Skip to main content

Full text of "Betty Wales, freshman : a story for girls"

See other formats


/ALE St 

RESHMAl 

ARGARET WARDE; 




EX LIDRIS 




nAn cf Cc^^ 



Digitized by the Internet Archive 

in 2007 with funding from 

IVIicrosoft Corporation 



http://www.archive.org/details/bettywalesfreshmOOward 



TBfi NfW YORK 



L 







PARDON ME," SHE SAID, "COULD I HELP VOU ? 



BETTY WALES. FRESHMAN 



gy sTon^ roR^GJKI^s 



J^MARGARET 
WARD E 



£^uihor of 
'Betty Wales ,Sophomorc" 
**Betty Wales, Junior" 



Illusirafed by 
EVA M. NAGEi 



Xphe Penn Publishing Company 

PHIl^ADE LPHIA M C M V I 



I Tlit NEW VOilK 
1 j'-;-,^"- I.li;;UUY 

! 149646B 

5 ■■ • :;. Ll^NOX AND 

'l : /.:■. 1-.>UNUAT1UNS 

u iy4i i* 



J 



Copyright 1904 by The Penn Publishing Company 



Betty Wales, Freshman 



Contents 



CHAP. 
I 
II 
III 

IV 

V 

VI 

VII 

VIII 

I X 

XI 
CO XII 
XIII 



PAGE 

First Impressions 7 

Beginnings 21 

Dancing Lessons and a Class-Meet- 
ing 35 

Whose Photograph ? 50 

Up Hill — and Down 63 

Letters Home 80 

A Dramatic Chapter 95 

After the Play 112 

Paying the Piper 128 

A Rumor 146 

Mid- Years and a Dust-Pan .... 166 

A Triumph for Democracy .... 185 

Saint Valentine's Assistants . . . 208 

A Beginning and a Sequel . . , . 233 

At the Great Game 255 

A Chance to Help 279 

An Ounce of Prevention .... 299 

Into Paradise — and Out 321 

A Last Chance 337 

Loose Threads 355 



Illustrations 

PAGE 

** Pardon Me," she said, *' Could I Help 
You ? " Frontispiece 

The Floor Was Crowded 59 

*' Sing a Li'l' ? " she Asked 97 

Betty Stood in the Door of Her Room . 128 

" Girls, This Has to Stop," she Announced 225 

The Freshmen Were Shouting and Thump- 
ing 265 

Betty Was Now Up to Her Knees in the 

Water 349 



BETTY WALES 



CHAPTER I 

FIRST IMPRESSIONS 

'' Oh, dear, what if she shouldn't meet me ! " 
sighed Betty Wales for the hundredth time at 
least, as she gathered up her bags and um- 
brella, and followed the crowd of noisy, 
chattering girls off the train. 

'' So long, Mary. See you to-morrow." 

'' Get a carriage, Nellie, that's a dear. 
You're so little you can always break through 
the crowd." 

'' Hello, Susanna ! Did you get on the 
campus too? " 

'' Thanks awfully, but I can't to-night. 
My freshman cousin's up, you know, and 
homesick and " 

*' Oh, girls, isn't it fun to be back ? " 

It all sounded so jolly and familiar. Weren't 
7 



8 BETTT WALES 

any of them freshmen ? Did they guess that 
she was a freshman ^' and homesick " ? 
Betty straightened proudly and resolved that 
they should not. If only the registrar had 
got father's telegram. As she stood hesitating 
on the station platform, amazed at the wil- 
derness of trunks and certain that no one 
could possibly find her until that shouting, 
rushing mob in front of her had dispersed, a 
pretty girl in immaculate white duck hurried 
up to her. 

'' Pardon me," she said, reaching out a hand 
for Betty's golf clubs, '' but aren't you a 
stranger here? Could I help you, perhaps, 
about getting your luggage up ? " 

Betty looked at her doubtfully. "■ I don't 
know," she said. '' Yes, I'm going to enter 
college, and my elder sister couldn't get here 
until a later train. But father telegraphed 
the registrar to meet me. Do you know her? 
Could you point her out? " 

The pretty girl's lips curved into the faint 
suggestion of a smile. '' Yes," she said, '' I 
know her — only too well for my peace of 
mind occasionally. But I'm afraid she hasn't 
come to meet you. You see she's very busy 



BETTT TFALES g 

these first days — there are a great many of 
you freshman, all wanting different things. 
So she sends us down instead." 

'' Oh, I see." Betty's face brightened. 
"' Then if you would tell me how to get to 
Mrs. Chapin's on Meriden Place." 

'' Mrs. Chapin's ! " exclaimed the pretty girl. 
'' That's easy. Most of you want such out- 
landish streets. But that's close to the cam- 
pus, where I'm going myself. My time is 
just up, I'm happy to say. Give me your 
checks and your house number, and then 
we'll take a car, unless you wouldn't mind 
walking. It's not far." 

On the way to Mrs. Chapin's Betty learned 
that her new friend's name was Dorothy 
King, that she was a junior and roomed in the 
Hilton House, that she went in for science, 
but was fond of music and was a member of 
the Glee Club ; that she was back a day early 
for the express purpose of meeting fresh- 
men at the trains. In return Betty explained 
how she had been obliged at the last moment 
to come east alone ; how sister Nan, who was 
nine years older than she and five years out 
of college, was coming down from a house 



lo BETTT WALES 

party at Kittery Point, but couldn't get in till 
eight that night ; and father had insisted that 
Betty be sure to arrive by daylight. 

''Wales — Wales " repeated the pretty 

junior. "■ Why, your sister must have been the 
clever Miss Wales in '9 — , the one who wrote 
so well and all. She is? How fine! I'm 
sorry, but I leave you here. Mrs. Chapin's is 
that big yellow house, the second on the left 
side — yes. I know you'll like it there. And 
Miss Wales, you mustn't mind if the sopho- 
mores get hold of that joke about your asking 
the registrar to meet you. I won't tell, but it 
will be sure to leak out somehow. You see 
it's really awfully funny. The registrar is al- 
most as important as the president, and a lot 
more dignified and unapproachable, until you 
get to know her. She'll think it too good to 
keep, and the sophomores will be sure to get 
hold of it and put it in the book of grinds for 
their reception — souvenirs they give you, you 
know. Now good-bye. May I call later? 
Thank you so much. Good-bye." 

Betty was blushing hotly as she climbed 
Mrs. Chapin's steps. But her chagrin ac 
having proved herself so '' verdant " a fresh- 



BETTT WALES ii 

man was tempered with elation at the junior's 
cordiality. '' Nan said I wasn't to run into 
friendships," she reflected. '' But she must be 
nice. She knows the Clays. Oh, I hope she 
won't forget to come ! " 

Betty Wales had come to college without 
any particular enthusiasm for it, though she 
was naturally an enthusiastic person. She 
loved Nan dearly, but didn't approve of her 
scheme of life, and wasn't at all prepared to 
like college just because Nan had. Being so 
much younger than her sister, she had never 
visited her at Harding, but she had met a good 
many of her friends ; and comparing their stor- 
ies of life at Harding with the experiences of 
one or two of her own mates who were at the 
boarding-school, she had decided that of two 
evils she should prefer college, because there 
seemed to be more freedom and variety about it. 
Being of a philosophical turn of mind, she 
was now determined to enjoy herself, if possi- 
ble. She pinned her faith to a remark that 
her favorite among all Nan's friends had made 
to her that summer. '' Oh, you'll like college, 
Betty," she had said. "■ Not just as Nan or I 
did, of course. Every girl has her own reasons 



12 BETTT WALES 

for liking college — but every nice girl likes 
it.'' 

Betty decided that she had already found two 
of her reasons : the pretty Miss King and Mrs. 
Chapin's piazza, which was exceedingly attract- 
ive for a boarding-house. A girl was loung- 
ing in a hammock behind the vines, and an- 
other in a big piazza chair was reading aloud 
to her. '* They must be old girls," thought 
Betty, ^' to seem so much at home." Then she 
remembered that Mrs. Chapin had said hers 
would probably be an "• all freshman house," 
and decided that they were friends from the 
same town. 

Mrs. Chapin presently appeared, to show 
Betty to her room and explain that her room- 
mate would not arrive till the next morning. 
Betty dressed and then sat down to study for 
her French examination, which came next 
day ; but before she had finished deciding 
which couch she preferred or where they could 
possibly put two desks and a tea-table, the bell 
rang for dinner. 

This bid fair to be a silent and dismal meal. 
All the girls had come except Betty's room- 
mate, and most of them, being freshmen, were 



BETTr WALES 13 

in the depths of examinations and homesick- 
ness. But there was one shining exception, a 
very lively sophomore, who had waited till 
the last moment hoping to get an assignment 
on the campus, and then had come to Mrs. 
Chapin's in the place of a freshman who had 
failed in her examinations. 

'' She had six, poor thing ! " explained the 
sophomore to Betty, who sat beside her. 
'' And just think ! She'd had a riding horse 
and a mahogany desk with a secret drawer 
sent on from home. Wish I could inherit 
them along with her room. Now, my name 
is Mar}^ Brooks. Tell me yours, and I'll ask 
the girl on the other side and introduce you ; 
and that will start the ball rolling." 

These energetic measures succeeded much 
better than Mrs. Chapin's somewhat perfunc- 
tory remarks about the dry weather, and the 
whole table was soon talking busily. The 
two piazza girls proved to be sisters, Mary and 
Adelaide Rich, from Haddam, Connecticut. 
Betty decided that they were rather stupid 
and too inclined to stick together to be 
much fun. A tall, homely girl at the end 
of the table created a laugh by introduc- 



14 BETTT WALES 

ing herself as Miss Katherine Kittredge of 
Kankakee. 

"• The state is Illinois," she added, '' but 
that spoils the alliteration." 

'' The what ? " whispered Betty to the sopho- 
more. 

But Miss Brooks only laughed and said, 
'' Wait till you've finished freshman Eng- 
lish." 

Betty's other neighbor was a pale, quiet lit- 
tle girl, with short hair and a drawl. Betty 
couldn't decide whether she meant to be 
" snippy " or was only shy and offish. After 
she had said that her name was Roberta Lewis 
and her home Philadelphia, Betty inquired 
politely whether she expected to like college. 

'' I expect to detest it," replied Miss Lewis 
slowly and distinctly, and spoke not another 
word during dinner. But though she ate bus- 
ily and kept her eyes on her plate, Betty was 
sure that she heard all that was said, and 
would have liked to join in, only she didn't 
know how. 

The one really beautiful girl at the table 
was Miss Eleanor Watson. Her complexion 
was the daintiest pink and white, her black 



BETTT WALES 15 

hair waved softly under the big hat which she 
had not stopped to take off, and her hazel eyes 
were plaintive one moment and sparkling the 
next, as her mood changed. She talked a 
good deal and very well, and it was hard to 
realize that she was only sixteen and a fresh- 
man. She had fitted for college at a big pre- 
paratory school in the east, and so, although 
she happened to be the only Denver girl in 
college, she had a great many friends in the 
upper classes and appeared to know quite as 
much about college customs as Miss Brooks. 
All this impressed Betty, who admired beauty 
and pretty clothes immensely. She resolved 
to have Eleanor Watson for a friend if she 
could, and was pleased when Miss Watson in- 
quired how many examinations she had, and 
suggested that they would probably be in the 
same divisions, since their names both began 
with W. 

The remaining girl at Mrs. Chapin^s table 
was not particularly striking. She had a 
great mass of golden brown hair, which she 
wore coiled loosely in her neck. Her keen 
grey eyes looked the world straight in the face, 
and her turned-up nose and the dimple in her 



i6 BETrr WALES 

chin gave her a merry, cheerful air. She did 
not talk much, and not at all about herself, but 
she gave the impression of being a thoroughly 
nice, bright, capable girl. Her name was 
Rachel Morrison. 

After dinner Betty was starting up-stairs 
when Mary Brooks called her back. '' Won't 
you walk over to the campus with me, little 
girl ? " she asked. '' I have one or two 
errands. Oh no, you don't need a hat. You 
never do here." 

So they wandered off bareheaded in the 
moonlight, which made the elm-shaded streets 
look prettier than ever. On the dusky cam- 
pus girls strolled about in devoted pairs and 
sociable quartettes. On the piazza of one of 
the dwelling-houses somebody was singing a 
fascinating little Scotch ballad with a tinkling 
mandolin accompaniment. 

" Must be Dorothy King," said the sopho- 
more. *' I thought she wouldn't come till 
eight. Most people don't." 

*'0h!" exclaimed Betty, ''I know her!" 
And she related her adventure at the station. 

'' That's so," said Miss Brooks. '' I'd for> 
gotten. She's awfully popular, you know, and 



BETTT WALES 17 

very prominent, — belongs to no end of so- 
cieties. But whatever the Young Women's 
Christian Association wants of her she does. 
You know they appoint girls to meet fresh- 
men and help them find boarding-places and 
so on. She's evidently on that committee. 
Let's stop and say hello to her." 

Betty, hanging behind, was amazed to see 
the commotion caused by Miss Brooks's ar- 
rival. The song stopped abruptly, the man- 
dolin slammed to the floor, and performers 
and audience fell as one woman upon the 
newcomer. 

'' Why, Mary Brooks ! When did you 
come? " 

"■ Did you get a room, honey ? " 

'' Oh, Mary, where did you put on that 
lovely tan?" 

"Mary, is Sarah coming back, do you 
know?" 

" Hush up, girls, and let her tell us ! " 

It was like the station, only more so, and 
oh, it was nice — if you were in it. Mary an- 
swered some of their questions and then 
looked around for Betty. ''I've lost a fresh- 
man," she said. '' Here, Miss Wales, come 



i8 BETTy^ PVALES 

up and sit on the railing. She knows you, 
Dottie, and she wants to hear you sing. These 
others are some of the Hilton House, Miss 
Wales. Please consider yourselves intro- 
duced. Now, Dottie." 

So the little Scotch ballad began again. 
Presently some one else came up, there were 
more effusive greetings, and then another 
song or two, after which Miss King and 
'' some of the Hilton House " declared that 
they simply must go and unpack. Betty, sud- 
denly remembering her trunk and her sister, 
decided to let Miss Brooks do her other '' er- 
rands " alone, and found her way back to 
Mrs. Chapin's. Sure enough. Nan was sitting 
on the piazza. 

'' Hello, little sister," she called gaily as 
Betty hurried up the walk. '' Don't say 
you're sorry to be late. It's the worst possi- 
ble thing for little freshmen to mope round 
waiting for people, and I'm glad you had 
the sense not to. Your trunk's come, but if 
you're not too tired let's go up and see Ethel 
Hale before we unpack it." 

Ethel Hale had spent a whole summer with 
Nan, and Betty beat her at tennis and called 



BETTT JVALES 19 

her Ethel, and she called Betty little sister, 
just as Nan did. But here she was a memher 
of the faculty. '' I shall never dare come 
near her after you leave," said Betty. Just as 
she said it the door of the room opened — Nan 
had explained that it was a freshman trick to 
ring front door-bells — and Ethel rushed out 
and dragged them in. 

'' Miss Blaine and Miss Mills are here," she 
said. 

Betty gathered from the subsequent conver- 
sation that Miss Blaine and Miss Mills were 
also members of the faculty ; and they were. 
But they had just come in from a horseback 
ride, and they sat in rather disheveled atti- 
tudes, eating taffy out of a paper bag, and 
their conversation was very amusing and per- 
fectly intelligible, even to a freshman who 
had still an examination to pass. 

** I didn't suppose the faculty ever acted 
like that. Why, they're just like other peo- 
ple," declared Betty, as she tumbled into bed 
a little later. 

*' They're exactly like other people," re- 
turned Nan sagely, from the closet where she 
was hanging up skirts. '' Just remember 



20 BErrr wales 

that and you'll have a lot nicer time with 
them." 

So ended Betty's first day at college. Nan 
finished unpacking, and then sat for a long 
time by the window. Betty loved Nan, but 
Nan in return worshiped Betty. They might 
call her the clever Miss Wales if they liked ; 
she would gladly have given all her vaunted 
brains for the fascinating little ways that made 
Betty friends so quickly and for the power to 
take life in Betty's free-and-easy fashion. 
'' Oh, I hope she'll like it ! " she thought. " I 
hope she'll be popular with the girls. I don't 
want her to have to work so hard for all she 
gets. I wouldn't exchange my course for 
hers, but I want hers to be the other kind." 

Betty was sound asleep. 



CHAPTER II 

BEGINNINGS 

The next morning it poured. 

^' Of course," said Eleanor Watson impress- 
ively at breakfast. '' It always does the first 
day of college. They call it the freshman 
rain." 

'' Let's all go down to chapel together," sug- 
gested Rachel Morrison. 

'^ You're going to order carriages, of course? " 
inquired Roberta Lewis stiffly. 

" Hurrah ! Another joke for the grind- 
book ! " shrieked Mary Brooks. Then she 
noticed Roberta's expression of abject terror. 
'' Never mind, Miss Lewis," she said kindly. 
'' It's really an honor to be in the grind-book, 
but I promise not to tell if you'd rather I 
wouldn't. Won't you show that you forgive 
me by coming down to college under my 
umbrella?" 

'^ She can't. She's coming with me," an- 
swered Nan promptly. '' I demand the right 
to first choice." 

21 



22 BETTT JVALES 

" Very well, I yield/' said Mary, '' because 
when you go my sovereignty will be undis- 
puted. You'll have to hurry, children." 

So the little procession of rain-coats flapping 
out from under dripping umbrellas started 
briskly off to join the longer procession that 
was converging from every direction toward 
College Hall. Roberta and Nan were ahead 
under one umbrella, chatting like old friends. 

'' I suppose she doesn't think we're worth 
talking to," said Rachel Morrison, who came 
next with Betty. 

'' Probably she's one of the kind that's 
always been around with grown people and 
isn't used to girls," suggested Betty. 

'' Perhaps," agreed Rachel. " Anyhow, I 
can't get a word out of her. She just sits by 
her w^indow and reads magazines and looks 
bored to death when Katherine or I go in to 
speak to her. Isn't Katherine jolly? I'm so 
glad I don't room alone." 

'' Are you ? " asked Betty. '' I can tell bet- 
ter after my roommate comes. Her name 
sounds quite nice. It's Helen Chase Adams, 
and she lives somewhere up in New Hamp- 
shire. Did you ever see so many girls ? " 



BETTT WALES 23 

There seemed to be no end to them. They 
jostled one another good-naturedly in the nar- 
row halls, swarmed, chattering, up the stairs, 
and filled the chapel to overflowing. It was 
very exciting to see the whole college together. 
Even Roberta Lewis condescended to look in- 
terested when Mary Brooks showed her the 
faculty rows, and pointed out the college 
beauty, the captain of the sophomore basket- 
ball team, and other local celebrities. 

^' That's evidently a freshman," declared 
Eleanor Watson, who w^as in the row behind 
with Katherine and the Riches. '^ Doesn't 
she look lost and unhappy ? " And she 
pointed out a tall, near-sighted girl who was 
stalking dejectedly down the middle aisle. 

A vivacious little brunette was sitting next 
Eleanor. '' Pardon me," she said sweetly, 
'^ but did you mean the girl who's gone around 
to the side and is now being received with 
open arms by most of the faculty? She's a 
senior, the brightest girl in the class, we think, 
and she's sad because she's lost her trunk and 
broken her glasses. You're a freshman, I 
judge?" 

^' Thank you, yes," gasped Eleanor with as 



24 BETTT WALES 

much dignity as she could muster, and re- 
solved to keep her guesses to herself in future. 

The chapel service was short but very beau- 
tiful. The president's kindly welcome to the 
entering class, '' which bids fair to be the 
largest in the history of the institution," com- 
pletely upset the composure of some of the 
aforesaid class, and a good many moist hand- 
kerchiefs grew moister, and red eyes redder 
during the prayer. But on the whole the 
class of 190 — conducted itself with com- 
mendable propriety and discretion on this its 
first official appearance in the college world. 

''I'm glad I don't have that French exam.," 
said Katherine, as she and Betty picked out 
their umbrellas from a great, moist heap in 
the corner of the hall. '' Come down with 
me and have a soda." 

Betty shook her head. '' I can't. Nan 
asked me to go with her and Eth — I mean 
Miss Hale, but I simply must study." And 
she hurried off to begin. 

At the entrance to the campus Eleanor 
Watson overtook her. '' Let's go home and 
study together," she proposed. " I can't see 
why they left this French till so late in the 



BETTT WALES 25 

week, when everybody has it. What did you 
come to college for? " she asked abruptly. 

Betty thought a minute. '' Why, for the 
fun of it, I guess," she said. 

'' So did I. I think we've stumbled into a 
pretty serious-minded crowd at Mrs. Chapin's, 
don't you?'' 

'' I like Miss Morrison awfully well," ob- 
jected Betty, ^^ and I shouldn't call Katherine 
Kittredge of Kankakee serious-minded, 
but " 

'' Oh, perhaps not," interrupted Eleanor. 
" Anyhow I know a lot of fine girls outside, 
and you must meet them. It's very impor- 
tant to have a lot of friends up here. If you 
want to amount to anything, you can't just 
stick with the girls in your own house." 

'' Oh, no," said Betty meekly, awed by the 
display of worldly wisdom. '' It will be 
lovely to meet your friends. Let's study on 
the piazza. I'll get my books." 

'' Wait a minute," said Eleanor quickly. 
** I want to tell you something. I have at 
least two conditions already, and if I don't 
pass this French I don't suppose I can possi- 
bly stay." 



26 BETTr WALES 

'' But you don't act frightened a bit/^ pro- 
tested Betty in awestruck tones. 

"• I am," returned Eleanor in a queer, husky 
voice. '' I could never show my face again 
if I failed." She brushed the tears out of her 
eyes. '' Now go and get your books," she said 
calmly, ^' and don't ever mention the subject 
again. I had to tell somebody." 

Betty was back in a moment, looking as if 
she had seen a ghost. ^' She's come," she 
gasped, '' and she's crying like everything.'^ 

^' Who? " inquired Eleanor coolly. 

'' My roommate — Helen Chase Adams." 

^^ What did you do?" 

^' I didn't say a word — -just grabbed up my 
books and ran. Let's study till Nan comes 
and then she'll settle it." 

It was almost one o'clock before Nan ap- 
peared. She tossed a box of candy to the 
weary students, and gave a lively account of 
her morning, which had included a second 
breakfast, three strawberry-ices, a walk to the 
bridge, half a dozen calls on the campus, and 
a plunge in the swimming-tank. 

'' I didn't dream I knew so man}^ people 
here " she said. '' But now I've seen thero 



BErrr jvales 27 

all and they've promised to call on you, Betty, 
and I must go to-night." 

'^ Not unless she stops crying," said Betty 
firmly, and told her story. 

'* Go up and ask her to come down-town 
with us and have a lunch at Holmes's," sug- 
gested Nan. 

'' Oh you come too," begged Betty, and Nan, 
amused at the distress of her usually self- 
reliant sister, obediently led the way up- 
stairs. 

'' Come in," called a tremulous voice. 

Helen Chase Adams had stopped crying, at 
least temporarily, and was sitting in a pale 
and forlorn heap on one of the beds. She 
jumped up when she saw her visitors. '' I 
thought it w^as the man with my trunk," she 
said. '' Is one of you my roommate ? Which 
one?" 

'' What a nice speech. Miss Adams ! " said 
Nan heartily. '' I've been hoping ever since 
I came that somebody would take me for a 
freshman. But this is Betty, who's to room 
with you. Now will you come down-town to 
lunch with us?" 

Betty was very quiet on the way down-town. 



28 BETTT WALES 

Her roommate was a bitter disappointment. 
She had imagined a pretty girl like Eleanor 
Watson, or a jolly one like Katherine and 
Rachel ; and here was this homely little thing 
with an awkward walk, a piping voice, and 
short skirts. '' She'll just spoil everything," 
thought Betty resentfully, '' and it's a mean, 
hateful shame." Over the creamed chicken, 
which Nan ordered because it was Holmes's 
'' specialty," just as strawberry-ice was Cuyler's, 
the situation began to look a little more cheer- 
ful. Helen Chase Adams would certainly be 
an obliging roommate. 

'^ Oh, I wouldn't think of touching the room 
till you get back from your French," she said 
eagerly. '' Won't it be fun to fix it ? Have 
you a lot of pretty things ? I haven't much, 
I'm afraid. Oh, no, I don't care a bit which 
bed I have." Her shy, appealing manner and 
her evident desire to please would have dis- 
armed a far more critical person than Betty, 
who, in spite of her love of fine feathers " and 
a sort of superficial snobbishness, was at heart 
absolutely unworldly, and who took a naive 
interest in all badly dressed people because it 
was such fun to '^ plan them over." She ap- 



BETTT WALES 29 

plied this process immediately to her room- 
mate. 

"■ Her hat's on crooked," she reflected, '' and 
her pug's in just the wrong place. Her shirt- 
waist needs pulling down in front and she 
sticks her head out when she talks. Other- 
wise she'd be rather cute. I hope she's the 
kind that will take suggestions without get- 
ting mad." And she hurried off to her French 
in a very amiable frame of mind. 

Helen Chase Adams thanked Nan shyly for 
the luncheon, escaped from the terrors of a 
tete-a-tete with an unfamiliar grown-up on 
the plea of having to unpack, and curled up 
on the couch that Betty had not chosen, to 
think it over. The day had been full of 
surprises, but Betty was the culmination. 
Why had she come to college? She was 
distinctly pretty, she dressed well, and evi- 
dently liked what pretty girls call " a good 
time." In Helen Chase Adams's limited ex- 
perience all pretty girls were stupid. The 
idea of seeing crowds of them in the college 
chapel, much less of rooming with one, had 
never entered her head. A college was a place 
for students. Would Miss Wales pass her ex- 



30 BETTT IVALES 

amination ? Would she learn her lessons ? 
What would it be like to live with her day in 
and day out ? Helen could not imagine — but 
she did not feel in the least like crying. 

Just as the dinner-bell rang, Betty appeared, 
looking rather tired and pale. '' Nan's gone," 
she announced. '' She found she couldn't 
make connections except by leaving at half 
past five, so she met me down at the college. 
And just at the last minute she gave me the 
money to buy a chafing-dish. Wasn't that 
lovely ? I know I should have cried and 
made a goose of myself, but after tha — I beg 
your pardon — I haven't any sense." She 
stopped in confusion. 

But Helen only laughed. '' Go on," she 
said. '' I don't mind now. I don't believe 
I'm going to be homesick any more, and if I 
am I'll do my best not to cry." 

How the rest of that first week flew ! Next 
day the freshman class list was read, and for- 
tunately it included all the girls at Mrs. 
Chapin's. Then there were electives to choose, 
complicated schedules to see through, first 
recitations to find, books to buy or rent, rooms 
to arrange, and all sorts of bewildering odds 



BETTT IVALE& 31 

and ends to attend to. Saturday came before 
any one was ready for it, bringing in its wake 
the freshman frolic, a jolly, informal dance in 
the gymnasium, at which the whole college 
appears, tagged with its name, and tries to get 
accustomed to the size of the entering class, 
preparatory to becoming acquainted with parts 
of it later on. To Betty's great delight Dorothy 
King met her in the hall of the Administration 
Building the day before and asked permission 
to take her to the frolic. At the gymnasium 
Miss King turned her over to a bewildering 
succession of partners, who asked her the 
stereotyped questions about liking college, 
having a pleasant boarding-place, and so on, 
tried more or less effectively to lead her 
through the crowd to the rather erratic music 
of one piano, and assured her that the fresh- 
man frolic was not at all like the other college 
dances. They all seemed very pleasant, but 
Betty felt sure she should never know them 
again. Nevertheless she enjoyed it all im- 
mensely and was almost sorry when the frolic 
was over and they adjourned to Dorothy's 
pretty single room in the Hilton House, 
where a few other upper-class girls had been 



32 BETTT WALES 

invited to bring their freshmen for refresh- 
ments. 

''Wasn't it fun?" said Betty to a fluffy- 
haired, dainty little girl who sat next her on 
Dorothy's couch. 

'' I don't think I should call it exactly fun," 
said the girl critically. 

"' Oh, I like meeting new people, and get- 
ting into a crowd of girls, and trying to dance 
with them," explained Betty. 

^'Yes, I liked it too," said the girl. She 
had an odd trick of lingering over the word 
she wished to distinguish. '' I liked it be- 
cause it was so queer. Everything's queer 
here, particularly roommates. Do you have 
one?" 

Betty nodded. "" Well, mine never made 
up her bed in her life before, and first she 
thought she couldn't, but her mother told her 
to take hold and see what a Madison could do 
with a bed — they're awfully proud of their 
old family — so she did ; but it looks dread- 
fully messy yet, and it makes her late for 
chapel every single morning. Is yours any- 
thing like that?" 

Betty laughed. '' Oh, no," she said. 



BETTT U^ALES 33 

' She's very orderly. Won't you come and 
see us ? " 

The little freshman promised. By that 
time the '' plowed field " was ready — an 
oiDiiging friend had stayed at home from the 
frolic to give it an early start — and they ate 
the creamy brown squares of candy with a 
marshmallow stuffed into each, and praised 
the cook and her wares until a bell rang and 
everybody jumped up and began saying good- 
bye at once except Betty, who had to be 
enlightened by the campus girls as to the dire 
meaning of the twenty-minutes-to-ten bell. 

''Don't you keep the ten o'clock rule?" 
asked the fluflpy-haired freshman curiously. 

" Oh, yes," said Betty. '' Why, we couldn't 
come to college if we didn't, could we ? " 
And she wondered why some of the girls 
laughed. 

" I've had a beautiful time," she said, 
when Miss King, who had come part way 
home with her, explained that she must turn 
back. *' I hope that when I'm a junior I can 
do half as much for some little freshman as 
you have for me." 

^' That's a nice way to put it, Miss Wales," 



34 BETTT WALES 

said Dorothy. '' But don't wait till you're 
a junior to begin." 

As Betty ran home, she reflected that she 
had not seen Helen dancing that evening. 
" Oh, Helen," she called, as she dashed into 
the room, '' wasn't it fun ? How many min- 
utes before our light goes out ? Do you know 
how to dance ? " 

Helen hesitated. '' I — well — I know how, 
but I can't do it in a crowd. It's ten minutes 
of ten." 

'' Teach you before the sophomore recep- 
tion," said Bett}^ laconically, throwing a slip- 
per into the closet with one hand and pulling 
out hairpins with the other. " What a pity 
that to-morrow's Sunday. We shall have to 
wait a whole day to begin." 



CHAPTER III 

DANCING LESSONS AND A CLASS-MEETING 

The next morning Helen had gone for a 
walk with Katherine, and Betty was dressing 
for church, when Eleanor Watson knocked at 
the door. She looked prettier than ever in 
her long silk kimono, with its ruffles of soft 
lace and the great knot of pink ribbon at her 
throat. 

*' So you're going to church too," she said, 
dropping down among Betty's pillows. " I 
was hoping you'd stay and talk to me. Did 
you enjoy your frolic? " 

'' Yes, didn't you ? " inquired Betty. 

'' I didn't go," returned Eleanor shortly. 

"Oh, why not?" asked Betty so seriously 
that Eleanor laughed. 

'' Because the girl who asked me first was 
ill ; and I wouldn't tag along with the little 
Brooks and the Riches and your fascinating 
roommate. Now don't say ' why not? ' again, 

35 



36 BETTT JVALES 

or I may hurt your feelings. Do you really 
like Miss Brooks?" 

Betty hesitated. As a matter of fact she 
liked Mary Brooks very much, but she also 
admired Eleanor Watson and coveted her ap- 
proval. '' I like her well enough," she said 
slowly, and disappeared into the closet to get 
something she did not want and change the 
subject. 

Eleanor laughed. " You're so polite," she 
said. '' I wish I were. That is, I wish I 
could make people think I was, without my 
taking the trouble. Don't go to church." 

'' Helen and Katherine are coming back 
for me. You'd better go with us," urged 
Betty. 

" Now that Kankakee person " began 

Eleanor. The door opened suddenly and 
Katherine and Helen came in. Katherine, 
who had heard Eleanor's last remark, flushed 
but said nothing. Eleanor rose deliberately, 
smoothed the pillows she had been lying on, 
and walked slowly off, remarking over her 
shoulder, '' In common politeness, knock be- 
fore you come in." 

" Or you may hear what I think of you," 



BETTT WALES 37 

added Katherine wickedly, as Eleanor shut 
the door. 

Helen looked perplexed. ''Should I, 
Betty?" she asked, ''when it's my own 
room." 

" It's nicer," said Betty. " Nan and I do. 
How do you like our room, Katherine ? " 

" It's a beaut.," said Katherine, taking the 
hint promptly. " I don't see how you ever 
fixed your desks and couches, and left so 
much space in the middle. Our room is like 
the aisle in a Chicago theatre. That Japa- 
nese screen is a peach and the water-color 
over your desk is another. Did you buy back 
the chafing-dish ? " 

Betty laughed. She had amused the house 
by getting up before breakfast on the day 
after Nan left, in her haste to buy a chafing- 
dish. In the afternoon Rachel had suggested 
that a teakettle was really more essential to a 
college establishment, and they had gone down 
together to change it. But then had come 
Miss King's invitation to eat " plowed field " 
after the frolic ; and the chafing-dish, appear- 
ing once more the be-all and end-all of exist- 
ence, had finally replaced the teakettle. 



38 BETTT iVALES 

" But we're going to have both," ventured 
Helen shyly. 

" Oh yes," broke in Betty. " Isn't it fine 
of Helen to get it and make our tea-table so 
complete? " As a matter of fact Betty much 
preferred that the tea-table should be all her 
own ; but Helen was so delighted with the 
idea of having a part in it, and so sure that 
she wanted a teakettle more than pillows for 
her couch, that Betty resolved not to mind the 
bare-looking bed, which marred the cozy effect 
of the room, and above all never to let Helen 
guess how she felt about the tea-table. '' But 
next year you better believe I'm hoping for a 
single room," she confided to the little green 
lizard who sat on her inkstand and ogled her 
while she worked. 

When church was over Katherine proposed 
a stroll around the campus before dinner. '' I 
haven't found my bearings at all yet," she 
said. '' Now which building is which? " 

Betty pointed out the Hilton House proudly. 
'' That's all I know," she said, '' except these 
up here in front of course — the Main Build- 
ing and Chapel, and Science and Music 
Halls." 



BETTT WALES 39 

*' We know the gymnasium," suggested 
Helen, '* and the Belden House, where we 
bought our screen, is one of the four in that 
row." 

They found the Belden House, and picked 
out the Westcott by its name-plate, which, be- 
ing new and shiny, was easy to read from a 
distance. Then Helen made a discovery. 
'^ Girls, there's water down there," she cried. 
Sure enough, behind the back fence and across 
a road was a pretty pond, with wooded banks 
and an island, which hid its further side from 
view. 

'* That must be the place they call Para- 
dise," said Betty. '^ I've heard Nan speak of 
it. I thought it was this," and she pointed to 
a slimy pool about four yards across, below 
them on the back campus. "■ That's the only 
pond I'd noticed." 

'' Oh, no," declared Katherine. '' I've heard 
my scientific roommate speak of that. It's 
called the Frog Pond and ' of it more anon,' 
as my already beloved Latin teacher occasion- 
ally remarks. To speak plainly, she has 
promised to let me help her catch her first 
frog." 



40 BETTT WALES 

They walked home through the apple or- 
chard that occupied one corner of the back 
campus. 

" It's not a very big campus, and not a bit 
dignified or imposing, but I like it," said 
Betty, as they came out on to the main drive 
again, and started toward the gateway. 

'' Nice and cozy to live with every day/' 
added Katherine. Helen was too busy com- 
paring the red-brick, homely reality with the 
shaded marble cloisters of her dreams, to say 
what she thought. 

Betty's dancing class was a great success. 
With characteristic energy she organized it 
Monday morning. It appeared that while all 
the Chapin house girls could dance except 
Helen and Adelaide Rich, none of them could 
'' lead " but Eleanor. 

'' And Miss King's friends said we freshmen 
ought to learn before the sophomore recep- 
tion, particularly the tall ones ; and most of us 
are tall," explained Betty. 

"That's all right," interposed Eleanor, " but 
take my advice and don't learn. If you can't 
lead, the other girl always will ; and the men 
say it ruins a girl's dancing." 



BETTT WALES 41 

^' Who cares ? " demanded Katherine boldly. 
'^ Imagine Betty or Miss Brooks trying to see 
over me and pull me around ! I want to 
learn, for one — men or no men." 

'* So do I," said Rachel and Mary Rich to- 
gether. *^ And I," drawled Roberta lan- 
guidly. 

'' Oh well, if you're all set upon it, I'll play 
for you," said Eleanor graciously. She was 
secretly ashamed of the speech that Katherine 
had overheard the day before and bitterly re- 
gretted having antagonized the girls in the 
house, when she had meant only to keep them 
— all but Betty — at a respectful distance. She 
liked most of them personally, but she wished 
her friends to be of another type — girls from 
large schools like her own, who would have 
influence and a following from the first ; girls 
with the qualities of leadership, who could 
control votes in class-meetings and push their 
little set to first place in all the organized ac- 
tivities of the college. Eleanor had said that 
she came to college for "■ fun," but '' fun " to 
her meant power and prominence. She was a 
born politician, with a keen love of manoeu- 
vring and considerable tact and insight when 



42 BETTT WALES 

she chose to exercise it. But inexperience 
and the ease with which she had '' run '^ 
boarding-school affairs had made her over-con- 
fident. She saw now that she had indulged 
her fondness for sarcasm too far, and was ready 
to do a good deal to win back the admiration 
which she was sure the Chapin house girls 
had felt for her at first. She was particularly 
anxious to do this, as the freshman class-meet- 
ing was only a week off, and she wanted the 
votes of the house for the Hill School candi- 
date for class-president. 

So three evenings that week, in spite of her 
distaste for minor parts and bad pianos, she 
meekly drummed out waltzes and two-steps 
on Mrs. Chapin's rickety instrument for a long 
half hour after dinner, while Betty and Ro- 
berta — who danced beautifully and showed an 
unexpected aptitude in imparting her accom- 
plishment — acted as head-masters, and the 
rest of the girls furnished the novices with the 
necessary variety of partners, practiced '' lead- 
ing," and incidentally got better acquainted. 
On Friday evening, as they sat in the parlor 
resting and discussing the progress of their 
pupils and the appalling length of the Livy 



BETTT WALES 43 

iesson for the next day, Eleanor broached the 
subject of the class-meeting. 

"' You know it's to-morrow at two," she said. 
"- Aren't you excited ? " 

'' It will be fun to see our class together," 
said Rachel. Nobody else seemed to take 
much interest in the subject. 

''Well, of course/' pursued Eleanor, ''I'm 
particularly anxious about it because a dear 
friend of mine is going to be proposed for 
class president — Jean Eastman — you know 
her, Betty." 

" Oh yes," cried Betty, enthusiastically. 
" She's that tall, dark girl who was with you 
yesterday at Cuyler's. She seemed lovely." 

Eleanor nodded and got up from the piano 
stool. " I must go to work," she said, smiling 
cordially round the little group. " Tell them 
what a good president Jean will make, Betty. 
And don't one of you forget to come." 

" She can be very nice when she wants to," 
said Katherine bluntly when Eleanor was well 
out of hearing. 

" I think she's trying to make up for Sun- 
day," said Betty. " Let's all vote for her 
friend." 



44 BETTT WALES 

The first class-meeting of 190 — passed off 
with unwonted smoothness. The class before 
had forgotten that it is considered necessary 
for a corporate body to have a constitution ; 
and the class before that had made itself 
famous by suggesting the addition of the 
'' Woman's Home Monthly " to the magazines 
in the college reading-room. 190 — avoided 
these and other absurdities. A constitution 
mysteriously appeared, drawn up in good and 
regular form, and was read and promptly 
adopted. Then Eleanor Watson nominated 
Jean Eastman for president. After she and 
the other nominees had stood in a blushing 
row on the platform to be inspected b}^ their 
class, the voting began. Miss Eastman was 
declared elected on the first ballot, with ex- 
actly four votes more than the number neces- 
sary for a choice. 

^' I hope she'll remember that we did that," 
Katherine Kittredge leaned forward to say to 
Betty, who sat in the row ahead of her with 
the fluffy-haired freshman from the Hilton 
and her '' queer " roommate. 

That night there was a supper in Jean's 
honor at Holmes's, so Eleanor did not appear 



BETTT TFALES 45 

at Mrs. Chapin's dinner- table to be duly im- 
pressed with a sense of her obligations. '' How 
did you like the class-meeting?" inquired 
Rachel, who had been for a long walk with a 
girl from her home town, and so had not seen 
the others. 

'' I thought it was all right myself," said 
Adelaide Rich, '' but I walked home with a 
girl named Alford who was dreadfully dis- 
gusted. She said it was all cut and dried, and 
wanted to know who asked Eleanor Watson 
to write us a constitution. She said she hoped 
that hereafter we wouldn't sit around tamely 
and be run by any clique." 

" Well, somebody must run us," said Betty 
consolingly. ^' Those girls know one another 
and the rest of us don't know any one well. 
I think it will all work around in time. They 
will have their turns first, that's all." 

*' Perhaps," admitted Adelaide doubtfully. 
Her pessimistic acquaintance had obtained a 
strong hold on her. 

'' And the next thing is the sophomore 
reception," said Rachel. 

"■ And Mountain Day right after that," 
added Betty. 



46 BETTT IVALES 

''What?" asked Helen and Roberta to- 
gether. 

"■ Is it possible that you don't know about 
Mountain Day, children ? " asked Mary Brooks 
soberly. '' Well, you've heard about the phys- 
ical tests for the army and navy, haven't you ? 
This is like those. If you pass your entrance 
examinations you are allowed a few weeks to 
recuperate, and then if you can climb the re- 
quired mountain you can stay on in college." 

"" How very interesting ! " drawled Roberta, 
who had some idea now how to take Mary's 
jibes. '' Now, Betty, please tell us about it." 

Betty explained that the day after the 
sophomore reception was a holiday, and 
that most of the girls seized the opportunity 
to take an all-day walk or drive into the 
country around Harding. 

'' Let's all ask our junior and senior friends 
about the nicest places to go," said Rachel, 
emphasizing ''junior and senior " and looking 
at Mary. " Then we can make our plans, and 
engage a carriage if we want one. I should 
think there might be quite a rush." 

"You should, should you?" jeered Mary. 
*' My dear, every horse that can stand alone 



BETTT WALES 47 

and every respectable vehicle was engaged 
weeks ago." 

'' No one has engaged our lower appen- 
dages," returned Katherine. ** So if worse 
comes to worst, we are quite independent of 
liveries. Which of us are you going to take 
to the sophomore reception ? " 

'' Roberta, of course," said Mary. '' Didn't 
you know that Roberta and I have a crush on 
each other ? A crush, my dears, in case you 
are wanting to know, is a warm and adoring 
friendship. Sorry, but I'm going out this 
evening." 

" Has she really asked you, Roberta ? " 
asked Betty. 

'' Yes," said Roberta. 

'' How nice ! I'm going with a sophomore 
whose sister is a friend of Nan's." 

'' And Hester Gulick is going to take me 
— she's my friend from home," volunteered 
Rachel. 

'' I was asked to-day," added Helen. '* After 
the class-meeting an awfully nice girl, a junior, 
came up here. She said there were so many 
of us that some of the juniors were going to 
help take us. Isn't it nice of them ? " 



48 BET TV lf\^LES 

Nobody spoke for a moment ; then Kath- 
erine went on gaily. " And we other three 
have not yet been called and chosen, bnt 1 
happen to know that it's because so many 
people want us. and nobody will give up. So 
don't the rest of you indulge in any crowing." 

" By the way. Betty," said Rachel Mor- 
rison, " will you take some more dancing 
pupils ? 1 was telling two girls who board 
down the street about our class and they said 
they wanted to learn before the reception and 
would much rather come here than go to that 
bis: class that two seniors have in the c:vm. 
But as they don't know you, they would 
insist on paying, just as they would at the 
other class." 

Betty looked doubtfully at Roberta. " Shall 
we ? " she said. 

" I don't mind," answered Roberta, " if 
only you all promise not to tell my father. 
He wouldn't understand. Do you suppose 
Miss Watson would play ? " 

" If not, I will." said Mary Rich. 

" And we could use the money for a house 
spread," added Betty, " since we all help to 
earn it." 



BETTT fVALES 49 

'' And christen the chafing-dish," put in 
Katherine. 

'' Good. Then I'll tell them— Mondays, 
Tuesdays and Fridays," said Rachel ; and the 
dinner-table dissolved. 



CHAPTER IV 

WHOSE PHOTOGRAPH? 

The dancing class went briskly on ; so did 
the Livy class and the geometry, the English 1, 
the French required and the history elective. 
The freshmen were getting acquainted with 
one another now, and seldom confused their 
classmates with seniors or youthful members 
of the faculty. They no longer attempted to 
go out of chapel ahead of the seniors, or 
invaded the president's house in their frantic 
search for Science Hall or the Art Gallery. 
For October was fast wearing away. The 
hills about Harding showed flaming patches 
of scarlet, and it was time for the sophomore 
reception and Mountain Day. Betty was very 
much excited about the reception, but she felt 
also that a load would slip off her shoulders 
when it was over. She was anxious about 
the progress of the dancing pupils, who had 
increased to five, besides Helen and Adelaide, 
and for whom she felt a personal responsibilityt 

50 



BETTT WALES 51 

because the Chapin house girls persisted in 
calling the class hers. And what would father 
say if they didn't get their money's worth? 
Then there was Helen's dress for the re- 
ception, which she was sure was a fright, but 
couldn't get up the courage to inquire about. 
And last and worst of all was the mysterious 
grind-book and Dorothy King's warning about 
father's telegram to the registrar. She had 
never mentioned the incident to anybody, but 
from certain annoying remarks that Mary 
Brooks let fall she was sure that Mary knew 
all about it and that the sophomores were 
planning to make telling use of it. 

'' How's your friend the registrar ? " Mary 
would inquire solemnly every few days. And 
if Betty refused to answer she would say slyly, 
'' Who met you at the station, did you tell 
me? Oh, only Dottie King?" until Betty 
almost decided to stop her by telling the 
whole story. 

Two days before the reception she took 
Rachel and Katherine into her confidence 
about Helen's dress. 

'' You see if I could only look at it, maybe 
I could show her how to fix it up," she 



52 BETTT WALES 

explained, '' but I'm afraid to ask. I'm 
pretty sure she's sensitive about her looks 
and her clothes. I should want to be told if 
I was such a fright, but maybe she's happier 
without knowing." 

'' She can't help knowing if she stays here 
long," said Rachel. 

'' Why don't you get out your dress, and 
then perhaps she'll show hers," suggested 
Katherine. 

'' I could do that," assented Betty doubt- 
fully. '' I could find a place to mend, I guess. 
Chiffon tears so easily." 

'' Good idea," said Rachel heartily. '' Try 
that, and then if she doesn't bite you'd better 
let things take their course. But it is too bad 
to have her go looking like a frump, after all 
the trouble we've taken with her dancing." 

Betty went back to her room, sat down at 
her desk and began again at her Livy. '' For 
I might as well finish this first," she thought ; 
and it was half an hour before she shut the 
scarlet-covered book with a slam and an- 
nounced somewhat ostentatiously that she had 
finished her Latin lesson. 

*' And now I must mend my dress for the 



BETTT WALES 53 

reception," she went on consciously. '' Mother 
is always cautioning me not to wait till the 
last minute to fix things." 

'' Did you look up all the constructions in 
the Livy ? " asked Helen. Betty was so 
annoyingly quick about everything. 

"• No," returned Betty cheerfully from the 
closet, where she was rummaging for her 
dress. " I shall guess at those. Why don't 
you try it? Oh, dear ! This is dreadfully 
mussed," and she appeared in the closet door 
with a fluffy white skirt over her arm. 

^^ How pretty ! " exclaimed Helen, deserting 
her Livy to examine it. '' Is it long? " 

'' Um-um," said Betty taking a pin out of 
her mouth and hunting frantically for a 
microscopic rip. '' Yes, it's long, and it has a 
train. My brother Will persuaded mother to 
let me have one. Wasn't he a brick ? " 

'' Yes," said Helen shortly, going back to 
her desk and opening her book again. Pres- 
ently she hitched her chair around to face 
Betty. '' Mine's awfully short," she said. 

" Is it? " asked Betty politely. 

There was a pause. Then, '* Would you 
care to see it? " asked Helen. 



54 BETTr STALES 

Betty winked at the green lizard. '' Yes 
indeed," she said cordially. '' Wh}^ don't 
you try it on to be sure it's all right ? Fm 
going to put on mine in just a minute." 

She breathed a sigh of relief when she saw 
the dress. It was a simple white muslin. 
The sleeves were queer, the neck too high to 
be low and too low to be high, and the skirt 
ridiculously short. '' But it might have been 
a lot worse," reflected Betty. '' If she'll only 
fix it ! " 

*' Wait a minute," she said after she had 
duly admired it. '' I'll put mine on, and we'll 
see how we both look dressed up." 

" You look like a regular princess out of a 
story-book," said Helen solemnly, when Betty 
turned to her for inspection. 

Betty laughed. '' Oh, wait till to-morrow 
night," she said. '' My hair's all mussed now. 
I wonder how you'd look with your hair low, 
Helen." 

Helen flushed and bit her lip. '' I shan't 
look anyhow in this horrid short dress," 
she said. 

" Then why don't you make it longer, and 
lower in the neck ? " inquired Betty impa- 



BETTT WALES 55 

tiently. Helen was as conscientiously slow 
about making up her mind as she was about 
learning her Livy. *' It's hemmed, isn't it ? 
Anyhow you could piece it under the ruffle." 

^' Do you suppose mamma would care?" 
said Helen dubiously. " Anyway I don't 
believe I have time — only till to-morrow 
night." 

"■ Oh I'll show you how," Betty broke in 
eagerly. '^ And if your mother should object 
you could put it back, you know. You begin 
ripping out the hem, and then we'll hang it." 

Helen Chase Adams proved to be a pains- 
taking and extremely slow sewer. Besides, 
she insisted on taking time off to learn her 
history and geometry, instead of '' risking " 
them as Betty did and urged her to do. The 
result was that Betty had to refuse Mary 
Brooks's invitation to '' come down to the gym 
and dance the wax into that blooming floor " 
the next afternoon, and was tired and cross by 
the time she had done Helen's hair low, 
hooked her into the transformed dress, and 
finished her own toilette. She had never 
thought to ask the name of Helen's junior, 
and was surprised and pleased when Dorothy 



56 BETTT WALES 

King appeared at their door. Dorothy's 
amazement was undisguised. 

*' You'll have to be costumer for our house 
plays next year, Miss Wales/' she said, while 
Betty blushed and contradicted all Helen's 
explanations. '' You're coming on the cam- 
pus, of course." 

'' So virtue isn't its only reward after all," 
said Eleanor Watson, who had come in just in 
time to hear Miss King's remark. '* Helen 
Chase Adams isn't exactly a vision of love- 
liness yet. She won't be mistaken for the 
college beauty, but she's vastly improved. I 
only wish anybody cared to take as much 
trouble for me." 

''Oh, Eleanor ! " said Betty reproachfully. 
** As if any one could improve you ! " 

Eleanor's evening dress was a pale yellow 
satin that brought out the brown lights in her 
hair and eyes and the gleaming whiteness of 
her shoulders. There were violets in her hair, 
which was piled high on her head, and more 
violets at her waist ; and as she stood full in 
the light, smiling at Betty's earnestness, Betty 
was sure she had never seen any one half so 
lovely. 



BETTT WALES 57 

** But I wish you wouldn't be so sarcastic 
over Helen," she went on stoutly. " She can't 
help being such a freak." 

Eleanor yawned. '' I was born sarcastic," 
she said. '' I wish Lil Day would hurry. 
Did you happen to notice that I cut three 
classes straight this morning? " 

'' No," said Betty aghast. '' Oh, Eleanor, 
how dare you when " She stopped sud- 
denly, remembering that Eleanor had asked 
her not to speak of the entrance conditions. 

'' When I have so much to make up already, 
you mean," Eleanor went on complacently. 
*' Oh, I shall manage somehow. Here they 
come." 

A few moments later the freshman and 
sophomore classes, with a sprinkling of juniors 
to make the numbers even, were gathered 
en masse in the big gymnasium. All the 
afternoon loyal sophomores had toiled thither 
from the various campus houses, lugging 
palms, screens, portieres and pillows. Inside 
another contingent had arranged these con- 
tributions, festooned the running-track with 
red and green bunting, risked their lives to 
fasten Japanese lanterns to the cross-beamS; 



58 BETTT WALES 

and disguised the apparatus against the walls 
with great branches of spruce and cedar, which 
still other merry, wind-blown damsels, driving 
a long-suffering horse, had deposited at in- 
tervals near the back door. By five o'clock it 
was finished and everybody, having assured 
everybody else that the gym never looked so 
well before, had gone home to dress for the 
evening. Now the lights softened what Mary 
Brooks called the '' hidjous " greens of the 
freshman bunting, a band played sweet music 
behind the palms, and pretty girls in pretty 
gowns sat in couples on the divans that lined 
the walls, or waited in line to speak to the re- 
ceiving party. This consisted of Jean East- 
man and the sophomore president, who stood 
in front of the fireplace, where a line of ropes 
intended to be used in gym practice had been 
looped back and made the best sort of founda- 
tion for a green canopy over their heads. Ten 
of the prettiest sophomores acted as ushers, 
and four popular and much envied seniors 
presided at the frappe bowls in the four cor- 
ners of the room. 

'' There's not much excitement about a man- 
less dance, but it's a fascinating thing to 




THE FLOOR WAS CROWDED 






« L 



BETTT WALES 59 

watch," said Eleanor to her partner, as they 
stood in the running-track looking down at 
the dancers. 

'^ I'm afraid you're blase, Miss Watson," re- 
turned the sophomore. " Only seniors are al- 
lowed to dislike girl dances." 

Eleanor laughed. *^ Well, I seem to be the 
only heretic present," she said. "■ They're cer- 
tainly having a good time down there." 

They certainly were. The novelty of the 
occasion appealed to the freshmen, and the 
more sophisticated sophomores were bound to 
make a reputation as gallant beaux. So al- 
though only half the freshman could dance 
at once and even then the floor was dreadfully 
crowded, and in spite of the fact that the only 
refreshment was the rather watery frappe which 
gave out early in the evening, 190 — 's recep- 
tion to 190 — was voted a great success. 

At nine o'clock the sophomore ushers began 
arranging the couples in a long line leading 
to the grind table, and Betty knew that her 
hour had come. The orchestra played a 
march, and as the girls walked past the table 
the sophomore officers presented each fresh- 
man with a small booklet bound in the fresh- 



6o BETTI^ fVALES 

man green, on the front cover of which, in let- 
ters of sophomore scarlet, was the cryptic 
legend : '' Puzzle — name the girl." This was 
explained, however, by the inside, where ap- 
peared a small and rather cloudy blue-print, 
showing the back view of a girl in shirt-waist 
and short skirt, with a pile of books under her 
arm, and the inevitable '' tarn " on her head. 
On the opposite page was a facsimile telegraph 
blank, filled out to the registrar, 

'' Please meet my dear young daughter, who 
will arrive on Thursday by the 6:15, and 
oblige, Thomas ." 

Everybody laughed, pushed her neighbors 
around for a back view, and asked the sopho- 
mores if the telegram had truly been sent, and 
if this was the real girl's picture. So no one 
noticed Betty's blushes except Mary Brooks, 
upon whom she vowed eternal vengeance. 
For she remembered how one afternoon the 
week before, she and Mary had started from 
the house together, and Mary, who said she 
was taking her camera down-town for a new 
film, had dropped behind on some pretext. 
Betty had been sure she heard the camera 



BETTT WALES 6i 

click, but Mary had grinned and told her not 
to be so vain of her back. 

However, nobody recognized the picture. 
The few sophomores who knew anything about 
it were pledged to secrecy, as the grinds were 
never allowed to become too personal, and the 
freshmen treated the telegram as an amusing 
myth. In a few minutes every one was dancing 
again, and only too soon it was ten o'clock. 

"• Wasn't it fun ? " said Betty enthusiastic- 
ally, as she and Helen undressed. 

'' Oh yes," agreed Helen. '' I never had 
such a good time in my life. But, do you 
know. Miss Watson says she was bored, and 
Roberta thought it was tiresome and the grind- 
book silly and impossible." 

^* Truth is stranger than fiction sometimes," 
said Betty sagely, smothering a laugh in the 
pillows. 

She was asleep in five minutes, but Helen 
lay for a long while thinking over the excit- 
ing events of the evening. How she had 
dreaded it ! At home she hated dances and 
never went if she could help it, because she 
was such a wall-flower. She had been afraid 
it would be the same here, but it wasn't. 



62 BETTT WALES 

What a lovely time she had had ! She could 
dance so well now, and Miss King's friends 
were so nice, and college was such a beautiful 
place, though it was so different from what she 
had expected. 

Across the hall Roberta had lighted her 
student lamp and was sitting up to write an 
appreciative and very clever account of the 
evening to her cousin, who was reporter on j\ 
Boston paper and had made her promise to 
send him an occasional college item. 

And Eleanor, still in the yellow satin, sat at 
her desk scribbling aimlessly on a pad of 
paper or staring at a clean sheet, which began, 
''My dear father." She had meant to write 
him that she was tired of college and wanted 
to come home at once ; but somehow she 
couldn't begin. For she thought, '' I can see 
him raise his eyebrows and smile and say, ' so 
you want to throw up the sponge, do you ? I 
was under the impression that you had prom- 
ised to stay out the year,' as he did to the pri- 
vate secretary who wouldn't sit up with him 
till three in the morning to write letters." 

Finally she tore up '' My dear father," and 
went to bed in the dark. 



CHAPTER V 

UP HILL AND DOWN 

The next day was just the sort that every- 
body had been hoping for on Mountain Day, 
— crisp and clear and cool, with the inspirit- 
ing tang in the air, the delicious warmth in 
the sunshine, and the soft haze over the hills, 
that belong to nothing but a New England 
October at its best. The Chapin house break- 
fast-table was unusually lively, for each girl 
wanted to tell what she thought about the re- 
ception and how she was going to spend 
Mountain Day ; and nobody seemed anxious 
to listen to anybody's else story. 

'' Sh — sh," demanded Mary Brooks at last. 
*' Now children, you've talked long enough. 
Run and get your lunch boxes and begin mak- 
ing your sandwiches. Mrs. Chapin wants us 
to finish by ten o'clock." 

^' Ten o'clock ! " repeated Katherine. '' Well, 
I should hope so. Our horse is ordered for 



nine." 



63 



64 BETTT WALES 

" Going to be gone all day ? " inquired Mary 
sweetly. 

"■ Of course," answered Katherine with dig- 
nity. 

'^ Well, don't kill the poor beast," called 
Mary as she ran up-stairs for her box. 

Mary was going off in a barge with the 
sophomore decorating committee, who wanted 
a good chance to congratulate and condole 
with one another over their Herculean labors 
and ultimate triumph of the day before. The 
Rich sisters had decided to spend the holiday 
with an aunt who lived twenty miles down 
the river ; Eleanor had promised early in the 
fall to go out with a party of horseback rid- 
ers ; and Helen, whose pocketbook had been 
prematurely flattened to buy her teakettle, 
had decided to accept the invitation of a girl 
in her geometry division to join an econom- 
ical walking party. This left Rachel, Kath- 
erine, Roberta and Betty, who had hired a 
horse and two-seated trap for the day, invited 
Alice Waite, Betty's little friend from the 
Hilton House, to join them, and were going to 
drive "■ over the notch." 

'* I haven't the least idea what a notch is like," 



BETTT WALES 65 

said Katherine. '' We don't have such things 
where I come from. But it sounds interesting. ' ' 

''Doesn't it?" assented Rachel absently, 
counting the ham sandwiches. *' Do you sup- 
pose the hills are very steep, Betty? " 

'' Oh, I guess not. Anyhow Katherine and 
I told the man we were going there and 
wanted a sure-footed horse." 

'' Who's going to drive? " asked Roberta. 

'^ Why, you, of course," said Katherine 
quickly. '' You said you were used to driv- 
ing." 

'' Oh, yes, I am," conceded Roberta hastily 
and wondered if she would better tell them 
any more. It was true that she was used to 
horses, but she had never conquered her fear 
of them, and they always found her out. It 
was a standing joke in the Lewis family that 
the steadiest horse put on airs and pranced 
for Roberta. Even old Tom, that her little 
cousins drove out alone — Roberta blushed as 
she remembered her experience with old Tom. 
But if the girls were depending on her — 
" Betty drives too," she said aloud. '' She 
and I can take turns. Are you sure we have 
enough gingersnaps ? " 



66 BETTT WALES 

Everybody laughed, for Roberta's fondness 
for gingersnaps had become proverbial, 
^' Half a box apiece," said Rachel, '' and it is 
understood that you are to have all you want 
even if the rest of us don't get any." 

When the horse arrived Roberta's last fear 
vanished. He was meekness personified. 
His head drooped sadly and his eyes were half 
shut. His fuzzy nose and large feet bespoke 
docile endurance, while the heavy trap to 
which he was harnessed would certainly dis- 
courage all latent tendencies to undue speed. 
Alice Waite, Rachel and Katherine climbed 
in behind, Betty and Roberta took the front 
seat, and they started at a jog trot down 
Meriden Place. 

'' Shall Ave go through Main Street? " asked 
Roberta. "' He might be afraid of the electric 
cars." 

'' Afraid of nothing," said Betty decidedly. 
^' Besides, Alice wants to stop at the grocery." 

The ''beastie," as Katherine called him, 
stood like a statue before Mr. Phelps's grocery, 
and never so much as moved an eyelash when 
three trolley cars dashed by him in quick 
succession. 



BETTr IVALES 67 

"What did you get?" asked Katharine, 
when Alice came out laden with bundles. 

•' Olives " 

" Good ! We forgot those." 

" And bananas " 

" The very thing ! We have grapes." 

'^ And wafers and gingersnaps " 

Everybody laughed riotously. " What's 
the matter now ? " inquired Alice, looking a 
little offended. Rachel explained. 

" Well, if you have enough for the lunch," 
said Alice, " let's keep these out to eat when 
we feel hungry." And the box was accord- 
ingly stuffed between Betty and Roberta for 
safe keeping. 

Down on the meadow road it was very 
warm. By the time they reached the ferry, 
the " beastie's " thick coat was dripping wet 
and he breathed hard. 

''Ben drivin' pretty fast, hain't you?" 
asked the ferryman, patting the horse's hairy 
nose. 

'' I should think not," said Katherine in- 
dignantly. '' Why, he walked most of the 
way." 

'' Wall, remember that there trap's very 



68 BETTT WALES 

heavy," said the ferryman solemnly, as he 
shoved oif. 

Beyond the river the hills began. The 
'' beastie " trailed slowly up them. Several 
times Roberta pulled him out to the side of 
the road to let more ambitious animals pass 
him. 

''Do you suppose he's really tired?" she 
whispered to Betty, as they approached a par- 
ticularly steep pitch. '' He might back 
down." 

''Girls," said Betty hastily, "I'm sick of 
sitting still, so I'm going to walk up this next 
hill. Any of you want to come ? " 

Relieved of his four passengers the horse 
still hung his head and lifted each clumsy foot 
with an effort. 

" Oh, Roberta, there's a watering trough up 
here," called Betty from the top of the hill. 
" I'm sure that'll revive him." 

By their united efforts they got the 
" beastie " up to the trough, which was most 
inconveniently located on a steep bank beside 
the road ; and while Betty and Alice kept the 
back wheels of the trap level, Katherine un- 
fastened the check-rein. To her horror, as 



BETTT WALES 69 

the check dropped the bits came out of the 
horse's mouth. 

'' How funny," said Alice, "just like every- 
thing up here. Did you ever see a harness 
like that, Betty? " Betty left her post at the 
hind wheel and came around to investigate. 

''Why he has two bits," she said. ''Of 
course he couldn't go, poor creature. And see 
how thirsty he is ! " 

" Well, he's drunk enough now," said Ro- 
berta, " and you'll have to put the extra 
bits in again — that is, if you can. He'd 
trail his nose on the ground if he wasn't 
checked." 

The " beastie " stood submissively while the 
bits were replaced and the check fastened. 
Then he chewed a handful of clover with 
avidity and went on again as dejectedly as 
ever. Presently they reached a long, level 
stretch of road and stopped in the shade of a 
big pine-tree for a consultation. 

"Do you suppose this is the top?" asked 
Rachel. 

Just then a merry tally-ho party of fresh- 
men, tooting horns and singing, drew up be- 
side them. "Is this the top of the notch? " 



70 BETTT }VALES 

asked Betty, waving her hand to some girls 
she knew. 

^' No, it's three miles further on," they 
called back. '^ Hurrah for 190— ! " 

'' Well?" said Betty, who felt in no mood 
for cheering. 

'' Let's go back to that pretty grove two 
hills down and tie this apology for a horse to 
the fence and spend the rest of the day there," 
suggested Katherine. 

Everybody agreed to this, and Roberta 
backed her steed round with a flourish. 

^' Now let's each have a gingersnap before 
we start down," she said. So the box was 
opened and passed. Roberta gathered the 
reins in one hand, clucked to the horse, and 
put her gingersnap into her mouth for the 
first bite. But she never got it, for without 
the slightest provocation the '' beastie " gave a 
sudden spring forward, flopped his long tail 
over the reins, and started at a gallop down 
the road. Betty clung to the dashboard with 
one hand and tried to pluck off* the obstruct- 
ing tail with the other. Roberta, with the 
gingersnap still in her mouth, tugged desper- 
ately at the lines, and the back seat yelled 



BETTT WALES 71 

'' Whoa I " lustily, until Betty, having rear- 
ranged the tail and regained her seat, advised 
them to help pull instead. They had long 
since left the little grove behind, had dashed 
past half a dozen carriages, and were down on 
the level read near the ferry, when the 
'' beastie '' stopped as suddenly as he had 
started. Roberta deliberately removed the 
gingersnap from her mouth, handed the reins 
to Betty to avoid further interruption, and be- 
gan to eat, while the rest of the party in- 
dulged in unseemly laughter at her expense. 

"■ We've found out what that extra bit was 
for," said Rachel when the mirth had subsided, 
*' and we can advise the liveryman that it 
doesn't work. But what are we going to do 
now?" 

'^ Murder the liveryman," suggested Kath- 
erine. 

" But the horse is sure-footed ; he didn't 
lie," objected Alice so seriously that every- 
body burst out laughing again. 

'' He told the truth, but not the whole 
truth," said Rachel. " Next time we'll ask 
how many bits the horse has to wear and how 
it takes to hills. Now what can we do ? " 



72 BETTT WALES 

*' We can't go back to the woods, that's 
sure," said Katherine. '' And it's too hot to 
stay down here. Let's go home and get rid of 
this sure-footed incubus, and then we can de- 
cide what to do next." 

The ferryman greeted them cheerfully. 
'' Back so soon ? " he said. '' Had your din- 
ner?" 

'' Of course not, " replied Katherine 
severely. '' It's only twelve o'clock. We're 
just out for a morning drive. Do you remem- 
ber saying that this horse was tired ? Well^ 
he brought us down the hills at about a mile a 
minute." 

'' Is that so ! " declared the ferryman with a 
chuckle. '' Scairt, were you ? Why didn't you 
git them young Winsted fellers, that jest started 
up, to rescue yer ? Might a ben quite a story." 

'' We didn't need rescuing, thank you," said 
Katherine. '' Did you see any men ? " she 
whispered to Betty. 

Betty nodded. ^' Four, driving a span. 
They were awfully amused. Miss King was 
in another of the carriages," she added sadly. 
Then she caught sight of Roberta and began 
to laugh again. " You were so funny with 



BETTr PVALES 73 

that cookie in your mouth," she said. " Were 
you dreadfully frightened ? " 

" No," said Roberta, with a guilty blush. 
" I always expect something to happen. 
Eorses are such uncertain creatures." 

They drove back through the meadows at a 
moderate pace, deposited the horse and a cer- 
tified opinion of him with an apologetic livery- 
man, and carried their lunch down to Para- 
dise. '' For it's as pretty as any place and 
near, and we're all hungry," Alice said. 

Paradise was deserted, for the girls had pre- 
ferred to range further afield on Mountain 
Day. So the five freshmen chose two boats, 
rowed up stream without misadventure, spread 
out their luncheon on a grassy knoll, and ate, 
talked, and read till dinner time. As they 
crossed the campus, they met parties of dusty, 
disheveled pedestrians, laden with purple as- 
ters and autumn branches. A barge stopped 
at the gateway to deposit the campus contin- 
gent of the sophomore decorating committee, 
and in front of the various dwelling-houses 
empty buckboards, surreys and express 
wagons, waiting to be called for, showed that 
the holiday was over. 



74 BETTT WALES 

'' I don't think our first Mountain Day has 
been so bad after all, in spite of that dreadful 
horse," said Rachel. 

'' So much pleasant variety about it," added 
Katherine. 

'' Let's not tell about the runaway," said 
Alice who hated to be teased. 

" But Miss King saw us," expostulated 
Betty, ''and you can trust Mary Brooks to 
know all about it." 

When Mary, who was late in dressing, en- 
tered the dining-room, she gave a theatrical 
cry of joy. '' I'm so glad you're all safe," she 
said. '' And how about that cookie, Roberta ? " 

''I'm sorr}^, but it's gone. They're all 
gone," said Roberta coolly. " Now you 
might as well tell us how you knew." 

" Knew ! " repeated Mary scornfully. " The 
whole college knows by this time. We were 
lunching on the notch road, near the top, 
when four Winsted men came up, and asked 
if they might join us. They knew most of 
us. So we said yes, if they'd brought any 
candy, and they told us a strange story about 
five girls — very young girls, they said," in- 
terpolated Mary emphatically, " that the3^'d 



BETTT WALES 75 

seen dashing down the notch. One was try- 
ing to eat a cookie, and another was pulling 
the horse's tail, and the rest were screaming 
at the top of their lungs, so naturally the 
horse was frightened to death. Pretty soon 
three carriage loads of juniors came along and 
they confirmed the awful news and gave us 
the names of the victims, and you can im- 
agine how I felt. The men want to meet you, 
but I told them they couldn't because of 
course you'd be drowned in the river." 

'^ I hope you'll relieve their minds the next 
time they come to see you," said Katherine. 
^' Are they the youths who monopolize our 
piazza every Wednesday and Saturday after- 
noon?" 

^' Two of them help occasionally." 

Katherine winked meaningly at the rest of 
the Mountain Day party. '' We'll be there," 
she said, '' though it goes against my con- 
science to receive calls from such untruthful 
young gentlemen." 

The next Saturday afternoon Betty and 
Katherine established themselves ostenta- 
tiously on the front piazza to await the ar- 
rival of Mary's callers. Rachel had gone to 



76 BErrr wales 

play basket-ball, and Roberta had refused to 
conspire against Mary's peace of mind, par- 
ticularly since the plot might involve having 
to talk to a man. Promptly at three o'clock 
two gentlemen arrived. 

'' Miss Brooks is that sorry, but she had to 
go out," announced the maid in tones plainly 
audible to the two eavesdroppers. '^ Would 
you please to come back at four? " 

Katherine and Betty exchanged disap- 
pointed glances. '^ Checked again. She's 
too much for us," murmured Katherine. 
'^ Shall we wait?" 

'' And is Miss Wales in— Miss Betty Wales ? " 
pursued the spokesman, after a slight pause. 

The maid looked severely at the occupants 
of the piazza. '^ Yes, sor, you can see that 
yoursilf," she said and abruptly withdrew. 

The man laughed and came quickly toward 
Betty, who had risen to meet him. '' I'm 
John Parsons," he said. '' I roomed with 
your brother at Andover. He told me you 
were here and asked me to call. Didn't he 
write to you too ? Miss Brooks promised to 
present me, but as she isn't in " 

^^ Oh, yes, Will wrote, and I'm very glad to 



BETTT WALES 77 

meet you, Mr. Parsons," Betty broke in. 
'^ Only I didn't know you were — I mean I 
didn't know that Miss Brooks's caller was 
you. Miss Kittredge, Mr. Parsons. Wasn't 
your friend going to wait? " 

" Bob," called Mr. Parsons after the retreat- 
ing figure of his companion, '' come back and 
hear about the runaway. You're wanted." 

It was fully half-past four when Messrs. 
Parsons and Hughes, remembering that they 
had another engagement, left their escorts by 
request at the gymnasium and returned from 
a pleasant walk through Paradise and the 
campus to Meriden Place, where a rather frigid 
reception awaited them. Betty and Katherine, 
having watched the finish of the basket-ball 
game, followed them, and spent the time be- 
fore dinner in painting a poster which they hung 
conspicuously on Mary's door. On it a green 
dragon, recently adopted as freshman class 
animal, charged the sophomores' purple cow 
and waved a long and very curly tail in 
triumph. Underneath was written in large 
letters, '' Quits. Who is going to the A (P dance 
at Winsted?" 

'' I'm dreadfully afraid mother won't let me 



78 BETTT WALES 

go though," said Betty as they hammered in 
the pins with Helen's paper-weight. '' And 
anyhow it's not for three whole weeks." 

When the drawing was securely fastened, 
Betty surveyed it doubtfully. " I wonder if 
we'd better take it down," she said at last. 
'' I don't believe it's very dignified. I'm 
afraid I oughtn't to have asked Mr. Parsons to 
call his friend back, but I did so want to meet 
both of them and crow over Mary. And it 
was they who suggested the walk. Katherine, 
do you mind if we take this down ? " 

'' Why, no, if you don't want to leave it,'^ 
said Katherine looking puzzled. '' I'm afraid 
Mr. Hughes didn't have a very good time. 
Men aren't my long suit. But otherwise I 
think we did this up brown." 

Just then Eleanor came up, and Katherine 
gave her an enthusiastic account of the after- 
noon's adventure. Betty was silent. Pres- 
ently she asked, '' Girls, what is a back row 
reputation? " 

'' I don't know. Why ? " asked Eleanor. 

'* Well, you know I stopped at the college, 
Katherine, to get my history paper back. 
Miss Ellis looked hard at me when I went in 



BETTr WALES 79 

and stammered out what I wanted. She 
hunted up the paper and gave it to me and 
then she said, ^ With which division do you 
recite, Miss Wales?' I told her at ten, and 
she looked at me hard again and said, * You 
have been present in class twelve times and 
I've never noticed you. Don't acquire a back 
row reputation. Miss Wales. Good-day,' and 
I can tell you I backed out in a hurry." 

*' I suppose she means that we sit on the 
back rows when we don't know the lesson," 
said Helen who had joined the group. 

^^ I see," said Betty. '^ And do you suppose 
the faculty notice such things as that and 
comment on them to one another ? " 

'' Of course," said Eleanor wisely. '' They 
size us up right off. So does our class, and 
the upper class girls." 

'' Gracious ! " said Betty. *' I wish I hadn't 
promised to go to a spread on the campus to- 
night. I wish What a nuisance so many 

reputations are I " And she crumpled the 
purple cow and the green dragon into a shape- 
less wad and threw it at Rachel, who was 
coming up-stairs swinging her gym shoes by 
their strings. 



CHAPTER VI 

LETTERS HOME 

Betty was cross and ''just a tiny speck 
homesick," so she confided to the green lizard. 
Nothing interesting had happened since she 
could remember, and it had rained steadily 
for four days. Mr. Parsons, who played right 
tackle on the Winsted team, had written that 
he was laid up with a lame shoulder, which, 
greatly to his regret, would prevent his taking 
Betty to his fraternity dance. Helen was 
toiling on a *' lit." paper with a zealous in- 
dustry which got her up at distressingly early 
hours in the morning, and was " enough to 
mad a saint," according to her exasperated 
roommate, whose own brief effusion on the 
same subject had been hastily composed in 
one evening and lay neatly copied in her 
desk, ready to be handed in at the proper 
time. Moreover, '' gym " had begun and 
Betty had had the misfortune to be assigned 
to a class that came right in the middle of the 
afternoon. 

So 



BETTT WALES 81 

'^ It's a shame," she grumbled, fishing out 
her fountain pen which had fallen off her desk 
and rolled off the chiffonier. '' I shall change 
my lit. to afternoon — that's only two after- 
noons spoiled instead of four — and then tell 
Miss Andrews that I have a conflict. Haven't 
you finished that everlasting paper? " 

'' No," said Helen meekly. '' I'm sorry 
that I'm so slow. I'll go out if you want to 
have the girls in here." 

"• Oh no," called Betty savagely, dashing out 
into the hall. Eleanor's door was ornamented 
with a large sign which read, '' Busy. Don't 
disturb." But the door was half-way open, 
and in the dusky room, lighted, as Eleanor 
liked to have it, by candles in old-fashioned 
brass sticks, Eleanor sat on a pile of cushions 
in the corner, strumming softly on her guitar. 

"' Come in," she called. '^ I put that up in 
case I wanted to study later. Finished your 
lit. paper?" 

Betty nodded. '' It's awfully short." 

'^ I'm going to do mine to-night — that and 
a little matter of Livy and French and — let 
me see — Bible — no, elocution." 

" Can you ? " asked Betty admiringly. 



82 BETTT WALES 

" I'm not sure till I've tried. I've been 
meditating asking your roommate to do the 
paper. Would you ? " 

'' No," said Betty so emphatically that 
Eleanor stopped playing and looked at her 
curiously. 

''Why not? Do you think it's wrong to 
exchange her industry for my dollars?" 

Betty considered. She still admired Elea- 
nor, but she had learned her limitations. 
Her beauty wove a spell about all that she 
did, and she was very clever and phenome- 
nally quick when she cared to apply herself. 
But she cared so seldom, roused herself only 
when she could gain prestige, when there was 
something to manipulate, to manage. And 
apparently she was not even to be trusted. 
Still, what was the use of quarreling with 
her about honor and fair play ? To Betty in 
her present mood it seemed a mere waste of 
time and energy. 

"Well, for one reason," she said at last, 
" Helen hasn't her own paper done yet, and 
for another I don't think she writes as well as 
you probably do ; " and she rose to go. 

" That was a joke, Bettina," Eleanor called 



BETTT IVALES 83 

after her '' I am truly going to work now — 
this vnrj7 instant. Come back at ten and have 
black coffee with me." 

Betty went on without answering to Rachel's 
room. '' Come in," chorused three cheerful 
voices. 

" No, go get your lit. paper first. We're 
reading choice selections," added Katherine. 

^' She means she is," corrected Rachel, 
handing Betty a pillow. '' You look cross, 
Betty." 

^' I am," said Betty savagely, recounting a 
few of her w^oes. '' What can we do ? I came 
to be amused." 

'' In a Miracle play of this type " began 

Katherine, and stopped to dodge a pillow. 
"■ But it is amusing, Betty." 

^' I'm afraid it will amuse Miss Mills, if the 
rest is anything like what you read," said 
Rachel with a reminiscent smile. *' What are 
you doing, Roberta?" 

"• Writing home," drawled Roberta, without 
looking up from her paper. 

^' Well, you needn't shake your fountain pen 
over me, if you are," said Katherine. '' I also 
owe my honored parents a letter, but I've 



84 BETTT WALES 

about made up my mind never to write to 
them again. Listen to this, will you." She 
rummaged in her desk for a minute. '* Here 
it is. 

'' ' My dear daughter '« — he only begins that 
way when he's fussed. I always know how 
he's feeling when I see whether it's ' daugh- 
ter ' or ' K.' ' My dear daughter : — Your in- 
teresting letter of the 12th inst. was received 
and I enclose a check, which I hope will last 
for some weeks.' (I'm sorry to say it's nearly 
gone already," interpolated Katherine.) 
'' ' Your mother and I enjoyed the account of 
the dance you attended in the gymnasium, of 
the candy pull which Mrs. Chapin so kindly 
arranged for her roomers, and the game of 
hockey that ended so disastrously for one of 
your friends. We are glad that you attended 
the Morality play of '' Everyman," though 
we are at a loss to know what you mean by 
the ''peanut gallery." However it occurs to 
us that with your afternoon gymnasium class, 
your recitations, which, as I understand it, 
fully engage your mornings, and all these di- 
versions in one week, you could have spent 
but little time in the study of your lessons. 



BETTT WALES 85 

Do not forget that these years should be de- 
voted to a serious preparation for the multi- 
farious duties of life, and do not neglect the 
rich opportunities which I am proud to be 

able to give you. The Wetherbees have ' 

Oh wellj the rest of it is just Kankakee news," 
said Katherine, folding the letter and putting 
it back in her desk. '' But isn't that first bit 
lovely? Why, I racked my brain till it 
ached, positively ached, thinking of interest- 
ing things to say in that letter, and now be- 
cause I didn't mention that I'd worked three 
solid hours on my German every day that 
week and stood in line at the library for an 
hour to get hold of Bryce's American Com- 
monwealth, I receive this pathetic appeal to 
my better self." 

'' How poetic you're getting," laughed 
Betty. '' Do you know it's awfully funny, 
but I got a letter something like that too. 
Only mine was from Nan, and it just said she 
hoped I was remembering to avoid low grades 
and conditions, as they were a great bother. 
She said she wanted me to have a good 
time, but as there would be even more to do 
when I got on the campus, I ought not to fall 



86 BETTr WALES 

into the habit of neglecting my work this 
year." 

'' Mine was from Aunt Susan," chimed in 
Rachel. '' She said she didn't see when I 
could do any studying except late at night, 
and she hoped I wasn't being so foolish as to 
undermine my health and ruin my complex- 
ion for the sake of a few girlish pleasures. 
Isn't that nice — girlish pleasures? She put 
in a five dollar bill, though I couldn't see why 
she should, considering her sentiments." 

Roberta put the cap on to her fountain pen 
and propped it carefully against an adjacent pil- 
low. "I've just answered mine," she said, 
sorting the sheets in her lap with a satisfied 
smile. 

"Did you get one, too? What did you 
say ? " demanded Betty. 

" The whole truth," replied Roberta lan- 
guidly. " It took eight pages and I hope he'll 
enjoy it." 

" I say," cried Katherine excitedly. " That's 
a great idea. Let's try it." 

" And read them to one another afterward," 
added Rachel. " They might be more enter- 
taining than your lit. paper." 



BETTT WALES 87 

'' May I borrow some paper? " asked Betty. 
'' I'm hoping Helen will finish to-night if I 
let her alone." 

Roberta helped herself to a book from the 
shelves and an apple from the table, and the 
rest settled themselves to their epistolary 
labors. Except for the scratching of Betty's 
pen, and an occasional exclamation of pleas- 
ure or perplexity from one of the scribes, the 
room was perfectly still. Betty had just asked 
for an envelope and Katherine was numbering 
her pages when Mary Brooks knocked at the 
door. 

''What on earth are you girls doing?" she 
inquired blandly, selecting the biggest apple 
in the dish and appropriating the Morris chair, 
which Katherine had temporarily vacated. 
'' I haven't heard a sound in here since nine 
o'clock. I began to think that Helen had 
come in and blown out the gas again by mis- 
take and you were all asphyxiated." 

Everybody laughed at the remembrance of 
a recent occasion when Helen had absent- 
mindedly blown out the gas while Betty was 
saying her prayers. 

'' It wasn't so funny at the time," said Betty 



88 BETTT WALES 

ruefully. '' Suppose she'd gone to sleep with- 
out remembering. We've been writing home, 
Mary/' she said, turning to the newcomer, 
'' and now we're going to read the letters, and 
we've got to hurry, for it's almost ten. Ro- 
berta, you begin." 

'' Oh no," said Roberta, looking distressed. 

"■ I wish somebody would tell me what this 
is all about first," put in Mary. Rachel ex- 
plained, while Katherine and Betty persuaded 
Roberta to read her letter. 

'' It isn't fair," she protested, " when I wrote 
a real letter and you others were just doing it 
for fun." 

"■ Go on, Roberta ! " commanded Mary, and 
Roberta in sheer desperation seized her letter 
and began to read. 

*' Dear Papa : — I have been studying hard 
all the evening and it is now nearly bedtime, 
but I can at least begin a letter to you. To- 
day has been the fourth rainy day in succes- 
sion and we have thoroughly appreciated the 
splendid opportunity for uninterrupted work. 
Yesterday morning — I think enough has hap- 
pened in these two days to fill my letter — I 
was up at seven as usual. I stuck a selection 



BETTT WALES 89 

from Browning into my mirror, as it was the 
basis of our elocution lesson, and nearly learned 
it while I dressed. Before chapel I completed 
my geometry preparation. This was fortunate, 
as I was called on to recite, the sixth proposi- 
tion in book third being my assignment. The 
next hour I had no recitation, so I went to 
the library to do some reference work for my 
English class. Ten girls were already waiting 
for the same volume of the Century Diction- 
ary that I wanted, so I couldn't get hold of it 
till nearly the end of the hour. I spent the 
intervening time on the Browning. I had 
Livy the next hour and was called on to trans- 
late. As I had spent several hours on the les- 
son the day before, I could do so. After the 
elocution recitation I went home to lunch. 
At quarter before two I began studying my his- 
tory. At quarter before four I started for the 
gymnasium. At five I went to a tea which one 
of the girls was giving for her mother, so I 
felt obliged to go. I stayed only half an hour 
and cannot remember how I spent the half 
hour till dinner, so I presume it was wasted. 
I am afraid I am too much given to describing 
such unimportant pauses ^ in the day's occupa- 



90 BETTl^ WALES 

tion,' and magnifying their length and the 
frivolous pleasure which we thoughtlessly 
derive from them. 

'' In the evening Oh it all goes on 

like that/' cried Roberta. '' Just dull and 
stuffy and true to the facts. Some one else 
read." 

'^ It's convincing," chuckled Mary. '' Now 
Katherine." 

Katherine's letter was an absurd mixture of 
sense and nonsense, in which she proved that 
she studied at least twelve hours out of the 
twenty-four. Rachel's was a sensible expla- 
nation of just how much time, or rather how 
little, a spread, a dance or a basket-ball game 
takes. 

"■ That's what they don't understand," she 
said, '^ and they don't know either how fast we 
can go from one thing to another up here. 
Why, energy is in the air ! " 

Betty's letter, like her literature paper, was 
extremely short. '^ I couldn't think of much 
to say, if I told the truth," she explained, 
blushing. '' I don't suppose I do study as 
much as I ought." 

Mary had listened with an air of respectful 



BETTT WALES 91 

attention to all the letters. When the last one 
was finished she rose hastily. '' I must go 
back," she said. "' I have a theme to write. 
I only dropped in to ask if that famous spread 
wasn't coming off soon.'' 

'' Oh, yes," said Betty. '' Let's have it next 
week Wednesday. Is anything else going on 
then? I'll ask Eleanor and you see the 
Riches and Helen." 

A few days later Mary appeared at the 
lunch table fairly bursting with importance. 
^' Well," she said, beaming around the table. 
^' What do you suppose has happened now ? 
Really, Mrs. Chapin, you ought to be proud of 
us. We began to be famous before college 
opened " 

''What?" interrupted Eleanor. 

" Is it possible you didn't know that? " in- 
quired Mary. "■ Well, it's true nevertheless. 
And we were the heroines of Mountain Day, 
and now we're famous again." 

'' How?" demanded the table in a chorus. 

Mary smiled enigmatically. '' This time it 
is a literary sensation," she said. 

" Is it Helen's paper? " hazarded Betty. 

'' Mine, of course," said Katherine. '' Strange 



92 BETTT WALES 

Miss Mills didn't mention it this morning 
when I met her at Cuyler's/' 

Mary waited until it was quiet again. '' If 
you've quite finished guessing," she said, " I'll 
tell you. You remember the evening when I 
found four of you in Rachel and Katherine's 
room writing deceitful letters to your fond 
parents. Well, I had been racking my 
brains for weeks for a pleasing and original 
theme subject. You know you are supposed 
to spend two hours a week on this theme course, 
and I had spent two hours for four weeks in 
just thinking what to write. I'm not sure 
whether that counts at all and I didn't like to 
ask — it would have been so conspicuous. So 
I was in despair when I chanced upon your 
happy gathering and was saved. Miss Ray- 
mond read it in class to-day," concluded Mary 
triumphantly. 

'' You didn't put us into it — our letters I " 
gasped Roberta. 

'' Indeed I did," said Mary. '' I put them 
all in, as nearly as I could remember them, 
and Miss Raymond read it in class, and made 
all sorts of clever comments about college cus- 
toms and ideals and so on. I felt guilty, be- 



BErrr wales 93 

cause I never had anything read before, and 
of course I didn't exactly write this because 
the letters were the main part of it. So after 
class I waited for Miss Raymond and ex- 
plained how it was. She laughed and said 
that she was glad I had an eye for good ma- 
terial and that she supposed all authors made 
more or less use of their acquaintance, and 
when I went off she actually asked me to come 
and see her. My junior friends are hoping it 
will pull me into a society and I'm hoping it 
will avert a condition." 

''Where is the theme?" asked Eleanor. 
'' Won't you read it to us ? " 

'' It's — why, I forgot the very best part of 
the whole story. Sallie Hill has it for the 
' Argus.' She's the literary editor, you know, 
and she wants it for the next number. So 
you see you are famous. 

'' Why don't some of you elect this work ? " 
asked Mary, when the excitement had some- 
what subsided. '' It's open to freshmen, and 
it's really great fun." 

'' I thought you said that you spent eight 
hours and were in despair " began Eleanor. 

'' So I was," said Mary. " I declare I'd for- 



94 BETTT WALES 

gotten that. Well, anyhow I'm sure I shan't 
have any trouble now. I think I've learned 
how to go at it. Why, do you know, girls, I 
have an idea already. Not for a theme — 
something else. It concerns all of you — or 
most of you anyway." 

'' I should think you'd made enough use of 
us for the present," said Betty. '' Why don't 
you try to make a few sophomores famous? " 

"■ Oh it doesn't concern you that way. You 

are to Oh wait till I get it started," said 

Mary vaguely ; and absolutely refused to be 
more explicit. 



CHAPTER VII 

A DRAMATIC CHAPTER 

The Chapin house girls decided not to 
spend the proceeds of the dancing class for an 
elaborate supper, as they had first intended, 
but to turn their " spread " into the common 
college type, where *' plowed field " and choco- 
late made with condensed milk and boiling 
water are the chief refreshments, and light- 
hearted sociability ensures a good time for 
everybody. 

'' But do let's have tea too," Betty had pro- 
posed. '^ I hate the chocolate that the girls 
make, and I don't believe tea keeps many of 
us awake. Did I tell you that mother sent a 
big box of cheese crackers? " 

The spread was to be in Betty's room, partly 
because she owned the only chafing-dish in 
the house, and partly because eighteen girls — 
the nine hostesses and the one guest asked by 
each — could get into it without uncomfortable 
crowding. Eleanor had lent her pile of floor 

95 



96 BETTT WALES 

cushions and her beloved candlesticks for the 
occasion, everybody had contributed cups and 
saucers. Betty and Helen had spent the 
afternoon *' fixing up," and the room wore a 
very festive air when the girls dropped in 
after dinner to see if the preparations were 
complete. 

'' I think we ought to start the fudge before 
they come," said Betty, remembering the pro- 
cedure at Miss King's party. 

^* Oh, no," protested Eleanor. '^ Half-past 
eight is early enough. Why, most of the fun 
of a spread is mixing the things together and 
taking turns tasting and stirring." 

'' It would be awkward to finish eating too 
early, when that's the only entertainment," 
suggested Rachel. 

" Or the candy might give out before ten," 
added Mary Rich. 

The majority ruled, and as some of the girls 
were late, and one had some very amusing 
blue-prints to exhibit, it was considerably 
after half-past eight before the fudge was 
started. At first it furnished plenty of excite- 
ment. Betty, who had been appointed chief 
fudge-maker, left it for a moment, and it took 




SlNu A l.TL'?' SHE ASKED 



THE NSW lOHK 



ASTftK t^NAx Arm 



BETTT WALES 97 

the opportunity to boil over. When it had 
settled down after this exploit, it refused to do 
anything but simmer. No amount of alcohol 
or of vigorous and persistent stirring had any 
effect upon it, and Betty was in despair. But 
Eleanor, who happened to be in a gracious 
mood, came gallantly to the rescue. She 
quietly disappeared and returned in a mo- 
ment, transformed into a gypsy street singer. 
She had pulled down her black hair and 
twisted a gay scarf around it. Over her shirt- 
waist she wore a little velvet jacket ; and a 
short black skirt, a big red sash, an armful of 
bangles and bracelets, and the guitar hung 
over her shoulder, completed her disguise. 

'' Sing a lir ? " she asked, smiling persua- 
sively and kissing her hand to the party. 

Then she sat down on the pile of cushions 
and played and sang, first a quaint little folk- 
song suited to her part, and then one or two 
dashing popular airs, until the unaccommo- 
dating fudge was quite forgotten, except by 
Betty, who stirred and frowned, and examined 
the flame and tested the thickness of the rich 
brown liquid, quite unnoticed. Eleanor had 
just shrugged her shoulders and announced, 



98 BETTT IVALES 

" I no more sing, now," when somebody else 
knocked on the door, or rather pushed it 
open, and a grotesque figure slouched in. 

At least half of it was head, black and 
awful, with gruesome green features. Short, 
un jointed arms came out of its waist, with 
green claws dangling where the hands should 
have been ; and below its short skirt flapped 
the tails of a swallow-tail coat. The girls 
were too much astonished to speak, as the 
creature advanced silentl}^ into the room, and 
without a word began dancing something that, 
as Katherine expressed it afterward, was a 
cross between a double-shuffle and a skirt- 
dance. When it had succeeded in reducing 
its audience to a state of abject and tearful 
mirth, the creature stopped suddenly, an- 
nounced, '' You've seen the Jabberwock," in 
sepulchral tones, and flopped on to the end of 
a couch, saying breathlessly, " Mary Brooks, 
please help me out of this. I'm suffocating." 

'' How did you do it. Miss Lewis ? " inquired 
the stately senior, who was Mary's guest, 
wiping her eyes and gasping for breath as she 
spoke. 

*^ It's perfectly simple," drawled Roberta in- 



BETTT WALES 99 

differently. '' The head is my black silk pet- 
ticoat. I painted on the features, because the 
children like to have me do it at home, and 
it's convenient to be ready. The arms are a 
broom-handle, stuck through the sleeves of 
this old coat, which is buttoned around my 
waist." 

"" And now you're going to do the Bander- 
snatch, aren't you?" inquired the senior 
craftily, perceiving that the other side of the 
petticoat was decorated with curious red spots. 

'' I — how did you — oh, no," said Roberta, 
blushing furiously, and stuffing the telltale 
petticoat under a convenient pillow. '' I don't 
know why I brought the things for this. I 
never meant to do it up here. I — I hope you 
weren't bored. I just happened to think of 
it, and Eleanor couldn't sing forever, and that 
fudge " 

'' That fudge won't cook," broke in Betty in 
tragic tones. '' It doesn't thicken at all, and 
it's half-past nine this minute. What shall I 
do?" 

Everybody crowded around the chafing- 
dish, giving advice and suggesting unfailing 
remedies. But none of them worked. 



i4:9816B 



lOO BETTT WALES 

'' And there's nothing else but tea and 
chocolate,'' wailed Adelaide. 

" But you can all have both," said Betty 
bravely, ^' and you've forgotten the crackers, 
Adelaide. I'll pass them while you and 
Katherine go for more cups." 

'^ And you can send the fudge round to- 
morrow," suggested Mary Brooks consolingly. 
'' It's quite the thing, you know. Don't im- 
agine that your chafing-dish is the only one 
that's too slow for the ten-o'clock rule." 

Betty insisted upon sitting up to finish the 
fudge, but she ended by getting up before 
breakfast the next morning to cook it on Mrs. 
Chapin's stove. 

'' Nobody seemed to care much about its 
being so slow, except me," she said to Helen, 
as they did it up in neat little bundles to be 
handed to the guests of the evening at chapel. 
'' Weren't Eleanor and Roberta fine? " 

'' Yes," agreed Helen enthusiastically. 
'* But isn't it queer that Roberta won't let us 
praise her ? She seems to be ashamed of being 
able to be so funny." 

Betty laughed. '' That's Roberta," she said. 
** It will be months before she'll do it again, 



BETTT WALES loi 

I'm afraid. I suppose she felt last night as 
if she had to do what she could for the honor 
of the house, so she came out of her shell." 

" She told Rachel that she did it on your 
account. She said you looked as if you wanted 
to cry." 

Betty flushed prettily. " How nice of her ! 
I did want to cry. I felt as if I was to blame 
about the fudge. I wish I had a nice stunt 
like that of Eleanor's to come to people's res- 
cue with." 

'' Were those what you call stunts ? " in- 
quired Helen earnestly. '' I didn't know what 
they were, but they were fine." 

'^ Why, Helen Chase Adams, do you mean 
that you've been in college two months and 

don't know what a stunt is " began Betty, 

and stopped, blushing furiously and fearing 
that she had hurt Helen's feelings. For the 
reason why she did not know about stunts 
was obvious. 

Helen took it very simply. '' You know 
I'm not asked to things outside," she said, 
'' and I don't seem to be around when the 
girls do things here. So why should I 
know ? " 



I02 BETTT WALES 

''No reason at all," said Betty decidedly. 
" They are just silly little parlor tricks any- 
way — most of them — not worth wasting time 
over. Do you know Miss Willis told us in 
English class that a great deal of slang orig- 
inated in college, and she gave ' stunt ' as an 
example. She said it had been used here ever 
so long and only a few years outside, in quite 
a different meaning. Isn't that queer? " 

'' Yes," said Helen indifferently. '' She told 
my division too, but she didn't say what it 
meant here. I suppose she thought we'd all 
know." 

Betty, stealing a glance at her, saw her 
wink back the tears. " She does care about 
the fun," thought Betty. '' She cares as much 
as Rachel or I, or Eleanor even. And she is 
left out. It isn't a bit fair, but what's to be 
done about it? " 

Being young and very happy herself, she 
speedily forgot all about the knotty problem 
of the unequal distribution of this world's 
goods, whether they be potatoes or fudge 
parties. Occasionally she remembered again, 
and gave Helen a helping hand, as she had 
done several times already. But college is 



BETTT WALES 103 

much like the bigger world outside. The 
fittest survive on their own merits, and these 
must be obvious and well advertised, or they 
are in great danger of being overlooked. And 
it is safer in the long run to do one's own ad- 
vertising and to begin early. Eleanor under- 
stood this, but she forgot or ignored the other 
rules of the game. Betty practiced it uncon- 
sciously, which is the proper method. Helen 
never mastered its application and succeeded 
in spite of it. 

Several evenings after that one on which 
the fudge had refused to cook, Alice Waite 
was trying to learn her history lesson, and her 
" queer " roommate, who loved to get into 
her bed as well as she hated to make it, was 
trying to go to sleep — an operation rendered 
difficult by the fact that the girl next door 
was cracking butternuts with a marble paper- 
weight — when there was a soft tap on the 
door. 

'^ Don't answer," begged the sleepy room- 
mate. 

"' May be important," objected Alice, '' but 
I won't let her stay. Come in ! " 



I04 BETTT WALES 

The door opened and a young gentleman 
in correct evening dress, with an ulster folded 
neatly over his arm, entered the room and 
gazed, smiling and silent, about him. He 
was under average height, slightly built, and 
had a boyish, pleasant face that fitted ill with 
his apparent occupation as house-breaker and 
disturber of damsels. 

The roommate, who had sat up in bed with 
the intention of repelling whatever intruder 
threatened her rest, gave a shriek of mingled 
terror and indignation and disappeared under 
the bedclothes. Alice rose, with as much 
dignity as the three heavy volumes which 
she held in her lap, and which had to be un- 
tangled from her kimono, would permit. She 
moved the screen around her now hysterical 
roommate and turned fiercely upon the young 
gentleman. 

*' How dare you ! " she demanded sternly. 
*' Go ! " And she stamped her foot somewhat 
ineffectively, since she had on her worsted 
bedroom slippers. 

At this the young gentleman's smile broke 
into an unmistakably feminine giggle. 

"• Oh, you are so lovel}^ ! " he gurgled. 



BETTT WALES 105 

" Don't cry, Miss Madison. It's not a real 
man. It's only I — Betty Wales." 

'' Betty ! " gasped Alice. '' Betty Wales, 
what are you doing? Is it really you ? " 

'' Of course," said Betty calmly, pulling off 
her wig by way of further evidence, and sit- 
ting down with careful regard for her coat- 
tails in the nearest chair. '' I hope," she 
added, ''that I haven't really worried Miss 
Madison. Take the screen away, Alice, and 
see what she's doing." 

"" Oh, I'm all right now, thank you," said 
Miss Madison, pushing back the screen her- 
self. " But you gave me an awful fright. 
What are you doing? " 

'' Why, we're going to give a play at our 
house Saturday," explained Betty, '' and to- 
night was a dress rehearsal. I wanted to 
bring Alice a ticket, and I thought it would 
be fun to come in these clothes and frighten 
her ; so I put on a skirt and a rain-coat and 
came along. I left my skirt in your entrance- 
way. Get it for me please, Alice, and I'll 
put it on before I send any one else into hys- 
terics." 

'' Oh, not yet," begged Miss Madison. '' I 



jo6 BETTT WALES 

want to look at you. Please stand up and 
turn around, so I can have a back view." 

Betty readjusted her wig and stood up for 
inspection. 

'' What's the play ? " asked Alice. 

Betty considered. ^' It's a secret, but I'll 
tell you to pay for giving you both such a 
scare. It's ' Sherlock Holmes.' Mary Brooks 
saw the real play in New York, and she wrote 
this, something like the real one, but different 
so we could do it. She could think up the 
plot beautifully but she wasn't good at con- 
versation, so Katherine helped her, and it's 
fine." 

^' Is there a robbery ? " inquired Alice. 

'' Oh, yes, diamonds." 

'^ And a murder? " 

'' Well, a supposed murder. The audience 
thinks it is, but it isn't really. And there's a 
pretend fire too, just as there is in the real 
play." 

" And who are you ? " 

'' I'm the villain," said Betty. '' I'm to 
have curling black mustaches and a fierce 
frown, and then you'd know without ask- 
ing." 



BETTT WALES 107 

^' I should think they'd have wanted you 
for the heroine/' said Alice, who admired 
Betty immensely. 

^' Oh, no," demurred the villain. *' Eleanor 
is leading lady, of course. She has three dif- 
ferent costumes, and she looks like a queen in 
every one of them. Katherine is going to be 
Sherlock Holmes, and Adelaide Rich is Dr. 
Watson and — oh, I mustn't tell you any more, 
or Alice won't enjoy it Saturday." 

'' We had a little play here," said Miss 
Madison, '' but it was tame beside this. Where 
did you get all the men's costumes? " 

"' Rented them, and the wigs and mustaches 
and pistols," and Betty explained about the 
dancing-school money which the house had 
voted to Roberta's project instead of to the 
spread. 

"' I wish I could act," said Alice. '' I should 
love to be a man. But my mother wouldn't 
let me, so it's just as well that I'm a perfect 
stick at it." 

"■ Roberta's father wouldn't let her either," 
said Betty, '' but mother didn't mind, as long 
as it's only before a few girls. I presume she 
wouldn't like my coming over here and 



io8 BETTT WALES 

frightening you. But I honestly didn't think 
you'd be deceived." 

"" I'm so glad you came," said Miss Madison 
lying back luxuriously among her pillows. 
'' Does the story of the play take place in the 
evening? " 

'' Yes, all of it. I'm dressed for the theatre, 
but I'm detained by the robbery." 

"■ Then I have something I want to lend 
you. Alice, open the washstand drawer, please 
— no, the middle one — in that flat green box. 
Thank you. Your hat, sir villain," she went 
on, snapping open an opera hat and handing 
it to Betty with a flourish. 

'' How perfectly lovely I " exclaimed Betty. 
" But how in the world did you happen to 
have it?" 

'' Why, I stayed with my cousins for two 
weeks just before I came up here, and I found 
it in their guest-chamber bureau. It wasn't 
Cousin Tom's nor Uncle Dick's, and they 
didn't know whose it was ; so they gave it to 
me, because I liked to play with it. Should 
you really like to use it ? " 

'' Like it I " repeated Betty, shutting the 
hat and opening it again with a low bow 



BETTT WALES 109 

" Why it will be the cream of the whole per- 
formance. It would make the play go just of 
itself," and she put it on and studied the effect 
attentively in the mirror. 

'' It's rather large," said Alice. '' If I were 
you, I'd just carry it." 

'' It is big," admitted Betty regretfully, '' or 
at least it makes me look very small. But I 
can snap it a lot, and then put it on as I exit. 
Miss Madison, you'll come to the play of 
course. I hadn't but one ticket left, but after 
lending us this you're a privileged person." 

"" I hoped you'd ask me," said Miss Madison 
gratefully. '' The play does sound so exciting. 
But that wasn't why I offered you the hat." 

" Of course not, and it's only one reason 
why you are coming," said Betty tactfully. 
'' Now Alice, you must bring in my skirt. I 
have to walk so slowly in all these things, and 
it must be almost ten." 

When Sir Archibald Ames, villain, had been 
transformed into a demure little maiden with 
rumpled hair and a high, stiff collar showing 
above her rain-coat, Betty took her departure. 
A wave of literary and dramatic enthusiasm 
had inundated the Chapin house. The girls 



no BETTT WALES 

were constantly suggesting theme topics to one 
another — which unfortunately no one but 
Mary Brooks could use, at least until the next 
semester ; for in the regular freshman Eng- 
lish classes, subjects were always assigned. 
And they were planning theatre parties galore, 
to see Jefferson, Maude Adams, and half a 
dozen others if they came to Harding. Betty, 
who had a happy faculty of keeping her head 
just above such passing waves, smiled to her- 
self as she hurried across the dark campus. 

'^ Next week, when our play is over it will 
be something else," she thought. Rachel was 
already interested in basket-ball and had pros- 
pects of being chosen for the freshman class 
team. Eleanor had been practicing hard on 
her guitar, hoping to "■ make " the mandolin 
club ; and was dreadfully disappointed at find- 
ing that according to a new rule freshmen 
were ineligible and that her entrance con- 
ditions would have excluded her in any 
case. 

'' So many things to do," sighed Betty, who 
had given up a hockey game that afternoon 
to study history. '' I suppose we've got to 
choose," she added philosophically. '^ But I 



BETTT WALES in 

choose to be an all-around girl, like Dorothy 
King. I can't sing though. I wonder what 
my one talent is. 

" Helen," she said, as she opened her door, 
"■ have you noticed that all college girls have 
one particular talent ? I wonder what ours 
will turn out to be. See w^hat I have for the 
play." 

Helen, who looked tired and heavy-eyed, 
inspected the opera hat listlessly. '' I think 
your talent is getting the things you want,'' 
she said, '' and I guess I haven't any. It's 
quarter often." 



CHAPTER VIII 

AFTER THE PLAY 

" Sherlock Holmes " was quite as exciting 
as Miss Madison had anticipated. Most 
college plays, except the elaborate ones given 
in the gymnasium, which are carefully 
learned, costumed and rehearsed, and super- 
vised by a committee from the faculty — are 
amusing little farces in one or two short 
scenes. '' Sherlock Holmes," on the other 
hand, was a four act, blood-curdling melo- 
drama, with three different stage settings, an 
abundance of pistol shots, a flash-light fire, 
shrieks and a fainting fit on the part of the 
heroine, the raiding of a robbers' den in the 
denouement, and '' a lot more excitement all 
through than there is in Mr. Gillette's play," as 
Mary modestly informed her caste. It was 
necessarily cruder, as it was far more am- 
bitious, than the commoner sort of amateur 
play ; but the audience, whether little fresh- 
men who had seen few similar performances, 
or upper class girls who had seen a great many 



BETTl^ IVALES 113 

and so fully appreciated the novelty of this one, 
were wildly enthusiastic. Every actress, 
down to Helen, who made a very stiff and 
stilted '' Buttons," and Rachel and Mary 
Rich who appeared in the robbers' den scene 
as Betty's female accomplices, and in the 
heroine's drawing-room as her wicked mother 
and her stupid maid respectively, was rap- 
turously received ; and Dr. Holmes and Sir 
Archibald, whose hat was decidedly the hit of 
the evening, were forced to come before the 
curtain. Finally, in response to repeated 
shouts for '^ author," Mary Brooks appeared, 
flushed and panting from her vigorous exer- 
tions as prompter, stage manager, and assist- 
ant dresser, and informed the audience that 
owing to the kindness of Mrs. Chapin there 
was lemon-ice in the dining-room, and would 
every one please go out there, so that this 
awful mess, — with a comprehensive wave of 
her hand toward the ruins of the robbers' den 
piled on top of the heroine's drawing-room 
furniture, which in turn had been a rearrang- 
ment of Dr. Holmes's study, — could be cleared 
up, and they could dance there later ? 

At this the audience again applauded, 



114 BETTT WALES 

sighed to think that the play was over, and 
then joyfully adjourned to the dining-room 
to eat Mrs. Chapin's ice and examine the 
actors at close range. All these speedily ap- 
peared, except Helen, who had crept up-stairs 
quite unnoticed the moment her part was fin- 
ished, and Eleanor, w^ho, hunting up Betty, 
explained that she had a dreadful headache 
and begged Betty to look after her guests and 
not for anything to let them come up-stairs to 
find her. Betty, who was busily washing off 
her " fierce frown " at the time, sputtered a 
promise through the mixture of soap, water 
and vaseline she was using, delivered the mes- 
sage, assured herself that the guests were en- 
joying themselves, and forgot all about Elea- 
nor until half-past nine when every one had 
gone and she came up to her room to find 
Helen in bed and apparently fast asleep, with 
her face hidden in the pillows. 

'' How queer," she thought. "■ She's had 
the blues for a week, but I thought she was 
all right this evening." Then, as her conjec- 
tures about Helen suggested Eleanor's head- 
ache, she tiptoed out to see if she could do 
anything for the prostrate heroine. 



BETTF WALES 115 

Eleanor's transom was dark and her door 
evidently locked, for it would not yield when 
Betty, anxious at getting no answer to her 
knocks, tried to open it. But when she called 
softly, '^Eleanor, are you there? Can I do 
anything?" Eleanor answered crossly, 
^' Please go away. I'm better, but I want to 
be let alone." 

So, murmuring an apology, Betty went back 
to her own room, and as Helen seemed to be 
sound asleep, she saw no reason for making 
a nuisance of herself a second time, but con- 
siderately undressed in the dark and crept 
into bed as softly as possible. 

If she had turned on her light, she would 
have discovered two telltale bits of evidence, 
for Helen had left a very moist handkerchief 
on her desk and another rolled into a damp, 
vindictive little wad on the chiffonier. It was 
not because she knew she had done her part 
badly that she had gone sobbing to bed, while 
the others ate lemon-ice and danced merrily 
down-stairs. Billy was a hard part ; Mary 
Brooks had said so herself, and she had only 
taken it because when Roberta positively re- 
fused to act, there w^as no one else. Helen 



ii6 BETTT WALES 

couldn't act, knew she couldn't, and didn't 
much care. But not to have any friends in 
all this big, beautiful college — that was a 
thing to make any one cry. It was bad 
enough not to be asked anywhere, but not to 
have any friends to invite oneself, that was 
worse — it was dreadful ! If she went right 
off up-stairs perhaps no one would notice ; 
they would think at first that somebody else 
was looking after her guests while she dressed, 
and then they would forget all about her and 
never know the dreadful truth that nobody 
she had asked to the play would come. 

When it had first been decided to present 
'' Sherlock Holmes " and the girls had begun 
giving out their invitations, Helen, who felt 
more and more keenly her isolation in the 
college, resolved to see just how the others 
managed and then do as they did. She heard 
Rachel say, '* I think Christy Mason is a dear. 
I don't know her much if any, but I'm going 
to ask her all the same, and perhaps w^e shall 
get better acquainted after awhile." 

That made Helen, who took the speech 
more literally than it was meant, think of 
Caroline Barnes. One afternoon she and 



BETTT WALES 117 

Betty had been down-town together, and on 
the way back Miss Barnes overtook them, and 
came up with them to see Eleanor, who was an 
old friend of hers. Betty introduced her to 
Helen and she walked between them up the 
hill and necessarily included both of them in 
her conversation. She was a homely girl, 
with dull, inexpressive features ; but she was 
tall and well-proportioned and strikingly well 
dressed. Betty had taken an instant dislike 
to her at the time of their first meeting and 
greatly to Eleanor's disgust had resisted all 
her advances. Eleanor had accused her 
frankly of not liking Caroline. 

'' No," returned Betty with equal frankness, 
^' I don't. I think all your other friends are 
lovely, but Miss Barnes rubs me the wrong 
way." 

Helen knew nothing of all this, and Miss 
Barnes's lively, slangy conversation and sty- 
lish, showy clothes appealed to her unsophisti- 
cated taste. 

When the three parted at the head of the 
stairs. Miss Barnes turned back to say, 
'* Aren't you coming to see me ? You owe me 
a call, you know." 



ii8 BETTT WALES 

Helen and Betty were standing close to- 
gether, and though part of the remark applied 
only to Betty, she looked at them both. 

Betty said formally, '' Thank you, I should 
like to," and Helen, pleased and eager, 
chorused, '' So should I." 

Later, in their own room, Betty said with 
apparent carelessness but with the covert in- 
tention of dropping Helen a useful hint, 
''You aren't going to see Miss Barnes, are 
you ? I'm not." 

And Helen had flushed again, gave some 
stammering reply and then had had for the 
first time an unkind thought about her room- 
mate. Betty wanted to keep all her nice 
friends to herself It must be that. Why 
shouldn't she go to see Miss Barnes? She 
wasn't asked so often that she could afford 
to ignore the invitations she did get. And 
later she added, Why shouldn't she ask Miss 
Barnes to the play, since Eleanor wasn't 
going to? 

So one afternoon Helen, arrayed in her 
best clothes, went down to call and deliver her 
invitation. Miss Barnes was out, but her door 
was open and Helen slipped in, and writing a 



BETTT WALES 119 

little note on her card, laid it conspicuously 
on the shining mahogany desk. 

That was one invitation. She had given 
the other to a quiet, brown-eyed girl who sat 
next her in geometry, not from preference, 
but because her name came next on the class 
roll. This girl declined politely, on the plea 
of another engagement. 

Next day Miss Barnes brushed unseeingly 
past her in the hall of the Science Building. 
The day after that they met at gym. Finally, 
when almost a week had gone by without a 
sign from her, Helen inquired timidly if she 
had found the note. 

'' Oh, are you Miss Adams ? " inquired Miss 
Barnes, staring past her with a weary air. 
^' Thank you very much I'm sure, but I can't 
come," and she walked off. 

Any one but Helen Adams would have 
known that Caroline Barnes and Eleanor 
Watson had the reputation of being the worst 
^^ snobs " in their class, and that Miss Ashby, 
her neighbor in geometry, boarded with her 
mother and never went anywhere without her. 
But Helen knew no college gossip. She 
offered her invitation to two girls who had 



I20 BETTT WALES 

been in the dancing-class, read hypocrisy into 
their hearty regrets that they were going out 
of town for Sunday, and asked no one else to 
the play. If she had been less shy and re- 
served she would have told Rachel or Betty 
all about her ill-luck, have been laughed at 
and sympathized with, and then have forgot- 
ten all about it. But being Helen Chase 
Adams, she brooded over her trouble in secret, 
asked nobody's advice, and grew shyer and 
more sensitive in consequence, but not a whit 
less determined to make a place for herself in 
the college world. 

She would have attached less significance to 
Caroline Barnes's rudeness, had she known a 
little about the causes of Eleanor's headache. 
Eleanor had gone down to Caroline's on the 
afternoon of the play, knocked boldly, in spite 
of a '' Don't disturb " sign posted on the door, 
and found the pretty rooms in great confusion 
and Caroline wearily overseeing the packing 
of her books and pictures. 

Eleanor waited patiently until the men had 
gone off with three huge boxes, and therj in- 
sisted upon knowing what Caroline was do- 
ing. 



BETTT WALES 121 

'* Going home," said Caroline sullenly. 

" Why ? " demanded Eleanor. 

"' Public reason — trouble with my eyes ; 
real reason — haven't touched my conditions 
yet and now I have been warned and told to 
tutor in three classes. I can't possibly do it 
all." 

"■ Why Caroline Barnes, do you mean you 
are sent home? " 

Caroline nodded. " It amounts to that. I 
was advised to go home now, and work off 
the entrance conditions and come again 
next fall. I thought maybe you'd be taking 
the same train," she added with a nervous 
laugh. 

Eleanor turned white. '' Nonsense ! " she 
said sharply. '' What do you mean ? " 

'' Well, you said you hadn't done anything 
about your conditions, and you've cut and 
flunked and scraped along much as I have, I 
fancy." 

'^ I'm sorry, Caroline," said Eleanor, ignor- 
ing the digression. '' I don't know that you 
care, though. You've said you were bored to 
death up here." 

*' I — I say a great deal that I don't mean," 



122 BErrr wales 

gulped Caroline. '' Good-bye, Eleanor. Shall 
I see you in New York at Christmas ? And 
don't forget — trouble with my eyes. Oh, the 
family won't mind. They didn't like my 
coming up in the first place. I shall go 
abroad in the spring. Good-bye." 

Eleanor walked swiftly back through the 
campus. In the main building she consulted 
the official bulletin-board with anxious eyes, 
and fairly tore off a note addressed to ^' Miss 
Eleanor Watson, First Class." It had come — 
a '' warning " in Latin. Once back in her 
own room, Eleanor sat down to consider the 
situation calmly. But the more she thought 
about it, the more frightened and ashamed 
she grew. Thanksgiving was next week, and 
she had been given only until Christmas to 
work off her entrance conditions. She had 
meant to leave them till the last moment, 
rush through the work with a tutor, and if 
she needed it get an extension of time by 
some specious excuse. Had the last minute 
passed? The Latin warning meant more 
extra work. There were other things too. 
She had '^ cut " classes recklessly — three on 
the day of the sophomore reception, and four 



BETTT WALES 123 

on a Monday morning when she had promised 
to be back from Boston in time for chapel. 
Also, she had borrowed Lil Day's last year's 
literature paper and copied most of it ver- 
batim. She could make a sophistical defence 
of her morals to Betty Wales, but she under- 
stood perfectly what the faculty would think 
about them. The only question was, how 
much did they know ? 

When the dinner-bell rang, Eleanor pulled 
herself together and started down-stairs. 

''Did you get your note. Miss Watson?" 
asked Adelaide Rich from the dining-room 
door. 

" What note? " demanded Eleanor sharply. 

'' I'm sure I can't describe it. It was on 
the hall table," said Adelaide, turning away 
wrathfully. Some people were so grateful if 
you tried to do them a favor ! 

It was this incident which led Eleanor to 
hurry off after dinner, and again at the end 
of the play, bound to escape nerve-racking 
questions and congratulations. Later, when 
Betty knocked on her door, her first impulse 
was to let her in and ask her advice. But a 
second thought suggested that it was safer to 



124 BErrr wales 

confide in nobody. The next morning she 
was glad of the second thought, for things 
looked brighter, and it would have been hu- 
miliating indeed to be discovered making a 
mountain out of a mole-hill. 

'' The trouble with Caroline was that she 
wasn't willing to work hard," she told herself. 
^' Now I care enough to do anything, and I 
must make them see it." 

She devoted her spare hours on Monday 
morning to '^ making them see it," with that 
rare combination of tact and energy that was 
Eleanor Watson at her best. By noon her 
fears of being sent home were almost gone, 
and she was alert and exhilarated as she al- 
ways was when there were difficulties to be 
surmounted. 

*' Now that the play is over, I'm going to 
work hard," Betty announced at lunch, and 
Eleanor, who was still determined not to con- 
fide in anybody, added nonchalantly, '' So am 
I." It was going to be the best of the fun to 
take in the Chapin house. 

But the Chapin house was not taken in for 
long. 

" What's come over Eleanor Watson ? " in- 



BETTT WALES 125 

quired Katherine, a few days later, as the 
girls filed out from dinner. 

^' She's working," said Mary Brooks with a 
grin. '^ And apparently she thinks work and 
dessert don't jibe." 

'' I'm afraid it was time," said Rachel. 
" She's always cutting classes, and that puts 
a girl behind faster than anything else. I 
wonder if she could have had a warning in 
anything." 

*' I think she could " began Katherine, 

and then stopped, laughing "■ I might as 
well own up to one in math.," she said. 

'^ Well, Miss Watson is going to stay here 
over Thanksgiving," said Mary Rich. 

Then plans for the two days' vacation were 
discussed, and Eleanor's affairs forgotten, much 
to the relief of Betty Wales, who feared every 
moment lest she should in some way betray 
Eleanor's confidence. 

On the Wednesday after Thanksgiving 
Eleanor burst in on her merrily, as she was 
dressing for dinner. 

'' I just wanted to tell you that some of 
those conditions that worry you so are made 
up," she said. '' I almost wore out my tutor. 



126 BETTT JVALES 

and I surprised the history department into a 
compliment, but I'm through. That is, I have 
only math., and one other little thing." 

'' I don't see how you did it," sighed Betty. 
'' I should never dare to get behind. I have 
all I want to do with the regular work." 

Eleanor leaned luxuriously back among the 
couch cushions. " Yes," she said loftily. '^ I 
suppose you haven't the faintest idea what 
real, downright hard w^ork is, and neither can 
you appreciate the joys of downright idleness. 
I shall try that as soon as I've finished the 
math." 

^^Why?" asked Betty. ''Do you like 
making it up later? " 

'' I shouldn't have to. You know I'm get- 
ting a reputation as an earnest, thorough 
student. That's what the history department 
called me. A reputation is a wonderful thing 
to lean back upon. I ought to have gone in 
for one in September. I was at the Hill 
School for three years, and I never studied 
after the first three months. There's every- 
thing in making people believe in you from 
the first" 

'' What's the use in making people believe 



BETTr WALES 127 

you're something that you're not ? " demanded 
Betty. 

'' What a question ! It saves you the 
trouble of being that something. If the his- 
tory department once gets into the habit of 
thinking me a thorough, earnest student, it 
won't condition me because I fail in a written 
recitation or two. It will suppose I had an 
off day." 

"" But you'd have to do well sometimes." 
"■ Oh, yes, occasionally. That's easy." 
'' Not for me," said Betty, '' so I shall have 
to do respectable work all the time. But I 
shall tell Helen about your idea. She works 
all the time, and it makes her dull and cross. 
She must have secured a reputation by this 
time ; and I shall insist upon her leaning back 
on it for a while and taking more walks." 



CHAPTER IX 

PAYING THE PIPER 

" I FEEL as if there were about three days 
between Thanksgiving and Christmas/'' said 
Rachel, coming up the stairs, to Betty, who 
stood in the door of her room half in and half 
out of her white evening dress. 

'' That leaves one day and a half, then, be- 
fore vacation," laughed Bett^^ ''I'm sorry to 
bother you when you're so pressed for time, 
but could you hook me up ? Helen is at the 
library, and every one else seems to be off 
somewhere." 

'' Certainly," said Rachel, dropping her 
armful of bundles on the floor. *' I'm only 
making Christmas presents. Is the /f i^ dance 
coming off at last? " 

" Yes — another one, that is ; and Mr. Par- 
sons asked me, to make up for the one I had 
to miss. Now, would you hold my coat?" 

" Betty ! Betty Wales ! Wait a minute," 
called somebody just as Betty reached the 

128 




BETTY STOOD IN THE DOOR OF HER ROOM 



BETTT WALES 129 

Main Street corner, and Eleanor Watson ap- 
peared, also dressed for the dance. 

'' Why didn't you say you were going to 
Winsted ? " she demanded breathlessly. 
*' Good, here's a car." 

''Why didn't you say you were going?" 
demanded Betty in her turn as they scrambled 
on. 

*' Because I didn't intend to until the last 
minute. Then I decided that I'd earned a lit- 
tle recreation, so I telegraphed Paul West that 
I'd come after all. Who is your chaperon ? " 

''Miss Hale." 

" Well please introduce me when we get 
down-town, so that I can ask if I may join her 
party." 

Ethel Hale received Betty with enthusiasm, 
and Eleanor with a peculiar smile and a very 
formal permission to go to Winsted under her 
escort. As the two were starting off to buy 
their tickets, she called Betty back. 

" Aren't you going to sit with me on the 
way over, little sister ? " she asked. 

" Of course," said Betty, and they settled 
themselves together a moment later for the 
short ride. 



I30 BETTT WALES 

'^ You never come to see me, Betty," Miss 
Hale began, when they were seated. 

'^ I'm afraid to," confessed Betty sheepishly. 
'' When you're a faculty and I'm only a fresh- 
man." 

'' Nonsense," laughed Miss Hale. Then she 
glanced at Eleanor, who sat several seats in front 
of them, and changed the subject abruptly. 
^' What sort of girl is Miss Watson ? " she asked. 

Betty laughed. '' All sorts, I think," she 
said. '' I never knew any one who could be 
so nice one minute and so trying the next." 

" How do you happen to know her well ? " 
pursued Miss Hale seriously. 

Betty explained. 

" And you think that on the whole she's 
worth while? " 

" I'm afraid I don't understand " Betty 

was beginning to feel as if she was taking an 
examination on Eleanor's characteristics. 

** You think that on the whole she's more 
good than bad ; and that there's something to 
her, besides beauty. That's all I want to 
know. She is lovely, isn't she ? " 

" Yes, indeed," agreed Betty enthusiastically. 
** But she's very bright too. She's done a lot 



BETTT WALES 131 

of extra work lately and so quickly and well. 
She's very nice to me always, but she dislikes 
my roommate and she and I are always dis- 
agreeing about that or something else. I 
don't think — you know she wouldn't do a dis- 
honorable thing for the world, but I don't 
approve of some of her ideas ; they don't 
seem quite fair and square, Ethel." 

'' Um," assented Ethel absently. "■ I'm glad 
you could tell me all this, Betty. I shouldn't 
have asked you, perhaps ; it's rather taking 
advantage of our private friendship. But I 
really needed to know. Ah, here we are ! " 

As she spoke, the train slowed down and a 
gay party of Winsted men sprang on to the 
platform, and jostled one another down the 
aisles, noisily greeting the girls they knew 
and each one hunting for his particular guest 
of the afternoon. They had brought a barge 
down to take the girls to the college, and in 
the confusion of crowding into it Betty found 
herself separated from Ethel. '' I wish I'd 
asked her why she wanted to know all that," 
she thought, and then she forgot everything 
but the delicious excitement of actually being 
on the way to a dance at Winsted. 



132 BETTT WALES 

Most of the fraternity house was thrown 
open to the visitors, and between the dances 
in the library, which was big enough to make 
an excellent ball-room also, they wandered 
through it, finding all sorts of interesting 
things to admire, and pleasantly retired nooks 
and corners to rest in. Mr. Parsons was a 
very attentive host, providing partners in 
plenty ; and Betty, w^ho was passionately fond 
of dancing and had been to only one " truly 
grown-up " dance before, was in her element. 
But every once in awhile she forgot her own 
pleasure to notice Eleanor and to wonder at 
her beauty and vivacity. She was easily belle 
of the ball. She seemed to know all the men, 
and they crowded eagerly around her, begging 
for dances and hanging on her every word. 
Eleanor's usually listless face was radiant. 
She had a smile and a gay sally for every one ; 
there was never a hint of the studied coldness 
with which she received any advances from 
Helen or the Riches, nor of the scornful en- 
nui with which she faced the social life of 
her own college. 

'' Aren't you glad you came ? " said Betty, 
when they met at the frappe table. 



BETTT PFALES 133 

" Rather," said Eleanor laconically. '^ This 
is life, and I've only existed for months and 
months. What would the world be like with- 
out men and music? " 

'' Goodness ! what a wise-sounding remark," 
laughed Betty. 

Just then Miss Hale came up in charge of a 
very young and callow freshman. 

'' Please lend me your fan, Betty," she said. 
'^ I was afraid it would look forward for a 
chaperon to bring one, and I'm desperately 
warm." 

Eleanor, who had turned aside to speak to 
her partner, looked up quickly as Ethel spoke, 
and meeting Miss Hale's gray eyes she flushed 
suddenly and moved away. 

Betty handed Ethel the fan. " I wish " 

she began, looking after Eleanor's retreating 
figure. But as she spoke the music started 
again and a vivacious youth hurried up and 
whisked her away before she had time to fin- 
ish her sentence ; and she could not get near 
Ethel again. 

'' Men do make better partners than girls," 
she said to Mr. Parsons as they danced the 
last waltz together. " And I think their 



134 BETTT WALES 

rooms are prettier than ours, if these are fair 
samples. But they can't have any better time 
at college than we do." 

'' We certainly couldn't get on at all with- 
out you girls across the river," Mr. Parsons 
was saying gallantly, when the music stopped 
and Eleanor, followed by Mr. West, hurried up 
to Betty. 

'* Excuse me one moment, Mr. Parsons," 
she said, as she drew Bettv aside. '' I've been 
trying to get at you for ever so long," she 
went on. " I'm in a dreadful fix. You know 
I told you I hadn't intended to come here to- 
day, but I didn't tell you the reason why. 
The reason was that to-day was the time set 
for my math. exam, with Miss Mansfield. I 
tried to get her to change it, but I couldn't, so 
finally I telephoned her that I was ill. Some 
one else answered the 'phone for her, saying 
that she was engaged and, Betty — I'm sure it 
was Miss Hale." 

Betty looked at her in blank amazement. 
'' You said you were ill and then came here I " 
she began. " Oh, Eleanor, how could you ! 
But what makes you think that Miss Hale 
knows?" 



BETTT WALES 135 

^' I'm sure I recognized her voice when she 
asked you for the fan, and then haven't you 
noticed her distant manner?" said Eleanor 
gloomily. '' Are they friends, do you know ? " 

^' They live in the same house." 

'^ Then that settles it. You seem to be very 
chummy with Miss Hale, Betty. You couldn't 
reconcile it with your tender conscience to say 
a good word for me, I suppose? " 

'' I — why, what could I say after that dread- 
ful message?" Then she brightened sud- 
denly. '^Why, Eleanor, I did. We talked 
about you all the way over here. Ethel asked 
questions and I answered them. I told her a 
lot of nice things," added Betty reassuringly, 
'' though of course I couldn't imagine why she 
wanted to know. What luck that you hadn't 
told me sooner ! " 

Eleanor stared at her blankly. '' I sup- 
pose," she said at last, '' that it will serve me 
right if Miss Hale tells Miss Mansfield that I 
was here, and Miss Mansfield refuses me an- 
other examination ; but do you think she 
will?" 

Betty glanced at Ethel. She was standing 
at the other end of the room, talking to two 



136 BETTT IVALES 

Winsted men, and she looked so young and 
pretty and so like one of the girls herself 
that Betty said impulsively, '' She couldn't ! " 
Then she remembered how different Ethel had 
seemed on the train, and that the girls in her 
classes stood very much in awe of her. '' I 
don't know," she said slowly. '' She just hates 
any sort of cheating. She might think it was 
her duty to tell. Oh, Eleanor, why did you 
doit?" 

Eleanor shrugged her shoulders express- 
ively. Then she turned away with a radiant 
smile for Mr. West. '' I am sorry to have kept 
you men waiting," she said. '' How much 
more time do we have before the barge comes ? " 

Whatever Miss Hale meant to do, she kept 
her own counsel, deliberately avoiding inter- 
course with either Ethel or Betty. She bade 
the girls a gay good-bye at the station, and 
went off in state in the carriage they had pro- 
vided for her. 

'' I suppose it's no use asking if you had a 
good time," said Betty sympathetically, as she 
and Eleanor, having decided to go home in 
comfort, rolled away in another. 

" I had a lovely time until it flashed over 



BETTT WALES 137 

me about that telephone message. After that 
of course I was worried almost to death, and I 
would give anything under the sun if I had 
stayed at home and passed oflP my math, like 
a person of sense." 

'' Then why don't you tell Miss Mansfield 
so?" suggested Betty. 

'' Oh, Betty, I couldn't. But I shan't prob- 
ably have the chance," she added dryly. 
'' Miss Hale will see her after dinner. I hope 
she'll tell her that I appeared to be enjoying 
life." 

The next morning when Eleanor presented 
herself at Miss Mansfield's class-room for the 
geometry lesson, another assistant occupied 
the desk. ^' Miss Mansfield is out of town for 
a few days," she announced. Eleanor gave 
Betty a despairing glance and tried to fix her 
attention on the '' originals " which the new 
teacher was explaining. It seemed as if the 
class would never end. When it did she flew 
to the desk and inquired if Miss Mansfield 
would be back to-morrow. 

'' To-morrow ? Oh no," said the young as- 
sistant pleasantly. '' She's in Boston for 
some days. No, not this week ; next, I be- 



138 BETTT WALES 

lieve. You are Miss Watson ? No, there 
was no message for you, I think." 

The next week was a longer and more 
harassing one than any that Eleanor could re- 
member. She had not been blind to Betty's 
scorn of her action. Ever since she came to 
Harding she had noted with astonishment the 
high code of honor that held sway among the 
girls. They shirked when they could, assumed 
knowledge when they had it not, managed 
somehow to wear the air of leisurely go-as- 
you-please that Eleanor loved ; but they did 
not cheat, and like Betty they despised those 
who did. So Eleanor, who a few months be- 
fore would have boasted of having deceived 
Miss Mansfield, was now in equal fear lest 
Miss Hale should betray her and lest some of 
her mates should find her out. She wanted to 
ask Lil Day or Annette Gaynor what hap- 
pened if you cut a special examination ; but 
suppose they should ask why she cared to 
know? That would put another knot into 
the " tangled web " of her deception. It would 
have been some comfort to discuss the possi- 
bilities of the situation with Betty, but Eleanor 
denied herself even that outlet. No use re- 



BETTr WALES 139 

minding a girl that she despises you ! If only 
Betty would not look so sad and sympathetic 
and inquiring when they met in the halls, in 
classes or at table. At other times Eleanor 
barricaded herself behind a '' Don't disturb " 
sign and studied desperately and to much 
purpose. And every morning she hoped 
against hope that Miss Mansfield would hear 
the geometry class. 

The suspense lasted through the whole 
week. Then, just two days before the vaca- 
tion, Miss Mansfield reappeared and Eleanor 
asked timidly for an appointment. 

^' Come to-day at two," began Miss Mans- 
field. 

^' Oh thank you ! Thank 3^ou so much ! " 
broke in Eleanor and stopped in confusion. 

But Miss Mansfield onl}^ smiled absently. 
'' Most of my belated freshman don't express 
such fervent gratitude for my firmness in 
pushing them through before the vacation. 
They try to put me off*." She had evidently 
quite forgotten the other appointment. 

" I shall be so glad to have it over," Eleanor 
murmured. 

Miss Mansfield looked after her thoughtfully 



I40 BETTT IVALES 

as she went down the hall. '' Perhaps I've 
misjudged her," she told herself. '' When a 
girl is so pretty, it's hard to take her seri- 
ously." 

She said as much to Ethel Hale when they 
walked home to lunch together, but Ethel 
was not at all enthusiastic over Miss Watson's 
earnestness. 

'' She's very late in working off a condition, 
I should say," she observed coldly. 

'^ Yes, but I've been away, you know," ex- 
plained Miss Mansfield. '' Oh, Ethel, I wish 
you could meet him. You don't half ap- 
preciate how happy I am." 

Ethel, who had decided after much con- 
sideration to let Eleanor's affairs take their 
course, made a mental observation to the 
effect that an engagement induces shortness 
of memory and tenderness of heart. Then 
she said aloud that she also wished she might 
meet '' him." 

Time flies between Thanksgiving and 
Christmas, particularly for freshmen who are 
looking forward to their first vacation at 
home. It flies faster after they get there, and 



BETTT WALES 141 

when they are back at college it rushes on 
quite as swiftly but rather less merrily toward 
the fateful ^' mid-years." None of the Chapin 
house girls had been home at Thanksgiving 
time, but they were all going for Christmas, 
except Eleanor Watson, who intended to spend 
the vacation with an aunt in New York. 

They prepared for the flitting in character- 
istic ways. Rachel, who was very systematic, 
did all her Christmas shopping, so that she 
needn't hurry through it at home. Roberta 
made but one purchase, an illustrated '' Alice 
in Wonderland," for her small cousins, and 
spent all her spare time in re-reading it her- 
self. Helen, in spite of Betty's suggestions 
about leaning back on her reputation, studied 
harder than ever, so that she could go home 
with a clear conscience, while Katherine was 
too excited to study at all, and Mary Brooks 
jeered impartially at both of them. Betty 
conscientiously returned all her calls and be- 
gan packing several days ahead, so as to make 
the time seem shorter. Then just as the ex- 
pressman was driving off with her trunk, she 
remembered that she had packed her short 
skirt at the very bottom. 



142 BETTT IVALES 

''Thank you ever so much. If he'd got 
much further 1 should have had to go home 
either in this gray bath robe that I have on, 
or in a white duck suit," she said to Kath- 
erine who had gone to rescue the skirt and 
came back with it over her arm. 

She and Katherine started west together 
and Eleanor and Roberta went with them to 
the nearest junction. The jostling, excited 
crowd at the station, the '' good-byes " and 
'' Merry Christmases," were great fun. Betty, 
remembering a certain forlorn afternoon in 
early autumn, laughed happily to herself. 

'' What's the joke? " asked Katherine. 

"■ I was thinking how much nicer things 
like this seem when you're in them," she said, 
waving her hand to Alice Waite. 

At the Cleveland station, mother and Will 
and Nan and the smallest sister were watch- 
ing eagerly for the returning wanderer. 

'' Why, Betty Whales, you haven't changed 
one bit," announced the smallest sister in tones 
of deepest wonder. '' Why, I'd have known 
you anywhere, Betty, if I'd met you on the 
street." 

'' Three months isn't quite as long as all 



BETTT WALES 143 

that," said Betty, hugging the smallest sister, 
" but I was hoping I looked a little older. 
Nobody ever mistakes me for a senior, as they 
do Rachel Morrison. And I ought to look 
years and years wiser." 

*^ Nonsense," said Will with a lordly air. 
'' Now a college girl " 

Everybody laughed. '' You see we all know 
your theories about intellectual women," said 
mother. "' So suppose you take up the suit 
case and escort us home." 

The next morning a note arrived from 
Eleanor. 

" Dearest Betty," it ran : 

"• As you always seem to be just around 
the corner when I get into a box, I want to tell 
you that I rode down to New York with Miss 
Hale. She asked me to sit with her and I 
couldn't well refuse, though I wanted to badly 
enough. She knew, Betty, but she w411 never 
tell. She said she was glad to know me on 
your account. She asked me how the term 
had gone with me, and I blushed and stam- 
mered and said that I was coming back in 
a different spirit. She said that college was 
the finest place in the world for a girl to get 
acquainted with herself — that cowardice and 



144 BETTT JVALES 

weakness of purpose and meanness and petti- 
ness stood out so clearly against the back- 
ground of fineness and squareness ; and that 
four years was long enough to see all sorts of 
faults in oneself, and change them according 
to one's new theories. As she said it, it didn't 
sound a bit like preaching. 

" I didn't tell her that I was only in college 
for one year. I sent her a big bunch of violets 
to-day — she surely couldn't regard it as a bribe 
now — and after Christmas I'll try to show her 
that I'm worth while. 

'' Merry Christmas, Betty. 

'' Eleanor." 

Nan frowned when Betty told her about 
Eleanor. ^' But she isn't a nice girl, Betty. 
Did I meet her?" 

'' Yes, she's the one you thought so pretty — 
the one with the lovely eyes and hair." 

*' Betty," said Nan soberly, '^ you don't do 
things like this?" 

''I!" Betty flushed indignantly. ''Weren't 
there all kinds of girls when you were in col- 
lege, Nan? Didn't you ever know people 
who did ' things like this ' ? " 

Nan laughed. '' There certainly were," she 
said. '' I'll trust you, Betty. Only don't see 



BETTr WALES 145 

too much of Miss Watson, or she'll drag you 
doAvn, in spite of yourself." 

'* But Ethel's dragging her up," objected 
Betty. '' And I gave her the first boost, by 
knowing Ethel. Not that I meant to. I 
never seem to accomplish things when I mean 
to. You remember Helen Chase Adams? " 

'^ With great pleasure. She noticed my 
youthful appearance." 

'' Well, I've been all this term trying to re- 
form her clothes, but I can't improve her one 
bit, except when I set to work and do it all 
myself. I should think you'd be afraid she'd 
drag me into dowdiness, I have to see so much 
of her." 

Nan smiled at the dainty little figure in the 
big chair. '^ I don't notice any indications 
yet," she said. '' It took you an hour to 
dress this morning, exactly as it always does. 
But you'd better take care. What are you 
going to do to-day ? " 

" Make your friend Helen Chase Adams a 
stock for Christmas," announced Betty, jump- 
ing up and pulling Nan after her. *' And 
you've got to help, seeing you admire her so 
much." 



CHAPTER X 

A RUMOR 

After Christmas there were goodies from 
home to eat and Christmas-gifts to arrange in 
their new quarters. Betty's piece de resist- 
ance was a gorgeous leather sofa pillow 
stamped with the head of a ferocious Indian 
chief Eleanor had a great brass bowl, which 
in some mysterious fashion was kept con- 
stantly full of fresh roses, a shelf full of new 
books, and more dresses than her closet would 
hold. Katherine had a chafing-dish, Eachel 
a Persian rug, and Roberta an illustrated 
'' Alice in Wonderland " of her own. To 
Betty's great relief Helen had brought back 
two small pillows for her couch, all her skirts 
w^ere lengthened, and the Christmas stock of 
black silk with its white linen turnovers 
replaced the clumsy woolen collars that 
she had worn with her winter shirt-waists. 
And — she was certainly learning to do her 
hair more becomingly. There w^asn't a very 

146 



BETTr WALES 147 

marked improvement to be sure, but if Betty 
could have watched Helen's patient efforts to 
turn her vacation to account in the matter of 
hair-dressing, she would have realized how 
much the little changes meant, and would 
have been more hopeful about her pupil's 
progress. Not until the end of her junior 
year did Helen Adams reach the point where 
she could be sure that one's personal appear- 
ance is quite as important a matter as one's 
knowledge of calculus or Kantian philoso- 
phies ; but, thanks largely to Betty, she was 
beginning to want to look her best, and that 
was the first step toward the things that she 
coveted. The next, and one for which Betty, 
with her open-hearted, free-and-easy fashion 
of facing life, was not likely to see the need, 
must be to break down the barriers that 
Helen's sensitive shyness had erected between 
herself and the world around her. The self- 
confidence that Caroline Barnes had cruelly, 
if unintentionally wounded, must be restored 
before Helen could find the place she longed 
for in the little college world. 

No one had had any very exciting vacation 
adventures except Rachel, who was delayed 



148 BETTT WALES 

on her way home by a freight wreck and 
obliged to spend Christmas eve on a wind- 
swept siding with only a ham sandwich be- 
tween her and starvation, and Eleanor, whose 
vacation had been one mad whirl of metro- 
politan gaiety. Her young aunt, who sympa- 
thized w4th her niece's distaste for college life, 
and couldn't imagine why on earth Judge 
Watson had insisted upon his only daughter's 
trying it for a year at least, did her utmost to 
make Eleanor enjoy her visit. So she had 
dined at the Waldorf, sat in a box at the 
theatre and the opera, danced and shopped to 
her heart's content, and had seen all the sights 
of New York. And at all the festivities Paul 
West, a friend of the family and also of 
Eleanor's, was present as Eleanor's special 
escort and avowed admirer. Naturally she 
had come back in an ill humor. Between 
late hours and excitement she was completely 
worn out. She wanted to be in New York, 
and failing that she wanted Paul West to 
come and talk New York to her, and bring 
her roses for the big brass bowl that she had 
found in a dingy little shop in the Russian 
quarter. She threw her good resolutions to 



BETTT JVALES 149 

the winds, received Miss Hale's thanks for the 
violets very coldly, and begged Betty to for- 
get the sentimental letter that she had written 
before Christmas. 

"' But I thought it was a nice letter," said 
Betty. "' Eleanor, why won't you give your- 
self a chance? Go and see Ethel this after- 
noon, and — and then set to work to show her 
what you said you would," she ended lamely. 

Eleanor only laughed. "■ Sorry, Betty, but 
I'm going to Winsted this afternoon. Paul 
has taken pity on me ; there's a sleighing 
party. I thought perhaps you were invited 
too." 

^' No, but I'm going skating with Mary and 
Katherine," said Betty cheerfully, "• and then 
at four Rachel and I are going to do Latin." 

'^ Oh, Latin," said Eleanor significantly. 
"' Let me think. Is it two or three weeks to 
mid-years ? '^ 

^' Two, just." 

'' Well, I suppose I shall have to do a little 
something then myself," said Eleanor, "■ but I 
shan't bother yet awhile. Here comes the 
sleigh," she added, looking out of the win- 
dow. '' Paul's driving, and your Mr. Parsons 



I50 BETTT JVALES 

has asked Georgie Arnold. What do you 
think of that?" 

" I should certainly hope he wouldn't ask 
the same girl to everything, if that's what 
you mean," said Betty calmly, helping Elea- 
nor into her new coat. 

Eleanor shrugged her shoulders. '^ Good- 
bye," she said. '' For my part, I prefer to be 
the one and onl}^ — while I last," and snatch- 
ing up her furs she was off. 

Betty found Mary and Katherine in posses- 
sion of her room and engaged in an animated 
discussion about the rules of hockey. 

'' I tell you that when the thing-um-bob 
is in play," began Katherine. 

'' Not a bit of it," cut in Mary. 

^' Come along, girls," interrupted Betty, 
fishing her skates from under her couch, and 
pulling on her '' pussy " mittens. '' Never 
mind those rules. You can't play hockey to- 
day. You promised to skate with me." 

It was an ideal winter's afternoon, clear, 
cold and still. The ice on Paradise was 
smooth and hard, and the little pond was 
fairly alive with skaters, most of them Hard- 
ing girls. Betty was a novice, with one weak 



BETTT WALES 151 

ankle that had an annoying habit of turning 
over suddenly and tripping her up ; so she 
was timid about skating alone. But between 
Mary and Katherine she got on famously, and 
thoroughly enjoyed the afternoon. At four 
Mary had a committee meeting, Katherine an 
engagement to play basketball, and Betty had 
agreed to meet Rachel. So with great reluct- 
ance they took off their skates and started up 
the steep path that led past the boat-house to 
the back gate of the campus. 

'^ Goodness, but I'm stiff," groaned Mary, 
stopping to rest a minute half way up. '' I'd 
have skated until dinner time though, if it 
hadn't been for this bothering committee. 
Never be on committees, children." 

''Why don't you apply your own rules ?'^ 
inquired Katherine saucily. 

" Oh, because I'm a vain peacock like the 
rest of the world. The class president comes 
to me and says, ' Now Mary, nobody but you 
knows every girl in the class. You can find 
out the sentiments of all sorts and conditions 
on this matter. And then you have such fine 
executive ability. I know you hate commit- 
tees, but ' Of course I feel pleased by 



152 BETTT WALES 

her base flattery, and I don't come to my 
senses until it's too late to escape. Is to-day 
the sixteenth ? " 

'' No, it's Saturday, the twentieth," said 
Katherine. " Two weeks next Monday to 
mid-years." 

'' The twentieth ! " repeated Mary in tones 
of alarm. '' Then my psychology paper is 
due a week from Tuesday. I haven't done a 
thing to it, and I shall be so busy next week 
that I can't touch it till Friday or Saturday. 
How time does fly ! " 

'' Don't you even know what you're going 
to write on or anything that you're going to 
say?" asked Betty, who always wrote her 
papers as soon as they were assigned, to get 
them ofl* her mind, and who longed to know^ 
the secret of waiting serenely until the 
eleventh hour. 

"■ Why, I had a plan," answered Mary ab- 
sently, ^' but I've waited so long that I hardly 
know if I can use it." 

Just then Alice Waite and her roommate 
came panting up the hill, and Mary, who sel- 
dom took much exercise and was very tired, 
fell back to the rear of the procession. But 



BETTT WALES 153 

when the freshmen stopped in front of the 
Hilton House she trilled and waved her hand 
to attract their attention. 

'^ Oh, Betty, please take my skates home," 
she said as she limped up to the group. Then 
she smiled what Roberta had named her 
'' beamish " smile. '' I know what you girls 
are talking about," she said. '' Will you give 
me a supper at Holmes's if I'm right ? " 

*' Yes," said Katherine recklessly, "" for you 
couldn't possibly guess. What was it? " 

'' You're wondering about those fifty fresh- 
men," answered Mary promptly. 

'' What freshmen ? " demanded the four girls 
in a chorus, utterly ignoring the lost wager. 

'' Why, those fifty who, according to a per- 
fectly baseless rumor, are going to be sent 
home after mid-years." 

^' What do you mean ? " gasped Betty. 

'' Hadn't you heard ? " asked Mary sooth- 
ingly. '' Well, I'm sure it will be all over the 
college by this afternoon. Now understand, I 
don't believe it's true. If it were ten or even 
twenty it might be, but fifty — why, girls, it's 
preposterous ! " 

'' But I don't understand you," said Miss 



154 BETTT WALES 

Madison excitedly. She had grown very pale 
and was hanging on to Katherine's arm. 
'* Do you mean that there is such a story — 
that fifty freshmen are to be sent home after 
mid-years? " 

'^ Yes," said Mary sadly, *' there is, and 
that's what I meant. I'm sorry that I should 
have been the one to tell you, but you'd have 
heard it from some one else, I'm sure. A 
thing like that is always repeated so. Re- 
member, I assure you I don't believe a word 
of it. Somebody probably started it on pur- 
pose to frighten you little freshmen. If you 
would take my skates, Betty. I hate to lug 
them around till dinner time. Now good-bye, 
and do cheer up." 

Left to themselves the four freshmen stared 
blankly at one another. Finally Katherine 
broke the mournful silence. 

'' Girls," she said solemnly, '' it's utter fool- 
ishness to worry about this report. Mary 
didn't believe it herself, and why should 
we?" 

'^ She's not a freshman," suggested Alice 
gloomily. 

*' There are almost four hundred freshmen. 



BETTT WALES 155 

Perhaps the fifty wouldn't be any of us," put 
in Betty. 

Miss Madison maintained a despairing 
silence. 

'' Well," said Katherine at last, " if it is true 
there's nothing to be done about it now, I sup- 
pose ; and if it isn't true, why it isn't ; so I 
think I'll go to basket-ball," and she detached 
Miss Madison and started off. 

Betty gave a prolonged sigh. '' I must go 
too," she said. '' I've promised to study Latin. 
I presume it isn't any use, but I can't disap- 
point Rachel. I wish I was a fine student like 
Rachel. She won't be one of the fifty." 

Alice, who had been in a brown study, 
emerged, just as Betty turned away. 

" Wait a minute," she commanded. ^' Of 
course it's awfully queer up here, but still, if 
they have exams. I don't see the use of cook- 
ing it all up beforehand. I mean I don't see 
the use of exams, if it is all decided." 

Her two friends brightened perceptibly. 

''That's a good idea," declared Betty. 
'' Every one says the mid-years are so impor- 
tant. Let's do our best from now on, and 
perhaps the faculty will change their minds.'* 



156 BETTT WALES 

As she walked home, Betty thought of 
Eleanor. '' She'll be dreadfully worried. I 
shan't tell her a word about it," she resolved. 
Then she remembered Mary Brooks's remark. 
Yes, no doubt some one else would enlighten 
Eleanor. It was just too bad. But perhaps 
Mary was right and the story was only a 
story. 

It is hard for freshmen on the eve of their 
mid-year examinations to be perfectly calm 
and philosophical. The story of the fifty un- 
fortunates ran like wild-fire through the col- 
lege, and while upper-class girls sniffed at it 
as absurd and even freshmen, particularly the 
clever ones, pooh-poohed it in public, it was 
the cause of many anxious, and some tearful 
moments. Betty, after her first fright, had 
accepted the situation with her usual cheerful- 
ness, and so had Alice and Rachel, who could 
not help knowing that her work was of ex- 
ceptionally high grade, while Helen irritated 
her house-mates by affecting an anxiety which, 
as Katherine put it, " No dig, who gets ' good ' 
on all her written work, can possibly feel." 
Katherine was worried about her mathematics, 
in which she had been warned before Thanks- 



BETTT WALES 157 

giving, but she confided to Betty that she had 
counted them up, and without being a bit con- 
ceited she really thought there were fifty 
stupider girls in the class of 19 — . Roberta 
and the Riches, however, were utterly miser- 
able, and Eleanor wrote to Paul West that she 
was busy — she had written '' ill " first, and 
then torn up the note — and indulged in an- 
other frantic fit of industry, even more violent 
than its predecessors had been. 

'' But I thought you wanted to go home," 
said Betty curiously one afternoon when Elea- 
nor had come in to borrow a lexicon. ^' You 
say you hate it here, and you hate to study. 
So why do you take so much trouble about 
staying? " 

Eleanor straightened proudly. *^ Haven't 
you observed yet that I have a bad case of the 
Watson pride?" she asked. '' Do you think 
I'd ever show my face again if I failed ? " 

'' Then why " began Betty. 

'^ Oh, that's the unutterable laziness that I get 
from my — from the other side of the house," 
interrupted Eleanor. '' It's an uncomfortable 
combination, I assure you," and taking the 
book she had come for, she abruptly departed. 



158 BETTT WALES 

Betty realized suddenly that in all the year 
Eleanor had never once spoken of her 
mother. 

After that she couldn't help being sorry for 
Eleanor, but she pitied Miss Madison more. 
Miss Madison was dull at books and she knew 
it, and had actually made herself ill with 
work and worry. Going to see her Hilton 
House friends on the Friday afternoon after 
the skating party, Betty found Miss Madison 
alone and undisguisedly crying. 

"" I know I'm foolish," she apologized. 
'' Most people just laugh at that story, but I 
notice they study harder since they heard it. 
And I'm such a stupid." 

Betty, who hated tears, had a sudden in- 
spiration. '' Why don't you ask about it at 
the registrar's office ? " she suggested. 

'' Oh, I couldn't," wailed Miss Madison. 

" Then I shall," returned Betty. '' That is, 
I shall ask one of the faculty." 

^' Would you dare?" 

'' Yes, indeed. They're human, like other 
people," said Betty, quoting Nan. '' I don't 
see why some one didn't think of it sooner." 

That night at dinner Betty announced her 



BETTT WALES 159 

plan. The freshmen looked relieved and 
Mary Brooks showed uncalled-for enthusiasm. 

^' Do go," she urged. '' It's high time such 
an absurd story was shown up at its real 
value. It's absurd. The way we talk and talk 
about a report like that, and never dare to ask 
the faculty if it's true." 

'' Do you take any freshman courses ? " 
inquired Eleanor sarcastically. 

Mary smiled her ^' beamish " smile. '' No," 
she said, '^ but I'm an interested party never- 
theless — quite as much so as any of the famous 
fifty." 

''Whom shall you ask, Betty?" pursued 
Katherine, ignoring the digression. 

'' Miss Mansfield. I have her the first hour, 
and besides, since she's been engaged she's so 
nice and sympathetic." 

Next day the geometry class dragged un- 
mercifully for three persons. Eleanor beat a 
nervous tattoo on the seat-arm, Miss Madison 
stared fixedly at the clock, and Betty blushed 
and twisted and wished she could have seen 
Miss Mansfield before class. The delayed in- 
terview was beginning to seem very formi- 
dable. But it wasn't, after the first plunge. 



i6o BETTT WALES 

"■ What an absurd story ! " laughed Miss 
Mansfield. " Not a word of truth in it, of 
course. Why I don't believe the girl who 
started it thought it was true. How long has 
it been in circulation ? " 

Betty counted the days. '' I didn't really 
believe it," she added shyly. 

'' But you worried," said Miss Mansfield, 
smiling down at her. '' Next time don't be 
taken in one little bit, — or else come to head- 
quarters sooner." 

Eleanor and Miss Madison were waiting out- 
side the door when Betty dashed at them with 
a little squeal of ecstasy. There was a moment 
of rapturous congratulation ; then Miss Madi- 
son picked up the note-book she had dropped 
and held out her hand solemnly to Betty. 

'^ You've — why I think you've saved my 
life," she said, '' and now I must go to my 
next class." 

''You're a little hero," added Eleanor, 
catching Betty's arm and rushing her off to a 
recitation in Science Hall. 

Roberta received the joyful news more 
calmly. '' We may any of us flunk our mid- 
years yet," she said. 



BETTT WALES i6i 

" But we can study for them in peace and 
comfort," said Adelaide Rich. 

Mary Brooks asked endless questions at 
luncheon. Did the girls all accept Miss Mans- 
field's denial as authoritative ? Did it travel 
as fast as the original story had done ? How 
did people think the rumor had started ? 

"' Why, nobody mentioned that," said Rachel 
in surprise. '' How odd that we shouldn't 
have wondered ! " 

'' Shows your sheep-like natures," said 
Mary, rising abruptly. *' Well, now I can 
finish my psychology paper." 

"' Haven't you worked on itany ? " inquired 
Betty. 

'' Oh, yes, I made an outline and developed 
some topics last night. But I couldn't finish 
until to-day. I was so worried about you 
children." 

Toward the end of the next week Rachel 
came in to dinner late and in high spirits. 
'^ I've had such a fine walk ! " she exclaimed. 
*' Hester Gulick and I went to the bridge, and 
on the way back we overtook a senior named 
Janet Andrews. She is such fun. She'd 
walked down-town with Professor Hinsdale. 



i62 BETTT JVALES 

He teaches psychology, doesn't he? They 
seem to be very good friends, and he told her 
such a funny thing about the fifty-freshmen 
story. How do you suppose it started ? " 

^' Oh, please tell us," cried everybody at 
once. 

"■ Why, an awfully clever girl in his sopho- 
more class started it as an experiment, to see 
how it would take. She told it to some fresh- 
men, saying explicitly that it wasn't true, 
and they told their friends, and so it went all 
over the college until last Saturday Betty got 
Miss Mansfield to deny it. But no one knew 
how it started until yesterday when Professor 
Hinsdale looked over a paper in which the 
girl had written it all up, as a study in the 
way rumors spread and grow. This one was 
so big to begin with that it couldn't grow 
much, though it seems, according to the paper, 
that some people had added to it that half the 
freshmen would be conditioned in math." 

'* How awfully funny ! " gurgled Betty. 
Then she jumped almost out of her chair. 
'' Why, Mary Brooks ! " she said. 

Everybody looked at Mary, who blushed 
guiltily and remarked with great dignity that 



BETTr WALES 163 

Professor Hinsdale was an old telltale. But 
when she had assured herself that the fresh- 
men, with the possible exception of Eleanor, 
w^ere disposed to regard the psychological ex- 
periment which had victimized them with 
perfect good-nature, and herself with consid- 
erable admiration, she condescended to accept 
congratulations and answer questions. 

" Seriously, girls," she said at last, "• I hope 
no one got really scared. I wanted to explain 
when I heard Betty tell how unhappy Miss 
Madison was, but I really thought Miss Mans- 
field's denial would cheer her up more and 
reach her almost as quickly, and at the same 
time it would help me out so beautifully. It 
made such a grand conclusion ! 

" You see," she went on, '* Professor Hins- 
dale put the idea into my head when he as- 
signed the subjects away back last month. 
He said he was giving them out early so 
we would have time to make original obser- 
vations. When he mentioned '■ Rumor,' he 
spoke of village gossip, and the faked stories 
that are circulated on Wall Street to make 
stocks go up or down, and then of the wild 
way we girls take up absurd reports. The last 



i64 BETTT tVALES 

suggestion appealed to me, but I couldn't re- 
member anything definite enough, so I de- 
cided to invent a rumor. Then I forgot all 
about it till that Saturday that I went skating, 
and ' you know the rest,' as our friend Mr. 
Longfellow aptly remarks. When I get my 
chef-d'oeuvre back you may have a private 
view, in return for which I hope you'll en- 
courage your friends not to hate me." 

** Isn't she fun ? " said Betty a little later, 
when she and Helen were alone together. 
" Do you know, I think this rumor business 
has been a good thing. It's made a lot of us 
work hard, and only seriously frightened 
three or four." 

'' Yes," said Helen primly. '' I think so 
too. The girls here are inclined to be very 
frivolous." 

'' Who ? " demanded Betty. 

Helen hesitated. ''Oh, the girls as a 
whole." 

'' That doesn't count," objected Betty. 
'' Give me a name." 

'' Well, Barbara Gordon." 

'' Takes sixteen hours, has her themes read 
in Mary's class, and in her spare moments 



BETTr WALES 165 

paints water colors that are exhibited in Bos- 
ton," said Betty promptly. 

'' Really ? " gasped Helen. 

"■ Really," repeated Betty. '' Of course she 
was very well prepared, and so her work here 
seems easy to her. Next year I hope that you 
and I won't have to plod along so." 

Helen said nothing, but she was deeply 
grateful to Betty for that last sentence. '' You 
and I " — as if there was something in common 
between them. The other girls set her apart 
in a class by herself and labeled her *' dig." 
If one was born slow and conscientious and 
plodding, was there any hope for one, — any 
place among these pretty girls who worked so 
easily and idled so gracefully ? Helen shut 
her lips firmly and resolved to keep on hunt- 
ing. 



CHAPTER XI 

MID- YEARS AND A DUST-PAN 

Viewed in retrospect the tragic experiences 
of one's freshman year seem often the most 
insignificant of trifles ; but that does not pre- 
vent their being at the time momentous as the 
fate of empires. There are mid-year examina- 
tions, for instance ; after one has survived 
them a few times she knows that being 
'' flunked out " is not so common an expe- 
rience as report represents it to be, and as for 
*' low grades " and ^' conditions," if one has 
" cut " or been too often unprepared she de- 
serves and expects them, and if she has done 
her best and still finds an unwelcome note or 
two on the official bulletin board, why, she 
must remember that accidents will happen, 
and are generally quite endurable when viewed 
philosophically. But in freshman year one is 
inexperienced and easily the dupe of mischiev- 
ous sophomores. Then how is one to prepare 
for the dreadful ordeal ? The distinction is 

i66 



BETTT WALES 167 

not at all clear between the intelligent review 
that the faculty recommend and the cramming 
that they abhor. There is a disconcerting lit- 
tle rhyme on this subject that has been 
handed down from generation to genera- 
tion for so long that it has lost most 
of its form and comeliness ; but the point is 
still sharp. It is about a girl who followed 
the faculty's advice on the subject of cram- 
ming, took her exercise as usual, and went to 
bed each night at ten o'clock, as all good 
children should. The last stanza still rhymes, 
thus : 

" And so she did not hurry, 
Nor sit up late to cram, 
Nor have the blues and worry. 
But — she failed in her exam." 

Mary Brooks took pains that all her '^ young 
friends," as she called them, should hear of 
this instructive little poem. 

^^ I really thought," said Betty on the first 
evening of the examination week, "' when that 
hateful rumor was contradicted, that I should 
never be scared again, but I am." 

*' There's unfortunately nothing rumorous 
about these exams.," muttered Katherine 



i68 BETTT WALES 

wrathfully. '' The one 1 had to-day was the 
real article, all right." 

"• And I have my three worst to-morrow and 
next day," mourned Betty, "■ so I've got per- 
mission to sit up after ten to-night. Don't all 
the rest of you want to come in here and 
work? Then some one else can ask Mrs. 
Chapin for the other nights." 

'' But we must all attend strictly to busi- 
ness," said Mary Rich, whereat Helen Adams 
looked relieved. 

And business was the order of the week. 
An unwonted stillness reigned over the 
Chapin house, broken occasionally by wild 
outbursts of hilarit}^, which meant that some 
examination or other was over and had 
not been so bad after all. Every evening at 
ten the girls who felt it necessary to sit up 
later assembled in one room, comfortably at- 
tired in kimonos — all except Roberta, who 
had never been seen without her collar — and 
armed with formidable piles of books ; and 
presently work began in earnest. There was 
really no reason, as Rachel observed, why 
they should not stay in their own rooms, if 
they were going to sit up at all. This Avasn't 



BETTT WALES 169 

the campus, where there was a night-watch- 
man to report lights, and Mrs. Chapin was 
very accommodating about giving permission. 

''This method benefits her gas bill though," 
said Katherine, " and therefore keeps her ac- 
commodating. Besides, it's much easier to 
stick to it in a crowd." 

Eleanor never went through the formality 
of asking Mrs. Chapin's permission to do any- 
thing, and she did not care for the moral sup- 
port of numbers. She was never sleepy, she 
said, pointing significantly to her brass 
samovar, and she could work best alone in her 
own room. She held aloof, too, from the dis- 
cussions about the examinations which were 
the burden of the week's table-talk, only once 
in a while volunteering a suggestion about the 
possible answer to an obscure or ambiguous 
question. Her ideas invariably astonished 
the other freshmen by their depth and origi- 
nality, but when any one exclaimed, Eleanor 
would say, sharply, " Why, it's all in the text- 
book ! " and then relapse into gloomy silence. 

" I suppose she talks more to her friends 
outside," suggested Rachel, after an encounter 
of this sort. 



lyo BETTT WALES 

" Not on your life," retorted Katherine. 
'' She's one of the kind that keeps herself to 
herself. She hates us because we have to 
know as much about her as we do, living here 
in the house with her. I hope she gets 
through all right." 

'' She's awfully clever," said Mary Rich ad- 
miringly. '' She'd never have said that a 
leviathan was some kind of a church creed, as 
I did in English." 

'' Yes, she's a clever — blunderer, but she's 
also a sadly mistaken young person," amended 
Katherine. 

It was convenient to have one's examina- 
tions scattered evenly through the week with 
time for study between them, but pleasanter 
on the whole to be through by Thursday or 
Friday, with several days of delicious idleness 
before the new semester began. And as a cer- 
tain faction of the college always manages to 
suit its own convenience in such matters, the 
campus, which is the unfailing index of col- 
lege sentiment, began to wear a leisurely, holi- 
day air some time before the dreaded week was 
over. 

The ground was covered deeply with snoWr 



BETTT WALES 171 

which a sudden thaw and as sudden a freeze 
had coated with a thick, hard crust. This 
put a stop to snow-shoeing and delayed the 
work of clearing the ice off Paradise pond, 
where there was to be a moonlight carnival 
on the evening of the holiday that follows 
mid-year week. But it made splendid coast- 
ing. Toboggans, '' bobs" and hand sleds ap- 
peared mysteriously in various quarters, and 
the pasture hills north of the town swarmed 
with Harding girls out for fresh air, exercise 
and fun. 

On Friday afternoon an ingenious damsel 
who had no sled conceived the idea of substi- 
tuting a dust-pan. So she borrowed one of an 
obliging chambermaid and went out to the 
little slope which divides the front from the 
back campus to try her experiment. In 
twenty minutes the hill was alive with girls, 
all the available dust-pans had been pressed 
into service, and large tin pans were found to 
do nearly as well. Envious groups of girls 
who could get neither the one nor the other 
watched the absurd spectacle from the win- 
dows of the nearest campus houses or hurried 
down-town to buy tinware. Sleds were neg- 



172 BETTr WALES 

lected, toboggans despised ; the dust-pan fad 
had taken possession of the college. 

Betty, who had the happy faculty of being 
on hand at interesting moments, was crossing 
the campus on her way home from the Hilton 
House. She had taken her last examination, 
had helped Alice Waite finish up a box of 
candy, and now had nothing to do until din- 
ner time, so she stopped to watch the novel 
coasting, and even had one delicious ride her- 
self on Dorothy King's dust-pan. 

Near the gate she met Mary Brooks and 
Roberta and asked them if they had been 
through the campus. 

'' No," said Mar}^, '' we've been having 
chocolate at Cuyler's." And she dragged her 
companions back to within sight of the hill. 
Then she abruptly turned them about and 
hurried them off in the other direction. 

'' Let's go straight down and buy some dust- 
pans," she began enthusiastically. "' We have 
just time before dinner, and we can slide all 
to-morrow afternoon." 

'' Oh, no," demurred Roberta. '' I couldn't." 

Betty laughed at her expression of alarm, 
and Mary demanded, '' Why not? " 



BETTT WALES 173 

''Oh, I couldn't/' repeated Roberta. ''It 
looks dangerous, and, besides, I have to dress 
for dinner." 

" Dangerous nothing ! " jeered Mary. 
" Don't be so everlastingly neat and lady- 
like, child. What's the use? Well," as 
Roberta still hung back, " carry my fountain 
pen home, then, and don't spill it. Come on, 
Betty," and the two raced off down the hill. 

Roberta looked after them admiringly, 
wishing she were not such a "muff" at out- 
door sports. 

The next afternoon Betty and Mary hurried 
over to the campus directly after luncheon to 
try their new toys. The crust was still firm 
and the new sport popular as ever. 

" You see it's much more exciting than a 
' bob,' " a tall senior was explaining to a 
group of on-lookers. " You can't steer, so 
you're just as likely to go down backward as 
frontward ; and being so near the ground 
gives you a lovely creepy sensation." 

"The point is, it's such a splendid antidote 
for overstudying. It just satisfies that abso- 
lutely idiotic feeling that every one has after 
mid-years," added an athletic young woman in 



174 BETTT }VALES 

a gray sweater, as she joined the group with 
her dust-pan tucked scientifically under her 
arm. 

She was Marion Lawrence, sophomore vice- 
president, and Mary Brooks's best friend. 
Betty, fearing to be in the way, joined another 
lone freshman from the Belden House. 

'' Do you suppose you could sit up to study 
to-night if you had to ? " inquired the fresh- 
man as they stood waiting their turns to go 
down. 

"■ No, only it seems as if you always could 
do what you have to," answered Betty, start- 
ing off. 

She decided presently that dust-pan coast- 
ing was not so much fun as it looked. Mary 
Brooks, coming to find her and ask her to join 
a racing tournament captained by herself and 
Marion Lawrence, declared noisily that she 
Avas having '' the time of her gay young life," 
but Betty after the first coast or two began to 
think of going home. Perhaps it was because 
she was so tired. It seemed so much trouble 
to walk up on the slippery crust and such a 
long way round by the path. So she refused 
to enter the tournament. '' I'm not going to 



BETTT WALES 175 

stay long enough/' she explained. *' I shall 
just have two more slides. Then I'm going 
home to take a nap. That's my best antidote 
for overstudy." 

The next coast was nicer. Perhaps the dust- 
pan had been too new. The Belden House 
freshman said that hers went better since her 
roommate had used it and scraped off all the 
paint in a collision. 

*' I wonder there aren't more collisions," 
said Betty, preparing for her last slide. 

Half-way down she discovered that the 
other freshman and the rest hadn't started — 
that the hill was almost clear. Then some- 
body called shrilly, '' Look out, Miss Wales." 
She turned her head back toward the voice, 
the dust-pan swirled, and she turned back 
again to find herself slipping rapidly sidewise 
straight toward a little lady who was walking 
serenely along the path that cut the coast at 
right angles. She was a faculty — Betty 
hadn't the least idea what her name was, but 
she had noticed her on the '' faculty row " at 
chapel. In an instant more she was certainly 
going to run into her. Betty dug her heels 
frantically into the crust. It would not break. 



176 BETTT WALES 

'' Oh, I beg your pardon, but I can't stop ! " 
she called. 

At that the little lady, who was walking 
rapidly with her head bent against the wind, 
looked up and apparently for the first time 
noticed the dust-pan coasters. Mirth and con- 
fusion overcame her. She stopped an instant 
to laugh, then started back, then changed her 
mind and dashed wildly forward, with the in- 
evitable result that she fell in an undignified 
heap on top of Betty and the dust-pan. The 
accident took place on the edge of the path 
where the crust was jagged and icy. Betty, 
who had gone head-first through it, emerged 
with a bleeding scratch on one cheek and a 
stinging, throbbing wrist. Fortunately her 
companion was not hurt. 

'' Oh, Fm so sorry ! " sighed Betty, trying 
to brush the snow off her victim with one 
hand. '' I do hope you'll forgive me for being 
so careless." Then she sat down suddenly on 
the broken crust. " It's only that my wrist 
hurts a little," she finished abruptly. 

The girls had gathered around them by this 
time, sympathizing and lamenting that they 
had not warned Betty in time. " But we 



BETTT WALES 177 

thought of course you saw Miss Ferris," said 
the tall senior, " and we supposed she was 
looking out for you." 

So this was Miss Ferris — the great Miss 
Ferris. Rachel had sophomore zoology with 
her and Mary Brooks had said that she was 
considered the most brilliant woman on the 
faculty. She was '' house-teacher " at the 
Hilton, and Alice Waite and Miss Madison 
were always singing her praises. 

She cut Betty's apologies and the girls' in- 
quiries short. '' My dear child, it was all my 
fault, and you're the one who's hurt. Why 
didn't you girls stop me sooner — call to me to 
go round the other way ? I was in a hurry 
and didn't see or hear you up there." Then 
she sat down on the crust beside Betty. '' For- 
give me for laughing," she said, '' but you did 
look so exactly like a giant crab sidling along 
on that ridiculous dust-pan. Have you 
sprained your wrist? Then you must come 
straight over to my room and wait for a 
carriage." 

Betty's feeble protests were promptly over- 
ruled, and supported b}^ Mary Brooks on one 
side and Miss Ferris on the other she was hur- 



178 BETTT WALES 

ried over to the Hilton House and tucked up 
in Miss Ferris's Morris chair by her open fire, 
to await the arrival of the college doctor and 
a carriage. In spite of her embarrassment at 
having upset so important a personage, and 
the sharp pains that went shooting up and 
down her arm, she was almost sorry when 
doctor and carriage arrived together. Miss 
Ferris was even nicer than the girls had said. 
Somehow she made one feel at home immedi- 
ately as she bustled about bringing a towel 
and a lotion for Betty's face, hot water for 
her wrist, and '' butter-thins " spread with 
delicious strawberry jam to keep her courage 
up. Before she knew it, Betty was telling 
her all about her direful experiences during 
examination week, how frightened she had 
been, and how sleepy she was now, — '' not 
just now of course " — and how she had been 
all ready to go home when the spill came. 
And Miss Ferris nodded knowingly at Mary 
and laughed her little rippling laugh. 

'* Just like these foolish little freshmen ; isn't 
it? " she said, exactly as if she had been one 
last year too. And yet there was a suspicion 
of gray in her hair, and she was a doctor of 



BETTT WALES 179 

philosophy and had written the leading article 
in the learned German magazine that lay on 
her table. 

"■ You must come again, both of you, when 
I can make tea for you properly," she said as 
she closed the carriage door. 

Betty, leaning whitely back on Mary's 
shoulder, with her arm on Miss Ferris's soft- 
est down pillow, smiled happily between the 
throbs. If she was fated to have sprained her 
wrist, she was glad that she had met Miss Ferris. 

Saturday night and Sunday were long and 
dismal beyond belief The wrist ached, the 
cheek smarted, and a bad cold added its quota 
to Betty's miseries. But she slept late Mon- 
day morning, and when she woke felt able to 
sit up in bed and enjoy her flowers and her 
notoriety. Just after luncheon the entire 
Chapin house came in to congratulate and 
condole with her. 

'' It's too windy to have any fun outdoors," 
began Rachel consolingly. 

" Who sent you those violets?" demanded 
Katherine. 

" Miss Ferris. Wasn't it dear of her ? There 
was a note with them, too, that said she con- 



i8o BETTT WALES 

sidered herself still ' deeply in my debt/ be- 
cause of her carelessness — think of her saying 
that to me ! — and that she hopes I won't hesi- 
tate to call on her if she ' can ever be of the 
slightest assistance.' And Mary, she said for 
us not to forget that Friday is her day at 
home." 

*' You are the luckiest thing, Betty Wales," 
sighed Rachel, who worshiped Miss Ferris 
from afar. 

'' Now if rd knocked the august Miss Fer- 
ris down," declared Katherine, '' I should 
probably have been expelled forthwith. 

Whereas you " She finished the sentence 

with an expressive little gesture. 

'' Who gave you the rest of this conserva- 
tory, Betty? " asked Mary Brooks. 

'' Clara Madison brought the carnations, and 
Nita Reese, a girl in my geometry division, 
sent the white roses, and Eleanor the pink 
ones, and the freshman I was sliding with 
these lilies-of-the-valley. It's almost worth a 
sprained wrist to find out how kind people are 
to you," said Betty gratefully. 

'' Too bad you'll miss to-night," said Mary, 
^' but maybe it will snow." 



BETTT WALES i8i 

" I don't mind that. The worst thing is my 
not being able to get my conditions off the 
bulletin," said Betty, making a wry face. 

'' Goodness ! That is a calamity ! " said 
Katherine with mock seriousness. 

*' Nonsense ! You've studied," from Rachel. 

'' If you should have any conditions, I'll 
bring them to you," volunteered Eleanor 
quietly. Then she looked straight at Rachel 
and Katherine and smiled pleasantly. '' I'm 
sorry to say that I haven't studied," she 
said. 

Betty thanked her, feeling more pleased at 
the apparent harmony of the household than 
she had been with all her flowers. It was so 
difficult to like Eleanor and Rachel and Kath- 
erine and Helen, all four, so well, when 
Rachel and Katherine had good reason for 
disliking Eleanor, and Helen wouldn't hitch 
with any of the rest. 

'' Do you know that Prexy had forbidden 
sliding on dust-pans ?" asked Mary Rich in 
the awkward pause that followed. 

'' Oh, yes," added Mary Brooks, '' I forgot to 
tell you. So it's just as well that I lost mine 
in the shuffle." 



i82 BETTT WALES 

^' But I'm sorry to have been the one to stop 
the fun," said Betty sadly. 

'' Oh, it wasn't wholly that. Two other 
girls banged into each other after we left." 

'' But you're the famous one," added Rachel, 
" because you knocked over Miss Ferris. She 
looked so funny and knowing when Prexy 
announced it in chapel." 

"■ I wish I could do something for you too," 
said Helen timidly, after the rest had drifted 
out of the room. 

" Why you have," Betty assured her. " You 
helped a lot both times the doctor came, and 
you've stayed out of the room whenever I 
wanted lo sleep, and brought up all my meals, 
and written home for me." 

Helen flushed. '' That's nothing. I meant 
something pretty like those," and she pointed 
to the tableful of flowers, and then going over 
to it buried her face in the bowl of English 
violets. 

Betty watched her for a moment with a 
vague feeling of pit}^ '' I don't suppose she 
has ten cents a month to spend on such 
things," she thought, '' and as for having them 
sent to her " Then she said aloud, '' We 



BETTT WALES 183 

certainly don't need any more of those at pres- 
ent. Were you going to the basket-ball 
game? " 

"• I thought I would, if you didn't want 
me." 

^^ Not a bit, and you're to wear some violets 
— a nice big bunch. Hand me the bowl, 
please, and I'll tie them up." 

Helen gave a little gasp of pleasure. Then 
her face clouded. '' But I couldn't take your 
violets," she added quickly. 

Betty laughed and went on tying up the 
bunch, only making it bigger than she had at 
first intended. After Helen had gone she 
cried just a little. '' I don't believe she ever 
had any violets before," she said to the green 
lizard. '' Why, her eyes were like stars — 
she was positively pretty." 

More than one person noticed the happy 
little girl who sat quite alone in the running 
track, dividing her eager attention between 
the game and the violets which she wore 
pinned to her shabby, old-fashioned brown 
jacket. 

Meanwhile Betty, propped up among her 
pillows, was trying to answer Nan's last letter. 



i84 BETTT WALES 

''You seem to be interested in so many 
other people's affairs/' Nan had written, '' that 
you haven't any time for your own. Don't 
make the mistake of being a hanger-on." 

'' You see, Nan," wrote Betty, '' I am at last 
a heroine, an interesting invalid, with scars, 
and five bouquets of flowers on my table. I 
am sorry that I don't amount to more usually. 
The trouble is that the other people here are 
so clever or so something-or-other that I can't 
help being more interested in them. I'm 
afraid I am only an average girl, but I do 
seem to have a lot of friends and Miss Ferris, 
whom you are always admiring, has asked me 
to five o'clock tea. Perhaps, some day " 

Writing with one's left hand was too labor- 
ious, so Betty put the letter in a pigeon-hole 
of her desk to be finished later. As she 
slipped the sheets in. Miss Ferris's note 
dropped out. '' I wonder if I shall ever want 
to ask her anything," thought Betty, as she 
put it carefully away in the small drawer of 
her desk that held her dearest treasures. 



CHAPTER XII 

A TRIUMPH FOR DEMOCRACY 

By Wednesday Bett}^ was well enough to go 
to classes, though she felt very conspicuous 
with her scratched face and her wrist in a 
sling. And so when early Wednesday after- 
noon Eleanor pounced on her and Katherine 
and demanded why they were not starting to 
class-meeting, she replied that she at least was 
not going. 

'' Nor I," said Katherine decidedly. '' It's 
sure to be stupid." 

'' I'm sorry/' said Eleanor. " We may need 
you badly ; every one is so busy this week. 
Perhaps you'll change your minds before two- 
thirty, and if you do, please bring all the other 
girls that you can along. You know the 
notice was marked important." 

" Evidently all arranged beforehand," 
sniffed Katherine, as Eleanor departed, ex- 
plaining that she had promised to be on hand 
early, ready to drum up a quorum if necessary. 

i8s 



i86 BETTT IVALES 

Betty looked out at the clear winter sun- 
shine. *' I wanted a little walk/' she said. 
'^ Let's go. If it's long and stupid we can 
leave ; and we ought to be loyal to our class." 

'' All right," agreed Katherine. '' I'll go if 
you will. I should rather like to see what 
they have on hand this time." 

'' They " meant the Hill-School contingent, 
who from the initial meeting had continued to 
run the affairs of the class of 1 9 — . Some of the 
girls were indignant, and a few openly rebel- 
lious, but the majority were either indifferent 
or satisfied that the Hill clique was as good as 
any other that might get control in its stead. 
So the active opposition had been able to ac- 
complish nothing, and Hill's machine, as a 
cynical sophomore had dubbed it, had elected 
its candidates for three class officers and the 
freshman representative on the Students' Com- 
mission, while the various class committees 
were largely made up of Jean Eastman's inti- 
mate friends. 

'' I hope that some of the crowd have nicer 
manners than our dear Eleanor and are better 
students," Mary Brooks had said to Betty. 
*' Otherwise I'm afraid your ship of state will 



BETTT WALES 187 

run into a snag of faculty prejudices some fine 
day." 

Betty belonged to the indifferent faction of 
the class. She was greatly interested in all its 
activities, and prepared to be proud of its 
achievements, but she possessed none of the 
instincts of a wire-puller. So long as the class 
offices were creditably filled she cared not who 
held them, and comparing her ignorance of 
parliamentary procedure with the glib self- 
confidence of Jean, Eleanor and their friends, 
she even felt grateful to them for rescuing the 
class from the pitfalls that beset inexperience. 

Katherine, on the other hand, was a bitter 
opponent of what she called " ring rule," and 
Adelaide Rich, who was the only recruit that 
they could succeed in adding to their party, 
had never forgotten the depths of iniquity 
which her pessimistic acquaintance had re- 
vealed in the seemingly innocent and well 
conducted first meeting, and was prepared to 
distrust everything, down to the reading of 
the minutes. 

The three were vigorously applauded when 
they appeared in the door of No. 19, the biggest 
recitation room in the main building and so 



i88 BETTT WALES 

the one invariably appropriated to freshman 
assemblies. Katherine whispered to Mary 
that she had not known Betty was quite so 
popular as all that ; but a girl on the row be- 
hind the one in which they found seats ex- 
plained matters by whispering that three had 
been the exact number needed to make up a 
quorum. 

The secretary's report was hastily read and 
accepted, and then Miss Eastman stated that 
the business of the meeting was to elect a class 
representative for the Washington's Birthday 
debate. 

'' Some of you know," she continued, '' that 
the Students' Commission has decided to 
make a humorous debate the main feature 
of the morning rally. We and the juniors 
are to take one side, and the senior and sopho- 
more representatives the other. Now I sup- 
pose the first thing to decide is how our repre- 
sentative shall be chosen." 

A buzz of talk spread over the room. 
" Why didn't they let us know beforehand — 
give us time to think who we'd have?" in- 
quired the talkative girl on the row behind. 

The president rapped for order as Kate 



BETTr WALES 189 

Deiiise, her roommate, rose to make a mo- 
tion. 

"■ Madame president, I move that the fresh- 
man representative aforesaid be chosen by the 
chair. Of course," she went on less formally, 
turning to the girls, " that is by far the quick- 
est way, and Jean knows the girls as a whole 
so well — much better than any of us, I'm 
sure. I think that a lot depends on choosing 
just the right person for our debater, and we 
ought not to trust to a haphazard election." 

'* Haphazard is good," muttered the loqua- 
cious freshman, in tones plainly audible at 
the front of the room. 

'' Of course that means a great responsi- 
bility for me," murmured the president 
modestly. 

'' Put it to vote," commanded a voice 
from the front row, which was always occu- 
pied by the ruljng faction. '' And remember, 
all of you, that if we ballot for representative 
we don't get out of here till four oclock." 

The motion was summarily put to vote, and 
the ayes had it at once, as the ayes are likely 
to do unless a matter has been thoroughly 
discussed. 



I90 BETTT WALES 

''1 name Eleanor Watson, then," said Miss 
Eastman with suspicious promptness. " Will 
somebody move to adjourn? " 

'' Well, of all ridiculous appointments ! " 
exclaimed the loquacious girl under cover of 
the applause and the noise of moving chairs. 

'^ Right you are ! " responded Katherine, 
laughing at Adelaide Rich's disgusted ex- 
pression. 

But Betty was smiling happily with her 
eyes on the merry group around Eleanor. 
" Aren't you glad, girls? " she said. " Won't 
she do well, and won't the house be proud 
of her?" 

^' I for one never noticed that she was a 
single bit humorous," began Mary indig- 
nantly. 

Katherine pinched her arm vigorously. 
'' Don't! What's the use? " she whispered. 

'' Nor I, but I suppose Miss Eastman knows 
that she can be funny," answered Betty confi- 
dently, as she hurried off to congratulate 
Eleanor. 

She was invited to the supper to be given 
at Cuyler's that night in Eleanor's honor, and 
went home blissfully unconscious that half 



BETTr WALES 191 

the class was talking itself hoarse over Jean 
Eastman's bad taste in appointing a notorious 
"' cutter " and "' flunker " to represent them on 
so important an occasion, just because she 
happened to be the best dressed and prettiest 
girl in the Hill crowd. 

The next afternoon most of the girls were 
at gym or the library, and Betty, who was 
still necessarily excused from her daily exer- 
cise, was working away on her Latin, when 
some one knocked imperatively on her door. 
It was Jean Eastman. 

'' Good-afternoon, Miss Wales," she said 
hurriedly. '^ Will you lend me a pencil and 
paper ? Eleanor has such a habit of keeping 
her desk locked, and I want to leave her a 
note." 

She scribbled rapidly for a moment, frowned 
as she read through what she had written, and 
looked doubtfully from it to Betty. Then she 
rose to go. '' Will you call her attention to 
this, please ? " she said. '' It's very important. 
And, Miss Wales, — if she should consult you, 
do advise her to resign quietly and leave it to 
me to smooth things over." 

"■ Resign ? " repeated Betty vaguely. 



192 BETir IVALES 

'' Yes," said Jean. " You see — well, I 
might as well tell you now, that I've said so 
much. The faculty object to her taking the 
debate. Perhaps you know, that she's very 
much in their black books, but I didn't. And 
I never dreamed that they would think it any 
of their business who was our debater, but I 
assure you they do. At least half a dozen of 
them have spoken to me about her poor work 
and her cutting. They say that she is just as 
much ineligible for this as she would be for 
the musical clubs or the basket-ball team. 
Now what I want is for Eleanor to write a 
sweet little note of resignation to-night, so 
that I can appoint some one else bright and 
early in the morning." 

Betty's eyes grew big with anxiety. '' But 
won't the girls guess the reason?" she cried. 
'' Think how proud Eleanor is. Miss Eastman. 
It would hurt her terribly if any one found out 
that she had been conditioned. You shouldn't 
have told me — indeed you shouldn't ! " 

Jean laughed carelessly. " Well, you 
know now, and there's no use crying over 
spilt milk. I used that argument about the 
publicity of the affair to the faculty, but it 



BETTT WALES 193 

was no go. So the only thing for you to do is 
to help Eleanor write a nice, convincing note 
of resignation that I can read at the next 
meeting, when I announce my second ap- 
pointment." 

^' But Eleanor won't ask my help," said 
Betty decidedly, '' and, besides, what can she 
say, after accepting all the congratulations, 
and having the supper? " 

Jean laughed again. '' I'm afraid you're 
not a bit ingenious, Miss Wales," she said ris- 
ing to go, '' but fortunately Eleanor is. 
Good-bye." 

When Betty handed Eleanor the note she 
read it through unconcernedly, unconcernedly 
tore it into bits as she talked, and spent the 
entire evening, apparently, in perfect con- 
tentment and utter idleness, strumming 
softly on her guitar. 

The next morning Betty met Jean on the 
campus. '' Did she tell you? " asked Jean. 

Betty shook her head. 

"■ I thought likely she hadn't. Well, what 
do you suppose? She won't resign. She 
says that there's no real reason she can give, 
and that she's now making it a rule to tell the 



194 BETTT WALES 

truth ; that I'm in a hox, not she, and I may 
climb out of it as best as I can." 

"Did she really say that?" demanded 
Betty, a note of pleasure in her voice. 

'' Yes," snapped Jean, "■ and since you're so 
extremely cheerful over it, perhaps you can 
tell me what to do next." 

Betty stared at her blankly. " I forgot," she 
said. ''The girls mustn't know. We must 
cover it up somehow." 

'' Exactly," agreed Jean crossly, '' but what 
I want to know is — how." 

"■ Why not ask the class to choose its 
speaker ? All the other classes did." 

Jean looked doubtful. '' I know they did. 
That would make it very awkward for me, 
but I suppose I might say there had been dis- 
satisfaction — that's true enough, — and we 

could have it all arranged Well, when 

I call a meeting, be sure to come and help us 
out." 

The meeting was posted for Saturday, and 
all the Chapin house girls, except Helen, who 
never had time for such things, and Eleanor, 
attended it. Eleanor was expecting a caller, 
she said. Besides, as she hadn't been to classes 



BETTT WALES i% 

in the morning there was no sense in em- 
phasizing the fact by parading through the 
campus in the afternoon. 

At the last minute she called Betty back. 
*' Paul may not get over to-day/' she said. 
^' Won't you come home right oiF to tell me 
about it? I — well, you'll see later why I 
want to know — if you haven't guessed al- 
ready." 

The class of 19 — had an inkling that some- 
thing unusual was in the wind and had turned 
out in full force. There was no need of wait- 
ing for a quorum this time. After the usual 
preliminaries Jean Eastman rose and began a 
halting, nervous little speech. 

*' I have heard," she began, "■ that is — a 
great many people in and out of the class 
have spoken to me about the matter of the 
Washington's Birthday debate. I mean, about 
the way in which our debater was appointed. 
I understand there is a great deal of dissatis- 
faction — that some of the class say they did 
not understand which way they were voting, 
and so on. So I thought you might like to 
reconsider your vote. I certainly, considering 
my position in the matter, want you to have 



196 BETTr IVALES 

the chance to do so. Now, can we have this 
point thoroughly discussed ? " Then, as no 
one rose, '' Miss Wales, won't you tell us what 
you think ? " 

Betty stared helplessly at Jean for a mo- 
ment and then, assisted by vigorous pushes 
from Katherine and Rachel, who sat on either 
side of her, rose hesitatingly to her feet. 
'' Miss Eastman, — I mean, madame president," 
she began. She stopped for an instant to look 
at her audience. Apparently the class of 19 — 
was merely astonished and puzzled by Jean's 
suggestion ; there was no indication that any 
one — except possibly a few of the Hill girls — 
had any idea of her motive. ^' Madame presi- 
dent," repeated Betty, forcing back the lump 
that had risen in her throat when she realized 
that the keeping of Eleanor's secret lay largely 
with her, '' Miss Watson is my friend, and I 
was very much pleased to have her for our rep- 
resentative. But I do feel, and I believe the 
other girls do, as they come to think it over, 
that it would have been better to elect our 
representative. Then we should every one of 
us have had a direct interest in the result of 
the debate. Besides, all the other classes 



BETTT IVALES 197 

elected theirs, and so I think, if Miss Watson 
is willing " 

'^ Miss Watson is perfectly willing," broke 
in Jean. '^ A positive engagement unfortu- 
nately prevents her being here to say so, but 
she authorized me to state that she preferred 
the elective choice herself, and to tell you to 
do just as you think best in the matter. 
She Go on. Miss Wales." 

'' Oh, that was all," said Betty hastily slip- 
ping back into her seat. 

A group of girls in the farthest corner of 
the room clapped vigorously. 

'' Nothing cut-and-dried about that," whis- 
pered Katherine to Adelaide Rich. 

" Are there any more remarks ? " inquired 
the president. No one seemed anxious to 
speak, and she went on rather aimlessly. 
'' Miss Wales has really covered the ground, I 
think. The other classes all elected their de- 
baters, and I fancy they want us to do the 
same. As for the faculty — well, I may as 
well say that they almost insist upon a 
change." 

'^ Good crawl," whispered Katherine, who 
was quick to put two and two together, to 



198 BETTT WALES 

Adelaide Rich, who never got tlie point of 
any but the most obvious remarks, and who 
now looked much perplexed. 

Meanwhile Betty had been holding whis- 
pered consultations with some of the girls 
around her, and now she rose again. Her 
'' madame president " was so obviously prior 
to Kate Denise's that when Kate was recog- 
nized there was an ominous murmur of dis- 
content and Jean apologized and promptly 
reversed her decision. 

'' Perhaps I oughtn't to speak twice," said 
Betty blushing at the commotion she had 
caused, '' but if we are to change our vote, 
some of us think it would be fun to hold a 
preliminary debate now, and choose our 
speaker on her merits. We did that once at 
school " 

" Good stunt," called some one. 

'' I move that Miss Wales as chairman select 
a committee of arrangements, and that we 
have a five minute recess while the committee 
meets." 

'' I move that there be two committees, one 
for nominating speakers and the other for 
choosing a subject." 



BETTT WALES 199 

" I move that we reconsider our other vote 
first." 

The motions were coming in helter-skelter 
from all quarters, instead of decorously from 
the front row as usual. The president was 
trying vainly to restore order and to remem- 
ber whose motion should have precedence, 
and to make way somehow for the pre- 
arranged nomination, which so far had been 
entirely crowded out, when three girls in one 
corner of the room began thumping on their 
seat-arms and chanting in rhythmic, insistent 
chorus, ^' We — want — Emily — Davis. We — 
want — Emily — Davis. We — want — Emily — 
Davis." 

Hardly any one in the room had ever heard 
of Emily Davis, but the three girls constituted 
an original and very popular little coterie 
known individually as Babe, Babbie, and Bob, 
or collectively as ''the three B's." They 
roomed on the top floor of the Westcott House 
and were famous in the house for being at the 
same time prime favorites of the matron and 
the ringleaders in every plot against her peace 
of mind, and outside for their unique and 
diverting methods of recreation. It was they 



200 BETTT WALES 

who had successful!}^ gulled Mary Brooks with 
a rumor as absurd as her own ; and accounts 
of the '' spread " they had handed out to the 
night-watchman in a tin pail, and dangled 
just out of his reach, in the hope of extracting 
a promise from that incorruptible worthy not 
to report their lights, until the string inconti- 
nently broke and the ice cream and lobster 
salad descended as a flood, were reported to 
have made even the august president of the 
college laugh. Ergo, if they '' wanted " Emily 
Davis, she must be worth ''wanting." So 
their friends took up the cry, and it quickly 
spread and gathered volume, until nearly 
everybody in the room was shouting the 
same thing. Finally the president stepped 
forward and made one determined demand 
for order. 

'' Is Miss Emily Davis present? " she called, 
when the tumult had slightly subsided. 

'' Yes," shouted the Three and the few oth- 
ers who knew Miss Davis by sight. 

'' Then will she please — why, exactly what 
is it that you want of her?" questioned the 
president, a trifle haughtily. 

'' Speech ! " chorused the Three. 



BETTT WALES 201 

"Will Miss Davis please speak to us?" 
asked the president. 

At that a very tall girl who was ineffectually 
attempting to hide behind little Alice Waite 
was pulled and pushed to her feet, and amid 
a sudden silence began the funniest speech 
that most of the class of 19 — had ever listened 
to ; but it was not so much what she said as 
her inimitable drawling delivery and her 
lunging, awkward gestures that brought down 
the house. When she took her seat again, 
resolutely ignoring persistent cries of '' More ! " 
the class applauded her to the echo and elected 
her freshman debater by acclamation. 

It was wonderful what a change those twenty 
riotous minutes had made in the spirit of the 
class of 19 — . For the first time in its history 
it was an enthusiastic, single-hearted unit, and 
to the credit of the Hill girls be it said that 
no one was more enthusiastic or joined in the 
applause with greater vigor than they. They 
had not meant to be autocratic — except three 
of them ; they had simply acted according to 
their lights, or rather, their leaders' lights. 
Now they understood how affairs could be con- 
ducted at Harding, and during the rest of the 



202 BETTT WALES 

course they never entirely forgot or ignored 
the new method. 

To Betty's utter astonishment and conster- 
nation the lion's share of credit for the sudden 
triumph of democracy was laid at her door. 
The group around her after the meeting was 
almost as large and quite as noisy as the one 
that was struggling to shake hands with Miss 
Davis. 

'' Don't ! You mustn't. Why, it was the 
B's who got her, not I," protested Betty vig- 
orously. 

'^ No, you began it," said Babe. 

'' You bet you did," declared Bob. 

" Yes, indeed. We were too scared to speak 
of her until you proposed something like it," 
added Babbie in her sw^eet, lilting treble. 

"■ You can't get out of it. You are the real 
founder of this democracy," ended Christy 
Mason decidedly. Betty was proud of Christy's 
approval. It was fun, too, to have the Hill 
girls crowding around and saying pleasant 
things to her. 

" I almost think I'm somebody at last. 
Won't Nan be pleased ! " she reflected as she 
hurried home to keep her promise to Eleanor. 



BETTr TFALES 203 

Then she laughed merrily all to herself. 
*' Those silly girls ! I really didn't do a 
thing," she thought. And then she sighed. 
'' I never get a chance to be a bit vain. I wish 
I could — one little wee bit. I wonder if Mr. 
West came." 

It did not occur to Betty as at all significant 
that Jean Eastman and Kate Denise had not 
spoken to her after the meeting, until, when 
she knocked on Eleanor's door, Eleanor came 
formally to open it. " Jean and Kate are 
here," she said coldly, '' so unless you care to 
«top " 

Jean and Kate nodded silently from the 
couch where they were eating candy. 

'' Oh, no," said Betty in quick astonishment. 
" I'll come some other time." 

'' You needn't bother," answered Eleanor 
rudely. " They've told me all about it," and 
she shut the door, leaving Betty standing 
alone in the hall. 

Betty winked hard to keep back the tears 
as she hurried to her own room. What could 
it all mean? She had done her best for 
Eleanor, and nobody had guessed — they had 
been too busy laughing at that ridiculous 



204 BETTT WALES 

Emily Davis — and now Eleanor treated her 
like this. And Jean Eastman, too, when she 
had done exactly what Jean wanted of her. 
Jean's curtness was even less explainable than 
Eleanor's, though it mattered less. It was all 
— queer. Betty smiled faintly as she applied 
Alice Waite's favorite adjective. Well, there 
was nothing more to be done until she could 
see Eleanor after dinner. So she wiped her 
eyes, smoothed her hair, and went resolutely 
off to find Roberta, whose heavy shoes — an- 
other of Roberta's countless fads — had just 
clumped past her door. 

'' I'm writing my definitions for to-morrow's 
English," announced Roberta. '' For the one 
we could choose ourselves I'm going to in- 
vent a word and then make up a meaning for 
it. Isn't that a nice idea ? " 

'* Very," said Betty listlessly. 

Roberta looked at her keenly. '^ I believe 
you're homesick," she said. ^' How funny 
after such a jubilant afternoon." 

Betty smiled wearily. '' Perhaps I am. 
Anyway, I wish I were at home." 

Meanwhile in Eleanor's room an acrimo- 
nious discussion was in progress. 



BETTT WALES 205 

"The more I think of it," Kate Denise was 
saying emphatically, '' the surer I am that she 
didn't do a thing against us this afternoon. 
She isn't to blame for having started a land- 
slide by accident, Jean. Did you see her face 
when Eleanor turned her down just now? 
She looked absolutely nonplussed." 

'' Most people do when the lady Eleanor 
turns and rends them," returned Jean, with a 
reminiscent smile. 

'' Just the same," continued Kate Denise, 
'' I say you have a lot to thank her for this 
afternoon, Jean Eastman. She got you out of 
a tight hole in splendid shape. None of us 
could have done it without stamping the 
whole thing a put-up job, and most of the out- 
siders who could have helped you out, 
wouldn't have cared to oblige you. It was 
irritating to see her rallying the multitudes, 
I'll admit ; but I insist that it wasn't her 
fault. We ought to have managed better." 

" Say I ought to have managed better and 
be done with it," muttered Jean crossly. 

'' You certainly ought," retorted Eleanor. 
*' You've made me the laughing-stock of the 
whole college." 



2o6 BETTT WALES 

"■ No, Eleanor/' broke in Kate Denise pacif- 
ically. " Truly, your dignity is intact, thanks 
to Miss Wales and those absurd B's who fol- 
lowed her lead." 

"■ Never mind them. I'm talking about 
Betty Wales. She was a friend of mine — she 
was at the supper the other night. Why 
couldn't she leave it to some one else to object 
to your appointing me ? " 

'' Oh, if that's all you care about," said 
Jean irritably, ^' don't blame Miss Wales. The 
thing had to be done you know. I didn't see 
that it mattered who did it, and so I — well, 
I practically asked her. What I'm talk- 
ing about is her way of going at it — her 
having pushed herself forward so, and really 

thrown us out of power by using what I " 

Jean caught herself suddenly, remembering 
that Eleanor did not know about Betty's hav- 
ing been let into the secret. 

'* By using what you told her," finished 
Kate innocently. '' Well, why did you tell 
her all about it, if you didn't expect " 

Eleanor stood up suddenl}^ her face white 
with anger. " How dared you," she chal- 
lenged. '' As if it wasn't insulting enough to 



BETTT WALES 207 

get me into a scrape like this, and give any 
one with two eyes a chance to see through 
your flimsy little excuses, but you have to go 
round telling people " 

'' Eleanor, stop," begged Jean. '' She was 
the only one I told. I let it out quite by ac- 
cident the day I came up here to see you. 
Not another soul knows it but Kate, and you 
told her yourself. You'd have told Betty 
Wales, too, — you know you would — if we 
hadn't seen you first this afternoon." 

" Suppose I should," Eleanor retorted hotly. 
'' What I do is my own affair. Please go 
home." 

Jean stalked out in silence, but Kate, hesi- 
tating between Scylla and Charybdis, lingered 
to say consolingly, '' Cheer up, Eleanor. 
When you come to think it over, it won't 
seem so " 

'' Please go home," repeated Eleanor, and 
Kate hurried after her roommate. 



CHAPTER XIII 

SAINT valentine's ASSISTANTS 

If Eleanor had taken Kate's advice and in- 
dulged in a little calm reflection, she would 
have realized how absolutely reasonless was 
her anger against Betty Wales. Betty had 
been told of the official objections which 
made it necessary for Eleanor to be withdrawn 
from the debate. Her action, then, had been 
wholly proper and perfectly friendly. But 
Eleanor was in no mood for reflection. A 
wild burst of passion held her flrmly in its 
grasp. She hated everybody and everything 
in Harding — the faculty who had made such 
a commotion about two little low grades — for 
Eleanor had come surprisingly near to clear- 
ing her record at mid-years, — Jean, who had 
stupidly brought all this extra annoyance 
upon her ; the class, who were glad to get rid 
of her, Betty, who — yes, Jean had been right 
about one thing — Betty, who had taken ad- 
vantage of a friend's misfortune to curry favor 
for herself They were all leagued against 

208 



BETTT WALES 209 

her. But — here the Watson pride suddenly 
asserted itself — they should never know that 
she cared, never guess that they had hurt 
her. 

She deliberately selected the most becoming 
of her new evening gowns, and in an incred- 
ibly short time swept down to dinner, 
radiantly beautiful in the creamy lace dress, 
and — outwardly at least — in her sunniest, 
most charming mood. She insisted that the 
table should admire her dress, and the pearl 
pendant which her aunt had just sent her. 

''I'm wearing it, you see, to celebrate my re- 
turn to the freedom of private life," she 
rattled on glibly. " I understand you've 
found a genius to take my place. I'm de- 
lighted that we have one in the class. It's so 
convenient. Who of you are going to the 
Burton House dance to-night? " 

So she led the talk from point to point and 
from hand to hand. She bantered Mary, de- 
ferred to Helen and the Riches, appealed in 
comradely fashion to Katherine and Rachel. 
Betty alone she utterly, though quite unosten- 
tatiously, ignored ; and Betty, too much hurt 
to make any effort, stood aside and tried to solve 



2IO BETTT (VALES 

the riddle of Eleanor's latest caprice. On the 
way up-stairs Eleanor spoke to her for the first 
time. She went up just ahead of her and at 
the top of the flight she turned and waited. 

" I understand that you quite ran the class 
to-day/' she said with a flashing smile. '' The 
girls tell me that you're a born orator, as good 
in your way as the genius in hers." 

Betty rallied herself for one last effort. 
'' Don't make fun of me, Eleanor. Please let 
me come in and tell you about it. You don't 
understand " 

" Possibly not," said Eleanor coldly. " But 
I*m going out now." 

^' Just for a moment ! " 

*' But I have to start at once. I'm late al- 
ready." 

'' Oh, very well," said Betty, and turned 
away to join Mary and Roberta. 

Eleanor's mind always worked with 
lightning rapidity, and while she dressed she 
had gone over the whole situation and de- 
cided exactly how she would meet it ; and in 
the weeks that followed she kept rigidly to 
the course she had marked out for herself, 
changing only one detail. At first she had 



BETTT WALES 211 

intended to have nothing more to do with 
Jean, but she saw that a sudden breaking off 
of their friendship would be remarked upon 
and wondered at. So she compromised by 
treating Jean exactly as usual, but seeing her 
as little as possible. This made it necessary 
to refuse many of her invitations to college 
affairs, for wherever she went Jean was likely 
to go. So she spent much of her leisure time 
away from Harding ; she went to Winsted a 
great deal, and often ran down to Boston or 
New York for Sunday, declaring that the 
trips meant nothing to a Westerner used to 
the ^' magnificent distances " of the plains. 
Naturally she grew more and more out of 
touch with the college life, more and more 
scornful of the girls who could be content 
with the narrow, humdrum routine at Hard- 
ing. But she concealed her scorn perfectly. 
And she no longer neglected her work ; 
she attended her classes regularly and man- 
aged with a modicum of preparation to re- 
cite far better than the average student. 
Furthermore her work was now scrupulously 
honest, and she was sensitively alert to the 
slightest imputation of untruthfulness. She 



212 BETTT WALES 

offered no specious explanations for her with- 
drawal from the debate, and when Mary 
Brooks innocently inquired '^ what little 
yarn " she told the registrar, that she could 
get away so often, Eleanor fixed her with an 
unpleasantly penetrative stare and answered 
with all her old-time hauteur that she did not 
tell '' yarns." 

'' I have a note from my father. So long 
as I do my work and go to all my classes, 
they really can't object to my spending my 
Sundays as he wishes." 

Betty observed all these changes without 
being in the least able to reconcile them with 
Eleanor's new attitude toward herself Un- 
like the friendship with Jean, Eleanor's inter- 
course with her had been inconspicuous, con- 
fined mostly to the Chapin house itself Even 
the girls there, because Eleanor had stood so 
aloof from them, had seen little of it, so 
Eleanor was free to break it ofi* without think- 
ing of public opinion, and she did so ruth- 
lessly. From the day of the class meeting 
she spoke to Betty only when she must, or, if 
no one was by, when some taunting remark 
occurred to her. 



BETTT WALES 213 

At first Betty tried her best to think how 
she could have offended, but she could not 
discuss the subject with any one else and end- 
less consideration and rejection of hypotheses 
was fruitless, so after Eleanor had twice re- 
fused her an interview that would have set- 
tled the matter, she sensibly gave it up. 
Eleanor would perhaps '' come round " in 
time. Meanwhile it was best to let her alone. 

But Betty felt that she was having more 
than her share of trouble ; Helen was quite 
as trying in her way as Eleanor in hers. She 
had entirely lost her cheerful air and seemed 
to have grown utterly discouraged with life. 

"• And no wonder, for she studies every 
minute," Betty told Rachel and Katherine. 
"• I think she feels hurt because the girls don't 
get to like her better, but how can they when 
she doesn't give them any chance ? " 

" She's awfully touchy lately," added 
Katherine. 

'' Poor little thing ! " said Rachel. 

Then the three plunged into an animated 
discussion of basket-ball, and Rachel and 
Katherine, who were on a sort of provisional 
team that included most of the best freshman 



214 BETTT Pl^ALES 

players and arrogated to itself the name of 
'' The Stars," showed Betty in strictest confi- 
dence the new cross-play that '' T. Reed " had 
invented. '' T. Reed " seemed to be the 
basket-ball genius of the freshman class. She 
^vas the only girl who was perfectly sure to 
be on the regular team. 

It is one of the fine things about college 
that no matter who of your friends are tem- 
porarily lost to you, there is always somebody 
else to fall back upon, and some new interest 
to take the place of one that flags. Betty had 
noticed this and been amused by it early in 
her course. Sometimes, as she said to Miss 
Ferris in one of her many long talks with 
that lady, things change so fast that you really 
begin to wonder if you can be the same per- 
son you were last week. 

Besides the inter-class basket-ball game, 
there was the Hilton House play to talk about 
and look forward to, and the rally ; and, 
nearer still, St. Valentine's day. It was a 
long time, to be sure, since Betty had been 
much excited over the last named festival ; 
in her experience only children exchanged 
valentines. But at Harding it seemed to be 



BETTT WALES 215 

different. While the day was still several 
weeks off she had received three invitations to 
valentine parties. She consulted Mary Brooks 
and found that this was not at all unusual. 

'' All the campus houses give them," Mary 
explained, '^ and the big ones outside, just as 
they do for Hallowe'en. They have valentine 
boxes, you know, and sometimes fancy dress 
balls." 

And there the matter would have dropped 
if Mary had not spent all her monthly allow- 
ance three full weeks before she was supposed 
to have any more. Poverty was Mary's 
chronic state. Not that Dr. Brooks's checks 
were small, but his daughter's spending ca- 
pacity was infinite. 

'' You wait till you're a prominent sopho- 
more," she said when Katherine laughed at 
her, '' and all your friends are making so- 
cieties, and you just have to provide violets 
and suppers, in hopes that they'll do as much 
for you later on. The whole trouble is that 
father wants me to be on an allowance, in- 
stead of writing home for money when I'm 
out. And no matter how much I say 1 need, 
it never lasts out the month." 



2i6 BETTT WALES 

'' Why don't you tutor? " suggested Rachel, 
who got along easily on a third of what Mary 
spent. '' I hope to next year." 

'' Tutor ! " repeated Mary with a reminiscent 
chuckle. " I tried to tutor my cousin this 
fall in algebra, and the poor thing flunked 
much worse than before. But anyway the 
faculty wouldn't give me regular tutoring. I 
look too well-to-do. Ah ! how deceitful are 
appearances ! " sighed Mary, opening her 
pocketbook, where five copper pennies rattled 
about forlornly. 

But the very next day she dashed into 
Betty's room proclaiming loudly, " I have an 
idea, and I want you to help me, Betty 
Wales. You can draw and I'll cut them out 
and drum up customers, and I guess I can 
write the verses. We ought to make our ad. 
to-night." 

''Our what?" inquired Betty in an 
absolutely mystified tone. 

Then Mary explained that she proposed to 
sell valentines. '' Lots of the girls who can't 
draw buy theirs, not down-town, you know — 
we don't give that kind here, — but cunning 
little hand-made ones with pen-and-ink draw- 



BETTT WALES 217 

ings and original verses. Haven't you no- 
ticed the signs on the ' For Sale ' bulletin ? " 

Betty had not even seen that bulletin 
board since she and Helen had hunted 
second-hand screens early in the fall, but the 
plan sounded very attractive ; it would fill 
up her spare hours, and keep her from worry- 
ing over Eleanor, and getting cross at Helen, 
so she was very willing to help if Mary 
honestly thought she could draw well 
enough. 

^' Goodness, yes ! " said Mary, rushing off 
to borrow Roberta's water-color paper and 
Katherine's rhyming dictionary. 

So the partnership was formed, a huge 
red heart covered with hastily decorated 
samples was stuck up on the '' For Sale " 
bulletin in the gymnasium basement, and, as 
Betty's cupids were really very charming and 
her Christy heads quite as good as the average 
copy, names began to appear in profusion on 
the order-sheet. 

Mary had written two sample verses with 
comparative ease, and in the first flush of 
confidence she had boldly printed on the 
sign : '' Rhymed grinds for special persons 



2i8 BETTT IVALES 

furnished at reasonable rates." But later, 
when everybody seemed to want that kind, 
even the valuable aid of the rhyming 
dictionary did not disprove the adage that 
poets are born, not made. 

" I can't — I just can't do them," wailed 
Mary finally. *' Jokes simply will not go 
into rhyme. What shall we do? " 

'' Get Roberta — she writes beautifully — and 
Katherine — she told me that she'd like to 
help," suggested Betty, without looking up 
from the chubby cupid she was fashioning. 

So Katherine and Roberta were duly ap- 
proached and Katherine was added to the 
firm. Roberta at first said she couldn't, but 
finally, after exacting strict pledges of secrecy, 
she produced half a dozen dainty little lyrics, 
bidding Mary use them if she wished — they 
were nothing. But no amount of persuasion 
would induce her to do any more. 

However, Katherine's genius was nothing 
if not profuse, and she preferred to do 
" grinds," so Mary could devote herself to 
sentimental effusions, — which, so she declared, 
did not have to have any special point and so 
were within her powers, — and to the business 



BETTT WALES 219 

end of the project. This, in her view, con- 
sisted in perching on a centrally located 
window-seat in the main building, in the 
intervals between classes, and soliciting orders 
from all passers-by, to the consequent crowd- 
ing of the narrow halls and the great annoy- 
ance of the serious-minded, who wished to 
reach their recitations promptly. But from 
her point of view she was strikingly suc- 
cessful. 

'^ I tell you, I never appreciated how easy 
it is to make money if you only set about it 
in the right way," she announced proudly 
one day at luncheon. "' By the way, Betty, 
would you run down after gym to get our old 
order sheet and put up a new one ? I have a 
special topic in psychology to-morrow, and if 
Professor Hinsdale really thinks Fm clever I 
don't want to undeceive him too suddenly." 

Betty promised, but after gym Rachel 
asked her to stay and play basket-ball with 
*' The Stars " in the place of an absent mem- 
ber. Naturally she forgot everything else and 
it was nearly six o'clock when, sauntering 
home from an impromptu tea-drinking at the 
Belden House, she remembered the order 



220 BETTT WALES 

sheet. It was very dusky in the basement. 
Betty, plunging down the steps that led 
directly into the small room where the bulletin 
board was, almost knocked down a girl who 
was curled up on the bottom step of the 
flight. 

''Goodness! did I hurt you?" she said, a 
trifle exasperated that any one should want to 
sit alone in the damp darkness of the base- 
ment. 

There was no answer, and Betty, whose eyes 
were growing accustomed to the dim light, ob- 
served with consternation that her companion 
was doing her best to stop crying. 

As has already been remarked, Betty hated 
tears as a kitten hates rain. Personally she 
never cried without first locking her door, 
and she could imagine nothing so humiliat- 
ing as to be caught, unmistakably weeping, 
by a stranger. So she turned aside swiftly, 
peered about in the shadows for the big red 
heart, changed the order sheet, and was won- 
dering whether she would better hurry out 
past the girl or wait for her to recover her 
composure and depart, when the girl took the 
situation out of her hands by rising and say- 



BETTT WALES 221 

ing in cheery tones, '' Good-evening, Miss 
Wales. Are you going my way ? " 

'' I — why it's Emily — I mean Miss — Davis/' 
cried Betty. 

'' Yes, it's Emily Davis, in the blues, the 
more shame to her, when she ought to be at 
home getting supper this minute. Wait just 
a second, please." Miss Davis went over to 
the signs, jerked down one, and picking up 
her books from the bottom step announced 
without the faintest trace of embarrassment, 
'' Now I'm ready." 

'^ But are you sure you want me ? " inquired 
Betty timidly. 

'' Bless you, yes," said Miss Davis. " I've 
wanted to know you for ever so long. I'm 
sorry you caught me being a goose, though." 

'' And I'm sorry you felt like crying," said 
Betty shyly. '' Why, Miss Davis, I should 
want to laugh all the time if I'd done what 
you did the other day. I should be so 
proud." 

Miss Davis smiled happily down at her 
small companion. "■ I was proud," she said 
simply. '' I only hope I can do as well week 
after next. But Miss Wales, that was the jam 



222 BETTT JVALES 

of college life. There's the bread and butter 
too, you know, and sometimes that's a lot 
harder to earn than the jam." 

"' Do you mean " began Betty and 

stopped, not wanting to risk hurting Miss 
Davis's feelings. 

" Yes, I mean that I'm working my 
way through. I have a scholarship, but 
there's still my board and clothes and books." 

'^ And you do it all?" 

Miss Davis nodded. " My cousin sends me 
some clothes." 

'' How do you do it, please? " 

'' Tutor, sort papers and make typewritten 
copies of things for the faculty, put on dress 
braids (that's how I met the B's), mend stock- 
ings, and wait on table off and on when some 
one's maid leaves suddenly. We thought it 
would be cheaper and pleasanter to board our- 
selves and earn our money in different ways 
than to take our board in exchange for regu- 
lar table-waiting ; but I don't know. The 
other way is surer." 

" You mean you don't find work enough ? " 

Miss Davis nodded. '' It takes a good 
deal," she said apologetically, " and there isn't 



RRTTT WALES 223 

much tutoring that freshmen can do. After 
this year it will be easier." 

"■ Dear me," gasped Betty. '' Don't you get 
any — any help from home? " 

"- Well, they haven't been able to send any 
yet, but they hope to later," said Miss Davis 
brightly. 

'' And does it pay when you have to work 
so hard for it? " 

''Oh, yes," answered Miss Davis promptly. 
*' All three of us are sure that it pays." 

*' Three of you live together ? " 

'' Yes. Of course there are ever so many 
others in the college, and I'm sure all of them 
would say the same thing." 

'' And — I hope I'm not being rude — but do 
girls— do you advertise things down on that 
bulletin board ? I don't know much about 
it. I never was there but once till I went to- 
day on — on an errand for a friend," Betty 
concluded awkwardly. Perhaps she had been 
an interloper. Perhaps that bulletin board 
had not been meant for girls like her. 

Miss Davis evidently assumed that she had 
been to leave an order. '' You ought to buy 
more," she said laughingly. '' But you want 



224 BETTr WALES 

to know what I was there for, don't you ? 
Why yes, we do make a good deal off that 
bulletin board. One of the girls paints a lit- 
tle and she advertises picture frames — Yale 
and Harvard and Pennsylvania ones, you 
know. I sell blue-prints. A senior lends me 
her films. She has a lot of the faculty and the 
campus, and they go pretty well. We use the 
money we make from those things for little 
extras — ribbons and note-books and desserts 
for Sunday. We hoped to make quite a bit 
on valentines '' 

''Valentines?" repeated Betty sharply. 

'' Yes, but a good many others thought of it 
too, and we didn't get any orders — not one. 
Ours weren't so extra prett}^ and it was foolish 
of me to be so disappointed, but we'd worked 
hard getting ready and we did want a little 
more money so much." 

They had reached Betty's door by this time, 
and Miss Davis hurried on, saying it was her 
turn to get supper and begging Betty to come 
and see them. '' For we're very cozy, I assure 
you. You mustn't think we have a horrid 
time just because — you know why." 

Betty went straight to Mary's room, which, 




GIRLS. THIS HAS TO STOP," SHE ANNOUNCED 



PUBLIC LIOaAUT 



AeT»»a, LffNOX A.HD 
B L 



BETTT WALES 225 

since she had no roommate to object to disor- 
der, had been the chief seat of the valentine 
industry. 

" You're a nice one," cried Katherine, '' stay- 
ing off like this when to-day is the eleventh." 

" Many orders? " inquired Mary. 

Betty sat down on Mary's couch, ruthlessly 
sweeping aside a mass of half finished valen- 
tines to make room. '' Girls, this has got to 
stop," she announced abruptly. 

Mary dropped her scissors and Katherine 
shut the rhyming dictionary with a bang. 

''What is the trouble?" they asked in 
chorus. 

Then Betty told her story, suppressing only 
Emily's name and mentioning all the details 
that had made up the point and pathos of it. 
'' And just think ! " she said at last. '' She's 
a girl you'd both be proud to know, and she 
works like that. And we stepped in and took 
away a chance of — of ribbons and note-books 
and dessert for Sunday." 

*' May be not ; perhaps hers were so homely 
they wouldn't have sold anyway," suggested 
Katherine with an attempt at jocoseness. 

'' Don^t, please," said Betty wearily. 



226 BETTT IVALES 

Mary came and sat down beside her on the 
couch. " Well, what's to be done about it 
now ? " she asked soberly. 

'' I don't know. We can't give them orders 
because she took her sign down. I thought 
perhaps — how much have we made ? " 

'^ Fifteen dollars easily. All right ; we'll 
send it to them." 

'' Of course," chimed in Katherine. '' I was 
only joking. Shall we finish these up ? " 

'' Yes indeed," said Mary, " they're all 
ordered, and the more money the better, n'est 
ce pas, Betty? But aren't we to know the 
person's name ? " inquired Katherine. 

Betty hesitated. '' Why — no — that is if you 
don't mind very much. You see she sort of 
told me about herself because she had to, so I 
feel as if I oughtn't to repeat it. Do you 
mind?" 

*' Not one bit," said Katherine quickly. 
'' And we needn't say anything at all about 
it, except — don't you think the girls here in 
the house will have to know that we're going 
to give away the money ? " 

*' Yes," put in Mary, "■ and we'll make them 
all give us extra orders." 



BETTT JVALES 227 

*' We will save out a dollar for you to live 
on till March," said Betty. 

"■ Oh no, I shall borrow of you," retorted 
Mary, and then they all laughed and felt 
better. 

On St. Valentine's morning Betty posted 
a registered valentine. The verse read : — 

* * There are three of us and three of you, 
Though only one knows one, 
So pray accept this little gift 
And go and have some fun." 

But if the rhyme went haltingly and was 
not quite true either, as Betty pointed out, 
since Adelaide and Alice had contributed to 
the fund, and the whole house had bought 
absurd quantities of valentines because it 
was such a ''worthy object" C'just as if I 
wasn't a worthy object ! " sighed Mary), 
there was nothing the matter with the '' little 
gift," which consisted of three crisp ten dollar 
bills. 

'' Oh, if they should feel hurt ! " thought 
Betty, anxiously, and dodged Emily Davis so 
successfully that until the day of the rally 
they did not meet. 

That week was a tremendously exciting 



228 BETTT WALES 

one. To begin with, on the twentieth the 
members of the freshman and basket-ball teams 
w^ere announced. Rachel was a '' home " on 
the regular team, and Katherine a guard on 
the "' sub," so the Chapin house fairly bubbled 
over with pride and pleasure in its double 
honors. Then on the morning of the twenty- 
second came the rally with its tumultuous dis- 
play of class and college loyalty, its songs 
written especially for the occasion, its shrieks 
of triumph or derision ( which no intrusive 
reporter should make bold to interpret or 
describe as ^' class yells," since such masculine 
modes of expression are unknown at Hard- 
ing), and its mock-heroic debate on the vital 
issue, "' Did or did not George Washington cut 
down that cherry-tree? " 

Every speaker was clever and amusing, 
but Emily Davis easily scored the hit of the 
morning. For w^hereas most freshmen are 
frightened and appear to disadvantage on 
such an occasion, she was perfectly calm and 
self-possessed, and made her points with ex- 
actly the same irresistible gaucherie and dar- 
ing infusion of local color that had distin- 
guished her performance at the class meeting. 



BETTT WALES 229 

Besides, she was a "■ dark horse" ; she did not 
belong to the leading set in her class, nor to 
any other set, for that matter, and this fact, to- 
gether with the novel method of her election 
made her interesting to her essentially demo- 
cratic audience. So when the judges — five 
popular members of the faculty — announced 
their decision in favor of the negative, other- 
wise the junior-freshman side of the debate, 
19 — 's enthusiasm knew no bounds, and led by 
the delighted B's they carrried their speaker 
twice round the gym on their shoulders — 
which is an honor likely to be remembered 
by its recipient for more reasons than one. 

As the clans were scattering, it suddenly 
occurred to Betty that, if Emily did not guess 
anything, it would please her to be congratu- 
lated on the excellence of her debate ; and if, 
as was more likely, she had guessed, there 
was little to be gained by postponing the 
dreaded interview. She chose a moment 
when Emily was standing by herself in one 
corner of the gymnasium. Emily did not wait 
for her to begin her speech of congratulation. 

'' Oh, Miss Wales," she cried, '' I've been to 
see you six times, and you are never there. 



230 BETTT WALES 

It was lovely of you — lovely — but ought we 
to take it?" 

'' Yes, indeed. It belongs to you ; honestly 
it does. Don't ask me how, for it's too long 
a story. Just take my word for it." 

'' Well, but " began Emily doubtfully. 

At that moment some one called, '^ Hurrah 
for 19 — ! " Betty caught up the cry and seiz- 
ing Emily's hand rushed her down the hall, 
tow^ard a group of freshmen. 

^' Make a line and march," cried somebody 
else, and presently a long line of 19 — girls was 
Avinding in noisy lock-step down the hall, 
threading in and out between groups of up- 
per-class girls and cheering and gaining re- 
cruits as it went. 

"• Hurrah for 19 — ! " cried Betty hoarsely. 

" Take it for 19 — ," she whispered to Emily, 
as the line stopped with a jerk that knocked 
their heads together. 

''If you are sure Thank you for 

19 — ," Emily w^hispered back. 

" Here's to 19 — , drink her down ! 
Here's to 19 — , drink her down ! " 

As the chorus rose and swelled Betty felt. 



BETTT WALES 231 

as she never had before, what it meant to be 
a college girl at Harding. 

As Betty was leaving the gymnasium she 
met Eleanor face to face in the hallway. 

''Wasn't it fun?" said Betty, shyly. 
Perhaps, now that the debate was over, 
Eleanor would be ready to make friends 
again. 

''Patronizing the genius, do you mean?" 
asked Eleanor slowly. " I hope she didn't 
buy that hideous salmon-pink waist with your 
money." 

" Oh, Eleanor, how did you ever find out? " 
cried Betty, deeply distressed. Only a few of 
the Chapin house girls knew anything about 
the disposition of the valentine money, and 
not even the rest of the firm had been told 
who had received it. So Betty had thought 
the secret perfectly safe. 

^' No one told me about your private af- 
fairs," returned Eleanor significantly. "I 
guessed and I congratulate you. The genius 
will be a useful ally. She will get all the 
freaks' votes for you, when " 

"Eleanor Watson, come on if you're com- 
ing," called a voice from the foot of the stairs, 



232 BETTT WALES 

and Eleanor marched blithely off, without 
finishing her sentence. 

Betty stared after her with unseeing eyes. 
So that was it ! She was to blame because 
Jean had told her of Eleanor's predicament — 
told her against her wish. And now she was 
supposed to be trying to get votes. 

'' Votes for what, I wonder? How perfectly 
absurd ! " said Betty to the brick wall she was 
facing. But the appropriate smile would not 
come, for the absurdity had cost her a friend 
whom she had loved dearly in spite of her 
faults. 



CHAPTER XIV 

A BEGINNING AND A SEQUEL 

'' I shan't be here to dinner Sunday," an- 
nounced Helen Chase Adams with an odd 
little thrill of importance in her voice. 

'' Shan't you ? " responded her roommate 
absently. She was trying to decide which 
dress to wear to the Hilton House play. Her 
pink organdie was prettiest, but she really 
ought to save that for the Glee Club concert. 
And should she ask her cousin Jack Burgess 
up from Harvard for the concert, or would it 
be better to invite Mr. Parsons? These ab- 
sorbing questions left her small attention to 
bestow on so comparatively commonplace a 
matter as an invitation out to Sunday dinner. 

'^ I thought you might like to have some 
one in my place," continued Helen, moving 
the pink organdie waist on to the same chair 
with the batiste skirt. 

Betty came to herself with a start. '' I beg 
your pardon. I didn't see that I had taken 

233 



234 BETTT WALES 

up all the chairs. I was trying to decide 
what to wear to the dramatics." 

'' And I was thinking what I'd wear Sun- 
day/' said Helen. 

It was so seldom nowadays that she ob- 
truded her affairs upon any one's notice that 
Betty glanced at her wonderingly. Her eyes 
had their starry look, and a smile that she 
was futilely endeavoring to keep in the back- 
ground played around the corners of her 
mouth. 

*' I'm glad she's got over the blues," thought 
Betty. ''Why, where are you going?" she 
asked aloud. 

'' Oh, only to the Westcott House," answered 
Helen with an assumption of unconcern. 
'* Would you wear the blue silk waist or the 
brown dress ? " 

" Well, the Westcott is the swellest house 
on the campus, you know. When I go there 
I always put on my very best." 

" Yes, but which is my best? " 

Betty considered a moment. '' Why, of 
course they're both pretty," she began with 
kindly diplomacy, "■ but dresses are more the 
thing than waists. Still, the blue is very 



BETTT WALES 235 

becoming. But I think — yes, I'm sure I'd 
wear the brown." 

'' All right. If you change your mind be- 
fore Sunday you can let me know." 

'' Yes," said Betty briefly. She was exam- 
ining the batiste skirt to see if it would need 
pressing for the dramatics. After all, Jack 
was more fun, and probably Mr. Parsons was 
invited by this time anyhow — he knew lots 
of Harding girls. What was the name of 
Jack's dormitory house ? She would ask the 
Riches ; they had a brother in the same one. 
So she strolled off to find the Riches, and in- 
cidentally to get the latest basket-ball news 
from Rachel and Katherine. At nine o'clock 
they turned her out ; they were in training 
and supposed to be fast asleep by nine-thirty. 
When she opened her own door, Helen was 
still sitting idly in the wicker rocker, looking 
as if she would be perfectly content to stay 
there indefinitely with her pleasant thoughts 
for company. 

Betty had quite lost interest in Helen 
lately ; she had small patience with people 
who moped, and besides, between Eleanor and 
the valentine enterprise, her thoughts had 



236 BETTT WALES 

been fully engrossed. But this new mood 
made her curious. ''She acts as if she'd got 
a crush," she decided. '' She's just the kind 
to have one, and probably her divinity has 
asked her to dinner, and she can't put her 
mind on anything else. But who on earth 
could it be — in the Westcott House? " 

She was on the point of inquiring, when 
Helen diverted her attention to something 
else. '' I made a w^onderful discovery to-day," 
she said. '' Theresa Reed and T. Reed are 
the same person." 

Betty laughed. '' They might easily be," 
she said. '' I don't see that it was so won- 
derful." 

'' Why, I've known Theresa all this year — 
she was the one that asked me to go off with 
her house for Mountain Day. She's the best 
friend I have here, but she never told me 
that she was specially interested in basket- 
ball and I never thought — well, I guess I 
never imagined that a dear friend of mine 
could be the celebrated T. Reed," laughed 
Helen happily. '' But all sorts of nice things 
are happening to me lately." 

'' That's good," said Betty. '' It seems to 



BETTT WALES 237 

be just the opposite with me," and she plunged 
into her note to Jack, which must be ready 
for the next morning's post. 

All that week Helen went about fairly 
wreathed in smiles. Her shyness seemed to 
have vanished suddenly. She joined gaily in 
the basket-ball gossip at the table, came out 
into the hall to frolic with the rest of the 
house at ten o'clock, and in general acted as 
a happy, well-conducted freshman should. 

The Chapin house brought its amazement 
over the '' dig's " frivolity to Betty, but she 
had very little to tell them. '' All I know is 
that she's awfully pleased about being a friend 
of T. Reed's. And oh yes — she's invited out 
to dinner next Sunday. But of course there 
must be something else." 

" Perhaps she's going to have a man up for 
the concert," suggested Katherine flippantly. 

'' Are you? " inquired Mary Rich, and with 
that the regeneration of Helen w^as forgotten 
in the far more absorbing topic of the Glee 
Club concert. 

Sunday came at last. '' I'm not going to 
church, Betty," said Helen shyly. '' I want to 
have plenty of time to get dressed for dinner." 



238 BETTT WALES 

'^ Yes, indeed," said Betty carelessly. She 
had just received an absurd letter from Jack. 
He was coming ^' certain-sure " ; he wanted 
to see her about a very serious matter, he said. 
'' Incidentally " he should be delighted to go 
to the concert. There was a mysterious post- 
script too : — '' How long since you got so fond 
of Bob Winchester ? " 

^' I never heard of any such person. What 
do you suppose he means ? " Betty asked Mary 
Brooks as they walked home from church to- 
gether. Mary had also invited a Harvard 
man to the concert and Dorothy King had 
found them both seats, so they were feeling 
unusually friendly and sympathetic. 

'^ I can't imagine. Do let me see his let- 
ter," begged Mary. '' He must be no end of 
fun." 

"He's a worse tease than you," said Betty, 
knocking on her door. 

'' Come in," called Helen Chase Adams 
eagerly. " Betty, would you please hook my 
collar, and would one of you see what time it 
really is ? I don't like to depend too much 
on my watch." 

'' She'll be at least ten minutes too early," 



BETTT WALES 239 

sighed Betty, when Helen had finally departed 
in a flutter of haste. ^' And see this room ! 
But I oughtn't to complain," she added, 
beginning to clear up the dresser. '' I'm 
always leaving it like this myself; but some- 
way I don't expect it of Helen." 

''Who asked her to dinner to-day?" in- 
quired Mary Brooks. She had been sitting in 
a retired corner, vastly enjoying the unusual 
spectacle of Helen Adams in a frenzy of ex- 
citement. 

'' Why, I don't know. I never thought to 
ask," said Betty, straightening the couch pil- 
lows. '' I only hope she'll have as good a 
time as she expects " 

'' Poor youngster ! " said Mary. '' Wish I'd 
asked Laurie to jolly her up a bit." 

It is to be presumed that these fears were 
groundless, since the bell was ringing for five 
o'clock vespers when Helen came back. Betty 
was sitting at her desk pretending to write 
letters, but really trying to decide whether 
she should say anything to Eleanor apropos of 
her remarks about Emily Davis, and if so, 
whether she should do it now. Mary Brooks 
Was curled up on Betty's couch, dividing her 



240 BETTT WALES 

attention between Jack Burgess's picture and 
a new magazine. 

''Had a good time, didn't you? "she re- 
marked sociably when Helen appeared. 

*' Oh, yes," said Helen happily. "" You see I 
don't go out very often. Were you ever at 
the Westcott House for dinner? " 

''Once," chuckled Mary. "But I found 
they didn't have ice-cream, because the ma- 
tron doesn't approve of buying things on 
Sunday ; so I've turned them down ever 
since." 

Helen laughed merrily. " How funny ! I 
never missed it ! " There was a becoming flush 
on her cheeks, a pretty new confidence in her 
manner. 

" Helen, who did you say asked you to the 
Westcott?" inquired Betty. 

" I didn't say, because you didn't ask me," 
returned Helen truthfully, " but it was Miss 
Mills." 

" Miss Mills 1 " repeated Mary. " Well, my 
child, I don't wonder that you were rattled 
this noon, being invited around by the faculty. 
Gracious, what a compliment to a young 
freshman ! " 



BETTr WALES 2/Li 

'' I should think so ! " chimed in Betty 
eagerly. 

In spite of her embarrassment Helen evi- 
dently enjoyed the sensation she was produc- 
ing. '' I thought it was awfully nice," she said. 

'' Why didn't you tell us sooner? " demanded 
Mary. ^' Why, child, you must be a bright 
and shining shark in lit." 

Helen's happy face clouded suddenly. 
''I'm not, am I, Betty?" she asked appeal- 
ingly. 

Betty laughed. '' Why no, since you ask 
me. No, she isn't, Mary. She sits on the 
back row with me and we don't either of us 
say an extra word. It's math, and Latin and 
Greek that Helen shines in." 

'' Well, are you awfully devoted to Miss 
Mills? " pursued Mary. ''Is that why she 
asked you ? " 

Helen shook her head. " I like her. She 
reads beautifull}^ and sometimes she says very 
interesting things, doesn't she, Betty?" 

" I hadn't noticed," answered her room- 
mate hastily. 

" Well, I think she does, but I never told 
her I thought so. It couldn't be that." 



242 BETTT WALES 

" Then why did she ask you ? " demanded 
Mary. 

'' I suppose because she wanted me," said 
Helen happily. '' I can't think of any other 
reason. Isn't it lovely ? " 

" Yes indeed," agreed Mary. '' It's so grand 
that I'm going off this minute to tell every- 
body in the house about it. They'll be dread- 
fully envious," and she left the roommates 
alone. 

Helen pulled off her best gloves carefully, 
and laid them neatly away, then she put up 
her hat and coat and sat down in her favorite 
wicker chair. '' I guess I left the room in a 
dreadful muss this noon," she said apologetic- 
ally. '' I guess I acted silly and excited, but 
you see — I said I hadn't been out often — this 
is the very first time I've been invited out to 
a meal since I came to Harding." 

" Really ? " said Betty, thinking guiltily of 
her own multitude of invitations. 

'' Yes, I hoped you hadn't any of you 
noticed it. I hate to be pitied. Now you can 
just like me." 

^' Just like you ? " repeated Betty vaguely. 

"Yes. Don't you see? I'm not left out 



BETTT WALES 24 



v3 



any more." She hesitated, then went on 
rapidly. '^ You see I had a lovely time at 
first, at the sophomore reception and the frolic 
and all, but it stopped and — this was a good 
while coming, and I got discouraged. Wasn't 
it silly ? I — oh, it's all right now. I 
wouldn't change places with anybody." She 
began to rock violently. Betty had noticed 
that Helen rocked when other girls sang or 
danced jigs. 

"■ But I thought — we all thought," began 
Betty, ^' that you had decided you preferred 
to study — that you didn't care for our sort of 
fun. You haven't seemed to lately." 

" Not since it came over me why you girls 
here in the house were nice to me when no- 
body else was except Theresa," explained 
Helen with appalling frankness. " You were 
sorry for me. I thought it out the day after 
you gave me the violets. Before I came to 
Harding," she went on, "I did think that col- 
lege was just to study. It's funny how you 
change your mind after you get here — how 
you begin to see that it's a lot bigger than you 
thought. And it's queer how little you care 
about doing well in class when you haven't 



244 BETTT WALES 

anything else to care about." She gave a lit- 
tle sigh, then got up suddenly. " I almost 
forgot ; I have a message for Adelaide. And 
by the way, Betty, I saw your Miss Hale ; she 
and somebody else were just going in to see 
Miss Mills when I left." 

She had scarcely gone when Mary sauntered 
back as if by accident. '' Well, have you 
found out?" she asked. ''As a student of 
psychology I'm vastly interested in this situa- 
tion." 

''Found out what?" asked Betty un- 
smilingly. 

" Why Miss Mills asked her, and why she 
is so pleased." 

" I suppose Miss Mills asked her because 
she was sorry for her," answered Betty 
slowly, '^ and Helen is pleased because she 
doesn't know it. Mary, she's been awfully 
lonely." 

" Too bad," commented Mary. Unhappi- 
ness always made her feel awkward. 

" But she says this makes up to her for 
everything," added Betty. 

" Oh, I've noticed that life is a pretty even 
thing in the end," returned Mary, relieved 



BETTT WALES 245 

that there was no present call on her sym- 
pathies, '' but I must confess I don't see how 
one dinner invitation, even if it is from " 

Just then Helen tapped on the door. 

Down in Miss Mills's room they were dis- 
cussing much the same point. 

" It's a shame for you to waste your Sun- 
days over these children," said Miss Hale. 

Miss Mills stopped her tea-making to dis- 
sent. "" It isn't wasted if she cared. She was 
so still that I couldn't be sure, but judging 
from the length of time she stayed " 

'' She was smiling all over her face when we 
met her," interrupted Miss Meredith. " Who 
is she, anyway ? " 

'' Oh, just nobody in particular," laughed 
Miss Mills, ''just a forlorn little freshman 
named Adams." 

''But I don't quite see how " began 

Miss Hale. 

" Oh, you wouldn't," said Miss Mills easily. 
" You were president of your class when you 
were a freshman. I was nobody in particular, 
and I know what it's like." 

" But why not leave it to her friends to 
hearten her up ? " 



246 BETTr JVALES 

'' Apparently she hasn't any, or if she has, 
they're as out of things as she is." 

'' Well, to the other girls then." 

'' When girls are happy they are cruel," 
said Miss Mills briefly, '' or perhaps they're 
only careless." 

Betty, after a week's consideration, put the 
matter even more specifically. '' I tried to 
make her over because I wanted a different 
kind of roommate," she said, *' and we all let 
her see that we were sorry for her. Miss Mills 
made her feel as if " 

"• She had her dance card full and was split- 
ting her waltzes," supplied Mary, who was 
just back from an afternoon at Winsted. 

'^ Exactly like that," agreed Betty, laughing. 
'^ I wish I'd done it," she added wistfully. 

'' You kept her going till her chance came," 
said Mary. '^ She owes a lot to you, and she 
knows it." 

'' Don't," protested Betty, flushing. '' I tell 
you, I was only thinking of myself when I 
tried to fix her up, and then after a while I 
got tired of her and let her alone. I was hor- 
rid, but she's forgiven me and we're real 
friends now." 



BETTT WALES 247 

'^ Well, we can't do but so much apiece," 
said Mary practically. "■ And I've noticed 
tha4; ' jam,' as your valentine girl called it, is 
a mighty hard thing to give to people who 
really need it." 

Nevertheless the gift had been managed in 
Helen's case ; she had gotten her start at last. 
Miss Mills's tactful little attention had fur- 
nished her with the hope and courage that she 
lacked, had given her back the self-confidence 
that Caroline Barnes had wounded. What- 
ever the girls might think, she knew she w^as 
'' somebody " now, and she would go ahead 
and prove it. She could, too — she no longer 
doubted her possession of the college girl's one 
talent that Betty had laughed about. For 
there was Theresa Reed, her friend down the 
street. She was homely and awkward, she 
wore dowdy clothes and wore them badly, she 
was slow and plodding ; but there was one 
thing that she could do, and the girls ad- 
mired her for it and had instantly made a 
place for her. Helen was glad of a second 
proof that those things did not matter vitally. 
She set herself happily to work to study T. 
Reed's methods, and she began to look for- 



248 BETTT WALES 

ward to the freshman-sophomore game as 
eagerly as did Betty or Katherine. 

But before the game there was the concert. 
Jack Burgess, having missed his connections, 
arrived in Harding exactly twenty-seven min- 
utes before it began. As they drove to the 
theatre he inquired if Betty had received all 
three of his telegrams. 

'' Yes," laughed Betty, '' but I got the last 
one first. The other two were evidently de- 
layed. You've kept me guessing, I can tell 
you." 

'' Glad of that," said Jack cheerfully, as 
he helped her out of the carriage. '' That's 
what you've kept me doing for just about a 
month. But I've manfully suppressed my 
curiosity and concealed the wounds in my 
bleeding heart until I could make inquiries in 
person." 

'' What in the world do you mean, Jack? " 
asked Betty carelessly. Jack was such a 
tease. 

Just then they were caught in the crowd 
that filled the lobby of the theatre, and con- 
versation became impossible as they hurried 
through it and into the theatre itself. 



BETTr WALES 249 

"■ Checks, please," said a businesslike little 
usher in pink chiffon, and Jack and Betty 
followed her down the aisle. The theatre 
was already nearly full, and it looked like a 
great flower garden, for the girls all wore 
light evening gowns, for which the black 
coats of the men made a most effective back- 
ground ; while the odor of violets and roses 
from the great bunches that many of the girls 
carried strengthened the illusion. 

'' Jove, but this is a pretty thing ! " mur- 
mured Jack, who had never been in Harding 
before. "■ Is this all college ? " 

'^ Yes," said Betty proudly, '' except the 
men, of course. And don't they all look 
lovely ? " 

'' Who— the men ? " asked Jack. Then he 
gave a sudden start. "■ Bob Winchester, by 
all that's wonderful ! " 

'' Who is he? " said Betty idly. '' Another 
Harvard man ? Jack " — with sudden inter- 
est, as she recognized the name — '' what did 
you mean by that postscript ? " 

^^ Good bluff!" said Jack in his most 
tantalizing drawl. 

'^ Jack Burgess, I expect you to talk sense 



250 BETTT WALES 

the rest of the time you're here/' remonstrated 
Betty impatiently. 

^* Well, I will on one condition. Tell me 
why you sent it to him." 

^' Sent what to whom ? " demanded Betty. 

'' Oh come," coaxed Jack. '' You know 
what I mean. Why did you send Bob that 
valentine ? It almost crushed me, I can tell 
you, when I hadn't even heard from you for 
months." 

Betty was staring at him blankly, '' Why 
did I send * Bob ' that valentine ? Who 
please tell me is ' Bob ' ? " 

'^Robert M. Winchester, Harvard, 19—. 
Eats at my club. Is sitting at the present 
moment on the other side of the aisle, two 
rows up and over by the boxes. You'll know 
him by his pretty blush. He's rattled — he 
didn't think I'd see him." 

" Well ? " said Betty. 

''Well?" repeated Jack. 

'' I never saw Mr. Robert M. Winchester 
before," declared Betty with dignity, '' and of 
course I didn't send him any valentine. 
What are you driving at. Jack Burgess ? " 

Jack smiled benignly down at her. '' But 



BETTT WALES 251 

I saw it," he insisted. " Do you think I 
don't know your handwriting? The verses 
weren't yours, unless they turn out spring- 
poets amazingly fast up here, but the writing 
was, except that on the envelope, and the 
Cupids were. The design was the same as 
the one on the picture frame you gave me 
last winter. Beginning to remember ? " he 
inquired with an exasperating chuckle. 

^' No," said Betty severely. Then a light 
broke over her face. '^ Oh yes, of course, I 
made that. Oh Jack Burgess, how perfectly 
rich ! " 

'' Don't think so myself, but Bobbie will. 
You see I told him that I could put up a 
good guess who sent him that valentine, and 
that I'd find out for sure when I came up. 
But evidently he couldn't wait, so he's made 
his sister ask him up too, in the hope of 
happening on the valentine lady, I suppose. 
Know his sister? " 

'' No," said Betty, who was almost speech- 
less with laughter. "■ Oh, Jack, listen ! " and 
she told the story of the valentine firm. 
'' Probably his sister bought it and sent it to 
him," she finished. "■ Or anyway some girl 



252 BETTT WALES 

(lid. Jack, he's looking this way again. Did 
you tell him I sent it? " 

'' No," said Jack hastily, '' that is — I — well, 
I only said that the girl I knew up here sent 
it. He evidently suspects you. See him 
stare." 

'' Jack, how could you? " 

^' How couldn't I you'd better say," 
chuckled Jack. '' I never heard of this 
valentine graft. What should I think, 
please? Never mind; I'll undeceive the 
poor boy at the intermission. He'll be 
badly disappointed. You see, he said it 
was his sister all along, and " 

The curtain rolled slowly up, disclosing the 
Glee Club grouped in a rainbow-tinted semi- 
circle about the leacier, and the concert 
began. 

At the intermission Jack brought Mr. 
AVinchester and his sister to meet Betty, and 
there were more explanations and much 
laughter. Then Jack insisted upon meeting 
the rest of the firm, so Betty hunted up 
Mary. Her Harvard man knew the other two 
slightly, and the story had to be detailed 
again for his benefit. 



BETTT WALES 253 

'' I say," he said when he had heard it, 
^' that's what I call enterprise, but you made 
just one mistake. Next year you must sell 
3^our stock to us. Then all of it will be sure 
to land with the ladies, and your cousin's 
feelings won't be hurt." 

'' Good idea," agreed Jack, ^' but let's keep 
to the living present, as the poets call it. Are 
you all good for a sleigh ride to-morrow after- 
noon?" 

^' Ah, do say yes," begged Mr. Winchester, 
looking straight at Betty. 

^^ But your sister said you were going " 

'' On the sleeper to-morrow night," finished 
Mr. Winchester promptly. '' And may I have 
the heart-shaped sign ? " 

Betty stopped in Mary's room that night to 
talk over the exciting events of the evening. 
'' Betty Wales, your cousin is the nicest man 
I ever met," declared Mary with enthusiasm. 

Betty laughed. '' I shan't tell you what he 
said about you. It would make you entirely 
too vain. I'm so sorry that Katherine wasn't 
there, so she could go to-morrow." 

'' It w^as too bad," said Mary complacently, 
'' But then you know virtue is said to be 



254 BETTT WALES 

its own reward. She'll have to get along 
with that, but I'm glad we're going to have 
another one. Those valentines were a lot of 
work to do for a girl whose very name I don't 
know." 



CHAPTER XV 

AT THE GREAT GAME 

" Well, I thought I'd seen some excitement 
before/' declared Betty Wales, struggling to 
settle herself more comfortably on the scant 
ten square inches of space allotted her by the 
surging, swaying mass of girls behind. '^ But 
I was mistaken. Even the rally was noth- 
ing to this. Helen, do you feel as if they'd 
push you under the railing? " 

'*A little," laughed Helen, "but I don't 
suppose they could, do you ? " 

'' I guess not," said Betty hopefully, '' but 
they might break my spine. They're ac- 
tually sitting on me, and I haven't room to 
turn around and see who's doing it. Oh, but 
isn't it fun ! " 

The day of the great basket-ball game had 
come at last. A bare two hours more and the 
freshman team would either be celebrating its 
victory over the sophomores, or bravely 
shouldering its defeat ; and the college had 

255 



256 BETTT WALES 

turned out en masse to witness the struggle. 
The floor of the gymnasium was cleared, only 
Miss Andrews, the gym teacher, her assistant 
line-keepers and the ushers in white duck, 
with paper hats of green or purple, being 
allowed on the field of battle. On the little 
stage at one end of the hall sat the faculty^ 
most of them manifesting their partisanship 
b}) the display of class-colors. The more pop- 
ular supporters of the purple had been fur- 
nished with violets by their admirers, while the 
wearers of the green had American beauty 
roses — red being the junior color — tied with 
great bows of green ribbon. The prize ex- 
hibit was undoubtedly that of the enterpris- 
ing young head of the chemistry department, 
who carried an enormous bunch of vivid 
green carnations ; but the centre of interest 
was the president of the college, who of course 
displayed impartially the colors of both sides. 
He divided interest with a sprightly little 
lady in a brilliant purple gown, whose arms 
were so full of violets and daffodils and pur- 
ple and yellow ribbons that she looked like 
an animated flower bed. She smiled and 
nodded at the sophomore gallery from behind 



BETTT WALES 257 

their floral tributes ; and the freshmen 
watched her eagerly and wished she had worn 
the green. But of course she wouldn't ; she 
had nothing but sophomore lit., and all her 
classes adored her. 

In the gallery were the students, seniors 
and sophomores on one side, juniors and fresh- 
men on the other, packed in like sardines. 
The front row of them sat on the floor, dang- 
ling their feet over the edge of the balcony — 
they had been warned at the gym classes of 
the day before to look to their soles and their 
skirt braids. The next row kneeled and 
peered over the shoulders of the first. The 
third row stood up and saw what it could. 
The others stood up and saw nothing, unless 
they were very tall or had been lucky enough 
to secure a place on a stray chair or a radiator. 
The balcony railings and posts were draped 
with bunting, and in every hand waved 
banners and streamers, purple and yellow on 
one side, red and green on the other. 

In the middle of each side were grouped 
the best singers of the classes, ready to lead 
the chorus in the songs which had been writ- 
ten for the occasion to the music of popular 



258 BETTT PFALES 

tunes. These were supposed to take the place 
of '' yells," and cheers, both proscribed as 
verging upon the unwomanly. By rule the 
opposing factions sang in turn, but occasion- 
ally, quite by accident, both started at once, 
with deafening discords that rocked the gallery, 
and caused the musical head of the German 
Department to stop her ears in agony. 

Most of the girls had been standing in line 
for an hour waiting for the gymnasium doors 
to open, but a few, like Betty and Helen, had 
had reserved seat tickets given them by some 
one on the teams. These admitted their 
fortunate holders by a back door ahead of the 
crowd. All the faculty seats were reserved, 
of course, and the occupants of them were 
still coming in. As each appeared, he or she 
was met by a group of ushers and escorted 
ceremoniously across the floor, amid vigorous 
hand-clapping from the side whose colors were 
in evidence, and the singing of a verse of 
"• Balm of Gilead " adapted to the occasion. 
Most of these had been written beforehand 
and were now hastily '' passed along " from a 
paper in the hands of the leader. The 
rhymes were execrable, but that did not mat- 



BETTT WALES 259 

ter since almost nobody could understand 
them ; and the main point was to come out 
strong on the chorus. 

" Oh, there's Miss Ferris ! " cried Betty, " and 
she's wearing my ro — goodness, she's half 
covered wdth roses. Helen, see that lovely 
green dragon pennant ! " 

" Here's to our Miss Ferris, drink her down! " 

sang the freshman chorus. 

" Here's to onr Miss Ferris, drink her down ! 
Here's to onr Miss Ferris, may she never, never perish ! 
Drink her down, drink her down, drink her down, down, down !" 

Back by the door there was a sudden com- 
motion, and the sophomore faction broke out 
into tumultuous applause as a tall and stately 
gentleman appeared carrying a '' shower bou- 
quet " of daffodils with a border and stream- 
ers of violets. 

'' Here's to Dr. Hinsdale, he's the finest man within hail ! 

Drink him down, drink him down, drink him down, down, down ! " 

sang the sophomores. 

" There is a team of great renown," 

began the freshmen lustily. What did the 



26o BETTT WALES 

sophomores mean by clapping so ? Ah ! Miss 
Andrews was opening a door. 

^' They're coming ! " cried Betty eagerly. 

'' Only the sophomore subs," amended the 
junior next to her. ^' So please don't stick 
your elbow into me." 

'' Excuse me," said Betty hastily. '' Oh 
Helen, there's Katherine ! " 

Through the door at one side of the stage 
the freshman subs were coming, through the 
other the sophomores. Out on the floor of 
the gym they ran, all in their dark blue gym 
suits with green or purple stripes on the right 
sleeves, tossing their balls from hand to hand, 
throwing them into the baskets, bouncing 
them adroitly out of one another's reach, try- 
ing to appear as unconcerned as if a thousand 
people were not applauding them madly and 
singing songs about them and wondering 
which of them would get a chance to play 
in the great game. In a moment a little 
whistle blew and the subs found their places 
on the edge of the stage, where they sat in a 
restive, eager row, each girl in readiness to 
take the field the moment she should be 
needed. 



BETTT WALES 261 

The door of the sophomore room opened 
again and the '^ real team " ran out. Then 
the gallery shook indeed ! Even the fresh- 
men cheered when the mascot appeared hand 
in hand with the captain. He was a dashing 
little Indian brave in full panoply of war- 
paint, beads, and feathers, with fringed leg- 
gins and a real Navajo blanket. When he 
had finished his grand entry, which consisted 
of a war-dance, accompanied by ear-splitting 
war-whoops, he came to himself suddenly to 
find a thousand people staring at him, and he 
was somewhat appalled. He could not blush, 
for Mary Brooks had stained his face and 
neck a beautiful brick-red, and he lacked the 
courage to run away. So he waited, forlorn 
and uncomfortable, while the freshman team 
rushed in, circling gaily about a diminutive 
knight in shining silver armor, with a green 
plume. He marched proudly, but with some 
difficulty, for his helmet was down and his 
sword, which was much too long for him, had 
an unbecoming tendency to trip him up. 
When his hesitating steps had brought him. 
to the middle of the gymnasium, the knight, 
apparently perceiving the Indian for the first 



262 BETTT WALES 

time, dropped his encumbering sword and 
rushed at his rival with sudden vehemence 
and blood-curdling cries. The little Indian 
stared for a moment in blank amazement, 
then slipping off his blanket turned tail and 
ran, reaching the door long before his sopho- 
more supporters could stop him. The knight 
meanwhile, left in full possession of the field, 
waited for a moment until the laughter and 
applause had died away into curiosity. Then, 
deliberately reaching up one gauntleted hand, 
he pulled off his helmet, and disclosed the 
saucy, freckled face of the popular son of a 
favorite professor. 

He grinned cheerfully at the stage and the 
gallery, gallantly faced the junior- freshman 
side, and waving his green plume aloft yelled, 
" Hip, hip, hurrah for the freshmen ! " at the 
top of a pair of very strong lungs. Then he 
raced off to find the seat which had been the 
price of his performance between two of his 
devoted admirers on the sub team, while the 
gallery, regardless of meaningless prohibitions 
and forgetful of class distinctions, cheered him 
to the echo. 

All of a sudden a businesslike air began to 



BETTT WALES 263 

pervade the floor of the gymnasium. Some- 
body picked up the knight's sword and the 
Indian's blanket, and Miss Andrews took her 
position under the gallery. The ushers 
crowded onto the steps of the stage, and the 
members of the teams, who had gathered 
around their captains for a last hurried con- 
ference, began to find their places. 

"• Oh, I almost wished they'd sing for a 
while more," sighed Betty. 

*' Do you ? " answered Helen absently. She 
was leaning out over the iron bar of the rail- 
ing with her eyes glued to the smallest fresh- 
man centre. '' Why ? " 

^' Oh, it makes me feel so thrilled and the 
songs are so clever and amusing, and the mas- 
cots so funny." 

''Oh, yes," agreed Helen. ''The things 
here are all like that, but I want to see them 
play." 

" You mean you want to see her play," cor- 
rected Betty merrily. " I don't believe you 
care for a single other thing but T. Reed. 
Where is she?" 

Helen pointed her out proudly. 

"Oh, what an awfully funny, thin little 



264 BETTT IVALES 

braid ! Isn't she comical in her gym suit, 
anyway? You wouldn't think she could 
play at all, would you, she's so small." 

^' But she can," said Helen stoutly. 

'' Don't I know it? I guarded her once — 
that is, I tried to. She's a perfect wonder. 
See, there's Rachel up by our basket. Kath- 
erine says she's fine too. Helen, they're going 
to begin." 

The assistant gym teacher had the whistle 
now. She blew it shrilly. '' Play ! " called 
Miss Andrews, and tossed the ball out over the 
heads of the waiting centres. A tall sopho- 
more reached up confidently to grab it, but 
she found her hands empty. T. Reed had 
jumped at it and batted it off sidewise. Then 
she had slipped under Cornelia Thompson's 
famous '' perpetual motion " elbow, and was 
on hand to capture the ball again when it 
bounced out from under a confused mass of 
homes and centres who were struggling over 
it on the freshman line. The freshmen 
clapped riotously. The sophomores looked at 
each other. Freshman teams were always 
rattled, and '' muffed " their plays just at first. 
What did this mean? Oh, well, the homes 




THE FRKSIIAIEX WERE SHOUTING AND THUMPING 



THE K»W YORK 
PUBLIC lJBRAr..Y 



AfiTftR. tlTNOX AN*D 
TJtlTBN F«tN{)ATiOK» 



BETTT IVALES 265 

would miss it. They did, and the sopho- 
mores breathed again, but only for a moment. 
Then T. Reed jumped and the ball went 
pounding back toward the freshman basket. 
This time a home got it, passed it successfully 
to Rachel, and Rachel poised it for an instant 
and sent it cleanly into the basket. 

The freshmen were shouting and thumping 
as if they had never heard that it was unlady- 
like (and incidentally too great a strain on the 
crowded gallery) to do so. Miss Andrews 
blew her whistle. '' Either the game will stop 
or you must be less noisy," she commanded, 
and amid the ominous silence that followed 
she threw the ball. 

This time T. Reed missed her jump, and 
the tall sophomore got the ball and tossed it 
unerringly at Captain Marion Lawrence, who 
w^as playing home on her team. She bounded 
it off in an unexpected direction and then 
passed it to a home nearer the basket, who on 
the second trial put it in. The sophomores 
clapped, but the freshmen smiled serenely. 
Their home had done better, and they had T. 
Reed! 

The next ball went off to one side. In the 



266 BETTT WALES 

scramble after it two opposing centres grabbed 
it at once, and each claimed precedence. The 
game stopped while Miss Andrews and the 
line-men came up to hear the evidence. 
There was a breathless moment of indecision. 
Then Miss Andrews took the ball and tossed 
up between the two contestants. But neither 
of them got it. Instead, T. Reed, slipping in 
between them, jumped for it again, and quick 
as a flash sent it flying toward the freshman 
goal. There was another breathless moment. 
Could Rachel Morrison put it in from that 
distance ? No, it had fallen just short and 
the sophomore guards were playing it along 
to the opposite end of the home space, pos- 
sibly intending to Ah ! a stalwart sopho- 
more guard, bracing herself for the effort, had 
tossed it over the heads of the centres straight 
across the gymnasium, and Marion Lawrence 
had it and was working toward the basket, 
meanwhile playing the ball back to a red 
haired competent-looking girl whose gray 
eyes twinked merrily as her thin, nervous 
hands closed unerringly and vice-like around 
the big sphere. It was in the basket, and the 
freshmen's faces fell. 



BETTT IVALES 267 

" But maybe they've lost something on 
fouls," suggested Betty hopefully. 

"• And T. Reed is just splendid," added 
Helen. 

Everybody was watching the gallant little 
centre now, but she watched only the ball. 
Back and forth, up and down the central 
field she followed it, slipping and sliding be- 
tween the other players, now bringing the 
ball down with a phenomenal quick spring, 
now picking it up from the floor, now catch- 
ing it on the fly. The sophomore centres 
were beginning to understand her methods, 
but it was all they could do to frustrate her ; 
they had no effort left for offensive tactics. 
Generally because of their superior practice 
and team play, the sophomores win the inter- 
class game, and the}^ do it in the first half, 
when the frightened freshmen, overwhelmed 
by the terrors of their unaccustomed situa- 
tion, let the goals mount up so fast that all 
they can hope to do in the second half is to 
lighten their defeat. What business had T. 
Reed to be so cool and collected ? If she kept 
on, there was strong likelihood of a freshman 
victory. But she was so small, and Cornelia 



268 BETTT WALES 

Thompson was guarding her — Cornelia stuck 
like a burr, and the '' perpetual motion " el- 
bow had already circumvented T. Reed more 
than once. 

After a long and stubborn battle, the fresh- 
men scored another point. But in the next 
round the big sophomore guard repeated her 
splendid 'crossboard play, and again Marion 
Lawrence caught the ball. 

Ah ! Captain Lawrence is down, sliding 
heavily along the smooth floor ; but in an in- 
stant she is up again, brushing the hair out 
of her eyes with one hand and making a 
goal with the other. 

'' Time ! " calls Miss Andrews. '' The goals 
are three to two, fouls not counted." 

The line-men gather to compare notes on 
those. The teams hurry off to their rooms, 
Captain Lawrence limping badly. The first 
half is finished. 

A little shivering sigh of relief swept over 
the audience. The front row in the gallery 
struggled to its feet to rest, the back rows sat 
down suddenly for the same purpose. 

'' Oh, doesn't it feel good to stretch out," 
said Betty, pulling herself up by the railing 



BETTT WALES 269 

and drawing Helen after her. ''Aren't you 
tired to death sitting still ? " 

'' Why no, I don't think so," answered 
Helen vaguely. "It was so splendid that I 
forgot." 

" So did I mostly, but I'm remembering 
good and hard now. I ache all over." She 
waved her hand gaily to Dorothy King, then 
caught Mary Brooks's eye across the hall and 
waved again. " T. Reed is a dandy," she 
said. " And Rachel was great. They were 
all great." 

"How do you suppose they feel now?" 
asked Helen, a note of awe in her voice. 

" Tired," returned Betty promptly, " and 
thirsty, probably, and proud — awfully proud." 
She turned upon Helen suddenl3^ " Helen 
Chase Adams, do you know I might have 
been down there with the subs. Katherine 
told me this morning that it was nip and tuck 
between Marie Austin and me. If I'd tried 
harder — played an inch better — think of it, 
Helen, I might have been down there too ! " 

" I couldn't do anything like that," said 
Helen simply, " but next year I mean to 
write a song." 



270 BETTr WALES 

Betty looked at her solemnly. '' You 
probably will. You're a good hard worker, 
Helen. Isn't it queer," she went on, '' we're 
not a bit alike, but this game is making us 
feel the same way. I wonder if the others 
feel so too. Perhaps it's one reason why they 
have this game— to wake us all up and make 
us want to do something worth while." 

'' Betty Wales," called Christy Mason from 
the floor below. Betty leaned over the railing. 
'' Don't forget that you're coming to dinner 
to-night. We're going to serenade the team. 
They'll be dining at the Belden with Miss 
Andrews." 

Kate Denise joined her. She had never 
mentioned the afternoon in Eleanor's room, 
but she took especial pains to be pleasant to 
Betty. 

'' Hello, Betty Wales," she called up. '' Isn't 
it fine ? Don't you think we'll win ? Any- 
way Miss Andrews says it's the best game she 
ever saw." 

" Betty Wales," called Dorothy King from 
her leader's box, " come to vespers with me 
to-morrow." 

Betty met them all with friendly little 



BETTT WALES 271 

nods and enthusiastic answers. Then she 
turned back to Helen. '' It's funny, but I'm 
always interrupted when I'm trying to think," 
she said. "■ If there were six of me I think I 
might be six successful persons. But as it is, 
I suppose I shall always be just ' that little 
Betty Wales' and have a splendid time." 

'' That would be enough for most people," 
said Helen. 

'' Oh, I hope not," said Betty soberly. '' I 
don't amount to anything." She slipped 
down into her place again. The teams were 
coming back. 

"' See Laurie limp ! " 

'' Their other home — the one w^ith the red 
hair — looks as fresh as a May morning." 

''Well, so doesT. Reed." 

'' We have a fighting chance yet." 

Thus the freshman gallery. 

But the second half opened with the rapid 
winning of three goals by the sophomores. 
Cornelia Thompson had evidently made up 
her mind that nobody so small as T. Reed 
should get away from her and mar the repu- 
tation of her famous '' ever moving and ever 
present " elbow. The other freshman centres 



272 BETTT WALES 

were over-matched, and once Marion Law- 
rence and the red-haired home got the ball 
between them, a goal was practically a cer- 
tainty. 

'' Play ! " called Miss Andrews for the fourth 
time. 

T. Reed's eyes flashed and her lips shut 
into a narrow determined line. Another 
freshman centre got the ball and passed it 
successfully to T. Reed, who gave it a pound- 
ing blow toward the freshman basket. A 
sophomore guard knocked it out of Rachel 
Morrison's hands, and it rolled on to the 
stage. There w^as a wild scuffle and the 
freshman balcony broke into tumultuous 
cheering, for a home who had missed all her 
previous chances had clutched it from under 
the president's chair and had scored at last. 

A moment later she did it again. There 
was a pause while a freshman guard was car- 
ried off with a twisted ankle and Katherine 
Kittredge ran to her place. Then the sopho- 
mores scored twice. Then the freshmen did 
likewise. "' Time ! " called Miss Andrews 
sharply. The game was over. 

*' Score ! " shrieked the galleries. 



BETTT WALES 273 

Then the freshmen bravely began to sing 
their team song, 

*' There is a team of great renown." 

They were beaten, of course, but they were 
proud of that team. 

'' The freshmen score one goal on fouls. 
Score, six to eight in favor of the purple," 
announced Miss Andrews after a moment. 
'' And I want to say " 

It was unpardonably rude, but they could 
not help interrupting to cheer. 

'' That I am proud of all the players. It 
was a splendid game," she finished, when the 
thoughtful ones had hushed the rest. 

Then they cheered again. The sophomore 
team were carrying their captain around the 
gym on their shoulders ; the freshmen, gath- 
ered in a brave little group, were winking 
hard and cheering with the rest. The gal- 
lery was emptying itself with incredible ra- 
pidity on to the floor. The stage was watch- 
ing, and wishing — some of it — that it could 
go down on the floor and shriek and sing and 
be young and foolish generally. 

Betty and Helen ran down with the rest. 



274 BETTT WALES 

'' Helen," whispered Betty on the way, '' I 
don't care what happens, I will, I will, I will 
make them sing to me some day. Oh Helen, 
don't you love 19 — , and aren't you proud of 
it and of T. Reed?" 

At the foot of the stairs they met the three 
B's. '^ Come on, come on," cried the three. 
" We're going to sing to the sophomores," and 
they seized upon Betty and bore her oflP to 
the corner where the freshmen were assem- 
bling. Left to herself Helen got into a nook 
by the door and watched. It was queer how 
much fun it was to watch, lately. 

" Some are born great, some achieve great- 
ness, and some have greatness thrust upon 
them : " — she had read it in the library that 
morning and it kept running in her head. 
Was it selfish and conceited to want to be 
worth something to her college — to long to do 
something that would give her a place among 
the girls ? A month ago Theresa had stood 
with her high up on the bank and watched 
the current sweep by. Now she was in the 
stream ; even Betty Wales envied her ; she had 
''achieved greatness." Betty wanted to be 
sung to. Well, no doubt she would be, in 



BETTT WALES 275 

spite of the " interruptions " ; she was "■ born 
great." Helen aspired only to write a song to 
be sung. That wasn't very much, and she 
would try hard — Theresa said it was all trying 
and caring — for she must somehow prove her- 
self worthy of the greatness that had been 
'' thrust upon " her. 

Betty was in the centre of an excited group 
of freshmen. Christy Mason was there too ; 
probably they were planning for the serenade. 
" She won't mind if I go," thought Helen. 
She would have liked to speak to Theresa, 
but she had delayed too long ; the teams had 
disappeared. So she slipped out alone. There 
would be a long, quiet evening for theme 
work — for Helen had elected Mary's theme 
course at mid-years, though no one in the 
Chapin house knew it. 

Betty did not get home till quarter of ten, 
and then she went straight off to find Kath- 
erine and Eachel. '' I came to see if there's 
anything left of Rachel," she said. 

'' There's a big bump on my forehead," said 
Rachel, sitting up in bed with a faint smile. 
" I'm sure of that because it aches." 

*' Poor lady ! " Betty turned to Katherine. 



276 BETTT WALES 

" You got your chance, didn't you? I felt it 
in my bones that you would. Wasn't it all 
splendid ? '' 

" Yes indeed," assented the contestants 
heartily. 

" It made me feel so energetic," Betty went 
on eagerly. ^' Of course I felt proud of you 
and of 19 — , just as I did at the rally, but there 
was something else, too. You'll see me going 
at things next term the way T. Reed went at 
that ball." 

''You're one of the most energetic persons 
I know, as it is," said Rachel, smiling at her 
earnestness. 

" Yes," said Betty impatiently. " I fly 
around and make a great commotion, but I 
fritter away my time, because I forget to keep 
my eyes on the ball. Why, I haven't done 
anything this year." 

Katherine pulled Betty down beside her on 
the couch. '' Child, you've done a lot," she 
said. '' We were just considering all you've 
done, and wondering why you weren't asked 
to usher to-day. You've sub-subed a lot and 
you know so many girls on the team and are 
such good friends with Jean Eastman." 



BETTT WALES 277 

To her consternation Betty felt a hot flush 
creeping np her neck and over her cheeks. 
It had been the one consolation in the trouble 
with Eleanor that none of the Chapin house 
girls had asked any questions or even appeared 
to notice that anything was wrong. 

" Oh, I don't know Miss Eastman much," 
she said quickly. '' And as for substituting 
on the subs, that was a great privilege. That 
wasn't anything to make me an usher for." 

"• Well, all the other girls who did it much 
ushered," persisted Katherine. '' Christy Ma- 
son and Kate Denise and that little Ruth 
Ford. And you'd have made such a stunning* 
one." 

"• Goosie ! " said Betty, rising abruptly. '' I 
know you girls want to go to bed. We'll talk 
it all over to-morrow." 

As she closed the door, Rachel and Kath- 
erine exchanged glances. '' I told you there 
was trouble," said Katherine, ^^ and mark my 
words, Eleanor Watson is at the bottom of it 
somehow." 

*' Don't let's notice it again, though," an- 
swered the considerate Rachel. '' She evi- 
dently doesn't want to tell us about it." 



?78 BETIT WALES 

Betty undressed almost in silence. Her 
exhilaration had left her all at once and her 
ambition ; life looked very complicated and 
unprofitable. As she went over to turn out 
the light, she noticed a sheet of paper, much 
erased and interlined, on Helen's desk. '' Have 
you begun your song already ? " she asked. 

"" Oh, no, I wrote a theme," said Helen with 
what seemed needless embarrassment. But the 
theme was a little verse called '' Happiness." 
She got it back the next week heavily under- 
scored in red ink, and with a succinct '^ Try 
prose," beneath it ; but she was not discour- 
aged. She had had one turn ; she could afford 
to wait patiently for another, which, if you 
tried long enough and cared hard enough 
must come at last. 



CHAPTER XVI 

A CHANCE TO HELP 

Eleanor Watson had gotten neither class 
spirit nor personal ambition from 19 — 's 
'' glorious old defeat," as Katherine called it. 
The Saturday afternoon of the game she had 
spent, greatly to the disgust of her friends, on 
the way to New York, whither she went for a 
Sunday with Caroline Barnes. Caroline's 
mother had been very ill, and the European 
trip was indefinitely postponed, but the family 
were going for a shorter jaunt to Bermuda. 
Caroline begged Eleanor to join them. '' You 
can come as well as not," she urged. '' You 
know your father would let you — he always 
does. And we sail the very first day of your 
vacation too." 

" But you stay three weeks," objected 
Eleanor, '* and the vacation is only two." 

''What's the difference? Say you were ill 
and had to stay over," suggested Caroline 
promptly. 

279 



28o BETTT WALES 

Eleanor's eyes flashed. '' Once for all, Cara, 
please understand that's not my way of doing 
business nowadays. I should like to go, 
though, and I imagine my father wouldn't 
object. I'll write you if I can arrange it." 

She had quite forgotten her idle promise 
when, on the following Monday morning, she 
stood in the registrar's office, waiting to get a 
record card for chapel attendance in place of 
one she had lost. The registrar was busy. 
Eleanor waited while she discussed the 
pedagogical value of chemistry with a 
sophomore who had elected it, and now, after 
a semester and a half of gradually deteriorat- 
ing work, wished to drop it because the smells 
made her ill. 

"■ Does the fact that we sent you a warning 
last week make the smells more unendur- 
able ? " asked the registrar suggestively, and 
the sophomore retreated in blushing con- 
fusion. 

Next in line was a nervous little girl who 
inquired breathessly if she might go home 
right away — four days early. Some friends 
who were traveling south in their private 
car had telegraphed her to meet them in 



BETTT Pf^ALES 281 

Albany and go with them to her home in 
Charleston. 

*' My dear, I'm sorry," began the registrar 
sympathetically, *' but I can't let you go. 
We're going to be very strict about this vaca- 
tion. A great many girls went home early 
at Christmas, and it's no exaggeration to say 
that a quarter of the college came back late 
on various trivial excuses. This time we're 
not going to have that sort of thing. The 
girls who come back at all must come on 
time ; the only valid excuse at either end of 
the vacation will be serious illness. I'm 
sorry." 

'' So am I," said the little girl, with a pa- 
thetic quiver in her voice. '' I never rode in 
a private car. But — it's no matter. Thank 
you, Miss Stuart." 

Eleanor had listened to the conversation 
with a curl of her lip for the stupid child who 
proffered her request in so unconvincing a 
manner, and an angry resentment against the 
authorities who should presume to dictate 
times and seasons. '' They ought to have a 
system of cuts," she thought. '* That's the 
only fair way. Then you can take them wlieu 



282 BETTT WALES 

you please, and if you cut over you know it 
and you do it at your peril. Here everything 
is in the air ; you are never sure where you 
stand " 

"■ What can I do for you, Miss Watson ? " 
asked the registrar pleasantly. 

Eleanor got her chapel card and hurried 
home to telegraph her father for permission 
to go to Bermuda, and, as she knew exactly 
what his answer would be, to write Caroline 
that she might expect her. '' You know I 
always take a dare," she wrote. '' My cuts 
last semester amounted to twice as much as 
this trip will use up, and if they make a fuss 
I shall just call their attention to what they 
let pass last time. Please buy me a steamer- 
rug, a blue and green plaid one, and meet me 
at the Forty-second Street station at two on 
Friday." 

Betty knew nothing about Eleanor's plans, 
beyond what she had been able to gather from 
chance remarks of the other girls ; and that 
was not much, for every time the subject 
came up she hastened to change it, lest some 
one should discover that Eleanor had told her 
nothing, and had scarcely spoken to her in- 



BETTT WALES 283 

deed for weeks. When Eleanor finally went 
off, without a sign or a word of good-bye, Betty 
discovered that she was dreadfully disap- 
pointed. She had never thought of the es- 
trangement between them as anything but a 
temporary affair, that would blow over when 
Eleanor's mortification over the debate was 
forgotten. She had felt sure that long before 
the term ended there would come a chance 
for a reconciliation, and she had meant to 
take the chance at any sacrifice of her pride. 
She was still fond of Eleanor in spite of every- 
thing, and she was sorry for her too, for her 
quick eyes detected signs of growing unhap- 
piness under Eleanor's ready smiles. Be- 
sides, she hated '' schoolgirl fusses." She 
wanted to be on good terms with every girl in 
19 — . She wanted to come back to a spring 
term unclouded by the necessity for any of 
the evasions and subterfuges that concealment 
of the quarrel with Eleanor and Jean East- 
man's strange behavior had brought upon her. 
And now Eleanor was gone ; the last chance 
until after vacation had slipped through her 
fingers. 

At home she told Nan all about her troub- 



284 BETTT IVALES 

les, first exacting a solemn pledge of secrecy. 
'' Hateful thing ! '' said Nan promptly. 
'' Drop her. Don't think about her another 
minute." 

^' Then you don't think I was to blame ? " 
asked Betty anxiously. 

'' To blame ? No, certainly not. To be 
sure," Nan added truthfully, '' you were a 
little tactless. You knew she didn't know 
that you were in the secret of her having to 
resign, and you didn't intend to tell her, so it 
would have been better for you to let some 
one else help Miss Eastman out." 

*^ But I thought I was helping Eleanor out." 

''In a way you were. But you see it 
wouldn't seem so to her. It would look as 
though you disapproved of her appointment." 

"■ But Nan, she knows now that I knew." 

'' Then I suppose she concludes that you 
took advantage of knowing. You say that it 
made you quite prominent for a while. You 
see, dear, when a person isn't quite on the 
square herself " 

But Betty had burst into a storm of tears. 
" I am to blame," she sobbed. '' I am to 
blame ! I knew it, only I couldn't quite see 



BETTT WALES 285 

how. Oh, what shall I do? What shall I 
do?" 

" Don't cry, dear," said Nan in distress, at 
the unprecedented sight of Betty in tears. " I 
tell you, you were not to blame. You were a 
little unwise perhaps at first, but Miss Watson 
has refused your apologies and explanations 
and only laughs at you when you try to talk 
to her about it. I should drop her at once 
and forever ; but, if you are bound to bring 
her around, the only w^ay I can think of is to 
look out for some chance to serve her and so 
prove your real friendship — though what sort 
of friend she can be I can't imagine." 

" Nan, she's just like the girl in the 
rhyme," said Betty seriously. 

** ' When she was good she was very, very good, 
And when she was bad she was horrid. ' 

Eleanor is a perfect dear most of the time. 
And Nan, there's something queer about her 
mother. She never speaks of her, and she's 
been at boarding school for eight years now, 
though she's not seventeen till May. Think 
of that!" 

'' It certainly makes her excusable for a 



286 BETTT WALES 

good deal," said Nan. " How is my friend 
Helen Chase Adams coming on ? " 

" Why Nan, she's quite blossomed out. 
She's really lots of fun now. But I had an 
awful time with her for a while," and she 
related the story of Helen's winter of dis- 
content. " I suppose that was my fault too," 
she finished. '' I seem to be a regular 
blunderer." 

"' You're a dear little sister, all the same," 
declared Nan. 

'' I say girls, come and play ping-pong,'^ 
called Will from the hall below, and the in- 
terview ended summarily. 

But the memory of Eleanor Watson seemed 
fated to pursue Betty through her vacation. 
A few days later an old friend of Mrs. Wales, 
who had gone to Denver to live some 3^ears 
before and was east on a round of visits, 
came in to call. The moment she heard that 
Betty was at Harding, she inquired for 
Eleanor. '' I'm so glad you know her," she 
said. "■ She's quite a protege of mine and 
she needs nice friends like you if ever a girl 
did. Don't mention it about college, Betty, 
but she's had a very sad life. Her mother 



BETTT JVALES 287 

was a strange woman — but there's no use 
going into that. She died when Eleanor was 
a tiny girl, and Eleanor and her brother Jim 
have been at boarding schools ever since. In 
the summers, though, they were always with 
their father in Denver. They w^orshiped 
him, particularly Eleanor, and he has always 
promised her that when she was through 
school he would open the old Watson man- 
sion and she should keep house for him and 
Jim. Then last year a pretty little society 
girl, only four or five years older than 
Eleanor, set her cap for the judge and 
married him. Jim liked her, but Eleanor 
was heart-broken, and the judge, seeing 
storms ahead, I suppose, and hoping that 
Eleanor would get interested and want to 
finish the course, made her promise to go to 
Harding for a year. Now don't betray my 
confidence, Betty, and do make allowances 
for Eleanor. I hope she'll be willing to stay 
on at college. It's just what she needs. Be- 
sides, she'd be very unhappy at home, and 
her aunt in New York isn't at all the sort of 
person for her to live with." 

So it came about that Bettv returned to 



288 BETTT WALES 

college more than ever determined to get 
back upon the old footing with Eleanor, and 
behold, Eleanor was not there ! The Chapin 
house was much excited over her absence, for 
tales of the registrar's unprecedented hard- 
ness of heart had gone abroad, and almost 
nobody else had dared to risk the mysterious 
but awful possibilities that a late return 
promised. As Betty was still supposed by 
most of the house to be in Eleanor's con- 
fidence, she had to parry question after ques- 
tion as to her whereabouts. To, ^' Did she 
tell you that she was coming back late? " she 
could truthfully answer '' No." But the girls 
only laughed when she insisted that Eleanor 
must be ill. 

'' She boasts that she's never been ill in her 
life," said Mary Brooks. 

And Adelaide Rich always added with 
great positiveness, '' It's exactly like her to 
stay away on purpose, just to see what will 
happen." 

Unfortunately Betty could not deny this, 
and she was glad enough to drop the argu- 
ment. She had too many pleasant things to 
do to care to waste time in profitless discus- 



BETTT WALES 289 

sion. For it was spring term. Nobody but 
a Harding girl knows exactly what that 
means. The freshman is very likely to con- 
sider the much heralded event only a pretty 
myth, until having started from home on a 
cold, bleak day that is springtime only by the 
calendar, she arrives at Harding to find her- 
self confronted by the genuine article. The 
sheltered situation of the town undoubtedly 
has something to do with its early springs, 
but the attitude of the Harding girl has far 
more. She knows that spring term is the 
beautiful crown of the college year, and she 
is bound that it shall be as long as possible. 
So she throws caution and her furs to the 
winds and dons a muslin gown, plans drives 
and picnics despite April showers, and takes 
twilight strolls regardless of lurking germs of 
pneumonia. The grass grows green perforce 
and the buds swell to meet her wishes, while 
the sun, finding a creature after his brave, 
warm heart, does his gallant best for her. 

'' Do what little studying you intend to 
right away," Mary Brooks advised her fresh- 
men. '' Before you know it, it will be too 
warm to work." 



290 BETTr WALES 

" But at present it's too lovely," objected 
Roberta. 

'' Then join the Athletic Association and 
trust to luck, but above all join the Athletic 
Association. I'm on the membership com- 
mittee." 

" Can I get into the golf club section this 
time?" asked Betty, who had been kept on 
the waiting list all through the fall. 

•' Yes, you just squeeze in, and Christy 
Mason wants you to play round the course 
with her to-morrow." 

*' I'm for tennis," said Katherine. ** Miss 
Lawrence and I are going to play as 
soon as the courts are marked out. By 
the way, when do the forget-me-nots 
blossom ? " 

''Has Laurie roped you into that?" asked 
Mary Brooks scornfully. 

"• Don't jump at conclusions," retorted 
Katherine. 

'' I didn't have to jump. The wild ones 
blossom about the middle of May. You'll 
have to think of something else if you want 
to make an immediate conquest of 3^our 
angel. And speaking of angels," added Mary, 



BETTT WALES 291 

who was sitting by a window, '' Eleanor Wat- 
son is coming up the walk.'* 

The girls trooped out into the hall to greet 
Eleanor, who met them all with the care- 
fully restrained cordiality that she had used 
toward them ever since the break with Betty. 
Yes, Bermuda had been charming, such skies 
and seas. Yes, she was just a week late — ex- 
actly. No, she had not seen the registrar yet, 
but she had heard last term that excuses 
weren't being given away by the dozen. 

'' I met a friend of yours during vacation," 
began Betty timidly in the first pause. 

Eleanor turned to her unsmilingly. *' Oh 
yes, Mrs. Payne," she said. ^' I believe she 
mentioned it. I saw her last night in New 
York." Then she picked up her bag and 
walked toward her room with the remark that 
late comers mustn't waste time. 

The next day at luncheon some one in- 
quired again about her excuse. Eleanor 
shrugged her shoulders. '' Oh, that's all 
right ; you needn't be at all anxious. The in- 
terview wasn't even amusing. The week is to 
be counted as unexcused absence — which as 
far as I can see means nothing whatever." 



292 BETTT WALES 

'' You may find out differently in June/^ 
suggested Mary, nettled by Eleanor's superior 
air. 

*' Oh, June ! " said Eleanor with another 
shrug. " I'm leaving in June, thank the 
fates ! " 

^' Perhaps you'll change your mind after 
spring term. Everybody says it's so much 
nicer," chirped Helen. 

'' Possibly," said Eleanor curtly, " but I 
really can't give you much encouragement. 
Miss Adams." Whereat poor Helen subsided 
meekly, scarcely raising her eyes from her 
plate through the rest of the meal. 

" Better caution your friend Eleanor not to 
air those sentiments of hers about unexcused 
absences too widely, or she'll get into trouble," 
said Mary Brooks to Betty on the way up- 
stairs ; but Betty, intent on persuading Ro- 
berta to come down-town for an ice, paid no 
particular attention to the remark, and it was 
three weeks before she thought of it again. 

She found Eleanor more unapproachable 
than ever this term, but remembering Nan's 
suggestion she resolved to bide her time. 
Meanwhile there was no reason for not enjoy- 



BETTT WALES 293 

ing life to the utmost. Golf, boating, walk- 
ing, tennis — there were ten ways to spend every 
spare minute. But golf usually triumphed. 
Betty played very well, and having made an 
excellent record in her first game with 
Christy, she immediately found herself reck- 
oned among the enthusiasts and expected to 
get into trim for the June tournament. Some 
three weeks after the beginning of the term 
she went up to the club house in the late af- 
ternoon, intending to practice putting, which 
was her weak point and come home with 
Christy and Nita Reese, another golf fiend, 
who had spent the whole afternoon on the 
course. 

But on the club house piazza she found 
Dorothy King. Dorothy played golf exceed- 
ingly well, as she did everything else ; but as 
she explained to Betty, '' By junior year all 
this athletic business gets pretty much crowded 
out." She still kept her membership in the 
club, however, and played occasionally, ^'just 
to keep her hand in for the summer." She 
had done six holes this afternoon, all alone, 
and now she was resting a few moments be- 
fore going home. She greeted Betty warmly. 



294 BETTT IVALES 

'' I looked for you out on the course," she 
said, '' but your little pals thought you 
weren't coming up to-day. How's your 
game? '^ 

''Better, thank you," said Betty, '' except 
my putting, and I'm going to practice on that 
now. Did you know that Christy had asked 
me to play with her in the inter-class four- 
somes? " 

'' That's good," said Dorothy cordially. "• Do 
you see much of Eleanor Watson these days? " 
she added irrelevantly. 

"■ Why — no-t much," stammered Betty, 
blushing in spite of herself. '' I see her at 
meals of course." 

'' I thought you told me once that you were 
very fond of her." 

" Yes, I did — I am," said Betty quickly, 
wondering what in the world Dorothy was 
driving at. 

'' She was down at the house last night," 
Dorothy went on, '' blustering around about 
having come back late, saying that she'd 
shown what a bluff the whole excuse busi- 
ness is, and that now, after she has proved 
that it's perfectly easy to cut over at the end 



BETT2^ WALES 295 

of a vacation, perhaps some of us timid little 
creatures will dare to follow her lead. But 
perhaps you've heard her talking about it." 

'' I heard her say a little about it," admitted 
Betty, suddenly remembering Mary Brooks's 
remark. Had the '' trouble " that Mary had 
foreseen anything to do with Dorothy's ques- 
tions ? 

'' She's said a great deal about it in the last 
two weeks," went on Dorothy. '' Last night 
after she left, her senior friend, Annette 
Cramer, and I had a long talk about it. We 
both agreed that somebody ought to speak to 
her, but I hardly know her, and Annette says 
that she's tried to talk to her about other 
things and finds she hasn't a particle of in- 
fluence with her." Dorothy paused as if ex- 
pecting some sort of comment or reply, but 
Betty was silent. '' We both thought," said 
Dorothy at last, '' that perhaps if you'd tell 
her she was acting very silly and doing her- 
self no end of harm she might believe you 
and stop." 

*' Oh, Miss King, I couldn't," said Betty in 
consternation. *' She wouldn't let me — in- 
deed she wouldn't ! " 



296 BETTT IFALES 

" She told Annette once that she admired 
you more than any girl in college," urged Dor- 
othy quietly, '^ so your opinion ought to have 
some weight with her." 

^' She said that ! " gasped Betty in pleased 
amazement. Then her face fell. ^' I'm sorry. 
Miss King, but I'm quite sure she's changed 
her mind. I couldn't speak to her ; but 
would you tell me please just why any one 
should — why you care? " 

'' Why, of course, it's not exactly my busi- 
ness," said Dorothy, '' except that I'm on the 
Students' Commission, and so anything that 
is going wrong is my business. Miss Watson 
is certainly having a bad influence on the 
girls she knows in college, and besides, if that 
sort of talk gets to the ears of the authorities, 
as it's perfectly certain to do if she keeps on, 
she will be very severely reprimanded, and 
possibly asked to leave, as an insubordinate 
and revolutionary character. The Students' 
Commission aims to avoid all that sort of 
thing, when a quiet hint will do it. But 
Miss Watson seems to be unusually difficult to 
approach ; I'm afraid if you can't help us out, 
Betty, we shall have to let the matter rest." 



BETTT WALES 297 

She gathered up her caddy-bag. '^ I must get 
the next car. Don't do it unless you think 
best. Or if you like ask some one else. An- 
nette and I couldn't think of any one, but you 
know better who her friends are." She was 
off across the green meadow. 

Betty half rose to follow, then sank back 
into her chair. Dorothy had not asked for an 
answer ; she had dropped the matter, had left 
it in her hands to manage as she thought fit, 
appealing to her as a friend of Eleanor's, a girl 
whom Eleanor admired. '^ Whom she used 
to admire," amended Betty with a sigh. But 
what could she do ? A personal appeal was 
out of the question ; it would effect nothing 
but a widening of the breach between them. 
Could Kate Denise help ? She never came to 
see Eleanor now. Neither did Jean Eastman 
— why. almost nobody did ; all her really in- 
timate friends seemed to have dropped away 
from her. And yet she must think of some 
one, for was not this the opportunity she had 
so coveted ? It might be the very last one too, 
thought Betty. '' If anything happened to 
hurt Eleanor's feelings again, she wouldn't 
wait till June. She'd go now." She consid- 



298 BETTT WALES 

ered girl after girl, but rejected them all for 
various reasons. '' She wouldn't take it from 
any girl," she decided, and with that decision 
came an inspiration. Why not ask Ethel 
Hale? Ethel had tried to help Eleanor be- 
fore, was interested in her, and understood 
something of her moody, many-sided tempera- 
ment. She had put Eleanor in her debt too ; 
she could urge her suggestion on the ground 
of a return favor. 

In an instant Betty's mind w^as made up. 
She looked ruefully at her dusty shoes and 
mussed shirt-waist. '' I can't go to see Ethel 
in these," she decided, '' but if I hurry home 
now I can dress and go right up there after 
dinner, before she gets off anywhere." The 
putting must wait. With one regretful glance 
out over the green, breezy course Betty started 
resolutely off toward the dusty highway and 
the noisy trolleys. 



CHAPTER XVII 

AN OUNCE OF PREVENTION 

'' I WISH I could do it, Betty, but I'm sure 
it wouldn't be the least use for me to try. I 
thought I had a little hold on her for a while, 
but I'm afraid I was too sure of her. She 
avoids me now — goes around corners and into 
recitation rooms when she sees me coming. 
You see — I wonder if she told you about our 
trip to New York?" 

Betty nodded, wishing she dared explain 
the full extent of her information. 

^' I thought so from your coming up here 
to-night. Well, as you've just said, she's 
very reserved, strangely so for a young girl ; 
when she lets out anything about herself she 
wishes that she hadn't the next minute." 

'' Yes, I've noticed that," admitted Betty 
grudgingly. 

'' And so, having once let me get a glimpse 
of her better self, and then having decided as 
usual that she wished she hadn't, she needed 

299 



300 BETTJ^ WALES 

a proof from me that I was worthy of her 
confidence. But I didn't give it ; I was busy 
and let the matter drop, and now I am the 
last person who could go to her. I'm very 
sorry." 

'* Oh, dear ! " said Betty forlornly. 

''But isn't it so? Don't you agree with 
me?" 

'' I'm afraid I do." 

*' Then go back and speak to her yourself, 
dear. She's very fond of you, and I'm sure a lit- 
tle friendly hint from you is all that she 
needs." 

" No, I can't speak to her either, Ethel. 
You wouldn't suggest it if you knew how 
things are between us. But I see that you 
can't. Thank you just as much. No, I 
mustn't stop to-night." 

Betty walked down the elm-shaded street 
lost in thought. Eleanor had declaimed 
upon the foolishness of coming back on time 
after vacations through most of the dinner 
hour, and Betty understood as she had not 
that afternoon what Dorothy meant. But 
now her one hope had failed her ; Ethel had 
shown good cause why she should not act as 



BETTr WALES 301 

Eleanor's adviser and Betty had no idea what 
to do next. 

'' Hello, Betty Wales ! Christy and I thought 
we saw you up at the golf club this after- 
noon." Nita Reese's room overlooked the 
street and she was hanging out her front 
window. 

'' I was up there," said Betty soberly, "■ but 
I had to come right back. I didn't play at 
all." 

'^ Then I should say it was a waste of good 
time to go up," declared Nita amiably. 
^' You'd better be on hand to-morrow. The 
juniors are going to be awfully hard to beat." 

"■ I'll try," said Betty unsmilingly, and Nita 
withdrew her head from the window, wonder- 
ing what could be the matter with her usually 
cheerful friend. 

At the corner of Meriden Place Betty hes- 
itated. Then, noticing that Mrs. Chapin's 
piazza was full of girls, she crossed Main 
Street and turned into the campus, following 
the winding path that led away from the 
dwelling-houses through the apple orchard. 
There were seats along this path. Betty 
chose one on the crest of the hill, screened 



302 BETTT WALES 

in by a clump of bushes and looking off to- 
ward Paradise and the hills beyond. There 
she sat down in the warm spring dusk to con- 
sider possibilities. And 3^et what was the use 
of bothering her head again when she had 
thought it all over in the afternoon ? Argu- 
ments that she might have made to Ethel oc- 
curred to her now that it was too late to use 
them, but nothing else. She would go back 
to Dorothy, explain why she could not speak 
to Eleanor herself, and beg her to take back 
the responsibility which she had unwittingly 
shifted to the wrong shoulders. She would 
go straight off too. She had found an invita- 
tion to a spread at the Belden house scrawled 
on her blotting pad at dinner time, and she 
might as well be over there enjoying herself 
as here worrying about things she could not 
possibly help. 

As she got up from her seat she glanced at 
the hill that sloped off below her. It was the 
dust-pan coasting ground. How different it 
looked now in its spring greenery ! Betty 
smiled at the memory of her mishap. How 
nice Eleanor had been to her then. And Miss 
Ferris ! If only Miss Ferris would speak to 



BETTT WALES 303 

Eleanor. "' Why, perhaps she will," thought 
Betty, suddenly remembering Miss Ferris's 
note. '^ I could ask her to, anyway. But — 
she's a faculty. Well, Ethel is too, though I 
never thought of it." And Dorothy had 
wanted Betty's help in keeping the matter 
out of the hands of the authorities. ** But 
this is different," Betty decided at last. '' I'm 
asking them not as officials, but just as aw- 
fully nice people, who know what to say bet- 
ter than we girls do. Miss King would think 
that was all right." 

Without giving herself time to reconsider, 
Betty sped toward the Hilton house. All 
sorts of direful suppositions occurred to her 
while she waited for a maid to answer her 
ring. What if Miss Ferris had forgotten 
about writing the note, or had meant it for 
what Nan called '^ a polite nothing " ? Perhaps 
it would be childish to speak of it anyway. 
Perhaps Miss Ferris would have other callers. 
If not, how should she tell her story ? 

'' I ought to have taken time to think," re- 
flected Betty, as she followed the maid down 
the hall to Miss Ferris's rooms. 

Miss Ferris was alone ; nevertheless Betty 



304 BETTT WALES 

fidgeted dreadfully during the preliminary 
small-talk. Somebody would be sure to 
come in before she could get started, and she 
should never, never dare to come again. At 
the first suggestion of a pause she plunged 
into her business. 

'' Miss Ferris, I want to ask you something, 
but I hated to do it, so I came right along as 
soon as I decided that I'd better, and now I 
don't know how to begin." 

" Just begin," advised Miss Ferris, laughing. 

'' That is what they say to you in theme 
classes," said Betty, '' but it never helped me 
so very much, somehow. Well, I might begin 
by telling you why I thought I could come to 
you." 

'^ Unless you really want to tell that you 
might skip it," said Miss Ferris, '' because I 
don't need to be reminded that I shall always 
be glad to do anything I can for my good 
friend Betty Wales." 

'' Oh, thank you ! That helps a lot," said 
Betty gratefully, and went on with her 
story. 

Miss Ferris listened attentively. '' Miss 
Watson is the girl with the wonderful gray 



BETTT IVALES 305 

eyes and the lovely dark hair. I remember. 
She comes down here a great deal to see Miss 
Cramer, I think. It's a pity, isn't it, that she 
hasn't great good sense to match her beauty ? 
So you want me to speak to her about her 
very foolish attitude toward our college life. 
Suppose I shouldn't succeed in changing her 
mind?" 

'' Oh, you would succeed," said Betty 
eagerly. '' Mary Brooks says you can argue a 
person into anything." 

Miss Ferris laughed again. '' I'm glad 
Miss Brooks approves of my argumentative 
ability, but are you sure that Miss Watson is 
the sort of person with whom argument is 
likely to count for anything ? Did you ever 
know her to change her mind on a subject of 
this sort, because her friends disapproved of 
her?" 

Betty hesitated. '' Yes — yes, I have. Ex- 
cuse me for not going into particulars, Miss 
Ferris, but there was a thing she did when 
she came here that she never does now, be- 
cause she found how others felt about it. In- 
deed, I think there are several things." 

Miss Ferris nodded silently. '' Then why 



3o6 BETTT WALES 

not appeal to the same people who influenced 
her before? '' 

It was the question that Betty had been 
dreading, but she met it unflinchingly. '' One 
of them thinks she has lost her influence, Miss 
Ferris, and another one who helped a little bit 
before, can't, because — I'm that one, Miss 
Ferris. I unintentionally did something last 
term that made Eleanor angry with me. It 
made her more dissatisfied and unhappy here 
too ; so when I heard about this I felt as if I 
was a little to blame for it, and then I wanted 
to make up for the other time too. But of 
course it is a good deal to ask of you." Betty 
slid forward on to the edge of her chair ready to 
accept a hasty dismissal. 

Miss Ferris waited a moment. '' I shall be 
very glad to do it," she said at last. '' I 
wanted to be sure that I understood the situa- 
tion and that I could run a chance of helping 
Miss Watson. I think I can, but you must 
forgive me if I make a bad matter worse. I'll 
ask her to have tea w^ith me to-morrow. May 
I send a note by you ? " 

'' Of course you won't tell her that I spoke 
to you?" asked Betty anxiously, when Miss 



BETTT WALES 307 

Ferris handed her the note. Miss Ferris prom- 
ised and Betty danced out into the night. 
Half-way home she laughed merrily all to her- 
self. 

'' What's the joke ? " said a girl suddenly ap- 
pearing around the corner of the Main Build- 
ing. 

" It was on me," laughed Betty, '' so you 
can't expect me to tell you what it was." 

It had just occurred to her that, as there was 
no possibility of Eleanor's finding out her part 
in Miss Ferris's intervention, a reconciliation 
was as far away as ever. '' She wouldn't like 
it if she should find out," thought Betty, '' and 
perhaps it was just another tactless interfer- 
ence. Well, I'm glad I didn't think of all 
these things sooner, for I believe it was the 
right thing to do, and it was a lot easier doing 
it while I hoped it might bring us together, as 
Nan said. I wonder what kind of things Nan 
meant." 

She dropped the note on the hall table and 
slipped softly up-stairs. As she sat down at 
her desk she looked at the clock and hesitated. 
It was not so late as she had thought, only 
quarter of nine. There was still time to go 



3o8 BETTT WALES 

back to the Belden. But after a moment's 
wavering Betty began getting out of her dress 
and into a kimono. Since the day of the 
basket-ball game she had honestly tried not to 
let the little things interfere with the big, nor 
the mere '' interruptions " that were fun and 
very little more loom too large in her scale of 
living. '' Livy to-night and golf to-morrow," 
she told the green lizard, as she sat down again 
and went resolutely to work. 

When Eleanor came in to dinner the next 
evening Betty could hardly conceal her excite- 
ment. Would she say anything ? If she said 
nothing what would it mean ? The interview 
had apparently not been a stormy one. Elea- 
nor looked tired, but not in the least disturbed 
or defiant. She ate her dinner almost in 
silence, answ^ering questions politely but briefly 
and making none of her usual effort to con- 
trol and direct the conversation. But just as 
the girls were ready to leave the table she 
broke her silence. '' Wait a minute," she said. 
'' I want to ask you please to forget all the 
foolish things I said last night at dinner. I've 
said them a good many times, and I can't con- 
tradict them to every one, but I can here — 



BETTT WALES 309 

and I want to. I've thought more about it 
since yesterday, and I see that I hadn't at all 
the right idea of the situation. The students 
at a college are supposed to be old enough to 
do the right thing about vacations without the 
attaching of any childish penalty to the wrong 
thing. But we all of us get careless ; then a 
public sentiment must be created against the 
wrong things, like cutting over. That was 
what the registrar was trying to do. Anybody 
who stays over as I did makes it less possible 
to do without rules and regulations and penal- 
ties — in other words hurts the tone of the col- 
lege, just as a man who likes to live in a town 
where there are churches but never goes to 
them himself, unfairly throws the responsibil- 
ity of church-going on to the rest of the com- 
munity. I hadn't thought of it in that way ; 
I didn't mean to be a shirk, but I was one." 

A profound silence greeted Eleanor's argu- 
ment. Mary Rich, who had been loud in her 
championship of Eleanor's sentiments the 
night before, looked angry at this sudden de- 
sertion ; and Mary Brooks tried rather unsuc- 
cessfully not to smile. The rest were merely 
astonished at so sudden a change of mind. 



3IO BETTT WALES 

Finally Betty gave a little nervous cough and 
in sheer desperation began to talk. '' That's a 
good enough argument to change any one's 
mind," she said. '' Isn't it queer how many 
different views of a subject there are ? " 

'' Of some subjects," said Eleanor pointedly. 

It was exactly what Betty should have ex- 
pected, but she couldn't help being a little dis- 
appointed. Eleanor had just shown herself so 
fine and downright, so willing to make all the 
reparation in her power for a course whose in- 
consistency had been proved to her. It was 
very disheartening to find that she cherished 
the old, reasonless grudge as warmly as ever. 
But if Betty had accomplished nothing for 
herself, she had done all that she hoped for 
Eleanor, and she tried to feel perfectly satis- 
fied. 

'' I think too much about myself, anyway," 
she told the green lizard, who was the recip- 
ient of many confidences about this time. 

The rest of the month sped by like the 
wind. As Betty thought it over afterward, 
it seemed to have been mostly golf practice 
and bird club. Roberta organized the bird 
club. Its object, according to her, was to as- 



BETTT WALES 311 

sist Mary Brooks with her zoology by finding 
bird haunts and conveying Mary to them ; its 
ultimate development almost wrought Mary's 
ruin. Mary had elected a certain one year 
course in zoology on the supposition that one 
year, general courses are usually '' snaps," and 
the further theory that every well conducted 
student will have one '' snap " on her sched- 
ule. These propositions worked well together 
until the spring term, when zoology la re- 
solved itself into a bird-study class. Mary, 
who was near-sighted, detested bird-study, 
and hardly knew a crow from a kinglet, 
found life a burden, until Roberta, who loved 
birds and was only too glad to get a compan- 
ion on her walks in search of them, organized 
what she picturesquely named '' the Mary- 
bird club." Rachel and Adelaide immedi- 
ately applied for admission, and about the 
time that Mary appropriated the forget-me- 
nots that Katherine had gathered for Marion 
Lawrence and wore them to a dance on the 
plea that they exactly matched her evening 
dress, and also decoyed Betty into betraying 
her connection with the freshman grind-book, 
Katherine and Betty joined. They seldom 



312 BETTT WALES 

accompanied the club on its official walks, 
preferring to stroll off hy themselves and 
come back with descriptions of the birds 
the}^ had seen for Mary and Roberta to iden- 
tify. Occasionally they met a friendly bird 
student who helped them with their identifi- 
cations on the spot, and then, when Roberta 
was busy, they would take Mary out in search 
of '' their birds," as they called them. Oddly 
enough they always found these rare species 
a second time, though Mary, because of her 
near-sightedness, had to be content with a 
casual glance at them. 

'^ But what you've seen, 3^ou've seen," she 
said. ''I've got to see fifty birds before June 
1st ; that doesn't necessarily mean see them 
so you'll know them again. Now I shouldn't 
know the nestle or the shelcuff, but I can put 
them down, can't I ? " 

'' Of course," assented Katherine, '' a few 
rare birds like those will make your list look 
like something." 

The pink-headed euthuma, which came to 
light on the very last day of May, interested 
Mary so much that she told Roberta about it 
immediately and Roberta questioned the dis- 



BETTT WALES 313 

coverers. Their accounts were perfectly con- 
sistent. 

'* Way out on Paradise path, almost to the 
end, we met a man dashing around as if he 
were crazy," explained Betty. *' We should 
have thought he was an escaped lunatic if we 
hadn't seen others like him." 

"• Yes," continued Katherine. " But he 
acted too much like you to take us in. So 
we said we were interested in birds too, and 
he danced around some more and said we 
had come upon a rare specimen. Then 
he pointed to the top of an enormous pine- 
tree " 

'' Those rare birds are always in the very 
tops of trees," put in Mary eagerly. 

'' Of course ; that's one reason they're rare," 
went on Betty. "" But that minute it flew 
into the top of a poplar, and we three pur- 
sued it. It was a beauty." 

^' And then you came back after me, and it 
was still there. Tell her how it was marked," 
suggested Mary. ^' Perhaps she knows it un- 
der some other name." 

''It had a pink head, of course," said Kath- 
erine, " and blue wings." 



314 BETTr WALES 

" Goodness ! " exclaimed Roberta suspi- 
ciously. 

'' Don't you mean black wings, Kather- 
ine ? '' asked Betty hastily. 

" Did I say blue ? I meant black of course. 
Mary thought they looked blue and that con- 
fused me. And its breast was white with 
brown marks on it." 

'' What size was it? " asked Roberta. 

Katherine looked doubtful. ^' What should 
you say, Mary?" 

'' Well, it was quite small — about the size 
of a sparrow or a robin, I thought." 

'' They're quite different sizes," said Roberta 
wearily. '' Your old man must have been 
color-blind. It couldn't have had a pink 
head. Who ever heard of a pink-headed 
bird?" 

'' We three are not color-blind," Katherine 
reminded her. '' And then there's the name." 
Roberta sighed deeply. The new members 
of the Mary-bird club were very unmanage- 
able. 

Meanwhile Mary was industriously count- 
ing the names on her list, which must be 
handed in the next day, '' I think I'd better 



BETTT WALES 315 

put the euthuma down, Roberta," she said 
finally. ''We saw it all right. They won't 
look the list over very carefully, but they will 
notice how many birds are on it, and even 
with the pink-headed euthuma I haven't but 
forty-five. I rather wish now that I'd bought 
a text-book, but I thought it was a waste of 
money when you knew all about the birds, and 
it would certainly be a waste of money now." 

''Oh, yes," said Roberta. "If only the 
library hadn't wanted its copy back quite so 
soon ! " 

" It was disagreeable of them, wasn't it? " 
said Mary cheerfully, copying away on her 
list. " You were going to look up the nestle 
too. Girls, did we hear the nestle sing? " 

" It whistled like a blue jay," said Kath- 
erine promptly. 

"It couldn't," protested Roberta. "You 
said it was only six inches long." 

" On the plan of a blue jay's call, but 
smaller, Roberta," explained Betty pacifically. 

" Well, it's funny that you can never find 
any of these birds when I'm with you," said 
Roberta. 

Katherine looked scornful. " We were 



3i6 BETTT WALES 

mighty lucky to see them even twice, I think," 
she retorted. 

Next day Mary came home from zoology 
la, which to add to its other unpleasant fea- 
tures met in the afternoon, w^earing the air 
of a martyr to circumstance. Roberta, Kath- 
erine and Betty happened to be sitting on the 
piazza translating Livy together. "■ Girls," she 
demanded, as she came up the steps, " if I 
get you the box of Huyler's that Mr. Bur- 
gess sent me will you tell me the truth about 
those birds? " 

'' She had the lists read in class ! " shouted 
Katherine. 

'' I knew it ! " said Roberta in tragic 
tones. 

''Did you tell her about the shelcufF's 
neck ? " inquired Betty. 

Mary sat down on the piazza railing with 
her feet cushioned on a lexicon. '' I told her 
all about the shelcuff," she said, *' likewise the 
euthuma and the nestle. What is more, the 
head of the zoology department was visiting 
the class, so I also told him, and w^hen I 
stayed to explain he stayed too, and — oh, you 
little wretches I " 



BETTT WALES 317 

" Not at all," said Katherine. '' We waited 
until you'd made a reputation for cleverness 
and been taken into a society. I think we 
were considerateness itself." 

Roberta was gazing sadly at Mary. '' Why 
did you try all those queer ones? " she asked. 
'' You knew I wasn't sure of them." 

" I had to, my dear. She asked us for the 
rare names on our lists. I was the third one 
she came to, and the others had floundered 
around and told about birds I'd never heard 
of. I didn't really know which of mine 
were rare, because I'd never seen any of them 
but once, you know, and I was afraid I should 
strike something that was a good deal com- 
moner than a robin, and then it would be all 
up with me. So I boldly read off these three, 
because I was sure they were rare. You 
should have seen her face when I got to the 
pink-headed one," said Mary, beginning sud- 
denly to appreciate the humor of the situa- 
tion. '^ Did you invent them? " 

'' Only the names," said Betty, '' and the 
stories about finding them. I thought of 
nestle, and Katherine made up the others. 
Aren't they lovely names, Roberta? " 



3i8 BETTT WALES 

''Yes," said Roberta, '' but think of the fix 
Mary is in." 

Mary smiled serenely. '' Don't worry, Ro- 
berta," she said. '' The names were so lovely 
and the shelcufF's neck and the note of the 
nestle and all, and I am honestly so near- 
sighted, that I don't think Miss Carter will 
have the heart to condition me. But girls, 
where did you get the descriptions? Professor 
Lawrence particularly wanted to know." 

Betty looked at Katherine and the two 
burst into peals of laughter. '' Mary Brooks, 
you invented most of those yourself," ex- 
plained Katherine, when she could speak. 
'' We just showed you the first bird we hap- 
pened to see and told you its new name and 
you'd say, ^ Why it has a green crest and yel- 
low wings ! ' or ' How funny its neck is ! It 
must have a pouch.' All we had to do was 
to encourage you a little." 

" And suppress you a little when you put 
colors like pink and blue into the same bird," 
continued Betty, '' so Roberta wouldn't get 
too suspicious." 

'' Then those birds were just common, or- 
dinary ones that I'd seen before ? " 



BETTT WALES 319 

" Exactly. The nestle was a blue jay, and 
the euthuma was a sparrow. We couldn't see 
what the shelcuff was ourselves, the tree was 
so tall. 



(( < 



The primrose by a river's brim 
A yellow primrose was to him, 
And it was nothing more,' " 



quoted Mary blithely. "■ You can never put 
that on my tombstone." 

** Better tell your friend Dr. Hinsdale about 
your vivid ornithological imagination," sug- 
gested Katherine. '^ It might interest him." 

'' Oh, I shall," said Mary easily. '' But to- 
night, young ladies, you will be pleased to 
learn that I am invited up to Professor Law- 
rence's to dinner, so that I can see his bird 
skins. Incidentally I shall meet his fascinat- 
ing brother. In about ten minutes I shall 
want to be hooked up, Roberta." 

''She's one too many for us, isn't she?" 
said Katherine, as Mary went gaily off, fol- 
lowed by the devoted Roberta, declaring in 
loud tones that the Mary-bird club was dis- 
solved. 

'' I wish things that go wrong didn't bother 



320 BETTT WALES 

me any more than they do her," said Betty 
wistfully. 

'' Cheer up," urged Katherine, giving her a 
bearish hug. '' You'll win in the golf again 
to-morrow, and everything will come out all 
right in the end." 

''Everything? What do you mean?" in- 
quired Betty sharply. 

'' Why, singles and doubles — twosomes and 
foursomes you call them, don't you ? They'll 
all come out right." 

A moment later Katherine burst in upon 
her long-suffering roommate with a vehe- 
mence that made every cup on the tea-table 
rattle. '' I almost let her know what w^e 
thought," she said, '' but I guess I smoothed it 
over. Do you suppose Eleanor Watson isn't 
going to make up with her at all? " 



CHAPTER XVIII 

INTO PARADISE AND OUT 

It was a glorious summer twilight. The 
air was sweet with the odor of lilacs and 
honeysuckle. One by one the stars shone 
softly out in the velvet sky, across which 
troops of swallows swooped and darted, twit- 
tering softly on the wing. Near the western 
horizon the golden glow of sunset still lin- 
gered. It was a night for poets to sing of, a 
night to revel in and to remember ; but it was 
assuredly not a night for study. Gaslight 
heated one's room to the boiling point. Closed 
windows meant suffocation ; open ones — 
since there are no screens in the Harding 
boarding house — let in troops of fluttering 
moths and burly June-bugs. 

'' And the moral of that is, work while it is 
yet light," proclaimed Mary Brooks, ringing 
her bicycle bell suggestively. 

There was a sudden commotion on the 
piazza and then Betty's clear voice rose above 

321 



322 BETTr WALES 

the tumult. '' We won it, one up ! Isn't that 
fine ? Oh no, not the singles ; we go on with 
them to-morrow, but I can't possibly win. 
Oh, I'm so hot ! " 

Eleanor Watson smiled grimly as these 
speeches floated up to her from below. She 
had been lounging all the breathless after- 
noon, trying vainly to get rid of a headache ; 
and the next day's lessons were still to be 
learned. 

'' Ouch, how I hate June-bugs," she mut- 
tered, stopping for the fifth time in as many 
minutes to drive out a buzzing intruder. She 
had just gotten one out when another flew 
straight at her unperceived and tangled him- 
self in her hair. That was the limit of endur- 
ance. With one swift movement Eleanor 
turned ofl* the gas, with another she pulled 
down her hair and released the prisoned 
beetle. Then she twisted up the soft coil 
again in the dark and went out into the sweet 
spring dusk. 

At the next corner she gave an angry little 
exclamation and turned back toward the 
house. The girls had deserted the piazza be- 
fore she came down, and now the only light 



BETTT WALES 323 

seemed to be in Betty's room. Every window 
there was shut, so it was no use to call. 
Eleanor climbed the stairs and knocked. 
Katherine and Betty were just starting for a 
trolley ride, to cool oiF the champion, Kath- 
erine explained ; but Helen was going to be 
in all the evening. 

'' I pity you from the bottom of my heart," 
said Eleanor, '^ but if you are really going to 
be here would you tell Lil Day when she 
comes that I have an awful headache and 
have gone off — that I'll see her to-morrow. I 
could go down there, but if she's in, her room 
will be fuller of June-bugs than mine. Hear 
them slam against that glass ! " She turned to 
Betty stiffly. '' I congratulate you on your 
victory," she said. 

'' Oh thank you ! " answered Betty eagerly. 
*' Christy did most of it. Would — won't you 
come out with us ? " 

^' No, thank you. I feel like being all alone. 
I'm going down for a twilight row on Para- 
dise." 

'' You'll get malaria," said Katherine. 

"' You'll catch cold, too, in that thin dress," 
added Helen. 



324 BETTT WALES 

" I don't mind, if only I don't see any June- 
bugs," answered Eleanor, *' or any girls," she 
added under her breath, when she had gained 
the lower hall. 

The quickest way to Paradise was through 
the campus, but Eleanor chose an un- 
frequented back street, too ugly to attract the 
parties of girls who swarmed over the col- 
lege grounds, looking like huge white moths 
as they flitted about under the trees. She 
walked rapidly, trying to escape thought in 
activity ; but the thoughts ill-naturedly kept 
pace with her. As everybody who came in 
contact with Eleanor Watson was sure to re- 
mark, she was a girl brimful of strong possi- 
bilities both for good and evil ; and to-night 
these were all awake and warring. Her year 
of bondage at college was nearly over. Only 
the day before she had received a letter from 
Judge Watson, coldly courteous, like all his 
epistles to his rebellious daughter, inquiring if 
it was her wish to return to Harding another 
year, and in the same mail had come an invi- 
tation from her aunt, asking her to spend the 
following winter in New York. Eleanor 
shrewdly guessed that in spite of her father's 



BETTT WALES 325 

disapproval of his sister's careless frivolity, he 
would allow her to accept this invitation, for 
the obvious relief it would bring to himself 
and the second Mrs. Watson. He was fond of 
her, that she did not for a moment question, 
and he honestly wished her best good ; but he 
did not want her in his house in her present 
mood. 

'' For which I don't in the least blame 
him," thought Eleanor. 

She had started to answer his letter im- 
mediately, as he had wished, and then had 
hesitated and delayed, so that the decision in- 
volved in her reply was still before her. And 
yet why should she hesitate? She did not 
like Harding college ; she had kept the letter 
of her agreement to stay there for one year ; 
surely she was free now to do as she pleased — 
indeed, her father had said as much. But 
what did she please — that was a point that, un- 
accountably, she could not settle. Lately 
something had changed her attitude toward 
the life at Harding. Perhaps it was the after- 
noon with Miss Ferris, with the perception it 
had brought of aims and ideals as foreign to the 
ambitious schemes with which she had begun 



326 BETTT WALES 

the year as to the angry indifference in which 
she was finishing it. Perhaps, as poor Helen 
had suggested, it w^as the melting loveliness 
of spring term. At any rate, as she heard the 
girls making their plans for the next year, 
squabbling amiably over the merits of the 
various campus houses, choosing roommates, 
bargaining for furniture, even securing part- 
ners for the commencement festivities still 
three years off, an unexplainable longing to 
stay on and finish the four years' drama with 
the rest had seized upon Eleanor. But each 
time it came she had stifled it, reminding her- 
self sternly that for her the four years held 
no pleasant possibilities ; she had thrown 
away her chance — had neglected her work, 
alienated her friends, disappointed every one, 
and most of all herself There was nothing 
left for her now but to go away beaten — not 
outwardly, for she still flattered herself that 
she had proved both to students and faculty 
her ability to make a very brilliant record at 
Harding had she been so inclined, and even 
her superiority to the drudgery of the routine 
work and the childish recreations. But in 
her heart of hearts Eleanor knew that this 



BETTT WALES 327 

very disinclination to make the most of her 
opportunities, this fancied superiority to re- 
quirements that jarred on her undisciplined, 
haphazard training, was failure far more ab- 
solute and inexcusable than if dulness or any 
other sort of real inability to meet the require- 
ments of the college life had been at the 
bottom of it. Her father would know it too, 
if the matter ever came to his notice ; and her 
brother Jim, who was making such a splendid 
record at Cornell — he would know that, as 
Betty Wales had said once, quoting her sister's 
friend, '' Every nice girl likes college, though 
each has a different reason." Well, Jim had 
thought for two years that she was a failure. 
Eleanor gulped hard to keep back the tears ; 
she had meant to be everything to Jim, and 
she was only an annoyance. 

It was almost dark by the time she reached 
the landing. A noisy crowd of girls, who had 
evidently been out with their supper, were 
just coming in. They exclaimed in astonish- 
ment when her canoe shot out from the boat- 
house. 

'' It's awfully hard to see your way," called 
one officious damsel. 



328 BETTT WALES 

^' I can see in the dark like an owl/' sang 
back Eleanor, her good-humor restored the 
instant her paddle touched water, — for boating 
was her one passion. 

Ah, but it was lovely on the river ! She 
glided around the point of an island and was 
alone at last, with the stars, the soft, grape- 
scented breezes, and the dark water. She 
pulled up the stream with long, swift strokes, 
and then, where the trees hung low over the 
still water, she dropped the paddle, and slip- 
ping into the bottom of the canoe, leaned 
back against a cushioned seat and drank in 
the beauty of the darkness and solitude. She 
had never been out on Paradise River at night. 
'' And I shall never come again except at 
night,'' she resolved, breathing deep of the 
damp, soft air. Malaria — who cared for that ? 
And when she was cold she could paddle a 
little and be warm again in a moment. 

Suddenly she heard voices and saw two 
shapes moving slowly along the path on the 
bank. 

'' Oh, do hurry, Margaret," said one. '' I 
told her I'd be there by eight. Besides, it's 
awfully dark and creepy here." 



BETTT tVALES 329 

"■ I tell you I can't hurry, Lil," returned 
the other. '' I turned my ankle terribly back 
there, and I must sit down and rest, creeps or 
no creeps." 

'' Oh, very well," agreed the other voice 
grudgingly, and the shapes sank down on a 
knoll close to the water's edge. 

Eleanor had recognized them instantly ; 
they were her sophomore friend, Lilian Day, 
and Margaret Payson, a junior whom Eleanor 
greatly admired. Her first impulse was to 
call out and offer to take the girls back in her 
canoe. Then she remembered that the little 
craft would hold only two with safety, that 
the girls would perhaps be startled if she spoke 
to them, and also that she had come down to 
Paradise largely to escape Lil's importunate 
demands that she spend a month of her va- 
cation at the Day camp in the Adirondacks. 
So, certain that they would never notice her 
in the darkness and the thick shadows, she 
lay still in the bottom of her boat and waited 
for them to go on. 

'' It's a pity about her, isn't it? " said Miss 
Payson, after she had rubbed her ankle for a 
while in silence. 



330 BETTT WALES 

" About whom ? " inquired Lilian crossly. 

'' Why, Eleanor Watson ; you just spoke of 
having an engagement with her. She seems 
to have been a general failure here." 

Eleanor started at the sound of her own 
name, then lay tense and rigid, w^aiting 
for Lilian's answer. She knew it was not 
honorable to listen, and she certainly did not 
care to do so ; but if she cried out now, after 
having kept silent so long, Lilian, who was 
absurdly nervous in the dark, might be seri- 
ously frightened. Perhaps she would disa- 
gree and change the subject. But no 

'' Yes, a complete failure," repeated Lilian 
distinctly. '' Isn't it queer ? She's really 
very clever, you know, and awfully amusing, 
besides being so amazingly beautiful. But 
there is a little footless streak of contrariness 
in her — we noticed it at boarding-school, — 
and it seems to have completely spoiled her." 

'* It is queer, if she is all that you say. 
Perhaps next year she'll be " 

" Oh, she isn't coming back next year," 
broke in Lilian. " She hates it here, you 
know, and she sees that she's made a mess of 
it, too, though she wouldn't admit it in a tor- 



BETTT WALES 331 

ture chamber. She thinks she has shown that 
college is beneath her talents, I suppose." 

'' Little goose ! Is she so talented ? " 

'' Yes, indeed. She sings beautifully and 
plays the guitar rather well — she'd surely have 
made one of the musical clubs next year — and 
she can act, and write clever little stories. 
Oh, she'd have walked into everything going 
all right, if she hadn't been such a goose — 
muddled her work and been generally offish 
and horrid." 

'' Too bad," said Miss Payson, rising with a 
groan. '' Who do you think are the bright 
and shining stars among the freshmen, Lil? " 

^' Why Marion Lustig for literary ability, of 
course, and Emily Davis for stunts and Christy 
Mason for general all-around fineness, and 
socially — oh, let me think — the B's, I should 
say, and — I forget her name — the little girl 
that Dottie King is so fond of. Here, take 
my arm, Margaret. You've got to get home 
some way, you know." 

Their voices trailed off into murmurs that 
grew fainter and fainter until the silence of 
the river and the wood was again unbroken. 
Eleanor sat up stiffly and stretched her arms 



332 BETTT JVALES 

above her head in sheer physical relief after 
the strain of utter stillness. Then, with a lit- 
tle sobbing cry, she leaned forward, bowing 
her head in her hands. Paradise — had they 
named it so because one ate there of the fruit 
of the tree of knowledge ? 

^' A little footless streak ! " 

"■ An utter failure ! " 

What did it matter ? She had known it all 
before. She had said those very words her- 
self But she had thought — she had been 
sure that other people did not understand it 
that way. Well, perhaps most people did 
not. No, that was nonsense. Lilian Day 
had achieved a position of prominence in her 
class purely through a remarkable alertness 
to public sentiment. Margaret Payson, a girl 
of a very different and much finer type, stood 
for the best of that sentiment. Eleanor had 
often admired her for her clear-sightedness 
and good judgment. They had said unhesi- 
tatingly that she was a failure ; then the col- 
lege thought so. Well, it was Jean Eastman's 
fault then, and Caroline's, and Betty Wales's. 
Nonsense ! it was her own. Should she go off 
in June and leave her name spelling failure 



BETTT WALES 333 

behind her ? Or should she come back and 
somehow change the failure to success ? Could 
she? 

She had no idea how long she sat there, 
turning the matter over in her mind, viewing 
it this way and that, considering what she 
could do if she came back, veering between a 
desire to go away and forget it all in the gay 
bustle of a New York winter, and the fierce 
revolt of the famous Watson pride, that found 
any amount of effort preferable to open and 
acknowledged defeat. But it must have been 
a long time, for when she pulled herself on to 
her seat and caught up the paddle, she was 
shivering with cold and her thin dress 
was dripping wet with the mist that lay 
thick over the river. Slowly she felt her way 
down-stream, pushing through the bank of 
fog, often running in shore in spite of her 
caution, and fearful every moment of striking 
a hidden rock or snag. Soft rustlings in the 
wood, strange plashings in the stream startled 
her. Lower down was the bewildering net- 
work of islands. Surely there were never so 
many before. Was the boat-house straight 
across from the last island, or a little down- 



334 BErrr wales 

stream ? Which was straight across ? And 
where was the last island ? She had missed it 
somehow in the mist. She was below it, out 
in the w^ide mill-pond. Somewhere on the 
other side was the boat-house, and further 
down was a dam. Down-stream must be 
straight to the left. All at once the roar of 
the descending water sounded in Eleanor's 
ears, and to her horror it did not come from 
the left. But when she tried to tell from 
which direction it did come, she could not de- 
cide ; it seemed to reverberate from all sides 
at once ; it was perilously near and it grew 
louder and more terrible every moment. 

Suddenly a fierce, unreasoning fear took 
possession of Eleanor. She told herself sternly 
that there was no danger ; the current in Par- 
adise River was not so strong but that a good 
paddler could stem it with ease. In a mo- 
ment the mist would lift and she could see 
the outline of one shore or the other. But 
the mist did not lift ; instead it grew denser 
and more stifling, and although she turned 
her canoe this way and that and paddled 
with all her strength, the roar from the dam 
grew steadily to an ominous thunder. Then 



BETTT STALES 335 

she remembered a gruesome legend that hung 
about the dam and the foaming pool in the 
shadow of the old mill far below, and dropped 
her paddle in an agony of fear. She might 
hurry herself over the dam in striving to es- 
cape it I 

And still the deafening torrent pounded 
in her ears. If only she could get away from 
it — somewhere — anywhere just to be quiet. 
Would it be quiet in the pool by the mill ? 
Eleanor slipped unsteadily into the bottom of 
her boat and tried to peer through the dark- 
ness at the black water, and to feel about with 
her hands for the current. As she did so, a 
bell rang up on the campus. It must be 
twenty minutes to ten. Eleanor gave a harsh, 
mirthless laugh. How stupid she had been ! 
She would call, of course. If she could hear 
their bell, they could hear her voice and come 
for her. There would be an awkward moment 
of explanation, but what of that ? 

''Hallo! Hallo— 0-0!" she called. Only 
the boom of the water answered. 

'' Hallo 1 Hallo— 0-0 ! " 

Again the boom of the water swallowed 
her cry and drowned it. 



336 BETTT WALES 

It was no use to call, — only a waste of 
strength. 

Eleanor caught up her paddle and began 
to back water with all her might. That was 
what she should have done from the first, of 
course. She was cold all at once and very 
tired, but she would not give up yet. 

She had quite forgotten that only a little 
while before it had not seemed to matter 
much what became of her. "■ But if I can't 

keep at it all night " she said to the mist 

and the river. 



CHAPTER XIX 

A LAST CHANCE 

Helen's choice of closed windows in pref- 
erence to invading companies of moths and 
June-bugs had made the room so insufferably 
warm that between heat and excitement Betty 
could not get to sleep. Instead she tossed 
restlessly about on her narrow couch, listen- 
ing to the banging of the trolleys at the next 
corner and wishing she were still sitting on 
the breezy front seat, as the car dashed down 
the long hill toward the station. At length 
she slipped softly out of bed and opened the 
door. Perhaps the breeze would come in bet- 
ter then. As she stood for a moment testing 
the result of her experiment, she noticed with 
surprise that Eleanor's door was likewise 
open. This simple fact astonished her, be- 
cause she remembered that on the hottest 
nights last fall Eleanor had persisted in shut- 
ting and locking her door. She had acquired 
the habit from living so much in hotels, she 

337 



338 BETTT IVALES 

said ; she could never go to sleep at all so 
long as her door was unfastened. '' Perhaps 
it's all right," thought Betty, ^' but it looks 
queer. I believe I'll just see if she's in bed." 
So she crept softly across the hall and looked 
into Eleanor's room. It was empty, and the 
couch was in its daytime dress, covered with 
an oriental spread and piled high with pil- 
lows. '' I suppose she stopped on the campus 
and got belated," was Betty's first idea. '' But 
no, she couldn't stay down there all night, 
and it's long after ten. It must be half past 
eleven. I'll — I'd better consult — Katherine." 

She chose Katherine instead of Rachel, be- 
cause she had heard Eleanor speak about go- 
ing to Paradise, and so could best help to de- 
cide whether it was reasonable to suppose 
that she was still there. Rachel was steadier 
and more dependable, but Katherine was re- 
sourceful and quick-witted. Besides, she was 
not a bit afraid of the dark. 

She was sound asleep, but Betty managed 
to wake her and get her into the hall without 
disturbing any one else. 

'' Goodness ! " exclaimed Katherine, when 
she heard the news. " You don't think '* 



BETTT WALES 339 

'^ I think she's lost in Paradise. It must 
have been pitch dark down there under the 
trees even before she got started, and you 
know she hasn't any sense of direction. 
Don't you remember her laughing about get- 
ting turned around every time she went to 
New York ? " 

'' Yes, but it doesn't seem possible to get 
lost on that little pond." 

*' It's bigger than it looks," said Betty, 
^' and there is the mist, too, to confuse her." 

'' I hadn't thought of that. Does she know 
how to manage a boat? " 

^' Yes, capitally," said Betty in so fright- 
ened a voice that Katherine dropped the sub- 
ject. 

*' She's lost up stream somewhere and afraid 
to move for fear of hitting a rock," she said 
easily. '^ Or perhaps she's right out in the 
pond by the boat-house and doesn't dare to cross 
because she might go too far down toward the 
dam. We can find her all right, I guess." 

"■ Then you'll come? " said Betty eagerly. 

'^ Why, of course. You weren't thinking 
of going alone, were you ? " 

" I thought maybe you'd think it was silly 



340 BETTT WALES 

for any one to go. I suppose she might be at 
one of the campus houses." 

'' She might, but I doubt it," said Kather- 
ine. '' She was painfully intent on solitude 
when she left here. Now don't fuss too long 
about dressing." 

Without a word Betty sped off to her room. 
She was just pulling a rain-coat over a very 
meagre toilet when Katherine put her head 
in at the door. ^' Bring matches," she said in 
a sepulchral whisper. Betty emptied the 
contents of her match-box into her ulster 
pocket, threw a cape over her arm for Elea- 
nor, and followed Katherine cat-footed down 
the stairs. In the lower hall they stopped 
for a brief consultation. 

''Ought we to tell Mrs. Chapin?" asked 
Betty doubtfully. 

'' Eleanor will hate us forever if we do," 
said Katherine, '' and I don't see any special 
advantage in it. If we don't find her, Mrs. 
Chapin can't. We might tell Rachel though, 
in case we were missed." 

'' Or we might leave a note where she would 
find it," suggested Betty. '' Then if we 
weren't missed no one need knoWo" 



BETTT WALES 341 

**■ All right. You can go more quietly ; I'll 
wait here." Katherine sank down on the 
lowest stair, while Betty flew back to scribble 
a note which she laid on Rachel's pillow. 
Then the relief expedition started. 

It was very strange being out so late. Be- 
fore ten o'clock a girl may go anywhere in 
Harding, but after ten the streets are deserted 
and dreadful. Betty shivered and clung close 
to Katherine, who marched boldly along, de- 
claring that it was much nicer outdoors than 
in, and that midnight was certainly the top 
of the evening for a walk. 

'' And if we find her way up the river we 
can all camp out for the night," she suggested 
jovially. 

'' But if we don't find her ? " 

Katherine, who had noticed Betty's grow- 
ing nervousness, refused to entertain the pos- 
sibility. 

'' We shall," she said. 

'' But if we don't ? " persisted Betty. 

'^ Then I suppose we shall have to tell some- 
body who — who could — why, hunt for her 
more thoroughly," stammered Katherine. 
" Or possibly we'd better wait till morning 



342 BETTT WALES 

and make sure that she didn't stay all night 
with Miss Day. But if we don't find her, 
there will be plenty of time to discuss that." 

At the campus gateway the girls hesitated. 

'' Suppose we should meet the night-watch- 
man ? " said Betty anxiously. '' Would he 
arrest us? " 

Katherine laughed at her fears. '' I was 
only wondering if we hadn't better take the 
path through the orchard. If we go down by 
the dwelling-houses we might meet him, of 
course, and it would be awkward getting rid 
of him if he has an ordinary amount of curi- 
osity." 

'' But that path is spooky dark," objected 
Betty. 

'' Not so dark as the street behind the cam- 
pus," said Katherine decidedly, '' and that's 
the only alternative'. Come on." 

When they had almost reached the back 
limit of the campus Katherine halted sud- 
denly. Betty clutched her in terror. '' Do 
you see any one ? " she whispered. Katherine 
put an arm around her frightened little com- 
rade. "■ Not a person," she said reassuringly, 
^' not even the ghost of my grandmother. I 



BETTT WALES 343 

was just wondering, Betty, if you'd care to go 
ahead down to the landing and call, while I 
waited up by the road. Eleanor is such a 
proud thing ; she'll hate dreadfully to be 
caught in this fix, and I know she'd rather 
have you come to find her than me or both of 
us. But perhaps you'd rather not go ahead. 
It is pretty dark down there." 

Betty lifted her face from Katherine's shoul- 
der and looked at the black darkness that was 
the road and the river bank, and below it to 
the pond that glistened here and there where 
the starlight fell on its cloak of mist. 

'' Of course," said Katherine after a mo- 
ment's silence, '' we can keep together just as 
well as not, as far as I am concerned. I only 
thought that perhaps, since this was your 
plan and you are so fond of Eleanor — oh 
well, I just thought you might like to have 
the fun of rescuing her," finished Katherine 
desperately. 

'' Do you mean for me to go ahead and call, 
and if Eleanor answers not to say anything to 
her about your having come ? " 

'' Yes." 

^' Then how would you get home ? " 



344 BETTT WALES 

'' Oh, walk along behind you, just out of 
sight." 

'' Wouldn't you be afraid ? " 

'' Hardly." 

'' But I should be taking the credit for 
something I hadn't done." 

'' And Eleanor would be the happier thereby 
and none of the rest of the world would be 
affected either way." 

Betty looked at the pond again and then 
gave Katherine a soft little hug. '^ Katherine 
Kittredge, you're an old dear," she said, "■ and 
if you really don't mind, I'll go ahead ; but if 
she asks me how I dared to come alone or 
says anything about how 1 got here, I shall 
tell her that you were with me." 

" All right, but I fancy she w^on't be think- 
ing about that. The matches are so she can 
see her way to you. It's awfully hard to fol- 
low a sound across the water, but if you light 
one match after another she can get to you be- 
fore the supply gives out, if she's anywhere 
near. Don't light any till she answers. If 
she doesn't answer, I'll come down to you and 
we'll walk on up the river a little way and 
find her there." 



BETTT WALES 345 

*' Yes," said Betty. '' Where shall you 
stay ? " 

'' Oh, right under this tree, I guess," an- 
swered Katherine carelessly. 

'' Good-bye." 

'' Good-bye." 

When Betty had fairly gone, doubts began 
to assail Katherine, as they have a habit of 
assailing impulsive people, after it is too late 
to pay heed to them. It occurred to her that 
she was cooperating in what might easily turn 
out to be a desperate adventure, and that it 
would have been the part of wisdom to enlist 
the services of more competent and better 
equipped searchers at once, without risking de- 
lay on the slender chance of finding Eleanor 
near the wharf. '' Eleanor would have hated 
the publicity, but if she wants to come up here 
in the dark and frighten us all into hysteria 
she must take the consequences. And I'd 
have let her too, if it hadn't been for Betty." 

An owl hooted, and Katherine jumped as 
nervously as Betty would have done. Poor 
Betty ! She must be almost at the landing 
by this time. At that very moment a little 
quavering voice rang out over the water. 



346 BETTT WALES 

''Eleanor! Eleanor Watson! Eleanor, 
Oh, Eleanor, where are you ? " 

For a long moment there was silence. Then 
the owl hooted again. That was too much. 
Katherine jumped up with a bound and 
started down the bank toward Betty. She did 
not stop to find the path, and at the second 
step caught her foot and fell headlong. Ap- 
parently Betty did not hear her. She had 
not yet given up hope, for she was calling 
again, pausing each time to listen for the an- 
swer that did not come. 

''Oh, Eleanor, Eleanor, aren't you there?" 
she cried and stopped, even the courage of de- 
spair gone at last. Katherine, nursing a 
bruised knee on the hill above, had opened 
her mouth to call encouragement, when a low 
" Who is it ? " floated across the water. 

"Eleanor, is that you? It's I— Betty 
Wales ! " shrieked Betty. 

Katherine nodded her head in silent token 
of " I told you so," and slid back among the 
bushes to recuperate and await developments. 

For the end was not yet. Eleanor was evi- 
dently far down toward the dam, close to the 
opposite bank. It was hard for her to hear 



BETTT WALES 347 

Betty, and still harder for Betty to hear her. 
Her voice sounded faint and far off, and she 
seemed to be paralyzed with fear and quite in- 
capable of further effort. When Betty begged 
her to paddle right across and began lighting 
matches in reckless profusion to show her the 
way, Eleanor simply repeated, '' I can't, I 
can't," in dull, dispirited monotone. 

'' Shall — I — come — for — you ? " shouted 
Betty. 

'' You can't," returned Eleanor again. 

" Non — sense ! " shrieked Betty and then 
stood still on the wharf, apparently weighing 
Eleanor's last opinion. 

'' Go ahead," called Katherine in muffled 
tones from above. 

Betty did not answer. 

^' Thinks I'm another owl, I suppose," mut- 
tered Katherine, and limped down the bank 
to the wharf, frightening the nervous, over- 
wrought Betty almost out of her wits at first, 
and then vastly relieving her by taking the 
entire direction of affairs into her own com- 
petent hands. 

'' You go right ahead. It's the only way, 
and it's perfectly easy in a heavy boat. That 



348 BETTT WALES 

canoe might possibly go down with the cur- 
rent, but a big boat wouldn't. Rachel and I 
tried it last week, when the river was higher. 
Now cross straight over and feel along the 
bank until you get to her. Then beach the 
canoe and come back the same way. Give me 
some matches. I'll manage that part of it and 
then retire, — unless you'd rather be the one to 
wait here." 

'* No, I'll go," answered Betty eagerly, van- 
ishing into the boat-house after a pair of oars. 

'' She must be hanging on to something on 
shore," went on Katherine, when Betty reap- 
peared, '* and she's lost her nerve and doesn't 
dare to let go. If you can't get her into your 
boat, I'll come ; but somebody really ought to 
stay here. I had no idea the fog was so thick. 
Hurry now and cross straight over. You're 
sure you're not afraid ? " 

'' Quite sure." Betty was off, splashing her 
oars nervously through the still water, wrapped 
in the mist, whispering over and over Kath- 
erine's last words, '' Hurry and go straight. 
Hurry, hurry, go straight across." 

When she reached the other shore she 
called again to Eleanor, and the sobbing cry 




BETTY WAS NOW UP TO HER KNEES IN WATER 



THE r:m VOHK 
PUBLIC UBfvAEY 






BETTT IVALES 349 

of relief that answered her made all the strain 
and effort seem as nothing. Cautiously creep- 
ing along the bank where the river was com- 
paratively quiet, backing water now and then 
to test her strength with the current, she 
finally reached Eleanor, who had happened 
quite by chance to run near the bank and now 
sat in the frail canoe hanging by both hands 
to a branch that swept low over the water, 
exactly as Katherine had guessed. 

'' Why didn't you beach the canoe, and stay 
on shore?" asked Betty, who had tied her 
own boat just above and was now up to her 
knees in the water, pulling Eleanor in. 

'' I tried to, but I lost my paddle, and so I 
was afraid to let go the tree again, and the 
water looked so deep. Oh, Betty, Betty ! " 

Eleanor sank down on the bank, sobbing as 
if her heart would break. Betty patted her 
arm in silence, and in a few moments she stood 
up, quieted. '' You're going to take me back ? " 
she asked. 

*' Of course," said Betty, cheerfully, leading 
the way to her boat. 

" Please wait a minute," commanded 
Eleanor. 



350 BETTT WALES 

Betty trembled. '' She's going to say she 
won't go back with me," she thought. '' Please 
let me do it, Eleanor," she begged. 

*' Yes," said Eleanor, quickly, '' but first I 
want to say something. I've been a hateful, 
horrid thing, Betty. I've believed unkind 
stories and done no end of mean things, and I 
deserve all that I've had to-night, except your 
coming after me. I've been ashamed of my- 
self for months, only I wouldn't say so. I 
know you can never want me for a friend 
again, after all my meanness ; but Betty, say 
that you won't let it hurt you — that you'll 
try to forget all about it." 

Betty put a wet arm around Eleanor's neck 
and kissed her cheek softly. '' You weren't 
to blame," she said. '' It was all a mistake 
and my horrid carelessness. Of course I want 
you for a friend. I want it more than any- 
thing else. And now don't say another word 
about it, but just get into the boat and come 
home." 

They hardly spoke during the return pas- 
sage ; Eleanor was worn out with all she had 
gone through, and Betty was busy rowing 
and watching for Katherine's matches, which 



BETTT IVALES 351 

made tiny, glimmering dots of light in the 
gloom. Eleanor did not seem to notice them, 
nor the shadowy figure that vanished around 
the boat-house just before they reached the 
wharf 

From her appointed station under the pine- 
tree Katherine heard the grinding of the boat 
on the gravel, the rattle of oars thrown 
down on the wharf, and then a low murmur 
of conversation that did not start up the hill 
toward her, as she had expected. 

'' Innocents ! " sighed Katherine. '' They're 
actually stopping to talk it out down there in 
the wet. I'm glad they've made it up, and 
I'd do anything in reason for Betty Wales, 
but I certainly am sleepy," and she yawned 
so loud that a blue jay who was roosting in 
the tree above her head fluttered up to a 
higher branch, screaming angrily. 

'' The note of the nestle," laughed Kather- 
ine, and yawned again. 

Down on the wharf Betty and Eleanor were 
curled up close together in an indiscriminate, 
happy tangle of rain-coat, golf-cape, and very 
drabbled muslin, holding a conversation that 
neither would ever forget. Yet it was per- 



352 



BETTT WALES 



fectly commonplace ; Harding girls are not 
given to the expression of their deeper emo- 
tions, though it must not therefore be inferred 
that they do not have any to express. 

" Oh, Betty, you can't imagine how dreadful 
it was out there ! " Eleanor was saying. '' And 
I thought I should have to stay all night, of 
course. How did you know I hadn't come 
in?" 

Betty explained. 

" I don't see why you bothered," said Elea- 
nor. '' I'm sure I shouldn't have, for any 
one as horrid as I've been. Oh, Betty, will 
you truly forgive me? " 

"• Don't say that. I've wanted to do some- 
thing that would make you forgive me." 

'' Oh, I know you have," broke in Eleanor 
quickly. *' Miss Ferris told me." 

*' She did I " interrupted Betty in her turn. 
'' Why, she promised not to." 

'^ Yes, but I asked her. It seemed to me 
queer that she should have taken such an 
interest in me, and all of a sudden it flashed 
over me, as I sat talking to her, that you were 
at the bottom of it. So I said, ' Miss Ferris, 
Betty Wales asked you to say this to me,' and 



BETTT JVALES 353 

she said, ' Yes, but she also asked me not to 
mention her having done so.' I was ashamed 
enough then, for she'd made me see pretty 
plainly how badly I needed looking after, but 
I was bound I wouldn't give in. Oh, Betty, 
haven't I been silly ! " 

'' I didn't mean to hurt your feelings by 
what I said at that class meeting, Eleanor," 
said Betty shyly. 

'' You didn't hurt them. I was just cross 
at things in general — at myself, I suppose 
that means, — and angry at you because I'd 
made you despise me, which certainly wasn't 
your fault." 

'' Eleanor, what nonsense ! I despise you ? " 

A rustling on the bank reminded Betty 
that Katherine was waiting. '' We must go 
home," she said. '' It's after midnight." 

'' So it is," agreed Eleanor, getting up 
stiffly. '' Oh, Betty, I am glad I'm not out 
there hanging on to that branch and shiver- 
ing and wondering how soon I should have 
to let go and end it all. Oh, I shall never 
forget the feel of that stifling mist." 

They walked home almost in silence. 
Katherine, missing the murmur of conversa- 



354 BETTT IP'ALES 

tion, wondered if this last effort at recon- 
ciliation had failed after all ; but near Mrs. 
Chapin's the talk began again. 

*' I'm only sorry there isn't more of spring 
term left to have a good time in. Why, 
Eleanor, there's only two weeks." 

'' But there's all next year," answered 
Eleanor. 

'' I thought you weren't coming back." 

'' I wasn't, but I am now. I've got to — I 
can't go off letting people think that I'm only 
a miserable failure. The Watson pride won't 
let me, Betty." 

" Oh, people don't think anything of that 
kind," objected Betty consolingly. 

'' I know one person who does," said Elea- 
nor with decision, " and her name is Eleanor 
Watson. I decided while I was out there 
waiting for you that one's honest opinion of 
herself is about as important as any outsider's. 
Don't you think so?" 

*' Perhaps," said Betty gaily. '' But the 
thing that interests me is that you're coming 
back next year. Why, it's just grand ! Shall 
you go on the campus ? " 



CHAPTER XX 

LOOSE THREADS 

Betty Wales had to leave her trunk half 
packed and her room in indescribable confu- 
sion in order to obey a sudden summons from 
the registrar. She had secured a room on the 
campus at last, so the brief note said ; but the 
registrar wished her to report at the office 
and decide which of two possible assignments 
she preferred. 

'' It's funny," said Betty to Helen, as she 
extracted her hat from behind the bookcase, 
where she had stored it for safe keeping, '' be- 
cause I put in my application for the Hilton 
house way back last fall." 

'' Perhaps she means two different rooms." 

'' No, Mary says they never give you a 
choice about rooms, unless you're an invalid 
and can't be on the fourth floor or something 
of that kind." 

^' Well, it's nice that you're on," said Helen 
355 



356 BETTT JVALES 

wistfully. " I don't suppose I have the least 
chance for next year." 

^' Oh, there's all summer," said Betty hope- 
fully. '' Lots of people drop out at the last 
minute. Which house did you choose? " 

"■ I didn't choose any because Miss Stuart 
told me I would probably have to wait till 
junior year, and I thought I might change 
my mind before then." 

'' It's too bad," said Betty, picking her way 
between trunk trays and piles of miscellaneous 
debris to the door. '' I think I shall stop on 
my way home and get a man to move my 
furniture right over to the Hilton." 

'' Oh, wouldn't it be lovely if I'd got into 
the Hilton house too ! " said Helen with a 
sigh of resignation. '' Then perhaps we could 
room together." 

"' Yes," said Betty politely, closing the door 
after her. Under the circumstances it was 
not necessary to explain that Alice Waite and 
she had other plans for the next year. 

It was a relief to stop trying to circumvent 
the laws of nature by forcing two objects into 
the space that one will fill — which is the car- 
dinal principle of the college girl's June pack- 



BETTT WALES 357 

ing — and Betty strolled slowly along under 
the elm-trees, in no haste to finish her errand. 
On Main Street, Emily Davis, carrying an 
ungainly bundle, overtook her. 

'' I was afraid I wasn't going to see you to 
say good-bye," she said. "' Everybody wants 
skirt braids put on just now, and between 
that and examinations I've been very busy." 

"• Are those skirts? " asked Betty. 

" Yes, two of Babbie's and one of Babe's. 
I was going up to the campus, so I thought 
I'd bring them along and save the girls 
trouble, since they're my best patrons, as well 
as being my good friends." 

" It's nice to have them both." 

'* Only you hate to take money for doing 
things for your friends." 

'' Where are you going to be this summer ? " 
inquired Betty. '' You never told me where 
you live." 

'' I live up in northern New York, but I'm 
not going home this summer. I'm going to 
Rockport " 

^' Why, so am I ! " exclaimed Betty. '' We're 
going to stay at The Breakers." 

'' Oh, dear ! " said Emily sadly, '' I was 



358 BErrr wales 

hoping that none of my particular friends 
would be there. I'm going to have charge of 
the linen-room at The Breakers, Betty." 

''What difference does that make?" de- 
manded Betty eagerly. '' You have hours off, 
don't you ? We'll have the gayest sort of a 
time. Can you swim ? " 

'' No, I've never seen the ocean." 

''Well, Will and Nan will teach you. 
They're going to teach me." 

Emily shook her head. " Now, Betty, you 
must not expect your family to see me in the 
same light that you do. Here those things 
don't make any difference, but outside they 
do ; and it's perfectly right that they should, 
too." 

" Nonsense ! My family has some sense, I 
hope," said Betty gaily, stopping at the en- 
trance to the Main Building. " Then I'll see 
you next week." 

" Yes, but remember you are not to bother 
your family with me. Good-bye." 

" Good-bye. You just wait and see ! " 
called Betty, climbing the steps. Half-way 
up she frowned. Nan and mother would 
understand, but Will was an awful snob. 



BETTT WALES 359 

'' He'll have to get used to it," she decided, 
'' and he will, too, after he's heard her do ' the 
temperance lecture by a female from Boston.' 
But it will certainly seem funny to him at 
first. Why, I guess it would have seemed 
funny to me last year." 

The registrar looked up wearily from the 
litter on her desk, as Betty entered. '' Good- 
afternoon, Miss Wales. I sent for you because 
I was sure that, however busy you might be 
you had more time than I, and I can talk to 
you much quicker than I could write. As I 
wrote you, I have reached your name on the 
list of the campus applicants, and you can go 
into the Hilton if you choose. But owing to 
an unlooked-for falling out of names just 
below yours, Miss Helen C. Adams comes next 
to you on the list. You hadn't mentioned 
the matter of roommates, and noticing that 
you two girls live in the same house, I 
thought I would ask you if you preferred a 
room in the Belden house with Miss Adams. 
There are two vacancies there, and she will 
get one of them in any case." 

'' Oh ! " said Betty. 

^* I shall be very glad to know your deci- 



36o BETTT JVALES 

sion to-night if possible, so that I can make 
the other assignment in the morning, before 
the next applicant leaves town." 

^' Yes," said Betty. 

"■ You will probably wish to consult Miss 
Adams," went on the registrar. " I ought to 
have sent for her too — I don't know why I 
was so stupid." 

'' Oh, that's all right," said Betty hastily. 
"■ I will come back in about an hour. Miss 
Stuart. I suppose there isn't any hope that 
we could both go into the Hilton." 

*' No, I'm afraid not. Any time before six 
o'clock will do. I shan't be here much longer, 
but you can leave the message with my 
assistant. And you understand of course that 
it was purely on your account that I spoke to 
you. I thought that under the circum- 
stances " The registrar was deep in her 

letters again. 

But as Betty was opening the door, she 
looked up to say with a merry twinkle in her 
keen gray eyes, '' Give my regards to your 
father, Miss Wales, and tell him he underrates 
his daughter's ability to take care of 
herself." 



BETTT WALES 361 

" Oh, Miss Stuart, I hoped you didn't know 
I was that girl," cried Betty blushing prettily. 

Miss Stuart shook her head. '^ I couldn't 
come to meet you, but I didn't forget. I've 
kept an eye on you." 

'' I hope you haven't seen anything very 
dreadful," laughed Betty. 

'' I'll let you know when I do," said Miss 
Stuart. '' Good-bye." 

Betty went out on to the campus, where the 
shadows were beginning to grow long on the 
freshly mown turf, and took her favorite path 
back to the edge of the hill, where she sat 
down on her favorite seat to consider this 
new problem. On the slope below her a bed 
of rhododendrons that had been quite hidden 
under the snow in winter, and inconspicuous 
through the spring, had burst into a sudden 
glory of rainbow blossoms — pink and white 
and purple and flaming orange. 

'' Every day is different here," thought 
Betty, '' and the horrid things and the lovely 
ones always come together." 

Helen would be pleased, of course ; as she 
had hinted to the registrar, there was really 
no need of consulting Helen ; the only person 



362 BETTT WALES 

to be considered was Betty Wales. If only 
Miss Stuart had assigned her to the Hilton 
house and said nothing ! 

From her seat Betty could look over to 
Dorothy King's windows. It would have 
been such fun to be in the house with Doro- 
thy. Clara Madison was going to leave the 
campus and go to a place where they would 
make her bed and bring her hot water in the 
morning. Alice's room was a lovely big one 
on the same floor as Dorothy's, and she had 
delayed making arrangements to share it with 
a freshman who w^as already in the house, 
until she was sure that Betty did not get her 
assignment. Eleanor had applied for an 
extra-priced single there, too, to be near Betty. 

Helen was a dear little thing and a very 
considerate roommate, but she was '' differ- 
ent." She didn't fit in somehow, and it was 
a bother always to be planning to have her 
have a good time. She would be lonely in 
the Belden ; she loved college and was very 
happy now, but she needed to have somebody 
who understood her and could appreciate her 
efforts, to encourage her and keep her in 
touch with the lighter side of college life. 



BETTT WALES 363 

She didn't know a soul in the Belden — but 
then neither did lots of other freshmen when 
they moved on to the campus. She need never 
hear anything about the registrar's plan, and 
she could come over to the Hilton as much as 
she liked. 

Nita Reese would be at the Belden, and 
Marion Lawrence ; and Mary Brooks was go- 
ing there if she could get an assignment. It 
was a splendid house, the next best to the 
Hilton. But those girls were not Dorothy 
King, and Miss Andrews was not Miss Ferris. 
It would have been lovely to be in the house 
with Miss Ferris. 

Would have been ! Betty caught herself 
suddenly. It wasn't settled yet. Then she 
got up from her seat with quick determina- 
tion. '' I'll stop in and see Miss Ferris for 
just a minute, and then I shall go back and 
tell Miss Stuart right off, for I must finish 
packing to-night, whatever happens." 

Miss Ferris was in, and she and her darkened, 
flower-scented room wore an air of coolness 
and settled repose that was a poignant relief 
after the glaring sunshine outside and the 
confusion of " last days." 



364 BETTT WALES 

'' So you go to-morrow,'' said Miss Ferris 
pleasantly. '' I don't get off till next week, 
of course. Are you satisfied ? " 

^'Satisfied?" repeated Betty. She had 
heard of Miss Ferris's habit of flashing irrele- 
vant questions at her puzzled auditors, but 
this was her first experience of it. 

*' With your first year at Harding," ex- 
plained Miss Ferris. 

'' Oh ! " said Betty, relieved that it was no 
worse. '' Why, y-es — no, Fm not. I've had 
a splendid time, but I haven't accomplished 
half that I ought. Next year I'm going 
to work harder from the very beginning, 

and " Betty stopped abruptly, realizing 

that all this could not possibly interest Miss 
Ferris. 

''And what?" 

^' I didn't want to bore you," apologized 
Betty. " Why, I'm going to try to — I don't 
know how to say it — try not scatter my 
thoughts so. Nan says that I am so awfully 
interested in every one's else business that I 
haven't any business of my own." 

'' I see," said Miss Ferris musingly. '' That's 
quite a possible point of view. Still, I'm in- 



BETTJ^ WALES 365 

clined to think that on the whole we have just 
as much orange left and it tastes far better, if 
we give a good deal of it away. If we try to 
hang on to it all, it's likely to spoil in the 
pantry before we get around to squeeze it dry." 

Betty looked puzzled again. 

'' You don't like figures of speech, do you ? " 
said Miss Ferris. '' You must learn to like 
them next year. What I mean is that it 
seems to me far better in the long run to be 
interested in too many people than not to be 
interested in people enough. Of course, 
though, we mustn't neglect to be sufficiently 
interested in ourselves ; and how to divide 
ourselves fairly between ourselves and the rest 
of the world is the hardest question we ever 
have to answer. You'll be getting new ideas 
about it all through your course — and all 
through your life." 

There was a moment of silence, and then 
Betty rose to go. '* I have to pack and I 
know you are busy. Miss Ferris, Fm going 
to be at the Belden next year." 

''I'm sorry you're not coming here," said 
Miss Ferris kindly. '' Couldn't you manage 
it?" 



366 BETTT WALES 

'' Yes, but the — the orange seems to cut bet- 
ter the other way," said Betty. '' That isn't a 
good figure, but perhaps you can see what it 
means." 

It was worth most of what it had cost to see 
Helen's face when she heard the news. '' Oh 
Betty, it's too good to be true," she cried, "' but 
are you sure you want me? " 

"■ Haven't I given up the Hilton to be with 
you?" said Betty, with her face turned the 
other way. 

Alice was disappointed, but she would be 
just as happy with Constance Fayles. She 
found more "' queer " things to like at Hard- 
ing every day, and she considered Betty Wales 
one of the queerest and one of the nicest. 

Eleanor pleased Betty by offering no objec- 
tion to the change of plan. " Only you 
needn't think that you can get rid of me as 
easily as all this," she said. '' I shall camp 
down in the registrar's office until she says 
that ' under the circumstances,' which is her 
pet phrase, she will let me change my appli- 
cation to the Belden. By the way, Betty, 
Jean Eastman wants to see you after chapel 



BETTT WALES 367 

to-morrow. She said vshe'd be in number 
five." 

After ''last chapel," with its farewell greet- 
ings, that for all but the seniors invariably 
ended with a cheerful '' See you next Septem- 
ber," and the interview with Jean, in which 
the class president offered rather unintelli- 
gible apologies for '' the stupid misunderstand- 
ing that we all got into," Betty went back to 
the house to get her bags and meet Kath- 
erine, who was going on the same train. 
Some of the girls had already gone, and none 
of them were in but Rachel, who was perched 
in a front window watching anxiously for a 
dilatory expressman, and Katherine, who was 
frantically stowing the things that would not 
go in her trunk into an already well-filled 
suit-case. 

"■ Well, it's all over," said Betty, sitting 
down on the window seat beside Rachel. 

"• Wish it were," muttered Katherine, shut- 
ting the case and sitting down on it with a 
thud. 

" No, it's only well begun," corrected 
Rachel. 

"A lot of things are over anyway," per- 



368 BETTT PVALES 

sisted Betty. *' Just think how much has 
happened since last September ! " 

'' Jolly nice things too," said Katherine 
cheerfully. She had quite unexpectedly suc- 
ceeded in fastening the lock. 

'' Weren't they ! " agreed Betty heartily. 
^' But I guess the nicest thing about it is what 
you said, Rachel — that it's ' to be continued in 
our next.^ Won't it be fun to see how every- 
thing turns out? " 

'' I wish that expressman would turn up," 

said Rachel ruefully. 

«/ 

"■ We'll tell him so if Ave meet him," said 
Betty, shouldering her bag and her golf clubs, 
while Katherine staggered along with the 
bursting suit-case. 

As they boarded a car at the corner, Mary 
Brooks and the faithful Roberta waved to 
them energetically from the other side of Main 
Street. 

'* Good-bye! Good-bye!" shrieked Kath- 
erine. 

'' See you next September," called Betty, 
who had said good-bye to them once already. 

'' Katherine Kittredge has grown older this 
year," said Mary critically, '' but Betty hasn't 



BETTT WALES 369 

changed a bit. I remember just as well the 
night she came up the walk, carrying those 
bags." 

'' She has changed inside," said Roberta the 
observant. 

As the car whizzed by the Main Building, 
Betty wanted to wave her hand to that too, 
but she didn't until Dorothy King, appearing 
on the front steps, gave her an excuse. 

'' Well," she said with a little sigh, as the 
campus disappeared below the crest of the hill, 
'' you and Rachel may talk all you like, but I 
feel as if something was over, and it makes me 
sad. Just think ! We can never be freshmen 
at Harding again as long as we live." 

'' Quite true," said Katherine calmly, '' but 
we can be sophomores — that is, unless the 
office sees fit to interfere." 

''Yes, we can be sophomores; and perhaps 
tliat's just as nice," said Betty optimistically. 
'' Perhaps it's even nicer." 



THE END 



^d 



"W^i-V^ 








:?\ 



X.