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- The Boy Scouts in Front of Warsaw - 23/23 -


stood at twelve. It had been a wonderful trip.

Everything was going well. The Prince was stronger, and his wife, the beautiful Princess, was smiling happily.

All that day and the next the Professor and the three boys went from office to office and back again to the army headquarters, getting the necessary papers.

It was a difficult matter to get everything adjusted, but finally it was done, and there was no longer any reason for them to remain.

They said good-bye to the Princess and her children, and at last started on the journey home.

It was a time to be remembered as long as they lived. All of Europe was plunged in gloom. Even the neutral countries they touched or crossed in their roundabout way were oppressed by such sorrow that it was almost as bad as war.

Reaching a seaport at last, they secured passage on a slow American boat, and it was not until they watched the shore receding from their view that they actually believed that they were on the way home.

"Just the things we have seen coming over from Lodz would fill a book," said Warren to the group at the rail.

"I wouldn't want to read it," said Jack, shuddering.

"Nor I!" said Evelyn. "Oh, boys, you don't know how funny you look in the clothes you have on!"

"What's the matter with my clothes?" said Warren, looking down at the very short trousers and very long coat he was wearing. "I don't see but what I am all right, but doesn't Jack look cuty-cute? Kind of Lord Fauntleroy effect!"

Everyone stared at Jack, who looked himself over in surprise. "It is all they had at that store we went to that would fit me. I try to turn those pants up, but they keep coming down." Everyone laughed as Jack stooped and once more tried to turn up the loose trousers which enveloped his slim legs. Left to themselves, they reached half way to his ankles, so Jack, who was used to knickerbockers, had carefully rolled them to his knee. The result was that most of the time one leg or the other hung dismally down its full length. His jacket was a short roundabout, something like an Eton jacket, and his shirt was soft and frilled.

"I don't see why we didn't just wear the things we had on," he complained.

"I guess not!" said Warren. "Those work clothes? Why, Jack, see how dressy we are now! We look like somebody; a bunch of 'em! We have got sample clothes from half the countries in Europe. See how neutral that makes us! Take yourself, Jack. Your feet are Polish, and your pants are German, and the top of you looks Dutch. Is it?"

"My cap came from home," said Jack furiously, "and so did my face! The minute we get out here a way, I am going to yell Hurrah for America as loud as ever I can."

"Wow!" said Warren. "Excuse me, Jack, old fellow, I didn't mean to be disrespectful. We are all in the same fix as far as clothes go. Even Evelyn looks a little queer. 'All the world is a little queer,' he quoted, 'and thee is a little queer.'"

Safe on board ship, our party found that they were utterly tired out. They slept hour after hour; they were furiously hungry. The days went swiftly, without accident. Professor Morris, true to his new resolutions, spent a great part of each day with his children, and they found him a most delightful and amusing companion. He developed an alarming fondness for the baby, which he persisted in calling "him." He was fond of holding the quiet little creature, but after one of his lapses into the forgetfulness of the past, he happened to think of something he wanted to do so he laid his newspaper in Evelyn's lap, and before she could stop him placed the baby firmly in a waste paper box head down.

After that Evelyn watched him. They had brought a young refugee with them as nurse for the baby, so Evelyn was not burdened with too much care.

The boys played games and made plans and wrote letters. Ivan commenced a diary. He said he would never be able to remember every single thing that was happening, and going to happen, and he didn't want to forget it. Warren planned to have an evening with the home Scouts and tell them all that had occurred.

"And you will be Exhibit A," he declared, clapping Ivan on the shoulder.

The voyage drew to an end, as all fortunate voyages will. The last night came clear and fine. There was a stir of joyful anticipation on the great ship. Everybody packed up what trifles they had been able to bring away with them. Everybody talked and exchanged addresses and said good-bye. The day of landing is always too, full and confused for anything of that sort. Once more the Professor's manuscript seemed to him to be a thing of value. He picked it up and put it down a thousand times. It was a relief to everyone when the hour grew so late that even the most restless turned in, and went to sleep or at least tried to.

At gray dawn Ivan was aroused by Warren shaking him.

"Get up, Ivan, get up!" he cried. "I can see it!" The boy was shaking violently, and his teeth chattered.

"What ails you?" said Ivan, speaking in Polish. "See what?"

Warren answered in English. "America. Home, the little old United States!" A dry sob choked him. "Oh!" he said, "I didn't know I felt like this! Hurry up, old Scout! Dress and let's get out!"

Voices sounded through the ship; people stirred and hurried with their dressing. It was as though a shock of electricity had stirred them. Certainly there had been no spoken call.

As the boys hurried to the deck, the risen sun, a ball of gold, blazed like a celestial blessing, a flood of glory on the marvelous shore line ahead. Warren rushed forward.

But Ivan, without a look, turned and made his solitary way to the stern of the ship, and there, all alone, looked away over the empty sea.

For long he gazed. His eyes were filled with tears.

"Good-bye, my father," he said. "Good-bye, my country. I will come back to you." He flung his hand out in a passionate gesture of farewell. Then with a last look, Prince Ivan, homeless, countryless, and fatherless, slowly turned, and, the boy Ivan went soberly to join Warren, who, crazy with joy, hung yelling over the rail at the prow.

Before them, like the vision of an enchanted land, rose the wonderful shore line of the harbor; and before them, nearer and nearer, clearer and clearer, the Statue of Liberty, wise, strong, majestic, with the only true majesty of earth on her beautiful brow, the majesty of Freedom and of Truth.

They had reached America.

THE END


The Boy Scouts in Front of Warsaw - 23/23

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