The Girl Scout's Triumph; or, Rosanna's SacrificeBurt L. Standish / Young Adult
Produced by Bruce Albrecht, Mary Meehan and the OnlineDistributed Proofreading Team at http://www.pgdp.net
Girl Scouts Series, Volume 3
The Girl Scout's Triumph
By Katherine Keene Galt
THE SAALFIELD PUBLISHING COMPANY CHICAGO AKRON, OHIO NEW YORK MADE IN U. S. A.
Copyright, MCMXXI, by THE SAALFIELD PUBLISHING COMPANY
THE GIRL SCOUTS SERIES
1 THE GIRL SCOUTS AT HOME
2 THE GIRL SCOUTS RALLY
3 THE GIRL SCOUT'S TRIUMPH
Claire was lying there on the rug, and Claire was crying.Rosanna slid from her bed and ran across the room.]
THE GIRL SCOUT'S TRIUMPH
The red-haired girl stared fixedly out of the window. There was nothingto look at but black night, and the light from within turned the glassinto a dusky mirror where her image was clearly reflected. But shestared at it unseeingly, busy with her thoughts.
She was very early, but in fifteen minutes or so the Girl Scouts wouldcommence to arrive. It was something of an ordeal to face the strangersand she had planned to be the first one in the room. She thought it adistinct advantage to meet them so rather than to enter the room feelingthat the fifteen or twenty pairs of eyes were all noting her and thebrains belonging to them were registering the usual formula, Goodness,what _red_ hair!
She never could see why people always spoke of her hair. Certainly therewere redder heads, and her heavy, waving locks were always perfectlycared for, glossy and brushed with careful attention. She pulled thelong braid over her shoulder and looked at it. The braid was thickerthan her wrist, and when unbound it reached nearly to her knees. Almostpetulantly she swung it behind her and turned her eyes toward the windowagain. They were queer eyes, a strange sea-green in color, and theirblack lashes and straight brows gave them a dark and broodingexpression. She was pale, but it was not a wholesome pallor. She lookedlike a girl whose hours were not good, who sat up too late, and ate thewrong kinds of food. Her supple slender hands were bare except for alittle finger ring of green jade set in silver. Her wrist-watch showedits tiny face from the center of a silver and jade bracelet. She worethe jewel pushed far up her sleeve.
The door opened, and a tiny figure in the uniform of the Scout Captainentered. The red-haired girl, still staring into the night, did notbother to turn, and with a long glance at the unfamiliar and unfriendlyback the little lady who had just entered advanced to the table in thecenter of the room and arranged the papers lying there. Occasionally shedirected a puzzled glance toward the girl at the window, but silencefilled the big room and the resolute shoulders showed no sign ofcuriosity or embarrassment. The little lady at the table smiled. She waswell aware that the girl at the window, looking into the dark pane as ina looking-glass, was watching her closely. She frowned suddenly at thegirl's rudeness, then smiled and went on with her task.
A little later the door opened and a laughing, chattering group entered.Then and not until then did the red-haired girl rise and advance.
The girls stared, and the stranger's lip curled. Her red hair! It wasalways so. Walking slowly toward the table, she started to give aperfunctory salute, a salute which changed character and became snappyenough as she felt her gaze held by a pair of deep, compelling eyes. TheScout Captain was tiny and looked not a day over sixteen; but she wasthe Captain, and the red-haired stranger reluctantly admitted it toherself. She could not complain of the friendliness of her greeting.Wanderer as she was, drifting here and there over the world, a Scout inone place after another, she was aware that here were girls filled withthe simplest and most charming courtesy. Each one met her with a sweetwarmth of manner that almost pierced her chill and reserve, and when sheturned and took her seat as the business meeting commenced, the girlswere all along wondering if the stranger was shy, sad, or merely bored.A feeling of puzzled resentment stirred in a few. If the strange girldid not wish to be friendly, why had she brought herself and her jadegreen eyes and her queer ring into their happy circle?
The meeting progressed quietly. The strange new element cast a spellover the happy group. It was not as though they were depressed; it wasrather as though they were waiting for something to happen, as thoughit was time for the curtain to go up on a new and exciting play.
The girls, all a little restless by nature, smiled, shifted in theirseats and occasionally touched each other with friendly, caressinghands. They regarded the little Captain with adoring eyes and castquestioning and friendly glances toward the newcomer.
She, however, ignored them all. It was as though she sat alone, herstrange, deep eyes fixed on the Captain's sparkling face, studying itwith cool, impersonal interest. She never changed her easy, gracefulposition, and her delicate hands rested in her lap motionless as thoughcarved from wax.
The meeting closed, and as was their custom when a new girl joined, theScouts gathered around the stranger with pretty, friendly advances. Asthey spoke to her, she regarded them with the same curious gaze she hadbent on the Scout Captain.
We are so glad you have joined us, said a sparkling mite, dancing fromone tiny foot to the other. You say your name is Claire Maslin? Mine isEstella LaRue.
And mine is Jane Smith, said a tall beauty with golden hair andpansy-blue eyes.
Plain Jane, laughed little Estella, swinging on Jane's arm.
Have you just moved to Louisville? asked another girl softly.
Yes, said Claire. It was the first time she had spoken and the girlswaited breathlessly for more information. But the simple yes was herwhole contribution.
Well, you must let us see a lot of you, said a bright-faced girl withdocked hair. Where do you live?
At the Seelbach at present, said Claire Maslin. Her voice was verydeep and throaty for a young girl, and she spoke slowly.
Again the girls waited, expecting an invitation to call, but Claire saidnothing. The silence grew oppressive. At the table the Scout Captain anda group of the girls were deep in some important discussion. No helpcould be expected from that quarter. It came, however, as the coloredhouse-boy appeared at the door.
Cunnel Maslin's car, he announced.
Good-night, said Claire Maslin, her sudden smile sweeping the groupand embracing them all. She left them and, moving easily toward thetable, said a polite but brief good night to the little Captain.
We will see you out, said Estella LaRue, tugging at plain Jane andaccompanying the newcomer to the door. She passively allowed them tocome, and the door closed.
In five minutes the two girls, round eyed and astonished, rushed back.
Oh, what _do_ you think? cried Jane.
Yes, what? echoed Estella, dancing up and down.
_I_ think she is a fairy princess in disguise, said Jane, nodding hergolden head.
_I_ think she is a grouch, said a stout girl at the table, turningsuddenly.
Why, Mabel, you positively must not say a thing like that! said thelittle Captain in a shocked tone. She is shy, and it is a good deal tocome and meet so many girls at one time.
Do let us tell you what happened! begged Estella. We followed her outinto the cloak-room, and she put on the _best_ looking hat and Janecommenced to look for a cloak that might be hers. But I was watchingher, and she put her hand inside her blouse, and brought out a littlehandful of stuff and shook it out, and oh dear, oh dear, you never,never saw anything so wonderful!
It was a big scarf of silk or chiffon or crepe. Something soft andcobwebby and heavy all at the same time. She wound it around her, andEstella stuttered, 'Won't you freeze in that?'
She said, 'My cloak is in the hall,' and we followed her down to thedoor, and there--
Standing against the wall, broke in Estella--
Like a graven image, interrupted Jane--
Was a _Chinaman_! cried both girls.
A _Chinaman_! exclaimed the crowd as one girl.
Yes, said Jane, while Estella danced up and down and nodded violently.He had her cloak over his arm, and she spoke to him in some jabberylanguage, Chinese I suppose, and he shook the cloak open and put itaround her shoulders. It was soft white fur.
Simply _too_ lovely, sighed Estella.
Then she said good-night, nothing else, and went out with the Chinamanfollowing, completed Jane.
Who can she be? said Estella dreamily.
A fairy princess, I reckon.
Fairy fiddlesticks! laughed the little Captain. It is all verysimple. Her father has been here to see me. He is a colonel in the Armyand for a long time was stationed in China. Hence the Chinese servant.Her father, Colonel Maslin, is very anxious to have her know some nicegirls. Claire joined the Girl Scouts when they were stationed inWashington. Colonel Maslin says Claire finds it difficult to makeadvances, and I want you all to be as friendly as you can be.
Well, I would hate to have a heathen holding _my_ cloak, said Mabelpiously. What did he have on?
Chinese clothes, of course, and made of silk, and all loose and baggyand flowing and embroidered, and sort of bluish and purplish andgoldish.
Must have been rather weird, said Mabel, sniffing.
It wasn't weird one bit, declared Estella. It was the most gorgeousthing I ever saw except that white fur cloak. Oh, and did you noticethat queer ring she wears? Just exactly the color of her eyes. I supposethat is Chinese too.
She has had a most thrilling life, I am sure, said the little Captain.I think she can tell us some interesting things when she feelsacquainted with us. She is either very reserved or very shy. Don't rushher; just be your own dear friendly selves, my girls, and do all you canfor her. Something tells me that Claire Maslin needs us.
Someone always needs us, seems to me, said Mabel. We just get oneperson off our minds when up pops someone else.
Well, don't you think it is splendid and all sorts of fun to be ofservice? demanded a bright, pretty, blond girl with docked hair.
I suppose so, grumbled Mabel, but I think sometimes it would be niceto think just about myself for a while.
The girls looked shocked, but the little Captain suddenly laughed. Verywell, she said. It is worth trying if you think it would make youhappy. I will detail you, Mabel, to make a study of this. For the comingweek I want you to think wholly and _only_ of yourself. You will keep adaily notebook and jot down exactly what you do for yourself and whatyou leave undone for others. Be sure to make note of the amount ofhappiness you get out of it. You will report at our weekly meeting nextSaturday. There is an extra meeting on Wednesday but you need notpresent any report then.
Mabel looked at Mrs. Horton with round, astonished eyes.
Why, Captain, I can't _do_ it, she said. My mother wouldn't allow itat all. Why, she simply wouldn't! She is always preaching generosity andunselfishness.
I don't believe she will notice what you are doing, said the Captain.If she does, you can explain it to her. Otherwise say nothing at all.This is a Scout order, remember, and I expect you to do it with all yourheart. We want to work this out. It will be very interesting to learnjust how much pleasure one can get from absolute selfishness. That iswhat you really mean, you know, Mabel, when you want to live entirelyfor yourself.
If everyone did it, no one would have to do anything for anyone else,would they? Everything would be all done, and everyone would be doingjust what they liked best to do, said Mabel, sticking to her point.
Perhaps, granted the Captain. It is worth trying out.
Why don't we all try it for a week? suggested Mabel, feeling thatperhaps there was safety in numbers.
That would be upsetting, said the Captain. You shall be our pioneer,Mabel.
Well, mother won't stand for it, I know, said the girl as she pulledon her soft tam-o'-shanter and said good-night. She went out verythoughtfully and the Captain with a queer little smile hurried to thetelephone booth and called a certain number. A long conversation withMabel's mother followed: a conversation punctuated by much laughter anda little sadness.
When the Captain returned to the big scout room, all the girls had goneexcepting the three she loved the best. Elsie Hargrave, the littleFrench orphan adopted by Mrs. Hargrave and living in her splendidresidence near by; Helen Culver, whose clever father had once been oldMrs. Horton's chauffeur; and the Captain's niece by marriage, RosannaHorton: Rosanna of the dark eyes and lovely smile; Rosanna, whose tenderand generous disposition made her well-loved wherever she went.
What did you do that for, sweetness? said Rosanna, putting an armaround the tiny Captain.
You mean that detail for Mabel? laughed little Mrs. Horton. She needsit, and I am sure it will work out exactly right. Mabel is continuallyfretting about what she has to do for other people and what she isobliged to do at home. I think she is not nearly so selfish as she triesto be, but she is certainly taking a wrong turn. I want to help her if Ican.
She will be punished if she gets any worse than usual, said Helen withconviction. Her mother just simply _hates_ selfishness and keeps afterMabel all the time.
Perhaps that is where part of the trouble lies, said Mrs. Horton,nodding her head. Well, I don't believe she will interfere this time.
Trust the dear little one to arrange all, said Elsie in her prettyway.
We will have a good many thrills, I think, said Helen, laughing,between Mabel's experiment and that funny new girl, Claire Maslin.
Mrs. Horton looked grave.
Confidentially, girls, I have a feeling that the 'funny new girl' asyou call her, is not so funny after all. There is trouble enough theresomewhere, and we must help her through.