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

   Chapter 10 WARNED OFF

The Outdoor Girls in a Winter Camp / Or, Glorious Days on Skates and Ice Boats By Laura Lee Hope Characters: 7340

Updated: 2017-12-04 00:02

"Girls, it's gone!"

Thus cried Grace, as a further search of her possessions did not reveal the box of candy.

"What is?" asked Mollie, who had not heard the first frantic cry.

"That lovely big box of chocolates father gave me! I'm sure I put it in the tray of my trunk when I was packing, but now--"

A perfect storm of things seemed to fly from the trunk, not only the "annex," as Mollie termed the tray, but the "main hotel" as well.

"Grace, you'll have this room a perfect sight!" protested Betty.

"Can't help it!" returned the chocolate-lover. "I must find it. Amy, you were with me the day I packed; what did I do with that box with the pink ribbon?"

"Oh, that; why the last I saw of it was on your dresser. Don't you remember? You took it out for a moment, after putting it in, to see if your ribbon box wouldn't go in that place better. Then you--"

"Yes, I know!" interrupted Grace. "I forgot to put it back. Then the telephone rang, and I went to answer it. Will was in talking to you when I came back again, and--"

"Perhaps he did not take it-you may have simply left it home," suggested Betty.

Grace nervously tossed her possessions back into her trunk. There came a knock at the cabin door.

"Come!" cried Mollie, who was in the outer apartment.

"I say, Grace!" cried Will's voice as he entered. "There are two buttons off my coat-must have torn loose when we upset. Sew 'em on, will you?"

"Not now, Will, I'm busy-I can't find something. I'll sew 'em on to-morrow."

"Yes, around noon. We fellows are going off early. There may be a bear or two up here, and we brought our guns, you know."

"I can't bother."

"Then Amy will," said the boy. "Say 'yes,' Amy, and I'll give you a lovely box of chocolates, with a pink ribbon on!"

"Will Ford!" cried Grace, striding up to him. "Give me my candy this instant!"

"Your candy?" Will pretended much surprise.

"Yes, certainly, my candy. The box of Walford's papa gave me!"

She pulled his hand from behind his back and there was revealed the missing box of confections.

"There it is!" Grace cried. "I knew he had my candy!"

"Your candy? Say, Sis, if it's yours, how in the world did it get in my suitcase, I'd like to know?"

"Was it there?"

"Honor bright!"

Grace looked puzzled for a moment, and then she exclaimed:

"I see now. I had it in my hand when I went in your room as you were packing. I wanted to get a piece of wrapping paper for it, and just then you cut your finger, and--"

"Yes, and you ran out like a scared cat, and dropped the candy in my suitcase," finished her brother. "I thought you meant to give it to me, so I kept it, and toted it up here. Now will you sew those buttons on for me?"

"Yes, Will," answered Grace, meekly, as she accepted the box.

"I thought that would fetch you around," he said with a cheerful grin. "Never mind, Amy, next time it will be you."

The unpacking was finished, bunks were prepared and for a little while, before turning in for the night, Will and his chums called on his sister and her friends. Mr. Franklin dropped in to see if the young folks needed anything. He had filled a number of lamps for them, so there was no lack of light, that winter evening.

The ice boat had been safely moored, plans had been made for breakfast, and the boys had evinced a determination to get up early and go hunting.

"Are there any bears up here, Mr. Franklin?" asked Amy, nervously, looking out of the window.

"Well, there has been known to be a few, especially in a hard winter. They come out once in a while to sort of feed-up on our stock, if they haven't eaten enough to sleep 'em thr

ough to Spring."

"Would you call this a hard winter?" Amy went on.

"Well, middlin' so," was the slow answer.

"What are you driving at, Amy?" Mollie wanted to know.

"It's a problem in geometry," said Will. "Things that are equal to the same thing are equal to each other. A bear comes out to feed in a hard winter-this is a hard winter, therefore a hungry bear is equal to a hard winter. Eh, Amy?"

"It wasn't that at all!" she declared, blushing. "I only was wondering if they would-would annoy us here."

"I won't let 'em bite you, Amy!" said Will, with a protecting, brotherly air-too brotherly, Grace said it was.

"I guess all the bears you'll get down here you can put in your trunk," laughed the old woodsman. "Well, I must be gettin' back. This is late for me. 'Most nine."

Indeed, they were all tired from the day's travel, and soon the boys had been "shooed" away and the girls let down their hair.

After a hysterical half-hour or so, which always seems to follow when one retires after a day spent in getting to a strange place, the girls were asleep.

Amy awoke with a start shortly after midnight. She knew this because a light left burning low in the living room shone on a small clock. And as the girl listened she heard a crunching sound out on the frozen snow.

"Some one is trying to get in the cabin!" was the fearsome conclusion to which she jumped. Then in her fright she called: "Betty-Mollie! Wake up!"

Mollie was the first to rouse.

"What is it?" she asked, sitting up in bed.

"Some one outside-they're walking around the cabin. I'm sure they're trying to get in. Oh, please call Mr. Franklin, or the boys! I'm so frightened!"

"Nonsense!" exclaimed Mollie. "Wait until I take a look. No use sounding a false alarm."

Grace and Betty wakened at the sound of the others' voices, and asked what was going on.

"I'll look out and see what it," volunteered Betty, her room being nearest the window. She slipped from bed and a moment later called:

"Sillies! It's nothing but Mr. Franklin's dog keeping guard around the house. He's walking like a sentinel. Go to sleep, all of you."

"Oh, I'm so relieved!" murmured Amy, but it was some time before she closed her eyes again for an uninterrupted slumber.

Morning came, with no further alarms having been reported, and, after some confusion, due to their new environment, the girls got their breakfast. They sent over some hot pancakes to the boys, for they could tell by the sounds coming from their cabin that the meal there was not progressing favorably.

In spite of the fact that Mr. Franklin was not very encouraging about the presence of bears, the boys determined to go off and see for themselves. They each had a gun.

"Then we girls will go for a walk," decided Betty. "The woods must be interesting at this time of year. And it isn't as cold as it was yesterday."

They set out, comfortably equipped for a walk, with short skirts and leggings, for the snow was rather deep. There were woodland trails and logging roads and the girls alternated on them; seeing much to wonder at and admire, for the woods in winter are more interesting than many suppose who have never seen them except in Summer or Fall.

The girls went on for perhaps three miles, and were thinking of turning back, for it was nearing noon, when a voice hailed them from a dense growth of hemlock trees.

"I say, you folks will have to git away from there. You're on private ground. Git off!" and there stepped into view a burly, roughly-dressed man, accompanied by a bulldog. Master and dog looked equally savage.

"Go on!" ordered the man, "before I--"

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