Wednesday, July 30, 2008

The Girl Scouts' Canoe Trip/Rivals

By the fourth book in Edith Lavell's Girl Scouts series, The Girl Scouts' Canoe Trip, Ruth Henry's tactics against Marjorie Wilkinson cross the line into criminal activity. In addition to other tricks, she has a friend kidnap Marjorie and Frieda and hold them hostage so that they will miss the canoe races. Marjorie and Frieda are the only two girls who can handle a canoe better than Ruth, so if they are detained, Ruth will win.

Ruth is definitely another Lettie Briggs. In Canoe Trip, Ruth resents the troop captain, Miss Phillips, and feels like Miss Phillips picks on her. In truth, Miss Phillips reprimands Ruth when Ruth is purposefully late and inconveniences others. Ruth feels that Miss Phillips should make exceptions for her, since Ruth is just so important to the troop. Ruth thinks that Miss Phillips unfairly favors Marjorie and Frieda, but in truth, Marjorie and Frieda are model Scouts. Why wouldn't Miss Phillips like them?

In this passage from page 178 in The Girl Scouts' Canoe Trip, Ruth is clueless that her scheming is getting her nowhere:
Marjorie had been too popular lately; she was having things her own way entirely too much. It was not good for any one girl to receive so much attention, Ruth thought; for the sake of the others in the troop, as well as for herself, she had regarded her prank as veritably charitable. But now she was almost beginning to regret it. For she knew that when the girl did finally appear, she would be the petted heroine of the party even though Ruth herself might win the cup. And who knew? Mr. Andrews might even suggest that the winner compete with Marjorie and Frieda! It was a strange thing that Ruth Henry had not learned by this time that her underhand scheming never got her anywheres. But each time she seemed to forget, and tried her mean practices all over again.
The wording of the next to last sentence is a bit odd. It is reproduced here exactly as it appears in the book.

At the beginning of the fifth book, The Girl Scouts' Rivals, it is apparent that Marjorie now hates Ruth, obviously as a result of the kidnapping. Take this passage from pages 5-6 as an example:
Mrs. Wilkinson welcomed Lily cordially, and they sat down on the porch to talk for a few minutes. It was then that Mrs. Wilkinson informed them that Ruth Henry had telephoned.

"What did she want?" asked Marjorie, annoyed at the mere mention of the name.

"She wanted you both to go over there this afternoon. She said—"

"Well, we're not going!" interrupted Marjorie. "We're going upstairs, and put on our kimonas, and talk and talk. And we don't want Ruth Henry!"


"Mother, if you knew what she really is, you wouldn't blame us a bit. We avoid her whenever it's possible."
Marjorie is no longer willing even to try to be nice to Ruth. Unfortunately, the girls are still members of the same Girl Scout troop, so Marjorie is forced to endure Ruth at Girl Scout functions.

It has been interesting during these first five Girl Scouts books to see the gradual transformation of Ruth and Marjorie from best friends into sworn enemies.

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