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´╗┐Title: Grace Harlowe's First Year at Overton College
Author: Flower, Jessie Graham [pseud.], -1931
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 "Grace Harlowe's First Year at Overton College" ***

This book is indexed by ISYS Web Indexing system to allow the reader find any word or number within the document.

OVERTON COLLEGE***


GRACE HARLOWE'S FIRST YEAR AT OVERTON COLLEGE

by

JESSIE GRAHAM FLOWER, A. M.

Author of The Grace Harlowe High School Girls Series, Grace
Harlowe's Second Year at Overton College, Grace Harlowe's
Third Year at Overton College, Grace Harlowe's
Fourth Year at Overton College.



[Illustration: J. Elfreda Had Evidently Found Friends.
_Frontispiece_.]



Philadelphia
Henry Altemus Company
Copyright, 1914, by Howard E. Altemus



CONTENTS



Chapter                                          Page

I.     Off To College                               7

II.    J. Elfreda Introduces Herself               15

III.   First Impressions                           29

IV.    Miriam's Unwelcome Surprise                 44

V.     An Interrupted Study Hour                   55

VI.    A Disturbing Note                           62

VII.   Grace Takes Matters Into Her Own Hands      72

VIII.  The Sophomore Reception                     84

IX.    Disagreeable News                           95

X.     The Making of The Team                     102

XI.    Anne Wins a Victory                        109

XII.   Ups and Downs                              118

XIII.  Grace Turns Electioneer                    125

XIV.   An Invitation and a Misunderstanding       132

XV.    Greeting Old Friends                       142

XVI.   Thanksgiving with the Southards            150

XVII.  Christmas Plans                            161

XVIII. Basketball Rumors                          171

XIX.   A Game Worth Seeing                        181

XX.    Grace Overhears Something Interesting      190

XXI.   An Unheeded Warning                        206

XXII.  Turning the Tables                         214

XXIII. Virginia Changes Her Mind                  227

XXIV.  Good-bye to their Freshman Year            239



Grace Harlowe's First Year
at Overton College



CHAPTER I

OFF TO COLLEGE


"Do you remember what you said one October day last year, Grace, when we
stood on this platform and said good-bye to the boys?" asked Anne
Pierson.

"No, what did I say?" asked Grace Harlowe, turning to her friend Anne.

"You said," returned Anne, "that when it came your turn to go to college
you were going to slip away quietly without saying good-bye to any one
but your mother, and here you are with almost half Oakdale at the train
to see you off to college."

"Now, Anne, you know perfectly well that people are down here to see you
and Miriam, too," laughed Grace. "I'm not half as much of a celebrity as
you are."

Grace Harlowe, Miriam Nesbit and Anne Pierson stood on the station
platform completely surrounded by their many friends, who, regardless
of the fact that it was half-past seven o'clock in the morning, had made
it a point to be at the station to wish them godspeed.

"This is the second public gathering this week," remarked Miriam Nesbit,
who, despite the chatter that was going on around her, had heard Grace's
laughing remark.

"I know it," agreed Grace. "There was just as large a crowd here when
Nora and Jessica went away last Monday. Doesn't it seem dreadful that we
are obliged to be separated? How I hated to see the girls go. And we
won't be together again until Christmas."

"Oh, here come the boys!" announced Eva Allen, who, with Marian Barber,
had been standing a little to one side of the three girls.

At this juncture four smiling young men hurried through the crowd of
young people and straight to the circle surrounding the three girls,
where they were received with cries of: "We were afraid you'd be too
late!" and, "Why didn't you get here earlier?"

"We're awfully sorry!" exclaimed David Nesbit. "We had to wait for
Hippy. He overslept as usual. We threw as much as a shovelful of
gravel against his window, but he never stirred. Finally we had to waken
his family and it took all of them to waken him."

"Don't you believe what David Nesbit says," retorted Hippy. "Do you
suppose I slept a wink last night knowing that the friends of my youth
were about to leave me?" Hippy sniffed dolefully and buried his face in
his handkerchief.

"Now, now, Hippy," protested Miriam. "If you insist on shedding
crocodile tears, although I don't believe you could be sad long enough
to shed even that kind, we shall feel that you are glad to get rid of
us."

"Never!" ejaculated Hippy fervently. "Oh, if I only had Irish Nora here
to stand up for me! She wouldn't allow any one, except herself, to speak
harsh and cruel words to me."

"We shan't be able to speak many more words of any kind to you," said
Miriam, consulting her watch. "The train is due in ten minutes."

When Grace Harlowe and her three dear friends, Nora O'Malley, Jessica
Bright and Anne Pierson, began to make history for themselves in their
freshman year at Oakdale High School, none of them could possibly
imagine just how dear they were to become to the hearts of the hundreds
of girls who made their acquaintance in "Grace Harlowe's Plebe Year
at High School." The story of their freshman year was one of
manifold trials and triumphs. It was at the beginning of that year that
Grace Harlowe had championed the cause of Anne Pierson, a newcomer in
Oakdale. Then and there a friendship sprang up between the two girls
that was destined to be life long. The repeated efforts of several
malicious girls to discredit Anne in the eyes of her teachers, and her
final triumph in winning the freshman prize offered to the class by Mrs.
Gray, a wealthy resident of Oakdale, made the narrative one of interest
and aroused a desire on the part of the reader to know more of Grace
Harlowe and her friends.

In "Grace Harlowe's Sophomore Year at High School" the girl
chums appeared as basketball enthusiasts. In this volume was related the
efforts of Julia Crosby, a disagreeable junior, and Miriam Nesbit, a
disgruntled sophomore, to disgrace Anne and wrest the basketball
captaincy from Grace. Through the magnanimity of Grace Harlowe, Miriam
and Julia were brought to a realization of their own faults, and in time
became the faithful friends of both Anne and Grace.

During "Grace Harlowe's Junior Year at High School" the famous
sorority, the Phi Sigma Tau, was organized by the four chums for the
purpose of looking after high school girls who stood in need of
assistance. In that volume Eleanor Savelli, the self-willed daughter of
an Italian violin virtuoso, made her appearance. The difficulties Grace
and her chums encountered in trying to befriend Eleanor and her final
contemptuous repudiation of their friendship made absorbing reading for
those interested in following the fortunes of the Oakdale High School
girls.

Their senior year was perhaps the most eventful of all. At the very
beginning of the fall term the high school gymnasium was destroyed by
fire. Failing to secure an appropriation from either the town or state,
the four classes of the girls' high school pledged themselves to raise
the amount of money required to rebuild the gymnasium. In "Grace
Harlowe's Senior Year at High School" the story of the senior class
bazaar, the daring theft of their hard-earned money before the bazaar
had closed, and Grace Harlowe's final recovery of the stolen money under
the strangest of circumstances, furnished material for a narrative of
particular interest. After graduation the four chums, accompanied by
their nearest and dearest friends, had spent a long and delightful
summer in Europe. On returning to Oakdale the real parting of the ways
had come, for Nora and Jessica had already departed for an eastern city
to enter a well known conservatory of music. Marian Barber and Eva Allen
were to enter Smith College the following week, Eleanor Savelli had
long since sailed for Italy, and now the morning train was to bear
Miriam Nesbit, Grace Harlowe and Anne Pierson to Overton, an eastern
college finally decided upon by the three girls.

"Last year we left you on the station platform gazing mournfully after
the train that bore _me_ away from Oakdale," remarked Hippy
reminiscently. "How embarrassed I felt at so much attention, and yet how
sweet it was to know that you had gathered here, not to see David
Nesbit, Reddy Brooks, Tom Gray or any such insignificant persons off to
school, but that I, Theophilus Hippopotamus Wingate, was the object of
your tender solicitations."

"I expected it," groaned David. "I don't see why we ever woke him up and
dragged him along."

"As I was about to say when rudely interrupted," continued Hippy calmly,
"I shall miss you, of course, but not half so much as you will miss me.
I hope you will think of me, and you may write to me occasionally if it
will be a satisfaction to you. I know you will not forget me. Who,
having once met me, could forget?"

Hippy folded his arms across his chest and looked languishingly at the
three girls.

A chorus of giggles from those grouped around the girls and derisive
groans from the boys greeted Hippy's sentimental speech.

Suddenly a long, shrill whistle was heard.

"That's your train, girls," said Mr. Harlowe, who with Mrs. Harlowe,
Mrs. Nesbit and Mary Pierson had drawn a little to one side while their
dear ones said their last farewells to their four boy friends. The
circle about the three girls closed in. The air resounded with
good-byes. The last kisses and handshakes were exchanged. Reckless
promises to send letters and postcards were made. Then, still
surrounded, Grace, Miriam and Anne made their way to the car steps and
into the train. Grace clung first to her mother then to her father. "How
can I do without you?" she said over and over again. Tears stood in her
gray eyes. She winked them back bravely. "I'm going to show both of you
just how much I appreciate going to college by doing my very best," she
whispered. Her father patted her reassuringly on the shoulder while her
mother gave her a last loving kiss.

"I know you will, dear child," she said affectionately. "Remember,
Grace," added her father, a suspicious mist in his own eyes, "you are
not to rush headlong into things. You are to do a great deal of looking
before you even make up your mind to leap."

"I'll remember, Father. Truly I will," responded Grace, her face
sobering.

"All aboard! All aboard!" shouted the conductor. Those who had entered
the train to say farewell left it hurriedly.

"Good-bye! Good-bye!" cried Grace, leaning out the car window.

From the platform as the train moved off, clear on the air, rose the
Oakdale High School yell.

"It's in honor of us," said Grace softly. "Dear old Oakdale. I wonder if
we can ever like college as well as we have high school."



CHAPTER II

J. ELFREDA INTRODUCES HERSELF.


For the first half hour the three girls were silent. Each sat wrapped in
her own thoughts, and those thoughts centered upon the dear ones left
behind. Anne, whose venture into the theatrical world had necessitated
her frequent absence from home, felt the wrench less than did Grace or
Miriam. Aside from their summer vacations they had never been away from
their mothers for any length of time. To Grace, as she watched the
landscape flit by, the thought of the ever widening distance between her
and her mother was intolerable. She experienced a strong desire to bury
her face in her hands and sob disconsolately, but bravely conquering the
sense of loneliness that swept over her, she threw back her shoulders
and sitting very straight in her seat glanced almost defiantly about
her.

"Well, Grace, have you made up your mind to be resigned?" asked Miriam
Nesbit. "That sudden world-defying glance that you just favored us with
looks as though the victory was won."

"Miriam, you are almost a mind reader," laughed Grace. "I've been on
the verge of a breakdown ever since we left Oakdale, and in this very
instant I made up my mind to be brave and not cry a single tear. Look at
Anne. She is as calm and unemotional as a statue."

"That's because I'm more used to being away from home," replied Anne.
"Troupers are not supposed to have feelings. With them, it is here
to-day and gone to-morrow."

"Yes, but you were transplanted to Oakdale soil for four years,"
reminded Grace.

"I know it," returned Anne reflectively. "I do feel dreadfully sad at
leaving my mother and sister, too. Still, when I think that I'm actually
on the way to college at last, I can't help feeling happy, too."

"Dear little Anne," smiled Grace. "College means everything to you,
doesn't it? That's because you've earned every cent of your college
money."

"And I'll have to earn a great deal more to see me through to
graduation," added Anne soberly. "My vacations hereafter must be spent
in work instead of play."

"What are you going to do to earn money during vacations, Anne?" asked
Miriam rather curiously.

"I might as well confess to you girls that I'm going to do the work I
can do most successfully," said Anne in a low voice. "I'm going to try
to get an engagement in a stock theatrical company every summer until I
graduate. I can earn far more money at that than doing clerical work. I
received a long letter from Mr. Southard last week and also one from his
sister. They wish me to come to New York as soon as my freshman year at
college is over. Mr. Southard writes that he can get an engagement for
me in a stock company. I'll have to work frightfully hard, for there
will be a matinee every day as well as a regular performance every
night, and I'll have a new part to study each week. But the salary will
more than compensate me for my work. You know that Mary did dress-making
and worked night and day to send me to high school. Of course, my five
dollars a week from Mrs. Gray helped a great deal, but up to the time
Mr. Southard sent for me to go to New York City to play Rosalind I
didn't really think of college as at all certain. Before I left New York
for Oakdale, Mr. and Miss Southard and I had a long talk. They made me
see that it was right to use the talent God had given me by appearing in
worthy plays. Mr. Southard pointed out the fact that I could earn enough
money by playing in stock companies in the summer to put me through
college and at the same time contribute liberally to my mother's
support.

"The home problem was really the greatest to be solved. I felt that it
wouldn't be right for me to even work my way through college and leave
Mary to struggle on alone, after she had worked so hard to help me get a
high school education. So the stage seemed to be my one way out after
all. And when once I had definitely decided to do as Mr. Southard
recommended me to do I was happier than I had been for ages."

"Anne Pierson, you quiet little mouse!" exclaimed Grace. "Why didn't you
tell us all this before? You are the most provoking Anne under the sun.
Here I've been worrying about you having to wait on table or do tutoring
and odds and ends of work to put yourself through college, while all the
time you were planning something different. We all know you're too proud
to let any of your friends help you, but since you are determined to
make your own way I'm glad that you have chosen the stage, after all."

"I think you are wise, Anne," agreed Miriam. "With two such people as
Mr. Southard and his sister to look after you, there can be no objection
to your following your profession."

"I am glad to know that you girls look at the matter in that light,"
replied Anne.

"Suppose we had offered any objections?" asked Grace.

"I'll answer that question," said Miriam. "Anne would have followed the
path she had marked out for herself regardless of our objections. Am I
right, Anne?"

"I don't know," said Anne, flushing deeply. "You have all been so good
to me. I couldn't bear to displease my dearest friends, but it would be
hard to give up something I knew could result in nothing save good for
me." Anne paused and looked at Grace and Miriam with pleading eyes.

"Never mind, dear," comforted Grace. "We approve of you and all your
works. We are not shocked because you are a genius. We are sworn
advocates of the stage and only too glad to know that it has opened the
way to college for you."

"Shall you let the fact that you have appeared professionally be known
at Overton?" asked Miriam.

"I shall make no secret of it," returned Anne quietly, "but I won't
volunteer any information concerning it."

"I wonder what our freshman year at Overton will bring us," mused Grace.
"I have read so many stories about college life, and yet so far Overton
seems like an unknown land that we are about to explore. From all I have
heard and read, exploring freshmen find their first term at college
anything but a bed of roses. They are sometimes hazed unmercifully by
the upper classes, and their only salvation lies in silently standing
the test. Julia Crosby says that she had all sorts of tricks played on
her during her first term at Smith. Now she's a sophomore and can make
life miserable for the freshmen. I am going to try to cultivate the true
college spirit," concluded Grace earnestly. "College is going to mean
even more to me than high school. I don't imagine it's all going to be
plain sailing. I suppose, more than once, I'll wish myself back in
Oakdale, but I'm going to make up my mind to take the bitter with the
sweet and set everything down under the head of experience."

"To tell you the truth," Miriam said slowly, "I am not enthusiastic over
college. I value it as a means of continuing my education, and I'll try
to live up to college ideals, but I'm not going to let anyone walk over
me or ridicule me. I'm willing 'to live and let live,' but, as Eleanor
Savelli used to say when in a towering rage, 'no one can trample upon me
with impunity.'"

"I wonder when we shall see Eleanor again," said Anne, smiling a little
at the recollection called up by Miriam's quotation.

"That reminds me," exclaimed Grace. "I have a letter from Eleanor that
I haven't opened. It came this morning just before I left the house."
Fumbling in her bag, Grace drew forth a bulky looking letter, bearing a
foreign postmark, and tearing open the end, drew out several closely
folded sheets of thin paper covered with Eleanor's characteristic
handwriting.

"Shall I read it aloud?" asked Grace.

"By all means," said Miriam with emphasis.

Grace began to read. Anne, who sat beside her, looked over her shoulder,
while Miriam, who sat opposite Grace, leaned forward in order to catch
every word. They were so completely occupied with their own affairs,
none of them noticed that the train had stopped. Suddenly a voice
shrilled out impatiently, "Is this seat engaged?" With one accord the
three girls glanced up. Before them stood a tall, rather stout young
woman with a full, red face, whose frowning expression was anything but
reassuring.

"Yes--no, I mean," replied Grace hastily.

"I thought not," remarked the stranger complacently as she stolidly
seated herself beside Miriam and deposited a traveling bag partly on the
floor and partly on Grace's feet.

"These seats are ridiculously small," grumbled the stranger, bending
over to jam her traveling bag more firmly into the space from which
Grace had hastily withdrawn her feet. Then straightening up suddenly,
her heavily plumed hat collided with the hand in which Grace held
Eleanor's letter, scattering the sheets in every direction. With a
little cry of concern Grace sprang to her feet and, stepping out in the
aisle, began to pick them up. Having recovered the last one she turned
to her seat only to find it occupied by their unwelcome fellow traveler.

"I changed seats," commented the stout girl stolidly. "I never could
stand it to ride backwards."

Grace looked first at the stranger then from Miriam to Anne. Miriam
looked ready for battle, while even mild little Anne glared resentfully
at the rude newcomer. Grace hesitated, opened her mouth as though about
to speak, then without saying a word sat down in the vacant place and
began to rearrange the sheets of her letter.

"I'll finish this some other time, girls," she said briefly.

"Oh, you needn't mind me," calmly remarked the stranger. "I don't mind
listening to letters. That is if they've got anything in them besides 'I
write these few lines to tell you that I am well and hope you are the
same.' That sort of stuff makes me sick. Goodness knows, I suppose
that's the kind I'll have handed to me all year. Neither Ma nor Pa can
write a letter that sounds like anything."

By this time Miriam's frown had begun to disappear, while Anne's eyes
were dancing.

Grace looked at the stout girl rather curiously, an expression of new
interest dawning in her eyes. "Are you going to college?" she asked.

"Well, I rather guess I am," was the quick reply. "I'll bet you girls
are in the same boat with me, too. What college do you get off at?"

"Overton," answered Grace.

"Then you haven't seen the last of me," assured the stranger, "for I'm
going there myself and I'd just about as soon go to darkest Africa or
any other heathen place."

"Why don't you wish to go to Overton?" asked Anne.

"Because I don't want to go to college at all," was the blunt answer. "I
want to go to Europe with Ma and Pa and have a good time. We have loads
of money, but what good does that do me if I can't get a chance to spend
it? I'd fail in all my exams if I dared, but Pa knows I'm not a wooden
head, and I'd just have to try it again somewhere else. So I'll have to
let well enough alone or get in deeper than I am now."

The stout girl leaned back in her seat and surveyed the trio of girls
through half-closed eyes. "Where did you girls come from and what are
your names?" she asked abruptly. "Partners in misery might as well get
acquainted, you know."

Grace introduced her friends in turn, then said: "My name is Grace
Harlowe, and we three girls live in the city of Oakdale."

"Never heard of it," yawned the girl. "It must be like Fairview, our
town, not down on the map. We live there, because Ma was born there and
thinks it the only place on earth, but we manage to go to New York
occasionally, thank goodness. Ever been there?" she queried.

"Once or twice," smiled Miriam Nesbit.

"Great old town, isn't it?" remarked their new acquaintance. "My name is
J. Elfreda Briggs. The J. stands for Josephine, but I hate it. Ma and Pa
call me Fred, and that sounds pretty good to me. Say, aren't you girls
about starved? I'm going to hunt the dining car and buy food. I haven't
had anything to eat since eight o'clock this morning."

J. Elfreda rose hurriedly, and stumbling over her bag and Grace's feet,
landed in the aisle with more speed than elegance. "You'd better come
along," she advised. "They serve good meals on this train. Besides, I
don't want to eat alone." With that she stalked down the aisle and into
the car ahead.

"It looks as though we were to have plenty of entertainment for the rest
of our journey," remarked Anne.

"I prefer not to be entertained," averred Miriam dryly. "Personally, I
am far from impressed with J. Elfreda. She strikes me as being entirely
too fond of her own comfort. Now that she has vacated your seat, you had
better take it, Grace, before she comes back."

Grace shook her head. "I don't dislike riding backward," she said, "if
you don't mind having her sit beside you. Perhaps some one will leave
the train by the time she comes back; then she will leave us."

"No such good fortune," retorted Miriam. "She prefers our society to
none at all. I think her advice about luncheon isn't so bad, though.
Suppose we follow it?"

Five minutes later the three girls repaired to the dining car and seated
themselves at a table directly across the aisle from their new
acquaintance. J. Elfreda sat toying with her knife and fork, an
impatient frown on her smug face. "These people are the limit," she
grumbled. "It takes forever to get anything to eat. If I'd ordered it
yesterday, I'd have some hopes of getting it to-day." Then, apparently
forgetting the existence of the three girls, she sat with eyes fixed
hungrily on the door through which her waiter was momentarily expected
to pass. By the time that the chums had given their order to another
waiter, J. Elfreda's luncheon was served and she devoted herself
assiduously to it. When Grace and her friends had finished luncheon,
however, the stout girl still sat with elbows on the table waiting for a
second order of dessert.

"Good gracious!" remarked Miriam as they made their way back to their
seats. "No wonder J. Elfreda is stout! I suppose I shouldn't refer to
her, even behind her back, in such familiar terms, but nothing else
suits her. I'm not charitable like you, Grace. I haven't the patience to
look for the good in tiresome people like her. I think she's greedy and
selfish and ill-bred and I wouldn't care to live in the same house with
her."

"You're a very disagreeable person, Miriam, in your own estimation,"
laughed Grace, "but fortunately we don't take you at your own valuation,
do we, Anne?"

"Miriam's a dear," said Anne promptly. "She always pretends she's a
dragon and then behaves like a lamb."

"What time is our train due at Overton?" asked Miriam, ignoring Anne's
assertion.

"We are scheduled to arrive at Overton at five o'clock," answered Grace.
"I wish it were five now. I'm anxious to see Overton College in broad
daylight."

At this juncture J. Elfreda made her appearance and sinking into the
seat declared with a yawn that she was too sleepy for any use. "I'm
going to sleep," she announced. "You girls can talk if you don't make
too much noise. Loud talking always keeps me awake. You may call me when
we get to Overton." With these words she bent over her bag, opened it,
and drew out a small down cushion. She rose in her seat, removed her
hat, and, poking it into the rack above her head, sat down. Arranging
her pillow to her complete satisfaction, she rested her head against it,
closed her eyes and within five minutes was oblivious to the world.

The three travelers obligingly lowered their voices, conversing in low
tones, as the train whirled them toward their destination. Their hearts
were with those they had left, and as the afternoon began to wane, one
by one they fell silent and became wrapped in their own thoughts. Grace
was already beginning to experience a dreadful feeling of depression,
which she knew to be homesickness. It was just the time in the afternoon
when she and her mother usually sat on their wide, shady porch, talking
or reading as they waited for her father to come home to dinner, and a
lump rose in her throat as she thought sadly of how long it would be
before she saw her dear ones again.

Far from being homesick, self-reliant Miriam was calmly speculating as
to what college would bring her, while Anne, who had quite forgotten her
own problems, sat eyeing Grace affectionately and wondering how soon her
friend would make her personality felt in the little world which she was
about to enter. And J. Elfreda Briggs, of Fairview, slept peacefully
on.



CHAPTER III

FIRST IMPRESSIONS


"Overton! Overton!" was the call that echoed through the car. After
handing down the hats of her friends, Grace reached to the rack above
her head for her broad brimmed panama hat. Obeying a sudden kindly
impulse, she carefully deposited J. Elfreda's hat in the sleeping girl's
lap, touched her on the shoulder and said, "Wake up, Miss Briggs. We are
nearing Overton."

J. Elfreda sleepily opened her eyes at the gentle touch, saying
drowsily, "Let me know when the train stops." Then closed her eyes
again.

Miriam shrugged her shoulders with a gesture that signified, "Let her
alone. Don't bother with her."

At that moment the train stopped with a jolt that caused the sleeper to
awake in earnest. She looked stupidly about, yawned repeatedly, then
catching a glimpse of a number of girls on the station platform, clad in
white and light colored gowns, she became galvanized into action, and
pinning on her hat began quickly to gather up her luggage. "Good-bye,"
she said indifferently. "I'll probably see you later." Then, rapidly
elbowing her way down the aisle she disappeared through the open door,
leaving the chums to make their way more slowly out of the car. As they
stepped from the car to the station platform Grace caught sight of her
at the far end of the station in conversation with a tall auburn-haired
girl and a short dark one. A moment later she saw the three walk off
together.

"J. Elfreda found friends quickly," remarked Anne, who had also noticed
the stout girl's warm reception by the two girls. "I wonder what we had
better do first. What is the name of the hotel where we are to stop?"

"The Tourraine," replied Miriam.

The newcomers looked eagerly about them at the groups of daintily gowned
girls who were joyously greeting their friends as they stepped from the
train.

"I had no idea there were so many Overton girls on the train," remarked
Grace in surprise. "The majority of them seem to have friends here, too.
I wonder which way we'd better go."

"By the nods and becks and wreathed smiles with which those girls over
there are favoring us, I imagine that we have been discovered,"
announced Miriam, rather sarcastically.

Grace and Anne glanced quickly toward the girls indicated by Miriam. A
tall, thin, fair-haired girl with cold gray-blue eyes and a generally
supercilious air occupied the center of the group. She was talking
rapidly and her remarks were eliciting considerable laughter. Amused
glances, half friendly, half critical, were being leveled at the Oakdale
trio of chums.

Grace flushed in half angry embarrassment, Anne merely smiled to
herself, while Miriam's most forbidding scowl wrinkled her smooth
forehead.

"I think we had better inquire the way to our hotel and leave here as
soon as possible," Grace said slowly. A sudden feeling of disappointment
had suddenly taken possession of her. She had always supposed that in
every college new girls were met and welcomed by the upper classes of
students. Yet now that they had actually arrived no one had come forward
to exchange even a friendly greeting with them.

"Well, if this is an exhibition of the true college spirit, deliver me
from college," grumbled Miriam. "I must say----"

Miriam's denunciation against college was never finished, for at that
juncture a soft voice said, "Welcome to Overton." Turning simultaneously
the three girls saw standing before them a young woman of medium height.
Her hand was extended, and she was smiling in a sweet, friendly fashion
that warmed the hearts of the disappointed freshmen. She wore a
tailored frock of white linen, white buckskin walking shoes that
revealed a glimpse of silken ankles, and carried a white linen parasol
that matched her gown. She was bareheaded, and in the late afternoon her
wavy brown hair seemed touched with gold.

"I am so glad to meet you!" exclaimed the pretty girl. "You are
freshmen, of course. If you will tell me your names I'll introduce you
to some of the girls. Then we will see about escorting you safely to
your boarding place. Have you taken your examinations yet?"

"No," replied Miriam. "We have that ordeal before us." Her face relaxed
under the friendly courtesy accorded to them by this attractive
stranger. She then introduced Grace and Anne. Their new acquaintance
shook hands with the two girls, then said gayly, "Now tell me your
name."

Miriam complied with the request, then stated that through a friend of
her mother's they had engaged a suite of rooms at the Tourraine, an
apartment hotel in Overton, until their fate should be decided.

"The Tourraine is the nicest hotel in Overton," stated Mabel. "I am
always in the seventh heaven of delight whenever I am fortunate enough
to be invited to dine there."

"Then come and dine with us to-night," invited Miriam.

Mabel Ashe shook her head. "It's very nice in you," she said gravely,
"but not to-night. Really, I am awfully stupid. I haven't told you my
name. It is Mabel Ashe. I am a junior and pledged to pilot bewildered
freshmen to havens of rest and safety."

"Do you consider freshmen impossible creatures?" asked Anne Pierson, her
eyes twinkling.

The young woman laughed merrily. "Oh, no," she replied. "You must
remember that they are the raw material that makes good upper classmen.
It takes a whole year to mould them into shape--that is, some of them.
Now, come with me and I'll see that you meet some of the upper class
girls."

As they were about to accompany their new acquaintance down the
platform, a tall, fair-haired girl walked toward them followed by the
others upon whom Miriam had commented. "Wait a minute, Mabel," she
called. "I've been trying to get hold of you all afternoon."

"You're just in time, Beatrice," returned Mabel Ashe. "I wish you to
meet Miss Harlowe, Miss Nesbit, and Miss Pierson, all of Oakdale. Girls,
this is Miss Alden, also of the junior class."

Beatrice Alden smiled condescendingly, and shook hands in a somewhat
bored fashion with the three girls. "Pleased to meet you," she drawled.
"Hope you'll be good little freshmen this year and make no trouble for
your elders."

"We shall try to mind our own affairs, and trust to other people to do
the same," flashed Miriam, eyeing the other girl steadily.

Grace looked at her friend in surprise. What had caused Miriam to answer
in such fashion? There was an almost imperceptible lull in the
conversation, then Mabel Ashe introduced the other girls. "Now we will
see about your trunks, and then perhaps you would like to walk up to the
college," she said briskly. "It isn't far from here. Some of the girls
prefer to ride in the bus, but I always walk. I can show you some of the
places of interest as we go."

"Come over here, Mabel, dear," commanded Beatrice Alden, who had moved a
little to one side of the group. Mabel excused herself to her charges,
and looking a little annoyed, obeyed the summons. Beatrice talked
rapidly for a moment in coaxing tones, but Mabel shook her head. Grace,
who stood nearest to them, heard her say, "I'd love to go, Bee, and its
awfully nice in you to think of me. I'll go to-morrow, but I can't leave
these poor stranded freshmen to their own homesick thoughts to-day. You
know just how we felt when we landed high and dry in this town without
any one to care whether we survived or perished."

"If you won't go to-day, then don't trouble about it at all," snapped
Beatrice. "I know plenty of girls who will be only too glad to accept my
invitation, but I asked you first, and I think you ought to remember it.
You know I like you better than any other girl in college."

"You know I appreciate your friendship, Bee," returned Mabel, "but truly
I wish you cared more for other girls, too. There are plenty of girls
here who need friends like you."

"Yes, but I don't like them," snapped Beatrice. "I'm not going to make a
martyr of myself to please any one. My mother is very particular about
my associates at Overton, and I don't intend to waste my time trying to
make things pleasant for the stupid, uninteresting girls of this
college. I did not come to Overton to take a course in doing settlement
work. I came here to have a good time, and incidentally to study a
little."

"Now, now, Bee, don't try to make me believe you haven't just as much
college spirit as the rest of us," admonished Mabel in a low tone.
"Don't be cross because I can't go to-day. Come with me, instead, and
help look after these verdant freshmen. There was a positive army of
them who got off the train."

Without replying Beatrice turned and walked sulkily away toward the
other end of the platform. Mabel looked after her with a half frown.

"I am afraid we are causing you considerable inconvenience," demurred
Grace. "Please do not deprive yourself of any pleasure on our account."

"Nonsense," smiled Mabel. "I am not depriving myself of any pleasure.
Oh, there goes one of my best friends!" Putting her hands to her mouth
she called, "Frances!" A tall slender girl, with serious brown eyes and
dark hair, who was leisurely crossing the station platform, stopped
short, glanced in the direction of the sound, then espying Mabel hurried
toward her.

"Good old Frances," beamed Mabel. "You heard me calling and came on the
run, didn't you? This is the noblest junior of them all, my dear
freshmen. Her name is Frances Veronica Marlton. Doesn't that sound like
the heroine's name in one of the six best sellers?" Mabel introduced the
three girls in turn. "Now let us be on our way," she commanded, looking
up and down the station platform at the fast dissolving groups of girls.
"I don't see any more stray lambs. I think the committee appointed to
meet the freshmen has fulfilled its mission. And now for your hotel. It
is past dinner time and I know you are hungry and anxious to rest."

Picking up Grace's bag she led the way through the station followed by
Grace and Miriam. Anne walked behind them with Frances Marlton. The
little company set off down the main street of the college town at a
swinging pace. It was a wide, beautiful street, shaded by tall maples.
The houses that lined it were for the most part old-fashioned and the
wayfarers caught alluring glimpses of green lawns dotted with flower
beds as they walked along.

"It makes me think of High School Street in Oakdale!" Grace exclaimed.
"If ever I feel that I'm going to be homesick, I'll just walk down this
street and make believe that I'm at home! That will be the surest cure
for the blues, if I get them."

Mabel Ashe, who was now walking between Grace and Miriam, looked at
Grace rather speculatively. "You won't get them," she predicted. "You'll
have so many other things to think of, you won't think of yourself at
all. Here we are at the college campus. Over there is Overton Hall."

The eyes of the newcomers were at once focussed on the stately gray
stone building that stood in the center of a wide stretch of green
campus, shaded by great trees. At various points of the campus were
situated smaller buildings which Mabel Ashe pointed out as Science
Hall, the gymnasium, laboratory, library and chapel. In Overton Hall,
Mabel explained, were situated certain recitation rooms, the offices of
the president, the dean and other officials of the college. Around the
campus were the various houses in which the more fortunate of the
hundreds of students lived. It was very desirable to secure a room in
one of these houses, but somewhat expensive and not always easy to do.
Rooms were sometimes spoken for a whole year in advance.

"Do you room on the campus?" asked Grace.

"Yes," replied Mabel. "I live at Holland House. I was fortunate enough
to have a friend graduate from here and will me her room. I entered
Overton the autumn following her graduation."

"One of our Oakdale girls is a junior here," remarked Grace. "Her name
is Constance Fuller. She graduated from high school when we were
sophomores. We do not know her very well, and had quite forgotten she
was here. This afternoon on the train, Anne, who never forgets either
faces or names, suddenly announced the fact. I wonder if she has arrived
yet. We came early, I believe, but that is because we are obliged to
take the entrance examinations."

"Now I know why the name, Oakdale, seemed so familiar!" exclaimed Mabel
Ashe. "I have heard Constance mention it. She is one of my best
friends. Does she know that you are to be here?"

"No," replied Grace. "We haven't seen her this summer. We were away from
Oakdale." Grace did not wish to mention their trip to Europe, fearing
their companion might think her unduly anxious to boast. One of the
things against which Julia Crosby, her old time Oakdale friend, and a
senior in Smith College, had cautioned her, was boasting. "Avoid all
appearance of being your own press agent," Julia had humorously advised.
"If you don't you'll be a marked girl for the whole four years of your
college career. The meek and modest violet is a glowing example for
erring freshmen."

"I'll remember, Julia," Grace had promised, and she now resolved that
she would think twice before speaking once, whatever the occasion might
be.

"Constance has not arrived yet," said Mabel. "I heard her roommate say
this morning that she expected her to-morrow. She rooms at Holland
House, too. I shall tell her about you the moment I see her. This is the
Tourraine," she announced, pausing before a handsome sandstone building
and leading the way up the steps that led to the broad veranda, gay with
porch boxes of flowers and shaded by awnings.

"Won't you come up to our rooms?" asked Miriam.

"Not to-night, thank you," replied Mabel. "Frances and I will be over
bright and early to-morrow morning to pilot you to the college. Then you
can find out about the examinations. Good-night and pleasant dreams."
Extending their hands in turn to the three girls and nodding a last
smiling adieu, the two courteous juniors left them on the hotel veranda.

"I must admit that I have been agreeably disappointed," said Miriam
Nesbit as the three girls stood for a moment before entering the hotel
to watch the retreating backs of their new acquaintances.

"I, too," replied Grace. "I can't begin to tell you how dejected I felt
while we stood there on the station platform and no one came near us or
appeared to be aware of our existence."

"It was enough to discourage the most optimistic freshman," averred
Anne.

"I wonder who J. Elfreda Briggs's friends were," commented Miriam. "She
never said a word about knowing any one at Overton. I imagine she is a
thoroughly selfish girl, and the less I see of her in college the better
pleased I shall be."

As their suite of rooms had been engaged in advance it needed but a word
to the clerk on Grace's part, then each girl in turn registered and
they were conducted to their suite.

"This suite seems to be supplied with all the comforts of home,"
observed Miriam, looking about her with satisfaction. "I am thankful to
have reached a haven of rest where I can bathe my grimy face and hands."

"So am I," echoed Grace, setting down her suit case and sinking into an
easy chair with a tired sigh. "I am starved, too. Let us lose no time in
getting ready for dinner. After dinner we can rest."

For the next half hour the travelers were busily engaged in removing the
dust of their journey and attiring themselves in the dainty summer
frocks which they had taken thought to pack in their suit cases.

"I'm ready," announced Grace at last, as she poked a rebellious lock of
hair into place, and viewed herself in the mirror.

"So am I," echoed Anne.

"And I," from Miriam. "Why not walk down stairs? We are on the second
floor, and I never ride in an elevator when I can avoid doing so."

The trio descended the stairs and made their way to the dining room,
where they were conducted to a table near an open window which looked
out on a shady side porch.

"So far I haven't been imbued with what one might call college
atmosphere," remarked Miriam, after the dinner had been ordered and the
waiter had hurried off to attend to their wants.

"I felt a certain amount of enthusiasm while those upper class girls
were with us, but it has vanished," said Anne. "I am just a professional
staying at a hotel."

"I imagine we won't begin to regard ourselves as being a part of Overton
College until after we have tried our examinations and found an abiding
place in some one of the college houses. I hope we shall be able to get
into a campus house. I have always understood that it is ever so much
nicer to be on the campus. We really should have made arrangements
before-hand, and if we hadn't waited until the last moment to decide to
what college we wished to go we might be cosily settled now."

"Perhaps we are only fulfilling our destiny," smiled Miriam Nesbit.

"Perhaps," agreed Grace in a doubtful tone. "Once we are in our hall or
boarding house I dare say we will shake off this feeling of constraint
and become genuine Overtonites."

"Had we better study to-night?" inquired Grace as they made their way
from the hotel dining room.

"I think it would be a wise proceeding," agreed Miriam. "I want to go
over my French verbs."

"So do I," echoed Grace. "Let's study until ten, and then go straight to
bed."

Ten o'clock stretched well toward eleven before Grace put down her text
book with a tired little sigh and declared herself too sleepy for
further study.

It had been arranged that Miriam should occupy the one room of the suite
while Grace and Anne were to share the other, which had two beds. The
long journey by rail had tired the travelers far more than they would
admit. For a few moments, after retiring, conversation flourished
between the two rooms, then died away in indistinct murmurs, and the
prospective Overton freshmen slept peacefully as though safe in their
Oakdale homes.



CHAPTER IV

MIRIAM'S UNWELCOME SURPRISE


The two days that followed were busy ones for Grace, Anne and Miriam.
The morning after their arrival Mabel Ashe and Frances Marlton appeared
at half-past eight o'clock to conduct them to Overton Hall. There they
registered and were then sent to the room where the examination in
French was to be held. Examinations in the other required subjects
followed in rapid succession and it was Friday before they had settled
themselves in Wayne Hall, the house in which they were to live as
students of Overton College.

Wayne Hall was a substantial four-story brick house, just a block from
the campus. It was looked upon as a strictly freshman house, but
occasionally sophomores lived there, as the rooms were well-furnished
and the matron, Mrs. Elwood, had a reputation for looking out for the
welfare of her girls.

To their delight Grace and Anne had been allowed to room together, while
Miriam had by lucky chance secured a room to herself across the hall.

"If that poor little yellow-haired freshman hadn't failed in all her
examinations I shouldn't be rooming alone," said Miriam rather soberly
as she dived into the depths of the now almost emptied trunk.

"Did you meet her?" asked Grace, who, seated on the bed beside Anne,
watched Miriam's unpacking with interested eyes.

"No," replied Miriam. "One of the freshmen at the table told me about
her. She said that the poor girl cried all day yesterday and last night.
She didn't dare write her father, who, it seems, is very severe, that
she had failed. He won't know she's coming until she reaches home."

"What a pity," said Anne sympathetically. "It must be dreadful to fail
and know that one must face not only the humility of the failure, but
the displeasure of one's family too."

"If I had failed in my examinations neither Father nor Mother would have
said one reproachful word," said Grace.

"Of course I'm sorry for her," said Miriam, "but considering the fact
that I am now going to room alone, I shall write to Mother and ask her
to send me the money to furnish this room as I please. I'd like to have
a davenport bed, and I want a chiffonier and a dressing table to match.
There's room here for a piano, too. I'll have it over in this corner and
then I'll----"

Rap, rap, rap! sounded on the door.

"Come in," called Miriam frowning at the interruption.

The door opened to admit Mrs. Elwood, and following in her wake, laden
with a bag and two suit cases, her hat pushed over her eyes, a
half-suspicious, half-belligerent expression on her face, was J. Elfreda
Briggs.

"Well I never!" she gasped in astonishment, dropping her belongings in a
heap on the floor and making a dive for the nearest chair. "You're the
last people I ever expected to see. Where have you been, anyway? I
supposed you'd all flunked in your exams, given up the job, and gone
back to Glendale, Hilldale--what's the name of that dale you hail from?"

"Oakdale," supplemented Anne slyly.

"Yes, that's it. Oakdale. Foolish name for a town, isn't it?"

During this outburst Mrs. Elwood had stood silent, looking at J. Elfreda
with doubtful eyes. Now she said apologetically, "I'm very sorry, Miss
Nesbit, but could you--that is--would you mind having a roommate after
all? My sister, Mrs. Arnold, who manages Ralston House just down the
street from here, took Miss Briggs because she thought one of her girls
wasn't coming back. Now the girl is here and she has no place for Miss
Briggs. Of course, if you insist on not having a roommate, my sister and
I will see that Miss Briggs secures a room in one of the other college
houses." Mrs. Elwood paused and looked questioningly at Miriam, who
stood silent, an inscrutable expression on her face. Grace and Anne,
remembering Miriam's dislike for the stout girl, wondered what her
answer would be.

The settling of the question was not left to Miriam, for during the
brief silence that followed Mrs. Elwood's deprecatory speech J. Elfreda
had been making a comprehensive survey of her surroundings. "It's all
right, Mrs. Elwood," she drawled. "Don't worry about me. I like this
room and I guess I can get along with Miss Nesbit. You may telephone the
expressman to have my trunk sent here. I'm not going back to Ralston
House with you. I'm too tired. I'm going to stay here."

Mrs. Elwood looked appealingly at Miriam, as though mutely trying to
apologize for J. Elfreda's disregard for the rights of others.

Miriam's straight black brows drew together. She stared at their
unwelcome guest with a look that caused a slow flush to rise to the
stout girl's face. Suddenly her face relaxed into a smile of intense
amusement, and extending her hand to J. Elfreda, she said, "You are
welcome to half this room, if you care to stay."

"Well, I never!" exclaimed the other girl for the second time, as she
shook the proffered hand. "Honestly, I thought you were going to give me
a regular freeze out. You looked like a thunder cloud for a minute. I
expect it won't be all sunshine around here, this year, for I'm used to
having things go my way, and I guess you are, too."

"Then perhaps learning to defer to each other will be good practice for
both of us," suggested Miriam.

"Perhaps it will, but I doubt if we ever practise it," was the
discouraging retort.

"I'll notify my sister that you are to be here, Miss Briggs," broke in
Mrs. Elwood. "Then I'll see that this room is made ready for two. Thank
you, Miss Nesbit." She turned gratefully to Miriam.

"All right," answered J. Elfreda indifferently. "You can fix it up if
you want to, but I warn you that I'll probably buy my own furniture and
throw out all this." She waved a comprehensive hand at the despised
furniture.

"You are at liberty to make whatever changes you wish," Mrs. Elwood
responded rather stiffly, and without further remark left the room.

"She didn't like my remark about her furniture," commented the stout
girl, "but I'm not worrying about it. It's funny that I should run into
you girls, though. What kind of a time have you been having here, and
did you pass all your exams?"

The girls replied in the affirmative, then Grace asked the same question
of Elfreda.

"Of course," was the laconic answer. "I had a tutor all summer, besides
I told you on the train that I wasn't a wooden head."

"Where did you stay until you went to Ralston House?" asked Anne. "We
saw you go away from the station with two girls when you left the train,
and we've seen you twice at a distance during examinations, but this is
the first chance we've had to talk with you."

J. Elfreda stared at Anne, her eyes narrowing.

"Do you want to know just what happened to me?" she asked slowly. "Well,
I'll tell you three girls about it, because I've got to tell some one
and I don't believe you'll spread the story."

"We won't tell anyone," promised Grace.

"How about you two?" asked the stout girl.

"I'll answer for both of us," smiled Anne.

"All right then, I'll tell you. Now remember, you've promised."

The girls nodded.

"Well, it was this way," began Elfreda. "When I left the train I hadn't
gone six steps until two girls walked up to me and asked if I were a
freshman. They said they were on the committee to meet and look after
the girls who were entering college for the first time. I said that was
very kind of them and asked them to show me the way to Ralston House.
They picked up my suit cases and we started out. They asked me my name
and all sorts of questions and I told them a little about myself,"
continued the stout girl pompously. "They seemed quite impressed, too.
Then one of them said she thought I had better see the registrar before
going to Ralston House, for the registrar would be anxious to meet me.
They both said I was quite different from the rest of the new girls, and
made such a lot of fuss over me that I invited them into that little
shop across from the station to have ice cream."

"And then?" asked Miriam.

"Then," said J. Elfreda impressively, "after they had had two sundaes
apiece, at my expense, they played a mean trick on me. They took me into
a big building a little further down the street, down a long hall, and
left me sitting on a seat outside what I supposed was the registrar's
office. They said I must wait there and the registrar's clerk would come
out and conduct me to the registrar. They said that it was against the
rules to walk into the office and that it was the business of the clerk
to come out every half hour and conduct any one who was waiting into the
registrar's private office.

"Well, I sat there and sat there. It made me think of when I was a
kiddie and used to watch the cuckoo clock to see the bird come out. But
there wasn't even a bird came out of that door," continued Elfreda
gloomily. "People passed up and down the hall, and every once in a while
a man would walk right into the place without knocking, or seeing the
clerk, or anything else.

"After I had sat there for at least two hours, I made up my mind to go
in even if I were ordered out the next minute. I marched up to the door
and opened it and walked into the office. There was no one in sight but
a young woman who was putting on her hat. 'Where's the registrar?' I
asked. 'He hasn't been here to-day,' she said. 'I thought the registrar
was a woman,' I said. She seemed surprised at that and asked what made
me think so. I said that two of the students had told me so. Then she
looked at me in the queerest way and began to smile. 'Do you want to see
the registrar of Overton College?' she asked. 'Of course I do,' I said,
for I began to suspect that something was wrong. Then she stopped
smiling and said it was too bad, but whoever had sent me there had
played a trick on me and brought me to the office of the Register of
Deeds. Instead of Overton Hall I was in the county court house. Now can
you beat it?" finished Elfreda slangily.

"I should say not," cried Grace indignantly. "I think it was
contemptible in them to accept your hospitality and then treat you in
that fashion. No really nice girl would do any such thing, even in fun."

"I should say not," sympathized Miriam, forgetting that she did not
yearn for J. Elfreda as a roommate. "What did you do after you
discovered your mistake?"

"I left the Register's office, his deeds, and all the rest of that
building in pretty short order," continued Elfreda. "When I reached the
street I went straight back to the station and hired a carriage to take
me to Ralston House. Mrs. Arnold gave me my supper even though it was
late, and the next day I saw the registrar in earnest. I told her the
whole story and described the girls. I didn't know their names, but she
said she thought she knew who they were from the description. So I
suppose she'll send for me before long to identify them."

"But you're not going to?" questioned Grace in astonishment.

"Why not?" returned the stout girl calmly. "Do you think I'll let slip a
chance to get even with them? I guess not."

"But this will be carried to the dean and they will be severely
reprimanded and the whole college will know it," expostulated Grace.

"Well, the whole college should know it," stoutly contended Elfreda.
"I'll show those two smart young women that I'm not as green as I appear
to be."

Grace was on the verge of saying that J. Elfreda would have shown more
wisdom by keeping silent, but suddenly checked herself. She had no right
to criticize J. Elfreda's motives. To her the bare idea of telling tales
was abhorrent, while this girl gloried in the fact that she had exposed
those who annoyed her.

"I'm sorry you told the registrar," she said slowly. "Perhaps in the
rush of business she'll forget about it."

"She'd better not," threatened Elfreda, "or she'll hear it from me. When
it comes to getting even, I never relent. I'm just like Pa in that
respect. However, let's change the subject. Now that I'm here, show me
where I can put my clothes," she added, addressing Miriam. "Do you keep
your things in order? I never do. The morning I left home Ma said she
felt sorry for my future roommate."

Elfreda kept up a brisk monologue as she opened one of her suit cases
and began hauling out its contents. Miriam made a gesture of hopeless
resignation behind the stout girl's back.

"I must go to my room and get ready for dinner," said Grace, her eyes
dancing. "Coming, Anne?"

Anne nodded and the two girls beat a hasty retreat. Elfreda's calm
manner of appropriating things and Miriam's resigned air were too much
for them. Once inside their room they gave way to uncontrolled
merriment.

"I knew I'd laugh if I stayed there another second," confessed Anne.
"Poor Miriam. I heartily agree with Ma, don't you?"

"Yes," smiled Grace. Then, her face sobering, she added, "I am afraid
she is laying up trouble for herself. I wish she hadn't told."



CHAPTER V

AN INTERRUPTED STUDY HOUR


The first two weeks at Overton glided by with amazing swiftness. There
was so much to be done in the way of arranging one's recitations, buying
or renting one's books and accustoming one's self to the routine of
college life that Grace and her friends could scarcely spare the time to
write their home letters. There were twenty-four girls at Wayne Hall.
With the exception of four sophomores the house was given up to
freshmen. Grace thought them all delightful, and in her whole-souled,
generous fashion made capital of their virtues and remained blind to
their shortcomings. There had been a number of jolly gatherings in Mrs.
Elwood's living room, at which quantities of fudge and penuchi were made
and eaten and mere acquaintances became fast friends.

The week following their arrival a dance had been given in the gymnasium
in honor of the freshmen. The whole college had turned out at this
strictly informal affair, and the upper class girls had taken particular
pains to see that the freshmen were provided with partners and had a
good time generally. At this dance the three Oakdale friends had felt
more at home than at any other time since entering Overton. In the first
place, Mabel Ashe, Frances Marlton and Constance King had come over to
Wayne Hall in a body on the evening before the dance and offered
themselves as escorts. Furthermore, the scores of happy, laughing girls
gliding over the gymnasium floor to the music of a three-piece orchestra
reminded Grace of the school dances in her own home town. J. Elfreda had
also been escorted to the hop by Virginia Gaines, one of the sophomores
at Wayne Hall, who had a great respect for the stout girl's money, and
it was a secret relief to Grace that she had not been left out.

Now the dance was a thing of the past, and nothing was in sight in the
way of entertainment except the reception and dance given by the
sophomores to the freshmen. This was a yearly event, and meant more to
the freshmen than almost any other class celebration, for the
sophomores, having thrown off freshman shackles, took a lively hand in
the affairs of the members of the entering class. It was sophomores who
under pretense of sympathetic interest wormed out of unsuspecting
freshmen their inmost secrets and gleefully spread them abroad among the
upper classes. It was also the sophomores who were the most active in
enforcing the standard that erring freshmen were supposed to live up to.
The junior and senior classes as a rule allowed their sophomore sisters
to regulate the conduct of the newcomers at Overton, only stepping in to
interfere in extreme cases.

Grace and her friends had met nearly all the members of the sophomore
class at the freshman dance, but in reality they had very few
acquaintances among them that bade fair to become their friends.

"I don't suppose we'll have the honor of being escorted to the reception
by sophomores," remarked Grace several evenings before the event, as she
and Miriam strolled out of the dining room. "We'll have to go in a crowd
by ourselves and look as though we enjoyed it."

"Why not stay at home?" yawned Miriam. "I'm not as over-awed at the idea
of this affair as I might be."

"No," replied Grace, shaking her head. "It wouldn't do. We ought to go.
The dance is to be given in honor of the freshmen, and it's their duty
to turn out and make it a success. Are you going to study your Livy
to-night, Miriam?"

"If I can," replied Miriam grimly. "It depends on what my talkative
roommate does. If she elects to give me another instalment of the story
of her life before she came here, Livy won't stand much chance. We have
progressed as far as her twelfth year, and I was just on the point of
learning how she survived scarlet fever when the doctor didn't expect
her to live, last night, when she happened to remember that she hadn't
looked at her history lesson and I was mercifully spared further
torture."

"Poor Miriam," laughed Grace. "But you could have said you didn't want
her the day Mrs. Elwood brought her here. What made you decide to let
her stay? I saw by your face something interesting was going on in your
mind."

Miriam looked reflectively at Grace. "I don't know I'm sure just why I
let her stay. It wasn't because I wished to please Mrs. Elwood, though
she is so nice with all of us. I had a curious feeling that I ought to
take J. Elfreda in hand. If it had been you whose room she invaded you
wouldn't have hesitated even for a second. Ever since you and I settled
our differences back in our high school days I've always held you up to
myself as an example. Now, honestly, Grace, you would have taken her in
without a murmur, wouldn't you?"

"Ye-e-s," said Grace slowly, her face flushing. "I would have said she
might stay, I think. But, Miriam, you mustn't hold me up as an example.
I couldn't be more generous and loyal and broadminded than you."

"In the words of J. Elfreda, 'let's change the subject,'" said Miriam
hastily. "Where's Anne?"

"Anne is out visiting the humblest freshman of them all," replied Grace.
"Her name is Ruth Denton. Anne singled her out in English the other day,
scraped acquaintance with her, and found that she has a room in an old
house in the suburbs of the town. She takes care of her own room, boards
herself and does any kind of mending she can get to do from the girls to
help her pay her way through college. Anne only found her last week, but
I have promised to go to see her, too, and I want you to go with me."

They had paused at the door of Miriam's room. Her hand on the door, she
said earnestly, "I'd love to go, Grace. I might know that you and Anne
couldn't rest without championing some one's cause."

"What about you and J. Elfreda?" questioned Grace slyly.

"Oh, that's different," retorted Miriam. Opening the door she glanced
about the room. Her own side was in perfect order, but J. Elfreda's half
looked as though it had been visited by a cyclone. The cover of her
couch bed was pulled askew and the sofa pillows ornamented the floor.
Shoes and stockings were scattered about in wild disorder. Her dressing
table looked as though the contents had been stirred up and deposited in
a heap in the center. From the top drawer of the chiffonier protruded a
hand-embroidered collar, and a long black silk tie hung down the middle
of the piece of furniture, giving it the effect of being draped in
mourning.

Catching sight of this Grace pointed to it, laughing. "It looks as
though she were in mourning, doesn't it?"

"For her sins, yes," replied Miriam grimly. "Isn't this room a mess,
though? I've picked up her things ever so many times, but I'm tired of
it. Come in here to-night, Grace. I want to see how it seems to have my
dearest friend in my room, all to myself."

"All right," laughed Grace. "I'll get my books."

Five minutes later she reappeared and, cosily establishing herself in
the Morris chair that Miriam insisted she should occupy, the girls began
their work. For the time being silence reigned, broken only by the sound
of turning leaves or an occasional question on the part of one or the
other of the two. Finally Miriam closed her book triumphantly. "That's
done," she exulted. "Now for my English."

"I wish I was through with this," sighed Grace, eyeing her Livy with
disfavor. "I never do learn my lessons quickly. I have to study ever so
much harder than you and Anne. Now, if it were basketball, then
everything would be lovely. Still, you're a champion player, too,
Miriam, so you've more than your share of accomplishments. Anne, too,
excites my envy and admiration. She can act and stand first in her
classes, too, while I have to work like mad to keep up in my classes and
am not a star in anything. Perhaps during this year I shall develop some
new talent of which no one suspects me. It won't be for study, that's
sure."

Miriam smiled to herself, but said nothing. She knew that Grace already
possessed a talent for making friends and an ability to see not only her
own way clearly, but to smooth the pathway of those weaker than herself
that was little short of marvelous. She knew, too, that before the end
of the school year Grace's remarkable personality was sure to make
itself felt among her fellow students.

"What are you smiling to yourself about, Miriam?" demanded Grace.

But at this juncture the door was burst violently open and J. Elfreda
Briggs dashed into the room, threw herself face downward on her
disordered bed and gave way to a long, anguished wail.



CHAPTER VI

A DISTURBING NOTE


Miriam and Grace sprang to their feet, regarding the sobbing, moaning
girl in blank amazement.

"What on earth is the matter, Elfreda," said Miriam.

The answer was another long wail that made the girls glance
apprehensively toward the door.

"She'll have to be more quiet," said Grace, "or else every girl in the
house will hear her and come in to inquire what has happened." Going
over to the couch, she knelt beside Elfreda and said almost sharply,
"Elfreda, stop crying at once. Do you want all the girls in the house to
hear you?"

"I don't care," was the discouraging answer, but in a lower tone,
nevertheless; but she continued to sob heart-brokenly.

"Tell me about it, Elfreda," said Grace more gently, taking one of the
girl's limp hands in hers. "Something dreadful must have happened. Have
you had bad news from home?"

"No-o-o," gasped the stout girl. "It's the sophomores. I can't go to the
reception. They won't let me." Her sobs burst forth afresh.

Grace rose from her knees, casting a puzzled glance toward Miriam. "I
wonder what she means." Then placing her hands on Elfreda's shoulders
she raised her to a sitting position on the couch and dropping down
beside her put one arm over her shoulder. Miriam promptly sat down on
the other side, and being thus supported and bolstered by their
sympathetic arms, Elfreda gulped, gurgled, sighed and then said with
quivering lips, "I wish I had taken your advice, Grace."

"About what?" asked Grace. Then, the same idea occurring to them
simultaneously, Miriam and Grace exchanged dismayed glances. Elfreda had
come to grief through reporting the two mischievous sophomores to the
registrar.

"About telling the registrar," faltered Elfreda, unrolling her
handkerchief from the ball into which she had rolled it and wiping her
eyes.

"I'm so sorry," Grace said with quick sympathy.

"You're not half so sorry as I am," was the tearful retort. "I'll write
to Pa and Ma that I want to go home next week. They'll make a fuss, but
they'll send for me."

"Are your father and mother very anxious that you should stay here?"
asked Miriam.

"A good deal more anxious than I am," responded Elfreda. "Ma picked out
Overton for me long before I left high school. She thinks it the only
college going and so does Pa."

"Then, of course, they will be disappointed if you go home without even
trying to like college."

"I can't help that," whined Elfreda. "I can't stay here and have the
whole college down on me, and that's what will happen. You girls don't
know how serious it is."

"I think you had better begin at the beginning and tell us everything,"
suggested Miriam, a trifle impatiently.

"It was the night of the freshman hop that they began to be so mean,"
burst forth Elfreda. "I went to the dance with Virginia Gaines, that
sophomore who sits next to me at the table."

"Who do you mean by 'they'?" asked Grace.

"Alberta Wicks, the tall red-haired girl, and Mary Hampton, the short
dark one. They took me over to the court house," was the prompt answer.
"The registrar reported them to the dean. She sent for them the very day
of the dance and gave them an awful talking to and they were perfectly
furious with me for telling. They found out that Virginia had invited me
to the dance, and told her the whole story. She was horrid to me, and
hardly spoke to me all the way to the gymnasium or coming home. They
must have told every girl I know, for not one of them would come near
me. I had to sit around all evening, for I didn't know half a dozen
girls, and you three were too busy to look at me. You can imagine I had
a slow old time, and I was glad to get home. Maybe you noticed I wasn't
very talkative that night after we got back to the house, Miriam?"

Miriam nodded.

"After that, Virginia and I didn't speak. I didn't care much anyhow, for
she made me tired," continued Elfreda. "But when the talk about the
sophomore reception began I saw that they were going to hand me a whole
block of ice. It was bad enough to have them cut me in classes and on
the street, but I had set my heart on the reception and wrote to Ma to
send me a new dress. It came yesterday. It's pale blue with pearl
trimmings and it's a dream. But what good does it do me now?" She stared
gloomily ahead of her for an instant, then went on:

"Of course, I knew no one would invite me, but I made up my mind to ask
if I could go along with you folks, and I was going to ask you to-night,
when just before dinner a boy came here with this note." From the inside
of her white silk blouse she drew forth an envelope addressed to "Miss
J. Elfreda Briggs." Handing it to Grace she said briefly: "Read it."

Grace drew a sheet of paper from the envelope, unfolded it and read:

"Miss Briggs:

"In reporting to the registrar two members of the sophomore class you
have offended not merely those members, but the class as well. You have
shown yourself so entirely incapable of understanding the first
principles of honor, that Overton would be much better off without you.
Do not attempt to attend the sophomore reception. If you are wise you
will leave Overton and enter some other college.

"The Sophomore Class."

Grace handed the note to Miriam.

"What do you think of it?" asked Miriam, looking up from the last line.

"I don't know what to think," rejoined Grace. "It doesn't seem as though
a whole class would rise up to settle what is really a personal affair.
Even though the sophomores are angry, they have no right to threaten
Elfreda and advise her to leave Overton. If the dean knew of this affair
I am afraid there would be war indeed."

"Shall I tell her?" asked Elfreda eagerly. "I think I'd better; then
they won't dare to make me leave college."

"Listen to me, Elfreda," said Grace firmly. "No one can make you leave
college unless you fail in your studies or do something really
reprehensible, but there is one thing you must make up your mind to do
if you wish to stay here, and have the girls like you."

"What is it?" inquired Elfreda suspiciously.

"You mustn't tell tales," was Grace's frank answer. "No matter what the
girls do or say to you, don't carry it to the officials of the college."

"Do you mean that I'm to submit to all kinds of insults and not take my
own part?" demanded Elfreda, forgetting her grief and assuming a
belligerent air.

"You are not fighting your own battles when you carry your grievances to
the dean, the registrar, or any other member of the faculty," said Grace
gravely. "You are merely giving them unpleasant information to which
they dislike to listen."

"Humph!" was the contemptuous ejaculation. "The dean made it hot for the
girls just the same. I guess she didn't object much to hearing about
it."

"You are not looking at things in their true light, Elfreda," put in
Miriam. "I'll venture to say that when the members of the faculty were
students they were just as careful not to tell tales as are the girls
here to-day. Of course, if students are reported to them, they are
obliged to take action in the matter, but I'm sure that they'd rather
not hear about the girls' petty difficulties."

"'Petty difficulties!'" almost screamed Elfreda. "Well, I like your
impudence." Jerking herself from the girls' embrace she stood up and
walked to the other side of the room. Stumbling over one of her shoes
she kicked it viciously aside, then, leaning her head against the door,
her sobs broke forth afresh.

In a twinkling Miriam was beside her. "Poor Elfreda," she soothed. "You
are tired and worn out. Take off your hat and coat and bathe your face.
You'll feel ever so much better after you've done that. You mustn't be
cross with Grace and me. We are only trying to help you. While you are
bathing your face, I'll make some chocolate and we'll have a cozy little
time. Won't that be nice?"

Elfreda nodded, winked back her tears, and slowly drawing the pins from
her hat, flung it on the foot of her bed. Her coat followed, and seizing
her towel from the rack she stalked out of the room and down the hall to
the bath room.

"Miriam, you're a darling and a diplomat!" exclaimed Grace, closing the
door, which the stout girl had left wide open. "Chocolate is the one
thing calculated to reduce J. Elfreda to reason. We will feed her, then
renew our lectures on tale-bearing. Never call me a reformer. I am
certain that before the year is over J. Elfreda won't know herself."

"Nonsense," scoffed Miriam. "She is an interesting specimen, and
furnishes variety, of a certain kind," she added with an impish grin,
glancing comprehensively at the disordered room. "As long as I have
taken her unto myself as a roommate I might as well do what I can for
her. What seems so strange to me is that with all her money she is so
crude and slangy. She doesn't seem to have any ideals or much principle
either. Yet there is something sturdy and frankly independent about her,
too, that makes one think she's worth bothering with after all."

"How did her father make his money?" asked Grace.

"Lumber," replied Miriam. "They own tracts of timber land in Michigan.
Elfreda can have anything she asks for."

Grace sat down on Miriam's bed, her chin in her hands. She was thinking
of the note she had just read and wondering what had better be done.
Miriam, despite her avowal that she was tired of picking up her
roommate's scattered clothing, busied herself with reducing Elfreda's
half of the room to some semblance of order. Going to the closet, she
took down an elaborate Japanese silk kimono and laid it across the foot
of Elfreda's bed.

"What had we better do about this note?" Grace asked, picking it up from
the table and re-reading it.

"What do you think?" questioned Miriam.

"I think we had better ask the advice of some upper class girl," said
Grace. "I'm going to see Mabel Ashe to-morrow morning. I'll tell her
about it. Elfreda mustn't be cheated out of her right to go to the
reception."

"But if the whole sophomore class objects to her, what then?"

"I don't believe the whole sophomore class does object to her," returned
Grace. "I have a curious conviction that not many of them know her even
by sight. I think that this note was written for spite."

"Do you think Miss Wicks and Miss Hampton wrote it?" queried Miriam.

"I don't want to accuse any one of writing it, but they are the only
students who would have an object in doing so," declared Grace. "I hear
Elfreda coming down the hall. Don't say anything more about it just
now," she added in a lower tone.

"My goodness, I forgot all about the chocolate!" exclaimed Miriam,
scurrying to a little oak cabinet in one corner of the room and taking
out the necessary ingredients. "Here, Grace, open this can of evaporated
cream with the scissors. You can use that paperweight for a hammer."

Fifteen minutes later, wrapped in the folds of her kimono, J. Elfreda
sat drinking chocolate and devouring cakes as though her very existence
depended upon it.

"You girls are ever so much nicer than I thought you'd be," she said
reflectively, between cakes. "I must say that I'm agreeably disappointed
in you, Miriam. I was pretty sure you were a regular snob, but you're
nothing like one. I couldn't help thinking about what you said, Grace,
while I was bathing my face," she continued. "It made me mad for a
minute, but I've come to the conclusion that you were talking sense, and
from now on the faculty will have to go some to get any information from
me."



CHAPTER VII

GRACE TAKES MATTERS INTO HER OWN HANDS


"We have had, what might be considered by some people, a momentous
evening," remarked Grace as Anne Pierson walked into their room shortly
before ten o'clock. Having left the now almost cheerful Elfreda to the
good-natured ministrations of Miriam, Grace had said good night and
returned to her own room for a few more minutes of silent devotion to
Livy.

"What happened?" asked Anne as she hung up her wraps, took down her
kimono, and prepared to be comfortable.

"What might be expected," returned Grace, and briefly recounted what had
transpired in Miriam's room.

"Wasn't it nice of Miriam to make a fuss over her, though?" said Anne
warmly.

"Yes, of course, but it isn't Miriam's amiability that I'm thinking
about at present. It's what we'd better do to straighten out this
trouble for Elfreda," said Grace anxiously. "I felt glad when I came to
Overton that I did not have to worry about any one but myself, and now
I'm confronted with Elfreda's troubles."

"I think it would be best to see Miss Ashe first," agreed Anne, after a
brief silence.

"That settles it, then, I'll go. Tell me about your new freshman friend,
Anne."

"She's a very nice girl," Anne replied, "and has lots of the right kind
of courage. She lives in a big, bare room in the top of an old house,
clear down at the other end of the town, and the way she has made that
room over to suit her needs is really wonderful. She has one corner of
it curtained off for her kitchen and has a cupboard for her dishes, what
there are of them. She cooks her meals over a little two-burner gas
stove, and does her own washing and ironing. Every spare moment she has
she devotes to doing mending. She does it beautifully, too. Ever so many
girls have given her their silk stockings and lingerie waists to darn."

"Poor little thing," mused Grace. "I suppose she never has a minute to
play. I don't see how she manages to do all that work and study, too. I
wish we could do something to help her."

"I don't know what we could do," returned Anne thoughtfully. "I imagine
she wouldn't accept help. She strikes me as being one of the kind who
would rather die than allow her friends to pay her way."

"There must be some way," Grace said speculatively, "and some day we'll
find it out."

"Sometimes I feel as though I had earned my college money too easily,"
confessed Anne. "The work I did on the stage wasn't work at all, it was
pure pleasure. Ruth Denton's work is the hardest kind of drudgery."

"But think how hard you worked to win the scholarship," reminded Grace.

"That was work I loved, too," replied Anne, shaking her head
deprecatingly over her own good fortune.

"Never mind," laughed Grace. "Just think of how hard you might have had
to work if you hadn't been a genius, and that will comfort you a
little."

"Grace, you are too ridiculous," protested Anne, flushing deeply.

"Anne, you are entirely too modest," retorted Grace. "Come on, little
Miss Nonentity, let's go to bed or I won't get up early enough to-morrow
morning to see Mabel Ashe before my first recitation."

"All right," yawned Anne. "To-morrow night I must stay in the house and
write letters. I've owed David a letter for a week. I wonder why Nora
and Jessica don't write."

"They promised to write first, you know," said Grace.

"If we don't hear from them by Saturday we'd better send them a postcard
to hurry them up. Let's go down to that little stationer's shop
to-morrow and see what they have. I must find one that will suit Hippy's
peculiar style of beauty."

Laughing and chatting of things that had happened at home, a subject of
which they never tired, Grace and Anne prepared for bed.

The next morning Anne awoke first. Glancing at the little clock on the
chiffonier she exclaimed in dismay. They had overslept, and there was
barely time to dress and eat breakfast before chapel.

"Oh, dear," lamented Grace as she slipped into her one-piece gown of
pink linen, "now I can't go to see Mabel until after luncheon. How
provoking!"

But it was still more provoking to find, when she called at Holland
House, late that afternoon, that Mabel Ashe had made a dinner engagement
with several seniors and had just left the house. "What had I better do
about it?" Grace asked herself. "Shall I put it off until to-morrow or
shall I take matters into my own hands? It's only four days now until
the reception, and those girls may do a great deal of talking during
that time." She paused on the steps of Holland House and looked across
the campus toward Stuart Hall. "I'm sure I heard some one say that both
Miss Wicks and Miss Hampton live there," Grace reflected. "I don't like
to do it, but it's the only thing I can think of to do." Squaring her
shoulders Grace crossed the campus, a look of determination on her fine
face. Mounting the steps of Stuart Hall she deliberately rang the bell.

Miss Wicks and Miss Hampton were both in, the maid stated, ushering
Grace into the big, attractively furnished living room. A moment later
there was a scurry of footsteps on the stairs and Alberta Wicks,
followed by Mary Hampton, entered the room.

Grace rose from her chair to greet them. "Good afternoon," she said
pleasantly. "I shall have to introduce myself. I am Grace Harlowe of the
freshman class. I saw you at the dance the other night but did not meet
you."

"How do you do?" returned Alberta Wicks in a bored tone, while the other
girl nodded indifferently. "I remember your face, I think. I'm not sure.
There was an army of freshmen at the dance. The largest entering class
for a number of years, I understand."

"Freshmen are perhaps not important enough to be remembered," returned
Grace, smiling faintly. Then deciding that there was nothing to be
gained by beating about the bush she said earnestly, "I hope you will
not think me meddlesome or presuming, but I came here this afternoon to
talk with you about something that concerns a member of the freshman
class. I refer to Miss Briggs, whom I am quite certain you know."

"Miss Briggs," repeated Alberta Wicks, meditatively. "Let me see, I
think we met her----"

"The day she came to college," supplemented Grace.

"How did you know that?" was the sharp question.

"I saw you and Miss Hampton when you approached her, and also when you
walked away from the station with her," Grace said quietly. "Miss Briggs
rode part of the way on the train with us to Overton."

A deep flush rose to the faces of both young women at Grace's
indisputable statement. There was an uncomfortable silence.

"I know also," continued Grace, "that you conducted her to the county
court house instead of the registrar's office and left her to find out
the truth as best she might."

"Really," sneered Alberta, "you seem to be extremely well informed as to
what took place. It is quite evident that Miss Briggs published the news
broadcast."

"She did nothing of the sort," retorted Grace coldly. "She did tell my
roommate and me, and I regret to say that she also told the registrar,
but she now realizes her mistake in doing so."

"Her realization comes entirely too late," was the sarcastic reply. "She
should have thought things over before going to the registrar with
anything so silly."

"Ah!" ejaculated Grace. "I am glad to hear you admit that the trick you
played was silly. To my mind it was both senseless and unkind. However,
I did not come here to-day to discuss the ethics of the affair. Miss
Briggs has received a note forbidding her attendance at the sophomore
reception and advising her to leave Overton. It is signed 'Sophomore
Class.' It states her betrayal of two sophomores to the registrar as the
cause of its origin. What I wish to ask you is whether the sophomores
have really taken action in this matter, or whether you wrote this note
in order to frighten Miss Briggs into leaving college?"

"I do not admit your right to interfere, and I shall certainly not
answer your question, Miss Harlowe. You are decidedly impertinent, to
say the least," replied Alberta in a tone of suppressed anger. "I cannot
understand why you should take such an unprecedented interest in Miss
Briggs's affairs and I shall tell you nothing."

[Illustration: "I Am Sorry That We Have Failed to Come to an
Understanding."]

"Very well," said Grace composedly. "I see that I shall have to go to
each member of the sophomore class in turn in order to find out the
truth. I cannot believe that these girls are so lacking in college
spirit as to ostracize a newcomer, even though she did act unwisely."

"You would not dare to do it!" exclaimed Mary Hampton excitedly. She had
hitherto taken no part in the conversation.

"Why not?" asked Grace. "I am determined to go to the root of this
matter. I don't intend Miss Briggs shall leave college, or be sent to
coventry either. She has acted hastily, but she will live it down, that
is, unless word of it has traveled too far. Even so, I hardly think she
will leave college. I am sorry that we have failed to come to an
understanding."

Grace walked proudly toward the door. Inwardly she was deeply
disappointed at having failed, but she gave no sign of feeling her
defeat.

"Come back!" commanded Alberta Wicks harshly, as Grace stood with her
hand on the door knob. Grace turned and walked toward them. Her face
gave no sign of her surprise.

"Do you really intend to take up this affair with every member of the
sophomore class?" demanded Alberta, eyeing Grace sharply. There was a
faint note of dismay in her voice, despite her attempt to appear
unconcerned.

"Yes," answered Grace firmly. "The only alternative would be to take it
to the faculty, and that is not to be thought of. I shall make a
personal appeal to each sophomore for Miss Briggs."

"Then I suppose rather than bring down a hornet's nest about our ears,
we might as well tell you that the majority of the class know nothing of
this. A number of sophomores, with a view to the good of the college,
decided themselves to be justified in sending the letter to Miss Briggs.
We do not wish young women of her type at Overton, and Miss Briggs will
do well to go elsewhere. She will never be happy at Overton."

"Is that a threat?" asked Grace quickly.

Alberta merely shrugged her shoulders in answer to Grace's question.

"You may call it what you please," remarked Mary Hampton sullenly.

"Thank you," said Grace gravely. "I think I have a fair idea of the
situation. I believe I know too, just how many sophomores were concerned
in the writing of the letter, and am sure that their adverse opinion
will neither make nor mar Miss Briggs. Good afternoon."

With this Grace walked serenely out of the house, leaving behind her two
discomfited and ignominiously defeated young women.

"Do you believe she would have kept her word and put the matter before
the class?" asked Mary Hampton after Grace had gone.

"Yes," responded Alberta, frowning. "She wouldn't have hesitated. She
meant what she said. She is one of those tiresome persons who is forever
advocating fair play. She only does it as a pose. She imagines, I
suppose that it will attract the attention of the upper class girls. I
should like to teach her a lesson in humility, but it is dangerous, for
with all her faults she is by no means stupid, and unless we were very
careful we would be quite likely to come to grief."



CHAPTER VIII

THE SOPHOMORE RECEPTION


It was the night of the sophomore reception and the gymnasium was ablaze
with light and color. All day the valiant sophomore class had labored as
decorators. Sofa cushions, portieres, screens and anything else that
might add to the beauty of the decorations had been begged and borrowed
from good-natured residents of the campus and nearby boarding houses.
There were great branches of red and gold leaves festooning and hiding
the gymnasium apparatus, and the respective sophomore and freshman
colors of blue and gold were in evidence in every nook and corner of the
big room. There was a real orchestra of eight pieces from the town of
Overton, seated on a palm-screened platform which had been erected for
the occasion; while a long line of freshmen in their best bib and tucker
crowded up to pay their respects to the receiving line of sophomores,
headed by the class president.

The freshmen of Wayne Hall had elected to go together, and Ruth Denton
had also been invited to take dinner and dress with Anne, then go with
her and her friends to the reception. At first Ruth demurred on account
of her gown, which was a very plain little affair of white dotted swiss.
Then Grace had come to the rescue and insisted that Ruth should wear a
very beautiful white satin ribbon belt with long, graceful ends,
belonging to her, which quite transformed the simple frock. There was
also a white satin hair ornament to match, and Miriam's clever fingers
had done her soft brown hair in a new, becoming fashion. Even Elfreda
had insisted on lending her a white opera cape and praising her
appearance until the little girl was in a maze of delight at so much
unexpected attention. Grace, Anne, and Miriam had put on their
graduating gowns and Elfreda was arrayed in all the glory of the gown
she had ordered for the occasion and afterward entertained so little
hope of wearing.

Just as they were ready to start the door bell rang. There was a sound
of laughing voices and the patter of slippered feet on the stairs, and
Mabel Ashe, accompanied by Frances Marlton, Constance Fuller, and two
other juniors, appeared on the landing.

"Better late than never," announced Mabel cheerily, as Grace appeared in
the doorway. "We've come to take you to the reception. We weren't
invited until the eleventh hour, but we're making up for lost time."

"Why, I didn't know juniors were invited to the reception," exclaimed
Grace, taking Mabel's extended hand in both her own. "Judging from all
outward signs I suppose you are going to the reception, else why wear
your costliest raiment?"

"Your deduction is not only marvelous but correct," returned Mabel. "We
were invited because the sophomores found themselves lacking not in
quality, but quantity. There weren't nearly enough sophomore 'gentlemen'
to go round, so we juniors were pressed into service.

"I'm so glad," returned Grace warmly. "We know nearly all the freshmen,
but we know only a few sophomores. We were lamenting to-night because
we expected to be wall flowers."

"Not if Frances and I can help it," promised Mabel. "Girls, I want you
to meet Miss Graham and Miss Allen, both worthy juniors. You already
know Constance."

The "worthy juniors" nodded smilingly as Mabel presented Grace and her
friends.

"Get your capes and scarfs," directed Mabel briskly. "We must be on our
way. I'm sure it's going to be a red-letter affair. The sophomores have
nearly worked their dear heads off to impress the baby class. Do you
girls all dance, and how many of you can lead?"

"Miriam and I," answered Grace. "Anne is not tall enough. Elfreda and
Ruth will have to answer for themselves."

Ruth Denton confessed to being barely able to dance. Elfreda, who looked
really handsome in her blue evening gown, answered in the affirmative.
Grace noted with secret satisfaction that the stout girl was keeping
strictly in the background and making no effort to push herself forward.
"If she only behaves like that all evening the girls will be sure to
like her, and if anything comes up later about this registrar business
there won't be such fuss made over it," Grace reflected.

"Come on, Grace!" Frances Marlton's merry tones broke in on Grace's
reflections. "I'm going to be your faithful cavalier. I'll offer you my
arm as soon as we get downstairs. We never could walk two abreast in
state down these stairs."

Grace followed Frances's lead, smiling happily. Julia Graham, a rather
stout, pleasant-faced young woman in pink messaline, bowed to Miriam.
Anne found herself accepting the arm of Edith Allen, while Constance
Fuller took charge of Ruth Denton. The crowning honor fell to J.
Elfreda, for Mabel Ashe walked up to her, slipped her arm in that of the
astonished girl, saying impressively, "May I have the pleasure, Miss
Briggs?"

The little party fairly bubbled over with high spirits as they set out
for the gymnasium in couples, but to Elfreda the world was gayest rose
color. To be escorted to the reception by the most popular girl in
college was an honor of which she had never dreamed. Only a few days
before she had resigned all hope of even going, but through the magic of
Grace Harlowe she was among the elect. For almost the first time in her
self-centered young life, she was swept by a wholly generous impulse to
do the best that lay within her in college if only for Grace's sake.
While she listened to Mabel's gay sallies, answering them almost shyly,
her mind was on the debt of gratitude she owed Grace, who, without
mentioning her visit to Alberta Wicks, had assured her that she had made
inquiry and found that the letter was not the work of the sophomore
class as a body. Grace had refused to voice even a suspicion regarding
the writer's identity, but had so strongly advised Elfreda to pay no
attention to the cowardly warning, but attend the reception as though
nothing had happened, that the stout girl had taken her advice.

Grace was now quietly jubilant over the way things had turned out. She
was so glad Mabel had chosen Elfreda. "I wonder how she knew," she said
half aloud.

"How who knew, and what did she know?" inquired Frances quickly.

"Nothing," replied Grace, in sudden confusion. "I was just wondering."

"I know what you were wondering and I'll tell you. A certain junior who
is a friend of a certain sophomore told Mabel certain things."

"Frances, you are a wizard!" exclaimed Grace in a low tone. "How did you
know of what I was thinking?"

"The question is," replied Frances, "do you understand me?"

"I think I know who the sophomore is," hesitated Grace, "but I don't
understand about the junior."

"And I can't tell you," replied Frances gravely. "I can only say that
Mabel likes you very much, Grace, and that a certain junior who is fond
of Mabel is jealous of your friendship. Both Mabel and I admire your
stand in the other matter. You are measuring up to college standards, my
dear, and I am sure you will be an honor to 19----."

Frances finished her flattering prediction just as they stepped inside
the doorway of the gymnasium. Before Grace had time to reply they found
themselves among a bevy of daintily gowned girls that were forming in
line to pay their respects to the president of the sophomore class and
five of her classmates who formed the receiving party. After this
formality was over the girls walked about the gymnasium, admiring the
decorations. Mabel Ashe was fairly overwhelmed by her admirers. It
seemed to Grace as though she attracted more attention than the
receiving party itself. It was: "Mabel, dear, dance the first waltz with
me;" "Come and drink lemonade with us, Queen Mab," and "Why, you dear
Mabel, I might have known the sophomores couldn't get along without
you."

"She knows every girl in college, I believe," remarked Anne to Edith
Allen, as Mabel stood laughing and talking animatedly, the center of an
admiring group.

"Every one loves her from the faculty down," replied Edith. "She hadn't
been here six weeks as a freshman until the whole class was sending her
violets and asking her out to dinners. She was elected president of the
freshman class, too, and had the honor of refusing the sophomore
nomination. They want her for junior president, but she will refuse that
nomination, too. She is as unselfish and unspoiled as the day she came
here and the most sympathetic girl I have ever known. We are all madly
jealous of Frances."

Anne smiled at this statement. "It is nice to be liked," she said
simply. "That is the way it is with Grace at home."

"I'm not surprised," replied Edith, regarding Grace critically. "She has
a fine face. That Miss Nesbit seems nice, too. She is a beauty, isn't
she?"

Anne replied happily in the affirmative. To her praise of her two
dearest friends was as the sweetest music.

"Shall we dance?" said Edith, rising and offering her arm in her most
manly fashion. A moment later the two girls joined the dancers, who were
circling the floor with more or less grace to the strains of a waltz.

"What kind of a time are you having?" asked Grace an hour later as she
and Miriam met in front of one of the lemonade bowls.

"I'm enjoying it ever so much," was the enthusiastic answer. "I've met a
lot of sophomores that I've been wanting to know, and they have been so
nice to me. Have you seen Elfreda lately?"

"No," said Grace with a guilty start. "I've been having such a good time
I forgot her. Let's go and find her now."

The two began a slow promenade of the room in search of the missing
girl. Suddenly Grace clutched her friend's arm. "Look over there,
Miriam!" she exclaimed.

Seated on a divan beside Mabel Ashe and surrounded by half a dozen
sophomores was J. Elfreda. She was talking animatedly and the girls were
urging her on with laughter and cries of "Now show us how some one else
in Fairview looks."

"What do you suppose she is saying?" wondered Miriam. "Let's go over."
They neared the group just in time to hear Elfreda say, "The president
of the Fairview suffragist league." Then her round face set as though
turned to stone. Her eyes took on a determined glare, and drawing down
the corners of her mouth she elevated her chin, rose from the divan and
shrilled forth "Votes for Women" in a tone that fairly convulsed her
hearers. Then suddenly catching sight of Grace and Miriam she sat down
abruptly and said with an embarrassed gesture of dismissal, "The show's
over. I see my friends are looking for me. I'll have to go."

"You funny, funny girl!" exclaimed Mabel Ashe. "What a treasure you'll
be when we give college entertainments. You'll make the Dramatic Club
some day."

"Nothing like it," returned Elfreda, resorting to slang in her
embarrassment.

"Where did you ever learn to mimic people so cleverly?" asked one
sophomore.

"Oh, I don't know," replied Elfreda almost rudely. "I've imitated folks
ever since I was a kid--little girl," she corrected. "You said you'd
waltz with me to-night, Miriam, so come on. That's a Strauss waltz, and
I don't want to miss it. Please excuse me," she said, turning to the
assembled girls. She was making a desperate effort to be polite when she
preferred to be rude.

"Mabel Ashe, you're the dearest girl," Grace burst forth as the little
crowd dissolved and strolled off in different directions. "You have been
lovely to Elfreda, and instead of her evening being spoiled, you know
what I mean, she has actually made a sensation."

"I am not the only one who has been looking out for J. Elfreda's
interests," reminded Mabel. "I am glad that she has this talent. It will
help her to make friends with the girls, and if nothing more is said
about the registrar affair she will soon have a following of her own."

"Do you think anything more will be said?" asked Grace anxiously.

"Not if I can help it," was the response.

It was almost midnight when, after seeing Ruth Denton home, the four
girls climbed the steps of Wayne Hall.

"It was lovely, wasn't it, Anne?" declared Grace as she slipped into her
kimono and began taking the pins from her hair.

"Yes," said Anne with a half sigh. She was deliberating as to whether
she had better tell Grace a disturbing bit of conversation she had
overheard. After all it wasn't worth repeating. She had simply heard one
freshman say to another that she had been prepared to like Miss Harlowe,
but something she had heard had caused her to change her mind. Anne
suspected that in some way Elfreda's troubles had been shifted to
Grace's shoulders.



CHAPTER IX

DISAGREEABLE NEWS


"Hurrah!" cried Miriam Nesbit gleefully, coming into the living room of
Wayne Hall where Grace sat at the old-fashioned library table absorbed
in writing a theme for next day's composition class.

"What's happened?" asked Grace curiously, looking up from her writing.

"We're to go over to Exeter Field to-morrow for a try out in basketball.
I do hope we'll both make the team."

"So do I," agreed Grace promptly. "But there are so many girls that we
may not be even chosen as subs. Besides, our playing may not compare
with that of some of the others."

"Nonsense," returned Miriam stoutly. "Your playing would stand out
anywhere, Grace, even on a boys' team. I consider myself a fair player,
too," she added, flushing a little.

"I should say you are!" exclaimed Grace. "Who told you about the try
out?"

"It's on the bulletin board. I don't see how you missed it."

"I didn't look at the bulletin board this morning. I meant to, then
something else took my attention, and I forgot all about it." The
"something else" had been the extremely frigid manner in which two
freshmen she particularly liked had greeted her as she caught up with
them on the way to her Livy class that morning. Grace wondered not a
little at this cavalier treatment, but could arrive at no satisfactory
conclusion regarding it. She finally tried to dismiss the matter by
ascribing it to over-sensitiveness on her part, but every now and then
it haunted her like an offending spectre.

"I always look at the bulletin board, no matter what happens," declared
Miriam emphatically. "I must hurry upstairs and impart the glorious news
to Elfreda. We had elected to spend Saturday afternoon in moving our
furniture about, hoping to gain a few square inches of room space, but
we'll have to postpone doing it. We can do it the first rainy Saturday.
Hurry along with your paper and come upstairs. I'm going to make tea,
and I've acquired a new kind of cakes. They're chocolate covered and
taste like home and mother."

After Miriam had gone upstairs Grace sat staring at her theme with
unseeing eyes. Disagreeable thoughts would come, and try as she might
she could not drive them away. She had been snubbed and she could not
forget it. Giving herself a little impatient shake she turned her
attention to her theme and went on writing rapidly. Half an hour later
she folded it neatly, placed it inside one of her books, and went slowly
upstairs. She found Miriam, Anne and Elfreda seated on the floor deep in
tea drinking. Before them was a plate piled high with the new kind of
cakes, and a five-pound box of candy that Elfreda had received from New
York that morning.

"Sit down here, Grace," invited Anne, making room for her friend. "Give
her some tea this minute, Miriam. She is a working woman and needs
nourishment. Did you finish your theme, dear?"

Grace nodded. Then taking the cup Miriam offered she dropped two lumps
of sugar in it, and began drinking her tea in silence.

"What's the matter, Grace?" asked Anne anxiously.

"Nothing," replied Grace. "I feel reflective. I suppose that's why I
haven't anything to say. Did Miriam tell you about the basketball try
out on Exeter Field?"

"Yes; but not for mine--I mean--I'm not interested in basketball,"
amended Elfreda, hastily. "I tell you this trying to cut out slang is no
idle dream."

There was a shout of laughter from the three girls.

"Now, see here," bristled the stout girl. "You needn't laugh at me. What
I meant was that--that it is very difficult to refrain from the use of
slang," finished Elfreda with such affected primness that the laughter
broke forth afresh.

"Humph!" she ejaculated disgustedly. "I don't see anything to laugh at.
Goodness knows I'm trying hard to break myself of the habit."

"Of course you are," sympathized Anne. "We aren't laughing at you. It
was the funny way you ended your last sentence."

Elfreda's face relaxed into a good-natured grin. "I am funny sometimes,"
she admitted calmly. "Even Pa, who doesn't smile once a year, says so."

"I must go," said Anne, rising. "I haven't looked at my history lesson,
and it is frightfully long, too."

"I'll go with you," announced Grace. "I must mend my blue serge dress. I
stepped on it while going upstairs this morning and tore it just above
the hem. I had to change it for this, and was almost late for chapel."

"I waited for you in the hall as long as I could," said Anne. "I meant
to ask you what happened, but forgot it. Grace, what do you suppose
Elfreda said before you came upstairs?"

"I can't possibly guess," rejoined Grace. "J. Elfreda's remarks are
varied and startling."

The two girls were now in their own room.

"These are nice ones," averred Anne. "She said that you and Miriam and I
were the first girls she'd ever cared much about. She said that she had
never tried to do anything to please any one but herself until she came
here. Then when you stood up for her, and fixed things so she could go
to the reception, she said she held up her right hand and swore to
herself that she'd try to be worthy of our friendship. That's why she's
trying not to use slang, and to be more generous. She keeps her things
in order, too. You noticed how nice everything looked to-day."

"Miriam, not I, is responsible for the change," said Grace. "She is a
born diplomat. She knows exactly how to proceed with J. Elfreda. I hope
there won't be anything more said about the registrar affair, though. I
want Elfreda to like college better every day."

"Grace," said Anne hesitatingly, "if I tell you something, will you
promise not to worry over it?"

"What do you mean?" asked Grace quickly, a puzzled look in her eyes. "I
can't promise not to worry until I know that there's nothing to worry
over. If you have heard something disagreeable about me, I'm not afraid
to listen."

"I know it," said Anne. Then she went on almost abruptly. "I heard two
freshmen talking about you the other night at the reception. One of them
said that she had been prepared to like you, but had heard something
that had caused her to change her mind." Anne looked distressed.

For a moment Grace sat very still.

"Oh, dear!" lamented Anne. "I'm sorry I told you. Now I've hurt your
feelings."

"Nonsense!" retorted Grace stoutly. "It will take more than that to hurt
my feelings. I am beginning to see a light, however. At the reception
the other night Frances told me that Mabel had heard about my call at
Stuart Hall from a senior who is a friend of a certain sophomore. Now,
that sophomore is either Miss Wicks or Miss Hampton. It looks as though
these two girls were not willing to let bygones be bygones. I haven't
the slightest idea what they may have said about me, but I am sure they
must have circulated some untruthful report among the freshmen. I don't
like to accuse any one of being untruthful, but I am quite sure that I
have done nothing reprehensible. Now that you have told me I'm going to
watch closely. If a number of the girls snub me, I shall know that it is
serious."

"Then you will fight for your rights, won't you?" pleaded Anne. "It
isn't fair that you should be misjudged for trying to help Elfreda."

"I don't know," replied Grace doubtfully. "It might not be worth while.
I have a theory that if one is right with one's conscience nothing else
matters."

Anne shook her head dubiously. "That won't protect you from
unpleasantness unless the girls think so, too. Our freshman year is our
foundation year, and if we allow any one even to think that we are not
putting our best material into it, the shadow is likely to follow us to
the very threshold of graduation. It is easy enough to start a rumor but
once let it gain headway, it is almost impossible to check it. Nearly
all of your sophomore year in high school was spoiled through standing
up for me. That's why I'm so determined to make you look out for your
own interests."

While Anne was earnestly urging Grace to action, Grace was frantically
rummaging in her closet for her blue dress. It was several minutes
before she found it. If the blue dress could have spoken it would have
borne witness to the fact that its owner dashed her hand suspiciously
across her eyes before emerging from the closet with it over her arm.



CHAPTER X

THE MAKING OF THE TEAM


Saturday dawned clear and sunshiny. It was an ideal autumn day, and
luncheon at Wayne Hall was eaten rapidly. Everyone was eager to give an
opinion regarding the basketball try out, and with one or two exceptions
each girl cherished the secret hope of making the team. Anne was one of
the exceptions. She had no basketball yearnings. She was ready and
willing to be an enthusiastic and loyal fan, but aside from walking and
dancing she had no desire to take an active part in college sports. She
was extremely proud of Miriam's and Grace's fine playing, however, and
never doubted for an instant that both girls would make the team. "I'm
sure you and Miriam will be chosen," she asserted to Grace, as the
latter stood before her mirror, viewing herself in her new felt walking
hat, that had arrived that morning.

The two friends had run up to their room after luncheon to hurry into
their coats and hats, preparatory to going to Exeter Field. Anne eyed
Grace admiringly. "Your new hat is so becoming," she said.

"I think yours is ever so pretty, too," returned Grace. "It looks like
new. No one would know that you bought it last season. You take such
good care of your clothes, Anne. I wish I could take as good care of
mine. I hang them up and keep them in repair, but somehow they just wear
out all at once."

"Don't stop to mourn over wearing out your clothes on this gala day,"
laughed Miriam Nesbit, who had appeared in the open door in time to hear
Grace's plaintive assertion. She was wearing a becoming suit of blue and
a blue hat to match.

"Where's Elfreda?" asked Grace. "She's going, too, isn't she?"

Miriam nodded, then said slyly, "If she ever gets ready."

Just then an anguished voice called out, "Miriam, please come back. That
pin you fastened in the back of my waist is sticking me and I can't
reach it."

Miriam flew to the rescue, smothering an involuntary laugh as she ran.
Five minutes later she and Elfreda, in a new brown suit and hat, wearing
the expression of a martyr, joined Grace and Anne on the veranda, and
the four set out for Exeter Field.

"I'm not going to talk about certain things to-day, Grace, but did you
notice that all the girls at our table were as nice with you as ever?"
said Anne in a low tone.

"Yes; I noticed it," returned Grace. "If they continue to be the same, I
shall think that we have been making a mountain of a molehill."

"Look at that crowd ahead of us," called Miriam.

A veritable procession of girls wound its way up the hilly street to
Exeter Field. There were big girls and little girls, all talking and
laughing happily, until the still October air rang with the sound of
their gay, young voices. The majority of them were well-dressed,
although here and there might be seen a last year's hat or coat that no
one seemed to notice or to mind. Overton had a reputation for democracy
in spite of the fact that most of its students came from homes where
there was no lack of money.

Arriving at the field the four girls followed the crowd, which for the
most part made for a long, low building at one end of the field.

"Where are they going?" asked Grace.

"For ice cream, of course," replied a young woman who stood near enough
to overhear Grace's question.

"Oh, I want some ice cream," piped up Elfreda.

"Very well, my child, you shall have it," said Miriam in a grave,
motherly tone.

The young woman who had answered Grace's question glanced at Miriam with
twinkling eyes. Then she smiled broadly. That smile warmed Grace's
heart.

"Won't you come with us?" she asked.

"Thank you, I believe I will," she replied. "I think I have the
advantage. I know you are Miss Harlowe, but you don't know me. My name
is Gertrude Wells, and I am a freshman, too. Now, suppose you introduce
your little friends, and we'll go over to the club restaurant. I was
waiting for my chum, but she has evidently deserted me."

Grace decided that she liked Miss Wells better than any other freshman
she had met. She had a dry, humorous way of saying things that kept them
all in a gale of laughter. Elfreda, too, seemed especially interested in
her, and exerted herself to please. After their second ice all around
they strolled over to where the manager of the college athletics
association was marshaling the candidates for the try out. Grace and
Miriam hurried off to the training quarters at one end of the field to
put on their gymnasium suits.

The girls who wished to play were formed into teams and tried out
against one another and the most promising of the players ordered to
step off to one side after having lined up for play three times. It was
after four o'clock when Grace and Miriam were called to the field. The
long wait had made Grace rather nervous. Miriam, however, was cool and
self-possessed, and played with snap and vigor.

"I don't know what ails me," said Grace despairingly, as she and Miriam
stood waiting for the next line up. "I didn't play my best. I tried to,
but I couldn't."

"You're nervous," rejoined Miriam. "Just make yourself believe you are
back in the gym at home and you can show them some star playing."

"I will," promised Grace. "See if I don't."

It was after five o'clock before the last ambitious freshman had been
given a chance to display her basketball prowess or lack of it. Grace
had made good her word and forgetting her nervousness had played with
the old-time dash and skill that had won fame for her in her high-school
days. Her playing had elicited cries of approval from those watching and
she had the satisfaction of hearing, "You play an excellent game, Miss
Harlowe," from the manager. Miriam, after her third trial, also received
her full measure of applause, and flushed and happy the two girls
clasped hands delightedly when they received word that they were to
report for practice at four o'clock Monday afternoon. As they were
leaving the field to go to the training shed Gertrude Wells hurried
toward them. "Miss Harlowe," she called, "please wait a minute."

Grace paused obediently while Miriam and Anne walked on ahead.

"Will you and your friends, Miss Nesbit, Miss Briggs and Miss Pierson,
come over to Morton Hall to-night at half-past seven o'clock. I have
invited a number of my freshmen friends, and I'd love to have you come,
too. It's Saturday night you know, so you won't have to worry about
recitations to-morrow."

"Thank you," replied Grace. "I will come with pleasure. Girls," she
called to the three ahead, "come back here."

Gertrude repeated her invitation, which was instantly accepted. "Be sure
to come early," was her parting admonition.

"This is our first freshman invitation," remarked Grace after Gertrude
had left them. "I'm so glad. I had begun to think we would never get
acquainted with the rest of our class."

"I understand that 19---- is the largest class Overton has ever had,"
said Anne.

"All the more reason why we should be proud of it," declared Miriam
quickly.

"I wonder what they'll have to eat," said Elfreda reflectively.

A derisive giggle greeted this remark.

"Well, you needn't laugh," retorted Elfreda good-naturedly. "I didn't
say that because I'm so fond of eating. I was just wondering whether it
would be worth while to eat supper or not."

"Take my advice and eat your supper, Elfreda," laughed Anne. "I have an
idea that we shall be fed on plowed field, fudge or something equally
nourishing."

"Humph!" commented Elfreda. "That's just about what I thought. I hope we
have something sour for supper to-night. I'm getting tired of sweet
stuff. It's frightfully fattening, too."

"What on earth has come over you, Elfreda," laughed Grace. "I thought
you were devoted to chocolate and bonbons."

"I was," confessed Elfreda, "until I saw you and Miriam play basketball
this afternoon. I was crazy to play, too. But imagine how I'd look on
the field. I couldn't run six yards without puffing. I'm going to try to
get thinner, and perhaps some day I can make the team, too."



CHAPTER XI

ANNE WINS A VICTORY


The pleasurable excitement of making the team and receiving the
invitation to the spread had driven all thought of the conversation
overheard by Anne from Grace's mind. Above all things Grace wished if
possible to establish friendly relations with every member of her class.
Now that she and her friends were invited to Morton House they would
meet a number of new girls. The Morton House girls had the reputation of
being both jolly and hospitable. Grace had the feeling that so far they
had made little or no social headway among their classmates. Aside from
Ruth Denton and the students at Wayne Hall they knew practically no
other freshmen.

"This spread will help us to get in touch with some of the girls we
don't know," she confided to Anne while dressing that night for the
party.

"I hope so," replied Anne. "We seem to be rather slow about making
friends here at Overton; that is, among the freshmen. We really know
more upper class girls, don't we?"

"Yes," assented Grace. "But after to-night things will be different."

It was only a few minutes' walk to Morton House and the four girls
enjoyed the brief stroll.

"I wonder if we're too early," said Grace, consulting her watch. "It
lacks three minutes of being half-past seven. That's Morton House, isn't
it?" pointing at the substantial brick house just ahead of them. The
little party climbed the stone steps. Miriam rang the bell. Almost
instantly the door opened and Gertrude Wells smilingly ushered them into
the hall. "So glad you have come," she said. "All the other girls are
here."

"We need not have been afraid of being too early, then," laughed Grace.

"Hardly," smiled Gertrude, "the majority of us live here. There are
twenty freshmen in this house, and we invited ten more from outside.
Thirty girls in all, but the living room is large enough to hold us, and
Mrs. Kane doesn't mind if we make a good deal of noise. Come upstairs to
my room and take off your wraps. Then we'll join the crowd." A little
later they followed their hostess downstairs to the big living room,
that seemed fairly overflowing with girls. The buzz of conversation
ceased as they entered. Gertrude introduced them one after another to
the assembled crowd of young women, who received them with varying
degrees of cordiality.

Anne's observant eyes noted that one group of girls in the corner barely
acknowledged the introduction. She also noted that the two freshmen
whose conversation she had overheard at the reception formed the center
of that group. The four girls found seats at one end of the room and the
conversation began again louder than ever. Grace and Miriam found
themselves surrounded by half a dozen girls who were eager to know where
they had learned to play basketball. Elfreda espied two freshmen who
recited history in the same class with her and was soon deep in
conversation with them. Anne, being left to her own devices, sat quietly
watching the throng of animated faces around her. With her, the study of
faces was a favorite pastime, and she furtively watched the little knot
of girls, whose lack of cordiality had been so noticeable to her.

They were carrying on a low-toned conversation among themselves, and by
the frequent glances that were being cast first in the direction of
Grace, then Elfreda, Anne knew that the story of Elfreda's report to the
registrar was being talked over. Anne felt her anger rising. Why should
Grace be made to suffer for Elfreda's mistake, and why should Elfreda
have her freshman year spoiled on account of that mistake. Of course, no
one liked a tale bearer, but Elfreda would never again tell tales.
Besides, why should the freshmen undertake to champion the cause of two
sophomores, unless the latter had entirely misrepresented things?

Anne could never tell what prompted her to rise and stroll over to the
group. The young women were so busily engaged in their conversation that
they did not notice her approach. Anne heard one of them say in a
disgusted tone, "I can't understand why Gertrude invited them. She knows
we dislike them."

"She seems very friendly with them," grumbled another girl. "If I had
known they were to be here I should have stayed upstairs or gone out
rather than meet them. They showed extremely bad taste accepting
Gertrude's invitation."

"Perhaps they don't know that we are down on them," suggested a
pale-faced girl rather timidly.

"Of course they know it," sputtered one of the two disgruntled freshmen.
"Nell and I almost cut that Miss Harlowe the other morning. Don't try to
stand up for her, Lillian. She and that Miss Briggs are beneath the
notice of the really nice girls here. Overton doesn't want bullies and
tale-bearers. They're not in accordance with college spirit."

The contempt with which these words were uttered stung Anne to action.
Stepping forward she said quietly, although her eyes flashed, "Pardon
me, but I could not help hearing what you said. Will you permit me to
speak a few words in defense of my friend, Grace Harlowe?"

An astonished silence fell over the group of girls. Before one of them
had time to recover from her surprise at Anne's intrusion, she began to
speak in low tones that attracted no attention outside themselves, but
whose earnestness carried conviction to those listening:

"You are evidently not in possession of the true account of what
happened to Miss Briggs the day she came to Overton. You know, perhaps,
that two sophomores took advantage of her verdancy and hazed her.
Perhaps they neglected to state, however, that they accepted her
invitation to eat ice cream before they returned her hospitality by
conducting her to the hall of a public building where they left her to
wait for the registrar. Considering the fact that she was tired from her
long ride, and had had no supper, I think it was an extremely poor
exhibition of the much vaunted Overton spirit. It was late that night
before she reached her boarding house. She was naturally indignant and
next day reported the matter to the registrar. This, I must admit, was
unwise on her part. She is very sorry, now, that she did so."

"All this is not news to us," snapped Marian Cummings, one of the two
freshmen Anne had overheard at the reception. She stared insolently at
Anne.

"But what I am about to tell you will perhaps surprise you," Anne
answered evenly. "Miss Briggs received a note purporting to come from
the whole sophomore class. The writer of the note threatened her with
vague penalties if she attended the sophomore reception, and practically
ordered her to leave college."

The girls looked at one another without answering. This silence showed
only too plainly that this was indeed news.

"Miss Briggs showed the letter to Miss Nesbit, her roommate, and to Miss
Harlowe," Anne continued composedly. "She was heartbroken over it and
would have left Overton if Miss Harlowe had not persuaded her to stay.
Miss Harlowe did a little investigating on her own account. She
suspected two sophomores of being responsible for the letter, believing
the rest of the class knew nothing about it. She called on the two young
women and forced them to admit their knowledge of the note. Both denied
writing it. It is evident that they have misrepresented matters among
their friends. As far as Grace Harlowe is concerned she is utterly
incapable of doing a mean or dishonorable act. We were classmates in
high school and she was beloved by all who knew her."

Anne paused and glanced almost appealingly around the circle of tense
faces. Then Elizabeth Wade, the other hostile freshman, said slowly:
"Girls, I am inclined to think we have been imposed upon. Miss Pierson,
I will be perfectly frank with you. We knew nothing about the note.
Personally, I consider it an outrageous thing to do, and in direct
violation of what we are taught regarding college spirit. Briefly, what
we did hear was that Miss Briggs had reported two sophomores for playing
an innocent trick on her, and that Miss Harlowe had urged her to do so.
Also that Miss Harlowe had visited the two upper classmen and, after
rating them in a very ill-bred manner, had ordered them to apologize to
Miss Briggs."

Anne smiled. "I can't help smiling," she apologized. "If you knew Grace
as I know her, you'd smile, too."

Marian Cummings's face softened. "I do wish to know her, now," she
smiled. "After what you've told us I think the rest of us feel the same.
I'm glad you made us listen to you, Miss Pierson."

"So am I," "and I," agreed the other girls.

Anne's face flushed with joy at her victory. "I hope 19---- will be the
best class Overton has ever turned out," she said simply, "and I hope
that any misunderstandings that may arise will be cleared away as easily
as this one has been."

"Suppose we go over and congratulate Miss Harlowe on her playing this
afternoon," proposed a tall freshman, "and we might incidentally pay our
respects to Miss Briggs. We must help her to live up to her good
resolutions, you know," she added slyly.

Anne was in a maze of delight at her success. The other guests had been
so busily engaged with their own little groups, no one of them had
overheard Anne's defense of her friend. Grace, who was giving an eager
account of the famous game that won her team the championship during her
sophomore year at high school, looked up in surprise at the crowd of
merry girls which suddenly surrounded her. For an instant she looked
amazed, then smiled at them in the frank, straightforward fashion that
always made friends for her.

Gertrude Wells, who, with three other freshmen, had been in the kitchen
preparing the refreshments, appeared in the door just in time to see the
girls surround Grace. She smiled contentedly, and nodding to the
fluffy-haired little girl standing beside her said gleefully: "What did
I tell you? Look in there."

The fluffy-haired little girl obeyed. "How did you do it?" was the quick
answer.

"They did it themselves. I just did the inviting and they did the rest.
Of course there was a certain amount of chance that they wouldn't get
together, but it was worth taking. After meeting her this afternoon I
felt sure that the girls were wrong, but I wished them to find out for
themselves. How it happened, I don't know, but we are sure to hear the
story after the party is over."

While Gertrude Wells was congratulating herself on the success of her
experiment, Grace Harlowe was remarking to Miriam Nesbit that she
thought Gertrude Wells would be an ideal president from 19---- and that
she intended pointing out this fact to the freshmen of Wayne Hall.



CHAPTER XII

UPS AND DOWNS


At breakfast the next morning Grace began her campaign, and she
continued to sing Gertrude Wells's praises when she encountered a group
of her freshmen friends after the services. Then Anne, Miriam, Elfreda
and she went for a stroll down College Street and into Vinton's for
ices. Here they encountered quite a delegation of girls from Morton
House, among whom was Gertrude herself, and a great deal of mysterious
intriguing went on behind that young woman's back, who, quite
unconscious of the honor about to be thrust upon her, was telling her
chum that she thought Grace Harlowe would make a good president for
19----.

On her way home Grace exclaimed delightedly: "Look across the street,
girls! There is Mabel Ashe. Let's go over and speak to her."

Suiting the action to the word the four girls hurried across the street
to greet their favorite. Mabel smiled pleasantly, stretching forth a
welcoming hand, but the young woman with her regarded their presence as
an intrusion and glared her displeasure at the newcomers.

"How do you do, Miss Alden?" ventured Grace politely, but Miss Alden
stared over her head and with a frigid, "Really, Mabel, under the
circumstances, you'll have to excuse my leaving you," she turned and
marched off in the other direction.

"I suppose we are the circumstances," said Grace, with a faint smile.
She was furiously angry at the unlooked-for snub, but refused to show
it. Anne looked distressed, Miriam was frowning, while Elfreda glowered
savagely.

"Don't mind what she says," soothed Mabel. "She feels awfully cross this
afternoon because she has met with a disappointment. She has an
invitation to a Pi Kappa Gamma dance and she has been refused permission
to go. Result, she is in a raging, tearing humor."

"But I thought one could always go to a fraternity dance if properly
chaperoned," remarked Grace innocently.

"One can," mimicked Mabel, "if one doesn't ask permission to go too
often, and if one has no conditions to work off. Now, you see why
Mistress Beatrice is obliged to languish at home while the man who
invited her will no doubt have to invite some other girl, who is lucky
enough to have no conditions."

"Isn't it rather early in the year to be conditioned?" asked Miriam.

"Yes, but Beatrice has been cutting classes ever since she came back
this year," confided Mabel. "I am not betraying a confidence in telling
you this. She admits that she neglects her work. She says she is going
to settle down after mid-year's exams and work."

"I think she's about the most snobbish proposition I ever came across,"
announced Elfreda. "It would serve her right if she did flunk in her
examinations. I hope with all my heart she falls down with an awful
bump."

Elfreda had forgotten her former aspirations toward cultivating the true
college spirit.

"You mustn't wish even your bitterest enemy bad luck," smiled Mabel
Ashe. "Superstitious people say that the bad luck will be visited on the
head of the one who wishes it."

"I'm not superstitious," retorted Elfreda. "Of course, I believe that
pins cut friendship, and that it's bad luck to see the new moon through
the window, or to walk under a ladder. It's a sure sign of death to
break a looking glass or dream of white flowers, too, and to drop a
spoon means certain disappointment, but aside from a few little things
like that, I certainly don't believe in signs."

"Oh, no, you don't believe in signs," chorused the girls, in gleeful
sarcasm.

"Well, I don't," reiterated Elfreda. "That is, not a whole lot of
them."

"Good-bye, children, I must leave you at this corner," announced Mabel.
"Come and see me soon. I'll look you up the first evening I have free."

"I should think that Miss Alden would hate herself," remarked Elfreda
scornfully, as she marched along beside Grace. "She hates you, that's
sure enough."

"Nonsense, why should Miss Alden hate me? You are letting your
imagination run away with you, Elfreda," laughed Grace.

"Don't you believe it," declared Elfreda doggedly. "She doesn't like
you, because Mabel likes you, and she likes Mabel. Some one told me the
other day that she can't bear to have Mabel look cross-eyed at any other
girl here. She claims that it's because she loves her so much, but I
think it's because she wants to have the most popular girl at Overton
for her friend," finished the stout girl shrewdly.

"What shall we do this afternoon?" called Miriam Nesbit over her
shoulder.

"Go on boosting our candidate," laughed Anne. "Let us go for a walk
after dinner. We will call on Ruth Denton. Then we'll take her with us
to Morton House. That will be a nice way for her to meet the Morton
House girls. While we are there we can find out how the land lies. Then
we will take Ruth home with us for supper and the rest of the evening,
if she doesn't have to study."

At the dinner table that day Grace again introduced the subject of the
class election and was pleased to note that her suggestion regarding
Gertrude Wells as the best possible choice for class president had borne
fruit. The two sophomores at the table who had been through two class
elections, having just elected their president, smiled tolerantly at the
excitement exhibited by the "babies," and advised them not to elect in
haste and repent at leisure.

"Why don't you children find out something about what the rest of the
class think before you rush into electing Miss Wells, just to please two
or three girls?" asked Virginia Gaines, the sophomore who had
assiduously cultivated the acquaintance of Elfreda--then dropped her at
the first sign of trouble. "We sophomores wouldn't allow ourselves to be
influenced by cliques. We consider the good of the class of more
importance than the good of any individual member."

She smiled disagreeably at Grace, who looked at her steadily, then said,
"Was your remark intended for me and my friends, Miss Gaines?"

"Not necessarily," flung back the sophomore, "unless you feel that it
applies to you and to them."

"No, I don't believe it does," declared Grace with a quiet smile. "In
fact, I quite agree with you in saying that the good of the class should
always come first. That is why we are all anxious to nominate Miss Wells
for president of 19----."

A dull flush rose to Virginia Gaines's sallow face. She was not
quick-witted and could think of no reply. The other freshmen at the
table were taking no pains to disguise their glee at Grace's retort.
Virginia's sarcastic comment had proved a boomerang and she had gained
nothing by launching it. She hurried through with her dessert and left
the table without another word, casting a half malignant look at Grace
as she went.

    "Virginia's mad,
    And I am glad,"

sang a freshman softly as the door banged.

"Please, don't," said Grace soberly. "I'm sorry she's angry, but I
couldn't help it. I seem always fated to arouse sophomore ire."

"I wouldn't mind a little thing like that," comforted Elfreda. "I'd
rather be the enemy than the friend of some girls."

"But I don't want to be the enemy of any girl," declared Grace, looking
almost appealingly about the table.

"Of course you don't," soothed Emma Dean, a tall, near-sighted girl at
the end of the table, who had the reputation of making brilliant
recitations. "You couldn't antagonize the rest of us if you tried. That
is, unless you deliberately broke my glasses."

A shout of laughter went up from the table. Virginia Gaines, who had
lingered in the hall, heard it, and her face darkened. In spite of
Grace's declaration for peace she had made an enemy.



CHAPTER XIII

GRACE TURNS ELECTIONEER


Directly after dinner that afternoon, the four girls, looking very smart
in their new fall suits and hats, set out for Ruth's. They found her
seated at her little table eating a very humble dinner of her own
cooking. "I'm sorry I can't offer you anything to eat. I have 'licked
the platter clean,' you see. But won't you have some tea? I think I have
cups enough to go round, only I'm afraid I haven't enough saucers."

"Thank you," began Elfreda, "but--" then a warning pinch from Miriam
caused her to eye the latter reproachfully and subside.

"We'd love to have tea with you," smiled Miriam. "Wouldn't we, girls?"

Elfreda, who had divined the reason for the pinch, said "yes" with the
others, and Ruth bustled about with pink cheeks and a delicious air of
importance. She took down from the cupboard shelf a box of Nabiscos that
she had been treasuring for some such occasion as the present, placing
them on a little hand-painted plate, the only piece of china she
possessed. When the tea was made the guests emptied the little tea-pot
and ate all of the Nabiscos, to the intense satisfaction of their
hostess, to whom entertaining was a new and delightful pastime.

"Now, you must put on your wraps and go with us," commanded Grace,
setting her cup on the table. "We are going to Morton House to make our
party call. The future president of 19---- lives there. That is, we
think she is the future president and we hope to make others think so,
too."

Ruth obediently went to the closet where her plain little hat and
shabby, old-style coat hung. She looked hesitatingly from the smartly
tailored suits of her guests to her own well-worn coat, then with a
proud little lifting of her head, she took it down and began putting it
on.

During their walk to Morton House the girls met several freshmen they
knew, and these were faithfully interviewed as to their preference in
the matter of 19----'s president. To Grace's delight none of them had
made any choice in regard to candidates, so her glowing remarks as to
Gertrude Wells's ability to make a good president fell on fertile soil.
Fortune favored them, for when they reached Morton House they found Miss
Wells out and two-thirds of the girls downstairs in the living room
listening to the new songs that the curly-haired little girl at the
piano had received from New York the day before. She was in the middle
of one when the girls entered the room. Grace held up a warning finger
and pointed to the piano.

The song ended several notes short and the little girl turned her head
toward her audience, saying, "I knew some one came in."

"Won't you sing for us?" asked Anne, who loved music. The little girl's
voice reminded her of Nora O'Malley's, and Nora's singing had always
been a source of delight to Anne.

"Not now," smiled the singer. "I wish to talk, but I'll sing for you
later."

"We came over this afternoon," said Grace to the girl sitting next to
her, "to find out who Morton House wants for president. We would like to
have Miss Wells----"

Grace was interrupted by a little cry of delight. The girl sprang to her
feet and cried, "Hear! hear!" Then she took Grace by the shoulders and
laughingly commanded, "Arise, occupy the center of the room and tell the
girls what you have just told me."

Before she knew it Grace was standing in the middle of the room,
earnestly advocating Gertrude Wells's cause, while the Morton House
girls were making as much demonstration as was considered decorous on
Sunday. Grace concluded with, "I'm quite sure that every girl at Morton
House will vote for Miss Wells and every freshman at Wayne Hall, too.
Before class meeting next Friday I hope to be able to convince the
majority of 19---- that they will make no mistake in voting for Miss
Wells."

Grace sat down amid subdued applause, and every one began talking to her
neighbor about the coming election. Ruth Denton listened to the gay
chatter with shining eyes. She had forgotten all about her shabby suit.
Presently the curly-haired little girl came over and sat down beside
her, asking her if she liked college. Ruth looked admiringly at the
little girl, whose dainty gown, silk stockings and smart pumps bespoke
luxury, and answered earnestly that she liked it better every day. "You
must come and see me," said the curly-haired little girl, whose name was
Arline Thayer. "We recite Livy in the same section, so we have something
in common to grumble about. Isn't the lesson for to-morrow terrific,
though?"

"I haven't looked at it to-day," confessed Ruth happily. "I study hard
on Sunday as a rule, but to-day is the first time, you see----" Ruth
hesitated.

"I see," said Arline kindly. "Hereafter you mustn't study all day on
Sunday. You must come and take dinner with me next Sunday and stay all
afternoon. Promise, now, that you'll come."

"Oh, thank you. I'd love to come," stammered Ruth. She could scarcely
believe that this dainty little girl who wore such pretty clothes had
actually invited her to dinner at Morton House.

"Did you have a good time, Ruth?" asked Miriam, as they started for home
late that afternoon.

"Don't ask her," interposed Anne mischievously. "She forsook me and
hob-nobbed openly all afternoon with that curly-haired girl, Miss
Thayer. I am terribly jealous, and there is a deadly gleam in my eye."

"Please, don't think, Anne----" began Ruth nervously, looking
distressed.

"I am past thinking," retorted Anne melodramatically. "The time for
action has come. I shall challenge my rival to a duel the first time I
see her. We will fight with----"

"Brooms," grinned Elfreda. "I once fought a duel down in our orchard
with my cousin Dick. Brooms were the chosen weapons. We certainly did
great execution with them. They were new ones and the brushy part kept
getting in our way until we happened to think of cutting it off and
fighting with the handles. After that things went more scientifically,
until Dick hit me on the nose by mistake. I wailed and shrieked and had
the nose bleed, and Ma whipped Dick and sent him home. That was about
the only duel I ever fought," concluded the stout girl reflectively,
"but if there's the slightest possibility of either of you choosing
brooms for weapons, I'll give you the benefit of my experience by
training you for the fray."

"Shall I take her at her word, Ruth?" laughed Anne.

"No, I'm not worth all that trouble," returned Ruth half shyly.

"We won't have time to escort you home, Ruth," remarked Grace, looking
at her watch. "We must leave you at this corner. Be a good child and
don't sit up all night to study. Come over Tuesday evening to dinner,
and we'll all study together."

"Thank you, I will if I don't have too much mending on hand," replied
Ruth. "Good-bye. I can't begin to tell you how much I've enjoyed being
with you."

"Don't try," advised Elfreda laconically. "We've had just as much fun as
you have."

Miriam and Grace exchanged glances. Elfreda was making rapid strides
along the road to fellowship.

"I like that girl," she announced as Ruth disappeared around the corner.
"She has lots of pluck. When we asked her to go out with us to-day she
looked at her old coat and hat, then at us. I could see that she was
ashamed of them. But she wasn't ashamed for more than five seconds. She
straightened up and looked as proud as a princess. I could see----"

"A great deal more than we did," finished Miriam. "I believe you have
eyes in the back of your head, Elfreda."

"I don't miss much," agreed Elfreda modestly. "I saw you and Grace look
at each other when I said we'd had just as much fun as Ruth," she added
slyly. "I know what you were both thinking, too. You were thinking that
I wasn't so selfish as when I came here. You needn't color so because I
caught you. I am selfish, but I'm beginning to find out, just the same,
that there are other people in the world besides myself."



CHAPTER XIV

AN INVITATION AND A MISUNDERSTANDING


The class elections went off with a snap. Grace nominated Gertrude Wells
for president. There were two other nominations, and after the three
young women had gone through the ordeal of inspection before the class,
the votes were cast. Gertrude Wells was elected president by an
overwhelming majority, and the nomination and election of the other
class officers quickly followed. The next night Grace and Miriam gave a
dinner in honor of her election at Vinton's, to which twelve girls were
invited, and for a week the new president was feted and lionized until
she laughingly declared that a return to the simple life was her only
means of re-establishing her lost reputation for study and avoiding
impending warnings.

The class of 19---- soon became used to being a regularly organized body
and held its class meetings with as much pride as though it were the
most important organization in college. Thanksgiving plans now occupied
the foreground, and as the vacation was too short even to think about
going home, the girls began to make plans to spend their brief holiday
as advantageously as possible at or at least very near Overton.

"There's a football game over at Willston, on Thanksgiving Day,"
remarked Grace, looking up from the paper on which she was jotting down
possible amusements for vacation. Miriam had run into Grace's room for a
brief chat before dinner. "We don't know any Willston men, though. I
think football is ever so much more interesting when one knows the
players. If we were nearer the boys we might attend a fraternity dance
once in a while."

"David says in his last letter that he is waiting impatiently for the
holidays. Just think, Grace, won't that be splendid to be back in dear
old Oakdale again?"

"It seems years since I kissed Mother and Father good-bye," said Grace,
rather wistfully. "How I'd like to be at home for Thanksgiving."

"Don't think about it," advised Miriam. "I was as blue as indigo last
night. Let's keep our minds strictly on what we're going to do with our
holiday. What have you put down?"

"The football game first. Then I have tickets for a play that the Morton
House girls intend to give. We might go to Vinton's for supper on
Thanksgiving night. If we have a Thanksgiving dinner here that day it's
safe to say supper won't amount to much. I think----"

Grace did not finish with what she was saying. A quick step sounded down
the hall and an instant later Anne ran into the room waving an open
letter in her hand. "Girls, girls!" she cried, "you never can guess!"

"What is it? Tell us at once," commanded Grace, springing from her
chair. "You've received good news from some one we know."

"Yes," replied Anne happily. "My letter is from Miss Southard. She
wishes us to spend Thanksgiving with her and her brother in New York
City. Isn't that glorious, and do you think we'll be allowed to go?"

"Hurrah!" cried Grace. "Since we can't go home, it's the very nicest
sort of plan. I think we'll be allowed to go. We haven't any conditions
to work off, and I haven't planned to do any extra studying either.
Thank goodness, my allowance had an extra ten dollars attached to it
this month. Mother wrote that she thought I might need the money, and I
do. I couldn't possibly have stretched my regular allowance over this
trip."

"I have money enough, I think," said Miriam. "I am a thrifty soul. I
saved ten dollars out of my last month's allowance. It was really extra
money that I had asked Mother for. I intended to buy a sweater and then
changed my mind."

"The expenses of my trip will have to come out of my college money,"
confessed Anne, a trifle soberly, "but I'd be willing to spend twice
that much to see the Southards. Mr. Southard is playing 'Hamlet' and so
we shall have the opportunity of seeing him in what the critics consider
his greatest part."

"Remember, we haven't asked permission to go, yet," remarked Grace.

"The registrar couldn't be so cruel as to refuse us," said Miriam
cheerfully. "Let's besiege her fortress in a body."

"When shall we make our plea?"

"To-morrow morning after chapel," suggested Anne. "Then we'll have more
time to plan our trip."

The registrar's office was duly besieged the next morning, as agreed,
and the three girls hurried off to their classes with beaming faces.
When they returned to Wayne Hall after recitations that afternoon it was
to find Elfreda hanging over the railing in the upstairs hall, an
unusually solemn expression on her face.

"Are you going?" she called down anxiously. "Yes," nodded Grace. "At
three o'clock Wednesday afternoon."

Elfreda gave a smothered exclamation that sounded like, "What a shame,"
and disappeared into her room, slamming the door.

"I'm coming into your room for a while," said Miriam. "Elfreda will open
the door before long."

"Yes, do," returned Grace hospitably. "Is she angry because you are
going away over Thanksgiving?"

"No, not angry, but awfully disappointed. She almost cried last night
when I told her about it. I suspect she is crying now. She's like an
overgrown child at times."

"I'm sorry we can't take her with us," deplored Grace. "Does she know
where we are going?"

"Yes," returned Miriam. "She was practically thunderstruck when she
learned we were to visit the Southards. The queer part of it is this.
She saw Mr. Southard and Anne in 'As You Like It' last year. She thinks
Mr. Southard the greatest actor she ever saw, and she even spoke of
Anne's cleverness as Rosalind; she doesn't know it was Anne who played
the part."

"Anne doesn't wish her or any one else here to know it," cautioned
Grace. "Do you suppose any other girl here saw Anne as Rosalind?"

"Goodness knows," replied Miriam, with a shrug. "There's an old saying
that 'murder will out.' If any one here did see her, sooner or later
she'll be identified and lionized."

"That's just why I don't wish the girls here to know," protested Anne,
who had been listening to the conversation of her friends, a slight
frown puckering her smooth forehead. "I don't care to be patronized and
petted, but secretly held at arms' length because I am a professional
player. If the girls find out that I played Rosalind in Mr. Southard's
company I'll never hear the last of it." In her anxiety Anne's voice
rose above its customary low key. In fact, all three had been talking
rather loudly, and the entire conversation had been carried straight to
the ears of the girl who stood outside the almost closed door. Elfreda
had come across the hall to hear the details of the proposed visit, but
had remained outside the door transfixed at what she heard. Then she
found her voice.

"So that's your idea of true friendship, is it?" demanded an angry,
choking voice that caused the surprised young women to start and look
toward the door. Elfreda stepped into the room, her face flushed with
anger, her blue eyes fairly snapping. "You make a great fuss over me
when there's nothing going on, but none of you would invite me to go
with you to New York, when you know I'm crazy to go. And that's not
enough, you can't get along without talking about me. I heard every word
Anne said. I know now that it was she who played Rosalind in 'As You
Like It' last winter, because I saw her with my own eyes. If you girls
had been as honorable as you pretend to be you'd have told me about it
and I never would have said a word. But, no, Anne was afraid to tell,
for fear she'd 'never hear the last of it,'" sneered Elfreda, mimicking
Anne. "She's right, too. She never will. I'll not stop until I tell
every girl at Overton the whole story. When you come back," she went on,
turning to Miriam, "you'll find that I've moved. I thought you were nice
and I tried to be like you, but now I don't care to live in the same
house with you, and I don't intend ever to notice any of you again. With
that she rushed across the hall, slammed the door, and turned the key.

"Locked out," said Miriam grimly. "I hope she'll let me in before the
dinner bell rings. I'd like to change this grimy blouse for a clean one.
I'll try to reason with her, once she opens the door."

"Shall we go in, too, and try to explain matters?" asked Anne. "I didn't
say that she would tell the girls about my stage work. Surely, she
understands, too, that we are not at liberty to invite her to go with
us. I'll tell you what I will do. I'll telegraph the Southards and ask
permission to invite her. They will be perfectly willing for us to bring
her."

"That might be a good plan," reflected Grace. "Don't waste another
minute, Anne, but telegraph Miss Southard at once."

"Yes, go ahead," counseled Miriam, "and while you're gone I'll try to
pacify Elfreda."

But all Miriam's efforts to restore peace failed. When a little later
she knocked gently on the door, Elfreda unlocked it, but received her
roommate's friendly overtures in sulky silence. After dinner, for the
first time since the sophomore reception, she spent the evening in
Virginia Gaines's room and that night the two girls prepared for sleep
without exchanging a word.

Meanwhile Anne telegraphed, "May we bring friend? Will explain later.
Anne," and was anxiously awaiting a reply. It came the next morning
while they were at breakfast and read: "Your friends always welcome.
Telegraph train you will arrive. Mary Southard." Anne passed the
telegram to Grace, who sat next to her. After one quick glance at it
Grace passed it to Miriam. Elfreda, who sat directly opposite her,
watched the passing of the telegram with compressed lips. Miriam,
raising her eyes from the yellow slip, found those of her angry roommate
fixed on her in mingled curiosity and disdain. Ignoring the look she
said quietly, "I should like to see you for a moment after breakfast,
Elfreda. I have something to tell you."

The stout girl's eyes narrowed. She glanced about the table and saw
Virginia Gaines watching her with a disagreeable smile. The sophomore
raised her eyebrows and shrugged her shoulders as though to say, "So,
you are going to allow her to order you about." Elfreda's face grew dark
with angry purpose. She leaned well forward across the table and said in
a tone of suppressed fury: "Kindly keep your remarks to yourself. I
don't care to hear them."

"Very well," replied Miriam coldly, although her eyes flashed and the
temper that had been all but uncontrollable in days gone by threatened
to burst forth in all its old fury. Several girls smiled, and Virginia
Gaines laughed aloud.

"A new declaration of independence has evidently been signed," she
jeered. "Too bad, isn't it, Miss Harlowe? You'll have to begin all over
again on some one else."

"I am not likely to trouble you, at any rate, Miss Gaines," returned
Grace pointedly.

This time the laugh was at Virginia's expense. A dull flush overspread
her plain face. Her angry eyes met Grace's steady gray ones, then fell
before the honest contempt she read there. During that brief instant she
saw herself through Grace's eyes and the sharp retort that rose to her
lips remained unuttered.

In the next instant Grace was sorry for her rude retort. It would have
been far better to remain silent, she reflected. By answering she had
shown Virginia that the latter's taunt had annoyed her.

"I wish I hadn't answered Miss Gaines," she confided to Miriam as they
were leaving the dining room. "It doesn't add to one's freshman dignity
to quarrel."

"I am glad you did," returned Miriam. "It was a well-merited snub, and
she deserved it."



CHAPTER XV

GREETING OLD FRIENDS


To spend their brief holiday with the Southards was the next best thing
to going home, in the opinion of the Oakdale girls. Mr. Southard met
them at the station with his automobile, and a twenty minutes' drive
brought them to the Southard home. Miss Southard met them at the door
with welcoming arms. She was particularly delighted to see Anne, for the
few weeks Anne had spent in their house had endeared her to the
Southards and made them wish her their "little sister" in reality rather
than by fond adoption.

"What shall we do after dinner to-night?" asked Miss Southard, as she
showed her guests to their rooms after the first affectionate greetings
had been exchanged. "Everett, as you know, is appearing as Hamlet, and
wishes you to see him in the part. However, he has engaged a box for us
for to-morrow night. To-night we will go to some other theatre if you
wish."

"To tell you the truth," replied Anne, slipping her hand into that of
the older woman, "we'd rather spend the evening quietly with you. That
is, unless you care particularly about our going out."

Miss Southard's face revealed her pleasure at this announcement. "Would
you really?" she asked. "I should like to have you girls to myself
rather than go to the theatre, but I supposed you would prefer seeing a
successful play to staying at home with me."

"Nothing could drag us from the house after that confession," laughed
Grace. "For my part I think it would be much nicer to stay at home. We
have so much to tell you."

Dinner was a merry meal. Mr. Southard, who in the meantime had come in
from the theatre, became so absorbed in the conversation of his young
guests that both he and his sister forgot the time. The entrance into
the dining room of James, his valet, with his hat and coat, and the
warning words, "Ten minutes past seven, sir," caused him to spring from
his chair, glance at his watch with a rueful smile, and hurry out to
where his car stood waiting for him.

"It's nice to be an idol of the public, but it's hard on the idol just
the same," sighed Grace, as the door closed after him. "Shall we see him
again to-night?"

"You may stay up and wait for him if you wish," returned Miss Southard,
"but it will be after midnight. 'Hamlet' is a long play."

"I saw Mr. Southard in 'Hamlet' long before I knew him," remarked Anne.
"My father and I were in New York rehearsing the play in which I
afterwards refused to work. The manager of our company was a friend of
Mr. Southard. One night he asked me if I would like to see the greatest
actor in America play 'Hamlet.' I said that Everett Southard was the
only man I ever wished to see in the role. I shall never forget how I
felt when he handed me a slip of paper. It was in Mr. Southard 's
handwriting and called for two seats at the theatre where he was
playing. He said he had asked Mr. Southard for the passes purposely for
me, because," Anne flushed slightly, "he insisted that in me lay the
making of a great artist, and that I ought to see nothing but the great
plays, enacted by great players."

"How interesting!" exclaimed Grace. "You never told us anything about
your stage days before. What did you think after you saw 'Hamlet'?"

"I went about in a dream for days afterward," confessed Anne. "Then, I
began to hate the play we were rehearsing, and finally ended by refusing
to stay in the company. Mother was with my sister in Oakdale, so I went
to them. I felt that there was no chance for me to ever become great. I
had no faith in my own ability, and I was determined not to waste my
life as a second or third rate actor. So I gave up the stage and decided
to try to get an education, then teach. You know the rest of my story.
Now comes the hardest part. After giving up all idea of the stage, the
door that I thought was barred has been opened to me. The unbelievable
has come to pass, and I have in a measure achieved what once seemed
unattainable. Do you think that I ought to bury my one talent when my
college days are over and become a teacher, or do you believe that I
should put it to good use by becoming an exponent of the highest
dramatic art?"

Anne paused, looking almost melancholy in her earnestness.

"My dear child," said Miss Southard gravely. "You are straining your
mental eyes with trying to look into the future. Wait until graduation
day comes. By that time you will know what is best for you to do. As far
as your work in the theatre is concerned, I consider that it is far more
to your credit to use the talent God has given you to help yourself
through college, than to wear yourself out doing tutoring or servants'
work. There is no stigma attached to my brother's art, why should there
be to yours?"

"Good for you, Miss Southard," cheered Grace. "I'll tell you a secret.
Anne thinks just as you do, only she won't say so."

"While you are here, Anne, Everett wishes you to meet Mr. Forest, the
manager of the stock company he wrote you about," continued Miss
Southard.

"He is a playwright, producer and manager all in one, isn't he?" asked
Miriam. "I have seen ever so many pictures of him, and read a great deal
about him. They say he is always on the lookout for material for stars."

"Yes," returned Miss Southard. "He was in Europe during Anne's
engagement here last winter. Nevertheless, he heard of her and asked
Everett a great many questions about her. I think he will offer her an
engagement for next summer with a certain stock company which he
controls."

"How can I ever repay you and Mr. Southard for all you have done for
me?" said Anne earnestly.

"By accepting the engagement," laughed Grace.

"Grace is right," agreed Miss Southard. "Everett and I are trying to
help Anne in the way we think best."

"Then I will be pleasing myself, too," confessed Anne. "For I love my
dramatic work as well as I do that of the college. Now, let us talk
about Oakdale and all our friends. We have so many things to tell you."

It was after eleven o'clock when the girls retired. They had decided not
to stay up until Mr. Southard's return. Once in their rooms they found
themselves too sleepy for conversation and five minutes after their
lights were out they were fast asleep.

They were up in good season the next morning, as it had been agreed that
they should be present at the morning service in the church the
Southards attended. Thanksgiving dinner was to be served at exactly half
past twelve o'clock, instead of at night, for Mr. Southard had a matinee
as well as an evening performance to give and never left the theatre for
dinner during this short intermission.

In church that morning as she sat listening to the beautiful service,
Grace felt that she had everything for which to be thankful. In her
heart she said an earnest little prayer for all those unfortunates to
whom life had grudged even bread. She resolved to be more kind and
helpful during the coming year, and prayed that she might see the right
clearly and have the courage always to choose it.

"I felt as though I wanted to be superlatively good all the rest of my
life," confessed Miriam on the way home. "That minister preached as
though he loved the whole world and wished it to be happy."

"He does. He is a very fine man," said Miss Southard, "and does splendid
work among the very poor people. It will perhaps surprise you to know
that he was at one time an actor of great promise in Mr. Southard's
company. Then he received the conviction that his duty lay in entering
the ministry and he left the stage, entered a theological institute and
after receiving his degree came back to New York as the pastor of a
small church on the East Side. Everett and I were among his most
faithful parishioners. Then later on he received an appointment to the
church we just left, and has been there ever since."

"That will be an interesting story to tell the girls when we go back to
college," said Grace thoughtfully. "He is a wonderful man, he made me
feel as though it paid to do one's best."

"That is the reason he has been so successful in his work, I suppose,"
remarked Anne. "He makes other people feel that it pays to be good,
too."

From the subject of the actor-minister the conversation drifted to
Overton. Miss Southard listened interestedly to Grace's vivid
description of the college, the various halls and even the faculty.

"Then you are satisfied with your choice? You never wish that you had
entered Vassar or Smith or any other college?"

"Yes, I am satisfied," declared Grace, while Miriam and Anne echoed her
reply, but Grace might have truthfully added that there were times when
even the glorious privilege of being an Overton freshman had its
drawbacks.



CHAPTER XVI

THANKSGIVING WITH THE SOUTHARDS


Thanksgiving dinner was served at exactly half-past twelve o'clock, and
eaten with much merriment and good cheer. At half-past one Mr. Southard
was obliged to leave his sister and guests, and at two o'clock they were
getting into their wraps, preparatory to accompanying Miss Southard to
another theatre to see one of the most successful plays of the season.
That night they saw the actor in "Hamlet," and his remarkable portrayal
of the ill-fated Prince of Denmark was something long to be remembered
by the three girls as well as by the rest of the enthusiastic assemblage
that witnessed it.

"I shall never forget the awful look in his poor eyes," said Grace
solemnly. Then she joined in the insistent applause that Everett
Southard's art had evoked. Presently the actor appeared and bowed his
appreciation of the tribute. Then he made his exit nor could he be
induced to appear again.

Anne sat as though turned to stone. She could not find words to express
the emotions that had thrilled her during Mr. Southard's marvelous
portrayal of the role. His own personality was completely submerged in
that of the melancholy ghost-ridden youth, who, dedicating his life to
the purpose of avenging his father's murder, welcomed death with open
arms when his purpose had been accomplished. She had seen a great play
and a great actor. The first time she saw "Hamlet" she left the theatre
heartsick and discouraged. To-night she was leaving it alert and
triumphant.

"Anne has been touched by the finger of Genius," smiled Miss Southard,
as she marshaled her charges to their automobile.

"How did you know?" asked Anne, but in spite of her smiling lips her
brown eyes were full of tears.

"My dear, living with Everett has taught me the signs," said his sister
simply.

"I should like to play Ophelia to Mr. Southard's Hamlet," said Anne
dreamily.

"Perhaps you will have the chance to do so some day. Everett thinks you
would be a more convincing Ophelia than the young woman you saw in the
part to-night," encouraged Miss Southard.

Anne looked so delighted at those words that Miriam and Grace exchanged
swift glances. It was evident that the genuine love of her profession
lay deep within the soul of their friend.

"We will go for a short drive, then come back for Everett," planned Miss
Southard. "He has promised to hurry to-night--then we will have a nice
little supper at home." Their hostess and her brother had agreed that
there should be no after-the-theatre suppers at any of the so-called
fashionable restaurants for their young guests. "I am sure their mothers
would not approve of it," Miss Southard had said, "and I feel that I am
responsible for them every moment they are here."

The party at home was an informal affair in which there were many cooks,
but no broth spoiled. To see Mr. Southard earnestly engaged in making a
Welsh rarebit, an accomplishment in which he claimed to be highly
proficient, one would never have suspected him of being able to thrill
vast audiences by his slightest word or gesture.

"I can't believe that only two hours ago you were 'Hamlet,'" laughed
Grace. "You look anything but tragic now."

"He looked every bit as tragic just a moment ago. I saw a distinct
Hamlet-like expression creep into his face," stated Miriam boldly.

"You have sharp eyes," smiled Mr. Southard. "I happened to remember that
I had forgotten what goes into this rarebit next. I could feel myself
growing cold with despair. Then the inspiration came and now it will be
ready in two minutes."

The rarebit was voted a success. After decorating the actor with a bit
of blue ribbon on which Miriam painstakingly printed "first premium"
with a lead pencil, he was escorted to the head of the table and
congratulated roundly upon being able not only to act but to cook.

The next morning every one confessed to being a trifle sleepy, but
appeared at breakfast at the usual time. After breakfast Mr. Southard
carried Anne off to met Mr. Forest, while Miss Southard, Miriam and
Grace decided to go for a drive through Central Park. It was a clear,
cold, sparkling day with just enough snow to make it seem like real
Thanksgiving weather.

"Too bad Anne can't be with us," said Grace regretfully.

"Everett will take her for a drive before bringing her home," replied
Miss Southard.

Shortly after their return to the house Mr. Southard and Anne returned
from their drive. Anne's eyes were sparkling and her cheeks rosy as she
ran up the steps.

"Anne must have heard good news!" exclaimed Grace, running from her post
at one of the drawing room windows into the hall, Miriam at her heels.

"The deed is done, girls," laughed Anne. "Behold in me the future star
of the Forest Stock Company. It doesn't sound much like Rosalind, does
it? and it means awfully hard work, but I'll earn enough money next
summer to almost finish paying my way through college."

"Hurrah!" cried Grace. "We won't allow you to become lonesome. We will
come and visit you during vacation."

"That ought to reconcile me to having to work all summer," smiled Anne.
"I shall be selfish and manage to have some of you girls with me all the
time."

"How do you like Mr. Forest?" asked Miriam.

"Ever so much," returned Anne. "Like most successful men, he is quiet
and unassuming. Mr. Southard and he did almost all the talking. I spoke
when I was spoken to and did as I was bid."

"Good little Anne," jeered Miriam. "As a reward of merit we will take
you shopping this afternoon."

"How would you like to go to the opera to-night?" asked Mr. Southard.
"'Madame Butterfly' is to be sung."

"Better than anything else, now that I've seen 'Hamlet'!" exclaimed
Grace, with shining eyes. Miriam and Anne both expressed an eager
desire to hear Puccini's exquisite opera, and Miss Southard called two
of her friends on the telephone, inviting them to join the box party.
The same evening gowns had to do duty for the opera as well as for
"Hamlet," but this did not detract one whit from their pleasant
anticipations. "The people who saw us at the theatre the other night
won't see us at the opera," argued Grace. The three girls were in
Grace's room holding a consultation on the subject of what to wear.

"That is if they saw us at all," laughed Miriam. "Elfreda says Oakdale
isn't down on the map, you know."

"That reminds me, what excuse did you make to Miss Southard about
Elfreda not coming with us, Anne?" asked Grace.

"I merely said she had changed her mind about coming."

"Did you mention that she changed it violently?" slyly put in Miriam.

"I did not," was the smiling assertion. "I don't like to think about it,
let alone mention it."

"Do you suppose she'll improve the opportunity and tell Anne's private
affairs all over college?" questioned Miriam.

"I don't know," said Grace briefly. "Let us put her out of our minds for
now. It won't do any good to worry about what she may or may not do.
When we go back to Overton we shall know."

That night the girls listened to the wonderful voice of the prima donna
whose name has become synonymous with that of "Chu Chu San," the little
Japanese maid. Anne wondered as she drank in the music whether this
beautiful young prima donna had ever had any scruples about appearing
before the public. Miriam was thinking that David would be bitterly
disappointed when he knew that Anne was going back to the stage during
vacation. While, though she would not have confessed it for worlds, the
throbbing undercurrent of heart break that ran through the music was
filling Grace with unmistakable homesickness. She wanted her mother and
she wanted her badly. What would she not give to feel her mother's dear
arms around her. When the curtain shut out the still form of the
Japanese girl and the prima donna received her usual ovation, the tears
that stood in Grace's eyes were not alone a tribute to the singer and
the tragic death of Chu Chu San.

       *       *       *       *       *

On Saturday morning the girls went on another shopping expedition, and
in the afternoon attended a recital given by a celebrated pianist.
After the recital, instead of going home, Miss Southard surprised her
guests by taking them over to the theatre where her brother was playing.
Mr. Southard had arranged that they should be admitted to his dressing
room. It was the same theatre in which Anne had played the previous
winter and several of the stage hands recognized her and bowed
respectfully to her as she passed through to the actor's dressing room.
They found him still in costume. He never changed to street clothing on
matinee days.

"You are respectfully and cordially invited to eat dinner in my dressing
room," announced Mr. Southard the moment they were fairly inside the
door. "I have ordered dinner for six o'clock."

Eating dinner in a dressing room was an innovation as far as Grace and
Miriam were concerned, but to Anne it was nothing new. It had been in
the usual order of things during her brief engagement in "As You Like
It." As it was after five o'clock when they arrived it seemed only a
little while until a waiter appeared with table linen and silver, which
Mr. Southard ordered arranged on the table that had been brought in for
the occasion. Then the dinner was served and eaten with much gayety and
laughter. After dinner, a pleasant hour of conversation followed, and
later on the visitors were introduced to the various members of the
company. Unlike many professionals who have achieved greatness, Mr.
Southard was thoroughly democratic, and displayed none of the snobbish
tactics with his company which so often humiliate and embitter the
lesser lights of a theatrical company.

At eight o'clock they said good-bye to the actor. Through the courtesy
of Mr. Forest they were to witness a play in which a wonderful little
girl of fifteen who had taken New York by storm was to appear. After the
play they were to pick up Mr. Southard at his theatre and go home
together. That night another jolly little supper was held in the
Southards' dining room, then three sleepy young women fairly tumbled
into their beds, completely tired out by their eventful day.

As the return to Overton was to be made on the noon train, the Southard
household rose in good season on Sunday morning. Breakfast was rather a
quiet meal, for the shadow of saying good-bye hung over the little house
party.

"When shall we see you again, I wonder?" sighed Miss Southard
regretfully. "You are going home for Christmas, I suppose."

"Oh, yes," replied Grace quickly. "I wish you might spend it with us,
but I suppose it would be out of the question. You must come to Oakdale
next summer. We can't entertain you with plays and recitals, but we can
get up boating and gypsy parties. The boys will be home, then, and we
can arrange to have plenty of good times. Will you come?"

"With pleasure if all is well with us at that time," promised Mr.
Southard, and his sister.

When the last good-byes had been said and the girls were comfortably
settled for the afternoon's ride that lay before them they were forced
to admit that they were just a little tired.

"We have had a perfectly wonderful holiday," asserted Grace, "and the
Southards are the most hospitable people in the world, but it seems as
though I'd never make up my lost sleep. I shall become a rabid advocate
of the half-past ten o'clock rule for the next week at least. I wonder
how the boys spent Thanksgiving. Of course they went to the football
game. I'll warrant Hippy ate too much."

"I wish Jessica and Nora could have been with us," remarked Anne. "Miss
Southard wrote them, too, but they couldn't come. Did you see Nora's
telegram?"

"Yes," replied Grace. "It said a letter would follow. I suppose she'll
explain in that. Well, it's back to college again for us. I wonder if
Elfreda has moved."

"We shall know in due season," returned Miriam grimly. "I have visions
of the appearance of my hapless room, if she has vacated it. I expect to
see my best beloved belongings scattered to the four corners or else
piled in a heap in the middle of the floor."

"Perhaps she has thought it over and come to the conclusion that there
are worse roommates than you," suggested Anne hopefully.

The early winter darkness was falling when the three girls hurried up
the stairs at Wayne Hall as fast as the weight of their suit cases would
permit. Miriam's door was closed. She knocked on it, at first softly,
then with more force. Hearing no sound from within she turned the knob,
flung open the door and stepped inside. Striking a match, she lighted
the gas and looked about her. The room was in perfect order, but no
vestige of Elfreda's belongings met her eye. The stout girl had kept her
word.



CHAPTER XVII

CHRISTMAS PLANS


The month of December seemed interminably long to Grace Harlowe. Since
her visit to the Southards the longing to be at home remained with her.
She hung a little calendar at the head of her bed and every night marked
off one day with an air of triumph. During the three weeks that followed
their trip to New York, Overton had not been the most congenial spot in
the world for Grace or Anne. 19---- was a very large class, and
considered itself extremely democratic; nevertheless, the story of
Anne's theatrical career was bandied about among the freshmen and passed
on to the sophomores, until the truth of it was lost in the haze of
fiction that surrounded it.

A certain percentage of the class who knew Everett Southard's standing
in the theatrical world and understood that Anne must have the highest
ability to be able to play in his company treated the young girl with
the deference due an artist. Then there were a number of young women
who, though fond of attending the theatre, looked askance at the clever
men and women whose business it was to amuse them. They approved of the
theatre, but for them the foot-lights divided the two worlds, and they
wished no trespassing of the stage folks on their territory. Quite their
opposite were the girls who were desperately stage struck and cherished
secret designs on the stage. They were extremely friendly for the sake
of plying Anne with questions about her art. At first Anne's position
among her classmates was rather difficult to define. After the ball
which Elfreda had set in motion had rolled itself to a standstill for
want of more gossip to keep it going, Grace saw with secret trepidation
that despite the loyalty of a few, Anne had lost caste at Overton.

"History is repeating itself," she remarked gloomily to Miriam, as
together the two left the library one afternoon and set out for a short
walk before dinner. "Anne told me last night that the girls in her
elocution class are very distant since she came back from New York. It's
Elfreda's fault, too. How could she deliberately try to make it hard for
a girl like Anne?"

A slow flush mounted to Miriam's forehead. She gave Grace a peculiar
look.

Grace, interpreting the look, exclaimed contritely: "Forgive me, Miriam.
I wasn't thinking of you when I spoke."

"I know it," replied Miriam. "It seems as though I can never do enough
for Anne to make up for behaving so contemptibly toward her in high
school."

"Anne had forgotten all that, ages ago," comforted Grace. "Don't think
about it again."

"I'd like to find an opportunity for a serious talk with Elfreda,"
returned Miriam. "I think I could bring her to her senses. She keeps
strictly away from me. She knows that I wish to talk with her, too. I
wonder how she likes rooming with Virginia, or rather how Virginia likes
rooming with her."

"She is furious with both Anne and me," declared Grace. "She won't look
at either of us. It seems a pity, too. She can be awfully nice when she
chooses, and I had begun to feel as though she belonged with us. Here we
are on the threshold of 'Peace on Earth, Good Will Toward Men,' and are
at odds with at least five different girls. Miss Alden doesn't like us
because Mabel Ashe does. Miss Gaines disapproves of us on general
principles. Miss Wicks and Miss Hampton dislike me for defending
Elfreda's rights. Elfreda thinks us disloyal and deceitful. And it isn't
mid-year yet. We are not what you might call social successes, are we?"
she concluded most bitterly.

"Still we have made some staunch friends like Ruth and Mabel and
Frances. Then there are the girls at Morton House, and Constance
Fuller, and I think the freshmen at Wayne Hall are friendly."

"Perhaps they are," sighed Grace. "I hope I'm not growing pessimistic,
but I can't help feeling that the girls in our own class are not as
friendly as the upper class girls have been. I supposed it would be just
the opposite."

Miriam was on the point of saying that she wished she had been wise
enough to refuse to room with Elfreda. Then she bit her lip and remained
silent.

"I'm glad I've kept up in all my work," Grace said after they had walked
some distance in silence. "Mother will be glad and so will Father. I've
done my level best not to disappoint them, at least." She sighed, then
said abruptly, "Have you bought all your presents yet?"

"I bought some of them in New York. I shopped as long as my money held
out. Almost all the things were for the girls here. I'll have to buy my
home presents in Oakdale."

"That is just about my case," remarked Grace. "I sent Eleanor's almost
two weeks ago, and Mabel Allison's last week. And I gave Miss Southard
hers and her brother's with strict injunctions not to open them until
Christmas."

"So did I," laughed Miriam. "I forgot to mention it to you at the time.
I hope I haven't left out any one. I shall have to ask Mother for more
money, too."

The few intervening days before Christmas seemed all too short to the
students who were going home for their Christmas vacations. Interest in
study declined rapidly. Those girls who usually made brilliant
recitations distinguished themselves by just scraping through, while
those who were inclined to totter on the ragged edge unhesitatingly
confessed themselves to be unprepared. One had, of course, to decide
just what to pack, whether to take the morning or evening train and
whether it would be worth while to take one's books home on the chance
of studying a little during vacation. These were weighty problems to
solve satisfactorily, and coupled with the constant, "Have I forgotten
any one's present?" were sufficient to drive all idea of study to the
winds.

In spite of the mischief Elfreda had endeavored to make, Grace found
that she had calls enough to pay to fill in every unoccupied moment
before going home.

Late in the afternoon of the day before leaving Overton, she started out
alone to pay two calls, going first to Morton House to say good-bye to
Gertrude Wells and Arline Thayer. Gertrude was in and welcomed her with
enthusiasm, but, to her disappointment, Arline was out. She spent a
pleasant half hour with 19----'s president, then, looking out at the
rapidly gathering twilight, said with a start: "I didn't know it was so
late. I must go down to Ruth Denton's before dinner."

"Perhaps you'll meet Arline there," suggested Gertrude. "She was going
there, too. She and Ruth are great friends. She was greatly disappointed
to learn that Ruth has been invited somewhere else for Christmas. She
had set her heart on taking her home with her. Considering the fact that
Arline's father has so much money, she is an awfully nice little girl.
She isn't in the least snobbish or overbearing."

"I like her immensely," agreed Grace. "Do you know whether Ruth accepted
the invitation, Gertrude?" she asked suddenly.

"Arline said she thought Ruth wanted to go with her, but was too loyal
to the other girl to even intimate any such thing," replied Gertrude.

Five minutes later the two students had exchanged good-byes and Grace
was on her way to Ruth's with Gertrude's words ringing in her ears.
Several weeks ago she had invited Ruth to go with her to Oakdale for the
holidays. At first Ruth had demurred, then accepted with shy gratitude.
The three Oakdale girls had become greatly attached to Ruth, and Anne,
in particular, had looked forward to taking her home with them. Grace
had purposely forestalled Anne in inviting Ruth, because she had decided
in her mind that her facilities for entertaining were greater than
Anne's. She had managed so adroitly, however, that Anne had never even
dreamed of her real motive in inviting the lonely little girl. Now,
there was Arline Thayer's invitation to be considered. Grace suspected
that Ruth secretly worshipped dainty little Arline. She would have died
rather than admit to the girls who had been so good to her that she
could find it in her heart to care more for another Overton girl than
for them. "I'm sorry, of course," Grace murmured to herself as she
hurried along through the shadows, "but I'm going to make her accept
Arline's invitation. She can go home with us at some other time."

She rang the bell at the dingy old house where Ruth lived, was admitted
by the tired-faced landlady and ran upstairs two at a time. Ruth's door
stood partly open. Grace heard Arline Thayer say regretfully, "You are
sure you can't go, Ruth?"

Then she heard Ruth say, very quietly: "I am quite sure I can't. I
promised Grace first."

Without waiting to hear more, Grace walked briskly into the room,
saying decisively, "Of course she can go, Arline."

"Why, Grace Harlowe, where did you come from?" exclaimed Arline, her
blue eyes opening wide with surprise.

"From downstairs," laughed Grace. "Just in time, too, to make Ruth
change her mind. Now, Ruth, tell us the truth, the whole truth, and
nothing but the truth. Wouldn't you rather go to New York City with
Arline than to Oakdale with us?"

Ruth flushed. "That isn't a fair question," she protested. "It isn't
because I care more about going to New York than Oakdale. It is----" she
hesitated.

"Because you care more for Arline than for us," finished Grace calmly.
"I understand the situation, I think. Your friendship for Arline is
growing to be the same as mine for Anne. Naturally, you'd rather be with
her than with any one else. Now, Arline, I'll leave her in your hands.
We wouldn't have her go to Oakdale with us if she begged on her knees to
do so," concluded Grace.

"Grace Harlowe, you're a dear!" exclaimed Arline, catching Grace's hand
in both of her warm little palms. "I just love you. Next to Ruth, I
think you are the nicest girl at Overton. Thank you a thousand times for
being so nice over Ruth. Now, you simply must go," she announced,
turning to Ruth.

"I will," answered Ruth happily. "You don't blame me for saying so?" she
asked, looking pleadingly at Grace.

"Not after having just given my official consent," retorted Grace. "Your
penalty for deserting us is that you must come to see us at Wayne Hall
to-morrow. We have rich gifts for you. Now I must go. Are you going my
way home?"

"No," answered Arline. "I'm sorry, but Ruth and I are going to cook our
own supper. I've been asked to help. We are going to have a regular
feast. Won't you stay and help eat it? Ruth doesn't care who I invite,"
she added saucily.

"Please stay, Grace," begged Ruth.

Grace shook her head. "Not to-night. Invite me some evening after the
holidays. Good-bye, Arline." She extended her hand, but Arline put both
arms around Grace's neck, kissing her warmly. "I hope I can do something
for you some day," she whispered. After the usual good wishes for a
Merry Christmas had been exchanged, Grace emerged from the house, filled
with that sense of warmth and elation that comes from having made others
happy. She smiled to herself as her mother's face rose before her. It
was only a matter of hours now until she would see her. She could almost
hear her father's voice and feel his hand on her shoulder in the old
caressing way. Smiling to herself Grace walked rapidly on toward Wayne
Hall, so rapidly, in fact, that she ran squarely against a tall girl,
who, coming from the opposite direction, had apparently been traveling
at the same rate of speed. The collision occurred directly under the arc
light. The tall girl gave a smothered exclamation and would have rushed
on, but Grace put forth a detaining hand, saying: "Stop a moment,
Elfreda. I wish to say something to you."

"I don't wish to hear anything you have to say," sneered Elfreda. "Take
your hand off my arm. You can't fool me twice. I know What a hypocrite
you are."

Grace's hand dropped to her side. "I beg pardon," she said formally. "I
am sorry you have such a bad opinion of me. I was about to say that
Anne, Miriam and I join in wishing you a Merry Christmas."

"You can keep your good wishes," snapped Elfreda. "I don't want them."
With that she turned on her heel and walked angrily away from Grace and
reconciliation.



CHAPTER XVIII

BASKETBALL RUMORS


After the holidays a great interchanging of visits began at Overton that
drove away, for the time being, the terrifying shadows of the all too
rapidly approaching mid-year examinations. Almost every girl had brought
back with her some treasure that she insisted her friends must see, or
some delicious goody they must taste. It was all very delightful, but
extremely demoralizing as far as study was concerned.

Santa Claus had been particularly kind to Anne, Grace and Miriam, as
Miriam's muff and scarf of Russian sable, Grace's camera, and Anne's
diamond ring (a present from the Southards) testified. Then there were
the less expensive but equally valued remembrances in the way of
embroidered sofa pillows, center pieces, and collar and cuff sets, every
stitch of which had been taken by the patient fingers of their girl
friends.

Miriam and Grace, while at home, had been given permission to raid the
preserve closet and had brought back an assortment of jellies, preserved
fruits and pickles, tucking them in every available space their trunks
and suit cases contained, regardless of the risk of breaking glass.

The evening after their arrival they had picked out a number of the
choicest goodies in their stock and accompanied by Anne had called on
Ruth Denton. They found her wrapped in the folds of a blue eiderdown
bathrobe, Arline's Christmas present to her. There were slippers to go
with it, she declared, proudly thrusting forth a felt-incased foot for
their inspection. A most mysterious thing had happened, however. The
night before she had gone on her vacation two large boxes had been
delivered to her by a messenger. One of them contained a beautiful navy
blue cloth suit, the other a dark blue velvet hat. On a plain card were
written the words, "'Take the goods the gods provide.' I Wish you a
Merry Christmas."

"Have you the card?" Grace asked, after the first exclamations regarding
the mysterious boxes had subsided.

Ruth opened the top drawer of her bureau and took out a card. Then going
to her wardrobe she displayed the blue suit on its hanger, then took the
new hat from the shelf. "Here they are," she said.

The three girls praised the suit and hat so warmly that a flush of pure
pleasure in her clothes rose to Ruth's face. Grace, however, examined
the inside of the coat and the lining of the hat with the utmost care.
Every telltale mark had been removed. Even the boxes themselves were
plain. The giver had evidently wished his or her identity to remain a
mystery. The writing on the card was not particularly distinctive. There
was only one thing of which Grace made mental note. The s's were
unfinished and the a's were not closed at the top. This in itself
amounted to little, and Grace decided that as far as she was concerned
the mystery would have to remain unsolved. So she said nothing about
this unimportant discovery, and handed Ruth's treasures back to her
without comment.

"I thought Arline might have sent it," declared Ruth, "but she swears
solemnly she knows nothing of it, and has given me her word that she had
nothing whatever to do with it."

"You'll find out some day if you have patience," declared Miriam.
"Sooner or later good deeds like that are sure to come to light."

"I wish I knew," sighed Ruth, "but if I had known, then I couldn't have
accepted them, you see."

"Evidently the person who sent them was aware of that," reflected Anne.
"Therefore, it is some one who knows all about Ruth Denton's pride."

The flush on Ruth's face deepened. "I can't help it," she said. "I don't
like to feel dependent on any one."

On the way to Wayne Hall, the mysterious presents formed the main
subject for discussion.

"We ought to have Elfreda's opinion," laughed Miriam. "She would find a
clue. Don't you remember what she said about Ruth's pride the first time
we took her to call on Ruth?"

"Yes," replied Grace absently. Then the full force of Miriam's words
dawning on her she looked at her friend in a startled way. "I know who
sent Ruth those presents. It was Elfreda herself. I'm sure of it. She
knew Ruth to be too proud to accept clothes, so she sent them
anonymously. Now I know why those 'a's' and 's's' looked so familiar.
That's Elfreda's writing. I know she did it. She just had to be nice in
spite of herself," concluded Grace.

"But why do you think it was Elfreda?" persisted Miriam.

"It was what you said that put me on the right track," replied Grace. "I
believe she made up her mind that day to send Ruth the suit and hat."

"If she did send them, there is still hope that she will come back to
us," said Anne.

It was agreed among the three girls that not even Ruth should be told of
their suspicions, and that if any possible opportunity arose to
conciliate Elfreda it should be promptly seized.

During the short space of time that elapsed before the dreaded
examination week swooped down upon them, the three friends were too busy
preparing for the coming ordeal to give much thought to the discovery
they had made. Elfreda avoided them so persistently that there seemed
small chance of getting within speaking distance. It was a week of
painful suspense, broken only by brief outbursts of jubilation when some
particularly formidable examination, that everyone had worried over,
seemingly to the point of gray hairs, turned out better than had been
expected.

In the campus houses wholesale permission to burn midnight oil had been
granted. Lights shone until late hours and flushed faces bent earnestly
over text books as though trying to absorb their contents verbatim. On
Friday, the strain, that had been lessening imperceptibly with each
succeeding examination, snapped, and Overton began to think about many
things that had no bearing on examinations.

"I'm almost dead!" exclaimed Grace, coming into her room on Friday
afternoon and dropping into the Morris chair near the window.

"I'm tired, too," returned Anne, who had come in just ahead of her, and
was engaged in putting her freshly laundered clothing in the two drawers
of the chiffonier that belonged to her.

"Thank goodness, we have four whole days of rest between terms at any
rate," sighed Grace. "I'm going to skate and be out of doors as much as
I can. I must make a few calls, too. I'm going to give a dinner at
Vinton's, too. I'll invite Mabel, Frances, Gertrude Wells, Arline
Thayer, Ruth, of course. That makes five," counted Grace on her fingers.
"Oh, yes, Constance Fuller, six, you two girls, and myself. That makes
nine. I told Mother about it when I was at home and she gave me the
money for it. I'll have it Tuesday night. The new term begins Wednesday.
To-morrow I'll go calling and deliver my invitations in the morning.
There's a trial basketball game to-morrow afternoon."

"When will there be a real game?" asked Anne. "I haven't heard you
mention basketball for ages."

"Christmas and examinations put a damper on it, but now all the girls
are anxious to play and we have challenged the sophomores to play
against us the second Saturday afternoon in February. I am going to play
right guard, and Miriam is to play left forward. A Miss Martin is our
center, and two freshmen I don't know very well are to play the left
guard and right forward. We have a good team. Miss Martin is a wonder.
You can see us practice if you wish, Anne."

"Perhaps I will," returned Anne. "Who is on the sophomore team?"

"I don't know," answered Grace. "I don't have much to say to the
sophomores. Most of them appear to dislike me, consequently I shall
greatly enjoy vanquishing them at basketball."

At the dinner table that night a discussion concerning Saturday's
practice game arose, to which Grace and Miriam listened quietly without
taking part.

"I suppose I ought to go to this practice game, to see what the freshmen
team can do. I think we can make them look sick and sorry before we are
through with them," drawled Virginia Gaines.

Grace and Miriam exchanged lightning glances. This was the first
intimation they had received that Virginia intended to play on the
sophomore team. Miriam frowned. She was thinking of the time when she
had been Grace's enemy on the basketball field and off. The recollection
was not pleasant. It was very unfortunate that they had to oppose
Virginia. Miriam determined to look out for herself and Grace, too, on
the day of the game. Involuntarily her face hardened with resolve. She
set her lips firmly, then glancing in the direction of Virginia she saw
Elfreda, who sat next to the sophomore at the table, eyeing her
intently. There was a disagreeable smile on the stout girl's face as she
leaned toward Virginia and made a low-toned remark. Miss Gaines looked
toward Miriam, smiled maliciously, and shrugged her shoulders.

"That's a danger signal," decided Miriam. "She does mean mischief. I'll
speak to Grace about it as soon as we go upstairs." But before they left
the dining room the door bell rang. The maid admitted Gertrude Wells and
Arline Thayer, and in the pleasure of seeing them, Miriam's resolve to
warn Grace was quite forgotten.

The practice game ended in an overwhelming advantage for Grace's team.
The other team behaved good-naturedly over their defeat and challenged
the winners to play again the following Saturday. They promptly accepted
the challenge, and, when the second practice game was played, again came
off victorious.

Grace's old basketball ardor had returned threefold and every available
moment found her in the gymnasium hard at work. The other members of the
teams had imbibed considerable of her enthusiasm. Miss Martin, the
center, laughingly said Grace was a human whirlwind and simply made the
rest of the team play to keep up with her. Miriam's playing also evoked
considerable praise. The first Saturday in February marked the last game
with the Number Two team. It turned out to be quite an event and the
gallery of the gymnasium was crowded with a mixed representation of
classes. Virginia Gaines and Elfreda sat in the first row, and as the
play proceeded Virginia watched the skilful tactics of Miriam and Grace
with anything but enthusiasm. Elfreda, narrowly watching her companion,
read apprehension in Virginia's face, although she made light of the
playing of the freshmen team and predicted an easy victory for the
sophomores. Scarcely knowing why she did so, Elfreda had doggedly
insisted that if the sophomores hoped to beat that freshman team, they
would have to play exceptionally well. Whereupon an argument arose
regarding the respective merits of the two teams that lasted all the way
to Wayne Hall, and ended in the two girls not speaking to each other
again that night.

"Did you see Elfreda in the gallery this afternoon?" asked Anne, as she
and Grace left the gymnasium and set out for Wayne Hall. Anne had waited
in the dressing room until Grace finished dressing.

"I did not see any one," laughed Grace. "I was far too busy. I am
surprised to learn that she came to the game."

"She was there, in the third row balcony," replied Anne. "She sat with
Virginia Gaines, who looked ferocious enough to bite."

"I wish something would happen to make Elfreda see that we are her
friends," sighed Grace.

"She will see, some day," predicted Anne. "Sooner or later she will
realize her mistake and come back to us."



CHAPTER XIX

A GAME WORTH SEEING


The second Saturday in February dawned anything but encouragingly. The
night before a blizzard had set in, and at one o'clock Saturday
afternoon the temperature had dropped almost to zero. The wind howled
and shrieked dismally, and to venture out meant to nurse frozen ears as
a result of facing the blast. But neither wind nor weather frightened
the enthusiastic basketball fans. With knitted and fur caps pulled down
over their ears they gallantly braved the storm. Even the majority of
the faculty were in the front seats that had been reserved for them and
by two o'clock every available inch of space in the gallery was filled.

The sophomore colors of blue and gold mingled with the red and white of
the freshmen colors in the decorations that were displayed lavishly
about the gymnasium. The faculty, too, wore the colors of their
respective favorites, while the president of the college held two
immense bouquets, one of red, the other of yellow roses, showing that he
at least was impartial. On each side of the gallery a group of girls
stood ready to lead their respective classes in the basketball choruses
that are sung solely With the object of urging the teams on to deeds of
glory. These choruses had been written hurriedly by loyal fans who had
more enthusiasm than ability as verse writers, and fitted to popular
airs. The fact that they possessed neither rhythm nor style troubled no
one. The main idea was to make a great deal of noise in singing them,
and nothing else counted.

The freshmen and sophomore substitutes were the first to emerge from
their dressing rooms on either side of the gymnasium, dressed in their
respective gymnasium suits of black and blue, the sleeves and sailor
collars of which were ornamented with their colors. They were greeted
with a gratifying burst of song from both sides which lasted until they
took their places, eager and alert, ready to make good if the
opportunity presented itself. After a brief interval the dressing room
doors opened again and the real teams appeared. This time the burst of
song became so jubilantly noisy that the president of the college half
rose in his seat as though to signal for order, then, apparently
changing his mind, settled himself in his chair, smiling broadly.
Immediately the song ended the referee's whistle blew and the great game
began.

From the moment the ball was put in play it was plain to the spectators
that this was to be a game worth seeing. The sophomores, with Virginia
Gaines as center, adopted whirlwind tactics from the start and the
freshmen did little more than defend themselves during the first half,
which came to an end without either side scoring. That the freshmen
could hold their own was evident, and when the whistle blew for the
second half the freshmen in the gallery applauded their team with
renewed vigor.

During the brief intermission Grace and Miriam had clasped hands and
vowed to outplay the sophomores in the second half or perish in the
attempt. The three other members had thereupon insisted on being
included in the vow, and when the five girls trotted to their respective
positions at the sound of the referee's whistle, it was with a
determination to stoutly contest every inch of the ground. Luck seemed
against them, however, for the sophomores scored through the clever
playing of Virginia Gaines. The freshmen then set their teeth and
resolved to die rather than allow the enemy to score again. Then Miriam
secured the ball and dodging and ducking this way and that she passed
the ball to another player who made the basket and the score was tied.
This put the sophomores not only on the anxious seat, but also on their
mettle, and try as they might the freshmen found themselves unable to
pile up their score.

The end of the second half crept nearer and the score still remained
tied. Grace, who was becoming more and more apprehensive as the minutes
passed, stood anxiously watching the ball, which was being played
perilously near their opponents' goal. Catching the eyes of Miriam, who
stood nearest it, Grace made a desperate little upward motion. Miriam
understood and redoubled her efforts to secure the ball, which she
finally did by springing straight up into the air and intercepting it on
its way to the basket. A shout went up from the freshmen which grew to a
roar. Miriam had thrown the ball unerringly to Grace, who caught it, and
facing quickly toward the freshman goal, balanced herself on her toes
preparatory to tossing her prize into the basket.

"She'll never make it," groaned a freshman. But her remark was lost in
the clamor.

With one quick, comprehensive glance, Grace measured the distance, then
with a long, swift overhand toss she sent the ball curving through the
air. It dropped squarely into the basket, bounded up in the air, then
dropped gently into place.

[Illustration: Grace Measured the Distance.]

For the next few minutes pandemonium reigned in the gymnasium. The happy
freshmen burst into song and drummed on the floor in expression of their
glee. The freshmen team had outplayed that of the sophomores. Only once
before in the history of the college had such a thing occurred. To Grace
Harlowe and Miriam Nesbit was given the principal credit for this latest
victory. Grace's goal toss had been a record-breaker. Never had a
freshman been known to make such a toss.

Now that the excitement was over, Grace felt suddenly weak in the knees.
She started for a seat at the side of the gymnasium, but before she
reached it there was a rush from the freshman class. Her classmates
lifted her to their shoulders and began parading about the gymnasium
floor, singing:

    "Nineteen---- is looking sad,
      Tra la la, Tra la la,
    I wonder what has made her mad,
      Tra la la, Tra la la,
    Her coaching was in vain,
    The freshman team has won again,
    Little sophomores, run away,
    Come again some other day."

Then there followed a song that brought a shout of laughter from
hundreds of throats, and one in which the sophomores did not join:

    Backward, turn backward, O ball in your flight,
    Why did you drop in the basket so tight?
    Sadly the sophomores are rueing the day
    They asked the freshmen in their yard to play,
    Sophomore banners are hung at half mast,
    Sophomore tears they are falling so fast,
    Sophomore faces are turned toward the wall,
    Sophomore pride has had a hard fall.

Grace had been seized and carried around and around the gymnasium on the
shoulders of her exulting classmates, who sang lustily as they marched,
then gently deposited her in the dressing room. Miriam also had received
that honor. When the two girls left the dressing room twenty minutes
later, they were taken charge of by a delegation of admiring freshmen
and informed that there would be a dinner given that night at Vinton's
in honor of them.

An air of deep gloom pervaded the sophomore dressing room, however.
Virginia Gaines dressed in gloomy silence. One or two of her team
ventured to speak to her. She answered so shortly that they did not
trouble her further, but went out talking among themselves as soon as
they had changed their gymnasium suits for street clothing. Outside
Elfreda waited impatiently. "I thought you were never coming," grumbled
the stout girl. Then the unpleasant side of her disposition, which she
had tried to eliminate during her brief friendship with the Oakdale
girls, came to the surface and she said maliciously: "I thought you said
they couldn't play, Virginia. Funny, wasn't it, that you had such a poor
idea of their playing? It was the best game I ever saw, but all the star
playing was on the freshman side."

Virginia's face grew dark. "Stop trying to be sarcastic," she stormed.
"I won't stand it. Do you hear me?"

"Yes, I hear you. I'm not deaf," returned Elfreda dryly. "As for
standing it, you don't have to. Good-bye." Turning sharply about she set
off in the opposite direction, her hands in her pockets, a look of
intense disgust on her round face. "That's the end of that," she
muttered. "I'll move to-morrow. This time it will have to be out of
Wayne Hall, unless----." Then she shook her head almost sadly: "Not
there," she added. "She wouldn't have me for a roommate."



CHAPTER XX

GRACE OVERHEARS SOMETHING INTERESTING


After the famous basketball game a marked change was noticeable in the
attitude of the freshman class toward the Oakdale girls. Grace and
Miriam received numerous invitations to dinners and spreads, in which
Anne was frequently included. Then the girls at Wayne Hall gave a play
in which Anne enacted the role of heroine, stage manager, prompter, and
producer, besides doing all the coaching. After that her star was also
in the ascendant and the little slights and coolnesses that had been
noticeable after Elfreda's ill-timed gossip had done its work, died a
natural death.

The stout girl had lost no time in leaving Virginia. The evening after
her quarrel with the sophomore she had moved her belongings into the
hall the moment she reached her room, then gone downstairs and demanded
another room. As it happened, a freshman whose cousin lived at Morton
House had invited her to share her room. She had departed that very
afternoon and Mrs. Elwood offered Elfreda the now vacant half of her
room. Emma Dean, the tall, near-sighted freshman, occupied the other
half. There was a single room in the house of Mrs. Elwood's sister, but
Elfreda had refused to consider it. Despite the fact that there were now
four young women at Wayne Hall with whom she was not on speaking terms,
she could not bring herself to leave the house. In her inmost heart she
knew that it was because she did not wish to leave the three girls she
had repudiated, but not for worlds would she have acknowledged this to
be the case.

Several times she had been on the point of throwing her pride to the
winds and apologizing to Grace, Miriam and Anne for her childish
behavior. Then she would scoff at her own weakness and go doggedly on.
Her new roommate, Emma Dean, was a cheery sort of girl who lived every
day as it came and refused to borrow trouble. She never criticized other
girls, nor did she gossip, and she was extremely thoughtful of the
comfort of her roommate. After several days of dubious speculation the
stout girl decided she liked Emma, and Emma decided that Elfreda was
rather an agreeable disappointment.

There were two young women, however, who had suddenly appeared to take a
great interest in Elfreda. Alberta Wicks and Mary Hampton had met
Elfreda in Vinton's late one afternoon, and had made distinctly
friendly overtures to her. At any other time she would have passed them
by in disdain, but on that particular occasion, feeling gloomy and
downcast, she decided to forget her grievance against them. Then, too,
she did not know them to be the girls who had sent her the anonymous
letter. Grace had never told her the truth of the affair, so she played
unsuspectingly into their hands. They had invited her to have ice cream
with them, and she had insisted that they be her guests at dinner. After
that they had invited her to Stuart Hall to dinner and she had
entertained them at Wayne Hall one evening, greatly to the surprise of
Grace, who suddenly remembered that, after all, Elfreda was not so much
to blame as she did not know the truth. But why should these two girls
accept the hospitality of the very girl they had tried to drive away
from Overton? It was a puzzle that Grace could not solve. She discussed
it with Anne and Miriam but they could throw no light on the mystery.

The coming of the Easter vacation gave the three girls more pleasant
matters of which to think. This time Ruth Denton accompanied them to
Oakdale as Grace's guest, while Miriam invited Arline Thayer also, as a
surprise to Ruth. When Arline serenely joined them at the station the
morning of their departure, Ruth could hardly believe the evidence of
her own eyes.

The two weeks in Oakdale flew by on wings. With the boys and the other
members of the Phi Sigma Tau at home, too, there were more things to do
and places to go than could possibly be squeezed into that brief space
of time. Arline Thayer, who was a joyous, irrepressible spirit,
announced with conviction that Oakdale was even nicer than New York. She
and Nora became sworn friends and the joint guardians of Hippy, who
declared that he never would have believed there were two such
relentless tyrants in the world, if he had not seen them face to face.

Mrs. Gray, who had been in Florida during the Christmas holidays, had
returned in time to welcome her adopted children home. She was
especially delighted to see Anne and would scarcely allow the quiet
little girl out of her sight. She had been greatly disappointed because
Anne had refused to accept from her the money for her college education,
but secretly exulted in Anne's independence and smiled to herself when
she thought of a certain clause in her will that had amply provided for
her adopted daughter's future welfare.

Altogether it was a vacation long to be remembered, and the four
originals separated with the glad thought that the next time they met
it would be months instead of weeks before their little company would
again set their faces in opposite directions.

The night after their return to Overton, Grace, after having made a
conscientious effort to study, threw down her history in despair. "I
know a great deal more about the history of Oakdale than I do about the
history of Rome," she sighed.

"I wish I had never heard of trigonometry," returned Anne, shutting her
book with a snap. "I can't think of anything except the good time we've
had. Home has completely upset my student mind." She rose, laid down her
book and walked listlessly toward the window. It had been an unusually
warm day for early spring and the night air had that suspicion of
dampness in it that betokens rain. "It will rain before morning," she
declared. "There isn't a star in sight and the moon has gone behind a
cloud."

Grace joined Anne at the window. The two girls stood peering out into
the darkness of the spring night. "I feel as though I'd like to go out
and walk miles and miles to-night," declared Grace.

"So do I," agreed Anne. Then glancing back at the clock, she remarked,
"It's twenty minutes past ten. Too late for us to go now. We can go
to-morrow night, can't we?"

Grace nodded. "We'll get our work done early, or, better still, we can
go walking early in the evening and study when we come back. I wish
you'd remind me that I must call on Mabel Ashe this week. In fact, all
three of us ought to go over to Holland House."

The next day, however, Anne remembered regretfully that she had promised
to help a troubled freshman through the mazes of an especially trying
trigonometry lesson, while Miriam had a theme to write which she had
neglected until the last minute, and had to rush through on record time.

"You're a set of irresponsible young things who don't know your own mind
from one minute to the next," laughed Grace. "As I can't very well go
walking alone, I'll make my call on Mabel."

Directly after dinner she set out for Holland House and Mabel's
delighted: "I'm so glad you came, Grace. Where have you been keeping
yourself?" sounded very sweet to Grace, who adored Mabel and outside of
her own particular chums liked her better than any other girl she knew
at home or in college. The two young women were deep in conversation
when a rap sounded at the door. Mabel opened it, looked inquiringly at
the girl who stood outside and exclaimed contritely: "Oh, Helen, I'm so
sorry I forgot all about you. I'll get ready this minute. Come in. Miss
Harlowe, this is Miss Burton. Grace, I wonder if you will mind making a
call to-night. I promised Helen I'd take her down to Wellington House
and introduce her to a junior friend of mine who plays golf. Helen is a
golf fiend."

"So am I," laughed Grace. "I brought my golf bag to Overton, but didn't
play much in the fall. I'm going to try it, though, as soon as the
ground is in shape."

"How nice!" exclaimed Helen Burton, with a friendly smile that lighted
up her rather plain face and brought the dimples to her cheeks. "We can
have some nice times together. You had better come with us now."

"Thank you, I shall be pleased to go," replied Grace politely. "I have
never been in Wellington House. It is an upper class house, isn't it?"

"Yes," replied Mabel. "It is given up entirely to juniors and seniors.
It is the oldest house on the campus, and very difficult to get into.
Personally, I like Holland House better. I had an opportunity to get
into Wellington House last fall, but refused it." Grace noted that Mabel
frowned slightly and set her lips as though determined to shut out an
unpleasant memory.

To reach Wellington House was merely a matter of crossing one end of the
campus. Grace looked about her curiously as they were ushered into the
long, old-fashioned hall that extended almost to the back of the house.
They entered the parlor at one side of the hall and sat down while Mabel
excused herself and ran upstairs after Leona Rowe, the junior she had
come to see. She had hardly disappeared before a flaxen head was poked
in the door and a surprised voice said: "For goodness sake, Helen
Burton, when did you rain down? You are just the one I want to see. What
do you think of to-morrow's German? I can't translate it. It's
frightfully hard. Come up and help me, dearest."

The ingratiating emphasis she placed on the word "dearest" caused both
Grace and Helen to laugh.

"All right, I will for just two minutes. Want to come upstairs, Miss
Harlowe?"

Grace smilingly shook her head. "I'll stay here in case Mabel comes
back."

"Thank you," returned Helen. "Miss Harlowe, this is Miss Redmond."

The two girls exchanged friendly nods. Then the flaxen-haired girl led
the way, followed by Helen Burton, and Grace settled herself in the
depths of a big chair to await their return. As she sat idly wondering
what the subject of her next theme should be, the sound of voices
reached her ears, proceeding from the back parlor that adjoined the room
in which Grace sat. Two girls had entered the other room, but the heavy
portieres which hung in the dividing arch, hid them from view. The
voices, however, Grace recognized with a start as belonging to Beatrice
Alden, the disagreeable junior, and Alberta Wicks of the sophomore
class.

"I'll be glad when my sophomore year is over," grumbled Alberta Wicks.
"Mary and I have asked for a room here. I hope we get it. If we do we
will be able, at least, to eat our meals without the eternal
accompaniment of Miss Harlowe's and Miss Nesbit's doings. Ever since
that basketball game, Stuart Hall has talked of nothing else."

"Are there many freshmen at Stuart Hall?" asked Beatrice Alden.

"Too many to suit me," was the emphatic answer.

"If you are so down on freshmen in general, how in the world do you
manage to endure that dreadful Miss Briggs?"

"J. Elfreda is a joke," replied Alberta. "Nevertheless, she is a very
useful joke. In the first place, she has plenty of money to spend, and
we see to it that she spends a good share of it on us. Then, too, we
can borrow money of her. She is a great convenience. The funny part of
it is she doesn't know about that letter we wrote. For once that
priggish Miss Harlowe did manage to hold her tongue to some purpose."

"Suppose she does find out?"

"She can't prove that we wrote the note," was the quick retort. "When
Miss Harlowe tried to pin us to it that day at Stuart Hall I merely said
that a number of sophomores felt justified in sending the note. Of
course, she drew her own conclusions, but conclusions are far from
proof, you know. She would hardly dare circulate any reports concerning
it. We aren't going to bother with J. Elfreda much longer at any rate.
It's getting too near warm weather to risk being bored to death. Mary
expects a check from home soon, and I've written Mother for some extra
money, so we won't need hers. Besides, I don't wish to let our
acquaintance lap over into my junior year. She's frightfully ill bred,
and I'm going to begin to be more careful about my associates next
year."

"What a frightful snob you are, Bert," said Beatrice rather disgustedly.

"Well, you are my first cousin, you know," retorted Alberta
significantly. "I never considered you particularly democratic."

"I'm not deceitful, at any rate," reminded Beatrice. "If I dislike a
girl I take no pains to conceal it, and I am certainly not a grafter."

"Neither am I, Beatrice Alden, and the fact of your being my cousin
doesn't give you the right to insult me. I intended to tell you about a
stunt we had planned for Friday night, but since you seem to be so
conscientious about Miss Briggs, I shan't tell you anything."

Then a silence fell that was broken the next instant by the violent slam
of the front door. Grace rose to her feet, took a step forward, paused
irresolutely, then pushing apart the heavy curtains walked into the
other room. Beatrice Alden stood unconcernedly running through the
leaves of a magazine she had picked up from the table.

"Miss Alden!"

The senior turned quickly, looking inquiringly, then sternly, at Grace.
"How long have you been here?" she said abruptly.

"I heard part of the conversation," replied Grace coldly. "When you
began talking I recognized your voices, then I heard my name mentioned,
and true to the old adage about listeners I heard no good of myself.
When I heard Miss Briggs's name spoken I decided that under the
circumstances I was justified in listening further, as I intended at any
rate to announce my presence and just what I heard as soon as you two
had finished speaking. Miss Wicks's sudden departure prevented me from
carrying out my intention as far as she was concerned. I shall, however,
notify her at the earliest opportunity." Grace paused, looking squarely
at the older girl.

Beatrice Alden's expression of intense displeasure gave way to one of
reluctant admiration with dislike struggling in the background. "You are
extremely frank in your statements, Miss Harlowe," she said
sarcastically.

"There is no reason why I should not be," returned Grace composedly.
"Miss Wicks and Miss Hampton, for reasons best known to themselves,
chose to make Miss Briggs the victim of an unwomanly practical joke on
the very day of her arrival at Overton. I think you are in possession of
the story. Miss Briggs's method of retaliation was unwise, I will admit,
but Miss Wicks and Miss Hampton had no right to try to drive her from
Overton on account of it. In her distress over a certain anonymous
letter she received, Miss Briggs came to me, and I, suspecting the
source from which the letter came, tried as best I could to straighten
out the tangle, without allowing Miss Briggs to know who was at fault.

"Since then, unfortunately, a misunderstanding has arisen between us. I
have now no influence whatever with Miss Briggs, and she has played
directly into the hands of the only two enemies she has in college. All
along I have been certain that Miss Wicks and Miss Hampton meant
mischief. What I have heard to-day confirms it. Miss Alden, you are Miss
Wicks's cousin. I heard her say so. As a true Overton girl, will you not
use your influence with her in persuading her to abandon whatever plan
she and Miss Hampton have made to annoy Miss Briggs?"

Beatrice Alden eyed Grace reflectively but said nothing.

Grace looked pleadingly at the irresponsive junior. For a moment tense
silence reigned. Then Beatrice Alden shook her head.

"I'm sorry, Miss Harlowe," she said soberly. All trace of hauteur had
disappeared. "But you know how angry Alberta was when she left here. She
wouldn't listen to me. I doubt if she speaks to me again this year. She
has a frightful temper and holds the slightest grudge for ages. She will
carry out her plan now, merely to show me how utterly she disregards my
disapproval."

"I'm sorry, too," smiled Grace ruefully. "I shall try to see Miss
Briggs, but she is utterly unapproachable."

The two girls looked into each other's eyes. Then they both laughed.
Beatrice Alden stretched out her hand impulsively. "We're both in an
evil case, aren't we?" she laughed.

Grace met the hand half way. "But we are of the same mind, aren't we?"
she asked.

"Yes," replied Beatrice simply. She hesitated, looked rather confused,
then added: "I used to think I disliked you, Miss Harlowe, but I find my
feelings toward you are quite the opposite. I hope we shall some day be
friends."

"I hope so, too," agreed Grace earnestly. "We have a mutual friend, you
know, in Mabel Ashe, although yours and Mabel's friendship began long
before I came to Overton." A shadow crossed Beatrice's face. Grace noted
it and interpreted it correctly. "You are very fond of Mabel, are you
not, Miss Alden?" she asked.

"Very," was the short answer.

"Anne Pierson is the dearest girl friend I have in the world," declared
wily Grace. "Then two Oakdale girls who are studying in an eastern
conservatory of music come next, and after that Miriam Nesbit. There are
also three other girls, members of a high school sorority to which I
belong, and a girl in Denver, who have very strong claims on my
affection. I have a number of dearest friends, you see. Some time I
should like to tell you more of them."

Beatrice had brightened visibly as Grace talked. She now felt assured
that this attractive freshman with her clear grey eyes and
straightforward manner would never attempt to monopolize Mabel's entire
attention.

At this moment Mabel's voice was heard at the head of the stairs. She
descended, followed by Leona Rowe and Helen Burton.

"Why, hello, Bee!" cried Mabel. "I asked for you upstairs, but was told
you were out."

"So I was," smiled Beatrice, "but I'm here now. What is your pleasure?"

"Come over to Holland House and have tea and cakes and candy, if there's
any left in the box of Huyler's that came last night. Every girl in the
house sampled it. You know what that means."

"I'll go for my hat and coat," returned Beatrice brightly. "See you in a
minute." She ran lightly up the stairs, smiling to herself. Helen and
Leona rushed out in the hall to interview a girl who had just come in.
Finding themselves alone for the moment Mabel turned to Grace with a
solemnly inquiring air, "How did you do it?" she asked in a low tone.

"I'll tell you some other time," replied Grace. "It was a surprise to
me, but the chance just happened to come and I took advantage of it."

The return of the three young women cut off further opportunity for
explanation, but as Grace walked back to Holland House, one arm linked
in that of Mabel Ashe, while Beatrice Alden, heretofore frigid and
unapproachable, walked at the other side of the popular junior, she
could not help wishing a certain other tangle might be as easily
straightened.



CHAPTER XXI

AN UNHEEDED WARNING


The next day found Grace rather at a loss how to proceed in the case of
Elfreda. From what she had overheard it was evident that Alberta Wicks
and Mary Hampton had decided to make Elfreda the victim of some
well-laid plot of their own. What the nature of it was Grace had not the
remotest idea. To approach Elfreda was embarrassing to say the least. To
warn her against the two mischievous sophomores without being able to
state anything more definite than what she had overheard at Wellington
House was infinitely more embarrassing.

"What time had I best try to see her?" Grace asked herself. She had come
from Overton Hall with Anne and Miriam late that afternoon and the three
girls had lingered on the steps of Wayne Hall, reluctant to go indoors.
Spring was getting ready to fulfill all sorts of tender promises she had
made to her children. The buds on the trees were bursting into tiny new
green leaves. The crocuses were in bloom in the yards along College
Street, and the grass on the campus was growing greener every hour. The
roads, too, were obligingly drying, so that adventurous walkers might
visit their favorite haunts in the country surrounding Overton without
running the risk of wading in the mud.

There was Guest House, the famous colonial tea shop that had been built
and used as an inn during the Revolution. In this quaint historic place
ample refreshment was to be found. There one could satisfy one's
appetite with dainty little sandwiches, muffins and jam, tea cakes and
tea, fresh milk or buttermilk.

There was also Hunter's Rock that overhung the river, and whose smooth,
flat surface made an ideal spot for picnickers. It was five miles from
Overton, but extremely popular with all four classes, and from early
spring until late fall, it was occupied on Saturday by various gay gipsy
parties from the college. Then there were canoes for the venturesome,
and staid old rowboats for the cautious, to be hired at a nominal sum,
while girlish figures dotted the golf course and the tennis courts.
Girls strolled about the campus in the early evenings, or gathered in
groups on the steps of the campus houses. It was the time of year when
spring creeps into one's blood, making one forget everything except the
blueness of the sky, the softness of the air and the lure of green
things growing.

"I must go into the house," sighed Miriam Nesbit. "I have that
appalling trigonometry lesson for to-morrow to prepare from beginning to
end. I haven't looked at it yet."

"I peeped at it yesterday," said Anne. "It's the worst one we've had, so
far."

"The end is not yet," reminded Grace.

"Well it will be in sight before long. Our freshman year is almost over,
didn't you know it, children!" queried Miriam laughingly.

"It has seemed long in some respects and short in others," reflected
Grace. "I think--" Grace paused. A tall, rather stout girl came
hurriedly up the walk. She stalked up the steps and into the house
without looking to the right or left. Even in that fleeting moment Grace
noted that she seemed rather excited and that she carried in her hand an
open letter. "I wonder if now would be a good time to tackle her,"
speculated Grace. Then deciding that, after all, there was nothing to be
gained without making a venture, Grace walked resolutely to the door.
"I'll see you later, girls," was her only remark as she passed inside.

Once outside Elfreda's door, Grace did not feel quite so confident.
Summoning all her courage, however, she knocked. An impatient voice
called, "Come in," and Grace accepted the rather ungracious invitation
to enter. J. Elfreda sat facing the window intent upon the letter Grace
had seen in her hand. She turned sharply as the door closed, then
catching sight of Grace, sprang to her feet, her face clouded with
anger. "How dare you come in here?" she stormed.

"You said 'Come in,' Elfreda," returned Grace quietly.

"Yes, but not to you," raged Elfreda. "Never to you. Leave my room
instantly and don't come back again."

"I won't trouble you long," returned Grace. "I came to put you on your
guard against two young women who are about to make mischief for you. I
am very sorry I did not tell you long ago that Miss Wicks and Miss
Hampton were the originators of the anonymous letter which caused you so
much unhappiness. I suspected as much at the time, and accused them of
writing it. They neither affirmed nor denied their part in the affair,
although they admitted that certain members of the sophomore class wrote
the letter. I threatened to take up the matter with the sophomore class
if the two young women persisted in making you unhappy, and this threat
evidently influenced them to drop their crusade against you.

"To a certain extent I feel responsible for what has followed, for if I
had told you this before you would hardly have afterward become
friendly with them. However, I can do this much. From a conversation I
overheard the other day I am convinced that Miss Wicks and Miss Hampton
intend to play a practical joke on you on Friday night. I am afraid that
it will not be of the tame variety either, and may cause you trouble.
These two girls do not like you, Elfreda, and they have not forgiven you
nor never will."

"You are awfully anxious to make me think that no one but you and your
friends ever liked me, aren't you?" sneered Elfreda. "Well, just let me
tell you something. Those girls may have their faults, but they aren't
stingy and selfish, at all events. This letter here is an invitation
to----, well, I shan't tell you what it is, but it's far from being a
practical joke, I can assure you."

Grace looked doubtfully at Elfreda, who stood very erect, her head held
high with offended dignity. Perhaps, after all, she had been too hasty.
Perhaps the two sophomores really intended playing some harmless trick.
Then the words, "We are not going to bother with J. Elfreda much
longer," returned with a force that left Grace no longer in uncertainty.

"Elfreda," she said earnestly, "I wish you would listen to me for once.
Miss Wicks and Miss Hampton are not your friends. If you accept their
invitation for Friday night you will be sorry. Take my advice, and steer
clear of them."

"Please mind your own business and get out of my room," commanded
Elfreda fiercely.

Casting one steady, reproachful look at the angry girl, Grace left the
room in silence. Once outside her own door she clenched her hands and
fought back her rising emotion. Tears of humiliation stood in her gray
eyes, then winking them back bravely, she drew a long breath and opened
her door. Anne, who in the meantime had come upstairs, turned
expectantly. "What luck?" she questioned.

"None," returned Grace shortly. "She ordered me out of her room."

At this juncture Miriam Nesbit joined them. "What's the latest on the
bulletin board?" she inquired, smiling mischievously.

"Don't laugh, Miriam," rebuked Grace. "Things are serious. Elfreda has
some sort of engagement for Friday night with those two girls. She
almost told me what it was, then changed her mind and invited me to mind
my own business and leave her room. I'm going to try to find out
something about Friday night and see that she gets fair play. After that
I shall never trouble myself about her," concluded Grace, her voice
trembling slightly.

"Don't feel so hurt at Elfreda's rudeness, Grace," soothed Miriam. "She
doesn't mean half she says. She'll be sorry some day."

"I wish 'some day' was before Friday," replied Grace mournfully. "I
wonder who else is to take part in this affair?"

"Watch Miss Wicks and Miss Hampton," advised Anne quietly.

"That's sound advice," agreed Grace. "I appoint you and Miriam as secret
service agents. You must unearth the enemy's plans for Friday night."

"What will you do if we should happen to stumble upon them?" asked
Miriam curiously.

"I don't know, yet," said Grace slowly. "It will depend entirely on what
they are. Since we can't prevent Elfreda from going to her fate, we may
be obliged to go along with her. If I were to ask you girls to drop
everything and follow me on Friday night, would you do it?"

Anne and Miriam nodded.

"Then that's settled," was her relieved comment. "I am going to take two
other girls into our confidence. I shall tell Mabel Ashe and Frances
Marlton. They will come to the rescue if I need them. Besides they are
juniors, and if I am not mistaken, upper class support may be very
desirable before we are through with this affair."

"And all this anxiety over J. Elfreda," smiled Miriam. "But to tell you
the truth, girls, I shall be only too glad to fare forth in the cause of
Elfreda. I thought her a terrible cross when she first came, but now I
am positively lonesome without her, and I don't care how soon she comes
back."



CHAPTER XXII

TURNING THE TABLES


For the next two days the three girls bent their efforts toward
discovering the plot on foot against Elfreda, but to little purpose. So
far, Grace had refrained from imparting her vague knowledge of what
impended to Mabel and Frances. Her naturally self-reliant nature would
not allow her to depend on others. She preferred to solve her own
problems and fight her own battles if necessary. Whatever the two
sophomores had planned was a secret indeed. By neither word nor sign did
they betray themselves, and by Thursday evening Grace was beginning to
show signs of anxiety.

"I haven't been able to find out a thing," she declared dispiritedly to
Anne. "I suspect one other girl, but I'm not sure about her. Anne, do
you think Virginia Gaines is in this affair, too?"

"Hardly," replied Anne. "She and Elfreda are not friendly, and Elfreda
could not be coaxed to go where she is likely to see Miss Gaines."

"But suppose Virginia Gaines kept strictly in the background, yet
helped to play the trick," persisted Grace.

"Of course she could easily do that," admitted Anne. "But what makes you
think she would?"

"Just this," replied Grace. "I saw her in conversation to-day with Mary
Hampton. They were standing outside Science Hall. They didn't see me
until I was within a few feet of them. Then they said good-bye in a
hurry, and rushed off in opposite directions. Now, what would you
naturally infer from that?"

"It does look suspicious," agreed Anne.

"That is what causes me to believe Virginia Gaines to be one of the
prime movers in this affair," was the quiet answer. "They are all very
clever. Too clever, by far, for me."

A knock at the door caused Grace to start slightly. "Come in!" she
called, then exclaimed in surprise as the door opened: "Why, Miriam,
where did you go? You disappeared the moment dinner was over."

"I had to go to the library," replied Miriam quickly. "Do you know
whether the girls on both sides of us are out?"

Grace nodded. "What's the matter, Miriam?" she asked curiously. "What
has happened? You look as mysterious as the Three Fates themselves."

"I've made a discovery," announced Miriam, taking a book from under her
arm and opening it. "I found something in this book that you ought to
see. I was in one of the alcoves to-night looking for a book that I have
been trying to lay hands on for a week. It has been out every time.
To-night I found it and inside the leaves I found this." She handed
Grace a folded paper.

Grace unfolded it wonderingly and began to read aloud:

"Dear Virginia:

"We decided that the haunted house plan would be quite likely to subdue
a certain obstreperous individual. We have already invited her to a
moonlight party at Hunter's Rock, as you know. Once she is there we will
see to the rest. Sorry you can't be with us, but that would give the
whole plan away. A little meditation in spookland will do our friend
good, and this time if she is wise she will keep her troubles to
herself. Of course, if any one should see her going home in the wee
small hours of the morning it might be unpleasant for her, but then, we
can't trouble ourselves over that.

"Yours, hastily,

"Bert."

Grace stared first at Anne, then Miriam, in incredulous, shocked
surprise.

"What a cruel girl!" she exclaimed. "Poor Elfreda!"

"Of course, the writer meant Elfreda," agreed Miriam. "'Bert,' I
suppose, stands for Alberta. In the first place, what haunted house does
she mean?"

"I don't know," answered Grace, knitting her brows. "Wait a minute! I'll
go down and ask Mrs. Elwood."

Within five minutes she had returned, bristling with information. "I
found out the whole story," she declared. "It is an old white house not
far from Hunter's Rock. Two brothers once lived there, and one
disappeared. It was rumored that he had been killed by his older
brother, and that the spirit of the murdered man haunted the place so
persistently that the other brother left there and never came back. They
say a white figure, carrying a lighted candle, walks moaning through the
rooms."

"How dreadful!" shivered Anne. "It is bad enough to think of those girls
coaxing Elfreda to go there. I believe they intend to persuade her to go
there, then leave her, too."

"We might show Elfreda this note," reflected Miriam. "No; on second
thought I should say we'd better make up a crowd and follow the others
to Hunter's Rock. Of course, we won't stay there. Those girls are
breaking rules by going there at night. We shall be breaking rules, too,
but in a good cause."

A long conversation ensued that would have aroused consternation in the
breast of a number of sophomores, had they been privileged to hear it.
When the last detail had been arranged, Grace leaned back in her chair
and smiled. "I think everything will go beautifully," she said, "and
several people are going to be surprised. Miriam, will you see Mabel
Ashe, Constance Fuller and Frances Marlton in the morning? Anne, will
you look out for Arline Thayer and Ruth? That will leave Leona Rowe and
Helen Burton for me, and, oh, yes, I'll have a talk with Emma Dean."

To all appearances, Friday dawned as prosaically as had all the other
days of that week, but in the breasts of a number of the students of
Overton stirred an excitement that deepened as the day wore on. As is
frequently the case, the object of it all went calmly on her way, taking
a smug satisfaction in the thought that she was the only freshman
invited to the select gathering of sophomores who were to brave the
censure of the dean, and picnic by moonlight at Hunter's Rock. For
almost the first time since her arrival at college Elfreda felt her own
popularity. Despite her native shrewdness, she was particularly
susceptible to flattery. To be the idol of the college had been one of
her most secret and hitherto hopeless desires. Now, in the sophomore
class she had found girls who really appreciated her, and who were ready
to say pleasant things to her rather than lecture her. She was glad,
now, that she had dropped Grace and her friends in time, and resolved
next year that she would put the width of the campus between herself and
Wayne Hall.

As she slipped on her long blue serge coat that night--the air was
chilly, though the day had been warm--a flush of triumph mounted to her
cheeks. Then glancing at the clock she hurriedly adjusted her hat. Her
appointment was for half-past seven. Alberta said the party was to be in
honor of her and she must not keep her friends waiting. She looked
sharply about her to see who was in sight. She had been pledged to
secrecy. Alberta had said they would return before half-past ten, so
there would be no need of asking Mrs. Elwood to leave the door unlocked
for her. Then she walked briskly down the steps and up the street.

Fifteen minutes before she left the house, three dark figures had
marched out single file down the street. Two blocks from the house they
had been met by a delegation of dark figures, and without a word being
spoken, the little party had taken a side street that led to Overton
Drive, a public highway that wound straight through the town out into
the country. The company had proceeded in absolute silence, and finally
leaving the road had turned into the fields and plodded steadily on. It
was the new of the moon and the landscape was shrouded in heavy shadows.
On and still on the silent procession had traveled, and when their eyes,
now accustomed to the darkness, had espied the outlines of a
tumble-down, one-story house that stood out against the blackness of the
night a halt had been made and each dark figure had taken from under her
arm a bundle. Then the faint rustle of paper accompanied by an
occasional giggle or a smothered exclamation had been heard, and last
but most remarkable, the dark figures had given place to a company of
sheeted ghosts who had glided over the fields with true ghost-like mien
and disappeared in a little grove just off the highway.

In the meantime, Elfreda had been received with acclamation by the
treacherous sophomores, who vied with each other as to who should be her
escort. There were nine girls, and each of them also bore a bundle,
which contained not sheets, but the eatables for the picnic. This
procession also set out in silence, which was broken as soon as the
town was left behind. Alberta, who walked with her arm linked in
Elfreda's, began to relate the story of the haunted house.

"Do you suppose for one minute that that house is really haunted?" said
Elfreda sceptically.

"No one knows," was the disquieting reply. "People have seen strange
sights there."

"What sights?" demanded Elfreda.

"They say the murdered brother walks through the house and moans,"
replied Alberta, shuddering slightly.

"That's nonsense," said Elfreda bravely. Nevertheless, the idea was not
pleasant to contemplate. "I don't believe in ghosts," she added.

"I dare you to go into the room where the man was murdered," laughed
Mary Hampton.

"I'm not afraid," persisted Elfreda.

"Prove it, then," taunted Mary.

"All right, I will," retorted Elfreda defiantly. "Show me the room when
we get there and I'll go into it."

"I don't think we ought to go near that old house at night," protested a
sophomore. "We'd get into all sorts of trouble as it is, if the faculty
knew we were out."

"Now, don't begin preaching," snapped Alberta Wicks. "If you are
dissatisfied, go home."

"I wish I'd stayed at home," growled the other sophomore wrathfully.

While this conversation was being carried on, the party was rapidly
nearing the haunted house. They halted directly in front of it, and Mary
Hampton said, "Now, Miss Briggs, make good your promise."

Elfreda walked boldly up to the house, although she felt her courage
oozing rapidly.

"I'll go inside with you, and show you the room. It's that little room
off the hall," volunteered Alberta.

The outside door stood wide open. Elfreda peered fearfully down the
little hall, then stepped resolutely into the little room at one side of
it. A door slammed. There was the sound of a key turning in a lock, a
rush of scurrying feet; then silence. Across the field fled the dark
figures, nor did they stop until they had crossed the highway and
entered the little grove that led to Hunter's Rock.

Suddenly a piercing scream rang out. It was followed by a succession of
wild cries, and with one accord the terror-stricken conspirators made
for the highway. But at every step a white figure rose in the path
filling the air with weird, mournful wails. Fright lent speed to
sophomore feet, and without daring to look behind, eight badly scared
girls ran steadily along the road to Overton, intent only on putting
distance between themselves and the terrifying apparitions that had
sprung up before them. If they had stopped to deliberate for even five
seconds they would, in all probability, have stood their ground, but the
silent, ghostly figures that had bobbed up as by magic, coupled with the
tale of the haunted house which Alberta had related, was a little too
much for even vaunted sophomore courage.

A death-like stillness followed the ignominious flight of the plotters.
Then from behind a tree stepped a white figure and a cautious voice
called softly: "Come on, girls. They have gone. We must hurry and let
Elfreda out of that awful house." At this command a ripple of subdued
laughter rose from all sides and the ghosts began to appear from their
nearby hiding places.

"Wasn't it funny?" laughed a tall ghost with the voice of Frances
Marlton.

"I know several sophomores who will walk softly for the rest of this
year at least," predicted another ghost, ending with the giggle that
endeared Mabel Ashe to all her friends.

"These masks are frightfully warm," complained a diminutive spectre. A
quick movement of her hand and the mask was removed, showing the rosy
face of Arline Thayer.

"Keep your mask on, Arline," warned Gertrude. "Even in this secluded
spot some one may be watching you."

The party proceeded with as little noise as possible to the haunted
house. Pausing at the front door a brief council was held. Then removing
their masks and the sheets that enveloped them, Grace and Miriam
resolutely entered the hall and went straight to the locked door, behind
which Elfreda was a prisoner. The key had been left in the lock. It
turned with a grating sound. Slipping her hand in the pocket of her
sweater, Grace produced a tiny electric flashlight which she turned on
the room. In one corner, seated on the floor, her back against the wall
and her feet straight in front of her, sat Elfreda. She eyed the
flashing light defiantly, then saw who was behind it and said grimly: "I
might have known it. If I had taken your advice I wouldn't be here now."

"Oh, Elfreda!" exclaimed Grace. "I'm so glad you are not frightened. It
was a cruel trick, but, thank goodness, we found out about it in time."

Elfreda rose and walked deliberately up to Grace and Miriam. "I'm sorry
for everything," she said huskily. "I've been a ridiculous simpleton,
and I don't deserve to have friends. Will you forgive me, girls? I'd
like to start all over again."

"Of course we will. That was a direct, manly speech, Elfreda," laughed
Miriam, but there were tears in her own eyes which no one saw in the
darkness. She realized that in spite of her childish behavior she was
fond of the stout girl and was glad that peace had been declared.

"Let us forget all about it, shake hands and go home," proposed Grace,
"or we may find ourselves locked out."

The two girls shook hands with Elfreda, and all around again for good
luck, then linking an arm in each of hers they conducted the rescued
prisoner to where the rest of the party awaited them. During their
absence the ghosts had doffed their spectral garments and the instant
the three joined them the order to march was given. Once fairly in
Overton, conversation was permitted, and on the same corner where they
had met, the rescuers parted, after much talk and laughter.

"Come into my room and have tea to-night, Elfreda," invited Miriam, as
they entered the house. "I have a pound of your favorite cakes."

"I'd like to come to stay," said Elfreda wistfully. "But I've been too
hateful for you ever to want me for a roommate again."

"It's rather late for you to move now," replied Miriam slowly. "But I'd
love to have you with me next year."

"Would you, honestly?" asked Elfreda, opening her eyes in astonishment.

"Honestly," repeated Miriam, smiling.

"I'll think about it," returned Elfreda, flushing deeply.

"But there is nothing to think about," protested Miriam. "I wouldn't ask
you if I did not care for you."

"That isn't it," said Elfreda in a low tone. "It isn't you. It's I.
Don't you understand? You are letting me off too easily. I don't deserve
to have you be so nice to me."

"We wish you to forget about what has happened, Elfreda," said Grace
earnestly. "Everyone is likely to make mistakes. We are not here to
judge, we are here to help one another. That is one of the ways of
cultivating true college spirit."

"I'll tell you one thing," returned Elfreda, her eyes shining, "whether
I cultivate college spirit or not, I'm going to try to cultivate common
sense. Then, at least, I'll know enough to treat my best friends
civilly."



CHAPTER XXIII

VIRGINIA CHANGES HER MIND


What the vanquished sophomores thought of the trick that had been played
on them was a matter for speculation. Once back in Overton, the truth of
the situation had dawned upon them. Their common sense told them that
real ghosts, if there were any, never congregated in companies the size
of the one that had risen to haunt them the previous night. Obviously
some one had overheard their plan to picnic at Hunter's Rock and treated
them to an unwelcome surprise. It did not occur to any one of them until
they had returned to their respective houses that they had left J.
Elfreda locked in the haunted abode of the two brothers. Then
consternation reigned in each sophomore breast.

Directly after chapel the next morning, eight young women were to be
seen in an anxious group just outside the chapel. Several freshmen and
two or three juniors glanced appraisingly at them, then passed on.

"Did you notice the way that Miss Wells looked at me this morning?"
muttered Mary Hampton to her satellites.

"Never mind a little thing like that," snapped Alberta Wicks. "The
question is, where is J. Elfreda? If she is still shut up in that house
we might as well go home now instead of waiting to be sent there."

"Nonsense, Bert," scoffed one of the sophomores. "You are nervous. We
may not be found out."

"Found out! J. Elfreda will be raging. She'll go straight to the dean,
the minute she is free. Oh, why didn't we think to run back and let her
out in spite of those ridiculous white figures?"

"What made you lock her in there, then, if you were afraid she'd tell?"
asked one of the others rather sarcastically.

"Yes, that's what I say!" exclaimed a second. "This affair has been very
silly from start to finish. I'm ashamed of myself for having been drawn
into it, and in future you may count me out of any more such stunts."

"You girls don't understand," declared Alberta Wicks angrily. "We only
meant to even an old score with the Briggs person. We were going to call
for her on the way home, and tell her that we had evened our score. She
wouldn't have breathed it to a soul. She knew that we'd make life
miserable for her next year if she did. She wouldn't tell a little thing
like that, but to leave her there all night. That really was dreadful.
Mary and I are in for it. That's certain."

"If I'm not mistaken, there goes Miss Briggs now!" exclaimed a girl who
had been idly watching the students as they passed out of the chapel.

"Where? Where?" questioned Mary and Alberta together.

The sophomore pointed.

"Yes; it is J. Elfreda," almost wailed Alberta Wicks. "I'm going
straight back to Stuart Hall and pack my trunk. Come on, Mary."

"Better wait a little," dryly advised the sophomore who had announced
her disapproval of the night's escapade. "You may be sorry if you
don't."

"Good-bye, girls," said Alberta abruptly. "If I hear anything, I'll
report to you at once. Now that J. Elfreda is among us, we'd better
steer clear of one another for a while at least."

She hurried away, followed by Mary Hampton.

"That was my first, and if I get safely out of this, will be my last
offense," said another sophomore firmly. "All those who agree with me
say 'aye.'" Five "ayes" were spoken simultaneously.

In the meantime, Grace was trying vainly to make up her mind what to do.
Should she go directly to the two mischievous sophomores, revealing the
identity of the ghosts, or should she leave them in a quandary as to the
outcome of their unwomanly trick? One thing had been decided upon
definitely by Grace and her friends. They would tell no tales. Grace
could not help thinking that a little anxiety would be the just due of
the plotters, and with this idea in mind determined to do nothing for a
time, at least, toward putting them at their ease.

But there was one person who had not been asked to remain silent
concerning the ghost party, and that person was Elfreda. Grace had
forgotten to tell her that the night's happenings were to be kept a
secret and when late that afternoon she espied Alberta Wicks and Mary
Hampton walking in the direction of Stuart Hall she pursued them with
the air of an avenger. Before they realized her presence she had begun a
furious arraignment of their treachery. "You ought to be sent home for
it," she concluded savagely, "and if Grace Harlowe wasn't----"

"Grace Harlowe!" exclaimed Alberta, turning pale. "Do you mean to tell
me that it was she who planned that ghost party?"

"I shall tell you nothing," retorted Elfreda. "I'm sorry I said even
that much. I want you to understand, though, that if you ever try to
play a trick on me again, I'll see that you are punished for it if I
have to go down on my knees to the whole faculty to get them to give you
what you deserve. Just remember that, and mind your own business,
strictly, from now on."

Turning on her heel, the stout girl marched off, leaving the two girls
in a state of complete perturbation.

"Had we better go and see Miss Harlowe?" asked Mary Hampton, rather
unsteadily.

"The question is, do we care to come back here next year?" returned
Alberta grimly.

"I'd like to come back," said Mary in a low voice. "Wouldn't you?"

"I don't know," was the perverse answer. "I don't wish to humble myself
to any one. I'm going to take a chance on her keeping quiet about last
night. I have an idea she is not a telltale. If worse comes to worst,
there are other colleges, you know, Mary."

"I thought, perhaps, if we were to go to Miss Harlowe, we might
straighten out matters and be friends," said Mary rather hesitatingly.
"Those girls have nice times together, and they are the cleverest crowd
in the freshman class. I'm tired of being at sword's points with
people."

"Then go over to them, by all means," sneered Alberta. "Don't trouble
yourself about your old friends. They don't count."

"You know I didn't mean that, Bert," said Mary reproachfully. "I won't
go near them if you feel so bitter about last night."

It was several minutes before Mary succeeded in conciliating her sulky
friend. By that time the tiny sprouts of good fellowship that had vainly
tried to poke their heads up into the light had been hopelessly blighted
by the chilling reception they met with, and Mary had again been won
over to Alberta's side.

Saturday evening Arline Thayer entertained the ghost party at Martell's,
and Elfreda, to her utter astonishment, was made the guest of honor.
During the progress of the dinner, Alberta Wicks, Mary Hampton and two
other sophomores dropped in for ice cream. By their furtive glances and
earnest conversation it was apparent that they strongly suspected the
identity of the avenging specters. Elfreda's presence, too, confirmed
their suspicions.

In a spirit of pure mischief Mabel Ashe pulled a leaf from her note
book. Borrowing a pencil, she made an interesting little sketch of two
frightened young women fleeing before a band of sheeted specters.
Underneath she wrote: "It is sometimes difficult to lay ghosts. Walk
warily if you wish to remain unhaunted." This she sent to Alberta Wicks
by the waitress. It was passed from hand to hand, and resulted in four
young women leaving Martell's without finishing their ice cream.

"You spoiled their taste for ice cream, Mabel," laughed Frances Marlton,
glancing at the now vacant table. "I imagine they are shaking in their
shoes."

"They did not think that the juniors had taken a hand in things,"
remarked Constance Fuller.

"Hardly," laughed Helen Burton. "Did you see their faces when they read
that note?"

"It's really too bad to frighten them so," said Leona Rowe.

"I don't agree with you, Leona," said Mabel Ashe firmly. Her charming
face had grown grave. "I think that Miss Wicks and Miss Hampton both
ought to be sent home. If you will look back a little you will recollect
that these two girls were far from being a credit to their class during
their freshman year. I don't like to say unkind things about an Overton
girl, but those two young women were distinctly trying freshmen, and as
far as I can see haven't imbibed an iota of college spirit. Last night's
trick, however, was completely overstepping the bounds. If Miss Briggs
had been a timid, nervous girl, matters might have resulted quite
differently. Then it would have been our duty to report the mischief
makers. I am not sure that we are doing right in withholding what we
now know from the faculty, but I am willing to give these girls the
benefit of the doubt and remain silent."

"That is my opinion of the matter, too," agreed Grace. "It is only a
matter of a few days until we shall all have to say good-bye until fall.
During vacation certain girls will have plenty of time to think things
over, and then they may see matters in an entirely different light. I
shouldn't like to think that almost my last act before going home to my
mother was to give some girl a dismissal from Overton to take home to
hers."

A brief silence followed Grace's remark. The little speech about her
mother had turned the thoughts of the girls homeward. Suddenly Mabel
Ashe rose from her chair. "Here's to our mothers, girls. Let's dedicate
our best efforts to them, and resolve never to lessen their pride in us
with failures."

[Illustration: Over the Tea and Cakes the Clouds Dispersed.]

When Elfreda, Miriam, Anne and Grace ran up the steps of Wayne Hall at a
little before ten o'clock they were laughing and talking so happily they
failed to notice Virginia Gaines, who had been walking directly ahead of
them. She had come from Stuart Hall, where, impatient to learn just what
had happened the night before, she had gone to see Mary and Alberta.
Finding them out she managed to learn the news from the very girl who
had declared herself sorry for her part in the escapade. This particular
sophomore, now that the reaction had set in, was loud in her
denunciation of the trick and congratulated Virginia on not being one of
those intimately concerned in it.

But Virginia, now conscience-stricken, had little to say.

She still lingered in the hall as the quartette entered, but they passed
her on their way upstairs without speaking and she finally went to her
room wishing, regretfully, that she had been less ready to quarrel with
the girls who bade fair to lead their class both in scholarship and
popularity. It was fully a week afterward when a thoroughly humbled and
repentant Virginia, after making sure that Anne was out, knocked one
afternoon at Grace's door.

"How do you do, Miss Gaines," said Grace civilly, but without warmth.
"Won't you come in?"

Virginia entered, but refused the chair Grace offered her. "No, thank
you, I'll stand," she replied. Then in a halting fashion she said: "Miss
Harlowe, I--am--awfully sorry for--for being so hateful all this year."
She stopped, biting her lip, which quivered suspiciously.

Grace stared at her caller in amazement. Could it be possible that
insolent Virginia Gaines was meekly apologizing to her. Then,
thoughtful of the other girl's feelings, she smiled and stretched out
her hand: "Don't say anything further about it, Miss Gaines. I hope we
shall be friends. One can't have too many, you know, and college is the
best place in the world for us to find ourselves. Come in to-night and
have tea and cakes with us after lessons. That is the highest proof of
hospitality I can offer at present."

"I will," promised Virginia. Then impulsively she caught one of Grace's
hands in hers. "You're the dearest girl," she said, "and I'll try to be
worthy of your friendship. Please tell the girls I'm sorry. I'll tell
them myself to-night." With that she fairly ran from the room, and going
to her own shed tears of real contrition. Later, it took all Grace's
reasoning powers to put Elfreda in a state of mind that verged even
slightly on charitable, but after much coaxing she promised to behave
with becoming graciousness toward Virginia.

Over the tea and cakes the clouds gradually dispersed, and when Virginia
went to her room that night, after declaring that she had had a
perfectly lovely time, Grace took from her writing case the note that
Miriam had found, and tore it into small pieces. She needed no evidence
against Virginia.



CHAPTER XXIV

SAYING GOOD-BYE TO THEIR FRESHMAN YEAR


The few intervening days that lay between commencement and home were
filled with plenty of pleasant excitement. There were calls to make,
farewell spreads and merry-makings to attend, and momentous questions
concerning what to leave behind and what to take home to be decided. The
majority of the girls at Wayne Hall had asked for their old rooms for
the next year. Two sophomores had succeeded in getting into Wellington
House. One poor little freshman, having studied too hard, had brought on
a nervous affection and was obliged to give up her course at Overton for
a year at least. There was also one other sophomore whose mother was
coming to the town of Overton to live and keep house for her daughter in
a bungalow not far from the college.

It now lacked only two days until the end of the spring term, and what
to pack and when to pack it were the burning questions of the hour.

"There will be room for four more freshmen here next year," remarked
Grace, as she appeared from her closet, her arms piled high with skirts
and gowns. Depositing them on the floor, she dropped wearily into a
chair. "I don't believe I can ever make all those things go into that
trunk. I have all my clothes that I brought here last fall, and another
lot that I brought back at Christmas, and still some others that I
acquired at Easter. If I had had a particle of forethought I would have
taken home a few things each trip. Don't dare to leave the house until
this trunk is packed, Anne, for I shall need you to help me sit on it.
If our combined weight isn't enough, we'll invite Elfreda and Miriam in
to the sitting. I am perfectly willing to perform the same kind offices
for them. Oh, dear, I hate to begin. I'm wild to go home, but I can't
help feeling sad to think my freshman joys are over. It seems to me that
the two most important years in college are one's freshman and senior
years.

"Being a freshman is like beginning a garden. One plants what one
considers the best seeds, and when the little green shoots come up, it's
terribly hard to make them live at all. It is only by constant care that
they are made to thrive and all sorts of storms are likely to rise out
of a clear sky and blight them. Some of the seeds one thought would
surely grow the fastest are total disappointments, while others that one
just planted to fill in, fairly astonish one by their growth, but if at
the end of the freshman year the garden looks green and well cared for,
it's safe to say it will keep on growing through the sophomore and
junior years and bloom at the end of four years. That's the peculiarity
about college gardens. One has to begin to plant the very first day of
the freshman year to be sure of flowers when the four years are over.

"In the sophomore year the hardest task is keeping the weeds out, and
during the junior and senior years the difficulty will be to keep the
ground in the highest state of cultivation. It will be easier to neglect
one's garden, then, because one will have grown so used to the things
one has planted that one will forget to tend them and put off stirring
up the soil around them and watering them. I'm going to think a little
each day while I'm home this summer about my garden and keep it fresh
and green."

Grace laid the gown she had been folding in the trunk and looked
earnestly at Anne as she finished her long speech.

"What a nice idea!" exclaimed Anne warmly. "I think I shall have to
begin gardening, too."

"Your garden has always been in a flourishing condition from the first,"
laughed Grace. "The chief trouble with mine seems to be the number of
strange weeds that spring up--nettles that I never planted, but that
sting just as sharply, nevertheless. It hurts me to go home with the
knowledge that there are two girls here who don't like me. I know I
ought not to care, for I have nothing to regret as far as my own conduct
is concerned, but still I'd like to leave Overton for the summer without
one shadow in my path."

"Perhaps, when certain girls come back in the fall they will be on their
good behavior."

"Perhaps," repeated Grace sceptically.

The entrance into the room of Elfreda and Miriam, who had been out
shopping, brought the little heart talk to an abrupt close.

"We've a new kind of cakes," exulted Miriam. "They are three stories
high and each story is a different color. They have icing half an inch
thick and an English walnut on top. All for the small sum of five cents,
too."

"We bought a dozen," declared Elfreda, "and now I'm going out to buy ice
cream. This packing business calls for plenty of refreshment to keep
one's energy up to the mark. I've thought of a lovely plan to lighten my
labors."

"What is it?" asked Grace. "Your plans are always startlingly original
if not very practical."

"This is practical," announced the stout girl. "I'm going to give away
my clothes; that is, the most of them. I found a poor woman the other
day who does scrubbing for the college who needs them. I found out where
she lives and I'm going to bundle them all together and send them to
her. I don't wish her to know where they came from. I'll just write a
card, and--"

The three broadly smiling faces of her friends caused her to stop short
and regard them suspiciously. "What's the matter?" she said in an
offended tone.

Grace ran over and slipped her arm about the stout girl's shoulders.
"You are the one who sent Ruth her lovely clothes last Christmas. Don't
try to deny it. I was sure of it then."

"Oh, see here," expostulated Elfreda, jerking herself away, her face
crimson. "I--you--"

"Confess," threatened Miriam, seizing the little brass tea kettle and
brandishing it over Elfreda's head.

"I won't," defied Elfreda, laughing a little in spite of her efforts to
appear offended.

"One, two," counted Miriam, grasping the kettle firmly.

"All right, I did," confessed Elfreda nonchalantly. "What are you going
to do about it?"

"Present you with your Christmas gifts now," smiled Miriam. "You
wouldn't look at us last Christmas, so we've been saving our gifts ever
since. Wait a minute, girls, until I go for mine."

As she darted from the room, Grace said softly: "We hoped that you would
understand about Thanksgiving and that everything would be all right by
Christmas, so we planned our little remembrances for you just the same.
Then, when--when we didn't see you before going home for the holidays,
Anne suggested that we put them away, because we all hoped that you'd be
friends with us again some day." Rummaging in the tray of her trunk she
produced a long, flat package which she offered to Elfreda. Anne, who,
at Grace's first words, had stepped to the chiffonier, took out a
beribboned bundle, and stood holding it toward the stout girl. Another
moment and Miriam had returned bearing her offering. "I wish you a merry
June," declared Miriam with an infectious giggle that was echoed by the
others. Then Elfreda opened the package from Miriam, which contained a
Japanese silk kimono similar to one of her own that her roommate had
greatly admired. Grace's package contained a pair of long white gloves,
and Anne had remembered her with a book she had once heard the stout
girl express a desire to own.

"You had no business to do it," muttered Elfreda. Then gathering up her
presents she made a dash for the door and with a muffled, "I'll be back
soon," was gone. It was several minutes before she reappeared with red
eyes, but smiling lips. Then a long talk ensued, during which time the
art of trunk-packing languished. It was renewed with vigor that evening
and continued spasmodically for the next two days. In the campus houses
the real packing dragged along in most instances until within two hours
of the time when the trunks were to be called for. Then a wholesale
scramble began, to make up for lost minutes. One of the most frequent
and painful sights during those last two days was that of a wrathful
expressman, glaring in impotent rage while an enterprising damsel opened
her trunk on the front porch to take out or put in one or several of her
various possessions which, until that moment, had been completely
forgotten.

The night before leaving Overton the four girls paid a visit to Ruth
Denton. The plucky little freshman had refused an invitation to spend
the summer with Arline Thayer, but had accepted a position in Overton
with a dress-maker. The last two weeks of her vacation she had promised
to spend with Arline at the sea-shore.

Their last morning at Overton dawned fair and sunshiny. Grace, who had
risen early, stood at the window, looking out at the glory of the
sparkling June day.

The campus was a vast green velvet carpet and the pale green of the
trees had not yet changed to that darker, dustier shade that belongs
only to summer. Back among the trees Overton Hall rose gray and
majestic. Grace's heart swelled with pride as she gazed at the stately
old building surrounded by its silent, leafy guard. "Overton, my Alma
Mater," she said softly. "May I be always worthy to be your child."

"What are you mooning over?" asked Anne, who had slipped into her kimono
and joined Grace at the window.

"I'm rhapsodizing," smiled Grace, her eyes very bright. "I love Overton,
don't you, Anne?"

Anne nodded. "I'm glad we didn't go to Wellesley or Vassar, or even
Smith. I'd rather be here."

"So would I," sighed Grace. "Next to home there is no place like
Overton. I almost wish I were coming back here next fall as a freshman."

"But it's against the law of progress to wish one's self back," smiled
Anne, "and being a sophomore surely has its rainbow side."

"And it rests with us to find it," replied Grace softly, placing her
hand on her friend's shoulder.

A little later, laden with bags and suit cases, the three Oakdale
girls, accompanied by Elfreda, walked out of Wayne Hall as freshmen for
the last time.

"When next we see this house it will be as sophomores," observed
Elfreda. "I'm glad we are all going home on the same train. Do you
remember the day I met you? I thought I owned the earth then. But I have
found out that there are other people to consider besides myself. That
is what being a freshman at Overton has taught me."

"That's a very good thing for all of us to remember," remarked Grace.
"I'm going to try to practise it next year."

"You won't have to try very hard," returned Elfreda dryly. "How much
time have we?"

"Almost an hour," replied Miriam, looking at her watch.

"Then we've time to stop at Vinton's for a farewell sundae. It's our
last freshman treat. Come on, everybody," invited the stout girl.

"No more sundaes here until next fall," lamented Miriam, as they sat
waiting for their order. "I shall miss Vinton's. There is nothing in
Oakdale quite like it."

"And I shall miss you girls," declared Elfreda bluntly.

"Why don't you pay us a visit, then?" suggested Miriam. "We expect to be
at home part of the time this summer."

"Perhaps I will," reflected Elfreda. "But you must write to me at any
rate."

At the station groups of happy-faced girls stood waiting for the train.

"We are going to have plenty of company," observed Anne. "Do you
remember how forlorn we felt when we were cast away on this station
platform last fall? We won't feel so strange next September."

"We shall feel very important instead," laughed Miriam. "It will be our
turn to escort bewildered freshmen to their boarding places."

"Yes, and we'll see that they don't stray, too," retorted Elfreda
grimly.

"Or mistake the Register for the registrar," smiled Grace.

What befell Grace and her friends during their sophomore year is set
forth fully in "Grace Harlowe's Second Year at Overton College."
How they lived up to their girlish ideals, finding the "rainbow
side" of their sophomore year, is a story that no admirer of Grace
Harlowe can afford to miss.


The End



       *       *       *       *       *



HENRY ALTEMUS COMPANY'S

CATALOGUE OF

The Best and Least Expensive Books for Real Boys and Girls

       *       *       *       *       *

Really good and new stories for boys and girls are not plentiful. Many
stories, too, are so highly improbable as to bring a grin of derision to
the young reader's face before he has gone far. The name of ALTEMUS is a
distinctive brand on the cover of a book, always ensuring the buyer of
having a book that is up-to-date and fine throughout. No buyer of an
ALTEMUS book is ever disappointed.

Many are the claims made as to the inexpensiveness of books. Go into any
bookstore and ask for an Altemus book. Compare the price charged you for
Altemus books with the price demanded for other juvenile books. You will
at once discover that a given outlay of money will buy more of the
ALTEMUS books than of those published by other houses.

Every dealer in books carries the ALTEMUS books.

       *       *       *       *       *

Sold by all booksellers or sent postpaid on receipt of price

Henry Altemus Company

507-513 Cherry Street, Philadelphia

       *       *       *       *       *

The Motor Boat Club Series

By H. IRVING HANCOCK

    The keynote of these books is manliness. The stories are wonderfully
    entertaining, and they are at the same time sound and wholesome. No
    boy will willingly lay down an unfinished book in this series.

1 THE MOTOR BOAT CLUB OF THE KENNEBEC; Or, The
Secret of Smugglers' Island.

2 THE MOTOR BOAT CLUB AT NANTUCKET; Or, The Mystery
of the Dunstan Heir.

3 THE MOTOR BOAT CLUB OFF LONG ISLAND; Or, A Daring
Marine Game at Racing Speed.

4 THE MOTOR BOAT CLUB AND THE WIRELESS; Or, The
Dot, Dash and Dare Cruise.

5 THE MOTOR BOAT CLUB IN FLORIDA; Or, Laying the
Ghost of Alligator Swamp.

6 THE MOTOR BOAT CLUB AT THE GOLDEN GATE; Or, A
Thrilling Capture in the Great Fog.

7 THE MOTOR BOAT CLUB ON THE GREAT LAKES; Or,
The Flying Dutchman of the Big Fresh Water.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Range and Grange Hustlers

By FRANK GEE PATCHIN

    Have you any idea of the excitements, the glories of life on great
    ranches in the West? Any bright boy will "devour" the books of this
    series, once he has made a start with the first volume.

1 THE RANGE AND GRANGE HUSTLERS ON THE RANCH;
Or, The Boy Shepherds of the Great Divide.

2 THE RANGE AND GRANGE HUSTLERS' GREATEST
ROUND-UP; Or, Pitting Their Wits Against a Packers'
Combine.

3 THE RANGE AND GRANGE HUSTLERS ON THE PLAINS;
Or, Following the Steam Plows Across the Prairie.

4 THE RANGE AND GRANGE HUSTLERS AT CHICAGO;
Or, The Conspiracy of the Wheat Pit.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

       *       *       *       *       *

Submarine Boys Series

By VICTOR G. DURHAM

    These splendid books for boys and girls deal with life aboard
    submarine torpedo boats, and with the adventures of the young crew,
    and possess, in addition to the author's surpassing knack of
    story-telling, a great educational value for all young readers.

1 THE SUBMARINE BOYS ON DUTY; Or, Life on a Diving
Torpedo Boat.

2 THE SUBMARINE BOYS' TRIAL TRIP; Or, "Making Good"
as Young Experts.

3 THE SUBMARINE BOYS AND THE MIDDIES; Or, The
Prize Detail at Annapolis.

4 THE SUBMARINE BOYS AND THE SPIES; Or, Dodging
the Sharks of the Deep.

5 THE SUBMARINE BOYS' LIGHTNING CRUISE; Or, The
Young Kings of the Deep.

6 THE SUBMARINE BOYS FOR THE FLAG; Or, Deeding
Their Lives to Uncle Sam.

7 THE SUBMARINE BOYS AND THE SMUGGLERS; Or,
Breaking Up the New Jersey Customs Frauds.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Square Dollar Boys Series

By H. IRVING HANCOCK

    The reading boy will be a voter within a few years; these books are
    bound to make him think, and when he casts his vote he will do it
    more intelligently for having read these volumes.

1 THE SQUARE DOLLAR BOYS WAKE UP; Or, Fighting the
Trolley Franchise Steal.

2 THE SQUARE DOLLAR BOYS SMASH THE RING; Or, In
the Lists Against the Crooked Land Deal.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

       *       *       *       *       *

Ben Lightbody Series

By WALTER BENHAM

1 BEN LIGHTBODY, SPECIAL; Or, Seizing His First Chance
to Make Good.

2 BEN LIGHTBODY'S BIGGEST PUZZLE; Or, Running the
Double Ghost to Earth.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

       *       *       *       *       *

Pony Rider Boys Series

By FRANK GEE PATCHIN

    These tales may be aptly described as those of a new Cooper. In
    every sense they belong to the best class of books for boys and
    girls.

1 THE PONY RIDER BOYS IN THE ROCKIES; Or, The Secret
of the Lost Claim.

2 THE PONY RIDER BOYS IN TEXAS; Or, The Veiled Riddle
of the Plains.

3 THE PONY RIDER BOYS IN MONTANA; Or, The Mystery
of the Old Custer Trail.

4 THE PONY RIDER BOYS IN THE OZARKS; Or, The Secret
of Ruby Mountain.

5 THE PONY RIDER BOYS IN THE ALKALI; Or, Finding a
Key to the Desert Maze.

6 THE PONY RIDER BOYS IN NEW MEXICO; Or, The End
of the Silver Trail.

7 THE PONY RIDER BOYS IN THE GRAND CANYON; Or,
The Mystery of Bright Angel Gulch.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Boys of Steel Series

By JAMES R. MEARS

    The author has made of these volumes a series of romances with
    scenes laid in the iron and steel world. Each book presents a vivid
    picture of some phase of this great industry. The information given
    is exact and truthful; above all, each story is full of adventure
    and fascination.

1 THE IRON BOYS IN THE MINES; Or, Starting at the Bottom
of the Shaft.

2 THE IRON BOYS AS FOREMEN; Or, Heading the Diamond
Drill Shift.

3 THE IRON BOYS ON THE ORE BOATS; Or, Roughing It on
the Great Lakes.

4 THE IRON BOYS IN THE STEEL MILLS; Or, Beginning
Anew in the Cinder Pits.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

       *       *       *       *       *

West Point Series

By H. IRVING HANCOCK

    The principal characters in these narratives are manly, young
    Americans whose doings will inspire all boy readers.

1 DICK PRESCOTT'S FIRST YEAR AT WEST POINT; Or,
Two Chums in the Cadet Gray.

2 DICK PRESCOTT'S SECOND YEAR AT WEST POINT; Or
Finding the Glory of the Soldier's Life.

3 DICK PRESCOTT'S THIRD YEAR AT WEST POINT; Or,
Standing Firm for Flag and Honor.

4 DICK PRESCOTT'S FOURTH YEAR AT WEST POINT; Or,
Ready to Drop the Gray for Shoulder Straps.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

       *       *       *       *       *

Annapolis Series

By H. IRVING HANCOCK

    The Spirit of the new Navy is delightfully and truthfully depicted
    in these volumes.

1 DAVE DARRIN'S FIRST YEAR AT ANNAPOLIS; Or, Two
Plebe Midshipmen at the U. S. Naval Academy.

2 DAVE DARRIN'S SECOND YEAR AT ANNAPOLIS; Or,
Two Midshipmen as Naval Academy "Youngsters."

3 DAVE DARRIN'S THIRD YEAR AT ANNAPOLIS; Or, Leaders
of the Second Class Midshipmen.

4 DAVE DARRIN'S FOURTH YEAR AT ANNAPOLIS; Or,
Headed for Graduation and the Big Cruise.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Young Engineers Series

By H. IRVING HANCOCK

    The heroes of these stories are known to readers of the High School
    Boys Series. In this new series Tom Reade and Harry Hazelton prove
    worthy of all the traditions of Dick & Co.

1 THE YOUNG ENGINEERS IN COLORADO; Or, At Railroad
Building in Earnest.

2 THE YOUNG ENGINEERS IN ARIZONA; Or, Laying Tracks
on the "Man-Killer" Quicksand.

3 THE YOUNG ENGINEERS IN NEVADA; Or, Seeking Fortune
on the Turn of a Pick.

4 THE YOUNG ENGINEERS IN MEXICO; Or, Fighting the
Mine Swindlers.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

       *       *       *       *       *

Boys of the Army Series

By H. IRVING HANCOCK

    These books breathe the life and spirit of the United States Army of
    to-day, and the life, just as it is, is described by a master pen.

1 UNCLE SAM'S BOYS IN THE RANKS; Or, Two Recruits in
the United States Army.

2 UNCLE SAM'S BOYS ON FIELD DUTY; Or, Winning Corporal's
Chevrons.

3 UNCLE SAM'S BOYS AS SERGEANTS; Or, Handling Their
First Real Commands.

4 UNCLE SAM'S BOYS IN THE PHILIPPINES; Or, Following
the Flag Against the Moros.

(Other volumes to follow rapidly.)

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

       *       *       *       *       *

Battleship Boys Series

By FRANK GEE PATCHIN

    These stories throb with the life of young Americans on to-day's
    huge drab Dreadnaughts.

1 THE BATTLESHIP BOYS AT SEA; Or, Two Apprentices in
Uncle Sam's Navy.

2 THE BATTLESHIP BOYS FIRST STEP UPWARD; Or,
Winning Their Grades as Petty Officers.

3 THE BATTLESHIP BOYS IN FOREIGN SERVICE; Or,
Earning New Ratings in European Seas.

4 THE BATTLESHIP BOYS IN THE TROPICS; Or, Upholding
the American Flag in a Honduras Revolution.

(Other volumes to follow rapidly.)

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Meadow-Brook Girls Series

By JANET ALDRIDGE

    Real life stories pulsing with the vibrant atmosphere of outdoor
    life.

1 THE MEADOW-BROOK GIRLS UNDER CANVAS; Or, Fun
and Frolic in the Summer Camp.

2 THE MEADOW-BROOK GIRLS ACROSS COUNTRY; Or,
The Young Pathfinders on a Summer Hike.

3 THE MEADOW-BROOK GIRLS AFLOAT; Or, The Stormy
Cruise of the Red Rover.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

       *       *       *       *       *

High School Boys Series

By H. IRVING HANCOCK

    In this series of bright, crisp books a new note has been struck.
    Boys of every age under sixty will be interested in these
    fascinating volumes.

1 THE HIGH SCHOOL FRESHMEN; Or, Dick & Co.'s First
Year Pranks and Sports.

2 THE HIGH SCHOOL PITCHER; Or, Dick & Co. on the
Gridley Diamond.

3 THE HIGH SCHOOL LEFT END; Or, Dick & Co. Grilling on
the Football Gridiron.

4 THE HIGH SCHOOL CAPTAIN OF THE TEAM; Or, Dick &
Co. Leading the Athletic Vanguard.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

       *       *       *       *       *

Grammar School Boys Series

By H. IRVING HANCOCK

    This series of stories, based on the actual doings of grammar school
    boys, comes near to the heart of the average American boy.

1 THE GRAMMAR SCHOOL BOYS OF GRIDLEY; Or, Dick
& Co. Start Things Moving.

2 THE GRAMMAR SCHOOL BOYS SNOWBOUND; Or, Dick
& Co. at Winter Sports.

3 THE GRAMMAR SCHOOL BOYS IN THE WOODS; Or,
Dick & Co. Trail Fun and Knowledge.

4 THE GRAMMAR SCHOOL BOYS IN SUMMER ATHLETICS;
Or, Dick & Co. Make Their Fame Secure.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

       *       *       *       *       *

High School Boys' Vacation Series

By H. IRVING HANCOCK

    "Give us more Dick Prescott books!"

    This has been the burden of the cry from young readers of the
    country over. Almost numberless letters have been received by the
    publishers, making this eager demand; for Dick Prescott, Dave
    Darrin, Tom Reade, and the other members of Dick & Co. are the most
    popular high school boys in the land. Boys will alternately thrill
    and chuckle when reading these splendid narratives.

1 THE HIGH SCHOOL BOYS' CANOE CLUB; Or, Dick & Co.'s
Rivals on Lake Pleasant.

2 THE HIGH SCHOOL BOYS IN SUMMER CAMP; Or, The
Dick Prescott Six Training for the Gridley Eleven.

3 THE HIGH SCHOOL BOYS' FISHING TRIP; Or, Dick & Co.
in the Wilderness.

4 THE HIGH SCHOOL BOYS' TRAINING HIKE; Or, Dick &
Co. Making Themselves "Hard as Nails."

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Circus Boys Series

By EDGAR B. P. DARLINGTON

    Mr. Darlington's books breathe forth every phase of an intensely
    interesting and exciting life.

1 THE CIRCUS BOYS ON THE FLYING RINGS; Or, Making
the Start in the Sawdust Life.

2 THE CIRCUS BOYS ACROSS THE CONTINENT; Or, Winning
New Laurels on the Tanbark.

3 THE CIRCUS BOYS IN DIXIE LAND; Or, Winning the
Plaudits of the Sunny South.

4 THE CIRCUS BOYS ON THE MISSISSIPPI; Or, Afloat with
the Big Show on the Big River.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

       *       *       *       *       *

The High School Girls Series

By JESSIE GRAHAM FLOWER, A. M.

    These breezy stories of the American High School Girl take the
    reader fairly by storm.

1 GRACE HARLOWE'S PLEBE YEAR AT HIGH SCHOOL;
Or, The Merry Doings of the Oakdale Freshman Girls.

2 GRACE HARLOWE'S SOPHOMORE YEAR AT HIGH
SCHOOL; Or, The Record of the Girl Chums in Work and
Athletics.

3 GRACE HARLOWE'S JUNIOR YEAR AT HIGH SCHOOL;
Or, Fast Friends in the Sororities.

4 GRACE HARLOWE'S SENIOR YEAR AT HIGH SCHOOL;
Or, The Parting of the Ways.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.

       *       *       *       *       *

The Automobile Girls Series

By LAURA DENT CRANE

    No girl's library--no family book-case can be considered at all
    complete unless it contains these sparkling twentieth-century books.

1 THE AUTOMOBILE GIRLS AT NEWPORT; Or, Watching
the Summer Parade.

2 THE AUTOMOBILE GIRLS IN THE BERKSHIRES; Or,
The Ghost of Lost Man's Trail.

3 THE AUTOMOBILE GIRLS ALONG THE HUDSON; Or,
Fighting Fire in Sleepy Hollow.

4 THE AUTOMOBILE GIRLS AT CHICAGO; Or, Winning Out
Against Heavy Odds.

5 THE AUTOMOBILE GIRLS AT PALM BEACH; Or, Proving
Their Mettle Under Southern Skies.

Cloth, Illustrated Price, per Volume, 50c.





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