The Camp Fire Girls at School
Hildegard G. Frey
Part 3 out of 4
on the street. She despised him just as the rest of the class did and
avoided him whenever she could, but when brought face to face with him
she had not the hardihood to refuse his company. That this innocent act
should be misconstrued into meaning that she was mixed up in his doings
seemed monstrous. Yet Mr. Jackson apparently believed this to be the
truth. Things seemed to be closing around her. To Mr. Jackson her guilt
was perfectly clear. She was a friend of Joe Lanning's; she had lent him
her dog to work mischief on the stage; she admitted being in the
electric room and refused to tell what she had been doing there.
"Well," he said crisply, "somebody cut those wires Thursday Afternoon,
and only one person was seen going in and out of the electric room
during that time, and that person is yourself. You admit that you were
in there doing something which will not bear explanation. It looks
pretty suspicious, doesn't it?"
"I didn't do it," Hinpoha declared stoutly.
In her distress she did not dare meet Nyoda's eyes. What was Nyoda
thinking of her, anyhow?
"And so," continued Mr. Jackson, not heeding her denial, "until you can
give a satisfactory explanation of your presence in the electric room
last Thursday I must consider that you had something to do with the
cutting of those wires. I have been asked by the Board of Education to
look into the matter thoroughly and to punish the culprit with expulsion
from school. As all evidence points to you as the guilty person, I shall
be obliged, under the circumstances, to expel you."
Hinpoha sat as if turned to stone. The wild beating of her heart almost
suffocated her. Expelled from school! But even with that terrible
sentence ringing in her ears it never entered her head to betray Emily.
If this was to be the price of loyalty, then she would pay the price.
There was no other way. She had not been clever enough to explain her
presence in the electric room to the satisfaction of Mr. Jackson and yet
breathe no word of the real situation, and this was the result. Her head
whirled from the sudden calamity which had overwhelmed her; her thoughts
were chaos. She hardly heard when Mr. Jackson said curtly, "You may go."
As one in a dream she walked out of the office. Nyoda came out with her.
"Of all things," said Mr. Wardwell to Mr. Jackson, when they were left
alone, "to think that a girl should have done that thing."
"It seems strange, too," mused Mr. Jackson, "that she should have been
able to do it. You would hardly look for a girl to be cutting electric
wires, would you? It takes some skill to do that. Where did she learn
how to do it?"
"Those Camp Fire Girls," said Mr. Wardwell emphatically, "know
everything. I don't know where they learn it, but they do."
Nyoda led Hinpoha into one of the empty club rooms and sat down beside
her. "Now, my dear," she said quietly, "will you please tell me the
whole story? It is absurd of course to accuse you of cutting those
wires, but what were you doing in that room? All you have to do is give
a satisfactory explanation and the accusation will be withdrawn."
Nyoda's voice was friendly and sympathetic and it was a sore temptation
to Hinpoha to tell her the whole thing just as it happened. But she had
promised Emily not to tell a living soul, and a promise was a promise
"Nyoda," she said steadily, "I _was_ in that electric room twice on
Thursday afternoon. I carried something in and I carried it out again.
But I can't tell you what it was."
"Not even to save yourself from being expelled?" asked Nyoda curiously.
"Not even to save myself from being expelled," said Hinpoha steadfastly.
And Nyoda, baffled, gave it up. But of one thing she was sure. Whatever
silly thing Hinpoha had done that she was ashamed to confess, she had
never in the world cut those wires. It was simply impossible for her to
have done such a thing. Entirely convinced on this point, Nyoda went
back to Mr. Jackson, and told him her belief, begging him not to put his
threat of expulsion into execution. But Mr. Jackson was obdurate. There
was something under the surface of which Nyoda knew nothing. All the
year there had been a certain lawless element in the school which was
continually breaking out in open defiance of law and order. Mr. Jackson
had been totally unable to cope with the situation. He had been severely
criticised for not having succeeded in stamping out this disorder, and
was accused of not being able to control his scholars. The events
connected with the giving of the play had been widely published--it was
impossible to keep them a secret--and Mr. Jackson had been taken to task
by those above him in the educational department for not being able to
find out who had cut the wires. Smarting under this censure, he had
determined to fix the blame at an early date at all costs, and when the
opportunity came of fastening a suspicion onto Hinpoha he had seized it
eagerly, and intended to publish far and wide that he had found the
guilty one. Therefore he met Nyoda's appeal with stony indifference.
"I shall consider her guilty until she has proven her innocence," he
maintained obstinately, "and you will find that I am right. That is
nothing but a made-up story about going in there for something she had
left. You noticed how she contradicted herself half a dozen times in as
many minutes. She is the guilty one, all right," and in sore distress
Nyoda left him.
The axe fell and Hinpoha was expelled from school. If lightning had
fallen on a clear day and cleft the roof open, the pupils could not have
been more dumbfounded. Hinpoha was the very last one any one would have
suspected of cutting wires. In fact, many were openly incredulous. But
Mr. Jackson took care to make all the damaging facts public, and
Hinpoha's fair name was dragged in the mud. Emily Meeks was one who
stood loyal to Hinpoha. She was ignorant that it was to shield her
Hinpoha had refused to tell what she was doing in the electric room, as
she had gone home before Hinpoha had retouched the picture, but she
refused to believe that her angel, as she always thought of Hinpoha,
could be guilty of any wrong doing.
As for Hinpoha herself, life was not worth living. The scene with Aunt
Phoebe, when she heard of her disgrace, was too painful to record here.
Suffice to say that Hinpoha was regarded as a criminal of the worst type
and was never allowed to forget for one instant that she had disgraced
the name of Bradford forever. It was awful not to be going to school and
getting lessons. Those days at home were nightmares that she remembered
to the end of her life with a shudder. The only ray of comfort she had
was the fact that Nyoda and the Winnebagos stood by her stanchly. "I can
bear it," she said to Nyoda forlornly, "knowing that you believe in me,
but if you ever went back on me I couldn't live." Nyoda urged her no
more to tell her secret, for she suspected that it concerned some one
else whom Hinpoha would not expose, and trusted to time to solve the
mystery and remove the stain from Hinpoha's name.
The excitement over, school settled down into its old rut. Joe Lanning's
father sent him away to military school and Abraham's father began to
use his influence to have him reinstated. Mr. Goldstein put forth such a
touching plea about Abraham's having been led astray by Joe Lanning and
being no more than a tool in his hands, and Abraham promised so
faithfully that he would never deviate from the path of virtue again,
now that his evil genius was removed, if they would only let him come
back and graduate, that he was given the chance. Nothing new came up
about the cutting of the wires except that the end of a knife blade was
found on the floor under the place where the hole had been made in the
wall. There were no marks of identification on it and nothing was done
One day, Dick Albright, in the Physics room on the third floor of the
building, stood by the window and looked across at a friend of his who
was standing at the window of the Chemistry room. The two rooms faced
each other across an open space in the back of the building, which was
designed to let more light into certain rooms. This space was only open
at the third and fourth floors. The second floor was roofed over with a
skylight at this point. It was after school hours and Dick was alone in
the room. So, apparently, was his friend. Dick raised the window and
called across the space to the other boy, who raised his window and
answered him. From talking back and forth they passed to throwing a ball
of twine to each other. Once Dick failed to catch it, and falling short
of the window, it rolled down upon the roof of the second story.
Dick promptly climbed out of the window, and sliding down the
waterspout, reached the roof and went in pursuit of the ball. One of the
windows opening from the third story onto this open space was that in
the electric room, and it was under this window that the ball came to a
standstill. As Dick stooped to pick it up he found a knife lying beside
it. He brought it along with him and climbed back into his room. Then he
pulled it out and looked at it. It was an ordinary pocket knife with a
horn handle. On one side of the handle there was a plate bearing the
name F. Boyd. "Frank Boyd's knife," said Dick to himself. "He must have
dropped it out of the window." Idly he opened the blade. It was broken
off about half an inch from the point. Dick began to turn things over in
his mind. A piece of a knife blade had been found in the electric room.
A knife with a broken blade had been found on the roof under the window
of the electric room. That knife belonged to Frank Boyd. The inference
was very simple. Frank had climbed in the window of the electric room
from the roof of the second story and cut the wires, and then climbed
out again, and so was not seen coming out of the room into the hall. In
climbing out he had dropped the knife without noticing it. He had
already left a piece of the blade inside. Frank Boyd was one of the
lawless spirits who had caused much of the trouble all through the year.
He had also been blackballed at the last election of the Thessalonian
Society. It was very easy to believe that he would try to do something
to spite the Thessalonians.
Dick hastened down to Mr. Jackson's office with the knife and asked him
to fit the broken piece to the shortened blade. It fitted perfectly.
Beyond a doubt it was Frank Boyd and not Hinpoha who had cut the wires
in the electric room. The next morning Frank was confronted with the
evidence of the knife and confessed his guilt. He had been in league
with Joe Lanning, and cutting the wires had been his part of the job. He
had done it in the early part of the evening while the actors were
making up for their parts, getting in and out of the window, just as
Dick had figured out. No one had detected him in the act and the lucky
incident of Hinpoha's having been seen coming out of the electric room
turned all suspicion away from him. Justice in his case was tardy but
certain, and Frank Boyd was expelled, and Hinpoha was reinstated. Mr.
Jackson, in his elation over having caught the real culprit and
effectually breaking up the "Rowdy Ring," was gracious enough to make a
public apology to Hinpoha. So the blot was wiped off her scutcheon, and
Emily's secret was still intact, for no one ever asked again what
Hinpoha had been doing in the electric room on the afternoon of the
ANOTHER COASTING PARTY.
"This is the terrible Hunger Moon, the lean gray wolf can hardly bay,"
quoted Hinpoha, as she threw out a handful of crumbs for the birds. The
ground was covered with ice and snow, and the wintry winds whistled
through the bare trees in the yard, ruffling up the feathers of the poor
little sparrows huddling on the branches.
Gladys stood beside Hinpoha, watching the hungry little winter citizens
flying hastily down to their feast. "What is Mr. Bob barking at?" she
asked, pausing to listen.
"I'll go and find out," said Hinpoha. From the porch she could see Mr.
Bob standing under an evergreen tree in the back yard, barking up at it
with all his might. Hinpoha came out to see what was the matter. "Hush,
Mr. Bob," she commanded, throwing a snowball at him. She picked her way
through the deep snow to the tree. "Oh, Gladys, come here," she called.
Gladys came out and joined her.
"What is it?" she asked. Huddled up in the low branches of the tree was
a great ghostly looking bird, white as the snow under their feet. Its
eyes were closed and it was apparently asleep. Hinpoha stretched out her
hand and touched its feathers. It woke up with a start and looked at her
with great round eyes full of alarm.
"It's an owl!" said Hinpoha in amazement, "a snowy owl! It must have
flown across the lake from Canada. They do sometimes when the food is
scarce and the cold too intense up there." The owl blinked and closed
his eyes again. The glare of the sun on the snow blinded him. He acted
stupid and half frozen, and sat crouched close against the trunk of the
tree, making no effort to fly away.
"How tame he is!" said Gladys. "He doesn't seem to mind us in the
least." Hinpoha tried to stroke him but he jerked away and tumbled to
the ground. One wing was apparently broken. Mr. Bob made a leap for the
bird as he fell, but Hinpoha seized him by the collar and dragged him
into the house. When she returned the owl was making desperate efforts
to get up into the tree again by jumping, but without success. Hinpoha
caught him easily in spite of his struggles and bore him into the house.
There was an empty cage down in the cellar which had once housed a
parrot, and into this the solemn-eyed creature was put.
"That wing will heal again, and then we can let him go," said Hinpoha.
"Hadn't it better be tied down?" suggested Gladys. "He flutters it so
much." With infinite pains Hinpoha tied the broken wing down to the
bird's side, using strips of gauze bandage for the purpose. The owl made
no sound. They fixed a perch in the cage and he stepped decorously up on
it and regarded them with an intense, mournful gaze. "Isn't he spooky
looking?" said Gladys, shivering and turning away. "He gives me the
"What will we feed him?" asked Hinpoha.
"Do owls eat crumbs?" asked Gladys.
Hinpoha shook her head. "That isn't enough. I've always read that they
catch mice and things like that to eat." She brightened up. "There are
several mice in the trap now. I saw them when I brought up the cage."
She sped down cellar and returned with three mice in a trap.
"Ugh," said Gladys in disgust, as Hinpoha pulled them out by the tails.
She put them in the cage with the owl and he pecked at them hungrily.
"What will your aunt say when she sees him?" asked Gladys.
"I don't know," said Hinpoha doubtfully. Aunt Phoebe was away for the
afternoon and so had not been in a position to interfere thus far.
"Maybe I had better take the cage home with me," suggested Gladys.
"No," said Hinpoha firmly, "I want him myself. I'll tell you what I'll
do. I'll put the cage up in the attic and she'll never know I have him.
I can slip up and feed him. It would be better for him up there, anyway.
It's too warm for him downstairs. He's used to a cold climate." So
"Snowy," as they had christened him, was established by a window under
the eaves on the third floor, where he could look out at the trees for
which he would be pining. Aunt Phoebe always took a nap after lunch, and
this gave Hinpoha a chance to run up and look at her patient. She fed
him on chicken feed and mice when there were any. Never did he show the
slightest sign of friendliness or recognition when she hovered over him;
but continued to stare sorrowfully at her with an unblinking eye. If he
liked his new lodging under the cozy eaves he made no mention of it, and
if he pined for his winter palace in the Canadian forest he was equally
uncommunicative. Hinpoha longed to poke him in order to make him give
some expression of feeling. But at all events, he did not struggle
against his captivity, and Hinpoha reflected judicially that after all
it was a good thing that he had such a stolid personality, for a calm
frame of mind aids the recovery of the patient and he would not be
likely to keep his wing from healing by dashing it against the side of
the cage. It seemed almost as though he knew his presence in the house
was a secret, and was in league with Hinpoha not to betray himself. So
Aunt Phoebe lived downstairs in blissful ignorance of the feathered
boarder in the attic.
She was suffering from a cold that week and was more than usually
exacting. She finally took to her bed in an air-tight room with a
mustard plaster and an electric heating pad, expressing her intention of
staying there until her cold was cured. "But you ought to have some
fresh air," protested Hinpoha, "you'll smother in there with all that
"You leave that window shut," said Aunt Phoebe crossly. "All this
foolishness about open windows makes me tired. It's a pity if a young
girl has to tell her elders what's best for them. Now bring the History
of the Presbyterian Church, and read that seventh chapter over again; my
mind was preoccupied last night and I did not hear it distinctly." This
was Aunt Phoebe's excuse for having fallen asleep during the reading. So
poor Hinpoha had to sit in that stifling room and read until she thought
she would faint. Aunt Phoebe fell asleep presently, however, to her
great relief, and she stole out softly, leaving the door open behind her
so that some air could get in from the hall.
Aunt Phoebe woke up in the middle of the night feeling decidedly
uncomfortable. She was nearly baked with the heat that was being applied
on all sides. She turned off the heating pad and threw back one of the
covers, and as she grew more comfortable sleep began to hover near. She
was just sinking off into a doze when she suddenly started up in terror.
There was a presence in the room--something white was moving silently
toward the bed. Aunt Phoebe was terribly superstitious and believed in
ghosts as firmly as she believed in the gospel. She always expected to
see a sheeted figure standing in the hall some night, its hand
outstretched in solemn warning. But this ghost was more terrifying than
any she had ever imagined. It was not in the form of a being at
all--just a formless Thing that moved with strange jerks and starts,
sometimes rising at least a foot in the air. The hair stood up straight
on Aunt Phoebe's head, and her lips became so dry they cracked. Then her
heart almost stopped beating altogether. The ghost rose in the air and
stood on her bed, where it continued its uncanny movements. Aunt Phoebe
folded her hands and began to pray. The ghost sailed upward once more
and stood on the foot board of her bed. Aunt Phoebe prayed harder.
"Hoot!" said the ghost. Aunt Phoebe moaned. "Hoot!" said the ghost. Aunt
Phoebe tried to scream, but her throat was paralyzed. "Hoot!" said the
ghost. Aunt Phoebe found her voice. "WOW-OW-OW-OW!" she screeched in
tones that could have been heard a block.
Hinpoha jumped clear out of bed in one leap and reached Aunt Phoebe's
room in one more. Visions of burglars and fire were in her mind. Hastily
she turned on the light. Aunt Phoebe was sitting up in bed still
screaming at the top of her lungs, and on the footboard of the bed sat
Snowy, blinking in the sudden light. Hinpoha stood frozen to the spot.
How had the bird gotten out? "Snowy!" she stammered. The owl looked at
her with his old solemn stare, and then slowly he winked one eye. "Stop
screaming, Aunt Phoebe," said Hinpoha; "it's nothing but an owl."
"_An owl_!" exclaimed Aunt Phoebe faintly. "How could an owl get in here
with all the doors and windows shut?"
"But I left your door open when I went out," said Hinpoha, "and Snowy
must have gotten out of his cage and come down the attic stairs."
"Must have gotten out of his cage!" echoed Aunt Phoebe. "Do you mean to
tell me that you have an owl in a cage somewhere in this house?" There
was no use denying the fact any more, as Snowy had given himself away so
completely, and Hinpoha told about finding the snowy owl in the yard and
putting it up in the cage. "What next!" gasped Aunt Phoebe. "I suppose I
shall wake up some morning and find a boa constrictor in my bed."
"I'm sorry he frightened you so," said Hinpoha contritely, "but I'll see
that he doesn't get out again. I may keep him until his wing heals,
mayn't I?" she asked pleadingly.
"I suppose there's no getting around you," sighed Aunt Phoebe, sinking
back on her pillow. "If it wasn't a bird you'd be having something else.
Only keep him out of my sight!" Hinpoha caught the owl and carried him
out with many flutters and pecks. The cage door stood open and the wires
were bent out, showing where his powerful bill had pecked until he
gained his freedom. Hinpoha fastened him in again and he stepped
decorously up on his perch and sat there in such a dignified attitude
that it was hard to believe him capable of breaking jail and entering a
Aunt Phoebe spent the next day in bed, recovering from her fright. This
was the night of the Camp Fire meeting which Hinpoha had been given
permission to attend. She had been in such a fever of anticipation all
week that Aunt Phoebe was surprised when she came into her room after
supper and sat down with the History of the Presbyterian Church. "Well,
aren't you going to that precious meeting of yours?" she asked sharply.
"I think," said Hinpoha slowly, "that I had better stay at home with
"I won't die without you," said Aunt Phoebe drily. "I can ring for Mary
if I want anything."
A mighty struggle was going on inside of Hinpoha. First she saw in her
mind's eye her beloved Winnebagos, having a meeting at Nyoda's house,
the place where she best loved to go to meetings, waiting to welcome her
back into their midst with open arms; and then she saw this cross old
woman, her aunt, sick and lonesome, left alone in the house with a maid
who despised her. With the cup of enjoyment raised to her lips she set
it down again. "I think I would _rather_ stay with you, Aunt Phoebe,"
she said simply. And in the Desert of Waiting there blossomed a fragrant
The deferred celebration for Hinpoha's return into the Winnebago fold
was held the following week. With the joy of the returned pilgrim she
took her place in the Council Circle, and once more joined in singing,
"Burn, Fire, Burn," and "Mystic Fire," and this time when Nyoda called
the roll and pronounced the name "Hinpoha," she was answered by a joyous
"Kolah" instead of the sorrowful silence which had followed that name
for so many weeks.
February froze, thawed, snowed and sleeted itself off the calendar, and
March set in like a roaring lion, with a worse snowstorm than even the
Snow Moon had produced. Venturesome treebuds, who loved the warm sun
like Aunt Phoebe loved her heating pad, and who had crept out of their
dark blankets one balmy day in February to be nearer the genial heat
giver, shivered until their sap froze in their veins, and a drab-colored
phoebe bird, who had nested under the eaves of the Bradford porch the
year before, coming back to his summer residence according to the date
marked on his calendar, huddled disconsolately beside the old nest,
feeling sure that he would contract bronchitis before the wife of his
bosom arrived to join him.
Hinpoha listened to his disgruntled "pewit phoebe, pewit phoebe," and
made haste to throw him some crumbs. It seemed like a delicious joke to
her that he should be calling so plaintively for his phoebe, not knowing
that there was a Phoebe on the premises all the while. And one day the
little mate came and both birds forgot the snow and cold in the joy of
their reunion. Phoebes consider it extremely indecorous to travel in
mixed company, (just like Aunt Phoebe, thought Hinpoha humorously,) so
the females linger behind for several days after the males start north
and join them in the seclusion of their own homes. Hinpoha's heart sang
in sympathy with the joy of the reunited lovers.
Sahwah had come over to get her lessons with Hinpoha, and as she turned
the leaves of her "Cicero" a little red heart dropped out on the floor.
Hinpoha stooped to pick it up. "What's this?" she asked with interest.
"Ned Roberts--you remember Ned Roberts up at camp--sent it to me for a
valentine." Hinpoha went back in her thoughts to the dance at the
Mountain Lake Camp the summer before, where she had had such a royal
good time. How far removed that time seemed now!
"I wonder if Sherry ever writes to Nyoda," she said musingly.
"I don't believe he does," said Sahwah, "for Nyoda has never said
anything." If they could have seen Nyoda at that very moment, reading a
certain letter and thrusting it into her bureau drawer with a pile of
others bearing the same post-mark, they would really have had something
to gossip about.
"Did you ever see such a snowfall in March?" said Hinpoha, looking out
the window at the white landscape.
"It must be perfectly grand coasting," said Sahwah, ever with an eye for
sport. "Dick Albright promised he would take us out on his new bob the
next time there was snow, and this is the next time, and will probably
be the last time. Do you suppose you could come along?"
"I doubt it," said Hinpoha. "Aunt Phoebe thinks coasting is too rough.
Did I ever tell you the time mother and I coasted down the walk and ran
into Aunt Phoebe?" Sahwah laughed heartily over the story.
"Poor Aunt Phoebe!" she said, wiping the tears of laughter from her
eyes. "She is bound to get all the shocks that flesh is heir to."
As she was walking home through the snow that afternoon some one came up
behind her and took her books from her hand. It was Dick Albright. "Good
afternoon, Miss Brewster," he said formally.
"Good afternoon, _Mr_. Albright," said Sahwah in the same tone, her eyes
dancing in her head. Then she burst out, "Oh, Dick, won't you take us
coasting to-morrow night? This is positively the last snow of the
"Sure," said Dick. "Take you to-night if you want to."
Sahwah shook her head. "'Strictly nothing doing,' to quote your own
elegant phrase," she said. "I've a German test on to-morrow morning, and
consequently have an engagement with my friend Wilhelm Tell to-night.
I've simply got to get above eighty-five in this test or go below
passing for the month. I got through last month without ever looking at
it, but it won't work again this month."
"How did you do it?" asked Dick.
"Why," answered Sahwah, "when it came to the test and we were asked to
tell the story of the book I simply wrote down, 'I can't tell you that
one, but I can tell another just as good,' and I did. Old Prof.
Fruehlingslied was so floored by my 'blooming cheek' that he passed me,
but he has had a watchful eye on me ever since." Dick laughed outright.
"I never saw anything like you," he said, swinging her books around in
his hand. The red heart fell out into the snow. Dick picked it up.
"Who's your friend?" he said, deliberately reading the name, and
immediately filled with jealous pangs. Dick liked Sahwah better than any
girl in school. Her irrepressible, fun--loving nature held him
fascinated. Sahwah liked Dick, too, but no better than she liked most of
the boys in the class. Sahwah was a poor hand to regard a boy as a
"beau." Boys were good things to skate with, or play ball or go rowing
with; they came in handy when there were heavy things to lift, and all
that; but in none of these things did one seem to have any advantage
over the others, so it was immaterial to her which one she had a good
time with. The good time was the main thing to her. Sahwah had a
fifteen--year--old brother, and she knew what a boy was under his white
collar and "boiled" shirt. There was no silly sentimentality in her
spicy make-up. She was a royal good companion when there was any fun
going on, but it was about as easy to "get soft" with her as with a
stone fence post. She was a master hand at ridicule and the boys knew
this and respected her accordingly. In spite of all this Dick's
admiration of her remained steadfast, and he would have attempted to
jump over the moon if she had dared him to do it. Hence the valentine
signed "Ned Roberts" piqued him. Sahwah had ordered him not to send her
one and he had meekly obeyed. It hurt him to think any one else had the
right to do it.
"Who's your friend?" he repeated as he handed her the heart.
"Oh, somebody," said Sahwah, enjoying the opportunity of teasing him.
And that was all he could get out of her, in spite of numerous
"You'll surely go coasting to-morrow night?" he said as he left her in
front of her house.
"I surely will,"' said Sahwah, flashing him a brilliant smile, "I
wouldn't miss it for the world!" If ever a girl had the power to allure
and torment a boy that girl was Sahwah.
* * * * *
The house belonging to the Gardiners was now rented, together with the
furnished room, and brought in thirty dollars a month, which made
housekeeping much smoother sailing for Migwan, but the fact still
remained that the money which was to have put her into college the next
year was spent, and there was no present prospect of replacing it. Her
mother was now home from the hospital and fully on the road to recovery,
and Migwan tried to make her happiness over this fact overbalance her
disappointment at her own loss. None of her stories or picture plays had
been accepted, and of late she had had to give up writing, for with her
mother sick most of the housework fell on her shoulders. Although she
maintained a bright and cheery exterior, she went about mourning in
secret for her lost career, as she called it, and the heart went out of
She was walking soberly through the hall at school one morning when she
heard somebody call out, "Oh, Miss Gardiner, come here a minute." It was
Professor Green, standing in the door of his class room. "There is
something I want to tell you about," he said, smiling down at her when
she came up to him. "You like to study History pretty well, don't you?"
Migwan nodded. Next to Latin, history was her favorite study. "Well,"
resumed Professor Green, "here is a chance for you to do something with
it. You remember that Professor Parsons who lectured to the school on
various historical subjects last winter? You know he is a perfect crank
on having boys and girls learn history. He has now offered a prize of
$100 to the boy or girl in the graduating class of this High School who
can pass the best examination in Ancient, Medieval and Modern History.
You have had all three of those subjects, have you not?"
"Yes," said Migwan, eagerly.
"The examination is to take place the last week in April," continued
Professor Green. "'A word to the wise is sufficient.' You are one of the
best students of history in the class."
Migwan went away after thanking him for telling her about it, feeling as
if she were treading on air. There was no doubt in her mind about her
ability to learn history, as there was about geometry. She had an
amazing memory for dates and events and in her imaginative mind the
happenings of centuries ago took form and color and stood out as vividly
as if she saw them passing by in review. Her heart beat violently when
she thought that she had as good a chance, if not better than any one
else in the class, of winning that $100 prize. This would pay her
tuition in the local university for the first year. She resolved to
throw her fruitless writing to the winds and put all her strength into
her history. The world stretched out before her a blooming, sunny
meadow, instead of a stagnant fen, and exultantly she sang to herself
one of the pageant songs of the Camp Fire Girls:
"Darkness behind us,
Peace around us,
Joy before us,
White Flame forever!"
That morning the announcement of the prize examination was made to the
whole class, and Abraham Goldstein also resolved that he would win that
The snow lasted over another day and the next night Sahwah and Dick
Albright and a half dozen other girls and boys went coasting. It was
bright moonlight and the air was clear and crisp, just cold enough to
keep the snow hard and not cold enough to chill them as they sat on the
bob. The place where they went coasting was down the long lake drive in
the park, an unbroken stretch of over half a mile. Halfway down the
slope the land rose up in a "thank--you--marm," and when the bob struck
this it shot into the air and came down again in the path with a
thrilling leap which never failed to make the girls shriek. Migwan was
there in the crowd, and Gladys, and one or two more of the Winnebagos.
Dick Albright was in his element as he steered the bob down the long
white lane, for Sahwah sat right behind him, shouting merry nonsense
into his ear. "Now let me steer," she commanded, when they had gone down
a couple of times.
"Don't you do it, Dick," said one of the other boys, "she'll never steer
us around the bend." Dick hesitated. There was a sharp turn in the road,
right near the bottom of the descent, and as the bob had acquired a high
degree of speed by the time it reached this point, it required quick
work to make the turn.
"If you don't let me steer just once I'll never speak to you again, Dick
Albright," said Sahwah, with flashing eyes. Dick wavered. The chances
were that Sahwah would land them safely at the bottom, and he thought it
worth the risk of a possible spill to stay in her good graces.
"All right, go ahead," he said, "I believe you can do it all right. Be
careful when you come to the turn, that's all." Sahwah slid in behind
the steering wheel and they started off. The sled traveled faster than
it did before, but Sahwah negotiated both the thank--you--marm and the
turn with as much skill as Dick himself could have done it, and danced a
triumphant war dance when she had brought the bob safely to a stop.
"There now, smarty," she said to the boy who had mistrusted her powers,
"you see that a girl can do it as well as a boy."
"_You_ certainly can," said Dick, no less pleased than she herself at
her success, "and you may steer the bob the rest of the evening if you
Sahwah engineered two or three more trips and then the excitement lost
its tang for her as the element of danger was removed, for the turn had
no difficulties for her. "Let's coast down the side of the hill once,"
"No, thanks," said Migwan, eyeing the steep slope that rose beside the
"Oh, come on," pleaded Sahwah; "it's more fun to go down a steep hill.
You go so much faster. It lands you in a snowbank at the bottom, but
it's perfectly safe." None of the boys and girls appeared anxious to go.
Sahwah jumped up and down with impatience. "Oh, you slowpokes!" she
exclaimed, rather crossly. Then she turned to Dick Albright. "Dick," she
said, "will you come with me even if the others won't?"
Dick shook his head. "It's dangerous," he answered.
"You're afraid," said Sahwah tauntingly.
"I'm not," said Dick hotly.
"You are too," said Sahwah. "All right if you're afraid, but I know some
one who wouldn't be." Now Sahwah had no one definite in mind when she
said this last, it was simply an effort to make Dick feel small, but
Dick immediately took it as a reference to the unknown Ned Roberts who
had sent her the valentine, and his jealousy got the better of his
"All right," he said, firmly determined to measure up to this pattern of
dauntlessness, "come on if you want to. I'll go with you." The two
climbed up the steep hill, dragging the bob after them. When Sahwah was
sitting behind the steering wheel, poised at the top and ready to make
the swift descent, she shuddered at the sight of the sharp incline. It
looked so much worse from the top than from the bottom. She would have
drawn back and given it up, but Sahwah had a stubborn pride that shrank
from saying she was afraid to do anything she had undertaken.
"Shove off!" she commanded, gritting her chattering teeth together. The
bob shot downward like a cannon ball. In spite of her terror Sahwah
enjoyed the sensation. She held firmly on to the steering wheel and made
for the great bank of snow which had been thrown up by the men cleaning
the foot walks. At that moment an automobile turned into the lake drive,
and its blinding lights shone full into Sahwah's eyes. Dazzled, she
turned her head away, at the same time jerking the steering wheel to the
right. The bob swerved sharply to one side and crashed into a tree. The
force of the impact threw Dick clear of the sled and he rolled head over
heels down the hill, landing in the snow at the bottom badly shaken, but
otherwise unhurt. Sahwah lay motionless in the snow beside the wreck of
The girls and boys crowded around her with frightened faces. "Is she
killed?" they asked each other in terrified tones.
"It's all my fault," said Dick Albright, nearly beside himself; "I
should have known better than to let her go. She didn't think of the
danger, but I did, and I should have prevented her. Was there ever such
a fool as I?"
Gladys and Migwan were kneeling beside Sahwah and opening her coat. "She
is not dead," said Gladys, feeling her pulse. "We must get her home. She
is possibly only stunned." Sahwah moved slightly and groaned, but she
did not open her eyes. A passing automobile was hailed and she was
carried to it as carefully as possible and taken home.
"A slight concussion of the brain," said the hastily summoned doctor,
after he had made his examination, "and a fractured hip. The hip can be
fixed all right, but the concussion may be worse than it looks. That is
an ugly contusion on her head." The next few days were anxious ones in
the Brewster home. Sahwah gave no sign of returning consciousness, and
her fever rose steadily. Mrs. Brewster felt her hair turning gray with
the suspense, and the Winnebagos could neither eat nor sleep. Poor Dick
was frantic, yet he dared not show himself at the house for fear every
one would point an accusing finger at him as the one responsible for the
But Sahwah, true to her usual habit of always doing the unexpected
thing, progressed along just the opposite lines from those prophesied by
the physician. After a few days her fever abated and the danger from the
concussion was over. Sahwah's head had demonstrated itself to be of a
superior solidness of construction. But the hip, which at first had not
given them a moment's uneasiness, steadfastly refused to mend. Dr.
Benson looked puzzled; then grave. The splintered end of that hip bone
began to be a nightmare to him. He called in another doctor for
consultation. The new doctor set it in a different way, nearly killing
Sahwah with the pain, although she struggled valiantly to be brave and
bear it in silence. Nyoda never forgot that tortured smile with which
Sahwah greeted her when she came in after the process was over. A week
or two passed and the bones still made no effort to knit. Another
consulting physician was called in; a prominent surgeon. He ordered
Sahwah removed to the hospital, where he made half a dozen X-ray
pictures of her hip. The joint was so badly inflamed and swollen that it
was impossible to tell just where the trouble lay. Sahwah fumed and
fretted with impatience at having to stay in bed so long. Surgeon after
surgeon examined the fracture and shook their heads.
At last a long consultation was held, at the close of which Mr. and Mrs.
Brewster were called into the council of physicians. "We have
discovered," said Dr. Lord, a man high up in the profession who was
considered the final authority, "that the ball joint of your daughter's
hip has been fractured in such a way that it can never heal. There is
one inevitable result of this condition, and that is tuberculosis of the
bone. If not arrested this will in time communicate itself to the bones
of the upper part of the body and terminate fatally. There is only one
way to prevent this outcome and that is amputation of the limb before
the disease gets a hold on the system."
"You mean, cut her leg off?" asked Mrs. Brewster faintly.
"Yes," said Dr. Lord shortly. He was a man of few words.
Sahwah was stunned when she heard the verdict of the surgeons. She knew
little about disease and it seemed wildly impossible to her that this
limb of hers which had been so strong and supple a month ago would
become an agent of death if not amputated. She was in an agony of mind.
Never to swim again! Never to run and jump and slide and skate and
dance! Always to go about on crutches! Before the prospect of being
crippled for life her active nature shrank in unutterable horror. Death
seemed preferable to her. She buried her face in the pillow in such
anguish that the watchers by the bedside could not stand by and see it.
After a day of acute mental suffering her old-time courage began to rear
its head and she made up her mind that if this terrible thing had to be
done she might as well go through with it as bravely as possible. She
resigned herself to her fate and urged her parents to give their consent
to the operation. Poor Mrs. Brewster was nearly out of her mind with
worry over the affair.
"When will you do it?" asked Sahwah, struggling to keep her voice
"In about a week," said Dr. Lord, "when you get a little stronger."
Nyoda went home heartsick from the hospital that day. Sahwah had asked
her to write to Dr. Hoffman, her old friend in camp, and tell him the
news. With a shaking hand she wrote the letter. "Poor old Dr. Hoffman,"
she said to herself, "how badly he will feel when he hears that Sahwah
is hurt and he can do nothing to help her."
Sahwah had never dreamed how many friends she had until this misfortune
overcame her. Boys and girls, as well as old people and little children,
horrified at the calamity, came by the dozen to offer cheer and comfort.
Her room was filled to overflowing with flowers. Even "old Fuzzytop,"
whom Sahwah had tormented nearly to death, came to offer his sympathy
and present a potted tulip. Stiff and precise Miss Muggins came to say
how she missed her from the Latin class. Aunt Phoebe forgave all the
jokes she had made at her expense and sent over a crocheted dressing
jacket made of fleecy wool.
"Don't feel so badly, Nyoda dear," she said one day as Nyoda sat beside
her in the depths of despair. The usual jolly teacher had now no cheery
word to offer. The prospect of the gay dancing Sahwah on crutches for
the remainder of her life was an appalling tragedy. "I can act out 'The
Little Tin Soldier' quite realistically--then," went on Sahwah, her mind
already at work to find the humor of the situation. But Nyoda sat
staring miserably at the flowers on the dresser.
"Telegram for Miss Brewster," said the nurse, appearing in the doorway.
"A telegram for me?" asked Sahwah curiously, stretching out her hand for
the envelope. She tore it open eagerly and read, "Don't operate until I
come. Dr. Hoffman." "He's coming!" cried Sahwah. "Dr. Hoffman is coming!
He said if I ever broke a bone again he would come and set it! Poor
Doctor, how disappointed he'll be when he finds he can't 'set it'!"
Dr. Hoffman arrived the next day.
"Vell, vell, Missis Sahvah," he said anxiously as he saw her lying so
ominously still on the bed, "you haf not been trying to push somevon
across de top of Lake Erie, haf you?" Sahwah smiled faintly. A ray of
sunlight seemed to have entered the room with the doctor, also a gust of
wind. He had thrown his hat right into a bouquet of flowers and his hair
stood on end and his tie was askew with the haste he had made in getting
to the hospital from the train. "Now about this hip, yes?" he said in a
businesslike tone. Without any ceremony he brushed the nurse aside and
unwrapped the bandages. "Ach so," he said, feeling of the joint with a
practised hand, "you did a good job, Missis Sahvah. You make out of your
bone a splinter. But vot is dis I hear about operating?" he suddenly
exclaimed. "De very idea! Don't you let dem amputate your leg off! Such
fool doctors! It's a vonder dey did not cut your head off to cure de
bump!" His voice rose to a regular roar. Dr. Lord, coming in at that
moment, stopped in astonishment at the sight of this strange doctor
standing over his patient. "For vy did you want to amputate her leg
off?" shouted Dr. Hoffman at him, dancing up and down in front of him
and shaking his finger under his nose. "It is no more diseased dan yours
is. And you call yourself a surgeon doctor! Bah! You go out and play in
de sunshine and let me take care of dis hip."
"Who the dickens are you?" asked Dr. Lord, looking at him as though he
thought he were an escaped lunatic.
"Dis is who I am," replied Dr. Hoffman, handing him a card. "I vas in
eighteen-ninety-five by de _Staatsklinick_ in Berlin." Dr. Lord fell
"I know someting about dot Missis Sahvah's bones," went on Dr. Hoffman,
"and I know dey vill knit if you gif dem a chance. If all goes vell she
vill valk again in t'ree months."
"I'd like to see you do it," said Dr. Lord.
"Patience, my friend," said Dr. Hoffman, "first ve make a little plaster
cast." When Mrs. Brewster came in the afternoon she found a strange
doctor in command and Dr. Lord and the nurses obeying his orders as if
hypnotized. When she went home that night, hope had come to life again
in her heart, where it had been dead for more than a week. Dr. Hoffman
spent the afternoon having X-ray photographs of the joint made, and sat
up all night trying to figure out how those bones could be set so they
would knit and still not leave the joint stiff. By morning he had the
The next day--the day the limb was to have been amputated--an operation
of a very different nature took place. Dr. Hoffman, looking more like a
pastry cook in his operating clothes than anything else, bustled around
the operating room keeping the nurses and assisting physicians on the
"Who's the Dutchman that's doing the bossing?" asked a pert young
interne of one of the doctors.
"Shut up," answered the doctor addressed, "that's Hoffman, of the
_Staatsklinick_ in Berlin, and the Royal College of Vienna. He was
Professor of Anatomy in the _Staatsklinick_ '95-'96, don't you
remember?" he said, turning to one of the other doctors. "He's a wizard
at bonesetting. He performed that operation on Count Esterhazy's
youngest son that kept him from being a cripple." The younger doctor
looked at Dr. Hoffman with a sudden respect. The case in question was a
famous one in surgical annals.
Dr. Lord, angry as he was at Dr. Hoffman's arraignment of him before the
nurses and visitors, was yet a big enough man to realize that he had a
chance to learn something from this sarcastic intruder who had so
unceremoniously taken his case out of his hands, and swallowing his
wrath, asked permission to witness the operation. "Ach, yes, to be
sure," said Dr. Hoffman, with his old geniality. "You must not mind that
I vas so cross yesterday," he went on, "it vas because I vas so
impatient ven I hear you vanted to amputate dot girl's leg off. But I
forget," he said magnanimously, "you do not know how to set de badly
splintered bones so dey vill knit, as I do. Bring all de doctors in you
vant to, and all de nurses too. Ve vill haf a _Klinick_."
Thus it was that the large operating room of the hospital was crowded to
the very edge of the "sterile field" with eager medical men, glad of the
chance to watch Dr. Hoffman at work. "Who is that young girl in here?"
asked Dr. Lord impatiently, as the anaesthetic was about to be
"Some friend of the patient," explained the head nurse. "Hoffman let her
in himself." The young girl in question was Medmangi. Dr. Hoffman knew
all about her ambition to become a doctor and allowed her to come into
the operating room. So she began her career by witnessing one of the
most inspired operations of a widely famed surgeon.
When Sahwah came out of the ether she felt as if she were held in a
vise. "What's the matter?" she asked dreamily. "I feel so stiff and
"It's the cast they put you in," answered her mother.
Sahwah moved her arms carefully to see if they were in working order
yet. Lightly she touched the hard substance that surrounded her hip
bone. "They didn't cut it off, did they?" she asked in sudden terror.
She could not tell by the feeling whether she had two legs or one.
Dr. Hoffman, coming in in time to hear the question, snorted violently.
"Don't talk such nonsense, Missis Sahvah," he said, waving his hands
emphatically. "Dot limb is still vere it belongs, and vill be as good as
ever ven de cast comes off."
The watchers around the bed that day wore very different expressions
from what they had worn all week. Just since yesterday despair had given
way to hope and hope to assurance. Her mother and father and Nyoda
hovered over the bed with radiant faces, and the Winnebagos, after
seeing Sahwah's favorable condition with their own eyes, retired to
Gladys's barn to celebrate. The rules of the hospital forbade the amount
of noise they felt they must make. Dick Albright smiled his first smile
that day since the night of the accident.
THE HONOR OF THE WINNEBAGOS.
"For High Style use the Preterite,
For Common use the Past,
In compound verbal tenses
Put the Participle last.
The Perfect Tense with 'Avoir'
With the Subject must agree
(Or does this rule apply to the
Auxiliary 'to be'?)."
Migwan, in high spirits, resolved the rules in her French grammar into
poetry as she learned them. Regular lessons were gotten out of the way
as quickly as possible these days to give more time to the study of
history. And to Migwan studying history meant not merely the memorizing
of a number of facts attached to dates which might or might not stay in
her mind at the crucial time; it was the bringing to life of bygone
races and people, and putting herself in their places, and living along
with them the events described on the pages. Taking it in this way,
Migwan had a very clear and vivid picture of the things she was
learning, and her answers to questions showed such a thorough knowledge
of her subject that she was regarded as a "grind" at history, while the
truth was that she did less "grinding" than the rest of the class, who
merely memorized figures and facts without calling in the aid of the
imagination. So Migwan learned her new history and reviewed her old, and
was as happy as the day was long.
As the time approached for the examination she felt more sure of herself
every day. The long hours of patient study were about to be rewarded,
and she would bring honor to the Winnebagos by winning the Parsons
prize. That little point about bringing honor to the Winnebagos was
keenly felt by Migwan. Ever since Sahwah had covered herself with
undying glory in the game with the Carnegie Mechanics, Migwan felt a
longing to distinguish herself in some way also. Sahwah's fame was
widespread, and when any of the Winnebagos happened to mention that they
belonged to that particular group, some one was sure to say, "The
Winnebago Camp Fire? Oh, yes, it was one of your number who won the
basketball championship for the school by making a record jump for the
ball, wasn't it?" The whole group lived in the reflected glory of Sahwah
the Sunfish. Now, thought Migwan resolutely, they would have something
else to be proud about. In the future people would say, "The Winnebagos?
Oh, yes, it was one of your girls who carried off the Parsons prize in
Migwan thrilled with the joy of it, and plunged more deeply into the
pages before her. She was a different girl nowadays from the pale,
anxious-faced one who had sat up night after night during the winter,
desperately trying to add something to the scanty income by the labor of
pen and typewriter. Now she was always happy and sparkling, and
performed her household tasks with such a will that her languid mother,
lying and watching her, was likewise filled with an ambition to be up
and doing. She was never cross with Betty these days, no matter how many
fits of temper that young lady indulged in. Professor Green often
stopped her in the hall to ask her how she was getting along in her
preparation, and offered to lend her reference books which would help
her in her study. Everybody seemed to be anxious for her to win the
prize, and willing to give her all the help possible.
Migwan did not make the mistake of studying until late the night before
the examination. She went to bed at nine o'clock, so as to be in fit
condition. When she closed her books after the final study she knew all
that was to be learned from them. The examination was held in the senior
session room after the close of school. Five pupils participated. One
was Abraham Goldstein, another was George Curtis, who liked Migwan very
well and hated Abraham cordially; the other two were girls. They all sat
in one row of seats; Migwan first, then George, then Abraham, and behind
him the two girls. The lists of questions were given out. "I hardly need
to say," said the teacher in attendance, "that the honor system will be
in force during this examination."
Migwan made an effort to still the wild beating of her heart and read
the questions through. They all appeared easy to her, as she had had
such a thorough preparation. George Curtis groaned to himself as he
looked them over, for there were two which he saw at a glance he would
be unable to answer. Abraham read his and looked thoughtful. Migwan
wrote rapidly with a sure and inspired pen until she came to the last
question. There she halted in dismay. The question was in the Ancient
History group and read, in part, "Who was the invader of Israel before
Sennacherib?" For the life of her she could not think of the name of the
Assyrian invader. Last night the whole thing had been as clear as
crystal in her mind. She thought until the perspiration stood out on her
forehead; she tried every method of suggestion that she knew, but all in
vain; the name still eluded her. While she was trying so desperately to
recall the name, George Curtis in the seat behind was watching her. By
chance he had caught a glimpse of her paper, and saw the figure 10
followed by an empty space, so he knew that it was the tenth question
she was having trouble with. This happened to be one he knew and he had
just written it out in a bold, black hand. He was out of the race for
the prize, for there were two whole questions left out on his sheet. By
certain signs of distress from the two girls behind him he knew that
they, too, were out, and it now lay between Migwan and Abraham. Abraham
was not very well liked by the boys since the affair of the statue.
George despised him utterly, and he could not bear to think of his
winning that prize.
He watched his chance. It came at last. The teacher dropped her pencil
behind her desk, and in the instant when she was picking it up he
reached out and pulled Migwan's hair sharply. When she turned around in
surprise he framed with his lips the name "Sargon." She understood it
perfectly. Then came a mental struggle which matched Sahwah's terrific
physical one that day in camp. On one side college stood with its doors
wide open to welcome her; she heard the plaudits of her friends who
expected and wanted her to win the prize; she saw the joy in her
mother's face when she heard the news; she heard the heartfelt
congratulations of Nyoda and the Winnebagos who would share in her
glory. On the other hand she heard just five ugly words echoing in her
ears. "_You didn't win it honestly!"_ She tried to stifle the voice of
science. "I knew it perfectly all the time," she said to herself, "and
it only slipped my mind for an instant." "But you forgot," said the
voice, "and if he hadn't told you you wouldn't have known."
Miserably she argued the question back and forth. It she didn't win the
prize Abraham would, and he could well afford to go to college without
the money. "He'd cheat if he had the chance," she told herself. "That
doesn't help you any," pricked the accuser. "You talk about the honor of
the Winnebagos. If you use that information you would be dishonoring the
Winnebagos! You're a cheat, you're a cheat," it said tauntingly, and a
little sparrow on the window sill outside took up the mocking refrain,
"Cheat! Cheat!" Stung as though some one had pointed an accusing finger
at her, Migwan flung down her pen in despair and resolutely blotted her
paper. She handed in her examination with the last half of the last
question unanswered, and fled from the room with unseeing eyes. And in
the instant when George was trying to tell Migwan the answer, Abraham,
who had also forgotten the name of Sargon, glanced over toward George's
paper and saw it written out in his easily readable hand. Without a
qualm he wrote it down on his own paper with a triumphant flourish.
There was great surprise throughout the school a few days later when the
grades of the examination were made public: Elsie Gardiner, 95; Abraham
Goldstein, 98, winner of the Parsons cash prize of $100.
Migwan felt like a wanderer on the face of the earth after losing that
history prize. She shrank from meeting the friends who had so
confidently expected her to win it, and her own thoughts were too
painful to be left alone with. If Hinpoha had been wandering in the
Desert of Waiting for the past few months, Migwan was sunk deep in the
Slough of Despond. She was at the age when death seemed preferable to
defeat, and she wished miserably that she would fall ill of some mortal
disease, and never have to face the world again with failure written on
her forehead. "Oh, why," she wailed in anguish of spirit, as has many an
older and wiser person when confronted with this same unanswerable
question, "why was I given this glimpse of Paradise only to have the
gate slammed in my face?" That spectre of the winter before, the belief
that success would never be hers, gripped her again with its icy hand.
And was it any wonder? Twice now the means to enter college had been
within her reach, and twice it had been swept away in a single day. But
while Migwan was thus learning by hard experience that there is many a
slip twixt the cup and the lip, she was also to learn from that same
schoolmistress the truth of the old saying, "Three times and out." In
the meantime, however, the skies were as gray as the wings of the
Thunderbird, and life was like a jangling discord struck on a piano long
out of tune.
But even if we _would_ rather be dead than alive, as long as we _are_
alive there remain certain duties which have to be performed regardless
of the state of our emotional barometers, and Migwan discovered with a
start one day that there were at least a dozen letters in her top bureau
drawer waiting to be answered. "It's a shame," she said to herself, as
she looked them over. "I haven't written to the Bartletts since last
November." The Bartletts were the parents of the little boy who was
traced by the aid of her timely snapshot. She opened Mrs. Bartlett's
letter and glanced over it to put herself in the mood for answering it.
She laughed sardonically as she read. Mrs. Bartlett, confident that
Migwan was going to use the reward money to go to college, discussed the
merits of different courses, and advised Migwan, above all things, with
her talent for writing, to put the emphasis on literature and history.
Migwan took a certain grim delight in telling Mrs. Bartlett what had
happened to her ambition to go to college. She had a Homeric sense of
humor that could see the point when the gods were playing pranks on
helpless mortals. She told the story simply and frankly, without any
"literary style," such as was usually present in her letters to a high
degree; neither did she bewail her lot and seek sympathy, for Migwan was
Then, having told Mrs. Bartlett that she had made up her mind to give up
thoughts of college for several years at least, as her duty to her
mother came before her ambition, and had sealed and sent away the
letter, it suddenly came over her that the writing she had done all
winter and which she now considered a waste of time, had done something
for her after all; it had taught her the use of the typewriter, a
knowledge which she could turn to account during the summertime, and by
working in an office somewhere, she could possibly earn enough money to
enter college in the fall after all. And up went Migwan's spirits again,
like a jack-in-the-box, and went soaring among the clouds like the
AN AUTOMOBILE AND A DRIVER.
Along in the last week of May, Nyoda, on a shopping tour downtown,
dropped into a restaurant for a bit of lunch. As she was sitting down to
the table, another young woman came and sat down opposite her. The two
glanced at each other.
"Why, Elizabeth Kent!" exclaimed the latest arrival.
"Why, Norma Williamson!" exclaimed Nyoda, recognizing an old college
"Not Norma Williamson any more," said the friend, blushing as she drew
off her glove and displayed the rings on her fourth finger; "Norma
"What are you doing to pass the time away?" asked the pretty little
matron when she had exhausted her own experiences of the last few years.
Nyoda told her about her teaching and the guardianship of the
Winnebagos. "Camp Fire Girls?" said Mrs. Bates. "How delightful! I think
that is one of the best things that ever happened to girls. If I were
not so frightfully busy I would take a group too--I may yet. But I wish
you would bring your girls out to visit us. We're living on the Lake
Shore for the summer. Camp Fire Girls would certainly know how to have a
good time at our place. We have a launch and a sailboat and horses to
ride and a tennis court. Can't you come out next Saturday?" Nyoda
thought perhaps they could. "I'll tell you what to do," said Mrs. Bates,
warming to the scheme. "Come out Friday after school and stay until
Sunday night. That will give the girls more chance to do things. We have
plenty of room."
"The same hospitable Norma Williamson as of old," said Nyoda, smiling at
her. "Don't you remember how we girls used to flock to your room in
college, and when it was apparently as fall as it could get you would
always make room for one more?"
"I love to have people visit me," said Mrs. Bates simply.
"By the way," said Nyoda, as she rose to depart, "how do you get to
"Take the Interurban car," replied Mrs. Bates, "and get off at Stop
_42_. The Limited leaves the Interurban Station at four o'clock; that
would be a good car to come on."
"All right," said Nyoda, extending her hand in farewell; "we'll be
The news of the invitation to spend a week-end in the country was
received with a shout by the Winnebagos. Their only regret was that
Sahwah would be unable to go. "Never mind, Sahwah," comforted Nyoda,
"Mrs. Bates wants us to come out again when the water is warm enough to
go in bathing and by that time your hip will be all right."
On Friday, after school was out, Nyoda and Gladys left the building
together. "You are coming home with me, as we planned, until it is time
to take the car?" asked Nyoda.
"I'm afraid I'll have to go home first, after all," said Gladys. "I came
away in such a hurry this morning that I forgot my sweater and my tennis
shoes and I really must have them. You come home with me."
But on arriving at the Evans house they found nobody home. Gladys rang
and waited and rang again, but there was no answer. Gladys frowned with
vexation. "I simply must have that sweater and those shoes," she said.
"There's no use in waiting until some one comes home; it'll be too late.
Mother has gone for the day and father is out of town, and if Katy has
been given a day off she won't be at home until evening. We'll have to
break into the house, that's all there is to it."
Feeling like burglars, they tried all the windows on the first floor and
the basement. Everything was locked tightly. Gladys began to feel
desperate. "Do you suppose I had better break the pantry window," she
asked, "or possibly one of the cellar ones? I'll pay for it out of my
allowance. I think the pantry window would be the best, because the door
at the head of the cellar stairs is likely to be locked and we might not
be able to get upstairs if we did get into the cellar."
Nyoda was inspecting the upper windows of the house. "There is one open
a little," she said; "the one over the side entrance." Gladys abandoned
her idea of breaking the pantry window and bent her energies to reaching
the open one. With the aid of Nyoda she climbed up the post of the
little side porch, swung herself over the edge of the roof and raised
"Stop where you are!" called a commanding voice. Gladys and Nyoda both
started guiltily. A man was running across the lawn from the next
estate. "Stop or I'll call the police," he said, coming upon the drive.
He looked much disconcerted when Nyoda and Gladys both burst into a
ringing peal of laughter. "Oh, it's too funny for anything," said
Gladys, wiping her eyes, "to be caught breaking into your own house.
You're a good man, whoever you are, for keeping an eye on the house,"
she said to the puzzled-looking arrester, "but the joke is on you this
time. This is my father's house. I'm Gladys Evans. Give him one of my
cards out of my purse, Nyoda, so he'll believe it."
"I beg your pardon," said the man, convinced that Gladys had a right to
enter the Evans's house by the second-story window if she chose. "I'm
the new gardener next door and I didn't know you, and it always looks
suspicious to see such goings-on."
"You did perfectly right," said Gladys, as he went back to his work.
Laughing extravagantly over their being taken for housebreakers, Gladys
climbed into the window and went downstairs. Opening the front door a
crack, she gave a low whistle which she fondly believed to be a
burglar-like signal. Nyoda answered with a similar whistle. "Is that
you, Diamond Dick?" she asked in a thrilling whisper.
"Who stands without?" asked Gladys.
"It is I, Dark-lantern Pete," hissed Nyoda.
"Give the countersign," commanded Gladys.
"Six buckets of blood!" replied Nyoda in a curdling voice.
Gladys admitted her into the house and they both sat down on the stairs
and shrieked with laughter. "Oh, I can hardly wait until we get down to
the car, so we can tell the other girls," said Gladys. "Caught in the
act! My fair name is ruined. Now for some dinner."
"I'm hungry for a pickle," she said as they foraged in the pantry for
something to eat. "Wait a minute until I go down cellar and get some."
As she opened the door of the cool cellar she started back in surprise.
On the floor lay Katy, the maid, unconscious. An overturned chair beside
her and a shattered light globe told how she had tried to screw a new
bulb into the fixture in the ceiling and had tipped over with the chair,
striking her head on the cement floor. "Nyoda, come down here," called
Gladys. Nyoda hastened down. Together they laid the unconscious girl on
a pile of carpet and tried to revive her. After a few minutes' work
Nyoda went upstairs and called the ambulance to take Katy to the
hospital. When she had been examined by a surgeon and pronounced badly
stunned but not seriously injured, Gladys and Nyoda breathed a sigh of
relief and left her in the care of the hospital.
"We've had enough excitement to-day to last a month," said Gladys, as
they hastened tack to the house the second time to get the sweater and
shoes. "I'm all tired out."
"So am I," said Nyoda.
"We have just time enough to make that four o'clock car, and none to
spare," said Gladys, as they rode toward town in the street-car. As if
everything were conspiring against them to-day, a heavy truck, loaded
with boxes, got caught in the car-track right in front of them and
blocked traffic for ten minutes. Gladys and Nyoda looked tragically at
each other at this delay. Nyoda held up her watch significantly. It was
ten minutes to four. Just then Gladys spied a man she knew in an
automobile, slowly passing the car. She called to him through the open
window. "Will you take us in if we get off the car?" she asked. "We're
trying to make the four o'clock Limited."
"Certainly," agreed the obliging friend. The transfer of seats was soon
made. "How much time have you?" asked the friend as he shoved in the
"Ten minutes," replied Gladys.
"We'll make it," said the friend, dodging between the vehicles that were
standing around the disabled truck, helping to pull it from the
car-tracks. Getting into a clear road, he opened the throttle and they
proceeded like the wind for about six blocks. Then, for no apparent
reason, the car slowed down, and with a whining whir of machinery came
to a dead stop. "I'm afraid I can't make good my promise to catch that
car," said the friend in a vexed tone, after vainly trying to start the
car for several minutes. "I'll have to be towed to a garage," Nyoda and
Gladys jumped out, hailed a passing street-car and reached the station
just five minutes too late. The Limited had already pulled out.
"Five girls with red ties?" repeated the crossing policeman when they
made inquiries to find out if the other girls had gone and left them.
"They all got on the Limited." There was no doubt about their having
"You know, you said if any were late they'd get left," said Gladys.
"Whoever was here for the car was to go and not wait. Won't they laugh,
though, at you being the late one?"
"There won't be another Limited for two hours," said Nyoda impatiently,
"and the local takes twice as long to get there. I'll telephone Mrs.
Bates that we missed this car but will come out on the next Limited."
"Missed the car?" said Mrs. Bates, when they had her on the wire.
"That's too bad. But you won't have to wait for the other Limited. Our
driver is in town to-day with the automobile and he can bring you out.
He's in Morrison's now ordering some supplies, and the car is at the
corner of ----th Avenue and L---- Street. Just get into the car and
it'll be all right. John always calls me up before he starts for home
and I'll tell him about you. It's a blue car, rather bright, with a cane
Much cheered by the thought of an automobile ride through the country
instead of a two-hour wait and the prospect of being packed like
sardines into the crowded interurban car, Nyoda and Gladys moved down to
the corner of ----th Avenue and L---- Street and found the car just as
Mrs. Bates had said. With a sigh of comfort they settled down on the
cushions. "Our struggles are over," said Nyoda, leaning back luxuriously
and counting over the various things that had happened to them since
leaving school at noon. In a few moments the driver appeared, touched
his hat respectfully to the two girls in the tonneau, and got into the
front seat without any comment. He had his orders from Mrs. Bates.
"It's just like Norma Williamson to have a blue car with blue cushions,"
said Nyoda, as they sped through the streets toward the city limits.
"She was always so fond of blue in college. And this cane streamer is
just the finishing touch. She always liked things trimmed up gaily. It's
a pleasant thing for the Winnebagos that I met her that day. She'll be a
regular fairy godmother to us." Talking happily about the fun they would
have on this week-end party, they rode along the pleasant country roads,
bordered with flowering apple trees, and drank in the sweet-scented air
with unbounded delight. "Could anything be lovelier than the country in
May?" sighed Nyoda.
"Wouldn't it be a joke," said Gladys, "if we were to get there ahead of
the others, after missing the car? Wouldn't they stare, though, to find
us waiting for them? We must be nearly there now." The automobile left
the main road and turned down toward the lake. "That must be the place,"
continued Gladys, as a white house came into view far in the distance.
"I don't see any of the girls waiting for us," said Nyoda. "I declare, I
believe we're here first. Oh, what a joke!" The estate through which
they were driving was a very large one, much of it covered with great
trees. The house was painted white, and perched directly on the edge of
the cliff. The automobile halted before the porch and Nyoda and Gladys
got out. A woman, evidently a servant, came to the screen door and held
it open, motioning them to come in. Neither Mrs. Bates nor any of the
girls were in evidence. The servant said nothing.
"I believe they're all hiding on us!" said Nyoda, getting a sudden light
on this apparently neglectful reception. "I know Norma's tricks of old.
If we could only think of some way to turn the laugh on them!" The
servant who had admitted them led the way to an inner room and opened a
door, stepping aside to let them go first. Then she followed and closed
the door after them. They found that they were in an elevator. The woman
pushed a button and they began to rise. "Of all things, an elevator in a
country house!" said Gladys. They rose to a height which must have
equalled the third story of the house, although they passed no open
floor. They came to a halt before an opening covered with an iron
grating. To the girls it looked like the ordinary elevator entrance. At
a touch from the woman the grating moved aside and they stepped out into
the room. The elevator descended noiselessly and Nyoda and Gladys were
"It's a tower room!" said Gladys. The chamber they were in was square,
about fifteen by fifteen, furnished as a bedroom. Through a door which
opened at one side they could see a luxurious tiled bath. The walls and
ceiling of the chamber were tinted a deep violet, and the covers on the
bed, dresser, table and the upholstery of the chairs were of the same
shade. The lamp globes hanging from the ceiling were deep purple.
"What an extraordinary color to decorate a room in," said Nyoda. "I
wonder if this is where we are going to sleep. Where can Mrs. Bates be,
I wonder?" she said, getting rather impatient for the joke to be sprung.
Just at this time Gladys made a discovery. There was only one window in
the room, curtained with heavy cretonne, purple, to match the rest of
the hangings. Drawing the curtain aside to look out at the landscape,
she suddenly stood still, frozen to the spot. At her exclamation Nyoda
turned around and also stood as if turned to stone. _The window was
barred_! "What does it mean?" asked Gladys in a horrified voice. The two
hastened back to the elevator entrance and looked for the button to
summon the elevator. There was none. They called down the shaft
repeatedly, but there was no answer. As they stood listening for sounds
from below they heard the automobile which had brought them start up and
drive away from the house. After that there was not another sound of any
kind. An unnamable terror seized them both. Each read the other's fear
in her eyes. Rushing to the window, they looked out. There was nothing
to be seen but the lake stretching out before them, calm and smiling in
the May sunshine. The boom of the waves sounded directly beneath them,
and they knew that the tower was on the extreme edge of the bluff.
"This is not Norma Bates's house," said Nyoda in a frightened voice.
"She said that they were a hundred feet back from the lake."
"Whose house is it, then?" asked Gladys.
"I can't imagine," said Nyoda. "It's all a mistake somewhere."
"But that was the Bates's automobile, all right, that we got into," said
"Yes," said Nyoda reflectively; "bright blue with a cane streamer,
standing at the corner of ----th Avenue and L---- Street. _But was it
the right one?"_ she asked suddenly, putting her hands to her head.
"That driver never said a word, just got in and drove off. What on earth
are we into?"
Gladys's face suddenly went as white as chalk. "Nyoda!" she gasped,
clutching the other girl's arm.
"What is it?" asked Nyoda.
"You read every day in the papers of girls disappearing," said Gladys
faintly, "never to be heard of again. Have we--have we--disappeared?"
"I don't know," said Nyoda, with thoughts whirling. She turned away from
the window, toward the elevator. Not a sound of any kind had been heard,
and yet when she turned around there was the elevator up again with the
same woman in it who had brought them up. Instead of opening the door,
however, she pressed something and a little slide opened at about the
height of her head. Through this she passed a supper tray, which she set
on a shelf on the wall at the side of the elevator. Gladys and Nyoda
hastened toward her.
"What is the meaning of this?" asked Nyoda. The woman made no answer.
"In whose house are we?" demanded Nyoda. Still no reply. "Answer me,"
said Nyoda sharply. The woman pointed to her ears and shook her head,
then pointed to her lips and shook her head. "She's deaf and dumb!"
exclaimed Nyoda. The woman pressed a button and the elevator sank from
Nyoda and Gladys faced each other in consternation. The mystery was
becoming deeper. Beyond a doubt they were not in Mrs. Bates's house;
beyond a doubt they were the victims of some mistake; but how was the
mistake to be cleared up if they could not make themselves understood?
They looked the room over thoroughly for some clew to the mystery. They
found none. There was no door leading from the room except the one
opening into the bath. There was no door leading out from the bath, to
any other room; neither was there any window. The little room was
lighted by electricity. As in the other room, everything here was
violet-colored. The tiled walls, the floor, the calcimined ceiling, the
light globe, the enameled medicine chest, the outside of the bathtub,
and even a little three-legged stool, were all the same shade. The
wonder of the girls increased momentarily.
"Can this be real," asked Nyoda, looking around her in a daze, "or are
we in the middle of some nightmare? Pinch me to see if I'm awake."
"We're awake, all right," said Gladys.
"Then have we dropped back into one of the novels of Dumas? Can this be
the year 1915? Imprisoned in a lonely tower, with no window except one
over the lake, and that window barred. How did we get here, anyway?" she
asked wearily, her head spinning with the effort to make head or tail
out of their position. "Let's see, just how was it? We missed the
Limited, telephoned Mrs. Bates, and she told us that her automobile was
at the corner of ----th Avenue and L---- Street--a bright blue
automobile with a cane streamer--and we should get in and the driver
would come and take us out to Bates Villa. We went down to the corner,
found the automobile, got in, and the driver came and drove off and we
landed here." Her temples throbbed as she tried to recall anything out
of the way in the business. But no light came. The whole thing was
mysterious, inexplicable, grotesque.
"Hadn't we better eat something?" suggested Gladys gently. "It evidently
isn't their intention to starve us, whatever they are keeping us here
"You are right," said Nyoda, and she lifted the tray down from the
shelf. The dishes and silver were of good quality, but the knives were
so dull that it was impossible to cut anything with them. After vainly
trying to make an impression on a piece of meat, Gladys threw her knife
"They certainly never made those knives to cut with," she said.
At her remark Nyoda raised her head suddenly. She thought she saw a ray
of light on the situation. "Gladys," she said, "do you know what kind of
people they give dull knives to? It's insane people! This room was
undoubtedly designed for some one afflicted in that way. That is why the
window is barred, and there is no door, and why the room is done in
lavender. Lavender has a soothing and depressing effect on people's
nerves and would probably keep an insane person from becoming violent.
We got here through some awful mistake."
Gladys shuddered violently. "How horrible!" she said. "I suppose that
woman actually considers us insane. How long do you suppose they will
keep us here?"
"Only until they find out their mistake," answered Nyoda, "which I hope
will be soon. I shall write a note and give it to the woman when she
comes up again."
Both their spirits revived when they arrived at this theory, and they
returned to their supper with good appetites. "I wish I could cut this
meat," sighed Gladys. Then she brightened. "I have my Wohelo knife in my
handbag," she said, rising and going over to the bed where her coat lay.
She stopped in disappointment when she opened the bag. The knife was not
there. "I remember now," she said; "I took it out just before we left
home and must have forgotten to put it back in again, we left in such a
"What will the girls think, anyway, when we fail to arrive at the
Bates's?" said Nyoda.
"They'll probably telephone to town," said Gladys, "and mother will know
I didn't get there and she will be frantic." She lost all her appetite
with a rush when this thought came to her.
They waited impatiently for the return of the woman with the tray. Nyoda
wrote a note and had it ready for her. It read:
"There has been some mistake. We are not the persons you intended to
But the woman did not come. Darkness fell outside the window and they
lighted the lights in the room, but still there was no movement of the
elevator. They spent the evening pacing up and down the room, discussing
the mysterious situation in which they found themselves, until from
sheer weariness they lay down on the bed. They did not undress and they
left the lights burning, intending to watch for the return of the woman.
They set the tray on the floor at some distance from the elevator.
"Can it be possible," said Gladys, "that it was only this afternoon that
we broke into our house? It seems years ago." Nyoda lay staring at the
elevator shaft, awaiting the return of the cage.
"This purple glare over everything hurts my eyes," she said. She closed
them a minute to get relief. When she opened them again there was a
broad streak of light coming in through the window. The lights were out
in the room and the tray had disappeared from the floor. Gladys lay
sound asleep, her head pillowed on her arm. Nyoda started up and was on
the point of rousing Gladys. "No, I'll let her sleep," she thought;
"it's a good thing she can."
She went to the window and looked out through the bars at the sun rising
over the water. There was the same old lake with which she had been
familiar all her life, with the cliffs jutting out in points, one always
a little farther out than the other, to form the great curve of the
shore line. She must have passed this place dozens of times while riding
in the lake boats. Here was a scene she had admired many times from the
open shore, and now she was looking at it from behind bars, a prisoner.
It was too grotesque to be true. She turned pensively toward the bed and
noticed with a start that a tray containing breakfast for two stood on
the shelf beside the elevator. And yet she had not heard a sound! Gladys
was still asleep on the bed. As Nyoda stood looking down at her she woke
up and stared around the room uncomprehendingly. She could not place
herself at first. Then at the sight of the violet room the events of
yesterday came back to her.
They ate breakfast with what appetite they could and then sat down close
beside the elevator shaft to be sure and see the deaf-mute when she
came, for it seemed impossible to detect her visit when they had their
backs turned. While they waited they examined the iron grating for the
door opening, but found none. There was apparently no break in the
scroll-work anywhere, no hinge, no slide arrangement. "Did we come into
the room through there, or did we only imagine it?" asked Nyoda,
completely baffled. "Surely we didn't come through that little grating
that opens on top, did we? I declare, I'm getting so bewildered that if
any one told us we did come in that way I wouldn't dispute them."
Almost while she was speaking the elevator cage shot rapidly and
noiselessly into view and the deaf-mute opened the slide to take the
tray. Instead of giving it to her, however, they gave her the note
first. She took it and read it and then looked at the two girls in
silence. "Maybe she would write something if you gave her a pencil,"
Nyoda handed the woman a pencil through the iron scroll-work. She wrote
something on the bottom of the paper and handed it back to Nyoda. Nyoda
took the piece of paper and read:
"_There is no mistake about your being here._"
As she stood in open-mouthed astonishment the elevator sank from view.
"No mistake about our being here!" gasped Nyoda. Her knees failed her
and she sank weakly to the floor. "What can that mean? Are we kidnapped?
Do you suppose we are being held for ransom?"
"It's too horrible," said Gladys, passing her hand over her eyes. "Such
things happen in novels, but not in real life."
"And yet," said Nyoda musingly, "if you read the newspapers, you see
that stranger things happen in reality than in fiction."
"If we're being held for ransom," said Gladys, "then mother and father
will find out where I am." She was more troubled about the worry her
disappearance would cause her parents than about any evil which might
They rushed to the window to see if any boat was passing which they
could signal. Not a sign of anything. Whoever had constructed this tower
had considered a great many things. Built in the middle of an extensive
estate and hidden on three sides by tall trees, it was not visible from
the road at all. The barred window in the tower could only be seen from
the lake side, so that if some one should wander through the grounds the
appearance of the house itself would excite no suspicion. At some
distance on each side of the tower a long rocky pier extended far out
into the water. It was not a landing pier, for the rocks were piled
unevenly on each other. These rocks changed the current of the water and
made boating in the vicinity dangerous, so that launches and sailboats
gave the place a wide berth. Then, on the outside of the barred window,
clearing it by about two feet, there was an ornamental wooden trellis on
which vines grew, which effectually screened the barred window from
detection on the lake side.
All these excellent points of construction were borne in on the girls as
they circled the room again and again looking for some way of escape.
Discouraged and heartsick, they finally sat down on the bed and faced
each other When the woman brought their dinner they made a further
attempt to get from her the meaning of their being held there, but in
vain. To all their written questions she simply wrote,
"I can tell you nothing."
The afternoon dragged slowly by, the girls getting more dejected all the
"I believe this violet color is affecting me already," said Nyoda. "I
never felt so depressed and melancholy."
"It's the same way with me," said Gladys.
"If there was only one bright spot to relieve the monotony," said Nyoda,
"it wouldn't be so bad."
"How about our middy ties?" asked Gladys. "They're bright red and ought
to inspire courage." She took the ties from her little satchel and
spread them out over a chair.
"That's better," said Nyoda. "I feel more cheerful already." After
staring intently at the flaming square of silk for a while her mental
activity began to revive and she commenced to turn over in her mind
plans for their escape. Acting on this latest impulse, she wrote a
letter addressed to a friend of hers and sealed and stamped it. When the
deaf-mute brought their supper she drew a diamond ring from her finger,
laid it beside the letter and wrote on a piece of paper,
"The ring is yours if you will mail this letter."
The woman shook her head. Nyoda drew off another ring, a handsome ruby
surrounded by seed pearls and tiny diamonds. The woman gazed steadfastly
at it, and Nyoda thought she saw a longing look in her eyes. She turned
the ring so the stone sparkled in the light. The woman's lips parted and
her hand crept toward the letter. Nyoda turned the ring in the light
once more. By the look in the woman's face she knew that she had gained
her point. In another moment she would accept the bribe. Just then the
throbbing sound of a motor was heard on the drive. The woman started
violently, jerked her hand back and sent the elevator down in haste.
With a gesture of despair Nyoda threw the letter down on the dresser.
"Do you suppose she really is deaf?" asked Gladys. "She seemed to hear
"Maybe she heard it," said Nyoda, "and then again she may have felt the
vibrations. Who do you suppose has come?"
They spent the evening in a thrill of expectation, but were undisturbed.
Without lighting the lights they stood looking at the stars through the
openings in the trellis. At last Nyoda turned from the window and
snapped on the switch. As she did so she noticed that the elevator cage
had been up and was just going down. As it sank out of sight she saw
that the occupant was a man. Soon afterward they heard the throb of the
motor again and then the sound of a car driving away.
"Where did you put the red ties?" asked Gladys the next morning.
"I didn't take them," said Nyoda. The ties had disappeared from the
From sheer nervousness Nyoda began twisting up her felt outing hat in
her hands. As she did so she came upon something hard in the inside of
the crown. Investigating she drew out her Wohelo knife. "I had forgotten
I had it in there," she said. "I put that pocket in my hat just for fun
and slipped the knife in to see if it would go in."
Why is it that a knife in one's hand inspires a desire to cut something?
Nyoda immediately began examining the room for a possible means of
escape with the aid of the knife. Opening the window, she inspected the
setting of the bars closely. They were set only into the wooden window
sill. "Gladys," she whispered excitedly, "I believe we can cut the wood
away from these bars and push them out."
"And what then?" asked Gladys.
"Jump," said Nyoda. "Jump into the lake and swim away."
Not daring to make any attempt in the daytime for fear of the
mysteriously silent visits of the deaf-mute, who never came at any
regular time, they waited until after dark, and then Gladys sat close
beside the elevator shaft, watching for the slightest indication of the
approaching car. Nyoda meanwhile hacked away at the window casing,
cutting and splitting it away from the bars. She worked feverishly for
several hours and succeeded in freeing the ends of three of the bars,
which would be enough to let them through. Just then Gladys gave a
warning hiss. The elevator cord was moving. Nyoda drew the shade down
over the window and closed the purple curtains over it, and both girls
jumped into bed and pulled the covers over them. They had undressed so
as to avert suspicion. The next moment the elevator door opened
silently, but whether it moved up or down or side wise they could not
make out, and the deaf-mute stepped into the room. Guided by a
flash-light, she picked up Gladys's red petticoat from the chair and
departed as silently as she had come. As soon as the elevator had sunk
out of sight the girls were back at work again. Throwing all her weight
against the bars, Nyoda bent them out and upward, the wood that held
them at the top splintering with the strain. Then, leaning out, she
began to cut away the trellis, which was in the way. It was built out
from the sill and had no supports on the ground, and the vines which
were on it came around the corner of the house.
Looking down, she could see that they were indeed right above the lake,
without a foot of ground at the bottom of the tower. No other part of
the house was visible from this angle. The waves roared and dashed on
the cliff below, and a strong wind was blowing from the west. "It looks
as if a storm were coming," said Nyoda in a low tone. The night was
wearing away fast and the girls knew that it was safer to escape under
cover of darkness. About three o'clock in the morning the storm broke, a
terrific thunder shower. The tower swayed in the wind and at each crash
they held their breath, thinking that the house had been struck. The
spray from the waves as they were flung against the rocks often came in
through the open window. Both girls looked down into the boiling sea
beneath them and drew back with a shudder. "Wait until the storm is
over," said Gladys.
"It may be daylight then," said Nyoda. Howling like an imprisoned giant,
the wind hurled itself against the side of the tower. "There's one thing
about it," said Nyoda, "we never can swim in those waves with skirts on.
I'm going to have a bathing suit." Taking the blankets from the bed, she
made them into straight narrow sacks, cutting various holes in them so
as to leave the arms and limbs free.
When the storm had abated somewhat they prepared for the plunge. The
first faint streaks of dawn were showing in the east. Gladys crept out
on the sill and then shrank back. The surface of the water seemed miles
below her. "I can't do it, Nyoda," she panted.
"Yes, you can," said Nyoda, patting her on the shoulder. "You aren't
going to lose your nerve at this stage of the game, are you? 'Screw your
courage to the sticking point,' We have our fate in our own hands now.
'Who hesitates is lost.'"
"But the water is so far away," shuddered Gladys.
"What of that?" said Nyoda. "It's perfectly safe to jump. The water is
very deep along the shore here. Think, just one leap and then we're out
Gladys still hung back. "You go first," she pleaded.
Nyoda made a motion to go and then stopped. "No," she said firmly, "I'd
rather you went first. You might be afraid to follow me afterward. Brace
up; remember you're a Winnebago!"
This had its effect and without allowing herself to stop to think Gladys
tossed her bundle of clothes out of the window and, closing her eyes,
dropped from the sill. There was a wild moment of suspense as she sank
downward through the gloom, and then she struck the water and it rolled
over her head. It was icy cold and for a minute she felt numb. Then the
waves parted over her head and she felt the wind blowing against her
face. A great splash beside her terrified her for an instant, and then
she remembered that it was Nyoda jumping in after her. In a moment a
head came up nearby and Nyoda inquired calmly how she enjoyed the
bathing. "It's g-r-r-e-a-t," said Gladys with chattering teeth.
"Now for a little pleasure swim," said Nyoda, striking out. While they
were swimming away the storm broke the second time; the thunder sounded
in their ears like cannon and the vivid lightning flashes lit up the
shore for miles around. By its light they could see that they were
nearing one of the long stone piers. Climbing up on this, they rested
until they had their breath back again, although it was a rather
exciting rest, for the waves were going high over the pier and
threatened to wash them off every moment. The shore line along here was
peculiarly rugged and forbidding. Instead of a beach, high cliffs rose
perpendicularly out of deep water and afforded nowhere a landing place.
The girls swam slowly and easily, fearing to spend their strength before
they could reach shallow water, often turning over to float and gain a
few moments' rest in this way. The waves were very rough and tossed them
about a great deal, but the wind was west and they were swimming toward
the east, and as the natural current of the lake was eastward toward
Niagara, their progress was helped rather than retarded by the force of
The storm abated and the sun began to rise over the lake, gilding the
crest of the waves. Still no sign of a beach. "I can't go much further,"
said Gladys faintly. Both girls were nearly spent when Nyoda spied a
strip of yellow in the distance which put new strength into them.
Putting forth their last efforts, they headed toward it. Trembling with
weakness and breathless from being buffeted about so much, they gained
the narrow beach and with a great sigh of relief rolled out onto the
A SCHEME AND WHAT CAME OF IT.
We will now have to take our readers away from the Winnebagos and their
affairs for a few moments and admit them into the private office of Mr.
Rumford Thurston. Mr. Thurston, dealer in stocks and bonds and promoter
of investments, was closeted with his business associate and intimate
friend, Mr. Nathan Scovill. An earnest discussion was in progress, the
theme of which was apparently drawn from a paper which was spread out on
the desk between them.
"I tell you, it's the chance of a lifetime," said Mr. Scovill. "We can
clean up a cool half million on it before the public wakes up, and when
they do we can take a trip to Hawaii or Manila for our health until the
business is forgotten. You put in ten thousand now and you'll be on easy
street for the rest of your life."
"But I tell you, I haven't the ten thousand to put in," answered Mr.
Thurston crossly. "I haven't one thousand. That last deal finished me."
"Borrow some," said Mr. Scovill impatiently.
"Can't get any more credit," said Mr. Thurston gloomily. "The office
furniture is attached already."
Mr. Scovill scowled. Then he went carefully over the ground again,
dwelling on the ease of making money without working for it by the
simple method of swindling the public, and enlarging on the joys of life
as a rich man. "Think, man," he said in conclusion, "think what you're
Mr. Thurston leaned his head on his hands and thought of what he was
missing, and he also thought of something else. A peculiar calculating
expression appeared in his eyes and around the corners of his mouth.
"There is some money to be had," he said slowly, "if I can get hold of
"Where?" asked Mr. Scovill eagerly. "If it's to be had you may rest
assured we'll get hold of it by hook or crook."
"You remember John Rogers?" asked Mr. Thurston. Mr. Scovill nodded.
"When he died he left his daughters a fortune in stocks," continued Mr.
"Yes?" inquired Mr. Scovill encouragingly.
"Well," said Mr. Thurston, with a glitter in his eye, "I was appointed
guardian of those two girls."
Mr. Scovill whistled. "Meaning to say------" he began.
"That I have the managing of their property until they come of age,"
finished Mr. Thurston.
"Our fortune's made," said Mr. Scovill, shaking him by the hand.
"The only thing is," said Mr. Thurston, scratching his head
reflectively, "that the oldest girl comes of age in June, and there
might be an awkward inquiry just at the wrong time. We can't afford to
have any investigations begun inside of the next six months if we expect
to carry through the other scheme. Any breath of scandal would wreck our
Mr. Scovill's face fell. He saw only too clearly the truth of the
other's words. But where Mr. Thurston came to a halt in front of a dead
wall, Scovill's scheming mind saw the loophole. "But just suppose," he
said slowly, "that there shouldn't be any investigation when the oldest
girl comes of age? Suppose she should never put in a claim for her
"What do you mean?" asked Mr. Thurston.
"Something like this," said Mr. Scovill. "If she were to be kept shut up
somewhere for a year or so until you have had time to make your fortune,
it would be too late to hurt you with a disclosure after that. Where
nobody asks questions there is no need of answering."
Thurston saw the point, but he didn't see how it was going to be done.
It was Scovill who thought out the whole scheme. He had a large piece of
land far outside the city limits on the lake front. There was an
unoccupied house on the property. Here the girl could be kept locked up
on the pretext that she was insane, with a certain woman he knew as
keeper, a deaf-mute. He shared a secret with her and could use this
knowledge to force her to serve him. The whole thing was very simple.
"But how are we going to keep the one locked up away from the other?"
asked Mr. Thurston. "Her sister would have the whole country searching
"Then take them both," said Mr. Scovill promptly. "That'll make matters
simpler yet. You say they have no relatives and are now away in school?
Nothing could be easier. We'll build a room they can't get out of once
they're in, and when it's finished you invite them to your house for a
visit. They'll think they're coming to see you, but it's out there to
that house they'll go and they'll not come back in a hurry. In the
meantime you get hold of those stocks and bonds, sell them and put the
money in this venture and come out a rich man. When you're ready to
clear out of the country you can let the girls out, and they won't be
any worse off than when they went in--except that they won't have a
Bit by bit the plan was perfected. Mr. Thurston took a sudden interest
in his orphan wards to the extent of writing to the school where they
were attending and asking when it closed for the summer. When he was
informed that school closed the last week in May, he invited the two
girls, Genevieve and Antoinette Rogers, to spend the first weeks of
their vacation at his home. He had not seen either of them since they
were little children. They graciously accepted the invitation.
But on the day they were to arrive, Mr. Thurston found that some private
business of his very urgently required his presence in another city, and
left Mr. Scovill to see to the landing of the birds in the trap. Mr.
Scovill met the unsuspecting girls at the train, explaining with many
expressions of regret the enforced absence of their guardian, took them
to dinner in a fine hotel and showed them the sights of the town with
all the cordiality of a sincere friend of their host, who was doing his
best to make up for his not being there. He won their hearts completely.
They were simple girls who had been brought up in a strict church
school, and the sights and sounds of the large city were all wonderful
Now, thanks to Mr. Scovill's activities, the trap was all set. The tower
was built with its room at the top without any door and its barred
window, and the deaf-mute was installed on the place and given
instructions to act as guard to two girls who were mentally unbalanced.
Furnishing the room in violet was the last touch of his cunning brain,
because he knew the depressing effect it would have on the inmates. He
gave strict orders to the keeper to remove any sign of a bright color,
as this might cause them to become violent.
Mr. Scovill had left directions for his automobile to be at a certain
place at half-past four to convey them to the house in the country. Now,
for reasons of his own, Mr. Scovill did not wish to be the last one seen
in the company of the two girls in case his plans should go wrong and
some one would start an inquiry for them. Therefore, he gave his driver
private instructions to drive like the wind with two girls who should be
placed in the car, and under no condition to let them out of the car.
Accordingly, when they were all a little weary of sight-seeing he
steered them gently toward the corner of ----th Avenue and L---- Street,
where the car was to wait for them. Half a block off he saw that it was
in place. So, pulling out his watch and suddenly remembering that he had
an important engagement for that very minute, he courteously took his
leave and pointed out the car they were to get into, telling them that
it was Mr. Thurston's and would take them to his home. "You can't miss
it, girls," he said, pointing with his finger. "It's that bright blue
one with the basket-work streamer." Antoinette and Genevieve thanked him
kindly for showing them such a good time and entered the car he had
indicated. Mr. Scovill withdrew into a doorway and watched them. In a
few moments the driver appeared, saw the two girls in the machine,
touched his hat to them, and taking his place behind the wheel, drove
rapidly off in the opposite direction. Mr. Scovill rubbed his hands
together as he watched the car disappear. It was a way he had when his
plans were turning out nicely. Forty-five minutes later his driver
called up from the country house to say that he had brought the girls
out in safety. Mr. Scovill smiled blandly. So far everything had played
into his hands. When Mr. Thurston returned the following day he
announced the fact to him that the birds were safe in the trap. Then he
left town for a protracted stay. Mr. Thurston made one trip out to the
house to behold the thing for himself. Riding up in the elevator, he saw
the girls standing by the barred window of their prison. When they lit
the light he descended in haste so as not to be seen by them. Then he
also left town for a while.
The Winnebagos, who were all in time for the Limited except Nyoda and
Gladys, boarded the car without them and amused themselves during the
ride by thinking up ways to tease the tardy ones when they should arrive
on the next car. Pretty Mrs. Bates met them at the car stop with the
news that Nyoda and Gladys were coming out in the automobile, and when
they thought it was time for them to arrive they all lined up in the
road where the drive turned off, and were ready to sing a funny song
which Migwan had made up about not getting there on time. The blue car
came in sight and the girls ranged themselves straight across the road
so it could not pass until the entire song had been sung. With mouths
open ready to sing they stopped in astonishment. The two girls in the
tonneau were strangers. They smiled bashfully at the row of maidens with
the bright red ties.
Mrs. Bates stepped forward. "Whom have you brought us, John?" she asked.
"Why, you said there'd be two girls in the car when I came out,"
answered the driver; "and there were."
"Oh, is there any mistake?" asked one of the strange girls. "Our names
are Genevieve and Antoinette Rogers. We've come up from Seaville to
visit our guardian, Mr. Thurston. He couldn't meet us and another
gentleman pointed out his automobile and said the driver would take us
out to Mr. Thurston's country place, and we got in, and he brought us
"This is Bates Villa," said Mrs. Bates. "You undoubtedly got into our
car by mistake."
"I'm sorry this is not the right place," said Antoinette in a tone of
frank regret. "I was so glad when I saw all you girls and thought you
were to be our friends."
"You will be very welcome guests until your guardian comes for you,"
said Mrs. Bates in her gracious way.
The Winnebagos were much amused to think that Gladys and Nyoda had
missed their chance to ride out in the automobile, and added another
verse to the song to be sung when they should arrive on the next
Limited. Mrs. Bates found Mr. Thurston's name in the telephone book and
called his residence, but could get no answer. Now, Mr. Scovill had
introduced himself to Genevieve and Antoinette as "Mr. Adams." They did
not know his initials and attempts to get him on the wire were futile.
The girls all went down to the car-track when it was time for the next
Limited. A regular fusilade of jests and jibes were prepared for Nyoda
and Gladys. The Limited appeared and thundered by without stopping. "Not
on this one?" said the girls. "What on earth could have happened?"
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