ON THE WAY
“All aboard!” The hoarse voice of Captain MacLaren boomed out like a fog horn, waking a clatter of echoes among the tall cliffs on the opposite shore of the river, and sending the seventy-five girls on the dock all skurrying for the Carribou’s gangplank at once.
“Hurry up, Hinpoha! We’re getting left behind.” Agony strained forward on the suitcase she was helping Hinpoha to carry down the hill and endeavored to catch up with the crowd, a proceeding which she soon acknowledged to be impossible, for Hinpoha, rendered breathless by the hasty scramble from the train, lagged farther behind with every step.
“I—can’t—go—any—faster!” she panted, and abruptly let go of her end of the suitcase to fan herself with her hand. “What’s the use of rushing so, anyway?” she demanded plaintively. “They won’t go off without us; they can see us coming down the hill. It wasn’t my fault that my camera got wedged under the seat and made us be the last ones off the train,” she continued, “and I’m not going to run down this hill and go sprawling, like I did in the elevator yesterday. Are the other girls on already?” she asked, searching the crowd below with her eyes for a sight of the other Winnebagos.
“Sahwah and Oh-Pshaw are on the boat already,” replied Agony, “and Gladys and Migwan are just getting on. I don’t see Katherine anywhere, however. Oh, yes,” she exclaimed, “there she is down there in the crowd. What are they all laughing at, I wonder? Oh, look, Katherine’s suitcase has come open, and all her things are spilled out on the dock. I thought it would be strange if she made the trip without some kind of a mishap. Oh, dear, did you ever see anyone so funny as Katherine?”
“Well,” observed Hinpoha in a tone of relief, “we don’t have to hurry now. It’ll take them at least ten minutes to get that suitcase shut again. I know, because I helped Katherine pack. I had to sit on it with all my might to close it.”
“All Aboard!” came the second warning roar from Captain MacLaren, accompanied by a deafening blast of the Carribou’s whistle. Agony picked up Hinpoha’s suitcase in one hand and her own in the other, and with an urgent “Come on!” made a dash down the remainder of the hill and landed breathless at the gangplank of the waiting steamer just as the engine began to quiver into motion. Hinpoha was just behind her, and Katherine trod closely upon Hinpoha’s heels, carrying her still unclosed suitcase out before her like a tray, to keep its contents from spilling out.
Migwan was waiting for them at the head of the gangplank. “We’ve saved a place for you up in the bow,” she said. “Hurry up, we’re having such a time holding it for you. The boat is simply packed.”
The four girls picked their way through a litter of suitcases, paddles, cameras, tennis rackets and musical instruments that covered every inch of deck space between the chairs, and joined the other Winnebagos in their place in the bow. Hinpoha sank down gratefully upon a deck chair that Oh-Pshaw had obligingly been holding for her and Agony disposed herself upon a pile of suitcases, from which vantage point she could get a good look at the crowd.