THE CAMP IN THE FOREST
The clear, musical call, rising from the green tangle of the forest that fringed the bay, seemed to float lingeringly above the treetops and out over the wide stretch of gleaming water, to a girl in a green canoe, who listened intently until the last faint echo died away, then began paddling rapidly towards the wooded slope. The sun, just dropping below the horizon, flooded the western sky with a blaze of colour that turned the wide waters into a sea of gold, through which the little craft glided swiftly, scattering from its slender prow showers of shining drops.
“I’m going to find out what that means,” the girl said under her breath. “It sounds like an Indian call, but I’m sure those were not Indian voices.”
On and on, steadily, swiftly, swept the green canoe, until, rounding a wooded point, it slipped suddenly into a beautiful little cove where there was a floating dock with a small fleet of canoes and rowboats surrounding it, and steps leading up the slope. The girl smiled as she stepped lightly out on the dock, and fastened her canoe to one of the rings.
“A girls’ camp it surely is,” she said to herself. “I’m going to get a glimpse of it anyhow.”
Running up the steps, she followed a well-trodden path through a pine grove, and in a few minutes, through the trees, she caught the gleam of white tents and stopped to reconnoitre. A dozen or more tents were set irregularly around an open space; also there was a large frame building with canvas instead of boarding on two sides, and adjoining this a small frame shack, evidently a kitchen—and girls were everywhere.
“O, I’m hungry for girls!” breathed the one peering through the green branches. “I wonder if I dare venture——” She broke off abruptly, staring in surprise at a group approaching her. Then she ran forward crying out, “Why, Anne Wentworth—to think of finding you here!”
“To think of finding you here, Laura Haven! Where did you drop from?” cried the other. The two were holding each other’s hands and looking into each other’s faces with eyes full of glad surprise.
“I? I didn’t drop—I climbed—up the steps from the landing,” Laura laughed. “I was out on the bay in my canoe—we came up yesterday in the yacht—and I heard that beautiful Indian call, and I just had to find out where it came from, and what it meant. I suspected a girls’ camp, but of course I never dreamed of finding you here. Do tell me all about it. It is a camp, isn’t it?”
“Yes, we are Camp Fire Girls,” Anne Wentworth replied. She glanced behind her, but the others had disappeared. “They vanished for fear they might be in the way,” she said. “O Laura, I’m so glad you’re here, for this is the night for our Council Fire. You can stay to it, can’t you—I’m sure you would be interested.”
“Stay—how long? It’s after sunset now.”
“O, stay all night with me, and all day to-morrow. You must stay to the Council Fire to-night, anyhow.”
“I’d love to dearly, but father won’t know where I am.” Laura’s voice was full of regret....