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Full Online Book HomeLong StoriesThe Outdoor Girls On Pine Island - Chapter 15. A Splendid Catch
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The Outdoor Girls On Pine Island - Chapter 15. A Splendid Catch Post by :joebiff Category :Long Stories Author :Laura Lee Hope Date :May 2012 Read :2865

Click below to download : The Outdoor Girls On Pine Island - Chapter 15. A Splendid Catch (Format : PDF)

The Outdoor Girls On Pine Island - Chapter 15. A Splendid Catch

CHAPTER XV. A SPLENDID CATCH

"Can't anybody think of anything to do?" Mollie queried impatiently. "I'll go crazy if I have to sit around here for another half hour," and she dug the toe of her shoe into the soft sward viciously.

"You are not very flattering to our company," said Roy, leaning on one elbow and smiling up lazily at the straight little figure beside him.

Mrs. Irving was lying down and the rest of the party was gathering about the camping place of the boys, some roaming about restlessly and others sitting upon the grass. It was a sultry, scorching day, when not a breeze came to temper the heat--a day when the slightest movement produces the effect, as Mollie had said, "of a fire lighted right under your nose." The young people were restlessly on edge, undecided what to do.

It was too hot to make the long-looked-for walk to the summer colony a possibility. Of course they could swim, but this they had done all morning long and one couldn't swim forever! This was the state of affairs then, when Mollie made her petulant remark.

"That's nonsense," she retorted, in reply to Roy. "It isn't the company I find fault with, it's the atmosphere."

Allen and Betty, who had come back from a little ramble in the woods, surveyed the scene thoughtfully.

"I tell you what we can do," said Allen, and the two on the grass regarded him hopefully. "We fellows have brought some fishing tackle--suppose we go out and try to get some fish for supper? That doesn't require much energy," he added.

"Allen, you have saved my life!" cried Mollie, springing up from the mossy rock, which had been her seat. "Can't we go right away? Oh, do call the others and ask them to hurry!"

"Take it easy," Roy cautioned, still stretched out on the grass. "You'll get all heated up again. Besides there's no such awful rush--we have all the time there is before us."

But Mollie was all action, now that there was some definite point in view.

She called the others to her, speaking quickly.

"We are going to catch some fish," she announced eagerly. "Or at least we are going to try to."

"Try is good," murmured Frank, but Mollie continued, unheeding.

"It is strange that I didn't remember before," she went on, "what Aunt Elvira said about the wonderful fishing pool about a mile away."

"A mile!" groaned Grace. "Do you mean to say that we have to walk a mile in this blazing heat?"

"Nobody _has to," Mollie retorted. "It's only a question of wanting to. I'm going if I have to go alone."

"Oh, come on, Grace, be a sport," Frank coaxed. "Just think how nice and shady and cool it will be when we get there. It _will be nice and shady and cool, won't it, Mollie?" he added, turning to her for confirmation.

"Nice rocks with great, big trees shading them and clear, cold water with lots of fish in it and--and--oh, everything!" she agreed in a burst of enthusiasm.

"That sounds mighty good to me," said Roy. "Now for the fishing tackle--where is it, fellows?"

"Oh, wait a minute," called Mollie, as they made a rush for the tents. "There are some rods up at the house, too. We might as well take all we can get."

"Good!" said Will. "I'll go with the girls, fellows, and help them while you are getting things ready."

Their present elation was very different from the apathy which had possessed them so short a time before. Indeed, Mollie's description of the fishing pool was very alluring.

"Whereabouts did you see the tackle, Mollie?" Will asked, as they entered the house.

"Oh, I can find it," said Mollie with conviction. "I think there were four rods. I hope I wasn't mistaken."

"If you were," said Amy, "one of us will have to sit still and watch!"

"And I think I know who that will be," said Will with a sly glance at his sister.

"Just for that," Grace retorted, "I'll show you the best catch of the day."

"We shall see," said Mollie, opening the door of a small closet under the stairs. "Look," she added, "there they are. You're a judge of rods, Will--how do these look?"

Will took them in his hands and examined them minutely. "They're pippins!" he exclaimed joyfully. "I don't know when I've seen a better outfit. You ought to be able to catch all the fish in the lake with these, girls," and he regarded them admiringly.

"We'd better watch out for the boys," said Amy, wisely, as they left the house. "They will be exchanging their rods for ours, if we aren't careful."

They all laughed, including Mrs. Irving, who had come downstairs. She had not been feeling well of late--the heat had been too much for her--but she had announced a strong desire to accompany the young folks, if they went very far from home.

They found the three boys industriously digging worms, and so intent were they in this absorbing occupation that they did not look up when the party approached.

"What are you doing?" Grace asked, and then, as Allen held up a wriggling candidate for the hook, she shivered and drew back in disgust.

"Ugh," she said, "how I hate the nasty things! Somebody will have to bait my hook for me. I couldn't do it in a million years."

"All right, nobody asked you to. How's that for a good fat one, eh?" asked Roy, as he held up an unusually fine one for her inspection.

"Why is it boys always have to tease?" Betty asked of the world in general. "We know you have to have worms for bait, but that doesn't make us like to look at them."

"Well, I guess that's enough," said Allen, clapping the top on the big tin box, and getting to his feet. "Now if the fish don't like the bait any better than you girls, I shouldn't wonder if we got done out of our supper."

"My aunt says they are wonderfully agreeable," said Mollie as they started down the path, "especially in that pool. She says they just fall over one another in their hurry to get caught."

"And you waited all this time to tell us about it," said Allen reproachfully. "And even then I had to suggest it."

"Yes, if it were just an ordinary pool you could understand it," Frank added. "But a marvel like this! Gee, those fish must be hungry!"

The Outdoor Girls and their companions tramped for what seemed to them a very long time, but at last they were rewarded by a vision of a beautiful glade--all trees and rocks and crystal-clear water.

"Well, this looks like something," said Will, drawing a deep breath. "I wouldn't mind camping here for the rest of the season."

Betty laughed. "You would either have to saw down about a hundred trees," she said, "or camp in the pool with the little fishes."

"Well, it might not be so bad at that," said Will, cheerfully, while he helped Amy over the uneven places. "I could have fish dinners if I wanted them anyway."

"Well, there is nothing like looking on the bright side of things," laughed Allen. "Look, Betty, here is a place that was just made for you. Seat and back and everything complete. Isn't it a dandy?"

"Do I dangle my feet over it?" asked Betty doubtfully, surveying the water beneath. "Suppose one of my slippers dropped off?"

"I suppose I'd go down and get it," he said, brushing the difficulty aside with a wave of his hand.

"But it would be ruined," wailed Betty. "They don't feel very tight, you know."

Allen ran his hand through his hair in evident perplexity. Then his brow cleared before the light of a sudden inspiration.

"Can't you take them off?" he asked eagerly.

"Allen!" she cried. "What an idea! Of course I can't."

"Well, what are you going to do then?" he demanded despairingly. "I've suggested everything I could think of and you certainly can't stand up all afternoon."

"What are you two talking about?" Grace demanded. "Don't you know you are blocking the way?"

"I don't want to put my feet over the edge," Betty explained. "And I don't know what else to do."

"Follow my example," Mollie suggested. "Sit on 'em."

"Good idea," Betty agreed. And she immediately plumped down on her two slim ankles, looking up at Allen invitingly. "You look so far away," she said. "When you sit down you are not nearly so impressive. There's plenty of room for two," and she patted the rock beside her.

Allen obediently stretched his long length on the turf at her side, letting his legs hang over.

"You see I'm not afraid to risk a dip in the aqua pura," he said. "It wouldn't ruin my dainty little gunboats."

"It looks as if nothing would hurt them but an axe," Frank remarked. He had seated himself next to Allen and Betty, after having made Grace comfortable, and was busily engaged in baiting his hook. "You'd better hurry up, Allen--we'll have all the fish in the place hooked before you get started."

"Oh, no you won't," said Allen. "Hand us some of those worms, Will, will you?"

"Don't let them come too near me, will you, Allen?" begged Betty. "I don't like them much more than Grace does."

"Anybody would think you were talking about some lion or tiger from the jungle," laughed Allen, as Will handed him the bait, "instead of three little, harmless, unoffending worms----"

"Who seem to be running in a streak of hard luck," Frank finished, as he cast his line into the water.

"It does seem foolish," Betty admitted, taking her rod from Allen's hand, "but I can't help it. Come, little fishes," she called, casting her line far out into the pool. "Right this way! You have got to live up to the reputation Mollie has given you."

Allen had just succeeded in landing a magnificent, big fish, and was holding it down to keep it from sliding into the water, when a terrified cry broke the stillness.

"Help! help! I am drowning."

For one stupefied instant, the fishers gazed dumbly at one another. Then Allen released his hold on the big fish, letting it slide unheeded into the water, and led the dash through the woods.

"Help! help!" called the voice again, fainter this time.

"Keep up your courage!" Allen shouted. "We are coming!"

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