“Life’s awfully queer, isn’t it, Piney?”
Piney nodded with a little smile.
“It’s fun though,” she said, “if you just keep your face to the front and never look behind.”
The first campers were due to arrive the second week in June, but everything was in complete readiness long before that time. The girls never wearied of making their tours of inspection to be sure nothing had been overlooked, and each time it seemed as if they added a few more finishing touches.
Cousin Roxy declared it was all so inviting that she felt like closing up the big house and coaxing the Judge to camp out with her.
Instead of grouping the tents together, they had chosen the most picturesque and sequestered spots to hide them away in. There was one on a little jutting point of land near the Peckham mill. Here, the river swept out in a wide U-shaped curve that was crowned with gray rocks and pines. The music of the falls reached it, and the road was only about quarter of a mile across the fields to the north, but apparently it was completely isolated.
“I’d like to put a poet in there,” Helen said, “or a musician. Wasn’t it Rubenstein, Kit, who used to take his violin and play the music of the rain and falling water?”
“Ask me not, child, ask me not,” returned Kit, practically. “All I’m wondering about this minute is how on earth Shad ever expected this fly to stay put, if a good, old-fashioned Gilead thunder-storm ever hit it.”
Helen watched her as she climbed up on a camp stool, with most precarious footing, and tried to readjust the fly at the back of the tent.
“Don’t you have to take them in when it storms or the wind blows, just like sails?” she asked. “Ingeborg and Astrid told me that. They learned it from their camp-fire rules. I’m sure you don’t leave them stringing out like that, Kit.”
All at once Doris came speeding around the rock path, her eyes wide with excitement, her whole manner full of mystery.
“There’s an automobile just stopped in the road,” she exclaimed, “and the man in it asked me who lived in the tent over here.”
“I never supposed any one could see that tent from the road.” Kit’s tone held a distinct note of disappointment. “What did he want to sell us, Dorrie, lightning rods or sewing machines?”
“Oh, Kit, don’t,” pleaded Doris. “He’s really in earnest, and he’s coming over here right now. I told him all about everything, and he thinks he might want to rent a tent.”
Kit’s countenance cleared like magic. She forgot the refractory strip of canvas, and descended immediately from the camp stool.
“Lead me, sister darling, to this first paying guest, who cannot resist the woodland lure. Helen, don’t you dare say anything to spoil the inviting picture which I shall give him. I don’t see what more he could want.” She hesitated a moment, surveying the river, almost directly below the sloping rock. “Why, he could almost sit up in bed in the morning and haul in his fish-lines from yon winding stream with a fine catch for breakfast on it.”