MORE IDEAS AND A WIZARD MYSTERY

The S. P. Attic Party was voted a success. The girls were tired but
happy over it, for their guests had so obviously enjoyed themselves.
There were so many echoes of it that it was hard to settle down to
lessons on Monday. Phoebe was sitting with Leigh on an iron bench in
the school grounds that afternoon, soon after they had been dismissed,
when Danny, or Dan, as he preferred to be called, came by with Raleigh
Warner and stopped to talk.
“I have an idea, Phoebe, if you will believe such a thing possible,”
said Dan. “Could you let me borrow some of the cartoons you and Molly
drew for your show Saturday?”
“Our show!”
“Well, your art gallery, then. I mean the ones about school, that good
one of the principal, and the funny one Molly called ‘What May Happen
Soon’.”
“Mercy, which one was that? I’ve forgotten.”
“The one where Miss James is driving the _ponies_ out of the Cicero
class and they’re kicking up their heels, and some of the boys, the
riders, I suppose, are flat on the floor.”
“Yes, Dan, and that is a good one where Billy is pulling his father’s
Ford out of the mud-hole where he got stuck, and the one where the
bob-sled is and Fran looking at her ruined hat.” Raleigh was adding
this.
“I see,” said Phoebe. “You just want to borrow them?”
“That is all,–now. How soon could we find out whether the girls will
let us have them or not?”
“Oh, pretty soon. I’ll call up Jean as soon as I get home. Suppose you
call me up about supper time. I’ll know by then. Of course, you will be
careful of our masterpieces?”
“I’ll treat them like glass, honest. I just want to show them to
somebody now.”
“All right. I’m willing, if Molly is and if Jean has no objection.”
As no one objected to lending pictures to the boys, the following day
saw Dan and “Rall” conferring with Jimmy Standish, and later with no
less a person than the editor himself, in the editorial sanctum, a very
ordinary but busy office.
“Why, yes,” said Mr. Standish, “we could print it for you at a very
moderate price, but who will pay for the job? We are not running on
exactly a missionary basis.”
“No, sir. We will pay for it out of our own pockets, unless it is more
than we can handle, and soon the subscribers will pay for it.”
“You are more sure of your subscribers than we are,” said the editor,
with a smile. “Let’s see the pictures.”
Dan unwrapped Molly’s and Phoebe’s drawings.
“Clever stuff,” said the editor, with another smile. “Yes, for a school
paper such outlines will do very well. Send the girls in to see me some
time. I can give them a hint or two. My advice is to make your paper
snappy and short. Begin with two rather small pages or even one sheet.
If you want to enlarge it you can. Get your stuff together and hand it
to Jimmy to make ready for you. I’m making an editor out of Jimmy as
soon as he learns a few more things—-”
“About printing, and the composing room, and reporting, and everything
else,” added Jimmy, who came in at this moment. “But Dan has a good
idea about a school paper, Dad, and I think it will go with the
kids. We’ll try ’em out on the first numbers. I’m to write the first
editorials, Dad, so if there is anything you want to get across on
school matters, let me know.”
“All right, Jimmy. There are a whole lot of things I’d like to ‘get
across’ in this town, boys, but you don’t dare wake ’em up too soon
when they’re walking in their sleep.”
“Gee, isn’t Jimmy’s dad smart?” asked Dan, as the boys left the office.
“That was a hot one about this town’s walking in its sleep.”
“We’d better keep it under our hats, too, boy. He said more than he
meant to. Did you see Jimmy making eyes at him?”
The girls, meantime, were in the dark in regard to why the two boys
wanted the drawings. They were more concerned, however, about having
missed a day’s hiking, when they heard what Miss Haynes had seen, in
spite of the bad, windy morning. Wednesday morning they were to meet
at four o’clock, with their breakfasts in their pockets, and hike till
schooltime. May was going and with it the spring migration of birds;
Miss Haynes would be going away after school closed, the first week in
June, and there would be no one to make them sure about what they saw.
“Oh, but you must learn to make yourselves sure,” she told them, when
Jean said as much to her. “You will miss some things; everybody does;
but you’ll learn twice as much on your own initiative!”
This hike was to be “on their own,” then, for even Miss Haynes could
not manage a hike before school. And curiously enough, it was because
of their early rising that the S. P.’s surprised a venture of the Black
Wizards, which it was quite plainly to be seen that they had hoped to
keep a secret.
It was great fun to be starting off together in the early morning. They
would not even make a fire for wieners or bacon. This was strictly a
cold breakfast. As they went they munched sandwiches and tossed crumbs
and cold banana skins “to the birds,” they said. Judge Gordon had
bought Jean some glasses as good as those of Miss Haynes and these she
shared with the rest, for who could see the markings on a warbler or a
vireo up in the high treetops without a strong pair of lenses?
The bushes and trees along the river road seemed best for finding
warblers. Accordingly they were tramping along that road, still as
mice, behind this bush or that, moving quietly, singly or by twos or
threes, when they heard a shout and a big truck shot by. It was loaded
with lumber and the shouting came from several boys of the Black Wizard
combination who were either perched on the boards or sitting in the
driver’s seat in front.
Whether they had seen the girls or not was a doubtful matter. Jean came
out from behind a tree against which she had been braced in trying to
look almost over her head. “Say, every warbler will take to cover after
that noise! Who was it?”
“Oh, Jean! Didn’t you see them? They were the Black Wizards on a load
of lumber, and why should they get up so early if they didn’t want to
get out of town before we should see them?”
“You flatter the S. P.’s, Fran. But I shouldn’t wonder if they are
doing something.”
“It does look that way, Jean,” said Molly, laughing at Jean’s blank
look. “But maybe that wasn’t their lumber.”
“And again, maybe it was,” remarked Bess.
“Jimmy was in bed when I left,” thoughtfully Nan added. “And I hadn’t
happened to say anything about our trip. I forgot it at supper, just
told Mother when we were doing the dishes and I fixed something ready
to take for my breakfast. I’ll warn Mother not to say anything, unless
she has already. I don’t believe they saw us, and it is surely not for
us to make any comments on where they were going.” Nan’s face wore a
comically sober look.
“Far be it,” said Leigh. “But where could they be taking it?”
“All of us have a suspicion, of course. Girls, they could even reach
Lake Michigan, unload and be back for school!”
“Nonsense. Danny Pierce’s father has a farm on our little lake.
Probably Mr. Pierce wanted Danny to bring out some lumber this morning
while he could.” So concluded Jean.


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“Yes, but what were all those Black Wizards doing with Danny? Danny
_was_ driving, but you couldn’t get Rall out of bed with anything short
of an earthquake for any helping Danny with a job like that!”
“Yes, Rall is always a late riser, I’ve heard the boys say, poking fun
at him. Maybe you’re right, Nan. Of course we want to go camping so
much ourselves that our first thought is–what it is. Oh, wouldn’t it
be great fun if our folks would let us go somewhere? A tent would be
good enough for me! But it’s hopeless unless we can get some one to
chaperon us. Mother won’t hear of anything else.”
“We might camp in our back yards.”
“Yes, we could,” said Molly, and meant it. “But when Grace gets home,
I’m going to begin talking S. P. to her. She will be dead tired, and
perhaps the woods will look good to her. We’ll do all the work.”
“Oh, Molly! They’d let us go with Grace!”
“I think so, Jean.”
“Father has a piece of woods on Lake Michigan, or very near it,”
offered Leigh. “I heard him say that he had sold a piece of it off not
long ago. I never saw it, but it’s quite wild, Mother said. He always
meant to build two or three cottages there, one for us, but he never
has.”
“I feel my brain expanding, girls,” soberly said Jean. “Find out, if it
is permissible, to whom your father sold that land. Also please ask
him if it has water and is free from wild animals!”
Leigh laughingly said that she would make every inquiry suggested
except the last. “There isn’t a bear left in the state except ‘way in
the north.”
“Who knows, girls?”
“Nevertheless, Jean and Leigh,” said Nan, “I don’t believe that the
boys would build on Michigan. More likely, if they are not close,
they’ve gone on to what we call Lake Baldy because of all the eagles
around there. The boys like that lake because there is such grand
fishing there and more room to row and get around. I’ve heard Jimmy say
so.”
“Time will tell who is right,” said Bess. “Come on; the scare is over.
Let’s go on to where all those trees are with such tiny foliage. They
are just likely to be full of warblers.”