The clear tones had leaped a full octave, and with a mingled sound of pipes and flutes went trilling deliriously on a high note until the listeners held their breath with delight. Then abruptly the piping stopped, ending in a queer, unfinished way that tantalized their ears for many minutes afterward, and held them motionless, spellbound, waiting for the strain to be resumed. They listened in vain; the mysterious piper called no more. Soon afterward a bugle pealed forth, sounding the mess call, and coming to earth with a start, the two girls raced back to Ponemah with their water pitcher and then hastened on into the dining room, where the campers, now all clad in regulation blue bloomers and white middies, were already assembled.
THE GREAT MYSTERY SOUND
After supper the camp was summoned to the smaller bungalow for first assembly and Sing-Out. Over the wide entrance doorway of this picturesque building among the trees was painted in large ornamental letters:
THE HOUSE OF JOYOUS LEARNING
This house, Dr. Grayson explained, was the place where all the craft work was to be done. The light from the lamps fell upon beautifully decorated board walls; wood-blocked curtains, quaint rustic benches and seats made from logs with the bark left on; flower-holders fashioned of birch bark; candlesticks of hammered brass, silver and copper; book covers of beaded leather; vases and bowls of glazed clay.
At one end of the long room stood a piano; at the other end was the huge cobblestone fireplace whose chimney the Winnebagos had noticed from the outside; in it a fire was laid ready for lighting.
The seventy-five girls filed in and seated themselves on the floor, looking expectantly at Dr. Grayson, who stood before the fireplace. He was an imposing figure as he stood there, a man over six feet tall, with a great head of white hair like a lion’s mane, which, emphasizing the ruddy complexion and clear blue eyes, contrived to make him look youthful instead of old.
In a beautiful speech, full of both wisdom and humor, he explained the ideals of camp life, and heartily welcomed the group before him into the family circle of Camp Keewaydin. He spoke of the girls who in past years had stood out from the others on account of their superior camp spirit, and led up to the subject of the Buffalo Robe, which at the end of the season would be awarded to the one who should be voted by her fellow campers as the most popular girl.
A solemn hush fell over the assembly as he spoke, and all eyes were fastened upon the Buffalo Robe, hanging over the fireplace. Agony’s heart gave a leap at the sight of the beautiful trophy, and then sank as she saw innumerable eyes turn to rest upon Mary Sylvester, sitting on a low stool at Dr. Grayson’s feet, gazing up at him with a look of worship in her expressive eyes.