All of the girls received the information relative to the anonymous letters so calmly that Marion felt just a little bit foolish because of her groundless misjudgment of them. After the last group had read the letters and discussed the situation with the trio of informants, she spoke thus to them:
“Girls, you are real heroines, or have in you the stuff that makes heroines, and that is about the same thing. You take this as calmly as if it were an ordinary every-day affair in the movies. I’m proud of you.”
“We ought to be wearing Carnegie medals, oughtn’t we, girls?” said Julietta Hyde, blinking comically. “We can throttle anything from a black-hand agent to a ghost.”
“No, you ought to be wearing honor pins, for things well done,” Miss Ladd corrected. “We’ll leave the Carnegie medals for those who haven’t any Camp Fire scheme of honors. But really, girls, you have all conducted yourselves admirably in this affair. We will hope it won’t result in anything very serious, but meanwhile we must take proper precautions.”
“Shall we have to give up our vacation at Hollyhill on account of this?” asked Katherine Crane almost as dejectedly as if she were being sentenced to prison for violating a Connecticut blue law.
“That is up to you girls and the conditions that develop,” answered Miss Ladd. “As soon as we get to Hollyhill we will take the matter up with the proper authorities and try to determine what the outlook is.”
“My father will get busy as soon as he hears about this,” said Marion. “I think we can leave everything to his management. He will probably advise us to give up the idea of doing anything for the strikers’ families and have as good a time as we can entertaining ourselves at home.”
“Oh, I hope not!” Katherine exclaimed, and the manner in which she spoke indicated how much she had set her heart on the work they had planned to do.
“It would be too bad to give it up,” Marion said earnestly, “for I understand some of those people are greatly in need of assistance. There is not only much hunger and privation among them, but considerable sickness among the children. We can’t do a whole lot in two weeks, but we can do something, and our training as Camp Fire Girls and in our nursing classes fits us to be of much assistance to them. It is a shame that they should take an attitude so hostile to their own interests.”
“They probably don’t understand your father or they wouldn’t be striking now,” said Miss Ladd.
“I’m sure they wouldn’t,” Marion testified vigorously. “I’ve often heard father say he’d like to do more for the men and their families but conditions tied his hands. Many of the miners are good fellows, but they get mistaken ideas in their heads and it’s impossible for anybody whom they once put under suspicion to convince them that they are in the wrong.”
“Do you know, girls,” interposed Violet Munday enthusiastically; “I believe we are going to get a lot out of this vacation experience, whatever happens. I’m interested in what Marion tells us about the miners. Let’s make a study of coal mining, hold up everybody we can for information and watch our chance to help the poor families and their sick children whenever we can without doing anything foolhardy.”