The Girl Scout's Triumph - novelonlinefree.info
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"Please, _please_ show me what to do!" she begged, and at once, right then, the rector spoke loudly:
"What have _you_ done?" he demanded. "Have _you_ made an honest effort to solve your problems, to unravel your tangles, or have you supinely left it all with your Creator? Believe me, you must make an honest effort yourself. Ask yourself if you are really trying to do what there is for you to do."
Rosanna was so startled that she grew red and sat up very straight. Then she reflected that it was a good thing that she had heard that much of the sermon. She had prayed for help, and she must be awake and ready to receive it when it came. Moreover, she herself must look for a way.
All the way back to Claire's she pondered, and was so silent during dinner that the Colonel accused her of being sleepy. After dinner the Colonel said he had some letters to write, but later he would take them to the Country Club for supper. So the girls decided to write also, and settled themselves on either side of the big library table.
Claire was soon busy writing to a schoolmate in Honolulu, but Rosanna dawdled over her paper.
Then all at once it came to her. Bright as day, clear as a bell, she knew what she wanted to do and how to do it. Her thoughts flew back to the time when Doctor Branshaw, over there in Cincinnati, had operated on poor little lame Gwenny and had made her well; actually well. She wondered if people with hurt or lame brains could not be operated on.
And that was another thought. Had Mrs. Maslin ever been hurt, or had she just--well, just gone so naturally?
"I have been thinking about your mother," she said suddenly, interrupting Claire. "What do you suppose made her so--I mean the way she is? Did she ever get hurt?"
"Not enough to harm her," said Claire, starting. "No, never! She had an awful fall with her horse once, that stunned her for half an hour. I was with her and I was frightened almost to death. But she was all right again in no time, and it did not hurt her at all except where she bumped her head. She would not let me tell daddy because he always worried over things. Her hair was so thick that it didn't cut her, but it was a hard blow and she had an awful headache for days, but that was all. No, she was never hurt."
"I wondered," said Rosanna, and commenced to write. And this is what she said:
"_Dear Doctor Branshaw_:
"You said to the Girl Scouts of our Troop once that we must be sure to tell you if ever we found another Gwenny. Do you remember? And we all promised that we would.
"Well, I have. But this girl is not a bit like Gwenny. She is beautiful, and has loads and loads of money, and is perfectly well.
But oh, Doctor Branshaw, she is really sadder than Gwenny, because she has no brothers and sisters, but a lovely father whose heart is broken and her mother is insane. The doctors say she will never be any better, but just go on getting worse and worse always. But I prayed about it, and I know that you can cure her. You would be glad to if you could see this girl. Her name is Claire Maslin, and her father is a colonel in the Army and is stationed here. She is not like a girl at all except once in awhile when she forgets, and she thinks she is going to go insane too, when she gets older. She feels it coming on, but I am sure she is mistaken. But every girl needs her mother, don't you think so? And so please cure Mrs.
Maslin. She is at a place right there in Cincinnati, and the address is on the slip of paper pinned to the top sheet.
"I know that you are very busy, but it will make you feel as good as you did about Gwenny when you have cured Claire's mother, because I feel as though she needs her very, very badly. Although Colonel Maslin is truly lovely, of course he can't really be a mother.
"So _please_ do this, Doctor, as soon as you can possibly get the time.
"Your loving little friend,
"P. S. Claire is a Girl Scout."
Rosanna sealed the letter and addressed it and leaned back with a sigh of relief. Claire glanced up, and seeing that Rosanna was through her writing said slowly:
"Rosanna, if you were with me, I don't believe I would ever have another of those awful spells. I feel so different when I am with you. You make me feel so brave and quiet. Dad says he wants me to go to the seashore this summer and I want you to come with me."
It was on Rosanna's lips to say that she was going on a wonderful voyage across the sea, but she remembered her promise to Uncle Bob and stammered, "Oh, that would be lovely, Claire, but I would have to see grandmother about it."
"Oh, _make_ them say yes!" begged Claire. "I _need_ you, Rosanna. I truly do! Of course, if there is something else you want to do, it is all right, but I do want you awfully, dear Rosanna, and I am sure we will have a good time."
"I know it would be perfectly splendid," said Rosanna, wondering why everything had to happen at the same time. "I will ask about it tonight, and then I can tell you tomorrow."
"Good," said Claire. "And I will go to dad's study right now and tell him that he must beg your family to let you come."
"All right," laughed Rosanna, "and while you are telling him, I will go and change my dress."
She ran lightly upstairs and Claire, humming a little tune in her new happiness, skipped to her father's private office and opened the door.
What she saw stopped her like a blow. Her father sat at his desk, his head buried in his arms. His wife's picture was clasped in one hand. His shoulders shook with sobs.
Rosanna looked up with a smile as Claire entered, but Claire did not return it. She closed the door carefully, almost as though she thought it might break, then leaning against it, stood looking into space.
"What did he say?" asked Rosanna.
"Nothing; that is, I didn't speak to him," said Claire. Then with a rush, "Rosanna, I can't invite you to the seashore after all. I shall not go. I shall stay with dad. He is down there with mother's picture in his hand, _crying_. I never saw him cry, Rosanna. It's awful! He is always so brave. I never saw him cry. I cry enough, but somehow it's awful for _dad_ to cry. You see I can't leave him, can I, Rosanna?"
"No," said Rosanna, "you can't leave him."
"He is always so cheerful and bright that I never thought about his feeling it like this. Oh, how selfish I have been! I do not deserve to be a Girl Scout at all. I came to the place in the Manual the other day, where it tells about loyalty to parents, and I wouldn't read it at all, I was so sorry for myself. I just don't deserve my badge. I shall tell the Captain to deprive me of it."
"Nothing of the sort!" said Rosanna firmly. "You will simply do differently, that's all."
"Indeed I will! My darling daddy! I didn't know what to do, Rosanna, so I just came out. I shall not let him know a thing, but I shall tell him that I mean to stay here with him. And I can be near you, Rosanna, and you will help me."
The two girls looked at each other. Claire's eyes were pleading and wistful, her mouth trembled and she breathed as though she had been running. Rosanna stared until Claire went out in a sort of a mist like the fade-outs in the movies. And in her place Rosanna saw the tumbling waters and the white sails of all the ports of the world! And her heart went down, and down, and down! Then she saw Claire again, and she was saying, "You _will_ help me, won't you, Rosanna?"
And Rosanna's heart came up, and up, and up. It was filled with splendid sacrifice and high resolve, and loving kindness; but she only said, "Yes, Claire, I will be here, and I will help you."
Rosanna had made her choice.
When Rosanna went home that night after supper at the Club and a long drive up the River Road, she realized for the first time just how great a sacrifice she _had_ made. All the Ports of the World to see, and now she might never, never see them! A thousand things might come up to prevent another such a journey.
She fairly ached as she thought it over. And she wondered how the family would receive the news she was about to spring.
To her surprise very little was said. Her grandmother immediately wanted to know if this was more Girl Scout business, and when Rosanna said yes, she simply nodded as though that answer settled the question in a perfectly satisfactory way. Cita said, "Oh, Rosanna!" looked as though she was going to say something also, and stopped. Uncle Robert said, "Well, I'll be swamfoozled!" Being "swamfoozled" had a strange effect.
Uncle Robert picked Rosanna up bodily, hugged her very hard, kissed her very hard, and then sat her down hard in a chair. Then everyone just sat and thought.
"That Claire kid is sure having a hard row to hoe," said Uncle Bob finally.
"Worse than death," said Mrs. Horton, thinking of young Mrs. Maslin.
"The Colonel told me about it," said Cita.
Uncle Robert heaved a sigh. "Well, sweetness, I believe _absolutely_ in you Girl Scouts living up to your promises exactly as it seems right to you. If you feel that staying with this girl is of enough importance to lose out on this trip overseas, I have confidence enough in your judgment to know that it _is_ important. And if it is a case of helping that poor kid through a pretty black place in her life, there is nothing else for you to do. I reckon it will come out right in the end for both of you. And I am proud of you, Rosanna."
With a funny formality he bowed and shook her hand. Rosanna somehow felt well repaid. Uncle Robert never did anything like that unless he was very, very much in earnest.
Very little else was talked about for the next three days and then other things came up to crowd it out of the front of Rosanna's mind.