She stretched out her hand to the Winnebagos, who crowded eagerly around to examine the small but brilliantly glowing ruby set in a dainty gold band. They had seen it hundreds of times before, but had never guessed it was the gift of a prince. Truly, Veronica was full of surprises!
“It seems to me, Veronica,” said Nyoda, “that you were quite an honored little person in your country, and must have been greatly envied by your friends. How does it come that you are willing to throw away the precedence which you formerly enjoyed on account of your rank and station to become a plain citizen of another country where you have to carve out your place single handed? Don’t you really ever have any regrets over it?”
Veronica shook her head resolutely. “Not at all,” she replied in a firm voice. “After once living in America I could never long to go back to the old life. Since I have become a Camp Fire Girl I have learned that the true nobility is not of birth but of worth, and there should be no other in any country. I promised, you know, when I became a Fire Maker, to tend
‘The fire that is called the love of man for man,’
and one cannot do that and live luxuriously on money that one has wrung from the poor instead of earning honestly. No, thank you, I would rather be a democratic American girl and call everyone friend! It’s lots more fun, even than being the protege of a countess! I’d rather be a Torch Bearer than a princess!”
Veronica’s eyes shone with sincerity and fervor, and the Winnebagos were tremendously impressed.
“Of course you’re going to be an American,” said Sahwah, drawing Veronica to her feet and encircling her with her arm, “and you’re going to be just as honored and distinguished here as you were over there, because you’re so wonderful that people can’t help making a fuss over you. You’re going to become the most wonderful violinist in the country, and people are going to go just wild over you!”
Sahwah would have poured out more brilliant prophecies, but she was cut short by the sound of a great disturbance without. There was a violent clatter on the brick walk outside, followed by a crashing thump, which was accompanied by the sound of splintering wood.
The Winnebagos started and looked at each other apprehensively. Nyoda sprang to her feet and ran for the door.
“The Kaiser is out!” she exclaimed, and seizing an umbrella from the rack in the hall, she disappeared into outer darkness.
ENTER THE KAISER
The Winnebagos streamed out after her, and in the moonlight they could see her running around the side of the house, brandishing the umbrella at a large white goat which was prancing before her on his hind legs. Sahwah picked up a good-sized stone from the driveway and rushed to Nyoda’s side, ready to hurl it at the creature, under the impression that Nyoda was on the verge of being killed, but at that instant Nyoda suddenly opened the umbrella and the rampant Capricorn dropped to all fours and fled hastily in the direction of the stable.