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Title: Polly's Senior Year at Boarding School
Author: Whitehill, Dorothy
Language: English
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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.

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POLLY'S SENIOR YEAR AT BOARDING SCHOOL


[Illustration]


DOROTHY WHITEHILL


[Illustration: Apparently, she had made little or no progress in
unpacking her suitcase, for nothing was put away. (Page 14)
Frontispiece]


POLLY'S SENIOR YEAR AT BOARDING SCHOOL

by

DOROTHY WHITEHILL

Author of "Polly's First Year at Boarding School,"
"Polly's Summer Vacation," etc.

Illustrated by Charles L. Wrenn



New York
Barse & Hopkins
Publishers



BOOKS FOR YOUNG GIRLS

       *       *       *       *       *

THE POLLY PENDLETON SERIES

By Dorothy Whitehill

_Illustrated._


  1 POLLY'S FIRST YEAR AT BOARDING SCHOOL
  2 POLLY'S SUMMER VACATION
  3 POLLY'S SENIOR YEAR AT BOARDING SCHOOL

(_Other volumes in preparation_)


Barse & Hopkins
Publishers
New York

       *       *       *       *       *

Copyright, 1917, by
Barse & Hopkins

       *       *       *       *       *

_Polly's Summer Vacation_



CONTENTS


         CHAPTER                                                    PAGE

      I  SENIORS!                                                      9

     II  A CLASS MEETING                                              21

    III  FANNY                                                        32

     IV  BASKET-BALL ELECTION                                         44

      V  THANKSGIVING                                                 58

     VI  MAUD                                                         72

    VII  A SENIOR DISPUTE                                             80

   VIII  AN EVENTFUL STRAW-RIDE                                       93

     IX  A STARTLING DISCOVERY                                       108

      X  A SURPRISE TO MANY                                          121

     XI  THE CONCERT                                                 130

    XII  CHRISTMAS                                                   144

   XIII  POLLY'S LETTER                                              156

    XIV  MAUD'S DISAPPEARANCE                                        166

     XV  THE JUNIOR PROM                                             179

    XVI  MUMPS                                                       193

   XVII  SPRING                                                      205

  XVIII  FIELD DAY                                                   219

    XIX  THE SENIOR DANCE                                            232

     XX  COMMENCEMENT                                                244



ILLUSTRATIONS


                                                                    PAGE

  Apparently, she had made little or no progress in unpacking
  her suitcase, for nothing was put away                  _Frontispiece_

  Polly was standing on a chair which threatened every minute
  to topple from its precarious position on her bed                   21

  They cut it down, dragged it to the sleigh and bore it home
  in triumph                                                         147

  Polly felt that she had not really earned the cup when it
  was presented to her at the close of the game                      198



CHAPTER I

SENIORS!


Polly Pendleton and Lois Farwell returned to Seddon Hall as seniors.

Up the long hill that led from the station their carriage crawled as it
had done on every other opening day.

From the summit of the hill the low, red-roofed buildings of the school
smiled a welcome from their setting of blazing Autumn leaves, and all
around them girls were calling out greetings.

There was a marked change in the two girls' outward appearances--their
hair was up and their skirts were longer, their whole bearing was older.
They were different from the two youngsters whose Freshman year has
already been recorded. That is, they looked different, and if you had
asked them about it they would have assured you that they were indeed
different.

But, the old-time twinkle in Polly's eyes and Lois' sudden merry laugh
gave you a comforting feeling that, after all, in spite of assurances
and looks, they were still the same Polly and Lois.

Nothing very eventful had happened in either one of their lives, during
the past years. They had spent their Winters at Seddon Hall and their
vacations at Polly's old home in New England with Mrs. Farwell. Polly's
uncle, Mr. Pendleton, and Dr. Farwell, had come up on visits when they
could. Bob, Lois' big brother, had come, too, but less frequently of
late. He was at college now and working very hard.

They had made new friends, but, what is more important, they had kept
their old ones.

This well ordered way of living, however, had to change. Time had gone
on slowly, but steadily and now, suddenly, they were Seniors. It was an
exhilarating thought and Polly and Lois hugged each other whenever it
struck them afresh.

Their carriage finally reached the door. In a second they were in the
reception room, and, after they had greeted Mrs. Baird and the faculty,
they dashed up the front stairs--a privilege only accorded the
Seniors--and found their room, a big corner one, which they were to
share in Senior Alley. Rooming together was another Senior privilege.

"Poll, we're back." Lois threw her suitcase without regard to contents
on one of the beds and looked around her.

"Yes, we're back, and we're Seniors and, what's more, we've the best
room on the Alley," Polly answered, enthusiastically. "We'll put your
window box there." She indicated a broad bow window, overlooking the
campus and gym. "And we'll--"

"Oh! don't let's fuss about the decorations now," Lois interrupted.
"Let's find Betty and the other girls. I'm dying to know who's back."

"I am too, sort of," Polly agreed reluctantly, as they left the room and
started for the Assembly Hall. "Do you know, Lo, I always feel funny
about the new girls."

"Why?"

"Oh, I can't exactly explain, but I don't like them; I wish they hadn't
come. We were so all right last year. Why couldn't just the old girls
come back and go on where we left off?"

"Why, you silly," Lois laughed. "Some of last year's girls were new and
you liked them. Anyway, cheer up, and don't worry about it now. Listen
to the racket they're making in the hall."

Polly gave herself a little shake, a trick she had when she wanted to
dismiss a thought from her mind, but her face failed to reflect Lois'
smile of anticipation. She was a queer puzzle, was Polly. Uncle Roddy
once described her as a tangle of deep thoughts, completely surrounded
by a sense of humor. And Mrs. Farwell always insisted that she discussed
the weightiest problems of life when she was running for a trolley. Lois
was the exact opposite, an artist, a dreamer of dreams, who, when her
mind was off on some airy flight, was maddeningly indifferent to
everything else. They were ideal friends, for they acted as a balance,
the one for the other. They were so much together that no one ever
thought of them singly.

A shout of welcome from the old girls, and eager silence from the new
ones, greeted their entrance into the Assembly Hall. There was a hubbub
of hellos for a minute, and then Betty descended upon them.

Betty, the freckled face--she wasn't a bit changed. She still wore a
ribbon on her hair, and her nose was as snubbed and impudent as ever. Of
course, she was taller and her skirts were longer, but no one realized
it. That was the difference. With Polly and Lois the years had really
added themselves and marked a change, but Betty was still Betty and
years mattered not at all.

"Jemima!" she exclaimed, joyfully, "but I'm glad you've come. What
under the sun did you wait until the late train for. I've been here all
day and I've felt like a fish out of water. There's a raft of new girls,
but no Senior specials, thank goodness. The two Dorothys are here,"--she
paused and wrinkled her nose just the least little bit in disapproval,
and then rushed on. "I'm rooming with Angela, you know. Isn't it mean
Connie isn't back? Ange misses her already."

Constance Wentworth, of whom she spoke, was one of the old girls and
Angela Hollywood's chosen companion. She had not returned this year
because her music professor had insisted upon her starting in at the
Conservatory of Music, for she was a remarkable pianist. The girls
realized that no one would ever quite fill her place.

"Where is Ange?" Lois inquired, when Betty paused for breath.

"In her room, I mean our room; she's moping," Betty answered. "She said
three distinct times that she wished Connie were back, and so I left.
I'm not sensitive, but--" Betty left the rest unsaid, but her look
expressed volumes.

"Poor Ange!" Polly said with exaggerated feeling. "I don't blame her;
let's go find her; she must need cheering up; besides, I'm tired of
meeting new girls."

Angela answered their knock a few minutes later with a "Come in,"
uttered in her own particular drawl. She was sitting on her bed in the
midst of clothes. Apparently, she had made little or no progress in
unpacking her suitcase, for nothing was put away.

Angela had always been, and was still, the unrivaled beauty of Seddon
Hall. Her complexion was as soft and pink as a rose petal, and her
shimmering golden hair and big blue eyes made you think of gardens and
Dresden china. She was never known to hurry, and she spoke with a soft
lazy drawl, which, curiously enough, never irritated any one. She had
won quite a renown as a poet, but was too quiet to be generally popular.

"Hello, you three!" she greeted, as the girls entered. "I'm awfully glad
you're back. Isn't this a mess?" She included the room with a wave of
her arm. "I don't know where to begin."

"It's exactly the way it was when I left you," Betty exclaimed with
pretended wrath.

"I know it; but you've been so piggy with the dresser drawers and the
wardrobe that there's no room for my things," Angela teased back.

She was apparently willing to leave the argument so, for as the girls
dropped into comfortable positions on the floor and window seat, she
discarded the shoe she was holding, stuffed a pillow behind her and
folded her hands. Her guests stayed until dinner time and talked. It was
almost a class meeting; for it was a well established fact that when
these four girls decided anything the rest of the class agreed with an
alacrity that was very flattering to their good judgment.

It was not until Mrs. Baird, who sat at the Senior table the first night
as a special favor, asked them if they had discovered any homesick new
girls, that they realized that as Seniors, holding responsible positions
in the school, they had failed already.

After dinner they stopped to consult on the Bridge of Sighs--the covered
way that connected the two main buildings of the school.

"Well, what's to be done?" inquired Lois. "Instead of deciding what
color shoes we'd wear at commencement we should have been drying
somebody's eyes."

"Quite right," Betty mimicked Lois' righteous tones. "We were very
selfish; in fact, I'm ashamed of _us_. Let's go to Assembly Hall and be
giddy little cheerers up."

Polly laughed.

"Oh, Bet, be sensible! Hasn't your observation in the past taught you
that homesick girls don't go to Assembly Hall to cry? They tuck their
silly heads under their protecting pillows in their own room. Let's go
to Freshman Lane."

"Why Freshman?" Angela inquired softly. "Freshmen are too young and
excited to be homesick so soon. Let's go to the Sophs quarters."

They went, tapping gently at every door all the way down the corridor,
but received no response.

"They're a heartless lot," Betty declared at the last door. "Not one of
them in tears. It's not right, they're entirely too cheerful for so
young a class." And she scowled wrathfully as an indication of her
displeasure.

"Never mind, Bet," Lois laughed, "maybe we'll have better luck with the
Juniors."

Betty took heart and led the way.

Lois was right, though the doleful sobs that met their ears at the door
of Junior Mansions--nicknamed the year before because the present
Seniors had been so very elegant--could hardly be called luck.

"Jemima!" Betty exclaimed. "A deluge, our search proves fruitful at
last."

Polly went to the door through which the sounds came and pushed it open.

The room was dark. The light from the hall cast a streak over the bare
floor and discovered a heap of something half on, and half off the bed.
At one side of the room a wicker suitcase stood beside the dresser, its
swelling sides proclaimed it still unpacked. A hat and coat were flung
on the chair--but these were minor details. The heart-breaking sobs
filled every corner of the room, and the figure on the bed heaved
convulsively with each one.

Polly was the first to speak.

"What's the matter, homesick?" she asked cheerfully as she pressed the
electric button and flooded the room with light.

On closer inspection they saw that the girl had heaps of black hair that
had become unfastened and lay in a heavy coil on the bed. Also, she had
on a crumpled silk waist and a dark green skirt.

Lois and Betty helped her on to the bed and Polly bathed her face with
cold water. Angela was tongue-tied, but she patted her hand and murmured
incoherent things. Finally the sobs stopped.

"We've got to get her out of here," Lois whispered. "Don't you want to
do up your hair and come down to the Assembly Hall?" she said aloud.
"Everybody's dancing."

The new girl--she was still just the new girl, for she had refused to
tell her name, or say one word--sat up and smoothed her waist.

Betty sighed with relief.

"Come on, that's right," she said encouragingly. "Don't mind about your
eyes, all the other new girls will have red ones too. Why when I was a
new girl," she said grandly, "I cried for weeks."

Polly and Lois and Angela gasped. Betty had never been known to shed a
tear. As for weeks of them, that was a bit extravagant. But the fib had
the desired effect. The new girl turned her large, drenched gray eyes on
Betty and studied her carefully.

"I reckon you looked something like a picked buzzard when you got
through," she said with a broad Southern accent.

There was an astonished silence for a second, then the girls burst into
peals of laughter. It was contagious, happy laughter, and the new girl,
after a hesitating minute, joined in. After that, it was an easy matter
to make conversation and to persuade her to leave her room.

The girls found out that she was Fanny Gerard, and had come straight
from South Carolina. Her father--she had no mother--had brought her to
school and then returned to the city by the next train. Unfortunately,
it had been Miss Hale, the Latin teacher--nicknamed the Spartan years
before by Betty, the only unpopular teacher in Seddon Hall--who had
shown Fanny to her room.

"She just opened the do' and pointed at that little old plain room with
her bony finger and said: 'This is you alls room, Miss Gerard,' and left
me. I tell you I like to died."

The tears threatened to burst forth again. Betty and Polly hastened to
explain that the Spartan was not even to be considered as part of Seddon
Hall. And they brought back the smiles when they explained that the
Bridge of Sighs was so named because the Spartan's room was at the end
of it.

All together, they made a very satisfactory cure and when they left
Fanny for the night, after having unpacked her suitcase for her, she was
quite bright and contented.

"What do you think of her?" Polly demanded, when she and Lois were
alone, after the good night bell.

Lois considered a minute.

"She's rare, and I think she's going to be worth cultivating. Certainly
she's funny," she said.

"Seddon Hallish, you mean?" Polly inquired.

"No, not exactly."

"She couldn't take Connie's place for instance?"

"Never in a thousand years!"

"Lois."

"Yes."

"You're thinking about the same thing I am."

"What are you thinking of?"

"The five boy's pictures she brought in her suitcase."

"Yes, I was. Sort of silly of her. Maybe they are her brothers."

"They're not, she's an only child."

"Well, all Southern girls are sentimental." Polly was almost asleep.

"Maybe we can cure her," she said.

"Maybe," Lois answered drowsily.

"We're Seniors, Lo."

"Yes. This is the first night of our last year."

"I know, pretty much all right rooming together, isn't it?"

"You bet."

"Goodnight."

"Goodnight."



CHAPTER II

A CLASS MEETING


[Illustration: Polly was standing on a chair which threatened every
minute to topple from its precarious position on her bed.]

"Really Lo, I think its downright inconsiderate of you to be for
Princeton." Polly was standing on a chair which threatened every minute
to topple from its precarious position on her bed and she was struggling
with a huge Harvard banner. She made the above statement with spirit.

Lois, on the other side of the room, was in nearly the same position,
only she was struggling with a Princeton banner.

"I don't see why," she answered Polly's remark casually, and went on
tacking.

"Because that awful orange color simply fights with my crimson. We can't
have them in the same room."

Lois descended to the floor and surveyed the two banners.

"No, we can't," she said decidedly. "Mine goes better with the room than
yours, don't you think?" she asked, after a pause, with just a little
too much show at indifference.

"No, I don't." Polly's reply was prompt. "Color scheme doesn't matter to
me anyway, but Bob's flag is going up somewhere."

Fortunately, at this moment Betty burst into the room.

"News, good news," she exclaimed. "The Art teacher has just arrived and
I've met her. She's a duck. Hello, what's the matter?" she inquired,
suddenly interrupting herself. "Is this flag day, and do you really mean
you are going to hang both those banners?"

"No, we're not," Lois answered, and Polly laughed.

"The trouble is, Bet, we can't decide which one we will hang. Lo, of
course, with her artistic ideas, thinks the orange would go better with
the browns of the rug and screen, and I want my Harvard banner up
through sentiment. Bob gave it to me and he'll probably make the track
this year and anyway, he's Lois' brother and she's always been for
Harvard until Frank decided on Princeton and gave her that." Polly gazed
with resentment on the banner and Lois both.

"Did Frank give Lo that? Jemima! I didn't know they were such good
friends."

Frank Preston was a cousin of Louise Preston, an old Seddon Hall girl
Lois and Polly had met him three summers before, while they were
visiting Louise, and Lois and he had kept up the friendship ever since.

"Of course he gave it to me, and Polly you know he had a thousand and
one good reasons for going to Princeton. Harvard is not the only
college."

"Only one I'd go to if I were a boy," Polly answered airily. "But what
will we do? I can't hold this up all day."

Betty had a sudden inspiration.

"I'll tell you," she announced. "Take turns, Poll, you put yours up this
week and Lo can have hers next, and there you are." She looked proud at
having solved the difficulty.

"Bet, you're a genius!" Polly exclaimed, and Lois added her quota of
praise.

"Put yours up first, Poll," she said.

But Polly protested.

"No, yours is up already; leave it, and mine can go up next week." So it
was decided.

"Now, stop work and let's talk," Betty suggested. "Haven't you anything
to eat?"

"Jam, crackers and peanut butter in the window box," Lois told her. "Get
them out and tell us about the Art teacher; I'm going to go on hanging
pictures."

"Well, she's a duck, I told you that, and an old friend of Mrs. Baird;
her first name is Janet. I was standing in the hall when she arrived and
I carried her bag to her room. She has the one next to the Spartan's,
poor soul!"

"Well how do you know she's nice?" Polly insisted.

"Because she's something like Mrs. Baird."

"Oh, well, of course that's enough; she couldn't be just as nice."

"No, naturally not. There's only one Mrs. Baird, which reminds
me--there's a young child"--Betty said the words with emphasis--"A
Freshman, I think, who needs serious attention. I heard her fussing
to-day; something was wrong and she said 'Mrs. Baird made her sick.'"

Lois looked horrified, but Polly only shrugged her shoulders.

"She won't last long," she said indifferently, and Betty felt ashamed of
having bothered to give the child a lecture.

"When do we have a Class meeting?" she asked, to change the subject.
"We've got to do something about the welcome dance."

"Why not now?" Lois stopped hammering. "Let's get the Seniors all in
here."

It was only a matter of a few minutes before this was accomplished, for
Betty went to rout them out.

Angela came first to be followed by the two Dorothys, then Mildred Weeks
and Evelin Hatfield, two girls who had come to Seddon Hall the year
before. Betty followed them.

"Everybody here?" she asked. "Don't you think we'd better elect officers
first off? Then some one will be able to start things. Here's some
paper," she added, tearing off sheets and passing them around.

But things were not to run so smoothly. One of the Dorothys rose to
protest.

"Don't you think it would be more formal if we held a real meeting in
one of the classrooms with Mrs. Baird there," she said. "Then we could
have a ballot box and do the thing properly."

Polly and Lois exchanged glances. The Dorothys had always been
dissenting voices ever since Freshman days.

Betty tore her hair in secret behind the wardrobe.

It was Angela's slow drawl that settled the question.

"It would be more formal," she agreed, "but what would be the use? Mrs.
Baird is much too busy to come, the classrooms are always stuffy after
school and besides, we couldn't take the jam along, it's against the
rules."

Mildred and Evelin, who had been rather inclined to favor the Dorothys,
were won over by this and the point was carried.

The meeting stayed where it was and the vote was cast. Lois was elected
President; Angela, Treasurer; Betty, Editor of the school paper; and
Polly, Secretary. When the congratulations were over they started with
their plans for the welcome dance.

"Do let's have it different," beseeched Betty. "Last year it was awful.
All the new girls cried and there wasn't enough ice cream."

"How can we make it different? There's nothing to do but dance." Dot
Mead protested. She was not altogether happy over the election.

"Let's make more of a feature of the new girls," Mildred said shyly.
"Last year I know Evelin and I felt awfully out of it. Couldn't we--"

"You've hit the nail on the head," Polly exclaimed. "We'll find some new
idea of doing things so that the new girls will really feel it's their
dance. Everybody think."

While these preparations were going on in the Senior Alley--another
meeting, less important in character, but equally heated as to
discussion, was raging in Freshman Lane.

Jane Ramsey, who had been at Seddon Hall for three years in the lower
school and had at last reached the dignity of Freshman, was giving an
admiring group of new girls some advice.

There were five of them, Catherine and Helen Clay, two
sisters--Catherine a Freshman and Helen a Sophomore, Winifred Hayes,
another Sophomore, and Phylis Guile. Phylis Guile could hardly be
classed with the rest of the new girls. Her big sister Florence, who had
been a Senior three years before, had told her all about Seddon Hall,
and the thought of going anywhere else had never entered her head. She
knew so much about everything, that Jane, whose ideas of being a
Freshman meant having a chum, took to her at once, and they vowed
eternal friendship.

Jane, whose hair was black, almost as black as her eyes, contrasted
strangely with Phylis' dazzling fairness. At present, they were doing
most of the talking.

"Do the new girls vote for Captain too?" Phylis asked. "Florence has
told me of course, but I've forgotten."

"Yes, all the upper school," Jane told her.

They were talking of the coming basket ball election.

"But how do we know who to vote for?" demanded Helen. "We've never seen
them play."

"You ask an old girl," Jane replied loftily. "As it happens, this year
they'll all tell you the same thing."

"What?"

"Oh, I know," Phylis answered eagerly. "They'll tell you to vote for
Polly Pendleton. Florence told me she played a wonderful game, and to be
sure and vote for her."

"She does, too," Jane agreed with enthusiasm, "but so does Lois Farwell.
I can't make up my mind which to choose, and it's awfully important."

"Is Polly the one that sits next to Mrs. Baird on the right," Catherine
asked, "with the brown hair?"

"Yes, that's Polly."

"Well, I love her; she's so pretty; and, anyway, I'm going to vote for
her," she finished.

"Who's the beautiful Senior with golden hair?" Winifred inquired. "I'd
like to vote for her."

Jane laughed heartily. Sometimes news of the upper school leaked into
the lower, and she had heard Angela's views on all strenuous sports.

"That's Angela Hollywood; she's awfully funny, but, oh dear, she can't
play basket ball; why she's never even made the team."

"Tell us who'll make it this year?" Helen asked. "Do new girls ever get
on?" she added wistfully.

"Polly was the only one who made it; that is for five years," Phylis
explained; "she was a new girl and a Freshman. My sister's best friend,
Louise Preston, was captain that year. I wish it would happen again; but
no fear, I guess we'll have to wait."

"If we sit here talking about it, I'll begin to hope," and Jane jumped
up and began brushing her hair. "It's time to dress anyway."

Her guests took the hint and departed, all except Phylis.

"That spoils it all," she said, when the door closed.

"All what?" Jane inquired.

"Why, I'd picked some flowers, and I was going to give them to Polly,
but now if she's going to be the captain--it looks--"

"Nonsense; it does not," Jane contradicted. "Send them but don't be
silly about it, Polly wouldn't think of letting you have a crush on
her."

"Will you put your name on the card, too?" Phylis asked.

Jane considered. "I will if you send them to Lois, too," she said,
thereby giving away a secret she had hoped to keep.

After the Senior meeting Polly decided she needed air.

"I'm going now, this minute," she declared. "I'm suffocated."

Lois, who had thrown herself down on the bed between laughter and tears,
murmured a vague promise to follow. She changed her mind later and
decided on a cold shower instead.

As she went down the stairs to Roman Alley, she heard some one stumble,
and then the thud, thud, of falling boxes.

"Who is it, did you hurt yourself?" she called, and hurried around the
turn of the stairs. A remarkably pretty woman looked up from a waterfall
of canvases.

"No; but I deserved to, for carrying a lazy man's load," she laughed.

"Let me help," Lois offered, starting to pick up the canvases, "you must
be Miss Crosby. Oh, but that's nice," she added suddenly, holding out a
sketch at arm's length.

Miss Crosby smiled.

"Do you like it? I did it this summer. Are you interested in drawing?"
she asked.

"Oh, yes!" Lois's tone was surprised--as if any one could doubt such a
well known fact.

"Then you must be Lois Farwell," she said.

"Why, I am."

Miss Crosby's smile broadened. "I thought you were; you see Mrs. Baird
told me--" she hesitated, "well it doesn't matter what. If you'll help
me up with these things I'll be ever so grateful."

Together they carried all the pictures up to Miss Crosby's room, and
Lois stood them up against the bed and walls, and then admired them.

Miss Crosby made her talk, and understood what she said, which was
difficult for most people when Lois talked art. In fact she completely
forgot she was Senior President, and had barely time to scramble into
her dress and reach the platform to announce to the assembled old girls
the plans for the coming dance.

It was not until after study hour that Polly and she returned to their
room and found the flowers. Polly almost stepped on them as she opened
the door.

"What under the sun?" Lois turned on the light. "Flowers? do look! To
Polly and Lois from Jane and Phylis."

"Crushes," gasped Lois, "how awful!"

Then they looked at each other and laughed.



CHAPTER III

FANNY


Sundays, that is to say, Boarding School Sundays, are apt to be longer
than any of the other days in the week.

Certainly it was so of Seddon Hall. Mrs. Baird thought the girls needed
"time off to think," as she expressed it, so that, after the morning
service in the little village church, the rest of the day was free.

It had always proved a good idea, for after a week spent in obedience to
bells, a whole day to do as you please in, has an exhilarating effect.

But this particular first Sunday looked as if it were going to disprove
the efficiency of the plan.

It was the day after the Welcome Dance to the new girls, and it was
raining. Not a nice, heavy pouring rain, but a dreary persistent
drizzle. The girls wandered aimlessly about the corridors in the most
woe-begone fashion, for there was no chance of getting out of doors for
a walk.

The dance the night before had proved a great success. Instead of each
old girl taking a new girl, as had formerly been the custom, Polly's
versatile brain had decided on a far better plan.

The new girls arrived in a body in Assembly Hall and were received by
their class and formally introduced to one another. Then a daisy chain
started and was so arranged that before it was over, every one had met
and spoken to every one else in the school. By the time the refreshments
arrived, all the girls were in a gale and not a tear was shed.

Sunday, however, was a different matter. Everybody felt damp and cold in
church, and the sermon had been very long. Even Betty was out of sorts.

"Do you know," she said, crossly--she and Angela were in Polly's and
Lois' room the early part of the afternoon. "I'm tired of us. We are all
so afraid of letting anybody else into our select company that we are
growing positively stuck up. Deny it, if you can," she persisted, as
Polly looked up in surprise. "Here we sit like graven images, when we
ought to be in Assembly Hall. Come on."

"Oh, Bet, you're so energetic," Angela drawled, "and we're so comfy."

"Assembly Hall won't be any fun," Polly protested. "I'm crazy to do
something too, but--"

"Let's go get Fanny," Lois suggested. "She's bound to make us laugh. I
was talking to her before church this morning. She was fussing about
having to carry so many subjects; when she got to geometry she waxed
eloquent. 'I declare there's no use my wasting my time on arithmetic,'
she said, and when I told her there was a slight difference between the
two, she wouldn't have it. 'It's all the same thing; maybe one's a tiny
bit more elaborate than the other, but what's the use of proving all
those angles equal. I don't reckon I'll ever be a carpenter; so there's
just no sense in it.' I had to laugh at her," Lois finished.

"Oh, Fanny's rare," Betty agreed. "Let's go see if she's in her room
instead of asking her down here. I'm tired of Senior Alley."

Polly and Lois agreed with alacrity, but Angela insisted she had letters
to write and they left her knowing quite well there would be no jam left
when they returned.

Fanny was in her room, but instead of opening the door to Polly's knock,
she called out:

"Who all's there?"

"We are," Lois answered for them. "May we come in?"

The annoyed tone vanished from Fanny's voice.

"Oh, you all," she called; "come in, of course;"--and as they
entered--"I thought maybe it was some of those impertinent young
Freshmen coming to give me advice, and I just couldn't be bothered with
them. That's why I didn't sound too cordial."

She was sitting on the floor in the middle of her room, surrounded by
letters and bands of every color ribbon.

"I hope we're not disturbing you?" Polly said, rather taken aback at the
sight of her. She couldn't quite understand all the letters, but she had
her suspicions.

Betty found a place to sit, or rather perch, on the bed.

"Playing postoffice?" she asked with a grin.

But Fanny refused to be teased. She continued to sort out her letters,
while she explained their presence.

"You see," she began dreamily, "these here notes are all from my boy
friends; some of them are three years old."

"The friends?" queried Lois.

"No, stupid, the letters," Betty said hastily in an aside. "Yes, go on,"
she encouraged Fanny.

"And every now and then I like to read them over; some of them are
awfully sweet, especially Jack's."

"Who's Jack?" her listeners demanded in chorus.

"Oh, Jack's my favorite admirer," she admitted, rather than stated.
"He's crazy about me, or so he says. I reckon I'll just have to marry
him one of these days. He's so handsome--" She paused, a sentimental
smile of remembrance wreathing her face.

"How thrilling! do tell us," Betty begged. She was gurgling with joy
inside, and like Polly and Lois, she was highly amused. They were all
laughing at Fanny, rather than with her, which was unkind and
inexcusable, as they had encouraged the recital, but her sentimental
attitude was beyond their understanding.

Boys figured largely in all their thoughts, it's true, but in a totally
different way. Polly, for instance, quite frankly admired Bob Farwell.
She endowed him with every virtue. He was tremendously clever. He was
the most wonderful athlete, and he loved dogs--especially Polly's
dogs--in fact he was altogether perfect in her eyes--but she couldn't
imagine tying up his letters in baby blue ribbons and keeping them in
her top drawer.

And Lois, who was quite extravagantly fond of Frank Preston, would have
repudiated and emphatically denied any suggestion of his being a suitor.

As for Betty--the idea of liking a boy just because he was handsome, was
too foolish to even consider. The fact that Dick Saxon--supposedly her
arch enemy, but really her best friend--had flaming red hair and was
undeniably homely--may, of course, had something to do with her disgust
for good looks. Like lots of other girls, The Three judged boys by their
ability to do; while the road to Fanny's heart was by way of graceful
and charming compliments.

"You were saying--" Polly interrupted Fanny's dream.

"Why, let me see--about Jack? He's really stunning in his uniform--he
goes to military school--I have a lot of buttons off his coat."

At this point, Lois, much to the disgust of Polly and Betty, instead of
waiting for more of Jack, inquired:

"Why have you all these colored ribbons to tie up your letters? I
thought all love letters had to be tied in blue?"

Fanny picked up the various bands, looked at them while she went over
in her mind whether or not she would tell them her special system. It
was a clever idea, so she decided she would.

"Blue is for love letters," she told Lois, "because blue is true. I tie
all Jack's letters in blue. Yellow means fickle--" She paused. "Well,
there is a boy," she proceeded reluctantly, "down home, who used to like
me until he met a cousin of mine, and she just naturally cut me out; so
I tie his letters with yellow ribbon. This here green," she took up two
letters tied with a narrow piece of baby ribbon, "is for hope."

"Hope?" Lois stifled a laugh. "Do you mean you hope for more?"

Fanny had heard the giggle and looked up in surprise. A little hurt look
stole across her face.

"I reckon you all think I'm silly," she said, slowly, "but you see, down
home, there's not much to do between holidays, when the boys come,
except write letters and wait for mail, and all the girls I--"

She stopped; a big lump rose in her throat, and her eyes filled with
tears.

The Three felt properly ashamed of themselves. Polly finally broke the
embarrassed silence.

"We don't think you're silly at all," she fibbed consolingly. "If you
want to keep your letters, why shouldn't you tie them up in appropriate
colored ribbons?"

"But you wouldn't keep yours," Fanny replied with more insight than they
had given her credit for.

"Well, no; I wouldn't, that is, I don't," Polly answered, lamely. And
Betty seized the first opportunity to change the subject.

"What did you say about the Freshmen bothering?" she asked, when Fanny
was in smiles again.

"They most certainly did, two of them, Jane and Phylis. They came in and
wanted to know if I was homesick." Fanny looked indignant. "I told them
no. Then they looked at all the pictures on my bureau, and Jane, the
sassy little thing, told me if I wanted to get along at Seddon Hall, I'd
have to stop being boy crazy. I just told them to go on about their
business, right quick, and they went," she finished triumphantly.

"Jemima! the little--" Betty stopped from sheer astonishment. Polly and
Lois exchanged understanding glances.

The next day all the girls assembled in the gym, a round building about
a hundred feet from the school. A basket ball court took up most of the
floor space. A balcony for spectators ran around three sides of the
room. Every possible device hung from the ceiling, rings, ladders,
trapezes and horizontal bars, but for the most part, these were dusty
and disused.

Seddon Hall centered all its faculty on basket ball. Twice a year, in
February and June, the team played outside schools and almost always
came out victorious.

To-day, because it was raining still, most of the girls entered for the
first try out. The Seniors sat in the balcony and watched, while every
girl had a chance to pass the basket ball and try for a basket.

"Not a very likely crowd," Polly mused, "hardly a decent play."

"It's too early to tell, in all this mob," Lois answered.

"I'm dizzy watching them. I see that little imp of a Jane with Phylis
Guile over in the corner. Let's go and thank them for the flowers?" she
suggested.

Polly groaned--"All right, come on; you know we've got to put our
foot--I mean feet down now hard, and I suppose we should talk to them
about being so rude to Fanny. What do you suppose they really said?"

Jane and Phylis were sitting in front of the lockers. They saw the two
Seniors coming towards them, but, because they were very much
embarrassed, they pretended they didn't.

Lois started the conversation, rather abruptly. She was afraid to let
Polly say much. Polly was a little bit too frank in her opinion, and
Lois dreaded hurt feelings above all things.

"We found your flowers in our room Saturday night," she said, smiling.
"They were very pretty, and we want to thank you for them."

"But you mustn't send any more," Polly put in, quite gently for her. "We
really appreciate the thought, but-- Well, you both know how easy it is
for all the rest of the girls to cry-- Crush-- Crush."

"Oh, but we didn't, haven't," Jane and Phylis blurted out, "really,
Polly."

"Of course you haven't a crush," Lois said, soothingly. "We know that
you don't believe in them, or you would never have lectured Fanny so
about sentimentality, yesterday."

Polly gasped; was Lois really sarcastic--personally--she preferred the
direct attack.

"You know," she began firmly, "you had no right to talk that way to a
Junior--it was disrespectful, and Fanny had a right to be angry."

Jane and Phylis hung their heads.

"I know it; we didn't really mean to be fresh," Jane said,
apologetically. "We just thought maybe Fanny was homesick, and we'd
cheer her up."

"We were going in to advise her who to vote for as captain, really,"
Phylis took up the tale, "but she wouldn't give us a chance. After we
hinted that she shouldn't be boy crazy she sent us out. It doesn't
really matter; she'll vote for you--" Phylis stopped. Tears of
mortification came to her eyes. "Anyway," she finished, hastily, "we
won't send you any more flowers, if you don't want us to, and, honestly,
we won't have a crush."

Polly laughed good naturedly and put her arm around Phylis' shoulder.

"That's all right; we don't want you to; but, I'll tell you something.
If you would really like to do something we would like--learn to play a
good game of basket ball. You might be needed some day."

"Poll, what made you hold out hopes to those children?" Lois asked
later, as they waited for their tubs to fill. They had played basket
ball with some of the old girls after they had left Jane and Phylis.

"Because I thought they needed something to think about besides hurt
feelings; I don't think they'll get their hopes up for the team."

"Well, you may have been right," Lois agreed slowly. "Anyway our little
lecture did them good. Fanny stopped me after practice and told me they
had apologized."

Polly said: "Oh, did they?" indifferently, and went to her tub to turn
off the water.

Her head was in a whirl, and, suddenly, tempting hopes ran riot. She
stood looking at the water a minute and shivered in anticipation of the
plunge.

"Captain of the basket ball team," she whispered. "I wonder--"



CHAPTER IV

BASKET BALL ELECTION


As Senior President, Lois was a decided failure. It was not through any
lack of interest on her part in the class and its affairs, but rather
because the fairies at her christening had failed to bestow upon her the
gift of leadership with which Polly was so richly endowed.

She just couldn't think of the hundred and one practical things that
needed attending to. Perhaps Miss Crosby was partly to blame. She had
taken a decided interest in Lois from their meeting on the stairs, and
had given her permission to use the studio at any time. She had
criticized her work and gave her helpful points not infrequently in her
own room, where Lois often dropped in at tea time.

But progress in art, though beneficial to Lois, was of no use to the
Senior class. Polly was at her wit's end. Lois had called a class
meeting the day before and forgotten to come to it. School had been
running smoothly for over a month by now, and all the strangeness of
the first few weeks had worn off. With Thanksgiving in sight, the girls
felt that they were well into the year.

To-day was Friday. After dinner the election for the basket ball captain
was scheduled and nothing was arranged.

Polly, after looking in the gym and some of the classrooms for Lois,
returned to Senior Alley. She was excited about the election, but she
was more deeply concerned about Lois. She was thinking and she walked
slowly in consequence. As she entered the corridor Dot Mead's voice,
high pitched and angry, made her stop abruptly.

"Not a thing planned, the slips not ready, and here it is Friday
afternoon. Lois wasn't like this last year. If she accepted the office
of president why doesn't she act up to it! Why, even the Freshmen are
criticizing." Her voice subsided into a grumble of displeasure.

Polly shook her head slowly and went quietly into her own room. The
Dorothys were growling as usual. She had to admit that this time there
was a little cause, too.

What had come over Lois. Polly realized with a sudden drawing together
of her eyebrows, that she was seeing less and less of her all the time.
"Art!" she said, aloud, and laughed. Then she went out to find Betty.

"Something's got to be done," she announced, when she found her with
Angela, "and we've got to do it. Ange, you print the notice of the
election in red ink, and put it on the bulletin board. And, Bet, you
make the ballot box. There's a big square wooden box under my bed--you
can cut a hole in it. I'll go and find Phylis and Jane and get them to
help me tear up paper slips. They'll love it, and they'll keep quiet
about it."

"What'll we tell the rest?" Angela asked. "They ought to appreciate our
saving them this trouble, but they won't," she added dryly.

Polly hesitated a moment.

"We'll post a notice on the board for a meeting to be held at two
fifteen," she said boldly.

"But it's three o'clock," Angela protested, but Betty understood.

"I'm ashamed of your deceit, Polly," she said with pretended scorn,
adding: "It's a bully idea."

"No, it's not; I hate it; it's really a written fib, but-- Well, I'd do
a lot more than that for Lo," Polly answered.

"Do you mean put up the sign so that the other girls will think we had a
meeting, and they didn't come?"

Angela was flabbergasted at the idea.

"Exactly."

"Oh, I see. They'll be awfully cross we didn't send for them, and I love
the two Dorothys when they're mad. But, Poll, for goodness' sake give
Lois a lecture; we don't want this to happen too often, one fib's
enough," she finished with a yawn. "Now, I'll go paint the sign."

Jane and Phylis were only too anxious to help make the slips--hero
worship shone from their eyes as they took the sample from Polly.

"Aren't you excited?" Phylis asked. "Landy, I'd be standing on my head
if I thought--" She stopped and clapped her hand over her mouth.

Phylis' frank adoration really amused Polly. She found it very hard
sometimes to face it with the proper Senior dignity. The excited little
Freshman reminded her of herself at the same age. She almost wished the
youngsters could make the sub team as she and Lois had done.

"I'm not excited, because I don't think I have much chance," she
answered, which was exactly what both girls had expected her to say.

"Bring those slips down to my room when you've finished, and don't say
that you helped, will you? It wouldn't do for any one to think that the
Seniors had favorite helpers," she said as she left them.

After she had gone, Jane and Phylis locked their door and talked in
whispers, while they worked.

Polly went down stairs, printed out the notice of the class meeting and
pinned it on the bulletin board. She had an uncomfortably guilty
feeling, tinged with pride and a certain amount of satisfaction when it
was up. For it took real courage for Polly to lie, even for Lois. Then
she went to Betty's room, helped her with the box and did several other
things.

It was time to dress for dinner before she returned to her room. She was
brushing her hair before the dresser when Lois burst in upon her.

"Polly!" she exclaimed. "Isn't this awful! I forgot about to-night and
all the things there were to do. I was painting in the studio--oh, a
duck of a picture, the corner of the house that you see from the window,
and I forgot all about the time. What, under the sun, will I do?"

Polly's chance had come, and she had no intention of letting it escape
her.

"Rather late to do anything, don't you think?" she asked indifferently,
still brushing her hair.

Lois was taken by surprise. "But, Poll, you've got to help me," she
begged, "think how furious the Dorothys will be."

"Can you blame them?" Polly held her brush in mid air. "As an organized
and governing class we are rather a joke, and the Dorothys don't like to
be laughed at," she finished, cuttingly.

This was too much for Lois. She had been working hard all afternoon over
her picture and she was tired. She threw herself down on her bed and
burst into tears.

"Polly," she sobbed, "don't act like that. I know I'm no good as a
president. I'll resign to-night, only--oh, dear--" The rest was muffled
in the pillow.

Polly made a start forward, stopped, made a last effort to be severe,
and gave in.

"Lois, dear, don't," she pleaded, kneeling beside the bed, "don't cry
any more, sit up and listen to me. Everything's all right." Lois dabbed
at her eyes. "We've had a class meeting, the box is ready, the slips are
fixed and the notice is up. We're supposed to have had a meeting, that
is, I put a sign up that there'd be one at two-fifteen, only--" Polly
hesitated. "I put it up at three o'clock. The Dorothys and Evelin and
Helen will think we had it without them."

"Polly!" Lois was beginning to understand. "You deliberately did that
to save me. You darling, I promise I'll resign to-night."

"Resign!" Polly stood up, a sparkle in her eye. "Lois Farwell, if you
resign, I'll never, never speak to you again. I mean it."

Lois was apparently frightened into submission, for she said:

"All right, Poll, I won't." Very meekly.

That evening the two Dorothys were astonished and not a little put out
with the ease with which the election was gone through with. They had
seen the class meeting sign, and with Evelin and Helen accepted it
without a doubt, which added considerably to Polly's discomfort.

Lois, now that she was really awake to the necessity, acted the part of
senior president, and announced and directed, quite properly.

The votes were cast in the Assembly Hall. Each girl wrote the name of
her choice for captain on a slip of paper and put it in the box. Then,
all the girls who had been on the big team the year before, with the
assistance of the Seniors, counted the votes.

The whole thing on this particular evening was gone through with in
deadly silence, which was nerve racking, particularly to Polly. Not for
worlds would she have confessed what it meant to her, but ever since
her Freshman year, she had wanted to be captain. She had condemned the
wish as foolish, but she had continued to hope.

After what seemed an endless wait, the names were sorted and counted,
written on a sheet of paper and presented to Lois. She looked at it,
gave a shout of joy, jumped up from her seat, and then, remembering the
two Dorothys' love of form, she said quietly: "I have the honor to
announce that Polly Pendleton has won the election by a sweeping
majority."

And so it happened--

When the school heard it a little later everybody said:

"Why, of course. We knew it; no one else had a chance," and hurried to
Polly to congratulate her. She said: "Thank you" to them all, and tried
hard to fight down the silly, but uncontrollable longing to cry.

Lois slipped away the very first chance she got and went down stairs. On
her way she met Betty.

"Where are you going?" she demanded.

Lois smiled, mysteriously.

"To send a telegram to Bob," she answered. "He made me promise I would."

The next day at luncheon, Polly found a yellow envelope at her place at
table.

"What under the sun!" she demanded, looking at it. "Who do you suppose
it's from?"

"Opening it would be a good way to find out," Betty suggested.

Polly tore open the envelope.

"Why it's from Bob! Lois, you wretch, listen!"

And she read the message. "Lois wired me the good news. Hearty
congratulations, and good luck. Bob."

"Don't call me a wretch." Lois protested, with a wicked grin. "Bob made
me vow I'd wire him the minute little Polly was elected."

For the rest of the meal Polly was teased unmercifully.

After school the three held council, while she took down Lois' Princeton
banner--for a week was up--and triumphantly put up her own.

"I don't envy you your job, Polly," Betty began, "who are you going to
choose for your team?"

"Isn't it a blessing the Dorothys don't play?" Lois laughed, "or we'd
have to have them."

"Why the main team is easy," Polly said. "There's you and Bet, and
Evelin and myself already on it, and all Seniors; that only leaves two
more to choose, and they'll have to be Juniors. Let's get Evelin and go
over to the gym and see what's doing."

They found sweaters and caps, called Evelin, and started off. Angela met
them on the way.

"I'm going, too," she insisted; "even if I can't play, my advice is
invaluable."

When they reached the gym a game was under way, and much to their
surprise, Fanny Gerard was in the thick of it.

"Jemima! look at that!" Betty exclaimed, as she made a difficult basket.
"Now who'd have thought it!"

They had not seen much of Fanny in the last month. They had no idea she
had taken their ridicule to heart. She had rebelled against it at first,
and then, gradually, other interests had blotted out her resentment.
Lately she had been playing basket ball every day.

Evelin was the only one of the girls watching who was not surprised.

"She's the right build," she said, "and I know she's been at it all the
time--but, of course, she doesn't expect to make the team."

"She ought to. Look at that!" Lois drew attention to another play.
"Imagine any one apparently as slow and dreamy as she is, playing such
a rattling game. Let's put her down for a sub, anyway."

Polly, who had not been paying much attention to the rest, said
suddenly:

"We'll have to put her on the main team. We need two girls, and there's
only one other Junior besides Fanny who can play, and that's Eleanor
Trent. She was on the team at the school where she went last year. There
she is, the girl with the auburn hair. She's used to boys' rules, but
otherwise she's a good player."

"Jemima! two new girls!" Betty said dolefully. "Well, it can't be
helped. Certainly the old ones are a hopeless lot."

"When do we tell them?" Evelin inquired. "Let's do it now. Goodness! I
remember how thrilled I was when I was put on last year."

"Let's call them out of the game; that'll make them feel so important,"
Lois suggested.

So Polly asked permission from Miss Stewart, the gym teacher, and Fanny
and Eleanor came over to them.

Polly, as captain, told them they had been chosen for the big team.
Eleanor had rather expected it. She was a good player, but she was
delighted and promised to try and make good.

But Fanny! No words can express her excited raptures. She couldn't
believe her good luck, and she sent the girls into peals of laughter by
solemnly asking Polly to take her oath on it.

"I knew she'd be rare," Betty exclaimed on their way back to school. "I
was sure she'd weep for joy."

"I hope it's all right," Lois said, doubtfully. "I wish she wasn't quite
so excitable." Lois played basket ball with her head.

"Oh, she'll be all right if she doesn't go at it too hard," Polly said,
assuringly. "Wonder if we have any mail?" She stopped before the Senior
letter box. "One for you, Lo, from your mother, and one for me. Let's go
in English room and read them. Mine's from Bob."

The other girls found their mail, and went up to their rooms.

Lois and Polly, left alone, opened their letters and read them through.

"Mother's is awfully short," Lois said, before Polly had finished hers.
"She says she knows something awfully nice that's going to happen
Thanksgiving, but she has promised Bob not to tell. What's yours about?"

"Oh, Lo! poor Bobbie has sprained his ankle and he can't run any more."
Polly's voice trembled. "I'll read you what he says:

     "Dear Old Polly:

     "Telegraphing congratulations is no good. It costs too much to be
     eloquent. Besides, I've a lot of things I want to say, but, first
     of all, Three Cheers for you. Seddon Hall is darn lucky to have
     such a corking little captain--and you'll lead them to victory and
     have your name on the cup. Make them put it on extra large."

"Old tease," Polly laughed, and Lois said: "Just like Bob."

     "And now, I'm going to talk about myself. Two weeks ago I sprained
     all the ligaments in my foot, and--well, there's not much use my
     trying to be cheerful about it--not to you anyway. It means I
     probably won't be able to run again--and so, good-by to my hopes
     of winning my H. Remember the long talks we used to have about it?
     I guess instead of watching me cross the tape from the grand
     stand, you'll sit beside me next May and listen to me groan while
     some other fellow runs in my place, which reminds me:

     "I've planned a surprise for you and Lois on Thanksgiving. I don't
     like to boast, but it's rather nice--even mother says so.

     "Drop me a line, Miss Basket Ball Captain, and tell me you'll
     accept.

     "Yours,
     "Bob."

"How exciting! What do you suppose it is?" Lois demanded, as she
followed Polly upstairs. "It's a shame about Bobbie's foot. Vacation
begins next week. Isn't it thrilling! I do hope he has sense enough to
bring home some one nice--but I suppose it will be his roommate, Jim
Thorpe, as usual, and I don't like him much." They had reached their
room by now.

"I'll bet the surprise is a football game, don't you?" Lois persisted.

"Oh, keep still, Lo!" Polly said, crossly, "and leave me alone."

Lo glanced up in surprise, and suddenly decided to look for Betty. She
left Polly standing before the Crimson banner, blinking hard.



CHAPTER V

THANKSGIVING


Thanksgiving vacation started with the confusion and excitement always
necessary when a school breaks up even for so short a time.

Polly and Lois could hardly wait until the Seddon Hall special pulled
into the Grand Central station on Wednesday morning. The vacation began
on Wednesday and the girls were expected to be back Sunday evening.

They were the first to jump to the platform as the train stopped.

Mrs. Farwell was waiting for them.

"Darling children!" She hugged and kissed them both. "How well you
look!"

"Well? Why we're robust, Aunt Kate," Polly laughed, "and bursting with
excitement."

"What's the surprise, Mother? Please tell us," Lois begged.

Mrs. Farwell only shook her head mysteriously. "Not a word until after
luncheon. We must shop this morning." She looked at the girls
despairingly. "How do you manage to wear out your clothes so? You both
need everything new, particularly hats; the ones you have on are
sights."

Uncle Roddy's car was waiting for them, and they got in it and were
whirled away to the shops.

It was not until luncheon that they had a chance to breathe.

"There, that's settled." Mrs. Farwell viewed them with satisfaction. She
was proud of them both. Lois' delicate handsomeness and Polly's clear
cut beauty. She had chosen dark blue for the one and hunter's green for
the other.

"Won't you girls ever take an interest in your clothes?" she asked,
wonderingly. She couldn't believe they were quite as indifferent to the
charming pictures they made in the very becoming hats and sporty
topcoats as they pretended.

"Poor, darling mother, we are interested," Lois protested, "but we're--"

"Fussed." Polly finished for her, looking decidedly self-conscious, as
she tilted her hat a tiny bit more over one ear.

Uncle Roddy and Dr. Farwell met them for luncheon, and then they heard
the plan.

"It's Bob's idea," Uncle Roddy explained, "and here's the schedule.
You," he was looking at Polly and Lois, "and Mrs. Farwell leave for
Boston this afternoon. Bob will meet you and take you to dinner, and
to-morrow you'll go to the game. Harvard plays Princeton."

"That's hard on you, Lois," Dr. Farwell laughed; he never stopped
teasing for one minute.

"What do you think about it, Tiddledewinks?" Uncle Roddy asked.

"It's a perfect plan," Polly said, enthusiastically. "I'm crazy to see
Bob. Isn't it a shame about his foot?"

The doctor looked grave.

"Yes, it's too bad; he was laid up for quite a while. Of course, it's
all right now, but he lost time, and he's had to make up a lot of work."

"Oh, of course." Polly suddenly realized that Bob's father was not
looking at it from quite the same angle that she was.

After luncheon they hurried to the hotel where the Farwells were
staying, repacked their bags and were back at the Grand Central in time
for their train.

Lois and Polly talked and planned ahead all the way to Boston. They
thoroughly enjoyed the coming fun in anticipation; but, of course, they
never guessed for a second that the real surprise was still ahead.

"There's Bob," Polly exclaimed, as they followed the porter through the
gates. "I can see him; he's way at the end of that line of people, and
Lois, look who's with him!"

Lois looked. A tall, heavily set fellow, with a very broad pair of
shoulders, was waving his hat.

"Frank Preston! Why how do you suppose--" But the rest of the sentence
was cut short by the meeting.

"Hello, Mother!" Bob began, "how are you?" He turned to the girls.
"Here's a friend of yours, Lo." Then he squeezed Polly's hand till it
hurt.

"How do you do, Mrs. Farwell?" Frank shook hands hurriedly and turned to
Lois.

"Isn't this bully luck? Gee, I'm glad to see you!" he said, eagerly.

Bob looked in admiration. He wished he had Frank's courage. Why he
couldn't even kiss his mother and Lois in public, without blushing, and
as for Polly, well, he would have to wait until they were alone before
he could tell her how glad he was to see her. But he comforted himself
with the thought that he'd be more artistic about it when the time came
than Frank had been.

They found their hotel, the same one they had stayed at on their first
memorable trip to Boston, and Mrs. Farwell, tired out from her strenuous
afternoon, ordered tea at once.

Lois and Frank sat down on a sofa at one end of the room, and Frank
explained how Bob had wired him to meet him.

"Of course, I came," he said.

"You are not in the game to-morrow?" Mrs. Farwell asked from behind the
tea urn.

"No, worse luck," Frank told her. "I'm only a sub; of course, there's a
chance; I may be needed."

"But if you're a sub, how did you manage to get here?" Polly inquired.

"Oh, I managed that all right. I won't break training, though I'm
tempted to." He eyed the tea cakes longingly, "and I'll be on hand
to-morrow. So that's all right. It's awfully jolly of you people to ask
me," he smiled, engagingly, at Mrs. Farwell.

"Why, we're delighted to have you, Frank," she assured him.

Bob, who had been looking out of the window all this time, turned
abruptly.

"Mother, Polly doesn't want any tea, and there's loads of time for a
walk; do you mind?" he asked.

His mother laughed. "Not if Polly doesn't, but I should think she'd be
tired."

But Polly was not tired. She insisted that she wanted some exercise
after the trip on the cars. So Bob took her out.

The sun was just getting ready to set, and they walked towards the
river.

"Polly!" Bob said, after they had walked a block in silence.

"Yes--"

"I think this is pretty much O. K., don't you?"

"What, this street?" Polly was very happy and she felt like teasing.

Bob tightened his grip on her arm, started to protest, and then changed
his mind.

"Yes, of course, this street; I think it's a lovely street--in fact it's
a great favorite of mine," he said instead.

Then Polly was sorry. After a while she said, softly:

"What did you really mean, Bobby?"

"Why, the street."

"Oh, very well, if you don't want to tell me."

"Ha, ha! but I do; I think it's great having you here for the game, and
mother and Lois. Wasn't I clever to get Frank to amuse Lo to-night?
We're going to the theater, you know, something musical. I wish he could
stay longer, but, of course, he can't; he'll have to return with the
defeated team."

"Will they surely be defeated?" Polly asked, seriously. "Bob, I think
I'll just die if Harvard doesn't win."

"Don't worry, we will," he assured her with perfect confidence. Then
followed another pause. They had reached the river, and Polly stopped.

"Bob!"

"What is it?"

"I'm awfully sorry about your foot; I can't tell you how sorry, because
words are so stupid; the right ones never come when you really want to
say something. But I _feel_ about it, oh, awfully! Isn't there even a
chance?"

"Yes, a little one," Bob said; "but not enough to matter. I can't start
training, and I'll be too stiff to do any good by Spring.

"Tough luck!" Polly laid her hand unconsciously on his arm. "Don't give
up, though. You may make good if you work awfully hard. May's ages off."

"Gee!" Bob delivered this inelegant exclamation with feeling. "Poll,
you're the best little sport I ever knew. You always understand. Any
other girl would have said that running was bad for my heart, and
expected me to be consoled."

Polly was overcome by such frank praise. She tried to think of
something to say, and finally decided on:

"Oh, rot! Isn't it time to go back?"

The theater that night was very amusing. Lois and Frank were in gales of
laughter every minute.

"If you laugh any more," Lois said, between the acts, "you'll never be
able to play to-morrow."

"But I won't have to play," Frank protested, "unless an awful lot of
awful things happen. Anyway, don't let's talk about it, honestly, Lois."
He lowered his voice, "I get cold all over when I think of it. I'm
almost sure I'd lose my nerve if I had to go in."

"You never would," Lois admonished, crisply. "You'd find it, any amount
of it, the minute you heard the signals. I hope--oh, how I hope you have
to play."

"Well, if I do," Frank grumbled, "it won't do me any good to remember
you're on the Harvard side."

"Now, you're silly," Lois teased. "What difference does it make where I
sit, so long as I root for Princeton?"

"Do you mean that?" Frank demanded. "Do you honestly want us to win?
Gee, that's great! I sort of thought, because of Bob--"

"Oh, Bob! Well, you see there's Polly," Lois said, demurely, just as
the curtain rose for the last act.

Thanksgiving morning was all glorious sunshine. There was not a single
cloud in the sky, and the air was just the right football temperature.

"Everything O. K., so far," Bob said, joyfully, as he joined his mother
and the girls at breakfast. "What'll we do this morning to kill time?"

"Lois wants to go to the Library and see the Abbey pictures," Mrs.
Farwell answered.

Bob looked his disgust--he appealed to Polly--but for the first time she
deserted him.

"I'm going too, Bobby. I guess you'll have to find something to do until
luncheon," she said.

Mrs. Farwell and the girls wandered about the Library all morning, and
returned to the hotel ten minutes later than the time set by Bob for
luncheon.

He and his roommate, Jimmy Thorpe, were waiting for them in the lobby.

"I knew you'd be late," Bob greeted them. "We'll have to dash through
lunch. Did you enjoy the pictures?" he asked, sarcastically.

"Darling Bobby, are we late? We're so sorry. How do you do, Jimmy? It's
awfully nice you can be with us." Mrs. Farwell was so contrite and
charming that Bobbie's momentary huff disappeared as it always did
before his mother's smile.

"Well, we didn't have to hurry so very much," she said, when luncheon
was over and they were preparing to start. "Now are you sure we are
going to be warm enough?"

Bob and Jim looked at each other, over the sweaters and steamer rugs
they were loaded down with, and winked.

"Here's the taxi," Jim announced. "Come on, Lois."

After a considerable time lost in stopping and threading their way among
the other hundreds of cars, they reached the Harvard Stadium at last.

"Bob, how wonderful and how huge it looks to-day," Polly exclaimed, as
they entered their section, and she caught sight of the immense bowl,
and the hundreds of people.

They had splendid seats, near enough to really see and recognize the
players. Jim and Bob explained the score card, talked familiarly about
all the players and pointed out the other under graduates who had won
importance in other sports.

"Oh, but I wish I were a boy," Polly said, longingly. "Imagine the
thrill of being part of all this. Why it makes school look pale and
insignificant in comparison."

"I don't wish I were a boy," Lois said decidedly. "I'd much rather be a
girl, but, I'll admit, football does make basket ball look rather
silly."

"Oh, I don't know!" Jim said, condescendingly. "Basket ball's a good
girls' game."

Polly was indignant.

"Jim, what a silly thing to say. You know perfectly well that just as
many boys play it as girls. The only difference is that when we play we
have to use our minds--while boys--"

"Yes, we know, Poll," Bob interrupted, "boys have no minds; therefore
their rules must be less rigid. But don't be too hard on us."

"I judge Polly plays basket ball." It seemed to be Jim's day for
blunders.

"Plays basket ball--oh, ye Gods!" Bob wrung his hands. "Why, Jim, surely
I told you that she was no less than captain of her team. Personally, I
think she deserves the title of general."

Polly laughed in spite of herself.

"Bob, you're a mean tease. But just wait. I'll ask you both up for field
day, and--"

"Sh--! here they come," Bob warned as a prolonged cheer announced the
arrival of the teams.

The game was on.

Everybody stood up and shouted. And then a tense silence followed, as
the first kick-off sent the pigskin hurtling into the air.

Any one who has seen a football game knows how perfectly silly it is to
attempt a description of it. Polly and Lois could both tell you all the
rules and explain the most intricate maneuvers, if you gave them plenty
of time to think it out; but with the actual plays before them, they
were carried away by excitement and gave themselves up completely to
feeling the game, rather than understanding it. They watched the massed
formation with breathless anxiety, thrilled at every sudden spurt ahead
which meant a gain; groaned when the advance was stopped by one of those
terrifying tackles, and experienced the exultant joy only possible when
the pigskin sails unchecked between the goal posts.

Between periods they had to appeal to Jim and Bob for the score. At one
point in the game, Bob turned hurriedly to Lois.

"Watch out for Frank," he said, excitedly; "He'll be on in a minute."

"How do you know?" Lois demanded. "Oh, Bobby, I wish they wouldn't; he,
he--said he'd lose his nerve." Lois had suddenly lost hers.

"You watch that man," Bob pointed, "they'll take him out, see if they
don't; he's all in. Frank will play next period."

He was right. When the whistle blew, Frank, after a few hurried words
with the coach, tore off his sweater and ran out to the field.

Lois' eyes were glued to him whenever he was in sight, and during one
tackle when he was completely lost under the mass of swaying arms and
legs, she forgot her surroundings and the fact, most important in Bob's
and Jim's eyes, that she was on the Harvard side--by shouting lustily.

"Stop it, stop it! Get off, you'll smother him!"

Mrs. Farwell quieted her.

"Lois, you mustn't, dear child," she laughed. "They can't hear you, you
know. Do sit down and don't look if it frightens you."

By this time Frank was up and doing wonders. Lois gave a sigh of relief.

"Football's a savage game," she said, indignantly. And Mrs. Farwell
agreed with her. She had been thankful beyond words that Bob had not
gone out for the team--running was sufficiently dangerous. It was to her
lasting credit that she had thought of Bob's feelings first, instead of
her own, when news came of his hurt foot.

Putting Frank in the game made a decided difference. The Orange and
Black began to gain. They fought and contested every inch, but the
Crimson triumphed.

Polly's eyes reflected the light of victory as the last longed for
whistle blew. She shouted and went quite mad with all the rest.

"What a game! Oh, Bob, what a game!" she cried as they started for their
exit. "I'll never be able to thank you enough for taking me. I'm nearly
dead from excitement, though."

Bob, in his exuberance, slapped her on the back.

"Good for you, Polly; you ought to have been a boy, shouldn't she, Jim?"
he demanded.

"Why, I can't see that there's any room for improvement, if you ask me,"
Jim said gallantly. And Bob gnashed his teeth.

They all had dinner at the hotel that night, and went to the theater
again, but it is a question whether any of them could tell you what they
saw, for the music acted only as a sort of fitting background as they
went over and over again, each play of the wonderful game.

That is, Polly and Bob and Jim. Lois had only one comment to make:

"Princeton lost," she granted them, "but it was only because they hadn't
the sense to put Frank in sooner." And Bob admitted there might be a
degree of truth in what she said.



CHAPTER VI

MAUD


The rest of Thanksgiving vacation was so pale in comparison with the
game that it is not worth recounting. Only one thing of lasting
importance occurred.

Sunday morning, while Lois and Polly were still in bed--Lois was staying
with Polly at Uncle Roddy's apartment on Riverside Drive--the bell rang.
Mrs. Bent the housekeeper opened the door and Mrs. Farwell walked in.

"Good morning," she said hurriedly--and catching sight of Mr. Pendleton
in the library--added, "I know I'm much too early for dinner, Roddy--the
doctor said you wouldn't be up, but I have such exciting news for the
girls. Where are they?"

"Still in bed. I think they're having breakfast. You might go see. Tell
me about the excitement first," Uncle Roddy answered, as he helped her
with her coat.

"I found a letter from Mrs. Banks, when I got home from the theater last
night," Mrs. Farwell explained. "It had been forwarded from Albany.
They are back from Canada."

"The Banks, eh! How is Maud?" Uncle Roddy inquired with sudden interest.

"Very well, and Mrs. Banks wants to send her--but I must tell the
girls," she interrupted herself, and hurried down the hall.

The Banks need a word of explanation to those who have not read the
story of the first summer that Polly and Lois spent in the former's old
home in New England, where they lived in Polly's own house left to her
by her Aunt Hannah Pendleton. It was a big, rambling place and quite a
distance from the village. The only other house on the hill was the
mysterious Kent place--said by the natives for miles around--to be
haunted.

It was with the greatest surprise that Polly, on her arrival, learned
that this summer it was tenanted by a Mrs. Banks and her daughter, Maud.
But instead of the occupants completely dispelling the mystery of the
house, the Banks added to it.

It was soon evident, that there was something queer about them. Maud was
very shy, and more like a frightened, wild animal, than a healthy,
normal child. It was Dr. Farwell, who, towards the end of the summer,
discovered that she was suffering from a severe nervous shock, caused
by the tragic death of her father in India.

He had sent her away for treatment and when she returned, Polly and Lois
had tried to complete the cure. Polly had almost succeeded in persuading
her to return with them to Seddon Hall, but Maud's timidity had barred
the way. She could not make up her mind to face the one hundred girls.

Mrs. Banks had taken her daughter to Canada to visit friends that
winter, and apart from an occasional postal, Polly and Lois had heard no
further news of them.

Mrs. Farwell's letter was a great surprise. When she entered the girl's
room they both sat up. They had finished breakfast and were just being
happily lazy.

"Jemima! What time is it?" Lois demanded, at sight of her mother. "Are
you and Daddy here for dinner already?"

Mrs. Farwell laughed. "No, you lazy bones, it's not quite as late as
that. I came before Daddy, because I have news for you--such news!"

"Tell us," Polly demanded, quite thoroughly awake. "News of what?"

Mrs. Farwell sat down on the edge of the bed and began:

"I've had a letter from Mrs. Banks, she and Maud are in New York and--"

But the girls interrupted her with a flood of questions.

"Mrs. Banks in New York! How's Maud? Did she say where she was going to
school?"

"Is she still so awfully nervous?"

"I wonder what she's like now."

"Do listen," Mrs. Farwell begged, "and I'll tell you. Mrs. Banks wrote
that she was considering sending Maud to Seddon Hall. She is fifteen
now, you know, and apparently, from what her mother writes--eager to
go."

Polly said: "Well, I never! It's taken her two years to make up her
mind."

Lois groaned, and fell back on her pillows. You will remember, she was
never as interested in Maud, as Polly was.

"Another younger girl to look after," she said dolefully. "I wonder if
there'll be room for her. When are you going to answer Mrs. Banks'
letter, mother?"

Mrs. Farwell thought for a minute.

"Why I think I'll 'phone her. You see the letter was sent to Albany, so
it was delayed in reaching me. I have their address here."

"Look!" Polly bounded out of bed. "Call her up now Aunt Kate, and ask
her to bring Maud to tea this afternoon. Then we can talk about school
and see Maud. Get up, Lo, and do show a little interested enthusiasm,"
she admonished, as Mrs. Farwell went back to the library to tell Uncle
Roddy the rest of the story, and to 'phone to Mrs. Banks. "Aren't you
excited?"

"_No!_" Lois got up slowly and struggled to find her slipper. "I am
not," she said slowly but distinctly.

Mrs. Banks was delighted to accept Mrs. Farwell's invitation, and at
four o'clock they arrived, she and Maud.

The girls could hardly restrain a gasp of surprise at the sight of Maud.
It is hard to realize that other girls grow up as well as yourself, and
Polly and Lois still remembered the shy little girl in a pinafore, with
straight flaxen hair and blue eyes that Maud had been two summers
before. They were totally unprepared to meet the new Maud.

In the first place, instead of looking down at her they had to look up,
for she had grown until she was a half head taller than either Polly or
Lois. Her arms and legs were lanky and her hair was now brushed severely
back from her forehead and hung in a heavy braid down her back. She
wore a very plain black velvet dress with a broad white collar and
cuffs, and with her clear blue eyes and straight features she made a
strikingly handsome picture, and although she spoke in her same soft
melodious voice--all trace of shyness was gone. After the greetings were
over, and everybody was comfortably settled, the talk turned to school.

"Where have you been the past two years?" Polly asked. "I'm so tickled
to think you've really decided to go to Seddon Hall at last."

"I've had governesses, most of the time," Maud answered.

"But you went to a small private school too, dear," Mrs. Banks reminded
her.

Maud glanced at her mother and then back to Polly.

"Not for long, though; you see I was expelled," she said, with such
unexpected bluntness, that they all laughed.

"Expelled! What for?" Lois asked, without intending to be rude.

"For drawing a picture of the music professor. It wasn't a very
flattering picture, so!"

"You weren't really expelled, dear," Mrs. Banks said apologetically.
"The Principal just thought you might be happier somewhere else. You
didn't fit in; you see it was a very small school, and--"

"All the girls were little gentlewomen," Maud interrupted, without
appearing rude, "and I was too noisy." She chuckled to herself--probably
at the memory of past pranks. "I didn't mean to be, but the Principal--"
She stopped abruptly. She was a little embarrassed at so much undivided
attention--for though she was noisy, and rather unmanageable, she had no
desire to show off. For the rest of the visit, the older people did the
talking.

An hour later, as the girls were packing their bags, in Polly's
room--they discussed Maud. It was decided that she was to go to Seddon
Hall as soon as Mrs. Banks could arrange with Mrs. Baird, and the girls
were wondering just what difference her coming would make.

"She'll _be_ some one anyway," Polly said thoughtfully, "Whether she's
popular or not, she's sure to make herself felt."

"I think she'll make a hit," Lois replied, slowly. "She's awfully
different. I wonder if she'll start drawing pictures of the faculty."

"It doesn't matter if she does, no one will pay any attention to it,"
Polly said, with a grin. "Maybe she'll put some ginger into things."

"Bet will be pleased if she does," Lois laughed, as she packed her
football score card. The sight of it made her exclaim:

"Poll, I meant to write Frank to-day! I haven't congratulated him yet.
We've been so busy." She hurried to the desk. "I'll have time to tear
off just a line before we start."

Polly was suddenly reminded of an unanswered letter at the same time. In
a second their pens scratched in unison, and Maud was completely
forgotten.



CHAPTER VII

A SENIOR DISPUTE


The last bell was three minutes late in ringing. Betty knew it was,
because she had watched the clock tick out each one with growing
impatience. When it did ring at last, she threw her latin book into her
desk, banged down the lid, and gave vent to her favorite exclamation.

"Jemima! Thank goodness that's over." She went to the window and looked
out.

A heavy snow had been falling all morning, and the grounds of Seddon
Hall were sufficiently covered to assure good coasting.

Polly finished the last couple of sentences of her latin prose with
little or no regard to the context and joined Betty.

"Looks bully, doesn't it?" she asked. "I hope it stays long enough to
pack."

"It's wonderful," Betty agreed, "but don't let's stand and look at it
any longer. Come on out, quick."

"Coming, Lo?" Polly inquired, stopping beside Lois' desk.

"No, not just yet. I've got to speak to Miss Crosby, over in the studio.
Don't wait for me. I'll come as soon as I can," she promised. As she saw
Polly's look of disapproval, adding by way of apology, "I simply must
finish that sketch, Poll. It won't take long."

So Polly and Betty left her and went out together. They found their
sleds from the year before, in the gym cellar, and pulled them to the
top of the hill.

The snow had drifted into the road, and was so deep that the coasting
was slow at first.

"Let's wait awhile," Betty suggested, "until the other girls have packed
it down a little; this is no fun."

"All right, let's take a walk. I wish I knew how to snowshoe," Polly
said as she sank to her knees in a drift.

"When's that friend of yours coming?" Betty inquired, as they started
off towards the pond.

"Who, Maud? I don't know, sometime soon. We've got to be good to her,
Bet. She's really all right in some ways."

"I remember her only that first summer," Betty said thoughtfully. "She
didn't make much of an impression then."

"Did you ever see her ride?" Polly demanded. "We used to go out in the
back pasture and try and tame a couple of colts we had. Maud was a
wonder. Perhaps Mrs. Baird knows when she's coming."

"Let's go ask her." Betty turned back toward the school. "My feet are
soaked anyway."

Mrs. Baird was standing on the Senior porch when they came up the drive.
She called to them.

"Did Jane find you?" she asked, as they reached the steps. "I sent her
to look for you."

Polly laughed. "Why no," she said surprised. "We were just coming to
find you."

"What about?" Mrs. Baird put an arm around each girl. "Come inside,
first," she said, shivering, for she was without hat or coat.

"Perhaps it was about the same thing," Betty said. They followed her
into the office and Polly asked:

"Have you heard anything from Mrs. Banks? We're wondering when Maud is
coming."

"To-morrow, and I meant to tell you and Lois, but it slipped my mind,"
Mrs. Baird told her.

"Then you wanted us for something else?" Betty asked.

Mrs. Baird walked over and looked out of the window.

"Yes," she said, hesitating. "I am worried about the coasting this
year. We have so many new girls and I don't want any accidents. Of
course I couldn't forbid them to coast, so I thought up a scheme. You
two girls have been here for a long time and know all about the hill. By
the way, where's Lois?" she asked abruptly.

"Up in the studio," Polly said with a shrug of her shoulders, which
meant to convey the idea that Lois had taken up her permanent abode
there.

Mrs. Baird frowned. "She must not work so hard," she said, finally. "She
should be out on such a glorious day. I'll speak to her about it."

"Oh, she'll come out in a little while," Betty hastened to say. "She's
just talking to Miss Crosby."

"Oh, well! I'll leave you two to see that she does," Mrs. Baird said
severely. "And now, about the coasting. I want you three girls, and any
of the other Seniors, of course,"--she added, on second thought--"to
watch every new girl go down the hill once, then if she is really not
fit to coast, you must tell her. I'll leave the decision to you."

"You mean that if we don't think they really know enough about it, that
we are to tell them they must keep off the big hill?" Polly asked. The
idea struck her as a very good one--new girls were always a nuisance at
first--but she wished the decision had been left to some one else.

"They can use the little hill, can't they?" Betty asked. "No one could
hurt themselves on that."

Mrs. Baird nodded her head. "That I leave to you; you're much the better
judge. Only do make haste, I am so afraid some one will be hurt. I saw
little Phylis Guile almost run into a tree."

Polly and Betty promised to start at once. They went up to the studio
and made Lois put away her brushes and join them. Then they told the
Dorothys and Evelin and Mildred. Polly stationed them along the
hill--Betty at the top, to judge of the start--the others along the way,
while she and Lois watched the curve at the end.

They stayed at their posts all the afternoon, every now and then jotting
down some girl's name and quietly telling them that they would have to
do the rest of their coasting on the little hill. Sometimes they met
with protests, but, for the most part their Senior dignity upheld them.

"What under the sun will we do about Jane and Phylis?" Polly asked.
"They'll kill themselves if they go down again, and if we just tell them
they can't it will break their hearts."

Lois considered. "I've got it. We'll make it seem a favor to us."

"But how?" Polly demanded, as the two younger girls came flying
recklessly around the turn.

"Leave that to me," Lois whispered. "Oh, Jane, will you and Phylis come
here a minute? Polly and I have the greatest favor to ask of you. I
wonder if you'll help us out?" she asked.

"Of course we will," they answered promptly. "We'll do anything."

Lois felt like a hypocrite, but she went on to explain:

"It's about coasting," she said. "You see, Mrs. Baird has asked us to
tell all the new girls that are not used to such a dangerous hill, that
they must coast on the small hill by the pond. Of course some of them
are not even able to do that, and they ought to be watched." Lois
stopped--took a long breath and looked appealingly at Polly.

"We thought you might be willing to go over and coast there, and sort of
keep an eye out that no one is hurt," Polly said, coming to her rescue.
"We'll be so busy here."

"Why we'd love to," Jane said eagerly.

"We don't mind a bit," Phylis protested. "Are we to tell them to stop if
we see any one that's reckless?"

"Mercy! No!" Lois exclaimed. She had a sudden vision of these two
youngsters using their authority at every possible excuse. "That would
hurt their feelings. Just use lots of tact and perhaps show them what to
do, but not in a--in a--"

"I know," laughed Jane. "You mean don't be fresh the way we were to
Fanny. We won't."

"Oh," Polly sighed when they had hurried off. "What a wonder you are,
Lois, and they really will help."

"Of course they will. Good gracious! Here comes Fanny."

From where they stood they could see the long stretch of the hill, just
before the curve. Fanny, sitting bolt upright, an unforgivable sin--in
Polly's eyes--was whirling down it. She had apparently lost all control
of her sled. Polly and Lois held their breath.

On one side of the curve, a big rock jutted out at right angles to the
road, and on the other a cobble stone gutter offered almost as dangerous
an alternative. Fortunately, Fanny, or rather Fanny's sled, chose the
latter. There was a second of flying snow mixed up somehow with Fanny's
arms and legs, and then quiet. Polly and Lois dashed to the spot.

"Are you hurt?" Lois demanded.

Fanny sat up. "Well I never did," she said wonderingly. "What do you
suppose happened to that little old sled?"

Polly's sudden relief took the form of anger.

"You had no right to try this hill," she said severely. "Did Betty see
you start?"

Fanny stiffened. "Yes, she did if you want to know," she said. "And she
told me not to. But--" She paused to give her words better effect.
"Betty and you and Lois are not the only Seniors at this school, though
you do act most mighty like you thought you were. I got my permission
from the two Dorothys," she finished with a triumphant toss of her head.

Polly and Lois looked at each other in amazement. Something had come
over Fanny of late. They had noticed it, but other matters had made it
seem unimportant. She had always been on hand for basket ball practice,
but her attitude had been sullen and she had spent most of her time with
the Dorothys and Evelin.

Polly realized that this was an important point and must be dealt with.
She wasn't angry at Fanny, for she knew to just what extent her
classmates were to blame.

"Did Dot Mead know Betty had told you not to coast on this hill?" she
asked finally.

"She certainly did." Fanny was still triumphant.

Polly bit her underlip and half closed her eyes. Lois saw these
unmistakable signs of danger, and tried to make peace.

"Are you sure?" she asked hopefully.

"I am." Fanny was ridiculously solemn.

"Then the Dorothys went beyond their authority," Polly said coldly. "And
their permission counts for nothing. You can see for yourself that you
can't manage on this hill; you nearly hurt yourself just now."

"I did no such a thing," Fanny interrupted lamely. But Polly paid no
attention to her.

"As captain of the basket ball team, and Senior head of athletics"--the
title rolled from her lips importantly--"I forbid you to coast on this
hill again, no matter who gives you permission," she said with
unmistakable decision. Then, without another word she turned on her heel
and went up the hill with Lois.

Half way to the top, they found Betty in heated argument with Dot Mead.
Now when Betty was angry she stormed. At this present moment, she was
more than angry, she was furious.

"You had no right whatever to do it," she raged, as Polly and Lois
joined them. "You didn't do it because you thought Fanny really knew
how to coast; you just thought it was a good chance to get even with me.
You've a fine idea of class dignity to do anything so petty. If you ever
do a thing like that again--Jemima, I'll-- You ought to be ashamed of
yourself. You're jealous. That's--"

"Steady, Bet," Polly said quietly, "and do save your breath. Dot can't
do it again. I've just told Fanny she must not use this hill and she
quite understands."

"Then we will tell her she can." Dorothy Lansing spoke for the first
time.

Betty and Lois looked at Polly. She picked up the rope of her sled and
started up the hill.

"Tell her anything you like," she said over her shoulder, "but she won't
coast again."

When the three reached Senior Alley, they met Angela. They were full of
indignation and would have told her all about it, but Angela had news
too. She greeted them excitedly.

"Girls! what do you think, Connie comes to-night. She'll be here on the
five-eleven. She 'phoned Mrs. Baird from New York. Did you ever hear
anything so thrilling? Just imagine Connie back again!"

"For good?" Polly demanded.

"No, just for a visit, she's going back day after to-morrow."

"Jemima! I'm glad," Betty exclaimed. "Won't it be natural to have her
around again?"

"We've always missed her," Lois added. "Can't we have something special
for her to-night?"

"How about a straw ride?" suggested Betty; "Mrs. Baird would let
us--it's Friday."

"Oh, let's, and just ask the old girls who knew her," Angela hurried
on--her drawl for once discarded. "We'll get Mrs. Baird to chaperone, if
we can."

"I'll go ask her," Betty volunteered. "You go get the girls.

"I suppose all the Seniors will go," Angela said, none too
enthusiastically, and Polly and Lois suddenly remembered that she had
not heard about the Dorothys. Lois told her.

"Polly just mounted her dignity and oh, Ange, it was rare," she
finished, laughing. "But I suppose they must be asked."

"Let's tell Bet she has to do it," Polly suggested. "She's so raging at
Dot Mead, that she wants to box her ears."

"You'll really have to, Ange," Lois said.

"Not I, you're Senior president," Angela protested, adding
nonchalantly: "Besides, if I ask, they might accept. Were Evelin and
Helen in it?"

"No, they must go to-night; the Senior class must not be divided equally
against itself," Polly said, thoughtfully. "I'll ask them now, and I'll
make them go." She went off to find them.

A few minutes before study hour they all met in Study Hall.

"Mrs. Baird says we may go, of course," Betty began, "and she's told
McDonald to bring around the sleigh at seven-fifteen."

"Will she chaperone?"

"No, she's got an awful lot to do. She suggested Miss Crosby. So I asked
her. She said she'd love to-- I'd rather have had Miss Porter, on
account of Connie--but I didn't like to say so."

"Evelin and Mildred will come; they were a little cold at first," Polly
said, "but they're all right now, and crazy to see Connie."

"How about the Dorothys, Lo?" Betty demanded.

Lois chuckled wickedly.

"They have made other plans for this evening, and will be unable to go,"
she said, sadly. "I didn't urge them."

"Good; that leaves about fifteen--just the right number for the wagon."
Angela consulted her list. "I've got enough crackers and chocolate for
everybody," she added.

"Look at the time!" Betty exclaimed. "Who keeps study hour to-night?"

"The Spartan."

"Oh, Lordy! Well, I'll have to be late. Somebody tell her I have Mrs.
Baird's permission, if she misses my smiling face."

"Where are you going?" Polly asked.

"To get my clothes and take them to the guest room. Mrs. Baird said
Connie would sleep with Ange while she's here. I'm off."

"Betty, you darling!" Angela exclaimed--but Betty was half way down the
hall.



CHAPTER VIII

AN EVENTFUL STRAW-RIDE


Study hour began at five o'clock and lasted until six-thirty.

The girls found it impossible to get to work. At exactly five-eleven,
Angela threw a note to Polly.

"Her train is due," it read. "Do you suppose we'll have to wait until
dinner to see her?"

Polly shrugged her shoulders and shook her head in reply, and tried to
get interested in her history.

A few minutes later, Lois left her seat and went over to the dictionary
by the window. The sound of carriage wheels made her completely forget
the word she was hunting for. She peeked out of the window. There was
Connie on the driveway. Lois watched her pay the driver and pick up her
suitcase. Then she went back to her seat.

"She's here," she whispered to Angela and Polly in passing.

Angela almost shouted with joy, but the Spartan's frown of displeasure
at the disturbance at the back of the room made her bury her head in
her desk. Just as the clock struck the half hour, Betty came in. She
went up to the platform and said, loud enough for everybody to hear:

"Miss Hale, Constance Wentworth is here, and Mrs. Baird wants Angela in
her office."

There was a general murmur of "oh, good!" through the room, and Angela
was half way to the door before Miss Hale had given her permission.
Everybody laughed as they heard her running down the stairs, two steps
at a time.

Connie was waiting for her. They fell into each other's arms and kissed
heartily. Mrs. Baird was sitting at her desk.

"Take Constance upstairs, will you, Angela," she said, smiling. "I'll
excuse you from study hour, for I know you wouldn't be able to do any
real studying. Constance will room with you. Betty has arranged it.
Isn't it nice to have her back?" she asked with a special smile for
Connie.

Tears, the sudden, grateful kind, sprang to Constance's eyes.

"Oh, if you knew how homesick I get for all this," she said falteringly.
"I was afraid to come back for fear I'd feel out of it, but I don't,"
she added happily.

Angela took her bag and hurried her up to their room.

"Now, tell me all about everything," she demanded when Connie had taken
off her things. "Don't you like the Conservatory?"

"Of course, it's wonderful," Connie answered, enthusiastically, "and I'm
working like mad. I get awfully lonesome when I don't. How's everybody?
I saw Bet for a second; she hasn't changed much."

"Everybody's fine. Lo saw you coming, and nearly jumped out of the
window with excitement," Angela told her. "I've written you all the
news. We're going on a straw-ride to-night--just the old girls that you
know and like."

"Oh, fine! I hoped we could coast anyway." Connie was delighted.
"Honestly, Ange," she said, seriously. "You don't know how good it is to
stop being grown up. I have to be so dignified and ancient all the time,
especially when I give concerts. Oh, by the way! I've got a surprise for
you."

"What?" Angela demanded.

"I'm going abroad next spring to study for a year-- I've won a
scholarship."

"Connie! Not honestly?"

"Yes, it's all decided; mother is going to take me over and leave me;
it's a secret, so don't tell any one."

Angela studied her friend's familiar face in silence for a minute. It
was just like Connie to win a scholarship and then not tell anybody.

"I don't believe it's a secret," she said at last. "You just don't want
anybody to know about it. Well, I'm going to announce it to the whole
school," she finished grandly.

"Don't you dare, Ange. I'd die of embarrassment," Connie pleaded.
"Promise you won't."

"I'll promise nothing," Angela insisted. "There's the bell. Come on and
see Poll and Lo."

It was almost a marvel the way Angela followed out her threat. In the
ten minutes before dinner, while Connie was surrounded by her other
friends, she managed to convey to every girl in the school that
Constance Wentworth was the most wonderful pianist in the world, and
that she had, by her superior ability, won a scholarship.

Poor Connie! She was always shy where her music was concerned, and she
blushed in misery under the torrent of congratulations, and never
touched a bite of dinner.

At seven-fifteen the sleigh was waiting at the door. It was filled with
fresh straw, and every available robe and blanket that could be found in
the stables had been brought.

Old McDonald, one of the chief characters of Seddon Hall, sat on the
front seat, muffled up to his eyes. He had grown quite old and feeble in
the last two years, and many of his duties had been given to younger
men, but no one thought of even offering to drive in his place to-night.
He always drove the young ladies on their straw-rides, and he would
never have even considered trusting them to the care of another.

Polly and Lois came out first, to be followed by Betty, and Angela and
Connie.

They all got in and began sorting the robes--all but Polly--she went
around to the horses' heads.

"Good evening, McDonald," she called. "Why, aren't these new?" She
looked surprised at the splendid gray team--she had expected to see the
two old bays.

"Yes, Miss Polly; they were bought last summer. The others were getting
old and we put them out to pasture. How do you like this pair?"

"Why, they're beauties." Polly stroked their velvety noses,
affectionately. "Are they frisky?"

"Well!" McDonald took time to think, "they are a bit, but nothing to be
afraid of. I can manage them."

"Oh, of course you can!" Polly said, with so much conviction that the
old man beamed with pride.

"All in!" Betty called, "and all aboard! Move your foot, Lo. I want one
side of Connie."

"Where are we going?" somebody asked.

"Out towards Eagle's Nest," Polly answered. "The roads are not used out
there and it ought to be good for sleighing."

"We're off."

"Cheer once for Seddon Hall," Betty commanded and was promptly obeyed.
"Now for Connie. We've time for one song before we reach the village,"
she said, after Connie had been lustily cheered. "Everybody sing."

They reached the foot of the hill, and the horses broke into a quick
trot--the bells on their harness jingled merrily in the crisp, cold air.
It was a wonderful night. The moon was almost full, and its brilliant
rays, falling on the white snow, made it sparkle like millions of stars.

"Are you quite comfy, Miss Crosby?" Lois asked. "There's a rug around
here, somewhere, if you're cold."

"Thanks! I don't need it; I'm as warm as toast. My feet are lost
somewhere in the straw. I feel as if I were back in Alaska again," Miss
Crosby said, "only the horses should be dogs."

"Were you ever in Alaska?" half a dozen voices asked at once. The song
was over and they were just entering the village.

"Tell us about it," Lois said.

"No, no, go on and sing some more!"

"We can't, not for a mile--that's a rule," Betty told her. "Mrs. Baird
doesn't think the village people would appreciate our music," she
explained. "They're not very nice people, but we can't annoy them.
Please tell us about 'straw-rides in Alaska.'"

Miss Crosby laughed, and began. She was a charming woman and a gifted
story-teller. She had traveled all over the world, and because she was
interested in all the little things, her adventures had been many. She
told them to-night about one ride she had taken for miles inland and
held every one of them spellbound by her account of it.

They were far beyond the village before she stopped. "We finally did get
to camp, and, of course, after it was over, it didn't seem so terrible,"
she finished. "Now do sing some more; you've made me talk quite long
enough."

"And did the dog's foot get well?" Polly inquired, still miles away in
fancy.

"No; he died," Miss Crosby whispered. "Plucky little fellow! Do sing."

There was a whispered consultation, and then:

"There's a teacher on our faculty, her name it is Miss Crosby," Betty
sang, and the rest joined in the refrain: "Oh, we'd like to know any
one with more go, and we will stand by her to the end-o." From one song
they went to another, until they reached Eagle Nest.

"Everybody out!" Polly ordered, "and stretch. Where's that chocolate you
were talking about, Ange? I'm hungry."

For five minutes they walked around, stamped their feet to warm up,
munching crackers and chocolate in between.

Then McDonald called: "You've all got to come back, young ladies. I'm
sorry, but these horses do hate to stand even a minute." He was very
apologetic, but the grays were showing signs of restlessness, and pawing
the ground.

The girls scrambled back into the sleigh and almost before they were
seated the horses broke into a run.

About a mile farther on, as McDonald slowed down at a cross-road, they
heard the jingling of other sleigh bells.

"Who do you suppose that is?" Connie asked. "Listen, they're singing!" A
minute later a sleigh like their own swung round the corner--it was
full of boys. Their driver slowed down to give McDonald the right of
way.

"Why, it must be the Seddon Hall girls," they heard one of the boys
shout. "Let's give them a cheer, fellows!"

"What school is it?" Miss Crosby asked. "Do you know, Lois!"

"Perhaps it's the Military Academy," Angela suggested.

Betty stood up in the middle of the sleigh and balanced herself by
holding on to Connie and Lois.

"No!" she said. "They haven't any uniform on. I can see-- I wish
McDonald would let them get ahead."

By this time the yell was in full swing. When it ended the boys waited
in vain for a reply.

"Maybe they didn't hear us," one of them shouted. "Let's give them a
regular cheer with horns."

Polly, who had been edging up slowly toward the front seat of the
sleigh, ever since they had started, gave a sudden spring and climbed up
beside McDonald. She knew exactly what was going to happen.

At the first sound of the horn, the horses--already frightened out of
their senses by all the singing and yelling--reared up on their hind
legs for one terrifying second, and then bolted. Poor McDonald tried to
bring them back under his control, but as he realized their condition,
his nerve failed him.

"They're gone, Miss," he said in an agonized whisper to Polly, and his
hands relaxed on the reins.

The girls, now thoroughly conscious of their danger, hung on for dear
life, and some of them cried out.

The deafening shouts and the blowing of the horns kept up in the sleigh
behind. The boys thought they were being raced.

Polly thought hard for just the fraction of a minute. Then she took the
reins from McDonald's unresisting hands and pulled. She knew that her
strength was not equal to stopping those wild runaways, but she felt she
could keep them headed straight, and avoid tipping the sleigh. Just as
she was trying to remember where she was and to place the hill that she
knew was on the right at a cross-road, poor old McDonald fainted and
fell backwards into the sleigh.

She didn't dare turn her head, but she heard Lois say:

"I've got him; help me, Bet," and Miss Crosby cry out:

"The reins! The reins!"

"I've got them; don't worry!" Polly's voice sounded miles away. Her head
was throbbing. "Can I make it? Can I make it?" she kept saying over and
over under her breath.

She saw the cross-road ahead; on the right a steep hill led up to an
old, deserted hotel. For a minute she hesitated. The horses were good
for miles more at top speed. She knew if they had level ground, that
meant entering the village. She decided quickly. It must be the hill. If
she could only make the turn. She tightened her grip on the reins and
felt the horses slack just the least little bit. She pulled hard on the
left rein, and then as they came to the turn--on the right one--so as to
describe a wide half circle and save the sleigh from tipping. The sudden
turn frightened the girls.

"Where are we going?"

"Oh, stop them!"

Polly heard their cries as in a dream. She took time to smile and toss
her head to get a lock of hair out of her eye. She had felt the slight,
but certain relaxing on the lines, and she knew the worst was over.

The hill was about a mile long, and by the time the horses reached the
top, Polly had them completely under her control. She stopped them,
finally, under the old tumbled down porte-cochère of the hotel. They
were trembling all over and they were sweating.

"Get out!" Polly ordered, "and don't make any noise. We'll have to wait
a minute before we go back--give me some blankets for the horses, and
look after McDonald."

Miss Crosby was already doing it. The old man had collapsed and lost
consciousness, but now he was coming around. With Betty to help, she had
rolled him up in a robe in the middle of the sleigh, and tried to soothe
him; his grief was pathetic.

"I'm done for; I'm done for!" he kept repeating.

Lois helped Polly with the horses.

"Sit down, Poll," she said, authoritatively. "You need rest, too. You'll
have to drive us home."

Polly looked at her gratefully--her knees were trembling.

"I better keep going," she answered. "Just don't let the girls talk to
me and I'll be all right." She was stroking one of the horse's necks.

Lois went round to the back of the sleigh. The girls were standing in a
huddled group.

"Lo, will we ever get home?" Angela asked, tearfully.

"Of course, silly," Lois replied, calmly. "Polly stopped the horses
running away; I guess she can drive us back all right; she's nervous, of
course, so don't talk to her."

"We won't," Mildred said. "Mercy, but she's a wonder! I'm, oh! I'm going
to cry."

Lois left the others to deal with her and returned to Polly.

"When do we start?" she asked, abruptly. Don't think for a minute she
was acting under her natural impulse. If she had been, she would have
thrown her arms around Polly and been very foolish; but she was trying
to act the way she knew Bob would have--without fuss. She knew how Polly
hated a fuss.

"Now, the horses mustn't catch cold and McDonald ought to see a doctor,"
Polly said. "Tell them to get in, will you? and, Lo," she added with a
grin, "pray hard going down hill. I have my doubts about the brake."

When they were all in, Miss Crosby said:

"I think we better take McDonald to the hospital."

Polly nodded: "All right, I know where it is."

The horses, sure of themselves by now, and confident in their driver,
behaved very well.

At the outskirts of the village, they drew up before the little white
hospital, and Betty jumped out and rang the bell. A nurse answered it.
In a few minutes they were carrying McDonald in on a stretcher.

As they started up the steps with him, he called: "Miss Polly!" in a
shaky voice.

Polly jumped down from her seat, and went to him.

"I'm done for," he said, slowly, "and you're a very wonderful girl. You
stopped those horses, you did, and I-- I couldn't--" He broke down.

"Nonsense, McDonald! Your hands were cold," Polly said. "You'll be fine
in the morning and able to drive anything. Cheer up!" But McDonald only
repeated: "I'm done for."

A lump rose in Polly's throat at his distress, and she leaned down and
kissed his wrinkled old face.

She cried quite shamelessly all the way back to school--secure in the
fact that no one could see her.

In the sleigh the girls were beginning to recover.

"Jemima!" Betty said, breaking a long silence. "Poll saved all our
lives; do you know it!"

Connie shivered. "I'm just beginning to realize it," she said, solemnly.
"All the time everything was happening I was trying to remember the last
duet I learned." Everybody laughed.

"Polly is--" Miss Crosby began. "Well, she's so splendid that-- But I
guess we'd better not talk about it. We're all on the verge of tears."

"Let's cheer for her," some one suggested. "Maybe we'll get our courage
back."

They gave it--a long, long one--that had in it all their admiration and
gratitude. And every poor tired muscle in Polly's valiant little body
throbbed with joy at the sound.



CHAPTER IX

A STARTLING DISCOVERY


The next morning Polly stayed in bed for breakfast, as befitted a
heroine, and received visitors. All the faculty came in, one after the
other, to congratulate her. Miss Crosby's ability as a story-teller had
served to picture the events of the night before in vivid colors, and
Polly's splendid courage had not lost in the telling.

Lois and Betty kept watch at the door, and admitted only the girls that
they knew Polly would want to see. They were not many, for she had a
headache and was thoroughly tired. When the bell rang for study hour,
they left Connie with her.

"Sit down and make yourself comfy. Here's a pillow." Polly threw one of
Lois' to the foot of the bed, and Connie stuffed it behind her back.

"It's perfectly silly, my lying in bed like this," Polly went on,
yawning and stretching luxuriously, "but Mrs. Baird insisted."

"I should think so. You must be nearly dead." Connie looked at her,
wondering.

"Honestly, Poll, you were wonderful. How did you think of that hill, and
have sense enough to go up it?"

Polly buried her head in the pillows and groaned.

"Not you too, Connie?" she asked, tragically. "Do I have to explain
again that I was brought up with horses and have driven all my life, and
been in any number of runaways, so that I am not afraid of any horse
that lives? There, now, I've told you, and if you mention last night
again, I'll ask Miss King to pull you out of my room by the hair of your
head."

"I won't, I won't, on my oath!" Connie promised, laughing. "I'll even
contradict all these people who are calling you a brave heroine, if you
say so."

"I wish you would," Polly said, crossly. "Heroine! how perfectly silly."

"Of course it is, now that I come to think of it. You didn't do anything
so great," Connie teased, "just stopped a couple of wildly running
horses, and saved fifteen girls from sudden death--and what's that? A
mere nothing."

"Connie, I'll--" Polly threatened, sitting up in bed, but Connie pushed
her back. "You'll behave like a good child and answer me some
questions."

"Well, go ahead and ask them."

"First, what's wrong with Dot Mead? I heard her say to one of the girls:
'Polly's bravery is so awfully evident, that it almost looks like
showing off,' and when Dorothy Lansing said: 'I think so, too,' I simply
couldn't help laughing. It was so like the Dorothys."

"Who were they talking to?" Polly asked, indifferently.

Connie smiled at a sudden recollection.

"A girl named Eleanor Trent. She was furious. She told them they were
jealous cats. Imagine!"

Polly smiled grimly. "Eleanor Trent is on my team; she naturally would
resent it. Hasn't Ange told you about the fuss yesterday, with the
Dorothys?"

"No; what happened!" Connie was interested immediately. She felt this
was a personal matter of her class. For the minute, she completely
forgot she was only a visitor.

Polly described the scene on the hill--

"Three cheers for Betty!" Connie laughed, heartily. "I can just imagine
her rage. But what is the matter with this Fanny!" she asked.

"Nobody knows." Polly shook her head. "We hurt her feelings early in the
year, and I don't think she's ever forgiven us. I'm sorry, too; she's a
dandy girl, if she'd only forget the chip on her shoulder."

"Going with the Dorothys won't help," Connie said, slowly.

"I know, but what can we do? Warn her that too much association with our
classmates will not improve her disposition?" Polly unthinkingly
imitated Miss Hale's manner.

"The Spartan," Connie laughed. "You might take Fanny up yourselves," she
suggested.

"We might," Polly said, thoughtfully; "oh, there's the bell!"

Study hour was over, and a minute later, Lois, Betty, and Angela came
in. There was an air of mystery about them, and Betty said: "Then you'll
attend to it, Lo?"

"No; Miss Crosby's going to. I've just come from the studio," Lois
answered, as she walked over to her bureau.

"Attend to what?" Polly demanded.

"Nothing!" Angela assured her. "Lo and Betty are fussing over some art
secret."

"Oh, well, what's the news?"

"News?" Betty said, wearily. "Why, haven't you heard? Last night a girl
hero stopped two rearing, plunging--"

"Betty, if you say one word more," Polly protested feebly--she was
laughing in spite of herself.

"Hello, what's this?" Lois had been straightening Polly's dresser and
discovered a note beside the pin cushion. "It's for you, Poll." She
tossed it on the bed. "Must have been here since last night."

Polly opened and read it.

"Oh, what next?" she groaned. "Listen to this: 'To the captain of the
basket ball team,' she read, 'I wish to say that I resign from your team
to-day. Signed, Fanny Gerard.'"

"Why, she's crazy," Betty said, with indignation.

"That's the dear Dorothys," Angela remarked, airily. They were all
discussing the note at once, when a tap sounded on the door.

"Go see who it is, Lo. I don't want to see any one else this morning,"
Polly protested.

Lois went to the door. They heard Jane's excited voice in the corridor.

"Please let us see Polly," she asked. "We won't stay a second."

"And we won't talk about last night," Phylis' voice joined in. "We've
something awfully important to tell her and you."

Lois looked inquiringly at Polly and the other girls.

"Oh, let them in," Polly said, good naturedly. "Hello, you two, what's
the secret?" she greeted them.

They came over to the bed. They were very much embarrassed by the
presence of the others.

"You're not awfully sick, are you, Polly?" Phylis asked, real distress
in her voice.

"Bless your heart, no," Polly assured her. "I'm just being lazy; I'll be
up for luncheon."

"Tell us the something important," Lois said, pulling Jane down beside
her on the window box.

Jane looked at Angela and Connie.

"Oh, never mind them," Lois said, understanding her hesitation. "What is
it?"

"Well," Jane began, desperately, "I've got to tell you first--that
Phylis and I were not very nice--"

"We listened behind a door," Phylis confessed, calmly; "we just had to."

"We were in Eleanor Trent's room," Jane took up the story again. "You
see, yesterday she borrowed my gym shoes, and I went down to her room to
get them. Well, you know her room is next to Fanny Gerard's, and just as
we were coming out, we heard some one crying--"

"Fanny doesn't like us much," Phylis went on, "but we stopped to listen,
and we heard Dorothy Mead say:

"'Well, don't be a baby about it. Of course, if you want to have Polly
boss you, you can, and Fanny--'"

"No, then Dorothy Lansing said, 'you'd only have to coast down the hill
once, to show her you wouldn't let her,'" Jane interrupted.

"Fanny was crying and saying she wanted to go home, and that she
wouldn't ever speak to anybody again. We left them, and-- Well, we
thought we'd better tell you." Phylis ended the tale and looked at
Polly.

"Poor Fanny," Polly sighed, "she's not very happy. The Dorothys
shouldn't talk that way, of course, but it's not very important. Thanks
for telling me, though. Don't listen any more. Fanny wouldn't like it."
She treated the whole thing so lightly that both the younger girls
thought they had attached more importance to the affair than was
necessary. After they left, however, Polly sprang out of bed.

"Something must be done," she declared. Betty ground her teeth. "Jemima!
I'd like to give both those Dorothys a ticket to the Fiji Islands," she
said angrily. "They're spoiling our class."

"What about Fanny!" Lois inquired. "She's the one; evidently she's
miserable, and look at that note."

Polly got back into bed.

"Everybody get out!" she ordered. "And, Bet, go find Fanny and ask her
to come here. I'm going to talk to her. She's got some foolish idea in
her head about us, and I'm going to find out what it is."

"What about the Dorothys?" Angela inquired, lazily. "Don't tire yourself
out, Poll, they're not worth it."

"Oh, the Dorothys don't matter. They'll come around in time if we're
nice to them. Of course, my being a heroine for the present won't help
any," Polly said, with a grimace.

The interview with Fanny straightened everything out. Polly's surmise
had been correct. Fanny was harboring the idea that, because Polly and
Lois and Betty did not keep any love letters, they must, of course,
consider her vain and foolish for doing it.

"I just know you all don't like me," she said, mournfully.

"Oh, Fanny, how silly you are." Polly laughed at her. "We did like you,
and still do; you're loads of fun; you play basket ball wonderfully.
You've no idea what a chance you have to be popular," she said,
earnestly. "If you only wouldn't think everybody was trying to hurt your
feelings. We really want to be friends."

It was a new experience for Polly to plead for friendship, but she did
it, sincerely, and Fanny gave in. Lois and Betty joined them and a
lasting peace was proclaimed.

Maud arrived in the afternoon. Mrs. Banks came with her, but acting
under Mrs. Baird's advice, she did not spend the night. Lois and Betty
and Polly took charge of them both for the afternoon. They showed them
the school and grounds and, after Mrs. Banks left, they introduced Maud
to all the girls.

Maud met them with a calm indifference, and looked them over with
appraising eyes. Those she liked, she talked to. The others she ignored.
The three girls were completely baffled.

"What'll we do with her?" Betty demanded. "Does she always act like
this?" They were in the Assembly Hall before dinner. "Do you see anybody
you'd like to meet?" she asked Maud a few minutes later.

"No, I don't," came the answer, without hesitation.

Lois laughed right out.

"Maud, you're too funny for words. Tell us what do you think of Seddon
Hall?"

Maud gazed at her steadily for a moment.

"Oh, I like it no end," she said, warmly. "Why?"

"Nothing," Polly hastened to say, "we just thought perhaps you didn't."

The bell rang for dinner.

"You go down with your table," Lois explained. "You can do what you
like, after dinner. We have a lecture to-night but it doesn't begin
until eight."

Little did any of them guess how literally Maud would take Lois' words.

After dinner the Seniors were detained by Mrs. Baird to meet the
lecturer and see that the Assembly Hall was in order. This took up their
time.

The lecture was already on its way when Polly suddenly nudged Lois: "Lo,
Maud is not here," she said in an agonized whisper, "what'll we do?"

Lois looked carefully all over the hall. Maud was nowhere in sight.
"She's probably in her room," she whispered back.

They sat in nervous silence. The lecturer paused in his discourse for a
minute.

"If I had a buttonhook and a piece of string," he said, turning to Mrs.
Baird, "I could demonstrate what I mean."

Polly jumped from her seat, caught Mrs. Baird's eye, before any one
else, and, in obedience to her nod, left the room.

She hurried over the Bridge of Sighs, for she hoped to get the articles
required, and discover Maud without being absent from Assembly Hall too
long. The sound of splashing made her stop and listen half way down the
corridor. Some one was apparently taking a bath in the faculty tubs. She
thought for a minute, and remembered all the teachers were on the
platform. A horrible fear entered her mind. A second later the bark of a
dog, followed by a low growl, crystallized the fear to a dreadful
certainty.

She pushed open the door. Maud, her sleeves rolled up to the elbows, was
kneeling beside the tub scrubbing a little wiry-haired yellow puppy, who
was protesting vigorously.

Polly looked for a full minute, then she closed the door, and hurried
over to her room.

When she got back to her seat, Lois whispered:

"See anything of Maud?"

"She's giving a dog a bath in the faculty's corridor," Polly answered,
struggling to keep back the laughter.

"Poll!" Lois' jaw dropped, "I don't believe it," she said.

Polly knew that all the teachers would go to the reception hall for
coffee before going back to their rooms. So the minute the lecture was
over she called Betty and Lois. "Come with me, quick," she said,
hurriedly, and led them back to the faculty corridor. The splashing had
stopped. She opened the door.

"Jemima! What under the sun--" Betty and Lois could hardly believe their
eyes.

Maud was still on her knees, but the dog was out of the tub; he stood
shivering on the blue mat, while she rubbed him vigorously with a towel.
She was not at all surprised to see the girls.

"Isn't he an old dear?" she asked, casually. "I found him out by the
stables to-night when I was taking a walk. He needed a scrub most
awfully."

Polly started to explain, thought better of it, and turned to Betty. The
events that followed were swift and purposeful.

Betty washed out the tub, while Lois mopped up the water that the dog
had splashed on the floor.

Polly took the astonished Maud with one arm and the very wet puppy under
the other and hurried them, by way of the kitchen, into the furnace
room.

"You can't have him in your room, you know," she said by way of
explanation. "We'll tie him up here for to-night, where he'll be warm,
and I'll get him some milk. You go up to your room as fast as you can.
The bell has rung and you're supposed to go to bed right away. Can you
find your way?"

Maud's brows drew together in a puzzled frown, but she didn't protest.

"Yes, of course," she said, wonderingly. "Good night, pup; I'll see you
in the morning."

"Better hurry," Polly warned. "Good night."

"Good night," Maud said, cheerfully, as she went upstairs.

Polly followed her after she had found some food for the dog.

Betty and Lois were already in her room. Betty was stifling roars of
laughter in one of Lois' pillows, and Lois was dabbing at her eyes and
babbling foolishly.

Polly, the second the door was closed, threw herself down on her bed and
gave vent to all the pent up mirth within her.

Finally Betty sat up.

"Oh, Lordy!" she choked; "how rare, how perfectly, gloriously, joyously
rare. Think of Maud scrubbing a yellow pup in the faculty's private
bath, and the Spartan liable to come in any minute. What a treat? Oh,
Maud! I welcome you."



CHAPTER X

A SURPRISE TO MANY


Much to the disgust of all the girls, four days of warm sunshine had
melted the snow, spoiled the coasting and made rubbers a first
consideration.

The roads were hidden under inches of slush, the gutters were miniature
brooks, and the ground seemed to be completely covered by a thick
coating of red, oozy mud.

Polly, an empty basket over one arm, was picking her way gingerly along
the back road that led from the farm.

As she came in sight of the gym, Betty met her.

"Hello, where are you going?" she demanded.

"I'm not going, I'm coming," Polly answered.

"Where from?"

"The cottage. I've just been to see McDonald; he's back from the
hospital, you know, and Mrs. Baird sent me over with some fruit for
him."

"Is he better?"

"Yes, but I don't believe he'll ever do any driving again; he's pretty
feeble."

"Good old McDonald! It won't seem right not having him around; he's been
here ever since I can remember, and that's six long years."

Betty gave a sigh to express great age, and resumed: "Do you remember
the night you and he, between you, turned off the power for the lantern
and got us out of a lecture by the Spartan's cousin?"

Polly chuckled. "McDonald was just talking about it. He said: 'Sure an'
Miss Polly, I couldn't be after spoiling your evening, that I couldn't;
so when I got back to the power house, I just let well enough alone, and
all the time all I needed to do was to turn on the switch again.' I told
him about Maud and the dog, and he laughed till he cried. What's doing
this afternoon?"

"Nothing, absolutely nothing," Betty said dolefully. "The coasting's
spoiled, and the gym is packed with girls."

"Then, that's where I'm going," Polly announced, "and you've got to come
with me. Do you realize that February is not so very far away, and that
our sub team is very, very weak?"

"I do," Betty answered, solemnly. "What are you going to do about it?"

"Find out who else can play. Bet, I can't lose either big game this
year. We've just got to build up the team." Polly was very serious.
"I'm worried."

"Who about?"

"Eleanor Trent; she can't get used to girls' rules, and she makes fouls
all the time."

"Who subs for her?"

"Katherine Welbe, and she's no earthly good."

"Come on, then; let's see who's playing now," Betty gave in resignedly.

They went to the gym and sat down in the first row in the gallery. The
game in progress was being played by Freshmen and Sophomores for the
most part, and Jane and Phylis seemed to be doing most of it. They were
both playing jumping centers. It was not very exciting to watch; some
one fumbled or made a foul every other minute and the whistle sounded
incessantly.

"I hoped Maud would be here," Polly said, thoughtfully. "Have you seen
her to-day?"

"Yes, she's up watching Lois paint, I think. You know she draws awfully
well herself. Did you see the pen and ink sketch she did of her little
yellow pup, yesterday? It was great."

The question of the dog had been solved by Polly. She had received
permission from Mrs. Baird--who had laughed heartily at the story--for
Maud to go round to the stable and see him after school hours.

"Yes, she showed it to me," Polly answered Betty's question. "Then Lo
made her let her show it to Miss Crosby. But that's not basket ball."
She returned to the original subject abruptly. "I'll tell you what I'm
going to do, as soon as this game is over. I'll ask Miss Stuart if we
can't have the gym to ourselves for practice."

"Do you mean the big team?" Betty asked. She was not very anxious to
change into her gym suit for so short a time.

"No; I'm going to pick out some of these girls and find Maud and make
her come. Then I'm going to change them around in different positions.
I'll bet I'll find some one that's good at something."

"Well, what do you want me to do?" Betty stood up ready to act. "Go find
Maud?"

"Darling Betty, if you would be so kind," Polly teased. "I'll be--what
is it Maud says?--'no end grateful'; then come back and help me."

Miss Stuart not only granted Polly the permission she asked, but stopped
the game at once. "It will give you more time," she said, "and I'm not
sorry to give up my whistle to you."

When Betty returned with Maud they began.

"I met Fanny on my way over, and I told her you wanted her. I thought
she might as well help, too," Betty said.

"Good! she can watch the guards. You watch the centers and I'll take the
forwards. Maud, I'm going to put you on as a guard; you're so tall."

"Oh, all right," Maud agreed, "what do I do?"

"You keep the ball away from the girls of the other team. Wait till we
start, then I'll show you." Polly, a minute later, blew the whistle and
placed the teams. Jane and Phylis were so excited that they nearly
forgot to jump when she threw the ball up between them.

For two hours and a half they worked. Polly and Betty and Fanny
explaining and showing them how, and now and again getting into the game
themselves.

While they were struggling with clumsy forwards and slow guards, Lois,
who really ought to have been there, was having a very important talk
with Mrs. Baird and Miss Crosby.

"Do you think Polly knows anything about it?" Mrs. Baird asked. "I do
hope not."

"She hasn't the slightest idea," Lois assured her. "Betty just told me
she would be in the gym all afternoon, so there's no chance of her
seeing any of the preparations."

"Hadn't you better fix the table?" Miss Crosby asked. "Here's everything
for it, I think; do the rest of the girls understand?"

"I spoke to Miss Lane about the younger children eating at the Senior
table," Mrs. Baird said. "The girls all know I've told each one." Lois
was gathering up yards of pale green crepe paper as she spoke. "I think
it will be a lot of fun, don't you? And Polly will be awfully
surprised."

The mystery of this conversation was not explained until dinner time
that night.

Polly and Betty came in, hot and tired from playing and just in time to
take a shower and dress before study hour. It is true that Polly might
have noticed that some of the girls were exchanging mysterious glances
behind their desks, had it not been for the fact that a letter from Bob
claimed her attention. She found it on her desk.

     "Dear Polly," she read.

     "Hark to the joyful news. My foot is all well, and I've started
     training. I haven't forgotten what you said, and every time I
     think I'm no good I just say: Cheer up, May's a long way off. Wish
     me luck.

     "Bob."

Polly was so delighted that she spent the rest of study hour trying to
compose a fitting answer, and she was so anxious to tell Lois on the way
to dinner that she didn't realize she was being led into the lower
school's dining-room, until she was at the very door.

"Where are we going?" she asked, turning suddenly.

"Come and see; we're having dinner in here this evening," Lois answered,
as she opened the door and displayed a table decorated with green paper
with a centerpiece of pale pink roses.

Mrs. Baird was standing at one end, and Miss Crosby at the other. The
rest of the places were filled by the girls who had been on the eventful
straw-ride.

Lois led Polly, too surprised to speak, to her place at Mrs. Baird's
right, and there she found a big box tied with green ribbon with her
name on it. Every one was looking at it, and Polly realized in a dreamy
sort of way that she was expected to open it. All she could say was:

"Why, er, what--" she was so astonished.

She opened the box and discovered a bulky chamois bag packed in with
tissue paper. She looked at it, wondering, and then gave an exclamation
of joy, when she discovered that it covered a big silver loving cup. On
one side was engraved the date and the words: "To Polly, in grateful
recollection of her splendid courage," and on the other, the names of
all the girls, Connie's included, who had been on the ride.

Polly looked at it for a long time, without a word. Then she turned,
appealingly, to Mrs. Baird.

"What can I say?" she asked. "I can't think of anything but 'thank you.'
And that's so little. Though if I could only be sure you knew how much I
meant by it, it would be enough. Do say you know," she pleaded, looking
around the table, "because I'm terribly embarrassed," she ended,
laughing.

"Very good speech, Poll," Betty teased from her seat opposite, "and
quite long enough; my soup's cold."

"Betty!" Mrs. Baird tried to look shocked, and failed, because she
simply had to smile.

Then followed the happiest meal imaginable. At the end a big cake, with
Polly's name on it, was brought in, and then everybody told her all over
again how brave she'd been.

"But I wasn't," she insisted. "It was just a simple thing to do--nothing
that really took courage."

"You may be right," Betty told her, "but you'll never find any one to
agree with you."

Polly smiled. "If I do," she said, "will you promise never to mention it
to me again?"

"Yes," Betty said, promptly; "I will."

"All right."

After dinner she led the way, followed by all fifteen girls, straight to
Maud. They found her in one of the class rooms.

"Tell her just what I did," Polly directed.

And Betty described the ride in her most extravagant style. Finally she
displayed the cup.

"Now, what do you think of it?" she ended triumphantly.

Maud's eyes had been wide with interest throughout the recital. She
looked at Polly with perfect understanding.

"By Jove!" she said earnestly, "wasn't it lucky the hill was there. Did
you remember to rub the horses down when you got back, Polly?"

There was a second's silence.

"Yes, and I put blankets on them," Polly answered. Then, turning to
Betty: "Do I win?" she asked, laughing.



CHAPTER XI

THE CONCERT


"'Flow gently sweet Afton among thy green braes," caroled Betty. She was
picking out the accompaniment with her first finger on the Assembly Hall
piano, one stormy afternoon, for the benefit of Angela and Polly. They
were trying to compose a Senior class song to Seddon Hall.

"'Flow gently, I'll sing thee a song in thy praise.'"

"That ought to do," she said, abruptly swinging around on the piano
stool to face them.

"The rhythm is good and I love the tune."

Polly and Angela considered for a moment.

"It is rather nice," Polly agreed, "if we can only find words to fit
it."

"That's easy, use the same idea as the song," Betty suggested.
"Supplement Hudson for Afton, and--"

"Oh, Bet, how can you?" Angela's poetic taste objected. "Imagine a
school song that began 'Flow gently sweet Hudson.' I suppose you'd go
on with: 'Among thy sign bordered banks.' It would never do, would it,
Polly?"

Polly was laughing too hard to reply at once.

"I don't know; it would be original, anyway, Ange," she said at last.

"And you know our class has always been original," Betty reminded her.

"There's a difference between originality and silly nonsense, but I
suppose it's too much to expect either of you to appreciate it," Angela
said, with dignity.

Betty played a loud chord on the piano.

"Ange, when you're crushing, I always feel like running away," she said,
timidly. "However, I still protest that there's nothing wrong with
telling the Hudson to flow gently," she added. "Of course, I'm open to
argument."

Angela was exasperated. The rest of the Senior class had appointed these
three to write the class song, over a week ago. It had to be ready
before the Senior concert. This was as far as they had gotten.

Christmas vacation began the next week, and the concert was to be the
night before. Angela felt, that given a piece of paper, a pencil and a
quiet place, she could compose a fitting song, but with Betty and Polly
saying ridiculous things every minute to make her laugh, she couldn't
think of even one sensible line.

"You can't use the words, gently and sweet, in relation to a mighty
river like the Hudson." She referred to Betty's question. "You might as
well call it a cute little brook," she finished in disgust.

"Why, Angela! I do believe you're cross." Polly looked up in sudden
surprise at the irritable note in Angela's voice. "What's the matter?"

"Nothing but a cold in my head and pages of Virgil translations," Angela
replied, woefully. "You and Betty won't be serious for a minute. It'll
mean I have to sit up the night before the concert with a wet towel
around my head and write a song that won't be any good."

"Polly, we ought to be ashamed. Angela's right," Betty said with sudden
seriousness. "From this minute on, I promise to behave," she added
solemnly, "and agree to anything you say. We'll discard 'Flow gently
sweet Hudson,' as no good, and proceed."

"How about starting 'On Majestic Hudson's Banks?'" suggested Polly.

"We can't use majestic, it's too long and grand's a horrid word." Angela
considered, frowning.

"Well, leave out the adjective and say:

  "On Hudson's bank
  Stands fair Seddon Hall--

"That's all right, listen, I'll play it."

They sang the words to Betty's accompaniment.

  "Truth, honor and joy
  Is her message to all."

Angela added inspired:

  "Her daughters are loyal"--

Betty would have gone on, but Polly stopped her.

"I won't agree to that, every class song I ever heard, said exactly the
same thing," she protested. "Let's get something about happiness."

"Hardly more original." Betty laughed, but Angela interrupted.

"I know what Poll means. How's this?"

  "There's no limit to"--

"Slang," Polly said abruptly.

"It isn't really."

"Yes, it is. 'Common usage often converts the most ordinary phrase into
slang or colloquialism. The writer should take care to avoid them,'"
Betty quoted. "Try limitless depth."

"All right, that's better still," Angela agreed.

  "There's a limitless depth
  To her bounteous store."

"Oh, marvelous!" Polly exclaimed. "What rhymes with store--paw, law,
door, war, more-- More, that's it."

"Each year she gives of--her--her-- We can't use bounty again. Give me a
word somebody."

"Riches," Betty suggested.

  "Of her riches the more.

"Oh, that's perfect!"

Angela didn't exactly agree, but she didn't say so. Instead she gave
them the verse she had just composed.

  "Each daughter has shared
    In the wealth of her days,
  United we join now
    In singing her praise."

"Jemima, one of us has a brilliant mind!" Betty exclaimed. "That's too
good to forget. Wait till I find a pencil."

There was one in the pocket of her sailor suit and she wrote the words
down on the back of a sheet of music.

"Why, that's three verses," she said as she finished with a flourish.

"Let's add one more!" Polly suggested, "with Seddon Hall in it and
something about leaving like this:

  "And when the time comes"--

"Yes, I know," Betty interrupted eagerly.

  "When we must depart"--

"That's good, but I like each, better than we," Polly said critically.

  "And when the time comes
  When each must depart"

"Finish it for us, Ange."

  "The memory of Seddon Hall
  Will remain in our hearts."

Angela chanted promptly. "Seddon Hall is rather too long for the line
but I guess it will do."

"Of course it will!" Polly assured her, as Betty scribbled hurriedly.
"We'll claim poetic license. I'm sure it's worth it. Let's go find the
girls, and read it to them."

"Where are they?" Angela inquired. "I think the Dorothys have gone to
the village."

"Evelin's in the gym, and Mildred's in the Infirmary," Betty said.
"Where's Lo?"

"In the studio." Polly closed the lid of the piano, preparatory to
leaving.

"Well, we can get her at any rate," Betty said. "Come on."

Fanny was in the studio with Lois, when they got there. Ever since
Polly's promise of friendship, she had been with one or the other of the
three girls. Even Angela had taken an interest in her, now and then.

As the friendship grew, and the girls found that she "filled the want
that the year lacked," as Betty put it drolly:

"Fanny's so nice and such a relief just because she isn't 'us.'" By this
she probably meant that the little Southerner would always see things
differently from the three who, though totally different, thought and
looked at things in pretty much the same way.

"We've finished the song," Polly announced, proudly, as they entered the
studio.

Lois looked up from her drawing board.

"I've nearly finished the poster. How do you like it?"

The girls crowded around her, to admire a crayon sketch of a group of
wakes dressed in costume, singing. There was a house like Ann Hathaway's
cottage in the background, and a big yellow moon just rising behind a
hill.

They were delighted with it.

"Just right, Lo!" Polly insisted. "It ought to be English because all
the ballads we're going to sing are early English--'Good King Wenceslas
Looked Out' and 'God rest ye, Merry Gentlemen,'--and the rest."

"Oh! I adore those old things," Fanny said eagerly. "We always sing them
down home, every year."

"Read the song," Lois demanded. "I'm crazy to hear it."

"Hadn't I better go?" Fanny offered. "I'm not a Senior."

"Oh, never mind," Polly said, "you won't tell."

"Just the same, I'll go. Will you all have tea in my room this
afternoon? I've just gotten a box of cookies from down home," she asked
at the door.

"We will," Betty replied without hesitation. "Tea and homemade cookies
are the one thing I need after my labors."

The others accepted with equal enthusiasm and Fanny left to prepare for
them.

When she had gone, Betty seated herself on the window seat and referred
to the piece of music.

"Here's the song entire," she announced. "We all helped with, but most
of it is Angela's."

"I knew that," Lois said with a grin, but Betty ignored the
interruption.

"The tune is 'Flow gently Sweet Afton' and the song is dedicated to
Seddon Hall, with apologies to Robert Burns. Here it is," and she read:

  "On Hudson's bank
    Stands fair Seddon Hall.
  Truth, honor and joy
    Is her message to all."

"That's the first verse."

"Go on," Lois prompted, "I like it."

  "Each daughter has shared
    In the wealth of her days.
  United, we join
    In singing her praise.

  "There's a limitless depth
    To her bounteous store,
  And yearly she gives
    Of her riches the more.

  "And when the time comes
    When each must depart,
  The memory of Seddon Hall
    Will remain in our heart."

"Somehow it sounds better when it's sung," Betty said, wonderingly. The
poem was not quite up to her expectations, but Lois' enthusiasm banished
all doubts.

"I think it's great, and I know the others will too. Isn't it a relief
to have it finished? All my poster needs now is the printing, and Maud's
promised to do it for me in Old English Script."

"Fine, but put your things away, and let's go over to Fannie's room.
Those cakes call." Betty smacked her lips in anticipation as she helped
Lois collect her materials.

Fanny was singing as they entered Junior Mansions. It was an old Negro
melody, and the crooning notes were soft and beautiful.

"Why I didn't know Fanny could sing," Polly exclaimed in surprise, and
the rest stopped to listen.

"'Swing low, sweet chariot-- I'se comin' for to carry you home'"--

The music ended abruptly, and they heard the rattle of the cups.

"Why didn't you ever tell us you had a beautiful voice?" demanded Betty
between cookies, a few minutes later. "You ought to be studying."

"The very idea!" Fanny laughed in reply.

"Hasn't anybody ever told you you had before?" Lois asked wonderingly.
But Fanny shook her head.

"I reckon they none of them ever had time to pay any attention to me,"
she said. "They were always busy listening to my cousin."

"Which cousin?" Polly inquired.

"Caroline," Fanny said. "We were brought up together, and when we were
little, Mammy Jones used to say: 'Honey, the only way for to do, if you
wants to sing, is to swaller a hummin' bird.' One day Caroline came in
and said 'she had swallowed one.' Well, later, she did develop a lovely
voice you know, and poor mammy believed till the day she died that 'Miss
Carrie had done swallered a hummin' bird.'" The girls were delighted.

"How rare," Betty chuckled.

"Bless her old heart," Polly added. "Where's Caroline now?"

"In Washington. She's studying both voice and piano."

"I don't believe her voice is any sweeter than yours," Lois insisted.
Fanny shook her head.

"Maybe not, but everybody thinks so, so there you are. Carrie just
naturally does get ahead of me in everything. I told you she cut me out
with one of my beaux," she added, laughing at herself. "A thing she
could never have done two months before."

Three days later the discovery of Fannie's voice proved of much more
importance than any of the girls had foreseen. Evelin Hatfield, who had
a very clear soprano voice, and who had been cast for the solo parts in
the concert, came down with tonsilitis and had to go to the Infirmary.
The Seniors met in English room to discuss finding a substitute, after
Miss King had assured them that there was no chance of Evelin's
immediate recovery.

"Of course it's a Senior concert, and as long as I can remember no one
has ever helped them out, but our class is hopeless," Lois said.
"Evelin's was the only real voice, except yours, Ange, and you're
already cast for the King. Do you think you could take the page's part
in 'Good King Wenceslas,' Dot?" she asked Dorothy Lansing.

"Goodness! No! Why, I'd be scared to death," she answered hastily.

"Then there's nothing to do, but to ask one of the Juniors to help us,"
Polly said decidedly. "She could leave the platform when we sang our
song."

The rest agreed. "But who?" Helen inquired.

"Fanny Gerard has a sweet voice, and I know she knows the carols," Betty
said, "and she's a Junior."

There was a little discussion before Fanny was selected, but in the end
Betty carried her point.

The few days before the musical were taken up with rehearsals. The party
was to be very informal--just something to do on the last night. The
Seniors sang carols in costumes and later on served light refreshments.

Fanny was delighted to sing. The day of the concert she went out with
Polly and Lois to get evergreen branches to decorate the hall with, and
between them they turned the platform into a veritable forest.

By seven-thirty the school was assembled, and at a quarter to eight the
Seniors entered. They marched around the room and up to the platform
singing: "God rest ye, Merry Gentlemen." Fanny's clear voice was so
above the others that the girls and teachers began to whisper among
themselves. There was a lull of expectancy as they began "Good King
Wenceslas looked out on the feast of Stephan."

Angela, who was dressed as the King, sang her part:

  "Haste thee, page, and stand by me,
    If thou knowest it telling,
  Yonder peasant, who is he?
    Where, and what, his dwelling?"

With so much expression that the deficiency of her voice was overlooked.

But it was Fanny, in her green page suit that was to score the triumph
of the evening. She stepped out a little from the others, when her turn
came to answer the King.

  "Sire, he lives a good league hence--
    Underneath the mountain.
  Right beyond the forest fence
    By Saint Agnes' fountain."

Her notes were full and beautiful, and the sympathetic quality of her
voice enchanted her audience. They broke out into enthusiastic applause.

"I told you so," Betty whispered as Fanny bowed her thanks.

The rest of the evening may be truly said to have belonged to Fanny.
Even the Seniors' class song was hurriedly applauded, so that she might
return to the platform.

The girls made her sit down at the piano when the carols were over, and
sing them song after song.

At nine o'clock, Betty insisted that she stop long enough to have some
refreshments.

"You all don't really think I can sing, do you?" she asked seriously,
when they had joined Polly and Lois and Angela.

"Of course we do," everybody told her with enthusiasm.

"You've swallowed a bird all right," Betty laughed.

Fanny shook her head. So much praise was embarrassing.

"Maybe I did," she said shyly, "but it was probably nothing but a poor
no account sparrow."



CHAPTER XII

CHRISTMAS


The two-seated sleigh jingled merrily up the drive and stopped at the
carriage block. Polly and Lois jumped out and turned to help Mrs.
Farwell.

"Home again," Polly exclaimed, joyfully looking around her with
pardonable pride, for the splendid old house they were about to enter
was her own, and every corner of it held the dearest of memories.

Lois and her mother were no less delighted to return to it. It had been
Uncle Roddy's suggestion that they all spend Christmas there, and every
one had heartily agreed to it.

"How splendid it looks in the snow, doesn't it?" Mrs. Farwell asked.
"My, I shall be glad to see an open fire-place. I hope Sarah has started
a fire in the drawing-room. Just put the bags in the hall, Tim," she
added, to the old coachman who was busy unloading the back of the
sleigh. He nodded respectfully.

"Where's Sandy?" Polly demanded, "I thought he'd be here to meet me,
surely."

Tim shook his head. "He's gettin' old, Miss Polly," he said. "And he
spends most of his time lying before the fire."

Sandy was Polly's beautiful big collie. She found him as Tim had said, a
few minutes later, after Sarah had opened the door for them and ushered
them in with a hearty welcome. He was lying on the hearth rug in the
library. And as he heard Polly tip-toe in, he got up stiffly and held
out his paw.

"Darling old fellow," Polly said, dropping to her knees beside him, and
patting his silky head.

Sandy licked her hand affectionately and made as great a fuss about her,
as his rheumatic old joints would permit. Then Lois claimed her and
together they roamed over the house, enjoying the spacious rooms and
reveling in the blazing wood fires.

Bob and Jim arrived the next day with Dr. Farwell and Uncle Roddy. The
sleigh was not large enough for Polly and Lois to go and meet them. So,
to make up for it, Bob and Polly hitched Banker, the pony, to the
cutter, later in the afternoon, and drove out into the woods in search
of a Christmas tree.

"Get a nice bushy one," Lois called after them, as they drove off. "And
don't get lost."

Bob tucked the rug around Polly's feet. "We won't," he called back.
"Which direction?" he inquired.

"Down the hill and take the first turn to the right," Polly told him.
"Jemima! but it's cold." And she snuggled down in her furs. "I can't
believe this is Christmas Eve."

"Neither can I," Bob said. "What's this I hear about you and Lois going
to visit some one for New Year's?"

"We're going to Fanny Gerard's," Polly answered. "Won't it be fun? She
lives in South Carolina. We're going specially for her New Year's dance.
It's the event of the season--and I'm so excited. I was afraid when the
letter came, Aunt Kate wouldn't let us go--their being strangers--and
it's so far, but it seems your darling father knew all about old Mr.
Gerard and his sister, so it was all right, and we leave December
thirtieth--taking with us our very best clothes," she added, smiling.

There was something like disapproval in Bob's patient silence.

"Well, I hope you have a good time," he said, finally. "But what you
want to leave this place for to go South is more than I can see. It's
just like girls. They'd cross the country to dance. I think it's a crazy
idea, if you ask me," he added with vehemence.

"But I didn't, Bobby," Polly answered sweetly. "Oh, there's a wonderful
tree! It's just the right size and it's bushy," she exclaimed suddenly.
"Do let's get it."

[Illustration: They cut it down, dragged it to the sleigh and bore it
home in triumph.]

Bob pulled Banker in, and fumbled under the seat for the ax. But when
they got out Polly found she had lost sight of the tree and they had to
wade around in the snow up to their knees for fully ten minutes before
they found another that suited them. They cut it down, dragged it to the
sleigh and bore it home in triumph. It was dark long before they reached
the house, and they found everybody dressed for dinner and waiting for
them in the library.

"Oh, we've had a glorious ride!" Polly said brightly. Her cheeks were
whipped red from the wind and her eyes sparkled.

"Is the tree bushy enough for you, Lo?" Bob asked.

"Yes, it's a beauty," Lois said, examining it.

"You two should have been with us," Polly said, speaking to Jim, "just
to have seen Bobby work."

"While Polly told me how to do it," Bob said, teasingly. "You'd think,
to hear her talk, she'd cut down trees all her life. When she found that
I wasn't paying any attention to her, she got back in the sleigh and
recited 'Woodman Spare That Tree' from the depths of the nice warm robes
while I froze."

"Bob," said Polly, indignantly, "if you'll let me pass, I'd like to go
upstairs and dress for dinner."

That evening, they decorated the tree, that is, Lois and Jim did most of
it while Polly and Bob rested in two big chairs before the fire, with
Sandy between them, and made suggestions.

"Jim, that tinsel would look much better going around the tree instead
of up and down," Bob said critically.

Jim, who was upon a stepladder, went on trimming, while Lois came to his
defense.

"Bob, do you know what tinsel is supposed to represent," she asked.

"Isn't supposed to represent anything," Bob said calmly.

Lois looked at Jim in sympathetic understanding. "You see, he doesn't
know," she said. "Tinsel, dear brother, is supposed to represent the
silver rays of the stars," she explained.

"Oh, get out," Bob objected. "It's no such thing. Anyway, that has
nothing to do with putting it around the tree."

"Robert, you grieve me." Jim shook his head mournfully. "You a college
man. How could the rays of the stars go around a tree? I ask it in all
seriousness."

Bob was fairly caught. Even Polly laughed at him. Mrs. Farwell came in
just in time to save him from more teasing.

"Oh, how beautiful the tree looks," she said. "I wouldn't put another
thing on it, it's quite perfect as it is. Come into the other room and
sing some carols, and then we must all hang up our stockings and go to
bed; to-morrow will be a busy day."

"What are we going to do besides eat dinner?" Uncle Roddy demanded from
the other room.

"Why, Sarah is packing some baskets for Polly to take to some of the
poor families in the village," Mrs. Farwell explained, "and of course,
we'll all go to church in the morning. In the afternoon I suppose--"

"Now, Kate," interrupted the Doctor, laughing, "In the afternoon do let
us digest our dinner."

After they had all sung the carols around the old tinkly piano, they
wished one another a Merry Christmas, found their candles on the big
table in the hall--for there were no electric lights in Polly's
house--and went upstairs.

"Come along old man," Polly said to Sandy. "Do you want some help?" she
asked, as the old dog prepared to follow her. He always slept on the rug
beside her bed.

"How feeble he is," Bob said. "He doesn't act a bit well, Poll."

"It's old age, I'm afraid," Polly replied, sadly. "He's over fourteen,
you know."

"I'm going to carry him up," Bob said. "I believe it hurts him to take
these steps." He picked up Sandy ever so gently and carried him to
Polly's room. "Good night again," he said at the door, "and Merry
Christmas."

But all the wishes in the world cannot make happiness. That Christmas
Day was far from merry for either Polly or Bob.

About two o'clock in the morning Polly awoke with a start. Some one was
groaning. As she sat up in bed and tried to rub the sleep from her eyes,
she felt something touch her arm. It was Sandy's paw.

After groping about in the dark she found the matches and lighted her
candle, and jumped out on the floor.

"What is it, boy?" she asked, resting his head in her lap.

Sandy rolled his eyes, as dogs do when they are in pain and the agonized
appeal in them made a lump rise in Polly's throat.

"Dear old fellow, what is it?" she said, gently. "What can I do for
you!" She was seized with sudden fright. It seemed as if she alone was
awake in all that black, still night. She called Lois two or three times
but got no reply. She went to the door and listened. Her friend's
regular breathing came to her faintly from the other room.

"What can I do?" she whispered. "Oh, Sandy boy, don't," she pleaded as
the dog groaned again.

A minute later, she was hurrying into her clothes. When she was dressed
she tip-toed down the hall and knocked at the farthest door. "Bob," she
called softly.

"Yes," came the instant reply. "What is it?" Fortunately the wind had
rattled his shade, so that the noise had awakened him a few minutes
before.

"Get up," Polly called. "Sandy's awfully sick and I'm frightened."

Bob hurried into his things with full speed and joined her. Together
they carried the dog into the morning room at the head of the stairs,
and put him on the lounge. Bob lit the lamp.

"He can't breathe," Polly said desperately. "Oh, Bob, what can we do?"

Bob went for water and moistened the dog's tongue while Polly held his
head in her arms. His breathing grew more labored.

"Could Tim do anything?" Bob suggested, forlornly. He knew that he
couldn't, but it was terrible to just watch the dog suffer.

Polly shook her head. She didn't dare trust herself to speak. After a
little while the breathing grew quieter. Sandy turned his head and
licked Polly's hand. Then quite suddenly it stopped--his body trembled
and he lay still in her arms.

Bob put his hand on her shoulder.

"Better leave him, Poll," he said huskily.

Polly looked up at him. It was a second before she understood.

"Bob, he's not-- Oh, Sandy! You've left me," she sobbed, and buried her
head in his silky coat.

All Christmas day Polly tried to keep up her spirits and not spoil the
others' pleasure, but her heart had a dull, lonely ache that wouldn't go
away. Any one who has loved and lost a faithful dog understands. And
Polly had loved Sandy from his first puppy days.

All the family did their best to cheer her up, but the day was a woeful
failure. Uncle Roddy and Bob were the only ones who understood her
grief, and their own was so great that they could find no words of
comfort.

After dinner she disappeared. She knew that all the afternoon callers
would be dropping in to exchange greetings, and she could not bear the
thought of talking to them.

Bob found her about four o'clock, curled up on her favorite window seat,
at the head of the stairs. He had been despatched by his mother to tell
her that some of her friends were in the drawing-room.

"If she doesn't want to come don't urge her," she had warned him. "I'll
make some excuse."

"Bobby, I just can't," Polly said when he had told her. "My eyes are all
swollen and I've such a headache."

"What you need is air," Bob said decidedly. "Go get your coat and hat,
and we'll fly off with Banker for a little ride. Come on, Poll," he
coaxed, "it will do you loads of good."

Polly gave in reluctantly.

"Where are we going?" she asked when they were in the sleigh.

"Never mind, I've a scheme," Bob told her. "Shut your eyes." He headed
the pony toward the bay. The cold air acted as a tonic on Polly. By the
time they stopped before an old tumble down fisherman's hut, she was
quite herself again.

"Why, it's Uncle Cy's place!" she exclaimed. "Bobby, how did you ever
think of him?"

They pushed open the door, without knocking, and entered the one little
room that served for all purposes.

Uncle Cy was one of Polly's earliest and best of friends; he was an old
fisherman. They had spent many long, happy days together, when she was a
little girl. He welcomed her heartily.

"Why, Miss Polly. I was beginning to think I'd have to go one Christmas
without a word from you," he said. "How are you? You're getting mighty
handsome," he teased "and I'm sorry to see it. I never did hold with
handsome women. 'Handsome is as handsome does,' I always say," he added
with a wink. "And you, Mr. Bob, how do you do again? That basket you
brought me this morning was mighty good," he said with a chuckle.

"We're just here for a second," Polly explained. "Banker's freezing
outside. Have you had a Merry Christmas?" she asked brightly. No one
could be unhappy long under the spell of Uncle Cy's genial smile.

"Fair to middling," the old man answered, contentedly. "Have a seat," he
offered.

They stayed chatting for a few minutes more, and then returned to the
sleigh.

"The old darling," Polly laughed, "he hasn't changed a bit."

When they reached home, they stole in the back way. One of Lois' merry
laughs greeted them as they entered.

"Jimmy, you wretch," they heard her cry.

"What's the matter, Lo?" Bob inquired from the door of the drawing-room.

Lois looked up in confusion.

"Jim kissed me under the mistletoe," she said, "after I'd expressly told
him not to."

Polly joined in the laugh that followed.

"Bobby," she said as they were taking off their coats in the hall, "I'm
ashamed of being such a baby to-day. I acted as if I were eight years
old."

Bob pulled a big wadded handkerchief out of one of his pockets. "Don't
apologize, Poll," he said. "Look at this. I wasn't so very grown up
myself." Then he added, gently, "Good old Sandy."



CHAPTER XIII

POLLY'S LETTER


Polly and Lois left for Fanny's the following Thursday and arrived the
day before the dance. A description of their good time can best be
gotten by reading Polly's letter to Betty, which was written a few days
after:

     "Dearest Betty:

     "What a shame you couldn't be here. I know it's mean to tell you,
     but you've really missed the funniest kind of a time.

     "I do hope your mother is much better by now. Please give her both
     Lois' and my love.

     "And now to tell you all about the dance--as I promised. So many
     things happened it's hard to know where to begin. The first day I
     guess--

     "Well, we arrived at this adorable little town about ten o'clock
     in the morning, and I thought when I looked out of our window as
     the train pulled in, that I was dreaming and it was a story book
     village. The sun was shining and it was as warm as toast. I don't
     know why the fact that the grass was green made such an impression
     on me, but it did. We've had so much snow up home that I couldn't
     believe there could be summer anywhere else.

     "Is this lengthy description boring you, Betty dear? What is it
     Miss Porter always says, 'Create your atmosphere first, before you
     begin your story.' That's what I'm doing and you'll just have to
     be patient while I create a little longer. I simply must tell you
     about the funny little cabins. They're all over the place. A relic
     from the days of slavery, I suppose, and they're so little--just a
     room or two--that you gasp when you see large families standing
     out in front of them. It's beyond me to figure out how they can
     all go to sleep at once.

     "Lois suggests that they take turns and I think she must be right.
     The little pickaninnies are too sweet for words; they have
     innumerable little braids sticking out all over their heads, and
     their big black eyes just dance with impishness. You'd love them.

     "Fanny lives in a most wonderful story book house. It's red brick
     that's really pink. Oh, you know what I mean! And it's trimmed
     with white. Big colonial pillars up the front, and a lot of
     little balconies jut out where you least expect them. I have one
     out of my window, and every night I play Juliet to an imaginary
     Romeo in the rose garden below. Lo insists I am getting
     sentimental, but it's only the effect of the 'Sunny South,' which
     brings me, no matter how indirectly, to the boys we've met--and
     the dance!

     "Oh, Bet, such a lark! There were over a hundred people--both old
     and young, and even then the ballroom--oh, yes, the Gerards have a
     ballroom--looked half empty. We danced from ten o'clock until four
     in the morning, and went for a picnic the next day. Imagine!

     "Fanny looked beautiful. She wore a lovely white dress without a
     touch of color on it, and it just set off her wonderful dark hair
     to perfection. The cousin, Caroline Gerard, is here at the house,
     too. You know, the one Fanny said could sing, and who 'just
     naturally gets ahead of her.' Well! Intermission of four minutes.

     "No use, I've been struggling with my better self, but I can't
     resist the temptation to tell you just what Lo and I think of her.
     Betty, she's horrid. I mean it! She's so conceited and sure of
     herself and without the least reason to be. She looks a lot like
     Fanny, but with a difference. She's larger and much more definite,
     if you know what I mean, and she walks into a room with a 'Well,
     here I come' sort of an air. She completely puts Fanny in the
     background. I'll tell you later, how Lo and I pulled her out
     again--Fanny I mean--but now, I'll go back to the dance.

     "Caroline was there of course. She wore a wonderful red gown and
     carried a big yellow ostrich fan. She looked like a Spanish
     dancer. It took me all evening to get used to her. The combination
     was rather startling. Lo, in spite of her dislike, wanted to paint
     her. _I_ did not--jealousy, on my part of course--for every time
     she came near me, she killed my lovely green frock. You see,
     before I came down stairs, I looked in the glass and I rather
     fancied that I looked quite nice, but, I turned pale by
     comparison, and naturally I didn't like it. Are you getting
     curious about Lois? I hope so, I'm saving her on purpose for the
     end. Betty, she was the belle of the ball. You can't, no, not even
     with your imagination, picture her. She looked like some lovely
     fairy. But you know that dreamy style of hers. Well, just try and
     see her in your mind--draped in yards and yards of pale yellow
     chiffon, with touches of blue here and there,--and you'll
     understand the effect. Her gown was just nothing but graceful soft
     folds. I tell you everybody went quite mad about her, and you
     know how beautifully she dances.-- Excuse me, that's the luncheon
     gong-- I'll finish later.

  "Ten P.M.

     "Hello, again Bet:

     "It's late and I'm oh, so sleepy, but I must go on. Let's see
     where was I? Oh, yes, clothes. But poor dear you must feel as if
     you'd been reading a fashion book, so I'll skip the rest of the
     dresses, which really didn't amount to anything, and go on with
     the dance.

     "Of course we met so many people that I can't even remember their
     names, but some of my dances stand out rather vividly in my mind.
     Do you know, Southern boys can say more pretty things in one
     minute than our boys up North can in a whole month. Don't think I
     consider it a virtue, far from it. I think they're awfully
     silly--on top. Of course underneath they're splendid--just like
     boys anywhere else--but certainly they are more fun to talk to.

     "I danced the first dance with Fanny's 'Jack.' He's quite as
     handsome as she said and he came to the dance in his uniform.
     After the music had stopped we went out in the rose garden for a
     walk.

     "Betty, what can a girl say, when a boy tells her she is fit
     company for roses and moonlight? If there is a proper answer, I
     certainly couldn't think of it at the time and I did the very last
     thing I should have done-- I laughed--and I went on laughing as he
     waxed more eloquent. Finally I said:

     "'Oh, for pity's sake, do stop and talk sense.' He looked as if he
     had never heard the word.

     "'You're very hard to please,' he said in oh, such offended tones.
     'What shall we talk about?'

     "'Why not Fanny,' I suggested; 'she's the only subject we have in
     common, except flowers and birds and moonlight, and we seem to
     have exhausted those.'

     "'But I'm very fond of Fanny!' he said quite feelingly. I told him
     I was too and that we ought to make the best of it. I explained
     how popular she was at school, and how she'd made the team, and
     raved at great length over her voice. And do you know what that
     boy did? When I stopped for breath he stood stock still in the
     middle of the path and looked at me, then he whistled.

     "'Well, I'll be darned.' It was the first natural thing I'd heard
     him say. 'I never met a girl before in all my life that would talk
     that way about even her best friend,' he said.

     "The music started then, and we had to hurry back--but, Bet, what
     do you suppose he meant?

     "Lois evidently had much the same trouble understanding her
     partners. I heard her say--'how absurd' during supper, and it
     sounded so like you that I was startled for a second.

     "Oh dear, I almost forgot to tell you the funniest thing that
     happened through the whole evening. Poor Fanny, being hostess, had
     to dance with all the clumsy, unattractive boys that were there,
     and every time I saw her, she seemed to be having a dreadful time
     of it. I think it was the eighth dance and I was sitting out with
     a boy named Wilfred Grey--the one Caroline cut Fanny out with, you
     remember? I was arguing with him about clothes--he said he
     preferred bright colors, and I insisted there was nothing as
     lovely as white. Of course we both knew he really meant Caroline,
     and Fanny. Well anyway, in the middle of the dance--we were in a
     sort of a little alcove--Fanny came by pulling a big, lanky youth
     after her. I never saw anything so funny; he was just walking, and
     making no kind of an effort to keep to the music. Mr. Grey and I
     laughed about it, and when they came around again, we were
     watching for them. Imagine our joy when they stopped just beside
     us, and we heard Fanny say, in that killing way of hers:

     "'Look here, Sam Ramsby, if you'll get on my feet and stay there,
     I'll tote you around this room, but this jumping on and off is
     more than I can stand.' Betty, wasn't that rare--it was the best
     minute of the whole evening. Lo is furious that she missed it.

     "Mercy! It's twelve o'clock and I must go to bed. Lo is going to
     add a P.S. to-morrow. Please appreciate this long letter as I've
     really spent much valuable time over it.

     "Sleepily,
     "POLLY."

Lois' postscript followed.

     "Hello, Bet:

     "I've just read Polly's scrawl, and I must really smile. If
     Caroline's dress made hers look pale you may believe it was at
     long range, for I never saw Poll the entire evening that she
     wasn't completely surrounded and hidden from view by a flock of
     dress suits. Wait until you see the green dress and you'll
     understand why.

     "Polly says she promised to tell you about Fanny's triumph and
     forgot to. Personally, I'm glad she left me something easy. I know
     it will amuse you. It happened the first night we got here. There
     were a lot of Fanny's friends at dinner and in the evening we
     played games and Caroline sang. Poll has described her, but not
     her voice. It's one of those big throaty ones that quaver, and she
     sings the most dramatic of love songs. I hated it, it was so
     affected. Well of course, everybody raved about it and
     complimented her and asked for more. They didn't really want it,
     but Caroline has a way of insisting upon the center of the stage.

     "She didn't stop until everybody was thoroughly tired of her and
     of music generally. Then Polly surprised every one by saying quite
     calmly: 'Fanny I wish you'd sing for us now.' Caroline couldn't
     understand. 'Why, Fanny can't sing,' she said. I don't think she
     meant to, but it was out before she could stop it. I was cross.

     "'Oh, yes, she can,' I told her, 'the girls at school are crazy
     about her voice. Sing that pretty French song Fanny.' Poll joined
     in and we teased so hard that she finally did sing.

     "Bet, I do wish you could have seen those people, they were
     overcome with astonishment. They were so used to Caroline talking
     of nothing but her voice that they had never thought of Fanny.
     But after that first song, I thought they would never let her
     stop. There, that's the story. Caroline hasn't been asked to sing
     since and Polly and I are mean enough to be just as pleased as
     punch. I must stop this instant. We'll see you next week at good
     old Seddon Hall. In the meantime, loads of love. I won't be sorry
     to get back. How about you?

     "Affectionately,
     "LOIS."



CHAPTER XIV

MAUD'S DISAPPEARANCE


There was no need to consult the calendar. The subdued voices, and the
worried frowns, to be seen in any of the corridors or classrooms of
Seddon Hall proclaimed it the first of February, and examination week.
Every girl carried a book under her arm and the phrase, "Do you think
you passed?" was on every one's lips.

Outside the weather was clear and cold, the pond was frozen smooth as
glass. The snow on the hill was packed solid and fit for coasting, but
no one ventured that far away from their books.

The first half of the year was over and the girls knew from past
experience that the rest of the time would hurry by. In one short month
there would be a hint of spring in the air, and commencement would be in
sight.

On this particular afternoon the Senior class were having their
examination in Latin and, to judge by their frowns, they were finding it
difficult.

Betty ruffled her hair every little while and scowled at Miss Hale, who
was correcting papers at her desk. She had answered all the questions
she could and done all the prose work. All that was left was a
translation of Virgil. Betty stared at the unfamiliar text, and wondered
where it had come from. "I don't believe it's Virgil," she said to
herself. "If it is it's a part we haven't had." Then a few words from
the confusing paragraphs caught her eye, and she began to remember. Her
brow cleared--a few words were all Betty ever needed to start her on one
of her famous translations. She wrote hurriedly for ten minutes.

"That will do, I guess. The Spartan's sure to say, 'a little too free,
but correct on the whole,' anyway," she thought, ruefully, as she folded
up her paper and put her pen and ink away.

Miss Hale raised her eyebrows in surprise as she handed in the
examination.

"You have finished very early," she said, coldly, and Betty's heart
sank. "Don't you want to look over your paper?"

"Jemima, no!" Betty exclaimed, without thinking. "That is, I beg your
pardon, Miss Hale, but I don't think I do. You see I'd begin to wonder
about all my answers and that would only make things worse," she said,
desperately.

"Very well; you may leave the room," Miss Hale replied, with a resigned
sigh that plunged Betty into the deepest gloom.

She wandered over to Senior Alley. It was deserted. The rest of her
classmates were still in the study hall. She found Angela's history book
on her bed and started to study, but gave it up in despair. They had
covered over half of a thick book that year and there was no way of
knowing what part to re-study.

"I'd be sure to learn all the dates that weren't asked for," she said,
aloud, and closed the book.

She thought of the possible Juniors who might be free. She had passed
Fanny on her way out of the study hall--she remembered the big ink spot
that she had on one cheek. Suddenly she thought of Maud.

"I'll bet she's finished her exam, if she had one," she laughed to
herself, for Maud's utter disregard of lessons that did not interest her
was a much-discussed topic.

She went upstairs to the Sophomore corridor, expecting to find it almost
as deserted as her own, but, instead, she found five of the teachers
talking excitedly in the hall.

Mrs. Baird had her hand on the knob of Maud's door. Betty was a little
confused at such a strange gathering.

"Excuse me," she said, hastily, and turned to go.

There was no need to explain that something was wrong--the whole
atmosphere of the corridor was charged with mystery.

"Don't go, Betty," Mrs. Baird said, peremptorily, "I have something to
tell you; perhaps you can help. Have you seen Maud to-day?"

Betty shook her head. "No," she said, slowly, "I don't think I have."

Mrs. Baird hesitated for a minute and then said, very distinctly:

"Maud is lost."

It was a startling announcement, and Betty couldn't understand. Who ever
heard of any one being lost at Seddon Hall.

"But how?" she asked Mrs. Baird. "Where could she be?" Miss Crosby
answered her:

"Nobody knows, Betty," she said. "Maud was at breakfast this morning,
but at luncheon time she did not appear. I sent one of the girls up to
look for her and she came back and told me she couldn't find her. I
thought perhaps she was in the Infirmary, but after luncheon I asked
Miss King, and she said she hadn't seen her."

"She's not in the building; we've looked everywhere," Mrs. Baird
continued. "Where could she have gone? None of the teachers gave her
permission to go out of bounds."

At the word permission Betty looked up. It struck her that Maud might
not have considered it necessary to ask for permission.

"May I go to her room?" she asked Mrs. Baird.

"Certainly."

Betty opened the door and looked up at the wall over the bed. As she had
expected Maud's snow shoes were gone from their accustomed place. She
explained to the teachers.

"She's probably miles away by now," she finished. "Did she have any
examination this afternoon?"

"Yes, in literature," Miss Porter told her, "and I can't believe she'd
cut--"

"She wouldn't--not literature anyway," Betty said, confidently, and
turned to Mrs. Baird.

"I'm sure I can find her by tracing her snow shoes," she said.

"But you mustn't go alone; something may have happened. Take one of the
stable boys with you," Mrs. Baird answered.

"I'd rather have Polly and Lois," Betty said, "if there's anything
wrong."

"Very well, where are they?" Mrs. Baird asked.

"Taking their Latin exams," Betty told her.

"Go and get them. I'll explain to Miss Hale, and, Betty, dear, do make
haste; I'm really worried; the child may have hurt herself somewhere."

Betty hurried to the study hall. She knew it was useless to try to
explain to Miss Hale; so she said: "Mrs. Baird wanted Polly and Lois at
once." They handed in their papers and joined her in the corridor. She
hurried them to their room, and explained on the way.

Fifteen minutes later they had found the track of Maud's snow shoes and
started out to follow it.

Seddon Hall owned over five hundred acres of land and for the most part
it was dense woodland. Trailing through it in winter without snow shoes
was hard work, for the snow drifted even with the high boulders in
places and you were apt to suddenly wade in up to your waist. Maud had
taken the path that went out towards flat rock. This made following her
tracks comparatively easy for the girls.

"What under the sun do you suppose has happened to her?" Polly demanded.

"I don't know," Betty replied; "I wish I knew when she'd started. As
far as I can find out no one has seen her since breakfast."

"Did she have an exam this morning?" Lois inquired.

"No; her class had Latin and she doesn't take it. I'm not awfully
worried," Polly said, suddenly. "I would be if it were any one but Maud.
She's used to much wilder country than this and I can't help feeling
that she's all right somewhere."

"But, where?" Lois demanded. "If she were all right and hadn't hurt
herself she'd have been home by now."

"If she's kept up on top of the hill she can't have come to very great
grief," Betty declared, "but if she's headed down to the river--then,
anything could have happened."

"What do you mean?" Lois asked.

"Why, she might have fallen and broken her leg," Betty explained. "You
know how dangerous those rocks are in winter; she may have stepped
between two of them and gotten caught."

"Don't," Lois protested, with a shudder.

They trudged on for a quarter of a mile in silence, then the trail
turned suddenly to the right.

"She's gone toward the apple orchard, thank goodness!" Betty exclaimed.

"Do you suppose she's gone round by way of the bridge and home?" Lois
asked, stopping. "If she has, we'll have our hunt in vain."

Polly and Betty considered a minute. Then Polly said:

"Of course not; if she had, she'd have been home hours ago."

When they reached the apple orchard they noticed that the print of the
snow shoes was less regular.

"She's stopped to rest here," Betty said, pointing to the ground. "Look
how irregular these prints are."

"Come on!" Polly said, quickening her steps, "we may be near her."

"Hold on!" Betty cried, "look, something happened here; it looks as if
she'd fallen down!" A big dent in the snow, as if a body had been lying
on the ground, showed up in the prints of Maud's snow shoes.

"Here's a queer thing," Lois pointed out, "one shoe's going in one
direction and one in another."

Polly walked on a little way, and then called to the others, excitedly:

"Here are the prints and look, side of them there's a mark as if she
were dragging something along with her."

"What's that black spot farther on?" Lois demanded.

They looked in the direction in which she pointed and saw, a couple of
hundred yards farther on, something that showed black against the snow.

"It's a man's hat! Oh, Poll, I'm scared to death," Lois said, trembling,
when they came up to it. Murder and every possible form of highway
robbery passed through her mind.

Betty turned white, and Polly bit her lip.

"Come on!" she said, bravely, "we've got to find her."

"Jemima!" Betty groaned; "it's beginning to snow, too." She picked up
the hat; it was almost buried by the snow, and looked green with age.
They were tired by this time--walking in snow shoes is very much easier
than trudging in rubber boots--and they realized with a shudder that
Maud and her unknown companion had a long start of them.

They followed the track as fast as they could. It went on through the
orchard and down the hill, and then over the bridge. It stopped there
and zigzagged in every direction. The girls looked and exchanged
frightened glances. Betty's heart was beating furiously and Lois' knees
trembled. They forged on, the prints were clear again, and went
straight up the hill, always accompanied by the queer, uneven path
beside them.

"She must be dragging something," Polly said. "That's all that that
track can mean."

"Or some one is dragging her," Lois spoke the thought that was uppermost
in Betty's mind.

"Nonsense!" Polly ejaculated. "I don't believe it. I tell you Maud is
all right, wherever she is. I know it."

The road they were taking was a short cut to school. There was a steep
hill--a level stretch, and then it joined the road from the school farm.
The snow was falling heavily, and it was getting dark when they reached
the top of the hill, and the prints were fast disappearing. By the time
they got to the road they lost all track.

"Whatever happened, Maud's home," Betty exclaimed in a relieved voice,
and broke into a run. The others followed her.

Mrs. Baird was walking up and down the Senior porch as they came up.

"Oh, girls! I'm so glad you're back; come in and take off those wet
clothes right away; Maud's here."

"Is she all right?" they asked in chorus.

"Yes," Mrs. Baird assured them. "She must have been in the building
when you started out."

"Where?" Betty demanded.

"In the bath-tub," Mrs. Baird said, hurriedly. "I'll explain it to you
later. Now do go and change; you must be very wet. I'll have some hot
soup for you in my sitting-room. Come as soon as you can. I'll excuse
you from study hour."

The girls hurried upstairs without a word. In Senior Alley they met
Fanny.

"Do you know where Maud Banks is?" Betty asked her.

"Yes; she's in her room," Fanny said; "where have you all--"

"Go up and tell her to come down here this minute," Betty interrupted
her; "please, Fanny, like a dear," she added as an afterthought.

Fanny went up to the corridor and returned with Maud.

Polly and Lois and Betty were all changing their clothes in their
separate rooms. Maud stood in the hall between, with the astonished
Fanny.

"Did you get lost?" Betty asked the first question.

"No, rather not," Maud answered; "got out as far as an apple orchard,
and it was awfully late. I'd no idea where the time went. I knew there
must be a short cut, so I--"

"Never mind, we know that," Polly interrupted. "Did you sit down in the
orchard?"

"As a matter of fact, I did; my snow shoe was loose. How did you know?"

"Were you dragging anything when you left the orchard?" Lois demanded.

"Yes, a branch of a tree; I say, I'm awfully sorry you had all that
trouble of--"

"Did you see a man's hat by any chance, on your way to the bridge?"
Betty asked.

"Yes." Maud was becoming more and more bewildered.

"What did you do when you got home?"

"Why, I hustled down to Roman Alley and took a tub. You see I was
awfully late, and I knew that Miss--what's her name--Spartan would be no
end cross if I didn't show up for the exam. I didn't want to miss it
either; it was literature, you know."

"Where did you leave your snow shoes?"

"Up against the gym porch; they were awfully wet and I didn't want to
take the time to go to my room. I say it was a bit of a joke; you're
thinking I was lost, wasn't it?" she asked, calmly.

Polly finished buttoning her dress.

"Maud," she said sternly "go back upstairs. To-morrow we may be able to
see the joke, but not now."

Maud left with Fanny. "I'm most awfully sorry," were her last words.

A few minutes later, the girls sought the comfort of Mrs. Baird's
charming sitting-room, and the promised hot soup.

Between sips they told her the story of their hunt and the fears that
beset them. She listened delightedly, but with ready sympathy.

"You poor, dear children! What an experience! I talked to Maud very
severely."

Betty thought she said: "I will talk."

"Don't tell her what we've told you," she begged, "I wouldn't have her
know for anything."

"She'd say it was no end of a joke," Polly laughed.

Mrs. Baird nodded in understanding.

"Of course I won't tell her," she said merrily. "It's a secret just
between us," she added with a smile.



CHAPTER XV

THE JUNIOR PROM


Polly and Lois were busily packing their suitcases, while Betty and
Angela stood by and offered suggestions. They were leaving on the
afternoon train for Cambridge to attend the Junior Prom. Bob and Jim had
finally prevailed upon Mrs. Farwell to let them come. Barring the party
at Fanny's this was their first big dance, and they were both frankly
excited about it.

"What time does your mother get here?" Betty asked. "Is she coming up to
school?"

"No; we're going to meet her at the Junction, where we change for the
Boston train," Lois replied.

"Oh, I'm sorry; I hoped I was going to see her." Betty was very fond of
Mrs. Farwell.

"She'll be here for Commencement," Polly said, "so will Uncle Roddy;
he's crazy to see you again. And this summer we're going to have a big
house party, Ange. You've got to come this time with Bet."

"I'd love it, if you won't insist on my breaking in colts, and-- Look
out, Lo! if you don't wrap up those slippers in tissue paper they'll be
all scratched--"

"I haven't any tissue paper; won't a towel do?"

"Yes; here, I'll throw you one."

"Mercy! I almost forgot my silk stockings," Polly exclaimed. "Get them
out of my bottom drawer for me, will you, Bet, like an angel?"

Betty hunted in the drawer. "They're not here."

"Then look on the closet shelf."

"Here they are. Mercy, aren't they beauties! butterflies embroidered on
them!" Betty drew one on over her hand and admired it.

"That's Lo's taste," Polly said. "She gave them to me for Christmas.
There, I think that's everything." She surveyed her neatly packed bag.
"I do hope my dress won't be wrinkled."

"What are you going to wear for an evening coat?" Angela inquired.

"Our capes," Lois answered.

"You'll freeze to death, and the hoods will crush your hair."

"Well, what will we do?" Lois asked. "Wear veils?"

Angela considered a minute, and then left the room to return with a long
scarf of maline over her arm.

"Here, take this, one of you; wait till we decide which one it's the
more becoming to." She put it around Polly's neck and drew part of it up
over her hair.

"Very sweet, but," Betty said, "try it on, Lo."

"Perfect! you get it," she said, as they viewed the effect, and
certainly the soft, flimsy tulle did make a charming background for
Lois' delicate beauty.

"Polly, you need something more severe," Angela said.

"I've a wonderful Roman scarf; it's all lovely pale shades. I'll get it;
wait a shake," Betty offered. "There you are," she said, triumphantly,
when she had pulled it tightly around Polly's head. "You look Italian;
all you need is a pitcher on your shoulder."

"It might interfere with my dancing," Polly laughed. "Thanks, ever so
much, Betty dear; I'll lend you my butterfly stockings when you go up to
West Point."

"Then, don't you dare dance holes in them," Betty warned. "Perhaps you'd
better not dance at all; it might be safer," she added.

"Just find a nice comfortable chair and sit in it and keep your feet off
the floor," Angela suggested. "Then, if any one asks you to dance, why,
tell them that you'd like to but Betty says you mustn't."

"I've taken enough clothes for a month." Lois looked despairingly at her
bag. "Sit on it, will you, Bet?" Together they closed it and Lois locked
it as a precaution against its flying open.

"It's nearly time to start." Polly consulted her watch. "I'm so excited
my heart's in my mouth."

"There's your carriage; it's waiting," Angela said, looking out of the
window. "You'd better hurry. Here, I'll take one bag." Betty took the
other, while Polly and Lois tried frantically to pull on their gloves.

"Be sure and remember everything," Betty said, as they ran downstairs,
"so you can tell me how to act next week."

"We will," Polly promised.

They met Mrs. Farwell an hour later and took the train for Boston.

"I had a letter from Bob this morning," she told them. "He says that he
will not be able to see us until luncheon time to-morrow; he's awfully
busy, I suppose."

"Maybe he's trying to find partners for us," Lois laughed, "and he's not
finding it easy."

Polly groaned: "Oh, Aunt Kate," she said, "suppose we have to sit out
half the dances."

Mrs. Farwell laughed.

"I wouldn't worry about it, if I were you," she said, confidently; "you
can trust Bob to see to that."

The next day, Jim and Bob joined them at luncheon, at one o'clock.

"Why didn't you meet us yesterday?" Lois demanded when they were seated
at the table.

"Couldn't do it," Bob told her.

"But we're at your service this afternoon," Jim added. "What do you want
to do?"

"Why don't you just sit and talk, up in our sitting-room," Mrs. Farwell
suggested. "If you do anything else the girls will be tired out for the
dance."

"What, and waste all the beautiful afternoon? Oh, mother!" Bob objected.
"Besides," he added, winking at Jim, "if we sit and talk, as you
suggest, the girls _will_ be tired. You know Lois?"

"Oh, Bobby, aren't you mean?" Lois said. "I don't talk nearly as much as
you do."

"How about taking a ride in my car?" Jim suggested. "It's a warm day."

"Oh, Jim!" Mrs. Farwell said, "I'm afraid to let them."

"But you come, too," Jim urged. "We could all crowd in."

Mrs. Farwell shook her head.

"No; I must rest; my head really aches," she said.

"Then, let us go," Bob teased. "Just for a short ride. You'll hurt Jim's
feelings if you don't; he's awfully proud of Pegasus."

"Pegasus? Is that the name of the car?" Mrs. Farwell laughed. "Well--"
she hesitated.

"We'll promise not to go one bit faster than thirty miles an hour," Jim
assured her.

"And I'll blow the horn all the way, mother darling," Lois added. "I
hope it's a nice, noisy Claxon? Is it, Jim?"

"Better than that," he told her, "it has three notes, and you can play a
tune on it."

"May we go, Aunt Kate?" Polly asked, anxiously. "We really will be
careful."

Mrs. Farwell looked from one to the other.

"Yes," she said, slowly, "but you must be back by four o'clock."

"Oh, mother; make it five," Bob teased.

"No; four o'clock." Mrs. Farwell was determined. "The girls must rest."

Jim left to get his car. In less than half an hour they heard his horn
blow.

"He's here; hurry up," Bob said. "Don't make him stop the engine."

Mrs. Farwell pulled the girls' furs up close about their necks and went
down to see them off.

"Now, do be careful," she said, earnestly. "Remember, Jim, no fast
driving."

"Not even if I see a fine road ahead with no cars in sight," he promised
her solemnly.

"And that means a whole lot for Jim," Bob explained. "He's rather proud
of his driving, mother, and it's an awful disappointment to him when he
can't show off."

"Nonsense; I don't believe it," she called after them; "I know he'll be
careful."

The car, or "Pegasus," to give it its proper title, was long and gray
and shaped like a boat. It was really a roadster, but a small seat
opened up in the back to accommodate two people.

Bob and Polly climbed into it, and Lois took her place beside Jim. They
drove slowly through the city.

"Where to?" Jim inquired.

"Anywhere," Lois said, "as long as we go. Isn't this air wonderful? Why,
it's like spring."

Jim headed the car in the direction of Salem and the speedometer
registered thirty miles.

"Why didn't you promise mother not to go over forty miles an hour?" Lois
asked.

"Because I knew she wouldn't let us go," Jim replied. "Isn't this fast
enough for you?"

Lois looked up at him over her brown furs.

"Do you know," she said, slowly, "my one ambition is to go sixty miles
an hour in a car."

Jim gasped for a second. He was tempted, but he said: "Sorry I can't
take you."

"Of course you can't to-day," Lois agreed. "But will you some time?"

"You bet," Jim promised, enthusiastically. "Bob's asked me to visit him
this summer, you know," he added; "maybe we can try it then. Would you
like to drive?" he asked when they were well out of the city.

"I don't know how," Lois said, sorrowfully.

"Well, I'll teach you." Jim stopped the car.

"What's the matter?' Bob called.

"Nothing," Jim said, "I'm going to let Lois drive; that's all."

"Oh, Jim, have pity on us!" Polly begged; "we do want to go to the dance
to-night."

"Don't worry," he answered, "you'll get there."

"Now," he said to Lois, when they had changed places, "push that back;
it's the brake, and you want to release it. There, now put your foot on
that; that feeds gas in the engine. No, do it gently," he said, as the
car jerked forward.

Lois' face was set in firm determination, and she obeyed instructions
without a word. After she had stalled the car several times, and Bob had
gotten out to crank it, she finally started.

A motor van coming towards them made her almost run into a ditch. But
Jim took the wheel in time.

"You know, you don't have to climb trees and fences, Lo," Bob teased;
"there's really plenty of room on the road."

"Oh, but it looked as if it would run right into us!" she exclaimed,
shuddering. "Suppose it had taken off one of our wheels?"

"Keep still, Bob," Jim directed. "Don't talk to the chauffeur."

They drove on for a few miles more and were beginning to consider
turning, when the car began to miss and make terrifying noises.

"What's it doing?" Lois demanded. "Have I broken it?"

Jim laughed heartily. "No," he said, "change places with me. I'll fix
it."

But Pegasus refused to be fixed. It went on a little farther, and then
stopped.

Jim and Bob got out. They opened the hood. "Nothing wrong here," Jim
said. "I wonder what's up!"

"I'll spin it," Bob suggested. They worked for nearly fifteen minutes,
but the car would not budge.

"I know I did something to it," Lois turned tearfully to Polly; "now
we'll never get home."

"Oh, yes we will; we can get some one to pull us, I guess," Polly
comforted her. "Maybe there's no more gasoline," she said to Bob.

The boys looked at each other and then burst out laughing. Jim
investigated the tank and then took off his hat and bowed respectfully
to Polly.

"You are quite right; there is no gas, and I'm a--well--I'm a very
brilliant driver. Will you please tell me how you ever thought of it?"

Polly laughed. "Why, that's what always happens to Uncle Roddy's car
when he goes out," she said. "He never remembers the gas. Sometimes he
pulls the poor car to pieces before he thinks of it."

Jim felt comforted.

"Well, I guess I'll go see what I can do about getting some. Bob, you
stay here with the girls."

"Somebody has to call up Aunt Kate," Polly reminded them, "we won't be
home by four, and she'll be worried."

"Then Bob's got to do it," Jim said, decidedly. "I'll never be able to
face her after all my promises."

"All right!" Bob said. "I see a house down the road."

"Perhaps they'll have some gas," Jim said, hopefully, as they started
off.

But it was after seven before they finally got back to the hotel. Jim
had had to walk miles before he could get a pail of gasoline, and then
on the way back one of the tires had blown out.

Mrs. Farwell was waiting for them in the lobby. She looked thoroughly
frightened.

"Children, where have you been?" she asked.

Bob explained.

"We couldn't get here a second sooner," he concluded.

"I'm awfully sorry, Mrs. Farwell," Jim added, apologetically, "I never
felt so ashamed in my life; but I really did start with plenty of gas,
only the tank leaked," he finished ruefully.

Mrs. Farwell smiled her forgiveness.

"You'll have to hurry through dinner, then go and dress," she said.
"Perhaps, after all, the girls aren't so very tired."

Polly put her arm around her.

"Tired?" she said, happily, "why, Aunt Kate, I feel as if I could dance
all night."

"So do I, mother darling," Lois insisted.

"Well, that's very probably just what you will do," Mrs. Farwell
answered with a resigned sigh.

Bob and Jim, after a very hasty dinner, hurried to their rooms to change
their clothes, and were back before either of the girls were ready, for
Mrs. Farwell had insisted upon an hour's rest. When they did join the
boys, they were looking their best. They had on the same yellow and
green dresses that they had worn at Fanny's party.

Bob and Jim were secretly delighted. There is always a good-natured
rivalry at a Junior Prom and they both felt that the girls' charming
appearance gave them a decided advantage over the other men.

When they arrived at the Union the dance had already started, and the
floor was crowded with people. Lois and Polly were so carried away by
excitement that the whole evening passed in a whirl of delight.

Mrs. Farwell had been right the day before when she had promised her
that Bob would see that they had plenty of partners, for Jim and he
brought up all their friends and introduced them.

As Polly said afterward, in answer to Betty's questions.

"There were so many of them that I couldn't begin to remember their
names. I just called them all Mr. Er--"

"What was the hall like?" Betty had demanded of Lois.

"Mercy! I don't remember," she said, "except that it had two big
fireplaces and the most fascinating chandeliers made of deers' antlers."

Betty had been disgusted at this hazy description.

It was after two o'clock before they got back to the hotel, and they
were both so sleepy that they could hardly thank Bob and Jim for their
good time.

As the boys went back to their rooms, Jim said: "Bob, do you think the
girls will ever forgive me for this afternoon?"

"Why, of course," Bob assured him. "They didn't mind being late. Polly
would rather motor than dance any day."

"H'm!" Jim replied, slowly, "but it happens to be Lois that I'm worrying
about."

"Well, you needn't," Bob answered, laughing. "When I was dancing with
her to-night, I asked her if she didn't like you better than she used
to, and she said: 'Oh, lots, Bobby; I think he's a duck.'"



CHAPTER XVI

MUMPS


"Cheer up, Polly! it can't be as bad as all that," Betty said, laughing,
in spite of herself. For the spectacle of her friend's woe-begone
expression was too exaggerated to be funny.

"I didn't think the game was so bad," Lois remarked, cheerfully;
"nothing to worry over."

They had just returned from the gym, where the regular team had been
practicing in preparation for the coming indoor meet.

February was almost at an end, and the girls had completely recovered
from the Junior Prom. The date for the game was settled, and Seddon Hall
was to play the Whitehead school team the following week.

"If we were only playing in our own gym," Polly said, forlornly, "we
might have a chance; but to have to travel for an hour on the train
first, have luncheon in a new place, and then play in a strange gym, why
we'll none of us be up to our best."

"You talk as if we were all very nervous and highly strung children,"
Betty said, impatiently. "We've all played in other gyms before."

"Fanny never has," Lois reminded her.

"Well, what of it? She won't get scared. I know her better than you do,"
Betty insisted. "We've two more days to practice, anyway."

"Two more days? Do you suppose that's enough time for Eleanor to learn
not to make fouls, and for Fanny to learn your passes?" Polly demanded.
"It's all very well for you to be cheerful; you're not captain."

"But worrying won't help any, Poll," Lois said, quietly. "If you are
going to get in a blue funk, what can you expect of the others?"

"Nothing!" Polly answered; "I know I'm silly, but that team beat us last
year on our own floor, and our team was twice as strong then as it is
now."

Lois and Betty gave up arguing. They understood exactly how Polly felt,
but they knew, too, as soon as the game began she could be depended upon
to regain her courage and hope.

The next two days the team worked hard. They practiced passes and
signals, and Eleanor did her best to remember the unaccustomed lines.
By Saturday morning Polly felt a little more cheerful.

"What time do we leave?" Lois asked, after breakfast. "Ten-thirty?"

"Yes; and I'm going to post a notice that every one is to be ready at
ten. Then I'll be sure of them," Polly said.

"I wish we could take Maud as a sub, instead of Caroline Webb," Lois
said, slowly. "She's worth more."

Polly shook her head. "It doesn't matter, really," she said. "Our
sub-team is so weak that we simply can't rely on it. We'll have to play
it all through ourselves, and we mustn't get hurt; that's all there is
to it. If one of us gets out of this game to-day, it will mean we lose,"
she concluded, decidedly.

"Oh, captain, how do you feel?" Betty inquired, coming in with her gym
suit over her arm. "I've been talking to some of the girls; they're just
sufficiently nervous--all except Eleanor--she's too cocksure. I don't
like it," she added, shaking her head doubtfully. No one knew better
than she how dangerous over-confidence was before a game; it was much
more liable to prove disastrous than a severe case of fear.

"I'll talk to her," Polly said. "Don't worry; she'll get over any extra
amount of confidence when she sees the other team--that is, if they're
the size they were last year."

"Which I hope and pray they are not," Lois added, fervently.

They started at ten-thirty, after a little delay caused by Fanny
forgetting her gym shoes, and Betty her favorite hair ribbon. The school
gave them a hearty send-off, cheering the carryall as far as the gate.

They arrived at Whitehead in time for luncheon.

"They don't seem awfully cheerful here," Polly said, when she and Lois
were alone for a minute. "I wonder what's the matter?"

"Doris Bates, you know, the girl who plays forward, told me she had a
terrible sore throat," Lois replied. "Perhaps she's given it to the
rest."

"I have an idea they'll use their subs," Polly said. "If they do--" She
let Lois finish the remainder of the sentence for herself.

The game began at two o'clock. The Whitehead gymnasium was a big, high
ceilinged room with small windows. It was really a converted barn. The
light was so poor that on winter afternoons they had always to use the
big arc lamps that were incased in wire, and hung at either end of the
room. There was no gallery for the spectators. They sat around in groups
wherever they could find a place. Some of them were so near the lines
that Polly felt sure she would run into them and, hardest drawback of
all, the floor was slippery. The school used the gym for all their
entertainments and it had been waxed not a week before.

Polly took in all these disadvantages at once and realized their
probable effect on her team.

"Don't lose your nerve or your head," she said, cautioning them before
the game started. "The lights are a bother, but try not to pay any
attention to them. If you hit them, never mind. Be careful of the floor,
and if you want to go after a ball, let the girls on the side lines look
out for you."

"I do wish they'd move back," Fanny said, almost tearfully. "They might
just as well be following you around, holding your hand? They're so
close I declare I can hear them breathing."

"The lines are awfully faint," Eleanor said, dejectedly. She was looking
hard at the big broad-shouldered girl it would be her duty to guard.

Polly glanced from one face to the other. Even Lois' and Betty's
reflected apprehension. She sighed.

"Remember," she said, as they took their places, "we're playing for
Seddon Hall."

When the first whistle blew she felt that she was facing a sure defeat
and she tried valiantly to keep her glance from straying in the
direction of the silver cup. But, as the game progressed, she discovered
that, though her team was heavily handicapped, the only danger that they
really had to face was surprise. For they had expected to fight, and
fight hard for every point, and they were totally unprepared for the
unexplainable collapse of the opposing team. From the very start, the
ball was theirs. It took time for them to recover from the shock before
they could use their advantage. Before the end of the first half,
Whitehead had put in four substitutes.

"What can be the matter?" Lois demanded between halves. "Why, they're
not putting up any fight at all."

"They're all sick," Betty said. "Both the centers have terrible colds.
It's a shame."

The second half was a repetition of the first, and Seddon Hall won an
easy victory.

[Illustration: Polly felt that she had not really earned the cup when it
was presented to her at the close of the game.]

Polly felt that she had not really earned the cup when it was
presented to her at the close of the game.

The score was twenty-seven to nothing in their favor.

"It's too bad your team are all laid up," she said to the other captain.
"I'm sorry; I know that we would never have made such a score if you'd
all been well."

The other girl smiled. "Why you won it fairly," she said. "We played a
miserable game. A few colds shouldn't have made all that difference. I
don't know what happened to us."

"Well, you'll have a chance for revenge next year," Polly answered with
a parting nod.

The return of the team lacked something of its triumphal spirit. There
is never the same feeling of exhilaration over an easily won struggle
that there is over a hard fought one. And though the rest of the girls
welcomed the return of the cup, there was a general feeling of sympathy
for the other team, rather than enthusiastic praise for their own.

Polly and Betty were still puzzling over the whole thing two days later
in the study hall, when Lois joined them and solved the mystery.

"I have an awful sore throat. What do you suppose is the matter with
me? I don't feel like doing a thing," she said.

"Better go and see Miss King," Polly advised. "You look sort of tired
and sick."

"I think I will," Lois said.

In the Infirmary a few minutes later, Miss King looked down her throat
and prodded the outside. "How long have you felt this way?" she asked.

"Only yesterday and to-day," Lois told her. "Don't say I have to go to
bed, please."

"Sorry," Miss King said, briskly, "but you do. Don't go downstairs
again; go right in here; I'll get your things."

"What have I got?" Lois demanded.

The nurse shook her head. "Nothing much, I hope," she said, "but I want
you to go to bed."

Next morning Lois awoke in the Infirmary to see Miss King standing at
the foot of the bed.

"What are you laughing at?" she asked, sleepily.

Miss King gave her a hand glass before replying.

Lois sat up in bed and looked at herself. Both sides of her face were
swollen.

"Mumps!" she exclaimed. "Oh, what a sight I am," she added, laughing.

Polly and Betty came up to inquire for her, after breakfast, and heard
the news.

"Mumps!" they both said at once. And Polly cried. "Why, Betty, that's
what was wrong with the Whitehead team."

"Of course, sore throats and everything. I'll bet they all came down
with it the next day," Betty exclaimed. "No wonder they couldn't play
any kind of a game."

Lois did not remain alone in the Infirmary for long. One by one the team
joined her. Polly was the first. During study hour that night her throat
began to hurt. She felt it; it was suspiciously lumpy.

"Here I am," she said the next morning, when Miss King had pronounced it
mumps.

"Oh, Poll!" Lois was delighted. "You look funnier than I do. Only one
side is swelling and it makes you look top heavy."

Polly surveyed herself in the mirror.

"That's easily fixed," she said. "Watch!"

She undid her hair and rolled it into a round knob under one ear.
"There, now it's even."

"But it doesn't match," Lois objected. "You look like a pie-bald pony
now."

Polly glanced about the room. A round celluloid powder-box caught her
eye. She emptied the powder out and fitted the box over her hair.

"That better?" she inquired.

Lois was still laughing over this absurd picture, when the door opened,
and in walked Betty and Fanny.

"You two?" Polly exclaimed. "Oh, what a lark!"

"When did you get it?" Lois asked.

"Suddenly, last night, at dinner," Betty answered. "We had salad with
French dressing. And, oh, when I swallowed that vinegar!"

"I certainly did think I was going to choke to death," Fanny said,
feelingly. "I jumped right up from the table."

"Yes, and knocked over a glass of water," Betty prompted, "and announced
to the whole dining-room that you reckoned you had the mumps. Everybody
laughed so hard they couldn't eat any more dinner," she concluded.

"I'm so glad you both got it," Polly said.

"Do you suppose we'll look like you two do to-morrow?" Betty asked
rudely.

"Worse, probably," Lois consoled her.

Eleanor and Evelin came down with it the next day. After that there were
no more cases. Fortunately, it did not spread throughout the school.
Perhaps some of the girls were disappointed, for the stories of the good
time in the Infirmary made school seem very stupid by comparison.

One day Miss King brought Betty a note from Angela. It was wrapped
around a copy of the _Gossip_, the Whitehead school paper.

     "Dear Mumpy (she wrote):

     "Read the news item on page ten. I think it's funny. If you want
     to answer it in our issue of the _Tatler_ this month, send me word
     what to say, and I'll see to it. Hurry up and get well. We all
     miss you lots, especially in Latin class. Love to the rest.

     "Ange."

Betty opened the paper at the tenth page and read:

IMPORTANT NEWS ITEM.

     "Sudden disappearance of valuable mump germs. Last seen in a
     silver trophy cup on or about February twenty-fifth. Seddon Hall
     basket ball team under suspicion of theft, but no arrests have
     been made. Any information regarding same will be gratefully
     received."

"That settles it." Betty stopped reading to laugh. "We took their mump
germs with a vengeance.

"Means they've got it, too," laughed Lois.

"Of course we'll have to answer it," Polly said.

The next few days the composition of a fitting reply occupied all their
time. They wrote and discarded a dozen answers before finally deciding
on a poem of Betty's. The _Tatler_ went to press with instructions to
print it on the first page, and the Whitehead girls, when they got their
copy, laughed long and heartily, for this is what they read:

  "Eight little germs lurked in a cup
    All on a pleasant day.
  Eight little maids they spied that cup
    When they went out to play.
  They thought they'd take it home with them;
    They didn't know, you see,
  The mumpy germs were waiting there
    As slyly as could be.
  But when they took the cup, alas!
    Those eight germs gave eight jumps
  And landed in those eight maids' throats,
    And gave them each the mumps."



CHAPTER XVII

SPRING


The months of March and April had come and gone. The days had passed in
unvarying monotony for the most part.

Now and again, however, some little incident found its place and added
the necessary interest to the school life. The long term after Christmas
is always tiring, and Easter vacation had come as a relief. By the time
this chapter opens the grounds of Seddon Hall gave proof of spring--warm
days and sunshine beckoned the girls out of doors, and early flowers
rewarded their frequent rambles in the woods. In less than three weeks
school would close, and another Senior class would graduate. Polly and
Lois had seen the same thing happen year after year, but now that the
time was approaching for them to go, they experienced the same feeling
of regret and wonder that every girl knows who has ever finished and
received a diploma.

Fortunately they did not have much time to wonder at the coming change
in their lives, for there are many events that crowd themselves into the
last few weeks of a Senior's school life, occupying most of her time.

To-day was a particularly busy one. There was a Senior class meeting to
decide on the Senior play. The photographer was coming to take the class
picture. There was a basket ball practice, for Field Day was not far
off, and an art exhibition in the evening. The latter was an entirely
new idea instigated by Miss Crosby. Every girl who could draw or paint
had offered the best her portfolio could yield, and these had been
framed and hung on the walls of the Assembly Hall.

A committee of judges composed of the faculty and two important friends
of Miss Crosby, who had promised to come up especially, were to award a
medal for the best painting and for the best sketch. Add to all of this,
the fact that Louise Preston and Florence Guile--two of the old
girls--were expected on a visit, and you have an idea of the events to
which the Seniors looked forward, as they jumped out of bed at the first
sound of the rising bell.

And Polly and Lois had another cause for excitement. To-day was the day
of the inter-collegiate track meet, and Bob was running in one of the
relay races. So many school duties had made it impossible for them to
go, but Jim had promised to wire them the results.

Betty met Polly and Lois, as usual, in Roman Alley, and they discussed
the plans for the day, as the water ran in their tubs.

"Do you think the Dorothys are going to vote against 'The Merchant of
Venice'?" Betty asked, dropping down on the lower step of the stairs.
"I'll simply refuse to act, if we have to have Tennyson's 'Princess.' I
think it's a silly thing."

"Oh, Bet!" Lois protested.

"Well, I do, and we'd never learn all those yards of verse by
Commencement."

"I think we can make the Dorothys agree," Polly said, confidently. "Mrs.
Baird is coming to the meeting, and I know she'd rather we gave the
'Merchant of Venice.'"

"What about the class picture?" Lois asked. "How are we going to have it
taken--all standing in a stiff group, as usual?"

"Jemima, no!" Betty exclaimed. "The officers all sit, I insist; else
what proof have we of our importance?"

"Bet, do be sensible," Polly pleaded. "This is really important. Oh,
here comes Ange," she said as a kimono came in sight around the bend in
the stairs.

"Come on, lazy one; we're having a meeting," Betty called. "Subject
under discussion, the Senior class picture. Have you any valuable
suggestions to offer!"

"Yes, I have," Angela replied, unexpectedly, "and it's a very clever
one, if I do say it myself," she drawled. "I may as well warn you that
if you don't agree with me, I'll be awfully offended."

"Then maybe you'd better not tell us," teased Lois.

"Oh, but I will. Now listen to me." Angela sat down beside Polly. "It's
about the picture. Of course you all want something different, don't
you? You know our class has always been noted--"

"For its originality," Betty finished for her.

"Yes, we know, go on," encouraged Polly.

"Well, I thought that instead of an everyday white dress and diploma
kind of a pose, we'd have a very informal, sailor suit, you know, group
taken.

"Good idea! It would be much simpler and better taste," Lois agreed.

"Now wait," Angela went on. "I haven't finished. Instead of having it
taken indoors, with a plain wall for a background, it would be much
nicer to have it taken out of doors, either on the Senior porch or out
on one of the rocks, side of the pond."

"That would be perfect," Polly exclaimed, enthusiastically.

"No class has ever done it before, and I know Mrs. Baird will be
overjoyed at the idea of having something a little different from those
awful set pictures her office is lined with."

"It is a good scheme," Betty said slowly. "But oh, my children! Do you
think for one moment that the Dorothys will ever agree?"

"You leave the Dorothys to me," Polly said. "I'll see that they agree to
everything."

The meeting was held immediately after school in one of the classrooms.
Mrs. Baird was there, and sat beside Lois. Everything was very formal
and quite according to Parliamentary rules.

Lois mentioned the subjects that were to be discussed, and before any
one else had a chance to speak, Polly rose and asked to be permitted to
offer a suggestion.

When it had been granted, she laid before them Angela's idea for the
picture. Mrs. Baird was so charmed that she forgot to be formal, in her
enthusiastic praise of it.

When that point was settled, Lois mentioned the play.

Betty jumped up at the first words and gave several very good reasons in
favor of the "Merchant of Venice." Evelin and Helen agreed with her and
though the two Dorothys voted for "The Princess," the majority was in
Betty's favor.

It was decided that Mrs. Baird and Miss Porter should cast each girl in
her part.

Towards the end of the meeting, there was a knock on the door. Polly
opened it. Louise Preston and Florence Guile stood in the hall.

"Don't let us disturb anything," Louise said, "but Miss Hale told us
Mrs. Baird was here."

Polly pulled them into the room. "Oh, but I'm glad to see you," she
cried. "We thought you'd never get here."

The meeting broke up at once, for the girls crowded round to welcome
them. They had both been Seniors when the present class were Freshmen.
Now they were Juniors at College, but like most of the Seddon Hall
graduates, they always came back, at least once a year. The girls were
all delighted to see them for they had been two of the most popular
girls who had ever been in the school.

When the greetings were over, Polly and Lois claimed them, and carried
them off to the gym. Louise had been Captain in her Senior year and was
now on her college team, and Polly wanted her advice.

"Now, Lou, tell me just exactly what you think," she said after the game
was over, and they were all four in her room.

"I think your team is fine, Polly, really," Louise said, sincerely,
"but--"

"Yes, it's that but, I want to hear about," Polly prompted.

"The guards are your weak point. That one girl made four fouls. Miss
Stewart didn't see them all, but I did," Louise said.

"That's Eleanor Trent, she's used to boys' rules," Lois explained.

"Then she's hopeless," Florence said with finality, "and she'll never
get over it."

"Who's the girl that was guarding you?" Louise asked.

"That's Maud Banks; she's been a sub for only a little while," Polly
said. "I put her on to take the place of a girl who didn't come back
after Easter. Why?"

"I think she ought to be on the big team," Louise declared. "She's a
splendid player."

Polly considered. "I guess you're right," she said.

"You and Lo and Bet pass as well as ever," Florence said. "Lois, where
did you get that Princeton banner?" she asked, changing the subject
abruptly.

"Frank gave it to me."

"It's coming down to-night and my banner takes its place," Polly said;
"that is, if something happens."

"What?" Louise demanded.

But Polly's explanation was cut short by a timid tap at the door.

"Come in," called Lois. It was Phylis and Janet.

"We've come to take you out for a walk, sister," Phylis said to
Florence. "You promised you'd come back right after practice and you
didn't."

Florence laughed. "Mercy, what a rude awakening. Here I've been feeling
just as if I were back again and then my small sister knocks at the door
and reminds me I'm only a visitor!"

"Their coming makes me think of the way you two used to knock at our
door," Louise said. "Remember?"

"Only Lo and Poll were never as respectful as Jane and Phylis," Florence
teased, putting her arm around her sister. "They used to bounce in
unannounced and eat up all our peanut butter."

"Florence, you shouldn't talk like that," her sister admonished her.
"You forget Polly and Lois are Seniors," she said with dignity.

"A thousand pardons!" Florence laughed. "So they are."

"I see you have your defenders just as we had," Louise remarked.

"I think it's time to go," Janet announced, and she didn't understand
why everybody laughed.

"Tell us about the exhibition to-night," Louise said, as they started
for their walk, and Janet explained:

"All the girls who are at all good, put things in," she concluded.
"These two friends of Miss Crosby are both artists and they're very
important. I hope Lois gets the prize."

"Do you think she will?" Florence asked.

"I don't know, but Maud Banks says she's sure to," Janet replied.

Polly and Lois, after their visitors had left, hurried back into their
sailor suits and joined the rest of the Seniors in the reception room,
where the photographer was waiting.

Lois explained about the picture and led the way to the pond. He
selected a rock and grouped the girls around it. This took so much time,
that Lois hurried to the studio to find it was too late to make the one
or two alterations on her canvas that she had wanted to.

"Oh, dear," she said to Miss Crosby; "I never realized how late it was
getting. What will I do?"

"You'll leave your canvas just as it is," Miss Crosby answered. "I'm
glad the light is poor. I didn't want you to make any changes. Come down
to Assembly Hall and help me to hang up the rest of the sketches, will
you?" she asked.

The two artists who were to act as judges came in time for dinner. The
girls had a glimpse of them as they passed the guests' dining-room.

"Why, they're men," Betty exclaimed. "One's fat, old and bald, and the
other one's young. I thought they were going to be women."

"No, of course not." Lois laughed. "Miss Crosby told me all about them,
they're quite famous. Do you know I'm scared to death," she admitted.

There was no set time for the exhibition that night. The Assembly Hall
was open at seven-thirty, and the girls came in and looked at the
pictures when they wanted to.

The two imposing visitors, who both wore tortoise shell rimmed glasses
on broad black ribbons, walked about glancing at a picture now and then,
and talking to the faculty.

"They make me awfully nervous; let's get out. I think some of the girls
are dancing in English Room," Lois said. She was with Polly and Louise
and Florence.

"Then how will we know who gets the medal?" Louise inquired.

"The bell's going to ring at nine o'clock," Polly explained. "Then
everybody will come back, and the winner's names will be announced from
the platform.

"Well, let's look once more at Lois' canvas," Florence said. "I'm crazy
about it."

They crossed the room and stopped before a picture of an apple orchard
in Springtime. Lois had chosen to paint it, because it was her favorite
spot in the grounds, and she had put into it all the joy and sunshine of
a May-day.

"Lo, it's good," Polly whispered earnestly. "It makes me want to dance."

"Have you seen Maud's sketches, they're great," Lois said. The critics
were standing near and she felt suddenly self-conscious.

"I think the one of the chicken yard is awfully clever, but, of course I
love the yellow dog best of all."

Maud, when she had heard of the exhibit, had chosen her puppy friend for
one of her models. The girls admired the clever result, and then left
the room.

At nine o'clock the bell rang. It was five minutes before all the girls
were back in the room, and Lois was among the last. She was almost
afraid to listen for the names. When everything was quiet, the older of
the two men came to the edge of the platform--the medals in his hand.

"This unexpected, but none the less, charming evening," he began; "has
caused me a great deal of pleasure. It is a privilege to be among you."

"Oh, do hurry," groaned Polly.

"And I am indebted to our friend Miss Crosby, for the honor. With the
assistance of your faculty--whose judgment I am sure you respect most
heartily," he added, with a quiet smile; "I have chosen that very
delightful painting of the apple orchard--without hesitation--as the
most noteworthy and promising canvas in the room. It is with the
greatest pleasure that I present Miss Lois Farwell with the medal."

Lois walked up to the platform. Her head was swimming and all the color
had left her cheeks.

"Thank you," she said, as the medal on its purple ribbon slipped into
her hand. She seemed to be treading on air as she walked back to Polly.

Maud received the other medal for her clever and original treatment of
the yellow dog; her comment was typical.

"Oh, I say, thanks a lot!" she said, as she accepted it.

Miss Crosby detained Lois after the girls had all gone and introduced
her to the two men. She heard their praise and criticism of her work
with a beating heart. She was tempted to think it was all a dream, when
she was back in her room, but the card she held in her hand, that the
artist had given her, was proof of reality.

"Polly," she said, excitedly, "you should have heard the nice things he
said to me, and he told me that if I wanted advice, to come to him.
Imagine! I'm much too thrilled to go tamely to bed."

"I know," Polly agreed; "my heart was in my throat when he was talking.
I thought he'd never stop. To-morrow I'm going to write Aunt Kate all
about it. Think how delighted she'll be."

Lois smiled happily. "I know she will. She's always been so adorably
interested in everything. I wish I had something to eat," she finished
prosaically.

"I'll go see if Bet and Ange have anything," Polly offered.

She tip-toed out of the door--for the good night bell had rung--and
started toward Betty's room. One of the housemaids was just coming down
the corridor.

"Here's a telegram for you, Miss Polly," she said. "Mrs. Baird told me
to bring it up; it's just come."

Polly took the yellow envelope and tore it open. "Lois," she cried,
joyfully, rushing back to their room. "Look! a wire."

     "Bob a hero--he's won his letter."

     (Signed) "Jim."

"Isn't that wonderful?" Polly demanded. "Now we'll never get to sleep,"
she added, laughing.



CHAPTER XVIII

FIELD DAY


The two weeks after the exhibition had been taken up by final
examinations--an anxious time for the graduating class.

Seddon Hall kept up a high standard and no girl could receive a diploma
unless her marks showed a high average. When the papers were all
corrected, a notice was posted on the bulletin board of the girls who
had failed. Betty called it the black list.

"I know perfectly well my name will lead them all," she said. They were
waiting in the corridor, for the list was to be posted to-day. "And if
the Spartan has anything to do with it, she'll probably print it extra
large," she added.

Angela and Polly and Lois were with her, and to a less extent they
shared her fears.

"It really doesn't matter so much to you," Angela said; "You're none of
you going to college, but imagine if I flunk anything."

"You can make it up this summer," Lois said.

"Yes, and take entrance exams. No, thanks; I'd prefer entering on
certificate," Angela drawled.

Evelin and Helen came out of the study hall. "Any news yet?" Evelin
asked.

Betty shook her head. "No," she said, solemnly, "it must be a very long
list they are making out. What are you two nervous about?"

"Everything in general," Helen said, hopelessly, "but history in
particular."

"The Dorothys are calmly indifferent," Polly remarked. "Why aren't they
here?"

"They're coming now," Evelin said. "No news?" she called.

Dot Mead stopped half way down the corridor.

"This suspense is killing me," she said, "we've been trying to study our
parts, but it's no use."

"This awful delay argues the very worst," Betty said. "We've all flunked
everything, and all those beautiful new diplomas will never be used.
What a cruel waste."

"Betty, do try and be a little more cheerful," Polly pleaded; "can't you
see my knees are knocking together? Oh, if I ever live through this
week!"

"That's the way I feel," Lois agreed, forlornly. "I've a million and one
things to do and no time. Think of it, Field Day to-morrow!"

"And that means, we ought to be practicing all day to-day," Evelin said.

"Exactly, but if I practice to-day, I won't know my part for the play. I
do wish Portia hadn't talked so much," Lois answered.

"Then there's all the things to see to about the dance," Angela added.

"And the Commencement Hymn to learn," Helen reminded them.

"The game's the most important," Polly said, decidedly, "but I don't
want any of the team to do any practicing. Some one would be sure to get
hurt."

"What are you going to do about Eleanor?" Betty asked.

"Give her a chance," Polly told her; "but she knows that the first foul
she makes I take her out and put Maud in."

"Good! was she hurt?" Lois asked.

"No; she understands, and she's promised to be very careful--"

"Oh, where--oh, where is that list?" Dorothy Lansing returned to the
subject with a sigh.

They waited in silence for a while longer, and at last their patience
was rewarded. They heard a step on the stair and Mrs. Baird came towards
them.

"What is this? a Senior class meeting?" she asked, smiling.

"No," Betty answered for them all. "We're waiting in agonized suspense
for the exam list."

"Why, you poor children," Mrs. Baird laughed; "there isn't any list this
year. You all passed in everything."

There was an exclamation of joyful relief from the girls.

"Thank goodness!" from Polly. "Now we can breathe in peace. Oh, but I'm
glad!"

"Wasn't it fortunate I happened to come up," Mrs. Baird laughed. "You
might have waited all afternoon. I really came to tell you that I have
made arrangements at the hotel for all your families for the night
before Commencement, and to find out if you expected any one here for
the game to-morrow. Your mother and father are coming, Betty. I heard
from them to-day."

"My uncle is coming if he possibly can," Polly added.

"Mother and Dad will surely be here," Lois said, "and so will Bob; but
he'll be late."

"There will be more visitors than usual for to-morrow, won't there?"
Mrs. Baird asked. "You'll have to win the game, Polly."

"If I don't, I'll hide somewhere and never show my face again," Polly
answered. "Think how awful it would be to lose on our own floor, and
with visitors to witness the defeat."

"Well, don't worry about it," Mrs. Baird advised. "You know the best
team always wins."

"We beat last year. So this year it's their turn," Angela teased.

The next day the visitors began to arrive on the noon train. All morning
the girls had been busy decorating the gym and practicing songs. By
luncheon time everything was ready, and the Fenwick school team arrived
in one big carryall, followed by another, filled with their friends and
well-wishers. Polly, as captain, was so busy with her duties that she
had only a minute now and then to think of the game.

Dr. and Mrs. Farwell came among the first guests and she and Lois
happened to be in the front hall when they arrived.

"Where's Uncle Roddy?" Polly asked, after she had greeted them, "and
where, oh, where is Bob?"

"Roddy will be up later," the doctor told her.

"And Bob may not be able to come," Mrs. Farwell explained. "You see he
wants to be here surely for the dance--"

"Jim's coming too, isn't he?" Lois interrupted. "He wrote he would."

"Yes; they'll both be here to-morrow without fail," her mother assured
her. "And Bob will come to-day, if he possibly can."

But there was no sign of him when Polly glanced up at the visitors'
gallery, as the Seddon Hall team marched into the gym at two o'clock.

"There's a train due now; maybe he's on that," Lois whispered under
cover of the singing.

"What a bunch of people," Betty exclaimed, looking around the room.

Every seat in the gallery was filled with friends and relatives, and the
girls had been forced to find places on the floor downstairs.

The teams stopped and faced each other in the center of the floor.
Polly's heart sank; somehow the Fenwick team looked more imposing in gym
suits than she had expected, and she remembered that one of the guards
had told her they had won every game they had played that year.

"Perhaps," she thought, "it's just as well Bob isn't here."

They took their places on the floor, and Miss Stewart blew the whistle.
In a game that really counts, there is no sound so exciting as that
first whistle. It means so much. Betty rose to her toes at the sound of
it, and faced the opposing jumping center.

"I think I'd like the first ball," the Fenwick girl said, laughing.

"Sorry, but you can't have it," Betty replied, bounding into the air;
"it's mine!" She batted it back towards Fanny.

"Good!" Polly whispered to Lois, and raised her left hand above her
head.

But the Fenwick side center intercepted Fanny's pass and, before they
knew it, the ball was down at the other end. Evelin failed to guard her
forward and, after a high toss, the ball fell into the basket.

Dorothy Mead, as official score keeper, drew a 2 slowly on the
blackboard. Fanny felt the fault was entirely hers and turned appealing
eyes to her captain.

"Cheer up!" Polly called. "That's only one; dodge her next time."

But Fanny didn't get a chance to even touch the ball, for Betty lost the
toss up, and the ball was spirited away to the other goal. Evelin fought
hard, but Eleanor was so busy thinking about the lines that the Fenwick
team made another basket.

"Oh, this is awful! I never saw Eleanor so slow," Lois said.

Betty lost the next toss up, too, but, fortunately, Evelin stopped it
and threw to Fanny. She passed to Betty, and Lois waited for it near
the line, but her guard kept her from getting it. They fought hard in
the center for the next few minutes. Eleanor got so excited that she
stepped over the line, the whistle blew, and the Fenwick forward made a
basket. The score was five to nothing.

Eleanor looked at Polly, but she shook her head.

"The first half is almost up," she said to Lois. "I don't want to change
yet."

Fanny fumbled the next ball Betty sent her.

"That's inexcusable," Lois declared, angrily, and Betty stamped her foot
in rage. Fanny began to cry.

"That's the end," Lois said; "you can't put a sub in for her."

"No; but I can do something equally as good," Polly replied, quietly.
"Wait till this half is over." It was like her to be carelessly hopeful,
when everybody else was in despair.

The Fenwick team scored again before the longed-for whistle blew.

"There's Bob and Uncle Roddy," Polly said, just as the ball dropped into
the basket. "He's looking at the score," she added, laughing.

Lois stared at her in amazement.

"Poll, what's the matter with you?" she demanded. "Do you realize that
the score is seven to nothing!"

"Yes," Polly replied in unruffled tones, "but there's another half, and
you seem to have forgotten that."

The school broke into a song and the teams sat down for a much needed
rest. Polly looked up at the gallery and nodded merrily to Bob. Then she
went up to Eleanor.

"I'm sorry; but I'm going to put Maud in the next half," she said.

"Oh, thank goodness!" Eleanor exclaimed. "I've lost my nerve."

"Get ready, Maud," Polly said, going over to the subs; "you've got a
hard job ahead."

"Righto!" Maud said, instantly; and Polly walked over to Fanny. She was
crying on Betty's shoulder.

"Take me out," she sobbed, as Polly came up. "I'm no good on earth."

"You are quite right; you aren't," Polly replied, sternly. "I never saw
such a silly exhibition of flunk. If I had any one to put in your place,
I would; but you know I haven't."

Betty looked up in surprise. She thought Polly was being a little too
hard on poor Fanny.

"I never saw such poor plays in my life," Polly continued,
relentlessly. "You seemed to enjoy flunking. If you'd stop thinking of
Jack and John and the rest of your admirers and pay a little attention
to the game, we might stand a chance," she concluded, coldly.

"Why, Polly!" Fanny dried her eyes. "You shouldn't talk to me like that.
I did the best I could, and I wasn't thinking of boys," she denied,
angrily, "and you know it."

Polly refused to even listen. She turned her back on Fanny and sat down
beside Lois.

"And that's all right," she said contentedly.

"What is?" Lois demanded. "Poll, we haven't a chance."

"Oh, yes, we have; just watch."

The whistle blew for the second half and the teams returned to their
places. Instead of tears, Fanny's eyes flashed indignant protest, and
her mouth was set in a firm line.

Maud took Eleanor's place, much to the latter's satisfaction. Betty won
the first toss up, passed the ball to Fanny. She bounced it to line and
threw it to Polly. She was so angry that she literally fired the ball.
Polly caught it, tossed it to Lois, and she made a clean basket.

"What did I tell you?" she said; "we're going to win this game."

They played hard for the rest of the half. Maud persistently refused to
let the Fenwick forward even touch the ball. In her attempt to get
beyond the reach of Maud's guarding arm, she went over the line, and
Polly made a basket on the foul.

The spectators were breathless as the score mounted up--7-3, 7-5 and at
last 7-7. The girls cheered encouragement and Bob and Uncle Roddy
clapped so hard that Polly and Lois looked up and waved.

Lois had just caught a ball that Betty threw and was aiming for a basket
when the whistle blew.

"Now, what!" Betty demanded. "We can't stop with a tie."

Miss Stewart consulted the two captains.

"We will play an extra two minutes," she said, "to decide. Ready!"

It was a tense second. The school groaned as the Fenwick center won the
toss, but they had forgotten Maud. She jumped high in the air and batted
the ball back to Betty, who passed it to Fanny, and then ran to the line
to receive it again. Lois was waiting for it and passed it low to Polly
and dashed to the goal post. Polly threw it back to her and she threw
for the basket. There was an agonized silence as the ball tottered on
the iron rim, that broke into a shout of triumph as it dropped in the
basket, a fraction of a minute before the whistle blew.

Seddon Hall had won--a splendid victory--and Polly's dream was realized.
The girls crowded around her and cheered; then lifted her according to
custom, shoulder high, and carried her around the room.

"Where's Fanny Gerard?" she asked as soon as they put her down before
the cup she had won.

"Here!" Betty called, pulling the reluctant center to her.

Polly threw her arms around her. "Fanny, will you ever forgive me?" she
said. "I didn't mean a word of all those horrid things I said--not one.
I only did it to make you mad. I knew if you could only begin to rage,
you'd get back your nerve, and you did; you played like a little
fury--but oh, how I hated to do it!"

Fanny threw back her head and laughed with relief. "Oh, Polly!" she
exclaimed, "I thought you really meant it."

Maud accepted Polly's praise with genuine pleasure. For once her stolid
indifference gave way to natural enthusiasm. Mrs. Baird presented Polly
with the cup, and the Fenwick captain added to her joy by telling her
that she had never seen such a wonderful exhibition of generalship. Dr.
and Mrs. Farwell, with Uncle Roddy and Bob were waiting at the door as
the girls came out bundled up in their sweaters.

"Good for you, Polly!" Bob said, enthusiastically. "That certainly was a
ripping game, and you deserve a whole lot of credit. I take back
everything I ever said about your girls' basket ball. Let's see the
cup," he added.

Polly showed it to him.

"I'm proud of you, Tiddledewinks," Uncle Roddy said, "and Lois, too. You
have a splendid eye. That last goal was well made." He put his hand on
her shoulder.

"I'm dumbfounded!" the doctor exclaimed. "I had no idea girls did
anything as strenuous as this."

"You must be tired out?" Mrs. Farwell said, "and you'll catch cold. Do
hurry back to school and change."

Polly and Lois started.

"I wish Jim had been here," Lois called over her shoulder to Bob.
"Perhaps he might have changed his mind about basket ball being a good
enough girls' game," she said.

"He'll be here to-morrow," Bob replied. "And you can trust me to see
that his mind is changed," he promised.



CHAPTER XIX

THE SENIOR DANCE


History classroom, converted temporarily into a dressing room, was a
scene of busy confusion. The Seniors were being "made up"--a woman had
come from New York especially for the purpose.

It was almost time for the play to begin and everybody was in a hurry.
Outside the Assembly Hall was rapidly filling and the murmur of voices
penetrated to the dressing room.

"There must be a perfect swarm of visitors," Betty said. "I know the
minute I get on that stage I'll forget every one of my lines," she
added, as she looked critically at herself in the glass. She was playing
the part of Shylock, and her long beard and gray wig disguised her
almost beyond recognition.

"Do you think I need some more lines on my face?" she asked Miss Crosby,
who was acting as stage manager.

"No, Betty dear, I don't; I think you're quite ugly enough," Miss
Crosby answered her. "Are you ready, Polly?"

"No; I'm still struggling with this sash," Polly answered, coming out
from behind a screen dressed as Bassanio.

"I'll fix it. There!" Miss Crosby tied the refractory sash and then
stood off to view the effect. "You make a very gallant and graceful
Bassanio," she said.

"Where's my Portia?" Polly inquired.

Lois was being "made up"; so she could only laugh in response. She was
charming in a full black velvet gown, trimmed with heavy white lace, and
her hair was crowned by a cap of pearls.

Angela, in dark green, was no less lovely as Nerissa. Evelin made a
dignified Antonio, and Dot Mead a jaunty Gratiano. Helen played the
double role of Salarino and the Moor, while Dorothy Lansing took The
Prince of Arragon and the Gaoler.

On account of the small number of Seniors, all of the lesser characters
had been omitted, and the play had been cut down to three acts.

The first--the Venetian street scene, where Antonio bargains with
Shylock. The second--the choosing of the caskets, and the third--the
courtroom.

Angela, who was industriously shaking powder into her new satin slipper
because it hurt, began reciting her lines:

"'Your Father was ever virtuous; and holy men at their death have good
inspirations--'"

"Do keep still, Ange," Betty begged; "you'll get me all mixed up. 'Oh,
upright judge--a Daniel--come prepare--'" she murmured to herself.

Lois in the other corner of the room was chanting: "'The quality of
mercy is not strained--it droppeth like the gentle dew from Heaven upon
the place beneath. It is _thrice_ blest--' There, I know I'll get that
wrong," she broke off--"it's 'twice blest,' and I always say 'thrice.'"

"You're far too generous with your blessings," Polly laughed. "I feel
perfectly sure that I will giggle right out when you say: 'You see me
Lord Bassanio as I am--' you know."

"Don't you dare look at me," Lois warned, "or I'll laugh, too. Mercy,
listen to those people! I'm going to peep." She opened the door a crack
and looked out into the Assembly Hall. She saw Maud and Fanny, who were
acting as two of the ushers, seating the new arrivals.

"The hall's jammed," she told the girls. "How many guests have you
to-night, Dot?" she asked.

"Six! My mother, two girl cousins of mine and three boys."

"I expect five," Evelin said. "I hope they're all here. Did you notice
two lanky men, a girl that looks like me, and my mother and father?"

"No, I didn't," Lois said; "that is, I can't recognize them from your
description."

"Wasn't it a shame your mother couldn't come, Betty?" Polly said. "But,
of course, Dick is here," she teased.

"No, he's not," Lois laughed. "I'd have seen his red head in the crowd
if he had been."

"He's coming with John Frisby and Ange's sister and brother-in-law,"
Betty said, without paying any attention to Lois' teasing.

"There'll be at least twenty couples for the dance," Polly said. "That
means the room won't look half empty, the way it did last year."

"I hope there's enough sherbet," Evelin said; "boys always eat twice as
much as you expect them to."

"Well, there are cakes enough to feed a whole army," Dorothy Lansing
added. "I know, for I ordered them."

"The orchestra is here. Oh, bother that buckle! it's sure to come off,"
Helen exclaimed.

"Has the sherbet come, does anybody know?" Angela asked.

"They promised it by six o'clock," Dot Mead replied; "it's surely here
by now."

"It's time for the curtain," Miss Crosby called, as she came down from
the stage, where she had been putting the last finishing touches to the
Venetian street. "Are you ready?"

Polly and Angela and Helen jumped up.

"Don't forget your cue, Betty," Angela warned, "and don't you dare make
me laugh."

Miss Crosby gave the signal for the lights to be turned off and a low
murmur of anticipation ran through the Assembly Hall as the curtain
rose.

Betty's clever interpretation of Shylock won the applause for the first
act.

"Jemima! I'm glad that's over," she said as the curtain rang down. "The
grease paint is all running down my cheeks. It's awfully hot up there."

They heard the audience still applauding.

"Go take a curtain call, Betty," Miss Crosby called. "All of you, hurry
up! Lois, are you and Angela ready for the next act?"

It is hard to say who held the stage during the casket scene. Angela was
sweet as Nerissa, and Polly made such a charming lover that she was
especially applauded. Lois delighted every one as Portia, but, of
course, her real triumph came in the next act.

It is one of the hardest things in the world to recite lines with which
your audience is familiar and put sufficient new meaning in them to hold
their attention. It is so easy to fall into a sing-song chant,
particularly with a long speech. But Lois did it. She gave each word its
proper stress and the soft mellow quality of her voice gained her extra
praise.

It was a tired, but happily contented cast that took the encore after
the final curtain, and the audience were enthusiastic in their applause.

"And now, for the dance," Polly exclaimed, as they hurried back to the
dressing room to change their costumes. "I wish we could go as we are--"

"Why, Polly, you shock me," Betty laughed. "I can't imagine eating
sherbet with this beard."

"They are pushing back the chairs; hear them?" Lois said. "Do hurry,
Poll."

They finished dressing, and joined their party waiting for them in one
corner of the room. Jim Thorp and Bob were extravagant in their
congratulations.

"I expect that Lo will be starring in less than a year. How many people
have called you a born actress, little sister?" he asked.

"Oh, at least a million!" Lois replied; for she was not to be teased.

"How do you like being a man, Polly?" Jim inquired. "You were so dashing
and debonair, that I bet every fellow in the room felt big and clumsy in
comparison."

"That pretty girl who played Nerissa was fine. I'd like to meet her,"
Bob said, "and you must introduce Jim to Betty; I want him to see her
without the beard."

"All right; come on, and let's find them; they'll be together," Polly
suggested as the music started.

"Oh, let's have one dance first!" Bob said.

After the dance ended, all the girls tried to introduce their friends to
one another. It was a little confusing, for all the boys wanted to dance
with every girl. Polly was so busy, meeting and dancing with different
partners, that she didn't see Bob again until much later in the evening.
He was standing in one corner of the room and he looked very warm.

"Let's go out," he suggested. "It's so awfully hot in here; it's not
against the rules, or anything, is it?" he added, as Polly hesitated.

She laughed. "No, of course not; but I was trying to remember who I had
the next dance with," she said.

"With me," Bob assured her promptly. "Come on; I have your scarf in my
pocket." They slipped out of one of the long windows at the end of the
hall and walked toward the pond.

"Bob, do you realize that this is my last night at Seddon Hall?" Polly
said, seriously. Bob nodded. "Yes, to-morrow you get your nice,
beribboned diploma, or, I suppose it's beribboned; is it?"

"Yes!" Polly answered absently.

"Lucky you."

"Why?"

"To have finished. There's nothing more thoroughly satisfactory than
finishing something," Bob said, earnestly.

"But some things are too wonderful ever to finish," Polly objected,
looking down at the stars reflected in the pond. "I'm simply
broken-hearted at the thought of leaving to-morrow. It's all been so
fine. Why, Bobby, what will life away from Seddon Hall be like?"

"Whatever you make it, I suppose," Bob said, wisely. Polly was silent
for a time.

"Well," she said at last, "whatever I do, or whatever happens to me, it
will never be quite as nice as Seddon Hall."

"What a happy outlook," Bob teased. "Polly, you're indulging in the
blues. Stop it!" he commanded.

Polly laughed and gave herself a little shake. "All right! It's the
stars, they always make me sad; come on, let's go back and dance."

As they returned they met Betty and Dick. They were hurrying around the
corner of the house.

"Whither away?" Polly called, gaily.

"Oh, Poll, the most awful thing has happened!" Betty explained, when
they came up to them. "The sherbet didn't come and all the class are
tearing their hair; we're out looking for it."

"Better join the expedition," Dick laughed.

"Betty tells me there are no less than seven back doors to this place,
and the sherbet may be melting at any one of them."

"Oh, Dick, it's serious!" Betty said, crossly. "Dot Mead called up the
caterer and he said it had been delivered," she explained to Polly.

"A tragedy!" Bob exclaimed. "I must have sherbet; the party will be
ruined without it."

"Of course it will," Betty answered; "you can't do just with chicken
salad. It's got to be found. You go that way and we'll go this. Look at
every door, and perhaps we'll find it."

They started in opposite directions, but when they met outside of the
Assembly Hall a few minutes later the sherbet was still missing.

"I'm going to tell Mrs. Baird," Betty said; "maybe she can suggest
something to do. Dick, you wait here with Polly and Bob. I'll be right
back."

And she disappeared through the window.

"Do you suppose," Polly said, suddenly--"I have an idea. Come with me,
both of you." She ran down the road, regardless of satin slippers, as
far as the gym. "They may have left it here by mistake," she said to the
boys.

Bob ran to the door. "Here it is!" he exclaimed. He pointed to the six
buckets packed full of ice.

"What will we do with it?" Dick inquired. "Carry it back to Betty?"

"No; we'll unpack it here--ugh! The ice is all slushy." She stood back
to save her dress.

"We'll do it," Bob said. "You look out. Here Dick, dump them."

"You'll ruin your clothes," Polly protested. "Wait and I'll get some one
from the house."

"Never!" Dick declared, "wait even an instant while this precious stuff
melts; I should say not."

"All right, you unpack it; be careful of the tins, the covers fall off
sometimes, and the salt gets in the ice cream," she warned. "I'll go
find Betty."

She found her on the Senior porch. She was just coming out with one of
the maids.

"We've found it!" Polly called to her.

"Jemima! where?" Betty demanded.

"At the gym. The driver must have just dumped it down at the first door
he came to. The boys are unpacking it."

Fifteen minutes later the sherbet, a little melted and, perhaps a trifle
salty, was served in glass cups and no one but the agonized Seniors and
Dick and Bob knew of the narrow escape.

The rescuing party joined Lois and Jim over in one corner of the room.

"It's delicious," Bob said, feelingly. "Jim, did you ever unpack ice
cream cans that were completely surrounded by slush?" he asked,
casually.

"No!" Jim said, wonderingly. "Why?"

"Didn't you? You should have."

"Do it the next warm night when you're all dressed up."

"It's a great way to cool off," Dick advised.

"What are they talking about, Poll?" Lois demanded.

Polly explained. "It was such a lark watching them!" she concluded,
laughing.

"I'm going to write," Betty began, and then stopped abruptly.

"Write what?" Dick asked.

Betty's expression changed. "Jemima!" she said slowly; "I was going to
say, that the next composition I wrote would be on the Quest of the
Missing Sherbet and then I suddenly remembered that I wouldn't have to
write any more. This is our last night," she added, solemnly.

Polly and Lois looked at her. The smiles faded from their lips, and they
ate the rest of the sherbet in silence.



CHAPTER XX

COMMENCEMENT


Commencement was over. The service in the little church had been very
simple, but very beautiful. The Seniors dressed in the daintiest of
white lawn dresses had received their diplomas, and marched slowly down
the center aisle.

There had been a hurried scramble back to school. A change of clothes
and then the long line of carriages had started for the station.

Polly stood on the last step of the Senior porch. Lois and her mother
and father had just left for the train. They were returning to Albany
for a little while before leaving for the summer vacation.

Polly was going back to New York with Uncle Roddy in his car. She
watched the last carriage out of sight. There was an unnatural silence
about the school buildings and she looked dejectedly at the deserted
grounds. Uncle Roddy was saying good-by to Mrs. Baird at the door.

"Are you ready to start, Tiddledewinks?" he asked, handing her suitcase
to the chauffeur, and waiting to help her in the car.

Polly turned to Mrs. Baird.

"I suppose so; it's all over and I can't think of any excuse to stay,"
she said, making a pitiful attempt at a smile.

"Dear child," Mrs. Baird said, affectionately, "don't talk like that.
Seddon Hall always has a place for all her girls; a diploma doesn't make
any difference and I can promise that there will always be an extra warm
welcome for a certain little girl."

Polly kissed her impulsively. "I'll be back so often next year that
you'll get tired of me," she laughed, as she got into the car. Mrs.
Baird waved until they turned the bend in the road. Polly looked back in
a last farewell, until the buildings on the hill were a tiny speck. Then
she turned to her uncle. "Uncle Roddy," she said, seriously, "do you
remember what you said to me the first night I was home, after my
Freshman year?"

"No, dear; not particularly," Uncle Roddy replied. "What was it?"

"You told me that you hoped every year of my life would be happier than
the last," she told him. "Well it has, up until now, but I feel suddenly
lost. What am I going to do?"

Uncle Roddy laughed and he took her hand.

"You're going to begin a new chapter in life, dear," he said, seriously,
"and I think you'll find it more interesting and fuller than the last."

"Will I?" Polly asked, wonderingly.

"Yes," Uncle Roddy said, confidently. "It will be fuller and more worth
while. I know I can trust my Tiddledewinks to make it that."

Polly pondered in silence for a few minutes. Then her frown disappeared
and she gave herself a little shake thereby dismissing all regrets. She
turned to look back in the direction of the school.

"Good-by, dear old Seddon Hall," she said, smiling, "I'm ready for the
next chapter."


THE END



THE POLLY PENDLETON SERIES

BY DOROTHY WHITEHILL


[Illustration]

Polly Pendleton is a resourceful, wide-awake American girl who goes to a
boarding school on the Hudson River some miles above New York. By her
pluck and resourcefulness, she soon makes a place for herself and this
she holds right through the course. The account of boarding school life
is faithful and pleasing and will attract every girl in her teens.

  1 POLLY'S FIRST YEAR AT BOARDING SCHOOL
  2 POLLY'S SUMMER VACATION
  3 POLLY'S SENIOR YEAR AT BOARDING SCHOOL
  4 POLLY SEES THE WORLD AT WAR
  5 POLLY AND LOIS

_Cloth, Large 12mo., Illustrated._



Dorothy Whitehill Series

_For Girls_


[Illustration]

Here is a sparkling new series of stories for girls--just what they will
like, and ask for more of the same kind. It is all about twin sisters,
who for the first few years in their lives grow up in ignorance of each
other's existence. Then they are at last brought together and things
begin to happen. Janet is an independent go-ahead sort of girl; while
her sister Phyllis is--but meet the twins for yourself and be
entertained.

5 Titles, Cloth, large 12mo.

Covers in color.

  1. JANET, A TWIN
  2. PHYLLIS, A TWIN
  3. THE TWINS IN THE WEST
  4. THE TWINS IN THE SOUTH
  5. THE TWINS' SUMMER VACATION



THE MARY JANE SERIES

BY CLARA INGRAM JUDSON

Cloth, 12mo. Illustrated.

With picture inlay and wrapper.


[Illustration]

Mary Jane is the typical American little girl who bubbles over with fun
and the good things in life. We meet her here on a visit to her
grandfather's farm where she becomes acquainted with farm life and farm
animals and thoroughly enjoys the experience. We next see her going to
kindergarten and then on a visit to Florida, and then--but read the
stories for yourselves.

Exquisitely and charmingly written are these books which every little
girl from five to nine years old will want from the first book to the
last.

  1 MARY JANE--HER BOOK
  2 MARY JANE--HER VISIT
  3 MARY JANE'S KINDERGARTEN
  4 MARY JANE DOWN SOUTH
  5 MARY JANE'S CITY HOME
  6 MARY JANE IN NEW ENGLAND



THE TOMLINSON SERIES

BY EVERETT T. TOMLINSON.


[Illustration]

Interest in school life is perpetual. The young student, facing new
surroundings, finds an element of romance and strong appeal; and to the
older graduate college days recall some of the most pleasant memories of
the past.

Here are stories of school life and athletics, full of action and human
interest. They deal with problems of life common to students and inspire
the manly attributes of self-reliance and strength of character.

  THE PENNANT.
  CAPTAIN DAN RICHARDS.
  CARL HALL OF TAIT.
  JACK STONE OF TAIT SCHOOL.

(Other volumes in preparation)

_Cloth, Large 12mo., Illustrated._

For sale at all bookstores or sent (postage paid) on receipt of price by
the publishers.



THE GO AHEAD BOYS

BY ROSS KAY.

  _I leave this rule for others when I'm dead:_
  _Be always sure you're right--THEN GO AHEAD._

  --_Davy Crockett's Motto._


[Illustration]

The love of adventure is inborn in all normal boys. Action is almost a
supreme demand in all the stories they read with most pleasure. Here is
presented a series of rattling good adventure stories which every live
"go ahead" boy will read with unflagging interest. There is action, dash
and snap in every tale yet the tone is healthful and there is an
underlying vein of resourcefulness and strength that is worth while.

  1 THE GO AHEAD BOYS ON SMUGGLERS' ISLAND.
  2 THE GO AHEAD BOYS AND THE TREASURE CAVE.
  3 THE GO AHEAD BOYS AND THE MYSTERIOUS OLD HOUSE.
  4 THE GO AHEAD BOYS IN THE ISLAND CAMP.
  5 THE GO AHEAD BOYS AND THE RACING MOTOR BOAT.
  6 THE GO AHEAD BOYS AND SIMON'S MINE.

(Other volumes in preparation)

_Cloth, Large 12mo., Illustrated._



_Thrilling Tales That Teach True Patriotism_

FLAG & COUNTRY SERIES

By PAUL G. TOMLINSON


[Illustration]

When the World War broke out, Bob Cook and his friend Hugh were in High
School. They chafed at being too young to enlist, but soon found that
there was plenty to do for their country right at home. And later they
found that they could do still bigger things.

These are real boys' books for real boys. Each story contains mystery,
excitement, or adventure from the very first chapter to the last.

_Cloth, Large 12 mo., Illustrated._

  Bob Cook and the German Spy
  Bob Cook and the German Air Fleet
  Bob Cook's Brother in the Trenches
  Bob Cook and the Winged Messengers
  Bob Cook and the Bomb Plot


BARSE & HOPKINS
NEWARK N. J.
NEW YORK N. Y.





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