Sahwah and Hinpoha were among the new girls who had qualified for the canoe privilege during the very first week; also Undine Girelle. The other Winnebagos had to content themselves thus far with the privilege of towing or paddling in a canoe that was in charge of a councilor or a qualified Water Witch; all except Oh-Pshaw, who had to ride in the launch.
Agony looked at Oh-Pshaw standing beside Miss Judy at the wheel, laughing with her at some joke; at Sahwah and Undine sitting together in the canoe right behind the launch, leaning luxuriously back against their paddles, which they were using as back rests; heard Jean Lawrence’s infectious laugh floating back on the breeze; and she began to regret that she had stayed at home. She found she was no longer in the mood to finish her letter; she lingered on the pier after the floating caravan had disappeared from view behind the trees on Whaleback.
She looked up in surprise at the sound of Mary Sylvester’s voice coming from behind her on the dock.
“I thought you had gone to the village with the others,” she said. “I was almost sure I saw you in the boat with Pom-pom.”
“No, I didn’t go, you see,” replied Mary. “I am going off on an expedition of my own this afternoon. The woman who took care of me as a child lives not far from here in a little village called Atlantis—classic name! Mother asked me to look her up, and Mrs. Grayson gave me permission to go over this afternoon. I’m going to row across the river to that landing place where we got out the other night, leave the boat in the bushes, and then follow the path through the woods. It’s about six miles to Atlantis—would you care to walk that far? It would be twelve miles there and back, you know. I’m just ripe for a long hike today, it’s so cool and clear, but it’s not nearly so pleasant going alone as it would be to have someone along to talk to on the way. Wouldn’t you like to come along and keep me company? I can easily get permission from Mrs. Grayson for you.”
Agony was a trifle daunted at the thought of walking twelve miles in one afternoon, but was so overwhelmed with secret gratification that the prominent Mary Sylvester had invited her that she never once thought of refusing.
“I’d love to go,” she exclaimed animatedly, jumping up with alacrity. “I was beginning to feel a wee bit bored sitting here doing nothing; I feel ripe for a long hike myself.”
“I’m so glad you do!” replied Mary Sylvester, with the utmost cordiality. “Come on with me until I tell Mrs. Grayson that you are coming with me.”
Mrs. Grayson readily gave her permission for Agony to go with Mary. There was very little that Mrs. Grayson would have refused Mary Sylvester, so high did this clear-eyed girl stand in the regard of all Camp directors, from the Doctor down. Mary was one of the few girls allowed to go away from camp without a councilor; in fact, she sometimes acted as councilor to the younger girls when a trip had to be made and no councilor was free. Mrs. Grayson would willingly have trusted any girl to Mary’s care—or the whole camp, for that matter, should occasion arise, knowing that her good sense and judgment could be relied upon. So Agony, under Mary’s wing, received the permission that otherwise would not have been given her.