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Title: Jane Allen: Right Guard
Author: Bancroft, Edith
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Jane Allen: Right Guard" ***

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[Illustration: As Right Guard, Jane proved herself worthy of the



Edith Bancroft

Author of Jane Allen of the Sub-Team

Akron, Ohio
New York


Copyright MCMXVIII


Jane Allen, Right Guard
Made in the United States of America



    I  DAY DREAMS                               1
   II  A COUNCIL OF WAR                        11
  III  BAD NEWS                                17
   IV  THE REASON WHY                          27
    V  THE UNKNOWN MISCHIEF MAKER              34
   VI  THE PLOT THICKENS                       42
  VII  AN UNPLEASANT TABLEMATE                 51
 VIII  A HAPPY THOUGHT                         63
   IX  SEEKERS OF DISCORD                      72
    X  A VAGUE REGRET                          82
   XI  REJECTED CAVALIERS                      91
  XII  NORMA'S "FIND"                         101
 XIII  THE EXPLANATION                        111
  XIV  OPENLY AND ABOVEBOARD                  122
   XV  THE RECKONING                          132
  XVI  PLAYING CAVALIER                       140
 XVII  THE EAVESDROPPER                       151
XVIII  DIVIDING THE HONORS                    157
  XIX  RANK INJUSTICE                         167
  XXI  REINSTATEMENT                          197
XXIII  A NEW FRIEND                           224
 XXIV  THE LISTENER                           241
  XXV  THE ACCUSATION                         258
 XXVI  THE STAR WITNESS                       273
XXVII  CONCLUSION                             299





"Come out of your day dream, Janie, and guess what I have for you."

Hands behind him, Henry Allen stood looking amusedly down at his

Stretched full length in a gaily striped hammock swung between two great
trees, her gray eyes dreamily turned toward the distant mountain peaks,
Jane Allen had not heard her father's noiseless approach over the
closely clipped green lawn.

At sound of his voice, she bobbed up from the hammock with an alacrity
that left it swaying wildly.

"Of course I was dreaming, Dad," she declared gaily, making an
ineffectual grab at the hands he held behind him.

"No fair using force," he warned, dexterously eluding her. "This is a
guessing contest. Now which hand will you choose?"

"Both hands, you mean thing!" laughed Jane. "I know what you have in one
of them. It's a letter. Maybe two. Now stand and deliver."

"Here you are."

Obligingly obeying the imperative command, Mr. Allen handed Jane two

"Oh, joy! Here _you_ are!"

Jane enveloped her father in a bear-like hug, planting a resounding kiss
on his sun-burnt cheek.

"Having played postman, I suppose my next duty is to take myself off and
leave my girl to her letters," was his affectionately smiling comment.

"Not a bit of it, Dad. I'm dying to read these letters. They're from
Judith Stearns and Adrienne Dupree. But even they must wait a little. I
want to talk to _you_, my ownest Dad. Come and sit beside me on that

Slipping her arm within her father's, Jane gently towed him to a quaint
rustic seat under a magnificent, wide-spreading oak.

"Be seated," she playfully ordered.

Next instant she was beside him on the bench, her russet head against
his broad shoulder.

"Well, girl of mine, what is it? You're not going to tell me, I hope,
that you don't want to go back to college."

Henry Allen humorously referred to another sunlit morning over a year
ago when Jane had corralled him for a private talk that had been in the
nature of a burst of passionate protest against going to college.

"It's just a year ago yesterday, Dad," Jane returned soberly. "What a
horrid person I was to make a fuss and spoil my birthday. But I was only
sixteen, then. I'm seventeen years and one day old now. I'm ever so much
wiser. It's funny but that is really what I wanted to talk to you about.
Going back to Wellington, I mean. I want to go this time. Truly, I do."

"I know it, Janie. I was only teasing you."

Henry Allen smiled down very tenderly at his pretty daughter.

"Of course you were," nodded Jane. "I knew, though, that you were
thinking about last year, when I behaved like a savage. I was thinking
of it, too, as I lay in the hammock looking off toward the mountains.
Dear old Capitan never seemed so wonderful as it does to-day. Yet
somehow, it doesn't hurt me to think of leaving it for a while.

"Last year I felt as though I was being torn up by the roots. This year
I feel all comfy and contented and only a little bit sad. The sad part
is leaving you and Aunt Mary. Still I'm glad to go back to Wellington.
It's as though I had two homes. I wanted to tell you about it, Dad. To
let you know that this year I'm going to try harder than ever to be a
good pioneer."

Raising her head, Jane suddenly sat very straight on the bench, her gray
eyes alive with resolution.

"You don't need to tell me that, Janie." Her father took one of Jane's
slender white hands between his own strong brown ones. "You showed
yourself a real pioneer freshman. They say the freshman year's always
the hardest. I know mine was at Atherton. I was a poor boy, you know,
and had to fight my way. Things were rather different then, though.
There is more comradeship and less snobbishness in college than there
used to be. That is, in colleges for boys. You're better posted than
your old Dad about what they do and are in girls' colleges," he finished

"Oh, there are a few snobs at Wellington."

An unbidden frown rose to Jane's smooth forehead. Reference to snobbery
brought up a vision of Marian Seaton's arrogant, self-satisfied

"Most of the girls are splendid, though," she added, brightening. "You
know how much I care for Judy, my roommate, and, oh, lots of others at
Wellington. There's Dorothy Martin, in particular. She stands for all
that is finest and best. You remember I've told you that she looks like

Jane's voice dropped on the last word. Silence fell upon the two as each
thought of the beloved dead.

"Dad, you don't know how much it helped me last year in college to have
Dearest's picture with me," Jane finally said. "It was almost as if she
were right there with me, her own self, and understood everything. I've
never told you before, but there were a good many times when things went
all wrong for me. There were some days when it seemed to me that I
didn't want to try to be a pioneer. I wanted to pull up stakes and run
away. I sha'n't feel that way this year. It will be so different. I'll
walk into Madison Hall and be at home there from the start. I'll have
friends there to welcome----"

Jane's confidences were suddenly interrupted by the appearance of Pedro,
the groom, leading Donabar, Mr. Allen's horse, along the drive.

"I've got to leave you, girl." Mr. Allen rose. "I've an appointment with
Gleason, to look at some cattle he wants to sell me. I'll see you at
dinner to-night. Probably not before then."

With a hasty kiss, dropped on the top of Jane's curly head, her father
strode across the lawn to his horse. Swinging into the saddle, he was
off down the drive, turning only to wave farewell to the white-clad girl
on the beach. Left alone, Jane turned her attention to her letters.

Those who have read "JANE ALLEN OF THE SUB-TEAM" will remember how
bitterly Jane Allen resented leaving her beautiful Western home to go
East to Wellington College. Brought up on a ranch, Jane had known few
girls of her own age. To be thus sent away from all she loved best and
forced to endure the restrictions of a girls' college was a cross which
proud Jane carried during the early part of her freshman year at

Gradually growing to like the girls she had formerly despised, Jane
found friends, tried and true. Being a person of strong character she
also made enemies, among them arrogant, snobbish Marian Seaton, a
freshman of narrow soul and small honor.

Due to her interest in basket-ball, Jane soon found herself fighting
hard to win a position on the freshman team. She also found herself
engaged in a desperate struggle to rule her own rebellious spirit. How
she won the right to play in the deciding game of the year, because of
her high resolve to be true to herself, has already been recorded in her
doings as a freshman at Wellington College.

"You first, Judy," murmured Jane, as she tore open the envelope
containing Judith's letter and eagerly drew it forth.

She smiled as she unfolded the one closely written sheet of thin, gray
paper. Judith never wrote at length. The smile deepened as she read:


     "It's about time I answered your last letter. I hope to goodness
     this reaches you before you start East. Then you'll know I love you
     even if I am not a lightning correspondent. I just came home from
     the beach yesterday. I had a wonderful summer, but I'm tanned a
     beautiful brown. I am preparing you beforehand so that you will
     not mistake me for a noble red man, red woman, I mean, when you
     see me.

     "I'm dying to see my faithful roommate and talk my head off. I
     shall bring a whole bunch of eats along with me to Wellington and
     we'll have a grand celebration. Any small contributions which you
     may feel it your duty to drag along will be thankfully received.
     I'm going to start for college a week from next Tuesday. I suppose
     I'll be there ahead of you, so I'll have everything fixed up comfy
     when you poke your distinguished head in the door of our room.

     "I've loads of things to tell you, but I can't write them. You know
     how I love (not) to write letters, themes, etc. You'll just have to
     wait until we get together. If this letter shouldn't reach you
     before you leave El Capitan, you will probably get it some day
     after it has traveled around the country for a while. Won't that be

     "With much love, hoping to see you soony soon,

                                           "Your affectionate roommate,


Jane laughed outright as she re-read the letter. It was so exactly like
good-humored Judy Stearns. She did not doubt that she was destined
presently to hear at least one funny tale from Judith's lips concerning
the latter's pet failing, absent-mindedness.

Picking up Adrienne's letter from the bench, Jane found equal amusement
in the little French girl's quaint phraseology.

     "WICKED ONE:" it began. "Why have you not answered the fond letter
     of your small Imp? But perhaps you have answered, and I have not
     received. _Ma mère_ and I have had the great annoyance since we
     came to this most stupid studio, because much of our mail has gone

     "We have finished the posing for the picture 'The Spirit of the
     Dawn.' It was most beautiful. _Ma mère_ was, of course, the Dawn
     Spirit, allowed for one day to become the mortal. She had many
     dances to perform, and was superb in all. I, too, had the dance to
     do in several scenes. When we meet in college I will tell you all.

     "We shall not pose again in these motion pictures for the directors
     are, of a truth, most queer. They talk much, but have the small
     idea of art. It became necessary to quarrel with them frequently,
     otherwise the picture would have contained many ridiculous things.
     It is now past, and, of a certainty, I am glad. I am longing to
     make the return to Wellington. It will be the grand happiness to
     see again all my dear friends, you in particular, beloved Jeanne.

     "_La petite_ Norma will soon finish the engagement with the stock
     company. We have the hope to meet her in New York, so that she and
     your small Imp may make the return together to Wellington. Take the
     good care of yourself, dear Jeanne. With the regards of _ma mère_
     and my most ardent affection,

                                                         "Ever thy IMP."

Jane gave the letter an affectionate little pat. It was almost as though
she had heard lively little Adrienne's voice. How good it was, she
reflected happily, to know that this time she would go East, not as a
lonely outlander, but as one whose place awaited her. There would be
smiling faces and welcoming hands to greet her when she climbed the
steps of Madison Hall. Yes, Wellington was truly her Alma Mater and
Madison Hall her second home.



"What does it all mean? That's the one thing I'd like to know."

Judith Stearns plumped herself down on Ethel Lacey's couch bed with an
energy that bespoke her feelings.

"It is as yet beyond the understanding," gloomily conceded Adrienne

"You'd better go downstairs and see Mrs. Weatherbee at once, Judy,"
advised Ethel.

It was a most amazed and indignant trio which had gathered for a council
of war in the room belonging to Ethel and Adrienne.

"I'm going to," nodded Judith with some asperity. "I have Jane's
telegram here with me. I just stopped for a minute to tell you girls.
Why, Jane will be in on that four o'clock train! A nice tale we'll have
to tell her!"

"Oh, there's surely been a misunderstanding," repeated Ethel Lacey.

Judith shrugged her shoulders.

"It looks queer to me," she said. "You know Mrs. Weatherbee never liked
Jane. It would be just like her----"

Judith paused. A significant stare conveyed untold meaning.

"She couldn't do anything so unfair and get away with it," reasoned
Ethel. "Jane could take up the matter with Miss Howard and make a big
fuss about it."

"She could, but would she?" demanded Judith savagely. "You know how
proud Jane is. She'd die before she'd give Mrs. Weatherbee the
satisfaction of seeing she was hurt over it. She----"

"Oh, what's the use in speculating?" interrupted Ethel. "Go and find
out, Judy. We're probably making much ado about nothing."

"It is I who will go with you," announced Adrienne decidedly. "I am also
the dear friend of Jane."

"Let's all go," proposed Judith. "There's strength in numbers. If Mrs.
Weatherbee hasn't been fair to Jane it will bother her a whole lot to
have three of us take it up."

Adrienne and Ethel concurring in this opinion, the three girls promptly
marched themselves downstairs to the matron's office to inquire into the
matter which had aroused them to take action in Jane Allen's behalf.

Ten minutes later they retired from an interview with Mrs. Weatherbee,
more amazed than when they had entered the matron's office. They were
also proportionately incensed at the reception with which they had met.

"I think she's too hateful for words!" sputtered Judith, the moment the
committee of inquiry had again shut themselves in Ethel's room.

"She might have explained," was Ethel's indignant cry. "I don't believe
that Jane's not coming back to Madison Hall."

"Jane _is_ coming back to Madison Hall," asserted Judith positively.
"She said so in her last letter to me. That is, she spoke of our room
and all. If she hadn't intended coming back, she'd have said something
about it."

"Of a truth she intended to return to this Hall," coincided Adrienne.
"This most hateful Mrs. Weatherbee has perhaps decided thus for herself.
Would it not be the humiliating thing for our _pauvre Jeanne_ to return
and be refused the admittance?"

"That won't happen," decreed Judith grimly.

"We're going to the train to meet her, you know. We'll have to tell her
the minute she sets foot on the station platform."

"But suppose we find that it's true?" propounded Ethel. "That she
doesn't intend to live at the Hall this year? Something might have
happened after she wrote you girls to make her change her mind."

"There's only one thing that I know of and I'd hate to think it was
that," returned Judith soberly. "You know what I mean, that Jane
mightn't care to room with me."

"That is the nonsense," disagreed Adrienne sturdily. "We, who know Jane,
know that it could never be thus. But wait, only wait. We shall, no
doubt, prove this Mrs. Weatherbee to be the g-r-rand villain."

Adrienne's roll of r's, coupled with her surmise as to the disagreeable
matron's villainy, provoked instant mirth.

Downhearted as she was, Judith could not refrain from giggling a little
as her quick imagination visualized in stately, white-haired Mrs.
Weatherbee the approved stage villain.

"We'll just have to wait and see," declared placid Ethel. "It's after
two now. Let's take a bus into Chesterford and see the sights until
train time. We'll be on pins and needles every minute if we sit around

"I'm going without a hat. I just can't bear to go back to my room for
one. I guess you know why," shrugged Judith.

"It is the great shame," sympathized Adrienne. "I am indeed sad that our
Dorothy has not returned. She could perhaps learn from Mrs. Weatherbee
what we cannot."

"I wish Dorothy _were_ here," sighed Judith. "A lot of the girls haven't
come back yet. I thought I'd be late, but I'm here early after all. Too
bad Norma couldn't come on from New York with you."

"It was most sad." Adrienne rolled her big black eyes. "She has yet one
more week with the stock company. _La petite_ has done well. She has
received many excellent notices. Next summer she will no doubt be the
leading woman. She has the heaven-sent talent, even as _ma mère_."

"Alicia Reynolds is back," announced Judith. "I met her coming in with
her luggage about an hour ago. She was awfully cordial to me. That means
she's still of the same mind as when she left Wellington last June.
She's really a very nice girl. I only hope she stays away from Marian

"Neither Marian nor Maizie Gilbert have come back yet. I wish they'd stay
away," came vengefully from Ethel. "With Alicia and Edith Hammond both
on their good behavior Madison Hall would get along swimmingly without
those two disturbers."

"They'll probably keep to themselves this year," commented Judith
grimly. "It's pretty well known here how badly they treated Jane last
year and how splendidly she carried herself through it all."

"Oh, the old girls at the Hall won't bother with them, but some of the
new girls may," Ethel remarked. "We're to have several new ones."

"There'll be one less new girl if I have anything to say about it,"
vowed Judith. "If there's been any unfairness done, little Judy will
take a prompt hike over to see Miss Rutledge."

"Jane wouldn't like that," demurred Ethel.

"Can't help it. I'd just have to do it," Judith made obstinate reply.
"As Jane's roommate I think I've a case of my own. If Jane has chosen to
room somewhere else--then, all right. But if she hasn't--if she's been
treated shabbily,--as I believe she has been--then I'll go wherever she
goes, even if I have to live in a house away off the campus."



"Oh, girls, it's good to be back!"

Surrounded by a welcoming trio of white-gowned girls, Jane Allen clung
affectionately to them.

All along the station platform, bevies of merry-faced, daintily dressed
young women were engaged in the joyful occupation of greeting classmates
who had arrived on the four o'clock train. Here and there, committees of
upper class girls were extending friendly hands to timid freshmen just
set down in the outskirts of the land of college.

Stepping down from the train Jane had been instantly seized by her
energetic chums and smothered in a triangular embrace. A mist had risen
to her gray eyes at the warmth of the welcome. She was, indeed, no
longer the lonely outlander. It was all so different from last year and
so delightful.

"It's good to have you back, perfectly dear old Jane!" emphasized
Judith, giving Jane an extra hug to measure her joy at sight of the girl
she adored.

"What happiness!" gurgled Adrienne. "We had the g-r-r-r-eat anxiety for
fear that you would perhaps not come on this train."

"Oh, I telegraphed Judy from St. Louis on a venture," laughed Jane. "I
knew she'd be here ahead of me."

"Then you did receive my letter," Judith said with satisfaction. "I was
afraid you mightn't."

"I didn't answer it because I was coming East so soon," apologized Jane.
"I took your advice, though, about the eats. There was a stop over at
St. Louis, so I went out and bought a suitcase full of boxed stuff.
Maybe it isn't heavy! We'll have a great spread in our room to-night.
Who's back, Judy? Have you seen Christine Ellis or Barbara Temple yet?
Is Mary Ashton here? I know Dorothy isn't or she'd be here with you."

As Jane rattled off these lively remarks, her three friends exchanged
significant eye messages.

"Then--why--you----" stammered Judith, a swift flush rising to her

"What's the matter, Judy?"

Jane regarded her roommate in puzzled fashion. She wondered at Judith's
evident confusion.

"Nothing much. I mean something rather queer." Judith contradicted
herself. "Let's take a taxi, girls, and stop at Rutherford Inn for tea.
We can talk there."

"But why not go straight to Madison Hall?" queried Jane, in growing
perplexity. "I'm anxious to get rid of some of the smoke and dust I've
collected on my face and hands. We can have tea and talk in our own room
and be all by ourselves."

"I wish we could, Jane, but we must have a talk with you before you go
to the Hall," returned Judith, her merry features now grown grave.

"What is it, Judy?"

All the brightness had faded from Jane's face. Her famous scowl now
darkened her brow. She cast a quick glance from Adrienne to Ethel. Both
girls looked unduly solemn.

"Girls, you're keeping something from me; something unpleasant, of
course," Jane accused. "I must know what it is. Please tell me. Don't be
afraid of hurting my feelings."

"We're going to tell you, Jane," Judith said reassuringly. "Only we
didn't want to say a word until--until we found out something. But this
isn't the place to talk. Let's hail the taxi, anyway. Then he can stop
at the Inn or not, just as you please. We'll tell you on the way there."

"All right."

Almost mechanically Jane reached down to pick up the suitcase she had
placed on the station platform in the first moment of reunion. All the
pleasure of coming back to Wellington had been replaced by a sense of
deep depression. In spite of the presence of her chums she felt now as
she had formerly felt when just a year before she had stood on that same
platform, hating with all her sore heart its group of laughing, chatting

"Do not look so cross, _cherie_." Adrienne had slipped a soft hand into
Jane's arm. "All will yet be well. Come, I, your Imp, will lead you to
the taxicab."

"And I'll help do the leading," declared Judith gaily, taking hold of
Jane's free arm. "Ethel, you can walk behind and carry Jane's traveling
bag. That will be some little honor."

Knowing precisely how Jane felt, Judith affected a cheeriness she was
far from feeling. She heartily wished that she had not been obliged to
say a word to rob her roommate of the first joy of meeting.

While traversing the few yards that lay between the station and the
point behind it where several taxicabs waited, both she and Adrienne
chattered lively commonplaces. Jane, however, had little to say. She was
experiencing the dazed sensation of one who has received an unexpected
slap in the face.

What had happened? Why had Judy insisted that they must have a talk
before going on to the Hall? Surely some very unpleasant news lay in
wait for her ears. But what? Jane had not the remotest idea.

"Now, Judy," she began with brusque directness the instant the quartette
were seated in the taxicab, "don't keep me in the dark any longer. You
must know how--what a queer feeling all this has given me."

Seated in the tonneau of the automobile, between Adrienne and Judith,
Jane turned hurt eyes on the latter.

"Jane," began Judith impressively, "before you went home last year did
you arrange with Mrs. Weatherbee about your room for this year?"

"Why, yes."

A flash of amazement crossed Jane's face.

"Of course I did," she went on. "Mrs. Weatherbee understood that I was
coming back to Madison Hall."

"Humph!" ejaculated Judith. "Well, there's just this much about it,
Jane. About nine o'clock this morning a little, black-eyed scrap of a
freshman marched into my room and said Mrs. Weatherbee had assigned her
to the other half of my room. I told her she had made a mistake and come
to the wrong room. She said 'no,' that Mrs. Weatherbee had sent the maid
to the door with her to show her the way."

"Why, Judy, I don't see how----" began Jane, then suddenly broke off
with, "Go on and tell me the rest."

"I didn't like this girl for a cent. Her name is Noble, but it doesn't
fit her. She has one of those prying, detestable faces, thin, with a
sharp chin, and she hates to look one straight in the face," continued
Judith disgustedly. "I went over to see Adrienne and Ethel and told
them. Then we all went downstairs to interview Mrs. Weatherbee. She said
you weren't coming back to Madison Hall this year."

"Not coming back to Madison Hall!" exclaimed Jane, her scowl now in
fierce evidence. "Did _she_ say it in just those words?"

"She certainly did," responded Judith. "I told her that I was sure that
you were and she simply froze up and gave me one of those Arctic-circle
stares. All she said was, 'I am surprised at you, Miss Stearns. I am not
in the habit of making incorrect statements.' Adrienne started to ask
her when you had given up your room and she cut her off with: 'Young
ladies, the subject is closed.' So that's all we know about it, and I
guess you don't know any more of it than we do."

"So _that_ was why you didn't want me to go on to the Hall until I
knew," Jane said slowly. "Well, I know now, and I'm going straight
there. Mrs. Weatherbee has never liked me. Still it's a rather
high-handed proceeding on her part, I think."

"If she did it of her own accord, I don't see how she dared. I'm not
going to stand for it. That's all," burst out Judith hotly. "Miss Howard
won't either. As registrar she'll have something to say, I guess. If she
doesn't, then on to Miss Rutledge. That's going to be my motto. I won't
have that girl in your place, Jane. I _won't_."

"I won't let her stay there if I can help it," was Jane's decided
answer. "I'd rather the affair would be between Mrs. Weatherbee and me,
though. If she has done this from prejudice, I'll fight for my rights.
It won't be the first time she and I have had words. It seems hard to
believe that a woman of her age and position could be so contemptible."

"That's what I thought," agreed Judith. "Well, we'll soon know. Here we
are at the edge of the campus. Doesn't old Wellington look fine, though,

Jane merely nodded. She could not trust herself to speak. The gently
rolling green of the wide campus had suddenly burst upon her view. Back
among the trees, Wellington Hall lifted its massive gray pile, lording
it in splendid grandeur over the buildings of lesser magnitude that
dotted the living green.

She had longed for a sight of it all. It was as though she had suddenly
come upon a dear friend. For a moment the perplexities of the situation
confronting her faded away as her gray eyes wandered from one familiar
point on the campus to another.

"It's wonderful, Judy," she said softly, her tones quite steady. "Even
with this horrid tangle staring me in the face I can't help being glad
to see Wellington again. Somehow, I can't help feeling that there's been
a mistake made. I don't want to pass through the gates of Wellington
with my heart full of distrust of anyone."

"You're a dear, Jane!" was Judith's impulsive tribute. "Adrienne says
Mrs. Weatherbee may turn out to be 'the grand villain.' Let's hope she
won't. Anyway, if things can't be adjusted, wherever you go to live I'll
go, too. I won't stay at the Hall without you."

"Thank you, Judy." Jane found Judith's hand and squeezed it hard. She
had inwardly determined, however, that her roommate should not make any
such sacrifice. It would be hard to find a room anywhere on the campus
to take the place of the one the two had occupied at Madison Hall during
their freshman year.

"I'm glad there's no one on the veranda," presently commented Jane.

Having dismissed the taxicab, the three girls were now ascending the
steps of the Hall.

"Better wait here for me, girls, I'd rather have it out with Mrs.
Weatherbee alone," she counseled. "I hope I sha'n't lose my temper," she
added ruefully.

Mentally bracing herself for the interview, Jane crossed the threshold
of the Hall and walked serenely past the living-room to the matron's
office just behind it. She was keeping a tight grip on herself and
intended to keep it, if possible. She knew from past experience how
greatly Mrs. Weatherbee's calm superiority of manner had been wont to
irritate her.

Jane loathed the idea of having a dispute with the matron the moment she
entered Madison Hall. She had begun the first day of her freshman year
in such fashion. Afterward it had seemed to her that most of the others
had been stormy, as a consequence of a wrong start.

She reflected as she walked slowly down the hall that this new trouble,
was, at least, not of her making. She had the comforting knowledge that
this time she was not at fault.



Primed for the momentous interview, Jane was doomed to disappointment.
The matron's office was empty of its usual occupant.

"Oh, bother!" was her impatient exclamation. "I'll either have to wait
for her or go and find her. I'll go back to the veranda and tell the
girls," she decided. "Then I'll come here again. Mrs. Weatherbee may not
be in the Hall for all I know."

"Back so soon. What did she say?"

Judith sprang eagerly from the wicker chair in which she had been

"She is not there," returned Jane with a shadow of a frown. "I'm sorry.
I wanted to see her and get it over with. Where's Ethel?"

"Oh, she forgot that she had an appointment with Miss Howard. She
rushed off in a hurry."

"Mrs. Weatherbee has perhaps gone to make the call," suggested Adrienne.
"Why do you not ring the bell and thus summon the maid?"

"A good idea."

Standing near the door, Jane's fingers found the electric bell and
pressed it.

"Where is Mrs. Weatherbee?" she inquired of the maid who presently came
to answer the door. "Isn't Millie here any more?" she added, noting that
a stranger occupied the place of the good-natured girl who had been at
the Hall during Jane's freshman year.

"No, miss. She's gone and got married. Did you want Mrs. Weatherbee?
She's upstairs. I'll go and find her for you."

"Thank you. If you will be so kind. Please tell her Miss Allen wishes to
see her."

Disturbed in mind, though she was, Jane replied with a graciousness she
never forgot to employ in speaking to those in more humble circumstances
than herself. It was a part of the creed her democratic father had
taught her and she tried to live up to it.

"Wish me luck, girls, I'm going to my fate. Wait for me," she said
lightly and vanished into the house.

"She's taking it like a brick," Judith admiringly commented.

"Ah, yes. Jane is what _mon père_ would call 'the good sport,'" agreed
Adrienne. "She is the strange girl; sometimes fierce like the lion over
the small troubles. When come the great misfortunes she has calm

Re-entering Mrs. Weatherbee's office, Jane seated herself resignedly to
wait for the appearance of the matron. When fifteen minutes had passed
and she was still waiting, the stock of "calm courage" attributed to her
by Adrienne, began to dwindle into nettled impatience.

She now wished that she had not given her name to the maid. It looked as
if Mrs. Weatherbee were purposely keeping her waiting. This thought
stirred afresh in Jane the old antagonism that the matron had always

After half an hour had dragged by Jane heard footsteps descending the
stairs to the accompaniment of the faint rustle of silken skirts. She
sat suddenly very straight in her chair, her mood anything but

"Good afternoon, Miss Allen," greeted a cool voice.

Mrs. Weatherbee rustled into the little office, injured dignity written
on every feature of her austere face.

"Good afternoon, Mrs. Weatherbee."

Courtesy to an older woman prompted Jane to rise. Her tone, however, was
one of strained politeness. There was no move made toward handshaking by

"I was greatly surprised to learn that _you_ wished to see me, Miss
Allen," was the matron's first remark after seating herself in the chair
before her writing desk.

Mrs. Weatherbee's intonations were decidedly accusing. Jane colored at
the emphasis placed on the "you."

"Why should you be surprised?" she flashed back, an angry glint in her
gray eyes. Already her good resolutions were poised for flight.

"I am even more surprised at the boldness of your question. I consider
it as being in extremely bad taste."

"And I am surprised at the way I have been treated!" Jane cried out
passionately, her last remnant of patience exhausted. "I understand that
you have seen fit to ignore the arrangement I made with you last June
about my room. Miss Stearns has informed me that you have given it to an
entering freshman. It's the most unfair proceeding I've ever known, and
I shall not submit to such injustice."

This was not in the least what Jane had purposed to say. She had
intended to broach the subject on the diplomatic basis of a mistake
having been made. She realized that she had thrown down the gauntlet
with a vengeance, but she was now too angry to care.

"_Miss Allen!_" The older woman's expression was one of intense
severity. "Such insolence on your part is not only unbecoming but
entirely uncalled for. You appear to have forgotten that you gave up
your room of your own accord. I reserved it for you until I received
your letter of last week."

"Of my _own accord_!" gasped Jane, unable to believe she had heard
aright. "My letter of last week! I don't understand."

"I am at a loss to understand _you_," acidly retorted the matron. "I
know of only one possible explanation for your call upon me this
afternoon. I should prefer not to make it. It would hardly reflect to
your credit."

"I must ask you to explain," insisted Jane haughtily. "We have evidently
been talking at cross purposes. You say that I gave up my room of my own
accord. You mention a letter I wrote you. I have _not_ given up my
room. I have _never_ written you a letter. You owe me an explanation. No
matter how unpleasant it may be, I am not afraid to listen to it."

"Very well," was the icy response. "Since you insist I will say plainly
that it appears, even after writing me a most discourteous letter, you
must have decided, for reasons of your own, to ignore this fact and
return to Madison Hall. Not reckoning that your room would naturally be
assigned to another girl so soon, you were bold enough to come here and
attempt to carry your point with a high hand. I am quite sure you now
understand me."

"I do not," came the vehement denial. "I repeat that I never wrote you a
letter. If you received one signed by me, it was certainly not I who
wrote it. I am not surprised at your unfair opinion of me. You have
never liked me. Naturally you could not understand me. I will ask you to
let me see the letter."

Mrs. Weatherbee's reply was not made in words. Reaching into a
pigeon-hole of her desk she took from it a folded letter minus its
envelope and handed it to Jane.

Her head in a whirl, Jane unfolded it and read:

     "Madison Hall,
     "Wellington Campus.

     "Dear Madam:

     "Although I regret leaving Madison Hall, it would be highly
     disagreeable to me to spend my sophomore year in it with you as
     matron. Your treatment of me last year was such that I should not
     like to court a second repetition of it. Therefore I am writing to
     inform you that I shall not return to the Hall.

                                                           "Yours truly,

                                                           "JANE ALLEN."



"This is too dreadful!"

Springing to her feet, Jane dashed the offending letter to the floor,
her cheeks scarlet with outraged innocence.

"That was precisely my opinion when I read it," Mrs. Weatherbee
sarcastically agreed.

"But I never wrote it," stormed Jane. "That's not my signature. Besides
the letter is typed. I would never have sent you a typed letter. Have
you the envelope? What postmark was stamped upon it?"

"It was postmarked 'New York.' No, I did not keep the envelope."

"New York? Why, I came straight from Montana!" cried Jane. "I haven't
been in New York since last Christmas."

"I could not possibly know that. A letter could be forwarded even from
Montana to New York for mailing," reminded the matron with satirical

"Then you still believe that I wrote _this_?"

Jane's voice was freighted with hurt pride. Something in the girl's
scornful, fearless, gray eyes, looking her through and through, brought
a faint flush to the matron's set face. The possibility that Jane's
protest was honest had reluctantly forced itself upon her. She was not
specially anxious to admit Jane's innocence, though she was now half
convinced of it.

"I hardly know what to believe," she said curtly. "Your denial of the
authorship of this letter seems sincere. I should naturally prefer to
believe that you did not write it."

"I give you my word of honor as a Wellington girl that I did _not_,"
Jane answered impressively. "I cannot blame you for resenting it. It is
most discourteous. I should be sorry to believe myself capable of such

"I will accept your statement," Mrs. Weatherbee stiffly conceded.
"However, the fact remains that _someone_ wrote and mailed this letter
to me. There is but one inference to be drawn from it."

She paused and stared hard at Jane.

Without replying, Jane again perused the fateful letter. As she
finished a second reading of it, a bitter smile dawned upon her mobile

"Yes," she said heavily. "There is just one inference to be drawn from
it--spite work. I had no idea that it would be carried to this length,

"Then you suspect a particular person as having written it?" sharply
inquired the matron.

"I do," came the steady response. "I know of but one, perhaps two
persons, who might have done so. I am fairly sure that it lies between
the two."

"It naturally follows then that the person or persons you suspect are
students at Wellington," commented the matron. "This is a matter that
would scarcely concern outsiders. More, we may go further and narrow the
circle down to Madison Hall."

Jane received this pointed surmise in absolute silence.

"There is this much about it, Miss Allen," the older woman continued
after a brief pause, "I will not have under my charge a girl who would
stoop to such a contemptible act against a sister student. I must ask
you to tell me frankly if your suspicions point to anyone under this

"I can't answer that question, Mrs. Weatherbee. I mean I don't wish to
answer it. Even if I knew positively who had done this, I'd be silent
about it. It's my way of looking at it and I can't change. I'd rather
drop the whole matter. It's hard, of course, to give up my room here and
go somewhere else. I love Madison Hall and----"

Jane came to an abrupt stop. She was determined not to break down, yet
she was very near to it.

"My dear child, you need not leave Madison Hall unless you wish to do
so." Mrs. Weatherbee's frigidity had miraculously vanished. A gleam of
kindly purpose had appeared in her eyes.

For the first time since her acquaintance with Jane Allen she found
something to admire. For the sake of a principle, this complex,
self-willed girl, of whom she had ever disapproved, was willing to
suffer injury in silence. The fact that Jane had refused to answer her
question lost significance when compared with the motive which had
prompted refusal.

"You might easily accuse me of unfairness if I allowed matters to remain
as they are," pursued the matron energetically. "As the injured party
you have first right to your old room. Miss Noble, the young woman now
occupying it with Miss Stearns, applied for a room here by letter on the
very next day after I received this letter, supposedly from you.

"I wrote her that I had a vacancy here and asked for references. These
she forwarded immediately. As it happens I have another unexpected
vacancy here due to the failure of a new girl to pass her entrance
examinations. Miss Noble will no doubt be quite willing to take the
other room. At all events, you shall have your own again."

"I can't begin to tell you how much I thank you, Mrs. Weatherbee."
Jane's somber face had lightened into radiant gratitude. "But I _can_
tell you that I'm sorry for my part in any misunderstandings we've had
in the past. I don't feel about college now as I did last year."

Carried away by her warm appreciation of the matron's unlooked-for stand
in her behalf, Jane found herself telling Mrs. Weatherbee of her
pre-conceived hatred of college and of her gradual awakening to a
genuine love for Wellington.

Of the personal injuries done her by others she said nothing. Her little
outpouring had to do only with her own struggle for spiritual growth.

"It was Dorothy Martin who first showed me the way," she explained. "She
made me see myself as a pioneer, and college as a new country. She told
me that it depended entirely on me whether or not my freshman claim
turned out well. It took me a long time to see that. This year I want to
be a better pioneer than I was last. That's why I'd rather not start out
by getting someone else into trouble, no matter how much that person is
at fault."

During the earnest recital, the matron's stern features had perceptibly
softened. She was reflecting that, after all, one person was never free
to judge another. That human nature was in itself far too complex to be
lightly judged by outward appearances.

"You know the old saying, 'Out of evil some good is sure to come,'" she
said, when Jane ceased speaking. "This affair of the letter has already
produced one good result. I feel that I am beginning to know the real
Jane Allen. You were right in saying that I never understood you.
Perhaps I did not try. I don't know. You were rather different from any
other girl whom I ever had before under my charge here."

"I kept up the bars," confessed Jane ruefully. "I didn't wish to see
things from any standpoint except my own. I'm trying to break myself of
that. I can't honestly say that I have, as yet. I shall probably have a
good many fights with myself about it this year. It's not easy to make
one's self over in a day or a month or a year. It takes time. That's why
I like college so much now. It's helping me to find myself.

"But that's enough about myself." Jane made a little conclusive gesture.
"I hope there won't be any--well--any unpleasantness about my room, Mrs.
Weatherbee. I'd almost rather take that other vacancy than make trouble
for you."

"There will be no trouble," was the decisive assurance. "If Miss Noble
objects to the change there are other campus houses open to her. I see
no reason why she should. She only arrived this morning. She will not be
kept waiting for the room. The girl who failed in her examinations left
here at noon. I will see about it now."

Mrs. Weatherbee rose to put her promise into immediate effect.

"If you don't mind, I'll join Judith and Adrienne on the veranda. I am
anxious to tell them the good news," eagerly declared Jane, now on her

Glancing at the disturbing letter which she held she handed it to Mrs.
Weatherbee with: "What shall you do about this letter?"

"Since the star witness in the case refuses to give testimony, it is
hard to decide what to do," smiled the matron. "I might hand the letter
to Miss Rutledge, yet I prefer not to do so. It is purely a personal
matter. Suppose I were to prosecute an inquiry here at the Hall
regarding it. It would yield nothing but indignant protests of
innocence. If the writer were one of my girls she would perhaps be
loudest in her protests."

Though Jane did not say so, she was of the private opinion that the
person she suspected would undoubtedly do that very thing.

"A girl who would write such a letter would be the last to own to
writing it," she said dryly.

"Very true. Still things sometimes work out unexpectedly. If we have a
mischief maker here, we may eventually discover her. Girls of this type
often overreach themselves and thus establish their guilt. I shall not
forget this affair." The matron's voice grew stern. "If ever I do
discover the writer, she will not be allowed to remain at Madison



"And Mrs. Weatherbee's gone to oust the disturber of our peace! Oh,

To emphasize further her satisfaction Judith gave Jane an ecstatic hug.

"You can't be any gladder than I am."

Jane returned the hug with interest.

"But how did it thus happen so beautifully?" questioned Adrienne

"It was a mistake----No, it wasn't either. It was----"

Jane paused. She wondered if she had the right to put her friends in
possession of what she had so lately learned. Mrs. Weatherbee had not
enjoined silence. Adrienne and Judith were absolutely trustworthy. They
had forewarned her of the situation. It was only fair that they should
be taken into her confidence.

"I've something to tell you girls," she went on slowly. "You must wait
to hear it until we are in our room. I'd rather not go into it out here
on the veranda."

"All right. We'll be good. I hope the noble Miss Noble will hurry up and
move out," wished Judith. "I can imagine how delighted she'll be."

"She may care but little," shrugged Adrienne. "Of a truth, she has not
been here so long. But a few hours! It is not much!"

"I don't believe she'll relish it a bit," prophesied Judith. "She looks
to me like one of those persons who get peeved over nothing. Isn't it
funny, though? Mrs. Weatherbee made a mistake last year about your room,
Jane. Do you remember how haughty you were when you found out you were
to room with little Judy?"

"Yes. I was a big goose, wasn't I?" Jane smiled reminiscently. "It
wasn't Mrs. Weatherbee's fault this time. That's all I'll say until we
three go upstairs."

"Wish she'd hurry," grumbled Judith, referring to the usurping freshman.
"This evacuation business isn't going along very speedily. I wonder if
she's unpacked. She hadn't touched her suitcase when I left her. Her
trunk hadn't come yet. Maybe it came while we were out. I hope not.
Then there'll be that much less to move."

"Had this Miss Noble examinations to take?" asked Jane.

"No, she told me she was graduated from a prep school last June.
Burleigh, I think she said. I really didn't listen much to her. I was so
upset over having her thrust upon me, I didn't want to talk to her."

"Poor Judy."

Jane bestowed a sympathizing pat upon Judith's arm.

"All the time I was thinking 'poor Jane,'" laughed Judith. "Oh, dear!
Why doesn't Mrs. Weatherbee come back. I'm crazy to hear the weird story
of your wrongs, Janie."

It was at least fifteen minutes afterward before the matron descended
the stairs, looking far from pleased.

Watching for her, Jane stepped inside the house and met her at the foot
of the stairs.

"You may move in as soon as you please, Miss Allen," she informed Jane,
her annoyed expression vanishing in a friendly smile.

"Thank you. I sha'n't lose any time in doing it."

Jane returned the smile, thinking in the same moment that it seemed
rather odd but decidedly nice to be on such pleasant terms with the
woman she had once thoroughly disliked.

"Did you notice how vexed Mrs. Weatherbee looked when she came
downstairs?" was Judith's remark as the door of her room closed behind
them. "I'll bet she had her own troubles with the usurper."

"First the disturber, then the usurper. You have, indeed, many names for
this one poor girl," giggled Adrienne.

"Oh, I can think of a lot more," grinned Judith. "But what's the use.
She has departed bag and baggage. To quote your own self, 'It is
sufficient.' Now go ahead, Jane, and spin your yarn."

"It's no yarn. It's sober truth. You understand. I'm speaking in strict

With this foreword, Jane acquainted the two girls with what had taken
place in the matron's office.

"Hm!" sniffed Judith as Jane finished. "She's begun rather early in the
year, hasn't she?"

"I see we're of the same mind, Judy," Jane said quietly.

"I, too, am of that same mind," broke in Adrienne. "I will say to you
now most plainly that it was Marian Seaton who wrote the letter."

"Of course she wrote it," emphasized Judith fiercely. "It's the most
outrageous thing I ever heard of. You ought to have told Mrs.
Weatherbee, Jane. Why should you shield a girl who is trying to injure

"I could only have said that I _suspected_ her of writing the letter,"
Jane pointed out. "I have no proof that she wrote it. Besides, I didn't
care to start my sophomore year that way. When I have anything to say
about Marian Seaton, I'll say it to her. I'm going to steer clear of her
if I can. If I can't, then she and I will have to come to an
understanding one of these days. I'd rather ignore her, unless I find
that I can't."

"You're a queer girl," was Judith's half-vexed opinion. "I think, if I
were in your place, I'd begin at the beginning and tell Mrs. Weatherbee
every single thing about last year. I'd tell her I was _positive_ Marian
Seaton wrote that letter. She'd be angry enough to tax Marian with it,
even though she made quite a lot of Marian and Maizie Gilbert last year.
If Marian got scared and confessed--good night! She'd have to leave
Madison Hall. We'd all be better off on account of it."

"No, _ma chere_ Judy, you are in that quite wrong," disagreed Adrienne.
"This Marian would never make the confession. Instead she would make the
great fuss. She would, of a truth, say that Jane had made the plot to
injure her. She is most clever in such matters."

"I'm not afraid of anything she might say," frowned Jane. "I simply
don't care to bother any more about it. I have my half of this room back
and that's all that really matters. If Marian Seaton thinks----"

The sudden opening of the door cut Jane's speech in two. Three surprised
pairs of eyes rested on a sharp-chinned, black-eyed girl who had
unceremoniously marched into their midst. Face and bearing both
indicated signs of active hostility.

"Did I hear you mention Marian Seaton's name?" she sharply inquired of

"You did."

Jane gazed levelly at the angry newcomer.

"Which of these two girls is Miss Allen?"

This question was rudely addressed to Judith, whose good-natured face
showed evident disgust of the interrogator.

"I am Jane Allen. Why do you ask?"

Jane spoke with curt directness.

"I supposed that you were." The girl smiled scornfully. "I only wished
to make sure before telling you my opinion of you. It did not surprise
me to learn that it was _you_ who turned me out of my room. I had
already been warned against you by my cousin, Marian Seaton. No doubt
you've been saying spiteful things about her. I know just how shabbily
you treated her last year. If she had been here to-day, you wouldn't
have been allowed to take my room away from me. She has more influence
at Wellington than you have. She will be here soon and then we'll see
what will happen. That's all except that you are a selfish, hateful

With every word she uttered the black-eyed girl's voice had risen.
Overmastered by anger she fairly screamed the final sentence of her
arraignment. Then she turned and bolted from the room, leaving behind
her a dumbfounded trio of young women.

"Brr!" ejaculated Judith. "What do you think of that? I'm sure I could
have heard that last shriek, if I'd been away over on the campus. Marian
Seaton's cousin! Think what Judy escaped!"

"You are very funny, Judy," giggled Adrienne. "And that girl! How
little repose; what noise!"

"Yes, 'what noise,'" Judith echoed the giggle. "Really, girls, am I
awake or do I dream? First a strange and awful girl comes walking in on
me. Then I learn the pleasant news that Jane's deserted me. Along comes
Jane, who doesn't know she's lost her home. Enter Marian Seaton as a
letter writer. Result Jane and Mrs. Weatherbee become bosom friends.
Jane is vindicated and her rights restored. Right in the middle of a
happy reunion in bounces the tempestuous Miss Noble. Quite a little like
a nightmare, isn't it?"

"It has the likeness to the movie plot," asserted Adrienne mirthfully.
"Very thrilling and much mixed."

"I never dreamed coming back to Wellington would be like this."

Jane smiled. Nevertheless the words came with a touch of sadness.

"Don't let it worry you, Jane," counseled Judith. "I was only fooling
when I said this afternoon had been like a nightmare. You may not have
another like this the whole year. Things always happen in bunches, you
know. I move that we re-beautify our charming selves and go down to the
veranda. We'll be on hand if any of the girls arrive. There's a train
from the east at five-thirty. Dorothy may be on that."

"I hope she is," sighed Jane.

Mention of Dorothy Martin made Jane long for a sight of the gentle,
whole-souled girl whom she so greatly loved and admired.

"Go ahead, Jane, and change your gown. I'll unpack your bag for you,"
offered Judith. "Beloved Imp here may help, if she's very good."

"Thank you, Judy."

Jane began an absent unfastening of her pongee traveling gown,
preparatory to bathing her throat, face and hands, dusty from the

While her two friends laughed and chattered as they unpacked her bag,
she gave herself up to somber reflection. The events of the afternoon
had left her with a feeling of heavy depression. Why, when she desired
so earnestly to do well and be happy, must the ancient enmity of Marian
Seaton be dragged into her very first day at Wellington. Was this a
forerunner of what the rest of her sophomore days were destined to be?



Despite the unpropitious events of the afternoon, evening saw a merry
little party in full swing in Judith's and Jane's room.

Barbara Temple and Christine Ellis came over from Argyle Hall. The
five-thirty train had brought not only Dorothy Martin but Mary Ashton as
well. Eight o'clock saw them calling on Judith and Jane, along
with Adrienne and Ethel. Of the old clan, Norma Bennett alone was
absent, a loss which was loudly lamented by all.

So swiftly did time fly that the party ended in a mad scurry to comply
with the inexorable half-past ten o'clock rule.

Jane went to bed that night considerably lighter of heart. Reunion with
the girls who were nearest to her had driven the afternoon's
unpleasantness from her thoughts, for the time being at least. The
friendly presence of those she loved had proved a powerful antidote.

A night's sound sleep served to separate her further from the
disagreeable incidents of the previous day. She had two things, at
least, to be glad of, she reflected, as she dressed next morning. She
was back in her own room. More, she now stood on an entirely different
footing with Mrs. Weatherbee than heretofore.

This last was brought home to her more strongly than ever when, in going
down to breakfast, she passed the matron on her way to the dining-room
and received a smiling "Good morning, Miss Allen."

It was at decided variance with the reserved manner in which Mrs.
Weatherbee had formerly been wont to greet her.

"Well, we are once again at the same table," remarked Adrienne as Jane
slipped into the place at table she had occupied during her freshman
year. "Until last night I ate the meals alone. It was _triste_."

Adrienne's profound air of melancholy made both Jane and Dorothy laugh.

"What made you come back to college so early, dear Imp?" questioned
Dorothy, smiling indulgently at the little girl.

"I had the longing to see the girls," Adrienne replied simply. "This
past summer I have greatly missed all of you."

"We've all missed one another, I guess," Jane said soberly. "Often out
on the ranch I've wished you could all be with me. Next summer you must
come. I'm going to give a house party."

"What rapture!" Adrienne clasped her small hands. "I, for one, will
accept the invitation, and now."

Somewhat to Jane's surprise Dorothy said not a word. She merely stared
at Jane, a curiously wistful expression in her gray eyes.

"Don't you want to come to my house party, Dorothy?"

Though the question was playfully asked it held a hint of pained

"Of course I'd like to come. I will--if I can." This last was added with
a little sigh. "Did you bring Firefly East with you, this year, Jane?"
she inquired with abrupt irrelevance.

"Yes. Pedro started East ahead of me with Firefly. They haven't arrived
yet. Are you going to ride this year, Dorothy?"

Jane was wondering what had occasioned in Dorothy this new, wistful
mood. It was entirely unlike her usual blithe, care-free self.

"I'm afraid not." The shadow on Dorothy's fine face had deepened.
"Frankly, I can't afford to keep a riding horse here. I don't mind
telling just you two that it was a question with me as to whether I
ought to come back to college. We were never rich, you know, just in
comfortable circumstances. This summer Father met with financial losses
and we're almost poor. Both Father and Mother were determined that I
should come back to Wellington on account of it being my last year. So
I'm here. I've not brought any new clothes with me, though, and I shall
have to be very economical."

Dorothy smiled bravely as she made this frank confession.

"Who cares whether your clothes are new of old, Dorothy?" came
impulsively from Jane. "It's having you here that counts. Nothing else
matters. I'm ever so sorry that your father has met with such

"Ah, yes! I too, have the sorrow that such bad luck has come to your
father. _We_ are the lucky ones, because you have come back to us,"
Adrienne agreed impressively.

"You're dears, both of you. Shake hands."

Her eyes eloquent with affection, Dorothy's hand went out to Jane, then
to Adrienne.

"We try to be like you, _ma chere_," was Adrienne's graceful response.

"That's very pretty, Imp," acknowledged Dorothy, flushing. "I'll have to
watch my step to merit that compliment. Now that you've heard the sad
story of the poverty-stricken senior, I call for a change of subject.
Did you know that Edith Hammond isn't coming back?"

"She isn't!"

Jane looked her surprise at this unexpected bit of news.

"No. Edith is going to be married," Dorothy informed. "She was
heart-whole and fancy-free when she left here last June. Then she went
with her family to the Catskills for the summer. She met her fate there;
a young civil engineer. They're to be married in November. She wrote me
a long letter right after she became betrothed. Later I received a card
announcing her engagement."

"I hope she'll be very happy," Jane spoke with evident sincerity. "I'm
so glad we grew to be friendly before college closed last June. It was
awfully awkward and embarrassing for us when we had to sit opposite
each other at this table three times a day without speaking."

Tardy recollection of the fact that there had also been a time when the
wires of communication were down between herself and Dorothy, caused a
tide of red to mount upward to Jane's forehead.

The eyes of the two girls meeting, both smiled. Each read the other's
thoughts. Such a catastrophe would not occur again.

"I wonder how many new girls there will be at the Hall," Dorothy glanced
curiously about the partially filled dining-room. "Let me see. We had
four graduates from Madison. Edith isn't coming back. That makes five
vacancies to be filled. Do you know of any others?"

The approach of a maid with a heavily laden breakfast tray, left the
question unanswered for the moment.

"You forget, _la petite_," reminded Adrienne as she liberally sugared
her sliced peaches. "She will no longer live at the top of the house.
She has already made the arrangements to room with Mary Ashton. So there
are but four vacancies. I would greatly adore to be with my Norma, but
Ethel is the good little roommate. I am satisfied."

Adrienne dismissed the subject with a wave of her hand.

"Norma can have Edith's place at our table," suggested Dorothy. "That
will be nice. I'll speak to Mrs. Weatherbee about it right after

"Perhaps we should not wait until then."

Adrienne half rose from her chair. Noting that the matron's place at
another table was vacant she sat down again.

"Here she comes now!"

Jane followed her announcement with a muffled "Oh!" Mrs. Weatherbee was
advancing toward their table and not alone. Behind her walked the
aggressive Miss Noble.

"Miss Noble, this is Miss Martin." The matron placidly proceeded with
the introductions and rustled off, unconscious that she had precipitated
a difficult situation. Her mind occupied with other matters, she had
failed to note the stiff little bows exchanged by three of the

It had not been lost upon Dorothy, however. Greeting the newcomer in her
usual gracious fashion, she wondered what ailed Jane and Adrienne.

"Have you examinations to try, Miss Noble?" she asked pleasantly, by way
of shattering the frigid silence that had settled down on three of the

"No, indeed." The girl tossed her black head. "_I_ am from Burleigh."

"Oh! A prep school, I suppose?" Dorothy inquired politely. The name was
unfamiliar to her.

"One of the most exclusive in the Middle West," was the prompt answer,
given with a touch of arrogance. "I must say, Wellington doesn't compare
very favorably with it in _my_ opinion."

A faint sparkle of resentment lit the wide gray eyes Dorothy turned
squarely on the freshman.

"That's rather hard on Wellington," she said evenly. "I hope you will
change your mind after you've been with us a while."

"I hardly expect that I shall, judging from what I've already seen of
it. That is, if Madison Hall furnishes a sample of the rest of the

Turning petulantly to the maid who had come up to attend to her wants
she ordered sharply:

"Bring me my breakfast at once. I am in a hurry."

A dead silence ensued as the maid walked away. Signally vexed at the
stranger's disparaging remarks, Dorothy had no inclination to court a
fresh volley.

Jane and Adrienne were equally attacked by dumbness. They were devoting
themselves to breakfast as if in a hurry to be through with it.

"I didn't intend to speak to you ever again," the disgruntled freshman
suddenly addressed herself to Jane. "I suppose you think it's queer in
me to sit down at the same table with you after what I told you
yesterday. I was going to refuse, then I decided I had a perfect right
to sit here if I chose. If you don't like it you can sit somewhere

"Thank you. I am quite satisfied with this table." Jane's reply quivered
with sarcasm. "I sat here at meals last year. I have no intention of
making a change."

"It is, of a truth, most sad, that we cannot oblige you," Adrienne cut
into the conversation, her elfish black eyes snapping. "It is not
necessary, however, that we should say more about it. We are here. We
shall continue to be here. It is sufficient."

She made a sweeping gesture as if to brush the offensive Miss Noble off
the face of the earth.

The latter simply stared at the angry little girl for a moment, too much
amazed to make ready reply. Adrienne's calm ultimatum rather staggered

Too courteous to show open amusement of the situation, Dorothy resorted
to flight. With a hasty "Excuse me" she rose and left the table. Jane
and Adrienne instantly followed suit, leaving the quarrelsome freshman
alone in her glory.

Straight toward the living-room Dorothy headed, her friends at her
heels. Dropping down on the davenport she broke into subdued laughter.

"You naughty Imp," she gasped. "I know I oughtn't laugh, but you were so
funny. Wasn't she, Jane?"

"Yes." Jane was now smiling in sympathy with Dorothy's mirth. A moment
earlier she had been scowling fiercely.

"What's the answer, Jane?"

Dorothy's laughter had merged into sudden seriousness.

"Marian Seaton's cousin," returned Jane briefly. "I didn't intend to
mention it," she continued, "but under the circumstances I think you
ought to know the truth."

Briefly Jane acquainted Dorothy with the situation.

"The whole affair is contemptible," Dorothy's intonation indicated
strong disapproval of the cowardly attempt to deprive Jane of her room.

"It looks as though Marian were guilty," she continued speculatively.
"She's the only one at Wellington, I believe, who would do you a bad

"You forget Maizie Gilbert," shrugged Jane.

"Oh, Maizie, left to herself, would never be dangerous. She's too lazy
to be vengeful. She only follows Marian's lead."

"This Marian well knew that with Mrs. Weatherbee Jane could not agree,"
asserted Adrienne. "She had the opinion that when Jane arrived here Mrs.
Weatherbee would listen to nothing she might say. So she had the
mistaken opinion."

"Mrs. Weatherbee always means to be just," defended Dorothy. "She has
rather prim ideas about things, but she's a stickler for principle. I am
glad she's over her prejudice against you, Jane."

"So am I," nodded Jane. "About this whole affair, Dorothy, I don't
intend to worry any more. I'm going to be too busy trying to be a good
sophomore pioneer to trouble myself with either Marian Seaton or her
cousin. Nothing that she did last year to try to injure me succeeded.
As long as I plod straight ahead and keep right with myself I've nothing
to fear from her."



During the week that followed Jane became too fully occupied with
settling down in college to trouble herself further about Marian Seaton.
Neither the latter nor Maizie Gilbert had as yet returned to Wellington,
a fact which caused Jane no regret.

She did not doubt that as soon as Marian put in an appearance she would
hear a garbled tale of woe from her belligerent cousin. Whether Marian
would take up the cudgels in her cousin's defense was another matter.

Firm in her belief that Marian had written the disquieting letter, Jane
was fairly sure that the former's guilty conscience would warn her
against making a protest to Mrs. Weatherbee that her cousin had been
shabbily treated.

As it happened she was quite correct in her surmise. When, late one
afternoon at the end of the week, Marian and Maizie Gilbert arrived at
Madison Hall they were treated to a sight that disturbed them

To a casual observer there was nothing strange in the sight of two
white-gowned girls seated in the big porch swing, apparently well
pleased with each other's society. To Marian Seaton, however, it
represented the defeat of a carefully laid scheme. Sight of Jane Allen,
calmly ensconced in the swing and actually laughing at something
Adrienne Dupree was relating with many gestures, filled Marian Seaton
with sullen rage, not unmixed with craven fear.

"_What_ do you think of that?" she muttered to Maizie as the driver of
the taxicab brought the machine to a slow stop on the drive. "I never
expected to see _her_ here."

"Maybe Mrs. Weatherbee didn't receive it," returned Maizie in equally
guarded tones.

"Something's gone wrong," was the cross surmise. "Watch yourself, Maiz,
when you talk, to Mrs. Weatherbee."

"Oh, she couldn't possibly know," assured Maizie. "This Allen snip has
just managed to have her own way. You know what a hurricane she is when
she gets started."

"Just the same you'd better be on your guard," warned Marian.

"Madison Hall, miss."

The driver was impatiently addressing Marian. Deep in considering the
unwelcome state of affairs revealed by Jane's presence on the veranda,
neither girl had made any move to alight.

"Oh, keep quiet!" exclaimed Marian rudely. "We'll get out when we are

"Charge you more if you keep me waiting," retorted the man. "Time's
money to me."

This threat resulted in the hasty exit of both girls from the machine.
Provided with plenty of spending money, Marian thriftily endeavored
always to obtain the greatest possible return for the least expenditure.

As the luggage-laden pair ascended the steps, some hidden force drew
Marian's unwilling gaze to the porch swing. A quick, guilty flush dyed
her cheeks as her pale blue eyes met the steady, inscrutable stare of
Jane's gray ones.

Immediately she looked away. She could not fathom the meaning of that
calm, penetrating glance.

In consequence Marian could not know that Jane had been seeking
confirmation of a certain private belief, which the former's guilty
confusion had supplied.

"Do you think she's found out anything?" Marian asked nervously of
Maizie, the instant they had entered the house.

"Mercy, no. If she had she'd have glowered at you," reassured Maizie.
"She just looked at you as though you were a stranger. You needn't be
afraid of _her_. She's too stupid to put two and two together."

"She must know about the letter, though. What I can't see is how she
managed to stick here in spite of it. Every room here was spoken for
last June. Mrs. Weatherbee told me so. I'll bet Elsie's had to go to
another campus house. It's a shame! That letter was meant to do two
things. Get Jane Allen out of the Hall and Elsie in. Don't stop to talk
with old Weatherbee, Maizie," was Marian's injunction. "We'll just say
'How do you do. We're back,' and hustle upstairs. Be sure to notice if
she seems as cordial as ever. If she is, it will be a good sign that
we're safe."

Meanwhile, out on the veranda, Adrienne was remarking under her breath
to Jane:

"Did you observe the face of Marian Seaton? Ah, but she is the guilty

"I noticed," replied Jane dryly. "I was determined to make her look at
me, and she did. It upset her to see me here. She wasn't expecting it."

"It is the annoyance that she has returned," sighed Adrienne. "All has
been so delightful without her."

"I'm going to forget that she's here," avowed Jane sturdily. "Come on,
Imp. Let's go over to the stable and see Firefly. I promised him an
apple and three lumps of sugar yesterday. I must keep my word to him."

Rising, Jane held out an inviting hand to Adrienne. The little girl
promptly linked her fingers within Jane's and the two started down the
steps, making a pretty picture as they strolled bare-headed across the
campus to the western gate.

"Hello, children! Whither away?"

Almost to the wide gateway they encountered Dorothy Martin coming from
an opposite direction.

"We're going to call on Firefly. Want to come along?" invited Jane.

"Of course I do. Firefly is a very dear friend of mine."

"I must stop at that little fruit stand below the campus and buy
Firefly's apple," Jane said as the trio emerged from the campus onto the
public highway. "I have the sugar in my blouse pocket."

She patted a tiny bulging pocket of her white silk blouse.

"Marian Seaton and Maizie Gilbert have returned," Adrienne informed
Dorothy, with a droll air of resignation. "But a few moments past and we
saw them arrive. We made no effort to embrace them."

"Miss Howard isn't pleased over their staying away so long," confided
Dorothy. "She told me yesterday that every student had reported except
those two. She asked me if I knew why they were so late. She hadn't
received a word of excuse from either of them. Too bad, isn't it, that
they should so deliberately set their faces against right?"

"They walk with the eyes open, yet are blind," mused Adrienne. "I have
known many such persons. Seldom is there the remedy. I cannot imagine
the reform of Marian Seaton. It would be the miracle."

"You may laugh if you like, but I've wondered whether there mightn't be
some way to find the good in her. Dad says there's some good in even
the worst person, if one can only find it."

Silent from the moment Adrienne had mentioned Marian's name, Jane broke
into the conversation.

"After I read that miserable letter, I felt as though I hated Marian
Seaton harder than ever," she went on. "When I saw her to-day I despised
her for being what she was. All of a sudden it came to me that I was
sorry for her instead. It's a kind of queer mix-up of feelings."

Jane gave a short laugh.

"You have the right spirit, Jane. I'm proud of you for it. You make me
feel ashamed. While I've been merely saying that it's too bad about
Marian, you've gone to the root of the matter," assured Dorothy

"Yet what could one do thus to bring about the reform?"

Adrienne's shrug was eloquent of the dubiety of such an enterprise.

"Begin as Jane has, by being sorry for her," replied Dorothy

"I am French," returned Adrienne simply. "The Latin never forgets nor

Having now reached the fruit stand where Jane had stopped to purchase a
large red apple for her horse, the subject of Marian Seaton was dropped.

Arrived at the stable the three girls spent a merry session with
Firefly, who demanded much petting from them.

"He's the dearest little horse I ever saw, Jane!" glowed Dorothy when
they finally left him finishing the apple which Jane had saved as a
good-bye solace. "If ever I owned a horse like Firefly I'd be the
happiest girl in the whole world."

"There aren't many like him."

Jane turned for a last look over her shoulder at her beautiful pet.
Pursing her lips she whistled to him. Instantly he neighed an answer.

"Is he not cunning?" cried Adrienne.

Dorothy admiringly agreed that he was.

Jane smiled in an absent manner. An idea had taken shape in her mind,
the pleasure of which brought a warm flush to her cheeks.

In consequence she suddenly quickened her pace.

"What's the matter, Jane? Training for a walking match?" asked Dorothy

"I beg your pardon," apologized Jane, slowing down. "I just happened to
think of a letter I wanted to write and send by the first mail."

"Run on ahead, then," proposed Dorothy. "We'll excuse you this once."

"Oh, it's not so urgent as all that. I just let my thoughts run away
with me for a minute."

Nevertheless there was a preoccupied light in Jane's eyes as the three
returned across the campus to the Hall.

The instant she gained her room she went hastily to work on a letter, a
pleased smile curving her lips as she wrote. When it was finished she
prepared it for mailing and ran lightly down the stairs and across the
campus to the nearest mail box. She gave a happy little sigh as it
disappeared through the receiving slot. How glad she was that the idea
had come to her. She wondered only why she had never thought of it



Fifteen minutes after the arrival of Marian and Maizie a disgruntled
trio of girls sat closeted in the room belonging to Marian and Maizie.

"It's all your fault," stormed Elsie Noble, her sharp black eyes full of
rancor. "If you'd come here as you promised instead of being a week late
you could have used the wonderful influence you _say_ you have with Mrs.
Weatherbee to let me keep that room. It's forty times nicer than the one
I have."

"I couldn't get here any sooner. Howard Armstead gave a dinner dance
specially in honor of _me_ and we had to stay for it."

Marian crested her blonde head as she flung forth this triumphant

"Of course you did. You're so boy-struck you can't see straight. I
might have known it was because of one of your silly old beaux. I'm glad
I have more sense."

"You don't show any signs of it," sneered Marian.

"Stop quarreling, both of you," drawled Maizie. "Go go ahead, Elsie, and
tell us what happened about the room. That's the thing we want to know.
For goodness' sake keep your voice down though. You don't talk. You

"I'd rather shout than drawl my words as if I were too lazy to say
them," retaliated Elsie wrathfully.

"All right, shout then and let everybody in the Hall know your
business," was Maizie's tranquil response.

"If you came here to fuss, Elsie, then we can get along very well
without you. If you expect to go around with us, you'll have to behave
like a human being."

Marian's cool insolence had an instantly subduing effect on her
belligerent relative. She knew that Marian was quite capable of dropping
her, then and there.

"I don't know what happened about the room," she said sulkily, but in a
decidedly lower key. "I came here at nine o'clock in the morning. Mrs.
Weatherbee sent the maid with me to the room. That Stearns girl said I
must have made a mistake. I knew that she wasn't exactly pleased. She
said hardly a word to me. She went out and stayed out until just before
luncheon. Then she came in for about ten minutes and went downstairs. I
didn't see her again."

"She was probably running around the campus telling her friends about
it," lazily surmised Maizie. "I'll bet she was all at sea. Wonder if she
went to Weatherbee with a string of complaints."

"What happened after that?" queried Marian impatiently.

"What happened?" Elsie pitched the question in a shrill angry key.
"Enough, I should say. I unpacked part of my things, then finished
reading a dandy mystery story I'd begun on the train. About four o'clock
Mrs. Weatherbee sailed in here and made me give up the room."

"What did she say?" was the concerted question.

"She said there'd been a misunderstanding about Miss Allen's coming back
to the Hall. That Miss Allen was not to blame and so must have her own
room. I said I wouldn't give it up and she said it was not for me, but
her, to decide that. She said I could have the other room if I wanted
it. If I didn't then she had nothing else to offer me. I said I'd go to
the registrar about it. She just looked superior and said, 'As you
please.' I knew I was beaten. If I went to the registrar, then Mrs.
Weatherbee would have a chance to show her that letter. If I gave in,
very likely she'd let the whole thing drop. As long as she'd offered me
another room here, I thought it was best to take it."

"I didn't think it would turn out like that," frowned Marian.
"Weatherbee couldn't bear Jane Allen last year. I was sure she'd be only
too glad to get rid of her. That letter was meant to make her furious,
enough so that she wouldn't let this Allen girl into the Hall again.
Something remarkable must have happened."

"Weatherbee didn't suspect you, anyway," chimed in Maizie. "She was all
smiles when we went into her office."

"Yes, she was sweet as cream. She could never trace it to me anyway. I
took good care of that."

"Who wrote it for you?" asked Elsie curiously.

"That's my affair," rudely returned Marian. "If I told you all my
business you'd know as much as I do. I'm sorry the scheme didn't work,
but, at least, you got into the Hall. I'm certainly glad that girl
failed in her exams. As for Jane Allen--well, I'm not through with her
yet. Who is your roommate?"

"A Miss Reynolds. She's a soph----"

"_Alicia Reynolds!_" chorused two interrupting voices.

"Well of all things!" Marian's pale eyes widened with surprise. "What do
you think of that, Maiz?"

"You're in luck, Marian," Maizie averred with a slow smile. "You stand a
better chance of getting in with Alicia again. Elsie can help you if she
doesn't go to work and fuss with Alicia the first thing."

"What are you talking about? Who is this Alicia Reynolds?" inquired
Elsie curiously.

"Oh, we chummed with her last year. She didn't like this Jane Allen any
better than we did. Then last spring she went riding and fell off her
horse and our dear Miss Allen picked her up and brought her home on her
own horse. Alicia wasn't hurt. She thought she was and that the Allen
girl was a heroine," glibly related Marian. "She listened to a lot of
lies Jane Allen told her about us and now she won't speak to either of
us. It's too bad, because we are really her friends and this Allen
person isn't. Some day we hope to prove it to her."

"This Jane Allen must be a terrible mischief-maker," was Elsie's
opinion. "I told her what I thought of her the afternoon she came."

"You did?" exclaimed Marian.

"Yes, sirree. I went straight to her room and spoke my mind. I was so
furious with her. The very next morning Mrs. Weatherbee put me at the
same table with her. It was my first meal at the Hall. I went to
Rutherford Inn for luncheon and dinner. I was hungry and thought maybe
the meals wouldn't suit me. They're all right, though. When I saw her at
the table I was going to balk about sitting there, then I changed my
mind. I had as much right to be there as she. I told her that, too."

"Some little scrapper," murmured Maizie.

There was cunning significance, however, in the slow glance she cast at

"What did she say to you?"

Marian had returned Maizie's glance with one of equal meaning.

"Not much of anything. I didn't give her a chance," boasted Elsie. "That
little French girl snapped me up in a hurry. She's awfully pretty,
isn't she?"

"She's a little cat," retorted Marian. "Look out for her. She's too
clever for you. Her mother's Eloise Dupree, the dancer. She dances too.
They're friends of President Blakesly's. She's awfully popular here and
afraid of nobody. She's devoted to Jane Allen, though, so that settles
her with me."

"Is Dorothy Martin at your table?" asked Maizie.

"Yes. I don't like her."

"She's a prig," shrugged Maizie.

"Edith Hammond used to sit there. Do you know her?" queried Marian of

"She's not here any more. She's going to be married. I heard this
Dorothy talking about her yesterday to Miss Dupree."

"Glad's she's gone. She was another turncoat. Hated Jane Allen and then
started to be nice to her all of a sudden."

"This Jane Allen seems to have a lot of friends for all you girls say
about her," Elsie asserted almost defiantly. "I detest her, but I notice
she's never alone. The first night she came there was a crowd of girls
in her room. I heard them laughing and singing."

"They didn't come to _see her_," informed Marian scornfully. "It's
Judith Stearns that draws them. She's very popular at Wellington. Can't
see why, I'm sure. Anyway Jane Allen has pulled the wool over her eyes
until she thinks she has a wonderful roommate."

"Jane Allen hasn't so many friends," broke in Maizie. "Dorothy Martin,
Judith, Adrienne Dupree, Ethel Lacey, she's Adrienne's roommate, and
Norma Bennett. That's all. Lots of girls in the sophomore class don't
like her."

"Yes, and who's Norma Bennett," sneered Marian. "She used to be a
kitchen maid; now she's a third-rate actress. She's a pet of Adrienne's
and Jane Allen's. I think we ought to make a fuss about having her here
at the Hall. If we could get most of the girls to sign a petition asking
Mrs. Weatherbee to take it up it would be a good thing."

"But would she do it?" was Maizie's skeptical query.

"She might if we worked it cleverly," answered Marian. "Adrienne and her
crowd would probably go to President Blakesly. We'd have to work it in
such a way that Norma wouldn't let her. This Bennett girl is one of the
sensitive sort. False pride, you know. Beggars are usually like that.
Of course, I don't say positively that we can do it. We'll have to wait
and see. Some good chance may come."

"It would be a splendid way to get even with Jane Allen and Adrienne
Dupree, too," approved Maizie. "They would have spasms if their darling
Norma had to leave Madison Hall and they couldn't help themselves."

"I think it would be rather hard on this Norma," declared Elsie bluntly.

She had pricked up her ears at the word "actress." Unbeknown to anyone
save herself she was desperately stage struck. The idea of having a real
actress at the Hall was decidedly alluring.

"You don't know what you're talking about," angrily rebuked Marian.
"It's hard on the girls of really good families to have to countenance
such a person. I've lived at Madison Hall a year longer than you have.
Just remember that."

"What we ought to do is to get as many girls as we can on our side,"
suggested crafty Maizie. "There are forty-eight girls at the Hall, most
of them sophs. Last year we let them alone, because they weren't of our
class. This year we'll have to make a fuss over them. Lunch them and
take them to ride in our cars and all that. It will be a bore, but it
will pay in the end. Once we get a stand-in with them, we can run things
here to suit ourselves."

"That's a good idea," lauded Marian. "We'll begin this very day."

So it was that while Jane Allen and her little coterie of loyal friends
entered upon their college year with high aspirations to do well, under
the same roof with them, three girls sat and plotted to overthrow
Wellington's most sacred tradition: "And this is my command unto you
that ye love one another."



"WELL, Jane, it's our turn to do the inviting this year," announced
Judith Stearns, as she pranced jubilantly into the room where Jane sat
hard at work on her Horace for next day's recitation.

"When is it to be?"

Jane looked up eagerly from her book.

"A week from to-night. The notice just appeared on the bulletin board.
You know my fond affection for the bulletin board."

Judith boyishly tossed up her soft blue walking hat and caught it on one
finger, loudly expressing her opinion of her own dexterity.

"Sit down, oh, vainglorious hat-thrower, and tell me about it,"
commanded Jane, laughing.

"That's all I know. It's to be next Wednesday night. I suppose our
august soph committee has met and decided the great question. It's the
usual getting-acquainted-with-our-freshman-sisters affair. After that
comes class meeting, and after that----"

Judith plumped down on her couch bed and beamed knowingly at Jane.

"Guess what comes after that," she finished.


Jane gave a long sigh of pure satisfaction. There was a pleasant light
in her eyes as she made the guess. She was anxiously looking forward to
making the sophomore team.

"Yes, _basket-ball_."

Judith echoed the sigh. She also hoped to make the team.

"We'll have to get busy and invite our freshmen to the dance," she said
wagging her brown head. "The freshman class is large this year; about a
third larger than last year's class. That means some of the juniors and
seniors will have to help out. I'm glad of it. It will give Norma a
chance to go too."

"There are only four freshmen in this house," stated Jane. "One of them
is out of the question for us."

"I get you," returned Judith slangily. "Undoubtedly you refer to the
ignoble Miss Noble. Noble by name but not by nature," she added with a

Jane smiled, then frowned.

"Honestly, Judy, I'd give almost anything if she weren't at our table. I
don't mind her not speaking to any of us. But she always listens to
every word we say and acts as if she was storing it up for future
reference. Even Dorothy feels the strain."

"It's too bad," sympathized Judith. "There's only one consolation. When
it gets too much on your nerves you can always fall back on Rutherford

"I'm going to fall back on it to-night," decided Jane suddenly. "Let's
have a dinner party."

"Can't go. I am the proud possessor of one dollar and two cents," Judith
ruefully admitted.

"This is to be _my_ party," emphasized Jane. "I haven't touched my last
check yet. I've been too busy studying to partify. Now don't be a
quitter, Judy. I want to do this."

Jane had observed signs of objection on Judith's good-humored face.

"All right," yielded Judith. "Go ahead. I'll give a blow-out when my
check comes. It'll be here next week."

"We'll invite Norma, Dorothy, Adrienne, Ethel, Mary, Christine Ellis,
Barbara Temple, and oh, yes--Alicia Reynolds. We mustn't forget Alicia."

"Yes, she needs a little recreation," grinned Judith. "Chained to the
ignoble Noble! What a fate for a good little soph! Some roommate!"

"You'd better be careful about the pet name you're so fond of giving
that girl," warned Jane, laughing a little in spite of her admonition.
"You know your failing. You'll say it some time to someone without
thinking. Then little Judy will be sorry."

"Oh, I only say it to you and Imp," averred Judith cheerfully. "You're
both to be trusted."

"If we're going to have the party to-night we'll have to hurry up about
it. How are we going to get word to Alicia? I hate to go to her room on
account of Miss Noble. And what about Christine and Barbara?"

Jane laid down her book and rose from her chair.

"I'll go over to Argyle Hall and invite them. Tell Ethel to go in and
invite Alicia," suggested Judith. "She's almost as obliging as I am. She
rooms next to Alicia and our noble friend. It will be only a step for
her. She won't mind doing it."

"I guess I'd better. Tell Christine and Barbara to be at the Inn by

Jane turned and left the room. Walking down the long hall she passed
Alicia's door. It was open a trifle. She was tempted to peep in and see
if Alicia might perhaps be within and alone. Second thought prompted her
to go on without investigating.

Rapping smartly on Ethel's door, her knock was followed by the sound of
approaching footfalls from within. Nor was she aware that through the
slight opening in Alicia's door a pair of sharp black eyes peered out at

"Why, hello, Jane!" greeted Ethel. "Come in."

"Can't stop but a minute."

Jane stepped into the room, careful to close the door behind her.

"I'm giving a dinner party at Rutherford Inn to-night," she briskly
began. "All of our crowd are going, I hope. I'm just starting out to
invite them. Where's Imp?"

"Downstairs on the trail of her laundry," laughed Ethel. "It went out
white linen skirts and silk blouses. It came back sheets and pillow
cases. You should have seen her face when she opened the package. She
threw up her hands and said: 'What stupidity! Must I then appear in my
classes draped like the ghost?'"

Jane joined in Ethel's merry laughter. She had a vision of petite
Adrienne trailing into classes thus spectrally attired.

"I want you to do something for me, Ethel." Jane had grown suddenly
serious. "Will you go to Alicia and invite her to the party? I'd rather
not go myself. You understand why. But it's really necessary to invite
her. She might feel hurt if she were left out. I wouldn't have that
happen for worlds. Not after what she did for me about basket-ball. She
was dining out the night we had the spread so I couldn't invite her to
that. I told her so afterward for fear she might have been offended."

"Surely I'll tell her," nodded Ethel. "I don't think she's in now,
though. I met her going down the walk as I came up it. She said she had
to go to the library for a book she needed. I imagine she'll be back

"Be sure to tell her," Jane impressed upon Ethel. "Thank you ever so
much. Tell Adrienne, too. Don't dress up. It's a strictly informal
party. Meet me in the living-room at six."

With this Jane departed to go on to Dorothy's room. Passing the door of
Alicia's room she noted that it was now closed. As Alicia was out she
guessed that Elsie Noble was in. She was now not sorry that she had
refrained from approaching it. Undoubtedly she would have met with an
unpleasant reception.

Finding her other friends at home, Jane quickly made the rounds and
hurried back to her own room.

Judith appeared soon afterward with the information that Christine and
Barbara had joyfully accepted and would be on hand at the Inn.

When at six o'clock the party from the Hall gathered in the living-room,
first glance about showed her that Alicia was missing.

Going over to where Ethel stood, Jane anxiously asked: "Did you see
Alicia, Ethel?"

"Yes. She isn't coming. She said to tell you it was impossible for her
to accept. I went to her room a few minutes after you left. I knocked
until I was tired but no one answered. So I went back to my room. After
a while I tried again and while I was standing at her door she came down
the hall with Miss Noble. I asked her to come into my room a minute and
told her."

"Funny she didn't give you any reason why she couldn't come," pondered
Jane with drawn brows.

"She looked as though she'd been crying," returned Ethel. "I thought
maybe she'd had bad news or something so I didn't urge her. She wasn't a
bit snippy. She just looked white and a little bit sad."

"I wonder if I ought to run up and see her."

Jane stared at Ethel, her eyes fall of active concern.

"Better wait until to-morrow," advised Ethel. "Whatever's the matter
with her, she may feel like being alone. You know how it is sometimes
with one."

"Yes, I know."

Jane knew only too well how it felt to be sought out by even her friends
when occasional black moods descended upon her.

"We may as well start," she said slowly. "As hostess I mustn't neglect
my guests. I'll surely make it a point to see Alicia in the morning."

Nevertheless as the bevy of light-hearted diners left Madison Hall and
strolled bare-headed in the sunset toward Rutherford Inn, a vague
uneasiness took hold of Jane. She regretted that she had not gone
upstairs to see Alicia. Nor did it leave her until after she had
reached the Inn, where for the time being the lively chatter of her
companions served to drive it from her mind.



One glaring result of Jane's dinner party was the ignoring of the
ten-thirty rule that night.

It was eight o'clock when the congenial diners finished an elaborate
dessert and strolled gaily out of the Inn. The beauty of the night
induced the will to loiter. Some one proposed a walk into Chesterford
and a visit to a moving-picture theatre.

When they emerged from it it was half-past nine, thus necessitating a
quick hike to the campus. Jane and Judith made port in their room at
exactly twenty-five minutes past ten.

Visions of unprepared lessons looming up large, they decided that for
once "lights out" should not be the order of things.

As a consequence of retiring at eleven-thirty, both overslept the next
morning and dashed wildly off to chapel without breakfast.

Occupied from then on with classes, it was not until she had finished
her last recitation of the morning and was on her way to Madison Hall
that Jane remembered her resolve to see Alicia.

Determined to lose no more time in putting it into execution, she
quickened her pace. Coming to the stone walk leading up to the steps of
the Hall, Jane uttered a little cluck of satisfaction. She had spied
Alicia seated in a rocker on the veranda, engaged in reading a letter.

"Oh, Alicia!" she called as she reached the foot of the steps. "You're
the very person I most want to see!"

Sound of Jane's voice caused Alicia to glance up in startled fashion.
She had been faintly smiling over her letter when first Jane glimpsed
her. Now her pale face underwent a swift, ominous change. She hastily

"I didn't wish to see _you_," she said stiffly, and marched into the

Jane's primary impulse was to follow her and demand an explanation. The
rebuff, however, had stirred again into life the old, rebellious pride
which had formerly caused her so much unhappiness.

For a moment she stood still, hands clenched, cheeks flaming with
mortification. Then with a bitter smile she walked slowly up the steps
and into the house. After that affront Alicia would wait a long time
before she, Jane Allen, would seek an explanation.

"Well, it has come," she said sullenly, as she entered her room where
Judith sat at the dressing table, recoiling her long brown hair.

"What's come? By 'it' do you mean yourself?"

Judith turned in her chair with a boyish grin.

"No," Jane answered shortly. "Alicia Reynolds has gone back to her old

"You don't mean it!"

Judith's hands dropped from her hair. In her surprise she let go of half
a dozen hair pins she had been holding in one hand.

"Now see what you made me do," she laughingly accused. "Get down and
help me pick them up."

"Oh, bother your old hairpins!" exclaimed Jane savagely. "I'm awfully
upset about this, Judy. I felt last night as if I should have gone to
Alicia and asked her what was the matter. This is some of Marian
Seaton's work."

"Of course it is," calmly concurred Judith. "I haven't the least idea
of what it's all about, but I agree with you just the same. I'll agree
even harder when I do find out."

In a few jerky sentences Jane enlightened Judith.

"So that's the way the land lies," commented Judith. "Well, I'm not
surprised. Take my word for it the ignoble Noble has had a hand in this.
Just the same I don't believe Alicia has gone back to Marion Seaton.
She's merely hurt over some yarn that's been told her. You'd better see
her, Jane, and have it out with her."

"I won't do it." Jane shook an obstinate head. "Alicia ought to know
better than listen to those girls. She knows how badly Marian Seaton
behaved last year about basket-ball. She knows that Marian is untruthful
and dishonorable. If she chooses to believe in a person of that stamp
then she will have to abide by her choice."

It was the stubborn, embittered Jane Allen of earlier days at Wellington
who now spoke.

"Only the other day I said to Dorothy that I didn't hate Marian Seaton
any longer; that I felt only sorry for her. I said, too, that there must
be some good in her if one could only find it. What a simpleton I was!"

The sarcastic smile that hovered about Jane's red lips, fully indicated
her contempt of her own mistaken sentiments.

"Adrienne was right," she said after a brief pause. "She said she could
never forget nor forgive an injury. I thought I could, but I can't. I
mean I don't want to."

Her brows meeting in the old disfiguring scowl, Jane began pacing the
room in what Judith had termed her "caged lion" fashion.

"Oh, forget it," counseled Judith, casting a worried glance at Jane's
gloomy, storm-ridden face. "Don't let Marian Seaton's hatefulness upset
you, Jane. You behaved like a brick about your room and that letter.
This isn't half as bad as that mix-up was. You said your own self that
you were going to ignore anything she tried to do against you. Now go
ahead and keep your word. You've lots of good friends. You should

"I haven't so many," Jane sharply contradicted. "I can count them on my
fingers. I don't make friends as easily as you do, Judy."

"Just the same a lot of fuss was made over you last spring when you won
the big game for our team," Judith sturdily reminded.

"That's not friendship. That was only admiration of the moment. The same
girls who cheered me then would probably be just as ready to turn
against me if they happened to feel like it," pointed out Jane
skeptically. "No wonder I used to hate girls. Very few of them know what
loyalty and friendship mean."

"You're hopeless." Judith made a gesture of resignation.

With a chuckle she added: "Why not challenge Marian Seaton to a duel and
demolish her? Umbrellas would be splendid weapons. I have one with a
lovely crooked handle. You could practice hooking it around my neck and
when the fateful hour came you could bring the double-dyed villain to
her knees with one swoop. Wouldn't that be nice?"

"You're a ridiculous girl, Judy Stearns."

Jane was forced to laugh a little at Judith's nonsense.

"_You're_ a goose yourself to get all worked up over nothing," grinned
Judith. "I can't say I blame you for throwing up the stupendous labor of
hunting out Marian's good qualities. In my opinion 'There ain't no such
animal.' But you're a very large-sized goose if you allow her to spoil
your sophomore year for you."

"I don't intend she shall spoil it," Jane grimly assured. "I've stood a
good deal from her without ever even once trying to strike back. I'm
not sure that I've done right in allowing her to torment me as she has
without ever asserting myself. There's a limit to forbearance. I may
feel some day that I've reached it."

Judith smiled but said nothing. She had too high an opinion of Jane to
believe that her proud-spirited roommate would ever descend to the level
of her enemies. Given an opportunity for revenge, she believed that Jane
would scorn to seize it.

"Have you invited your freshman yet?" she asked with sudden irrelevancy.

"No, I haven't had time to see any one of them yet," Jane answered.

"I asked Miss Lorimer, a cute little girl from Creston Hall, this
morning after chapel, but she said she'd already been invited," informed
Judith. "I must find out if the three eligible freshmen here have
escorts yet. I suppose they have, with so many sophs in the house. The
ignoble Noble's not an eligible."

The luncheon bell now interrupted the talk. It seemed to Jane as she
took her place at table that spiteful triumph lurked in the sharp glance
Elsie Noble flashed at her.

The conversation carried on by herself, Adrienne and Dorothy, centered
almost entirely on the coming dance. From Adrienne, Jane learned that
the Hall's three freshmen had already received invitations.

When the little French girl announced this, Jane again fancied that she
read satisfaction in the sharp features of the quarrelsome freshman.

Though the latter had not addressed a word to her tablemates since her
advent among them, she never missed a word they said. All three were
well aware of this and it annoyed them not a little.

When just before dinner that evening Judith and Jane compared notes, it
was to discover the same thing. Neither had been successful in securing
a freshman to escort to the dance.

"I've asked five girls and every one of them turned me down," Judith
ruefully acknowledged. "I thought I'd start early, but it seems others
started earlier."

"I've asked two different girls, but both have escorts," frowned Jane.
"I sha'n't ask any more. I thought Miss Harper, the second girl I asked,
refused me rather coolly. I want to do my duty as a soph, but I won't
stand being snubbed."

"Let's go and see what luck Ethel and Adrienne have had," proposed

Indifferently assenting, Jane accompanied Judith to her friends' room.

"Ah, do not ask me!" was Adrienne's disgusted outburst, "These freshmen
are, of a truth, too popular. Four this day I have invited, but to no

"I'm going to take Miss Simmons, a Barclay Hall girl, to the dance,"
informed Ethel. "I asked her this morning and she accepted."

"Well, we seem out of luck," sighed Judith. "Do you know whether Mary
and Norma have invited their freshmen?"

"Mary's going to take Miss Thomas, an Argyle Hall girl. Norma hasn't
asked any one yet," was Ethel's prompt reply. "You girls just happened
to ask the wrong ones, I guess. Try again to-morrow. There are more than
enough freshies to go round this year."

After a little further talk, Jane and Judith went back to their room.

"What do you think about it?" Judith asked abruptly the instant they
were behind their own door.

"I don't know. It's probably as Ethel says, 'a happen-so.' I can't think
of any other reason, unless----"

Jane stopped and eyed Judith steadily.

"Unless some one in the freshman class has set the freshmen against us,"
quickly supplemented Judith.

"Yes, that's what I was thinking. It doesn't seem possible in so large a
class. Still one girl can sometimes do a good deal of mischief."

"You mean Miss Noble?"

Judith was too much in earnest to use the derisive name she had given
the disagreeable freshman.

"Yes," affirmed Jane. "If she helped to turn Alicia against me, she is
quite capable of going further. So far as we know, you and Adrienne and
I are the only sophs who've been turned down all around. Norma hasn't
asked any one yet. Anyway, she's a junior."

"It looks rather queer, so queer that I'm going to make it my business
to ask a few questions to-morrow. If there's really anything spiteful
back of this, believe me, little Judy will find it out."



The end of the next day was productive of no better results so far as
Adrienne, Judith and Jane were concerned. Playing escort to their
freshman sisters seemed not for them.

That evening a quintette of girls gathered in Ethel's room to discuss
the peculiar situation. The quintette consisted of Ethel, Adrienne,
Jane, Judith and Norma Bennett.

"There's something not right about it," Judith emphatically declared.
"I've tried all day to get a clue to the mystery, but nothing doing.
Nobody seems to want the pleasure of our company to the dance. What luck
have you had, Norma?"

"Oh, I invited a little girl named Freda Marsh. She lives away off the
campus," replied Norma. "She and three other girls have rented the
second floor of a house and do their own cooking. They are all poor and
very determined to put themselves through college."

"When did you discover this find?" Judith showed signs of active

"Miss Marsh sits next to me at chapel," replied Norma. "After chapel
this morning I asked her to go to the dance. She seemed awfully pleased.
Then she told me where she lived and about herself and her chums. They
all hail from a little town in the northern part of New York State."

"Wicked one, why did you not tell me this before?" playfully demanded

"I haven't had a chance, Imp, until now," smiled Norma. "This is the
first time I've seen you to-day except at a distance."

"Ah, yes, it is true!" loudly sighed Adrienne. "This noon I came late
from the laboratory after a most stupid chemistry lesson. Such hands!
They were the sight! I feared I should wash them away before they became
presentable. After the classes this afternoon I must of a necessity go
to the library. So it was dinner time when I returned, and thus passed
the time."

"You're forgiven."

Her blue eyes full of affection, Norma laid an arm over Adrienne's
shoulder. She had every reason to adore the impulsive, warm-hearted
little girl.

"Norma, do you suppose Miss Marsh's friends have received invitations to
the dance?" Jane broke in eagerly.

"I don't know, Jane. I can find out for you in the morning at chapel."

"I wish you would. If they haven't, tell Miss Marsh that we would love
to be their escorts and that we'll call on them to-morrow evening. How
about it, girls?"

Jane turned questioning eyes from Judith to Adrienne.

"It's a fine idea!" glowed Judith. "I'm sorry I didn't know about them
before. The freshman class is so large this year. I know only a few of
the girls as yet."

"I am indeed well suited." Adrienne waved an approving hand. "Shall we
not go to make the call soon after dinner to-morrow night?"

"Yes, as early as we can," acquiesced Judith. "That is, provided these
three girls haven't been asked."

"It would be nice to go and see them anyway," declared Ethel. "We ought
to get acquainted with them. Where do they live, Norma?"

"At 605 Bridge Street. It's almost a mile from here. So Miss Marsh

"To go back to what you said a while ago, Judy, what makes you think
there is any special reason for the girls' refusing you and Adrienne and
Jane as escorts?" questioned Norma concernedly.

"Jane and I just think so. That's all. We think some one's to blame for

"To blame. Who then is to blame?"

A swift flash of suspicion had leaped into Adrienne's big black eyes.

"Some one not far away, perhaps," replied Judith significantly. "That's
the way it looks to me."

"But could it be? She is but one among many," reminded Adrienne.

She understood quite well whom Judith meant.

"She's the only freshman who would be interested in making trouble,"
argued Judith. "She has probably been egged on by others who are _not_

"Still it's not fair to lay it to her when we don't know anything
definite," remarked Ethel.

"I'm only supposing," explained Judith. "I'm not saying positively that
I think she's guilty. I'm only saying that it seems probable."

"I doubt it." Ethel shook a dubious head.

"I may be wrong," Judith admitted. "Anyway, it won't matter, if these
three girls accept our invitation. It will show the plotters, if there
really are any, that they haven't bothered us a bit."

"I'm sorry, girls, but I'll have to go." Norma rose from her chair. "I
haven't looked at my books yet and I must study to-night."

"You're not the only one," cheerfully commented Judith, getting to her
feet. "Come on, Jane. We have our own troubles in the study line."

With this the talking-bee broke up, Norma promising faithfully to be
sure to deliver next morning the message intrusted to her.

Directly after dinner the following evening the five friends set out for
605 Bridge Street. Greatly to the delight of the three most interested
parties, Norma had given out the pleasant news that the trio of girls
they were to call upon were without special invitations to the coming

The beauty of the soft autumn night made walking a pleasure. Five
abreast, the callers strolled through the twilight, making the still air
ring with their fresh voices and light, happy laughter.

The house where the four freshmen lived was an unpretentious dwelling,
built of wood and painted a dull gray. A straggling bit of uneven lawn
in front by no means added to its appearance. Even in the concealing
twilight it had a neglected look. It was in glaring contrast to stately
Madison Hall with its green, close-clipped lawns and wide verandas.

"What cheerlessness!" exclaimed Adrienne under her breath.

Grouped about the door, Norma rang the bell. A tired-eyed, middle-aged
woman answered it. Yes, Miss Marsh was in, she declared listlessly.

A clear, pleasant voice from above stairs affirmed that information.
Next instant a sweet-faced, brown-eyed girl had reached the landing and
was greeting her callers with a pretty cordiality that was infinitely

"Do come upstairs to our house," she invited. "It's a very unpretentious
place, but home-like, we think."

Norma introducing her friends to Miss Marsh, the five girls followed
their hostess up the narrow stairway and were ushered into a good-sized
living-room. A rag rug covered a floor, stained dark at the edges. An
old-fashioned library table, a quaint walnut desk with many pigeon
holes, a horse-hair covered settee and a few nondescript, but
comfortable-looking chairs completed the furniture.

On the table, strewn with books, a reading lamp gave forth a mellow
light. The walls, papered in tan with a deep brown border, were dotted
with passe-partouted prints, both in color and black and white. The
whole effect, though homely, was that of a room which might indeed be
called a living room.

"Please help yourselves to seats," hospitably urged their winsome
hostess. "Excuse me for a moment while I call the girls. They are just
finishing the washing of the supper dishes and getting things in shape
for breakfast. We get everything ready the night before so as not to be
late in the morning," she explained. Then, with a smiling nod, she left
her guests.

"It's a comfy old room, isn't it?" was Judith's guarded observation.
"This house-keeping idea of theirs is a clever one."

"That Miss Marsh is a dear," murmured Ethel. "I've seen her once or
twice before on the campus, I think."

"I have the feeling that we shall like these girls," commented Adrienne.
"This Miss Marsh has the sweet face and the courteous ways."

The entrance of their hostess and her chums prevented further exchange
of opinion.

"These are my pals, Ida Leonard, Marie Benham and Kathie Meddart,"
smiled Freda, going on to name each of her callers as she performed the
introduction. "You see I remembered all your names and to whom they

When a number of girls have the will to become acquainted it does not
take them long to do so. Almost immediately a buzz of animated
impersonal conversation began.

"We came here to deliver our invitations in person," Jane finally said
with a smile. "Miss Leonard, I'd love to be your cavalier for the
freshman frolic."

"Thank you. I'd love to go to it with you, I'm sure," accepted Ida
Leonard, a tall, thin girl with fair hair and a plain, but interesting

Jane having set the ball rolling, Adrienne promptly invited Marie
Benham, a slim little girl with an eager, boyish face, framed in curly
brown hair.

This left Kathie Meddart, an extremely pretty girl of pure blonde type,
to Judith.

Considerable merriment arose over the extending and acceptance of the
invitations. Poverty had not robbed the four young hostesses of a
cheery, happy-go-lucky air that charmed their more affluent guests.

For an hour the congenial company talked and laughed as only girls can.
Kathie finally excusing herself, disappeared kitchenward, presently
returning with a huge, brown pitcher of lemonade and a plate piled high
with crisp little cakes, which she assured were of her own making.

Needless to say, they disappeared with amazing rapidity, the guests
loudly acclaiming their toothsome merits.

"I'm glad you like them," declared Kathie, pink with pleasant confusion.
"I took a course in cookery at a night school at home last year. I often
used to make this kind of cakes for parties. I had lots of orders and
made enough money to pay my tuition fees at Wellington for this year."

"How splendid!" approved Jane. Her approval was echoed by the others.

"I'm hoping, after I get acquainted here in college, to do a little of
that sort of thing," confided Kathie rather shyly. "I could spare an
hour or so a day to do it. Only I don't know how to go about it."

"Would you--could you--would you care to make some for me, some day?"
hesitated Jane. "They would be simply great if one were giving a

"Why, that's ever so kind in you," glowed Kathie. "When I just spoke of
it I wasn't fishing for an order. I mentioned it before I thought."

"It's a good thing you did. I'll order two dozen for my own special
benefit the minute my check comes," laughed Judith. "I sha'n't give Jane
Allen one. I'll sit in a corner of our room and gobble them all up."

"I adore those cakes!" Adrienne clasped her small hands. "Would it then
be possible that I might have some to-morrow? Perhaps two dozen? Ah, but
I am not the greedy one. I will share with my friends, even most selfish

This provoked a laugh at Judith's expense. So it was, however, that
Kathie received her first order which she agreed to deliver the next

As a matter of fact, she had been the only one to demur when Freda had
announced that the Madison Hall girls were coming there that evening.
She had advanced the argument that "those rich Madison Hall girls won't
care to ask us to the dance when they see how poor we are." Now she
wondered how she could ever have so misjudged such a delightful lot of



When at length the quintette of callers regretfully agreed that they
must be getting back to the Hall, Freda said rather nervously:

"Please don't go just yet. I--we--there is something we think we ought
to tell you."

"Very well, tell us," invited Judith gaily.

She had an idea that the something might relate to the all-important
question of gowns. If Freda were worrying over that, Judith proposed to
dismiss the subject lightly. Precisely the same thought had occurred to
Jane, who noted Freda's sudden flush and evident confusion.

"Something--well--not very pleasant happened this afternoon," Freda
continued. "A--we had a caller--a girl----Why shouldn't I be frank? This
girl was of the freshman class. We saw her at class meeting the other
day, but we have never been introduced to her. She brought a paper with
her and asked us to sign it. It was about three of you girls; Miss
Allen, Miss Dupree and Miss Stearns, and----"

"About us?" chorused a trio of astonished voices.

"Yes," nodded Freda, her color heightening. "It began, 'We, the
undersigned,' I can't recall the exact words, but it was an agreement
not to accept an invitation from any one of you to the dance or to
notice you throughout the year, because of the discourteous and hateful
way you had treated a member of the freshman class. There were----"

"How perfectly disgraceful!" burst indignantly from Judith. "What did I
tell you, girls? I knew there was something wrong. We didn't expect to
find it out in this strange way, though. Well, 'murder will out,' as the
saying goes."

"You said the paper began, 'We, the undersigned'?" questioned Jane in a
clear, hard voice. "How many names were signed to it?"

"I can't say positively." Freda looked distressed. "You see, it made me
so disgusted that I handed it back the instant I had read it. The girl
offered it to my chums, too, but they wouldn't look at it. She said
that nearly all the members of the class had signed it. I know better. I
believe not half the class had signed."

"Would you object to telling us the name of the girl who brought you the
paper to sign?" steadily pursued Jane.

"I wouldn't object; no. Why should I? A girl like that deserves no
clemency," Freda returned spiritedly. "The trouble is, I don't know her
name. She is small and dark, with sharp black eyes and a pointed chin.
She's very homely, but dresses beautifully. She----"

"Thank you. We know who she is," interrupted Judith. "Her name is Elsie
Noble, and she lives at Madison Hall."

"Ah, but she is the hateful one," sputtered Adrienne. "It was most kind
in you, Miss Marsh, and your friends also, to thus refuse to sign this
hideously untruthful paper. We have done this girl no harm. Rather, it
is she who would harm us because we have respected our own rights."

"I suspected it to be a case of spite work," asserted Freda. "It is not
usual for a class in college to adopt such harsh measures."

"We were rather surprised at her coming to us with the paper," put in
Kathie. "We've seen her with a crowd of girls who don't appear to know
that we are on the map. She said she understood that you girls were
going to invite us to the dance and felt it her duty to call on us and
object to our accepting your invitations."

"But how could she possibly know that?" cried out Ethel Lacey. "No one
except the five of us knew it until Norma told you this morning."

"I hope you don't think----" began Freda.

A hurt look had crept into her soft, brown eyes.

"How could we possibly think such a thing?" cut in Jane assuringly. "We
can readily understand that Miss Noble's call must have been a complete
surprise to you. On the contrary, we are very grateful to you and your
friends for not signing the paper."

"Yes, indeed," nodded Judith. "Frankly, we suspected that something
unpleasant was in the wind. When first we heard about the dance, we each
invited freshmen whom we knew. Every one of them turned us down. We
didn't think anything of that in the beginning. We supposed we had just
happened to invite the wrong ones. Afterward we thought differently."

"I am sorry we didn't make it our business to get acquainted earlier
with you girls. We really should have, you know," Judith apologized.
"We were so busy getting started in our classes that we hadn't had time
yet to be sociable. Jane and I had both agreed to try to know every girl
in the freshman class this year. I'm glad it has turned out like this.
I'm sure we'll all have a splendid time at the dance, no matter whether
some people like it or not."

"I'm very sure of it, too," declared Kathie Meddart. "I can't understand
how a girl could be so contemptible as to deliberately set out to injure

"Oh, well, she hasn't succeeded," reminded Judith, "so why should we
care? We've invited our freshmen in spite of her."

"What are you going to do about that paper?" Ida Leonard asked a trifle
curiously. "If I were you girls, I think I would make a fuss about it.
We'll stand by you if you do."

"Indeed we will," echoed Marie Benham. "I wouldn't allow such a document
to travel about college."

"It's hard to decide what to do," Jane said gravely. "It might be wiser
to ignore the whole thing. I don't know. We'll have to think it over, I
guess. I thank you girls for your offer to stand by us."

Aside from Freda's opinion that spite had actuated the circulation of
the damaging paper, she and her chums had exhibited an admirable
restraint concerning it. They had evidently accepted Adrienne's sketchy
explanation of it at its face value.

This courteous disinclination to pry had been especially noted and
approved by Jane. It added to the high opinion she already cherished of
the four freshmen. They had been moved solely by a sense of duty to
inform herself and her companions of the outrageous paper.

Jane felt strongly that an explanation was due them, yet she hated to
make it. It would be too much like gossiping, she thought.

"Adrienne told you, a little while ago, that we had done Miss Noble no
harm," she said slowly. "That is really all that I think ought to be
said about this affair. Are you satisfied to leave it so?"

"Perfectly," replied Freda. "I'd rather it would be that way. I can see
no good in dragging up unpleasant things. We'd rather not hear about

"The paper itself speaks for those who drew it up," smiled Marie. "It's
easy to place the blame where it belongs."

Ida and Kathie's warmly expressed opinion coincided with that of their

"Shall we not speak of more pleasant things? What of the dance? At what
time shall we come for you?"

Adrienne had addressed herself to Freda.

Glad to get away from the distasteful topic they had been discussing,
the girls began to make their arrangements for the freshman frolic.
After a little further talk, the five callers took their leave.

"Well, what are we going to do about it?" demanded Judith, the moment
they had reached the street. "I agree with that nice Miss Benham. We
can't afford to have a paper like that going the rounds of the college."

"I will of my own accord go to the Prexy. He is of _mon père_ the old
friend. He will not allow that such mischief should be done."

Adrienne threateningly wagged her curly head, as she made this vengeful

"Good for you, Imp!" lauded Judith.

"I think either Prexy or Miss Rutledge ought to be told," concurred
Ethel. "It would nip the whole business in the bud. There'll be more of
this sort of thing if it isn't stopped right away.

"Did you hear what I said, Jane?" she questioned over her shoulder to
Jane, who was walking behind her with Norma. Ethel, Adrienne and Judith
had taken the lead.

"Yes, I heard. Let's wait until we get back to the Hall to talk this
over," Jane grimly proposed. "We'll have time to settle it before the
ten-thirty bell."

"Come on, then. Forward march!" ordered Judith. "The sooner we get there
the longer we'll have to talk."

This important point settled, a brisk hike to the Hall became the order.

"Don't stop to talk to anyone," commanded Judith, as they scampered up
the front steps. "Make a bee-line for our room. I'll hang out a 'Busy'
sign, so that we won't be disturbed."

Five minutes later the "Busy" sign was in place and the key turned in
the lock.

"Three of us can sit on my couch. That means you, Imp and Ethel. Now,
Jane and Norma, draw up your chairs. Ahem!" Judith giggled. "What is the
pleasure of this indignation meeting? You know what we think, Jane.
Let's hear from you and Norma."

"Oh, I haven't any voice in the matter," smiled Norma. "That is, I've no
right to decide anything."

"Neither have I, but I'm speaking just the same," laughed Ethel. "I say,
'On to Prexy with the horrible tale.'"

"I think we'd best handle this affair if we can without the faculty's
help," Jane said quietly. "If we went to anyone it ought to be Miss
Rutledge. I'd rather not tell even her. I hate telling tales."

"I don't," disagreed Judith. "If we let it go without saying a word,
we'll have trouble right along. It ought to be stamped out _now_."

"I intend that it shall be," Jane tersely assured.


Judith's query rang with skepticism.

"By going straight to Miss Noble and ordering her to stop it," was
Jane's determined reply. "I shall ask her to give me that paper."

"A lot of good that will do." Judith gave a short laugh. "You might as
well tell the wind to stop blowing."

"It will do this much good," retorted Jane. "We shall give Miss Noble
her choice between giving up that paper or being reported to the

"Who's going to tell her all this?" demanded Judith in a slightly
ruffled tone.

"I am," returned Jane composedly.

"And I. I shall be there also," instantly supported Adrienne.

"Very fine. It looks as though I'd be there myself."

Judith's annoyed expression vanished in a wide grin.

"When do we do this valiant stunt?" she inquired facetiously. "When does
the great offensive take place?"

"We'll have to put it off until to-morrow," Jane answered. "It's too
late to do it to-night. We'll go to her just before dinner, or else
right after. There won't be time enough in the morning or at noon."

"Suppose she won't let us inside her room?" argued Judith.

"She isn't rooming alone," was Jane's reminder. "I intend to see Alicia
Reynolds to-morrow and find out just why she wouldn't talk to me the
other day. I promised myself that I'd never ask her. But something I saw
to-day makes me feel that I must. This Miss Noble has been making
trouble between us. I'm convinced of that. It can't go on. The tangle
between Alicia and me must be straightened out by a frank understanding
of what caused it. Once that is done, Alicia will stand by us, I

"But you said yourself that she'd gone back to Marian Seaton."

Judith looked amazement of Jane's sudden change of opinion.

"So I thought," admitted Jane, "until I saw her pass Marian on the
campus to-day without speaking. It came to me right then that only Miss
Noble was to blame for the snub Alicia gave me. But I was too proud to
run after Alicia and have it out with her. Now I'm going to do it."



When Jane awoke the next morning her first thought crystalized into a
determination to interview Alicia Reynolds before the day was over.
Speculating as to her best opportunity, she decided that it should be at
the end of the morning recitations.

For once she would cut her recitation in Horace, which came the last
hour in the morning. Alicia had no recitation at that hour. She would
probably be in her room and alone. Jane also knew that Elsie Noble was
occupied with a class at that time.

If looks could have killed, Jane and Adrienne would undoubtedly have
been carried lifeless from the dining room that morning. At breakfast
Elsie Noble's thin face wore an expression of spiteful resentment, which
she made no effort to conceal. She was inwardly furious over her
failure to rally the four Bridge Street freshmen to her standard. In
consequence, she was more bitter against Jane and Adrienne than ever.

It further increased her rancor to hear Adrienne prattling with
child-like innocence to Dorothy Martin of the coming dance.

Knowing very well what she was about, the little girl kept up a
tantalizing chatter that was maddening in the extreme to the defeated

Unacquainted with the true state of affairs, Dorothy's genuinely
expressed interest in the Bridge Street girls merely added fuel to the

"Ah, but they are indeed delightful!" Adrienne wickedly assured, her
black eyes dancing with mischief. "We shall be proud of our freshmen,
when we escort them to the dance. Shall we not, Jeanne?"

"Yes, indeed. You must meet them, Dorothy. You'll like them all
immensely. They're a splendid, high-principled lot of girls."

Signally amused by Adrienne's tactics, Jane could not resist this one
little fling at her discomfited tablemate. She hoped it would serve to
enlighten the latter in regard to at least one thing.

Her second recitation, spherical trigonometry, over, Jane hurried across
the campus toward the Hall, keeping a sharp lookout for Alicia. It was
just possible she might meet the latter on the campus.

Reaching the veranda, Jane lingered there. If she could waylay Alicia as
she came in, so much the better. With this idea paramount, she sat down
in a high-backed porch rocker and waited.

She could not help reflecting a trifle sadly that thus far her sophomore
year had run anything but smoothly. She had looked forward to peace,
whereas she was in the midst of strife. And all because Marian Seaton
did not like her. That dislike dated back to her initial journey across
the continent to Wellington. If she had not antagonized Marian then, she
wondered if she and Marian would have become enemies. She decided that
they must have. They had nothing whatever in common.

Light, hurrying feet on the walk brought Jane's retrospective musings to
an end. She saw Alicia a second before the latter saw her. Promptly
rising, she headed Alicia off neatly as she gained the steps.

"I want to speak to you, Alicia," she greeted evenly. "You must listen
to me."

"I have nothing to say to you. Please let me alone."

A dull flush mantled Alicia's pale cheeks as she thus spoke. Her tones
indicated injury rather than anger.

"But I have something to say to you," persisted Jane. "I must know
positively why you have turned against me. It's not fair in you to keep
me in the dark. Do you think it is? What have I done to deserve such

Stopping on the step below Jane, Alicia stared hard at the quiet,
purposeful face looking down on her.

"I believed in you, Jane," she said sadly, with a little catch of
breath. "You made me admire you. Then you spoiled it all. It hurt me so.
I--I--don't want to talk about it."

She took an undecided step to the right, as though to pass Jane and flee
into the house.

"Don't go, Alicia. Let's get together and straighten things out." Jane
laid a gentle hand on the other girl's arm. "I'm sure we can. You
promised last year to be my friend. Have you forgotten that?"

"How can I be the friend of a girl who talks about me?" Alicia cried out
bitterly. "A girl who only pretends friendship?"

"So, that's it. I thought as much. Now tell me what I said about you."

Something in Jane's steady glance caused Alicia's eyes to waver.

"You told Ethel Lacey that you wished you didn't have to invite me to go
with you girls to the Inn the other night, but you felt that you could
hardly get out of it. That I expected you to do it. You know that's not
true. I'd never intrude where I wasn't wanted."

"Did Ethel tell you this?" Jane asked composedly.

"No. Someone else overheard you say it," retorted Alicia.

"And that 'someone else'?"

"I won't tell you. I promised I wouldn't."

"You don't need to tell me, because I _know_." Jane emphasized the
_know_. "It's not true. I didn't say that. This is what I said."

As well as she could recall it, she repeated the conversation that had
taken place between herself and Ethel.

"I asked Ethel to invite you because I didn't want you to go to your
room," she explained. "Miss Noble and I are not on speaking terms. Did
you know that?"

"Yes, I knew it," Alicia admitted. "I was told it was your fault. I
didn't believe it until----"

She paused, uncertainty written large on every feature. She had begun to
glimpse the unworthiness of her doubts.

"Until Miss Noble came to you with this untruthful tale about me,"
finished Jane.

Alicia was silent. She could not truthfully contradict this pertinent

"Which of us do you believe, Alicia?"

Jane put the question with business-like directness.

Alicia mutely studied Jane's resolute face. Honesty of purpose looked
out from the long-lashed, gray eyes. She mentally contrasted it with
another face; dark, spiteful and furtive.

"I believe you. Forgive me, Jane."

Her lips quivering, Alicia stretched forth a penitent hand.

"There's nothing to forgive."

Jane was quick to grasp the hand Alicia proffered.

"I ought to have come straight to you," quavered the penitent.

"I wish you had. Thank goodness, it's all right now. Let's sit down in
the porch swing, Alicia. There are several things yet to be said and
this is the time to say them."

Her hand still in Alicia's, Jane gently pulled her toward the swing.
When they had seated themselves, she continued:

"I don't like to say things behind anyone's back, but in this case it's
necessary. Miss Noble has started her freshman year as a trouble maker.
She is very bitter against me for several reasons. When I came back to
college, I found that Mrs. Weatherbee had given her my room. She
understood that I was not coming to Madison Hall this year. I'm telling
you this because I suspect that it is news to you."

"It certainly _is_." Alicia showed evident surprise. "I supposed Elsie
Noble had been assigned to room with me from the start. She never said a
word about it to me."

"She didn't want you to know it. I don't wish to explain why. I'll
simply say that Mrs. Weatherbee decided I had first right to the room.
It made Miss Noble very angry. She came back to the room after she had
left it. Adrienne, Judith and I were there. She made quite a scene. I
hoped it would end there, but it hasn't. Since then she has tried to set
not only you against me, but others also. She has circulated a paper
among the freshmen against Judith, Adrienne and I which some of them
have signed."

"How perfectly terrible!" was Alicia's shocked exclamation. "She
certainly has kept very quiet about it to me. I never suspected such a

"I can't see that it has done us much harm," Jane dryly responded. "It's
come to a point, however, where we feel that we ought to assert
ourselves. We are here for study, not to quarrel, but we won't stand
everything tamely."

"I don't blame you. I wouldn't, either. I'm sure Marian Seaton is behind
all this," declared Alicia hotly. "Ever since I came back to the Hall
she's been trying to talk to me. Small good it will do her. When I broke
friendship with her last year it was for good and all."

"When you wouldn't speak to me the other day, I thought you had gone
back to her," confessed Jane. "Just a little before that Dorothy and I
had been saying that we thought we ought to try to make Marian see
things differently. Afterward I was so angry I gave up the thought as
hopeless. It may not be right to say to you, 'Let Marian alone,' when
one looks at it from one angle. The Bible says, 'Love your enemies.' On
the other hand, it seems wiser to steer clear of malicious persons.
Marian _is_ malicious. She's proved that over and over again. No one but
herself can make her different."

"I _know_ it's best for me to keep away from her," asserted Alicia. "My
influence wouldn't be one, two, three with her. Whenever I tried last
year to be honest with myself she just sneered at me. It's either be
like her or let her alone, in my case. There's no happy medium. So I
choose to let her alone."

"We all have to decide such things for ourselves," Jane said
reflectively. "It seems too bad that Marian's so determined to be always
on the wrong side. I've decided to let her stay there for the present.
If this affair of the paper involved only myself, I'd probably do
nothing about it. But it's not right to let Judith and Adrienne suffer
for something that's really meant for me."

"What are you going to do?" inquired Alicia.

"That's what I've been leading up to. With your permission I intend to
have a reckoning with Miss Noble in your room. I'd like you to be there
when it happens. Judith and Adrienne will be with me. Are you willing
that it should be so?"

"Yes, indeed," promptly answered Alicia. "When is the grand reckoning to

"This afternoon just before dinner. I can say my say in short order. Of
course if she's not in, I'll have to postpone it until later."

"I can let you know as soon as she comes in from her last class,"
volunteered Alicia.

"No, I'd rather not have it that way." Jane smiled whimsically. "It's
had enough to have to go to work and deliberately plan this hateful
business. It has to be gone through with. That's certain. We'll just
take our chance of finding her in. When you hear us knock, I wish you'd
open the door. It's all horrid, isn't it? I feel like a conspirator."

Jane made a gesture indicative of utter distaste for the purposed

"It's honest, anyhow. It's not backbiting and underhandedness," Alicia
stoutly pointed out.

"No, it isn't," Jane soberly agreed. "That's the only thing that
reconciles me to do it. It's dealing openly and aboveboard with
treachery and spite."



"_Voila!_ We are ready. Let us advance!" proclaimed Adrienne with a
smothered chuckle, when at ten minutes to six a determined trio left
Adrienne's room on the fateful errand to the room next door.

"Don't you dare giggle when we get in there," warned Judith in a
whisper, as Jane rapped sharply on the door. "We must make an imposing
appearance if we can," she added with a grin. "Who knows? I may giggle

True to her word, it was Alicia who admitted them with, "Hello, girls!
Come in."

As the three entered, a figure lolling in a Morris chair by the window
sprang up with an angry exclamation.

"I will not have these people in my room, Alicia Reynolds! Do you hear
me? I won't!"

Elsie Noble had turned on Alicia, her small black eyes snapping.

"Half this room happens to be mine," tranquilly reminded Alicia. "Have a
seat, girls."

"No, thank you. We won't stay long enough for that." Jane's tone was
equally composed. "We came to see _you_, Miss Noble."

"I won't stay," shrieked the enraged girl, and started for the door.

Alicia reached it ahead of her. Calmly turning the key, she dropped it
into her blouse pocket.

"Yes; you will stay, Elsie," she said with quiet decision. "You tried to
make trouble between Jane and me. We've found you out. Now, you'll
listen to what Jane has to say to you. If you don't, you may be sorry."

Her back against the locked door, Elsie Noble glared at her captors for
an instant in speechless fury. Then she found her voice again.

"I'll report every one of you for this! It's an outrage!" she shrilled.

The threat lacked strength, however. A coward at heart, she already
stood in fear of the accusing quartette which confronted her.

"Just a moment, Miss Noble. We have no desire to detain you any longer
than we can help." Jane's intonation was faintly satirical. "We came
here for two purposes. One is to tell you that you must stop making
trouble for us among your classmates. You know what you have done. So do
we. Don't do it again. I will also trouble you for that paper you have
been circulating among the freshmen."

"I don't know what you're talking about," hotly denied the culprit. Her
eyes, however, shifted uneasily from those of her accusers.

"Oh, yes you do." Judith now took a hand. "You ought to know. Don't you
remember? You began it, 'We the undersigned,' and ended your little
stunt with the names of as many freshmen as were foolish enough to
listen to you."

"You seem to think you know a whole lot," sneered Elsie. "I'm very sure
not one of you ever saw such a paper as you describe."

"We did not see it, but we know four girls who did," Jane informed with
quiet significance. "They were asked to sign it and refused. They are
quite willing to testify to this should we see fit to take the matter to
President Blakesly or Miss Rutledge."

"You wouldn't dare do such a thing!" the cornered plotter cried out
defiantly. "He--you--he wouldn't listen to such a--a--story as you're
trying to tell. He has something better to do than listen to gossiping
sophomores. Miss Rutledge wouldn't listen, either."

"I don't think either President Blakesly or Miss Rutledge would refuse
to listen to anything that had to do with one student's attempt to
injure another," was Jane's grave response. "However, that is not the
point. You must make up your mind either to give me that paper and your
promise to stop your mischief-making, or else defend yourself as best
you can to the faculty. Naturally, we would prefer to settle the matter
here and without publicity. If it is carried higher, it will involve not
only you, but all the others who signed the paper. If this concerned me
alone, I would not be here. But I cannot allow my friends to suffer,
simply because they are my friends."

Jane delivered her ultimatum with a tense forcefulness that admitted of
no further trifling.

"I can't--I won't--I----" floundered Elsie, now more afraid than angry.
"How do I know that you wouldn't take it to President Blakesly if I gave
it to you?" she demanded desperately.

"Ah! She admits that she has it!" exclaimed Adrienne triumphantly. The
little girl had hitherto kept silent, content to let Jane do the
talking. "She is of a truth quite droll."

"Yes, I have it!" Elsie fiercely addressed Adrienne. "I'm going to keep
it, too, you horrid little torment."

It was Jane who now spoke, and with a finality.

"A moment more, please. I want to ask you two questions, Miss Noble. The
first is: 'How did you happen to overhear the private conversation
between Miss Lacey and myself that you repeated so incorrectly to
Alicia?' The second is: 'How did you know that we intended to invite the
Bridge Street girls to the freshman frolic?' We had mentioned it to no
one outside, except Miss Marsh, who certainly did not tell you."

"I won't answer either question," sputtered Elsie. "You can't make me
tell you. You'll never know from me."

"I was sure you wouldn't answer." Jane smiled scornfully. "I asked you
merely because I wanted to call your attention to both instances. That's
all. I'm sorry we can not settle this affair quietly. If you will kindly
stand aside, Alicia will unlock the door."

"I--you mustn't tell President Blakesly!"

There was a hint of pleading in the protesting cry. Thoroughly cowed by
the fell prospect she was now facing, Elsie crumpled.

"You're mean, too--mean--for--anything!" she wailed, and burst into
tears. "You--ought to be--ashamed--to--come--here--and--bully
me--like--this. I'll give you--the--paper--but--I'll hate you as long as
I live, Jane Allen!"

Sheer intensity of emotion steadied her voice on this last passionate

Handkerchief to her eyes, she stumbled across the room to the
chiffonier. Jerking open the top drawer, she groped within and drew
forth a folded paper. Turning, she threw it at Jane with vicious force.
It fluttered to the floor a few feet from where she stood.

Very calmly Jane marched over and picked it up. Unfolding it, she
glanced it over.

"Please read it, girls," she directed, handing it to Judith.

The latter silently complied and passed it to Adrienne, who in turn gave
it to Alicia.

Alicia's face grew dark as she perused it. An angry spot of color
appeared on each cheek.

"How could you?" she said, her eyes resting on her roommate in
immeasurable contempt.

"You did perfectly right in coming here, Jane," she commented, as she
returned the paper to the latter. "I am ashamed to think I ever allowed
this girl's spite to come between us. I should have known better."

"It's all past. It won't happen again, Alicia. Now----"

With a purposeful hand Jane tore the offending paper to bits. Stepping
over to the waste basket she dropped them into it.

"This incident is closed," she sternly announced to the sullen-faced
author of the mischief. "You understand that there are to be no more of
a similar nature involving us or any other girls here at Wellington?"

"Yes," muttered Elsie.

"Thank you."

Jane had intended the "Thank you" to be her last word. Something in the
expression of abject defeat that looked out from that lowering face
stirred her to sudden pity.

"I'm sorry this had to happen, Miss Noble," she said, almost gently.
"There's only one thing to do; forget it. We intend to. Won't you? I'm
willing to begin over again and----"

"Don't preach to me! I hate you! I'll never forgive you!"

Out of defeat, resentment flared afresh. Darting past the group of
girls, Elsie Noble gained the door which was now unlocked. She flashed
from the room slamming the door behind her with a force that threatened
to shake it from its hinges.

"Some little tempest," cheerfully averred Judith. "Jane, let me
congratulate you. You did the deed."

"Don't congratulate me." Jane scowled fiercely. "I feel like--well, just
what she said I was--a bully. She's not so much to blame. She's a poor
little cat's-paw for Marian Seaton."

"She's to blame for letting herself be influenced by Marian," disagreed
Judith. "How do you suppose she found out about our going to invite the
Bridge Street freshmen to the dance?"

"She must have, of a certainty, listened at our door," declared

"I don't believe she could hear a thing that way," disagreed Judith.
"These doors are heavy. The sound doesn't go through them. Besides, she
couldn't stand outside and eavesdrop long without being noticed by some
one passing through the hall. Girls are always coming and going, you

"Yet how could she otherwise know these things?" insisted Adrienne.

"Give it up." Judith shook her head. "It's a mystery. She knew them.
Maybe some day we'll know how she learned. We'll probably find out when
we least expect to. Just stumble upon it long after we've forgotten all
about it."



That evening after dinner, Jane indulged in one of her dark,
floor-tramping moods. The disagreeable interview of the afternoon had
left a bad taste in her mouth. She had done what she had deemed
necessary, but at heart she was intensely disgusted with herself.

She wondered what Dorothy Martin would have done, given the same
circumstances. She longed to tell Dorothy all about it, yet she felt
that it belonged only to those whom it directly concerned.

"Do sit down and behave, Jane," admonished Judith. "You make me nervous.
Your tramp, tramp, tramp gets into my head and I can't study. You act as
though you'd committed a murder and hidden the body in the top drawer of
the chiffonier."

"Excuse me, Judy. I'm sorry. I didn't mean to disturb you. I guess the
whole affair has gotten on my nerves."

With this apology, Jane sought a chair and made a half-hearted attempt
at study. Gradually she drew her mind from unpleasant thoughts and
proceeded to concentrate it upon her lessons for the next day.

It was not until she and Judith were preparing for bed that the latter
re-opened the subject.

"Adrienne and I tried a little stunt of our own after dinner to-night,"
she confessed somewhat sheepishly. "Imp went into her room and I stood
outside the door. She read a paragraph out loud from a book, but I
couldn't understand a word she said. I could just catch the sound of her
voice and that was all."

"Humph!" was Jane's sole reply.

"Yes, 'humph' if you want to. It goes to show that the ignoble Noble
never got her information that way. The question is, 'How did she get

"I don't know and I don't care," returned Jane wearily. "Please, Judy, I
want to forget the whole thing."

"I don't. I'm going to be an investigating investigator and solve the
mystery. Watch slippery Judy, the dauntless detective of Madison Hall.
Leave it to her to puzzle out the puzzle."

"Better forget it," advised Jane shortly.

"Oh, never! Let me have at least one worthy object in life, won't you?"
was Judith's blithe plea. "Never mind, Imp will support and admire my
ambition, even if you don't."

Judith was not in the least cast down by the defeat of an unworthy foe.
She was glad of it. Brought up among girls, she was too much used to
such squabbles to take them to heart.

For the next three days she and Adrienne amused themselves by planning
wild schemes to entrap the "ignoble Noble" and wring from her a
confession of her nefarious methods. So wild, indeed, were their
projects that the mere discussion of them invariably sent them into
peals of laughter.

As a matter of fact, neither could devise a plausible scheme by which
they might discover what they burned to know. Both were agreed that
chance alone would put them in possession of the much desired

Wednesday evening of the following week saw Jane, Adrienne, Judith and
Norma set off in a taxicab for 605 Bridge Street to escort their new
friends to the freshman frolic.

Due to the demand for taxicabs for that evening, they had been able to
secure only one, whereas they needed two. They had decided to overcome
this difficulty by having the driver make two trips, carrying four girls
at each trip.

According to Judith, "We could all squeeze into one taxi, but I have too
much respect for my costly apparel to risk it."

The quartette of escorting sophomores made a pretty picture that evening
as they trooped down the steps of the Hall to the waiting taxicab.

Jane had chosen a particularly stunning frock of silver tissue, worn
over a foundation of dull green satin. In lieu of flowers, a single
beautiful spray of English ivy trailed across one white shoulder. The
gown was the handsomest she owned and she had originally intended to
save it for a later festivity. Realizing that she must inevitably become
a target for the displeased eyes of those who disliked her, she had
decided that so far as apparel went she would leave no room for

Adrienne, who loved daring colors, had elected to appear in a chiffon
creation, the exact shade of an American Beauty rose. It set off her
dark, vivid loveliness to perfection. Designed by herself, it had been
fashioned by a French woman who attended to the making of her
distinguished mother's gowns. In consequence, it was a triumph of its
kind. As a last touch, a cluster of short-stemmed American Beauties
nestled against the low-cut bodice of the gown.

Judith looked charming in a white net over apricot taffeta with a bunch
of sunset roses tucked into the black velvet ribbon sash that completed
the costume.

Norma was wearing the becoming blue and white gown Jane had given her
the previous year. Since that first eventful freshman dance, when Jane
had played fairy godmother to her, she had worn the exquisite frock only
once. Now it looked as fresh and dainty as it had on that immemorial
night. Trimmed as it was with clusters of velvet forget-me-nots, Norma
wore no natural flowers.

Though she had by her summer's work in the stock company earned immunity
from drudgery, she had earned no more than that. With the exception of
this one gown, she dressed almost as simply as in the old days. She
confined her wardrobe to one or two serviceable one-piece dresses, a
coat suit and a quantity of dainty white silk blouses and lingerie.
These last were fashioned and laundered by her own clever fingers.

"I hope we're not too fine for our girls," Norma remarked anxiously as
the four skipped, one after the other, from the taxicab at the Bridge
Street address.

"I thought of that, too, but I decided that they'd like it if we looked
our very smartest. They are too independent to feel crushed by a mere
matter of fine clothes," was Jane's opinion.

The frank admiration with which the four freshmen exclaimed over their
gorgeous escorts served to point to the accuracy of her opinion.

"You're regular birds of Paradise!" laughed Freda. "We are certainly
lucky to capture such prizes. We're not a bit splendiferous, ourselves.
But then, why should we be? It wouldn't match with our humble status."

"You look sweet, every one of you," praised Judith. "Your gowns are
dear. They are wonderfully becoming."

"We made them ourselves last summer," explained Kathie with a little air
of pride. "We clubbed together and bought a bolt of this white Persian
lawn. Ida crocheted these butterfly medallions set in Freda's gown and
mine. Then Marie embroidered the designs on hers and Ida's gowns. Each
dress is a little different from the other, yet they all look pretty
much alike."

"They are all beautiful," Jane warmly assured.

She could say so in absolute truth. Simple, graceful lines, combined
with dainty hand-wrought trimmings had produced four frocks which would
have sold at a high price in an exclusive city dress shop.

"Ah, but you are the clever ones!" bubbled Adrienne. "It is we who must
be proud of you. I would that _ma mère_ could see these frocks. She
would, of a certainty, rave with the delight. _Ma mère_, you must know,
is the true Frenchwoman who appreciates highly the beautiful handwork
such as this."

"You rather take us off our feet," smiled Marie. "We were not expecting
it, you know."

The brightness in her own eyes was reflected in that of her chums.
Girl-like, they found exquisite happiness in being thus appreciated.

"We'd better be starting," Jane presently proposed. "We could get only
one taxi, so four of us will have to go first and four more in a second

Jane's anxiety to be starting lay not entirely in her natural impatience
of delay. She was not quite easy in mind regarding the reception
awaiting them. Marian Seaton had been chosen to stand in the receiving
line. That in itself was sufficient to make her believe that the earlier
the ordeal of formal greeting could be gone through with the better it
would be for all concerned.

She did not doubt that Marian was in full possession of the facts
concerning her cousin's recent defeat. It would be exactly like Marian
to create a disagreeable scene. If this had to happen, she preferred
that it should take place before the majority of the crowd arrived.

She had expressed this fear to Judith who had scouted at the idea on the
grounds that Marian "wouldn't be crazy enough to make an idiot of
herself before everybody."

"You and Adrienne go first with your ladies, Judy," she continued. "If
you don't mind, I wish you'd wait in the corridor for the rest of us.
We'll be only a few minutes behind you."

"It's just like this, girls," she turned to the four freshmen. "I'm not
borrowing trouble, but if any of the sophs in the receiving line
act--well--not very cordial, you needn't be surprised. It will be
because of that paper you girls wouldn't sign. I hadn't mentioned it
before, but----" Jane paused. "The girl gave it to us. We destroyed
it," she added with a briefness that did not invite questioning.

"I'm glad you destroyed it," congratulated Freda.

"So am I," came in concert from her three chums.

"We're not a bit sensitive," lightly assured Ida Leonard. "We aren't
going to let a few snubs spoil our good time."

"I guess we'll be sufficient unto ourselves," predicted Kathie
optimistically. "Now we'd better get our flowers, pals, so as not to
keep our distinguished cavaliers waiting."

Excusing themselves, the quartette of freshmen repaired to the tiny back
porch, where the four bouquets of roses sent them by their escorts had
been carefully placed in water to keep them fresh against the time of

"They are awfully thoroughbred, aren't they?" commented Judith in an
undertone. "Never a question about that ignoble Noble mix-up. Honestly,
Jane, do you think Marian will behave like a donkey?"

Laughter greeted this inquiry. Jane immediately grew grave.

"It wouldn't surprise me," she shrugged. "We can't expect, naturally,
that she will notice us as we pass her in the receiving line. Certainly
we sha'n't notice her. If only she doesn't say something hateful to us
that will attract attention. I mean, about our freshmen."

The return into the room of the latter, each laden with a big bouquet of
fragrant roses, cut short the conversation.

Half an hour and the eight girls were reunited in the corridor leading
to the gymnasium. Each cavalier gallantly offering an arm to the
freshman of her choice, they walked two by two into the gymnasium, which
had been transformed for the night into a veritable ball room. It was
already fairly well filled with daintily gowned girls, who stood about,
or sat in little groups, talking animatedly.

Near the entrance to the room, the reception committee were lined up in
all their glory. Jane's quick glance discerned Marian Seaton,
resplendent in an elaborate gown of pale blue satin, standing at the far
end of the line. Her usually arrogant features wore an expression of
fatuous complacency. It took wing the instant she spied Jane and her

"Now it's coming," was Jane's mental conviction, as she noted the swift
lowering change in the other girl's face.

Heading the little procession with Ida Leonard, Jane suddenly saw her
way clear. She could only hope that the others of her group would take
their cue from her.



Politely responding to the greetings extended to herself and Ida as they
advanced down the line, they came at last to the girl who stood next to
Marian. The instant Jane had touched hands with the former she drew
Ida's arm within her own and turned abruptly away, without giving Marian
time to do more than glare angrily after her. Jane realized very well
that what she had done was in the nature of a rudeness, yet she felt
that under the circumstances it was justifiable.

To her great relief, Judith, Adrienne and Ethel did precisely the same

"Well, we came through with our heads still on," congratulated naughty
Judith in Jane's ear, the moment they had won clear of the fateful
receiving line. "Clever little Janie. I saw and I heeded. Our dear
Marian looked ready to bite. I think she would have snapped anyway, if
we'd given her half a chance. Good thing she was on the end. I'm sure
nobody noticed."

"I hope no one did," Jane sighed. "I hated to do it. I think, too, she
intended to be hateful. I saw it in her face, so I just slid away
without giving her a chance. I'm glad that ordeal's over. Now I must
find some partners for Ida. The dancing will soon begin."

This proved an easy task. Whatever might be freshman opinion of Jane
Allen, she had more friends among the sophomores than she had believed
possible. In touch socially with her class for the first time since her
return to Wellington, she was amazed at the smiling faces and gay
greetings which she met at every turn.

It had a wonderfully cheering effect on her, coming as it did on the
heels of the recent freshman demonstration of ill-will. It gave her a
thrill of intense happiness. She resolved to put away every vexatious
thought and enjoy the frolic with all her might.

That she had successfully put her resolution into effect was evidenced
by her bright eyes and laughing lips when, two hours afterward, she and
Judith seated themselves on a wicker settee after a one-step which they
had danced together for old time's sake.

"I'm having a splendiferous time!" glowed Judith. "You can see for
yourself how much that old paper amounted to. Most of these freshmen
have been lovely to me. I've steered clear of the ones who looked
doubtful. I've had a few scowls handed to me. It's been easy to pick out
the ignoble Noble's satellites by their freezing stares. I wonder who
escorted our noble little friend? Cousin Marian, no doubt," she added,
with her ever-ready chuckle.

"No doubt," was Jane's dry repetition. "Let's go and get some lemonade,
Judy," she proposed irrelevantly. "Just watching that crowd around the
punch bowl makes me thirsty."

"I'm in need of a few cups of lemonade myself," concurred Judith

Attempting to rise, an ominous ripping sound informed Jane that Judith
had been unconsciously sitting on a fold of the silver tissue overdress
to her gown.

"Oh, what a shame! I didn't know I was sitting on your overskirt, Jane.
That's too bad!"

Judith hastily got to her feet to ruefully inspect the amount of damage
she had done.

"It's nothing," Jane assured lightly. "Let's drink our lemonade and
then go over to the dressing room. I can pin this tear so it will stay,
I guess. The gathers are only ripped out a little."

Having drunk two cups of lemonade apiece, they strolled on toward the
dressing room. It was the little side room the freshman team had used
the previous year when playing basket-ball.

Nor were they aware, as they crossed the wide room, arm in arm, that a
certain pair of pale blue eyes jealously watched them. As they
disappeared through the dressing-room door, Marian Seaton hurried after
them, disagreeable purpose written on her face.

Quite oblivious to the fact that she was one of a welcoming committee,
she had fully intended to say something cutting to Jane when the latter
should arrive that evening in the gymnasium. Having missed one
opportunity she did not propose to miss a second. This time Jane Allen
should hear what she had to say.

At the slightly opened door she heard words which brought her to an
abrupt halt. It was not the first time she had listened at that selfsame
door. Edging close, she turned her back to it.

Facing the big room, her pale eyes roved over it with studied
carelessness. Her ears, however, were sharply trained to catch the
sound of two voices that drifted plainly out to her.

Meanwhile Judith, unaware of listeners, was gayly remarking as she
pinned up the tear in Jane's overdress:

"This reminds me of the tear in the white lace dress that caused such a
fuss last year. It was a good thing you were around to help Norma out of
that mix-up. If it hadn't been for you, Edith Hammond would have gone
straight to Mrs. Weatherbee and told her that it was Norma who stole her
dress. I must say, Edith acted splendidly about it afterward. I never
thought she had it in her to do as she did."

"Things looked pretty black for poor Norma that day until I made things
right with Edith," reminisced Jane. "She was determined to make Norma
give back her dress when all the while----"

"It was Judy Stearns who had really stolen it," merrily supplemented

"I'll never forget Edith's face when I told her I was sorry to say that
the real thief was Judith Stearns," laughed Jane.

"I was the thief, all right enough, but only a few people knew it. Alas,
my fatal failing!" grinned Judith. "There! I guess that will stay.
Let's go. I hear the enlivening strains of a fox trot. That means us."

It also meant to the listener outside that her time of eavesdropping was
up. Before the two occupants of the dressing room had reached the door
Marian Seaton had hurried away from it, her original intention quite



Once the sophomores had done their duty in the way of entertaining their
freshmen sisters, they promptly turned to their own affairs.

Following the freshman frolic a busy week of sophomore electioneering
set in. It was succeeded by a class meeting that barely escaped being a

At least a third of the class had, it appeared, enlisted under Marian
Seaton's banner. These ardent supporters who had espoused her cause in
the previous year and had been defeated, again came to the front with
belligerent energy. Though lacking in numbers, they were strong in
disagreeable opposition.

Christine Ellis' nomination of Judith Stearns for president, which was
seconded by Alicia Reynolds, caused one after another of Marian's
adherents to rise to their feet in hot objection. For five minutes or
more the chairman of the nomination committee had her hands full in
subduing the rebels.

Stung by the insult, Judith arose, white with righteous wrath, to
decline the nomination. Repeated cries of, "Sit down, Judy. We want you
for our president!" "What's the matter with Judy? She's _all_ right!"
and, "Judy Stearns or nobody!" drowned the refusal she strove to utter.
In the end she threw up her hands in a gesture of despair and sat down,
amid approving cheers from her triumphant supporters.

The nomination of Alicia Reynolds as vice-president was hardly less
opposed by the other faction, though it was carried in spite of protest.
With deliberate intent to shame, Barbara Temple calmly nominated Maizie
Gilbert as treasurer, thereby astounding the objectors to momentary
dumbness. They soon rallied, however, and one of their number hastily
seconded the nomination, which was carried.

Emboldened to action, Maizie promptly nominated Leila Brookes, one of
her friends, for secretary. This nomination was avidly seconded by
another of Marian's adherents and also carried. Having won their point
against unworthy opposition, the majority could afford to be generous.

The final result of the election found honors equally divided between
the two sets of girls, a condition of affairs which promised anything
but a peaceful year for 19--.

Gathered at Rutherford Inn that evening for a spread in honor of Judith,
given by Christine and Barbara, the latter expressed herself frankly in
regard to the afternoon's proceedings.

"That class meeting was as nearly a riot as could be," she declared
disgustedly. "I expected to engage in hand-to-hand combat before it
ended. I thought the best way to shame that crowd was to give them the
chance, they didn't want to give us."

"They snapped at it, too," Christine Ellis said scornfully.

"I'll never forgive you girls for making me president when I didn't want
to be," was Judith's rueful assertion.

"We would never have forgiven you if you had backed out," retorted Ethel

"I didn't have the least word to say about it. Nobody would listen to

Judith's comical air of resignation provoked a laugh.

"You should thus be pleased that you are well-liked, Judy," asserted
Adrienne. "And Alicia, here, we were delighted with your success, _ma

"I never dreamed of being nominated." A faint color stole into Alicia's
pale face. "I'd much rather it had been one of you girls."

"I'm heartily glad I was out of it all," declared Jane with emphasis.
"There's only one thing I really want this year in the way of college

"To make the sophomore team?" asked Christine.


An eager light sprang into Jane's gray eyes.

"You'll make it, Jane," predicted Barbara. "You can outplay us all. Some
of us are going to lose out, though. There are five of us here who are
going to try for it. Judy, Adrienne, you, Christine and I. Of course we
can't all make it. Quite a lot of sophs are going to try for it this
year besides us. Marian Seaton will be one of them, I suppose."

"She'll make it, if any of her friends happen to be judges at the
try-out," commented Judith sagely. "I hope Dorothy Martin will be chosen
as one of the judges. She can be depended upon to do the fair thing.
Miss Hurley was awfully unfair last year. I wish Dorothy'd be chosen as
our manager."

"We ought to do a little practicing, girls," urged Jane. "Let's start in
to-morrow afternoon, provided we can have the gym. I understand the
freshman team have been monopolizing it ever since their try-out last

"Who's on the freshman team?" asked Ethel curiously.

"I don't know. Haven't been over to see them work," Jane replied. "Have
any of you?" She glanced about the round table at her friends.

A general shaking of heads revealed the fact that no one had.

"It's queer, but somehow I can't get interested in the freshmen,"
confided Barbara Temple. "A lot of them acted awfully stand-offish
toward me on the night of the dance."

"I noticed the same thing!" exclaimed Christine in surprise. "I thought
it was my imagination. Those four girls you folks brought were sweet,

"They are dandy girls," interposed Judith hastily, and immediately
launched forth in praise of the Bridge Street freshmen.

Though she could have very quickly explained the strained attitude of
the freshman class to Christine and Barbara, she held her peace. She
decided, however, to have a talk that night with Jane. It was not fair
that these two loyal friends should be kept in the dark about what bade
fair to affect them unpleasantly.

That she was not alone in her opinion became manifest when, toward nine
o'clock, Alicia, Ethel, Adrienne, Jane and herself bade Christine and
Barbara good night and went on across the campus toward Madison Hall.

"Jane," began Judith abruptly, "I think we ought to tell Christine and
Barbara about that freshman business. I didn't want to say a word until
I'd put it up to you girls."

"Yes, I suppose we ought to tell them." Jane spoke almost wearily. "I
didn't say anything about it to-night because I hated to drag it all up
again. If you see either of the girls to-morrow, Judy, you'd better
explain matters. I don't want to. I'm sick of the whole business."

"I'm heartily sick of my roommate. I can tell you that," said Alicia.
"If I had known when that girl walked into my room that she was Marian
Seaton's cousin I should have refused to room with her. She's completely
under Marian's thumb. Whatever Marian tells her to do she does. You'd
think after what happened the other day that she'd be too angry ever to
speak to me again. Well, she isn't. She tries to talk to me whenever
we're together. She told me yesterday that I had made a terrible mistake
in giving up Marian for you girls."

"Marian put her up to that," declared Judith.

"Of course she did," nodded Alicia. "Elsie had the nerve to tell me that
Marian felt dreadfully over the horrid way I'd treated her. She blames
Jane for it, and says she'll get even with her for it. I blame myself
for being so hateful last year. Jane showed me how to be the person I'd
always wanted to be, but was too cowardly then to be it."

"Jane is of us all the loyal friend," broke in Adrienne. "Sometimes she
wears the fierce scowl and has the look of the lion, yet I am not afraid
of her. See, even now she scowls, but she will not eat us. She scowls
thus to hide the embarrassment."

The bright moonlight betrayed plainly the deep scowl between Jane's
brows to which Adrienne had called attention.

"Imp, you're a rascal." Jane's brows immediately smoothed themselves.
"You know altogether too much about me. I was embarrassed. That's a
fact. What Alicia said made me feel rather queer because I don't think I
deserved it. I can't be the person I want to be myself, let alone
showing anybody else. That's what has been bothering me right along. I'd
like to be able to rise above caring whether or not Marian Seaton tries
to get even with me."

"You can't do it, Jane, and be just to yourself," Alicia said very
positively. "I know Marian a great deal better than I wish I did. She'll
never stop trying to work against you as long as you're both at
Wellington. She'll never let a chance slip to make trouble for you. I'd
advise you to be on your guard and the very next time she tries anything
hateful, go to Miss Rutledge with the whole story of the way she's
treated you ever since you came to college."

"I couldn't do that. Not for myself, I mean. If it were something
hateful she'd done to one of you girls, I could. I would have truly gone
to Miss Rutledge or even Prexy with that paper, because it was injurious
to Judy and Imp; not because of myself."

"Never mind, Jane. I am here to protect you," Judith reminded gaily.
"I'd fight for you as quickly as you'd fight for me. Just remember

Judith began the little speech lightly. She ended with decided purpose.

"I know it, Judy."

Walking as she was beside her roommate, Jane slipped an affectionate
hand within Judith's arm.

"If Marian plays on the team with you girls, then look out," further
advised Alicia. "She'll do something to stir up trouble, you may depend
upon it. I know I'm croaking, but I can't help it."

"Wait till she makes the team," grinned Judith. "She may find herself
outplayed at the try-out. If she does, little Judy won't weep. No,
indeed. I'll give a grand celebration in honor of the joyful event."

"I, also, will shed few tears," Adrienne drily concurred. "Ah, but I
shall look forward to that most grand celebration! So at last this very
wicked Marian shall perhaps be the cause of some little pleasure to us."

Jane could not resist joining in the laugh that greeted this naïve
assertion. She wished she could feel as little concern about the matter
as did Judith and Adrienne. Alicia's warning against Marian had taken
hold on her more strongly than she could wish.

To Jane it seemed almost in the nature of a prophesy of disaster. She
found herself inwardly hoping with her friends that Marian would not
make the team. Instantly she put it aside as unworthy of what she, Jane
Allen, desired to be. A good pioneer must forge ahead, surmounting one
by one each obstacle that rose in the path. Again it came to Jane in
that moment, out under the stars, that it could make no difference to
her what Marian Seaton did or did not do to her, so long as she, an
intrepid pioneer, steadily kept to work at clearing her own bit of
college land.

She had earlier expressed this conviction to Dorothy. Later it had been
swept away by bitter doubts as to whether she could continue to maintain
a lofty indifference toward Marian's spiteful activities. Would she be
obliged eventually to descend to Marian's level and fight her with her
own weapons? She had more than once, of late, darkly considered the
question. Now she knew that so long as Marian's spleen directed itself
against her, and her alone, she could never do it. She would fight for
her friends, but never for herself.



At half-past four o'clock on the Wednesday following the sophomore class
elections, the sophomore basket-ball try-out took place in the
gymnasium. Twenty girls of the sophomore class had elected to enter the
lists, while the usual number of freshmen and upper class spectators
lined the walls of the big room.

Among the ten bloomer-clad girls who were finally picked for the
deciding tussle, five wore the dark green uniforms that had identified
them the previous year as the official freshman team. They were Judith,
Jane, Adrienne, Christine Ellis and Marian Seaton. Among the other five
contestants, Barbara Temple and Olive Hurst, both of last year's
practice team, had survived. The other three girls were disappointed
aspirants of the previous year's try-out, who had sturdily returned to
the lists for a try at making the sophomore team.

When the shrill notes of the whistle sent the ten into deciding action,
it became immediately evident that it would be nip and tuck as to the
winners. In every girlish heart lived the strong determination to be
among the elect. In consequence, the zealous ten treated the spectators
to a most spirited exhibition of basket-ball prowess.

When it had ended, the players ran off the floor, breathlessly to await
the verdict. With the exception of two of them, opinion was divided.
Regarding these two, there was no doubt in the minds of the watchers
that Jane Allen and Adrienne Dupree, at least, had made the team. They
were distinctly eligible.

Each in her own fashion had shown actual brilliancy of playing. The
others had done extremely well. How well was a matter which must be left
to the three judges to decide.

While the ten impatiently waited for the decision, over in the judges'
corner a spirited discussion was going on between Dorothy Martin and the
two seniors who were officiating with her in the capacity of judges. One
of them, Selina Brown, had already been appointed as basket-ball
manager of the teams for the year.

"I do not agree with you, Miss Brown," Dorothy was protesting, her fine
face alive with righteous vexation. "In my opinion, Miss Stearns has
completely outplayed Miss Seaton. In fact she has always been the better
player of the two. Granted, Miss Seaton is an excellent player, but Miss
Stearns outclasses her. I say this in absolute fairness. Try them out
again and you will see, even if you don't now."

"I am sorry to be obliged to differ with you regarding Miss Stearns, but
Miss Seaton must be my first and last choice. Miss Nelson quite agrees
with me. Do you not?"

She turned triumphantly to the third judge for corroboration.

"I--really--yes, I think Miss Seaton is the better player."

The reply, begun hesitatingly, went on to firmness. Laura Nelson had the
grace to color slightly, however, as she made it. Indebted to Marian
Seaton for several rides in the latter's limousine, as well as
hospitable entertainment at Rutherford Inn, she felt compelled to stand
by at the critical moment. She had been privately given to understand
beforehand that Marian was to make the team, whoever else failed.

"The majority rules, I believe, Miss Martin."

A disagreeable smile hovered about Miss Brown's thin lips as she said

"It does, but----" Patent contempt looked out from Dorothy's steady

"But what?" sharply challenged Selina Brown.

"It is an unfair majority," was the quiet accusation. "As the other four
players have been chosen, I will leave you to make the announcement."

So saying, Dorothy turned abruptly and walked away, too greatly incensed
to trust herself longer in the company of the pair whom she had flatly
accused of unfairness. Straight across the gymnasium she walked to where
Judith, Jane, Christine, Barbara and Adrienne stood, an eager group.

"Girls," she said, in a wrathfully impressive voice, "I'm going to stand
here beside you. When the announcement of the team is made you'll
understand why."

"What's the matter, Dorothy?" anxiously questioned Christine.

Four pairs of eyes riveted themselves wonderingly on Dorothy's flushed,
indignant face. None of the quartette had ever before seen
sweet-tempered Dorothy Martin so manifestly angry. Something of an
unusual nature must have happened.

"Don't ask me now. Listen!"

A loud blast from the whistle, held to Selina Brown's lips, was now
enjoining silence. Immediately after the sound had died away, a hush
fell upon the great room as the senior manager stepped forward and

"For the official sophomore team the following players have been chosen:
Adrienne Dupree, Barbara Temple, Christine Ellis, Jane Allen, and Marian
Seaton. To act as subs: Olive Hurst and Marjory Upton."

Immediately she went on with a speech, meant to be politely consoling to
the defeated contestants.

A faint, concerted gasp arose from the little group collected about
Dorothy. This, then, was the explanation of Dorothy's indignation.

"It's an outrage! I'm going to protest!" muttered Jane, her tones thick
with wrath. "No, I'm going to refuse to play on the team."

"And I also," echoed Adrienne hotly.

"Let's do it!" urged Christine, catching Barbara by the arm. "Right now,
before that Miss Brown gets through with her hypocritical speech."

"No, girls, you mustn't. I--I--don't--want you to," quavered Judith.

"We've got to, Judy! It's rank injustice, piled high!" declared
Christine tempestuously.

"If you do--I'll hate all of you!" Judith desperately threatened.
"You've got to stay on the team, simply because I'm not on it. I'm not
blind and neither are you. One of us had to go to make room for Marian
Seaton. It would have been Jane, I'm sure, if she hadn't played so well.
They didn't quite dare do it. So I had to take it. We don't know what's
back of it. Maybe it's been done on purpose to bring about the very
thing you want to do. I say, don't give in to it. Stick to the team."

"Judy's right, girls," interposed Dorothy. "Don't resign. You might only
be pleasing a number of persons by doing so."

Further counsel on her part was cut off by a flock of sophomores who had
come up to congratulate the winners. The latter were wearing their
triumph far from exultantly. Jane was scowling in her most ferocious
fashion. Adrienne's piquant features were set and unsmiling. Christine
and Barbara appeared constrained and ill at ease. Judith alone had
conjured up a brave little smile with which to mask the hurt of her

"It's a shame you didn't make the team, Judy!" sympathized one tactless

"Judy _did_ make the team, by rights," Dorothy defended, unflinching
purpose in the calm assertion. "I want it distinctly understood that she
was _my_ choice."

"We thought, too, that she should have been chosen," exclaimed Alice
Kirby, another sophomore, with a vigorous nod of her head. "It seems

"It's anything but funny," Dorothy cut in sharply. "Pardon me, Alice, I
didn't intend to be rude to you. I'm dreadfully disgusted over this
affair. I'll leave you to guess the reason."

"It's not hard to guess," retorted Alice significantly. "With Judy a
better player than Miss Seaton and yet not even chosen to sub,
something's twisted at Wellington. I rather think it will stay twisted,
too, as long as a certain person has two out of three judges on her

Alice had been one of Judith's most ardent supporters at the recent
class election.

"Well, I'm glad you have such a clear idea of things," grimly returned
Dorothy. "Kindly pass it on. I'm not saying that vindictively, either.
I want everybody I know to understand that I consider this an unfair
decision and that I absolutely refuse to countenance it. Miss Brown
recently asked me to act as referee in the games this year. I accepted.
Now I'm going straight to my room to write her my resignation."

"You mustn't do that, Dorothy," Judith again protested. "It's dear in
you. I surely appreciate it. Really, I don't mind so very----"

Judith stopped, the wistfulness in her blue eyes contradicting her
unfinished denial.

"But if you resign, Dorothy, there'll be no one to stand by us later,"
reminded Christine gloomily.

"I've thought of that, too, but it doesn't sway me. This is a matter of
principle. I could not be Judith's friend if I accepted this injustice
to her."

"It is indeed wise that Dorothy should do this," Adrienne sagely wagged
her curly head. "First, it is but fair to you, Judy. Again we shall gain
rather than lose for this reason. Soon all must know why Dorothy has
thus resigned. She wishes it to be no secret. _Voila!_ For the rest of
the year these two most unfair seniors must have a care. The eyes of
many will be upon them. The pitcher may go once too often to the well.
_N'est ce pas?_"

She turned to her listeners for corroboration. Wily child that she was,
she had decided to impress this view on those present, knowing that it
would be accepted and remembered.

"We had thought, the four of us," she impressively continued, including
her three teammates and herself in a sweeping gesture, "to resign from
the team. Because Judy does not desire it, we shall remain only to
please her. Judy has the great heart and the broad mind. She has not the
narrow soul of some persons of whom I might speak, only that these names
leave the bad taste in my mouth."

"Hurrah for Judy! Three cheers for Adrienne!" enthusiastically proposed
one of the highly impressed sophomores.

The hearty burst of acclamation which suddenly rent the air was anything
but welcome to a number of girls still lingering in the gymnasium.

Surrounded by a coterie of her own adherents, which included Leila
Brooks, Elsie Noble, Maizie Gilbert, and a number of upper class girls,
Marian Seaton's pale eyes darted a spiteful glance at the noisy
worshippers of the girls she detested.

"Boisterous things!" she exclaimed disdainfully. "The idea of their
setting up such a howl about that Judy Stearns when she didn't even make
sub, let alone making the team. If they knew what I know about her, not
one of those sophs outside of her own crowd would ever speak to her

"What do you know about her? Don't be stingy, Marian." "Why not let us
into the know?" were some of the cries that greeted Marian's dark

"I'll keep what I know to myself for the present. I am too charitable to
make trouble for that girl, even if she has done her utmost to injure
me. I'll never tell anyone unless there comes a time when I feel it
necessary to speak."

Marian assumed an air of virtuous tolerance that caused Maizie Gilbert
to eye her with reluctant admiration. She alone knew what her roommate
was driving at.

"I'm really relieved because you girls haven't carried on like wild
Indians about my making the team," she continued sweetly. "I hate being
made conspicuous."

She was inwardly furious because her supporters had failed to become
wildly jubilant over her success.

"Three cheers for Marian!" hastily proposed Elsie, realizing that it was
not yet too late to save herself from Marian's private displeasure.

Far from being disgusted with the belated mead of praise, for which she
had fished, Marian beamed patronizingly as the cheers were given.

These sounds of requisitioned acclamation were wafted to the ears of
Selina Brown and Laura Nelson, who were in the act of leaving the

"Well, she partly got what she wanted," remarked Selina Brown grimly as
they left the building and set off for Creston Hall where both lived.

"I expect that she'll be peeved because things didn't go entirely her
way. I made a fatal mistake in asking Dorothy Martin to be one of the
judges," pursued Selina. "I had forgotten about her being so thick with
that Allen girl. Marian never mentioned it, either, until afterward.
Then she made a big fuss, but it was too late to renege. Last year I let
basket-ball alone. I'd had enough of it the first two years here at
Wellington. I wasn't in touch with these girls that Marian's so down on.
Roberta Hurley was managing the teams then, you know. She recommended
me to Miss Rutledge as her successor. I wish now I'd refused to act as

"I'm sorry _I_ had anything to do with it," regretted Laura Nelson. "Of
course, Marian has been lovely to both of us. I was stupid enough to
mistake it for real friendship until she came right out the other night
and asked us to keep those three girls off the team. Then I knew she'd
only been getting an axe ready for us to grind."

"Oh, I saw through her from the first, but I thought I'd humor her.
We've had a good many rides and dinners at her expense. I supposed it
would be easy enough to keep those three off the team. When I saw them
play I knew differently. That Jane Allen is a wonder with the ball; the
little French girl, too. If I had dropped either of them the sophs would
have raised the roof. I had to save my own reputation. It didn't matter
so much about the Stearns girl. She and Marian were pretty evenly

"She's a better player than Marian," frankly disagreed Laura. "As it is,
I think we are in for trouble. We've antagonized Dorothy Martin. You
heard what she said to us. She won't hesitate to say it to anyone else
who claims Miss Stearns ought to have made the team. Dorothy's always
stood high at Wellington. She has lots of friends."

"Oh, she'll calm down," predicted Selina. "She hates to be crossed.
Personally, I don't admire her. She poses too much. She's either a prig
or a hypocrite. A little of both, I guess. When Marian raged about my
asking her to act as judge she said she knew for a fact that Dorothy's
father had lost all his money and that Dorothy was hanging on to Jane
Allen and this French girl, I never can remember her name, because they
took her around with them and spent lots of money on luncheons and

"Then she's no better than we are!" exclaimed Laura, looking relief at
this piece of news.

"Of course she isn't," retorted Selina. "As nearly as I can make out
it's nip and tuck between Marian and this Jane Allen as to which of them
will run the sophomore class. One has about as much principle as the
other. Marian has been nice to us. The Allen girl has never bothered
herself to get acquainted with us. I understand she's very haughty. I
should have really enjoyed keeping her off the team, but I didn't dare
do it."

"Then you think we ought to stick to Marian?" Laura asked rather

"Yes. Why not? So long as it suits us to do it. We can easily handle her
if she shows her claws. She won't, though. She knows that I could drop
her from the team if I chose. She won't dare say a word because the rest
of the team are against her. I'll very quickly remind her of it if she
is wrathy about to-day's affair."

"Suppose anything--well--disagreeable for us--should come of it?"

Despite Selina's assurances, Laura was not quite satisfied.

"What do you mean?" queried Selina impatiently.

"Suppose Miss Stearns' friends should take it up and raise a regular
riot about it? A lot of sophs went over to her after the try-out. You
saw them and heard them cheering her. Dorothy Martin was there with the
crowd. She went straight to them from us. I tell you, I don't like it,
Selina. I think we were foolish to lay ourselves open to criticism.
We're seniors, you know, and so are supposed to set a good example for
the other classes."

"Oh, stop worrying about it," roughly advised Selina. "Wait and see what
happens. If the sophs start to fuss, I can soon settle them."

"How?" demanded Laura incredulously.

"By taking Marian off the team and putting the Stearns girls on,"
promptly informed Selina. "If I lose Marian's friendship by it, I'll
gain Dorothy Martin's and Jane Allen's. As I'm not devoted to any of
these girls, I'm not particular which side I'm on, so long as it's the
side that does the most for me."



Returned to Madison Hall that afternoon, Dorothy Martin went directly to
her room to put into effect the spoken resolution she had made in the

The brief note she dashed off in a strong, purposeful hand, read:


     "Kindly appoint someone else in my place as referee for the coming
     games. I must firmly decline to act in that capacity.

                                                     "Yours truly,

                                                     "DOROTHY MARTIN."

Deciding to send it through the regular mail channels, she stamped and
addressed it, and promptly consigned it to the mail box.

When it presently came into the hands of Selina Brown, it cost the
latter some moments of uneasy speculation. She had not reckoned on
Dorothy's going thus far.

As it happened the note came as a climax to a trying session she had
spent with Marian Seaton on the previous evening. Marian had come over
to Creston Hall after dinner with blood in her eye. She was decidedly
out of sorts over the partial failure of her scheme and did not hesitate
to take Selina to task for it.

Selina, as her elder and a senior, had vast ideas of her own regarding
the proper amount of respect due her from a mere sophomore. Armed with a
dignity too great to descend to open quarrel, she soon reduced angry
Marian to reason.

"You ought to be thankful to me for putting you on the team," she had
coldly reminded. "Goodness knows Laura and I have had trouble enough
over it already. I proved my friendship for you. Now be good enough to
appreciate it and stop criticizing me. I consider it in very bad taste."

After Marian had finally departed in a more chastened frame of mind,
Selina pondered darkly concerning the "friendship" she had flaunted in
Marian's face. She decided that Marian would have to show more
appreciation if she expected any further favors.

Dorothy's note served again to arouse in Selina renewed resentment
toward Marian. She was now at odds with one of the most popular girls at
Wellington, and what had she gained? A few automobile rides and dinners,
bestowed upon her by a girl in whom gratitude was a minus quality.
Selina was distinctively aggrieved. She could only hope, as she
carefully reduced Dorothy's note to bits and dropped them into the waste
basket, that this was the end of the matter. It had all been aggravating
in the extreme.

Three days passed and nothing more happened. She had half expected that
the four friends of Judith who had made the team might send in their
resignations. She wished they would. A new team would be far less likely
to give trouble later on.

But no resignations arrived. In fact, a visit to the gymnasium on the
third afternoon revealed the sophomore team at practice. She wondered
how Marian had the temerity to go calmly to work with four girls whom
she detested, and who in turn must heartily detest her.

Aside from Marian, who beamed and nodded to her, no one else on the team
appeared to note her presence. It was mortifying, to say the least. But
the end was not yet.

Though Dorothy had made no secret of her resignation from basket-ball
activities, it took the news several days to reach the ears of the
freshman class.

"Too bad Dorothy's given up referee's post this year, isn't it?" was the
casual remark that set the ball of reinstatement rolling.

It was made to a member of the freshman team by Alice Kirby. There was a
purposeful gleam in her eye despite the apparent carelessness of the
comment. It immediately provoked a volley of questions, which Alice
answered with prompt alacrity. The effect upon the freshman was
electrical. She left Alice post haste to gather up her teammates and
hold a council of war.

The very next afternoon the council waited upon Miss Rutledge with a
most amazing story. They wanted to play basket-ball that year. Oh, very
much indeed! Still, they didn't care to play without Dorothy Martin as
referee. Yes, Dorothy had been appointed by Miss Brown, but she had
resigned. No, it was not because she was too busy. Yes, they knew the
reason. They could not blame her. Nevertheless they wanted her back.

It did not take long after this to explain that Dorothy had resigned
because Judith Stearns had been unfairly treated. Everyone who had been
at the try-out must know that Judy Stearns had outplayed Marian Seaton.
She had not been chosen but Marian had. Dorothy had protested to Miss
Brown. It had done no good. So she had resigned.

Miss Rutledge had listened patiently to the tale poured forth by the
justice-seeking quintette. When it had ended she quietly promised them
that she would look into the matter and see what could be done.

On the following morning, Dorothy, Laura Nelson and Selina each found a
note awaiting them in the house bulletin board, requesting them to call
on Miss Rutledge at four-thirty that afternoon.

Dorothy was frankly puzzled over her note. Having a clear conscience she
could think of no reason for the summons. Selina, however, was
apprehensive. Immediately she jumped to the conclusion that Dorothy had
reported her to Miss Rutledge. Laura was also of the same opinion.

As the two Creston Hall girls walked dejectedly down a corridor of
Wellington Hall to the dean's office that afternoon, sight of Dorothy
just ahead of them confirmed their worst fears.

Invited by Miss Rutledge to take seats, the three bowed distantly to one

"I sent for you three young women," began Miss Rutledge, "because of a
rather peculiar story which has come to my ears concerning the recent
basket-ball try-out. The freshman team is up in arms because you have
given up referee's post, Miss Martin. They wish you to keep the
position. They have requested me to take the matter up with you in their

Selina and Laura both looked amazement at this statement. It was
certainly not what they had expected. Dorothy too showed marked
surprise. An amused little smile hovered about her lips.

"It is nice in them to want me," she said gravely. "I appreciate their
loyalty. That is all I can say."

"That is hardly enough to satisfy them or me," replied the dean. "I must
ask you to tell me why you resigned your post."

"I would rather not answer that," Dorothy said with gentle firmness.

"Very well. I will ask you another question. Did you resign because you
considered that Miss Stearns had been unfairly treated at the try-out?"

Dorothy hesitated, then answered with a low, "Yes."

"Please explain in what way she was unfairly treated," relentlessly
pursued the dean.

"Miss Stearns made a better showing at the try-out than Miss Seaton. She
was one of the five best players. Miss Seaton would have ranked eighth
in my opinion. She was chosen instead of Miss Stearns."

"You were one of the judges, I believe?"

"Yes. My choice was Miss Stearns."

"You were also one of the judges, Miss Brown?"

The dean had now turned to Selina.


"And you, Miss Nelson?"

"Yes." A guilty flush dyed Laura's cheeks.

"Two against one in favor of Miss Seaton?" commented Miss Rutledge. "Let
me ask you two young women this. Were you both satisfied in your own
minds that Miss Seaton was the better player?"

"I was," declared Selina boldly.


The scrutiny of the dean's steady eyes disconcerted Laura. She could
not bring herself to look into them and utter a deliberate untruth.

"I--it was hard to judge between them," she finally faltered.
"They--they were almost equally matched in my opinion."

"Still, you must have thought Miss Seaton a little the better player,
else you would not have chosen her," asserted Miss Rutledge smoothly.

"We had the right to our opinion," broke in Selina quickly, determined
to save Laura from crumpling to the point of blurting forth the truth.

"That is true," agreed the dean, "provided it was a fair opinion. Miss
Martin states that it was not."

"Miss Martin has no business to say that," retorted Selina hotly.

"She has, if that is her opinion. She has the same privilege that you
have," was the grave reminder. "According to the statement just made by
Miss Nelson, she was not at all sure of Miss Seaton's playing
superiority over that of Miss Stearns. In that case, why did you not
order the game resumed, especially to test out these two players? That
would have been the best method of procedure."

"Because it wasn't necessary. Miss Nelson gave her decision at once in
favor of Miss Seaton."

"She seemed decidedly uncertain just now about it," said the dean dryly.
"As it happens, the members of the freshman team are of the same opinion
as Miss Martin. They claim that Miss Stearns completely outplayed Miss
Seaton. That it was too evident to be overlooked. I might investigate
this affair more thoroughly, but I do not wish to do so. As seniors, all
of you should be above reproach. Each knows best, however, what is in
her heart."

Laura wriggled uncomfortably, looking ready to cry. Selina put on an air
of studied indifference. Dorothy presented the calm serenity of one
whose integrity cannot be assailed.

For a long silent moment the dean's eyes traveled from face to face.
Then she said:

"We shall settle this matter by another try-out to-morrow afternoon at
half-past four. I shall attend it. When you leave here, Miss Brown,
kindly post a notice in the bulletin board calling the sophomore team to
practice to-morrow. State that it is by my order. Miss Martin, please
notify Miss Stearns that I wish her to be there, also, ready to play. I
will appoint two seniors to act with me as judges. I am familiar, as
you know, with the game. This try-out will not affect the other members
of the team. We shall drop one of them temporarily to give Miss Stearns
the opportunity of playing against Miss Seaton. I rarely interfere in
the matter of college sports, but in this instance I feel compelled to
take action."

"I suppose, if Miss Stearns wins, it will mean the loss of my position
as senior manager!" exclaimed Selina.

She was too thoroughly disgruntled to realize to whom she was speaking.

"Why should it? You have assured me of your honesty of purpose," flashed
back the dean.

Selina's discourteous manner of addressing her she could ignore. The
import of the speech was, however, another matter. It contained
self-condemnation. Selina herself realized her mistake the instant Miss
Rutledge replied. She turned red as a peony.

"I--I--just thought you might wish to appoint someone else," she said

"If you had admitted to me that you treated Miss Stearns unfairly, it
would certainly become necessary to appoint another manager," replied
Miss Rutledge. "You have not done so. In fact you have stated quite the
opposite. On the contrary, I must also accept Miss Martin's word that
she is speaking the truth as she sees it."

"Thank you, Miss Rutledge," was Dorothy's sole comment.

"If Miss Stearns wins against Miss Seaton at the new try-out it will be
by pure luck," declared Selina, with a desperate attempt at retrieving
her previous incautious remark.

"There will, at least, be no question of unfair treatment involved."

The blunt reply should have warned Selina that she was not bettering her
case. Instead, her belated attempt at caution flew away on the wings of

"I think it's very unfair to Marian Seaton to hold another try-out!" she
exclaimed. "She won her position on the team fairly enough. This whole
affair is nothing but a plot to put Miss Stearns on the team and drop
Miss Seaton from it. Miss Stearns has four friends on the sophomore team
who have persuaded the freshman team to do what they themselves don't
dare do. As Miss Martin has frankly accused both Miss Nelson and myself
of unfairness, I will say plainly that I think her a party to the plot.
I dare say Miss Stearns knows all about it."

"Miss Brown, you are not here to criticize my methods," sternly rebuked
the dean. "Granted that you are entitled to your own opinion, harsh as
it is, you must either be in a position to prove your accusations or
else not make them. Can you prove them?"

"No, I can't. Neither can Dorothy Martin prove hers."

"I can obtain the signatures of at least thirty girls who were of the
same mind as myself at the try-out."

It had come to a point where Dorothy refused longer to remain mute.
Incensed by Selina's bold attempt to malign her friends and herself, she
now turned to Miss Rutledge and said:

"I wish you to know, Miss Rutledge, that the four sophomores chosen,
besides Miss Seaton, to make the team fully intended to resign from it
because of their loyalty to Miss Stearns. She begged them not to do so.
She was very brave over the disappointment. I am positive that neither
she nor her friends would be guilty of asking the girls of the freshman
team to take up the matter. Certainly I would not."

"I know you would not," quietly reassured the dean. "We will drop this
discussion where it now stands. It is unbecoming, to say the least. I am
greatly annoyed that it should have arisen among members of the senior
class. It is ended. Let it be forgotten. The try-out to-morrow will
decide the question. I would prefer you not to give up your position as
referee, Miss Martin. Will you reconsider your resignation?"

"I will, since you desire it." Dorothy bowed acquiescence.

"Then the matter is settled," was the concluding announcement. "I shall
expect all three of you to be present at the try-out to-morrow

This was virtually a command. Had Selina dared, she would have coldly
declined to obey it. As it was she said nothing. Miss Rutledge's tones
indicating that the interview was concluded, she rose, bade the dean a
chilly "Good afternoon," and departed, accompanied by Laura.

Dorothy also rose to go, but the dean detained her with a kindly:

"Just a moment, Dorothy. I wish a private word with you. I know you too
well to believe you to be at fault in this matter."

"I am not at fault, Miss Rutledge," was the composed answer. "I thank
you for believing in me."

"There seems to be a great deal more behind this affair than appears on
the surface," the dean said significantly.

"That is true," Dorothy affirmed. "Since the beginning of last year a
struggle has been going on here at Wellington between right and wrong.
The girl who represents right is too noble to complain. She will fight
things out unaided, and she will win."

"You refer to Judith Stearns?" interrogated the dean.

"No; not Judith." Dorothy shook her head. "Judith has merely been used
as a scapegoat. I would prefer not to say more. The girl who is in the
right would not wish it. She has been advised to come to you, but
refuses to do so. She is very determined on that point."

"And you approve of her stand?" The dean eyed Dorothy quizzically.

"Yes." Dorothy's affirmative came unhesitatingly. "I should feel the
same under similar circumstances."

"Then you would advise me not to go too deeply into things?"

There was a decided twinkle in the dean's eyes as she said this. She had
known Dorothy too long not to feel the utmost confidence in her.

"I can't imagine myself as advising Miss Rutledge," she said prettily,
her sober face lighting into a smile.

The smile, instantly returned, indicated perfect understanding.

"I think you are right, Dorothy. I shall not interfere, except in the
matter of a new try-out, unless I am approached by the girl of whom you
speak. Frankly, I have no idea of whom she may be. These disagreements
among the students at Wellington seldom reach my ears. When they do I
always endeavor to see justice done the wronged party."

When Dorothy had presently left her, however, Miss Rutledge sat
pondering over the intricacies of girl nature. Hailing from the far West
she was inclined to view the world from a man's standpoint. She was,
therefore, wholly in sympathy with a girl who could sturdily fight her
own battles without asking help of anyone. She could almost wish that
the identity of such an one might some day be revealed to her.



Outside Wellington Hall, Laura and Selina stopped long enough to hold a
hurried conversation. As a result they both set their faces toward
Madison Hall to inform Marian Seaton of what was in store for her.

"It's simply outrageous!" she stormed, when Selina had gloomily finished
relating the dire news. "I won't go to the gym to-morrow. Miss Rutledge
has no right to interfere with the teams."

"She seems to think she has," shrugged Selina. "You'll have to do one of
two things. Either resign now from the team, or go to the try-out
to-morrow and take your chance of winning against Miss Stearns."

"I won't do either," flatly declared Marian. "I made the team and I
won't be cheated of my position on it."

"Do you think you can outplay Miss Stearns?" asked Laura anxiously. "You
didn't the other day, you know."

"You'd best resign," cut in Selina sharply, without giving Marian time
to answer Laura's question. "If you go to the gym to-morrow it's going
to create a lot of gossip about Laura and me. Dorothy Martin hasn't made
a secret of her opinion of the other try-out. With Miss Rutledge there
to-morrow as one of the judges and neither Laura nor I acting with her,
it's going to look pretty bad for us."

"I tell you I sha'n't be there to-morrow," snapped Marian.

"Then you'll get yourself into trouble with Miss Rutledge and lose your
position anyway," returned Selina with equal asperity. "I've already
told you that I have received instructions to post a notice calling the
sophomore team to practice by her order. If you resign now, that will
end the whole thing. Of course the Stearns girl will get your position
on the team. Still you can save your own dignity and ours by pretending
in your resignation that you are deeply hurt. You can say, too, that you
would have been very willing to give up your position on the team to
Miss Stearns if you'd understood that she wanted it so much."

"But I'm not willing to do any such thing," angrily contended Marian.
"I'll take my chance against Judith Stearns to-morrow before I'll tamely
resign like that. Come to think of it, it would be much more dignified
on my part to go to the gym. You, not I, have been accused of
unfairness. You put me on the team, you know."

"Yes, and why did I?" flung back Selina hotly. "Because you asked me to
do it. Now you think you can hang the unfairness on my shoulders and
slip free of it yourself. Well, you can't. I know that Judith Stearns
can outplay you. If I thought she couldn't, I'd say go ahead. But she
can. As you won't resign of your own accord, I'm going to demand your
resignation. If you don't give it to me in writing, I'll go straight
back to Miss Rutledge and tell her the whole thing. I'd rather confess
to her than have everybody down on Laura and me after to-morrow."

"You wouldn't do that. You can't scare me," sneered Marian.

"Oh, wouldn't I? Wait a little. You'll see."

"You'd be expelled from college. Just remember that. You'd find
yourself worse off than if you kept still," triumphantly prophesied

"_We_ wouldn't be expelled. _You_ probably would be. We'd be severely
reprimanded and Miss Rutledge would be down on us for the rest of the
year. But you started the whole thing. You're the real offender. It
would go hard with you."

"I'm sorry I asked you to help me, Selina Brown!" Marian exclaimed
bitterly. "You're a treacherous snake! After all I've done for you, you
turn against me like this."

For the next five minutes she continued to express her candid and very
uncomplimentary opinion of Selina.

When she paused to take breath, Selina's only retaliation was, "Come on,
Laura. We'll have to hurry if we expect to catch Miss Rutledge in her
office. I suppose we'd best go to her house and wait for her. We'll be
surer of seeing her then."

It had the desired effect. Marian crumpled, shed a few tears of pure
rage, but finally wrote the resignation which Selina dictated.

"It worked!" was Selina's relieved exclamation, the moment they were out
of Madison Hall. "She's a great coward, for all her boldness. She gave
in more easily than I'd expected. You can imagine me confessing anything
like that to Miss Rutledge, now can't you?"

Selina accompanied the query with a derisive laugh. It was echoed by
Laura, though rather nervously.

"It was horrid to have to bully her." Laura made a gesture of distaste.
"I'm glad we're safely out of it. We'd best keep out of such tangles
hereafter, and let the sophs alone."

"I intend to," Selina said with grim decision. "I shall keep the
managership of the teams, but I'll steer clear of trouble after this.
Now let's hustle home. I must write Miss Rutledge a note and enclose
Marian's resignation. I'll ask her to answer, stating whether it is
satisfactory and asking what I am to do. I'll pretend that I found the
resignation waiting for me at Creston Hall."

Half an hour later, Selina had written her letter and dispatched it to
Warburton Hall, the faculty house where Miss Rutledge lived, by the
small son of Mrs. Ingram, the matron of Creston Hall.

When the dean had read and re-read the two communications, she looked
decidedly grave. After a brief interval of thoughtful meditation, she
wrote Selina the following reply:


     "Kindly write to Miss Seaton and accept her resignation from the
     sophomore team. Do not post the notice I requested you to post. It
     will not be necessary. Write to Miss Stearns notifying her that
     Miss Seaton has resigned from the team and that I wish her to
     accept the position thus left vacant.

                                                   "Yours truly,

                                                   "GERTRUDE RUTLEDGE."

When the next morning's mail brought Judith the amazing news,
unwillingly penned by Selina Brown, she was literally dumfounded. The
mail arriving while she was at breakfast, she garnered the note from the
house bulletin board on her way upstairs from the dining-room.

"For goodness' sake, read this!" she almost shouted, bursting in upon
Jane, who was preparing to go to her first recitation. "I don't know
what to make of it!"

A slow smile dawned on Jane's lips as she perused the agitating note.

"Marian never resigned by her own accord," she said. "It looks as
though her scheme had somehow proved a boomerang. Someone stood up for
you, Judy, mighty loyally. Miss Rutledge's name being mentioned in the
note tells me that. Was it Dorothy, I wonder? No; it wasn't. She
promised us that she wouldn't go to Miss Rutledge about it."

"It's a mystery to me," declared Judith. "I don't know what to do. I

A rapping at the door sent her scurrying to open it.

"Why, Dorothy!" she exclaimed. "How did you know I wanted to see you?"

"I didn't know. I came because I have a special message for you from
Miss Rutledge. She sent for me to come to her last night after dinner. I
spent the evening with her and arrived here too late to see you. I was
dying to tell Jane this morning at breakfast, but couldn't, of course,
until I'd seen you. I'm glad you're both here. By the way, Judy, did you
receive a note from Selina Brown?"

"I certainly did," emphasized Judith. "What's the answer to all this,
Dorothy? I was never more astonished in all my life than when I read her
note. What made Marian Seaton resign from the team, and why does Miss
Rutledge want me to take her place? I'd just about made up my mind to
go and ask her, when you came."

"You needn't," smiled Dorothy. "She has asked me to explain things to
you in confidence. I'm going to take the liberty of including Jane. I'll
explain why presently."

"I won't feel hurt if you don't, Dorothy," Jane said earnestly. "Perhaps
you'd really rather tell Judy alone."

"No. I want you to hear the whole thing," Dorothy insisted. Whereupon
she recounted what had occurred on the previous afternoon in the dean's

"I wanted you to know, Jane, just why I told Miss Rutledge that this
affair was a hang-over from last year. I know she has no idea of whom I
meant by the girl who was standing up for right. She may suspect Marian
as being the other girl. I can't say as to that. I'm glad she knows now
that there is such a condition of affairs at Wellington. She will not
forget it if anything else comes up. She will be very well able to put
two and two together, if need be."

"I'd never go to her of my own accord," Jane said with an emphatic shake
of her russet head.

"You might be sent for some day, just as I was yesterday," returned

"But you haven't yet explained why Marian resigned, Dorothy," reminded
Judith. "What did Miss Rutledge say about it?"

"She said that she had received a note from Selina, with Marian's
resignation enclosed. Marian's reason for resigning was that she had
learned you were dissatisfied over her appointment on the team. She
preferred to give you her position rather than have you continue to make
trouble about it."

Dorothy's lips curled scornfully as she said this.

"Then I won't accept it!" Judith blazed into sudden anger. "The idea of
her writing such things about me! How can Miss Rutledge ask me to
replace Marian after that? I won't do it."

"Yes, Judy, you must," Jane declared quietly. "Marian wrote that hoping
you'd hear of it and refuse. She knew you'd insist on learning the
particulars before you accepted. Miss Rutledge has shown her faith in
you by asking you to replace Marian on the team."

"Selina Brown is behind the whole thing," asserted Dorothy.

"I believe it," quickly concurred Jane. "It's easy to see through
things. She didn't want another try-out; so she made Marian resign. She
must have used a pretty strong argument to do it. It was a case of the
biter being bitten, I imagine."

"Exactly," Dorothy agreed. "Selina Brown and Laura Nelson ought to have
more principle than engage in anything so dishonorable. They've managed
to wriggle out of it at Marian's expense, but they have both lost caste
by it. Depend upon it, a great many girls here will have their own
opinion of the whole affair and it won't be complimentary to Marian,
Selina and Laura."

"Someone may say that I am to blame for Marian's resigning," advanced
Judith doubtfully.

"Someone undoubtedly will," concurred Jane, "but it won't carry much
weight. You have too many friends, Judy, to bother your head about the
spiteful minority. You were unfairly dealt with at the try-out. That's
generally known. Now you've come into your own through a hitch in
Marian's plans. She couldn't get back on the team again under any
circumstances. You're not standing in her way. Don't stand in your own."

"I guess I'd better accept," Judith reluctantly conceded. "From now on I
shall go armed to the teeth. Marian Seaton is apt to camp on my trail,"
she added with a giggle. "Good gracious, girls! Look at the time! We'll
be late to chapel."

Absorbed in conversation, the trio had completely forgotten how swiftly
time was scudding along.

"Late to chapel! Chapel will be over before ever we get there if you
don't hurry!" exclaimed Jane ruefully.

Accordingly the three made a hasty exit from the room and the Hall,
hurrying chapelwards at a most undignified pace.

That afternoon Judith sent her letter of acceptance to Selina Brown. The
next day she reported in the gymnasium for practice with her old
teammates. It was a joyful reunion, made more conspicuous by the
attendance of a goodly number of sophomores, who had got wind of the
news and who cheered Judith lustily when she appeared. The freshman
team, who had so loyally fought for her, also made it a point to drop in
on the practice and offer their congratulations.

The jubilant majority was undoubtedly heart and soul for Judith.
Whatever the "spiteful minority," as Jane had put it, thought of her,
she quite forgot in the delight of being at last really and truly on the
official team.

"We certainly are a fine combination!" exulted Christine at the end of
an hour's spirited work with the ball. "The freshmen will have to look
out. And to think they were the ones to give Judy back to us!"

Christine, Adrienne and Barbara were among the few who knew that the
freshman team had protested to Miss Rutledge. The five freshmen
themselves had kept the matter fairly quiet. They had been sent for and
privately informed by Miss Rutledge that Miss Seaton had resigned from
the sophomore team of her own accord and that Miss Stearns was entitled
to the vacancy.

They had also been gravely charged to let that end all discussion of the
subject. Their point gained, they obeyed orders, except for a certain
amount of curious speculation among themselves as to how it had come

In the end they agreed that Marian must have heard of their visit to
Miss Rutledge and resigned out of pure mortification.

Jane, Judith and Dorothy kept the greater knowledge of the affair to
themselves. Not even Adrienne knew the true facts. Selina Brown and
Laura Nelson also found wisdom in silence. They were not hunting further
trouble. They had had enough.

Selina had been allowed to keep her managership of the teams, and was
shrewd enough to appreciate that another slip would be decidedly
disastrous to her. Thereafter she became such a stickler for fair play
as to prove decidedly amusing to at least three girls.

Marian Seaton found refuge in the "hurt feelings" policy as dictated to
her by Selina. To her particular satellites she posed as a martyr and
affected a lofty disdain for "certain girls who have no principle."

Inwardly she was seething with resentment against Judith. She confided
to Maizie, her stand-by, that she didn't know which of the two she hated
most, Judith Stearns or Jane Allen. She laid her latest defeat, however,
at Judith's door. She believed that Judith had been the secret means of
inciting the freshman team to protest and she was determined to be even.
Furthermore, she confided to Maizie that it would be only a matter of
time until Judith Stearns must lose every friend she had.



Following on the heels of Judith's advent into the team came an
unheralded and wonderful surprise for Dorothy Martin.

One crisp Saturday afternoon in early November, Jane Allen ran up the
steps of Madison Hall, her face radiant. Attired in riding clothes, she
had just come from the stable, where she had left Firefly after a long
canter across country.

Into the house and up the stairs she dashed at top speed, bound for
Dorothy Martin's room.

"Come," called a cheerful voice, in answer to her energetic rapping.

"Oh, Dorothy!" Jane fairly bounced into the room. "Get on your hat and
coat and come along. I've something to show you."

"What is it? Where is it?" gaily queried Dorothy. "To mend or not to
mend, that is also the question. Shall I go on mending my pet blouse
that's falling to pieces altogether too fast to suit me, or drop it and
go gallivanting off with you?"

"There's no question about it. You must come. If you don't, you'll be
sorry all the rest of the year," predicted Jane. "Now sit and mend your
old pet blouse if you dare!"

"I dare--not," Dorothy laughed. Rising she laid aside the silk blouse
she was darning and went to the wardrobe for her wraps. "I'm a very poor
senior these days," she added. "I can't buy a new blouse every day in
the week. I have to make my old ones last a long time."

"You always look sweet, Dorothy," praised Jane, "so you don't need to
care whether your blouses are old or new. They're never anything but
dainty and trim."

"Thank you for those glorious words of praise," was Dorothy's light

"You're welcome, but do hurry," urged Jane.

"Where do we go from here?" quizzed Dorothy as they started down the

"I sha'n't tell you. Wait and see, Miss Impatience. This is a very
mysterious journey."

In this bantering strain the two continued on to the western gate of the
campus, passed through and started down the highway.

"I know where we're going!" finally exclaimed Dorothy. "We're going to
the stable to see Firefly! Funny I didn't guess it before, with you in
riding clothes. You're going to show me some new trick you've taught
Firefly. There! Did I guess right?"

"Yes, and no. That's all I'll tell you. Come on. One minute more and
you'll see the great sight."

Jane caught Dorothy's hand and rushed her toward the stable. Still
keeping firm hold on her friend, she led her straight to the roomy
box-stall which accommodated Firefly.

"Oh, Jane!" Dorothy cried out in sudden rapture. "What a beautiful
horse. Why, he looks almost enough like Firefly to be his brother. Where
did you get him? What in the world are you going to do with two horses?"

"He's not mine," Jane replied. "He is----" She stopped, her gray eyes
dancing. "He belongs to a dear friend of mine. Her name is Dorothy

Dorothy stared, as though wondering if Jane had suddenly taken leave of
her senses.

"Wake up, Dorothy!" Jane laid an affectionate hand on Dorothy's
shoulder. "He's yours. Dad sent him to you. He's come all the way from
Capitan to see you. Aren't you going to say 'How de do' to him?"


Dorothy turned and hid her head against Jane's shoulder.

"This is a nice way to welcome poor Midnight," laughed Jane, as her arm
went round Dorothy. Her own voice was not quite steady.

"I--I--it's too much," quavered Dorothy, raising her head. "I can't
believe that beauty is for me. It's too wonderful to be true. I must be

"But it _is_ true. If you don't believe me, read this."

Jane drew a square, white envelope from the pocket of her riding coat
and offered it to Dorothy.

"It's for you, from Dad," she explained. "I've been keeping it until
Midnight came. This is the outcome of a plot. A real plot between Dad
and me."

Dorothy took the letter, her eyes still misty.

"We'll read it together, Jane," she said.

Arms entwined about each other's waists, the two girls read Henry
Allen's letter to his daughter's friend.

     "DEAR MISS DOROTHY," it began. "Jane has written me that Firefly
     complains a great deal about being lonely. He misses Midnight, an
     old chum of his. So I decided that Midnight might come East,
     provided he had someone to look after his welfare. Jane has told me
     so much about you, and that you resemble one who, though gone from
     us, grows ever dearer with years.

     "Because of this, and because of your many kindnesses to my girl, I
     hope you will accept Midnight for your own special pet. He is very
     gentle and, in my opinion, quite as fine a little horse as Firefly.
     You cannot, of course, expect Jane to say that. I send him to you
     with my very best wishes and trust that you and Jane will have many
     long rides together.

     "My sister and I look forward to meeting you next summer. Jane
     tells me that she will surely bring you home with her when college
     closes next June. We shall be delighted to welcome you to El
     Capitan. My sister joins me in sending you our kindest regards.

                                                     "Yours sincerely,

                                                     "HENRY ALLEN."

"It's just like good old Dad!" Jane cried out enthusiastically. "You'll
love Midnight, Dorothy. Come and get acquainted with him. I've a whole
pocketful of sugar for him and Firefly."

In a daze of happiness Dorothy followed Jane into the roomy stall and
was soon making friendly overtures to Midnight, who responded most

There was still one more feature of the program, however, which Jane
hardly knew how to bring forward.

"Dorothy," she began rather hesitatingly. "I hardly know how to say it,
but--well--this stall is large enough for both Midnight and Firefly.
They were chums at home and will get along beautifully together. Won't
you let me look after them both? You know what I mean?"

"I'm glad you came out frankly with that, Jane." Dorothy's color had
heightened. "No, I couldn't let you do that. I shouldn't feel right
about it. I've been thinking hard ever since I read your father's
letter. I believe it's right for me to accept Midnight, because you both
want me to have him and have gone to so much trouble to bring him here.
I've thought of a way out of the difficulty. Only yesterday a freshman
came to me and asked me to tutor her in trigonometry. She's been
conditioned already and needs help. I told her I'd let her know. I
wasn't sure whether I wanted to do it. I've never tutored and I could
get along without the extra money. But now, it will come in just
beautifully. I can earn enough to pay for Midnight's keep. You
understand how I feel about it."

"Yes. I know I'd feel the same," nodded Jane. "That's why I hated to say
anything. I want you to do whatever you think best. Anyway, Firefly and
Midnight can be in the same stall and that will help some. You must let
me do that much."

"It will help a great deal. I'm not sure that I ought to let you do even
that," demurred Dorothy.

"Of course you ought," Jane said sturdily. "You must mind Dad, you know.
He depends on you to look after Midnight's welfare. This is the largest,
nicest stall in the stable. Now you must see your saddle. It's Mexican
and almost like mine. I put it in the locker with mine. They're too
valuable to be left lying about loose."

Lingering for some little time while Dorothy made further acquaintance
with her new possession, the two girls strolled back to the Hall
through the November dusk.

Dorothy was exuberantly joyful over the wonderful thing that had
happened to her, and correspondingly grateful to those responsible for
it. Jane was also brimming with quiet happiness. She wished every other
day of her sophomore year could be as delightful as this one. What
splendid rides she and Dorothy would have together!

Jane left Dorothy at the door of the latter's room and went on to her
own in a beatific state of mind. It was certainly far more blessed to
give than to receive.

"Well, how did the gift party come off?" was Judith's question, as Jane
closed the door behind her. Judith was the only one who had been let
into the secret.

"Oh, splendidly!" Jane exclaimed. "She fell in love with Midnight the
minute she saw him. I wish you rode, Judy. I'd have Dad send you a
horse, too."

"Of course you would, generous old thing," was the affectionate reply.
"But I'm not to be trusted with a noble steed. Neither would I trust
said steed. I can admire Firefly, but at a safe distance. I'd rather
stick to the lowly taxi or my two feet to carry me over the ground. By
the way, did you look at the bulletin board on your way upstairs?"

"No; I didn't stop. I saw a couple of the girls reading a notice. What's

"Our dear Marian has met with a loss." Judith's grin belied her mournful
accents. "Not her position on the team. Oh, my, no! She's not
advertising _that_. She's lost a valuable diamond ring, and has offered
twenty-five dollars reward to the finder. The very idea! Just as if a
Wellington girl would accept a reward if she happened to find the ring.
I call that an insult."

"It's bad taste, to say the least." Jane looked slightly scornful. "Does
the notice state where she believes she lost the ring?"

"Yes; it says, 'Somewhere between Madison Hall and the library, or in
Madison Hall.' Between you and me, I wonder if she really did lose a
ring? It would be just like her to start this new excitement about
herself on purpose to get sympathy. She must be awfully peeved yet over
basket-ball. I feel almost like a villain at practice. Still, it
certainly wasn't my fault."

"I'm thankful there's no one here at the Hall she could lay suspicion
upon," frowned Jane. "Norma's beyond reach of injustice now. I'd rather
hope it was a real loss than a camouflage."

"Well, she might say that I had stolen it. Wouldn't that be a glorious
revenge?" Judith jokingly inquired.

"Don't be so ridiculous, Judy Stearns." Jane's frown changed to a smile
at this far-fetched supposition on Judith's part.

"Oh, she'll probably find it again one of these days, after everyone's
forgotten about it and gone on to some other great piece of news,"
Judith unfeelingly asserted. "You see how sympathetic I am."

"I see. I also see the clock. It's time I changed these riding togs for
a dress. I'll barely have time before the dinner gong sounds."

Jane rose from the chair she had briefly occupied while listening to
Judith, and began hurriedly to remove her riding habit.

Quickly rearranging her thick, curling hair, she dived into the closet
that held her own and Judith's dresses. Selecting a fur-trimmed frock of
dark green broadcloth, she hastily got into it.

As she hooked it a little smile played about her lips. The news of
Marian's loss already forgotten, Jane was again thinking of the pleasant
little scene enacted in the boarding stable, where Firefly and Midnight
now stood side by side.

"You must go down to the stable with us to-morrow and look Midnight
over, Judy," she suddenly remarked, then went on with an enthusiastic
description of Dorothy's new treasure.

       *       *       *       *       *

While she thus dwelt at length upon Midnight's good points, in a room
not far distant two girls were conducting a most confidential session.

"How long do you think we ought to wait before--well, you know?" Marian
Seaton was asking.

"Oh, about three weeks, I should say," lazily returned Maizie Gilbert.
"We'll have to go slowly. It will take three or four months to do the
thing properly. If we rushed it, it wouldn't be half as effective as to
take our time. What about Elsie?"

"We'll tell her about the dress business, but no more than that. She
mustn't know a word about the rest. She has a frightful temper, you
know. If she happened to get good and mad at me, she'd tell everything
she knew to the very first person she ran across. She'll be properly
shocked when she hears about the dress. We'll tell it to her as a great
secret," planned Marian. "I won't say anything outright about the ring.
I'll leave it to her to draw her own conclusions. She's rabid about Judy
Stearns. It seems she has heard that Judy nicknamed her the 'ignoble

"That's a funny one!"

Maizie appeared to derive signal enjoyment from this revelation.

"I fail to see anything funny about it." Marian stiffened perceptibly.
"Please remember, Maiz, that Elsie is _my_ cousin."

"Oh, I haven't forgotten it. That's a funny nickname, just the same."

Maizie calmly declined to be thus easily suppressed.

"It suits me to know that Elsie heard about it," Marian said, after an
instant's vexed silence.

She knew better than to continue to oppose Maizie. For one of her
sluggish temperament, Maizie could turn decidedly disagreeable when she

"Yes, it comes in very nicely just now," drawled Maizie. "Elsie needs a
spur to keep her going. Keep her in a rage and she's a fine little
mischief-maker. Let her calm down and she's likely to crumple. She
really has some idea of principle, only she doesn't know it. I wonder if
she'll ever find it out."

"Do you mean to insinuate that _I_ haven't?" demanded Marian crossly.

"No; I say it plainly. Neither you nor I have any principle," declared
Maizie with her slow smile. "We might as well be honest about it. We
never are about anything else, you know. It doesn't worry me. It's
rather interesting, I think. Keeping things stirred up relieves the dull
monotony. There's always the chance that we may win. We have never won
yet, you know. We're still here, though, and that's a consolation. This
latest idea of yours ought to amount to something in the long run."

"Really, Maiz, you are the most cold-blooded girl I ever met!" Marian
cried out in exasperation. "Sometimes I feel as if I didn't understand
you at all."

"I don't pretend to understand myself," returned Maizie tranquilly. "It
would be too much trouble to try. Besides, self-analysis might be fatal
to my comfort. I might dig up a conscience, and that would be a bore.
I'd rather take it easy and smile and be a villain still. Changes are so
disagreeable. You'd find that out, if one came over me. You'd be minus a
valuable ally."

"Do you mean that as a threat?"

Marian laughed. There was, however, a note of anxiety in her question.
She had no desire to lose so valuable an ally as Maizie.

"A threat? No. Don't be scared. I'm still wandering along under the
Seaton banner. I suppose I'm rather fond of you, Marian. Don't know why,
I'm sure. You're thoroughly selfish, and we quarrel continually. That's
the real reason for it, I suspect. You keep things going. That's your
chief charm. Then, too, you've been fair enough with me. Whatever you
may do to others isn't my concern. I don't intend that it shall be. If I
were to start in the other direction I couldn't stop halfway. I'd keep
on going. Then where would you be? As I said before, 'Changes are
disagreeable.' So I'm going to stay on your side and, take my word for
it, it's a mighty good thing for you."



In spite of the peculiarly sinister talk between Marian Seaton and
Maizie Gilbert, nothing unusual occurred during the next few weeks to
disturb the peace of either Judith or Jane.

Thanksgiving came and went with the usual round of college gaieties.
Four days being too short a holiday to permit the majority of the
Wellington girls going home, they remained at college and did much

On Thanksgiving Day the first in the series of three basket-ball games
was played between the sophomores and the freshmen. The sophomores won,
though the freshmen gave them a hard tussle, the score standing 22-18 in
favor of the sophs when the hotly contested game ended. Both teams made
a fine appearance on the floor. Neither team had adhered to class
colors that year in choosing their basket-ball suits. The freshmen wore
suits of navy blue, decorated with an old rose "F" on the front of the
blouse. A wide rolling sailor collar of the same color further added to
the effect. The sophomores had elected to be patriotic, and wore
khaki-colored suits, unrelieved by a contrasting color. It was a decided
innovation of its kind and they liked it.

Afterward the sophomore team privately agreed that the girls of the
freshman team were real thoroughbreds. They accepted their defeat in the
most good-humored fashion and heartily congratulated their opponents on
their playing.

As Right Guard, Jane proved herself worthy of the position. She played
with a dash and skill that was noticeable even above the good work of
the other players. Her mind was too fully centered on the contest to
realize this until at the end of the game she was mobbed by a crowd of
enthusiastic sophs. They marched her in triumph twice around the
gymnasium to the cheering, ringing accompaniment of "Who's Jane Allen?
Right, right, right Guard!"

Jane never forgot that stirring cry of "Right Guard!" It conveyed to her
a higher meaning than mere basket-ball glorification. It fell upon her
ears as an admonition to do well. To do right, to be right, and to stay
right. It was almost as if she had been elected by her own soul to be a
guardian of right.

That night the losing freshman team did something unprecedented in the
history of Wellington. They entertained their conquerors at dinner at
Rutherford Inn. More, Jane was amazed to find herself the guest of honor
and had to respond to the highly complimentary toast, "Right Guard
Jane," given by Florence Durham, the freshman captain.

So Jane's Thanksgiving holiday came and went in a blaze of well-earned
glory. Happy in this unexpected appreciation of herself, which appeared
to be steadily growing, she came to feel that things had at last begun
to take an upward turn.

With Christmas rapidly approaching and everything still serene, pleasant
immunity from the disagreeable was still hers. Neither had Judith met
with anything disturbing to her happiness, beyond an occasional spiteful
glance from Marian Seaton when she chanced to encounter the latter in
the Hall or on the campus.

"I guess Marian has given up the ghost," Judith suddenly remarked to
Jane one evening before dinner, as the two sat in their room going over
their long Christmas lists. "I believe I ought to send her a consolation
present. A wooden tiger on wheels would be nice. I saw some lovely ones
in the Ten-Cent Store at Chesterford. All painted with dashing yellow
and black stripes and fixed so that they waggle their heads when you
touch 'em."

"Don't mention her," grimaced Jane. "You'll break the spell. We've had
absolute peace and rest since her last uprising. I wonder if she ever
found her ring?"

"I don't believe so. A girl told me not long ago that she saw Marian
take the notice from the bulletin board and tear it up. She overheard
her say that she might just as well have not posted it, for all the good
it had done. That she had hoped that the reward she offered might count.
But evidently it hadn't. Now what did she mean by that?"

"Nothing or everything," shrugged Jane, and again turned her attention
to her list of names.

"More likely everything," Judith declared uncharitably. "She probably
meant something dark and insinuating. I guess that the only person who
could earn the reward would be herself. I can just imagine her
returning the ring to herself and paying herself twenty-five dollars

Judith chuckled as she mentally visioned Marian Seaton graciously
bestowing a reward upon herself.

Jane smiled a little, also, but made no comment. Engaged in the
delightful occupation of planning pleasure for her friends, she did not
wish the subject of Marian Seaton to intrude upon it.

"I don't have to worry about my present-buying this year," she presently
remarked. "Aunt Mary will buy everything for me that I need. All I have
to do is to send her a list of the presents I'm going to give and she
will shop for me."

"It was splendid in your father and your aunt to come to New York for
the holidays," approved Judith warmly.

"They both knew how disappointed I was last year because I couldn't go
home for Christmas," Jane answered. "They are doing this for my special
benefit. I surely appreciate it, for Dad loathes the East, and Aunt Mary
hates railway traveling. I'm awfully sorry that neither you nor Dorothy
can be with us. We'd love to have you, but I know that you want to be
with your father, and Dorothy, of course, wants to be at home with her

"Yes, Father wants me at home this year. I'm glad we are to have the
full three weeks' vacation. I don't imagine that twelve days business
last year worked very well. The girls made such a fuss about it, and a
lot of them came back late. I'm going to ask my aunt to give a house
party for me at Easter. Then I'll invite all our crowd and we'll have a
great old celebration. Christmas is a bad time for a college girl house
party. Everyone's anxious to be at home with her own people. Easter's

"Yes, that's true," nodded Jane. "What are you going to give our four
freshmen, Judy?"

"Long white gloves; a pair apiece," was the prompt reply. "They have
none, I know, or they would have worn them at the freshman frolic."

"That will be nice. I know what I'd like to give them. I believe they'd
be pleased, too."

"What?" Judith eyed Jane interestedly.

"Furs. Not the most expensive, of course. I wouldn't care to overwhelm
them. I thought of black fox muffs and scarfs for Kathie and Freda, and
gray squirrel for Ida and Marie. None of them have furs. I have four or
five sets and a fur coat, too. I feel selfish to have so much, when
they have nothing."

"That's perfectly sweet in you, Jane," lauded Judith. "You're always a
generous old dear, though."

"Why shouldn't I be generous?" demanded Jane. "Dad wants me to be. He
never cares how much money I spend, but he likes to have me think about
others. He's a great old giver himself. He says that the only way to
take the curse off of having a lot of money is to use it in helping to
make the other fellow happy. I wish I could take time to tell you all
the kind things he's done with his money. It seems as though the more he
gives the more he has."

"If everyone who had money were like him we'd have an ideal world, I
guess," declared Judith. "I have quite a lot of money coming to me when
I'm twenty-one. I was named for my grandmother and she left it to me.
When I get it I shall try to do as much good with it as I can. I don't
want to be selfish. I'm afraid I think too much about my own pleasure,

Jane smiled at this rueful confession. Judith was generous to a fault.
She was always far happier in giving than in receiving.

"You're not selfish, Judy," she assured. "We all think a good deal more
about our own fun than we should, perhaps. We spend lots of money on
spreads and dinners and treats. I've been thinking seriously about it
lately. After Christmas, I'm going to invite our crowd to our room some
evening and propose something that I believe we might agree to do. You
needn't ask me what it is, for I sha'n't tell you."

"All right, don't," grinned Judith. "I've enough on my mind now to keep
me busy until after the holidays. I was never curious, even in my
infancy. If I was, I don't recall it. In fact, I don't remember much
about that particular period of my young life. I was born absent-minded,
you know, and have never outgrown it."

"You've done pretty well this year," smiled Jane. "You haven't committed
a single crime, so far, along that line."

"Shh!" Judith warned. "Praise is fatal. I'll surely do something now to
offset it. I'm on the verge. Only yesterday noon I laid my little
leather purse on my wash stand. After classes I met Mary Ashton on the
campus and invited her to go to the drugstore with me to have hot
chocolate. When I went to pay for it, I took my little silver soap dish
out of my coat pocket. I'd grabbed it up and stuffed it in there instead
of my purse. You can imagine how silly I felt! Mary had to pay for our
chocolate. So I know that I'm on the verge. This Christmas rush has gone
to my head. I'm going to make you censor every last package I send. I'm
not to be trusted," Judith ended with a deep sigh.

"I'll keep my eye on you," promised Jane, much amused at the affair of
the soap dish.

"Thank you; thank you!" Judith responded with exaggerated gratitude.
"Now I must leave you. I promised Mrs. Weatherbee to go to her room
before dinner. She just finished a perfectly darling white silk sweater
she's been knitting for her niece. It has a pale blue collar and it's a
dream. She wants to try it on me. I am about the same build as her

With this Judith departed, leaving Jane in rapt contemplation of her
Christmas list. She was well satisfied with the selection of gifts she
purposed to lay on the altar of friendship. She hoped she had forgotten
no one. She decided to write at once to her Aunt Mary, who was already
in New York, and enclose a list of the articles she wished her aunt to
purchase for her.

Judith presently returned to dwell animatedly on the beauties of the
silk sweater.

"It's the sweetest thing ever," she glowed. "It's awfully becoming to
me. It's all finished and after dinner I'm going to take it out to mail
for Mrs. Weatherbee. I told her I didn't know whether I could be trusted
with it or not. I might run away with it."

"Are you going to take it to the postoffice?" asked Jane. "If you are I
have a letter I wish you'd mail there for me. I'd go with you but I have
a frightfully long translation in French prose for to-morrow. I can't
spare the time."

"Oh, I'm only going as far as the package box at the east end of the
campus. Mrs. Weatherbee's going to weigh and stamp the package here and
send it special delivery instead of registering it."

"Then you can drop my letter in the post box. That is, if I finish it
before the dinner gong rings."

Glancing up at the clock, which showed a quarter to six, Jane hastily
resumed her writing. The gong sounding before the letter was completed,
Judith obligingly volunteered to "hang around" after dinner until it was
ready for mailing.

"Now don't put this letter in your coat pocket, Judy," cautioned Jane,
when half an hour after dinner she delivered it into Judith's keeping.
"If you do, you'll forget it, mail the package and come marching back
to the Hall with my letter still in your pocket. I'm anxious for it to
be collected to-night; then Aunt Mary will get it some time to-morrow."

"I'll mail it. Don't you worry," Judith assured. "I'll carry it in my
hand every step of the way. It's raining. Did you know it? I hope it
will turn to snow by to-morrow. I like the weather good and cold around
Christmas time."

"Oh, well, it's over a week until Christmas. We'll probably have plenty
of snow by then," Jane commented. "Better take your umbrella."

"Never!" refused Judith. "One package and a letter are about as much as
I can safely carry at a time. I might jam the umbrella into the package
box and come home with Mrs. Weatherbee's package held over my head. Let
well enough alone, Jane. I'll wear my raincoat and run for it."

Slipping on her raincoat and pulling a fur cap over her head, Judith
took the letter and started off, stopping in the matron's room for the
package she had offered to mail.

"Whew!" was her salutation on reappearing in her room perhaps twenty
minutes later. "Maybe it isn't raining, though, and it's as dark as can
be. I put your letter and the package under my coat and made a mad dash
for the mail box. Got rid of them both in a hurry, and made a still
madder dash back home. Another time, I'll consult the weather before I
offer my noble services as runner. Any way, your letter is on its way.
So is the sweater, and the girl who gets it is lucky."

"I'm ever so much obliged to you, Judy. I hope Aunt Mary sends my stuff
right away, so that I'll have it on hand to give before I go to New
York. It won't take more than two days to buy it. Allowing three for it
to arrive, I'll have it in good season, I guess."

The next few days were fraught with considerable anxiety for Jane, until
the arrival of numerous huge express packages, set her doubts at rest.
Then a busy season of wrapping and beribboning gifts ensued. The blessed
fever of giving was abroad at Wellington and the cheerful bustle and
stir of Christmas pervaded every nook and corner of college.

Two evenings before Christmas, Jane and Judith invited their particular
chums to their room for a good-bye spread. The party spent a jubilant
evening, feasting and exchanging gifts and good wishes. On the next day,
Jane and Judith bade each other an affectionate farewell and departed
for their respective destinations.

Adrienne and Norma accompanied Jane to New York, there to spend the
holidays with the Duprees. Adrienne's distinguished mother was filling a
long engagement at a theater there, and the Duprees had opened their
home in New York for the time being. Norma expected to fill a two-weeks'
engagement in a stock company, obtained for her by Mr. Dupree, and was
to be the guest of the kindly Frenchman and his little family.

The three girls were delighted at this state of affairs, as Jane looked
forward to meeting the Duprees and Adrienne was equally eager to know
Jane's father and aunt. In consequence, the trio had made countless
holiday plans which they purposed to carry out.

All in all, it was a red-letter three weeks for the three Wellington
girls. Jane found New York a vastly different city when peopled by those
dear to her. During her brief shopping trip there the previous winter
she had not liked New York. Now she discovered that it was a most
wonderful place in which to spend a holiday.

In spite of the constant round of theaters, dinners, luncheons and
sight-seeing into which she was whirled, she took time to look sharply
about her for those to whom Christmas meant only a name. Accompanied by
Mrs. Dupree, she and Adrienne made several visits to poverty-stricken
sections of the great city, leaving substantial good cheer behind them.

She also discovered a special protégé in a meek-faced young girl who
occupied the position of public stenographer in the hotel where the
Allens were staying. Dressed in deep mourning, the girl at once enlisted
Jane's sympathy. She promptly made her acquaintance and the two girls
became instantly friendly. It needed but the information that Eleanor
Lane had recently, lost her mother to strengthen the bond of
acquaintance to actual friendship.

Democratic Henry Allen and his sister quite approved of Jane's interest
in the lonely little stranger, and Eleanor was invited frequently to
dine or lunch with them.

"It seems odd," she said to Jane one afternoon near the end of the
blissful holiday as Jane lingered beside her desk, "but your name has
sounded familiar to me from the first. I've heard it before but I can't
think when or where. I only know it's familiar. It bothers me not to be
able to place it."

"It's awfully aggravating to have a dim recollection of something and
not be able to make it come clear," Jane agreed. "My name isn't an
uncommon one. There may be dozens of Jane Allens in the world, for all I

"Yes, there may be. I hear and see so many names, I wonder that I can
ever keep any of them straight in my mind," smiled Eleanor. "Perhaps it
will come to me all of a sudden some day. If it does, I'll write you
about it."

"Yes, do. You know we are going to correspond. When I come to New York
again I shall surely look you up," declared Jane. "And you must come and
spend a week-end with me at Wellington."

Girl-fashion, the two had advanced to the "visiting" stage of
friendship. Sad little Eleanor regarded Jane as a bright and wonderful
star that had suddenly dawned upon her gray horizon.

Jane liked Eleanor for her sweet amiability and pleasant, unassuming
manner. She also admired her intensely, because Eleanor was actually
engaged in successfully earning her own living. This, in itself, seemed
quite marvelous to Jane, who had never earned a penny in her life.

"Girls are really wonderful, after all, Dad," she confided to her
father, as the two sat side by side on a big leather davenport in the
sitting room of the Allens' private suite, indulging in a confidential

It was the last night of Jane's stay in New York. The next day would
find her saying fond farewells to her father and aunt. They intended to
remain in New York for a few days after Jane's departure for Wellington
College, then make a brief tour of the larger eastern cities before
returning to the West.

"It seems queer to me now that I used to dislike them so much," Jane
continued, shaking a deprecating head at her former adverse opinion of
girls in general. "I wouldn't know what to do now without my girl
friends. I seem to be making new ones all the time, too. There's
Eleanor, for instance. I've grown ever so fond of her. I think it would
be fine to have her make me a visit next summer. She never goes anywhere
in particular. She just works hard all the time. Dorothy thinks she
can't come to Capitan until August, so I could have Eleanor there in

"Invite whom you please, Janie. The more the merrier. All I want is to
see my girl happy," was the affectionate response.

"And I _am_ happy, Dad," Jane ardently assured. "You and Aunt Mary have
given me the finest Christmas I could possibly have. I'll go back to
Wellington feeling as if I owned the earth. After such a glorious
vacation as this has been, I'll have every reason in the world to be a
good pioneer. I'll re-tackle my bit of college land for all I'm worth,
and improve it as much as I can through the rest of my sophomore year.
It looks a lot better already than it did last year."

Jane spoke with the glowing enthusiasm of perfect happiness. The joy of
Christmas had temporarily driven from her mind even the vexatious memory
of Marian Seaton and her petty spite.

Quite the contrary, Christmas had not reduced Marian to any such
beatific state. She accepted it as a mere matter of course, and spent it
in Buffalo, as the guest of Maizie Gilbert. Privately, she wished it
over and done with. For once, she was impatient to return to Wellington,
there to further a certain enterprise of her own from which she expected
to gain decided results.



Returned to Wellington, Jane and Judith both agreed that in spite of
their holiday fun, each had missed the other dreadfully. They had plenty
to talk about and much to show each other in the way of beautiful gifts
which had fallen to their lot.

Judith was jubilant over the acquisition of a knitted white silk
sweater, which she assured Jane was an exact counterpart of the one Mrs.
Weatherbee had knitted for her niece.

"My Aunt Jennie made it for me," she explained, as she proudly exhibited
it to Jane. "I bought the silk and she did the work. I told her about
the one Mrs. Weatherbee made for her niece and dandy Aunt Jennie offered
to knit one for me like it. Wasn't that nice in her? I'm going to show
it to the girls and then put it away until Spring. It will be sweet
with a white wash satin skirt. I'm going to have some made just to wear
with it. Let's give a spread, Jane, to the crowd. Then we can show them
our Christmas presents. It will give you a chance, too, to get that
great secret idea of yours off your mind. You see I haven't forgotten
about it."

Jane smilingly agreed that it would be a good opportunity and the spread
was accordingly planned for the next evening. Christine, Barbara,
Dorothy, Norma, Alicia, Adrienne, Ethel and Mary Ashton were the chosen
few to be invited.

It was not until the little feast provided by Judith and Jane had been
eaten and the ten girls still sat about the makeshift banqueting board,
that Jane, urged by Judith to "Speak up, Janie," began rather
diffidently to speak of her cherished new idea.

"I don't know whether you'll agree with me or not," she said. "If you
don't, please say so frankly, because if we should decide to do what I'm
going to propose we'll all have to be united in thinking it a good idea.

"It's like this," she continued. "We all spend a good deal of money on
luncheons and dinners and spreads. We feel, of course, that we have a
perfect right to do as we please with our allowance checks. So we have.
Still, when one stops to think about quite a number of girls at
Wellington who are straining every nerve to put themselves through
college, it seems a little bit selfish to spend so much on one's own

"Suppose we agreed to give only two spreads a month. There are ten of us
here. We could each put a dollar a month into a common fund. That would
give us ten dollars to spend on the two spreads, five dollars on each.
During the month we'd see how much of our allowances we could save.
Whatever we had left at the end of the month would go into the common
fund. No one of us would be obliged to give any particular sum. Whatever
we gave would be a good-will offering. One of us would be treasurer.
We'd buy a toy-bank and the treasurer would take charge of it. Whenever
one of us wanted to give something we'd go to her and drop the money in
the bank. Not even she would know what we gave. The first of every new
month she'd take the money out, count it and put it in the Chesterford
Trust company for us."

"But suppose we save quite a lot, what would we do with it?" asked
Barbara Tennant. "We wouldn't need it for ourselves. We'd have to----"

"That's what I'm coming to," interposed Jane. "We'd start a fund to help
the poorer Wellington students along. There is no College Aid Society
here. I don't know why none has ever been organized. I suppose there
haven't been so very many poor girls at Wellington. Until three years
ago there were no scholarships offered. There are only two now. There
will be three soon. My father has promised me that."

Jane's lips curved in a tender little smile, as she quietly made this
announcement. There was no hint of boastful pride in her tones; nothing
save becoming modesty and deep sincerity.

"This money we collected would be open to any student to draw upon who
made requisition for it," she explained.

"But would the girls who need it ask for it?" questioned Norma. "You see
I know how it feels to be very, very poor. If I hadn't found such a
splendid way to earn my tuition fees and board, I'm afraid I could never
bring myself to ask for help in that way. It would seem like begging."

"Oh, we'd loan the money; not give it," promptly assured Jane. "We'd
loan it without interest, to be repaid at convenience. You know the
'Beatrice Horton' books. Well, in those stories the girls at Exley
College started such a fund. They gave entertainments and shows to help
it along. Then they received money contributions from interested
persons, too.

"I don't know whether we'd ever do as they did. I like the idea of the
self-denial gifts from just the crowd of us. We could let the money pile
up this year and if we had enough by next October we could start our
Student's Aid Fund."

"We could keep up the good work during our vacations, too,"
enthusiastically suggested Mary Ashton. "A little self-denial then
wouldn't hurt us, I guess, I think it would be fun for each of us to
pledge ourselves to earn at least ten dollars this summer to put into
the fund. Norma and Adrienne are the only ones of us here who ever
earned a dollar. Dispute that if you can."

"I dispute it," grinned Judith. "My father once gave me a silver dollar
for keeping quiet a whole hour. I was only five at the time I earned
that fabulous sum."

"I've earned lots of dollars for churches and hospitals at bazaars,"
declared Christine. "I suppose most of us have. But that's not like
earning money for ourselves."

"Well, everybody here is going to earn _ten_ dollars this coming
summer," stated Judith positively. "It would be still more fun if we
each agreed to write a poem telling how we earned our ten dollars. We'd
have a grand reunion as soon as we were all back in college and each of
us would read her own poetic gem right out loud, so that we could all
appreciate it."

Judith's proposal was greeted with laughter and accepted on the spot.
The girls were no less enthusiastic over Jane's worthy plan and each
expressed herself as ready and willing to do her bit toward furthering
its success. Before the ten-thirty bell drove the revelers from the
scene of revelry, Adrienne had been appointed to act as treasurer. Jane
had been unanimously chosen, but declined, suggesting Adrienne in her

Thus from one girl's generous thought was presently to spring an
organization that would grow, thrive and endure long after Jane Allen
had been graduated from Wellington College to a wider field in life.

That evening's jollification was the last for the participants until
fateful mid-year, with its burden of examinations should come and go.
The nearer it approached the more devoted became the Wellingtonites to
study. Even basket-ball practice fell off considerably. The second game
between the freshmen and sophomore teams was set for the third Saturday
in February. This meant ample time for practice after the dreaded
examinations were out of the way.

On the whole January seemed fated to pass out in uneventful placidity so
far as Jane and Judith were concerned. Elsie Noble continued to glower
her silent disapproval of her tablemates three times a day, but that was
all. Since the disastrous failure of the scheme to leave Jane, Judith
and Adrienne in the lurch at the freshman frolic, she had made no
further attempts at unworthy retaliation for her supposed grievances.

Marian Seaton also appeared to be too fully occupied with her own
affairs to undertake the launching of a new offensive against the girls
she so greatly disliked. In fact, she behaved as though she had
forgotten their very existence. For this they were duly grateful.

Only one incident occurred during the month which brought Marian's name
up for discussion between Judith and Jane.

Judith arrived in her room late one afternoon with the news that Maizie
Gilbert had lost a valuable sapphire and diamond pin. Notice of the loss
had appeared on the main bulletin board at Wellington Hall. It was
worded almost precisely as had been the notice previously posted by
Marian regarding the loss of her diamond ring.

Judith again confided to Jane her sturdy disbelief concerning Maizie's
loss. As in the case of Marian, she attributed it as a silly
determination to attract undue attention. Jane frowned reflectively at
Judith's supposition, but refused to commit herself.

"I don't want to talk or even think about either Marian or Maizie," she
said shortly. "I've been living in perfect peace since Christmas and I
hate to break the spell. I'm trying to keep my mind on study just now.
Are you aware, Judy Stearns, that exams begin to-morrow?"

"I am. I am prepared--in a measure. Ahem!" Judith snickered, adding: "A
very small measure."

"Are you going to study to-night?" Jane demanded. "If you're not, then
away with you. I'm going to be fearfully, terribly, horribly busy. Don't
interrupt me. That means you. Alicia is coming in after dinner to-night.
We are going to conduct a review."

"All right, conduct it," graciously sanctioned Judith. "I'm not going to
study to-night. I never do the last evening before exams. I just try to
keep what I already know in my head and let it go at that. Guess I'll
inflict my charming self upon Adrienne and Ethel. They're not going to
study, either."

"Do so; do so," approved Jane with smiling alacrity. "I'm sure they'll
love to have you."

"Certainly they will. I am always welcome everywhere--except _here_, on
the dread eve of the stupendous ordeal which we shall presently be
called upon to endure."

Judith struck an attitude and continued to declaim dramatically.

"Who am I that I should desire for a moment to remain where I am not
desired. I will flee to the welcome haunt of my true friends. We'll make
merry and make fudge at the same time. And I sha'n't bring you a single
speck of squdgy, fudgy fudge," she ended in practical tones.

"I can live without it," informed Jane drily. "Be as merry as you
please, but be quiet about it. Remember, a lot of girls will be trying
to study."

"Oh, we won't get ourselves disliked," airily assured Judith. "We'll be
as quiet as can be. We know how to behave during such times of stress."

Jane merely smiled. Judith and Adrienne together meant much hilarity.

Dinner over, Alicia appeared to hold student vigil with Jane. Judith as
promptly betook herself to Adrienne's room for an evening's relaxation.
There she found Norma, who had also elected to eschew study for fudge.

It may be said to the quartette's credit that, though hilarity reigned
during the fudge making, it was of a subdued order. When the delicious
concoction of chocolate and walnut meats was at last ready for sampling,
the four girls sat down to eat and talk to their hearts' content.

The conversation drifting to the all-important subject of dress,
Adrienne exclaimed in sudden recollection:

"Ah, Judy, but I must show you the sweet frock which I have this day
received from _ma mère_. It is, of a truth, the dream. But wait one
moment! You shall thus see for yourself."

Springing up from her chair, the little girl darted to a curtained
doorway, the entrance to a roomy closet, containing her own and Ethel's

It was at least five minutes when she reappeared, minus the new gown, an
angry light in her big, black eyes.

"What's the matter, Imp?" questioned Ethel concernedly.

For answer, Adrienne laid a warning finger to her lips with a mysterious
wag of her curly head toward the curtained doorway.

Her finger still on her lips, she picked up a pencil from the writing
table and scribbled industriously for a moment or two on a pad of paper.
Silently she handed the pad to Judith, who read it, opened her eyes very
wide and passed the pad to Ethel. Ethel, in turn, handed it to Norma.

Suddenly Adrienne broke the silence; speaking in purposely loud tones.

"I have the great secret to tell you, girls. It is of a certainty most
amazing. Wait until I return. I shall be absent from the room but a
moment. Then you shall hear much that is interesting."

Flashing to the door, she paused, frantically beckoning her friends to
follow her. Next instant the four had made a noiseless exit into the
hall and were grouped before the door of the next room.

Very cautiously, Adrienne's small fingers sought the door knob and
turned it. Slowly, soundlessly, she opened the door and stepped
cat-footed into the room. A little line of three, emulating her
stealthy movement, tip-toed after her into a room empty of occupants.

Straight to a curtained doorway Adrienne flitted, followed by her
faithful shadows. Sweeping the chintz curtain aside with a lightning
movement of her hand, she paused.

Looking over her shoulder, three girls saw a motionless figure lying
flat on the closet floor. In that fraction of a second the figure
suddenly acquired motion and speech. A scramble, an appalled "Oh!" and a
very angry and thoroughly frightened girl was on her feet, confronting
Adrienne. Her companions had now fallen back a little from the doorway.
The listener now made a futile attempt at composure.

"What--why----" she gasped.

"Come out of this closet, dishonorable one," commanded Adrienne sternly.
"Ah, but it is I who had the luck to discover you in the act of
listening. Had you not too hastily shut the register when you heard me
enter the closet on the other side, I should never have guessed. Come
out instantly."

The imperious repetition of the command served its purpose. Adrienne
backed out of the closet into the room, followed by Elsie Noble. The
latter's small black eyes refused to meet those of her accuser. The
blazing red of her cheeks betrayed her utter humiliation.

For a brief instant no one spoke. Then Elsie recovered speech.

"Get out--of--my--room, you--spies!" she stammered in a furious,
rage-choked voice.

"Ah, but it is you who are the great spy!" scornfully exclaimed
Adrienne. "There is no longer the mystery. So you must have listened
often to Ethel and myself as we privately talked. Have you then no shame
to be thus so small--so contemptible?"

"No, I haven't. I----"

Elsie's attempt to brazen things out ended almost as soon as it began.
Her guilty, shifting gaze had come to rest on Norma's grave, sweet face.
It wore an expression of wondering pity. Elsie turned and bolted
straight for her couch bed. She threw herself downward upon it, beating
the pillows with her clenched fists, in a fury of tempestuous chagrin.

"I think we'd best go, girls." It was Norma who spoke. "Alicia will soon
be in. I don't believe we'd care to have even her know about this.
Perhaps it would be just as well for us to forget that it's happened."

This charitable view of the matter brought Elsie's head from the pillow
with a jerk. She sat up and stared hard at Norma, as if unable to credit
the latter's plea for clemency in her behalf.

"I am satisfied to have thus solved a mystery. Now I wish to forget it."
Adrienne made a sweeping gesture, as though to blot out the disagreeable
incident with a wave of her hand.

"It certainly wouldn't be a pleasant memory," dryly agreed Judith.
"Anyhow, we know now something we've wanted to know for a long time.
That's about all that one feels like saying, except that one hopes it
won't happen again."

"I guess it won't. Let's go, girls," was all that Ethel said.

Without another word the quartette turned to the door, leaving Elsie to
her own dark meditations. She could hardly believe that she had thus
easily escaped. It appeared that these girls whom she had been so sure
she despised, had no mind for retaliation. They were simply disgusted
with her. For the first time, a dim realization of her own unworthiness
forced itself upon Elsie.

It was not strong enough to impel her to run after those who had just
disappeared and apologize for her fault. Nevertheless, Adrienne's
accusing question, "Have you then no shame to be thus so small; so
contemptible?" rang in her ears. It dawned painfully upon her that she
_was_ ashamed of herself. More, that she was done with eavesdropping for
good and all.

Early in the year she had stumbled upon the discovery that the register
in the dress closet could be efficiently used as a listening post. Its
position, low in the wall between the two closets, made it possible for
her to hear plainly the conversation of those in the next room when both
sides of the register stood open. This state of matters had existed when
first she made the discovery. More, the side opening into the dress
closet belonging to Adrienne and Ethel had remained open.

This proved conclusively to Elsie that she was alone in her discovery.
Fearful lest Alicia should note the sound of voices proceeding from the
next room, she had been careful to keep the register closed whenever
Alicia was present in their room. At times when the latter was absent,
Elsie had noiselessly opened it and taken up her position in the closet
as an eavesdropper. Now she began miserably to wish that she had never
done it.

Meanwhile, Adrienne's first move on re-entering her room was to dash
into the adjoining closet and close the treacherous register with an
energetic hand. To block further listening, she promptly stowed a
suitcase on end against it.

"_Voila!_ I have now remedied the trouble," she announced, as she
emerged from the closet. "We shall not need that register to give the
heat to us. I have closed it and placed against it the suitcase. Strange
we never before noticed."

"Better late than never," commented Judith. "Funny the way our little
mystery was solved, wasn't it?"

"I should never have known, had she not made the noise in closing the
register on her side," explained Adrienne. "I had but bent over to lift
the box containing my new gown when I noticed the register, heard the
sound and, of a sudden, grew suspicious. I recalled that it could not be
Alicia. So I was most determined to know if my suspicion was the idle
one. It was not. You saw for yourselves. It was all most disagreeable. I
had the feeling of shame myself to thus discover this girl listening."

"So had I," echoed Ethel.

"It _was_ rather horrid," declared Judith. "Maybe it will teach her a
much-needed lesson. The ignoble Noble is a splendid name for her. I'm
proud of myself for having thought of it."

"I think she was really ashamed of herself," Norma said quietly. "I
couldn't help feeling a little bit sorry for her. She pretended to be
very defiant, when all the time she looked humiliated and miserable. I
believe she was truly sorry, but couldn't bring herself to say so."

"She will too soon forget," shrugged Adrienne. "A few minutes with her
cousin, that most detestable Seaton one, and her regrets will vanish.
Once you said, Judy, that we should solve our little mystery when we
least thought. So you are indeed the prophet. We can expect no gratitude
from this girl, because we have thus overlooked her fault. Still, I have
the feeling that she will trouble us no more. _Voila!_ It is



Adrienne's prediction that a few moments with Marian Seaton would
effectually banish Elsie Noble's remorse, provided she felt remorse,
proved not altogether correct. The beginning on next day of the mid-year
examinations served as a partial escape valve for Elsie's feeling of
deep humiliation.

By the end of the week she was divided between remorse and resentment.
The latter over-swaying her, she fell back on Marian for sympathy.
Marian's sympathy was not specially satisfying. She actually laughed
over Elsie's aggrieved narration of the affair of the dress closet, and
coolly informed her cousin that she should have locked _her_ door before
attempting any such maneuver.

The only grain of consolation which she bestowed was, "You needn't feel
so bad about what those sillies think of you. They'll have something
more serious to think about before long. It's high time Maiz and I took
a hand in things."

"What are you going to do?" Elsie sulkily demanded.

"You'll know when the time comes," was the brusque reply.

A reply that sent Elsie back to her room, sullenly wondering what Marian
was "up to" now. Strangely enough, Marian's vague threat awoke within
her a curious sense of uneasiness. She was not so keen for retaliation
now. She darkly surmised that Marian intended somehow to make trouble
for Judith Stearns and Norma about the last year's affair of the stolen
gown. Once she had been ready to believe Marian's assertion that Judith
had been guilty of theft. She was not nearly so ready now to believe it.

As for Norma! Elsie could still see Norma's sweet face, with its gentle
blue eyes pityingly bent on her. Marian might say all she pleased. Norma
Bennett was fine and honest to the core. She had always secretly admired
Norma for her wonderful talent. Now she admired Norma for herself. If
Marian undertook to injure Norma----Elsie set her thin lips in a
fashion denoting decision.

Mid-year came and went, however, with nothing to disturb the outward
serenity of Madison Hall. A brief season of jubilation followed the
trial of examinations. The new college term began with the usual flurry
accompanying the rearranging of recitation programs and getting settled
in classes. Basket-ball ardor was revived and practice resumed by the
freshman and sophomore teams, pending the second game to be played on
the third Saturday in February.

On the Monday evening before the game, Marian Seaton and Maizie Gilbert
held a private session with Mrs. Weatherbee. It lasted for half an hour
and when the two girls emerged from the matron's office, they left
behind them a most shocked and perplexed woman. The story which they had
related to her would have seemed preposterous, save that it touched upon
a private matter of her own that had of late vaguely annoyed her.

For some time after the two had left her office, she wrestled with the
difficulty which confronted her. Nor had she decided upon a course of
action when she retired that night. For two days she continued in doubt,
before she was able to make up her mind regarding the handling of the
troublesome problem.

After dinner on Wednesday evening she sent the maid upstairs with
certain instructions and promptly retired to her room.

"Mrs. Weatherbee wants to see us in _her room_?" marveled Judith,
addressing Molly, the maid who had delivered the message. "Are you sure
she said her _room_?"

"Yes, Miss Judith. That's what she said," returned Molly positively.
"She said please come right away."

"That means us." Judith turned to Jane as Molly vanished. "Now why do
you suppose she wants to see us in her room? She must have something
very private to say or she'd talk with us in her office."

"I don't like it at all!" Jane exclaimed with knitted brows.
"Something's gone wrong. But what? Can you think of any reason for it?"

"No, I can't. We haven't committed any horrible crimes that I can
recall," returned Judith lightly. "Come on. We might as well go and find
out the meaning of this thusness. We should worry. We haven't done
anything to deserve a call-down."

One look at Mrs. Weatherbee's grave face as she admitted them to her
room convinced both that something disagreeable was impending.

"Sit down, girls," the matron invited, in her usual reserved fashion. "I
have sent for Miss Bennett. She will be here in a moment."

This merely added to Jane's and Judith's perplexity. Jane shot a
bewildered glance toward Judith, as the two silently seated themselves.
Directly a light rapping at the door announced Norma's arrival. She was
also formally greeted and requested to take a seat.

For a moment the matron surveyed the trio as though undetermined how to
address them. When she finally spoke, there was a note of hesitation in
her voice.

"A very peculiar story has been told me," she said, "which intimately
concerns you three girls, particularly Miss Stearns. Much as I dislike
the idea, I am obliged, as matron of Madison Hall, to investigate it.

"Certain students at the Hall have made very serious charges against
you, Miss Stearns. These charges are partially based on something that
occurred here last year, of which I had no knowledge. I----"

"_Mrs. Weatherbee!_ I insist on knowing at once what these charges

Judith was on her feet, her usually good-natured face dark with
righteous indignation.

"Sit down, Miss Stearns," commanded the matron not ungently. "I intend
to go into this unpleasant matter fully with you. A valuable diamond
ring belonging to Miss Seaton and a diamond and sapphire pin belonging
to Miss Gilbert have disappeared. Though 'Lost' notices were posted
regarding these articles, their owners have come to me stating their
private belief that you are responsible for their disappearance."

"But surely you can't believe any such thing about me!" Judith cried out
in distress. "Do you realize that those two girls actually accuse _me_
of being a _thief_?"

"Wait a moment, please." The matron raised a protesting hand. "Let me
finish what I wished to say. Miss Seaton does not believe you guilty of
intentional theft. She accused you of being a kleptomaniac. She also
accuses Miss Allen and Miss Bennett of knowing it and aiding you in
keeping your failing a secret."

"What?" almost shouted Judith.

"Oh, this is too much!" It was Jane who now sprang furiously up from her
chair, her gray eyes flashing. "I won't endure it. I insist, Mrs.
Weatherbee, that you send for these girls and let us face them."

"Yes, send for them! I won't leave this room until Marian Seaton takes
back every single thing she's said about me," was Judith's wrathful

"I was about to suggest when you and Miss Allen interrupted me that I
had thought it advisable to bring you girls together. Still, I deemed it
only fair to let you understand the situation beforehand," stated the
matron rather stiffly. "I have already sent Miss Seaton and Miss Gilbert
word to come here at eight o'clock. It lacks only five minutes of eight.
They will be here directly. We will not go further in this matter until
they come. You will oblige me by resuming your chairs."

Mrs. Weatherbee's expression was that of a martyr. She was in for a very
disagreeable session and she knew it. Marian's accusation against Judith
made necessary an investigation. It had come to a point where Judith's
honesty must be either conclusively proved or disproved beyond all
shadow of doubt. If Judith, as Marian boldly declared, were really a
kleptomaniac, she was a menace to Madison Hall.

Ordinarily Mrs. Weatherbee would have been slow to believe such a
thing. The fact, however, that the silk sweater which she had intrusted
to Judith to mail had never reached its destination, had implanted
distrust in the matron's mind. To have recently learned that Judith had
been exhibiting to her girl friends a sweater that answered to the
description of the one she had knitted for her niece was decidedly in
line with her private suspicions. Neither had she forgotten Judith's
laughing assertion to the effect that she was not sure she could be
trusted not to run off with the sweater.

Jane and Judith reluctantly reseating themselves, an embarrassing
silence fell. Each of the three girls was busy racking her brain to
recall the circumstance of last year upon which Marian Seaton had based
her charge. None could bring back any of that nature in which Marian had

The sound of approaching footfalls, followed by a light knock at the
door, came as a relief to the waiting four. Next instant Marian and
Maizie had stepped into the room in response to the matron's "Come in."

A bright flush sprang to Marian's cheeks as she glimpsed the trio of
stern-faced girls. She had not anticipated being thus so quickly
brought face to face with those she had maligned. Maizie appeared
merely sleepily amused.

"Kindly be seated, girls." Mrs. Weatherbee motioned them to an
upholstered settee near the door.

Casting a baleful glance at Jane, Marian complied with the terse
invitation. Maizie dropped lazily down beside her, her slow smile in
evidence. Matters promised to be interesting.

"Miss Seaton," the matron immediately plunged into the business at hand,
"you may repeat to Miss Stearns, Miss Allen and Miss Bennett what you
have already told me concerning the affair of last year. Miss Stearns
has been informed of your charges against her. She wishes to defend

"I certainly do," emphasized Judith, "and I shall make you take it all
back, too, Miss Seaton."

"I'm sorry I can't oblige you by taking it all back," sneered Marian. "I
can merely repeat a little of a conversation that occurred between you
and Miss Allen in which you condemned yourself."

"Very well, repeat it," challenged Judith coolly.

As nearly as she could remember, Marian repeated the talk between Jane
and Judith, to which she had dishonorably listened on the night of the
freshman frolic.

"You were heard to admit that you had stolen a gown from Edith Hammond,"
she triumphantly accused. "That Edith blamed Miss Bennett and that she
confessed you had stolen it. Also that Miss Allen settled for it and you
all agreed to keep it a secret. Worse yet, you and Miss Allen only
laughed and joked about what you called 'your fatal failing.' Deny if
you can that you two had such a conversation."

During this amazing recital the faces of at least three listeners had
registered a variety of expressions. Marian's spiteful challenge met
with unexpected results. Of a sudden the trio burst into uncontrolled

"Girls," rebuked Mrs. Weatherbee sharply, "this is hardly a time for
laughter. Miss Stearns, do you or do you not deny that you and Miss
Allen held the conversation Miss Seaton accuses you of holding?"

"Of course we did," cheerfully answered Judith, her mirthful features

"Then you----"

"_We_ were in the dressing room on the night of the freshman frolic when
it took place," broke in Jane. "May I ask where _you_ were, Miss
Seaton, when you overheard it?"

Jane's gray eyes rested scornfully upon Marian as she flashed out her

"I--I wasn't anywhere," snapped Marian. "I--someone else overheard it."

"Then 'someone else' should have taken pains to learn the truth before
spreading malicious untruth," tensely condemned Jane.

Turning to the matron, she said bitterly:

"Mrs. Weatherbee, this whole story is simply spite-work; nothing else.
When I have explained the true meaning of Judith's and my talk together
in the dressing-room, you will understand everything. Judith's fatal
failing is not kleptomania. It's merely absent-mindedness."

Rapidly Jane narrated the incident of the missing white lace gown,
belonging to Edith Hammond, in which herself, Judith and Norma had
figured in the previous year. She finished with:

"I shall ask you to write to Edith for corroboration of my story. I must
also insist on knowing the name of the girl who overheard our talk. She
must be told the facts. We cannot afford to allow such injurious gossip
to be circulated about any of us. Judith in particular. Further, it is
ridiculous even to connect her with the disappearance of Miss Seaton's
ring and Miss Gilbert's pin."

"Oh, is it?" cried Marian in shrill anger, "Just let me tell you that
both the ring and the pin were stolen from our room. We posted a notice
and offered a reward, hoping to get them back without raising a
disturbance. It's easy enough for you to make up the silly tale you've
just told. I don't believe it. You're only trying to cover the real
truth by pretending that Miss Stearns is absent-minded. It's not hard to
see through your flimsy pretext."

"That will do, Miss Seaton." Mrs. Weatherbee now took stern command of
the situation. "I have no reason to believe that Miss Allen has not
spoken the truth. This affair seems to consist largely of a
misunderstanding, coupled with a good deal of spite work. You will
oblige me by giving me the name of the girl who overheard the

Marian did not at once reply. Instead, she cast a hasty, inquiring
glance at Maizie. The latter answered it with a slight smile and a nod
of the head.

"It was my cousin, Miss Noble, who overheard the conversation," she
reluctantly admitted. "She repeated it to me in confidence. She does
not wish to be brought into this affair. You will kindly leave her out
of it entirely."

"Your dictation is unbecoming, Miss Seaton," coldly reproved the matron.
"I shall use my own judgment in this matter."

"You are all excused," she continued, addressing the ill-assorted group.
"We will leave this matter as it stands for the present. When I have
decided what to do, I will send for you again. Until then, not a word
concerning it to anyone."

Marian and Maizie rose with alacrity. They had no desire to prolong the
interview. It had not panned out to suit them. Jane's concise
explanation of the gown incident had practically turned a serious
offense into a laughable blunder. Mrs. Weatherbee undoubtedly believed
Jane. After listening to her, she had not asked either Norma or Judith a
single question. Instead, she had closed the discussion with a curtness
that was not reassuring to the plotters.

"Elsie will have to help us out," were Marian's first words when she and
Maizie reached their room. "She'll be raving when I tell her. She'll
have to do it, though. If she doesn't, I'll threaten to tell all the
girls about the way that little French snip caught her listening at the

"You might as well have owned up that it was you who listened outside
the dressing-room," shrugged Maizie. "Then you could have passed the
whole thing off as a misunderstanding. That would have ended it. Now
we're both in for a fine lot of trouble."

"Then why did you nod your head when I looked at you?" asked Marian

"Oh, just to keep things going," drawled Maizie. "I like to see those
girls all fussed up about nothing. Besides, Weatherbee can't do anything
very serious about our part of it. She can say we are mischief-makers
and call us down and that's all. No one except ourselves knows the truth
about the ring and the pin. That's the only thing that could really get
us into trouble."

"No one will ever know, either," declared Marian. "They're both in the
tray of my trunk. We'll take them home with us at Easter and leave them
there. That will be safest."

"You certainly leaped before you looked, this time," chuckled Maizie.
"That gown business was funny."

"Well, how was I to know? I heard Judy Stearns say she stole it,"
retorted Marian testily. "The whole thing sounded suspicious enough to
hang our losses on. Just the same I shall keep on saying now that I
believe she stole our stuff. Mrs. Weatherbee needn't think she can make
me keep quiet. I have a perfect right to my own belief and I'll see to
it that others besides myself share it."



In Jane's and Judith's room a highly disgusted trio of girls held
session directly they had left Mrs. Weatherbee. Far from feeling utterly
crushed and humiliated by Marian's accusations, Judith was filled with
lofty disdain of Marian's far-fetched attempt to discredit her.

"I suppose I ought to feel dreadfully cut up over being accused of
theft," she said, "but I can't. The whole business seems positively
unreal. Jane, do you believe it was the ignoble Noble who overheard us
talking that night?"

"No; I think it was either Maizie or Marian," returned Jane positively.
"Didn't you see them exchange glances? Then Maizie nodded. They had
agreed to put the blame on Miss Noble."

"I wonder if she had agreed to let them," remarked Norma. "I suppose she
had. Otherwise, Marian wouldn't have dared use her name."

"_I_ wonder what Mrs. Weatherbee will do about it," emphasized Jane.
"There's more than weird unreality to it, Judy. You mustn't forget that
Marian has accused you of taking her ring and Maizie's pin. She hasn't
withdrawn that accusation. She won't withdraw it. I am very sure of

"Well, she needn't," retorted Judith. "We know how much it's worth. So
does Mrs. Weatherbee. You heard what she said about spite work. She's
very much displeased with Marian and Maizie. She'll probably send for us
to-morrow night and them, too. Then she'll lay down the law and order
the whole thing dropped. She must see herself how unjust it is. Your
explanation about Edith's dress was enough to show that. Just because
the pin and ring are missing is no sign that I should be accused of
their disappearance. Besides, they've been posted as 'Lost.' That clears
me, doesn't it?"

"It ought to, but it doesn't," replied Jane soberly. "Marian and Maizie
will go on insinuating hateful things about you, even if they are
ordered to drop the matter. Then there's Miss Noble. She's on the outs
with us and on Marian's side. Unless we can do something ourselves to
make these girls drop the affair, they won't drop it."

"If Mrs. Weatherbee can't stop them, we certainly can't," Judith
responded rather anxiously. "I guess, though, that she can. She's
awfully determined, you know. I'm going to put my faith in her and not
worry any more about it. I dare say if a thorough search were made of
Marian's and Maizie's room the lost jewelry would be found," she
predicted bitterly.

"That's precisely my opinion," nodded Jane. "If it comes to it I shall
tell Mrs. Weatherbee so. I'd rather wait a little, though, to see how
things pan out. This is Wednesday. I hope it will be settled and off our
minds before Saturday. We'd hate to go into the game with the least bit
of shadow hanging over us."

"Oh, I guess it will be settled before then." Nevertheless Judith looked
a trifle solemn. Despite her declaration that she did not intend to
worry, Jane's prediction had taken uncomfortable hold on her.

"I think she ought to have settled it to-night," was Norma's blunt
opinion. "It wouldn't surprise me if she really wrote to Edith Hammond.
Mrs. Weatherbee's peculiar. I know, because I've worked for her. She
probably believes Jane, yet she's in doubt about something. I could
tell that by the way she acted."

"You don't believe she suspects me of stealing those girls' jewelry, do
you?" questioned Judith in quick alarm.

"I hardly think that," Norma said slowly. "I only know she's not quite
in sympathy with you, Judy. If she had been she wouldn't have hesitated
to settle things then and there."

Norma's surmise was more accurate than not. Marian Seaton's sneering
assertion that alleged absent-mindedness on Judith's part cloaked a
grave failing had not been entirely lost on the matron. She could not
forget the missing sweater. Was it possible, she wondered, that there
might be truth in Marian's accusation?

Privately she resolved to do three things before passing final judgment.
She would write to Edith for corroboration of the gown story. She would
make further inquiry, concerning Judith's absent-mindedness, of Dorothy
Martin. She would have a private talk with Elsie Noble. This last was
solely to determine whether Marian had spoken the truth in regard to
Elsie's having overheard the fateful conversation. She was as doubtful
of Marian as she was of poor Judith.

Mrs. Weatherbee intended to delay making inquiry of either Dorothy or
Elsie until she had received a reply to a special delivery letter which
she had dispatched to Edith Allison, nee Edith Hammond.

In the interim Judith had gone from hopefulness to anxiety and from
anxiety to nervousness. In consequence, she failed to play on Saturday
with her usual snap and vigor, and had not her teammates put forth an
extra effort, her unintentional lagging would have lost them the game.
As it was they won it by only two points.

Completely disgusted with herself, Judith broke down in the
dressing-room and sobbed miserably. A proceeding which made Christine,
Barbara and Adrienne wonder what in the world had happened to upset
cheery, light-hearted Judy.

Back in her room, Judith cried harder than ever.

"I'm all upset," she wailed, her head on Jane's comforting shoulder. "I
don't see why Mrs. Weatherbee hasn't sent for us about that miserable
business. It's got on my nerves."

"Never mind," soothed Jane. "If she doesn't let us know about it by
Monday afternoon, I'll go to her myself. If I knew positively that
Marian Seaton wrote the letter that nearly lost me my room, I'd tell
Mrs. Weatherbee. It would only be giving her what she deserves."

Monday morning, however, brought Mrs. Weatherbee a letter from Edith
Hammond, over which she smiled, then looked uncompromisingly severe. Her
stern expression spelled trouble for someone.

Meanwhile, on the same morning, Jane also received a letter which made
her catch her breath in sheer amazement. It was from Eleanor Lane and


     "I've remembered at last. Now I know why your name seemed so
     familiar. Last fall a Miss Seaton was staying at the hotel with her
     mother. She dictated a letter to me, the carbon copy of which I am
     enclosing. She told me that she was having the letter typed for a
     joke and asked me to sign it 'Jane Allen.' I knew that wasn't her
     name, because I had heard a bell-boy page her several times and
     knew who she was. She said that you were her cousin and that she
     was only sending the letter for fun, that it wouldn't do you the
     least bit of harm.

     "I didn't like her at all. She was very hateful and supercilious.
     I thought at the time that the letter was a queer kind of joke, but
     I'd never been to college so I wasn't in a position to criticize
     it. Anyway, it wasn't my business, so I typed it and signed it as
     she requested. That's where I saw your name. I thought I would send
     you the letter and ask you if it was really a joke. I found it the
     other day in going over my files and it worried me. I realized that
     I had done a very foolish thing in signing it. I should have
     refused to do so.

     "This is the second letter I've written since I last heard from
     you, so hurry up and write me soon. With much love,

                                                   "Ever your friend,


The shadow of a smile flickered about Jane's lips as she unfolded the
sheet of paper enclosed in Eleanor's letter and glanced it over. As by
miracle the means of retaliation had been placed in her hands.

She decided that she would wait only to see what the day might bring
forth. If by dinner time that evening Mrs. Weatherbee had made no sign,
she would go to the matron after dinner with a recital that went back
to the very beginning of her freshman year. She would tell everything.
Nothing should be omitted that would serve to show Marian Seaton to Mrs.
Weatherbee in her true colors.

If, on the other hand, Mrs. Weatherbee sent for Judith, Norma and
herself that evening and exonerated Judith in the presence of her
enemies, Jane determined that she would not, even in that event,
withhold the story of Marian's long-continued persecution of herself and
her friends. Undoubtedly Marian and Maizie would be asked to leave
Madison Hall; perhaps college as well. Mrs. Weatherbee would be
sufficiently shocked and incensed to carry the affair higher. Jane hoped
that she would. She had reached a point where she had become merciless.

While Jane was darkly considering her course of action, Mrs. Weatherbee
was finding Monday a most amazingly exciting day. The morning mail
brought her Edith's letter. Directly afterward she hailed Dorothy Martin
as the latter left the dining-room and marched Dorothy to her office for
a private talk. When it ended, Dorothy had missed her first recitation.
Mrs. Weatherbee, however, had learned a number of things, hitherto
unguessed by her.

Shortly after luncheon a meek-eyed, plainly dressed little woman was
ushered into her office. In her mittened hands the stranger carried a
package. Sight of it caused the matron to stare. Her wonder grew as the
woman handed it to her.

"If you please, ma'am," blurted forth the stranger, red with
embarrassment, "I hope you won't feel hard towards me. I know I oughtta
come to you before. My husband found this here package in a rubbish can.
He works for the town, collectin' rubbish. He found it jus' before
Christmas and brung it home t' me.

"You c'n see for yourself how the name o' the party it was to go to had
been all run together, so's you can't read it. The package got wet, I
guess. But your name's plain enough up in the corner. I knowed I ought
ta brung it here first thing, but I--I--opened it. I knowed I hadn't
oughtta. Then I seen this pretty silk sack and I wanted it terrible.

"I says to myself as how I was goin' to keep it. It wasn't my fault if
you throwed it into the rubbish can by mistake. My husband he said I
hadda right to it, 'cause findin' was keepin'. So I kep' it, but it made
me feel bad. I was brung up honest and I knowed it was the same as

"But I wanted it terrible, jus' the same. I never see anything
han'somer, an' it looked swell on me. I put it on jus' once for a
minute. It didn't give me no pleasure, though. I felt jus' sneaky an'
mean. After that I put it away. Once in a while I took a look at it.
Then my little girl got a bad cold. She was awful sick. I forgot all
about the sack. She pretty near died. I sat up with her nights for quite
a while. When she got better I thought about the sack again, and knowed
that God had come down hard on me for bein' a thief. So I jus' got ready
an' brung it back. It ain't hurt a mite, an' I hope you won't make me no
trouble, 'cause I've had enough."

Mrs. Weatherbee's feelings can be better imagined than described. The
return of the missing sweater at the critical moment was sufficiently
astounding, not to mention the pathetic little confession that
accompanied its return. She felt nothing save intense sympathy for her
humble caller.

When the latter took her leave a few moments later, she went away wiping
her eyes. Far from making her any "trouble," Mrs. Weatherbee had treated
her with the utmost gentleness. The stately, white-haired woman with the
"proud face" had not only thanked her for returning the "sack," she had
asked for her humble caller's address and expressed her intention of
sending the little sick girl a cheer-up present.

Left alone, Mrs. Weatherbee sat smiling rather absently at the dainty
blue and white bit of knitting which she had taken from its wrapper. She
thought she understood very well how it had happened to stray into the
rubbish can. She now recalled that the rubbish cans about Chesterford
and at the edge of the campus were much the shape and size of the
package boxes used by the postal service. Given a dark, rainy night and
an absent-minded messenger, the result was now easy to anticipate. Here
was proof piled high of Judith Stearns' "fatal failing."

There was but one thing more to be done before winding-up summarily an
affair that had been to her vexatious from the beginning. She had
obtained plenty of evidence for the defense. Now she turned her
attention to the prosecution. She had yet to hold a private word with
Elsie Noble. This she resolved to do directly the freshman in question
had returned to the Hall from her afternoon classes.

Elsie, on her part, had been looking forward to this very interview
with a degree of sullen satisfaction. On the day following the scene in
Mrs. Weatherbee's room, Marian had informed her cousin of all that had
taken place. As a result, Elsie had flown into a tempestuous rage over
having been dragged into the trouble by Marian.

"You've got to do as I say, Elsie. If you don't, you'll be sorry,"
Marian had coldly threatened. "Maiz and I will drop you. Besides, I'll
tell Mrs. Weatherbee all about that register business. Then she'll
believe you listened outside the dressing-room, no matter how much you
may deny it."

"I'll do as I please," Elsie had furiously retorted, and flung herself
out of Marian's room.

Not at all alarmed by her cousin's anger, Marian had confidently
remarked to Maizie: "Elsie doesn't dare go back on us. She'll do as I
tell her. She always fusses a lot, then gives in. She has no more time
for those three prigs than we have."

For once she was mistaken. Elsie had changed, though she alone knew it.
Her secret admiration for Norma had paved the way to better things. She
now rebelled at the thought of facing this sweet, truthful-eyed girl
with a lie on her own lips. Marian's threat to expose her fault had
awakened her to a bitter knowledge of her cousin's unbounded malice. She
experienced a belated revulsion of feeling toward Judith Stearns. Jane
Allen's explanation of the gown incident, scornfully repeated to Elsie
by Marian, now stood for truth in Elsie's mind.

Having gone thus far, Elsie next mentally weighed Marian's bolder
accusation against Judith concerning the missing jewelry. Face to face
with her cousin's utter lack of principle, for the first time it
occurred to her to wonder whether Marian might not know better than
anyone else the whereabouts of the missing pin and ring. She decided to
do a little private investigating of her own.

When, at five o'clock on the fateful Monday afternoon, the maid brought
her word that Mrs. Weatherbee wished to see her, she went downstairs to
the matron's office, fully equipped for emergency. The recital which she
indignantly poured into the latter's shocked ears was the climax to an
eventful day for Mrs. Weatherbee.

It may be said to Elsie's credit that she did not spare herself or even
attempt to palliate her own offenses. She made a frank confession of her
faults and expressed an honest and sincere contrition for them which
showed plainly that her feet were at last planted upon the solid ground
of right. She was no longer the "ignoble Noble."

"After what I've told you, I know you won't allow me to live here at the
Hall any more," she said huskily. "I deserve to be punished. I'm going
to accept it, too, as bravely as I can. I've been doing wrong all year,
but at last I've come to my senses. I know that for once I'm doing right
and it comforts me a good deal."

This straightforward avowal would have moved to compassion a far
harder-hearted woman than was Mrs. Weatherbee. The matron realized that
the dry-eyed, resolute-faced girl seated opposite her had been punished
sufficiently by her own conscience.

"I shall _not_ ask you to leave Madison Hall, my dear child," she
assured very gently. "I wish you to stay on here because I am convinced
that would be best for you. In justice to others, however, I must ask
you to come to my room this evening, prepared to stand by me in whatever
I may require of you."

"I thank you, Mrs. Weatherbee," Elsie said with deep earnestness. "I'll
be only too glad to stand by you. I'm going upstairs now to get my wraps
and I sha'n't be here to dinner to-night. I know Marian will be looking
for me as soon as she receives word from you to come to her room. It
will be best for me not to see her again until then. Don't you think

"Under the circumstances, I should prefer that you hold no conversation
with her beforehand," agreed the matron.

Thus ended the momentous interview. Woman and girl pledged their good
faith in a warm hand clasp, and Elsie left the office feeling like one
from whose shoulders a heavy burden had suddenly dropped.

       *       *       *       *       *

"_Where_ is Elsie?" was Marian Seaton's desperate inquiry, when at five
minutes to eight she entered her room, following a fruitless search for
her cousin.

"Search me," shrugged Maizie. "Very likely Weatherbee never said a word
to her. I know she hadn't as late as luncheon to-day, for I asked Elsie
and she said 'No.' We're just as well off without her. She has no more
diplomacy than a goose. She's been so grouchy all week, that I don't
trust her."

"Oh, she's harmless," frowned Marian. "Now listen to me, Maizie. If,
when we get into Weatherbee's room, things don't look favorable, we'd
better be ready to slide out of the whole business. We can withdraw the
charge, you know. That will end the whole thing."

Maizie made no reply, save by smiling in her slow, aggravating fashion.
She had her own ideas on the subject, but she was too indifferent of
results to express them. At least, so she believed.

Her indifference fell away a trifle, however, as she and Marian were
presently ushered into Mrs. Weatherbee's room by a most stony-faced
matron. Instead of finding there three girls, a disturbing fourth was
present. Decidedly disturbing to Marian's peace of mind.

At sight of Elsie Noble, who sat stolidly beside Norma on the davenport,
Marian's face darkened. Walking straight over to her cousin, she asked

"Where were you this evening?"

"That will do, Miss Seaton." Mrs. Weatherbee now took command of the
situation. "Kindly sit down and allow me to manage this affair."

With a baleful glance at Elsie, Marian sullenly obeyed the stern voice.

"It is not necessary to go into the subject of why you are here," began
the matron, addressing the silent group of girls. "I will proceed at
once to business. I shall first read you a portion of a letter from
Edith Allison, formerly Edith Hammond."

Taking up an open letter from a pile of papers that lay on a small table
beside her, she read aloud:


     "What a shame that such an unfortunate misunderstanding should have
     arisen over that unlucky white lace gown of mine. It was really a
     ridiculous mistake all around. Jane's explanation, of course,
     convinced you of that. It would never have happened if Judy's gown
     and mine had not been so nearly alike. We all had a good laugh over
     it, when Jane finally straightened out the tangle.

     "I can't understand Miss Seaton's not knowing about Judy's
     absent-mindedness. It was the joke of the freshman class last year.
     She figured prominently in the grind book. I am extremely indignant
     to hear that her honesty has ever been doubted. She is one of the
     finest, most honorable girls I have ever known. I am very glad you
     wrote me about this."

"I shall not read the remainder of this letter, as it has no further
bearing on the case," announced the matron in dignified tones. "Miss
Seaton," she turned coldly to Marian, "Miss Noble assures me that she
never overheard a conversation such as you attributed to her. I have,
therefore, drawn my own conclusions. They are not flattering to you or
Miss Gilbert. I now ask you and I demand a truthful answer, which of you
two overheard that conversation?"

"I refuse to answer you," snapped Marian, her face flaming.

"I am answered," returned the older woman gravely. "The subject of the
gown is now closed. We will take up that of your missing jewelry. I will
now inform you that it has been found."

"Found!" Marian sprang to her feet in pretended surprise. "Then the
person who stole it must have given it back!" She cast a malicious
glance at Judith as she thus exclaimed.

"Miss Seaton!" Never before had Mrs. Weatherbee's voice held such a
degree of utter displeasure. "You know, as does also Miss Gilbert, the
utter injustice of such remarks. You know, too, where to look for the
jewelry. It has never been out of your possession."

"I haven't it. I don't know where it is." Marian's voice rose in shrill

"Oh, yes you do, Marian," bluntly differed Elsie Noble. "The ring and
pin are in a little white box in the tray of your trunk. I saw them
there yesterday. I went into your room while you were both out yesterday
and hunted for them. After you showed me how spiteful you could be, I
decided you were capable of even that. So I thought I'd find it out for
myself, and I did."

"Not a word she says is true," Marian fiercely denied. "She's an
eavesdropper and a mischief-maker. She----"

"Mrs. Weatherbee knows all about me," coolly informed Elsie. "She knows,
too, that I'm done with all that. You needn't deny that the pin and ring
weren't there yesterday. I saw them. You may have put them somewhere
else by now, though."

"Will you please not interrupt me?" Marian had decided to make a last
desperate attempt to crawl out of the snarl she was in. She fully
realized the seriousness of the situation.

Addressing the matron, she said brazenly, "I came here to-night with the
intention of withdrawing my charge against Miss Stearns. Miss Gilbert
and I had decided that she was innocent. Whoever took the jewelry must
have become frightened and put it back without my knowing it. I will go
at once and look in my trunk, since my cousin insists that it is----"

"You will kindly remain where you are," ordered Mrs. Weatherbee tersely.
"Later, I shall insist on seeing both the ring and the pin. You and Miss
Gilbert will now apologize to Miss Stearns for the trouble you have
caused her. You will also apologize to Miss Allen and Miss Bennett."

"I was mistaken about the gown and the jewelry," Marian admitted with a
toss of her head. She was addressing no one in particular. "I have
nothing more to say."

"I was also mistaken," drawled Maizie imperturbably. Nevertheless a
curious look of dread had crept into her sleepy black eyes. Matters were
at their worst, it appeared. Things had been stirred up altogether too
much for safety. Elsie had proved anything but harmless.

"Do you accept this apology?" inquired the matron of the three

"I do, provided Miss Seaton promises strictly to have _nothing more to
say_ in future against any of us to anybody," stipulated Judith with
quiet finality.

"I will accept it under the same conditions," Jane said quietly.

"And I," nodded Norma.

"Neither Miss Seaton nor Miss Gilbert will circulate any more injurious
reports about anyone," assured Mrs. Weatherbee grimly. "This matter in
itself is sufficient to warrant suspension from college.

"I regret that there is still another grave charge against you," she
continued, fixing the guilty pair with a relentless gaze. "I have been
informed that you, Miss Seaton, are the author of a malicious letter
signed 'Jane Allen,' which I received before college opened."

This time it was Jane who received a shock. She had come to the matron's
room prepared to take up the cudgels in Judith's behalf. Elsie Noble's
unexpected stand on the side of right had been amazing enough. Elsie had
certainly been the chief witness for the defense. Was it she who had
told Mrs. Weatherbee about the letter?

"I haven't the least idea of what you mean," Marian haughtily retorted.

"That's not true," contradicted the invincible Elsie. "You know
perfectly well that you sent that letter to Mrs. Weatherbee. You told me
so yourself."

"I did nothing of the kind," persisted Marian.

"Then how did I know about it?" triumphantly demanded Elsie. "I
mentioned it to Mrs. Weatherbee. _She_ never mentioned it to me. If I
had known then just how spiteful you could be I'd never have let you
write it. You told me before I came to Wellington that Jane Allen was a
hateful, deceitful, untruthful girl who had done you a lot of harm. I
know now that _she_ isn't. I know that _you_ are. I'm sorry that you're
my cousin and I don't intend to have anything further to do with you."

When Elsie had begun speaking, Mrs. Weatherbee had been on the point of
checking her. She refrained, however, because she realized suddenly that
Marian deserved this arraignment. She had manufactured trouble out of
whole cloth; now she fully merited her cousin's plain speaking.

"You have said a good deal about injustice, Mrs. Weatherbee. I think it
very unfair that I should be accused of something which I don't in the
least understand," began Marian, with a fine pretense of injured
innocence. "I should like to see the letter you accuse me of writing."

From underneath the pile of papers on the table, the matron drew forth a
typed letter. She handed it to Marian without a word.

Marian read it, then laughed disagreeably.

"No wonder Elsie knew of it," she sneered. "This is some of her work.
She was crazy to get into Madison Hall with us. She knew there would be
no vacancies. I had told her that. She listened to what I had said about
Miss Allen, every word of it's true, too, by the way, and had someone
type this letter. After that she applied for admission. Very clever
indeed, Elsie, but you mustn't lay it to me. The signature is certainly
not in my handwriting."

It was now Marian's turn to look triumphant.

"The whole trouble with Elsie is that I threatened to expose her for
eavesdropping," she continued. "She has made me all this fuss simply to
be even. She knows that she is responsible for this letter. The fact
that she mentioned it to you, Mrs. Weatherbee, is proof enough, I should
say. Certainly you have no proof that I had anything to do with it,
beyond what she says. Her word counts for nothing."

A breathless silence followed Marian's bold turning of the tables. Elsie
gave a sharp gasp of pure consternation.

"Oh, I didn't do it!" she stammered, casting an appealing glance about
her. "I--hope--you--don't--believe----"

"Here is the proof that you didn't," broke in Jane Allen's resolute
tones. She had resolved to come to the defense of the girl who had so
sturdily defended Judith. From her blouse she had drawn Eleanor's letter
and the carbon copy of the letter which Mrs. Weatherbee had received.

When the latter had finished examining both, she looked up and said in a
dry, hard voice:

"This is the most dishonorable affair I have ever known to happen at
Wellington. I shall certainly take it up with Miss Rutledge. There is
now no room left for doubt regarding the authorship of this letter. It
is undeniably your work, Miss Seaton. It remains yet to be discovered
what part Miss Gilbert played in it."

Without further preliminary, the incensed matron read aloud Eleanor's

Marian Seaton turned from red to pale as she listened. Maizie kept her
eyes resolutely on the floor. This last bit of evidence was too
overwhelming to be disputed. It could not be explained away.

"What have you to say to this?" demanded Mrs. Weatherbee of Marian.

"Nothing," was the muttered reply.

The matron had a great deal to say. For the next ten minutes she
lectured the culprits with scathing severity.

"I shall recommend that you be expelled from college, Miss Seaton. Miss
Gilbert, were you also a party to this affair?"

"Yes," was the tranquil response, "I knew all about it. Can't say I'm
very proud of it. Still, it's rather too late now for regrets."

Maizie raised her unfathomable black eyes from their studied scrutiny of
the floor. Quite by chance they met Jane's gray ones. Jane had a
peculiar impression as of a veil that had been slowly lifted, revealing
to her a Maizie Gilbert who had the possibilities of something higher
than malicious mischief-making.

Obeying an impulse which suddenly swayed her, she turned to the matron.

"Mrs. Weatherbee," she said, "can't this affair be settled now and among
ourselves? After all, no great harm has really come of it. The missing
jewelry has been found, Judith has been exonerated, I still have my
room, and no one except those present knows what has taken place here
to-night. We are willing to forget it if you are. I am speaking for
Judith and Norma. I am sure Elsie doesn't want her cousin to be
expelled. Can't we blot it out and begin over again?"

"I should like it to be that way," said Judith quietly.

Norma nodded silent concurrence.

"I'll never forgive Marian, but I'd hate to see her expelled," Elsie
said, after a brief hesitation. "I don't think Maizie ought to be,
either. It's not half as much her fault as Marian's."

Perhaps this latest turn of the tide amazed Mrs. Weatherbee most of all.
For a time she silently scanned the group of girls before her. She had
not reckoned that the defense would suddenly swing about and plead for
the defeated prosecution.

"I cannot answer you now, Miss Allen," she gravely replied. "I can
appreciate, however, your generosity of spirit. I shall ask all of you
to leave me now. Later I will inform you of my decision."

Each feeling that there was nothing more to be said, the six girls
obediently rose to depart. Marian walked to the door, looking neither to
the right nor left. Without waiting for Maizie she made a hurried exit.

Maizie took her time, however. Her hand on the door knob she turned and
addressed Jane.

"You're a real Right Guard," she said in her slow, drawling fashion.
"Not only on the team, but in everything else. I'm sorry it took me so
long to find it out."



As a result of the events of the previous evening, Marian Seaton and
Maizie Gilbert put in a very bad day. It began by a wild fit of weeping
on Marian's part, after breakfast and in her room that morning. At
breakfast she managed to keep up a semblance of her usual self-assured,
arrogant manner, but the moment she reached her room she crumpled.

"Don't be a baby, Marian," was Maizie's rough advice, as she stolidly
prepared to go to her first recitation of the day. "You brought this
trouble on yourself. You might as well take the consequences without
whimpering. You'd better cut your first recitation. Your eyes are a

"I'm not going to _any_ of my classes to-day. Go on about your own
business and let me alone," was Marian's equally rude retort.

Maizie merely shrugged at this announcement and went stoically upon her
way. She was made of sterner stuff than her unworthy roommate, and with
the realization that she had behaved very badly indeed, she had now
steeled herself to accept her punishment bravely.

Marian, on the contrary, moped in her room all morning, went to
Rutherford Inn for a lonely luncheon and returned to the Hall and her
room to weep again and ponder darkly over her unhappy situation. She
tried in vain to prepare an argument by which she might clear herself
should Mrs. Weatherbee decide to expose her wrong-doing to Miss
Rutledge. She could think of nothing that might carry weight. The case
against her was too complete to afford the slightest loophole for

As the day dragged on she gave up in despair. She made up her mind that
her only hope now lay in appealing to Mrs. Weatherbee for mercy. She
resolved to pretend deep remorse and promise a future uprightness of
conduct to which she had no intention of living up.

At five o'clock that afternoon, Maizie walked in upon the despondent
Marian with: "Mrs. Weatherbee wants to see us in her room. The maid
just told me. I'm glad of it. I'm anxious to have the matter settled."

"If Mrs. Weatherbee tells us that she is going to report us to Miss
Rutledge, Maizie, we must beg her not to do it," quavered Marian. "We
must promise her anything rather than let her go to Miss Rutledge.
That's what I intend to do and so must you."

Maizie regarded Marian with the air of one who was carefully weighing
the cowardly counsel. All she said was:

"Come on. We mustn't keep her waiting."

First glance at the matron's face as they were admitted to her room
filled both girls with renewed apprehension. She looked more
uncompromisingly stern than ever. With a brusque invitation to be
seated, she took a chair directly opposite them and began addressing
them in cool, measured tones:

"My original intention was to defer a decision of your case for several
days, at least," she said. "Thinking the matter over to-day, I came to
the conclusion that the sooner this disagreeable affair was settled and
off my mind, the better pleased I should be.

"Both of you deserve expulsion from college. I am sure that Miss
Rutledge would be of the same opinion were I to lay the matter before
her. Frankly, I have decided not to do so simply on account of Miss
Stearns and Miss Allen. These two young girls have shown themselves
great enough of spirit to overlook the injury you have endeavored to do
them. This has made a marked impression upon me, so great, in fact, that
I have determined not to report this very disagreeable affair to Miss
Rutledge. Since it has occurred at the Hall and has no bearing on any
one outside the Hall, I feel that I am justified in settling it as I
deem wisest for all concerned.

"The fact that you are both young girls, also, has something to do with
it. In my opinion it is a very shocking matter for a young woman to be
expelled from college. You have been under my charge for almost two
years, and I feel in a measure responsible for you. On this account and
because Miss Stearns and Miss Allen have interceded for you, I shall not
inform Miss Rutledge of your dishonorable conduct.

"For the remainder of the college year I shall allow you to continue
under my charge at the Hall. When you leave Madison Hall in June,
however, it will be with the understanding that you cannot return to it
the following autumn. You must make arrangements to live at another
campus house."

Thus far neither girl had been given the least opportunity of speaking.
As it happened, neither had the slightest desire to speak. Both were
feeling too intensely relieved for words. First to recover from the good
news that she and Maizie would escape the punishment they merited,
Marian Seaton now said with a faint touch of asperity:

"Why won't you allow us to come back to Madison Hall next year, Mrs.
Weatherbee? We prefer it to any other campus house. If we give you our
word of honor to let Judith Stearns and her crowd alone, isn't that

"No, Miss Seaton, it is not. I repeat that you must make other
arrangements for next year. One thing more and we will conclude this
interview. You must both pledge yourselves to good behavior while you
are here. If I hear of any attempts on your part to malign a fellow
student, either by word or deed, I shall revoke my decision and put your
case before Miss Rutledge. Nothing except absolute fair play on your
part will be tolerated here. That is all. You are at liberty to go."

Fighting back her anger, Marian arose, and with a stiff, "Thank you,
Mrs. Weatherbee," walked to the door. She was congratulating herself
that she had not been forced to ask favors of that "hard-hearted old

Maizie rose, but made no attempt to follow Marian. Instead she raised
unfathomable black eyes to the matron and said:

"You are kinder to us than we deserve. I thank you."

Then she turned abruptly and followed Marian from the room.

Back in their own room, she walked over to her bed and sat down on it
and eyed Marian reflectively.

"Well, what's the matter with you?" asked Marian crossly. "You make me
tired. Why did you say to that old dragon that she'd been kinder to us
than we deserved? It wasn't necessary. The idea of her turning us out of
Madison Hall. And we can't do anything to stop her, either. She has the
whip hand and she knows it. It's a positive outrage and the whole affair
is Elsie's fault, the hateful little hypocrite. She'll be sorry. I'll
never rest until I pay her back for this."

"It strikes me," drawled Maizie, "that there's been altogether too much
of this 'paying back' business. You'd best drop it, Marian. You are not
a success in that line. As for me, I'm tired of it. I used to think it
great fun and exciting, but now I know that it's petty, mean and
unworthy. If I could be as true to myself as Jane Allen is, I'd be

"_Jane Allen!_" exclaimed Marian in exasperation. "I _hate_ the very
sound of her name. I suppose now, since you seem to admire her so much,
you'll begin running after her."

"No, not yet," was the tranquil response. "Perhaps never. I don't know.
I'm going to stick to you for the present. I've been a party to your
schemes and it wouldn't be right to desert you. But from now on, I am
going to be fair with these girls. I warn you not to come to me with any
plans of yours for getting even with them. I won't listen to them. If
you are wise you won't make them. But you won't be wise. I know you too
well. Only don't count on me to help you. The old Maizie is dead. I
don't know what the new one's going to be like. I'll have to wait and
find out."

"You're a big goose," sneered Marian. "I never thought you'd be so
silly. And all on account of that priggish Jane Allen. She's----"

"She's a fine girl," declared Maizie with an ominous flash of her black
eyes. "I only wish you and I were more like her."

Meanwhile, in company with Judith Stearns, the objects of Maizie's newly
discovered admiration were on their way to Mrs. Weatherbee's room.
Immediately Marian and Maizie had departed, the matron had sent for Jane
and Judith. For an hour they remained in friendly and very earnest
conclave with Mrs. Weatherbee. When at last they left her, it was with
the feeling that everything was once more right with their little world.

The instant the door of their own room closed behind the two, they
expressed their emotions by clinging to each other in joyful embrace.

"Thank goodness, it's come out all right!" exclaimed Judith. "We'd never
have felt quite comfortable if Mrs. Weatherbee had taken it higher.
Marian and Maizie would have been expelled from Wellington, that's
certain. It is enough punishment for them to have been told that they
couldn't come back to Madison Hall next year and wouldn't be allowed to
stay here for the rest of this year only on the promise of strict good

"I can't feel sorry about that part of it," declared Jane. "I think we
are justified in being glad that Marian Seaton will be in another campus
house next year. To tell you the truth I wouldn't mind Maizie's being
here. She's a strange girl, Judy. There's a lot to her beneath that
lazy, indifferent manner of hers. I'll never forget the way she looked
when she turned to me and spoke about my being Right Guard."

"She looked as though she'd been asleep for a long time and then had
suddenly waked up," nodded Judith. "And Elsie Noble! I can't get over
the way she turned around and stood up for us. Just to think, too, she
told Mrs. Weatherbee that it was Norma who had made her feel as though
she wanted to be different. And Norma never even knew how much Elsie
admired her."

"It shows that a person who does right and thinks right is bound to
influence others without ever saying a word," Jane said reflectively.

"Yes, that's so," Judith agreed. "One never knows how much every little
thing one says and does is going to impress others. I shall have to be
pretty careful how I behave in future. My fatal failing's likely to land
me in penitentiary yet, if I don't reform," she added with a giggle.

"You'll have to learn to distinguish between a rubbish can and a package
box, Judy," laughed Jane.

During the confidential talk with Jane and Judith, Mrs. Weatherbee had
told Judith all about the missing sweater and its amazing return into
her hands.

"It wouldn't have happened if some one hadn't moved that rubbish can up
near the package box," asserted Judith. "It was so dark, and raining so
hard I didn't stop to look. The lids of the rubbish can lift up on each
side from the middle, you know. Of course, if I had my mind on what I
was doing it wouldn't have happened, but I didn't.

"Mrs. Weatherbee didn't say so, but I'm sure she must have thought that
the sweater Aunt Jennie made me was the missing one," Judith opined.
"Honestly, Jane, I believe if it hadn't been for that, she never would
have listened to Marian Seaton's accusations against me."


Transcriber's Notes

1. Punctuation has been normalized to contemporary standards.
2. Table of Contents added in this text was not present in original

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