And so it is not to be wondered at if these two places of learning became, as it were, twin schools, with much of interest in common and many of their activities interassociated. They had rival debating teams between which were held more or less periodic contests, and in the numerous social events there were frequently exchanges of invitational courtesies.
The boys plotted their big surprise on the girls in true scout fashion. There was no real secret in the fact that the Camp Fire Girls of Hiawatha Institute were planning a big event, but girl-like they affected secrecy to stimulate interest. The result was more than could have been expected, although the girls did not realize this until after it was all over. The curiosity of the Spring Lake boys was thoroughly alive as soon as they learned of a mysterious “something big” going on at the institute. True to the character of real scouts they delegated emissaries, commonly denominated spies, to visit the stronghold of the Camp Fire Girls, get all the details of their plans discoverable and report back to headquarters. Greater success than that which rewarded their efforts could hardly have been wished for. Half a dozen boys went and returned and then put their heads and their reports together with the result that the Scouts of the school had all the information they needed.
They mapped out their plans and scheduled their prospective movements by the calendar and the clock. They chartered an interurban train for the run to and from the Institute. The arrival on the scene of the Grand Council Fire was, as we have seen, a complete surprise to the girls. The Scouts well knew that their presence would not be regarded as an intrusion, for a Grand Council Fire, according to the handbook, “is for friends and the public.”
The interruption of the program by the marching of the Boy Scouts within the circle of the Camp Fire Girls was permitted to continue for ten or fifteen minutes, while a number of short speeches were made by some of the boy leaders, in which they gloried over the way they had “put one over on the girls.”
“And we’re not through yet,” announced Harry Gilbert prophetically. “Some of us are going to put over another surprise just about as thrilling as this, and we want to challenge you to find out what it is.”
Of course this statement produced the very result the boys desired. Naturally they wished the girls to think they were pretty bright fellows. They got just what they were looking for as a result of their “surprise,” namely, volumes of praise. To be sure, this did not come in the form of undisguised admiration. That isn’t the way a clever girl signifies her approval of this sort of thing. It just burst into evidence through such mock jeers as, “You boys think you are so smart,” or “It’s a wonder you wouldn’t have gone to enough pains to build a railroad or sink a submarine.”
To which, on one occasion in the course of the evening, Earl Hamilton replied: