Chapter 5 Summary
Ruth inducts Kathy into the secret guard that defends Miss Geraldine. There are several girls in the secret guard, and all of them are committed to searching out those who will take Miss Geraldine away. It is understood that when the attack comes, they will take Miss Geraldine to the woods, so the girls prepare as well as they can. Ruth is the leader of this group, and she claims to have secret information—facts and experiences she hesitates to share with the others.
Ruth knows about many things. When she and Kathy walk past chess tables, Ruth will often stop to analyze the play. As they walk away, she will often confide a move that neither player has yet noticed is foolhardy. Kathy is impressed and decides to obtain a chess set at the next sale. However, when she asks Ruth to teach her how to play, Ruth declines. Finally, Kathy succeeds in cornering her friend, and they proceed to play. However, Ruth does not know how to play chess: she informs Kathy that all of the pieces move in L shapes like the knight. When Ruth attempts to deny one of Kathy’s advances because it is too straight, Kathy stands up and walks out of the room.
The next day, Kathy sees Ruth and the other girls huddled together. She knows this is a secret guard meeting, and she automatically rushes to join in. However, when she arrives, Ruth dismisses Kathy from the girls’ private session. Kathy reflects that she blamed herself for interrupting them when she should have known that she was not allowed. Later, when another girl who had been ousted from the group suggests that the secret guard is childish, Kathy explains that the plot is real and that she has witnessed real plans to attack Miss Geraldine.
One morning, Kathy notices that Ruth has a new pencil case. She asks about it and the other girls all want see this latest treasure. Ruth implies that the pencil case was a gift to her from Miss Geraldine, which enrages Kathy. This time, she decides to take action. The next time she sees Ruth, she decides to bluff and claims to have seen the register of all purchases made at the sales. But when she sees how upset Ruth is by her words, she back peddles. It is only at this point that she realizes she has schemed to hurt her best friend:
Didn’t we all dream from time to time about one guardian or other bending the rules and doing something special for us?