Home
  By Author [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Title [ A  B  C  D  E  F  G  H  I  J  K  L  M  N  O  P  Q  R  S  T  U  V  W  X  Y  Z |  Other Symbols ]
  By Language
all Classics books content using ISYS

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


We have new books nearly every day.
If you would like a news letter once a week or once a month
fill out this form and we will give you a summary of the books for that week or month by email.

Title: Polly's First Year at Boarding School
Author: Whitehill, Dorothy
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Polly's First Year at Boarding School" ***

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



produced from images made available by the HathiTrust
Digital Library.)



[Illustration: Singing and cheering wildly they carried her to the
other end of the gym.]



POLLY’S FIRST YEAR AT BOARDING SCHOOL

BY

DOROTHY WHITEHILL

ILLUSTRATED BY CHARLES L. WRENN

PUBLISHERS

BARSE & CO.

NEW YORK, N. Y., NEWARK, N. J.



Copyright, 1916 By Barse & Co.

Polly’s First Year at Boarding School

Printed in the United States of America



CONTENTS

    CHAPTER I—THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL
    CHAPTER II—THE PAPER CHASE
    CHAPTER III—THE WELCOME DANCE TO THE NEW GIRLS
    CHAPTER IV—THE CHOOSING OF THE TEAMS
    CHAPTER V—THE THANKSGIVING PARTY
    CHAPTER VI—A RAINY DAY
    CHAPTER VII—BETTY’S DUCKING
    CHAPTER VIII—CUTTING THE LECTURE
    CHAPTER IX—THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS
    CHAPTER X—THE VALENTINE PARTY
    CHAPTER XI—PRACTICING FOR THE INDOOR MEET
    CHAPTER XII—POLLY’S HEROISM
    CHAPTER XIII—BETTY’S IDEA
    CHAPTER XIV—THE FRESHMEN ENTERTAIN
    CHAPTER XV—VISITORS
    CHAPTER XVI—GHOSTS
    CHAPTER XVII—POLLY INTERVENES
    CHAPTER XVIII—WANTED: A MASCOT
    CHAPTER XIX—FIELD DAY
    CHAPTER XX—THE MUSICAL
    CHAPTER XXI—COMMENCEMENT DAY



CHAPTER I—THE FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL


Seddon Hall, situated on top of one of the many hills that lined either
side of the Hudson River, was a scene of hubbub and confusion. It was
the 27th of September and the opening day of school. The girls who had
already arrived were walking arm in arm about the grounds, in the broad
assembly hall, and in the corridors, talking, laughing and discussing
the summer vacation, plans for the winter, the new girls, and a variety
of subjects with fine impartiality.

In the Senior reception room Mrs. Baird, principal of the school, and a
number of the faculty were receiving and assuring the mothers and
guardians of the girls.

Outside the carriages from the 5:04 train were winding up the steep hill
from the station. The girls were waving and calling hellos as they
passed one another, and on the broad piazza there was a quantity of suit
cases, and a good deal of kissing.

Polly Pendleton, seated beside her uncle in one of the last carriages,
was just the least little bit frightened. She had never seen quite so
many girls nor heard quite so much laughing and talking in all her
rather uneventful life.

Polly’s real name was Marianna, but her heavy dark hair framed a face so
bright and full of fun, and her big brown eyes had so much impishness in
their depth, that to have called her by anything so long and dignified
seemed absurd, and so she had been Polly all her life.

Until two months before this story opens she had lived her thirteen
years in an old fashioned New England town with her aunt, Hannah
Pendleton, her father’s eldest sister, and quite as severe as her name.
It had been a very unexciting existence—school every morning with the
village minister, and a patchwork “stint” every afternoon under the
direction of Aunt Hannah.

Polly was beginning to think every day was going to be just like every
other, when suddenly Aunt Hannah died and she came to New York to live
with Uncle Roddy. It had been a great change to leave the old house and
the village, but under Uncle Roddy’s jolly companionship she soon ceased
to miss any part of her old life.

After what seemed an age, the carriage finally reached the top of the
hill, and Polly, holding tight to her uncle’s arm, was shown into the
reception-room. She was finding it harder every minute to keep down the
unaccountable lump that had risen in her throat, when Mrs. Baird,
catching sight of them, held out a welcoming hand.

“How do you do, Mr. Pendleton?” she asked. “And is this Marianna? My
dear,” she added, putting her hand on Polly’s shoulder, “I hope you are
going to be very happy and contented with us.”

It was perhaps the fiftieth time Mrs. Baird had made that same remark
that day, but Polly, looking into her kindly blue eyes, felt, as had
every other new girl at Seddon Hall, the complete understanding and
sympathy of the older woman, and felt, too, without knowing why, that
Mrs. Baird had had her first day at boarding-school.

Louise Preston, one of the Seniors, a slender girl of seventeen, with
heaps of taffy-colored hair, big blue eyes, and the sweetest and
jolliest smile, caught her principal’s beckoning nod, and coming
forward, was presented. Mrs. Baird suggested that she take Polly and
show her to her room.

As the two girls mounted the broad staircase, Louise linked her arm in
Polly’s in a big sisterly fashion, and began the conversation.

“This floor that we’re coming to,” she explained, “is Study Hall floor;
all those doors are classrooms. This is the Bridge of Sighs,” she
continued, stopping before a covered passage which led from one building
to another.

“Why the Bridge of Sighs?” inquired Polly.

They were crossing it as she asked. When they reached the other side,
Louise solemnly pointed to a door on the left.

“That,” she explained, “is Miss Hale’s room. Miss Hale is the Latin
teacher, and when you know her, you’ll understand why this is the Bridge
of Sighs.”

“Goodness! let’s hurry past if she’s as dreadful as all that,” laughed
Polly. “What’s this long corridor?”

“This is the Hall of Fame or, in other words, the abode of the Senior
class,” Louise told her. “Junior and Sophomore corridors are in the
other wing, and Freshman Lane, where you’ll be, is just above this on
the next floor. You see the classes are named as they are in college.”

“Then who are the little girls I saw downstairs?”

“Those were the younger children; we don’t see much of them until
they’re Intermediates—that’s the class just before the Freshmen,” Louise
explained.

“Now we’ll find your room.”

When they reached the floor above, they were met with a shout of joy as
the girls, who were dashing in and out of one another’s rooms, caught
sight of Louise.

“Hello, Louise, how are you? Awfully glad you’re back,” called some one.
“Why didn’t you answer my letter?”

“Don’t you realize this is _Miss_ Preston, that we’re a dignified Senior
this year, and we mustn’t be called Louise?” corrected another laughing
voice.

Then, as they caught sight of Polly, they stopped short. It was Louise
who broke the embarrassed silence by asking:

“Does any one know where Marianna Pendleton’s room is?”

At the unfamiliar sound of her real name, Polly looked so puzzled that
she added:

“Your name is Marianna, isn’t it?”

“Yes,” assented Polly, “but I’ll never get used to it. No one has ever
called me anything but Polly.”

“Then Polly you shall be; it suits you, and Marianna doesn’t.”

“How do you do? I’m Betty Thompson. Louise doesn’t seem to have the
manners to introduce me.”

It was golden-haired, snub-nosed, freckled, little Betty, one of the
most popular of the younger girls, who was speaking. Her timely
impudence made every one laugh, and the ice was broken.

“I stand corrected,” murmured Louise, in what was meant to be an abject
voice. “I’ll begin introducing you at once. This is Roberta Andrews;
she’s in your class. This is Constance Wentworth; we’re very proud of
Connie; she plays the piano wonderfully.”

“But she talks in her sleep,” interrupted Betty.

Everybody laughed at this. It was an old joke that Constance, when in
the Intermediate class the year before, had frightened one of the poor
new teachers almost to death by reciting Lady Macbeth’s sleep walking
scene, at twelve o’clock one night.

Polly liked her at once. There was something very beautiful about her
firm mouth, straight nose, high cheek bones, and big, dreamy brown eyes.

“This is Angela Hollywood,” Louise continued. “Don’t take any stock in
her name, it’s deceiving.”

Angela, who looked like an old-fashioned painting with her eyes as blue
as the sky, her pink and white cheeks, and her soft ringlets of
golden-brown hair, scowled threateningly.

“Your being a Senior,” she drawled, “is all that saves you from my
wrath.” Then, turning to Polly, she continued: “Don’t let her give you a
wrong impression; you see, she’s jealous. I really am quite angelic—”

“Do tell me when that is,” demanded a voice from the other end of the
corridor. The girls turned to look and there, standing with suit case
and tennis racket in hand, dressed in a blue Peter Thompson sailor suit,
her tawny-colored hair tied half way down her back with a black ribbon,
her dark eyes dancing with fun, stood Lois Farwell.

Polly, standing to one side as the girls crowded around the newcomer,
realized that in some way she was different from the other girls. The
welcome she was receiving showed her to be a general favorite and much
thought of. When in a few minutes she was shaking hands with her, she
understood. Lois was evidently born to be liked.

The girls rattled on, asking a million questions at once. Louise left
for the society of her own class, and Polly went to her room to unpack
her case.

In a few minutes there was a knock at her door; one of the maids had
come to tell her she was wanted in the reception-room to say good-by to
her uncle. As she started down the corridor she met Lois.

“Where are you going?” questioned the latter. “Anything I can do for
you?”

Polly tried hard to keep back the lump in her throat as she answered:

“I am going to the reception-room; my uncle is leaving.”

“Better take me with you,” Lois advised. “You’d never find your way
alone.”

When Polly reached the reception-room she found Uncle Roddy decidedly
unhappy. He was feeling a responsibility for, perhaps, the first time in
his bachelor life, and he didn’t like it.

She said good-by to him, promised to write, and received his hug and
kiss with a choked sensation. Something snapped as the carriage
disappeared down the hill. She realized she was all alone. She would
have given anything to have been able to run after the carriage and beg
him to take her home with him.

The lump in her throat was asserting itself in tears as Lois came back
to find her.

“Come on up to Assembly Hall and meet some of the girls,” she suggested,
putting her arm around her shoulder and pretending not to notice the
tears. At this touch of comradeship the lump in Polly’s throat, as if by
magic, disappeared.

The rest of the day was a blur to Polly, as it was to all the new girls.
As she lay wide awake in bed until late that night, she tried to form a
clear idea of what had happened.

“I’m quite sure I’m going to like Angela and Connie,” she said to
herself. “And I adore Betty; she’s such fun. But Lois is the nicest of
all. It was awfully sweet of her to ask me to sit beside her for Mrs.
Baird’s welcome talk, and she’s promised to take me over the grounds
tomorrow.

“No one talked about anything I didn’t understand, either, except
basket-ball, and Betty’s promised to teach me how to play that the first
chance she gets.”

Then she continued sleepily:

“Every one home used to say I was different from most girls, and Aunt
Hannah said I was a tomboy. But I’m just like all the rest—just an
ordinary girl.”

And with a sigh of contentment she snuggled down in her pillows and
dropped off to sleep to dream of the happy year to come.



CHAPTER II

THE PAPER CHASE


It was two o’clock in the afternoon and the end of the first school day.
There had been no lessons to speak of. The new girls had been piloted to
the various classrooms, introduced to the teachers, received their books
and the general plan for the year had been laid out.

At the close of the last period Lois Farwell and Betty Thompson met in
the Study Hall corridor, and locking arms, sauntered off in the
direction of Freshman Lane.

“My, but it’s good to be back again,” began Betty, playing a tattoo with
her pencil on the steam pipes, that ran along under the windows on one
side of the corridor; “bully to be back,” she repeated.

“Bet, do stop that fiendish noise,” begged Lois. “You’re as bad as ever.
Yes, it is good to be back; what shall we do to celebrate?”

“Let’s talk about the new girls,” suggested Betty; “how do you like them
so far?”

“I haven’t talked to many of them, the ones in our corridor seem to be
all right. I think I’m going to like Polly Pendleton a lot.”

“Oh! she’s a duck,” Betty agreed. “I like her already. The others are
nice, too, but there’s something different about Polly, she’s—”

“Yes, I know what you mean,” Lois answered slowly. “She’s more Seddon
Hallish than the rest; she sort of fits,” she continued, wrinkling up
her forehead in an attempt to explain a state of being not exactly
describable in words.

At this point, they stopped to survey the bulletin board, and as they
stood reading the notices posted, they were joined by Louise Preston and
Florence Guile, both in Peter Thompsons, the accepted dress of the
school, but with their hair fixed on top of their heads, as befitted the
two most important members of the senior class.

“We want you two,” greeted Louise; “been looking for you everywhere;
we’re trying to get up a paper chase for this afternoon, some of the new
girls are ‘weepy,’ and Mrs. Baird thinks their thoughts had better be
diverted from home.”

Betty assumed an attitude of deep dejection.

“I’d sort of hoped to spend the afternoon studying,” she sighed,
regretfully, “but of course I’ll be a martyr for such a worthy cause.”

“Thanks, dear, we do appreciate your sacrifice,” laughed Florence, “and
you, Lo, we can count on you I suppose, as it is a favor to Louise?”

Lois blushed and looked self-conscious. She had been rather
extravagantly fond of Louise the year before, and it embarrassed her to
be reminded of it.

“Yes, I’ll come,” she replied with a great show of indifference. “That
is, if I can be one of the hounds.”

“Of course you may, that’s one of the privileges of an old girl,” Louise
assured her. “But we must hurry; will you two go up and get the Freshmen
together! We start at three from the gym.”

“What about the paper?” Betty inquired. “I’ll get it for you if you like
and find a laundry bag with a hole in it.”

“Do, and we’ll love you forever,” promised Florence, adding over her
shoulder as the two girls dashed off down the corridor:

“Be sure there’s plenty of it, we want a long chase.”

Three minutes later, breathless from their race upstairs, Betty and Lois
reached Freshman Lane.

“Everybody ready for a paper chase at three o’clock,” Lois called out;
“no excuses need be offered for none will be accepted.”

“Angela and Connie, you lazy ones, that means you, too, come along,”
Betty commanded, bursting into Connie’s room and discovering her curled
up comfortably on the bed, while Angela, sitting Turk fashion on the
window seat, was devouring crackers and peanut butter sandwiches.

Pausing now with one half way to her mouth, she drawled:

“Oh, Betty, you’re so energetic, I don’t want to go, I’m much too
tired.”

She received no sympathy, however; instead, she was dragged ruthlessly
to her feet and admonished:

“Too lazy you mean, and too full of peanut butter; no, Angela, it is my
painful duty to save you from growing hideously fat.” And Betty, as
though the subject was settled, turned her attention to Connie. But
Connie offered no opposition.

“I’ll come with pleasure,” she assured her. “Anything would be better
than watching Ange stuff.”

Lois had proceeded to some of the other rooms and found their occupants
only too eager for something to do.

“I can’t find Polly Pendleton,” she called as Betty joined her, still
holding tightly to the reluctant Angela. “Have you seen her?”

Some one called out that she had not returned to her room after school,
so Lois went down to the Study Hall, in search of her.

She met her half way up the stairs.

“Were you looking for me?” she asked. “Louise Preston told me that there
was to be a paper chase and that you’d tell me what to do.”

“Oh good, then you know,” answered Lois. “Come on back to the corridor,”
she suggested; and slipping her arm around Polly’s shoulder, asked:

“You’re not homesick, are you!”

Polly smiled curiously, and half closed her eyes.

“Not now,” she answered truthfully.

A few minutes before three about thirty girls in sweaters and caps were
waiting on the steps of the gym.

Louise Preston and Florence Guile, eagerly assisted by Lois and Betty,
and helpfully, though a little less eagerly by Connie and Angela, were
dividing the party into hares and hounds.

“All old girls to the right of the steps, all new girls to the left,”
ordered Florence. “New girls are hares, old girls, hounds.”

“But doesn’t some one go with us?” questioned Flora Illington, timidly.
She was one of the new girls for whom Mrs. Baird considered a paper
chase necessary.

Florence turned to consult Louise, but it was Betty who answered:

“Certainly not,” she said decidedly. “You are entirely on your ‘own’;
choose a leader, and run in any direction.”

“But we might get lost,” Flora persisted, almost tearfully looking for
support to the rest of the hares.

“You can’t,” Betty assured her; “don’t cross any stone walls and you’ll
be all right. The stone walls are the school boundaries, you can’t miss
them. Besides, we’re sure to find you.”

Flora subsided doubtfully, and Louise called:

“Choose your leader.”

After a good deal of hesitancy, for the new girls were a little
uncertain of one another, Polly Pendleton was selected because she was
already generally liked, and partly because she seemed to be thoroughly
acquainted with the rules of paper chases.

As Betty gave her the bag of paper she whispered:

“Good luck, and be sure not to go out of bounds.”

Polly slung the bag over her shoulder as she answered:

“We won’t; how much start do we get?”

“Fifteen minutes,” Lois replied, hearing the question and adding,
regretfully, “I wish you could go with the hounds.”

Just then Louise blew the whistle, and Polly, calling the hares to
attention, started off at a dog trot in the direction of the woods.

The hounds, left alone, grouped themselves on the steps to wait until
the fifteen minutes were up.

“The trouble with these first races,” Connie remarked with a yawn, “is
that they are so easy. The hares never know where to go, and we find
them a few feet from the pond, and then it’s all over. Flora’s idea of
having an old girl lead them wasn’t so bad.”

“What! and change a memorable Seddon Hall custom!” exclaimed Angela,
jumping to her feet. “Con, I always said you’d no heart, and now I know
it. Besides, it’s the best thing in the world for the new girls.”

“Something tells me, that with Polly Pendleton as a leader they may not
be so easy to find this year,” Lois mused, gazing along the thin white
streak that marked the trail of the hares and disappeared into the
depths of the wood beyond.

“Time to start,” announced Louise after consulting the gym clock—and the
chase began.

An hour later in the heart of the woods, the hounds stopped to consult.
Without doubt Lois’ prophecy had been fulfilled. The tracking of the
hounds had not been easy.

“Where under the sun do you suppose they are?” demanded Betty. “We’ve
been going ’round and ’round in a circle and there’s not a sign of
them.”

“I’ll admit I’m completely stumped,” said Florence. “This track leads
from here to the apple orchard, over the bridge, around to the farm,
through the pasture and back to here. Where do we go next?”

“What did I tell you?” asked Lois. “I knew Polly would give us a chase.”

“H’m, so did I,” Betty agreed, “but I didn’t think she’d do it as well
as this.”

The shadows of the trees lengthening out over the rich black ground gave
warning of the approaching sunset.

The hounds looked puzzled.

“Perhaps they have been doubling on the trail, and we’ve been chasing
them around the circle—I say let’s go back the way we came, perhaps
we’ll meet them,” suggested Connie.

They all thought this a likely solution, and in a minute they were again
in marching order, ready to retrace their steps.

Connie’s conjecture was quite true, as far as it went—that was, however,
not quite far enough to reach the hares.

Polly, to whom all woods were an open book, once out of sight of the
gym, had found her way by various paths to the orchard and, by keeping
to the right she discovered the bridge.

“What a piece of luck,” she exclaimed to the girls who were running
beside her, adding, in explanation:

“If we can only make a circle and come back here, they will never find
us—we can stand under the bridge, the brook’s almost dry and there are
loads of stones.”

The other hares, only too eager to be led, acquiesced at once.

Off they started, keeping well to the right, past the farm, and through
the pasture, leaving the tiny line of white that later dumbfounded the
pursuing hounds. On they sped to the orchard and panting, but delighted,
they again reached the bridge.

“Everybody underneath and don’t make a sound,” Polly warned them, “and
keep well to the end so they won’t see us as they come along; our only
danger is, that they may notice the short trail that leads down here.”

They waited for what seemed an age, balancing themselves on slippery
stones, very much excited, but very still, save for an occasionally
suppressed giggle.

In a few minutes they heard the thump, thump of the approaching hounds
and held their breath as the bridge shook over their heads.

“Safe,” whispered some one as the sound grew fainter in the distance:

“Where next?”

“Here, of course,” replied Polly; “we mustn’t move, they are sure to
come back.”

After the hounds had consulted in the corner of the pasture, they made
the circle again. As they reached the bridge for the third time, they
were both tired and discouraged. In the middle they halted.

Underneath, the hares huddled breathlessly and Florence Guile’s voice
came down to them.

“It’s after five o’clock, really, I think we’d better give up.”

And Betty made answer:

“I suppose so, but it seems dreadful to be beaten by the new girls.”

“Hardly by the new girls,” laughed Louise, “beaten by that little Polly
Pendleton. I don’t believe any of the rest could have done it.”

So proud were the triumphant hares under the bridge, that they didn’t
even resent this remark.

“Who can call the loudest?” Louise continued. “Betty, you can tell them
we give up, we’ll have to go ’round the trail again till we find them.”

Betty walked dejectedly to the side of the bridge, pushed her flying
hair from her face, put both hands to her mouth and taking a tremendous
breath, yelled:

“Come in! Come in! We give up.”

Before the echo had died away, sixteen grinning faces appeared from
under the bridge.

There was a moment of speechless amazement, and then Polly asked in a
quiet voice that contrasted ridiculously with Betty’s mighty yell:

“Were you calling us?”

“Look, they’re here.”

“Under the bridge.”

“Where’s the trail?”

“Here, look!”

“We’re blind!” came the chorus from the startled hounds, followed by:

“How did you do it?”

“Have you been here all the time?”

“Polly, you’re a wonder!”

“The new girls never won before.”

“Three cheers for Polly!” and suddenly the leader of the hares was the
center of an admiring and enthusiastic crowd.

Something had happened, she was no longer just one of the new girls; by
this little act, she had won her right to a place in the big school.

Had you asked any of the old girls to explain the difference they would
probably have expressed it as Lois had earlier in the day by telling you
that:

Polly had proved herself to be thoroughly “Seddon Hallish!”



CHAPTER III

THE WELCOME DANCE TO THE NEW GIRLS


School had opened on Monday and today was Saturday. It had been an
exciting week for everybody getting acquainted and settled, and the time
had flown.

Today was very important, for it was the date set for the old girls’
welcome dance to the new girls. All week there had been whisperings and
talk of it, but none of the new girls really knew anything about it.

Friday afternoon the bulletin board had flaunted a poster of a big
smiling girl, holding out her arms in welcome to a shy little lass with
her finger in her mouth. Mary Williams had painted it, and it was truly
a work of art. On it were the words:

    WELCOME DANCE TO THE NEW GIRLS
    SATURDAY, AT 8 P. M., IN ASSEMBLY HALL

As Polly sat up in bed and stuffed her fingers in her ears—she hadn’t
grown accustomed to the rising bell yet—she suddenly thought what day it
was.

Bouncing out of bed, she slipped into a dressing gown, dashed through
the corridor down a flight of stairs to a long room lined on either side
with doors leading into tiled bathrooms with sunken porcelain tubs. They
had been built only two years, and so magnificent were they after the
old ones, that the girls had christened them The Roman Baths and the
corridor, Roman Alley.

As Polly took the last two steps at a jump, she ran bang into Betty, the
freckled face.

“Whither awa’ in such mad haste, and what have I ever done to you that
you should want to see my poor nose any flatter?” asked Betty, carefully
pretending to straighten her nose.

“Oh, I’m so sorry, Betty; did I hurt you?” answered Polly. “I was in
such a hurry to get a tub. Some one always beats me, and I’ve been late
to breakfast twice.”

“Why not try my stunt and get up ten minutes before the bell? But you’re
all right this morning,” and Betty pointed to the row of open doors.
“Turn on the water and then we can talk.”

In a minute they were both sitting huddled up on the bottom step, while
the water was splashing into their tubs.

“Know who you’re going with tonight?” began Betty.

“No. Do you know who has asked me?” inquired Polly.

She had known all week that on the morning of the dance each new girl
would receive a written invitation from one of the old girls, asking her
to be their guest for the evening.

“Ha, ha,” laughed Betty, “don’t you wish you knew? Yes, I was there and
I heard you bid for; also I was with her when she put the note in your
desk. I think you’ll be pleased.”

“Ah, go on, tell me, please,” teased Polly.

“Indeed, I will not,” Betty exclaimed. “I will tell you that you won’t
like Miss Hale any better this time next year than you do now—I will
tell you that we will have pancakes for breakfast—or that tomorrow’s
sermon will be very dull, but tell you the name of the girl who is going
to take you tonight, certainly no—”

She stopped short in her dramatic speech as she caught the warning
gurgle that water gives in a tub, just a few seconds before it runs
over.

“Great Cæsar’s Ghost! our baths!” she cried, and both girls dashed for
their tubs, and in a minute there came the sound of splashing from
behind the closed doors.

Twenty minutes later they met at breakfast, both a little out of breath,
and true to Betty’s prophecy, there were pancakes.

After breakfast on Saturday there was an hour for study, and after that
the girls were free for the rest of the day. Polly could hardly wait to
get to her desk, but of course something had to interfere on this
particular morning.

Just at the entrance to the schoolroom Miss Hale held out a damp,
detaining hand.

“One minute, if you please, Marianna. I want to see you and Angela and
Elizabeth” (she meant Betty, of course), “in my room. Your books have
come and er—”

Her voice trailed off into a murmur as she sailed down the corridor.

Betty said “The dickens” quite distinctly. Angela looked bored but not
rebellious. She shared the other girls’ dislike for Miss Hale, but she
adored Latin. As for Polly—well, you can fancy how furious she was.
There was that note in her desk and Miss Hale might keep them for hours.
She wasn’t very attentive as the intricacies of Latin grammar were
expounded and explained.

However, it did finally end, though not until fifteen minutes after the
last study hour bell had rung. Polly, followed by Angela and Betty,
started for Study Hall. At the door they ran into a group of girls. Some
of them flourished neatly folded notes.

“What are you going to do this morning, Polly?” asked Dot Mead, who was
one of the group.

“Come on out for a walk with us,” chimed in Helen Reeves and Grace
Wright, a long lanky new girl who always agreed with everybody. It may
be seen from this that Polly was popular.

“No you don’t. She’s going with me to watch the basket-ball practice in
the gym,” Betty interrupted before Polly had a chance to answer.

Just then Angela stepped up and put a note in Polly’s hand.

“Forgive my freshness in opening your desk without permission,” she
said, “but I knew you were crazy to get this, and these wild Indians
would have kept you here till luncheon time.”

“Angela, you are angelic. Thank you ever so much.” And opening the note
she read the following:

  “Dear Polly:

  “Please be my guest at the dance tonight and save me numbers one,
  three, five, and the last. See you in the corridor after study hour.

                                                    “In mad haste,
                                                    “Lois.”

Polly danced for joy. It was Lois after all, just as she had hoped. She
would have been glad, of course, to have gone with Connie or Angela or
Betty; she knew them all, perhaps, better than Lois, but then it was
easy to know them. It was different with Lois; as often as she had been
with her the past week, she felt there was lots left to discover about
her.

The extra fifteen minutes that Miss Hale had kept the girls in her room
had given Lois time to make her bed, fix her room, and go to the gym.
She had left word with Connie, waiting of course, for Angela, to tell
Polly where she was.

When the trio reached the corridor, Connie called out:

“Polly, if you’re looking for Lois, she’s in the gym. She told me to
tell you.”

And as the girls started for their rooms, she added:

“Don’t worry about your beds; I made them.”

“You duck,” and Betty threw her arms around her neck.

“Yes, you are a duck,” agreed Polly. “Thanks awfully.”

“Don’t be so grateful,” called Angela, retiring behind her door for
safety. “She only did it so she wouldn’t be kept waiting. And they are
all probably pied.”

“Ungrateful wretch,” Connie gasped.

Polly and Betty went after their sweaters, and in a few minutes all four
girls were racing for the gym, a low, round building about fifty yards
away from the school.

They found Lois, not in a gym suit, as they had expected, but in sweater
and cap, evidently waiting for them.

“Hello,” she called, “what kept you so long, the Spartan?” (A nickname
for Miss Hale.) “Did you get my note?” she continued, turning to Polly.

“Yes, and of course I’m awfully tickled to go with you. You were awfully
good to ask me.”

Polly’s voice was very earnest.

Lois smiled. “Good, that’s settled, and now do you want to go into the
woods and get some greens with me? Florence Guile and Louise Preston
asked me to get some branches for them. They are decorating Assembly
Hall and they told me to take another girl with me. We have permission
to go out of bounds,” she explained.

Then to Betty, who was dramatically tearing her hair:

“Don’t look so peevish, Bet, dear, if you expect to make the big team
you want to trot on and practice, not wander in the wood.”

“Do you know, Lo,” Betty answered with a wry smile, “you have the most
discouraging habit of telling the truth just when I don’t want to hear
it. I go. Farewell.”

She finished, disappearing through one of the French windows that led
into the locker-room.

That long tramp in the woods, on that glorious day, with the fallen
leaves almost knee-deep and the crisp wind in their faces, did more to
establish the lasting friendship between the two girls than anything
else could have done.

Polly, less reticent than Lois, told of her life in the New England
town, of the quaint old house, and lingered over the description of her
many beloved dogs.

Lois, in turn, described her jolly father, who was a well-known
physician, her mother—no one was quite as adorably precious and young as
Lois’ mother—and her big brother Bob, just seventeen, who was preparing
for college.

“You see,” she finished, “Dad didn’t want me to grow up in a city, and
as he has to live in Albany in the winter, he and mother decided I’d
better come here.”

“I’m awfully glad they did,” Polly replied, giving Lois’ arm a tight
squeeze.

Perhaps the quantity of greens was a little smaller than it might have
been, but for these confidences. Still what do greens matter when
compared to the forging of a splendid and lasting friendship?

Even confidences must end, and Polly, looking at her wrist watch, a
parting gift from Uncle Roddy, exclaimed: “Lois, it’s after twelve
o’clock. We’ll have to fly. I hope you know the way. I’m lost.”

They raced back and just had time to scrub their hands and join the end
of the luncheon line.

That afternoon they stayed together as a matter of course. They helped
the Seniors get the Assembly Hall ready for the dance, and before going
to their rooms at dressing hour, they had promised to help serve the ice
cream that evening.

Polly was being treated just like an old girl and it seemed hard for her
to realize that she had only been at Seddon Hall for one short week.

The dance was a great success, which means no one spoiled it by being
homesick, and every one danced all the dances. Ethel Brown and Marjorie
Dean almost upset things at the beginning of the fifth dance by getting
out handkerchiefs and daubing at their eyes. They were sitting at
opposite corners of the room, but didn’t think of joining forces.

Lois and Polly, standing near the faculty platform, were just starting
their fifth dance when they caught sight of them, and scented danger.

“Look at those two,” Lois groaned as she dropped her hand from Polly’s
shoulder.

Polly looked.

“Bother,” she said, “I suppose that means good-bye to our dance.”

They parted without hesitation. Lois went over to Ethel and Polly to
Marjorie, and as they danced, they listened patiently to a tale of woe,
and tried their best to cheer up their self-enforced partners.

After the sixth dance the ice cream and cake and lemonade were served,
and for the rest of the evening everything went beautifully. The
“good-night bell” rang at ten o’clock, just in the middle of the
Virginia reel, but Mrs. Baird, who was on the platform, beckoned to one
of the Seniors and gave her permission for it to be finished. When the
girls finally did go off to bed, they were all very sleepy and very
happy.

As Polly and Lois were leaving the room, Mrs. Baird stopped them.

“Good-night, girls,” she said, “you have been a big help to the Seniors,
but they have no doubt thanked you for that. I want to tell you that I
saw and appreciated your kindness tonight. I am proud of it in you as an
old girl,” she said to Lois, and then turning to Polly with one of her
wonderful smiles that made all the girls adore her, she added:

“And I am more proud to find that same spirit in a new girl.”

When Lois and Polly said good-night a few minutes later, Polly
whispered:

“Isn’t she wonderful?”

“Of course she is,” Lois answered, smiling. “I wondered how long it
would be before you found it out.”



CHAPTER IV

THE CHOOSING OF THE TEAMS


“Polly, there’s no use talking, you must learn to play basket-ball.”

Lois had delivered this command a couple of days after the paper chase
and Polly had therefore spent hours in the gym during the month which
elapsed between then and the opening of this chapter.

It was now the first of November. There had already been one or two
really cold days, and every one had settled down to the routine of
school life. The strangeness had worn off for the new girls, so that
they had forgotten they were new.

The chief sport at Seddon Hall was basket-ball. On the first of November
every year six girls, from the Junior and Senior classes, were chosen
for the big team.

Three days later six substitutes were elected. These twelve girls were
the pick of the school, and twice a year they played against an outside
team.

Although any girl from any of the four upper classes might be chosen as
“subs,” the team had hitherto been composed of Juniors and Seniors, with
an occasional Sophomore. The captain of the big team was elected early
in the term and was always from the Senior class.

Owing to the rather stiff exams of the year before, only eight of the
fourteen Juniors had made the Senior class. Those left had not all
returned and, counting specials, the Juniors had only eleven girls this
year. Fully a third of them were determined to work and had no time for
athletics.

There were plenty of Sophomores, fifteen in all, but they were a queer
lot. There is always a miscellaneous class and this year it was the
“sofs,” who had been dubbed “the impossibles.”

It had been rumored that on account of the scarcity of girls it was just
possible that the team might have to come down to the Freshman class for
substitutes, and great was the excitement.

Betty, Polly, and Lois were discussing this unheard-of possibility on
their return from practice.

“Of course it is just possible, but—” began Betty.

“No, it’s too good to be true,” sighed Lois. “Don’t let’s think about
it. But I say those ‘sofs’ are terrible. Well, I’m going to dress; so
long!” And she disappeared into her room.

“Betty, has a Freshman ever been on the sub team before?” Polly
inquired.

“Never in my time,” answered Betty. “But, then, never, no, never was
there such a set of impossibles as the ‘sofs,’ nor was there ever such a
bully center to be found in the Freshman class.” This with a meaning
glance at Polly, who had managed to get the ball after the toss-up a
remarkable number of times that day.

“Bet, you’re crazy; why, I’m only a new girl. Lois would be first choice
and you second.”

“You may be a new girl, but don’t forget the paper chase,” said Betty.
“But you’re right about Lo; she is wonderful. She’s all over the place
at once and she keeps her head. But as for me—no, I haven’t a chance.”

“Why, Betty, you’re splendid at making baskets.”

“What good does that do me when I can’t keep inside those darn lines?
No, it’s Lo or you; the rest of us haven’t a chance.”

“Chance for what?” inquired Lois, poking her head out of her room. “Are
you two still gabbing? You’ll both be late for study hour.” And giving
each girl a violent push, she brought an end to the conversation.

The choosing of the big team on Tuesday was just about what every one
had expected. There were four Seniors and two Juniors; most of them had
been substitutes the year before. Louise Preston had already been
elected captain.

The list of names had been posted Wednesday morning and the girls had
come in for their share of congratulations, but every one felt that the
real excitement would come on Friday.

Wednesday, as soon as Miss Hale dismissed them (the Freshmen had Latin
the last period, and the Spartan had the most aggravating way of not
hearing the bell), Lois, Polly and Betty dashed for the gym.

As they entered, Miss Stuart, the gym teacher, called to them:

“Seven and you three girls make ten. We need two more for a game. Some
one go and get Angela and Connie; tell them I think they need some
exercise.”

Miss Stuart was a large, handsome woman, with a firm but good-natured
face. She was renowned for her fairness, and no one had ever even
criticized one of her decisions. She had no favorites, and the girls all
liked her tremendously.

In a few minutes Betty, who had gone off to search for Angela and
Connie, came back, dragging them each by an arm.

“Here they are,” she called. “What’ll I do with them?”

“Better superintend their getting into their gym suits,” answered Miss
Stuart, “and make them hurry.”

Ten minutes later she blew the whistle and tossed up the ball.

It was a good game. Polly was playing jumping center against Mary Reed,
a big heavy girl, slow in her movements, but hard to budge. Connie was
playing second center with Polly, and as she was no earthly help, Polly
had to bounce the ball to the line and throw it to Betty, who was
playing forward. Poor Betty was breaking her record for fouls.

Lois, guarding at the other end, was playing like a little fury. She had
to work, for Harriet Ames was so long and lanky that she managed to pick
the ball out of the air above her head, unless frantic efforts were used
to stop her.

Every one was so busy with the game that the arrival of Louise Preston
and two or three members of the big team passed unnoticed. They had
slipped in after the game had commenced and were watching each play very
carefully.

After the game the three girls met, as usual, in Roman Alley, as the
water was running for their cold tubs.

“Hum, I don’t call that much of a score—fourteen to four.” And Polly
sank down on the steps in disgust.

“That’s because you were not trying to guard a giraffe with four arms,”
answered Lois, dropping down beside her.

Betty folded her arms in solemn dignity and stood looking at the two
girls on the steps.

“Is it possible, my children,” she began, in a voice ridiculously like
the school chaplain’s, “I repeat, is it possible that you have failed to
grasp the full significance of this day’s work? Where were your eyes,
and have you lost the sense necessary for putting two and two together?”

Polly and Lois looked at her with puzzled expressions.

“Elucidate, Elizabeth, if you please,” called a voice from the top of
the stairs, accompanied by the click-click of a pair of Chinese
slippers. Startled, the girls looked up, half expecting to see Miss Hale
descending upon them, but beheld, instead, Angela’s grinning face and
curly hair above a pale blue woolly wrapper.

“Hey, make room there, you two!” she continued in her own voice, and as
she slipped in between Lois and Polly, she added:

“I repeat, elucidate, Elizabeth.”

“Lordy,” Betty murmured, “what a shock you gave me! The Spartan’s had it
in for me and I’ve been trying to dodge her all day. But to continue,
you all seem to have lost your share of intelligence. Did you or did you
not see Louise Preston and some of the big team girls watching the game?
They were writing giddy little lists and having all kinds of solemn
powwows with Miss Stuart. Well, the reason is—”

“Stop!” exclaimed Polly. “Betty, you’re positively leaping at
conclusions. You said yourself no Freshman had ever been chosen.”

“And besides,” interrupted Lois, “you’re making my heart beat twice as
fast as it ought to.”

“Well, of course,” Angela remarked, getting up and stretching, “there’s
no doubt in my mind that I will be chosen for the sub team. As for the
rest of you, you have a chance.”

“You!” howled Betty. “A spoofy sub you’d make. You’d be helping Cæsar
build his old bridges every time the ball came your way.”

Lois looked intently ahead of her.

“Now,” she said, “I understand why Bet made all those fouls. Pure flunk,
we’d have all done the same thing if we’d known we were being watched.
And you never told us—Bet, you’re a darling.”

“I didn’t mean that. I was done for, of course, and I knew it. But pass
on the merry news? Certainly not.” And Betty, having delivered her pet
phrase, made for her bath and slammed the door.

Thursday and Friday mornings passed somehow and the fatal hour arrived.
Because of no school on Saturday, the Friday evening study hour was
omitted. The time was usually taken up by a lecture or a musical.

There was nothing on for tonight, however, and after dinner the girls
collected in the Assembly Hall. Miss Stuart, Louise Preston, and the
team were on the platform, and in a few minutes the names of the chosen
substitutes were to be read.

Betty, Lois, Polly, Angela, and Connie wandered off together to the
farthest corner of the room and tried to look indifferent. Betty
shivered.

“Shades of the Tower of London,” she whispered. “I couldn’t feel any
creepier if it were the Black List that was going to be read.”

“It is uncanny,” agreed Connie. “I never miss less than four balls out
of every five and yet I feel strangely excited.”

Lois and Polly exchanged understanding glances, and then every one began
to say hush, and Miss Stuart and Louise stood up on the platform. When
everything was quiet, Miss Stuart began:

“Good evening, girls. The captain has asked me to read this list for
her. It’s the names of the substitutes. If you will answer by coming up
to the platform, it will save time and keep the cheering for the end.

    “‘First, for guard, Mary Rhine, Junior.
    Second, for guard, Edith Fisk, Sophomore.
    Third, for home, Helen Nash, Sophomore.
    Fourth, for home, Lois Farwell, Freshman.’”

(And in spite of the gasp of surprise, Miss Stuart continued as if she
had said nothing surprising.)

    “‘Fifth, for center, Flora Illington, Sophomore.
    Sixth, for jumping center, Marianna Pendleton, Freshman.’

“Congratulations, girls, and may—” Miss Stuart’s voice was completely
drowned in the cheer that went up.

Some one dragged Connie to the piano, and for the rest of the evening
they sang school and basket-ball songs and cheered all the six subs in
turn.

Of course Polly and Lois were wildly happy, and the entire Freshman
class shared in their joy. They boasted of having broken a record and
reminded everybody of what might be expected of them when they were
lofty Seniors.

It was only when Polly and Lois were alone in their rooms after the
“lights out” bell, that they remembered Betty.

Fifteen minutes later, when everything was very quiet along the
corridor, two ghost-like figures stole out of two doors and met at a
third across the way, and tapped gently.

Betty sat up in bed.

“Who is it?” she whispered.

“It’s Polly,” answered one ghost.

“It’s Lois,” answered the other.

A minute later, when they were both curled up on the bed, Lois found
Betty’s hand and squeezed it.

“Betty, dear, I’m so sorry,” she said.

“So am I,” agreed Polly. “It’s the only disappointment in this glorious
day.”

“You know you’re cut up about it, dear; no use pretending,” pursued
Lois.

“We saw you leave long before the bell. Oh, Bet—” but Polly was cut
short.

“Saw me leave? I should think you might have; I didn’t leave; I fled.
But not because—well not because of what you think, I saw the Spartan
coming.”

“Then you were not in the ‘blues’ all evening?” asked Lois doubtingly.

“Certainly not,” Betty assured her. “I was studying my Latin, and now do
let me go to sleep.”

It sounded very well, but as Polly and Lois each gave her a good-night
kiss, they noticed a suspicious dampness about her pillow.

They stole safely back to their rooms, conscious of having broken a rule
for a good cause and, who knows, perhaps it was because the cause was
good that they were not caught.



CHAPTER V

THE THANKSGIVING PARTY


Betty was sitting on top of the grand piano on the platform in the
Assembly Hall, kicking her feet and sucking a very large lemon by means
of a stick of candy used as a straw.

“Thanksgiving comes but once a year,” she chanted to no one in
particular, adding, with a heartfelt sigh to give the words emphasis:

“Thank goodness.”

“Why so grateful?” questioned Florence Guile pausing in the act of
erecting a would-be gypsy tent out of a miscellaneous assortment of
shawls. Then, attracted by the gurgling sound of Betty’s lemon, she
straightened up, and pointing an accusing finger, demanded:

“Betty Thompson, are you daring to suck the lemon we were saving to
write the fortunes with?”

“Well, yes I am,” Betty admitted, dodging under the piano and smiling
impishly from this point of vantage.

“Now, Florence, you are selfish,” she teased; “it’s bad enough having no
Thanksgiving vacation, but after the way I’ve worked my fingers to the
bone for you, you shouldn’t, no, you really shouldn’t begrudge me a
lemon.”

Florence tried hard not to smile in the face of Betty’s mournful
expression, and made an attempt at rescuing the stolen fruit.

The above took place at ten o’clock on Thanksgiving morning. The
Assembly Hall was filled with busy girls, and it was evident that
preparations of some kind were under way.

Owing to an epidemic of mumps the girls had been kept in school over the
holidays, and for their amusement, and to ward off any chance of the
more serious epidemic known as “homesickness,” the Seniors had been
bidden to entertain.

Florence, having unsuccessfully pursued Betty twice around the hall at a
rate highly unbecoming a dignified Senior, paused for breath, and Lois,
Polly and Angela, who had watched the chase with interest, came to her
assistance, and captured the lemon from the now unresisting Betty.

“Here it is, at least what’s left of it,” said Lois, presenting it to
Florence. “And we’ve finished the spider web in History room. What else
can we do for you!”

“Thanks, ever so much,” Florence replied. “That settles the little
children, they will be in there by themselves. Now if you’ll only
struggle with that tent, I can’t make it look like anything.”

“Don’t worry about it, I think I can,” Lois assured her, “it’s for the
gypsies to sit in and tell the fortunes, isn’t it!”

“Yes, but it will never be large enough,” Florence responded dolefully.

“Well, let them sit at the door of it,” suggested Angela; “that will be
just as picturesque and not nearly so hot.”

Florence looked with admiration at the girls before her.

“What wonders you are,” she said. “You’ve done all the work so far, it’s
lots more the Freshmen’s party than the Seniors’.”

“But you and Louise can’t be expected to do it all,” replied Polly,
decidedly. “And you know you’re the only two that count,” she added,
lowering her voice so that the other Seniors, who were willingly, but
unsuccessfully, attempting the decorations at the other end of the room,
would not hear her.

Florence, a little confused at such frank praise, said hurriedly:

“Well, you’re dears to do it anyway and now, if you’ll do something with
that tent I’ll fly to Louise. I promised to help her with those
fortunes. We have to write one for every girl, and it will take ages.”

“Poor dear, and to think I sucked up half the lemon,” said Betty
contritely. “I’ll go get you some milk, it’s just as good,” she
finished, starting for the door.

“You can’t,” Angela called after her. “The storeroom’s closed.”

Betty, already out of the room, whirled around on one toe, and holding
to the side of the doorway for support, poked her laughing face around
the corner.

“Then, I’ll steal it from the cat,” she said.

For the rest of the morning, Angela and Polly, under the able directions
of Lois, who was undoubtedly very artistic, worked over the tent and
succeeded in making it look quite habitable.

“It’s not perfect but I guess it will do. I wish we could get a big
kettle,” Lois said, as she stood off with her head on one side to get
the effect.

“Well, can’t we,” questioned Polly. “There’s sure to be one in the
kitchen.”

Angela, who was busy with the finishing touches, remarked hopefully:

“The lights will be dim tonight and that ought to help.”

Lois walked to the edge of the platform and asked some of the Seniors
who were still busy at the other end of the room, to come and see if the
tent was all right.

After they had eyed it critically, and suggested one or two unimportant
changes—thereby asserting their superiority—they pronounced it perfect.
The three girls sat down for a well merited rest.

In the mean time, Florence and Louise, in the latter’s room, were
racking their brains over the fortunes.

Before the lemon was used up, Betty appeared with a half a glass of
milk, but she absolutely refused to tell where she had found it.

“Well, it doesn’t much matter anyway, as long as it wasn’t the cat’s,”
Louise laughed, giving up trying to discover. “But now that you’re here
you may as well stay and help us with these things.”

“My massive brain is at your service,” Betty replied, flopping on the
bed, and preparing to make herself thoroughly comfortable.

“Haven’t you done any of them yet?”

“Dozens,” answered Florence, “like ‘you will grow wise and wax fat’ that
will do for anybody, but some of the girls must have special ones.”

“Who are they?”

“First, there’s Mary Reeves.”

“Oh! say she’ll make the team her first year in college,” suggested
Louise.

“Who next?”

“Madelaine Ames, what about her?”

Louise looked puzzled.

“The professors refused to teach her music any more,” said Betty,
doubtfully. “Says she’s incorrigible—like that, through his nose.”

“Good, we’ll say she will go on a concert tour, and take the world by
storm. Now who?”

“Well, there’s Agnes Green,” Louise hesitated.

Agnes was one of the Seniors, with little or no popularity; a girl,
lacking the essentials of a leader, and yet always refusing to conform
or follow. Seddon Hall called her a grouch, and passed her by.

“Ugh! I hate her,” exclaimed Betty; “leave her out.”

The two older girls exchanged glances. They agreed heartily, but loyalty
to their class-mate kept them silent.

“We can’t, she’s a Senior,” Louise said quietly.

“Well then, condemn her to a horrible end with my love,” Betty replied.

Florence ruffled her hair and looked thoughtful.

“She’s rather fond of the boys,” she said. “We might say that she will
be the first in the class to marry.”

“Weak,” Louise criticized, “but it will do. Now who?”

“Luncheon, by the sound of that,” laughed Florence as the big gong
sounded in the lower hall.

“We’ll have to finish these later—come on.” And after a hasty dab at
their hair, they hurried out to join the line.

Thanksgiving dinner was a very jolly affair. Each table was decorated
with flowers and fruit, and each had a turkey to itself.

Mrs. Baird had her soup with the Seniors; her turkey with the Juniors;
her salad with the Sophomores; her dessert with the Freshmen; and her
coffee and nuts with the faculty.

It was noticeable that each table enjoyed itself the most and laughed
the heartiest during the course that she ate with them.

The afternoon passed quickly, and by six o’clock the girls and faculty
were all tramping into the Assembly Hall, that in the dim shaded light
resembled a wooded dell, fit background for the gypsy camp that occupied
one end of it.

Supper consisted of chicken salad, all kinds of sandwiches, cake,
lemonade and ice cream. Just the sorts of things it’s fun to eat,
sitting on the floor, picnic fashion.

In spite of the big dinner, every one ate heartily.

By eight o’clock the musical program was over. Edith Thornton’s little
Irish Songs received their well merited applause. Two or three amusing
recitations were given and then the fortune telling began.

The younger children were sent into the History room to entangle the
spider web of every color twine that wound in and out all over the room.
Every child was given her end of her color string, and they at once set
out to discover the prize hidden somewhere, and tied firmly to the other
end.

In the big room, some of the lights were put out and the girls sat in
hushed groups talking in whispers.

Every once in a while, a Senior dressed as a gypsy would single out a
group and lead it to the camp, where Louise and Florence as fortune
tellers would select their fortunes from a big black pot (Polly’s
discovery) and read it out in a sing-song voice. If it was one of the
special ones, it would be received with peals of laughter from the
listening girls.

Angela, Connie, Lois, Betty and Polly sat in a circle in one corner of
the room. They completely surrounded and hid from view what had been the
choicest plate of cakes.

Polly looked with admiration at Betty as she finished her seventh piece.

“Bet, dear,” she asked, “how do you manage to eat so much. The rest of
us are birdlike beside you.”

“I concentrate,” was the reply, “it’s really very simple.”

“Will some one kindly divert her attention elsewhere for a while then,”
Angela requested, “for there’s only one piece left and I mean to have
it.”

The others, as soon as they too perceived this lamentable fact, made a
frantic dive for the dish, but just who would have carried off the prize
will never be known, for at that moment, one of the gypsies, catching
sight of the group, called to them:

“You’re wanted on the platform. They are waiting to tell your fortunes,
hurry up.”

Scrambling to their feet, the girls followed their guide to the tent and
waited.

Very slowly Louise stirred the contents of the black pot, and silence
fell upon the room as she held up an apparently plain sheet of white
paper.

“Betty Thompson,” she chanted, and after holding the slip over a candle
until the words written in milk appeared brown and mysterious, she read:

“You will become a famous Latin scholar, but you will die an early death
from indigestion.”

Roars of laughter greeted this prophecy, for all knew how Betty hated
Latin.

Florence Guile read the next.

“Connie Wentworth,” she droned, “you will make a world wide reputation
as an actress, starring first as Lady Macbeth.”

The old girls understanding the allusion to Connie’s escapade of the
year before were delighted. Then came Angela’s fortune and Louise read
it with a smile.

“Upon reaching your second childhood, at the age of eighty-two, you will
begin a strenuous and athletic life. Basket-ball and paper chases will
be your chief joy.”

“What a doom,” groaned Angela, as she staggered from the platform amid
hearty cheers.

Florence nearly burned up Lois’ fortune which came next, and had some
difficulty in reading it.

“You will achieve success as a great artist and excel in stage settings.
You will have one friend of whom you will never tire,” she finally
announced.

“I engage you at once,” cried Connie, when the laughter subsided. “You
can design all the scenes for my plays.”

“That’s easy,” Lois retorted. “All you need is a staircase, a nightgown
and a daub of red paint.”

“Polly Pendleton,” announced Louise, and the girls stopped talking at
once, “you will become a Joan d’Arc and plan successful marches for many
armies, after having been selected captain of basket-ball in your Senior
year and leading the team to brilliant victories.”

“Mercy! all of that?” gasped Polly, half laughing, half serious.

The girls clapped and cheered her until Mrs. Baird mounted the platform.

“I think,” she said, “this has been a splendid Thanksgiving. I’m sure
we’re all very grateful to the Seniors. I can’t say I wish all the
fortunes to come true, for that would be a calamity, but I hope the nice
ones will, and now, good-night.”

The party was over, and the girls swarmed through the door laughing and
talking.

Polly and Lois found themselves alone in the Assembly Hall. It looked
strangely bedraggled and lonely, like a starched party dress after the
party.

They started for their rooms together—Lois said:

“Well, it’s all over, but wasn’t it fun?”

“Rather, the fortunes were great.”

“Yours was the best of all.”

“Yours is more likely to come true.”

“They both might.”

They separated at Polly’s door and entered their own rooms.

Among the many things that filled their thoughts, the fortunes were soon
forgotten. They did not know that at a future date, Polly, after three
splendid years at Seddon Hall, and Lois, after a longer time, would look
back with amusement tinged with wonder, at the truth of those same
fortunes.



CHAPTER VI

A RAINY DAY


“Finished your outline, Betty?” Lois called out as the girls were
leaving the schoolroom after the last bell one afternoon.

“Certainly not,” answered Betty excitedly. “I started to read just the
first scene, but when I got to ‘By my troth, Nerissa, my little body is
a-weary of this great world,’ at the beginning of the second scene, why
I just read on all the last period.”

It was the first lesson of the Freshman class on “The Merchant of
Venice.” They had finished Goldsmith’s “Deserted Village,” and this was
their first taste of Shakespeare.

“Hadn’t you read it before?” questioned Polly. “I have, and I adore it.”

“Adore what?”

It was Lois speaking, of course. She had a habit of coming up
unexpectedly and hearing the last couple of words of a sentence.

“The Merchant of Venice,” explained Polly. “Have you started it?”

“Yes. I read it, the last two periods. I’m as far as ‘My Daughter! O my
ducats!’ I nearly died laughing over Launcelot Gobbo.”

It was a miserable day; the sun seemed to have abdicated in favor of his
brother, the storm cloud, and the rain was falling in torrents. Betty
turned disconsolately towards the window. They were standing in the
schoolroom corridor.

“Looks as if we were in for another deluge,” she groaned. “Not even a
chance of a let-up. Now, if it would only freeze!”

“What can we do?” sighed Lois. “Assembly Hall will be mobbed by the
lower school girls, and you know the noise they make.”

“I have it!” exclaimed Polly. “Let’s get permission from Miss Porter to
use the English room, and then each take parts and read ‘The Merchant of
Venice’ aloud.”

“Polly, you’re a genius; it’s the very thing,” chorused Lois and Betty.

They started off in the direction of the classroom, but as they passed
the Bridge of Sighs, they were stopped by the two Dorothys.

“Where are you going? Come on up to the corridor. Miss King has lent us
the electric stove from the infirmary, and we’re going to make candy,”
they invited.

“It’s quite regular,” added Dot Mead, by way of explanation. “We have
permission.”

Dot had often tried to inveigle the three girls into joining various
midnight feasts and forbidden larks of which she was the originator, but
had always found them singularly unresponsive.

Don’t think they were prudes, far from it, but they had learned through
close observation that not enough pleasure could be derived from
breaking rules to compensate them for the loss of the faculty’s respect
and trust. And, above all, their loyalty and love for Seddon Hall
prompted them to keep the few simple rules required of them.

Betty regarded the two girls with lofty disdain and assuming an attitude
peculiar to the long-suffering chaplain, began in imitation of his
manner:

“There would seem a certain amount of er—er—one might say—attractiveness
in your suggestion to an outsider, Dorothy, my child, one, let us say,
not familiar with your ability as a cook. For me, however, the
invitation holds no charms. Last time, if you’ll remember, you put hair
oil in the taffy in place of the vanilla. I need hardly refer to the
disastrous results.” And clasping her hands behind her back, the wicked
little mimic walked off down the corridor, adding over her shoulder:
“Good afternoon, my dear young ladies, good afternoon.”

By this time the girls were holding their sides with laughter. Finally
Dorothy managed to ask very weakly:

“Then what are you going to do?”

“There’s not the slightest use in telling you, for you’d never believe
it,” Polly answered. “Still, as you’ve asked, I’ll tell you. We are
going to study.”

This startling announcement was too much for the Dorothys, and when Lois
and Polly left them, to follow Betty, they were lying in mock faints on
the corridor floor.

The three girls proceeded to English room and knocked gently on the
door.

“Come in,” called Miss Porter’s voice from the other side.

She was a short, dark, little lady, with glowing black eyes and
unlimited enthusiasm. She was very bashful out of the classroom and the
girls, as a whole, knew very little of her. Just now she was correcting
Senior papers and was a little surprised at being interrupted.

As the three girls entered the room Lois, ever the spokesman in serious
matters, began:

“Oh, are we disturbing you, Miss Porter? We didn’t think you’d be busy
and we wanted permission to sit in here and read ‘The Merchant of
Venice’ aloud.”

“You see,” added Polly, “we thought it would be fun for each to take
parts and—and—” she was floundering for words.

“And act it,” finished Miss Porter. “Do you really like it, girls? I am
so glad. Sit down, of course.” Then regretfully: “I’ll be finished in a
minute.”

Betty caught the regret in her voice and exclaimed impulsively:

“Won’t you stay? It would be so much nicer; you can’t have anything to
do on this miserable day.”

Lois and Polly added their pleas to hers and in the end Miss Porter
remained.

They decided that Lois take the part of _Portia_ and _Jessica_; Polly,
_Nerissa_ and _Bassanio_; Betty, _Antonio_, _Gratiano_, and _Lorenzo_,
and they all insisted on Miss Porter being _Shylock_. They took turns
with the smaller parts.

They had rather improvised stage property, but they managed to get on
somehow until they reached the casket scene.

“Now what under the sun are we going to use for the caskets?” demanded
Betty.

“We might use the ‘Standard Dictionary’ for the lead one,” suggested
Miss Porter; “and here’s the ‘Cyclopedia of Names’—that might do for the
silver one.”

“I’ve found the very thing for the gold casket,” announced Lois, who was
standing in front of the bookcase: “A complete set of Shakespeare in one
volume.”

“The very thing,” they agreed.

The stage setting was arranged and the play continued. Betty constituted
herself the musician and sang: “Tell me where is fancy bred, etc.,” to a
tune all her own.

An hour passed and they started the fourth act.

“I don’t feel a bit like a judge,” announced Lois, “and, Miss Porter,
you ought to have a beard, but never mind. Let’s see; this is the court
room and—”

“The judge ought to sit in a prominent place,” interrupted Betty. “I
know—a chair up there.” And she swung a light cane visitor’s chair on
the English room’s dignified and highly polished oak desk.

The stage ready, the scene began. _Bassanio_ pleaded with _Shylock_ for
_Antonio’s_ life, but _Shylock_ gloatingly demanded his pound of flesh.
_Portia_, as the learned judge, made answer.

“A pound of that same merchant’s flesh is thine: The Court awards it,
and the law doth give it.”

_Shylock_ rubbed his hands together joyously and gurgled: “Most rightful
judge!”

_Portia_: “And you must cut this flesh from off his breast: The law
allows it, and the court awards it.”

_Shylock_: “Most learned judge! A sentence! Come, prepare!”

Then Lois rose and, holding up a warning arm, began with suppressed
excitement, while they all watched her, intent on the coming speech.

_Portia_:

    “Tarry a little; there is something else!
    This bond doth give thee here no jot of blood,—
    The words expressly are, a pound of flesh:
    Take then thy bond, take thou thy pound of—”

“Candy,” called a voice from the hall, and in a second the door opened
and Uncle Roddy, preceded by Mrs. Baird, entered.

Lois nearly toppled off the desk in her surprise and Miss Porter, who
had fallen, groveling on the floor, at the words “no jot of blood,”
scrambled to her feet with a very red face.

“Uncle Roddy!” exclaimed Polly, “where did you come from?” And she threw
her arms around his neck.

“From Buffalo, my dear,” answered Uncle Roddy. “I found I could stop
over here for a couple of hours on my way home. I am so glad I did, for
I wouldn’t have missed this for the world. Please introduce me to the
rest of the company.”

Mrs. Baird made the introductions and then turned to leave them. Before
she closed the door she said:

“Girls, if you have been at this all the afternoon, I think you might be
excused from study hour.” Then to Polly she added: “I’ll send tea to the
reception-room at once.”

Of course Uncle Roddy insisted on “the companies” joining them for tea.
Miss Porter had to decline the invitation on account of a special class
at 4:30, but Betty and Lois accepted with pleasure.

After they were comfortably settled in the reception-room, Uncle Roddy
asked:

“Miss Farwell, are you, by any chance, related to Doctor Walter
Farwell?”

“I should think so,” laughed Lois. “I’m his daughter. Do you know him?”

“I used to go to college with him. We were great pals, then, but after
we graduated he went West and I went to England, and we lost track of
each other.”

“I’ll write him about you this very night,” answered Lois excitedly.
“Isn’t it fun to think you know each other?”

Uncle Roddy smiled. “I’d like to see old Walter again,” he said.

The tea arrived and Polly served. Every one did justice to it and the
hot buttered toast.

“How long had you and Mrs. Baird been listening at the door, Mr.
Pendleton?” inquired Betty as she dropped four lumps of sugar into her
cup.

“Long enough to feel sure that you will make a very great actress one of
these days,” laughed Uncle Roddy.

“Actress!” she exclaimed, taken by surprise. “Certainly not! I intend to
write.”

The secret was out and Betty, who had never intended telling any one her
one great wish, was terribly confused.

Uncle Roddy, however, was deeply interested, and he talked books with
her for the rest of his visit. He was greatly surprised that any one so
young should have read and appreciated so much.

Polly and Lois joined in the conversation every now and then, but
contented themselves most of the time with the candy that Uncle Roddy
had brought, which, by the way, was five pounds instead of one.

When his time was up, the three girls escorted him to the door.

“I’ve had a splendid time,” he told them. “I’ll surely send you that
book,” he added to Betty, and then turning to Lois he called: “Don’t
forget to give my regards to your father.”

After a last kiss and hug for Polly, he closed the front door, and the
girls watched him jump into his cab.

“Do you know, Polly,” announced Betty, as they returned to the corridor,
“I adore that uncle of yours.”

“So do I,” agreed Lois; “he’s a duck, and I’m so glad he and Dad know
each other.”

Polly smiled happily.

“Funny thing,” she replied, “but do you know, so do I.”

As the carriage jogged through the mud on its way to the station, Uncle
Roddy decided that visiting and having tea with three very interesting
and lively young ladies was much more entertaining then he had expected.



CHAPTER VII

BETTY’S DUCKING


Betty was bored. The impatient look in her eyes and the disgusted
expression of her mouth could be described by no other word.

She leaned dejectedly against a big tree on the edge of the pond and
watched the girls skate round and round in dizzy circles. A white boy’s
sweater enveloped her slender body and accentuated the forlorn droop of
her shoulders. Her white berry cap was pulled rakishly over one ear.

There was nothing apparently in the scene before her to warrant
dissatisfaction. The sky showed a cloudless front, the sun was shining
with determined cheerfulness over the snow-covered grounds, and the pond
was frozen over with smooth mirror-like ice that beckoned invitingly to
the most exacting skater.

Her wish of the previous chapter, that the rain would freeze, was
certainly fulfilled.

Besides, it was Saturday morning, study hour was over, and the rest of
the glorious day was free, yet, despite all these blessings, Betty was
bored.

Polly and Lois, who were among the laughing group of girls on the ice,
separated themselves from the rest and skated over to her.

“What’s the matter, Bet, why aren’t you skating?” questioned Lois.

Betty pulled off a strip of bark from the tree, broke it up into little
pieces and threw them one by one into the pond.

“What’s the use?” she answered. “I’m sick to death of going round and
round and round again on this silly pond, stumbling every minute over
some girl that doesn’t know how to skate.”

Polly and Lois exchanged glances.

“Why, Betty, you’re positively peevish; what side of the bed did you get
out of?” Polly laughed.

“Perhaps I am; anyhow, I’m sick of this. Why can’t we skate on the river
where there’s more room?”

“I suppose we could, if we got enough girls together, found a chaperone
and got permission,” said Lois slowly.

“Oh! but wouldn’t that be wonderful!” Polly exclaimed, “let’s do it.”

Betty brightened up, and looked a little more cheerful at the prospect
of a lark.

“Who’ll we get to go?” she demanded, now thoroughly alive.

“Angela and Connie.”

“They can’t skate well enough.”

“Never mind, let’s ask them.”

“Oh, all right, who else?”

“We don’t want too many.”

“How about Louise?”

“And Florence?”

“Of course, if they’ll come.”

“That makes seven.”

“Isn’t that enough?”

“Who for chaperone?”

“Miss Stuart.”

“She’s sick.”

“Miss King then.”

“The Infirmary’s full, she wouldn’t be able to.”

“Miss Porter?”

“She’s gone to New York with the other teachers, to the opera.”

“I forgot, who’s left?”

“The Spartan.”

“Never!” objected Betty strenuously, “it can’t be—why, we’d no sooner
get to the river than her feet would be cold, or her nose or her hands,
and we’d have to turn back; besides, she doesn’t skate.”

“All the better,” Lois said; “we can build her a nice little fire and
make her quite comfy on shore, out of the breeze, and then leave her.”

“Now, Bet, don’t be so particular, she’s our only hope,” reminded Polly.

After a good deal of persuasive arguing, Betty finally consented, and
they started off to ask the other girls.

They found Angela and Connie coasting on the big hill.

“Wait a second, you two,” Betty called to them.

They pulled their sleds off the track into a snow bank and came over to
her.

“What do you want?” asked Connie; “isn’t the coasting great?”

“Yes, but the skating is better,” said Lois, “specially on the river.”

“Elucidate,” said Angela.

Polly began:

“Well, it’s this way,” she explained; “Betty’s in a fearful mood, the
worst possible stage of grouch, nothing suits her. The pond’s too small,
and she objects to the girls who don’t know how to skate as well as she
does; she says they’re in her way. Well, there’s nothing for her but to
walk it off. We thought a select, mind, a very select number of girls
and a chaperone, and an afternoon on the river, where she’d have plenty
of room, might soothe her. Will you and Connie come?”

“With the solemn understanding that if you crack the whip, I don’t have
to be end man,” answered Connie, thinking of the many times she had been
sent spinning across the ice.

“I’ll go because it’s a select party,” laughed Angela. “And because I’m
tired of this hill. Who else is going?”

“We thought we’d ask Louise and Florence, and perhaps they’ll want some
of the other Seniors; we had to have some old girls along and they’re
the nicest,” Betty told her.

“Have you got permission?”

“Not yet.”

“Who’s going to chaperone?”

“The Spartan.”

“You’re joking.”

“We are not.”

“But—”

“She’s the only one left, the rest of the faculty are in New York, or
busy.”

“Who’s to ask her?”

It was Angela who asked the question, and Lois pointing at her answered:

“You.”

“Never!”

“You must!”

“But why?”

“Because you are the only one who has recited intelligently in class for
the past week.”

Angela gasped in astonishment tinged with amusement.

“It’s a plot,” she announced tragically, “and I’m the victim. Oh, very
well, I’ll do it,” she ended stoically as if the deed in view was one of
awful villainy.

“Be very polite to her,” cautioned Polly. “Tell her we want her very
much, and don’t let her say no. Bet, you have to ask Mrs. Baird.”

“Oh, make Lois.”

“No, you have to, Lo and I are going to ask Louise and Florence.”

“I like that—”

“Come on, we must hurry,” Lois interrupted her, catching Polly’s arm and
starting for the house.

Angela followed holding tightly to Connie, who she insisted had to come
with her to back her up.

“I’ll meet you in your room, Lo,” Betty called over her shoulder as she
parted from the rest under the Bridge of Sighs, on her way to Mrs.
Baird’s office.

Polly and Lois left Angela and Connie waiting to learn if the permission
were granted before venturing to ask the Spartan, and hurried on to
Senior Alley.

They found Louise and Florence in the latter’s room, studying.

They were delighted with the idea when Polly explained it to them, said
they didn’t care to include any of the other Seniors, and stopped work
to go up to Lois’ room and wait for Betty. They had been there only a
few minutes when she burst in upon them.

“It’s all right, we can go,” she announced delightedly. “Mrs. Baird was
adorable about it, she suggested that we take a couple of the older
girls, and I told her we were going to ask Louise and Florence. She said
that was good, and she smiled; I know she wanted to laugh when I told
her we were going to ask the Spartan to chaperone.”

This was true; Betty’s face had been so cast down when she explained
that Miss Hale was the only available teacher, that Mrs. Baird, who
understood girls as few women can, had difficulty in suppressing a
smile.

At that moment Angela and Connie entered the room.

“She won’t go,” they announced in unison, “says she feels a cold coming
on.”

“I knew it!”

“That’s too mean.”

“There’s not another teacher left.”

“What’ll we do?”

“Leave it to me,” Louise said slowly. “I think I can fix it, I’ll go
talk to her. Wait here for me.” And she was gone.

The girls waited, carrying on a fragmentary conversation, and in less
than fifteen minutes Louise returned. She was met by a volley of
questions:

“Will she go?”

“What did she say?”

“Tell us the worst.”

“How did you fix it?”

She put both fingers in her ears in protest.

“Stop talking so much and I’ll tell you,” she said. “Miss Hale is not
going, but Mrs. Baird is.”

“No!”

“Really!”

“She’s a darling.”

“What a lark.”

The girls were overcome with surprise and delight.

Lois managed to say a whole sentence without being interrupted.

“Louise, you’re a wonder, how did you ever manage it!”

“I explained about Miss Hale’s cold and asked her if she could think of
any one else. She suggested going herself and of course I wouldn’t leave
until I’d made her promise that she would.”

“Does she skate?” inquired Angela.

“She used to, but she said she didn’t think she would today. She’s going
to take a book along.”

“We’ll build her a fire,” said Lois.

“Out of the wind,” added Polly.

“Let’s take a steamer rug,” Betty said, not to be outdone, and the rest
added other suggestions.

The plans that had been offered earlier in the morning for the utter
obliteration of the Spartan were now converted into plans for the ease
and comfort of Mrs. Baird.

At three o’clock every one was ready to start, the girls armed with
skates and hockey sticks. Mrs. Baird, dressed in a rough tweed walking
suit, carried a book, and looked, save for her gray hair, as young as
either of the Seniors.

“Come along,” she called, “we’ve a long walk ahead of us and time is
flying.” And off they started.

The steep descent that led to the river from Seddon Hall proved to be,
not only long, but very tedious. The path was completely hidden by the
snow, and an unseen tree root or stone caused many a trip up that
terminated in a long slide down hill.

It was so funny to see some one suddenly plunge up to their waist in
deep snow, and then roll, arms and legs in the air, for five or ten
feet, that the girls were in hysterics most of the walk.

When the river was finally reached without mishap and too much loss of
time, they were weak from laughing.

“Well,” announced Mrs. Baird, tears of mirth in her eyes; she had had
her share of troubles too, “we will not go back that way, we would never
reach home. We’ll go through the village by way of the station. Now
don’t bother about me, get on your skates,” she added, as she saw the
girls spreading out a steamer rug and collecting bits of wood for a
fire.

But they insisted on making her comfortable first.

Polly and Betty made a fire and Louise and Florence fixed the rug in a
small enclosure made by a clump of bushes, and situated directly under a
big overhanging rock.

When these preparations were over, Mrs. Baird settled down comfortably
and opened her book, and the girls put on their skates.

“Say what you please,” said Polly, “it’s not as smooth here as it was on
the pond, and there’s a crack over there.”

This was true. The sun had been shining steadily, and in spots the ice
had melted on the river, leaving an inch or so of slush on the surface.

“Never mind, we can keep away from it, we’ve the whole place to
ourselves,” exulted Betty, looking out over the expanse of ice, and not
seeing a single person in sight. “Come on!”

Off they glided each by herself, at first, to get the swing. Then they
organized a hockey game, and for a while they skated furiously.

“Fifth time for you, Bet, you’re a wonder,” Florence called as Betty
sent the flat disc sailing past Angela, through the goal posts that were
serving in place of cages.

“Oh! I can’t stop those, they come too fast; somebody change places with
me,” said Angela. “This is too strenuous for me.”

“Oh, nonsense,” cried Polly. “Get in the game, Ange, come on up in the
center, I’ll play guard, if you like.”

“All right.”

“Everybody ready?”

“Play.”

“Zip,” sang the puck, darting here and there, in obedience to the click,
click of the busy hockey sticks.

Florence and Lois were fighting over it. Polly, Betty, Connie and Louise
tried to interfere, and for a minute there was a wild skirmish. In the
excitement, Angela, who was hovering around the outside, got in some
one’s way and fell flat.

“Stop, Ange is down.”

“What did you do that for?” Angela demanded, as she sat up and rubbed
her back. “I thought I was keeping out of it.”

“Did you hurt yourself?”

“No, not much, but I’ve had enough.”

“So have I.”

“What will we do next?”

“Let’s crack the whip,” suggested Betty. “You lead, Con.”

“Not I, I can’t go fast enough.”

“Louise, you lead.”

“All right, who’s on the end.”

Lois opened her mouth to speak and stopped. She was looking over
Louise’s shoulder. Coming toward her were four boys dressed in the
uniform of the Military School that was situated on another hill along
the Hudson, about five miles north of Seddon Hall. She knew who they
were at once, for she had often passed groups of them in the village, or
met them when out on a straw ride.

“Look,” she said in an undertone, for the boys were already within ear
shot.

The girls turned.

“Oh! the dickens,” exclaimed Betty crossly, “why couldn’t they have gone
somewhere else?”

Mrs. Baird had also seen the new arrivals and noticed the girls’
hesitation. She beckoned Louise to her side.

“Don’t pay any attention to them,” she said, “and I’m sure they won’t
disturb you.”

Louise nodded and returned to the girls.

“Let’s play hockey again,” she suggested.

“What about the boys?” inquired Connie.

“Don’t pay any attention to them.”

“Well, come on, let’s start,” Florence whirled into position. But
Angela’s eyes were glued to the group of boys.

“Stop staring,” Betty whispered.

“I can’t help it, I never saw a boy with redder hair.” Instinctively
they all turned.

“Carrots.”

“Brick top.”

“Stop, this is terrible, let’s start something.”

“All right, get ready.”

“Go!”

They took their positions and were again skirmishing after the puck.

“Oh, let’s quit, I’m dead,” Angela pleaded weakly, after they had played
for a time. She had been buffeted about until she was completely winded.

“All right, lazy, you rest and we’ll crack the whip,” teased Betty.

As she said it, she took a chance whack at the puck with her hockey
stick and sent it spinning. Over the ice it flew, while the girls looked
on in fascinated horror, for it was heading directly for the boys, and
never stopped until it had landed at the feet of the red-headed one.

“Betty!” gasped Lois.

Angela giggled outright. Then, for almost a minute there was absolute
silence. All eyes were centered on the puck.

At last the red-headed boy lifted his stick and sent it back.

Betty called “Thank you ever so much,” and he answered:

“Don’t mention it,” and pulled off his military cap, completely
uncovering his fiery head. Then he and his friends skated off in the
opposite direction.

“It is red, and no mistake,” laughed Florence.

“It’s a wonder it doesn’t melt the ice,” Angela answered. “What’s the
matter, Bet?” she added.

“You’re all very unkind, he can’t help it,” Betty replied, straightening
up. “I’m sure he’s most polite. I like him,” she finished decidedly.

The girls didn’t know whether to tease her or not, so, to change the
subject, Louise suggested the forgotten game.

“Get ready for crack the whip,” she said. “Bet, you lead.”

“All right, get ready—”

“Who’s on the end!”

“Polly.”

“Go ahead—”

The girls put their hands on one another’s shoulders, forming a long
line, and Betty started off, skating fast and keeping straight ahead.
Suddenly, when everybody was going like the wind she gave a sharp turn
to the right and the girls went pell mell in every direction.

It was loads of fun and very invigorating. They played it over and over
again, each girl taking a turn to lead.

“Polly’s first this time,” called Louise, “and Betty’s last.”

“Be merciful, Poll,” Betty panted, taking hold of Lois’ shoulders.

“I will not,” laughed Polly. “Get ready—Go!”

Off they started for perhaps the sixth time. They were now well out from
shore, and in places the ice was quite slushy. Polly raced ahead, never
giving a thought about anything but the joy of sailing along with the
wind in her face.

As she made the quick turn, the ice under their feet gave a sickening
longdrawn “whirr-r” followed by a sharp crack.

For a minute there was pandemonium—what followed came very much more
swiftly than it can be told.

There was a wild dash for firm ice—a startled scream and then the
horrible picture of Betty struggling, and up to her neck in the water.

Lois and Polly made frantic efforts to reach her, but at every attempt
the ice gave another warning crack.

Mrs. Baird, on the shore, called desperately for help, and the other
girls stood rigid with fear.

It seemed an eternity, and then, the red-headed boy came, quickly,
purposefully, and took command. He sent his friends for ropes and
boards, while he himself lay down flat on the ice and wormed his way
towards Betty.

She was still keeping up. Luckily the hole was small and she was wedged
in between two big chunks of ice.

Lois and Polly stood helpless, waiting. Finally he called to them: “Get
the rest and form a chain to me. Some one catch hold of my feet—Easy
now.”

The girls obeyed quickly and he crawled along until he could touch
Betty. Very skillfully he took hold of her under her arms.

“Don’t struggle,” he warned her. “You’re all right.” And mustering every
bit of his strength, he pulled her gently on to the ice beside him. “Now
pull me back,” he ordered.

When his friends returned with the rope, she was safe on shore rolled up
in the steamer rug, and Mrs. Baird was beside her. He was the center of
an admiring and relieved crowd of girls, who were all talking at once.

Still master of the occasion he dispatched one of his friends for a
carriage, and another for a warm drink. “And,” he added severely, after
he had given them their directions, “don’t be so blame long about it
this time.”

The warm drink arrived first—it was in a flask—and Mrs. Baird
administered it sparingly.

Then the carriage arrived and she left Betty and came over to the
others.

“You have been splendid,” she said to the red-headed boy. “I have no
words in which to thank you. I shudder to think what we would have done
without you.” She pressed his hand gratefully. “Thank you,” she
repeated, with a hint of tears in her voice.

The red-headed boy, though a hero, was easily embarrassed.

“Oh, please,” he stammered, “it was all right. Nothing at all. Here, let
me help you get her in the carriage,” he added hastily, glad of anything
that would put a stop to these embarrassing thanks, and because he
wanted one more look at Betty.

This wish was of course mere curiosity. If a chap saves a girl’s life,
surely he had the right to know what she looked like, or so he argued
with himself.

“Thank you, if you will,” Mrs. Baird replied.

And together they lifted Betty into the back of the carriage. The
steamer rug enveloped her like a mummy cloth, but as they got her safely
on the seat, one corner of it fell away, and revealed to the red-headed
boy her white face and blue lips, that tried so bravely to smile up into
his eyes.

The carriage jogged off at a snail’s pace—Mrs. Baird knelt on the floor
beside Betty, the girls walked along the road easily keeping up with it.

The red-headed boy watched the queer procession; he still held his hat
in his hand, and his flaming hair was the last thing the girls saw.

Hours later, safe in the infirmary, surrounded by hot water bottles and
woolly blankets, Betty opened her eyes—she had been asleep—and
encountered those of Mrs. Baird.

“What was his name?” she asked drowsily.

“My darling child, I forgot to ask him!” exclaimed Mrs. Baird; “how very
remiss of me.”

Betty’s gaze wandered around the room, then her eyes closed again.

“Doesn’t matter,” she said slowly. “He’d always have been just the
red-headed boy to me.”



CHAPTER VIII

CUTTING THE LECTURE


Polly awoke with a start and bounded out of bed as the rising bell
clanged down the corridor.

“I knew it, I knew it; my Latin won’t be finished and the Spartan will
be furious,” she exclaimed to the four walls, “but I did intend to get
up early. Well, it can’t be helped now; hateful stuff, anyhow.”

For two days the snow had been falling, and the coasting had been
perfect. As might be expected, lessons had suffered. The girls would
come into study hours flushed with excitement, their blood tingling and
their eyes sparkling, and it was only the most studious that could get
down to real concentrated work.

It was Friday morning, and a particularly glorious day. The grounds were
covered with snow three feet deep, the main hill where the girls coasted
had been shoveled out, stamped down, and refrozen until it resembled a
broad ribbon of ice with high banks of drifted snow on either side.

The fir trees were weighed down to the ground, icicles hung from the
porches of the school building, and the gym looked like an ice palace.

This enticing scene, with sunshine over all, made Polly look longingly
from the corridor window on her way to Latin class, a couple of hours
after we left her thinking of her unprepared lesson.

“I wish it were the last period instead of the first,” Lois whispered,
catching up with her and linking her arm in hers.

“So do I, for a lot of reasons,” groaned Polly. “In the first place, I
haven’t my Latin finished, and in the second, well, it’s a crime to stay
indoors on a day like this.”

“Really, girls, I must remind you, there is no talking allowed in the
corridors.”

The Spartan was upon them. One never heard her coming; she wore rubber
heels.

“You will admit you were talking, I suppose, Marianna?” she inquired.

“Certainly I will admit it. I was talking. I don’t crawl, Miss Hale.”
And Polly sucked in her under lip, a danger sign that she was angry.

“I was talking, too, Miss Hale,” spoke up Lois.

The Spartan paid no attention to this, however, but marched off down the
corridor. Two minutes later she confronted them in Latin class. Polly
was still sucking in her under lip.

“Papers for the day on my desk, _if_ you please.”

“My Latin is unprepared,” announced Polly with deadly calm. “And,” she
added, “I have no excuse.”

“Dear me!” And Miss Hale raised her eyebrows until they disappeared into
the depths of her large pompadour. “And is there any other girl whose
Latin is not prepared, and who had no excuse?” she inquired.

As no one answered she continued:

“And may I ask why your Latin is not prepared? Don’t you like Latin,
Marianna?”

“No, I do not, Miss Hale,” Polly answered, dangerously polite.

“You don’t like Latin, so you don’t prepare Latin; how very
unfortunate!”

“I never said that was the reason I was unprepared. I told you I had no
excuse.”

Polly was getting very angry, still she might have controlled herself if
just at that moment Miss Hale had not lifted a restraining hand and
said, “Tut, my dear,” in her most irritating manner.

Have you ever noticed the effect “Tut, tut,” has on an angry person?
Sometimes it’s quite dreadful. Polly was no exception. She stamped her
foot, threw her Latin book violently on the floor and marched out of the
room, slamming the door behind her.

Punishment followed as a matter of course. Polly had expected to be sent
to Mrs. Baird. She did not know how thoroughly the Spartan disapproved
of her superior’s gentle lectures, preferring more drastic measures.

It was not until after school, however, that she learned her fate. It
was in the shape of a note that read as follows:

“Kindly keep silence for the afternoon; report in the study hall and
make up today’s lesson, the advance lesson, and translate the first ten
lines of story on page 35. Bring work to my room.”

“Hard luck,” sympathized Lois, reading over Polly’s shoulder. “That
means no coasting. I wish I could help you.” Then putting her arm around
her. “There, dear, never mind, don’t cry.”

“I’m not,” denied Polly, hastily daubing at her eyes, “but if you stay
here any longer, I will. Go on, or I’ll blub.”

Lois left to hunt up Betty, who had completely recovered from her
ducking and again grinned joyously on the world. Together they went out
to coast. As they passed the bulletin board Lois stopped and read:

  There will be a lecture on anatomy, by Miss F. Tilden-Brown, in
  Assembly Hall, at 8 P. M. tonight.

“The dickens there will,” exclaimed Betty. “Anatomy forsooth, and by
Miss Tilden-Brown. Nothing a woman with a name like that could say would
interest me.”

“That’s right, think of yourself instead of poor Polly. Latin all
afternoon and anatomy all evening.”

Betty looked thoughtful.

“Hum; she’s already in a sweet temper,” she mused. “I see trouble
ahead.”

At 4:30 Polly, with her finished papers in her hand, crossed the Bridge
of Sighs and knocked at Miss Hale’s door.

“Come in,” called that lady.

She was attired in a flowered kimono and was in the act of brushing her
mouse-colored hair.

“My papers, Miss Hale,” announced Polly in her most frigid tones.

“Very well, if you will put them on my table, please.” Then as she
turned to leave the room the demon in the Spartan prompted her to add:
“Have you nothing to say? You know it is customary when one has thrown
books about, to—”

“Oh, an apology,” interrupted Polly. “I suppose Mrs. Baird would wish
it.” And looking straight into Miss Hale’s watery blue eyes, she said:
“I apologize.”

It was insolence, of course, but, after all, an entire afternoon of
Latin demands some outlet.

As Polly reached the corridor, Lois and Betty met her.

“Poor darling, are you awfully tired?” Lois asked. “We did miss you so;
the coasting was—” but Polly interrupted her.

“Lois, if you dare tell me what a good time you had I’ll never speak to
you again.” Then as she saw her surprised look, she added, laughing:
“Don’t get worried, I’m just awfully cranky and my head is splitting.”

“Better wash your face in cold water,” suggested Betty, “and stop
thinking of Latin. For instance, contemplate the joys of this evening in
the arms of Miss Tilden-Brown and anatomy.”

“What!” yelled Polly. “A lecture tonight. Oh, that’s too much. I’m going
to cut,” she announced.

There was silence for a full minute. They had reached Polly’s room by
now. Then Lois said very solemnly:

“I’ve never cut before, but if you’re determined to do it, I’ll go with
you.”

“So will I,” echoed Betty, springing up from the window seat. “I’d brave
anything—lions, Cæsar’s ghost, or the whale that swallowed Jonah—rather
than listen to that lecture. Besides, I couldn’t desert you, Polly.
Where will we go?”

“Coasting, of course,” Polly answered. “There’s a gorgeous moon.”

“We will be caught,” remarked Lois, “but then we’re all willing to face
the consequences.”

That evening at 8:15 when the girls were all seated in Assembly Hall and
Miss Tilden-Brown was expatiating on the evil results of tight lacing,
three figures, standing on top of the hill, were silhouetted against the
sky.

The moon was there, as Polly had predicted, making the snow sparkle with
its blue-white rays. The silence was broken only by the crunch, crunch
of the snow, as the three girls pulled their sleds into place.

“You go first, Polly,” said Bet. “It’s your party, and we’ll follow
close behind so the goblins won’t get you.”

“I’m off, then,” and Polly threw herself flat on her sled.

It was great sport. The track was so icy that the runners made sparks as
the sleds whizzed down the steep hill.

About nine o’clock Mrs. Baird stole from the Assembly Hall and sought
the rest of her own room. She had grown fearfully tired of Miss
Tilden-Brown’s endless talk, and heartily sorry for the girls.

As she reached her dainty chintz-hung sitting-room, she lifted the
window and stood looking at the big full moon and breathing the cool
night air. Presently a joyous laugh rang out, followed by another. Mrs.
Baird looked puzzled and leaned farther out of the window.

The laugh had been caused by Betty forgetting to steer and tumbling into
a snow bank, thereby blocking the way for Polly and Lois, who were
following close behind, so that they all landed in the drift.

“Somebody pull me out,” sang Polly.

“Sorry, can’t oblige,” came Lois’ muffled tones. “I’m on my way to
China.”

“Betty to the rescue. Whose foot is this?”

“Ouch! Oh, let go!”

“That was a mix-up.”

“Where are the sleds?”

After much scrambling they managed to regain the track.

“Lucky thing we were not all killed,” Betty reflected.

“Serve us right for cutting,” commented Lois.

“’Bout time to go in, isn’t it?” Polly inquired regretfully.

“Yes, it’s all over,” replied Betty. “And now the consequences. Wonder
what part of the anatomy Miss Tilden-Brown is discussing now?” And she
chuckled gleefully.

Mrs. Baird smiled broadly and closed the window. A few minutes later she
met the girls in the lower hall.

“Why, girls, where have you been?” she inquired.

“Out coasting, Mrs. Baird,” Lois answered. “We cut the lecture,” she
added, nervously twisting the third finger of her red mitten.

“Perhaps you had better come into my office and tell me about it,”
suggested Mrs. Baird, and she led the way down the hall.

They were in the office just ten minutes, but in that time Mrs. Baird
found out all she wanted to know. Polly’s afternoon in the study hall,
Betty’s dislike for lectures, and Lois’ love for adventure. She finished
the interview with these words:

“I did not expect it of you girls in the past, and I am not going to
expect it of you in the future. I look to you as holding the position of
wholesome examples in the school. Your fault tonight was not very great,
but it was a step in the wrong direction. Pull yourselves up, and now,
good-night.”

As the girls turned to go, she added with a smile:

“I promise you all, there will be no more lectures on anatomy.”

They walked thoughtfully back to the corridor. As Betty opened her door
she said:

“For two years I’ve been trying to find an adjective to describe Mrs.
Baird and the nearest I can come to one is ‘saint,’ and that doesn’t
suit her at all. Good-night.”

“Good-night,” answered Polly. “I suppose there will be no more cutting.”

“No, I suppose not,” agreed Lois, “but, cricky, I wouldn’t have missed
tonight.”

They all laughed guiltily, and then as they heard the rest of the girls
trooping out of Assembly Hall, stole quietly into their rooms.

An hour later Miss Hale and Mrs. Baird were alone in the faculty room,
finishing a conversation.

“I can’t understand,” Mrs. Baird was saying, “why, when you bend a girl
to the breaking point, you are surprised that she breaks. You know it is
near Christmas and they are all tired.”

“Our ideas of discipline are very different,” Miss Hale returned
stiffly.

“Well, after all, you will admit I am the head of the school,” Mrs.
Baird reminded her, smiling good-naturedly to soften the rebuke.

“Certainly, to be sure,” Miss Hale stammered, rather lamely. “I think
I’ll be saying good-night.”

When she had gone, Mrs. Baird sank into a big chair before the hearth.

“It was breaking rules, of course,” she mused, smiling into the fire,
“but I can’t help loving them for wanting to coast instead of listening
to anatomy lectures. It shows they’ve healthy minds anyway, bless them.”



CHAPTER IX

THE CHRISTMAS HOLIDAYS


The first day of the Xmas holidays had at last arrived and fifty-six
tired girls were busily packing trunks and bags. Nerves that had been
overstrained for the past couple of weeks had relaxed, and everywhere
there was the noise and excitement of leaving.

In Freshman corridor trunks were being jumped on and made to close, and
all the girls were exchanging addresses and exacting promises of letters
and visits.

“Oh, Lois,” sighed Polly, taking her chum’s arm and leading her to the
end of the corridor farthest away from the rest of the girls, “I do wish
you didn’t live in Albany. Of course I’ll be glad to see Uncle Roddy,
but I can’t help feeling that vacation is going to be awful lonely.”

“I know,” replied Lois. “I wish we could be together; anyhow we can
write. Bet will be in New York and you will see her.”

“Yes, but Bet’s not you,” Polly answered. “But let’s cheer up. Why,
here’s Betty now; speak of angels—looking for us?” she called.

“Oh, there you are; you’re both wanted—Polly in the reception-room and
Lo in Mrs. Baird’s office.”

“Do you know what for?”

“No.” But Betty’s expression made both girls apprehensive.

“Wonder what’s up,” queried Lois as they ran down the broad staircase to
the main hall.

When Polly reached the reception hall she found Uncle Roddy with a big
fur coat over his arm, a cap in his hand, waiting for her.

“Hello, Tiddle-dy-winks; thought I’d plan a surprise for you, so I came
up in the motor to take you home. It’s a glorious day. If there are any
girls you care to bring along, why—”

But Uncle Roddy’s explanation of his unexpected arrival was cut short by
Polly’s violent hug and kiss.

“Uncle Roddy, what a darling you are!” she exclaimed. “I’ll get ready
this minute and see who I can get to go with us.” And she flew back to
the corridor.

As she stood in her room throwing the remaining leftovers into her
trunk, Lois came in and threw herself on the bed, in tears.

“Polly, Bobbie has typhoid and I can’t go home,” she sobbed. “Father
wired Mrs. Baird. Poor darling Bob!” Her voice was muffled in the
pillow.

Polly’s joy in Uncle Roddy’s surprise was forgotten as she tried to
comfort her friend.

After Lois had left the office, Mrs. Baird returned to the
reception-room where she had left Uncle Roddy.

“Did Marianna find you all right, Mr. Pendleton?” she asked. “Such a
distressing thing has just happened! Dr. Farwell wired me that his son
has typhoid and Lois will have to remain here for the vacation. I am
sorry, for the child needed a change.”

Then it was that Uncle Roddy had an inspiration. The thought of amusing
Polly during the vacation had worried him. Several ladies of his
acquaintance had promised to take her about, but that had not reassured
him. Now if there were two of them, they would amuse each other, and
under the able care of Mrs. Bent, his worthy housekeeper, all would be
well.

It was a matter of a few minutes to lay the plan before Mrs. Baird and,
with her help, to reach Dr. Farwell by long distance telephone. Over the
wire the two men renewed their acquaintance of college days and the
doctor was only too delighted to give his consent.

In less than an hour the two girls were wrapped up in countless fur
robes in the back seat of Uncle Roddy’s comfortable car, while that
relieved gentleman was at the wheel, and the chauffeur, always along in
case of tire trouble, occupied the seat beside him.

As it was twelve o’clock when they started, Uncle Roddy suggested
luncheon at the hotel in the village. That was lark number one. The food
was terrible, but Uncle Roddy was so funny the way he imitated the
waiter and teased the big green parrot, that as long as the food was
filling, it didn’t matter about the taste.

On the road they had two tires blow out, and as the second happened just
on the outskirts of Irvington-on-the-Hudson, home of Rip Van Winkle,
Uncle Roddy suggested dinner at the Sleepy Hollow Inn. They had the most
delicious muffins, and pork chops with apple sauce, and very black
coffee. That was lark number two.

But best of all was the getting home at ten o’clock. Uncle Roddy lived
on Riverside Drive in a big apartment, with Mr. and Mrs. Bent, his
housekeeper and butler.

Polly had stayed with him for three months before going to school and
knew the lay of the land. She led the way to the big guest room that she
had occupied, but instead of the gray walls and sedate old mahogany
furniture that she remembered, imagine her surprise at finding soft
cream walls with a border of nodding yellow daffodils and the most
adorable ivory-colored furniture.

Lois broke the amazed silence by demanding:

“Polly, what a beautiful room; why did you never tell me about it?”

But Polly was speechless with delight as she stood looking, first at the
big double bed with the carved roses at the head and foot and next at
the dressing-table with its dainty silver brushes and combs and Dresden
china candlesticks. A slender-legged table with a bowl of yellow
tea-roses on it stood beside the bed, and the walls were hung with
colored prints of Greuze’s “Girl with the Broken Pitcher” and “The Milk
Maid,” Reynolds’ darling portrait of “Penelope” and “The Boy with the
Rabbit.”

Polly, in the days of Aunt Hannah and her four-posted beds and crazy
quilts, had dreamed of a room such as this. Finally she managed to
answer Lois’ question.

“I didn’t know about it myself, till this very minute,” she gasped. “Oh,
Uncle Roddy, it’s beautiful! I never saw anything half so lovely!”

“I wanted you to feel at home, dear child, and now I think you had both
better get to sleep.” And after renewed thanks and good-night kisses, he
left them.

A second later Mrs. Bent tiptoed in with a broad smile that took in the
whole world.

“You’re hungry, I’m sure, my dears. I’ll have some hot chocolate ready
for you when you get into bed; just ring when you want it.”

Polly and Lois hugged each other for joy and after taking a
disgracefully long time to undress, they finally fell asleep over their
chocolate and cakes.

                  *       *       *       *       *

The two weeks of Christmas vacation was an unending good time; every
minute was full. The mornings were spent chiefly in bed, for Mrs. Bent
brought them their breakfast and sat to chat.

Sometimes they lunched down-town with Uncle Roddy and sometimes they
motored through Central Park, or, with Mrs. Bent for chaperone, wandered
through the stores, and as the old Scotch woman could refuse them
nothing, they did pretty much as they chose.

Uncle Roddy came home at four o’clock and always with bonbons and
theater tickets.

It would be useless to try and recount all their doings, so you will
have to be contented with the descriptions of the good times that
pleased them most.

One was Lois’ box party for “Peter Pan.” Dr. Farwell had written that
the seats were in her name at the box office for Saturday matinée, and
the question arose whom to ask.

“There’s Betty, of course,” said Lois. “We’ll phone her this morning;
and Angela and Connie live in New Jersey and we ought to be able to get
them.”

Betty’s home was reached and her voice sounded over the wire in reply to
Lois’ invitation:

“Come? You bet I will! What a lark!”

“Ask her for luncheon,” called Polly. Then hurriedly to Mrs. Bent: “It
will be all right, won’t it?”

“Indeed it will, my lamb; any one you like; it’s only too happy I am to
see a little life now and then,” answered that devoted woman.

When the receiver was hung up it was arranged that Betty would be at the
apartment Saturday morning. Angela and Connie had another engagement and
couldn’t possibly come.

“That’s too bad, Lo. Who can you ask now?”

Lois looked puzzled for a minute and then exclaimed:

“I have it! Why can’t Uncle Roddy” (she had called him Uncle since the
dinner at the Sleepy Hollow Inn), “and that funny man, Mr. Whittington,
come?”

No sooner said than done. The long-suffering operator connected them
with the office in Wall Street occupied by George B. Whittington,
broker. He was a little taken back at the invitation, but answered that
he would be “pleased as punch and would meet them at the theater.” Uncle
Roddy also accepted with pleasure.

Betty arrived Saturday morning, and the three of them chattered like
magpies until luncheon. They drove to the theater in the motor and found
the two men there to meet them. Betty was introduced to Mr. Whittington
and she nicknamed him The Lord Mayor of London at once, after Dick of
the same name in the nursery tales. By the time the curtain went up they
were the best of friends.

Of course they adored _Peter Pan_ and _Wendy_. They laughed a good deal
and cried a little and waved their handkerchiefs madly when _Peter_
asked them if they believed in fairies.

“This is quite the nicest party I ever attended,” Mr. Whittington
insisted as the curtain fell after the last act. “Why can’t we have
another one just like it, soon?”

“But, Mr. Lord Mayor of London,” interrupted Betty, “where would we ever
find another _Peter Pan_?”

“Just leave that to me. I know the very thing, but I’m not going to tell
you a word about it. You must all be my guests for next Wednesday night.
How about it?”

Everybody was of course delighted and accepted at once.

Wednesday night finally arrived and with it another jolly party. Mr.
Whittington’s surprise turned out to be the Russian Ballet, and as the
girls watched the fascinating première danseuse as _Pupin Fee_ (fairy
doll) in that charming story dance, they were wild with delight, and
Polly openly transferred her affection from _Peter Pan_. Lois remained
faithful, and Betty never could make up her mind which one she loved the
better.

“She might just as well be talking,” exclaimed Polly between acts. “I
know just what she’s thinking with every move she makes. Oh, isn’t she
precious!”

“I know what the next composition I write for Miss Porter will be
about,” announced Betty.

“Oh, Bet, for pity sake stop talking about school. I’m in fairy land and
I don’t want to come back,” Lois begged. “There goes the curtain up for
the last act.”

The evening was over far too soon to please our party and when Mr.
Whittington said good-night, at the door of the theater, his guests left
no doubt in his mind of their appreciation and enjoyment of the good
time he had given them.

Best of all days of the vacation was Christmas. Polly and Lois were
wakened at nine o’clock by Uncle Roddy’s knock.

“Get up, you lazy children! Merry Christmas!” he called. “Lois, I have
your mother on the phone for you. Come and speak to her.”

Lois jumped out of bed and in a minute was calling Xmas greetings all
the way to Albany.

After breakfast Mr. Whittington arrived, and he and Uncle Roddy
whispered mysteriously. Finally Mr. Whittington said:

“Get your things on, girls; we’re going for a ride.”

“A ride?” exclaimed Polly. “Why, the ground’s covered with snow.”

“Doesn’t make any difference; we’re going for a ride,” he told her and
not another word could they get out of him.

They rode in the car as far as Fort Lee Ferry and then Uncle Roddy
ordered them out, and they crossed the ice-choked Hudson on the
ferry-boat.

“Please tell us where we are going,” pleaded Polly.

“I am simply dying to know; it’s all so mysterious,” added Lois.

But “wait and see” was all the satisfaction they could get from Mr.
Whittington and Uncle Roddy, and they had to wait until they reached
Fort Lee, where a big double-seated sleigh was waiting for them.

When they were all in and the warm robes were tucked snugly about them,
Mr. Whittington whipped up the two black horses and they were off along
the smooth snow-covered road.

It was one o’clock before they finally reached an old-fashioned
farmhouse way up in the hills back of the Hudson.

“Every one out!” ordered Uncle Roddy.

“What a ducky old house! But what are we here for?” asked Lois.

“I know,” laughed Polly, stamping her feet on the porch. “An
old-fashioned Xmas dinner.”

“Quite right, Polly, and I hope it’s a good one, for I’m starved. But
here are Mr. and Mrs. Hopper, let’s ask them about it.”

As Mr. Whittington was speaking the door had opened and an old lady and
gentleman stood in the hall.

“Merry Xmas to you both,” he continued, shaking them each by the hand.
“Let me introduce you to the rest. Girls, this is Mrs. John Samuel
Hopper, the finest cook in the State of New York; every chance I get to
eat one of her turkeys—well, I take it,” he explained.

The old lady blushed with pleasure.

“Won’t you be coming in?” she invited. “The dinner’s ready, so you’d
best set.”

You may be sure they all did justice to the roast duck and turkey, for
their ride had given them hearty appetites.

After dinner they went out to inspect the farm and ended by having a
royal snow fight. When it was over Uncle Roddy suggested more to eat and
they spent the rest of the afternoon before the open fire, roasting
chestnuts and apples, while the men entertained them with stories of
their college days.

The vacation ended at last and Uncle Roddy saw them off, each with a box
of candy and a bunch of violets, at the Grand Central Station.

Seddon Hall had a private car for the girls and as each one entered they
were greeted by a chorus of shouts:

“Hello, did you have a good time?”

“So sorry I couldn’t come and see you that day.”

“Why didn’t you answer my letter?”

“Didn’t you adore ‘Peter Pan’?” and a thousand other questions.

They reached school at six o’clock and as Polly and Lois strolled down
the corridor, waiting for the supper bell, Lois said:

“Well, here we are, back again. Polly, I never had such a good time.
I’ll never be able to thank you.”

“Oh, bother the thanks,” replied Polly. “Do you know, Lois, now that
we’re back I feel as if we had never been away.”

“I know,” Lois sighed regretfully. “It’s more like a wonderful dream.
Still it is good to be back, you know it is.”

“Of course it is,” Polly agreed heartily.

Just then the gong rang and they went down to supper.



CHAPTER X

THE VALENTINE PARTY


On the twelfth of February, Mrs. Baird announced after school, that
there would be a masquerade party on Valentine’s Day.

“Last year, the old girls will remember, that we had a book party, and
it was great fun,” she said, “but this year, I have thought of something
entirely new. I want you all to dress as famous women in history. Choose
the particular heroine you admire most, find a picture of her in the
library, and try to copy it. The attic will be open this afternoon and
you may take what you want from the costume trunks. The Seniors have the
affair in charge and they are offering a prize for the best
representation.” The girls clapped their appreciation of this novel idea
and Mrs. Baird continued:

“Don’t all come as Queen Elizabeths, and Betsy Rosses, find some one not
so well known, and whom you really admire. There will be lots of
visitors on the platform and I want you all to look your best.”

“Jemima,” Betty gasped, when they had been dismissed and she, Lois and
Polly were in the latter’s room. “Who under the sun can we go as?”

“It is hard, isn’t it?” Lois said, “but you had a splendid costume last
year; didn’t you go as the Last of the Mohicans?”

“Yes, I have my Indian suit.”

“Why don’t you go as Pocahontas?” Polly suggested. “Your hair isn’t
black, but it would look great in two heavy braids.”

“That’s just what I’ll do. I’ll go grab that suit before any of the
others get it.” And Betty dashed for the attic.

Lois jumped as the door slammed. “Isn’t that just like Bet, she ought to
go as a little whirlwind. Poll, what can we go as?”

“I don’t know, let’s ask Miss Porter.”

“Do you suppose we can find her?”

“Yes, she’s probably in her room.”

They walked down Faculty Corridor, and tapped gently at the last door on
the left.

“Come in,” called a voice, not Miss Porter’s.

They entered, to find Miss King, the trained nurse, sitting on the
window box, a bunch of artificial flowers in one hand, and a rather
battered velvet hat in the other.

“Is Miss Porter here?” Lois asked.

“Yes, just a minute,” Miss Porter was struggling in the depths of her
closet. “I’ll be with you in a second; sit down.”

“What is it, costumes?” Miss King asked, when they were seated on the
couch.

“Yes, we thought Miss Porter would help us decide what to wear,” Polly
explained.

“I’m here about costumes, too, but it’s hardly the same. I’m begging. I
found that poor little wretch Martha, who works in the laundry, out
yesterday without a hat. I told her she’d catch her death of cold and to
go put one on right away. She said she couldn’t because she didn’t have
any.”

“Oh, the poor kid,” Polly’s sympathy was genuine.

“I’ve a tam I could give her to wear every day,” she said shyly, “if you
think—”

“Think, I know she’d love it. I’ll come to your room and get it after
you’ve had your talk with Miss Porter. Thank you. I was trying to rig up
something out of these,” she shook the flowers and hat, “but a tam will
save the day.”

While this conversation was going on, Lois had been explaining their
difficulty to Miss Porter.

“‘Women in History.’ That ought to be easy.” Miss Porter thought for a
minute. “Mrs. Baird really wants you to go as your favorite characters?
Lois, who is your favorite heroine?”

“Jeanne d’Arc, the martyred Maid of Orleans,” Lois replied dramatically.
“Do you think I might go as Jeanne d’Arc?” she asked eagerly.

“I like that,” Polly interrupted. “I thought at the Hallow-e’en party I
was to be a Jeanne d’Arc. Oh, well, I give up my rights for this once;
besides,” she added seriously, “I don’t really love her the way you do.”

“Won’t armor be hard to imitate?” Miss King asked.

Miss Porter walked over beside the window and took down a framed picture
from the wall. She held it behind her back.

“Armor won’t be necessary,” she said. “Lois, have you ever seen the
Jeanne d’Arc painting by Jules Bastien-Lepage, at the Metropolitan
Museum in New York City?”

“Oh, yes, of course, I saw it this vacation. She’s standing in the
woods, just in peasant clothes. I love it. She looks as if she were
seeing visions. You remember it, Poll?” Lois was all excitement.

“Here’s a copy of it,” Miss Porter said, producing the picture. “And
Lois, I declare you look like her. There, you may keep this print to
refer to, it ought to be very easy to find a peasant’s costume. Now
Polly, who’s your favorite heroine?”

Polly rumpled her hair, hesitated, and rumpled her hair again.

“She’s not very well known, at least, I never heard any one talk about
her,” she answered, “but I think she’s the bravest woman that ever
lived. We had a book about her at home, that I used to read and re-read
on rainy days.”

“Well, what’s her name?” Lois demanded impatiently.

“Florence Nightingale, the Angel of the Crimea,” Polly said, very
solemnly.

“Oh, Polly, do you love her, too?” Miss King’s eyes were shining. “So do
I.”

“You couldn’t choose a better woman to portray, dear child,” Miss Porter
spoke up. “You’ll find the Seniors know all about her. They are studying
about the Crimean War this winter.”

“Please tell me who she was, I never even heard of her,” said Lois
apologetically.

Miss King began: “She was an Englishwoman, the first one to go out as a
nurse for the soldiers. She thought that if they fought for their
country, the least their country could do for them was to give them
proper care when they were wounded. At first the generals resented her
interfering and thought she was fussy because she wanted clean hospitals
and clean food—”

“But the soldiers adored her,” Polly interrupted, and then carried away
by the theme, she continued. “She always walked through the long
hospital wards every night and they used to turn and kiss her shadow on
the wall as she passed, and they named her the Angel of the Crimea. Oh,
she was so brave. All the hardships she went through, cold and hunger.”
Polly stopped speaking, but her thoughts went back to the stirring
scenes she had read about and thrilled over so often in a certain little
window seat off the broad stairway in her old home.

Miss King’s voice recalled her, “I can give you a costume, one of my
’kerchiefs will do, and I know how to make a Nightingale cap. We’ll part
your hair in the middle and fix it low on your neck and—”

They took the rest of the afternoon to discuss the plans. It was not
until the dressing hour that Polly and Lois saw Betty again. She had
apparently found her costume without any trouble, for she had been
skating all afternoon.

“The ice was bully,” she greeted them. “Where have you been all this
time?”

“With Miss Porter; did you find your costume?” Polly answered.

“Yes, first thing. Have you decided what you’re going as?”

“Yes, but we’re not telling,” Lois teased. “We thought out peachy ones.”

“Ah, please.”

“No, never.”

“Do you know what any of the others are going as?”

The conversation was being shouted from room to room.

“No, do you?”

“Connie is going as Lady Macbeth.”

“What, why she’s not historical, she’s Shakespearean,” Polly protested.

“Connie insists she was a real woman, and that Shakespeare knew all
about her. Anyway, she says she’s going to walk in her sleep and say:
‘Out, damned spot.’”

“Are you really, Con?” Lois raised her voice so that it could be heard
at the other end of the corridor.

“Am I really what?” came Connie’s reply.

“Going as Lady Macbeth at the party?”

“Of course I am. She was a real person.”

“Well, she wasn’t very well known,” Angela added her voice to the
others.

“Maybe not, to the uneducated,” Connie said loftily, “but she will be
after the party.”

There was a minute of hilarious laughter, that ended as the study hour
bell rang for silence.

After dinner, Lois and Polly, their weighty problem of costumes off
their minds, were talking of valentines.

“If we could only think of something different, there are no really good
ones at the store,” Lois said, rummaging in the closet for the peanut
butter jar.

“I know it. I bought some but they are no good. How do you send them,
through the mails?” Polly asked.

“No, the Seniors make a big red box and put it in the Assembly Room
valentine morning, and everybody puts their letters in it. The box is
opened at the party and the valentines are given out.”

“How would it be to make some red cardboard hearts and write verses on
them?”

“Make them up, do you mean?”

“Yes, about the girls.”

“Fine, let’s try—but first let’s get comfy.”

Lois’ definition of comfy was to sit tailor fashion on a bed surrounded
by pillows, with jam, crackers and other eatables near at hand.

Polly preferred the window seat, it was broad and cozy, and you could
always look out of the window when you wanted inspiration.

“All ready,” Lois said, sitting down. “Give me a pencil. Now, who
first?”

“You take Bet, and I’ll take Connie,” Polly said.

They both wrote for a minute, and then Lois read:

    “Oh, Betty Thompson, Betty B.,
    When you get this please think of me

No, that’s no good.“

“It is good,” Polly protested feebly, “but it’s not especially
original.”

“That’s awful,” Lois insisted, drawing a heavy line through the words.

“What’s yours to Connie?”

    “To Connie, our musician, a valentine we send,
    We hope that when she gets this she will her manners mend.”

“That rimes,” Lois said reluctantly. “But there’s nothing the matter
with Con’s manners, so it doesn’t make sense.”

“That’s just it,” Polly agreed hopelessly. “We can’t write sense that
rimes, because we’re not poets.”

“Betty can, let’s get her to help. You go, I’m so comfy.”

“All right, lazy one, don’t eat all the jam before I get back,” and
Polly left, to return in a few minutes with Betty.

“Original valentines, that’s a bully idea,” she said when the plan had
been explained to her. “Let’s start with Connie.”

Polly and Lois agreed. They did not think it necessary to say that they
had already started with Connie.

“Four lines are enough, let’s see, what rimes with valentine? Columbine,
turpentine—aha! I’ve got it.” Betty scribbled furiously. “How’s this?

    “Just to tell you, Connie,
    That a drop of turpentine,
    Will take the blood stain off your hand,
    We send this valentine.”

“Oh, Bet, that’s great. How did you ever think of it?” Polly was filled
with admiration.

“Oh, genius is burning tonight, that’s all,” Betty laughed. “Now let’s
think of one for Angela.”

“Something about Latin for her, don’t you think?” Polly said.

The suggestion was enough for Betty. “Fine, dine, pine,” she chanted.
“Listen:

    “Angela, so fair and wise,
    Oh hear us sadly pine,
    We’ve tried, but couldn’t find you
    A Latin valentine.”

Lois and Polly looked at each other in speechless wonder, and Betty, now
thoroughly started, wrote absurd jingles to all the girls. She reached
the height of her achievement in Louise Preston.

“Read it again, Bet, it’s the best of all,” Polly said, delighted. And
Lois spread a cracker inches thick with jam, and presented it—

“To the Poet,” she said. “I haven’t a laurel wreath so this will have to
do.”

“You can’t eat it until you’ve read the poem again,” Polly insisted.

“Oh, all right.” Betty consulted her pad.

    “Some people sigh, and wish for the day,
    When work is all gone, and there’s only play.
    But if the world were black as ink,
    We wouldn’t care at all
    If Lois were always captain
    And our hearts her basket ball.”

“I don’t think much of it, the meter changes,” Betty said critically.

“That’s all right, as long as it doesn’t change in the same verse,”
Polly replied. “I think it’s great. Who next?”

“Oh, no more tonight,” Betty groaned, “give me my cracker. I’m starved.”

“No time, there goes the silence bell.” Lois laughed.

“No time? Just watch me,” and Betty put the whole cracker in her mouth
at once, and left for her own room.

“Good-night,” Polly and Lois called after her, but she could only nod in
response.

The party was at its height. Every age and every country was represented
in the costumes. Betsy Rosses, Grace Darlings and Pocahontases abounded
among the younger children. And there was every known character from
Agrippa of Roman fame, to Queen Victoria, among the upper school. High
ruffs danced with ’kerchiefs, and French heels, with sandals. In fact,
every one had taken so much interest in their costume that the Seniors
and faculty, who were acting as judges, were hard put to find any one
particular girl who outshone the rest.

Lois and Betty had drifted off to a corner of the room, during the
refreshments. They made a curious picture against the boughs of green
that decked the walls. Betty was a stolid Indian maid, from the beaded
moccasins to her parted hair, her face was smeared with grease paint,
and she had tribal marks all over her forehead and cheeks. Polly looked
very efficient in her immaculate nurse’s costume, her hair was parted
severely, and she had on a soft white winged cap. Over her uniform she
wore a long gray cape. No one had been able to name her, and after the
guessing was over she spent her time in explaining, and exalting
Florence Nightingale.

As for Lois, Miss Porter was right when she said that she looked like
Bastien-Lepage’s picture of Jeanne d’Arc, and certainly rags became her.
She had found a bodice, that laced over a white blouse, and an old
patched skirt. Miss Porter had fixed her hair in a soft careless knot,
and as she stood beside Polly and Betty, a little tired from the
excitement of the evening, there was a far away, dreamy look in her eyes
that bespoke the seeing of glorious visions.

“Louise asked me if we sent her that valentine,” Lois said, between sips
of lemonade.

“Did you tell her we did?” Polly inquired.

“Yes, I did, because she said it was the sweetest one she’d received,
and I just had to let her know that Bet wrote it.”

Betty said: “Oh, shucks, why did you do that?” and changed the subject
by asking: “Who do you think will get the prize?”

The answer was cut short as Angela, who was Catharine of Russia, and
Connie joined them.

“Well, Lady Macbeth,” Polly greeted them, “have you established your
claim to being a real historical character yet?”

“I have, doubter,” Connie answered haughtily. “There was a real Lady
Macbeth, Mrs. Baird says so, and, ‘sure she is an honorable man, woman,’
I mean, ‘Therefore, avaunt and quit my sight, let the earth hide thee,
and thy base mockery.’”

Angela put her hand over Connie’s mouth. “Don’t mind her, she’s been
talking like this all evening,” she said. “Did you get the packages that
were in the express-room?”

“Packages, no, where are they?” Polly demanded.

“Why, I saw them before dinner, there were three, just alike, and
addressed to you and Lo, and Bet.”

“Let’s get them this minute,” Betty said, starting for the door. “Come
on with us.”

They threaded their way through the crowd of dancing girls, and raced
for the express-room.

“I bet it’s a joke,” Lois said as she reached for the electric switch.

But when the light was turned on, sure enough there were three packages,
piled one on the other, on the table.

“Open them quick,” Connie commanded. “I am dying of curiosity.”

Off came the wrappers, and there was a shout of joy as three
heart-shaped boxes of candy appeared.

“How wonderful!”

“My favorite kind!”

“What adorable boxes!”

“They’re painted on silk.”

“How sweet!”

“Who could have sent them?” Lois asked.

“Mr. Pendleton, perhaps,” Betty suggested.

“No, it’s not Uncle Roddy’s writing,” Polly said; “besides, he sent me a
little gold heart, yesterday.”

“Open them, perhaps there’s a card or something inside,” Angela
suggested. This proved to be the case.

Polly opened hers first, and the rest watched eagerly.

“It just says: ‘A friend of a very dear friend of yours,’” she read.
“Who can that be? Read yours, Lo.”

“Mine says: ‘In remembrance of a charming evening.’”

“Listen, I know,” Betty exclaimed. “‘From a devoted admirer, once mayor
of a certain city.’ Don’t you see, it’s Mr. Whittington, that friend of
your uncle’s, Polly.”

“Of course it is, and the very dear friend of mine is Uncle Roddy,”
Polly exclaimed delightedly.

“The charming evening must be the night we went to see ‘Peter Pan,’”
Lois said. “Wasn’t it nice of him to remember it.”

“But why does he say ‘once mayor of a certain city’?” Connie inquired,
re-reading Betty’s card.

“Oh, that’s because Bet nicknamed him Lord Mayor of London,” Polly
explained. “His name is really Dick Whittington.”

They each selected a candy, and munched in happy silence.

“Lois Farwell, Lois Farwell. Oh, Lois,” a voice called suddenly from the
depths of the hall. “Where are you?”

“Here, in the express-room,” Lois answered; “What is it?”

Dot Mead poked her head in the doorway.

“You’re wanted upstairs, right away, hurry!”

“Why?” chorused everybody.

“Oh, never mind,” Dot said, mysteriously, “only hurry.”

They were no sooner in the Assembly Hall again before Mrs. Baird tapped
the little desk bell for silence.

“Girls, the Seniors have decided to award the prize of the evening to
Jeanne D’Arc, impersonated by Lois Farwell. Lois, will you come here,
dear?”

The girls made an opening through the center of the room. Lois, too
mystified for words, walked slowly up to the platform. Mrs. Baird
presented her with a tiny silver loving cup. “This gives me very great
pleasure, my dear,” she said smiling, “because Jeanne D’Arc is one of my
favorite heroines, too.”

Lois tried to stammer her thanks. Just then Louise Preston stepped
forward with a wreath of laurel. “Here’s the crown that goes with it,
Lo,” she whispered. “Kneel down.”

Lois knelt on the lower step, and Louise placed the wreath on her head.

“I crown you the most beautiful picture of the evening,” she said. And
the girls broke out in heartiest applause.

“I knew it, I knew it,” Miss Porter whispered to Miss King. “She’s
exquisite. See how her eyes sparkle when she blushes. She’s exactly the
sensitive, delicate type, for a Jeanne D’Arc.”

“She is lovely,” Miss King agreed, in her frank way. “But if I’d had the
awarding of the prize, Polly would have had it. She’s a splendid girl,
she gave me a sweater, as well as a tam for Martha. I love that spirit.”

Lois went to bed, elated at her success, and the praise she had
received. She smiled delightedly at her reflection in the mirror.

“I wonder,” she mused, “if any one will ever tell Mother about this. I
would like her to know but, of course, I can’t myself.”



CHAPTER XI

PRACTICING FOR THE INDOOR MEET


The last bell had just sounded and the girls were leaving the schoolroom
for the day. Two weeks had passed since the Valentine party. Today was
Wednesday and the coming Saturday was the date fixed for the Indoor
Meet.

The Whitehead School basket-ball team was to meet the Seddon Hall girls
for their annual game. The year before they had played at Whitehead and
were beaten. This year the game was to be played at Seddon Hall and the
girls were determined there should be no more defeats.

“Wait a minute, you two,” called Connie, as she and Angela caught up
with Polly and Lois in the schoolroom corridor. “I’ve news; such news!”

“What is it?” inquired Lois, in the act of retying Polly’s hair ribbon.

“Don’t breathe a word about it. I don’t suppose Louise Preston wants it
known all over the school,” answered Connie. “But as I was going through
Senior Corridor to my music lesson, I heard her say to Gladys Couch
(jumping center on the big team): ‘Then you won’t be here for Saturday?’
And Glid said: ‘Isn’t it awful, Louise, but I don’t see how I can
possibly get back before Monday.’ Well, of course, Polly, you know what
that means.”

“What’s the giddy secret?” sang out Betty, coming towards them from one
of the classrooms.

“Bet, oh, Bet, catch me quick!” cried Polly, falling into her arms in a
mock faint. “Such news! Tell her, some one, quick!”

“Wah!” exclaimed Betty when she had heard. “You’ll have to play on the
big team, Polly. Isn’t that bully!”

As they all stood talking it over, in subdued whispers, Louise Preston
appeared at the other end of the corridor.

“Oh, Polly,” she called, “can you spare me a few minutes? Let’s go in
this classroom; then we won’t be disturbed.”

She put her arm around Polly’s shoulder as she had done the first day.
Once inside the classroom, she began:

“We’ve had some pretty bad news this morning. Gladys Couch received a
telegram that her brother is going to be married on Saturday. Well, of
course, Glid will have to go home. She can’t very well ask them to
postpone the wedding,” she added, smiling, “and that leaves us without a
jumping center. Polly, you know we simply must win this game. You’ll
have to play and you’ll have to play as you never played before. Better
get some practicing in and, remember, I’m depending on you.”

She was gone before Polly could realize what had happened. She spent the
rest of the day in the gym with Lois and Betty as Louise had suggested.

Misfortunes never come singly. The next day Flora Illington, the other
substitute center, had a phone message that her father was very ill and
she had to leave at once. Flora was just one of the girls at Seddon
Hall; apart from her position on the team, she had no particular place
in the school.

However, it was with genuine sympathy and feeling that the girls saw her
leave and the week after heard of her father’s death.

Flora never returned to school and after the letters of condolence were
written and answered, she was forgotten.

Polly met Louise in the gym that afternoon.

“Isn’t it dreadful about Flora?” she began.

“Yes, I hope there’s nothing serious the matter with her father,” Louise
answered. Then with a sigh: “I suppose I’m a brute, but I can’t help
thinking, there goes another substitute.”

“Cheer up,” advised Polly, “she probably wouldn’t have been needed. How
are the songs getting along?”

“Wonderfully! Betty and Angela handed in two dandies today, but of
course I’m looking to the Juniors for most of them.”

“Well, so long.”

“Don’t work too hard, and don’t you dare hurt yourself.”

“I won’t, and you cheer up.”

Louise left the gym and Polly jumped into the game, calmly taking the
ball out of Connie’s astonished hands.

She worked furiously all afternoon and when next she had a minute to
breathe she was back in her own room getting ready for her bath.

“I tell you, Polly,” sang out Betty from across the hall, “you certainly
played this afternoon.”

“Hum!” Polly grumbled, screwing her hair up into a tight knot. “I made a
nasty foul. Thank goodness Louise wasn’t there.”

“Aren’t you two slow pokes ready for your baths yet?” demanded Lois,
thumping on the door.

“Well, I can’t find my slippers,” Polly complained, rummaging under the
bed. “Angela,” she called, “darling Angela, please lend me your
slippers.”

“All right, here they come.” And a pair of Chinese slippers flew through
the transom.

“Thanks! Oh, I say, I asked for slippers, not stilts,” Polly grumbled.
“How do you keep the crazy things on?”

“Ingratitude, thy name is Polly,” began Angela, but Polly was half way
down the hall and out of hearing, with Lois and Betty. Lois was saying:

“How did you ever manage to make that foul?” And Polly explained, just
as they came to the head of the stairs.

“Why, Connie had the ball and I jumped for it. She tried to pass it to
Dot and I thought I could get it by batting it back, like this—”

She leaned forward to show what she meant, completely forgetting the
stairs. Angela’s slippers gave a half twist and she plunged headlong
down the steps.

Miss King said her ankle was badly sprained and the doctor was summoned.

She lay on the infirmary bed, biting her lips and trying to keep back
the tears. The doctor had strapped her ankle and told Miss King that she
was not to put her foot to the ground for two weeks.

At last Louise’s voice sounded outside the door.

“All right,” she was saying. “I promise to stay only a second.” And in a
minute she was at Polly’s side. It was more than the poor child could
stand. She burst into tears and hid her face in the pillows.

“Oh, Louise,” she sobbed, “can you ever forgive me? And you told me to
be careful!”

“Why, honey child, you couldn’t help it,” comforted Louise. “Here, cheer
up, you’ll make yourself sick. Angela’s downstairs tearing her hair out
and swearing vengeance on her poor slippers.”

“But the game! Who’ll play in my place?” wailed Polly.

“That is just what I came up to talk to you about,” Louise told her.
“Can you suggest any one? We’re stumped.”

“Wouldn’t Betty do? I know she’d be careful about fouls. Please give her
a chance.”

“I think perhaps you’re right. I’ll go and talk to her,” Louise replied.
“Be good, dear, and don’t worry. I know it’s a terrible disappointment.”
And she leaned over and kissed Polly’s hot cheek.

“All right, I’ll try. If you see Lois will you ask her to come up and
talk to me? I’ll go crazy if I have to stay here alone.”

But it was not until some hours later that Lois appeared. Miss King
thought solitude the best thing for Polly’s feverish condition.

“You are a nice one,” grumbled Polly when Lois entered the room. “I
thought you were never coming near me again.”

“Come near you! Why, I’ve been sitting outside Miss King’s door all
afternoon, waiting for permission to see you. Poor darling! How’s the
ankle? Awfully painful?” explained Lois.

“Do you mean to tell me Miss King wouldn’t let you in before now?”
demanded Polly.

“Yes; she said you were very feverish and she wanted you to rest; and
for goodness’ sake don’t excite yourself or I’ll have to leave; you must
be kept quiet.”

“And here I’ve been thinking you a cold-hearted wretch all afternoon.
Just wait till I see Miss King!”

“What are you going to do to her?” asked that lady herself, poking her
white-capped head around the corner of the door.

“Oh, there you are, eh?” laughed Polly. “Why wouldn’t you let Lois come
in before?”

“Because I’m a cross old thing,” laughed Miss King. “But just to show
you that I can be nice sometimes, if you have no more fever I’ll let her
stay and have supper with you. Now what am I?”

“You’re a darling and I’ll love you forever, but don’t you dare find I
have a fever,” replied Polly.

Miss King did find her temperature a little above normal, but so little
that Lois was permitted to stay, and the two of them had such a jolly
time that Polly almost succeeded in forgetting the coming game and her
own disappointment, and you may be sure Lois carefully kept off that
dangerous subject. The time passed so quickly that the bell for study
hour rang long before they expected it, and Lois had to fly to escape
being late.

“Lo, half a minute,” Betty called just before the good-night bell. “I’ve
something to tell you. I am chosen to fill Polly’s place tomorrow.
Louise just told me.”

“I’m awfully glad for you, Bet,” answered Lois. “I know you’ll make
good, but—”

“Yes, it’s that but that makes me so miserable,” replied Betty. “How can
I be excited and pleased when I know Polly’s up there in the
infirmary—Oh, it makes me sick to think of it!” she finished, and before
Lois could reply, she had disappeared into her own room and closed the
door.

“Poor Betty,” sighed Lois sympathetically. “It’s all a mean shame.”

Just before Miss King turned out the infirmary lights, she delivered a
note to Polly. It read:

  “Polly Dear:

  “Louise has asked me to play in your place on Saturday. I know you
  suggested it to her, too. Well, my chance has come and I am miserably
  unhappy at the very thought. I know I’ll make a million fouls and
  we’ll lose the game. Darn every bedroom slipper that was ever
  invented!

                                                “Your doleful,
                                                “Betty.”

“Poor old Bet,” smiled Polly. “Well, if she only makes good I won’t be
half so unhappy at not playing myself.”

In less than five minutes she was sound asleep, and the next morning
Miss King pronounced her temperature normal.



CHAPTER XII

POLLY’S HEROISM


“Miss King, don’t you think I might be carried to the game tonight?”
pleaded Polly early Saturday morning as the nurse was bathing her face
and hands.

“We’ll see; perhaps we can arrange it if you have no fever,” answered
Miss King, and Polly had to be content.

After study hour Lois and Betty flew up to the infirmary.

“Everything’s going beautifully,” announced Lois excitedly, “and we
brought you up the green and white ribbons; here, let me tie them on
your arm.”

“How’s the ankle? Do you think you can get over to the game?” asked
Betty eagerly.

“If I have no fever, Miss King says she’ll see. I hate people to say
they will see; Aunt Hannah always did, and it always meant ‘no,’” pouted
Polly. “When does the other team arrive?”

“The train’s due at 12:03, luncheon at 12:30, and the game’s called for
2 o’clock,” Lois told her.

Just then Angela and Connie appeared in the doorway.

“May we come in? How’s the invalid?” Connie asked.

“Oh, hello. Of course come in. I’m awfully glad to see you. I am feeling
very fine this morning,” responded Polly.

Angela was looking dolefully at the big lump the bandaged foot made
under the covers, and her eyes were misty.

“Polly,” she began, “can you ever forgive—”

“Angela, you’re going to say something about those slippers, and if you
do—” Polly interrupted threateningly.

“All right, I won’t, but I’ll think of it for the rest of my life.”

After a few minutes of excited conversation the girls left—Lois and
Betty for the gym and Angela and Connie for the schoolroom to practice
songs with the rest.

Polly, left alone, retied and patted the green and white ribbon Lois had
given her; then she tossed and turned and fretted until the doctor
arrived an hour later. He declared the ankle greatly improved, but he
did not like the patient’s nervous condition, and to Polly’s plea to be
carried to the gym, he gave a decided “No.”

Miss King was all sympathy, and offered to read aloud, tell stories, or,
in fact, do anything to amuse her heartbroken little patient, but Polly
refused to be comforted.

After luncheon Lois and Betty arrived for a last word; they were in
their gym suits and Betty’s hands were ice cold. Polly tried to be
encouraging and cheerful.

“Do be careful of those lines, Bet,” she advised, “and don’t run with
the ball.”

“Run with the ball! I probably won’t have a chance to even get my hands
on it let alone run with it. Oh, I tell you, I’m in a sweet funk!”
groaned Betty.

“Will you stop talking like that, Betty Thompson,” commanded Lois. “You
ought to be ashamed of yourself. Why, if you can’t play against that
insignificant Whitehead center, all my little faith in man is gone.”

“Do tell me something about the other team,” Polly begged. “I heard you
giving them the cheer as they arrived. Do they look very dreadful?”

“No, I think we are pretty evenly matched. Their guards are tall—but
there goes the bell; we’ll have to fly. Polly, darling, I’ll come and
tell you all about it the second the game’s over,” promised Lois, as she
and Betty ran down to the schoolroom to join the team.

As Polly lay listening she heard the girls tramping over to the gym. The
sound came faintly at first, then louder, and finally halted underneath
the infirmary window:

    “Oh, there is a girl who’s known in these parts.
    Her name is Polly Pendleton, and she’s won our hearts!
    Oh, we’d like to know a girl with more go,
    And we will stand by her to the end—O!”

sang fifty voices, and then the tramping started once more and grew
fainter as the girls neared the gym.

Poor Polly buried her head in the pillow and sobbed:

“To think of my having a chance to play in the big game and then not
being able to! Why, I can’t even watch it!” she cried. “Why didn’t I see
those hateful steps?”

Miss King came in and asked if there was anything she could do.

“I am quite at your service,” she assured her.

“Do you really mean that?” answered Polly. “Then go over to the gym and
watch the game for a little while and come back and tell me how it’s
going, and if we have a chance. I promise to be good,” she added.

Miss King thought it over and decided to go. It would please her unhappy
patient, and besides she loved to see a good game herself.

“I won’t stay very long,” she said. “If you want anything you can reach
the bell that rings in the other house.”

“Don’t come back unless we are winning,” called Polly as she watched the
white nurse’s cap disappear down the long flight of steps that led from
the infirmary to the ground. They had been built so that if there were
any contagious cases in the infirmary, the girls could reach the grounds
without going into any other part of the buildings.

Then, tired from the excitement of the day, she sank back in the pillows
to rest until Miss King’s return. She dozed off to sleep for about
fifteen minutes, and when she next opened her eyes she was conscious of
the smell of smoke.

She raised herself on her elbow and looked out of the dormer window
beside her bed. From there she could see the Bridge of Sighs which, as
you know, connected the two buildings of the school. A thin spiral of
smoke was pouring out from the top of the middle window.

Her first thought was the bell. She rang it violently, but with no
success, for the maids were in the laundry gossiping over a cup of tea,
and the bell clanged to an empty kitchen.

Something had to be done and Polly realized that that something rested
with her. As quickly as her ankle would permit—it was, of course,
paining her terribly—she got into such of her clothes as she could find
in the infirmary, threw Miss King’s cape around her, and thrust her
stockinged feet once again into Angela’s Chinese slippers.

“Now,” she thought, as she limped painfully down the steps, “the thing
to do is to get one of the teachers’ attention without letting the girls
know anything is wrong.”

The fifty feet to the gym seemed as many miles to Polly. At first the
excitement of her errand kept her up, but as she neared the gym the
burning pain in her ankle forced her to stop every few feet to rest.

When at last she stumbled up the steps of the gym, she was met at the
door by Mrs. Baird and Miss King, who were just leaving.

“Polly, what is it?” gasped both women, hurrying to her side.

“The Bridge of Sighs is on fire—no one answered the bell—I had to
come—don’t tell the girls!” And Polly, her message delivered, fainted
dead away in Miss King’s arms and was carried back unconscious to the
infirmary.

The fire was soon under control. Mrs. Baird called the stablemen, and
together with the fire extinguishers it was over almost at once. It had
started by two wires crossing and, fortunately, on the bridge. It might
easily have spread to both buildings had it not been for Polly’s timely
warning. So quietly and quickly had it happened that the girls in the
gym knew nothing of it.

When Polly next opened her eyes, Mrs. Baird and Miss King were standing
on either side of her bed.

“Is it out?” she asked, turning to Mrs. Baird.

“Yes, dear, it is; thanks to you and your splendid courage,” Mrs. Baird
replied, taking her hand in hers and patting it.

“And the game?” demanded Polly, now thoroughly conscious. “Is it over?”

A prolonged shout from the gym answered her question.

“It must be just over,” explained Miss King, “and that shout sounds as
if we had won. How is the ankle, dear? Very painful?”

“Yes, it is kind of sore,” Polly admitted, “but I want to know the
score,” she insisted.

Mrs. Baird gave her hand a tight squeeze and smiled down at her as she
answered:

“I’ll go this minute and find out; they are probably waiting for me to
present the cup. I will send you the score at once,” she promised as she
left the room.

Seddon Hall had made a hard fight and when the time was up the score on
the board was 10 to 8 in their favor. Betty had surprised everybody by
her good work. She had not given the other center a chance at the ball
and she had made only one foul. Perhaps the thought of Polly waiting
anxiously in the infirmary for news of the game had spurred her on.
Before the game started she had said to Lois:

“I may be in a blue funk, but won this game shall be, if I have anything
to say about it. Polly shan’t be disappointed.”

And Betty had kept her word. She had managed the passes so well that
Louise, who at the beginning of the game had been in a fever of
apprehension, had almost wept with joy.

As Mrs. Baird entered they were cheering the losing team. With a few
well-chosen words of congratulations, she presented the cup to Louise
Preston, and finished with a brief account of the fire and the part
Polly had played in it.

Useless to try to describe the girls’ enthusiasm; they cheered and
cheered. Mrs. Baird dispatched Lois and Betty to tell Polly the score,
and the rest of the girls stood under the infirmary window and sang to
her until their throats were hoarse.

Betty and Lois, still in their gym suits, sat on the end of her bed and
told her all about the game.

“Betty, darling, if you were not so hot and dirty I think I could eat
you,” Polly exclaimed. “Think of your making only one little foul. Oh,
but I’m proud of you!”

“Well, you see, you told Louise to put me on the team in your place,”
Betty explained, “and I had to make good.”

Polly turned to Lois:

“I am awfully sorry you didn’t get a chance to play,” she said.

“I’m kind of glad,” Lois replied. “Now, perhaps, we will both play on
Field Day.”

“Here, here, what are you daring to suggest?” demanded Louise Preston
from the doorway. She was followed by the rest of the team. They had
waited to see the Whitehead girls off and then changed from their gym
suits before coming to see the heroine of the day.

“Oh, I was only hoping a couple of you big team girls would give us subs
a chance on Field Day. You are dreadfully selfish, you know,” Lois
replied.

Polly smiled happily at her captain.

“Well, you did win the game without me, Louise, didn’t you?” she asked.

“How do you make that out?” Florence Guile demanded. “I think you had a
pretty big hand in it. If you hadn’t been so plucky and kept so still
about the fire, we’d have all been frightened to death and the game
never would have been even finished.”

“Florence is right,” agreed everybody. “Three long cheers for plucky
Polly!”

“To the victor belongs the spoils,” laughed Louise. When the girls had
stopped cheering: “Here’s the cup. I brought it up to show you, and you
may keep it as long as you like.”

Polly took it reverently in her hands and looked at it for a long time.
Finally she said:

“What a funny day it’s been. Please don’t any one talk any more about
the fire. I’m sick of it, and besides it was the game that counted.”
Then as she caught sight of Angela among the crowd of girls at the door
she said:

“Come here, Angela. I have something to tell you, you must apologize to
your slippers; they have atoned for their crime; they carried me safely
all the way to the gym.”

Miss King appeared at the door as the girls were laughing at Polly’s
remark.

“Is this a reception by any chance?” she inquired. “I’m sorry to
interrupt, but you’ll all have to leave. Polly’s supper is on its way
from the kitchen and I’m sure she doesn’t want an audience while she is
eating it.”

The girls left after more congratulations and promises to come back the
first thing next day, and Polly was left alone to gaze happily at the
big silver loving cup which, in a measure, she had helped win for Seddon
Hall.



CHAPTER XIII

BETTY’S IDEA


The long days in the infirmary dragged by and lengthened into weeks. One
so closely resembled the other that Polly lost track of all time. Uncle
Roddy sent boxes containing everything that his generous mind could
think of, to amuse the invalid, and the girls did their best to make the
days fly.

At last the time came when, with the aid of a crutch and Miss King,
Polly managed to hobble down the steps and out into the sunshine. It was
only a matter of a couple of weeks after that, that she discarded the
crutch, and on a never-to-be-forgotten day made her appearance, a little
worn and shaky still, at the beginning of the Literature class. No one
expected her, and her welcome was all that she could have dreamed of.

In the meantime the snow had melted, to be replaced by slush and, as
March ended, by mud. Polly slipped back easily into her accustomed
place. Easter vacation, spent at Atlantic City with Uncle Roddy, came
and went, so that when this chapter opens, spring was fully established
and Seddon Hall was a mass of dogwood and violets.

Today was the day of the Faculty tea, to be given by the Seniors, and
Polly, Lois, and Betty were helping them make the sandwiches and fruit
punch.

“Wah, but I’m hot and tired!” sighed Lois, holding a thin slice of bread
in one hand and a knife smeared with mayonnaise dressing in the other.

“You’re lazy, you mean,” replied Betty. “Try squeezing a few of these
lemons if you want a sample of real work; they’re as hard as rocks.”

Polly looked up, flushed from her task.

“I’ve an idea,” she exclaimed. “Look! Put the lemon on the floor and
roll it gently with your toe. See how soft it gets!” she continued as
she cut the rolled lemon in half and squeezed out the juice.

“Bright idea!” congratulated Betty. “Why didn’t you think of it before?”
And putting a lemon on the floor, she started rolling it vigorously.

“Lo, if you could see how funny you look,” she added. “You’ve a daub of
dressing on the end of your nose.”

“Oh, would some power the giftie gie us, to see ourselves as others see
us,” quoted Lois. “Who said that?” she inquired.

(Please remember Betty was still rolling the lemon).

One of the Sophomores, busy at the other end of the table, caught the
remark and, to tease Betty who was renowned for her knowledge of
quotations, called:

“Sir Thomas Moore, didn’t he?”

“Moore!” yelled Betty. “Certainly not! Robert Burns wrote it. Such
ignorance! I am surprised!”

Some one else exclaimed: “Why, Betty, you are crazy. Burns never said
anything as clever as that.”

Poor Betty was all up in arms. Like most people that love to tease, she
was not always conscious when she was being teased herself.

“He didn’t, didn’t he?” she demanded. “Well, I’ll _prove_ to you that he
did.”

At the word prove, delivered in her most emphatic manner, she put so
much extra pressure on the poor long-suffering lemon that it gave a
prolonged squashy noise and oozed out all over the floor.

“Oh, Bet, what a mess!” exclaimed Polly. “Look at the floor!”

Betty looked and grumbled disgustedly:

“That ends it. I’ll squeeze no more lemons. It’s all your fault, anyhow,
Polly, for telling me to step on them.”

“Excuse me, dear,” said Polly meekly, “I meant with moderation.”

As the girls stood laughing around the remains of the lemon, Louise
Preston entered the room.

“I can’t get any one to pick violets for me. We’ve only one bowlful and
we need loads.” Then as she saw the floor she asked: “Who’s been
throwing lemons?”

“Oh, Bet got mad because I put a quotation in Moore’s mouth that
belonged to Burns, her beloved,” laughed Mary Right.

“Well, suppose you three girls go and get us some more flowers,”
suggested Louise. “You don’t look as if you were enjoying this very much
and, besides, we can’t waste lemons.”

“We will go with pleasure,” chorused the three.

“Thanks ever so much,” said Louise, and she added as they were leaving
the room: “Please don’t do any arguing while you’re about it, or Bet may
step on the violets.”

Ten minutes later the three were making their way to a brook whose banks
they knew would be covered with long-stemmed dogtooth violets.

“Ungrateful wretches, these Seniors,” grunted Betty, seating herself on
a rock and stretching. “Work your fingers to the bone and never even get
asked to come in the back door to their party.”

“Seems to me,” mused Polly, “that all the other classes do the
entertaining and the Freshmen do all the work.”

They were still for a few minutes and sat lazily on the moss watching
the water gurgle over the stones at the bottom of the brook. Finally
Betty exclaimed:

“I have it, the best idea! Listen! Why don’t we give a farewell party to
the Seniors?”

“It’s never been done,” replied Lois.

“What of that? There’s got to be a first time to everything, and it
would be such a lark.”

“But what kind of a party?”

“A moonlight straw-ride and supper at Flat Rock,” suggested Polly. “Mrs.
Baird would let us, I know, she’s such a dear.”

“How about the other girls?” inquired Lois. “Angela and Connie would
love it, of course, but the rest—”

“The rest don’t count,” cut in Betty. “We have the majority and,
besides, they always do what we suggest.”

“Let’s call a class meeting tonight,” said Polly. “And now, if we don’t
start to gather some violets, the Seniors won’t accept our invitation if
we do ask them to a party.”

For an hour they picked flowers and discussed the plans.

“None of your garden parties with ice-cream and cake for me; there’s
never any fun in that,” remarked Betty, dipping a handful of withered
violets into the brook.

“Besides, that is what the ‘sofs’ have planned to do. Mary Rice told me
about it, confidentially,” added Lois.

“Therefore you immediately tell us,” laughed Betty. “Well, they need not
be afraid of our copying them. Polly’s plan’s the best, if we can only
do it.”

“Listen!” commanded Polly. “Wasn’t that some one calling up there?”

“Hello!” called a voice directly above them.

The girls looked and there, standing on a rock, were Connie and Angela,
with their arms full of dogwood.

“Come on down,” sang out Betty. “You’re just the ones we want; we’ve a
wonderful idea.”

“Great! Bully!” exclaimed Angela and Connie when they had heard the
plan. “Why didn’t any one ever think of it before?”

“We can take bacon in jars, and rolls, and broil the bacon over a
regular camp fire,” suggested Connie.

“And I’ll make up a new song just to the Seniors. None of the other
classes have ever done that,” announced Angela.

“If we don’t hurry back the Seniors will think we’re lost,” reminded
Polly. Then with a sigh she added: “I do hope the rest of the class will
like the idea.”

They did. A class meeting was called and everybody voted it a dandy
plan. The two Dorothys said their only objection would be in case the
Spartan were chosen for chaperone. The rest laughed at the very thought
and Polly promised to annihilate the first one to make such a horrible
suggestion.

Lois was chosen to ask Mrs. Baird, and returned from the office with her
full permission.

The day was set for the following Friday night, and Angela was told to
write a song.

In the corridor that evening as the girls were talking over the plans
for the party, one of the maids appeared with a covered tray.

“From the Seniors,” she explained, handing it to Lois. “For Miss Polly,
Miss Betty, Miss Angela, Miss Connie, and you.”

“Food!” exclaimed Betty. “Why, the Seniors aren’t such ungrateful
wretches as I thought them.”

“Indeed they are not; they’ve the best class in the school,” protested
Lois.

“With one exception,” Polly corrected, “the Freshmen.”

And after a subdued cheer they started in to make short work of the
tray’s contents.



CHAPTER XIV

THE FRESHMEN ENTERTAIN


Friday arrived, clear and sunshiny, with just enough chill in the air to
make sweaters comfortable.

The Freshmen class were so excited that they found it impossible to pay
any attention in classes. The teachers, for the most part, understood
and forgave, except the Spartan, who was, of course, more trying than
usual.

After the last bell the Freshmen met in one of the classrooms to decide
about the last details. Although they had no class officers, it was
almost always Lois who acted as president at all their meetings. Such
was the case today.

“Everybody stop talking for one second,” she commanded, swinging herself
to the top of the desk. “The first thing to think about is food,” she
continued, as the girls dropped into chairs, and there was a lull in the
conversation.

Betty jumped up, announcing emphatically:

“You may count me out on that; no more squashed lemons for little
Betty.”

“There’s not much to get ready,” Polly remarked. “There’s the rolls and
bacon—they’re ordered—and the ginger pop, the potato chips, and the
apples and bananas are here. There’s really nothing to make but the
Boston brown bread sandwiches. Who’ll make them?” And she looked
questioningly at the two Dorothys.

“We will,” volunteered one of them. “What goes in between—cream cheese
and grape jelly?”

“Yes,” answered Betty, “and for goodness’ sake, Dot, don’t get original
and put anything else in on your own hook.”

“Betty, do be serious for once,” pleaded Lois. “There’s loads to be
done. Have you finished the song, Angela?”

“Yes, and I say we wait until we’ve finished supper and are all sitting
around the fire before we sing it to them,” suggested Angela.

Everybody agreed that that was a good idea.

“It’s to the tune of ‘There is a Tavern Near the Town,’ isn’t it?” asked
Roberta Andrews. “I haven’t learned the words yet.”

“Oh,” Lois interrupted, jumping down from the desk, “we forgot all about
the straw for the wagon. Berta, will you and Ruth see to that? MacDonald
said we could have as much as we wanted if we’d go to the stable and get
it.”

“All right, that will be a lark,” agreed Berta. “Come on, Ruth, we’d
better get right at it now.” And the two girls, after parting
instructions from Lois, left for the stable.

“If we are going to make those sandwiches,” began Dot Mead, “we’d better
go, too.”

“Righto!” agreed her twin in name, and together they started for the
kitchen.

“And now what are you going to do with me, Ruler of the Universe?”
inquired Connie.

Lois looked at her for a minute and then replied:

“I think you and Angela might go out and cut sticks to broil the bacon
on.”

“Cut their fingers off, you mean. Certainly not,” exploded Betty. “They
may find the sticks, but I will do the whittling.”

And taking Connie and Angela each by an arm, Betty escorted them out of
the room.

When Lois and Polly were left alone, they hugged each other joyously.

“And now for the express-room,” Polly whispered mysteriously.

At five o’clock the big farm wagon, filled with hay and drawn by two big
gray horses, was waiting in the driveway under the Bridge of Sighs.

“Everything in?” shouted Angela. “Steamer rugs and food?”

“Yes, all in,” answered Betty, who was patting the horses’ noses.

Polly and Lois were standing just around the corner of the house and out
of sight of the other girls.

“Now’s the time to get it in,” whispered the latter. She used the same
mysterious tone of voice in which Polly had spoken of the express-room
earlier in the day.

A few minutes later, under the hurry and excitement of starting, they
smuggled a large box, unnoticed, under the driver’s seat.

“Safe and sound, and nobody saw,” Lois whispered softly. “Every one in?”
she called out. “All aboard.”

The Seniors were each seated beside a Freshman, Louise Preston was
between Lois and Polly. Miss Stuart and Miss Porter, who were
chaperoning the party, sat beside the driver, where all good chaperons
ought to sit.

As the barge rolled out of the school grounds, the girls sang the
favorite Seddon Hall song, which ended in the words:

“It’s the only school in the wide, wide world.”

At first, things were a little dull. There was a big distance between
the oldest and youngest classes of the upper school, but after a while
the Seniors forgot their dignity and the Freshmen their respect.

When Flat Rock, a huge boulder with a table top, overlooking a small
lake, was reached, everybody was in the best of spirits, and they piled
out and helped unload.

Polly and Lois, as before, captured the mysterious box and managed to
hide it in the bushes. A camp fire, under Miss Stuart’s direction, was
soon blazing, and the girls were seated on rugs and pillows, toasting
bacon.

Now every one knows that a bacon bat is loads of fun to talk about
before it happens, and to remember afterwards, but the actual eating of
the bacon, which is always burned long before it is cooked, is not so
much fun in itself.

This bacon bat was like every other. When the bacon was all gone, and a
good deal of it had been surreptitiously thrown away, every one looked
around for something to really eat. The sandwiches were not very
satisfying, and it was too soon to offer the bananas.

The Freshmen began to look uneasy. It entered their heads that perhaps
their party was not going to be the success they had planned. Then just
as Polly and Lois were exchanging glances, Betty, who was hunting for
more wood for the fire, stumbled over the mysterious box.

“Hello, what’s this?” she called. “Why, it says Freshman Class on it.”

Every one pounced on the box and opened it, to find a big fat turkey all
carved but held together by a narrow white ribbon, paper plates and
napkins and drinking cups, cranberry jelly, a huge chocolate cake, any
quantity of cookies, and boxes of candy.

Well, you can imagine the surprise. As each new item was unpacked, there
was a chorus of exclamations, such as:

“Where under the sun did it come from?”

“Do look at the immense turkey!”

“Somebody knew I loved home-made cookies!”

“Please, all, leave me alone with this chocolate cake!”

No one knew where it came from except Betty, who caught on at once, and
Polly and Lois made her keep still. It was a royal spread, which means
everybody ate more than was good for them.

When it was finally over and they were all sitting comfortably around
the fire, the Freshmen started singing Angela’s song:

    “There is a flat rock near the school, near the school,
    Where we abandon every rule, every rule,
    And mingle with the Seniors fair
    And never, never think of care!

    You’re the oldest class of all the year, all the year,
    And we’re the very youngest here, youngest here,
    Three years will pass and we’ll be Seniors, too,
    And we’re going to try to be like you!

    Fare thee well, for we must leave you,
    Do not let this parting grieve you,
    But remember that the best of friends must part,
    Adieu, dear Seniors fair, adieu, adieu, adieu,
    We can no longer stay with you, stay with you,
    Three rousing cheers for the class of ’15,
    They are the best we’ve ever seen!”

(Angela never was satisfied with the last line.) Louise Preston was
sitting with Lois and Polly on either side of her, and as the song
ended, she put her arm around each of them.

“This has been the very best party of the whole year,” she said, “and I
think I know something about the way the wonderful box came to be here.”

Polly and Lois tried to appear very innocent, but it was of no use.
Finally Polly said:

“Well, perhaps you do, but please don’t tell any one what you know.”

“All right, I promise,” Louise said, “but I will tell _you_ two this
much—you’re quite the sweetest children in the school, and I can’t tell
you how much I and the rest of the Seniors appreciate all the things you
have done for us this year.”

“I’ll tell you how you can—” laughed Lois “—by letting us help some
more.”

It was now the Seniors’ turn to cheer, and they did it most heartily,
calling each Freshman’s name in turn. Then Betty, who was very full of
turkey and bananas, got up to make a speech.

“‘Friends, Romans and Countrymen,’” she began, “lend me your ears.” Then
mimicking the chaplain, she continued: “My dear young friends, tonight
has been one of the pleasures never to be forgotten. The bacon was
perhaps not all that it might have been, but surely we can afford to
overlook that in the face of this blessed turkey.”

“Somebody throw something at Betty; she’s off,” Angela called.

“Come and help reload,” suggested Connie.

With a few muttered remarks about an unappreciative audience, Betty
brought her speech to a laughing close and turned to, with a will, to
replace the rugs and pillows. In a short time everything was in, and the
wagon started for home.

It was a glorious ride. The Freshmen repeated their song and cheered and
cheered the Seniors, and the Seniors returned the compliment.

When there was a lull in the singing, as they passed through the
village, Betty, almost asleep in the hay, grunted:

“You may all thank me for this party; it never would have happened if I
hadn’t squashed that bally lemon.”

The wagon drew up under the Bridge of Sighs, just as the big school
clock tolled ten o’clock. The girls parted with many thanks on both
sides, and they were all conscious that they would remember this as the
jolliest evening of the year.

As Polly and Lois said good night in the latter’s room, Lois said:

“Well, it was a success, and no one but Bet and Louise guessed about the
box.”

“Wasn’t it!” agreed Polly. “I’m awfully glad we thought of it; we’d have
starved if we hadn’t. I think the Seniors enjoyed it, too. Isn’t Louise
a darling? Do you know, Lo, if I wasn’t so strongly opposed to
‘crushes,’ I might get an awful one on Louise.”

“Could you?” smiled Lois in reply. “I’ll tell you a secret—I’ve had
quite a desperate one on her myself for two years.”

Later, as Polly slipped into bed, she said aloud to the pictures on the
wall:

“What a wonderful box it was.” And closing her eyes she murmured
sleepily: “Bless Uncle Roddy’s heart.”



CHAPTER XV

VISITORS


Lois bounded up the stairs, two steps at a time, waving a yellow
telegram in the air and shrieking: “Polly!” at the top of her lungs. Not
finding her friend in the corridor, she started for the gym, and
discovered her there vigorously bouncing the basket-ball.

“Polly, come here quick,” she cried; “I’ve just had a wire from Dad
saying he, mother and Bob are coming up here this afternoon.”

Polly tucked the ball under one arm and put the other on Lois’ shoulder.

“Are they really?” she asked delightedly. “What time?”

“The wire doesn’t tell, just says, this afternoon. They may be here any
minute.” Then rubbing her cheek against Polly’s she added, coaxingly:

“You’ll help me entertain them won’t you, Poll, and stay with us all the
time they’re here? Promise.”

Polly made a wild attempt to throw the ball in the basket, half way
across the room as she answered:

“Of course I will, what do you want me to do?”

“Hurry and get out of your suit first,” said Lois. “I’m going to ask
Mrs. Baird about the trains.”

Polly hurried to her room to change, and was just tying her sailor tie,
when Lois knocked at the door.

“They can’t get here until three thirty,” she announced. “So there’s
loads of time.”

Polly had almost completed her dressing.

“What are you going to do with them?” she asked, giving a vigorous, last
brush to her wavy hair and straightening her bows.

“They’ve seen the grounds, haven’t they?”

“Bob never has,” Lois answered. Then, after a minute of thoughtful
silence:

“Polly, what are we going to do with them? Mother and Father are all
right but Bob’s sure to do something awful, he’s such a tease.”

“Oh, don’t worry about him,” laughed Polly; “if the worst comes to the
worst, you can take him out of bounds.”

In spite of this suggestion, Lois’ brows remained puckered and her
expression worried. She was not thinking so much about how to amuse Bob.
She was wondering how, now that these two were at last to meet, they
would like each other. Suppose they didn’t like each other at all!
Dreadful thought; Polly might think Bob too grown up and quiet, and Bob
might think her “a silly girl.” Lois looked forlorn when she
contemplated such an outcome to this meeting.

She still wore a puzzled expression as she waited on the steps a little
later, watching for the first sign of the Station Carriage. At three
o’clock it came in sight around the first bend of the road. When it
reached the porte-cochère, her father was the first to get out and he
almost smothered Lois in his big hug.

Big, was the word that described Dr. Farwell, everything about him was
big. His broad shoulders, his well shaped hands, his kindly deep set
blue eyes, even his voice, which appeared to come from his boots as he
asked:

“How is this little daughter of mine?”

“Oh, Daddie, dear, I’m so glad to see you. I’m perfectly fine,” Lois
answered excitedly and then turned to greet her mother.

“Darling Lois,” Mrs. Farwell whispered, kissing her, and:

“Sweetheart mother,” Lois whispered back. That was all. Mother and
daughter understood each other so well, that there was no need for
words.

“Well, don’t I get even a how d’ye do?” demanded a laughing voice. And a
big hand fell on Lois’ shoulder.

“Why, Bobbie—but of course you do, I’m so glad to see you, I could eat
you up,” she cried.

“Eat this instead, won’t you?” said Bob, producing a big white
cardboard box. “It’s a chocolate cake—it won’t be quite so tough. Heppy
made it for you, and she said she ‘sho’ did hope her baby chile would
like it.’”

“Bless Heppy’s heart, she’s a darling, give me the box, you’re sure to
drop it.”

“I like that, after I’ve carried it all the way here. I’ve a good mind
to feed it to the horse,” Bob threatened.

“Hadn’t you better take us to the reception-room, dear?” Mrs. Farwell
reminded. “We want to say how do you do to Mrs. Baird.”

Lois led, dancing every step of the way. At the door of the room she
pointed to a cozy group of chairs in the corner. “You wait here,” she
said, “and I’ll go tell her; she’s always in her office at this time.”

“Thank you, dear, and oh, can’t we meet Polly?” asked her mother and Dr.
Farwell added:

“Yes, of course we must meet Roddy’s niece.”

Lois called back, “I’ll get her first, I have Mrs. Baird’s permission.”
And disappeared down the corridor. On reaching Freshman Lane she knocked
at Polly’s door.

“Polly, they’re here, hurry up.”

“Wait a minute, I’m changing my shoes,” Polly answered.

But she did not add, for the fourth time:

“Whatever for?”

“Oh, my others needed a shine.”

“Well, hurry up, do. When you’re ready come down to the reception hall.
I’ll meet you.”

And Lois was off again, but instead of returning to her family, she
suddenly remembered Mrs. Baird, and went off in search of her.

When Polly reached the reception-room, after deciding the weighty
question of shoes, she found Bobbie, all six feet of him, blocking the
doorway.

He was standing with his hands behind him, his head thrown back, and his
eyes fixed intently on a colored print of Venice that hung to the right
of the door.

Dr. Farwell was hidden by the piano. Farther back in the room Mrs.
Farwell was looking out of the window and smiling. She had thrown back
her dark brown feather boa, that so nearly matched her eyes, and Polly
could see a waterfall of soft cream lace at her neck; her hands were in
her lap, and she tapped the floor with one ridiculously tiny foot.

As Polly slowly approached the door she thought, wistfully, “What a
darling to have for a mother,” and then, “how under the sun will I ever
get past Bob. Well, I’m here now and I can’t run.” And taking her
courage in both hands, she walked the rest of the way to the door, and
after a nervous little cough, said:

“I beg your pardon.”

Bob, startled from his reverie, turned, and seeing her, jumped to one
side.

“Oh, I’m sorry! excuse me, I—” In his confusion he backed into the piano
stool and sat down suddenly without meaning to.

At the sound, Doctor and Mrs. Farwell both looked up, and the Doctor
said:

“Why, Bob, what—?” and then laughed.

Mrs. Farwell took in the situation at a glance, and went over to Polly,
who was blushing violently, with outstretched hand.

“I’m sure you must be Polly,” she said. “Lois has written me so much
about you, that I know I can’t be mistaken.”

“How do you do, Mrs. Farwell?” Polly answered shyly. “I am Polly. Lois
said to come down, that she’d be here.”

“She’s looking for Mrs. Baird,” Mrs. Farwell explained.

“Do let me present my husband to you.”

“So this is Polly?” said the Doctor. “I am delighted to see you, my
dear. I used to know Roddy well. You and he were so good to Lois
Christmas vacation that I don’t know how to thank you enough.”

“And this is my son, Bob,” Mrs. Farwell continued, without giving Polly
a chance to reply.

Bob held out a big hand,

“How do you do Miss Pendleton?”

“How do you do, Mr. Farwell?”

They said together, and then both fell into a confused silence.

Fortunately, Lois entered at that moment.

“Oh, there you are, Polly,” she said. “Mrs. Baird will be here right
away, mother. You and Dad stay here and talk to her, and Polly and I
will take Bob for a walk, and show him the grounds.”

The two girls ran up stairs for their sweaters, and in a jiffy they were
leading Bob towards the gym.

At first, Lois did most of the talking, for Polly and Bob were very
quiet.

The one was thinking: “If Lo had been there I would not have been so
embarrassed.”

And the other: “Of all the brilliant ways of meeting a girl, falling
over a chair is the best! I am the Clumsiest, etc., etc.”

But as they entered the gym Polly forgot her shyness, and as she rattled
on about basket-ball and the coming Field Day, Bob was able to console
his injured pride with the thought that after all, she was only one of
his kid sister’s friends.

In the course of their walk, which led them past all the landmarks in
the grounds, they talked to each other with the ease of old friends, and
Bob had started to tease.

“Lois says you play basket-ball wonderfully,” he said to Polly, as they
tramped through the woods on their way to the old fort.

“I don’t play half as well as she does,” she answered. “Besides, she
knows nothing about it; I’ve never played in a big game. Perhaps if I
did, I’d lose my nerve.”

“You almost played once,” Lois reminded her.

“What happened?”

“I sprained my ankle instead.”

“Oh, was that the time you were so plucky about giving the fire alarm?
That was great; Lo wrote me about it.”

“What else could I have done? I couldn’t very well let the place burn
down, could I?” Polly asked, smiling a little self-consciously.

“I suppose not,” Bob said aloud. Adding to himself, “For a girl as young
as she is, she’s remarkably sensible.”

They walked on in silence, taking long swinging strides.

The thump, thump of their footsteps echoed and reëchoed in the silent
woods. They reached the top of Fort Hill and stopped for a minute to
get their breath. The wind blew the girls’ hair about their flushed
faces and sent eddies of last fall’s brown leaves swirling along the
path before them.

Across the Hudson the sun was already half hidden by the hills. Below
them the old stone fort sprawled half way down the steep slope that led
to the river.

Bob’s eyes rested on it inquiringly—“Hello, what have we here?” he
asked.

“That’s the old fort, built in the Revolution by the Americans to defend
themselves against the attacking British,” Lois recited, in a sing song
voice. “It is said that at the brook we just crossed General George
Washington once watered his horse while the founder of Seddon Hall held
the bridle,” she continued, smiling mischievously at her brother.

It was the tale that was told to all the new girls at school and there
were always a few who believed it.

Bob laughed heartily.

“Come, Sis, that’s too much, but you told it well. Why don’t you add
that Washington and his staff made the reception-room their
headquarters?”

“I will the next time I tell it,” Lois chuckled, pleased at the idea.

Polly had wandered off a little way down the slope, presently she
called:

“Lo, do you remember the first time we came out here?”

“Yes, of course I do; we were getting greens for the Seniors. We talked
so much we were nearly late for luncheon.”

“Doesn’t it seem ages ago? By the way, what time is it?”

Bob pulled out his watch.

“It’s five, ten,” he said.

“It’s fate,” exclaimed Polly; “we are always late when we come to the
fort.”

“Poor Mother and Dad, we’ll have to hustle,” said Lois.

They looked regretfully at the wonderful orange sky, turned, and with
the wind at their backs, started off in the direction of the school.

Half an hour later, breathless from hurrying, they entered the
reception-room and found Dr. and Mrs. Farwell still talking to Mrs.
Baird, and lingering over the remains of their tea.

“Enjoyed your walk?” asked Mrs. Farwell.

“We’ve had such a cozy tea party that we haven’t had time to miss you,”
the Doctor added.

Mrs. Baird acknowledged the compliment with a smile.

“If the girls are to go out to dinner,” she said, “I think they had
better go upstairs and dress: it’s almost six o’clock.”

“Are we going out to dinner?” exclaimed Lois.

“Yes, both of you,” replied Mrs. Farwell; “so hurry up.”

“Thank you so much, it’s ever so kind of you to ask me, too,” said
Polly, suddenly mindful of Aunt Hannah and her instructions in manners,
then, as suddenly forgetting them:

“What a lark, we’ll be ready in a jiffy,” and catching Lois by the arm
she dragged her up stairs.

The Village hotel, under Dr. Farwell’s insistent demands, produced a
passably good dinner. Every one was in such high spirits that the time
flew by.

“Isn’t it funny,” laughed Lois, as they delayed finishing their cream
and cake, “to be having dinner here with my family? Last time it was
with Uncle Roddy.”

“Yes, isn’t it?” agreed Polly. “I wonder what happened to the parrot?”

The waiter, who was passing the coffee, heard the question and said
sadly:

“He died a month ago, Miss—of a cold in his head. We miss him sore,” he
added dolefully.

“What a shame!” exclaimed Polly and Lois together.

“I’ll have to write Uncle Roddy and tell him,” and Polly tried hard not
to look amused.

The waiter looked grateful and after a polite “Thank you, Miss,” left
the room solemnly shaking his head.

The trouble with a good time is that there is always an end in sight. We
often don’t look for it, and then pretend it’s not there. But we’re sure
to find it sooner or later lurking around the corner somewhere.

The end of this particular good time took the shape of the train to
Albany, and the accusing hands of the hotel clock warned the Farwells of
its near approach.

They saw the girls back to Seddon Hall and after repeated good-bys,
drove off down the hill.

Polly and Lois watched the lamp on the carriage until it disappeared
around a bend in the road.

“All over,” sighed Lois, unwillingly coming back to earth. “And we
missed study hour, and there’s a Latin test tomorrow.”

“Oh, bother Latin, we can get up early in the morning and cram. Lo, your
mother and father are the dearest people I ever met. I mean it, truly,”
said Polly.

Lois looked at her intently. They were on the porch and it was dark—

“Don’t you like Bob a little tiny bit, too?” she asked mischievously.

And Polly answered with provoking indifference:

“Why, of course.”



CHAPTER XVI

GHOSTS


“Do you think you passed?” asked Betty, joining Angela and Polly in the
schoolroom corridor. It was the third day of examination week and the
Freshmen had just finished the Literature exam.

“I hope so,” Polly answered. “It was awfully fair, don’t you think?”

“Yes; but tell me one thing,” Angela insisted, coming to a standstill
and putting her hands on Betty’s shoulder. “What did you say for the
hint that Portia gave Bassanio about the caskets?”

“Why, the song—‘Tell me where is fancy bred, in the heart or in the
head?’” Betty answered.

“Don’t you see” (Polly took up the explanation), “bred and head and all
the other lines ended in a word that rimed with lead, and Portia hoped
that Bassanio would think of that and choose the right casket.”

“Too deep for me. I do remember, now, Miss Porter saying something about
it, but I skipped that question,” replied Angela. “Still, I think I
passed.”

They were on their way to Polly’s room, but before they reached her
door, Lois overtook them.

“Horrible news!” she announced. “Latin exam. this afternoon instead of
tomorrow!”

“It can’t be. How do you know?” demanded Betty.

“Saw it posted on the bulletin board.”

“That woman’s a fiend,” Polly groaned. “I intended cramming this whole
afternoon, and now what’s to be done?”

“Anything particular you want to know?” Angela inquired. “Perhaps I can
help you out a bit.”

“No, there’s no use; you’d have to begin from the very beginning,”
replied Polly, looking disconsolately out of the window at the glorious
spring day.

Betty ruffled her hair and frowned.

“Something ought to be done to rile the Spartan,” she said. “What shall
it be?”

“She knows most of us will flunk,” remarked Lois. “I suppose she’ll be
beastly sarcastic.”

Angela, who had been curled up on the window seat and had apparently
been paying no attention to the conversation, suddenly remarked:

“Give me a pencil, some one. I’ve an idea; it’s not very clever, but it
may annoy the Spartan.”

“What is it?” they all demanded.

But Angela refused to tell. She got up, stretched lazily, and without a
word to any one, left the room. In a few minutes she was back, wearing a
thoroughly satisfied smile.

“Please tell us where you’ve been,” teased Betty. “I’m bursting with
curiosity.”

“Why, I’ve been to the bulletin board. I wrote a little note to the
Spartan.”

That was quite enough for the girls. They flew over to the study hall
corridor and crowded around the board. There at the end of the notice of
the Latin examination, written in a big round hand, were the words:

“I came, I saw, I looked, I ran, I flew, I flunked!”

“Oh, that’s too lovely for words!” gloated Lois. “Angela darling, I’ll
love you forever.”

“Come on back to my room,” urged Polly. “We don’t want the Spartan to
see us here; she’ll know who did it.”

“You’re right; we had better fly. But O Jemima, wouldn’t I love to watch
her face when she first sees it!” chuckled Betty.

Once back in Polly’s room the girls lapsed into silence and all opened
Latin books, which doesn’t mean, however, that they studied. Betty was
wondering what particular chapter Miss Hale would choose for
translation; Angela’s thoughts were busy with a possible rhyme about the
hard-heartedness of the Spartan, and Lois and Polly were thinking of the
promised walk with Louise, which would have to be given up.

It was Connie who interrupted their thoughts by banging on the door.

“May I come in?” she called.

“Yes; we are all in the depths of despair, but you may come in if you
want to,” Polly called dolefully.

“Sweet fight going on in Senior Alley,” Connie began after she had
entered the room. “I’ve been down there ever since I came out of the
exam, and I heard all about it.”

“Well, for goodness’ sake, tell us what’s the matter,” demanded Angela.

“Don’t be impatient, I’m going to. Listen: Agnes Green,” Connie
commenced (Agnes was one of the Seniors and the kind of girl who always
had a grudge against some one), “is furious at Louise; you know she
always has disliked her because Lu didn’t put her on the team. Well, it
seems that the Senior class is divided as to whether or not they should
wear white shoes on Commencement. Louise wants to and Agnes doesn’t.”

“Of course she doesn’t,” Polly interrupted angrily. “That girl would
disagree with her own shadow! But go on.”

“That’s about all I know,” resumed Connie. “Agnes railed at Louise; said
she had always influenced the class the wrong way; was unfair, and I
don’t know what. When I left, Louise was in tears.”

Connie stopped for breath and then began again.

“And here’s another little bit of news, which will make you love Agnes
some more: it seems that her brother and a friend of his from college
are coming up here to see her tomorrow. You know the Latin examinations
were fixed for then, so what does dear Agnes do but ask the Spartan to
change the time so that she can chaperon her and brother and brother’s
friend on a nice long drive. Naturally the Spartan jumped at the idea
and arranged to give all her exams this very afternoon. Now just what do
you think of that?” she finished, flourishing her arms in the air.

The girls were speechless with rage. Finally Betty managed to say:

“Of course we knew about it; that’s what we’ve been holding an
indignation meeting over, but we didn’t know whose fault it was.”

“Well, you know it now,” replied Connie, “and I know that I have to go
and study; so long, everybody.”

“I suppose I’d better, too,” sighed Betty. “Come and help me, Angela.
Jove! I hope it pours rain tomorrow and that Agnes and the Spartan both
get drowned!” And Betty, having given vent to her feelings, left the
room, taking Angela with her.

Lois and Polly, left alone, faced each other, all thoughts of Latin
forgotten.

“What’s to be done?” Polly demanded.

“I don’t know,” Lois answered. “We can’t do much, but I would like
Louise to know how we feel about it.”

“We have time to pick her some violets and send them up to her before
luncheon,” Polly suggested.

“That’s a good idea; she’ll understand from that.”

The violets were soon gathered and a willing Sophomore was found to
deliver them.

When Lois and Polly saw the rest of their class again, they were at
luncheon, and Lois asked:

“How did you get on with your cramming, Bet?”

“Oh, don’t! My poor brain is in a dreadful whirl,” groaned Betty. “But
did you see the bulletin board?” she added.

“Why? Has the time for the exam been changed again?”

“No, but the Spartan has put up a new notice. Isn’t that a scream?” And
Betty chuckled gleefully.

“That is funny,” agreed Lois, “but I do hope some of the girls saw
Angela’s note before it was taken down.”

“They did all right; there was a crowd standing in front of it, howling
with laughter, when the Spartan arrived. Dot Mead was there and she told
me. Oh, the Spartan’s in a sweet rage!” Betty assured them.

“Nothing to what she’ll be in when she sees my paper,” spoke up Connie.
“Ah, me, we can’t do more than flunk. If I could only have had this
afternoon to study! Drat Agnes Green!”

Lois and Polly exchanged glances and the conversation changed to other
subjects.

The much-talked-of and dreaded Latin exam, was not nearly so terrible
after all. Although Miss Hale was a very disagreeable person, she was
also a very good teacher, and the girls found the answers to the
questions much more easily than they had expected.

Lois and Polly handed in their papers about the same time. A few minutes
later they met in the corridor, and with a sigh of relief joined arms
and sauntered off in the direction of their rooms. Polly said:

“Lois, I’ve an idea—about Agnes, I mean; I’ve been thinking it out all
the time I was taking the exam, and I’ve thought of a plan.”

“What is it?” questioned Lois. “I couldn’t think of a thing except
killing her, and that wouldn’t do. Did you see Louise smile at us at
luncheon? Bless her heart!”

“Yes, but listen,” Polly insisted. “Here’s my plan. Tonight, after the
Senior ‘lights out’ bell, we are going down the fire escape and get on
the roof of the porch. Agnes’ room is the second from the end, and I
happen to know she leaves her window down from the top. We will knock
gently—”

“But she’s sure to know it’s some of the girls,” interrupted Lois. “No
one ever thinks of burglars up here.”

“I don’t want her to think of burglars,” Polly replied solemnly. “I want
her to think of ghosts.”

“Oh, I see. We’re going to play spooks. What a lark! But how are we to
do it?”

“I haven’t quite decided about the details, but I will before tonight.
Lo, I’m going to give that girl the scare of her life!”

And Polly kept her word. That night at 10.15 the Seniors were awakened
by a scream of terror from Agnes Green’s room. She said she had seen a
ghost. As the girls were trying to assure her, two figures in long capes
were softly stealing back up the fire escape.

“I tell you it _was_ ghosts!” Agnes insisted, in tears. “It had four
arms, long white ones, and it waved them and moaned.” And she covered
her head with the blankets and shivered at the thought.

Upstairs the two figures had reached Lois’ room.

“I hope she doesn’t die of fright,” whispered one.

“So do I, but I hope she’s good and scared. That was a splendid idea of
yours to wear those long-sleeved kimonos,” answered the other.

“Good night,” said the first, and slipped out to her own room.

“Good night,” replied the second. “Louise and Latin are both avenged.”

The next morning Agnes stayed in bed for breakfast, and the Seniors said
she had had a nightmare, and it had made her very nervous.

Polly and Lois were rather heavy-eyed and kept exchanging glances.

Of course no one suspected them of having anything to do with Agnes’
dream, that is, no one except Louise. She met them in the corridor after
breakfast and whispered very softly:

“Thank you for my beautiful violets and ‘the ghost.’ I understood and I
think you’re both darlings!”

That was all they ever heard on the subject.

Agnes’ brother and his friend arrived, and with the Spartan for
chaperon, they went for a drive, but Agnes said she didn’t enjoy it as
much as she had expected to, she was so dreadfully upset.



CHAPTER XVII

POLLY INTERVENES


Polly had just washed her hair, and she was sitting on her shirt waist
box before the open window drying it. It was a gloriously warm, sunshiny
day and the twitter of birds, the spring smell of the earth and the lazy
hellos of the girls as they greeted one another on the campus below,
gave her a drowsy feeling of contentment. Exams were nearly all over,
and every one seemed to be just waiting in happy anticipation of
Commencement.

Except for a short talk by Mrs. Baird after dinner it was to be a free
evening and the girls had been granted permission to stay out of doors
until it was really dark. Mrs. Baird had said that now was the time to
take a big deep breath before rushing into the coming week of
excitement.

Polly, half asleep, felt the top of her head and found it nearly dry—she
shifted her position to a half kneeling one, shook her hair over her
face so that the sun might shine on the back of it, and cradling her
head on her arm resumed her dreaming.

“I wonder where Lo is,” she mused—“probably practicing in the gym with
Bet. I wish I hadn’t washed my hair. It seems awfully silly to waste
this beautiful day just breathing. I wonder what we could do. Why
doesn’t Lo come up; she knows I can’t go out. I believe I’m lonesome.”
Polly sat up as this thought took shape in her mind. “How absurd,” she
said aloud. And then she laughed. It was funny to think that after all
the years she had spent alone that she could so soon forget how to amuse
herself. It was the first time she had realized what a difference Seddon
Hall had made to her.

“I’d better get used to it,” she said again, but she looked very doleful
at the prospect.

A few minutes later, as she was feeling sorry for herself, a rap sounded
at the door and Lois’ voice called:

“Oh, Poll, are you there?”

“Yes, come in.”

“I’ve been looking all over the place for you.”

“I told you I was going to wash my hair.”

“Well, if you did I forgot it, and I’ve been all over the grounds trying
to find you.” Lois poked her head out of the window. “She’s here, Bet,
come on up,” she called. “We have a plan for tonight,” she continued;
“it’s too nice to waste time just roaming around.”

“That’s what I’ve been thinking. What are you going to do?”

Polly, now quite awake, was rubbing her head with the towel in an
attempt to hurry the drying.

“Nothing very exciting, it’s Bet’s suggestion.”

“I like that,” Betty herself burst in upon them. “Not very exciting,
just one of Betty’s silly ideas.” Lois and Polly laughed heartily.
Nothing was quite so amusing as Betty trying to look offended.

“It’s a perfectly good idea, Poll,” Betty continued, “and fits in with
this nice lazy day.”

“What is it?”

“Just a walk to the fort after dinner. Of course when we get there, we
can sing and—”

“Thrilling, Bet, thrilling,” teased Lois, but Polly made her stop by
pushing her down on the bed and stuffing a pillow over her mouth. To
Betty she said:

“It’s a bully idea. It ought to be wonderful near the river tonight.
Who’s going?”

Lois struggled under the pillow. “I’ll be good, let me up,” she pleaded.
“Ugh! you nearly smothered me. I’ll tell you who’s going. We are, of
course, and Ange and Connie, and the two Dorothys, because one of them
can sing, and perhaps Florence and Louise and—oh, anybody else that
wants to come along.”

“Who’ll chaperon?”

“Oh, I never thought of that.”

“Let’s ask Miss Porter; I know she’d like it.” It was Polly’s
suggestion.

“Fine, she’s just the one.”

“Not if the two Dorothys come,” Betty said decidedly. “Have you
forgotten the row in class?”

“Then let’s drop the two Dorothys,” replied Lois.

“Wait, I’ve an idea,” Polly exclaimed; “let’s ask only the girls we like
awfully well. We don’t know when we’ll ever be together again and—”

“Oh, Poll!” Lois protested. “Don’t talk like that.”

“Well, we don’t know. Louise and Florence graduate; Connie may go to the
conservatory, and Ange—”

“I see what you mean,” Betty interrupted. “Make it a sort of farewell
reunion and of course we’ll take Miss Porter—she’s our favorite
teacher.”

“It’ll be worse than a funeral,” Lois said dolefully, “but it’s rather a
pretty idea.”

“Lo, stop being sentimental; let’s get the girls,” suggested Betty.
“Poll, hurry up and fix your hair.”

“It’s still sopping.”

“Never mind, stick it up any way. It’s too warm to make any difference.”

Later they stopped to consult on the “Bridge of Sighs.” They had asked
Angela and Connie, and Louise and Florence, and had left them delighted
with the plan. Louise and Florence had a class meeting on, but they
promised to come for a little while.

“Who else?” asked Betty, expectantly.

“I don’t know,” replied Polly; “I can’t think of any one.”

“Neither can I,” Lois added, “except Miss Porter.”

“Why, that’s perfectly silly; don’t tell me there are only four girls in
school we like,” protested Betty.

“You’re forgetting ourselves,” Lois reminded her.

“Yes, but even then.”

“Let’s each choose one other girl,” suggested Polly. “Lo, you first, who
do you want?”

Lois puckered her eyebrows and tried hard to think; finally she said, “I
just don’t want any one else and that’s the truth.”

Polly smiled, “Bet, it’s your turn; who do you want?”

“Mine? All right, let’s see. I like a lot of girls—there’s you and Lois
and Ange and Connie—and—Oh, Jemima, but you’re all going and I can’t
think of any one else, can you?”

“No, I can’t,” Polly said, laughing, “so that’s settled. Let’s go and
ask Miss Porter.”

They found the English teacher in a perfect ocean of examination papers,
a daub of red ink on one ear.

“Come in, girls, I suppose you want to know if you’ve passed,” she said,
smiling the welcome she always felt for this particular trio.

“Why, our papers aren’t corrected are they?” Betty asked, excitedly. “I
thought it would be days before we knew.”

“Oh, please tell us,” begged Polly.

“Not until I hear why you came,” Miss Porter said.

“Oh, no, tell us our marks first, please, please, please,” Lois
beseeched.

“Very well, I will. I’m too delighted to keep it to myself another
minute,” Miss Porter’s eyes snapped. “You all passed wonderfully well—I
can’t tell you your marks, that wouldn’t be fair to the rest, but I am
so proud of you all.”

They accepted this unexpected good news with delight. Literature was
more important to them than any other subject.

“Oh, great.”

“Isn’t that bully!”

“I was scared to death, the examination was so hard.”

“Now tell me why you came.” Miss Porter put down her pen and waited.

“Will you?”

“We thought—”

“Tonight—” They all began at once.

“It’s your idea, Poll, go on,” Lois said.

“Well,” Polly began.

“Polly, Polly,” Miss Porter chided, “all your wells will surely make an
ocean and drown you some one of these days.”

“Oh, I know it, but it’s such an easy way to begin a sentence. I won’t
do it again.” Polly took a long breath.

“You know tonight there is nothing to do, and we thought it would be
nice to go for a walk, out to the fort, just we three, and Angela and
Connie; Florence and Louise said they’d come for a little while if they
could.”

“Yes, and?” Miss Porter asked inquiringly.

“Oh, well, of course, we want you to come, too,” Polly ended, rather
lamely.

Miss Porter sat very still for a minute and then she smiled, and when
Miss Porter smiled it was a rare treat. If you watched her long enough
you always ended by smiling, too. “That is a jolly idea,” she said,
enthusiastically. “Of course I’ll come. I can’t think of any nicer way
of spending this lovely evening.” Then suddenly her face fell. “Oh, my
dear children, I forgot.”

“What?” they demanded.

“We haven’t a free evening at all. We are to have a lecture.”

“You mean Mrs. Baird? But she’s only going to tell us the plans for next
week; it won’t take a minute,” Betty said assuringly.

“No, that’s not it; this is another quite unexpected lecture. Mrs. Baird
told the faculty about it after luncheon, but it slipped my mind.”

“Oh,” Lois groaned, “what’s it to be?”

“A lecture on New England during the Revolution, by Professor Hale.”

“Hale? The Spartan—Miss Porter, did she have anything to do with it?”
Betty’s eyes flashed indignation.

“The Professor is Miss Hale’s cousin, I believe, and she was responsible
for his coming. I think the lecture will be a very interesting one. He
is going to show pictures.” Miss Porter tried to be cheerful.

“Lantern slides?” demanded Polly.

“Yes, I believe that’s it. I’m sorry about the walk, it would have been
so nice.” Miss Porter looked wistfully out of the window, as if she
could see the old fort bathed in moonlight that very second. “But I am
sure we will enjoy the lecture,” she added hastily. The girls knew that
no matter how strongly Miss Porter sympathized with them she would not
permit a word against Miss Hale.

They left in silence and waited until they were in Polly’s room, with
the door closed, before they gave vent to their feelings.

Lois threw herself on the bed in despair. “If that isn’t the meanest
thing I ever heard of.”

“To have to stay in on an evening like this and listen to History,”
Betty raged.

“History and the Spartan’s cousin,” Lois, cross as she was, could not
help laughing at the combination.

“I suppose it’s to get even; we weren’t awfully pleasant about the Latin
exam.” Betty was jumping at conclusions.

“Oh, Bet, how silly.” Polly turned from her place at the window. “The
Spartan’s not as bad as all that, she probably thinks we’ll enjoy it.”

“Yes, she does,” Betty was skeptical.

“Polly, talk sense,” Lois begged. “How could any one think that we’d
rather listen to—Oh, mercy, when I think of it—the Revolution, battles
and dates—Maybe the Spartan means well, only—”

But Polly was again looking out of the window. Her eye traveled over the
familiar objects. The tennis court, the gym roof, and a little farther
on, the corner of the stables and the power house. Something in the
queer shaped little stone building caught her attention.

Betty was still raving. “But Lo, that’s not the worst of it, we’ll have
to look at millions and hundreds of postal cards, while the Spartan’s
cousin explains them like this:

“My dear young ladies,” Betty snatched up a nail file from Polly’s
dresser and pointed to a picture on the wall; “in the foreground of this
beautiful picture, we have the exact spot where five minute men fell
after a heroic encounter with the British, in the year—”

“Oh, Bet, do stop; it’s too horrible. Can’t we cut?” There was a
moment’s silence.

“We cut one lecture,” Polly said with meaning.

“And we promised Mrs. Baird we’d never do it again,” Lois finished for
her.

Polly whistled softly and reached for her sweater.

“Where are you going?” Betty demanded.

“For a walk, and I don’t want any company,” Polly replied, going out
quietly and shutting the door.

Lois and Betty were too surprised to speak. And when they had recovered
sufficiently to go out and follow Polly, it was too late, for Polly had
chosen the most unlikely spot for her walk.

At dinner that night, Mrs. Baird announced the lecture. It was received
with respectful silence. The rest of the girls were quite as
disappointed as Lois and Betty had been—Polly was the only cheerful one
at the Freshman table, and Betty whispered to Lois:

“I can’t make Polly out; she acts as if she were pleased.”

“Poll,” Lois appealed direct, “what is the matter with you, do you
really think you are going to like this lecture?”

Polly smiled an inscrutable smile—“History is my favorite lesson,” she
said primly.

After dinner she disappeared. There would be fifteen minutes before the
lecture began and she had enough to do to fill each one. She went
straight to the power house. Pat was standing in the doorway, his pipe
in his mouth, and an expression on his face that boded ill to all
lectures.

“Beautiful evening, isn’t it?” Polly greeted him.

Pat looked surprised. “Oh, you’re back again. What is it you want to
know now?” he asked.

“Nothing much, I just thought it would be fun to see you fix up the
connection for the lantern,” Polly answered idly.

“Sure, it’s all fixed. I’m sorry; had I knowed you was that interested,
I’d a waited.”

“Oh, pshaw.” Polly looked very crestfallen.

“It’s an easy matter to show you how it’s done, though. Come inside.”

After a lengthy and voluble discourse on the one hand, and eager
attention on the other, Polly asked:

“So, really, if you just pulled down that switch the lantern wouldn’t
work up at school?”

“Not till it was turned on again, but why—”

“Pat,” Polly interrupted hastily, “don’t you think it’s time to go up to
school? They can’t begin without you.”

Pat’s face fell and he sighed reproachfully.

“There, I suppose you’re right; I’ll be getting my coat.”

“Pat, do you like to work the lantern for lecture?”

“I do not; well, that’s not always.”

“How about tonight?”

“Tonight?” Pat hesitated, tried to keep his reserve, and then gave it
up. “It’s like this, Miss, tonight I made plans to go to the village,
and so you can see that this lecture coming sudden like, is not, in a
manner of speaking, welcome to me.”

“Hard luck; I’m sorry,” Polly said airily. “It can’t be helped, though;
I guess we’d better start.” They left the power house and had gone about
a hundred feet when Polly stopped.

“Gracious, Pat, I’ve left my Latin book in the power house. I’ll have to
go back for it. There goes the bell; you’d better hurry.”

Professor Irvington Hale mounted the platform in Assembly room at
exactly seven-fifteen. He was a young old man with a knotty forehead and
very large ears. He wore horn rim glasses and he carried a black ebony
pointer in one hand. Betty described him adequately when she whispered
to Lois: “He’s an owl.”

Lois smothered a giggle and turned to Polly—They were all sitting in the
front row. “Two hours of that; O dear.”

Polly was occupied in watching Mr. Hale, very closely. She only said:
“Oh, cheer up,” and kept on watching.

“Good evening, young ladies. I—er—have the pleasure to address you this
evening on New England and its historical past—” The professor was
already stumbling on his way. After his opening remark he coughed,
shifted his feet, and consulted a card that he held in the palm of one
hand. “First picture, please,” he said rather abruptly.

The lights were turned out promptly, and the girls settled down with a
sigh of resignation.

They waited, no picture came; the white curtain waved ghost-like in the
dark. The younger girls began to giggle nervously and then some one
turned on the light. Mrs. Baird went to the back of the room.

“What’s the matter, Pat, is there something wrong with the lantern?”

Pat scratched his head in solemn wonder. “Sure, there should be nothing
wrong with it,” he said.

“Perhaps the trouble is at the power house,” Mrs. Baird suggested. “You
better go as quickly as possible and find out. And in the meantime,” she
continued, returning to the platform, “perhaps Professor Hale will talk
to us.”

But Professor Hale would not, could not. He had just his lecture, all
learned by heart. A picture slipped in at the wrong time would have
seriously upset him. He fled from the very idea of attempting to talk
against time to this room full of fluttering beribboned young ladies. He
refused point-blank—

The school waited restlessly for Pat’s return. It was prompt. Mrs. Baird
rose as he entered, and there followed a low voiced and very lengthy
explanation in which the words “wouldn’t happen in a hundred years,”
“short circuit,” and “sorry to disappoint the gentleman,” entered
repeatedly.

Mrs. Baird explained that it would be impossible to fix the lantern that
night, and tried again to induce Professor Hale to give a short talk,
but to no avail. He departed with the Spartan without another word.

“There will be no lecture tonight, girls,” Mrs. Baird announced, “and
you may go out as you planned to do. Don’t go too far away from the
house and be sure and return promptly when you hear the bell.” And
glancing at the clock she added, smiling: “You haven’t lost much time.”

It was the merriest of parties that set out a few minutes later for the
old fort.

Lois and Betty tried their hardest to find out just how Polly was
responsible, for responsible they knew she was, but Polly refused to say
anything. Her eyes danced with fun and impishness as she insisted it was
really too bad that they’d had to miss the lecture. When the others
joined them Lois and Betty dropped the subject. They sang all the school
songs, and did a great deal of speculating about the future. Miss Porter
told story after story of college.

“It’s been the jolliest and at the same time the saddest evening of the
whole year,” Connie declared, as they hurried home at the first sound of
the bell. “Hasn’t it, though; it’s been so nice just being together. I
don’t believe we’ll any of us ever forget it,” Angela agreed.

Polly thought of that remark as she sat up in bed an hour later.

“I know I’ll never forget it,” she said to her conscience—“It really was
a wonderful evening, and it couldn’t have been so very wicked for me to
turn off that switch. And oh dear, Pat was so funny; I know he was
pleased. It was hard for him, though, having to do all the fibbing. I
wonder why things you know are wrong seem right sometimes. This was the
sort of thing Aunt Hannah would have said ‘I’m shocked’ about, but when
I tell Uncle Roddy he’ll only say: ‘Good for you, Tiddle de Winks.’ It’s
too much for me, I don’t understand,” she finished, drowsily. And in a
few minutes sleep relieved her of any further need of explanation.



CHAPTER XVIII

WANTED: A MASCOT


“There will be a meeting of the big team and substitutes in classroom A
at 2 o’clock this afternoon. Please be prompt,” read Lois, standing in
front of the bulletin board. She had finished her last exam. and was
free for the rest of the week.

It was Thursday and just one week before Commencement. Mrs. Baird
believed in having the examinations over before the excitement of the
last days gave the girls something else to think about.

School continued, however, until three days before the close. The
teachers took that time to go over the papers with the girls and have a
general review.

Lois, still gazing at the notice, caught sight of her chum leaving the
schoolroom and called to her:

“Hey, Polly, come here and look at this.”

“Hum! Wonder what it’s all about,” mused Polly after she had read it.
“Do you know?”

“Final preparation for Field Day, of course. Oh, Polly, if we’d only get
a chance to play!” sighed Lois.

“No such good luck. You may, but I’ve had my chance. Why couldn’t I have
waited and sprained my ankle for this game, when I’m not needed!”
grumbled Polly.

“What! And missed Commencement! Poll, you’re crazy!”

“Well, perhaps I am. Anyhow, let’s go down to Senior Alley and see if we
can find Louise,” suggested Polly. “I want to know what’s up.”

They found Louise in her room and began at once to question her.

“What are we going to have a team meeting for?” demanded Lois.

“Are any of the big team sick?” Polly added eagerly.

“I never knew such inquisitive children,” answered Louise. “I knew you’d
be here the minute you’d seen the notice. Can’t you possess your souls
in patience until 2 o’clock?”

“No, we can’t possibly. Go on and tell us, _please_,” begged Lois,
putting both arms around Louise’s neck and ruffling her hair. “We won’t
open our mouths,” she promised.

“You know we love you an awful lot, and you might give us a tiny hint,”
teased Polly. “Besides, we won’t go till you do.”

“Imps,” declared Louise, and pulling the girls down on the bed beside
her and putting an arm around each, she continued: “Listen to me: to get
rid of you, I’ll tell you part, not all, mind, of what we are going to
discuss.”

“Well, go on; don’t stop,” prompted Polly and Lois, as Louise stopped
for breath.

“Of course you know that Flora Illington’s place is not filled so we
have to decide definitely on another substitute to play center and—”

“You’ll choose Betty,” finished Polly, with a rush.

“Will you tell her today?” demanded Lois excitedly. “Oh, I am glad!”

And to show their entire approval of the idea, both girls threw their
arms around their poor defenseless captain and hugged her until she
called for help.

“Woh!” she exclaimed when they had finally let her go. “If I had known
how you were going to treat me, I never would have told you; you’ve
pulled my hair all down, wretches.”

“Never mind that; you can put it up again. Tell us when you are going to
tell Betty,” urged Lois.

“We’ll have to vote on it as a matter of form, but of course she’ll get
it. But promise me you won’t breathe a word about it until I say you
may.”

“We promise; but won’t Betty be thrilled!” laughed Polly.

The luncheon bell interrupted them and they left Louise madly fixing her
hair, to join the line.

At the table Betty asked:

“What are you two so quiet about?”

Polly and Lois exchanged smiles.

“You’ll see soon enough; it’s about you,” Polly told her, and for fear
too much had been said, Lois added:

“It’s something terrible!”

Betty stopped in the act of putting some tomato catsup on her croquette
to demand:

“Which exam. have I flunked, or is it all of them?”

“Worse than that,” answered Lois. “But you’ll soon know.”

At 2 o’clock the teams met in classroom A and Betty’s name was put up
for substitute, and as Louise had prophesied, every one voted yes. The
girls all adored Betty and had been sorry to see her left out in the
first election on account of the fouls she always made. But now when her
name came up again and they remembered the plucky fight she had made the
day of the Indoor Meet, they were only too delighted to welcome her as
one of the “subs.”

“Hadn’t we better call her in for the rest of the meeting?” suggested
Louise. “Polly, will you go and find her? Don’t tell her what she’s
wanted for; just bring her here.”

A few minutes later Betty arrived, looking very apprehensive, and Louise
told her with all due form and ceremony that she had been chosen to fill
Flora’s place on the team.

Betty’s delight knew no bounds. The girls cheered her and were very
strenuous in their congratulations. It was fully fifteen minutes before
the meeting came to any sort of order. When things did finally quiet
down, Louise, as captain, took the chair.

“Field Day is not two weeks off,” she began. “You all know that we are
going to play the Fenwick School again this year and we must win.”

Then looking at Polly, she added: “Please be careful and don’t get any
broken ankles or arms, for you may all be needed. Remember, they beat us
last year.”

“That was because we played on their floor and it was strange to us,”
spoke up Florence Guile. She had played in the game the year before and
felt she must defend the team’s honor. “This year we play here and we
will win; you see if we don’t.”

At this point Nora Peters, one of the Juniors who was not on the team,
knocked at the door. She had a letter in her hand and she spoke
hurriedly to Louise.

“I am awfully sorry to disturb you,” she said, “but I’ve just had a
letter from one of the Fenwick girls, and I thought it might interest
you. It’s about the team.”

“Good! Read it to us!” exclaimed half a dozen voices.

“This is the important part,” began Nora as she read:

“‘We have a wonderful team this year and so far we haven’t had a single
defeat.’”

(“O Jemima!” groaned Betty.)

“‘We play four other teams every year; you play only two, don’t you? Our
centers are great! I remember last year when your team played here how
easily we beat you! I hate to say it, Nora dear, but we’re going to beat
you again!’”

“That’s all she says about the team,” Nora finished, folding up the
letter. “No, wait a minute,” she added. “This may interest you, too. She
says:

“‘We have the most adorable mascot; wait till you see him; and he’s
never failed us yet.’”

“Thanks, ever so much,” Louise exclaimed as soon as she stopped reading.
“That’s valuable information. We’re much obliged to your friend.”

“I wouldn’t have said anything about it if she hadn’t bragged so,” Nora
answered, backing to the door. “But mind, you beat them _well_, so that
I can say ‘I told you so.’”

“We will, we will,” cried the team with one voice.

“Now what do you think of that?” demanded Madelaine Ames, one of the
guards, a tall lanky girl with straight hair.

“What did she say about a mascot?” Betty inquired eagerly.

“That they had an adorable one,” replied Mary Reeves, the other guard.

“We ought to have one, too,” chimed in Helen Reed, the jumping center.
“Something original, I say; I’m tired of cats and dogs.”

“Everybody think hard,” suggested Louise, “and if you think of
something, let me know and I’ll call a meeting. We can’t let them get
ahead of us even in a mascot.”

After a few unimportant details were discussed, the meeting broke up and
the girls separated, each to think of a fitting mascot.

The next morning Lois, Betty and Polly, having finished all their exams,
had the whole glorious day to themselves. Right after breakfast they
disappeared into the woods and sought their favorite brook. When they
reached it, they were very hot and tired, for the day was warm, and they
had run all the way.

“Phew!” gasped Betty, throwing herself down beside the stream. “I’m
hot.”

“So am I,” Polly agreed, resting her chin on her hands. “My feet,
particularly. I have on these old hot gym shoes.”

“Why don’t we go in paddling?” suggested Lois. “It couldn’t hurt us;
it’s so lovely and warm.”

No sooner said than done. In two minutes their shoes and stockings were
off and they were wading, ankle-deep, in the cool water.

“Great, isn’t it?” gurgled Betty, looking down at her toes. “Ouch! Be
careful of this spot; there’s a sharp stone,” she warned.

As Polly was about to look at the spot Betty was pointing to, a queer
chattering noise up in the tree above her head caught her attention.
Looking up she saw a dark brown “something” sitting on a limb of the
tree.

“Look!” she whispered.

“What is it?” gasped Lois when she had seen.

“Why, don’t you know?” Betty demanded. “We’ve simply got to get it; I’ll
climb up the tree.”

“Be careful not to scare it,” cautioned Polly.

But there was no fear of that, for as soon as Betty reached the limb
occupied by “it,” there was a scuffle, and she felt something land on
her shoulder.

“I’ve got it, safe and sound,” she called to the girls below.

“Look how thin it is,” said Lois when Betty was again on terra firma.
“Let’s take it back to school and feed it, it must have run away.”

“Of course we will—the darling—and—Oh, Polly, Lo, why didn’t we think of
it the minute we saw it? We’ll have it for a mascot!”

That afternoon there was a very important team meeting in one of the
classrooms. It lasted just a few minutes, but when the girls came out
they were all smiling very mysteriously, and they seemed to be delighted
about something.

There was a good deal of smuggling of food into the cellar, of which
Mrs. Baird had given Betty the key.

For the remaining few days before Field Day, every time one of the team
met Betty, Lois or Polly, they would inquire very mysteriously how “it”
was, and before many days passed the word went round the school that
Seddon Hall had discovered a worthy mascot.



CHAPTER XIX

FIELD DAY


Field Day arrived and with it the excitement known to any girl who has
played in a big game of basket-ball.

“Oh, Polly, I’m so thrilled!” exclaimed Lois, putting her arm around her
chum and dancing wildly down the corridor. “I’m glad my family isn’t
coming.”

“So am I,” Polly answered, thinking of Bob. “If we could only get a
chance to play!”

“Hush! I don’t even dare think of such a thing!”

“Well, I do, and I’ll bet anything that the big team girls can’t pass
the ball as fast as you and Betty and I can.”

“They can’t. I watched last practice game and they made some dreadful
mistakes with the signals. By the way, how is ‘it’ this morning?”

“Fine, Betty took some food to the cellar right after breakfast. The
darling’s really getting fat.”

“Here comes Bet now. Oh, Betty, here we are!” Lois called as the third
member of the trio appeared at the other end of the corridor.

“Thank goodness, I’ve found you,” Betty answered. “All substitutes are
wanted in the gym. Louise is waiting for you; hurry up.”

The above conversation took place in Freshman Alley about ten o’clock in
the morning. Throughout the entire school the game was the one subject
that was being discussed. The girls had pinned the Seddon Hall colors on
the fronts of their sailor suits, and the long green and white ribbons
gave the required holiday effect.

In the gym the more ardent admirers of the team were busy with the
decorations. The big Seddon Hall banner almost covered one end of the
room and the other walls were hung with small school flags and
streamers. Angela and Connie, both seated on the floor, were carefully
polishing the handsome silver loving cup.

It was upon this scene of preparation that Betty, followed by Polly and
Lois, entered.

“Here they are,” she announced to Louise who, with the rest of the team,
was waiting for them at the other end of the gym. “I’ve found them at
last.”

“That’s good; I guess we are all here now,” Louise replied. “I wanted to
tell you that the Fenwick girls get here at 12.05. The teams and
substitutes are all to have luncheon in the younger children’s
dining-room. We will have to entertain them and show them around, of
course, but, girls, don’t talk too much; remember, they may be trying to
pump. I guess that’s all I wanted to say,” Louise finished, “except,”
she added miserably, “to remind you all to do your very best for the
honor of dear old Seddon Hall.”

“Of course we will!” shouted the team, and Madelaine Ames, jumping up
from her seat, asked excitedly:

“Who’s the finest captain in the world?”

“Louise Preston,” came the hearty response.

Louise, to cover her confusion, called Betty to her and asked if “it”
had been fed.

“Fed! It’s been stuffed,” Betty assured her. “But who has the bow for
its neck?”

“I have it in my room,” answered Helen Reed. “If you’ll come with me
I’ll give it to you.” And the two girls left the gym.

It had been decided that the big team should march into the gym first,
followed by the substitutes, Betty leading the still mysterious mascot,
and Polly and Lois carrying the huge Seddon Hall banner.

The girls left the gym to await the arrival of the visiting team after
Louise had finished talking to them. At quarter past twelve they
arrived, and at the first sound of the carry-all’s approach, the Seddon
Hall girls started cheering, and Louise, as captain, stepped forward to
welcome them.

Lois, Betty and Polly moved a little to one side in order to get a good
look at their opponents.

“That girl’s a giant,” whispered Lois, pointing at one of the Fenwick
girls. “I’ll bet she plays home.”

“Seems to me they are all giants,” Betty grumbled. “I suppose that’s
their mascot in that basket; well, it can’t beat ours.”

“Why, there are only nine of them,” pointed out Polly excitedly. “That
means only three ‘subs.’ What luck!”

“Come here, you three,” called Louise from the driveway. “Some more of
our substitutes,” she explained as the trio shook hands all around.

As they all stood exchanging greetings, Mary Reeves whispered in Polly’s
ear, as she pretended to fix her hair ribbon:

“It’s all over for us.”

The girls finally sauntered off in groups to inspect the gym and locker
rooms or to look around the grounds. Polly, Lois, and Betty had
undertaken to entertain the three visiting subs and were taking them in
the direction of the woods.

“Have you a mascot?” asked one of them, a fair-haired girl of about
fifteen.

Polly told her that they had, and then abruptly changed the subject by
asking:

“Have you had to substitute often this year?”

“No, I haven’t, but May has,” answered the Fenwick sub.

“Do tell us about it,” Polly inquired.

May was only too anxious to have her turn in the conversation.

“It was just before Easter,” she began, “and we were playing the
Whitehead team. I came in the second half; the score was a tie and we
couldn’t make a point. The other team had a free throw on account of our
foul and Jane—she’s our forward—told me to watch, and when she threw her
braid over her right shoulder, to throw high. Well, I watched and did as
she told me, and we made a goal.”

“How terribly exciting!” murmured Lois without changing a muscle of her
face. “And you just won the game by a single point?”

“Yes, it was thrilling,” May agreed. “Of course if Esther hadn’t had to
have gotten out of the game, we would have made more points; they know
each other’s signals so well.”

“And signals make such a difference,” Betty remarked, giving Polly’s arm
a surreptitious pinch.

Polly smiled in reply and in a few minutes excused herself.

“There is something rather important that I must attend to before
luncheon,” she explained.

Fifteen minutes later, on her way to the dining-room she slipped a note
into Louise’s hand.

“Read it when you are alone,” she whispered, and this is what Louise
read:

“The two forwards signal with their braids. Over the right shoulder,
means throw high. Tell Madelaine and Mary to watch.”

The game was scheduled to start at 3 o’clock sharp and by 2.30 the teams
were all in their suits and the gym was filling up with the girls and
the faculty. At the stroke of three the Fenwick team entered and marched
to the opposite side of the gym, and came to a halt under a banner of
yellow and white, their school colors. Two of their substitutes
followed, carrying a white satin cushion on which sat a tortoise-shell
cat with a big white bow on its neck. On close inspection it was
discovered to have six toes on one paw, and was therefore very lucky.

As they entered, the Seddon Hall girls gave them a cheer and then sang
the welcoming song, written by Angela for the occasion. There was just
enough time for every one to quiet down before the home team appeared.
Louise Preston led, carrying the ball, then came Florence Guile; they
were the two forwards and were followed in turn by Mary Reeves and
Madelaine Ames, the guards, and Grace Hampton and Alice Wentworth, the
centers.

At sight of them the school set up a mighty cheer that stopped abruptly,
however, as Betty, with a little brown monkey perched on her shoulder,
entered, at the head of the substitutes.

The mysterious secret of the mascot was out. Seddon Hall had had many
and varied animals for mascots in its time, but never before had a live
monkey attended one of the Field Day games. It was fully ten minutes
before the teams were able to take their places on the floor, so great
was the school’s delight. Had the organ grinder who had lost his pet
witnessed this scene he might have felt recompensed for his loss.

When at last Miss Stuart could command silence, she blew the whistle,
tossed up the ball, and the game was on.

From the very first it seemed to Polly, Lois and Betty, watching from
the side lines, that they must face defeat. After the first toss-up, the
Fenwick center caught the ball, passed it up the floor to her forward,
and before the Seddon Hall girls could realize it, a goal was won.

After three unsuccessful attempts to get the ball away from her
opponent, Grace Hampton lost her nerve and started to cry. She was a
good player when all went well, but once unnerved she was practically
useless for the rest of the game.

In the middle of a scrimmage the ball rolled out of bounds, and Miss
Stuart called time for a minute.

“Get ready to get in the game, Polly,” whispered Louise hurriedly. “You
may be needed.”

Polly tore off her sweater and waited. The game, after the minute’s time
was up, began again. Alice Wentworth played too hard in her attempt to
support Grace and fouled for roughness. As the Fenwick forward prepared
to throw for her basket, Louise asked to put in a substitute. Grace left
the floor in tears and Polly took her place.

She played like a little fury for the rest of the first half, but to no
purpose, for Alice Wentworth was now thoroughly wild and could give her
no support.

“What is the matter with that girl?” groaned Betty, stamping with rage.
“Can’t she understand a straight signal! Oh, if they’d only let me in!”

“I can’t do it all,” Polly cried desperately as she dived for the ball
near the line where Lois and Betty sat.

“You’ve got to,” Lois answered. “How much longer will this half last?”
she asked, turning to Betty.

“Long enough to leave no chance for us. Oh, Lo, they’ve made another
basket!” And Betty wrung her hands in despair.

After a few minutes more of desperate struggling to keep the ball away
from the other team, Miss Stuart blew the whistle, and the first half
was over. The score was 5—0 in the Fenwick team’s favor.

The school cheered half-heartedly, and under Connie’s vigorous
leadership, they sang to each member of the team in the vain hope of
encouraging them. Polly was completely out of breath and Lois made her
lie flat on her back and Betty forbid her talking.

After a doleful fifteen minutes the whistle blew again and the second
half started. Up went the ball, and despite Polly’s frantic efforts to
stop it, it flew straight in the direction of the wrong goal. The fact
that Madelaine and Mary knew the Fenwick signals helped considerably,
for they managed to keep them from getting some baskets which they might
otherwise have made. The ball seemed to be always at their end of the
floor.

To the girls on the side lines it looked hopeless, when suddenly things
began to happen. Alice fouled three times for roughness and was put out
of the game.

“Thank goodness,” Polly whispered as Betty took her place. “Don’t forget
the old signals.”

Up went the ball again, but when it came down, it was in Polly’s hands.
A cry went up from the school. Betty raised her arm and put up two
fingers, and Polly threw her the ball, low, swift, and straight as a
die. Betty bounced it to the line and threw high to Florence, who, as
she afterwards declared, was dreaming, for the ball struck her full on
the nose, and in a second her handkerchief was covered with blood.

Time was called and although Florence insisted that she would be all
right in a minute, Miss King made her leave the floor. Louise called
Lois to take her place.

“Now to show them some real playing,” Betty exclaimed excitedly.

From the second the ball touched Polly’s hands after the toss-up until,
by a few swift passes, Louise had thrown it in the basket, the Fenwick
team never had a chance at it. It sped like lightning from Polly to
Betty, to Lois, to Louise. Seddon Hall had never seen such passing, and
the girls showed their appreciation by prolonged cheers.

Time after time they repeated the same thing. Without doubt they had
found themselves, and the Fenwick team seemed powerless to stop them.

“Yi! That’s the way to do it!” shouted Betty as Louise made her fifth
basket and the Fenwick captain asked to put in a substitute for center.
But substitutes were of no avail; nothing could stop the Seddon Hall
team. Once in a while the ball would trickle towards one of the Fenwick
forwards, only to be batted back by Mary or Madelaine into Polly’s or
Betty’s waiting hands. Once there, it was but a few swift passes, and
Louise would throw it triumphantly into the basket.

Not one goal could the other team make after the first half, and when at
last the game ended, the score was 9—5 in Seddon Hall’s favor.

When the final whistle blew there was a mad rush, and the girls on the
team were hoisted high on the shoulders of the delighted school. Some
one threw the big green and white banner around Louise and put the
rather frightened mascot into her arms, and singing and cheering wildly,
they carried her to the other end of the gym before the table whereon
the silver cup had been placed.

Polly, Lois and Betty escaped as soon as the excited girls would let
them, and jumping out of their gym suits they met, a few minutes later,
in Roman Alley.

“Oh, but that was a game!” gloated Betty. “Why did it ever end!”

“I nearly died of joy when you came in,” Polly exclaimed. “And when Lo
took Florence’s place, well—” But Polly could find no words to express
her feelings.

“I’ll bet those Fenwick girls had the surprise of their lives. I heard
Nora Peters rubbing it in to her friend that wrote her that letter. And
as for mascots, wasn’t their cat stupid when compared to our darling?”
Lois demanded gleefully.

“Oh, there you are!” called Louise’s voice from the top of the stairs.
“Make room for us,” she added as she came down, followed by Mary and
Madelaine.

“We were just talking about the game, naturally,” explained Lois. “You
certainly can make baskets, O mighty Captain,” she added, bowing low
before Louise.

“I?” questioned Louise. “You know very well I had nothing to do with the
game. You three saved the day; how am I going to thank you?”

“It was certainly a relief when you came in,” sighed Madelaine. “Mary
and I were almost all in.”

“I’d given the game up for lost,” Louise continued, putting her arm
around Polly and Lois and smiling gratefully at Betty, “until you
started those wonderful passes. You must have done an awful amount of
practicing that I didn’t dream of,” she added.

The three girls looked at one another and grinned foolishly, and Betty
said:

“Certainly not!’

“Wasn’t that a wonderful catch Mary made?” asked Lois.

“Yes; but did you see the high one Florence stopped?”

“Poor old Florence; how’s her nose?”

“That Fenwick center almost killed me.”

And a thousand other questions were asked and answered, and to the
splash, splash of the water as it ran in their tubs, the victorious team
played the game over again in words.



CHAPTER XX

THE MUSICAL


It was the morning of the musical and the day before Commencement.
Lessons were over for the year, and all the girls were in a high state
of holiday excitement.

Connie’s name was on the program twice, the first time for a two piano
piece with Nora Peters, and the second for a very difficult sonata by
herself. The professor had promised that if she were encored, she might
play one of her own compositions. So Connie, full of thrills, practiced
night and day.

Angela, left to herself, joined forces with Betty and together with
Polly and Lois they were always at the service of the Senior class. They
were kept pretty busy, running errands and doing the dozen and one
things that were to be done before the musical.

Just now they were sitting on the floor of the assembly room platform,
waiting for orders. The Seniors had their hands full with the
decorations and were transforming the dignified old room into a bower of
greens and dogwood.

Madelaine Ames approached Louise with a very worried expression on her
usually smiling face.

“We haven’t half enough branches,” she complained. “We need loads more
dogwood. Can’t Polly and Lois get some for us?”

“Hush!” cautioned Louise, for they were within ear-shot of the four
girls. “Don’t you realize that their hands mustn’t be all scratched up?
Ask Bet and Angela.”

Madelaine crossed the platform to where the four sat in mystified
silence, for they had overheard every word of the conversation between
the two older girls.

“Betty,” she called, “will you and Angela get us some more big branches
of dogwood or apple blossoms? Those stupid Sofs brought in only little
twigs. Take one of the stable boys with you to do the heavy work for
you. You know about the size we want.”

“Of course we will,” answered Betty, “and we’ll bring you the trees back
if you want them,” she called as they disappeared. On their way to the
stables Angela said:

“I’d like to know what Lo and Poll are having their hands saved for.”

As she said it, Polly and Lois, still on the platform, were wondering
the same thing.

“Can’t we do something for you?” Lois asked presently, trying to look
unconscious.

“Yes, if you will,” Louise answered. “I’m worried to death about my
Commencement dress; it hasn’t come yet. Will you go down to the
express-room and see if there’s a package for me?”

“If there is, hadn’t we better open it and shake the wrinkles out of
your dress?” suggested Polly.

“Do, please, and I’ll love you even more than I do now,” promised
Louise.

The box had arrived, and as the two girls untied it and took out the
countless wads of tissue-paper, they discussed the subject uppermost in
their minds.

“What did Louise mean about our hands, Lo?” Polly demanded.

“Perhaps it’s something to do with the musical,” answered Lois, slowly
smoothing out the creamy white sleeve.

“They’d hardly be so particular about that,” mused Polly, “and yet it
couldn’t be anything to do with Commencement.”

“N-no.” Lois hesitated as she crumpled up a piece of tissue-paper into a
tight ball. “Still, I can’t help thinking that no one has been chosen to
carry the ribbons on Commencement.”

“But we couldn’t do that,” Polly objected. “We’re Freshmen and you know
you told me they always choose two girls from their sister class.”

“They always have, but everything is so upside down this year that
nothing would surprise me. The Sofs are cross because the Seniors didn’t
return their party.”

“Don’t let’s think about it. Goodness, I feel just the way I did before
the sub team was chosen.”

“All right. I guess we’d better go and tell Louise that her dress is
here.”

“I do wish we hadn’t overheard anything about our hands, though, for,
try as I will, I can’t get it out of my head,” Polly remarked as they
were on their way back to the Assembly Hall.

“Cheer up, we’ll soon know,” Lois reminded her. As they entered the room
she called:

“It’s here, Louise, and it’s a perfect darling. It’s all foamy lace and
ribbons and looks just like soda-water.”

“Thank you so much,” Louise said. “I’m ever so much obliged.”

“By the way, as we came over the Bridge of Sighs, we saw the florist’s
cart in the driveway. Don’t you want us to bring up the flowers?” Polly
inquired.

“Oh, please do, and fix them in these,” Louise replied, pointing to
three large glass vases.

The arrangement of the big American beauties which were to decorate the
platform occupied the girls until luncheon time.

A few minutes before the bell rang, Angela and Betty returned, laden
down with dogwood and apple blossoms. When they had deposited their
burden and were standing with Polly and Lois, three of the Seniors
joined them. Mary Reeves was one of them, and as she put her arm on
Betty’s shoulder she said:

“We certainly can’t thank you girls enough for all you’ve done, but
instead of giving you a rest, we are going to ask for more. Will you be
ushers for us this afternoon and see about bringing in the flowers to
the girls who are to take part in the musical? All the boxes will be put
in the history-room and the cards will be on them.”

“All you will have to do,” continued Florence Guile, “is to bring them
in and give them to the girls they’re for, after they have finished
their stunt. Will you do it for us?” she asked, smiling.

“Certainly we will,” Betty replied.

“Don’t try to pretend it’s a favor to you,” laughed Lois. “You know we
just love to do it.”

“I know you are all ducks, and I don’t know what we would have done
without you,” Florence told them just as the luncheon bell rang.

When the girls had taken their seats at the table, Polly whispered to
Lois:

“You see, it’s all explained. It was for the musical.”

“You are all wrong,” contradicted Betty, who had overheard the whisper.
“It’s still a mystery; you forget Angela and I are going to help this
afternoon, too, and I didn’t notice anybody getting excited over _our_
hands.”

“I never thought of that. I guess you’re right, Bet,” Lois agreed, and
she and Polly exchanged puzzled glances mixed with a new hope.

The next couple of hours were full to overflowing. The corridors were
crowded with fluffy beribboned girls all talking at once.

“Some one button me up!”

“Who took my shoe horn?”

“Tie my hair ribbon for me, please!”

“I can’t find my only pair of silk stockings!” and other such demands.

About half past three the first carriages from the station that were
bringing the visitors began to arrive. Every one was doing a favor for
some one else, or greeting friends and relatives. Such happy excitement
prevailed everywhere that the school resembled a cage of fluttering
butterflies.

At four o’clock the recital began. Seddon Hall was renowned for its
music. Some of the girls played remarkably well, and there were a number
of beautiful voices.

Connie had to give not only one encore, but two, and it was her own
composition that called forth the heartiest applause.

Polly, Lois, Angela and Betty were kept busy bringing in big bunches of
violets, roses and lilies-of-the-valley. After Edith Thornton had sung
two funny little Irish songs and the audience had stopped their
enthusiastic applause, Louise Preston rose to give the farewell address
in the name of the Seniors.

With clear well-chosen words she told of her class’s love for Seddon
Hall, its influence for good on all who entered it, the ever-ready
sympathy of its dearly loved superior, Mrs. Baird, and ended with the
regret they all felt at leaving. It was a triumph of beautiful thoughts
told in beautiful English.

After the thunders of applause there was hardly a dry eye in the room,
and Polly and Lois were crying quite shamelessly, as they brought in the
many bouquets to their Senior president.

Suddenly every one began to talk, praise, and congratulations were in
the air. The musical was over. The visitors left for the hotel in the
village, where they were to spend the night so as to be on hand for
Commencement. The girls returned to their corridors to change their
fluffy dresses for more comfortable ones and then to wander about the
hall, discussing the recital and waiting for the bell.

After dinner they walked about the grounds in small groups, singing
school songs and farewells to the Seniors. When they came in they spent
the rest of the evening visiting from room to room and packing trunks.

The Seniors had built a bonfire on the side of the gym farthest away
from the school. As the twilight deepened, their shadows lengthened as
they sat around the blaze, and their thoughts turned back to the past.
They were burning their old notebooks and papers.

“Well, it’s all over,” sighed Madelaine Ames, throwing her history
examination into the fire. “But what a year it’s been!”

“We’ve beaten last year’s class average in marks,” announced a voice
from the shadow. “The Spartan told me so.”

“Disagreeable, funny old Spartan! I’ll even miss her,” murmured some one
else.

“We’ve been popular, too, I think,” mused another voice.

“Louise’s name will be on the cup twice as basket-ball captain.” It was
Mary Reeves speaking. “And no one will ever say Field Day wasn’t the
finest game in years.”

There was silence for a few minutes and then Madelaine said:

“Wonder what the next class will be like?”

Florence Guile was gazing into the fire.

“Not much, I’m afraid,” she drawled. “They’re too studious.”

“I’ve been here four years, and it breaks my heart to leave,” Louise
spoke for the first time.

“It isn’t as bad for you and Florence as it is for the rest of us,” some
one answered. “You’re both going to college next spring—lucky dogs—while
we will have to go in for society—awful thought.”

“But college won’t be Seddon Hall,” Louise replied. “Wonder if they’ll
miss us?”

“The Freshmen will. Oh, what a class they’re going to make when they are
Seniors! I hope they all come back,” Mary Reeves exclaimed.

“That reminds me—What about telling Polly and Lois about tomorrow?”
demanded Louise. “Mrs. Baird said to wait until after the musical. She
agrees with us that none of the ‘Sofs’ will do, but she doesn’t want
them to have time to grumble.”

“We forgot all about it,” Madelaine gasped. “You and Florence go and ask
them now, they adore you. But hurry back,” she called as the two girls
started for the school.

Polly and Lois were in the latter’s room amid confusion, heaps of
clothes, shoes, and books. Polly was curled up on the bed brushing her
hair, and Lois was sitting on the window seat, her elbow on her knee and
her chin cradled in her hand. They were discussing the prospects of the
next winter without the Seniors.

Polly had just given vent to a deep sigh and the words:

“It will never be quite the same without them.”

And Lois was saying:

“Fancy the Senior table without Louise,” when they were interrupted by a
knock on the door.

“Come in,” called Polly, and Florence and Louise entered the room.

“I’ve come to thank you two precious infants for that beautiful basket
of flowers,” Louise began. “It was mighty thoughtful of you, and I do
appreciate it so much.”

Lois and Polly were so confused by the sudden entrance of the very
persons they had been talking about that they could only stammer:

“Oh, it wasn’t anything, really!”

“But we’ve something more important than that to say,” Florence
announced, and then waited for Louise to break the news.

Polly and Lois exchanged glances.

“It’s another favor,” laughed Louise. “Do you think you could act as
ribbon girls for us tomorrow?” Then pretending not to hear the joyful
gasps of surprise, she continued: “You’ll have to come down to church
tomorrow morning when we rehearse the procession and we’ll show you what
to do. Will you do that for us?”

It had come, and though both girls had half expected it, it was a
tremendous surprise.

“Oh, Louise, you know we’d love to do it!” cried Lois.

“It’s most too good to be true,” Polly exclaimed excitedly, then very
solemnly she added to Florence: “To think we will really help you
graduate! It’s the most thrilling thing that ever happened to me in my
whole life!”

“I’m so glad you will do it for us,” smiled Florence, and turning to
Louise she added: “We’d better go back to the girls. I think they’ll be
waiting for us. It’s almost time to serenade Mrs. Baird.”

Polly and Lois, left alone, could do nothing but look at each other. At
last Lois gave a thoroughly contented sigh.

“Who says we’re not in luck?” she asked.

“It’s a perfect ending to a perfect year,” replied Polly, putting her
arm around her friend. “You know—”

“Hush!” whispered Lois. “They’re singing!”

They opened the window and leaned far out upon the ledge. Through the
warm night air came the sound of the Seniors’ voices singing their last
farewell, beneath Mrs. Baird’s window, in accordance with the old Seddon
Hall custom.



CHAPTER XXI

COMMENCEMENT DAY


The sun was just peeping over the red-tiled roof of the gym, as Polly
and Lois stole softly out of the house and walked slowly in the
direction of the woods. The day was warm and clear with the wonderful
freshness of early morning. The ground was covered with millions of
cobwebs and sparkling dewdrops that danced in the sunshine.

“Commencement Day at last,” Polly began, speaking in a subdued whisper,
for they were still near the school windows.

“It couldn’t have been more glorious,” replied Lois. “I think I would
have died if it had dared to rain.”

They walked on a little way in silence, and then Polly said very
seriously:

“It’s our last day together. I’m glad you thought of this walk. We
probably won’t have another chance to be alone.”

“I know,” returned Lois. “Polly, I can’t bear to think of this summer
without you.”

“Oh, don’t remind me of it!” Polly pleaded. “Think how I’ll miss you. We
can write, of course, but let’s cheer up. We mustn’t spoil this
beautiful morning by getting the blues.”

They linked arms and continued their walk. The seriousness of their talk
had caused them to halt in the middle of the path.

“Where will we go?” questioned Lois.

“We’ve time to walk as far as the brook before breakfast,” Polly
suggested, “and we can say good-by to all the dear old spots on the
way.”

The brook was visited, as were all the other places, the crow’s-nest,
the old wall, the ruin, and the rest of the landmarks that were dear to
the heart of every Seddon Hall girl.

On the whole it was not a very cheerful walk, and when the girls
returned to school in time to join the line for breakfast, they were
rather sad and quiet. It was not long, however, before they caught the
general spirit of excitement that prevailed and were as jolly as the
rest.

“What time do you want us to practice, Louise?” Polly called as she
caught sight of the busy Senior president in the corridor after
breakfast.

“We are going to leave here for church at ten o’clock sharp. Be ready
and wait outside Mrs. Baird’s office for us,” Louise answered as she
hurried past.

Polly and Lois were ready and waiting many minutes before it was time to
go, and it seemed hours to them before the Seniors assembled and Mrs.
Baird gave the word to start. They walked hurriedly down the steep hill
which leads to the village and then on to the little old church covered
with ivy, located at the farthest end of the main street.

“Do let’s sit down and rest a minute,” said Mrs. Baird, dropping into
one of the last pews and fanning herself with her handkerchief. “It’s
certainly a glorious day, but it’s a very warm one, too.”

Louise insisted that she could direct them sitting down as well as
standing, so the rehearsal began. Polly and Lois were told how to manage
the white satin ribbons, and the Seniors practiced the Commencement
hymn.

“You see, my dears,” Mrs. Baird explained to Polly, “the whole school
marches in first, every one taking their place; they are followed by the
faculty and visitors. When they are all seated you and Lois take the
ribbons, which will be fastened to the last pews, and walk slowly up the
aisle. You are followed by the Seniors, and you wait until they have
received their diplomas and the service is over, then you follow them
out, and the rest of the school follows you.”

“It’s just like a wedding, isn’t it?” Lois questioned. “I think I
understand.”

Mrs. Baird smilingly agreed that it was, and they went through it once
more to be sure.

“Isn’t it solemn?” whispered Polly. “Look out, your ribbon’s twisted.”

“Thanks; now it’s all right,” Lois replied. “Doesn’t Louise look sweet
this morning?” she inquired as they separated to stand on either side of
the aisle.

Polly could only nod in reply, which she did vigorously.

The Seniors walked up slowly and took their places, and after a few last
words from Mrs. Baird, the rehearsal was over.

Louise walked back to school between Polly and Lois.

“I’ve been wondering,” she began as they sauntered along the lazy
village street, “whether you two would like to come and visit me for a
while this summer. We have a big camp up in the Adirondacks, and I think
you would have a good time. How about it?”

“Louise, you duck!” cried Polly and Lois in one breath. “We’d adore it.
Oh, what a lark!”

“My small cousin Frances is always with us in the summer, and I’m sure
you’ll get along famously together,” Louise told them, smiling rather
mysteriously, and she added emphatically: “Yes, I’m _sure_ you’ll get
along famously.”

For the rest of the walk up the dusty hill she described the cabin in
the heart of the woods, the funny guides, and spoke vaguely but
frequently of Frances.

On discussing the invitation a little later after Louise had left them,
Polly exclaimed:

“Won’t it be a lark? I do hope we can go. Don’t you love the idea?”

And Lois answered slowly:

“Yes, all except Frances. I suppose she’s a nice enough girl, but I wish
she wasn’t going to be there.”

“Why, we needn’t pay any attention to her,” Polly replied. “But let’s
find Bet. We haven’t seen her all day.”

They started off in search and presently found her playing with Vic (the
team’s mascot had been named Victor after the Field Day game, and called
Vic for short), on the steps of the gym.

“Hello!” she called, as she caught sight of them. “I’ve been wondering
where you were.”

“Why, we’ve been practicing with the ribbons in church,” replied Polly,
forgetting that Betty had not heard of them being chosen by the Seniors.

“You! Ribbons!” Betty was overcome with surprise. “Well, you might have
told a fellow. Jove, you are in luck!”

“I entirely forgot you didn’t know. Florence and Louise asked us last
night. Isn’t it wonderful? I know I’ll laugh, though,” confided Lois,
“or cry.”

“Do both,” advised Betty. “I’m going to make a face at you as you go
down the aisle. Stop that, Vic, you wicked monkey!” she commanded, as
the mascot made a playful dab at her hair ribbon.

“What’s to become of Vic this summer?” demanded Polly. “Somebody has to
take care of him.”

“He’s ours; we found him,” Betty declared. “Poor old Vic. What do you
say about it?” she added, scratching the monkey’s ear.

As they stood discussing his future, Vic noticed a familiar figure
coming down the stable road. It was Tony, one of the Seddon Hall
gardeners, and a special friend of his. He had taken care of him ever
since Field Day.

As if to answer their question for them, the little monkey jumped from
Betty’s lap, ran swiftly along the ground, and bounded to Tony’s
shoulder.

“The problem is solved,” laughed Betty. “Tony will take care of him.
Tony,” she called, and the Italian came up to the steps, smiling
sheepishly.

Of course he was delighted at the idea of having Vic to himself all
summer, and promised to take the very best of care of him.

“You leave me your address,” he said, “and I write sometime how he is.”

So it was arranged. The three girls said good-by to their mascot, who
was borne away on Tony’s shoulder.

The rest of the day whizzed by on wings of excitement. Every one was
everywhere at once. Visitors arrived in carriage loads. Those who were
already there wandered through the halls trying to find the particular
girl they wanted, and time was flying.

Uncle Roddy met Dr. and Mrs. Farwell in New York and brought them up in
his car. They were all standing in the reception-room talking to Mrs.
Baird, as Polly and Lois came down the stairs.

“Why, there’s your uncle, Polly, and he’s with mother and dad,”
exclaimed Lois, catching sight of the three in the doorway.

They were soon exchanging greetings, and Polly had time to wonder why
Bob hadn’t come.

“We simply must leave you,” Lois said, after they had talked for a few
minutes. “We are awfully busy. You know, we are to carry the ribbons for
the Seniors, and we have to be in church ahead of the rest.”

“We’ll meet you right after the service,” called Polly, as they both
disappeared down the corridor.

“Well, that was short and sweet,” laughed Uncle Roddy, looking after
them. “They’re not overgenerous with their society, are they?”

“What a darling Polly is!” Mrs. Farwell returned. “And you say she has
no other relatives besides you.”

“Not one. Isn’t that a dreadful responsibility for a bachelor?” Uncle
Roddy replied.

“Perhaps I can help you,” Mrs. Farwell said. “I would love to have her
with Lois as much as possible.”

The bell for the guests to go to church interrupted their conversation,
and they went outside to find the motor.

The Commencement exercises were a great success. The Seniors all looked
beautiful and made their relatives and friends very proud of them. Polly
and Lois managed the Ribbons without any trouble and added greatly to
the dignity of the scene.

Once during the chaplain’s short address they caught Betty’s eye just as
he said “certainly not,” and they almost laughed. It was a terrible
moment, but the loud “amen” that soon followed saved the day and gave
them a chance to snicker without being noticed.

“I’ll kill Bet for that,” whispered Polly, as they walked sedately down
the aisle after the Seniors at the close of the service.

But the excitement of leaving made her forget her threat, when fifteen
minutes later she and Lois and Betty met in the latter’s room.

“There, I think I’ve packed everything,” sighed Betty. “Jemima, how I
hate to leave!”

“‘When shall we three meet again?’” quoted Lois. “Sometime this summer,
I hope.”

“It would be a lark if we could be together some of the time, wouldn’t
it?” mused Polly. “Perhaps we can. Who knows?”

“I am going down, now,” announced Betty. “I want to say hello to Mr.
Pendleton. If I don’t see you two again, why good-by and don’t forget to
write.” And she was gone. Not for worlds would she have displayed the
emotion she felt.

Polly and Lois stole down to Senior Alley for a last good-by to Louise
and dragged her down to meet their families. Then after much kissing,
giving of addresses, shouted last messages and promises to come back,
they finally found themselves in Uncle Roddy’s motor.

They were both silent for a few minutes and their eyes were misty as
they watched the towers of Seddon Hall grow fainter and fainter, until
they entirely disappeared.

“We’ll have to say good-by to each other next,” whispered Lois.

“Don’t!” answered Polly, with just a little catch in her voice. “I can’t
bear to think of it, Lo.”

Then it was that they realized that Uncle Roddy was talking.

“So,” he was saying, “if Mrs. Farwell will be contented in that sleepy
old town, there’s the big house at her service and the children will be
together.”

“Of course I’ll be contented. It will be a wonderful summer,” answered
Mrs. Farwell.

“Capital!” spoke up the Doctor. “Roddy and I can come up for the week
ends and have some fishing.”

The two girls looked at each other in astonishment.

“We will be together after all,” exclaimed Polly excitedly.

“But where?” Lois demanded.

“At my old home,” Polly explained. “Just to think I’ll see my precious
dogs again!”

They parted hours later, after a very happy drive spent in discussing
plans for the summer. It was parting, of course, but as Lois reminded
every one delightedly: “It was only until next week.”

That night Uncle Roddy noticed that Polly was looking very thoughtful as
she sat on the arm of his chair.

“What’s the matter, Tiddle-dy-winks?” he inquired, pulling her down on
his knee and patting her shoulder. “What are you thinking about?”

“I’m thinking,” replied Polly slowly, “how sorry I am it’s all over.
It’s been the happiest year of my life.”

“But that’s only so far,” laughed Uncle Roddy. “You’ve still a number of
years to come, I hope.”

“But can they ever be as happy as this one?” Polly asked.

“If I have anything to say about it, each year will be happier than the
last, dear child, and now, good night.” And Uncle Roddy gave her a
hearty kiss.

So Polly, with Uncle Roddy’s promise still ringing in her ears, fell
asleep at the close of that eventful year, not thinking regretfully of
the past, but dreaming happily of the joys to come.

THE END



THE “POLLY” SERIES

By Dorothy Whitehill

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.

Cloth, large 12 mo. Illustrated

    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.
    6. POLLY AND BOB.
    7. POLLY’S REUNION.
    8. POLLY’S POLLY.
    9. POLLY AT PIXIE’S HAUNT.
    10. POLLY’S HOUSE PARTY.
    11. POLLY’S POLLY AT BOARDING SCHOOL.
    12. JOYFUL ADVENTURES OF POLLY.

Publishers: BARSE & CO. New York, N. Y., Newark, N. J.



Charming Stories for Girls

THE CORNER HOUSE GIRLS SERIES

By Grace Brooks Hill

Four girls from eight to fourteen years of age receive word that a rich
bachelor uncle has died, leaving them the old Corner House he occupied.
They move into it and then the fun begins. What they find and do will
provoke many a hearty laugh. Later, they enter school and make many
friends. One of these invites the girls to spend a few weeks at a
bungalow owned by her parents, and the adventures they meet with make
very interesting reading. Clean, wholesome stories of humor and
adventure, sure to appeal to all young girls.

    1 CORNER HOUSE GIRLS.
    2 CORNER HOUSE GIRLS AT SCHOOL.
    3 CORNER HOUSE GIRLS UNDER CANVAS.
    4 CORNER HOUSE GIRLS IN A PLAY.
    5 CORNER HOUSE GIRLS’ ODD FIND.
    6 CORNER HOUSE GIRLS ON A TOUR.
    7 CORNER HOUSE GIRLS GROWING UP.
    8 CORNER HOUSE GIRLS SNOWBOUND.
    9 CORNER HOUSE GIRLS ON A HOUSEBOAT.
    10 CORNER HOUSE GIRLS AMONG THE GYPSIES.
    11 CORNER HOUSE GIRLS ON PALM ISLAND.
    12 THE CORNER HOUSE GIRLS SOLVE A MYSTERY.
    13 THE CORNER HOUSE GIRLS FACING THE WORLD.

Publishers: BARSE & CO. New York, N. Y., Newark, N. J.



CHICKEN LITTLE JANE SERIES

By Lily Munsell Ritchie

Chicken Little Jane is a Western prairie girl who lives a happy, outdoor
life in a country where there is plenty of room to turn around. She is a
wide-awake, resourceful girl who will instantly win her way into the
hearts of other girls. And what good times she has!—with her pets, her
friends, and her many interests. “Chicken Little” is the affectionate
nickname given to her when she is very, very good, but when she
misbehaves it is “Jane”—just Jane!

    Adventures of Chicken Little Jane
    Chicken Little Jane on the “Big John”
    Chicken Little Jane Comes to Town
    Chicken Little Jane in the Rockies

Publishers: BARSE & CO. New York, N. Y., Newark, N. J.



ELIZABETH ANN SERIES

By Josephine Lawrence

For Girls from 7 to 12

Elizabeth Ann is a little girl whom we first meet on a big train,
traveling all alone. Her father and mother have sailed for Japan, and
she is sent back East to visit at first one relative’s home, and then
another. Of course, she meets many new friends, some of whom she is
quite happy with, while others—but you must read the stories for
yourself. Every other girl who reads the first of these charming books
will want all the rest; for Elizabeth Ann is certainly worth the
cultivating.

    THE ADVENTURES OF ELIZABETH ANN.
    ELIZABETH ANN AT MAPLE SPRING.
    ELIZABETH ANN’S SIX COUSINS.
    ELIZABETH ANN and DORIS.
    ELIZABETH ANN’S BORROWED GRANDMA.
    ELIZABETH ANN’S SPRING VACATION.
    ELIZABETH ANN and UNCLE DOCTOR.
    ELIZABETH ANN’S HOUSEBOAT.

Publishers: BARSE & CO. New York, N. Y., Newark, N. J.



LINDA LANE SERIES

By Josephine Lawrence

For Girls from 12 to 15

Cloth, Large 12 Mo., Illustrated

“The trouble with Linda Lane,” said Mrs. Quincy, “was that she ‘couldn’t
get along with folks.’” As everyone knows, a girl needs friends to love
her and believe in her. It isn’t to be wondered at that Linda wasn’t
happy. Then little Miss Gilly came to the rooms of the Society, the only
home Linda knew, and took the girl home with her. A new life begins for
Linda, and she finds, to her surprise and delight, how to get along with
people, how to make friends, and slowly and surely how to be happy.

Linda admires independence above all other traits of character. She has
plenty of that quality herself and she is the kind of girl who not only
cheerfully fights her own battles, but those of the weaker who cannot
defend themselves. She is “bossy,” lovable, impatient and loyal, a born
manager, whose plans invariably work out to satisfactory conclusions,
and Linda has a definite plan which gradually unfolds in these books
written about her—the sort of plan only a girl without a home and
parents of her own could think of and carry to completion. Linda Lane
knows what she wants and she is willing to work and trust to her own
efforts to make her wishes come true.

    1. LINDA LANE.
    2. LINDA LANE HELPS OUT.
    3. LINDA LANE’S PLAN.
    4. LINDA LANE EXPERIMENTS.
    5. LINDA LANE’S PROBLEMS.
    6. LINDA LANE’S BIG SISTER.

Publishers: BARSE & CO. New York, N. Y., Newark, N. J.



THE “TWINS” SERIES

By Dorothy Whitehall

Cloth, 12 mo., Illustrated.

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.

    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.
    6. THE TWINS AND TOMMY, JR.
    7. THE TWINS AT HOME.
    8. THE TWINS’ WEDDING.
    9. THE TWINS ADVENTURING.
    10. THE TWINS AT CAMP.
    11. THE TWINS ABROAD.
    12. THE TWINS A-VISITING.

Publishers: BARSE & CO. New York, N. Y., Newark, N. J.



THE JOYCE PAYTON SERIES

By

Dorothy Whitehill

For girls from 8 to 14

Between the covers of these new books will be found the most intensely
interesting cast of characters, whose adventures in school and at home
keep one guessing continually. Joyce Payton, known as “Joy” with her
knowledge of gypsy ways, is bound to become a universal favorite; there
is also Pam, her running mate, and her best chum; Gypsy Joe, the little
Romany genius, and his magical “fiddle,” with which he talks to the
birds, squirrels, and in fact all of Animated Nature. Then there is
among the host of others Gloria, the city-bred cousin, a spoiled
darling; who feels like a “cat in a strange garret” when in the company
of Joy and her friends.

    1. JOY AND GYPSY JOE.
    2. JOY AND PAM.
    3. JOY AND HER CHUMS.
    4. JOY AND PAM AT BROOKSIDE.
    5. JOY AND PAM A-SAILING.

Publishers: BARSE & CO. New York, N. Y., Newark, N. J.



JUDITH AND JANE

By Eleanore Myers Jewett

Author of “Wonder Tales from Tibet” and “Egyptian Tales of Magic”

Cloth, Large 12 Mo., Illustrated

This is the story of two very different girls who became friends. They
began by being anything but friendly and Jane who was “new” found life
in school rather unpleasant. Then came the play and the mystery of the
flowers and things cleared up a bit, only to grow darker with the affair
of Alys’ book. Strange that Judy, who apparently had so much to make her
happy, should be envious of Jane, who had so little! Judy, however, was
not so happy as might have been expected. As for Jane, troubles came her
way thick and fast, and with the accident as a dreadful climax to the
misunderstanding in school, it seemed as if there was nothing left for
her to cling to. But Jane found that trouble, met by a brave heart, wins
friends, and friends mean more than anything else.

All sorts of wonderful things happened after Judith and Jane became
friends. And then the thrilling adventure that might have ended so
tragically! It was a friend again who saved the day; a stranger, a
borrowed nickel and—but that would be telling the tale.

“Judith and Jane,” to repeat, is a story of friendship, adventures,
mischief, happy play and a surprising ending, all these things, but
underneath and through them all is the story of how Judith and Jane
became friends and what came of it.

The book contains four colored illustrations, is handsomely bound in
special cloth, with headbands. Wrapper in three colors.

Publishers: BARSE & CO. New York, N. Y., Newark, N. J.



FEODORA

By

Eleanore Myers Jewett

For girls from 12 to 16

Net $1.50

Judith and Jane again figure as leading characters in this story, though
the chief center of intense interest clusters about the mysterious yet
lovable Feodora.

Feodora has a secret, in fact many secrets, around which revolve many of
the exciting happenings narrated in this story.

The three girls are spending the summer at a girls’ camp in northern
Vermont. The competitive games with a neighboring camp and the
adventures attending life in the open will hold your interest to the
end.

Bound in extra cloth with cover stamped in gold and colored inlay.

Four illustrations printed in two colors, wrapper in four colors.

Publishers: BARSE & CO. New York, N. Y., Newark, N. J.



VIRGINIA LEE

By

Clara Ingram Judson

Author of “Mary Jane Series,” “Junior Cook Book,” etc.

Fourteen young pupils of the Junior High School form a Travel Club. Not
the least factor in the success of the Club is the cleverness of its
secretary, Virginia Lee. She it is whose plans and suggestions enable
the various “committees” to function properly and lead the Club to
triumphant climaxes.

As it is quite necessary that Club have funds, the members decide to
hold a rummage sale. From the proceeds of this sale the Club purchases a
bicycle for a boy member, whose folks had met with financial reverses.

The Club also plans a Thanksgiving dinner for the poorer element of the
town who live “down near the track.” For this they use the balance of
their funds. Virginia helps to buy the turkey with ten dollars which she
wins in a contest by her efforts as an amateur photographer.

Virginia Lee’s sweet disposition, sense of fair play and gift of real
leadership are such as may be chosen as models by any girl.

Bound in extra cloth with colored inlay on cover.

Four illustrations. Wrapper in four colors.

Size 5-3/8 x 7-5/8 inches. Net $1.50

Publishers: BARSE & CO. New York, N. Y., Newark, N. J.



ALICE ANN

By

Clara Ingram Judson

Author of “Virginia Lee,” “Mary Jane Series,” “The Junior Cook Book,”
etc.

Cloth, Large 12 mo., Illustrated

The many readers who have found endless delight in Mrs. Hudson’s books
about charming little Mary Jane will find “Alice Ann” equally
entertaining, wholesome and amusing. You who are as yet unacquainted
with the author’s lively characters will thoroughly enjoy the adventures
of this girl and her many friends in the neighborhood.

Alice Ann, Nancy, Jimmie, and Margaret have many happy times, and work
like Trojans to accomplish the tasks they have set before them. Between
picnics and school sports, their days are well filled. Then, too, they
have many plans which must be completed.

There is not a dull moment in this book, and such is its charm that we
feel sure that Alice Ann will soon become a fast friend.

Publishers: BARSE & CO. New York, N. Y., Newark, N. J.



WELCOME BARBARA

By

Kathleen Cooney

For Girls from 7 to 10

Her name “Welcome Barbara” is explained better by Barbara herself:

“My name’s ‘Welcome Barbara’ but I’m called ‘Welcome’ most. Barbara is
for my Mamma, but my Papa says he just tacked the Welcome on front
’cause that is how I was after six boys.”

“Welcome Barbara” has the faculty of making people happy and bringing
sunshine into their hearts. She is full of cute expressions and the
intrigue in which she involves the older folks and helps them to attain
happiness is told in an admirable way in this story. It is a book that
can be read by Mothers and Fathers to the younger children and we know
that they in turn will derive as much enjoyment out of it as the younger
folks.

“Welcome Barbara” says: “When you love folks lots you sort of want to be
hurt when you have hurted them.”

Price Net $1.00

Publishers: BARSE & CO. New York, N. Y., Newark, N. J.



HAT MAY

AN ENCHANTED PRINCESS

By

Lucy Thurston Abbott

For girls from 8 to 14

NET $1.00

This charming story is concerned with the fortunes of a little girl whom
a whim of Fate has placed in charge of a woman and her lame husband
living on the New England coast—the Winkiepaw pair—and the woman, whom
Hat May always looks upon as a cruel ogress of her imaginary fairy
world, treats her very badly indeed.

The story covering Hat May’s doings is everything that a book for girls
between the ages of eight and fourteen should be. The characters are
skillfully drawn and true to nature; also while there is considerable
pathos connected with the ill-treatment of Hat May; so too there is
discovered in the telling an abundance of childish and delightful humor.

Publishers: BARSE & CO. New York, N. Y., Newark, N. J.



The Rusty-Cats

A story of Hat May and her friends.

BY

Lucy Thurston Abbott

Author of “Hat May.”

(For Girls from 8 to 14)

Summer has come again to Carey Hill bringing with it the “rusticators,”
or, as the Carey children are called, the “rusty-cats.” With them comes
happiness to Hat May the little enchanted princess, and hope of recovery
to her little crippled friend, Hank. The mystic rites of The Seven
Bloody Bones baffle prying Mrs. Winkiepaw who is forced to grant more
freedom to her slave, Hat May. The success of Ariel’s wonderful play,
written especially for the Seven, buys a wheel-chair for Hank, and then
when the summer is over, and life with the ogress becomes too hard to
bear, Phin cleverly rescues Hat May and defeats the ill-tempered ogress.
Can anyone guess the beautiful word which disenchants Hat May and takes
her from her dreary and sordid existence to one of beauty and happiness?

Price Net $1.00

Publishers: BARSE & CO. New York, N. Y., Newark, N. J.



PEGGY’S PRIZE CRUISE

By Kate Dickinson Sweetser

Author of “Mickey of the Alley,” “Ten Boys from Dickens,” “Ten Girls
from Dickens,” etc., etc.

The Orrville News offered as a prize a Mediterranean trip to the student
in the senior class of the Orrville High School who would write a
synopsis of a play, with a historical theme, best suited for a five reel
screen play. Paul Day wins the prize and his play has a try-out with an
all-star amateur cast, and Peggy Emmons is chosen to play the lead.

Great preparations are made for the cruise and at last the day of
sailing arrives. Then ensue some exciting experiences for Peggy and
Paul, for Peggy’s family had also decided to take the trip, to Peggy’s
great joy. The cruisers visit Madeira, Algiers, Constantinople, Cairo,
Monte Carlo, etc. A good lively plot runs throughout the book, the
travel information being always linked up with the action of the story.

There is a certain appealing heart interest in the book, for as you read
you realize that the sights have all been seen by a real person. The
author actually made the cruise, and so the story is authoritative in
every detail. Miss Sweetser’s reputation as a writer of boys’ and girls’
books not only assures a worth-while story but the human touch which
adds great value to her work.

Publishers: BARSE & CO. New York, N. Y., Newark, N. J.





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Polly's First Year at Boarding School" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home