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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Outdoor Girls On Pine Island - Chapter 12. "Where There Is Smoke----"
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The Outdoor Girls On Pine Island - Chapter 12. 'Where There Is Smoke----' Post by :joebiff Category :Long Stories Author :Laura Lee Hope Date :May 2012 Read :2512

Click below to download : The Outdoor Girls On Pine Island - Chapter 12. "Where There Is Smoke----" (Format : PDF)

The Outdoor Girls On Pine Island - Chapter 12. "Where There Is Smoke----"

CHAPTER XII. "WHERE THERE IS SMOKE----"

The Outdoor Girls must have a fire. That they had decided at the supper table. What was the use of having a big fire-place if they never used it? Betty's theory was, that it was wicked to let anything go to waste. All this being true, it stood to reason that a fire they must have.

"I wonder if the boys wouldn't come in and help us build it," Grace suggested, seized with a brilliant idea. "There are already some logs in the fire-place, but I feel that I would like to have somebody else work for me to-night."

"Why, of course," said Mollie. "That's what we brought them with us for--to help out when they were needed."

"They would be flattered if they could hear you," said Amy.

"I don't see why they insist on staying out in the woods and cooking their own meals. Just think what fun we could have with them, if they were here now," put in Mollie once again.

"Yes, but then think of all the trouble they would be making us," said Betty. "Besides," she added, "your aunt didn't say anything about a troop of noisy boys, Mollie, when she lent us her bungalow for the summer."

"That's right, too," Mollie reluctantly conceded. "Just the same I hope they haven't forgotten they are due here at six-thirty to wipe the dishes. There is _such a pile of them!"

"Methinks," Grace announced solemnly, "that even at this moment I hear the sound of approaching footsteps."

"How can you hear footsteps on the grass?" Mollie demanded rudely. "You must have better ears than I have."

"Of course I have," Grace retorted calmly. "I knew that long ago."

Before Mollie could answer a head was poked in at the door and an accompanying voice asked cheerily: "May we come in? Are we on time?"

"You're as welcome as a day in June, Frank," called Betty, as she arose and started to take the dishes into the kitchen. "We want you to wipe these for us, and make a fire."

"Anything else?" Frank inquired mildly, while the rest of him followed his head into the room. "The fellows told me to come on ahead, and say to you ladies that they would be here as soon as they got through scouring their frying pan."

"Poor boys," said Amy impulsively. "Why don't they bring the things here?"

But Mollie's thoughts took another direction. "I hope they bring back the sapolio," she said practically. "It was the only cake we had."

Betty paused half way to the kitchen and balanced her pile of dishes on one hand. "Mollie," she cried in dismay, "they will never think of it! Don't you think you had better go back and tell them, Frank?" she said.

"Sure!" he answered obligingly, while he sunk into an easy chair with a sigh of content. Evidently he was settled for the evening.

"Then why don't you go?" Mollie demanded impatiently. "If boys aren't the most aggravating things, when they want to be!" she added.

"There's plenty of time," Frank assured her calmly. "I left the fellows in the first throes of cleaning up--they won't be through for half an hour at least."

"Well, I don't care," said Betty, continuing her journeyings into the kitchen. "If we haven't anything to scour the pans with, then they'll not get scoured--that's all."

"That's the spirit I like to see," said Frank, and Betty could have thrown something at him, with the greatest of pleasure. "It's fine to see anybody resigned to the inevitable."

"Well, I know one thing," Mollie threatened, "if you don't go back in five minutes, I will," and for emphasis she banged the salt cellar forcibly upon the table.

"What's the matter with our going together?" Frank inquired, moving his head slightly to bring Mollie within his range of vision. "The distance won't seem half as far if I have such pleasant company," he added gallantly.

"Don't do it," Betty, coming in from the kitchen, advised. "Make him work a little."

"Oh, you're only jealous because I didn't ask you," Frank teased. "I always knew you thought a good deal of me, Betty."

She made a little face at him, but did not deign to reply. Indeed, why should she--the accusation was so plainly absurd?

Long before they had expected, voices were heard in the distance and the most unearthly noises broke the woodland stillness. There was a banging of wood upon tin and the clatter of utensils mingling with the outrageous uproar from three pairs of sound and healthy lungs. There were shouts and war cries and yells, combining in a weird clamor that could be heard for miles around--or so it seemed to the girls.

The girls looked at each other inquiringly--then made a concerted rush for the door.

"Oh, what a noise!" cried Betty. "It's just as well there isn't anybody else in this part of the wood."

A moment later the boys rushed upon them, vigorously pounding utensils, and shouting at the top of their voices. The girls gave way before them, and the roisterers tumbled in and took possession as though they were really the Redskins, whose cries they were successfully imitating. They raced about the house like madmen, while the girls watched their antics in a peculiar frame of mind. If the truth must be told, they were undecided whether to be displeased or amused. Amusement conquered in the end, however, for the boys were irresistibly funny, and the girls laughed till they ached and the tears rolled down their cheeks.

After considerable time they all managed to quiet down enough to talk sense.

"The girls want us to make a fire, fellows," said Frank. "The idea looks good to me."

"It is good," Allen agreed. "Give us the wood and matches, and we will have a fire going in no time."

"The wood is in the fire-place," Betty answered, "and Mollie has the matches, I think."

With this the boys set to work energetically, while the girls and Mrs. Irving stood about them in a semi-circle.

"It's so different from building a fire in the open," Amy commented. "I always love them. Can't we toast marshmallows? That's the most fun of all."

"We could if we had any," Grace replied dryly. "I have some chocolates but you can't roast them, and nobody had the sense to think to buy marshmallows to-day."

At this last remark, Frank sat back upon his heels and favored Mollie with a sly wink--while that young lady smiled mysteriously.

"Thereby hangs a tale of which you shall hear later," he said, and, in spite of all their urging, he could not be made to say another word.

However, their curiosity was forgotten a moment later--forgotten in the excitement caused by a strange and curious happening.

Suddenly the smoke which had been rolling in clouds up the chimney, refused to roll farther. There being no other exit except into the room, the girls and boys suddenly found themselves suffocating. They choked, and the boys stumbled to their feet and followed the fleeing girls into the dining room.

There was a chorus of sneezes and smothered cries of "I'm choking! Open the window, some one, quick!"

"The windows are open and the doors, too," gasped Frank, in answer to this last request.

"Don't be alarmed, any one," Allen commanded. "It's nothing but a clogged-up chimney, and that won't hurt anybody."

"But the smoke!" gasped Mollie. "Why, the house will be ruined. What will Aunt Elvira say?"

"Oh, it won't hurt anything," said Betty, making a brave attempt to push her way through the smoke into the living room. "But it is terrible. Can't we do something to stop it, boys?"

"I don't know how we can--unless----" Roy turned quickly to Mollie. "Did your aunt say anything about a blower?" he asked eagerly.

"I don't remember--I--I don't remember," stammered poor Mollie, whose memory was being taxed to the utmost. "You might look though, and see what you can find."

"Oh, do hurry, somebody!" begged Grace. "I'll take to the woods in another minute."

"Oh, have a little patience, Sis, can't you?" cried Will, losing his temper. "We are all doing the best we can."

"But look," said Mollie, suddenly pointing to the other room. "The smoke is beginning to clear and the wood isn't half burned out yet."

"Let's investigate," Frank suggested. "Maybe we can find out what is wrong with the thing. Come on," and in they all trooped, coughing and choking, but dauntless.

"Get me a stick, will you, girls," Roy entreated, as he went nearer to inspect the fire-place. "A broom will do. Or anything else you happen to have around."

Mollie disappeared into the kitchen and returned a moment later, bringing back with her an old stick that looked as though it might have been a clothespole in its better days.

"Will this do?" she asked, holding it out to Roy. "It was the only thing I could find."

"Just what I wanted," Roy answered. "Now, fellows, let's see what we can do with the thing."

The four boys crowded around, peering up into the opening as if they hoped to find the solution of the mystery there, while the girls watched them with breathless interest.

It was then that it happened. Roy poked upward inquiringly with his stick, and for answer a cloud of soot and ashes discharged itself from the chimney, showering the boys' faces with grimy dust.

They drew back with cries of disgust and began rubbing their eyes and faces furiously. Then the four blackened adventurers turned to the girls appealingly. They looked so funny, standing there with their faces black and their clothes bespattered with grime and a look of sheepish chagrin on their faces, that the girls burst into gales of uncontrolled laughter.

"You look just like candidates for a minstrel show," gasped Mollie, while the boys stood regarding her reproachfully. "Oh, boys, if you only had a mirror! If you only had!"

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