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Winona of the Camp Fire   By: (1884-1978)

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Author of "Winona of Camp Karonya," "Winona's War Farm," "Winona's Way."

A. L. BURT COMPANY Publishers New York

Published by arrangement with J. B. Lippincott Company

Printed in U. S. A.




The room they called the Den in Winnie Merriam's house was dark, except for the leaping wood fire in the big stone fireplace. Around the fire sat and lay five girls. They had been toasting marshmallows, but they were past the point where you eat the toasted ones with pleasure, or even steal the raw ones which don't taste burnt to eat surreptitiously.

"Helen Bryan, you've been feeding Puppums all your marshmallows for the last ten minutes," accused Winnie, sitting up. She had been draping herself along a pile of cushions for the last fifteen minutes thinking, evidently, for she had been quiet a very unusual thing for chattering Winnie.

Winnie Merriam was fourteen, but people usually took her for a year older, because of her slim height. She had big blue eyes in a face that was not regularly pretty, perhaps, but so gay and pink cheeked and quick smiling that people always said she was pretty which does quite as well.

Her chum, Helen, defiantly fed a last marshmallow to the fat near fox terrier in the centre of the circle, who didn't particularly seem to want it.

"I've got to be polite to my hostess's dog, haven't I?" she retorted. "And he asked for them so pathetically!"

"I expect the poor old pup will look more pathetic this time to morrow," said Winnie. "He'll probably look like Buster Brown's Tige in the last pictures both paws up over his aching head. Then you'll have to come back here and hold ice on his fevered brow, won't she, Puppums?"

"Or yours, maybe," suggested Marie Hunter, the quiet brown girl in the corner. "What's the matter, Win? You haven't said a word for ages. I've been watching you."

"I've been thinking !" explained Winnie, nodding her curly brown head with dignity.

"For the first time?" suggested Helen. "Don't do it if it hurts, honey."

"No," said Winnie placidly, "I've often been known to do it."

"Well, what were you thinking?" asked Edith Hillis, lifting her yellow curls from Marie's lap. Edith was the fluffy member of the crowd, small for her age, yellow haired and blue eyed and rather too much dressed. She was supposed to care more for her complexion than for anything else on earth except Marie Hunter, but she was as sweet tempered as she could be, and everybody liked her. "You looked as if you were thinking about something awfully interesting."

"Well," said Winnie slowly, "I was thinking about us . We know each other very, very well, and go together, and have gorgeous times I was thinking that it would be nice if we made ourselves into a club, or some sort of a society."

"Oh, say! That's a perfectly gorgeous idea!" exclaimed chubby, red haired Louise Lane, from behind Helen. "I vote we be a club, right away!"

"But is five enough?" asked Marie doubtfully. Marie was always the one who thought of things. She was a good deal of a bookworm, and did a great deal of beautiful embroidery, and never said much. But she was the one the girls were apt to ask advice of if they needed it badly. She was nearly a year older than Winnie and Edith. Louise wasn't quite fourteen, and Helen would be fifteen in two months.

"I think five's plenty," said Louise.

"I don't, exactly," demurred Winnie. "Seems to me there ought to be seven or eight anyway, or we'd be like an army all major generals... Continue reading book >>

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