Probably none of the Camp Fire Girls
had ever been so surprised in their lives as when
they heard the object of this utterly unexpected visit.
Marcia’s eyes were rather blurred while she was
speaking, and anyone could see that it was a hard
task she had assumed.
It is never easy to confess that one
has been in the wrong, and it was particularly hard
for these girls, whose whole campaign against the Camp
Fire party had been based on pride and a false sense
of their own superiority, which, of course, had existed
only in their imaginations.
For a moment no one seemed to know
what to do or say. Strangely enough, it was Dolly,
who had resented the previous attitude of the rich
girls more than any of her companions, who found by
instinct the true solution.
She didn’t say a word; she simply
ran forward impulsively and threw her arms about Marcia’s
neck. Then, and not till then, as she kissed the
friend with whom she had quarreled, did she find words.
“You’re an old dear, Marcia!”
she cried. “I knew you wouldn’t keep
on hating us when you knew us better-and
you’ll forgive me, won’t you, for playing
that horrid trick with the mice?”
Dolly had broken the ice, and in a
moment the stiffness of the two groups of girls was
gone, and they mingled, talking and laughing naturally.
“I don’t know what the
presents you brought are-you haven’t
shown them to us yet,” said Dolly, with a laugh.
“But I’m sure they must be lovely, and
as for accepting them, why, you just bet we will!”
“You know,” said Marcia
a little apologetically, “there aren’t
any real stores up here, and we couldn’t get
what we would really have liked, but we just did the
best we could. Girls, get those things out!”
And then a dozen blankets were unrolled,
beautifully woven Indian blankets, such as girls love
to use for their dens, as couch covers and for hangings
on the walls. Dolly exclaimed with delight as
she saw hers.
“Heavens! And you act as
if they weren’t perfectly lovely!” she
cried. “Why, Marcia, how can you talk as
if they weren’t the prettiest things! If
that’s what you call just doing the best you
can, I’m afraid to think of what you’d
have got for us if you’d been able to pick out
whatever you wanted. It would have been something
so fine that we’d have been afraid to take it,
“Well, we thought perhaps you’d
find them useful if you’re going on this tramp
of yours,” said Marcia, blushing with pleasure.
“And I’m ever so glad you like them, if
you really do, because I helped to pick them out.
There’s one for each of you, and then we’ve
got a big Mackinaw jacket for Miss Mercer, so that
she’d have something different.”
“I can’t tell you how
happy this makes me!” said Eleanor, swallowing
a little hard, for she was evidently deeply touched.
“I don’t mean the presents, Marcia, though
they’re lovely, but the spirit in which you all
“We-we wanted to
show you we were sorry, and that we understood how
mean we’d been,” said Marcia.
“Oh, my dear, do let’s
forget all that!” said Eleanor, heartily.
“We don’t want to remember anything unpleasant.
Let’s bury all that, and just have the memory
that we’re all good friends now, and that we’d
never have been anything else if we’d only understood
one another in the beginning as well as we do now.
“That’s the reason for
most of the quarrels in this world; people don’t
understand one another, that’s all. And
when they do, it’s just as it is with us-they
wonder how they ever could have hated one another!”
“Why, where’s Gladys Cooper?”
asked Dolly, suddenly. She had been looking around
for the girl who had been chiefly responsible for all
the trouble, and who had been, before this meeting,
one of Dolly’s friends in the city from which
she and Marcia, as well as the Camp Fire Girls, came.
And Gladys was missing.
isn’t feeling very well,” stammered Marcia
unhappily. But a look at Dolly’s face convinced
her that she might as well tell the truth. “I’m
awfully sorry,” she went on shamefacedly, “but
Gladys was awfully silly.”
“You mean she hasn’t forgiven us?”
said Eleanor gently.
“She’s just stupid,”
flashed Marcia. “What has she got to forgive?
She ought to be here, thanking Dolly and Bessie King
for finding us, just as I am. And she’s
sulking in her room, instead!”
“She’ll change her mind,
Marcia,” said Eleanor, “just as the rest
of you have done. I’m dreadfully sorry
that she feels that way, because it must make her
unhappy. But please don’t be angry with
her if you really want to please us. We’re
just as ready and just as anxious to be friends with
her as with all the rest of you, and some time we will
be, too. I’m sure of that.”
“We’ll make her see what
a fool she is!” said Marcia, hotly. “If
she’d only come with us, she’d have seen
it for herself. She said all the girls here would
crow over us, and act as if we were backing down, and
had done this because someone made us.”
Eleanor laughed heartily.
“Well, that is a silly idea!”
she said. “Just explain to her that we
were just as pleased and as surprised to see you as
we could be, Marcia. You didn’t need to
come here this way at all, and we know it perfectly
well. You did it just because you are nice girls
and wanted to be friendly, and we appreciate the way
you’ve come a good deal more than we do the
lovely presents, even.”
“Well, I hope we’ll see
you again,” said Marcia. “If you’re
going on that half past nine boat we’ll go back
now, and let you pack, unless we can help you?”
“No, you can’t help us.
We’ve really got very little to do. But
don’t go. Stay around, if you will, and
we’ll all talk and visit with you while we do
what there is to be done.”
“I’m awfully sorry Gladys
is cutting up so. It makes me feel ashamed, Dolly,”
said Marcia, when she and Dolly were alone. “But
you know how she is. I think she’s really
just as sorry as the rest of us, but-”
“But she’s awfully proud,
and she won’t show it, Marcia. I know, for
I’m that way myself, though I really do think
I’ve been behaving myself a little better since
I’ve belonged to the Camp Fire. I wish you’d
“Maybe I will, Dolly.”
“Oh, that would be fine!
Shall I speak to Miss Eleanor? She’d be
perfectly delighted, I know.”
“No, don’t speak to her
yet. I’ve got a plan, or some of us have,
rather, but it’s still a secret so I can’t
tell you anything about it. But maybe I’ll
have a great surprise for you the next time I see you.”
The time passed quickly and pleasantly,
and all too soon Miss Eleanor had to give the word
that it was time to start for the landing if they
were to catch the little steamer that was to take them
to the other end of the lake.
“I tell you what! We’ll
all go with you as far as you go on the boat, and
come back on her,” said Marcia. “That
will be good fun, won’t it? I’ve
got plenty of money for the fares, and those who haven’t
their money with them can pay me when we get back
All the girls from Camp Halsted fell
in with her suggestion, delighted by the idea of such
an unplanned excursion. It was easy enough to
arrange it, too, for the little steamer would be back
on her return trip early in the afternoon, even though
she did not make very good speed and had numerous
stops to make, since Lake Dean’s shores were
lined with little settlements, where camps and cottages
and hotels had been built at convenient spots.
“We’ve heard you singing
a lot of songs we never heard before,” said
Marcia to Bessie, as they took their places on the
boat. “Won’t you teach us some of
them? They were awfully pretty, we thought.”
“You must mean the Camp Fire
songs,” said Bessie, happily. “We’ll
be glad to teach them to you-and they’re
all easy to learn, too. I think Dolly’s
got an extra copy of one of the song books and I know
she’ll be glad to let you have it.”
And so, as soon as Bessie explained
what Marcia wanted, the deck of the steamer was turned
into an impromptu concert hall, and she made her journey
to the strains of the favorite songs of the Camp Fire,
the Wo-he-lo cheer with its lovely music being,
of course, sung more often than any of the others.
“We were wondering so much about
that,” said Marcia. “We could make
out the word Wo-he-lo, but we couldn’t
understand it. It sounded like an Indian word,
but the others didn’t seem to fit in with that
“It’s just made up from
the first syllables of work and health and love, you
see,” said Eleanor. “We make up a
lot of the words we use. A good many of the ceremonial
names that the girls choose are made that way.”
“Then they have a real meaning, haven’t
“Yes. You see, one of the
things that we preach and try to teach in the Camp
Fire is that things ought to be useful as well as beautiful.
And it’s very easy to be both.”
“But tell me about the Indian
sound of Wo-he-lo. Was that just an accident,
or was it chosen that way on purpose?”
“Both, I think, Marcia.
You see, the Indians in this country had a lot of
good qualities that a great many people have forgotten
or overlooked completely. Of course they were
savages, in a way, but they had a civilization of
their own, and a great many of their practices are
particularly well adapted to this country.”
“Oh, I see! You don’t want them to
“That’s just it.
It’s a good way to keep the memory of earlier
times alive, and there seems to be something romantic
and picturesque about the Indian names and the Indian
“That’s one of the things
I like best that I’ve found out about the Camp
Fire since you came to Camp Sunset. We used to
think the Camp Fire meant being goody-goody and learning
to sew and cook and all sorts of things like that.
But you have a lot of fun and good times, too, don’t
“Yes, and there really isn’t
anything goody-goody about us, Marcia. You’d
soon find that out if you were with us.”
“Well, I’m very glad that
so many people have been led to know the truth about
us,” said Eleanor, with a smile. “If
everyone knew the truth about the Camp Fire, it would
soon be as big and as influential as even the most
enthusiastic of us hope it will be. And I’m
sure that we’ll grow very fast now, because
when girls understand us they see that we simply help
them to have the sort of good times they enjoy most.
Having a good time is a pretty important thing in
“I-I rather thought
you would think that we spent too much time just having
a good time,” said Marcia, plainly rather surprised
by this statement.
“I don’t say anything
about you girls in particular, because I don’t
know enough about you,” replied Eleanor.
“Of course, it’s easy to get to be so
bound up in enjoying yourself that you don’t
think of anything else. But people who do that
soon get tired of just amusing themselves, so, as
a rule, there’s no great harm done. They
get so that everything they do bores them, and they
turn to something serious and useful, for a change.”
“But you just said having a good time was important-”
“And I meant it,” said
Eleanor, with a smile. “Because it’s
just as bad to go to one extreme as to the other,
and that’s true in about everything. People
who never work, but spend all their time playing aren’t
happy, as a rule, or healthy, either. And people
who reverse that, and work all the time without ever
playing, are in just about the same boat, only they’re
really worse off than the others, because it’s
harder for them to change.”
“I think I’m beginning
to see what you mean, Miss Mercer.”
“Why, of course you are, Marcia!
It’s in the middle ground that the right answer
lies. Work a little, and play a little, that’s
the way to get on and be happy. When you’ve
worked hard, you need some sort of relaxation, and
it’s pretty important to know how to enjoy yourself,
and have a good time.”
“And you certainly can have
bully good times in the Camp Fire,” said Dolly,
enthusiastically. “I’ve never enjoyed
myself half so much as I have since I’ve belonged.
Why, we have bacon bats, and picnics, and all sorts
of things that are the best fun you ever dreamed of,
Marcia. Much nicer than those stiff old parties
you and I used to go to all the time, when we always
did the same things, and could tell before we went
just what was going to happen.”
“And the regular camp fires,
the ceremonial ones, Dolly,” reminded Bessie.
“Don’t you think Marcia would enjoy that?”
“Oh, I know she would!
Couldn’t I bring her to one some time?”
Dolly asked Eleanor.
“She’ll be very welcome,
any time,” said Eleanor with a smile. “There’s
nothing secret about the Camp Fire meetings,”
she went on. “They’re not a bit like
high school and private school fraternities or sororities-whichever
you call them.”
“Why, look where we are!”
said Marcia suddenly. “We’ll be at
the dock pretty soon.”
“Why, so we will!” Eleanor
said. “That’s Cranford, sure enough,
girls! We get off here, and begin our real tramp.”
“I wish we were going with you,”
said Marcia, with a sigh of regret. “But
we can’t, of course. Well, I told Dolly
we might have a surprise for her pretty soon, and
we will if I’ve got anything to say about it,
too. This has been awfully jolly! I guess
I know a lot more about your Camp Fire now than I
ever expected to. And I’ve enjoyed hearing
every word, too.”
Soon the little steamer was made fast
to the dock, and the Camp Fire Girls streamed off,
lining up on the dock. On the steamer the girls
from Camp Halsted-all but Gladys Cooper,
who had not made the trip-lined up, leaning
over the rail.
“We’ll see them off as
the boat goes right back again,” said Eleanor.
“And let’s give them the Wo-he-lo
cheer for good-bye, girls.”
So their voices rose on the quiet
air as the steamer’s whistle shrieked, and she
began to pull out.
“Good-bye! Good luck!”
cried Marcia and all the Halsted girls. “And
come back whenever you can! We’ll have
a mighty different sort of welcome for you next time!”
“Good-bye! And thank you
ever so much for the blankets!” called the Camp