MARJORIE’S GOOD TURN

After her talk with John, Marjorie felt as if she could not endure
the days of waiting, until she would have a chance to put her hopes
to the test. Three days previous she had wished that the summer, with
its glorious days of riding, might never come to an end; now, it
could not pass quickly enough. She was restless and excited, unable
to carry on a connected conversation with any of the girls. Several
times she found herself on the point of confiding her hopes to Lily or
Daisy; but, recalling how small were the chances of the girl’s proving
to be Olive, she resolutely restrained herself. The other scouts
noticed her preoccupation and smiled knowingly; they attributed her
absent-mindedness to the presence of John Hadley.

She lost no time, however, in telling them of Mrs. Hadley’s invitation.
Alice and Lily were wild with delight, and most of the others seemed
pleased. Only Daisy was doubtful about accepting it.

“I hardly see how I could, Marj,” she said. “You know public school
begins the eighth of September, and I have to be on the job at the very
start. Now we don’t get home till the fourth, and you know how much
there always is to do. I’m afraid I can’t very well arrange it, much as
I should like to.”

Marjorie showed her disappointment plainly. Was her whole plan to fall
through, then, and was she not to know with certainty whether her
expectancy was to be fulfilled? She resolved to try in every way to
persuade Daisy to reconsider her decision.

“But you won’t be working over the week-end!” she pleaded.

“No, but it’s pretty far from where we live to Cape May. I mean, that
after this summer’s vacation, I really can’t afford the expense.”

Marjorie searched her mind for a method of persuasion.

“Would you consider coming as my treat?” she said. “It would make my
good time so much greater to have you. Please!”

But Daisy shook her head firmly.

“It’s impossible, Marj, thank you just the same! Even if it weren’t
for the expense, I really oughtn’t to leave mother. It’s been hard
enough for her already.”

Reluctantly, Marjorie accepted her refusal, for she could not help
seeing that Daisy was right. As she said, it would be selfish of her
to leave her mother again; and Daisy was never selfish. Perhaps, too,
it might be better. If the girl were not Olive, there would be no use
in dragging Daisy away from her home; and if she should turn out to be
the missing sister, it might even be wiser to break the news to both
girls less abruptly. Such a shock might prove disastrous to either or
both of them, coming as it would, after the long strain.

So the rest of the scouts discussed the invitation and decided that
the first week-end after they had returned to the East would be most
suitable. Accordingly, Marjorie wrote to Mrs. Hadley immediately.

The evening before the scouts were to leave, Kirk Smith asked Marjorie
and Daisy to go out with him to see the moon. Marjorie surmised that he
wanted a little last talk with them privately.

“Daisy,” he began, as soon as they were away from the cabin, “suppose
we don’t write to each other? It would be too much–I couldn’t bear the
excitement of getting a letter from you and finding no news of Olive.
And I’m sure you would feel the same, if you heard from me. So, let’s
agree not to write, unless we have something definite to communicate.
Is it a bargain?”

“Yes,” murmured Daisy, sadly.

Kirk turned to Marjorie.

“On the contrary, Marjorie, I should be glad to hear from you about the
scouts, and whatever news you can find for a lonely man here on the
ranch. When you decide to announce your engagement–” his eyes twinkled
mischievously for a moment–“be sure to tell me about it. And by the
way, I think he’s mighty fine!”

Marjorie blushed in embarrassment.

“Don’t, Kirk–there’s nothing to it–now, at any rate. I’ll be at
college four years, and all sorts of things can happen during that
time.”

It was all Marjorie could do to keep from telling them both of her
hopes, but again she resolutely suppressed the desire. Both Daisy
and Kirk realized that she was unusually happy, but both supposed
it was because of her own joyful existence. Neither realized that
it took something deeper than that to stir the very depths of the
girl’s nature. So she managed to talk of indifferent things, and soon
suggested that they go in, to spend the rest of their time with the
Hiltons.

With the exception of the latter and Kirk Smith, everyone was leaving
the ranch on the morrow. The Melville boys were going East to college,
and their parents were to board their train at St. Paul. So the scouts
were assured of a chaperone.

With the additional members to the party, the journey proved even more
delightful to the girls than the trip out. Only Daisy and Marjorie
were particularly anxious to reach home.

They arrived at New York on Tuesday, and were to separate until the
following Saturday, when they were to go to Cape May.

“Are you going to tell your mother about our secret?” whispered
Marjorie, as she said goodbye to John.

“Yes, I would if I saw her, but I won’t see her before you do–on
Saturday. Because I don’t feel as if it were the sort of thing to
communicate in a letter,” he added.

“No, neither do I,” agreed Marjorie.

“And after all, we have only four days to wait!”

Four days! Marjorie kept repeating the words over and over to herself,
as if in some way she might learn patience from them. Hardly was she in
her own house when she told her mother the whole story, and would talk
of nothing else. It seemed as if the ranch and the summer’s pleasures
were forgotten; her only thought was to solve this mystery about Olive,
and to render this inestimable good turn to Kirk and the members of
Daisy’s family. She displayed no interest at all in shopping, or in
preparing for college. After one day passed, she decided that she could
not possibly wait until Saturday to know the best–or the worst. She
must go to Cape May, immediately; she could not sleep until she had
found out.

“I’m going to telegraph Mrs. Hadley,” she told her mother on Thursday
morning. “I hardly slept at all last night, and I am so restless I
can’t do anything in the day time.”

“But my dear,” remonstrated her mother, “there really isn’t one chance
in a hundred of this girl’s being Olive Gravers. There are so many of
these amnesia victims–you read about them every day in the papers. Or
this Snyder girl might be an escaped criminal, hiding under some such
pretence.”

Marjorie looked hurt at her mother’s words.

“And besides–there’s the dressmaker. It’s very important for you to be
here to get your new clothes ready for college.”

“Bother clothes!” cried the girl, with her usual indifference. “I’m
going to Cape May–this very afternoon–unless you forbid it!”

“Do as you like,” sighed Mrs. Wilkinson with resignation.

Mrs. Hadley received Marjorie’s telegram while she was at luncheon. She
read it and handed it to Dorothy.

Dorothy scanned it, frowned, and half closed her eyes. The name sounded
strangely familiar.

“Marjorie Wilkinson?” she repeated. “Where have I heard that name
before?”

“You’ve probably heard John and me speak of her,” said Mrs. Hadley.
“Now what do you suppose she wants? I wonder if John proposed–”

But Dorothy was not listening.

“I’ve heard you speak of a Marjorie, but you never mentioned her last
name. What school did she go to?”

“She graduated from Miss Allen’s Boarding School last June,” replied
Mrs. Hadley.

“Yes, yes, of course. That is familiar too. Somebody I knew went
there–some relative of mine–”

“Yes?” said Mrs. Hadley, now giving the girl her undivided attention.
Perhaps the presence of Marjorie Wilkinson would help to make her
remember who she was. “Can’t you recall the name of the relative?”

“No, but she was a near one. Oh, I wish–” But Dorothy’s voice trailed
off sadly; her mind had come up against a blank wall.

“Well, cheer up!” said the other, encouragingly. “Marjorie can probably
tell you the name of every girl in the school–for I believe it isn’t a
very large one. And then surely you will know.”

Dorothy’s eyes gleamed with excitement.

“I believe I’ll stay home from work, and go to meet Miss Wilkinson, if
you will let me,” she said.

“Of course, dear,” replied Mrs. Hadley, kindly.

It would indeed have been hard to tell which was more eager to have
that train reach its destination–Marjorie or Dorothy. Both girls felt
that so much depended upon the meeting; both girls so dreaded the
possibility of a disappointment.

Marjorie sat in the first car, and was the first person to get out of
the train. Spying Mrs. Hadley almost immediately, she rushed excitedly
forward. To her joy, the girl was with her; a girl who, though without
the high color Daisy had described, fitted well to the description of
Olive. Mrs. Hadley introduced the girls, and they began to walk towards
the cottage.

“I was awfully glad you could come,” remarked Mrs. Hadley, just as if
she, instead of Marjorie, had done the inviting. “Can you stay until
the house party?”

“Oh, thanks, but I’m afraid not. I’m having the dressmaker, but I
was so bored and tired that I longed for a breath of sea air. Mother
wouldn’t let me go alone to a hotel, so I just begged to descend on
you. Mother thought it was an awful imposition.”

Thus she explained her visit.

“Not at all,” said Mrs. Hadley. “I am only too delighted to have you.
It’s so quiet here now, that if it weren’t for Dorothy, I simply
couldn’t stay.”

When Marjorie went to her room, she asked the other girl to go with
her. Dorothy was only too thankful to accept the invitation.

At first Marjorie talked of the seashore, the ranch, and the Girl
Scouts, tactfully leading up to the mention of the name of the girl
whom she hoped to be Dorothy’s sister.

“I just graduated from Miss Allen’s this summer, and I was so tired,”
she explained. “By the way, that reminds me–did you ever know a girl
named Daisy Gravers?”

Marjorie pretended to say this casually, as she unfastened the strap of
her pump, but really her hand was trembling so that she could hardly
accomplish it. To her joy, Dorothy jumped suddenly to her feet, and,
glancing up, Marjorie saw that her face was deathly white.

“Daisy Gravers–_my sister!_” she gasped. “And I’m Olive!”

Overcome by the realization, she sank to the floor in a dead faint.

Overjoyed as Marjorie was at the discovery, she was terrified at the
effect on Olive. Suppose she became sick again, and lost her memory
after this brief moment of recollection? She shuddered at the idea;
such a thing would be ghastly! But at least it would be something to
have found her. Then, suddenly, Marjorie pulled herself together; there
was no time now for the indulgence of such feelings. She must act, and
act quickly.

Summoning Mrs. Hadley to her aid, she succeeded in getting Olive in
bed. Then, while the older woman called a doctor, Marjorie sat at the
bedside, watching her patient gradually regain consciousness. When at
last she opened her eyes, she smiled faintly at Marjorie, but she made
no attempt to talk.

After the doctor had gone, and the patient had slipped into a peaceful
sleep, Marjorie told Mrs. Hadley the whole story.

“And now,” she concluded, “it will remain to be seen whether she
retains her memory, and pieces together her former life. What do you
think would be the best course for us?”

“Wait, I should advise,” replied Mrs. Hadley, “until she refers to it
herself. Then draw her out very carefully.”

Fortunately, Marjorie did not have to wait long for her opportunity.
Early the next morning, when she carried Olive’s tray up to her, the
girl herself opened the conversation.

“Tell me about Daisy,” she said, as she unfolded her napkin. “What has
she been doing all summer?”

“She was with our patrol of scouts on the ranch this summer,” replied
Marjorie. “But she was so worried about you; for none of the family
knew where you were.” She hesitated a moment, as if she did not wish to
be too abrupt. “Won’t you please, Olive, tell me what you can remember
about the last five months?”

“Well,” answered the girl, slowly, “I got into a temper with
somebody–” she thought hard for a minute–“a man–I guess it was
dad–and flew out of the house. My head was aching terribly–but I
walked–and walked. I–I spent a night on the ground–my, but it was
cold and damp–and the next thing I knew I wakened up–in a ward–in a
hospital–and the nurse told me I was getting better. They asked me my
name, and I said Dorothy Snyder–I don’t know why–and they looked as
if they didn’t believe me–because I didn’t believe it myself, I guess.
So, as soon as I was well enough, I ran away. I found I had been in
Cape May. I wandered down to the ocean, and sat down in a pavilion. But
I felt very weak and ill; I guess I cried. Then Mrs. Hadley found me,
and you know the rest.”

“But this man you quarreled with–you think it was your father–didn’t
you love him very much?”

Again Olive thought hard.

“Yes, I did…. No, it wasn’t dad…. He was young, and handsome. Could
I–could I have been engaged?”

“Or married?” suggested Marjorie, fearfully, in a whisper.

“_Tommy!_” cried Olive, triumphantly. “Tommy! My husband!” She seized
Marjorie’s hand in her ecstasy. “Oh, I’m so happy–so thankful to you!”

“Then–then shall I telegraph Mr. Smith, and your family, to come?”
asked Marjorie.

“Yes! Yes! If you know where they are!”

“I do!” replied Marjorie, almost beside herself with joy.

Then, quietly, she went out to perform the greatest good-turn of her
scout career.

Continue Reading

THE INVITATION

The five remaining days at the ranch seemed all too short to the Girl
Scouts. Never had a summer passed so quickly; never did the approaching
conclusion of a vacation bring so much unhappiness. It was to be the
breaking up of the dear old senior patrol of Pansy troop, the severing
of all their dearest ties, the beginning of a new life.

All the girls seemed anxious to pack these last five days as full as
possible. In spite of the fact that they were rather tired from their
strenuous trip, they insisted upon riding the very first day they were
back.

“Please give me this afternoon!” begged John of Marjorie; for he had
been looking forward to some time alone with the girl. “Just once?”

But Marjorie shook her head.

“No, John; I’m sorry, but I’m dying to get on my dear old horse again.
You’ve no idea how I’ve missed her! Just think, I haven’t seen her for
ten whole days!”

“You didn’t see me for almost ten weeks, but I didn’t notice you
grieving much!” argued the young man, gloomily.

“But you’re not a horse–or rather, my horse!” she retorted.

John knew by the sparkle of her eyes that she was teasing him, that
there was no use to expect her to give up her ride. Instead, he begged
her to take a walk with him after supper.

“I can’t do that either,” she replied. “I have to write home.”

“But that won’t take all evening!”

“No, but I have other letters to write besides. And what about
you–don’t you have to write to your mother, and to your friends in
Cape May?”

John smiled at the insinuation. How he wished Marjorie would give him
an opportunity to tell Dorothy’s story. But she seemed determined to
avoid seeing him alone.

“No, I expect to write to mother this afternoon while you are out
riding, and I have no other letters that need answering.”

“Then why don’t you join our party?” inquired Marjorie.

“You know why!” he replied, as if he were rather ashamed of his reason.
“Because I can’t ride well enough!”

“But you have to learn some time!”

“I expect to learn–I am going out with Bob this afternoon. But I don’t
feel ready to join your party yet.”

“Nothing but pride!” teased Marjorie. “Still, have it your own way. If
you don’t like our society–”

“Marjorie!” he exclaimed. “You know as well as I do–oh, of course
you’re only joking! But do let’s be serious! You have got to promise me
one afternoon–a whole day, if possible–before we leave. May I have
tomorrow?”

“No, that’s a special Girl Scout celebration–our last one alone with
each other. We’re going to take our lunches, and our horses, and go off
for the whole day–without a single man to mar our pleasure!”

“Marjorie, you’re cruel! Are you going to invent some excuse for every
day? I wanted to have a good talk with you alone, to tell you about
Dorothy Snyder–”

“About whom?” interrupted Marjorie, although she was sure this was the
girl whom Jack had mentioned in his letter.

“Dorothy Snyder–my friend at Cape May. Did you ever meet her?”

“No. Why?”

“Nothing, except that she thought she had met some girls from Miss
Allen’s school.”

Marjorie sighed wearily; after all, she was not so much interested in
this rival of hers since John had shown by his willingness to remain at
the ranch, where his greatest interest lay. However, she did not intend
to refuse his request; she meant to give him one afternoon before they
left for the East.

“Well, if you really want to set a time,” she said; “let’s make it for
the day after tomorrow.”

“Fine!” cried John. “And what do you prefer to do?”

“I like canoeing best after riding,” she said.

“Canoeing it shall be, then!” he agreed.

The next day John saw practically nothing of Marjorie. As she had told
him, all the Girl Scouts left the ranch about nine o’clock in the
morning with their lunches packed in their knapsacks, and started for
their ride. Mrs. Hilton had given her consent rather grudgingly to such
a venture, without the protection of anyone who was really familiar
with the country. But the girls had begged so hard that she had seen
what it meant to them to have this last excursion alone, and had
finally given in. Marjorie assured her that after her own and Daisy’s
experience on the pack trip, she would be very careful not to encounter
a similar disaster. So they rode off happily, unaware of the fact that
both Kirk and John were fully prepared to go after them, in case they
did not return at the appointed time.

“It certainly is sad to think this is the last time the dear old
patrol will be alone together,” observed Doris, regretfully.

“Why!” exclaimed Marjorie, “you forget the trip home. We’ll have all
that time, and I’m even planning a last scout meeting for then.”

“Just like you, Marj!” laughed Mae. “But we won’t be entirely alone,
because the Melville boys are going back on the same train, and their
parents are going to join them at St. Paul.”

“And how about John Hadley?” put in Lily. “Surely you didn’t forget
him?”

“No, I didn’t forget him,” replied Marjorie; “but I simply thought we
wouldn’t have to bother much with him!”

“Listen to the indifferent woman!” exclaimed Alice. “But you needn’t
put that on with us, Marj. It won’t go.”

All this time Marjorie was paying strict attention to the trail. She
was leading the girls to a familiar spot, the destination of many a
previous ride; for it was one which possessed the unusual attraction of
trees. There they would eat their luncheon rest, and talk until it was
time to come back.

Marjorie had planned no formal meeting for the day, but the
conversation dwelt chiefly upon scout topics. She and Ethel and Doris
took a solemn oath to start new troops in the Fall, and Daisy half
promised to do the same. It was Marjorie’s dream that the great scout
ideals, which the members of Pansy troop had learned to follow under
the leadership of their captain, Mrs. Remington, should be passed on to
other young girls.

The group sat for a long time among those few pine trees, discussing
their past and their future; but it was their future that interested
them most. It seemed as if they all dreaded to stop talking and
mount their horses to return to the ranch. Marjorie, however, felt
responsible, and was watching the time. At four o’clock she made the
move to go.

“If we could only have one more reunion!” sighed Alice. “Marj,
you always know how to manage things, won’t you see if you can do
something?”

“It would be great!” murmured Marjorie, without entertaining the
slightest hope of such a possibility.

When the girls were within a mile of the ranch, they met Kirk and John,
coming towards them, on horseback. Little did they know that these two
young men had come out for the very purpose of finding them. Both of
them, however, had too much tact to tell this to the girls, for they
knew that Marjorie would have insisted that they were perfectly able
to take care of themselves. Instead, John made some excuse of learning
how to ride, and turned back to the ranch with the party. He made
no attempt to ride beside Marjorie; he was content to remember that
tomorrow was to be his day.

Although Marjorie would scarcely have confessed it to herself, she was
looking forward to the following day with almost as much pleasure as
John. When the time came, she met him on the porch as she had promised.
Instead of the usual riding breeches and flannel shirt, she had
substituted a simple summer dress, and the change made her seem even
more attractive to the young man.

They left the ranch immediately after lunch, walking slowly, and
talking about their recent trip as they went. John seemed as sorry as
Marjorie that the vacation was almost over.

When they reached the water, Marjorie stepped into the canoe, intending
to take her place in the bow; but John surprised her by asking her to
sit in the middle.

“You can rest for one afternoon, can’t you?” he pleaded. “It’s so hard
to talk when I have only your back to look at!”

Laughingly, Marjorie agreed, and seated herself upon a cushion on the
bottom. She, too, wanted to have a confidential little chat.

It was not until they had gone for some distance, away from the
shallow water, that John plunged into the subject in which he was so
interested. He began by telling about his mother’s invitation.

“Marjorie,” he said,–“or rather, Lieutenant Marjorie, for I am asking
you now as I would consult the officer of Pansy troop, do you think
your patrol would like to have a little week-end house party soon after
we get back home?”

Before Marjorie answered, John knew by the sparkle of her eyes that the
idea appealed to her. Had not the girls all expressed such a desire
only the day before, and had not Alice put it up to her to provide the
means? Naturally, she answered readily in the affirmative.

“We’d all love it!” she cried.

“That’s bully! Well, you know mother has a cottage at Cape May–nothing
gorgeous, you understand, but quite comfortable–and she would like to
entertain the whole patrol before you separate. How about the week-end
after we get home?”

“That would be perfectly heavenly!” she replied. “Oh, if you could know
how much we wanted one more reunion; but we simply didn’t see how we
could manage it.”

“Then that’s settled. Will you invite the others for mother? She’d
have written, but she thought it would be better to have me ask you
privately first.”

Marjorie dipped her hand into the water, forgetting for a moment the
young man’s presence in her joy at the thought of what was in store for
the patrol. The scout good times were not over, then; she could still
look forward to one more party with the members of the senior patrol.
She would have one more pleasant memory to store away for the time
when she would be among strangers at college. How good Mrs. Hadley was
to suggest such a thing! She was very happy.

But John abruptly interrupted her reverie.

“I want to tell you about Dorothy Snyder,” he said.

“Yes?” she answered, without raising her eyes from the water.

“It was she who suggested the house party. She is so anxious to meet
you Girl Scouts.”

“Oh!” remarked Marjorie, a trifle coolly. “So she will be there?”

“You don’t object, do you?” A cloud passed over John’s face. “You see
she lives with my mother.”

“With your mother? Why? Is she a nurse? Is your mother so ill–?”

“No, no, not at all!” he replied, hastily. “I want to tell you her
story–of the strange way she came to us. Mother found her alone and
sick, in a pavilion.”

In a few brief words he summed up the facts of Dorothy’s case as he
knew it, up to the time he received his telegram to go to the West. He
recounted her strange desire to meet the Girl Scouts of Miss Allen’s
School, which at the time seemed to him unaccountable.

“But when I found out her real reason for wanting to meet you, as she
told it to me that last night at home, I was very glad I had promised
to do all in my power to grant her request. It seems that she had lost
her memory, and could recall nothing except her escape from a hospital,
when she wandered into the pavilion where mother found her. She does
not even know her real name, but adopted Dorothy Snyder as the first
one that came into her head.

“And then when she heard Miss Allen’s School mentioned, she said
something sounded strangely familiar; and when I mentioned Girl Scouts,
she grew even more interested. So perhaps–”

But Marjorie, who had been leaning forward tensely, listening
breathlessly to every word, interrupted him with a wild cry of delight.
Perhaps–it was possible–that this girl might be Daisy’s sister!

“Did she wear a wedding ring?” she demanded, seizing both of John’s
knees, as if she would like to shake the answer out of him, in order to
get it more quickly.

John thoughtfully shook his head.

“No, she didn’t. Why?”

“Oh!” she sighed, limply dropping back in the canoe. “I thought maybe
she was Daisy’s sister!”

“Daisy’s sister?” repeated John, in perplexity. “Daisy who?”

“Daisy Gravers, of course. Was she pretty?”

“Yes, very. But–?”

“With a high color?” continued Marjorie, ignoring his desire for an
explanation.

“No, she seemed rather pale to me.”

Again Marjorie experienced disappointment. After all, it was a
comparatively common thing for people to lose their memories
temporarily, and it was too much to expect that the girl might be
Olive. A tear crept into her eye, but she made no attempt to brush it
away.

“Do tell me why you hoped Dorothy might be Daisy Gravers’ sister!”
persisted John, still in the dark about the situation.

Marjorie told her story, without mentioning Kirk’s name; she recounted
the strange disappearance, the search, and last of all, Pansy troop’s
resolution to do all in their power to find her. John listened in
amazement, allowing himself to express the hope that Dorothy might
after all be the girl they were seeking.

“For she could have thrown away her wedding ring, or left it at home,
and she may have lost her color through her illness,” he suggested.

Marjorie brightened a little at the words of hope.

“Have you a picture of her?” she asked.

“No, I haven’t,” he replied. “Has Daisy?”

“No, she hasn’t one with her, and if she had, I wouldn’t want to ask
her, and probably raise her hopes for nothing. No, let’s wait until we
get back, and find out for ourselves.”

“And if it should be–”

“And if it should be! The joy, the happiness to Daisy, and her family,
and the Girl Scouts–and Kirk!”

“Kirk?” repeated John, in surprise. “Kirk Smith?”

“Yes,” replied Marjorie. “Kirk is Olive’s husband!”

Continue Reading

THE TRIP TO YELLOWSTONE

Everyone was up early the following day to watch the installing of the
radio. With the exception of Bob and Arthur, who were always obliged to
go out for the horses, no one did any riding that day.

Kirk and John did most of the work, while the others stood around,
longing to be of some assistance and asking innumerable questions.

“Will it last till next summer if we should come back?” inquired Mae.

“You mean _when_ you come back!” corrected Tom Melville. “For, of
course, you’re coming.”

“I hope so,” answered John, smiling.

“How far do you think we can hear?” asked Bob. “San Francisco?”

“Probably. But surely Denver.”

“Not New York?” said Lily, in a disappointed tone. She had thought that
once you possessed the instrument you could hear any sending station in
the world.

“Hardly,” replied John. “It has to be a larger, more sensitive
instrument to hear such distances. But I am sure you will listen in on
lots of interesting things.”

All this time Marjorie said nothing, for she knew that John preferred
to work unmolested, if possible. But although she was quiet, he was
by no means unaware of her presence, and before he had finished, he
secured her promise to go for a little walk with him before supper.

When the young men had finally completed their work, and John had made
his test to his own satisfaction, they listened eagerly for the first
message. To the delight of everyone, it came soon–a weather report
from Denver. After that there was a most entertaining concert.

“It certainly is nice that more than one person can hear at one time,”
remarked Arthur. “It was clever of you Girl Scouts to think of ordering
this kind.”

“Clever of Kirk!” corrected Marjorie, always desirous of giving credit
where credit was due.

John glanced hastily at the young man whom Marjorie had praised, trying
to ascertain whether he cared much about the tribute. But apparently
Kirk had paid little or no attention to it, for he was explaining
something to Arthur.

Shortly after five o’clock John met Marjorie in front of the cabin,
and they started for their walk. Both were secretly excited; there
was so much to talk about, to clear up, before they could get back to
their old intimate terms. But both hesitated to make the conversation
personal, and for ten minutes or more they discussed the radio, the
ranch, and the Girl Scout troop. At last Marjorie spoke of themselves.

“I got your letter, John,” she said. “And I was going to answer it,
but—-”

“But you had a good many other things to think about. Well, I
understand!” His tone was a trifle bitter.

Marjorie looked at him resentfully. What right had he to tease her,
even thus subtly, about other men, when he had spent his summer dancing
and flirting with another girl? She was about to make a retort, when
she stopped suddenly, and asked instead how long he intended to stay.

“I don’t know,” he answered; “that depends upon–circumstances.”

“What do you mean?” asked Marjorie, in a puzzled tone.

“Just that! I honestly don’t know.”

“Well, if you possibly can, you ought to stay for the Yellowstone trip.
We’re leaving tomorrow for a nine-day trip, and from what I understand,
it is to be the experience of a life-time.”

“But you know I can’t ride, and wouldn’t dare start off for such a long
trip without any experience!” he protested.

“Oh, it isn’t riding. We go in big cars. But don’t let me persuade you
if–if you are so anxious to get back to Cape May!”

John flushed at the taunt; for he knew now that Jack had told her
about the dance. He wished he might explain everything–especially his
last conversation with Dorothy Snyder before he left for the West. But
this was neither the time nor the place for that. Instead, he took up
Marjorie’s challenge.

“Just to show you how wild I am to get back East, I’ll stay here as
long as you say–till you girls go back, if you are willing! Now what
do you think of that?”

Marjorie regarded him coolly. He was saying these words for effect, she
surmised.

“You know I wouldn’t let you, for the sake of your job!”

“Oh, my job’s all right; don’t you worry about that. What do you say?”

“I dare you to stay!” flashed Marjorie, smiling at the childishness of
it all.

“And I won’t take your dare!” he replied. “But wait! Won’t I be in the
way–between you and Mr. Smith?”

It was Marjorie’s turn to blush.

“No, there’s nothing serious there, John. Kirk has cared for only one
girl in all his life, and he has lost her. I don’t think anyone will
ever interest him again. He’s rather nice, but he seems awfully old,
and sad.”

“Poor fellow!” said John, sympathetically. All his jealousy vanished in
that moment.

Marjorie longed to say something more about the Cape May girl, but she
hated to pry. Rather, she would wait until John mentioned her casually;
and if he avoided her in his conversation, she would know that there
was something serious between them. So she began again to talk on
general topics, until it was time to go in to supper.

The interest in the radio was temporarily set aside by the imminence of
the Yellowstone trip. Everyone on the ranch was planning to go, so the
talk at supper was of little else.

“You’re quite sure no bears will attack us?” asked Doris for perhaps
the fifth time.

“No, I’m not sure,” replied Mr. Hilton. “You may be very much annoyed
by some tame bears who try to steal your food.”

“I’d let them have it,” said the girl, laughingly.

“You won’t be the boss!” returned Arthur. “You see, on this trip we
don’t do our own cooking; we stop at regular organized camps for our
food and beds.”

“But if the bears are so tame, I should think it would be a good place
to ride,” she said.

“Lots of people do take horseback trips through the Park,” said Kirk,
“but it requires from about twenty to twenty-five days, and it’s hardly
worth while for anyone who has only two months to spend in the West.
Now if you were like me, with a year or so before you—-”

“Kirk!” cried Daisy. “Are you going to stay here next winter?”

“I have a job, haven’t I, Mr. Hilton?” answered the young man. “I’m
hired to take Bob’s and Art’s places, while they go to college.”

“You must think you’re good–taking the place of two men!” retorted
Alice, always glad of an opportunity to get in a little dig at Kirk.

But Marjorie was thinking of his decision, and wondering at it. How
could he, with such an unhappy memory to haunt him, wish to live so
comparatively alone, so far away from civilization? Surely he had
abandoned all hope!

Everyone at the ranch was delighted with John Hadley’s decision to stay
and join the party. Kirk Smith’s satisfaction was as evident as that
of anyone else, so that John finally forgot whatever jealousy he might
have entertained at the beginning of his visit, and believed Marjorie
implicitly.

Early the next morning they started out with their simple luggage, in
Ford cars, to drive to the entrance of the Park where they would change
into the larger sight-seeing conveyances at the convenience of the
public. To the girls, and to John Hadley, who had never been over this
part of the country before, every detail was interesting. They watched
for buffalo trails, for Indian graves, for extinct volcanoes, and for
the queer little prairie-dog towns–barren wastes with tiny mounds
every few feet apart, into which the small animals disappeared when the
machine approached. They passed huge ranches; saw lofty mountains in
the distance, whose summits were streaked with snow. Once it seemed to
be raining on a distant hill, but overhead the sky was bright and clear.

The girls talked little during this ride, so interested were they in
the strangeness of the scenery. Mr. Hilton noticed this, and smiled to
himself; if they found this country fascinating, what would they think
of the Yellowstone?

Mr. Hilton had planned for the party to enter the Park by way of
Mammoth Springs, for by so doing, the girls would see the small geysers
first, and gradually work up to the great ones. He wanted to impress
upon their youthful minds a wonderful picture that would never be
forgotten.

They stopped at a large hotel outside the Park for supper, planning
to remain there over night. Everyone was tired and in no mood for
sight-seeing; a good night’s rest would prepare them for the marvels
they were about to behold on the morrow.

Marjorie settled herself comfortably on the porch after the meal was
over, thinking happily of the pleasant time to come. She was to have
nine days of rare pleasure, seeing beautiful sights, among people that
she loved. And she had to admit to herself that John Hadley’s presence
added not a little to the joy of her anticipation. She believed she was
having the time of her life.

In the days that followed, all the young people’s wishes seemed to
be gratified. They saw the Mammoth Hot Springs, larger than Niagara,
but instead of being a single waterfall, it parted into a series of
cascades, white as snow in some places, in others a dingy yellow. They
discovered the craters of several extinct geysers, and marvelled at
the exquisite pools of clear water, covering strangely colored rock
formations. They saw the Constant Geyser, throwing up its jets of
hot water in the center of a narrow, barren valley called the Norris
Basin; and Old Faithful, with the clock not far off announcing the
time of next hourly performance. They climbed up the steep, almost
perpendicular cliff to get the view of Gibbon Falls, and they were
impressed most of all by the Great Canyon, with all its marvellous
colors. Once, to the extreme delight of the Girl Scouts, they went
swimming in a warm pool formed from the water of a geyser; but as the
temperature was about ninety degrees, they did not care to remain in it
long. Every night they stopped at one of the camps, had their supper,
and attended the little entertainment the place provided for the
guests’ enjoyment; in the morning they went refreshed upon their way.

One of the funniest incidents of the whole trip was their first
encounter with a bear. Luckily, Doris thought, they were in the bus;
but afterward she laughed at her fears. They had not been long in the
Park when a huge bear suddenly came out from behind some pine trees
and planted himself directly in the way of the conveyance. It was
impossible for the driver to go around him; so he put on the brakes.
Doris and Mae both shrieked at the same time.

“Is he going to attack us?” asked Lily, rather frightened at his size.

The driver laughed.

“No–this is the highway robber,” he replied. “He won’t let our
automobile pass until he has his ransom. He wants some food!”

Greatly amused, the different members of the party who had eatables
with them offered them to the bear, and he accepted them greedily. When
he was satisfied, he stepped aside and let them go on.

The little incident was enough to prove to Doris and the other more
timid girls that they need not be afraid of the bears; and from that
time on, they laughed whenever they saw one, for they were reminded of
this incident.

The trip was satisfactory in every detail; the weather had been
excellent all along, the food and beds at the camps splendid, and the
party in the best of spirits. Even Daisy had resolutely put aside her
worry, entering fully into the enjoyment of those perfect days.

Marjorie and John had been much together during the trip, but seldom
alone together. They were back on the old friendly basis again, but
each was looking forward to the return to the ranch, when they could
have some good quiet talks. For as yet John had said nothing about
Dorothy, but something in his manner made Marjorie feel that the
explanation would come later.

The whole party returned to the ranch on the twenty-sixth of August,
five days before the scouts were scheduled to start for home.

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