190 IDEAL HOME LIFE
service—these are the ideals on which we try to build. We have three grades. First, a girl becomes a Wood Gatherer; then, after passing certain tests, a Fire Maker; and at last, a Torch Bearer."
"And which are you?" asked Laura.
"I'm a Guardian—that is, I am the head one of our City Camp Fires. Mrs. Royall is our Chief Guardian." She went on to explain about the work and play, the tests and rewards, ending with, "But you'll understand it all so much better after our Council Camp Fire to-night."
Laura nodded. "What kind of girls is it for—poor girls —working girls?" she asked.
"It is for any kind of girls—just girls, you know. Of course we can't admit any bad ones; nothing else matters. Dorothy Groves is one of my twelve, and I've two dear little high-school girls; all the rest are working girls. They can stay here at the camp only two weeks—some of them only ten days—the working girls, I mean; and it would make your heart ache to see how much those ten days mean to them, and how intensely they enjoy even the commonest pleasures of camping out."
"Who pays for them ?" demanded Laura.
"They pay for themselves. It's no charity, and the charges are very low. They wouldn't come if it were charity."
The girls were now alongside the big white yacht with its shining brass, and Judge Haven was helping them up the steps.
Fifteen minutes later they were on their way back to the camp, but this time in a boat rowed by two of the crew. Mrs. Royall met them and made Laura cordially welcome.
"She's just the right one—a real camp mother," said Anne, as she led her friend over to a group gathered on the grass before one of the tents. "And these are my own girls," she added, introducing each by name.
"You've got to take me right in," Laura told them. "I can't help it if I am an odd number—I'm going to belong to this particular Camp Fire to-night."
"Of course we'll take you in! Area't you Miss Anne's