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- The Girl Scout Pioneers - 1/29 -


The Girl Scout Pioneers

or

Winning the First B. C.

By Lillian C. Garis

Author of "The Girl Scouts at Bellair," "The Girl Scouts at Sea Crest," etc.

Illustrated

CONTENTS

CHAPTER I. GIRLS AND GIRLS

II. WOODLAND THRILLS

III. A NOBLE DEED UNDONE

IV. PATHS DIVIDING

V. A FRIENDLY ENEMY

VI. A NOVEL JAIL

VII. TENDERFOOT ADVENTURES

VIII. CLUE TO THE MISSING

IX. TRIBUTE OP EOSES

X. TELLING SECRETS

XI. THE TANGLED WEB

XII. TESSIE

XIII. BROKEN FAITH

XIV. WOODLAND MAGIC

XV. VENTURE TROOP

XVI. MORE MYSTERIES

XVII. JACQUELINE

XVIII. DAISIES AND DANGEES

XIX. THE FLYING SQUADRON

XX. CLEO'S EXPERIMENT

XXI. FORGING AHEAD

XXII. THE WHIRLING MAY-POLE

XXIII. RAINBOW'S END

CHAPTER I

GIRLS AND GIRLS

It was much like a scene in a movie play. The shabby dark room lighted by a single oil lamp if any light could make its way through the badly smoked glass that served as a chimney, the broken chair, and the table piled high with what appeared to be rags, but which might have been intended for wearing apparel, the torn window curtain hanging so disconsolately from the broken cord it had one time proudly swung from, and the indescribable bed!

Like some sentinel watching the calamitous surroundings, a girl stood in the midst of this squalor, her bright golden hair and her pretty fair face, with its azure blue eyes, marking a pathetic contrast to all the sordid, dark detail of the ill-kept room. She took from the side pocket of her plaid skirt a bit of crumpled paper, and placing it directly under the lamp, followed its written lines. Having finished the reading, she carefully folded the worn slip again, and returned it to her pocket. Then she threw back her pretty head, and any frequenter of the screen world would have known instantly that the girl had decided--and further, that her decision required courage, and perhaps defiance.

With determination marking every move, she crossed to the tumbled bed, and stooping, dragged from beneath it a bag, the sort called "telescope," and used rarely now, even by the traveling salesman, who at one time found the sliding trunk so useful. It would "telescope," and being thus adjustable, lent its proportions to any sized burden imposed upon it. Into this the girl tossed a few articles selected from the rummage on the table, a pair of shoes gathered from more debris in a corner, and on top a sweater and skirt, taken from a peg on the door. All together this composed rather a pretentious assortment for the telescope.

But the girl did not jam down the cover in that "movie" way common to runaways, rather she paused, glanced furtively about the gloomy place, and finally taking a candle from a very high shelf, lighted the taper, evidently for some delicate task in the way of gathering up her very personal belongings.

In a remote corner of the room an upturned orange box served as sort of stand. The front was covered and festooned with a curtain, dexterously made of a bright skirt, hung over the sides, and draped from a knot at the top. The knot was drawn from the waist band of the skirt, and tied with the original string into a grotesque rosette. All over the box top were such articles as a girl might deem necessary in making a civilized toilette, except at the knot--where the table cover irradiated its fullness into really graceful folds, falling over the orange box-here, on account of the knob, no article was placed, and the rosette stood defiant over the whole surrounding.

The girl placed the candle on a spot made clear for that small round, tin stand, and then glancing anxiously at the door, stole over to make sure that the bolt was shot, hurried back and proceeded to untie the knot of string responsible for the drapery over the orange box. By the glare of the candle's flame her fingers could be seen stained with oil, and grim, as they expertly worked at the tied-up skirt, and finally succeeded in pulling apart the ragged folds. Quickly she slipped one small hand beneath the calico, and, obtaining her quest, drew back to examine it.

One, two, three green bills. Her savings and her fortune. Lights and shadows crossing the youthful face betrayed the hopes, and fears mingling with, such emotions as the girl lived through in this crowded hour, but no sooner had she slipped the small roll of bills into the flaring neck of her thin blouse, than a shaking at the door caused her to kick the telescope bag under the bed, hastily readjust the cover of the orange box, blow out the capering candle flame, and then open the door. A woman young in face but old in posture scuffled in. She wore a shawl on her head, although the season was warm April, and the plentiful quantities of material swathed in her attire proclaimed her foreign.

"Oh, Dagmar. I am tired," she sighed. "I thought you would come down to fix supper for papa. You do not change your skirt? No?"

"I was going to, so I locked the door," replied the girl Dagmar. "But I, too, was tired."

"Yes, it is so. Well, the mill is not so bad. It has a new window near my bench, and I breathe better. But, daughter, we must go down. Keep the door locked as you dress. Those new peoples may not tell which is the right room." With a glance at the fair daughter, so unlike herself in coloring, the working mother dragged herself out again, and soon could be heard cliptrapping down the dark stairs that led to the kitchens on the first floor of the mill workers, community lodgings.

Dagmar breathed deeply and clasped her hands tightly as her mother's tired foottread fell to an echo. Love filled the blue eyes and an affectionate smile wreathed the red lips.

"Poor mother!" she sighed aloud. "I hate to--"

Then again came that look of determination, and when Dagmar slipped down the stairs she carried the telescope and her crochetted hand bag. Her velvet tarn sat jauntily on those wonderful yellow curls, and her modern cape flew gracefully out, just showing the least fold of her best chiffon blouse. Dagmar wore strickly American clothes, selected in rather good taste, and they attracted much attention in the streets of Flosston.

Once clear of the long brown building, through which spots of light now struck the night, out of those desperate rows and rows of machine-made windows, Dagmar made her way straight to the corner, then turned straight again to another long narrow street, her very steps corresponding to that painful directness of line and plan, common to towns made by mill-owners for their employees. Even the stars, now pricking their way through the blue, seemed to throw down straight lines of light on Flosston; nothing varied the mechanical exactness, and monotonous squares and angles of streets, buildings, and high board fences.

One more sharp turn brought the girl within sight of a square, squatty railroad station, and as she sped toward it she caught sight of the figure of another girl, outlined in the shadows. This figure was taller and larger in form than herself, and as Dagmar whistled softly, the girl ahead stopped.

"Oh, you got my note," said the other. "I am so glad. I was afraid you would not come."

"I'm here," replied Dagmar, "bag and baggage, mostly bag," kicking the accommodating and inoffensive telescope. "I hate to carry this


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