When he had finished speaking of the Buffalo Robe Dr. Grayson announced that the first fire of the season was to be lighted in the House of Joyous Learning to dedicate it to this year’s group of campers, and kneeling down on the hearth, he touched off the faggots laid ready in the fireplace, and the flames, leaping and snapping, rose up the chimney, sending a brilliant glow over the room, and causing the most homesick youngster to brighten up and feel immensely cheered.
The fire lighted, and the House of Joyous Learning dedicated to its present occupants, Dr. Grayson proceeded to introduce the camp leaders and councilors. Mrs. Grayson came first, as Camp Mother and Chief Councilor. She was a large woman, and seemed capable of mothering the whole world as she sat before the hearth, beaming down upon the girls clustered around her on the floor, and there was already a note of genuine affection in the voices of the new girls as they joined in the cheer which the old girls started in honor of the Camp Mother.
The cheer was not yet finished when there was a sound of footsteps on the porch outside and a new girl stood in the doorway. She carried a blanket over one arm and held a small traveling bag in her hand. Her face was flushed with exertion and her chest heaved as she stood there looking inquiringly about the room with merry eyes that seemed to be delighted with everything they looked upon. Her face was round; her little button mouth was round; the comical stub of a nose which perched above it gave the effect of being round, too, while the deep dimple that indented her chin was very, very round. Two still deeper dimples lurked in her cheeks, each one a silent chuckle, and the freckles that clustered thickly over her features all seemed to twinkle with a separate and individual hilarity.
An involuntary smile spread over the faces inside the bungalow as they looked at the newcomer, and one of the younger girls laughed aloud. That was the signal for a general laugh, and for a moment the room rang, and the strange girl in the doorway joined in heartily, and Dr. Grayson laughed, too, and everybody felt “wound up” and hilarious. Mrs. Grayson left her chair by the hearth and made her way through the group of girls on the floor to the newcomer, holding out her hand in welcome.
“You must be Jean Lawrence,” she said, drawing the girl into the room. “You were to arrive by automobile at Green’s Landing this noon, were you not, and come across the river in the mail boat? I have been wondering why you did not arrive on that boat.”
“Our automobile broke down on that road that runs through the long woods beyond Green’s Landing,” replied Jean, “and when father found it could not be fixed on the road he decided to go back to the last town we had passed through and spend the night there; so I had to walk to Green’s Landing. It was nearly nine miles and it took me all afternoon to get there. The mail boat had, of course, gone long ago, but a nice old grandpa man brought me over in a row boat.”