“I told you so!” exclaimed Hinpoha triumphantly.
“Talking about ‘going over the top,’” said Nyoda seriously, when the murmur of wonder over Hinpoha’s marvelous powers of prophecy had died away, “I think that two of you Winnebagos have ‘gone over the top’ on little excursions of your own, and ought to be decorated for courageous conduct under fire. Veronica Lehar, you have shown a strength of character before which we bow in humble admiration, and from this day on you shall be called Torch Bearer.” Then she added fervently, “May we all love this country of ours as much as you do!”
Veronica turned great shining eyes on Nyoda, and her swiftly rising emotions almost choked her. Her great love for her new country had never failed, even though that country had looked upon her suspiciously. “The light of liberty that had been given to me I will pass undimmed unto others!” she exclaimed fervently.
“And this girl, too, has proved her mettle,” said Nyoda, drawing Oh-Pshaw to her side and smiling into her wondering eyes. Oh-Pshaw had told Nyoda how she had sung to forget about the gurgling water in the Punch Bowl and how all of a sudden she had not been afraid any more, but she herself never realized what she had accomplished that night, and did not connect it at all with what Nyoda was saying now.
Then Nyoda related to the girls how Oh-Pshaw had fought with Fear down there in the darkness all alone, fought with the fear that was in her bones and had always mastered her, and how for the sake of another she had conquered it and was now free from its strangling clutch. She told them how the fear had come into Oh-Pshaw and what a great victory it was that she had won over herself down there beside the Devil’s Punch Bowl.
“And for that victory over yourself you shall also be known as Torch Bearer, for she who conquers herself for the sake of others is worthy to lead others.”
Oh-Pshaw stared at her blankly, unbelievingly for a moment, and then a great joy came into her face when she realized that she had achieved her heart’s desire.
“Oh, Nyoda!” was all she said, but Nyoda understood, and the other Torch Bearers, having had that same emotion themselves once upon a time, also understood.
Agony stared down steadily into her lap. She had experienced the first great jolt of her life. For the first time in her life Oh-Pshaw had gone up above her. For the first time she realized that there were qualities in others that counted more than her own brilliant gift of leading the crowd without effort. For the first time she had come up against something that she could not get by demanding it, something that had to be won by honest, painful effort. At first astonishment that she had not been named filled her to the exclusion of all other emotions, then she felt terribly humiliated, and then, as she began to think of the qualities she didn’t possess she began to feel very humble. Nyoda