The Girl Scout's Triumph - novelonlinefree.info
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"Kiddin' me," thought the boy to himself. He put the papers in place, and commenced to whistle, one careful eye on Mabel. He whistled so far off the key that she looked up. Instantly he grinned.
"Great job, this!" he said cheerfully, twisting the lever with a vast show of effort. "I bet I work harder than any fellow in this office. I bet I work harder than the Chief himself." Mabel continued to look at him, but did not speak, and he continued, "Your name is Brewster; Mabel Brewster, isn't it? I saw it on some of the papers Miss Gere and the Chief threw in the waste basket. Say, what do you write such gobs of stuff for? They don't use it. Aren't you on to that yet? My name's Jesse Hart. Ain't that a peach of a name to give a fellow? Sounds like a sure-nuff girl's name--Jesse. And Hart means a deer. Fellows used to call me Jessie dear when I was a kid, but I knocked a couple of 'em out and they quit it." He grinned at Mabel more cheerfully than before.
"Say, you don't wear yourself out talkin', do you, sis?"
Mabel flushed with anger. A couple of the reporters saw the two and smiled playfully. "Jessie dear" winked back and Mabel flushed.
"I don't want to talk to you," she said distinctly. "I wish you would go away."
"Suits me!" said Jesse. "Suits me all right, Miss High-Mighty." He gave a short laugh with a close imitation of the manner of Dalton Duplex, his movie star villain, and strutted off. Mabel noted that the rims of his ears were very red. She dismissed him angrily from her thoughts and went over to Miss Gere's desk.
The thin man pounded furiously on the next typewriter as usual, but he looked up as she passed him. "A new crush, Miss Mabel?" he asked mischievously.
Mabel was too angry to answer; she rudely flounced into the chair and turned her burning face away.
Surely, she thought, there _never_ was another girl who had so many things to annoy her. That silly boy! As though she would bother to look at him. The two immaculate Morrissons flashed through her mind. Such boys and their friends were well worth while. Then her mind turned to the remark about the waste basket. She wondered if her work was being thrown away. She knew that it was always rewritten, but she thought that was the rule of the office. Mabel had a lot to think of.
The next morning Jesse proceeded to prove that he was a youth of grit and determination. He wore another necktie, and when he saw Mabel sitting at Miss Gere's desk he went over and grinned a cheerful good-morning. Mabel returned it glumly with a stony stare that would have quelled a less determined boy.
"Say, how about a picnic Sunday afternoon?" he asked without noting the drop in temperature. "I thought we could ask your mother to chaperone us, and get your brother Frank, and a couple of other fellows and have supper at Jacobs' park. The chaps have a car and they know two dandy girls."
"No," said Mabel decidedly. "It isn't possible for me to go. I am sure mother wouldn't go, nor Frank." She spoke so sneeringly that Jesse flushed.
"That's where you guess again, Miss Highty-Mighty!" he said. "I saw Frank last night and he asked his mother, and she said _sure_, so I guess I just get another girl for little me, and you needn't think I don't know where to get off. I won't trouble you again, so don't you worry." He stalked off, leaving Mabel furious to think that Frank and her mother were going to go with that dreadful boy and his dreadful friends. She could just _see_ the sort they must be: the girls like a lot of the girls she knew in high school, giggly, silly, gum-chewing girls, with untidy ruffed-up hair pulled over their ears, and boys like Jesse. She sent a cautious glance after Jesse. After all there was nothing really the matter with him, except she just didn't like his neckties, and oh well, he wasn't a bit like the Morrissons, for instance, who always looked as though they had come out of a bandbox, and were so polite, and _such_ fun.
That night going home. Mabel met Frank. He seemed to be always hanging around the corner nearest the _Times-Leader_ office when she came out at night and always walked home with her.
"Jesse says you won't go on our picnic," Frank commenced at once.
"Why, of course not!" said Mabel. "I am perfectly surprised to think that you and mother would mix with such people!"
"Such people?" repeated Frank. "_What_ people?"
"Why, the sort that Jesse boy must go around with. Of course I know how mother is. She would chaperone anyone who wanted her, but I should think _you_ would know enough to keep her out of it."
"Well, I don't see how you figure it," said Frank sulkily. "I am going to take Helen Culver. She is all right, isn't she? And Jesse was going to take you, and I bet you think _you_ are all right, and Rosanna Horton and that Maslin girl are going with Jesse's cousins. Pretty good crowd, I take it."
"Who are his cousins, for mercy sake?" demanded Mabel.
"Don't you know?" asked Frank. "The Morrissons, of course! You know their father owns the _Times-Leader_."
Leaving Mabel to recover as best she could from Frank's astounding announcement, we will look in on Rosanna listening, round eyed and breathless, to her Uncle Bob talking rapidly to his mother, his wife, and his little niece.
"Oh, do you _really_ mean it?" Rosanna exclaimed at last.
"Cross my heart, sweetness!" Uncle Bob assured her. "Cross my heart and black my eye, _hope_ to live and _haf_ to die!"
Rosanna leaned back with a sigh of absolute delight. "I never dreamed anything so perfectly splendiferous," she murmured. "Wait until I tell the girls about it!"
"That is the only disagreeable part, dear," said her uncle. "What I have told you is a great secret. In fact, no one but just our four selves must know a single thing about our plans until a week before we sail. I am sorry, because I know what fun it would be to talk over a trip around the world, but there are very important business reasons why it must be kept absolutely quiet."
"All right, uncle, but that means we will have to talk it over twice as much ourselves. So tell it all over, please!"
"Well," said Uncle Bob, not at all unwilling to talk, "John Culver's invention makes it possible to arrange our machinery in such a way that it is possible to use it under almost any and all conditions. It is changing the whole course of big institutions and vast enterprises will be affected by it. It is such a big thing that it must be laid before the heads of governments, and it has fallen to my lot to attend to this part of the business. So for the first trip I am going to start across the Atlantic, cut nearly straight across the continent, come home by Japan and Honolulu, _and_ you are all going with me!"
"But how about school?" wailed Rosanna.
"Oh, bother school!" said Uncle Bob, with an uncomfortable glance at Rosanna's grandmother. "What's school to us? We are going a-jaunting whether school keeps or not!" He laughed. "We will be off and away as soon as ever we can."
"Hurray!" cried Rosanna, hopping up and down. "Oh, grandmother, will you really let us?"
Her grandmother looked at her son, then at his wife. They both sparkled.
"I think I shall have to," she said. "But, Rosanna, I don't know what is going to become of your education if these people keep on taking us with them wherever they go."
"Oh, but grandmother dear, think of all the wonderful things I will see, and the languages I will hear, and the people, the queer dear people!"
"I should say so!" said Mrs. Horton dryly. "And the _algebra_ you will miss! How wonderful it will be!"
The next few days were so exciting that Rosanna could scarcely bear it.
She was glad when Claire Maslin telephoned over to see if she would come and spend the week-end with her in the house her father had just taken.
Both Mrs. Horton and Cita were glad to have Rosanna go, for she was so excited over the coming journey that she went wandering about the house like a restless spirit and could neither read, practice nor study.
Claire was drifting into one of her black moods. The Colonel had learned that his wife had taken a turn for the worse, and had felt that he must tell Claire. She had heard it in stony silence, with dry eyes and compressed lips, her only comment being, "It is coming soon, isn't it, dad?"
Then after a sleepless night and a bad day she asked Rosanna to come and stay with her, hoping that she could forget her horrors for awhile. But after a few hours spent with the gentle loving little Scout, she was conscious of quite a new sensation. For the first time in her life she wanted to confide all her troubles to someone; someone who would sympathize with her. She thought almost tenderly of her new friend.
Rosanna's low and pleasant voice, soft friendly eyes, so deep and loving, her air of truth, all made poor Claire who had been so friendless and so cold feel that here at last was one whom she could trust; one to whom she could tell all her worries and troubles. But the caution which usually held her steady kept her from saying anything to Rosanna, even when a telegram was handed to her father at the dinner table; a telegram that deepened the lines in his face and caused him to glance apprehensively at Claire with a slight shake of the head.
Claire felt the black cloud of horror closing down on her. She managed to finish the meal, letting her father and Rosanna do most of the talking. Then she excused herself and went to her room.
She expected that her father would follow her and give her the news.
Claire felt that it was something bad: but Rosanna came bounding up, calling cheerily as she came, "Hurry up, Claire! Get into your uniform; it is Scout night!"
"I don't believe I will go to the meeting tonight," said Claire, but Rosanna exclaimed, "Oh, Claire dear, we don't want to miss it, do we?
Besides, your father said specially that you were to go, and we are going to be late if we don't hurry, so he is going to drive us over in the car. Won't it be fun to go back to my own home from somewhere else to attend a meeting?" She slipped out of her little net dinner dress as she talked and into her crisp, clean uniform, and Claire found herself following Rosanna's example. When she stepped into the waiting car, her father murmured in her ear, "No change!" and she sighed with relief.
It was a specially good meeting. Only one girl was absent, Mabel Brewster, and the Captain was careful to explain that that was at _her_ suggestion. After the business meeting and the usual reports and the giving of several badges of merit, the Captain said with a smile:
"I have been in Washington nearly all the week, girls, as some of you know, and while there I had a very interesting Scout experience. I wanted to consult with one of the most prominent Scout Captains there, a lady named Mrs. Pain, the wife of a Washington artist. Well, I made arrangements to call at her house and as luck would have it, it was the night of a Scout meeting. Of course I was very glad to see how they conducted their meetings and all that. I found Mrs. Pain most charming, and her apartment quite delightful.
"A blond angel of a baby about three years old was skipping around here and there. She was dressed in a complete Scout uniform and, girls, she looked _exactly_ like a big doll! I thought of course she was Mrs.
Pain's child, and she is, but with a very interesting history. When I spoke to Mrs. Pain about the pretty little thing, Mrs. Pain smiled and gave me this paper. It is a copy of the Washington _Times_, and this is what it says: