THE GIRL SCOUT PIONEERS
THE GIRL SCOUT PIONEERS
LILLIAN C GARIS
Winning the First B. C.
By Lillian C. Garis
Author of "The Girl Scouts at Bellair" "The Girl Scouts at Sea
I. GIRLS AND GIRLS
II. WOODLAND THRILLS
III. A NOBLE DEED UNDONE
IV. PATHS DIVIDING
V. A FRIENDLY ENEMY
VI. A NOVEL JAIL
VII. TENDERFOOT ADVENTURES
VIII. CLUE TO THE MISSING
IX. TRIBUTE OP EOSES
X. TELLING SECRETS
XI. THE TANGLED WEB
XIII. BROKEN FAITH
XIV. WOODLAND MAGIC
XV. VENTURE TROOP
XVI. MORE MYSTERIES
XVIII. DAISIES AND DANGEES
XIX. THE FLYING SQUADRON
XX. CLEO'S EXPERIMENT
XXI. FORGING AHEAD
XXII. THE WHIRLING MAY-POLE
XXIII. RAINBOW'S END
GIRLS AND GIRLS
It was much like a scene in a movie play. The shabby dark room
lighted by a single oil lamp if any light could make its way
through the badly smoked glass that served as a chimney the
broken chair and the table piled high with what appeared to be
rags but which might have been intended for wearing apparel the
torn window curtain hanging so disconsolately from the broken cord
it had one time proudly swung from and the indescribable bed!
Like some sentinel watching the calamitous surroundings a girl
stood in the midst of this squalor her bright golden hair and her
pretty fair face with its azure blue eyes marking a pathetic
contrast to all the sordid dark detail of the ill-kept room. She
took from the side pocket of her plaid skirt a bit of crumpled
paper and placing it directly under the lamp followed its
written lines. Having finished the reading she carefully folded
the worn slip again and returned it to her pocket. Then she threw
back her pretty head and any frequenter of the screen world would
have known instantly that the girl had decided--and further that
her decision required courage and perhaps defiance.
With determination marking every move she crossed to the tumbled
bed and stooping dragged from beneath it a bag the sort called
"telescope" and used rarely now even by the traveling salesman
who at one time found the sliding trunk so useful. It would
"telescope" and being thus adjustable lent its proportions to
any sized burden imposed upon it. Into this the girl tossed a few
articles selected from the rummage on the table a pair of shoes
gathered from more debris in a corner and on top a sweater and
skirt taken from a peg on the door. All together this composed
rather a pretentious assortment for the telescope.
But the girl did not jam down the cover in that "movie" way common
to runaways rather she paused glanced furtively about the gloomy
place and finally taking a candle from a very high shelf lighted
the taper evidently for some delicate task in the way of
gathering up her very personal belongings.
In a remote corner of the room an upturned orange box served as
sort of stand. The front was covered and festooned with a curtain
dexterously made of a bright skirt hung over the sides and
draped from a knot at the top. The knot was drawn from the waist
band of the skirt and tied with the original string into a
grotesque rosette. All over the box top were such articles as a
girl might deem necessary in making a civilized toilette except
at the knot--where the table cover irradiated its fullness into
really graceful folds falling over the orange box-here on
account of the knob no article was placed and the rosette stood
defiant over the whole surrounding.
The girl placed the candle on a spot made clear for that small
round tin stand and then glancing anxiously at the door stole
over to make sure that the bolt was shot hurried back and
proceeded to untie the knot of string responsible for the drapery
over the orange box. By the glare of the candle's flame her
fingers could be seen stained with oil and grim as they expertly
worked at the tied-up skirt and finally succeeded in pulling
apart the ragged folds. Quickly she slipped one small hand beneath
the calico and obtaining her quest drew back to examine it.
One two three green bills. Her savings and her fortune. Lights
and shadows crossing the youthful face betrayed the hopes and
fears mingling with such emotions as the girl lived through in
this crowded hour but no sooner had she slipped the small roll of
bills into the flaring neck of her thin blouse than a shaking at
the door caused her to kick the telescope bag under the bed
hastily readjust the cover of the orange box blow out the
capering candle flame and then open the door. A woman young in
face but old in posture scuffled in. She wore a shawl on her head
although the season was warm April and the plentiful quantities
of material swathed in her attire proclaimed her foreign.
"Oh Dagmar. I am tired" she sighed. "I thought you would come
down to fix supper for papa. You do not change your skirt? No?"
"I was going to so I locked the door" replied the girl Dagmar.
"But I too was tired."
"Yes it is so. Well the mill is not so bad. It has a new window
near my bench and I breathe better. But daughter we must go
down. Keep the door locked as you dress. Those new peoples may not
tell which is the right room." With a glance at the fair daughter
so unlike herself in coloring the working mother dragged herself
out again and soon could be heard cliptrapping down the dark
stairs that led to the kitchens on the first floor of the mill
workers community lodgings.
Dagmar breathed deeply and clasped her hands tightly as her
mother's tired foottread fell to an echo. Love filled the blue
eyes and an affectionate smile wreathed the red lips.
"Poor mother!" she sighed aloud. "I hate to--"
Then again came that look of determination and when Dagmar
slipped down the stairs she carried the telescope and her
crochetted hand bag. Her velvet tarn sat jauntily on those
wonderful yellow curls and her modern cape flew gracefully out
just showing the least fold of her best chiffon blouse. Dagmar
wore strickly American clothes selected in rather good taste and
they attracted much attention in the streets of Flosston.
Once clear of the long brown building through which spots of
light now struck the night out of those desperate rows and rows
of machine-made windows Dagmar made her way straight to the
corner then turned straight again to another long narrow street
her very steps corresponding to that painful directness of line
and plan common to towns made by mill-owners for their employees.
Even the stars now pricking their way through the blue seemed to
throw down straight lines of light on Flosston; nothing varied the
mechanical exactness and monotonous squares and angles of
streets buildings and high board fences.
One more sharp turn brought the girl within sight of a square
squatty railroad station and as she sped toward it she caught
sight of the figure of another girl outlined in the shadows. This
figure was taller and larger in form than herself and as Dagmar
whistled softly the girl ahead stopped.
"Oh you got my note" said the other. "I am so glad. I was afraid
you would not come."
"I'm here" replied Dagmar "bag and baggage mostly bag" kicking
the accommodating and inoffensive telescope. "I hate to carry this
"Oh that's all right" replied the taller girl who under a
street lamp showed a face older than Dagmar's and perhaps a
little hard and rough. Just that bold defiant look so often
affected by girls accustomed to fighting their way through the
everyday hardships of walled-in surroundings.
"Tessie I am afraid" confessed the younger girl. "I almost cried
when Mama asked me to fix supper."
"Oh baby! You are too pretty that's all's the matter with you.
But just wait. Hush! There's that crowd of nifty-nice preachy
snippy scout girls. Duck or they'll be on our trail" and she
dragged her companion around the corner of the high fence where
in the shadow of its bill-posted height they crouched until the
laughing happy girls of True Tred Troop just out from their
early evening meeting at Sunset Hall over the post-office had
passed down into Elm Street.
"I think they saw us" whispered Dagmar "I heard one girl say
some one was hiding by the signboard."
"We should worry" flippantly replied Tessie. "I guess they are
too busy thinking about their old wigwagging to notice mill
"Oh you're mean Tessie. I think they are real nice. They always
say hello to me."
"That's because you are pretty" snubbed the older girl with
something like common spite in her voice.
"Here they come back! Guess they lost something."
"We'd better be moving the other way then. Pshaw! We will sure be
late if they keep up their trailing around. Come along. Just be so
busy talking to me they won't get a chance to give you their
lovely hello. It would be all up with us if they spied us." With a
persuasion not entirely welcome to Dagmar Tessie again dragged
her along this time turning away from the dim lights that showed
through the window of Flosston station.
Presently the group of scout girls could be heard exchanging
opinions on the possibility of finding something lost. One thought
it might have dropped in the deep gutter another declared she
would have heard it fall if it hit the many stones along the
sidewalk and still another expressed the view that it would be
impossible to find it until daylight no matter where it had
"But I just got it and wanted to wear it so much" wailed the
girl most concerned. "I think it is too mean--"
"Now we will be sure to find it in daylight" assured the tall
girl evidently the captain. "I will be around here before even
the mill hands pass. Don't worry Margaret. If we don't find it I
shall send to headquarters for another."
"But I shall never love it as I did that one" and tears were in
the voice. "Besides think of all the lovely time we had at the
"Now come" softly ordered the tall girl. "No use prowling around
here we can't see anything with matches. I promise you Margaret
you shall have another badge in time for the rally if we do not
find this" and reluctantly the party of searchers turned again in
the direction of the village.
Watching their opportunity the two mill girls came out from the
shadows of the high fence they had been trusting to shield them
from the view of the scouts. With quickened step they now turned
again towards the station
"Dear me!" exclaimed Tessie. "Haven't we had awful luck for a
start? Hope it won't follow us along."
"Well the more we delay the more I want to go back home" Dagmar
replied rather timidly. "Tessie I am afraid I will not be able to
look at things your way. I seem to have different ideas."
"Now Daggie. Don't go getting scary. I don't care whether you
think my way or not. I won't fight about it. Let's hurry" and
with renewed protestations of real companionship the older girl
grasped the arm of the younger as if fearful of losing her hold
on the other's confidence.
"Oh please don't call me Daggie" objected Dagmar freeing
herself from the rather too securely pressed arm grasp. "You know
how I hate that. Always makes me feel like a daggar. Call me
Marrie. That's American and I am an American you know."
"All right little Liberty. I'll call you Georgianna Washington if
you say so Marrie. That's like putting on airs for Marie. But
just as you say" evidently willing to make any concession to have
the younger girl accept her own terms.
"Wait! My foot struck something" exclaimed Dagmar just reaching
the spot where burnt matches left the trail of the girl scout
searchers. "There I found the badge."
"Oh let's look! Is it gold?" They stopped under the street lamp
to examine the trinket.
"No it isn't gold I think but isn't it pretty?"
"Kinda" urging Dagmar along. "Say kid what is this anyway? A
stopover we've Struck? Are we going tonight or some other night?"
"I'll have to give this badge back."
"Why will you? Didn't you find it? Isn't it yours?"
"Of course not. It belongs to the girl who lost it."
"Oh I see. That's why I should call you Georgianna Washington"
with a note of scorn in her voice. "Well if you want to go back
and get some one to go out ringing the town bell with you you may
find the nice little girl scout who lost her baby badge. As for
Sheer contempt now sounded unmistakably in the voice of the girl
called Tessie. She shook herself free from Dagmar and darted
ahead with determination long delayed and consequently more
For a moment the young girl hesitated. She sort of fondled the
little scout badge in her hands and might have been heard to
sigh if a girl of her severely disciplined temperament ever
indulged in anything so weakly human as a sigh.
But as the fleeing girl more surely made her tracks to the
station thus leaving the other alone in the night Dagmar too
quickened her steps.
"Tessie" she called finally. "Tessie wait. I can't go back now."
That was all Tessie wanted. She waited and when again they took
up tangled threads of their adventure it was scarcely possible
either would allow any further interruptions to delay them.
And Dagmar clutched in her tightly clasped hand the lost scout
It was Margaret Slowden who lost the Badge of Merit. The pretty
gilt wreath with its clover leaf center on a dainty white ribbon
hanger had been presented to Margaret on such an auspicious
occasion that the emblem meant much more to the girl scout than
its official value of rank indicated.
The True Tred Troop of Flosston had been organized one month when
Margaret won the medal. Shortly after the holidays an event of
unusual importance occured in the mill town when its small
company of service boys returned from "Over There." They were
royally welcomed by the entire town folks together with the many
officials of the silk industries from whose ranks the boys had
With the lads returned was Margaret's brother Tom. He was handsome
and a Marine and well might Mrs. Slowden and Margaret take pride
in the honor their soldier brought them. On the night of the Great
Welcome Home the scout girls then newly organized assisted with
ushering and attending to the platform needs of the speakers and
honored heroes each of the latter receiving a special small gold
military cross the gift of the silk mill magnates. This insignia
was presented by the most famous authorities of army and navy
available and Tom Slowden was given the special honor of a real
military presentation of the D. S. C. he being the only member of
Flosston recruits to receive such a notable tribute.
As might have been expected this gave real distinction to the
Welcome Home and Margaret was suffused with pardonable pride. But
when she took her place in the check room to attend to the coats
and other belongings of the distinguished visitors--she was
forgotten by her troop and she remained there all during Tom's
presentation. She never heard a word of major's wonderful speech
when the people fairly roared for Tom's glory. There she was
downstairs in the dark lonely cloak room.
"Oh my dear!" deplored Captain Clark. "I never meant that you
should stay down here at this time."
"But it was my task" returned the melancholy Margaret.
"I would not have had you miss your brother's presentation for the
world! Such a thing can never come again. Why did you not call
some of the girls to relieve you?"
"If Tom did anything like that he could never have received the D.
S. C. and I am a Scout and pledged to honor commands" returned
For that sacrifice she received from the same platform one week
later her own badge of merit and the occasion was a real rally
with officials from headquarters and all the neighboring troops
Was it strange then that Margaret should lament her loss?
No other badge could actually take the place of that one and
while Captain Clark would immediately advise headquarters of the
loss and order a new one the brave little scout girl would still
feel she had lost that one vested with the special presentation
On the morning following the loss the girls of True Tred were
seen out on the road so early the station master old Pete
hurried to his window and got ready for business surmising an
excursion or at least a local convention imminent.
But no such occurrence was probable it was only the troop out
looking for the badge and inevitably they did not find it. Signs
made by Captain Clark were posted in the station the post-office
and at prominent corners but Margaret was disconsolate. She had
called her badge the "D. S. C." because of its connection with
Tom's insignia and though the big brother had promised the scout
sister all sorts of valuable substitutes offering her the little
hand carved box he had brought for "another girl" and which
Margaret had openly coveted even this did not seem adequate
All day at school the girls of True Tred planned and contrived
little favors for their unhappy sister and it was noticeable
those of the classes who usually scoffed at the scouts and their
activities could not well conceal their admiration for the spirit
of kindliness displayed.
The True Treds had members in the seventh and eighth grammar
grades and the girls' ages ranged from thirteen to fifteen years.
Margaret Slowden was fifteen Cleo Harris fourteen and Grace
Philow and Madaline Mower were thirteen. This group was most
active in the scout girls' movement and although the organization
was only three months old in Flosston few there were in the town
who had not seen and admired the smart little troopers in their
neat uniforms always ready to assist in the home or in public at
any task consigned to them. It was to be expected they would meet
opposition in the way of criticism from such girls as are always
indifferent to team play and the best interests of the largest
numbers but the scouts knew how much they enjoyed their troop
and realized how beneficial was the attractive training they were
receiving from its rules and regulations.
Grace and Madaline were still in the tenderfoot class and wore
the little brooch at the neck of their blouses. Margaret and Cleo