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The Camp Fire Girls Do Their Bit by Hildegard G. Frey

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about her shoulders. Before Sahwah had recovered herself sufficiently to
call to her, Veronica had passed through the gate into the stable yard
and was lost in the shadows of the high barn.

"Whatever can she want out there?" thought Sahwah, with visions of
Kaiser Bill loose and on a rampage. But there were no disturbing sounds
anywhere; Kaiser Bill was not out. Veronica did not go into the barn;
she went around behind it and struck into the path that led down the
hill to the carriage road below. The path was bathed in moonlight for a
good part of its length; Veronica was plainly visible as she ran lightly
along, and Sahwah watched wonderingly. Sahwah was very far sighted, and
constant practice in focusing on distant objects enabled her to
distinguish plainly things quite far away. Down at the bottom of the
hill, where the path met the road, Sahwah saw Veronica come to a
standstill and look about her for a few moments; then a man appeared in
the road and together he and Veronica moved forward and vanished into
the shadows that lay beyond.

Wondering, Sahwah stared after them, and as she looked a great, nameless
dread took possession of her, and she experienced exactly the same
peculiar sensation she had felt in the train coming down, a feeling of
prescience and foreboding, of brooding evil. It gripped her heart with
cold hands and she changed her intention of going to Nyoda's room and
asking what was the matter with Veronica. Suddenly she felt that Nyoda
would not know. All her heart cried out in love and loyalty to Veronica.
The others must not find out what she had seen to-night. Veronica had
simply gone out to take a walk in the moonlight; possibly she had a
headache or was unable to sleep. It was a trick of the eyes that she had
thought someone had been with her in the road; the distance and the
waving shadows had deceived her. Why shouldn't Veronica steal out
quietly and go for a walk if she wanted to? What time was it, anyway,
eleven? Twelve? Sahwah switched on the light and looked at her watch. It
was half past two.

She shivered as the freshening breeze came in through the window and
became conscious that her bare feet were cold on the polished floor. She
jumped into bed to get warm, intending to get up again and watch until
Veronica returned, but the warmth of the bed sent a delicious languor
through her limbs; she yawned once, twice; her eyes began to ache in the
moonlight and she closed them to shut it out.

Presently she opened them again and there was the sun shining in on the
bed. Moonlight and all its spells had fled. Had she dreamed that about
Veronica last night? Resolutely she sprang from bed and tiptoed down the
hall to Veronica's door. The tall clock on the stair landing showed a
quarter to six. The door was half ajar and she peeped in. Veronica was
in bed, sound asleep, her long lashes sweeping her ruddy cheek, her lips
curved in a smile, like a baby's. Her clothes were on the chair beside
the bed, and they did not look as if they had been disturbed in the
night.

Sahwah laughed in relief and the fear went out of her heart.

"I dreamed it," she said to herself, and went back to bed for another
nap before six o'clock, which was the official rising hour at Carver
House.

CHAPTER VIII

SQUADS LEFT

"M-a-r-r-k t-i-m-e, m-a-h-k!"

Sixteen pairs of feet rose and fell with a soft thudding rhythm on the
hard dirt road.

"One--two--three--four! One--two--three--four! F-or-r-r-d _H'n-c-h!"_

The double line of fours wavered for a moment and then strode forward
uncertainly, some on the left foot, some on the right.

"HALT!" shouted the drill sergeant in a voice bristling with disgust.

The company halted.

"What does 'Forward _Hunch_' mean?" whispered Hinpoha to Sahwah, who
stood beside her.

Sahwah shook her head.

"No talking in the ranks!" came the stern order from up front. Hinpoha
subsided.

"R-r-r-i-g-h-t D-r-r-e-s-s!"

Heads whirled to the right as though turned by a single screw, and
bent-up left elbows pressed stiffly into neighboring ribs.

"F-r-r-o-n-t!"

Heads whirled back and arms straightened out at sides as though released
by a spring.

"R-r-i-g-h-t D-r-e-s-s!"

Heads and arms repeated their swift motions.

"Hold it! _Hold_ it!" rasped the voice. "Who said _'Front?'_ Here,
Redhead!"

Hinpoha hastily resumed the position she had abandoned too soon.

"Now, FRONT! Again, RIGHT DRESS! FRONT! R-r-r-e-a-d-y! M-a-r-r-k
t-i-m-e, M-a-h-k! One-two-three-four! F-or-r-d HUNCH! Wake _up_ there,
Redhead!"

Hinpoha jumped and caught pace with the rest of her squad, who were
several steps ahead, and then it dawned on her that "F-o-r-r-r-d Hunch!"
must mean "Forward March!"

"One-two-three-four! Left! Left! Left! Left! You with the plaid tie, get
in step!"

Migwan shuffled her feet and fell into rhythm.

"One-two-three-four!" The drill sergeant rapped out a jarringly emphatic
accent against a tree with her staff.

She was a college gymnasium teacher home on her summer vacation; her
name was Miss Raper. She had a tremendous reputation for rigid
discipline in her classes. She had been trained in military drilling by
an army drill officer and had acquired all his mannerisms, from the way
of shouting his orders in such a way that it was next to impossible to
understand them, to his merciless habit of calling out by name every one
who made the slightest error.

"HALT! GUIDE RIGHT! Head to the front, there, Black Eyes! R-r-e-a-d-y!
LEFT WHEEL!"

The squads wheeled in decidedly shaky order.

"Again! LEFT WHEEL! Hold your pivot there! _H-o-l-d y-o-u-r p-i-v-o-t!_
Stand still, you Redhead, and wheel in place! Again! Left Wheel!"

So the endless tramp, tramp, tramp, tramp went on under the blistering
July sun; the squads perspired and panted, muscles ached from the
continued exertion and heels began to feel as though pounded to pulp
from the violence with which they marked the accent.

But never a word of complaint did anyone breathe. They gloried in their
discomfort. For this hot dusty road over which they toiled and perspired
so was the road to glory, the avenue down which the girls of Oakwood,
led by the Winnebagos, would march to triumph over their sworn rivals,
the Hillsdale-ites.

Agony had gone through the town and picked out the most promising girls,
whom, with the addition of the Winnebagos, she formed into a company.
They drilled for an hour every morning with Miss Raper in the wide dirt
road that ran along the foot of the hill behind Carver House.

The hour drew to a close with a final strenuous series of left and right
wheels and the Winnebagos sought the shade of the trees along the
roadside and fanned themselves with leaves.

"How did we do to-day, Miss Raper?" inquired Agony, as the drill
sergeant prepared to depart.

"I congratulate you," replied Miss Raper with sarcastic wit. "I never
saw it done worse."

The company recognized the fact that it was a tactical error to try to
draw any praises to themselves from Miss Raper. Yet they did not
consider themselves abused, nor did they harbor any hard feelings toward
her on account of her sharp tongue. They realized that she was a
"crackerjack" trainer, and for the sake of winning that contest they
were willing to endure her caustic comments meekly.

"I'll never get left and right wheel correctly," sighed Oh-Pshaw with a
discouraged air. "No matter which one she says, I always go in the
opposite direction. I get so fussed when she looks at me that I can't
tell my left foot from my right."

"Never mind, you'll get it in time," said Migwan soothingly. "I had the
same trouble at first, but I'm getting sort of used to her now."

"I'm awfully stupid about things like that," mourned Oh-Pshaw, "and I'm
afraid I'll never get over getting fussed. I never _could_ stand up in
front of anybody and perform; the minute I see people looking at me I
forget everything I know and stand there like a dummy."

"Cheer up, child," said Migwan, "it isn't nearly as bad as you make out.
Just think of the command and forget all about yourself and Miss Raper
and then you'll get it right every time."

"I hope so," said Oh-Pshaw with a sigh.

"You'll _have_ to get over it," said Agony emphatically. "If you make
any mistakes on the night of the contest--!" Agony's voice hinted at the
awful consequences which would follow such a misdemeanor.

"She isn't going to make any mistakes the night of the contest," said
Migwan, putting her arm through Oh-Pshaw's and starting off toward
Carver House.

The rest sauntered after them in twos and threes, practising drill steps
as they went. Sahwah slipped her arm through Veronica's.

"Let's go over into the woods awhile before lunch," she said, "just us
two."

Veronica came willingly and together they struck into the shady wood
path, flecked here and there with irregular patches of sunlight which
filtered through the branches above them. It was a pleasant place, this
strip of woods crowning a gently rolling hill behind the town. Fallen
logs thickly upholstered with moss made delightful sofas especially
designed for friends to sit upon and exchange confidences. Veronica and
Sahwah often came here on their walks.

Veronica was in a merry mood to-day and danced gaily down the path in
pursuit of butterflies; waved her hands and called out gay greetings to
the squirrels and chipmunks, and constantly exclaimed aloud in wonder
and delight at some bit of brilliant orange-colored fungus, or some
bright flower that greeted her eyes.

Sahwah was more quiet, and there was a sober look in her eyes. Her mind
was filled with perplexity, and her heart with foreboding, and the cause
was Veronica. The mystery that seemed to be hovering over her head had
not been dispelled as the days went on; on the contrary, it had been
deepened. Several more times Sahwah had seen her slipping out of the
house at dead of night and an incident had occurred several days before
which Sahwah was not able to put out of her mind.

Sahwah was behind the big carved settle in the hall, fishing for a bead
that had rolled underneath, when the telephone rang. The telephone was
in the hall, at the other end near the dining-room door. Sahwah sighed,
thinking she would have to crawl out and answer it, because Nyoda and
the girls were all out in the yard working among the vegetables, but
just then she heard Veronica answer the call, and went on placidly
feeling for her bead. Near to the telephone as she was, she could not
help hearing every word Veronica said.

Instead of the "Mrs. Sheridan is in the garden, I will call her," that
Sahwah had expected to hear. Veronica had answered, "This is Veronica
talking. Yes, I can. I will come immediately. The coast is clear. No one
is in the house just now and I can slip away without rousing any
suspicions."

Then Sahwah heard her hang up the receiver and pass out of the hall.
Sahwah sat up quickly and bumped her head sharply on the back of the
settle. Then, as the significance of the conversation she had just
overheard sank into her mind she remembered Veronica's mysterious
nocturnal errands, and it came to her in a startled flash that Veronica
was carrying on something which was a secret from the others--was
stealing away from the house to meet someone. She sprang out from behind
the settle, not knowing what she intended to do, but bent on seeing
where Veronica went.

The hall was empty; Veronica was not there. Sahwah darted to the front
door, expecting to see Veronica going down the walk to the street, but
there was no sign of her. The street lay clear in the sunshine for its
whole length down the hill; there was not a soul in it. Veronica could
not have gone out the front way. Neither could she have gone out the
back way, because the vegetable garden came up close to the kitchen
door, and there Nyoda and the Winnebagos, including Agony and Oh-Pshaw,
were working. Veronica must still be in the house. Sahwah went back in
and looked through all the rooms for her, upstairs and down, but she was
nowhere to be found.

Sahwah sat down on the lowest step of the stairway and thought, and
thought, and a great dread came over her and would not be beaten back, a
dread of something nameless and undefined, a sinister something that
hovered over her with great dark wings, like the Thunder Bird. In an
agony of love and sorrow Sahwah faced the fact which her prophetic soul,
in its new insight, told her, even while her loyal heart tried to stop
the whisper with a resolute hand.

Veronica had been caught in the toils of enemy agents, and was in some
way having dealings with them. Sahwah's heart turned to water within
her, and the strength went from her knees so that she could not stand
up. Veronica, one of the Winnebagos! It was too horrible to believe! She
couldn't believe it! She _wouldn't_ believe it! Her loyal heart stood up
firmly to her prophetic soul and shouted defiant denials at its
insinuating whispers. No, no! Veronica was not deceiving them; she was
the sincere, true-hearted girl they thought her, and she was as loyal to
America as they were. There must be some explanation for her mysterious
actions; it would all come out in time. She would be true to Veronica
and keep what she knew to herself, until she found out the truth. She
would never let Veronica know that she suspected her, never. All her
love for Veronica came over her in a rush and scattered to flight the
dark suspicions.

A call from the garden broke on her ear. "Sahwah! Oh, Sahwah! Where are
you?"

"Here," she answered, appearing at the back door.

"Where have you been?" called Hinpoha. "We've been calling and calling
for you. Come look at the robin trying to swallow the enormous angle
worm twice as big as himself!"

Sahwah went out, trying to look perfectly natural, and feeling as though
her secret were written on her face in letters a foot high. She looked
at the girls closely, to see if by any chance Veronica were among them,
but she was not.

"Where's Veronica?" she asked in a voice which she hoped sounded idle
and casual.

"Gone up to her room to lie down a while," replied Nyoda. "She got a
headache from the sun. She asked to be left undisturbed until dinner
time."

("Oh, if she only _were_ in her room," thought poor Sahwah!)

"Come on and help pick raspberries," said Nyoda. "We miss your nimble
fingers."

So Sahwah fell to work among the bushes, absently stripping off the
luscious red globes into the baskets, but her mind was far away and she
took little part in the gay talk that went on around her. By and by,
when the berries were all picked, Migwan said:

"Let's make a basket of leaves and fill it with some of the largest
berries and take it to Veronica."

Sahwah's heart bounded painfully. "Let me take it up," she begged.

"All right," replied Migwan. "The rest of us are going to walk over with
Agony and Oh-Pshaw while they take their berries home."

The rest went out of the front gate and Sahwah, not knowing what else to
do, went upstairs to Veronica's room, carrying the berries. She planned
to leave them on Veronica's dresser as a surprise for her when she
should return, and then sit in her own room and read until dinner time.
Thinking Veronica's room was empty she went right in without knocking.
Then she paused in astonishment, for there on the bed lay Veronica, with
a wet towel tied around her head and her forehead drawn up into painful
headache lines. Sahwah nearly dropped the berries on the floor in her
surprise, but recovered herself with an effort and approached the bed.

Veronica opened her eyes and smiled when she saw Sahwah. Sahwah, unable
to think of a thing to say, held out the berries silently, and Veronica
exclaimed in delight:

"You dear thing," she said, taking the dainty basket in one hand and
catching hold of Sahwah's hand with the other. "You're so good to me,"
she whispered, squeezing the hand she held and looking up at Sahwah with
wide-open, candid eyes. "Come, sit on my bed, and make my headache go
away, like you did once before."

Sahwah sat down beside her and smoothed her throbbing forehead with
light, soothing fingers that had a magic power to charm away aches and
pains. As she worked over Veronica and caught the sweet, straightforward
glances from her eyes all her doubts concerning her vanished, and in
their place there came uncertainty as to whether she herself had not
been suffering under a delusion that afternoon. Had she really heard the
telephone ring and Veronica answer it? Had hearing played some bizarre
trick on her? She seemed to be perfectly awake and in her right mind in
other respects. The girls had evidently not noticed anything peculiar
about her actions when she came out of the house, not even Nyoda, the
sharp sighted. Clearly she had not been walking in her sleep. She had
certainly heard the telephone ring; she had certainly heard Veronica
answer it. She had understood every word she had said perfectly; the
hall had been absolutely still. And yet--she had not heard Veronica go
out of either door! She remembered that distinctly, but her first
impulse had been to wait until Veronica had gone out of the front door
and then look after her. It was impossible not to have heard the front
door open; one hinge was rusty and it emitted a dismal squeak every time
the door opened. But if she had gone out of the back door the others
would have seen her and would not have said that she was upstairs in her
room. That was the point which made Sahwah doubt her own memory.
Veronica had not left the house; she must have gone right upstairs. And
she must have said something else through the telephone and Sahwah's
ears had played her a trick. It was easy to have missed her in her
search through the big house; Sahwah had merely run into one room after
another, given a hasty glance around and then run on to the next.

Sahwah smoothed the brown satiny forehead lovingly, and laughed at
herself for a suspicious idiot. And yet, the occurrence would not go
from her mind, and she wakened in the night to think about it hour after
hour and when she did sleep she was oppressed with a constant feeling of
uneasiness, and woke again and again with that sense of groping after
something that had just occurred, but which had escaped her utterly.

Then the next morning her doubts all vanished once more when the
Winnebagos assembled on the front lawn for flag raising, and Veronica,
whose turn it was to hoist the Stars and Stripes, stepped out with
shining eyes, and with loving hands fastened the flag of her adopted
country to the waiting halyard, carefully keeping it from touching the
ground, and with an attitude both proud and humble sent it fluttering to
the top of the pole. Then she joined in the singing of the "Star
Spangled Banner" with all her soul in her voice.

Clearly her actions told more eloquently than any passionate words her
love and reverence for that flag and all it symbolized. No, it could not
be possible that she could be connected with anything that aimed to harm
it.

And yet--that very night Sahwah had seen Veronica leaving the house
after midnight when the rest were all asleep, and going down the hill
behind the barn, and at the sight Sahwah had experienced that same
indescribable chill of fear that she had felt in the train; a peculiar
sense of hovering danger; a sensation which she could never clearly
define while it lasted nor describe afterwards.

She still kept the secret, but it haunted her day and night and
tormented her with its thousand possibilities. At last it seemed as if
she could endure it no longer without an explanation of some kind and
she made up her mind to ask Veronica about it. For this end she had
asked her to come into the woods to-day.

But the sight of Veronica, skipping gaily before her along the path,
whistling to the birds, calling the squirrels, whispering affectionate
words to the shy flowers, made her fears seem ridiculous, and her
resolution wavered and threatened to crumble. There was not a shadow on
Veronica's brow, not a glint of furtiveness in her eye, nowhere a hint
of any secret knowledge or subdued excitement. Her eyes met Sahwah's
with candid directness, her laughter was spontaneous and not forced; she
was neither paler than usual nor more flushed. How perfectly absurd to
connect this happy-hearted girl with anything suspicious!

And yet--Sahwah knew now beyond a doubt that she had not been dreaming
when she saw Veronica leave the house at night, and there was still that
strange conversation over the telephone.

Sahwah slackened her pace and rubbed her ankles together, a gesture
which in her denoted intensely concentrated thought. Veronica looked
back to see where she was and came back to her, slipping her arm around
her waist and hugging her in an ecstasy of girlish delight, born of the
beautiful weather and the release from strenuous military drill.

"Oh, look at the darling old stump!" she exclaimed. "Why, it must be
_miles_ across! Think what a tree that must have been! See, it has a
sort of step up and then a broad seat, just like a throne. Come on,
let's climb up and pretend we're queens."

She climbed up on the stump and drew Sahwah up after her.

"Why are you so quiet?" she asked finally, twisting her head and
looking around into Sahwah's face. "Have you a headache? The sun was so
hot out there in the road where we were drilling, and the glare was so
blinding."

"No, I haven't a headache," replied Sahwah slowly.

"A toothache, maybe?" suggested Veronica in a playful voice in which
there was a dash of concern. It was unusual indeed for Sahwah to lose
her animation.

"No, it isn't a toothache," replied Sahwah. "It's just something I've
been trying to figure out, that's all."

"Can I help you figure it out?" asked Veronica eagerly.

"Veronica," began Sahwah, striving to speak in an offhand manner,
"if--if you had a friend that you loved and that friend did something
that you couldn't understand and which seemed very strange and even
suspicious to you, what would you do?"

Veronica's eyes took on a thoughtful, far-away look, but they met
Sahwah's squarely. "If I loved that friend very much," she replied
slowly, "and had always trusted her before, I would say to myself, 'This
is my friend whom I love and trust I don't understand what she is doing,
but I won't permit myself to have any doubts about her now. I will have
faith that she is doing nothing wrong. I will wait patiently and see
what happens further, and very likely the matter will soon be explained
to my satisfaction,'"

"But," continued Sahwah, slowly and with an evident effort, "supposing
you _had_ done that, had refused to have any doubts concerning your
friend and had waited patiently, trusting that it was all right, but
things had not been explained to your satisfaction, and other things had
happened, things still stranger and more suspicious?"

To Sahwah, watching intently, it seemed that Veronica's large luminous
eyes had suddenly filmed over like an animal's in pain, but she answered
naturally, in her calm, sweet voice, "Then, if I really loved that
friend, and was afraid my suspicions were going to injure our
friendship, I would go to her and tell her what I had heard and seen and
ask her for an explanation."

Sahwah was silent for a moment, seemingly engaged in some inward
struggle with herself. Then she cleared her throat nervously and
moistened her lips with the tip of her tongue.

"Veronica," she burst out desperately, "why did you go out of the house
in the middle of the night on several occasions, and whom were you
talking to on the telephone that day when you said to someone that you
could slip out at that time without arousing any suspicions?"

Veronica started painfully and stared at Sahwah in amazement, and Sahwah
fancied she saw a great terror leap up in her eyes. Veronica looked at
her a moment, the expression of astonishment frozen on her face, and
then to Sahwah's great bewilderment she laughed aloud, a genuine,
mirthful, unforced, ringing laugh.

"Sahwah dear," she said, looking her straight in the eye, "it's
perfectly true, all that you said. I did go out of the house in the
middle of the night, and I did say just exactly what you said you heard
me say over the telephone. But as for the explanation, I can't give it
now. It may be that you will never find out. It is not my secret, and I
cannot tell it, even to clear away any suspicions you may have regarding
it."

Sahwah gazed at her uncertainly, going over in her mind the unexpected
effect her words had had upon Veronica, and the mysterious thing she had
said in reply. They had both stepped off the throne and stood facing
each other in the path. Veronica came up close to Sahwah and slipped a
hand around each of her elbows and squeezed them, her favorite caress.

"Sahwah, dear," she said soberly, while the hurt animal look came back
into her eyes, "you wouldn't want me to tell you my secret, would you,
dear? I wouldn't want you to tell me yours, if you had one."

Sahwah felt rebuked and abashed, and very, very sorry. Her love for
Veronica flamed higher than ever; all doubts concerning her vanished
for good; she hugged and caressed her and begged to be forgiven for her
foolishness, and with arms tightly entwined the two went blithely down
the path.

CHAPTER IX

THE BABES IN THE WOODS

Arm in arm Sahwah and Veronica wandered on through the woods farther and
farther away from the Oakwood side. They crossed the brow of the hill
and descended to the valley on the other side. There they found a merry
little stream which tumbled along with frequent cataracts over mossy
rocks, and followed its course, often stopping to dip their hands in the
bright water and let the drops flow through their fingers.

"I'd love to be a brook," said Sahwah longingly, "and go splashing and
singing along over the smooth stones, and jump down off the high rocks,
and catch the sunlight in my ripples, and have lovely silvery fishes
swimming around in me. I'd sing them all to sleep every night, and wake
them up in the morning with a kiss, and never, never let anyone catch
them!"

"You love the water better than anything else, don't you?" said
Veronica, looking at Sahwah and thinking how much like the brook she was
herself.

"Oh, I do, I do," said Sahwah, taking off her shoes and stockings and
wading into the limpid stream. Soon she was dancing in the water,
frolicking like a nixie, catching the water up in her hands and tossing
it into the air and then darting out from beneath it before it could
fall upon her. Veronica laughed and clapped her hands as she watched
Sahwah, and wished she were an artist that she might paint the picture.

Finally they came to a place where the little stream poured down over a
high rock and ran through a broad gully, widening into a great pond in
the natural basin, which was like a huge bowl scooped out of rock.

"This must be the place they call the Devil's Punch Bowl that Nyoda told
us about," said Sahwah. "See, it looks just like a punch bowl."

"I wonder if it's very deep," said Veronica, peering into the water from
a safe distance away from the edge.

"Shall I dive in and find out?" asked Sahwah.

"Oh, don't, don't," said Veronica, catching hold of her arm.

"Don't worry, you precious old goosie," said Sahwah, laughing. "I didn't
mean _really_. I was only in fun. Did you think I was going in with my
clothes on? It must be deep, though, or the Indian couldn't have jumped
in. That must be the rock up there he jumped from," she said, indicating
a flat, platform-like rock that overhung the gully some forty feet
above their heads. "Don't you remember Nyoda telling about it; how the
soldiers were chasing this Indian and he got out on that rock and dove
down into the Punch Bowl and swam under water and they never thought of
looking down there for him?"

Both looked at the rock jutting out over the water, and shuddered at the
height of the drop. At the far side of the gully the pond became a brook
again and flowed on in a narrow channel the same as before. The woods
were denser on this side of the gully and there was less sunlight
filtering down through the branches. Several times they came upon
clusters of fragile, pale Indian pipes growing out of wet, decayed
stumps.

"Oh, it's nice here," breathed Veronica, revelling in the coolness.

"'This is the forest primeval,'" quoted Sahwah,
"'The murmuring pines and the hemlocks--'"

"Only they aren't murmuring pines and hemlocks," she finished. "They're
mostly oaks and beeches."

"It isn't the primeval forest, either," said Veronica. "There's a tent
over there between the trees."

"Gracious!" exclaimed Sahwah, "and here am I, coming along with my shoes
and stockings in my hand!" She sat down hastily and put on her
foot-gear.

The tent stood quite close to the brook path and when they were nearly
up to it they heard, coming from around the other side of it, a sound of
vigorous splashing, punctuated by protesting squawks. Involuntarily the
two girls stood still and listened. Above the squawking rose a voice.

"'Curse on him,' quote false Sextus, 'will not the villain drown?'" it
declaimed dramatically.

Then in a moment the splashes and squawks increased to an uproar, and
then around the corner of the tent there came a chicken in full flight,
its leathers dripping with water, in spite of which it made amazingly
fast time. After the chicken came a balloon-like figure in a sky-blue
bathrobe, uttering breathless grunts which were evidently intended to be
peremptory commands to the chicken to halt its flight. At the sight of
the two girls standing in the path the bath-robed pursuer fell back in
astonishment.

"'What noble Lucumo comes next to taste our Roman cheer?'" he exclaimed
with a dramatic wave of the hand.

Then he stood transfixed, the gesture frozen in mid-air. "Sahwah!" he
gasped. "Veronica! where in the world----"

The girls started forward with unbelieving eyes. "Slim!" cried Sahwah.
"What are you doing here?"

"Tenting on the Old Camp Ground," replied Slim, holding his voluminous
bathrobe primly around him with one hand to cover the bathing suit
which he wore under it, and shaking hands vigorously with the other.

Then, making a trumpet of his hands, he called loudly, "Captain, oh,
Captain, come here quick!"

There was an upheaval inside the tent and the sound of something
falling, and in a moment a second youth appeared around the corner of
the tent, clad in khaki trousers and a blue and white blazer.

"What's the matter?" he asked in alarm. Then he saw the girls and threw
up his hands in amazement. "For the love of Mike!" he exclaimed
elegantly.

"Captain!" cried Sahwah.

Rapturous greetings followed.

"Of all things," said Sahwah, "to run across you two in the woods like
this! What on earth are you doing here? We thought you were doing some
summer work at your college."

"We are," replied the Captain, looking from one to the other of the
girls with a face beaming with delight at the unexpected meeting. "We're
making a survey of different parts of the state--it's part of our
course--and incidentally we're compiling certain statistics for the
government."

"Oh!" said the two girls respectfully.

"But what, if I might make so bold as to ask," said the Captain, "are
_you_ two doing here in the wet, wild woods, all by your wild lone?"

Sahwah explained and extended a cordial invitation for the two boys to
come to Carver House whenever they had time.

"Is Hinpoha there?" asked Slim and the Captain simultaneously.

"She certainly is," replied Sahwah.

Slim squinted critically down his nose at his tub-like form. "Do you
think I've gotten any thinner?" he asked anxiously.

Sahwah scrutinized, him closely for signs of reduction and decided he
_might_ possibly be half a pound thinner than when she saw him last.
Slim sighed and looked pensive and Sahwah had hard work to keep her face
straight.

"But what on earth was all that racket as we came up?" she asked, unable
to restrain her curiosity on that point any longer. "What were you
chasing the chicken for?"

Slim's eye roved regretfully back toward the trees among which the
chicken had vanished, and the Captain answered for him.

"You see," he exclaimed, "today is Slim's birthday and we were going to
celebrate by having a chicken dinner. So Slim went out to buy a chicken
and came back with a live one. Then he didn't have the heart to chop its
head off, and was trying to drown it in a barrel of water when you came
up. By the way, Slim, where is it now?"

Slim pointed to the bushes with an expression of chagrin on his fat
face. "It's gone," he said with a sigh of regret. "A dollar and
eighty-seven cents' worth of chicken stew running loose on the
landscape."

"But it wasn't the nerve I lacked to chop its head off," he added,
looking reproachfully at the Captain. "It was the hatchet. You see," he
explained, "we didn't exactly come prepared to catch our meals on the
hoof, so to speak, and all I had to chop his head off with was the
can-opener on my pocket knife, and that wouldn't work, so I _had_ to
drown him."

"Oh, you funny boys!" said Sahwah, laughing uncontrollably.

"I think you might have helped me hold him down," said Slim to the
Captain in an injured tone.

"I couldn't," replied the Captain gravely. "The butter got overcome with
the heat and I was reviving it with a fan."

"Oh, you babes in the woods, you!" said Sahwah, with another burst of
laughter. "You must be having the time of your lives."

"We are," replied the Captain. "Won't you stay to dinner? There isn't
anything to eat but a can of tomato soup, but you're welcome to that."

"Oh, we hadn't better," replied Sahwah, "they will be wondering at home
what has become of us, and besides, it would make too much trouble for
you."

"Too much trouble!" snorted the Captain. "That's just like a girl. As
if a girl ever cared how much trouble she made for a fellow! Come on and
stay, we want you. We're lonesome."

Thus pressed, the girls accepted the invitation, and pretty soon they
were all sitting in a circle under the trees with cups and spoons in
their hands, and the Captain was singing at the top of his voice:

"Glorious, glorious,
One can of soup for the four of us,
Praises be, there are no more of us,
For the four of us can drink it all alone!"

Lunch over, they exchanged gossip under the trees for a merry half hour,
then the girls took their departure and sped homeward to carry the news
to Carver House.

CHAPTER X

THE OPENING CAREER OF MANY EYES

"Good morning, Winnebago friends,
With your faces as bright as mine,
Good morning, Winnebago friends,
You're surely looking fine,
Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust,
If the pancakes don't get you the syrup must
Good morning, Winnebago friends,
With your faces as bright as,
Your faces as bright as, Your faces as bright as mine!"

The Winnebagos, happy and hungry, gathered around the breakfast table in
answer to the summons which Hinpoha had just sent echoing through the
house. With the advent of the Winnebagos at Carver House, Nyoda's
melodiously chiming Japanese dinner gong had been discarded in favor of
a hoarse-throated fish horn, which bore some similarity to the sound of
a bugle and was therefore to be preferred because it had more of a
military flavor.

"Where's Sahwah?" asked Nyoda, noticing that her place was vacant

Nobody knew.

Hinpoha blew a second blast of the horn up the stairway, making a noise
that would have waked the Seven Sleepers with ease, but there was no
answer.

"Sahwah must be out taking a morning walk," announced Hinpoha, when her
horn blast had failed to rout out the absentee, "she's forever
exercising herself in the early morning hours--as if we didn't get
enough exercise doing military drill! It's no wonder she's like a
beanpole. I would be, too, if I was forever trotting the way she is.
Here she comes now, tearing up the walk like a racehorse!"

"She probably heard your horn on the other side of the woods," said
Nyoda, laughing, "and got here before it stopped blowing."

Sahwah came in quite out of breath and evidently tremendously
enthusiastic about something.

"Nyoda," she burst out as soon as she was inside the door, "how fast
would a Primitive Woman go up and how many pounds would she pull?"

"What?" asked Nyoda, looking up inquiringly from the cup of cocoa she
was handing to Gladys. The rest of the Winnebagos looked at Sahwah in
open-mouthed astonishment.

"How fast would a Primitive Woman go up and how many pounds would she
pull?" repeated Nyoda. "What is it, a riddle?"

"No, a kite," replied Sahwah impatiently. "I mean a kite built like Many
Eyes, our Primitive Woman symbol; would she fly high and pull a heavy
tail?"

"I haven't the slightest idea," replied Nyoda. "Why do you ask?"

"Because I've entered the kite-flying contest that the Boy Scouts of
this town are having, and I thought of building my kite in the Primitive
Woman shape."

"_You've_ entered a kite-flying contest that the Boy Scouts are having!"
exclaimed Hinpoha in surprise. "How on earth did you happen to do that?"

"It's open to outsiders," replied Sahwah. "I saw a Scout nailing a
bulletin on a tree in the square down town challenging all the boys in
town to a kite-flying contest on Commons Field next Saturday afternoon."

"All the _boys_ in town!" replied Hinpoha. "Since when are you a boy?"

"Well," replied Sahwah, "I read the sign and I remembered how I used to
love to fly kites with my brother and I thought what fun it would be to
go into the contest. So I ran after the Scout who had nailed up the
bulletin and asked him if we Winnebagos couldn't enter the contest, and
he was awfully nice about it when he heard we were Camp Fire Girls. He
said of course we couldn't build a decent kite, no girl could, but if we
wanted to go into the contest and get beaten the Scouts wouldn't care.
So I wrote our name in the space under the announcement that was left
for the entries, and we're going to be in the contest! On the way home I
thought of building the kite in the shape of Primitive Woman, which
would be original and symbolic. Do you think she'd fly high, Nyoda?" she
asked anxiously.

"I can't say," replied Nyoda. "I'll have to confess that I know nothing
whatever about the art of flying kites. My childhood was sadly
neglected, I'm afraid, but that's one thing I never did. All you can do
is make one and try."

Sahwah set to work right after breakfast with sticks of wood and brown
wrapping paper and by afternoon her kite was ready for its trial flight.
All the Winnebagos went out to help fly it. The trial was a success.
Primitive Woman soared high at a good rate of speed and pulled a
five-pound tail. Jubilant, Sahwah stripped the common wrapping paper
from the frame and with fine brown paper which Nyoda gave her began to
construct a Primitive Woman which was a work of art. Hinpoha painted the
features on the triangle-shaped head, and under her clever brush Many
Eyes was soon looking out on the world with a serene and confident
smile. The Winnebagos were enchanted with the result and all
enthusiastic about the contest now.

"Many Eyes, you're holding the honor of the Camp Fire Girls in your
hands," said Sahwah solemnly. "You've got to fly faster than any kite a
mere Boy Scout can invent. You've got to win!" And it seemed to the
girls, surrounding Many Eyes as she stood up against the wall to dry,
that her smile widened in a promise of victory.

"Let's make a magic over her," suggested Hinpoha, "and then she _can't_
lose," Hinpoha was always having rings wished on her fingers, and
running around her chair to change her luck, and building rain jinxes
before starting out on excursions.

"Let's find a four-leaf clover and fasten it on her," said Migwan.
"Where'll we find one?"

"Out in the woods there's a place where there are some," replied Sahwah.

"We might take our supper out in the woods," suggested Nyoda. "Aren't we
going to have a Ceremonial Meeting tonight to take Agony and Oh-Pshaw
into the Winnebagos? We could have our Council Fire out in the woods
after supper."

"Let's take Many Eyes along and make her our official mascot," suggested
Sahwah. "We can install her with ceremonies, like we did Eeny-Meeny."

This bit of nonsense was seized upon by the Winnebagos as a grand
inspiration. When Agony and Oh-Pshaw arrived at Carver House with their
Ceremonial dresses in neat packages under their arms and their lists of
honors in their hands they found the Winnebagos forming a procession out
by the back gate. Sahwah headed the parade, holding up above her head a
huge kite made in the form of the symbolic Primitive Woman, with a long
tail which the rest of the Winnebagos carried like pages carrying a
queen's court train.

"What on earth!" began Agony.

"Get on the end of the line and help carry her tail!" commanded Sahwah.

"What's the idea?" demanded Agony suspiciously. "Are we getting
initiated?"

"No," explained Sahwah. "This is Many Eyes, our entry in the Boy Scout's
kite-flying contest. We're conveying her in state to the Council Rock.
We're going to make her our official mascot and then she'll be sure to
win the contest."

"And we're going to find a four-leaf clover and put it on her and render
her impassable," said Hinpoha. Hinpoha was trying to think of
"unsurpassable," and "impassable" was the nearest she came to it.

Agony and Oh-Pshaw joined themselves on to the procession with alacrity.

"We passed the Boy Scouts' bulletin board on the way over," said Agony,
"and we saw that the Winnebagos were entered in the contest."

"Were there any more entries?" asked Sahwah eagerly.

"Several," replied Agony. "Scout Troops Number One, Two and Three were
entered."

"Now," said Hinpoha, who seemed to be mistress of ceremonies, "we're
going to make a magic so that Many Eyes will win, and first we are going
to do the Indian Silence. We're going to march to the woods in single
file, carrying Many Eyes, and nobody must speak a word, or the charm
will be broken. Nobody must speak until we've found the four leaf
clover."

"How perfectly epic!" exclaimed Agony, falling in with the spirit of the
occasion.

"Is everybody ready?" asked Hinpoha. "Come on, then. Start!"

The procession moved off like a snake past the barn and down the hill,
Many Eyes smiling serenely ahead of her. The silence continued deep and
sepulchral all the way down the hill and quite to the edge of the woods,
and then Nyoda suddenly exclaimed, "The supper basket! Who has it?"

Nobody had it!

The Winnebagos looked sheepishly at one another and then Migwan and
Gladys offered to go back and get it.

"We'll sit right here, and wait for you," said Hinpoha, "and none of us
will speak a word until you come."

Many Eyes was propped against a tree while her escort sat around on the
ground holding their handkerchiefs in front of their mouths to keep from
talking. Migwan and Gladys presently came panting up and the procession
resumed its way into the woods. It was harder walking here and the
tail-bearers often stumbled against each other or accidentally kicked
each other's shins, and when that happened they had to compress their
lips tightly to keep back the exclamations of surprise or pain that
involuntarily sought expression. The procession wound up beside the
stream which Sahwah had discovered in the woods on the other side of the
hill, at a smooth, grassy spot where the clover grew in abundance. Here
they set Many Eyes down on the ground and began hunting diligently for
the symbol of good luck. It was a good thing that the four leaf clover
was found soon--and by Sahwah, too, which was taken as a further omen of
good luck--or the strain of the silence might have been fatal to a few
of the searchers. Agony was ready to burst long before the time limit
was up.

Then, when the charm of the silence had gotten in its good work, and the
little green quatrefoil had been fastened into the outstretched right
hand of Many Eyes, Hinpoha selected several soft, flat stones from the
stream and carved them with further good luck omens--the swastika, the
horseshoe, and all the other signs she could think of that were supposed
to bring good luck. These were to be a part of the kite's tail. A little
later they all clasped hands and wished for success on the evening star.
Then, to her great delight, Hinpoha caught a glimpse of the slender new
moon over her left shoulder, and registered her wish on that. Meanwhile
the others noticed a big black spider letting himself down from the
tree above, directly in front of Many Eyes--another omen of good
fortune. Never had the signs been so auspicious for any undertaking.

Nyoda carried Many Eyes with her when she took her place on the Council
Rock. The Council Fire was to be held on the great flat rock that
overhung the Devil's Punch Bowl; an impressive place indeed to hold a
Camp Fire Ceremonial, up there right under the stars, it seemed, with
the wind fiddling through the branches all around them and the water
whispering to itself below. The rock was about twenty feet wide and as
flat as a table.

Agony and Oh-Pshaw and Veronica, who were the lowest in rank of the
Winnebagos, had gathered the wood for the fire and laid the fagots in
place in the center of the rock, with the bow and drill and tinder
beside it and the supply of firewood nearby.

Nyoda smiled whimsically at Many Eyes, standing against the
perpendicular back ledge of the Council Rock, and with her heart full of
love for the girls who could get so much fun out of a kite, wished
success to their cause with all her soul. Then she stood up in the
center of the rock and sent forth the clear call, the summons for the
tribe of Wohelo to come to the Council Fire.

The call rang far out over the water and came echoing back from the
surrounding hills, and before the echoes had died away it was answered
from the depths of the wood, and then shadowy figures came stealing
forward from between the tall trees, a silent file that came winding
down to the Council Rock in a stately procession. The circle closed
around Nyoda and she stooped to kindle the fire. As the bow flashed
quickly back and forth and the drill whirled in its center, a low,
musical chant rose from the circle:

"Keep rolling, keep rolling,
Keep the fire sticks
Briskly rolling, rolling,
Grinding the wood dust,
Smoke arises!
Smoke arises!
Ah, the smoke, sweetly scented,
It will rise, it will rise, it will rise!"

The chant swelled out in volume to a dramatic climax as a puff of smoke
burst forth beneath the point of the whirling drill. Nyoda adroitly
caught the spark in a bed of tinder and raised it to her lips, blowing
gently to fan it into flame, while the chant was resumed:

"Dusky forest now darker grown,
Broods in silence o'er its own,
Till the wee spark to a flame has blown,
And living fire leaps up to greet
The song of Wohelo."

The "wee spark" turned into a tiny point of flame and the tinder burst
out into a merry blaze. Nyoda dropped it into the pile of fagots and the
ceremonial fire was kindled, while the Winnebagos sprang to their feet,
ready to sing, "Burn, fire, burn."

When that had been sung the Winnebagos still remained on their feet.
There was a moment of silence and then they sang a hearty cheer:

"Oh, we cheer, oh, we cheer for Wohelo,
For our comrades and friends so true,
And our loyalty ever shall linger,
Oh, Nakwisi, we sing to you!
Oh, Chapa, we sing to you!
Oh, Medmangi, we sing to you!"

"Oh, Katherine, here's to you,
Our hearts will e'er be true,
We will never find your equal
Though we search the whole world through!"

They were singing to the absent Winnebagos who would always be present
in spirit wherever the Winnebagos were gathered together.

Agony and Oh-Pshaw were touched and felt a lump rising in their throats;
it was so beautiful, this bond of affection between the Winnebagos. They
were completely carried away by the dramatic atmosphere of a Winnebago
Council Fire. They had never taken part in such an elaborate one. Both
of them, by spasmodic efforts, had attained the rank of Fire Maker in
the group to which they had formerly belonged, whose Guardian had meant
well enough, but had neither the time nor the talent to become a
successful Camp Fire leader. The group had never accomplished much, and
had finally drifted apart, as many groups do, for lack of a powerful
welding influence.

Agony and Oh-Pshaw, having been instrumental in starting the group, had
"run" it to their hearts' content; that is, Agony ran it, for her
dominating personality completely overshadowed her sister along with the
rest of the members. Agony "ran" the Guardian, too, who admired her
immensely, thought everything she did a symptom of genius, stood not a
little in awe of her family connections, and let her have full sway in
everything. Agony was fond of the Guardian, too, but naturally was not
profoundly influenced by association with her.

But there was an altogether different atmosphere in the Winnebago group,
as Agony soon discovered. No one girl had any more to say than the
others, all worked together in perfect harmony, and all worshipped the
same sun, Nyoda. She was a great lode star that drew them together, and
kept them circling contentedly in their little orbits; she was their
oracle, their all-wise counsellor, their loving elder sister. Around her
the Winnebagos clustered, as the populace did about Peter, anxious to
have his shadow fall upon them. The Twins had also fallen under her
spell and after their first meeting had become her adoring slaves. "Run"
Nyoda? The thought never entered Agony's mind.

In her own group Agony had achieved her honors easily, for the Guardian
had not been too insistent about having things done well, and some of
her honors were really only half earned. So she had become a Fire Maker
without any strenuous efforts. Now her great ambition was to be a Torch
Bearer. All the year at school she had looked with envy on the little
round silver pins that Hinpoha and Migwan and Gladys wore and noticed
how people who understood the meaning of that little pin always
exclaimed admiringly, "Oh, you're a Torch Bearer!" Agony could not bear
to have anyone get ahead of her, she must be a Torch Bearer, too. She
could hurry up and get enough honor beads by the next Council meeting to
be eligible.

After the ceremony of the installation was over and she and Oh-Pshaw
were really Winnebagos, she spoke of the desire which lay near to her
heart. It was in the little intimate talk time which always took place
during the Ceremonial Meeting, when the flames began to burn down to
embers, just before it was time to sing, "Now Our Camp Fire Fadeth."

"Nyoda," she said confidently, "I'm ready to become a Torch Bearer at
the next meeting."

Nyoda looked at her with serious, thoughtful eyes. In the Winnebago
group, it had not been customary for the girls to announce that they
were worthy to be called Torch Bearer. Nyoda had herself conferred that
honor upon them when she considered them worthy. No one had ever voiced
her belief that she was ready, although Nyoda knew how each one had
coveted the title. She was able to read Agony clearly, and knew that the
keynote of her life was ambition. She was pretty certain that Agony
wanted to be a Torch Bearer because it was the highest rank to which a
Camp Fire Girl could aspire, and she wanted to be on the top. As yet she
had seen no evidence of a humble desire to lose herself so deeply in the
joy of service for others that self was forgotten. Agony was a born
leader, there was no doubt about that, but Nyoda knew that she was not
yet ruler over her own spirit. To the Winnebagos it seemed that Agony
was already a Torch Bearer beyond compare, but Nyoda's inner voice of
wisdom whispered, "Not yet." Agony must win that title in humility and
self-forgetfulness before she could glory in it.

So she replied quietly, "When you have earned the right to be called
Torch Bearer you shall be made one, but remember, Agony, that one does
not become a Torch Bearer merely by earning a certain number of honor
beads and standing up and repeating the Torch Bearer's Desire. A girl
must have shown a steady power of leadership for a long time, and must
satisfy all the questions in the Guardian's mind about her fitness for
the rank. Also remember, Agony, that true leadership does not
necessarily mean taking the world by storm and being tremendously
popular with people. It may sometimes mean retiring to the background
and playing a very insignificant part, instead of being always in the
limelight. A good leader is first of all a good team worker, one who is
willing to suppress her own personal inclinations for the good of the
cause."

Agony, who was not given to examining her own faults very closely,
failed to see wherein she fell short in any of these requirements, and
was filled with elation as she thought that just as soon as Nyoda began
taking special notice of her she would see that she was a candidate _par
excellence_ for the title of Torch Bearer.

"You shouldn't have asked to be made a Torch Bearer!" Sahwah whispered
in her ear while Nyoda was stirring up the fire. "That isn't the way to
do it; it's like handing yourself a bouquet!"

"Well, I didn't know it," Agony whispered back, not a whit abashed. "In
our other group we had to ask for everything we got or we never would
have gotten it."

Nyoda then turned to Oh-Pshaw, who had sat silent and thoughtful during
the whole Council Meeting.

"Are you ready to be a Torch Bearer, too?" she asked.

"Oh, no," replied Oh-Pshaw modestly. "I'm not worthy to be called a
Torch Bearer. I'm not a born leader, like Agony is." There was a world
of unexpressed longing in her voice.

Nyoda thought seriously about the matter. Oh-Pshaw was certainly humble
and unassuming enough, always kind and sweet and obliging, always
willing to take any part in anything that was assigned her, but did she
have the grit and backbone, the force of character which Nyoda
considered necessary qualifications for a Torch Bearer? As yet she did
not know.

The subject was dropped. The circle sat in a silence for a moment. Each
one of the Torch Bearers in that circle was humbly wondering what Nyoda
had ever seen in her to cause her to single her out for the honor. And
each one became very sober as she thought about it and wondered if she
had come up to Nyoda's expectations.

The fire was burning low and the embers sent only a feeble glow around
the Council Rock. Behind them the forest stretched darkly away, and in
the stillness that brooded over them the sound of the lapping water
beneath came up with a curious distinctness. Oh-Pshaw shuddered as she
heard it and drew closer to the fire.

"What's the matter, are you cold?" asked Nyoda.

"I hate the sound of running water!" exclaimed Oh-Pshaw. "It fairly
makes my blood curdle. It's been so ever since I can remember. I hate it
in daylight, but at night it makes my hair stand on end! If I were out
here alone with it I'd simply go insane!"

"Why, how queer!" said Sahwah, unable to understand how anyone could be
afraid of her beloved element, and the others laughed, too, thinking
that Oh-Pshaw was only exaggerating, as most girls do over their little
peculiarities.

"It _is_ queer," said Agony, "because water doesn't affect me a bit like
that. I love to hear it, day or night. But it's been that way with
Oh-Pshaw ever since she was little. I can remember once when we were
about five years old she had spasms because our nurse left us alone in
the bathtub when the water was running in. She can't even stand it to
hear the water running down the eave spouts during a heavy shower."

The Winnebagos all laughed again at this queer "bete noir" of
Oh-Pshaw's, all but Nyoda. She knew something which the girls did not,
and which neither Agony nor Oh-Pshaw herself knew, something which had
been told her by Grandmother Wing in one of her talks with Nyoda. That
was that when Oh-Pshaw was a baby only three months old she had been
taken out in a sailboat by her father and mother on the river which ran
through Oakwood. A squall came up and the boat capsized and all three
were thrown into the wildly rolling river. They were promptly rescued by
a nearby launch, all unhurt, but the moaning, gurgling sound of the
water had stamped itself indelibly on Oh-Pshaw's tiny brain and she
would never again be able to hear that gurgling noise without a
sensation of horror. During her infancy, even the sound of water
gurgling out of a bottle was sufficient to throw her into spasms. She
had never been told about the accident, in the hope that she would
outgrow the shock and get over the fear, but she had never outgrown it.
She no longer had spasms when she heard water gurgling, but the sound
chilled her to the very marrow of her bones, and she never went alone,
even in daylight, past the river.

Nyoda knew how real this fear was and sympathized deeply with her,
although she pretended to make light of it, as the others did. Nyoda and
the Winnebagos loved to sit in the silence of the woods when the fire
burned low and listen to the murmuring of the water, but for Oh-Pshaw's
sake they must not do it to-night.

"Come, girls," Nyoda called cheerily, "'Fire's gwine out,' time to sing
'Mammy Moon' and then go home."

She poked the last embers of the fire into a little blaze, and the light
and the lively measures of the song took Oh-Pshaw's mind off the
gurgling water.

"Cross my heart, Mammy Moon,
Termorrer I'll be an angel coon,
I'll be a chile dat'll make you smile,
Good--o-l-e Mam-my M-o-o-n!"

The circle all lay down with their heads on each other's shoulders in
the drowsy attitude with which the song closes, and then Gladys's clear
voice rose in the melody of the Camp Fire Girls' own lullaby, sung to
the music of an Ojibway love song:

"In the still night, far, far below,
The drowsy wavelets come and go,
They weave a dream spell round Wohelo.

"Mid the pine trees, the long night through,
The wandering breezes croon to you,
They breathe a sleep charm of mist and dew.

"Heaven broods o'er you with stars aglow,
The hearts of Night is beating low,
Wokanda watches o'er Wohelo.
Wokanda watches o'er Wohelo!"

Then the last ember burned out into darkness and with the aid of their
little bug lights they stole home through the shadowy woods; Sahwah
carrying Many Eyes in her arms and confident she was a winner; Agony
filled with a great elation because her ambition to become a Torch
Bearer would soon be realized; Oh-Pshaw sadly wishing she were a born
leader like her sister; and Nyoda, walking with them, guessed what was
in the mind of each and her heart went out to them in tender love as the
heart of a shepherd goes out to his sheep.

CHAPTER XI

THE FURTHER CAREER OF MANY EYES

"What a grand day, and the wind just right," exulted Sahwah on Saturday
noon as the Winnebagos were hastening home from military drill. "It was
just made for flying kites."

"Are Slim and the Captain coming?" asked Hinpoha.

"They said they were," replied Sahwah.

"Father's coming, too," said Agony. "He came home this morning. He said
he would get Mr. Prince to come along with him."

"Oh, dear, I do hope we win, with _him_ there!" said Hinpoha. "But I
don't see how Many Eyes can help winning, with the four leaf clover and
all the good luck signs tied to her tail," she finished confidently.
Hinpoha believed firmly in the potency of her charms.

But alas for charms and good luck signs! Maybe the Fates stand in awe of
them, but they are powerless in the case of a goat. The Winnebagos
reached home just in time to see Many Eyes, impaled on Kaiser Bill's
horns, borne swiftly through the garden toward the stable. Sahwah
shrieked and darted in pursuit, whereupon the Kaiser collided with a
tree and drove his whole head and shoulders through the paper form of
Many Eyes and splintered her ribs like toothpicks. Then he dashed round
and round the garden at top speed, scattering bits of her tail in his
wake. By the time he had finally been subdued with an open umbrella
there was not enough left of Many Eyes to know that she had ever been a
kite.

The Winnebagos stood dumb with dismay and Sahwah nearly strangled with
mingled rage and disappointment.

"We're finished, as far as the contest is concerned," said Agony
gloomily.

Sahwah turned her back sharply and winked her eyes hard to keep the
tears from falling. She had worked _so_ hard to build Many Eyes, and
here was all her work gone for nothing, all on account of that fiendish
goat!

"Somebody will have to go and tell the Scouts that we withdraw our
entry, I suppose," said Migwan.

"Yes, and maybe they won't believe that the goat smashed it," said Agony
darkly. "Maybe they'll think we fell down on making a kite, or got cold
feet or something."

Sahwah's eyes flashed and she whirled around fiercely, galvanized into
action by Agony's words. "That Scout I was talking to was so sure we
couldn't make a kite, and I was just aching to show him!" she said with
tragic emphasis. Then resolution kindled in her eyes. "I said we were
going into that contest, and we _are_! They'll never get a chance to say
we backed down! I'm going to make another kite!"

"Oh, Sahwah, there isn't time," said Hinpoha hopelessly. "It's twelve
o'clock already and the contest starts at two."

"Two hours!" replied Sahwah. "I can make one in two hours."

"But you haven't had your lunch----" began Hinpoha.

"Lunch!" exclaimed Sahwah scornfully. "Who wants any lunch? I'm going to
build another kite!"

She sped into the house and in a few moments was busy nailing together
another frame while the rest of the Winnebagos stood around and handed
her tacks, paper, paste, and everything as she needed it. By half past
one another Primitive Woman had been evolved by her flying fingers,
Migwan and Gladys hastily constructing the tail while Sahwah made the
kite proper.

"I believe I'd have time to paint a face on her," said Hinpoha. She
seized her brush and put in an eye with rapid strokes. The clock chimed
a quarter to two and Sahwah started up nervously.

"There isn't time to do any more, Hinnpoha," she said. "We'll just have
time to get there now. She'll just have to go as she is."

"But can you call her Many Eyes if she only has one eye?" objected
Hinpoha.

"Never mind what we call her," said Sahwah. "She's a kite, and that's
all she needs to be. Call her One Eye if you like. What have you put in
her tail?"

"Some of those little sample bags of salt," replied Migwan. "They were
the only things we could find to put in as weights."

"Salt's bad luck!" wailed Hinpoha. "Oh, whatever did you take salt for?"

"Too late to change now," said Sahwah.

Agony looked scornfully at the new edition of Many Eyes. "For goodness'
sake, you aren't going to enter that thing in the contest?" she
exclaimed when she saw it. "Why, it looks perfectly _crazy_. Everybody
will laugh at it. I'd rather stay out of the contest than enter such a
looking kite. It looks like a scarecrow! For goodness' sake, don't enter
_that_!"

Sahwah had to admit that the new Many Eyes _was_ a rather laughable
object, with her one eye and her miscellaneous tail and her one arm
covered with yellow paper where the brown had given out.

"I don't care _what she looks like, she'll fly_," said Sahwah stoutly.

"Well, _I_ care what she looks like," returned Agony. "I tell you
everybody will laugh at us and our one-eyed kite."

"Let them laugh," retorted Sahwah, "I don't care."

"Oh, come on," said Migwan good-naturedly, "stop arguing about it. If
we're going into the contest we'll have to get there pretty soon. We
won't win, of course, but we'll show the boys that we're game, anyway.
Like the 'poor, benighted Hindoo,' we'll 'do the best we _kin_ do!' Be a
sport, Agony, and come on."

Sahwah gathered up her kite in her arms and started for the door. Going
through the hall she knocked Hinpoha's little purse mirror from the
table and smashed it all to bits. Hinpoha was aghast. "Bad luck again!"
she wailed.

"Never mind, 'Poha, I'll buy you another mirror," said Sahwah. "Just
leave the pieces, I'll sweep them up when I come back."

Agony scolded about the crazy-looking kite all the way to Commons Field
and Hinpoha resignedly accepted the fact that luck was against them, and
they might as well not enter the contest. To all of their remarks Sahwah
paid no heed, stubbornly keeping her determination to enter her beloved
kite.

"We've got to be sports now and not back down," was the only thing she
would say.

"Yes," said Migwan, "remember--"

"'Tis better to have flown and lost
Than never to have flown at all!'"

The other entries had already arrived on the scene when the Winnebagos
got there, and a good many of the Oakwood boys and girls had assembled
to watch the contest. Commons Field was a five-acre lot running down to
the river on the eastern side of the town, used as baseball field,
footfall field, and general sporting grounds. It was a sort of natural
amphitheatre, for a grassy hill curved around two sides of it, making an
ideal place for the spectators to sit and watch what was going on below.

Lists of the entries in the contest had been posted on various trees.

GREAT KITE FLYING CONTEST

_Entries_

VICTORY BIRD........................Troop No. 1 Boy Scouts
SKYSCRAPER..........................Troop No. 2 Boy Scouts
MIKADO II...........................Troop No. 3 Boy Scouts
SAMMY BOY..............................St. Andrew's League
AMERICAN EAGLE...................Sunday School Association
MANY EYES........................Winnebago Camp Fire Girls

"How graciously they put us at the end of the list," remarked Sahwah.

The Captain and Slim were there waiting for them and looked at Many Eyes
critically, but they forebore to laugh at her. Sahwah felt as though she
would explode if _they_ made fun of her. But they made no disparaging
remarks, although they both felt dubious about the flying qualities of a
kite in the shape of a Primitive Woman. However, they were game and
promised to shout for her with all their might.

The Scout who had taken Sahwah's entry that day under the tree came
strolling over, curious to see what kind of a kite she had produced.

"Ho, ho!" he scoffed. "What kind of a kite do you call that? That's
nothing but a paper doll. That's just the kind of a kite you'd expect a
girl to make. Now when you're making a kite, you want to make a _kite_,
not a paper doll! And what did you go and paint that one eye on there
for and nothing else, and then enter her as _Many Eyes_?"

Sahwah forbore to reply, and walked away, shielding her poor darling
with her body against the curious stares and comments of the other
contestants. Mr. Wing was sympathetic when he heard of the tragic fate
of the original Many Eyes and did not laugh at her hopscotch successor,
but the artist, who was with him, laughed uncontrollably, which hurt
Sahwah's feelings and increased the slight antagonism she already had
toward him. So she walked away from him, too, and took her place with
the contestants, who were forming in a line in the field. All around her
she heard amused comments passed upon the shape of No. 6 entry;
everybody called it the "paper doll." In height and breadth it
conformed to the prescribed measurements laid down by the rules of the
contest, but it did look so odd for a kite to have a head and arms and
legs! All the other entries were the regulation kite shape. Victory Bird
and American Eagle had pictures of eagles with outstretched wings pasted
upon them. The whistle blew and the kites were launched in air and
immediately the sky was split with the shouts of the various rooters.

"VICTORY BIRD! VICTORY BIRD! VICTORY BIRD!"

"SAMMY BOY! SAMMY BOY! SAMMY BOY!"

"SKYSCRAPER! SKYSCRAPER! SKYSCRAPER!"

In the midst of the din came the feebler, but stanch cheer of the
Winnebagos. Nyoda noticed that Agony did not cheer for Many Eyes; she
had slipped away from the Winnebagos and stood by herself a few paces
off, trying to look like a disinterested spectator.

"She won't cheer for Many Eyes because she's ashamed of her and doesn't
want people to know she's her entry!" was the painful thought that came
into Nyoda's mind.

The rest of the Winnebagos stood gamely together and shrieked for their
entry at the tops of their voices. Slim and the Captain stood by them
loyally and made as much racket as they could.

The ripple of amusement that had caused Agony so much chagrin when the
"paper doll" began her flight soon changed to astonished applause, for
Many Eyes won in a walk! Straight up she soared, "just like an angel,"
as Sahwah described it afterwards, tugging so hard on her leash that the
stick upon which the string was wound spun around in Sahwah's hand like
a bobbin and it was all she could do to hold on to it. Once she got
started she left all the others far behind. As Slim said, she "made them
look like a row of stationary wash tubs."

Sammy Boy and the Skyscraper got their tails twisted and came to earth
in a tangled mass; American Eagle was top heavy and flopped around in
circles and never rose higher than fifty feet, Mikado went up steadily
but slowly, straining at its weighted tail; and Victory Bird, whom
everybody expected to win, came a close second, and that was all. Many
Eyes got to the end of her string first and danced triumphantly about in
the air, several yards above Victory Bird. With everything dead set
against her, broken looking glass, salt weights, only one eye, and not a
single good luck symbol on her anywhere she had come out first in spite
of it all!

Then the Winnebagos nearly split their throats cheering, and Agony, who
had slipped back to them, cheered louder than all the rest, advertising
to all within earshot that she was a Winnebago and belonged to the
winning entry.

"And to think," marveled Hinpoha, "that with all her lucky symbols, the
other Many Eyes came to grief, and this one won without a single thing
to help her! I'll never have faith in good and bad luck signs again!"

The Scout who had scoffed at Many Eyes before the contest came around
afterward and looked her over thoughtfully, and discussed her
construction in a decidedly respectful tone with Sahwah.

"Now, can a girl design a kite?" asked Sahwah triumphantly.

"I guess she can," admitted the Scout as graciously as he could under
the circumstances. He was the one who had designed Victory Bird and it
was hard for him to admit that he had been beaten by a girl.

"But then, you're a Camp Fire Girl," he added, as if it were not so much
of a defeat to be beaten by a Camp Fire Girl as by an ordinary girl.

"But what did you put the one eye on her for?" he finished curiously.

"So she could see where she was going," replied Sahwah gravely.

"But why didn't you put _two_ eyes in her?" persisted the Scout.

"Because she only needed one to see to get ahead of _your_ kites,"
answered Sahwah, and felt that her triumph was complete.

After the contest was over the Winnebagos went out rowing on the river
with Mr. Wing and the artist and Slim and the Captain. Oh-Pshaw wouldn't
go, nothing would ever induce her to go rowing, so Nyoda stayed out with
her while the rest went. Slim and the Captain had a private squabble as
to which one should have Hinpoha in his boat and while they were
squabbling she got into the boat with the artist, so the Captain solaced
himself with Sahwah and Agony, and Slim took Gladys and Veronica. Migwan
got into the boat with Mr. Wing, an arrangement which pleased them both,
for Migwan thought Mr. Wing the most charming man in the world, and he
was very fond of the sweet, Madonna-faced girl with the beautiful,
thoughtful eyes and the intellectual forehead.

"Who's the nervy party with the chin whiskers that's cabbaged Hinpoha?"
asked the Captain of Sahwah, scowling crossly after the leading boat,
which was already drawing away from the rest of the party.

"He's an artist, his name is Prince," replied Sahwah. "He's a great
friend of Agony's father."

"Is he a great friend of Hinpoha's, too?" demanded the Captain.

"She thinks he's the most wonderful man she ever met," replied Sahwah.

The Captain scowled again, and caught a crab, showering Sahwah and Agony
with drops from his oar. "Excuse me!" he exclaimed, disgusted with
himself. "Oh, hang it all, anyway!" This last was uttered under his
breath, but Sahwah's sharp ear heard it. "Do _you_ think he's so
wonderful?" he demanded anxiously. The Captain had a vast respect for
Sahwah's opinion in most matters.

"I don't like him at all!" Sahwah burst out vehemently. "He's always
smiling, and all I can think of is a grinning hyena!" Sahwah spoke with
unnecessary vigor, but the remembrance of how he had laughed at Many
Eyes still rankled in her bosom.

"Why, Sahwah!" exclaimed Agony in a shocked tone. "How can you say such
a thing? I think he's perfectly wonderful," she added. "So polished, and
such charming manners."

Here Sahwah created a diversion by dropping her hat overboard, and the
artist was forgotten in the exciting business of rescuing it from the
swiftly running current.

Hinpoha, beside herself with joy at the victory of Many Eyes, was
boasting to the artist what a wonderful group the Winnebagos were.

"And that's not all," she said, as she finished the tale of their
numerous achievements on land and water, "we've got a real live baroness
in our group!"

"Indeed!" said the artist, nearly dropping his oar in his surprise.
"Which one is it?"

"Veronica," replied Hinpoha, gratified at the impression this statement
had made upon her listener, and then she launched into a detailed
account of Veronica's entire history, dwelling on the part where
Veronica had played for the prince.

It was not until she was tucked into bed that night and was just
dropping off to sleep that she remembered her promise not to tell anyone
about Veronica. "But it was perfectly all right to tell _him_" she said
to herself, "he was so interested and _so_ sympathetic." And she dropped
off to sleep with never a qualm of conscience about her broken promise.

CHAPTER XII

THE COURT MARTIAL OF THE KAISER

"'Gee, ain't it fierce, we ain't got no flag to fight this here
Revolution with!'" Agony, carrying a baseball bat at "shoulder arms,"
paced slowly back and forth across the attic in the Wing home with an
exaggerated military stride. "Is _that_ loud enough, Nyoda?" she asked.

"Yes, your voice is all right," approved Nyoda, jabbing a pin into the
large felt hat which she was transferring into a tricorn, "but don't
kick your feet straight up in front of you that way. The American army
didn't goose-step, remember. Try it again. There, that's better.

"Now, Second Soldier, your little speech, and remember to salute when
you're through."

Oh-Pshaw, similarly outfitted as to firearms, added her bit to the drama
which was unfolding under Nyoda's direction.

"Now we'll do it with the scenery," announced Nyoda. "Come on, scenery,
all up! Here, Trees, you stand here," pushing Hinpoha into place at one
side of the landscape, "and More Trees, you get over on the other side.
Who is More Trees? Oh, Migwan. All right, you two stand there and sway
gently in the breeze. Where are the Guns? Oh, here you are, Sahwah. And
the rest of the Guns, that's you, Veronica. Here, you Guns, stack
yourselves against Trees."

Sahwah and Veronica inclined toward each other at a precarious angle and
leaned against Trees. Trees promptly doubled up and clapped both her
hands over the pit of her stomach, and Guns, losing their balance, fell
in a heap on the floor.

"What's the matter?" demanded Nyoda.

"Oooo-oo-oo-oh!" giggled Trees. "Sahwah tickled my ribs!"

"Try it again," directed Nyoda, assisting Guns to rise from the floor
and stacking them against an invulnerable spot on Trees.

"Now, where's the Moon?"

"Gone downstairs to get a paintbrush," replied More Trees.

"What'll Moon rise on?" asked Nyoda, knitting her brows in thought.

"Take the piano stool," suggested the First Soldier, leaning on his
weapon in a picturesque attitude.

"The very thing!" exclaimed Nyoda. "Bring up the piano stool!" she
shouted down the stairway, and a few minutes later the Moon came into
view, carrying her rising power in one hand, a bottle of India ink in
the other, a number of sheets of cardboard under her arm and a
paintbrush held crosswise in her mouth.

"Gracious, if you'd ever slipped coming up the stairs!" exclaimed the
Second Soldier, springing forward to take the bottle of ink out of the
hand of the Moon.

"Now Moon, you rise behind More Trees," ordered Nyoda, setting the piano
stool behind Migwan.

"How does a moon rise, anyway?" asked Gladys in perplexity.

"Oh, begin by crouching on the piano stool, and then straighten up
gradually to a standing position over Migwan's shoulder," answered
Nyoda. "Now then! 'Curtain rises. Scene shows camp of the American army
at the time of the Revolution. Trees on left, more trees on right, guns
stacked against trees. Moon rises,' All right, Moon, rise!"

Gladys rose shakily to a standing position, her hand on the shoulder of
More Trees.

"Now beam over the trees, Moon."

Moon did her best to beam and grinned from ear to ear; Guns howled with
laughter; the piano stool began to turn; Moon clutched wildly at More
Trees and went down with a crash on the floor.

"Eclipse of the Moon," laughed Nyoda, rushing to the aid of the fallen
one.

"Let somebody else be the Moon," declared Gladys, when she had been
restored to the perpendicular, viewing the shaky stool with disfavor.
"Let Sahwah be it, she's more of an acrobat."

"You _have_ to be the Moon because you've got light hair," replied Nyoda
in a tone of finality. "You'll just have to _manage_ so the stool
doesn't turn, that's all. Try it again."

Moon rose over the trees and accomplished the difficult feat of holding
the stool still and beaming at the same time with a fair degree of
success, and the rehearsal began.

"Oh-Pshaw, you're forgetting to salute!" called Nyoda when Second
Soldier had finished his speech. "There, that's all right, now don't
forget to do it the next time. Now you get behind the Moon and hold her
up through the next scene. She's wobbling again. What comes next? Oh,
yes, here's where I come in."

Throwing down her prompting book and setting the partially cocked hat
upon her head, Nyoda made a flourishing entrance upon the stage as the
Father of her Country, and the second touching scene of the drama was
enacted, in which George is informed by the sentry that "we ain't got no
flag to fight this here Revolution with," and soothingly promises to
"see Betsy." Just as George was delivering his reassuring promise Trees
felt a fly walking across her nose and sneezed a tremendous sneeze,
sending Guns sprawling upon the floor.

"Gracious, Hinpoha, can't you hold still a _minute_?" sighed Nyoda,
pushing the hat up from her left eye where it had hung ever since she
had knocked it crooked returning the sentry's salute. "And who's going
to work our 'Quick Curtain' there?"

"Oh, either Slim or the Captain can draw the curtain for us," said
Hinpoha.

"But we want it all to be a surprise for them," Sahwah reminded her.
"They're not supposed to know anything about it."

"Well, grandmother can draw the curtain, then," said Agony.

"But she's supposed to be in the audience, too," objected Oh-Pshaw.

"Why, _you_ can draw the curtain, you're not doing anything at the end
of this scene!" exclaimed Nyoda triumphantly to Oh-Pshaw. "Second
Soldier goes out after his one speech and doesn't come on again."

"I'm a rocking chair in the last scene, though," Oh-Pshaw reminded her.

Nyoda thought deeply for a moment. "We'll have to do without that one
rocking chair in the last act. You'll have to draw the curtain. No show
is complete without a quick curtain at the end. How can we have curtain
calls without a curtain? Anyway, we don't need three rocking chairs, two
are plenty."

So Oh-Pshaw good-naturedly shifted her role from rocking chair to
curtain puller.

"Next scene, home of Betsy Ross," proclaimed Nyoda. "Trees, you'll have
to turn into a chair in this scene, and More Trees, you turn into
another chair. Guns, you will become a spinet and a spinning wheel
respectively, and Moon, you'll turn into a table. First Soldier, you'll
become Betsy Ross. Now then! All the stage settings get in place for the
last scene!"

The two chairs solemnly began to rock back and forth on their heels,
causing the Spinning Wheel to go off into fits of uncontrollable
laughter, and Betsy Ross, hearing George's knock, rose to answer it,
but, catching sight of the two rocking chairs, promptly doubled up on
the floor instead of letting George in.

"I can't do anything if they're going to rock," gasped Betsy.

"You'll _have_ to get used to it," said Nyoda emphatically. "We want
those rocking chairs, they're the funniest part of the show. Don't look
at them if you can't keep a straight face. Now start again. Where's your
baby? Here, take this towel for a baby until you can find a doll.

"Now, remember, when I come in you say 'Hello, George,' in a very
familiar tone, and when I say, 'Gee, ain't it fierce, we ain't go no
flag to fight this here Revolution with,' you say, 'I know, ain't it
fierce! Here, you hold the baby and I'll make one.' Then you give me
the baby and I walk up and down while you sew, and the baby screams all
the while--Oh-Pshaw, you'll have to make the noise for the baby behind
the scenes. Now, all ready!"

George came in, with a yardstick tied around his waist for a sword, and
made a deep bow which made the spinet giggle violently. "'Gee, ain't it
fierce--' Stop laughing, Sahwah, remember you're the scenery!"

Sahwah lasted until the towel baby was laid in the arms of the
Commander-in-Chief, and Oh-Pshaw, trying to imitate the noise of a
crying baby behind the scenes, emitted a series of yelps which were
harrowingly suggestive of a large yellow dog going through the meat
chopper. It was too much for the rest of the scenery; the rocking chair
howled, the spinning wheel choked, the table wept into her handkerchief,
and even George's composure forsook him and he and Betsy fell up against
each other and shouted.

"Good gracious, Oh-Pshaw, a baby doesn't cry like that! It makes a
wailing noise in a high key. Try it again, now."

Oh-Pshaw amended her vocal efforts so that the results were not fatal,
and the historical First Edition of the Stars and Stripes proceeded
without further mishap.

"Where's the flag I'm to hold up when it's done?" demanded Betsy.

"Who brought the flag along?" asked Nyoda.

The spinet suddenly clapped a hand to her brow. "I left it on the porch
at Carver House!" she exclaimed. "I was going to bring it along with the
rest of the things, and then I forgot it. Shall I go and get it?"

"Never mind," said Nyoda, "we'll get along without it now and bring it
along when we come over to-night. Come on, now, go through the whole
thing once more, and then we're finished. Oh-Pshaw, while you're not on
the stage, you make the signs for the scenery, TREES, MORE TREES,
GUNS--make two signs for Guns--MOON, etc., and on the other side paint
CHAIR, TABLE, SPINNING WHEEL, SPINET, etc., so all the scenery will have
to do is turn the signs around on themselves when they change from the
first to the second scenes."

All the above commotion was in preparation for the party which Agony and
Oh-Pshaw were giving that night in honor of Slim's birthday. The
birthday was already past, it is true, but it was still recent enough to
make it a legitimate excuse for a party. The Winnebagos, as usual, could
not have a party without some select private theatricals in honor of the
occasion.

The rehearsal over, Nyoda and the Winnebagos wended their way back to
Carver House to get ready for the evening.

"Kaiser Bill's out!" exclaimed Sahwah, as they approached the house. "I
just saw him jump the hedge and run around the side of the house with
something red in his mouth."

"The cover of the porch table!" exclaimed Nyoda. "Run, head him off,
quick!"

They sped into the yard and round the side of the house as the sportive
Kaiser doubled in his tracks and missed them by an inch.

"Oh, he's got the flag!" shrieked Sahwah. "I left it on the porch! Get
it! Get it! He's got it half eaten!" They gave strenuous chase, but the
wily Capricorn, mischief sparkling in his wicked eyes, eluded them again
and again, and each time they passed him there was less of the flag
hanging out of his mouth. Not until the last shred was gulped down did
he suffer himself to be cowed by the persistent umbrella in Nyoda's
hand, and then he came to a stand in a triumphant attitude, and on his
face was the satisfied expression of an epicure who has just discovered
a rare new dainty to tickle his palate.

The Winnebagos looked at each other and were speechless with horror.
Kaiser Bill had eaten up the American flag!

Nyoda recovered herself first, and the Winnebagos saw her in one of her
rare moods of anger.

"This is the last straw!" she exclaimed indignantly. "He's chewed up two
sofa pillows and a twelve-dollar hammock and no end of books; he
destroyed Sahwah's kite last week; he's broken the windows in the
greenhouse three or four times; he's ruined large numbers of valuable
plants; and still I bore with him patiently for old Hercules' sake. But
I won't stand it any longer. I'm tired of being kept in hot water by
that fiendish old goat. He's the terror of the neighbors, and I live in
hourly expectation of damage suits that will ruin me. Now I've reached
the limit of endurance. Either that goat leaves Carver House or I do,
and as Carver House belongs to me and Kaiser Bill doesn't, I reckon
he'll be the one to go."

"What are you going to do with him?" asked Sahwah.

"Oh, give him away, or sell him--anything," replied Nyoda.

"Hercules, come here!" she called, as she spied a kinky white head
bobbing around in the barnyard.

Hercules approached with a painfully stew, shuffling gait. "What is it,
Mis' Elizabeth?" he inquired mildly, eyeing his mistress with affection
in his look.

"Hercules," said Nyoda crisply, "we're going to get rid of that goat."

"What's 'at ol' goat bin a-doin', honey?" quavered Hercules anxiously.

"He's eaten up the American flag!" replied Nyoda in an outraged tone.
"This is positively the last straw. I put up with several hundred
dollars' worth of damage about the place, but this is too much. Do you
realize what he's done? _He's eaten up the American flag_!"

"Why-e-e-e-e-e!" exclaimed Hercules, and then, "Lord a-massy! Kaiser
Bill," he remarked reproachfully, "ain't I done fetched you up no
better'n _'at?"_

"Do you know of anyone who would take him?" asked Nyoda.

The old man considered, with his head in his hands. "Oh, Mis' Elizabeth,
you-all ain't goin' ter give dat goat away?" he broke out pleadingly.
"'At goat's lived here all his life, deed he has, Mis' Elizabeth, an' he
wouldn' feel to home nowheres else!"

But for once Nyoda stood her ground and refused to be cajoled.

"Mis' Elizabeth," said old Hercules solemnly, when all pleading had been
in vain, "you-all ain' goin' ter give 'at goat away, because you-all
_can't_ give him away! Ain't anybody _livin_' 'at can give dat goat
away! He'd come back just as fast as you'd give him away! 'At ol'
Kaiser's a mighty foxy goat. Ain't no door bin _invented_ 'at _he_ can't
break down!"

The old man's voice quavered triumphantly, and he winked at the goat
solemnly. Nyoda had a mental vision of Kaiser Bill putting on a Return
from Elba act every day in the future, and her resolution took a sudden
hardy turn.

"You're right," she said. "It wouldn't do any good to give him away.
He'd come back. The only way to get rid of him is to kill him. Then
we'll be sure he can't come back."

Hercules looked at her unbelievingly, and shook his head.

"I mean it," repeated Nyoda. "I'm going to get rid of that goat."

She stood still, waiting for the torrent of dissuading argument that
would presently come from Hercules' lips, intending to cut it short, but
the flow never came. Just when Hercules had his mouth open to begin
there came a sudden earthquake shock from behind, and he found himself
sitting in a flower bed a dozen feet away, rubbing his bruised knees and
struggling to regain his breath. His first impression was that he had
been run over by a locomotive.

When he could finally be persuaded that Kaiser Bill, base and ungrateful
animal, had rewarded his championship of him by deliberately assaulting
him with the full force of his concrete forehead, his heart was broken,
and he mutely bowed to the decision of the judge.

"'T's all one ter me now," he said sadly. "Kaiser Bill done turn agin'
ol' Hercules; ol' Hercules' heart broke now. Don' care whether you kill
him er not. 'T's all one ter me."

"We'll have a Court Martial," announced Sahwah.

The Court Martial duly sat, and in a most formal manner Kaiser Bill was
tried and convicted of conduct unbecoming an officer and a gentleman,
and of traitorously destroying the American flag, and was sentenced to
be shot at sunrise the next morning.

"Who's going to shoot him?" asked Hinpoha.

"Oh, we'll get Slim and the Captain to do it," replied Sahwah.

With the death sentence hanging over his head, the Kaiser was led away
to await his execution.

CHAPTER XIII

THE PARTY

Dinner hour was over in Oakwood and the evening life of the stately old
town was beginning to stir when Mr. Wing stepped off the train and
walked briskly through the softly falling twilight toward his home. Not
far from the station he met the artist, Eugene Prince, strolling about
admiring the landscape, and hailed him cordially. "I've just come home
on a flying trip over night," he explained. "Have to go to Washington in
the morning. I wonder if the folks are at home; I should have telephoned
them I was coming, I suppose." Mr. Wing seemed very much elated about
something.

"How's the big case coming?" asked the artist. He had always been such a
ready listener while Mr. Wing expressed his various theories About the
matter and showed such a lively interest that Mr. Wing had gotten into
the habit of talking about it to him by the hour and listening to him
express _his_ theories.

Now when the artist mentioned the big case Mr. Wing could not conceal
his triumph, for _his_ theory had been right after all, and the artist's
had been wrong. "It's exactly what I expected," he said jubilantly, and
spoke in a low, confidential tone for some minutes.

The artist whistled in blank surprise.

The two men passed up the street, talking in low tones. "Come up to the
house with me," said Mr. Wing presently, "and I'll show you--Hello,
what's this?"

A creaking rumble behind them made them start and turn around, and a
singular sight greeted their eyes. Down the street puffed an immensely
fat negro woman clad in a calico wrapper and a bright red turban,
pushing a wheelbarrow in which sat a negro baby somewhat larger than its
mammy. In the wheelbarrow beside the baby stood a feeding bottle of
gigantic proportions, being in very truth a three-gallon flask designed
to hold a solution to spray trees with; six feet of garden hose
constituted the tube, and a black rubber diving cap at the upper end of
it completed the feeding apparatus.

"_Pour l'amour de Mique!_" laughed Mr. Wing, as the unique outfit
rumbled by. "What on earth do you suppose _that_ is?" They followed the
progress of the billowing mother and her husky infant with amused eyes,
and at the corner of the street she attempted to turn the barrow, ran
into a stone, upset the barrow and spilled the infant on the ground.
The infant immediately sprang up, clutching the Gargantuan feeding
bottle, and berated his mother in emphatic terms, delivered in a deep
bass voice, addressing her as "Captain." "Look out, you'll break the
bottle, dumping the wheelbarrow over like that," he remarked warningly.
The old mammy stooped over to readjust him in the barrow and as she did
so several feet of masculine garments became visible under her short
skirt.

"Minstrel show in town," remarked Mr. Wing with another laugh of
amusement. His amusement turned to surprise when the picturesque pair
preceded him up the street and turned in at his own yard. The house was
lighted from one end to the other; groups of young people were visible
everywhere, on the porches, on the lawn, in the doorways.

"Seems to be a party going on here," remarked Mr. Wing.

"Father!" exclaimed a voice from the crowd, and Agony darted forward to
embrace him. "Why didn't you tell us you were coming? You're just in
time for the party."

Mr. Wing greeted the guests affably and after a short interval escaped
with the artist to his study on the second floor, where they spent an
hour in close consultation behind a locked door.

"Now let's go down and look in on the party," said Mr. Wing, locking a
package of letters carefully into a small drawer in his desk. Before
going down he went to his own room and changed to a suit of white
flannels in honor of the occasion.

As he was finally making for the stairway he met Veronica Lehar in the
upstairs hall. "May I use the telephone in the study?" she asked.

"Certainly," he replied, and went in and turned the light on for her and
then went on downstairs.

Shouts of laughter filled the air; the negro mammy and the gigantic
infant, together with the wheelbarrow and the feeding bottle, were
holding the stage at the end of the spacious sitting room. Slim was
being given his birthday presents and was surrounded with nonsensical
articles of every kind--toys, rattles, all-day suckers, and so forth,
and was convulsing the crowd with his antics.

The merriment went on until somebody called for Veronica to play on her
violin and she came downstairs with her violin in her hands. Then a hush
fell on the crowd, and the merrymakers listened, spellbound and
dreamy-eyed, to the strains which the passionate-eyed little Hungarian

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