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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Outdoor Girls On Pine Island - Chapter 10. Bright And Early
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The Outdoor Girls On Pine Island - Chapter 10. Bright And Early Post by :joebiff Category :Long Stories Author :Laura Lee Hope Date :May 2012 Read :381

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The Outdoor Girls On Pine Island - Chapter 10. Bright And Early

CHAPTER X. BRIGHT AND EARLY

The morning dawned clear and bright. Mollie woke first in the large, sunshiny room which the girls had chosen to occupy together during their stay on Pine Island.

It contained two large double beds--each in a little alcove of its own. The spotless grass mats, the flowers that bloomed on the wide-silled, latticed windows gave the room an air of cheerful hominess and comfort that was very pleasant.

All this Mollie took in subconsciously as her sleepy gaze wandered about the room. Then slowly full wakefulness banished the last vestige of sleep from her eyes and she sat up in bed.

"The sun!" she cried joyfully. "And I was sure it was going to be rainy this morning! Oh, now we shall see the island as it really is. Wake up, Amy, do! Oh, goodness, how the child sleeps!" and she shook her slumbering friend with no uncertain hand.

"There is no use, Mollie," said Betty's voice from the other end of the room. "You couldn't wake Amy or Grace without a good shaking."

"What's that?" cried Mollie, startled, as a loud knock sounded on the door. "I wonder who is coming to visit us so early?"

"Probably one of the boys," Betty suggested, "come to tell us it is nine o'clock and high time we were up and dressed."

"Nine o'clock!" Grace fairly stuttered, but just then Mollie called out an impatient:

"Who's there?" in response to a second and harder knock at the door.

"It's I, Will. Mrs. Irving sent me up to ask when in the name of common sense you girls are coming down to breakfast."

"What time is it?" Betty countered. "If you tell us that, we'll tell you what time we are coming down."

"It is half-past eight," Will answered. "We fellows have been up since six o'clock getting our summer quarters fixed up!"

"I won't believe it until I see it," said Mollie darkly. "Six o'clock, indeed!" and she sniffed disdainfully.

"Well, if you don't believe it," said Will, through the keyhole, "all you have to do is to come down and see for yourself. We've got everything fixed up O. K. all right. But say! when are you fellows--I mean girls--going to get up?"

"Right away, Will," Betty promised, popping out of bed and into her slippers all at once. "We will be down in a jiffy."

It required a great deal of tact to coax Amy and Grace out of bed, but it took a still greater amount of merciless driving to get them downstairs and into the big airy dining room, where Mrs. Irving was impatiently awaiting them.

"Here you are," she said, laying down her book as the four girls tumbled into the room. "I thought you would be tired after last night's fun, so I let you sleep it out."

"Well, we surely did sleep," said the Little Captain brightly. "I for one feel as if I'll never sleep again."

"And I feel as if I could sleep forever," said Grace. "You never saw anything like Betty, Mrs. Irving," she complained. "Why, I do believe she could have made a fortune in the old days as an overseer down South."

Mrs. Irving laughed. "You don't look especially brow-beaten," she said. "And anyway, I should think you would be glad to get up--you must be nearly starved to death."

"I thought after last night, and the chicken, I could never eat again," said Mollie, her eyes sparkling at the memory. "But I find that I can, very easily. Oh, Mrs. Irving, what is there?"

"Well," their chaperon began, "there are the eggs we had put up with the other things yesterday and some fruit and honey and we can make some fluffy white biscuits in no time----"

"Oh, oh, say no more!" said Betty, clapping her hands joyfully and executing a little dance about the room. "Honey and biscuits--I could make a meal of them alone. Mrs. Irving, show me the stove--lead me to it--and I'll make the biscuits," she finished importantly.

"Mrs. Irving," Grace pleaded, turning to the chaperon, "you are the only one here who could possibly make Betty do anything that she didn't want to do or stop her doing anything she had set her heart on. Won't you please interfere for the sake of the community? It might really be dangerous," she added plaintively.

"Don't worry," Mollie put in. "I have eaten Betty's biscuits of old, and, believe me, they are good. All I ask is that you hustle, Betty--shoo----" And she hurried the willing Little Captain before her into the kitchen.

Mrs. Irving followed more slowly with Amy and Grace, and they were just in time to hear Mollie's last sentence: "Where have the boys disappeared to?"

"They're out yonder in the woods," Mrs. Irving replied, indicating a spot beyond the cottage. "They were up very early this morning--couldn't wait to get the tents up. Allen left word that they would stop around in a couple of hours to say good-afternoon to you girls--if you happened to be up by that time," and the little chaperon's eyes twinkled as she saw the look of rising indignation in the girls' faces.

"If we happen to be up, indeed," sniffed Betty, bustling around the kitchen in a business-like fashion, sorting out pans and getting out the flour, which Mollie's aunt had very thoughtfully left in the larder. "If they talk like that much more, they won't get any of my biscuits. Just wait till they smell them, girls--they will go down on their knees."

"Yes, the only way to manage boys is to feed them well," sighed Amy, with a funny air of knowing all there was to be known about men.

"Oh, Amy! Amy!" gasped Mollie, "you will be the death of me yet. Anybody would actually think, to hear you talk, that you had really had some experience. Say, Betty," she added, regarding the doughy mixture--the result of Betty's skillful manipulation, "that looks mighty interesting--I shouldn't mind learning how to make them myself."

"Oh, it's lots of fun," Betty affirmed, cutting out the biscuits with an improvised cutter--this last being the top of a baking powder can. "Only take my advice," she went on, standing with the cover poised in the air and speaking earnestly. "Don't try it on your family first--they never appreciate you. Why, the first time I made biscuits, do you know what dad said?"

"No, but I can imagine," said Grace, who had also been regarding the operation, "judging from what dad and Will would have remarked."

"Well, he said," Betty continued, patting the last biscuit into its appointed place and regarding her work with satisfaction, "he said the best thing I could do with them would be to pack them and send them to the old country to use in some of the new howitzers or something like that they are getting out. How is that for a slam?"

"Well, I shouldn't wonder," said Grace wickedly, "if he were justified."

Betty turned and shot a reproachful glance at her friend. "Just for that, Grace," she said, "I ought to say you can't have any of these--works of art," indicating the pan she was putting into the oven. "Why do you girls stand around staring at me anyway?" she added, a sudden note of impatience in her voice. "Why don't you do something to earn your living? Set the table or get the water boiling for the eggs. I can't do everything--now scatter! If you were all as hungry as I am you wouldn't wait to be told."

Laughingly the girls did as the Little Captain bid--somehow it was impossible to do anything else.

"Where is the table cloth, Mollie?" called Amy from the other room. "We used paper napkins and doilies last night." Then she added, as Mollie came to help her, "Did you ever see anybody eat like those boys last night?"

"It was a wonderful and awesome sight," Mollie agreed, as she and Amy spread the cloth. "I wonder," she added as a sudden thought struck her, "if the boys have had their breakfast."

"What a question!" said Grace, appearing at the door carrying a plateful of the most deliciously golden honey the girls had ever seen--or so at least it seemed to them. "Do you imagine they could exist from six o'clock to ten without eating? Mollie, I gave you credit for more sense."

"Is that so?" retorted Mollie, cross because she was hungry. "Well, I have a good deal more sense than some people I know. I mention no names, but see where I am looking," and she stared steadfastly at her unruffled chum, who was calmly setting the honey on the table.

"Here I am again," said Betty, "acting the part of peacemaker. Oh, girls, it is too wonderful a day for outdoor girls to quarrel. I am simply crazy to get out in the woods and just revel in the grass and the trees and the sunshine." And she glanced longingly out of the open door that led to the porch. "Oh, I wish," she said, "I wish the biscuits could be done and eaten all in five minutes. Amy, did you put the eggs in?" she demanded, and Amy, who had been gazing out of the window, scuttled out to the kitchen obediently.

The girls had nearly finished breakfast, when there was a sound of voices outside the door, and a moment later the boys burst in upon them.

"Hello!" said Allen, evidently surprised. "I didn't expect to see you for another hour."

"Say, those biscuits look good," said Roy. "I should say biscuit," he corrected himself. "Say, Betty, do you happen to have any more of those around?"

"No, and you don't get this one, either. It belongs to Amy," said Betty decidedly. "She has had only three and I made four apiece."

Frank was just about to protest when she added compromisingly: "I'll make some more for lunch."

"When is lunch?" inquired Will practically. "Twelve o'clock?"

"No, about one," Mollie answered. "We couldn't possibly eat before then."

Allen had been talking to Betty in an undertone, and now he broke into the conversation with: "Betty says she wants to see our camp. Who cares to go along?"

There was a clamorous assent followed by a faint little protest from Grace. "Don't you think we had better wash the dishes first?" she asked.

"Oh, hang the dishes!" said Frank, inelegantly. "Remember we are camping."

"We'll wash them up with the lunch dishes," Betty compromised, then added, with a sly little glance in Allen's direction: "We'll make the boys wipe them for us."

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