Only Sahwah stood out stanchly for her right along, refusing to doubt her for a moment.
“I don’t care if she is an alien enemy!” she declared vehemently. “She’s my Veronica, and I know she never had anything to do with it, so there!”
She wouldn’t listen to Agony and her wise-sounding talk, withdrew to herself a great part of the time, and for lack of other supporters spoke out her mind to the portrait of Elizabeth Carver, hanging serenely over the harp in the long parlor.
“You would have stood up for your friend, no matter what the others said, wouldn’t you?” she demanded beseechingly, and it seemed to her that Elizabeth nodded her head in confirmation.
Then one day came news which filled them all with consternation. Veronica was to be interned! Mr. Wing came home and told them about it briefly. The weight of suspicion had been so strong against Veronica that nothing could stand against it; her internment had been ordered by the agents of the government. They were now awaiting the arrival of the internment papers from Washington; when these came she would be taken away.
Mr. Wing wearily waved aside the hosts of questions poured out by the dismayed Winnebagos. He had suffered great chagrin over the loss of the letter which was to have played such an important part in the coming trial; sober afterthoughts had convinced him of the possibility of Veronica’s connection with enemy agents; he had come to believe it implicitly now. Of course, she had taken in these simple girls with her spectacular protestations of loyalty to this country; that was part of the game. His anxiety was all for his girls, for fear they had already compromised themselves in some way.
The Winnebagos saw him in a new mood to-day, stern, inflexible, obdurate. He curtly advised them to speedily forget their friend and to say nothing to outsiders about the occurrence. He refused to tell them where she was at present, and would not hear of their having any intercourse with her.
“The first thing you know you’ll be suspected of connivance yourselves,” he warned. “And I also advise you not to express too much sympathy for your friend,” he continued. “It’s a sure way to make yourselves unpopular these days.”
Stricken, Sahwah sped home, and fleeing from the others, went into the woods by herself. That was always her place of refuge in trouble. When others would have sought human comfort and advice, Sahwah fled straight to the woods. There she could think clearly and gather together her stunned faculties.
She wandered on blindly until she came to the brook, the little laughing stream she loved so well, and sat there for hours trying to think of some plan by which she could save Veronica. For the conviction was strong within her that Veronica was innocent and it would not budge for all the suspicions in the world. She thought of one wild extravagant scheme after the other, and abandoned them all, and at last, utterly crushed and low-spirited, she took her way back to Carver House.