Lillian Roy.

Girl Scouts at Dandelion Camp





I thought Id like to read aloud from the handbook, Scouting for Girls, and see how many of the laws and customs you girls know.

Youll find us in the A-B-C-class, Im afraid, said Joan.

Then the sooner you are promoted out of it the better, declared Mrs. Vernon, seating herself on a stump and opening the manual.

First question: How do you start a Patrol? asked the Captain.

Oh, we know that, Verny, cause we had to learn it by heart in order to advise those girls who wanted to join, you see, chorused the girls.

Well, then, are we a Patrol now? asked Mrs. Vernon.

In the real sense, we are not, as there are only four members at present; but we are going to be one, arent we? said Julie.

Yes, but until we have eight girls we are not anything on record. However, we can form our club and then enlist new members to increase the number to the required total.

Next it says: The Scout Captain who has studied the plan, principles and object of the organization, explains the laws and obligations of members to those who wish to form a troop. I must now take down your names and addresses in a book, and decide what day or at what time we wish to hold our regular meetings.

It says here that fifteen minutes must be spent on knot-tying and three-quarters of an hour on recreation. So I will now teach you the art of tying knots. Following this lesson, we will take forty-five minutes for recreation.

But the fifteen minutes merged into twenty, and still the novitiates begged to be allowed to try just one more knot.

Now I am going to read the Girl Scout Laws from the book, but there will be no comments, please, until I give the signal, said the Captain, having taken away the rope for knots, and seated herself upon it to keep the girls from experimenting.

1 If a Scout says on my honor it is so, that means that what she says is as true as if she had taken a most solemn oath.

2 A Girl Scout is loyal to the President, to her country, and to her officers; to her father, to her mother, and to her employers. She remains true to them through thick and thin. In the face of the greatest difficulties and calamities her loyalty must remain untarnished.

3 A Girl Scouts duty is to be useful and to help others. She is to do her duty before anything else even if she gives up her own pleasure, safety, or comfort. When in doubt as to which of two things to do she must think: Which is my duty? which means Which is the best for other people? and then do that at once. She must be prepared at any time to save life or help the injured. She should do at least one good turn to some one every day.

4 A Girl Scout is a Friend to all, and a sister to every other Girl Scout. Thus, if a Scout meets another Scout, even though a stranger to her, she may speak to her and help her in any way she can, either to carry out the duty she is then doing, or by giving her food, or as far as possible anything she may want.

Like Kim, a Scout should be a Little friend to all the world.

5 A Scout is courteous; that is, she is polite to all. She must not take any reward for being helpful or courteous.

6 A Scout keeps herself pure in thought, word and deed.

7 A Scout is a friend to animals; she should save them as far as possible from pain, and should not kill even the smallest unnecessarily. They are all Gods creatures.

8 A Scout obeys orders under all circumstances; when she gets an order she must obey it cheerfully and readily, not in a slow, sullen manner. Scouts never grumble, whine nor howl.

9 A Scout is cheerful under all circumstances. Scouts never grumble at hardships, nor whine at each other, nor frown when put out. A Scout goes about with a smile and singing. It cheers her and cheers other people, especially in time of danger.

10 A Scout is thrifty; this means that a Scout avoids all useless waste of every kind; she is careful about saving every penny she can put into the bank so that she may have a surplus in time of need. She sees that food is not wasted, and that her clothing is cared for properly. The Girl Scout does not waste time. She realizes that time is the most precious thing any one of us has. The Girl Scouts time is spent either in useful occupation or in wholesome recreation, and she tries to balance these two harmoniously.

Now girls, have you any comments to make, for I have read the ten commandments of the Girl Scout organization, and will hear any testimony now? said Mrs. Vernon, laughingly.

I havent any comments to make on the reading, but I would like to remind the illustrious Captain that she forgot a very important part of the program this morning, said Julie, seriously, albeit there was a twinkle in her eyes.

Speak now or forever after hold your peace! declared Mrs. Vernon, with a magisterial air.

Every one laughed, but Julie obeyed the command: You said we would give fifteen minutes to knot-tying and forty-five to recreation. Now I wish to ask Your Honor, is this Scout Reading to be considered as recreation?

The Captain smiled, and after a few moments pause said: I am guilty of theft. But I plead extenuating circumstances. I forgot what I said about recreation, and was so over-anxious to have my infant Patrol grounded in the first lessons of scout duties that I stole time from the hour. Who is there here just enough to sentence me?

We have no jury, but in lieu of a speaker, allow me to speak for myself: your zeal shall be your excuse, but hereafter see that you do not commit the same offense, spoke Julie, with a judicial air.

The Captain and girls laughed heartily, and thus ended the first reading of Scout Laws. Mrs. Vernon closed the book and got up from the knotty seat of rope, and asked the girls if they had thought of any form of recreation.

We still have to be informed by the Court if the time stolen from our forty-five minutes must be returned or deducted? countered Julie.

The Court thinks you should have the full time given you for any useful recreation not for foolishness, said Mrs. Vernon.

Well, would the Court adjudge a good hike to be useful? demanded Joan.

The Court most certainly would, and will even offer to accompany the jury, or whatever body you call yourselves.

Then its us for a hike, girls! cried Joan.

The suggestion met with favor, and soon the newly-made Scouts were climbing the steep grade of the mountainside. It was more than an hour before voices were again heard, and Hepsy whinnied as if to ask What sort of scouts are you, anyway, to listen to a law read about animals and how to treat them, and then go away without giving me my breakfast?

The moment the girls heard the appeal from the mare, they understood and ran pell-mell to get Hepsy the oats. When she saw they were measuring out her breakfast, she craned her neck as far as it would stretch, and pawed the ground impatiently.

Mrs. Vernon held her head with both hands and cried as if in despair: Merciful goodness! What sort of a Captain am I to forget our faithful old scout Hepsy?

Will Hepsy get sick now, Verny? asked Betty, worried.

No, but she is so famished she may eat me up if I venture near her with a pail of water! That is all that might happen.

If she does, there will be a second result, too. Hepsyll sure have an awful case of indigestion after dining! retorted Julie, causing the others to laugh.

Hepsy was given a long drink and then left to enjoy her oats. While the animal was feeding, Julie said: How about the hut?

I hope we can finish it to-day, Verny, added Joan.

You can try at least. Every bit done helps, you know, replied the Captain.

The old flooring had been scraped clean and the cross-sections that were too badly decayed were removed. Then the boards taken from the packing cases were fitted in and nailed down securely. By one oclock the partly new floor was finished and cleaned up.

Dinner was suggested before continuing the work, and the campers talked about roofing the hut while they prepared the meal.

Now that the floor is finished, two of us ought to begin to carry in our stock, while the others work on the roof. That will save our groceries from the moisture or dampness in the ground, you see, said Mrs. Vernon.

But we all want to work on the roof it will be fun, declared Julie.

In that case, we shall have to draw lots. And after half of the groceries are moved in by two girls, the others will have to take their turn while the first two enjoy the roof, suggested the Captain.

And you what do you want to do? asked Ruth.

I am going to hunt around for any down timbers that we can use for siding the hut where the old logs have fallen away and rotted on the ground. I will leave you scouts to work on the roof after your own plans.

Oh, but tell us what to use before you go? cried Betty.

Youll find a roll of tar paper over there with the supplies. This you must measure off and cut the required size. Be sure to have it long enough to turn under the eaves and over at the top.

How do we nail it down? asked Joan.

Lay the strips lengthwise, from ridgepole to eaves, and fasten down each strip on the old boards. But, girls, do be careful not to break through those openings in the roof, nor crumble in at any decayed places!

All right I guess we can remember that much all right, said Julie, eager to begin.

So Mrs. Vernon left them to see how far they would use their intelligence in doing this work, while she began seeking along the woodland road for down tree-trunks of movable length and weight.

She found plenty of timber such as she wanted for the sides of the old hut, and also to start work on the new one, but she did not return to camp until four oclock. When she did, she found two of the girls fast asleep on the grass, while the other two were in the pool splashing about.

She went quietly over to the hut, and, to her surprise, found the roof as neatly finished as if done by an experienced hand. The edges were turned under and fastened with nails, and the seams lapped just as they should be. In fact, she was delighted with the workmanship.

Then, too, the boxes of groceries and other goods were neatly stacked in one corner, so less room was used for storage and more left for personal use.

Now I wonder which one of the girls thought this out? It is so natural for young folks to shove the boxes in and leave them standing about anywhere. But this proves to me that one of my scouts has a good head for management of affairs.

The girls swimming about in the pool now caught sight of the Captain, and scrambled out of the water. They were soon dressed and ran over to receive Mrs. Vernons compliments on the work done. The two sleeping ones also sat up, rubbed their eyes, and laughed.

When did you get back, Verny? yawned Ruth.

Just now; but, girls, I have seen the hut, and you surely have done fine work! exclaimed the Captain, turning to admire the roof again.

While her head was turned, four girls exchanged knowing winks, but their faces were as serious as ever when Mrs. Vernons eyes searched theirs keenly.

We thought youd be pleased, Verny. But what kept you so long? said Julie.

I found enough wood for a new hut, and then I sat down on a log and sketched a working plan for the sections of the building you propose erecting.

You see this rocky wall that rises back of the old hut? the Captain pointed to the lines she had drawn on the paper. Well, we will use that for a back wall against which our new hut can brace itself. The wall of the old hut can supply one side of the new building, and we can extend the roof on the same lines as the old one, along over the new hut.

Oh, yes, thats a fine idea! cried Joan.

And that will save us hauling the wood and building up one whole side, wont it? asked Betty.

Yes, but it also makes a two-room house of the two huts, see? and Mrs. Vernon displayed another plan she had drawn on paper.

I think I like it better than having two separate huts, Verny, said Julie.

And we can use the wood we might have built into the one side of the hut for a shed for Hepsy. Cant we go right on extending the house and build the lean-to to the end of the new hut, just as we plan hooking the new addition on to the old hut? asked Joan.

The original way in which the description was worded caused a general laugh, but Joan never worried about laughter when it was in fun. She always said, Well, if it gives any one any satisfaction to laugh at me, Im glad to accommodate them so cheaply. It doesnt hurt one.

Joans idea is good, and we will follow it as soon as we finish the frame of the new hut, said Mrs. Vernon.

We were thinking of moving your cot-bed into the old hut, Verny, but then we decided to wait and see if you would like it, now suggested Betty.

You see, we were a bit crowded last night in the tent, and we thought you would like some privacy of your own. Being in the old hut might appeal to your sentimentality, added Julie.

Another laugh rang out, but this time at Mrs. Vernons expense. She sighed and posed as a sentimental maiden might, and simpered her thanks for the scouts forethought. Then they laughed again.

Now all joking aside, girls! I appreciate your thought and will gladly move my hotel-suite to the hut. At least I shall be near the crackers and prunes if I feel hungry at night, declared Mrs. Vernon.

She then called the girls to assist her in moving her effects from the tent to the hut, and as they went back and forth the Captain could not refrain from again voicing her gratification at the manner in which the scouts finished their first carpentry work.

If you were fully-fledged scouts of record, you surely would be awarded a badge.

Behind her back, as she said this, the Captains four carpenters again exchanged smiles and knowing winks.

CHAPTER SEVEN HEPSY JOINS THE SCOUTS UNION

The next morning, after breakfast dishes were cleared away, the Captain said: Now we will give a few minutes to reading our Scout Handbook, and then practice some new knots. After that we can choose our recreation.

I dont want to waste any more time on recreation until our new hut is built, declared Joan.

Neither do any one of us, Verny, added Julie.

Well, if that is the general wish, we can work on the hut and call it recreation, you know, answered Mrs. Vernon.

The moment the knots and reading were finished, they all ran over to the tool-chest to select whatever implements they might need. Mrs. Vernon handed out a spade and a pick, but no one took advantage of them.

What are they for? asked Ruth.

We will have to divide the work as we did yesterday. Two can dig the cellar while two haul timbers for the hut.

Dig cellar! You havent any cellar under yours, returned Joan, amazed.

But we have! Do you suppose those timbers and flooring would have lasted as long as this if we hadnt excavated a pit under them. The hole may have filled up with leaves and dried wood material, but all the earth was cleaned out by digging a cellar at least three feet deep. This gave ventilation and kept our things from mildewing.

Why dont we all dig foundations, then, and finish it so much the sooner? asked Julie.

Youll find it isnt the easiest work to stoop over with a pick or spade and move earth that is filled with heavy stones. Your backs will ache in a short time, and youll grow tired of the task. Then I propose exchanging those weary ones for two fresh diggers, explained the Captain. Turn and turn about keeps one from feeling any monotony in the work.

All right send Ruth and Joan off for the first haul of logs, replied Julie, resignedly.

But Id rather dig, Julie, and let you two go for wood, declared Ruth.

Ha, ha, ha! Youre so contradictory! Thats just what I hoped youd say! Cause Id lots rather drive Hepsy down the hill and hitch her up to the logs shes got to haul! exclaimed Julie, exultantly.

Ruth said nothing but took the spade and started for the newly staked out cellar of the hut. Joan scowled and followed, but she wanted to join Julie in hauling the logs. Betty understood and ran up to exchange work with her.

Id be a poor scout if I didnt dig alongside Ruth when its my job! returned Joan, when Betty said she would exchange.

But we all will have to dig and take turns, so what difference will it make, Joan dear, if I dig now or later? argued Betty.

Dont you really care whether you work with Ruth or Julie? asked Joan, skeptically, because she liked to be with Julie.

Its all the same to me, as long as we build the house, returned Betty, taking the pick and thrusting a hook into Joans willing hands.

Whats this for? wondered she.

Verny says we have to use it to move the timber.

Great! Well, as long as you dont mind, Betty, Ill run away and find Julie.

I cant budge a spadeful of this hard ground, Betty, complained Ruth, as her companion joined her.

Oh, not in that way, Ruth. Youll have to remove all the roots and weeds first, and that will help break up the hardened soil, you know; cause the brush-roots run down real deep, you see.

But I just hate weeding, Betty; cant I dig it up without doing that extra work?

You tried just now and said it was awfully hard! I am going to weed mine first, and then dig it up.

So saying, wise Betty weeded a patch and then used the pick with which to break up the ground. This done, she took the spade and, to Ruths great surprise, the loosened earth came up readily. The energetic young scout had made good progress in this work before Mrs. Vernon came over to inspect the task.

Ruth raised no further objections when she saw how easy the digging was for Betty; so she weeded, too, and followed her chums example. Soon she found the work was not nearly as hard as she had thought it would be. But that is because she had not stopped to complain or think how hard it was going to be she forgot all this in watching and working as Betty did.

Julie and Joan followed Mrs. Vernon as she led Hepsy down the slope to the spot where the cut timbers were piled up. Here she showed the girls how to attach the chain and tackle to a log, and then to hook the chain to Hepsys harness.

The strong horse willingly started up the hill and dragged the long log up to the site where the hut was to be. One girl drove Hepsy carefully to avoid ruts and snags which might catch the log and thus yank Hepsy up suddenly and perhaps injure her. The other girl had to follow in the wake of the log to see that it did not roll or twist out of the pathway, causing a ruthless tearing at bushes and flowers along the way.

The two girls who were digging found it quite tiresome to lean over so constantly. When they stood erect to stretch their back muscles, their bones felt as if they would crack. Ruth complained of her aches long before the Captain joined them.

Then Mrs. Vernon said: Ah! I think I was wise in telling you girls to take turns about. Now I will signal for the two timber-jacks to exchange work with you.

When the two girls hauling timber responded to the call, they seemed right glad to exchange labor with the excavators.

Youll find this digging a pit is simply awful, girls! exclaimed Ruth, pretending she could not straighten her backbone.

It cant be a patch on the job weve been doing! cried Joan, looking at her hands with pity in her eyes.

Thats right! When youve had to steer or roll a log a mile long, youll have something to say about hard work! added Julie.

One would think, after hearing you girls, that you were too soft and delicate to proceed further in your scout tests, said Mrs. Vernon seriously. That stopped all complaints instantly.

But Ruth could not help adding: Girl scouts never work like this in camp Im sure of it.

Girl scouts would never call this hard work! Theyd laugh at any one for hinting at such a thing. And youll do the same thing before the summers over, said Mrs. Vernon.

Ah well! Lets prepare for the end of the summer, girls, sighed Julie, ludicrously.

Come on, Ruth take the reins from Julie and lets start, said Betty, taking the hook and starting down the road.

By the time you two girls get back here, Betty, well show you how you should dig a cellar, retorted Julie. Why, you only managed to dig up a square yard in all this time. You should have had half of the pit finished.

Betty and Ruth smiled at each other and nodded their heads wisely, then ran off to help Hepsy with the logs. Mrs. Vernon smiled also as she saw that each couple would soon learn that nothing is easy until one learns how to do it right. Then, when that time comes, it generally happens that one is forced to go higher to a new task. And so on, eternally, for this is progress and growth.

By the time the horn sounded for another change of work, both diggers and haulers were glad to exchange back again. Mrs. Vernon was busy about dinner, for she said such hard labor deserved hearty meals. And the girls agreed absolutely with her on that statement.





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