“Isn’t she stunning in that coral silk sweater?” murmured the other girl.
“She has too much color to wear that shade of pink,” returned the sarcastic one.
Agony’s eyes traveled over to the group surrounding Pom-pom and rested upon the girl who, next to Pom-pom herself, was the center of the group. She was very much like Agony herself, with intensely black hair, snow white forehead and richly red lips, though a little slighter in build and somewhat taller. A frank friendliness beamed from her clear dark eyes and her smile was warm and sincere. Agony felt drawn to her and jealous of her at the same time. The most popular girl in camp. That was the title Agony coveted with all her soul. To be prominent; to be popular, was Agony’s chief aim in life; and to be pointed out in a crowd as the most popular girl seemed the one thing in the world most desirable to her. She, too, would be prominent and popular, she resolved; she, too, would be pointed out in the crowd.
The sarcastic voice again broke in upon her reverie. “Have you seen the hippopotamus over there in the bow? I should think a girl would be ashamed to get that stout.”
Agony glanced apprehensively at Hinpoha, who was staring straight out over the water, but whose crimson face betrayed only too plainly that she had heard the remark. The rest of the Winnebagos had undoubtedly heard it also, as well as a number of others rubbing elbows with them, for a sudden embarrassed silence fell over that corner of the boat and a dozen pairs of eyes glanced from Hinpoha to the speaker, who, not one whit abashed, continued to stare scornfully at the object of her ridicule.
“Of all the bad manners!” said Agony to Sahwah in an indignant undertone, which, with the characteristic penetrating quality of Agony’s voice, carried perfectly to the ears of the girl behind her. A light, satirical laugh was the reply. Agony turned to bestow a withering glance upon this rude creature, and met a pair of greenish tan eyes bent upon her with an expression of cool mockery. In the instant that their eyes met there sprang up between them one of those sudden antagonisms that are characteristic of very positive natures; the two hated each other cordially at first sight, before they had ever spoken a word to each other. Like fencers’ swords their glances crossed and fell apart, and each girl turned her back pointedly upon the other. Broken threads of conversation were picked up by the group around them, shouts of laughter came from the group surrounding Pom-pom, who was reciting a funny poem, and the tense moment passed.
The other Winnebagos forgot the incident and gave themselves over to enjoyment of the beautiful scene which was unrolling before their eyes as the Carribou bore them further and further into the wilds; great dark stretches of woodland brooding in silence on the hillsides; an occasional glimpse of a far distant mountain peak wreathed in mist, and near by many a merry little stream romping down a hillside into the mother arms of the Onawanda. Gradually the shores had drawn close together until the travelers could look into the cool depths of the forests past which they were gliding, and could hear the calling of the wild birds in their leafy sanctuary.