MoboReader> Literature > The Outdoor Girls in a Winter Camp / Or, Glorious Days on Skates and Ice Boats

   Chapter 7 OFF FOR CAMP

The Outdoor Girls in a Winter Camp / Or, Glorious Days on Skates and Ice Boats By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 9231

Updated: 2017-12-04 00:02


Will entered with the air of one conferring a favor, and successfully evaded the efforts of his sister to take away a certain box he was carrying.

"Have patience, little sister mine!" he mocked. "Have patience, and you will get your desires."

"You mean thing! and I haven't had a chocolate all day. How did you come to bring them?"

"Amy asked me to," he said boldly.

"Oh, Will Ford! I did not!" and Amy blushed a "lobster red," as the lad ungallantly informed her.

"Well, anyhow take them, and dole them out," he added, tossing the box of confectionery into her lap.

"Oh, Amy, I always loved you!" confided Grace, "shooting" a look of wonder at her brother.

"And while Amy passes the treat, perhaps you will kindly elucidate the riddle of the ice boat for us," suggested Mollie, catching a marshmallow chocolate which Amy deftly threw across the parlor.

"Nothing very complicated about it," replied Will, himself munching on some candy that he produced from a hidden source-likely one of his seemingly innumerable pockets. Betty said she never could understand how a boy could remember all the pockets he had-fourteen she once counted, when she had Allen Washburn enumerate them for her.

"It's this way," went on Will, with tantalizing slowness, but Grace knew better than to try to hurry him. "Allen and Frank and I have bought a big ice boat."

"You have?" cried Grace. "You never told me a thing about it." She looked her keen reproaches.

"Well, I'm telling you now," said Will. "It is a second-hand one, and used to belong to the Chacalott Club, down the river. They bought a new one for racing purposes, and Allen heard of the chance to get this one. He told me, I told Frank, Frank told-told--"

"Oh, spare us the horrible details!" protested Grace. "Where do we come in?"

"In the ice boat, of course. Where else did you expect?" and Will grinned at her like a Cheshire cat.

"Provoking!" murmured Grace. "Do go on."

"Yes, do," urged Mollie. "We've got so much to do yet!"

"Well, as I said, we have a big, roomy ice boat," went on Will. "It isn't as comfortable as your Gem, Betty, and has no cabin."

"No cabin!" cried Amy. "I thought all boats had to have cabins."

"An ice boat is like a pair of stilts, crossed," explained Will. "There's no room for a cabin, but there is a sort of cockpit on this one. It will hold ten when they aren't spilled out on the way."

"Spilled out?" queried Mollie. "That sounds interesting."

"It is-when you're not spilled," said Will. "You see in a stiff breeze the ice boat sort of rears up on its hind legs, like an auto going around a curve on two wheels, and there the spilling begins.

"As I said, the cockpit of the Spider will hold about ten comfortably, and if half spill out, why so much the more comfort for those who succeed in holding themselves in."

"But what about us?" asked Grace.

"Oh, we'll hold you in," volunteered Will, cheerfully.

"No, I mean do you really intend for us to use it to go to camp?" insisted his sister.

"I sure do. It's a dandy boat-the Spider, and--"

"Spider!" exclaimed Betty with a little shiver. "What possessed you to take such a name?"

"It looks like a water bug-the ice is not far removed from water. Hence Spider. Do you get me-or the spider?"

"Oh, you boys!" sighed Grace. "Girls, shall we consider it-the ice boat?"

"It will be just the proper caper," said Will. "We can take you all up in one load, and your suit cases, too. Trunks can go by express. Then we can stay a week or so with you in the cabin, and--"

"You can stay-you boys-who said so?" demanded Grace a bit defiantly.

"Dad. I asked him. There are several furnished cabins there, and we can use one, he said. Oh, don't worry, we won't bother you," and he glared at his sister. Grace and Will did not get along any better than the average brother and sister, it will be noted.

"I think it would be nice," spoke gentle Amy, hastening to pour oil on troubled waters. "It wouldn't be quite so lonesome-with the boys there."

"Bless you for saying that!" exclaimed Will, with mock heroics. "You shall be doubly repaid. We'll see that you are never alone, Amy."

She blushed, but did not seem displeased.

"And as we boys are going anyhow," went on Will, "you girls can come in the ice boat, or not, just as you choose. I only thought I'd offer it."

"It's kind of you," declared Mollie.

"I think ice boating would be lovely," vouchsafed Betty.

Seeing her chums thus in favor Grace capitulated.

"All right," she said. "We'll go, with you boys."

"And you needn't thi

nk you are doing us a favor, either!" asserted Will a bit truculently. "We can get other girls. There is Kittie Rossmore, Alice--"

"Stop it!" commanded Grace, and Will subsided. He knew better than to keep on in that strain.

"The boat is a dandy, though," he went on. "We can pile the cockpit full of fur robes, and when the wind is right we can scoot up the lake to beat the band!"

"Such slang!" cried Grace.

"Well, I only meant hat band-or rubber band. That isn't slang."

And so it was decided. Will went on to describe the boat from the rudder and runners, to the sails and tackle, most of it being as Greek to the girls. But they made up their minds to soon learn how to run a craft on the ice.

"And if things go right I'll soon have a better one than the Spider," declared Will, as he prepared to take his leave.

"You mean you are going to buy another?" asked Grace.

"No, not buy-make one-and it will be a surprise, too, let me tell you!"

"How?" asked Betty, interested.

"Oh, you'll see when the time comes. It's a secret."

This naturally roused the curiosity of the girls, but Will, having accomplished his purpose in doing that, refused to talk further and left in a hurry, Frank having called for him.

As for the girls, there were many details yet to be settled, even though the matter of food and clothing had been decided, in a measure.

In the days that followed Mr. Ford reported that he had succeeded in getting Ted Franklin and his wife to go to the lumber camp, to live in one of the cabins and assume charge as care-takers.

"They'll have a cabin all ready for you girls," the lawyer had said to his daughter. "It will be near theirs, and if Will and the boys want to go up for week-ends, there is a cabin they can use."

"But, Daddy, tell Will not to bother us. He's sure to play some kind of tricks."

"Oh, I guess you girls can look after yourselves. Now, about getting yourselves and your things up there--"

"We've arranged about ourselves," said Grace. "We're going in the ice boat up the river. But our trunks--"

"I'll have them shipped. I have also sent an order to the storekeeper there to supply the cabin with stock provisions. The others you can buy as you need them. Now I guess that's all."

"Is Mr. Jallow cutting any more trees?"

"Yes, and I haven't succeeded in stopping him. There may be trouble-of a legal kind only," he hastened to assure his daughter, who looked alarmed. "Don't worry. Only if you should happen to run across that Paddy Malone up there-that old lumberman-hold on to him, or at least get him to communicate with me. With his testimony I can beat this Jallow."

"I hope we can find him," observed Grace.

There were seemingly a hundred and one things to do before starting off for camp, but somehow they got done. Betty was very busy, for though Grace had initiated the idea of the camp, the Little Captain naturally assumed the leadership, as she generally did.

The girls had two or three rides in the ice boat, and liked the experience very much. It was a novel sensation gliding over the frozen surface before a stiff wind. And really the boys managed the Spider very well. In spite of the protest of the girls, they refused to change the name, even ignoring the compromise of Cobweb, which Grace declared quite poetical.

The day set for the start brought disappointment, for the wind blew in exactly the opposite direction desired, and, after waiting until late afternoon for a change, the trip was given up.

But in the night it grew colder, which was good for the condition of the ice, and the wind shifted. It blew straight up the river toward the distant lumber camp, and early the next morning Will was astir to make sure there would be no delay.

The start was made from Mollie's boathouse, where the Spider was moored. The suitcases were piled in the forward part of the cockpit, which was well provided with rugs. Then with Allen at the helm, and Will and Frank to look after the sail, the girls took their places.

"All aboard!" cried Will, looking at his sister and her chums. "Hold fast, everybody! Shall I shove off, Allen?"

"Yes!"

The boat glided out into the middle of the frozen river. The wind caught the sail, it curved out, and the Spider shot ahead, gathering speed every second.

"We're off!" cried Betty, waving her hands to those who had come to see them start.

"Good-bye! Good-bye!" was chorused over and over again.

As Amy waved with the others she little dreamed what a change would take place in her life before she saw dear Deepdale again.

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