Hildegard G. Frey.

The Camp Fire Girls at School Or, The Wohelo Weavers online

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college fund and the extra rent would soon pay it back." Migwan's eyes
were shining with ambition.

Mrs. Gardiner shook her head wearily. "We never could do it," she
answered. "Something would surely happen to upset our plans."

But Migwan was not to be waved aside. She had seen a vision of increased
income and meant to make it come true. She argued the merits of her idea
until Mrs. Gardiner was too tired of the subject to argue back, and
agreed that if Miss Kent approved the step she would give her consent.
Nyoda was therefore called into consultation. She looked at the house
and saw no reason why the improvements could not be made to advantage.
The house was in a good neighborhood, and furnished rooms were always in
demand. She advised the step and gave Mrs. Gardiner the names of several
contractors whom she knew to be reliable. Mrs. Gardiner was a little
breathless at the speed with which things were moving, but there was no
stopping Migwan once she was started. A contractor was engaged and work
begun on the house one week from the day Migwan had thought of the plan.

Meanwhile financial matters at home were in bad shape, and Mrs. Gardiner
willingly gave over the distribution of the family budget to Migwan. She
herself was utterly unable to cope with the problem. And Migwan
surprised even herself by the efficient way in which she managed things.
By planning menus with the greatest care and omitting meat from the bill
of fare to a great extent she made it possible to live on their slender
income until the rent would begin to come in again.


"Whatever have you done with yourself?" asked Gladys at the weekly
meeting of the Camp Fire. "Of late you rush home from school as if you
were pursued." Migwan only laughed and said she had had uncommonly hard
problems to solve these last few weeks. The other girls of course did
not know the exact state of the Gardiner finances, and never dreamed
that Migwan was having a struggle even to stay in high school. She was
such a fine, aristocratic-looking girl, and was so sparkling and witty
all the time that it was hard to connect her with poverty and worry.

"Let's all go to the matinee next Saturday afternoon," suggested Gladys.
"The 'Blue Bird' is going to be played." The girls agreed eagerly and
asked Gladys to get seats for them, all but Migwan, who said nothing.

"Don't you want to go, Migwan?" they asked.

"Not this time," Migwan answered in a casual tone. "There is something
else I have to do Saturday afternoon." The girls accepted this
explanation readily. It never occurred to them that Migwan could not
afford to go.

"What is this mysterious something you are always doing?" asked Gladys
teasingly. "Girls, I believe Migwan is writing a book. She has retired
from polite society altogether." Migwan smiled blandly at her, but made
no answer.

At home that night, however, she felt very low-spirited indeed. She was
only human, after all, and wanted dreadfully to go to the matinee with
the girls. Gladys would take them all to Schiller's afterward for a
parfait and bring them home in style in her machine. It did not seem
fair that she should be cut off from every pleasure that involved the
spending of a little money. This was her last year in high school, the
year which should be the happiest, but she must resolutely turn her face
away from all those little festivities that add such touches of color to
the memory fabric of school days. She knew that at the merest hint of
her circumstances to Gladys or Nyoda they would have gladly paid her way
everywhere the group went, but Migwan's pride forbade this. If she could
not afford to go to places she would stay at home and nobody would be
any the wiser. Nevertheless, a few tears would come at the thought of
the good time she was missing, and she had no heart to work on her
story.

"Cry-baby!" she said to herself fiercely, winking the tears back.
"Crying because you can't do as you would like all the time! You're lots
better off than poor Hinpoha this very minute, even if she is rich. You
ought to be ashamed of yourself!" The thought of Hinpoha, who would
likewise miss the jolly party, comforted her somewhat, and she dried her
tears and fell to writing with a will.

Now Nyoda, although she did not know just how hard pressed the Gardiners
were at that time, rather surmised something of the kind, and wondered,
after she left the girls, if that were not the reason for Migwan's not
planning to go to the matinee. She remembered Migwan's saying some time
before that she wanted very much to see "The Bluebird" when it came. She
knew it would never do to offer to pay Migwan's way; Migwan was too
proud for that. She lay awake a long time over it and finally formulated
a plan. The next morning when Migwan came to school she saw a
conspicuous notice on the Bulletin Board:

LOST: Handbag containing book of lecture notes and ticket for Saturday
afternoon's performance of "The Bluebird." Finder may keep theater
ticket if he or she will return notebook to Miss Moore, Room 10.

Migwan read the notice and passed on, as did the other pupils. That
morning in English class Nyoda sent Migwan to an unused lecture room to
get an English book she had left there. When Migwan opened the door she
stumbled over something on the floor. It was a lady's handbag. She
opened it and found Miss Moore's notebook and the theater ticket inside.
Miss Moore was overjoyed at the return of the notebook and insisted on
her keeping the ticket, which Migwan at first declined to accept. "My
dear child," said Miss Moore, "if you knew what trouble I had collecting
those notes you would think, too, that it was worth the price of a
theater ticket to get them back!" And when Migwan's back was turned she
winked solemnly at Nyoda. By a curious coincidence that seat was
directly behind those occupied by the other Winnebagos!




CHAPTER IV.


ANOTHER KITCHEN.

The night of the last Camp Fire Meeting Gladys and Nyoda might have been
seen in close consultation. "The first pleasant Saturday," said Nyoda.

"Remember, it's my treat," said Gladys.

The first week in November was as balmy as May, with every promise of
fine weather on Saturday. Accordingly, Nyoda gathered all the Winnebagos
around her desk on Thursday and made an announcement. Sahwah forgot that
she was in a class room and started to raise a joyful whoop, but Nyoda
stifled it in time by putting her hand over her mouth. "I can't help
it!" cried Sahwah; "we're going on a trip up the river! I'm going to
paddle the _Keewaydin_ once more!"

The plan suggested by Gladys and just announced by Nyoda was this: The
following Saturday they would charter a launch big enough to hold them
all, and follow the course of the Cuyahoga River upstream to the dam at
the falls, where they would land and cook their dinner over an open
fire. They would tow the _Keewaydin_, Sahwah's birchbark canoe, behind
the launch, and some time during the day would manage to let every one
go for a paddle. The Winnebagos thrilled with pleasurable anticipation,
all but Hinpoha, who crept sadly away, for she could not bear to hear
about the fun that was being planned when she could not have a part in
it.

One desire of her heart was being fulfilled, and she was getting thin.
What a whole summer of rigid dieting had not been able to accomplish was
brought to pass by a few weeks of mental suffering, and her clothes were
beginning to hang on her. Her appetite began to fail her, and her aunt,
noticing this, bought her a big bottle of tonic, which, taken before
meals, killed any small desire for food she may have had. Then Aunt
Phoebe decided that the two-mile walk to school was too much for her,
and had her taken and called for in the machine, much to Hinpoha's
disgust, for that walk was her chief joy these days. After a week of the
tonic her soul rebelled against the nauseous dose, and when the first
bottle was empty and Aunt Phoebe sent her to get it refilled, she
"refilled" it herself with a mixture of licorice candy and water, which
produced a black syrup similar in appearance to the original medicine,
but minus the bad taste and the stigma of "patent medicine," a thing
which the Winnebagos had promised their Guardian they would not take. As
this was deceiving her aunt she felt obliged to put a blot on her head
'scutcheon, in the form of a black record, but she was so inwardly
amused at it that her appetite improved of its own accord, and Aunt
Phoebe remarked in a gratified way that she had never known the equal of
Mullin's Modifier as a tonic.

Migwan finished her story, copied it carefully on foolscap and sent it
away to a magazine, confident that in a very short time she would behold
it in print, and the payment she would receive for it would keep her in
spending money throughout the school year. So with a light and merry
heart she set out for Gladys's house on Saturday morning, where the
girls were all to meet for the outing. It was one of those dream-like
days in late autumn, when the earth, still decked in her brilliant
garments, seems to lie spellbound in the sunshine, as if there were no
such thing as the coming of winter.

The girls, clad in blue skirts and white middies and heavy sweaters,
were whirled down to the dock in the Evans's automobile, with the
_Keewaydin_ tied upright at the back. The launch was waiting for them,
at one of the big boat docks, sandwiched in between two immense lake
steamers. Nothing could have been a greater contrast to their trip up
the Shadow River the summer before than this excursion. On that other
trip they had been the only living beings on the horizon, and nature was
supreme everywhere, but here they were fairly engulfed by the works of
man. The tiny craft nosed her way among giant steamers, six-hundred-foot
freighters, coal barges, lighters, fire boats, tugs, scows, and all the
other kinds of vessels that crowd the river-harbor of a great lake port.
Viewed from below, the steel structure of the viaduct over the river
stretched out like the monstrous skeleton of some prehistoric beast.
Whistles shrieked deafeningly in their ears and trains pounded jarringly
over railroad bridges. A jack-knife bridge began to descend over their
very heads. Over where the new bridge was being constructed men stood on
slender girders high in the air, catching red-hot rivets that were being
tossed them, while an automatic riveting hammer filled the air with its
nerve-destroying clamor. Everywhere was bustle and confusion, and noise,
noise, noise.

And in the midst of this tumult the tiny launch, filled with laughing
girls, threaded its way up the black river, flying the Winnebago banner,
while behind it trailed a birchbark canoe, with Sahwah squatting calmly
in the stern, leaning her back against her paddle. Many times they had
to bury their noses in their handkerchiefs to shut out the smells that
assailed them on every side. On they chugged, past the lumber yards with
their acres of stacked boards, some of which had come from the very
neighborhood of Camp Winnebago; past the chemical works, pouring out its
darkly polluted streams into the river. "Ugh," said Gladys with a
shiver, "to think that that stuff flows on into the lake and we drink
lake water!"

"It seems like a different world altogether," said Migwan, looking out
across the miles of factory-covered "flats." She was perfectly
fascinated by the rolling mills, with their rows of black stacks
standing out against the sky like organ pipes, and by the long trains of
oil-tank cars curving through the valley like huge worms, the divisions
giving the effect of body sections.

While the Winnebagos were gliding along among scenes strange and new,
Hinpoha was vainly trying to comfort herself for having to stay at home
by catching in a bottle the bees which were crawling in and out of the
cosmos blossoms in the garden. Interesting as the bees were, however,
they could not keep her thoughts from turning to the Winnebagos afloat
on the river, and it was a very doleful face that bent over the flowers.
Her dismal reflections were interrupted by the sharp voice of Aunt
Phoebe calling her to come in. "What is it?" she asked listlessly, as
she came up on the porch.

"Mrs. Evans is here," said her aunt in the doorway, "and she has asked
to see you." Hinpoha was very glad to see Mrs. Evans, who rose smilingly
and took her hands in hers.

"How thin you are getting, child!" she exclaimed, smoothing back the red
curls. "I don't believe you get out enough. By the way," she said to
Aunt Phoebe, "may I borrow this girl for to-day? I have considerable
driving about to do and it is rather tiresome going alone. Gladys has
gone on an all-day boat ride."

Aunt Phoebe could not very well refuse, for driving about in a machine
with an older woman was a very proper form of recreation indeed, in her
estimation.

Hinpoha flew upstairs and deposited her bottle of bees on the table in
her room for future observation and started off with Mrs. Evans. "We
will not be back for lunch, and possibly not for supper," said Gladys's
mother as she bade Aunt Phoebe a gracious good-bye, "but it will not be
long after that."

"And now for a grand spin," she said, as she started the car and sent it
crackling through the dry leaves on the pavement.

"Now I see why the Indians named this river 'Cuyahoga,' or 'Crooked,'"
said Migwan, as they rounded bend after bend in the stream. "It coils
back on itself like a snake, and I have already counted seven coils
within the city limits. I didn't believe it when the captain of a
freighter told me that there was a place in the river which his boat
couldn't pass because two sharp turns came so near together, but now I
see how that could easily be possible."

As the launch putt-putt-putt-ed steadily up the river the water
gradually became less black, and the factories along the shore gave way
to open stretches of country. By noon they reached the dam and went
ashore to look for a place to build a fire. They were in a deep gorge,
its steep sides thickly covered with flaming maples and oaks, and
brilliant sumachs, stretching on either side as far as they could reach.
"It's too gorgeous to seem real," said Nyoda, shading her eyes and
looking down the valley; "where _does_ Mother Nature keep her pot of
'Diamond Dyes' in the summer time?"

High up along the top of one of the cliffs a narrow road wound along,
and as Nyoda stood looking into the distance she saw an automobile
coming along this road. When it was directly above her it stopped and
two people got out, a woman and a girl. The sunlight fell on a mass of
red curls on the girl's head. "Hinpoha!" exclaimed Nyoda in amazement.
From above came floating down a far-echoing yodel - the familiar
Winnebago call. The girls all looked up in surprise to see Hinpoha
scrambling down the face of the cliff, and aiding Mrs. Evans to descend.

"Why, _mother_!" called Gladys, running up to meet her.

The surprise at the meeting was mutual. Mrs. Evans, spinning along the
country roads, had no idea she was hard on the trail of her daughter and
the other Winnebagos until she came suddenly upon them after they had
gotten out of the launch. "Can't you stay and spend the day with us, now
that you're here?" they pleaded.

Hinpoha's longing soul looked out of her eyes, but she answered, "I'm
afraid not. Aunt Phoebe wouldn't approve."

"Did she say you couldn't?" asked Sahwah.

"No," said Hinpoha, "for I never even asked her if I might go along with
you in the launch. I knew it would be no use."

"Oh, please stay," tempted some of the girls; "your aunt'll never know
the difference."

"Oh, I couldn't do that," said Hinpoha in a tone of horror. A little
approving smile crept around the corners of Nyoda's eyes as she heard
Hinpoha so resolutely bidding Satan get behind her. Mrs. Evans was
genuinely sorry they had encountered the girls, because it made it so
much harder for Hinpoha.

"I wonder," she said musingly, "if I drove on to a house in the road and
telephoned your aunt that she would let you stay?"

"You might try," said Hinpoha doubtfully. Mrs. Evans thought it was
worth trying. She found a house with a telephone and got Aunt Phoebe on
the wire. With the utmost tact she explained how they had met the girls
accidently, and that she had taken a notion that she would like to spend
the day with them, but of course she could not do so unless Hinpoha
would be allowed to stay with her, as she had charge of her for the day.
What was Aunt Phoebe to do? She was not equal to telling the admired
Mrs. Evans to forego her pleasure because of Hinpoha, and gave a
grudging consent to her keeping her niece with her on the condition that
she would bring her home in the machine and not let her come back in the
launch with the Winnebagos. Jubilant, they returned to the girls in the
gorge and told the good news.

"Cheer for Mrs. Evans," cried Sahwah, and the Winnebagos gave it with a
hearty good will.

Hinpoha, with Sahwah close beside her, began I searching for firewood
industriously. "It seems just like last summer," she said, chopping
sticks with Sahwah's hatchet. The two had wandered off a short distance
from the others, following a tiny footpath. Suddenly they came upon a
huge rock formation, that looked like an immense fireplace, about forty
feet wide and twenty or more feet high. Under that great stone arch a
dozen spits, each big enough to hold a whole ox, might easily have
swung. Sahwah and Hinpoha looked at it in amazement and then called for
the other girls to come and see.

"Why, that's the 'Old Maid's Kitchen,'" said Mrs. Evans, when she
arrived on the scene. "I've been here before. Just why it should be
called the _Old Maid's_ Kitchen is more than I can tell, for it looks
like the fireplace belonging to the grand-mother of all giantesses."

"Let's build our fire inside of it," said Nyoda.

"The original 'Old Maid' had a convenience that didn't usually go with
open fireplaces," said Gladys, "and that is running water," and she held
her cup under a tiny stream that trickled out between two rocks, cold as
ice and clear as crystal.

"Wouldn't this be a grand place for a Ceremonial Meeting?" said Migwan,
as they all stood round the blazing fire roasting "wieners" and bacon.
The Kitchen had a floor of smooth slabs of rock, and the arch of the
fireplace formed a roof over their heads, while its wide opening
afforded them a wonderful view of the gorge.

"Whenever you want to come here again, just say so," said Mrs. Evans,
"and I'll bring you down in the machine." Mrs. Evans was enjoying
herself as much as any of the girls. It was the first time she had ever
cooked wieners and bacon over an open fire on green sticks, and she was
perfectly delighted with the experience. "If my husband could only see
me now," she said, laughing like a girl as she dropped her last wiener
in the dirt and calmly washed it off in the trickling stream. "How good
this hot cocoa tastes!" she exclaimed, drinking down a whole cupful
without stopping. "What kind is it?"

"Camp Fire Girl Cocoa," answered the girls.

"What kind is that?" asked Mrs. Evans.

"It is a brand that is put up by a New York firm for the Camp Fire Girls
to sell," answered Nyoda.

"Why have we never had any of this at our house?" asked Mrs. Evans,
turning to Gladys.

"You have always insisted that you would use no other kind than Van
Horn's," replied Gladys, "so I thought there would be no use in
mentioning it."

"I like this better than Van Horn's," said her mother. "Is there any to
be had now?"

"There certainly is," answered Nyoda. "We are trying to dispose of a
hundred-can lot to pay our annual dues."

"Let me have a dozen cans," said Mrs. Evans. "I will serve Camp Fire
Girl Cocoa to my Civic Club next Wednesday afternoon. I - - "

Here a terrific shriek from Migwan brought them all to their feet. She
had been poking about in the corner of the Kitchen, when something had
suddenly jumped out at her, unfolded itself like a fan and was whirling
around her head. "It's a bat!" cried Sahwah, and they all laughed
heartily at Migwan's fright. The bat wheeled around, blind in the
daylight, and went bumping against the girls, causing them to run in
alarm lest it should get entangled in their hair. It finally found its
way back to the dark corner of the Kitchen and hung itself up neatly the
way Migwan had found it and the dinner proceeded.

"What kind of a bat was it?" asked Gladys.

"Must have been a _bacon bat_," said Sahwah, dodging the acorn that
Hinpoha threw at her for making a pun.

"Tell us a new game to play, Nyoda," said Gladys, "or Sahwah will go
right on making puns."

"Here is one I thought of on the way down," answered Nyoda. "Think of
all the things that you know are manufactured in Cleveland, or form an
important part of the shipping industry. Then we'll go around the
circle, naming them in alphabetical order. Each girl may have ten
seconds in which to think when her turn comes, and if she misses she is
out of the game. She may only come in again by supplying a word when
another has missed, before the next girl in the circle can think of
one."

"And let the two that hold out the longest have the first ride in the
canoe," suggested Sahwah.

The game started. Nyoda had the first chance. "Automobiles," she began.

"Bricks," said Gladys.

"Clothing," said Migwan.

"Drugs," said Sahwah.

"Engines," said Hinpoha.

"Flour," said Mrs. Evans.

"Gasoline," said Nakwisi.

"Hardware," said Chapa.

"Iron," said Medmangi.

Nyoda hesitated, fishing for a "J." "One, two, three, four, five, six,"
began Sahwah.

"Jewelry!" cried Nyoda on the tenth count.

"Knitted goods," continued Gladys.

"Lamps," said Migwan.

"Macaroni," said Sahwah.

"That reminds me," said Mrs. Evans, "I meant to order some macaroni
to-day and forgot it."

"N," said Hinpoha, "N, - why, Nothing!" The girls laughed at the witty
application, but she was ruled out nevertheless.

"Nails," said Mrs. Evans.

"Oil," said Nakwisi.

"Paint," said Chapa.

Medmangi sat down. Nyoda began to count. "Quadrupeds!" cried Medmangi
hastily.

"Explain yourself," said Nyoda.

"Tables and chairs," said Medmangi. The girls shouted in derision, but
Nyoda ruled the answer in, and the game proceeded.

"Refrigerators," said Nyoda.

"Salt," said Gladys.

"Tents," said Migwan, with a reminiscent sigh.

"Umbrellas," said Sahwah.

Mrs. Evans fell down on "V." "Varnish," said Chapa.

"W" was too much for Medmangi. "Wire," said Nyoda.

"X," said Sahwah, "there is no such thing. Oh, yes, there is, too;
Xylophones, they're made here."

Gladys and Migwan met their Waterloo on "Y." "Yeast," said Nyoda.

"Z," sent Chapa and Nakwisi to the dummy corner and it came back to
Sahwah. "Zerolene," she said.

"What's that?" they all cried.

"I don't know," she answered, "but I saw it on one of the big oil tanks
as we passed."

Sahwah and Nyoda won the right to take the first paddle in the
_Keewaydin_. They carried the canoe on their heads, portage fashion,
around the dam, and launched it up above, where the confined waters had
spread out into a wide pond. "Oh, what a joy to dip a paddle again!"
sighed Sahwah blissfully, sending the _Keewaydin_ flying through the
water with long, vigorous strokes. "I'd love to paddle all the way
home." She had completely forgotten that there was such a thing as
school and lessons in the world. She was the Daughter of the River, and
this was a joyous homecoming.

"Time to go back and let the rest have a turn," said Nyoda. Reluctantly
Sahwah steered the canoe around and returned to the waiting group. Mrs.
Evans watched with interest as Gladys and Hinpoha pushed out from shore.
Could this be her once frail daughter, who had despised all strenuous
sports and hated water above all things, who was swinging her paddle so
lustily and steering the _Keewaydin_ so skilfully? What was this strange
Something that the Camp Fire had instilled into her? She caught her
breath with the beauty of it, as the girls glided along between the
radiant banks, the two paddles flashing in and out in perfect rhythm.
They were singing a favorite boating song, and their voices floated back
on the breeze:

"Through the mystic haze of the autumn days
Like a phantom ghost I glide,
Where the big moose sees the crimson trees
Mirrored on the silver tide,
And the blood red sun when day is done
Sinks below the hill,
The night hawk swoops, the lily droops,
And all the world is still!"

Sahwah lingered on the river after the others had gone in a body to try


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