The girl shook her head mournfully. “I can remember nothing,” she said again. “Don’t go,” she begged, as Phil rose to leave her. “I have never known a girl like you before.”
“I must go,” answered Phil regretfully. “My friends will be waiting for me up the beach, and they will not know where to find me. Won’t you come to see me and my friends? We are spending our holiday on a houseboat not very far from here. We would love to have you come.”
“I am not allowed to leave the island or to go among people,” the girl replied. “My father says I have no sense. So, if I wander away, or talk to strangers, people will think that I am crazy and shut me up in some dreadful, dark place.”
Tears of sympathy rose to Phyllis’s eyes. She wished Madge and the other girls were with her. It was too dreadful to think of this lovely creature frightened into submission by her cruel father. “We will come to see you, then,” she said gently. “And I will bring you something to keep your head from aching. My father is a physician, and he will tell me what I must give you. I will bring my friends to the island with me. Whenever you can get away, come to this tent and we will try to find you. We shall have good times together, and some day we may be able to help you. You know how to write, don’t you? Then, if you are ever in trouble or danger, leave a note under this old piece of carpet. Now good-bye.”
The girl stood in the door of her tent to watch Phyllis on her way. She stared intently after her until her visitor turned the curve of the beach and was lost to view, then, leaning her head against the side of the tent, she burst forth into low, despairing sobs.
AN EXCITING RACE
Eleanor and Miss “Jenny Ann,” as the girls seemed inclined to call their chaperon, had not remained on the houseboat merely to polish the pots and pans. They had a special surprise and plan of their own on hand.
It was all very well for Phyllis to dream of a houseboat, with its decks lined with flowers, and for Madge to draw a beautiful plan of it on paper. Flowers do not grow except where they are planted.
So it was in order to turn gardeners that Eleanor and Miss Jones stayed at home. Flowers enough to encircle the deck of a houseboat would cost almost as much money as the four girls had in their treasury to keep them supplied with food and coal. But the gently sloping Maryland fields were abloom with daisies. A farmer’s lad could be hired for a dollar to dig up the daisies and to bring a wagon load of dirt to the boat. The day before Eleanor had engaged the services of a carpenter to make four boxes, which exactly fitted the sides of the little upper deck of the houseboat above the cabin. An hour or so after the girls departed on their rowing excursion the daisies were brought aboard, planted, and held up their heads bravely. They were such sturdy, hardy little flowers that they did not wither with homesickness at the change in their environment.