Ethel Hollister's Second Summer as a Campfire Girl
By IRENE ELLIOTT BENSON
SYNOPSIS OF PRECEDING BOOK
II—ETHEL ENTERS COLLEGE
III—ETHEL AND HARVEY BECOME FIRM FRIENDS
IV—ETHEL'S SECOND TRIP
VII—MRS. HOLLISTER'S VISIT TO CAMP
VIII—THE SCOUTS ARRIVE
IX—NORA GIVES SERVICE
XI—BREAKING UP OF CAMP AND A SURPRISE
XII—MATTIE MAKES GOOD
XIII—JUDGE SANDS AND KATE MARRY
XIV—A BIRTHDAY PRESENT
XV—MRS. HOLLISTER ENTERTAINS
XIX—MR. CASEY BUYS A HOUSE
XX—ARCHIBALD'S CHANGE FOR THE BETTER
SYNOPSIS OF PRECEDING BOOK
Ethel would have never become a Camp Fire Girl excepting for her great-aunt Susan.
Susan Carpenter was her Grandmother Hollister's only sister, living in Akron, Ohio. Her family consisted of Mr. Thomas Harper and herself. Tom's parents had been her friends, and when they were taken Aunt Susan legally adopted him and his little brother Fred, but the younger one died before graduating, while Tom went through college and was now a rising young lawyer.
Aunt Susan Carpenter was a philanthropist. At the time of her adopting the boys she was reputed to be a millionaire. She gave her beautiful home to the city for an Asylum for partially insane people and endowed it with fifty thousand dollars, after which the leading men in town raised fifty thousand more, thereby making it self-supporting. She was also on the board of managers of many other charities, and was adored by her townspeople.
Four years previous to her visit to New York, she had lost every penny of her immense fortune,—lost it through the rascality of a large and well advertised concern calling itself the "Great Western Cereal Company." The whole thing was a rotten affair from the first and was floated by ten unscrupulous men who after obtaining all the money they could fled from the country before the exposure came; that is, save three, one of whom was arrested while the other two committed suicide. Aunt Susan wrote nothing of it to her sister lest it should worry her, and as she had never met her nephew's family in New York, and they knowing no one in Akron, they were in ignorance of the change in Aunt Susan's affairs and still thought her a wealthy woman.
Mrs. Archibald Hollister—Ethel's mother—was worldly and ambitious; not so much for herself as for her daughter. Grand-mother Hollister, whose husband had belonged to one of New York's oldest families, owned the house in which they lived, free and clear. It was an old-fashioned brown-stone affair near Riverside Drive. Archibald, her son, paid the taxes in lieu of rent, but as his salary was only three thousand a year it was extremely difficult to make both ends meet, and Grandmother had no money save what was in the house. But Mrs. Archie was clever. She could make a dollar do the work of five. With her own hands she would fashion for Ethel the most dainty and up-to-date gowns, wraps, hats, etc., imaginable.
The Hollisters kept but one maid. She always appeared trim and tidy, yet she did the entire housework. Upon the days that Mrs. Archie gave bridge parties or afternoon teas for Ethel's young friends, she hired two extra girls who had been so perfectly trained that the guests never once doubted but that they were part of the household—allowing to Mrs. Archie's clever management.
Ethel attended a fashionable school costing her father more money than he could afford, but she met there the very best class of girls and really formed for herself the most desirable acquaintances. Her mother scrimped and saved in every way possible, while the guests who came to the old-fashioned house with its handsome antique furniture and portraits were wont to declare that "the Hollisters were certainty aristocratic and of blue blood, as their house showed it—so severe and yet elegant." So Mrs. Archie felt that the Hollister name alone should procure for Ethel a monied husband, and she held it constantly before the girl. She must associate only with those in the "upper circle," and marry a man who could give her a "fine establishment."
Among Ethel's school friends was a girl—Nannie Bigelow by name—of whom she was very fond. Nannie had a brother in Yale whom she (Ethel) disliked. He was a member of the ultra fashionable set and was desirous of making a wealthy match, as his family as well had little but their name. One of his sisters had married a titled man and lived abroad. It was Mrs. Hollister's ambition to have Ethel like Harvey Bigelow, although she knew that he had as little money as she. She tried to adjust things satisfactorily, and being a clever woman she hit upon a plan which we shall reveal later. Of course, the girl was only sixteen and must first graduate. Ethel, who had imbibed many of her mother's fallacies, did not openly rebel. She was quite a little snob in her way, nor did she realize what the family daily sacrificed for her, although her heart smote her when she saw how her father was aging, for she adored him; nor were her eyes opened until after she had joined the Camp Fire.
Grandmother Hollister had two sons, John and Archie. Kate Hollister was the daughter of the former. They lived in Columbus, Ohio, and Kate had been invited to visit her New York relatives. She was a tall, handsome girl much older than Ethel, for she was over thirty. Kate was the Guardian of a company of eight Camp Fire Girls called the "Ohio." She had told her grandmother and Ethel all about the new movement one evening, and Ethel who loved the romantic side of camping out was crazy to have Kate obtain permission from her mother to let her join, as her father had said that she might visit Columbus that coming summer. But lo! when she spoke to Mrs. Archie—or Aunt Bella—about it she was politely snubbed. When Kate tried to explain how wonderful was the organization and what benefit a girl—especially a delicate girl like Ethel—could derive from belonging, the lady sneered and likened it to the Salvation Army and forbade her guest from mentioning it to the girl or even speaking of it in her presence. But alas! the deed had been done and Ethel knew of it; but while in New York Kate had refrained from again touching on the subject. At that time an aunt of one of Ethel's schoolmates had formed a company and many of the swell set had joined. Ethel longed to belong but dared not offend her mother.
Now for Mrs. Hollister's plan. She suddenly conceived the idea of inviting Aunt Susan on for a visit, supposedly to give Grandmother a chance to see her only sister once more, but in reality to have Ethel ingratiate herself with the old lady, thereby causing her to leave the girl the bulk of her fortune. Ethel read between the lines and at first refused, but after listening to her mother for a while and thinking perhaps she was right, she allowed herself to promise to further the plan.
Aunt Susan was a woman with fine eyes and teeth, as well as a charming manner, but her style of dressing dated back to the eighties—full skirts, flat hats with strings, beaded plush dolmans, etc. Ethel was ashamed to be seen with her but she had promised to help and she had to do her share. In the meanwhile her mother had spread the report that Aunt Susan was a millionaire and that Ethel was to have her fortune at her death. Everyone fell in love with Aunt Susan and ascribed her peculiar dressing to the eccentricities of a wealthy woman.
Mrs. Hollister's joy knew no bounds when Aunt Susan invited Ethel to return with her to Akron. Her scheme was beginning to work. Ethel was a lovely girl. Aunt Susan would grow fond of her and the fortune was assured. Besides, as it would cost a small fortune to take Ethel to a fashionable summer resort, Mrs. Archie could save money for the winter. But, accompanying the invitation, Aunt Susan requested that during July and August, Ethel might join her other grand niece's "Camp Fires" and live in the woods. "It will be the making of your girl," she added, "as now she looks thin and peaked."
At first Mrs. Archie indignantly refused. She almost felt that she had been trapped, but Aunt Susan met every objection and even told the lady that she feared she was shallow and an unnatural mother to refuse to consider her daughter's health. Mrs. Archie dared not let Aunt Susan know that she considered the whole organization conspicuous and common, nor that she did not wish Ethel to learn to do the work of a servant, etc., or run the risk of meeting girls of humble origin. So after some sharp rebukes administered to her by the old lady on the sin of worldliness and the fact that she was not doing a mother's duty by her daughter, she consented, mentally declaring that she would see that Ethel should forget all about it on her return.
While visiting Aunt Susan and living in Camp in a truthful atmosphere Ethel Hollister began to change. She saw how the old lady was beloved. She heard on every side of the good she had done, and when one day Aunt Susan told her that she had been a wife and mother, and what she had suffered at the hands of a brutal husband, she was spellbound. For years she had been deserted, but when one day he was supposed to be dying she was sent for that he might beg her forgiveness. She went and found that for four years he had been stone blind and that he had sunk so low that she shrank from the squalid house in which he was living. She took him away and stayed with him until his death, making the last days of his life more bearable.
As the girl listened and thought of the old lady's goodness and how she was visiting her and making over her old gowns, hats, etc., into fashionable ones to ingratiate herself for an object she saw herself as she was—a hypocrite—and she fell on her knees to Aunt Susan confessing everything and begging her forgiveness, whereupon the old lady took her in her arms and told her that she knew everything—that Grandmother and she had made up their minds that Ethel might lose her worldliness under different environments. Then she told her of the loss of her fortune and the girl was glad, saying as she kissed her, "Now you know that I love you for yourself, Aunt Susan."
Ethel liked Tom Harper. He was a fine young man. He supported Aunt Susan and gave her a liberal allowance but she banked nearly all of it, as she told Ethel "to have something at her death to leave to those whom she loved."
After visiting her Uncle John's family, whom she liked at once, Kate, Ethel, and the eight girls started for Camp. It was situated in a stretch of woods on the banks of the Muskingum river. One of the girls—Patty Sands—became Ethel's chum. She was motherless and the only child of Judge Sands, ex-congressman of Ohio, and greatly respected. The rest of the girls were also congenial save two—one a Mattie Hastings, whom Ethel avoided saying that her eyes were too close together. Mattie's parents were poor people but she was one of Kate's Sunday School class and has asked to be allowed to join the "Ohios." The other girl was a large, raw-boned Irish girl, or rather of Irish parentage. Her voice was shrill and unpleasant, while her hair was black and her eyes dark blue and lovely, her face was covered with freckles and she dressed loudly and in bad taste. Pat Casey—her father—-was one of the wealthiest men in town. He was a contractor and an honest, respectable man, but his wife was a pusher, trying to bluff her way into society. She was ignorant and disagreeable. People refused to receive her. Nora had been only half educated at a convent. Mrs. Casey, hearing of the Camp Fire Girls, bethought herself that it would be an opening for Honora, so she boldly called upon Miss Kate and asked—yes, begged—that Nora might belong; and Kate, who was kind-hearted, received the girl to the great joy of Mrs. Pat. Having been born in the old country, both parents spoke with a brogue. Occasionally, from association, Nora would use it; then she would stop suddenly, turn red, and speak perfect English. Ethel disliked her even more than she did Mattie.
One day as she was helping wash dishes she lost a valuable diamond ring. It had been her Grandmother's engagement ring and she was heart-broken. Although they searched everywhere no trace of it could they find, but as they were walking up the hill a week or so afterwards they thought they saw Mattie Hastings through the trees. They called as a jest, "We've seen you and you're discovered—come out!" Whereupon someone shrieked, and proceeding to the spot they found Mattie lying upon the ground. She had walked in the sun and had started to run and had fallen over some stumps. Instantly they saw that she had been prostrated by the heat, and having recently studied "First aid to the injured" they proceeded to remove her blouse and open her corset, when lo! there upon a silver chain around her neck was not only Ethel Hollister's ring but another belonging to Honora Casey. She had missed it a few days after Ethel had lost hers, but she wisely refrained from speaking of it to anyone but Patty Sands, adding, "Shure, it would only be afther worryin' Miss Kate, and it might turn up. I'll bide me time."
Mattie, upon recovering consciousness and seeing that her secret had been discovered handed the rings to Ethel saying that she should kill herself. The girls, seeing that she was desperate, replied that as one of their "seven laws" was to "render service," if she would confess why she had taken the rings they would shield her. Overjoyed, the girl did so. She told everything. She had done it for her young sister who had dislocation of the spine, whereby she might be converting them into money have the child placed in the Cripples Hospital and treated. A physician had assured her that the case was not incurable, and for two hundred dollars the child could be watched and nursed, and eventually her spine might be straightened. She said that since the accident that had made the child as she was, her mother had become a drug fiend. One evening her cousin—a young man who was a chauffeur—invited her mother to join a party and they took a joy ride. On their way home, being under the influence of wine, they knocked down and ran over a child near Mrs. Hasting's house. Letting her out, they sped quickly on for fear of arrest. Upon discovering that it was her own child, and what was worse, that from that night she was to be a hopeless cripple, the mother nearly went insane. Still she kept her secret and no one suspected that she had been one of the parties in the car. Her remorse drove her to take the drug. Under its influence she told Mattie. At that time the girl was earning six dollars a week, three of which she was paying to her mother, supposing her to be buying food for the invalid. When she discovered the truth she threatened her with exposure and tried to buy little Mollie nourishing delicacies herself, but three dollars would barely pay for the necessities of life, and she became discouraged and desperate. In the store she saw a customer drop her purse. She placed her foot upon it and when the lady had gone she picked it up. The purse contained forty dollars and some cards, etc. After depositing thirty-five dollars in the bank she took five and bought the child fruit, books, and ice cream. It seemed to put new life into Mollie. She took small articles from time to time, and pretending that they had been given her she sold them. Her remorse was terrible. She was unhappy. If only she could work harder and earn more. At that time she heard of the Camp Fire Girls—of the useful and wonderful things that they learned so that in time they became competent to demand and receive large salaries. She loved Miss Kate and asked her if she might join. Kate assented, and it was then that the girls first met her. Gradually the desire to collect the two hundred dollars for Mollie came back, and with it the temptation to steal. She took money from every girl. She was even willing, after placing Mollie in the Hospital, to go to prison, if only the child could be cured. She felt that some day she would be caught with the goods. She adored Miss Kate and took nothing from her. Finally she began taking jewelry to sell.
This morning she was on her way to find a hiding place for the two rings and a diamond locket taken from another girl, when she heard Ethel and Patty call. Then she was sure that they had discovered her secret, and trying to run away she tripped and lost consciousness. "Now that I have told you all," she added, "your father—Judge Sands—will send me up," and she sobbed piteously. Her grief was sincere. She had not stolen for herself. She had been desperate. Pity crept into the hearts of the two girls and they constituted themselves her friends. They made her replace the jewelry in Nora's and Edna's suit cases. They found the lady's card from whom she had taken the purse and had Mattie return the money and bag with a note withholding her name. They had her draw out the money obtained from the sale of the purloined articles and return it to the head of the Department Store saying that the things had been taken and sold under great provocation for a sick child, enumerating them and the prices, after which she felt happier, for she knew that the girls would remain her friends. "Some day," she said, "I may make good."
Ethel wrote and got Aunt Susan interested in little Mollie. Being a manager of a Cripples School that lady at once placed her free of charge in one of the wards as a boarder and pupil. The resident physician said that in a year's time he should send her out cured. Poor Mr. and Mrs. Hastings were overjoyed, while Mattie's gratitude knew no way to express itself. She simply regarded Ethel and Patty with looks of adoration, while in time they overcame their prejudice, Ethel even kissing her goodbye.
There had been wrought in Ethel Hollister a great change. Much of her pride and worldliness had dropped from her. She had gradually become an earnest believer in truth despising all subterfuges and shams.
Upon her arrival home, Mrs. Hollister, while noting her new and splendid health, was appalled at the change. From an obedient child, easily convinced that no matter what her mother said was right, she had become a girl of great character with ideas of her own. Mrs. Hollister angrily denounced her mother-in-law and Aunt Susan, saying that it was their work and that her child, for whom she had slaved all of her life, had become wilful, stubborn and disobedient. "She even refuses to go into Society this winter. She talks of taking up low down settlement work. She'll end in becoming a suffragette, and standing on a soap box she'll address the street rabble, perhaps wearing a large bonnet and standing beside a kettle holiday time ringing a bell and holding out a tambourine,—a Salvation Army woman. Oh! what a fool I was to let her go away from my influence," and she sobbed,—"to toil and save for her to make a brilliant match. See the way she rewards me. Why did I bring into this world such an ungrateful child! It's all that wretched Camp Fire business."
Then Ethel gently put her arm around her mother and told her that only since she had been a Camp Fire girl had she appreciated how hard she had worked for her. "I know, Mamma," she said, "how you and Papa, and even Grandmamma, have sacrificed for me. I see myself as I have been, (not as I am now)—a selfish, wicked girl, not even appreciating what you have done for me, and I am appalled. I am going to do for you now. I am going to see the roses come back into your cheeks and the wrinkles leave your pretty face. Uncle John is Papa's senior by ten years but he looks much younger—why? Because Papa is bent and worn getting money for me—for us to make a show on. Everything is sham, Mamma, and let us give it up—let us keep only friends who care for us ourselves and we shall be happier. I shall take you up to camp next summer. You can help us so much; you are so clever and can teach the girls. And as for a grand marriage for me, I'll promise never to marry at all unless you approve of the man, and I may make a better marriage than you dream of. So just let us be happy and natural and live within our means," and she took her sobbing mother in her arms.
Ethel Hollister's Second Summer as a Camp Fire Girl
The morning after Ethel had declared herself her mother came up to her room. She could see that Mrs. Hollister had not slept and her eyes were red from weeping. Ethel kissed her, saying:
"Mamma, we are going to be very happy together—you and I. I don't want to disappoint you, dear, nor would I do so willingly; but I simply can not live as I've been living. Sit down and let us talk."
Then she told of Aunt Susan,—of her kindness, unselfishness and self-sacrifice. She told of Mattie and how they had helped her, and of her Uncle John; of Patty and Judge Sands; and lastly of Kate and what a wonderful character she was.
"Wait, dear, I want to show you my ceremonial gown," and she quickly slipped it on. The girl's hair was still hanging unbound, having slept in it that way, and she hooked about it her coronation band. Said her mother:
"Well, I must say it is becoming. What a Pocahontas you would make in private theatricals!" she exclaimed with maternal pride; "But then, why should I speak of theatricals? You've given up all such things."
"Why, Mamma," laughed Ethel, "I'm not going into a convent. I have given up nothing but the unreal part of life."
"I suppose you'll tell everyone how poor we are, and how I have put you forward under false colors. Then people will despise me."
"No, Mamma, I shall not do a thing to put you in any awkward position. Keep on. Give your teas for me if you wish,—even have the two extra maids. It costs very little and we have a social time; it cheers Grandmamma and there's no need to stop them. But this is what I shall not do: First I shall tell Harvey Bigelow that Aunt Susan was once a millionaire but that she lost all of her money. I shall tell of her wonderful gifts to Akron,—of her charities, and how well she is beloved, but that I shall inherit no money from her. Harvey will tell his mother and she'll spread the news. If people care any the less for us after hearing it, let them go; but I don't propose to tell what Papa's salary is, or that you—poor dear—sit until morning sewing for me,—a thing that I'm not going to allow you to do any longer.
"Then I shall give up attending Madam's. Yes, don't start. Every bill Papa pays is a nail in his coffin, I know. Tomorrow I shall go to Barnard and try to pass an examination, and for one quarter what Madam charges I can get a sound and solid education, and were Papa to die I can leave with my teacher's diploma knowing something that will be of use to me. I could help support you and Grandmamma. What could I do were I forced to support myself after leaving Madam's. Why, an education such as her girls receive is of no earthly account unless for music or such accomplishments; but with a degree from Barnard I can earn good money. I am so glad that I am young and that I shall have a chance. You'll be proud of me, Mamma,—just wait and see," and she kissed her mother affectionately.
They went down to breakfast. Archibald Hollister listened to his daughter's plans. He was proud of her and his face showed it.
"You see, Papa," continued Ethel, "every penny is spent on me. Do you and Mamma ever go to a theatre? No. Do you ever take a drive? Never,—why? Because you can't spare the money. Now at least we shall be able to go to the moving picture shows and take Grandmamma. I bet you'd enjoy it, wouldn't you, Grandmamma? And, do you know, the best people go, and a quarter is the highest priced seat."
The girl chatted on until the postman delivered the mail.
"Oh! a letter from Kate. Let's see what news she has written," and she gave a gasp as she read the first page.
"Poor Mrs. Casey died Saturday from pneumonia. Nora is heartbroken, and poor Pat Casey acts as though he knew not which way to turn. Nora looks really refined in black,—almost handsome. She loved Mrs. Casey, who in spite of her peculiarities was a good wife and mother. Later: Mr. Casey wishes to take Nora away. He suggested New York, so you may see her, etc."
Then Ethel described Honora.
"It is strange but I can never like that girl. There's something about her that's antagonistic to me, and yet when she comes here I must be polite and ask her to visit me."
"If she's in mourning she'll not expect to meet people," said Mrs. Hollister quickly, "nor to go to any places of amusement, thank heavens."
"Oh, she's very generous. Probably she'd invite us, Mamma. Well, poor Nora, she loved her mother. I'm sorry for her."
ETHEL ENTERS COLLEGE
The next morning Ethel Hollister walked up to Barnard and put in her application for admittance. The following week upon her first examination she failed, but she entered the class with conditions. The girl studied hard and soon made good.
She liked the girls of her class. They were intelligent, athletic, and agreeable.
Her former friends and companions from La Rue's declared that of late—in fact, since she had become a Camp Fire Girl—Ethel Hollister had developed fads. This Barnard was one. But as Ethel kept on steadily progressing in college, and she was so very young—not yet seventeen—people began to consider her a girl of great ability and intelligence. Mrs. Hollister grew to be proud of hearing her praised on every side and Archibald seemed less worried over money matters. She was rather glad that things had changed. Perhaps it was all for the best, and people would respect them no less.
Grandmother never wearied of hearing her grandchild tell of her visit. "And to think," she'd say, "that Susan has had all the trouble she tells of and has made no sign. How gladly would I have helped her. Still, had I done so we would have had no house. Well, the Lord knows what's best. We could only have offered her a home. I'm glad the Insane Asylum was endowed and the boys educated before the crash came."
Nora did not visit New York in the winter. She went South with her father. The girls—Kate and Ethel—corresponded, and in that way Ethel heard all of the news. The Judge came often and took Patty and Kate on long motor trips. Mattie was doing nicely. She was employed in a Woman's Exchange where she received twelve dollars a week and taught cooking and sewing. Mollie was improving daily. Mr. Hastings had a fine position with Judge Sands. Honora was away, but the rest of the girls were as usual. The Camp Fires met weekly and everyone missed Ethel, but no one missed her as did Aunt Susan. "Why," wrote Kate, "she says the light has gone out of her life, and Tom roams around disconsolate. But," she added, "you should see the up-to-date way in which he dresses. He is the pink of fashion, I tell you."
Ethel laughed, and while reading would stop every now and then to explain.
Then Ethel answered:
"I have joined Miss Westcott's Camp Fire Girls, and if you believe it, Mamma goes with me. She doesn't like it, but she's a great help to me and to the girls, for she teaches them so much. She's consistent and it will take her some time to overcome her prejudices. Nanny Bigelow belongs, and Harvey takes us when Mamma can not go. By the way, Harvey seems quite interested in medicine, and after graduating he is going to study it. We call him 'Doctor' Bigelow.
"Dorothy Kip's Day Nursery has proved a great success. It is the dearest little flat, and the babies are sweet. Dorothy's old woman is a great help, and I want you to know that Dorothy works hard. Why, she almost runs the place on contributions and her allowance, and the little ones are just as happy and comfortable as possible. She has books and toys, and we girls take turns in going in and reading to the elder children, as well as amusing the younger ones. That is a good charity, and Grandmother (Kate noticed that Ethel had begun to call Mrs. Hollister 'Mother' and the old lady 'Grandmother') goes nearly every pleasant day and takes flowers. She generally spends the afternoon with them, so in a small way Dorothy Kip is emulating Jane Addams. Who knows but some day she may be her equal,—Oh!"
The second letter said:
"I must tell you something. The other evening Harvey Bigelow called. You know I never liked him any more than I liked Mattie nor Nora. Now I like Mattie and I am beginning to like Harvey. I hope I shall change towards Nora, but I see no sign now. Well, Harvey began.
"'Miss Ethel,' he said, 'I've determined to become a physician. I presume you've heard that, and I'm determined to become a good one, too. You may not know it, but I have always liked boys. I don't say that I dislike girls,—but I do like boys. (Harvey is developing a sense of humor.) When I visited my college chum—Joe Atkinson—this last summer, I was surprised to learn that he was the Scout Master to a troop of eight boys. He lives in Springfield, Illinois. I had a corking visit and a fine time with the kids, two of whom are his young brothers.
"'Do you know, I became mightily interested in the movement. I have studied and watched it and I think it's the finest thing ever started. I came home quite enthusiastic and I talked of it to the two younger Kip boys and Alan McAllister,—Grace's brother. If you'll believe it, before I realized what I'd done, these boys had formed a troop and began to importune me to be the Scout Master of it. There's the two Kips, Tom Wilder (Sara Judson's cousin), a brother of Grace McAllister, Tommy Westcott, and my cousin, Jack Atwater, besides two other boys from the East Side Y.M.C.A. Miss Westcott, the Guardian of the Camp Fire Girls, asked that they might be allowed to join, making eight in all.'
"I caught him by the hand and I said:
"'Harvey Bigelow, I take off my hat to you. I never liked you so well in my life."
"He blushed awfully and seemed embarrassed, but he simply said:
"'Don't you think it about time that I became in earnest over something in life? The opportunity presented itself and I grasped it—that's all.'
"Well, to make a long story short, several of these boys are desirous of going West next summer and spending their vacations instead of East, and he called to ask me about the Muskingum Camp. He is going there, Kate, and he'll be near us. I made him write to Mr. Adams—your father's man—who did everything for us, and ask him to reserve a place for the Scouts. I'm just wild for summer to come. I'm going to bring Mother and Grandmother. Grandmother will visit Aunt Susan, and Mother can spend her time between Aunt Susan's, your house, and the Camp. She doesn't say much but I really think the change is a relief to her—poor dear little mother. I was the selfish juggernaut who made her sacrifice everyone for me. I realize it now, and thank God it's not too late to mend.
"I am doing finely at college. I should like to form from some of my class another Company of Camp Fire Girls, but the trouble is they are too busy with study. They say that they're worn out when summer comes and have to go away to rest, but they intend to join during their third year. Then it won't be such a continuous grind as it is now.
"I am so glad that I had the good sense to start in college. I intend to be self-supporting after I graduate. I consider it a glorious thing for an unmarried woman—don't you?
"Well, dear, I must close. Kiss Uncle John, etc."
That was great news for Kate—that Harvey Bigelow should have become a man. It was too good to be true. She sent the letter to Aunt Susan, whom she knew would be interested in it.
"I tell you, Ethel is made of good stuff!" ejaculated Uncle John. "She was in the right church but in the wrong pew—that's all."
ETHEL AND HARVEY BECOME FIRM FRIENDS
Vacation arrived. Ethel had acquitted herself well, and her examinations were excellent. She and her mother began making preparations to go West.
This time it was Grandmother and Mrs. Hollister whose wardrobes needed replenishing. Ethel bought for herself two new suits and some blouses. She had actually outgrown hers of the preceding summer.
"My dear, I am spending very little money now," said Mrs. Hollister, "and I'm going to put some by for your trousseau."
Ethel laughed merrily.
"Why, Mother, where's the man?"
"Never mind," replied her mother, "he'll come."
"Mother, you're a born matchmaker!" exclaimed the girl. "I wish you had had other daughters."
"Heaven forbid!" ejaculated Mrs. Hollister with a funny little smile. "One is enough."
"Is that intended for a compliment?" laughed the girl. "If so it's a doubtful one."
During the month of May, Harvey would invite her to go horseback riding up to Van Cortlandt Park. They had to make it Saturdays, as that was Ethel's only free day. They usually started early. On the country roads the apple and peach blossoms were like pictures. To the girl they brought back the previous spring at Aunt Susan's, and especially the morning when she had revealed to Ethel the sad story of her married life. On one of these excursions the girl related it to Harvey.
"By George!" he ejaculated when she had finished, "that old lady is a sport and no mistake. She's all right. I imagined she was made of different stuff from other women, and do you know I sort of suspected that she hadn't all the money that your mother thought she had. She was too refined and showed good blood. Had she been so wealthy, from her dressing people might have taken her for a miser, and gentle folks are seldom misers. I thought that it was necessity that caused her to wear those old-fashioned clothes, so I argued that though Mrs. Hollister imagined her wealthy and that you were in a line to inherit her money there was a great mistake somewhere. But pshaw! as for that every mother is ambitious for her daughter. Why, my mother left no stone unturned until she had married Edith to Lord Ashurst, and I must admit that I was easily led by my mother. Why, I've been out for a rich wife ever since I left school; but, Ethel, I've changed. Now I propose to pay my bills with the money I earn, not with hers; nor shall I allow her to buy what she wears."
"Does your mother realize how you feel?" asked Ethel, pushing her fair, curling locks from her eyes.
"Bless you, yes. She and I had one long talk, and after it I tell you there was something doing in the Bigelow family; but Nannie who has lots of horse sense sided with me, and together we were too many for mother. She saw that it was up to her to make the best of it and she did, but like your mother she still cherishes her ambitions. Nan said to her:
"'You have one daughter who has done the grand marriage stunt and she's some class. Do let us choose for ourselves."
"What did your mother say to that?" laughed Ethel.
"I think she boxed Nannie's ears and then apologized. She loses her self-control sometimes. Poor mother," and Harvey laughed. "Nannie has some temper, too, and don't you make any mistake."
Ethel was beginning to have a real friendly feeling for Harvey. He asked many questions about her cousin Kate.
"She rings true," he said. "I liked her from the first."
"She is true," replied Ethel. "You'll see her this summer, and I'm sure you'll like Uncle John and his wife. He's just a dear."
Those were red letter days for Ethel. She enjoyed the air, the scenery, and the rides; and she enjoyed talking to Harvey, for now that he understood she could talk to him as though he were one of the family—without restriction and without embarrassment.
"What puzzles me," said Ethel, "is the way our mothers argue. When they plan our marriages it's only money and position. Love never seems to enter into their heads. Oh! I grew so tired of it. Thank God it's over, and our family are now normal. Even Grandmother wished me to marry well. I had far rather be an old maid than to be tied to a man for whom I care nothing, and have to sit opposite and pour tea for him three hundred and sixty-five days in a year. Imagine the horrible monotony of that. I heard that advice given to a girl in a play and I never forgot it; and if only girls could be brought to realize beforehand the sin of it there would be fewer unhappy marriages."
ETHEL'S SECOND TRIP
The time arrived for the Hollisters to start. There were tears in Archibald Hollister's eyes as he kissed them goodbye at the train. Within the last year his life had been happier. He had seen more of his wife and had grown to love her better than he had since Ethel was a child. She and he were together nearly all of the time, and it was like reading over a forgotten love story.
"Don't you worry, papa," said Ethel, patting his cheek. "We're going to keep well and have a lovely summer, and when you come up for your vacation you'll be like a boy again."
"Yes, Archie," spoke up Mrs. Hollister "Be sure that Mirinda gives you good things to eat and has them well cooked. She'll have little else to do, and you go out and call on the Bigelows and Judsons. Take in the moving pictures and roof gardens. I'll trust you," she laughed, "but don't fail to write me three times a week, will you, telling me how things are going on. And don't let Mirinda's young man come to the house but once a week and on Sundays."
"Remember everything," laughed Ethel.
Grandmother kissed her son and murmured:
"God bless you, Archie. I expect to take on a new lease of life."
"Do mother," said the man, "we all need you."
The trip was pleasant. The scenery was fine and the country looked as though it had been freshly swept and dusted, everything seemed so clean. Grandmother's eyes glistened with pleasure. They were to stop at Akron first, where they were to leave Grandmother, and after a visit of a week Ethel and her mother were to go on to Columbus and hence to Camp.
As the train drew into the depot at Akron, there stood Tom with Aunt Susan, but what a metamorphosis! Tom just escaped being a fashionably dressed swell. He was too manly for that. He wore a blue serge suit, colored negligee shirt with tie to match, a Panama hat, and russet ties. His handsome face was so full of character that Mrs. Hollister whispered to Ethel:
"What a remarkably distinguished looking man he is. You never told me of his being so."
Ethel blushed when Tom took her up and kissed her as he might have done had she been his sister, and as for Aunt Susan, even Grandmother gazed at her with amazement. She was attired in a modish little automobile bonnet, close fitting and of grey, while her grey linen suit gave her an up-to-date air, for now, she proudly informed Ethel, Tom owned his own car.
"Aunt Susan, you look out of sight," said Ethel, kissing her. "I never knew you."
Mrs. Hollister was happy. Ethel had not half told her, and she was agreeably disappointed. They took their seats in the new and commodious car and soon reached the little house. The ingrain and rag carpets had disappeared. In their places were Oriental rugs. Striped red awnings shaded the windows and piazzas. The porch had been converted into the cosiest of lounging places with willow furniture, scarlet cushions, rugs, birds, plants, etc., as well as small tables filled with the latest magazines and Aunt Susan's sewing baskets. They had a hammock at either end, and altogether it was lovely. Mrs. Hollister simply raved over it and the artistic interior with its fine old furniture.
"Ethel is responsible for this change," said Tom, removing his hat and wiping his handsome brow. "Last summer when she came here I dressed like a countryman, but in the most tactful manner she suggested high collars, different ties, and fairly talked my army hat right off my head, saying that I looked like a G.A.R. Little by little she's converted Aunt Susan into a fashionable woman. But how careless of me. Let me get you a cup of tea," he said to Mrs. Hollister, placing a table before her and a stool under her feet.
He soon returned, bringing the tray and a plate of delicious jumbles.
"You see," he continued, "Aunt Susan will not keep two girls, so I have to be waitress now and then. She is attached to Jane, who though is a good cook, but her trouble is she's set in her way and refuses to stay if we allow another girl to enter the house. We are handicapped, you see, for we can't spare Jane, nor could we replace her."
Gradually he took Mrs. Hollister into his confidence and told her of his early life and of Aunt Susan's misfortunes. "But bless you," he continued, "the Lord is good to us. She'll never need a penny for my income is increasing and my practice is more than I can attend to. I should have a partner but she won't hear of my taking one. She is too cautious. So I have several young students who study law in my office and help me as well."
Then he proceeded to extol Ethel.
"Mrs. Hollister," he said, "she's a girl of wonderful character and she'll make a magnificent woman. I notice she's improved since she was here."
"Yes, it's her college," replied her mother, "and the life at camp last summer. I must admit she knew more than I when she broke loose from my foolish and unwise influence. I was not fit to guide her, Mr. Harper, I realize it now."
"Never mind, madam; it's to you she owes her beauty. Why, you and she look exactly like sisters," whereupon Mrs. Hollister capitulated to Tom Harper. She couldn't speak of him with enough enthusiasm and praise. She wrote pages to Archibald.
"My dear, everyone says he'll yet be Governor, and while I wouldn't have you breathe it for the world I'm sure he's in love with Ethel. What a couple they'd make. Of course she has no suspicion of such a thing, nor would I hint it to her; but you wait and see."
Mr. Hollister smiled as he read his wife's letter, and his heart was glad. He had known Tom Harper's father and had respected him highly.
"Well," he thought, "this time Bella is on the right tack. I'll not interfere," and he softly whistled "Comin' Thro' the Rye."
"Aunt Susan, you've grown so young," said Ethel, "and as for Tom, well he's the glass of fashion and mould of form. He looks fine. Oh! I'm so glad to be back and to have Mother and Grandmother with me; and Father will be here soon. It seems like a dream—too good to be true. Hasn't Mother grown lovely?"
"Never saw anything like the change," replied the old lady. "In fact, you've worked wonders in us all, my dear," she said. "Look at me. Why! I feel like an up-to-date fashion plate."
"Yes, Madam, you're up-to-date all right and no mistake. I didn't know you that day at the depot."
"I often wonder," continued the elderly woman, "if people think I'm putting on airs. Really, Jane told me of some woman who said 'old Mrs. Carpenter was mighty upraised, dressing like a young girl.' It's funny, isn't it, what dress will do. But I should look young for I'm so happy to have Alice here again, and to think that we shall be together all summer. I don't yet seem to realize it."
"Did you notice how Grandmother cried as this house came to view,—her birthplace?"
"No wonder. She hasn't been here," said Aunt Susan, "since Mother's funeral, I presume it brought it all back to her. Poor Alice! I ought not to say it, but Archie Hollister was not the man to make her happy. He ran through with nearly all of her money. It slipped through his fingers just like water, and I guess her life with his family was none too peaceful and happy. They had the name of being great fighters. Of course she has her recompense in John and Archibald—that's something. A woman needs peace. Now take your mother, for instance. Why has she grown young? Because she's quit worrying—that is the secret."
"Yes, and when I think that she did it all for me—why, Aunt Susan, I can't lay up anything against her; I love her too well. She sees now how useless it all was. But what do you know about Harvey Bigelow? Isn't he developing into a fine man?"
"He certainly is," replied Aunt Susan, "and I always liked him. He looked one squarely in the eye, and such a man can be trusted."
"I don't know," answered Ethel, "of late everyone seems to be changing for the better. The whole world appears different to me. It makes me happy to see others happy," and the girl went out to call her mother and Tom in to tea.
"I'm transferring my allegiance to your mother, young woman," said Tom.
"I'm not a bit jealous," replied Ethel. "Mother is really more interesting to men than I, and what's more, she's always been. But hurry in; Jane will be furious if her biscuits grow cold."
The two weeks passed only too quickly. They spent their days touring all over Ohio, so it seemed to Ethel, and at night the young people came in shoals to see her, while the grown-ups had bridge parties. Said Mrs. Hollister:
"How hospitable and lovely these Westerners are. I had no idea that they were so refined."
"What did you expect to meet, Mother?" laughed Ethel—"not cowboys?"
"Susan," said Grandmother one morning, "I notice that you curl your hair. It's very becoming, I think."
"Alice, you don't consider me too old, do you? Sometimes I wonder if I'm not sort of making a fool of myself, but Ethel got me in the way of it and I try to keep the front as fluffy as possible, for she asked me to. And I've another confession to make," said Aunt Susan. "Alice, I blue my hair—regular bluing water so as to keep it white. There now—what do you think of that?"
"So do I, Susan," laughed her sister. "I've done it for several years. It certainly does improve the color. Grey hairs grow so yellow looking. The child is right. We ought to keep ourselves up while we're able. We polish up old mahogany and keep it fresh and clean—why not old women?" and the two laughed merrily.
"I think the Camp Fire business has made a woman of Ethel, don't you?"
"How could it fail to?" said Aunt Susan. "Women are coming into their own, Alice. They're growing sensible and self-reliant. Look at our Grandmothers and at us. Do you notice the difference? And our grandchildren will be just as far ahead of us as we are of our grandmothers. Isn't it wonderful?"
"I like you Western people," said Mrs. Hollister, coming in at that moment followed by Ethel.
"I've just told Mother," said the girl, "that Western people can give points to us. They are natural, kind-hearted, hospitable, and they seldom measure their friendship by the amount of people's bank accounts. With them it's character that talks."
"How did you like my sanitarium, Bella?" asked Aunt Susan.
"I couldn't half express myself," replied Mrs. Hollister. "You're a wonderful woman, Aunt Susan, and the people here have cause to bless you. I've never before admitted this to Ethel, but I'm very glad that she came here last summer. I see my short-sightedness every day when I look back and realize how I was bringing her up," and Mrs. Hollister wiped her eyes.
"You've been a lovely and kind mother to me," replied Ethel. "You have sacrificed far too much for me and I never half appreciated it."
"I have been an unwise mother my dear," said she, "and you stopped me just in time. I only now begin to realize my limitations. I've been self-centered and conceited."
Ethel kissed her mother affectionately, and the two old ladies coughed and knitted vigorously.
"We are all liable to make mistakes, Bella," said Aunt Susan. "Yours has been in loving your child too dearly."
They arrived in Columbus where Uncle John greeted them affectionately and insisted upon kissing his sister-in-law. Mrs. Hollister was persuaded not to go to camp until after a few days, when the girls should be settled. Then Uncle John was to take her up. So Ethel, Kate, and the girls, with one new member, went alone.
Save that Nora Casey wore mourning and seemed quiet, everything was the same as the summer before. Patty Sands was wild with delight upon seeing Ethel. Edna Whitely was the same happy-go-lucky Edna as of old. Mollie Long and Edith Overman had grown very tall, while Sallie Davis had become a perfect roly poly. She had gained twenty pounds and was constantly dieting and taking long walks.
Mattie Hastings cried when she beheld Ethel. Mattie had grown quiet and dignified, while in her face she showed more character.
Ethel looked at them all, especially at Honora.
"Can I not put my dislike of that girl behind me?" she thought. "Why can't I be nice to her?"
She tried hard. She began asking her of her mother, and tears filled Nora's eyes, but after a while her voice began to take on its old shrill tones, while in her manner there came that indescribable something that had always repelled Ethel.
"That girl is my cross," she thought. "I must like her, and yet I can't. I shall never become worthy to be a Camp Fire Girl until I overcome it. I wonder if she'll affect Mother as she does me."
Ethel was now a Fire Maker. In addition to her Wood Gatherer's ring she wore the pretty silver bracelet of the Fire Maker.
The second evening they had a Council Fire. The wood and kindling had been gathered and brought by Edna Whitely and a new girl named Kate Winthrop, who had never been to Camp before. Edna couldn't seem to advance. She was actually too lazy to work for honors and it worried Kate Hollister not a little.
"What's the difference?" she would say. "Someone will have to gather wood and we have but one new girl—that's Kate. You may be glad that I stayed."
The girls looked pretty in their brown ceremonial gowns and their long hair banded with the ceremonial band. Ethel advanced and lighted the fire, intoning the usual Fire Makers' song. Then they had the exercises. Honors were awarded and several girls advanced to the next higher grade. This is the Fire Makers' ode to Fire that they intoned as Ethel lighted the Council Fire: "Oh, Fire, long years ago when our fathers fought with the great animals you were their protection. From the cruel cold of winter you saved them. When they needed food you changed the flesh of beasts into savory meat for them. During all the ages your mysterious flame has been a symbol to them for Spirit. So (tonight) we light our fire in remembrance of the great Spirit who gave you to us."
In the darkness of the woods with the bright flames shooting upward the effect of the chanting was weird, mysterious and unusual.
Then Kate showed Ethel the typed copy of the Legend of Ohio which had been attached to each count book, handing her a copy for her own.
The roll was called, reports read of the last Council Fire, and of the weekly meeting. Edna Whitely had really exerted herself and had written it in clever rhyme.
Then to their surprise a report of Ethel's and Patty's kindness to Mattie Hastings was read. It seems that Mattie's conscience had troubled her and at one of the meetings she had confessed it all and how she had been saved by the two girls. She also requested that it should be read upon Ethel's return. It told how under unusual distress she had been tempted to do a great wrong,—-how the two girls caused her to make restitution, and how after that they placed Mollie in the Cripples School, and that now she was on her way to recovery. It said that she began from then to try and lead a better life and that with God's help she was doing so.
The girls looked at one another, but although they made no sign they knew what the wrong was. But they smiled at Mattie in the most friendly way, Nora grasping her by the hand said:
"I hope yere sister will be after walkin' soon."
Then came the Wohelo ceremony. Mattie came forward and lighted a branch, throwing it on the ashes, while Patty Sands knelt and lighted it chanting:
"Wohelo means work. We glorify work because through work we are free. We work to win, to conquer, to be masters. We work for the joy of working and because we are free."
Then she stepped back and Edith Overman came forward chanting and lighting another branch.
"Wohelo means health. We hold on to health because through health we serve and are happy; in caring for the health and beauty of our persons we are caring for the very shrine of the Great Spirit. Wohelo means health."
Then Sallie Davis stepped forward while Edith retired. She lighted the third branch which crackled and threw up numberless red sparks, after which she chanted the last verse:
"I light the light of love, for Wohelo means love. We love Love, for love is life and light and joy and sweetness. And love is comradeship and motherhood and fatherhood, and all dear kinship. Love is the joy of service so deep that self is forgotten. Wohelo means love."
After that this song was sung: "Lay me to sleep in thy sheltering flame. O Master of the Hidden Fire. Wash pure my heart and cleanse for me My Soul's desire. In flame of sunrise bathe my soul O Master of the Hidden Fire. That when I wake clear-eyed may be My Soul's desire."
This is by Fiona Macleod.
They stood around talking to Miss Kate for a little while, who walking over to Mattie kissed her tenderly, after which each girl followed her example before retiring, and poor Mattie was all broken up over it.
MRS. HOLLISTER'S VISIT TO CAMP
When the morning dawned on the day Mrs. Hollister was expected, great were the preparations made for that lady.
"Listen to me, girls; she's the cleverest woman you ever met," said Cousin Kate. "She has not been exactly in favor of our organization, so I wish each of you girls to do your best, and Mrs. Hollister can teach you so many useful things."
"Yes, indeed," said Ethel. "Cousin Kate is right. There's very little that Mother can not do."
Old Mr. Adams came up with a load of delicacies which had been ordered by the thoughtful Uncle John.
He paid no attention to the girls but as on previous occasions he gave his entire attention to his horses. He wiped off their foaming sweat with his hands. Last year it had been his handkerchief varied with bundles of grass and leaves. After cleaning them to his satisfaction he calmly walked to the clear brook and washed his hands thoroughly.
"Isn't that awful?" whispered Patty to Miss Kate. "I shall never feel like drinking water from that brook again."
"Why my dear," laughed Kate, "that water changes every minute. It's gone now and in its place there's fresh—don't worry."
"Here they are!" called Nora, and there came to view Uncle John and a lady whom from Ethel's resemblance to her they at once knew and fell deeply in love with, especially Mattie.
And everything pleased Mrs. Hollister,—the girls, their costumes, their tents, and the delicious dinner cooked over an open fire interested her greatly. She even held one of the forked branches on which reposed the chicken and broiled it as well as a chef, but she thought the green corn was the most delicious thing that she'd ever tasted. After dinner she said:
"Now girls, see if I have it correct: 'After tying a string to the end of each ear, soak the corn in water for an hour. Then lay it on the hot coals, turning frequently. Draw it out by the string and eat with salt and melted butter.' Well, it's simply great. I wish I were young again. I think I'd like to be a Camp Fire Girl." She was as enthusiastic as a child. Ethel looked at Kate and they smiled over the change that had taken place since the day Kate wished to explain to her aunt what the Camp Fire Girl was.
"Don't you think that Mother grows young?" asked Ethel proudly of her cousin.
"She's a changed woman," replied Kate, "in every way. She's simply lovely."
Mrs. Hollister adapted herself and made friends quickly. She became tactful, a quality that had hitherto been unknown. She liked Nora and the girl loved Mrs. Hollister. Ethel marveled. That her mother who disliked anything savoring of loudness could tolerate Nora seemed wonderful.
"The fault must lie with me," she thought. "Even Mother likes her."
Mrs. Hollister went right to work and taught the girls how to cut and fit. She taught them many of the little arts and niceties of dressmaking, and the girls became proficient and at the next Council meeting each received several honors. Then she taught them to trim hats and make the daintiest bows; and after she had taught them how to crochet and make Irish lace their gratitude was boundless.
She also taught them how to cook—how to make delicious corn bread with one egg, where they had been in the habit of using two, insisting upon their first scalding their meal. Then she made them delicious gingerbread, using cold coffee left from breakfast in place of milk or cream and many other dishes of which they had never heard.
"Really, Aunt Bella," said Kate, as the girls were receiving their honors, "I feel that you deserve some of these beads."
THE SCOUTS ARRIVE
Great was the surprise of the girls when the next afternoon they beheld walking towards the Camp two young men in Scout costume. They were none other than Harvey Bigelow and young Teddy Kip, the Master and assistant Scout Master of the "Flying Eagles" Scout Patrol. Each wore a small flag, and upon a red ground was a black and white eagle. As they advanced they gave their cry—"Yeh—yeh—yeh!"
"Oh! Harvey," screamed Ethel, and rushed forward, greeting them warmly.
Then Cousin Kate came and welcomed them cordially, introducing them to the nine girls.
"Why, Mrs. Hollister," said Harvey, catching sight of her in her tent, "it does seem good to see you here," and he gazed at her thoughtfully and curiously. "'Pon my word you've grown so young I thought you were Ethel at first."
She wore one of her daughter's costumes and really she did look wonderfully youthful.
"Well, you can't complain. The Camp life has done you some good, and there you were so down on it."
"Yes, I was, but people change. Look at yourself," replied she seriously.
"Mrs. Hollister," said he, "I've been here only one week, but I already feel that I'm another man. It's splendid for both boy and girl. It's a boon to be able to get away from city people and fashionable resorts. Nan has put up a big fight and, Ethel, she's coming out to see you next month," he said.
"Oh, how lovely! Kate, hear this: Nannie Bigelow is coming here to see us next month."
"I shall be here until the middle," said Harvey, "and she'll go home with us. I've an aunt in Springfield and she'll go there for a visit first. After that she'll come on here and spend a few days if you girls want her to."
"I'm so glad," said Ethel, and she ran to tell her mother.
Teddy Kip was a handsome lad of about eighteen. Immediately Patty Sands suggested that he must see everything, so she took him off under her wing. The rest sat on the ground while Harvey related several anecdotes and funny experiences that had befallen his patrol since they came to Camp.
"Now you must stay and dine with us," said Kate. "Our cooking may not surprise you, as it is the Scouts' way as well, but we'll give you a change—a shore dinner. Father sent up some very fresh clams. We'll steam them, and we'll have roasted potatoes, corn, and broiled chicken, a little salad and a ripe watermelon to finish."
"Well, I declare—'pon my word, one might imagine himself in Rhode Island. We'll stay," and he smacked his lips.
"Nora, will you take Mr. Bigelow and show him our cellar. And the boys—perhaps they'll help us to prepare our meal," said Kate.
The young fellows were delighted to help the girls. Nora arose slowly and Harvey followed.
Kate remarked to Ethel that Nora had changed so since her mother's death and asked her if she had noticed it.
"Yes, I do notice that she seems more quiet," replied Ethel.
"But you still dislike her though?" asked Kate.
"I don't know," replied Ethel. "I'm ashamed to admit it, Cousin Kate, but I can never seem to overcome that antipathy to her. If only her voice would lower a little, and if she'd cease to come up and slap one on the back I might feel differently, but she's so rough and unladylike."
"Ethel, environments may have had much to do with that. She seems to love your mother. But here comes Patty with young Kip."
"What a dandy site you have here for a Camp," said the young man. "Gee! it's choice. It beats ours."
When dinner was ready how they ate! They pronounced it equal to the best shore dinner ever prepared, and when finished there was nothing left excepting clam shells and corn cobs.
That was Mrs. Hollister's last day in Camp. She had been with the girls for two weeks. After leaving Camp she was to spend half of her time with Kate's parents and the remaining with Aunt Susan.
Harvey and Teddy stayed until nearly five o'clock, and it was with regret on both sides that they had to go.
The next day being Sunday, Kate read the prayers while they all sung several hymns, after which each girl was left to do as she chose. Ethel proposed to ride horseback. Several joined together and hired a buckboard for the afternoon.
"We'll meet you at the Lake," they said to Ethel, and off they went.
It was a warm afternoon. The sky looked alternately bright, then cloudy, but they started not minding though it rained.
Nora declined to join the buckboard party and strolled off by herself. She looked almost pretty in her clean, white linen suit and her hair tightly bound by a broad black ribbon. The goldenrod and sumac were opening, but the summer flowers looked old and tired, as though they needed new gowns and freshening up a bit. The girl thought of how alone she was and sighed. Then her mother came into her mind. To think that she had to be taken while so young—not yet forty-five, and the tears rolled down her cheeks. But "Thank God," she thought, "I never caused her any unhappiness, and I still have my dear, kind father," and Nora wiped her eyes. "It's Miss Ethel who dislikes me. No matter what I say to her nor how friendly I am, she won't like me. And when I try to joke or do her a little kindness, if she smiles sure her smile chills me. It's like a piece of ice going down me back. And her 'thank you, Honora' is as cold as charity. I like her mother the best. And yet Miss Ethel kissed me goodbye at the train last summer; but she was kissing everyone and I suppose she had to kiss me, for she's too much of a lady to slight a body. Yet she'd be glad to see the last of me—that I know."
NORA GIVES SERVICE
Honora was an unconscious lover of Nature. She turned and beheld the sun slowly sinking.
"Ah! it must be nearly six o'clock," she thought. "I must make haste," but she stood spellbound, watching the glowing crimson, purple and yellow changing into orange, green, and greyish pink, and she gazed at the fiery ball sinking slowly behind the hills.
"How lovely!" she thought, "and it's gone down in a cloud. That means rain. It's growing very dark. Me for a quick walk down these hills before I lose my way."
She started down the path not a little worried. She had strayed off the main road and was on a side one leading through the woods. If only it would keep light until she reached Camp, and then if she could strike the broad road she'd be all right.
Walking rapidly through the woods she suddenly fancied that she hard a low moan, as though from someone in pain.
"It's a tramp perhaps," she thought. "He may be in trouble. Well, tramp or no tramp I must help him. I'll see."
Unafraid, Nora walked to the spot whence the cry had proceeded. Her eye fell upon an object huddled together on the ground. As it was out of the beaten path she stepped from branches and logs to stones and rocks before she reached it. She stooped down and gazed at it intently; then she uttered an exclamation of surprise.
"It's Miss Ethel!" she gasped. "God help her."
She was right. There lay Ethel Hollister—the girl who had never liked her—the girl from whom, no matter how hard she might try, Nora could get nothing beyond a cool "Thank you very much, Nora."
From the arm of this young woman trickled a stream of bright, red blood. Honora wondered if she was dead. She gently shook her.
"Miss Ethel!" she called once and twice, "Are ye much hurt?" Then she half lifted her to a sitting posture and Ethel opened her eyes.
"Oh, Miss Casey—Honora!" she gasped feebly. "Thank God it is you who have found me. I have been so frightened. Two men were searching for me. I passed them on the road before my horse took fright and threw me. I heard them say: 'It must be the same girl. She rode a white horse. Now I know who she is. She's the niece of John Hollister. Her father is a rich New Yorker. We can sell the horse. We've got him safe, and we can keep the girl for a ransom. Probably she's injured and is lying somewhere around here.' Nora, I dared not breathe lest they should find me. I prayed to God as I've never prayed before to let them pass me and to send me help. He has answered my prayer and I'm grateful. When I heard your footsteps I thought they had returned. Oh! I am so glad that it's you," and she burst into tears.
Nora knelt down and took her by the hand.
"Where is your pain, my dear?" she asked.
"My leg. I guess it must be broken, and my arm—-I have had that nearly cut off. The horse became frightened and unmangeable. He turned into these woods and started to run. I was knocked off by the branch of a tree. I don't know how long I've lain here—it seems for hours. I must have fainted, but Nora the pain in my arm and leg is terrible. Whatever can we do?"
The girl's hat hung from the tree. Her hair was unloosed and hanging about her face. Evidently she was suffering agony, and to make matters worse upon the leaves overhead Nora heard a pattering of rain.
"This will never do," she said to herself. Not a sign of a house or a vehicle in sight. A damp chill pervaded the air. They were too far from the main road to seek assistance.
"Your arm has been cut by this jagged stone, Miss Ethel," said Nora, kneeling and starting to roll from the girl's arm the sleeve of her blouse. "I don't think there are any bones broken. But first I must stop its bleeding."
Nora, having had considerable experience with cuts, wounds and bruises, went to work as though she were about to teach the girls "first aid."
Her handkerchief was soiled. Ethel had lost hers. Both women wore silk petticoats. How could she manage to secure a bandage?
Suddenly her mother wit came to the rescue. She slipped off her linen skirt. It was perfectly clean. With her strong teeth she tore into strips the front breadth.
"Hark!" she exclaimed. "Glory be to God! I think I hear running water." She said it devoutly and in gratitude, for now it was water that she needed. Taking Ethel's hat from the tree she started up the road where to her joy she beheld a watering trough that was fed by a little waterfall trickling down the side of the rocks.
After thoroughly washing the long linen strips so as to be sure that the starch was out of them she filled Ethel's hat with water and hurried back.
"Here, dearie," she said, "Let me wash your face. I brought the water in your hat," and with the balance of her skirt she washed the girl's face and then proceeded to tear open the sleeve, cleansing the wound with a fresh hatful of water. She did it carefully and thoroughly, with the skill of a surgeon. It was an ugly wound, but she bound the arm firmly with the strips.
"There now! So much for that," ejaculated Nora, rising and pushing back from her brow one curly lock that always insisted upon falling over her eyes.
"Oh, Honora! you are an angel," exclaimed Ethel, "and I have always been so unfriendly."
Nora appeared not to hear but went on:
"Can you stand, my dear?" she asked.
"No," sobbed the girl, "I guess my leg must be broken. However are we to reach Camp? Oh, Nora, for God's sake don't leave me. I should die of fright were you to do so, and the men may be hiding near even now. Don't go, I beseech. I know I am selfish and I've been unkind to you, but forgive me, Nora. I'll be your slave after this if only you'll stay with me. Don't go for help. Just stay here until I die," and the girl fell to sobbing.
"I'm cold," she murmured—"I'm so chilly, Nora," and she shivered.
Quickly Nora removed her heavy white sweater that she had just put on, and raising Ethel to a sitting posture she first put in her good arm. Then she fastened the sweater about the girl's neck.
"There, dear, that will keep you warm, and I'll not be after leaving you—never fear—not if we stay together all night in these woods. But I must think how we can manage with you and your injuries. Faith it's raining and you may catch your death."
"And I have your sweater on, Nora!" exclaimed Ethel. "Oh, how selfish I am."
"Keep still," replied Nora. "I couldn't wear it now, for I'm going to try and carry you home."
For a moment Nora gazed tentatively at Ethel. Then suddenly there appeared a dawn of hope in her strong honest face.
"Miss Ethel, listen," she began. "When a child did ye ever play pig-a-back? Perhaps I might get you home that way."
"Yes, Nora. Papa always carried me up to bed that way," and the girl burst into tears.
"Ye mustn't cry," said Nora. "If ye do I shan't be able to carry ye. Now wipe your pretty eyes and help me carry ye as Papa used to. Forget your pain and try to be patient, for, Ethel, we must reach camp some way. Doubtless they are searching for us even now, but this is a side road far from the main one. They'll never think to look here, nor could they hear us were we of call. And then those men you spoke of. They may be near. There's no time to lose. Get on my back and cling for dear life."
Nora had great sense. She realized that until she had thoroughly frightened Ethel she would not exert herself and forget her pain. Then, too, if what she had told her were true, the men might really be lying in wait to capture the supposed wealthy New York girl.
Sitting on the ground with her back before Ethel she first gently raised the wounded arm, bringing the other one around to meet it. Thanks to the low branch of a tree and to Nora's recent physical culture exercises, making an almost superhuman effort she arose with her burden on her back. Then grasping the girl's knees she held them firmly, thereby supporting her injured leg, and started for the road, stopping now and then by a fence or stone to take breath and rest. On and on in that failing light she bravely walked.
As she descended the hill she seemed to have gained new strength. Now and then she'd speak cheering words to the wounded girl, trying to encourage her to bear her pain. The rain pelted in Honora's face, often blinding her. The thunder rolled and the lightning played, but she showed no sign of faltering. Onward she went, even faster.
Soon to her joy she beheld the main road, and after a few more rods a light from the Camp Fire.
"Shure," she thought, "now I know why men in olden times looked for the fire from their camps. It does cheer a body and give them new life."
She was ready to drop when she reached Camp. Ethel was no light weight. While in Camp she had gained, and now she weighed nearly a hundred and thirty-seven pounds. As Nora neared home she saw parties of men about to start on searching tours. They had sent word by Mr. Adams to Harvey, and there he and his patrol stood ready to start. Uncle John with the second party were there as well. In some way the horse had escaped from the two men and had returned to Camp, but without Ethel. Then they knew that she had been thrown. And as for Nora, something dreadful must have happened to her, for Nora was so strong and self-reliant.
A shout rent the air when they beheld Nora Casey drenched to the skin, hatless, coatless, with nearly all of her skirt missing, and carrying on her back a hysterical, shrieking girl, while with no apparent effort she walked steadily towards them. Harvery Bigelow's admiration for one so strong and courageous showed itself on every line of his face.
Uncle John took Ethel from Nora and laid her on the Camp bed that had been brought from the tent.
"By Jove!" ejaculated Harvey as he examined Ethel's ankle and pronounced it a compound fracture, "you're all right, Miss Casey, first to staunch the blood and bandage her arm, and second to bind her ankle in such a surgeon-like manner, say nothing of carrying her on your back for over a mile and a half and holding her leg so that you saved her pain. I take off my hat to you, Miss Casey. You have the nerve and strength of a man."
"I don't see," said Uncle John, "how in the name of heaven you managed to raise her, wounded as she was, upon your back—let alone bringing her through the pouring rain a dark night like this. Why! it's been a regular thunder shower. I'm glad that her mother knows nothing of it."
Nora sighed. She was very tired. Miss Kate came forward and put her arm around her.
"My dear, you are an honor to the Camp Fires. We owe a vote of thanks to this brave girl," and taking Nora's face between her hands she kissed her affectionately.
"I've done nothing wonderful," replied Nora simply, taking her sweater from Patty Sands. "Luckily I heard her moan and found her. I couldn't go away and leave her helpless and alone in a blinding storm, and two men waiting to seize her." Then she told Ethel's story of the conversation that she had overheard.
"Nor could we stay in the woods over night alone."
A buckboard appeared and Mrs. Hollister jumped out. She had heard of the accident through Mr. Adams and had made him bring her up.
After seeing Ethel for a few moments she rushed out and threw her arms about Nora.
"You are a dear brave girl," she sobbed, kissing her. "You have saved Ethel's life. Never while I live shall I forget it."
"Nor I," broke in Uncle John, grasping the hands of the girl. "Miss Nora, you're a fine young woman and you're father has cause to be proud of his daughter."
"Miss Nora," ejaculated Harvey, "allow me to congratulate you. You're a dead game sport," and he wrung her hands heartily, after which Teddy Kip grasped her by the arm saying:
"Why, Miss Casey, you're a regular Scout—you are, and no mistake."
Nora smiled faintly.
"Thank you all," she said. "I am very tired. I think I shall go to bed. Good night."
So Nora Casey became the heroine of the Camp. An account of her bravery was in all the papers and the entire Camp was written up. The once neglected and disliked girl was now in a fair way to be spoiled. But Nora could not be spoiled. She was too sensible.
"I say, Miss Nora," exclaimed Harvey the next day, "I don't think I'd dare marry a woman with your strength. You'd put me to shame."
Nora laughed good naturedly.
"Quit yere blarney," she said.
As for Ethel, she couldn't bear to let Nora out of her sight, and Nora whose heart was tender and whose nature was forgiving devoted herself to the girl, reading aloud, relating funny stories of her father, and when tired of talking Patty, Mattie, she and Ethel would play bridge.
The men considered that Ethel had had a narrow escape. Uncle John consulted with Judge Sands as to what was best to do about the kidnapers. A few days later two suspicious looking creatures were arrested. They had escaped from Joliet jail and admitted having been for days in the woods. Ethel rode to the trial and identified their voices but she had not seen their faces. They were returned to jail in Joliet and before they left they confessed that they had contemplated finding the girl and holding her for a ransom. They were intending to sell the horse but they had not tied him securely and he had broken loose. They were ugly looking customers.
The next week before the breaking up of camp, when Mr. Casey came to take Nora home, everyone flocked around him telling of his daughter's brave act. He took Ethel by the hand and remarked simply:
"It was like Honora to do that. There's none more brave than she—God bless her."
From that day Nora had no better friend than Ethel. She felt that the girl had saved her life and her gratitude was boundless.
"Tell me," asked; Nora, "why did you dislike me so?"
"I was wicked, Nora," replied Ethel, "I am ashamed of it now."
"But," persisted the girl, "did you think me vulgar?"
"No," replied Ethel. "I thought you had a loud voice, and there's something about a loud voice that I dislike. But even so I should have overlooked that, had I been a good girl. You are so far above me, Nora, that I am ashamed to even acknowledge it."
"Miss Ethel—" said Nora.
"Call me Ethel in future," said the girl—"please do."
"Well—Ethel—you are not the first one who has criticised my voice. My teachers have always done so, and even my mother used to say, 'Not so loud, Nora dear. Speak more gentle like.'"
"Did she?" asked Ethel.
"Yes, my mother had her faults, Ethel, but at heart she was a lady. So your dislike of me was not so strange after all."
"But," interrupted Ethel, "Nora, perhaps I wasn't thankful to hear your loud voice when I lay there wounded and helpless, and I'm ashamed to even have told you."
"I wish you to help me," broke in Nora. "I wish to make myself different—more of a lady. Will you tell me when I talk too loud? It will be a favor if you will."
Ethel assented and kissed Nora affectionately.
Nannie Bigelow arrived and the girl became a general favorite. She at once fell in love with Nora.
"Why, she's a heroine," she said. "She'd give her life for another. I think she's splendid."
Nannie had much to say of their New York Camp Fire, and of the girls who belonged.
"You know some of them are quite unlike us, but Miss Westcott says they'll improve—that being with us will make them more gentle. And you have no idea how they are improving. And as for Dorothy's nursery, it's just booming. There is a waiting list a mile long," and she chatted on, entertaining the girls with her talk.
At the next and last Council Meeting, the girls received honors for having slept three months out of doors, for learning to swim, and rowing twenty miles on the Muskingum River, and for sailing a boat without help for fifty miles. They also received extra honors for cooking, and for learning and making a mattress out of the twigs of trees; for long walks, and for washing and ironing, which the girls did well.
Whenever she looked at Nora, Ethel's conscience troubled her. She seemed to feel her own unworthiness. Mrs. Hollister suggested to Mr. Casey that Nora should visit them for a couple of months in the city.
"I'll gladly let her go to ye next winter, Ma'am, but not to visit. I would like her to be wid a grand lady like yourself, and if you'll let me pay her board I'll consider it a great favor. And if she might go to some fine school, Ma'am, where she could learn how to be a lady and stay at your house I would pay any price."
At first Mrs. Hollister objected to the money part, but Mr. Casey begged so hard that, realizing what Nora had done for Ethel, she felt she should be willing to do anything to benefit her. So she consented.
"You can put me anywhere," said Nora, "I will be like one of your family."
Mrs. Hollister put her arm around the girl.
"My dear," she said, "the best I have ought not to be good enough for you. It's little enough for me to take you, and I should like to do so without having your father pay me a penny."
So it was all arranged. In November, Nora was to become an inmate of the Hollister household.
Ethel had made up her mind to give the girl her room, she taking one on the top floor.
"I would gladly sleep on bare boards for her," she said to her mother,—"the brave girl to whom I have been so unjust. I'm glad she's coming. I'll devote all my extra time to her happiness."
BREAKING UP OF CAMP AND A SURPRISE
The time had arrived for the girls to separate. The Scouts came up and carried Nannie off. She had become a great favorite. As Patty expressed it, Nannie was a comfortable visitor because she seemed to "belong." She made no fuss and adapted herself to their ways.
She promised to return the following summer and Harvey pronounced their camp as fine as any place they might select.
"So there's no reason why we boys should not come back, too; but you must let us entertain you Camp Fire girls next year. It's been all on your side this."
So they all went to the train to see them off, and people crowded around as though they might be a circus troupe, staring curiously at them and making remarks.
Then after saying goodbye the different members went to their homes. Ethel and her cousin Kate were to go to Akron for a week or so, as Uncle Archie Hollister was coming up to spend his vacation.
The girls met him at the train and Ethel was overjoyed.
"Oh, Papa," she said, "if only you could have been here before Camp broke up. But we are going up for the day and give you a regular Camp Fire dinner," and she kissed him affectionately.
"Next year I'll get off earlier," replied Mr. Hollister, "but our President was very ill and none of us liked to leave."
They gave Mr. Hollister a rousing dinner. Nearly all of the girls were present. They did their cooking like desserts, bread, etc., at home, but the meat, corn and potatoes were roasted on the coals. They had Uncle John, Judge Sands, Mr. Casey and Mr. Hollister for guests, and everything went off finely. Mr. Hollister was loud in his praises of the cooking, and in fact, the whole organization.
"It's great," he said, smacking his lips. "I think the person who invented it should have a gold medal."
They spent a few days at Columbus. Ethel went to see Mattie and her mother. She also spent the night with Nora. Their home was very handsome and Ethel could not help but respect kind-hearted Mr. Casey, who tried to make it so pleasant for her. She had grown very fond of Nora. She saw her good traits,—her splendid unselfishness, and her tenderness towards her father as she tried to take her mother's place with him.
"What a narrow, selfish girl I've been," she thought, "never to have noticed them before. Why, the way Nora shielded Mattie when the girl took her ring was a lesson to me, and I never took it."
During their stay at Uncle John's Mrs. Hollister came up, and the meeting between her husband and self was like lovers. Ethel was glad.
"And it was I that kept them apart," she told Kate—"I with my society and expensive schools. Poor Father! what could he do but grind from morning until night; and Mother with her hopes and ambitions—what could she do? Why, they had no time to speak to each other except on business and money. It was all so false and wrong. Now they are as they should have been, but think of the lost years, and all for me." "Never think of it, Ethel," said Kate, "it's past and over. Everything has come smooth. Forget it, dear; you were not to blame."