Margaret Penrose.

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DOROTHY DALE'S CAMPING DAYS

by

MARGARET PENROSE

Author of "Dorothy Dale: a Girl of To-Day," "Dorothy Dale at Glenwood
School," "Dorothy Dale's Great Secret," "The Motor Girls," "The Motor
Girls at Lookout Beach," etc.

Illustrated

New York
Cupples & Leon Company

1911







[Illustration: She slid into the frail bark, and started off.]




+ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - +
| BOOKS BY MARGARET PENROSE |
| |
| Cloth. Illustrated. |
| |
| THE DOROTHY DALE SERIES |
| |
| |
| DOROTHY DALE: A GIRL OF TO-DAY |
| DOROTHY DALE AT GLENWOOD SCHOOL |
| DOROTHY DALE'S GREAT SECRET |
| DOROTHY DALE AND HER CHUMS |
| DOROTHY DALE'S QUEER HOLIDAYS |
| DOROTHY DALE'S CAMPING DAYS |
| (Other volumes in preparation) |
| |
| * * * * * |
| |
| THE MOTOR GIRLS SERIES |
| |
| THE MOTOR GIRLS |
| Or A Mystery of the Road |
| THE MOTOR GIRLS ON A TOUR |
| Or Keeping a Strange Promise |
| THE MOTOR GIRLS AT LOOKOUT BEACH |
| Or In Quest of the Runaways |
| THE MOTOR GIRLS THROUGH NEW |
| ENGLAND. Or Held by the Gypsies |
| (Other volumes in preparation) |
| |
| _Cupples & Leon Co., Publishers, New York_ |
+ - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - - +





CONTENTS


CHAPTER

I. OUT OF A HAYRICK

II. TAVIA GOES BO-PEEPING

III. THE DISASTROUS DRAG

IV. THE PREMATURE CAMP

V. THE SEARCH

VI. OFF FOR CAMP

VII. CAMP C.C.

VIII. THE WILD ANIMAL

IX. A STRANGE MEETING

X. THE DISAPPEARANCE OF TAVIA

XI. WHEN THE BOYS CAME

XII. THE EDGY-EDGE!

XIII. THE SAD AWAKENING

XIV. TAVIA'S MISTAKE

XV. WHEN THE TRAIN CAME IN

XVI. A HARROWING EXPERIENCE

XVII. STRANGER STILL

XVIII. MISTAKEN IDENTITY

XIX. CAMPING DAYS

XX. HAPLESS TAVIA

XXI. AT THE SANITARIUM

XXII. THE CLEW

XXIII. DOROTHY'S ESCAPE

XXIV. A LONELY RIDE

XXV. LOOKING FOR TAVIA

XXVI. DOROTHY'S SUCCESS

XXVII. ONE KIND OF CAMP

XXVIII. GOOD NEWS

XXIX. THE ROUND-UP - CONCLUSION




CHAPTER I

OUT OF A HAYRICK


"Oh, my!" exclaimed one girl.

"Oh, mine!" amended another.

"Oh, ours!" called out a third.

Then there was one awful bump, and the chorus was understood.

The old-style hay wagon, which was like a big crib, wobbled from side
to side. The young ladies followed its questionable example, and some
of them "sort of" lapped-over on the others.

"Dorothy Dale!" gasped one particularly sensitive member of the party,
"we thought when you vouched for this affair that it would turn out
all right!"

"But it hasn't turned out anything yet," replied Dorothy, "although we
all came pretty near it - that time."

She clasped her hand around one of the braces of the hayrick,
evidently determined that should she be "turned out" her arm would be
responsible.

"That's just like you, Nita Brant," declared Tavia Travers, the latter
really being manager of the occasion. "When I go to work, and hire a
car like this, and especially stipulate that the ride shall
be - rural - you kick on the bumps."

But scarcely had she uttered these words, when a "bump" came, with
neither time nor opportunity for Nita's "kick." In fact, it was
remarkable that the old hay wagon did not actually carry out its
threat, to roll over in the direction toward which it wobbled.

"If you young ladies care to ride any farther," called out a man from
the front of the wagon, "you better be still. I ain't put no corks in
the holes in the bottom of this autymobile."

He chuckled at his own joke. The holes were only too apparent to the
fair occupants of the hay wagon.

"Oh, it's all right, Sam," called back Tavia, "the only thin member of
the party, who might by any chance fall through a hole, is dying from
bumps, and we have a good hold on her. If you could see through the
hay you would behold the human chain in action," and she gave Nita
such a jerk that the latter declared the bumps were lovely, and
begged to be allowed to do her own experimenting with them.

"He laughs best who laughs least," misquoted Dorothy, as the wagon
continued to jog along. "I don't exactly like the - er - contour of the
hill we are approaching."

"Why, that's the real thing in hills," declared Tavia. "I planned this
road purposely to 'tobog' down that hill."

"I hope the old horses are hooked up securely," remarked Rose-Mary,
whom the girls called Cologne. "I don't mind making a hill, but I hate
to have the wagon make it in solo. I have had a try of that sort."

"Now say your prayers, Nita," ordered Tavia, "and don't forget to
repent for snibbying my chocolates."

"Oh!" screamed Edna Black, _alias_ Ned Ebony, "I do believe something
is going to happen!"

"Sure thing," continued Tavia, in her joking way. "Do you suppose the
girls from Glenwood ever go out without having 'something happen'?"

The old man was pulling at the reins, but his horses were starting to
slide.

"Watch that fellow waltz," remarked Tavia. "Now, wouldn't he be great
in a circus?"

The "waltzing horse" tried to sit down, but the farmer tugged at the
lines, and otherwise objected to such conduct, and the unfortunate
animal did its best to comply with the orders, which were now being
flung at him, not only from the driver but from the girls in the
wagon.

"Oh, hold them!" pleaded Nita.

"Let them run," suggested Tavia. "It will be over sooner!"

"Mercy!" exclaimed Dorothy, "there's a river!"

This remark was followed by a most significant pause. Evidently even
Tavia saw the danger now.

And the old horses were frightened as well, for they backed, side
stepped, and made every possible effort to avoid having the wagon, and
its precious load, overturned into the deep river at the very side of
the roadway.

"Don't yell so!" called Dorothy to the driver. "That won't help any
and it hurts our ears."

"Is there no brake?" wailed Nita.

"There is likely to be one soon," Tavia assured her.

The girls were becoming more and more alarmed, and only Tavia kept up
the jesting. The hill was very steep, the river fairly curled around
it, and the horses grew more nervous each moment, under the strain
that was being put upon them.

Deep in the bed of hay the girls from Glenwood School had ensconsed
themselves. The horses were now going at such a pace that it would be
rash to attempt to jump from the rick. Nita Brant actually made her
way forward, and had now fairly grasped the old driver about the neck.
She felt that he must know how to save himself, at least, and she
determined to "take chances" with him.

Tavia did deign to sit up and notice the rate of speed the old horses
had acquired. Her dark eyes shot glances of daring admiration, and she
reminded her companions that Roman chariot races were "not in it,"
just then.

Dorothy stood up bravely and agreed to call out, when they should be
too near the river.

Suddenly there was a crash, and then the horses bolted!

"Something snapped!" called Dorothy. "Something is broken!"

No need to announce this, for, with the ominous sound, one of the
horses broke from its traces, and the other was now dragging the old
wagon along by the straps that had withstood the jerks and plunges.

"Oh, we will be killed!" screamed Nita, "There's the river!"

The girls made ready to jump.

"Don't!" begged Dorothy. "You will be dragged along in this stuff. You
cannot jump through these braces."

Truly they were imprisoned by the uprights of the old-fashioned
hayrick! But if they could not jump what could they do? Each face
showed its panic of fear. If only the one remaining horse would break
loose, it might not be so dangerous to fall over in all that hay!

A shriek from Nita turned all eyes to her. "The man!" she screamed.
"He has fallen - under the wheels!"

By a single impulse Dorothy and Tavia grasped one of the rungs of the
rick, and they threw their full weight on it until it snapped - then
broke!

"Quick!" cried Dorothy. "Jump after me!"

Tavia needed no second invitation. In an instant she had followed
Dorothy Dale, and, as they landed in the dusty roadway, shaken up, but
not otherwise hurt, the runaway horse, freed from the interference of
its mate that had broken loose, continued to drag the hayrick toward
the dangerous river, which bubbled over the black and sharp rocks,
scarcely concealed by the foam that broke upon them.

"Oh, the girls! The girls in the wagon!" gasped Dorothy, and she
pressed bravely on, followed by Tavia.




CHAPTER II

TAVIA GOES BO-PEEPING


Well might Dorothy exclaim in terror at the fate that seemed imminent
for the girls left in the wagon - the girls of Glenwood School - her
dearest chums. Those of my readers who are familiar with the previous
volumes of this series, will, perhaps, pardon the rather unceremonious
manner in which I have just introduced the young ladies of this book.
To those who are reading of Dorothy Dale for the first time, a few
words of explanation may be necessary. And, in presenting the young
ladies of Glenwood School, I must at once apologize for, and criticise
Tavia Travers.

From the very first book of the series entitled "Dorothy Dale, a Girl
of To-day," we find Dorothy striving bravely to induce Tavia to give
up her stagey ways. Every predicament in the story was a "scene" to
Tavia, while but for Dorothy's intervention, and gentle determination,
these scenes would have been turned into tragedies for the wily Tavia.
Then, in the second book, "Dorothy Dale at Glenwood School," Tavia
and the young ladies of that institution got into many a "scrape" and,
while Dorothy was one of the girls, in the true sense of the word, she
managed to discriminate between fun and folly.

But what sacrifices Dorothy was actually capable of making for a
friend were more clearly related in "Dorothy Dale's Great Secret,"
where she shielded Tavia from the consequences of her daring and
foolish venture, of running away with a theatrical company. Through
two more books of the series, "Dorothy Dale and Her Chums," and
"Dorothy Dale's Queer Holidays," we find Dorothy still busy trying to
reform Tavia, and while in each of the books there is plenty of other
work for Dorothy to attend to, it seems that Tavia is her one
perpetual charge. What Tavia thinks fun is not always of the safe
sort, and what Dorothy thinks necessary Tavia often thinks may be
passed by as some subtle joke. So it will be seen that each of these
two interesting characters always has her own particular following,
while the friendship between Tavia and Dorothy has withstood every
possible test.

So we find the same young ladies in the present story, still indulging
in their favorite pastime - getting into and out of mischief.

They had been out riding on an improvised chariot - a hayrick of the
old-fashioned kind, like a cradle, filled with the fragrant timothy
and redtop, when the accident, narrated in the first chapter, took
place.

As Tavia and Dorothy ran after the wagon containing their friends,
while the vehicle swayed from side to side in the road, they saw it
give a sudden lurch, and almost topple over on the steep embankment
which descended to the river.

Dorothy gave a gasp of fear, and Tavia covered her eyes with her hand.
The next moment Dorothy saw the driver of the wagon crawling out from
a clump of bushes. Guessing that he was not badly hurt, she ran on,
for she had halted momentarily when she saw the vehicle sway so
dangerously. Together she and Tavia sprang forward, to reach, if
possible, before it toppled over, the swaying, bounding wagon.

Whether from an unconquerable spirit of fun, or from motives purely
humane, Tavia had snatched up armful after armful of the loose hay,
which had been spilled out on the road. In doing this she never halted
in her running, but stooped over, like some gleaner in a field, urged
on by the approach of night.

"Oh!" cried Dorothy. "If we can only reach them before - - "

A figure darted out on the road just ahead of them, and the unexpected
move interrupted Dorothy's exclamation.

"Oh, a man!" shouted Tavia, who was somewhat in advance. "Now we - will
be - all right!"

Yes, a man had started down the hill after the runaway, but just how
or why Tavia was sure that this would make things right, was not clear
to Dorothy.

"He can run!" she called, "Can't he, Tavia?"

"Can't he!" replied Tavia. "But I'm not going to let him have all the
glory. Here," and she tossed a bundle of hay to Dorothy. "Take it
along for the - hospital beds. I'm going - to - run!"

"Going - to!" repeated Dorothy, all out of breath from her own efforts
to catch up to the runaway.

But Tavia darted on. The strange man kept well ahead. Dorothy paused
one moment from sheer exhaustion. Then she saw the wagon overturn!

The next instant she noted that the stranger had grabbed the horse by
the trailing reins.

"Quick!" shrieked Tavia. "The girls may be under the cart!"

With strength gathered from every desperation Dorothy ran on.

She was beside the overturned wagon now, and without uttering a word
she crawled in through the upright sticks, down amid the dust and hay.

Three girls, so wound together as to look like one, lay on one side of
the wrecked vehicle.

"Dorothy!" gasped Rose-Mary. "Are you safe!"

"Yes, but you - Nita and Edna?" gasped Dorothy, pantingly.

"I think Nita has fainted," replied Rose-Mary. "But Edna is all right.
Where is Tavia?"

"Safe," answered Dorothy. "A strange man stopped the runaway. Tavia is
helping hold the horse. We must get the traces loose before we can
attend to Nita."

She made her way out of the overturned wagon. The traces were
unfastened and the horse was free, and the strange man was actually
astride the animal.

"Why," exclaimed Dorothy, "that horse will bolt again. You had best
make him fast somewhere!"

The stranger looked at her with the air of a Chesterfield.

"By kindness we alone subdue," he said.

Dorothy stared at him. What could he mean?

Tavia seemed to have forgotten the predicament of her companions - she
appeared charmed by the stranger - who really was good looking.

"There comes the man who owns the horse," remarked Dorothy, as the
frenzied farmer, whip in hand, ran toward the stranger, yelling all
sorts of unintelligible things in the way of threats and predictions.
He would see to it personally, he declared, that these things would
happen to the man who dared ride his used-up horse.

"A fight to finish it off," exulted Tavia, and Dorothy, for the
moment, felt as if she could find it in her heart to despise so
frivolous a girl. The next second she remembered Nita, and turned back
to the wrecked hayrick.

"It's all well enough for you to laugh," complained the
badly-frightened Nita, "but I can't see where the joke comes in. Just
look at me!"

"A perfect beauty!" declared Tavia. "The rips are all in one piece.
That rent near the hem is positively artistic - looks like the river
Nile!"

It was some time later, but they were still in the roadway. The farmer
had patched up his damaged rig, but would not listen to the girls'
appeals to give them a lift toward town. He insisted it was all their
fault for laughing and scaring the horses, and he vowed vengeance on
the man who really had saved the team from positive destruction in the
river.

The strange young man, after considerable gusto, all of which was
wasted on the farmer, but hugely enjoyed by Tavia at least, had made
his way off, leaving the girls discreetly to their woes. No one was
actually injured, although, as Nita said, costumes had suffered
severely.

"Wasn't he queer?" remarked Cologne, as she shook small bundles of hay
from her Glenwood cap and blouse. "I thought I would laugh outright
when he mounted the old horse a second time. He looked like somebody
on a variety stage."

"Yes," added Tavia, "and Dorothy had to spoil the show by inducing him
to give up the act. What if the farmer did ply the whip? That would
only heighten the effect."

"Since we have to walk," Nita reminded the others, "it might be
advisable to start."

"Great head," commented Tavia, "but do you realize that we shall be
locked out? That the ogresses of 'Glen' will be ready - axe in hand,
block in evidence, grin prominent - - "

"Tavia!" exclaimed Dorothy, "do gather yourself up! That bundle of hay
seems enchanted. As Nita says, we must be going."

Tavia almost lolled over on the soft hay, then she gathered it up with
conspicuous tenderness, pressed it fondly to her heart, and agreed to
start on. Each of the other girls was taking with her, back to the
school, a similar souvenir; but Cologne and Dorothy threw theirs over
their shoulder, in true rustic fashion, while Nita complained that she
was not able to carry hers; though she did manage to bribe Tavia with
a promised return of the chocolates to tie hers in with the extra
sized bundle that Tavia was lugging along.

"Five miles of this will just about do me," declared Cologne. "I think
it would have been infinitely better for us to have hitched on to the
hay wagon, in spite of the old farmer."

"And to think that we paid him in advance! It's a wonder we have never
had a single lesson in financial economy at gloomy Glenwood. 'How to
cheat farmers; or, how to die game in a hayrick!' I must suggest the
text to Mrs. Pangborn, our honored principal," declared Edna, as she,
too, made her way along under the uncertain weight of a bundle of hay.

"But what are we dragging this stuff along for?" asked Dorothy. "Sure
as fate, we will have to drop them when we get within the city, and
why not anticipate? I vote for a drop right here!"

"Never!" declared Tavia. "These are to make up the sacrificial altar.
If old Pangborn growls - won't allow the doors open - we will do it with
a match!" and she signified that the hay would make a spontaneous
blaze in that lamentable instance.

Dorothy saw more than a joke in the remark. Tavia was so ridiculously
daring! It would be very wise to get rid of the hay before entering
the sacred precincts of Glenwood.

The sight was most absurd. Five pretty girls, each dressed in the
Glenwood blue and white, and each with a bundle of fragrant hay on her
shoulder.

"There's a lamb!" declared Cologne. "I could do worse than give Mary's
pet a treat," and she ran to the rail fence, jumped up on one of the
queer crossed posts, and called all sorts of names to the surprised
sheep, that scarcely stopped grazing to notice the girls outside of
the barrier.

This spectacle induced the other students to climb up on the crooked
fence, and presently the old rails were ornamented with the five girls
in blue, with the hay bundles in hand!

It was getting dusk, and the sunset did not detract from the unusual
scene. Great shafts of gold and scarlet fell down on that old fence,
and a prettier sight could scarcely have been worked up, much less
imagined.

"Here, sheepy, sheepy!" called Tavia.

"Here, lamby, lamby, lamby!" pleaded Dorothy.

"Here, woolly, woolly, woolly!" invited Nita.

"Here, kinky, kinky, kinky!" induced Edna.

"Here, Flossy, Flossy, Flossy!" persuaded Cologne.

But never a lamb, sheep or other species of animal named made a move
toward the fence.

"I'll get a few!" declared Tavia, jumping down over the fence, into
the meadow, and racing wildly among the sheep.

"The ram! The ram!" shouted Edna. "Tavia! He is coming directly for
you!"

This was a signal for Tavia to turn back to the fence. The ram did
follow her. She pulled down a rail, and bolted through the opening
just as the savage animal and the great herd of sheep followed.

"Run, sheep, run!" yelled Edna, as the much-terrified girls scattered
hither and thither, along the road, fully conscious that they were
responsible for the safety of the frantic flock that had broken loose
from their pasture.

"Now for the farmer and his whip!" gasped Dorothy. "I thought we had
had enough of that for one afternoon!"

"Too much is enough," answered Edna dryly, "but Tavia likes it. May
she have a real account of the little lamb story for the English class
to-morrow."

"Look! They are all following her!" moaned Nita.

"And they seem to think she is taking them home to supper!" added
Cologne.

"What shall we do?" wailed Nita. "We will surely all be arrested!"

"Wish the police van would hurry up, then," sighed Edna, "I am getting
tuckered out," and she glanced back again, to behold Tavia in the very
midst of the flock of the now somewhat quieted sheep.

"A nice cool cell wouldn't be so bad," declared Cologne, who, being
inclined to flesh, was apt to give out before her companions would
give in.

"How are the 'Bo-Peepers'?" yelled Tavia, with a flourish of a stick
meant to represent a shepherdess crook. "Or do you prefer the old
Roman? There will be all kinds of conflagrations when Nero comes!"

"Isn't she dreadful!" retorted Nita, whose face was really a sickly
white. "She gets us all into trouble, and then gloats over it."

"You wanted something real to write about to-day," Edna reminded her.
"This would make a regular thriller!"

"But, as a matter of fact," began Dorothy seriously, as she stopped,
and her companions halted with her, "what had we best do? We cannot
walk into Glenwood Hall with a herd of sheep at our heels," for the
animals were now following the girls along the road.

"Let's shoo them," suggested Cologne. "Maybe they'll shoo nicely."

"We'll get shooed when we try to get in to-night," murmured Edna. "And
just when we were finishing up the year in rather good style. I hadn't
a single thing against my name - - "

"There's that man who saved the team," gasped Dorothy. "Mercy!
Wherever does he come from? A man is worse than two herds of
sheep - in our scrape with Mrs. Pangborn!"

Just as mysteriously as he had appeared before, the man with the
Chesterfieldian walk, and the big slouch hat, turned into the road.
Where he had come from, nobody could imagine.

"He has followed us!" breathed Nita. "Oh, dear me!" and she pressed
her handkerchief to her eyes.

"If you cry we will tell him you are too ill to walk, and then, maybe
he'll offer to carry you," blurted out Edna. "If one insists on being
a baby, she must be babied."

This charge rather frightened Nita back to courage, or at least she
pretended to it, for she promptly quickened her pace, and even hid
away her handkerchief.

Tavia, too, saw the strange man as he emerged, seemingly, from
nowhere, for she started on a run, laughing uproariously at the herd
of sheep that trotted as she increased her pace, turned as she turned,
and, in fact, seemed to be at a regular game of "follow the leader."

The young man stood carefully posed in the path, just where a huge
stone afforded him a setting for his rather dusty boots.

"What a chap!" commented Edna. "Seems to me he has enough strikes and
poses to make a good cigar box picture."

"Any particular brand?" asked Dorothy. "I might label it
'Spectacular,' with all rights reserved."


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