The dock and the diving platform were gay with flags; the tents had been tidied up to wax-like neatness and decorated with wild flowers until they looked like so many royal bowers; in Mateka an exhibition of Craft Work was laid out on the long tables—pottery and silver work and weaving and decorating. Hinpoha’s rose jar, done with infinite pains and patience after its unfortunate meeting with Cousin Egmont, held the place of honor in the centre of the pottery table, and her silver candlesticks, done in an exquisite design of dogwood blossoms, was the most conspicuous piece on the jewelry table.
“Hinpoha’ll get the Craft Work prize, without any doubt,” said Migwan to Agony as they stood helping to arrange the articles in the Craft Work exhibit. “She’s a real artist. The rest of us are just dabblers. It’s queer, though, I admire that little plain pottery bowl I made myself more than I do Hinpoha’s wonderful rose jar. I suppose it’s because I made it all myself; it’s like my own child. There’s a thrill about doing things yourself that makes you hold your head higher even if other people don’t think it’s anything very wonderful. Don’t you feel that way, Agony?”
“I suppose so,” murmured Agony, rather absently, her animation falling away from her in an instant, and a weary look creeping into her eyes.
“That’s the way you must feel all the time since you did that splendid thing,” continued Migwan warmly. “No matter where you are, or how hard a thing you’re up against, you have only to think, ’I was equal to a great emergency once; I did the brave and splendid thing when the time came,’ and then you’ll be equal to it again. O, how wonderful it must be to know that when the time comes you won’t be a coward! O Agony, we’re all so proud of you!” cried Migwan, interrupting herself to give Agony an adoring hug. “All the Winnebagos will be braver and better because you did that, Agony. They’ll be ashamed to be any less than you are.”
“It wasn’t anything much that—I did,” Agony protested in a flat voice.
Migwan, busy straightening out the rows of bracelets and rings, did not notice the hunted expression in Agony’s face, and soon the bugle sounded, calling all the girls together on the dock.
Only those who have ever taken part in Regatta Day will get the real thrill when reading an account of it in cold print—the thrill which comes from seeing dozens of motor boats filled with spectators lined up on the river, and crowds standing on the shore; the sun shining in dazzling splendor on the ripples; the flags snapping in the breeze, the starters with their pistols standing out on the end of the dock, the canoes rocking alongside, straining at their ropes as if impatient to be off in the races; the crews, in their new uniforms, standing nervously around their captains, getting their last instructions and examining their paddles for any possible cracks; the councilors rushing around preparing the props for the stunts they were directing; and over all a universal atmosphere of suspense, of tenseness, of excitement.