The Slipper Point Mystery

Augusta Huiell Seaman

The Slipper Point Mystery
by Augusta Huiell Seaman
Author of "Three Sides of Paradise Green," "The Girl Next Door," "The Sapphire Signet," etc.
Illustrated by C. M. Relyea
New York The Century Company 1921
Copyright, 1919, by The Century Co.
Published, September, 1919

SHE sat on the prow of a beached rowboat, digging her bare toes in the sand.
There were many other rowboats drawn up on the sandy edge of the river, - as many as twenty or thirty, not to speak of the green and red canoes lying on the shore, bottoms up, like so many strange insects. A large number of sailboats were also anchored near the shore or drawn up to the long dock that stretched out into the river.
For this was Carter's Landing, the only place on lovely little Manituck River where pleasure-boats could be hired. Beside the long dock there was, up a wide flight of steps, a large pavilion where one could sit and watch the lights and shadows on the river and its many little activities. There were long benches and tables to accommodate picnic-parties and, in an inner room, a counter where candies, ice cream and soda-water were dispensed. And lastly, one part of the big pavilion was used as a dancing-floor where, afternoons and evenings, to the music of a violin and piano, merry couples whirled and circled.
Down on the sand was a signboard which said:
Nevertheless, she sat on the prow of one, this girl of fourteen, digging her bare toes aimlessly in the sand, and by her side on the prow-seat sat a tiny child of about three, industriously sucking the thumb of her right hand, while she pulled at a lock of her thick straight hair with her left. So she sat, saying nothing, but staring contentedly out over the water. The older girl wore a blue skirt and a soiled white middy-blouse. She had dark brown eyes and thick auburn hair, hanging down in a ropelike braid. Her face was somewhat freckled, and apart from her eyes and hair she was not particularly pretty.
The afternoon was hot, though it was only the early part of June, and there was no one else about except one or two helpers of the Landing. The girl stared moodily out over the blue river, and dug her bare toes deeper into the sand.
"Stop sucking your thumb, Genevieve!" she commanded suddenly, and the baby hastily removed the offending member from her mouth. But a moment later, when the older girl's attention was attracted elsewhere, she quietly slipped it back again.
Presently, from around the bend of the river, there slid into sight a red canoe, paddled vigorously by one person sitting in the stern. The girl in the prow of the rowboat sat up and stared intently at the approaching canoe.
"There it is," she announced to her younger sister. "The first canoe Dad's hired this season. Wonder who has it?" The baby made no reply and placidly continued to suck her thumb, her older sister being too absorbed to notice the forbidden occupation.
The canoe approached nearer, revealing its sole occupant to be a girl of fourteen or fifteen, clad in a dazzlingly white and distinctly tailored linen Russian blouse suit, with a pink satin tie, her curly golden hair surmounted by an immense bow of the same hue. She beached her canoe skilfully not six feet away from the rowboat of the occupied prow. And as she stepped out, further details of her costume could be observed in fine white silk stockings and dainty patent leather pumps. Scarcely stopping to drag her canoe up further than a few inches on the sand, she hurried past the two in the rowboat and up the broad steps to the pavilion.
"You'd better drag up your canoe further," called out the barefooted girl. "It 'll float away if you leave it like that."
"Oh, I'm coming right back!" replied the other. "I'm only stopping a moment to get some candy." She disappeared into the pavilion and was out again in two minutes, bearing a large box of candy, of the most expensive make boasted by Carter's Landing. Down the steps she tripped, and crossed the strip of sand toward her canoe. But in front of the occupied rowboat she stopped, drawn perhaps by the need of companionship on this beautiful but solitary afternoon.
"Have some?" she asked, proffering the open box of candy. The barefooted girl's eyes sparkled.
"Why, yes, thanks!" she answered, and gingerly helped herself to one small piece.
"Oh, take some more! There's plenty!" declared her companion, emptying fully a quarter of the box into her new friend's lap. "And give some to the baby." The younger child smiled broadly, removed her thumb from her mouth and began to munch ecstatically on a large piece of chocolate proffered
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