Heads whirled to the right as though turned by a single screw, and bent-up left elbows pressed stiffly into neighboring ribs.
Heads whirled back and arms straightened out at sides as though released by a spring.
Heads and arms repeated their swift motions.
“Hold it! Hold it!” rasped the voice. “Who said ’Front?’ Here, Redhead!”
Hinpoha hastily resumed the position she had abandoned too soon.
“Now, FRONT! Again, RIGHT DRESS! FRONT! R-r-r-e-a-d-y! M-a-r-r-k t-i-m-e, M-a-h-k! One-two-three-four! F-or-r-d HUNCH! Wake up there, Redhead!”
Hinpoha jumped and caught pace with the rest of her squad, who were several steps ahead, and then it dawned on her that “F-o-r-r-r-d Hunch!” must mean “Forward March!”
“One-two-three-four! Left! Left! Left! Left! You with the plaid tie, get in step!”
Migwan shuffled her feet and fell into rhythm.
“One-two-three-four!” The drill sergeant rapped out a jarringly emphatic accent against a tree with her staff.
She was a college gymnasium teacher home on her summer vacation; her name was Miss Raper. She had a tremendous reputation for rigid discipline in her classes. She had been trained in military drilling by an army drill officer and had acquired all his mannerisms, from the way of shouting his orders in such a way that it was next to impossible to understand them, to his merciless habit of calling out by name every one who made the slightest error.
“HALT! GUIDE RIGHT! Head to the front, there, Black Eyes! R-r-e-a-d-y! LEFT WHEEL!”
The squads wheeled in decidedly shaky order.
“Again! LEFT WHEEL! Hold your pivot there! H-o-l-d y-o-u-r p-i-v-o-t! Stand still, you Redhead, and wheel in place! Again! Left Wheel!”
So the endless tramp, tramp, tramp, tramp went on under the blistering July sun; the squads perspired and panted, muscles ached from the continued exertion and heels began to feel as though pounded to pulp from the violence with which they marked the accent.
But never a word of complaint did anyone breathe. They gloried in their discomfort. For this hot dusty road over which they toiled and perspired so was the road to glory, the avenue down which the girls of Oakwood, led by the Winnebagos, would march to triumph over their sworn rivals, the Hillsdale-ites.
Agony had gone through the town and picked out the most promising girls, whom, with the addition of the Winnebagos, she formed into a company. They drilled for an hour every morning with Miss Raper in the wide dirt road that ran along the foot of the hill behind Carver House.
The hour drew to a close with a final strenuous series of left and right wheels and the Winnebagos sought the shade of the trees along the roadside and fanned themselves with leaves.