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- The Campfire Girls Go Motoring - 1/30 -


[Illustration: "YES, I AM RUNNING AWAY," SAID THE GIRL IN A TONE OF DESPERATION.]

The Camp Fire Girls Go Motoring

OR

Along the Road that Leads the Way

By HILDEGARD G. FREY

AUTHOR OF

"The Camp Fire Girls in the Maine Woods," "The Camp Fire Girls at School," "The Camp Fire Girls at Onoway House."

THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS GO MOTORING

CHAPTER I.

It is at Nyoda's bidding that I am writing the story of our automobile trip last September. She declared it was really too good to keep to ourselves, and as I was official reporter of the Winnebagos anyway, it was no more nor less than my solemn duty. Sahwah says that the only thing which was lacking about our adventures was that we didn't have a ride in a patrol wagon, but then Sahwah always did incline to the spectacular. And the whole train of events hinged on a commonplace circumstance which is in itself hardly worth recording; namely, that tan khaki was all the rage for outing suits last summer. But then, many an empire has fallen for a still slighter cause.

The night after we came home from Onoway House and shortly before we started on that never-to-be-forgotten trip, I was sitting at the window watching the evening stars come out one after another. That line of Longfellow's came into my mind:

"Silently, one by one, in the infinite meadows of heaven, Blossomed the lovely stars, the forget-me-nots of the angels."

That quotation set me to thinking about Evangeline and the tragedy of her never finding her lover. Could it be possible, I thought, that two people could come so near to finding each other and yet be just too late? Not in these days of long distance telephones, I said to myself. As I looked out dreamily into the mild September twilight, I idly watched two little girls chasing each other around the voting booth that stood on the corner. They kept dodging around the four sides, playing cat and mouse, and trying to catch each other by means of every trick they could think of. One would go a little way and then stop and listen for the footsteps of the other; then she would double back and go the other way, and thus they kept it up, never coming face to face. I stopped dreaming and gave them my entire attention; I was beginning to feel a thrill of suspense as to which one would finally outwit the other and overtake her. The darkness deepened; more stars came out; the moon rose; still the exciting game did not come to a finish. Finally, a woman came out on the porch of the house on the corner and called, "Emma! Mary! Come in now." They never caught each other.

When I was elected reporter on the trip to keep a record of the interesting things we saw, so we wouldn't forget them when we came to write the Count, Nyoda said jokingly, "You'd better take an extra note- book along, Migwan, for we might possibly have some adventures on the road."

I answered, "We've had all the adventures this last summer that can possibly fall to the lot of one set of human beings, and I suppose all the rest of our lives will seem dull and uninteresting by comparison."

I presume Fate heard that remark of mine just as she did that other one last summer when I observed to Hinpoha that we were going to have such a quiet time at Onoway House, and sat up and chuckled on the knees of the gods. In the light of future events it seems to me that it couldn't have done less than kick its heels against that Knee and have hysterics.

As I was in the Glow-worm all the time, of course, I was an eye witness to the things which happened to our party only; but the other girls have told their tale so many times that it seems as if I had actually experienced their adventures myself, and so will write everything down as if I had seen it, without stopping to say Gladys said this or Hinpoha told me that. It makes a better story so, Nyoda says.

After Gladys's father had told us we might take the two automobiles and go on a trip by ourselves, he gave us a road map and told us to go anywhere we liked within a radius of five hundred miles and he would pay all the bills, provided, we planned and carried out the whole trip by ourselves, and did not keep telegraphing home for advice unless we got into serious trouble. All such little troubles as breakdowns, hotels and traffic rules we were to manage by ourselves. He has a theory that Gladys should learn to be self-reliant and means to give her every opportunity to develop resourcefulness. He thinks she has improved wonderfully since joining the Winnebagos and considered this motor trip a good way of testing how much she can do for herself. Gladys scoffed at the idea of wiring home for help when Nyoda was along, for Nyoda has toured a great deal and once drove her uncle's car home from Los Angeles when he broke his arm. Gladys's father knew full well that Nyoda was perfectly capable of engineering the trip or he never would have proposed it in the first place, but he never can resist the temptation to tease Gladys, and kept on inquiring anxiously if she knew which side of the road to stop on and where to go to buy gas. Gladys, who had driven her own car for three years! Finally, he offered to bet that we would be wiring home for advice before the end of the trip and Gladys took him up on it. The outcome was that if we returned safe and sound without calling for help Mr. Evans would build us a permanent Lodge in which to hold our Winnebago meetings. Gladys danced a whole figure dance for joy, for in her mind the Lodge was as good as built.

How we did pore over that road map, trying to make up our minds where to go! Nyoda wanted to go to Cincinnati and Gladys wanted to go to Chicago, and the arguments each one put up for her cause were side- splitting. Finally, they decided to settle it by a set of tennis. They played all afternoon and couldn't get a set. We finally intervened and dragged them from the court in the name of humanity, for the sun was scorching and we were afraid they would be doing the Sun Dance as Ophelia did if we didn't rescue them. The score was then 44-44 in games. So now that neither side had the advantage of the other we did as we did the time we named the raft at Onoway House--joined forces. We decided to go both to Cincinnati and Chicago.

As we finally made it out, the route was like this: Cleveland to Chicago by way of Toledo and Ft. Wayne; Chicago to Indianapolis; Indianapolis to Louisville. Here Hinpoha got a look at the map and wanted to know if we couldn't take in Vincennes, because she had been crazy to see the place since reading Alice of Old Vincennes. So to humor her we included Vincennes on the road to Louisville, although it was quite a bit out of the way. Then from Louisville we planned to go up to Cincinnati and see the Rookwood Pottery that Nyoda is so crazy about and come back home through Dayton, Springfield and Columbus. We were all very well pleased with ourselves when we had the route mapped out at last, and none of us were sorry that Nyoda and Gladys couldn't agree on Cincinnati or Chicago and had to compromise and take in both.

Then, when it was decided where we were going, came the no less important question of what we were to wear on the road. We decided on our khaki-colored hiking-suits as the shade that would show the dust the least, and our soft tan regulation Camp Fire hats, with green motor veils. Besides being eminently sensible the combination was wonderfully pretty, as even critical Hinpoha, who, at first wanted us to wear smart white and blue suits, had to admit. It seemed to me the most fitting thing in the world for a group of Camp Fire Girls to sally forth dressed in wood brown and green, the colors of nature which in my mind should be the chosen colors of the whole organization.

We had a discussion about goggles and Gladys and Hinpoha declared flatly that they wouldn't disfigure their faces with them, but Nyoda made us all get them whether we wanted to wear them all the time or not. Nyoda is an advocate of Preparedness. It was this spirit that prompted her to make me take an extra note-book along, not the premonition that there was going to be something to put into it. Nyoda doesn't believe in premonitions since she didn't have any the time she and Gladys got into the blue automobile with the cane streamer that awful day in May.

Then there came the weighty matter of the names of the two cars. I will skip the discussion and merely announce the result. The big, brown car which Gladys was to drive was christened the Striped Beetle, on account of the black and gold stripes, and the black car was called the Glow- worm, because that's what it reminds you of when it comes down the road at night with the lamps lighted and the body invisible in the darkness. Nyoda was to be at the helm, or rather at the wheel, of the Glow-worm.

In order that no feelings might be involved in any way over which car we other girls traveled in, Nyoda, Solomon-like, proposed that she and Gladys play "John Kempo" for us. (That isn't spelled right, but no matter.) Gladys won Hinpoha, Chapa and Medmangi, and Nyoda won Sahwah, Nakwisi and myself. Thus the die was cast and my fortunes linked with those of the Glow-worm.

I don't remember ever being so supremely happy as I was the night before we were to start. All my troubles seemed over for good. The summer venture had been a success and the doors of college stood wide open to receive me when the time came. The awful weight of poverty which had sat on my shoulders last year, and had made my school days more of a nightmare than anything else was lifted, and here was I, "Migwan, the Penpusher", actually about to start out on an automobile trip such as I had often heard described by more fortunate friends, but had never hoped to experience myself. We were all over at Hinpoha's house that night, because Aunt Phoebe had just come back with the Doctor and they wanted to see us.

"And you be careful of your bones, Missis Sahvah!" said the Doctor, playfully shaking his finger at her.

"Are you going if it rains?" asked Aunt Phoebe.

The possibility of rain had never occurred to us, as the only picture


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