The Camp Fire Girls; Or, The Secret of an Old Mill
The Project Gutenberg eBook, The Camp Fire Girls, by Howard Roger Garis
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Title: The Camp Fire Girls
Or, The Secret of an Old Mill
Author: Howard Roger Garis
Release Date: May 16, 2018 [eBook #57171]
Character set encoding: UTF-8
***START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS***
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“Natalie, in her Camp Fire suit.”
THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS
Who are doing so much to glorify, not only the life ofthe great out-doors, but also the more humble lifeof the home, this volume is gratefully dedicated.
|II||A Missing Ring|
|III||The Deserted Encampment|
|IV||The Call of the Camp|
|V||Off to the Woods|
|VI||The Old Man|
|VII||A Night Alarm|
|VIII||The Old Mill|
|IX||An Excited Constable|
|XI||Off to the Gipsy Camp|
|XII||The Girls Will Try|
|XIII||Lost at Bear Pond|
|XIV||A Night March|
|XV||“It’s the Boys!”|
|XVI||The Bottle of Olives|
|XVII||A Sharp Attack|
|XIX||The Gipsy Camp|
|XX||The Missing Girl|
|XXI||Old Hanson Moves|
|XXIV||Natalie is Gone|
|XXV||On the Trail|
|XXVI||A Sprained Ankle|
|XXVII||Awaiting the Ghost|
|XXVIII||The Boys Are Puzzled|
|XXIX||The Girls Will Go|
|XXX||The Weeping Voice|
|XXXI||The Secret Room|
“Oh, girls, isn’t it just splendid?”
“And the rings are too sweet for anything; aren’tthey, really?”
“But what are they for—those seven marks,I mean? I heard Mrs. Bonnell mention it, butthere was so much going on that I’ve forgotten.”
“Oh, Alice! Don’t you recall that those seven‘marks’, as you call them, are the seven points ofthe law of the Camp Fire Girls?”
“To which delightful organization we now belong,”added another of the quartette.
“Oh, Natalie!” exclaimed Alice Lathrop,“you’re a dear, but you always did have the mostremarkable remembrancer,” and, with a laugh sheput her arms around her chum, whose dark,olive-tinted complexion, with that calm brow, and eyes,in the depths of which woodland pools seemed tolie, gave her the appearance of an Indian maid, especiallywhen she plaited her hair in two, longblack braids.
“It’s quite symbolic,” went on Mabel Anderson,as she looked at the silver ring on one of theslim fingers of her pretty hand, a hand of whichshe was perhaps a trifle vain—excusably so, in theopinion of some of her friends.
“And now we are really ‘Wood Gatherers,’”spoke Marie Pendleton. “It’s the first step. Iwonder if we will take the others?”
“I intend to,” declared Alice. “It only takesthree months to become a ‘Fire Maker,’ and threemore to be a ‘Torch Bearer.’”
“Oh, but there are lots of things to do in thattime,” sighed Mabel Anderson. “Think of thetest of getting two meals for—for you girls!” andshe looked with pretended dismay at her threepretty chums. “I—I don’t even know how to peelpotatoes!” and she covered her face with herhands.
“It’s time you learned,” declared Marie, who,since the death of her mother kept house, with theassistance of a maid, for her father, and her brotherJack.
“I can see all sorts of jolly times ahead of us!”exclaimed Alice. “We will get to know ever somany nice girls—really we four are too much byourselves.”
“We always have been,” said Mabel. “I don’tsee why we shouldn’t continue to go together. Justbecause we have joined the Camp Fire Girls doesn’tmean that we’re going to separate, I hope. Shallwe make new friends and lose our old ones?”
“Not at all,” went on Alice. “But we are too—too—whatwas it Professor Battell said in classto-day—too inscribed—no, that wasn’t it——”
“Circumscribed,” put in Natalie.
“That’s it. I don’t know what I’d do if I didn’thave you for a memo. pad, Nat!” and once moreAlice embraced her chum.
“Why so pensive?” asked Marie, as, to give entrancefor her friends she opened the door of thelittle cottage, over which she presided as mistress.“Has anything happened, Natalie? Did you missin Latin to-day?” and Marie, dropping her bookson a chair in the hall ushered her chums into thelittle library. The girls were on their way homefrom the Academy and from class had gone to ameeting of the Camp Fire Girls Association, whichhad recently been started in their town. They hadbeen initiated as “Wood Gatherers” of the DogwoodCamp Fire, which name Mrs. Pierce Bonnell,the Guardian, had chosen for the group.
“No, nothing has happened,” said Natalieslowly. “I was just thinking what delightful funwe would have this summer if we could reallygather around a camp fire of our own, out in theopen.”
“Well, why couldn’t we?” asked Marie. “Let’sthink about it, anyhow. I’m going to ask Nellieto make tea. It’s real chilly, even if the bluebirdsare here and the flowers almost out. Oh, I haveit, I’m going to choose the name Bluebird—I wonderwhat that is in Indian?”
“Che-no-sag-ak!” exclaimed a guttural voice, asMarie opened the door of the dining room. “Che-no-sag-ak!Wah! Pale face maiden heap talkmuch. Ugh!”
“Oh Jack! How you startled me!” cried Marie,shrinking back, with her hands to her breast, asshe beheld her brother and his two intimate chums,Phil Anderson and Blake Lathrop, calmly seatedat the dining room table, luxuriously regaling themselveson water crackers and old cheese, with someginger ale which they had evidently smuggled infrom the corner grocery.
“What is it?” echoed the voice of Mabel, as sheand the other two girls crowded to the portal.“Phil!” she went on, “and Blake! Have youbeen listening to what we were saying?” she demandedas she marched out and stood half-threateninglyover her brother.
“How could we help it—the way you talked?”he inquired, defensively.
“And so Marie is going to be a bluebird; isshe?” went on Jack with a grin. “Fine! That’sthe Indian for it that I was reciting—‘Che-no-sag-ak!’Little bluebird of the wildwood, come and letme have thy feathers—have thy feathers for my newhat, for my new hat made of satin. Little——”
His voice died off into a gurgle for Alice, withthe intimacy of a chum of Jack’s sister, had clappedher hands over his mouth, to the destruction of acracker he had been about to munch.
“Look out for that cheese!” warned Phil.
“And the carpet!” added Blake.
“Well, let him stop making fun!” snapped Alice,as she glided away before Jack could take a fairrevenge.
“What’s it all about, anyhow?” asked Blake,when quiet had been somewhat restored. “Whyall this Indian hocus-pocus? Has a medicine showcome to town?”
“It’s the Camp Fire Girls,” declared Jack, tryingto get up from the carpet some of the crackercrumbs before Nellie, the maid came in, for Jackand his chums were only in the dining room onsufferance. “Sis has been mooning around thehouse about it for the last three weeks.”
“I have not, Jack Pendleton!”
“Gibbering about Wood-gatherers, Fire-makers,and what not,” went on the irrepressible brother.“She’s been looking in the back of the dictionaryfor something or other—I thought she had fallendown on her Latin, and was trying to work off acondition.”
“I was looking for Indian words,” declaredMarie,