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   Chapter 9 GETTING SETTLED

The Outdoor Girls in a Winter Camp / Or, Glorious Days on Skates and Ice Boats By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 7628

Updated: 2017-12-04 00:02


Only a glance was needed to show that none of the party of campers had been more than bruised. They were all up now, getting rid of the entangling rugs, and collecting the scattered baggage, which had slid over the ice in various directions.

"Never mind that," advised Allen, who was busy with the ropes of the ice boat. "Let's right this, fellows," he suggested, "and see if it's damaged any. It doesn't look so; but we'd better make sure."

It was no easy task to get the boat on her runners again, but the girls lent their strength, no small feature in the aggregate, and soon the Spider was on her legs again, if that be the proper term.

"Look-they seem to be having trouble," remarked Betty, pointing to the overturned ice boat with one hand, while with the other she tried to get her rebellious hair in some sort of order. Her locks had become loosed-as had those of her chums-in the spill.

The youth who had been responsible for the accident was standing near Alice, seemingly ill at ease. Alice Jallow appeared to be crying. The boat was some distance off, and it needed but a glance to show that the mast was broken.

"Maybe she's hurt!" suggested Will, starting on the run toward the two figures. Allen had lowered the sail of the Spider and had tossed out a sharp-pronged ice anchor.

"Shall we-I wonder if we had better go to Alice?" asked Mollie, doubtfully.

"Oh, yes, we must, I think," spoke Betty. "Come on, girls." And even Amy, who might have been excused for not going, under the circumstances, started toward Alice, while Allen and Frank seeing that there was assistance enough, worked to get their own craft in shape, and to replace the rugs and luggage.

"Are you-can we help you-is there anything the matter, Alice?" asked Betty, gently, as she reached the sobbing girl.

"I can't get her to tell me," spoke Harry Brook. "But I don't believe she's more than scared."

"I am so! My elbow hurts terrible!" exclaimed Alice, petulantly.

"Perhaps if I look at it," suggested Grace, laying a hand on the arm of Alice.

"I'll thank you to let me alone!" was the snappish retort. "It was your fault we upset, anyhow. Let me alone!"

"Whew!" whistled Will. "Well, I like that!"

And his sister and her chums wished they were free to express themselves as forcibly.

"Our fault!" cried Will. "Why, you came right for us, Brook! You know you did. We had to jibe to get out of your way, and that's what put us in bad."

"I know it-I'm sorry," Harry had the grace to answer. "My mast is broken, too. The rudder seemed to jam, and I couldn't shift it."

"Well, I guess we can be of no service here," said Betty, a bit coldly. "Come on, girls," and without so much as a glance at the girl who had spurned their kind offer the four chums started back. It was very evident that Alice was not much hurt, for she walked off to one side.

"Shall I give you a hand at righting your boat, Harry?" asked Will, after rather an awkward pause.

"Yes-if you will. I guess I don't know so much about ice craft as I thought I did. It was easy enough going before the wind, but when I turned to tack I had trouble. I'll just run her up on shore and see what I can do to-morrow about getting a new mast. Any of your crowd hurt?"

"No, only their-feelings."

"I'm sorry."

"Oh, well, accidents will happen." Will looked narrowly at Alice, but she averted her gaze. Then, when Harry had assured him there was nothing more to do, Will set out to rejoin his friends, while Harry, after sliding the ice boat to shore, set off down the frozen stream with Alice.

"I wouldn't like to be in his shoes," remarked Frank when the situation had been explained to him. "Alice will have it in for him, all right."

"Well, perhaps after her show of uncalled-for temper he'll not want

to have anything more to do with her," said Mollie. "I wouldn't-if I were in his place."

Allen found that their ice boat had not been in the least damaged, and when the spilled-out possessions had been gathered up and replaced, they resumed their way with the hoisting of the sail.

"I hope the lunch isn't spoiled," remarked Grace. "I'm hungry."

"So am I," was the general admission.

A few miles farther on they came to a sheltered cove where they stopped and ate dinner. They made hot chocolate over a little fire of driftwood on shore.

Then they kept on up the river, the wind holding good, and about three o'clock reached the lumber camp. Allen sent the ice boat up to the little dock in proper style, and one after another the young people leaped out.

"Whoop!" yelled Will. "Here we are! Whoop!"

"Be still, you-Indian!" begged Grace.

"Indians always whoop," he said. "I want to let Franklin know we're here!"

From one of the cabins, clustered in the wood, a short distance back from the shore of the frozen river, came a grizzled but pleasant-faced man. In the doorway stood a short, stout woman, smiling a welcome.

"Well, you got here, I see," remarked Mr. Franklin, genially, as he took two suitcases. "Mother and I've been expecting you, and we've got a hot supper all ready but putting on the table."

"Oh, that was too much work, though it's lovely of you!" protested Grace.

"We expected to cook our own meal," added Mollie. "You will get us into bad habits."

"THEY MADE HOT CHOCOLATE OVER A LITTLE FIRE OF DRIFTWOOD."-Page 78.

The Outdoor Girls in a Winter Camp.

"Eatin's the best habit I know of!" chuckled the care-taker. "I've been acquirin' it for a good many years and it hasn't hurt me yet. I expect to keep right on with it, too. I hope you didn't lose your appetites on the way."

"No danger," remarked Will. "Is everything all right?"

"Yes. All your stuff come; there's a lot of grub, plenty of wood, and all you've got to do is to enjoy yourself."

"Has that fellow-Jallow-or any of his men made trouble?" Will asked, when the girls had gone on ahead.

"Not much; no. I did catch one of 'em on our land the other day-on land there's no question but what your father owns. I ordered him off."

"Did he go?"

"Yep."

"Peaceably?"

"Well, no, not exactly. I had to sort of-shove him off, and I'm afraid he stumbled and bumped his nose," chuckled Mr. Franklin.

"That's the way!" cried Will, laughing.

The cabins to be occupied by the boys and girls were close together, and that used by Mr. Franklin and his wife was not far off. All three were near to the water, and back of them was a forest of big trees, gaunt and bare now, their black limbs tossing restlessly in the wind.

Baggage was put away, a hasty survey was taken of the camp and the cabins, and then, as it got dark soon, Mrs. Franklin, with whom all the girls fell in love at first sight, suggested an early supper. And a most bountiful one it was, though the dining room was rather taxed. But that only made it the more merry.

"And now to get settled!" exclaimed Betty, as she and the girls went over to their cabin.

"You'll find the bunks all made up!" called Mrs. Franklin, "and if you haven't covers enough you'll find more in the big chest."

"That's good," agreed Grace. "I hate to be cold!"

"You want to get more flesh and you'll be warmer!" said Amy, who was rather plump.

"Ugh! Flesh! Never!" declared the willowy Grace.

They began unpacking their trunks and suitcases, each one appropriating part of the bureaus and wall space. From the cabin of the boys came shouts and laughter.

"Cutting up-as usual," observed Grace. "Oh, I wonder if I left out that big box of chocolates?" and frantically she began searching in her trunk.

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