’t 36 a double room?” Katherine inquired.

“Yes, but it’s occupied. I just sent a man up there.”

“Excuse the question,” Miss Ladd said curiously; “but why did you put
one person in a double room when it was the only double room you had and
there were vacant single rooms in the house?”

The hotel keeper smiled pleasantly, as if the question was the simplest
in the world to answer.

“Because he insisted on having it and paid me double rate in advance,”
was the landlord’s startling reply.


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



                              CHAPTER VIII

                          PLANNING IN SECRET.


Without a word of comment relative to this remarkable information, Miss
Ladd turned and started back upstairs, and Katherine followed. In the
hall at the upper landing, the Guardian whispered thus in the ear of her
roommate:

“Sh! Don’t say a word or commit an act that could arouse suspicion. He’s
probably listening, or looking, or both. Just forget this subject and
talk about the new middy-blouse you are making, or something like that.
Don’t gush, either, or he may suspect your motive. We want to throw him
off the track if possible.”

But Katherine preferred to say little, for she was tired, and made haste
to get into bed. It was not long before the subject of their plans and
problems and visions of spies and “jam-stained fists” were lost in the
lethe of dreamland.

They were awakened in the morning by the first breakfast bell and arose
at once. They dressed hurriedly and went at once to the dining-room,
where they found two of the girls ahead of them. The others appeared
presently.

As the second bell rang, Pierce Langford sauntered into the room and
took a seat near the table occupied by Helen Nash and Violet Munday. He
looked about him in a half-vacant inconsequential way and then began to
“jolly” the waitress, who approached and sung off a string of alternates
on the “Hooverized” bill of fare which she carried in her mind. She
coldly ignored his “jollies,” for it was difficult for Langford to be
pleasing even when he tried to be pleasant, took his order, and
proceeded on her way.

The girls paid no further attention to the supposed spy-lawyer during
breakfast, and the latter appeared to pay no further attention to them.
After the meal, Miss Ladd called the girls together and suggested that
they take a walk. Then she dismissed them to prepare. Twenty minutes
later they reassembled, clad in khaki middy suits, brown sailor hats,
and hiking shoes, and the walk was begun along a path that led down a
wooded hill behind the hotel and toward the nearest lake.

It was not so much for exercise and fresh air that this “hike” was taken
as for an opportunity to hold a conference where there was little
likelihood of its being overheard. They picked a grassy knoll near the
lake, shaded by a border of oak and butternut trees, and sat down close
together in order that they might carry on a conversation in subdued
tones.

“Now,” said Miss Ladd, “we’ll begin to form our plans. You all realize,
I think, that we have an obstacle to work against that we did not reckon
on when we started. But that need not surprise us. In fact, as I think
matters over, it would have been surprising if something of the kind had
not occurred. This man Langford is undoubtedly here to block our plans.
If that is true, in a sense it is an advantage to us.”

“Why?” Hazel Edwards inquired.

“I don’t like the idea of answering questions of that kind without
giving you girls an opportunity to answer them,” the Guardian returned.
“Now, who can tell me why it is an advantage to us to be followed by
someone in the employ of the people whom we have been sent to
investigate.”

“I think I can answer it,” Hazel said quickly, observing that two or
three of the other girls seemed to have something to say. “Let me speak
first, please. I asked the foolish question and want a chance to redeem
myself.”

“I wouldn’t call it foolish,” was the Guardian’s reassuring reply. “It
was a very natural question and one that comparatively few people would
be able to answer without considerable study. And yet, it is simple
after you once get it. But go ahead and redeem yourself.”

“The fact that someone has been put on our trail to watch us is pretty
good evidence that something wrong is going on,” said Hazel. “You warned
us not to be sure that anybody is guilty until we see the jam on his
fist. But we can work more confidently if we are reasonably certain that
there is something to work for. If this man Langford is in the employ of
the Grahams and is here watching us for them, we may be reasonably
certain that Aunt Hannah was right in her suspicions about the way
little Glen is being treated, may we not?”

“That is very good, Hazel,” Miss Ladd commented enthusiastically. “Many
persons a good deal older than you could not have stated the situation
as clearly as you have stated it. Yes, I think I may say that I am
almost glad that we are being watched by a spy.

“But I didn’t call you out here to have a long talk with you, girls.
There really isn’t much to say right now. First I wanted you all to
understand clearly that we are being watched and for what purpose.
Langford convicted himself when he asked for the double room next to the
one occupied by Katherine and me and offered to pay the regular rate for
two. He thinks that he is able to maintain an appearance of utter
disinterest in us and throw us off our guard. But he overdoes the thing.
He makes too big an effort to appear unconscious of our presence. It
doesn’t jibe at all with the expression of decided interest I have
caught on his face on two or three occasions. And I flatter myself that
I successfully concealed my interest in his interest in us.

“Now, there are two things I want to say to you, and we will return.
First, do your best, every one of you, to throw Langford off the track
by affecting the most innocent disinterest in him as of no more
importance to us than the most obscure tourist on earth. Don’t overdo
it. Just make yourselves think that he is of no consequence and act
accordingly without putting forth any effort to do so. The best way to
effect this is to forget all about our mission when he is around.

“Second, we must find out where the Graham cottage is and then determine
where we want to locate our camp—somewhere in the vicinity of the Graham
cottage, of course.”

“Let me go out on a scouting expedition to find out where they live,”
Katherine requested.

“And let me go with her,” begged Ruth Hazelton.

“All right,” Miss Ladd assented. “I’ll commission you two to act as
spies to approach the border of the enemy’s country and make a map of
their fortifications. But whatever you do, don’t get caught. Keep your
heads, don’t do anything foolish or spasmodic, and keep this thing well
in mind, that it is far better for you to come back empty handed than to
make them suspicious of any ulterior motive on your part.”


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



                               CHAPTER IX

                             FURTHER PLANS.


“Now, girls,” said Miss Ladd, addressing Katherine and Hazel, “let me
hear what your plan is, if you have any. If you haven’t any, we must get
busy and work one out, for you must not start such an enterprise without
having some idea as to how you should go about it. But I will assume
that a suggestion must have come to you as to how best to get the first
information we want or you would not have volunteered.”

“Can’t we work out an honor plan as we decide upon our duties and how we
are to perform them?” Hazel inquired.

“Certainly,” the Guardian replied, “I was going to suggest that very
thing. What would you propose, Hazel?”

“Well, something like this,” the latter replied: “that each of us be
assigned to some specific duty to perform in the work before it, and
that we be awarded honors for performing those duties intelligently and
successfully.”

“Very well. I suppose this work you and Katherine have selected may
count toward the winning of a bead for each of you. But what will you do
after you have finished this task, which can hardly consume more than a
few hours?”

“Why not make them a permanent squad of scouts to go out and gather
advance information needed at any time before we can determine what to
do?” Marion Stanlock suggested.

“That’s a good idea,” Miss Ladd replied. “But it will have to come up at
a business meeting of the Camp Fire in order that honors may be awarded
regularly. Meanwhile I will appoint you two girls as scouts of the Fire,
and this can be confirmed at the next business meeting. We will also
stipulate the condition on which honors will be awarded. But how will
you go about to get the information we now need.”

“First, I would look in the general residence directory to find out
where the Grahams live,” Katherine replied.

“Yes, that is perhaps the best move to make first. But the chances are
you will get nothing there. Can you tell me why?”

“Because there are probably few summer cottages within the city limits,”
Hazel volunteered.

“Exactly,” the Guardian agreed. “Well, if the city directory fails to
give you any information, what would you do next?”

“Consult a telephone directory,” Katherine said quickly.

“Fine!” Miss Ladd exclaimed. “What then?”

“They probably have a telephone; wouldn’t be much society folks if they
didn’t,” Katherine continued; “and there would, no doubt, be some sort
of address for them in the ’phone book.”

“Yes.”

“And that would give us some sort of guide for beginning our search. We
wouldn’t have to use the names of the people we are looking for.”

“That is excellent!” Miss Ladd exclaimed enthusiastically. “If you two
scouts use your heads as cleverly as that all the time, you ought to get
along fine in your work. But go on. What next would you do?”

“Go and find out where the people live. That needn’t be hard. Then we’d
look over the lay of the land to see if there were a good place near-by
for us to pitch our tents.”

“Yes,” put in Hazel; “and if we found a good place near-by, we’d begin
the real work that we came here to do by going to the Graham house and
asking who owns the land.”

“Fine again,” Miss Ladd said. “I couldn’t do better myself, maybe not as
well. I did think of going with you on your first trip, but I guess I’ll
leave it all to you. Let’s go back to the hotel now, and while you two
scouts are gone scouting, the rest of us will find something to
entertain us. Maybe we’ll take a motorboat ride.”

They started back at once and were soon at the hotel. Katherine and
Hazel decided that they would not even look for the address of the
Grahams in the directories at the hotel, but would go to a drug store on
the main business street for this information.

The other girls waited on the hotel portico while they were away on this
mission. They were gone about twenty minutes and returned with a supply
of picture post-cards to mail to their friends. On a piece of paper
Katherine had written an address and she showed it to Miss Ladd. Here is
what the latter read:

“Stony Point.”

“That’s about three miles up the lake,” Hazel said, “We thought we’d
hire an automobile and go up there.”

“Do,” said Miss Ladd approvingly. “And we’ll take a motorboat and ride
up that way too, if we can get one. Oh, I have the idea now. We’ll make
it a double inspection, part by land and part from the lake. We’ll meet
you at a landing at Stony Point, if there is one, and will bring you
back in the boat. Now, you, Katherine and Hazel, wait here while I go
and find a motorboatman and make arrangements with him.”

“I’ll go with you,” said Violet Munday.

The Guardian and Violet hastened down toward the main boat landing while
the other twelve girls waited eagerly for a successful report on this
part of the proposed program.


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



                               CHAPTER X

                         A TRIP TO STONY POINT.


Miss Ladd and Violet returned in about twenty minutes and reported that
satisfactory arrangements had been made for a trip up the lake. They
were to start in an hour and a half.

Then Katherine and Hazel engaged an automobile for a few hours’ drive
and before the motorboat started with its load of passengers, they were
speeding along a hard macadam road toward the point around which
centered the interest of their interrupted vacation plans at Fairberry
and their sudden departure on a very unusual and very romantic journey.

Twin Lakes is a summer-resort town located on the lower of two bodies of
water, similar in size, configuration, and scenery. The town has a more
or less fixed population of about 2,500, most of whom are retired folk
of means or earn their living directly or indirectly through the
supplying of amusements, comfort, and sustenance for the thousands of
pleasure and recreation seekers that visit the place every year.

Each of the lakes is about four miles long and half as wide. A narrow
river, strait, or rapids nearly a mile long connects the two. Originally
this rapids was impassable by boats larger than canoes, and even such
little craft were likely to be overturned unless handled by strong and
skillful canoemen; but some years earlier the state had cleared this
passage by removing numerous great boulders and shelves of rock from the
bed of the stream so that although the water rushed along just as
swiftly as ever, the passage was nevertheless safe for all boats of
whatever draught that moved on the two lakes which it connected.

The lower of the twin bodies of water had been named Twin-One because,
perhaps, it was the first one seen, or more often seen by those who
chose or approved the name; the other was Twin-Two. Geographically
speaking, it may be, these names should have been applied vice versa,
for Twin-Two was fed first by a deep and wide river whose source was in
the mountains 200 miles away, and Twin-One received these waters after
they had laved the shores of Twin-Two.

The road followed by Katherine and Hazel in their automobile drive to
Stony Point was a well-kept thoroughfare running from the south end of
Twin-One, in gracefully curved windings along the east border of the
lake, sometimes over a small stretch of rough or hilly shoreland, but
usually through heavy growths of hemlock, white pine, oak, and other
trees more or less characteristic of the country. Here and there along
the way was a cottage, or summer house of more pretentious proportions,
usually constructed near the water or some distance up on the side of
the hill-shore, with a kind of terrace-walk leading down to a boat
landing.

The trip was quickly made. Stony Point the girls found to be a
picturesque spot not at all devoid of the verdant beauties of nature in
spite of the fact that, geographically, it was well named. This name was
due principally to a rock-formed promontory, jutting out into the lake
at this point and seeming to be bedded deep into the lofty
shore-elevation. Right here was a cluster of cottages, not at all
huddled together, but none the less a cluster if viewed from a distance
upon the lake, and in this group of summer residences appeared to be
almost sufficient excuse for the drawing up of a petition for
incorporation as a village. But very few of the owners of these houses
lived in them during the winter months. The main and centrally located
group consisted of a hotel and a dozen or more cottages, known as “The
Hemlocks,” and so advertised in the outing and vacation columns of
newspapers of various cities.

On arriving at “the Point,” Katherine and Hazel paid the chauffeur and
informed him they would not need his machine any more that day. Then
they began to look about them.

They were rather disappointed and decidedly puzzled at what they saw.
Evidently they had a considerable search before them to discover the
location of the Graham cottage without making open inquiry as to where
it stood. First they walked out upon the promontory, which had a flat
table-like surface and was well suited for the arousing of the curiosity
of tourists. There they had a good view up and down the bluff-jagged,
hilly and tree-laden coast.

“It’s 11 o’clock now,” said Hazel, looking at her wrist-watch. “The
motorboat will be here at about 1 o’clock, and we have two hours in
which to get the information we are after unless we want to share honors
for success with the other girls when they arrive.”

“Let’s take a walk through this place and see what we can see,”
Katherine suggested. “The road we came along runs through it and
undoubtedly there are numerous paths.”

This seemed to be the best thing to do, and the two girls started from
the Point toward the macadam highway. The latter was soon reached and
they continued along this road northward from the place where they
dismissed the automobile. Half a mile they traveled in this direction,
their course keeping well along the lake shore. They passed several
cottages of designedly rustic appearance and buried, as it were, amid a
wealth of tree foliage and wild entanglements of shrubbery. Suddenly
Katherine caught hold of Hazel’s arm and held her back.

“Did you hear that?” she inquired.

“Yes, I did,” Hazel replied, “It sounded like a child’s voice, crying.”

“And not very far away, either. Listen; there it is again.”

It was a half-smothered sob that reached their ears and seemed to come
from a clump of bushes to the left of the road not more than a dozen
yards away. Both girls started for the spot, circling around the bushes
and peering carefully, cautiously ahead of them as they advanced. The
subdued sobs continued and led the girls directly to the spot whence
they came.

Presently they found themselves standing over the form of a little boy,
his frightened, tear-stained face turned up toward them while he shrank
back into the bushes as if fearing the approach of a fellow human being.


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



                               CHAPTER XI

                        MISS PERFUME INTERFERES.


The little fellow retreated into the bushes as far as he could get and
crouched there in manifest terror. Katherine and Hazel spoke gently,
sympathetically to him, but with no result, at first, except to frighten
him still more, if possible.

“Don’t be afraid, little boy,” Hazel said, reaching out her hands toward
him. “We won’t hurt you.”

But he only shrank back farther, putting up his hands before his face
and crying, “Don’t, don’t!”

“What can be the matter with him?” said Hazel. “He doesn’t seem to be
demented. He’s really afraid of something.”

Katherine looked all around carefully through the trees and into the
neighboring bushes.

“I can’t imagine what it can be,” she replied. “There’s nothing in sight
that could do him any harm. But, do you know, Hazel, I have an idea that
may be worth considering. Suppose this should prove to be the little boy
for whom we are looking.”

“That could hardly be,” Hazel answered dubiously. “Look at his
threadbare clothes, and how unkempt and neglected he appears to be. He
surely doesn’t look like a boy for whose care $250 is paid every month.”

“Don’t forget what it was that sent us here,” Katherine reminded. “Isn’t
it just possible that this little boy’s fright is proof of the very
condition we came here to expose?”

“Yes, it’s possible,” Hazel replied thoughtfully. “At least, we ought
not neglect to find out what this means.”

Then turning again to the crouching figure in the bushes, she said:

“What is your name, little boy? Is it Glen?”

At the utterance of this name, the youth shook as with ague.

“Look out, Hazel; he’ll have a spasm,” Katherine cautioned. “He thinks
we are not his friends and are going to do something he doesn’t want us
to do. Let me talk to him:

“Listen, little boy,” she continued, addressing the pitiful crouching
figure. “We’re not going to hurt you. We’ll do just what you want us to
do. We’ll take you where you want to go. Will that be all right?”

A relaxing of the tense attitude of the boy indicated that he was
somewhat reassured by these words. His fists went suddenly to his eyes
and he began to sob hysterically. Hazel moved toward him with more
sympathetic reassurance, when there was an interruption of proceedings
from a new source.

A girl about 18 years old stepped up in front of the two Camp Fire Girls
and reached forward as if to seize the juvenile refugee with both hands.
She was rather ultra-stylishly clad for a negligee, summer-resort
community, wearing a pleated taffeta skirt and Georgette crepe waist and
a white sailor hat of expensive straw with a bright blue ribbon around
the crown. Hazel afterwards remarked that “her face was as cold as an
iceberg and the odor of perfume about her was enough to asphyxiate a
field of phlox and shooting-stars.”

The boy ceased sobbing as he beheld this new arrival and his face became
white with fear, while he shrank back again into the bushes as far as he
could get. The girl of much perfume and stylish attire seemed to be
unmoved by the new panic that seized him, but took hold of him and
dragged him roughly out of his hiding place.

“Oh, do be careful,” pleaded Hazel. “Don’t you see he’s scared nearly to
death? You may throw him into a spasm.”

“Is that any of your business?” the captor of the frightened youth
snapped, looking defiantly at the one who addressed her. “He’s my
brother, and I guess I can take him back home without any interference
from a perfect stranger. He’s run away.”

“I beg your pardon,” Hazel said gently; “but it didn’t seem to me to be
an ordinary case of fright. I didn’t mean to intrude, but he’s such a
dear little boy I couldn’t help being sympathetic.”

“He’s a naughty bad runaway and ought to be whipped,” the girl with the
cold face returned as she started along a path through the timber,
dragging the little fellow after her.

“Isn’t that a shame!” Hazel muttered, digging her fingernails into the
palms of her hands. “My, but I just like to——”

She stopped for want of words to express her feelings not too riotously,
and Katherine came to her relief by swinging the subject along a
different track.

“Do you really believe that boy is Glen Irving?” she inquired.

“No, I suppose not,” Hazel answered dejectedly. “You heard that girl say
he was her brother, didn’t you? Well, Glen has no sister. But, do you
know, I really am disappointed to find that he isn’t the boy we are
looking for, for my heart went right out to him when I first saw his
crouching form and white face. Moreover, I can hardly bear the thought
of leaving him in the hands of that frosted bottle of cheap Cologne.”

Katherine laughed at the figure.

“You’ve painted her picture right,” she said warmly. “Come on, let’s
follow her. We have as much right to go that way as she has, and we must
go someway anyway.”

“All right; lead the way,” Hazel said with smiling emphasis on the “way”
to direct attention to Katherine’s phonetic repetition.

The latter started along the path that had been taken by the girl and
her frightened prisoner, and Hazel followed. The two in advance were by
this time out of sight beyond a thicket of bushes and small trees, but
Katherine and Hazel did not hasten their steps, as they preferred to
trust to the path to guide their steps rather than the view of the
persons they sought to follow. In fact, they preferred to trust to the
element of chance rather than run a risk of arousing the suspicion of
the cold-faced girl with the perfume.

Only once did they catch sight of the boy and his captor in the course
of their hesitating pursuit, and this view was so satisfactory that they
stopped short in order to avoid possible detection if the girl should
look back. A turn in the path brought them to the hip of the elevation
where the ground began to slope down to the lake and near the downward
bend of this beach-hill was a rustic cottage, with an equally rustic
garage to the rear and on one side a cleared space for a tennis court.
At the door of the cottage was the girl with the pleated skirt and white
sailor hat, still leading the now submissive but quivering youth.

“Fine!” Katherine exclaimed under her breath. “Things have turned out
just right. If that should prove to be the Graham home we couldn’t wish
for better luck. Come on; let’s back through the timber and approach
this place from another direction. They mustn’t suspect that we followed
that girl and the little boy.”

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



                              CHAPTER XII

                          THE MAN IN THE AUTO.


Cautiously Katherine and Hazel withdrew from the path into a thicket and
thence retreated along the path by which they had approached the house.
They continued their retreat to the point where the path joined the
automobile road and where grew the thicket within which they had
discovered the frightened runaway child.

“Now, I tell you what we ought to do,” Katherine said. “We ought to
follow this road about a mile, maybe, to get a view of lay of the land
and then return to this spot, or near it. We can get the information we
want after we learn more of the camping possibilities of this
neighborhood and can talk intelligently when we begin to make
inquiries.”

“And when we get back,” Hazel added, “we’ll go to some neighboring house
and ask all about who lives here and who lives there, and, of course,
we’ll be particular to ask the name of the family where that icy bottle
of perfume lives.”

“That’s the very idea,” Katherine agreed enthusiastically. “But we
haven’t any time to waste, for it is nearly 12 o’clock now, and we have
only a little more than an hour to work in if the motorboat arrives on
time. We’d better not try to walk a mile—half a mile will be enough,
maybe a quarter—just enough to enable us to talk intelligently about the
lay of the land right around here.”

They walked north along the road nearly half a mile, found a path which
led directly toward the lake, followed it until within view of the
water’s edge, satisfied themselves that there were several excellent
camping places along the shore in this vicinity and then started back.
They had passed three or four cottages on their way and at one of these
they stopped to make inquiries as planned.

A pleasant-faced woman in comfortable domestic attire met them at the
door and answered their questions with a readiness that bespoke
familiarity with the neighborhood and acquaintance with her neighbors.
Katherine and Hazel experienced no slight difficulty in concealing their
eager satisfaction when Mrs. Scott, the woman they were questioning,
said:

“The people who have the cottage just north of us are the Pruitts of
Wilmington, those just south of us are the Ertsmans of Richmond, and
those just south of the Ertsmans are the Grahams of Baltimore, I think.
I am not very well acquainted with that family. I am sure we would be
delighted to have a group of Camp Fire Girls near us and you ought to
have no difficulty in getting permission to pitch your tents. This land
along here belongs to an estate which is managed by a man living in
Philadelphia. He is represented here by a real estate man, Mr. Ferris,
of Twin Lakes. He probably will permit you to camp here for little or
nothing.”

The girls thanked the woman warmly for this information and then hurried
away.

“We don’t need to call at the Graham cottage now,” Hazel said as they
hastened back to the road. “We have all the preliminary information that
we want. The next thing for us to do is to get back to the Point and
meet the boat when it comes in and have a talk with the other girls. I
suppose our first move then ought to be to go to Twin Lakes and get
permission from that real estate man, Ferris, to pitch our tents on the
land he has charge of.”

The two girls kept up their rapid walk until within a few hundred feet
of the drive that led from the main road to the cottage occupied by the
Grahams. Then they slowed up a little as they saw an automobile
approaching ahead of them. The machine also slowed up somewhat as it
neared the drive. Suddenly Hazel exclaimed, half under her breath:

“It’s going to stop. I wonder what for?”

“Yes, and there’s something familiar in that man’s appearance,”
Katherine said slowly. “Why——”

She did not finish the sentence, for the automobile was so near she was
afraid the driver would hear her. But there was no need for her to say
what she had in her mind to say. Hazel recognized the man as soon as she
did.

“Be careful,” Katherine warned. “Don’t let him see that we know him.
Just pass him as you would a perfect stranger.”

But they did not pass the automobile as expected. Although slowing up,
the machine did not stop, and for the first time the girls realised the
probable nature of the man’s visit to Stony Point.

“O Hazel!” Katherine whispered; “he’s turning in at the Graham place.”

“I bet he’s come here to warn them against us,” Hazel returned.

“It must be something of the kind,” Katherine agreed, and then the near
approach to the automobile rendered unwise any further conversation on
the subject.

The girls were within 100 feet of the machine as it turned in on the
Graham drive and found that they had all they could do to preserve a
calm and unperturbed demeanor as they met the keen searching gaze of the
squint eyes of Pierce Langford, the lawyer from Fairberry.


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



                             CHAPTER XIII.

                            A NONSENSE PLOT.

Katherine and Hazel walked past the drive, into which Attorney
Langford’s automobile had turned, apparently without any concern or
interest in the occupant of the machine. But after they had advanced
forty or fifty yards beyond the drive, Hazel’s curiosity got the best of
her and she turned her head and looked back. The impulse to do this was
so strong, she said afterward, that it seemed impossible for her to
control the action. Her glance met the gaze of the squint eyes of the
man in the auto.

“My! that was a foolish thing for me to do,” she said as she quickly
faced ahead again. “I suppose that look has done more damage than
anything else since we started from Fairberry. And to think that I above
all others should have been the one to do it. I’m ashamed of myself.”

“Did he see you?” Katherine inquired.

“He was looking right at me,” Hazel replied; “and that look was full of
suspicion and meaning. There’s no doubt he’s on our trail and suspects
something of the nature of our mission.”

“Oh don’t let that bother you,” Katherine advised. “There’s no reason
why he should jump to a conclusion just because you looked back at him.
That needn’t necessarily mean anything. But if you let it make you
uneasy, you may give us dead away the next time you meet him.”

“I believe he knows what our mission here is already,” was Katherine’s
fatalistic answer.

“If that’s the case, you needn’t worry any more about what you do or say
in his presence,” said Hazel. “We might as well go to him and tell him
our story and have it all over with.”

“I don’t agree with you,” Katherine replied. “I believe that the worst
chance we have to work against is the probability of suspicion on his
part. I don’t see how he can know anything positively. He probably
merely learned of our intended departure for Twin Lakes and, knowing
that the Grahams were spending the summer here, began to put two and two
together. I figure that he followed us on his own responsibility.”

“And that his visit at the Graham cottage today is to give them warning
of our coming,” Hazel added.

“Yes, very likely,” Katherine agreed. “I’d like to hear the conversation
that is about to take place in that house. I bet it would be very
interesting to us.”

“No doubt of it,” said the other; “and it might prove helpful to us in
our search for the information we were sent to get.”

“Don’t you think it strange, Hazel, that your aunt should select a bunch
of girls like us to do so important a piece of work as this?” Katherine
inquired. This question had puzzled her a good deal from the moment the
proposition had been put to her. Although she had received it originally
from Mrs. Hutchins even before the matter had been broached to Hazel,
she had not questioned the wisdom of the move, but had accepted the role
of advocate assigned to her as if the proceeding were very ordinary and
commonsensible.

“If you hadn’t restricted your remark to ‘a bunch of girls like us’, I
would answer ‘yes’,” Hazel replied; “I’d say that it was very strange
for Aunt Hannah to select a ‘bunch of girls’ to do so important a piece
of work as this. But when you speak of the ‘bunch’ as a ‘bunch of girls
like us,’ I reply ‘No, it wasn’t strange at all’.”

“I’m afraid you’re getting conceited, Hazel,” Katherine protested
gently. “I know you did some remarkable work when you found your aunt’s
missing papers, but you shouldn’t pat yourself on the back with such a
resounding slap.”

“I wasn’t referring to myself particularly,” Hazel replied with a smile
suggestive of “something more coming.” “I was referring principally to
my very estimable Camp Fire chums, and of course it would look foolish
for me to attempt to leave myself out of the compliment. I suppose I
shall have to admit that I am a very classy girl, because if I weren’t,
I couldn’t be associated with such a classy bunch—see? Either I have to
be classy or accuse you other girls of being common like myself.”

“I’m quite content to be called common,” said Katherine.

“But I don’t think you are common, and that’s where the difficulty comes
in.”

“Won’t you be generous and call me classy, and I’ll admit I’m classy to
keep company with my classy associates, and you can do likewise and we
can all be an uncommonly classy bunch of common folks.”

“If we could be talking a string of nonsense like this every time we
meet Mr. Langford, we could throw him off the track as easy as scat,”
said Hazel meditatively. “What do you say, Katherine?—let’s try it the
next time he’s around: We’ll be regular imp—, inp—What’s the
word—impromptu actors.”

“We mustn’t overdo it,” Katherine cautioned.

“Of course not. Why should we? We’ll do just as we did this time—let one
idea lead on to another in easy, rapid succession. Think it over and
whenever you get an idea pass it around, and we’ll be all primed for
him. It’ll be lots of fun if we get him guessing, and be to our
advantage, too.”

Hazel and Katherine reached the Point in time to see the motorboat
containing the other members of the Fire approaching about a mile away.
They did not know, of course, who were in the boat, and as it was deemed
wise not to indulge in any demonstrations, no one on either side did any
signalling; but they were not long in doubt as to who the passengers
were. A flight of steps led from the top of the point to the landing,
and the two advance spies, as they were now quite content to be called,
walked down these and were waiting at the water’s edge when the boat ran
along the pile-supported platform.


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



                              CHAPTER XIV.

                          SPARRING FOR A FEE.

Pierce Langford drove the automobile, in which he made his first trip to
Stony Point, up to the end of his drive near the Graham cottage, and
advanced to the front entrance. The porch on which he stood awaiting the
appearance of someone to answer his knock—there was no bell at the
door—was bordered with a railing of rough-hewn, but uniformly selected,
limbs of hard wood or saplings. The main structure of the house was of
yellow pine, but the outer trimmings were mainly of such rustic material
as the railing of the porch.

The front door was open, giving the visitor a fairly good view of the
interior. The front room was large and fairly well furnished with light
inexpensive furniture, grass rugs and an assortment of nondescript,
“catch-as-catch-can,” but not unattractive, art upon the walls.
Langford, who was not a sleepy schemer, was able to get a good view of
the room before any one appeared to answer his knock.

It was a woman who appeared, a sharp featured, well-dressed matron with
a challenging eye. Perhaps no stranger, or person out of the exclusive
circle that she assumed to represent, ever approached her without being
met with the ocular demand. “Who are you?”

Pierce Langford recognized this demand at once. If he had been of less
indolent character this unscrupulous attorney might have made a
brilliant success as a criminal lawyer in a metropolis. The fact that he
was content with the limitations of a practice in a city of 3,500
inhabitants, Fairberry, his home town, was of itself indicative of his
indolence. And yet, when he took a case, he manifested gifts of
shrewdness that would have made many another lawyer of much greater
practice jealous.

Attorney Langford’s shrewdness and indolence were alternately
intermittent. When the nerve centers of his shrewdness were stimulated
his indolence lapsed and he was very much on the alert. The present was
one of those instances. He knew something, by reputation, of the woman
who confronted him. He had had indirect dealing with her before, but he
had never met her. However, he was certain that she would recognize his
name.

“Is this Mrs. Graham?” he inquired, although he scarcely needed to ask
the question.

“It is,” she replied with evidently habitual precision.

“My name is Langford—Pierce Langford,” he announced, and then waited for
the effect of this limited information.

The woman started. It was a startled start. The challenge of her
countenance wavered; the precision of her manner became an attitude of
caution.

“Not—not Pierce Langford of—of—?” she began.

The man smiled on one side of his mouth.

“The very one, none other,” he answered cunningly. “Not to be in the
least obscure, I am from the pretty, quiet and somewhat sequestered city
of Fairberry. You know the place, I believe.”

“I’ve never been there and hope I shall never have occasion to go to
your diminutive metropolis,” she returned rather savagely.

“No?” the visitor commented with a rising inflection for rhetorical
effect. “By the way, may I come in?”

“Certainly,” Mrs. Graham answered recovering quickly from a partial
lapse of mindfulness of the situation.

The woman turned and led the way into the house and the visitor
followed. Mrs. Graham directed the lawyer to a reed rocking chair and
herself sat down on another reed-rest of the armchair variety. The woman
by this time had recovered something of her former challenging attitude
and inquired:

“Well, Mr. Langford, what is the meaning of this visit?”

“Very much meaning, Mrs. Graham,” was the reply; “and of very much
significance to you, I suspect. I come here well primed with information
which I am sure will cause you to welcome me as you perhaps would
welcome nobody else in the world.”

Mrs. Graham leaned forward eagerly, expectantly, apprehensively.

“You come as a friend, I assume,” she said.

“Have you any reason to doubt it?” the man inquired. “If it were
otherwise, I must necessarily come as a traitor. I hope you will not
entertain any such opinion of me as that. As long as you treat me
fairly, you’ll find me absolutely on the square for you and your
interests.”

“I hope so,” returned the woman in a tone of voice that could hardly be
said to convey any significance other than the dictionary meaning of the
words. “But let’s get down to business. What is this information that
you come here primed with? Has it to do with the old subject?”

“Certainly, very intimately, and with nothing else.”

“In what way?” Mrs. Graham asked with more eagerness than she intended
to disclose.

“Well, there are some spies in this neck of the woods.”

“Spies!” the woman exclaimed, betraying still more of the eagerness she
was still struggling against.

“Yes spies. That’s exactly what they call themselves.”

“Who are they?—how do you know they are here to spy on me?”

“I overheard their plans. I got wind in a roundabout way, as a result of
talk on the part of Mrs. Hutchins’ servants, that there was something
doing, with Twin Lakes as a central point of interest. I suspected at
once that your interests were involved; so I stole slyly, Willie
Hawkshaw-like, up to their rendezvous one night and listened to some of
them as they discussed their plans and—”

“Some of them,” Mrs. Graham interrupted, “How many are there?”

“Oh, a whole troup of them.”

“That’s a funny story,” the woman commented dubiously, searching the
face of her visitor for an explanation of his, to her, queer statements.

“Not at all so funny when you hear it in detail,” Langford returned
quietly.

“Well hurry up with the details,” the impatient Mrs. Graham demanded.

“There’s no need of being in a hurry,” the lawyer said with provoking
calmness. “Business is business, you see, and full confidences should
never be exchanged in a situation of this kind until a contract is drawn
up, signed, sealed, witnessed, and recorded. In other words, I ought to
have an understanding and a retainer before I go any farther.”

Mrs. Graham had no reason to doubt that this was coming sooner or later,
but she winced nevertheless when it came.


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



                              CHAPTER XV.

                         LANGFORD GETS A CHECK.

“I hope you realize, Mr. Langford, that we are not exactly made of
money,” Mrs. Graham remarked tentatively by way of meeting the demand
which she read between his words. “Moreover, we were under heavy
expenses during the last year and you got a good deal of what we paid
out.”

“Not so very much,” Langford corrected, from his point of view. “You
must remember that I was working for you through another man and he
handled the pay roll, on which he and I were the only payees, and
naturally he took what he didn’t absolutely have to give to me.”

“Well, how much do you want for this service?” the woman inquired.

“I ought to have at least $25 a day and my expenses,” the lawyer
answered.

“Absolutely out of the question. That’s several times the amount of our
income from the source you are interested in. And a considerable part of
that has to go for the boy’s clothing, board and education.”

“That is one of the important points to which I am coming,” Langford
interrupted. “I come to inform you that Mrs. Hutchins is very much
interested in how the boy is being clothed and fed and educated, and
also how he is being treated, and she has decided to find those things
out.”

“It’s a case of her old suspicions being revived?” Mrs. Graham asked.

“I suppose so; anyway, she’s mighty suspicious.”

“Who’s been peddling stories to her?”

“That’s something I didn’t find out.”

“Don’t you think a $25-a-day man ought to find out?”

“Perhaps; and perhaps I could have discovered that very thing if I had
thought it wise to spend the time on it. After the mischief was done, it
seemed hardly worth while to expend any effort to find the mischief
maker. I decided it was best to get after the mischief itself and stop
it.”

“I suppose you’re right,” assented Mrs. Graham. “But it really would be
a lot of satisfaction to know who the traitor is.”

“This is no time to waste any of your efforts on revenge. That may come
later, not now. But how about my fee?”

“You ask too much.”

“I don’t agree with you, That is a very small fee, compared with what
some attorneys get. Why, I know lawyers who never take a case under $100
a day.”

“That’s in the big cities, where they are under heavy expenses—costly
offices and office help.”

“Where do you get your information?”

“Oh, I have traveled and lived,” the woman replied with emphasis on the
last word. “And I know there are plenty of judges who get only $10 a
day, some less. Now, what do you think of that? Do you think you ought
to get more than a judge?”

“Oh, fudge on the judges,” Langford exclaimed in affected disgust. “No
big lawyer will take one of those political jobs. There are lots of big
lawyers making $50,000 or $100,000 a year, and there are few judges
getting more than $10,000.”

“Well, I can’t pay more than $10 a day, and I can’t pay that very long.
We’re under heavy expenses here and in Baltimore.”

“You ought to economize, Mrs. Graham,” Langford advised. “Remember, this
special income can’t last forever. The boy is past 10 years old now, and
if nobody takes it away from you earlier, it will stop when he is 21.”

“Take it away!” Mrs. Graham exclaimed in a startled manner, indicating
that her apprehension had not carried her imagination as far as this.

“Sure—why not?” the lawyer returned. “What do you think all this talk
about spies has been leading up to?—a Christmas present? If Mrs.
Hutchins is suspicious enough to send a lot of spies here to get the
goods on you, don’t you think she has some notion of taking some sort of
drastic action?”

“What kind of ‘goods’ does she expect to get on me?” the woman inquired.

“Can’t you guess?”

“I can’t imagine, dream, or suspect.”

“Just hurry things along to an agreement tween you and me, and I’ll tell
you.”

“I’ll give you $10 a day and reasonable expenses. That doesn’t include
your board; only your carfare and such incidentals when you’re away from
home. That is all conditioned, of course, on your proving to my
satisfaction that you have the information you say you have. There’s no
use of my fighting for this income if I have to pay it all out without
getting my benefit from it.”

“I’ll try not to be so hard on you as all that,” Langford reassured the
woman. “I accept your offer, although it’s the minimum I would consider.
I suppose you are prepared to give me a check today?”

“Yes, I can give you something—your expenses thus far and maybe a little
besides. Now hurry up and tell your story.”

“I can do it in a few words. Mrs. Hutchins has sent a dozen or more
girls up here to find out how you treat the youngster and if he is well
fed, clothed and educated. She’s received word from some source to the
contrary and is planning to take him away if she discovers that her
suspicions are true. These spies are all Camp Fire Girls who were
camping on her farm. One of them is her niece. The proof of my statement
that they are here to spy on you is in their plan to camp near your
cottage and cultivate an intimate acquaintance with your family,
particularly your two daughters. Two of them were up here looking over
the lay of the ground; maybe they’re here yet. Undoubtedly you’ll see
something of them tomorrow or the next day.”

Mrs. Graham’s eyes flashed dangerously. Langford saw the menace in her
look and manner.

“As I am now in your employ as counsel,” he said, “I’ll begin giving
advice at once. Cut out this hate business. It’s your worst enemy. Just
be all smiles and dimples and give them the sweetest con game welcome
imaginable. Pretend to be delighted to meet the bunch of Camp Fire
Girls. Tell them you had long held their organization in the highest
esteem. Take your two daughters into your fullest confidence. Tell them
they must play their part, too, and play it well. They must be eager to
become Camp Fire Girls and seek to be chummy with the spies.

“And as for the boy, in whom they are specially interested, you must
treat him as if you regard him the dearest little darling on earth.”
(Mrs. Graham’s face soured at this suggestion,) “No, none of that, or
you’ll spoil the whole game. Mrs. Hutchins means business, and all she
needs to do is to prove a few acts of cruelty and neglect, and any court
in the land will give her speedy custody of the child, in view of the
provisions of his father’s will, which, you know, are very exacting of
you and very friendly toward Mrs. Hutchins and her late husband. By the
way, where are the child and the other members of your family?”

“My husband is in Baltimore working at his regular employment,” Mrs.
Graham answered. “I expect him here next week; his vacation begins then.
My son, James, Jr., went up the lakes this morning with some friends of
his. Addie, my oldest daughter, went to Twin Lakes to do some shopping,
and the other girl, Olga, is in the next room with Glen.”

“By the way, Mrs. Graham, how well is the boy supplied with clothing?”
Langford inquired.

“He has some good suits,” Mrs. Graham replied slowly as if going over
Glen’s wardrobe piece by piece, in her mind.

“Dress him up in his best and get some more for special occasions. You
might be working on some article of clothing for him also. That would
indicate strongly that you are interested in his welfare.

“Now, if you don’t mind, I will take my check and go. I’ll be back
again, but don’t think it advisable to come often. I have prepared a
short telephone cipher code by which we can carry on a commonplace
conversation over the wire and let each other know if all is well or if
trouble is brewing or has already broken. Here is a copy of it.”

Mrs. Graham wrote the lawyer a check for $35, and he arose to depart.

“Remember,” he said as he stood facing the woman schemer at the doorway;
“the success of this little plan of ours rests in the ability of
yourself and other members of the family to play the most spontaneously
genteel game the cleverest persons ever planned. If you fall down on
this, undoubtedly you’ll lose your handsome side-issue income of $3,500
a year.”

Then he went out, cranked his rented automobile, and drove away.


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



                              CHAPTER XVI

                          LANGFORD CHECKS UP.


The twelve girls in the boat landed and proceeded with Katherine and
Hazel up the steps to the top of the Point, where a conference was held.
The two advance scouts reported developments in detail, much to the
interest and delight of the other girls. The progress made thus far was
so encouraging that everybody showed a disposition of impatience at the
first sign of inactivity.

“We must go right back and get permission from Mr. Ferris to locate our
camp somewhere near the Graham home,” said Katherine. “We ought to get
our tents pitched just as soon as possible, and we mustn’t run any risk
of not being able to find Mr. Ferris today.”

“Don’t you think it would help to allay their suspicions if we all
remained here a while and looked around as if interested in the scenery
just as tourists?” Azalia Atwood suggested

“No, I don’t,” Katherine replied quickly. “Either that man Langford
suspects us or he doesn’t. If he suspects us, he has grounds for his
suspicion, and any such attempt to throw him off the track would result
in failure. I think we had better assume that he knows what we are up to
and act accordingly, without appearing to admit it.”

“But won’t they try to cover up the evidence that we are after?”
Julietta Hyde reasoned.

“Of course they will,” Katherine answered.

“That will be one of the most interesting features of this adventure,”
said Helen Nash, who already had a reputation wider than the Camp Fire
circle for natural shrewdness. “When they begin to do that, we’ll have
some great fun.”

“Can’t you point out from the lake the place or places where you think
it would be well for us to locate our camp?” Miss Ladd inquired,
addressing Hazel and Katherine.

“You can get a pretty good view of it right from here,” Hazel replied.
“It’s right up the shore between those two cottages which are about the
same distance up from the water and have similar paths and flights of
steps running down to their boat landings. Between those two places is a
stretch of timber-land that doesn’t seem to be used by anybody in
particular. We didn’t explore it because we didn’t have time, but it
surely must contain some good camping places. We saw several small open
spots near the road that could be used if nothing better is found. We
must make a thorough inspection, of course, before we select a site, but
that won’t take long and can be done when we bring our outfit up here.”

“We ought to take a run in the boat along the shore and see if we can’t
find a good landing place,” Katherine suggested. “Wouldn’t it be
delightful if we could find a suitable place on the side of that hill
and overlooking the lake? Let’s take enough time for that.”

“It’s a good idea,” said Miss Ladd warmly. “Let’s do that at once and
then run back to Twin Lakes. But remember, girls, don’t say anything
about our mission on the boat. The boatman would be sure to start some
gossip that probably would reach the ears of the very persons we want to
keep in the dark as much as possible.”

They were soon back in the large canopied motorboat, and Miss Ladd gave
instructions to the pilot. The latter cranked his engine, took his place
at the wheel, and backed the vessel away from the landing. A few moments
later the “Big Twin,” as the owner facetiously named the boat to
distinguish it from a smaller one which he called the “Little Twin,” was
dashing along the wooded hill-shore which extended nearly a mile to the
north from Stony Point. They obtained a good view of the section of the
shore just north of the Graham cottage and picked out several spots
which appeared from the distance viewed to be very good camping sites.
Then the prow of the boat was turned to the south and they cut along at
full speed toward Twin Lakes.

The run was quickly made, and Katherine and Hazel hastened at once to
the Ferris real estate office and presented their petition to Mr. Ferris
in person. The latter was much interested when he learned that a Fire of
Camp Fire Girls desired permission to pitch their tents on land of which
he was the local agent, and still more interested when informed that
they were students at Hiawatha Institute whose reputation was well known
to him. He gave them a pen-and-ink drawing of the vicinity, indicating
the approximate lines of the lands owned or leased by cottagers then in
possession, and granted them permission, free of charge, to locate their
camp at any place they desired so long as they did not encroach on the
rights of others.

An hour later the squint-eyed man whose activities have already created
much of interest in this narrative entered the office of Mr. Ferris and
inquired:

“Are you agent for that land along the lake just north of Stony Point?”

“I am,” the real estate man replied.

“Do you allow campers to pitch their tents on the land for a week or two
at a time?”

“I don’t object if they are all right. I always require some sort of
credentials. I wouldn’t allow strangers to squat there without giving me
some kind of notice. I granted permission to a bunch of Camp Fire Girls
today to pitch their tents there.”

“Is that so? Where are they going to locate?”

“Just beyond the Graham cottage, if you know where that is.”

“That is where some friends of mine would like to camp,” said Langford
in an affected tone of disappointment.

“I don’t think I’d care to grant any more permits in that vicinity,” Mr.
Ferris announced rather meditatively. “I feel rather a personal interest
in the girls and don’t want any strangers to pitch a camp too near them.
Your friends might, perhaps, locate half a mile farther up the shore.”

“I’ll tell them what you say,” Langford said as he left the office.

Five minutes later he was in a telephone booth calling for No. 123-M. A
woman answered the ring.

“Is this Mrs. Graham?” he inquired.

“Yes,” was the reply.

“This is Langford. I just called to inform you that the parties we were
talking about have obtained permission to camp near your cottage. You’ll
probably see something of them tomorrow.”

“Thank you.”

“And I’ll be at your place tomorrow afternoon between 3 and 4 o’clock.”

“I’ll expect you.”

That ended the conversation.


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



                              CHAPTER XVII

                          A DAY OF HARD WORK.


That evening Miss Ladd received the letter that Mrs. Hutchins had
announced in her telegram addressed to the Guardian on the train, would
follow that communication. She did not discuss the matter with any of
the girls, but quietly passed it around until all had read it.

In her letter Mrs. Hutchins stated little that had not been read between
the lines of the telegram, although her views and comments on the
circumstances were interesting. She had seen Pierce Langford arrive at
the station just as the train was pulling in, buy a ticket and board the
train just as it was pulling out. Curiosity, stirred perhaps by the
recollection that this man had recently represented interests hostile to
the mission of the Thirteen Camp Fire Girls and their Guardian, and
might still represent those interests, caused her to inquire of the
agent for what point Mr. Langford had purchased his ticket. The reply
was “Twin Lakes.”

That was sufficient. The woman asked for a telegram pad and wrote a few
lines. Then she gave the message to the operator with these directions:

“I want that to catch Miss Ladd in the limited as soon as possible. Keep
it going from station to station until it is delivered. Have the
operator who succeeds in getting the message into Miss Ladd’s hands wire
back ‘delivered’ as soon as she receives it.”

On the day following the advance excursion and inspection of the camping
prospects at Stony Point, the “Big Twin” was engaged again to convey the
Camp Fire Girls to the prospective camping place. On this occasion the
tents and other paraphernalia were taken aboard and conveyed to the
scene of the proposed camp. The boat skirted along the shore and a
careful examination was made to discover landing places that might
provide access from the lake to such camping sites as might later be
found.

Several good landing places were found. The one they selected
tentatively as a mooring for the boat was a large flat-rock projection a
few hundred yards north of the Graham pier. A comparatively level shore
margin extended back nearly a hundred feet from this rock to the point,
where the wooded incline began. The boatman and a boy of eighteen who
had been engaged to assist in handling the heavier paraphernalia,
remained in the boat while the girls started off in pairs to explore the
near-by territory for the most advantageous and available site.

They came together again half an hour later and compared notes. The
result was that the report made by Marion Stanlock and Harriet Newcomb
proved the most interesting. They had found a pretty nook half way up
the side of the hill shore and sheltered by a bluff on the inland side
and trees and bushes at either end, so that no storm short of a
hurricane could seriously damage a well-constructed camp in this place.
The area was considerable, quite sufficient for the pitching of the
complement of tents of the Fire.

After all the girls had inspected this proposed site in a body, a
unanimous vote was taken in favor of its adoption. This being their
decision, they returned without delay to the boat and the work of
carrying their camping outfit a distance of some three hundred yards was
begun.

The pilot and the boy assistant took the heavier luggage while the girls
carried the lighter articles and supplies. In this manner everything was
transported to the camp site in about an hour. The pilot and the boy
then assisted in the work of putting up the tents, and after this was
finished they were paid and dismissed.

Everything went along smoothly while all this was being done. Not
another person appeared in sight during this period, except the
occupants of several boats that motored by. The Graham cottage was about
a quarter of a mile to the south and farther up on the hill, but the
screen of dense foliage shut it off from view at the girls’ camp.

All the rest of the day was required to put the camp into good
housekeeper’s condition. The light folding cots had to be set up and got
ready for sleeping, the kitchen tent also required much domestic art and
ingenuity for the most convenient and practical arrangement, and a
fireplace for cooking had to be built with rocks brought up principally
from the water’s edge.

So eager were they to finish all this work that they did not stop to
prepare much of a luncheon. They ate hurriedly-prepared sandwiches,
olives, pickles, salmon, and cake, and drank lemonade, picnic style, and
kept at their camp preparation “between bites,” as it were. In the
evening, however, they had a good Camp Fire Girls’ supper prepared by
Hazel Edwards, Julietta Hyde and the Guardian. Then they sat around
their fire and chatted, principally about the beauty of the scenery on
every hand.

But they were tired girls and needed no urging to seek rest on their
cots as the sun sunk behind the hills on the opposite side of the lake.
The move “bedward” was almost simultaneous and the drift toward
slumberland not far behind. They had one complete day undisturbed with
anything of a mysterious or startling nature, and it was quite a relief
to find it possible to seek a night’s repose after eight or nine hours
of diligent work without being confronted with apprehensions of some
impending danger or possible defeat of their plans.


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



                             CHAPTER XVIII

                               PLANNING.


Next morning the girls all awoke bright and early, thoroughly refreshed
by their night’s rest. A breakfast of bacon, flapjacks and maple syrup,
bread and butter and chocolate invigorated them for a new day of camp
life in a new place.

Their program was already pretty well mapped out, being practically the
same as that followed while in camp in Fern Hollow near Fairberry. They
still did some work on certain lines arranged under the honor lists of
the craft, but were giving particular attention to knitting and sewing
for the Red Cross, which they aided in an auxiliary capacity.

The program regularly followed by the girls required three hours of
routine work each day. This they usually performed between the hours of
7 and 10 or 8 and 11, depending upon the time of their getting up and
the speed with which they disposed of the early morning incidentals.

On this morning, in spite of the fact that they had gone to bed
thoroughly tired as a result of the exertions of the preceding day, the
girls arose shortly after 6 o’clock and by 7:30 all were engaged in
various record-making occupations, including the washing of the
breakfast dishes and the making of the beds and the general tidying-up
of the camp.

After the routine had been attended to, the girls took a hike for the
purpose of exploring the country to the north of their camp. This
exploration extended about two miles along the shore, their route being
generally the automobile road that skirted the lake at varying distances
of from a few rods to a quarter of a mile from the water’s edge,
depending upon the configuration of the shore line.

During much of this hike, Katherine, Hazel and Miss Ladd walked together
and discussed plans for creating a condition of affairs that might be
expected to produce results in harmony with the purpose of their
mission. They were all at sea at first, but after a short and fruitless
discussion of what appeared to be next to nothing, Katherine made a
random suggestion which quickly threw a more hopeful light on affairs.

“It seems to me that we’ve got to do something that will attract
attention,” she said. “We’ll have to do some sensational, or at least
lively, stunts so that everybody will know we are here and will want to
know who we are.”

“That’s the very idea.” Miss Ladd said eagerly.

Katherine was a little startled at this reception of her suggestion.
When she spoke, she was merely groping for an idea. But Miss Ladd’s
approval woke her up to a realization that she had unwittingly hit the
nail on the head.

“Yes,” she said, picking up the thread of a real idea as she proceeded;
“we have got to attract attention. That’s the only way we can get the
people in whom we are most interested to show an interest in us.”

“What shall we do?” Hazel inquired.

“Map out a spectacular program of some sort,” Katherine replied. “We
might build a big bonfire, for one thing, on the shore tonight and go
through some of our gym exercises, including folk dances.”

“Good,” said Hazel. “Let’s start off with that. And tomorrow we can have
some games that will make it necessary for us to ran all over the
country—hare and hounds, for instance.”

“We ought to find a good safe swimming place near our camp, too,”
Katherine said.

“Let’s look for one this afternoon,” Miss Ladd suggested.

“How will we test it?” Hazel inquired.

“That’s easy,” the Guardian replied. “We’ll use poles to try the depth
and then one of us will swim out with one end of a rope attached to her
and the other end in the hands of two of the girls ready to haul in if
she needs assistance. In that way we will be able to locate a good
swimming place and not run any risk of anybody’s being drowned.”

“We’ve got a good starter, anyway,” Katherine remarked in a tone of
satisfaction. “By the time we’ve taken care of those items something
more of the same character ought to occur to us. Yes, that’s the very
way to interest the Grahams in our presence and open the way for an
acquaintance.”

The three now separated and mingled with the other girls who were some
distance ahead or behind, and communicated the new plan to all of them.
It was received with general approval and was the main topic of
conversation until they all returned to the camp for luncheon.


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



                              CHAPTER XIX

                                WATCHED.


After luncheon, the girls, with two sharp hatchets among them, began a
search through the timber for some long, slim saplings. After a half
hour’s search they were in possession of three straight cottonwood
poles, ten or twelve feet long, and with these in their possession, they
began an examination of the water-depth along the shore for a safe and
suitable bathing place.

They might have used their fishing rods for this purpose, but these were
not serviceable, as they were of extremely light material and, moreover,
were hardly long enough for this purpose. The saplings proved to be
excellent “feelers” and the work progressed rapidly from the start.

About 200 yards north of their camp was a sandy beach which extended
along the shore a considerable distance. It was here that the girls made
their first under-water exploration, They tied a rough stone near one
end of each of the poles to increase its specific gravity and then
proceeded to “feel” for depth along the water’s edge.

Careful examination with these poles failed to disclose a sudden drop
from the gradual downward slope of the beach into the water, so that
there appeared to be no treacherous places near the shore. Satisfied in
this respect, they now arranged for a further test. Azalia Atwood, who
was an excellent swimmer, returned to the camp, donned a bathing suit,
and then rejoined the other girls, bringing with her a long rope of the
clothesline variety. One end of this was looped around her waist, and
Marion Stanlock had an opportunity to exhibit her skill at tying a
bowline.

While two of the girls held the rope and payed it out, Azalia advanced
into the water, stepping ahead carefully in order to avoid a surprise of
any sort resulting from some hidden danger under the surface of the
lake. To some, all this caution might seem foolish, inasmuch as Azalia
swam well, but one rule of Flamingo Camp Fire prohibited even the best
swimmers from venturing into water more than arm-pit deep unless they
were at a beach provided with expert life-saving facilities.

The purpose of Azalia’s exploration was to wade over as large an area of
lake bottom as possible and establish a certainty that it was free from
deep step-offs, “bottomless” pockets and treacherous undertow. Soon it
became evident that she had a bigger undertaking before her than she had
reckoned on, for the bed of the lake sloped very gradually at this
point, and Katherine Crane and Estelle Adler volunteered to assist her.

“All right,” said Azalia, welcoming the suggestion. “Go and put on your
bathing suits and bring a few more hanks of rope. Better bring all there
is there, for we probably can use it.”

Katherine and Estelle hastened back to camp and in a short time
returned, clad in their bathing suits and carrying several hundred feet
of rope. In a few minutes they too were in the water and taking part in
the exploration, protected against treacherous conditions as Azalia was
protected.

In half an hour they had explored and pronounced safe as large a bathing
place as their supply of rope would “fence in” and then began the
“fencing” process. They cut several stout stakes six feet long and took
them to the water’s edge. Then the three girls in bathing suits assumed
their new duty as water pile-drivers. They took one of the stakes at a
time to a point along the proposed boundary line of the bathing place,
also a heavy mallet that had been brought along for this purpose. A
wooden mallet, by the way, was much more serviceable than a hatchet for
such work, inasmuch as, if dropped, it would not sink, and moreover, it
could be wielded with much less danger of injury to any of those working
together in the water.

The first stake was taken to the northwest corner of the proposed
inclosure. Katherine, who carried the mallet, gave it to Estelle and
then climbed to a sitting posture on the latter’s shoulders. Then Azalia
stood the stake on its sharpened end and Katherine took hold of it with
one hand and began to drive down on the upper end with the mallet, which
Estelle handed back to her.

It was hard work for several reasons—hard for Estelle to maintain a
steady and firm posture under the moving weight, hard for Katherine to
wield the mallet with unerring strokes, hard to force the sharpened
point into the well-packed bed of the lake. Katherine’s right arm became
very tired before she had driven the stake deep enough to insure a
reasonable degree of firmness. While this task was being performed, the
girls were still protected against the danger of being swept into deeper
water by the ropes looped around their waists and held at the other ends
by some of the girls on the sandy beach.

After this stake had been set firmly into the river bed, the girls
returned to the shore and got another. This they took to another
position about the same distance from the beach as the first one and
drove it into the hardened loam under the water. The same process was
continued until six such stakes had been driven.

Then they took up the work of extending rope from stake to stake and
completing the inclosure. The sags were supported by buoys of light wood
tied to the rope, the two extreme ends of which were attached to stakes
driven into the shore close to the water.

“There, that is what I call a pretty good job,” declared Miss Ladd
gazing with proud satisfaction upon the result of more than three hours’
steady work. “Whenever you girls come out here to go bathing, you will
be well warranted in assuming that you have earned your plunge.”

All the girls by this time had their bathing suits on, but most of them
were too tired to remain in the water any longer; so, by common consent,
all adjourned to the camp to rest until suppertime.

“Well, it appears that our activities have not yet aroused any special
interest in the Graham household,” Hazel Edwards observed as they began
their march back toward the sheltered group of tents.

“I’m not so certain of that,” Miss Ladd replied.

“Why not?” Katherine inquired, while several of the girls who were near
looked curiously at the Guardian.

“Because I believe I have seen evidences of interest.”

“You have!” exclaimed two or three unguardedly.

“Now, girls, you are forgetting yourselves,” said Miss Ladd warningly.
“Remember that the first requisite of skill in your work here is
caution. The reason I didn’t say anything to you about what I saw is
that I was afraid some of you might betray your interest in the fact
that we were being watched. I saw two girls half hidden in a clump of
bushes up near the top of the hill. I am sure they were watching us.
They were there at least half an hour.”


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



                               CHAPTER XX

                              THE MISSILE.


Five of the members of the Camp Fire were present when Miss Ladd made
this startling announcement that they had been watched secretly for a
considerable time while roping off the limits of their swimming place.
The other girls had taken the lead back to the camp and were a
considerable distance ahead.

“Are they watching us yet?” Azalia asked.

“I think not,” the Guardian replied. “I haven’t seen any sign of them
during the last twenty minutes.”

“How do you know they are girls?” Katherine inquired. “That’s quite a
distance to recognize ages.”

“Oh, they may be old women, but I’ll take a chance on a guess that they
are not. The millinery I caught a peep at looked too chic for a
grandmother. I’ve got pretty good long-distance eyes, I’ll have you
know,” Miss Ladd concluded smartly.

There was no little excitement among the other girls when this bit of
news was communicated to them. But they had had good experience-training
along the lines of self-control, and just a hint of the unwisdom of loud
and extravagant remarks put them on their guard.

Some of the girls proposed that the plan of building a bonfire in the
evening be given up and nobody objected to this suggestion. All the
girls felt more like resting under the shade of a tree than doing
anything else, and those who had performed the more arduous tasks in the
work of the afternoon were “too tired to eat supper,” as one of them
expressed it. So nobody felt like hunting through the timber for a big
supply of firewood.

The atmosphere had become very warm in the afternoon, but the girls
hardly noticed this condition until their work in the water was finished
and they returned to the camp. After they had rested a while some of the
girls read books and magazines, but little was done before supper.

After supper some of the girls, who felt more vigorous than those who
had performed the more exhausting labor of the afternoon, revived the
idea of a bonfire and were soon at work gathering a supply of wood. They
busied themselves at this until nearly dusk and then called the other
girls down to the water’s edge, where on a large rocky ledge
arrangements for the fire had been made.

All of the girls congratulated themselves now on the revival of the
bonfire idea, for the mosquitos had become so numerous that comfort was
no longer possible without some agency to drive them away. A bonfire was
just the thing, although it would make the closely surrounding
atmosphere uncomfortably warm.

Even the girls who had performed the hardest tasks in the “fencing in”
of their swimming place were by this time considerably rested and
enjoyed watching the fire seize the wood and then leap up into the air
as if for bigger prey.

“Let’s sing,” proposed Harriet Newcomb after the fire had grown into a
roaring, crackling blaze, throwing a brilliant glow far out onto the
water.

“What shall it be?” asked Ethel Zimmerman.

“Burn Fire, Burn,” Hazel Edwards proposed.

“Marion, you start it,” Miss Ladd suggested, for Marion Stanlock was the
“star” soprano of the Fire.

In a moment the well-trained voices of fourteen Camp Fire Girls were
sending the clear operatic strains of a special adaptation of the fire
chant of the Camp Fire ritual. The music had been composed and arranged
by Marion Stanlock and Helen Nash a few months previously, and diligent
practice had qualified the members of the Camp Fire to render the
production impressively.

This song was succeeded by a chorus-rendering of a similar adaptation of
the Fire Maker’s Song. Then followed an impromptu program of
miscellaneous songs, interspersed here and there with such musical
expressions of patriotism as “America,” “Star Spangled Banner,” and
“Over There,” in evidence of a mindfulness of the part of the United
States in the great international struggle for democracy.

Meanwhile dusk gathered heavier and heavier, the stars came out, and
still the fire blazed up brightly and the girls continued to sing songs
and tell stories and drink in the vigor and inspiration of the scene. At
last, however, the Guardian announced that it was 9 o’clock, which was
Flamingo’s curfew, and there was a general move to extinguish the fire,
which by this time had been allowed to burn low.

Suddenly all were startled by an astonishing occurrence. A heavy object,
probably a stone as large as a man’s fist, fell in the heap of embers,
scattering sparks and burning sticks in all directions. There was a
chorus of screams, and a frantic examination, by the girls, of one
another’s clothes to see if any of them were afire.


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



                              CHAPTER XXI

                                 “SH!”


“Who in the world do you suppose did that?” Hazel Edwards exclaimed, as
she hastily examined her own clothes and then quickly struck out a spark
that clung to the skirt of Azalia Atwood.

“Quick, girls,” cried Miss Ladd; “did any of you do that?”

There was a chorus of indignant denials. No room for doubt remained now
that the missile had been hurled by someone outside the semicircle near
the bonfire.

All eyes were turned back toward the timber a short distance away, but
not a sign of a human being could they see in that direction.

“If we’d been on the other side of the bonfire, we’d have got that
shower of sparks right in our faces and all over us,” Katherine Crane
said indignantly.

“We ought to find out who threw that rock, or whatever it was,” Ethel
Zimmerman declared. “It must be a very dangerous person, who ought to be
taken care of.”

“If that sort of thing is repeated many times, some of us probably will
have to be taken care of,” observed Julietta Hyde.

“Listen!” Miss Ladd interrupted, and the occasion of her interruption
did not call for explanation. All heard it. A moment later it was
repeated.

“Wohelo!”

“No Camp Fire Girl ever made such a noise as that,” said Helen Nash
disdainfully.

“It sounds like a man’s voice,” Azalia Atwood remarked.

“I’ll bet a Liberty Bond that it is a man,” ventured Ruth Hazelton.

“Have you a Liberty Bond?” asked Helen.

“I’m paying for one out of my allowance,” Ruth replied.

Just then the “noise” was repeated, a hoarse hollow vocalization of the
Camp Fire Watchword. This time it seemed to be farther away.

“The person who gave that call threw the missile into our bonfire,” said
Miss Ladd in a tone of conviction. “If he bothers us any more we’ll find
out who he is.”

The girls now turned their attention again to the fire. Several pails of
water were carried from the lake and dashed into the embers until not a
spark remained. Then they returned to their tents and to bed, although
apprehensive of further disturbance before morning.

But they heard nothing more of the intruder that night.

Shortly after sunup, the girls arose, put on their bathing suits, and
went down to the beach for a before-breakfast plunge. Marie Crismore and
Violet Munday reached the water’s edge first, and presently they were
giving utterance to such unusual expressions, indicative seemingly of
anything but pleasure that the other girls hastened down to see what was
the matter.

There was no need of explanation. The evidence was before them. The
stakes that had been driven into the bed of the lake to hold the rope
intended to indicate the safety limit had been pulled out and thrown
upon the shore. The rope itself had disappeared.

“There surely are some malicious mischief makers in this vicinity,”
Helen Nash observed. “I suppose the person who did that was the one who
threw a stone into our bonfire and hooted our watchword so hideously.”

“What shall we do?” Violet Munday questioned. “We can’t let this sort of
thing go on indefinitely.”

“We must complain to the authorities,” Ernestine Johanson suggested.

“Do you suppose they would do anything?” Estelle Adler asked. “I
understand it’s very hard to get these country officials busy on
anything except a murder or a robbery.”

“Then we must organize a series of relief watches and take the law into
our own hands,” Katherine proposed.

“Spoken like a true soldier,” commented Miss Ladd approvingly. “I was
going to suggest something of the same sort, although not quite so much
like anarchy.”

“Where do you suppose they hid that rope?” Marion Stanlock inquired.
“Somebody probably needed a clothesline.

“Here come some people who may be able to throw some light on the
situation,” said Marion.

All looked up and saw two girls apparently in their “upper teens,”
dressed more suitably for an afternoon tea than a rustic outing. The
latter were descending the wooded hill-shore, and had just emerged from
a thick arborial growth into a comparatively clear area a hundred yards
away.

“Sh!” Katherine warned quickly. “Be careful what you say or do. Those
are the Graham girls.”


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



                              CHAPTER XXII

                         THE GRAHAM GIRLS CALL.


“They’re early risers; we must say that much for them,” observed
Katherine in a low voice. “We must give them credit for not lying in bed
until 10 o’clock and, and——”

“And for dressing for an afternoon party before breakfast,” Helen Nash
concluded.

“Isn’t it funny!” Hazel Edwards said with a suppressed titter. “I wonder
if they are going in bathing.”

“Keep still, girls,” Miss Ladd interposed. “They’re getting pretty near.
Let’s not pay too much attention to them. Let them seek our
acquaintance, not we theirs. The advantage will be on our side then.”

At this suggestion of the Guardian, the girls turned their attention
again to the conditions about their bathing beach. A moment later
Katherine made a discovery that centered all interest in unaffected
earnest upon the latest depredation of their enemy, or enemies. With a
stick she fished out one end of a small rope and was soon hauling away
at what appeared to be the “clothes line” they had used to indicate the
safety limits of their bathing place.

“Well, conditions are not as bad as they might be,” said Miss Ladd, as
she took hold to assist at hauling the line out of the water. “We have
the stakes and the rope and can put them back into place.”

“Would you mind telling us what has happened?”

These words drew the attention of the Camp Fire Girls away from the
object discovered in the water and to the speaker, who was one of the
older of the urbanely clad summer resorters from the Graham cottage.

“Someone has been guilty of some very malicious mischief,” Miss Ladd
replied. “We had roped in a bathing place after examining it and finding
it safe for those who are not good swimmers, and you see what has been
done with our work. The stakes were pulled up and the rope hidden in the
water. Fortunately we have just discovered the rope.”

“Isn’t that mean!” said the younger girl, whom the campers surmised
correctly to be Olga Graham.

“Mean is no name for it,” the other Graham girl declared vengefully.
“Haven’t you any idea who did it?”

“None that is very tangible,” Miss Ladd replied. “There was a mysterious
prowler near our camp last evening, but we didn’t catch sight of him. He
threw a heavy stone into our bonfire and knocked the sparks and embers
in every direction, but he kept himself hidden. A little later we heard
a hideous call in the timbers, which we were pretty sure was intended to
frighten us.”

“That’s strange,” commented the older of the visitors.

“Maybe it’s the ghost,” suggested Olga with a faint smile.

“Ghost!” repeated several of the Camp Fire Girls in unison.

“I was just joking,” the younger Graham girl explained hurriedly.

“Why did you suggest a ghost even as a joke?” inquired Katherine. The
utterance of the word ghost, together with the probability that there
was a neighborhood story behind it, forced upon her imagination an
irrational explanation of the strange occurrences of the last evening.

“Oh, I didn’t mean anything by it,” Olga reassured, but her words seemed
to come with a slightly forced unnaturalness. “But there has been some
talk about a ghost around here, you know.”

“Did anybody ever see it?” asked Hazel Edwards.

“Not that I know of,” avowed Olga. “Of course, I don’t believe in such
things, but, then, you never can tell. It might be a half-witted person,
and I’m sure I don’t know which I’d rather meet after dark—a ghost or a
crazy man.”

“Is there a crazy man running loose around here?” Ernestine Johanson
inquired with a shudder.

“There must be,” Olga declared with a suggestion of awe in her voice.
“If it isn’t a ghost—and I don’t believe in such things—it must be
somebody escaped from a lunatic asylum.”

“I saw something mysterious moving through the woods near our cottage
one night,” Addie Graham interposed at this point. “Nobody else in the
family would believe me when I told them about it. It looked like a man
in a long white robe and long hair and a long white beard. It was
moonlight and I was looking out of my bedroom window. Suddenly this
strange being appeared near the edge of the timber. He was looking
toward the house, and I suppose he saw me, for he picked up a stone and
threw it at the window where I stood. It fell a few feet short of its
mark, and then the ghost or the insane man—call him what you
please—turned and ran away.”

“My sister told us about that next morning, and we all laughed at her,”
said Olga, continuing the account. “I told her to go out and find the
stone, and she went out and picked one up just about where she said the
stone that was thrown at her fell.”

“Were there any other stones near there?” Marion Stanlock inquired.

“We looked around specially to find out if there were any others near,
but didn’t find any,” Olga answered. “Addie—that’s my sister—had the
laugh on us all after that.”

“Do you live in the cottage over there?” Ethel Zimmerman inquired,
pointing toward the Graham summer residence.

“Yes,” Addie replied. “Our name is Graham. We were very much interested
when we learned that a company of Camp Fire Girls were camping near us.”

“Don’t you girls camp out any?” Katherine asked with the view of
possibly bringing out an explanation of the Graham girls’ attire, which
seemed suited more for promenading along a metropolitan boulevard than
for any other purpose.

“Oh, dear no,” Olga answered somewhat deprecatingly. “We’d like to well
enough, you know, but we’re in society so much that we just don’t have
time.”

Katherine wanted to ask the Graham girls if they were going to a stylish
reception before breakfast, but restrained the impulse.

Both Katherine and Hazel recognized Addie as the girl whom, on their
first trip to Stony Point, they had seen handle roughly the little boy
they believed to be Glen Irving, the grandnephew of Mrs. Hutchins’ late
husband in whose interests they made the present trip of inspection.
Whether or not she recognized among the campers the two girls to whom
she had behaved so rudely on that occasion did not appear from her
manner, which was all sweetness now. She continued her social discourse
thus:

“I really wish society did not demand so much of our time, and I’m sure
my sister feels the same way about it. There’s nothing we’d like better
than to become Camp Fire Girls and live close to nature, you know, just
the way you girls live. Truly it must be delightful. But when you become
an integral figure in society (she really said integral), you are
regarded as indispensable, and society won’t let go of you.”

None of the Camp Fire Girls attempted to reply to this speech. Their
plan was to bring about an appearance of friendship between them and the
Grahams in order that they might associate with the family that had
custody of the little boy in whose interests they were working. Any
attempt on their part, they felt, to discuss “society” from the point of
view of the Graham girls must result in a betrayal of their utter lack
of sympathy with this “social indispensability” of such helpless society
victims.

“We’d like, however, to do something for you in your unfortunate
situation,” Addie Graham continued with a gush of seeming friendliness.
“I’m sure my brother James—he’s 16 years old—would be glad to assist you
in any way he can. I’m going to send him down here, if you say the word,
to help you extend that rope around your swimming place. He’s a very
handy boy, and it would be much better for you to let him do the work
than to perform such a laborious task yourselves.”

“Thank you ever so much,” returned Miss Ladd with a warmth that seemed
to indicate acceptance of the offer. The truth was that anything which
tended to increase friendly relations between them and the Grahams was
acceptable.

“I’ll send him around today,” the older Graham girl promised. “We must
hurry back now for breakfast. We were just out for an early morning
constitutional, you know.”

“Come and see us any time you wish,” Miss Ladd urged. “You’ll always be
welcome. We haven’t made the acquaintance of anybody around here yet.
Come over and help us eat one of our constitutional luncheons, or
suppers. We have real picnics every day, the jolliest kind of
times—except when the ghost walks. Maybe you can help us catch the
ghost, also.”

“Maybe we can,” said Addie. “Well, good-bye. You girls come and see us,
too.”

“Thank you,” was the acknowledgment uttered by several of the members of
Flamingo Camp Fire as the two Misses Graham stepped primly in their
French-heel shoes over the uneven ground and returned homeward along a
diagonal course up the side of the hill-shore of Twin One.


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



                             CHAPTER XXIII.

                               “HIGH C.”


All the members of Flamingo Camp Fire gathered close together on the
sandy beach after the departure of the two Graham girls and held a
low-toned discussion of the situation.

“There was only one thing missing this morning,” Hazel Edwards observed.
“That was the perfume. I suppose they didn’t have time to spill it on in
proper proportions.”

“I wonder why they came down here at this time of day?” said Harriet
Newcomb. “There must be something in the air.”

“I bet they never got up this early before unless their house was
afire,” Ethel Zimmerman ventured.

“Do you suppose they wanted to be on hand to witness our discomfiture
when we discovered what had been done to our swimming place?” Azalia
Atwood asked.

“That would imply that they knew who did it and may even have been a
party to the plot,” Miss Ladd reasoned.

“And why not?” Azalia returned. “They don’t look to me, for a moment, to
be above it.”

“I feel like a miserable hypocrite,” Katherine declared with a sarcastic
smile. “I’m not used to extending warm expressions of friendship to
people for whom I haven’t any use and asking them to call and see me.”

“Remember you’re a spy now,” said Helen Nash slyly. “When engaged in a
praiseworthy spy work, always remember your mother and the pantry and
the fist in the jam, if you have any doubt as to the worthiness of your
occupation.”

“Enough said,” Katherine announced, “I’m convinced. The jam is well
spiced and I smell it already. I shall expect to find it on somebody’s
fist.”

The girls did not forego their morning plunge because of the removal of
the “safety line,” but were careful to keep well within the approximate
limit which they remembered fairly well. After about fifteen minutes in
the water they returned to the camp and donned their khaki middies; then
they had breakfast.

The breakfast dishes had not long been washed and put away when another
caller arrived at the camp. Although not unheralded, the appearance of
this new arrival was a surprise to all the girls, for they had not
rested much importance upon the promise of Addie Graham to send her
brother to them to offer his assistance in repairing the damage done by
some mischief-maker in the night before.

The young male scion of the Graham family appeared so suddenly before
the eyes of the girl campers that some of them afterward expressed the
suspicion that he walked timidly on his tiptoes all the way from his
home to the camp. Indeed all the members of Flamingo Fire have today a
decided impression that the sound of his voice was the first notice they
had of his approach.

Whether this impression be a true one or not, that voice was enough to
compel memory of it ahead of anything else. It was the most effeminately
high-pitched voice the girls had ever heard.

“Excuse me, young ladies, but my name is James Graham, Jr.,” squeaked
the treble clef.

There was a general start throughout the camp. Most of the girls were
seated upon the grassy plot within the crescent arrangement of the tents
and engaged in their forenoon routine, and several of them actually
dropped their craft work into their laps so great was their surprise.
Ethel Zimmerman uttered a little cry of astonishment in almost the same
key as the announcement of the newcomer.

The latter was almost as effeminate in appearance as in voice. First, he
was very much overgrown and fleshy. He probably weighed 150 pounds. His
face was round and very pale, and his eyes were not over-endowed with
expression. He wore a “peaches-and-cream” two-piece suit and a panama
fedora and carried a delicate bamboo cane.

“My two thoughtful sisters info’med me that you young ladies were in
need of the assistance of a man, and I volunteered to offer my aid,”
continued young Master Graham.

“Oh dear me,” replied Katherine; “it would be a shame to put you to so
much trouble. We thank you ever so much for your offer, but we’d much
rather retain the friendship of your folks by urging you not to insist.
If you really must be so good as you suggest, you might go back and send
your hostler or chauffeur, but tell him to bring a pair of rubber boots
that reach to his ears.”

This rather enigmatical answer puzzled the not very quick-witted James,
Jr., and his chin dropped.

“You see, we want a pile-driver out in the lake to sink some posts into
the submarine earth,” Katherine continued. “But, by the way, come to
think of it, you might help us wonderfully if you have a rowboat and
would lend it to us for an hour or two.”

“Sure I’ve got a boat,” replied the “would-(not)-be ladies’ aid,” as one
of the girls afterward dubbed him. The tone of relief with which he now
spoke was unmistakable. “I’ll go and row it right over to you.”

“We won’t want it until about 11 o’clock,” said Miss Ladd. “If you need
it between now and then you’d better wait.”

“Oh we won’t want it all day,” James, Jr., returned reassuringly. “I’ll
bring it right away.”

“I hope he doesn’t tip his boat over on his ‘high C’” Hazel Edwards said
generously, as the caller disappeared in the timber. “He might be
drowned in the billows of his own voice.”

“That’s his name—High C,” declared Estelle Adler enthusiastically. “I
refuse to recognize him by any other name. Dear me, girls, did you ever
in all your born days hear such a voice?”

“No,” cried several in chorus.

“He’s just the dearest thing I ever saw,” declared Ernestine Johanson,
making a face as sour as the reputation of a crabapple.

At this moment the discussion of “High C” was dropped as suddenly as
“it” had appeared upon the scene. Another arrival claimed the interest
of the girls.

It was a little boy about ten years old, clad in steel-gray Palm Beach
knickerbockers and golf cap, but not at all happy in appearance. He was
a good looking youth, but there was no sprightly cheerfulness in his
countenance. He seemed nervous and on the alert.

“My goodness!” exclaimed Hazel Edwards; “that’s Glen Irving, the little
boy we——”

Katherine, who was seated close to Hazel, cut the latter’s utterance
short by clapping her hand over the speaker’s mouth.


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



                              CHAPTER XXIV

                              THE RUNAWAY.


The boy was excited. Evidently he was laboring under anything but normal
conditions. He had appeared very suddenly around the north end of the
bluff which sheltered the camp on the east. “High C” or “Jimmie Junior,”
as the girls from now on referred to young Graham, had left the camp
around the south extremity of the bluff.

The youth in Palm Beach knickerbockers fairly rushed from the thicket
north of the camp and directly toward the girls, all of whom jumped to
their feet in astonishment. The newcomer did not slacken his pace, but
ran up to the group of startled campers as if seeking their protection
from a “Bogy Man.” And as he stopped in the midst of the group which
circled around him almost as excited as he, the little fellow looked
back as if expecting to behold some frightful looking object bearing
down upon him.

“I ran away,” were his first words; “so—so they couldn’t beat me.”

“Who wanted to beat you?” inquired Miss Ladd sympathetically, leaning
over and taking him gently by the hand.

“Mom—an’ Ad.—an’ Olg.—an’ Jim—they all hit me,” he replied, his eyes
flashing with anger. “Mom locked me in a room, but I opened a window an’
clum out.”

“Did they beat you today?” Hazel Edwards questioned.

“No,” replied the youth with a puzzled look; “they don’t want you to
know they whipped me. They stopped it after you came and after a man
came and told ’em not to.”

“Who is the man?” Hazel asked.

“I don’t know. I heard his name, but I forgot.”

“Was it Langford?”

“Yes, that’s it—Langford. He told ’em all to be good as pie to me while
you was here. They thought I was asleep, but I was just pretendin’.”

“Did Mr. Langford say why they must be good to you while we were here?”
asked Katherine.

“I guess he did,” the boy replied slowly. “He said somebody’d take me
away and Mom ’u’d lose a lot o’ money.”

“That’s just what we thought,” Hazel declared.

“What else did you overhear?” Katherine inquired.

“They’re goin’ to be awful nice and awful mean.”

“Awful nice and awful mean,” Katherine repeated. “That’s interesting.
What do you mean by that?”

“They’re goin’ to be awful nice to your face, but mean on the sly.”

“Have they done anything mean yet?” Miss Ladd interposed, having in mind
the depredations of the night before.

“I don’t know,” the boy answered. “They were talkin’ about doing
somethin’ last night, and the man and Jim went out together.”

“You don’t know what they proposed to do?”

“No—just somethin’, anything they could.”

“What is your name, little boy?” Hazel asked.

“Glen” was the answer.

“Glen what?”

“Glen Graham.”

“Isn’t it Glen Irving?”

The boy looked doubtfully at his interrogator.

“I don’t know,” he replied slowly. “I guess not.”

“Didn’t you ever hear the name Irving before?”

The boy’s face brightened up suddenly.

“That was my papa’s name,” he said eagerly.

“Now, I want to ask you an important question,” said Miss Ladd
impressively. “Try your best to tell us all you can, and don’t tell any
of the Grahams you were down here talking to us. We won’t forget you. If
they beat you any more come, and tell us if you can get away. We’ll have
the police after them. But be sure to keep this to yourself. Now, here’s
the question I want you to answer: Did anybody outside of the Graham
family ever see them beat you?”

“Sure,” Glen replied quickly. “Byron Scott did. So did Mrs. Pruitt and
Guy Davis and Mark Taylor.”

“Where do they live?” was Miss Ladd’s next question.

“Byron lives here, so does Mrs. Pruitt. Guy and Mark live in Baltimore.”

“Do they live near the Graham’s home in Baltimore?”

“Yes, right in the same block. Mark lives next door.”

“Good. Now, Glen, we are going to take you back to Mrs. Graham. We
haven’t any right to keep you here, but if they beat you any more, we
will complain to the police and take you away never to come back to
them.”

“Oh, I wish you would,” exclaimed the little fellow, throwing his arms
around the neck of the Guardian who had seated herself on the grass
before him. “I don’t want them to scare you with a ghost.”

“Scare us with a ghost!” Miss Ladd repeated in astonishment. “What do
you mean by that?”

“They said——” the boy began, but his explanation was interrupted in a
manner so confusing that the group of Camp Fire Girls might easily have
wondered if the world were suddenly assuming all the absurdities of a
clownish paradise in order to be consistent with what was now taking
place.

Addie Graham, the girl of ultra-style and perfume who had behaved so
rudely to little Glen when she discovered the runaway with Katherine and
Hazel in the woods, suddenly dashed into the deeply interested group of
Camp Fire inquisitors, seized the boy in her arms, kissed him with
apparent passionate fondness, and addressed him with a gush of
endearment that must have brought tears to the eyes of an
unsophisticated listener.


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



                              CHAPTER XXV

                           A LITTLE SCRAPPER.


“Oh, you dear little brother, you dear darling child,” almost sobbed
Addie as she seized Glen Irving in her arms and began to shower kisses
on his unwilling face.

The boy shrunk away, or into as small a compass as he was able, to
escape from the “affectionate attack.” Plainly it was anything but
pleasing to him.

The “attack,” however, did not cease in response to his protest. Addie
held onto her captive with all her strength, at the same time attempting
to soothe his wrath or fear, or both, with as many kisses as she could
force in between the boy’s belligerent arms. Glen, conscious of the
presence of friends who, he believed, would go to any extreme to assist
him, fought as he had never fought before, desperately, viciously. He
used his fists and fingernails to good purpose and pulled Addie’s hair
until it presented a ludicrous appearance of disarrangement.

Realizing that the boy’s actions might prove harmful to his cause if
this affair should ever be contested in the courts, Miss Ladd decided to
take a hand and do what she could to pacify the young heir who had
suddenly been transformed into a veritable wildcat. She had no doubt
that there was good cause in his past experience for the development of
such character in him, but expediency demanded that it be checked at
once.

“Here, let me take him,” Miss Ladd urged as she laid her hands on his
shoulders and attempted to draw him away. A few gentle words and an
exhibition of a kind persuasiveness of manner brought success. She drew
the lad back some distance and tried to reason with him, whereupon he
burst into convulsive sobbing.

His sobs were not a new expression of an outburst of passion. Miss Ladd
was certain of this. Little Glen was weeping not because anger “opened
the floodgates of his soul,” but because of some picture of dread in his
past experience which he feared would be repeated in the future.

But Addie Graham was not equal to the occasion. The veneer of gentleness
that she had put on could not withstand the deep-seated spitefulness of
her nature, and as she observed a severe scratch on one hand and felt
the disarrangement of her hair, she yielded impulsively to vengefulness
of spirit that was boiling within her and exclaimed:

“The miserable little pest! Just wait till I get you home, Glen Graham,
and I’ll——”

She stopped right there, much to the disappointment of the eagerly
listening Camp Fire Girls who fully expected her to open an avenue to
the very evidence for which they were looking.

“Why!” she continued, with a desperate effort to control her temper. “I
never knew him to act that way before. He’s usually such a—such a—sweet
dispositioned little dear. I don’t know what to make of it. He took me
completely by surprise. I don’t understand it—I don’t know what to make
of it—I can’t understand the little—the little—d-dear.”

“It is strange, very strange,” Miss Ladd agreed, purposing, for policy’s
sake, to help the girl out of her predicament.

“Come to sister, Glennie dear,” Addie continued, after she had succeeded
in rearranging her hair and restoring her hat to its normal position on
her head. “Don’t you know sister loves you just lots? Why did you run
away? Come back home and sister will give you some candy, just lots of
it. Come on, now, that’s a good little boy.”

“I don’t want your candy and you ain’t my sister, and I won’t go back.
You’ll beat me, and mom’ll beat me and everybody else’ll beat me. Don’t
let her take me back, please don’t,” Glen concluded, turning his face
pleadingly toward Miss Ladd.

“Oh, you must go back, Glen,” the Guardian replied, reproachfully.
“That’s your home, don’t you know? Where in the world will you go if you
don’t go back home? Think of it—no place in the world to go, no place in
the world.”

There was a tone of awe in the young woman’s voice that impressed the
boy. He cooled down considerably and looked meditatively at his monitor.

“They’ll beat me,” he protested earnestly. “They’ll tie me to a bed post
and strap me.”

“Why, how perfectly terrible!” Addie exclaimed. “I never heard of such a
thing. I can’t understand such remarks.”

“I’ll tell you what we’ll do,” Katherine suggested reassuringly. “We’ll
all go back to the house with you and fix everything up nice. They won’t
beat you, I’m sure. Come on, Miss Graham, we’ll help you, if you don’t
think we’re intruding.”

Addie did not know how to reply and did not attempt to. She started
toward home and the Camp Fire Girls followed her, Miss Ladd leading the
battling runaway by the hand.

Glen was considerably bewildered and apparently submissive during the
journey homeward. He said little, and when he spoke, it was only a short
reply to something said to him.

At the door of the cottage, they were met by Mrs. Graham, to whom Addie
introduced them. None of the girls were well impressed by the woman’s
appearance or manner. She affected the same ungenuine interest and
affection for Glen that had characterized Addie’s manner toward him. But
they managed to bring about a condition more or less reassuring to the
boy and left him, with secret misgivings, in the custody of the family
which they held more than ever under suspicion.

“We’ve got to do some real spy work now,” said Miss Ladd after they had
reached their camp again. “We’ve got to find out what is going on in
that house when those people have no suspicion that they are being
watched.”


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



                              CHAPTER XXVI

                       AMMUNITION AND CATAPULTS.


The thirteen Camp Fire Girls and their Guardian are hardly to be
censured because they did little more work of a routine nature that day.
One could hardly expect them to fix their minds upon any “even tenor”
occupation while the thrills of recent developments supplied so much
stimulus for discussion of future prospect.

They were careful in these discussions not to leave open any possibility
of their being overheard. Their conversations were always held in low
tones and in places where it would be difficult for any of the members
of the Graham family to find positions of concealment near enough to
overhear what was being said.

One thing decided upon was in line with Miss Ladd’s declaration that
they must find out “what was going on in the Graham house,” having
reference, of course, to the treatment received there by little Glen in
view of his violent protest against being returned to the care and
custody of the people whom he charged with acts of cruelty toward
himself. A scouting expedition was planned for the evening, the
“official scouts” of the Fire—Katherine and Hazel—being delegated to
this work. Katherine proposed that two others be selected to assist
them, and Miss Ladd suggested that they choose their assistants
themselves.

“We’ll think it over and pick them before suppertime,” said Katherine
after conferring with Hazel.

The result was that before sundown Azalia Atwood and Ernestine Johanson
had been added to the spy squad. Their selection came as a result of
general discussions of the work in prospect, in the course of which both
Azalia and Ernestine made several suggestions that were regarded as
clever and helpful for the scouting plans.

Shortly after the girls returned from the Graham cottage to their camp,
“Jimmie Junior” of the “treble clef voice” appeared with the
announcement that he had brought his boat to the Camp Fire landing and
moored it by tying the painter to a projecting rock. They thanked him
and proceeded at once with the task of restoring the safety-guard line
to their bathing place. All put on their bathing suits and went down to
the beach.

With the aid of the boat their work was much easier than it had been the
first time. It is no easy performance for one person to sit on the
shoulders of another and wield a mallet on the upper end of a stake held
by a third person in water arm-pit deep. If you doubt this assertion,
just try it.

Well, this difficult feat was unnecessary this time. The stakes, rope,
and mallet were put into the boat, and three of the girls got in and
rowed out to the point where the southwest stake had been driven before.
Then two of them plunged overboard and, while one of these steadied the
boat and the other held the stake in position, the girl in the boat
drove it firmly into the sand-clay bed of the lake.

This operation was repeated until the supports of the buoy-line were all
restored. Then the rope was stretched from stake to stake and wooden
buoys attached as before.

The work was speedily performed and then the girls all had a good swim.
When they returned to their camp, it was lunch time and the “gastronomic
committee,” as Harriet, the “walking dictionary,” had dubbed the
commissary department, got busy. During the meal, which they ate on a
“newspaper tablecloth,” picnic-style, the subject of organized
self-protection against further depredations was discussed.

“I believe we ought to establish a relief watch system to be kept up all
night every night as long as there seems to be any danger of our being
molested by prowlers like those who paid us a visit last night,” Estelle
announced.

“What would we do if we caught anybody at any mischief?” asked Azalia.

“We’d sail right into ’em and give ’em Hail Columbia,” declared Hazel
like a vigilance committee chairman.

“Yes, we’d pull their hair,” said Marie Crismore.

“And scratch their eyes out,” Ernestine chimed in.

“And boo-shoo ’em away,” added Julietta Hyde.

“I’m positively ashamed of you for talking that way,” Miss Ladd
interposed. “You’re laughing at yourselves because you are girls. Now,
you ought not to do that, even in fun. How many of you can do some real
boys’ stunts just as well as the boys can?”

“I can swim half a mile,” announced Hazel.

“I can do a fly-away from the horizontal bar,” declared Violet Munday.

“I can run a hundred-yard dash in thirteen seconds,” said Ernestine;
“and that’s better than lots of boys can do it.”

“I can throw a ball like a boy,” said Helen Nash.

“So can I”—this from Marion Stanlock.

“Oh, several of us can do that,” Katherine declared. “We’ve played ball
with the boys. But now you’re getting close to what I was driving at.
We’ll proceed to gather a supply of ammunition.”

“Ammunition!” several exclaimed.

“Surely,” Katherine replied. “We’ll get it down on the beach.”

“Oh, I get you,” said Estelle. “You mean——”

“Rocks,” cried Marie, getting the word in ahead of Estelle.

“That’s it,” Katherine admitted. “We’ll shower rocks at anybody that
makes us any more trouble.”

“Very ingenious,” Miss Ladd said approvingly. “If those persons who
visited us last night come again, they’ll get a warm reception.”

“And a hard one,” Marion supplemented.

“I have another idea,” Helen announced, and everybody turned attention
to her. “I have some heavy rubber bands in my grip. I always carry them
because they come in very handy sometimes.”

“What can you do with them?” Estelle asked.

“What do you think?” Helen returned.

“I know,” cried Ethel Zimmerman. “Make catapults with them.”

“Good!” several of the girls exclaimed.

“The boys call them slingshots,” said the Guardian.

“How do you make a slingshot?” Julietta inquired.

“I know,” Marion announced. “You cut a forked stick, like the letter
‘Y.’ Then you tie two rubber bands to it, one to each fork. Between the
other ends of the bands you tie a little sack, or shallow pocket, made
of leather or strong cloth. You put a stone in this pocket and pull it
back, stretching the rubber bands, take aim, and let it fly.”

“You must have had experience making those things,” Katherine suggested.

“No, I never made one,” Marion replied; “but I’ve watched my cousin make
them and shoot them, too. He was very skillful at it.”

“Can you shoot a catapult?” Katherine inquired.

“I think I can,” Marion answered.

“Good,” said Katherine. “We’ll make several, and those who can’t throw
stones can use slingshots.”

That was a very busy afternoon for this warlike group of girls. While
the luncheon dishes were being washed and put away, Katherine and Hazel
rowed the boat back to the Graham landing, thanked “Jimmie Junior” for
its use, accepted with solemn countenances his “high-C” “You’re
welcome,” and returned to their camp. Then the work of manufacturing
arms and ammunition, in anticipation of another midnight invasion,
began.


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



                             CHAPTER XXVII

                               THE GHOST.


Before the “preparedness program” of the afternoon was started, Miss
Ladd addressed the group of Camp Fire Girls thus, speaking in low tone,
of course, in order that she might not be overheard by any eavesdropper
who might be in hiding in the vicinity:

“Now, we want to do this thing right. How many of you feel that you can
throw a stone a considerable distance and accurately?”

Katherine, Helen, Marion and Violet held up their hands.

“How many of you would like to use catapults?” was the Guardian’s next
question.

The hands of Harriet, Marie, Ethel, and Ruth went up promptly. A moment
later Estelle and Ernestine also put up theirs.

“I believe I could learn how,” said Estelle.

“We don’t want too much demonstration around here this afternoon,” Miss
Ladd warned. “Everything must proceed quietly and as if nothing unusual
were taking place. How many rubber bands have you, Helen?”

“Oh, a dozen or twenty,” the latter replied.

“Well, we’ll proceed to cut half a dozen Y-forks and make them into
catapults. We’ll start out at once. Hazel, you get a hatchet, and,
Marie, you get a saw; the rest of you get your combination knives.”

In a few minutes they were in the thick of the timber, searching the
small trees and saplings for Y-forks to serve as catapult handles. In
half an hour they returned with a dozen of varying degree of symmetry
and excellence.

Then the work of assembling the parts of these miniature engines of war
began. Some of the girls exhibited a good deal of mechanical skill,
while others made moves and suggestions so awkward as to occasion much
laughter.

“Well, anyway,” said Marie after she had been merrily criticised for
sewing up the “mouth” of a “pocket” so narrowly that a stone could
hardly fly out of it; “there are lots of boys who would make a worse job
sewing on a button. Don’t you remember last winter at a button-sewing
contest, Paul Wetzler cast the thread over and over and over the side of
the button—and he didn’t know any better.”

“That’s a very convenient way to dodge a joke on you, Marie,” said
Violet. “But just because boys don’t know anything is no reason why we
shouldn’t.”

“Whew! some slam at me,” Marie exclaimed. “I’m very properly squelched.”

After half a dozen catapults had been made, the girls practiced slinging
stones for an hour and several of them developed considerable skill. In
this way it was determined who should have the preference in the use of
these weapons.

Then at the suggestion of Miss Ladd, a dozen slings were made to be tied
about the waist for carrying a supply of stones, some the size of an
egg, for throwing with the hand and pebbles for use in the catapults.
After these were completed, the girls went down to the beach and
gathered a plentiful supply and took them back to the camp. Then a score
or two of these stones were deposited in the slings, and the latter were
put in convenient places in the tents on short notice. The catapults
also were turned over to those of the girls who proved most capable of
using them skillfully.

The last item of preparations on the program of the day consisted of
completing plans for a succession of night watch reliefs. As Katherine,
Hazel, Azalia, and Ernestine were assigned to special scout duty
immediately after dusk, they were excused from assignment on any of the
reliefs. This left ten girls among whom the watches might be divided,
which was done in the following manner:

The eight sleeping hours from 9 P.M. to 5 A.M. were divided into live
watches of equal length and assignments were made thus:

First watch: Marion Stanlock and Helen Nash. Second watch: Ruth Hazelton
and Ethel Zimmerman. Third watch: Violet Munday and Harriet Newcomb.
Fourth watch: Julietta Hyde and Marie Crismore. Fifth watch: Estelle
Adler and the Guardian, Miss Ladd.

Nothing further of particular interest took place during the rest of the
day, except that shortly before suppertime Addie and Olga Graham, both
dressed “fit to kill,” called at the camp and thanked the girls for
their assistance in getting “their brother” back home.

“Is he all right now?” Hazel inquired with genuine concern.

“Yes, he’s fine,” Addie replied. “You see he has spells of that kind
every now and then, and we don’t know what to make of it. But today’s
was the worst spell he ever had.”

“Don’t you do anything for him?” Hazel asked.

“What can we do?” Addie returned. “He isn’t sick. I’m afraid it’s just a
little distemper. There is absolutely no reason for it.”

Miss Ladd asked the Graham girls to remain at the camp for supper, but
they “begged to be excused on account of a pressing social engagement.”

After darkness had fallen as heavily as could be expected on a clear,
though moonless night, the four scouts set out through the timber toward
the Graham cottage. All of them carried flashlights and clubs which
might easily have been mistaken in the dark for mere walking sticks. The
clubs were for protection against dogs or any other living being which
might exhibit hostility toward them. Katherine and Hazel had also two of
the rubber-band catapults, as they had exhibited no little skill, for
novices, in the use of them.

The other girls built a small fire near the tents, to keep the mosquitos
away, and sat around it chatting and waited for the scouts to return.
Miss Ladd insisted, as soon as dusk began to gather, that they bring out
their “ammunition” from the tents and keep it close at hand for
immediate use if anything should happen to require it.

And something did happen, something of quite unexpected and startling
character. The scouts had been gone about half an hour and the night had
settled down to a blanket of darkness on the earth, a sprinkle of
starlight in the sky, the croaking of frogs, the songs of katydids and
the occasional ripple of water on the lake shore. A poet might have
breathed a sigh of delightful awe. Well, the girls were pleasureably
impressed with scene and the sounds, if they were not exactly delighted,
and the awe was coming.

It came without warning and was before them very suddenly. It was in the
form of a man in a long, white robe, long white hair and whiskers, the
latter reaching almost to his waist. He stalked, stiffly, unemotionally
out of the darkness south of the camp and across the open space within
thirty feet of the fire, where sat the startled, chill-thrilled group of
girls, speechless with something akin to fear and momentarily powerless
to shake off the spell that held them as rigid as statues.


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



                             CHAPTER XXVIII

                          A BUMP ON THE HEAD.


Suddenly Helen Nash’s memory served her so well that she regained
control of her wits with a shock. Here is what she remembered:

“I don’t want them to scare you with a ghost”—these words uttered by
little Glen just before his warning speech was interrupted by the
appearance of Addie Graham at the girls’ camp.

That recollection was enough for Helen. There was nothing tenuous,
elusively subtle, or impenetrably mysterious any longer about the
ghostly apparition. Little Glen had something very clear and definite in
his mind when he made that remark.

Her muscles having relaxed from their rigid strain of superstitious
suspense, Helen reached for the “ammunition sling” that she had placed
beside her and drew therefrom one of the catapults they had made in the
afternoon, also a pebble about the size of a marble, and fitted the
latter in the pocket of the weapon. Then she drew back the pocket and
the pebble, stretching the rubber bands as far as she could extend them,
and took careful aim.

Helen had practiced with this weapon a good deal in the last two or
three hours and acquired considerable proficiency for so short a period
of experience. Moreover, she was skilled in amateur archery and could
pull a bow with a strong right arm. This experience, together with a
general systematic athletic training at school, rendered her
particularly well adapted for her present undertaking.

The other girls, under the spell of awe-fascination which had seized and
held Helen before it was broken by a sudden jog of her memory, knew
nothing of what was going on in their midst until they heard the snap of
the rubber bands. And doubtless it would have taken them considerable
time to fathom it had the pebble-shooter’s aim not proved to be
remarkably good. It struck the “ghost” on the head.

Of course even Helen could not follow the pebble through the air with
her eyes, nor could she see where it struck, but other unmistakable
evidence informed her as to the trueness of her aim and the effect of
the blow. A sharp thud informed her that she had hit something of
substantial resistance, and the next bit of evidence broke the spell for
the other girls with a realization of what had taken place.

The “ghost” wavered and seemed about to topple over, at the same time
emitting a groan of pain which proved him to be thoroughly human. Helen
was frightened, but there was a new kind of awe in this fright. All
suggestion of superstition had left her and in its place was the dread
that she might have killed a man.

The latter dread, however, was soon dispelled. The “ghost” did not fall.
He staggered, it is true—evidently the pain of the blow had stunned him
considerably; but he managed to put speed into his pace, although the
evidence of his suffering was even greater after he began to run. In a
minute he disappeared in the darkness of the timber.

“My! that was a good shot, Helen,” Ethel Zimmerman exclaimed. “And he
will surely wear some lump on his head for some time to come.”

“I was afraid I pulled too hard,” Helen replied with a sigh of relief;
“and, believe me, I’d rather be scared by a ghost several times over
than with the prospect of having a murder record.”

“Who is he?—have you any idea?” Violet asked.

“Can’t you guess?” Helen answered. “Isn’t he someone connected with the
Graham family?”

“What was he trying to do—scare us?” Julietta inquired, addressing the
question as much to herself as to anybody else.

“I should imagine something of the kind, although he may be the crazy
man the Graham girls spoke about,” said Helen.

“I don’t believe there is any such person,” Miss Ladd volunteered at
this point.

“Then why did they suggest such an idea?” Violet questioned.

“I don’t know, unless it was to frighten us,” the Guardian replied.

“Frighten us away from here,” Harriet supplemented.

“Exactly,” said Helen. “That’s my theory of the affair. Don’t you
remember what Glen Irving said just before Addie Graham put in her
appearance and cut short our interview with the boy?”

“He said something about ghosts,” Harriet recalled.

“Not about ghosts, but _a_ ghost,” Helen corrected. “It made quite an
impression on me. Didn’t any of you wonder what he meant?”

“I did,” announced Violet; “and I remember exactly what he said. It was
this: ‘I don’t want them to scare you with a ghost.’”

“Those were the very words,” Helen declared. “Now do you get the
connection between that remark and what just took place? Glen had heard
them talking over their plans. Isn’t it all very clear?”

“At least it is very interesting,” commented Miss Ladd.

“Since you have got so near a solution of this affair, perhaps you’ll go
a step farther and tell your interested audience who that ghost was,”
Ruth Hazelton suggested.

“Oh, no, I wouldn’t be so rash as that,” Helen responded; “but if I were
going to write to Mrs. Hutchins tonight, I would suggest to her that, if
Mr. Pierce Langford should return to Fairberry in the next week or two,
she might have somebody examine his head for a bump.”

“A phrenological bump?” inquired Harriet, the “walking dictionary.”

There was a general laugh.

“Not a phrenological bump,” Helen answered.


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



                              CHAPTER XXIX

                             A CRUEL WOMAN.


Katherine, Hazel, Ernestine and Azalia found it no easy task to pick
their way through the dark timber more than half a mile to the Graham
cottage. Several times, finding themselves hopelessly entangled in a
thicket, or stumbling over disagreeably uneven ground, and fearful of
losing their way, they made use of their flash lights until able to
continue their journey satisfactorily.

But after they caught their first glimpse of the light in the Graham
cottage, they made no further use of the flash lights. Guided by the
illuminated windows and their memory of the surroundings, they made
their way over the intervening space until within a hundred feet of the
house, where they halted and looked and listened for about fifteen
minutes.

First, they wished to make sure that there was no dog on the place. They
were reasonably certain that the Grahams kept no watchdog, as several of
the girls had been careful to check up in this regard when passing near
or calling at the cottage. But as additional precaution, they made a
careful inspection from a safe distance on this scouting expedition
before venturing close to the house.

The night was clear and warm, but no moon was shining. There was a
stillness in the air which alone might have been expected to cause a dog
to howl for very lonesomeness. Even while the four scouts were waiting
for evidence of a canine guard at the Graham place, far away in the
distance there came a mournful howl from a mournful hound in a farmyard.
The sound was repeated several times, and although there were two or
three echoing responses from as many neighboring sources, none came from
a kinship kennel of the Graham premises.

At last Katherine and Hazel decided that it was safe to advance nearer
to the house. Leaving Azalia and Ernestine at the edge of the timber to
watch for any condition or circumstance that might prove unfriendly to
their venture, the two leaders advanced across the clearing.

As they neared the building, a sound, which they had not heard before
reached their ears and drove from their minds all thought or fear of a
watchdog. The sound was like the plaintive cry of a child and seemed to
be muffled as if coming through two or three thick walls.

There were two windows on the side of the house nearest the advancing
girl scouts. Through the drawn shade of one of these came the rays of
incandescent bulbs which lighted the room. The other window was dark.

The advance of Katherine and Hazel was guided now by the seeming source
of the muffled cry. As they started for the house, their initial impulse
was to direct their steps toward the lighted window. But as they
approached the building, almost unconsciously they veered gradually to
the right until they found themselves standing close to the unlighted
window at the rear.

Without a doubt the muffled sounds came from this part of the cottage. A
whispered conversation between the girls resulted in the following
procedure: Hazel stood guard at a distance of ten or fifteen feet while
Katherine stood close to the window, almost pressing her ear against the
glass in order the better to hear the sounds that interested them. For
two or three minutes the listener continued in this attitude; then she
went to where Hazel stood and the latter advanced to the window and did
likewise. She also tried the sash to see if it was locked, succeeding in
raising it slightly, so that the sounds within reached her ear more
distinctly.

Several minutes later both of these girls returned to the edge of the
clearing and rejoined their two companions stationed there. A low-voiced
consultation was held, at the close of which Hazel said:

“Well, all this means that we’ll have to return to the cottage and stay
there until we find out something more. Let’s see what we can discover
in the front of the house.”

She and Katherine accordingly went back and directed their inspection as
Hazel had suggested. The shade trees did not cover the lower pane to the
full limit and they were able to look in and get a fairly good view of
the room.

Mrs. Graham and “Jimmie Junior” apparently were the only members of the
family at home, if we may disregard as one of the family, little Glen,
who undoubtedly was the author of the muffled sobs. Mrs. Graham was
reading a fashion magazine and her son was playing solitaire at a card
table.

Almost the first view acquainted the girls with the fact that the woman
was much disconcerted over something, and it soon became evident that
the cause of this nervousness was the sound of weeping that reached her
through the closed door of an adjoining room. Presently she arose, with
a hard look on her face and determined manner, and moved in the
direction from which the offending noise came.

Katherine and Hazel did not take the additional precaution this time of
alternating as watcher and guard. They stood together at the window, and
as they saw Mrs. Graham open the door they moved quickly to the window
next toward the rear. By the time they reached it, this room also was
lighted.

Fortunately a similar condition existed here also with reference to the
width of the window shade and they were able to get a fairly good view
of this apartment. Mrs. Graham evidently was disposed to lose no time
and to leave ground for no misunderstanding as to her purpose. She threw
open a second door, this time a closet door, and the girls beheld a
sight that fairly made their blood boil.

There sat little Glen on a chair with a rope wound around his body,
arms, and legs, securing him so firmly to the article of furniture on
which he was seated that he could scarcely move a muscle. His face was
wet with tears and a picture of suffering.

For the first time the watchers observed that the woman had a leather
strap in her hand, and they were still further horrified when they saw
her swing it cruelly against the bare legs of the quivering child.

Once, twice she struck the boy. Hazel and Katherine could hardly contain
their indignation. Indeed it is not at all to be doubted that they would
have attempted to interfere on the spot if an interruption had not come
from another source before the third blow could fall.

There was a disturbance in the front of the house. Somebody had entered
and was talking in a loud voice. Mrs. Graham let her arm fall without
dealing the third blow for which she had raised it as a man entered the
room in anything but mild and pleasant manner.

“What are you doing, Mrs. Graham?” he demanded. “What did I tell you
about this conduct of yours? Do you realize that you are bringing things
to a climax where I’ll wash my hands of the whole affair?”

The speaker was Pierce Langford.


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



                              CHAPTER XXX

                             THE GIRLS WIN.


Mrs. Graham looked uncomfortable—not ashamed or abashed. Doubtless the
conflict within her was between the cruelty of her nature and the fear
of financial reverses in consequence of that cruelty. She did not answer
the rebuke of her confederate attorney.

The latter drew a knife from his pocket and in a moment was severing the
rope that bound the child to the chair. After he had released the boy,
who looked gratefully toward him as a protector, the man threw cold
water on little Glen’s natural feeling of confidence toward him by
saying:

“Now, mind you, Mrs. Graham, my interference is not moved by any
sentiment of sympathy for the kid. I merely want to inform you that
things are coming to such a pass that I may be forced to drop out of
this game purely as a move of self-salvation. For instance, it appears
very unwise to make any further attempts to frighten that bunch of
girls. They simply don’t scare. See that?”

Langford indicated the object of his question by taking off his hat,
which he had neglected to remove when he entered the house, and
caressing gently with two or three fingers a badly swollen wound on the
side of his head almost directly over his right ear. Mrs. Graham looked
at it curiously, not sympathetically.

“Where did you get that?” she inquired.

“Those girls did it, or one of them, I presume. I thought my make-up
would paralyze them, but instead they nearly paralyzed me. I think they
fired some rocks at me, for something of that description struck my
head, and you see the result.

“I drove my machine into the timber a little farther up the road and put
on my ghost outfit. Then I walked through the woods to the girls’ camp
and stalked past them. You would have thought my appearance was enough
to freeze their veins and arteries. Well, they pretty nearly put mine in
cold storage for eternity. Now, what do you know about ‘first aid to the
injured?’ Will you get some cold water and alcohol or liniment? I’m
going to have a fierce swelling. I don’t suppose I can keep it down much
now, but I’m going to have an awful headache and I’d like to prevent
that as much as possible. Let the kid go to bed, and do something for
me.”

Glen took advantage of this suggestion and went into another room. Mrs.
Graham and the lawyer returned to the living room. Katherine and Hazel
watched them for about twenty minutes, but heard little more
conversation. Then Langford left the house and Mrs. Graham and her son
prepared to retire. As it appeared that they would be able to get no
further information of interest to them at the Graham cottage that
night, Katherine and Hazel and the other two girls who waited at the
edge of the clearing returned to their camp and reported the success of
their expedition.

                  *       *       *       *       *

Early next day, Miss Ladd, Katherine, and Hazel went by boat to Twin
Lakes and appeared before a magistrate and swore out a warrant for the
arrest of Mrs. Graham on a charge of cruel and inhuman treatment of a
child in her custody. Before leaving Fairberry she had been given
authority to take this move if in her judgment such emergency action
were advisable. She also asked that Glen Irving be removed from the
custody of the Grahams. Then Miss Ladd sent a telegram to Mrs. Hutchins
asking her to “come at once.”

Mrs. Hutchins arrived at Twin Lakes next day. Meanwhile Mrs. Graham was
arrested and the boy was taken temporarily as a ward of the court. When
she was confronted with the charges against her and the evidence of the
two Camp Fire Girls who had witnessed one instance of outrageous
cruelty, her cold resistance was broken and she promised to accede to
Mrs. Hutchins demands if the prosecution were dropped.

This seemed to be the best settlement of the whole affair, and it was
accepted. By order of court Glen was turned over to Mrs. Hutchins who
assumed the obligation of his care and custody.

Mrs. Hutchins remained with the girls a week at their camp at Stony
Point, and then all returned to Fairberry, where the tents were pitched
again in the broad and scenic ravine known as Fern Hollow. Here they
camped again for another week, summarized, tabulated, and classified the
achievements of the last few weeks, conferred honors, and finally
adjourned to their several homes, there to remain until the autumn
opening of school.

But the adventures of the year for this Camp Fire were not complete.
More of equally stirring character were in store for three of the girls,
and those who would follow these events should read the volume entitled:


                       CAMP FIRE GIRLS ON A HIKE;

                                  or,

                   LOST IN THE GREAT NORTHERN WOODS.


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



                        A PRINCESS OF THE WOODS



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



                               CONTENTS.


         Chapter                                           Page
              I A LONG TIME AGO                              1
             II BROTHER AND SISTER                          14
            III FATHER AND DAUGHTER                         27
             IV A CALL OF STATE                             40
              V A TIMELY ARRIVAL                            52
             VI AT JAMESTOWN                                64
            VII UP THE CHICKAMOHINY                         76
           VIII PARTING COMPANY                             89
             IX HARD PRESSED                               101
              X A PRISONER                                 113
             XI THE FRIEND IN NEED                         125
            XII CONCLUSION                                 137


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



                        A PRINCESS OF THE WOODS



                               CHAPTER I.

                            A LONG TIME AGO


Now, will my readers be good enough to turn to their map of the United
States and look at the state of Virginia, one of the most important
members of the Union? You will notice the large inlet called Chesapeake
Bay, which reaches far to the northward and divides Maryland into two
sections, known as the Eastern and the Western shore. Down near the
mouth of this bay you will observe the broad outlet of a large river,
the James, named from James I., who succeeded Queen Elizabeth in 1603,
and ruled England until his death in 1625. Make a careful study of the
lower fifty or hundred miles of the James River, for the incidents I am
about to tell you occurred in that section of the country.

At the time I have in mind—the beginning of 1607—there was not a white
man in Virginia, nor in any of the present States to the northward. The
Spanish had gained a foothold farther to the south, and St. Augustine,
Florida, the first permanent white settlement in the United States, had
had a feeble existence for more than forty years. Of course, the
mountains, lakes, and rivers were the same as they are today; but there
were no cities, towns, or villages, only vast stretches of forest and
wilderness, where roamed wild animals and wild men or Indians. These
people had no horses or cattle. The large herds of wild horses which had
already begun to roam over the prairies and plains of the southwest,
were the descendants of the droves of the early Spanish explorers, but
not an animal of that kind was to be found in Virginia or to the
northward.

When the Indians wished to go from one place to another, they did so by
means of their canoes, or small birchen boats, if a stream was near; if
not, they tramped through the forest. They knew nothing of firearms, but
used bows and arrows, spears, tomahawks, and knives, with which they
killed bears, deer, buffaloes, and large game. Since they did not know
how to forge iron, they made their knives, tomahawks, and spearheads of
bone or stone. These wild men were divided into large tribes or
families, whose head or ruler was called _chief_, and whom all the
others had to obey. His men were called warriors, the women were squaws,
and the babies were papooses. The tribes were jealous of one another,
and often fought. Generally their captives were put to cruel deaths.
Some of the tribes numbered several thousand warriors, and in more than
one instance a number of tribes formed a confederacy. The Iroquois, or
Six Nations, whose headquarters were in the present State of New York,
was the most powerful union of this kind that ever existed among the
American Indians.

Although, as I have said there was not an English settlement in America
at the opening of 1607, you must not think no attempts had been made to
form such colonies. Away up in New England parties of men had landed and
tried to makes homes for themselves, but the climate was so rugged, and
the hardships they had to face so trying, that they gave up, and those
who did not die made haste to get back to Old England again.

The strangest fate of all attended the efforts of Sir Walter Raleigh to
plant settlements in America. He sent out several expeditions, the last
in 1587. It numbered one hundred and fifty men and women, who, landing
on Roanoke Island, off the coast of North Carolina, began building new
homes. There the first child of English parentage was born, her name
being Virginia Dare. I am sorry to say these people did not get on well
together, but seemed to be quarrelling all the time. Finally, Governor
White, who was the head of the colony, sailed for England to bring back
help.

When he arrived home a war with Spain was threatened, and he was unable
to return to Roanoke until after three years. He was very anxious to
rejoin the people, for he had left his daughter among the colonists;
but, strange to say, when he landed he was unable to find a single
member of the company. He came upon many signs, but not a living man or
woman. Sir Walter Raleigh did everything he could to learn their fate,
but was never able to gain any certain knowledge. Today one of the
strangest and most romantic incidents in the colonial history of the
United States is that of the “Lost Colony of Roanoke.” The mystery has
never been explained how so many men and women could disappear and leave
no trace behind them. But here is a theory which has always seemed
reasonable to me:

Among the Indians of that section you will find at the present time
quite a number who have light hair and blue eyes. What more probable
than that the surviving members of the Lost Colony married among the
natives, and that the odd-looking Indians of whom I have spoken are
their descendants?

It seems remarkable that more than a hundred years had passed since the
discovery of America by Christopher Columbus, without seeing the
planting of a single permanent English colony on this side of the
Atlantic. All this time, too, England laid claim to the whole continent,
because of the discoveries of John Cabot and his son Sebastian. Finally,
however, in 1606, two great companies were formed for the colonization
of America, one in Plymouth and the other in London. The efforts of the
Plymouth Company ended in failure, but the other corporation was
successful. In the depth of the winter of 1606, three vessels—the _Sarah
Constant_, of one hundred tons burden; the _Godspeed_ and the
_Discovery_, each of forty tons, started across the Atlantic, under the
command of Captain Christopher Newport. They carried one hundred and
five men, but no women, and intended to settle at Roanoke Island, where
the “lost colony” had disappeared some twenty years before; but they
were driven farther north by a storm, and, with no idea of where they
were, began hunting for a suitable place for settlement. They sailed
into the broad opening of Chesapeake Bay, and were still roving
northward when they were pleased with the appearance of a wide river,
which flowed into the bay from the mainland on the west. They turned the
prows of their little vessels into this stream, carefully studying the
shores in their quest for an inviting spot.

It was the radiant month of May, with mild skies and soft breezes, which
kept the craft steadily making their way against the gentle current.
These hardy men, standing on the decks of their little vessels, and
gazing at the shores, after being tossed about for months on the stormy
Atlantic, were sure they had never gazed upon anything so beautiful. The
banks were exuberant with brilliant wild flowers, whose sweet fragrance
was wafted across the smooth waters, while the green hills and mountains
in the distance were softened to the most delicate tints against the
blue sky. The craft moved so slowly that the calm current made only the
faintest rippling against the bows, and the bellying sails being once
set, remained as smooth and unruffled as if they were so much painted
canvas. All the attention needed was for the man at the helm to hold it
steady, so as to keep the boat near the middle of the great stream.

Rich, emerald vegetation and gorgeous flowers were not all that caught
the attention of the charmed Englishmen. There were men and women in
this new country, descendants of those who had lived there for unknown
ages. They were standing motionless on the shores, studying the
approaching vessels with much the same emotions that must have come to
the natives of San Salvador when they first caught sight of the caravels
of Columbus. One party, among whom several women could be seen, stood on
a slight eminence, a hundred or more yards back from the stream, as if
afraid to come any nearer. The warrior in the middle was fully a head
taller than his companions, and was observed to point one hand towards
the vessels, as if calling the attention of the others to some peculiar
features of the strange craft, the like of which none had ever looked
upon before.

On the margin of the river, where there was a natural clearing of an
acre or so, another party gathered, including also several women. They
were talking and gesticulating, and it would be interesting could we
know what they said to one another. When the _Sarah Constant_, which was
leading, and a hundred yards in advance of the smaller boats, came
opposite this group, two of the warriors were seen to fit arrows to
their bowstrings, aim carefully, and let them fly. The feathered
missiles could be easily traced as they curved upward in a beautiful
parabola, and then darted, head downward, into the clear current, not
having traversed half the distance between the land and the ship. The
men crowding the decks could well afford to smile at such efforts.
Captain Newport suggested that it would be a good thing to fire a volley
into the party, as they had done some days before near the mouth of the
river when greeted by a shower of arrows.

“No; we should cultivate their good will; we shall have need of their
friendship, and must not use our firearms so long as our lives can be
saved without doing so.”

This remark, in crisp, decisive tones, was made by a man standing at the
prow, with a spy-glass in his hand, which he turned now and then towards
the different groups. He was of sturdy build, dressed in the civilian
dress of the well-to-do citizen of those times, with a full, sandy beard
and a huge military mustache. His face was deeply tanned, he wore a
sword at his side, and his countenance showed resolution and firmness.
He was not yet thirty years of age, and no one could look at his figure
without seeing he possessed unusual strength and hardihood. It was plain
that mentally and physically he was above the officers and crew about
him.

This man was one of the most remarkable persons connected with the early
history of the United States, and the foremost individual in the
colonial period of the chief State. He was Captain John Smith, whose
great services won him the name of the “Father of Virginia,” and there
can be no question that he deserved the honor. That he was a great
boaster cannot be denied. Some of the stories he told of his adventures
in France, Egypt, Hungary, Turkey, and other countries were true only in
his imagination, recent researches having proved this to be the fact.
None the less, he was one of the bravest of men, unselfish,
enterprising, frank, and far-seeing; and it may as well be said at this
point, that the first English colony in America would have perished from
the earth but for the wisdom, energy, and self-sacrificing labors of
this famous native of Lincolnshire.

The Indians who had launched the useless arrows must have done so as an
indication of their feelings towards the white men who had dared to
invade their country. Now and then several of the warriors, bolder than
their companions, skirted the shore in their canoes, keeping abreast of
the vessels, and occasionally venturing for a little way towards them;
but they hurriedly withdrew again, as if they had heard something of the
terrible weapons which spouted fire and killed without anyone
understanding how, since no eye could ever detect the fatal missile. The
Indians in their boats, as a rule, kept close to land, so as to be ready
to take to flight the instant it became necessary. The result more than
once was amusing.

A canoe containing four warriors, after several timid ventures, headed
out in the river, as if they intended to board the strange craft. They
paddled slower and slower, until when twenty rods or so from land their
courage oozed away, and they dared advance no farther. They paused with
their long ashen paddles still, ready to dip them into the current at
the first sign of danger.

Without any command, the man at the helm pushed the rudder around, so
that the bow of the largest ship slowly swung about, and it headed
towards the canoe. The moment the occupants of the latter saw the
fearful thing bearing down upon them they bent to their work with
desperate energy, the craft skimming over the surface like a swallow.
Captain Smith, smiling grimly, made a tunnel of one hand, and emitted a
roar like that of an angry bull. The noise rolled over the smooth
surface with terrifying power. Two of the Indians, in a wild panic,
leaped overboard, and dived and swam in a frenzy of panic, while the
others outsped them in the headlong haste of their paddling. Then as the
panting fellows scrambled out on land, the _Constant_ began laboriously
swinging about again, and continued her course steadily up stream, most
of the men on board who had witnessed the incident breaking into
laughter, which had a strange sound at that time and in that place.

The three vessels had begun their voyage up the James the previous day,
so that now, while it was early in the afternoon, they were fully two
score mile from the mouth of the noble river.

They were approaching the peninsula where they were to make their final
pause, when the attention of all was turned up stream. Captain Smith, in
his interest brought his old-fashioned glass to his eye, and scanned the
object that had suddenly taken on such interest for all. Around a
sweeping bend in the broad river a single canoe shot into sight. The
strange fact about it was that the two persons in it who must have
discovered the ships the moment they came into their field of vision,
did not turn to the right or left, but came straight on, as if heading
for the largest boat, which kept in advance of its companions.

Only one of the Indians was swaying his paddle. He dipped the blade
first on one side and then on the other, and the sparkling of the water
was plainly seen in the bright sunlight, as the graceful craft remained
in the middle of the current.

Captain Newport, who also has a glass, came to within a few paces of
where Smith was standing, closely studying the object. Although he was
jealous of the plain spoken Smith, and had been, indeed, a party to his
arrest on an absurd charge, he used a certain friendliness of manner
which did not deceive the bluff fellow.

“Those two warriors have more courage than their friend,” remarked
Newport.

“There is only _one_ warrior in the canoe,” replied Smith, still keeping
the telescope to his eye; “the other is a woman, and——”

He hesitated as if waiting to feel sure before saying anything further.

When Newport had spent another minute or two in studying the boat he
said:

“You are right, and the woman is not an old one.”

“She is not a woman, but a girl.”

“Probably the daughter of the warrior.”

“That cannot be, for he is not much more than a boy—at most, he is only
a young man.”

“As young as _you_?”

There was sarcasm in the question, and it was marked by a grin, which
Smith did not see.

“He is younger in years than I, but not so young in wisdom as Captain
Newport.”

This remark was natural to Captain Smith, who had little respect for
those in authority when they deserved none. Moreover, the words were
spoken in such loud tones that twenty others heard them, and, while they
wondered at the boldness of Smith, they admired him the more. Still
further, their feeling were the same as his, for Christopher Newport was
much less a man in the true meaning of the word than John Smith.


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



                              CHAPTER II.

                           BROTHER AND SISTER


Captain John Smith was right as to the persons in the canoe which was
coming down the James River and heading for the _Sarah Constant_. Seated
a little in front of the middle of the craft, swinging the paddle, first
on one side and then on the other, was a pleasing-looking Indian youth,
who certainly was not twenty years of age. While propelling the boat he
faced the vessels down the river. He had the usual long, coarse black
hair of his people, which dangled about his shoulders, and his face was
stained with the juice of the _puccoon_, or blood root. His chest was
bare, but his waist was clasped with a girdle of deerskin, a shirt
falling below to his knees, while leggings reached to his neat fitting
moccasins, which were ornamented with beads. He was finely formed and
must have been fleet of foot and a fine warrior, despite his few years.

The most interesting one in the canoe, however, was the sister of this
youth. She was not more than a dozen years old, and showed a regularity
of feature and beauty of countenance rarely seen among her race. You
will often hear Indian men and women spoken of as very handsome, but, in
truth, there are very few worthy of the compliment. I have traveled
among many tribes, and seen hundreds of the leading warriors and young
women, and among them all were not ten who could be truly called
attractive. I refer to their countenances, for their grace of form and
movement is striking. But the high cheek-bones give their faces a lumpy
appearance, their mouths are generally broad, and the features
irregular. Now and then, however, we meet one whose beauty is striking
because of its contrast with those around. Such was the fact in the
present case.

The best that could be said of the young man was that he was pleasing in
appearance. He had fine black eyes—as have all his race of pure
blood—regular, even teeth, and an expression of brightness and good
nature, but he could not compare with his young sister. Her features
were of almost classical beauty, and had she been a Caucasian she would
have been admired among any people.

Moreover, her dress was different from any that had caught the eyes of
the observant Englishmen. Sitting at the bow, with enough space between
her and her brother for their two long bows and quivers of arrows, she
had thrown back her outer clothing, which was a robe of doeskin, lined
with down from the breast of the wood-pigeon. She wore coral bracelets
on her wrists and ankles, and a white plume in her abundant hair.

Her skirt and leggings were similar to her brother’s, but the upper part
of her body was clothed in a close-fitting jacket of doeskin, which
covered her pretty, plump arms to the elbow. The comeliness of her face
was not marred by the crimson juice that her brother used, and which was
a favorite with most of her sex. This girl, who was growing fast, was a
natural athlete, who could speed like a deer through the woods, launch
an arrow with the accuracy of a veteran warrior, swim with the grace and
swiftness of a fish, and read the faint signs of the woods as we read
the pages of a printed book.

By and by I shall mention the name of this famous miss; until then I
shall let you see whether you can guess it. I am sure every one of you
has heard it many times in the course of your reading of the history of
my country.

Nantaquas, as the young man was named, and his favorite sister had left
their home a long way up the river, meaning to paddle down stream, and
probably call upon some of their friends, when, in rounding a bend in
the stream, they were startled by the sight of the three vessels, slowly
coming up the river with their white sails spread, and their decks
crowded by strangely-dressed men, studying the shores between which they
were gliding in their immense “canoes.”

The sight, as well may be supposed, filled the two with amazement.
Nantaquas stopped paddling for a minute or two, while both gazed at the
sight. To them, in their forest home on the banks of the James, had come
vague rumors of a people who lived far beyond the Great Water, whose
skins were of a much lighter color than their own, and whose canoes were
like giant birds, which were able to sail in safety when the storms
drove the craft of the red men to shelter. Runners from the tribes to
the far south had brought most of these stories. It is on record that
Captain John Smith once met a party of Iroquois who were exploring this
region. In their distant homes in Central New York they had heard the
same strange accounts of white men and their ships, and the Iroquois
brought the tidings to the tribes in Virginia.

So, as I have said, when Nantaquas and his sister saw the three vessels
coming up the James River they had a fair idea of their nature, and of
the meaning of this visit to the region which never before had known the
tread of the pale-faced race. The girl was lively, curious, and full of
faith in human nature—far more so than most of her people.

When she had looked for several minutes in silent amazement at the
craft, and noted the forms of men on the decks, she said:

“Why are they coming to the country of Powhatan?”

“I know not,” replied her brother, resuming the sway of his paddle, but
more gently than before, and turning his head as he spoke, that she
might hear him more plainly; “it may be they mean to take away our
hunting grounds.”

The other laughed.

“How can that be, when the warriors of Powhatan are like the leaves on
the trees, and they are eager to do his will? There is but a handful of
the pale-faces; surely we have nothing to fear from them; Nantaquas, let
us visit the big canoes.”

The proposal struck the youth so favorably that he increased the speed
of his craft, and, as has already been shown, drew rapidly near the
_Sarah Constant_, whose passengers and crew watched the approach of the
graceful birchen structure with keen curiosity. As Nantaquas sped down
stream, however, he was thinking hard, and he began to ask himself
questions, which showed a doubt of the wisdom of carrying out the wishes
of his sister. He believed that any people who were treated kindly, and
in whom confidence was shown, would give the same treatment to those
that were good to them. She would not have feared to climb the side of
the big canoe and welcome the white men. She knew they had much greater
knowledge than her own people; and, though she and her brother had no
food or presents to offer the visitors, they could show their friendship
towards them.

But Nantaquas was wise beyond his years. He recalled that the stories
which he had heard of the white men were not to their credit. Some of
them had slain Indians as though they were wild animals; they had
treated them with great cruelty, and repaid kindness with brutality. The
reason that such reports came to Nantaquas was that they were brought by
visitors from the south, where the Spanish had made settlements. The
story of their colonization of the United States and Mexico was stained
by many dreadful crimes, which might well make the youth hesitate to
trust himself or his sister in their power. They were likely, he
thought, to carry one or both off as prisoners or demand a large price
for their ransom. So it was, that as Nantaquas drew near the _Sarah
Constant_, he gradually slackened his speed, until he finally held his
paddle motionless, and allowed the canoe to come to rest with much space
still between the two crafts.

By this time everyone on the three vessels was intently watching the
little canoe and its occupants. Sails were still hoisted, and the
vessels kept moving slowly up stream, the tide being at its turn. On
either shore were gathered staring groups of Indians, men, women, and
even children, whose emotions were as stirring as those of the white men
on the larger craft. The face of the pretty young girl in the canoe
glowed, for never had she gazed upon so wonderful a picture. Scores of
men in their peaked hats, several of which were adorned with flowing
plumes, their short coats clasped about the waist with broad girdles,
with a huge buckle in front, the short breeches ending at the knees,
with the heavy stockings below, and, more than all, the tanned
countenances, some of which were covered with shaggy beards, made up a
picture that might well hold the two wondering spectators almost
breathless.

Nantaquas checked his boat when a hundred yards from the largest vessel.
Inasmuch as that kept moving, he dallied with his paddle just enough to
hold his graceful craft abreast. Captain John Smith, the famous
navigator, Bartholomew Gosnold, Wingfield, Newport, Ratcliffe, Martin
and Kendall—all of whom had been named as Councillors by King James—were
at the rail of the _Sarah Constant_, looking off and down at the
visitors, who, although they had come so close, hesitated to draw nearer
to the vessel.

Captain Smith called in his bass, resonant welcome:

“Welcome! Welcome! Will you not come that we may shake hands with you
and break bread together?”

Of course, not a word of this was understood by Nantaquas and his
sister, but the beckoning gestures of more than one man formed a
language whose meaning was plain. The girl asked her brother
impatiently:

“Why do you hesitate? They wish to greet us; you are ungrateful.”

There was decision in the tones of the youth: “They are strangers; we
have heard evil things of many of them; we shall go no nearer.”

She knew it was useless to argue with him when he was in such a mood.
She pouted, but said no more. Since the gestures gave a clue to the
meaning of the words of invitation, Nantaquas raised one hand, palm
outward, and waved it towards the ship. He meant it as a courteous
refusal to accept the invitation, and, that there might be no mistake as
to his meaning, he suddenly dipped his paddle deep in the water, and
sent the canoe skimming up stream. His companion continued in displeased
silence, and the men on the ship repeated their gestures of welcome,
though they knew they would remain unheeded.

Only one of the Englishmen noticed a peculiar thing at this moment.
Nothing seemed to escape the keen eyes of Captain Smith. Shifting his
glance from the little boat speeding up stream, he looked to the left,
or south. The shore was a long distance away, for the river is very wide
at this point, and he saw a thin column of smoke filtering upwards from
among the trees on a wooded elevation, a little way inland. It was not
an ordinary column of vapor, such as burning brushwood makes, but it had
a wavy motion from side to side. The same clear vision which noted this,
noted also that the column of smoke was broken so as to show two
distinct gaps between the base and the top, where it melted into the
clear atmosphere against the blue sky beyond.

There could be no question that a signal fire had been kindled on the
slight elevation, and that the peculiar look of the vapor was a message
sent by someone to someone else, who, probably, was far in the depths of
the wilderness. Who should read its meaning? No white man certainly,
though he for whose eyes it was meant would have no trouble in
understanding it.

Captain Smith glanced from face to face around him, and saw that none
had noticed the proceedings. He said nothing, for no one could instruct
him; but the shrewd fellow was certain in his own mind that, whatever
the message might be, it had to do with the white men who were sailing
up the great river, hunting for a spot upon which to find the first real
settlement in the New World.

Nantaquas plied the paddle like one who could never tire. He had been
trained in the ways of the woods from the time he was able to walk. He
had come a long distance down stream on this glowing day in May, and the
exercise of propelling the canoe might be kept up for hours without
weariness on his part. The same may be said of his companion, for she
had proved it many a time, and would have proved it in the present
instance, had her brother permitted; but he showed no such wish, and,
after passing above the bend which shut the strange picture from sight,
he kept up the same machine-like swaying of the arms, until they had
traversed a goodly number of miles, and the beauteous spring afternoon
was drawing to a close.

And, throughout this long interval, neither he nor his sister spoke. She
was displeased because of his refusal to take her aboard the big canoe,
and, though she loved him too dearly to feel anything in the nature of
real anger, she meant he should know that, in her opinion, he had acted
the churl. He understood her feeling, and wisely gave her time to rally
from it. Indian though he was, he shared with her a certain waggish
disposition which often showed itself. He did several things that may
seem strange in one of his race. The bow and stern of the canoe were
similar, so that it could go in one direction as well as the other. He
was seated just beyond the middle, facing the course it was following,
while the girl, having gathered her robe about her shoulders as the
chill of the coming evening made itself felt, was at the stern. As she
looked at her brother she saw his back, and noted the action of the
coppery arms as they swung the paddle with perfect skill.

She was gazing absently at the mass of black hair dangling about his
shoulders, thinking, no doubt, how “horrid” he had been, when he
abruptly paused, turned, looked straight into her face, and made a
comical grimace. He did not speak, and immediately resumed his paddling.
She pouted more than before, turned up her pretty nose, and stared to
the left at the wooded shore. Ten or fifteen minutes later he repeated
his action, except that he continued grimacing and chuckling, as if
determined to make her smile. She flushed and strove hard to keep her
cross countenance, but could not. She laughed, in spite of herself, but,
as he resumed paddling, she reached forward, caught hold of a strand of
his hair, and pulled it, taking pains to jerk _upwards_, so as to make
sure it hurt. It was a vigorous pull, but Nantaquas acted as if unaware
that anything of the kind had taken place, and the girl, as if sorry for
her petty outburst, sat back again and looked in a more kindly way at
the big brother whom she loved so dearly.

None the less she was planning how she could punish him for his
disregard of her wishes. By and by the sparkle of her black eyes told
that she had hit upon a scheme. She was impatient for the moment to
come, though, in the nature of things, it was already at hand.

Within the following half-hour Nantaquas turned the prow of the canoe
towards the northern shore, gradually slackening his work as it sped to
land. Just before touching the bank he made a long sweep with the
paddle, which turned the craft around, and then reversed the propulsion,
so as to land the girl first. Instead of stepping out before her, he
gave that honor, as was befitting to the imperious young woman.

And as he did so the same young woman, with a thrill of pleasure, saw
that her moment of revenge had come!


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



                              CHAPTER III.

                          FATHER AND DAUGHTER


The canoe had not yet touched the land, when the girl leaped out as
lightly as a fawn, not pausing to pick up her bow and quiver, lying in
the bottom of the boat beside those of her brother. Facing about, she
grasped the front of the craft with both hands, as if to draw it up the
bank beyond reach of the action of the tide.

Almost at the same moment Nantaquas laid his dripping paddle beside the
implements, and rose partly to his feet, bending over to gather up the
bows and arrows. In the act of doing so, and while his body was in a
stooping posture, the girl gave a lightning-like, sideways jerk to the
boat, snapping it forward like a flash, for a distance of fully two
feet. The youth had no thought of anything of the kind, and yet, knowing
his sister as well as he did, he _ought_ to have been prepared. Thrown
so suddenly off his balance, he went backward over the side of the
canoe, which narrowly escaped upsetting; and, as his heels kicked in the
air and he vainly threw out his arms to save himself, he dropped out of
sight in water twenty feet deep.

The girl screamed with delight. Her scheme had worked to perfection; she
had punished her brother as she planned, and as he deserved. Down, down
he went, before he could right himself and get his bearings. Then his
head popped up, he blew the water from his mouth, and one or two
powerful strokes brought him to land. Scrambling to his feet, he made
for the laughing girl. He was not angry, for he admired her brightness,
but—wait till he could lay hands on the mischievous sprite!

But she was not yet caught. Brimming over with fun, she darted into the
wood, with him in headlong pursuit. Perhaps on the open plain, in a
straightaway chase, he might have overtaken her, though it is by no
means certain; but she was quicker than he in dodging, turning, and
doubling. With one hand outstretched, and seemingly about to grasp an
arm or shoulder, his fingers closed on vacancy, as she whisked to one
side, and, waiting until he repeated the attempt, she slipped again
beyond reach. Like a civilized girl, she kept screaming and laughing
while thus engaged, glancing continually over her shoulder, and baffling
her pursuer at the very moment that success seemed certain.

All the time she was heading toward her home, not far off in the woods,
while he, forgetful of the implements left behind in the canoe, kept up
his efforts to lay hands on her. He would not believe he could fail, and
she nurtured the self-delusion on his part, encouraging him once or
twice by allowing the outstretched hand to touch her robe, though it
could never grip it fairly.

Suddenly, just as he held his breath ready to leap forward and pounce
upon her, and it looked as if nothing could save the fugitive, she did a
very clever thing. She darted across a spot in the woods where the
ground was covered with many running vines. She did this, but he was too
earnest in the pursuit to notice danger. She led him on, and again his
hand shot out almost over her shoulder, when he caught his moccasin in
one of the vines, that was like so many yards of fine steel wire, and
sprawled forward on his face, with a force that drove the breath from
his body, and seemed to make the earth shake with the shock.

And then she could run no farther, from very excess of merriment.
Pressing one hand against the nearest tree-trunk to support her, she
laughed until she could hardly stand. He slowly climbed to his feet and
shook his head. She was not assured that he had given up the chase, and
held herself ready to bound away again, when both abruptly paused at the
discovery that a third party had appeared on the scene.

Two or three rods in advance, on the same line the two had been
pursuing, stood a tall Indian, fully six feet in stature, motionless,
and surveying the couple with an enquiring expression. He was three
score years of age, his long locks were sprinkled with grey, and his
face was stern and seamed by the passage of the many stormy years. He
was thin almost to emaciation, but the fire burned in the black eyes as
fiercely as when he first went on the warpath. He was dressed much like
the younger warrior, except that the upper part of his body was encased
in a jacket similar to that of the girl, and his countenance was
unstained. In the girdle about his waist were thrust a long knife and
the handle of a tomahawk, but he carried no bow and quiver. Standing
rigidly upright, with his coppery face like that of a stone image, he
looked sternly at the two.

Hardly had the girl caught sight of him, when she ran forward, and,
throwing both arms about his waist, called out in pretended panic:

“Father, save me from Nantaquas! He means to kill me!”

Laying one hand fondly on the wealth of hair about his chest, the parent
gazed at the young man and demanded:

“What is the meaning of these strange actions?”

Standing in his garments, still wet from his recent upset, the smiling
son pointed to his sister.

“She will tell Powhatan her story.”

The American Indian has the reputation of being stoical. It is true that
he will bear the most poignant anguish and torture without a sign of
suffering. He is trained to suppress his emotions, especially before
strangers, but there are no persons in the world who love their children
more affectionately; and when beyond the sight of strangers they often
indulge in expressions of that love.

The chieftain of whom I am now speaking was the most famous Indian
connected with the colonial history of Virginia. He was Powhatan, one of
the sternest and most unflinching leaders of his race. He ruled over
numerous tribes, nearly all of whom he had conquered and brought under
his sway. From Virginia to the far south none was his equal. He had
several homes, at each of which he lived a part of every year, and was
always surrounded when at any of them by a strong guard, numbering forty
or fifty of his tallest warriors.

Since you have learned that Powhatan was the father of the two who now
stood before him, there is no longer any excuse for keeping back the
name of the girl, for I am sure you guessed it long ago. She was
Pocahontas, pretty, bright, and kind hearted, and the favorite of the
terrible Powhatan, who permitted any liberties from her, and rarely
refused her a request which he could gratify. Nantaquas was another
favorite, though he had other sons who were well worthy of their
father’s fame.

Releasing herself from the embrace of her parent, Pocahontas stepped
back a couple of paces, and with sparkling eyes and glowing face told
Powhatan about the incident that had sent her flying from before her
brother. It would have done your heart good to see those iron features
relax as the sachem listened to the delightful story. Although well
advanced in years, and a stoic by training, he could not wholly forget
the time when he was such a youth as that son who stood a little way
back, with arms folded, listening to the words of his sister, and never
offering objection.

Powhatan extended his arms, and as Pocahontas stepped impulsively
forward, he placed a hand under each of her elbows, and tossed her like
a feather several feet up in the air. As she came down he caught her in
his grasp, held her closely to him, and fondled her hair and patted her
dusky cheek; while she, in turn, reached up and patted his wrinkled
face. No father and child could have loved each other more truly than
Powhatan and Pocahontas.

But the grim parent did not permit himself to indulge long in his
caresses of the one so dear to him. Again patting her head, he said:

“Let my child go to her home; Powhatan has something he would say to
Nantaquas.”

She obediently turned away. Her course carried her behind the sachem,
who had withdrawn all attention from her. Pausing an instant, she looked
at her brother, who was still standing with folded arms, and who turned
to glance at her the moment she halted, curious to learn the cause. He
was quickly informed, for standing thus, where no one else saw her, she
made the same comical grimace at him that he made at her when paddling
the canoe. He suddenly started towards her, but took only a step, when
she was off like a bird. Powhatan turned his head, but caught only a
glance of the handsome robe, the white plume, and the twinkling
moccasins, as they flitted from sight.

You will bear in mind that in giving the conversations between the
various Indians who pass before us, I use the utmost liberality in
translation. As a rule, their sentences are short, and often ornamented
with striking figures of speech. They sound stiff, and are sometimes
hard to understand by those not accustomed to them. It will be better,
therefore, to try to put their meaning in the form which you use in your
conversation.

Hardly had Pocahontas darted from sight, when the chieftain said to his
son:

“The pale-faces have come across the Deep Water to the hunting-grounds
of Powhatan and his people.”

“Yes; we met them on the river in their big canoes; they spoke words,
though we did not understand what they said, nor could they know the
meaning of our words. They have come to make their homes among us.”

The remark of the chieftain proved that the signal fire, of which
mention has been made, was not only meant for him, but that he read the
message. It seems strange that so much could be told by the fashioning
of the thin column of smoke rising from a small fire kindled on the
crest of a slight elevation; but such means of telegraphy have been used
by the American Indians for centuries, and the speed with which they
send tidings across wide stretches of country almost surpasses belief.
It is only a few years since that an important treaty was signed by the
United States Government agents with a number of tribes in the West. The
parties were so far removed from the nearest telegraph station that the
news did not reach Washington until three days later; yet it was known
to tribes four and five hundred miles distant the afternoon of the day
of signing, and within a few hours after the signatures were written.
The message was signalled from mountain peak to mountain peak, across
wide stretches of prairie, and hundreds of warriors discussed the matter
long before their chiefs set out for their distant homes.

So in the case of Powhatan, chief of many tribes, who knew of the coming
of the white men while they were sailing up the James, and for several
days before he saw any one of them. It is easy to understand how an
ordinary message, relating to simple affairs, can be carried by the
means named, but it is wonderful how news, unlike any that had ever
before been sent across an expanse of forest, could have been read by
the sachem and others for whom it was meant.

Powhatan left no doubt that he was deeply displeased by the appearance
of the white men, where they had never before set foot. They had come
into the heart of the country which belonged to him, and he was too wise
to fail to see the meaning of the visit.

“They will come to land, and build their wigwams; they will till the
ground, and hunt the game in the woods; by and by others will come and
make their homes beside them; and they will keep on coming, till they
are like the leaves on the trees; we have heard from the red men of the
south that they bring strange weapons; that they shoot fire, and slay
men who are far beyond the reach of our bows and arrows; all the
pale-faces are alike; they will kill the red men or drive them into the
sea, until none is left.”

“The words of Powhatan are wise,” said Nantaquas respectfully; “I am
afraid of them, and would not trust Pocahontas in their power.”

“My son did right; she is but a child; she must stay away from them.”

“And what shall be done with the pale-faces?” asked Nantaquas, who
understood the dark expression of his father. “Shall they be left alone
when they go ashore, that their numbers may increase—though I do not
think they have any women with them?”

“When the serpent is small, a child may crush it under the heel of her
moccasin, but, if left to grow, it will soon sting her to death.”

The meaning of these words was plain; Powhatan intended to destroy the
weak colony before the white men could send for other friends to sail
across the Great Water. Few even though they were, the work should be
hard and dangerous, when so little was known of the real nature of their
fearful weapons; but, no doubt, the thousands of warriors that Powhatan
could summon to the task would do it well, thus crushing the danger in
the bud.

Powhatan, like most of his race, was a man of few words. Having made
known his resolve, he ordered his son to lead the way to where the canoe
had been left on the bank of the stream. When it was reached he stepped
within, and, instead of seating himself at the stern, took his place at
the bow. It would have been sacrilege for Nantaquas to suggest that the
chieftain who is referred to by historians as “Emperor” should use the
paddle. No vassal could have been meeker than the son when he headed
down the river, handling the oar with the same skill that he had shown
earlier in the day.

By this time the afternoon was drawing to a close, but there was a
bright moon in the sky, which lit up the broad, smooth surface of the
James as if it were day. The sachem sat silent and erect, with no
appearance of curiosity, but the keen eyes, which pierced the gathering
gloom, did not let the smallest object escape them. Passing around the
long, sweeping bend that has been described, the large vessel and two
smaller ones came into view, lying at anchor, within a short distance of
shore. It might have been thought that the emigrants had come to rest,
to wait till the morrow before going farther up stream, had not smaller
boats been seen passing to and fro between the ships and the land. But
more still was soon learned.

Although from what Nantaquas and Pocahontas had told it would seem that
little was to be feared at present from these unwelcome visitors, the
life of Powhatan was too precious to permit any unnecessary risk to be
run. He ordered his son to go a little nearer, holding himself ready to
make instant flight when told to do so. Thus edging up, they were able
to see three or four tents on a small peninsula, jutting out from the
northern shore. The white men from across the sea had already landed and
begun the first lasting English settlement in the New World.

Nantaquas would have liked to visit the newcomers, now that his sister
was not with him, but Powhatan would not allow it, and, at his command,
he turned the head of the canoe up stream, before it had attracted
notice, and paddled hurriedly from the place. As before, the chieftain
did not speak, even after the boat had been run to land and drawn up the
beach. He stepped out, and, with the majesty that was rarely or never
absent, strode through the wilderness to his lodge or native “palace,”
with his son walking silently at the rear. Arrived there, he held a long
council with his under chiefs and leading warriors. The plans for the
destruction of the colony were fixed; but before he slept that night
Pocahontas drew from him all that had been agreed upon, and she did not
rest until he had given his promise to defer the fearful work. He would
not pledge himself to do more than postpone his purpose, but such
postponement was of the greatest importance to the welfare of the little
colony.


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



                              CHAPTER IV.

                            A CALL OF STATE


The three small ships with their one hundred and five men sailed up the
James River, until they had reached a point some fifty miles from its
mouth, when their interest was drawn to a low peninsula, which put out
from the northern shore. It was a bad site for a settlement, because it
was half covered with water at high tide. Since those days it has become
an island; but it looked so pleasing to the men who had been tossed on
the stormy ocean for so many months, that it was taken as their new
home. Anchor was dropped, the smaller boats began taking the emigrants
and their belongings to shore, and there, on May 13th, 1607, was founded
Jamestown, which, as I have already stated, was the first lasting
settlement planted by the English in the New World.

Sad to say, nearly three quarters of a century later, when the colony
was torn by civil strife, Jamestown was burned to the ground, and never
rebuilt. All that remains are the ruins of an old church tower and a few
mouldering tombstones. These are rapidly crumbling; the waves dash
mournfully against the shore; the sea-fowl flit past; and ere many years
come and go all traces of the famous town will have disappeared.

As the English went ashore they pitched their tents, but the season was
so mild that they found it more agreeable to make their homes for the
time under the verdant foliage of the trees while building their cabins.
These were put up on the neck of the peninsula, and before long the
place took on the appearance of a community. It is a pleasure to recall
that these people were good churchmen, and from the hour of their
landing gave strict attention to the duties of religion. The first place
of public worship in America was a ragged tent. An awning was stretched
among the trunks of trees, and a bar, fastened between two of these,
served as a reading desk. At this Mr. Hunt read the Service morning and
evening, preached twice each Sunday, and, at intervals of three months,
celebrated the Holy Communion. When he was prevented through illness or
other causes, Captain John Smith or some of his associates read the
service.

As soon as the hurry of work was over, a structure was put up. Of
course, it was of modest size and build, but when Lord Delaware arrived
three years later, he records that this first religious edifice built by
Englishmen in America was sixty feet long and twenty four feet wide.

It would seem that the best of beginnings had been made, for trees were
felled, cabins built, and a church erected; but a woeful mistake lay in
the character of the men themselves. Very few had the least fitness for
pioneer work. When the box was opened in which King James had sealed the
names of the first seven Councillors, all but two of those selected
proved grossly unfit. These two were Bartholomew Gosnold and John Smith.
Gosnold soon died, and Smith had not been freed from arrest on the
charge of plotting against the colony. Edward Maria Wingfield was chosen
first president, but he was lazy, self-indulgent, and seemed to be able
to think of nothing except Smith and his plots for placing himself at
the head of affairs. The other Councillors were no better than he, and
the prospect of Jamestown was dark.

This sad unfitness was not confined to the rulers. More than half the
men were ranked as “gentlemen,” which in those times meant persons who
did not do manual labor. The wild rumors of the abundance of gold in the
New World drew them across the ocean. They believed that it would take
only a short time to load the three vessels with the yellow metal, when
they would return to England and live in luxury for the rest of their
days. You naturally find that most of those who toiled for a living were
jewelers and gold-refiners.

Sturdy, rugged, honest John Smith saw all this with anger and disgust.
He knew what was surely coming, and calmly waited for it to come.
Although shut out from the Council, he did not sulk, though he felt the
injustice. “By and by they will ask for me,” he thought, as he went
vigorously to work. He impressed upon his friends the necessity of
keeping on good terms with the Indians. The season was far advanced, but
corn was planted with the certainty that it would ripen fast in that
favoring climate and soil. But the food brought over the ocean would not
last more than two or three months, when it would be necessary to obtain
supplies from the Indians. If they chose to withhold it, it would go ill
with the white men.

Now if you will look at your map again, you will note the situation of
Jamestown on the northern shore. Tracing the course of the James River
towards its source, you will observe the city of Richmond, the capital
of Virginia, on the same side of the river, but well up in Henrico
county. Below the site of Richmond, in the direction of Jamestown, was
the principal residence of Powhatan, chief of thirty tribes, his own
immediate tribe being scattered inland and along the river to the south
and east. It was a two-day’s journey between the village of Powhatan and
Jamestown.

Distrustful of the old chief’s temper towards them, Captain Smith and a
party of his men took the first chance to sail up the river and pay a
formal visit to the Emperor of the country. The name of the town itself
was Powhatan, from which fact the same title has been given to the
famous chieftain, whose Indian name was different. The aboriginal
capital stood on a small hill, and numbered twelve houses, in front of
which were three small islands in the river. The “palace” was a large,
native structure of bark and skins, with a sort of bedstead at one side,
on which Powhatan sat. With his majestic mien, his robe of raccoon
skins, and the feathers in his grizzly hair, he suggested a king upon
his throne.

When Smith and two of his companions were brought into the presence of
this Emperor the scene was striking. Along each wall of the dwelling
stood two rows of young women at the rear, and two rows of men in front
of them. The faces and shoulders of all the females were stained with
the red juice of the puccoon, and a number wore chains of white beads
about their necks. Almost any man would have been embarrassed when
introduced into the presence of royalty of this character. Smith’s
companions were mute, but he was too much a man of the world to betray
any fear. He doffed his hat, made a sweeping bow, and addressed the old
chieftain with as much outward respect as if he had been, indeed, the
King of England.

One of the most marked proofs of the ability of Captain John Smith was
that during his brief stay in Virginia he had been able to pick up
enough knowledge of the Powhatan tongue to make himself fairly well
understood, being helped thereto by his gestures, of which he was
master. There had been Indian visitors from the first at Jamestown. All
were treated so well that several spent much of their time at the
settlement, studying the white men and their ways with never-ending
interest. Smith became a hard student, and was thus able to tell
Powhatan that he and the other pale-faces had come across the Great
Water with feelings only of love for him and his people. They had no
wish to take away their hunting-grounds, not to kill their game, nor to
do them harm in any way. He hinted that the whites might prove to be of
great help to Powhatan, for they brought strange and deadly weapons with
them, which they would be glad to use in aiding him to conquer other
tribes of Indians.

Captain Smith was a man of rare tact, but he blundered when he made this
offer to the old Emperor. It said, in truth, that Powhatan was not able
to do his own conquering of rebellious tribes. Such was the power and
self-confidence of this sachem, that any hint that he could need help in
carrying out his own will was an insult to him.

Smith was quick to see his mistake, and did what he could to correct it,
but he did not succeed. Powhatan was sour, and nothing was clearer than
that he felt no good will toward those who had dared to make their homes
in his country. He pretended not to understand the broken sentences of
his visitor, until after one of his warriors had helped to interpret
them. Having met with no success, Smith and his friends withdrew and set
sail down the river for Jamestown.

During the interview both he and his companions used their eyes in
searching for the youth and the girl who had met them when first on
their way up the James. But neither Nantaquas nor Pocahontas was
present, a fact which proved they were absent from the town, for, were
it not so, nothing would have kept them from the “palace” on such and an
interesting occasion.

The boat in which the Englishmen had sailed up the river had to lie by
for one cloudy night while on the way, and now the explorers found
themselves overtaken by darkness, when hardly half the return voyage was
made. But the sky was clear, and again they were favored with a bright
moon, which so lit up the stream that they kept on their course, with
the prospect of reaching home quite early the next day.

While one of the men held the old-fashioned tiller, with nothing to do
but to keep the boat well away from shore, Smith sat at the bow,
thoughtfully smoking a long-stemmed pipe which he had bought from one of
the friendly Indians who often visited Jamestown. The others of his
associates were doing the same at a little distance, for most of the
English were quick to learn the habit from the red men. The night was so
still that a single sail hardly felt the touch of the gentle breeze, and
only now and then did the faint ripple at the bow show that the boat was
making any progress toward Jamestown.

Captain Smith had many things to vex and trouble him. He was angry when
he thought of the injustice under which he suffered, and the
worthlessness of those named to rule the colony. With the coming of the
hot, sultry southern summer all prudence seemed to leave the settlers.
They drank deeply of the unwholesome water, and the mists that brooded
over the neighboring swamps were heavy with malaria, which had already
laid a number on their backs, with more than one fatal issue threatened.

Those who kept healthy thought it too uncomfortable to toil when the hot
sun was overhead, and as twilight and night drew near, the day was too
far gone to make it worth while to labour. They would not be roused
early enough in the day to do anything of account, though most of them
did make a pretense of hoeing the corn, of which several acres were
growing. Wingfield, the president, set the example of indolence, and
instead of being moderate in eating, acted as if there never could come
an end to the food that had been brought across the sea, and which was
already nearly exhausted. What the colony needed above everything else
was a stern, rigorous, wise head, and it is no reproach to Captain Smith
that he said to himself: “_I_ am the only man for the time; but they
have tied my hands, though they shall not be tied long.”

While the future looked so dark, he was more disturbed by the present,
or what might be called the near future. He saw in the glum, resentful
manner of Powhatan something more than displeasure with the presence of
the white men. Holding such great power as did the chieftain, he was not
likely to remain quiet much longer. He could not but know of the growing
weakness of the colonists, who were short of food, with much sickness
among them, and the certainty that before long they would be at the
mercy of the Indians.

Smith wondered why an attack had not been made upon the settlement long
before. With the vast body of warriors that Powhatan could summon at his
will, they would have been able to crush the little band of white men,
despite the dreaded firearms at their command. The pioneer had no idea
that the postponement of such an assault was due to Pocahontas, nor did
he learn the truth until years afterward.

He looked at the dark, frowning shores on either hand, stretching in the
distance many miles beyond the farthest extent of vision when the sun
was shining, and thought of the thousands of warriors who roamed and
hunted through those solitudes, fighting one another, when, had they
been wise enough to unite their strength, they could bid defiance to any
armed fleet that England might send across the ocean.

Suddenly a star-like gleam showed on the southern shore. That it had
been kindled by the Indians was not to be doubted. Watching it for a
minute or so, without seeing anything more than a glowing point, Smith
turned his face toward the northern bank. At the moment of doing so he
observed an answering signal, and was not surprised, for it was natural
that such a reply should be made.

“They are speaking to one another about our boat, but that is of no
concern to me, for I do not think we have anything to fear from them.”

He scanned the two shores in the expectation of seeing other signal
fires, but none showed. Meanwhile the boat made little headway against
the tide, for the gentle breeze hardly fanned one’s face. Smith rose to
his feet, and with pipe between his lips, gazed out on the moonlit
expanse of river, not expecting to discover anything unusual, and yet
something of that nature quickly appeared.

A peculiar flickering toward the northern shore caught his eye, and
while trying to learn what it meant he saw that the object was an Indian
canoe, in which he soon made out two persons, with the nearer one
swaying a paddle, while his companion sat quietly at the stern.

The Captain recalled the sight which greeted the ships when first coming
up the James. There was the small craft, driven in the same manner, and
with the same number of persons. Standing erect at the gunwale, he
watched it closely, and a minute or two later was certain that the two
were Nantaquas and Pocahontas. He had learned of their identity from the
friendly Indians who came to Jamestown, the plume worn by the girl being
a badge of royalty.

The canoe was passing the bow of the ship, a hundred yards away, making
no attempt to come nearer. Desiring a talk, Smith called in his resonant
voice:

“Nantaquas! Will you not come aboard?”

The youth appeared to say a few words to his sister, after which he
headed his craft in the direction of the larger one. A few minutes would
have brought him alongside, when he was checked by a startling
interruption. Through the stillness sounded a low booming sound, which
rolled up the stream and was heard faintly to echo between the shores.

There could be no mistaking its meaning: it was the report of one of the
small cannon on the _Sarah Constant_, and it meant danger to Jamestown.


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



                               CHAPTER V.

                            A TIMELY ARRIVAL


Through the stillness of the summer night rolled the sound of the cannon
that had been fired in front of Jamestown, many miles down the river.
The report, which was not repeated, sent a thrill of alarm through
Captain Smith and his friends, for to them it could have but one
meaning: it had been discharged because of an attack upon the settlement
by Indians.

The boom, as it traveled up the broad stream, carried the same tidings
to the son and daughter of Powhatan, who were drawing near the large
boat in response to the invitation of him who was returning from his
visit of state to the dusky Emperor. Nantaquas plied his paddle with
renewed vigor, but instantly sheared away, and instead of keeping on as
he had started, made with all speed for the northern shore. It was
natural to think that the white men on the larger boat would undergo an
instant change of feelings when the alarming sound fell upon their ears.
Indeed, the youth expected a volley from the boat, but nothing of the
kind was in the mind of Captain Smith, who did not interfere while the
canoe and its occupants rapidly passed from sight.

Smith walked hurriedly to the stern, where the others had gathered about
the steersman.

“The settlement has been attacked,” said the captain in his quick, crisp
manner. “Listen!”

All stood silent and motionless for several minutes. The _Sarah
Constant_ had three such pieces on board, fitted for good service, and
Smith repeated that if it was necessary to discharge one of them, the
urgency was equally great for the firing of the remainder. Be that as it
may, the straining ears heard no second report, though the listening was
long, and was repeated at intervals for a couple of hours later.

Naturally, the certainty that there was grave trouble at Jamestown
intensified the impatience of Smith and his friends to reach the place
as soon as they could. If _their_ help was not needed, he knew _his_
was, and he could not get there too quickly; but the fates were against
him for the time. The wind, which had been dying out ever since sunset,
now wholly ceased, and the rising tide began to carry them back towards
the Indian capital. The anchor was dropped, and thus the craft lay at
rest, as it must remain for several hours, awaiting the turn of the tide
or perchance a rising of the wind. Two men were placed on guard, and
Smith and the others lay down to get such sleep as might come to them.

The calm lasted throughout the night, and when daylight came the surface
of the James was as smooth as a summer millpond. The tide had turned,
but moved so sluggishly that Captain Smith told his skipper to let the
anchor remain for a few hours, all agreeing that the weather signs
foretold a change at or before that time. They partook sparingly of the
coarse bread which they had brought with them, adding several mouthfuls
of cold fowl that the Captain had shot a few miles below the spot on
their upward voyage.

His next words caused surprise. He intended to go to the southern shore
with two of the men, to inquire into the signal fire that had first
caught his eye the night before. He hoped to learn something of the
trouble at Jamestown, though his chief hope was that he might find the
way to obtain a quantity of corn, of which his countrymen stood in sore
need. From what Smith had been told, he knew that a small Indian village
was not far inland. There was reason to hope that through barter, or
possibly, as a last resort, the display of force, the owners could be
made to part with a goodly supply of food.

A number of gaudy trinkets, beads, ribbons, fanciful little knives and
gewgaws were bundled up and put in the small boat, the three men took
their places, with the Captain at the stern, while each of the others
began to swing the oars in the fashion that has been common since time
immemorial. They were old hands, and rowed in unison, while the craft
headed toward the point which the Captain had pointed out before
starting. In the hope that some of the warriors would show themselves,
he keenly studied the shore, both above and below; but if there were any
red men in the neighborhood, they took care that none should see them.

When the boat touched land the three stepped out, the two who had used
the oars drawing the boat up the bank, and then awaited the orders of
Captain Smith.

Each man had a knife, a musket, and ammunition. The guns were of what is
known as the snaphaunce pattern, which took the place of the clumsy
firelock during the previous century. The weapons were the old style
flintlocks, heavy and cumbersome, but useful in the hands of those
familiar with them.

It was but natural on the part of Captain John Smith to feel certain of
his superiority in every respect over any and all of his associates.
This included even marksmanship and skill in the use of fire arms. It
was a common practice with him when engaging in a hunt to go away from
his companions. If asked for his reason, he replied that their presence
prevented his success; he could do much better when alone. As for them,
it did not matter, since they could never hope to be his equal.

So it was that at the present time he told his friends to move off
together, following the course of the stream, and never wandering so far
in the woods that they could not easily make their way back to the
water. If they met any Indians or made any important discovery they were
to halloo at the top of their voices, and he would make haste to them
and take charge of things. As for him, he would decide every question as
it came up. It becomes necessary for us to give our attention to the two
men, while we leave the doughty Captain for a time to himself.

The only sign of the recent presence of others on the spot was the heap
of ashes left by the signal fire. This had been kindled within a few
feet of the stream, where there was no vegetation to hide the rays. The
trinkets which all hoped could be used for barter were left in the boat.
Thus it will be seen that Smith did not mean that either he or his
friends should go far from the spot.

It was not strange that the name of one of the couple was also Smith,
for we know that the name is the most common among civilized people. I
know a city of my own country in which I read in the directory exactly
one hundred and five plain “John Smiths,” and I doubt not that there are
plenty of them in Great Britain. In the present instance, the Smith who
had helped row the boat was no relation of the Captain. His companion
was a cousin, remembered as Jack Bertram.

These two moved up-stream—that is, toward the village of Powhatan. There
was no reason to believe they would come upon anything of importance by
keeping near the river, where the walking was easy, so they pushed
inland for a number of rods, and then took a course parallel with the
James. The timber was dense, and the undergrowth so matted that it was
hard to force a passage. Smith took the lead, thus making the work less
for Bertram, who kept close behind him.

When they had pushed their way for a brief distance, Smith stopped.

“What good can come of this? Since no one has been over the land ahead
of us, we cannot overtake anyone.”

“They may be coming from the other way,” said his companion, less
discouraged because he was not doing such hard work in the way of
traveling.

“Little promise of that. I do not understand what Captain Smith hopes to
learn or do by this groping through the woods. If we knew the way to the
Indian village we should go there, and, if they would not give us corn,
take it from them. Ah! I did not look for this.”

That which caused this exclamation was the sight of a well-marked trail
leading over the course they were following. Both stopped to study it
more closely.

“It has been made by animals coming to the river to drink,” said
Bertram. “It can be of no help to us though it may be used also by
persons.”

Smith walked for a few paces, scanning the path, which soon turned to
the left, leaning farther inland. At the same time the ground sloped
gently upward, showing they were drawing near an elevation. Suddenly the
leader halted. Glancing up, Bertram saw the reason for it, and then was
as much astonished as his companion.

Standing in the trail, wonderingly staring at the couple, was the girl
whom they had seen when the ships were sailing up the James River weeks
before on their way to found the colony of Jamestown. There was no
mistaking her. She had the same rich robe about her shoulders, and the
same white plume curling over her mass of black hair that fell over her
pretty shoulders. She carried her long bow in one hand, and the top of
her quiver of arrows peeped from behind the left shoulder. Her hands and
moccasins were small, the latter ornamented with colored beads.

She caught sight of the white men before they saw her. She must have
been coming over the path, when she observed the figures and stopped in
amazement. On her comely face the emotion of astonishment was quickly
followed by that of pleasure.

“It is Pocahontas,” whispered Bertram, at the rear of his friend; “we
saw nothing of her yesterday at the lodge of the old chief, because she
was absent. I wonder what she is doing here alone?”

“Her friends can’t be far off. But I say, Jack, this is a godsend.”

“What do you mean?”

“You will see.”

The girl did not wait after observing that she was seen by the
strangers. She knew where these men had come from, and, shifting her bow
to her left hand as she walked, she came smilingly forward. She had
noticed the strange custom of the pale-faces when they met of clasping
their hands. Without pause she reached out her hand to Smith who was in
front, and said to him in broken words:

“How do? how do? Me friend; _you_ friend.”

Smith took the dainty palm, warmly pressed it, and then gave way to
Bertram, as he stepped up beside him and did the same. Pocahontas tried
to say something more, but she knew so little of the English language
that neither caught her meaning. It was amusing to note her sparkling
eyes and charming smile as she saw that too many of her words were
spoken in her own tongue for the men to understand them. Laughing in her
childish way, she gave up the effort, and stood looking inquiringly into
the bronzed faces before her, as if asking them to help her out of her
trouble.

“Jack,” said Smith in a low voice, “the Indians have attacked Jamestown;
we don’t know how many of our people they have killed; we need food;
let’s take this daughter of the old chief and hold her as a hostage. We
will give him the choice of letting us have all the corn we want, or of
having his pet daughter put to death.”

“I hardly know what to say to that; it may work the other way.”

“It can’t; Powhatan loves her so much that he will do anything to keep
harm from coming to her.”

Smith did not wait to argue further, but, taking a quick step toward the
smiling girl, grasped her upper arm. In answer to her questioning look,
he said:

“Go with us; we take to Jamestown; won’t hurt.”

The smiles gave way to an expression of alarm. She held back.

“No. no, no. Me no go; Powhatan feel bad—much bad.”

“You _must_ go!” said Smith, tightening his grip. “We not hurt you.”

Bertram stood silent throughout the brief minutes. While he hardly liked
the scheme that had been sprung so suddenly upon him, he thought it
might turn out well, and therefore, he did not interfere.

And then Pocahontas, child that she was, began crying and striving to
wrench her arm free from the iron fingers that had closed around it. She
drew back so strongly that her feet slid forward beside each other. Had
not Smith used much strength she would have got away from him. Impatient
over her resistance, he next tried to scare her into submission.
Scowling at her, he said in savage tones.

“Stop! Come with me, or I kill!”

This, it need not be said, was an idle threat, for the man had no
thought of anything of the kind, though he was ready to use more
violence to subdue the girl. Probably he would have struck her, for he
was a quick-tempered man, and was fast losing his patience. Pocahontas
would not stop her resistance, but as she found her moccasins sliding
over the slippery leaves she struggled harder than ever, with the tears
streaming down her cheeks. She begged and prayed but all her words were
in her own tongue. In her panic she could not stop to try to put them in
the language of which she had only slight knowledge.

Captain John Smith had gone but a little way down stream, when he
decided that he had taken the wrong course. He turned about and followed
after his companions, coming upon them at the crisis of the struggle
between his namesake and the young daughter of Powhatan. He paused only
an instant, when he angrily cried out:

“What is the meaning of this?”

The other Smith merely glanced around at his leader, and kept dragging
the captive along the trail. It was Bertram who hastily said:

“She is the daughter of Powhatan. We are going to take her to Jamestown,
to hold her as a hostage, and make the chief give us what corn——”

Without waiting for anything further, the Captain sprang forward,
calling angrily:

“Let go! Release her!”

Before the amazed fellow could comply, he was grasped by the back of the
collar. Captain Smith shifted his gun to his right hand, so as to leave
the other free. The fingers were as those of a giant, and the scared
Englishman let go of the sobbing prisoner. As he did so the Captain gave
a kick with his goodly right foot, which lifted his namesake clear off
the ground, and sent him tumbling on his face, his peaked hat falling
off, and his gun flying several yards away.

“I would do right to kill you!” called the leader, his face aflame as he
glared down on the fellow, who began climbing shame-facedly to his feet.
“Among all the Indians in Virginia there is not one so good a friend of
the English as that little girl.”

As he spoke he pointed towards the spot where she stood a minute before,
but she was not there. She had taken instant advantage of her release,
and fled beyond sight.


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                              CHAPTER VI.

                              AT JAMESTOWN


Captain Smith’s burst of tempestuous anger was caused, in the first
place, by the unpardonable violence shown to the gentle Pocahontas, a
girl so young that she was not yet far in her “teens.” In the sweetness
of her nature she had shown perfect trust in the white men, and, early
as it was in the settlement of Virginia, all knew she had no feeling but
friendship for the people that had made their homes within the country
of her father, the great Powhatan. What a rude awakening was hers! What
injury it was likely to do to those who were in sore need of the good
will of the powerful tribes around them!

A second cause of the Captain’s wrath was the fact, clear to him, that
the outrage, apart from its wickedness, was the worst thing possible
when viewed as to its results to the white men themselves. Instead of
alarming Powhatan and forcing him to help them, it would have the
contrary effect. It would add to his ill will, and lead him to measures
that otherwise might have been averted. (This, as you shall learn, was
proved some years later, when Captain Argall stole Pocahontas, and came
nigh causing the complete destruction of Jamestown and the settlements.)

Not only that, but the immediate results were sure to be disastrous. It
was not to be supposed that Pocahontas was alone thus far from her home.
She certainly had friends near at hand, she was already fleeing with her
story; she would reach them in a brief while, and they would hasten to
punish her enemies.

These thoughts flashed through the mind of Captain Smith, while the
victim of his anger was slowly climbing to his feet. He took a step
towards his namesake, meaning to strike him to the earth again, but the
man shrank away, with no word of protest. The Captain checked himself
and said:

“We must hasten to the boat before we are cut off. Come!”

The fellow picked up his hat and gun, and Captain Smith led the way at a
rapid stride over the trail and through the dense undergrowth, till they
reached the margin of the stream, along which they hurried to the spot
where the prow of the craft had been drawn up the bank. He pushed it
free and stepped within. Instead of seating himself at the stern, he did
so at the bow, so that he faced the shore they were leaving, as did the
two who hastily sat down and caught up the oars. The one who was named
Smith was nearest the stern, his companion being between him and the
Captain, with all three, as has been shown, looking towards the shore
they were fast leaving behind them.

“Row hard,” said the Captain, “for you have no time to spare.”

Neither of the men had spoken a word since the rescue of Pocahontas, and
they bent to their oars with the utmost energy. They knew they had done
wrong, and naught was left but to obey the command of their leader,
which they did with right good will.

The tide was sweeping down stream so fast that the craft took a diagonal
position under the impulse of the oar, this being necessary to hold a
direct course to the waiting boat in midstream. The three had not
reached a point fifty yards from land, when a young Indian warrior
dashed through the undergrowth into the open space on the beach. He was
Nantaquas, and almost at his side was his sister Pocahontas. He held his
long bow, firmly gripped in the middle by his left hand, and had drawn
an arrow from the quiver behind his shoulder, which was partly fitted to
the string of deer-thong. The girl pointed excitedly to the man Smith
who was rowing, and who was nearer to them than either of the others.
She was showing the guilty man to her brother, who had probably asked
the question of her.

“Look out!” warned the Captain. “He means to shoot you!”

The endangered fellow was so flustered that he broke the regularity of
the strokes of the two, though Jack Bertram strove hard to catch it
again. He kept his eye on the young warrior, who rigidly straightened
his left arm, with the hand gripping the middle of the long bow, while
he drew the feathered arrow to its head, and sighted at the alarmed
oarsman.

Captain Smith watched Nantaquas, not allowing the slightest movement to
escape him. Suddenly he called:

“_Down!_”

The other Smith instantly flung himself forward on his face, so that he
was hidden by the low gunwale. Bertram, hardly knowing what he did,
dodged to one side. The Captain did not stir. He knew _he_ was in no
danger.

At the same moment that the oarsman went down Nantaquas launched his
arrow, which came with such swiftness that it made a flickering streak
in the sunlight which the eye could hardly follow. Captain Smith caught
a glimpse of something like the flitting of a bird’s wing, and the
missile flashed over the very spot where the intended victim had been
sitting an instant before, driven with such unerring aim that, but for
his quickness, the arrow would have been buried in his chest.

So great was the power with which the missile was fired that it seemed
to dart horizontally outward for nearly a hundred feet beyond the boat
before it dipped enough for the point to drop into the water, where it
turned rapidly over several times, and the flint-head sank below the
surface.

Brief as was the time, the oarsman partly regained his coolness. He
raised his head, but instead of drawing upon his oars he dropped them,
and reached for the musket at his feet. His companion kept toiling with
all his strength.

“Drop that!” thundered Captain Smith. “It would serve you right if you
were killed! _Use your oars!_”

The two men, in their flurry, forgot to hold the boat to the right
course, so that it took a more direct one than before. Had this been
done from the first, Nantaquas could not have launched his arrow without
endangering Captain Smith, since he would have been in the line of aim.
At any moment the Captain could have shot Nantaquas, who stood out in
the clear view, or either of his companions could have done the same,
but the leader would not allow it. He sympathized with the “prince,” and
though he did not care to have the offender slain, he would not permit
any injury to be done to Nantaquas.

The youth had fitted another arrow to his bow, and now drew it to the
head. The keen eyes of Captain Smith noted every movement. He saw that
after drawing his right hand half-way back, Nantaquas held it
stationary. He saw that if he fired again, and the man serving as his
target dodged, the arrow was likely to strike Captain Smith, unless he
was equally quick in eluding it. Moreover, the distance was increasing
so fast that every second added to the difficulty of the shot. He knew
which man had befriended Pocahontas, and eager as he was to slay the
criminal, he must forego that pleasure in order to spare the friend.

Holding the long bow poised for a few seconds, he slowly lowered it,
still keeping the notch of the arrow pressed against the string, as if
expecting a new chance to present itself. If the boat would turn
partially sideways toward him, as at first, he might still bring down
his man; but the oarsman had learned wherein their safety lay, and took
care to make no mistake.

All this time the boat was moving rapidly, and it was not long before it
passed beyond bowshot.

Nantaquas remained standing in full view on the shore, his sister beside
him, both watching the receding craft until it came alongside the large
one, and the three stepped aboard, leaving the small boat to be towed at
the stern. Then brother and sister turned about, and passed from sight
in the forest.

A brisk breeze was blowing, and Captain Smith and his companions had
hardly joined their friends when the anchor was hoisted, and they were
carried at good speed toward Jamestown, which they reached early that
afternoon. There they learned that the settlement had passed through a
trying experience during the absence of Captain Smith and his party.

Although the Englishmen arrived at the site of Jamestown rather late in
the season for planting, and although many of them were too indolent to
work, others did what they could to make up for the lost time. In the
rich soil, which had been cleared of trees, corn that had been obtained
from the Indians was planted, and quickly showed a vigor of growth that
promised the best results.

On the day that Captain Smith sailed up the James to make his call of
state upon Powhatan, more than twenty men were engaged in planting and
cultivating the corn already put in the ground. Without any warning, and
when no one dreamed of danger, the woods near by began raining arrows.
They came in bewildering showers, amid the shouts of the Indians, of
whom only occasional glimpses were caught, as they flitted from tree to
tree, while they used the trunks as shields. The English, stricken with
panic, dropped their implements and ran behind the stockades, which had
been finished only a short time before. Hurried as was their flight,
those who glanced behind them saw one man lying motionless on his face.
He was dead, pierced by so many arrows that he looked like a huge
porcupine. Nearly all the others had been struck, some of them two or
three times; and when they ran panting through the open gate the
missiles were still sticking in their bodies and clothing. Actual count
showed that seventeen men had been wounded, most of them slightly,
though three or four seemed likely to die of their hurts. Happily,
however, all recovered.

Instead of leaving, the Indians kept their places in the woods,
continually launching their arrows at the settlers. While these were
harmless when directed against the stockades, some of the warriors
showed great skill in curving them so that they dropped inside the
defences. It required keen watchfulness on the part of the defenders to
save themselves from being badly hurt, for, when a sharp-pointed missile
comes almost straight downward from a height of more than a hundred
feet, it is likely to do fatal damage. The Englishmen could protect
themselves from mishaps, but could do little in the way of driving off
their assailants while they were so well shielded among the trees.

Matters stood thus when the _Sarah Constant_ took a hand. Dropping a
little way down stream, so as to get clear range of the stretch of woods
in which their enemies shielded themselves while keeping up their
attack, she discharged two of her cannon that were loaded to the muzzle
with slugs. It is not likely that any of the warriors were hurt by the
missiles, but when they saw large limbs splintered and falling about
their heads, and heard the rattle among the leaves and twigs overhead
and about them, they were terrified, and scurried off in as headlong a
panic as that of the settlers when attacked by the red men.

Not another foe was seen during the day, though there could be no doubt
that more than one pair of black eyes were peeping from among the
vegetation, the owners, no doubt, wondering as to the nature of the
awful weapon that could tear the big branches from the trees. Some time
after dark, however, the sentinels heard sounds in the woods near at
hand, which showed that their enemies had returned, and, of course, were
plotting mischief. The larger vessel, which had held her place after
driving off the Indians earlier in the day, now fired another assortment
of missiles, and this ended all trouble of that nature for some time to
follow. It was the report of this cannon which had travelled up the
James to the boat where Captain Smith sat meditatively smoking.

The first attack on Jamestown brought good results. It was clear to all
that the settlement must have a vigorous head, and that he must be a
military man. Wingfield, as has been shown, had no qualification
whatever for the office. He must be displaced, or the colony would go to
ruin. Smith was determined on his removal, and as a first step he
demanded that a trial by jury should be given himself on the charges
made long before, and for which he was still under arrest.

Wingfield refused, and when Smith insisted he replied that he would send
him back to England to be tried by the authorities there.

“You will not!” said the angry Captain. “The charter provides for the
trial of all such charges in Virginia; it is my right, and I will not be
denied it!”

So, against his will, the Governor gave Smith his trial, which was the
first one by jury in America; and never did an accused man gain a
greater triumph. Every charge brought against him was shown to be false:
the witnesses broke down, and those who swore that Captain Smith had
plotted to obtain the mastery of the colony were proved to have sworn
falsely. He might have been boastful and overbearing at times, but he
was unselfish, and always thought of the real interests of those who had
crossed the ocean with him to found homes in the New World. Smith was
not only declared innocent of the shameful charges, but his chief
persecutor, a member of the Council, was ordered to pay a fine of 200
pounds. When this large sum was handed to Smith, he gave it to the
colony for the general use. Then all parties partook of the Communion,
declared themselves friends, and Smith took his seat as a member of the
Council.

He had no wish to be Governor or President, though he knew the day was
near when no one else would be able to save the colony. He had a freer
hand in certain matters while simply Councillor, and was willing that
the people should become tired of Wingfield before he stepped into his
shoes.

We cannot dwell upon the miseries of that first summer in Jamestown. The
sickness, caused by paying no heed to the laws of health, rapidly grew
worse. It looked for a time as if disease would carry off every man.
They lay groaning and fever-smitten in their cabins, until no thought
was given to the danger from the Indians. Had Powhatan, or any other
leader, chosen to attack Jamestown with only a score of warriors, he
would have had no trouble in destroying every man. Even Captain Smith,
who seemed safe against every disease and weakness, took the fever, but
refused to give up, and with the help of a few others he was able to
drag out and bury the dead. Among those who passed away were the good
Bartholomew Gosnold and Studley, the treasurer.

There remained, however, Wingfield, the corrupt and wicked President,
and the one who had been defeated in the trial of Smith. The two were
his bitter enemies, and they formed a plot which, if successful, would
not only ruin Smith, but would probably destroy the colony itself.


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



                              CHAPTER VII.

                          UP THE CHICKAHOMINY


When September came one-half of the Jamestown colony had passed away,
and most of the survivors were tottering with weakness and disease. I
have said that for weeks theses wretched beings could have hardly raised
a hand to keep off the Indians had they chosen to attack them; but
instead of that, Providence moved the hearts of the red men to pity, and
they brought corn to the sufferers, though the supply was so scant that
it could last but a short time.

Captain Newport had sailed for England several months before for food
and supplies, but could not be expected back for a long time to come. He
left one of the smaller boats for the use of the colonists, and
Wingfield and another plotted to seize it and sail to the Mother
Country. When they tried to do so, however, the others were so indignant
that they not only stopped them, but turned them out of the Council, and
chose John Ratcliffe as President. He was little better than Wingfield,
and the settlers now compelled Smith to take charge of the colony.

The Captain quickly proved his worth. He gave the people to understand
that every well man must choose whether to work or starve. He would have
no idlers, and he set the example by toiling as hard as the best of
them. On his return from an expedition down the river, where he forced a
surly tribe to trade corn with him, he arrived just as Wingfield and his
friend, who had again seized the pinnace, were about to sail. Smith
opened fire on them with a cannon, and would have sunk the craft had
they not surrendered. Their action was so base that they were tried by
jury. The life of Wingfield was spared, but all authority was taken from
him; while his companion, as the greater offender of the two, was
condemned to death and shot.

With the coming of cool weather a great improvement took place in the
health of the colonists. Disease abated, and on the appearance of frost
all fever disappeared. Those who had been ill rapidly regained their
health. The river abounded with fish and fowl, and the yellowing corn
could be made into bread. For the first time the future looked bright,
even though so many had died. Other immigrants were sure to arrive ere
long, and were believed even then to be on their way across the ocean.

How prone are we to forget favors done to us! No man of colonial times
earned a heavier debt of gratitude than Captain John Smith of Virginia,
and yet, when things improved, those whom he had been the means of
saving complained because he had not done more. He gave up the
Presidency as the best means of teaching the people his value to them.

Of course, you know that Christopher Columbus died under the belief
that, instead of discovering a continent, he had simply found the
eastern shore of India. The belief was held by nearly everybody during
more than a century that followed, that America was only a narrow strip
of land, beyond which stretched the “South Sea.” They thought that by
sailing up any of the large streams they would reach that vast body of
water. When Captain Henry Hudson passed up the noble river, named for
him, in 1609, he expected to keep on till his little ship entered the
South Sea. It was because of this universal belief that England, in
granting land to most of her colonists, made the western boundary the
Pacific Ocean, or South Sea, which I need not remind you was discovered
by Balboa in 1512.

Thus it was that the colony which settled Jamestown was ordered to hunt
for the South Sea. Captain Smith was reproached in Council for not
carrying out this royal command, and because of such neglect his surly
associates declared that the whole enterprise was a failure. I have
often wondered whether the sensible Captain had any faith in this wild
dream. Be that as it may, he replied to the fault-finding by declaring
he would set out at once in quest of the missing sea. I cannot help
thinking that when he was stung into making this answer, he was led to
do so by his disgust with affairs at home, but more by his love of
adventure. He must have felt that it would be a great relief to get away
from the quarrelling people, who would learn his worth during his
absence, while he would gain an experience for which he longed.

If you will glance at your map once more you will notice that a large
tributary empties into the James River from the north, about ten miles
west of Jamestown. It is the Chickahominy, and its sources are well to
the westward in the direction of the mountains which form the most
romantic section of Virginia.

It was on a clear, cold day, early in December, that Smith started on
his eventful voyage in a barge propelled by a crew of half a dozen
sturdy men, besides two friendly Indians. As he meant to ascend the
river, as far as possible, he trailed a smaller boat behind the
barge—the same that he used when he went ashore to learn the meaning of
the signal fire on the southern bank of the James. This craft promised
to be useful when he had gone as far as the barge could go, while it
could also be turned to account by himself in hunting for game that
would be scared away by sight of the larger boat, whose advance could
not be as well hidden as the smaller one.

The barge, as it was called, was provided with a sail, which must prove
of great help for a part of the time at least, while the small
half-cabin at the stern gave sleeping room for the “shift” when off
duty. There were plenty of blankets, though the size of the craft
allowed no use of a fire as a means of warmth. There were three
row-locks on each side, to be called into play when the wind was not
favorable, besides the numerous times when they would have to use the
poles with which to push the boat through the water. A scant supply of
“pone,” or corn bread, and venison was brought, but the main reliance of
the party was upon the fish that were to be taken from the stream, and
the fowl and game that could be shot along shore or in the woods.

When the barge left Jamestown not a flake of snow was to be seen
anywhere, though winter had begun, and the climate in that section is
sometimes severe. A strong breeze was blowing from the eastward, and the
craft moved easily forward without calling the oars into use. Most of
the course of the Chickahominy is through a swampy section, choked by
fallen trees, where navigation is difficult. Captain Smith had sailed
for a few miles above its mouth some weeks before, but the region was
unknown to him. Because of this fact it was the more pleasing, for, as
you know, the prospect of stirring adventure was one which he was never
able to resist. During his stay in Virginia he explored so many waters
in the neighborhood of Chesapeake Bay, that the distance covered was
equal to the breadth of the Atlantic between Liverpool and New York.

It was yet early in the day when the barge turned to the right and
entered the broad mouth of the large branch of the James. The sun,
shining in a clear sky, moderated the cold, so that with their blankets
about their forms the men were comfortable. The two Indians used only
the deerskin jackets of covering for the upper part of their bodies.
Thus clothed, they would have felt no discomfort had the temperature
been at zero. Each had his bow and arrows, the white men being provided
with the snaphaunce muskets or old-fashioned flintlocks.

Captain Smith seated himself at the stern, just back of the little
cabin, his hand resting on the end of the tiller, which was held between
his elbow and side. In this position it was the easiest thing in the
world to direct the course of the boat. The others placed themselves as
fancy prompted, all ready for any work when called upon.

Seated thus, the explorer was in a good position to study the country as
they moved between the banks. The woods had a sameness, though they
could never lose their interest to the crew, who knew they were the
first of their race to gaze upon the forests, with the matted vines, the
trees bending far over the surface, while rotting log, interlocked
limbs, and fragments of trunks were mixed in such confusion that the
boat had not gone far when the Captain had to change his direct course
to a winding one so as to have a clear passage. Looking over the gunwale
he saw that in most places the water was clear, though the color of the
soil at the bottom gave it a dark appearance. Sometimes this depth was
eight or ten feet, and then it became so slight that he was not
surprised to feel the process slacken, and then cease so gently that few
noticed it. The boat had grounded upon a marshy spot, and the wind could
carry it no further.

Captain Smith spoke to his men, and four of them seized each a pole and
rose to their feet. When the ends were thrust against the oozy bottom
they sank deep into the mud. Instead of trying to push the craft ahead,
they shoved so as to drive it back into deeper water. This was not
difficult, the chief work being that of withdrawing the ends of the
poles from the soft earth, so as not to bring the hull back to its
former place. When the depth had increased the boat was steered to one
side of the shoal, and the sail not having been lowered, it moved on
again, though at so moderate a speed that some minutes passed before
even Captain Smith was certain they were really advancing.

All this time the occupants of the barge were on the watch for Indians.
Our friends were entering the hunting-grounds of the red men whose
tribal name was that which was given to the river, and it was not to be
expected that they would long remain ignorant of the coming of the
visitors. Nothing would have been easier than for some of these
warriors, lurking in the wooded depths along shore, to launch a shower
of arrows that would be likely to do harm, even though Smith and those
of his race were protected by rude coats of mail. But while this might
have guarded their limbs and bodies, their faces were left without any
shield whatever.

When the sun was overhead the two men seated nearest the cabin brought
out the black, coarse bread and cold venison. With the aid of knives
these were cut into rough pieces and divided among all. Butter, pepper,
and salt were not thought of, and those who wished to wash down their
food did so by dipping up water from the river in the palm of the hand,
or, in the case of the Captain, by lifting it in a small tin cup.

About the middle of the afternoon the breeze fell, and the flapping sail
told the navigators that they must use the oars. Four were slipped into
place, and two pairs of sturdy arms bent to the task, the others
awaiting their turn. The Indians who sat near the bow, silent and
watchful, were not expected to take part in the labor, for it was of a
nature with which they were not familiar. The Captain had told them to
use their woodcraft to detect any danger, and the two were scanning the
shores as they opened out before them, on the alert for the first
warning sign.

Suddenly one of the red men uttered a hissing sound. Faint as it was all
heard it. The rowers instantly stopped, and Captain Smith looked
inquiringly at the Indians. The one who had emitted the signal pointed
in advance and to the right bank. The river at this place was more than
two hundred yards broad, the trees growing close to the shore and many
in the water itself. Several white oaks curved out almost horizontally
over the surface before turning upward and becoming upright. Many
interlocking vines showed, but it was the season of the year when the
foliage was absent, and only here and there was an evergreen seen.

Not a white man could discover the cause of the warning. So far as they
were able to see, they were the only living creatures in the
neighborhood. As yet they had not caught sight of a deer, bear, or even
a fowl, and more than one began to believe that a disappointment awaited
them over the supply of game. That the dusky guard had detected
something, however, was certain. In answer to Smith’s inquiry he said,
speaking in his own tongue, that an Indian was near them on shore. There
might be more, but certainly there was one. After a minute’s pause the
Captain ordered the men at the oars to renew work. As they did so he
steered the boat a little to the left, but, like everyone else, kept his
attention upon the spot where it looked as if danger was lurking.

The guard was right, for, when nearly opposite the place, all who were
on watch saw not one warrior, but two partly hidden, by the trees and
undergrowth. Their position was slightly crouching, and their attention
was fixed upon the white men. They had the bows and arrows of their
people, and one of them seemed to be fixing a missile to the string of
his weapon.

While all were watching the Indian, not really certain as to his
intention, he suddenly aimed, and let his arrow fly. It flashed in the
sunlight, but was so poorly directed that it passed ten feet over the
heads of the crew, and dropped into the water beyond.

Hardly had it done so, when Captain Smith reached down and caught up his
musket lying at his feet. He aimed at the daring warrior, and, pausing
only a moment, pulled the trigger. He was a better marksman then the
other, who was struck by the bullet, which, if it did not inflict
serious hurt, caused a twinge which threw the fellow into a panic. With
a yell he whirled on his feet and dashed into the wood, his equally
frightened companion crashing through the undergrowth at his heels. The
crew broke into laughter, and two or three would have fired at the
fleeing couple had the Captain permitted it.

Smith had done a prudent thing, for, had he made no reply to the attack,
his foes would have thought it due to fear, and would have pressed the
white men. Nothing further of that nature was to be feared from the two,
nor from any of their friends whom they could tell of the occurrence.

The men at the oars now gave place to others, and the ascent of the
Chickahominy continued until night began closing in. By that time they
had reached the edge of the famous White Oak Swamp, where some of the
severest battles were fought during the great Civil War of 1861–5. They
found it composed of lagoons, morasses and stretches of wide-spreading
ponds or lakes choked with trees, and abounding with shallow places,
where the expanses of sluggish water were so broad and winding that it
was hard to keep to the channel. The barge was anchored in the middle of
one of these small lakes, the Captain deeming it unsafe to camp on
shore, though nothing further had been seen of Indians. After partaking
of a frugal meal the men lay down for the night, two of their number
mounting guard. The Captain longed for a smoke, but there was danger of
the light drawing the attention of their enemies, and again he set a
good example to his friends.

After night had fully come, the anchor was gently lifted, and with the
aid of the long poles, the position of the craft was shifted a number of
rods down stream. This was meant to make it hard for any warriors
prowling in the vicinity to find the boat. They would naturally seek it
where it was last seen in the gathering gloom, and failing to discover
it, would have to look elsewhere.


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



                             CHAPTER VIII.

                            PARTING COMPANY


It happened that the two men who were first to mount guard were our old
acquaintances, Smith and Bertram, who had gone ashore with Captain Smith
some months before, when the first named tried to abduct Pocahontas, the
daughter of Powhatan, and might have succeeded but for the interference
of the Captain.

Bertram’s position was at the bow, while Smith was at the stern, near
the small cabin. When the Captain gave them this duty he warned both to
be on the alert during every minute of the time. The Indians were so
cunning that if they knew of the presence of the barge in the river they
would try some trick upon the whites, and the deception might take any
one of a score of forms. The important order to the sentinels was that,
whenever they saw anything suspicious, they were to fire upon it, for,
in doing so, they could not fail to teach their enemies an important
lesson.

“And,” significantly added the leader, “gunpowder is valuable. _Don’t
waste it._”

Bertram sat with his blanket wrapped about his shoulders and his musket
resting beside him, where it could be caught up at a moment’s warning.
His companion did the same at the stern. The night was cold, and since
they were prevented from warming their blood by moving about, they felt
the chill despite the protection. When it seemed to them that midnight
had come, they were to call two of their friends and change places with
them.

Soon after the couple had gone on guard, a gentle wind arose. It sighed
dismally among the leafless branches on shore, and caused a faint
rippling against the hull, which added to the loneliness of the place.
No sound of wild animal or signal of men was heard amid the chilling
solitude around them. The lowering of the temperature was so recent that
the boat had met no ice on its way, though a few needlelike points began
putting out from the swampy shore, and more of it was likely to form
within the next few days.

Bertram had held his place for nearly two hours without hearing or
seeing anything to cause misgiving. Deep, impenetrable darkness shut in
the boat. In no direction could the watchers catch the faintest outline
of the shore. The sky was partly cloudy, and the new moon was hidden,
though a few stars twinkled overhead without adding any light to the
impressive scene.

There was no danger of either of the men falling asleep while at his
post. They might have done so had they tried to watch until daybreak. As
it was, they continued as vigilant as if pacing to and fro in front of a
camp fire.

At the end of the time named Bertram heard a sound that he knew meant
danger. It was so faint that he was neither sure of its nature nor of
the point whence it came. He shoved down the top of the blanket from his
ears and listened. Fancying that the noise had been on his right, he
leaned forward in the effort to penetrate the gloom, and closed one hand
about the barrel of his musket.

Five or ten minutes of silence followed, when he heard the noise
again—still faint, but distinct enough to show its nature as well as its
direction. It was made by the dip of a paddle, and his first impression
of the point whence the sound came was right. Beyond a doubt, a party of
Indians in a canoe were hunting for the barge.

Bertram did not signal to his companion, for he might be held by some
discovery of his own. He leaned farther over the gunwale and peered into
the darkness. He lifted his gun so that it lay across his knee, and
smothering the click made by the lock, drew back the clumsy hammer, with
the bit of yellow flint clutched in its maw.

Thus gazing, he made out a shadowy something, which looked like a
section of the gloom, resting on the water. It was moving very slowly,
neither approaching the barge nor receding from it, but seemingly making
a circuit of the craft. It was a canoe, but instead of completing the
circuit on which it had started, it paused when just in front of the
bow.

The sentinel thought that it would not stay motionless long, but would
pass on, probably coming nearer the larger boat; but minute after minute
passed without any change of its position. Several times when Bertram
was intently looking he was sure there was nothing in sight; but, upon
shifting his gaze for a moment and bringing it back again, his doubt
vanished. The canoe was there, though he could not tell how many persons
it contained.

Perplexed and uncertain of what he ought to do he emitted a cautious
call to his companion, who stealthily made his way to his side.

“Have you seen anything amiss?” asked Bertram.

“Naught whatever. How is it with you?”

“A few yards in front of us a canoe has halted, but it is so dimly seen
that I am in doubt whether to fire or not. What do you make of it?”

With one hand on the shoulder of his friend, Smith leaned as far over as
he could, and gazed into the gloom.

“It is there,” he whispered; “and, if I am not mistaken, it is full of
warriors.”

“Then I will do as the Captain commanded.”

“And I will await the result before I fire.”

The hammer of Bertram’s gun being already raised, he softly brought the
stock to his shoulder, first dropping the blanket so as to leave his arm
free. He sighted carefully, but was checked by the same difficulty as
before; as he fixed his vision on the target it seemed to melt in the
darkness, and he could not make sure of his aim.

“I cannot see it,” he muttered in vexation. “Do _you_ fire.”

“It is idle; it has gone.”

This was true. During the brief moments taken to aim, the canoe had
glided off in the gloom, and the keenest scrutiny on the part of both
could not locate it. Smith picked his way to the stern, and the two kept
watch until well beyond midnight. Then they roused two of their friends,
and told them what they had seen, and urged them to unusual vigilance.
But, though they obeyed, they discovered nothing to cause alarm, nor
were the canoe and its occupants seen or heard of again. It was fair to
believe that the warriors, after studying the large boat as best they
could in the gloom, agreed that it was too dangerous for them to attack,
and went away.

The two succeeding days were marked by toil and discouragement. Only for
a brief time did the sail give any help, and there were hours when the
oars were useless because of the many obstructions. Three times the crew
had to saw their way through the logs and branches, and more than once,
after poling hard for a long while, they could not see that they had
made any progress. Fortunately the Indians did not disturb them. It was
on the second day that a solitary warrior was noticed. He was leaping
from log to log on his way across one of the many streams, knowing
nothing, as it seemed, of the presence of the strange visitors. Not once
did he turn his head, but whisked out of sight the moment his moccasin
rested on dry land, as if he had business that would not admit of delay.

Finally, it was seen that the large boat was of no further aid in going
up the Chickahominy. Use must be made of the small one trailing at the
rear, which had served when they had to chop and saw their way through
the obstructions. Smith would have been warranted in turning back and
giving his energies to the exploration of other branches of the James,
but such was not his nature. He said he would take the two Indians and a
couple of his own men with him, and go up the stream as far he could.

The day was so near at its close that he decided not to start until the
next morning. The chief thing to be feared was the red men, who were
known to roam and hunt through the region. The fact that, after the
exchange of shots several days before, they had seen only the single
warrior, was good evidence that nothing of the kind threatened; but
Captain Smith was not quite satisfied. He sent his friendly red men
ashore with orders to scout the woods in every direction for signs of
their countrymen, while he urged upon the guards to use sleepless
vigilance throughout the night.

The disturbing feature must be borne in mind. Near the spot where the
Captain had decided to part company with his companions they had seen an
Indian leaping across the logs. What more likely than that he had
friends in the neighborhood, whom he had joined shortly after observing
the barge, and had told them of his discovery?

What would be done by these warriors? Would they give no attention to
the white men, or would they join in a plan for their destruction? These
were the questions which Smith could not answer, and which explained why
he sent the friendly Indians to land with orders to scour the woods on
every hand.

The result quieted the fears of the Captain. His scouts did not come
back till late at night when they reported that they had not seen any of
their own people, nor a sign of their presence in the vicinity.
Furthermore, his men who kept watch on the boat did not discover
anything to cause misgiving. This seemed to mean that no danger
threatened, and yet it might mean one or two other things that were by
no means so pleasant to think upon. The enemies, observing the hunt made
for them, would have had little trouble in keeping out of sight. A still
darker theory was that the scouts knew that a large number of warriors
was in the woods, and possibly reached an understanding with them.
Whether this was true or not can never be known, but the fact remains
that there was at that very time a large party of red men near by, and
the conduct of one of the friendlies some time after makes the theory
named reasonable.

The barge was rowed to the middle of a broad expanse of water, where the
woods were quite far off in every direction, and the anchor was dropped
into the soft bottom. Smith meant to take the two Indians and the same
number of his own men with him. His namesake and Bertram asked the
privilege of being his companions, but he declined. He had not felt very
friendly towards them since the affair with Pocahontas, and in the event
of trouble with any of Powhatan’s tribes, the presence of the two as his
comrades might prove dangerous to himself.

Before leaving he addressed the four who remained in charge of the
barge.

“No matter what happens after I am gone, not one of you must go ashore.
You cannot do so without working the boat to land, and that is, perhaps,
what the red men are waiting for you to do. Stay here till I come back.”

“But suppose, Captain,” said Bertram, with a grin, “you do _not_ come
back?”

“Wait for three days, if you see nothing of me then, turn the prow down
stream, and make all haste for Jamestown.”

“And what shall we say when we get there?”

“Say what you please,” replied the Captain impatiently. “I don’t doubt
you will sprinkle plenty of falsehood in your words.”

It was so much easier to go up the Chickahominy in the smaller boat,
that Smith thought it likely he would continue the ascent of the river
for several days. He meant to press on as far as he could go in the
craft. Whether he should venture beyond that on foot must depend upon
circumstances.

Thus five men entered the small boat, which, you remember, was provided
with two pairs of oars, but had no sail. The white men did the rowing,
while the Indians stoically looked on, willing, if asked, to take one of
the blades in hand, and ply it as they were accustomed to use their own
paddles.

At the moment of starting a slight flurry of snow carried the flakes
against their faces, but it ceased in a few minutes, and the weather
became more moderate than at any time since leaving Jamestown. This was
pleasant, for no ice of account showed in the stream in which they must
remain for some time to come.

Captain Smith had not been gone half an hour when those left behind in
the barge boat gave voice to their discontent over the command he had
laid upon them.

“It is unbearable to stay here for two or three days,” said his
namesake, who was seated at the bow, looking with a glum expression at
his companions. “How shall we spend the weary hours?”

“We might fish,” said Bertram with a grin.

“That would answer for a little while, but the fish do not bite readily
in this wintry weather, and we shall grow tired.”

“The scouts who spent so much time ashore told us that no Indians were
near; _that_ ought to satisfy us. Let us go ashore, where we can stretch
our limbs and perhaps find game.”

The proposal was in direct disregard of the order of their leader, but
it was agreeable to each of the four men. They can hardly be blamed for
feeling as they did over the prospect of remaining in virtual
imprisonment so long, but their act, none the less, was wrong. Bertram
and Smith rose to their feet and began plying their poles. The water was
five or six feet in depth, and under their efforts the craft began
sidling toward land. While the couple were toiling the others scanned
the wooded bank which they were nearing. They must have felt a
misgiving, for each laid his musket across his knee, and one of them
wrinkled his brows and shook his head, but said nothing, and the poles
were used with a vigor that steadily lessened the fifty yards or more it
was necessary to pass to reach land.

The point at which the boat was directed was an open space, several
square yards in extent, and favorable for stepping ashore from the
craft. Beyond and on the two sides stretched the wood, with its rank
undergrowth and matted vines. If there was any current it was too
sluggish to be noted.

The side of the boat was so near the bank that it was a slight leap for
any one. Smith was standing with his pole motionless, and on the point
of making the jump, when one of his friends, who had also risen, gun in
hand, called out in an excited undertone:

“Back—quick! The woods are full of Indians!”


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



                              CHAPTER IX.

                              HARD PRESSED


It was fortunate, that when the Indians warriors swarmed out of the
woods to attack the boat so near shore, the four white men on board did
not lose their presence of mind. This was partly due to the feeling
which had come, more or less, to every one, that they were doing a
dangerous thing in thus disobeying the order of Captain John Smith. Thus
they were partly prepared for that which broke upon them with so much
suddenness.

Smith and Bertram used the poles to the utmost, despite the arrows
whizzing about them. They pushed so hard that the boat quickly yielded,
and the space between it and the land widened with every moment. Their
companions aimed their muskets at the crowding forms, and fired with
such skill that each brought down a warrior.

The effect of this check upon the others was instantly noticed. It
scared them into darting back among the trees, but instead of keeping up
their flight they whisked behind the trunks, from which they continued
to launch their arrows at the men in the boat.

Now, if the Indians, who certainly numbered a hundred, had done any one
of several things, it would have proved a bad day for our friends. It is
strange that the red men did not wait a few minutes longer until the
four stepped ashore. Then, from behind the trees, they could have
brought them down without danger to themselves. Or, if when they made
their rush they had kept on, they might have leaped aboard the barge and
crushed the defenders. Perhaps they did not know that after the white
men had fired their terrible weapons it took some time to reload them.
Be that as it may, they fell back, and the chance that the invaders
needed was given them.

No one could have shown more bravery than Bertram and Smith. They plied
the poles, paying no regard to the missiles flying around them; while
their companions, first firing the guns of the couple, reloaded and
discharged their own as fast as the chance offered. When the craft
reached the middle of the broad space little was to be feared from the
Indians, for the distance was too great for them to gain good aim.

It was at this moment that a strange thing took place. The clothes of
every one of the defenders had been pierced by arrows—some in several
places, and two had been wounded, though not severely. No one could have
been more exposed than Bertram, standing out as he did in full view
while helping to pole the boat. He was glazed more than once by the
missiles, but was the only one of the four who was not so much as
scratched. Smith had been hit, but was smiling over his good fortune,
when he pitched forward on his face, pierced to the heart by an arrow
that was among the last fired at the boat.

The body was tenderly laid at the stern, and then, while two were alert
with their weapons, the third used the oars. There was no thought now of
staying where they were until Captain Smith came back. They did not
believe he ever would come back. So they kept on down stream as best
they could. Fortunately for them the large body of Indians did not
follow along the banks; and with the help of the current, after passing
the obstructions below, they made good progress. In due course they
glided out of the mouth of the Chickahominy into the James, and,
reaching Jamestown, told their story. Among the settlers there was not
one who expected ever to see Captain John Smith or his companions again.

Meanwhile the Captain was having stirring times. You remember that he
set out to go still farther up the stream in the little boat, which was
just bouyant enough to carry him, the two white men, and the friendly
Indians. Its light draught made the work so easy that they kept on for a
dozen miles before meeting their first check. The party heard the faint
reports of the guns of their friends left behind in the barge. Smith
thought it more than likely they were in trouble, but he had no idea of
going to their help, since no one but themselves was to blame.

About noon he reached a point where he saw the little boat had become
useless. He suspected the truth: he had strayed from the river itself,
and was following one of its branches. He did not care for that; but
telling the oarsman to turn to the left bank, all stepped out, and the
boat was drawn up nearly clear of the water.

“You are weary from rowing,” he said to the two who had taken turns at
the hard work; “and you may wait here while I go a little farther in
quest of game.”

“Can’t we help you?” asked one, who added that they were not tired. Both
would have been glad to take part in the hunt.

I have said that Captain Smith was fond of hunting alone, and he told
his friends to stay where they were. He meant to be with them before
dark, when they could broil the game which he was sure of bagging, and
they would spend the night in comfort by the camp fire in the depth of
the forest.

Despite what the men said they were quite worn out from rowing the boat
for several miles. So, with the help of a flint and steel, they kindled
a big fire, wrapped their blankets around them, and lay down with their
feet toward the blaze. By and by they sank into deep, restful sleep, for
the air was nipping and cold, and they were well guarded against the
chill.

It grieves me to say that neither of them ever awoke. At the end of an
hour, while they lay dreaming, the same party of Indians that had
attacked the larger boat came upon them, and quickly ended their lives.

Now, I need not remind you that in England, like all other countries
governed by a monarch, the eldest son comes to the throne on the death
of the ruler. Should King Edward die—and we all hope he will not be
called away for a long time to come—the Prince of Wales, who is his
eldest son living, would become the sovereign, and in the event of _his_
death, his eldest son would inherit the crown. Such is the rule of
descent in Great Britain.

It was not thus with Powhatan, the Emperor of many tribes of red men.
The next heir to his throne, if we may call it such, was his eldest
brother. If he had had no brothers, the descent would have passed to the
sons of Powhatan’s sisters. But Powhatan had several brothers, and one
was Opecancanough. If he outlived Powhatan and the eldest brother he
would become Emperor. I may say that this chief did become ruler, and
lived to be nearly a hundred years old.

Opecancanough never liked the English, and he urged Powhatan and his
fellow warriors to destroy them before their numbers became too great to
be overcome. He was active and had much to do with the enmity the older
brother often showed to the settlers. He was the leader of the band
which attacked the large boat, when one of the white men was killed and
the others had a narrow escape.

Opecancanough was pursuing Captain John Smith. He knew he was the
leading man at Jamestown, and that it was more important to slay him
than to put twenty other Englishmen out of the way. When he learned of
the voyage up the Chickahominy he gathered more than a hundred of his
warriors, and secretly followed the boat for many miles, watching for a
chance to destroy the crew, but especially to slay Captain Smith. It
proves how cunning he was that he did this for many miles without any of
the white men learning the fact. The two who exchanged shots with the
crew did not belong to his party, though they afterwards joined it.

A strange fact which it is hard to understand, was, that when Captain
John Smith and his companions started up the branch of the Chickahominy
they were not seen by either the chief or any of his band. The Indians
were on the other side of the broad expanse of the water, and were not
looking for anything of that nature; but it is singular, indeed, that
some of them did not observe the departure of the small craft with its
five occupants.

When the barge began working toward shore, Opecancanough believed Smith
and his friends were on board. His eagerness to slay them led to a haste
in the attack, which was the means of saving all except one man. During
the fight the chief discovered that five of the crew, including the
Captain, were absent. He must have noticed also, that, the small row
boat which had been towed at the stern was gone. These facts told him
the truth: Captain Smith had started up stream with four companions, who
were already quite distant.

If the chief had made a bad slip in the first case, he now met with a
piece of good fortune, due to the fine woodcraft of himself and his
warriors. A study of the different outlets of the expanse of water
showed where a slight disturbance was caused by the passage of the small
boat. These signs became clearer as they pressed along the shore, and
left no doubt that they were on the right course. Thus it came about
that they arrived at the camp where the two white men lay asleep with no
dream of danger. After the fatal halt it remained for the Indians to
push on after Captain Smith, who had started to shoot some fowl or game
for the supper of himself and friends.

From this point it was necessary to trail the Captain. It was not hard
to do so, since he could not go through the forest without leaving the
prints of his shoes, which were as easy to follow as if he had been
walking over a dusty road. You must remember, too, that he had two
companions in the persons of the friendly Indians. I have said that
there is no knowing whether they were true to the leader or not. I
cannot help doubting the loyalty of one of them, and think you will soon
agree with me.

Captain Smith had no thought of danger. The fact that he had come thus
far in the wilderness without harm led him to think that what had seemed
to threaten him once or twice on the way had passed, and he need feel no
alarm. Only one incident, after he had gone a little way, caused
misgiving. He kept the lead; the Indians following him in single file,
as is their custom. With his musket resting on one shoulder, the sturdy
fellow tramped forward, sometimes turning to the right or left to avoid
a dense growth of underbrush, or pool, or marsh. He was peering among
the branches of the trees and along the ground in front and on either
hand in quest of game, and grew impatient because he did not discover
any. With a half-angry word upon his lips he suddenly saw a movement
among the trees a little to the left, which he knew was caused by some
animal. Uttering a guarded “_Sh!_” to his companions, he stopped short
and looked keenly at the point where he had seen the slight flutter.

The next moment he caught the outlines of a noble buck stalking among
the trees, with his side turned towards the hunter, whom, of course, he
did not see, though he was sure to detect him in a twinkling. Afraid
that one of the Indians might not understand the delicate situation,
Captain Smith turned his head to whisper a warning.

As he did so he saw only one of his men. He who had been walking at the
rear was gone. The discovery caused such a thrill of distrust that
Captain Smith forgot the buck moving a little way from him, and asked:

“Where is Pete?”

He used the name he had given the fellow in place of his difficult
native title. Jim, as the second was called, flashed his head about, and
seemed as much astonished as the white man. He answered in his own
tongue:

“He was walking behind me; I do not know what has become of him.”

Both glanced among the trees to the right and left and the rear, without
seeing anything of the missing one. A crashing noise made them turn to
the front. It was caused by the buck, which having observed the hunter,
was off like the wind. No danger of his serving for a meal that evening.

The Captain turned round again. Jim was standing with his back to him,
his long bow in his left hand, while his profile showed over the right
and then over the left shoulder as he searched for his late comrade. It
looked as if he was as much puzzled as the white man. If so, we must
believe he was loyal to the Captain, though we cannot think the same of
the other.

Smith was angry. Before he could express his feelings he saw directly
beyond Jim a disturbance among the trees, so similar to what he had
noticed a short time before, that he thought it came from a similar
cause, and that the game he was seeking was within his reach.

But he was mistaken. While he was looking an Indian appeared, coming
cautiously toward him. Then another showed on the right of the red man,
a third on his left, and beyond, around and among these the stained
faces and dangling hair of others were quickly revealed, with still more
coming into view. A band was approaching the startled Captain, who knew
he was caught in a bad plight. The party which had slain three of his
friends and had been pursuing him over so long a distance had caught
with him at last.

The leaders of the Indians were almost as quick to discover their man as
he had been to see them. A score of signals passed from one to the
other, and the band pressed towards the Captain, who held his ground.
Smith said there were three hundred of them, but it must have been less,
though they were numerous enough to show that little or no hope remained
to him.

That there should be no doubt as to their intentions, fully a score sent
their arrows hurtling among the trees and branches at the white man.
Some went wild and clipped off the twigs near him, but two of them
nipped his clothing. He fixed his eye on the foremost Indian, who had
come near piercing him with his missile, and noting that he was in the
act of fitting a second one to his string, he took careful aim at the
warrior and shot him dead.

During these stirring moments Jim stood as if so overcome that he was
unable to move or speak. Although he held a fine bow in one hand and his
quiver was full of arrows, he made no attempt to use them. It was too
much to expect him to assail his own race, when there was no chance of
helping the white man by doing so. Captain Smith did not ask him thus to
seal his own fate, but his own quick wit saw a way in which he might be
made to aid him.

Two strides brought the Captain so near that he could have touched the
back of his dusky friend, who still seemed dazed.

“Stand where you are! Don’t move!” commanded Smith, in his most
impressive voice. “They won’t shoot through you to reach me!”

The Captain was a larger man than his shield, and he took a crouching
pose, peeping over each shoulder in turn and around the sides of Jim at
his enemies, who were baffled for the moment. While doing so Smith
carefully reloaded his musket. It was hard to pound the powder in place
with the ramrod, shove the bullet after it, and then pour the grains
into the pan, for, while thus occupied, he had to “keep one eye” on his
foes.


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



                               CHAPTER X.

                               A PRISONER


Despite the trying situation of Captain Smith, he managed to reload his
gun, and at the same time to keep his body quite well shielded by that
of his dusky friend. Several causes made it possible to do this. Jim
showed a real desire to help his master, for, when it would have been
easy to break from him and join his countrymen, he allowed himself to be
handled at will by the white man. The warriors showed by their actions
that they did not wish to hurt Jim. More than once, when one of them had
drawn his bow-string and pointed the arrow, he held it back, seeing that
if he should discharge it he was likely to hurt the man who stood in
front of the crouching Englishman. More than all, however, was the dread
which the band, large as it was, felt of the fearful weapon that had
stretched one of their number lifeless on the ground. Most of them tried
to keep the trunks of the trees between them and him, even when aiming
their primitive weapons. Smith had only to turn the muzzle of his musket
towards the most daring of his enemies to make them dodge back to their
protection and cringe in fear.

The Captain saw that the right course was not to fire until he had to do
so to save himself. So long as his assailants knew that their leader was
sure to fall they would hold back. How long this would last remained to
be seen.

Now, it is hard to think of a situation more hopeless than that of
Captain Smith at this time. When attacked, his back was toward the camp
where he had left his two companions some time before. He hoped to be
able to retreat until he joined them, when the three with their firearms
might be able to hold off their foes. But it was quite a way to the
camp, and he could not believe he would be permitted to reach it. His
foes were so numerous that by spreading out they would be able soon to
surround him. He could not protect himself from all sides by the body of
Jim. It would seem that the best and only thing for him to do was to
surrender before he had increased the enmity of the Indians by slaying
more of them.

Standing close behind Jim, he gave his orders in a low voice. After he
had reloaded his gun he grasped his friend’s girdle at the lower part of
his back, and jerked upon it when ready to retreat a few steps.

“Step slowly,” he said, “keep with me. Not too slow!”

In this way the withdrawal was kept up till they had gone several rods.
Smith glanced to the right and left, and saw that his enemies were
spreading apart, so as to surround him. He must prevent this, or it
would soon be all over with him. In truth, the position of the Indians
would be better for themselves when they had formed a semicircle than
after the circle was completed; for an arrow discharged from directly
behind Smith would be liable to hit Jim, in the line of its flight,
while the danger of doing this was less if fired from either the right
or left.

You do not need to be told that Captain John Smith was one of the
bravest of men, and he would fight as long as the slightest hope was
left to him. When he had doubled the distance named he began to think
that he might reach the camp of his companions and beat off his
assailants, who felt such a dread of his gun. But while doing so, with
Jim still serving the part of shield, he saw that the danger he had in
mind at first had come upon him. One warrior, more than six feet in
height, with his face stained with puccoon, and his crown stuck full of
dyed eagle feathers, had worked so far to the right of the white man
that the latter could not screen himself behind his friend without
inviting a shot from most of the others. Smith was able to keep his
chief foe in his field of vision while watching the actions of the main
party.

This warrior must have had a clear plan in mind, for, darting from one
tree to another and holding his arrow, he gained the advantage he was
seeking. In order to make his aim certain he stepped from behind the
trunk which had sheltered him, and carefully sighted at the slowly
retreating Englishman. Before he could draw the shaft to a head he
uttered a loud cry, leaped high in air, and pitched forward with his
long bow bent under him. Smith had fired again, and not a second too
soon.

The shot was so unexpected that the warriors were checked for a minute.
Smith expected it, and, standing behind Jim, hastily reloaded his
musket. No harder situation can be thought of, for it was certain that
his foes would soon rally, and press him closer than before. With a
coolness that was amazing, he poured the powder into the pan of his gun
from his horn, grasped the weapon firmly, and took a couple of steps to
the rear.

“Come on, Jim,” he said, having loosed his hold. “Keep moving till I
tell you to stop.”

It was at this juncture that Smith made a startling discovery. One of
the Indians—he who stood nearest the one that had just fallen—had an
English musket in his hands! Less than ten paces from him a second
warrior held a similar weapon.

Smith knew what it meant; his two friends whom he had left in camp had
been slain. He had no one now to fall back upon.

Even the brave Englishman did not then yield. He would have continued
retreating and fighting until brought to the ground. Nor did he give up
when one of the arrows, better aimed than the others, pierced his thigh,
and made a slight wound. He noticed that his comrade who had served him
so well thus far had also been hit. His countrymen were growing
impatient because he kept them back so long, and were beginning to
launch their shafts with less care for his safety. His life would not be
spared unless he stepped aside.

With a chivalry for which Captain Smith deserved the highest credit, he
pushed his friend so strongly to one side that he had to take several
paces to keep from falling.

“Thank you, Jim; you can serve me no longer.”

The Captain retreated faster, with his eyes on his enemies, meaning to
hold his fire as long as he could, but ready to use the musket the
instant it was needed. Afraid that he would soon be surrounded, he paid
no heed to Jim, who paused a little way from him, and stared around as
if bewildered. The Englishman could not look where he placed his feet.

The right foot went down on the ground, but instead of finding the firm
support it had had all along, the leg sank to the knee in the soft mud.
Smith made a desperate effort to wrench it free, when the left foot went
down as far as the other. He struggled with might and main, but sank
farther, until both legs were imbedded in the ooze almost to his thighs.

This brought the end. It seemed to him that the clinging mud was colder
than ice itself. He must perish, even if the Indians left him alone, and
they were sure not to do that. He flung his musket from him, and threw
up his hands.

“I yield! I surrender!” he called in the tongue of the red men.

Even then, when his helpless situation was plain to all, most of the
warriors were afraid to draw nearer to him. All knew him as the most
important member of the colony, and what they had seen him do filled
them with dread of the great magician. Fortunately, there were a few
with more sense. They went to where Smith was still floundering and
grasping his outstretched hands, drew him out upon hard ground.

The Captain had learned from his experience among these people. He knew
their weak side. In a voice of authority, he asked as he looked around
in the stained faces, for their chief. At the same time he took hold of
a small compass in an ivory case, which he earned at his side. Deftly
untying the string, he held the little instrument in his hand, so that
all could see the tiny needle flickering back and forth under the glass
covering. They crowded around like so many children, gaping in wonder,
and not knowing whether to retreat or hold their ground.

Finally, one braver than the others, timidly reached his forefinger and
tried to place it on the dancing needle. But lo! something stopped the
finger point before it touched the restless bit of metal. With a gasp of
affright the warrior recoiled, ignorant of what it meant.

That which had checked his action was the thin covering of glass. Not
one of the Indians had ever beheld the metal, and the bit before the
curious one was so transparent that he did not see even that. Those of
his people who had visited Jamestown observed the windows protected with
oiled paper. Glass was before them for the first time.

Only one of the Indians was brave enough thus to try to touch the
magnetic needle, and despite the shock he received, he tried it again,
only to be repulsed as before. He bent his head farther over the
compass, as if he suspected the hard substance which stopped him.

His head almost touched the chin of Captain Smith. The latter looked
more closely at him. He saw that, while he was dressed much the same as
the others, he had more stained eagle plumes in his dangling black hair,
and he wore a broader and finer sash around his waist. Gazing downward,
Smith noted also that his leggings had numerous ornamental fringes, and
there were more beads on his moccasin—all these being in the line of the
Englishman’s vision.

Noting these, it flashed upon Smith that this warrior was the chieftain
for whom he had asked a few minutes before. At the same moment he
recognized him. He was Opecancanough, brother of Powhatan, next to him
in importance, heir to the throne, and a leader who was destined to act
an important part in the early history of Virginia.

When the sachem straightened up, after he had learned why he could not
touch the needle, Smith offered the compass to him. He smiled and shook
his head. His courage was not yet sufficient to take the marvellous
thing in his palm. He looked into the face of the Captain, as did all
the others, who crowded round, as if inviting him to tell them something
about the instrument.

In describing this odd incident Captain Smith relates something which,
with all our fondness for the good fellow, we cannot quite believe. He
says that by means of the compass he demonstrated the roundness of the
earth, the skies, the sphere of the sun, moon, and stars; “and how the
sunne did chase the night round the world continually; the greatnese of
the land and sea; the diversitie of nations; varietie of complexions,
and how we were to them, antipodes, and many other such matters.”

Perhaps the lecture was given as described, but little or nothing of it
was understood by his hearers. In the first place, his knowledge of
their tongue was slight, and the facts themselves were profound. But by
this time Smith was in a bad condition. He was smeared with icy mud to
his waist, and so chilled that his teeth chattered. His captors showed
unexpected kindness. They rubbed the stuff from his clothes, and led him
back to the camp where his dead friends lay. The fire was burning
strongly, and he was soon able to warm himself.

But Smith had killed two of the warriors, and when the others had had
time to recover from the spell of his seeming magic they talked
together. After all, he was a man the same as themselves, though the
color of his skin was different, and he did not dress like them. They
were so numerous that he gave up all thought of resistance, since his
weapons were in their hands, and they enclosed him on all sides. Two of
them came forward, each taking him by an arm, and led him to a tree, to
which he was bound with deer thongs. Then the company formed a circle,
and each Indian slowly drew an arrow to its head, with the point
levelled at him. Smith closed his eyes, and uttered a prayer to heaven.

Opecancanough was not among those who thus made ready to bury the
missiles in his body. He stood a little apart from the others, and
before they could launch their deadly arrows he commanded them in a loud
voice to stop. At the same moment he held up the compass, which he had
at last taken from the captive. His men were prompt in obeying, and all
lowered their weapons.

Hope was renewed in the breast of Smith, though he could not help
fearing that his death had been merely postponed. His captors knew who
he was, and, since he had slain two of their number, they would not
forgive him, even though the Indians had shot three of the whites to
death.

The order of march was formed with Opecancanough in the center, and the
English swords and muskets carried as trophies before him. Next to him
walked Smith led by two savages, each of whom held one of his arms,
while on either side marched six in single file.

Thus the procession moved through the forest till it reached Orapakes, a
hunting home of Powhatan, on the northern side of Chickahominy Swamp.
This village contained about two score mat houses. The women and
children swarmed out of the dwellings and stared in amazement at the
prisoner, the like of whom few had ever seen before. The warriors began
a grand war-dance around Smith and Opecancanough, who stood in the
middle. When the savages had tired themselves out they led the prisoner
to a large matted wigwam, into which he passed, while twenty of the
leading Indians mounted guard on the outside. Smith was unbound, and he
seated himself on a bearskin near the entrance to the lodge, wondering
what was to come next.

Before long a couple of warriors appeared bearing cooked venison and
Indian bread, which they placed on the ground before the captive, who
was so hungry that he ate his fill. After this enough was left for a
dozen men. His attendants put it into baskets, and swung them from the
roof over his head, but to Smith’s surprise ate nothing themselves.

The wintry afternoon was drawing to a close, and the Captain was so
exhausted that he stretched out on the bearskin and soon fell asleep. A
fire had been kindled on the farther side of the wigwam, which so filled
it with warmth that he was comfortable, though naturally his mind was
greatly disturbed. Before closing his eyes he saw the shadowy forms of
men, women and children, who kept coming to the entrance and peeping in.
The door consisted of the skin of a bear, which was frequently drawn
aside, and then the Captain saw several pairs of bright eyes studying
him. He heard their whispers, after which they withdrew, and their
places were taken by others as curious as they.

About midnight Smith awoke. Someone threw more wood on the fire, and by
the light that filled the apartment he saw two others bearing venison
and bread, which they placed at the head of his couch. The prisoner
smiled.

“I have eaten enough to last me till tomorrow,” he said. “You may take
this away, and wait till I am hungry again.”

But they gave no heed, and, having set down the food, passed softly out
into the open air.

“Why are they feeding me so well?” he asked himself. “They must know I
have had my fill—and therefore do not need any more—”

A dreadful suspicion flashed over him.

“They are fattening me like a pig, so that I shall be in good condition
for them to eat!”


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



                              CHAPTER XI.

                           THE FRIEND IN NEED


Now, if a boy, while eating a fine dinner, should suddenly form the
belief that the men who gave the food to him meant it to make him
plumper, so that he would form a better dinner for _them_, I am sure he
would not have much appetite left. Captain John Smith came to this
belief not many hours after finishing a bountiful meal provided by his
Indian captors, and he made up his mind not to eat another mouthful. If
they meant to feast upon their prisoner, they should find him in the
poorest condition possible.

It is easy for anyone to form such a resolve when he has no craving for
food, but with the next morning it seemed to Smith that he was never
hungrier in his life. And there were two big baskets of pone and
venison. After thinking over the question he decided that he might as
well eat what was set before him, and begin his fasting after that. By
and by it was not hard to persuade himself that it would really make no
difference as to what would be finally done with him. So he gave over
all thought of punishing himself by going hungry when there was nothing
to be gained by it.

The Indians spared his life so long that Captain Smith began to hope
they would let him return to Jamestown. When he was taken before a sick
man he told the friends he could get his medicine at the settlement that
would make the patient well, but they were too cunning to let him go
after it.

The next proposal of his captors was that he should help them in
destroying Jamestown. They told him nothing could save the place, for
the tribes had determined not to allow a white man to remain alive. They
promised to give Smith all the lands he could ask, with liberty to
choose as many wives as he pleased. He assured the Indians that it was
out of their power to hurt the settlement, and that those who tried to
do so would suffer awful consequences. His words produced the effect he
intended, and the plan was given up.

Smith next did a thing that filled the red men with astonishment. He
tore a leaf from his pocket-book, and with a piece of red chalk,
whittled to a point, he wrote several sentences. Holding up the slip
with the writing on it, he said to the staring warriors:

“The words I speak to you have been put on this paper; they ask my
friends at Jamestown to give you the articles which I name. Let some of
your messengers take this to Jamestown and show it to my people there,
and you will see that I have spoken with a single tongue.”

Not believing what he said, two of fleetest runners set out for the
settlement. It was the depth of winter, when there was a good deal of
snow on the ground, and the weather was very cold. But the messengers
made the journey, and handed the paper to the persons there, who
straightway gave them the trifling articles called for, to the unbounded
astonishment of the runners, who could not understand how the strange
thing was done.

It need hardly be said that the paper contained more on it than the
writer had read to the Indians. He told his friends of the plan of the
red men to destroy the place, and urged upon them to use the utmost
diligence against surprise. In order to impress their dusky visitors,
the settlers fired several of their cannon among the ice-laden trees.
The shots made a great racket, and sent the branches and bits of ice
flying in all directions. When the runners came back to their people and
told what they had seen, and proved that the prisoner had really spoken
by means of the paper to his friends many miles away, their amazement
was beyond words.

Now followed several weeks during which Captain Smith was on exhibition.
He was paraded through the country, with crowds swarming to look at him,
as we do in these times when some new and strange animal is shown in the
museums. No harm was offered him, but he could never feel secure against
death, and he was always looking for a chance to escape. Not once,
however, did he dare make the attempt. His captors were so watchful that
he knew he must fail, and they would be sure to punish him, probably by
slaying him at once.

During these troublous times Smith kept looking for Pocahontas or her
brother Nantaquas. They must have known of the kindness he had shown the
girl, and it would seem that gratitude would lead them to do all they
could for him. But he saw nothing of either. His excursions were through
the lands that were directly ruled by Opecancanough. The old Indian
capital was on York River, about twenty-five miles below the present
village of West Point. The spot was known as the “Chief Place of
Council,” the Indian name being Werowocomoco.

Finally, as if Opecancanough could not decide for himself what should be
done with the captive, who had been exhibited through the country, he
was taken to Werowocomoco, before the mighty Powhatan himself. There the
great question was to be settled by the most powerful Emperor of all the
Indians.

The scene was striking. The tall, glum, haughty Powhatan sat on a
framework or couch, suggestive of a throne, covered with mats, and in
front of a large fire. He was wrapped in a robe of raccoon skin. On each
side sat a young woman who was his wife, and along the sides of the
royal lodge stood two rows of men, with the same number of women
standing directly behind them. The faces and shoulders of all the
females were stained red, most of their heads were adorned with white
down, and strings of white beads were around their necks. It was
fortunate for the women that such a large fire was burning in the
wigwam, for they had very scant covering on their bodies.

As Captain Smith was brought before this imposing company, naturally he
was filled with wonder as to what the end would be. He knew that the
grim, gaunt Emperor was about to decide his fate—or, rather, would make
it known, for the prisoner had been led thither to hear his sentence.

As the Captain made a grave obeisance to Powhatan he cast searching
looks around the lodge in quest of Pocahontas and her brother Nantaquas,
and saw the latter. He was standing on the right of the Emperor, at the
head of the double line of warriors, which was the place of honor. All
these men had their weapons with them. Knives and tomahawks showed in
their girdles, and the end of each bow, as tall as themselves, rested on
the floor, being grasped around the thick portion in the middle.

Smith noticed that the stature of Nantaquas was the equal of the warrior
next to him, though, in truth, he was only a boy. His eyes met those of
Smith, but there was not the slightest change of expression. Whatever
his feelings might be, the youth dared give no sign in the presence of
his stern father.

But where was Pocahontas? Twice, Smith searched hurriedly among the
group, all of whom he saw despite the rows in front, but that fair,
pitying face was not among them. The prisoner’s heart sank. He gave up
hope. A woman known as the “Queen of Appomattox” was ordered to bring a
wooden bowl of water, in which he washed his hands. Another woman handed
him a soft bunch of feathers, which he used as a towel. After this came
a barbarous feast for the hapless captive, and then a long consultation.

It is probable that Powhatan and his brother chiefs would have spared
Captain Smith, but for the fact that he had slain two of their number.
That was an offence which could not be forgiven, and he was sentenced to
death. Two warriors appeared at the entrance of the lodge, each bearing
a heavy stone. It was the most they could do to carry them to the open
space in front of the chieftain, where they were laid on the ground,
beside each other.

At a sign from Powhatan half a dozen of his men sprang to where Smith
stood, watching the dreadful preparations. He was dragged and pushed
forward, his hands tied behind his back and then flung to the ground,
and his head forced down, so that it rested on the larger of the two
stones. He did not resist, for this man of so many strange adventures
felt that the last of them all had come.

Hardly had his head been placed on the rough support, when most of the
warriors fell away, leaving one ranged on either side of the prostrate
captive. These stood near his shoulders, and each grasped a huge club,
the large end swinging clear of the ground, in position for them to draw
it back and bring it down on the head of Smith with such force that no
second blow on the part of either would be needed.

It was an awful moment. Intense silence reigned in the lodge. No one
seemed to breathe, and only the soft rustle of the fire and the moaning
of the wintry wind outside the wigwam broke the stillness. The position
of everyone was rigid, and all eyes were fixed upon the captive and his
executioners. Not a sign of pity showed on the face of anyone. The
countenance of Powhatan was like that of a graven image, but his black
eyes gleamed. To him the tragedy was one of fine enjoyment. He did not
give any command or speak, for it was not needed. The couple with the
clubs knew their duty.

At this moment of tense emotion a movement was heard on the left of the
Emperor, and just behind the wife who was standing at the head of the
row. With a gasping exclamation, Pocahontas dashed between the men in
front of her, thrusting them out of her path, and, bounding like a fawn
across the intervening space, dropped on one knee, placed an arm on
either side of the Captain’s head, and with tears streaming down her
cheeks, looked up at her father.

“You must not kill him! He is my friend! He was kind to Pocahontas!
Spare his life, dear father, for _me_!”

No one moved or spoke. Powhatan glared angrily at his daughter for
neither she nor anyone had ever dared to do a thing like this before.
Had it been anyone else, he would have struck the person dead at his
feet.

But he could not raise his hand against the loved child of his heart. He
started to rise, but changed his mind and sank back again. The
executioners looked at him, awaiting his command, and paying no
attention to the girl kneeling between them, with her arms still about
the neck of Captain Smith, who looked up into her dark, pitying eyes. A
warm tear fell on his bronzed forehead. With one hand Pocahontas brushed
back the heavy brown hair which had dropped over his eyes, and smiling
through her grief, said:

“You shall not be harmed! Your life is spared!”

“How can you know that, my good friend?”

“Do you not see?” she asked in turn, grasping one of his bound arms
above the elbow, as if to help him to his feet.

At this moment Captain Smith saw what she meant by her question. The
warriors with their huge clubs had stepped away from the two. Powhatan
could not deny the prayer of Pocahontas, and had signalled to them to
spare the life of the white man.

When the Captain stood erect, his face flushed with embarrassment. Not
knowing what to do, he did nothing, but stood with his eyes on the
ground. Pocahontas fluttered about him like a bird. She tried to untie
the knots that bound his wrists behind his back, and though she would
have succeeded in a few minutes, she was impatient. She beckoned to her
brother Nantaquas, who came hastily forward and cut the thongs with his
knife. He turned inquiringly to Powhatan, who motioned for his son to
take the man away. Clasping the hand of the prisoner in his own, the
youth led him through the door to the outside of the wigwam. Pocahontas
did not follow, but did another thing that astonished the group gathered
round. Forgetful of all kingly dignity in the stress of her feelings,
she bounded to the throne, flung her arms about the neck of her parent,
and laying her head on the gaunt shoulder, sobbed with thankfulness,
murmuring words which only Powhatan could hear.

And for the moment he forgot that he was King. He stroked the masses of
black hair until she regained command of herself, when he told her in a
low voice that he had spared the prisoner because he could deny nothing
to the one who asked it. She faced about with glowing countenance, on
which the tears still shone, and moved back to the place she had held
before doing the noble act.

Meanwhile Nantaquas guided Captain Smith to his own lodge, which stood
at the eastern end of the village. It was small, for only he dwelt
there. It was hardly a dozen feet in length, and no more than two-thirds
of that in width, but a fire was smouldering at the farther end, the
skins of animals were spread on the ground, and his favorite bow leaned
in one corner. On the ridge pole of the wigwam were hung the furs of
bears, deer, and wolf. Primitive as was the dwelling, it was as
comfortable as it could be.

Captain Smith was not a “gushing” man. In this respect he was like
Nantaquas. The Indian youth had learned the white men’s custom of
greeting one another by shaking hands. When the Captain, therefore,
offered his hand to his friend, it was grasped by him.

“I shall always be thankful to you, Nantaquas.”

“Your thanks belong to my sister,” was the gentle reply.

“I know that, and she will ever dwell in my heart. Does this mean that
my life is spared for a short time only?”

“I will learn; wait till I come back.”

Lifting the flap of the lodge, the dusky youth slipped outside. Captain
Smith sat down on one of the furs spread on the floor, and gave himself
over to thinking of the strange things that had come to him in the past.
He was sitting thus, sunk in meditation, when his friend returned.

Nantaquas had talked with Powhatan, who told him that Smith was to stay
among the Indians, and give his time to the making of moccasins, bows
and arrows, robes and pots, and especially to the manufacture of beads,
bells, and copper trinkets for Pocahontas. The Captain accepted the
proposal with great pleasure, for he knew that the end, sooner or later,
would be his return to Jamestown. What a contrast between the many
stormy scenes he had passed through and this quiet toiling in the depths
of the American woods! He took up the task with the same energy he put
in everything, and pleased Nantaquas; who showed a real friendship for
him. Powhatan was also well satisfied, and Pocahontas, who often came to
the little workshop and watched the sturdy Captain at labor, was
delighted. She would sometimes sit for a long time on a mat in front of
him, noting with childish interest the movements of the sturdy fingers
that were more used to handling the sword than to fashioning the
delicate ornaments and trinkets. She could not restrain her happiness as
the articles gradually took form. When the Captain completed a pair of
moccasins that were as dainty as the slippers of Cinderella, she slipped
them on her feet, clapped her hands, and danced about the wigwam, just
as any little English or American girl would have done. Nantaquas and
Captain Smith smiled at the pretty picture, and the brave and good
Captain felt well rewarded for his trouble. Indeed, could he ever repay
this sweet daughter of the forest for what she had done for him? He
often asked himself the question, and the answer was always a soft but
earnest “_No!_”


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



                              CHAPTER XII.

                               CONCLUSION


Powhatan left no doubt of his friendly feeling towards Captain Smith
when, six weeks after he started on his voyage up the Chickahominy, the
sachem allowed him to return under guard to Jamestown. He received a
warm welcome from his countrymen, and the Indians who had come with him
were sent back to Powhatan with many presents for themselves, and still
more for the American Emperor himself.

It is one of the many proofs of the fine character of Captain John Smith
and of his great service to the colony, that, brief as had been his
absence, the settlement had reached the verge of ruin. The little church
had been burned, and the good minister held religious services under the
trees. Of the more than a hundred men who had come across the ocean a
few months before, only forty were alive. On the very day that Smith
arrived at the settlement, the new President Ratcliffe and several of
his friends had seized the pinnace—the only boat left—and were about to
sail for England. This was the third attempt of that kind, and it was
defeated again by Smith, who would have shot every man of them had they
not come back to land and surrendered.

Now, what do you suppose was the next step of those wicked persons? You
must remember that they had other friends, base as they were. They said
that under the old Levitical law Smith was guilty of the deaths of the
men that had been slain by Indians. They would have hanged him on the
charge, had he not ended the business by arresting his accusers, and
warning them that, if they caused him any more trouble, he would hang
them all.

Woeful times now came to Jamestown. You would think they could be no
more dreadful than those through which the settlement had already
passed, but the poor people, besides quarrelling among themselves, began
starving to death. The gaunt, famished settlers staggered along the
single street, too feeble to rise when they stumbled and fell. All they
could do was to creep into their cabins and lie down, moaning and
waiting for death to end their sufferings. It looked as if not a man
would be left alive, and about the only one who kept his feet and moved
freely about was Captain Smith. He was always cheery and hopeful, and
helped others by his good spirits, which seemed never to leave him.

But the day came when even this brave man saw no hope. He did not know
where to get the next mouthful of food without going among the Indians,
and his companions were too worn and weak to be taken with him. He would
not leave them to their sad fate, but was ready to die among them, as he
had been from the first.

Standing moodily on the outside of the palisades, with arms folded and
looking off along the trail that led into the forest toward York River,
he suddenly saw a strange sight. A girl came out from among the trees,
bearing a basket of corn on her shoulder. He had hardly time to
recognize her as Pocahontas when he saw she was followed by other
Indians. On came the procession, until he counted eighteen. The one next
to her was Nantaquas, and, filing after him, were other warriors, every
one of whom carried a basket of corn or a haunch of venison. Providence
had moved their hearts with pity for the perishing white men, and their
timely visit with food saved them when, but for such kindness, all must
have perished.

No wonder the grateful English ever after referred to the good maiden as
“the dear and blessed Pocahontas.” She came once or twice a week for
months, bringing supplies through the woods from the York River to
Jamestown. It was she who took the first step in this good work, and
Powhatan was willing, for he felt friendly at the time towards the
whites. Years after, in a letter to the Queen, Captain Smith referred to
these acts of Pocahontas in the following quaint words:

“During the time of two or three years she next under God, was still the
instrument to preserve this colony from death, famine, and utter
confusion, which, if in those days had once been dissolved, Virginia
might have lain as it was at our first arrival to this day.”

I have not the space to tell you the later history of Virginia. Its
troubles were by no means ended, and many dark days followed—days when
it looked as if nothing could save the colony from passing away. I have
aimed rather to show something of the great services of Pocahontas,
daughter of Powhatan, who ruled over thirty tribes of Indians, She never
showed any weakening of her friendship for the white people. Sometimes
her father became offended with them and went to war, but nothing could
shake her good will. He even grew angry with her, but, though parent and
child could not quarrel the maiden only became more guarded in her deeds
of kindness, when Powhatan happened to be in one of his ugly moods.

There was a time when the chieftain’s enmity against Smith became so
deep that he used every means he could think of to have him put to
death. The Captain was ready to fight the Emperor, when nothing else was
left. He set out one day with a strong company to surprise Powhatan. He
had not been gone long when nine of those whom he had left at home went
out in a boat in a severe storm. The craft was capsized and the whole
party drowned. Smith had ordered these men to hold themselves ready to
join him whenever he sent for them. It was important that he should be
told of the calamity as soon as possible, so that his own expedition
might not fail through lack of the aid he might need.

The task of reaching Smith through the many miles of wilderness was so
dangerous that only one man in the colony was willing to make the
attempt. He was captured by Indians and taken before Powhatan at
Werowocomoco, and the chieftain ordered him to be put to death. Without
drawing suspicion to herself, Pocahontas got him a short distance away
in the woods, and hid him among the bushes. He would have been found and
brought back by the warriors who set out to search for him had she not
cunningly led them in a wrong direction. The man gained enough start to
join Smith, and tell him of the sad accident to the men whom he had
counted upon for help.

Some time later, when matters seemed to have quieted, a party of
colonists went among Powhatan’s people to trade, but all except one was
massacred. Pocahontas succeeded in saving his life, and he lived many
years, secure in her friendship, among the Indians.

In 1609 Captain Smith, while on one of his exploring expeditions, was so
painfully burned by the accidental explosion of a bag of gunpowder, that
he suffered great agony. Good medical treatment could not be given him
at Jamestown, and he sailed for England. He never came back to Virginia,
which was a great misfortune, since no man could be found fitted to take
his place. Of the five hundred whom he left behind, only sixty were
alive at the end of six months. History refers to this fearful period of
Virginia as “the Starving Time.”

When, at last, conditions improved through the steady coming of
immigrants, Captain Argall started on a cruise up James River. He
invited Pocahontas to visit his vessel, and she, dreaming of no evil,
came aboard with an Indian woman, who had been bribed to play her part,
under the promise of Argall that no harm should befall the girl. The
woman was allowed to go ashore, but Pocahontas was kept as a prisoner.
The expectation of Argall was that Powhatan would be glad to pay a large
ransom with corn for her return to him. Instead of doing so, the furious
sachem prepared to wage a savage war against the colony.

During these troublous weeks Pocahontas stayed at Jamestown, where
everyone treated her kindly. John Rolfe, a member of a good English
family, became interested in the maiden, and she returned his affection.
He was a good Churchman, and talked to Pocahontas about the true
religion. She listened with deep interest, and soon showed that no one
understood the mysteries of the Christian faith better than she. She was
truly converted, and asked that she might be baptized. In the quaint
little chapel at Jamestown, whose columns were the rough pines from the
forest, whose pews were fragrant cedar, and whose communion table and
pulpit were of black walnut, this Princess of the Woods knelt before the
font hewn out of a log, made the responses in broken English, and
received the baptismal name of Rebecca.

Rolfe and Pocahontas were married in the month of April, 1613. Although
Powhatan did not attend the ceremony, he cheerfully gave his consent,
and sent his brother and two of his sons to represent him. One of these
was our old friend Nantaquas, who was highly pleased with the marriage.
The uncle of Pocahontas gave her away in accordance with the Anglican
ritual. The windows of the chapel were festooned with evergreens, wild
flowers, and crimson hollyberries. The communion table was covered with
spotless white linen, and on it rested bread from the wheat fields and
wine from the native grapes. The settlers and Indian visitors crowded
the small building, and gazed with deep interest upon the beautiful
picture.

When the bride and groom appeared, she was dressed in a simple tunic of
white muslin, with her comely arms bared to the shoulders. Sir Thomas
Dale had presented her with a rich robe, which she had herself
embroidered. Her abundant black hair flowed down her back, and was
encircled by a fillet, filled with the bright plumage of birds, and
holding in its fastenings a cloudlike, misty veil. A few simple articles
of jewelry gleamed on her wrists. Modest, loving, and beautiful, she
made a charming bride.

Nor must we forget the groom. He had a manly figure, and with his short,
full beard, an attractive countenance. He was dressed like an English
cavalier, and wore a short sword on his thigh as a mark of distinction.
The two stood upon the chancel steps, which had no railing, and there
the clergyman, with impressive voice and manner, amid the breathless
hush of the spectators, made the two man and wife.

This union was a happy one in every respect. Husband and wife devotedly
loved each other, and Powhatan became the true friend of the English,
and so remained to the close of his life. When Governor Dale sailed for
England in 1616, he took Rolfe and Pocahontas with him. She was called
“Lady Rebecca,” and surely it was proper that she should wear such
honor, for was she not the daughter of the Greatest American King of his
time? She received marked attention from the court and leading
dignitaries in England, and everything was done to make her feel happy
in a land so new and strange to her.

It was natural that Pocahontas should feel anxious to meet her old
friend Captain Smith. He was the first whom she asked about, but, to her
grief, she was told that he was dead. While mourning for him, the
Captain called upon her. She was so shocked that she burst into tears,
and asked why the deception had been used. All sorts of explanations and
excuses were made; but you will agree with me that none was sufficient
to justify such cruel treatment.

She soon regained her cheerfulness, and the two sat down and had a long
talk over their lives in the land, three thousand miles away, in the
depth of the American woods. She called the Captain “father,” and he
returned by speaking to her as “daughter.”

Since I know you feel an interest in the brave Captain John Smith, I
will say in this place that he sailed along the coast of New England in
1614, and gave the name of Boston to the principal city in that region,
besides partially exploring the country. He spent his last years in
London, engaged in writing his histories. He died in 1631, and was
buried under the chancel of St. Sepulchre’s Church. The opening of the
poetical inscription is, “Here lies one conquered, that hath conquered
kings,” and the close of the prayer is, that “with angels he might have
his recompense.”

Rolfe and his wife had made ready to sail for the New World, when, at
the beginning of the year 1617, she fell ill at Gravesend, and died at
the age of twenty-two years. She left an infant son, Thomas, who was
taken to London and educated by his uncle, Henry Rolfe. When he reached
manhood he returned to America, gained a large fortune, and became a
gentleman of distinction. From him some of the leading families in
Virginia today are proud to trace their descent.

By the way, I may add, as an interesting coincidence, the fact that the
home of _Little Folks_, “LaBelle Sauvage,” was thus named in honor of
Pocahontas, the “Princess of the Woods.”


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



                            EDNA’S SACRIFICE

                                -------

                        BY FRANCES HENSHAW BADEN



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



                            EDNA’S SACRIFICE

                                -------


IT was a cold night in September. For three days the rain had fallen
almost unceasingly. It had been impossible for us to get out; and no
visitors had been in. Everything looked dreary enough, and we felt so,
truly. Of course the stoves were not prepared for use; and this night we
(that is, Nell, Floy, Aunt Edna, and myself) were huddled in the corners
of the sofa and arm-chairs, wrapped in our shawls. We were at our wits’
end for something to while the hours away. We had read everything that
was readable; played until we fancied the piano sent forth a wail of
complaint, and begged for rest; were at the backgammon board until our
arms ached; and I had given imitations of celebrated actresses, until I
was hoarse, and Nell declared I was in danger of being sued for scandal.
What more could we do? To dispel the drowsiness that was stealing over
me, I got up, walked up and down the floor, and then drew up the blind,
and gazed out into the deserted street. Not a footfall to be heard,
neither man’s nor beast’s; nothing but patter, patter, patter. At
length, after standing fully fifteen minutes—oh, joyful sound!—a coming
footstep, firm and quick. My first thought was that those steps would
stop at our door. But, directly after, I felt that very improbable for
who was there that _would_ come such a night? Papa was up north with
mamma: Nell and Floy were visiting Aunt Edna and me, the only ones home,
save the servants. Neither of us had as yet a lover so devoted or so
demented as to come out, if he had anywhere to _stay in_.

On and past went the steps. Turning away, I drew down the blind, and
said: “Some one must be ill, and that was the doctor, surely: for no one
else would go out, only those from direst necessity sent.”

A deep sigh escaped Aunt Edna’s lips, and although partially shaded by
her hand, I could see the shadow on the beautiful face had deepened.

Why my aunt had never married was a mystery to me, for she was lovable
in every way, and must have been very beautiful in her youth. Thirty-six
she would be next May-day, she had told me. Thirty-six seemed to me,
just sixteen, a very great many years to have lived. But aunt always was
young to us; and the hint of her being an old maid was always resented,
very decidedly, by all her nieces.

“Aunt Edna,” I said, “tell us a story—a love-story, please.”

“Oh, little one, you have read _so_ many! And what can I tell you more?”
she answered, gently.

“Oh, aunty, I want a _true_ story! Do, darling aunty, tell us your own.
Tell us why you are blessing our home with your presence, instead of
that of some noble man, for noble he must have been to have won your
heart, and—hush-sh! Yes, yes; I know something about somebody, and I
must know all. Do, please!”

I plead on. I always could do more with Aunt Edna than any one else. I
was named for her, and many called me like her—“only not nearly so
pretty” was always added.

At last she consented, saying:

“Dear girls, to only one before have I given my entire confidence, and
that was my mother. I scarce know why I have yielded to your
persuasions, little Edna, save that this night, with its gloom and rain,
carries me back long years, and my heart seems to join its pleading with
yours, yearning to cast forth some of its fulness, and perchance find
relief by pouring into your loving heart its own sorrows. But, darling,
I would not cast my shadow over your fair brow, even for a brief time.”

With her hand still shading her face, Aunt Edna began:

“Just such a night as this, eighteen years ago, dear child, my fate was
decided. The daughter of my mother’s dearest friend had been with us
about a year. Dearly we all loved the gentle child, for scarcely more
than child she was—only sixteen. My mother had taken her from the cold,
lifeless form of her mother into her own warm, loving heart, and she
became to me as a sister. So fair and frail she was! We all watched her
with the tenderest care, guarding her from all that could chill her
sensitive nature or wound the already saddened heart. Lilly was her
name. Oh, what a delicate while lily she was when we first brought her
to our home; but after a while she was won from her sorrow, and grew
into a maiden of great beauty. Still, with child-like, winning ways.

“Great wells of love were in her blue eyes—violet hue _he_ called them.
Often I wondered if any one’s gaze would linger on my dark eyes when
hers were near? Her pale golden hair was pushed off her broad forehead
and fell in heavy waves far down below her graceful shoulders and over
her black dress. Small delicately formed features, a complexion so fair
and clear that it seemed transparent. In her blue eyes there was always
such a sad, wistful look; this, and the gentle smile that ever hovered
about her lips, gave an expression of mingled sweetness and sorrow that
was very touching. You may imagine now how beautiful she was.

“Her mother had passed from earth during the absence of Lilly’s father.
Across the ocean the sorrowful tidings were borne to him. He was a naval
officer. Lilly was counting the days ere she should see him. The good
news had come that soon he would be with her. At last the day arrived,
but oh! what a terrible sorrow it brought! When her heart was almost
bursting with joy, expecting every moment to be clasped in those dear
arms—a telegraphic dispatch was handed in. Eagerly she caught it, tore
it open, read—and fell lifeless to the floor.

“Oh! the fearful, crushing words. We read, not of his coming to Lilly,
but of his going to her, his wife, in heaven. Yes, truly an orphan the
poor girl was then.

“In vain proved all efforts to restore her to consciousness. Several
times, when she had before fainted, mother was the only physician
needed. But that night she shook her head and said:

“‘We must have a doctor, and quickly.’

“It was a terrible night. Our doctor was very remote. Your father
suggested another, near by.

“Dr. ——, well, never mind his name. Your father said he had lately known
him, and liked him much.

“Through the storm he came, and by his skilful treatment Lilly was soon
restored to consciousness, but not to health. A low nervous fever set
in, and many days we watched with fearful hearts. Ah! during those days
I learned to look too eagerly for the doctor’s coming. Indeed, he made
his way into the hearts of all in our home. After the dreaded crisis had
passed, and we knew that Lilly would be spared to us, the doctor told
mother he should have to prescribe for me. I had grown pale, from
confinement in the sickroom, and he must take me for a drive, that the
fresh air should bring the roses back to my cheeks. Willingly mother
consented. After that I often went. When Lilly was able to come
down-stairs, this greatest pleasure of my life then was divided with
her. One afternoon I stood on the porch with her, waiting while the
doctor arranged something about the harness.

“‘Oh! _how_ I wish it was my time to go!’ she whispered.

“‘Well, darling, it shall be your time. I can go tomorrow. Run, get your
hat and wraps,’ I said, really glad to give any additional pleasure to
this child of many sorrows.

“‘No, no, that would not be fair. And, Edna, don’t you know that
_tomorrow_ I would be so sorry if I went today? I do not mean to be
selfish, but, oh, indeed, I cannot help it! I am wishing _every time_ to
go. Not that I care for a ride—’ She hesitated, flushed, and whispered:
‘I like to be with my doctor. Don’t you, Edna? Oh! I wish he was my
father, or brother, or cousin—just to be with us all the time, you
know.’

“Just then the doctor came for me, and I had to leave her. As we drove
off I looked back and kissed my hand to her, saying:

“‘Dear little thing! I wish she was going with us.’

“‘I do not,’ the doctor surprised me by saying.

“I raised my eyes inquiringly to his. In those beautiful, earnest eyes I
saw something that made me profoundly happy. I could not speak. After a
moment he added:

“‘She is a beautiful, winning child, and I enjoy her company. But when
with her, I feel as if it was my duty to devote myself entirely to
her—in a word, to take care of her, or, I should say, to care for _her_
only. And this afternoon, of all others, I do not feel like having Lilly
with us.’

“That afternoon was one of the happiest of my life. Although not a word
of love passed his lips, I knew it filled his heart, and was for me. He
told me of his home, his relatives, his past life. Of his mother he
said:

“‘When you know her, you will love her dearly.’

“He seemed to be sure that I should know her. And then—ah, well, I
thought so too, then.

“Lilly was waiting for us when we returned. He chided her for being out
so late. It was quite dark. Tears filled her eyes as she raised them to
his and said:

“‘Don’t be angry. I could not help watching. Oh, why did you stay _so_
long? I thought you would never come back. I was afraid something had
happened—that the horse had run away, or—’

“‘Angry I could not be with you, little one. But I don’t want you to get
sick again. Come, now, smile away your tears and fears! Your friend is
safe and with you again,’ the doctor answered.”

Taking her hand, he led her into the parlor.

“He had not understood the cause of her tears. Only for him she watched
and wept.

“‘_Do_ stay,’ she plead, when her doctor was going.

“He told her he could not, then; there was another call he must make,
but would return after a while.

“She counted the minutes, until she should see him again. Never
concealing from any of us how dearly she loved him. She was truly as
guileless as a child of six years.

“From the first of her acquaintance with him, she had declared ‘her
doctor’ was like her father. Mother too, admitted, the resemblance was
very decided.

“This it was, I think, that first made him so dear to her.

“Several times, after the doctor returned that evening, I saw he sought
opportunity to speak to me, unheard by others. But Lilly was always
near.

“Ah! it was better so. Better that from his _own_ lips I heard not those
words he would have spoken. Doubly hard would have been the trial. Oh,
that night when he said, ‘good-byee!’ He slipped in my hand a little
roll of paper. As Lilly still stood at the window, watching as long as
she could see him, I stole away to open the paper. Then, for a while, I
forgot Lilly, aye, forgot everything, in my great happiness. He loved
me! On my finger sparkled the beautiful diamond—my engagement ring—to be
worn on the morrow, ‘if I could return his love,’ he said.

“Quickly I hid my treasures away, his note and the ring—Lilly was
coming.

“She was not yet strong, and soon tired. I helped her to get off her
clothes, and as she kissed me good-night, she said:

“‘I wish we had a picture of him—don’t you?’

“‘Who, dear?’ I asked.

“‘My doctor! Who else? You tease. You _knew_ well enough,’ she answered,
as she nestled her pretty head closer to mine.

“Soon she was sleeping and dreaming of him. Sweet dreams at first I knew
they were; for soft smiles flitted over her face.

“I could not sleep. A great fear stole in upon my happiness. Did not
Lilly love him too? How would she receive the news which soon must reach
her? Was her love such as mine? Such as is given to but one alone? Or
only as a brother did she love him? I must _know_ how it was. Heaven
grant that joy for one would not bring sorrow to the other, I prayed. I
had not long to wait. Her dreams became troubled. Her lips quivered and
trembled, and then with a cry of agony she started up.

“‘Gone, gone, gone!’ she sobbed.

“It was many minutes ere I succeeded in calming and making her
understand ’twas but a dream.

“‘Oh, but _so_ real, so _dreadfully_ real. I thought he did not care for
me. That he had gone and left me, and they told me he was married!’

“Telling this, she began to sob again.

“‘Lilly, dear, tell me truly—tell your sister, your very best friend—how
it is you love your doctor?’ I asked.

“‘How?’ she returned. ‘Oh, Edna, more than all the world! He is all that
I have lost and more; and if he should die, or I should lose him, I
would not wish to live. I _could_ not live. He loves me a little, does
he not, Edna?’

“I could not reply. Just then there was a terrible struggle going on in
my heart. _That_ must be ended, the victory won ere I could speak. She
waited for my answer and then said, eagerly:

“‘Oh, speak, _do_! What _are_ you thinking about?’

“Pressing back the sigh—back and far down into the poor heart—I gave her
the sweet, and kept the bitter part, when I could answer.

“‘Yes, dear, I _do_ think he loves you a little now, and will,
by-and-by, love you dearly. God grant he may!’

“‘Oh, you darling Edna! You have made me so happy!’ she cried, kissing
me; and still caressing me she fell asleep.

“Next morning I enclosed the ring, with only these words:

“‘Forgive if I cause you sorrow, and believe me your true friend. I
return the ring that I am not _free_ to accept.’

“I intended that my reply should mislead him, when I wrote that I was
not free, and thus to crush any hope that might linger in his heart.
While at breakfast that morning, we received a telegram that grandma was
extremely ill, and wanted me. Thus, fate seemed to forward my plans. I
had thought to go away for a while. I told mother all. How her dear
heart ached for me! Yet she dared not say aught against my decision. She
took charge of the note for the doctor, and by noon I was on my journey.
Two years passed ere I returned home. Mother wrote me but little news of
either Lilly or her doctor after the first letter, telling that my note
was a severe shock and great disappointment. Three or four months
elapsed before grandma was strong enough for me to leave her. An
opportunity at that time presented for my going to Europe. I wanted such
an entire change, and gladly accepted. Frequently came letters from
Lilly. For many months they were filled with doubts and anxiety; but
after a while came happier and shorter ones. Ah, she had only time to be
with him, and to think in his absence of his coming again.

“When I was beginning to tire of all the wonders and grandeur of the old
world, and nothing would still the longing for home, the tidings came
they were married, Lilly and her doctor, and gone to his western home to
take charge of the patients of his uncle, who had retired from practice.
Then I hastened back, and ever since, dear girls, I have been contented,
finding much happiness in trying to contribute to that of those so dear.
Now, little Edna, you have my only love-story, its beginning and
ending.”

“But, aunty, do tell me his name,” I said. “Indeed, it is not merely
idle curiosity. I just feel as if I must know it—that it is for
something very important. Now you need not smile. I’m very earnest, and
I shall not sleep until I know. I really felt a presentiment that if I
knew his name it might in some way affect the conclusion of the story.”

“Well, my child, I may as well tell you. Dr. Graham it was—Percy
Graham,” Aunt Edna answered, low.

“Ah! did I not tell you? It was not curiosity. Listen, aunty mine. While
you were away last winter, papa received a paper from St. Louis; he
handed it to me, pointing to an announcement. But I will run get it. He
told me to show it to you, and I forgot. I did not dream of all this.”

From my scrap-book I brought the slip, and Aunt Edna read:

“DIED.—Suddenly, of heart disease, on the morning of the 15th, Lilly,
wife of Doctor Percy Graham, in the 34th year of her age.”

Aunt Edna remained holding the paper, without speaking, for some
minutes; then, handing it back to me, she said, softly, as if talking to
her friend:

“_Dear_ Lilly! Thank heaven, I gave to _you_ the _best_ I had to give,
and caused you naught but happiness. God is merciful! Had _he_ been
taken, and you left, how _could_ we have comforted you?” And then,
turning to me, she said: “Nearly a year it is since Lilly went to
heaven. ’Tis strange I have not heard of this.”

“’Tis strange from him you have not heard,” I thought; “and stranger
still ’twill be if he comes not when the year is over. For surely he
_must_ know that you are free—” But I kept my thoughts, and soon after
kissed aunty good-night.

One month passed, and the year was out. And somebody was in our parlor,
making arrangements to carry away Aunt Edna. I knew it was he, when he
met me at the hall door, and said:

“Edna—Miss Linden! _can_ it be?”

“Yes and no, sir—both—Edna Linden; but, Doctor Graham, not _your_ Edna.
You will find her in the parlor,” I answered, saucily, glad and sorry,
both, at his coming.

Ah, she welcomed him with profound joy, I know. He knew all; papa had
told him. And if he loved the beautiful girl, he then worshipped that
noble woman.

“Thank God! Mine at last!” I heard him say, with fervent joy, as I
passed the door, an hour after.

How beautiful she was, when, a few weeks after, she became his very own.
I stood beside her and drew off her glove. How happy he looked as he
placed the heavy gold circlet on her finger! How proudly he bore her
down the crowded church aisle!

Ah, little Lilly was no doubt his dear and cherished wife. But _this_
one, ’twas plain to see, was the one love of his life.



                                THE END.


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



 ● Transcriber’s Notes:
    ○ Missing or obscured punctuation was silently corrected.
    ○ Typographical errors were silently corrected.
    ○ Inconsistent spelling and hyphenation were made consistent only
      when a predominant form was found in this book.
    ○ Text that was in italics is enclosed by underscores (_italics_).





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