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This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 116 pages of information about The Camp Fire Girls at Long Lake.

“Well—­that’s so,” said Dolly.  “It has been awfully hard.  But then, how did you ever get the nerve to do it at all, Bessie?  That’s what I don’t understand.  The way you act now, it seems as if you always wanted to do just as you are told.”

“I thought you’d heard all about that, Dolly.  You see, when we really did run away, we couldn’t help it, Zara and I. And I don’t believe we really meant to go quite away, the way we did—­not at first.  You remember when we saw you girls first—­when you were in camp in the woods?”

“Oh, yes; I remember seeing you, with your head just poking out Of the door of that funny old hut by the lake.  I thought it was awfully funny, but I didn’t know you then, of course.”

“I expect you’d have thought it was funny whether you knew us or not, Dolly.  Well, you see, Zara had come over to see me the day it all happened, and Jake caught her talking with me, and locked her in the woodshed.  Maw Hoover didn’t like Zara, because she was a foreigner, and Maw thought she stole eggs and chickens—­but never did such a thing in her life.  So Jake locked her in the woodshed, and said that he was going to keep her there till Maw Hoover came home.  She’d gone to town.”

“Why did he want to do that?”

“Because Maw had said that if she ever caught Zara around, their place again she was going to take a stick to her and beat her until she was black and blue—­and I guess she meant it, too.  She liked to give people beatings—­me, I mean.  She never touched Jake, though, and she never believed he did anything wrong.”

Dolly whistled.

“If she knew him the way I do, she would,” she said.  “And I’ve only seen him twice—­but that’s two times too many!”

“Well, after he’d locked her in, Jake went off, and I tried to let her out.  I couldn’t find the key, and I was trying to break the lock on the door with a stone.  I’d nearly got it done, when Jake came along and found me doing it.  So he stood off and threw bits of burning wood from the fire near me, to frighten me.  That was an old trick of his.

“But that time the woodshed caught fire, and he was scared.  He got the key, and we let Zara out, and then he said he was going to tell Maw Hoover that we’d set the place on fire on purpose.  I knew she’d believe him, and we were frightened, and ran off.”

“Well, I should say so!  Who wouldn’t?  Why, he’s worse than I thought he was, even, and I knew he was pretty bad.”

“We were going to Zara’s place first, but that was the day they arrested Zara’s father.  They said he’d been making bad money, but I don’t believe it.  But anyhow, we heard them talking in their place—­Zara’s and her father’s—­and they said that I’d set the barn on fire, and they were going to have me arrested, and that Zara would have to go and live with old Farmer Weeks, who’s the meanest man in that state.  And so we kept on running away, because we knew that it couldn’t be any worse for us if we went than if we stayed.  So that’s how we finally came away.”

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