SANS PEUR

Almost before the birds Greta was up the next morning. She had not
slept well, for the attic was hot. Not a breeze was stirring when she
loosed the boat from its moorings and pushed out upon a lake that wore
scarcely a ripple. “We are due for a big storm if this keeps up,”
thought Greta. The air was oppressive and clouds were gathering. Even
the effort of rowing brought the perspiration to Greta’s brow, still
tender from its hurt. She lost no time, for there was a low rumble of
distant thunder and she did not want to be caught out upon the water.

On the peninsula across from her the boys’ flag flew. Their cabin was
partly concealed by the trees between it and the lake. No one there
seemed to be stirring. Presently a breeze developed and Greta bent,
indeed, to her oars. She must reach the little bay and the girls’ camp
as soon as possible. But the clouds did not seem to be heavier.

“There she comes, Molly!”

Three sober girls watched Greta make her way around the curve in the
lake shore and steadily row toward them, stopping for one little wave
when she saw them.

“She is awfully strong, isn’t she–for all she looks so pale and worn
when she comes?”

“All that hard work would give anybody muscles. Have you noticed her
poor hands?”

“Yes, Jean; but they are not out of shape at least.”

“No, just rough and her finger-nails are all broken. I suppose the
washing does it and I don’t know what else she does, but she happened
to speak of doing that. She had a big bundle of clothes in the boat
last evening. How are we going to manage this, Molly?”

“What do you mean, Jean?”

“Why, if you tell her before us, won’t she feel worse? Suppose Nan and
I make some excuse and leave you with her?”

“Oh, no, Jean–please! I need support; and besides, she admires you
most of all. I can tell. You just slip an arm around her if she needs
one!”

“We’d better give her her breakfast first, for fear she’ll be too
stirred up to eat,” Nan suggested.

“Good idea, Nan. Your head is always level.”

“Then if that’s so, I’d better see about the breakfast. You go down to
meet her, Jean.”

Nan and Molly hurried in, while Jean went down to the little dock to
welcome their guest.

“I was a little afraid you might not come, Greta, for it looks so much
like a storm,” said Jean, while Greta was fastening her boat securely.

“I think that I would have come _in_ a storm, if there had been no
other way. But it is a good thing that I was to come early, I suppose.”

“Molly and Nan went in to hurry up the breakfast. We had the milk
heated and the bacon cooked. There will be just us four to have
breakfast together. Grace took the rest on a breakfast hike, but I’m
afraid that they’re going to get caught in a storm if they don’t hurry
back. We have two girls from our town visiting us and that is the
reason for the trip. They are crazy to do everything and we are crazy
to show them everything we do. Nobody slept much last night.”

“I’m afraid that you wanted to go with the other girls,” thoughtfully
said Greta.

“Oh, no. Especially after Molly told us what she wants to tell
you,–and we did not mention it to the rest. But we’ll forget that now
and have a jolly good breakfast if we can. I’m not sure but ice-cold
lemonade would be better than hot cocoa in this kind of weather,–funny
to have a hot night on our lake.”

If the cocoa was hot, it was bracing to Greta. She sat at the yellow
and brown and white table, on a yellow, brown and white chair and had
her bacon and eggs served on the yellow dishes decorated with daisies.
“We are sibyls in our club,” Molly explained, “and our colors are
yellow and white, but we aren’t what the boys call ‘yellow,’ for our
motto is ‘_sans peur_,’ that means ‘without fear,’ and we’ve already
discovered that to have courage is one of the most necessary things
anywhere. Mine was at a low ebb last night, I can tell you, but this
morning I’m all braced up.”

Jean looked at Molly with amused affection. She understood how Molly
dreaded to tell Greta what she must.

Greta was bright enough to have an inkling of what Molly meant. Her own
courage was sinking, and had been all night. What had Molly heard? What
new and dreadful thing might she have to meet at home? Jacob Klein had
not come home the night before. Perhaps it was something about him.

But the breakfast was good and the girls were kind and interesting.
She did not seem to feel awkward with managing to eat before them.
Her mother had always made fun of her “fussy ways,” as her German
expressions meant. A good breeze was blowing through the big room and
making them all more comfortable. After the meal the girls left the
table as it was and took Greta outdoors to a nook among the trees where
they had fixed a rope swing and some seats out of logs. On one of
these they sat down, though Nan presently jumped up, saying that she’d
better clear the table, for the whole lot of girls would be back soon,
she thought. They all looked at the gathering clouds. The storm seemed
to be a long time coming. Perhaps it would pass around them. In any
event, Molly was thinking how she would tell Greta and Greta was more
interested in what she was to hear than in the storm.

“Greta,” began Molly, “does _Mrs. Klein_ treat you kindly?”

Greta’s dark eyes looked soberly into Molly’s. “I’d rather not say,”
she replied. “Yes, I will, too. It is a chance to tell some one. My
mother was good to me for a long time after I had a bad sickness, and
forgot things, they said. Then she changed and although she would never
let Jacob Klein abuse me, she can’t care much for me or she would never
put the heaviest work on me, even when she is well enough to help more.
I want to go away from home to work, and I thought that perhaps you
girls could help me find a way, to help some one with any kind of work;
and then I could send the money home to my mother and the children. I
heard her say when they were quarreling, after Jacob Klein threw me
against the tubs and hurt my head, that he must leave me alone and that
I was not his child.”

All this came tumbling out rapidly, as if Greta had planned it, which
was not the case. It was only that she was so full of her unhappiness
and puzzles.

“Did you ever think that perhaps you were not her child either?”

Greta looked startled. Then she said, slowly, “I thought that she might
have been married before and that my father might have had dark eyes
like mine. All the rest have blue eyes and light hair, if you noticed,
and the horse-doctor that came to look after me as well as the horse
asked my mother where she found a little girl with brown eyes. He was
joking, but my mother didn’t like it and said that families were not
always of one complexion, or something like that. She talks mostly
German.”

“I know,” answered Molly, who had heard her. “I understand German, for
we had a good woman that helped us for a long time when one of the
children was little and Mother was not strong. She started me because
she loved to talk her own language with some one, and I’ve kept it up.
But you haven’t a bit of a German accent and talk English as well as we
do. How does it happen?”

“That is what I have been wondering about for a long time. After this
sickness I had to be taught German, but could talk English. My mother
said that I had been bewitched,–that is what it would mean in English.
She taught me to read the German newspapers that Jacob Klein has,–I
haven’t called him Father since I found he wasn’t my father. Then I
found an old German Bible that I supposed was my great-grandmother’s,
from the date in it; but it was Jacob’s grandmother’s, of course. There
is better German in that, and it has been a help,–to stand things,
I mean.” Greta’s eyes filled with tears, but she dashed them away,
saying, “I’m sorry to complain this way to you. Please do _not_ tell
any one.”

“I can’t promise that,” smiled Molly, “but if you feel the same way
after I tell you a few things,–all right. But don’t you remember
anything that happened before this time that you were sick?”

“I know that I have been at school somewhere, and that I have seen
people like you somewhere and of course I am feeling pretty sure that
there is something queer about all this. Why should I know these things
if I had always been with these people? Yet it has been pretty well
told me all about my mother’s people and how my aunt Gretchen always
thought so much of me before she died and how my grandmother said
I would make a good little worker and would help my mother.” Greta
stopped with a whimsical smile. “I have, all right,” she added, “but
I have had a chance to talk English every summer with the people that
come to the cottages at the other end of the lake, and this summer a
lady gave me a lovely book, all about girls like you.”

“Thank you for telling us about yourself, Greta. Now let me tell you
what I heard this woman that you have been living with say.”

“‘This woman that you have been living with’?” thought Greta. “What
does this girl mean?”

“She did not say much, and in the simplest German, but she said enough
to make me listen to the rest,” continued Molly, going on to describe
the scene, telling how the girls happened to stop at the place.

“Yes, that was Mother,” said Greta in reply to Molly’s question, after
a detailed description of the woman whom she had seen.

“Well,” said Molly, “I saw a large stone by some bushes. There was a
sort of tangle in that corner of the yard, near a pasture fence.”
Greta nodded. She knew. “There was an old lilac bush and a syringa
bush in my way, but I peeped around them to see who was crying and if
anybody needed help. But here this woman was lying, almost on her face,
her hands clutching the grass between some little bushes that were
planted in a row, Greta. Then it was that I noticed the big stone in
the corner and a row of small stones that started from it as if someone
had been going to make a flower bed, you know. These all must be to
mark the place, Greta.

“She was sort of moaning, in German, ‘my Greta, my Greta, my little
Greta,’ and then she began to talk to her, just as I was going to slip
away, not to intrude; and she wasn’t hurt, I could see. But she went
on, ‘Your father never meant to kill you when he hit you that time,
and I couldn’t see him hung, could I? So here you are without a stone
with your name on it and not a prayer said over you when we hid you
here!’ She burst out sobbing loudly then, but by that time I thought I
ought to hear if she said anything more, and presently she was asking,
‘Wasn’t it better for no one to know, when the little girl came and
could take your place, and her people were all dead in the storm?’”

Here Jean slipped an arm around Greta, who was leaning toward Molly,
listening tensely. “Oh,–then the real Greta is buried there, and I am
the little girl!”

“Yes,–the ‘_kleines Mädchen_.’ When I got home last night, Greta, I
wrote down every German expression that I could remember, so I could
swear to it if necessary. And I lay awake thinking it out nearly half
the night. There wasn’t anything else, except that she kept sobbing and
repeating the little expressions she had used, Greta’s name, and asking
if she blamed her mother. Did you ever think that you might have been
kidnapped?”

“Yes. I made a wonderful story about myself and then I saw how silly
it was. I even belonged to the German or English nobility, though as
I couldn’t speak good German the first wasn’t likely. But it must be
true that my people are dead in a storm, for anything that my mother
said in that way would have to be true. Oh, to think of it! I knew I
was different and didn’t belong! I’d rather be all alone than to be the
daughter of that man–and poor Mother! She isn’t very bright, girls,
just stupid about some things, and loves that dreadful man! What can I
do? Oh, thank you, Miss Molly, for caring to tell me about it. It is a
wonderful thing for me that you girls came here this summer!”

But Greta put her head in her hands, and Jean patted her shoulder.
“We’ll have to think it out,” said Jean. “I told Molly that if it
happened in an accident, maybe the poor woman wasn’t so bad to want to
save her husband. But what was worst was about you, especially since
you looked unhappy and tired out. Oh, yes, Molly, you forgot to tell
Greta one thing, how she said she wasn’t making the girl that took
the real Greta’s place have a happy time and was making her work for
Greta’s little brother and sister. She has some crazy idea like that!”

“As long as that grave is there, it could be proved that I am not
Greta, I suppose. At least, they’d have to explain it.”

“But perhaps they could take,–take it all away, if they had any hint
that you knew,” said Molly.

“That is so. I will have to go back and wait. I always wondered why
Mother had started a flower-bed and those rose-bushes there, but I
never dared ask. I have a memory of a storm in the woods, or it seemed
like that.”

As Greta spoke, a blinding flash of lightning was followed by a
terrific crash of thunder. “My sakes!” exclaimed Jean. “Let’s get
inside. Oh, I hope that the girls are almost back!”

The three of them had been too much interested in the story which
Molly was relating to notice how black the sky had become. Nan rushed
to the door to call them, but saw that it was unnecessary. The bolt
of lightning so near had been sufficient warning. Greta went to work
with them to close all the windows and door and drag the cots in from
the sleeping porch. The room presented a disheveled appearance by the
time they were through, but they were concerned only with the storm.
Jean jumped with the next crash, but Greta, used to taking care of
frightened little children in storms, smiled at her and took her hand,
“What did you say your motto is?” she asked.

“Thanks, Greta. I’ll remember, but I’m terribly uneasy about the girls.
If they had taken the boat, they could get away from the trees.”

“But look at the lake, Miss Jean.”

“Just Jean and Molly and Nan, Greta,” said Jean, as she looked out at
an angry lake, whipped by a wind. The trees were bending now before a
great wind. Whirls of leaves and broken branches began to fly. Then
Nan cried, “Here they come,” and ran to open the door for the fleeing
girls, who ran through a blinding downpour and against a strong wind.

“It’s a regular whirlwind, and I hear a terrible roaring, girls,” said
Grace, out of breath. “Is everything closed tight?”

Nan, Jean and Molly were using their combined strength to shut the door
after the dripping girls had come in, but Greta answered. “We shut up
everything, Miss French.”

There was nothing to do but to wait results. By this time they all
knew that a storm of more than usual intensity was upon them. “‘_Sans
peur_,’ girls,” Grace reminded them, her chin raised and her eyes
looking out upon the whirling scene outside. “I’m glad that we reached
shelter and are together.”

“I’m scared,” said Phoebe, “and I don’t care who knows it!” She was
standing by Leigh Dudley, who had drawn a chair into the middle of
the room and had sunk into it as quite exhausted after their mad rush
through the woods. Leigh reached up with a smile and drew Phoebe down
into her lap. “Sit down Phoebe-bird. It doesn’t do any good to be
scared, but I’m not feeling any too safe myself.”

The two girls cuddled together and shut their eyes, but Jean and Greta
stood together, looking out, and Greta whispered, “The good God can
save us if it is best.” Not in vain had Greta read that German Bible.

Crash went a tree, just hitting the sleeping porch, and the little
house shook. But the worst of the storm had passed them by in a few
minutes from the time they heard the roaring sound, so rapidly was the
work of destruction done. It was wind rather than lightning which had
been the greatest menace. Pouring rain continued for some time,–and
then the sun came out!

“Now is the time to be thankful, girls,” said Grace, “but I hope that
the boys are all right. If I’m not mistaken, some cyclone went by us
and we’ll hear of damage done by it.”

Uneasily, the girls went about opening windows, looking out to see
what damage had been done to the sleeping porch, or going out into
their cleared dooryard to see if their prettiest trees had suffered.
Branches lay on the ground, whipped from the trees. It was a small
elm that had hit the porch. “Girls, if that tree hadn’t been actually
_lifted_ by the wind, I don’t believe it could have reached us,” said
Jean. “My father said that they particularly tried to see that no tree
could hit us if a storm felled it, no big one, I mean. We have shade
enough as it is.”

The girls stood looking about. “I’m glad that the boys built their
shack in a pretty well cleared place, too,” said Nan, who could
scarcely help worrying about Jimmy. Greta was thinking of home and the
children. They were often rude to her, in the atmosphere of scolding
and criticism which made Greta’s life wretched. But they also depended
upon her for a great deal and occasionally, when away from their
mother’s disapproval, showed her a little affection, especially the
youngest child.

Still excited by the character of the storm, the girls ran around in
the wet woods near by. They found the tree which had been struck by
lightning before Nan, Jean and Greta had gone into the house and they
were startled to find how near it had been. But when they looked across
the lake, beyond the camp’s small bay and where the woods stretched
toward Greta’s home, they saw the most damage. Trees lay prostrate near
the shore. Branches and drift tossed upon the still active waves. “I
must hurry home at once,” said Greta. “The storm has gone that way.”

“I’ll go with you,” declared Jean, thinking of the motto, for the
thought of going frightened her and she would have preferred to know
what had happened to Jimmy Standish, her friend, Billy Baxter and the
rest of the boys. But she and Molly and Nan had gotten Greta into
coming for breakfast. If the family were unharmed by the storm and
Greta had a scolding or worse, she would stand by her.

“I’ll go, too,” said Molly; but Grace heard them.

“Wait, girls,” said Grace. “I think that I hear the boys calling.”

The girls listened.

“Wah-hoo-oo-oo-oo-oo!” came the long-drawn call.

“Oo-ey, oo-ey, oo-ey,” answered Grace, all smiles, for that was Jimmy.

In a few minutes several boys came crashing through the bushes and
brush, not caring how the wet drops sprinkled them right and left.
“Everybody all right?” asked Jimmy, who was in the lead, Billy Baxter
right behind him. His quick eyes took in Grace and Nan first and
traveled over the rest with some relief.

“Yes,” answered Grace. “No one was out in the storm and the little
cabin stood; but some of us got inside just in time. I should have had
more sense than to go off for a hike and breakfast when it felt like a
storm, even if we did not notice any signs when we left so early. I’ve
been wondering about you.”

“All of us have,” Jean added, “and Greta is worrying about her folks
across the lake. This is Greta Klein. Greta, this is Nan’s brother,
Jimmy. He’s in charge at the boys’ camp, just as Grace French is here.”

“I was certainly thankful to hear you call, Jimmy,” said Grace, while
Greta and Jimmy acknowledged the introduction after a fashion, for
matters were on an informal footing. Jean had merely announced facts.

“We would have been around when it first began to look like a bad
storm, but we were off, too, out of sight, on the other shore of the
peninsula to begin with, then ’way around in the woods. Like you, we
started early and there is a little fisherman’s shack there. We made
it to our camp, though, but we had to stay till she blew over then. As
soon as we could, we ran out where we could see your roof and it was
still on. So we hoped that you were all right. Gee-whilikins, didn’t it
get dark?”

“Jimmy brought ‘first aid’ and everything,” said Dan Pierce. “Would
Greta like to have us go around with her?”

“That is a fine idea, Dan,” said Grace, and Billy wished that he had
thought of it. “I thought of going around with Greta, as soon as we
knew about your camp. I was sure that you would get some sort of a
message through pretty soon, unless you were all blown away. Suppose
you three boys come with Greta and me, and maybe Molly, and Jean.
They spoke of going. Do you think that you could stand it, girls, if
anything has happened there?” This question was spoken in a lower tone,
for the benefit of Jean and Molly only.

“‘_Sans peur_,’ Grace,” said Jean stoutly. “Get Molly to tell you all
about everything while we go.”

“Couldn’t we go in the boats now?” asked Molly, but caught herself
short. “Oh, girls, we never thought to look and see if the boats are
there yet!”

They were not, as the assembled company soon found out when they ran
around to the lake side of the cottage. There was no sign either
of Greta’s boat or theirs. “Our canoes were high and dry and under
shelter,” said Jimmy, “but the row-boats and the little motor are
goners as far as we know.”

“Some of them may turn up,” hopefully inserted Billy. “Let’s go, Jimmy.”

“All right, kid, when the girls are ready. By the way, Grace, tell
them all to look out for trees or branches that might be ready to
fall. We’ll have to go on the edge of the woods and through it in some
places, isn’t that so, Greta?”

“Yes, sir.”

Senior Jimmy smiled at the “sir,” then happened to think. Yes, he was
out of school, and he’d be in the office with his father till he
earned enough money, in a year or so, to start to college. Say, he was
grown up, after all.

“Greta,” asked Molly, soon after they started through the woods, “how
old were you when you were ‘sick’?”

“It was four years ago, and Mother says that I am sixteen.”

“You don’t look any older than I do, and I’m fifteen. Well, yes, you do
look older in one way, but then you’ve done so much hard work, I guess.”




The going was difficult. They scarcely stopped to examine the curious
freaks of the storm in the woods. Afterward they learned that there was
a comparatively small area damaged by the “twister,” though the storm
was general. Jimmy said that he thought the twister must have stooped
and risen again, in an erratic fashion, to fell some trees, take off
the tops of others and cut almost a path before it in places.

It was some time before they came into sight of the Klein house. There
it stood, as ramshackle as ever and with the additional loss of the
roof over Greta’s attic. As they reached the road which ran between the
woods and the place, Greta ran, the rest following as rapidly as they
could.

The yard was strewn with rubbish and a few excited chickens ran about
as Greta appeared; but she dashed into the house, calling to see where
her mother and the children were. There was no response. Greta looked
anxious, as she came from the rear of the house to say that no one was
downstairs.

Jimmy insisted on accompanying Greta upstairs to see if they could be
there, hurt, perhaps, when the roof went off. They found the attic
pretty well demolished and the ceiling had fallen in the bedroom below;
but there were no signs of any one having been there when it happened.
“We’ll look to see if the horse and the old wagon are here,” said
Greta, running down the stairs and outdoors. “Maybe they started away
before the storm began. Mother was very anxious last night and seemed
to think that–her husband–was in trouble.”

There lay the explanation of the absence. Neither horse nor wagon
were to be found. The dogs were gone. The lone cow in the pasture was
unhurt. “She probably wakened up early,” said Greta, “and just went to
the village to see what had become of him. Thank you all for coming
with me. I’ll just wait here and straighten up the best I can till they
come. It was a good thing they went, unless they might have gotten
caught in the storm.”

“I don’t think we should leave you here alone, Greta, to find out later
what did happen. Billy and I can walk across to the village and find
out if they are in any trouble. Where would she be likely to go?”

“There is one woman there that Mother stops to see when she goes to
town. If there were any trouble about–him–she would ask Mrs.–well,
let me write the name for you. It’s a long German name. I hate to have
you take all that trouble, and the long walk after all your hiking,
too. I just don’t know what _to_ do this time.”

“We’re going, Greta. It is the only thing to do.”

“I’ll make some coffee for you first.”

“No, we had breakfast and we’ll get something in town. Honest, we’ll do
it.”

The discussion came to an end suddenly, for the attention of everyone
was diverted by the appearance of a light buggy and a toiling horse
that was splashing through mud and water on the dirt road. The man who
was driving was leaning out to look at the damage of the storm and
viewing with surprise the number of people in the front yard. “Hello,”
he called, “is Greta Klein there?”

Greta came running forward to meet the man who drove up, turned his
wheel and clambered heavily out of the buggy. Jean happened to stand
nearest and heard the most of the low conversation that took place,
though she stepped back a little.

“I’m sorry to tell you, Greta, that your pa was took sudden last night
and your ma was sent fur. She got up an’ took the little ones an’ why
she didn’t wake you up I don’t know. Mebbe she isn’t quite right, fur
she says that you ain’t her child an’ she’s terrible upset becuz he wuz
gone when she got there. The children wuzn’t half dressed an’ she wants
their clothes.”

“Does she want me to come?”

“No, but I would. That woman she stays with says to bring you.”

Greta turned to Jean. Her face was white, but her lips were set firmly.
“I’ll have to go. Did you hear what happened to Jacob Klein, Jean?”

“Yes. Go and get ready and I’ll tell the rest.”

Grace, however, stepped up to the messenger and asked what his news was
about Mrs. Klein. “We are friends of Greta’s from a couple of camps on
the lake. She took breakfast with us this morning and was kept by the
storm.”

“Oh, she did. Well, all I have to say is that it’s a good thing she
has friends. If you know anything about Klein you’ll know that what
happened was likely to happen to a man with his habits. There was a
terrible quarrel where he was drinking and Klein was hurt. That’s all I
know except his wife’s ravings. She’s got the hysterics, I think.”

“Is she likely to hurt Greta?”

“Oh, no. But she seems to have took a dislike to Greta, they say.”

“I see.” Grace went into the house to see if she could help Greta in
any way. Greta was trying to find the children’s clothes in the midst
of the destruction wrought by the fallen ceiling, and hearing Grace’s
footsteps, she looked out of the door.

“Don’t try to come up, Miss French. I’m finding their clothes and we
can clean them up when I get into town.”

“Well, I just want to tell you, Greta, to come right to us at the camp
if you need a place to go. I don’t quite understand what the man told
me but it is clear that things are strange.”

“Yes, they are. Ask Molly and Jean and Nan to tell you what they know.
And after I help Mother through this, I’ll be glad to come. I want to
find a place to work and the girls thought they could help me.”

“We all can, Greta. Don’t worry.”

It was not long before Greta had been driven away. She had locked the
door and taken a bundle of clothing with her. Cheerful waves from the
girls saw her off and Jean told her not to forget to come to the camp
as soon as she could.

There was another long tramp back to camp, for there was no boat to
take them over, but Grace invited the boys to stay for as big a meal as
they could get up on short notice. “Open some cans of beans, Grace,”
suggested Jimmy, “and heat ’em up.”

“Beans it shall be,” laughed Grace, “but we’ll have some other things,
too. Think it up, girls, on the way.”

Camp, however, afforded a pleasant surprise. There stood Mr. Standish
and Mr. Lockhart in front of the house, drawn there by the sounds of
arrival, and while Nan and Fran rushed “madly on,” as Jean said, Mr.
Standish came from the house. “Oh, there you are!” she exclaimed in
relief. “We just got here and while we saw that the cottage is all
right, we were worried to death for fear something had happened to you.
Your father and Mr. Lockhart were just starting to the boys’ camp to
see if they were all right.”

“Here are Jimmy and Billy and Dan to tell you all about the time
they had,” said Nan, hugging her mother. “We weren’t very scared,
Mother,–‘_sans peur_,’ you know, but we have a lot to tell you about
Greta Klein, a girl that lives near here.”

“Got a big description of the storm for the paper, Dad,” Jimmy informed
Mr. Standish.

“All right. Write it up for me. I heard about the storm up here and we
had the edge of it at home. Wires were down, so I thought we’d better
drive up. Such roads. We came over the shaky bridge and may have to
swim back.”

“In that case, I’ll stay with the girls,” suggested Mrs. Standish,
laughing. “It was an awful ride, but I was thinking of you and the
girls and could not get here fast enough, Jimmy. Where are the rest of
the boys?”

“Back at camp, I suppose. We came up here to see if the girls had
escaped.”

Further explanations followed. Mrs. Lockhart was found inside, where
she had been setting forth fruit and baked things of all sorts,
gathered up hastily when they decided to come. Part of it was saved for
the Wizards who were at their camp, but the rest, with what the girls
had, made a great dinner that was eaten merrily, though Mr. Standish
offered a fervent grace of gratitude at its beginning.

Jean and Molly gave a partial account of the mystery about Greta. “She
isn’t their child at all,” said Jean. “It’s dreadfully sad, of course,
but not so bad for Greta as if they were her parents and had been good
to her. Greta is a fine girl all right. She’s going to do everything
she can for them, I know.”

“Perhaps Mother could train her to help us and she could go to
school,” said Leigh. “I’m glad that my father and mother are away, not
to be worried about the storm.”

“Me, too,” said Jean, “but the folks will be back next week, I think.”

“We shall take good word to every one at home,” said Mrs. Standish,
“and if we can help that poor child get a start, we will. _There_ is
something for the S. P.’s to do.”