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Title: Jane Allen: Junior
Author: Edith Bancroft
Release Date: January, 2004 [EBook #4945]
[Yes, we are more than one year ahead of schedule]
[This file was first posted on April 3, 2002]
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*** START OF THE PROJECT GUTENBERG EBOOK JANE ALLEN: JUNIOR ***
Produced by Charles Franks and the Online Distributed Proofreading Team.
Jane Allen: Junior
"Jane Allen of the Sub-Team," "Jane Allen: Right Guard," "Jane
Allen: Center," Etc.
Illustrated by--Thelma Gooch
I THE GET-TOGETHER
II A SHADOW IN FORECAST
III THE MISFIT FRESHMAN
IV THRILLING NEWS
V THREATS AND DEFIANCE
VI JANE AND JUDITH
VII A QUEER MIX-UP
VIII TO THE RESCUE
IX WHAT HAPPENED TO JUDITH
X THE INTERLUDE
XI A TWICE TOLD TALE
XII A WILD NIGHT OF IT
XIII THE AFTERMATH
XIV PLEADING FOR TIME
XV THE PICKET AND THE SPOOK
XVI THE HIDDEN CHAMBER
XVII "BEHOLD THE GHOST OF LENOX HALL!"
XVIII FAITHFUL FROLIC
XIX THE MIRACLE
XXI CRAMMING EVENTS
XXII STARTLING DISCLOSURES
XXIII THE DANCE
XXIV KING PIN OF THE FRESHIES
XXV THE DAY AFTER THE BIG NIGHT
XXVI A SURPRISE IN RECORDS
XXVII THE REAL STORY
THE GET TOGETHER.
The late September day waved back at Summer graceful as a child
saying goodbye with a soft dimply hand; and just as fitful were the
gleams of warm sunshine that lazed through the stately trees on the
broad campus of Wellington College. It was a brave day--Summer
defying Nature, swishing her silken skirts of transparent
iridescence into the leaves already trembling before the master hand
of Autumn, with his brush poised for their fateful stroke of
poisoned beauty; every last bud of weed or flower bursting in heroic
tribute, and every breeze cheering the pageant in that farewell to
"If school didn't start just now," commented Norma Travers, "I
wonder what we would do? Everything else seems to stop short."
"I never saw shadows come and go so weirdly on any other first day,"
added Judith Stearns ominously. "I hope it doesn't mean a sign, as
Velma Sigbee would put it," and dark eyed Judith waved her arms
above her black head to ward off the blow.
"Is it too early to suggest science?" lisped Maud Leslie timidly.
"I've been reading about the possible change of climate and its
relation to the sun's rays going wild into space. I don't want to
start anything, but it might be judicious to buy more furs next
Summer. Also it might justify the premonitory fad."
"Don't you dare," warned Ted Guthrie, puffing beneath her prettiest
crocheted sweater and rolling down from her chosen mound on the
natural steps of the poplar tree slope. "It's bad enough to think of
icy days up here, far, far away from the happy laughing world of hot
chocolate and warm movie seats," and she rolled one more step nearer
the boxwood lined path, "but to tag on science, and insinuate we are
to be glazed mummies, ugh!" and the redoubtable Ted groaned a grunt
that threatened havoc to the aforesaid handsome sweater.
"There, there, Teddy dear, don't take on so," soothed Maud, rescuing
the other's new silver pencil that was rapidly sliding further away
from Ted with the pretty open hand bag. "I had entirely forgotten
how you despise ice sports. And you so lovely and fat for falling.
You should love 'em," insisted the studious Maud.
"Being fat isn't all it's----"
"Cracked up to be," assisted Judith Stearns. "I quote freely. That's
one of Tim Jackson's."
"Where have I heard the line before?" mimicked Theodosia Dalton,
otherwise Dozia the Fearless. "It has a chummy tone. All of which is
as naught to the question. Where is Jane? Never knew her to miss the
line up here. And I even tapped at her door. Judy, where is Jane?"
"Am I my chum's keeper? Can't Jane attend to her own mortal baggage
without incurring the wrath of the multitude?" and Judith sprang up
from her spot on the leaf laden lawn. Also she cast a glance of
apprehension along the path where Jane Allen should at least now be
seen on her way. "Perhaps Jane feels we should forswear this moment
of mirth; being juniors and stepping aside from all the others. They
call it the Whisper you know; 'count of the whispering poplar
above," with a grandiose wave at the innocent tree. "But I would
much prefer a chuckle, wouldn't you Ted?"
"There you go again, or rather also," flung back the stout girl. "I
must take all the cracks and the chuckles and presently some naive
little freshie will amble along and ask me if I happen to be one of
the soap bubbles she just blew off her penny pipe," and the
pneumatic cheeks puffed out in bubble mockery.
"Now Teddy dear. Don't fret. Everyone is just jealous because you're
so lovely and comfy looking," appeased Nettie Brocton, the dimple
girl. "But I really do think this 'whisper' is awfully childish.
Rather makes the strangers feel we are whispering about them."
"If they only knew!" sighed Ted. "I am the usual back-stop for all
frivolity. But if it comes to giving up this lovely loafing hour
under our own grandmother poplar, I say girls, go ahead and knock,
but spare the whisper. I'd die if I had to go tramping around seeing
things and saying hello to that mob," with a sweeping wave of her
one free arm, the other was around Janet Clarke's waist.
"You are right, little girl, it is lovely to gather here and let the
others do the traipsing. And as for the whisper, anyone within sight
may also hear, for this is a shout rather than a whisper. The real
point is, we are gathered together while others are scattered apart.
But where is Jane Allen? I always look to her to start things, and
we can't stay here all day, alluring as is the grandmother poplar.
We have 'juties'; girls, 'juties'. "Dozia Dalton had risen to her
full height, which measured more feet and inches than her latest
kitchen door records verified, and her hair now wound around her
head like a big brown braided coffee cake, added a few more inches,
in spite of all the flat pinning Dozia took refuge in. It may be
attractive to be tall and slender, but somehow old Dame Nature has a
way of keeping her pets humble. She loves to exaggerate.
The girls were grouped around the gnarled roots of the big tree. As
had been their custom this contingent managed to escape the hum and
confusion of the "first day" just long enough to whisper hello and
buzz a few unclassified other words. Rooms and corridors were in
commotion; the campus was like a bee farm, and it was only over in a
remote corner, where a poplar and three hemlock trees formed a
protective fortress, that the girls were safe from the first day's
"I left Jane heading for the office and her head was down,"
announced Inez Wilson finally. "She didn't see me and her head being
down, of course meant----"
"Trouble," finished Katherine Winters. "When Jane Allen goes forward
with her red head in advance there is sure to be a collision. What's
up? Who knows?"
"Come along and find out," promptly suggested Winifred Ayres. "Can't
tell what we're missing. Jane may have lifted the roof when she
raised her head."
"Poor old roof," commented Ted Guthrie, dragging Janet Clarke down
to earth again in her own attempt at rising. "I suppose we may as
well fall in line," she continued good-naturedly. "Janie is still
the idol of the mob; anyone can see that, even at this early date,"
and with a girl tugging on either side the stout one finally heaved
"'Tain't that," corrected Inez recklessly, "it's just because we are
all too lazy to do the things we know Jane will do. I have been
reading up on psychology, and you may now expect me to spoil every
dream of childhood with a reason why," and Inez threw her head up
"Alluring prospects this year," groaned Velma Sigsbee. "What with
Maud gone scientific, and Inez turned psychologist and Jane Allen
traveling with her head down--well, all I can say is I still take
two lumps of sugar in my tea." Velma was just that way, a pretty
girl who loved sugar in spite of restrictions, high prices and the
A solitary figure was now outlined against the low cedars curled
around Linger Lane. It was Jane at last.
"Here she comes! Here she comes!" announced Nettie Brocton. "And
look, girls! she isn't even whistling. Something is wrong with our
There was no mistake about it, something was wrong, for Jane Allen
swung along the path, calling greetings to friends grouped in knots
and colonies with an evident half heartedness foreign to her usual
buoyant, cheerful personality.
Espying her own contingent on the poplar slope she threw her arms
out in a reckless, boyish sort of gesture to give force to the
"Hello girls!" she called, but even that was much too mild for Jane.
"We were in despair," began Judith, Jane's particular friend and
school-long companion. "Janie dear, why the clouds? What's up? Let
us know the worst, do. We are fortified now, whereas in an hour
hence we may be weak from interviews with the new proctor. Sit down
Jane. We just rose to go in search of you, and by my new watch I see
there is still time before the hour to report. There," and the
little spot cleared for Jane in the semi-circle was now covered with
a pretty plaid skirt, "do tell us. You really look worried,"
"Not really?" contradicted the gray eyed Jane. "Worried, and on our
very first lovely day? You surely wrong me!" she tried to get her
arms around more girls than even finger tips might touch. "I'm
simply bubbling with joy, as I should be. I was detained in the
office longer than I wanted to stay, and you all know how mean it is
to have to sit on one particular chair facing the desk while a lot
of new girls ask a larger lot of foolish questions. Perhaps that
made me a little cross, but do forgive me. I wouldn't spoil this
initial hour for worlds. Please tell me everything in one breath. I
am just dying to hear."
No one answered. Ted Guthrie did gurgle a bit, and Velma Sigsbee
threw a handful of leaves in Nettie Brocton's hair, but the pause
was a riot. Why should Jane deceive them? Cross from delay in the
busy office indeed, as if she would not have bolted out and left the
whole room to the nervous new students! The girls looked from one to
the other and finally Judith Stearns saved the situation by
proposing that the juniors line up to help the seniors show
newcomers about the grounds. On this day at least, class lines were
forgotten at Wellington.
"We were just waiting for you Janie," she declared adroitly, "and
Mildred Manners has been whoo-hooing her lungs out across the
campus. Come along girls, and see you don't waylay all the
millionaires. I hear every garage in the village is bursting with
classy cars, and the livery stable can't take another single
boarder. Ted, you take Velma and Maud, and be careful not to divulge
any club secrets; Janet, you tag along with Winifred and just gush
to death over that timid little blonde who seems to have a whole bag
full of hand made handkerchiefs for weeps. Jane, may I have the
honor of your company?"
Judith's black eyes looked into Jane's gray orbs that asked and
answered so many questions.
"Thanks, Judy," said Jane aside. "You're a dear. Let's go and do the
The next moment Wellington grounds rang with shouts and laughter,
and the voice of Jane Allen defied the criticism her pretty face had
so lately invited.
"It's perfectly all right," she assured Judith, but the latter stuck
her chin out in contradiction.
"Can't fool me, Janie," she whispered between handshakes and
greetings. "But I'll wait till the picnic winds up. Did you ever see
so many new girls? Has some college burned down since last year?"
"No, love, but our reputation has gone forth. This is a glorious day
for Wellington and, Judy Stearns, it is going to be a glorious year
for us. We are still juniors!" and Jane trailed off to find her
place in the long line that was automatically forming around the
great old elm. An extension course in special work kept Jane with
her junior friends.
"Wellington, dear Wellington!" rang out the then famous strain in
hundreds of silvery voices. The college song was echoed from every
hill into every grass lined hollow, and if the new girls doubted the
spirit of comradeship they were to be favored with there, the
consecration brought it home to them, like strong loving arms
stretched out in the sea of school day mysteries.
It was hours later, when the pattering of feet in the long corridors
died down to a mere trail of sound, that Jane and Judith managed to
pair off for a confidential chat.
"You have got to tell me," demanded Judith.
"As if I wouldn't," replied Jane.
"You can't blame us for being curious, Janey. This afternoon was
almost a failure, just because your eyes had a faraway look."
"I'm so sorry, really, Jude. What an abominable temper I must have."
"We all know better than that girlie." Judy might now have been
charged with harboring a faraway look herself.
"Just give me a little time," smiled Jane, "and if there's anything
on my conscience I'll gladly transfer it to yours."
The look in both gray and brown eyes was suddenly changed to
intimacy. It was no longer faraway.
A SHADOW IN FORECAST
I thought everyone had been supplied with the anti-tack hammer
circular," remarked Jane, falling back where Judith's cushions ought
to be. "Just hear that tattoo over in the wing. I'll bet it's
"She has a collection of movie queens and I doubt not that is the
official coronation. Let us hope the new proctor is deaf on the
left, Dozia's room leans that way," replied Judith. Then she tossed
a couple of sweaters at Jane's head. "Put those under your ears
dear," she ordered, "my pillows aren't unpacked yet and you may find
Neddie's last year tacks in that burlap. There now, you look almost
human. But the wistful whimper lingers. Jane, what has happened? You
are simply smothered in the soft pedal. Tell your Judy all about
it," she cooed.
Feet stretched out straight in front of her and arms ending with
finger tips laced over her black head, Judith looked longer than she
really needed to measure up or down. Also, she looked too stiff to
be comfortable, but the wooden pose was Judith's favorite. She
rested that way, defying every known law for relaxation. Jane, au
contraire, was curled up like a kitten, with one red sweater balled
under her ruffled head and the other blue one tangled about her slim
ankles. Both girls were tired--justly so, for the opening day at
Wellington was ever a time of joyous activity, and the day just
closed had roared and yelled itself into an evening still vibrant
with bristling energy, tack hammers and movie pictures smashing
rules and regulations, until the night gong sounded its irrevocable
warning. Then roommates paired off even as did Jane and Judith.
"Has anything happened to your baggage?" prompted Judith, as her
companion failed to confide.
Jane teased one small worsted tassel of Judith's blue sweater free
from its tangle with her shoe lace, then she poked her dimpled chin
"Can't ever have a secret, I suppose, Pally dear," she mocked the
girl sliding slowly but surely out of her chair. "But I don't mind.
Shows how truly you love me. There, you will feel better on the rug.
I knew you were coming." Judith had landed.
"I believe I'll sleep here," declared Judith, one end of the
international carpet sample was bunched up under her ear. "Never was
so tired on any other first or last day." The long legs shot out
straight again. "And if your secret is really thrilling Janie, pray
keep it for a more auspicious occasion. I am apt to snore when I
should groan, or even sneeze when I should----" A choking spasm
interrupted. "Don't tell me to take quinine, Janie. This is the end.
I have had it since August and it is due to depart now, exactly
now." A couple of sneezes added punctuation to this.
"But get up from that floor instantly," ordered the girl on the
divan. "Nothing worse for colds than rag carpet rugs. There's plenty
of room up here out of drafts. Come, lovey. Do try to curl up some.
I always fear you will break up in splinters when I see you go
"Too comfy, Dinks, I can't move."
"Sneeze then and I'll catch you. You have just got to get up off
that chilly floor somehow. Besides the oil may be contagious. It
still smells gooey."
"Anything for peace. Give me a lift. There," Judith hung over the
edge but Jane held on to the black head. "It's not so safe as the
floor but I suppose it is more prophylactic. Now I will sleep. The
girls seem to have died down. Strange"--yawn and groan--"how they do
love to fuss up the rooms."
"Temperment, my dear. Dozia wouldn't sleep a wink with her
photograph gallery unhung. What do you think of the crowd this year?
Spot any stars?"
"A couple. Did you see that beauty with the shiny gold hair? The one
who stood under the hemlock alone during the cheering? Isn't she
"Exactly that. One couldn't help seeing her, although she struck me
as being shy."
"Scared to death, and so unconscious of her charms. There Janie, my
brain is sound asleep this moment. If I say real words they must be
coming from another world. This is gone." Judith ducked deeper into
the pillowless couch. She plainly was sleepy.
"Why Judith Stearns," called Jane severely, "you are giving me as
much trouble as a baby. Don't you dare fall asleep. We have got to
make beds yet. That comes of your notion not to have ready-to-wear
beds in our suite. And you can just see how much fun it is to drag
things out on tired nights." Jane sprang up from the divan and tried
to yank the sleepy girl after her. "Come on, Pally," she implored.
"I'll do most all the fixing, only I really demur at the disrobing.
You know my hatred for buttons and fastenings. I wouldn't leave one
snap to meet its partner. Come on Judy," the feet were again on the
rug, "we will be simply dead in the morning, and we have got to be
very much alive. We do miss the Weatherbee. I don't see why we let
her go. Dear, prim, prompt Weatherbee! Now we know we loved her. Her
successor is too young to be motherly."
"Jane Allen, you're a pest," groaned Judith. "I can't hear a thing
but words, and I suppose you are calling me names. Who's this guy
Bed, I heard you mention? Lead me to her," and whether the collapse
was assumed or real Judith rolled over twice and once more stretched
out on the long runner at Jane's feet.
"Have it your own way. Stay there if you insist and sneeze your head
off, but I'm going to bed," decided Jane helplessly.
"That's the girl. Her name is Bed. I want to meet her. Heard so much
about her. Jane dear introduce me, there's a dar--link," Judith
"Someone is coming and I just hope it is Prexy or Proxy. I'll open
the door wide as I can," declared the outraged Jane.
She stepped over the long girl but even the tap on the door did not
"It's I--are you up, Jane?" The voice came as the tap subsided.
"Yes Dozia. Come along in. I can't get Judy to bed. Just look at
"Poor child," commiserated Dozia, surveying the figure on the floor
very much as a policeman looks upon an ambulance case. "We ought to
help her. Is the day bed translated?"
"Yes, I got it ready. But Judy won't undress," Jane protested.
"Why need she? If I ever slept like that I would murder a disturber.
Just get hold of that rug Janie, and we'll dump her into bed."
Judith was actually sleeping when the two compassionate friends
picked up the rug, hammock fashion, and proceeded to "dump her into
bed." She never moved voluntarily. Judith Stearns knew a good thing
when it came her way, and what could be better than this?
"She'll ruin her skirt," suggested Jane as they drew the rug out
from under the blue accordion pleats.
"What's a mere skirt compared with that?"
Dozia stood aside to admire the unconscious Judy, but striking a
statuesque pose she caught the critical eye of Jane and was rewarded
with a most complimentary smile.
"Where did you get that wonderful robe, Dozia?" Jane asked. "You
simply look like--like some notable personage in those soft folds
and with your hair down. What a pity we must make ourselves ugly to
"Ain't it now," mocked Dozia, abusing language to make comedy. She
swung the velveteen folds about her and spun around to wind them
tighter. "Like this? Do I resemble a movie queen? That's what
brought me, Janie. This nocturnal visit is consequent upon a
disaster. My hammer, the one I put my queens up with, fell through
the mirror. Silly little hammer. You know how this house staff feels
about breaking looking-glasses."
"Yes, spoils the set of course. You are not insinuating anyone here
might be superstitious? I am awfully sorry you broke the mirror. How
did it happen?"
"Sissh!" Dozia sibilated, pointing to Judith who had actually turned
over. "Don't wake her, this really is a secret. Girlie," dragging
Jane down into a chair, "have you noticed that ugly, fat, common
country girl, with the wire hair and gimlet eyes? Well, she came in,
pushed her way in really, and squatted down plumb in my best
Sheraton chair. The size of her!" (This with seething indignation.)
"I was so provoked--why, Jane, what is the matter? You are
frightened or nervous or something. Have you seen a ghost anywhere?"
broke off Dozia.
"Oh no, but I am so tired," Jane edged away from the suspector.
"After all I do believe Judy is sensible, see her slumber."
"Jane Allen, you are a fraud," pronounced the girl in the velveteen
robe. "You are smothering some mystery and I must have stepped on
the spring," guessed the inquisitive caller. "Was it the tack hammer
or the spindle chair or the fat girl? Not she, you have had no
chance to do uplift work yet. Land knows that farmer will need your
greatest skill, but dear, don't waste it on her. She's incurable."
"Bad as all that?" asked Jane colorlessly. "But what happened? You
did not try to hit her with the hammer I hope?"
"I didn't try to hit her, I did hit her. It fell accidentally on her
fat head and she tossed it through the mirror. Now what can a girl
do in a case like that?"
The haunted look, so foreign to the face of Jane, shaped itself
"Is she--did you hurt her?"
"I hope so," dared Dozia. "It would be a charity to send her home.
Her name is Shirley Duncan and she's from some country town. But
Jane, if she gets really horrid, I mean more horrid than she is now,
I want you to stand by me. That's what I came for."
"All right Dozia," said Jane, "but I hope it won't have to go as far
"Me too," responded the carefree Dozia. "But there's no telling what
Shirley may do."
For some moments after Dozia glided out Jane stood there, her gray
eyes almost misty.
"Of all the tragedies!" she was thinking. Then with a jerk she
pulled herself up. "But I guess I can handle it," she declared
finally, and when she succeeded in rousing Judith no one would have
suspected anything new amiss.
Jane Allen might have worries but they could not dominate her. Sunny
Jane, with sunny hair and gray eyes, was no mope. It would take
fight to conquer this new condition, she realized, but Jane could
fight, and her dreams on this first night back in college were
strangely confused with school-day battles.
More than once she awoke with a start, as if some danger were
impending, and a sense of uneasiness possessed her. Each time it
seemed more difficult to fall back into slumber, and all this was
new, indeed, to happy Jane.
"Daddy!" she murmured. "It's because of daddy's----"
She was finally sound asleep.
THE MISFIT FRESHMAN
Yes, they were back in college and work was waiting. This thought
invaded confused brains and stood out like a corporal of the guard,
shouting orders into lazy ears on Wellington campus next morning.
Jane Allen threw first one slipper and then another at Judith
Stearns' bed across the room from her own. But still Judith's hand
ignored the hair brush on the chair at her elbow.
"Judy," called Jane, "the warning bell has warned. Turn down the
corner on that dream and wake up." Each word of this climbed a note
in tone until the last was almost a shout. Then Judith's hand moved
to Jane's slipper on her own (Judith's) forget-me-nots, the little
floral pieces that adorned a very dainty garment with the embroidery
on Judith's chest--arms and neck ignored in the pattern.
"What say?" she muttered sleepily.
"Up," answered Jane. "Ever hear that little word before?"
"Yep, pony riding," drawled Judith. "Up, up, one, two, three, go!"
and at this Judith sprang up with such vigor and volume (in point of
scope) that she sprang over the neighboring bed and swooped down on
Jane's hat box! Her black hair now fell fearlessly over the
embroidered forget-me-nots, and her bare feet shot in their usual
"Good thing that hat box is the new kind," commented Jane, "but even
at that it will hardly serve as a divan. Still, I am glad you are
up. Do you know where you are, Judy Stearns? And what you are
expected to do today?"
"All of those things and additional horrors are seething through my
poor brain," moaned Judith, "but a moment ago I was having a fast
set of tennis with adorable Jack St. John--Sanzie they call him.
Have I told you about him, Jane darling?" Judith gathered herself
and her feet up from the black enameled box and glided over to her
"No, Judy, I do not recall Sanzie," replied Jane, who was already
armed with soap and towel for the lavatory. "But keep the story. I
shouldn't like to get interested in boy tennis just now. We must
forget--" proclaimed Jane in tones so dramatic a poet calendar on
the wall trembled in the vocal waves. "Forget! forget----" and Jane
was outside the door with a sweeping wave of her big fuzzy towel and
a rather alarming thrust of her fist full of soap.
"Ye-eah," groaned Judith, "forget is the word, Sanzie and tennis."
She glanced at the tiny clock on a shelf of the bracket type. It was
Jane's idea the clock should not be cluttered with surroundings.
"Gee-whiz! It is late, and this the first day. Glad the others on
this corridor are all nice and punctual."
In bathrobe and slippers Judith soon followed Jane down the long
hall. Neither dallied long in the plunge, for Judith was wide awake
now, and presently, after dressing and patting herself and
belongings into place, she confronted Jane with this: "I heard Dozia
Dalton last night. And I know there will be trouble about the farmer
girl. Jane, tell me, is she the scholarship?"
"Yes," almost gasped Jane the irreproachable. "And to think that I,
in any way, should be responsible for bringing her to college!"
"But you are not, Janie dear," soothed Judith. "That your father
should give this college a scholarship each year is a noble thing,
and how can you tell who may win it? That girl is--well, a bit raw,"
she ground her mouth around the word, "but we have nothing to do
with that. She doesn't belong among the juniors, and just leave it
to little Judy to steer her off. Don't go trying any uplift; just
cut her dead and watch her wilt. From the ashes there may arise a
nice little green thing, even if it is of the common garden variety
of onion. Now Jane, you have got to do exactly that. Keep Shirley
Duncan on her own grounds. Shoo her out of junior haunts."
"You are right, Judy. I have been tortured with the idea that I
would have to play fairy godmother to that--that 'hoodlum.'
Honestly, did you ever see so ordinary a girl in Wellington?"
"Never. But then she may be a genius. I have read such descriptions
of them. There's the first breakfast bell. Smile now and disappoint
the horde. They think you have been crossed in love and the old maid
depression has settled upon you. You acted that way yesterday,"
Jane's laugh pealed out at this. It was like ragging a down scale,
that rippling crescendo, and Judith needed no other assurance of her
friend's good humor.
But the day's tasks left little time for trifles. College work is
serious and exacting, each day's programme being carefully and even
scientifically marked out to make the round year's schedule
complete. Jane and Judith, juniors, with a reputation made in their
previous years, "buckled" down to every period with that
intelligence and determination for which both had been credited.
Everything was so delightful and the autumn air so full of promise!
Jane could not find a true reason for the haunting fear that seemed
to follow her in the person of that crude country girl, who somehow
had won the Alien scholarship.
It was in free time late the next afternoon that this fear took
definite shape. Jane and her contingent were leaving the study hall
when Shirley Duncan brushed up through their arm linked line.
She was garbed in a baronet satin skirt of daring hue with an
overblouse of variegated georgette. This as a school frock! At first
glance Jane almost recoiled, then the possibility of delayed baggage
suggested itself and softened her frown.
"Don't notice her," whispered faithful Judith.
Jane's glance just answered when the unpopular freshman broke
through the line, grasped Jane's hand and deliberately forced a
folded slip of paper into it. Then, with a mocking smile that ran
into an audible sneer, she turned and sped away. Her awkward gait
and frank romping so close to Wellington Hall brought questioning
glances from the line of juniors.
"What's that, Jane Allen?" asked Janet Clarke good-naturedly. "I
hope you are not doing uplift for anything like that this year?"
"The merry little mountain maid," mocked Inez Wilson, doing a few
skips and a couple of jumps in demonstration.
"How on earth did she ever make Wellington?" demanded the
aristocratic Nettie Brocton, disapproval spoiling her leaky dimples.
"Girls, you are horrid!" declared Judith to the rescue. "You all
know the freaks love Jane. It's her angel face," and Judith
playfully stroked the cheek into which streaks of bright pink
threatened admission of guilt--that Jane really knew the uncouth
"She's a stranger to me," said Jane truthfully, "but in spite of
that I must respect her confidence." The crumpled note was thereat
securely tucked into the pocket of Jane's blouse.
Winifred Ayres tittered outright, but the advent of Dozia Dalton
furnished a welcome interruption.
"Girls," she panted, "what ever do you think? Dol Vincez, our
dangerous adversary of last year, runs the beauty shop beyond our
gate! Can you comprehend the audacity?"
"We can when you say Dolorez," replied Jane. "Do you actually mean
to say she has set up the College Beauty Shop at our very door?"
"She has!" declared the excited Dozia. "Who would dare trust a live
and workable phiz to that--traitor?"
"Not I," said Velma Sigsbee.
"Nor I," from Maud Leslie.
"My face must serve me this term," added Inez Wilson, twisting her
features to make sure they worked well.
"All the same," demurred Judith, "the temptation is not to be
laughed at. Just imagine real dimples speared in," with a finger
poked in Maud Leslie's cheek, "and long silky lashes tangles in
one's violet gaze----" This was too much even for staid juniors and
the race that followed almost justified Shirley's much criticised
romp. With this difference: Wellington Hall was now out of the
shadows made by the swaying stream of laughing students darting in
and out of the autumn sunshine that lay like stripes of panne velvet
on the sward, but Shirley's run had begun at the very steps.
Recreation had its limits and that day was counted lost into which a
race over the pleasure grounds had not been crowded. It might be for
tennis, or even baseball, or yet to the lake, but a run was
inevitable. And so they ran.
Did you read your note, Dinksy?" Judith asked Jane, using the
particular pet name adopted because of its very remote distance from
"You know I did, Pally." This was from Pal, of course.
"A bomb threat?"
"Not quite." Jane's hair was rebellious this morning and just now
received a real cuffing at its owner's hands.
"How perfectly peachy you would look bobbed, Dinksy. That color and
those smooth silky curls! How the angels must have loved you. Know
"'Methinks some cherub holds thee fair,
For kissing down thy sunny hair
I find his ringlets tangled there!'"
"You would," interrupted Jane sacrilegiously. "More than his
ringlets tangled here this morning," with a final jab of the
strongest variety of golden bone hair-pin. "Aunt Mary always said my
mood (she meant temper) affected my hair. And I am sure she was
always right about it."
"Well, you don't have to tell me about the note if you don't want
to, Janie," pouted Judith. "But my idea is, you need counsel and I
am as ever the expert."
"Fair Portia, thou shalt be my counsel ever. I had no thought of
hiding the little note," insisted Jane, "but it is horribly
disappointing. Wait until I rescue it from the basket. There's
always a charm about the original." "Don't bother, please, Jane,"
begged Judith. "We are almost late and I hope for a set of tennis
before class. I need it every day to keep off the heartbreak.
Darlink Sanzie," she sniffled. "To think he will nary again bat a
ball in my black eye."
"Why never again? There are other vacations."
"But no more Jacks like Sanzie. He is unique and has opened a law
office by now. Can't you see his stenographer kicking his shapely
shins as he dictates? They always do that in the movies, and Sanzie
is so up to date, even as to shins. Now, Janie dear, let's along. En
route you may tell me about the bomb threat. The corridors are
"She simply wants a chance to talk to me, that's all----"
"But she can't have it," declared Judith. "As your counsel I forbid
it. Just give that girl a chance and she will bind you over, body
and soul; refined blackmail, you know. Don't you dare answer that
note until I dictate the reply," Judith swung her arm around Jane's
waist in the most all-embracing manner. "Please, Dinksy," she almost
whispered, "wait until we are free this afternoon."
Thus they separated; Judith for her tennis and Jane for a turn on
But Jane had a deeper problem to solve than even her chum suspected.
There was the broken mirror in Dozia's room and the fact that Dozia
had actually hit Shirley on the head with a hammer!
"A pretty record that--and made on the first night in college," Jane
Undoubtedly the freshman's demand that Jane "see her at once" had to
do with the outrage. And the interview would be granted, of course,
that very afternoon unless Judith interfered.
Incidentally Judith was turning the situation over in her own good-
"I would just like to see that gawk get Jane wound up in her
miseries," she told herself, while Janet Clarke hunted for stray
tennis balls in the hedge. "Jane is such a dear with sympathy that
this girl's very crimes would appeal to her--in compassion. No-sir-
ree!" She volleyed a vicious ball--"Jane will not see the impossible
Shirley alone just yet."
Meanwhile news of Dolorez Vincez's Beauty Shop had spread over the
college like a holiday notice. Dolorez was the South American girl
who had been expelled from Wellington the previous year because of
irregularities in many things but particularly in basket ball games.
As told in the book, "Jane Allen: Center," this young lady was
really a teacher of athletics, and had been posing as an amateur.
Being forced to leave college after opening a prohibited beauty shop
she vowed vengeance, and many of the students now felt the Beauty
Parlor, opened at the very gates of Wellington and widely
advertised, was about to assume the dangers of a golden spider web.
The girls were fairly quivering with excitement, when Dozia Dalton,
herald of the sensation, condescended to tell everybody all she knew
about the whole thing.
Velma Sigsbee would insist upon interrupting with silly questions,
such as the price of a bob or the possible pain of operating for
double dimples, but eventually Dozia told the story while Ted
Guthrie held Velma's hand in a compelling grip. It was over on the
long low bench by the ball field where practice should have been
kicking up a dust. But Dol's Beauty Parlor outrage was too
delectable to forego even for a final ball game,
"It's perfectly darling," confided the idolized Dozia (any girl with
that story on her person would be idolized although Dozia was
individually popular). "The place, I mean. It's fitted up----"
"Were--you in?" gasped Winifred Ayres.
"No, of course I was not in," disdained Dozia. "No one who ever knew
the trickery of Dolorez Vincez would enter that place."
"Why?" asked the innocent Nettie Brocton. "Would she really do
"She would, really," declared Jane, her tone not easy to interpret.
"She could turn your hair a bright red like mine by mere chemical
action of her ventilating system."
"Really!" implored the dimply girl.
"Pos-i-tive-ly!" declared Jane. "But don't attempt it dear. She
would send your dad an awful bill for doing a stunt like that. Think
of the price of hair like mine!"
That suggestion brought disaster to Jane, for Ted Guthrie swayed at
the very end of the bench and the whole line almost went over
backwards. It was in Ted's attempt to punish Jane for her vanity
that the sudden sweep, like a current in physics, jerked feet from
the ground and upset balance generally. Some seconds elapsed (and
each was precious) before things again settled down, including
Velma's crochet balls, Janet's book, pad, and pencil, Dozia's small
bottle of salted peanuts as well as other sundries and supplies.
"Please finish the yarn," implored Nettie Brocton. "Do tell us,
Dozia, how the place is fitted up."
"First tell us, please," insisted judicial Judith, "how do you know
how it is fitted up? Does our plumber plumb there?"
During all this nonsense Jane cast many a furtive glance along
Linger Lane, expecting the obnoxious Shirley to loom up large and
lanky by the way, but as yet she had not darkened the shadowy path.
If Jane could run off to the Rockery, that landmark between freshman
and later college campus lines, there to meet and have done with the
demands of her erstwhile tormentor. But no, Judith was openly
demanding Jane's concentration on the bench, and every point made by
Dozia in her tale of the beauty shop Judith flung at Jane in direct
challenge for stricter attention. She was not going to escape if
Judith Stearns knew it, and she surmised the intention.
It had finally been told to tingling ears that the poisoned beauty
shop, as Winifred Ayres, the writer, had already dubbed the place,
was done in wonderful mirrors, and shiny faucets, windy wizzing hair
fans and electric permanent wavers and curlers; and when the full
description had been given, more girls than one sighed, groaned and
"To think it has to be taboo," spoke Ted Guthrie. "Dol was always a
wizard, and now thus equipped she might have a lovely way of fanning
"And fattening me nice and fluffy with the same fan," sighed
"My freckles might float away like powder from the butterfly's
wings," with a weird fluttering of Dozia's long arms.
"But hair!" exclaimed Judith. "Think of turning me into a golden
blonde with eyes like blue-bells under dewiness----"
"It cannot be! It cannot be!" moaned Dozia. "Instead we must raid
the place and banish the traitor. How about that for stunt night
with the sophs?"
"Wonderful!" sang out Juliette De Puy. She had listened and waited
with a certain reserve for which this capable Juliette was famous,
but now that the story was told she deigned to add that one word
"wonderful." Everyone looked at her suddenly.
"And have you tell the sophs," blurted out Nettie Brocton. "Dozia
Dalton you have spoiled it all. Didn't you see we had company?"
"Never noticed the lovely Juliette. Never mind Julie, you may tell
the crowd all you've heard," condescended the redoubtable Dozia. "We
enjoyed having you and it is perfectly all right."
"Thanks. Come over to our camp some night and I'll do as much for
you. I just came in this afternoon, you know, to sub on the ball
"Instead of which you subbed on the gossip club," finished Jane,
jumping up. "I've got to go back to my room. Don't let me hurry
anyone," she said indifferently. Then, just as a strange figure
turned from the big boxwood bumper into the lane, Jane escaped.
She hurried to meet Shirley Duncan.
THREATS AND DEFIANCE
The girl approaching was not so easy to appraise as her unusual
costume proclaimed her to be. Jane realized this; country girls are
apt to make such mistakes, and even dinner gown tags on school day
togs would hardly be proof positive of inferiority, Jane reflected.
Shirley Duncan swung along with a careless stride, but even the pose
might cover embarrassment. Jane sent a welcome smile out to meet her
and the stranger jerked her head rather saucily in recognition.
"Have I kept you waiting?" asked Jane in the best of humor.
"Well, rather," replied the freshman, "but I knew better than to
break in on that crowd," with an arm sweep toward the ball field.
"Can we go up to your room for a few minutes?"
Jane thought quickly. To go to her room might mean an interruption
from Judith; also it might mean the danger from an undisciplined
"I have been indoors so much today," she replied, "and our lovely
days are flying so, suppose we go over to the rose summer house? We
won't be interrupted there and we will both have the benefit of a
longer time out of doors. I suppose you feel it, freshmen usually
do." They were moving toward the rustic house that looked rather
desolate in its coat of faded rose leaves.
"Oh, freshmen feel everything, I suppose," replied the other, "but I
can't see why we should be openly abused for all that. I heard there
was no more hazing allowed in colleges?"
"We have never hazed at Wellington," Jane said rather indignantly,
"and Miss--Miss Duncan, I am sure no one will ever attempt the least
abuse even in a spirit of fun at this college."
"They won't, eh?" type broke out in that challenge. "Well, that is
just what I wanted to see you about. I suppose I'm not good enough
to go to your rooms." Lip curled, nostrils quivered and head jerked
up impertinently with that accusation.
"Why, Miss Duncan--" floundered Jane.
"Why don't you call me Shirley? Isn't that a swell enough name?"
interrupted the other.
Jane dropped down on the summer house seat with a thud. Here was a
problem surely. Antagonism fairly blazed in the girl's dark eyes.
Yet she was a stranger--actually Jane's guest.
"Shirley is a very sweet name and I have always loved it," replied
Jane frankly. "But my dear young lady, we must not quarrel. We shall
never get acquainted that way."
"Oh no, the juniors may do all the quarreling. We freshies must just
turn the other cheek of course. But I suppose you know that long
lanky friend of yours, they call some foolish name like Doses, hit
me on the head with her hammer the other night?"
"You mean Dozia Dalton--yes, she told me her hammer slipped--"
"Slipped indeed!" more scorn and lip curling. "She deliberately
dropped it on my head--"
"And you threw it at the mirror," broke out Jane, weary of acting
the angel without gaining the slightest return from this rude girl.
"Yes, I broke it and I'm glad of it! Now what are you going to do
about it?" Two hands not really pretty, dug deep into the satin
skirt pockets, and Shirley Duncan towered over Jane Allen defiantly.
"What am I going to do about it?" repeated Jane. But the irony was
lost on her companion. "You did not ask to see me just to be
offensive?" parried Jane.
"No indeed, I wanted to remind you I am in this college because your
father gave a scholarship, and I suppose that would mean you might
be nice to me at least."
"I'm sure I want to be," Jane quickly toned down. "But no girl can
make friends with another when she insists on quarreling. I am
willing to pay for the broken mirror--"
"You don't need to trouble yourself; if it is to be paid for I'll do
it myself. My folks wouldn't let me--sponge on anybody."
"Sponge," repeated Jane, frowning with something like disgust.
"Please don't use such horrible slang."
"Oh my! I suppose a scholarship girl must be a mouse or a kitten.
Well, when I took it I understood no one in Wellington was to know
about it and that the scholarship girl had equal rights with every
"So she has and no one here does know who wins the scholarship."
Somehow Jane stumbled over the word. It was fraught with terror in
the hands of this impossible creature.
"Well, I don't believe it" (no regard for Jane's veracity), "but
I'll hold on awhile and see." (Condescending, thought Jane.) "My
folks always wanted me to go to college and I just came to satisfy
them. I don't give a snap for all the high brow stuff and I might as
well tell you I am nearly dead with homesickness." (She didn't look
it, Jane observed.) "But I'm no quitter, so I intend to stick. Now
let's get back to the girl who hit me. Can you make her apologize?"
"No," said Jane flatly, "and what's more I have no intention of
trying to. You brought trouble on yourself by going into Dozia's
room without being invited. You should know that the younger girls,
the freshmen, are not supposed to take such privileges. Then when
you annoyed my friend" (Jane almost kissed the word) "she told you
outright she was busy and did not want to be bothered. Next thing,
you deliberately sat under her stepladder. Do you like to get in the
open path of tack hammers?"
"Love to," sneered Shirley. "And I'm crazy about playing ball with
them when mirrors are up for back stops. All right, go ahead, as far
as you like. I believe now what I heard about the Jane Alien crowd.
A lot of goody goodies, too stuck up to bother with country girls."
Jane jumped from her seat and gasped at an interruption but did not
succeed in sustaining it. "But I've got friends around here who know
the ropes. They are not freshies either, so don't bother about me,
Miss Allen. I'll see about the looking-glass and the girl who hit me
with her hammer."
Jane let her go, was actually glad to see the last of the satin
skirt as it swished out into the winding path, nor did she
immediately follow it. Instead she sat there, tearing little red
rose hips from the tenacious vines and tossing them away regardless
of their artistic value as decorative winter berries.
"Tragic," she muttered, "positively tragic. And that is what my
darling dad wasted a perfectly good scholarship on." Thoughts of
"dad" mercifully intervened and saved the girl's temper further
violence. "But what puzzles me is how that girl ever won the
scholarship?" Jane silently questioned, and in that unspoken
sentence she unconsciously shaped the key to fit the mystery.
How did this girl win the scholarship? For some moments longer Jane
sat there. She went over again the incident of Dozia's tack hammer.
That she could depend absolutely on Dozia, and knew this strange
girl had done more than sit in the path of the showering tack hammer
"Dozia was a little bit reckless of course," admitted the mentor,
"and she did seem to coddle the fact that her hammer fell on
Shirley's head. I recall she even said she was glad it hit her and
hoped the blow would send the freshie home to her 'maw.'"
Jane wanted to laugh but she refrained. There was a strange proctor
in office this year to be considered. If dear old Miss Weatherbee
were still in charge it might be much easier to explain the
"And that girl defied me with a threat of friends! She has friends
who are not in the freshman ranks? I remember she said that. Who can
they be? My enemies naturally," decided Jane.
How these enemies would fill that foolish head with nonsense, and
how far they might urge her on to mischief if not to actual danger,
Jane Allen did not venture to estimate.
"But Dozia tried first shot to send her home to her 'maw!'"
The humor of the situation now struck Jane like a blow on the funny
bone, and she burst out laughing in the very face of the thorny rose
"After all it is too delicious!" she told herself. "And even if she
is my dad's scholarship girl there's a heap of fun in the ridiculous
situation. I'll find Judy and tell her the whole thing. Too good to
keep; too funny to spoil," and the blue serge skirt that fanned the
boxwood a moment later never swished a swish. Jane did not give it
tune to do so.
JANE AND JUDITH
Oh, do tell me, Janie. I was watching behind the big elm the whole
time. Couldn't hear a word of course, but I could have seen any
attempt at violence. That girl, I tell you, is no ordinary
'critter.' I fully expected she would draw something from that broad
satin belt. But do tell? What was it all about?"
"Thank you for the chance, Judy, I was just wondering when you would
take breath. It is funny--so funny I am laughing all over," and the
gray eyes sent out sparks of mirth, as a senior might have put it.
"Isn't it!" howled Judith, pegging a pillow at Jane's head to keep
the fun a-going or the "pot a-boiling" as you will.
"I don't know where to begin Judy. At first I was sort of awe-
stricken. Considering the handicaps poor Shirley has loaded herself
"Including the name. Have you analyzed that?"
"Yes, love, I have. Some maiden aunt with a paper covered library
must have inflicted her with that. It doesn't suit at all, although
she seems very proud of it."
"And no chance of her growing into it either. Like a chauffeur named
Claude or Clarence. Her last name now would be much snappier for
her. Duncan makes a topping Dunny," suggested Judith.
"But the girl would never believe that," sighed Jane. "She asked me
to call her Shirley and I tried to; now, Judith, listen. Here are a
few difficult facts. Shirley Duncan is bound to fight. She has been
brought up in the school of affectionate antagonism, and with her it
is a case of getting the best of everyone and everything. I did not
say getting the better, I mean best."
"I savvy, as our old friend cow-boy Pedro would say. Have you heard
from home lately, Dinks?"
"Yes, Judith. All well and lonely. But please concentrate. This
matter is serious. Shirley threatened me with friends--says she has
friends here who are not freshies. Can you guess who they may be?"
"Never saw a girl speak to her a second time unless she, Shirley,
stepped on the other's toes or knocked her hat off. Then the
conversation was naturally brief and snappy. It happened to Mabel."
"I can't imagine whom she means, but they are somewhere ready to
pounce on us, so let us beware. Next point is: she seems to have
money: offered to pay for the broken mirror. In fact she sort of
lorded it over me."
"Dozia should strike for a new vanity dresser. One with three side
glasses big enough to reflect her wonderful, long flowing locks. A
rare chance for Dozia."
"But how could a girl coming in on scholarship have money to
squander?" reflected Jane.
"That maiden aunt with the paper covered novels would love good
looking-glasses. It might be the salvation of this Shirley girl, if
she did have access to a true mirror."
Judith snapped the top on her fountain pen and slammed shut her
note-book. Indifferent work was worse than none, she seemed to have
"Had you finished your Lat? Isn't it awful to have to work off a
condition? Please don't let me bother you ever, Jude, when you have
that task on hand," said Jane seriously.
"I have and it is, if you kept your two questions properly
tabulated. You see I am straining for mental stuff. I want to
improve the old condition of forgetfulness. That was what knocked
friend Virgil, or was it Cicero? I loved the stories and forgot the
period. But I am finished for this evening, dear, and you know we
have some initiation stunts to take part in. I am glad they are so
simple. It seems to me each year the nonsense gets more rational."
"It really does, and I think, as you do, that shows progress. We can
all enjoy better fun than that of afflicting the innocent. Of course
we still have to have some ceremony or the young 'uns wouldn't think
they were really in college. I just wonder how it will strike our
"That interests me too, Dinksy. Let's go and see. We have some
lovely little babes this year. That ivory blonde, the timid one with
a most atrocious name, Sarah Something, I just love her, don't you?"
"Sarah Howland, I saw Inez marking her card. Yes, she is sweet in
spite of her name. Rather a pity sponsors cannot show
discrimination. Here is your sweater. Better take it; the wind
whistles. I'll pull my riding cap down as a disguise. It takes in
most of this-wig," Jane was struggling to stuff her bright tresses
into the pocket of her black velvet jockey cap. The effect towered
like a real English derby and Judith danced in delight.
"I'll try that with my tarn," she declared. "One's hair is always
the surest give-away. Here are the masks--hanging neatly on the nail
of last year's tenants. I call that thoughtful."
Mysterious calls and whistles were now creeping in under doorways
and through transoms. The sophs were ready to initiate the
frightened little freshmen. Tales of "they will do this and they
won't do that" had little effect on the individual candidate, but
served to keep up the collective nerve by way of distraction.
"If they hold us under the pump I'll be glad of it," sang out
Shirley the Rebel. "Haven't had a decent drink of water since I left
home, and I suppose the pump has a spring."
"And it's warm enough to enjoy a dip in the lake if they abduct us
in canoes," added Jessie Whitely. "I'm almost suffocated in this big
thing," with an impatient jerk at the criminal's black robe.
"Say your prayers, say your prayers!" chanted another of the group,
seconded by moans and groans. They were waiting like prisoners
jammed into the gym lobby, and a guard of sophs patrolled the
Noticeable in the assemblage was little Sarah Howland-noticeable
because she sat on a window sill all alone and dangled her feet
contentedly. She actually appeared to be enjoying the prospect of
being "roughed." Shirley was noisy as usual, and for once her
raillery seemed appropriate. The more timid girls had taken shelter
about her, as if expecting she would easily and even gaily vanquish
the attacking foe.
Friends had the strong girl now if never before, and she fairly
expanded under the compliment. She would show the sophs what country
training did for a girl in the way of self-protection, and a few
stories of real or fancied battles at High School (no town
mentioned) also served to thrill her audience until Shirley came
near being popular for the once.
"Of course we shall have to do foolish things," mused Eleanor Meed,
"but I won't mind as long as I am not forced to eat something I hate
or drink vinegar--"
"Don't worry on that score," spoke up Marie Coeyman. "Nothing like
that is apt to be attempted. I heard some of the sophs say--"
"Because they knew you were listening," discerned another. "Don't
take any stock in what you overheard. They are apt to do directly
contrary to loudly whispered plans."
"But whatever it is to be, I do wish they would get at it and let's
have it over," growled Shirley. "It's no fun being cooped up here--"
"Hush, don't let the guards hear you complaining," cautioned Marie.
"It's like a trial, you get more for contempt of court if you don't
accept your sentence gracefully."
The shuffling of many feet along the stone walk put an end to
"Here they come! Here they come!" went a tremor through the crowd of
candidates, and when the doors were thrown open a masked committee
Orders, all kinds and volumes of them, poured in quickly as tag
numbers could be singled out. Some were taken in little groups of
four "outside to cool off." Others were commanded to hop around in
circles, while still more were given such individual commands as
seemed most antagonistic to their particular propensities.
Shirley was still unmolested. She stood bravely awaiting her turn,
now and then flinging out a wild arm to make sure its muscles were
in good shape for the fray.
Finally someone (we hope it was not Judith) called her number--
sixty-eight, and she sprang to the chalk line with what is usually
termed alacrity, but it really sounded much more ominous.
"Does your head hurt?" asked the voice, and Shirley nodded. She
thought that might be safest.
"What hit you?" went on the prosecutor.
"A hammer!" responded Shirley.
"A nice hard tack hammer?" came the query again.
"Lovely," spoke the bewildered girl.
"What did you do with it?" asked the inquisitor.
There was no response. The Rebel was getting indignant.
"Quick," demanded a second member "of the firing squad."
"I threw it away," faltered sixty-eight.
"What did it hit?"
"A looking-glass." This reply came quickly enough.
"And the glass smashed?"
"Yes, madam," prompted a guard.
"Yes, madam," repeated Shirley with a quiver.
"For which show of temper you are to dust that room every day for a
full week, and you may come along now and get your first lesson."
Shirley straightened up defiantly.
"Go on! Go on!" begged the little freshman recognized as the pretty
Sarah Howland. "Hurry or they will make it worse."
The leader marched out and Shirley followed. Those who had heard the
sentence realized the misery it inflicted that the strongest girl
should be denied the pump, the lake, tree climbing and even boxing
possible or gym work, for a mean little contemptible stunt like
dusting Dozia's room!
Arrived at the room someone stuck something on Shirley's nose. She
attempted to brush it off but was warned not to do so. Presently she
realized it was a feather, and it seemed to stick in glue on the
very point of her nose!
We will spare the reader an account of Shirley's agony as she vainly
tried to "dust" with that feather on her nose. It was too
humiliating, but a freshman should not have shown such temper, and
there was still the cracked mirror to accuse her!
Every piece of furniture in the room had to be "dusted," that is it
was brushed with the evil feather, which somehow or other did stay
on the candidate's nose; and if the spectators clapped and laughed
Shirley could scarcely blame them, for Dozia Dalton had a foolish
lot of truck to be dusted. More than once she halted, but was
promptly prodded on until finally the humiliating task had been
"Good girl!" called out a voice from behind a mask and Judith
quickly stepped up to take off the duster. Juniors favor the
freshman in spite of such conditions.
"O--uch!" protested the culprit. "It is hard!"
"Wait a minute!" cautioned Jane's voice. "This will remove it. Sit
The unhappy candidate fell into a chair, while someone applied the
alcohol cloth and presently the tiny feather fell with its bit of
sticky felt into the palm awaiting to catch it.
"Keep your hands down," insisted someone, for Shirley never knew
before the glory of a free nose and she just wanted to pet it a
little. But her tormentors intended to fix up any damage they might
have inadvertently perpetrated on the feature, and what coating
didn't come off with the alcohol was quickly covered with Dozia's
powder, until the freshman was made to look even better than nature
had intended she should.
This fixing up was almost as hateful to Shirley as was the
abominable dusting, but she kept her temper-the lesson seemed
Jane was arranging the disordered hair, and as she attempted to
stroke it with a wet brush Shirley put up a detaining hand.
"Please don't wet it," she begged in a whisper, and Jane stopped
short with her brush raised for action.
"Not wet it?" she thought quickly. "That must mean treatment, and
treatment meant the forbidden beauty shop!"
This girl had been visiting that shop. More danger ahead, decided
Jane, as she lay down the brush and proceeded to finish the dressing
Judith had overheard the request and pinched Jane's arm to admit it,
but a loud demand for the freshman from the group rounding up
candidates saved further delay and when Shirley left Dozia's room
the latter patted her affectionately.
"Don't worry, dear," said Dozia, "I'll be careful not to raise too
much dust next week."
But her sentence was not the most serious thing in prospect for the
rebel Shirley Duncan. Not even the good times prepared for the
candidates served to allay the dread she struggled against, and only
her natural delight in the rollicking fun, and the really fine
spread served them by the juniors, helped bring the girl back to a
happy frame of mind.
Woe unto the freshie who shows ill will at an initiation!
She may be obliged to walk in the gutter for the full first half
year, or wear a baby blue ribbon under her chin!
But Shirley had heeded the warnings.
A QUEER MIX-UP
"Jane, the girls are frightened to death. Can you imagine ghost
stories having that effect in this staid, solid, absolutely reliable
old college?" asked Maud Leslie.
"It is absurd," admitted Jane, "but Maudie, all students are not
scientifically inclined as you are. What about the ghost? Who is he
and who saw him?"
"He is the usually uncanny weird noise, nothing even original about
him. One would expect more of a college ghost. And just as trite and
commonplace is the fact that these nocturnal howls come at safe
hours when we cannot be expected to go through a fire or panic
drill. I call the whole thing disgusting."
"So do I," assented Jane. "But don't worry, Maud. If there is one
line of action I like better than another it is that of laying
ghosts. Whizz, whack, bang! I'll make the bones rattle if they come
Jane was punching a bag in the gym when Maud unfolded the story of
the ghost scare. It was not really news, for Wellington had been
buzzing the spirit's ears for days and not until some of the younger
students appealed to the older girls did Jane and other juniors give
heed to the fear epidemic.
"I'm glad you're still a junior, Jane," commented Maud, taking
breath after vaulting a horse or two. "We should never dare to bring
such trivial troubles to you were you a senior."
"And I'm glad to be a junior still," replied Jane. "Judith and I
decided on this extra year to specialize. But even were I a senior,
Maud, I would be happy to hear your heartbreaks," with a twist of
her mouth that took care of the paradox.
"Thanks a lot." Blanco, the wooden horse painted white on a former
"sorority spree," was cleared by Maud the scientific, and she came
up to Jane, a question in the sudden jerk of her bobbed head. "Jane,
will you help us organize a ghost raid? We cannot have the freshies
all scared blue by someone's nonsense, and Dozia, Inez, Winifred and
I have done all we could in the way of investigation. That's a trick
ghost, Jane, I am convinced of that much, and it will take a double
trick to lay it."
"Certainly I'll organize a raid squad, Maud. I'd love to lead the
charge myself. Do we have outposts, and pickets, and-trench
companies? Or would a bathrobe drill answer as well?"
"Jane, I am serious," Maud pouted. "I tell you some of the girls are
asking to have their quarters changed, and if all were given
transfers I am sure Lenox Hall would be abandoned to the ghost.
Rather shabby of him to choose the babes' quarters."
"Spooks are cowardly as a rule," replied Jane. "And Maudie dear, I
realize you are serious. But I can hardly organize a raiding squad
instanter. I must at least have time to round up a few reliable
girls. No use going after the 'sperit' with a band of cowards. You
know yourself what fun that would be for his spookship." "Oh yes,
of course, Jane. I did not mean to be impatient, but the girls just
begged me to enlist your leadership. You have always been such a--
"Thanks again, girlie. But failure is sure to come to him who tries
once too often. Not that I should mind failure, except for the sake
of those excited children. Really I hate to think how the ghost will
feel when we get through rattling his bones." A sudden dash at a
pair of ceiling rings set the whole line dangling along the gym and
served to illustrate a possible way of rattling spectral dry bones,
although Jane's graceful figure, as she swung to and fro, did much
to soften the effect.
"When can we make the raid?" persisted Maud. "I have promised to
bring a definite answer."
Jane dropped to the mattress and sat with hands clasped over her
knees. "Is this ghost a person of regular habits? Does he take
exercise every night?"
"The noise was perfectly dreadful last night, and Velma Sigsbee was
visiting Lenox night before and she almost went into hysterics when
the rattling began. You know what Velma is for signs. Won't wear a
thing green and all that."
"And I suppose she attempts to explain it all on purely reasonable
grounds of modern thought. The brand that credits the dead with all
power, and limits the living with a very flexible and convenient
practical faith. The two work together beautifully, of course, for
what we can't understand we must put down to faith, and what we want
to believe we are inspired to by our friends on the other side.
Dovetails perfectly, sort of a fidele de convenance. Well, Maudie,
you may tell the babes that we juniors, their natural guardians,
will take care of his ghostship if possible this very night; if not
tonight then tomorrow at M. I suppose midnight is the time of clangs
"Yes, the girls say it is always midnight. And I just want to say,
Jane, that the big country girl, Shirley Duncan, is the only one not
terrified. But I suppose country girls are accustomed to wild
things." Everyone seemed loath to add further criticism to Shirley's
rather unenviable reputation.
"Oh yes; haunted wells and spooky attics, to say nothing of barnyard
'sperits' that roam about to scare the cows into giving buttermilk
and cream cheese," replied Jane. "It might just be--" she hesitated,
then jumped to her feet with a little gleeful bounce--"it might be a
ghost from Shirley's own home town. Strange we never had one at
"Velma said something like that," admitted Maud. "She said Shirley
was so--so antagonistic that her presence here might disturb some
friendly communication, and--"
Jane's laugh finished the hypothesis.
"How delicious of Velma!" she exclaimed. "But we must be careful not
to bring any more trouble upon poor Shirley. She's only a freshman
and has apparently enjoyed few home opportunities," finished Jane.
"But why does she tell the girls such horribly weird stories?"
objected the scientific Maud. "She seems to delight in getting an
audience for the wildest sort of yarns. And just now naturally they
go to the youngsters' heads. Honestly, Janie, no less than three
freshmen have begged me to crowd into their quarters tonight. They
seem to think a soph might keep off this animated Jinks."
"I can just imagine Shirley telling country ghost stories,"
reflected Jane, "and I agree with you, dear child, she is very
inopportune with them, but it would be worse than useless for me to
attempt to interfere. In fact, I think if I did so she would take up
Irish Folk Lore to keep stories going. Running out of ghosts she
might fall back on fairies. She really seems the queerest girl we
have had in a long time."
"Except Dolorez Vincez, she was still more curious," recalled Maud,
referring to the South American character in Jane Allen: Center, who
still kept within the shadow of Wellington by now running that
protested beauty shop just outside the college gates.
"But Dol is something of a foreigner, while Shirley seems to be all
American," replied Jane. "Just fancy Americanizing an American born
and bred! But this Shirley girl surely needs some sort of treatment.
Her week of dusting Dozia's room is up today. I hope the lesson
brought down her hoity-toity a peg or two. There come the girls from
the village. Be prepared for more ghost stories for I see Ted
Guthrie gasping, even at this distance. And behold the windmills--
Dozia's arm! Something very exciting must have happened."
"Jane! Jane!" shouted Janet Clarke, the advance guard of the line of
girls marching in from the village. "Oh, you missed it! Hello,
Maud," seeing Jane's companion. "You girls will stick around a
stuffy old gym, will you? Well, then, you have got to miss things.
Come on in, children, and watch Jane's hair shoot sparks. Inez, you
take the first two paragraphs while I get my breath, and, Winifred,
don't forget those adjectives you hit me with under the oaks."
"Do tell?" begged Jane. "Whatever has happened and where is Judith?"
"Arrested!" gasped Inez.
"What? What are you talking about?" demanded Jane. The girls really
"Yes--she is gone--gone with an officer," panted Inez.
"There, you have had your two paragraphs," interposed Janet. "They
were short but complete and I have recovered my breath. It is so
exciting, Jane, and so confusing--"
"If you will just be coherent enough to tell me where Judith is we
might wait for the emotional details," snapped Jane. "If Judith is
in any trouble we have no right to stand around gasping."
"Right, Jane," assented Dozia. "But I did not want to take all the
responsibility from Inez. This is what happened. We were coming
along Cobble Lane when Judith espied two messenger boys on the rail
fence. They were apparently squabbling about something, and just as
we came along by the wild cherry tree, a few hundred yards from
them, the big fellow gave the little fellow a punch and sent him
sprawling in the bushes. Then the big fellow took to his heels--"
"He had something--a package he grabbed from Tim, the little
fellow," interrupted Inez.
"Yes, I know, but that is not essential now, we must get to Judith,"
declared Dozia, showing irritation. "Judith ran--"
"But the policeman darted out from the elderberry clump--"
"Winifred, please!" implored Dozia. "I will not forget to tell that,
but if you think you can do it all more intelligently or quickly--"
"Pardon me, Dozia, please, I am just too excited--"
"Did Judith go to help the officer?" demanded Jane impatiently.
"No," fired back Dozia. "It was old Sour Sandy, who always declares
we are up to mischief, and when the big boy ran, Judith chased after
him while Cop Sandy ran after both. We stood still--"
"He was muttering and threatening so," ventured Janet.
"Were you afraid of him?" charged Jane.
"No, but we could not decide instantly that we should run after
Judith. It was all so sudden," said spokesman Dozia. "And of course
we realized any more commotion would really get us all in trouble;
that old officer is such a crank."
"But to let Judith face it all alone," challenged Jane.
"I really haven't told the one important detail," Dozia vainly
attempted to explain. "I was walking with Judith and two other girls
were just a little ahead. They were Shirley Duncan and that pretty
little thing, Sarah--something--"
"Howland," Jane flung in.
"Yes," went on Dozia. "And Judith seemed so intent on watching them
she hardly answered me intelligently."
"There is something up between those two," declared Winifred Ayres.
"I know it, and I guess Judy knows it too."
"But what have they to do with the fighting messengers?" demanded
Jane, now utterly bewildered from the snarled account.
"The messenger, who got the package from Tiny Tim, shouted at
Shirley and she waited. Then, when he could get near enough he threw
the paper box to Shirley and she raced off toward the Beauty Shop.
When we saw the last of it we couldn't tell whom Judith was chasing,
but she ran right into Dol Vin's shop," declared Dozia, "and of
course Cop Sandy was not long in doing the same thing. We knew we
would be helpless to do anything there if Dol were in, so we came
back to see what you would suggest," ended Dozia with a trail of
relief in the last few words.
"I suggest that we go after Judith," promptly ordered Jane, and if
precious time had been wasted in the recital, the loss was atoned in
the pace taken by that rescuing squad as they followed Jane in her
race toward Dol Vin's Beauty Shop.
TO THE RESCUE
The Beauty Shop was presently besieged by an excited crowd of girls,
and to give due credit to the purely human element it must be
admitted the girls were delighted to be there--at the forbidden
"Thrilling!" whispered Velma Sigsbee, and she "said it" for all the
The redoubtable Dol Vin (short for Dolorez Vincez) appeared at the
quaint square paned door. She was gowned in a very close fitting and
striking black satin "clinger" gown. Her hair was done in the most
modern of styles, like a window show for her hair dressing parlor,
and her foreign face, with its natural olive tones, was very much
fixed up with many touches of peach and carmine, as well as darker
hints under the eyes; and her lashes--well, perhaps Dolorez had been
crying inky tears; that was the effect one gathered from a glance at
the vampish make-up.
"Is Miss Stearns here?" asked Jane authoritatively. She and Dol had
clashed glances before, and Jane had no idea of condescending to the
apostate of Wellington.
"Miss Stearns here!" repeated the highly colored lips. Then
shoulders shrugged and scorn fairly sizzled through an indescribable
sneer. "I do not check up the patrons. She may be in a chair within.
Will you enter?"
The girls surrounding Jane tittered audibly. Since when had plain
Dol Vin become so foreign?
"En--ter!" drawled Dozia. "Yes, let's," to Jane. This little hiss
was intended as a reactionary simper.
"Miss Stearns would not be here on professional business," retorted
Jane. "And she would never occupy one of your treatment chairs."
Jane hated to dignify anything in the beauty shop with that
description, but acid terms were elusive just then; and besides Jane
was now getting anxious about Judith.
"Oh, indeed!" more shoulder shrugging and a futurist pose of the
black satin "clinger," "What else, then, might the Lady Stearns be
doing at my place?"
"Dol Vincez, you just stop that nonsense," flared Dozia Dalton,
stepping up to the fancy little door defiantly. "We saw Judith
Stearns run in here after Shirley Duncan, and you know very well
that old officer Sandy came in after her. Now where is Judith?"
"Isn't it lovely to have you all here? And begging me for
something?" Hands on hips, then a shift of the right hand to a very
black ball of hair bunched out where the human ear usually reposes.
"I am delighted I am sure with this visitation, and I'd love to ask
you all in only I'm busy. You will have to excuse me," and with a
very Frenchy bow, the Queen of the Beauty Shop got behind the
squared glass door and pushed it shut till the latch clicked.
"Shut the door in our faces," growled Velma, as if everyone had not
seen the insulting act.
Jane stood for a moment, thinking seriously and swiftly. She was not
concerned with the girls about her; neither had she any of their
curiosity about the interior of the shop. She was wondering what it
all meant, and how she could trace Judith. A brilliant thought
captured her. Why not go inside for a shampoo?
She turned to her companions. "I suppose it is perfectly proper
under the circumstances to go inside--somehow. I'll apply for a
"But the rest of us?" wailed the curious Velma.
"Ask for something else," suggested the resourceful Jane.
"Perhaps she won't answer the ring," parried Janet.
"Then we'll knock," threatened Jane, as she pressed the little
button over the "treatment hours" sign.
They waited. There were Jane, Dozia, Velma, Winifred, Janet and
Inez, six palpitating girls, each taking inventory of her possible
beauty spots that might need touching up. Even Dol Vin would succumb
to such an onslaught of orders, but--
"Suppose she charges us some dreadful price--like five dollars
each?" gasped Velma.
"Can't do it," declared Jane. "We'll go by her price list. But no
one seems to answer."
"Peeking out, I'll bet," whispered Janet. "Ring three times, Jane,
and she'll know we mean business."
Jane followed that advice, but still no answer.
"There's a side door," suggested Dozia, critically inspecting the
long, low old stone building that had been put up originally as a
rendezvous for Wellington faculty who might want to get away from
the buzz of girls and college. It seemed no one had that sort of
disease, however, and the rest cure "went to the wall" for want of
patronage. Just what company was now financing the rather expensive
venture of Dol Vin no one knew, but it must have taken a lot of
money even to buy the window scrim, the porch cretonne and the gold
lettering on window and door glass. These details were visible from
the exterior, and what, oh, what might the interior look like to
"The side door," agreed Jane, "for all but one or two. Then perhaps
we'll get an answer here."
The ruse worked beautifully, for hardly had the tread of feet--eight
of them, four pairs--passed down the steps than in answer to a very
lady-like ring of Jane's a colored maid drew open the door.
"May I get a shampoo?" asked Jane sweetly, stepping inside as she
spoke and covertly motioning Dozia to follow.
"This way, please," said the white-capped and white-frocked, black-
faced maid. And behold! Jane and Dozia were within the mysterious
Neither spoke. Both were listening. Someone was sobbing in the next
room and Dol Vin's voice was remonstrating.
As if suddenly realizing the situation the colored maid hurried out.
The sobbing ceased instantly and so did the talking. A step through
the hall indicated the coming of Dolorez.
"What does this mean?" she demanded angrily, stepping up to Jane
with blazing eyes. "How dare you force your way in here?"
"Is not this a public shop?" fired back Jane, equally angry. "Have
you not openly solicited Wellington patronage?"
"As if you came for that! If you do not leave at once I shall phone
"Do," dared Jane. "And I shall demand that they search the place.
Someone is hidden here."
A laugh, empty of mirth but bursting with scorn, followed Jane's
accusation. It ran down a falsetto scale like pebbles off a tin
roof. Then Dolorez turned to summon her maid.
"Yolande!" she called. "Show these persons out."
The perplexed darky muttered, "Yes'm," and proceeded to obey, but
Jane and Dozia never moved. They were listening now to noise of
another sort. The girls on the side porch seemed to be having a good
time of it.
"Come," demanded the inexorable Dolorez. "My time is precious and I
must have this room. If you do not both leave I'll phone the
"How perfectly absurd you are, Dolorez," said Jane, more alarmed now
that no hint of Judith's whereabouts had leaked out. "You know
perfectly well we can explain all this, and you also know we are
here to find Judith Stearns and we will not leave until you have
told us where she is or where she went? May I use your telephone?"
"Judith Stearns is not here," snapped the South American. "And
what's more I don't know nor care where she is. I can't spend my
time with wild college girls who try to run down poor messenger
"Very well," said Jane, deciding no more time could be wasted in
argument. "But I warn you if our friend has been placed in any
compromising position, or has been misrepresented to that hateful
officer, we shall hold you responsible, for our girls saw her come
Jane and Dozia turned to the door. The maid was evidently well
pleased with the move, for she showed glittering teeth in an
inopportune smile. Dolorez had gained a very high natural color that
cut in streaks through her make-up. She was breathing hard, and
Dozia, usually fearless, thought it best not to anger her further.
She followed Jane without even throwing out a look of defiance or
challenge, and when the door closed on their heels both Jane and
Dozia felt and really looked pale.
The situation was growing more complicated every moment, and now the
girls from the side porch pounced upon the others with frivolous
inquiries about that beauty shop.
"Hush," ordered Jane. "Do you realize Judith may have been taken to
that horrible old station house? You three go back to college and
make sure she has not returned. We, Dozia, Janet and I, will go into
the town hall. You can phone us there in twenty minutes. Now hurry
and be prudent. Don't spread any sensational stories."
Jane acted like a senior now, but the emergency was sufficiently
exacting to demand such forceful means.
Where was Judith Stearns and what was the meaning of Dolorez Vincez'
sinister statement, about running down poor messenger boys? Also who
could have been sobbing in the room back of the parlors?
"Look!" exclaimed Jane as they left the tanbark walk. "Who is that
running from the back driveway?"
"Little Sarah Howland," replied Dozia in amazement. "Whatever can
that innocent little thing be doing around here?"
"I--wonder," sighed Jane as they hurried off to the old town hall.
"Jane," murmured Dozia, halting her companion for a moment as a
sudden calling was heard through the fields, "do you think that baby
can be implicated with those unscrupulous shop keepers?"
"She was in there, and we saw her run," replied Jane. "I would like
to doubt my own eyes--"
Dozia grasped her arm and again they hurried on.
"Find Judith!" That was their slogan.
WHAT HAPPENED TO JUDITH
In that mysterious way peculiar to girls, the students knew, without
the facts being apparent, that something strange and perhaps even
desperate had happened to Judith.
They had not been told any of the details, but when the party
walking in from the village was suddenly broken up, first by the
incident of the messenger boys' quarrel and then by Judith's
disappearance into Dol Vin's beauty shop, with officer Sandy
twirling his club and "gum-shoeing" after her, the whole situation
was as clear as if the pieces had been patched together on a movie
Judith, fighting for justice, had been ranged with the culprits!
There was no possibility of her return to the college grounds
without her companions' knowledge; neither was it probable she had
gone to take a youngster's part at the emergency court in the Town
Hall without first having notified Jane or some of the other girls.
She would have dragged them along with her, for Judith believed in
team play for all things, even at trials and courts of alleged
So it was that the girls' anxiety was not so thinly supported as the
mere record of events might have indicated; they knew there was
something wrong, knew it instantly and knew it positively; and they
were right about it, too.
The outstanding fact was a weighty argument. Dolorez Vincez had been
expelled from Wellington the year previous; she had vowed vengence
against Jane Allen and her friend, Judith Stearns (although both
girls had actually interceded for the culprit with the college
faculty), and now was the time and this was the place to wreak her
In a shorter time than occupies this explanation Jane and Dozia and
Janet reached the Town Hall. The ancient building of dingy brick
filled a conspicuous spot facing the Square; its carriage stone was
a revolutionary relic and two reliable cannon set off the much
trampled green diamond in front with something of a stately
significance. It was fast growing dark in the early autumn evening,
but the excitement of an arrest had drawn a crowd from the few
business offices and from the passersby at the supper hour, flanked
and reinforced by boys, boys who seem to go with excitement--always,
at all times and in all places.
The students made their way into the hall with its sputtering gas
light, and while Janet went to the telephone booth, Jane and Dozia
hurried to the office of the chief of police.
Both girls had uttered the name and both now elbowed their way
through the curious crowd up to the rail, where stood the
"Keep back, keep back," ordered an officer. He was the second and
only other active member of "the force" besides Sandy Jamison, he
who had "taken Judith in."
Jane and Dozia urged forward in spite of orders, however, and now
Judith saw them! She flashed a look first defiant then hopeless. It
had defiance for the charge, but was hopeless to make that country
court understand. Jane and Dozia answered the code with unwavering
determination fairly emitting from their every feature.
But the chief was talking or muttering, and he had been pompously
rapping for order.
Officer Sandy was trying desperately to tell his story, but between
twirling his club and chewing tobacco he was sorely pressed for a
chance to say anything.
"This here girl," he mumbled, "was racin' after a boy with a package
of joo-ell-ry. It was joo-ell-ry I know, for them boys from the city
store was called to deliver----"
"Never mind about the boys," interrupted the chief, "tell us what
the charge is against this girl."
Jane and Dozia exchanged a look complimentary to that chief. He had
some sense they privately admitted.
"Yes, yer honor, I'm comin' to that," defended Sandy. "She ran first
after a boy, then after a girl, and I seen the package go through
"Flyin'? Had it wings or was it a toy balloon?" Chief Hadfield was
not a man to disappoint his audience, and the laugh that thanked him
for this quip set Sandy twirling and chewing more vigorously than
"It was pegged, throwed, fired," shouted Sandy, and his club just
touched Judith's sleeve, electrifying her into open indignation.
"Keep that--stick down," ordered the chief, while Judith's
How pretty she looked standing there in those sordid surroundings!
Contrast, the maker of all standards, outlined the tall dark-haired
girl in her brilliant red junior cap and definite red sweater, like
the central figure in some old time country picture, where urchins
and queer men gave her the middle of the stage and plagiarized the
scene, "At the Bar of Justice."
"You caught this here flying joo-ell-ry?" demanded the chief.
"Oh no, oh no," parried Sandy. "Someone else caught that," and he
waddled his head from side to side in amplification.
"Who? Where is it?" The chief was not playing the gallery now.
"The propri-e-tor of that there beauty institooshun has it, and it's
hers. It had her name and address on it."
A sneering titter from the audience followed that foolish statement.
Old Sour Sandy had balled things up considerably this time.
"Then what's the charge and who makes it?" shouted and rapped Chief
"Loiterin' and disturbing and I make th' charge!" Sandy put his cap
on in the excitement of that speech but quickly yanked it off again
in respect to the court.
Jane and Dozia could not remain longer silent. Evidently Judith had
been educated in the absurd proceedings before they came. Janet was
now in from the telephone booth and stood beside her companions,
while Jane attempted to interrupt.
"May I speak?" she called out in the most musical tone her voice
"Certainly, miss," replied the chief. He evidently did not share the
opinion of his subordinate on Wellington girls' character.
"This arrest is an outrage--a frame-up," declared Jane, glad to
recall the vernacular. "There are three witnesses here who saw the
trouble and we'll find others if you want them. The fact is Officer
Jamison is always cross with us students" (she put it mildly), "and
he was, perhaps, too willing to listen to our enemies. The
proprietor of the beauty shop is a former Wellington student who was
asked to withdraw last spring" (again the modification), "and this
afternoon she saw her chance to retaliate--to get even." Jane made
sure of being understood and now suddenly ceased speaking. She had
learned the maxim, "When you say a good thing, stop."
The chief stroked his beard lines (no beard showed just now), then
pushed his cap back officially. Judith slid her white hands along
the brass rail playfully and even smiled at the man behind it. He
was a man if also an officer, and he must know by her manner that
Judith Stearns was just a very nice little girl being dreadfully
"Sit down, young lady. We'll be through in a few minutes," said the
considerate chief; and Judith dropped to the bench beside Jane,
Janet and Dozia. All three could not squeeze her hands at once, but
all three managed to do something affectionate, if Janet did have to
be content with a mere pluck at the white sweater sleeve.
"Now see here," spoke the chief in a tone of irritated finality.
"Sandy, what do you mean by disturbin' and loiterin'?"
"By loiterin' I mean that racin' after them little boys who was
going about their business, and by disturbin' I mean--I mean that--
that them college girls is allus raisin' a rumpus."
"Discharged!" sang out the chief and he did sing it. The tune of
that single word embraced at least three whole tones and suggested
A tumult followed the announcement but the chief rapped again for
"I want you people and Officer Sandy to listen to me," he thundered.
"Because girls go to a college ain't no reason why they should be
pestered" (his errors were truly elegant), "and next time I hear any
such fool complaint there'll he some shiftin' of badges. Clear the
And could you blame the Wellingtons present for shaking hands with
Making their way out finally the girls smiled to those in the
curious throng who waited to sympathize or congratulate, and just at
the end of the dingy hall Judith felt a small, warm hand grasp her
"I want to thank you, miss," spoke a hesitant voice. "You saved me
from that 'guy' this after-noon, but I'm awful sorry you got into a
It was Tiny Tim, the messenger boy.
"Oh, that's all right," declared Judith heartily. "I was glad to be
on hand and that doesn't matter. Did you manage to deliver the box
"I got it into the shop but the right one didn't sign for it. I know
that 'cause that black haired one has a queer name and the box was
for some Sarah Something. But I guess she'll get it all right," he
finished with a professional air of certainty. "She comes there a
"A box of jewelry for little Sarah Howland," said Jane to Dozia.
"And the sobbing in the back room," whispered Dozia in answer.
"That was she who ran out the back way," concluded Jane while Judith
and the others were busy taking leave of the messenger boy.
"Some experience!" exhaled Judith, stronger and braver for her
"That, and something else," paraphrased Jane. "But someone please
run to that phone and tell the proctor we are coming. They may send
the guards out after us. It wants only ten minutes of tea time.
The command was followed out to the letter.
Talk about antagonism," glowered Janet. "I call the whole
proceedings an outrage, and if you want to know what I would do
about it, I would ask a Wellington official to sue this dinky little
town for damages." She snapped out the words as if each syllable
were a blow on the very heads of the offenders.
"Don't you get excited, Janet," cautioned Jane. "We have our lady-
like hands very full at the moment, and to run into more trouble
would be positively rash. Besides, here is Judy, unrumpled as a babe
from its cradle; seems to have enjoyed the whole thing and I can
"So can we," quickly followed Dozia. "She will put the experience
down in her field work for Social Service. This extra year promises
to turn out at least two stars in that course."
They were in the lavatory hastily fixing up for tea, almost late but
thankful to be within the gates before the gong sounded. The
adventures of that afternoon had been thrilling indeed, and a few of
the girls shared with Jane the suspicions now settling upon the two
freshmen, Shirley Duncan and Sarah Howland. Their presence at Dol
Vin's shop, the sobbing heard behind doors, and that wild run of the
girl who tried to get away from the place by actually scaling a back
fence, and who was recognized as the demure little Sarah, all this
furnished plenty of material for a mystery story.
But it was the innocent remark of the grateful messenger boy, that
put the climax in at the very peak of interest.
"I know the right girl didn't sign the slip," he had told Jane and
Judith, "because that black haired one has a queer name and she
isn't Sarah Howland."
So the precious package was for little Sarah Howland. And it was
being sent to her, care of Dol Vin. Also, and more important than
either particular, the delivery of that message had landed Judith
Stearns in court.
Was it any wonder ghosts had been crowded out of the day's or
"Don't worry," calmly advised the heroic Judith. "What happened this
afternoon is only an introduction. The real thriller is yet to
"When?" anticipated Velma.
"Oh, it threatens to be a serial. I may be able to give you a reel
or two tonight after study hour."
"Come down to my room," begged Janet. "I have such a big couch and a
whole raft may pile up on it."
"That's a good idea," agreed Jane as the last towel was tossed into
its basket. "Besides, we haven't a thing to eat in our quarters and
what's a good yarn without grub? Land sakes, hear the crockery!
We'll miss the hash, I fear me," and only the restraining influence
of Miss Fairlie in the lower hall saved a third rail flight via
Sweeping into the dining room Jane's eyes seemed attracted to a
corner in freshmen's quarters. It might have been her excited
imagination or pure incident, but she did look straight into the
frightened blue eyes of little Sarah Howland.
For the fraction of a second there was something like a clash.
Jane's look was one of indignant question while the other
unmistakably showed fear. Then Shirley Duncan said something to
Sarah and the connection was severed.
Hash may have been served or even real lamb chops, but no power of
special dishes served to distract the students from their delicious
"What in the world are you watching that door for?" Jane asked
Dozia, who seemed hypnotized by a brass door knob.
"Cops," replied Dozia cryptically. "I should hate to go out again
"That's a fork," Winifred Ayres prompted Judith as the latter
pierced her pretty sherbet with a prong.
"I know," answered Judith, "but this mound is so pretty I don't want
to spoil it at one gulp. A fork is daintier."
"And leakier," finished the critic.
Altogether the air was charged and surcharged with thrills, but it
was Maud Leslie who broke the spell.
"Jane," she whispered as they passed out, "don't forget tonight at
Lenox. The girls are depending on you."
"Tonight at Lenox, what for?" puzzled Jane.
"Ghosts," said Maud. Then Jane remembered she had promised to raid
the ghosts at Lenox Hall and to bring to the frightened freshmen a
whole company of braves with their resistless reinforcements. And
she had not yet been able to do a single thing about it!
"We will all be finished with our work by 8:15, Judith," Dozia
Dalton announced authoritatively, "then you may recite the adventure
of a Wellington in Distress. I'll be prepared to take you down
verbatim, in case your counsel should need the confession."
"Janet, please have plenty of cheese, crackers and a few nuts. I'm
losing weight," implored Winifred.
"And Jane, will you be so good as to bring a few sample apples that
came in that last parcel post from Montana?" suggested Ted Guthrie.
"I missed things this afternoon but I don't intend to be overlooked
Jane clutched Judith's arm to disentangle her from the others.
"I have got to speak to you alone, Judy," she whispered. "It's about
the noises and the ghosts. The babes are scared blue, threatening to
desert the camp. Get outside the door and we can vanish for a few
minutes before study hour." They waited at the foot of the stairs
until Janet and Winifred ascended, then Judith nearly fell over Jane
as they both tried to go through the door at once, but the escape
was successful in spite of too much noise from the loose old brass
Instinctively the two chums turned from the broad stone steps into
the left path that ran away from a brilliant arc light into Elm
Shadows. Silently both girls exchanged confidences, for Jane's arm
around Judith's waist was comprehensive, and each little hug told a
story of its own.
"Dear heart!" breathed Judith. "I would just have died if you hadn't
rescued me when you did. And I know the others--ran away."
"Judy, love," returned Jane, "they didn't know where you were,
really. And those country officers have threatened us before, you
know. I suppose they are a little bit jealous that we girls and not
their boys, are scattered over the landscape with yells and other
appropriate noises. Sit down" (they had reached a birch bench), "I
must tell you about Lenox Hall."
"I know about the noises and I do believe they are really uncanny,"
said Judith, "but what can we do away over at this end of the
"Go over to the other end, of course," said straightforward Jane,
"and I have promised to lay those ghosts tonight."
"Tonight!" sighed Judith, dropping her head on Jane's shoulder.
"Not you, of course. You shan't come," protested Jane. "I only
wanted to plan things with you. A warm bed and a nice cup of malted
milk will be about all for you this night, Judy dear." The head, as
black as Judith's own in the shadows, tried to fold itself on a
cheek if no closer, but the attempt scarcely felt comfortable, and
Jane just blew a kiss into Judith's ear, then straightened up again.
"As if I would miss that!" murmured Judith. "I am dog-tired, Dinksy,
but ghosts! Oh, boy! Lead me to 'em!" and the courage of youth
defied that day's record for Judith Stearns.
"We must hurry; see the lights in the girls' rooms, and you know
they are bound to slight work tonight. This is what I suppose we
will have to do. A few of us--you, if you insist, Dozia and
Winifred, and I will somehow get out after Miss Fairlie has made the
rounds. I don't know how we'll do it, but we have got to try. Then
over at Lenox we may hide in the shrubbery and wait for the ghosts.
I am perfectly sure they will come along the path from the gate
keeper's cottage. Either they are inside or permitted to enter, and
it isn't likely that ordinary spooks come through such walls as
"All right. I'll be there if I don't fall asleep over my trig. But I
do think being arrested is awfully wearying--I could dream here in
spite of the howling winds. Jane Allen, do you realize this is a
cold, bleak, dreary night, and you are tempting ghosts to parade in-
-bathing suits or nighties?"
"It is cold; take an end of my scarf and hurry in. May a kind
thought prompt us how to elude the wary Fairlie. Take care you don't
seem sociable when she taps. It would be fatal if she should enter
for a 'cozy little chat.' She has done it, you know."
"Do I know it? Do you think I shall ever forget the cozy little chat
she dropped in for, when my alcohol lamp thrust under the couch
threatened to burn down the place? I have never been friendly with
the inspector since."
Judith ceased speaking suddenly and Jane clutched her arm as voices
were heard somewhere. Yes--two girls were leaving Headley Hall and
now came close enough to Jane and Judith to send even their subdued
voices ahead in the darkness.
"You're a baby," one said. "And you nearly spoiled it all this
"I never thought it would be this way. I'm so sorry I--" said the
"Goodness sake, stop whimperin'. Aren't you satisfied? Hush, there's
someone on the bench."
"Shirley and Sarah," whispered Jane in Judith's ear.
But the two figures on the path had turned, and were now lost in the
darkness along the lonely hedged-in walk.
"Imagine!" said Judith indignantly. "Those two little freshmen away
over here instead of being at their books!"
"And did you notice Shirley was blaming little Sarah for whimpering?
I tell you, Judith, there is something queer about that Shirley. She
has money yet she came in on a scholarship. Then, there was the
registered package of jewelry that brought disaster upon you and the
messenger boy, Tim. He said it was addressed to Sarah. She surely
shows a woeful lack of luxury, yet someone was sending her jewelry."
"And Dol Vin was receiving their mail, including the box," Judith
"I am sure it was Sarah I heard sobbing in that back room," insisted
"There are the girls looking for us. We will have to plead headaches
and need of fresh air, for you know I promised them the real story
of my incarceration," sighed Judith, following Jane's lead toward
the group of searchers who came down the path calling and whistling
for Jane and Judith.
"Do tell it to them, they have been so splendid," pleaded Jane.
"Besides, we have a night's work before us if we can escape on the
ghost hunt, and a good yarn will do a lot to settle all our nerves.
Remember, you are not to come unless you simply can't stay in bed,
and if you remain in our building you may be able to allay suspicion
when Fairlie comes snooping. 'Lo girls!" to the whistlers. "Here we
are! Judy needed the air."
With an all star cast and such headliners as were scheduled for Jane
and her constituents on that particular night, it was not easy to
anticipate the outcome. If the ghosts would only do their part and
appear on time!
A TWICE TOLD TALE
Judith tried to beg off on her story of the great adventure, but the
girls were insistent. "Just tell us what happened when you got
inside the Beauty Shop," begged Velma, who had secret dreams of C.
O. D. dimples and longed to hear of such possibilities.
"It was like a screen comedy," replied Judith, who had been
beautifully pillowed up and otherwise made comfortable on Janet's
solo-couch. The audience was scattered around on cushions, on the
floor, on chairs, and even on the one narrow window sill. Queening
it from her pillows Judith looked quite Romanesque, with Jane
perched on a cretonne pedestal above the divan's level, waving her
riding crop regally. The pedestal really was a specially favored
trunk of Jane's which had escaped storage quarters and served many
useful and practical purposes, the present being one in point.
"You were saying," Jane reminded Judith, placing a firm hand on the
heaving breast solemnly, "that the rush in was like a movie scene."
"I said comedy, dear; there's a difference. First, Dol opened the
pigeon holed door, then Sarah Howland tumbled in howling--she was
honestly very much frightened, next went Shirley Duncan. She seemed
wild to get under cover. Then I tripped along--"
"Not scared or anything?" from Nettie.
"Not a bit scared but mad as fury," declared Judith, "for there was
old Sour Sandy at my heels taking such long and such big steps I
felt every next foot would crush me into the brand new door mat."
"Poor Judy," soothed Jane. "And no one to say thee nay!"
"Say me nix," moaned Judith. "I would have had thee say other things
than that. But to the tale. Have you ever seen a mouse run from a
cat and a dog after the cat and a boy after the dog? You know that
famous picture, I see. Well, when the messenger boy got away
somewhere about Dol's establishment, and Sarah went next, then went
Shirley and, Little Me, followed by that giant Sour Sandy! Well,
girls, I have to admit that for a few minutes I couldn't see a thing
but Dol Vin's eyes. She had me hypnotized," and Judith paused to
make sure of the dramatic impression.
"I can see her glare!" declared Jane. "Dol's eyes were made for
nobler tasks than matching hair shades."
"And mixing flesh tints," contributed Dozia, who just then managed
to purloin a sample of the fudge.
"Are you girls sure that keyhole is sealed and the door still
impregnable?" demanded Judith the narrator, with a sweeping glance
about the room.
Winifred Ayres dropped to the door sill and spread herself across it
while Dozia moved her chair to the jam in order to plank her
shoulders over the keyhole.
"Air tight," announced Jane, "and every girl here is pledged, Judy.
You may proceed with absolute safety."
"The responsibility is yours, Jane, for we had an awful time for a
brief interval under the doughty Dol's roof. Things flew--"
"Hair brushes and sponges?" prompted Janet, eager for sensation.
"Can't say as to the missiles," replied Judith, showing signs of
relaxing into indifference, "but the way that black head yelled, and
Sarah sobbed, and Shirley--I guess she shouted. I know her noise was
next loudest to Sour Sandy's and that was some racket!"
"But what was it all about?" demanded Janet.
"About the precious box--jewelry or something valuable. When I saw
the big boy take it from Tiny Tim and heard Tim yell, I knew there
was mischief brewing if nothing worse, but I never expected to see
Shirley Duncan jump into it. She aided and abetted the thief, for
she caught that box on a fly and would have escaped if little Judy
Stearns had not been right there Judy-on-the-spot."
"But why did old Sour Sandy lay hands on you?" asked Jane, somewhat
bewildered by the maze into which Judith was leading her audience.
"Oh, there was such a perfectly wild time of it," replied Judith,
"and of course Dol and Shirley had it all their own way--two to one,
"But didn't--little Sarah try to help you?" pressed Jane.
"Little Sarah was having a fit out in the kitchen, and the black
maid wanted to pour water over her, said she was in hysterics, only
the word she used was somewhat impaired."
"What a perfectly rip-roaring time you must have had," commented
Dozia, eyeing the fudge. "And I suppose you were taken in by Sour
Sandy because you seemed easiest to convey to the Town Hall. Just
like the old detective stories, arrest someone, anyone, and depend
upon the evidence to do the rest."
"Yes, I was handiest, nearest the door and dry eyed. Besides, I kept
kicking around on a jog trot all over the place because I could not
make any other sort of noise. Honestly, girls, it was too funny for
words!" and Judith doubled up in the pillows like a human jack-
"I am suspicious, Judy Steams, that you tempted old Sour Sandy to do
his worst; sort of defied him," suggested Jane, dragging a Columbia
cushion from Judith's convulsed arms. "Did you really want to be
"I did not!" shouted Judith, springing up straight and almost
upsetting the entire scene. "It was Dol Vin who insisted that we
Wellingtons were spoiling her business, interfering with her
customers and--she said this--'now this creature actually tries to
steal my parcels from a messenger boy!' Can you fancy that
accusation on this poor head?"
"But you didn't have the box?" asked Janet.
"Certainly not. Dol knew that, but old Sandy didn't. I could easily
have escaped when he ordered me to 'come along, girl,' but I knew to
resist arrest might bring real trouble upon us, whereas now the
whole thing is a farce, and whisper!" (she put her finger to her
lips) "it must never be told of within this campus. News from the
village rarely gets in here unless we bring it, and it would be a
shame to worry prexy with that sort of thing. She would never
Applause, silent but visible, followed this. Heads were wagged, arms
waved and even feet waggled in approval, but no unseemly sounds
escaped the secret chamber.
"Never a word!" prompted Jane in a whisper with both hands uplifted.
"Never a word!" repeated the conclave in appropriate response.
"And that will be about all," finished Judith. "I am too tired to
move but I can't allow you to carry me. No, don't, please" (no one
had offered). "I'll just toddle along--it's lots better than keeping
step with Sandy."
"But the treat," wailed Janet. "I have fudge and cheese sticks."
"Please deliver mine," drawled Judith. "I am unable to collect in
person--I simply am--tired."
"And you should be," agreed Jane, glad that Judith had been wise
enough to break up the party early. In fact Jane was not sure
whether genuine fatigue or possible ghost hunts, had inspired the
heroic Judy to leave that buzzing bevy of students. At any rate
Janet counted out four squares of fudge and measured three ink wells
of cheese tid-bits (the well was glass and only used for
refreshments), all of which was folded in a paper napkin and handed
"Sorry you must leave," murmured Janet, "but Judith has had a trying
day. Come again and I'll treat you better."
"We had a perfectly lovely time," insisted Jane, "but I must put
Judy to bed. She is apt to walk in her sleep when overtired. Come,
dearie, toddle along. Good night, girls. Pleasant dreams," and those
who were not too interested in the fudge and tid-bits responded
"Oh," moaned Jane, when the two finally reached their own quarters,
room 19, "wasn't that an ordeal?"
"Rather," replied Judith, kicking her shoes off. "How did I make
"Wonderfully. You tied them all up in knots without leaving an end
to follow. Neither clues nor climax--just a jumble of sounds, but
thrilling for all that. I was so fearful they would ask more about
the unfortunate Shirley but you veered them off beautifully. Now,
Pally dear, tumble in, and I'll slip out and get Dozia. Lenox seems
far away just now, and those babes are trembling while we dare to
"Jane dear," interrupted Judith, "I do not believe you should risk
going over there tonight. Really I am getting nervous of the whole
"Just reaction," said Jane, her own eyes sparkling. "You have gone
through enough today to give you nerves, and I want you to shut your
eyes as soon as ever you can. After all I may just--do something
else. Leave it to me and Dozia the Fearless. You know what a brave
she can be in an emergency."
"And I know what a star you can be in a pinch. But Lenox at
"Hush, dear, and let me put out your light. There, you will be
asleep before the party winds up. There's the honor ring. Ten
minutes more to all lights out. I love an honor system with a
warning gong and an inspection. So complete."
Judith required little coaxing to enter dreamland, and when Jane
heard Miss Fairlie's step in the hall, on that tripping little
inspection tour, the light in room 19 was out.
Also, Jane under the coverlets was fully dressed for her ghost raid
at Lenox Hall.
Miss Fairlie's step paused at the door! Jane tittered, but Judith
breathed the regular tones of sleep.
For a moment it seemed the inspector would knock! She must want
Someone else came along the corridor and directly at that door they
chose to whisper!
Jane felt her hour had come, but it was merely the fear of a
troubled mind, for presently Miss Fairlie laughed lightly, and the
pair journeyed on.
It was a full hour before the coast was safely clear for Jane's
A WILD NIGHT OF IT
It was a beautiful night, with the Hunter's Moon set high and bright
in its ocean of flickering stars, like nothing else than moon and
stars in the same old blue canopy, brocaded and embossed with
incorrigible little gray clouds, ducking in and out of lacy paths
and shadowy skyscapes.
Beneath, on Wellington campus, the dormitories stood up like tiny
cottages here and there, the more important building, Madison Hall,
towering pompously over the smaller flock. It was in Madison that
Jane and Judith as juniors were housed, while over in a west corner
grouped about the big walled entrance was, among the lesser
landmarks, Lenox, one of the first erected of the Wellington
buildings; quaint, roomy and just now decidedly "spooky."
The scene was fascinating in its silence, for only the dimmest of
path lights seemed alive over the big place, and not a breath of
wind stirred the tenacious oak leaves or other rugged foliage, too
sparse to be counted, now that winter had given warning and was on
his ruthless way.
The two figures creeping along like some elfin prowlers were Jane
and Dozia, and they made straight through that bold moonlight for
"Doesn't it seem silly?" Jane took time to remark. "The very idea of
expecting trouble on such a night."
"It's all your doing, Lady Jane," Dozia retaliated, "and if I don't
see a ghost after all this I'll never forgive you."
"There was no guarantee, Dozia. But I did promise to appease the
fears of those youngsters. What time is it?"
"When I left my nice cozy room for this, it was twenty minutes to
twelve. I believe you were on time at the fire escape, so I would
say it is now about ten minutes of. Hold my hand, Jane. This may be
thrilling but it's awfully weird."
"Don't you like it? Look at that moon, and all the sparklers!"
"But think of those hedges, ugh! I'm wobbly at the knees already,
and we're not half way across. Never knew a campus could be so--
oceanic. I shall be striking out with my arms presently, feet seem
unable to carry all the responsibility," and the tall girl cuddled
into Jane's cape as far as the garment would accommodate her.
"You are not really nervous, Dozia the Fearless," Jane rebuked.
"Why, I'm just tingling with the spirit of adventure."
"You may, and the spirit of adventure is a lot more attractive than
the spirits we're out gunning for. Do you expect to get off scot-
free if you smash anything with that golf stick? What do you think
Miss Rutledge will say?"
"I shan't bang unless there is nothing else to do, and then I'm sure
I can explain. A Montana girl from a real ranch ought to have some
credit for field work." Jane was twirling her capable brassie with
rather a dangerous swing and the odd weapon now seemed formidable
"What's that?" exclaimed Dozia, as a shadow almost tripped them.
"It's an animal I know but--"
"A frightened little rabbit," replied Jane. "They have a lovely time
when the thoughtless girls are safe behind doors. But, Dozia,
honestly I think I do see something else--bigger than--a rabbit!"
Both girls stopped suddenly and drew back in the shadow of a tall
lilac bush. They were well across the campus and now, at the end of
the path, near the gate and not far from Lenox Hall, something moved
in and out of the moonlit way. It seemed to cross from the big stone
wall and glide into the grove of magnolia.
Jane dropped Dozia's arm and stepped out to peer after the shadow.
They were scarcely near enough to hear footfalls even had the
padding of leaves and heavy grass not actually deadened that
"Lively ghost!" she whispered. "Let's head it off through the
"But, Jane, it may be some dangerous prowler--"
"How could he get in here? Besides we are protected." She had the
golf club firm in her right hand and seemed to depend on it to lay
ghosts or prowlers. "Come on, Dozia. Of course that is not a bona
fide ghost but it may be the noise maker."
Dozia followed Jane, although she did hang on to an end of the blue
cape and pulled back whenever the darkness seemed too uncertain of
penetration. The little thickets of ornamental evergreens suddenly
loomed up into proportions of veritable forests, and every baby
Christmas tree was swelled out like a circular blue fir, thick and
But Jane headed straight as the foliage allowed, across the campus
to the magnolia grove, where the eucalyptus trees shot up bare and
leafless, ghostly, spectral in the searching moonlight.
A crisp snapping of some dry brambles sent out an alarm from the
hedges close to Lenox Hall and the girls listened anxiously.
"Human," whispered Jane, "and rather dainty. Hardly a masculine foot
to that light touch. Don't be alarmed, Dozia. We are two to one and
evidently that other one is a female." She said this with assumed
confidence, for she feared Dozia might turn and run at any moment.
They were almost in the little grove and it was between there and
the boxwood that touched the side porch of Lenox that this hidden
thing must be. Jane was by no means as brave as her carefree manner
indicated, and every time she held a bush from brushing Dozia's face
she took occasion to listen intently for vagrant noises.
Stumbling over low underbrush in their rubber soled tennis shoes was
not like walking out in the open, and just as Dozia breathed a sigh
of relief that the landscape gardening went no further, a wild
scream, shrill and piercing, cut the night like an arrow!
Speechless, the girls stood terrified, while the wail seemed to
linger suspended somewhere!
"Oh, what was it?" gasped Dozia, but Jane clung to her arm in
The next instant a clanging of chains and rattling of metals broke
out from Lenox Hall.
"Quick," exclaimed Jane, almost dragging her companion forward, "we
must locate it, we must reach the dormitory!" But before they could
even gain the pathway, the big fire bell pealed out its alarm and;
suddenly every window in Lenox Hall blazed with light at a single
flash--the answer of that electric button pressed by the matron, who
now swung open the big oaken door and stood summoning her frightened
charges to "come out" in the order of fire drill.
"Don't hurry, be calm!" she called out in the voice of authority,
and by now the freshmen who lined the halls and stairways, had
recovered their composure and even courage in the face of rescue.
Jane and Dozia rushed up to Miss Gifford, the matron, and asked
about the outside alarm. At her word Jane jumped to the fire box,
smashed the glass with her golf club and then turned the key.
By this time the students were outside the building, and in their
night robes the seventy-five freshmen shivered from fear and
exposure, while Miss Gifford, Jane and Dozia tried to reassure them.
"Where's the fire?" asked Jane, as the local brigade of volunteer
citizens dashed in the grounds through the main gateway.
"Where is it?" demanded Miss Gifford of the students. There was no
smoke, no blaze, not even an odor of things burning could be
"It must have been in the big attic," someone said, "for it was the
old brass bell that rang first."
"Who gave the alarm?" demanded the matron.
No one answered this, and the momentary pause was broken now by the
wild rush of the fire department along the roadway.
First the hose cart, the "hook and ladder" jerked up to the porch
where the girls waited, breathless but calmer now that men and means
had come to their rescue.
"One side! One side!" shouted the chief, and to the credit of that
department it must be said his men stretched their line of hose
along from the hydrant and up those steps, even through the crowd of
trembling students, in regular fire drill time. Jane stepped inside
the hall and was sniffing audibly.
"Wait a minute!" she commanded. "We haven't located the fire yet and
it may not be very much. The house is equipped with extinguishers,"
she informed the alert chief. "They may answer without water."
The rubber coated men held their hose high and were ready to shout
in signal to the man at the hydrant, while Jane took the chief
upstairs. He never spoke but tramped ahead as if a word would
imperil the dignity of the Wide Awake Hose Company. Neither did Jane
venture further remarks for she was "gunning" for the fire and
thinking of ghosts!
Doors to right and left were promptly pushed open but no evidence of
fire could be found.
"Try the attic," said the chief finally, "rubbish might catch from a
At his order Jane turned into the narrow box stairway, lighted only
by a flash in the hands of Chief Murry.
The actual panic of that yell and its subsequent fire alarm was now
subsiding in Jane's mind, and instead of Fire the whole situation
assumed an aspect of Ghosts. In spite of her courage she was very
glad the chief was at her heels, and when she finally reached the
last narrow step and stood under the rafters, Jane Allen sent a
sweeping eye over that dark attic.
"Not here!" declared the fireman before she could see more than the
inky blackness of the old garret, with only that one spot of
moonlight pasted on the slanting roof by an invisible window.
As he turned Jane felt obliged to follow, although she would have
been glad to go further in and see what it was that moved over by
the patch of moonlight. Something did move--she was sure of that,
but a fireman and a chief could not be asked to investigate anything
but smoke or flame, and neither element was discernible, so she
followed down the box stairway to confront the waiting brigade.
"Who pulled that box?" demanded Chief Murry, angrily.
"I did," replied Jane. "But the alarm came from within and the
students were out before I did so."
"Well, there's no fire here!" he announced witheringly. "And you
young 'uns better get indoors. Been in all the sheds and corners,
Ben?" to his assistant.
"Every inch, and there being no kitchen here, 'tain't likely a fire
would be tucked away in a closet, though we looked thoroughly. Queer
how the thing happened."
Miss Gifford was now trying to march her charges back, but a good
sized contingent refused flatly to comply with her orders. They
answered her quietly but firmly.
"They would never sleep another night in Lenox Hall. If it wasn't
haunted it was surely queer."
With the courage of juniors Jane and Dozia attempted to laugh the
whole thing off, but the freshmen were determined.
"How did YOU get over here?" suddenly demanded little Nellie
Saunders of Dozia. '"I thought it was a rule to stay in your own
dorm when a first alarm fire gong sounded in another building?"
"'We were visiting," replied Jane so quickly Nellie thought the
reply meant something, and was too absorbed in the crisis of the
situation to further press her question.
"But you children will be ill!" wailed Miss Gifford helplessly. "You
simply must come indoors."
"Come into the recreation room," insisted Jane. "We won't ask you to
go back upstairs yet."
"We just wouldn't go," declared Daisy Blaire. "If I can't sleep in
another cottage I shall telegraph mamma to come and take me home
this very night or day, whichever it is."
This resolve met with hearty approval, for it was seconded from many
quarters until open revolt or general mutiny seemed imminent.
The firemen were driving out with the jog trot of a false alarm, and
ghosts or no ghosts, Jane, Dozia and Miss Gifford, each and all
realized that those frightened children must be persuaded to go
indoors. Their bare feet alone made the matter imperative, if bath
robes did somewhat lessen the danger from a cold night's exposure.
The sudden tingling of the telephone shot another bolt of terror
"There, that's the hall," said Miss Gifford. "At least make it
possible for me to report you are all safe in Lenox."
Jane and Dozia wound arms around a few leaders and this with the
matron's appeal firmly broke their deadlock and a thin stream of
frowzy heads and pretty boudoir robes dripped into the old walnut
Miss Gifford used the telephone at the foot of the circular
staircase. She was giving a very tactfully worded account of the
incident to the president, and it was very evident the whole
occurrence would be conspiciously free of sensation if the matron's
verbal report were embodied in official records.
A long drawn out and happily intoned reply floated from Miss
Gifford's lips as she half turned from the telephone and surveyed
Jane and Dozia.
"Oh, yes indeed, they are both here, perfectly safe," she announced,
"and I don't know what I should have done without their assistance."
So the raiders had been "found missing" at Madison Hall!
There was another panic over in Madison," explained Miss Gifford,
after leaving the telephone; "when Miss Allen and Miss Dalton were
found missing it is a wonder someone over there didn't send out a
second fire alarm. Miss Fairlie was much relieved to know her
charges were safe and sound here, and I obtained a leave of absence
for you for the remainder of the night," she finished. The very much
perturbed matron had no idea of being left alone with a flock of
"Lovely!" exclaimed Jane, dancing around with a group of barefoot
girls who threatened to turn the occasion into a Greek playlet.
"Scrumbunctious!" sang out the ballet de chambre, dancing in wild
glee now that danger of ghosts and firemen had actually passed.
"But girls," spoke Dozia, "did you notice the little fat fireman who
held that big hose nozzle? I do verily believe he was so
disappointed he wanted to hit someone. Just see where his old hose
scraped my best silken hose. I don't mean that for a parody, but
honestly, girls, these were the last and final gift from mater. She
has condemned me to wear ordinary lisle hereafter, and just look at
"Only dry dust, it will brush off," soothed Jane. "But I say, girls,
how about beds!"
"Beds!" shrieked a chorus.
"Not a bed!" spoke Nellie Saunders for her entire class. "We
wouldn't mind cuddling up here on blankets and cushions, but I for
one shall not mount those spooky stairs, this night."
"Silly child," scolded Dozia, her own eyes heavy with the ordinary
common garden variety of sleep. "Would you expect company to do all
the lugging? Who's to set up the billet?" "Volunteers?" called Jane,
and from somewhere not before observed stepped out little Sarah
"I shall be glad to help," she said timidly, and instantly a volley
of eyes challenged her.
"Oh, Sally!" exclaimed Dolly Lloyd. "Don't you dare! The spooks
would just eat you up. You look exactly like a cream puff."
Laughter of the most chummy sort followed this, and it was evident
Sally, in her cream and white striped robe with her yellow hair
flowing over her shoulders, was a popular girl with her companions.
Jane noticed, however, that her face, usually prettily flushed with
pink, was now deadly white, and also that the child's eyes shifted
in a peculiarly nervous manner.
"It's lovely of you, Sally, and we'll just set a good example while
Miss Gifford is searching for that miscreant fire. Come along and
get the swaddling clothes for these babes. Aren't they an unruly
lot?" and she tossed off her blue cape preparatory for the lugging
of couch quilts, pillows and whatever else might seem useful.
Sally tripped up the stairs and Jane was after her.
"Do they really mean to sleep in the recreation room?" asked the
freshman, waiting at a landing for Jane.
"Land knows," replied Jane, "but I thought we had best humor them at
least past the pneumonia point. I am thankful they did not all break
away over the campus to some other building. We will probably shame
them into going back to bed when they see how much trouble they are
giving. Where might we find the bed clothes storeroom?"
"Just here to your left. But wait until I switch that light." She
reached a button and gave the side light its current. Then she
stepped back to Jane.
"Miss Allen," she began in more subdued voice, "I just wanted to
tell you it was I who rang--the fire bell!"
"Oh, did you?" said Jane lightly, following the hushed tone of
voice, "but where did you think the fire was?"
"I knew there was no fire," she confessed, "but I had to do it to
cover those other noises."
Jane was mystified, but she realized by Sarah's manner that a
complete explanation was not possible just then. Here and there a
step or a voice threatened the snatched confidence.
"Did you hear that scream?" whispered Jane.
"Yes, and I--had my room changed to over at the foot of the attic
stairs just yesterday, but--but--oh, Miss Allen, it is too
dreadful!" she gasped, dropping into a window seat and bursting into
"Don't, dear! Don't, Sally!" begged Jane. "You are all unnerved.
Tomorrow you can tell me your fears, if you wish," Jane qualified.
"But now let us get back to the girls. They will think something
dreadful HAS happened to us."
"But I can't tell you, Miss Allen. If I did I should have to leave
dear old Wellington and this--opportunity means so much to me," and
again she sobbed convulsively, while Jane put an affectionate arm
around the little stranger.
Clapping of hands and calling out foolish warnings from below
checked Jane's flow of sympathy, and presently she stumbled back to
the recreation room propelling a mountain of blankets and
"There. Just see what you have done," she charged the students who
were instantly struggling for the blankets to the extent of
practically disrobing the accommodating Jane. "Leave me my blouse,
please do. It's the only real Jersey I possess. But aren't you
ashamed to treat juniors this way?"
"Dreadfully!" drawled a girl already rolled like a cocoon in a
pretty blue "wooley" and coiling up on a rug in the farthest corner.
"Jane Alien, you're a perfect lamb, and I hope you'll stay with us
"I am sure I have a congestive chill," chattered a fraud of a girl
who almost upset Jane in the blanket rush. "Give me the pink one.
It's my color," and another tug freed "the pink one" from its
company of neatly folded coverlets.
"It is a shame," confessed someone else. "Come on upstairs, girls.
Let's defy the ghosts. I have always heard they shun a crowd.
Where's the crowd? Let's make them shun us."
"Second the motion and hurrah!" added Nellie Saunders. "Also we
should put a price on that ghost's head--offer a reward for the
capture. I'm willing to chip in, although as usual I'm a little
short this week."
Dozia had been going over the house with Miss Gifford and just then
both returned to the recreation room.
"Does anyone know where Miss Duncan is--Miss Shirley Duncan?" asked
the matron, keeping her pencil at that name on her report pad.
Jane started involuntarily at the question. She had been secretly
wondering where the rebellious Shirley was during all the
"Oh, yes," spoke up Margie Winters. "She is outside visiting with
her folks. She told me this afternoon she had obtained permission."
"Not from me," declared Miss Gifford. Then as if fearing
complications she added more tactfully, "But of course I might not
have been within reach and someone else may have given permission.
Will you just step in here, dear?" to Margie. "I want to note what
you say of Miss Duncan's absence," and while the reclaimed mutineers
were being actually driven up the stairs by Jane, Dozia and the
braver element, Miss Gifford was obtaining what clue she might as to
Shirley Duncan's whereabouts.
Herded successfully to second floor the visiting juniors set about
distributing their charges into beds--any beds in any rooms but
"under covers" was the order.
"I can just about picture the parade trooping into the infirmary
tomorrow," said Dozia. "Here, Betty, this solo cot for yours. It is
just your cute little size. And those tosies," with a playful thrust
at a pair of shivering feet, "I think nervous freshies should wear
slippers about their necks at night--like we used to have our
mittens on a tape, you know. There," finished the querulous Dozia.
"You would have to roll down stairs if another alarm sounded. You're
a perfectly sealed packet." Just the tip of Betty's head stuck out
of the package.
Somehow all were finally settled and it was Sally--Sarah Howland,
who came to the rescue of the visitors.
"But you must rest," she insisted, only a tell-tale pink rim around
her blue eyes betraying the hysterical collapse she had so lately
"We are not the least bit afraid," declared Dozia. "In fact, we are
rather anxious to meet said spook. Which room might be one in
proximity? Where does the big noise seem to come from?"
"No more shows tonight, Dozia," spoke Jane before Sally could
answer. "How much do you want for your money? Isn't a fire and a
volunteer fireman's comedy enough?"
"But I am dreadfully keen on spooks," she was pinching Jane's arm
cruelly, "and I thought it was--something weird that set off the
Sally winced. "Here is a nice big bed," she told them nervously,
pushing back a door and disclosing a tranquil untrammelled room, all
neat and orderly as if nothing unusual had happened in old Lenox.
"We call it the guest room but rarely have company to occupy it. I
am sure Miss Gifford will want you two juniors to make yourselves at
home in it," finished Sally with a quaver. She could not entirely
hide the fact of her anxiety to get Jane and Dozia behind a closed
door. Jane might have understood but Dozia was perplexed.
"It's a lovely room," faltered Dozia, "but I feel more like camping
out. What time is it, anyhow?"
"About two-thirty A. M.," said Jane, "and since the youngsters are
safely tucked in, I believe we should take Sally's advice. This is
quite sumptious," folding down the extra white shams and coverlet.
"Rather a pity to spoil it for such a sliver of sleep."
Miss Gifford was at the door when Sally glided off. "I am so glad
you girls are getting to bed," she commended. "What a night we have
had? And what a mercy you happened to be within call? I'm sure I
don't know how you got here but I am not worrying about the details.
Sufficient unto the day is the evil, etc., and"--with a readjustment
of her glasses and a closer fold into the soft night shawl--"this
condition is dreadful. I have tried to fathom the mystery without
troubling the office, but I know now I should have reported it
before." (She referred to the nocturnal disturbances, of course.)
"Don't fear any further alarm, midnight is always the chosen hour."
"Yes," blurted Dozia, "we know about it, Miss Gifford, and my friend
Jane inveigled me into this midnight raid. That is really how we got
over here, but I can't say we have to report progress--'stampede'
would be more accurate."
"But this is only one night," Jane insisted, "and our fire brigade
spoiled every possibility of investigation. But, Miss Gifford, since
we have undertaken the task, I should like to propose that you give
us an opportunity to try our skill at it. Suppose" (Jane had in mind
the tearful face of little Sally) "you give us one more night before
you turn the alarm in to Miss Rutledge? I am sure we can control
your girls and get them to agree to our plan. In spite of
everything, you know, they just adore the fun and sensation of it
"Well," faltered Miss Gifford, weakening, "of course I could not
risk a repetition of this night's experience; at the same time I do
like to keep my records free from appeals to headquarters. It is so
much more efficient to manage each cottage independently, subject to
a general system. Well, go to bed children and thank you for your
moral and physical support. We shall discuss future plans on the
morrow," she said sweetly. Truth to tell Miss Agnes Gifford was a
very sweet girl--woman, and at the moment both Jane and Dozia fell
loyally under the spell of her charms.
"Say, Dinks!" whispered Dozia from her side of the big double bed,
"what do you think Judy will say to all this?"
"Judy had her own fun and shouldn't complain. Wasn't she all nicely
arrested and tried at a regular police court? What's a spook and a
fire to that!"
But Jane knew better. That night at Lenox was a "thriller" indeed,
and Judith Stearns might well envy her chums its experiences.
Then while Dozia slept Jane wondered.
What did little Sally Howland mean about taking a room at the attic
stairs? And how was that charming little thing implicated with the
ghost of Lenox Hall?
The plot was thickening. Sally did not in any way answer to the
deceitful type, but some mysterious force seemed to overshadow her.
"Pretty little thing, with such appealing eyes and so honest--"
PLEADING FOR TIME
It's a very large order, Jane, but you're the merchant. How on earth
do you expect to obtain permission to stay at Lenox without giving
the whole thing away?"
"I haven't an idea, but depend on old friend Circumstances to bob
something up. It is wonderful how very simple it is to flim-flam a
philosopher. They never seem to suspect intrigue and walk right into
the trap. I've tried it before with Rutledge! she's a lamb if you
watch your ba-as."
It was "the morning after" and that trite phrase surely fitted the
occasion. Jane had dragged Dozia from her dreams in spite of threats
and defiance, and now both juniors were on their way back to the
dining hall at Madison.
"Rather different from the last tramp we took over this prairie,"
said Jane, "but as a thriller you can't beat midnight moonlight."
"Not that I'd care to," Dozia answered witheringly. "I can't see
that the adventure 'got us anywhere' as brother Tom would say. I
haven't any brother, you know, Jane dear, but it always sounds
better to blame one's slang on him, don't you think?"
"I'm positive," said Jane, "but I have a trick of blaming mine on
Judy. Wonder will she sleep all day because I, the faithful alarm
clock, did not go off at her ear. There's the bell! I'm not very
hungry. As an appetiser I think a night such as the last rather a
"Isn't it? I have that widely advertised gone feeling myself. Here's
a chance to duck in without being noticed."
"We were out for early exercise," prompted Jane significantly, "and
don't be too intelligent about that fire when they ask."
"'Deef' and dumb," quibbled Dozia. "Thank you for the party, Jane. I
had a lov-el-ly time."
"Don't mention it," whispered Jane, as the line of students
swallowed the two adventurers.
But the day was "fraught with questions," as Judith Stearns put it,
deploring her own inability to obtain any "intelligent account of
the whole performance." It became known early that the two juniors
who had been searched for during the night, were not others than
Jane and Dozia, but even a veritable grilling at the hands of a
picked corps of sophs brought nothing more definite from the
wayfarers than "they were over visiting Lenox and the 'fire' was a
"And of course we couldn't put our heads out, for fear of panic,"
grumbled Nettie Brocton.
The day passed somehow, and it was conspicuous by an entire absence
of freshmen from the usual intermingling between periods. Even to
Jane the reason for this was not clear until, in a burst of
confidence with Judith, she outlined her plan of staying over at
Lenox "until the ghost business was disposed of."
"Oh, I know," she explained while Judith pondered. "Miss Gifford is
keeping them home to prevent them gabbing. That's darling of her.
She wants to give me--the newly discovered spook sleuth--a decent
chance. Are you coming over with me tonight, Judy?"
"Cables couldn't hold me back. Dinksy, you bribed me into staying
home last night but I'll never again 'list' to your blarney. But it
wasn't goblins I believe; however, we'll decide that when we trap
'em. Your benign influence has worked well thus far. I promised to
help a freshie with some Latin prose and she never came to collect.
Now I suppose I have to spoil my pretty hands with basket ball.
Don't you wonder how it was we used to love that unladylike game?"
Judith assumed a most sedate attitude, but did not succeed in hiding
a forlorn rent in her skirt even with a very broad palm plastered
"'Ye strangers on my native sill tread lightly for I love it
still,'" quoted Jane. "Seems to me you take about as much pleasure
in the big game as you ever did, Judy. But let's away! We need it.
I'm all stiffened up with--"
"Your night of terror," finished Judith. "I don't wonder. Anyone
might be sore and achey from running that Bingham Fire Brigade. I
would love to have seen Dozia at the spigot," and Judith went
through some fire antics. "Come along, Jane; we'll give the recruits
a try-out," she decided the next moment, "but don't ask me to put
them through the paces again tomorrow, for that's to be an afternoon
off, if I can arrange it."
"Oh," said Jane tritely.
"Yes, oh," repeated Judith most impressively and with a grimace that
supplied more than mere punctuation.
Jane laughed and pushed the big girl ahead of her with sudden
"Choo-choo! the fire is out and we're going home," she laughed.
"This is just about the speed of the little red hose cart."
"Wait a minute!" called Judith, halting so suddenly she almost threw
Jane. "I would rather be the driver if you don't mind."
"Young ladies!" protested one of the faculty, Miss Roberts, she who
taught English and looked the part. "Is not that rather boisterous
for indoor play?"
The culprits choked an appropriate reply and resumed the usual
"One thing I hate knowledge for," remarked Jane, "it makes one so
"Yes, doesn't it? We may break our precious necks in the gym and be
buried with military honors but we 'dassent' skin a shin anywhere
else. System, of course," witheringly from Dozia.
"Quick!" exclaimed Jane. "There are Nettie and Janet heading this
way. They'll want me to tell the whole of last night's experience
over again. Let's get at practice and preclude the recitation. I
feel like singing the story to the tune of the 'Night Before
Christmas,' it's getting so monotonous." "You have no appreciation
for thrills, Jane Alien," eluded Judith. "That yarn will stand
telling for months to come. I've noticed your variations, however,
and can see the effort wearies you. But say, Dinksy, tonight is the
night and Lenox is the place. After that, if you like, I'll take up
the thread of your famous ghost story, and you may refer all
inquiries to me." The last word of this peroration was all but lost
on stone walls, for the oncoming horde seized Jane and, exactly as
she feared, demanded further details of the big night.
"And did you really see a ghost?" begged Winifred Ayres with a
perfectly flagrant relish of the sordid details.
"Packs of 'em," evaded Jane.
"Safety in numbers," remarked Nettie Brocton. "That's my mother's
argument for large gatherings. All right, Jane, we'll let you off,
but we have our opinion of such utter selfishness. There's the scrub
team all lined up outside the gym. I suppose they also are waiting
to hear the story."
"Save me from my audience!" wailed Jane, falling into convenient
arms. "Why not install a ghost in Madison if you are all so keen on
it? I can't see how you expect one paltry spook to cover the entire
"Oh, Jane! Miss Allen, Jane!" called the girls from that basketball
line. "We've decided to beg off from practice this afternoon, if you
don't mind. We all want to go to the village to see the sights." It
was Inez Wilson who acted as spokesman and Inez was quite capable of
organizing "a lot of fun" in seeing the village sights.
"What's new?" demanded Judith.
"Oh, something," insinuated Mabel Peters.
"Are we debarred? Too old and cranky or something like that?" teased
Jane. Her hair was bursting from her cap like an over-ripe thistle,
and her cheeks were velvety in a rich glow of early winter tints.
She hardly looked too old even for skipping rope just then.
"Of course everyone may come who wants to," Inez condescended, "but
juniors usually don't enjoy henning (shopping)."
"I adore it," insisted Jane. "Do let us tag on and we'll buy the
peanuts. But this really was to be an important afternoon at the
baskets. However do you children expect to maintain the honor of
Wellington if you do not keep fit? Now when I was center--"
"Hear! Hear! Hear!" interrupted Mabel. "Remember that famous song,
'I know a girl and her name was Jane'!"
"A rebold ribald rowdy!" shouted a chorus.
But Jane was escaping--running down the walk with hands clapped over
her ears to shut out the memories of her earlier years when that
refrain was quite too popular to be enjoyable.
Outside the big gate an auto horn honked, and the students drew back
to give the big car approaching full sweep of the country roadway.
Then another horn sounded, and from the opposite direction a smart
little run-about was seen cutting in at high speed. Both drivers saw
their danger and both jammed brakes. The big car rolled to the
gutter while the runabout picked up speed and shot by safely. This
brought the touring car to the curb where the Wellingtons stood
watching, and a glance at the seats showed these occupants:
Dol Vin driving, Shirley Duncan at her side, and a rather elderly
country couple spread over the big back seat.
"Shirley's folks!" whispered Inez. "We heard they were in town
seeing the sights, and hoped we would run across them." This was
evidently the "something" hinted at in the soph's outline of the
Dolorez Vincez was too clever to show embarrassment, and Shirley
Duncan was too cruel to hide it. She plainly was urging the driver
"That's your college, darter, ain't it?" the girls could hear the
elderly woman ask Shirley, but they did not hear the latter's
answer. Dolorez called, "Hello, girls," as she swung her car out
again in the dusty roadway, and the "darter" deprived that little
woman of her coveted information.
"She said hello!" announced Judith.
"Sweet of her," remarked Jane, but she was thinking of Shirley's
absence from Lenox on the night of the fire, and wondering if the
indifferent freshman had been absent during all the day as well?
"Hurry, hurry!" begged Mabel Peters. "What a lark to meet them at
the drug store. They'll be sure to want hot chocolate."
"I would guess at tea," drawled Judith, "but it's sure to be some
sort of drink. Come along and we may get a chance to return that
"I'm not going," suddenly determined Jane. "All go along if you like
but I'm not going to lap up any more of that sickening chocolate.
I've taken the pledge until next allowance day," and she turned back
to Wellington entrance.
Judith, quick to interpret Jane's moods, knew the excuse covered a
more serious consideration and stepped back to ask "why?"
"That daughter is ashamed of those country parents," Jane made
chance to answer Judith, "and it would be horrid to spoil their
opinion of us. Delay the girls a while and Dol will have gone
through town safely."
"But isn't it dreadful she has such influence over that rebel
freshman?" commented Judith, slowly following the flock of students
headed for the village. "How are we going to stop it?"
"I don't know," confessed Jane, "but we must stop it some way. Just
because she has a claim on my--patronage is no reason why she should
disgrace Wellington. You go along with the youngsters, Judy, and
I'll go right up to the office now and unburden my conscience."
Jane's red haired disposition was asserting itself. "Think of the
hair bleaching, then the police farce, and now out riding with that
traitor. I'm going to tell Miss Rutledge the whole thing!" and no
argument of Judith's could dissuade her.
She turned back into the college grounds and struck a gait
calculated to bring her up to that office in short order, and was
more than half way through the campus when a small voice called out
She turned to a side path, following the call, and faced Sally
"Just a minute, Miss Allen, please," pleaded the strange little
freshman. Jane waited till she reached her, then smiled into the
serious face of Sally.
"Hello, girlie," Jane greeted her. "What's the excitement?"
"You were so splendid last night, Miss Allen," panted Sarah Howland,
"and I am so ashamed to have to deceive you as you must see I am
doing." A flush suffused her pale face and she dropped her eyes in
pained self-consciousness. "But just--now--for this little while--I
can't see what else I am going to do!" she stopped and her hands
twitched miserably at her knitted scarf. Evidently the attempt at
confession was more difficult than she had anticipated.
"Don't distress yourself, dear," Jane soothed. "I realize you know
something of the queer happenings at Lenox, and I can see you have
some strong motive for withholding the explanation. There is a
reason, of course, and I have faith in your sincerity. After all,
Wellington is quite a little city in itself, and we are bound to
meet queer problems here. I am on my way to the office now to get
one off my mind."
"Oh, please, Miss Allen, don't report--Shirley Duncan," she stumbled
and stuttered over the name. "I know she is doing queer things but
she is such a--a country girl, and has never had any chances--"
"Did you know her before she came to Wellington?" asked Jane
"No, yes, that is I knew her just before we came," replied the girl,
very much confused and plainly embarrassed.
"I have noticed you seem to be friends," Jane pressed.
"Yes, sort of. But I do not agree with her in her attitude toward
college life," replied Sarah hurriedly--markedly so. She was trying
to shift the subject, Jane saw that plainly.
"It's good of you to plead for her," commented Jane, "but you see,
my dear, juniors are quite grown up and are expected to uphold the
college traditions. We really can't consider an individual where a
college principle is concerned." Jane had her eye on Madison and was
shifting to move that way. The freshman laid a detaining hand on her
"If you could just--be persuaded to wait until after mid-year," she
said, "perhaps then--things might look differently."
"But Sally, you know I saw you run out of that prohibited beauty
shop, and you must know we Wellingtons in good standing do not
patronize that place!"
This accusation startled Sarah. She dropped Jane's arm and all but
gasped: "When did you see me there?"
"The day of that absurd police business when my friend Miss Stearns
was so humiliated," Jane said severely.
"Oh, Miss Allen," and tears welled into Sarah's eyes. "I can't
explain, and I am so miserable. Perhaps--perhaps I should not try--"
Tears choked the wretched girl, and Jane relented at sight of her
"Really, Sally," she changed her tone, "I do feel awfully sorry to
see a freshman in distress, and I am sure I do not want to add to
it. I won't go to the office now, if that will make you feel better,
but I simply must do all I can to solve the mystery of the horrible
night noises at Lenox. Here come the girls from their hike; dry your
eyes and try to look pleasant."
Jane did not relish yielding; she had passed that childish stage,
when "to give in" seemed noble; it was now a question of expediency,
which was best? Should she go on and unburden her own conscience
just because she had decided to do so, or should she follow the
pleadings of this girl without having an intelligent reason?
Something stronger than psycho-analysis (Jane's new field of study)
forced her to look deeply into the tear-stained blue eyes of Sarah
Howland, and that same mystic power, older and surer than theory,
compelled Jane to reply:
"All right, Sally. I'll wait a while. It's all very queer but even
queer things are sometimes reasonable," and she threw an
affectionate arm about the little freshman as she turned her back on
the judicial office in the big, gray stone building.
THE PICKET AND THE SPOOK
Not going to bed at all, Janey?" queried Judith, letting her hair
fall over her shoulders and shaking her head like a happy care-free
Collie. "This bed is too inviting to slight that way. I never knew
that old spooky Lenox was so gorgeously equipped." Judith was
testing the comforts of the big double bed in the guest chamber of
Lenox Hall, the same that welcomed Jane and Dozia on the night
"I am not going to run the risk of missing anything," Jane answered
from her place in the big cushioned steamer chair. "This is very
comfortable and I am all dressed ready to dive after the least
suspicious sound. Besides, I'm not a bit sleepy--gone past my sleep,
as Aunt Mary would say."
"I don't want to desert you," volunteered Judith, "and it doesn't
seem just the thing for me to turn into this downy bed while you sit
there like a sentinel. But truth to tell I am shamefully human and
just counting on thirty winks before the ghost walks. Be sure to
call me at the very first hint. Of course you will want to bag him
personally, Jane, but I'll be glad to help you pull the draw
It was drawing close to the tainted hour, and Jane sat there
wondering how one single day could seem as long as that just past.
She had no idea of admitting what part actual fatigue can play in
one's perspective, neither would she have owned to nerves as the
cause of her unnatural wakefulness; nevertheless these were both
factors in her almost painful alertness.
"At least now I have a chance to think," she temporized, "and I wish
I could solve the mystery of Sally Howland's peculiar connection
with Shirley Duncan."
They were so unlike, so foreign in disposition and character; not
relatives, and Sally even disclaimed any previous acquaintance with
the country girl. Then Sally's attempt to forestall the midnight
noises by taking the shunned room at the very foot of the dreaded
attic stairs--what could that mean?
Jane pondered feebly, and feeling just the least bit drowsy she left
her place in the steamer chair to get a drink of water in the
lavatory. It would not do to actually fall asleep "at the switch."
Voices from the end of the hall near Sally's room forced their way
into the corridor as she glided past, and the unmistakable tone of
Shirley Duncan riveted Jane's attention.
"You're too silly," she was insisting, no doubt to little Sally.
"Don't I give you enough? Here's something daddy gave me. You may
have it. Now do be a good, sensible little girl."
A pause, perhaps a remonstrance, for the voice took up its cue
"Of course you must have plenty of use for it. Don't be a goose,
Kitten. You know how much I care about the old moldy college. But
I'm bound to get something for my money."
Jane was at the lavatory door now but she did not at once enter.
Surely, under the circumstances it was permissible to listen to the
unguarded voice of Shirley Duncan. And she called Sally "Kitten!"
"For mercy's sake don't start to howl," it came again. "I can stand
anything but that. It is all working beautifully and I guess before
I quit I'll be able to show them that a country girl isn't such a
simp as they imagine."
"Miss Allen is here tonight," Jane next heard Sally say, "and you
know what that means, Bobbie."
"As if I care for her," and a scornful laugh made the meaning
clearer. There were other words but Jane had heard enough. The
mention of her own name seemed to charge her honor, and the belated
drink of refreshing water was quickly drawn.
Back in the steamer chair Jane had new cause to ponder. What was the
threat or power Shirley held over little Sally? And to bribe her
with money? Also the affectionate "Kitten" and "Bobbie"?
The wind was stirring, but everything human now seemed withdrawn
from activity around Lenox. Jane was waiting, listening for what?
The frightened freshmen seemed secure tonight in their dormitories,
assured of protection by Jane and Judith, two of the bravest girls
in all Wellington. Also they had been promised a solution of the
noise mystery and was not that in itself sufficient alleviative?
The clock in the hall tingled a chime, sweet almost playful music
for the elves of midnight and a challenge to baser intruders. Jane
must have dozed when she suddenly became conscious of something--
Was it a noise? She listened, alert and all but quivering in
anticipation. There never had been any question of actual danger
surrounding the weird happenings, but now that she faced the mystery
something very like panic seized her.
Yes--again! That was surely something metallic!
"Quick, Judy!" she roused the sleeping girl on the bed. "Follow me.
There it is--beginning."
"Where! What!" Judith sat up and snatched her robe.
"I'm going to the attic. I am sure it is up there!" and Jane flew
out quietly, in fact noiselessly, into the dimly lighted hall.
A queer rumbling sound came from somewhere. Jane could not locate it
for it seemed shut in, walled up! It was mechanical yet muffled!
Judith reached Jane as she stood listening.
"Where is it?" she whispered.
"I--can't tell," Jane replied. "Pass around the turn into the linen
room. We can reach the stairs that way."
"Not--going up alone!" breathed Judith.
"Why not? It's some lark of the girls, you may be sure, and I'm
going to find out what it is now."
"But it's dark," cautioned Judith.
"I have my flash. Listen!"
"Oh," groaned Judith, clutching Jane's arm, for a rattling of
something like chains was now distinctly audible.
"Hush!" breathed Jane, laying her fingers lightly on the door knob
of the boxed in stairway. The next moment there was a crash and both
girls darted up the stairs.
"It was over that way!" insisted Judith, but in the darkness, with
nothing but Jane's flash to guide them, it was impossible to tread
safely through the attic, which was stored with all sorts of
"Wait a minute," whispered Jane, her heart pounding and nerves
They stood breathless, but not a move answered the silence.
"Come down; do, Jane," begged Judith, shivering in actual fear.
"Wait a few minutes," insisted Jane. "Whatever it is they know we
"Jane!" breathed the other, "I am honestly ready--to faint."
"Nonsense, just a few minutes." Jane could feel her companion
tremble as she clung to her arm.
But not a sound nor a move rewarded their brave defiance.
"If only this place had a light," Jane whispered. "I suppose there
is a bulb somewhere." She remembered that the fireman found none,
however, and tonight even the patch of moonlight was not there. It
really would have been foolhardy to attempt to go further into the
low-beamed room, at the risk of running into attack, and evidently
the noise had not been heavy enough to arouse anyone else in the
Hall, for no sound of moving about came from the lower floors.
"Do come down," begged Judith again, taking two steps herself on the
"No, I shan't," insisted Jane. "I can wait as long as they can."
As if that gave a cue for action a rope--surely it was a rope--
creaked and groaned and the rumbling heard first sounded again--
somewhere, it seemed from the very roof.
"There!" said Jane. "They're gone and they went by that rope. Come
on down. We can't do anything in this darkness," and, now satisfied
that the "ghost" had been scared off, she followed Judith's
precipitous escape down, and into the lower hallway.
"What was it? Did you catch him? We heard it? Where is it?"
To the astonishment of the two juniors the halls were dotted with
heads thrust out of half closed doors, and the alarmed freshmen
opened this volley of questions before Jane and Judith had recovered
"No, we did not get it," replied Judith, "but we scared it off, and
I have my opinion of a ghost afraid of two unarmed juniors." Judy
was very brave now, and rather proud of it.
"Young ladies! Young ladies!" Miss Gifford was expostulating. "You
promised to stay in your rooms tonight."
"Oh, they are very good girls, Miss Gifford," Jane attested, "and I
can assure them that friend spook is a rank coward and has gone by
way of a pulled rope. Any pulleys loose around this place?"
"No, we have looked for such things," declared the matron. "But
please, girls, go back to bed, and if anything else happens I
promise to call you." This was a rash promise for Miss Gifford to
make, but she felt the urgency of getting those questioning heads
back on their respective pillows and so was willing to make
"Come in my room," she said aside to Jane and Judith, and they both
followed her to the open door.
"That certainly is a noise made by someone who gets up to that
attic," insisted Jane without waiting for inquiries, "and I am sure
the sounds are made by metal chains."
"That's the weird part of it," interposed Judith.
"Why are chains more formidable than ropes?" asked Jane. "And in an
old place like this is it would not be hard to pick up a chain or
two, and you know, Judy, one old chain could make a fearful noise."
"Yes--but--how does anyone get up there?" demanded Judith.
"That's the mystery," admitted the matron, who had insisted on the
girls remaining while the students quieted down and were safe once
more until daylight. "We have looked all over the place, of course,
and have not been able to find any hidden way of making ascent to
"Airship," suggested Judith foolishly.
"See how quickly the noise ceased," remarked Jane. "Someone
recognized us, Judy, and has flown before our vengeance."
"Be that as it may," added Miss Gifford with a smile of assurance,
"I am convinced this thing is being done out of jealousy or even
revenge. You see, I am a new matron here, and when I came I put into
execution such rules as I have been trained to follow. That made
changes in our staff and a few dismissals. Such action is sure to
stir up the wrath of someone, but even with that as a basis, and
with all the detective skill I have been able to operate, I must
confess I am baffled. This very minute our janitor would be found in
his quarters over the stables, for I have phoned him there. And for
the past week I have gone over the ground with him personally, he
and his wife when they lock up. She is one of the day workers here,"
explained Miss Gifford.
Jane felt urged to tell of the shadowy figure she and Dozia had seen
creeping about the evergreens, but quickly decided the indefinite
detail would add little actual explanation. Instead she said:
"We could do nothing in the dark, but just wait until daylight. I
have to sleep, of course, we are getting ready for our midyear
exams, but just wait until two-thirty tomorrow afternoon after
logic. Then expect me over here with perhaps a shotgun if I can find
such a weapon on the premises!"
"But what would you shoot in daylight?" asked Judith, half jokingly,
"Even suspicion," replied Jane, "but my chief concern would be to
find the way friend spook gets up into that attic and where he comes
from. Good night, Miss Gifford, we will follow the freshies now, and
I'm so sleepy it would take more noise than that first bombardment
made to arouse me."
"Good night, my dears, and thank you so much for your wonderful
support," said Miss Gifford.
"Support!" repeated Judith, back again in the guest room. "I suppose
she considers the ghost her opponent?"
"I don't," said Jane cryptically. "I consider it the opponent of all
"And I suppose, Janie, you are blaming me for holding you back in
the attic?" sleepily from Judith.
"No, I'm not, Judy. You have no idea what a coward I am at heart;
but somehow you girls have taken a notion I should do things and I
can't bear to disappoint you. I must admit this is fascinating. I
like it better even than golf, and will also give up my canter on
Firefly this afternoon to see it through."
"Oh Jane, don't do that!" objected Judith. "We were all going out to
Big Rock and have the horses engaged."
"I'm sorry, Judy, but I've gotten into this thing and I have just
got to get out of it or I'll begin to believe in real spooks. I
simply can't let it drag me down another twenty-four hours." She
brushed her wavy red gold hair viciously. "You may take Firefly. He
knows your saddle and will behave, I'm sure. That will give someone
else your horse."
"Maud Leslie is crazy to ride but has no habit here," commented
"Help her to mine," responded Jane promptly. "She isn't far from my
"But I wouldn't want to go galloping for nuts while you stay here
alone hunting for spooks," Judith said loyally. "Better let two
girls take our places if you insist on staying out."
"Oh, no, dear. I'm only going to look around for some sort of trap
entrance to Lenox. Besides, you know Dozia doesn't ride, and she'll
"All right, love, I'll leave you with Dozia if you insist. She's big
enough to take care of you at any rate. Do you imagine Miss Gifford
has materialized some domestic enemy in her change of staff? And
that this super-conscious fired janitor or furnace man is operating
"I don't know, Judy," sighed Jane. "Looks to me more loosely
organized than that. Besides, even a fired furnace man would keep
union hours at one fifty per. No, I think you'll find the eternal
female back of that racket, it's too temperamental for masculine
THE HIDDEN CHAMBER
Was this Wellington and was Jane Allen, the darling of the gym and
the record maker for basket-ball, now so prone on solving a
perplexing noise mystery that her games were cancelled and even her
riding hours filled in with mundane matters, while her companions
flew away to gather mountain nuts and wonderful complexions?
Jane's defiant laugh answered this very personal question. She was
proud and she was fiery, and someone had been trying to discredit
her father's scholarship. Of course that "someone" was Dolorez
Vincez, the expelled junior of the previous year. Every clue pointed
its accusing finger at Dol Vin. She it was who brought those two
freshmen, Shirley and Sarah, together at her beauty shop. It was she
also who "took care" of Shirley's folks when they came in to see the
"darter," and everyone who knew Dol knew, also, that these little
attentions must have been rather costly to the country folks, for
Dol always made things pay.
In the back of Jane's mind there was growing the germ of suspicion
toward that same triangle in the spook alarms. Dol, Shirley and
Sarah must be somewhere in that demonstration, but Jane had to admit
the clues were not developing with such speed as she usually counted
on in college mysteries.
But perhaps this one more day would unearth something tangible. At
any rate, the parties and teas and sorority dances were getting into
swing, and even a fascinating ghost would soon have to be turned
over to the proper authorities, thought Jane, if he did not quickly
become more co-operative with the juniors.
Work was serious and exacting. Every period had a record of its own,
and while Jane was specializing in sociology she was also keeping up
with the regular college course for her A. B. degree.
Promptly after logic dismissed, at two-thirty, she sought out Dozia.
"Come along, Doze," begged Jane, "don't let us waste a moment. The
girls are all busy now, and perhaps we can make a survey without
having a ballet de follies dancing around." Dozia made her notebook
safe and swung into Jane's trot for Lenox. Warburton Hall, one of
the larger buildings, was just emptying a class from lecture but
Jane and Dozia made a complete detour of it to escape attention.
Lenox was deserted, but in less than half an hour it was sure to be
swarmed with freshmen running in after classes for a change of
blouse, or some other requirement of the day now three-fourths
"Let us get a line on that old tower," suggested Jane, surveying the
secretive old building. "I know the racket was in that wing, and see
how the round tower begins here and shoots up past all that outside
plumbing? I know Lenox was one time a show building here, but
freshies have got to have some place to sleep, hence the
"Things are pretty well trodden down around here," reported Dozia,
sending a critical eye over the little terrace that supported the
old stone tower. "Squirrels do not usually wear French heels. See
those footprints, Jane?"
In the strong sun a film of soft earth showed the impress of
something quite like the pivoted French heel. This was in a small
space from which floral bulbs had been removed and where the
sheltering round tower had kept off the early winter frosts.
"Seems to me," said Jane, "there is some sort of cubby hole under
here." She was poking around the vine-roped foundation.
"Oh, you see they take cellar stuff out that window," explained
Dozia. "It saves steps. See the trail of ashes over there?"
"Yes, but that doesn't come from this point, that does come from the
window. But I mean this spot here," she was tapping on a frame in
which the squares formed the foundation of the building, and where
the wooden arches had been originally painted a contrasting color
for the sake of trimming.
"You can always push those lattice pieces in," said Dozia. "That was
the charmed spot for hide and seek I'll guess, when Wellington was
"Just look here!" ordered Jane in a very definite tone of voice.
"This is more than a cubby hole." She was pulling at a piece of rope
strung through a broken staple. Nothing remained but the iron loop
over which the old time outside padlock was usually snapped. Jane
pulled so vigorously she opened the hidden door and toppled over
backward with the broken rope in her hand. Dozia was in front of the
opening before Jane could get to her feet.
"Well, of all--things!" she drawled. "If here isn't some sort of old
"A dumb-waiter!" cried Jane. "There are my groaning ropes. Pull,
Doze, and let's see if it carries a car."
A couple of jerks at the big cables and the car came down to earth
with a bump.
"Now!" exclaimed Jane gleefully. "There's the mystery. This airship
goes right up into that tower!"
"But don't you dare ask me to make the ascent," warned Dozia. "The
tower may be thick with ghosts as a chimney with swallows."
"But think of it," rattled on Jane. "That old hidden dumb-waiter!
Why have we never discovered it before?"
"Didn't need it," said Dozia. "Wouldn't have a bit of use for it now
except to save you from getting gray headed and daffy over spooks.
Come along indoors and look at the tower from the other end. This
elevator must have a 'last stop, all out' platform some place,"
drawled Dozia, as calmly as if a great part of the mystery had not
just been successfully cleared up.
"But I'm not afraid to go up," declared Jane, almost dancing with
excitement, "and the elevator works by pulling the ropes from the
"Don't you dare, Jane Allen!" cautioned the imperturbable Dozia.
"You might get half way up and stick in a smoke stack, or a rope
might break or anything of a large variety of possibilities might
occur. I can't be a party to your suicide pact. Walk right up the
red carpeted stairs with little bright-eyed Dozia, and view the
tower from the objective." She took Jane's arm and dragged her
around to the side door, which stood invitingly opened.
By way of the red carpeted stairs they went as far as the attic
flight, and from that point tramped plain unvarnished and well worn
"treads" which Dozia took two at a time.
In the attic, daylight dispelled many of the night's fancies. For
instance, the big black things in the corner were only stored
trunks, those shadowy forms hanging from rafters were Miss Gifford's
best summer togs in their tailored moth bags, and the thing that
glistened in the moonlight like horrible eyes in a ghastly face,
were almost that very thing, for some hallow'een trappings hung
right under the window, a veritable trap for spectral moonlight.
Jane smiled. "These things had Judy and me scared blue last night.
They actually seemed to point long bony fingers at us, but behold!
nothing more sinister than a lot of storage stuff."
Dozia was over in the other end of the low raftered room looking for
the dumb-waiter "objective," but there appeared to be nothing of the
sort either in bricked chimney wall or along weather-boarded
"I can't see where that tower ends," she said, "See, Jane, this is
nothing but a straight wall, and the tower surely is built round."
Jane surveyed the brown boarded wall. "But this is not all the
attic," she exclaimed. "See how narrow this room is and gauge the
size of the building. There must be another attic back of those
boards and that fire brick wall. Now, how do you suppose one reaches
the other side?"
"Via dummy," said Dozia. "But no little jaunt in that flivver for
me. No indeed, Janie, not even to bag a real, live, active, untamed
spook." They were both tapping along the boarded partition but had
found no evidence of an opening. "Say, Jane," whispered Dozia, her
brown eyes wide with pretended fright, "suppose some awful creature
is hidden in there and that she has her meals served from the old
Jane howled at this and danced around in cruel imitation of a
possible "awful creature." That she tore a hole in her skirt from
contact with an unfriendly nail mattered little, for the dance took
in the length of the attic between trunks, boxes, disabled chairs
and even dodged an ancient sewing machine.
"An attic party is attractive under certain conditions," Jane
repeated. "I thought once I saw something move over this way. Let me
look there more carefully."
"Look away," replied Dozia, falling limply into a very uncertain old
willow porch rocker.
Jane pulled aside some curtain stretchers, then pried from its
corner an old Japanese screen.
"There!" she yelled. "There's the door, now we're getting to it.
Dozia, look, a real door into the other attic," and she paid no
attention to the noise of falling articles swept aside in her wild
rush to open the low door, so completely hidden by the old Japanese
"Jane! Jane!" begged her companion. "Really do go carefully. How can
you tell what's in that other place?"
"I can't till I see," insisted Jane, her hand on the iron latch that
held the door in place.
"At least wait until I get a club or something," begged Dozia
inadequately. "I've heard of queer animals being shut up in such
quarters and they have often made splendid ghosts of themselves,
But Jane had no ears for warnings, and while Dozia held on to the
blue plaid skirt Jane yanked away into the great unknown!
"Oh, look!" she cried in that tragic way girls discover things.
They had opened up a big storeroom forgotten and abandoned, and in
it--were all sorts of college paraphernalia, such as is used in
theatricals. The room literally groaned with the stuff, and from the
mass one object stood out boldly and significantly:
It was a suit of Japanese armor!
Jane yelled in delight at the discovery and pointed it out to Dozia.
"Don't touch it!" whispered Dozia. "It may be inhabited!"
"Bosh!" roared Jane, laying hold of a dangling armlet.
As she did so the chains rattled! The metallic clangings clanged and
the whole array of ghostly noises sounded out in the unholy hour of
three o'clock broad daylight!
"The ghost! The ghost!" boomed Jane. "Dozia, see, this thing is hung
so it goes off at a touch. Oh, isn't it delicious! To have found it
and this way."
"I'm nervous watching that disappearing door," whined Dozia.
"Suppose we should get walled up in here, just two babes in the
"I'm going to get this thing down and show it to the girls," defied
Jane. "Oh, Dozia, look there--a companion. One for you and one for
me. Let's get into them and go down stairs. The girls will be there
"Say, little girl!" drawled Dozia. "Do you expect me to get in under
that scrap iron works?"
"It's all padded," interrupted the excited Jane. "Here," she had the
armor off its big hook and simply made Dozia hold the tumbling
parts. "There's the helmet, the visor and these---"
"The trunks," said Dozia. "Cute little rompers, aren't they?"
"Called tonlets," said the intelligent Jane, sighing under the
weight of the outfit she was trying to shift to a trunk and a couple
"I'd hate to have to get in that for a fire," remarked Dozia. She
was, however, trying on the scaly breastplate, and attempting to
poke her head into the helmet. "Are you sure this stuff is no
world's war relic? I wouldn't care to rub shoulders with some old
"Why, girlie, aside from bagging the ghost, I think we have made a
great discovery. Think of this acquisition to Wellington!" and then
Jane proceeded to dress up.
But things rattled and fell off almost as often as they were put on,
and it was not an easy matter to get inside of anything pertaining
to this dilapidated costume.
When an old sword dropped from its hook on a rafter, Jane danced in
glee and declared "a ghost did it," although Dozia insisted she had
cut a piece of cord on that very hook. Finally Jane was "canned," as
Dozia described the state of being inside of tin things, and an
attempt was made to move.
"If we should fall--" suggested Jane.
But they didn't.
"BEHOLD THE GHOST OF LENOX HALL!"
Dozia insisted on carrying the "tin rompers" down stairs in her
hands and donning them in a convenient place to avoid possible
"Yours are shorter and jauntier than mine, Jane," she argued.
"Besides, you have a better figure for tonlets. Come along, I'll
stop at the landing and buckle into the things. Give me a couple of
chains. Don't they chime beautifully?"
"Wait a minute," Jane ordered. "I just discovered the usual slip of
paper." She was extracting it from an armlet. "It's quite new and
very modern, in fact regular typewriting kind--"
"Oh, tuck it away and come along," Dozia moaned. "I hear the horde
howling and the sooner I get this stuff off the better I'll feel.
Pickles! but it's heavy."
Jane folded the slip of paper and made it secure some place, then
they proceeded to forge their way into the recreation room on the
second floor, whither the students had been hastily summoned by the
"Now I know how the baby tanks felt in the big war," panted Jane,
who was valiantly leading the way. "I mean those big human machines
that rolled over the earth and ploughed things down, as they went."
"Say, Janie, just wait a minute," begged Dozia at the first landing.
"This looks a little like a joke but who is the joker? Who got up in
that place and rattled these nightly? Also, who let out that wild
scream we heard on that first night?" She was talking quickly and in
a subdued voice. "We may be breaking the spell by raiding the secret
chamber, but suppose the old spook breaks out in a new spot?"
"I've thought of all that," confessed Jane, her smile threatening to
unhinge the visor. "But we must give the youngsters their show
first. The details will be lost in their joy of rescue."
"They come! They come!" called out Miss Gifford in an uncertain
treble. She had been waiting to give this signal.
"Land, I'm losing the panties," groaned Dozia, trying to hold up the
tonlets with one hand while she made wild grabs all over the outfit
with the other. Dozia's artistic effect was surely in jeopardy.
Majestically the two big, black walnut doors swung back, and the
crusaders passed between them.
"Behold the ghosts of Lenox Hall!" cried out Jane tragically.
"Behold, behold!" echoed Dozia, raising her arm in its chained
gusset and attempting to salute at the peak of her helmet.
Shouts from the girls spoiled further efforts at the theatrical, and
presently it was no longer a question of holding the old armor in
place, but rather that of getting out of it safely, for what those
freshmen didn't say and do to those ghosts!
"Nothing but strung up dishrags," sneered Maud Leslie. "They must
have looted every hardware store in town for these. Look!"
She sacrilegiously yanked from their wire strings the metal
dishcloths such as are used for scouring purposes, and truth to tell
there was indeed a big collection in the string of armor.
"Let's try the breastplate," begged Nellie Saunders. "I've always
longed to be a Joan of Arc." And she got her pretty hair inside the
head cage with the mouth trap under her chin, then she corseted on
"And THAT'S the ghost?" scoffed Margie Winters, sitting far off in
the corner safe from "spiritual" infection.
"Disappointed?" asked Jane.
"Of course I am," growled Margie. "I expected a holiday at least to
fumigate, and here we have nothing but a lot of perfectly sanitary
"And I thought we would find a beautiful maniac walled up there,"
sighed Velma Sigsbee. "It's a perfect shame to have the thing end so
"Hard to suit you youngsters," commented Jane. She had fully
divested herself of the trappings, and now stood aside while the
freshmen surveyed the wreck. Someone suggested getting up surprise
theatricals and bringing before the whole college the "ghosts of
Lenox," This was a fuse to the bomb of excitement, and presently the
roll was called, secrecy pledged, and a committee of arrangements
appointed. Prompt freshmen!
"Give Sally Howland a part," called out Ruth Lawrence. "She's just
suited for something angelic."
"We'll transpose Othello and sprinkle it with cherubs," said Nellie
Saunders, who had been made chairman of the cast. "But the one thing
to remember, girls, is secrecy," she announced loftily. "No one
outside of Lenox must know what the ghosts are, or anything about
"You'll find tons of stuff up there to fit out the entire
performance," Jane informed the excited students. "It seems to me
the things have been stored there for ages, and perhaps were the
remains of some very grand affair in the early history of
Wellington. Now, girls, are you fully satisfied the ghost is
"Perfectly," spoke up Nellie. "And we just don't know how to thank
you juniors. Cheers, girls, for our rescuers."
They cheered with the freshmen's dirge.
"One, two, button my shoe; three, four, knock at the door" (they
knocked at everything).
"Five, six, pick up sticks" (wild grabs).
"Sticks, sticks, freshies can's mix."
"Rawr! rawr! freshies all sore" (moans and groans).
"Gore, sore, r-o-a-r" (and they roared)!
"Thanks," responded Jane when the roar died down, "and we're glad to
be initiated in your sorority. Have a lovely time and be sure to let
us know if you need help with the spook revue."
Dozia chimed in feebly and slipped out after Jane.
"They were actually disappointed," she remarked. "I believe they
hoped for real gore."
"To tell the truth," admitted Jane, "it did seem a bit commonplace
after all the symptoms. But I almost forgot the little note. Did you
ever yet meet a case in which the written word played no part? Where
did I put that piece of paper?"
"In your shoe?" suggested Dozia as Jane exhausted all other
"No, here it is in my sleeve. Sit down and we'll decipher it." They
dropped to the nearest bench and smoothed out the paper.
"It's part of a letter," said Dozia, "and written by a boy! Oh, joy,
now we will have some fun--a love letter!" and she pored over the
"Neither the beginning nor the end," said Jane, "but the climax."
She read: "'You are a brick if not a wizard, and oh, boy! how that
two hundred dollar check did look to me!'"
"Two hundred!" Dozia repeated. "No girl around these diggings ever
handled that tidy little sum. Read on, Jane, it may be a will or
something, and we may come in for a share--reward, you know."
"Here's our clue," announced Jane. "The name Shirley! Read that."
She did so herself. "'Shirley, however did you do it, I know you
neither stole nor borrowed, so it is all right and'--wait,"
interposed Jane, "that's torn." She lay the paper on her knees and
fitted in the damaged parts. "Here it is. 'I'm back in college and
in the big dorm, after the scare, and it's wonderful to have a
little sis like you.'"
"Sis!" groaned Dozia. "The lover's only a big brother!" She slumped
in her seat dejectedly.
"Shirley's brother," reasoned Jane, "and we have been blaming that
girl! She helped her brother to get back to college!" The voice
reeked with dismay and incredulity.
"Can you imagine college running in her family?" questioned Dozia
"I suppose we should hardly have read the letter--"
"Why not? Should we have risked our precious lives up in that attic
and then turned down this important clue? Indeed I'm all for asking
Shirley to introduce me," and Dozia strutted off to show her height
if not to display the "runs" in her hose and the "threadbares" in
her sweater elbows.
"But it does sort of take one down," mused Jane, following her
companion toward Warburton Hall. "I hate to feel I have so misjudged
"Pure personal pride on your part, Jane. I have proof positive of
the girl's perfidy. Every single day I must paste anew the paper
decoration that hides her work. I mean that crack in my mirror. More
than once it has done dreadful things to my poor face. If I move
just one inch to the left the crack gashes my right cheek. You know
how a glass reflects. But this brother. May I see the paper, Jane?
His name might be between the lines."
"Oh, it's Ted," said Jane innocently. "See the signature here, but
no address, of course. And from that immature hand, Doze, I am sure
Ted is a junior."
"But, Jane!" almost gasped Dozia. "What can you do with that letter?
It would be positively dangerous to let Shirley know you found it.
It would mean, logically, that she rang the ghost chains, and that
you knew she had helped her brother financially." All the nonsense
had now died out of Dozia's voice, and she compelled Jane to stand
while she proclaimed this ultimatum.
"But how could she get up there, Dozia, when we know positively she
was not on the campus the night of the big alarm?"
"And little Sarah is innocent, I am sure," went on Dozia, "for she
handled that trash with an interest too keen for previous
acquaintance with the stuff. Each piece gave her a little spasm of
surprise. I watched just how it affected her."
"Queer, I noticed that also," said Jane. "Yes, I'm sure she never
saw the armor before. But Shirley is never around in any excitement.
I am afraid she spends a lot of time in Dol Vin's."
"But how could she ever get two hundred dollars for brother Ted?"
"I--wonder, Dozia, could she be in partnership with Dol?"
"She might, but wouldn't that mean an outlay?"
"Of course. There'll be little profit there--and two hundred!" The
amount was appalling to Jane's practical mind.
Voices broke in on the soliloquy.
"Here come the girls from their ride, and what a shame you didn't
go, Jane. Laying a ghost is all right, but if I rode a horse as you
do, I'd assign the ghosts to others. 'Lo, girls! Break your necks or
anything?" chirped Dozia.
Judith hurried to gain Jane's arm and squeezed it affectionately as
she fell in step.
"Such a glorious ride, Jane!" enthused Judith, "and we all missed
you so much. Firefly was good, but he knew you were not on his
back." Judith looked "nobby" in her riding togs.
"And whom do you think we saw out with a stable horse and
instructor?" asked Janet Clarke. "The Rebel Shirley Duncan! And you
know, Jane, what a price Clayton asks for his horses."
Jane was amazed. A riding instructor, horse and hired outfit for
What was the secret spring of her prodigious income?
Excitement subsided with a thud at the discovery of the cast-iron
ghost, and for some days a round of studies and basketball
completely absorbed the girls of Wellington. Whatever the restless
freshmen had in hand was not evident to the other classes, and only
Jane, Judith and Dozia shared the interest, and possible anxiety,
following the clues and suspicions in the undertow.
"It's a dreadful thing to be proud," confessed Jane to these
companions after a rather too vigorous hour in the gym on Saturday
afternoon. "Somehow, when I think of my own darling daddy's
scholarship being dragged in the mud this way, I feel--dangerous."
"Don't blame you," acquiesced Judith. "The very impudence of a girl
like Shirley breaking into college that way, then boasting she
doesn't care a whang what happens! What do you suppose WILL happen
"A neat little note, 'unable to keep up with her class,' I suppose,"
said Jane. "And while I don't wish that girl any more harm than
she's bent on, I am bound to confess I would sigh in relief at her
"But that lovely brother Ted," mourned Dozia. Judith had been made
fully acquainted with the fragmentary letter recovered in the ghost
"That would be hard," agreed Judith.
"And I'm sure there's a sweet little mother--but we saw the mother!"
Jane broke off suddenly. "How incongruous that those two country
folks should have a son at college like our Ted!"
"Our Ted," echoed Judith, allowing her head to droop on Jane's
"Awful!" moaned Judith.
"Turrible," groaned Dozia.
They were walking leisurely up from the gym, and the clouds of young
Winter wrapt the gay sunset in fleecy blankets, while capering elves
picked up every frightened little leaf and tossed it cruelly from
its hiding place.
"It seems to me," said Jane, influenced by the spirit of her
surroundings, "that this year has been rather unsatisfactory. Not
that I want to shine by the reflected glory of dad's winner, but it
would be consistent to have the scholarship always won by good
"Rather a jolt," agreed Judith, "to have the romp come in on merit
when she can't prove it. It really looks like a trick somewhere,
"But the exams are very severe and I've seen the report. Nothing
'foohey' about that. Yes, I have known girls to sail along
beautifully in school and flunk everything in college. It really can
"But two hundred dollars can't be done that way," Dozia interposed,
"and no one seems to be missing her change purse."
"Beyond me," Jane owned up, "and I've almost ceased to wonder about
the dumb-waiter tenant. Wish you would agree to my ascent in that
"Yes, you want a party to your folly. You don't feel free to break
your pretty neck without fastening the crime on poor Judy Stearns.
No, Jane, dear, you don't ride in that Ferris wheel while I'm your
side partner. You know scorpions are deadly and love dark corners.
Ugh! How could you think of going up in that beastly cage!"
"Don't get excited, dear, I have promised not to try it," acceded
Jane. "Although I have felt there might be some clue in the old
derrick. Don't go indoors yet, the air is--"
She stopped to watch two girls on horseback gallop along the bridle
"Shirley Duncan and some stranger," exclaimed Judith. "And how they
are going--oh, mercy!"
"Oh, oh!" screamed all three, for at that moment both riders were
vainly trying to check their horses in a sudden dash down one of the
steepest grades, straight over a hill almost perpendicular in its
"The horses have left the path," breathed Jane, watching with
fascinated gaze the two mounts galloping down at a speed surely
disastrous. One, the taller girl, seemed to have some control, but
"Heavens!" screamed Judith, "she's gone!"
The horse had stumbled and its rider was rolling headlong down the
hill, while the frightened animal pawed the earth in a wild attempt
to regain its feet. The girls, terrified, started swiftly for the
spot, but even as they ran the unfortunate rider went over a sharper
turn and struck. Then--she lay in an inert heap against a jagged
rock! In a moment they were at her side.
"Her head!" exclaimed Jane, frightened at the deathly face she now
stared down at.
"Can we carry her? This is so far from a building," gasped Judith.
"Oh, Jane, see the blood!"
"I can easily carry her," answered Dozia quickly. "Let me pick her
up, and take her or my shoulder."
"Wait," Jane cautioned. "It might be dangerous. We must stretch her
out flat so that her head is down. There, she may soon regain
consciousness. I wonder if one of us should run up to Madison?"
"I'll go," volunteered Judith, evidently glad to escape from the
horror of the scene. "See, the other rider is still galloping! She
can't stop her horse. Oh, how terrible if the runaway gets out among
"Hurry, Judith," Jane begged. "Have them bring a stretcher. I am
sure we shouldn't lift her head; her face is bloodless."
"She appears to be recovering," Dozia whispered. "Poor Shirley! How
dreadful that this should happen!"
"If only she lives," moaned Jane, contrition in voice. Somehow it
was unbearable that this country girl had been so severely censored
by Jane and her companions. As she lay there, all the horrors of her
unhappy school days seemed to fly up and strike Jane in a charge of
"I'm sure she is only stunned," Dozia said consolingly. "See, Jane,
there is a tiny streak of color coming. She will soon react."
Yes, the pallor was melting into a film more lifelike, but the heavy
eyelids looked so deathly! How awful to gaze upon that mockery of
"Her horse is walking off quietly, Jane," again Dozia spoke. "I
believe the animal is wise enough to know he should not go without
Even the riderless horse, with his solemn clip-clapping, echoed a
terrifying note to the scene. It was all so appalling.
"Shirley! Shirley!" whispered Jane, close to the ear of the stricken
Then "Shirley?" repeated the blue lips in a questioning answer.
"Where? Oh, my head!" and a spasm of pain struck across the white
"You are all right, Shirley, dear," Jane comforted, relief in her
voice. "You just fell from your horse. Lie still until we can take
you to the infirmary. Do you feel a little better?" How wonderful to
hear the stricken girl speak again!
"The awful noise in my ears!" she gasped. "Like a torrent rushing--"
"That's only the returning circulation," said Dozia in the same
quiet monotone Jane had used.
What a relief! To know her mind was clear! And the blood streak on
her neck seemed now only from surface scratches--the briars had torn
her flesh cruelly as she dashed down that hill.
Over the same hill, but not by the same route, could now be seen the
stretcher bearers. With four seniors were also Miss Rutledge, the
dean, and Miss Fairlie, the matron of Madison. They were hurrying
and silent, only the light tread of crackling leaves on the bridle
path accompanying the grave little procession.
Jane and Dozia were chafing Shirley's hands. At the approach of the
litter they stood waiting to lift with gentle hands the prostrate
girl. It seemed so strangely pathetic: the big country girl in that
gay riding habit, the glaring red coat such a contrast now to the
helpless wearer. Her little velvet jockey cap still held on with its
chin strap, and the new chamois gloves hiding her untamed hands were
so strikingly new!
Few words were spoken as the rescuers met. Miss Rutledge gave quiet
orders and these were carried out with intelligent care. Finally
Shirley was on the canvas stretcher, and Jane was holding a
restorative close to her nostrils.
"There, dear. It's all done and you won't move another bit now to
hurt your head. See how steadily the girls carry you?"
Dozia held one hand opposite Jane's side and the older students
moved, over the uncertain hill, tense and powerful against a
possible jolt or jarring movement of the patient. Once down on the
path the task was less difficult, and as the corps turned back to
take the path from the gateway into the grounds again, Shirley's
horse, standing by the post, whinnied after them. No one spoke, but
Shirley put a gloved hand over her strained eyes, and it was plain
she feared even the sound of the faithful animal's call to her.
At the infirmary Dr. Pawley was waiting, and quickly as they reached
the big white room the students were dismissed, while he and his
nurse took charge.
"Judy," Jane gulped, but before they could reach a secluded spot her
tense nerves gave way.
"Judy! Judy!" she cried. "Why didn't we try to save her from those
reckless strangers? Why didn't we beg her to give up the company of
"But we did, Janie. We tried every possible way," consoled Judith.
"This accident could happen to anyone--to a skilled rider as well as
to a beginner. Besides--she will be all right. See how quickly she
became fully conscious!"
"But to think--" Jane's words were lost in choking sobs, and for the
first time Judith saw what genuine grief could do to sunny little
Wisely her companion allowed the storm to beat itself out. That sort
of hysteria is always best spent unchecked, and Judith Stearns
merely stroked the red gold head that had buried itself in her lap,
while the shoulders pulsed and throbbed under Jane's continuous
sobbing. At last she raised her head and smiled piteously.
"I feel better," she said. "It's awful to have that sort of thing
clutch at one's throat. Now my weakness has passed, let us see if
there is anything wanted. Hereafter I shall not trust dad's
scholarship girl to strangers' handling." And she meant every word
Quickly the news of the accident spread, and gust as quickly came
the keen suspense and wave of suppressed excitement. Rumors were
whispered: first that the victim was in danger of death, next that
her injuries were not serious, until even the most sensational among
the many pupils realized the importance of withholding their
Hushed voices around that part of college where the infirmary was
situated bespoke an active sympathy, and the weight of oppression
that comes with dread had suddenly changed the whole atmosphere into
a cloud of gloom.
Dear, thoughtless, headstrong Shirley!
The days of watching and anxiety that followed the accident left no
time for the lesser interests among Shirley's group at Wellington.
For that awful uncertain period there was grave danger of brain
concussion, and in the fear of that it must be said every girl in
Lenox, besides many outside the freshmen's quarters, showed their
loyalty to the untamed country girl. No messages could be sent, no
flowers even allowed to attest to their kindness, as in the critical
time absolute solitude was imperative. Then, like a flash of that
robust country vitality, the patient rallied and all danger was
One particular, however, caused Jane keen annoyance. All messages to
Shirley's folks had been passed out through Dolorez Vincez, who
claimed to be a personal friend of the family. Not even a mother
would have been allowed to see the patient, and as Shirley begged
that this plan of Dolorez' agency be carried out, no objection was
made to it by the very much alarmed dean, Miss Rutledge.
Another puzzling detail was the fact that Sarah Howland begged Jane
not to interfere with these arrangements, as any such interference
would undoubtedly shock the stricken girl, she argued. Sally and
Jane had just left Lenox and were discussing these details.
"And I'm so glad now," breathed Sally in her entreaty to Jane, "that
you listened to me and did not report that matter to Miss Rutledge."
"So am I," said Jane in bewilderment. "I am glad of anything I may
have done to make her path smoother here. I can't see why Dolorez
should step in at this critical moment, though, but I do know she
took Shirley's folks around when they were here, and as you say,
Sally, to suddenly change the whole line of communication with her
family might not only shock Shirley, but also terrify her folks.
What a relief that she is now out of danger!"
"I felt like running away at first," confessed Sally, "it was so
terrifying. But I realized I might be the very one most wanted here-
-if anything serious should happen."
Jane cast a quick inquiring glance at the younger girl following
that statement, but was not rewarded by a further gleam of
"I'm afraid I have neglected her," said Jane, "and I mean to make
amends. The juniors usually help backward freshmen, but Shirley
seemed to resent my attempts even at friendship."
"Miss Allen," said Sarah in a compelling voice, "you may not know it
but--that girl is gifted at mathematics. She can solve the most
difficult problems and is always ahead at geometry and trig. Other
studies seem to confuse her, and she just laughs at the languages,
but she's a perfect gem at math."
"Is that so? I'm so glad!" exclaimed Jane, "for if she is capable at
math she ought to pull through her other work. How strange I never
heard anyone mention her talent?"
Sally shook her head and smiled. "She is so odd and defiant, but
under it all I believe the girl is just a big-hearted, untamed
creature. That is why, Miss Allen, I have kept as near to her as she
would allow me to come. She is too honest even to affect changes."
"Capable at math?" Jane repeated, trying to believe it. "I am so
glad, Sally. I can't tell you what it means to me that this student
is not wholly--dull."
"I can guess," replied Sally simply, and Jane wondered then if she
knew about the scholarship.
"Why did the girls abandon their plans for the ghost show?" asked
Jane suddenly. "I thought they were all so keen about it."
"Perhaps I am to blame," faltered Sally timidly. "But you see, Miss
Allen--well, there was a complication there--and--" she stumbled
piteously. Jane tried to rescue her.
"But it would only have been a lark, and the freshmen have had no
Barnstorm this season!"
"I know," said Sally helplessly, "but Shirley was so sick and--we
have given the idea up."
Jane had to be content with that, but the veiled explanation only
whetted her curiosity.
Few accidents were recorded in Wellington's history, and the mishap
of Shirley ran its course in intense interest. Then presently the
patient was again defending herself just as before, scorning even
the humblest sympathy offered.
"Served me right," she insisted, talking to Sally. "I know how to
ride and can handle any old farm horse that ever pulled a plough,
but I want my hands free and my horse must be unchecked. Stylish
togs, gloves, saddles and trappings get in my way, and that hill!"
So the accident had served as a lesson, and the fallen pride was not
wasted in its effect upon the ambitious equestrian.
Thanksgiving had passed with few of the girls leaving college, as
special permission was required for that privilege, and now the
holiday season was imminent. Even basketball had lost some of its
power to enthuse, and the fact that Shirley was not considered well
enough to go into the rough game, and also that Sally Howland was
too small and light to be eligible, served to lessen the interest of
Jane and Judith in the personnel of the teams, for as juniors in a
second extension year they felt a little too grown up to go
themselves generally into the big games.
Jane was chosen and acted as referee, and Judith was forced to play
center in the Breslin game, but even winning over the neighboring
academy somehow had lost its thrill. Golf was the popular game now
with Jane, Judith, Dozia and Janet Clarke; Ted Guthrie, too, toddled
around the links, and golf permitted such opportunities for
confidences and was so independent of stated hours and limits of
endurance that time was given on the course to talk many things
The girls had covered the frosted field and were returning before
the first period of study, and that magic beautifier, the air of
early morning, left little undone in his art of tone and tonic for
Jane and Judith, when they dropped their bags and hurried to the
day's tasks in mental exploits,
"This very afternoon I am going to talk with Shirley," Jane decided.
"And wouldn't it be wonderful, Judy, if she turned out worth while
"No, it wouldn't," glowered Judith. "Any girl who can be as sick as
she was and not have her brother Ted come to see her--well, my
interest lags at that point and I don't intend to 'rouse it."
"I still have that letter," Jane reflected. "Never seem to get a
chance to turn it in. And I didn't want to destroy it."
"Give it to me, Janie, do," teased Judith. "Next to knowing the
darling Ted, having his letter in installments might serve. Tonight
we'll read it over again. It seems so long since we found it with
"Doesn't it? And even the play was given up when Shirley was
"But they used the armor the other night in their pageant," said
Judith, "and everyone thought it wonderful. What a shame they
expunged the ghost story."
"Freshmen are so unreliable," sagely commented Jane. "But I'm afraid
outside influence spoiled the plot for the spook tragedy. I hope my
things come today for the prom. I feel rather in need of a first
class time under the beneficent influence of a real orchestra and
prudently shaded lights."
"Me, too," agreed Judith promptly if inelegantly.
So the gay season advanced apace, and it was soon one round of
trying on gowns and fussing with sample hair dressing in all the
"dorms" of Wellington. For the one big function known simply as The
Dance all students were eligible, and it was just in advance of this
that Shirley "broke loose."
She openly and unqualifiedly "cut loose" from Dol Vin's
"interference," as she called it.
"I'm through with her," she told her companions; but it was to Sally
she confided the details.
The girls had been planning their dance costumes and Sally was
insisting she did not care to go to the dance, when Shirley took
another spasm of revolt. She would never again go into that hateful
place, she declared, and more than that, she threatened exposure to
the beauty shop methods if its proprietor did not soon return some
of the "loans" long over due to her (Shirley).
"Kitten," she exploded without warning, "I've had my lesson. Do you
know that Dol Vin is actually sending bills to my innocent dad for
her entertainment of the country folks? Imagine all she's begged and
borrowed from me to meet 'emergencies' in her business, and then to
ask my dad to pay her dinner bills! Of course she thinks I'm
helpless, and that she has me in her power, but I am not such a
'greenie' now. And we will both be free soon!"
The deep-set eyes took on a look more confident than defiant, and
even "Kitten" did not fail to observe a marked improvement in the
speaker's manner and appearance.
Shirley was powerful and forceful, with that unruly aggressiveness
conspicuous in young children, when the weakness is classified as
"having their own way" before twelve years, and as "being capable"
after that--the latter faculty true fruit of the former germ. So it
was with this country girl; her very crimes were molding into
virtues, and that again proves a world old philosophy.
"Your hair is very becoming that way," ventured the blonde Sally,
whose own hair was always a most exacting halo--Sally had to live up
to it. "And you don't mind being called Bobbie?"
"I like it," answered Shirley. "I suppose you know what a time I had
to get the wig back to hair after the treatment. I am positive that
east side French woman was trying an experiment on my poor head. But
among other things the accident did for me, it gave my hair a chance
to shoot." She ran her long fingers through the rather stubby growth
that had taken on a decided unruliness in splendid imitation of
curl. "You see it was rubbed every day, and that charitable nurse
rubbed curl right in it. I just love it and wouldn't interfere with
it for anything. Curling hair artificially, I know, simply makes it
"Yes, spoils its temper and breaks its character. Just like twisting
a tender vine and forcing it to turn away from its chosen paths. How
are you getting on with your cramming? Can I help you?" asked Sally,
"Hopeless," replied the other. "I don't believe I'll wait to face
"Oh, you must, Miss Allen is so interested----"
"That's the hard part of it now. I can't face Miss Allen. She's such
a good sport." The bobbed brown head was suddenly dropped into her
cupped hands reflectively. "You see, at first, Kitten, I was just a
rebel; satisfied to get in here and to have the name of it. Then,
these girls whom I so despised were so fine to me," again the look
of dejection, "and, girlie, when I lay on my back at the foot of
that hill and Jane Allen whispered 'Shirley' into my buzzing ears--
it did something to me." Her companion allowed the pause to act
without venturing to interrupt it. It was the working of the
miracle! "Yes, and she meant it, too," went on Shirley
reflectively. "No silly stuff just because she feared I was done
for. She and big, brown-freckled Dozia just seemed to drag me back
to earth, while the other!" her eyes blazed. "Do you know why I have
never spoken of my companion on that hateful ride?"
"I've been ashamed to," declared Shirley, "and thankful the juniors
who helped me did not torture me with questions. Well--she was that
foreign element with a name like a crocheted alphabet and a face
like a week old Easter egg--running its colors, you know. Dol has
her down from New York to practice for the stage," this thought
revived Shirley's spirits and she gave a gay howl. "I can see why
she needs the woods to practice the yells she's cultivating," a foot
was kicked out at the thought. "But I'm through with them, Kitten,
but please don't think I've reformed," she gasped. "I despise
Shirley wore an angora tarn, leaf green sweater and big plaid golf
skirt just then. No one in Wellington could have criticised her
outfit. Even her attire seemed benefited by the miracle.
"Bye-by, little sister," she addressed Sally. "This experience has
done something else for me other than opening my stupid eyes--it has
given me a real chum."
And she got away before Sally could answer.
"Have you noticed, Judy," asked Jane, "what a miraculous improvement
is manifest in our two pet freshies? To wit: Sally and Shirley."
"Yes," snapped Judith, "and I've noticed something else. You are apt
to fall in love with the rebel."
Jane laughed. She was looking so lovely after a wild time in the
pool, and a girl who can look well after a swim is surely very
pretty. But Jane's hair loved the water, and a flash of sunshine
after it just whipped the little ringlets into flossy tangles. Then
her eyes always danced from excitement, and her agile form just
vibrated energy. Don't blame Jane for this description--it is given
through Judy's eyes, whose hair went stringy, whose eyes went
blinky, and who actually turned "goose flesh" from a pool swim in
"No," said Jane, "I couldn't really love a girl who has been so
temperamental, but I could tolerate her, and that's a concession."
"If I don't rub down quickly I'm afraid these goose fleshings will
freeze into pebbles. I fee like a big stone as it is," said Judith,
shivering, chattering and turning bluer. "Wait for me in the run; I
want to talk to you."
The "run" was that part of the gym kept clear for free exercise and
was used especially by such students as demanded a substitute for
the "beach run in the sand" after swimming. Also, it gave space for
track work, although the open season for cross country runs was
rarely closed at Wellington.
Jane was dressed and out before Judith appeared. It was Saturday
again, a free day; free from study but simply crowded with other
contingencies. Students were knotted together, ready for basketball,
golf, handball and all other forms of exercise, not to omit the
dress rehearsal at dancing already well under way in a corner clear
of apparatus and ropes. Here girls were dreamily dancing who knew
how to dance well, while others were showing steps to companions and
comparing notes on new dances, as applied from various sections of
the country. What Boston had last year, Chicago was disclaiming as
too old; and again there was Maud Leslie from Jersey actually
teaching Nellie Saunders from Buffalo the Drop Step.
Inez Wilson was endangering her life and limb "toeing" and each time
she pirouetted on those toes, without the usual padding of the
oriental shaped supports, a perfect flock of other dancers slid from
danger of her avalanche.
"You'll skid, Ina!" yelled Nellie Brocton. "Besides, this dance
isn't going to be for soloists," and Nettie swung away with Janet,
crooning and humming to the imaginary orchestra.
Judith came out from the lockers, a challenge now to the effects of
her long swim. True, her hair was wispy, and every snap on her
blouse had not joined its partner, but taking her all in all Judith
Stearns "looked dandy" and said she felt just like that.
"I'm too lazy to run," she told Jane, "besides, my shoe laces would
trip me. I'm plenty warm and proof positive against getting cold.
Sit down while I tie my shoes."
"See Shirley and Sally practicing," remarked Jane indifferently.
"I don't want to!" retorted Judith. "Jane, I'm alarmed and I know
your sinister motive. You have heard Teddy is coming to the dance!"
"No!" gasped Jane, unable to hide her surprise.
"There, I knew you would take it that way. But be warned! Teddy is
to be my partner for as many dances as his sister can spare," and
Judith tucked a wad of shoestring in at her ankles as if the pocket
were in a commodious knitting bag instead of a tennis shoe.
"I hope he's fat and awkward and red headed and clumsy," snapped
Jane, tearing off the qualifications like coupons.
"And I know he's tall and graceful and has chestnut hair," fawned
Judith. "I've loved Ted from the moment I saw how he curls his cross
letters like a riding crop. That's always a sign of originality and
genius." There was a hint of strut in Judith's ordinarily graceful
motion, and tiny drops of pool water flicked her eyelashes
unnoticed. When Judith Stearns professed to "love a boy" she did so
heroically, though he be myth or just an ordinary "full back."
Jane made her way over to the dancers' corner. Shirley was howling
over her own failure at the Drop Step. She choked back her
uproariousness as Jane came along.
"Can't do it," she confessed. "Guess I shall have to stick to 'One
"Every fault is an art at the big dance," said Jane. "It's the one
chance we have to stand by our home towns; we all seem to dance so
differently. But that's very good, Shirley. I wouldn't give it up if
you really want to get it. There's just a queer little knack this
way." She threw her arm around the novice and led her off. Judith
had condescended to follow Jane up and was now talking to Sally.
For the length of the "arena" Jane and Shirley struggled along,
chatting and smiling without restraint or self-consciousness. Girls
"made eyes" in criticism, but none ventured to shape their criticism
into words, for the rebel Shirley was doing pretty well in
everything these days, and why should not a junior take her up if
she wished to?
At the turn Shirley drew Jane aside from the dancers and said in an
"Miss Allen, I do wish you could persuade little Kitten--I mean
Sally, to come to the dance. First, I was determined not to go and
she persuaded me. Then I found she herself had no idea of attending.
Of course it's always a question of clothes!"
"Surely we must insist on her coming," said Jane decisively. "But it
is awkward to get around clothes. You know her so well, can you
suggest a way?" Jane dared not hint that she would ask nothing
better than providing the dance dress for little Sally herself.
"She is so proud, and then lately she has had reverses," said
Shirley gently. "But if she doesn't go I simply won't. Nothing could
induce me to," and she flashed through with her old time defiance.
"But this one dance is counted the real get-together of the whole
year," argued Jane. "When a girl absents herself it usually sort of
disqualifies her for all the other affairs. Besides, it is really a
benefit and we do so need a new dormitory."
"If we could smuggle a box to her and pretend---Here she comes! I'll
think it over and come for advice if I may," said Shirley quickly.
Jane stepped back to the dancers' whirling rim. She was almost
deciding that the country girl was charming! But like the country
girl herself, Jane detested "reformers" and was unwilling to admit
that a change of heart is something wholesome and even commendable.
She knew naught of the miracle.
More puzzled than ever at Shirley's proposal that they "smuggle a
box to Sally," Jane became anxious lest Shirley might be getting
funds from some unusual, if not unlawful, source. The malicious
influence of Dol Vin was ever a disturbing factor to be reckoned
with, and as yet Jane had no way of knowing that the confidential
relation between the two freshmen and the beauty parlor proprietor
had been broken off.
Later that day Jane confided in Judith.
"What would I do if I had no Judy to tell my troubles to," she said
with a show of sincerity. "You may talk about new loves, but there
is, and only will be, one darling Judy."
"Don't kiss me," protested Judy, although Jane was on the other side
of the room and gave no hint of any such intention. "I can't bear
being babied--makes me homesick." Then she laughed and blew a
substitute over to Jane. "Have you seen my dance frock? I know Ted
will adore it. Even the box is pretty and has violets on the cover,"
she sniffed. "I'll try it on tonight--not the box--and make believe
"Judy, if some of the girls were to hear you rave that way they
might take it seriously----"
"And they would be perfectly justified in so doing," mocked Judith.
"Please hear me. I want to talk seriously and started off with such
a lovely preamble," interrupted Jane. "It's this way, Judy. Shirley
shows the earmarks of wealth, I mean money. Now, where does she get
it, and after that poor boy's letter?"
"If I only knew," pursued Judith, refusing to be serious. "How I'd
love two hundred!"
"Well, we have got to find out where it comes from," fired back
Jane, flushing with determination. "I am not going to be fooled by a
change in manner and an improvement in style. If beauty shop money
is beginning to flow in here it must be stopped."
"Bravo! We haven't had a real lively little scrap since the ghost
fell, and I'd love it."
"You may joke, Judith, but----"
"Calling me by my baptismal name settles it," said Judith, with
assumed finality. "I'll apologize, Jane Allen. What do you propose
to do, and when are you going to do it? May I act as your honorable
"Yes, come with me tonight and pay a visit at Lenox. I want to talk
Sally into going to the dance. The girls are so fond of her and she
happens to be one of our pets. I really don't know how it happens
but it has, and it would look shabby if we were to leave her out. So
she must come."
"Got to," agreed Judith. "She's so smart, every freshman is envious.
Did you hear Miss Roberts, the real Noah Webster of Wellington, rave
about her thesis?"
"Clever girls are so apt to cut dances," said Jane. "We must assume
the missionary spirit---" her voice trailed solemnly.
This was too much for the turbulent Judith, as Jane intended it
"I'll go, I'll go!" she cried out in protest. "Although I hate to
think of Teddy having to choose between me and daffodilly Sally;
still I'll go, Jane, to save you another spasm like that. Where's
the Logic? Do you suppose Ethics will be easier? Or perhaps worse--
likely worse," she was slamming book pages violently. "Now don't
speak to me for one half hour. Then do your worst."
But while Judith was studying Jane slipped out of the room
ostensibly for a breath of fresh air. All her chum's hilarity was
appreciated, but just now things were assuming a serious turn and
Jane felt some responsibility for the swing of the turntable.
"Judy's a dear, but she hasn't a daddy's scholarship to fight for,"
Jane told herself. "And the marked change in my rebellious Shirley
may only be a preliminary to another outbreak. I've just got to see
the girls before the lecture," and she flew from the inopportune
mirth of Judith Stearns.
Shirley and Sarah were together in Shirley's room--not at the foot
of the attic stairs now, but a tiny "nest" under the artistic eaves,
chosen for effect on the purse, as well as on the eye.
"I can't do it," Shirley was arguing, as Jane came to the door. "I
simply am through at mid-year."
Surprised at this statement, Jane knocked quickly to forestall
further disclosure. Both girls answered, and Jane found them glad--
even anxious to see her.
"You are both surely coming to the dance," she began, falling into
Sally's prettiest cushions. "I came over just to make sure." "Oh,
Miss Allen," wavered Sally. "I can't go----"
"Now, Sally," Jane began, "please don't consider it is at all
ignoble to be financially embarrassed. In fact, more than half of
our girls are continually 'rationed,' as they call a cut in
allowance. And if it is only a matter of a pretty little flowered
"No, that isn't it," interrupted Sally.
"The fact is, Miss Allen, we are both getting ready to--escape,"
said Shirley, with a double-edged laugh.
"Go home and desert!"
Jane showed her astonishment. "You couldn't mean anything like
that!" she gasped. "Oh, you wouldn't be so disloyal!"
The girls looked at each other, puzzled, neither seeming to know
what might be best to reply. Finally Shirley said:
"You must know, Miss Allen, I am totally unprepared for exams, and I
see no reason why I should face them. I plan to stay home after the
"Shirley!" exclaimed Jane. "If you ever knew my dad you wouldn't
treat him like that," her voice quavered with excitement. "He seems
to think more of the record of his scholarship girl than of his own
daughter's achievements. Oh, you can't mean you are going to cut!"
"Your daddy!" repeated Shirley. "I didn't suppose he cared a snap
"Beneficiary indeed! He called you a very different name. He is a
great, big western man, with a heart as fine as the hills and a soul
as true as their granite." Jane did not pause to note the effect of
her words, although Shirley was almost gasping. "He has what some
might call a deep personal interest in the girl he sponsors at
Wellington, but it's more than interest," she was almost breathless,
"it's affection; my dad just naturally loves the girl he sends here,
and if she fails him utterly---"
"Stop! Miss Allen, please do," Shirley entreated. Her face was
flushed and her breathing plainly audible. "I had no idea it was
like that. Your dad would care? And I would be a coward?"
Sally stood like one shocked into deadly silence. Not even her lips
parted, and the color left her face sickly white.
"Don't you know, don't you understand what it means for a student to
deliberately flunk? Not even to try?" demanded Jane.
"Bobbie!" said Sally to the big girl who was trying to find words.
"We have got to try--you cannot--go."
Then Jane knew why the girls had been calling Shirley Bobbie. It was
her companion's affectionate name for her.
"Yes, Kitten," Shirley said. "We have got to, but now, how can we do
The situation was becoming more difficult each moment, and when
presently Jane Allen left the two freshmen, she had taken on the
weight of a new mystery.
Those girls were in a conspiracy to desert before exams. Why?
"Now, what can we do? However are we going to get out of this?"
Sally asked Shirley. They seemed desperate.
"I don't know. How differently things have turned out from our
expectations? I wouldn't mind anything but that darling dad of
Jane's. The thought sickens me," and the bobbed head drooped
"But I am more at fault than you," sobbed Sally. "I feel like
running away from everything."
"So do I, but we neither will do it. That's the trouble with
reformation. I told you I should hate to be reformed--it tags on so
many responsibilities. But we are both in for it. And the dance and
Ted wanting to come!"
"Yes, isn't it just dreadful? What shall we do?"
"He has got to come, of course. Couldn't disappoint that boy. Oh,
I'll tell you, Kitten! Let's write and tell him he must play cousin
to both of us. We'll give him a name, say Teddy Barrett, and then
all the girls will be crazy about him, and he will be sure to go in
for a lark!"
"That might do," agreed Sally. "It would seem cruel to keep him
away. But how about our mail? We can't have it come to Dol's box any
"Don't want to; won't have anything to do with her," snapped
Shirley. "I have a box of our own, and don't see why we didn't think
of it before. She is writing me all sorts of apologies, of course,
just wants more money, but I know now we might have done this whole
thing differently if it had not been for her interference. It was
she who scared us so of Jane Allen and her friends. And they would
have been such a help if I had not been--so mulish."
"Never mind," Sally tried to console her. "We could not possibly
foresee--although I should like to foresee how to get out of it all
without scandalizing Jane."
"Trust one step to lead to the next," said Shirley, and that sounded
like a proverb of Jane's. (Queer how much Jane and Shirley were
alike fundamentally.) "Write to Ted and we'll have one 'whale' of a
time at the dance."
"But I haven't decided to go?"
"Oh, yes, you have, Kitten. Wait until you see the old fairy
godmother unload her pumpkin. Or did she carry the dress on a
broomstick? I forget the details. At any rate, while I'm thinking of
a way to appease the wrath of Jane's father by not dishonoring his
scholarship, it is the very least you can do to get ready for the
dance. I know where you can hire a love of a dress--lots of girls do
it--" as Sally drew up a little, "and it only costs five dollars.
Let me give you that for Christmas. Write your letter, or shall I do
it? Bamboozle Ted until he won't even guess our real meaning, but
insist we are his cousins, with first names only."
"But he would have to introduce us to his boy friends?" objected
"Well, that's all right. He can do that and we'll just tell him we
are playing a joke. College boys adore jokes, don't they?"
"Pretty much of a muddle, but I'll try it," assented Sally finally.
"And I suppose I could spare that five dollars."
"I can at any rate. And did you see Miss Allen stare when you called
"Yes, but many of the girls have taken that up. It goes so well with
your bobbed hair. Don't mind do you?"
"Not a bit. Call me Pickles if you like--that would go well with my
disposition." Shirley was hurriedly gathering up books and papers
from the little table both girls used as a desk in Sally's room
under the eaves. "Do you realize we have spent one hour talking?
It's all very well for you, Kitten; you can have a recitation
prepared or write a theme as easily as I can fail. If I had your
talent I would never leave this college without an A.B.," she
"I wonder, Bobbie, did we make a gigantic mistake. If we had not
been so influenced by Dol Vin's idea, perhaps we might have managed
some way without all that hateful pretense. I can't help blaming
myself dreadfully. And to think Miss Allen is so kind without being
"Look here, Kit," demanded Shirley. "I know YOU could have come here
without that plan, but what could have put ME through? Nothing but
the scholarship. So please don't be getting morbid. We may have been
foolish, but we did what seemed right, and Dol Vin was a mighty
convincing friend, I'll admit. The question now is the dance, then
Ted, and then--I don't know, maybe I'll escape in the night," and
the old time rebel spirit danced in the sharp, dark eyes.
Sally piled up her notes and followed Shirley out to recitation. It
was not easy now to finish the task which at first seemed almost
alluring. It was like trying to uproot some gentle affection to plan
to actually leave Wellington.
The girls' secret was spreading poisonous tendrils over every other
act and thought; nothing now seemed untouched by that malicious
deception, and the very crisis now imminent--was ugly! And this was
what both had planned and worked for--to leave Wellington at
They had not reckoned on the power of girls' love for girls, and of
education's influence on sentiment.
Sally Howland had been steeling herself against "growing fond of
things" and that very repression made her its victim; Shirley Duncan
defied these conditions and was punished with a "true case" of the
epidemic called Environment. So that both now seemed all but
helpless at the crisis.
A day or two before the dance, when arrangements were running as
smoothly as the little lake that dripped through the big grounds of
Wellington, a general hike was planned. Each department, freshmen,
sophs, juniors and seniors, arranging to go out tramping over the
wonderful hills of upper New York state, touching quarries, testing
rocks, hunting nuts and cramming into the one pre-holiday jaunt such
various needs of outdoor work as were found in the studies then
being under test in all grades and classes.
Thus far it was an open winter; no snow, flurries failing miserably
to do more than make the air look pretty for a few minutes, and even
brooks had kept up their rippling music, chattering away over rock
and rill, blissfully unconscious that Winter's deathly breath must
soon paralyze every little vein and artery into a rigid, frozen
The December hike was a fixture at Wellington, and as many of the
faculty as could do so went with the classes, to urge, to inspire,
to prompt and to supervise; not to omit the more enjoyable function
of chumming with the students. Troopers they all were, dressed in
imitation of the Girl Scouts as far as khaki went around, the others
sporting golf togs and carrying water bottles or even "grub" in the
convenient golf bags slung over sturdy young shoulders.
No need to dwell on the glories of that day, for a hike on paper
carries little sport and usually less material of vital interest. A
hike must be "hiked" to be real, the "grub" must be munched by the
side of a stream, and the wild things venturing out for crumbs must
be "seen to be appreciated," as the "ad" says; so that it would seem
unreal to attempt to put into words the glories of a day in the
woods with the Wellingtons.
What if Ted Guthrie, the fat, funny, facetious Ted, did slide down a
hill and take most of the hill with her? or if Nettie Brocton
climbing a tree for dogwood berries attempted to fly by the merest
accident? She had no choice but to drop into an ugly hole otherwise,
so she spread out and gave a flying leap to the side of safety and
made it. No one tried to keep track of "Bobbie," as the country girl
was now popularly known, for she ran, climbed, crawled and burrowed,
until Jane and Judith had cause to step lively indeed to keep up
with her. Jane, accustomed to the great fastnesses of the Northwest
around her Montana home, fairly glowed with the spirit of contest,
and being Jane it must ultimately be set down that Bobbie lost a
point or two in the final scoring.
What a day and what scratches, bruises and blisters recorded it!
"No bones broken!" was the guide's slogan, and they were well
satisfied to have the precept fulfilled without undue court plaster.
Coming home the gay groups fell into their usual lines, and
separated into such little parties as suited best the confidences of
Ted Guthrie chose to take a ride in the big car of Temple Gaitley,
the sponsor of Wellington who lived at its gates and shared her
prosperity with any student worthy of the name. Ted would rather
ride than walk, after her sliding tournament, and along with her
there piled into the car as many foot-sore hikers as the big open
car could possibly hold, stretching the word at that.
It was almost evening, the day turned so quickly, when Jane, Judith,
Dozia and the two freshmen, Sally and Shirley, cut across the golf
links to touch town for some drug store supplies, before going into
the college grounds.
The little village always seemed kindly at this hour, for folks
going home from work formed its chief feature of public interest,
and the tan bark streets were now being fairly well utilized.
"I'll get some stamps," said Shirley, "while you girls hunt for your
soaps. Let's round this corner---" She stopped short, for as they
cut suddenly from the side street into the main avenue they almost
stumbled into a crowd!
"What's up?" asked Shirley tritely.
"An arrest," answered a man pushing his bicycle. "And I guess old
Sandy ain't made no mistake this time. He's caught the banshee!"
"Yes, sir," snapped an overgrown boy. "That's what she is. Keepin'
folks awake howlin'!"
Sally clutched Shirley's arm. "See, it's Dol's friend, the actress!"
"Sure enough, the foreign element with a name like crocheting," said
Shirley. "I always knew she would come to grief with that howling.
Girls!" to Jane and the others. "Could we go to the Town Hall and
find out what happens? That's the ghost of Lenox Hall, the woman who
screamed at midnight."
Too astonished to offer comment the girls drifted along with the
crowd, and a break in the ranks afforded just a glimpse of Officer
Sandy with a very tall, fancifully dressed, but very much disheveled
prisoner. She walked along with the officer as if he might have been
a creature of a lower order of creation, but as the boys said,
"Sandy did have her goin'."
And she was the "foreign element," the obnoxious visitor at the
beauty shop, who was so sorely and fatally stage struck that she had
seriously disturbed the peace of decorous little Bingham!
"She would yell right out in the night, like a hoot owl only
fiercer!" insisted one of her followers. "And she ain't safe to be
loose with a habit like that."
"Defyin' the law and disturbin' the peace," growled Sandy. "I've had
a warrant for that noise ever since it scared old Mrs. Miner into
fits and she was took to the horspittal on account of it."
"City folks is all right in their place," squeaked a thin little
woman, one of the very few women in that crowd, "but if that kind is
allowed to run wild over our quiet home towns, I say what is Bingham
comin' to?" Queer noises without words gave answer.
The Wellingtons, with other followers, were now almost in front of
the Town Hall, when the victim of this country prejudice espied
"There is someone who knows me!" she cried out. "Ask that young lady
and she'll tell you I'm a legitimate actress, and that I came out
here to have room to practice!"
Shirley "ducked," as Judith put it, but Sally, more sympathetic,
offered to interfere.
"Don't," begged Jane. "We were at this court only a short time ago.
We don't want to wear out our welcome. Come along, girls; I, as
junior, am responsible for getting you back on time. Come along."
"Yes," said Shirley bitterly. "Do come along, girls. That's about
the way this lady left me when my horse threw me off on the hill.
She was not anxious about me then and I guess she isn't as much in
danger now as I was at that time," and when Officer Sandy piloted
his charge in before the recorder, the doors were closed and the
hearing was made private.
Once more Shirley had the center of the stage--a position she loved
when it entailed the telling of a thrilling story. And at last the
ghost story "was ripe," as Jane expressed it.
"Tell us," she demanded, without regard for the race to college
during the telling, "who is that woman and what do you mean by
calling her the ghost."
"She's an actress," declared Shirley, "that is, she thinks she is,
and she has lots of money and a poor head for managing it. In fact,
I have always thought her erratic. You see," went on Shirley,
supporting herself by "linking" into the accommodating arms
extended, "Dol Vin fetched her out here from the city so that she
could practice her howling. She was cast for a part with a wild
scream in it, and every time she attempted to practice someone
interfered, the police usually."
"No wonder," interrupted Jane. "Why couldn't she stick to the
theater for rehearsing?"
"Her own idea," went on Shirley, importance of the occasion echoing
in her tone. "She wanted to get it down pat and startle her manager
into starring her. It seems a great deal depended on that frightful
scream and she kept at it every chance she got." Here the girls
threatened to outdo the "lady of the scream," but rough walking
checked the attempts. They also realized her fate.
"But how did she get the chance to go up in Lenox attic?" asked
Dozia when her voice could be heard. "As I suppose it was she who
ripped out that terrifying yell---"
"That I rang the fire bell to cover," put in Sally gleefully.
"And that the fire department wanted to turn the hose on," chimed in
"Now let me tell it," demanded Shirley.
"Please do," insisted Jane.
"Well, she had more than a scream to put in her important part, so
she said! She had also to do some wild acting and Dol Vin is
responsible for the idea of Madam Zwachevsky---"
"Oh, spare us," cried Jane. "That sounds like an epidemic."
"It's the name she wastes ink on, but I will spare you girls.
Hereafter she shall be Madam Z," agreed Shirley.
"Oh, hurry! Shirley," entreated Dozia. "Here we are at the Cedars,
and we never could wait for the rest of that story until after
"I'll rush it through, but Sally, do stop pinching me," she teased,
just to make Sally run on ahead in contradiction. "Well, Dol Vin
didn't want that racket around her shop, so I suppose she told Madam
Z to try it on Lenox," continued the raconteur. "They both insisted
it would be a wonderful hazing stunt, and that no college freshman's
life was complete without a lively ghost scare. I didn't think it
would be more than a lot of fun, so I promised not to tell,"
They were at the very gate now where the girls had no choice but to
separate in preparation for the evening meal, but it was wonderful
how quickly the food was disposed of and how soon they were back
again in Jane's room for the conclusion of the ghost story.
Jane and Judith could not but notice satisfaction glowing in the
freshmen's manner when they were invited into the junior's room.
This had been one of Shirley's ambitions, and she did not hide her
pleasure at its fulfillment. And if she and Sally felt any qualms of
conscience for their own small part in the tragedy of Madam Zeit was
entirely covered by the eagerness with which the girls hailed the
"We both insisted at first that she should not dare come on the
campus---" began Sally.
"Now, Kitten, I'll take all the blame," interrupted Bobbie. "Land
knows, you made fuss enough. Cried---"
"Well, you did," insisted Bobbie, "even went into hysterics. But I
thought it would be a lark, although really I had no idea the
creature would ever find her way up there. I don't see how she did.
We had no part in her getting in," she explained eagerly.
"Dol Vin knew all about the attic," declared Janet Clarke. "She was
always prowling about there for theatrical stuff; don't you
remember, Jane, how she frightened the girls one night with some
foolish prank when she was dressed like a bear or something worse?"
"Oh, yes, of course I do," recalled Jane. "And she did continually
hunt around Lenox, although she belonged with the sophs."
"That accounts for it then," finished Bobbie. "I am willing to
confess that I conspired to hide the crime, but I took no part in
planning it. Little Kitten almost died of fright during the whole
thing, but I thought it a lot of fun to hear the chains rattle, and
I hunted up stories to match. But I was not in Lenox the night of
the grand finale when she actually tried out the big scream."
"Well, no wonder the poor babes were scared blue," said Judith. "And
Jane, you can now tell all about your discovery of the old dumb-
waiter under the tower. That will make the story complete."
"Don't let any more girls in here," ordered Dozia, for knocking at
the door gave warning of an influx. "There is no need to give
everyone this private hearing. We might want to make a real story of
it for the 'Blare'--our holiday edition just needs a live feature
like this." So the taps were "deflected" and Jane recounted her
story. She told it so graphically that by the time she reached the
"big, black hole, and the groaning ropes of the old dummy" the girls
were howling and tumbling around in a pretty good imitation of Madam
Z herself. They shuddered, acted the spook, and Judith proclaimed
something like the old "Curfew shall not" in her swing out the
window that she imagined went with the wild night's terrors. This
detail of Judith's upset things some, for she fell off the couch
(her pedestal for the tragic act), and although she rebounded
quickly there were squeals and protests from "toes and fingers."
Sally's eyes were like two twinkling blue stars during all this.
Jane and Judith, more than any of the others, guessed correctly what
a relief this hour of fun had brought to her tortured mind. And to
think there was no blame, not even criticism! What is there more
delightfully elastic than the mind and the heart of the young
"And I'll tell you how this same lady induced me to put on those
foolish togs and hire the friskiest horse at Clayton's," further
volunteered Shirley. She evidently thought if that much had been
good a lot more would be a lot better. So she allowed herself to
rock a little in Jane's cozy chair while she told of a bet--yes, she
had actually fallen so low--she did bet five dollars that she could
ride any horse in that stable. Again the girls applauded--there was
danger now in their generous approval.
"And so I could have done it safely if old Zeezie had kept to the
roads. But she wanted to show off on the hill in front of Warburton
Hall," flared Shirley, "and you all know how I made out at that."
Howls, groans and wails answered this.
"And what happened to the five?" asked practical Dozia.
"She never had the courage to collect," replied Shirley, and Jane
then felt the obligation of quickly shifting the subject, for just a
hint of gloom crossed the country girl's face at this point.
"But what about this last episode?" asked Jane. "How do you suppose
Zeezie came into Sour Sandy's clutches?"
"I know how that happened," spoke up Sally, doing her part to
relieve Shirley of the embarrassment that seized her at mention of
her accident. "This so-called actress is really not right mentally.
I know it, but, as Bobbie says, she has lots of money, so of course-
"Dol Vin snapped her up," said Judith.
"Yes, and you know the Rumson place? That old stone mansion right in
the heart of the country folks settlement?" (They all knew the
Rumson.) "Well, I believe she has been going out there every
afternoon to rehearse. She would drive out in a hired car and
dismiss the man. Then she raved around and did so much loud talking
to herself, and even screaming, that the whole neighborhood was up
in arms. I heard the other day the folks around Rumson had called on
the police to stop the nuisance."
"No wonder they would," agreed Jane. "The children must have been
frightened out of their senses."
"They were," went on Sally. "So I suppose old Sandy just set his
trap for her--"
"And snapped it tonight," concluded Jane. "Well, I must say she was
a character. And to think we all missed the open air performance!"
"And to think you and I let her escape from Lenox, Jane, the night
of the alarm."
"What a shame we didn't know she was making her exit by way of the
"But in that awful dark place," put in Janet with an appropriate
"Oh, she was just armed to the eyes with flash lights," Shirley told
them. "I never saw such an outfit as that tragedy queen sported."
"Oh, woe is us!" cried out Judith, so loudly that a pair of hands,
one from Jane, the other from Janet, was clapped over the unruly
mouth. When she promised to speak lower she was allowed to proceed.
"But think of missing the court room scene! I am sure she went
through a Lady Macbeth act and tried to stab poor old Sour Sandy!"
Again the spontaneity of Dozia illustrated the talk, and she made a
jab at Jane with the latter's riding crop.
"And then think of the fun of actually hearing her give the famous
screech as exhibit A?" put in Jane. "What a pity they made the
"I'll explain that," condescended Janet, who, having no story to
tell, needed some outlet. "You see, they arrest people here in
Bingham just to keep things going, and have the officers do
something besides draw their pay envelopes, so Sandy took in Zeezie
as his quota of service for December."
"And I suppose I filled that requirement for November," recalled
Judith, with a disdainful pucker.
"Take care YOU are not listed next, Dozia," warned Janet. "You do
talk very loud at times. Woke me up last night."
Shirley arose and glanced at the little gilt clock.
"I guess we little 'uns will have to cut this lovely party," she
said politely. "We really have a lot of things to do tonight. And
who hasn't for the dance?"
"We will walk over with you," volunteered Jane. "Judy and I always
take a stroll before we start cramming."
"Which is just about equivalent to saying we may vamoose," said
Dozia. "All right, stroll along, the ghost is safe tonight, at any
"And if she gets off with a fine I suppose she will be on a train
for New York before morning," concluded Sally, with a satisfied
quirk of her yellow head.
Outside the hall Shirley and Sally almost smothered Jane with
"I thought I would die!" cried Shirley, "but the steely fire of your
eyes, Miss Allen, kept urging me on. And now I have at least told
all that hateful story!"
"I could hardly sit still," gasped Sally, holding tightly to Jane's
friendly arm. "It was like a play, but I was so ashamed--"
"Ashamed! I was never more proud of two girls in all my life,"
declared resourceful Jane, with unmistakable sincerity. "Why, you
both had the girls fascinated--"
"You had them hypnotized," insisted Sally. "It is really wonderful
to be popular among such a set of girls," and her voice just touched
a tone of regret.
"Indeed, we all have to share honors with you two entertainers,"
said Jane positively. "You see, the girls first of all want a good
time, and if you help provide that legitimately, of course, you can
count on polling a heavy vote in any popularity contest."
"Jane Allen is no monopolist," said Judith significantly. It was
obvious Jane was determined to share honors with the two bewildered
freshmen. That was her way of making things pleasant.
"Now run along and get your togs ready for the dance," said Jane,
"and be sure to give me a lot of dances with Teddy!"
"Teddie!" sang out the two freshmen.
"Why yes, your nice brother, Ted," said Judith innocently. "We heard
he was coming--"
"And we found a piece of paper long ago," added Jane gently, "that
bore the name Ted. It was in the attic, and we dug it out of the
"You didn't!" exclaimed Shirley, in a tone that meant "You don't say
so!" She stopped short in her tracks. "And that was the letter we
never got, Kitten. Zeezie had been entrusted to deliver it and she
claimed she lost it." Shirley could hardly speak distinctly--emotion
seemed to choke her.
"Oh, can we have it?" asked Sally, her trembling lips telling on the
"Right here," replied Jane indifferently, taking a small white slip
from her blouse. "I have wanted so much to give it to you, but there
never seemed to be a real opportunity."
It was Sally who put out her hand.
"I think it is for Shirley," interposed Jane.
"Give it to Kitten," said Shirley. "We have no secrets from each
"But Ted and the dance?" asked Judith, not to be put off on that
"Oh," faltered Sally. "Of course we will hand Ted around." She had
not quite recovered from her surprise at the finding of the long
lost letter. "And, Miss Allen, please, whatever happens, don't let
anything spoil tonight--"
"I won't, certainly not," replied Jane, as the freshmen broke away
The night of the dance had come, than which Wellington could produce
no more momentous occasion. For days the students had been
decorating Old Warburton Hall, stripping their own rooms to the
point of desolation to pile their banners, their flags, and even
their mandolins around the big hall, in artistic and effective
settings from ceiling to the smallest nook around the chimney corner
windows. Judith and Jane were responsible for the "Bosky Dell"
created around the Inglenook. Here the mandolins were cluttered, and
about the walls were such artistic woodiness as branches of bright
red berries, then sprays of dark gray bayberry, glowing sumac, deep
brown oak leaves, and this applied foliage provided the "Bosky" for
the juniors' pretty dell.
All college departments shared the honors of decorating, each
depending upon its originality to outshine the others, so that now
when all was finished and the students drew apart to decorate
themselves the atmosphere fairly vibrated with expectancy.
Under the eaves in Sally's room she and Bobbie were putting on
finishing touches. Too full of youth to give place to regret, these
two freshmen were keyed to the full pitch of the big, jolly, gleeful
"Can you imagine us going, and bound for such a good time?" said
Sally, while Bobbie fluffed the maline butterfly from her
"Like a jolly time at a funeral," replied the other, her tone of
voice softening the comparison.
"Dear me, must we really leave?" sighed Sally. "I have been hoping
for a miracle."
"So have I, Kitten, but we have had a couple of miracles lately and
it wouldn't be fair to overwork the fairies. There, you look just
like a golden butterfly. Oh, really, Kit, you--are--a dream!"
Bobbie was responsible for the color scheme adopted by her chum, and
its success was just now rather inadequately reflected in the
conventional mirror that formed a door to the narrow wardrobe. Sally
was gowned in gold and white, and the gold of her hair completed the
"dream." A big yellow butterfly she was indeed, with the sleazy,
clinging, white draperies wound around her slender form, then the
wings of golden maline pinioned on either softly rounded shoulder.
Sally was a perfect little beauty, and also possessed that whimsical
manner so attractive in this delicate, fragile type.
"How do I look, anyhow?" asked Bobbie, and the "anyhow" betrayed her
"Don't you really know you are stunning?" replied Sally. "Bobbie,
your height and figure are in such splendid accord with that
American Beauty! Whew, girl! I can see who shall charm the partners
"Do I honestly look--well?" persisted the other. "I wish my hair
were long enough to turn up."
"I don't. It is so becoming in that halo just as round as a crown,
and more curly every minute. If all misfortunes really have their
compensations, then, Bobbie, put down the curls opposite your
The big girl peered closer to the mirror. She never could be vain
but just now she might be pardoned a flicker of satisfaction. She
did look well, the American Beauty satin made such a startling
background for her peculiarly true American type.
"Now, if we are all primped and preened, suppose we rehearse," said
Bobbie, powdering the last finger of her left hand to a finish. "You
are sure Ted has his lesson all clear and that our--masquerade will
not be spoiled?"
"He was just wild about the lark, and wrote a whole page of
effusions such as boys always indulge in," replied Sally. "He says
he may stick to Barrett for a name, it has such a twangy sound,
whatever that may mean; and he also promised to be led by us even to
the extent of breaking his own gay heart."
"Nice boy. I hope our little skit won't spoil his fun. It is just
for that, you know, little chum, I have agreed to postpone my
flight. But be sure of one thing--I shall fly before I ever face
that wonderful crowd of girls we were with last night, after the
"Does it all seem so hideous still?" asked Sally. "I have felt as if
some of the black horror were wearing off."
"Mine is turning green--a dark, dark moldy green of envy. Why didn't
I know four months ago just a few of the precious things I see so
vividly now?" Bobbie sat down at the risk of spoiling some of her
preening. Also she ruffed her long (now well cared for) fingers
through her short hair with distracting indifference, but not a
ringlet showed any ill effects, each fell back on her broad, low
forehead in its original place, without a kink of disorder in the
"I have learned more than the Wellington course offered," said
Sally, "and one thing I am now sure of. Our small towns may offer
advantages in freedom and security, but they restrict us in a choice
of friends and companions. How could we possibly have guessed that
the very girl and her group we expected to antagonize should be our
"I don't quite get your flow of words, Kitten, but I do agree with
their meaning. Yes, small towns can turn out gigantic specimens of
conceited ego. And that conceit is like a paraffine coating; air
tight against personal progress, absorbent for the poisons of
jealousy and envy. There, that sounds as if I have learned a little
English, doesn't it? But it isn't enough to face Miss Robert's
"It's after eight. There are the girls slamming doors in the first
jazz number," said Sally. "Come along, Bobbie, and smile your
warmest. Then we shall defy fate for a few more happy hours at
Swallowed up immediately in the swirl of young students heading for
the dance "Kitten and Bobbie" were presently on the high road to
defying fate as per schedule. The music from the dance room was just
feeling its way out of brilliantly lighted windows, and the grand
old campus seemed very proud of itself indeed, as it stretched out
and made a background for the entire picture.
Flocks of automobiles were nestling along the drives, and many a
Wellington heart skipped its regular beat at the preliminary
"I wonder if he came yet?"
From companion colleges the boys were making their way into old
Wellington, and the students of Yorktown were apt to be especially
plentiful. It was from this big college that Ted Barrett--alias Ted-
-somebody's brother, was expected.
In contrast to the usual line for receiving, such as so often makes
a farce of the formal social event, the seniors and juniors had
formed themselves into a ring that surrounded the entrance, and
through this ring each guest was forced to pass in at one end and
out at the other in initiation to Wellington. Jane was chosen to
form one "clasp" of the circlet, with two tall seniors at her side.
She gave the welcoming pass-word for the juniors, and in her hand
clasp delivered the secret sign.
As the girls from Lenox entered, the eyes of our two special friends
immediately sought out Jane. Not even the possible presence of Teddy
offered a distraction, for it seemed now as if their fate rested
more fully than ever in the hands of the girl whose father had given
them the much abused scholarship.
"How sweet!" breathed Sally. "Like a pansy."
"Exactly," answered Shirley. "Did you ever see anything prettier?"
Jane's appearance supported this flattery in every detail. She wore
a flowered frock, georgette with pansies sprinkled over it, and in
her coppery hair a small bunch of the same velvet flowers was
clustered. Among all the others this flowered gown seemed
distinctive, although Dozia in her ruffles (to cut her height), and
Judith in her sea foam green (to give her color), were indeed highly
The indescribable jazz music was see-sawing in and out of harmony,
and if there were anything actually shy on the score it was more
than plentifully supplied by the "ukes," mandolins and banjos of the
visiting college boys.
Sally and Shirley had scarcely crossed the circle and were melting
into the crowd, when someone tapped Sally on the shoulder.
"Teddy!" exclaimed both girls at once.
"The same, your obedient coz," replied the good looking young
fellow, eager to show at once how well he had learned his lesson.
"Come over here," breathed Sally. "I am just dying to speak to you."
"No fair," cautioned Shirley. "Don't forget your lines, Kit."
"Say, girls, tell me," implored the youth, letting his critical eye
scale the crowd of pretty girls, "what's this your name is? You're--"
"I'm Sally," she replied, twinkling prettily, "and this is Shirley,"
"Shirley?" he echoed increduously.
"Yes, and please don't ask any more questions just now, Cousin Ted.
I have promised to introduce you to half of Wellington." This was
said so that more than one girl standing near overheard; one was
Nettie Brocton and she quickly took the cue.
"Just look at that?" she said to Ted Guthrie. "Sally acts as if the
Teddy were her especial cousin."
"Yes, and Shirley is all but blushing."
"Queer," commented Ted Guthrie.
Presently the music suggested a One Step and without waiting for
further coaxing Shirley and the handsome Ted floated out among the
He was handsome, and, although that fact seems trite just here, it
may better be known and reckoned with. He was tall, light, nimble
and flexible as a young birch, as he swayed in and out leading the
"Guess I'll have to call you Bobbie, too," he said in his partner's
ear, after more than one girl had pointedly called out, "Hello,
"Yes, do, please," replied Bobbie. "I am getting so accustomed to it
I rather feel it is really mine."
"Suits you splendidly," said Ted, with a boy's idea of compliments
being put on thick at dances. "And I am sure I would give the game
away if I ever tried on the Shirley."
Bobbie acquiesced just in time to feel Judith Stearns' black eyes
demanding to know Teddy. The dancers stopped, and after an
introduction Bobbie was swept off her feet by a new partner, while
Judith glided off with Teddy.
"Where is Sally?" asked Judith, not seeing the little butterfly on
"Sally?" repeated the bewildered Ted. Then he recovered himself.
"Oh, yes, Cousin Sally. She's just over there," pointing to Jane's
"Bosky Dell" in a far corner.
"Your cousin?" repeated the shrewd Judith.
"Yes, little coz, I allus calls her," he lisped, to cover any
possible attempt at piercing his disguise.
"But she said she was not related to Bobbie?" persisted the
"She isn't," frankly offered Ted. "She is only related to me. Oh, I
say, Miss Stearns," he broke off. "Who's the golden girl over by the
"I knew it," trilled Judith. "No one could possibly miss her. She's
"Jane Allen!" he almost interrupted. "She whose pater is a
benefactor of Wellington?"
"Yes, the only Jane," answered Judith glibly. "Come over and meet
her. I know you will like her even better on acquaintance. I don't
mind being generous, for Jane and I started together here, and from
present appearances we seem liable to end it together."
While she spoke they had ceased dancing, and Judith fancied she just
caught a look of question on the young man's face. This coupled with
his inquiry about Jane's father, Judith at once assigned to his
knowledge of the scholarship Bobbie had obtained. But even that was
not just a correct guess, and it seemed the actual presence of this
good looking boy from Yorktown threatened to add new complications
to those already surrounding the mysterious freshmen.
Both reached Jane's side as Judith and her partner came up. Judith
presented the much talked of "lovely Ted" and perhaps a part of
Jane's ebullition was attributable to the code shot out from
Judith's flashing eyes. It said plainly:
"Now isn't he lovely? I told you so!"
While Jane remembered her own wish:
"I hope he's big, clumsy, ugly, etc.," and of course he wasn't.
He claimed the dance and presently swept the Golden Girl from her
place in the little circle.
"Your cousin?" questioned Judith with a very comprehensive smile.
"Bobbie, I never saw a girl blush as you did when a coz whispered
into her dancing ear."
Wise, discerning Judith!
Bobbie blushed again, but she was not going to be tricked into
telling her secret. Her eyes flickered until they rested on Nettie
"I must ask Net for a dance," she said. "I suppose it is perfectly
proper for a mere freshie to do so?"
"Absolutely," replied Judith, "but you are not slighting me?"
"Not for worlds, Judy. May I have the next?"
"What's your hurry just now Bobbie? Trying to duck me?"
But a sly glance of challenge gave Judith answer, as Bobbie hurried
away to dance with Nettie Brocton.
KING PIN OF THE FRESHIES
Music and laughter, youth and happiness!
What a splendid affair the dance turned out to be! Even the staid
faculty, acting as patronesses, looked on with generous smiles of
As if to add to the gentle flame of curiosity in Jane's circles, she
accepted a number of dances from Teddy--in fact the big fanciful "T"
which Jane remembered so well in the spook letter, was scribbled all
over her dancing card, while Judith accepted Ray Mann, a chum of
Ted's, in complacent substitution. Ray was a capital fellow, with
such a stock of chestnut hair he might have matched up pretty well
with Bobbie, if her spare time had not been so filled in with Dave
Jordan, also a "Yorktown man."
Wellington had a reputation for this one big social event, the
invitations for which were always censored by a committee of the
officials, each boy accepted being socially vouched for by the
patronesses. This was as near as the old college would go to co-ed
functions, and perhaps the fact that these young girls were always
left to themselves for good times (except at the big dance) gave
added zest and novelty to the pre-holiday event.
All went merrily indeed, except that Jane was almost lost in
bewilderment before she and Teddie had finished out two dances
(halves) and one "sitting out" in the Bosky Dell.
Who was this boy's relation? she wanted to know. And why did Sally
so promptly surrender him to all other partners? Sally danced so
gracefully, and they seemed to step together as dancers do who have
learned at the same functions, yet she did surrender him willingly.
Jane dragged Judith out of the din, and after fortifying herself and
her chum with two drinks of fruit punch, she dragged her further
into semi-seclusion in the cloak room.
"What do you make of it?" asked Judith fairly twittering with
"That is what I wanted to ask you," replied Jane, swirling her scarf
over her shoulders to tame down a frolicsome little breeze that
danced to the jazz music stealing in the cloak room. "There is a
positive mystery about all this. Can't you see how much Ted Barrett
looks like Sally Howland?"
"Of course I can," replied Judith. "But surely that letter said
'sister' and was written to Shirley."
"And he is not in any way like Bobbie."
"No, and Bobbie is as shy as a baby when speaking with him." Jane
bit her lip in serious reflection.
"But isn't he very nice?"
"Lovely manners and a very takable boy," admitted Jane. "And say,
Judy, I love this mystery, but we can't let the freshies beat us at
it. Be sure you keep your eyes and ears open and report anything--
"Glad to," Judith accepted the commission. "But don't you like my
"Couldn't help it," said Jane affably. "Of the two boys I like Ray's
hair best. It's so--smoky."
"And Jane! Have you seen who Dozia is lugging around? That awfully
big boy, the football giant of Yorktown."
"Makes Doze look small by comparison, and that's an achievement,"
said Jane. "There's my dance with Nettie Brocton. It would be
dreadful if we forgot to take care of our own little playmates.
Isn't everything going lovely?"
"Nothing could be improved upon unless it be Miss Robert's hair.
That's a bit lopsided."
"But her feather fan is a gem," said Jane, moving toward the dance
"So is her back comb," laughed Judith, as the chums drifted apart
among the dancers.
A waltz encore was just then being demanded. The dancers stood about
clapping and insisting upon a repetition of the number. Jane and
Judith waited a moment before their partners espied them, and as
they lingered they heard the girls commenting on Sally. She was,
indeed, a charming figure as she stood out there with her partner,
who happened to be Ted; and it was Inez Wilson who most particularly
noticed the two dancers in the center of the floor. She seized
Jane's hand and whispered:
"Oh, Jane, just see how much Sally looks like her partner!"
"Yes," put in Janet Clarke, "they even have the same pose."
"Cousins," said Jane simply, as she and Nettie swung out into the
The resemblance was very remarkable and standing with the tall boy
in his "Tux" the girl in her butterfly gown made quite a charming
little picture. Their isolation at the moment, standing well out on
the floor almost alone at the end of the "first half," gave them
somewhat undue prominence, but it also gave everyone a splendid
opportunity of seeing Ted and of admiring Sally's evening frock.
When the number ended a group of freshmen cornered themselves in a
window arch and promptly set about whispering some plans. Nellie
Saunders was leading, and she declared Sally was the one to make the
presentation. Presently a committee of seniors joined them, and the
purpose of the secret session became evident.
Miss Rutledge, dean of Wellington and beloved mother of the entire
flock, was to be presented with a glorious bouquet of golden
chrysanthemums and Sally Howland, the pet freshman, had been voted
by her class the one to do the public honors.
"Where is she?" asked Anne Morley, the senior, waiting to complete
"Just finished dancing," volunteered Nellie. "I'll go get her."
"When the orchestra plays 'Wellington,' that's your cue," said Miss
Morley. "The senior class president will make her speech and you
freshmen then send up the flowers. Be sure you do it promptly, as
the speech has the flowers planted in it," finished the tall,
capable senior, leaving the younger girls to carry out her orders.
Nellie was back with Sally immediately.
"Here she is, and doesn't her gown go wonderfully with the golden
ball chrysanthemums?" panted Nellie.
"Just like a picture," exclaimed Dolly Lloyd. "Be sure you carry
them like a bride's-maid, Sally. Maybe a long time before you get
"But what is this all about?" gasped Sally, a little bit frightened
at the importance of the great sheaf of yellow blooms propped up in
"You are to present the flowers to Deanie," said Nellie. "You see,
the girls always give her something at this dance, and they choose
the freshies just to act in the capacity of page. You don't have to
say a word," as Sally showed reticence. "A senior makes a speech and
you just walk up prettily with this corn shock."
"Oh, girls, I couldn't," exclaimed Sally tragically.
"You couldn't! Why not?" came a chorus.
"Because--oh, I can't just explain, but won't you please excuse me?"
"No, indeed we will not," declared Nellie. "Just another touch of
that timidity we fought out when you first came. This is an honor,
Sally, and we know whom to choose for it. We know how you stand in
the half year's record," and she proceeded to straighten out the
maline butterfly on Sally's shoulders--no one could seem to resist
"I do appreciate the honor," faltered Sally, "but there is a reason-
-a serious reason why I feel I should decline."
"Wait a minute! I'll persuade her," said Dolly, and in the time
specified she was back in the corner again and had Jane with her.
"She simply has got to deliver those flowers," explained Nellie.
"She matches as if she were dressed for the part. See her yellow
head, her yellow and white gown, the dear little golden slippers;
then the great huge, gigantic bunch of chrysis--we all chipped in
"Miss Allen, please let me off," begged Sally, turning two blue
eyes, overflowing with meaning, full on Jane.
"I cannot go back on a sorority order," said Jane, wondering why she
should. "There's your cue, and Sally, here are the flowers. Bun
along, little girl. There's a dear."
Sally was "running along" in the freshmen's glide, almost hidden
behind the shock of golden balls, before she could further protest.
"Wellington, dear Wellington!" finished the chorus; and then the
senior who was on the little platform by the orchestra, called the
dean forward and in "a few well chosen words" told Miss Rutledge how
much every girl in college loved her.
Dear, gentle, beloved Miss Rutledge! Her cameo beauty was not lost
even in that group of glowing students. She wore her stately
heliotrope brocade, and her perfectly white wavy hair just framed a
face soft as damask, with enough natural warmth of color to defy any
record of years.
Sally glided along with the bouquet, while the dean spoke softly,
gently, in that strangely far-reaching voice peculiar to those who
train for such concentration. Directly Sally placed the flowers in
her extended hands applause broke loose.
What music can compete with the simple inspiration of hand clapping?
And these students knew that score in jazz perfectly.
Finally, Sally turned back again in the little aisle made for her
through the assemblage, and before she had proceeded more than a few
paces Bobbie rescued her.
"Kitten!" she whispered, putting her strong arms about the now
trembling Sally. "How perfectly lovely! Here's Ted. He is too
excited to speak. I have just been trying to restore him."
"King Pin of the Freshies!" Ted managed to orate, seizing Sally's
hand in congratulation. "That stunt is something we fellows miss. If
it were our old 'Shuffles' now, likely we would treat him to a soft
little ball on his renowned pate."
"King Pin of the Freshies!" took up Bobbie. "Splendid! I'll tell
Nellie that and she can chime it in her new class song. Here they
are claiming you, Kitten. Come on and see what's doing in the rear.
Boys"--to Teddy--"not allowed."
"Never are when there's anything good in sight," replied Ted
pleasantly. "Where's that pretty girl--my dance--oh, here she is,"
and he seized Judith for the Drop Step just being inaugurated.
In another hour--how short a time it seemed--the dance was over.
University boys were piling into their cars, and the girls of
Wellington would presently be back again in that cozy, if limited,
little world, all their very own.
What a glorious success it had been! Even the night was perfect, and
now at the happy shouting of "good-byes" the stars blinked down
mischievously, and a busy old moon took time from his science to
send out a couple of searchlight flashes to greet youth on its merry
Ted "Barrett" was saying good-bye to Jane. He made opportunity for
this, although his companions were honking their horn recklessly,
bidding him "come now or stay as long as he pleased."
"Miss Allen," said the Yorktown boy, "I can't help telling you
personally how fine this has been. To have--the girls here, I know
is due to your--special generosity, and some day I hope I'll have a
chance to tell you what it has meant to me. Just now," he smiled
broadly, "those freshies have me bound in their riddle game and I
can't talk intelligently; tongue-tied," he finished.
"I understand," spoke up Jane, smiling herself. "They are a
wonderful team--and I am much interested in both."
"So am I," called out the chivalrous Ted, as he answered an ear-
splitting honk from his chums and rushed out to the big waiting car.
Sally and Shirley were at the steps to see him off, and now Jane
joined them. Ted tossed back a freshman's cap, snatched from the
head of a luckless "stude" who must go all the way to Yorktown
uncapped. He threw the "inkspot" out high in the air, and as it came
down, somehow it managed to come within reach of Jane's outstretched
Promptly she donned it, of course, and the trophy instantly became
an object of excited interest among the retiring dancers.
It was only a very small black cloth cap, and a poor freshman was
now going home with his inadequate hand on a cold head in lieu of
it, but somehow when Jane stuck it on the wall between two
Wellington pennants, the juniors' and freshmen's, it seemed a symbol
of her mystic relationship with the girl who carried the Allen
"I'll leave it here until we can clean up," she said looking
affectionately at the small black spot on the wall. "Then, of
course, it goes to my room."
"Of course," echoed Judith dolefully. "I suppose the ownership of
that puts you in a Yorktown frat."
"Hardly, but it will be a little souvenir of this wonderful night."
Both Sally and Bobbie were beside her now. Their cheeks blazed still
with excitement, and eyes continued the dance even now echoing
through those beam-bedecked walls.
"Wasn't it wonderful?" exclaimed Sally.
"I never thought I could have such a perfect time," sighed Bobbie.
"That's Wellington," commented Jane loyally. "We do everything just
right under that banner," and picking up her little party bag she
was ready to leave for sleeping quarters.
"And do you know what Ted called Kitten when she came down from
presenting the flowers?" teased Bobbie.
"What?" asked Jane merrily.
"King Pin of the Freshies!" replied Bobbie. "Doesn't that sound like
a class yell?"
"I hope it will be some day," said Jane. But Sally's blue eyes were
proclaiming something--something far removed from the honor and
glory promised by her junior sponsor.
And even Bobbie's insistent joking could not dispel that strange
"Sally!" charged Jane, noting her sudden preoccupating, "are you
"Why?" A flush suffused the face just showing the tell-tale lines of
"I sometimes think you two girls are base deceivers," Jane joked.
"You change your cast of countenance as quickly as--"
"Now Janie, you leave our little star alone," ordered Judith. "Seems
to me any girl would be flustered after a first night of this kind."
"Of course," dimpled Jane. "Here, children, please take these
things. I will be held responsible for them and there's no telling
who might take a notion to cover her couch with that lovely silk
They gathered up the precious trophies, flags and scarfs. Then the
lights were out at last.
THE DAY AFTER THE BIG NIGHT.
The flush of success invaded old Wellington. As a whole the place
seemed suffused with a pardonable pride, and as individuals each
girl seemed justly proud of the small part she played in making up
that grand total. Even the big city papers sent out reporters to get
a "good story" of the mid-year dance, and more than one scribe
waylaid the popular girls, pleading for pictures.
Judith Stearns, as sub-editor of the Blare, the college paper, had a
part in giving out this general publicity, and what a joy it was to
describe the gowns of Jane, Bobbie, Doze and lists of others!
Jane was busy dismantling the dance room--the big assembly room in
Warburton--and no classes were to be called for any work during the
morning, so that conditions and students might just slide back into
orderliness and thence to the serious work of finishing the last
Party dresses were packed away by reluctant hands, boxes tied up and
labelled hopefully for the next dance, while heads that had been
curled for the big occasion bore testimony to the skill of many
willing fingers (not a few of the fingers bearing blisters to still
further testify to such achievements), and altogether the atmosphere
was distinctly and decidedly that of the small day after the big
Sally was ruefully tieing up her finery in rather compressed
packages and Bobbie was begging her not to spoil the stuff outright.
"Don't act so suicidal, Kitten. Be brave today for tomorrow we fly!"
"I can't see how you can joke about it," whimpered Sally, bruising
her fingers with a jerk at too strong a piece of bundle cord.
"Really, Bobbie, if I ever dreamed it would be as hard as this to
go, I don't believe anything would have induced me to come." She bit
her bruised finger as well as her trembling lip.
"You don't mean that, Kitten," drawled the indifferent Bobbie, who
had agreed to help pack, although she much preferred "firing things
in trunks" and utilizing packing time out of doors. "You would never
have known the fun we have had here, if you hadn't come, and isn't
it heaps better to pay now than never to have known it?"
"Nothing seems better now--everything is worse, coal black, pitch
dark, bitter, worse," snapped the usually complaisant Sally.
"If I had your talent, wild horses couldn't drag me from
Wellington," said Bobbie seriously. "And I do hope, little Kitten,
that I am not wholly to blame for your unhappy predicament," her
voice dropped to seriousness.
"Now, Bobbie," and the good-natured little Sally smiled through,
"never forget that you really made it possible for me to come here,
and that you--"
"Now, that's enough, Kitten. If you start going back we shall find
ourselves in each other's arms with awfully red eyes--first thing
you know. I still think the miracle will save you, but poor me!" and
she affected a most juvenile boohoo. "I am surely doomed."
"Why don't you try it, Bobbie? You might get through--"
"Not in a thousand years. And suppose I did, where would it land
"In your proper place, in class, of course."
"And have every one know--I couldn't, Kitten. I talk bravely, but
I'm a rank coward at heart. There, the boxes are tied, I hope to
your satisfaction, and it's sweet of you to do the tags. No one
would be able to read the addresses if I wrote them. Oh, me, oh, my!
somehow today reminds me of old Polly Jenkins' funeral. Her
abandoned bedroom looked just about like this," surveying the
disorder of the little room under the eaves.
"Well, you run along and attend to the outside errands; I must hide
the evidences of our flight," said Sally, with something between a
laugh and a sigh. "You may pay all my bills, just say we want to
settle things so we can run off home when the holiday is proclaimed,
then, if you don't mind, just hand this music to Dolly Lloyd."
"Couldn't I kiss a few of the girls for you so as to save time
later?" asked Bobbie in naive sarcasm. "I am so sentimental today I
could hug the very old trees, I do believe. All right, little
sister, I'll go out and do the financial chores, but my head and my
heart are still at the dance," and she hummed herself out with a
feeble dance step--to do the aforesaid chores.
Left alone the blonde little freshman dropped her hands in her lap
and ceased her nervous activity.
"Really going!" she kept thinking, "and I thought the half year
would be endless in its days and hours!" A newly painted calendar-
sample just finished by Nellie Saunders and offered as a model for
Christmas gifts--focused the girl's attention. How dainty, yet how
rugged the deft bit of water color! Trees and landscape all melting
into that big flourish "W" for Wellington! It seemed like that;
everything attractive just now was blended into the college
opportunities, and Sally was about to turn her back on them, for
The housemaid tapped at her door and announced a caller. Hurriedly
gathering up trifles to put the room in a semblance of order, she
hurried down to the reception room, there to confront Dolorez
"Oh, good morning," said Sally, trying to cover her surprise.
"Bobbie has just gone out."
"I met her," replied the visitor, without returning the salutation.
"But I would like a few words with you--if we could be alone."
Sally glanced about at the open doors and continually flapping
draperies: whatever Dol Vin had to say could certainly not be said
in that public room. A coat tree at the door held Sally's tam and
Mackinaw. She got into these and suggested a walk outside.
There was no denying it, Dol Vin was a striking looking girl, and
even her flashy clothes could not altogether disguise her rather
handsome foreign type. Today she wore a big black velvet tam jabbed
rakishly on her black head, a flame colored coat that buttoned
around her tight as a toboggan ulster, and only the deep olive tint
of her face in any way withheld the eye from a criticism of "too
much color." Today Dol's cheeks were not tinted, and the way her
deep set black eyes flashed, further told how angry she was, and how
Scarcely had the girls from Lenox gone far enough to be out of
hearing than she started in on helpless little Sally.
"What are you two thinking of?" she demanded angrily. "Do you think
you can kick out and leave me without warning? Don't you know how
short I am--"
"Miss Vincez," interrupted Sally, "I don't see what possible claim
you have on either of us. The fact is we both feel you have very
much overworked your alleged claim as it is."
"Oh, you do!" and she gripped Sally's arm viciously. "Well, I'll
just tell you, sissy, I fixed it so you both could get in here."
(Sally pried her arm loose and kept at a safe distance.) "I helped
you along, played all your tricks--"
"Stop, please," demanded Sally indignantly. "You know perfectly well
it was against any wish of ours that you brought that crazy creature
in here to frighten the girls sick in the name of sport, hazing,"
declared Sally, her voice rising at each word. "And then, you turned
the same foolish creature loose to frighten all the other children
who might hear her wild voice. How can you dare say to me that such
a trick was ever countenanced by us?"
"Oh, my, really!" sneered the foreigner. "How we have grown! Please
don't bite me with your sharp tongue. As you say, yes, I did turn
her loose, and do you know that now she has been sent away? Put in a
hospital! Bah! It is in an asylum for the crazy" (Dol was very
foreign now), "where the state, this great big powerful state, shall
take all that poor harmless woman's money! Could I not allow her to
live a little when she paid me? But they will kill her and get paid
for the murder! That's the way they treat the poor crazy folks in
their big stone prisons!" she alleged angrily.
"She has been declared insane?"
"Declared insane!" she mocked. "You call it that? Yes, I call it
kidnapped, and poor old Zola was so harmless if they would but let
her scream and play at acting."
Sally was dumbfounded. The woman who had played ghost was really a
lunatic, and this unprincipled adventuress had dared allow her to
get into a place like Lenox, and to go about the countryside without
restraint! Sally felt almost sick at the thought, and having walked
the full length of the hedge-rows she attempted to end the
"If you will excuse me--" she began feebly.
"But I shall not," almost shouted the angry South American. "I know
what this place can do! I know how your spiteful Jane Allen and her
chums got me out--"
"Stop!" cried Sally sharply. "Jane Allen is my friend, and I will
not hear her spoken of in that manner."
"Your friend!" and she sneered like some animal snorting. "She may
make of you a cat's paw to play at her feet, but she shall never be
your friend. If she just knows what you are--"
But Sally turned and deliberately fled from her persecutor. She
could no longer stand the tirade, and nothing that she seemed able
to do or say had any softening effect upon the angry young woman.
Suppose she did meet some of the girls and attempt to tell what she
knew of Sally's secret? Would anyone stand by and listen? Was not
this expelled pupil actually trespassing even to be upon Wellington
It was getting close to the noon hour and studies were to be resumed
after the luncheon period. Students who had taken advantage of the
morning recess to be out at some favorite sports were now returning
in flocks, and Sally quickened her steps to reach Lenox before the
rush of late comers. She turned just once to see if Dolorez was
going through the grounds to leave at the opposite gate, but the
blazing red coat was not in sight.
"She probably knows some other way of leaving," thought Sally,
recalling the uncanny knowledge of the campus secrets that had been
responsible for the entrance of the eccentric Madam Z--.
In the hall Sally met a very much excited Bobbie. "Oh, did she eat
you up? Or put horns on you? Or turn you into a goat?" she began. It
happened that the hallway was clear just then. "Wasn't she furious?
I am so glad I escaped! Come in and tell me all about it."
"Not much to tell," replied Sally, "except that I just turned on her
and defied her. I felt the time had passed for intimidation, and I
told her so."
"Good for you, Kitten," and Bobbie demonstrated her approval. "I
always knew your spunk was just smoldering, ready to burst into
flame at the right moment. Now, I saw the cause of Dol's
disquietude. Her shop is closed, shut up tight, barred windows and a
cute little white sign tacked right under the former artistic door.
The sign reads 'To Let' and it is easy to imagine the crepe hanging
from the knocker."
"She told me she lost a lot--by the arrest of Madam Z, and do you
know, Bobbie, that woman was a real lunatic?"
"Of course I know it. Didn't I ride horseback with her? But they are
all gone now and as the poet says: 'Good riddance.' Come along,
Kitten, and eat grub. That's a function I decline to omit, Dol Vin
or any other threat hanging over my poor bobbed head. Come on, dear,
cheer up! The worst is yet to come!"
"Wait a minute, please do, Bobbie. I just can't think straight. You
know every afternoon now there is an open forum or a class meeting
and I wish we could go before we run into a further danger."
"Oh, no, dearie, don't think of that," cheered Bobbie, strangely
irrepressible ever since the big dance. "You can't tell yet what may
happen. Stay on the burning deck until the fog horn blows, then take
to the life-boats, is my plan of action. I hope we have a
substantial meal right now, for paying up bills and collecting
receipts is painfully appetising. Come on, dear, and smile while the
smiling is good."
"But just suppose Jane or Judy should drop in on us this afternoon
and see the things packed up?"
"Tell them I am eloping, break the news gently and blame it on me. I
feel as if I could stand for any monumental conspiracy that was ever
conspired. I am that experienced in intrigue. Perhaps I'll apply for
a government position in the diplomatic corps. I believe I could
carry it off beautifully, brass buttons, plumes and all. There's
Dolly. Just look at her hair! Like an escaped watch spring."
"Did you meet any little fairy in your walk? Some one who has
promised immunity? You seem tragically jolly?"
"No, not a fairy, nor yet a ghost. This is just my natural reaction.
And while I think of it, Kit," she let the door slam violently,
"don't forget I have not reformed. I positively refuse to be any
better than I ever was; I have simply developed, and outgrown the
antagonistic influence of some defunct ancestors. Oh, how good it
all seems here today? I believe I am glad Dol came and went and took
her particular influence with her. Wasn't it lucky I had called in
my head and that she didn't leave me with one side done and one side
undone? Wonder if we will notice any painfully deserted blondes in
It might be the reaction, but Sally could not help wondering why
Bobbie was in such high spirits. Then she recalled the old saying,
"Too much joy is sorrowful," and hoped her chum's joy would not be
thus rudely transformed.
Judith and Jane were waiting for them at the dining hall door.
"Truants," said Jane, "where have you been? We have been planning to
send a bell boy after you. My famous dad has just written he is
coming through New York and wants to take me and my stepsister home
with me. You know who he thinks bears that relationship to me, of
They knew she referred to the scholarship girl, and Sally looked
dumb while Shirley looked startled.
"Oh, that would be lovely," said Shirley with marked evasion, "but--
"My dad never entertains a but," said Jane, "so I hope, Bobbie, you
will hurry up your plans to come out and ride a real horse on a real
ranch in Montana. Won't she look stunning on a bronco, Sally?"
But the invitation, alluring as it was, did not seem to add zest to
the appetite of Bobbie. It had simply swept her off her trustworthy
feet, and Sally seemed little better. Another corner to escape from!
A SURPRISE IN RECORDS
Holidays, holidays! The air was full of them, and it seemed all the
girls in Jane's group were to spend the big Christmas event away
Jane's letter from her father, that which suggested she bring "the
little country girl" back to Montana with her for the holidays,
seemed like an answer to her own secret wish. She wanted to bring
Bobbie home with her, but very much preferred the invitation would
come from headquarters. Jane, like Bobbie, did not wish to appear
too ingratiating, also she did not want to make the girl feel she
was in any way patronizing her.
The bulletin boards in all "dorms" bore the notice of special
assembly in the study hall, and thither the students were now
"This is where we get all that is coming to us," said Bobbie more
literally than elegantly. "I believe the idea is, we are to know
before we leave, where we will be put when we come back." She was
talking to Sally as they walked out from Lenox.
"Yes, and I wish, Bobbie, we might have escaped it. Think of hearing
all the reports read and not being able to take up our exams?"
"If only we didn't have to take them I would feel better. Of course
you are safe," said Bobbie ruefully.
"Perhaps it is better to have this one last spasm of courage,"
replied Sally, although her whimsical expression did not register
anything "better"; it bespoke the condition as "worse."
The assembly was well filled up when the two conspiring freshmen
took their places as near the door as seats could be found. The
biting wintry air permeated the big auditorium, and when the
restless shuffling of feet had finally come down to a murmur of soft
sporadic shiftings--some girls never could keep their feet still--
then the dean, Miss Rutledge, made her annual announcement.
No girl was ever dropped from Wellington without having first
received due warning, she told the classes; also she announced that
ratings given at this time would afford students opportunity to make
the next half year's plans while at home with their families.
It is easy to guess that many hearts fluttered wildly in anxious
anticipation during this trying moment. But Wellington was always
fair, and no one would be denied a chance to "pull up" if native
ability seemed equal to the trial.
The seniors, almost all self-reliant and assured of their standing,
had little to speculate upon, and their report was quickly disposed
of. In the juniors were many whose standing held interest, but
almost all got off favorably. Ted Guthrie had worked off
"conditions," as had Inez and Janet, one in math and the other in
Greek, but the first half year was pronounced satisfactory for
almost all the students whose names have figured in this little
tale. Jane and Judith were always counted among the lucky number.
It was in the freshmen's ranks that things were sure to happen. Here
were girls just trying out college; some sure to be found unsuitable
for pursuing the higher branches of education, others evidently
capable as to intellect but poorly prepared, and were thus
handicapped with too heavy a burden of "conditions." Again there
were those who had drifted through "High" without much effort, and
relying on this pace had mistaken the very serious work of college
for that of the rather indifferent preparatory work.
Much of this explanation was embodied in Miss Rutledge's statement
to the assembled pupils.
"There is also this to be considered," she said. "Some pupils show
remarkable aptitude in certain studies, and when this is found in
the exact science of mathematics we have reason to feel that the
student will eventually make up other deficiencies, and so keep up
with her class."
"That's for you," whispered Sally to Bobbie with a very broad nudge,
but Bobbie's eyes answered with that look pet animals throw out when
in doubt of a master's exact meaning.
Then, there were cited the highest averages, and the first name
called was that of Miss Sarah Howland! As Miss Rutledge read the
name she looked up from her reports.
"I feel I should add," she said gently, "that Miss Howland has
covered more than the work required, and has the peculiarly well
balanced intellect that seems to feed from one subject to another. I
must congratulate Miss Howland upon her splendid record as a first-
Jane Allen's hands led the applause that followed this, but it was
not ended until the ranks of the freshmen had paid ample tribute to
their star member. Sally was dreadfully embarrassed. She shook her
head in continual protest, but her objection had only the effect of
increasing the acclamation. Finally the dean proceeded.
Bobbie was all but biting her nails in sheer nervousness. After all,
this had required an amount of courage. Her nails pressed into her
palms fiercely. Perhaps it would have been simpler to have avoided
the final reckoning? The girls' names being read gave to her
tingling ears merely a blurred murmur. Yes, Dolly Lloyd would pass:
and there was Margie Winters--Margie was a star in English. Next--
"Miss Shirley Duncan," came the dean's voice, and then she paused.
"Here is a student who has shown exceptional work in mathematics,"
she continued, "and while her preparation for college has been
undoubtedly faulty, her teachers recommend that she continue her
work and apply herself with special tutors for those studies in
which she has been especially deficient."
Shirley was all but gasping, when again from Jane Allen's seat came
the approval of applause.
"She made it," the girls were whispering. "I always knew she was a
wizard at math," insisted Nellie Saunders.
"Bobbie is perfectly all right," declared the wise little Margie
Winters. "It was all on account of her country ideas--"
"Hush," whispered Dolly Lloyd. "We are all more or less from the
country. Do you want to claim the Grand Central Station?"
This set Margie back in her seat--and presently all the "freshies"
had been given their ratings. A few very sharp warnings were
administered, and that a great deal of cramming would have to be
done by some before the mid-year exams, to take place early in
January, was made especially plain by the dean. No one would be
dropped without warning, but the standards of Wellington would have
to be maintained, she concluded.
Little reader, if you expect to get to college begin your "cramming"
now in high school, and let each day's record be such as will surely
make a satisfactory total in preparation. If more students could
only realize this in time!
Assembly was dismissed and the girls surrounded Bobbie and Sally.
Jane and Judith seemed personally responsible for these two
freshmen, and no one could discount the gleam in Jane's eyes when
she squeezed Bobbie's clammy hand.
"Why so--frightened?" she demanded. "Isn't it just wonderful to know
you couldn't break away even though you tried so flagrantly?" There
was a twinkle thrown in with this, and Jane next piled compliments
Never were there two "satisfactory" students so manifestly unhappy.
No one could miss the nervous manner Sally tried so hard to hide,
nor yet the heightened color in Bobbie's cheeks when she flatly
refused to comment on the surprise.
"Queer," observed Dolly Lloyd. "If I turned out satisfactory when I
just waited for my little return home notice, it seems to me I would
at least emit a smile."
Freed from the scrutiny of their companions at last, Sally and
Bobbie bolted for Lenox. It had been a trying ordeal and both felt
its effects too keenly to throw it off at once.
"It's over," eulogized Bobbie, slamming down her hat on Sally's camp
chair and promptly sitting on it.
"Yes, and you ought to be the happiest girl in all Wellington,"
declared Sally, standing limp before the dresser that reflected a
sad little face unobserved.
"I ought to be happy!" repeated Bobbie. "How about you? Ted knew his
guess when he called you King Pin of the Freshies. Sallylun, why
don't you try to finish? Couldn't I help you?"
"You know the conditions, Bob? We went into this together and
together we quit--" said Sally, rather crudely for her.
"It's a shame," grumbled Bobbie. "I just love it all now."
"But you can remain! Even your conditions are assured."
"And as you said we went in together, etc.," said Bobbie.
Jane Allen was at the door before they heard her step.
"Now," she called out in announcement of her presence, "Bobbie, you
have no excuse. Even dad will be delighted, but he couldn't feel as
I do about it. Bobbie, I'm just proud of you!" The dry lips moved
but did not answer.
"Why don't you trust me?" asked Jane flatly. "I know you are
planning something, of course."
"Oh, we do trust you, indeed," declared Sally with quivering lips,
"and we both are too grateful to frame words in expression."
"But you are not quite--confidential," pressed Jane. Her eye was
checking up the hat boxes and other evidences of "house cleaning"
They had positively decided to write her a full explanation to be
delivered after they left. This was finally agreed upon as the one
practical plan and neither would attempt to violate it now. But this
moment, with Jane's affectionate manner as a lure, was indeed a
strong temptation! What might have happened did not happen, however,
for a team of girls burst in at that very minute and put an abrupt
end to the developing confidences.
They descended upon the serious ones with such exhilaration that
even the neatly tied-up boxes were threatened with violence.
"We are going to give a 'Dingus' tonight," shouted Betty, "and you
are not going to spoil it as you did our ghost party. Sally, this
time you two will be left off the committee, then perhaps we can
have our fun without your interference. Not that we wouldn't love to
have you," she hastened to temporize, "but we know how you do duck
our sports, and this time we are bound to put one through. We merely
dropped in to invite you, and if you are not on hand be warned!"
"Be warned that we will drag you from your lair!" threatened Nellie
Saunders. "This is going to be one grand final rally, and we want
above all the two famous members of the clan."
"You may wear your kilts and whitewash brushes," conceded Nellie.
"You should wear a laurel crown, Sally. I suppose next half you will
jump right in junior and skip us poor little sophs, at least I hope
we'll be sophs," said Margie Winters.
Jane managed to hide her impatience, but she was disappointed. She
had expected to draw out the confidence of Sally and Bobbie,
realizing she might help them if she but understood the mysterious
predicament. But there was no chance of further pressing that point,
so she turned and fled, to leave the freshies to their own
particular little affairs.
Judith was anxiously waiting to hear the outcome of her visit, as it
had been planned between them.
"No wiser than when I left you," confessed Jane. "Whatever those two
youngsters are up to I can't sense it nor get them to own up. But,
Judy, just keep a sharp watch out. If they run off it shall be our
joyful ju-ty to run them back. Some of the old Dol Vin nonsense is
still brewing in their childish brains I fear, and it behooves us to
"But why should they want to go now?" puzzled Judith.
"I have admitted I cannot even guess," replied Jane, "but whatever
it is it began long ago and it just ripened now. Keep a watch on
Lenox, that is all I can advise. I hardly know now which of the two
fascinating little creatures I am most in love with. Sally is as
dear as ever, and Bobbie more--compelling. If I had a brother I
should imagine him just about as deliciously rebellious as Bobbie."
Which was saying a good deal for Bobbie when it came from Jane.
"Do you really think they will attempt to run away?" queried Judith,
"There is every evidence of it."
"After everything turning out so beautifully--"
"That's just it. There is some secret behind it all," reasoned Jane.
"I am just as much in the dark as ever."
"Didn't you--couldn't you ask them outright Janie? How dreadful if
they should spoil everything, by acting so horrid! To run away!"
"But we must not allow them to do so," argued Jane. "Surely now that
we are both warned, we ought to be able to forestall any such
"You know now how hard it is to keep track of things over at Lenox,"
faltered Judith. "Not that I wouldn't be willing to sit up nights to
watch those babes, but even at that they could slip off," she
"The freshies are having an affair tonight, that will mean we must
be doubly watchful during the excitement."
"Why not tell some of the other girls, and get them to help us?"
"I should hate to do that," replied Jane. "After all we have only
suspicion; it would never do to start a story like that."
"I suppose you are right," sighed Judith, "but if I thought Dol Vin-
"There is nothing you can't think about Dol Vin, if that helps you
any. But just the same, she still acts the adroit meddler. When I
recall how she tried all last year to spoil our time here--yours and
mine--and now when I see she is making tools of these two innocents-
-" Jane paused from sheer indignation.
"I don't believe the girl is fully civilized," blurted out Judith.
"Of course she isn't, if you mean by 'civilized' being human and
kind and American. I would rather be hot headed and fiery, and have
all the other bad traits I plead guilty of, than to be as smart and
business-like as she is, but have no heart. I honestly believe Dol
Vin has a human motor in place of a flesh and blood heart." Jane was
getting excited now, and she paced up and down quite like a regular
"My poor noodle just thumps with the thinking," confessed Judith.
"Of course I am not willing to take the responsibility of policing
Lenox Hall all night Jane. There must be some other way."
"I positively decline, Judy, to tell the office or ask for official
help. That would be too silly if we have made a mistake," decided
Jane falling into a convenient seat.
Judith did not speak directly. She was loath to cross Jane further,
yet unwilling to shoulder this rather serious responsibility.
"Why not invite both Bobbie and Sally over here and have them remain
all night?" she suggested. "That would be a treat for the--"
"You forget the Lenox girls are having a party," Jane interrupted.
"Then let us break in on the party," followed Judith quickly.
"I agree, Judy, we must keep as close to them for a day at least, as
it is possible to do without actually locking them up. Dear me,
Jude! Look at the time! And I've got to get in some gym practice. My
joints are as stiff as sticks, and I had congested headaches just
from laziness. Coming to the gym?"
"No, not today. My head aches from activity. You have me all swirled
up. Don't mind if I take a rest, do you? Suppose we have to go on
Jane laughed, defying her fears for Sally and Bobbie.
"When I have anything important to do I must be alert," explained
Jane. "Go to sleep if you like Judy, but be ready if you hear me
whistle. It may be a race between the freshies and juniors you
"Oh--hum!" groaned Judith as Jane raced off.
THE REAL STORY
It was just before six o'clock that same evening when Dolly Lloyd
burst into the gym where Jane was exercising.
"They're gone!" she exclaimed. "Sally and Bobbie have left Lenox,
and are rushing to get the six-thirty train. Why do you suppose they
have sneaked off like that?"
"Gone? Are you sure?" asked Jane.
"Positive, we have a note and--"
But Jane heard no more. Snatching up her sweater, she jabbed her
arms into it as she ran, and hardly stopped until she hammered on
the door of the stable where her horse, Firefly, with others were
Jim, the stable-boy, answered immediately, but seemed unable to
comprehend the unseemly haste, as Jane dashed in, loosened the
headstall of her intelligent mount, led him to the path and then
sprang up bareback to overtake the runaways.
Jim stood speechless. That a student should romp off like that in
bloomers too--and without a hat!
And how she was a-going it!
Her hair flew out in a cloud about her head, while Firefly, who was
plainly wildly excited at his unexpected caper, just did as Jane
told him without the slightest regard for lack of bridle or saddle.
Wasn't he from Montana and didn't his mistress train him to go as
she chose without foolish restrictions? Students along the way
looked in amazement at the racing girl, but being Jane Allen some
allowance was made for the caprice.
At the cedars a shrill train whistle warned Jane she had but a few
seconds more to make the little Bingham station, and she promptly
imparted the same message to Firefly.
"We'll make it, boy," she whispered. "Take Janie to the station,
careful--careful--" in that droning, even voice a horse always knows
how to interpret.
There, she touched the back platform, told her horse to wait, and
threw his strap over the livery post; then she hurried to the front
to find her freshmen.
There they were! Bags in hand, standing now as the train was pulling
Jane saw them some seconds before they espied her, and quick as a
flash she had a hand on each of the others.
"Girls," she called, "drop those bags. Where are you going?"
Sally dropped her bag from sheer surprise, but Bobbie had a firmer
"Oh, please, Miss Allen," begged Bobbie tearfully, "don't detain us,
we must go. This is our train."
"If you go you must take me with you--and this way," she included
her gym togs in the statement. "Just be reasonable and rational.
There, let the train go" (it was going). "There are others. But you
just come over to that bench and tell me. What does all this mean?"
There was no time for recrimination. The story so long bound up in
the hearts of these two girls sprung freely to their lips.
"You will hate us both, Miss Allen," stumbled Sally. "But we never
meant to deceive you for so long a time."
"We were silly geese," retorted the impetuous Bobbie, "and I suppose
now, outside of Wellington grounds, we may as well try--to confess.
We have both deceived you! There is Shirley Duncan and I am Sally
"What!" gasped Jane, unable to understand the shifting of names from
one to the other.
"I never won your father's scholarship," went on Bobbie, her voice
trailing evenly over every incriminating word. "Shirley won it and--
"I sold it to her," sobbed the other, eager to have done with the
"Yes, there was no other way. Ted--my brother Ted--had to have two
hundred dollars to get back to Yorktown, and everything seemed gone
when uncle died. I had won the scholarship, to come to Wellington,
but I couldn't leave Ted stranded in his junior year," choked the
"That was it!" exclaimed Jane, leading the girls away from the
tracks, now cleared of the New York express, and guiding them to the
back of the station where Firefly waited proudly. What a relief!
"You rode--that way?" gasped Bobbie. "Without a saddle?"
"Why certainly. It was the best gallop I've had in months. Now,
naughty girls, wait. Sit down. I'm too excited to stand up. You" (to
Sally) "are Shirley Duncan, and you" (to Bobbie) "are Sally
"Yes," replied both miserably.
Then she, whom we must know as the real Shirley, spoke.
"I know it must seem despicable, Miss Allen, but there was dear Ted,
so disappointed, and he was such a splendid student. I could come
here, but he simply had to have that two hundred dollars to go back
to Yorktown." The voice took courage with its tale of loyalty.
"And you are simply a wonderful little girl to have managed it all,"
declared Jane, showing not a single trace of resentment. "It is
actually fascinating--to think you actually exchanged identities!"
"But I had no such laudable excuse," moaned Bobbie. "My folks just
wanted me to go to college--any old college in any old way--and we
always thought dad's good honest money would pave the way. But it
didn't, and I never could pass the exams, so I simply fell into this
from sheer vanity."
"That is not so," expostulated the new Shirley. "Bobbie would never
have dreamed such a thing if Dol Vin did not happen along with her
wonderful plan. You may imagine she was the real brains--of the
"Yes, she taught--a summer gym class at our place," explained
Bobbie, "and when she heard my wail about not being able to get into
college she offered the scheme. At first it did seem abhorrent, but
she glossed it over so--"
"And obtained such a generous commission--" put in the real Shirley.
"Then you see, Kitten here was passed right in on her second exams,
while I sailed in on the exams she took for the scholarship,"
confessed Bobbie, digging her heels in the cinder path recklessly.
"And you both thought this an unpardonable offense?"
"Certainly, we knew every moment we were both hypocrites," blurted
Bobbie. "Kitten has been fairly blistering under the stigma."
"The train is gone," said Shirley the original. "And, Miss Allen,
you are not dressed for this. We will have to go back, I suppose."
Jane had been thinking quickly, in fact her brain had been fairly
churning with the new turn in events. She jumped from the bench and
confronted the downcast freshmen.
"I have it!" she exclaimed. "It is just perfect. Here you two girls
both came in on dad's scholarship, have both made good and are both
now eligible to finish the course. Don't you see how magically it
has all turned out?"
"We don't," admitted Bobbie.
"That's because you don't know how generous Deanie Rutledge can be.
We will go right back and tell her the whole thing and she will, I
am positive, think the matter one inspired by the noble effort you
made" (to Shirley) "to keep your brother in college. Bobbie, you did
want to come to college, that is always a laudable ambition, and
think of the thousands who fail every year?"
"But they don't come," persisted the still doubting Bobbie. "But you
did. And if you WERE a little rebel at first, doesn't that explain
it? Your preparation was all wrong--you heard Deanie say so. Come
on, now, I'll walk and let you lead Firefly, Bobbie. I know it will
be a treat to you to even lead him. Sorry you can't ride in that
"Wait a minute," demanded Bobbie, stopping short, "do you mean to
say, Miss Allen--"
"All right," with a smile. "Do you mean to say, Jane, that the dean
would ever understand and condone all this?"
"What are deans for?" asked Jane, the miracle worker. "I'm just wild
over the whole thing and daddy will want to adopt you both. It is
simply thrilling! You have doubled the value of the scholarship."
"But if we did come back and the girls knew it? Our change of
names?" queried the real Shirley, apprehensively.
"Don't you see how simple it is? We will just explain that you
exchanged identities to try out how one girl could work on another
girl's reputation. That you both intended to go back to your real
selves at the half year--"
"So we did," declared Bobbie. "Shirley was to be transferred to
Breslin and I expected to--withdraw."
"But you don't want to?"
"No," hesitating, "but I can't see--"
"I can. The whole thing is a wonderful story and when we give the
girls the one fact, that you simply exchanged places for a lark, and
then didn't know how to get out of it, that will be enough for them.
Come along there, Firefly, meet my two college chums. And now,
Bobbie, talk to him once in a while, so he will remember you when
you dash over the hills of Montana."
"Sort of--fairy story," breathed Shirley, a little tragically.
"And Teddy is your brother?" asked Jane. "However did he keep the
lark up at the dance?"
"He thought it was only a lark," replied his sister.
"And so it was," suddenly declared Bobbie. "Jane Allen has made it
so and I'm for a full A.B. course at old Wellington! Let gossips do
their worst," and she capered ahead to the playful clip-clap of
Firefly, every step indicating the relief she was experiencing.
"If Bobbie feels that way I am sure I should not hold out," relented
Shirley. "In fact, both Ted and I have our own incomes now. We only
had to wait for an adjustment, but at the time we were simply panic-
stricken. I wanted to pay Bobbie back last month, but have not
succeeded in getting her to take the money as yet."
"I think it is all perfectly delicious!" declared Jane. "Won't Judy
and Dozia just howl? Of course no one need know about the loan. That
is purely a personal matter." (More miracles.)
"Jane," called back Bobbie, "don't you remember how you used to
question that name Shirley? Didn't seem to think it fitted me. Well,
you see how you were right. I should have been plain old-fashioned
"Nevertheless," insisted Jane, "you have proven how well you can
act. Take care we don't cast you for a leading role in some of our
They turned into the campus again, happy in their new-found
security, for what Jane undertook she was sure to accomplish, and
even this complication melted away into a fascinating story under
her skillful guidance.
"Hurry! Hurry!" she prompted, "we must account for this little race.
There's Judy. Run on ahead and tell anyone you meet--tell them we're
coming," she ended foolishly to Bobbie. "Your turn to think."
"Tell them we had a race, and with a good handicap, Kitten won,"
suggested Bobbie, responding quickly to Jane's suggestion.
"But what about all our things? Our hats and coats?" demurred the
"They'll be too interested to notice that detail," said Jane. "I'm
so happy, happy, happy! Run along Firefly--there's Jim waiting. Now,
come girls, after we deliver Firefly to his keeper we are going
right up to the hall--Judy! Judy!" she broke off, for Judith
evidently had not seen them come in the gate. "Over here Judy!" she
shouted again, and this time Judy responded.
She rushed up to the culprits and likewise confronted Jane.
"Don't you three dare to deceive me!" she stormed with good nature
sufficient to hide the girl's evident embarassment. "Where have you
been and what have you been doing?"
"I wouldn't attempt to deceive you Judith," said Bobbie bravely, "we
were running away!"
"Why?" the question was put seriously.
"Because we have both been deceiving you all, and no matter how
generous you two friends try to be, I am at least going to set that
matter straight before the whole college. I am Sarah Howland and
this is Shirley Duncan." She placed her hand on little Shirley's
Judith was dumfounded! They expected she would be, naturally, but
she now stood there speechless.
"Be a good sport Judy," urged Jane, "and help us stage a real happy
ending. Don't you want to jump on Firefly and ride him over to the
"I don't. Why has Shirley become Bobbie?"
Jane wanted to laugh, but Bobbie's face was very serious, and
Shirley's lip was quivering. Jane released her horse and watched him
canter over to the stable.
"We'll all be late for tea, but never mind," she said. "Let us tell
Judy all about it. She'll die of curiosity if we don't. Look at her
"Jane Allen if I knew a big secret I'd tell you," declared the
"Here's a seat; there, now listen," began Jane. "Shirley Duncan
exchanged places on the scholarship certificate with Sally Howland,
that's Bobbie, because Sally couldn't get in otherwise, and Shirley-
"Needed the money," confessed Shirley, insisting on having a part in
"But it was for her brother Ted, you know," interrupted Bobbie
"Is that Teddy your brother? And Bobbie you blushed so when you
danced with him, and I accused you--" It was Judith's turn to talk
quickly now, and she made good use of the opportunity.
Finally something like order was restored.
"You must help us Judy--" pleaded Jane. "I insisted the girls should
come right along and simply tell their story frankly to Deanie. You
know how splendidly she came to the rescue of our friends last
"You need not be afraid to tell her your story girls," agreed
Judith. "In fact I think she'll be just tickled to death to have two
such little Trojans in our midst. But what about the others?"
"Oh, I don't want to face it," faltered Shirley nearly in tears.
"Why can't we withdraw and do as we planned, Bobbie?"
"Because we won't let you," insisted Jane. "Just now you are bound
to feel a little frightened, but if you could see it as I do; as
Judy does," she hurried to add. "I tell you girls the others will
just want to carry you around on their shoulders, they'll be so
proud of you," finished Jane a little breathlessly.
"Carry us around?" questioned Bobbie. "If you hadn't caught us we
would be making pictures of ourselves with our faces pressed to the
damp window panes of that train you hear whistling now," she
declared, with a flash of her natural humor. "Kitten's face wouldn't
be pretty either, if she puckered it that way."
Jane knew the battle was won, now that Bobbie joked and smiled, so
she jumped up quickly and urged them along.
"Come on everyone, there's a light in the office," she said. "We
will just have a few minutes to talk to Deanie."
The girls went back, and when the holiday finally came both freshmen
were hailed as the particular friends of Miss Allen and were to
spend their vacation at her father's ranch in Montana.
* * * * * *
The next volume of this series will sustain Jane's reputation for
unmatched personality in her Wellington record as "Jane Allen:
End of the Project Gutenberg EBook of Jane Allen: Junior, by Edith Bancroft
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