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Title: Smith College Stories - Ten Stories by Josephine Dodge Daskam
Author: Bacon, Josephine Daskam, 1876-1961
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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SMITH COLLEGE STORIES



     SMITH COLLEGE STORIES

     TEN STORIES BY
     JOSEPHINE DODGE DASKAM

     NEW YORK
     CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
     MCM



     _Copyright, 1900, by Charles Scribner's Sons_
     _D. B. Updike, The Merrymount Press, Boston_



     _To my Mother, who sent me to college,
     I offer these impressions of it._

     _J. D. D._



PREFACE


If these simple tales serve to deepen in the slightest degree the
rapidly growing conviction that the college girl is very much like any
other girl--that this likeness is, indeed, one of her most striking
characteristics--the author will consider their existence abundantly
justified.

     J. D. D.



CONTENTS


          I

     _The Emotions of a Sub-guard_        1

          II

     _A Case of Interference_            37

          III

     _Miss Biddle of Bryn Mawr_          67

          IV

     _Biscuits ex Machina_               85

          V

     _The Education of Elizabeth_       123

          VI

     _A Family Affair_                  151

          VII

     _A Few Diversions_                 205

          VIII

     _The Evolution of Evangeline_      247

          IX

     _At Commencement_                  279

          X

     _The End of It_                    321



THE FIRST STORY

_THE EMOTIONS OF A SUB-GUARD_



I

THE EMOTIONS OF A SUB-GUARD


Theodora pushed through the yellow and purple crowd, a sea of flags
and ribbons and great paper flowers, caught a glimpse of the red and
green river that flowed steadily in at the other door, and felt her
heart contract. What a lot of girls! And the freshmen were always
beaten--

"Excuse me, but I _can't_ move! You'll have to wait," said some one.
Theodora realized that she was crowding, and apologized. A tall girl
with a purple stick moved by the great line that stretched from the
gymnasium to the middle of the campus, and looked keenly at Theodora.
"How did you get here?" she asked. "You must go to the end--we're not
letting any one slip in at the front. The jam is bad enough as it is."

Theodora blushed. "I'm--I'm on the Sub-team," she murmured, "and I'm
late. I--"

"Oh!" said the junior. "Why did you come in here? You go in the other
door. Just pass right in here, though," and Theodora, quite crimson
with the consciousness of a hundred eyes, pulled her mackintosh about
her and slipped in ahead of them all.

             Oh, _here's_ to Ninety-_yellow_,
             And her _praise_ we'll ever _tell_--_oh_,
     Drink her _down_, drink her _down_, drink her _down_,
               _down_, _down_!

the line called after her, and her mouth trembled with excitement. She
could just hear the other line:

     Oh, _here's_ to Ninety-_green_,
     She's the _finest_ ever _seen_!

and then the door slammed and she was upstairs on the big empty floor.
A member of the decorating committee nodded at her from the gallery.
"Pretty, isn't it?" she called down.

"Beautiful!" said Theodora, earnestly. One half of the gallery--her
half--was all trimmed with yellow and purple. Great yellow
chrysanthemums flowered on every pillar, and enormous purple shields
with yellow numerals lined the wall. Crossed banners and flags filled
in the intervals, and from the middle beam depended a great purple
butterfly with yellow wings, flapping defiance at a red and green
insect of indistinguishable species that decorated the other side. A
bevy of ushers in white duck, with _boutonnières_ of English violets
or single American beauties, took their places and began to pin on
crêpe paper sunbonnets of yellow or green, chattering and watching
the clock. A tall senior, with a red silk waist and a green scarf
across her breast, was arranging a box near the centre of the
sophomore side and practising maintaining her balance on it while she
waved a red baton. She was the leader of the Glee Club, and she would
lead the sophomore songs. Theodora heard a confused scuffle on the
stairs, and in a few seconds the galleries were crowded with the
rivers of color that poured from the entrance doors. It seemed that
they were full now, but she knew that twice as many more would crowd
in. She walked quickly to the room at the end of the hall and opened
the door. Beneath and all around her was the hum and rumble of
countless feet and voices, but in the room all was still. The Subs
lounged in the window-seats and tried to act as if it wasn't likely to
be any affair of theirs: one little yellow-haired girl confided
flippantly to her neighbor that she'd "only accepted the position so
as to be able to sit on the platform and be sure of a good place." The
Team were sitting on the floor staring at their captain, who was
talking earnestly in a low voice--giving directions apparently. The
juniors who coached them opened the door and grinned cheerfully. They
attached great purple streamers to their shirt-waists, and addressed
themselves to the freshmen generally.

"Your songs are great! That 'Alabama Coon' one was awfully good! You
make twice the noise that they do!"

The Team brightened up. "I think they're pretty good," the captain
said, with an attempt at a conversational tone. "Er--when do we
begin?"

"The Subs can go out now," said one of the coaches, opening the door
importantly. "Now, girls, remember not to wear yourselves out with
kicking and screaming. You're right under the President, and he'll
have a fit if you kick against the platform. Miss Kassan says that
this _must_ be a quiet game! She _will not_ have that howling! It's
her particular request, she says. Now, go on. And if anything happens
to Grace, Julia Wilson takes her place, _and look out for Alison
Greer_--she pounds awfully. Keep as still as you can!"

They trotted out and ranged themselves on the platform, and when
Theodora got to the point of lifting her eyes from the floor to gaze
down at the sophomore Subs across the hall in front of another
audience, the freshmen were off in another song. To her excited eyes
there were thousands of them, brilliant in purple and yellow, and
shouting to be heard of her parents in Pennsylvania. A junior in
yellow led them with a great purple stick, and they chanted, to a
splendid march tune that made even the members of the Faculty keep
time on the platform, their hymn to victory.

     _Hurrah!_ _hurrah!_ the _yellow_ is on _top_!
     _Hurrah!_ _hurrah!_ the _purple_ cannot _drop_!
     _We_ are Ninety-_yellow_ and our _fame_ shall never _stop_,
     _'Rah_, _'rah_, _'rah_, for the _freshmen_!

They sang so well and so loud and strong, shouting out the words so
plainly and keeping such splendid time, that as the verse and chorus
died away audience and sophomores alike clapped them vigorously, much
to their delight and pride. Theodora looked up for the first time and
saw as in a dream individual faces and clothes. They were packed in
the running-gallery till the smallest of babies would have been sorely
tried to find a crevice to rest in. A fringe of skirts and boots hung
from the edge, where the wearers sat pressed against the bars with
their feet hanging over. They blotted out the windows and sat out on
the great beams, dangling their banners into space. She could not see
the Faculty behind her, but she knew they were adorned with rosettes,
and that the favored ones carried flowers--the air where she sat was
sweet with violets. A group of ushers escorted a small and nervous
lady to the platform: on the way she threw back her cape and the
sophomores caught sight of the green bow at her throat.

             Oh, _here's_ to Susan _Beane_,
             She is _wearing_ of the _green_,
     Drink her _down_, drink her _down_, drink her _down_,
               _down_, _down_!

they sang cheerfully.

Just behind her a tall, commanding woman stalked somewhat consciously,
decked with yellow streamers and daffodils. The junior leader
consulted a list in her hand, frantically whispered some words to the
allies around her box, and the freshmen started up their tribute.

             Oh, _here's_ to Kath'rine _Storrs_,
             Aught but _yellow_ she _abhors_,
     Drink her _down_, drink her _down_, drink her _down_,
               _down_, _down_!

Miss Storrs endeavored to convey with her glance, dignity, amusement,
toleration of harmless sport, and a repudiation of the personality
involved in the song; but it is to be doubted if even she was
satisfied with the result. Theodora wished she had seen the President
come in. She had been told how he walked solemnly across the hall,
mounted the platform, unbuttoned his overcoat, and displayed two
gorgeous rosettes of the conflicting colors--his official and
exclusive privilege. And she had heard from the Team's retreat the
thunder of applause that greeted this traditional rite. She wondered
whether he cared who won: whether he realized what it was to play
against a team that had beaten in its freshman year.

A burst of applause and laughter interrupted her meditations. She felt
herself blushing--was it the Team? No: the sophomore Subs were
escorting to the middle of the floor a child of five or six dressed in
brightest emerald green: a child with a mane of the most remarkable
brick-red hair in the world. She wore it in the fashion of Alice in
Wonderland, and it grew redder and redder the longer one looked at it.
She held a red ribbon of precisely the same shade in her hand, and at
the middle of the floor the sophomores suddenly burst away from her
and ran quickly to their seats, revealing at the end of the ribbon an
enormous and lifelike green frog. The child stood for a moment
twisting her little green legs undecidedly, and then, overcome with
embarrassment at the appreciation she had evoked, shook her flaming
locks over her face, and dragging the frog with her, sometimes on its
side, sometimes on its head, fled to the sophomores, who bore her off
in triumph.

"They got her in Williamsburgh," said somebody; "they've been hunting
for weeks for a red-haired child, and that frog was from the drug
store--oh, my dear, how _perfectly_ darling!"

Alone and unabashed the freshman mascot took the floor. He was perhaps
four years old and the color of a cake of chocolate. His costume was
canary yellow--a perfect little jockey suit, with a purple band on his
arm adorned with Ninety-yellow's class numerals. He dragged by a
twisted cord of purple and yellow a most startling plum-colored
terrier, of a shade that never was on land or sea, with a tendency to
trip his master up at every step. In the exact middle of the floor the
mascot paused, rolled his eyes till they seemed in danger of leaving
their sockets, and then at a shrill whistle from the balcony pulled
his yellow cap from his woolly head and made a deep and courtly bow
to his patrons. But the storm of applause was more than he had been
prepared for, and with a wild look about the hall and a frantic tug at
the cord he dragged the purple and protesting animal to a corner of
the room, where a grinning elder sister was stationed for his comfort.

Theodora's heart beat high: theirs was the best! Everybody was
laughing and exclaiming and questioning; the very sophomores were
shrieking at the efforts of the terrier to drag the little darkey out
again; one member of the Faculty had laughed himself into something
very like hysteria and giggled weakly at every twitch of the idiotic
purple legs.

"It was Diamond Dyes," Theodora heard a freshman just above call out
excitedly, "and Esther Armstrong thought of it. They dyed him every
day for a week--"

The mascot and the dog had trotted up again, and as they ran back and
the animal gave a more than ordinarily vicious dart, the poor little
boy, yielding suddenly, sat down with exquisite precision on his
companion, and with distended eyes wailed aloud for his relative, who
disentangled him with difficulty and bore him away, his cap over his
ear and his little chocolate hands clutching her neck. In the
comparative silence that followed the gale of laughter some bustle and
conference was noticed on the sophomore side, and suddenly the leader
rose, lifting her green and red stick, and the front line of
sophomores and seniors intoned with great distinctness this thrilling
doggerel:

     I never saw a purple pup:
       I never hoped to see one:
     But now my mind is quite made up--
       I'd rather see than be one!

This was received favorably, and the gallery congratulated the
_improvisatrice_, while Theodora wondered if that detracted at all
from the glory of the freshmen! The chattering began again, and she
drummed nervously with her heels against the platform, while the
Centre, sitting next her, prophesied gloomily that Grace Farwell felt
awfully blue, and that Miss Kassan had said they were really almost
too slight as a team--the sophomores were so tall and big. Harriet
Foster had said that she was perfectly certain she 'd sprain her
ankle--then who would guard Martha Sutton? It was all very well for
Caroline Wilde to say not to worry about that--_she_ hadn't been able
to guard her last year! She was just like a machine. Her arm went up
and the ball went in; that was all there was to it. And Kate was as
bad. They might just as well make up their minds--

"Oh, hush!" cried Theodora, her eyes full of nervous tears; "if you
can't talk any other way, just keep still!"

"Very well," said the Centre, huffily, and then the chattering died
away as Miss Kassan made mysterious marks on the floor, and the
coaches took their places with halves of lemon and glasses of water in
their hands. A door opened, and in a dead hush the sophomore team
trotted in, two and two, the Suttons leading, bouncing the big ball
before them. There was such a silence that the thudding feet seemed to
echo and ring through the hall, and only when Martha suddenly tossed
it behind her at nothing and Kate from some corner walked over and
caught it did the red and green burst forth in a long-drawn single
shout: "Ninety-gre-e-e-e-e-n!"

Miss Kassan looked apprehensive, but no _'Rah, 'rah, 'rah!_ followed;
only,--

             Here's to _Sutton M._ and _K._
             And they'll _surely_ win the _day_,
     Drink 'em _down_, drink 'em _down_, drink 'em _down_,
               _down_, _down_!

Theodora set her teeth. "Humph! Will they?" she muttered savagely.

"Here they come!" cried the Centre, and they ran in, the big yellow
numerals gleaming effectively against their dark suits, their braids
bobbing behind them. Grace Farwell was quite pale, with one little
spot of red in each cheek, but Harriet Foster was crimson with
excitement, and the thick braids of auburn hair that fell over her
breast bumped up and down as she breathed. The thunder of recognition
died away, and they tossed the ball about nervously, with an eye on
Miss Kassan, who handed a ball to her assistant and took her place on
the line to watch fouls.

"All ready!" said the assistant. There was a shuffling about, a
confusion in the centre, a concentration of eyes. Harriet Foster took
her place by Martha Sutton and sucked in her under lip; Grace lined up
with Kate in the centre, clasping and unclasping her hands. Near her
stood a tall slim girl with green numerals on her sleeve. Her soft
dark hair was coiled lightly into a Greek knot--it seemed that the
slightest hasty movement must shake it over her sloping shoulders. It
grew into a clean-cut widow's peak low on her smooth white forehead;
below straight, fine brows two great, sad, gray eyes, wide apart,
wondered at life; her oval face was absolutely colorless and threw out
the little scarlet mouth that drooped softly at the corners. Her hands
lightly folded before her, she swayed a little and looked dreamily
over the heads of the others; she seemed as incongruous as a Madonna
at a bull-fight.

"Who is that lovely girl in the middle?" said some one behind
Theodora.

"That is a Miss Greer," was the reply. "She is one of the best--"

"Play!" called the assistant, and the big ball flew out of her hands
into Kate Sutton's. Kate gave an indescribable twist of her shoulder,
the ball rose in the air, passed over an utterly irrelevant scuffle in
the centre, and landed in Martha's hands. Martha balanced it a moment
and threw it into the exact middle of the basket, while the sophomores
howled and pounded and the freshmen looked blankly at one another.
They had not been accustomed to such simple and efficacious methods.

"One to nothing!" said the assistant, quietly. "Play!"

Theodora caught her breath. She dared not look at Grace, but she
stared hard at Harriet. What was Harriet thinking? Not that she could
have done anything--Martha was two inches taller and had the ball
tight in her hands two seconds after the assistant had tossed it--Ah,
what was that?

The ball had reached the floor and Grace had somehow gotten it. She
threw it to Virginia Wheeler, whose hands were just grazing it when
something shot like a flash of lightning upon her. She fell back and
some one slapped the ball from between her very finger-nails up, up
into the air, where Kate caught it, and a few short, sharp,
instantaneous passes got it into Martha's relentless hands. When it
dropped into the basket Alison Greer was looking beyond the tumult,
across the gallery, into the sky--white and unruffled. Theodora winked
and tried to think that some one else had swooped down from her place
six seconds before.

The sophomores were shouting yet. Some one said: "That's as pretty a
piece of team work as you'll often see, isn't it? Those twins have
eyes in the backs of their heads."

"Two to nothing--play!" said the assistant.

Theodora did not see the next goal won. Through a mist she stared into
the gallery. Her eye caught a face she knew, and she wondered angrily
how Miss Carew could smile so nonchalantly--it was her own class!
From the plume in her exquisite toque to the tip of her patent leather
toe she looked the visiting lady of leisure. The little lace
handkerchief dangling from her hand had a green silk monogram in the
corner--how dared she wear green? She nodded at a senior, across the
game, and fanned herself. The freshmen broke into a roar of delight
that ended in a long-drawn _A-a-a-a-h!_ There was a scuffle, a little
cry, a flash from Alison Greer's corner, and the assistant's "Three to
nothing--play!" was drowned in the sophomore shouts.

"You see the freshmen have no chance, really," said some one behind,
calmly, and as if it made little matter at best. "They are terribly
scared, of course, and they've never had the training of a big game.
The sophomores have been all through this before--they don't mind the
crowd. And then, they beat last year, and that gives them a tremendous
confidence. They're so much bigger, too--"

Theodora turned and stared at her. She was very pretty; she had a
bunch of violets as big as her head pinned to her dress, and her hands
were full of daffodils. That was like the Faculty! To take their
flowers and talk that way! "Horrid thing! _Horrid_ thing!" she
muttered, and the Centre, looking angrily at Miss Greer, assented.

"She's a perfect tiger! Look at her eyes! She knocked Virginia right
over--you couldn't stop her with a steam-engine--Oh! Oh! _Oh!_
_Ninety-yellow!_ _Rah, rah-a-a-a-ah!_"

Right out of their hands it had slipped, and the two girls slid across
the floor, fell, reached out, missed it, and gritted their teeth as
the Centres, with a long-practised manoeuvre, passed it rapidly from
hand to hand to Martha, whose long arm slid it imperturbably into the
basket.

"That Guard doesn't accomplish much," said somebody.

"Good heavens, how can she? Look at the girl! She lays it in
like--like that," was the answer, as the assistant called, "Five to
nothing--play!"

Theodora looked up at the purple and yellow gallery. The freshmen
stared as if hypnotized at their steady misfortune, their faces
flushed, their mouths tremulous: when the players ran to suck the
half-lemon or kneeled to tighten their shoes, their class-mates held
breath till they returned; when Grace got the ball or Virginia pushed
it aside, they started a cheer that faded into a sigh as Alison Greer
drove everything before her or Kate sent that terrible Sutton throw
to her sister. Theodora suddenly started. Just before the ball left
Kate, she threw up her left hand with the palm slightly spread, and
some instinct moved Theodora to glance at Martha. Her left hand went
up instantly as if to throw back a braid, but it waved toward the
right, and while Harriet braced herself for a jump the ball flew into
the air far off to the right and the instinctive motion toward Martha
left the way clear for one of Alison Greer's rushes and sudden,
birdlike throws. In a moment Martha had it, and as Harriet bent
forward to guard, and the ball toppled unsteadily on the edge of the
basket and fell off, in the midst of the hubbub and scuffle some one
pushed heavily on Harriet, four hands grasped the ball firmly,
somebody called, "Foul, foul!" and as five panting girls hurled
themselves against the wall and the assistant tossed up where it fell,
to make sure of fair play, Harriet dropped with her foot beneath her
and did not get up. Martha put the ball in from an amazing distance,
and in the storm of applause no one noticed the freshman Guard, till
the cry of, "Six to nothing--play!" found her still sitting there.

The ball was dropped, and they ran up to her. Two doctors hurried out;
she half rose, fell back and bit her lip. The freshmen craned out
over the gallery, the sophomores shook their heads; "Too bad, too
bad!" they murmured. Two freshmen made a chair, lifted Harriet quickly
and ran out with her, the doctors followed, and in the dead hush they
heard her voice as the door closed.

"I'm so sorry, girls--go right on--don't wait--"

"Plucky girl," said a man's voice. "It's a shame!"

The freshmen looked very blue; the team stood about in groups; the
sophomores waited politely at one side. Martha went over to Grace and
held her hand out: "I'm terribly sorry," she said earnestly, "it's too
bad. They say your Subs are very good, though."

Grace nodded, and ran over to the coaches, who walked aside with her
for a moment, talking earnestly. Presently they came over to the
platform and the Centre nudged Theodora enviously. "Go on!" she
whispered. "Grace wants you!"

Theodora gasped. "Not me--not me!" she objected feebly.
"Me--guard--Martha Sutton!"

"Go on!" said somebody, and they pushed her out.

"Come on, Theodora--hurry up, now!"

The people seemed to swim before her; for one dreadful moment she
longed for her home as she had never longed before. Her knees shook
and the clapping of the class sounded faraway. With her eyes on the
floor she moved out; halfway to the centre Virginia Wheeler stepped to
meet her and put her arm over Theodora's shoulder.

"Don't be scared, Theo," she said, "don't be scared, but help us
out--heaven knows we need it!"

"Watch Martha--don't take your eyes off her!" whispered the coach as
she handed the lemon to the new Guard.

As in a dream Theodora passed to the lower basket. Martha patted her
on the shoulder. "Hello!" she said in a bluff, friendly way, and then
the assistant called, "Six to nothing, play!" and threw the ball. It
dropped in the middle, and there was a terrible scrimmage for at least
four minutes, while the people swayed and sighed and clapped and
screamed, for the freshmen were getting terribly excited and rapidly
losing their self-control, as it became evident that their team was
struggling desperately and making one of the longest fights on record
for the ball they were determined to have. It was almost in the
basket, it tottered on the edge, it fell, and Kate Sutton caught
it--how, no one knew, for it was nowhere near her. The freshmen were
shrieking with rage, the sophomores clapping with triumph. Every eye
in the hall was fixed on Kate Sutton--every eye but Theodora's.

She watched Martha, and saw above her head that long brown hand wave
ever so slightly to the left as she tossed her hair back. She braced
herself, and just as Martha made a dash to the right, Theodora let her
go and flew to the left. She went too far, but even as Martha dashed
up behind her and put up her hands, Theodora jumped, caught the ball
with her left hand and with her right hit it a ringing blow that sent
it straight over to the other basket. It hit Alison Greer's head as
she rushed toward it, and while she was raising her hand Grace Farwell
snatched it from her shoulder, glanced desperately at the Home, who
had lost them two balls, and bounded across, throwing the ball before
her. The roar of delight from the freshmen was literally deafening,
and as Grace put it into the basket it seemed to Theodora that the
roof would surely drop.

"Six to one and the first half's up," said somebody, and Theodora was
pushed along with the Team--_her_ team--into the sanctum of their
rest. But as they neared the door, the applause became a song, and
before she quite understood what the verse was, it rang out above her
head:

             Here's to _Theo_dora _Root_,
             She's our _dandy_ substi_toot_,
     Drink her _down_, drink her _down_, drink her _down_,
               _down_, _down_!

Any one who has never been a subject of song to some hundreds of young
women cannot perhaps understand why the mention of one's name in
flattering doggerel should be so distinctly and immediately affecting.
But any one who has had that experience knows the little contraction
of the heart, the sudden hot tightening of the eyelids, the confused,
excited desire to be worthy of all that trust and admiration. It is to
be doubted if Theodora ever again felt so ideally, impersonally
devoted to any cause, so pathetically eager to "make them proud of
her."

In the little room the Team dropped on the floor and panted. The
coaches bustled in with water, shook the hand of the new Guard and
told her to lie flat and not talk. A strong odor of spirits filled the
room, and Theodora, turning her head languidly--for she felt very
tired all at once--saw that one of the juniors was rubbing somebody
with whiskey. Grace was nursing an elbow and excitedly asking
everybody to sit on Alison Greer: "She works her elbow right _into_
you! She runs you right down--"

"There, there!" said one of the juniors, "never mind, never mind,
Gracie! She's a slugger, if you like, but you've got to beat her!
Don't be afraid of her."

"It's no good," said the Home that had missed two balls, "we're too--"

"That's enough of that," interrupted the coach who was fanning
Virginia Wheeler. "You're playing finely, girls. Now all you've got to
do is to make up your five goals. Don't you see how low you've kept it
down? You did some fine centre work. Last year it was eight to
something the first half. You tried to put it in standing right under
the basket, Mary--stand off and take your time."

They trotted out to the music of the sophomore prize song. It was a
legacy from the seniors, who had themselves inherited it. It leaped
out at them--a mocking, dancing, derisive little tune to which
everybody kept time.

It was repeated indefinitely, and at every repetition it went faster
and more furious, and strangers who had not heard it laughed louder
and louder.

Grace smiled grimly. The Team remembered her words just before the
door opened.

"Girls, it isn't likely that we'll win, _but we can give 'em something
to beat_!"

And as the ball went back and forth and could not get free of the
centre, the sophomores realized that they had "something to beat." The
freshmen had somehow lost their fear; they smiled up at their friends
and grinned cheerfully at their losses, which is far better than to
try to look unconscious. A little bow-legged girl with a large nose
and red knuckles accomplished wonders in the centre, and won them
their second basket by stooping abruptly and rolling the ball straight
between Kate Sutton's feet to Grace, who sat upon it and threw it so
hard at Alison Greer that it bounded out of her hands and was promptly
caught by Virginia Wheeler and put into the basket. This feat of
Grace's was due entirely to her having quite lost her head, but it
passed as the most daring of manoeuvres, and received such wild
applause that Miss Kassan very nearly stopped the game.

"What _shall_ I do? This is terrible. I never _heard_ such noise as
the freshmen are making!" she mourned, with an apprehensive glance at
the platform. At that moment the ball soared high, fell, was sent up
again, and caught by a phenomenal leap on the part of the little
bow-legged girl, who got it into the basket before the Home knew what
was happening. The war broke out again, and Miss Kassan beheld two
members of the Faculty pounding with their canes on the platform.

"Did you see her jump? George! That was a good one! Did you see that,
Robbins?"

But Robbins was standing up in his interest and cheering under his
breath as Martha Sutton snatched a ball clearly intended for some one
else, quietly put it in the basket, and smiled politely at her
enthusiastic friends.

"Lord! What a Fullback she'd make!" he muttered, as Alison charged
down into the centre. The lavender shadows under her eyes were deep
violet now; her mouth was pressed to a scarlet line; her eyes were
fixed on the ball like gray stars. People seemed to melt away before
her: she never turned to right or left.

Theodora saw nothing, heard nothing but the slap of hands on the ball,
the quick breaths that slipped past her cheek. She knew that the
score was nine to five now; a little later it was nine to six. She
caught the eye of the girl in the toque: she was standing now, her
cheeks very red, and the little lace handkerchief was torn to shreds
in her hands.

"Does she really care?" thought Theodora, as she jumped and twisted
and doubled. Back on the senior side sat Susan Jackson, her eyes wide,
her lips parted; Cornelia Burt was breathing on her hands and chafing
them softly. "Nine to seven--play!" called the assistant.

Harriet sat near the fireplace, her bandaged foot on a bench before
her, her hands twisting and untwisting in her lap.

             _Here's_ to Harriet _Foster_,
             And we're _sorry_ that we _lost_ her,
     Drink her _down_, drink her _down_, drink her _down_,
               _down_, _down_!

sang the freshmen. Would Harriet have done better? Would she have--Ah!

"Ten to seven--play!"

And they were so near, too! They _were_ playing well--Grace and
Virginia were great--they could have done something if that stupid
Home--Oh!

Theodora leaped, missed the ball, but danced up in front of Martha
and warded off the girl who slipped in to help her. Martha uttered an
impatient exclamation and scowled. The freshmen howled and kicked
against the gallery, and as the freshman Home woke out of an apparent
lethargy and put the ball in neatly Theodora clapped and cheered with
the rest.

"Ten to eight--play!"

There was a scuffle, a fall, and a hot discussion. Two girls grasped
the ball, and the captains hesitated. Miss Kassan ran up, and in the
little lull Theodora heard from the platform:

"Oh, give it to the freshmen! They deserve it!"

"No, Miss Greer had it!"

"She knocked the girl off it, if that's what--" A rebellious howl from
the yellow gallery as Miss Greer bore off the ball, and a man's voice:

"Oh, nonsense! If you don't want 'em to howl, don't let 'em play! The
idea--to get 'em all worked up and then say: 'No, young ladies,
control yourselves!' How idiotic! I don't blame 'em--I'd howl
myself--Jiminy crickets! _Look_ at that girl! Good work! _Good
work!_"

"Eleven to eight--play!"

"Good old Suttie! Good girl! Ninety-gre-e-e-en!"

Theodora's mouth was dry, and she ran to the coach for a lemon. The
junior's hand shook, and her voice was husky from shouting.

"It's grand--it's grand!" she said quickly. "Martha's mad as a hatter!
See her braid!"

Martha had twisted her pale brown pigtail tightly round her neck, and
was calling with little indistinct noises to her sister. Adah Levy was
talking to herself steadily and whispering, "_Hurry now, hurry now,
hurry now!_" as she doubled and bent and worried the freshman Home out
of her senses. Grace Farwell was everywhere at once, and was still
only when she fell backwards with a bang that sickened the visiting
mothers, and brought the freshmen's hearts into their mouths. A great
gasp travelled up the gallery, and the doctor left her seat, but
before she reached the players Grace was up, tossed her head, blinked
rapidly, and with an unsteady little smile took her place by Alison
Greer. And then the applause that had gone before was mild in
comparison with the thunder from both galleries, and Miss Kassan
looked at her watch uneasily and moved forward.

Now everybody was standing up, and the men were pushing forward, and
only the gasps and bursts of applause and little cries of
disappointment disturbed the stillness--the steady roar had stopped.

Theodora knew nothing, saw nothing: she only played. Her back ached,
and her throat was dry; Martha's elbow moved like the piston of a
steam-engine; her arm, when Theodora pressed against it, was like a
stiff bar; she towered above her Guard. It was only a question of a
few, few minutes--_could_ they make it "eleven to nine"?

She must have asked the question, for Martha gasped, "No, you won't!"
at her, and her heart sank as Miss Kassan moved closer. The ball
neared their basket; the little bow-legged girl ducked under Alison's
nose and emerged with it from a chaos of swaying Centres, tossed it to
Grace, who dashed to the basket--

"_Time's up!_"

The freshmen shrieked, the Team yelled to its captain: "Put it in! put
it in!" The sophomore Guards had not heard Miss Kassan, and Grace
poised the ball. A yell from the freshmen--and she deliberately
dropped it.

"Time's up," she said, with a little break in her voice, and as Miss
Kassan hurried forward to stop the play she gave her the ball. Through
the tumult a bass voice was heard: "I say, you know, that was pretty
decent! I'm not sure I'd have done that myself!"

And as the assistant and Miss Kassan retired to compare fouls, and the
noise grew louder and louder, the freshman team, withdrawn near the
platform, heard a young professor, not so many years distant from his
own alma mater, enthusiastically assuring any one who cared to hear,
that "That girl was a dead game sport, now!"

For a moment the feeling against Grace had been bitter--the basket was
so near! But as the sophomores were openly commending her, and as Miss
Kassan was heard to say that the Team had played in splendid form and
had given a fine example of "the self-control that the game was
supposed to teach," they thought better of their captain with every
minute.

"Eleven to eight, in favor of Ninety-green--fouls even!" said Miss
Kassan, and the storm broke from the gallery. But before it reached
the floor, almost, Martha was energetically beating time, and above
the miscellaneous babble rose the strong, steady cheer of the
sophomores:

     'Rah, 'rah, 'rah!
     'Rah, 'rah, 'rah!
     'Rah, 'rah, 'rah!--Ninety-ye-e-e-e-llow!

"Quick, girls! quick!" cried Grace, for Miss Kassan was running toward
them with determination in her eye.

     'Rah, 'rah, 'rah!
     'Rah, 'rah, 'rah!
     'Rah, 'rah, 'rah!--Ninety-gre-e-e-e-n!

Then it was all a wild, confused tumult. Theodora had no distinct
impressions; people kissed her and shook her hand, and Kathie Sewall
carried Grace off to a swarm of girls who devoured her, but not before
Martha, breathless from a rapid ride around the floor on the unsteady
shoulders of her loyal team, had solemnly extended her hot brown hand
to the freshman captain and said, with sincere respect, "That was as
good a freshman game as ever was played, Miss Farwell--we're mighty
proud of ourselves! Your centre work was simply great! And--and of
course we know that that last goal was--was practically yours!"

Theodora had expected to feel so ashamed and sad--and somehow she was
so proud and happy! The sophomores last year had locked themselves in
for one hour and--expressed their feelings; but the freshmen could
only realize that theirs was the closest score known for years, and
that they had made it against the best team the college had ever seen;
that Martha had said that in fifteen minutes more, at the rate they
were playing, nobody knew what might have happened; that Miss Kassan
had said that except in the matter of noise she had been very proud of
them; and that Professor Robbins had called their captain a Dead Game
Sport!

It would not have been etiquette to carry Grace about the hall, but
they managed to convey to her their feelings, which were far from
perfunctory, and in their enthusiasm they went so far as to obey the
Council's earnest request that the decorations should remain
untouched. They cheered Theodora and Virginia and Harriet and the
bow-legged girl till you would have supposed them victorious; and when
Harriet told Grace, with a little gulp, that it was all up with her,
for her mother had said that a second sprained ankle meant no more
basket-ball, the little sympathetic crowd brightened, and all eyes
turned to Theodora, who breathed hard and tried to seem not to
notice. Could it be? Would she ever run out bouncing the ball in that
waiting hush?...

They were out of the Gym now, and only the ushers' bonnets, the green
and yellow flowers that the Council had _not_ controlled, the
crumpled, printed sheets of basket-ball songs, and the little mascots
posing for their pictures on the campus made the day different from
any other.

"Come and lie down," said somebody, regarding Theodora with a marked
respect. "You'll want to get rested before the dinner, you know."

And as Theodora stared at her and half turned to run after Grace, whom
Kathie Sewall was quietly leading off, the girl--she was in the house
with her--held her back.

"I'd let Grace alone, if I were you," she said. "She's pretty well
used up; she hurt her elbow quite badly, but she wouldn't say
anything, and Dr. Leach says she'll have to keep perfectly quiet if
she wants to be at the dinner--wants to! the idea! But she said _of
course_ you were to come. They say they're going to take some of the
Gym decorations down.--What! Why, the idea! _Of course_ you'll go!
You're sure to make the Team, anyhow, for that matter! I tell you,
Theodora, we're proud of you! It wasn't any joke to step in there and
guard Martha Sutton with a score of six to nothing!"

Theodora paused at the steps, her mackintosh half off, her hair
tangled about her crimson cheeks, her sleeve dusty from that last mad
slide.

"No," she said, with a wave of reminiscence of that sick shaking of
her knees, that shrinking from a million critical eyes. "No, it wasn't
any joke--not in the least!"

And she climbed up the stairs to a burst of applause from the freshmen
in the house and the shrill cry of her room-mate:

"Come on, Theo! I've got a bath-tub for you!"



THE SECOND STORY

_A CASE OF INTERFERENCE_



II

A CASE OF INTERFERENCE


"What I want to know," said the chairman of the committee, wearily,
"is just this. Are we going to give the _Lady of Lyons_, or are we
not? I have a music lesson at four and a tea at five, and while your
sprightly and interesting conversation is ever pleasing to me--"

"Oh, Neal, don't! Think of something for us! Don't you want us to give
it?"

"I think it's too love-making. And no one up here makes love. The
girls will howl at that garden scene. You must get something where
they can be funny."

"But, Neal, dear, _you_ can make beautiful love!"

"Certainly I can, but I can't make it alone, can I? And Margaret Ellis
is a stick--a perfect stick. But then, have it! I see you're bent on
it. Only I tell you one thing--it will take more rehearsing than the
girls will want to give. And I shan't do one word of it publicly till
I think that we have rehearsed enough together. So that's all I've got
to say till Wednesday, and I _must_ go!"

The door opened--shut; and before the committee had time for comment
or criticism, their chairman had departed.

"Neal's a trifle cross," suggested Patsy, mildly. "Something's the
matter with her," said Julia Leslie. "She got a note from Miss
Henderson this afternoon, and I think she's going to see her now. Oh,
I haven't the vaguest idea--What? No, I know it's not about her work.
Neal's all straight with that department. Well, I think I'll go over
to the Gym and hunt out a suit. Who has the key to the property box
now?"

The little group dissolved rapidly and No. 18 resumed its wonted
quiet. "There's nothing like having a society girl for a room-mate, is
there, Patsy?" said the resident Sutton twin, opening the door. She
and her sister were distinguishable by their room-mates alone, and
they had been separated with a view to preventing embarrassing
confusion, as they were incredibly alike. "Couldn't I make the Alpha
on the strength of having vacated this hearth and home eighteen times
by actual count for its old committees?"

"I've put you up five times, Kate, love, but they think your hair's
too straight. Couldn't you curl it?"

Kate sniffed scornfully. "I've always known that the literary
societies had some such system of selection," she said to the bureau.
"Now, in an idle moment of relaxation, the secret is out! Patsy, I
_scorn_ the Alpha, and the Phi Kappa likewise."

"I scorn the Phi Kappa myself, theoretically," said Patsy.

"Do you think they'll take in that queer junior, you know, that looks
so tall till you get close to her, and then it's the way she walks?"

"Dear child, your vivid description somehow fails to bring her to my
mind."

"Why don't you want her in Alpha? But be careful you don't wait too
long! You're both leaving me till late in the year, you know, and
then, ten to one, the other one gets me!"

"A little violet beside a mossy stone is a poor comparison, Katharine,
but at the moment I think of no other. I am glad you grasp the
situation so clearly, though."

"But, truly, I wonder why they don't take that girl--isn't her name
Hastings?--into Phi Kappa? She writes awfully well, they say, and I
guess she recites well enough."

The other Sutton twin sauntered in, and appearing as usual to grasp
the entire conversation from the beginning, rolled her sister off the
couch, filled her vacant place, and entered the discussion.

"But, my dear child, you know she won't make either society! She's too
indifferent--she doesn't care enough. And she's off the campus, and
she doesn't go out anywhere, and she is always alone, and that speaks
for itself--"

"Oh, I'm tired of talking about her! Stop it, Kate, and get some
crackers, that's a dear! Or I'll get them myself," and Patsy was in
the hall.

Kate shook her head wisely at the bureau. "Something's in the air,"
she said softly. "Patsy is bothered. So is Neal. And there are plenty
of crackers on the window-seat!"

Miss Margaret Sewall Pattison sauntered slowly down the stairs. For
one whose heart was set on crackers she seemed strangely indifferent
to the hungry girls standing about the pantry with fountain pens and
lecture books and racquets and hammocks under their arms. She walked
by them and out of the door, stood a moment irresolutely on the porch,
and then, as she caught sight of Cornelia Burt coming out of the
dormitory just beyond, she hurried out to meet her.

"Busy this hour, Neal?" she said.

"No," said Cornelia, briefly. "Where shall we go?"

"We can go to the property box and get some clothes," said Patsy, "and
talk it over there."

In the cellar of the gymnasium it was cool and dim. The beams rose
high above their heads, and a musty smell of tarlatan and muslin and
cheese-cloth filled the air. Patsy sat on an old flower-stand, and
pushed Cornelia down on a Greek altar that lay on its side with a
faded smilax wreath still clinging to it.

"What did she say to you, Neal?" she asked.

Neal looked at the floor. "She was lovely, but I didn't half
appreciate it. I was so bothered and--vexed. Pat, I didn't know the
Faculty ever did this sort of thing, did you?"

"I don't believe they often do," said Patsy. "Did she read that thing
to you, too?"

"Yes. Patsy, that's a remarkable thing. Do you know, when I went there
I thought she was going to call me down for taking off the Faculty in
that last Open Alpha. The girls say she hates that sort of thing. You
know she always says just what she thinks. And she said, 'I want to
read you a little story, Miss Burt, that happened to come into my
hands, and that has haunted me since.'"

"How do you suppose _she_ got hold of it?" queried Patsy.

"I don't know, I'm sure. I certainly shouldn't pick her out to exhibit
_my_ themes to!--I never saw them together."

"I think I saw them walking once--well, go on!"

"'For the _Monthly_?' said I.

"'No,' said she. 'I think the author would not consent to its
publication.' And then she read it to me. Pat, if that girl has
suffered as much as that, I don't see how she stays here."

"She's too proud to do anything else," said Patsy. "Go on."

"Then Miss Henderson said: 'I needn't tell you the value of this thing
from a literary point of view, Miss Burt.'

"'No,' said I, 'you needn't.'

"'Very well,' said she; 'then I'll tell you something else. Every word
of it is true.'

"'I'm sorry,' said I."

"Oh, Neal! I cried when she read it to me! I blubbered like a baby.
And she was so nice about it. But I hated her, almost, for disturbing
me so."

"Precisely. So I said: 'And what have you read this to me for, Miss
Henderson?' And then she told me that the girl in the story was
Winifred Hastings. She has always lived with older people and been a
great pet and sort of prodigy, you know, and was expected to do great
things here, and found herself lonely, and was proud and didn't make
friends, and got farther away from the college instead of nearer to
it, and all that. And I said, 'I suppose she's not the only one, Miss
Henderson.' And she looked at me so queerly. 'Mephistopheles said
that,' said she."

"Oh! Neal! How could you? I--why are you so cold and--"

"Unsympathetic? I don't know. We all have the defects of our
qualities, I suppose. Miss Henderson was quite still for a moment,
looking at me. I felt like a fly on a pin. 'Why do you try so hard to
be cruel, Miss Burt?' said she, finally. 'I think you have an immense
capacity for suffering and for sympathy. Is it because you are afraid
to give way to it?' And I said, 'Exactly so, Miss Henderson. I never
go to the door when the tramps come.'

"'Neither did I, once,' said she, 'but I found it was a singularly
useless plan. You've got to, some time, Miss Burt.'

"'That's what I've always been afraid of, but I'm putting it off as
long as I can,' said I.

"And then she told me that this was the first time that she had done
anything of this kind for a long while. 'I don't believe in helping
people to their places, as a rule,' she said. 'They usually get what
they deserve, I fancy. But this is a peculiar case. You suppose she is
not the only one, Miss Burt? I hope there are very few like her. I
have never known of a girl of her ability to lose everything that she
has lost. There are girls who are queer and erratic and somewhat
solitary and perhaps discontented, but they get into a prominence of
their own and you call it a "divine discontent," and make them
geniuses, and they get a good deal out of it, after all. There are
girls who are queer and quick-tempered, but good students, and devoted
to a few warm friends, and their general unpopularity doesn't trouble
them particularly. There are the social leaders, who don't
particularly suffer if they don't get into a society, who are popular
everywhere, and get the good time they came for. But Winifred Hastings
has somehow missed all these. She got started wrong, and she's gone
from bad to worse. She is not solitary by nature, and yet she is more
alone than the girls who like solitude, even. She is not naturally
reserved, and yet she is considered more so than almost any girl in
college. I believe her to have great executive ability. I consider
her one of the distinctly literary girls in her class,--and if there
is anything in essentially "bad luck," I do honestly believe that she
is the victim of it. Her characteristics are so balanced and opposed
to each other that she can't help herself, and she does things that
make her seem what she is not. Her real self is in this story. You can
see the pathos of that!'"

Neal drew a long breath. "Did she say that to you?" she concluded.

"No, not exactly. She told me that she was speaking to me as one of
the social influences of the college. I felt like a cross between
Madame de Staël and Ward McAllister, you know. And then she spoke of
the power we have, the girls like me, and how a little help--oh, Neal!
it _does_ mean a good deal, though! I can't make people take this girl
up, all alone! The girls aren't--"

"They are! They're the merest sheep! If you do it, they'll all follow
you. That is, if she's really worth anything. Of course, they aren't
fools."

"She sat on me awfully, though, Neal! I said, 'I suppose you think we
ought to have her in Alpha, Miss Henderson.' She gave me a look that
simply withered me. 'My dear Miss Pattison,' said she, in that
twenty-mile-away tone, 'I am not in the habit of suggesting candidates
for either of the societies: I must have made myself far from clear to
you.' And I apologized. But it's what she meant, all the same!"

"Of course it is. Well, I suppose she's right. It isn't everybody
would have dared to do that much. I respect her for it myself. You are
to launch her socially, I am to--"

"Neal Burt, I think you ought to be ashamed! Didn't Miss Henderson
tell you how Winifred Hastings admired you?"

"Yes. She said that I was the only girl in the college whose
friendship--Oh, dear! I wish she had gone to Vassar, that girl!
Heavens! It's half-past three! I must go this minute. Well, Patsy,
we're honored, in a way. I don't think Miss Henderson would talk to
every one as she has to us, do you?"

"No," said Patsy, gravely, "I don't. You know, Neal, just as I was
going, she said, 'Of course you realize, Miss Pattison, that only you
and I and Miss Burt have seen this story?' 'I understand,' said I.
'Perhaps I have done this because I understand Miss Hastings better
than she thinks,' she said. 'I--I was a little like her, myself, once,
Miss Pattison!'"

"Yes," said Neal, "she told me that."

"I don't see why Miss Henderson doesn't take her up herself, if she
understands her so terribly well," scowled Patsy. "She looks just like
the kind of girl to be devoted to one person and all that, you know.
Miss Henderson could go for walks with her and--"

"Too much sense!" said Neal, briefly. "She wants to get her in with
the girls. That sort of thing would kill her with the girls, and she
knows it."

"Oh, bother! Look at B. Kitts--she's a great friend of Miss
Henderson's, and look at yourself!"

"Not at all," Neal returned decidedly. "Biscuits was in with your set
long before she got to know Miss Henderson, and I knew Marion Hunter
at home before she came up here. It's all very well to chum with the
Faculty if you're in with the girls, too, but otherwise--as my friend
Claude says, Nay, nay, Pauline! Besides, Miss Henderson doesn't go in
for that sort of thing anyhow--she's too clever."

"Oh, well, I suppose it _is_ best for us to do it. I guess she's right
enough," said Patsy, rising as she spoke, "and I suppose we can do it
as well as anybody, for that matter."

They mounted the stone steps and came out into a light that dazzled
them. "There she is!" said Patsy softly, as a tall girl, plainly
dressed, walked quickly by them. Her face was strangely set, her mouth
almost hard, her eyes looked at them with an expression that would
have been defiant but for something that softened them as they met
Neal's. She bowed to her, hardly noticing Patsy's "Good afternoon,
Miss Hastings!" and hurried off to the back campus. Behind were two
freshmen loaded with pillows. "Isn't that Miss Hastings?" said one.

"Yes. She's going to leave college."

"Oh! Well, we can lose her better than some others I could mention,"
said the prettier and better dressed of the two. Then, catching sight
of Patsy and Neal, she stopped and blushed a little. "Did--did you get
my note, Miss Burt? Will you come?" she asked prettily. Neal smiled.

"Why, yes, I shall be pleased--at four on Saturday, I think you said?"
And then as the two moved on she added, "I heard you say something
about Miss Hastings: is it true she's going to leave?"

"Yes," said the other freshman, importantly. "Immediately, she told
Mrs. White. I'm in the house with her. I think she said next week.
She's disappointed in college, I guess. Well, I should think she would
be. She--"

"I trust the college has given her no reason to be," said Neal,
gravely. "I sometimes think her attitude--if that should happen to be
her attitude--somewhat justifiable." And before the freshman could
recover, Miss Burt and her friend were halfway across the campus.

Patsy sighed with admiration. "Oh, Cornelia, how I reverence you!" she
said. "I couldn't do that to save my soul. No. Once I tried it, and
the freshman laughed at me. I slunk away--positively slunk."

But Neal did not laugh. "I can't see what to do," she half whispered,
as if to herself. "Next week--next week! Why then, why then, it's all
over with her. She's thrown up the sponge!"

Patsy peered into Cornelia's face and caught her breath. "Why, Neal,
do you care? Do you really care?" she said. Neal looked at her
defiantly through wet lashes. "Yes, I do care. I think it's horrible.
To have her beaten like this!--I have to go now. Be sure to come to
Alpha to-night!"

"When Cornelia leaves, she leaves sudden," said Kate Sutton, from the
window. "Coming up?"

Patsy stamped slowly up the two flights, and rummaged in a very mussy
window-box for a silk waist. Her room-mate listened for some
expression of grief or joy to give the tone to conversation, but none
came; so she began on her own account.

"Martha says," indicating her twin, who was polishing the silver
things with alcohol and a preparation fondly believed by her to be
whiting, but which incessant use had reduced to a dirty gritty gum,
"Martha says she knows who's going in to-night."

"Oh, indeed?"

"Yes. She says it's Eleanor Huntington and Leila Droch. She knows for
certain."

"Great penetration she has--they've never been mentioned," returned
the senior, absent-mindedly, grabbing under the chiffonier for missing
hair-pins.

A shriek of triumph from the twins brought her to her knees.

"Aha! I told you they weren't in it! Perhaps you'll believe me again!
Perhaps I can't find out a thing or two!"

The twins shook hands delightedly, and Patsy, irritated at her slip,
grabbed again for the hair-pins, incidentally discovering a silver
shoe-horn and a fountain pen.

"Very clever you are--very," she remarked coldly. "Quite unusual, and
so young, too. No wonder your parents are worried!"

This was a bitter cut, for the twins were industriously engaged in
living down the report that the Registrar had in their freshman year
received a note from Mrs. Sutton imploring her to curb if necessary
their passion for study, which invariably brought on nervous
headaches. This was peculiarly interesting to their friends, who had
never remarked any undue application on their part and were, of
course, proportionately eager to caution them against it. They
squirmed visibly now and changed their tone abruptly.

"They say that Frances Wilde was terribly disappointed about making
Alpha--she'd much rather have got Phi Kappa," said Kate, with a
mixture of malice and humility.

Patsy was silent. Martha grinned and took up the conversation.

"But her heart would have been broken if she hadn't gotten in this
year," she returned amiably.

Patsy turned and glared at them, one arm in the silk waist.

"What utter nonsense!" she broke out. "As if it made any matter, one
way or the other! As if it made two cents' worth of difference! You
know perfectly well that it's no test at all--making a society. Look
at the girls who are in! It's a farce, as Neal says--" She stopped and
scowled at them defiantly. The twins gasped. This from a society girl
to them, as yet unelect! Even for a conversation with the Sutton
twins, with whom, owing to their own contagious example, truth was
bound to fly out sooner or later, this was unusual. It was odd enough
to discuss the societies at all with perfectly eligible sophomores who
might reasonably expect to enter one or another sometime and who were
nevertheless yet uncalled; but the twins discussed everything with
everybody, utterly regardless of etiquette, tradition, or propriety,
and their upper-classroom-mates had long ago given up any ideas of
reserve and discipline they might have held.

Martha gasped but promptly replied. "That's all very well for Cornelia
Burt," she said, with the famous Sutton grin. "Anybody who made the
Alpha in the first five and was known well enough to have been
especially wanted in Phi Kappa and even begged to refuse--"

"How did you know that, Martha Sutton?"

"Oh! how did I? The President confided it to me one day when he was
calling. As I say, Neal Burt and you can afford to talk; you can say
it's a bore and all that and make fun of the meetings--"

"I don't!"

"You do! I heard you growling about it to Neal. And Bertha Kitts said
she'd about as soon conduct a class prayer-meeting as Phi--Oh, not to
me, naturally, but I know the girl who heard the girl she said it to!
Heard her tell about it, I mean.

"It's all very well for you, but you'd feel differently if you were
out! It's just like being a junior usher. There are plenty of spooks
in, but there aren't many bright girls out. Everybody knows that lots
of the society girls are pushed in by their friends and pulled in for
heaven knows what--certainly not brains! But, just the same, you know
well enough that you can count on one hand all the girls in the
college that you'd think ought to be in and aren't. You don't know
anything about it, for you were sure of it and everybody knew it, but
the ones that aren't, they're the ones that worry! Why, I know
sophomores to-day that will cry all night if they don't get their
notes and their flowers and their front seat in chapel Monday!"

"Oh, nonsense!"

"Oh, nonsense, indeed! Won't they, Katie?"

"Sure!" returned her sister, placidly.

"I guess Alison Greer will cry all right, if she's not in!"

Patsy bit her lip and tapped her foot nervously. Then she shrugged her
shoulders and opened the door, turning to remark, "You don't seem to
be wasted away, either of you!"

"Oh, we! We're all right!" replied Martha, comfortably. "We never
expected it sophomore year, anyhow. Nothing proddy about us, you know.
Too many clever girls in the sophomore class, you see. But we expect
to amble in next year, we do. And violets from you. And supper at
Boyden's. Oh, yes! Don't you worry about us, Miss Pattison, we're all
right!"

Miss Pattison sighed: sighs usually ended one's conversations with the
twins, for nothing else so well expressed one's attitude.

"It's a pity you're so shrinking," she contented herself with
observing. "I'm afraid you'll never come forward sufficiently to be
known well by either society!" And she went down to get her mail.


II

There was a full meeting of the Alpha that Saturday night. The
vice-president was lobbying energetically in behalf of a sophomore
friend who would prove the crown and glory of the society, if all her
upper-class patroness said of her could possibly be true. There was
but one place open for the rest of the term, for the society had grown
unusually that year, and some conservative seniors had pressed hard on
the old tradition that sixty was a suitable and necessary limit, and
put a motion through to that effect, and every possible junior had
been elected long ago. So the vice-president was distinctly hopeful.
Amid the buzz and clamor of fifty-odd voices, the president slapped
the table sharply. "_Will_ the meeting please come to order!" she
cried. A little rustle, and the handsome secretary arose. "The regular
meeting of the Alpha Society was held--" and the report went on.

"Are there any objections to this report?" asked the president,
briskly. "Yes. It's far too long," muttered Suzanne Endicott,
flippantly. The president looked at her reproachfully, and added, "If
not, we will proceed to the election of new members--I mean the new
member. As you probably know, there is but one place left, according
to the recent amendment, and I think that we will vote as usual on the
three that are before us, and elect the one having the most
affirmative ballots. Are there any objections to this method?" There
were none. The vice-president glanced appealingly at the girl she was
not quite sure of and smiled encouragingly at the sophomore she had
successfully intimidated. The secretary rose again. "The names to be
voted on this evening are Alison Greer, '9-, Katharine Sutton, '9-,
Marion Dustin, '9-," she announced. "I may add that Miss Sutton has
the highest marks from the society, and that if we don't take her this
time there is very little doubt that Phi Kappa Psi will. They'll be
afraid to risk another meeting."

"That's true," said somebody, as the buzzing began again. "We're
carrying this point a little too far. I declare, it's harder to decide
on the people that aren't prods than anybody would imagine. We know we
want 'em sometime, but we put it off so long--"

"Kate Sutton's awfully bright! I think she should have been here
before. I've been trembling for fear we'd lose her by waiting so
long--"

"Still, Marion is _such_ a dear, and it's pretty late for a girl
that's been known so well for so long, without getting in, it seems to
me," said the vice-president, skilfully. "Why didn't she get in before
if she was so bright?"

"And there's Martha, too. They're just alike. I think Martha's a
little brighter, if anything. Shall we have to take 'em both?"

"No. The girls all say to give her to Phi Kappa, and tell 'em apart by
the pins!"

"Like babies!"

"How silly!"

"To be perfectly frank, Miss Leslie, I must say I don't think so.
Alison is an awfully dear girl, and all that, but I hardly think she
represents the element we hope to get into Alpha. I'm sorry to say so,
but--"

"The voting has begun," said the president. "Will you hurry, please?"

"Miss President," said Cornelia Burt, rising abruptly, "may I speak to
the society before the voting?"

"Certainly, Miss Burt," said the president. There was an instant hush,
and the girls stood clustered about the ballot-table in their pretty,
light dresses--a charming sight, Neal thought vaguely, as she hunted
for the words to say.

"I know perfectly well that what I am about to propose is quite
unconstitutional," she began, and to her own ears her voice seemed far
off. How many there were, and how surprised and attentive they looked!
They were no fools, as she had said. They represented the cleverest
element in the college, on the whole, and they had, naturally enough,
their own designs and inclinations--why should they be turned from
them in a moment?

"I know that no girl is eligible for voting upon until she has been
read two meetings before, and been properly put up for membership, and
all that," said Neal, quietly, with her eyes fixed on Patsy's, who
tried to evade them. Poor Patsy. She wanted Kate to get the society in
her sophomore year! "But I am in possession of certain facts that seem
to me to warrant the breaking through the constitution, if such a
thing can ever be done."

The silence had become intense. An ominous look of surprise deepened
on the girls' faces, and the president looked doubtfully at the
secretary.

"I think I am quite justified in believing that I have not the
reputation of a sentimental person," said Cornelia. She had herself
well in hand, now. The opposition that she felt nerved her to her
customary self-possession. A little grin swept around the room. She
was, apparently, quite justified.

"I have been in the Alpha as long as any one here," said Neal, quietly
still, "and in all this time I have never proposed any one for
membership in it. I have voted whenever I knew anything about the
person in question, and I have never blackballed but once. I think I
may say I have done my share of work for the society--"

There was a unanimous murmur of deep and unqualified assent. "You have
done more than your share," said the president, promptly.

"I mention these things," said Neal, "in order that you may see that I
recognize the need of some apology for what I am about to propose. I
want to propose the name of Winifred Hastings to-night, and have her
voted on with the rest. If it is a possible thing, I want her elected.
That she would be elected without any doubt, I am certain, if only I
could put the facts of the case properly before you. That she must be
elected, now, to-night, is absolutely necessary, for by another
meeting she will have left the college--left it for the lack of just
such recognition as membership in the society will give her."

Cornelia Burt was a born orator. Never was she so happy as when she
felt an audience, however small, given over to her, eyes and ears, for
the moment. She stood straight as a reed, and looked easily over their
faces, holding by very force of personality their attention. She spoke
without the slightest hesitation, yet perfectly simply and after no
set form. Insensibly the girls around her felt conviction in her very
presence: they agreed with her against their will, while she was
speaking.

"Before I go any farther, I want to tell you that Miss Hastings is no
friend of mine," said Neal. "I hardly know her. Only lately I have
learned the circumstances that led me to take this step. I feel that I
must do this thing. I feel that we are letting go from the college a
girl whose failure in life, if she fails, will be in our hands. We can
elect these others later: Winifred Hastings leaves the college next
week. And, speaking as editor of the college paper, I must say that
she carries with her some of the best literary material in the
college. You ask me why we have never seen it--I tell you, because she
is a girl who needs encouragement, and she has never had it. She can
do her best only when it is called for. Some of you may think you know
her--may think that she is proud and solitary and disagreeable: she
is not. _This_ is the real girl!"

And, stepping farther into the circle, Cornelia, by an effort of
memory she has never equalled since, told them, with the simplest
eloquence, the pathetic story of Winifred Hastings' life, as she had
written it. She did not comment--she only related. Her keen literary
appreciation had caught the most effective parts, and she had the
dramatic sense to which every successful speaker owes so much. Under
her touch the haughty, solitary figure of a scarcely known girl melted
away before them, and they saw a baffled, eager, hungry soul that had
fought desperately, and was going silently away--beaten.

Cornelia Burt had made speeches before, and she made them afterward,
to larger and more excited college audiences, but she never held so
many hearts in her hand as she did that night. She was not a
particularly unselfish girl, but no one who heard her then ever called
her egotistic afterward. Her whole nature was thrown with all its
force into this fight--for it was a fight.

Perhaps there is nowhere an audience less sentimental and more
critical than a group of clever college girls. They see clearly for
the most part, and, like all clever youth, somewhat cruelly. They
object to being ruled by any but their chosen, and however they
admired her, Cornelia was not their chosen leader. It was not because
her speech was able, but because it was so evident that she believed
herself only the means of preventing a calamity that she was striving
with all her soul to avert, that she impressed them so deeply.

For she did impress them. When she ended, it was very quiet in the
room. "I have broken a confidence in telling this," she said. "The
girl herself would rather die than have you know it, I'm sure, and
now--I feel afraid. It has been a bold stroke; if I have lost, I shall
never forgive myself. But oh! I _cannot_ have her go!"

She sat down quickly and stared into her lap. The spell of her voice
was gone, the girls looked at each other, and a tall, keen-eyed girl
with glasses got up. "I wish to say," she said, "that while Miss
Burt's story is terribly convincing, still this may be a little
exaggerated, and, at any rate, think of the precedent! If this should
be done very often--"

"But it won't be!" cried some one with a somewhat husky voice, and
Patsy rudely interrupted the speaker. Dear Patsy! She crushed her
handkerchief in her hand and said good-by to Kate: she would have
liked to put her pin in Kate's shirt-waist, and now--now Phi Kappa
would get her! When Patsy spoke, it was with the voice of eleven, for
she carried at least ten of the leading set in the Alpha with her.

"I think we are all very glad to realize that there won't be many such
cases--most people have compensations--we ought to be willing to break
the constitution again for such a thing, anyhow--and, Miss President,
I move that Miss Hastings be voted upon by acclamation!"

"I second the motion," said the vice-president, quickly.

"It is moved and seconded that Miss Hastings be voted upon by
acclamation," said the president. "All in favor--"

"Miss Hastings has yet to be proposed," said some one, after the vote.

The president looked at Cornelia.

"I propose Winifred Hastings, '9-, as a member of the Alpha Society,"
said Cornelia, with flaming cheeks and downcast eyes. She dared not
look at them. Were they going to punish her? She heard the motion
announced, she heard the name put up.

"All in favor please signify by rising," said the president, and only
when the Alpha rose in a body did Cornelia lift her eyes.

They were all looking at her, and she stepped a little back.

"I cannot thank you," she said, so low that they leaned forward to
hear. "It was no affair of mine, as I said. But--I think
you--we--shall never regret this election." And then they applauded so
loudly that the freshmen on the campus could not forbear peeping under
the blinds to see what they were doing. They saw only the president,
however, as she stepped back to the table and said with an air of
relief--for, after all, emotion is very wearing--"We will now proceed
to the literary programme of the evening!"

"But Neal, dear," said Patsy, as they settled themselves to listen,
"do you think she'll stay? (Oh, Neal! I'm so proud of you!)"

"Shut up, Patsy!" said Neal, rudely. Then, as she thought of what Miss
Henderson had told her of Winifred Hastings: "You are the only girl
whose friendship"--she blushed. Then, assuming a bored expression, she
looked at the girl who was reading. "I fear there's no doubt she
will!" said Cornelia Burt.



THE THIRD STORY

_MISS BIDDLE OF BRYN MAWR_



III

MISS BIDDLE OF BRYN MAWR


"I wouldn't have minded so much," explained Katherine, dolefully, and
not without the suspicion of a sob, "if it wasn't that I'd asked Miss
Hartwell and Miss Ackley! I shall die of embarrassment--I shall! Oh!
why couldn't Henrietta Biddle have waited a week before she went to
Europe?"

Her room-mate, Miss Grace Farwell, sank despairingly on the pile of
red floor-cushions under the window. "Oh, Kitten! you didn't ask them?
Not really?" she gasped, staring incredulously at the tangled head
that peered over the screen behind which Katherine was splashily
conducting her toilet operations.

"But I did! I think they're simply grand, especially Miss Hartwell,
and I'll never have any chance of meeting her, I suppose, and I
thought this was a beautiful one. So I met her yesterday on the campus
and I walked up to her--I was horribly scared, but I don't think I
showed it--and, said I, 'Oh, Miss Hartwell, you don't know me, of
course, but I'm Miss Sewall, '9-, and I know Henrietta Biddle of Bryn
Mawr, and she's coming to see me for two or three days, and I'm going
to make a little tea for her--very informal--and I've heard her speak
of you and Miss Ackley as about the only girls she knew here, and I'd
love to have you meet her again!'"

Miss Farwell laughed hysterically. "And did she accept?" she inquired.

Katherine wiped her face for the third time excitedly. "Oh, yes! She
was as sweet as peaches and cream! 'I shall be charmed to meet Miss
Biddle again, and in your room, Miss Sewall,' she said, 'and shall I
bring Miss Ackley?' Oh, Grace, she's lovely! She is the most--"

"Yes, I've no doubt," interrupted Miss Farwell, cynically; "all the
handsome seniors are. But what are you going to say to her to-day?"

Katherine buried her yellow head in the towel. "I don't know! Oh,
Grace! I don't know," she mourned. "And they say the freshmen are
getting so uppish, anyway, and if we carry it off well, and just make
a joke of it, they'll think we're awfully f-f-fresh!" Here words
failed her, and she leaned heavily on the screen, which, as it was old
and probably resented having been sold third-hand at a second-hand
price, collapsed weakly, dragging with it the Bodenhausen Madonna, a
silver rack of photographs, and a Gibson Girl drawn in very black ink
on a very white ground.

"And if we are apologetic and meek," continued Miss Farwell, easily,
apparently undisturbed by the confusion consequent to the downfall of
a piece of furniture known to be somewhat erratic, "they'll laugh at
us or be bored. We shall be known as the freshmen who invited seniors
and Faculty and town-people to meet--nobody at all! A pretty
reputation!"

"But, Grace, we couldn't help it! Such things will happen!" Katherine
was pinning the Gibson Girl to the wall, in bold defiance of the
matron's known views on that subject.

"Yes, of course. But they mustn't happen to freshmen!" her room-mate
returned sententiously. "How many Faculty did you ask?"

"I asked Miss Parker, because she fitted Henrietta for college, at
Archer Hall, and I asked Miss Williams, because she knows Henrietta's
mother--Oh! Miss Williams will freeze me to death when she comes here
and sees just us!--and I asked Miss Dodge, because she knows a lot of
Bryn Mawr people. Then Mrs. Patton on Elm Street was a school friend
of Mrs. Biddle's, and--oh! Grace, I _can't_ manage them alone! Let's
tell them not to come!"

"And what shall we do with the sandwiches? And the little cakes? And
the lemons that I sliced? And the tea-cups and spoons I borrowed? And
that pint of extra thick cream?" Miss Farwell checked off these
interesting items on her fingers, and kicked the floor-cushions to
point the question.

"Oh! I don't know! Isn't there any chance--"

"No, goosey, there isn't. See here!" Grace pulled down a letter with a
special delivery stamp from the desk above her head, and read with
emphasis:

     Dear Kitten,--Just a line to say that Aunt Mary has sent for
     me at three days' notice to go to Paris with her for a year.
     It's now or never, you know, and I've left the college, and
     will come back to graduate with '9-. So sorry I can't see you
     before I go. Had looked forward to a very interesting time,
     renewing my own freshman days, and all that. Please send my
     blue cloth suit right on to Philadelphia C. O. D. when it comes
     to you. I hope you hadn't gotten anything up for me.

         With much love,
             HENRIETTA BIDDLE.

     Bryn Mawr, March 5.

"I don't think there's much chance, my dear."

"No," said Katherine, sadly, and with a final pat administered to the
screen, which still wobbled unsteadily. "No, I suppose there isn't.
And it's eleven o'clock. They'll be here at four! Oh! and I asked that
pretty junior, Miss Pratt, you know. Henrietta knew her sister. She
was in '8-."

"Ah," returned Miss Farwell, with a suspicious sweetness, "why didn't
you ask a few more, Katherine, dear? What with the list we made out
together and these last extra ones--"

"But I thought there wasn't any use having the largest double room in
the house, if we couldn't have a decent-sized party in it! And think
of all those darling, thin little sandwiches!--Oh well, we might just
as well be sensible and carry the thing through, Gracie! But I am just
as afraid as I can be: I tell you that. And Miss Williams will freeze
me stiff." The yellow hair was snugly braided and wound around by now,
and a neat though worried maiden sat on the couch and punched the
Harvard pillow reflectively.

"Never mind her, Kitten, but just go ahead. You know Caroline Wilde
said it was all right to ask her if she was Miss Biddle's mother's
friend, and there wasn't time to take her all around, and you know how
nice Miss Parker was about it. We can't help it, as you say, and
we'll go and get the flowers as we meant to. Have you anything this
hour?"

With her room-mate to back her, to quote the young lady herself, Miss
Sewall felt equal to almost any social function. Terrifying as her
position appeared--and strangely enough, the seniors appalled her far
more than the Faculty--there was yet a certain excitement in the
situation. What should she say to them? Would they be kind about it,
or would they all turn around and go home? Would they think--

"Oh, nonsense!" interrupted Grace the practical, as these doubts were
thrust upon her. "If they're ladies, as I suppose they are, of course
they'll stay and make it just as pleasant for us as they can. They'll
see how it is. Think what we'd do, ourselves, you know!"

They went down the single long street, with the shops on either side,
a red-capped, golf-caped pair of friends, like nine hundred other
girls, yet different from them all. And they chattered of Livy and
little cakes and Trigonometry and pleated shirt-waists and basket-ball
and Fortnightly Themes like all the others, but in their little way
they were very social heroines, setting their teeth to carry by storm
a position that many an older woman would have found doubtful.

They stopped at a little bakery, well down the street, to order some
rolls for the girl across the hall from them, who had planned to
breakfast in luxury and alone on chocolate and grape-fruit the next
morning. "Miss Carter, 24 Washburn," said Grace, carelessly, when
Katherine whispered, "Look at her! Isn't that funny? Why, Grace, just
see her!"

"See who--whom, I mean? (only I hate to say 'whom.') Who is it,
Kitten?"

Katherine was staring at the clerk, a tall, handsome girl, with masses
of heavy black hair and an erect figure. As she went down to the back
of the shop again, Katherine's eyes followed her closely.

"It's that girl that used to be in the Candy Kitchen--don't you
remember? I told you then that she looked so much like my friend Miss
Biddle. And then the Candy Kitchen failed and I suppose she came here.
And she's just Henrietta's height, too. You know Henrietta stands very
straight and frowns a little, and so did this girl when you gave
Alice's number and she said, 'Thirty-four or twenty-four?' Isn't it
funny that we should see her now?--Oh, dear! If only she _were_
Henrietta!"

Grace stared at the case of domestic bread and breathed quickly. "Does
she really look like her, Kitten?" she said.

"Oh yes, indeed. It's quite striking. Henrietta's quite a type, you
know--nothing unusual, only very dark and tall and all that. Of course
there are differences, though."

"What differences?" said Grace, still looking intently at the domestic
bread.

"Oh, Henrietta's eyes are brown, and this girl's are black. And
Henrietta hasn't any dimple, and her hands are prettier. And
Henrietta's waist isn't so small, and she hasn't nearly so much hair,
I should say. But then, I haven't seen her for a year, and probably
there's a greater difference than I think."

"How long is it since those seniors and the Faculty saw Henrietta?"
said Grace, staring now at a row of layer chocolate-cakes.

Her room-mate started. "Why--why, Grace, what do you mean? It's two
years, Henrietta wrote, I think. And Miss Parker and Miss Williams
haven't seen her for much longer than that. But--but--you don't mean
anything, Grace?"

Grace faced her suddenly. "Yes," she said, "I do. You may think that
because I just go right along with this thing, I don't care at all.
But I do. I'm awfully scared. I hate to think of that Miss Ackley
lifting her eyebrows--the way she will! And Miss Hartwell said once
when somebody asked if she knew Judge Farwell's daughter, 'Oh, dear
me--I suppose so! And everybody else in her class--theoretically! But
practically I rarely observe them!' Ugh! She'll observe me to-day, I
hope!"

"Yes, dear, I suppose she will. And me too. But--"

"Oh, yes! But if nobody knows how Miss Biddle looks, and she was going
to stay at the hotel, anyway, and it would only be for two hours, and
everything would be so simple--"

Katherine's cheeks grew very red and her breath came fast. "But would
we dare? Would she be willing? Would it be--"

"Oh, my dear, it's only a courtesy! And everybody will think it's all
right, and the thing will go beautifully, and Miss Biddle, if she has
any sense of humor--"

"Yes, indeed! Henrietta would only be amused--oh, so amused! And it
would be such a heavenly relief after all the worry. We could send her
off on the next train--Henrietta, you know--and dress makes such a
difference in a girl!"

"And I think she would if we asked her just as a favor--it wouldn't
be a question of money! Oh, Katherine! I could cry for joy if she
would!"

"She'd like to, if she has any fun in her--it would be a game with
some point to it! And will you ask her, or shall I?"

They were half in joke and half in earnest: it was a real crisis to
them. They were only freshmen, and they had invited the seniors and
the Faculty. And two of the most prominent seniors! Whom they hadn't
known at all! They had a sense of humor, but they were proud, too, and
they had a woman's horror of an unsuccessful social function. They
felt that they were doomed to endless joking at the hands of the whole
college, and this apprehension, though probably exaggerated, nerved
them to their _coup d'état_.

Grace walked down the shop. "I will ask her," she said.

Katherine stood with her back turned and tried not to hear. Suppose
the girl should be insulted? Suppose she should be afraid? Now that
there was a faint hope of success, she realized how frightened and
discouraged she had been. For it would be a success, she saw that.
Nobody would have had Miss Biddle to talk with for more than a few
minutes anyhow, they had asked such a crowd. And yet she would have
been the centre of the whole affair.

"Katherine," said a voice behind her, "let me introduce Miss Brooks,
who has consented to help us!"

Katherine held out her hands to the girl. "Oh, thank you! _thank_
you!" she said.

The girl laughed. "I think it's queer," she said, "but if you are in
such a fix, I'd just as lief help you as not. Only I shall give you
away--I shan't know what to say."

Grace glanced at Katherine. Then she proved her right to all the
praise she afterward accepted from her grateful room-mate. "That will
be very easy," she said sweetly. "Miss Biddle, whom you will--will
represent, speaks very rarely: she's not at all talkative!"

Katherine gasped. "Oh, no!" she said eagerly, "she's very statuesque,
you know, and keeps very still and straight, and just looks in your
eyes and makes you think she's talking. She says 'Really?' and 'Fancy,
now!' and 'I expect you're very jolly here,' and then she smiles. You
could do that."

"Yes, I could do that," said the girl.

"Can you come to the hotel right after dinner?" said Grace,
competently, "and we'll cram you for an hour or so on Miss Biddle's
affairs."

The girl laughed. "Why, yes," she said, "I guess I can get off."

So they left her smiling at them from the domestic bread, and at two
o'clock they carried Miss Henrietta Biddle's dress-suit case to the
hotel and took Miss Brooks to her room. And they sat her on a sofa and
told her what they knew of her alma mater and her relatives and her
character generally. And she amazed them by a very comprehensive grasp
of the whole affair and an aptitude for mimicry that would have gotten
her a star part in the senior dramatics. With a few corrections she
spoke very good English, and "as she'd only have to answer questions,
anyhow, she needn't talk long at a time," they told each other.

She put up her heavy hair in a twisted crown on her head, and they put
the blue cloth gown on her, and covered the place in the front, where
it didn't fit, with a beautiful fichu that Henrietta had apparently
been led of Providence to tuck in the dress-suit case. And she rode up
in a carriage with them, very much excited, but with a beautiful color
and glowing eyes, and a smile that brought out the dimple that
Henrietta never had.

They showed her the room and the sandwiches and the tea, and they got
into their clothes, not speaking, except when a great box with three
bunches of English violets was left at their door with Grace's card.
Then Katherine said, "You dear thing!" And Miss Brooks smiled as they
pinned hers on and said softly, "Fancy, now!"

And then they weren't afraid for her any more.

When the pretty Miss Pratt came, a little after four, with Miss
Williams, she smiled with pleasure at the room, all flowers and tea
and well-dressed girls, with a tall, handsome brunette in a blue gown
with a beautiful lace bib smiling gently on a crowd of worshippers,
and saying little soft sentences that meant anything that was polite
and self-possessed.

Close by her was her friend Miss Sewall, of the freshman class, who
sweetly answered half the questions about Bryn Mawr that Miss Biddle
couldn't find time to answer, and steered people away who insisted on
talking with her too long. Miss Farwell, also of the freshman class,
assisted her room-mate in receiving, and passed many kinds of pleasant
food, laughing a great deal at what everybody said and chatting
amicably and unabashed with the two seniors of honor, who openly raved
over Miss Biddle of Bryn Mawr.

As soon as Katherine had said, "May I present Miss Hartwell--Miss
Ackley?" they took their stand by the stately stranger and talked to
her as much as was consistent with propriety.

"Isn't she perfectly charming!" they said to Miss Parker, and "Yes,
indeed," replied that lady, "I should have known Netta anywhere. She
is just what I had thought she would be!"

And Miss Williams, far from freezing the pretty hostess, patted her
shoulder kindly. "Henrietta is quite worth coming to see," she said
with her best and most exquisite manner. "I have heard of the Bryn
Mawr style, and now I am convinced. I wish all our girls had such
dignity--such a feeling for the right word!"

And they had the grace to blush. They knew who had taught Henrietta
Biddle Brooks that right word!

At six o'clock Miss Biddle had to take the Philadelphia express. She
had only stopped over for the tea. And so the girls of the house could
not admire her over the supper-table. But they probably appreciated
her more. For after all, as they decided in talking her over later, it
wasn't so much what she said, as the way she looked when she said it!

But only a dress-suit case marked H. L. B. took the Philadelphia
express that night, and a tall, red-cheeked girl in a mussy checked
suit left the hotel with a bunch of violets in her hand and a
reminiscent smile on her lips.

"We simply can't thank you; we haven't any words. You've helped us
give the nicest party two freshmen ever gave, if it is any pleasure to
you to know that," said Katherine. "And now you're only not to speak
of it."

"Oh, no! I shan't speak of it," said the girl. "You needn't be afraid.
Nobody that I'd tell would believe me, very much, anyhow. I'm glad I
could help you, and I had a lovely time--lovely!"

She smiled at them: the slow, sweet smile of Henrietta Biddle, late of
Bryn Mawr. "You College ladies are certainly queer--but you're smart!"
said Miss Brooks of the bakery.



THE FOURTH STORY

_BISCUITS EX MACHINA_



IV

BISCUITS EX MACHINA


B. S. Kitts--this was the signature she had affixed in a neat clerical
backhand to all her written papers since the beginning of freshman
year; and she had of course been called Biscuits as soon as she had
found her own particular little set of girls and settled down to that
peculiar form of intimacy which living in barracks, however
advantageously organized, necessitates. She had a sallow irregular
face, fine brown eyes surrounded with tiny wrinkles, a taste for
Thackeray, and a keen sense of humor. It was the last which was
subsequently responsible for this story about her.

She was quite unnoticed for two or three years, which is a very good
thing for a girl. During that time she quietly took soundings and laid
in material, presumably, for those satiric characterizations which
were the terror of her undergraduate enemies and the concealed
discomfort of those in high places. During her junior year she began
to be considered terribly clever, and though she was never what is
known as a Prominent Senior, she had her little triumphs here and
there, and in the matter of written papers she was a source of great
comfort to those whom custom compels to demand such tributes.

She was the kind of girl who, though well known in her own class, is
quite unobserved of the lower classes, and this, if it deprived her of
the admirations and attentions bestowed on the prominent, saved her
the many worries and wearinesses incident to trying to please
everybody at once--the business of the over-popular. She had a great
deal of time, which may seem absurd, but which is really quite
possible if one keeps positively off committees, is neither musical
nor athletic, and shuns courses involving laboratory work. It is of
great assistance also in this connection to elect English Literature
copiously, when one has read most of the works in question and can
send home for the reference books, thus saving an immense amount of
fruitless loitering about crowded libraries.

Biscuits employed the time thus gained in a fashion apparently
purposeless. She loafed about and observed, with _Vanity Fair_ under
one arm and an apple in the other hand. She was never the subject or
the object of a violent friendship; she was one of five or six clever
girls who hung together consistently after sophomore year, bickering
amicably and indulging in mutual contumely when together, defending
one another promptly when apart. The house president spoke of them
bitterly as blasé and critical; the lady-in-charge remarked
suspiciously the unusual chance which invariably seated them together
at the end of the table at the regular drawing for seats; the
collector for missions found them sceptical and inclined to ribaldry
if pushed too far; but the Phi Kappa banked heavily on their united
efforts, and more than usually idiotic class meetings meekly bowed to
what they themselves scornfully referred to afterward as "their
ordinary horse-sense."

One of the members of this little group was Martha Augusta Williams.
Sometimes she retired from it and devoted herself to solitude, barely
replying to questions and obscurely intimating that to _ennui_ such as
hers the prattle of the immature and inexperienced could hardly be
supposed even by themselves to be endurable; sometimes she returned to
it with the air of one willing to impart to such a body the mellow
cynicism of a tolerant if fatigued _femme du monde_. In the intervals
of her retirement she wrote furiously at long-due themes, which took
the form of Richard Harding Davis stories--she did them very well--or
modern and morbid verses of a nature to disturb the more conservative
of those who heard them. At any expression of disturbance Martha would
elaborately suppress a three-volume smile and murmur something about
"meat for babes;" a performance which delighted her friends--especially
Biscuits--beyond measure. Her shelves bristled with yellow French
novels, and on her bureau a great ivory skull with a Japanese paper
snake carelessly twined through it impressed stray freshmen
tremendously. She cut classes elaborately and let her work drop
ostentatiously in the middle of the term, appearing at mid-years with
ringed eyes and an air of toleration strained to the breaking point.
She slept till nine and wandered lazily to coffee and toast at
Boyden's an hour later, at least three times a week, with an air that
would have done credit to one of Ouida's noblemen.

And yet, in spite of all this, Martha was not happy. The disapproval
of the lady-in-charge, the suspicions of the freshmen, the periodical
discussions with members of the Faculty, who "regretted to be obliged
to mark," etc., "when they realized perfectly that she was capable,"
etc.,--all these alleviated her trouble a little, but the facts
remained that her own particular set would never treat her seriously,
and that her name was Martha Augusta Williams. Fancy feeling such
feelings, and thinking such thoughts, and bearing the name of Martha
Augusta Williams! It is, to say the least, dispiriting. And nobody had
ever called her anything else. Harriet Williams was called,
indifferently, Billie and Willie and Sillie. Martha Underhill took her
choice of Mattie, Nancy, and Sister. A girl whose name was Anna
Augusta. Something had been hailed as Gustavus Adolphus from her
freshman year on; but below _her_ most daring flights of fiction must
ever appear those three ordinary, not to say stodgy, names. That alone
would have soured a temper not too inclined to regard life with favor.

Martha might have lived down the name, but she was assured that never
while Bertha Kitts remained alive would she be able to appear really
wickedly interesting. For Biscuits would tell the Story. Tell it with
variations and lights and shades and explanations adapted to the
audience. And it never seemed to pall. Yet it was simple--horribly
simple.

Martha had invited a select body of sophomores to go with her to the
palm-reader's. There were two clever ones, who vastly admired her
Richard Harding Davis tales, two curious ones, who openly begged for
her opinions and thrilled at her epigrams on Love and Life and
Experience, and, in an evil hour, the Sutton twins, whom she admitted
into the occasion partly to impress them, and partly so that if
anything really fascinating should come to light, Kate Sutton could
impart it to her room-mate, Patsy Pattison.

When they were assembled in the palm-reader's parlor, Martha gravely
motioned the others to go before her, and they took their innocent
turns before the little velvet cushion. The Twins were admirably
struck off in a few phrases, to the delight of their friends, and the
palm-reader's reputation firmly established. In the case of one of the
curious girls, peculiar and private events were hinted at that greatly
impressed her, for "how _could_ she have known _that_, girls?" The
clever girls were comforted with fame and large "scribbler's crosses,"
also wealthy marriages and social careers, but they looked enviously
at Martha, nevertheless, and she smiled maternally on them, as was
right. There remained only the other quiet little girl, and she
modestly suggested waiting till another day, "so there'll be lots of
time for yours, Miss Williams;" but Martha smiled kindly and waved
her to the seat, suggesting that hers might not be a long session,
with an amused glance at the empty, little pink palm.

The palm-reader turned and twisted and patted and asked her age, and
finally announced that it was a remarkable hand. The dying interest
revived, and even Martha's eyebrows went up with amazement as the seer
spoke darkly of immense influence; tact to the _n_th degree; unusual
amount of experience, or at the least, "intuitional discoveries;" two
great artistic means of expression; previous affairs of the heart, and
an inborn capacity for ruling the destinies of others--marked
resemblance to the hands of Cleopatra and Sara Bernhardt. It was hands
like that that moved the world, she said. The sophomores regarded
their friend with interest and awe, noted that she blushed deeply at
portions of the revelation, recollected her Sunday afternoon
improvisations at the piano and her request for a more advanced course
in harmony, and attached a hitherto unfelt importance to her heavy
mails.

Martha may have regretted her politeness, but she smothered her
surprise, sank, with an abstracted air, upon the chair before the
cushion, and with a face from which all emotion had been withdrawn
and eyes which defied any wildest revelation to disturb their settled
_ennui_, awaited the event. The palm-reader glanced at the back of the
slim hand, noted the face, touched the finger tips.

"How old are you, please?" she asked. Martha wearily announced that
she was twenty-one. She was conscious of its being a terribly ordinary
age. The palm-reader nodded. "Ah!" she said easily. "Well, come to me
again in a year or two. I can't really tell much now."

Martha gasped at her. "You can't _tell_ much!"

The palm-reader took her hand again. "There's nothing much to tell!"
she explained. "The hand isn't really developed yet--it's the opposite
from the last young lady's, you might say."

She became conscious of a cold silence through the room, and added a
few details. "There's a good general ability; no particular line of
talent, I should say; orderly, regular habits; a very kind heart; I
can't see any events in particular; you've led a very quiet life, I
should say; fond of reading; I shouldn't say you'd met many people or
travelled much"--she scrutinized the hand more closely--"you'll
probably develop a strong religious feeling--"

She stopped and smiled deprecatingly. "It is really impossible to say
very much," she said, "just now. It's what we call an immature hand!"

For months after that Martha woke in the night and tried to forget the
nightmare of a terrible figure that led her to an amphitheatre of
grinning enemies, and leered at her: _It's what we call an Immature
Hand!_ She could have suppressed the others, but the Sutton twins were
beyond earthly and human suppression. It seemed to her that she never
met them or passed them in a corridor without hearing their jovial
assurance: "Oh, Martha Williams is all right! Why, the idea! She's as
kind a girl as ever lived--she's nothing like that story. Gracious,
no! She's never been to Paris--she lives in Portland. Why, her
father's a Sunday School Superintendent! Oh, bother! She's as good as
Alberta May, every bit! She has a strong religious--" and somebody
passed on, assured--heavens, perhaps admiring her character! At such
times Martha would read furiously in her French novels or regard the
skull pensively or sit up all night, which annoyed her room-mate and
the lady-in-charge. Her room-mate was an absolutely unimportant
person, and does not come into the story at all.

It is now time to revert to the Twins. When they appeared in the
house, two solemn-eyed, pigtailed imps from Buffalo, they were packed
away together in a double room on the third floor, and except for
their amazing resemblance, were absolutely unnoted. The matron
uneasily fancied a certain undue disturbance on the third floor, the
evening of their arrival, but on going to that level she found all as
still as the grave, and immediately went back downstairs. It is only
due to her, however, to say that she never again made such an error.
From that time on any abnormal quiet in the house was to her as the
trumpet to the war-horse; and she mounted unerringly to the
all-too-certain scene of action. Their plans for the first year were
rather crude, though astonishingly effective at the time. It was they
who invented the paper bag of water dropped from the fourth floor to
burst far below, and waken the house with the most ghastly hollow
explosion; it was they who let a pair of scissors down two flights to
tap against the pane of an unfortunate enemy in the senior class, and
send her into convulsions of nervous and, as they said, guilty fear.
It was they who stuck new caramels to their door-knob, and oblivious
to the matron's admonitions of the hour, waited till in exasperation
she seized the knob, when they met her disgust with soap and
apologies; it was they who left the gas brightly burning and the door
temptingly ajar at 10.15, so that the long-suffering woman pounced
upon them with just recrimination, only to find her stored-up wrath
directed against two night-gowned figures bowed over their little
white beds, as it were two Infant Samuels. It is doubtful if a
devotional exercise ever before or since has roused such mingled
feelings in the bosom of the chance spectator.

It was they who beyond a shadow of doubt won the basket-ball game for
the freshmen--an unprecedented victory--by their marvellous intuition
of each other's intentions and their manner of being everywhere at
once and playing into each other's hands with an uncanny certainty.
This gave them position and weight among their mates, which they duly
appreciated. They were the recognized jesters of the class, and their
merry, homely faces were sure of answering grins wherever they
appeared.

When they returned sophomore year more alike than ever, with happy
plans for the best double room on the second floor, they were met by
quite another kind of grin: its owner, Mrs. Harrow, would have perhaps
described it as firm and pleasant--the Twins referred to it bitterly
as hypocritical and disgusting.

"No, Martha, no. It's no use to coax me--I can't have it. I cannot go
through another such year. If you wish to remain in the house, you
must separate. You can have No. 10 with Alberta Bunting, and Kate can
go in with Margaret--she says she is perfectly willing, rather than
give up the room, and Helen is not coming back till next year. Now, I
don't want to have to argue about it; I think you are better apart."

No one ever accused Mrs. Harrow of tact. Her placid firmness was
almost the most exasperating thing about her. Her decisions, if
apparently somewhat feather-beddish, ranked, nevertheless, with those
of the Medes and Persians, and the Twins walked haughtily away--beaten
but defiant.

Of course it never occurred to them to leave the house, and Kate,
after a time, grew quite contented, for Miss Pattison was eminently
pleasant and tactful, kept the room in beautiful order, and spent a
great deal of time in the Dewey with her sister, an instructor in the
college, and her great friend Cornelia Burt, who was off the campus.
This left the room to the Twins, who were almost as much together as
of yore. But Martha was in quite another case. In her the insult of a
dictated separation rankled continually, and her hitherto mild
contempt for Mrs. Harrow deepened into a positively appalling enmity.
Circumstances unfortunately assisted her feeling, for beyond a doubt
Alberta May Bunting was not adapted to her new room-mate.

She was a wholesome, kindly creature, with high principles and no
particular waist-line. She drank a great deal of milk, and was a
source of great relief to her teachers, her recitations being
practically perfect. From her sophomore year she had been wildly, if
solidly, addicted to zoölogy, and to her, after hours spent in the
successful chase of the doomed insect, the grasshopper was literally a
burden, for she slew him by the basketful. She rendered the
surrounding territory frogless in her zeal for laboratory practice,
and in her senior year it was rumored that stray cats fled at her
approach: "She'll cut me up in my sleep," said Martha, gloomily, "and
soak me in formaline in the bath-tub--the idiot!"

For, although the "h'Arrow-that-flyeth-by-day-and-the-terror-that-
walketh-by-night," as Martha Williams, in a burst of inspiration, had
named her, could not, of course, have known it, Sutton M., as she was
most commonly called, loathed and despised bugs, reptiles, and
crawling and dismembered things generally, more than aught else
beside. She regarded an interest in such things as an indication of
mild insanity, and as a characteristic of Alberta May's such a
predilection assumed the proportions of a malignant insult.

"It's bad enough to have her drink milk like a cow, and eat graham
crackers like a--like a _steam-engine_," she confided to her
sympathetic sister, "and smell like a whole biological laboratory, and
glower at me, and bobble her head like a China image whenever I open
my mouth, and call me Mottha, which I despise, and say, 'Why, the
_idea_! Why, Mottha, the _idea_! What _do_ you _mean_, Mottha?'
without putting little bottles of Things all around, and my having to
upset them. My gym suit made me sick to put on for a week because I
upset some nasty little claws all pickled in something per cent.
alcohol on the sleeve, and I kept thinking the legs were walking on
me--ugh! they were leggy claws!"

The h'Arrow-that-flyeth-by-day had fondly hoped that Alberta would "do
Martha Sutton a world of good," because of her exemplary, regular
habits and her calm, sensible nature, but this consummation, though
devoutly to be wished, was fated never to be witnessed. Everyone heard
the wails and gibes of Sutton M., but to few or none were the woes of
Alberta May made known. But that she must have had them, her attitude
at the time of the crisis conclusively proved.

The Twins, in the course of their mysterious loitering, overheard a
somewhat sentimental discussion between Evelyn Lyon and an extremely
stiff and correct young man from Amherst, as to whether chivalry and
openly expressed devotion to the fair were not disappearing from the
earth. "Men like shirt-waists and golf-shoes," Evelyn had been heard
to murmur, with a glance at her fluffy chiffon and bronze slippers,
and the senior had protested that they did not, and that emotion, if
controlled, was as deep as in the balcony-serenade days. "In fact,"
said he, finally, "Estabrook and I will serenade you Wednesday
night."

"You would never dare," said Evelyn, with a glance at his eye-glasses
and collar, which for height and circumference might have been a cuff.
"You'd be afraid the girls would laugh." The senior looked nettled.
"Expect us at ten on Wednesday next," said he. "It won't necessarily
be the Glee and Banjo Club, you understand, but it will be a real,
old-fashioned serenade." Then, as Evelyn smiled maliciously, he added,
"Only you must appear at the casement, and throw flowers, you
know--that's what they did." Evelyn frowned, but agreed. "At the end
of the song, I will," she said, with visions of the night-watchman
hasting to the scene.

The Twins were unaccountably strolling about as the senior left the
house, and wondered with great distinctness and repetition why on
earth Evelyn should say she'd be in 14 at the front when of course
she'd be in the East corner on the first floor. "She has some game
up," shrieked Martha, and Kate called back, "Of course she has--some
one will be awfully left, that's all!"

The senior listened, grinned, muttered that women told everything they
knew, and went his way. On next Wednesday night, the entire house
being congregated in the hall near No. 14, where Evelyn, not to be
found wanting in case they _should_ get through a verse, was sorting
carnations, a husky burst of song enlivened the East corner, a
mandolin and a guitar having raced through a confused prelude under
the spur of a youth hopping with nervousness and sputtering as he
punched the mandolin-player: "Hang it all, Pete, get along, get along!
He'll be here in a minute--whoop it up, can't you?"

A muffled baritone began, standing so close to the window with a light
in it that its owner could have touched the sill with his shoulder:

     Last night the nightingale waked me,
     Last night when all was--

The shade went up, the window followed, and the eyes of the musicians
beheld, below an audience of house-maids, the only people at present
on that side of the house, an enormous woman, with gray hair in
curling-kids, and a blanket-wrapper which added to her size, grasping
a lamp in her hand and regarding them with a mingling of amazement,
irritation, and authority that caused their blood to curdle and their
voices to cease. Pattering feet, a lantern turned on them, and a
voice: "'Ere, 'ere, what you doing? H'all h'off the campus after
ten--get along, now!" completed their confusion, and they left, with
an attempt at dignity and a slowness which they had occasion to curse;
for as they passed the front of the house, from out of the air above
their heads, apparently, two sweet and boyish voices, a first and
second soprano, lifted up to the fresh October sky an ancient and
beautiful hymn:

     Some_times_ a _light_ sur_pri_ses
     The _Chris_tian _while_ he _sings_,
     It _is_--

A window banged forcibly, and the minstrels stood upon no order but
fled to their carriage and rattled out of town.

Evelyn Lyon, with set teeth and artistically loosened hair, rushed
down the hall behind Martha Sutton, who made the room she was aiming
for, slammed the door, realized that the key was lost, and dragged the
first piece of furniture that came to hand against it. This was
Alberta May's desk, and upon it were the collected results of her
vacation work at Wood's Holl. Six jars upset under the impact of
Evelyn's weight, a dozen mounted cross-sections jingled in the dark, a
pint bottle of ink soaked a thick and beautifully illustrated
note-book; and as the Terror-that-walketh-by-night headed Evelyn to
her door and mounted a flight to quell the rising tumult, Sutton M.,
with a hysterical sob, for she was tingling with a delicious
excitement, huddled the desk back into the corner, hoped none of the
bugs were around the floor, and dropped into bed, wondering how ever
Alberta May could sleep through such a night.

And now--though perhaps you may have imagined that there was never
going to be any story--now we are coming to it, and though it is
short, all the characters appear. Alberta May, with an ugly brick-red
flush, told Sutton M. that she need never speak to her again, for no
answer would be forthcoming, and that she must have her things out of
the room before night. Martha was really horribly frightened, and
begged to be allowed to copy the note-book and hire some one to make
the slides and re-pickle the scattered Things; but Alberta May merely
shook her head, replied that she accepted apologies but could not
speak again, and kept her word, for she never noticed Martha from then
till the 22d of June.

The h'Arrow-that-flyeth-by-day gave Martha an address that reduced her
to a pulp, and having sent the Twins off to cry in each other's arms
till dinner-time and got the doctor for Evelyn, who had sprained her
ankle in the rush, she sat down to a cup of tea and council.

To her entered Biscuits, and they talked of odds and ends till Mrs.
Harrow had grown a little calm. The girls in the house accused
Biscuits of a hypocritical and unnatural interest in the h'Arrow:
Biscuits denied this, alleging that she was merely ordinarily
courteous and saw no occasion for treating her like a dog, which
somewhat strong language was addressed with intention to a few of her
friends who certainly did not display any undue consideration in their
manner to the lady in question. She was wont to add calmly that she
saw no sense in having those in authority hate you when a little
politeness would so easily prevent it. And many times had she
successfully interceded for the offender and gained seats for guests
and obtained the parlor for dancing purposes on nights not mentioned
in the bond. On these accounts she made an unusually fine house
president in her senior year, and though as a sophomore she had been
but suspiciously regarded by that officer, she made as firm a bond as
is perhaps possible between powers so hostile as those with which she
struggled.

To-day she listened sympathetically as Mrs. Harrow held forth,
concluding with,--

"Now, Bertha, something _must_ be done. I hate dreadfully to make a
change, so early in the year, too, but Alberta is decided, and says
that she will leave the house to-morrow unless Martha leaves to-night.
And Alberta is perfectly justified: nobody could be expected to put up
with it. I don't know whom to put her with: she certainly can't be
trusted with her friends, and I can't feel that I have any right to
put her anywhere else. I hate to have to admit that I can't manage
them--Miss Roberts insists that they're fine girls and will outgrow it
all, and I have great respect for her opinion, and yet--think of that
disgraceful performance last night! It would have done credit to a
boarding-school! I was so disgusted--"

"Yes, indeed, and I've talked to them, Mrs. Harrow, and told them just
how the house feels about it, but don't you think that it was rather
boarding-schoolish in Evelyn? She started it all, you know."

"Oh, well, of course. Evelyn shouldn't have--but then she is a good,
quiet girl, and--Oh, not that I would excuse her!"

"Certainly not," said Biscuits, briskly. This was good management on
her part, for Evelyn had one friend in the house to the Twins' ten,
though a favorite with Mrs. Harrow.

"Now, Mrs. Harrow, I've got an idea, and truly, I think it would
work," she added persuasively. When she had unfolded the idea, the
lady-in-charge could hardly believe her ears.

"Why, Bertha Kitts, you must be crazy! Nothing could induce me to
think of it for a moment--nothing! It would be the worst possible
influence!"

Biscuits argued gently. Her three years of consistent good sense and
politeness stood in her favor, and though Mrs. Harrow had no sense of
humor whatever, she was enabled to perceive a certain poetic justice
in the plan set before her.

"You know, Mrs. Harrow," she concluded, "that at bottom they're both
nice girls! They're awfully irritating at times, and of course you
feel that they've both occasioned a great deal of trouble; but they're
both honorable, and I'm sure it will be all right: truly, I'd be
willing to take the responsibility--if I can get them to consent to
it!"

"Very well," said Mrs. Harrow, unwillingly, "you know them both better
than I do, Bertha, of course, and it certainly couldn't be any worse
than it is! But at the first outbreak I shall take the matter into my
own hands, and act very severely, if necessary!"

Biscuits went directly upstairs and sought out Martha Williams, who
lounged on the couch with Loti in her hand and a bag of chocolate
peppermints in her lap. Her room-mate, observing that Biscuits glanced
at the clock as she entered, murmured something about getting a
History note-book and obligingly disappeared.

"That's a good harmless creature," observed Biscuits, approvingly.

"Yes, she's in very good training," the creature's room-mate returned.
"Have a peppermint?"

"Pity _she_ can't room with Alberta May," said Biscuits, lightly;
"_she'd_ give her no trouble!"

"Lord, no!" Martha agreed; "she wouldn't trouble a fly!"

Biscuits wandered about the room and absent-mindedly picked up a sheaf
of papers.

"Themes back?" she inquired. Martha nodded.

"'Me see 'em?" Martha shrugged her shoulders in a manner to be envied
of the Continent.

Biscuits opened at a poem that caught her eye, and read it. Martha's
eyes were apparently fixed on _Madame Chrysanthème_, but they wandered
occasionally to Biscuits' face as she read. The poem was called,--

         THE LIFTING VEIL

     Do you love me now?
     Ah, your mouth is cold!
     Yet you taught me how--
     Are we growing old?

     Did you love me then?
     Ah, your eyes are wet!
     If the memory's sweet,
     Why will you forget?

     Could you love me still?
     Hush! you shall not say!
     Love is not of will--
     Shall I go away?

     Dare you love me now?
     Let me burn my ships!
     I, myself, am not so sure--
     Am I worth your lips?

"Um--ah--yes," said Biscuits, "sounds something like Browning, doesn't
it?"

Martha looked only politely interested.

"Do you think so?" she said impersonally.

"Yes. I like that line about the ships," added Biscuits, tentatively;
"it--er--seems to--er--_imply_ so much!"

Martha looked enigmatically at the skull. "Does it?" she asked.

Biscuits caught a glimpse of a long, hastily written story, and
gasped.

"Why, Martha, did you really hand _that_ in?" she demanded.

"Certainly I did," said Martha; "why not?"

"Because it's really shocking, you know," Biscuits replied. "What
_did_ she say?"

Martha hesitated, but a twinkle slipped into her eye and she smiled as
she replied. "Look and see," she said.

Biscuits turned to the last page, passing many an underlined word or
phrase by the way, and read in crimson ink at the bottom: _Mallock has
done this better: you are getting very careless in your use of
relatives._ At which Biscuits smiled wisely and reassured herself of
an announcement she had made in the middle of her junior year to the
effect that even among the Faculty one ran across occasional evidences
of real intelligence.

"Martha," she said abruptly, "I meant what I said about Mary and
Alberta--they'd make a very good pair."

"And Miss Sutton and I--" returned Martha, sardonically.

"Precisely," said Biscuits, "Miss Sutton and you. Oh, I know nobody
has the slightest right to ask it of you and we all supposed you
wouldn't, but at the same time I thought I'd just lay it before you. I
firmly believe, Martha, that you are the only person in this house
capable of managing Martha Sutton!"

"I?" And _Madame Chrysanthème_ dropped to the floor.

"Yes, you. Now, Martha, just look at it: you know that the girl is a
perfect child--you know that she means well enough, and in her way she
has a keen sense of humor. Now you are much more mature than the
average girl up here and you take--er--broader views of things than
most of them. You wouldn't be so shocked at the things Suttie does;
you could, very gradually, you know, convey to her that her ideas of
humor were just a little crude, you know, and that would strike her
far more than the lectures that Alberta used to read her by the hour."

"Oh! Alberta!" Martha gasped. "Alberta was enough to drive _anybody_
to drink!"

"Just so. Well, as I told Mrs. Harrow, you were the one, but of course
no one had the least right to press it. And of course, in your last
year, and all that, and naturally you haven't any special interest in
her, and it's all right if you won't."

Martha scowled for a moment and appeared to be reviewing her own past
life, rapidly and impartially.

"It would be a good thing to have her kept out of the halls, at
least," she announced, at last, irrelevantly.

"That's what I told Mrs. Harrow," said Biscuits, eagerly. "You see,
Alberta _bored_ her so, Martha. She's a clever child and she likes
clever people. She needs tact, and Alberta hasn't the tact of a hen.
Only, you see, Mrs. Harrow felt that in a great many ways the
example--"

Martha rose and confronted her guest. "I hope you understand,
Biscuits, that if I ever _did_ go into the kindergarten business I
should know how to conduct myself properly. I have never for one
moment tried to fit everybody to my own standards: I appreciate
perfectly that things are--er--relative, and that what may be
perfectly safe for me is not necessarily so for others."

Biscuits coughed and said that she had always known that, and it was
for just that reason that she had hesitated to ask Martha to give up
her ways and habits: habits which if harmless to the unprejudiced
observer were a trifle irregular, viewed from the strictest standpoint
of a college house.

"There's no particular reason why you should," she concluded, "and
perhaps, anyhow, as Mrs. Harrow says--"

"Perhaps what?" snapped Martha.

"Oh, nothing! Only she doesn't believe you could do it, and of course
she perfectly loathes having to make a change this way--she says it's
a terrible precedent--and--"

"See here, Biscuits," said Martha, solemnly, "never mind about my
habits. I suppose," magnificently, "it won't hurt me to get to bed at
ten, once in a way, and it's only till June, anyhow. She _is_ a bright
enough child, and as you say, she needs tact. If it keeps the house
quiet and saves you dinging at 'em all the time, I can do it, I
suppose. I might try studying for a change before mid-years, too."

Biscuits got up to go. "I appreciate this very much, Martha," she said
gravely. "I know what it means to you, but I really think you'll do
her a lot of good--I mean," at a sudden pucker of Martha's brows, "I
mean, of course, that a person to whom her badness doesn't seem so
very terrible will be a revelation to her."

"Oh, yes!" said Martha.

Biscuits waylaid Sutton M. on the stairs after dinner and suggested a
conversation in her own cosey little single room. Sutton M.
accompanied her, suspiciously.

"Now, what do you think you're going to do?" she inquired bitterly, as
Biscuits offered a shiny apple and tipped _Henry Esmond_ off the
Morris chair. "Going to put me with some spook or other, I
suppose--I'll leave the house first. I've had enough of that!"

"No, you won't, either," Biscuits replied. "You'll be as good as Kate
is, and not make me curse the day I was elected house president. Now,
Suttie, I'm going to tell you something that must not go beyond this
room--beyond this room," she repeated impressively.

"Not Kate? I have to tell Kate," said Sutton M., but with an air of
deepest interest. Outsiders rarely confided in the Twins.

"Well, Kate then, but nobody else. Promise?"

Sutton M. nodded.

"I'm going to do what might be greatly criticised, Suttie, I'm going
to tell you that I think it would be a very good thing for Martha
Williams if you would quietly go in and room with her and let Mary
come in with Alberta. Now, I've done no beating about the bush--I've
told you out straight and plain. What do you say?"

"I say it's a fool arrangement, and that I won't have a thing to do
with it," said Sutton M., promptly.

"All right," returned Biscuits, calmly, "that's all. Is that apple
green? I don't mind it, but it makes some people sick."

"You know perfectly well Martha's the last girl in the world--we'd
fight night and day."

"I know she's one of the brightest girls in the college, and that
she's getting low in her work, and it's a shame, too," said Biscuits.

"Would I make her higher?"

Sutton M. tried to be sarcastic, but she showed in her manner the
effect of the confidence.

"Yes, you would," said Biscuits. "Mary Winter's just spoiling her.
She's a perfect nonentity, and she studies like a grammar-school
girl--it just disgusts Martha. And Mary admires her so that Martha
just rides over her and gets to despise good regular studying because
Mary does it so childishly. If some one could be with her who was
bright and jolly and liked fun and had a sense of humor and did good
work, too, for you two do study well--I'll give you that credit--it
would be the making of her. And Mary's such an idiot. She shows that
Martha shocks her so much that Martha just keeps it up to horrify
her--"

"I know," said Sutton M., wisely, "like those cigarettes--Martha never
really liked them."

"Exactly," Biscuits agreed, though with an effort, for the Twins
certainly knew far too much. "The moment I told Martha that it wasn't
in the least a question of morals with us but entirely a matter of
good taste--that we didn't think she was wicked at all but that it was
very bad for the house, and that when we were all represented in the
_Police Gazette_ as trotting over the campus with cigarettes in our
mouths, the college would get all the credit and she wouldn't get
any--why, she stopped right away. And considering how it irritated her
I think she was very nice and sensible about it."

"But just because Kate and I studied, Martha wouldn't, would she?"

"Yes, I think she would. She'd feel that it was an example to you if
she didn't. And she's so bright. It's a shame she should flunk as she
does. She knows we all know she could get any marks she chose, so she
doesn't care."

Sutton M. looked thoughtful. "I think her stories are fine," she
remarked. "And I suppose I'd have to go with some spook, if I don't,"
she added gloomily.

"Mrs. Harrow feels bad enough about the change," Biscuits interposed,
"and she said she'd act very severely next time. I persuaded her that
you'd--that is, I didn't persuade her, I'm afraid. Of course, she
feels that if you _should_ by any chance drag Martha into your kiddish
nonsense, why--she doesn't like Martha any too well, you know, and--"

"Biscuits," interrupted Sutton M., hastily, "if I _should_ go in with
Martha, and I must say I should think _anybody'd_ be welcome to her
after that stick of a Mary Winter, I wouldn't drag her into a
thing--truly, I wouldn't. I'd be careful! Kate says that Patsy says
she's lots of fun and awfully jolly and nice when you know her," she
added.

Biscuits assented warmly. "And you understand, Suttie," she continued,
"that it's not everybody I'd speak to in this way or that Martha would
have. Martha's rather particular: she understands that Alberta May is
a little trying, good and kind as she is. But I realize what a good
thing it would be for Martha to be with somebody who wouldn't be so
shocked whenever she said anything to that skull."

"Oh, that skull!" said Sutton M., with a wave of her brown hand. She
looked up and caught Biscuits' eye with the sharp, uncompromisingly
literal Sutton twinkle. "Biscuits," she demanded, "did anybody ever
know of anything really _bad_ that Martha ever did--ever?"

"Never," said Biscuits, promptly.

Sutton M. chuckled: "That's what we always thought," she said, and
added: "Well, I'll try it, and," very solemnly, "you can trust me,
Biscuits--I promise you."

When Biscuits went back to Martha's room she missed the skull, and
beheld on the newly dusted bookshelves a decorous row of historical
works and an assortment of German classics. This gratified her, for it
was with the German department that Martha's erratic methods of study
most obviously clashed. Martha was detaching from the wall a pleasing
engraving representing a long white lady with her head hanging off
from a couch, on which she somewhat obtrusively reclined, an
unwholesome demon perching upon her chest and a ghastly white horse
peeping at her between gloomy curtains. This cheerful effect was
entitled "The Nightmare," and as it left the wall, Martha fell upon an
enlargement in colored chalk of one of Mr. Beardsley's most vivid
conceptions, and laid them away together.

"Why, Martha!" she exclaimed, "this is really too much--there's no
reason why you should take your things down!"

Martha smiled tolerantly. "Oh, it makes no matter to me," she said
indifferently. "I know the Loti by heart, anyhow, and though none of
these things affect me in the slightest way--I really can't see
anything in them one way or the other--still I frankly refuse to take
any responsibility. If the child should happen to feel that the skull,
for instance--"

Biscuits grinned. "It's one less thing to dust, anyway," she remarked,
and left Martha to her work of reconstruction.

She wandered in, one evening, two or three weeks later, to get a
German dictionary, and beheld with a pardonable pride the Twins
gabbling their irregular verbs in whispers by the lamp, while Martha,
stretched on the couch beneath the gas, communed with Schiller and the
dictionary. The Twins gave her one swift ineffable glance, kicked each
other under the table, and bent their eyes upon their grammars:
Martha nodded to her, indicated the Twins with one of her three-volume
smiles, and drawled as she handed her the dictionary, "In the words of
Mr. Dooley and the Cubans, 'Pa-pa has lost his job, and all is now
happiness and a cottage-organ'!"



THE FIFTH STORY

_THE EDUCATION OF ELIZABETH_



V

THE EDUCATION OF ELIZABETH


I

     FROM MISS ELIZABETH STOCKTON TO MISS CAROLYN SAWYER

        _Lowell, Mass., Sept. 10, 189-._

MY DEAREST CAROL: The thing we have both wished so much has happened!
Papa has finally consented to let me go to college! It has taken a
long time and a _great deal_ of persuasion, and Mamma never cared
_anything_ about it, you know, herself. But I laid it before her in a
way that I really am ashamed of! I never thought I'd do anything like
it! But I _had_ to, it seemed to me. I told her that she had often
spoken of what a mistake Mrs. Hall made in letting Marjory come out so
soon, and that I should _certainly_ be unwilling to stay at Mrs.
Meade's another year. I'm doing advanced work now, and I'm _terribly_
bored. The girls all seem so very young, somehow! And I said that I
couldn't come out till I was twenty-two, if I went to college. I
teased so that she gave way, but we had a _terrible_ siege with Papa.
He is the _dearest_ man in the world, but just a little _tiny_ bit
prejudiced, you know. He wants me to finish at Mrs. Meade's and then
go abroad for a year or two. He wants me to do something with my
music. But I told him of the _fine_ Music School there was at Smith,
and how much _harder_ I should work there, _naturally_. He talked a
good deal about the art advantages and travel and French--you know
what I think about the _terrible narrowness_ of a boarding-school
education! It is _shameful_, that an intellectual girl of this century
should be tied down to _French_ and _Music_! And how can the scrappy
little bit of gallery sight-seeing that I should do _possibly_ equal
four years of earnest, intelligent, _regular_ college work? He said
something about marriage--oh, dear! It is _horrible_ that one should
have to think of that! I told him, with a great deal of dignity and
rather coldly, I'm afraid, that _my_ life would be, I hoped,
_something more_ than the mere _evanescent glitter_ of a _social
butterfly_! I think it really impressed him. He said, "Oh, very
well--very well!" So I'm coming, dearest, and you must write me all
about what books I'd better get and just what I'd better know of the
college customs. I'm _so_ glad you're on the campus. You know Uncle
Wendell knows the President very well indeed--he was in college with
him--and, somehow or other, I've got a room in the Lawrence, though
we didn't expect it so soon! I feel inspired already when I think of
the chapel and the big Science Building and that _beautiful_ library!
I've laid out a course of work that Miss Beverly--that's the
literature teacher--thinks very ambitious, but I am afraid she doesn't
realize the intention of a _college_, which is a little different, I
suppose, from a _boarding-school_(!) I have planned to take sixteen
hours for the four years. I must say I think it's rather absurd to
limit a girl to that who _really_ is _perfectly_ able to do more.
Perhaps you could see the Register--if that's what it is--and tell him
I could just as well take eighteen, and then I could do that other
Literature. I must go to try on something--really, it's very hard to
convince Mamma that Smith isn't a _summer resort_! Good-by, dearest,
we shall have such _beautiful_ times together--I'm sure you'll be as
excited as I am. We shall _for once_ see as much of each other as we
want to--I wish I could study with you! I'm coming up on the 8.20
Wednesday morning.

         Devotedly yours,
             ELIZABETH.



II

     FROM MISS CAROLYN SAWYER TO MISS ELIZABETH STOCKTON

         _Lake Forest, Ill., Sept. 17, 189-._

DEAR BESS: I'm very glad you're coming up--it's the only place in the
world. I'm not going to be able to meet you--I'm coming back late this
year--Mrs. Harte is going to give our crowd a house-party at Lakemere.
Isn't that gay? I met Arnold Ritch this summer. He knows you, he said.
I never heard you speak of him. He's perfectly _smooth_--his tennis is
all right, too. For heaven's sake, don't try to take sixteen hours--on
the campus, too! It will break you all up. You'll get on the Glee
Club, probably--bring up your songs, by the way--and you'll want to be
on the Team. Have you got that blue organdie? You'll want something
about like that, pretty soon. If you can help it, don't get one of
those Bagdad things for your couch. I'm deadly sick of mine. Get that
portière thing you used to have on the big chair at home. It's more
individual. We're getting up a little dance for the 26th. If you know
any man you could have up, you can come--it will be a good chance to
meet some of the upper-class girls. We may not be able to have it,
though. Don't tell Kate Saunders about this, please. She'd ask
Lockwood over from Amherst, and I've promised Jessie Holden to ask him
for her. We shall probably have Sue for class president this year--I'm
glad of it, too. There will be a decent set of ushers. I suppose
you'll want me for your senior for the sophomore-senior thing. I'll
keep that if you wish. I shall get up by the 24th. I'm in the Morris.
Don't forget your songs.

         Yours in haste,
             C. P. S.


III

     FROM MRS. HENRY STOCKTON TO MRS. JOHN SAWYER

         _Lowell, Mass., Sept. 23, 189-._

DEAR ELLA: In spite of great uncertainty on my part and actual
unwillingness on her father's, Lizzie has started for Smith. It seems
a large undertaking, for four years, and I must say I would rather
have left her at Mrs. Meade's. But her heart is set on it, and it is
very hard to deny her. She argues so, too; really, the child has great
ability, I think. She fairly convinced me. It has always seemed to me
that a girl with good social surroundings, a good home library, and
an intellectual home atmosphere does very well with four years at so
good a school as Mrs. Meade's, and a little travel afterwards. Lizzie
has quite a little musical talent, too, and I should have liked her to
devote more attention to that. Very frankly, I cannot say that I have
been able to see any improvement in Carrie since she went away. I
suppose it will wear off, but when I saw her this summer she had a
manner that I did not like so well as her very pleasant air three--no,
two--years ago. It seemed a curious mixture of youth and decision,
that had, however, no maturity in it. Katharine Saunders, too, seems
to me so utterly irresponsible for a young woman of twenty-one, and
yet so almost arrogant. I expected she would know a great deal, as she
studied Greek before she went, but she told me that she always skipped
the Latin and Greek quotations in books! She seems to be studying
nothing but French and Literature and History; her father could
perfectly well have taught her all that, and was anxious to, but she
would hear nothing of it. She wanted the college life, she said. Ah,
well, I suppose the world has moved on since we read Livy at Miss
Hopkins'! I picked up a Virgil of Lizzie's yesterday and was
astonished to find how it all came back. We felt very learned, then,
but now it is nothing.

I hope Carrie will be good to my little girl and help her perhaps with
her lessons--not that I fear Lizzie will need very much help! Miss
Beverly assures me that she has never trained a finer mind. Her essay
on Jane Austen was highly praised by Dr. Strong, the rector of St.
Mary's. Of course, dear Ella, you won't resent my criticism of
Carrie--I should never dream of it with any one but an old and valued
friend, and I shall gladly receive the same from you. But Lizzie has
always been all that I could wish her.

         Yours with love,
             SARAH B. STOCKTON.


IV

     FROM MR. WILLIAM B. STOCKTON TO MISS ELIZABETH STOCKTON

         _Boston, Mass., Oct. 16, 189-._

MY DEAR NIECE: Your mother advises me of your having just entered
Smith Academy. I had imagined that your previous schooling would have
been sufficient, but doubtless your parents know best. Your mother
seems a little alarmed as to your success, but I have reassured her.
I trust the Stockton blood. Whatever your surroundings may be, you can
never, I am sure, set yourself a higher model than your mother. I have
never known her to lack the right word or action under any
circumstances, and if you can learn that in your schooling, your
friends and relatives will be more than satisfied.

I enclose my cheque for fifty dollars ($50), in case you should have
any special demand on your purse not met by your regular allowance. I
remember many such in my own schooldays. Wishing you success in your
new life, I remain,

         Your affectionate uncle,
             WILLIAM B. STOCKTON.


V

     FROM MISS ELIZABETH CRAIGIE TO MISS ELIZABETH STOCKTON

         _New Haven, Conn., Oct. 21, 189-._

MY DEAR ELIZABETH: Sarah tells me that you are going to college. I am
sure I don't see why, but if you do, I suppose that is enough.
Children are not what they used to be. It seems to me that four years
at Mrs. Meade's should have been enough; neither your Aunt Hannah nor
I ever went to college, though to be sure Hannah wanted to go to Mt.
Holyoke Seminary once. I have never heard any one intimate that either
of us was not sufficiently educated: I wonder that you could for one
instant imagine such a thing! Not that I have any reason to suppose
you ever did. However, that is neither here nor there. Your Aunt
Hannah and I were intending to give you Mother's high shell-comb and
her garnet set for Christmas. If you would prefer them now for any
reason, you may have them. The comb is being polished and looks
magnificent. An absurd thing to give a girl of your age, from my point
of view. However, your Aunt Hannah thinks it best. I trust you will be
very careful of your diet. It seemed to me that your complexion was
not what it should have been when you came on this summer. I am
convinced that it is nothing but the miscellaneous eating of cake and
other sweets and over-education. There has been a young girl here from
some college--I think it is Wellesley--and her complexion is
disgraceful. Your Aunt Hannah and I never set up for beauties, but we
had complexions of milk and roses, if I do say it. Hannah thinks that
the garnets are unsuitable for you, but that is absurd. Mother was no
older than you when she wore them, and looked very well, too, I have
no doubt. I send you by express a box of Katy's doughnuts, the kind
you like, very rich, and a chocolate cake. Also some salad and a loaf
cake, Mrs. Harding's rule. I trust you will take sufficient exercise,
and don't let your hands grow rough this winter. Nothing shows a lady
so much as her hands. Would you like the garnets reset, or as Mother
wore them? They are quite the style now, I understand. Hoping you will
do well in your studies and keep well, I am,

         Yours lovingly,
             AUNT LIZZIE.


VI

     FROM MISS ELIZABETH STOCKTON TO MR. ARNOLD RITCH, JR.

         _Lawrence House, Northampton, Mass.,
             Nov. 1, 189-._

MY DEAR ARNOLD: It is only fair to you to tell you that it can never
be. No, never! When I--if I did (which I can hardly believe)--allowed
you to think anything else, I was a mere child. Life looks very
different to me, now. It is quite useless to ask me--I must say that I
am surprised that you have spoken to Papa. Nor do I feel called upon
to give my reasons. I shall always be a very, very good friend to you,
however, and very, very much interested in you.

In the first place, I am, or at least you are, far too young. The
American woman of to-day is younger than her grandmother. I mean, of
course, younger than her grandmother is now. That is, than she was
then. Also I doubt if I could ever love you as you think you do. Love
me, I mean. I am not a man's woman. I much prefer women. Really,
Arnold, it is very strange how men bore me now that I have known
certain women. Women are so much more interesting, so much more
fascinating, so much more exciting! This will probably seem strange to
you, but the modern woman I am sure is rapidly getting not to need men
at all! I have never seen so many beautiful red-haired girls before.
One sits in front of me in chapel, and the light makes an aureole of
glory about her head. I wrote a theme about it that is going to be in
the _Monthly_ for November.

I hope that you won't feel that our dear old friendship of so many
years is in any way changed. I shall never forget certain things--

I am enjoying my work very much, though it is easier than I had
thought it would be, and the life is different in many ways. If I did
not think that Miss Sawyer had probably invited you, I should be very
glad to have you come up for the Christmas concert, but I suppose it
is useless to ask you. I had no idea you were so fond of tennis!

         Your friend always,
             ELIZABETH WOLFE STOCKTON.


VII

     FROM MR. HENRY STOCKTON TO MISS ELIZABETH STOCKTON

         _Lowell, Mass., Nov. 1, 189-._

MY DEAR ELIZABETH: Yours received and read with my usual attention and
interest. I am glad that your college life continues to be pleasant,
and that you have found so many friends. I was much interested, too,
in the photograph of Miss Hunter. I find the blue prints are more
common than I had supposed, for I had imagined that they were
something quite new. It is certainly very accommodating in your
teachers to allow themselves to be so generally photographed. Your
mother seemed much pleased with Miss Hunter, and glad that you were in
the house with her and liked her so much. I was surprised to see her
so young in appearance. I had very foolishly imagined the typical old
style "school-marm," I suppose. But it seems that she was graduated
only a few years ago, herself.

Now, my dear Elizabeth, I am going to speak to you very seriously. I
trust that you will take it in good part and remember that nothing can
be more to my interest than the real happiness and well-being of my
daughter. The tone of your letters to both your mother and me has
seemed for some weeks unsatisfactory. I mean that we have found in
them a nervous, strained tone that troubles me exceedingly. I cannot
see why you should close with such expressions as this (I copy
verbatim): "Too tired to write more;" "All used up--lots of Latin to
do--can only find time for a note;" "Tired to death because I'm not
sleeping quite as well as usual, just now;" et cetera, et cetera.

I have been to see Mrs. Meade, and she assures me that your
preparation was more than adequate: that your first year should prove
very easy for you, _in Latin especially_. Now what does this mean? You
left us well and strong, considering that you have always been a
delicate girl. It was for that reason, as you know, that I
particularly opposed your going to college.

But there is more. Mrs. Allen's daughter, Harriet, has been at home
for some days to attend her sister's wedding. Your mother and I
naturally seized the opportunity of inquiring after you, and after
some questioning from us she admitted that you were not looking very
well. She said that you seemed tired and were "going it a little too
hard, perhaps." That seemed to me a remarkable expression to apply to
a young girl! My endeavors to find out exactly what it meant resulted
in nothing more explicit than that "Bess was trying to do too much."

Now, my dear girl, while we are naturally only too pleased that you
should be striving to stand well in your classes, do not, I beg of
you, imagine for one moment that any intellectual advancement you may
win can compensate us or you for the loss of your health. You remember
Cousin Will, who carried off six honors at Harvard and came home a
nervous invalid. I fear that the Stockton temperament cannot stand the
strain of too continued mental application.

I must stop now, to attend to some business matters, and I will add
only this. Do not fail to remember my definite conditions, which have
not altered since September. If you are not perfectly well at the
Christmas holidays, you must remain with us. This may seem severe, but
I am convinced, your mother also, that we shall be acting entirely for
your good.

         Yours aff.,
             FATHER.


VIII

     FROM MR. ARNOLD RITCH, SR., TO MISS MARION HUNTER

         _New York, N. Y., Nov. 4, 189-._

MY DEAR MISS HUNTER: You may remember meeting, five years ago, in
Paris, in the Louvre, an old American, who had the great pleasure of
rendering you a trifling assistance in a somewhat embarrassing
situation, and who had the further pleasure of crossing on the
_Etruria_ with you a month later. I was that man, and I remember that
you said that if ever there should happen to be an occasion for it,
you would be only too happy to return your imaginary debt.

If you really meant it, the occasion, strangely enough, has come. I
know well enough from my lifelong friend, Richard Benton, whose family
you have so often visited, that you are an extremely busy young woman,
and I will state my case briefly. I never make half-confidences, and
I rely implicitly on your discretion in the following clear statement.
My only nephew and namesake, incidentally heir, has been for some time
practically engaged to Miss Elizabeth Stockton, the daughter of an old
friend. The engagement has been entirely satisfactory to all parties
concerned, and was actually on the eve of announcement, when the young
lady abruptly departed for Smith College.

My nephew is, though only twenty-four, unusually mature and thoroughly
settled: he was deeply in love with the young lady and assures me that
his sentiments were returned. She now quietly refuses him, and greatly
to her parents' dissatisfaction announces that she intends remaining
the four years and "graduating with her class," which seems a strong
point with her.

Her father and I would gladly leave the affair to work itself out
quietly, were it not for an unfortunate occurrence. Ritch, Jr. has
been offered an extremely good opening in a Paris banking-house, which
he must accept, if at all, immediately, and for six years. He is
extremely broken up over the whole affair, and says that unless
Elizabeth returns to her old relations with him, he will go. This will
be in three weeks.

I am not so young as I was, and I cannot leave America again. I can
only say that if the boy goes, my interest in life goes, to a great
extent, with him. He does not mean to be selfish, but young people,
you know, are harder than they think, and feel deeply and, for the
moment, irrevocably. He says that he is certain that this is merely a
fad on Miss Stockton's part, and that if he could see her for two
weeks he would prove it. I should like to have him try.

This is my favor, Miss Hunter. Elizabeth respects and admires you more
than any of her teachers. She quotes you frequently and seems
influenced by you. Arnold has made me promise that I will not ask her
parents to bring her home and that I will not write her. I will not.
But can you do anything? It is rather absurd to ask you to conspire
against your college, to give up one of your pupils: but you have a
great many, and remember that I have but one nephew! It is all rather
a comedy, but a sad one for me, if there is no change within three
weeks, I assure you. They are only two headstrong children, but they
can cause more than one heartache if they keep up their obstinacy.
Elizabeth has forbidden Arnold to come to Northampton on the score of
her work, and wild horses could not drag him there.

I offer no suggestion, I ask nothing definitely, I merely wonder if
you meant what you said on the _Etruria_, and if your woman's wit,
that must have managed so many young idiots, can manage these?

         Yours faithfully,
             ARNOLD M. RITCH.


IX

     FROM MISS MARION HUNTER TO MRS. HENRY STOCKTON

         _Northampton, Mass., Nov. 7, 189-._

MY DEAR MRS. STOCKTON: As you have certainly not forgotten that I
assured you in the early fall of my interest, professionally and
personally, in your daughter, you will need no further explanation,
nor be at all alarmed, when I tell you that Elizabeth is a little
over-worked of late. In the house with her as I am, I see that she is
trying to carry a little too much of our unfortunately famous "social
life" in connection with her studies, where she is unwilling to lose a
high grade. She entered so well prepared that she has nothing to fear
from a short absence, and as she tells me that she does not sleep well
at all of late, she will have no difficulty in getting an honorable
furlough. Two weeks or so of rest and freedom from strain will set her
up perfectly, I have no doubt, and she can return with perfect safety
to her work, which is, I repeat, quite satisfactory.

         Yours very cordially,
             MARION HUNTER.


X

     FROM MRS. HENRY STOCKTON TO MISS ELIZABETH STOCKTON
         (_Telegram_)

         _Lowell, Mass., Nov. 8._

Come home immediately will arrange with college and explain myself.

         MOTHER.


XI

     FROM MISS MARION HUNTER TO MISS CONSTANCE JACKSON

         _Northampton, Mass., Nov. 10, 189-._

DEAR CON: I'm afraid it will be impossible for me to accept your
seductive invitation for Thanksgiving. We're pulling the girls up a
little sharply this year, and it would hardly do for me to come back
late. But it _would_ be good to hear a little music once more!

It was rather odd that you should have mentioned that idiotic affair
of mine in Paris--the hero of it has just written me a long letter
_apropos_ of his nephew, who wants to marry that little Miss Stockton,
whose Harvard cousin you knew so well. That portly squire of dames is
actually simple and straightforward enough to suggest that I
precipitate the damsel into the expectant arms of his nephew and
heir-apparent--he is used to getting his own way, certainly, and he
writes a rather attractive letter. I owe him much (as you know) and if
Elizabeth, who is a dear little thing and far too nice for the crowd
she's getting in with--you knew Carol Sawyer, didn't you?--has such a
weak-kneed interest in college as to be turned out of the way by a
sight of the destined young gentleman, I fancy she would not have
remained long with us in any case. She's a pretty creature and had
cunning ways--I shall miss her in the house. For I don't believe
she'll come back; she's not at all strong, and her parents are much
worried about her health. It is more than probable that the Home will
prove her sphere.

Personally, I don't mind stating that I would it were mine. When I
consider how my days are spent----

You might not believe it, but they grow stupider and stupider.
Perhaps I've been at it a bit too long, but I never saw such papers as
these freshmen give one.

And they have begun singing four hymns in succession on Sunday
morning! It's very hard--why they should select _Abide with Me_ and
_Lead, Kindly Light_ for morning exercises and wail them both through
to the bitter end every Sunday in the year is one of the local
mysteries.

I must get at my papers, they cover everything. Remember me to Mr.
Jackson; it was very kind of him to suggest it, but I must wait till
Christmas for the Opera, I'm afraid. If I should not come back next
year--and it is more than possible that I shan't--I may be in Boston.
I hope in that case you won't have gone away.

         Yours always,
             M. I. HUNTER.


XII

     FROM MISS ELIZABETH STOCKTON TO MISS CAROLYN SAWYER

         _Lowell, Nov. 20._

CAROL DEAR: I am writing in a great hurry, as I have an engagement at
four, to tell you that I have decided not to return to-day, as I
intended. Will you get the key of 32 from Mrs. Driscoll, as Kitty goes
home over Sunday, so it will be locked, and get out my mink collarette
and my silver toilet things and my blanket wrapper, and I think there
is twenty dollars in my handkerchief case. I am extremely disturbed
and confused--when one is really responsible for anything one feels
very much disturbed. Of course, I don't believe a word of it--it's all
folly and nonsense--but still, six years is a long time. Of course,
you don't know at all what I mean, dear, and I'm not sure I do either.
I forgot to say that I'm probably not coming back to college this
year. Mamma feels very worried about my health--you know I didn't
sleep very well nights, and I used to dream about Livy. Anyway, she
and Papa are going abroad early in the spring, and really, Carol, a
college education isn't everything. If I were going to teach, you
know, it would be different, but you see I was almost finished at Mrs.
Meade's--I was taking advanced work--and it isn't as if I had had only
the college preparation. Then, if we go abroad, I must do something
with my French. You know there was simply _no_ chance to practise
conversation in such a large class, and I was forgetting it, which
Arnold thinks would be a pity. He speaks very fine French himself.
Then, you see, there'll be all the galleries and everything and the
Sistine Madonna and the cathedrals--they're so educative--everybody
admits that. It's hardly to be supposed that Geometry and Livy are
really going to be as broadening to me as a year of travel with Papa
and Mamma, is it? And though I never said anything to you about it, I
really have felt for some time that there was something a little
narrow about the college. They seem to think it is about all there is
of life, you know, with the funny little dances and the teas and all
that. Even that dear Miss Hunter is really _un peu gâtée_ with it
all--she thinks, I believe, that a college education is all there is
for anybody. She told Mamma that I wasn't well--she wanted me to keep
my high grade. Oh! Carol! there are better things than grades! Life is
a very much bigger thing than the campus even! I think, dear, that one
really ought to consider very frankly just what we intend to do with
our lives--if we are going to marry, we ought to try to make ourselves
cultivated and broad-minded, and in every way worthy to be--Oh, Carol,
dearest, I'm terribly happy! It isn't settled, of course: I am utterly
amazed that they all seem to think it is, but it isn't. Only probably
if I still feel as I do now, when we get back, I shall ask you, dear,
what we promised each other--to be my bridesmaid--the first one! I'm
thinking of asking Sally and Grace and Eleanor--all our old set at
Mrs. Meade's, you know. I think that pink, with a deep rose for hats
and sashes, would look awfully well on all of you, don't you! It seems
a long time since I was in Northampton: the girls seem very young and
terribly serious over queer little lessons--or else trying to play
they're interested in each other. Arnold says he thinks the attitude
of so many women is bound to be unhealthy, and even in some cases a
little morbid. I think he is quite right, don't you? After all, girls
need some one besides themselves. I always thought that Mabel Towne
was very bad for Katharine. Will you send, too, my Shelley and my
selections from Keats? The way I neglected my reading--real reading,
you know--oh! _c'était affreux!_ I'm learning the loveliest
song--Arnold is very fond of it:

     _Ninon, Ninon, que fais-tu de la vie?
     L'heure s'enfuit, le jour succède au jour.
         Rose ce soir, demain flètrie--
     Comment vis-tu, toi qui n'as pas d'amour?_

I'm going out now for a walk. I'm sure you'll like Arnold--I think you
said you met him. He doesn't remember you. Remember me to all the
juniors I met, and if you see Ethel Henderson, tell her I'll write to
her when I get time. Excuse this pointed pen--I'm learning to use it.
Arnold hates a stub.

         Yours always,
             BETTY.



THE SIXTH STORY

_A FAMILY AFFAIR_



VI

A FAMILY AFFAIR


There are Jacksons and Jacksons. As everybody knows, many, possibly
most, of those who bear that title might as well have been called
Jones or Robinson; on the other hand, I am told that certain
Massachusetts families of that name will, on solicitation, admit it to
be their belief that Eve was a Cabot and Adam a Jackson. Without
asserting that she was personally convinced of this great fact, it is
necessary to state that Susan was of the last-named variety of
Jackson. She was distinctly democratic, however, and rather
strong-willed, and for both of these reasons she came to college. It
did not entirely please the family: neither of her sisters had gone,
and her brothers in particular were against it. It is probable that
she would have been decoyed from her plan had it not been that her
cousin, Constance Quincy Jackson, had been for a year one of the young
assistants who dash like meteors through the catalogue and disappear
mysteriously, just as astronomers have begun to place them, into the
obscurity whence they came.

Constance, like Susan, had been persistent, and was studying at Oxford
before the family had quite made up its mind how to regard her;
later, she frequented other and American institutions of learning and
bore off formidable degrees therefrom, and at about that time it was
decided that she was remarkably brilliant, and that her much commended
thesis on the Essential Somethingness of Something or Other was quite
properly to be ranked with her great-grandfather's dissertation on the
Immortality of the Soul.

She would do very well; she could be relied on; and entrusted to her
and further armed with letters of introduction to the social magnates
of the vicinity--which, I regret to say, she neglected to present till
her sophomore year--Susan began her career. Of the eminent success of
this career, it is not the purpose of this story to treat. Beginning
as freshman vice-president, she immediately identified herself with
the leading set of her class, and in her sophomore year was already
one of the prominent students in the college. She was one of Phi
Kappa's earliest acquisitions, and belonged to three or four lesser
societies, social and semi-educational; she had been on the freshman
Team; she was twice a member of the Council; in her senior year she
was literary editor of the _Monthly_ and class president, besides
taking a prominent part in Dramatics. She fulfilled all these duties
most acceptably, taking at the same time a very high rank in her
classes: in one department, indeed, her work was pronounced
practically perfect by a somewhat exigent professor. And in addition,
she was well born, well bred, and well dressed, and considered by her
most enthusiastic admirers the handsomest girl in the college, though
this was by no means the universal opinion.

You might imagine that Miss Jackson was therefore intolerably
conceited, but in this you would err. She took no particular credit to
herself for her standard of work; she had a keen mind, and had been
taught to concentrate it, and her grandfather, her father, and two
uncles had successively led their classes at Harvard. It seemed
perfectly natural to her to be told that she was the one young woman
on whose shoulders a golf cape looked really dignified and
graceful--had not her grandmother and her great-aunt been famed for
their "camel's-hair-shawl shoulders"? A somewhat commanding manner and
a very keen-sighted social policy had given her a prominence that she
was conscious of having done nothing to discredit; and as she had been
quite accustomed to see those about her in positions of authority,
and had learned to lay just the proper amount of emphasis on adverse
criticism, she steered her way with a signal success on the perilous
sea of popularity. Her idea of the four years had been to do
everything there was to be done as well as any one could do it, and
she was not a person accustomed to consider failure.

I mentioned at the beginning of this story the two classes of
Jacksons. Emphatically of the former and unimportant variety was
Elaine Susan Jackson of Troy, New York. Mr. Jackson kept a
confectionery shop and ice cream parlor, going to his business early
in the morning and returning late in the evening. This he did because
he was a quiet-loving man, and his home was a noisy one. Mrs. Jackson
was a managing, dictatorial woman, with an unexpected sentimental vein
which she nourished on love-stories and exhausted there. From these
books she had culled the names of her daughters--Elaine, Veronica, and
Doris; but prudence impelled her to add to these the names of her
husband's three sisters--a triumph of maternal foresight over æsthetic
taste--and they stood in the family Bible, Elaine Susan, Veronica
Sarah, and Doris Hannah.

Mr. Jackson was not a sentimentalist himself, and read nothing but the
paper, sitting placidly behind the peanut-brittle and chocolate mice,
and relapsing sometimes into absolute idleness for hours together,
deep in contemplation, perhaps, possibly dozing--nobody ever knew. At
such times he regarded the entrance of customers as an unwelcome
intrusion and was accustomed to hurry them, if juvenile, into undue
precipitance of choice. From this even quiet he emerged seldom but
effectively: when Veronica entertained the unattractive young men she
called "the boys," later than eleven o'clock, when Doris went to the
theatre more than twice a week, or when they had purchased garments of
a nature more than usually unsuitable and pronounced. Then Mr. Jackson
spoke, and after domestic whirlwinds and fires the still voice of an
otherwise doubtful head of the family became the voice of authority.

Elaine gave him no trouble of this sort. She did not care for young
men, and she never went to the theatre. Her clothes, when she had any
choice in the matter, were of the plainest, and she had never teased
her father for candy since she began to read, which was at a very
early age. _I Say No, or the Love-letter Answered_, was her first
consciously studied book, and between ten and fifteen she devoured
more novels than most people get into a lifetime. Incidentally she
read poetry--she got books of it for prizes at school--and one
afternoon she sandwiched the _Golden Treasury_ between two detective
stories. She did not care for her mother's friends, gossiping, vulgar
women, and she loathed her sisters'. She had a sharp tongue, and as
parental discipline was of the slightest, she criticised them all
impartially with the result that she was cordially disliked by
everybody she knew--a feeling she returned with interest. She found
two or three ardent friends at school and was very happy with them for
a time, but she was terribly exacting, and demanded an allegiance so
intense and unquestioning that one by one they drifted away into other
groups and left her.

In her second year at the high school they read the _Idylls of the
King_, and she discovered her name and saw in one shame-filled second
the idiotic bad taste of it--Elaine Susan! She imagined the lily maid
of Astolat behind her father's counter and became so abased in her own
mind that the school found her more haughty and disagreeable than
ever. From that moment she signed her name E. Susan Jackson and
requested to be called Susan. This met the approval of the teachers,
and as the schoolgirls did not hold much conversation with her, the
change was not a difficult one.

By the time she had been three years in the high school she was
considered by every one the most brilliant student there, and the
principal suggested college to her. This had never occurred to her.
Though they had never lacked for necessities, Mr. Jackson's business
was not conducted in a manner to lead to marked financial success, and
though he said little about his affairs, it was evident to them all
that matters were slowly but surely running down hill. Doris and
Veronica were eager to leave school and spend a term at the Business
College, some friends of theirs having done this with great success
and found positions as typewriters, but their father insisted on their
staying at school for two years at least. It would be time enough to
leave, he said, when they had to. It was significant of the
unconscious attitude of the family that there had never been any
question of the oldest daughter's leaving school: Elaine had always
been real bright, her mother said, and as long as books was all she
took any interest in, she might as well get what she could--she
presumed she'd teach.

But this acquiescent spirit changed immediately when she learned that
her husband had told Elaine he would send her to college for two years
anyway, and as much longer as he could afford. It seemed to Mrs.
Jackson a ridiculous and unwarranted expense, particularly as he had
refused to allow the term at the Business College partly on the
financial score. She lectured, argued, scolded; but he was firm.

"I told her she should, and she shall," he repeated quietly. "She says
she thinks she can help along after a while, and you needn't worry
about her paying it back--she will, all right, if she can. I guess
she's the best of the lot of us; she's worth the other two put
together. You let Lainey alone, Hattie, she's all right!"

This was during her last year at school, and as she had on her own
responsibility taken the classical course there, finding a fascination
in the idea of Greek, she accomplished the preparation very easily.

Her mother, bowing to the inevitable, began to plume herself on her
daughter "who was fitting herself to go to Smith's College," and rose
many degrees in the social scale because of her. But their ideas of
the necessary preparations differed so materially, that after
prolonged and jarring hostilities marked by much temper on both sides,
the final crash came, and after a battle royal Elaine took what money
was forthcoming and conducted her affairs unchallenged from that
moment. It was a relief to be freed from the wearisome squabbles, but
she cried herself to sleep the night before she left--she did not
perfectly know why. Later she told herself that it was because she had
so little reason to cry when she left home for the first time.

She went to the train alone, because the girls were at school and her
father at his business. She said good-by to her mother on the porch,
with the constraint that had grown to characterize her attitude
towards them all, but her mother was suddenly seized with a spasm of
sentiment, and kissing her wildly, bewailed the necessity that drove
her firstborn from her to strangers. Later the girl found it sadly
characteristic of her life, that absurd scene on the porch; with her
heart hungry and miserable for the love and confidence she had never
known, she endured agonies of shame and irritation at the
demonstration that came too late. She went away, outwardly cold, with
tight-pressed lips; her mother read _Cometh up as a Flower_, and wept
hysterically that Fate should have cursed her with such an unfeeling,
moody child.

It is hard to determine just what incident convinced Susan--for she
dropped the initial on her registration--that life had not changed for
her because she was to live it in Northampton, and that she must be
alone there, as she had been in Troy. Just before she left college she
decided that she had known it immediately: that from the moment when
she plunged into the chattering, bustling crowd in the Main Hall,
where everybody knew somebody and most people knew all the others, a
vague prevision of her four years' loneliness came to her: a pathetic
certainty that she could not, even with the effort she was too proud
to make, become in any reality a part of that sparkling, absorbed,
unconscious current of life that rushed by her.

Sometimes she dated her disillusionment--for she had had her dreams:
she knew them only by the pathetic disappointment of the obstinate
awakening--from the day that she saw her namesake laughing in the
midst of a jolly group of girls to whom she was presenting her father
and her aunt. They were handsome, well-dressed people with a distinct
air, and they were tolerantly amused at Sue in her new environment and
showed it in a kindly, courteous way that was much appreciated. As
Susan passed the group there was a great laugh, and she heard Sue's
voice above the rest.

"Truly, Papa, I thought you'd finished! You know, whenever I
interrupted, Papa used to make me sit absolutely still for a quarter
of an hour afterward--it's not so long ago he stopped, either!"

Her father laughed, and patted her shoulder, and Susan went on out of
hearing. It was only a flash; but she saw the gracious, well-ordered
household, the handsome, dignified people, the atmosphere of
generations of good breeding and scholarship, as clearly as if she had
visited them, and her heart swelled with angry regret and a sickening
certainty that all the cleverness in the world could not make up for
the youth she had been cheated out of. She thought of the bickering,
squabbling family table in Troy and tried to imagine her father
teaching Doris and Veronica not to interrupt: her cheeks burned.

In class Sue was often near her; she knew that she was recognized
chiefly by the fact that _she_ was Susan Jackson, too. On the first
day, when the instructor had called "Miss Jackson" and they had both
answered, "Miss Susan Jackson," when they still replied together, and
finally "Miss Susan Revere Jackson," when the matter was cleared up,
Sue had looked at her with interest, and after the class made some
little joking remark. If the other had answered in the same spirit,
nobody knows whether this story need have been written. But Susan had
heard Cornelia Burt ask: "Is she related at all, Sue?" and heard Sue's
answer, "Oh, dear, no! From Troy, I believe."

Now Sue meant absolutely nothing but what she said, but her namesake
read into the words a scorn that was not there--either in intention or
fact. Her heart was sore with a hot, vague jealousy: this girl, no
longer there than she, had stepped so easily into a place prepared,
apparently, for her; she knew everybody, went everywhere; admired by
her own class and made much of by the upper-class girls, she was
already well known in the college. She was a part of it all--Susan
only watched it. And because of this and because she admired her
tremendously and envied her with all the force of a passionate,
repressed nature, the poor child answered her little remark with a
curtness that was almost insolent, and the manner of an offended
duchess. Sue flushed a little, lifted her brows, threw a swift glance
at Cornelia, and walked away with her. Susan heard them laughing in
the hall, and bit her lip.

She could not know that Sue had described her in a letter to her
father as "a queer, haughty thing, but terribly clever. Nobody seems
to know her--I imagine she's terribly bored up here. I said some
footless thing or other to her the other day, and she turned me down,
as Betty says. Did you meet Dr. Twitchell? He was stopping with the
Winthrops...."

Susan used to wonder afterwards if it would all have been different
had she been on the campus. I know that most college people will say
that it would, and it is certain that campus life was the best thing
in the world for Martha Williams: nobody knows with what
self-conscious egotism she might have been spoiled if her friends and
foes had not conspired to laugh it out of her. But, on the other hand,
those who have watched the victims of that reasonless, pitiless
boycotting that only women can accomplish so lightly--so
unconsciously, do you think?--know the ghastly loneliness of the one
who, in the very centre of the most crowded campus house, is more
solitary than the veriest island castaway.

There is no doubt that Susan needed a great deal of discipline. She
had been for so many years superior to her surroundings, so long not
only the cleverest but the finest-grained, most aristocratic of all
those she saw about her, that although she had perfectly appreciated
the fact that she would probably no longer be in that relative
position, she had not estimated the difficulty of the necessary
adjustment, and it is only fair to those who gave her her hardest
lessons of calm neglect to state at once that her manner was a trifle
irritating.

To begin with, she had made herself unpleasantly conspicuous at the
time of their first freshman class-meeting by rising after half an
hour of unventilated and tumultuous altercation, and leaving the room.
Now it is not the custom of popular freshmen to leave their first
class-meeting in this manner--not as if one were faint or demanded at
recitation, but as merely intolerably bored and not a little
contemptuous; and the scrambling, squabbling class regarded her
accordingly. Susan Revere Jackson was bored, too--unspeakably bored;
but she sat indefatigably in her chair in the front row, applauded
nominations, discussed the presumably parliamentary features of the
occasion, smiled and agreed, differed at proper intervals, and left
the room vice-president. It is hard to know just how much enthusiasm
Sue really felt: Susan, to whom she soon became the visible expression
of all the triumph and ease and distilled essence of the successful
college girl, used to wonder, later, as older than Susan have
wondered, how much of her college life was ingenuous and how much a
perfectly conscious attitude. For long before she left, Susan realized
that she had greatly misjudged a large proportion of the girls, whom
the event proved more practically wise than she, and that they who
fill the rôle of "fine, all 'round girl" with the greatest success are
often perfectly competent to fill others, widely different.

This she did not understand at first, and as a result of her ignorance
she included them all in her general condemnation: she found them
immature, boisterous, inclined to be silly; or narrow-minded and
dogmatic when they were less flippant. She was somewhat exacting, as
has been said before, and the solemn, ponderous attitude of the
occasional girl who wallows before the abstract Higher Education, and
lectures the Faculty gravely on their failure to conduct her to its
most eminent peaks during the freshman year, appealed as strongly to
her sense of humor as if she had not herself been sadly disappointed
in the somewhat restricted curriculum offered her at that period.

This was through no fault whatever of the college, but because the
girl had absolutely no practical basis of expectation and knew no more
of the thousand implications of college life than she did of normal
girlhood with its loves and disciplines and confidences, its
tremendous little social experiences, its quaint emotions, and
indispensable hypocrisies. Her vague conception of college life was
modelled on _The Princess_: she imagined graceful, gracious women,
enamoured of a musical, poetic, higher knowledge, deliciously rapt at
the wonderful oratory of some priestess of a cult yet unknown to her:
a woman beautiful and passionate, who should understand her vaguest
dreams and sympathize with her strangest sorrows as no one she had yet
known or seen could do. She found a crowd of jostling, chattering
schoolgirls, unformed, unpoised; many of them vulgar, many stupid,
many ill-bred; overflowing a damp, cold hall that smelled of wet,
washed floors; reciting, in a very average fashion, perfectly concrete
and ordinary lessons from text-books only too familiar, to
businesslike, middle-aged women, rather plain than otherwise, with a
practical grasp of the matter in hand and a marked preference for
regular attendance on the part of freshmen.

It was characteristic of her that what cut deepest in all the
disillusionment was not the loss of the hope, but the shamed
perception of the folly of it, the realization of the depth of
practical ignorance it implied, the perfectly conscious pathos of a
life so empty of real experience of the world as to make such naïve
visions possible. She did the required work and kept her thoughts
about it to herself, but the effect of what she secretly felt to have
been a provincial and ridiculous mistake showed itself in her manner;
and the occasional hauteur of her namesake, who had inherited a very
effective stare of her own, was diffidence itself compared with the
reserved disdain that covered her own smarting sensitiveness.

Girls who had tumbled about with their kind from babyhood, who had
found at home, at church, at school a varied if simple social
training, resented her formality and could not see that pure shyness
of them, pure wonder at their rough-and-ready ease of manner, their
amazing power of adjustment, their quick grasp of the situation and
each other, lay at the root of her jealous dignity.

So she called them "Miss," and they thought her affected; she waited
for invitations that she should have taken for granted, and they
thought her haughty; she made no advance in a place where only the
very favored are sought out and most must earn even the humblest
recognition with honest toil and assiduous advertisement, and they
quietly let her alone. She was not on the campus, and as the girls in
the small boarding-house with her were industrious and ordinary to the
last degree and became very early impressed with her realization of
this fact, she saw little of them, and her one opportunity of getting
the campus gossip, which is the college gossip, grew smaller and
smaller. She took solitary walks, thereby confirming the impression
that she preferred to be alone--for who need be alone among a thousand
girls unless she wishes it?

On such a walk, late in the fall, she stood for some time on one of
the hills that rise above the town proper, looking for the hundredth
time at the mountains, outlined that afternoon against the dying light
of a brassy, green sky. The trees were bare and black about her; the
lights in the comfortable houses were flushing up the windows with a
happy evening red; belated children were hurrying home; and now and
then groups of girls, fresh-cheeked from their quick walk, swung by,
in haste for supper and their evening engagements. Over her heart,
hungry and misunderstood, there poured a sudden flood of passionate
longing for one hour of unconscious happy comradeship with homes and
girls like these; one hour of some one else's--anybody else's--life;
one taste of dependence on another than herself. It fell into rhythm
and fascinating phrases while she gave herself up to the mood, and she
made a poem of it that night. In two days she was famous, for High
Authority publicly placed the poem above anything yet done in the
college; it was seized by the _Monthly_, and copied widely in the
various college publications; to the editorial board and the Faculty
who did not have other reason for knowing her, she became "the girl
who wrote _At Autumn Dusk_." It was long before she equalled it,
though almost everything she did was far above a college standard; and
one or two people will always think it her best poem, I have no doubt,
in spite of more recent and perhaps more striking work.

For this poem was only the beginning, it may as well be admitted now,
of Susan's career as a genius. This degree is frequently conferred, no
doubt, when unmerited; but the article is so susceptible of imitation,
the recipe for producing the traditional effect so comparatively
simple, that it is to be wondered at, on the whole, that the aspirants
for the title should be, among so many clever young women, so
relatively few. To a frank and recently awakened interest in Shelley,
Keats, Rossetti, and Co., it is only necessary to add a vacant
abstraction, a forgetfulness of conventional meal hours--supper, for
choice--a somewhat occult system of reply to ordinary remarks, and the
courage of one's convictions in the matter of bursting out with the
irrelevant results of previous and prolonged meditation irrespective
of the conversation of the moment. Any one who will combine with these
infallible signs of the fire from heaven as much carelessness in the
matter of dress as her previous bringing up will allow--though this is
naturally a variable quantity--and a certain unmistakable looseness of
_coiffure_--was there ever a genius with taut hair? heaven avert
it!--may be reasonably certain of recognition. It is understood, of
course, that with the qualifications above mentioned a taste for verse
and an ear for rhythm, in conjunction with the frank appreciation of
the poetical firm also above mentioned, have produced their inevitable
result.

The character of the output naturally has something to do with the
extent of the reputation, and although Susan, the most promising
candidate for the degree then in the field, had alarmingly few of the
most obvious signs of her rank, this was indulgently passed over, and
she was allowed her laurels.

But it was Sue Jackson on whom all the first congratulations were
heaped: roses and violets, that blossom at the slightest excuse in
Northampton, covered the hall table in the Hubbard House, where she
spent her first two years; affectionate and mock-reverential notes
crowded the bulletin board for her; a spread was actually got up and
the guests invited before the mistake was known. To do her justice she
would have promptly despatched the notes and flowers to her defrauded
namesake, but the donors, whom she consulted, would have none of it.

"Why, Sue! Why, the idea! _Didn't_ you write it? Oh, girls, what a
joke! How perfectly funny!--Send 'em to her? Not at all. Why on earth
should Neal and I send that girl flowers? For that matter, she cut us
dead day before yesterday, on Round Hill, didn't she, Pat? And she's
in our Greek, too. We'll have the stuff to eat, anyhow. You're a nice
old thing, Sue, if you can't write 'this extraordinary poem'!"

Susan, who heard next to nothing of college news, heard about this.
She heard how Sue had gayly responded to toasts: "The Poem I did not
write," "My Feelings on failing to compose my Masterpiece"--this was
Neal Burt's, and she was very clever over it--and others. The only
thing she did not hear about was Sue's half-serious response to "My
gifted God-child," suggested by an upper-class friend. She made a
little graceful fun and then added quite earnestly, "And really,
girls, I _do_ think she ought to be here! After all, the Class, you
know--Let's take down the flowers and all the fudge--come on! She
can't do more than squelch us!"

The very girls who had scoffed at the idea before were naturally the
ones to take it up immediately, and they were hastily gathering the
things together, when the bell rang. They could not hope to get there
and back before ten, and most of them were already deep in the
matron's black list for reported lights; so they gave it up, and put
the flowers in the tub, where a sudden frost over night struck them
and they perished miserably.

To Susan it was the bitterest thing of all; it took the sweetness from
her success; it dulled the piquancy of her sudden position. She could
not possibly know how little it meant to Sue; that it was only one of
many spreads, and by no means the triumphal feast she imagined; that
after the first they forgot why they had planned it, almost. To her it
was her chance at life, her long-delayed birthright, and Sue had taken
it, too, along with everything else. "She might have left me
that!"--it was her thought for more than one unhappy night.

Before she went home in June she had written a Chaucer paper that
became vaguely confounded in the matter of literary rank with the
works of its famous subject, in her class-mates' simple minds, so
great was the commendation of Another High Authority in regard to its
matter and style. It came out in the May _Monthly_, in which were some
pretty little verses of Sue's. They were paraphrased from the
French--Sue had taken any amount of French before she came up--and
Susan spent her time at chapel in looking harder than ever at her
namesake as she laughed and chattered and took her part in the
somewhat crudely conceived jokes that seem to amuse girls so
perennially. Less flexible, as she afterwards considered, less
hypocritical, as she irritably felt then, she marvelled at the mental
make-up of a girl capable of appreciating the force and pathos of De
Musset's best work and expressing it so accurately, and able at the
same time to find content in such tiresome, half-grown nonsense.

When the _Monthly_ came out, she was amazed to receive a dozen copies
with a hasty note:

     Dear Miss Jackson: Here are the copies you wanted--never mind
     the money. There are always a lot left over since we enlarged
     the edition. If you want more, after we've sent out the Alumnæ
     list, we'll give them to you.

         H. STUART.

It was only one of the many notes intended for Sue that had been
coming to her since the beginning. But none of the invitations to
dinner, to Alpha and Phi Kappa, to walk, to ride, to wheel, to eat a
box from home, had the effect of this one. For Sue came after her
_Monthlies_ and in a ten minutes' conversation wrought more ruin than
she would have believed possible.

"Did you get all mine and your own, too?" she asked laughingly. "I
should send away a hundred, more or less, if _I_ did 'absolutely
satisfactory' Chaucer papers! I should be that proud....

"You see, Papa has to have the _Monthly_, if there's anything of mine
in it, _tout de suite_--directly--now. He was wild with rage at me
because he learned about that little fool story I had in, once before,
from Cousin Con, 'long afterwards,' he said--it was only a week! And
then, other people, you know....

"Did you get any of these off, before I came? Because it's all right
if you did--I don't need a dozen. Isn't it funny I don't get any of
your things? You must be somewhat cloyed with my notes and stuff--I
should think you'd be bored to death. It's very wearing on me, Miss
Jackson, explaining all the time, 'No, I'm not the one! I assure you I
didn't write it.' You've no idea....

"My cousin is on the _Harvard Monthly_ board, you know--he telegraphed
congratulations to me. He was that set up over it! It was really very
funny....

"I'm afraid I'm keeping you--were you going out? Shall I tell Helen
Stuart to send yours down? She may think we've both got all we want.
Do you know what Alpha's going to be to-night? Somebody said it was
going to be Dr. Winthrop--he's my uncle, you know, and I thought if it
was I'd go down to the station...."

She had not the slightest idea that her thoughtless and, to tell the
truth, somewhat embarrassed chatter was one succession of little
galling pinpricks to the other. Her father, who expected his
daughter's little triumphs to be his own, as a matter of course; her
cousin at Harvard; her uncle who lectured to the Alpha; her notes and
flowers--she must know that there was the best of reasons for her not
getting her namesake's!--her light implication that everybody went to
Alpha; her very expression: "No, I'm not the one!" seemed to the
girl's angry sensitiveness a studied insult. Not the one! As if there
were any one else! She did not know how unbearably formal and curt she
seemed to the other, nor how strongly she gave the impression of
wanting to be let alone.

Sue went away to mail her _Monthlies_, and Susan locked her door and
considered at length and in detail the humor of her visitor's light
remarks as applied to herself. She fancied _At Autumn Dusk_ and _A
Study of Chaucer_ demanded by an enraged father, and smiled--a very
unpleasant and ungirlish smile. Moreover, it is possible that she did
her father an injustice here. While it is improbable that he would
have persisted in lending them about among his friends, to his wife's
open amusement, as did Mr. Jackson of Boston, and notwithstanding the
fact that he would doubtless have failed to appreciate them fully, he
might have liked to see them. Later, much later, Susan was to find a
number of her poems and stories clipped with care from the magazines
and pasted into an old scrapbook, with the glowing notices of her
first really well-known work; the book hidden under a pile of old
newspapers in her father's closet. She cried over them for days--he
was dead then--and published _Blind Hearts_ shortly afterward. None of
her class-mates, most of whom gave or received that exquisite
sonnet-cycle for Christmas that year, could have known that the roots
of it struck back to her freshman year at college.

After a stupid, hot vacation, in which she lost touch more than ever
with her people, from whom she was to draw slowly apart, it seemed,
forever, she came back with a little, unowned hope for other things: a
vague idea that she could start fresh. She told somebody, afterwards,
that just as she got to understand girls a little she lost all
connection with them; she did not lose connection with them just then,
so it must be that she did not then understand them.

Indeed, what was, perhaps, her greatest mistake was made at this time,
and colored the year for her. It happened in this way. The Alpha had
the first chance at the sophomores that year, and for a wonder, the
sophomores were not only clever but possessed that intangible quality,
"the Alpha spirit," in a gratifying degree. The ticket for the first
drawing included the two Jacksons, Cornelia Burt, Elizabeth Twitchell,
and to fulfil that tradition that inevitably elects one perfectly
unexplainable girl, Kate Ackley, a young person of many and
judiciously selected friends. At the very night of the election it was
suddenly rumored that Sue Jackson had openly declared her intention of
refusing Alpha in favor of the rival society, on the ground that she
liked Phi Kappa better and had more friends there.

Now aside from the fact that this report was utterly baseless, for Sue
would have preferred the Alpha, if only to go in among the first five
of all, it was aside from the point. As some irritated seniors
afterwards explained with much temper and reiteration to the chidden
society, Alpha was sufficiently honorable in the sight of the college
to endure very calmly rejection at the hands of any freshman
whatsoever, whether or not they had any certainty of the truth of the
rumor. But the girls were struck with the solemn necessity of
immediate and drastic action, and with a gratifying thrill of
excitement they struck off Sue's name and put in Margaret Pattison's,
the sixth in order, whereat Phi Kappa greatly rejoiced and promptly
elected Sue the next week.

Now it is very sad that the only person who seriously misunderstood
this whole affair was Susan Jackson of Troy. Sue very quickly learned
the whole matter; what her feelings may have been is not certain. Phi
Kappa made a jubilee over her, and she became, as is well known, a
great light in that society. Miss Pattison, by some mysterious free
masonry--the girls who are "in everything" seem to absorb all such
matters through their pores--soon found out her luck, and was frankly
grateful for it. Alpha retained the courage of her convictions and
assumed a distinctly here-I-stand-I-can-no-otherwise attitude. Phi
Kappa chuckled privately and looked puzzled in public. But Susan had
made a great mistake, and what is worse, never knew it. A little
gossiping freshman in the boarding-house she had moved into, who had
been injudiciously petted by the seniors and imagined herself in
everybody's confidence, told Miss Jackson, with many vows of secrecy,
that there had never been such a time in Alpha in the history of the
college: they had meant to have Sue--oh, of course!--but there had
been a terrible mistake at the balloting and names had been confused,
and though etiquette forbade any expression of their real feeling,
they were nearly wild at their clumsiness.

It is hardly to be wondered at that Susan jumped to her conclusion.
She had got so many things intended for Sue--why not this? She knew
that cleverness and even college fame are not the only calls to a
society, and she had no real friends in either of the two
organizations. She could not believe that the Alpha would purposely
omit Sue: if they had chosen both, it would have been different, but
as it was....

So she received their very earnest congratulations with a constraint
that chilled them. They reasoned that she was perfectly certain of
the election and took no pains to hide it, and though they could not
blame her for this, they thought her more conceited than ever, and
regarded her accordingly. The poor child was suffering from actual
humility, however, not conceit. She could not know that her mark on
both society lists was the highest ever given; that Alpha would
cheerfully have sacrificed any two, or even three, of the others for
her; that much as they regretted Sue, they wasted less sorrow over her
now that they were sure of the leading girl in Ninety-red. For that
was what they called her--the girls that she thought patronized her.
They took her after-successes almost as a matter of course. "Oh, yes!
she was far and away the most brilliant girl in the college!" they
said. But she never heard them.

The house she had moved into with an unacknowledged hope of getting
more in touch with them was the last house she should have chosen. It
was filled from cellar to roof with freshmen, and not only are they
notoriously clannish under such conditions, but there were at least
eight or ten of them from the same prominent preparatory school, and
among them was their class president. It was not possible for Susan to
join herself to this little circle of satellites, and they controlled
the entire house in a very short time. So she took to visiting the
head of the house, a faded, placid soul with a nominal authority and a
gentleness that moved even her worst freshmen--and a bad freshman
combines the brutality of a boy with the finesse of a woman of the
world--to a little shamed consideration during their periodic fits of
social reform. Sitting by her fire in the dusk, with the smell of hot
cooked chocolate drifting in from the hall, and the din of the
assembled tribes in the president's room overhead, Susan passed long,
bored, miserable hours. Half listening to the older woman's talk, half
sunk in her thoughts, she alternately chafed with rage at the idea of
her college life drifting out in solitary walks and tired women's
confidences, or took a sad kind of comfort in one fire where she was
always welcome, one friend that loved to talk to her.

For Mrs. Hudson grew very fond of her, and something in the girl's own
baffled, unsatisfied soul must have helped her to understand the
stress and pathos of the tired little woman's life. Few of the girls
who afterwards read _Barbara: A Study in Discipline_, would have
believed that the high-hearted, wonderful heroine was based on Miss
Jackson's study of their freshman landlady. But most of Susan's
knowledge was gained from such unscheduled courses.

In her junior year she let her work go, to a great extent, and spent
much time in the town libraries, reading omnivorously. As a matter of
fact, her class work deteriorated not a little, as much by reason of
dangerously extended cuts as anything else. But it all failed to
interest her, somehow: the detailed campaigns, the actual value of
money, the soulless translations, the necessarily primary character of
the beginnings of any study of modern language. She felt with growing
irritation that she should have learned genders and verbs earlier in
life, and she surprised her expectant teachers with poorer and poorer
recitations. Mademoiselle had no means of knowing that though Miss
Jackson stammered through the subjunctive she was reading dozens of
novels and plays with a very fair ease; Fräulein could not tell from
her imperfect handling of the modal auxiliaries that she had written a
better paper on _Faust_ than many a six years' student of German, and
already knew most of Heine by heart.

This year she made a few friends, chiefly in Phi Kappa, for some
reason or other, which irritated the Alpha girls a little. To do her
justice, she was utterly ignorant of this result of her connection
with Bertha Kitts and Alida Fosdick, nor would it have resulted in the
case of an ordinary girl. But Susan was more prominent than she ever
realized, and her whole connection with the others being official and
logical rather than social and actual, her conduct and opinions were
very sharply criticised from a rather exacting standpoint. Nor was
this wholly unfair, for she was herself an unsparing critic. More than
one of the Faculty smarted under her too successful epigrams; various
aspirants for popularity and power in the Alpha or the class learned
to dread her comments; her few friends themselves were never quite
sure of her attitude toward them. But she was not, for her part, sure
of them: it is hard to make friends in one's junior year. And though
she saw quite a little of Biscuits and Dick and Neal Burt--always her
constant admirer--she never for a moment lost the consciousness that
she was no friend of their friends, that she had no place in those
groups long since formed and shaken into place. They were a little
jealous of her, too, and resented her selection of this girl and that
from among them, though they could not but admit that her judgment was
good.

Her sources of irritation were the same always. Their very
flexibility, the ease with which those she had chosen out slipped from
her to their other friends (they laughed with her at them, even, after
the manner of girls--did they laugh with them at her?), filled her
with a hopeless jealousy. It was not their nice clothes and their good
times she grudged them, though she wanted both: it was their
connections, their environments, their very disciplines. When Biscuits
with loud lamentations elected Philosophy at the decree of her father;
when Neal took up two courses of Economics in order to help her mother
with "some footless syllabi in mother's literary club;" when Betty
Twitchell endured the gibes of her friends every rainy day because
"Papa won't let me wear a short skirt; he hates a woman in one--I
think it's perfectly horrid of him, too! Wait till I get pneumonia! As
if I'd 'get a carriage' to take me from the Hatfield to College Hall!"
Susan would have given every rhyme in her head for one year of their
conventional, irresponsible lives.

It was not money she longed for: Neal Burt was poor enough, and made
no secret of "my cousin's boots, my dear, and my aunt's silk waist,
and Patsy's gloves that don't fit her, that I have on this minute!"
But Neal gave her one of her worst quarter-hours, at the time her
mother came up. She was a pretty little woman with Neal's eyes; her
simple clothes had, like Neal's, a distinct air of taste and selection
about them; her interest in everything was so pleasant, her manner so
cordial and charming, that she made an easy conquest of the girls and
Neal's friends in the Faculty that came to meet her and drink tea in
the quiet house where Neal lived almost alone, much petted by her
landlady, an old family friend. Mrs. Burt was interested in Economics
that year--"the dear thing has a new fad every time I go home!"--and a
prominent professor of Economics from one of the universities
happening to be in town just then, one of Neal's friends among the
Powers invited mother and daughter to meet him. Mrs. Burt was equally
charmed and charming; the distinguished professor begged to be allowed
to send her a copy of his book, in which she had been much interested,
"and she went home proud as Punch!" in the words of her daughter.

Every word the kindly little woman had with Susan--and she had a great
many, for Neal had interested her mother in her friend--brought
closer home to her what had steadily grown to be the consuming trouble
of her life. She tried to imagine _her_ mother drinking tea with a
roomful of strangers; finding the right word for every one, talking
with this girl about her friends, with that about the last book, with
the other about college life in general. She fancied her meeting the
distinguished professor and discussing his book so brightly--and saw
the closet-shelves where Marie Corelli and the Duchess jostled Edna
Lyall: Mrs. Jackson said she liked some real heavy reading now and
then, and Edna Lyall had a good many problems in her books. She had a
sickening consciousness that her mother would inevitably defer to the
girls, particularly to the confident, well-dressed ones; and every
time that Neal patted Mrs. Burt's shoulder or kissed the tip of her
ear, she felt her heart contract with a spasm of that terrible gnawing
envy that is surely reserved, with their equally terrible capacity for
loving, for a certain small proportion of women, and women only. It is
a very sad thing for a girl to be ashamed of her mother.

In her junior year occurred one of her greatest triumphs. The senior
class had petitioned vainly for the privilege of giving _Twelfth
Night_ as their Commencement play: the refusal, based on the obstacle
presented by the part of Sir Toby, and couched in the undying phrases
of the Greatest Authority--"he should be neither drunk, nor half
drunk, nor bibulous, nor rioting"--impressed very deeply those more
susceptible to the humorous. With a commendable intelligence the
dramatics committee decided that under the limitations above quoted
the play would lack in verisimilitude, and cast about for another, but
that was not the end of it; for Susan, in whose hands the Alpha
farewell-meeting had been unreservedly placed, wrote, staged, and
directed the performance of an elaborate parody entitled _First
Night_, from which "the objectionable element in the unfortunate
William's comedy," to quote the preface, was successfully and
unsparingly expurgated.

Not only were the most obvious situations cleverly treated; not only
did Sir Toby, spare and ascetic, in a neat flannel wrapper, call
decorously for "a stoup of thin gruel, Maria!" not only did he and his
self-contained friends walk through a kind of posture dance with
killing solemnity, chanting the while a staid canon in which the
possibilities of "Why, should I drink on _one_ day?" were interpreted
with a novel and gratifying morality; not only did Malvolio utterly
eschew an article of apparel too likely to bring the blush of shame to
the cheek of the Young Person, but painstakingly assume, in the eyes
of the delighted audience, heavy woollen stockings, a constant and
effectual reminder of his hidden traditional garb: but a parody within
a parody ran cunningly through the piece. The trials of the committee,
the squabbles of the principal actors, open hits at the Faculty, sly
comments on the senior class, which had been active in reforms and not
wholly popular innovations--all these were interwoven with the farce;
and this not in the clumsy harmless fashion of most college grinds,
but pointed by a keen wit, a merciless satire, an easy, brilliant
style already well on to its now recognized maturity.

Most of the principal actors in the play finally selected by the
seniors, with more than half of the committee, were that year, as it
happened, from Alpha, and their delight knew no bounds. Susan did not
act herself, but she was a born manager; and the actors that cursed
her unsparing drill and absolute authority during the long rehearsal
season that made it the most finished affair of its kind, blessed her
vociferously on the great night of its production. It was the most
perfect success of her life--though the girls who thought she scorned
her college triumphs would have laughed had she told them so, later.
Every point was eagerly caught and wildly applauded; the stage
setting, the funny, clever costumes, the irresistible caricatures, the
wit and humor of the thing, all acted with a _verve_ and precision
unusual in college dramatics, where criticism is too often forced to
take the will for the deed, all called for a tremendous and
well-earned appreciation. The author was frantically summoned again
and again; the seniors exhausted a congratulatory vocabulary on her.
Her classmates shook her hand many times apiece.

Nor did the triumph end with the night, for the juniors, unable to
contain their pride, gave surreptitious bits of the play to chosen
seniors in Phi Kappa, and it was even rumored that the other society
was going to request a revival of the combination entertainment, now
out of vogue, with a view to having it repeated. This was suppressed
by the Powers, but it got about that one of the few type-written
copies of the piece had fallen into the hands of an Influential
Person--probably through Neal Burt, who admired it in proportion to
her own far from ordinary ability--and that the Person had assembled a
select gathering of her Peers for the sole purpose of reading it, with
unmistakably appreciative comments, to them. Some members of the
Faculty, old Alpha girls themselves, and present on the occasion of
its production, expressed their admiration in unstinted terms, and
altogether the Alpha gained a tremendous prestige.

This and her appointment as editor-in-chief of the _Monthly_ for her
senior year marked the height of Susan's prosperity. She used to
think, afterwards, that the play was the only pure pleasure she had
ever had: it was certainly the only one that her namesake had left to
her unspoiled. Fate ordered it that she should take off the
bulletin-board with her notice of editorial appointment a note hastily
addressed to S. Jackson, '9-. She opened it mechanically.

     Dear Old Sue: It's a miserable shame! You ought to have had
     it! But it seems that it makes no difference what we want, nor
     who would work in best with the girls. _Genius_ isn't
     everything, always--but you know what I wanted!

         Your disappointed
             H. S. K.

The note was not sealed, and she folded it and put it back quietly. A
moment later she received her congratulations, but to every one's "Of
course you're not surprised, Miss Jackson!" she smiled strangely. Sue
used the phrase, fresh from her own congratulations as literary
editor, and the concentrated bitterness of three years flashed out in
the other's curt answer.

"Of course you're not surprised--"

"_Are you?_"

Sue's startled flush was all the proof she needed, and crushing in her
hand the note that had meant the highest college honor to more than
one of the girls who had got its like, she went home to bear alone the
sharpest disappointment she had yet known.

There was no one to tell her that the senior editor whose initials
signed the note for Sue had been one of only two in Sue's favor; that
the board, so far from acting unwillingly under the direction of the
Rhetoric department, as she inferred from the note, had been
practically unanimous for her, particularly as the two opposed held
relatively unimportant positions and were far from popular. She did
not know that the note itself was a gross breach of etiquette, anyway,
and that both officially and socially its writer had risked the
gravest censure; so much so that Sue, far from being pleased, was
heartily ashamed of it and never told a soul about it till long
afterwards. The person who could have explained most effectively to
her how perfectly her election met the favor of everybody, herself
included--for Sue would have been as surprised to find herself placed
above her gifted namesake as to have found herself omitted entirely
from the board--was too chagrined at the abrupt answer to her
congratulations to dream of mentioning the matter further.

So Susan got out her first two numbers of the _Monthly_ with none of
the delighted importance of most editors. It was all spoiled for her.
She knew that she deserved it: it was impossible for her not to
realize that, so far as originality and power went, nobody in the
class, or the college, for that matter, could touch her work. It was
not the position that meant so much to her: she was perfectly
competent to fill it easily and acceptably, and she knew it. But she
wanted them to think so, too, and be glad to give it to her--and she
did not believe they were.

Shortly after her success of _First Night_, she got one of her rare
letters from home. She had little correspondence with them, and had
grown to regard their letters with dread, since each one had brought
unpleasant news, from Doris', to announce her engagement to one of
"the boys," a flashy, half-disreputable fellow, to her mother's,
enclosing a cheque, with gloomy forebodings that it might be the last,
and a disheartening chronicle of family affairs growing daily more
sordid. The sight of her characterless, uncultivated handwriting
always threw the girl into a gloomy, irritable mood, and as she opened
this one the remorse that had begun to prick her more sharply of late
at her inability to help them, if not in the way she would like, at
least in the most obviously necessary manner, crept over her and
saddened her even before she reached the crisis of the letter. It was
very simple: she must come home. There was no more money; there had
been none for some time, but her father was bent on her staying, and
had put it off longer than he should have done. It had been a foolish
expense, and she might have had a position long ago. There was car
fare and a very little over, and it was hoped that she had no bills.
They were going to move into an apartment over the store, and Veronica
was going to keep her father's books. And that was all.

Perhaps her mother felt sorrier than she knew how to say; perhaps it
was only the constraint of years and lack of _savoir faire_ that made
the letter so cold and curt; but there it was, with nothing to break
the shock: no regret for her, to lighten her sense of selfishness; no
appeal to her, even, to help them. They could get along very well; to
give up the house would be a great financial relief, and she would be
more a hindrance than otherwise. She knew that: she knew that her
presence would be a constant irritation, her criticism, impossible to
conceal, a constant source of strife and estrangement. It was only
that they had no more money for her--that was all.

She walked out to the long bridge, and sat down on a stone near the
end of it. For perhaps the first time a complete consciousness of how
bitterly she loved the place came to her. She, of whom many of the
Faculty afterwards wondered that she stayed as long as she did,
credited by all her acquaintances with infinite boredom at its
restrictions and wearisome routine, dreaded to leave it as she herself
could hardly endure to think. For three years she had taken a place,
unchallenged, among people of a class she had never known before.
Unknown, unhelped, she had by sheer personality and natural power
made herself not only respected but respected to an unusual degree.
She had patronized girls who would not have acknowledged her existence
three years before; whether they loved her or not, her class was proud
of her. Her going would be noticed--oh, yes indeed!

She rose to go home, and a little beyond the bridge turned to look
back: something told her that she should not know that view soon
again. Meadow and river and softly circling hills with the beautiful
afternoon haze thick on them, she stamped it on her heart--and with it
a sudden nearing figure. Down the long arch, slim and shapely against
the blue background of the tunnel, Sue flew toward her on her wheel.
Her hands swung by her sides--she had ridden from childhood--her feet
were off the pedals, her perfectly fitting heavy skirt hung out in
graceful fluted folds. Beneath her soft, trim hat her cheeks glowed
rose-color, her eyes shone like stars. The sun caught her smooth,
thick hair and framed her face in a glittering halo. She sat straight
as a dart, her lips parted with the sheer physical delight of the
swooping, effortless sensation--she was tremendously handsome. To the
other girl she was victory incarnate; the essence of ease and triumph
and perfect _bien-être_; her hopeless envy and despair. As she flew by
she spread out her hands in a quick, significant gesture, half
graceful and high-bred--half pert and of the music-hall: it typified
her and her friends perfectly to Susan, who never forgot her as she
saw her then, and whose _Mademoiselle Diana_, much admired by Sue and
her family, is nobody more nor less than Sue herself.

She found a letter waiting for her at home, a letter that the maid
explained had just been brought from the house where the other Miss
Jackson lived--it had been kept there by mistake and neglected for two
or three days. It was hoped it was not important. She opened it in the
hall, read it hastily through, read it again, looked at the date, and
asked for a time-table. The maid, suspecting bad news, was officious
in assistance and eagerly agreed to pack her things and get a man to
box the books when she had gone, which would be in the morning, she
said, with a strange, absent-minded air. She gave the girl her last
fifty cents, and while Maggie folded and packed, she wrote a letter
home.

     "It seems foolish for me to come to Troy; I should only have
     to go right back to Boston again," _she said in it_. "They want
     me to begin to collect the stories right away and do some
     reading for them besides--so I must be there. There is a new
     magazine they have just bought, too, and I am to do some work
     on that. It is a very good position and will lead to a better,
     they say, and I am very fortunate to get it. They say very nice
     things about my work in the "Monthly"--the college paper that I
     was elected editor of--they seem to have read them all. I must
     go on immediately. Their letter was delayed, and I shall try to
     get there to-morrow. I will let you know when I find a place to
     stay. I hope to be able to help you soon.

         "Hastily,
             "SUSAN."

She wrote a note to the Registrar and one to Neal Burt, whom, in her
letter of resignation, she recommended strongly to the board as her
successor, overlooking the constitution, which provides for the
literary editor's filling the first place when it falls vacant, and
refusing supper, she walked out over the campus. The dining-rooms were
opened to the soft air; the cheerful clatter of plates came out from
every window; she could see the maids hurrying about. She sat for an
hour in one of the hammocks, and then walked about the larger
buildings. The last dance of the season was on in the Gym; the violins
rose above the tramping and the confused uproar inside. White-armed
girls passed the windows and leaned out into the cool.

"How is it?" one called up from below.

"Mortal slow, dearie, but don't say I told you!" the other answered in
a stage whisper from above, and the music dashed into a two-step.

"Be_hold_ El _Cap_-i-_tan_!"

It haunted Susan's dreams for nights, that tune--it seemed impossible
that the dancers' hearts should not ache as hers did. She lingered,
fascinated, while the violins sang it over and over, and over again at
the storm of clapping that followed it.

"Be_hold_ El _Cap_-i-_tan_!"

It was a hideous, cruel tune, light and utterly careless, and yet with
that little sadness in it that some sensitive ears find always in good
dance music--is it because dancing must so obviously end so soon?--and
Susan has loathed it all her life. Indeed, at a recent luncheon given
in her honor by the alumnæ of New York, she requested that the
orchestra stop playing it after the first few bars--these people of
genius are so delightfully eccentric!

She left college as quietly as she had entered it; there is no doubt
that they would have made her Ivy Orator, had she stayed. The mail
that took the notice of her lodging-house to her family crossed one of
Sue's to her Uncle Bradford, of the well-known Boston publishing firm.
Among other things she said:

     I'm glad you like her so well--I knew you would. She's really
     much better for the place than Con. And I'm sure it was better
     to write to her directly--she doesn't like any of us very well,
     except Neal and Biscuits, and I have an idea she really almost
     dislikes me. I knew that when you saw that essay on the French
     and English as short-story writers, you'd want to give her the
     chance. And she was the very girl to leave college, too--it
     isn't everybody would be so glad to go just before senior year.
     Not but what I would, fast enough, if I had her future before
     me--Mon dieu! she's the only girl I ever thought I'd rather
     be--you should see the poem she left with Neal for the
     "Monthly"! She turns them off over night, apparently. It's a
     loss to the class, of course, but everybody is very glad for
     her--she always seemed so out of place up here, somehow. If
     one doesn't care for the little footless stunts, it must be a
     terrible bore, I should think. And when she's famous we can pat
     each other on the back and say we done it--partly. With a great
     deal of love for you and Aunt Julia,

         SUE.



THE SEVENTH STORY

_A FEW DIVERSIONS_



VII

A FEW DIVERSIONS


"I wish you _would_ ask her up, Nan," said Mrs. Harte, confidentially.
"I want her to see the place. So far as I can judge, it's the best
thing for her. There isn't any doubt that she's a very bright girl,
but she's getting thoroughly spoiled here. You see, she does just as
she pleases--she's the only young person in the family--and I know we
spoil her terribly. Her mind is made up to come out in the winter,
here in Chicago, and they'll refuse her nothing--her father and
mother."

"They _don't_ seem what you'd call oppressively strict with her,"
remarked Anne, twirling her racquet.

"Now what I want is for her to get somewhere where she isn't the only
clever girl; to see that other girls can read and talk and play the
guitar and wear nice clothes and order silly young men about. And
judging from those of you that I've seen, you can!"

"We do our little best," said Anne, modestly.

"And I wanted her to see you all: that's one reason why I planned the
house-party. I was so disappointed when she came so late. You see, her
cousin Georgiana was--was unfortunate. She went to Yale and Columbia
and goodness knows where, and she had short hair and was such a frump
and she wore such hideous spectacles and talked about Socialism--or
was it Sociology?--all the time. I remember she was always trying to
persuade us to join clubs and protest against something or other--it
was very wearisome. So Madge got to despise the whole thing: she has
always thrown Georgiana at me when I mentioned college. It was
perfectly useless to try to make her understand that every girl
needn't be like Georgiana. She's very obstinate. But she's a nice
girl, too, and if she can only get out of her present atmosphere for
four years--"

"Pity she couldn't have seen Ursula, if she's afraid we're all
frumps," Anne suggested.

"Yes, isn't it? But I think she stayed purposely. Now, you--she says
you're an exception; that there can't be many like you. You see, Madge
has a standard of her own; she says she'd be ashamed to go through
college the way some of the boys do, with just a good time and as low
marks as they can safely get. She says she'd want to be a student if
she pretended to, and yet she must have a good time, and--"

"And she thinks it can't be done? Dear me, what an error! Well, if
she'll come up I'll be very glad to have her, I'm sure. I can trot out
our little pastimes and er--omit the more _sociological_ side," said
Anne, with a grin.

Mrs. Harte leaned forward eagerly. "Yes, that's just what I mean! She
got enough of that from Georgiana. I want her to watch you--"

"Sport about on the lawn? Gambol through the village? 'Make the
picturesque little lake echo with sweet girlish gayety,' as the
newspaper gentlemen say?"

"Yes, that's it," and Mrs. Harte patted Anne's broad shoulder. "That's
what I mean, you silly child. Just let her see that there are a few
diversions!"

Miss Marjory Cunningham, who was just then coming up from the lake,
was a tall, well-grown young woman of seventeen, with a handsome,
assured face and unexceptionable garments. She looked fully twenty,
and was young enough to find satisfaction in this circumstance. She
had been brought up, in the orthodox American fashion, to take a
prominent part in the household, particularly in the entertainment of
her mother's many guests; and this, added to the fact that she
happened to be much cleverer than the young women with whom her
social lot had hitherto been cast, inclined her to regard any one
under thirty with a patronage somewhat offensive, if mild.

She dropped down beside Anne as her aunt left the broad piazza, and
smiled politely.

"Aunt Frank says you're going to-morrow," she remarked, adding a
little curiously, "Shall you be glad to get back?"

"East, you mean? Why, yes. You see I'm a week late. They've started up
the show without me, so to speak, and naturally it's rather hard for
them to worry along. They may have given me up and laid my new little
single room at Lucilla Bradford's feet, which would more than trouble
me."

"Do they allow you to come back whenever you want to?"

Miss Cunningham's tone was that of an indulgent aunt toward a pet
nephew on his Christmas holidays, and Anne's reply was framed
accordingly.

"Oh, easily! They only insist on our being back for the Glee Club
concert. They're just bound up in that, you know. So we usually make a
point of it. I must say," she changed her tone, "I'd like to hear
Carol Sawyer's explanations to Miss Roberts! Carol has a fine
imagination, but she's used it so much of late that she'll have to
surpass herself this time to make much impression on Robbie. You see I
have the great good fortune to possess an accommodating relative: the
Amiable Parent is far from well, and asked me if I'd wait a week till
he could go on, and cheer his last moments--smooth his pillow, as it
were. So, since I've never gone away early once and only come back
late twice before, and once with an excuse, I thought I was safe to
stay. And I told him that, notwithstanding the fact that I was
languishing among dirt courts and single-piece drivers and Saturday
hops and--_and_ your noble family, I'd stick it out a week longer.
Said I to the Amiable Parent:

     "_My own convenience count as nil;
     It is my duty, and I will!_"

Next morning, when Nan came down to breakfast, pink under her tan and
with that air that she always carried of having just come out of the
tub, Marjory really regretted her going. She mentioned to her aunt
that she would have liked to see more of her, and that if she _did_ go
to New York in the spring she should surely go up to Northampton. It
was not only because Miss Gillatt danced and golfed and drove and
played tennis so well that Marjory's interest was for the first time
roused in a girl of her own age, nor because her clothes were nice and
her ways amusing; what struck Miss Cunningham was her guest's entire
absence of surprise at what she utterly failed to recognize as an
unusual amount of interest on Marjory's part.

"This is Marjory--how do you do, Marjory?" she had said easily on
their first meeting, and she had never cared to learn that Marjory
intended her own "Miss Gillatt" for a lesson to forward schoolgirls.
And she had taken Marjory's growing attentions quite as if she were
accustomed to have handsome young women talk to her and row her about
and give her their photographs. When she had herself mentioned looking
Nan up in Northampton, her proposition had not evoked the grateful
surprise that might have been expected.

"Glad to see you any time," the future hostess had returned. "Better
come up in the spring; it's a lot prettier." And Madge had decided
then and there to go, though her suggestion had been more or less
perfunctory.

She would never have considered it for a moment had it not been
perfectly obvious that the college girl did not regard herself at all
in the light of a possible example. Georgiana's lectures on the Higher
Education of Women and its Ultimate Effect on the Sex were not to be
thought of in connection with this athletic damsel, whose quotations,
though frequent, indicated a closer study of Lewis Carroll and W. S.
Gilbert than her alma mater's official catalogue would suggest. She
referred very little to the college and then only as the scene of
incidents in which she and her "young friends," as she invariably
called them, had taken amusing or amazing parts. Marjory's chief
impression had been that of the jolliest possible crowd of girls, who
seemed to derive great comfort and entertainment from one another's
company, and it was a half-envious desire to see if they really did
this to the extent that Anne implied, that drew her to Northampton one
fine day in the late spring.

As she stood on the station platform looking in vain for a tall girl
with broad shoulders and a persuasive grin, she heard her name called,
and turned to meet the outstretched hand of a very different person.
This person was small and slender, with a plain, distinguished little
face, intelligent eyes, and a low and charming voice. From the very
Parisian arrangement that topped her shining coils of hair to the
tips of her tiny shoes, she was one of the most thoroughly
well-dressed young women Marjory had ever seen. She reminded one
vaguely, though not disagreeably, of Mr. Wenzell's pictures, and
Marjory failed utterly in a dazed attempt to correlate her and
Georgiana.

"You are Miss Cunningham, are you not? I am Ursula Wyckoff. Nan is so
sorry, but Hodgkinson Davids or Davidson Hodgkins--I can't remember
the way--has come up from New York to play over the course to-day, and
of course all the golf people have to be out there. She and Caroline
have been there all the afternoon, and I'm to bring you out a little
later, when they serve the tea. Isn't it dreadfully warm? Nan's next
to Caroline and Caroline holds the championship, so they're naturally
interested. I don't play at all. I was so sorry to miss you at the
house-party: we all fell in love with your aunt. Oh, no, New York, but
I've lots of Western friends: you know I've met your aunt before, in
London. We bought some Liberty things, and we were staying at the same
hotel, and they sent us each other's parcels, so we got acquainted
picking them out. There was a lovely fan; she said it was for her
niece. Was it you? I dream of that fan yet."

They walked slowly up the long street, Ursula chatting easily, and
Marjory wondering how many of the girls they passed belonged to the
college. They paused before a druggist's window, all Huyler's and
violet soap, and Ursula walked by a long, shining soda fountain to a
room in green and white, with little tables and a great palm in the
centre. The tables were very nearly filled, and there was a cheerful
clatter of tall spoons and a businesslike bustle of clerks with trays.

"This is Kingsley's," said Ursula, with a comprehensive gesture. "Will
you have a chocolate ice?" While absorbing the inviting and pernicious
mixture, Miss Cunningham looked about her with interest. In one corner
four girls with rumpled shirt-waists and dusty golf stockings
squabbled over scores, and illustrated with spoons preferred methods
of driving and putting. Their voices rose above the level prescribed
for drawing-room conversation, and they called each other strange
names. In another corner a tall, dark girl with a grave expression
talked steadily in a low voice to her companion, a clever-looking
creature, whose bursts of laughter grew hysterical as the dignified
one continued, with a perfectly impersonal manner, to reduce her to
positive tears of mirth. To them Ursula bowed, and the narrator,
politely recognizing her, went on with her remarks, to an
accompaniment of gurgling protest from her friend. Near them a
porcelain blonde, gowned in a wonderful pale blue stuff with a great
hat covered with curly plumes, ate strawberry ices with a tailor-made
person clothed in white piqué, mystic, wonderful. She was all
stiffness and specklessness, and she looked with undisguised scorn at
the clamoring athletes, a white leather card-case in her hand. Near
one window a gypsy-faced child in a big pink sunbonnet imparted mighty
confidences to her friend, who shook two magnificent auburn braids
over her shoulders with every chuckle.

"And I heard a knock at the door and of course I thought it was Helen
or some of the girls, and I called to come in and, my dear, _who_ do
you think it was? It was the _expressman_! 'Will you sign this book?'
said he, and he brought the book right up to the bed and I leaned on
my elbow and signed it! My dear, wasn't that perfectly--"

"Oh, well, it's awfully funny here, anyway. That beastly old laundry
tore my lovely lace nightgown to shreds and it was new, and I put in
an old dressing-sacque that was all in rags and I was going to throw
it away, and they mended it carefully before they sent it back!"

As they left the room and Ursula waited while the clerk looked up her
soda ticket, the door flew open and an impish little creature, with a
large, deprecating, motherly girl in her wake, slipped into the shop.

"Now don't make for the back room, Bertie dear, for there isn't time.
We've got lots of places to do yet!" she called, and catching sight of
Ursula she dashed up to her.

"What do you think Alberta and I are doing? We're _so_ bored, and
we're going to stop at every drug store on this side and have an
ice-cream soda, and the same going back on the other side. Isn't that
interesting? I tell Alberta it's bound to be--sooner or later!"

"Is that a freshman?" Marjory inquired competently, and Ursula's eyes
twinkled as she replied gravely:

"No, that's a senior. She has fits of idiocy, but in her better
moments she's quite a person to know. She's in the Lawrence with me.
Why on earth she should go and get Alberta May and drag her into
degradation and dyspepsia, nobody knows, but she always does."

They rested for a while in Ursula's room, which was "more than
enormous," as Anne said--it was intended for a double room--and
furnished very delightfully. There were some beautiful Copley prints
and a cast or two and a long low shelf of books and fascinating wicker
chairs with puffy cushions. There was the inevitable tea-table and
chafing-dish paraphernalia and the inevitable couch with a great many
Yale pillows; but there were not more than a dozen photographs of
girls in any one place and only one Gibson girl, and she was very
small. There was a beautiful desk all littered with papers and little
photographs of Ursula's family and her horse at home, and a lot of the
pretty little cluttering things one picks up abroad. Marjory saw no
girl with such consistently fascinating clothes as Ursula's during her
visit, nor did she sit in any room so charming as hers, the college
girl being a generation behind her brother in this regard; but first
impressions are strong, and Ursula's silver brushes, her beautiful
etching, and the two wonderful rugs that nearly covered her shining
floor formed the stage setting for all Marjory's subsequent imaginary
dramas.

They went out to the links by trolley, through the long quiet street,
past pretty lawns and pleasant houses, into the real country of fields
and scattered cottages. Marjory learned how "the crowd" had vacationed
together more than once; how they were going up to Carol Sawyer's
place in Maine next summer for "the time of their lives"; how, after
their Commencement obsequies, they were going for two weeks to Nan at
Sconset and live in a house all by themselves, and then four of them
were going abroad together with Nan's father--"the dearest thing in
the world"; how Caroline was going to study medicine in Germany and
Lucilla Bradford was going to be married and continue to illumine
Boston, and Ursula and her sister were going to stay indefinitely in
France or Italy with various relatives.

They seemed to have a very intimate knowledge of one another's
affairs, Marjory decided, as they got out at the links and strolled up
to the tiny club-house. A straggling crowd was gradually melting away
there: hot, dishevelled girls with heavy bags, cool and fluffy girls
with tea-cups, men arguing in white flannels and men conversing in
frock coats. Important small boys--professors' sons and their friends
from the town--caddied for the great man and his followers,
patronizing the urchins who ordinarily amassed wealth from this
employment, and a crowd of interested golfers from the town trailed
about the holes, admiring, criticising, and chattering. Here and there
a crimson coat shone out, some of the ladies tilted gay parasols,
white duck dotted the grass everywhere. It was all very jolly and
interesting, and when Nan came up with a white-flannelled youth and a
cheerful if exhausted friend whom she introduced as "one of my little
mates--Caroline Wilde," Marjory could have thought, as she sipped her
tea and learned the score, that she was back on the links at home.

Caroline had learned much and Nan had held a reverent conversation
with the champion and was basking in the recollection of it. Marjory
met an ardent golfer in marvellous stockings, who was with difficulty
restrained from illustrating, by means of his empty cup and the
parasol his fellow-professor was guarding, the very latest method of
effecting a tremendous drive from a bad spot in the course, and his
friend turned out to be a classmate of her brother's; and so they
started from Yale, which is a very good conversational starting-point,
and their reminiscences attracted Ursula, who, with an adoring little
freshman--Ursula was never without a freshman--and the Church and the
Law wrangling pleasantly over a lost ball, was holding her court in a
near corner. They drifted up, and the Church and the Law were so
amusing and well set up that Marjory quite lost her heart to them and
wished they would come "West," as they persisted in calling Chicago,
remarking confidentially that nothing seemed to upset a person from
Chicago so much as that!

They rode home with the Church and the Law, while the assistant in
that great undertaking, the higher education of women, raced the
trolley on a Columbia Chainless, to the wild delight of the
passengers, who cheered his futile efforts and bribed the motorman to
an exciting rate of speed.

"Do you have lessons with him, really?" Marjory demanded, as they left
the rapidly churning golf stockings behind for the moment. Nan
grinned. "Do you, Ursula?" she repeated. Ursula sighed but said
nothing, and Nan explained that in the midst of his artless prattle
last week he had mentioned a written lesson in the near future, based
upon certain reference reading. "It comes off to-morrow," she added
cheerfully, "and the young Lucilla is hastily sprinting through the
volumes and gathering information. She sought the seclusion that a
cabin grants last night, and when I howled at her through the keyhole
that we were going to Boyden's for the evening meal, she said that if
she got through two hundred pages and her notes by then she'd be
along. Ursula does it bit by bit, and then tells us to go to the ant,
thou sluggard, but little Lucy thinks she knows him better than we do,
and she said he wouldn't do it. I told her, go to, he would; I saw it
in his eye. So Caroline started to fill her fountain pen--she calls it
that from force of habit--but what she really does is to fill the
room, and what drips over--"

"There's Lucilla!" said somebody, and they got off the car and teased
Lucilla--a small, tired person with a prim little face and beautiful
manners--all the way down to Boyden's. A striking, sulky-looking girl
with a stylish golf suit that made her look like the costumers' plates
of tailor-made athletic maidens, was holding a table for them, and she
turned out to be Carol Sawyer. She was the first girl of "the crowd"
Marjory did not like. Her voice was loud and her manner a little
overbearing; she wore too many rings and her attitude toward the
college was very different from the harmless nonsense that in the
case of the other girls covered plenty of good work and a real
interest in it. She was evidently very wealthy, and Marjory caught
herself wondering if that was why the others put up with her. When
they had half finished their supper--and a very good little supper it
was--a large girl, almost too tall for a girl, in a mussy short skirt
and badly fitting shirt-waist sauntered into the room. From their own
table and most of the others a chorus of welcome went up.

"Hello, Teddy!" "Don't hurry, Dody!" "Come over here, Dodo!"
"Theodora, dear child, your side-comb is nearly out!" "Have some
berries, Ted?"

She included them all in a cheerful "Hello!" and strolled up to Nan's
table. "This is little Theodora Bent," said Nan, kindly. "She is very
shy and unused to company, but her heart--"

"Her heart," little Theodora interrupted, dragging a chair from
somewhere and quietly appropriating Ursula's creamed chicken, "is not
here. It is with our friend, Mrs. Austin, who sits at a lonely table
wondering where her loved ones are to-night. I met her at the door.
'Dorothea,' said she--and why she persists in calling me Dorothea we
shall know, perhaps, when the mists have cleared away--'Dorothea,
there is hardly a Friday night that you girls are in to supper. I'm
sure I can't see why!' I said that it _was_ strange, but it just
happened so. Then she insisted on knowing why; so I suggested that
perhaps you found the noise in the dining-room trying--"

"Dodo! you didn't!"

"Certainly I did. I should suppose you might. Anybody who sits near
_you_ certainly does! And she said that some freshman or other had
been decorating the piazza all the afternoon, lying in wait for me to
tutor her, and suggested that I ought to manage better. And I told her
I'd tutored three hours and a half to-day and I had a written lesson
and Phi Kappa Farewell to-morrow night, and I thought that if she
didn't object to the freshman I'd leave her there till next week. So I
left her standing in the door--"

"_A thing she has never done before!_" sang Nan, softly, and they
laughed long and merrily, as people laugh who are not very ancient,
and who have just had a good supper and are the best of friends.

It was a little after that that the Glee Club sang on the steps of
Music Hall, while crowds of girls streamed out and sat on the grass
and wandered up and down or listened on dormitory steps. They sang
sweet songs and funny songs, and the audience sitting on the campus
clapped and clapped again. Their repertoire amazed Miss Cunningham,
who had been firmly impressed with the idea that _A Spanish Cavalier_
and _Aunt Dinah's Quilting Party_ were necessarily sung by the college
girl to the exclusion of all other melodies. She was used to them now,
used to pigtails and puffs, shirt-waists and evening dresses, Western
rolled r's and Eastern broad a's, handsome matronly young women, and
slim, saucy little chits, solitary walkers, devoted pairs, and
rollicking bands. The light faded imperceptibly, turning the ugly
brick to a soft pink, bringing out the pale mingling of colors that
spread over the smooth, green campus, with here and there a girl vivid
in crimson or violet. The leader raised her hand and they started a
medley, with queer changes and funny little turns.

         Three blind mice!
         See how they run!
     They all ran after the farmer's wife--
     For she was the jewel of Asia,
           Of Asia,
           Of Asia--

How happy they seemed, how well able to amuse each other!

Then, as the faces on the steps grew indistinct and the little night
noises grew plainer, just as the Club turned to go in somebody called,
"_Mandalay!_" The crowd took it up and "_Mandalay!_" sounded from all
the groups. Three or four girls with guitars turned up from somewhere,
and a mandolin was produced from the Hubbard; a tall, slender girl
stepped out a little from the rest and turned upon the waiting
audience the kind of soft, rich voice that sounds rough and strained
indoors, but only a little thrilled and anxious in the open air.

     By the old Moulmein Pagoda, lookin' eastward to the sea,
     There's a Burma girl a-settin' an' I know she thinks o' me!

Some of the girls perched on balcony railings; some leaned on each
other's shoulders; the strolling pairs and groups stopped,
interlocked, and listened as attentively as if they did not already
know it by heart; their white dresses glimmered among the shrubbery.
Ursula and Theodora Bent, a strange pair, Marjory thought, had dropped
down on a bench, the little graceful figure balanced on the back of
the seat with one arm over the broad shoulders of her big, careless
friend. Nan's merry face took on the almost wistful look that music
always brought there, and Marjory wondered if the silent, waiting
group knew how soft their eyes grew and how much alike they all looked
suddenly.

     An' the dawn comes up like thunder out er China 'crost the Bay!

A moment of silence, a burst of applause, and the crowd was scurrying
away as if a bell had struck. The chatter rose again, the faces
changed, and to crown the transformation a tall, dark girl with a
handsome face--the girl they had seen at Kingsley's--rose languidly
from the top step of the Washburn and sang with a startling imitation
of the first singer, to a group of girls about her:

         Oh, that Road to Mandalay!
         Must we hear it night and day?
     For the author'd swear like thunder if he heard it sung that way!

Wild applause and a cry of, "Second verse, Neal! second verse!"
followed, and as they walked past the Hatfield by a group of girls
audibly disapproving of the parody and its singer, they caught the
second verse:

     For they sing it ev'ry evening, and they sing it ev'ry morn;
     They will sing it at my fun'ral--was it sung when I was born?
     Just as soon as I reach heaven, and they teach me how to play,
     Oh, I know the tune I learn on will be Road to Mandalay!

The juniors chuckled, and as Nan commended the abilities of the
cynical senior, Marjory remembered her face as it had been a few
minutes before, and wondered.

They took her to her boarding-house and left her to get to bed, for
she was tired. And in the morning she went, by previous arrangement,
to the Lawrence, whence Dody Bent took her down to Boyden's to eggs
and toast, and coffee in a shining silvery pot, and said that in
consequence of the apparently unchanged intentions of Dr. Robbins she
should necessarily be much engaged from ten until eleven and the few
scant minutes preceding those hours, and that Misses Gillatt,
Bradford, and Wyckoff expected to be similarly occupied. Caroline
Wilde, however, who apparently did little but work in the laboratory
and keep out-of-doors, would be charmed to row her about Paradise.

Accordingly, at a few minutes after nine, Marjory stood at the foot of
the main staircase, swaying backward and forward in the chapel rush,
and picked out Caroline, sauntering down with a cheerful "Hello!" for
everybody on the stairs and that air of leisure that was the despair
and admiration of the perpetually rushed; for she was one of the
notoriously busy people in the college--always "at everything,"
distressingly competent in several of the stiffest courses offered,
the first aid to the injured in any capacity, and the prop of more
committees than she had fingers. She was always perfectly well and
always wore a shirt-waist, and she was one of the exceedingly few
people who are equally popular with students, Faculty, and
ladies-in-charge.

She pulled Marjory about in the most scientific manner over a somewhat
restricted body of water boasting a great deal of scenery for its
size, conversing at length on basket-ball, in which she had been twice
defeated, and not at all on golf and tennis, in which she held the
college championship. In the course of her remarks it became apparent
that Ursula and Dodo formed one third of "their crowd," she and Nan
another third, and Lucilla and Carol Sawyer one sixth each.

Of Lucilla there seemed to be little to say: she was of extensive
ancestry and made the best fudge in the place. She was also a good
person to tell things to and was always quiet and polite. Dodo
spoke--very literally--for herself. She was one of the best actresses
in the college; she had some very bad quarter-hours back of her
continual nonsense; she was poor, and there was something the matter
all the time at home. Ursula was one of the all 'round girls of the
college; she did beautiful work, and wrote very well and knew a
lot--and her clothes! She dressed for the crowd. Nan was, of course,
the best girl in the world, as might be seen by anybody with an eye in
its head.

And Carol? Oh, Carol was all right. You had to come to know her, that
was all. People didn't understand Carol. Her mother died when she was
a baby, and she didn't like her Eastern aunt, who took care of her
part of the time. They were really ridiculously wealthy, and her
father was--well, her father wasn't very attractive. She had lived a
great deal in San Francisco, and in the West girls do very much more
as they please, you know. There wasn't a more generous girl on the
face of the earth. She was a mighty good friend to her friends. People
said she was being tutored through college. It wasn't so. And what if
she was? Look at the men! Her bark was worse than her bite: she said
more than she did. If all the things she had done for people up here
were known--but she would be horribly angry if they were.

It occurred to Marjory during that morning and afterwards, as she was
handed impartially from one to the other of the six juniors who
constituted her entertainment committee, that it was well to have five
friends to take care of your character with the world.

In the evening she went, by favor of Ursula and Dodo, in the character
of a distant relative, to the entertainment proper of the Phi Kappa
Farewell, a play given to the seniors of that honorable body by the
juniors. Nothing but a detailed account of the drama could worthily
treat of it, and that cannot be given. It was a melodrama based on the
Spanish War, adapted from a blood-and-thunder novel into a play of
five acts with three and four scenes to the act. A large cast
presented it, comprising revolutionists, Cubans, spies, U. S. Army and
Navy, native population, planters, New York belles, and English
nobility, and there were slow deaths, ghastly conspiracies, horribly
pathetic separations, magnificent patriotic tableaux, and a final and
startling adjustment that exceeded in scenic display the wildest
expectation of the enraptured audience.

From the first act, in a Fifth Avenue parlor, furnished with a toy
piano perched on a card-table and a Vision of Elegance accompanying,
with much execution and one finger, a rival Vision who rendered _My
bonnie lies over the ocean_ with dramatic fervor and a sob that
recalled Bernhardt, while Dodo, in irreproachable evening dress and a
curly mustache, devotedly turned the half-inch sheet music, one elbow
ostentatiously leaned on the twelve-inch piano; to the ecstatic
_finale_ in the Havana Cathedral, where two marvellous brides in
window-curtain-trained wedding dresses, orange blossoms, and
indefinite yards of white mosquito netting were led to the altar by a
noble naval officer and a haughty peer of the realm, the entire cast
in the character of bridal party performing an elaborate ballet to the
Lohengrin March, the procession preceded by a priest two-stepping
solemnly at the head, it was the most astonishingly, cleverly,
unspeakably idiotic performance Marjory had ever seen. Revolvers went
off, victims shrieked, dons and doñas sneered, terrible
shell-trimmed, tawny-skinned natives leaped and brandished and
gabbled, virtue pleaded, and villainy cried "Ha, ha!" and everybody
called upon Heaven except the peer of the realm, who very properly
called upon England. They rolled their r's and smote their chests and
spoke in a vibrating contralto, while at the proper places the
audience groaned and clapped and hissed and at the end fairly
thundered its applause.

Nobody who had seen the two heroines under a trusty Spanish escort
travelling through a mountain gorge, half of the escort placidly
dragging a ramping, double-breasted rocking-horse cart, and the other
half cavorting gracefully about with a small mounted horse under his
arm, could ever forget the sight; nor the languishing ladies in
glorious Spanish costumes tossing their trains behind and coquetting
with enormous fans as they conspired in dramatic and deep-chested
asides to the audience.

Ursula, Dodo, and another genius had adapted this
never-sufficiently-to-be-praised work, and they appeared flushed and
panting from the wedding scene, to receive the ovation prepared for
them. Ursula said that to have seen Martha Williams in undisguised
hysteria and B. S. Kitts and Susan Jackson collapsed in their chairs
was honor enough for her, and that she would willingly have worked
twice as hard as she did for it. Then they went over, costumes and
all, to the Dewey, to eat ices and go home, for the play had occupied
two hours or more and such a strain was naturally somewhat enervating,
as Biscuits said.

They took breakfast next morning in Ursula's room: strawberries and
rich chocolate and rolls and scrambled eggs. Lucilla cooked it in two
chafing-dishes, and Carol and Caroline came over from the Morris to
share it, Carol in a magnificent fluffy party-cloak with a gorgeous
crêpe kimono under it, Dodo in a hideous house-jacket, and Caroline in
the inevitable shirt-waist. Then Ursula went to church in a heavenly
lavender bâtiste and white-rabbit gloves, as Nan called them; Lucilla
accompanied her in a demure little checked silk, and Carol sulked in
her room, wrapped in the kimono.

Dodo wrote some difficult letters home, and took a walk to get over
them; Caroline tramped out to Florence, where she conducted a funny
little Sunday-school--in a shirt-waist; Marjory and Nan strolled out
to Paradise and talked. They dined in state with the house and its
guests on the traditional Sunday turkey, Nan speculating solemnly on
the exhaustless energy of Providence, except for whose ceaseless
intervention the race of turkeys must long since have become extinct.
Later they retired to the parlor and sat on sofas while the
after-dinner Sunday music was performed--an apparently mechanical
process where the same girls offered the same things to the same
audience with the same expression that they had presented the Sunday
before. The _Marche Funèbre_ received the usual sighs of pleasure, an
optimistic young lady rendered the love song from _Samson et Dalila_,
and at unmistakable evidences of approaching _Mandalay_ the occupants
of the sofa nearest the door murmured something about letters and
melted away.

To vespers, referred to by the devout as "the sweetest of the college
services," entitled by the profane "the Sunday strut," owing to the
toilets of the carefully selected ushers and the general prevalence of
millinery, Marjory did not go, for returning from a walk with Lucilla,
they found Miss Gillatt pinching the ears of a gentleman upon whose
lap she sat, whose not too abundant hair she had arranged in
peculiarly foolish spirals that bobbed over his ears as he responded
to the introduction, "_Voilà le père aimable Il est arrivé avec un
=box= énorme--c'est un enfant bien gentil, n'est-ce pas? Nous en
mangerons =to-morrow night=, mon Dieu, =and for once= nous aurons quelqu'
chose =fit to eat=--hein? A moi, Lucille--il y aura une chaleur
excessive dans la ville ancienne ce soir!_"

_Le père aimable_ greeted Marjory with an unfeigned interest, and when
to his inquiring "Cunningham? Cunningham? I don't remember Cunningham,
do I, Nannie?" Nan replied easily, "Oh, no, she's not a regular
inmate!" Marjory felt suddenly left out and undeserving, somehow, of
all the joy in store.

It was worth being away from home to be one of the four girls who hung
upon the Amiable Parent the next day as he wandered happily through
the campus, distributing Allegretti and admiration as he went. He
beamed upon them all, annexing the pretty ones regardless of expense,
as his irreverent daughter put it. He chartered a tally-ho, and they
tooted off to Chesterfield and broke the horn beyond repair,
convulsing him with laughter all the way. Caroline cut her laboratory
for it and enjoyed it "with a serene and sickly suavity known only to
the truly virtuous," to use her friends' quotation; Dodo was a
continuous performance all the way; and at Chesterfield they ate till
there was little left in the village, as it had not been sufficiently
forewarned of their invasion.

They got back in time to dress, and here Marjory's ideas sustained a
distinct shock. She had always perfectly understood from the fiction
devoted to such descriptions that it was the custom of young ladies at
boarding-schools and colleges, when they wished to be peculiarly
uproarious and sinful, to gather in carefully darkened apartments,
robed in blanket-wrappers and nightgowns, with braided or dishevelled
hair, in order to eat olives and pickles with hat-pins from the
bottles, toasting marshmallows at intervals, and discussing the
suitability of cribs and the essential qualities of really earnest
friendships. But the consumption of the "box _énorme_" was differently
organized. If she hadn't brought any evening dress it didn't matter,
Nan assured her, but they considered the event more than worthy of it,
though it wasn't an occasion for a Prom costume by any means.

All the way down the corridor she smelled it, that night at seven. It
was necessarily far from private--envious upper-class girls not
invited sniffed it from afar, and the three little freshmen who waited
on them glowed with pride and anticipation. It was in Ursula's room,
for Nan's was too small and the guests used it for a cloak-room. Mrs.
Austin greeted her cordially at the door, and Marjory, who had always
supposed that those in authority were constitutionally opposed to
spreads, could not realize that her wreathèd smiles were genuine. She
did not know that the Amiable Parent had dutifully called upon Mrs.
Austin in all good form, openly discussed the spread, and cannily
presented the lady with a fascinating box of Canton ginger-buds--ginger
being the Amiable Parent's professional interest.

When they were assembled, a baker's dozen of them, the Amiable Parent
grinning, as his dutiful daughter expressed it, like a Cheshire cat
over his capacious shirt-front, Marjory made their acquaintance over
again from the evening-dress standpoint. Against the dark furniture
and bookbindings their shoulders shone soft and white; their hair was
piled high; they looked two or three years older. Ursula in pink
taffeta, with coral in her glossy dark coils, was a veritable
_marquise_; Nan in white with lavender ribbons, and a pale amethyst
against her throat, was transformed from a jolly, active girl to a
handsome young woman with charmingly correct shoulders; Caroline was
almost pretty; Lucilla's small prim head was set on the most beautiful
tapering little neck in the world. Only Dodo in an organdie many times
laundered was the same as ever, bony, awkward, and the greatest fun
possible; while Carol's strange half-sullen face looked more impassive
than ever under her heavy turquoise fillet.

The freshmen, shy but delighted, passed them "food after food," as
Dodo called it: cold roast chicken, lobster salad on crisp, curly
lettuce, delicious thin, little bread-and-butter sandwiches with the
crusts off, devilled eggs, stuffed olives, almonds and ginger. There
was a great sheet of fudge-cake, which is a two-storied arrangement of
solid chocolate cake with a thick fudge filling and a half-inch icing,
a compound possible of safe consumption to girls and ostriches only.
There were dozens and dozens of a fascinating kind of thin wafer
filled with nuts, and there were plates of chocolate peppermints. Also
there were many bottles of imported ginger ale, which the freshmen
presented in graceful, curved glasses after the Amiable Parent had
with much chuckling pulled the corks, the freshmen pitching these last
cheerfully down the corridor at their friends who came to scoff but
went away to pray. That immediate amalgamation with the class of her
hostesses which always occurs to guests made Marjory regard the pretty
waitresses with upper-class patronage, till it occurred to her that
they might be older than she, and that after all....

One in especial, whom the Amiable Parent insisted on feeding from his
own plate, was very pretty and apparently very popular. But why the
brown-eyed, red-cheeked adorer of Ursula should be _Theo_ Root, while
Miss Bent was always _Dodo_; why Alida Fosdick was _Dick_, but Serena
Burdick was Serena; why Elizabeth Twitchell was _Twitchie_, but
Elizabeth Mitchell was _Betty_; why Ursula was always Ursula, and Nan
was often _Jack_ and sometimes _Pip_ (it was because _Captain Gadsby_
was one of her famous parts) Marjory could not tell.

When they were through and not another of all those two pounds of
almonds could be eaten, and the freshmen had carried off the remains
to dispose of them in the most obvious and economical manner, they
proceeded to "do stunts," to the boundless joy of the Amiable Parent.
Dick Fosdick, a plain, heavy-eyed senior, arose, draped in a black
cashmere shawl, and delivered a lecture on the suffrage in a manner
to cause one to pinch oneself to make sure it was not a dream and she
was not forty-five and horrible. The Amiable Parent choked to
suffocation, vowed she was the cleverest actress this side the water,
and called for the next. Dodo, with lifted skirts and utterly unmoved
features, jumping up heavily and landing on both feet with turned-in
toes--she followed the good old custom of tan walking-boots with
evening dress--droned in a monotonous nasal chant, to which her
thudding feet kept time, an unholy song of no tune whatever:

     Oh, it's _dance_ like a _fairy_ and _sing_ like a _bird_,
               And _sing_ like a _bird_,
               And _sing_ like a _bird_,
     It's _dance_ like a _fairy_ and _sing_ like a _bird_,
                 _Sing_ like a _bird_ in _June_!

Anybody who has not seen this done by a solemn-looking girl of five
feet seven or so, who divests a naturally humorous mouth of any
expression whatever, and lands on the floor like an inspired
steam-roller, is not in a position to judge of the comic quality of
the performance.

Nan, with much coy reluctance and very Gallic gestures, rendered what
was pessimistically called her "naughty little French song." Its
burden was not discoverably pernicious, however, consisting of the
question, "_O Jean Baptiste, pourquoi?_" occasionally varied by the
rapturous answer, "_O Jean Baptiste, voilà!_" But there was accent
enough to make anything naughty, and she looked so pretty they made
her do it again.

Lucilla resisted many appeals, but succumbed finally to the Amiable
Parent, who could wheedle the gate off its hinges, according to his
daughter, and delivered her "one and only stunt." She had performed it
steadily since freshman year, always with the same wild success, never
with a hint of its palling. Marjory wondered why they laughed so--they
all knew it by heart--and asked if anybody else never did it; their
amazed negative impressed her greatly. She stood before them slim and
straight, this daughter of a hundred Bostonians, a little cold, a
little bored, a little displeased, apparently, and with an utterly
emotionless voice and a quite impersonal manner delivered the most
senseless doggerel in the most delicately precise enunciation:

     Baby sat on the window ledge,
     Mary pushed her over the edge.
     Baby broke into bits so airy--
     Mother shook her finger at Mary.

     Sarah poisoned mother's tea,
     Mother died in agonee.
     Father looked quite sad and vexed--
     "_Sarah, my child,_" he said, "_what next?_"

Any one to whom this seems a futile and non-humorous piece of verse
needs only to hear Lucilla's delivery of it, and catch the almost
imperceptible shade of displeasure and surprise that touched her
slender eyebrows at the last line, to realize that all similar
exhibitions must seem forever crude beside it.

They begged Marjory to sing and got her a guitar. As it had slowly
dawned on her that most of the girls in the room played something, and
that at least one third of them belonged to one or another of the
musical clubs besides the many other organizations they carried, and
thought nothing whatever of it--or concealed it if they did--her
estimate of a hitherto much prized accomplishment had steadily
decreased. She sang a little serenade for them, however, more
tremulously than she had been wont to sing for a crowd of young
people, and took an unreasoning and disproportionate amount of
pleasure in their hearty applause. She sang again, and when Miss
Cornelia Burt, who turned out to be the dark girl she had watched at
Kingsley's and recognized, thanked her particularly and told her with
a smile that she should "come up" and sing that with the Glee Club,
Marjory remembered that she was a prominent senior, and found her
heart beating a little faster when her friend Miss Twitchell, also
prominent, repeated the suggestion. It could not be, she asked herself
a moment afterwards, that _she_ was proud to have them notice her?

There were more stunts, for the Amiable Parent could not have enough
of what Nan called Dodo's Anglo-Saxon attitudes. Only the bell brought
a stop to the proceedings, which had grown more and more hilarious,
ending with a toast in ginger ale, to the delighted hero of the feast:

     Oh, _here's_ to Nannie's _Dad_, drink him _down_!
     Oh, _here's_ to Nannie's _Dad_, drink him _down_!
              Oh, _here's_ to Nannie's _Dad_,
              He's the _best_ she could have _had_,
     Drink him _down_, drink him _down_, drink him _down_,
               down, _down_!

Nan and he and Marjory went out into the cool, dark campus, and they
marched to "Balm of Gilead" all the way to Marjory's boarding-house.
She watched them from her window, tramping arm-in-arm down to the
hotel, where Nan was to stay the night with him. Nan had explained
that while of course it would be a trial to her to be obliged to
select her own breakfast, still her relative had desired it, and she
had as usual bidden him "her own convenience count as nil."

Marjory undressed slowly, humming the tune they had marched to and
surveying the plain boarding-house bed-room. It seemed lonely after
the Lawrence, and there was no dashing about in the halls, nor
glimpses of fudge-parties and rarebits and laughing, busy people
through half-shut doors.

"Still, that Miss Burt was off the campus," she murmured as she
braided her hair; and as she set the alarm-clock somebody had loaned
her--for she took an early train--and climbed into bed, she explained
to an imaginary aunt that people on the temporary list with no campus
application whatever often "got on" miraculously--Lucilla had done
that, and Caroline!



THE EIGHTH STORY

_THE EVOLUTION of EVANGELINE_



VIII

THE EVOLUTION OF EVANGELINE


To those who knew her afterward it may seem an impossible condition of
affairs, but it is nevertheless quite true that until the night of the
sophomore reception she was utterly unheard of. Indeed, when her name
was read to the chairman of the committee that looks up stray
freshmen, yet uninvited, and compels them to come in, the chairman
refused to believe that she existed.

"I don't believe there's any such person," she growled, "and if there
is, there's nobody to take her. I can't _make_ sophomores! Evangeline
Potts, forsooth! What a perfectly idiotic name! Who's to take her?
Where does she live? Where's the catalogue?"

"She lives on West Street," somebody volunteered, "and Bertha Kitts'
freshman is sick, or her uncle is sick, or something, and Bertha says
that lets _her_ out--she never wanted to go, anyhow--and now she's not
going. Couldn't she take her?"

"Not going!" the chairman complained bitterly. "If that's not like B.
Kitts! Go get her, somebody, and send her after Evangeline, and tell
her to hurry, too! Don't stop to argue with her, there isn't time.
She'll prove that there isn't any reception, if you let her. Just get
her started and then come right back. I promised to send three Bagdads
over, and I can't get but two."

The messenger paused at Miss Kitts' door, sniffed scornfully at the
sign which read: "Asleep! Please do not disturb under any
circumstances whatever!" and entered the room abruptly. Miss Kitts was
curled comfortably on the window-seat, with _Plain Tales from the
Hills_ in one hand, and _The Works of Christopher Marlowe_ in the
other. From these volumes she read alternately, and the pile of cores
and seeds on the sill indicated a due regard for other than mental
nutriment. At intervals she lifted her eyes from her book to watch the
file of girls loaded down with the pillows, screens, and palms whose
transportation forms so considerable a portion of the higher education
of women. Just as the door opened Biscuits was chuckling gently at the
collision of a rubber-plant with a Japanese screen and the consequent
collapse of their respective bearers, who, even in their downfall,
poured forth the apologies and regrets that take the place of their
brothers' less considerate remarks upon similar occasions.

But her mirth was rudely checked by the messenger, who closed the
Marlowe and put the Kipling under a pillow.

"Hurry up," she remarked briefly, "and find Evangeline Potts and tell
her that you can't sleep at night till you take her to the sophomore
reception. Nobody urged her to attend and yours is sick."

"She's not, either," returned B. Kitts, calmly. "She's quite well,
and--"

"Oh, don't possum, Biscuits, but get along. Sue's nearly wild. It's
her uncle, then; we know you weren't going, so we know you can take
her. Can I take this couch cover along? She's on West Street, and I
can't stop to discuss it, but we depend on you. Now _do_ hurry up;
it's three already."

Biscuits freed her mind to the heap of pillows in the middle of the
floor, for there was no one else to hear her. Then, still grumbling,
she put on her golf cape and walked over to West Street. In a
pessimistic frame of mind she selected the most unattractive house,
and on inquiring if Miss Evangeline Potts lived there and ascertaining
that she did, she astonished the slatternly maid by a heartfelt
ejaculation of "Sherlock Holmes!"--adding, with resignation, "Is she
in?" She was in, and her guest climbed two flights of stairs and
knocked at her door.

Although Evangeline Potts was not fully dressed and her room in
consequent disorder, she did not appear at all embarrassed, but
finished buttoning her shirt-waist and attached her collar with calm
deliberation. She was a large, tall girl, with masses of auburn hair
strained back unbecomingly from a very freckled face and heaped in
tight coils on the top of her head. Her eyes were a rich red-brown;
they struck you as lovely at first, till after a while you discovered
that they were like glass or running water, always the same and
absolutely expressionless. She had large hands and feet and a wide,
slow smile, and she was dressed in unmitigatedly bad taste, with
sleeves two years behind the style and a skirt that could have had
nothing to do with it at any date.

"I came to--to see if you had been--if you were going to the sophomore
reception," said Biscuits. "I'm Miss Kitts, Ninety-red, and--and I've
nobody to go with me and--and I shall be glad--"

Biscuits was frankly embarrassed. She was a clever girl, and clever
girls of her age are invariably conscious and more or less sensitive.
She knew how she would have felt if she had been a freshman and a
"left over": she would have resented such an eleventh-hour invitation
and shown it, possibly. But if Evangeline Potts bore any resentment it
was not apparent.

"No," she said quietly, "I haven't been asked and I'd just as lieve go
with you."

"Oh, that's very nice!" returned Biscuits, cheerfully, "then that's
settled. And what color is your gown? I should like to send you some
flowers."

"I'm not sure what I _will_ wear," said Evangeline; "what will you?"

"My dress is pink," and Biscuits carefully kept her surprise out of
the answer. Miss Potts did not look like the kind of girl to possess
more than one evening gown.

"How is it made?" Evangeline pursued. She was not curious, and yet she
was not talking vaguely to cover any embarrassment: she merely desired
information.

"Oh, it's quite plain," and Biscuits rose to go; she was a little
bored and there was nothing in Miss Potts' room to give any clew to
her apparently pointless character. Biscuits prided herself on her
ability to get at people through their belongings, and graded her
friends as possessors of Baby Stuart, the Barye Lion, a Botticelli
Madonna, or the imp of Lincoln Cathedral.

But Evangeline did not rise. "I mean, is it low neck and short
sleeves?" she insisted; and as Biscuits nodded, she added, "Does
everybody wear them?"

"Why, yes," said Biscuits, hastily; and then, "That is, a great many
do. It's not at all necessary, though: you'll see plenty of girls
without. Any light organdie will do perfectly."

"I don't think I'll go, then," remarked Evangeline, calmly; "my dress
wouldn't do."

She was not in the least apologetic or pathetic or vexed: she merely
stated a fact, and it occurred to Biscuits, who was somewhat
susceptible to personality, that she meant precisely what she said.
Although absence from the reception was just what Biscuits had
previously planned, she did not care to please herself at this price,
and though Evangeline Potts was the last person she would have
selected for her companion, and visions of the pretty little freshman
she had had in mind on filling out her programme flashed before her
with irritating clearness, she smiled encouragement and remonstrated
cheerfully.

"Oh, nonsense! Why, anything will do, I tell you! You don't need
evening dress! One of my friends last year had all her clothes ruined
by a pipe or something that burst in the closet and she went in white
duck. And she was one of the best-dressed girls in the class,
really--"

"Yes, but I'm not," interrupted Evangeline, "and that's different. I'm
just as much obliged to you for asking me, Miss Kitts, but I haven't
any evening dress and I shouldn't go without one."

It was characteristic of Biscuits that she attempted no further
argument. She knew that Evangeline Potts would not go unless she had
an evening dress, and it seemed, somehow, imperative that she should
go. She realized, too, that borrowing was out of the question.

"Why don't you cut one of your dresses out?" she suggested after a
moment. "Suzanne Endicott did that once when she was unexpectedly
asked to a dance and hadn't any low waist with her."

"I can't sew," Evangeline replied, "and I shouldn't know how to cut
it."

In proportion as she seemed convinced of the impossibility of going,
Biscuits waxed more eager to change her determination.

"See here," she said suddenly, "if I get Suzanne over here, will you
let _her_ cut one of your dresses out? I think she would; she's
awfully clever about that sort of thing and she's very obliging,
sometimes."

She was prepared for any answer but the one forthcoming.

"Why, I don't care," said Evangeline, indifferently, "only she'd
better hurry, hadn't she?"

Biscuits was by now so impressed with the vital necessity of getting
Suzanne that she had hardly time to wonder at her haste or her nervous
fear that the young lady might not be at home. She trudged up the two
flights and sighed with relief at the sound of Suzanne's mandolin.
Miss Endicott was not fond of the mandolin and played it solely for
the purpose of annoying the senior next door, who had a nasty habit of
rising early to study, and making her bed violently, driving it into
the wall just opposite Suzanne's pillow. When remonstrated with she
returned with calmness that she had not been accustomed, when herself
a sophomore, to object to the habits of seniors, and that excitable
young people who came to college for heaven knew what, had better
acquaint themselves with habits of study in others, since that was
their only probable source of knowledge of such habits.

Henceforth it became at once Suzanne's duty and pleasure to give what
she modestly called "little recitals from time to time," accompanied
by her mandolin, which instrument maddened her neighbor beyond
endurance. As Biscuits entered she was giving a very dramatic
rendering of the Jewel Song from Faust, and to her guest's opening
remarks she replied only by a melodious burst of laughter and the arch
assurance:

     "_Non, non! Ce n'est plus toi!
     Ce n'est plus ton visage!_"

Biscuits obeyed an imperative gesture and held her peace till the song
was over, when the performer, with an inimitable grin at the wall,
laid down her mandolin and pointed to a chair.

"_Que voulez-vous, ma plus chère? Vous avez l'air--_"

"Oh, for heaven's sake talk English, Suzanne! I want you to come over
and cut out Evangeline Potts' evening dress. Will you? She's freckled
and big, and she won't go unless you do. She's got to go, too. We
can't leave anybody out. Will you come?"

"_Mais qu'avez-vous donc, ma chère Berthe? Est-ce que j'suis
couturière, moi?_"

"Yes," said Biscuits, obstinately, "you are, and you know it. You
might be able to make her look like something. She's a perfect stick
now."

Suzanne shot one of her elfish glances at her visitor. It was
impossible to know what she would do.

"_Mais certainement vous avez assez de joue, vous!_" she suggested.
Biscuits did not reply, but watched the clock on the desk.

Suzanne shrugged her shoulders.

"_Eh bien!_" she said cheerfully, "_me voilà sage, Petits-pains, sage
et bien aimable! Où demeure-t-elle donc, votre amie?_"

"Bless you, Suzanne, her name's Evangeline Potts! and she--"

"_Mon Dieu!_ Evangeline Potts! _Mais quelle horreur! Est-ce que je
saurais prononcer ce nom affreux?_" babbled Suzanne, while Biscuits
found her golf cape and hustled her out of the door. Those who relied
too long or too securely on Miss Endicott's moods were frequently
disappointed in the end.

She had been born in San Francisco and brought up, alternately, in
Paris and New York, by her brother, a rising young artist, whose views
were as broad as his handling, and whose regret at parting with her
was equalled only by his firm determination to fulfil the promise he
had made their mother, long dead, to educate her properly. Only his
solemn assurance that she should come back every summer if she would
behave, and finally conduct their joint establishment in Paris with
the Angora for chaperon and the silky Skye for butler, kept her from
taking the first steamer back from the seaport nearest the town she
had hated consistently since she left that scene of delicious little
suppers and jolly painter-people and nights at the play and ecstatic
exhibitions when Brother was "on the line."

Now a wealthy young woman from San Francisco who chooses to spend from
two to four years at an Eastern college is a sufficiently complicated
type in herself; when she has grown up in studios and done very much
as she pleases all her life, she affords even more food for thought to
the student of character.

People who disliked Suzanne called her unprincipled and shallow and
lazy; people who admired her called her brilliant and irresponsible
and lazy; people who loved her called her fascinating and spoiled and
lazy. She could dance like a leaf in the wind; she could make herself
the most bewitching garments out of nothing to speak of; she could
create a Japanese tea-room with one parasol and two fans, and make a
Persian interior from a rug, an inlaid table, and a jewelled lantern;
she could learn anything perfectly in half the time it would take
anybody else to get a fair idea of it, and she could, if so minded,
carry insolence to the point of a fine art. She was far from pretty,
but her clever little brown face, with its strange gray eyes,
compelled attention, and her hair had that rare silvery tinge that is
an individuality in itself. She was never without two or three devoted
admirers, but her class disliked her, and it took all their
self-control to bear with her to the extent that was necessary in
order to profit by her special abilities. She was no more to be
depended upon than a kitten, and her periodical bursts of rage
rendered her unendurable to that large majority which objects to
flaming eyes and torrents of assorted abuse, to say nothing of the
occasional destruction of bric-a-brac.

And yet, to the wonder of these righteous critics, Suzanne kept her
warm friends. There was always some amiable Philistine to watch her
erratic movements with delighted awe, to run on her errands, to listen
to her amazing confidences, and to stand up for her through thick and
thin. Though Biscuits and her little circle were, even in their
sophomore year, beginning to draw away from her, vaguely conscious of
a necessary parting of the ways, frankly puzzled at the vagaries of
this girl who was half a spoiled baby, half a woman of the world, at
intervals the fascination of her personality drew them back for a
while, and they wondered that they could have thought her
irresponsible and selfish at heart.

To-day, as Biscuits walked beside her, convulsed by her narration of a
recent tussle with the lady-in-charge--"I was only putting an
accordion-pleated crêpe-paper frieze above the moulding, with thumb
tacks, and if she had kept out of the way--pig! 'What do you think you
came to college for, Suzanne? Certainly not work of this sort!' 'Oh,
no, Mrs. Wylie, of course not. I have long realized that our real
object in coming here was to save the maids trouble!'"--she almost
forgave her that curt refusal to have anything to do with the
reception decorations: "You'd far better save me for the Prom--I'll
manage that, but I won't do both, _vous savez, c'est un peu trop
fort_!" she had remarked royally, and the committee had smothered
their wrath and agreed, and cursed her afterwards in detail, after the
manner of practical young women who are far from the short-sightedness
of allowing their emotions to interfere with their intentions. Also,
they do not enjoy giving needless pain--on the spot. This is one of
the sweetest attributes of woman.

They knocked at Evangeline's door, and omitting preliminary
ceremonies, demanded the dress. Evangeline produced a dark red
cashmere: Suzanne shook her head. A much washed white lawn with what
appeared to be blue palm-leaf fans scattered over it was next offered
for consideration: Suzanne gasped, "_Mon Dieu!_" A gray gingham
decorated with yellow spirals met her demand for "a summer thing," and
caused the artist to sink upon the floor with a tragic groan.

"_Mais, Evangéline, vous me serrez le coeur! C'est horrible! C'est
effrayant!_"

Evangeline smiled politely but offered no further suggestion.

Suzanne looked at her searchingly through half-closed eyes. "Have you
anything black?" she demanded.

"I have a black silk," said Evangeline, and she brought out a heavy,
corded, ribbon-trimmed affair with a pointed vest that would have been
highly suitable for a maiden aunt who had, as Suzanne remarked, seen
misfortune. Biscuits sighed, but Suzanne rose rapidly to her feet and
clutched the scissors she had brought with her.

"_Enfin! Ça y est!_" she cried. "Put it on her, Biscuits!"

She persisted in utterly ignoring Evangeline, or, more exactly, in
treating her as if she had been a doll, talking to her in a pitying
tone that required no answer and commenting upon her deficiencies in a
manner that made Biscuits squirm visibly and glance apologetically at
the object of such impersonal criticism.

"Perhaps Miss Potts doesn't care to have such a--such a nice dress
cut," she suggested, as Suzanne, with what seemed a perfectly careless
gesture, slashed at the sleeves.

"_Quel malheur!_" replied the artist, indifferently, and Evangeline
added, "I'd just as lieve."

With pursed lips Suzanne snipped and pinched, while Biscuits followed
her every motion and Evangeline silently adjusted herself to each new
position as Suzanne pulled and pushed her arms and neck about. At
length with a sudden motion Suzanne stripped off the detached sleeves
as if they had been gloves, and snatched away the top of the scant
middle-aged waist with a quick movement. "_Voilà!_" she said, and
Biscuits gasped: for Evangeline Potts was a transformed creature. Her
arms and neck were ivory white and as soft and smooth as satin; the
lovely curves of her throat and shoulders could never have been
guessed at under the stiff black seams of the waist.

Suzanne patted her arms appreciatively. "I might have known it, with
that hair and those freckles!" she murmured. Then, calmly, to
Evangeline: "The trouble with your kind is, you never have any
eyebrows and your eyelids get red, _n'est-ce pas?_"

She went a few steps back from the motionless figure and stood silent.

"You could twist a black scarf," suggested Biscuits, hastily. Suzanne
waved her hand.

"_Tu me dégoûtes, à la fin!_" she said coldly; "Get your cape on!"
Then, to Evangeline: "Undo your hair!" As the thick coil tumbled over
her shoulders, the directress of ceremonies deliberately selected a
light inner tress and snipped it off.

"Take it down town and match it--in velvet if you can, in silk if you
can't," she commanded. "And get enough, get two, three yards!"

"But will Miss Potts want to spend--" Biscuits looked doubtfully at
the white-armed goddess who contemplated herself quietly in the glass.
It was impossible to know what she was thinking; she was apparently
quite accustomed to strangers who dressed her in low-cut evening
dresses and snipped her hair and spent her money.

Suzanne stamped her foot. "_Va-t-en!_" she cried, and then, with an
irresistible mimicry of Evangeline, "_She'd_ just as lieve!"

When Biscuits returned with a great strip of tawny velvet, it was
taken from her at the door, and she was instructed to get from
Suzanne's room her make-up box and the gold powder that had so
unaccountably disappeared after the play last week.

"They borrowed the eyebrow pencil and that, the night of the dress
rehearsal, and they _swore_ to bring them back--beasts! What have I to
call my own? _Rien!_ Never, never, never will I lend anything again!
_Il faut faire un fin, vraiment!_"

It was a long hunt for Biscuits, and more than once it occurred to her
that she had refused to go on the decorating committee with a view to
escaping just such wearisome trotting about. When she handed the box
to Suzanne and suggested that the result should be extremely pleasing
to justify such toil, the red spot in the artist's either cheek and
her wide-opened eyes indicated the happy absorption to which no effort
seems worthy of mention. Biscuits, not allowed to enter the room, sat
wearily on the stairs, longing to go home but unwilling to abandon
Suzanne. It was very nearly six, and she was not dressed; she had left
the necessary perusal of _The Works of Christopher Marlowe_ till late
in the day, thinking to devote the evening to it; she took little
interest in Evangeline Potts, and she did not care much for dancing.

But for the moment her resentment vanished when Suzanne called her in
and she beheld the object of her labors under the gaslight in a
carefully darkened room. Her milk-white shoulders rose magnificently
from folds of auburn velvet that her wonderful hair repeated in loose
waves about her face and a great mass low on her neck. Her long, round
arms gleamed against the black of her skirt and melted into the glow
of her velvet girdle. In the white light her freckles paled and her
eyes turned wholly brown, and said mysterious things that could never
by any possibility have occurred to her.

"_Tiens! J'ai eu la main heureuse, n'est-ce pas? Vous la trouvez
charmante?_" said Suzanne, turning her about as if she had been a
dummy and indicating her opinion that the back view was, if anything,
more satisfying than the front.

"You're a genius, Suzanne! She's simply stunning! How did you do it?"

Suzanne smiled. "_C'est pas grand' chose_," she said modestly. But she
looked contentedly at Evangeline and loosened her hair a little. "Now
remember, don't put on those hideous rings," she commanded, "and don't
wear anything on your head. Do you dance well?" she added.

Evangeline hesitated. "I dance a little," she replied, "pretty well, I
guess."

Suzanne promptly encircled her waist and whistled a waltz. After a few
turns she stopped.

"You dance very badly," she said encouragingly. "If I were you, I'd
sit out most of them. You can say it bores you--they'll be glad
enough. Besides, you might get red and then you'd not be pretty. Now
don't move about much, and when Miss Kitts brings you the white roses
put them just where I told you.

"Very well," said Evangeline, and as the other two prepared to go she
gave them one of her long, slow smiles. "I'm much obliged to you
both, I'm sure," she said; "you've been very kind."

"_Adieu, mon enfant--à plus tard!_" and Suzanne seized the door knob.
She turned in the door and threw a quick, piercing look at her
handiwork. "If you take my advice, you'll never put on that dreadful
shirt-waist again, _très chère_," she said lightly. "You'll spoil all
this splendor, if you do. Give it away--or, no, don't! you'd corrupt
the taste of the poor--burn it up, and the others with it, and get a
black suit and a black silk waist and wear a big white tie, if you
like. And a white tam--one of those pussy ones. Wear one color--_c'est
plus distingué_--and if you want a big black hat with plumes, I'll
make it for you. _Et maintenant, regarde-toi dans la glace!_"

With this invocation they left her, and Biscuits, learning that
Suzanne had exhausted her energy and proposed to inform her freshman
that she was ill and unable to attend the reception, became possessed
by the idea that she was responsible for this particular illustration
of the artistic temperament, and went without her dinner to hunt up a
substitute. She wasted no time in argument with Suzanne, who lay
luxuriously on her couch pillows with her hands under her head, and
planned costumes for Evangeline Potts all the evening, but tramped
angrily over the campus till quarter of seven to find an unattached
sophomore, forgetting that Evangeline's flowers were yet to be
purchased. Coming up with them in her hand, a little later, she was
forced to stop and explain to the substitute the intricacies of
Suzanne's programme, breaking off abruptly to beat her breast like the
wedding guest, for she heard the loud bassoon and fled to her room,
tearing her evening dress hopelessly and completing her toilette on
the stairs. The substitute suffered from a violent headache as the
result of her unexpected exertions, and the little freshman cried
herself to sleep, for she had dreamed for nights of going with
Suzanne, whom she admired to stupefaction.

But of all this Evangeline Potts knew little, and, it may be, cared
less. She was one of the successes of the evening, and her few remarks
were quoted diligently. She could have danced dozens of extras, had so
many been possible, and Biscuits was considered to have displayed more
than her ordinary cleverness in procuring a creature so picturesque
and distinguished.

This did not surprise her, nor did she particularly resent being
pointed out by more than one freshman as "the sophomore that took that
stunning Miss Potts"; but her amazement was undisguised, the next
morning but one, at the sight of Evangeline walking out from chapel
with a prominent junior, the glamor of the evening gone, it is true,
her face somewhat heavy and undeniably freckled, but nevertheless an
Evangeline transformed. From her fluffy white cap to the hem of her
dignified black skirt she was the realization of Suzanne's parting
suggestions, and the distinct intention of her costume had its full
effect. She was far more impressive than the jolly little
short-skirted junior, whose curly yellow hair paled beside the dark
richness of Evangeline's massive coils, and Biscuits, remembering that
she had called her "a perfect stick," marvelled inwardly.

She went to call on her a little later, but Evangeline was not in; and
feeling that her duty was done, Miss Kitts gave no further thought to
what she considered an essentially uninteresting person, but devoted
herself to a study of the campus house into which she had moved only
that year.

She saw Evangeline very rarely after that, except at the dances and
plays, where her white shoulders framed in auburn velvet appeared very
regularly. Once, happening to sit beside her, she began a
conversation, but she could not remember afterward that Miss Potts
said anything but, "Yes, indeed," or, "Yes, I think so, too." Her
surprise was therefore great when, on hearing the result of the
sophomore elections the next fall, and audibly commenting on the
oddity of Miss Evangeline Potts in the position of sophomore
president, she was indignantly assured by a loyal member of that class
that the vote was almost unanimous and that she was one of the ablest
girls in the class.

Even this she did not consider long, for the sophomore presidency is
the least important of the four; but when among the first five
sophomores to be triumphantly ushered into Phi Kappa Psi she was asked
to consider the name of Evangeline Potts, she remonstrated.

"But she's not clever! She's not half so bright as lots we haven't
got!" she objected. "Why do we want her?"

"She's no prod, of course, but she's a prominent girl and class
president," was the answer, "and she's really very strong, I
think--they say she does fair work, and everybody but you wants her.
Do you really disapprove of her?"

"Oh, no!" said Biscuits, and watched Miss Potts with interest. She
received her congratulations quietly, with a manner that made one
wonder if they had been quite in good taste, and acted altogether as
if she had fully expected to enter the society with Ursula Wyckoff and
Dodo Bent. The senior class president took her out of chapel at the
head of the file, with a bunch of violets as big as her two fists
pinned to her belt, and Biscuits was asked to a supper in her honor in
the campus house she had recently entered.

One of the other guests was the little freshman Biscuits had first
asked to the sophomore reception, herself a sophomore now, and one of
Phi Kappa's first five.

"Was your class surprised at the elections?" asked Biscuits, glancing
half unconsciously at Evangeline. The sophomore smiled gently, with a
hardly perceptible recognition of Biscuits' look.

"Oh, no," she replied; "we expected them--except, perhaps, one or
two." Her polite little blush showed her traditional surprise at her
own success, and the junior gave the equally traditional deprecating
smile.

"Who's the other?" she inquired bluntly. The sophomore was taken off
her guard and glanced again at Evangeline.

"Why, some of us didn't exactly see--we think Alison Greer's terribly
bright--we didn't expect--and yet, I don't know! After all, I think
perhaps we weren't so awfully surprised!"

"Now, I wonder if you really weren't, or if you're lying?" thought
Biscuits, and then, remembering suddenly, "but that's just the way
_we_ all talked last year about Evelyn Lyon!"

That summer Evangeline spent in France with Suzanne, who informed
Biscuits before they sailed that though she couldn't find out anything
about Miss Potts' parents, she had learned of the existence of a
well-to-do uncle in New Hampshire who intended leaving quite a little
money to his uncommunicative niece--he had given her the money to go
abroad.

"She planned it all out, and asked to go with me, and I couldn't well
refuse," said Suzanne, "though Brother will be wild with rage--he
hates women who are not clever: _il est un peu exigéant, mon frère_."

By senior year Biscuits had very nearly lost track of Suzanne, who
left the campus and spent most of her time sketching. Brother had
shown some pen-and-ink portraits of hers to a great critic, who had
declared that Brother had by no means exhausted the family genius, and
Suzanne, heavily bribed, had returned to her last year of durance. The
day of the Junior Prom Biscuits received a very French little note
inviting her to "_une première vue_," and with the full expectation of
a pen-and-ink collection, she confronted Evangeline, glorious in white
satin and gold passementerie, with an amber chain and a great amber
comb in her hair.

"_Vous rappelez-vous cette première fois, hein?_" Suzanne asked, with
a grin. "_Ça date de loin, n'est-ce pas?_" Adding cheerfully,
"_L'oncle est mort et nous avons une jolie dot!_"

Biscuits was not surprised to learn that Ursula Wyckoff had moved
heaven and earth to get her cousin from Columbia for Evangeline's
escort; she had heard how Nan Gillatt actually took her own brother to
the Glee Club concert because Evangeline preferred the youth selected
by Nan for herself, and she remembered how _she_ had hunted from shop
to shop for the velvet that matched that auburn hair. It was not that
Evangeline insisted: she did not beg favors. But her habit of
receiving a proposition in silence filled one with an irresistible
desire to better one's offer, and even the improvement seemed poor in
the calm scrutiny of those red-brown eyes.

"What I can't see is, who pushes her!" mused Biscuits.

"Who? who?" repeated Suzanne. "_Par exemple!_ Why, she herself, of
course! Who else?"

"But how?" Biscuits persisted. "Now Evelyn made up to everybody
so--she earned her way, heaven knows! And Kate Ackley was a sort of
legacy--her sister's reputation started her and she was rushed so
freshman year that you couldn't blame her for failing to realize what
a fool she really is. And the Underhills' coming in with the crowd
they did, explains them. But nobody rushes Evangeline particularly--"

"_C'est bien dommage!_" Suzanne interrupted with mock sympathy.
"_Seule au monde!_ Don't be an idiot, Biscuits, we _all_ rush her, and
we shall--till she begins to see what a bluff she's making! The beauty
of Evangeline is, that she fools herself--_mais parfaitement_! She
really thinks she's somebody--_voilà tout!_"

"I suppose that's it," assented Biscuits, thoughtfully.

"Ursula," Suzanne remarked oracularly, "is so anxious to please that
sometimes she doesn't, and even Susan the Great has her little
plans--_mais oui!_ But Mlle. Potts doesn't care a _sou_. It's all one
to her, _vous savez_, she agrees with all; and what's the result?
_Tout le monde l'admire! C'est toujours comme ça!_"

For some reason or other her large and shapely figure was the most
prominent feature of Biscuits' Commencement. She was a junior usher,
of course, and in aisles or under lanterns, at Phi Kappa Farewell or
Glee Club promenade, her calm, heavy face and deliberate movements
attracted Biscuits' eye.

The mob had not appealed to Miss Kitts as a desirable method of
dramatic début, and she was, consequently, one of the few seniors in
the audience on the night of her class dramatics. Between the acts she
wandered down to the door, and caught a bit of conversation among a
group of ushers.

"And all Ursula's friends were in the middle aisle, and she begged
Evangeline to change, but she wouldn't. Ursula could have had a seat
then, with Dick Fosdick's people, and she was frightfully tired, but
Evangeline wouldn't."

"Pooh! did you expect she would?"

"Oh, no! She's terribly selfish, of course, but you'd think,
considering how nice Ursula's been to her--"

"Oh, my dear! As if _that_ made any difference to Evange--sh, here she
is!--What stunning violets, Evangeline! That's your Prom dress, isn't
it? It's terribly sweet!"

Evangeline smiled and sank into the seat a little freshman promptly
and adoringly vacated for her, and Biscuits went back to her place.

Suzanne stopped in America that summer, and with the promise of five
subsequent years in Paris, prolonged her stay till the following June.
She went so far as to come up to Northampton to her class reunion,
assuring her friends that she had forgotten a few opprobrious epithets
in her final anathema and had returned to deliver them in person.

As they stood in the crowd on Ivy Day, watching the snowy procession,
the cameras suddenly snapped rapidly all about them and an excited
voice murmured: "There she is! Isn't she grand? My dear, she had
eleven invitations for the junior entertainment! Martha Sutton took
her--" Evangeline Potts walked slowly by.

"And you ought to have seen her Commencement flowers! She had a
bathtub full--literally! She wouldn't take 'em out and the tub
couldn't be used--"

"She's president of Phi Kapp, I hear," said Biscuits.

"Oh, yes," replied Suzanne, "and on the dramatics committee, you know.
She has lots of friends."

"I wonder why," said Biscuits, absently.

"_'Sais pas!_ They're clever girls, too. She knows the pick of the
class--but then, she always did, you know."

"I suppose she'll marry money," mused Biscuits, the student of human
nature.

"_Du tout!_" Suzanne returned, "she won't care about that. It's clever
people she wants--she always went with the clever ones: _elle aime les
gens d'esprit_. She's got money enough; she'll marry some clever man
who knows the best people and will make her one of them--_vous
l'verrez!_"

And the prophecy was fulfilled, for Evangeline very shortly married
Walter Endicott, the well-known artist, whose portrait of her in white
and gold attracted so much attention at a very recent _Salon_.



THE NINTH STORY

_AT COMMENCEMENT_



IX

AT COMMENCEMENT


I

DRAMATICS

_It is the Saturday night performance of the senior play. The curtain
is about to rise. The aisles and back of the house are packed with
people struggling for seats; alumnæ and under-class girls who have
admission tickets only, are preparing to sit on all the steps; the
junior ushers are hopelessly trying to keep back the press. It is to
be supposed that the orchestra is playing, judging from the motion of
arms and instruments. The lights are suddenly lowered and the curtain
rises. The struggle for seats at the back, the expostulations of the
ushers, and the comments of the alumnæ and students, who have seen the
play twice before and consequently do not feel the need of close
attention, completely drown the first words of the scene._

_Back of house. Large and fussy mother, looking daggers at the
sophomores squatting beside her, giggling at the useless efforts of a
small worried usher to prevent a determined woman, escorted by her
apologetic husband, from prancing down into the orchestra circle; and
unimportant senior._

_Mother._ What? What? Who is this, Emma? Where are we?

_Emma._ That's Viola, Mother. She's just been shipwrecked, you know.

_Mother._ Oh, she's the heroine. She's the best actor, then?

_Emma._ Dear me, no. Malvolio's 'way by the best. And then Sir Toby
and Maria--they're awfully good--you'll see them pretty soon now. I
don't care for Viola much. She tries to imitate Ada Rehan--

_Curtain drops on First Scene._


¶ _Orchestra Circle. Handsome, portly father, exceptionally well set
up, his wife, and head of department._

_Father, with enthusiasm._ By Jove! Is that a girl, really? You don't
say so! Well, well! Sir Toby, eh? Well, well! And who's the little
girl? Maria? Did you ever see anything much prettier than she is,
Alice?

_His Wife._ She's very charming, certainly.

_Head of Department._ She's about the best of them. A very clever
girl. But you ought to see Malvolio! I don't care for Sir Andrew--

_Father._ Alice, look at him! Did you ever see anything so odd? Now I
call that clever--I must say I call that clever! To think that's a
girl--well, well! See him shiver, Alice! Capital, capital! Do they do
this themselves--costumes and acting and ideas and all?

_Head of Department._ They make the costumes, I believe, most of them.
Then they have a trainer at the last. It's amazing to me, but as a
matter of fact their men's parts are as a rule, considering the
proportionate difficulty, you know, much better than their women's.
Comedy parts, at that. I've never seen but one woman's part really
well done.

_Father._ Really? Now why do you suppose, sir, that is so?

_Head of Department._ I can't say. But they're very artificial women,
as a rule. Overtrained, perhaps.


¶ _A group of last year's graduates and two ushers on the platform of
the fire-escape upstairs._

_First Graduate._ I suppose you're nearly dead, poor child?

_First Usher._ Heavens! I never slaved so in my life! Did you see
Ethel Williams' mother _insist_ on going down into her seat? I don't
see how people can be so rude.

_First Graduate._ Going better, to-night, isn't it?

_First Usher._ Goodness, yes! I think it's fine. Don't you? Isn't Dick
_simply fine_! There she is! (_A burst of applause as Malvolio and
Olivia enter._)

_Second Usher._ Do you know, they say that Kate Ackley thinks it's
half for her!

_Second Graduate._ Not really?

_Second Usher._ Yes, really. She is stunning, there's no doubt.

_Second Graduate._ Oh, yes, she's stunning. Is that her own dress?

_Second Usher._ Yes. Her aunt gave it to her. It's liberty satin. But
she's a stick, just the same. Do you like Viola?

_Second Graduate, parrying._ She looks very well. I was rather
surprised she got it, though.

_Second Usher._ You know Mr. Clark wanted her for Sir Andrew, and she
wouldn't. He was very angry, and so was the class. They don't care for
Ethel at all. But it was Viola or nothing. She's seen it four times
and she thinks she knows it all, they say. I _do_ think she does some
parts very well indeed.

_First Usher._ Oh, Miss Underhill, isn't Viola grand? Don't you think
she's fine?

_Second Graduate, sweetly._ Yes, indeed. She looks so cunning in that
short skirt!

_Curtain falls on First Act._


¶ _Two fathers standing at back._

_First Father, smiling affably._ A great sight, I assure you, sir! All
these young girls, and parents, and friends--a proud moment for them!
And how well they do! That one that takes the part of Malvolio, now,
that Miss Fosdick--pretty smart girl, now, isn't she?

_Second Father._ That's my daughter, sir.

_First Father._ Well, well! I expect you're pretty pleased. You ought
to be.

_Second Father, confidentially._ I tell you, sir, I never believed she had
it in her, never! Her mother and I were perfectly dumfounded--perfectly.
I don't know where she got it from; certainly not from me. And her
mother couldn't take part in tableaux, even, she got so nervous.

_First Father._ Just so, just so! Now, I want to tell you something,
Mr.--Mr. Fosdick. These colleges for women are a great thing, sir, a
great thing! You take my daughter. When she came up here, she was as
shy and bashful and helpless as a girl that's an only child could
possibly be. Couldn't trust herself an inch alone. Never went away
from home alone in her life. Look at her now! She's head of this whole
committee: you may have noticed their names on the back of the
programme. Costumes, scenery, music, lights, stage properties, scene
shifting--all in her hands, as you might say! I slipped up to the
stage door, and I begged the young woman there to let me step in and
see her a moment. Girls do it all, you know! She was on policeman duty
there. But she let me in and I just peeked at Mary, bossing the whole
job, as you might say! It was "put this here" and "put that there" and
taking hold of the end and dragging it herself, and answering this
one's questions and giving that one orders--I tell you, I couldn't
believe it! Short skirt and shirt-waist, note-book in her hand--Lord!
I wished I had her up at the office with me!

_Second Father._ Then you're Miss Mollie Vanderveer's father?

_First Father._ Yes, sir, James L. Vanderveer.

_Second Father._ Pleased to meet you. 'Lida often speaks of her. She
said to her mother and me to-night just as she went down to "be made
up," as they call it, that Mollie was a brick and no mistake. It seems
she's doing two girls' work to-night.

_First Father._ Yes, one of the committee is sick. After all, it's a
pretty hard strain, it seems to me. Mary's pretty strong, but she
said to me yesterday that if there had been another performance--

_Curtain rises on Second Act._


¶ _Lobby. College physician and junior usher._

_Physician._ Will you just step over to the drug store across the
street and get me some brandy--quickly, please?

_Usher._ Oh, certainly, Dr. Leach!

_Physician._ Here, child, stop! Put on a cloak--are you crazy?

_Usher._ But I'm quite warm, Dr. Leach!

_Physician._ Put on a cloak! With your neck and arms bare! It's damp
as a well outside. (_Usher runs out._)

_A ubiquitous member of the faculty suddenly appears._ What's the
matter? Anybody sick?

_Physician._ Oh, no! Not much. Miss Jackson was resting in her
dressing-room and somebody leaned over the sill and spoke to her--you
know she's on the ground floor. She's quite nervous, and she got a
little hysterical--slight chill. My brandy was all out, so I--Oh,
thank you! (_Usher disappears breathless._)

_Ubiquitous Member of Faculty, gloomily._ I've always said there
should be understudies--always. What will they do without their
Viola? It's a ridiculous risk--

_Physician, hastily._ But Miss Jackson is all right, or will be as
soon as I get--yes, I'm coming! Oh, nonsense!--She's all right:
there's no need for an understudy, I assure you!--No, keep them all
out! No, she has enough flowers in there now! Yes, keep people away
from the window!


¶ _Curtain rises on Third Scene._

_Group of ushers collapsed on stairs leading to gallery._

_Nan._ (_White organdie over rose pink silk; rose ribbons._) Oh,
girls, I'm nearly dead!

_Ursula._ (_Black net over electric blue satin; silver belt and high
silver comb; black gloves._) There's one good thing, we're downstairs
to-night. Last night I got so dizzy hopping up and down those steps--

_Leonora._ (_Yellow liberty silk cut very low; gold fillet; somewhat
striking Greek effect._) Oh, what do you think I just did? I was so
tired I stumbled just behind the orchestra circle (after I'd shooed
that funny woman out of three seats) and I fell almost flat! And the
nicest man helped me up and made me take his seat, and who do you
think it was? It was Mr. Fosdick. He went and stood back, and I sat a
long time then. Wasn't he ducky?

_Sally._ (_White dimity with green ribbons; a yard or more of red-gold
hair; babyish face._) Where's your own seat, dear?

_Esther._ (_Pale blue silk with long rope of mock pearls._) Oh,
Piggy's given it to her little friend, as usual! It's a great thing to
have--(_The door swings open, and the actors' voices are heard_:
"There dwelt a man in Babylon, lady, lady!" _Another usher comes
out._)

_Nan._ How'd the song go? Better?

_Usher._ Oh, grand! They made her do the second verse again. Miss
Selbourne says that she's the best all 'round clown they've ever had.

_Sally._ Oh, does she? I heard her tell Dr. Lyman that the plays
deteriorated every year--(_Enter another usher._)

_Second Usher._ Girls, you _must_ be quiet! That woman at the back
says she can't hear a word--


¶ _Curtain rises on Fourth Scene; applause, as audience takes in stage
setting. Row of enthusiastic alumnæ in upper box._

_First Alumna._ (_Happy mother of three; head of sewing circle; leader
of the most advanced set in her college days; president of the
Anti-Engagement League, junior year._) Oh, girls, did you ever see
anything so lovely? How _do_ they manage it? We never imagined
anything like it, I'm perfectly willing to admit. Aren't those lords
and ladies fine? Why, look at them--there must be forty or fifty! And
aren't the costumes beautiful? How handsome Orsino is!

_Second Alumna._ (_Rising journalist; very well dressed; knows all the
people of note in the audience; affects a society manner; was known as
the Gloomy Genius in her college days, and never talked with any one
who didn't read Browning._) Quite professional, really! How that Miss
Jackson reminds one of Rehan! I wonder if Daly sends the trainer? That
little Maria, now--she's quite unusual. Lovely figure, hasn't she?
Elizabeth Quentin Twitchell. Dr. Twitchell of Cambridge, I wonder? Do
they set that stage alone?

_Third Alumna._ (_Blonde and gushing; sister in the cast._) You know,
that Miss Twitchell was the best Viola, too, they say. Peggy tells me
Mr. Clark says he wished she could play them both. She's very popular
with the class. But Miss Jackson does everything. Writes, acts, plays
basket-ball, beautiful class work--Oh, isn't that sweet! (_Clown and
chorus of ladies with mandolins and guitars sing to wild applause._)

_Fourth Alumna._ (_Tall, thin, dark, and dowdy; very humble in manner;
high-principled; worth two millions in her own right; slaved
throughout her entire college course._) I don't see how anybody can
say that girls can't do anything in the world they set out to. Isn't
it wonderful? You can say what you please, but it's just as Ella
says--they do ten times what we did and do it better too. I think
they're prettier than they used to be, don't you? And they're just
like real actors--I'm sure it's prettier than any play I ever saw!
They make such wonderful men! Would you ever know that Sir Toby was a
girl? And Malvolio--he's just too good for anything!

_Curtain falls on Fourth Scene._


¶ _There is a long wait in total darkness. The audience smiles, then
settles down to be amused. Somebody faints and is restored with
shuffling, apologies, and salts._

_Slender, dark-eyed, gray-haired man, with non-committal expression,
uncle of one of the Mob; with his wife, who grows more frankly puzzled
as the play advances._

_Uncle._ I suppose they've outdone themselves in this garden scene.

_Aunt._ Yes, Bertha says they've worked tremendously over it. Henry,
what _do_ you think of it?

_Uncle._ Very ingenious, my dear.

_Aunt._ But Henry, their voices--

_Uncle._ They _are_ a little destructive to the illusion, but you hear
the gentleman behind me. He assures us that he thinks they are men!

_Aunt._ Oh, _Henry_!

_Uncle._ It's a pity they haven't more like Maria. Viola could take a
few points from her.

_Aunt._ But Bertha says that they adore Viola. She writes, and plays
basket-ball, and stands high in her classes, and--

_Uncle._ But she isn't an actress, that's all. She shouldn't grasp all
the arts! She's too melodramatic--she rants.

_Aunt._ Bertha says the trainer admires her very much--he wants her to
go on the stage.

_Uncle._ Oh! does he?

_Aunt._ Did you know that even the mobs are trained very carefully?
Bertha says she goes to rehearsals all the time. And the principal
parts--Malvolio worked six hours with Mr. Clark one day and eight the
next. And Viola had to do more. And the stage committee _slave_,
Henry, they simply slave. Little Esther Brookes is worn to a
shadow--not but what they love to do it.

_Uncle._ And when did Malvolio and Viola and the stage committee do
their studying?

_Aunt._ Oh, they keep up with their work. It's a point of honor with
them, Bertha says. Of course they can't do _quite_ so much, I
suppose--

_Uncle._ I suppose not.

_Aunt._ But Bertha says that they would give up anything in college
sooner than that. Viola and Malvolio, both of them, say that they
regard it as the most valuable training they've gotten up here. They
say it's quite the equal of any of their courses.

_Uncle._ Ah! do they?


¶ _Curtain rises on a very elaborate garden scene of arbors and
flowers; frantic applause, doubled at the entrance of Sir Toby and Sir
Andrew._

_Group of cynical alumnæ on fire-escape._

_First Alumna._ As for that Sir Toby--

_Second Alumna._ Hush, my dear, that may be the bosom of her family
forninst us!

_First Alumna, lowering her voice._ I think he's indecent and
ridiculous.

_Second Alumna._ He'll be the pride of the class, my little cousin
says. They're raving over him.

_First Alumna._ Then they're idiots. My dear, we may have had our
faults, but we were seldom vulgar, if we weren't remarkable!

_Third Alumna._ What I mind so much is that all the papers are filled
with that trash about gracefulness and womanliness and girlish
delicacy and the great gulf between us and the coarse professionals,
and as far as I can see, we are filling in that gulf as fast as
possible. We seem to be striving after the very thing--

_First Alumna._ Precisely. In a word, it's Daly, not Shakespeare. And
they don't see that Dalyism takes money--we haven't the scenery and
costumes for it.

_Second Alumna._ That horrible Sir Andrew!

_Fourth Alumna._ But Malvolio--

_First Alumna._ Oh, Malvolio's all right. As far as a girl can do it.
The question is, _can_ a girl do it? I think she can't.

_Third Alumna._ And as for allowing that Miss Jackson to imitate all
Ada Rehan's bad points, when she naturally fails of her good ones--

_Fourth Alumna._ But, my dear, the men like it. They're all pleased to
death. They think it's the cleverest thing they ever saw. They say
Viola's magnetic--

_Third Alumna._ Hgh! She's coarse, if that's what you mean! The whole
tone of the thing is lowered. I think that way she acted the duel
scene last night was simply vulgar. But the girls all howled with
laughter.

_Fourth Alumna._ Well, if they're pleased--

_First Alumna._ They shouldn't be pleased!

_Fourth Alumna._ Surely, Annie, you think this garden scene is funny!

_First Alumna._ Why, I laughed. It's a good acting play. But I wish
the Literature department had more to do with it and the trainer
confined himself to--

_Usher interrupts._ If you please, I must ask you to make less noise.
You are disturbing the people near the door!


¶ _The curtain has fallen on the Fourth Act. A group of last year's
graduates standing at the back in party-cloaks, with a few of the Mob
in shirt-waists and make-up._

_Recent Court Lady, tentatively._ Did you like the dance?

_First Graduate._ Oh, it was fine! It was terribly pretty, Ellen, the
whole thing!

_Recent Court Lady, relieved._ I'm so glad you liked it. Wasn't Sue
grand!

_First Graduate._ Yes, indeed, but I liked Malvolio so much!

_Court Gentleman._ Good old Dick! My, don't we love her! Orsino's
going to do him at class supper, you know. And Olivia's going to be
Sir Toby.

_Second Graduate._ How noble! Sir Toby is about the best I ever saw,
May.

_Court Gentleman._ Isn't she that? She's going to be Viola. She
squirms and twists just like her--

_Court Lady._ Oh, come on, May Lucy, and get to bed! (_They go out
whistling airs from the play and are violently suppressed by a group
of ushers, whose excited remonstrances are loudly criticised by a
large and nervous lady in the rear, greatly delighting the contingent
from the Mob._)

_First Graduate._ Now, Katharine, just tell me, perfectly impartially
of course, how you think it compares with ours.

_Second Graduate._ Well, girls, frankly I must say I'm a little
disappointed. (_Nods from the others._)

_Third Graduate._ It's not that it's not well done, for it is, but
it's such a fine play it ought to have been well done by anybody. And
for all that Sue Jackson's such a wonder, I must say--

_Fourth Graduate._ Yes, exactly. She's too heavy for the part, I
think.

_Second Graduate._ Of course Toby was fine and Malvolio and Maria--

_Fifth Graduate._ Well, then, with three fine ones I should think--

_Second Graduate._ But Olivia and Sebastian and Orsino were such
sticks--

_Fourth Graduate._ Still, those third and fourth and fifth scenes in
the second act were beautiful.

_Second Graduate._ But the others were so plain. They just stacked on
the good ones. Still, I suppose they did the best they could. Mary
Vanderveer has just _slaved_ over it.

_Fifth Graduate._ We know what _that_ is!

_Second Graduate._ Well, honestly, I think this is a _prettier_ play
than ours, but I do feel that ours was a little _better done_! Here,
let's see Sue in this. I think she's pretty good.


¶ _The curtain has fallen on the Fifth Act. Malvolio and Viola come
out of their dressing-room to the street, and slip out of a crowd of
ushers and under-class girls. A general flutter of congratulation and
sympathy follows them._

Oh, Miss Jackson, it was great! Simply fine! Susy, my child, say what
you'd like and it's yours!--Where's Lida Fosdick?--Lida! Dick! She's
gone long ago. Where's Toby? Gone, too. Somebody has some flowers for
her. Oh, take 'em up to the Wallace!--Well, good-night! Wasn't it
grand!--Grand! There's Betty! Hi, Betty! Oh, Miss Twitchell, it was
so--

_Miss Twitchell, mechanically._ So glad, so glad you liked it--we
loved to do it! Oh, yes! Oh, dear, no! Just a little, yes. The
making-up was so long. Mother--thank you, _thank_ you--Mother, where
_is_ the carriage? Oh, thank you _so_ much!

_Mrs. Twitchell, nervously._ Yes, indeed, she's tired to death. I'm
very glad, I'm sure, if you liked it. Oh, how do you do, Mrs. Waite?
Yes, here she is. Bessie, here is Mrs. Waite. You see she sat in the
Opera House since five o'clock to be made up, and only sandwiches and
all the strain--yes, indeed. Fanny looked very pretty, I thought. In
the dance, wasn't she? Yes, so pretty. I'm sure I wish Bessie had only
been in the dance--Oh, here's the carriage, dear!


¶ _Malvolio and Viola, slipping quietly past the crowd; make-up not
off; arms on each other's shoulders._

_Malvolio._ I suppose Dad's holding that carriage somewhere.

_Viola._ Well, I can't help it. I simply can't talk to everybody.

_Malvolio._ Do you know your speech?

_Viola._ I think so. It's so short, you know. I hate to have the
president's speech long. (_A pause._)

_Malvolio._ Well, it's over, Susy Revere! No more glory for little
Lide and Sue!

_Viola._ All over! Well, we've had the time of our lives, Dick!
I'd--I'd give anything to do it over again, three nights!

_Malvolio._ Me too. It's a pleasant little spot up here. (_They walk
to the campus in silence._)


¶ _Recent court lady and two young gentlemen, brothers of her friend,
the stage manager. Her eyes are underlined heavily, and she has not
gotten the rouge quite off her cheeks._

_Recent Court Lady._ Oh, _thank_ you, it would be _such_ a help!
Mollie is nearly wild, and these things must be got out to-night. If
you would take this and this and this, and oh, Father, would you
please carry this tankard and the cups? And could you take those two
swords? I'll take the distaff and the mandolin. Jack, have you room
for the moon? Will, here are more poppies, and I promised Ada that I'd
put that rubber-plant in her room to-night. You're so good! You're
sure you don't mind carrying them? Now don't get laughing, Father, and
drop the cups.

_A Recent Court Gentleman._ Good-night, dear! I knew you'd like it.
Oh, I think everybody seems to feel it's the best yet. Of course, last
year they had so much better opportunity, so much easier scenery. But
with four such stars--yes, indeed. It was so much harder to find
people to take--oh, she _did_! She thinks that just because it doesn't
all depend on one or two people, it's easier? Well, just find your
extra people, that's all!--Did you like it? Most people seemed to
think it _was_ a pretty dance. Well, we rehearsed enough, heaven
knows. Did you know Orsino's fiancé was there? She said she felt like
such an idiot. Too bad Sue got scared, wasn't it? Well, good-night.


¶ _Steps of the Dewey House. Three ushers propped against the pillars.
The night watchman approaches with lantern._

_Watchman._ Well, well, well! Want to get in? _Hi'll_ bet yer do!
(_First usher nods her head._) Are yer h'ushers? Fine play, wa'n't it?
(_Second usher nods her head._) Well, you do look tired! You pretty
tired, Miss Slater? (_Third usher murmurs something about sleeping
till noon, and second usher chuckles feebly and mentions
Baccalaureate. They stumble into the Dewey, and the watchman shuts the
door._)


II

IVY DAY

_The sun is glaring down on the campus. A crowd of parents and other
relatives is surging toward an awning near the steps of College Hall;
a stream of white-dressed seniors continually flows toward the
Hatfield House, where a procession is forming. Forty junior ushers
struggle with a rope wound with laurel, which is to encompass the
column of seniors. A few scattered members of the Faculty and a crowd
of alumnæ wander aimlessly about, obstructing traffic generally._

_Small imperious mother, dragging large good-humored father toward the
awning._ Hurry up, Father, hurry up!

_Father._ But Mother, I want to see 'em!

_Mother._ Well, you've got to take your choice of seeing 'em and not
hearing a word of the speech or--

_Father._ You go right along, Mother, and I'll get there on time. I
want to see Hattie marching.


¶ _A crowd of girls with cameras rushes up and lines both sides of
the walk. Two ushers sail up the path, clearing a way with
white-ribboned sticks. The crowd becomes unmanageable, torn by the
desire to watch the progress of the march and at the same time to
secure a good place at the exercises. People summon each other wildly
from various points of the campus._

_A group of strolling sophomores, dodging some ushers and wheedling
programmes from others, screws its way in a body to the best possible
position in the front, smiling at the efforts of the displaced to
reinstate themselves._

_First Sophomore._ There they come! There's Sue and Betty Twitchell!
My, what roses!

_Second Sophomore._ Roses? Did the ushers--

_Third Sophomore._ Oh, goodness, Win, haven't you heard that yet?

_Second Sophomore._ No--tell me!

_Third Sophomore._ Why, Miss Tomlinson's fiancé sent her fifteen dozen
American Beauties, and there wasn't any room for them in the house,
and she asked if the class would like to carry them, and first they
voted no and then they voted yes, and some of the girls don't like it,
but they are doing it just the same--Oh, isn't Helen Estabrook's gown
stunning! There's Wilhelmina--Hello, Will! Sue looks well, don't you
think?

_Second Sophomore._ Fifteen dozen American Beauties! Great heavens!

_First Sophomore._ I think it's perfectly absurd and bad taste, too.
The idea!

_Third Sophomore._ Well, she's not to blame, is she? They're certainly
lots prettier than laurel or daisies or odd flowers--Oh, girls, _I_
think Louise Hunter is too silly for anything! She feels too big to
live, leading the way! I'd try to look a little less like a poker if I
_was_ an usher!


¶ _The Ivy Procession marches to the steps two and two, each girl with
an enormous American Beauty in her hand. At every step the girls with
cameras snap and turn, so that the sound resembles a miniature volley
of cannon. There is a comparative silence during their progress._

_Mother and daughter standing on their seats under awning, clutching
at the heads of those near them for support._

_Mother._ Who is that with Susy, dear?

_Daughter._ That's the vice-president--I don't know her name. Sue
looks pale, doesn't she?

_Mother._ And that's Bess Twitchell next--with the tucks. She's Ivy
Orator, you know. I think Sue's dress drops too much in the back--Ah,
Miss Fosdick has stepped on it! Good heavens--right on that
Valenciennes! (_She sits down abruptly._)


¶ _The procession winds slowly up and groups itself on the steps. The
last third stands a long while before the awning and exchanges
somewhat conscious remarks with its friends outside the rope, which
the ushers endeavor to carry without straining or dropping: this
attempt puckers their foreheads and tilts their hats._

_A group of last year's graduates standing close to the enclosure._

_First Graduate._ Stunning gowns, aren't they?

_Second Graduate._ Awfully. Prettiest I ever saw. And so different,
too! And yet they're all alike--organdie over silk or satin, mostly.
Isn't Sue Jackson's lovely?

_Third Graduate._ I like Esther Brookes'; it's so plain, but there's
not a more artistic--

_Fourth Graduate._ How do you like Lena Bergstein's?

_Fifth Graduate._ What's that?

_Fourth Graduate._ My dear, haven't you seen that? It's solid
Valenciennes as far as I can see. I think it's altogether too
elaborate. But I tell you, it's stunning, all the same!

_Fifth Graduate._ Ah, I see it! Poor taste, I think.

_Fourth Graduate._ I know it. Betty Twitchell's is so simple--

_First Graduate._ Simple, yes! It's imported, I happen to know!

_Fourth Graduate._ Really! It _does_ hang beautifully! Oh, they're
moving: there's Sir Toby. You know nobody ever heard of her before,
girls. Isn't that funny? Wasn't she great, though?

_Second Graduate._ Well, they won't forget her in a hurry. I think
it's a mighty good thing that Dramatics brings out that kind of girl
and gives her a place in the class. It keeps two or three girls like
Sue Jackson and Twitchie and Mollie Van from running everything. Well,
going to stay here?


¶ _A Ubiquitous member of the Faculty suddenly dashes from her seat
and pushes through the crowd, which lets her out, under the impression
that she is faint._

_Ubiquitous Member of Faculty, to a scared usher._ Where is Dr.
Twitchell? Is he back there?

_Usher._ I--I don't know! Is he big?

_Ubiquitous Member of Faculty._ Big? Big? What do you mean? A pretty
thing--to have the father of the Ivy Orator have no seat! He must be
found!

_Usher._ I--I'll go see--

_Ubiquitous Member of Faculty._ Do you know him?

_Usher, helpless but optimistic._ No, but I'll--

_Ubiquitous Member of Faculty, suddenly dashing through the crowd into
a lilac clump and producing, to every one's amazement, a large and
amiable gentleman from its centre._ Well, well! Are you going to
remain here long, Dr. Twitchell? Why aren't you in your seat?

_Dr. Twitchell, somewhat embarrassed at his prominent position, but
beaming on every one._ Why, no--that is, yes, indeed! Certainly. I
only wanted to see Bessie march along with the rest. A very pretty
sight--remarkably so! All in white--I counted ninety couples, I think.
Has--has she begun? Is her mother--

_Ubiquitous Member of Faculty._ We're all in the front row, and
they've not begun. The class president will be making her speech in a
moment--there is plenty of time, but we were a little anxious--(_They
enter the enclosure._)


¶ _The class is crowded upon the steps and overflows before and behind
them. The sun is in their eyes, and they look strained and pale.
Under the awning a few hundred relatives fan themselves, and smile
expectantly._

_The class president makes an indistinguishable address, in which the
phrases "more glad than I can say," "unusual opportunity," "women's
education," "extends a hearty welcome," rise above the rest, and sinks
back into the crowd._

_The leader of the Glee Club frowns at her mates and leans forward:
the class sings "Fair Smith," with a great deal of contralto. The Ivy
Orator steps back and upward instinctively, with an idea of escaping
from the heads and shoulders that are packed like herring about her,
realizes that the audience is entirely out of her reach, steps down to
meet them, becomes lost to view, and with a despairing consciousness
that nothing can better the most futile position she has ever
occupied, steps back to her first place and shrieks out her opening
phrases._

_Two mothers sitting on a bench just behind the enclosure, looking
over the campus._

_First Mother._ So you didn't get a seat?

_Second Mother._ Well, I didn't try, to tell the truth. I'm interested
in the speech, but my daughter tells me that I can see it in the
_Monthly_ next fall, and as I got here so late, I couldn't possibly
hear it from the back.

_First Mother._ I was sorry to leave, for Kate wanted me to hear
Bessie so much; but after Miss Jackson's speech I had to go--the heat
made me rather faint. And as you say, one can read it.

_Second Mother._ That's what every one seems to think--see them all
walking up and down here. One of the old graduates--a friend of my
daughter's--told me that this was the chance for them to talk with the
professors!

_First Mother._ Well, I suppose if they _will_ have it outdoors, very
many people can't expect to hear. It's very hard to speak in the open
air.

_Second Mother._ Yes, indeed. What a fine-looking girl that Miss
Ackley is--the dark one--did you notice her?

_First Mother._ That is my daughter, so I've noticed her quite a
little!

_Second Mother._ Oh, indeed! I'm sure I didn't know--

_First Mother._ It isn't necessary to be told that _you_ have a
daughter here, Mrs. Fosdick!

_Second Mother._ No, everybody seems to think that the resemblance is
very strong indeed. Isn't it pleasant to meet people so strangely, and
without any ceremony, like this? It's a very pleasant place, anyway,
isn't it?

_First Mother._ Yes, indeed. It's beautiful all the spring, but
particularly beautiful now, I think, with all the girls in their
pretty dresses and the general holiday effect.

_Second Mother._ What I like so much is the spirit of the place. When
we found out from things in my daughter's letters and stories she
would tell us in the vacations that all her little set of friends were
very much richer than she and could afford luxuries and enjoyments
that she couldn't, Mr. Fosdick and I were quite worried for fear that
she would feel hurt, you know, or want to get into a style of living
that she could not possibly keep up. But, dear me, we needn't have
worried! It never made the least difference, just as she assured us.
We were very glad to find that she was the friend of some of the
leading girls in the class, when we saw that she went right along as
she had to, tutoring and selling blue prints and going about just as
contentedly as if her shirt-waists had been their organdies. Not that
that sort of thing _ought_ to make any difference, but sometimes it
_does_, you know. She was telling me about Bess Twitchell's
Commencement dress, and Sue Jackson's, and I grew quite alarmed, for I
thought that perhaps that was expected, and we couldn't possibly
afford anything like it. But, dear me, it was all the same to her!
She was perfectly satisfied with muslin, and when I asked her if she
was sure she'd prefer to walk with Bess, she actually made me feel
ashamed! Bess herself said that it wasn't every one who could have the
honor of walking with Malvolio, and she'd like to see herself lose it!

_First Mother._ Oh, of course! Why, I have always understood, both
from Kate and her cousin who graduated three years ago, that some of
the leading girls in every class were poor. The girls seemed prouder
of them, if anything. As you say, it's the spirit of the place. Now
Kate herself--well, it's a little thing, I suppose, but her father and
I--well, I suppose any one would think us silly, but we actually
cried, we were so touched. Her father gave her her dress--it was
really lovely. Not elaborate, but it was made over beautiful silk, and
he gave her a handsome string of those mock pearls they wear so much
now, you know. It was very becoming to her indeed, and she was
delighted with it.

Well, just three weeks ago I got a long letter from her saying that
Eleanor Hunt's father had lost every cent he had in the world and that
they were in a dreadful condition. Eleanor's mother had sold her
Commencement gown and Eleanor was going to wear an old white organdie
that she'd worn all the year to dances and plays. She said that
Eleanor was feeling very bad indeed about it and especially about
Commencement time. They had planned to walk together in all the
processions--they are great friends. So she asked me if I thought Papa
would mind if she wore her old organdie, too, to all the things,
because Eleanor seemed to feel it so. Her father offered to give
Eleanor one for a Commencement present from her, but she wouldn't have
that--she said Eleanor wouldn't like it--she was feeling very proud
about gifts, just now.

Well, her father was more pleased than I've seen him for years. You
see, Kate has always thought a great deal of her clothes, and she's
always had a good allowance, besides lots of presents from us and her
aunts. And being an only child, you know--well, I wouldn't say she was
_spoiled_ at all, but she certainly was a little thoughtless, perhaps
selfish, when she came up here. Her father and I feel that it has done
a great deal for her. He says that he'd call it a good investment if
she'd never learned anything in all the four years but just how to do
that one thing!

_Second Mother._ Yes, indeed! We feel, Mr. Fosdick and I, that my
daughter's friends have been almost as good for her as what she
learned, though that comes first, as she must teach, now. She was
always so solitary and reserved and never cared for the girls at home,
but here she has such good friends and loves them all so--she's grown
more natural, more like other girls; and we lay it all to her having
been thrown in from the beginning with such pleasant, nice girls as
these. You know them, I suppose--Bessie and Sue and Bertha Kitts--


¶ _Two alumnæ strolling between the houses and the enclosure, chatting
with friends and spying out acquaintances._

_First Alumna._ Good gracious, isn't she through yet? I pity the poor
girls, standing all this while!

_Second Alumna._ Yes, that's just it! Arrange the oration to suit the
girls, do!--If they're tired, let them sit down! It's absurd to
criticise the one really academic exercise of the whole affair
entirely on the basis of the girls' comfort, I say!

_First Alumna._ But, my dear, the poor things have done so much and
stood so much anyhow--and I should think Miss Maria would be tired
herself.

_Second Alumna._ Then it's her own lookout. She should have dropped
one or the other. They try to do too much. I can tell you that we were
proud enough to stand twenty minutes when Ethel Richardson talked, and
she didn't feel that it was beneath her notice to devote all her time
and attention to that one thing, either. We didn't make so much of
these universal geniuses then, but I doubt if we had poorer results
from the less widely gifted. It's too much strain; one simply can't do
everything.

_First Alumna._ No. They're 'way ahead of us in lots of things, but
I'm glad I came when I did. Don't you remember what a good time we
used to have spring term? Dear old last spring term! Do you know there
isn't any, now? Don't you remember how we dropped ev--well, a good
deal, and lay in the hammocks in the orchard and mooned about and took
a long, comprehensive farewell to all our greatness? We'd made or lost
our reputations by then, and we just took it all in and--oh, I suppose
we did sentimentalize a little, but it all meant more to us
apparently.... Well, it's all gone now. They begin on the play so
early, and it's all rehearsing, and then they can't let their work
drop, so they keep everything right up to the pitch--according to
their story. And there are six societies to our one, you know. And all
the houses give receptions to them right in a bunch, and every one is
so bored at them--at least Kitty says they are. But you can't always
tell by that, I suppose.


¶ _Applause from the enclosure and a general scurry as the ushers
crowd up to surround the class, who begin their Ivy Song--a piece of
musical composition something between a Gregorian chant and a Strauss
waltz, with a great deal of modulation, in which the words "hopes and
fears," "coming years," "plant our vine," and "still entwine" occur at
suitable intervals. They wander away in a bunch, frantically
surrounded by the ushers and the chain, to another side of College
Hall, where the Ivy is interred. A general break-up then begins, the
orator and the president join their admiring families, and people
begin to stroll home, the prominent members of the class pausing at
every sentence to have their pictures taken._

_Two members of the class and one of the Faculty._

_First Member of Class._ It was the funniest thing I've heard this
year, really! You know the girls simply _slave_ for her--they
_slave_. They can't help it, you know, for she thinks that's all there
is in the world and if you don't have your note-book made out she
looks at you in such a way--oh, well, it makes Mollie's spine cold,
she says. Mollie's done splendid work for her--not that she doesn't do
it for everybody--but she was determined to make her see that she
could be at all the rehearsals and take the observations, too. The
only thing she didn't do was to go the last two or three nights, but
gracious, she'd more than made that up! I thought I did pretty well
when I put in five hours of Lab., but those girls have done eight and
ten hours a week some weeks, note-books and observations and all. Just
to satisfy her, you know--they love to work for her. And what do you
think she said the last time they met? Do you know about Astronomy,
Mr. Brooke? If you do, I shall spoil the story for you, for I don't
know the first thing. But I think it was the parallax of the sun.
"Now, I should think you could just step out between the acts," said
she, calmly, "if you couldn't get out for all the evening, and take
your note-book with you, Miss Vanderveer, and just take it--it's a
beautiful observation! And you've taken one, and it will be a great
thing to tell your children that you've gotten the parallaxes of the
sun yourself!"

_Second Member of Class._ And when we thought of Mollie dancing about
there with her collar undone, trying to make those idiotic men
understand something and being everywhere at once--between the acts,
you know, being a fairly occupied time for her--when we imagined her
walking out of the garden scene or Orsino's house to take the
what-do-you-call-it of the sun (though I don't see how she could take
it of the sun at night--it must have been the moon, Ethel).

_Member of Faculty._ And what did Miss Vanderveer say?

_First Member of Class._ I'm sure it was the sun, Teddie, Mollie said
sun--why, she coughed and said, "I certainly will, if I get time, Miss
Drake!"

_Member of Faculty._ Great presence of mind, I'm sure.


¶ _Group of relatives and three members of the class._

_First Member._ Mamma, this is Miss Twitchell and Miss Fosdick--Maria
and Malvolio, you know.

_Mother._ I am pleased to meet you both. I want to tell you how much I
enjoyed, _etc._

_Misses Twitchell and Fosdick._ We're so glad if you did, _etc._

_Mother._ I was not able to catch much of your speech, but Ellen tells
me we can have the pleasure of reading it later.

_Miss Twitchell, moving away._ I'm afraid you will have the
opportunity--but I tried to make it as short as I could!

_Mother._ And now I suppose you're going home to sleep all day? I
should think you'd need it.

_Miss Twitchell._ Oh, dear, no! I'm going to the Alpha on the back
campus this afternoon, and I want to look in at Colloquium, and then
there's the Glee Club to-night, you know. I've no more worry now,
nothing to do but enjoy myself.

_Aunt._ What is this, Ellen? The Glee Club--

_Ellen._ Why, Aunt Grace, the Glee Club promenade, don't you know?
That's when the lanterns are all over, and they give a concert, and we
all walk about, and it's so pretty--don't you remember I told you?

_Aunt._ Well, then, I'll go right home and take my nap, if I'm to go
out to-night. Are you going to all these things, too, Ellen?

_Ellen._ Well, practically. Only I'm going to Phi Kapp and Biological
instead. But I _am_ going to lie down--I'm so tired, I can't think
straight, and you know I'm on the Banjo Club, and we have to have a
short rehearsal--


¶ _The crowd gradually disperses, and the campus is practically
deserted; men begin to put up poles and wires for lanterns; others
gather and arrange scattered chairs. Stray relatives hunt for each
other and their boarding-places or inquire with interest which is the
Science Building and the Dewey House. Belated members of the class
wander homewards or patiently seek out their families, whose temporary
guardians are thus relieved._

_Abstracted member of the class and large, domineering woman in black
satin, before the Morris House gate._

_Large Woman._ This is the Hatfield, is it not?

_Member of Class._ Oh! I beg your pardon? No, it's the Morris.

_Large Woman._ Ah! I was told it was the Hatfield.

_Member of Class, simply._ Well, it's not.

_Large Woman._ And that over there (_pointing to the Observatory_),
that is the Lilly House?

_Member of Class._ No, that's the Observatory. Lilly Hall is up
farther. It's just beyond the Dickinson--no, the Lawrence--I mean the
_Hubbard House_!

_Large Woman._ And where is the Hubbard House?

_Member of Class._ Oh, dear! (_pulls herself together with an effort_)
it's up in a line, the one, two, three, third from here.

_Large Woman._ Thank you. And I wish to see the Botanical Gardens,
too. Where are they? (_Member of Class points out their position._)

_Large Woman._ And where is the Landscape Garden?

_Member of Class, vaguely._ Why, I suppose it's over there, too. I
don't exactly--it's all landscape garden, I suppose--it's not big--

_Large Woman, severely._ I was told there was a fine landscape and
botanical garden--are you a member of the college?

_Member of Class, leaning against the post._ Why, yes, but it's all
botanical garden, for that matter. (_Catches sight of a tree with a
tin label tied to it and points luminously at it._) _That's_
botanical, you know--all the trees and shrubs!

_Large Woman, with irritation._ I am quite aware that it is--I--

_Member of Class, despairingly._ Oh, excuse me, I mean it's--it's--_I
mean they all have labels!_ (_Large Woman stalks majestically away;
Member of Class makes a few incoherent gestures in the air, murmurs_,
"I am _such_ a fool, but I'm _so_ tired!" _Throws out her hands
wearily and trails into the Morris House._)



THE TENTH STORY

_THE END OF IT_



X

THE END OF IT


There are two methods of conducting a class supper. The first is
something like this: you pick out three utterly unrelated girls who
never had anything to do with one another in their lives, and call
them the supper committee; you pick out two clever, uninterested girls
and call them the toast committee; you pick out an extremely busy girl
who lives half a mile off the campus and call her the seating
committee; you pick out a popular girl who is supposed to be humorous
because she laughs at everybody's jokes and knows one comic song, and
call her the toast-mistress.

And this is the result of it: The supper committee meets, wonders what
under heaven induced the president to appoint the other two, finds out
what caterer they had last year, and after a little perfunctory
argument employs him again without further action, with the result
that one end of the table has five kinds of ice cream and the other a
horrifying recurrence of lukewarm croquettes; the toast committee
spends a great deal of time in hunting out extremely subtle quotations
from Shakespeare and Omar Khayyam, with the result that no one of the
toasters gets the least idea of how she is expected to elaborate her
theme; the seating committee is so harassed by everybody that she
gives up her diagram in despair, and successive girls erase and sign
and re-erase till nobody but the three or four leading sets in the
class are satisfied, and they are displeased because the toasters are
either put in a line at the head or scattered about the tables, and
that separates them from their immediate cliques; the toast-mistress
turns out to be more appreciative than constructive, and worries her
friends and bores her enemies beyond previous conception. The main
body of unimportant necessary people are crowded off by themselves and
feel somewhat flat and heavy and irritated at the noisy groups beyond
them; the toasts are apt to be a little sad and vague because the
girls don't fit them and talk too much about enduring friendships, the
larger life, four years of stimulating rivalry, and alma mater. Why
they do all this at this season and this alone, only the Lord who made
them knows.

But Ninety-yellow did not employ this method. It occurred to Theodora
somewhat originally, perhaps, as she looked around her that last
Tuesday evening, that a better class supper was never arranged. It
can hardly be asserted that it was a really good supper, for it is to
be doubted if a hundred and seventy-five women ever sat down to a
really good supper; but there was almost enough of it, and it was very
nearly hot. Kathie Sewall had picked the supper committee well, and
they knew one another thoroughly enough to give it all to the chairman
to do and to make fun of her till she was spurred on to a really noble
effort. She knew that it is always damp and cold class supper night,
and planned accordingly. Kitty Louisa Hofstetter managed the toasts,
and though Kitty Louisa was uneven and a little vulgar at times, she
was clever in her unexpected hail-fellow-well-met way and popular with
the class for the most part. She had a genius for puns of the kind
that grow better as they grow worse, and they were shamelessly
italicized in the toast-cards, which caused great merriment before the
toasts had begun. And the seating was very well done, for the class
was nicely broken up and mixed about among the tables till everybody
was within four or five of a reasonably important person.

As for the toast-mistress--well, you see, Theodora's opinion of her
might have been a trifle exaggerated, for she was Theodora's best
friend. How little she had changed, Theo thought, as she watched her
rumple her hair in the same funny, boyish way that she had freshman
year. Theo had seen her first in the main hall, floating with the
current of freshmen that pushed its way almost four hundred strong to
meet its class officer and find out that O. G. meant Old Gymnasium.
That far-off freshman year! Theo smelt again the clean, washed floor;
saw again the worried shepherds herding their flocks into the
scheduled stalls and praying that the parents might go soon and leave
their darlings, if misunderstood, at least unencumbered; heard again
the buzz and hum of a thousand chattering, scuffling girls, bubbling
over with a hundred greetings for each other.

"Hello, Peggy! Peggy! I say, _hello Peggy_!"

"Oh, hello! Have a good time?"

"Grand! Did you?"

"Perfectly fine--I saw Ursula and Dodo and--Oh, Ursula! hello! Here I
am!"

"Why, Peggy Putney, you dear old thing! When did you come? They say
you're in the Hatfield--how did you get there?"

"Two ahead of me and they dropped out. Miss Roberts only just told
me--"

Theodora had felt very lonesome and homesick just then--everybody but
herself knew so many people! And then Virginia had happened along and
jostled her and begged pardon, and they had fallen into a conversation
on the relative merits of the Dewey and the Hatfield. Later they had
studied Livy together and confided their difficulties to each other.
Virginia's mother was a Unitarian and her father was an Ethical
Culturist, and her room-mate was a High Church Episcopalian and never
ate meat in Lent! She thought Virginia would very probably be damned,
if not in the next life, certainly in this, and she intimated as much.
Virginia thought it was very hard to live with somebody who
disapproved of you so much.

Theodora had been brought up to be a neat, self-helpful little person,
and her room-mate, Edith Bliss, had never even seen her bed made up
and left her clothes in piles on the floor just as she stepped out of
them. She was horribly homesick and wept quarts every Sunday
afternoon, and confided to Theodora in moments of hysterical
relaxation that she thought every girl owed it to herself to have soup
and black coffee for dinner and that she was going to wire Papa to
take her home immediately. Theo looked at her now, eagerly devouring
a doubtful lobster concoction and openly congratulating herself on the
olives at her left. She was fond of Frankfurters now, was Edith, and
had recently alarmed the authorities by her ingenuous scheme for
annexing a night-lunch cart and keeping it on the campus: it would
have been so nice, she said regretfully, to slip out and get a
Frankfurter between hours!

How pretty the Gym looked! The juniors had decorated it as well as
they could at odd minutes, and they had lingered in a bunch as the
class came in to lean over the balcony and sing to them.

Theodora remembered how the Gym had looked the night of the sophomore
reception: all light and music and girls and a wonder of excitement.
She had never had an evening dress before, and her little
square-necked organdie had been dearer to her than any other gown
before or since. They played _Rastus on Parade_, and she had such nice
partners and some of the girls were so lovely and had such white,
beautiful shoulders--they seemed to count evening dress but a slight
and ordinary thing. By junior year house-dances are wont to pall, and
seniors have been known to make rabbits and read Kipling in
preference; even among the freshmen Theodora had found some
disillusioned souls who lamented the absence of men and found the
sophomore reception slow!

Across the table an odd, distinguished-looking girl, with a clever
face and dark, short-sighted eyes, smiled at her, and Theo's thoughts
flashed back to that great day when she first really loved the
class--the day of the Big Game. What a funny, snub-nosed little nobody
Marietta Hinks had been then! But how she played! How she dodged and
doubled and bounced the ball, and how they cheered her!

     Oh, _here's_ to Mari_etta_,
     For we _shall_ not soon _forget_ her--

Well, well, how they had grown up! Now she was "Miss Root" to the
little, dark-eyed girl in the back seat in chapel, who smiled so shyly
at her when the seniors led out down the middle aisle. Theo was
wearing her roses to-night, and as she scratched off a little note to
thank her she had seemed to see herself, another little dark-eyed
girl, sending anonymous roses to Ursula Wyckoff. Dear me! would
anybody ever again combine such graces of mind and body as that
ornament of Ninety-purple? She had gone on wheel-rides with Theo, and
once she had asked her over to wait on the juniors at a spread--Theo
had sat up and got her light reported in order to write home about it.

There are those, I understand, who disapprove strongly of this
attitude of Theodora's happy year: dogmatic young women who have not
learned much about life and soured, middle-aged women who have
forgotten. I am told that they would consider Theodora's adoration
morbid and use long words about her--long words about a freshman! I
have always been sorry for these unfortunate people: their chances for
reconstructing Human Nature seem to me so relatively slight.

When Theo had gone home that summer with hands almost as well cared
for as Ursula's, sleek, gathered-in locks, and a gratifying hold on
the irregular verbs (Ursula spoke beautiful French), her mother had
whimsically inquired if Miss Wyckoff could not be induced to remain in
Northampton indefinitely and continue her unscheduled courses! But
perhaps she was a morbid mother.

Her mother! The plates and flowers swam before Theodora's misted eyes,
and the sight of Virginia--so kind that year--brought back somehow
those waves of desolation that would come over her again and again, in
lecture rooms, in her own dear room, at meals--all that clouded
sophomore year. It was just as her good fortune came through the mail
to her--a room in the Nicest House--that her mother died, and rooms
mattered little to Theo, then. There were kindly aunts and other
children, and she was not needed at home; so it seemed best to go on,
and she had come up the steps of the Nicest House, a little
black-dressed figure, and into the arms of the Nicest Woman.

It seemed to her that there was never a room so cheerful, nor pictures
so lovely, nor a fire so red, nor tea and bread and butter so good,
nor a smile so comfortable as the Nicest Woman's. Mademoiselle and
Fräulein and Miss Roberts were sweet and kind, and the girls did all
they could, but it was to the Nicest Woman that one came when
conditions and warnings were in the air or one's head ached or one had
eaten too much fudge or been annoyed by somebody's banjo practice.
When the seniors of the Nicest House were eating and laughing there at
night, it was a gay room--the Nicest Woman's; but it was very dim and
quiet in the dusk, when Theodora slipped in by herself with reddened
lids, and sat on the couch, and they talked of things that started to
be sad but somehow always turned out cheerful; for when it was about
the children and Will at Yale little jokes were sure to come up, and
when Theo wondered if perhaps she hadn't been careless about writing
home, and if Mother had gotten more letters in the spring, maybe--the
conversation always changed, and she found herself feeling so glad and
thankful that she'd gone right home in June and not visited at
Virginia's.

Virginia had gone into Phi Kappa that winter, and Theo had been so
proud of her. She was in the first five, and as she really hadn't
expected it at all it was quite exciting. Adelaide Carew went in too,
and though she went about with the seniors a great deal and called
most of her class "Miss," she was much more generally liked than in
her freshman year, and Virginia had got to know her better and better.
Through her Theo had seen more of Adelaide, and she had been amazed to
find out how really kind-hearted and human she was beneath her
unapproachable ways.

But then, you never could tell--girls were so queer! Only last night,
when they were walking about under the lanterns after the concert,
she and Virginia and Adelaide, with two of the junior ushers, and the
juniors, sophisticated young people, had cynically suggested that
perhaps they'd better take themselves away in order that the three
might seek out their Ivy and bedew it with their final tears, Adelaide
had coughed a little huskily and suggested that perhaps when they'd
planted their own Ivy they wouldn't be feeling so gay! They had stared
at her blankly, hesitated, decided that coming from such a source it
must have been an extraordinarily acute sarcasm, and gone away
giggling, leaving Theo to wonder and Adelaide to flush and talk very
hard about Bar Harbor and the comfort of a big room all to yourself
once more.

Such a strange room-mate as Theo had had that year--she seemed fated
to room with girls who had never made up their beds. This one had
lived freshman year with friends in the town, and had had everything
done for her, and when Theo asked her one day if campus life was
wearing on her, she had turned two stormy gray eyes on her and burst
out, "Oh, no, Theodora, but I am so _deadly_ tired of picking up my
night-gown every _single_ morning, I think I shall _die_!"

On one historic occasion, early in the year, Theo had happened to
make up her bed for her, and upon her pleased recognition of the fresh
linen it had come out that she had been for some weeks accustomed to
change her upper sheet and leave the under one undisturbed on the
bed--it had seemed more logical, she said, and how was she to know?
They had teased her about it till the Nicest Woman interfered and
fined every girl who mentioned it, and they bought _Sentimental Tommy_
with the money, and read it evenings in the Nicest Woman's room after
supper.

Well, well, they'd sit about her fire no more, as the poem said that
somebody wrote to go with the silver tea-ball the seniors gave her
when she served them their last tea. They'd come in no more after
Alpha and Phi Kapp to tell her all about it--how nice she had been
when Theo got into Alpha! That was junior year and they took her to
Boyden's for supper, and her bowl and pitcher were full of violets for
days. Everybody seemed so glad, and Martha Sutton had pinned her own
pin on Theo's red blouse. Kathie Sewall had taken her over--nobody
dreamed that Kathie would be senior president then--and what a
hand-shaking there had been! And such a funny, clever play, with
butlers and burglars and lady's-maids--it was illustrative of American
literature, she learned later, but it was not a pedantic illustration.

Theodora loved plays, and she had delighted in her very humble part in
the House play. She was a little house-maid, and said only, "Yes,
madam," and "No, madam," and, "Oh, sir, how can you--a poor girl like
me!" but she had a great American Beauty and two bunches of violets,
and she sent the programme home. Next to its basket-ball decorations
she remembered the Gym arranged for a play, with the running-track
turned into boxes and the girls prettier than ever against the screens
and pillows. She had been chairman of the stage-setting committee, and
the _Monthly_ had especially commended the boudoir scene.

Were they ready for the toasts so soon? Where had the time gone? she
thought, as Virginia, with solemn pomp, called upon Miss Farwell to
respond to "Our Team." Dear old Grace--she stammered a little when she
was excited, and she was not the most fluent of speakers, but they
cheered her to the echo. "Team! Team! Team!" they called, and the
teams, freshman and sophomore, Regulars and Subs, had to stand on
their chairs and be sung to. As Theo balanced on a tottering seat,
she caught sight of a crowd of girls moving toward the Gym, and as
they sat down a shout from below greeted them:

             Oh, _here's_ to Ninety-_yellow_,
             And her _praise_ we'll ever _tell_--_oh_,
     Drink her _down_, drink her _down_, drink her _down_,
                down, _down_!

A cheerful, aimless creature at the bottom of one of the great tables,
whose one faculty was for improvised doggerel, instructed her
neighbors rapidly, and they sent back a tuneful courtesy:

     Oh, _here's_ the Junior _Ushers_,
     And I _tell_ you they are _rushers_!

Theodora had "ushed," in classical phrase, in her day, and the bustle
of last year, so much more exciting somehow than this one, came back
to her. Her little, white-ribboned stick was packed now--in fact,
everything was packed: she was going away for good! Some one else
would lounge on the window-seat in her room in the Nicest House, and
light the cunning fire....

Who was this? Oh, this was Sallie Wilkes Emory, responding to "The
Faculty." Kitty Louisa, whose soul knew not reverence, had attached to
this toast the pregnant motto, _That we may go forward with Faculties
unimpaired_, an excerpt from one of the President's best-known chapel
prayers, and Sallie was developing the theme in what she assured them
was a very connotative manner. Theo saw them pass in review before
her, those devoted educators, from her dazed freshman Livy to her
despairing senior Philosophy--_that_ was over, at least! Theodora was
not of a technically philosophical temperament. Sallie was quoting
liberally from a recent famous essay of her own: _The Moral Law, or
the End-Aim of Human Action According to Kant_, apropos of which she
had remarked to the commendatory professor that she was glad if
_somebody_ understood it! Sallie was a great girl--how grand she had
been in the play! Theo had been in the mob herself, having first tried
for every part, and had enjoyed every minute of it, from the first
rehearsal to the last dab of make-up. She had been an attendant and
hadn't an idea how pretty she looked, nor how many people spoke of her
and called her graceful.

It may have been because Theo had so few ideas about herself that she
had so many friends. And how many she had! She took great pride in
them, those fine, strong, good-looking girls that hailed her from all
directions, and always wanted a dance or a row or a skating afternoon
with her. She wondered if anybody so ordinary--for Theo knew she
wasn't clever--ever had so many jolly good friends. There was the
Mandolin Club, now--all friends of hers. She got on late in junior
year and played in the spring concert. Her father came up and said
he'd never seen such a pretty house in his life--packed from orchestra
circle to balcony with fluffy girls alternated with dapper,
black-coated youths. He gave Theo such a darling white gown for it,
all ruffled with white ribbon, and she had her picture taken in it,
holding the mandolin, and sent it to him in a big white vellum frame
covered with yellow chrysanthemums, with "Smith" scrawled in yellow
across one corner. He kept it on his desk and was tremendously proud
when his friends asked about it.

Here were the class histories. Theodora thought she listened, but
though she laughed with the rest and applauded the grinds, it was her
own history that she was reading as face after face recalled to her
some joke or mistake or good luck. Not that it was sad--oh, dear, no!
If any member of the class of Ninety-yellow dared to be sad that night
there was a fine, and more than that, the studied coldness of the
class directed toward her: it was an orgy, not an obsequy, as Virginia
elegantly put it. Just as the junior history, which is always the best
for some unexplained reason--perhaps because of the Prom--was
finished, there was a loud knock, and a big bunch of yellow roses from
the class that was having a decennial supper somewhere was brought in
by a useful sophomore. They clapped it and sent some one back to thank
them--a point of etiquette that some self-centred classes have been
known to omit--and then they remembered that Ninety-green was supping
at its first reunion in the Old Gym, and sent over some of the table
flowers to them. Virginia motioned to Theo, and proud of the mission
and blushing a little at the eyes that turned to her as she went, she
took them over. They clapped and sang to her:

     Oh, _here's_ to _Theodora_,
     And we're _very_ glad we _sor_ her!

Martha Sutton waved to her and the toast-mistress thanked her for the
class, and she went back--alone, because, being an older class,
Ninety-green didn't need a delegate. On the way, two juniors met her,
and they condoled with her cheerfully: "How do you feel, Theo dear?
Isn't it kind of dreadful? Do you keep thinking it's the last time?
Goodness--I should!" One of them threw a sympathetic arm over her
shoulder and looked at the moon, but Theo grinned a little and said
that she was tired as a dog and that if there was one place in the
world she wanted it was her room At Home. And as the juniors gaped at
this matter-of-fact attitude, Theodora added, pausing at the Gym door,
"Of course I've had a perfectly grand time here, and all that, but
I've been here four years and that's about long enough, you know. And
they want me, of course, and--I want to come! I think it gets a
little--well, toward the end, you know--"

But Theo was tired, and so are seniors all, and until three or four
generations of them have learned how to do it easily, so will they be.

They were doing stunts upstairs: Clara Sheldon had seen Cissie Loftus
who had seen Maggie Cline who sang _Just tell them that you saw me_,
and Clara, who was the most tailor-made and conventional creature
imaginable to the outward eye, was forced by those from whose
farther-reaching scrutiny she was never free, to imitate the imitator
at all social functions that admitted song. She used stiff, absurd
gestures and a breathy contralto that never palled upon her friends.
Cynthia Lovering danced her graceful little Spanish dance for them,
and Leslie Guerineau told them her best darkey story in her own
delicious Southern drawl. And then there was a murmur that grew to a
voice that swelled into a shout as they drummed on the table and
called, "_We_ want _Dutton_! _We_ want _Dutton_! _We_ want _Dutton_,
_Dutton_, _Dutton_!"

She said no; that she'd had a toast; that they knew all her stunts by
heart--but they hammered on her name with the regularity of a machine
till she got up at last with a sigh and, "Well, what do you want?"
They wanted a temperance lecture, and she drooped her head to one
side, and with an ineffably sickly smile and a flat nasal drawl she
told them "haow she'd been a-driving 'raound your _graounds_, and
they're _reel_ pleasantly situated, _too_, dears, and your
_President_, such a nice, _gentlemanly_ man, accompanied me, and
pointed aout to me your _beeyutiful_ homes and I said to him, 'Oh,
what a _beeyutiful_ thought it is that all these _hundreds_ of young
souls are a-drinking _water_, nothing but _water_, all the time and
every day!'"

She was going to teach in a stuffy little school in the wilds of
Maine, and Ethel Eaton, who had been taught in that school, was going
to travel abroad for a year--it was a strange shuffle.

What, was it half-past eleven? Impossible! But somebody had started up
their great song that had been their pet one since freshman year, and
they were shouting it till the Gym rang:

     _Hurrah!_ _hurrah!_ the _yellow_ is on _top_,
     _Hurrah!_ _hurrah!_ the _purple_ cannot _drop_;
     _We_ are Ninety-_yellow_ and our _fame_ shall never _stop_,
         _'Rah_, 'rah, _'rah_, for the _seniors!_

They sang all the verses, and then the watchman and the superintendent
of buildings, waiting like sleuth-hounds to prevent any demonstration
from without, gritted their teeth and dashed furiously down the wrong
stairs as Ninety-green, who had softly assembled at the back of the
Gym, having come from different directions, burst into the traditional
tribute:

     Oh, _here's_ to Ninety-_yellow_,
     And her _fame_ we'll ever _tell_--_oh_!

"'Ere, 'ere! stop that now! Miss Sutton, it ain't allowed--will you
please to go 'ome quietly! No, they ain't a-comin' h'out till you
go--'e says they ain't!"

"Oh, come now! We aren't students any more! We can do what we like--"

"Oh, come on, girls! Don't make a fuss; we don't want to stay,
anyhow!"

They sang themselves away, and the class upstairs looked around the
tables and thought things, for it was time to go. And here I am afraid
I shall lose whatever friends I may have gained for Theodora, for it
is necessary to state that none of those comprehensive, solemn moments
of farewell, known to us all to be the property of departing seniors,
came to her. She was conscious of a little vague excitement, but all
the last days had been more or less exciting--generally less--and her
mind was occupied with irrelevant details. Had Uncle Ed remembered to
change at Hartford? Had Aunt Kate packed her black evening dress?
Would the post-office forward that note to the little freshman? Could
she get Virginia up in time for the 9.15? Had she lost the slip with
the Nicest Woman's address on it? And had she given Marietta that
senior picture yet?

There had been one moment when her throat had contracted and her
eyelids had crinkled: it was that very evening, when Annie, the cook,
had beckoned to her in the hall of the Nicest House, and said:
"There's three o' them little cakes on a plate on your table, Miss
The'dora. I shan't be bakin' 'em agin, an' I know you do be terrible
fond of 'em!"

"Thank you, Annie," she had said, and shaken her hand warmly. Annie
had cooked fifteen years in the Nicest House, and what she and her
mistress didn't know about girls you could put in a salt-spoon. It
wasn't every girl that Annie liked, either.

Grace was getting up, and they stood a moment irresolutely by the
chairs.

"Let's make a ring, girls, and sing once 'round, and say good-by till
next year," she said; and then there was a little quick shuffling, and
the carefully divided sets got together and stood as they had stood
for the last two or three years. Theo took tight hold of Virginia and
Adelaide, and they moved slowly around the tables, a great circle of
girls, so quiet for a moment that Ninety-green, singing one another
home around the campus, sounded as loud and clear as their own voices
a moment ago. They listened with a common impulse as the rollicking
_Tommy Atkins_ song paused awhile under the Washburn windows; they had
been very fond of Ninety-green.

     Ninety-_green_ she is a _winner_,
     Ninety-_green_ she is a _star_,
     Is there _any_thing _agin_ her?
     No, we _do_ not think there _are_!
     There have _been_ some other _classes_,
     Other _seniors_ have been _seen_,
     But they _cannot_ match the _lasses_
     That are _wearing_ of the _green_!

They smiled a little and remembered the great mass of green flags and
ribbons that had waved to that song in last year's Rally. But they did
not answer with one of their own; a little of the first faint
conviction that the college owns all her classes, the feeling that
grows with the years, came to them, and as the circle pressed closer
and closer and their steps fell into an even tramp, Grace called out,
"Now, girls, here's to old Smith College!" and they sent it out over
the campus, so strong and loud that the decennial people and the
groups of Ninety-green and the juniors and the belated sophomores
lurking about heard them and joined in:

     Oh, _here's_ to old Smith _College_, drink her _down_!
     Oh, _here's_ to old Smith _College_, drink her _down_!
         Oh, _here's_ to old Smith _College_,
         For it's _where_ we get our _knowledge_,
     Drink her _down_, drink her _down_, drink her _down_,
                down, _down_!



     COLLEGE STORIES
     PUBLISHED BY
     MESSRS. CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS
     NEW YORK


     _Smith_

     SMITH COLLEGE STORIES
     BY
     JOSEPHINE DODGE DASKAM
     12_mo_, $1.50

An animated picture of a particularly active-minded and picturesque
community is contained in Miss Daskam's volume. "Smith" may be taken
as an epitome of the woman's college world; and these ten stories have
a real value accordingly in showing what the undergraduate life of
many thousands of American young women really is in its varied phases,
illustrating their ambitions, manners, occupations, and traits.

The stories, however, show that a good deal of human nature exists
within college walls, and they will certainly appeal as strongly to
the fiction-lover as to the sociologist, being written with great
cleverness and sparkle, and clearly the work of a born writer of
stories.

TITLES OF THE STORIES

     _The Emotions of a Sub-Guard_
     _A Case of Interference_
     _Miss Biddle of Bryn Mawr_
     _Biscuits ex Machina_
     _The Education of Elizabeth_
     _A Family Affair_
     _A Few Diversions_
     _The Evolution of Evangeline_
     _At Commencement_
     _The End of It_


     _Princeton_

     PRINCETON STORIES
     BY
     JESSE LYNCH WILLIAMS
     _9th Thousand_
     12_mo_, $1.00

Here is the evanescent charm, the touch of poetry and sentiment, that
pervades a thousand unpoetic and rather reserved young men. You will
find here the good fellowship depicted without any rant about it.
There isn't a prig in these stories, ... that are well written and
well constructed, judged from the standard of good American
short-story writers.--_Droch in Life_.

They breathe a spirit of commendable vigor and manliness. Princeton
men are fortunate in having the life of their college so favorably
presented to the outside world.--_Atlantic Monthly_.


     THE ADVENTURES OF A FRESHMAN
     BY
     JESSE LYNCH WILLIAMS
     _Illustrated_, 12_mo_, $1.25

The new story of college life by the author of "Princeton Stories" is
a stirring tale of experiences at college, and has already been
pronounced (by the New York _Evening Sun_) "a better picture of
college life than the same author's 'Princeton Stories'" (which is now
in its ninth thousand). The _Independent_ says: "Hazing, the ups and
downs of athletics, manliness and boyishness happily blended,
escapades and adventures--all tending to the building up of a typical
American character, brim the book with genuine life."


     CHARLES SCRIBNER'S SONS, PUBLISHERS
     153-157 FIFTH AVENUE, NEW YORK





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