Completely tired out by the long tramp of the day before, Agony did not waken in time to see Mary off, and when the second bugle finally brought her to consciousness she discovered that she had a severe headache and did not want any breakfast. Miss Judy promptly bore her off to the “Infirmary,” a tent set off by itself away from the noises of camp, and left her there to stay quietly by herself. In the quiet atmosphere of the “Infirmary” she soon fell asleep again, to waken at times, listen to the singing of the birds in the woods, feel the breezes stealing caressingly through her hair, and then to drop back once more into blissful drowsiness which erased from her mind all memory of yesterday’s visit to Atlantis, and of Mary Sylvester’s wonderful rescue of the robin. As yet no word of Mary’s heroism had reached the ears of the camp; she had departed without the mead of praise that was due her.
Councilors and all felt depressed over Mary’s untimely departure, especially Miss Judy, Tiny Armstrong and the Lone Wolf, with whom she had been particularly intimate, and with these three leading spirits cast down gloom was thick everywhere. Morning Sing went flat—the high tenors couldn’t keep in tune without Mary to lead them, and nobody else could make the gestures for The Lone Fish Ball. It seemed strange, too, to see Dr. Grayson’s chair empty, and to do without his jolly morning talk. Everyone who had gotten up early was full of yawns and out of sorts.
“What’s the matter with everybody?” asked Katherine of Jean Lawrence, as they cleaned up Bedlam for tent inspection. “Camp looks like a funeral.”
Jean’s dimples were nowhere in evidence and her face looked unnaturally solemn as she bent over her bed to straighten the blankets.
“It feels like one, too,” replied Jean, still grave. “With Bengal crying all over the place and Miss Judy looking so cut up it’s enough to dampen everybody’s spirits.”
Talk lapsed between the two and each went on cleaning up her side of the tent. A moment later, however, Jean’s dimples came back again when she came upon Katherine’s toothbrush in one of her tennis shoes. That toothbrush had disappeared two days before and the tent had been turned upside down in a vain search for it.
Katherine pounced upon the truant toilet article gleefully. “Look in your other shoe,” she begged Jean, “and see if you can find my fountain pen. That’s missing too.”
Jean obligingly shook out her shoe, but no pen came to light.
“There’s something dark in the bottom of the water pitcher,” announced Oh-Pshaw, who was setting the toilet table to rights. “Maybe that’s it.”
She bared her arm to the elbow and plunged it into the water, but withdrew it immediately with a shriek that caused Katherine and Jean to drop their bed-making in alarm.
“What’s the matter?” asked Katherine.
“It’s an animal, a horrid, dead animal!” Oh-Pshaw gasped shudderingly, backing precipitously away from the water pitcher. “It’s furry, and soft, and—ugh! stiff!”