THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS ON ELLEN'S ISLE
The Trail of the Seven Cedars
By HILDEGARD G. FREY
"The Camp Fire Girls in the Maine Woods" "The Camp Fire Girls at Onoway House" "The Camp Fire Girls Go Motoring" "The Camp Fire Girls At School" "The Camp Fire Girls' Larks and Pranks"
A. L. BURT COMPANY
By A. L. Burt Company
THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS ON ELLEN'S ISLE
THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS ON ELLEN'S ISLE
It was the hottest day of the hottest week of the hottest June ever recorded in the weather man's book of statistics. The parched earth had split open everywhere in gaping cracks that intersected and made patterns in the garden like a crazy quilt. The gray-coated leaves hung motionless from the shriveling twigs, limp and discouraged. Horses lifted their seared feet wearily from the sizzling, yielding asphalt; dogs panted by with their tongues hanging out; pedestrians closed their eyes to shut out the merciless glare from the sidewalks. The streets were almost deserted, like those of a southern city during the noon hours, while a wilted population sought the shelter of house or cellar and prayed for rain.
On the vine-screened veranda of the Bradford home three of the Winnebagos—Hinpoha, Sahwah and Migwan—reclined on wicker couches sipping ice cold lemonade and wearily waving palm-leaf fans. The usually busy tongues were still for once; it was too hot to talk. Brimming over with life and energy as they generally were, it seemed on this drowsy and oppressive afternoon that they would never be able to move again. Mr. Bob, Hinpoha's black cocker, shared in the prevailing laziness; he lay sprawled on his back with all four feet up in the air, breathing in panting gasps that shook his whole body. A bumble bee, blundering up on the porch, broke the spell. It lit on Mr. Bob's face, whereupon Mr. Bob sprang into the air, quivering with excitement, and knocked Hinpoha's glass out of her hand. Hinpoha picked up the pieces with one hand and patted Mr. Bob with the other.
"Poor old Bobbles," she said soothingly, "what a shame to make him move so fast! Lucky I had finished the lemonade; there isn't any more in the pitcher and we used the last lemons in the house."
Sahwah, roused from her reverie, sat up and began fanning herself with greater energy. "Of all summers to have to stay in town!" she said disconsolately. "I don't remember having such hot weather, ever."
"Neither does anyone else," said Migwan with a yawn. "So what's the use wasting energy trying to remember anything worse? Didn't the paper say 'the present hot spell has broken all known records for June?'"
"It broke our thermometer, too," said Hinpoha, joining in the conversation. "It went to a hundred and six and then it blew up and fell off the hook."
"And to think that we might all have been out camping now, if Nyoda hadn't gone away," continued Sahwah with a heavy sigh. "This is the first summer for three years we won't be together. I can't get used to the idea at all. Gladys is going to the seashore and Katherine is going home to Arkansas in three weeks, and Nyoda is gone forever! I just haven't any appetite for this vacation at all." And she sighed a still heavier sigh.
The three lapsed into silence once more. Vacation had as little savor for the other two as it did for Sahwah. Now that the summer's outing with Nyoda had to be given up the next three months yawned before them like an empty gulf.
"I'm never going to love anybody again the way I did Nyoda," remarked Hinpoha cynically, after a long silence. "It hurts too much to lose them."
"Neither am I," said Migwan and Sahwah together, and then there was silence again.
"I'd like to see something wet once," said Sahwah fretfully, after another long pause. "Everything is so dry it seems to be choking. The grass is all burned up; the paint is all blistered; the shingles are all curling up backwards. It makes my eyes hurt to look at things. It would do them a world of good to see something wet for once."
Fate or the fairy godmother, or whoever the mysterious being is that always pops up at the right moment in the story books, but who is practically an unknown quantity in real life, proved that she was not a myth after all by suddenly and unceremoniously granting Sahwah's wish. Round the corner of the house came Katherine, dripping water on all sides like Undine, her skirts clinging limply to her ankles, while little rivulets ran from her head over her nose and dripped from the ends of her lanky locks. Up on the porch she came, all dripping as she was, and sank down on the wicker couch beside Sahwah.
"Why, Katherine Adams, what has happened to you?" cried the three all together.
"Nothing much," replied Katherine laconically, tipping the lemonade pitcher over her head and putting out her tongue to catch the last drop. The drop missed the tongue and landed full in her eye, whence it joined the stream trickling over her nose into her lap. "I just stopped to investigate a garden hose on the way over," she continued. "It was on a lawn close by the sidewalk and the thinnest little stream you ever saw was coming out. I was so thirsty I simply couldn't go by without taking a drink, and I just turned the nozzle the least little bit when it suddenly came out in a perfect deluge and sprinkled me all over. Then, seeing that I was wet anyhow I didn't make any haste to get out from under the cooling flood. There, ladies, you have the whyness of the thusness. I'm thoroughly comfortable now and inclined to think lightly of my troubles. Why don't you follow my example and stand under the hose?"
"Thanks," said Sahwah, edging away from Katherine's dripping proximity, "I'm all right as I am. Besides, no hose could squirt my troubles away."
"It didn't seem to dispel your gloom, either, Katherine," said Migwan, looking closely at Katherine, who, after the first moment of banter, had lapsed into silence and sat staring gloomily into the curtain of vines that covered the end of the porch. "What's the matter?" she asked curiously, brushing back the damp hair from Katherine's forehead with a gentle hand. It was easy to see how Katherine was idolized by the rest of the Winnebagos. For her to act depressed was unheard of and alarming. At Migwan's words Sahwah and Hinpoha stared at Katherine in dismay.
"Oh, I'm just low in my mind," said Katherine, with her head still resting on her hands. "Got a letter from the folks at home today, telling me not to come home for the summer, that's all. Father and Mother have been invited to go on an automobile trip through California and there's no room for me. Aunt Anna will be glad to keep me all right, but Cousin Grace will be gone all summer—she left yesterday—and it will be pretty dull for me. Aunt Anna is so deaf——" She finished with an eloquent gesture of the hands.
"You poor thing!" cried Migwan, drawing Katherine close to her in spite of her wet garments. "We'll all have to combine to make the summer lively for you. You'll have some fun even if your aunt is deaf and would rather read than talk. Don't worry."
Katherine's head suddenly went down on her knee. "What's the matter?" cried the three in added dismay.
"It isn't because I don't want to stay," said Katherine in a choking voice, "it's because I want to go home. It's hotter out there than a blast furnace, and our one-story brick shack is like an oven, and we haven't one-tenth of the comforts that people have here, but it's—home!"
Migwan rolled Katherine over and took her head into her lap. "I know just how you feel," she said softly. "After you've been away from home a whole year nothing looks good to you any more but that. And when you've been crossing off the days on your calendar and been cheered up every night when you realized that you were that much nearer home it must be an awful bump to find out that you're not to go after all. But cheer up, it won't be so bad after all, once you get used to the idea. Think what a good time your folks are having, and then start out and hunt up some adventures of your own."
Thus she comforted the doleful Katherine and the others pressed around to express their sympathy and none of them heard the automobile stop in front of the house. They all started violently when Gladys burst into their midst, and regardless of the prostrating temperature, danced a jig on the porch floor.
"Oh, girls," she cried, waving a palm-leaf fan over her head like a triumphal banner, "listen! Papa has bought Lake Huron and we're all going camping!"
And without noticing the tears in Katherine's eyes, she pulled her out of Migwan's lap and danced around with her.
"Your papa has done what?" cried Migwan, her voice shrill with amazement. "Oh, how do you do, Mrs. Evans." For Gladys's mother, proceeding more leisurely up the walk than her impetuous daughter, was just coming up the steps. "What's this about Mr. Evans buying Lake Huron?"
"Oh, nothing so startling as that," said Mrs. Evans, laughing in great amusement. "We haven't started out to own the world yet. But without any effort on his part, Mr. Evans has become the owner of a small island somewhere in Lake Huron. Some time ago he lent a large amount of money to a company owning the island to establish a bottling works for mineral water, which flowed from a spring on the island. But after the money had been spent to get the business under way the spring was discovered to be much smaller than had at first been supposed; in fact, not large enough to be profitable at all. The company went bankrupt, and the island, which had been put up as security for the loan, became the property of Mr. Evans. Owning an island so far away was so much like having a castle in Spain that none of us thought much about it until just now, when Mr. Evans has suffered a severe nervous breakdown and the doctor has ordered him to get away from his work and from the city altogether and spend the summer living close to nature. This made our trip to the seashore, with its hotels and its throngs of people, out of the question, and then we thought of the desert island up in Lake Huron. But when we talked it over we decided that it would be pretty lonesome up there with just the three of us, and Gladys suggested that we round up all the girls who would otherwise stay in town all summer and take them up with us. Do you suppose any of you could go?" Mrs. Evans looked rather wistfully from one to the other.
"Will we go?" shouted Sahwah, likewise forgetting the heat and capering madly about the porch, "I should say we will! We were just resigning ourselves to the dullest summer that ever happened."
"I would love to go," said Migwan a little less vehemently, but none the less sincerely, "and I don't think my folks will have the slightest objection. Mother was really worried about my having to stay here during the hot weather. She's afraid I've studied too hard."
"And I am sure I can go," said Hinpoha. "The Doctor and Aunt Phoebe are going East to a lot of conventions, and while I could go along, I suppose, rather than stay at home, I'd lots rather go with you."
"How about you, Katherine?" asked Mrs. Evans.
Katherine was holding her head up again and her eyes were sparkling with animation. "You blessed people!" she exclaimed in extravagant accents. "You came to the rescue just in the nick of time. If I had had to languish here all summer there wouldn't have been enough left of me to go to college in the fall. Think what a misfortune you have averted from that institution! An hour ago I was wallowing in the slough of despond; now I am skittering on the heights once more. Hurrah for the spring that broke the company that owned the island that sheltered the camp that Jack hasn't built yet but will very soon!" And she danced up and down until the heat overcame her and she sank on the couch weak and exhausted, but still feebly hurrahing.
Gladys turned to Migwan in perplexity. "I thought Katherine was going home for the summer," she said.
Then Migwan explained and Gladys expressed unbounded delight at the turn of fate, which permitted Katherine to go camping with them. It really would not have been complete without her.
Plans for the summer trip were made as fast as tongues could move. Nothing would do but they must go out in the heat and risk the danger of sunstroke to see Veronica and Nakwisi and Medmangi, and tell them the glorious news. Katherine, utterly forgetting her bedraggled condition, rose enthusiastically to go with them.
"Oh, mercy," said Migwan, shoving her back on the couch, "you can't go out on the street looking like that."
Katherine sighed and accepted the inevitable. "That's right," she said plaintively, "turn your back on me if you like. There never was any sympathy for the poor victim of science."
"Victim of science?" muttered Gladys, noticing Katherine's plight for the first time.
"Yes," said Katherine. "In the interests of science I tried to find out if troubles could be drowned with a garden hose. Now when I've found out once for all that they can't, and handed the report of my investigations on a silver platter to these lazy creatures and saved them the trouble of finding out for themselves, they won't be seen on the street with me. It surely is a cruel world!" And she settled herself comfortably on the couch and devoured the last two cookies on the plate.
Nakwisi jumped with joy when they told her; she, too, had been sighing for some place to go. Veronica and Medmangi, however, had their summer plans already made.
"My, won't the Sandwiches envy us," said Sahwah that night, as they all met at Gladys's house to talk over their plans more fully.
"I wonder——" began Mrs. Evans.
"They're hunting a place to go camping, but so far they haven't found one," continued Sahwah, speaking to Hinpoha.
"What did you wonder, my dear?" said Mr. Evans, speaking to his wife.
"I was going to say," continued Mrs. Evans, "I wonder if it wouldn't be possible to take the boys along with us, too. It certainly would add to our fun a great deal to have them with us. From your description, the island is certainly large enough to let them have a part of it."
Mr. Evans looked thoughtful. "Something of the kind occurred to me, also," he said. "That and something more. Oh, Gladys, where can I get hold of that man who took you folks on that snowshoe hike last winter?"
"It's the Captain's uncle," explained Gladys.
"Let's go and see the Captain," said Mr. Evans, and they went right away to the home of Dr. St. John. As luck would have it, Uncle Teddy was there that night, having come into town on business. He listened to Mr. Evans' proposal quietly, nodding his head here and there at different points in the conversation. When the conference was ended he called Aunt Clara over from the other end of the porch. She said "yes" enthusiastically in answer to several questions and then the Captain was called out and taken into the council. Once the Captain heard the news there was no more keeping quiet about it. The secret was out. Mr. Evans, who had no experience in camping, was afraid he could not manage it alone, and had invited Uncle Teddy and Aunt Clara to come along and stay all summer. With them were to come as many of the Sandwiches as were able.
"It's no use talking," said Hinpoha a little later to the group. "We Winnebagos weren't meant to be separated. Just as soon as we settle down to the idea of spending the summer away from each other along comes fate and throws us all into the same basket again. It happened last summer and the summer before last. And today, while we were in the midst of our lament, in steps fate, just as usual."
"Just as usual," echoed the other Winnebagos.
"My breakfast, 'tis of thee, Sweet bunch of hominy, Of thee I sing!"
sang the Captain in a quavering baritone, as he stirred the hominy cooking in a kettle swung over a wood fire in the "kitchen" on Ellen's Isle.
"Oh, I say, look out, you're getting ashes into it," called Katherine warningly, looking up from her little "toast fire" nearby, where she was crisping slices of bread held on the end of a forked stick.
Katherine and the Captain were cooks that morning and had the job of getting breakfast while the rest took an early dip in the lake. It was the first week in July. Three days ago Ellen's Isle was an uninhabited wilderness and the only sound which broke the stillness of its dark woods was the rushing of the wind in the pine trees, or the lapping of the water on the little beach. Moreover, it bore the plebian name of Murphy's Island, after the president of the ill-fated Mineral Spring Water Company. Then one day had changed everything. A procession of boats had set out from St. Pierre, the little town on the mainland, which was the nearest stop of the big lake steamer, headed straight for Murphy's Island and unloaded its cargo and crew on the beach, who formally took possession of the island by setting up a flag in the sand right then and there.
The invading fleet was composed of two launches, one very large and one smaller; five rowboats fastened together and towed by the one launch, and five canoes towed by the other. The crew comprised two men and two women, six merry-eyed girls and six jolly boys. The explorers had evidently come to stay. They immediately set about raising tents and nailing down floor boards, clearing spaces for fires and setting up pot hangers, repairing the landing pier and setting up a springboard, and in a hundred other ways making themselves at home. Two tents were set up at each end of the island; these were the sleeping tents, one pair for the men and boys and the other for the women and girls. These were completely hidden from each other by the thick trees in between, but the dwellers in one settlement could make those in the other hear by shouting.
Besides these tents another larger one was set up in a little open space; this was the kitchen and dining room for bad weather use. In fair weather the campers always ate outdoors. They cooked over open fires as much as possible, because driftwood was plentiful, but there were two gasoline stoves and two alcohol heaters in the kitchen tent. The outdoor kitchen was just outside the indoor kitchen, and consisted of a bare spot of ground encircled by trees. The "big cook stove" was two logs about ten feet long, laid parallel to each other about a foot apart. The space between the logs was for the "frying fire," and the ease with which a whole row of pans balanced themselves and cooked their contents to a turn in record time gave proof of its practicability. Besides the "big range," there were various arrangements for hanging a single kettle over a small fire, a roasting spit with fan attachment to keep it turning constantly, and a reflecting oven. And over it all the high pines rustled and shed their fragrance, and the sunlight filtered through in spots, and the breeze blew the smoke round in playful little wreaths, while the birds warbled their approval of the sensible folks who knew enough to live outdoors in summer.
It was all too beautiful to express in words, and much too beautiful to belong to a place called Murphy's Island, so the campers decided before the first night was over.
"It reminds me of Scotland," remarked Mr. Evans, "the scenery is so wild and rugged."
"Then let's rename it Ellen's Isle, after the one in 'The Lady of the Lake,'" said Gladys promptly. "It's our island and we can change the name if we want to. How important it makes you feel to own so much scenery to do what you like with!"
"Ellen's Isle" seemed such a suitable name for the beautiful little island that they all wondered how anyone could ever have called it anything else, even for a minute. One side of it curved in a tiny crescent, and there the water was calm and shallow, running up on a smooth, sandy beach. Behind the beach the land rose in a steep bluff for about fifty feet and stood high out of the water, its grim, rocky sides giving it the look of a mediaeval castle. A steep path wound up the hillside, crossed in many places by the roots of trees growing along the slope, which were both a help in gaining a foothold and a fruitful source of mishap if you happened to be in too much of a hurry.
On three sides of the island the waves dashed high against the rocky cliffs, filling the sleepers in the tents with pleasant terrors at night. The island being so high it afforded a fine view of the country round. On the one side rose the heavily wooded slopes of the mainland, with the spires and roofs of St. Pierre in the distance. A mile or so to the left of St. Pierre a lighthouse stood out in the water, gleaming white against the dark land behind it. It was only visible by day, however, for it was no longer used as a beacon. The changing of the channel and the building of the breakwater in the harbor of St. Pierre had made it necessary to have the light there and the old one was abandoned. It now stood silent and lonely, gradually falling into decay under the buffeting of wind and waves. Looking south from the island the eye was greeted only by a wide waste of waters; the seemingly endless waters of Lake Huron. This was the place where the Winnebagos and the Sandwiches, with Mr. and Mrs. Evans and Uncle Teddy and Aunt Clara, had come to spend the summer.
Katherine finished making the toast, and stacking it up in a tempting pile she set the plate in the hot ashes to keep warm while she turned her attention to mixing the corn fritter batter.
"Want me to help fry?" offered the Captain obligingly. "It'll take you a year to do enough for sixteen people."
"Indeed, and I'm not thinking of frying the batter," replied Katherine, breaking the corner off a piece of toast and sampling it. "There are four frying pans; that's one to every four persons; they can each fry their own with neatness and dispatch. I belong to the Society for the Prevention of Leaving It All to the Cook! Blow the horn there, that's part of the Second Cook's job."
"What's the matter with the family this morning?" she asked when the first blast had echoed itself away without any other reply. "They don't seem to be in any great hurry for breakfast." The Captain blew several more long, lusty blasts, which were answered by shouts from different directions of the compass.
"Now they'll be here in a minute," said Katherine, turning to look at the lake, which was her chief delight these days. "Oh, look!" she cried. "The gulls are coming already! I believe they heard the horn and know what it means." The white birds were flying down on the beach in large numbers patiently waiting for the scraps, which would be thrown to them when the meal was finished. Katherine and the Captain watched them with interest and delight. A crunching sound behind them made them turn quickly and there they saw Sandhelo calmly helping himself to the toast on the plate.
"Shoo! Get out!" cried Katherine, snatching the plate away and pelting him with pine cones and lumps of dirt. Sandhelo licked his lips and regarded her benevolently, but never a step did he take. Then he sat up on his haunches and begged for more toast by waving his forefeet. He was perfectly irresistible and Katherine just had to give him another piece. The hungry campers reached the spot in time to witness the performance and protested vigorously against having their breakfast devoured by a donkey.
"First come, first served," remarked Katherine. "Sandhelo always comes the minute the horn blows and that's more than the rest of you do. Sit down, and help yourselves to batter. The grease is already in the pans. You can each fry your own fritters."
"I refuse to fritter away my time," said Uncle Teddy, hungrily helping himself to hominy.
The rest made a grand rush for the frying pans and in a few minutes the fryers were retiring to the sidelines with golden brown cakes on their plates.
"How do they taste?" asked Katherine modestly of the Bottomless Pitt, who had his mouth full.
"A bit thick," replied Pitt, "but bully."
"They don't taste just like those Aunt Clara made the other day," said Gladys, chewing her mouthful somewhat doubtfully.
Aunt Clara hastily took an experimental bite. "Why, Katherine!" she exclaimed with a little shriek of laughter, "you haven't put any baking powder in them. I thought mine looked awfully flat when I was frying it. Did you think the dough would rise of itself, like the sun?"
And then they all laughed uproariously at Katherine's cooking, but she didn't mind at all, and calmly mixed the baking powder with a little more flour and stirred it into the batter, whereupon it blossomed out into the most delicious corn fritters they had ever eaten.
"Too bad Harry had to miss this," said the Captain, looking around at the family sitting on stumps and eating their second and improved edition of fritters. Harry Raymond was the only one of the Sandwich boys who could not come along on this camping trip. All the rest were there; the Captain, Slim, the Bottomless Pitt, Munson McKee, popularly known as the Monkey, Dan Porter and Peter Jenkins, all ready for the time of their lives. The Winnebagos were also six in number: Gladys, Hinpoha, Sahwah, Migwan, Katherine and Nakwisi.
Last but not least of the campers was Sandhelo, the "symbolic" donkey. He had been brought along because they thought he might be useful for carrying supplies if they should want to go on a long hike. He was so small and nimble that he could go up and down the path to the beach without any trouble. It was not necessary to tie him, as it was impossible for him to run away, and the first night he wandered into the boys' tent and brayed into Slim's ear, who gave such a startled jump that his bed went down over the side of the flooring, and Slim landed on the ground outside. After that Sandhelo was tied at night, but allowed to roam the island by day.
After breakfast the campers scattered to amuse themselves in various ways, but it was not long before they heard the sound of the tom-tom, which one of the boys had made to be beaten as a signal to call them all together. Uncle Teddy was beating the tom-tom and he stood on a large, flat rock close to the edge of the bluff. This rock had been named the Council Rock by the Winnebagos as soon as they laid eyes on it.
"Be seated, everybody," said Uncle Teddy when they had all arrived. "We are about to have a family council. I have just thought of a method of organization for the company while we are together here. We will be a tribe."
"A real Indian tribe? Oh, goody!" cried Sahwah, jumping up and upsetting Gladys, who was sitting at her feet. "You can be the Big Chief."
"Uncle Teddy will be the Big Chief!" they all echoed.
Uncle Teddy pounded on the tom-tom for silence, boom, boom!
"Hear and attend and listen!" he said. "If Mr. Evans hadn't brought us up here there wouldn't have been any tribe, so being in a sense the founder of the tribe he ought to be the chief."
"But I didn't propose bringing you all up here," confessed Mr. Evans, "it was Mrs. Evans. So she's the founder of the tribe, and, therefore, the Chief."
"But I only said we'd come if Aunt Clara St. John would come along and help me look after the girls, because I didn't feel equal to the responsibility myself," said Mrs. Evans hastily. "So the founding of the tribe depended upon Aunt Clara."
It was the most amusing situation they had ever faced, and the whole tribe laughed themselves red in the face while each one of the four candidates for the position of leader insisted that it belonged by right to one of the others. After half an hour's arguing the question back and forth they were no nearer a solution, when suddenly Katherine reached out and struck the tom-tom a resounding boom, boom, which was the signal that she had something to say.
"Why don't all four of you be chiefs?" she suggested, when they had turned to her expectantly. "Four chiefs in a tribe ought to be four times as good as one. You each have an equal claim."
"Fine!" cried the Winnebagos.
"Bully!" echoed the Sandwiches.
"Speech from the Chiefs!" cried Katherine, delighted that her suggestion had found such immediate favor. "You first, Mrs. Evans."
"But," protested Mrs. Evans, "it seems to me we four have no better right to be Chiefs than you girls. If you hadn't wanted to come camping there wouldn't have been any tribe at all. It seems to me the Winnebago girls have the best right to be chiefs of any here."
"We haven't any better claim than the Sandwich boys," said Katherine. "If it hadn't been for them there wouldn't have been any Uncle Teddy or Aunt Clara to help you so you would feel equal to the responsibility of bringing us up here."
"That settles it," said Uncle Teddy. "If we all have an equal right to be Chief of this tribe, by all means let us enjoy our rights and all be Chiefs. There are sixteen of us. We intend to remain up here eight weeks. Dividing up and giving each one a turn we would have a different pair of leaders every week. There are equal numbers of men and women and girls and boys, so the arrangement is just about ideal. Every week we will have a high council meeting on this rock where all questions of moment will be considered. The Chiefs will preside at the meeting.
"They will also blow the rising horn, sit at the head of the table, say grace, serve the food, pat the chokers on the back and see to it that Slim does not eat past the bursting point. The Chiefs will also lead the singing in the pine grove every morning after breakfast. They will settle all disputes according to the best of their ability, and will plan the Principal Diversions for the week. These latter will be announced at the Council Meetings. Needless to say, the Chiefs will do no menial labor during the week of their Chiefhood. Is that a fair proposition all the way around?"
"It surely is!" they all cried together. "Hurray for the tribe of Chiefs!"
A schedule of the order in which they would take their turns was quickly written on a sheet of birchbark with an indelible pencil and tacked to a big pine beside the Council Rock. It was as follows: First week, Uncle Teddy and Aunt Clara; second week, Mr. and Mrs. Evans; third week, Katherine and the Captain; fourth week, Hinpoha and Slim; fifth week, Gladys and the Bottomless Pitt; sixth week, Sahwah and the Monkey; seventh week, Migwan and Peter Jenkins; eighth week, Nakwisi and Dan Porter.
As soon as the Chiefs for that week were established, Uncle Teddy was immediately besieged with questions in regard to the Principal Diversion. "It's a—oh, my gracious!" said Uncle Teddy, catching himself hastily and winking mysteriously at Mr. Evans. "It's a secret!" And not another word would he say.
Soon afterward he and Mr. Evans prepared to take a trip in the launch.
"Where are you going?" casually inquired the Captain, who had followed them down the hill.
"Oh, just over to St. Pierre to get some supplies," replied Uncle Teddy in an offhand manner.
"Want any help?" asked the Captain wistfully. He was just in the mood for a ride across the lake this morning with his two adored friends.
"Not at all, thank you," said Uncle Teddy, hurriedly starting the engine and backing the launch away from the shore. "You look after the camp in our absence." And the launch leapt forward and carried them out of speaking distance.
It was nearly dinner time and the men had not yet returned. The potatoes were done, the corn chowder had been taken from the fire, and the cooks and hungry campers sat on the edge of the high bluff looking toward St. Pierre to see if the launch were in sight.
"There's something coming now," said the Captain, who was the most far-sighted of the group, "but it doesn't look like a launch; it looks like a sailing vessel. That can't be our men."
"There's a launch just ahead of it," said Sahwah a moment later.
"There is," agreed the Captain, "and, sure enough, it's towing the other thing, the sailing vessel. That is our launch, see the Stars and Stripes floating over the bow and the girls' green flag at the back? Oh, mercy, what are they bringing us?"
"I'm going down on the landing," said Sahwah, unable to restrain herself any longer. She raced down the path, followed closely by the girls and boys and at a more dignified pace by Mrs. Evans and Aunt Clara.
"Look what it is!" cried Gladys to her mother when she arrived on the scene. The launch was just heading in toward the pier. "It's a war canoe!"
"With sails!" echoed Sahwah, nearly falling off the pier in her excitement.
It was, indeed, a war canoe, a beautiful, dark-green body some twenty-five feet long and about three feet at the widest part through the center. The three sails were of the removable kind. Just now they were set and filled out tight with the breeze. The sun glinted on the shining varnish of the cross seats and the paddles lying under them.
There was one great shout of "Oh-h!" from the girls and boys, and then a silence born of ecstasy.
"Here's the man-of-war!" called Mr. Evans, enjoying to the utmost the pleasure caused by the arrival of the big canoe, "now, where's the crew?"
"Here, here!" they all cried, tumbling over each other in their haste to get to the landing and into the boat.
"All aboard, my hearties," cried Uncle Teddy, cutting the canoe loose from the launch and holding it steady against the pier.
"But dinner's ready," protested Aunt Clara. "Can't you wait until afterwards for your ride?"
"Not one minute," her husband solemnly assured her. "Not one of us will be able to eat a mouthful until we have had a ride on the new hobby horse. Dinners will keep, but new war canoes won't."
"You're as bad as the boys and girls," said Aunt Clara, shaking her finger at him knowingly. "I believe you want to go worse than any of them."
"I surely do," replied Uncle Teddy. "It was all I could do on the way over to keep from climbing over the back of the launch into the canoe and coming home in her."
"I'm going to be bow paddler," cried Sahwah, hastily scrambling into the front seat and getting her paddle ready for action.
"We won't need much in the paddling line with those sails," said Uncle Teddy, "but we can be ready in case we become becalmed."
"'Become becalmed,'" said Migwan mischievously, "doesn't that sound as if you had your mouth full of something sticky?"
Uncle Teddy wrinkled up his nose in a comical grimace and ordered her to take her seat in the canoe without any more impudence.
As most of the seats were wide enough for two to sit on there was plenty of room for all sixteen of them. Mrs. Evans hung back at first, but at Aunt Clara's urging ventured to sit beside her. Uncle Teddy took up the stern paddle and shoved out into the lake; the wind caught the sails, and away went the canoe like a bird. It was wonderful going with the wind, but when they decided it was time to turn around and come home they found that the sails absolutely refused to work backward, so they lowered them and paddled. As the canoe leaped forward under the steady, even strokes, the Winnebagos began to sing:
"Pull long, pull strong, my bonnie brave crew, The winds sweep over the waters blue, Oh, blow they high, or blow they low, It's all the same to Wohelo!
"Yo ho, yo ho, It's all the same to Wohelo!"
They landed reluctantly and ate the long-delayed dinner, discussing all the while what they should name the war canoe.
"Let's call it the Nyoda," said Hinpoha. "That would surely please Nyoda. Besides, it's a fine name for a boat."
They agreed unanimously that the war canoe should be named Nyoda, and Mr. Evans promised to take it to St. Pierre the next day to have the name painted on her bow. As soon as dinner was over they were out in her again with the sails up, until the ever-stiffening wind made the lake too rough for pleasure. They could hardly land when at last they reached the shore, the canoe plunged so, and Uncle Teddy jumped out and stood in the water up to his waist holding her steady.
"In for a bit of weather, eh?" said Mr. Evans, helping to pull the Nyoda far up on the beach out of harm's way. The wind was whistling around the corner of the bluffs.
"Just a puff of wind," replied Uncle Teddy, "but I would advise you all to batten down the hatches, I mean, tie your tent flaps." As he spoke a white towel came fluttering over the bluff from one of the tents above and went sailing off over the lake. At that they all scattered to make their possessions secure.
All through the afternoon the storm raged. There was no rain, just a steady northwest wind increasing in violence until it had reached the proportions of a gale. High as the cliffs were on three sides of the island, the spray was dashing over the top. When supper time came Aunt Clara called to Uncle Teddy: "Where are the eggs and bread and milk you brought from St. Pierre this morning?"
Uncle Teddy and Mr. Evans both jumped from the comfortable rock on the sheltered beach where they had been sitting watching the storm and blushed guiltily. "We never brought them!" they both exclaimed together. "We were so completely taken up with the business of getting the war canoe from the steamer dock that we forgot all about the supplies."
"Well, we'll just have to do without them, but we can't have the supper we planned," returned Aunt Clara. "A great Chief you are! Can only think of one thing at a time! I could have brought in a dozen war canoes and never forgotten the affairs of my household."
"So you could, my dear," admitted Uncle Teddy cheerfully, and returned unruffled to his contemplation of the tossing lake. By and by he took his binoculars and looked intently at a white spot against the dark waters.
"What is it, Uncle Teddy," asked Sahwah, straining her eyes to follow his glance.
"Appears to be a sailboat," said Uncle Teddy, without removing the glass from his eyes. "They've taken the sail down, but they're having a grand time of it out in those waves. They are being driven toward us. Now I can make out a man and a girl and a boy in the boat. Whew-w! What a blast that was!" A dry branch came hurtling down from some tree on the bluff, landing at their feet.
The next moment Uncle Teddy gave an exclamation. "They're flying distress signals," he said.
At that the girls and boys all sprang to their feet and crowded around Uncle Teddy excitedly. "What shall we do?" they asked.
"We'll take the big launch and go out and bring them in," he answered calmly. "Are you ready, Mr. Evans?"
"Quite so," said Mr. Evans quietly, buttoning up his coat.
"Oh, let me go along," begged the Captain.
"Let me go, too," cried Sahwah, dancing up and down. "May I, Uncle Teddy? You said I might go out with you some time when the lake was rough."
"Let us all go," cried the Sandwiches.
Uncle Teddy waved them away. "No, no, what are you thinking of?" he said. "I can't have the launch full. Besides, it's too dangerous to go out now. We wouldn't think of going if it were not for those people out there." And as he was Chief there was no murmur at his decision.
As quickly as they could, Uncle Teddy and Mr. Evans got the launch under way, and the watchers on the shore held their breaths as the light boat was dashed about on the waves, now climbing to a dizzy height, now sinking out of sight altogether. The sailing boat was in a sad plight when they reached her, for, in addition to being nearly capsized by every wave, she had sprung a leak and was filling gradually in spite of frantic bailing. The launch arrived just in time and took off the three sailors, landing them safely on shore some fifteen minutes later.
The man was dressed in white outing flannels and looked very distinguished in spite of his windblown appearance. The girl and boy were about thirteen years old and looked just alike. Both were pale and thin and had light hair and light blue eyes.
"This is Judge Dalrymple," said Mr. Evans to the group eagerly waiting on the beach. (They would have guessed that he was at least a judge, anyway; he looked so dignified.) "And these are the twin Dalrymples, Antha and Anthony. Judge, this is my wife and that is Mrs. St. John, and the rest of the folks are the Tribe."
"We are greatly indebted to your husbands for rescuing us," said the judge with a courtly bow to the ladies.
"We are very glad they were able to do it," said Mrs. Evans, "and we welcome you to Ellen's Isle."
The Winnebagos and Sandwiches looked with interest at the twins, Antha and Anthony. Antha was paler and thinner than her brother and her mouth had a peevish droop to it. Both looked chilly and scared out of their wits.
"Weren't you horribly frightened when the boat sprang a leak?" asked Hinpoha.
Anthony immediately swelled out his chest. "No, I wasn't a bit afraid," he said grandly. "I'm not a fraidy cat. But she was," he said, pointing to his sister, "she yelled bloody murder."
"I didn't either," contradicted Antha. "It was you that yelled the loudest and you know it was. Papa told you to keep still."
"Didn't either," declared Anthony.
"Did, too!" said Antha, stamping her foot. "Didn't he, Papa?" And she interrupted her father right in the midst of his conversation with Mr. Evans.
"Yes, yes, dear," answered the judge absently, and went on talking.
"There now!" said Antha triumphantly.
"Well, anyway," went on Anthony, "you yelled as loud as you could yell, and I didn't."
Antha promptly burst into tears.
"Cry baby, cry baby," mocked her brother.
Gladys and Hinpoha bore the weeping Antha away to one of the tents and the Sandwich boys took Anthony under their wing. The storm was still increasing and it was plain that the Dalrymples would have to remain for the night.
"And no eggs or milk or bread for supper," wailed Aunt Clara. "And we can't bake anything because the oven won't heat in this wind."
"There's loads of canned spaghetti," said Gladys, investigating the supplies.
It was rather a hop-scotch meal that was served that night in the billowing supper tent, for, besides the bread and milk and eggs, the men had forgotten the canned beans which Aunt Clara had ordered for future use, but which would have helped admirably in this emergency. Then at the last moment they discovered that the sugar was out. But the hearty appetites of the Tribe were never dismayed at anything, and the spaghetti and unsweetened, black coffee disappeared as if it had been nectar and ambrosia. Judge Dalrymple waved aside Aunt Clara's profuse apologies for the gaps in the menu and ate spaghetti heartily, but Antha picked at hers with a dissatisfied expression and hardly ate a mouthful. The Winnebagos saw it and were greatly pained because they had nothing better to offer.
"Ho-ho-ho!" scoffed Anthony. "Antha has to eat spaghetti because there isn't anything else. That's a good one on her. She never will eat it at home. Ho-ho-ho!" And he grimaced derisively at her across the table. Antha laid down her fork and dissolved in tears again.
The judge, interrupted in his tale of the afternoon's experience by the tempest at the other end of the table, turned toward the twins impatiently. "Stop your eternal bickering, you two!" he ordered sharply.
"Then make Anthony stop teasing me!" sniffled Antha.
Just at that moment Gladys, who had been foraging desperately in the "pantry," came forth with a box of crackers and a small jar of jam, which Antha consented to eat in place of the spaghetti.
They retired soon after supper because it was too windy to light a camp fire and it was no fun sitting around in the dark. Antha fell in the path to the tents, bumping her head and skinning her arm, and cried all the while she was being fixed up. Then she was afraid to go into the tent because it might blow down; she was afraid of the dark, of spiders, of everything. The girls were worn out by the time they had her in bed.
"Isn't she a prune?" whispered Sahwah to Hinpoha. "I didn't know a girl could be such a fraidy cat."
"If she cries any more the tent will be flooded," whispered Hinpoha in answer. "I never saw anybody cry so much."
"I don't want to seem inhospitable," breathed Gladys behind her hand, "but I hope they won't have to stay long."
But morning brought no letting up of the wind. The dawn showed the waves rolling as high as on the previous night. Breakfast was the same as supper, spaghetti and black coffee, which Antha again refused to touch, finishing the crackers and the jam.
Breakfast over they all raced down to see how the beloved war canoe was faring. She was still safe and sound and looked as wonderful as she did the day before. With pride the boys and girls displayed her to the twins.
"Huh," said Anthony disdainfully, "that isn't much of a war canoe. Some boys I know have one twice as big. And theirs has lockers in the ends. Yours hasn't any lockers, has it?"
They were obliged to admit that the cherished Nyoda carried no lockers.
"You didn't get much of a war canoe, did you?" said Anthony patronizingly.
"We got the best papa could afford," replied Gladys mildly.
"Then I guess you're not very rich, are you?" said Anthony pityingly. "My papa, he's twice as rich as all of you put together. He's a judge, and my mother has money in her own right and so have I and so has Antha. And we'll get more yet when my grandfather dies. I could buy a dozen war canoes if I wanted them, but I don't want them. I'm going to have a yacht, a steam yacht, so all I have to do is sit on the deck and tell the captain to hustle and put on more speed. That's the life!"
"It may be the life for you, but not for me," replied the Captain, throwing stones into the water to relieve his feelings.
Not long after a series of agonized shrieks brought them running from all directions to see Antha racing along the path to the tents in mortal terror, with Sandhelo after her as hard as he could go. She had come across him as he was grazing, and he, seeing a cracker in her hand, had reached out his nose for it, and opened his mouth wide. Thinking he wanted to eat her up, she fled, screaming, while he, still intent on the cracker, followed determinedly. It took an hour's persuasion, and the combined efforts of all the Winnebagos, to assure her that Sandhelo was not a vicious animal with cannibal tendencies. Even then she would not go within ten feet of him.
Meanwhile, Mr. Evans, showing Judge Dalrymple around the island, came upon the little mineral spring and told him how it had been the means of his coming into possession of the island.
"So that little trickle was all the excuse the famous Minerva Mineral Spring Company had for incorporating and selling stock to the public," said the judge thoughtfully.
"Yes," said Mr. Evans, "the whole thing seems to have been a dishonest scheme from the first. But it was handled so cleverly that a great many people were deceived. I was one of the latter, for I lent that company the money to go into business. But, as represented to me, the thing seemed a perfectly good enterprise—they even had signed statements as to the number of bottles the spring would produce yearly. But when the stock had been sold to a large number of unsuspecting people the company suddenly went out of business and then the truth about the spring was discovered. In the lawsuits which followed I was given the island, so I am not so badly off as the people who bought stock and got nothing out of it. I am genuinely sorry for them and feel almost guilty when I think that I furnished the money to start the enterprise, even if I did it in good faith.
"You seem to know a good deal about the case. Do you happen to be acquainted with anyone who lost money in it?"
"I was one of the heaviest stockholders," said the judge drily.
Mr. Evans whistled.
"But you must not think that I am blaming you for it," the judge continued hastily, as he saw the distressed look on Mr. Evans' face. "Besides," he added, "the service you rendered me by taking my children and myself off the yacht the other day makes me many times your debtor. Let us say no more about the other matter."
All that day the judge and the junior members of the Tribe watched anxiously for the falling of the wind. The judge was concerned about Mrs. Dalrymple, who had no way of knowing where he and the twins were, and the Winnebagos and Sandwiches had about all they could stand of Antha and Anthony. Besides, the food was getting monotonous. Spaghetti and black coffee again for dinner, which Antha would not eat even though the crackers were gone. But by supper time her hunger got the better of her and she ate spaghetti without a murmur.
"That shows she could have eaten it right away if she wanted to," whispered Sahwah to Gladys.
That night it thundered and lightninged, and Antha nearly went into hysterics. She hid her head under the bed clothes and wanted them all to do likewise. Katherine snorted with disgust and delivered her mind about people who carried their fears to the verge of silliness. Antha cried some more and the atmosphere in the tent was becoming decidedly damp again when Hinpoha created a diversion by starting a pillow fight.
The next morning the desired change in the wind had come to pass, and the lake was much smoother. With secret sighs of relief the Winnebagos and Sandwiches helped the twins into the launch and waved a heartfelt good-bye.
"I never understood before what they meant by 'speeding the parting guest,'" said Sahwah, "but now I see it. All speed to the Dalrymple Twins; may they nevermore turn in their track! I never felt that way before, but I just can't help it!"
And the Winnebagos and Sandwiches privately agreed with her.
THE CALYDONIAN HUNT
The last trace of the storm had vanished. The lake lay calm and blue in the morning sunshine, its gentle ripples catching the gleam and turning to gold. The air was clear as crystal and the mainland seemed much nearer than it did under the lowering gray skies of the last few days. Having finished preparations for breakfast, Aunt Clara went down on the beach to watch for the Tribe, who were out practising in the war canoe. They were nowhere in sight. Except for the steamers in the distant harbor of St. Pierre the lake was empty. Aunt Clara adjusted Uncle Teddy's binoculars to her eyes and coaxed the horizon line some miles nearer to aid her in her search. But the vista was empty of what she sought.
Then she looked around in the other direction at the mainland to the northwest of Ellen's Isle. As she looked she saw the bushes waving near the shore and then from the tangle of branches there emerged first a pair of antlers, then a head and then a pair of front legs, followed by a dark body, and a large bull moose stood silhouetted against the leafy background. A moment it stood there, calm and deliberate, and then turned and disappeared into the forest.
"Oh, where are the folks?" cried Aunt Clara aloud in her excitement. "What a shame they had to miss it!" She stood a long time looking intently at the spot where the moose had disappeared, but it did not show itself again. As she stood there watching she heard a rhythmic chant coming across the water:
"Strong, brother, strong, We smoothly glide along, Our paddles swing as we gaily sing This merry boating song."
No one was in sight, and yet the voices came clear and true through the still morning air. It was several minutes before the war canoe came in sight around a high cliff far up the shore. "How far the sound carries across the water!" exclaimed Aunt Clara to herself in amazement.
The Nyoda looked no bigger than a caterpillar, crawling over the water, but she could plainly hear Uncle Teddy's voice giving commands: "One, two! One, two! Dip! Dip! Longer stroke, Katherine! Left side, cross rest! Right side, paddle! Both sides, ready, dip!"
Now she could see the paddles flashing out on both sides, and the caterpillar became a creature with wings. In she came, straight for the landing, her crew sitting erect as pine saplings, dipping their paddles in unison.
"Oh, the gallant crew, in this canoe They live on Ellen's Isle; They paddle all the livelong day And sing a song the while. So dip your paddles deep, my lads, Into the flying spray, And sing a cheer as you swiftly steer, Nyoda! YEA! YEA! YEA!"
Up flashed the paddles on the cheer, giving the salute; then down again in time for the next stroke.
"Ready! Back paddle! One! Two!"
Down went the paddles, held stiffly against the sides of the canoe to stop her, while the water swished and foamed over the blades; then the strokes were reversed to back her up.
The paddles lay idly across the gunwales and the Nyoda floated in to the landing.
The girl behind the bow paddler stepped out on the dock, followed, one by one, by those behind her, while the bow paddler sat still and held the canoe fast to the pier. As the girls and boys stepped out they stood in a row with their paddles resting on the dock before them. When all the rest were out the bow paddler stepped up onto the deck. Uncle Teddy stood at attention, facing the crew.
"Yea!" Up went the paddles.
Crew practice was over. The crew dove off the sides of the dock like water rats and began to play tag around the war canoe, swimming around it, and under it and diving off the bow, until a far-echoing blast on the horn warned them it was time to come and play another sort of game.
At breakfast Aunt Clara told about seeing the big moose break through the woods on the opposite shore, and immediately there rose a great clamor.
"Oh, Uncle Teddy, can't we go over there and see if we can see it?" cried Sahwah.
"Can't we have a big hunting party and kill it and bring home the antlers to hang in the House of the Open Door?" asked the Captain.
"You forget it's not the hunting season," replied Uncle Teddy, "and don't seem to be aware of the fact that there are such things as game laws in this fair country."
There was a chorus of disappointment from the Winnebagos and Sandwiches, whose imaginations had already gone forward to the great sport of hunting the moose and bringing his antlers home in triumph to hang in the House of the Open Door. Uncle Teddy saw the disappointment and sympathized with the boys and girls, for he was a great hunter himself and enjoyed nothing better than an expedition after game.
"I'll tell you what we'll do," he said. "We'll hunt the moose anyhow, but we won't try to kill him. We'll just try to get a look at him. They are getting so scarce nowadays in this part of the country that it's worth a chase just to see one. If he really lives in those woods over there he'll probably let himself be seen sooner or later. All we have to do is find out where he goes to drink and then watch that place."
The Winnebagos thought that hunting the moose for a friendly purpose was much nicer than killing him after all, and they were perfectly satisfied with the sport as it was. The boys, of course, would rather have hunted him down and secured his antlers, and thought that just looking at him was rather tame sport, but under the circumstances that was the best they could do.
"I know what we'll do," said Migwan. "You remember the story of the Calydonian Hunt in the mythology book? Well, we'll pretend this is another Calydonian Hunt."
"Oh, yes," said Hinpoha. "They went in a yacht called the Argo, didn't they, and the hunters called themselves the Argonauts, wasn't that it?"
"Oh, Hinpoha," groaned Migwan, "how did you ever manage to get a passing grade in 'Myth?'"
"The only kind of myths Hinpoha cared about were the 'Hero and Leander' kind," said Sahwah slily. "She knew that one by heart."
Hinpoha blushed and made awful grimaces at Sahwah.
"I should think that one would appeal to you particularly, Sahwah," said Migwan; "you're so fond of swimming."
Sahwah snorted. "Leander was a fool. It was all right to swim the Hellespont on moonlight nights when the sea was smooth, but if he'd had any brains in his head he'd have rigged up a breeches-buoy for use in stormy weather and gone across in safety and style."
There was a loud burst of laughter at the picture of the romantic Leander traveling across the Hellespont in a breeches-buoy, and when that had subsided Uncle Teddy remarked, "Well, have you made up your minds what you want to call this expedition in search of the moose? By the way, Mother, are you absolutely sure it was a moose and not a bossy cow you saw?"
Aunt Clara did not deign to answer his teasing.
"The War Canoe would make an awfully good looking ship Argo," said Migwan thoughtfully. "The original Argo was an open boat and not a yacht, as the scholarly Hinpoha just intimated. We ought to combine the two and have a joint Argonautic Expedition and Calydonian Hunt."
They all thought this was a fine idea.
"Who will be Jason?" asked the Captain. "Wasn't he the captain, or the first mate, or the vessel owner, or something, the time they went looking for the golden calf?"
"The Golden Fleece, not the golden calf," said Migwan quickly, while they all laughed harder than ever at the Captain's floundering attempt to quote mythology.
"Well, the Golden Fleece, then," said the Captain. "Who's going to be Jason?"
"Whoever's commander of the trip will be Jason," replied Uncle Teddy.
"Who will that be?" asked Sahwah.
"Whoever's Chief at the time we go," replied Uncle Teddy.
"That will be you, because you're Chief this week," said Sahwah.
"But Aunt Clara is Chief, too," protested Katherine.
"Then there will be a Mr. and Mrs. Jason," said Sahwah promptly. "And all the rest of us will be Argonauts."
"I protest," said Uncle Teddy, with a twinkle in his eye. "If there's a Mrs. Jason on board Jason himself won't have a word to say about the expedition. He'll be nothing but a figurehead. He'll be the original Argo-nought!"
"You forget that the figurehead was the most important part of the ship in the eyes of the Greeks," said Aunt Clara sweetly.
"If we don't hurry and get started," said Mr. Evans sagely, "that moose will be nowhere to be found. If you are going to argue as long over every detail of the hunt as you have about this much of it, the moose will have time to get clear over the Arctic Circle before we ever land on the other shore. I move we call ourselves the Argue-nots and go over this afternoon without delay. This weather is too fine to be wasted on dry land."
Accordingly, right after dinner, the second great Argonautic Expedition put out to sea. Mrs. Evans, who had a headache, offered to stay at home and keep Sandhelo company and watch the island.
The space under the seats of the Argo II, as she was temporarily re-christened, was stowed full of "supper makin's," for they planned to stay until after nightfall.
It was not hard to imagine themselves engaged in one of the romantic quests of olden times, for the great war canoe with her rows of paddlers, speeding through the wide open water, was a sight to set the blood dancing in the veins and thrill the imagination. The forest on the northern shore seemed to spread out wider and wider as they approached it, and grew wilder and more dark looking. To their cityfied eyes the dense growth of underbrush between the trees was the wilderness itself. Somewhere in the back of every man's brain there slumbers the instinct of the explorer, a legacy from his far off ancestors who boldly set out to discover the unknown places of the earth, and even the modern boy and girl thrill with delight at the prospect of entering some new, wild region.
Landing was extremely difficult because there was no sand beach, and great care had to be exercised that the canoe was not dashed on the rocks and her sides ripped. Both Mr. Evans and Uncle Teddy stepped overboard in water up to their knees and held the boat steady while the rest climbed out onto the rocks. This was an exciting business, for every few seconds a wave would wash up over those rocks, and if the leap was not made just at the right instant, the unwary lander got a pair of wet feet. But that only added to the fun. When all were out the canoe was pulled up and carried back a safe distance and left upside down with the paddles underneath it, so the sun could not shine on them and crack them. Sunshine, which gives life to most things, is absolutely fatal to wet paddle blades.
It was hard walking. The woods were swampy in places and there were very few paths. But almost as soon as they landed they saw signs of the moose. In the soft mud and near the shore were his footprints, and numerous trees bore evidence that he had nibbled their twigs, while there were other marks on the bark which Uncle Teddy explained were made by his striking his antlers against the trunks and branches. Sir Moose himself was nowhere to be seen. His trail led into the woods and they were doing their best to follow. Of course they were making enough noise to scare away a herd of buffalos, but there didn't seem to be any way to remedy the matter. Hinpoha would shriek when she stepped on a rolling stick, thinking it was a snake, and Katherine was continually tripping over something and sprawling face downward.
"The Argonautic half of the Expedition came up to our expectations," said Migwan, as they floundered on, "but the Calydonian Hunt seems to be a wild goose chase."
"Where do mooses stay when they are in the woods?" asked Hinpoha, falling over a root and pausing to rub her ankle.
"On the ground," said the Captain, trying to be funny.
"How very odd," said Hinpoha. "I had an idea they climbed up into a tree and built a nest. I may not know much about your old mythology, but I do know a few things about a moose."
"Maybe you do," replied the Captain with that maddening twinkle in his eye, "but anybody that calls the plural of 'moose' 'mooses' couldn't be expected to know much about them."
"Oh, well," said Hinpoha, laughing with the rest, "have it your own way. By the way, what is the plural—meece? Anyway, I wasn't talking to you in the first place when I asked my question. I was talking to Uncle Teddy, and I'm going to ask him again. Where would you go to look for a moose in the woods?"
"They like shallow water in summer and slow-moving streams," replied Uncle Teddy. "They wade out and eat the plants growing in the water."
"I suppose if we see him at all we'll see him that way," said Hinpoha. "We'll probably only get a glimpse of him from a distance."
"Probably," agreed Uncle Teddy, "unless——"
"Unless what?" asked Sahwah, pricking up her ears.
Uncle Teddy smiled mysteriously. Then from his pocket he produced something which looked like a trumpet made of birchbark.
"What is it?" they all chorused, crowding around him.
"Wait and see," he said, still with that mysterious smile.
He did not seem to be going to do anything with the strange thing he held in his hand. He led the way through the trees, patiently holding aside the branches for the girls to go through, often stopping to examine a twig or patch of bark. When they had been going some time they came out on the bank of a river. Here was an open space and Uncle Teddy called the procession to a halt.
"Everybody find a comfortable place and sit absolutely still," he ordered.
"What's going to happen?" asked Hinpoha curiously.
"Nothing—very likely," replied Uncle Teddy tantalizingly.
"May we climb a tree?" asked the Captain.
"Surely," replied Uncle Teddy, "if that's your idea of a comfortable place to sit. And if you will promise to be absolutely still when you get there and not fall out at the wrong time." The Captain swung himself up into a big cedar tree that stood nearby, and sat with his feet dangling over their heads.
"What are you doing, Cap?" called Slim from the ground, "going to heaven?"
"Looks like it," said the Captain, going a notch higher in search of a better seat.
Slim had not climbed a tree. It was too strenuous for him. "Fine chance you'll have of getting to heaven, if you have to climb, Slim," jeered the Captain, now that he was comfortably settled.
Slim only laughed and sat back comfortably against a stump.
"Sh-h, you two," called out Gladys warningly. "Don't you see it's going to begin?"
"What's going to begin?" asked the Captain, craning his neck downward to watch Uncle Teddy.
Uncle Teddy put the birchbark trumpet to his lips and sent forth a strange call, that sounded like an animal.
"Why are you doing that?" asked Sahwah.
"I'm going to try and make old man moose come to see us," said Uncle Teddy. "It's lots easier than going to see him. You remember the saying about Mahomet and the mountain? Well, now the mountain is coming to see Mahomet. The sound made by this birchbark trumpet resembles the call of the female moose, and when the male hears it he comes to see what it means. Like his human brothers, Mr. Moose is a dutiful husband and comes when his wife calls him. Everybody sit still now and see if he comes."
Again he sent the call echoing through the woods. The watchers strained ears and eyes, but nothing happened.
A third time he blew on the birchbark trumpet. Then they heard a cracking and crashing among the branches nearby and suddenly a huge creature came trotting up a small path that led into the woods and emerged into the clearing. So sudden was his appearance that it took their breath away and they sat perfectly motionless, marveling at the wide spread of his antlers, his humpy, grotesque nose, and the little bell-like pouch that hung down from his neck. A moment he stood there, wearing a look of inquiry, his big nostrils quivering, and then he became aware of the presence of human beings, and turning in affright he fled up the path by which he had come. But in the moment he had stood there they had been able to get a good look at him.
As soon as he was gone they all sprang to their feet and began excitedly comparing notes on what they had seen.
"Did you ever see such big antlers?" said Sahwah. "So flat and wide. I always thought antlers were like the branches of a tree."
"And the funny hump on his nose," said Hinpoha.
"But did you ever see anything so funny as that thing hanging down from his neck?" said Katherine. "It looked just like a bell."
"Let's follow him," said Sahwah enthusiastically, "and see if we can catch a glimpse of him again."
For a while they could follow the footprints of the big creature in the soft mud along the river bank; then the tracks ceased abruptly. The moose had turned and dashed into the deep woods.
"Now which way did he go?" asked Sahwah.
"You are asking more than I can tell," answered Uncle Teddy.
"Shall we go any further?" asked Hinpoha doubtfully. "These woods don't look very easy to walk through."
"Oh, yes, let's go on," begged Sahwah.
"We might get lost and not find our way back," said Hinpoha.
"We'll remember this big cedar tree," said Uncle Teddy. "It's the only one around here and it's right near the river."
Fixing the location of the big cedar tree in their minds they struck into the woods in the direction they thought the moose had taken.
"It's queer we don't hear him," said Sahwah. "You'd think an animal as large as that would make a great noise running through the woods. Just listen to the racket Slim is making over there."
"That's where the moose has a secret no man can find out," said Uncle Teddy. "Big and awkward as he is, he moves through the forest as silently as a phantom. How he does it no one knows. A horse or a cow, though smaller, would make ten times as much noise."
"Do you suppose we'll find our way back to the cedar tree?" asked Gladys, beginning to look rather solemn as the trees and bushes closed around them in seemingly endless array.
Uncle Teddy smiled and showed her a small compass he was holding in his hand. "We have been going straight west so far," he said. "If we turn for any reason we'll make note of the tree where we turn. It is as easy to find your way through the woods as it is through the city if you will only keep your eyes open for sign posts."
As he was speaking they came upon another cedar tree, as big and as old as the first; the only one they had passed since that one. "Now there is a landmark worth noting," said Uncle Teddy, pointing to the tree. "Giant cedar, towering above other trees, only one in sight. Fifteen minutes' walk due west from the other cedar beside the river. And you see we will have to turn right here because there seems to be a path at right angles to the direction we have been traveling, while it is swampy straight ahead."
He called the rest around him and made them all make a note of the trail they were taking. So they all jotted down, "Due west from cedar by river until you come to another; then turn south."
And right in the path, a few steps ahead, was a soft, muddy place and in it there was a fresh footprint, which was just like those made by the moose on the river bank.
"He is around here!" cried Sahwah excitedly. "Maybe we'll see him yet if we keep going."
They picked their way carefully, avoiding the swampy ground and pretty soon they came to a third cedar, just as tall as the other two, and also the only one in sight.
"Another guidepost to remember," said Uncle Teddy, and made them jot it down. Just beyond this tree the swamp made them turn to the left. Several times more they saw the footprint of the moose in the soft mud near the path, but never a glimpse did they get of him.
Some distance ahead stood a fourth big cedar and ten minutes' walk beyond that a fifth.
"It will be as easy to find our way back as if we were walking down a street full of signposts," said Gladys, who had become fascinated with this method of looking for guideposts through the woods. "All we have to do is walk until we come to a cedar tree. It seems almost as if they had been planted that way on purpose. Let's keep on and see if there are any more."
Sure enough, in about ten minutes they came to another one, and there the trail through the woods ended at the foot of a rocky hill.
"That makes six cedar trees we've passed," said Gladys, jotting down the fact in her notebook.
"Uncle Teddy, won't you please call the moose again," pleaded Sahwah. "Maybe he'd come again."
"I doubt it," said Uncle Teddy. "He found out once that it wasn't his mate calling him."
"Try it again, anyway," begged Sahwah.
Uncle Teddy sent the call of the birchbark trumpet echoing far and wide, but though they watched in breathless silence, no moose appeared in answer to the call.
"He's 'wise,'" said the Captain. "You can't blame him. Nobody could fool me twice either."
"We might as well start back now," said Slim, beginning to think longingly of the supper cached under the first cedar by the river. "We've had our hunt, and seen the moose, which was what we came for. Aren't you all satisfied yet?"
"Oh, Slim, are you very hungry?" asked Sahwah. "Katherine and I want to go up the hill a little way and poke into that ravine up there; it's so dark and mysterious looking."
Slim sighed and looked longingly back toward the trail by which they had come.
"Oh, never mind, we won't go," said Sahwah, seeing the look.
"Oh, go on," said Slim good naturedly.
Katherine fished in her pocket and drew out a tin foil-covered package. "Here's a piece of chocolate I've been carrying around with me ever since I've been at Ellen's Isle," she said. "It's pretty stale by this time, I guess, but it'll keep you from starving while Sahwah and I go and explore the ravine."
Slim took the chocolate without any scruples regarding its staleness and Katherine and Sahwah started up the hill. Then the rest thought they would like to go into the ravine, too, and all came streaming after.
The ravine was as dark and mysterious as they could wish, for its high sides kept out the sun and in the gloom the trunks of trees seem twisted into fantastic shapes. The ferns and brakes were very luxuriant, and they waded about in them up to their knees.
"There's another cedar tree!" cried Gladys, pointing ahead of her. Springing from the steep side of the ravine and towering high above it stood a seventh cedar tree, more lofty and more ancient looking than the others.
"What a peculiar place for a tree to take root," said Gladys. "It looks as though it would slide down the hill any minute."
"I reckon it's firm enough," said Uncle Teddy. "It's been hanging on there for considerably over a hundred years, by its size."
"What's this on the rock?" asked Sahwah, who had been examining the boulders which lay at the bottom of the ravine just under the tree. She pointed to a mark on one of the stones, an arrow chiseled out of the hard rock. They all crowded around and exclaimed in wonder. What could it mean?
"Maybe somebody's buried here," said the Captain.
"Rather a heavy tombstone," said Uncle Teddy. "And not much of an epitaph. I'll want more than an arrow on mine."
"It must mean something," said Hinpoha, her romantic imagination fired immediately.
But the consuming interest they had all shown in the arrow on the rock was driven out of them the next moment by a wild uproar at the other end of the ravine—the sound of a great crashing accompanied by a frightful bellow. Then there was another crash; the sound of rock striking against rock, a ripping, tearing, falling sound, a thud and another frightful bellow.
"Goodness, what was that?" asked Uncle Teddy, running forward in the direction of the noise, followed by the others.
They soon saw. On the ground at the upper end of the ravine lay the great bull moose they had seen that afternoon when he had come, in the pride of his strength, to answer the call of the birchbark trumpet. Now he lay in a heap, his sides heaving convulsively, beside a good-sized rock he had either carried over the edge of the precipice in his fall from above, or which had carried him. At the top of the ravine there was a deep hole in the soil where the ground had given away and hurled him over the edge. But the fall was not the worst of it. Down in the ravine there stood a broken sapling about two feet high, its sharp point standing up like a bayonet. Straight onto this the moose had plunged in his fall, ripping his chest open in a great jagged gash from which the blood flowed in a stream.
Hinpoha turned away and covered her eyes with her hands at the dreadful sight.
"Kill him, kill him," said Aunt Clara, catching hold of her husband's arm in distress, "I can't bear to see him suffer so."
"I have nothing to kill him with," said Uncle Teddy, in equal distress.
But the moose was beyond the need of a friendly bullet to end his sufferings, for after a few more convulsive heaves he stiffened out and lay still.
"Is he dead?" asked Hinpoha.
"Yes," answered Uncle Teddy.
"I'm so glad," said Hinpoha, still keeping her eyes averted. "The poor, poor thing. Are you going to bury him?"
"Bury him!" shouted the Captain in amazement. "Bury that moose? Not for a hundred dollars! Bury those antlers, and that hide? What are you thinking of?"
"I forgot," said Hinpoha meekly. "I was only thinking of the poor moose himself, not his antlers or his hide."
"Have we a right to take him?" asked Gladys. "This isn't the hunting season, you know."
Mr. Evans smiled fondly at her. "Always wondering whether you have a right to do things, aren't you, puss? Yes, of course we have a perfect right to take his antlers and his hide. We didn't kill him out of season; he killed himself falling into the ravine, so we haven't broken any law. He just sort of dropped into our laps, and 'finders is keepers,' you know."
"Well, your Calydonian Hunt was more successful than you expected," said Uncle Teddy, "for now you will really have the antlers as a trophy instead of just seeing the moose. If only all big game hunting were so easy!"
The Argonautic Expedition seemed very argonautic, indeed, when Mrs. Evans welcomed it back into camp and heard the news about the moose. Of course, they could not bring it back with them in the war canoe, for it weighed twelve hundred pounds if it weighed an ounce. Uncle Teddy and Mr. Evans, with the Captain and a few more of the Sandwiches, went directly back in the big launch to bring in the carcass while the Winnebagos prepared a second supper to celebrate the triumphant outcome of the Calydonian Hunt.
BY VOTE OF COUNCIL
"Oh, what a peaceful day!" said Hinpoha, rising from the depths like Undine and seating herself on a rock to dry her bright hair in the breeze before she went up the hill. The Winnebagos and Sandwiches had been in swimming and were lying lazily about in the warm sand. Slim sat in the shade of Hinpoha's rock and fanned himself. Even a dip in the cool water made him warm and breathless. Gladys and Migwan were out in a rowboat, washing middies in the lake.
"It is peaceful," drawled Katherine, tracing designs in the sand with her forefinger. "One of those days when everything seems in tune and nothing happens to disturb the quiet. By the way, where's Sahwah?"
"Gone to St. Pierre with Mr. Evans for the mail," answered Hinpoha.
Katherine drew a few more designs in the sand and then rose and sauntered leisurely up the path. The rest lay still.
"Ouch, my neck's getting sunburned," said Slim about five minutes later, and picking up Hinpoha's hat he set it on his head and panted across the beach toward the hill.
The Captain sent a pebble flying after him, and carried the hat from his head. Slim went on his way without stopping to pick it up.
"Slim is absolutely the laziest mortal on the face of this earth," said the Captain, strolling down to the water's edge and wading out to wash the sand off before he, too, started on the upward climb.
"Watch me," he called, as he mounted a solitary rock that just reared its nose above the surface of the water, "I'm going to make one more plunge for distance. Will you row out about forty feet," he shouted to Gladys and Migwan, "and see if I can come out beside the boat?"
Migwan and Gladys obligingly rowed out as he directed and rested their oars, waiting for him to come. The Captain made a clean leap from the rock and disappeared beneath the surface of the water.
"I believe he's going clear under the boat and coming out the other side," said Hinpoha.
The interval was growing long and the Captain had not risen to the surface yet.
"He's been under almost a minute," said Uncle Teddy, springing up and watching the water keenly. "Where can he be?"
He sprang into a boat and hurried along the line the Captain had taken, peering down into the depths. The girls and boys on the beach all hastened down into the water and swam or waded after him. When he was half way out to the rowboat where Migwan and Gladys sat waiting, the Captain's feet suddenly shot out of the water right beside him. Dropping the oars he caught hold of the feet and pulled the Captain into the boat.
"What's the matter? What happened?" they all asked as the Captain shook the water out of his eyes and looked around with a relieved expression.
"Suck hole, I guess," he said. "I had only gone about twenty-five feet when something caught hold of me and dragged me down, turning me around all the while. It lifted my feet and pulled me down head first, but I managed to hold my breath and not swallow water. Then all of a sudden some other current got ahold of me and shot me up and pretty soon somebody grabbed my feet and there was Uncle Teddy and the boat right beside me. It's a suck hole all right, I think."
"Are you sure that was the place, where I pulled you out?" asked Uncle Teddy.
"Quite sure," replied the Captain. "I came up right beside the boat."
"We'll have to mark the spot in some way," said Uncle Teddy, "so we will know how to avoid it when we are swimming. Let's see, it's right about in line with those twin pines on the bank and about thirty feet from the shore. We'll rig up some sort of a floating buoy there and then give the place a wide berth. It's a good thing it's out of line with our sandy beach, so it won't interfere with any water sports we may want to have there."
"Don't look so scared, I'm not drowned," said the Captain to Hinpoha, who was as pale as a ghost.
"But you might have been," said Hinpoha in an agitated voice. "I thought I should die until I saw you coming up. I never was so scared."
The Captain began to think it was worth while to go down in a suck hole to make Hinpoha feel so much concern about him.
"I'm sorry I scared you," he said, "but it really wasn't so terrible after all. I wasn't very much frightened." Boylike, he must begin to boast of his exploit in the presence of his feminine friends.
"Please be careful after this," begged Hinpoha. "Those suck holes are dreadful things. Why, once my cousin——"
But the incident she intended to relate was never told, for just then a cascade of earth shot by the group on the beach like an express train, carrying with it something that looked like a pinwheel of waving hands and feet, all of which grew out of the head of a donkey. The cascade landed in the water with a mighty splash and from it emerged the forms of Slim, Katherine and Sandhelo, all looking decidedly astonished and not quite sure yet what had happened. A fresh hollow at the top of the hill and a ploughed-up trail of sand all the way down told the story. The earth had given way up there just as it had with the moose in the woods, and the three had tobogganed down the steep hillside into the lake.
"I was sitting up there under that tree, just as politely," explained Katherine, her cracked voice shattered utterly by the tumble, "feeding Sandhelo long blades of grass, when Slim came up the path, puffing the way he always does when he climbs the hill, and sat down beside me to get his breath before going on to his tent. Pretty soon a spider ran across his neck and he jumped up and sat down again hard and that time when he sat down he broke through to China and we all went with him."
"And down there came rockabye baby and all," sang Migwan, amid the general laughter.
"Such a peaceful day," said Hinpoha.
Nobody was hurt by the fall, as the sand was soft and the last landing had been in the water, and, as they had all been so frightened at the Captain's adventure a moment before, they became hysterical in their laughter over this last ridiculous accident.
"That soft sand track down the hillside looks as if it would make a fine toboggan," remarked the Captain. "Believe I'll try coasting down into the lake."
And, suiting the action to the word, he climbed the hill and slid down the sandy cut, landing with a fine splash. The others immediately swarmed up the hill to try the new sport, which was as good as the chute-the-chutes at the big amusement park at home.
That was the sight which greeted Sahwah when she came back with Mr. Evans from St. Pierre, bringing the mail. She was sitting out on the very peak of the launch's bow, her feet almost dragging the water, waving the packet of home letters over her head. At the sight of her there was a general scattering in the direction of the tents, for the sliders suddenly remembered that it was dinner time and the mail would be distributed at the table.
That night was Council Meeting on the big rock on the bluff. It was the end of Uncle Teddy's and Aunt Clara's Chiefhood, and the reins of government were to fall into the hands of Mr. and Mrs. Evans. After much beating of the tom-tom, Uncle Teddy presented Mr. Evans with a pine branch and Aunt Clara gave Mrs. Evans one, to hang over the door of their tents as a symbol of Chiefhood, "because pine was the chief thing to be found on Ellen's Isle." Mr. and Mrs. Evans accepted the branches gravely, and took their places at the end of the rock reserved for the Chiefs.
Then Mr. Evans announced that there was something special to be brought before the Council. He held a letter in his hand and the giggles and whispers came to an abrupt end, and all eyes were turned inquiringly toward him.
"It is the power and the pleasure of this Council," he began in a businesslike tone, "to decide all questions regarding the life here at camp. Something has come up now which will require a frank expression of opinion from each one in order to reach a decision. I have here," indicating the sheet in his hand, "a letter from our recent acquaintance, Judge Dalrymple. The judge thanks us profusely for our entertainment of him and his children, and does us the honor to say that he never saw a group of people living together in such perfect harmony, or getting so much pleasure out of life. Then he makes a proposal. He has, among his goods and chattels, a pair of twins, which, as we have reason to suspect, are rather a handful for him to manage. He finds that business calls him back to the city for the entire summer, and as his wife has gone to a sanitarium to recover from nervous prostration, he is at a loss to know what to do with the aforesaid twins. He wants to keep them outdoors all summer, because neither are as strong as they should be. He has a fancy that Ellen's Isle is a good atmosphere in which to make spindly plants grow into hardy ones, and, in short, he asks us, nay, begs and beseeches us, if we will take the twins off his hands for the summer. What does the Council say to acquiring a good pair of twins at a reasonable price?"
From all sides there rose a storm of protest. "We wouldn't have those twins up here for anything," said Gladys emphatically. "We had just as much as we could stand of them in two days. Have you forgotten what a cry-baby Antha was?"
"And what a snob Anthony was?" said the Captain. "'I guess you didn't get much of a war canoe, did you?' 'I guess your papa can't be very rich, is he?'" The Captain mimicked Anthony's patronizing tone to perfection and recalled the scene vividly to the others.
"Our whole summer up here would be ruined," continued Gladys. "Why can't we let well enough alone? This isn't a reform camp for spoiled children. We came up here to rest and play; not to wear ourselves out with people of that kind."
Everywhere her sentiments were echoed. Mr. Evans gave no sign of his secret wish that the Council would take the twins. The others did not know the details of the failure of the spring water company, nor the judge's connection with it.
"Then the Council decides that we shall turn down the judge's proposition?" asked Mr. Evans. "Let each one register his or her vote, for or against. If you want them to come, say yes, if not, no. Gladys."
"May I say something?" asked Katherine, instead of replying directly yes or no.
"Certainly," said Mr. Evans, leaning forward a little.
Katherine rose and stood in her favorite attitude, with her toes turned in and her shoulders drooped forward. "When the twins were here," she began, "I disliked them as much as the rest of you, and when the Council was asked to decide whether or not they should come I decided to vote no. But I just happened to think what Nyoda said to us at our last Winnebago Council Meeting up in the House of the Open Door, the night she went away forever. She gave the Winnebago fire into our keeping, and said that from it we must light new fires, and that we must begin in earnest to 'pass on the light that has been given us.' She said we should gain an influence over younger girls and show them how to have a good time as we had learned so well ourselves. Now I think the time has come. I think that Antha has been dropped at our door as a special opportunity, and I think that we should take it.
"If you folks decide that Antha and her brother may come I will appoint myself her special 'big sister,' and will devote my time to her improvement. So instead of voting 'no,' I wish to vote 'yes.'"
"Your point is well taken, Miss Orator," said Mr. Evans with unexplained warmth. "You would make a famous criminal lawyer. You have a line of argument which admits of very little defense. Does anyone else speak for Antha? If three speak for her she may come, like Mowgli in the 'Jungle Book.'"
"I speak for her," said the quiet Nakwisi unexpectedly. Nakwisi admired Katherine intensely, and desired to follow her lead in all things.
"Two have spoken for her," said Mr. Evans judiciously. "Will there be another?"
"I will speak for her," said Hinpoha decidedly. Katherine's words had brought back the scene in the House of the Open Door vividly, and again she heard Nyoda's gentle voice urging them to "pass on the light." Completely melted, she also promised to be a big sister to Antha. Then Gladys and Sahwah and Migwan all spoke up and wanted to know if they could not take back their "no," because they had reconsidered the matter and now agreed with Katherine.
"Does anyone speak for the boy, Anthony?" continued Mr. Evans.
"I do," said the Captain promptly, who was anxious to find favor in Hinpoha's eyes.
Then there was a pause. None of the boys liked Anthony, and they could not honestly say they wanted him. They had no memory of a beloved guardian to influence them. But after a moment Slim spoke up. He generally followed whither the girls led.
"I'll be a big sister, or a grandfather or a Dutch uncle to the kid if I have the right to punch his head when he gets too fresh," he said naively, and the solemn meeting was stirred by a ripple of laughter.
Then the Bottomless Pitt fell into line and said he felt the same about it as Slim did, and that settled the question. Of course, after that there was nothing for the Monkey and Peter and Dan to do but fall into line.
Then after their decision had been made entirely by themselves, Mr. Evans rose and told them in a few words why he had been anxious to accommodate the judge, and how glad he was that they were honestly willing to do it. They all blushed under his praise, but all knew down in their hearts that if it hadn't been for Katherine they never would have done it.
"How soon will they be here?" asked Gladys.
"They are awaiting our answer in St. Pierre," said her father. "And if we are favorably disposed we are to go over with the launch tomorrow and fetch them back."
"The die is cast," said Uncle Teddy gravely. "Now for the fireworks!"
THE DEBUT OF EENY-MEENY
"The person who invented tan khaki," remarked Katherine, "ought to have a place in the hall of fame along with the other benefactors of humanity. It's as strong as sheet iron, so it doesn't tear even on a barbed wire fence; it doesn't show the mud; grass stains and green paint are positively ornamental. What more could be desired?"
Katherine and Slim were sitting on the bluff looking idly over the lake. Around them there was a great silence, for the island was practically deserted. All the other Winnebagos and Sandwiches had gone over to St. Pierre in the launch with Mr. Evans and Uncle Teddy to fetch the Dalrymple Twins. Katherine had been wandering around the island in one of her absent-minded fits when they were ready to start and did not appear when called, and Slim had fallen asleep under a tree and they didn't have the heart to wake him. After they were gone Katherine stumbled upon Slim in the course of her wandering and dropped an acorn down the back of his collar. Slim woke up grumbling that he never could have a moment's peace, but readily accepted Katherine's invitation to sit on the bluff and throw pine cones at the floating signal which marked the suck hole. Katherine, with her usual heedlessness, had slid down part of the grassy embankment, and, as a result, the hem of her skirt was decorated at uneven intervals with large grass stains. She eyed the combination of tan and green thus affected with unconcealed admiration. It was then that she made the remark about the inventor of tan khaki being a benefactor of humanity.