Mr. Prince, the artist, was there too; he and Mr. Wing were like old friends already. He had come to Oakwood to make a series of sketches of the hills and the river for a certain outdoor-life magazine; he had taken quarters in the drowsy hotel, where he found life very dull, and he was very happy to have met Mr. Wing and the Winnebagos. He hoped they would let him accompany them on some of their hikes through the woods. The Winnebagos were charmed and agreed they had never met such a delightful man. They couldn’t agree as to whether he was young or old and finally came to the decision that he was middle-aged, for to eighteen anything above thirty is middle-aged. Eugene Prince was thirty-five.
As the dinner progressed Nyoda noticed that Mr. Wing often looked long and keenly at Veronica, and she wondered just what was in his mind. Veronica’s looks, her accent and her expressions set her conspicuously apart from the other girls. She also noticed that Mr. Prince was watching Veronica closely. Mr. Wing’s curiosity concerning her was plainly written on his face, and finally he asked, “You are not an American, are you?”
“Indeed I am!” replied Veronica emphatically.
Mr. Wing looked surprised. “But you were not born in America?” he amended.
“No,” replied Veronica with a sigh. “I was born in Hungary. But,” she added brightly, “I’m here now, and that’s enough. My uncle is an American citizen, and I’m going to be one when the war is over, but I’m an American girl already. I won’t be more of one when I’m a real citizen than I am now.”
Mr. Wing smiled at her ardor and remarked, “I wish everybody who came to these shores from other countries was as anxious to be a real American as you are.”
Sahwah happened to be looking at Mr. Prince while Veronica was speaking and it seemed to her that he smiled very skeptically at her words. “He doesn’t believe her!” said Sahwah hotly to herself and filled up with angry resentment at him as he continued to watch Veronica narrowly.
The conversation passed on to other subjects and Nyoda breathed an inward sigh of relief. It always made her uneasy when people began to wonder about Veronica.
Agony was talking animatedly about the coming drill contest and Mr. Wing was listening with smiling approval. “Good for you!” he exclaimed to the Winnebagos. “So the honor of Oakwood is to be vindicated at last! Camp Fire Girls to the rescue! Hurrah! I tell you, girls,” he said enthusiastically, “if you can put it over and beat Hillsdale I’ll give you each——” Here he paused and cast about in his mind for a suitable reward for such a distinguished service—“I’ll give you each—no, I’ll take you all on a trip to Washington, and personally conduct you into all the places where you never could get in by yourselves!”
“Oh!” shrieked Agony and Oh-Pshaw simultaneously, and “Oh!” echoed the Winnebagos in rapture.