Agony made no comment. The words, we all play fair here, and nobody takes any plums that belong to someone else, pierced her bosom like barbed arrows. She lay so still that Sahwah thought she had dropped off to sleep again, and crept quietly back to bed so as not to disturb her a second time. Like the tiger, however, who, once having tasted blood, is consumed with the lust of killing, Sahwah, having squashed one bug, itched to do the same with all the others in the tent, and when tidying-up time came there began a ruthless campaign of extermination.
Agony, having made her bed and swept out underneath it, departed abruptly from the scene. Somehow the sight of bugs being killed was upsetting to her just now. She wandered down toward the river, listening pensively to the sweet piping notes of Noel Sanderson’s whistle, coming from somewhere along the shore; then she turned and walked toward Mateka, planning to put in some time working on the design for her paddle before Craft Hour began and the place became filled to overflowing with other designers, all wanting the design books and the rulers and compasses at once.
As she passed under the balcony which was Miss Amesbury’s sanctum, a cordial hail floated down from above. “Good morning, Agony, whither bound so early, and what means that portentous frown?”
Agony looked up to see Miss Amesbury, wreathed in smiles, peering down over the rustic railing at her. Agony flushed with pleasure at the cordiality of the tone, and the use of her nickname. It was only the girls for which she had a special liking that Miss Amesbury ever addressed by a nickname, no matter how universally in use that nickname might be with the rest of the camp. Agony’s blood tingled with a sense of triumph; her eyes sparkled and her face took on that look of being lighted up from within that characterized her in moments of great animation.
“I was coming down to Mateka to put in some extra work on the design for my paddle,” she replied, in her rich, vibrating voice, “and I was frowning because I was a little puzzled how I was going to work it out.”
“Industrious child!” replied Miss Amesbury. “Come up and visit me and I’ll show you some good designs for paddles.”
The next half hour was so filled with delight for Agony that she did not know whether she was sleeping or waking. Sitting opposite her adored Miss Amesbury on a rustic bench covered with a bright Indian blanket and listening to the fascinating conversation of this much traveled, older woman, the voice of conscience grew fainter and nearly ceased tormenting Agony altogether, and she gave herself up wholly to the enjoyment of the moment. In answer to Miss Amesbury’s questioning, she told of her home and school life; her great admiration for Edwin Langham; and about the Winnebagos and their good times; and Miss Amesbury laughed heartily at her tales and in turn related her own school-girl pranks and enthusiasm in a flattering confidential way.