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

   Chapter 8 A SPILL

The Outdoor Girls in a Winter Camp / Or, Glorious Days on Skates and Ice Boats By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 8328

Updated: 2017-12-04 00:02


Straight up the Argono River flew the Spider. Crawled would perhaps be a more appropriate term, considering the insect, but the ice boat did not crawl-it literally flew.

"Oh, this is just glorious!" cried Mollie, with shining eyes, as she crouched down amid the rugs near Will, and looked ahead at the white, icy stretch.

"It's the most comfortable form of motion I ever imagined could be," said Betty. "I'm so glad you thought of it, Will. I wouldn't have missed it for worlds."

"It's a little too swift for me," confessed Amy.

"Swift! I wish we could go faster!" exclaimed Mollie.

"We'll go faster soon, when we get around the bend," spoke Allen. "Then we'll get the full force of the wind, and then--"

"Yes, and then will be the time you girls will have to hang on, even by your eyelids," declared Will. "You'll see!"

"Oh, is it as scary as all that?" asked Grace.

"You won't mind," declared Frank, soothingly. "He's only trying to scare you."

Amy looked a bit timid, but a reassuring glance from Betty put her at her ease once more.

Truly the ice boat was all that the boys had claimed for it. Roomy, as ice boats go, comfortable and speedy, it was really a prize.

"You deserve a vote of thanks, boys," said Mollie, as the sharp wind brightened the roses in her cheeks.

"Leave it to your Uncle Dudley," declared Will. "I told you that you'd like it."

"Here!" cried Grace, tossing him a chocolate.

"Oh!" he cried, as it hit him in the face, "whence this sudden flow of sisterly kindness."

"As a reward for your thoughtfulness in providing the boat," said Grace.

"That means I'll have to look out, or she'll be wanting me to do something more before night," spoke Will.

"I hope Mr. Franklin has fires lighted in our cabin," remarked Grace after a bit. "It will be real chilly, I'm afraid," and she drew her very becoming furs closer about her. Her face was framed in them, and she looked, as Allen said, "like a picture on a magazine cover."

"I don't know whether to feel complimented or not," she confessed with a laugh. "I only know I'm cold-d-d-d-d! Burrrrr!" and she shivered.

"It isn't as warm as skating," said Allen. "But perhaps this may help," and with one hand he took from a box a long, round object. "It's a vacuum bottle of hot coffee," he explained. "I didn't think, until the last minute, or I'd have brought chocolate, Grace."

"Oh, coffee will do just as well!" she hastened to assure him. "It is just what I want to drive the shivers away."

"There are some cups there in that other box," said Allen to Frank. "If you'll get them out, and pass the refreshments around."

"Happy to oblige!" exclaimed Frank.

"There is sugar and milk already in the coffee," explained the young lawyer. "I hope none of you object."

They did not, as it developed, and soon they were sipping the hot beverage while gliding along, the wind having died out somewhat.

As they made the turn around the bend, a little later, they got the full force of the breeze, which, increasing in power, sent them along so suddenly that the ice boat tilted on two runners.

"Oh, dear!" screamed Grace, clutching Mollie, and causing her to spill what remained of the cup of coffee.

"There, look what you did!" snapped the French girl, quickly.

"I-I didn't mean to," said Grace, contritely. "I thought we were going to spill."

"This was the only 'spill' there was," laughed Betty, as she helped Grace wipe up the trickling beverage.

"Oh, well, it doesn't matter," said Mollie-"mollified Mollie," as Will expressed it later. The little flash of temper died out almost as soon as it showed.

"Steady all!" called Allen, for the girls were moving about, and he needed less motion in order to handle the boat easily.

They were proceeding along at a fast pace when, from behind one of the boathouses along the shore of the frozen river, there shot out a small ice craft, containing two persons. It was so sudden, and cut so sharply across the path of the Spider, that Allen narrowly avoided a collision.

"Why don't you look before you come out?" he called sharply to the steersman of the smaller

craft.

"Why don't you keep more to the middle of the river?" was the retort, and then the boat shot around and took the same direction as the one in which the Spider was going.

"Why, there's Alice Jallow in that boat!" exclaimed Betty. "Did you see, girls?"

"Sure enough! So it was!" agreed Mollie. "But who is that fellow with her?"

"Harry Brook," answered Will.

"Do you know him?" demanded Grace, quickly.

"A little. He's a new lad in town."

"Has he been going with-her-long?" asked Betty.

"I don't know. First time I ever saw him with her. Mind that chunk of wood just ahead, Allen."

"I see it, thanks. That fellow gave me a scare, though. I never saw him until I was almost into him."

"That's right," assented Frank. "I guess he doesn't know much about running one of these things. How are you coming on with your--" he added, looking at Will.

"Do you think it will rain?" asked Will, promptly, looking up into the cloudless sky, and nudging Frank sharply. "Keep still," he whispered.

"What is it?" demanded Grace. "Do you know his secret, Frank?"

"If he tells-I'll have revenge!" cried Will in theatrical fashion. "Mum's the word, old man," and he glanced significantly at Frank.

"All right-don't worry," was the retort.

"They seem to think they are having a race with us," remarked Allen, nodding in the direction of the other boat. It was a little distance ahead, but off to one side, a considerable space of glittering ice separating the two craft.

"Maybe he saw us coming, and shot out that way to make Alice think he was some ice yachtsman," suggested Will. "I'll tell him what I think the next time I see him."

"Oh, don't make any more trouble, Will," begged his sister. "We seem to be on the outs enough with the Jallow family. I only hope we don't meet Mr. Jallow up in the woods."

"He wouldn't dare annoy you," spoke Allen. "I know something about your father's case, and I think, when it is next tried, that Jallow will lose. He deserves to, I think, and I have gone over most of the evidence."

"If we could only get that missing lumberman to testify," said Grace, "it would end it all in papa's favor. But I suppose that is too much to hope for."

They were moving swiftly along now, and were a little more than a quarter of the way to the lumber camp. They intended to stop at noon, which would see them three-quarters there, and eat the lunch they had brought along.

It did seem that Alice and the young fellow with her invited the Spider to a race, but Allen knew better than to accept. The other boat was a light craft, built purposely for racing, whereas the larger boat was not.

Gradually the boat containing the two occupants drew away up the river. Our friends gave it little thought until, when they were discussing the advisability of eating lunch, Frank called out:

"Here he comes back, tacking against the wind."

"Yes, and he doesn't know how to do it," said Allen in a low voice. "He'll have trouble if he doesn't watch out."

The small boat came nearer and nearer, gliding from side to side of the frozen river to make distance against a quartering wind.

"Look out where you're going!" suddenly cried Allen, as he saw the craft headed directly for the Spider. "Luff there! Luff!"

Evidently in the emergency the other boy lost his head. He came straight on, but Allen was not minded to suffer a collision. Quickly he shifted his helm, and so quickly that the next moment the Spider overturned, spilling them all out.

There were hoarse shouts from the boys, and shrill screams from the girls as Allen, who had managed to jump clear, raced after the still moving boat to prevent it becoming damaged.

And, as he looked back to see the figures of his friends more or less entangled in luggage and fur robes, scattered over the ice, he saw the boat, the action of which had made it necessary for him to spill, herself turn over, throwing out Alice and her friend.

"Anybody hurt?" asked Will, as he sat up, a robe around his shoulders.

"Guess not," answered Frank, taking a quick survey of the girls. They were laughing now, and getting up.

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