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Title: Marjorie Dean College Junior
Author: Lester, Pauline
Language: English
As this book started as an ASCII text book there are no pictures available.
Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Marjorie Dean College Junior" ***

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[Illustration: Under the tree was a grassy mound. On this Elaine was
invited to sit. _Page 66_]



                             MARJORIE DEAN
                             COLLEGE JUNIOR

                           By PAULINE LESTER

                               Author of

           “Marjorie Dean, College Freshman,” “Marjorie Dean,
          College Sophomore,” “Marjorie Dean, College Senior,”
                                  and
                  The Marjorie Dean High School Series

                           A. L. BURT COMPANY
                          Publishers—New York



                                  THE
                      Marjorie Dean College Series

          A Series of Stories for Girls 12 to 18 Years of Age

                           By PAULINE LESTER

                    Marjorie Dean, College Freshman
                    Marjorie Dean, College Sophomore
                     Marjorie Dean, College Junior
                     Marjorie Dean, College Senior

                            Copyright, 1922
                         By A. L. BURT COMPANY

                     MARJORIE DEAN, COLLEGE JUNIOR

                           Made in “U. S. A.”



MARJORIE DEAN, COLLEGE JUNIOR.



CHAPTER I—A MUSICAL WELCOME


“Remember; we are to begin with the ‘Serenata.’ Follow that with ‘How
Fair Art Thou’ and ‘Hymn to Hamilton.’ Just as we are leaving, sing ‘How
Can I Leave Thee, Dear?’ We will fade away on the last of that. Want to
make any changes in the programme?”

Phyllis Moore turned inquiringly to her choristers. There were seven of
them including herself, and they were preparing to serenade Marjorie
Dean and her four chums. The Lookouts had returned to Hamilton College
that afternoon from the long summer vacation. This year, their Silverton
Hall friends had arrived before them. Hence Phyllis’s plan to serenade
them.

Robina Page, Portia Graham, Blanche Scott, Elaine Hunter, Marie Peyton
and Marie’s freshman cousin, Hope Morris, comprised Phyllis’s serenading
party. The latter had been invited to participate because she was still
company. Incidentally she knew the songs chosen, with the exception of
the “Hymn to Hamilton,” and could sing alto. She was, therefore, a
valuable asset.

“I hope Leila has managed to cage the girls in Marjorie’s room,”
remarked Blanche Scott. “We want all five Sanfordites in on the
serenade.”

“Leave it to Irish Leila to cage anything she starts out to cage,” was
Robin’s confident assurance. “If she says she will do a thing, she will
accomplish it, somehow. Leila is a diplomat, and so clever she is
amazing.”

“Vera Mason isn’t far behind her. Those two have chummed together so
long their methods are similar. They were the first girls I knew at
Hamilton. They met the train I came in on. Nella Sherman and Selma
Sanbourne were with them. Two more fine girls. Portia looked pleasantly
reminiscent of her reception by the quartette to which she now referred.

“I heard Selma Sanbourne wasn’t coming back. I must ask Leila about
that.” Robin made mental note of the question.

“That will be hard on Nella,” observed Elaine Hunter, with her usual
ready sympathy. “They have always been such great chums.”

“Sorry to interrupt, but we must be hiking, girls.” In command of the
tuneful expedition, Phyllis tucked her violin case under her arm in
business-like fashion and cast a critical eye over her flock.

“Be sure you have your instruments of torture with you,” she laughed.
“One time, at home, three girls and myself started out to serenade a
friend of ours. Before we started we had all been sitting on our
veranda, eating ice cream. One of the girls was to accompany us on the
mandolin. She walked away and left it on the veranda. She never noticed
the omission until we were ready to lift up our voices. So we had to
sing without it, for it was over a mile to our house and she couldn’t
very well go back after it.”

“Let this be a warning to you mandolin players not to do likewise.”
Marie turned a severe eye on Elaine and Portia, who made pretext of
clutching their mandolins in a firmer grip.

“My good old guitar is hung to me by a ribbon. I am not likely to go
away from here without it.” Blanche patted the smooth, shining back of
the guitar.

“We couldn’t have chosen a better time for a serenade,” exulted Robin.
“It is a fine night; just dark enough. Besides, there are not many girls
back at Wayland Hall yet. We won’t be so conspicuous with our caroling.”

Meanwhile, in a certain room at Wayland Hall, wily Lelia Harper was
exerting herself to be agreeable to her Lookout chums. Three of them she
had marshaled to Marjorie’s room on plea of showing them souvenirs of a
trip she had made through Ireland that summer.

The souvenirs had been heartily admired, but even they could not stem
Muriel’s and Jerry’s determined desire to entertain. First Jerry
innocently proposed that they all walk over to Baretti’s for ices. Leila
and Vera exhibited no enthusiasm at the invitation. Next, Muriel
re-proposed the jaunt at her expense. Vera cast an appealing look toward
Leila. The latter was equal to the occasion.

“And are you so tired of me and my pictures of my Emerald Isle that you
want to hurry me off to Baretti’s to be rid of me?” she questioned, in
an offended tone.

“Certainly not, and you needn’t pretend you think so, for you don’t,”
retorted Muriel, unabashed. “Your Irish views are wonderful. So is
Baretti’s fresh peach ice cream. Helen was there and had some this
afternoon. She said it was better than ever. I was only trying to be
hospitable and so was Jerry. Sorry you had to take me too personally.”
Muriel now strove to simulate offense. She turned up her nose, tossed
her head and burst out laughing. “It’s no use,” she said, “I couldn’t
really fuss with you if I tried, Leila Greatheart.”

“I am relieved to hear it,” Leila returned with inimitable dryness.

“Lots of time for Baretti’s and ice cream yet tonight. It’s only
half-past eight.” Marjorie indicated the wall clock with a slight move
of her head. “We can leave here about nine. We’ll be there by ten
after.”

“Certainly; we have oceans of time,” Leila agreed with alacrity. “The
ten-thirty rule is still on a vacation and won’t be back for a week or
so.”

“Oh, I haven’t told you about my new car,” Vera began with sudden
inspiration. “Father bought it for me in August. It is a beauty. He is
going to send James, his chauffeur, here with it. It may arrive
tomorrow. I hope it does.” Vera launched into a description of her car
with intent to kill time. Phyllis had set the hour for the serenade to
the Lookouts at a quarter to nine.

“It will be good and dark then,” she had told Leila and Vera. “We will
have to come as early as that, for we are going to Acasia House to
serenade Barbara Severn, and to Alston Terrace to sing to Isabel Keller.
Last, we are going to serenade Miss Humphrey. We’ll have to hustle, in
order to go the rounds and get back to Silverton Hall before eleven
o’clock. I depend on you, Leila, to keep that lively bunch of
Sanfordites in until we get there.”

Leila, aided by Vera, was now endeavoring to carry out Phyllis’s
request. She was privately hoping that the serenaders would be on time.
Should they delay until nine or after, they were quite likely to gather
in under the window of a deserted room.

Readers of the “Marjorie Dean High School Series” have long been in
touch with Marjorie Dean and the friends of her high school days.
“Marjorie Dean, High School Freshman,” recounted her advent into Sanford
High School and what happened to her during her first year there.
“Marjorie Dean, High School Sophomore,” “Marjorie Dean, High School
Junior,” and “Marjorie Dean, High School Senior,” completed a series of
stories which dealt entirely with Marjorie’s four years’ course at
Sanford High School. Admirers of the loyal-hearted, high-principled
young girl, who became a power at high school because of her many fine
qualities, will recall her ardent wish to enroll as a student at
Hamilton College when she should have finished her high school days.

In “Marjorie Dean, College Freshman,” will be found the account of
Marjorie’s doings as a freshman at Hamilton College. Entering college
full of noble resolves and high ideals, she was not disappointed in her
Alma Mater, although she was not long in discovering that an element of
snobbery was abroad at Hamilton which was totally against Hamilton
traditions. Aided by four of her Sanford chums, who had entered Hamilton
College with her, and a number of freshmen and upper class girls, of
democratic mind, the energetic band had endeavored to combat the
pernicious influence, exercised by a clique of moneyed girls, which was
fast taking hold upon other students. The end of the college year had
found their efforts successful, in a measure, and the way paved for
better things.

In “Marjorie Dean, College Sophomore,” the further account of Marjorie’s
eventful college days was set forth. Opposed, from her return to
Hamilton College by certain girls residing in the same house with
herself, who disliked her independence and fair-mindedness, Marjorie was
later given signal proof of their enmity. How she and her chums fought
them on their own ground and won a notable victory over them formed a
narrative of pleasing interest and lively action.

Now that the Five Travelers, as the quintette of Sanford girls loved to
call themselves, were once more settled in the country of college, their
devoted friends had already planned to honor them. Leila and Vera, who
invariably returned early to college, had encountered Phyllis on the
campus on the day previous. Informing her of the Lookouts’ expected
arrival on the next afternoon, Phyllis had planned the serenade and
demanded Leila’s help. Leila had rashly promised to keep the arrivals at
home that evening. She was now of the opinion that a promise was
sometimes easier made than fulfilled.

“Since Vera has told you everything she can remember about her new
roadster, I shall now do a little talking myself.” Leila was having the
utmost difficulty in controlling her risibles. She dared not look at
Vera; nor dared Vera look at her. “Ahem! When I was in Ireland,” she
pompously announced, “I saw——”

Came the welcome interruption for which she had been waiting. Clear and
sweet under the windows of the room rose the strains of Tosti’s
“Serenata.” A brief prelude and voices took it up, filling the evening
air with harmony.

“Thank my stars! A-h-h!” Leila relaxed exaggeratedly in her chair, her
Cheshire-cat smile predominating her features.

“You bad old rascal!” Marjorie paused long enough to shake Leila
playfully by the shoulders. Then she hurried to one of the windows.
Jerry, Muriel and Lucy had reached one. Ronny and Vera were at the
other. Marjorie joined them. Leila made no move to rise. She preferred
sitting where she was.

“Keep quiet,” Jerry had admonished at the first sounds. “If we start to
talk to them, they’ll stop singing. Whoever they are, they certainly can
sing.” Her companions of her mind, it was a silent and appreciative
little audience that gathered at the open windows to listen to the
serenaders.

There was no moon that night. It was impossible to see the faces of the
carolers, nor, in the general harmony of melodious sound, was it
possible to identify any one voice. An energetic clapping of hands, from
other windows as well as those of Marjorie’s room, greeted the close of
the “Serenata.” Then a high soprano voice, which the girls recognized as
Robin Page’s, began that most beautiful of old songs, “How Fair Art
Thou.” A violin throbbed a soft obligato.

The marked hush that hung over the Hall during the rendering of the song
was most complimentary to the soloist. The serenaders were not out for
glory, however. Hardly had the applause accorded Robin died out, when
mandolins, guitar and violin took up the stately “Hymn to Hamilton.”

  “First in wisdom, first in precept; teach us to revere
      thy way:
  Grant us mind to know thy purpose, keep us in
      thy brightest ray.
  Let our acts be shaped in honor; let our steps be
      just and free:
  Make us worthy of thy threshold, as we pledge our
      faith to thee.”

Thus ran the first stanza, set to a sonorous air which the combined
harmony of voices and musical instruments rendered doubly beautiful. It
seemed to those honored by the serenaders that they had never before
heard the fine old hymn so inspiringly sung. The whole three stanzas
were given. The instant the hymn was ended the familiar melody “How Can
I Leave Thee Dear?” followed.

“That means they are going to beat it,” called Jerry in low tones. “Let
us head them off before they can get away and take them with us to
Baretti’s. We’ll have to start now, if we expect to catch them. They’re
beginning the second stanza. We’ll just give _them_ a little surprise.”

With one accord the appreciative and mischievous audience left the
windows and made a rush for the stairs. Headed by Jerry they exited
quietly from the house and stole around its right-hand corner.

Absorbed in their own lyric efforts, the singers had reached the third
sentimentally pathetic stanza:

  “If but a bird were I, homeward to thee I’d fly;
  Falcon nor hawk I’d fear, if thou wert near.
  Shot by a hunter’s ball; would at thy feet I fall,
  If but one ling’ring tear would dim thine eye.”

Ready to leave almost on the last line, they were not prepared for the
merry crowd of girls who pounced suddenly upon them.

“How can you leave us, dears?” caroled Muriel Harding, as she caught
firm hold of Robin Page. “You are not going to leave us. Don’t imagine
it for a minute.”



CHAPTER II—UNDER THE SEPTEMBER STARS


“Captured by Sanfordites!” exclaimed Robin dramatically. “What fate is
left to us now?” Despite her tragic utterance, she proceeded to a
vigorous hand-shaking with Muriel.

“Now why couldn’t you have stayed upstairs like nice children and
praised our modest efforts in your behalf instead of prancing down
stairs to head us off?” inquired Phyllis in pretended disgust. “Not one
of you has the proper idea of the romance which should attend a
serenade. Of course, you didn’t _know_ who was singing to you, and, of
course, you just simply _had_ to find out.”

“Don’t delude yourself with any such wild idea,” Jerry made haste to
retort. “We knew Robin’s voice the minute she opened her mouth to sing
‘How Fair Art Thou.’ Now which one of us were you particularly referring
to in that number? I took it straight to myself. Of course I _may_ be a
trifle presumptuous, Ahem!”

“Yes; ‘Ahem!’” mimicked Phyllis. “You are just the same good old, funny
old scout, Jeremiah. Somebody please hold my violin while I embrace
Jeremiah.”

“Hold it yourself,” laughed Portia. “We have fond welcomes of our own to
hand around and need the use of our arms.”

Full of the happiness of the meeting the running treble of girlhood,
mingled with ripples of gay, light laughter, was music in itself.

“The Moore Symphony Orchestra and Concert Company will have to be moving
on,” Elaine reminded after fifteen minutes had winged away. “This is
Phil’s organization but she seems to have forgotten all about it. We are
supposed to serenade Barbara Severn, Isabel Keller and Miss Humphrey
while the night is yet young. I can see where someone of the trio will
have to be unserenaded this evening.”

“Couldn’t you serenade them tomorrow night?” coaxed Marjorie. “We had it
all planned to go to Baretti’s before we hustled down to head you off.
The instant I recognized Robin’s heavenly soprano I knew that the
Silvertonites were under our windows. I guess the rest knew, too. We
didn’t want to talk while you were singing.”

“Very polite in you, I am sure.” In the darkness Elaine essayed a
profound bow. Result, her head came into smart contact with Blanche’s
guitar.

“Steady there! I need my guitar for the next orchestral spasm.” Blanche
swung the instrument under her arm out of harm’s way.

“I need my head, too,” giggled Elaine, ruefully rubbing that slightly
injured member.

“Do serenade the others tomorrow night.” Ronny now added her plea. “How
would you like to take us along with you, then? Not to sing, but just
for company, you know. I never went out serenading, and I fully feel the
need of excitement.”

“What you folks need is fresh peach ice cream and lots of it,” Jerry
advised with crafty enthusiasm. “It’s to be had at Giuseppe Baretti’s.”

“I know of nothing more refreshing to tired soloists than fresh peach
ice cream,” seconded Vera. “I leave it to my esteemed friend, Irish
Leila, if I am not entirely correct in this.”

“You are. Now what is it that you are quite right about?” Leila had
caught the last sentence and risen to the occasion.

“Such support,” murmured Vera, as a laugh arose.

“Is it not now?” Leila blandly commented. “Never worry. There is little
I would not agree with you in, Midget. Be consoled with that handsome
amend. As for you singers and wandering musicians, you had better come
with us.

  “We’ll feed you on fine white bread of the wheat
     And the drip of honey gold:
   We’ll give you pale clouds for a mantle sweet,
     And a handful of stars to hold.”

Leila sang lightly the quaint words of an old Irish ditty.

“Can we resist such a prospect?” laughed Phyllis. “How about it, girls?
Is it on with the serenade or on to Baretti’s?”

“Baretti’s it had better be, since we are invited there by such
distinguished persons,” was Robin’s decision. “Leila, you are to teach
me that song you were just humming. It is sweet!”

Her companions were nothing loath to abandon their project for the
evening in order to hob-nob with their Wayland Hall friends. They came
to this decision very summarily. Now fourteen strong, the company turned
their steps toward their favorite restaurant.

They were nearing the cluster lights stationed at each side of the wide
walk leading up to the entrance of the tea room, when Lucy Warner
stopped short with: “Oh, girls; I know something that I think would be
nice to do.”

“Speak up, respected Luciferous,” encouraged Vera. “You say so little it
is a pleasure to listen to you. I wish I could say that of everyone I
know,” she added significantly.

“Have you an idea of whom she may be talking about?” quizzed Leila,
rolling her eyes at her companions.

“She certainly doesn’t mean us, even if she didn’t say ‘present company
excepted.’” Muriel beamed at Leila with trustful innocence. “Go ahead,
Luciferous Warniferous, noble Sanfordite, and tell us what’s on your
mind.”

“I had no idea I was so greatly respected in this crowd. I never before
saw signs of it. Much obliged. This is what I thought of.” Lucy came to
the point with her usual celerity. “Why not serenade Signor Baretti? He
is an Italian. The Italians all love music. I know he would like it. You
girls sing and play so beautifully.”

“Of course he would.” Marjorie was the first to endorse Lucy’s proposal
“This is really a fine time for it, too. It’s late enough in the evening
so that there won’t be many persons in the restaurant.”

“It would delight his little, old Giuseppeship,” approved Blanche.

“No doubt about it,” Robin heartily concurred. “We ought to sing
something from an Italian opera. That would please him most. The Latins
don’t quite understand the beauty of our English and American songs.”

“We can sing the sextette from ‘Lucia,’” proposed Elaine. “It doesn’t
matter about the words. We know the music. We have sung that together so
many times we wouldn’t make a fizzle of it.”

“Yes, and there is the ‘Italian Song at Nightfall’ that Robin sings so
wonderfully. We can help out on the last part of it.” Tucking her violin
under her chin, Phyllis played a few bars of the selection she had
named. “I can play it,” she nodded. “I never tried it on the fiddle
before.”

“That’s two,” counted Robin. “For a third and last let’s give that
pretty ‘Gondelier’s Love Song,’ by Nevin. It doesn’t matter about words
to that, either. There aren’t any. People ought to learn to appreciate
songs without words. Giuseppe won’t care a hang about anything but the
music. If any of you Wayland Hallites decide to sing with us, sing
nicely. Don’t you dare make the tiniest discord.”

“She has some opinion of herself as a singer,” Leila told the others,
with comically raised brows. “Be easy. We have no wish to lilt wid yez.”

Having decided to serenade the unsuspecting proprietor of the tea room,
the next point to be settled was where they should stand to sing.

“Wait a minute. I’ll go and look in one of the windows,” volunteered
Ronny. “Perhaps I shall be able to see just where he is.”

“He is usually at his desk about this time in the evening. We’ll gather
around the window nearest where he is sitting,” planned Phyllis.

Ronny flitted lightly ahead of her companions, stopping at a window on
the right-hand side, well to the rear. The others followed her more
slowly in order to give her time to make the observation. Before they
reached her she turned from her post and came quickly to them.

“He is back at the last table on the left reading a newspaper. There
isn’t a soul in the room but himself,” she said in an undertone. “The
time couldn’t be more opportune.”

“Oh, fine,” whispered Robin. “We can go around behind the inn and be
right at the window nearest him.”

“The non-singers, I suppose we might call ourselves the trailers, will
politely station our magnificent selves at the next window above the
singers to see how the victim takes it,” decided Jerry. “Contrary, ‘no.’
I don’t hear any opposing voices.”

“There mustn’t be _any_ voices heard for the next two minutes,” warned
Portia Graham. “Slide around the inn and take your places as quietly as
mice.”

In gleeful silence the girls divided into two groups, each group taking
up its separate station.

“I hope the night air hasn’t played havoc with my strings,” breathed
Phyllis. “I don’t dare try them. Are we ready?” She rapped softly on the
face of her violin with the bow.

Followed the tense instant that always precedes the performance of an
orchestra, then Phyllis and Robin began the world-known sextette from
“Lucia.” Robin had sung it so many times in private to the accompaniment
of her cousin’s violin that the attack was perfect. The others took it
up immediately, filling the night with echoing sweetness.

From their position at the next window the watchers saw the dark, solemn
face of the Italian raised in bewildered amazement from his paper. Not
quite comprehending at first the unbidden flood of music which met his
ears, he listened for a moment in patent stupefaction. Soon a smile
began to play about his tight little mouth. It widened into a grin of
positive pleasure. Giuseppe understood that a great honor was being done
him. He was not only being serenaded, but he was listening to the music
of his native country as well.

His varying facial expressions, as the sextette rose and fell, showed
his love of the selection. As it ended, he did an odd thing. He rose
from his chair, bowed his profound thanks toward the window from whence
came the singing, and sat down again, looking expectant.

“He knows very well he’s being watched,” whispered Marjorie. “Doesn’t he
look pleased? I’m so glad you thought of him, Lucy.”

Lucy was also showing shy satisfaction at the success of her proposal.
She was secretly more proud of some small triumph of the kind on her
part than of her brilliancy as a student.

Had Signor Baretti been attending a performance of grand opera, he could
not have shown a more evident pleasure in the programme. He listened to
the entertainment so unexpectedly provided him with the rapt air of a
true music-lover.

“There!” softly exclaimed Phyllis, as she lowered her violin. “That’s
the end of the programme, Signor Baretti. Now for that fresh peach ice
cream. I shall have coffee and mountain cake with it. I am as hungry as
the average wandering minstrel.”

“Let’s walk in as calmly as though we had never thought of serenading
Giuseppe,” said Robin. “Oh, we can’t. I forgot. The orchestra part of
this aggregation is a dead give-away.”

“We don’t care. He will know it was we who were out there. There is no
one else about but us. I hope he won’t think we are a set of little
Tommy Tuckers singing for our suppers. That’s a horrible afterthought on
my part,” Elaine laughed.

“Come on.” Jerry and her group had now joined the singers. “He saw us
but not until you were singing that Nevin selection. He kept staring at
the window where the sound came from. We had our faces right close to
our window and all of a sudden he looked straight at us. You should have
seen him laugh. His whole face broke into funny little smiles.”

“He may have thought we were the warblers,” suggested Muriel hopefully.
“We can parade into the inn on your glory. If I put on airs he may take
me for the high soprano.” She glanced teasingly at Robin.

“Oh, go as far as you like. It won’t be the first instance in the
world’s history where some have done all the work and others have taken
all the credit,” Robin reminded.

In this jesting frame of mind the entire party strolled around to the
inn’s main entrance. At the door they found Giuseppe waiting for them,
his dark features wreathed in smiles.

“I wait for you here,” he announced, with an eloquent gesture of the
hand. “So I know som’ my friendly young ladies from the college sing
just for me. You come in. You are my com’ny. You say what you like. I
give the best. Not since I come this country I hear the singing I like
so much. The Lucia! Ah, that is the one I lov’!

“I tell you the little story while you stan’ here. Then you come in.
When I come this country, I am the very poor boy. Come in the steerage.
No much to eat. I fin’ work. Then the times hard, I lose work. All over
New York I walk, but don’t fin’. I have _no one cent_. I am put from the
bed I rent. I can no pay. For four days I have the nothing eat. I say,
‘It is over.’ I am this, that I will walk to the river in the night an’
be no more.

“It is the very warm night and I am tired. I walk an’ walk.” His face
took on a shade of his by-gone hopelessness as he continued. “Soon I
come the river, I think. Then I hear the music. It is in the next street
jus’ I go turn into. It is the harp an’ violin. Two my countrymen play
the Lucia. I am so sad. I sit on a step an’ cry. Pretty soon one these
ask the money gif’ for the music. He touch me on shoulder, say very kind
in Italian, ‘_Che c’è mai?_’ That mean, ‘What the matter?’ He see I am
the Italiano. We look each other. Both cry, then embrac’. He is my
oldes’ brother. He come here long before me. My mother an’ I, we don’t
hear five years. Then my mother die. Two my brothers work in the _vigna_
for the rich vignaiuolo in my country. My father is dead long time. So I
come here.

“My brother give me the eat, the clothes, the place sleep. He have good
room. He work in the day for rich Italian importer. Sometimes he go out
play at night for help his friend who play the harp. He is the old man
an’ don’t work all the time. So it is I lov’ the Lucia. They don’t play
that, mebbe I don’t sit on that step. Then never fin’ my brother. An’
you have please me more than for many years you play the Lucia for me
this night.”



CHAPTER III—A VERANDA ENCOUNTER


It lacked but a few minutes of eleven o’clock when the serenading party
said goodnight to Signor Baretti and trooped off toward the campus. The
usually taciturn Italian had surprised and touched them by the impulsive
story of his most tragic hour. He had afterward played host to his
light-hearted guests with the true grace of the Latin. No one came to
the inn for cheer after they entered in that evening, so they had the
place quite to themselves. After a feast of the coveted peach ice cream
and cakes, the obliging orchestra tuned up again at Giuseppe’s earnest
request. Robin sang Shubert’s “Serenade” and “Appear Love at Thy
Window.” Phyllis played Raff’s “Cavatina” and one of Brahm’s “Hungarian
Dances.” Blanche Scott sang “Asleep in the Deep,” simply to prove she
had a masculine voice when she chose to use it.

“We’ll come and make music for you again sometime,” promised
kind-hearted Phyllis as they left their beaming host.

“I thank you. An’ you forget you say you come an’ play, I tell you ’bout
it sometime you come here to eat,” he warned the party as they were
leaving.

“Talk about truth being stranger than fiction, what do you think of
Giuseppe’s story?” Jerry exclaimed as soon as they were well away from
the inn. “Imagine how one would feel to meet one’s long-lost brother
just as one was getting ready to commit suicide!”

“One half of the world doesn’t know how the other half lives,” Ronny
said with a shake of her fair head.

“To see Giuseppe today, successful and well-to-do, one finds it hard to
visualize him as the poor, starved, despondent Italian boy who cried his
heart out on the doorstep.” Vera’s tones vibrated with sympathy. The
Italian’s story had impressed her deeply.

The girls discussed it soberly as they wended a leisurely way across the
campus. Even care-free Muriel, who seldom liked to take life seriously,
remarked with becoming earnestness that it was such stories which made
one realize one’s own benefits.

“Be on hand tomorrow night at eight-thirty sharp,” was Phyllis’s parting
injunction to the Wayland Hall girls as the Silvertonites left them to
go on to their own house. “We have three fair ladies to sing to and we
don’t want to slight any of them.”

“I think we ought to get up some entertainments of our own this year. I
never stopped to realize before how few clubs and college societies
Hamilton has. There’s only the ‘Silver Pen’,—one has to have high
literary ability to make that,—the ‘Twelfth Night Club’ and the
‘Fortnightly Debating Society.’ We haven’t a single sorority,” Vera
declared with regret.

“Miss Remson told me once of a sorority that Hamilton used to have
called the ‘Round Table.’ It flourished for many years. Then all of a
sudden she heard no more of it. She said Hamilton was very different
even ten years ago from now. There was little automobiling and more
sociability among the campus houses. There were house plays going on
every week and different kinds of entertainments in which almost
everyone joined.”

“That’s the way college ought to be,” commended Vera. “Even if Hamilton
hasn’t yet won back to those palmy days, we had more fellowship here
last year than the year before. Why, during Leila’s and my freshman year
here we were seldom invited anywhere. We hardly knew Helen Trent until
late in the year. Nella and Selma, Martha Merrick and Rosalind Black
were our only friends.”

“And now we are to lose Selma.” Leila heaved an audible sigh. She had
already informed the girls of Selma’s approaching marriage to a young
naval officer.

“Did Selma know last year she was not going to finish college?” asked
Muriel. “If I had gone through three years of my college course I
wouldn’t give up the last and most important year just to be married.”

“That is because you know nothing about love,” teased Ronny.

“Do you?” challenged Muriel.

“I do not. I have a good deal more sentiment than you have though,”
retorted Ronny. “I can appreciate Selma’s sacrifice at the shrine of
love.”

“So could I if I knew more about it,” Muriel flung back.

“Precisely what I said to you. So glad you agree with me,” chuckled
Ronny.

“I don’t agree with you at all. I meant if I knew more about what you
were pleased to call ‘Selma’s sacrifice,’ not _love_.” Muriel’s emphasis
of the last word proclaimed her disdain of the tender passion.

“Hear the geese converse,” commented Leila. “Let me tell you both that
Selma had to lose either college or her fiancé for two years. He was
ordered to the Philippines to take charge of a naval station on one of
the islands. They were to have been married anyway as soon as she was
graduated from Hamilton. As it was she chose to go with him. So Selma
gained a husband and lost her seniorship and we lost Selma. I shall miss
her, for a finer girl never lived.”

“Nella will miss her most of all,” Vera said quickly. “We must try to
make it up to Nella by taking her around with us a lot.”

They had by this time reached the Hall. Girl-like they lingered on the
steps, enjoying the light night breeze that had sprung up in the last
hour. Marjorie’s old friend, the chimes, had rung out the stroke of
eleven before they reached the Hall. College having not yet opened
officially, they claimed the privilege of keeping a little later hours.

As they loitered outside, conversing in low tones, the front door opened
and a girl stepped out on the veranda. She uttered a faint sound of
surprise at sight of the group of girls. She made a half movement as
though to retreat into the house. Then, her face turned away from them,
she hurried across the veranda and down the steps.

Though the veranda light was not switched on, the girls had seen her
face plainly. To four of them she was known.

“Who was _she_ and what ailed her?” was Muriel’s light question. “She
acted as though she were afraid we might eat her up.”

“That was Miss Sayres, President Matthews’ private secretary,” answered
Leila in a peculiar tone. “As to what ailed her, she did not expect to
see us and she was not pleased. We have an old Irish proverb: ‘When a
man runs from you be sure his feet are at odds with his conscience.’”



CHAPTER IV—A CONGENIAL PAIR


“Well, here we are at the same old stand again.” Leslie Cairns yawned,
stretched upward her kimono-clad arms and clasped them behind her head.
Lounging opposite her, in a deep, Sleepy-Hollow chair, Natalie Weyman,
also in a negligee, scanned her friend’s face with some anxiety.

“Les, do you or do you not intend to try to make a new stand this year
for our rights? I think the way we were treated last year after that
basket-ball affair was simply outrageous. I don’t mean by Miss Dean and
her crowd, I mean by girls we had lunched and done plenty of favors
for.”

“If you are talking about the freshies they never were to be depended
upon from the first. Bess Walbert stood by us, of course. So did a lot
of Alston Terrace kids. She did good work for us there.”

“Every reason why she should have,” Natalie tartly pointed out. She was
still jealous of Leslie’s friendship with Elizabeth Walbert. “You did
enough for _her_. She certainly will not win the soph presidency, no
matter how much you may root for her. She was awfully unpopular with her
class before college closed. I know that to be a fact.”

“Why is it that you have to go up in the air like a sky rocket every
time I mention Bess Walbert’s name?” Leslie scowled her impatience. “You
wouldn’t give that poor kid credit for anything clever she had done, no
matter how wonderful it was.”

“Humph! I have yet to learn of anything wonderful she ever did or ever
will do,” sneered Natalie. “I am not going to quarrel with you, Leslie,
about her.” Natalie modified her tone. “She isn’t worth it. You think I
am awfully jealous of her. I am not. I don’t like her because she is so
untruthful.”

“Why don’t you say she is a liar and be done with it?” ‘So untruthful!’
Leslie mimicked. “That sounds like Bean and her crowd.” Displeased with
Natalie for decrying Elizabeth Walbert, Leslie took revenge by mimicking
her chum. She knew nothing cut Natalie more than to be mimicked.

“All right. I will say it. Bess Walbert _is_ a liar and you will find it
out, too, before you are done with her. Besides, she is treacherous. If
you were to turn her down for any reason, she wouldn’t care what she
said about you on the campus. I have watched her a good deal, Les. She’s
like this. She will take a little bit of truth for a foundation and then
build up something from it that’s entirely a lie. If she would stick to
facts; but she doesn’t.”

“She has always been square enough with me,” Leslie insisted.

“Because you have made a fuss over her,” was the instant explanation.
“She knows you are at the head of the Sans and she has taken precious
good care to keep in with you. She cares for no one but herself.”

“Oh, nonsense! That’s what you always said about Lola Elster. I’ve never
had any rows with Lola. We’re as good friends today as ever.”

“Still Lola dropped you the minute she grew chummy with Alida Burton,”
Natalie reminded. “Lola was just ungrateful, though. She has more honor
in a minute than Bess will ever have. She isn’t a talker or a
mischief-maker. She never thinks of much but having a good time. She
hardly ever says anything gossipy about anyone.”

“I thought you didn’t like Lola?” Leslie smiled in her slow fashion.

“I don’t,” came frankly. “Of the two evils, I prefer her to Bess. My
advice to you is not to be too pleasant with Bess until you see what her
position here at Hamilton is going to be. I tell you she isn’t well
liked. You can keep her at arm’s length, if you begin that way, without
making her sore. If you baby her and then drop her, look out!” Natalie
shook a prophetic finger at Leslie.

“We can’t afford to take any chances this year, Les. With all the things
we have done that would put us in line for being expelled, we have
managed by sheer good luck to slide from under. If we hadn’t worked like
sixty last spring term to make up for the time we lost fooling with
basket-ball we wouldn’t be seniors now. I don’t want any conditions to
work off this year.”

“Neither do I. Don’t intend to have ’em. I begin to believe you may be
right about keeping Bess in her place.” Natalie’s evident earnestness
had made some impression on her companion.

“I _know_ I am,” Natalie emphasized with lofty dignity. “Are you sure
she doesn’t know anything about that hazing business? She made a remark
to Harriet Stephens last spring that sounded as though she knew all
about it.”

“Well, she does not, unless someone of the Sans besides you or I has
told her of it.” Leslie sat up straight in her chair, looking rather
worried. “I must pump her and find out what she knows. If she does know
of it, then we have a traitor in the camp. Mark me, I’ll throw any girl
out of the club who has babbled that affair. Didn’t we doubly swear,
afterward, never to tell it to a soul while we were at Hamilton?”

“Hard to say who told Bess,” shrugged Natalie. “Certainly it was not I.”

“No; you’re excepted. I said that.” Leslie’s assurance was bored. She
was tired of hearing Natalie extol her own loyalty. It was an everyday
citation. “That hazing stunt of ours doesn’t worry me half so much as
that trick we put over on Trotty Remson. I am always afraid that Laura
will flivver someday and the whole thing will come to light. If it
happens after I leave Hamilton, I don’t care. All I care about is
getting through. If I keep on the soft side of my father he is going to
let me help run his business. That’s my dream. But I have to be
graduated with honors, if there are any I can pull down. At least I must
stick it out here for my diploma.”

“What would your father do if you flunked this year in any way?”

“He would disown me. I mean that. I have money of my own; lots of it.
That part of it wouldn’t feaze me. But my father is the only person on
earth I really have any respect for. I’d never get over it; _never_.”

Leslie’s loose features showed a tightened intensity utterly foreign to
them. Her hands took hold on the chair arms with a grip which revealed
something of the nervous emotion the fell contingency inspired in her.

The two girls had arrived on the seven o’clock train from the north that
evening. They had stopped at the Lotus for dinner and had reached the
hall shortly before the beginning of the serenade. Leslie had been
Natalie’s guest at the Weymans’ camp in the Adirondacks. Thus the two
had come on to college together instead of accepting Dulcie Vale’s
invitation to journey from New York City to Hamilton in the Vales’
private car, as they had done the three previous years. Since the hazing
party on St. Valentine’s night, Leslie and Dulcie had not been on
specially good terms. Leslie was still peeved with Dulcie for not having
locked the back door of the untenanted house as she had been ordered to
do. Had she obeyed orders the Sans would not have been put to
panic-stricken flight by unknown invaders. While those who had come to
Marjorie’s rescue might have hung about the outside of the house, they
could not have found entrance easy with both back and front doors
properly locked.

“I don’t know what is the matter with me tonight.” Leslie rose and
commenced a restless walk up and down the room, hands clasped behind her
back. “That music upset me, I guess. I wonder who the singers were.
Serenading Bean and her gang. Humph! Nobody ever serenaded us that I can
recall. I suppose Beanie arrived in all her glory this afternoon, hence
those yowlers under her window tonight.”

“They really sang beautifully. Whoever played the violin was a fine
musician. I never heard a better rendition of ‘How Fair Art Thou.’” Fond
of music, Natalie was forced to admit the high quality of the
performance, even though the serenade had been in honor of the girl of
whom she had always been so jealous.

“I don’t care much for music unless it is rag-time or musical comedy
stuff. Sentimental songs get on my nerves. I hate that priggish old
‘Hymn to Hamilton.’ I hope Laura got out of here without being seen.”
Leslie went back to the subject still uppermost in her mind. “It was
risking something to send for her to come over here, but I was anxious
to see her and find out if anything had happened this summer detrimental
to us. I didn’t feel like meeting her along the road tonight.”

“Oh, I don’t believe anyone saw her,” reassured Natalie. “It was after
eleven when she left here. The house was quiet as could be. I noticed it
when I went out in the hall before she left to see if the coast was
clear. Not more than half the girls who belong here are back yet. Bean
and her crowd had gone to bed, I presume. You wouldn’t catch such angels
as they even making a dent in the ten-thirty rule.”

“That’s so.” Leslie made one more trip up and down the room, then
resumed the chair in which she had been sitting. “Well, I’ll take it for
granted that Sayres made a clean get-away. One thing about her, she will
stand by us as long as she is paid for it. Besides, she would get into
more trouble than we if the truth were known. That’s where we have the
advantage of her. She has to protect herself as well as us. What I have
always been afraid of is this: If Remson and old Doctor Know-it-all ever
came to an understanding he would go to quizzing Sayres. If she lost her
nerve, for he is a terror when he’s angry, she might flivver.”

“Don’t cross bridges until you come to them,” counseled Natalie. She was
beginning to see the value of assuming the role of comforter to Leslie.
One thing Natalie had determined. She would strain a point to be first
with Leslie during their senior year. She had importuned Leslie to visit
her for the purpose of regaining her old footing. She and Leslie had
spent a fairly congenial month together in the Adirondacks. Now Natalie
intended to hold the ground she had gained against all comers.

“I’m not going to. I shall forget last year, so far as I can. I
certainly spent enough money and didn’t gain a thing. Our best plan is
to go on as we did last spring. If I see a good opportunity to bother
Bean and her devoted beanstalks, I shall not let it pass me by. I am not
going to take any more risks, though. If I manage to live down those
I’ve taken, I’ll do well.”

“I know I wouldn’t _raise a hand_ to help a freshie this year,” Natalie
declared with a positive pucker of her small mouth. “Think of the way we
rushed the greedy ingrates! Then they wouldn’t stand up for us during
that basket-ball trouble.”

“Put all that down to profit and loss.” Leslie had emerged from the
brief spasm of dread which invariably visited her after seeing Laura
Sayres. “We had the wrong kind of girls to deal with. There were more
digs and prigs in that class than eligibles. That’s why we lost. I am
all done with that sort of thing. If I can’t be as popular as Bean,”
Leslie’s intonation was bitterly sarcastic, “I can be a good deal more
exclusive. As it is, I expect to have all I can do to keep the Sans in
line. Dulcie Vale has an idea that she ought to run the club. Give her a
chance and she’d run it into the ground. She has as much sense as a
peacock. She can fan her feathers and squawk.”

Natalie laughed outright at this. It was so exactly descriptive of
Dulcie.

Leslie looked well pleased with herself. She thoroughly enjoyed saying
smart things which made people laugh. It was a sore cross to her that
after three years of the hardest striving she had not attained the kind
of popularity at Hamilton which she craved. Yet she could not see
wherein she was to blame.

Gifted with a keen sense of humor, she had tricks of expression so
original in themselves that she might have easily gained a reputation as
the funniest girl in college. Had good humor radiated her peculiarly
rugged features she would have been that rarity, an ugly beauty. Due to
her proficiency at golf and tennis, she was of most symmetrical figure.
She was particularly fastidious as to dress, and made a smart
appearance. Having so much that was in her favor, she was hopelessly
hampered by self.



CHAPTER V—A LUCKY MISHAP


The serenading expedition of the next night was the beginning of a
succession of similar gaieties for the Lookouts. As Hamilton continued
to gather in her own for the college year, the Sanford quintette found
themselves in flattering demand.

“If I don’t stay at home once in a while I shall never be able to find a
thing that belongs to me,” Muriel Harding cried out in despair as Jerry
reminded her at luncheon that they were invited to Silverton Hall that
evening to celebrate Elaine Hunter’s birthday. “You girls may laugh, but
honestly I haven’t finished unpacking my trunk. Every time I plan to
wind up that delightful job, along comes some friendly, but misguided
person and invites me out.”

“Stay at home then,” advised Jerry. “If that last remark of yours was
meant for me, I am _not_ misguided and I shall _not_ be friendly if you
hurl such adjectives at me.”

“Neither was meant for you. You are only the bearer of the invitation.
Why stir up a breeze over nothing?”

“If you don’t go to Elaine’s birthday party she will think you stayed
away because you were too stingy to buy her a present. We are all going
to drive to Hamilton this afternoon after classes to buy gifts for her.
Don’t you wish you were going, too?” Ronny regarded Muriel with
tantalizing eyes.

“Oh, I’m going along,” Muriel glibly assured. “You can’t lose me. What I
like to do and what I ought to do are two very different things. After
this week I shall settle down to the student life in earnest. My
subjects are terrific this term. I am sorry I started calculus. I had
enough to do without that.”

“This will have to be my last party for a week or two,” Marjorie
declared. “I haven’t done any real studying this week, and I owe all my
correspondents letters. I feel guilty for not having done more toward
helping this year’s freshies. I’ve only been down to the station twice.”

“They’re in good hands. Phil and Barbara have done glorious work. They
have had at least twenty sophs helping them. It’s a cinch this year.
Very different from last.” Jerry gave a short laugh. “Phil says,” Jerry
discreetly lowered her voice, “that not a Sans has come near the station
since she has been on committee duty there to welcome the freshies. I
told her it didn’t surprise me.”

“I didn’t know Miss Cairns and Miss Weyman had come back until I
happened to pass them in the upstairs hall,” Muriel said.

“They were here for a couple of days before Leila knew it, and she
generally knows who is back and who isn’t. Miss Remson told Leila she
didn’t know it herself until the next day after they arrived. The two of
them came back together on the night we were serenaded. They simply
walked into the house and went to their rooms. She didn’t see them until
noon the next day.” It was Veronica who delivered this information.

“Did Miss Remson say anything to them on account of it?” questioned
Muriel.

“No; she wasn’t pleased, but she said she thought it best to ignore it.
It was just one more discourtesy on their part.”

“That accounts for our meeting Miss Sayres on the veranda.” Lucy’s
greenish eyes had grown speculative. “She had been calling on those two.
We spoke of it after she passed, you will remember. Leila said ‘No,’
they had not come back yet. We wondered on whom she had been calling at
the Hall. While we can’t prove that it was Miss Cairns and Miss Weyman
she had come to see, that would be the natural conclusion,” Lucy summed
up with the gravity of a lawyer.

“I object, your honor. The evidence is too fragmentary to be
considered,” put in Muriel in mannish tones. She bowed directly to
Marjorie.

“Court’s adjourned. I have nothing to say.” Marjorie laughed and pushed
back her chair from the table. “I’m not making light of what you said,
Lucy.” She turned to the latter. “I was only funning with Muriel. I
think as you do. Still none of us can prove it.”

“I wish the whole thing would be cleared up before those girls are
graduated and gone from Hamilton,” Katherine Langly said almost
vindictively. “I wouldn’t care if it made a lot of trouble for them all.
Miss Remson has stood so much from them and she still feels so hurt at
Doctor Matthews’ unjust treatment of her. I can’t believe he wrote that
letter. She believes it.”

“I don’t see how she can in face of all the contemptible things the Sans
have done,” asserted Jerry.

“She believes it because she says he signed the letter, so he must have
written it. I told her the signature might be a forgery. She said ‘No,
it could hardly be that.’ I saw she was set on that point, so I didn’t
argue it further.”

“Excuse me for abruptly changing the subject, but where are we to meet
after classes this P.M.?” inquired Muriel.

The chums had left the table and proceeded as far as the hall, where
their ways separated.

“Go straight over to the garage. Our two Old Reliables will be there
with their buzz wagons. Be on time, too,” called Jerry, as with an “All
right, much obliged, Jeremiah,” Muriel started up the stairs. Half way
up she turned and asked, “What time?”

“Quarter past four. If you aren’t there on the dot we shall go without
you. None of us know what we are going to buy, so we want all the time
we can have to look around. Remember, we have to hustle back to the
Hall, have dinner and dress.”

“I’ll remember.” With a wag of her head Muriel resumed her ascent of the
stairs and quickly disappeared.

The others stopped briefly in the hall to talk. Marjorie was next to
leave the group. She remembered she had intended to change her white
linen frock, which did not look quite fresh enough for a trip to town.
Her last recitation of the afternoon being chemistry, she knew she would
have no time to return to the Hall before meeting her chums at the
garage.

Alas for the pretty gown of delft blue pongee which she had donned with
girlish satisfaction at luncheon time. An accident at the chemical desk
sent a veritable deluge of discoloring liquid showering over her.
Despite her apron, her frock was plentifully spotted by it.

Ordinarily she would have made light of the misfortune. As it was she
felt ready to cry with vexation. She would have to change gowns again in
order to be presentable for the trip to Hamilton. The girls had set
four-fifteen as the starting time. She could not possibly make it before
four-thirty.

Her first resolve was to hurry over to the garage immediately after the
chemistry period and tell the the girls not to wait for her.

In spite of Jerry’s assertion to Muriel that they would not wait a
moment after four-fifteen, Marjorie knew that they would strain a point
and linger a little longer if she did not put in an appearance at the
time appointed. Recalling the fact that Lucy was in the Biological
Laboratory, situated across the hall from the Chemical Laboratory,
Marjorie decided to try to catch Lucy before she left the building and
send word to the others to go on without her. She could then hurry
straight to the Hall, slip into another gown and hail a taxicab going to
the town of Hamilton. There were usually two or three to be found in the
immediate vicinity of the campus.

“Oh, there you are!” Marjorie hailed softly, when, at precisely four
o’clock Lucy emerged from the laboratory across the hall. “I thought you
would be out on the minute on account of going to town. I left chemistry
five minutes earlier for fear of missing you. Just see what happened to
me.” She displayed the results of the accident. “I am a sight. Tell the
girls not to wait. I must go on to the Hall and make myself presentable.
I’ll take a taxi and meet them at the Curio Shop. If they’re ready to go
on before I reach there, tell them to leave word with the proprietor
where they are going next.”

“All right. What a shame about your dress. Do you think those stains
will come out?” Lucy scanned the unsightly spots and streaks with a
dubious eye.

“I know they won’t.” Marjorie voiced rueful positiveness. “This is the
first time I ever wore this frock. I gave it a nice baptism, didn’t I?
Well, it can’t be helped now. I mustn’t stop.” The two had come to the
outer entrance to Science Hall. “See you at the Curio Shop.” With a
parting wave of the hand Marjorie ran lightly down the steps and trotted
across the campus.

Always quick of action, it did not take her long, once she had gained
her room, to discard the unlucky blue pongee gown for one of pink linen.

“Just half-past four. I didn’t do so badly,” she congratulated,
consulting her wrist watch as she hastened down the driveway toward the
west gate. “Now for a taxi.”

No taxicab was in sight, however. Three of these useful vehicles had
recently reaped a harvest of students bound for town and started off
with them. Five minutes passed and Marjorie grew more impatient. To
undertake to walk to Hamilton would add greatly to the delay in joining
the gift seekers. True she might meet a taxicab on the way. Whether the
driver would turn back for a single fare she was not sure. She
determined to walk on rather than stand still. If she were lucky enough
to meet a taxicab on the highway she would offer its driver double fare
to turn around and take her into town.

The brisk pace at which she walked soon brought her to the western end
of the campus wall. Presently she had reached the beginning of Hamilton
Estates. And still no sign of a taxicab!

“It looks as though I’d have to walk after all,” she remarked, half
aloud. “How provoking!” She would reach the Curio Shop about the time
the others were starting for the campus was her vexed calculation.
Besides, there was Lucy, who would patiently wait for her when she might
be going on with the others. They had planned to visit two or three
shops.

In the midst of her annoyance, the sound of a motor behind caused her to
turn. To her surprise she recognized the driver and machine as being of
the regular jitney service between the campus and the town. His only
fare was a young man, evidently a salesman who had had business at the
college. He was occupying the front seat beside the driver.

The latter stopped at Marjorie’s sign and opened the door of the tonneau
for her. Very thankfully she stepped in. Engaged in conversation with
the salesman, the man at the wheel drove along at a leisurely rate of
speed. Marjorie could only wish that he would hurry a little faster.

Coming opposite to Hamilton Arms, Marjorie forgot her impatience as her
eyes eagerly took in the estate she so greatly admired. The
chrysanthemums had begun to throw out luxuriant bloom in border and bed,
while the bronze and scarlet of fallen leaves lay lightly on the
short-cropped grass.

Almost opposite the point where Hamilton Arms adjoined the next estate,
Marjorie spied a small, familiar figure trotting along at the left of
the highway. It was Miss Susanna Hamilton. In one hand she carried a
good-sized splint basket from which nodded a colorful wealth of
chrysanthemums in little individual flower pots. She was bare-headed,
though over her black silk dress she wore the knitted scarlet shawl
which gave her the odd likeness to a lively old robin.

Marjorie leaned forward a trifle as the machine came opposite Miss
Susanna. She viewed the last of the Hamiltons with kindly, non-curious
eyes. The taxicab had almost slid past the sturdy pedestrian when
something happened. The handle of the splint basket treacherously gave
way, landing the basket on the ground with force. It tipped side-ways.
Two or three of the flower pots rolled out of it.

Forgetting everything but the mishap to Brooke Hamilton’s eccentric
descendant, Marjorie called out on impulse: “Driver; please stop the
taxi! I wish to get out here!”



CHAPTER VI—THE LAST OF THE HAMILTONS


The man promptly brought the machine to a slow stop. He was too well
acquainted with the whims of “them girls from the college” to exhibit
surprise. Having paid her fare on entering the taxicab, Marjorie now
quitted it with alacrity and ran back to the scene of the mishap.

“Please let me help you,” she offered in a gracious fashion which came
straight from her heart. “I saw the handle of that basket break and I
made the driver stop and let me out of the taxi.”

Without waiting for Miss Susanna’s permission, Marjorie stooped and lay
hold on one of the scattered flower pots. Thus far the old lady had made
no effort to gather them in. She had stood eyeing the unstable basket
with marked disgust.

“And who are you, may I ask?” The brisk manner of question reminded
Marjorie of Miss Remson.

“Oh, I am Marjorie Dean from Hamilton College,” Marjorie said,
straightening up with a smile.

For an instant the two pairs of dark eyes met. In the old lady’s
appeared a gleam half resentful, half admiring. In the young girl’s
shone a pleasant light, hard to resist.

“Yes; I supposed you were one of them,” nodded Miss Susanna. “Let me
tell you, young woman, you are the first I have met in all these years
from the college who had any claim on gentle breeding.”

Marjorie smiled. “There are a good many fine girls at Hamilton,” she
defended without intent to be discourteous. “Any one of a number I know
would have been glad to help you.”

“Then that doll shop has changed a good deal recently,” retorted the old
lady with rapidity. “Nowadays it is nothing but drive flamboyant cars
and spend money for frivolities over there. I hate the place.”

Marjorie was silent. She did not like to contradict further by saying
pointedly that she loved Hamilton, neither could she bear the thought of
not defending her Alma Mater.

“I can’t say that I hate Hamilton College, because I don’t,” she finally
returned, before the pause between the two had grown embarrassing. “I am
sure you must have good reason to dislike Hamilton and its students or
you would not say so.”

The pink in her cheeks deepened. Marjorie bent and completed the task of
returning the last spilled posy to the basket.

“There!” she exclaimed good-naturedly. “I have them all in the basket
again, and not a single one of those little jars are broken. I wish you
would let me carry the basket for you, Miss Hamilton. It is really a
cumbersome affair without the handle.”

“You are quite a nice child, I must say.” Miss Susanna continued to
regard Marjorie with her bright, bird-like gaze. “Where on earth were
you brought up?”

Signally amused, Marjorie laughed outright. She had raised the basket
from the ground. As she stood there, her lovely face full of light and
laughter, arms full of flowers, Miss Susanna’s stubborn old heart
softened a trifle toward girlhood.

“I come from Sanford, New York,” she answered. “This is my junior year
at Hamilton. Four other girls from Sanford entered when I did.”

“Sanford,” repeated her questioner. “I never heard of the place. If
these girls are friends of yours I suppose they escape being
barbarians.”

“They are the finest girls I ever knew,” Marjorie praised with
sincerity.

“Well, well; I am pleased to hear it.” The old lady spoke with a
brusquerie which seemed to indicate her wish to be done with the
subject. “You insist on helping me, do you?”

“Yes; if it pleases you to allow me.”

“It’s to my advantage, so it ought to,” was the dry retort. “I am not
particular about lugging that basket in my arms. I loaded it too
heavily. Brian, the gardener, would have carried it for me, but I didn’t
care to be bothered with him. I am carrying these down to an old man who
used to work about the lawns. His days are numbered and he loves flowers
better than anything else. He lives in a little house just outside the
estate. It is still quite a walk. If you have anything else to do you
had better consider it and not me.”

“I was on my way to town. It is too late to go now.” Marjorie explained
the nature of her errand as they walked on. “The girls will probably
come to the conclusion that I found it too late to go to Hamilton after
I had changed my gown. One or another of them will buy me something
pretty to give to Elaine,” she ended.

“It is a good many years since I bought a birthday gift for anyone. I
always give my servants money on their birthdays. I have not received a
birthday gift for over fifty years and I don’t want one. I do not allow
my household to make me presents on any occasion.” Miss Susanna
announced this with a touch of defiance.

“It seems as though my life has been full of presents. My father and
mother have given me hundreds, I guess. My father is away from home a
good deal. When he comes back from his long business trips he always
brings Captain and I whole stacks of treasures.”

Marjorie was not sure that this was what she should have said. She found
conversing with the last of the Hamiltons a trifle hazardous. She had no
desire to contradict, yet she and her new acquaintance had thus far not
agreed on a single point.

“Who is ‘Captain,’” was the inquiry, made with the curiosity of a child.

Marjorie turned rosy red. The pet appellation had slipped out before she
thought.

“I call my mother ‘Captain,’” she informed, then went on to explain
further of their fond home play. She fully expected Miss Susanna would
criticize it as “silly.” She was already understanding a little of the
lonely old gentlewoman’s bitterness of heart. Her earnest desire to know
the last of the Hamiltons had arisen purely out of her great sympathy
for Miss Susanna.

“You seem to have had a childhood,” was the surprising reception her
explanation called forth. “I can’t endure the children of today. They
are grown up in their minds at seven. I must say your father and mother
are exceptional. No wonder you have good manners. That is, if they are
genuine. I have seen some good imitations. Young girls are more
deceitful than young men. I don’t like either. There is nothing I
despise so much as the calloused selfishness of youth. It is far worse
than crabbed age.”

“I know young girls are often selfish of their own pleasure,” Marjorie
returned with sudden humility. “I try not to be. I know I am at times.
Many of my girl friends are not. I wish I could begin to tell you of the
beautiful, unselfish things some of my chums have done for others.”

Miss Susanna vouchsafed no reply to this little speech. She trotted
along beside Marjorie for several rods without saying another word. When
she spoke again it was to say briefly: “Here is where we turn off the
road. Is that basket growing very heavy?”

“It is quite heavy. I believe I will set it down for a minute.” Marjorie
carefully deposited her burden on the grass at the roadside and
straightened up, stretching her aching arms. The basket had begun to be
considerable of a burden on account of the manner in which it had to be
carried.

“I couldn’t have lugged that myself,” Miss Susanna confessed. “I found
it almost too much for me with the handle on. Ridiculous, the flimsy way
in which things are put together today! Splint baskets of years ago
would have stood any amount of strain. If you had not kindly come to my
assistance, I intended to pick out as many of those jars as I could
carry in my arms and go on with them. The others I would have set up
against my own property fence and hoped no one would walk off with them
before my return. I dislike anyone to have the flowers I own and have
tended unless I give them away myself.”

“I have often seen you working among your flowers when I have passed
Hamilton Arms. I knew you must love them dearly or you would not spend
so much time with them.”

“Hm-m!” The interjection might have been an assent to Marjorie’s polite
observation. It was not, however. Miss Susanna was understanding that
this young girl who had shown her such unaffected courtesy had thought
of her kindly as a stranger. She experienced a sudden desire to see
Marjorie again. Her long and concentrated hatred against Hamilton
College and its students forbade her to make any friendly advances. She
had already shown more affability according to her ideas than she had
intended. She wondered why she had not curtly refused Marjorie’s offer.

“I am rested now.” Marjorie lifted the basket. The two skirted the
northern boundary of Hamilton Arms, taking a narrow private road which
lay between it and the neighboring estate. The road continued straight
to a field where it ended. At the edge of the field stood a small
cottage painted white. Miss Susanna pointed it out as their destination.

“I will carry this to the door and then leave you.” Marjorie had no
desire to intrude upon Miss Susanna’s call at the cottage.

“Very well. I am obliged to you, Marjorie Dean.” Miss Susanna’s thanks
were expressed in tones which sounded close to unfriendly. She was
divided between appreciation of Marjorie’s courtesy and her dislike for
girls.

“You are welcome.” They were now within a few yards of the cottage.
Arriving at the low doorstep, Marjorie set the basket carefully upon it.
“Goodbye, Miss Hamilton.” She held out her hand. “I am so glad to have
met you.”

“What’s that? Oh, yes.” The old lady took Marjorie’s proffered hand. The
evident sincerity of the words touched a hidden spring within, long
sealed. “Goodbye, child. I am glad to have met at least one young girl
with genuine manners.”

Marjorie smiled as she turned away. She had never before met an old
person who so heartily detested youth. She knew her timely assistance
had been appreciated. On that very account Miss Susanna had tried to
smother, temporarily, her standing grudge against the younger
generation.

Well, it had happened. She had achieved her heart’s desire. She had
actually met and talked with the last of the Hamiltons.



CHAPTER VII—TWO KINDS OF GIRLS


“You are a dandy,” was Jerry’s greeting as Marjorie walked into their
room at ten minutes past six. “Where were you? Lucy said you ruined your
blue pongee with some horrid old chemical. It didn’t take you two hours
to change it, did it? I see we have on our pink linen.”

“You know perfectly well it did not take me two hours to change it. A
plain insinuation that I’m a slowpoke. Take it back.” In high good
humor, Marjorie made a playful rush at her room-mate.

“Hold on. I am not made of wood, as Hal says when I occasionally hammer
him in fun.” Jerry put up her hands in comic self-defense. “You
certainly are in a fine humor after keeping your poor pals waiting for
you for an hour and a half and then not even condescending to appear.”

“I’ve had an adventure, Jeremiah. That’s why I didn’t meet you girls in
Hamilton. I started for there in a taxicab. Then I met a lady in
distress, and, emulating the example of a gallant knight, I hopped out
of the taxi to help her.”

“Wonderful! I suppose you met Phil Moore or some other Silvertonite with
her arms full of bundles. About the time she saw you she dropped ’em.
‘With a sympathetic yell, Helpful Marjorie leaped from the taxicab to
aid her overburdened but foolish friend.’ Quotation from the last best
seller.” Jerry regarded Marjorie with a teasing smile.

“Your suppositions are about a mile off the track. I haven’t seen a
Silvertonite this afternoon. The lady in distress I met was——” Marjorie
paused by way of making her revelation more effective, “Miss Susanna
Hamilton.”

“_What?_ You don’t say so.” Jerry exhibited the utmost astonishment.
“Good thing you didn’t ask me to guess. She is the last person I would
have thought of. Now how did it happen? I am glad of it for your sake.
You’ve been so anxious to know her.”

Rapidly Marjorie recounted the afternoon’s adventure. As she talked she
busied herself with the redressing of her hair. After dinner she would
have no more than time to put on the white lingerie frock she intended
to wear to Elaine’s birthday party.

Jerry listened without comment. While she had never taken the amount of
interest in the owner of Hamilton Arms which Marjorie had evinced since
entering Hamilton College, she had a certain curiosity regarding Miss
Susanna.

“I knew you girls would wait and wonder what had delayed me. I am
awfully sorry. You know that, Jeremiah,” Marjorie apologized. “But I
couldn’t have gone on in the taxi after I saw what had happened to Miss
Susanna. She couldn’t have carried the basket as I did clear over to
that cottage. She said she would have picked up as many plant jars as
she could carry in her arms and gone on with them.”

“One of the never-say-die sort, isn’t she? Very likely in the years she
has lived near the college she has met with some rude girls. On the
order of the Sans, you know. If, in the past twenty years, Hamilton was
half as badly overrun with snobs as when we entered, one can imagine why
she doesn’t adore students.”

“It doesn’t hurt my feelings to hear her say she disliked girls. I only
felt sorry for her. It must be dreadful to be old and lonely. She is
lonely, even if she doesn’t know it. She has deliberately shut the door
between herself and happiness. I am so glad we’re young, Jeremiah.”
Marjorie sighed her gratitude for the gift of youth. “I hope always to
be young at heart.”

“I sha’n’t wear a cap and spectacles and walk with a cane until I have
to, believe me,” was Jerry’s emphatic rejoinder. “Are you ready to go
down to dinner? My hair is done, too. I shall dress after I’ve been fed.
Oh, I forgot to tell you. I bought you a present to give Elaine. We
bought every last thing we are going to give her at the Curio Shop.”

“You are a dear. I knew some of the girls would help me out. I supposed
it would be you, though. Do let me see my present.”

“There it is on my chiffonier. You’d better examine it after dinner. It
is a hand-painted chocolate pot; a beauty, too. Looks like a bit of
spring time.”

“I’ll look at it the minute I come back. I’m oceans obliged to you.”
Marjorie cast a longing glance at the tall package on the chiffonier, as
the two girls left the room.

At dinner that night Marjorie’s adventure of the afternoon excited the
interest of her chums. She was obliged to repeat, as nearly as she could
what she said to Miss Susanna and what Miss Susanna had said to her.

“Did she mention the May basket?” quizzed Muriel with a giggle.

“Now why should she?” counter-questioned Marjorie.

“Well; she was talking about not receiving a birthday present for over
fifty years. She might have said, ‘But some kind-hearted person hung a
beautiful violet basket on my door on May day evening!’”

“Only she didn’t. That flight of fancy was wasted,” Jerry informed
Muriel.

“Wasted on you. You haven’t proper sentiment,” flung back Muriel.

“I’ll never acquire it in your company,” Jerry assured. The subdued
laughter the tilt evoked reached the table occupied by Leslie Cairns,
Natalie Weyman, Dulcie Vale and three others of the Sans.

“Those girls seem to find enough to laugh at,” commented Dulcie Vale
half enviously.

“Simpletons!” muttered Leslie Cairns. She was out of sorts with the
world in general that evening. “They sit there and ‘ha-ha-ha’ at their
meals until I can hardly stand it sometimes. I hate eating dinner here.
I’d dine at the Colonial every evening, but it takes too much time. I
really must study hard this year to get through. I certainly will be
happy to see the last of this treadmill. I’m going to take a year after
I’m graduated just to sail around and have a good time. After that I
shall help my father in business.”

“There’s one thing you ought to know, Leslie, and that is you had better
be careful what you do this year. I have heard two or three rumors that
sound as though those girls over there had told about what happened the
night of the masquerade. I wouldn’t take part in another affair of that
kind for millions of dollars.”

Dulcie Vale assumed an air of virtuous resolve as she delivered herself
of this warning to Leslie.

“Don’t worry. There won’t be any occasion. I don’t believe those muffs
ever told a thing outside of their own crowd. They’re a close
corporation. I wish I could say the same of us.” Leslie laughed this
arrow with cool deliberation.

“What do you mean?” Harriet Stephens said sharply. “Who of us would be
silly enough to tell our private affairs?”

“I hope you wouldn’t.” Leslie’s eyes narrowed threateningly. “I have
heard one or two things myself which may or may not be true. I am not
ready to say anything further just now. My advice to all of you is to
keep your affairs to yourselves. If you are foolish enough to babble
your own about the campus, on your head be it. Be sure you will hear
from me if you tell tales. Besides, you are apt to lose your diplomas by
it. A word to the wise, you know. I have a recitation in psychology in
the morning. I must put in a quiet evening. Kindly let me alone, all of
you.” She rose and sauntered from the room, leaving her satellites to
discuss her open insinuation and wonder what she had heard to put her in
such an “outrageous” humor.



CHAPTER VIII—A FROLIC AT SILVERTON HALL


The “simpletons” finished their dinner amid much merriment, quite
unconscious of their lack of sense, and hustled up to their rooms to
dress for the party. Leila, Vera, Helen, Hortense Barlow, Eva Ingram,
Nella Sherman and Mary Cornell had also been invited. Shortly after
seven the elect started for Silverton Hall, primed for a jubilant
evening. Besides their gifts, each girl carried a small nosegay of mixed
flowers. The flowers had been purchased in bulk by Helen, Eva and Mary.
The trio had made them up into dainty, round bouquets. These were to be
showered upon Elaine, immediately she appeared among them. Helen had
also composed a Nonsense Ode which she said had cost her more mental
effort than forty themes.

Every girl at Silverton Hall was invited to the party. It was not in
gentle Elaine to slight anyone. With twenty girls from other campus
houses, the long living room at the Hall was filled. Across one of its
lower corners had been hung a heavy green curtain. What it concealed
only those who had arranged the surprise knew. Elaine had been seized by
Portia Graham and Blanche Scott and made to swear on her sacred honor
that she would absolutely shun the living room until granted permission
to enter it.

“I hope you have all put cards with your presents,” were Portia’s first
words after greeting them at the door. “You can’t give them to Elaine
yourselves. We’ve arranged a general presentation. So don’t be snippy
because I rob you of your offerings.”

“Glad of it.” Jerry promptly tendered her gift to Portia. “I always feel
silly giving a present.”

The others from Wayland Hall very willingly surrendered their good-will
offerings. Their bouquets they kept. Entering the reception hall, Elaine
stepped forward to welcome them and received a sudden flower pelting, to
the accompaniment of a lively chorus of congratulations.

“How lovely! Umm! The dear things!” she exclaimed, as the rain of
blossoms came fast and furious. Her sweet, fair face aglow with the love
of flowers, she gathered them up in the overskirt of her white chiffon
frock and sat down on the lower step of the stairs to enjoy their
fragrance. “I am not allowed in the living room, girls. Everyone can go
in there but poor me. I thank you for these perfectly darling bouquets.
I’ll have a different one to wear every day this week. If you want to
fix your hair or do any further beautifying go up to Robin’s room. If
not, go into the living room.”

Lingering for a little further chat with Elaine, whom they all adored,
they entered the living room to be met by a vociferous welcome from the
assembled Silvertonites. When the last guest had arrived and been
ushered into the reception room, from somewhere in the house a bell
suddenly tinkled. In order to give more space the chairs had been
removed and the guests lined the sides of the apartment and filled one
end of it halfway to the wide doorway opening into the main hall.

At sound of the bell a hush fell upon the merry-makers. Again it tinkled
and down the stairs came a procession that might have stepped from a
tapestry depicting the life of the greenwood men. Four merry men, their
green cambric costumes carefully modeled after the attire of Robin Hood
and his followers, had come to the party. The first, instead of being
Robin Hood, was Robin Page. She bowed low to Elaine, who was still
languishing in exile in the hall, and offered her arm.

“Delighted; I am so tired of hanging about that old hall!” Elaine seized
Robin’s arm with alacrity and the two passed into the adjoining room.
The other three faithful servitors followed their leader. The last one
carried a violin and drew from it an old-time greenwood melody as Elaine
and Robin joined forces and paraded into the living room.

Straight toward the green curtain Robin piloted Elaine to the fiddler’s
plaintive tune. Stationed before the curtain, Blanche Scott drew it
aside.

A surprised and admiring chorus of exclamations arose. There stood a
real greenwood tree. Portia and Blanche could have amply testified to
this fact as the two of them, armed with a hatchet, had laboriously
chopped down a small maple and brought it to the house from the woods on
the afternoon previous. Its branches were as well loaded with packages
of various sizes as those of a Christmas tree. Under the tree was a
grassy mound built up of hard cushions, the whole covered with real sod
dug up by the patient wood cutters.

On this Elaine was invited to sit. She formed a pretty picture in her
fluffy white gown in conjunction with the greenery. The four merry men
gathered round her and bowed low, then sang her an ancient ballad to the
accompaniment of the violin. Followed a short speech by the tallest of
the four congratulating her, in stately language on the anniversary of
her birth. Three of the four then busied themselves with stripping the
tree of its spoils and laying them at her feet. During this procedure
the fiddler evoked further sweet thin melodies from his violin.

Last, Elaine’s gallant escort, who had left her briefly, returned to the
scene with a large green and white straw basket, piled high with gifts.
These duly presented, the quaint bit of forest play was over and the
enjoying spectators crowded about the lucky recipient of friendly
riches.

“I don’t know what I shall ever do with them all,” she declared in an
amazed, quavering voice. “I’m not half over the shock of so much wealth
yet. I simply can’t open them now. I’ll weep tears of gratitude over
every separate one of them.”

“You aren’t expected to look at them now,” was Robin’s reassurance.
“Your merry men are going to carry Elaine’s nice new playthings up to
her room. So there! Tomorrow’s Saturday. You can spend the afternoon
exploring. We are going to have a stunt party now. Anyone who is called
upon to do a stunt has to conform or be ostracized.”

“If we are going to do stunts there is no use in bringing back the
chairs. After Elaine’s presents have all been carted upstairs everybody
can stand in that half of the room. We can roll the rug up from the
other end exactly half way. That will give room and a smooth floor for
dancing stunts. We shall surely have some,” planned Blanche. “I had
better inform the company of what’s going to happen next. It will give
them a chance to think up a stunt.”

While the faithful greenwood men busied themselves in Elaine’s behalf,
Blanche proceeded to make a humorous address to the guests. Her
announcement sent them into a flutter. At least half of the crowd
protested to her and to one another that they did not know any stunts to
perform.

When the deck was finally clear for action and the show began, it was
amazing the number of funny little stunts that came to light. The first
girl called upon was Hortense Barlow. She marched solemnly to the center
of the improvised stage and announced “‘Home Sweet Home,’ by our
domestic animals.” A rooster lustily crowed the first few bars of the
old song, then two hens took it up. They relinquished it in favor of a
bleating lamb. It was succeeded by a pair of grunting pigs. The opening
bars of the chorus were mournfully “mooed” by a lonely cow, and the rest
of it was ably sung by a donkey, a dog and a guinea hen. She then
repeated the chorus as a concerted effort on the part of the barnyard
denizens.

The manner in which she managed to imitate each creature, still keeping
fairly in tune, was clever in the extreme. Her final concert chorus
convulsed her audience and she was obliged to repeat it.

Hers was the only encore allowed. Portia announced that, owing to the
lack of time, encores would have to be dispensed with. The guests had
received permission to be out of their house until half-past eleven and
no later.

Leila was the next on the list and responded with an old-time Irish jig.
Vera Ingram and Mary Cornell gave a brief singing and dancing sketch.
Jerry responded with the one stunt she could do to perfection. She had
half closed her eyes, opened her mouth to its widest extent, and wailed
a popular song just enough off the key to be funny. Heartily detesting
this class of melody, she never failed to make her chums laugh with her
mocking imitation.

Portia being in charge of the stunt programme, she called upon Blanche
who gave the “Prologue from Pagliacci” in a baritone voice and with
expression which would have done credit to an opera singer. Lucy Warner
surprised her chums by a fine recital of “The Chambered Nautilus,”
giving the quiet dramatic emphasis needed to bring out Holmes’ poem.
Marie Peyton danced a fisher’s hornpipe. Vera Mason borrowed one of
Robin’s kimonos and a fan and performed a Japanese fan dance. Several of
the Silvertonites sang, danced, recited, or told a humorous story.

“As we shall have time for only one more stunt, I will call on Ronny
Lynne,” Portia announced, smiling invitingly at Ronny. “Wait a minute
until I call the orchestra together. We will play for you,” she added.

“Play for me for what?” Ronny innocently inquired. Nevertheless she
laughed. Though she had yet to dance for the first time at Hamilton, she
knew that her ability as a dancer was an open secret.

“For your dance, of course. What kind of dance are you going to do?
Mustn’t refuse. Everyone else has been so obliging.” Portia beamed
triumph of having thus neatly caught Ronny.

“I suppose I must fall in line. I don’t know what to dance. Most of my
dances require special costumes.” Ronny glanced dubiously at the white
and gold evening frock she was wearing. “I know one I can do,” she said,
after a moment’s thought.

Raising her voice so as to be heard by all, she continued in her clear
tones: “Girls, I am going to do a Russian interpretative dance for you.
The idea is this: A dancer at the court of a king, who is honored
because of her art, loses her sweetheart. She becomes so despondent that
no amount of praise can lift her from her gloom. She tries to decide
whether she had best kill her rival or herself. Finally she decides to
kill her rival. I shall endeavor to make this plain in a dance
containing two intervals and three episodes. The first depicts the
dancer in her glory. The second, in her dejection. The third, her
decision to kill.”

A brief consultation with the orchestra as to what they could play,
suitable to the interpretation, and Ronny was ready. Phyllis, the
reliable, who had been proficient on the violin from childhood, and
possessed a wide musical repertoire, both vocal and instrumental, played
over a few measures of a valse lente. Her musicians were familiar enough
with it to follow her lead. Moskowski’s “Serenade” was chosen for the
second episode, and Scharwenki’s “Polish Dance” for the third.

Every pair of eyes was centered on Ronny’s slight, graceful figure as
she stood at ease for an instant waiting for the music to begin. Many of
the girls present had never seen an interpretative dance. With the first
slow, seductive strains of the waltz, Ronny became the court dancer. In
perfect time to the music she made the low sweeping salutes to an
imaginary court, then executed a swaying, beautiful dance of intricate
steps in which her whole body seemed to take part in the expression of
her art. The grace of that symphonic, white and gold figure was such the
watchers held their breath. At the end of the episode there was a dead
silence. Applause, when it came, was deafening.

Ronny claimed the tiny interval for rest, merely raising her hands in a
despairing gesture at the hub-bub her dance had created. By the time she
was ready to continue it had subsided. All were now anxious to see her
interpretation of the jilted woman.

The second, though much harder to execute, Ronny liked far better than
the first. Particularly fond of the Russian idea of the dance, she threw
her whole heart into the story she was endeavoring to convey by motion.
When she had finished she was tired enough to gladly claim a rest while
Portia went upstairs for a paper knife which would serve as a dagger for
the third episode.

The wild strains of the “Polish Dance” were well suited to the character
of the episode. The flitting, white and gold figure of indolent grace
had now become one of tense purpose. Every line of her figure had now
become charged with the desire for revenge. Every step of the dance and
movement of the arms were in accordance with the mood she was
portraying. She enacted the dancer’s plan to steal upon her rival
unawares and deliver the fatal knife thrust.

Had Ronny not explained the dance beforehand, so vivid was her
interpretation, her audience could have gained the meaning of it without
difficulty. A united sighing breath of appreciation went up as she
concluded the Terpsichorean tragedy by a triumphant flinging of her arms
above her head, one hand tightly grasping the murder knife.

Carried out of life ordinary by the glimpse of another world of emotion,
it took the admiring girls a minute or so to realize that Ronny was
herself and a fellow student. She had cast over them the perfect
illusion of the tragic dancer; the sure measure of her art. When they
came out of it they crowded about her asking all sorts of eager
questions.

“Ronny has brought down the house, as usual. Look at those girls fairly
idolizing her.” Jerry’s round face was wreathed with smiles over Ronny’s
triumph. “I shall go in for interpretative dancing myself, hereafter.
It’s about time I did something to make myself popular around here.”

“What are you going to interpret?” Muriel demanded to know.

“I haven’t yet decided,” Jerry vaguely replied. “Anyway, I wouldn’t tell
you if I had. I should expect to practice my dance awhile before I
sprang it on anyone. It might give my victim a horrible scare.”

“You wouldn’t scare me,” was the valorous assurance. “You had better try
it on me first when you are ready to burst upon the world as a dancer. I
will give you valuable criticism.”

“Laugh at me, you mean. Come on. Let’s interview the orchestra. Phil is
certainly some little fiddler.”

Taking Muriel by the arm, Jerry marched her up to Phyllis, who, with the
other members of the orchestra, were also coming in for adulation. The
addition of Jerry and Muriel to the group was soon noticeable by the
burst of laughter which ascended therefrom. Good-natured Jerry had not
the remotest idea of how very popular she really was.

Promptly on the heels of the stunt party followed a collation served in
the dining room. An extra table had been added to the two long ones used
by the residents. When the company trooped into the prettily-decorated
room with its flower-trimmed tables, the Wayland Hall girls were
pleasantly surprised to see Signor Baretti in charge there. While he had
repeatedly refused at various times to cater for private parties given
at the campus houses, Elaine had secured his valued services without
much coaxing. He had long regarded her as “one the nicest, maybe the
best, all my young ladies from the college.”

It was one minute past eleven when the guests rose from the table after
a vigorous response to Portia’s toast to Elaine, and joined in singing
one stanza of “Auld Lang Syne.” With the last note of the song hasty
goodnights were said. “Not one minute later than half-past eleven” had
been the stipulation laid down with the permission for the extra hour.

“We’ll have to walk as though we all wore seven league boots,” declared
Jerry, as the Wayland Hall girls hurried down the steps of Silverton
Hall. “But, oh, my goodness me, haven’t we had a fine time? Tonight was
like our good old Sanford crowd parties at home, wasn’t it? It looks to
me as though the right kind of times had actually struck Hamilton!”



CHAPTER IX—HER “DEAREST” WISH


It did not need Elaine’s party to cement more securely the friendship
which existed between the Silvertonites and the group of Wayland
Hallites who had co-operated with them so loyally from the first. They
had fought side by side for principle. Now they were beginning to
glimpse the lighter, happier side of affairs and experience the pleasure
of discovering how much each group had to admire in the other.

“What we ought to do is organize a bureau of entertainment and give
musicales, plays, revues and one thing or another,” Robin proposed to
Marjorie as the two were returning from a trip to the town of Hamilton
one afternoon in early October. “We would charge an admission fee, of
course, and put the money to some good purpose. I don’t know what we
would do with it. There are so few really needy students here. We’d find
some worthy way of spending it. I know we would make a lot. The students
simply mob the gym when there’s a basket-ball game. They’d be willing to
part with their shekels for the kind of show we could give.”

“I think the same,” Marjorie made hearty response. “At home we gave a
Campfire once, at Thanksgiving. We held it in the armory. We had booths
and sold different things. We had a show, too. That was the time Ronny
danced those two interpretative dances I told you of the other night. We
made over a thousand dollars. Half of it went to the Sanford guards and
the Lookouts got the other half.”

“We could make a couple of hundred dollars at one revue, I believe. We
could give about three entertainments this year and three or four next,”
planned Robin. “It would have to be a fund devoted to helping the
students, I guess. Come to think of it, I would not care to get up a
show unless our purpose was clearly stated in the beginning. A few
unjust persons might start the story that we wanted the money for
ourselves. By the way, the Sans are not interesting themselves in our
affairs this year, are they? Do you ever clash with them at the Hall?”

“No; they never notice us and we never notice them. It isn’t much
different in that respect than it was in the beginning. I’d feel rather
queer about it sometimes if they hadn’t been so utterly heartless in so
many ways. This is their last year. It will seem queer when we come back
next fall as seniors to have almost an entirely new set of girls in the
house. I can’t bear to think of losing Leila and Vera and Helen. Then
there are Rosalind, Nella, Martha and Hortense; splendid girls, all of
them. I wish they had been freshies with us. That’s the beauty of the
Silvertonites. They will all be graduated together.”

“We are fortunate. Think of poor Phil! She is going to be lonesome when
we all leave the good old port of Hamilton. To go back to the show idea.
I’m going to talk it over with my old stand-bys at our house. You do the
same at yours. Maybe some one of them will have a brilliant inspiration.
I mean, about what we ought to do with the money, once we’ve made it.”

A sudden jolt of the taxicab in which they were riding, as it swung to
the right, combined with an indignant yell of protest from its driver,
startled them both. A blue and buff car had shot past them, barely
missing the side of the taxicab.

“Look where you’re goin’ or get off the road!” bawled the man after it.
His face was scarlet with anger, he turned in his seat, addressing his
fares. “That blue car near smashed us,” he growled. “The young lady that
drives it had better quit and give somebody else the wheel. This is the
third time she near put my cab on the blink. She can’t drive for sour
apples. I wisht, if you knew her, you’d tell her she’s gotta quit it. I
don’t own this cab. I don’t wanta get mixed up in no smash-up. If she
does it again I’ll go up to the college boss and report that car.”

“Neither of us know her well enough to give her your message,” Marjorie
smiled faintly, as she pictured herself giving the irate driver’s
warning to Elizabeth Walbert. She had recognized the girl at the wheel
as the blue and buff car had passed her.

“I’ll stop her myself and tell her where she gets off at,” threatened
the man. “I ain’t afraida her.”

“I think that would be a very good idea,” calmly agreed Marjorie. “There
is no reason why you should not rebuke her for her recklessness. She was
at fault; not you.”

“Do you imagine he really would report Miss Walbert to Doctor Matthews,”
inquired Robin in discreetly lowered tones, as the driver resumed
attention at the wheel.

“He might. He would be more likely to do his talking to her,” was
Marjorie’s opinion. “I tried to encourage him in that idea. A report of
that kind to Dr. Matthews might result in the banning of cars at
Hamilton.”

“Did you hear last year, at the time Katherine was hurt, that Miss
Cairns received a summons from Doctor Matthews? I was told that he gave
her a severe lecture on reckless driving. She told some of the Sans and
it came to Portia and I in a round-about way.”

“I believe it to be true.” Marjorie hesitated, then continued frankly.
“Katherine did not report her.”

Unbound by any promise of secrecy to any person, Marjorie acquainted
Robin with the way the report of the accident had been put before the
president. She and her chums had heard the story from Lillian
Wenderblatt, who had so ardently urged her father to take up the cudgels
for Katherine directly after the accident.

“Lillian explained to her father that Katherine utterly refused to take
the matter up. He reported it to the doctor of his own accord, saying
that Katherine wished the affair closed. So Doctor Matthews didn’t send
for her at all. While he never referred to the subject afterward to
Professor Wenderblatt, he said at the time of their talk that he would
send Miss Cairns a summons to his office. Lillian’s father said the
doctor’s word was equivalent to the summons. So I believe she received
one. None of us who are Kathie’s close friends ever mentioned it to
others. Lillian told no one but us. She did not ask us to keep it a
secret. We simply _did not talk_ about it. That’s why I felt free to
tell you, since you asked me a direct question.”

“Strange, isn’t it, that the Sans can’t even be loyal to one another,”
Robin commented. “Very likely Leslie Cairns told them in confidence, not
expecting it would be betrayed. She may not know to this day that a girl
of her own crowd told tales.”

“She is not honorable herself. Her intimates know that.” Marjorie’s
rejoinder held sternness. “There is nothing truer than the Bible verse:
‘As ye sow, so must ye also reap.’ She tries to gain whatever she
happens to want by dishonorable methods. In turn, her chums behave
dishonorably toward her.

“An unhappy state of affairs.” Robin shrugged her disfavor. “Phil says
Miss Walbert is a talker; that she is becoming unpopular with the sophs
who voted for her last year because she gossips.”

Marjorie smiled whimsically. “Wouldn’t it be poetic justice if she were
to turn the half of her class who were for her last year against her by
her own unworthiness? After Miss Cairns worked so hard to establish her
too! There’s surely a greater inclination toward democracy than last
year, or Phil wouldn’t have won the sophomore presidency.”

“Yes; and she won it by eighteen votes this year over Miss Keene, and
she is one of Miss Walbert’s pals. Last year she lost it by nine. Some
difference!” Robin looked her pride of her lovable cousin. “I think
there is a great change for the better in Hamilton since we were
freshies, don’t you?”

Marjorie made quick assent. “You Silverites have done the most for
Hamilton,” she commended. “We Lookouts have tried our hardest, but we
couldn’t have done much if you hadn’t been behind us like a solid wall.”

“You Lookouts deserve as much credit as we. You girls are social
successes in the nicest way, because you have all been so friendly and
sweet to everyone. Then you have fought shoulder to shoulder with us.
Now that we have begun to make our influence felt, we should follow it
up by giving entertainments in which the whole college can have a part.”

“Let’s do this,” Marjorie proposed. “Bring the orchestra and Hope
Morris, she’s so nice, over to Wayland Hall on Saturday evening. I’ll
have a spread. Then we can plan something to give in the near future.
Here’s my getting-off place. Goodbye.”

The taxicab having reached a point on the main campus drive where two
other drives branched off right and left, the machine slowed down. She
rarely troubled the driver to take her to the door of the Hall, it being
but a few rods distant from this point.

Swinging up the drive and into the Hall in her usual energetic fashion,
Marjorie’s first move was toward the bulletin board. Three letters was
the delightful harvest she reaped from it. One in Constance’s small fine
hand, one from General. The third she eyed rather suspiciously. It was
in an unfamiliar hand and bore the address, “Marjorie Dean, Hamilton
College.”

“An advertisement, I guess,” was her frowning reflection as she went on
upstairs. “Anyone I know, well enough to receive a letter from, would
know my house address.”

Anxious to relieve her arms of several bundles containing purchases made
at Hamilton before opening her letters, Marjorie did not stop to examine
her mail on the landing. Entering her room, she found it deserted of
Jerry’s always congenial company. Immediately she dropped her packages
on the center table and plumped down to enjoy her letters.

Second glance at the letter informed her that the envelope was of fine
expensive paper. This fact dismissed the advertisement idea. Marjorie
toyed with it rather nervously. In the past she had received enough
annoying letters to make her dread the sight of her address in
unfamiliar handwriting. On the verge of reveling in the other two whose
contents she was sure to love, she hated the idea of a disagreeable
shock. She knew of no reason why she should be the recipient of any such
letter. That, however, would not prevent an unworthy person from writing
one.

Determined to read it first and have it over with, Marjorie tore open an
end of the envelope and extracted the missive from it. A hasty glance at
the end and she vented a relieved “A-h-h!” Turning back to the
beginning, she read with rising color:

  “Marjorie Dean,
  Hamilton College.

  “Dear Child:

  “Will you come to Hamilton Arms to tea next Thursday afternoon at
  five o’clock? I find I have the wish to see and talk with you again.
  I prefer you to keep the matter of your visit from your girl
  friends. I am not on good terms with Hamilton College and its
  students, and the information that I had invited you to tea would
  form a choice bit of campus gossip.

                                                     “Yours sincerely,
                                             “Susanna Craig Hamilton.”



CHAPTER X—HAMILTON ARMS AND ITS OWNER


“Well, of all things!” Marjorie could not get over her undiluted
amazement. For a second it struck her that she might again be the victim
of a hoax. Perhaps an unkindly-minded person wished her to essay a call
on Miss Susanna, thinking she might receive a sound snubbing. She shook
her head at this canny suspicion. The phrasing was unmistakably Miss
Susanna’s. She doubted also whether anyone had seen her that day with
the old lady. Only a few cars had passed them before they had turned
into the private road. These had contained persons not from the college.
Outside the Lookouts, only Katherine, Leila and Vera knew of her
encounter with Miss Susanna. She had not thought of keeping it a secret.
She now made mental note to tell the girls not to mention it to anyone.

This resolve brought with it the annoying cogitation that the girls
would wonder why she suddenly wished the matter kept secret. Nor could
she explain to them without violating Miss Hamilton’s request. She could
readily understand the latter’s point of view. Miss Susanna could not be
blamed for taking it. Marjorie could only wish the old lady knew how
honorable and discreet her chums were. She decided she would endeavor to
make her hostess acquainted with that truth during her call.

She came to the conclusion that she could not pledge her close friends
to secrecy regarding her recent adventure until after she had been to
Hamilton Arms and talked with its eccentric owner. Miss Susanna would no
doubt be displeased to learn that she had already mentioned their
meeting to others. She would have to be told of it, nevertheless.

Marjorie’s next problem was to slip quietly away on Thursday afternoon
without saying where she was going. That would not be difficult,
provided none of the Lookouts happened to desire her company on some
particular jaunt or merry-making. An indefinite refusal on her part
would bring down on her a volley of mischievous questions.

“I’ll have to keep clear of the girls on Thursday,” she ruminated, with
a half vexed smile. “I’ll have to put on the gown I’m going to wear to
tea in the morning and wear it all day so as not to arouse their
curiosity. That’s a nuisance. I’d like to wear one of my best frocks and
I can’t on account of chemistry. I’ll wear that organdie frock Jerry
likes so much; the one with the yellow rosebud in it. It is not fussy.
If it is cold or rainy I can wear a long coat over it. I hope it’s a
nice day. I can wear my picture hat. It goes so well with that gown. I
can slip it out of the Hall without them noticing if I swing it on my
arm. I hope to goodness I don’t ruin my organdie during chemistry. I
feel like a conspirator.”

Marjorie chuckled faintly as she rose from her chair, letter in hand.
She tucked the letter away in the top drawer of her chiffonier with the
optimistic opinion that it would not be very long before she could
frankly tell her chums of its contents.

Fortune favored her on Thursday. She awoke with a stream of brilliant
sunshine in her face. She rejoiced that the day was fair and hoped Miss
Susanna would suggest a walk about the grounds. Then she remembered the
request the latter had made, and smiled at her own stupidity. A walk
about the grounds would probably be the last thing Miss Susanna would
suggest.

As it happened, Jerry had made an engagement to go to Hamilton with
Helen. Ronny had a theme in French to write, which she said would take
her spare time both in the afternoon and evening. Lucy and Katherine
would be in the Biological Laboratory until dinner time, and Leila and
Vera were invited to a tea given by a senior to ten of her class-mates.
These were the only ones to be directly interested in her movements. To
Jerry’s invitation, “Want to go to town with Helen and I this
afternoon?” she had replied, “No, Jeremiah,” in as casual a tone as she
could command, and that had ended the matter.

Marjorie was doubly careful in the Chemical Laboratory that afternoon
and walked from it this time with no disfiguring stains on her dainty
organdie frock. The letter had named the hour for her visit as five
o’clock. This gave her ample time to return to the Hall, re-coif her
curly hair and add a pretty satin sash of wide pale yellow ribbon to her
costume. The absence of Jerry was, for once, welcome. She had a free
hand to put the finishing touches to her toilet. It appealed to a
certain sense of dignity, latent within her, to be able to quietly
adjust her hat before the mirror and walk openly out of Wayland Hall.
Marjorie inwardly hated anything connected with secrecy, yet it seemed
to her she was always becoming involved in something which demanded it.

When finally she emerged from the Hall, she did not follow the main
drive but cut across the campus, making for the western entrance.
Reaching the highway, she kept a sharp lookout for passing automobiles.
She laughed to herself as she thought of how disconcerting it would be
after all her pains to run squarely into Jerry and Helen. The latter had
just been the lucky recipient of a limousine, long promised her by her
father, and she and Jerry were trying it out that afternoon.

It was ten minutes to five when, without having met anyone save two or
three campus acquaintances, Marjorie walked sedately between the high,
ornamental gate posts of Hamilton Arms, and on up the drive to the
house. She compared her present approach to that of last May Day
evening, when she had stolen like a shadow to the veranda to hang the
May basket. It did not seem quite real to her that now she was actually
coming to Hamilton Arms as an invited guest.

The knocker was no easier to pull than it had been on that night. She
waited, feeling as though she were about to leave the college world
behind and enter one rich in the romance of Colonial days. Then the door
opened slowly and a dignified old man with thick, snow-white hair and a
smooth-shaven face stood regarding her solemnly.

“You are Marjorie Dean?” he interrogated in deep, but very gentle tones.
This before she had time to ask for Miss Susanna.

“Yes,” she affirmed, smiling in her unaffected, charming fashion.
“I—Miss Hamilton expects me to tea.”

“I know.” He bowed with grave politeness. “Come in. Miss Susanna is in
the library. I will show you the way.”

Marjorie drew a long breath of admiration as she was ushered into a wide
almost square reception hall paneled in walnut. Her feet sank deep into
the heavy brown velvet rug which completely covered the floor. Walking
quickly behind her guide, she had no more than time for a passing glance
at the massive elegance of the carved walnut furniture. She caught a
fleeting glimpse of herself in the great square mirror of the hall rack
and thought how very small and insignificant she appeared.

“How are you, Marjorie Dean?” Ushered into the library by the stately
old man, the last of the Hamiltons now came forward to greet her.

“I am very well, thank you. I hope you are feeling well, too, Miss
Susanna.”

Marjorie took the small, sturdy hand Miss Susanna extended in both her
own. The mistress of Hamilton Arms looked so very tiny in the great
room. Marjorie experienced a wave of sudden tenderness for her.

“Yes; I am well, by the grace of God and my own good sense,” returned
her hostess in her brisk, almost hard tones. “You are prompt to the
hour, child. I like that. I hate to be kept waiting. I have my tea at
precisely five o’clock. It is years since I had a guest to tea. Sit down
there.” She indicated a straight chair with an ornamental leather back
and seat. “Jonas will bring the tea table in directly, and serve the
tea. Take off your hat and lay it on the library table. I wish to see
you without it.”

She had not more than finished speaking, when the snowy-haired servitor
wheeled in a good-sized rosewood tea-table. He drew it up to where
Marjorie sat, and brought another chair for the mistress of Hamilton
Arms similar to the one on which the guest was sitting. Withdrawing from
the room, he left youth and age to take tea together.

“Who would have thought that I should ever pour tea for one of my
particular aversions,” Miss Susanna commented with grim humor. “Do you
take sugar and cream, child?”

“Two lumps of sugar and no cream.” Marjorie held out her hand for the
delicate Sevres cup.

“Help yourself to the muffins and jam. It is red raspberry. I put it up
myself. Now eat as though you were hungry. I am always ravenous for my
tea. I do not have dinner until eight and I am outdoors so much I grow
very hungry as five o’clock approaches.”

“I am awfully hungry,” Marjorie confessed. “I love five o’clock tea. We
have it at home in summer but not in winter. We girls at Hamilton hardly
ever have it, because we have dinner shortly after six.”

“At what campus house are you?” was the abrupt question.

“Wayland Hall. I like it best of all, though Silverton Hall is a fine
house.”

“Wayland Hall,” the old lady repeated. “It was his favorite house.”

“You are speaking of Mr. Brooke Hamilton?” Marjorie inquired with
breathless interest. “Miss Remson said it was his favorite house. He was
so wonderful. ‘We shall ne’er see his like again,’” she quoted, her
brown eyes eloquent.

Miss Susanna stared at her in silence, as though trying to determine the
worth of Marjorie’s unexpected remarks.

“He _was_ wonderful,” she said at last. “I am amazed at your
appreciation of him. You _are_ an amazing young person, I must say. How
much do you know concerning my great uncle that you should have arrived
at your truly high opinion of him?”

“I know very little about him except that he loved Hamilton and planned
it nobly.” Marjorie’s clear eyes looked straight into her vis-a-vis’s
sharp dark ones. “I have asked questions. I have treasured every scrap
of information about him that I have heard since I came to Hamilton
College. No one seems to know much of him except in a general way.”

“That is true. Well, the fault lies with the college.” The reply hinted
of hostility. “Perhaps I will tell you more of him some day. Not now; I
am not in the humor. I must get used to having you here first. I try to
forget that you are from the college. I told you I did not like girls. I
may call you an exception, child. I realized that after you had left me,
the day you helped me to the cottage with the chrysanthemums. I was
cheered by your company. I am pleased with your admiration for him. He
was worthy of it.”

As on the day of her initial meeting with Brooke Hamilton’s great niece,
Marjorie was again at a loss as to what to say next. She wished to say
how greatly she revered the memory of the founder of Hamilton College.
In the face of Miss Susanna’s declaration that she did not wish to talk
of him, she could not frame a reply that conveyed her reverence.

“Try these cakes. They are from an old recipé the Hamiltons have used
for four generations. Ellen, my cook, made these. I seldom do any baking
now. I used to when younger. I spend most of my time out of doors in
good weather. Let me have your cup.”

Her hostess tendered a plate of delicate little cakes not unlike
macaroons. Marjorie helped herself to the cakes and forebore asking
questions about Brooke Hamilton. Miss Susanna had partially promised to
tell her of him some day. She could do no more than possess her soul in
patience.

“What do you do in winter, Miss Hamilton, when you can’t be out?” she
questioned interestedly. “Do you live at Hamilton Arms the year round?”

“Yes; I have not been away from here for a number of years. In winter I
read and embroider. I do plain sewing for the poor of Hamilton. Jonas
takes baskets of clothing and necessities to needy families in the town
of Hamilton. ‘The poor ye have always with ye,’ you know.”

“I know,” Marjorie affirmed, her lovely face growing momently sad.
“Captain, I mean, my mother, does a good deal of such work in Sanford. I
have helped her a little. During our last year at high school a number
of us organized a club. We called ourselves the Lookouts and we rented a
house and started a day nursery for the mill children. The house was in
their district.”

“And how long did you keep it up?” was the somewhat skeptical inquiry.

“Oh, it is running along beautifully yet.” Marjorie laughed as she made
answer.

“I am more amazed than before. A club of girls usually hangs together
about six weeks. Each girl feels that she ought to be at the head of it
and in the end a grand falling-out occurs.” Miss Susanna’s eyes were
twinkling. This time her remarks were not pointedly ill-natured. “You
are to tell me about this club,” she commanded.

Marjorie complied, giving her a brief history of the day nursery.

“Are any of your Lookouts here at Hamilton with you?” she was
interrogated.

“Four of them. One, Lucy Warner, won a scholarship to Hamilton.” Now on
the subject, Marjorie determined to make a valiant stand for her chums.
She therefore told of the offering of the scholarship by Ronny and of
Lucy’s brilliancy as a student. She told of Lucy’s ability as a
secretary and of how much she had done to help herself through college.
She did not forget to speak of Katherine Langly, and her exceptional
winning of a scholarship especially offered by Brooke Hamilton.

“I had no idea there were any such girls over there.” The old lady spoke
half to herself. “I might have known there would be some apostles.”

“Miss Susanna,”—Marjorie decided that this would be the best time to
acquaint her hostess with what she had purposed to tell her,—“I told my
intimate friends of meeting you the day the basket handle broke. I
thought you ought to know that. You had asked me in your letter not to
mention to anyone that I was coming here. I did not say a word to anyone
of the letter. I would ask my chums not to mention what I told them
about meeting you in the first place, but, if I do, they will wish to
know why.”

“Humph!” The listener used Jerry’s pet interjection. “Where did you tell
them you were going today? Some of them must have seen you as you came
away.”

“No; they were all out except one girl. She was busy writing a theme.”

“What would you have told them if they had seen you?” Miss Hamilton eyed
the young girl searchingly.

“I would have said I was going out and hoped they wouldn’t feel hurt if
I didn’t tell them my destination. What else could I have said?” It was
Marjorie’s turn to fix her gaze upon her hostess.

“Nothing else, by rights. If I allowed you to tell your chums, as you
call them, that you were here today, would they keep your counsel? How
many of them would have to know it?” The older woman’s face had softened
wonderfully.

Marjorie thought for an instant. “Eight,” she answered. “They are
honorable. I would like to tell them.”

“Very well, you may.” The permission came concisely. “I will take your
word for their discretion. I have my own proper reasons for not wishing
to be gossiped about on the campus. I wish you to come again. I do not
wish your visits to be a secret. I abhor that kind of secrecy. Perhaps
in time I shall not care if the whole college knows. At present what
they do not know will not hurt them. In the words of my distinguished
uncle, ‘Be not secret; be discreet.’”



CHAPTER XI—COMPARING NOTES


Tea over, Jonas removed the tea-table and Miss Susanna waved her guest
toward a leather-covered arm chair. Changing her own chair for one
corresponding to Marjorie’s, Miss Hamilton proceeded to ply Marjorie
with interested questions concerning her college course. She exhibited a
kind of repressed eagerness to hear of the college and her guest’s
doings there.

The tall rosewood floor clock had chimed six, then again the musical
stroke of half hour, before Marjorie found graceful opportunity to take
her leave. She was willing to stay longer, but was not certain that her
erratic hostess would wish her to do so. The shadows had begun to fall
across the sombre elegance of the library and the October twilight would
soon be upon them.

Miss Susanna made no effort to detain her beyond saying: “So you think
you must go. Well, you will be coming again soon to see me. You have
given me much to think of.” She accompanied Marjorie to the front door,
giving her a warm handshake in parting. Marjorie noticed, however, that
her small face wore a pensive expression quite at variance with her
accustomed alert demeanor. It gave her the appearance of great age,
though her brown hair was only partially streaked with gray. Marjorie
thought she could not be much more than sixty years old.

A happy little smile touched the pleased lieutenant’s lips as she
hurried toward the campus through the gathering twilight. Far from being
dissatisfied at not hearing more of Brooke Hamilton, she was blissfully
content with her visit. Miss Susanna had promised to tell her of him.
She had given her consent to allowing Marjorie to inform her chums of
her visit to Hamilton Arms. She had actually set foot in the house of
her dreams. The two rooms she had seen had more than justified her
expectations of what it would be like inside.

Dinner was on when she reached Wayland Hall. Marjorie had fared too well
on hot muffins, jam, cakes, and the most delicious tea she had ever
drunk, to care for anything more to eat.

“Where, may I ask, have you been keeping yourself?” saluted Jerry about
twenty minutes after Marjorie’s return. Coming into their room she
beheld her missing room-mate calmly preparing her French lesson for the
next day. “Why don’t you go and have your dinner? Or have you had it?”

“I have had tea instead of dinner. I couldn’t eat another mouthful to
save me. ‘An’ ye hae been where I hae been,’” hummed Marjorie
mischievously.

“Something like that,” satirized Jerry. “Where did you say you were?
Never mind. I am sure you will tell me some day.” She simpered at
Marjorie. “You should have been with Helen and I today. Something
awfully funny happened. Not to us. The girls are coming up to hear about
it soon. Helen and I didn’t care to tell it at the table on account of
the Sans.”

“Then farewell to my peaceful study hour.” Marjorie laid away the
translation she had been making.

“You can chase the girls away at eight-thirty, that will give you time
enough. If you don’t, I will. I have studying of my own to do.”

“As long as the gang will be here I may as well save _my_ remarks until
then.”

A buzz of voices outside the door announced the “gang.” Beside the three
Lookouts and Katherine were the beloved trio, Helen, Leila and Vera. The
entire crowd pounced upon Marjorie, demanding to know where she had
been. It was unusual for her to be away without having left word with
some one of them.

“Will I tell you where I was? Certainly! It’s no secret; at least not
now,” she added tantalizingly. “Don’t you want to hear Jerry’s tale
first? I do.”

“Nothing doing. You go ahead and relieve our anxious minds. We didn’t
know but maybe you had been spirited away by a bogus note again.”

A peculiar expression appeared in Marjorie’s eyes as she went to her
chiffonier and drew from it Miss Hamilton’s letter.

“It’s queer, but when I received this letter the other day, I was almost
afraid it was another fake. Notice the address, then read it,” she
commanded, handing it to Vera who was nearest her.

It brought forth exclamatory comment from all, once each had acquainted
herself with its contents.

“No wonder you didn’t leave word where you were going. Did you have a
nice time?” Jerry’s chubby features registered her pleasure of the honor
accorded her room-mate.

“Yes; I had a beautiful time. I was worried because I couldn’t speak of
going to any of you. Miss Susanna gave me permission to tell you eight,
but no others.” Marjorie recounted her visit in detail. “I wish she
would invite the rest of you to Hamilton Arms. It is a beautiful house
inside. I only saw the hall and library, but they were magnificent.”

“Don’t weep, Marvelous Manager.” Ronny had noted Marjorie’s wistful
expression. “Through your miraculous machinations we shall all be
parading about Hamilton Arms in the near future.”

“I certainly hope so,” was the fervent response.

For a little the bevy of girls discussed Marjorie’s news. All were
elated over the pleasure which had come to her. Her generous thought of
the peculiar old lady on May Day of the previous year had touched them.

“She hasn’t asked you yet if you hung that basket, has she?” queried
Lucy.

“How could she possibly suspect me of hanging it?” laughed Marjorie.

“Because it was like you. It carried your atmosphere. Some day she will
suddenly notice that and ask you about the basket,” Lucy sagely
prophesied. “She seems to be a shrewd old person.”

“She is.” Marjorie smiled at the candid criticism. She wondered if Miss
Susanna had not been in her youth a trifle like Lucy.

“Now for what Helen and I saw and heard this afternoon,” declared Jerry
gleefully. The first interest in Marjorie’s visit to Hamilton Arms had
abated.

  “Oh, a horrible tale I have to tell,
  Of the terrible fate that once befell
  A couple of students who resided
  In the very same neighborhood that I did,”

chanted Helen. “You tell it, Jeremiah. You can make it funnier than I
can.”

“Helen and I started out with the new car as proudly as you please this
afternoon,” began Jerry with a reminiscent chuckle. “We hadn’t gone much
further than Hamilton Arms when whiz, bing, buzz! Along came that Miss
Walbert in her blue and buff car and nearly bumped into us. She came up
from behind and her car just missed scraping against Helen’s. Leslie
Cairns was with her. We never said a word, but I heard Miss Cairns raise
her voice. I think she gave Miss Walbert a call down.”

“There was no excuse for her, except that she never seems to pay any
particular attention to anyone’s car but her own,” put in Helen. “I have
heard complaint of her from I don’t remember how many girls who own
cars. Occasionally you will find a girl who can’t learn to drive a car.
She belongs in that class. Excuse me for butting in. Proceed, Jeremiah.”

“That’s all of the prologue,” Jerry continued. “Now comes the first act.
We went on to town, drove around a little, did our errands, had ice
cream at the Lotus and started back highly pleased with ourselves. You
know that place just before you leave the town where the turn into
Hamilton Highway is made? There is a grocery store and a garage on one
side of the road and a hotel on the other. Just before we came to that
point Miss Walbert and her car whizzed by us again. She took that corner
with a lurch. When we struck the place a minute later we saw something
had happened. She had actually scraped the side of one of those taxis
that run between town and the college. It was coming from the college, I
suppose. Anyway, Miss Cairns and she were both out of their car and so
was the taxi driver. Maybe he wasn’t giving those two a call down!”

Jerry and Helen exchanged joyful smiles at the recollection of the
reckless couple’s discomfiture.

“Helen drove very slowly past them. We wanted to hear what the man was
saying,” Jerry continued. “He was laying down the law to them to beat
the band. We heard Leslie Cairns say, ‘Do you know to whom you are
talking?’ He shouted out, ‘Yes; to a simpleton of a girl who don’t know
no more about drivin’ than a goose. I seen you drive your own car, lady,
an’ I never had no trouble with you. Your friend, there, is the limit.
You’re runnin’ chances of landin’ in the hospital or worse when you go
ridin’ with her.’ Leslie Cairns was furious. I could tell that by her
expression. Miss Walbert fairly shrieked something at him. She was mad
as hops, too. We had passed them by that time so we couldn’t catch what
she was saying. There was quite a crowd around them, mostly men and
youngsters.”

“That must be the man Robin and I rode with the other day,” Marjorie
said. “Is he short, with a red face and quite gray hair?”

“Yes; that’s the man. How did you know which one it was?” Jerry showed
surprise.

“He had a near collision with Miss Walbert that day.” Marjorie related
the incident.

“It is a shame!” Leila’s face had darkened as she listened to both
girls. “I hope Leslie Cairns takes her in hand. She’s the very one to
cause a bad accident and then home go our cars. She is such a poor
driver. She bowls along the road without regard for man or beast. She
has a good car which will presently be in the ditch.”

“Do you think President Matthews would ban cars if a Hamilton girl were
to ditch her car or met with serious accident to herself?” Vera asked
reflectively.

“Hard to say, Midget. It would depend upon the seriousness of the
accident. Suppose a girl were to ditch her car and be killed. It would
be horrifying. I doubt whether we would be allowed our cars after any
such accident.”

“Grant nothing like that ever happens.” Lucy Warner gave a slight
shudder. “I shall never forget the day Kathie was hurt.”

“None of us who were with her that day are likely ever to forget it.
Miss Cairns escaped easily considering the way she was driving. She
ought to be the very one to tell that Miss Walbert a few things not in
the automobile guide,” declared Jerry. “She certainly did not appear at
advantage this afternoon.”



CHAPTER XII—A TRAITOR IN CAMP


Leslie Cairns’ opinion of the matter coincided with Jerry’s, though the
latter could not know it. To become involved in a roadside argument with
an irate taxicab driver did not appeal to her in the least. She was not
half so angry with him, however, as with Elizabeth Walbert. She blamed
the latter for the whole thing. For several minutes after Helen and
Jerry had driven by them, Elizabeth and the driver continued to quarrel.

“How much do you want for the damage you say we have done your cab?”
Leslie had impatiently inquired of the man. “Cut it out, Bess, and get
back to your car,” she had ordered in the next breath. “Let me settle
this business.”

A momentary hesitation and Elizabeth had obeyed. She could not afford to
antagonize Leslie, at present. She had an axe of her own yet to be
ground.

“I oughtta have twenty-five dollars. It ain’t my car. Repairin’ comes
high.”

“Very good. Here is your money. Wait a minute.” Leslie had extracted the
sum from her handbag. With it came a small pad of blank paper and a
fountain pen. Then and there she obtained not only a receipt for the
money but a statement of release as well. She was well aware that it
would not cost twenty-five dollars to repaint the side of the cab
scraped by their car, but she preferred the matter summarily closed.

Returning to the car she had said shortly: “I’ll take the wheel.”
Elizabeth had resumed the driver’s seat. Nor had she made any move
toward relinquishing it.

“You heard what I said, Bess,” she had sharply rebuked. “Either that, or
you and I are on the outs for good. You let me drive that car and show
you a few things you need badly to know about driving.” Leslie’s
lowering face and tense utterance had had its effect. Elizabeth had
allowed her to drive back to Hamilton but had sulked all the way to the
campus.

At the garage she had unbent a little and inquired how much Leslie had
paid the driver. “I’ll return it to you next week,” she had promised.

“Suit yourself about that. I’m in no hurry. I took it upon myself to
settle with the idiot. It wouldn’t worry me if you never paid it. I
thought it best to pacify him. I don’t care to have him reporting us to
Matthews as he threatened to do.” This had been Leslie’s mind on the
subject.

“I don’t believe he would ever go near Doctor Matthews. Still _you_
couldn’t afford to risk being reported,” Elizabeth had retorted with
special emphasis on the “you.”

To this Leslie had vouchsafed no reply. She had merely stared at her
companion in a most disconcerting fashion and walked off and left her.
She was thoroughly nettled with Elizabeth for her lack of gratitude.
Natalie was right about her it seemed. She was also wondering where the
ungrateful sophomore had obtained certain information which she
apparently possessed. No one beyond her seven intimates among the Sans
knew that she had been reprimanded by President Matthews for the
accident to Katherine Langly. To the other members of the club she had
intimated that she had adjusted the matter quietly with Katherine.

That evening, while Jerry was recounting to her chums what she and Helen
had heard of the altercation between the cab driver and the two girls,
Leslie was having a confidential talk with Natalie Weyman. She had gone
straight from the garage to her room, eaten dinner at the Hall and asked
Natalie to come to her room after dinner.

“Nat, you are right about Bess. She is no good,” Leslie began, dropping
into a chair opposite that of her friend. Briefly narrating the
happening of the afternoon, she repeated the remark Elizabeth had made
to her at the garage. “What would you draw from that?” she asked.

“Someone has been talking.” Natalie compressed her lips in a tight line.
“You are sure you never told her yourself?”

“_Positively, no._ I have never babbled my private affairs to Bess, or
Lola either. Only the old crowd were told the facts of that trouble. We
have a traitor in the camp and _I know who it is_.” Leslie’s eyes
narrowed with sinister significance. “It’s Dulcie. I am going to find
out quietly what all she has been saying about me and to whom she has
been saying it. I’m sure she told Bess about the summons. That isn’t so
serious. I could overlook that, although I don’t like it. It is the
other things she may have told. That’s what worries me. She and I have
been on the outs since that Valentine masquerade last year. She hardly
ever comes to my room. I am not sorry. I never got along well with
Dulcie. I never trusted her.”

“Dulcie ought to know better than tell all she knows to that Walbert
creature,” Natalie made indignant return. “Why, Les, suppose she were
foolish enough to tell her about that high tribunal stunt?” Natalie drew
a sharp breath of consternation. “Dulcie knows the rights of the Remson
mix-up, too.”

“Dulcie knows too much. So do some of the other girls. If I had it to do
over again, I would not tell anyone but you how I put over a stunt. Why
did we haze Bean? Simply because she reported me to Matthews after
Langly had agreed to drop it. The girls were all in on the hazing, so
not one of them would be safe if they told it.”

“The Remson affair would do you the most harm if it got out,” Natalie
said decidedly. “It is contemptible in Dulcie to gossip about you after
all the favors you have done her. You’ve lent her money over and over
again. You know she never pays it back if she can slide out of it.”

Leslie made an indifferent gesture of assent. “She owes me over two
hundred dollars now. I lent it to her during her freshie year. She paid
up what she borrowed of me last year, but she never said a word about
the other. Dulcie has _nerve_, Nat; pure, unadulterated _nerve_. She
can’t bear me lately because I run the Sans to suit myself. I always ran
the club and she knows that. Last year she decided that she would like
to run it herself. I sat down on her every time she tried it. She
deliberately left the back door of that house unlocked the night we
hazed Bean. I told her to see to it. She was edgeways at me. She never
went near the door. You know what happened.”

“Dulcie will have to be told a few plain truths.” Natalie frowned
displeased anxiety. The news of Dulcie’s defection was rather alarming.

“She is going to hear them from me, but not yet. I shall catch her dead
to rights before I have things out with her. I’ve made up my mind just
how I am going to do it, provided the rest of the Sans stand by me. It
will be to their interest to do so. I mean, with their support, I can
give her precisely what she deserves.”

“I’ll stand by you. Joan will, too. She is down on Dulcie for some
reason or other. They haven’t been on speaking terms for a week. I asked
Joan what the trouble was between them. She said Dulcie made her weary
and she didn’t care whether she ever spoke to her again or not. That was
all I could get out of her.”

“Hm-m!” Leslie looked interested. “I shall find out tomorrow what Joan
has against her. If Dulcie hasn’t gabbed anything worse to Bess, and I
presume a few others, than the news that I received a summons from his
high and cranky mightiness, I will let her off with my candid opinion of
her. If she has been a busy little news distributor of secret matters,
she will rue it. I’ll have no traitors among the Sans.”



CHAPTER XIII—WELL MATCHED


Leslie’s first crafty move toward determining Dulcie Vale’s treachery
was in the direction of Elizabeth Walbert. The latter had promised to
return the next week the twenty-five dollars Leslie had expended in her
behalf. Leslie planned to wait until she did so before making an attempt
to discover how many of the Sans’ secrets Elizabeth knew. She was
certain that Elizabeth would return the loan promptly, as she received a
large allowance from home and as much more as she chose to demand.

To seek the self-satisfied sophomore’s society was not what Leslie
proposed to do. She intended matters should be the other way around. She
could then take Elizabeth completely off her guard and find out more
easily what Dulcie had imparted to her.

Elizabeth also had views of her own regarding Leslie. The latter had not
been nearly so friendly with her since college had opened as she had
been during the previous year. Leslie had renewed her old comradeship
with Natalie Weyman, whom Elizabeth detested and stood a little in fear
of. Natalie had never been friendly with her. She had always held
herself aloof. Whenever they chanced to meet she treated Elizabeth as a
mere acquaintance. It was galling to the ambitious, self-seeking
sophomore, but she loftily ignored Natalie’s frigidity. She had
complained of it once to Leslie and been soundly snubbed for her pains.
“You needn’t expect much of Nat. She doesn’t like you. That’s why she
freezes you out. It won’t do you any good to tell me about it, for Nat
is my particular pal.” This had been Leslie’s unsympathetic reception of
the complaint.

In her heart Elizabeth did not like Leslie. She resented Leslie’s
domineering ways. This did not deter her from fawning upon the despotic
senior. She was depending on Leslie to help her regain a certain
popularity which had been hers as a freshman. She had cherished a vain
hope that she might be elected to the sophomore presidency. To her
chagrin she had not even been nominated. Determined to shine on the
campus, her thoughts were now turning toward basket ball. She was now
anxious to enlist Leslie’s services in helping her devise a means of
making the sophomore team. As a senior Leslie could easily influence the
sports committee to favor her. Mae Lowry and Sarah Pierce, both Sans,
were on the committee.

It had been rumored that Professor Leonard and the sports committee had
disagreed; that the instructor had coolly advised the committee to do as
it pleased and dropped all interest in sports for that year. With him
out of the reckoning, nothing stood in her way provided Leslie chose to
favor her.

Her greatest ambition, however, was to belong to the Sans. She was
always privately wishing that one member of the club would drop out.
Leslie had once more told her that the club limit was eighteen members.
If anyone left the club an outside eligible would be chosen to replace
the retiring member so as to keep the number of girls at eighteen. She
had also tried on the previous June to arrange for a room at Wayland
Hall for the ensuing college year. She had been unsuccessful in the
attempt.

After leaving Leslie on the occasion of her mishap on Hamilton Highway,
she had realized her folly in showing spleen against her companion. She
resolved to offset it as speedily as possible. She wrote Leslie a note
which remained unanswered. She then telephoned the Hall, but Leslie was
out. Her allowance check having arrived, she had an excuse to go to see
Leslie. Her afternoon classes over, she set out for Wayland Hall one
rainy afternoon, hoping the inclement weather had kept Leslie indoors.

Her baby-blue eyes gleamed triumph at the cheering news that Miss Cairns
was in. As she ascended the stairs to Leslie’s room, which was the
largest and most expensive in the house, her curious glances roved
everywhere. She wished she could see into the room of every student. Her
lips fell into an envious pout as she thought of her own failure to get
into the Hall. She would try again in June, on that she was determined.

Coming to the door of Leslie’s room, she uttered a muffled exclamation
of impatience. A large “Busy” sign stared her in the face. She did not
turn and go away. Instead her surveying eyes took in the long hall from
end to end. Next, she drew close to the door and listened. She could
hear no voices from within. Leslie was evidently alone and studying.

With a defiant lifting of her chin Elizabeth rapped on the panel twice
and loudly. She listened again and was repaid by the sound of a chair
being hastily moved, then approaching footsteps. The door opened with a
jerk. Leslie stared at her visitor with no pleasantness.

“I came to return that twenty-five dollars.” Elizabeth did not give
Leslie a chance to speak first. “I saw the sign on your door. I thought
I would knock, anyway. I’ve been trying to see you for a week to give it
to you. Why didn’t you answer my note, or didn’t you receive it?”

Leslie continued to stare. She was taken aback for an instant by the
cool impudence of the other girl. This was in reality the only thing
about Elizabeth that Leslie liked. She found the sophomore’s bold
assurance amusing.

“Come in,” she drawled, assuming her most indifferent pose. “I intended
asking you if you could read. I’ll forgive you. I told you there was no
hurry about that money.”

“What’s money to me? Not that much!” Elizabeth snapped her fingers. “I
can have all the money I want to spend here. I simply happened to be
without it the other day. I won’t stay. I see you are really busy
writing letters. It goes to show you can write. I thought perhaps you
had forgotten how.”

Having delivered this thrust she busied herself with her handbag. “Here
you are; much obliged.” She tendered the money to Leslie. “I must go.”
She turned as though to depart.

“Oh, sit down!” Leslie tossed the little wad of bills on the table. “I
can finish this letter later. I have to keep that sign on the door when
I want to be alone. I’d be mobbed if I did not.”

At heart Leslie was distinctly glad to see her caller. She had her part
to play on the stage of deceit, however.

“I suppose the Sans are running in and out of your room a good deal,”
Elizabeth returned enviously. “I wish I could live here. It makes me so
cross when I think of that Miss Dean and those girls living here and I
can’t get in. There will be a lot of girls graduated from here in June.
I think I can make it next fall. What’s the use, though. You’ll be gone.
It is on your account I’d like to be here. I think more of you, Leslie,
than of all the rest of the girls put together.” Elizabeth simulated
wistful regret. She had tried out that particular expression before the
mirror until she had perfected it. It was useful on so many occasions.

“Do you truly think as much of me as you say, Bess, or are you simply
talking to hear yourself talk?” Leslie carried out admirably a pretense
of sudden earnestness.

“Why, _of course_, I care a lot about you, Leslie.” Elizabeth adopted a
slightly grieved tone. “Think of how _much_ you have done for me.”

“Oh, that’s all right.” Leslie dismissed the reminder with a wave of the
hand. “I have a reason for asking you that question. I have one or two
other questions to ask you, too. If you are my friend, _and wish to
continue to be my friend_, you will answer them.”

“I certainly will, if I can,” was the glib promise.

“You can,” Leslie curtly assured. “First, who told you about my having
received a summons to Matthews’ office on account of that accident to
Langly last fall?”

“How do you know——” began the sophomore, then bit her lip.

“I _know_. There isn’t much goes on on the campus that I don’t know.”
This with intent to intimidate. “I know who told you, for that matter.”

“I promised I wouldn’t tell. Still, if you say you know who it was, I
believe you do.” Elizabeth hastily conceded, remembering her own
interests. “You won’t let on that I told you?”

Leslie shook her head. “Trust me to be discreet,” she said.

“It was Dulcie Vale,” came the treacherous answer.

“I knew it.” Leslie brought one hand sharply down against the other.
“What else has Dulcie told you?”

“About what?” counter-questioned the sophomore.

“That’s what I am asking you.” Leslie leaned forward in her chair,
steady eyes on her vis-a-vis.

Elizabeth experienced inward trepidation. Dulcie had told her a great
many things which she had promptly repeated to friends of hers under
promise of secrecy. Suppose Leslie had traced some bit of gossip to her.
She had heard that Leslie could pretend affability when she was the
angriest. She might be only using Dulcie as a blind in order to extract
a confession from her.

“I don’t quite understand you, Leslie,” she asserted, knitting her light
brows. “Dulcie has talked to me a little about the Sans. I never
mentioned a word she said to anyone else.”

“That’s not the point. I am not accusing you of talking too much. You
made a remark the other day which I took as an assumption that you had
been told about the summons. I knew Dulcie had told you. Dulcie has said
things to others, too.”

“Oh, I know that.” Confidence returning, Elizabeth was quick to place
the blame on the absent Dulcie.

“Yes; and so do I. It is very necessary that I should get to the bottom
of her talk. Some say one thing about her, some another. I thought I
could rely on you for the facts.”

“I don’t care to have any trouble with Dulcie over this,” deprecated
Elizabeth.

“You won’t. Your name won’t be mentioned in it. All I need is the facts.
You will be doing me a great favor. If there is anything I can do for
you in return, let me know.” Leslie had donned her cloak of
pseudo-sincerity.

“Oh, no; there is nothing.” Elizabeth slowly shook her head. “I—well, I
wouldn’t want you to think I _cared_ for a return.” Her manner plainly
indicated that there was something Leslie might do for her if she chose.

“What is it you want?” Leslie exhibited marked impatience. “Favor for
favor you know,” she added boldly. “I never mince matters.”

“I am crazy to play on the soph basket-ball team. Do you think you can
fix it for me?”

“Surest thing ever. Leonard is peeved and has tossed up sports. Two of
the Sans are on committee. Is that all you need?”

“Yes.” The wide babyish eyes registered a flash of gratification. “You
are so _kind_, Leslie. Thank you a thousand times. I know you won’t fail
me.”

“You’re welcome. I’ll fix it for you tomorrow. One bit of advice. Don’t
play unless you are an expert.”

“I am. When I was at prep school——”

“Never mind about that now. You go ahead and tell me what I asked you.
It is almost six and Nat will be here soon.”

“Oh, will she?” The sophomore cast an apprehensive glance toward the
door. “Is she a very good friend of Dulcie’s?”

“She’s a better friend of mine,” was the bored reply. Leslie was growing
tired of being kept from what she burned to know. “Please don’t waste
any more time, Bess. We can’t talk after Nat comes in. I don’t believe
I’ll be able to see you again before Saturday. I’m awfully busy. I’ll
lunch you at the Lotus then. We’ll use my roadster for the trip to town.
What?”

Elated at having gleaned from Leslie a promise of benefit to herself and
an invitation to luncheon, Elizabeth once more stipulated that her name
should be left out of the revelation. Again reassured, she proceeded to
regale Leslie with the confidences Dulcie had imparted to her at various
times. She talked steadily for almost half an hour. Leslie gave her free
rein, interrupting her but little.

“It’s even worse than I had thought,” Leslie declared grimly, when
Elizabeth could recall nothing more to tell. “Bess, if you know when you
are well off, you will never tell a soul what you have told me. Part of
it isn’t true. Dulcie was romancing to you about that hazing affair. We
talked about it for fun, but that was all. Why, we were all at the
masquerade that night.”

“Dulcie wasn’t,” flatly contradicted the other. “She had a black eye.
She said she was hurt at that house when——”

“Dulcie bumped into the door of her room that night with her mask on,”
interrupted Leslie angrily. “So she told us. If she was where she claims
she was, certainly we were not with her. This isn’t the first foolish
rumor of the kind she has started. It’s a good thing the rest of the
girls don’t know this. They’d never forgive Dulcie for starting such
yarns. As for that trouble she claims we had with Miss Remson. There was
nothing to that, either. We have never exchanged a word with Remson on
the subject. I don’t mind what she told you about the summons. The rest
of her lies! Well, there is this much to it, Dulcie is due to hear from
me and in short order.”



CHAPTER XIV—SANS’ MERCY


Despite Leslie’s denials, Elizabeth left her room only half convinced.
Being as lost to honor as Leslie, she was also as shrewd. She made a vow
to keep her own counsel thereafter. She knew herself to be as guilty as
Dulcie. She hoped Leslie would never discover that. Leslie had promised
that her name should not be mentioned in the matter. If brought to book
by Leslie, Dulcie could not accuse her of circulating the stories
intrusted to her without incriminating herself. Elizabeth felt quite
safe on that score.

For two or three days after her call upon Leslie, she kept out of
Dulcie’s way for fear the latter had been taken to task for her
treachery and might suspect her as being instrumental in having brought
it about. On Friday, however, she met Dulcie in the library. Dulcie
invited her to dinner at the Colonial and she went without a tremor of
conscience. The former was not in a gossiping humor that day. She was
doing badly in all her subjects and worried in consequence.

Elizabeth went calmly to luncheon at the Lotus with Leslie on Saturday,
pluming herself in that she was on excellent terms with both factions.
She reported to Leslie her meeting with Dulcie on Friday, saying lamely
that Dulcie never gossiped a bit about the Sans. “She hadn’t better,”
Leslie had returned vengefully. “She has done mischief enough already.”
When Elizabeth had ventured to inquire when Dulcie was to be “called
down,” Leslie had said, “When I get ready to do it. I’m not ready yet.”

Natalie and Joan Myers had been informed by Leslie of Dulcie’s
treachery. The trio had then set to work to discover how much damage she
had done; something not easy to determine. Natalie and Joan demanded
that she should be dropped from the club. They were sure the others
would be of the same mind. Even Eleanor Ray, her former chum, was on the
outs with Dulcie. There would be no objection to the penalty from
Eleanor. Leslie’s plan was to gather the evidence against Dulcie, place
it before the Sans, minus the culprit, at a private meeting, and let
them decide her fate. In spite of Leslie Cairns’ unscrupulous
disposition, she had a queer sense of justice which occasionally stirred
within her. Thus she was bent on being sure of her ground before
accusing Dulcie to her face.

After a week had passed and the three had learned nothing new regarding
the circulation of their misdeeds about the campus, Leslie called a
meeting of the club in her room while Dulcie was absent from the Hall.
Indignation ran high at the revelation. The verdict was, “Drop her from
the club.” Notwithstanding the possibility pointed out by Leslie that
she might turn on them and betray them to headquarters, her associates
were keen for dropping her.

“What harm can she do us?” argued Margaret Wayne. “She can’t give us
away to Doctor Matthews without cooking her own goose. That’s our only
danger from her. It’s our word against hers. Any stories she has told on
the campus will never go further than among the students. It is too bad!
Dulcie should have known better than to be so utterly treacherous. She
deserves to be dropped. We could never trust her again.”

“That’s what I think,” concurred Joan Myers. “Even if her tales _did_
bring about a private inquiry, it is our word against hers. We have
really walked with a sword over our heads since last Saint Valentine’s
night. It has never fallen. I say, _simply fire_ Dulcie from the Sans,
and be done with it. Let it be a lesson to the rest of us to be
discreet.”

“When is the deed to be done?” Adelaide Forman inquired.

“I don’t know yet. I want you girls to see what you can glean on the
campus. I must have every scrap of evidence against her that I can get,”
Leslie announced. “We may not be able to spring it on her for a week or
two. When we do, the meeting will be in this room. I’ll hang a heavy
curtain over the door so we won’t be heard. If she gets very angry she
will raise her voice to a positive shriek.”

“Wouldn’t it be better to hold that meeting outside the Hall? Dulcie
will raise an awful fuss. If she hadn’t told something I made her swear
she wouldn’t tell, I would not hear to having her treated that way. I am
down on her for that very reason. Otherwise I would feel very sorry for
her,” explained Eleanor Ray.

“I am not on good terms with her. She made trouble between Evangeline
and me last week. We only straightened it up today.” Joan volunteered
this information. “Leslie’s room is the best place for the meeting. It
is situated so that Dulcie won’t be heard if she cries or flies into a
temper.”

While among the Sans there was not one girl who had not stooped to
dishonorable acts since her entrance into Hamilton College, the fact of
Dulcie’s defection seemed monstrous indeed.

“Be careful what you say to Bess Walbert,” Natalie took the liberty of
saying. “How much does she know about what we shall do with Dulc? What
did you tell her about it?”

“I said I had heard other things Dulcie had been saying; that she was
due to hear from me for gossiping. That such yarns must be stopped. I
warned her to keep to herself whatever Dulc had told her. She promised
silence. I don’t know.” Leslie shrugged dubiously. “Take a leaf from
Nat’s book, girls, and keep mum to Bess. She may try to pump you. She’s
crazy to know what I am going to say to Dulc and when the fuss is to
come off.”

Natalie flushed her gratification of Leslie’s approbation. The others
received their leader’s counsel with marked respect. The news of
Dulcie’s perfidy had given them food for uneasy reflection.

“We’ll just have to depend on you, Les, to deal with Dulcie,” Joan Myers
said emphatically. “You can do it scientifically. Of course, we expect
to stand by you. When the time comes you ought to do the talking.”

“The firing, you mean,” corrected Leslie, smiling in her most unpleasant
fashion. “Leave it to me. It’s our campus reputation against her
feelings; if she has any. We all have a certain pride in ourselves as
seniors. I’m not anxious to be looked down upon by the other classes. It
is only a few months until Commencement. We must hang on until then, and
at the same time keep up an appearance of senior dignity.”

An assenting murmur arose. Allowed to do as they pleased by doting or
careless parents, not one of the Sans would escape parental wrath were
she to fail in her college course. Even more serious consequences would
be attached to expellment.

“How are we to behave toward Dulcie?” was Eleanor Ray’s question as the
meeting broke up.

“As though nothing had happened,” Leslie directed. “I shall take her by
surprise. I wish her to be so completely broken up she won’t have the
nerve to fight back, either on the night of the fuss or afterward.”



CHAPTER XV—PLANNING FOR OTHERS


While the Sans were experiencing the discomfort of internal friction,
the Lookouts and their friends were traveling the pleasant ways of
harmony and peace. The sophomores had so thoroughly taken their freshman
sisters under their genial wing that the juniors had little welfare work
to do in that direction.

In the matter of basket ball they lost all active interest after the
first game between the freshman and sophomore teams which took place on
the first Saturday afternoon in November. The Sans still had friends
enough among the seniors to make their influence felt in this respect.
With two Sans elected to the sports committee, Professor Leonard had
thrown up his hands in disgust after a vain attempt to get along
pleasantly with the arrogant committee. He refused to be present at the
try-out. Afterward he made it a point to be away from the gymnasium
during team practice.

Leslie Cairns kept her word to Elizabeth Walbert to the letter. She was
chosen by the committee to play on the official sophomore team. Phyllis
Moore was also picked solely on account of her prowess. When she found
herself on the same team with Elizabeth, she promptly resigned.

The freshman team was picked by the committee entirely according to Sans
tactics. Therefore, the democratic element of Hamilton foresaw a series
of uninteresting games ahead. Dutifully they attended the initial game
of the season which the sophs won. Most of the applause came from the
seniors present at the game. According to Muriel Harding, she had seen
better games played by the grammar school children of Sanford.

Basket ball thus failing to arouse their marked enthusiasm, the former
faithful fans and expert players turned their moments of recreation into
channels which pleased them better. Incidental with the decline of
basket ball, Marjorie and Robin took to looking earnestly about them for
a motive for the entertainments they had discussed giving.

Marjorie scouted about diligently in an effort to locate students off
the campus who needed financial help. She took Anna Towne into her
confidence at last and found out something of interest.

“It isn’t half so much that most of the girls living off the campus
can’t pull themselves through college. They manage to do it by working
through the summer vacations. It is the way we have to live that is so
nerve-racking at times. The food isn’t always good, and there’s so
little variety if one boards. The girls who cook for themselves have to
market. That’s a strain. One is out of bread or butter or another staple
and forgets all about it until supper time. Then the small stores nearby
are closed. Perhaps one wishes to spend an hour or two in the library
after recitations. There is the marketing to do, or else it has to be
done early in the morning when one is hurrying to get ready for a first
recitation. That’s merely one of the difficulties attached to trying to
lead the student life and doing light housekeeping at the same time.

“On the other hand,” Anna had further explained, “if one boards one
isn’t always allowed to do one’s own laundering. That’s quite an item of
expense. It costs more in money to board, and it is more of an expense
of spirit to keep house on a small scale. It is a great irritation
either way. That is the opinion of every girl off the campus I have
talked with. You girls in your beautiful campus house are lucky. Many of
these boarding and rooming houses are so cold in winter. For the amount
of board or rental we pay the proprietors claim they can’t afford to
give adequate heat.

“You see, Marjorie, when girls like myself decide on enrolling at a
certain college, they have only the prospectus to go by. They read in
the Bulletin of Students’ Aids and Bureaus of Self-help but they do not
reckon on them. They go to college on their own resources. They wouldn’t
dream of asking help as freshmen; perhaps not at all during their whole
course.”

“I see,” Marjorie had assented very soberly. It hurt her to hear of the
struggles for an education going on so near her, while she had
everything and more than heart could desire. “There ought to be one or
two houses on the campus where students could live as cheaply as in
boarding and rooming houses and still have their time entirely for study
and recreation.”

“That won’t be in my time at Hamilton,” Anna had declared with a tired
little smile. “I hope it will happen some day.”

When Marjorie had left Anna, it was with a certain generous resolve.
That night she made it known to Jerry.

“Do you know what I am going to do?” she asked, after recounting to her
room-mate her conversation of the afternoon.

“I do not. I’ll be pleased to hear your remarks, whatever they may be,”
encouraged Jerry with one of her wide smiles.

“You know what a lot of vacancies there will be here in June,” Marjorie
began. “Those vacancies ought to be filled by off-the-campus girls. Take
Anna, for instance. She earns about one-third enough money summers to
keep her at Wayland Hall. I shall furnish the other two-thirds for her.
I shall begin now and save something from my allowance toward it. I
shall ask Captain not to buy me a lot of new clothes for next year, but
to give me the money instead. I am going to do a little sacrificing. I
shall cut out dinners and luncheons off the campus. I’ll go only to
Baretti’s and not so very often.”

“We are an extravagant set,” Jerry confessed. “Our board is paid at the
Hall; the very best board, too. Yet away we go every two or three days
for a feed at our favorite tea-rooms. That’s a good idea, Marvelous
Manager. I shall presently adopt an off-the-campusite myself. Ronny will
adopt a dozen.”

“Ronny would finance them all, but I sha’n’t let her. General would give
me the money to see Anna through college, but I don’t wish it to be that
way. I want it to be self-denial money. I’d like to find a way to help
the off-the-campus girls this year.”

“Give shows. Make money. Turn it over to ’em,” suggested Jerry, with an
airy wave of the hand. “Nothing easier.”

“Nothing harder, you mean,” corrected Marjorie. “They wouldn’t like to
accept it as a private gift, I’m afraid. Besides, some of them board;
others do light housekeeping. Those who keep house could use the money
we offered to make things easier. Still they’d have the strain of
housework on their minds. Those who board wouldn’t be benefited much
unless they changed boarding places. There is only that one collection
of boarding houses near the campus. One is about the same as another.
Hamilton has been a rich girls’ college for a long time. The fine
equipment and super-excellent faculty have filled it up with well-to-do
and moneyed students.”

“I’d like to see every Hamilton student on the campus,” declared Jerry
heartily. “It would take three campus houses to do it. There must be
close to seventy-five girls in that bunch of off-campus houses.”

“We could start our fund for that purpose,” was the hopeful response.

“Who’d take care of the plan after we were graduated? It would take a
lot of money to build campus houses. Besides, how would we get the site?
Maybe the Board wouldn’t hear to the project”

“Too true, too true, Jeremiah,” Marjorie conceded gayly. “That plan is a
little far-fetched just yet. Later it may seem feasible. The fact
remains that Robin and I yearn to get up a show; object to give away the
proceeds.”

“You can do this. Arrange for the show. Advertise it as being given for
the purpose of founding a students’ beneficiary association. Take a
third of the proceeds and start the society. Give the other two-thirds
to Anna and let her distribute it privately among the girls who need it.
She knows them. She can get away with it better than you can. If anyone
comes down on the treasury for our little lone third we can hand it out
and keep it up by private contributions until some more money is earned.
I suppose you two marvelous managers will continue in the show business
as long as it is profitable.”

“Your head is level, Jeremiah,” laughed Marjorie, her eyes sparkling.
“That’s a good plan. I’ll see Robin tomorrow, and Anna too. Robin can
begin to gather up the performers. Anna can find out for me as to how
her flock are situated. I shall call the girls in tomorrow evening and
ask them if they each would like to finance a student next year. Leila,
Vera and Helen will like to, even if they have been graduated from
Hamilton. Kathie can’t, but she will wish to help in some other way.”

“Anna Towne was my freshie catch. You may have her. I’ll scout around
and find someone else,” magnanimously accorded Jerry.

Marjorie spent her leisure hours during the ensuing few days in
interviewing her friends and helping Robin plan the show. With
Thanksgiving only ten days off, the show would not take place until
after that holiday. The girls tackled the programme, however, and
completed it within three days.

Ronny was to dance twice. Marjorie had written to Constance Stevens, who
had promised to sing at the revue. These two numbers were to be the
features. The Silverton Hall orchestra would contribute two numbers.
Leila and Vera had promised an ancient Irish contra dance in costume.
Phyllis would give a violin solo. Blanche Scott would offer a grand
opera selection in her best baritone voice. Ronny agreed to train eight
girls in a singing and dancing number. As a wind-up, four Acasia House
girls were to put on a one-act French play.

Busy with her new project, Marjorie had not forgotten Miss Susanna. The
day after her visit to Hamilton Arms she had written the old lady one of
her sincere, friendly notes. She had not expected a reply. Nevertheless,
Miss Hamilton had returned a few lines of acknowledgment. Since then the
wires of communication between them had been idle.

Marjorie regretted this. She would have liked, during the beautiful
autumn weather, to walk about the grounds of Hamilton Arms with its
owner. With the last leaves off the trees and the earth frost-bitten,
she began to feel that Miss Susanna had not desired her further
acquaintance. In passing Hamilton Arms she strained her eyes,
invariably, for a sight of the old lady. She saw her but once, and at a
distance.

She wondered as Thanksgiving approached what kind of Thanksgiving Miss
Hamilton would have. She resolved, before leaving college for home, to
write the last of the Hamiltons as cheerful a note as she could compose.

Three days before college closed for the holiday she found a letter in
the Hall bulletin board in Miss Susanna’s handwriting. This letter bore
the address “Wayland Hall,” and read:

  “Dear Child:

  “I have a curiosity to meet some of the young women you exalted to
  me when you took tea at the Arms. Will you bring them with you to
  five o’clock tea tomorrow afternoon? I had intended writing you
  before this date, but have been ill and out of sorts. I believe you
  mentioned eight young women as your particular friends. I can
  entertain you and the beloved eight, but no more. Do not trouble to
  answer this note. I shall expect to see you, even if the others
  can’t come to tea.

                                                     “Yours sincerely,
                                             “Susanna Craig Hamilton.”

Marjorie uttered a kind of exultant crow and performed a funny little
dance of jubilation about the room. Jerry had not yet come from
recitations, so she hurried out to find the other Lookouts. Ronny was
the only one in. She rejoiced with Marjorie, her interest in Hamilton
Arms and its owner being second only to that of her chum.

“She loves flowers. We must take her a big box of roses,” was Marjorie’s
generous thought. “Pink, white and red ones; yellow roses, too, if we
can find them. It is hard to find a certain kind of fragrant, very
double yellow rose at the florist’s now.”

“You mean ‘Perle de Jaddin,’” Ronny said quickly. “We have acres of them
at ‘Manana.’ They are my favorite rose.”

“I love them, too,” Marjorie nodded. “I remember that name now. I will
collect two dollars apiece from the girls. Two times nine are eighteen.
We ought to be able to buy an armful of roses for eighteen dollars. I’ll
ask Leila to drive to Hamilton for them. She has no class the last hour.
I think we had better walk to Hamilton Arms. Miss Susanna seems to be
rather down on girls who drive cars. So there is no use in flaunting her
dislike in her face. I may be in error on that point. She made a remark
on the day I met her that led me to think so.”

“You go and find the other girls. I’ll tell Lucy as soon as she comes
in,” Ronny offered. “The sooner you see them, the better. If they have
engagements for tomorrow afternoon they will have to gracefully slide
out of them. We all must accept Miss Susanna’s invitation. It is a case
of now or never.”

Marjorie left Ronny to go joyfully on her pleasant errand. Her second
quest was more successful. Leila and Vera had returned while she was in
Ronny’s room. Both were elated over the unexpected honor. Leila was more
than willing to make the trip to the florist’s shop. Marjorie met
Katherine in the hall just as she was leaving Leila’s room.

The trio of absentees, Helen, Muriel and Jerry, she decided must be out
somewhere together. She smiled to herself as she pictured Jerry’s face
when she heard the news. “Just because I am in a hurry to tell Jerry she
will probably go to dinner off the campus and come marching in about
nine o’clock,” was her half-vexed rumination.

To her satisfaction Jerry walked into the room at ten minutes to six.
She and Helen had taken a ride in the latter’s car. Jerry was full of
mirth over the fact that they had met Elizabeth Walbert’s car at the
side of the road with a blown-out tire. A mechanician from a Hamilton
garage was on the scene adjusting a new one under the verbose direction
of the owner.

“Helen drove her car past at a crawl. We wanted to hear what she was
saying to the man from the garage. Honestly, we could hear her voice
before we came very near her. She shrieks at the top of her lungs. She
was trying to tell him what to do. He wasn’t paying any more attention
to her than if she hadn’t been there. That blond freshie, who snubbed
Phil the day she tried to help her at the station, was with her. I heard
her say, ‘My, but he is slow. Our chauffeur could have put on three
tires while he was thinking about putting on one.’ So encouraging to the
workman!” Jerry’s tones registered gleeful sarcasm. “I wish she had been
stuck there for about four hours.”

“You should not rejoice at the downfall of others,” Marjorie reproved
with a giggle. “That is, if you can class a bursted tire as a downfall.”

“It did me a world of good to see those two little snips stuck at the
side of the road,” returned Jerry. “That Walbert girl and her car are a
joke. I wish we had a college paper. I’d write her up. Funny there isn’t
one at Hamilton. Almost every other college has one, sometimes two. I
think I shall start one next year, if I’m not too busy.”

“You might call it ‘Jeremiah’s Journal,’” suggested Marjorie. Both girls
laughed at this conceit. Marjorie then acquainted her room-mate with the
invitation, at the same time handing her Miss Hamilton’s note.

“Will wonders never cease!” Jerry laid down the note and beamed at
Marjorie. “All your fault, Marvelous Manager. You went ahead and paved
the way into Miss Susanna’s good graces for the rest of us. You
certainly do get on the soft side of people without trying.”

“Not a bit of it,” Marjorie stoutly contested. “Any one of you girls
would have done as I did and with the same results. I am so glad you are
all going to meet her. She can’t help but have a better opinion of our
dear old Alma Mater after she has met some of her nicest children. I
guess that basket handle broke at the psychological moment.”



CHAPTER XVI—OUT OF THE PAST


The invited guests were in scarcely more of an anticipatory flutter than
Miss Susanna herself. She had broken down her prejudice against girls
partly out of curiosity to see and know Marjorie’s friends, partly
because of her growing fondness for Marjorie. The innocent beauty of the
young girl, and her utter lack of conceit and affectation, had made a
deep impression on the suspicious, embittered old lady. She had no
expectation of liking Marjorie’s friends as she was learning to like the
courteous, gracious lieutenant. It was her skeptical opinion, uttered to
Jonas, that, if _one_ of the “new ones” turned out to be half as worthy
as “that pretty child,” she would not regret the experiment.

“You may take me for an old fool, Jonas,” she declared to her faithful
servitor of many years. “Here I am entertaining college misses after
I’ve sworn enmity against them for so long. Well, everything once,
Jonas; everything once. If I don’t like ’em, they won’t be invited here
again.”

“The young lady’s friends will be all right, Miss Susanna,” Jonas had
earnestly assured. “She is a fine little lady.”

The “young lady’s friends,” however, were seized with a certain amount
of trepidation when, on the designated afternoon, they advanced on
Hamilton Arms, looking their prettiest. Each had worn the afternoon
frock she liked best in honor of her hostess. Marjorie, Leila and Jerry
headed the van, Leila bearing in her arms a huge box of roses. Marjorie
had insisted that Leila must present these to Miss Susanna. Leila had
sturdily demurred, then accepted the honor thrust upon her. All the way
to Hamilton Arms she had kept the party in a gale of laughter with the
humorous presentation speeches which she framed en route.

Within a few steps of the house her fund of words deserted her. “Take
these yourself, Marjorie,” she implored. “I am in too much of a glee at
my own foolishness. I shall laugh and disgrace us all if I undertake to
give her the roses.”

“You’ll be all right, you goose. I refuse to help you out.” Marjorie
waved aside the proffered box. “Rally your nerve and say the first thing
that occurs to you. It will be sure to be the best thing you could
possibly say.”

“I doubt it. Well, I can but take firm hold on the box and make the best
of a bad matter.” Leila grasped the box with exaggerated force, cleared
her throat and burst out laughing. She continued to laugh as they
ascended the steps. She had hardly straightened her face when Jonas
answered the door and ushered the guests over the threshold they had
never expected to cross.

“I have not seen so many girls at close range for a long time,”
announced a brisk voice. Miss Susanna had come from the library into the
hall to greet her visitors. She was attired in a one-piece dress of dark
gray silk with a white fichu at the throat of frost-like lace.

“How are you, my child?” She now took Marjorie’s hand. “And these are
your friends.” Her bright brown eyes were inspecting the group of young
women with a kind of reflective curiosity. “Introduce them to me and
tell me each name slowly. I wish to know each one by name from now on. I
used to have a good memory for names.”

Marjorie complied with the instruction, adding some friendly little
point descriptive of each chum. This evoked laughter and helped to ease
the slight strain attached to the presentation. Leila then proffered the
box of roses with a frank, “Here is our good will to you, Miss
Hamilton.”

“What’s this?” Miss Susanna viewed the long box in amazement. A swift
tide of color rose to her cheeks. She reached for it mechanically as
though uncertain what to do next. She held it for an instant, then said:
“I thank you, girls. You could have done nothing that would please me
more. I love flowers; particularly roses. Come into the library now and
let us get acquainted.”

In the library Miss Susanna explored the florist’s box with the pleasure
of a child. She exclaimed happily over the masses of gorgeous roses as
she lifted them from the box and inhaled their fragrance. She sent Jonas
for vases and arranged them to suit her fancy, talking animatedly to her
guests as her small hands busied themselves with the pleasant task.

The girls gathered informally about her, looking on with gratified eyes.
The flower gift had established a bond of sympathy between them. Already
Miss Susanna was beginning to glimpse the reason for Marjorie’s devotion
to her special friends. The girls also understood Marjorie’s growing
interest in the last of the Hamiltons. Miss Hamilton had an oddly
fascinating personality which commanded liking.

“There!” Miss Susanna exclaimed, as the last rose went into a vase to
her satisfaction. “I shall leave them in the library while you are here.
Afterward I shall take my posies to my room. They will be the last thing
I see tonight and the first in the morning. I have selfishly fussed with
my lovely roses instead of giving you hungry children your tea. We are
going to have it in the tea room today. I will ask you to come now.”

She led the way from the library to an apartment directly behind it. A
subdued chorus of admiration ascended from the guests as they stepped
into a room which was quite Chinese in character. The walls were hung
with rare Chinese embroideries and delicately-tinted prints. A pale
green matting rug with intricately-wrought lavender and buff characters
covered the floor. The tables and chairs were of polished teak,
beautifully inlaid with mother of pearl. In one corner was a tall
Chinese cabinet topped by two exquisite peachblow vases. Here and there
were other vases of value and beauty. It was an amazing room. With so
much to look at, it required time to appreciate fully its worth from an
artistic point of view.

While there were several small tables, there was a large oblong one
which would seat the party. It was laid for tea and graced by the most
wonderful tea set the girls had ever seen. It was of faint, almost
translucent, green banded by an odd Chinese scroll border in silver.

“What a perfectly wonderful room!” gasped Vera, her hands coming
together in an admiring clasp, so characteristic of her.

Her approval was echoed by the others. The mistress of Hamilton Arms
piloted them to the large table, taking her place at the head of it.

“Have your tea first, then you may explore Uncle Brooke’s famous tea
room as much as you please.” Miss Susanna glanced about at the circle of
eager young faces with a bright smile. She was enjoying this innovation
so much more than she had thought she might. “This will really be a meat
tea. I know you girls will need something more substantial than tea and
cakes, as you won’t be home in time for dinner.”

The invaluable Jonas now appearing, an appetizing collation consisting
of creamed chicken, hot muffins, a salad and sweets was served, together
with much tea and more talk and laughter. The girls were hungry enough
to enjoy every mouthful of the delicious food provided by their hostess,
agreeing with Marjorie as to the super-excellence of the tea.

“Please tell us about this tea room, Miss Susanna,” coaxed Marjorie. The
repast finished, the party still sat at table. “I suppose it was planned
and arranged by Mr. Brooke Hamilton.”

“Yes; it is considered the finest private tea room in America,” was the
reply. The odd part of this room is that every article in it was a gift
to my great uncle. Shortly after LaFayette’s visit to America, when
Uncle Brooke was a young man in his early twenties, he embarked on a
business venture to China. He expected to be gone only a year. Instead,
he remained in China for twelve years. Unlike many persons, he did not
antagonize the Chinese. They learned to appreciate him for his nobility,
and became his firm friends. Every now and then, someone would make him
a present. A true Chinaman will give the best he has if he wishes to
give.

“Uncle Brooke was so much pleased with his growing collection of things
Chinese, that he announced his intention of having a Chinese room in his
home when he returned to America,” continued the old lady, a gleam of
pride in her eyes. “He told his Chinese friends of his idea and they
were delighted. Eventually a rich noble, who had been one of Uncle
Brooke’s truest friends, died. He bequeathed a priceless collection of
Chinese antiquities to my ancestor. Among them was this tea set, those
two peachblow vases, and that print on the east wall. When he returned
to America it took him six months to arrange this room to his
satisfaction. He arranged it and pulled it to pieces dozens of times
before he produced the effect he desired.”

“Do you remember him, Miss Susanna?” asked Marjorie eagerly, then
blushed for fear her question might be considered too pointed by her
hostess.

“Very well, indeed. I was a young woman when he died. He was
seventy-nine years old the week before his death. My father was the son
of his only brother who was several years older than Uncle Brooke.
Father was an invalid during the last years of his life. We came here to
live when I was twelve. As a child, Uncle Brooke would often take me for
walks about the estate. He taught me the names and habits of trees,
shrubs and flowers. He was a true nature man.”

“It seems odd to hear so much, all at once, of Mr. Brooke Hamilton,”
observed Helen. “We have not heard anything of him before except what
little is known on the campus. He is almost a mystery at Hamilton
College.”

“The fault of the college,” retorted Miss Susanna with bitterness.
“There was a time when the college board might have had the data for his
biography. That time has passed. They shall never have one scrap of
information concerning him from me. What I have told you of him today is
in strict confidence. I have spoken freely of him because Marjorie has
assured me that you are to be trusted. Were you to break this
confidence, I would refuse to verify whatever you might tell and forbid
any publication of the information.”

Miss Hamilton glanced defiantly about the circle. Her kindly expression
had entirely vanished.

“We can but assure you of our discretion.” It was Leila who made an
answer, a hint of wounded pride in her blue eyes.

“You can trust us, Miss Susanna,” added Marjorie, smiling bravely. She
was experiencing a queer little sinking of the heart at the displeased
old lady’s intent to permanently withhold from the college the true
history of its founder.

“I daresay I can, child. Let us change the subject. It is unpleasant to
me. You girls had better walk about the tea room and enjoy the curios
until I recover my good humor.”

Prompt to obey the mandate, the girls spent at least a half hour in the
Oriental room, examining and admiring the departed connoisseur’s
individual arrangement of a marvelous collection. Miss Susanna sat and
watched them, almost moodily. Returned to the library, the sight of her
roses mollified her. She decided to do a certain thing which had risen
to her mind. The desire to give pleasure to these young girls who had
thought of her conquered her sudden gust of spleen against Hamilton
College.

“Would you like to see my great uncle’s study?” she asked, turning from
the flowers to her guests.

“Oh!” Ronny drew a wondering audible breath. She could hardly believe
her ears.

The others laughed at her, but the eager light in their eyes told its
own story.

“May we see it, Miss Susanna?” Vera’s tone was almost imploring.

“You may. Another time, when all of you come to see me, I will show you
about the house. It is well worth seeing. My great uncle gathered beauty
from the four corners of the earth. He loved to travel and brought back
with him the treasure of other lands. I should like you to see the
study. It holds one thing, in particular, in which I am sure you will be
interested.”

“There is no corner of this house without interest,” Leila said warmly.
“I am sure of that.”

“So it seems to me,” nodded Miss Hamilton. “I have lived in it many
years. I am not over the wonder of it yet. At times I am sorry that
others cannot enjoy it with me. Again I am glad to be alone.”

Following the old lady, who mounted the broad staircase as nimbly as any
of them, they found on the second landing the same solid magnificence of
furnishing that marked the first floor. Down a long hallway, which
extended back from the main reception hall, they went. At the end of the
hall was a door of heavy walnut, its upper half of stained glass. This
their guide opened. They were now seeing the room where the founder of
Hamilton College had spent so many hours planning the institution which
bore his name.

The murmur of voices died out among them as they stepped into the study.
Compared with other rooms in the house which the girls had seen, it was
rather small. The floor was bare save for one medium-sized rug in the
center of the room, on which stood a heavy-legged mahogany writing
table. A tall desk, a book-case, three high-backed chairs and a filing
cabinet, all of carved mahogany, completed the furnishings, plus one
broad-seated chair, leather cushioned, and with a rounding back. It was
drawn up before the library table; Brooke Hamilton’s own chair.

The most notable object in the study was a framed, illuminated oblong
about five feet long and perhaps two and a half feet wide. It was hung
at a point on the wall directly opposite the founder’s chair.

“This is what you wished us to see, isn’t it?” Marjorie cried out,
stopping in front of the oblong. “I think I know what it is.”

“Tell us, then.” Miss Susanna was smiling fondly at the animated face
Marjorie turned toward her.

“The maxims of Mr. Brooke Hamilton,” she guessed breathlessly. Her eyes
traveled slowly down the oblong. “There are fifteen of them,” she
announced. “What a beautiful illumination!”

“Yes; they were his favorite sayings. He originated them all except the
first one. More, he lived up to them.” The old lady’s intonation had
grown singularly gentle.

A reverent silence visited the study as the knot of girls gathered about
the oblong to read the sayings of one long gone from earth. The colors
used in the illumination were principally blue and gold with mere
touches of green and black. Red had been left out entirely from the
color scheme.

“Remember the stranger within thy gates.”

“To the wise nothing is forbidden.”

“Becoming earnestness is never out of place.”

“Let thy gratitude be lasting.”

“Ask Heaven for courtesy; the supply is greater than the demand.”

“Make thy deference to age not too marked.”

“Truth flies a winning pennant.”

“Beware, lest what seems unattainable falls too near thine hand.”

“Let thy learning be seasoned with merriment.”

“O, Justice, how fair art thine heights!”

“Be motivated by the grace of God.”

“Be not secret; be discreet.”

“For the gift of life give thanks.”

“The ways of light reach upward to eternity.”

“To stumble honorably is to learn to walk.”

Such were the informal rules of conduct which Brooke Hamilton had carved
for himself with the blade of experience.

“We have five of these at the college, Miss Susanna.” Ronny finally
broke the spell which had fallen. “The first, third, fourth, seventh and
ninth. ‘Remember the stranger within thy gates,’ is over the doorway of
Hamilton Hall. The ninth one is in the library and the third, fourth and
seventh are in the chapel.”

“I knew some of them were there. The first he had placed over the door
of Hamilton Hall. The others were to be presented to the college as the
students earned them.”

“Earned them?” queried Muriel impulsively. “I don’t understand——” She
broke off, coloring at her own temerity. Her companions were also
looking slightly mystified.

“His idea was this. He wished to reward any particularly noteworthy act
on the part of a student, of which he chanced to hear, by an honor. The
recipient was to receive a citation in chapel and one of his favorite
maxims, decoratively framed, was to be hung in one of the campus
buildings. A record of the citation was to be established in an honor
book kept in a special niche in the chapel. This was one of his later
ideas. He did not live to carry it out. I don’t know how they managed to
get hold of four of his sayings. They have no right to them.”

Acridity again dominated Miss Susanna’s tones. She appeared to resent
deeply the fact that the college authorities held any information
whatsoever regarding her famous kinsman.

“Maybe a person who knew your great uncle remembered these four maxims
of his and they were thus handed down,” suggested Lucy, always
interested in a mystery.

“I wish we had them all; everyone of them!” Marjorie gave an audible
sigh of regret. “I can’t help saying it, Miss Susanna. It is the way I
feel about these true, wonderful sayings of Mr. Brooke Hamilton.”

“You may say it without offending me, my dear. I understand you and your
affection for Hamilton College. _He_ would have liked you to say it.
_He_ never held a grudge. I have held one many years. I shall continue
to hold it.” Miss Susanna crested her stubborn head. “It is a supreme
pleasure to me to know that I have thwarted the college board in some
respects. I shall continue to thwart them.”



CHAPTER XVII—LUCY’S NEWS


On the heels of their memorable visit to Hamilton Arms came the added
joy of going home for Thanksgiving. All the pleasure that the occasion
afforded was crowded into those four brief days. The Nine Travelers, as
they agreed to call themselves, returned to college more firmly
amalgamated than ever.

The Lookouts had long since included their four close friends in the
formal association which they had dubbed the Five Travelers. At first
they had decided that the name should remain the same, though four
members were added. Later, Ronny suggested that Nine Travelers would be
more appropriate. At the end of their college course, they would choose
nine girls to replace them with a new chapter, as they had done in the
case of the Lookout Club. All nine were anxious to leave a sorority
behind them of which they could claim to have founded.

Marjorie and Robin Page, who, according to Jerry, “had gone into the
show business,” had their hands full the moment they returned to
Hamilton. They tackled the enterprise with a will, however, and within a
couple of days after resuming the difficult duties of managership they
had made considerable headway.

“Have you those posters yet?” greeted Robin, as she joyfully pounced
upon Marjorie on the steps of the library. “I have been trying to see
you ever since yesterday morning. I was coming over last night, but I
simply had to stay at home and study. I struck a horrible snag in
calculus and struggled with it half the evening.”

“Ethel said she would have them done tomorrow,” was the comforting news.
“She made four. I imagine they must be beauties, too.”

“Uh-h-h!” Robin pretended to crumple with relief. “That’s one torture
off my mind. Naturally they will be great stuff. Ethel Laird draws
better than any other girl at Hamilton. It was mighty fine in her to
take such a job on herself. I asked her for only one you know.”

“Probably she saw a wistful gleam in your eye and was kind,” laughed
Marjorie.

“There will be an entirely different gleam in my eye if those printers
don’t hurry up with the programmes. Last I heard from them they hadn’t
even started the work. We really took a good deal upon ourselves when we
started this show. I’m glad I am not a manager for my living. It is too
strenuous a life for Robin.”

“We ought to call a rehearsal Saturday evening. There won’t be anyone
caring to use the gym, and there won’t be much time for it next week in
the evenings, with all the studying we have to do. Just recall, the show
is to be next Friday evening,” was Marjorie’s reminder.

“Oh, I know it,” groaned Robin. “I shall be enraged, infuriated and
foaming at the mouth if those aggravating printers don’t have our
programmes done in time.”

“They will. Don’t worry. When did they promise you the tickets?”

“Tomorrow. They’ve done fairly well with the tickets,” Robin grudgingly
conceded. “That is, provided they deliver them tomorrow, as promised. I
am just a little tired, I guess. I like the programme part of getting up
a show, but I don’t like the tiresome details.”

“Come on over to Baretti’s,” invited Marjorie. “What you need is
sustenance. We can talk things over and have dinner at the same time. I
can stay out until eight. It’s only five-fifteen now. We shall have
oceans of time.”

“All right. Don’t you believe, though, that we’ll have much chance to
talk. Some of our gang will be there, sure as fate,” Robin
prognosticated.

Surely enough, they were greeted by a hospitable quartette occupying a
table near the door. It was composed of Ronny, Jerry, Elaine Hunter and
Barbara Severn.

“Aren’t you going home to dinner?” quizzed Jerry accusingly. “And you
never said a word to me this noon of your secret intentions.”

“I hadn’t any. May I ask why you are here without having obtained my
permission?” Marjorie drew down her face in an imitation of Miss Merton,
a Sanford teacher both girls had greatly disliked.

“I have nothing to say,” chuckled Jerry. “You and your friend may sit at
our table, if you like.”

“Thank you. My friend and I have weighty matters to discuss. We’re in
the show business now, Jeremiah. We are bound for that last table in the
row.” Marjorie pointed. “We’ll join you later, and please don’t disturb
us. Ahem!”

“I don’t even know either of you by sight. Beat it.” Jerry waved both
girls away with a magnificent gesture of disdain which sent them,
giggling, toward their table.

“This is my first off-the-campus treat since we talked about getting up
the show that day we went to Hamilton,” Marjorie confided to Robin. “I
have thirty-eight dollars saved. Captain gave me twenty-five when I came
away from home. I told her I did not need it, but you see I had told her
about saving my money, too. That’s the reason she gave it to me. I seem
not to be able to make any real sacrifices,” Marjorie smiled ruefully.

“I have saved close to thirty. I could have saved more, but I have had
three Silvertonites to remember on their birthdays. Not my pals, but
girls who appreciate remembrances and who don’t receive many. I haven’t
been here but twice since we had that talk. We mustn’t desert Signor
Baretti, either. He would feel dreadfully if we stopped patronizing his
tea room.”

“We will have to try to please all our friends somehow, and ourselves,
too,” Marjorie said gayly.

Their dinner ordered, the two settled down to talk over the progress of
their “show” with the business energy of two real theatrical managers.
Later, however, Jerry and her trio sidled up to the forbidden table and
were graciously allowed to remain. In consequence, it was half-past
eight before the party left the tea room.

“Lucy will wonder what has become of me,” Ronny declared, as the three
Lookouts entered Wayland Hall. “I told her this noon I was not going
anywhere after recitations. Oh, dear! I am a nice person! I promised to
help Muriel with her French, before dinner. I forgot all about it until
this minute. She will be raving.”

“You seem to be in a bad case all around,” sympathized Marjorie in most
unsympathetic tones. “I’m sorry for you.”

“I’m a great deal more sorry for myself,” retorted Jerry.

“I haven’t broken any promise by staying out, but I won’t do much
studying tonight. Let me see, what recitations do I have tomorrow that I
can slight the least tiny bit?” Marjorie puckered her brows over her
problem.

Entering their room, the first sight that met hers and Jerry’s eyes was
Lucy Warner, fast asleep in an arm chair. Jerry laid a warning finger
against her lips, then she stole softly up to Lucy.

“Wake up and pay for your lodgings,” she growled in a deep, hoarse
voice.

“Oh-h! Ah-h!” Lucy sat up with a suddenness which narrowly missed
landing her on the floor. “I thought you would never come home,” she
mumbled, not yet fully awake. Blinking sleepily at the two laughing
girls, she continued: “I had some news for you. I sat down to wait until
you came. Ronny was out; so was Muriel. I’ve been here since eight
o’clock. Were you out to dinner?”

“That means _you_ were not here.” Jerry pointed an arraigning finger at
Lucy. “Where have you been? Lately you have become a regular gad-about.
It must be stopped, Luciferous.”

“Gad-about nothing,” disclaimed Lucy. “You, not I, belong to that
deplorable class, Jeremiah Macy. _I_ have been working. True, I dined
outside the Hall, and in distinguished company. I am President Matthews’
secretary pro tem. I had dinner at his house tonight. I told you I had
news for you.”

“Can you beat that?” Jerry sank into the nearest chair as though about
to collapse. “You are mounting the college scale by leaps and bounds,
aren’t you? Chummy with the registrar, a friend of Professor
Wenderblatt’s, and now established in Doctor Matthews’ good graces. The
unprecedented rise of Luciferous Warniferous; or, Secretaries who have
become famous.”

“How did it happen? Where is Miss Sayres?” Marjorie exhibited lively
curiosity at the news.

“Miss Sayres is at home with a cold. Nothing very serious, I imagine.
Miss Humphrey recommended me to the doctor. He was away behind in his
correspondence. Miss Sayres has been ill for two days. It was nearly six
when I finished his letters. He still had an address to dictate. He
asked me if I would stay until after dinner and take the dictation. I
had a beautiful time. He and his wife are such friendly persons. He is a
great biologist, too. His son was there. He is a New York lawyer and is
home for a few days’ visit.” Lucy added this last without enthusiasm.

“Well, well, Luciferous!” patronized Jerry. “And were you afraid to talk
to the young man?”

“Oh, stop teasing me! No, I was not. He talked to his mother most of the
time, anyway. I must go and find Ronny. Was she with you girls?” Lucy
rose, gathered her books from the table, and prepared to depart.

“She was with us, Lucy. You’d better stay and talk to us,” coaxed
Marjorie. “It’s growing later and later and still I am not studying. I
might as well wind up a pleasant but unprofitable evening with gossiping
about Doctor Matthews. Come on back and resume your chair, Miss Warner.”

Lucy had now reached the door. “Wait until I go and see Ronny, and I
will come back.” She exited, returning five minutes afterward with
Ronny.

“You don’t seem to have the study habit tonight, either,” commented
Jerry genially to the new arrival. “Well, sit down and have a good time.
That’s what college is for.”

“How do you like the doctor, Lucy?” There was a note of sharp interest
in the question. Marjorie was anxious to hear Lucy’s opinion of the
president. “I know you said he was friendly; but, I mean, what do you
think of him in other ways?”

“I understand you. You are thinking of Miss Remson. So was I, whenever I
had a chance to study the man. He is one of the kindest, finest men I
have ever come in contact with,” Lucy declared impressively. “He is so
courteous; he goes to great pains in answering his letters. I know he
never wrote that letter to Miss Remson.”

“I felt that way about him, too, the day I played messenger for Miss
Humphrey.” Marjorie nodded agreement of Lucy’s emphatic praise.

“I wish I could solve that letter mystery while I am there.” Lucy’s
green eyes gleamed. “My one chance would be to have a talk about it with
Doctor Matthews. That’s not likely to happen. I could find out a good
deal about Miss Sayres by going through the letter files, but I would
die rather than touch one of them. I shall only be there for a day or
two, I suppose. If I could be his secretary for two or three weeks I
might be able to say a good word for Miss Remson. I am sure there has
been a great misrepresentation and I believe Miss Sayres is at the
bottom of it.”

“What would you do, Luciferous, if, while you were there, you found out
something that was plain proof against the Sans?” was Marjorie’s
thoughtful query.

“I would take it up with Doctor Matthews at once, wouldn’t you, in the
same circumstances?”

“Yes,” came the unhesitating reply. “That is the one thing I have always
thought I would not mind telling against the Sans.” Marjorie’s features
grew sternly determined. “It was such a cruel thing to do; to estrange
two friends of such long standing. For all we know, Doctor Matthews may
wonder why Miss Remson has not visited him and his wife for over a
year.”

“It is not likely that I shall find any such proof. If I should, I would
use it very quickly. Miss Remson was dreadfully hurt over that miserable
letter. I would put the proof before Doctor Matthews if I had to fight
all the Sans single-handed afterward.”



CHAPTER XVIII—WHEN FRIENDS BECOME FOES


Lucy’s secretaryship for Doctor Matthews lasted only three days. During
that short space of time she found out nothing special, bearing on the
wrong to Miss Remson which she longed to right. She learned to like the
president of Hamilton College better than ever, and wished she might
work for him longer. The only item of interest she came across was at
his residence. In the secretary’s desk there she discovered the New York
address of Leslie Cairns in a small red leather address book. To her
analytical mind this was proof enough of an acquaintance between the
two.

She had not expected to do anything of moment toward helping Miss Remson
during those three days. Still she could not help confessing to Marjorie
that she was a wee bit disappointed at not having learned a single
thing.

“Never mind, Luciferous,” Marjorie had consoled. “You had the will to
help Miss Remson if you did not have the opportunity. It may all come to
light when you least expect it. That’s the way such things often
happen.”

While Lucy had deplored her inability to obtain the desired information
she legitimately sought, the Sans loudly deplored among themselves her
temporary appointment as secretary. Coupled with it a story had reached
the ears of Natalie Weyman and Joan Myers which caused them to flee to
Leslie Cairns in a hurry. It had to do with the hazing party the
previous February. Joan had been slyly taxed with it first. Pretending
innocence, she had made an excuse to leave the senior who had intimated
it to her without having betrayed herself in any particular.

Several days afterward she and Natalie Weyman had gone through almost
the same experience with two juniors who had appeared to treat the
affair as a huge joke. The girl who had first hinted it to Joan had been
rather horrified over what she had evidently heard.

“I think it is high time we called Dulcie Vale to account!” Natalie
exclaimed stormily, as she finished the recital of what she and Joan had
just heard.

The two had burst in upon Leslie, regardless of the “Busy” sign which
now ornamented her door a good deal of the time when she was in her
room.

“Calm down, Nat. You are so mad you are fairly shouting. Take seats and
have some candy, both of you.” Leslie lazily pushed a huge box of nut
chocolates across the table within easy reach of her excited callers.

“Um-m! Glaucaire’s best!” Natalie forgot her wrath and helped herself to
sweets.

“I had made up my mind before you two burst in with your tale of woe
that Dulcie had escaped long enough. I have heard things, too, and just
lately. Dulcie is not the only one. She talked to Bess. Bess Walbert is
as busy a little news circulator as you’d care to find.”

“What did I tell you?” Natalie cried out in triumph.

“You were right, Nat. I give you credit for reading her correctly. I
haven’t seen her since the first of the week. When I do——” Leslie nodded
her head, looking thoroughly disagreeable. Elizabeth Walbert was in for
a very stormy interview with her.

“When will you call the meeting, Les?” anxiously inquired Joan. “Don’t
put it off. No telling how much more mischief Dulcie may do if she isn’t
curbed promptly.”

“Tomorrow night,” Leslie named. “See as many of the Sans as you can
between now and the ten-thirty bell. Don’t go near Loretta Kelly’s and
Della Byron’s room. Dulcie goes there a good deal lately. Della is
coming to see me this evening after dinner. I’ll tell her then. Let me
know before the last bell tonight how many of the girls are on, Nat.
Will you?”

“Surely, Leslie dear.” Natalie had simmered down to affability. She was
very proud of Leslie’s confidence in her.

Left alone, Leslie settled back in her chair very much as her father
might have done on the eve of a pitched battle on the stock exchange.
Her eyes roved about her room as she planned where the culprit should
stand, where she wished the Sans to group themselves, and where her
place as conductor of the arraignment should be.

A half smile flitted across her face as she remembered the last high
tribunal she had conducted. This time the culprit was a real one. It had
been hard to trump up charges against “Bean.” There would be no masks
worn save the mask of deceit which she would ruthlessly strip from
Dulcie, showing her in her true colors. After she was “all through” with
Dulcie she would read the riot act to Bess Walbert. She wished to wait,
however, until the sophomore unsuspectingly came to her for a favor.
Then she would be shown a side of Leslie she had not dreamed existed.

At twenty minutes after ten Natalie came to Leslie’s room with the
welcome news that “every last Sans” except Loretta and Della had been
told and would be on hand promptly at eight o’clock the next evening.

“I saw Loretta and Della,” Leslie informed her chum. “They are wild.
They heard that Dulc told two juniors about my renting that house for
six months so we could use it when we hazed Bean. That’s a nice report
to have in circulation on the campus, now isn’t it? Does that sound like
Dulc, or doesn’t it?”

“Dulcie told that, undoubtedly. There were not more than six or seven of
us who knew the terms on which you rented that house. Dulc knew. You
always let her into extra private matters because she was one of the old
guard. You and she were not so edgeways toward each other until after
the night of the masquerade.”

“We never agreed on a single thing. Away back at prep school Dulc and I
were always squabbling. In her heart she has never really liked me.
Since the masquerade she has cordially hated me. That’s about my feeling
toward her. I want her out of the Sans. She is a disgrace to them. I
expected Nell Ray would fight for her, but she gave in as nicely as you
please.”

“The girls are all down on her for telling tales,” returned Natalie. “I
wonder if she thinks they don’t know the way she has gossiped about
them?”

“She will know it tomorrow night,” asserted Leslie shortly.

“There goes the bell. I had better beat it. I have an hour’s studying to
do tonight yet, and I am so sleepy,” Natalie yawned. “One thing more.”
Half way across the threshold she turned and reentered the room. “How
are you going to get Dulc on the scene?”

“Harriet is to tell her, late tomorrow afternoon, that the Sans are to
meet in my room tomorrow night at eight to discuss something very
important. She will come. She will be eaten up with curiosity to know
what is going on. She’ll be just a little bit surprised when she learns
how much she has to do with that important discussion.” Leslie threw
back her head and laughed in her silent fashion.

“She deserves it.” Natalie’s whole face hardened perceptibly. “Look out
for her, Les. She is capable of making a lot of fuss. We don’t care to
have Remson coming up here to see what the trouble is.”

“If she is noisy, half a dozen of us will simply take her by the arms
and bundle her off to her own room. It is only three doors from here,”
Leslie answered with cool decision. “I can manage her, I think.”

The next day Dulcie received word of the meeting through the medium of
Harriet. The latter delivered the notice in a careless tone which
completely misled Dulcie.

“Why can’t it be some place besides Leslie Cairns’ room?” Dulcie
pettishly demanded. “I hate to go near her!”

“Suit yourself,” shrugged Harriet. “You can’t say I didn’t tell you
about it. It won’t be any place other than Leslie’s room.”

Her simulated indifference merely aroused in Dulcie a contrary resolve
to attend that meeting at all costs. She had not been in Leslie’s room
since the opening of college. She had a curiosity to see what changes
Leslie had made in it from the previous year. Strangely enough, her own
misdeeds never crossed her mind. She had no thought, when regaling
others with her chums’ private affairs, that such treachery might
possibly bring her a day of reckoning. The recent quarrels she had had
with her former intimate, Eleanor Ray, and also Joan Myers, left no
impression on her save a sullen dislike for the two girls because they
had taken her to task for betraying their confidence.

As it was, she accepted an invitation to dinner at the Colonial extended
her by Alida Burton. She lingered so long at the tea room that she
walked into Leslie’s room at ten minutes past eight.

Slow of comprehension, even she felt dimly the tension of the moment.
The Sans sat or stood in little groups about the room. With her
entrance, conversation suddenly languished and died out. Every pair of
eyes was leveled at her in a cool fashion which bordered on hostility.

“It seems to me you are all very quiet tonight. What’s the _matter?_
Peevish because I’m late? _Yes? What?_ Don’t cry. Ten minutes won’t kill
any of you,” she greeted flippantly. “Hope I haven’t _missed_ anything
by being a tiny bit behind time.” She had adopted Leslie’s insolent
swagger.

“No; you haven’t missed anything,” Leslie said dryly. “We were waiting
for you.” She turned abruptly from Dulcie, addressing the others.

“Girls,” she raised her voice a trifle, “bring your chairs and arrange
them on each side of the davenport in a half circle. Six girls can sit
on the davenport. We are all here now, so we can proceed with the
business of the evening.”

Her order promptly obeyed, the Sans settled themselves in their chairs
with mingled emotions. None of them had a definite idea of how Leslie
intended to conduct the embarrassing session against Dulcie. Face to
face with the momentous occasion, a few of them felt slightly inclined
toward clemency. The older members of the Sans were too greatly incensed
by her treachery to do other than approve of the humiliation about to
descend on the traitor.

It had been Leslie’s first idea to seat Dulcie in a particular chair.
Second thought assured her that Dulcie would refuse the chair, merely to
be contrary. She would undoubtedly sit where she would be most
conspicuous if left to her own devices. Leslie decided the rest of the
Sans must sit in a compact group. Wherever Dulcie might choose to post
herself in the room she could not escape arraignment.

While the girls were arranging their chairs, Leslie occupied herself
with hanging a heavy velvet curtain in front of the door leading to the
hall. That task completed, she turned to find Dulcie had seated herself
on the left hand side of the semi-circle, the last girl in the row. She
had pulled her chair forward a trifle so as to command a good view of
the company.

Dulcie was well-pleased with herself. She was still admiring her brazen
entrance into the room. She felt that she had quite outdone Leslie in
matter of cool insolence. In fact she was much better able to direct the
club than Leslie. She wondered the girls had never realized it. She eyed
Leslie with ill-concealed contempt as the latter seated herself in the
chair of office which Natalie had placed in the fairly wide space
between the ends of the half circle. Les grew homelier every day, was
her uncharitable opinion.

“We are here tonight to perform a duty, which, though not pleasant,
_must be done_.” Leslie made this beginning with only a slight drawl to
her tones. “When we organized the Sans Soucians we all promised to be
loyal to one another. I regret to say that one of our number has so
completely violated this promise it becomes necessary to take drastic
measures. We cannot allow a Sans to betray deliberately either club or
personal secrets.”

Leslie placed great stress on “deliberately.” She was careful not to
look toward Dulcie. “Do you agree with me in this?” She put the question
generally.

_“Yes,”_ was the concerted, emphatic answer. Dulcie’s voice helped to
swell the chorus.

“The Sans have done certain things as a matter of reprisal and
self-defense, which, if generally known, would entail very serious
consequences. It is vital to our welfare at Hamilton that these matters
should be kept secret, yet a member of the Sans has gossiped them to
outsiders. For example, it is known to a number of seniors and juniors
outside the Sans that a hazing affair took place last St. Valentine’s
night, conducted by the Sans. Seven of us have been approached on this
subject. We know, to a certainty, that a faction, antagonistic to us,
did not start this story.

“Still more serious is a report brought to me concerning the methods
employed by Joan and I to keep a residence for the Sans at the Hall when
we were threatened with expulsion from here as sophomores. A person who
will betray such intimate matters, knowing that her treachery may ruin
the prospects of her chums for graduation from college, is not only a
fool for risking her own safety, but a menace to the club as well.”

For ten minutes Leslie talked on in this strain, her hearers observing a
strained silence. She was purposely piling up the enormity of Dulcie’s
misdeed so as to impress the others. As for Dulcie, she had begun to
show signs of nervousness. Once or twice her eyes measured the distance
from her chair to the door as if she were meditating sudden flight. What
remnants of conscience she still had, stirred to the point of informing
her that the coat Leslie was airing fitted her too snugly for comfort.
She had not yet arrived at the moment of awakening, however. She
believed Leslie’s remarks to be directed toward someone else. Margaret
Wayne, perhaps; or, Loretta Kelly. Leslie had once said to her that
Loretta was a gossip. Dulcie now tried to recall an instance of
Loretta’s perfidy. It would be to her interest to cite an instance of it
should Leslie call for special evidence. It would pay Loretta back for
once having called her a stupid little owl.

In the midst of racking her vindictive brain for evidence against a
fellow member, Dulcie lost briefly the thread of Leslie’s discourse.
Mention of her own name re-furnished her with it.

“Dulciana Vale,” she heard Leslie saying in a tense note quite different
from her indolent drawl, “do you know of any reason why you should be
allowed a further membership in the Sans Soucians after having become an
utter traitor to their interests?”

Dulcie struggled to her feet, her sulky features a study in slow-growing
rage. “What—what—do you—mean?” Her voice was rising to a gasping scream.
“How dare you call me a traitor. You are telling lies; just nothing but
lies.”



CHAPTER XIX—IN THE INTEREST OF PRIVATE SAFETY


“Sit down,” ordered Leslie sharply, “and keep your voice down! You have
made us all enough trouble. We don’t propose that you shall add to it.”

“I have not,” shrieked Dulcie. “I don’t know what you are talking about.
You’re crazy if you say I told all that stuff you mentioned. Why don’t
you put the blame where it belongs? You told me yourself that Loretta
and Margaret were both gossips. You told Bess Walbert a lot of things
yourself. She told me so. You used to tell Lola Elster a lot, too. Nat
Weyman isn’t above gossiping, either. She has said some _hateful_ things
about you, if you care to know it.”

Fully launched, Dulcie bade fair to stir up dissension in a breath.
Worse, her lung power seemed to increase with every word.

“Pay no attention to her,” Leslie advised her chums in a cold, level
voice. “She can tell more yarns to the second than anyone else I know.”

“You said you could manage her, Les. For goodness’ sake do so. I am
afraid she’ll be heard down stairs.” Joan Myers sprang to her feet in
exasperation.

“Leave that to me.” Leslie’s eyes snapped. She was fast losing the
admirable poise she had held so well. The real Leslie Cairns was coming
to the surface.

Three or four lithe steps and she was facing Dulcie. The latter still
stood by her chair shrieking forth invective.

“Listen to me, you _idiot_,” she said with an intensity of wrath that
approached a snarl. “Cut out that screaming—_now_. We are done with you.
We know you for what you are. Not one of us will ever speak to you again
after you leave this room. Get that straight. If you ever repeat another
word on the campus of the Sans’ business you will be a sorry girl.
_Don’t you forget that._ You carried the idea that, if trouble came from
your talk, you could slide out of it and leave us to face it. You
couldn’t have cleared yourself. What you are to do from now on is——”

A sharp rapping at the door interrupted Leslie. Raising a warning finger
to her lips, she crossed the room to answer the knock.

“Good evening, Miss Remson,” she coldly greeted. “Will you come in? Our
club is holding a meeting in my room.” She made an indifferent gesture
toward the assembled girls.

“Good evening, Miss Cairns. No; I do not wish to enter your room. I must
insist, however, that you conduct your meeting quietly. The commotion
going on in here can be heard downstairs.”

The very impersonality of the manager’s reproof brought a quick rush of
blood to Leslie’s cheeks. It was as though Miss Remson considered Leslie
and her companions so far beneath her it took conscientious effort on
her part even to reprove them. It stung Leslie to a desire to clear
herself of the opprobrium.

“I am sorry about the noise,” she apologized in annoyed embarrassment.
“Miss Vale is responsible for it. I have been trying to quiet her. She
is very angry with us for calling her to account for disloyalty. She has
done so many despicable things we felt it necessary to call a meeting of
the club to——”

“Pardon me. I am not interested in anything save the fact that there
must be no more screaming or loud altercation from this room tonight or
at any other time. As it is your room, Miss Cairns, I shall hold you
responsible for the good behavior of your guests.”

Again the aloofness of the rebuke cut Leslie through and through. She
had never believed that she could be so utterly snubbed by “Trotty”
Remson.

“Very well.” It was the only thing she could think of to say.

Miss Remson turned from the door and went on down the long hall. Leslie
was seized with a savage inclination to bang the door. She refrained
from indulging it. There had been enough noise already.

She returned to her companions to find Dulcie furious because she had
been reported to Miss Remson as the author of the commotion.

“Talk about anyone being treacherous,” she stormed, but in a more
subdued key. “_You’re_ treacherous as a snake. _You’d_ tell tales on—on
your own father, if it would save you from disgrace.”

“That’s enough.” Leslie’s last atom of self-control vanished. “I am
tired of your foolishness. Get out of my room, instantly. Don’t you ever
dare even speak to me again. Let me hear one word you have said against
any of us and I will have you expelled within twenty-four hours
afterward. I can do it, too. If you go to headquarters with any tales
against us, remember you are one and we are seventeen who will act as
one in denying your fairy stories. You——”

“Not fairy stories,” sneered Dulcie. “I’d be satisfied to tell the truth
about you deceitful things. It would more than run you out of Hamilton.”

“You couldn’t tell the truth to save your life,” retorted Leslie with a
caustic contempt which hit Dulcie harder than anything else Leslie had
said to her.

“I—I—think——” Dulcie struggled with her emotions, then suddenly burst
into hysterical sobs. Her arm against her face to shut her distorted
features from sight of her accusers, she stumbled to the door, groping
for the knob with her free hand. An instant and she had gone, too
thoroughly humiliated to slam the door after her. The sounds of her
weeping could be faintly heard by the others until her own door closed
behind her.

“Gone!” Joan Myers sighed exaggerated relief.

“Yes; and _broken_,” announced Leslie Cairns with cruel satisfaction.

“Oh, I don’t know,” differed Margaret Wayne. She had not forgotten
Dulcie’s assertion as to what Leslie had said of her and Loretta. “Dulc
had spunk enough to answer you back to the very last. I don’t see
that——”

“No, you don’t see. Well, I do. I say that Dulcie Vale left here just
now _utterly crushed_,” argued Leslie with stress. “You are peeved,
Margaret, because of what she claimed I said of you and Retta. She
lied.”

“Certainly, Dulcie lied,” supported Natalie. “Do you believe that _I_,
Leslie’s best friend, would say hateful things about her? Yet Dulc said
I had. Didn’t Les warn you not to pay any attention to what she said? We
knew she would try to make trouble among the Sans the minute we called
her down.”

“We did, indeed.” Leslie made a movement of her head that betokened
Dulcie’s utter hopelessness.

“I didn’t say I believed what Dulcie said,” half-apologized Margaret. In
her heart she did not trust Leslie, however. It was like her to make
just such remarks about any of the Sans if in bad humor.

“Never mind. It isn’t worrying me,” was the purposely careless response.
“To go back to what you said about Dulc not being broken. I have known
her longer than you, Margaret. She can keep up a row about so long, then
she crumples. After that there isn’t a spark of fight left in her. She
always ends by a fit of crying, next door to hysterics. Isn’t that true
of her, Nat?”

Natalie nodded. “Yes; Dulcie will mind her own affairs now and keep her
mouth closed for a long time to come.”

“She’s afraid of me,” Leslie continued, her intonation harsh. “She
doesn’t know just the extent of my influence here.”

“Could you truly have her expelled within twenty-four hours?” queried
Harriet Stephens somewhat incredulously.

“You heard me say so. It would take a very slight effort to do that. I
could wire my father, then——” Leslie paused, looking mysterious. “Sorry,
girls, but I can’t tell you any more than that. I’ll simply say that my
wonderful father’s influence can remove mountains, if necessary. That’s
why I was so furious with that little sneak for daring even to mention
his name.”

“Could your father’s influence save you from being expelled if different
things you have done here were brought up against you?” demanded
Adelaide Forman.

Leslie’s eyes narrowed at the question. It was a little too searching
for comfort. In reality her father’s influence at Hamilton was a minus
quantity. She had been boasting with a view toward increasing her own
importance.

“It would depend entirely on what I had done,” she answered after a
moment’s thought. “You must understand that my father would be wild if
he knew I had gone out hazing when it is strictly against rules. He
wouldn’t do a thing to help me if I had trouble with Matthews over that.
If I wrote him that Dulcie, for instance, was trying, by lies, to have
me or my friends expelled from Hamilton, he would fight for me in a
minute.”

The Sans stayed for some time in Leslie’s room planning how they would
meet further remarks leveled at them on the campus as a result of
Dulcie’s defection. Leslie brought forth a fresh five-pound box of
chocolates and another of imported sweet crackers. The party feasted and
enjoyed themselves regardless of the fact that three doors from them a
former comrade writhed and wept in an agony of angry shame. While in a
measure their course might be justified, there was not one among them
who had not, to a certain extent, and at some time or other, betrayed
friendship.

This was also Dulcie’s most bitter grievance against those who had been
her chums. She knew now that she had talked too much. So had the others.
Still, she was sorry for herself. She had been deceived in Bess Walbert.
Bess was the one who had circulated most of the Sans’ private affairs.
She could not recall just how much she had told Bess; very likely no
more than had Leslie. If they had given her time she would have been
able to defend herself. With such reflections she strove to palliate her
own offenses.

“Do you imagine Dulc will try to get back at us?” was Natalie’s first
remark to Leslie as the door closed on the departing Sans. “She carried
on about as I thought she might. We came off easily with Remson, didn’t
we?”

“Dulcie is done, I tell you,” reasserted Leslie with an impatient scowl.
“Remson! Humph! My worst enemy couldn’t have delivered a more telling
snub. She may suspect us of making trouble between her and Matthews.
I’ll say, I wish this year was done and Commencement here. If we slide
through and capture those precious diplomas without the sword falling it
will be a miracle.”



CHAPTER XX—A BITTER PILL


Dulcie’s tumultuous resentment of accusation had been heard throughout
the Hall. More than one door opened along the second, third and fourth
story halls as the shrill-sounding voice continued.

Among others, Jerry had gone to the door to ascertain what was happening
in the house of such an unusual nature. Two or three moments of intent
listening and she had returned to her chair before the center table.

“Why waste my good time listening to the far-off scrapping of the Sans?”
she had lightly questioned. “There is some kind of row going on in Miss
Cairns’ room. That’s the way it sounds to me. I can’t say who is giving
the vocal performance. I don’t know the dear creatures well enough to
tag that sweet voice. I could hear other doors besides ours open. We are
not alone in our curiosity.”

“Your curiosity,” Marjorie had corrected. “I wasn’t enough interested to
go to the door.” Marjorie had laughed teasingly.

“Stand corrected. My curiosity,” Jerry had obligingly answered. With
that the subject had dropped as abruptly as the noise had begun.

The Sans were fortunate, in that the students residing at Wayland Hall,
with the exception of themselves, were too fruitfully engaged in the
minding of their own affairs to give more than a passing attention to
the disturbance created by Dulcie Vale. Within the next two or three
days they were agreeably surprised to find that no word of it had
uttered on the campus.

“Has anyone said anything to you of Dulcie’s roars, howls and shrieks?”
Leslie asked Natalie, half humorously. It was the fourth evening after
the meeting in her room and the two were lounging in Natalie’s room
doing a little studying and a good deal of talking.

“No. You can see for yourself what the girls in this house are; a
mind-your-own-business crowd.” Natalie’s reply contained a certain
amount of admiration. “If the story of it spreads over the campus, it
will not be their fault. Sometimes I am sorry, Les, we didn’t go in for
democracy from the first. We are cut out of a lot of good times by being
so exclusive. Take this show that Miss Page and Miss Dean are going to
give in the gym tomorrow night. Not one of the Sans was asked to be in
it.”

“Hardly!” Leslie laughed and raised her eyebrows. “I can’t imagine Bean
doing anything like that.”

“You needn’t make fun of me. We couldn’t expect to be asked to take
part. I simply mentioned it as an example of the way things are. There
is a great deal of sociability going on this year at Hamilton among the
whole four classes, yet the Sans are as utterly out of it as can be,”
Natalie complained with evident bitterness.

“Glad of it,” was the unperturbed retort. “Why yearn to be in a show,
Nat, at this late stage of the game? Next winter, when you are in New
York society, you’ll have plenty of opportunity for amateur
theatricals.”

“Oh, I daresay I shall.” This did not console Natalie. Of all the Sans,
she was the only one not satisfied with her lot. She would not have
exchanged places with any student outside her own particular coterie.
Still, she had dreamed from her freshman year of shining as a star in
college theatricals. To her lasting disappointment, she had never been
invited to take part in an entertainment. The Sans had neither the
inclination nor the ability to engineer a play or revue. The democratic
element at Hamilton did not require the Sans’ services.

“Are you going to that show?” Leslie cast a peculiar glance at her
friend.

“I—well, yes; I bought a ticket.” Natalie appeared rather ashamed of the
admission. “Did you buy one?” she hastily countered.

“Yes; two. Laura Sayres bought them for me. Humphrey has them for sale
in her office. I asked Laura if everything were just the same with
Matthews since that Miss Warner substituted for her. She said all was
O. K. She has her files, letters and papers arranged so that no one
could ever make trouble for her.”

“Too bad, Leslie, that Miss Warner was the one to substitute for Laura.
It gave her a chance to meet Doctor Matthews. One never can tell what
might develop from even so small an incident as that.” Natalie was not
disposed to be reassuring that evening.

“Will you cut out croaking, Nat?” Leslie sprang from her chair and began
a nervous pacing of the floor. “You might as well pour ice-water down
the back of my neck. Enough annoying things have happened lately to
worry me without having to reckon on what ‘might’ happen. I told Sayres
to take good care of herself and try not to be away from her position
again. I advised her, if ever she had to be away, even for a day, to
supply her own sub. She should have had sense enough to do so the last
time.”

“I am surprised that Miss Warner does secretarial work when that Miss
Lynne she rooms with is wealthy in her own right,” commented Natalie.

“I suppose that green-eyed ice-berg wants to earn her own money. I made
a mistake about Lynne. Her father is the richest man in the far west. My
father told me so last summer. I always meant to tell you that and kept
on forgetting it. He said then I ought to be friends with her, but I
told him ‘nay, nay.’ She and I would be _so pleased_ with each other.”
Leslie smiled ironically.

“‘The richest man in the far west,’” repeated Natalie, her mind on that
one enlightening sentence. “Too bad she isn’t our sort. We could ask her
into the Sans in Dulcie’s place.”

“She wouldn’t leave Bean and Green-eyes and those two savages, Harding
and Macy. I sometimes admire those two. They have so much nerve.
Dulcie’s place will stay vacant. I wouldn’t ask Lola to join us after
the way she has dropped me for Alida. As for Bess; she has yet to hear
from me. I have an idea she and Dulc will get together. Dulc will tell
her the news. Then Bess will sidle around me thinking she can get into
the Sans. What? Watch my speed!” The corners of Leslie’s mouth went down
contemptuously. She was a match for the self-seeking sophomore.

The next evening being that of the revue, Leslie and Natalie attended it
together. The rest of the Sans had elected also to go to it. Leslie had
advised against going in a body. “If we do, they’ll think we were
anxious to see their old show,” she had argued. “We’d better scatter by
twos and threes about the gym.”

By a quarter to eight the gymnasium was packed with students, faculty,
and a goodly sprinkle of persons from the town of Hamilton who had
friends among the students. Robin and Marjorie had worried for fear the
programme might be too long. There would be sure to be encores. Their
choice of talent, however, was so happy that the audience could not get
enough of the various performers.

Marjorie was keyed up to the highest pitch of joy by the presence of
Constance Stevens and Harriet Delaney. They had arrived from New York
late that afternoon on purpose to take part in the show. While the
wonder of Constance’s matchless high soprano notes in two grand opera
selections awarded her a fury of applause, Harriet came in for her share
of glory. It may be said that Constance and Veronica divided honors that
evening.

Urged by Marjorie, Ronny had sent to Sanford for the black robe she used
in the “Dance of the Night.” It had been in her room in Miss Archer’s
house since the evening of the campfire three years before. Besides the
“Dance of the Night” she gave a fine exhibition of Russian folk dancing
in appropriate costume.

Marjorie had felt impelled to write Miss Susanna a special note of
invitation inclosing several tickets. “Jonas or the maids might like our
show, even if Miss Susanna won’t come. Of course she won’t, but I wanted
her to have the tickets,” she had said to Jerry, who had agreed that her
head was level and her heart in the right place as usual.

For the first time since the beginning of her hatred for Hamilton
College, Miss Susanna had been sorely tempted to break her vow and
attend the show. Realizing the sensation her presence on the campus
would create, she quickly abandoned the impulse. She was half vexed with
Marjorie for sending her tickets and made note to warn her never to send
any more.

Of all the audience, those most impressed by performance and performers
were the Sans. While they enjoyed the revue, girl-fashion, as a
spectacle, the knowledge of the enemy’s triumph was hard to swallow.
Ronny’s dancing was a revelation to them, astonishing and bitter. As
each number appeared, perfect in its way, the realization of the
cleverness of the girls they had affected to despise came home as a
sharp thrust.

Leslie Cairns was particularly disgruntled as she hurried Natalie from
the gymnasium and into the cold clear December night.

“Don’t talk to me, Nat,” she warned. “I am so upset I feel like howling
my head off. The way Beanie has come to the front is a positive crime.
Did you see her marching around the gym tonight as though she owned it?”

“It was a good show,” Natalie ventured.

“Entirely too good,” grumbled Leslie. “I don’t like to talk of it. Did I
mention that Bess wrote me a note. She wants to see me about something
very important.” Leslie placed satirical stress on the last three words.
“She may see me but she won’t be pleased. I’m in a very bad humor
tonight. I shall be in a worse one tomorrow.”



CHAPTER XXI—“DISPOSING” OF BESS


Leslie’s ominous prediction regarding herself was not idle. She awoke
the next morning signally out of sorts. Though she had declared to
Natalie she did not care to discuss the revue, when she arrived at the
Hall she had changed her mind. She had invited Natalie into her room for
a “feed.” The two had gorged themselves on French crullers, assorted
chocolates and strong tea. Nor did they retire until almost midnight.

Leslie greeted the light of day with a sour taste in her mouth and a
desire to snap at her best friend, were that unlucky person to appear on
her immediate horizon. She had thought herself fairly well prepared in
psychology for the morning recitation. Instead she could not remember
definitely enough of what she had studied the afternoon before to make a
lucid recitation. This did not tend to render her more amiable. She
prided herself particularly on her progress in the study of psychology
and was inwardly furious at her failure.

Exiting from Science Hall that afternoon, the first person her eyes came
to rest upon was Elizabeth Walbert. She stood at one side of the broad
stone flight of steps eagerly watching the main entrance to the
building.

“Oh, there you are!” she hailed. “I have been waiting quite a while for
you.”

“That’s too bad.” It was impossible to gauge Leslie’s exact humor from
the reply. Her answers to impersonal remarks so often verged on
insolence.

“So I thought,” pertly retorted the other girl. At the same time she
furtively inspected Leslie.

“What is it now? You make me think of that old story of the ‘Flounder’
in ‘Grimms’ Fairy Tales.’ You are like the fisherman’s wife who was
always asking favors of the flounder. We will assume that I am the
flounder.”

“How do you know that I wish to ask a favor?” Elizabeth colored hotly at
the insinuation. She put on an injured expression, her lips slightly
pouted.

“I’m a mind reader,” was the laconic reply.

“Hm! Suppose I were to ask you to do something for me? Haven’t you
_said_ lots of times that I could rely on you?” persisted Elizabeth. “I
don’t understand you, Leslie. You are so sweet to me at times and so
horrid at others.”

“You’ll understand me better after today,” came the significant
assurance. “Come on. We will walk across the campus to your house.”

“Why not yours?” Elizabeth demanded in patent disappointment. “I see
enough of Alston Terrace. I’d rather go with you to Wayland Hall. Your
nice room is a fine place for a confidential chat.”

“You won’t see the inside of it this P.M. I am not going into the house
when we come to Alston Terrace. I have a severe headache and choose to
stay out in the open air. It’s a fair day, and not cold enough to bar a
walk on the campus.”

“Very well.” Elizabeth sighed and looked patient. “I hope we don’t meet
any of the girls. I have a private matter to discuss with you.”

“Go ahead and discuss it,” imperturbably ordered Leslie.

“Why—you—perhaps, if you have a headache, I had better wait until
another time,” deprecated the sophomore. It occurred to her that she
ought to pretend solicitude. “I am so sorry,” she hastily condoled.

“Thank you. There is no ‘if’ about my headache. Get that straight. What?
It won’t hinder me from listening to you. Let’s hear your remarks now
and have them over with.”

“I have seen Dulcie,” began Elizabeth impressively, “and she has told me
what happened the other night. Really, Leslie, I was _shocked, simply
shocked_. Yet I couldn’t blame you in the least. The way Dulcie has
talked about you on the campus is disgraceful. But I went over all that
with you the day I first told you of how treacherous she had been.”

“Quite true. You did, indeed,” Leslie conceded with pleasant irony. “Now
proceed. What next?”

“You are so _funny_, _Leslie_. You are so _deliciously_ matter-of-fact.”
Elizabeth was hoping the compliment would restore the difficult senior
to a more equitable frame of mind.

“You may not always appreciate my matter-of-fact manner.” The ghost of a
smile, cruel in its vagueness, touched Leslie’s lips.

“Oh, I am _sure_ I shall. To go back to Dulcie, I hope you didn’t
mention my name the other night. You promised you wouldn’t.”

“Is that what you have been so anxious to tell me?” Leslie asked the
question with exaggerated weariness, eyes turned indifferently away from
her companion.

“No; it is not.” Elizabeth shot an exasperated glance at her. “I merely
mentioned it. Dulcie tried to make me take the blame for it the first
time I met her after the meeting. I simply told her I had nothing to do
with it whatever.”

Leslie sniffed audible contempt at this information. “Let me say this:
Dulcie herself mentioned your name, or rather she screamed it out at the
top of her voice the other night. The rest of us said nothing. I made
the charges against Dulcie and mentioned no names.”

“I wish I had been there.” A wolfish light flashed into the wide,
babyish blue eyes. “It must have been quite a party. Leslie,” Elizabeth
decided that the time had come to speak for herself, “you said once that
I couldn’t be a member of the Sans because there was no vacancy; that
the club must be kept to the number of eighteen. There is a vacancy
_now_. The club has only seventeen members. Why can’t I fill that
vacancy and become the eighteenth member? I don’t mind because it will
be only for the rest of this year. I shall count it an honor to have
been a Sans even that long. I will certainly make a more loyal Sans than
Dulcie was.”

Leslie drew a long breath. The wished-for moment had come. She was in
fine fettle to deliver to the ambitious climber the “turn-down” she had
earned.

“Why can’t you become a member of the Sans?” she asked, then drew back
her head and indulged in soundless laughter. “Do you think it would make
you very happy to join us?”

“You may better believe it,” Elizabeth made flippant reply. More
seriously, she added: “You know how my heart has been set upon it from
the very first.”

“Yes, I know. The fact of the matter is,” Leslie measured each word,
“there is one great drawback to your joining.”

“If it is about money, I am sure my father has as much as the fathers of
the other members,” cut in Elizabeth. “Our social position in New York
is——”

“All that has nothing to do with the drawback I mentioned.” Leslie waved
away Elizabeth’s attempt at defending her position. They were not more
than half way across the campus, but Leslie was tired of keeping up the
suspense of the moment. Her head ached violently. She was so utterly
disgusted with the other girl she could have cheerfully pummeled her.

“Then I don’t quite understand——” began Elizabeth.

“You’re going to—at once. We dropped one girl from the Sans for being a
liar and a gossip. What would be the use in filling her place with
another liar and gossip. That’s the drawback. It applies strictly to
you.”

Leslie stopped short in her walk and faced her companion, her heavy
features a study in malignant contempt. Elizabeth’s eyes widened
involuntarily this time. She could not believe the evidence of her own
ears. Her moment of stupefaction gave Leslie the very opportunity to
continue and finish her remarks before the other had time for angry
defense.

“You would have been nothing socially on the campus if I hadn’t taken
you up,” she said forcefully. “The other girls in my club, it is my
club, didn’t like you. I had a good many quarrels with a number of them
for trying to stand up for you, you worthless little schemer. If you had
had one shred of principle or gratitude in your deceitful composition,
you would have come to me at once with the first story against the club
which Dulc told you. But you did not. You simply gossiped all she said
to you to other students on the campus. Dulcie told you things about us
that were ridiculous. You not only listened to them. You repeated them,
making them worse.

“I had heard of your tactics before I sent for you to ask you about
Dulc. I wanted to pump you and hear what you had to offer. I made it my
business afterward to look up your record as a tale-bearer. Some little
record! I know exactly to whom you have talked and what you have
circulated concerning the Sans. You ought to be _ashamed_ of yourself.
Such ingrates as you have no sense of shame. Now, I believe, you
understand why the Sans don’t care to put you in Dulcie’s place. It
would merely be a case of out of the frying pan into the fire. Of the
two, you are worse than Dulc. She is a liar, but stupid. You are a liar
and tricky.”

“Don’t you _dare_ call me a story-teller again,” burst forth Elizabeth
in a fury.

“I didn’t say story-teller. I said liar. I never mince matters. I’ve
said that to you before.” Leslie stood smiling at the culprit, the soul
of mockery.

“You won’t be at Hamilton long enough to insult me ever again, Leslie
Cairns,” threatened Elizabeth, a world of vindictiveness in every word.
“I don’t believe you, when you say that Dulcie hasn’t told the truth. I
guess Dulcie knows enough that is true to make it very uncomfortable for
you. I’ll help her do it, too. No one can speak to me as you have and
expect I won’t get even.”

“Try it,” challenged Leslie. “Unless you have Dulcie to back you you
can’t prove one single thing against our record at Hamilton. Dulcie
doesn’t care to make trouble for herself. You couldn’t get her to go
with you to headquarters. She has either to be graduated from college
with a fair rating or fall into a bushel of trouble with her father. Let
me give you and Dulc both a last piece of advice. You’ll tell her all
about this, of course, only you will be careful not to mention wanting
her place in the club. Keep a brake on those mill-clapper tongues of
yours for the rest of the year.”

Without giving Elizabeth time for another outburst of wrath, Leslie
wheeled and started away at double quick. The other girl forgot dignity
entirely and pursued the senior, talking shrilly as she ran. She might
as well have pursued a fleeing shadow. Leslie set her jaw and increased
her pace. The enraged sophomore kept up the chase for a matter of yards,
then stopped. Placing her hands to her mouth, trumpet fashion, she
hurled after Leslie one pithy threat: “You’ll be sorry.”



CHAPTER XXII—PLANNING FOR THE FUTURE


The approach of the Christmas holidays called a halt in the internal war
which raged between the Sans and their two betrayers. Having delivered
her ultimatum to Elizabeth Walbert, Leslie promptly proceeded to forget
her, so far as she could. As a result of the tactics she had pursued
with both Dulcie and Elizabeth, she was more at ease than for a long
time. She was confident she had bullied both to a point where they would
hesitate before doing any more idle talking about the Sans’
misdemeanors. Every day which passed over her head without mishap to
herself was one day nearer Commencement and freedom. She had no regret
for her misdeeds. She was merely in fear lest they might be brought to
light.

She had lost all interest in leadership at Hamilton. Her one idea now
was to end her college course creditably and thus earn her father’s
approval. Natalie Weyman was on better terms with her than were the
other Sans. They found her moody indifference harder to combat than her
bullying. She was interested in nothing the club did or wished to do.
“Go as far as you like, but let me alone,” became her pet answer to her
chums’ appeals for advice or an expression of opinion.

“The Sans have become so exclusive they’ve nearly effaced themselves
from the college map,” Jerry remarked to Marjorie several days after
their return from the Christmas vacation at home.

“They have had to settle down and do some studying, I presume,” was
Marjorie’s opinion. “They used to be out evenings a good deal oftener
than ever we were. I’ve wondered how they kept up at all.”

“Leila said that Miss Vale had been conditioned two or three times, and
had to hire a tutor to help pull her through. I notice she doesn’t go
around with any of the Sans. You remember I spoke of her having changed
her seat at table the next day after that fuss up in Miss Cairns’ room.”

“I have seen her with Miss Walbert a good deal lately. It seems odd,
Jeremiah, that, after all the trouble we had with those girls as
freshies and sophs, we should be almost free of them this year. It has
been such a beautiful, peaceful year, thus far. We’ve had the gayest,
happiest kind of times. If only we could keep Leila, Vera, Kathie and
Helen with us next year everything would be perfect.”

“Would it? Well, I rather guess so. Gives me the blues every time I stop
to think about losing them. Just when we are traveling along so
pleasantly, too. Here we are, victorious democrats. We know Miss
Susanna, even if we don’t dare boast of it. We’ve been entertained at
Hamilton Arms; something President Matthews can’t say. You and Robin are
successful theatrical managers. Oh, I can tell you, everything is upward
striving.

  “’Tis as easy now for hearts to be true,
  As for grass to be green and skies to be blue.
  ’Tis the natural way of living”

gayly quoted Marjorie, patting Jerry’s plump shoulder in her walk across
the room to find a pencil she had mislaid.

“I wish we would hear from Miss Susanna,” she continued, a little
wistful note in the utterance. “Perhaps she did not like our Christmas
remembrance. She doesn’t like birthday observances. She loves flowers,
though. So she couldn’t really regard those we sent her as a present.
And that letter was delightful, I thought. We may have made a mistake in
sending the wreath.”

The letter to which Marjorie referred was a composite. Each of the nine
girls had contributed a paragraph. They had tucked it into a box of
long-stemmed red roses which they had selected as a Yule-tide offering
to the last of the Hamiltons. With it had gone a laurel wreath, to which
was attached a large bunch of double, purple violets. They had asked
that the wreath be hung in Brooke Hamilton’s study above the oblong
which contained the founder’s sayings.

“I don’t believe Miss Susanna is on her ear at us,” observed Jerry
inelegantly. “She will write when she feels like it. Maybe she thought
it better to postpone writing until she was sure we were all back at
college after Christmas. When did you last hear from her?”

“Not since she sent me the money for the tickets for the show. I bought
those tickets for her myself. She didn’t understand, I guess. I
re-mailed the money to her, explaining that they were from me. Since
then I have heard not a word from her. I should have taken the tickets
back to her instead of mailing them, but I was so busy just then.
Besides, I don’t like to go to the Arms without a special invitation.”

Almost incident with Marjorie’s worry over Miss Susanna’s silence came a
note from her new friend, appointing an evening for her to dine at
Hamilton Arms.

“I am not asking your friends this time,” the old lady wrote, “as I
prefer to devote my attention to you, dear child. I could not answer the
Christmas letter for I had no medium of expression. I loved it, and the
flowers. Best of all, was the honor you did Uncle Brooke. You may show
this letter to your friends, extending to them a crabbed old person’s
sincere thanks and good wishes.”

Marjorie kept her dinner appointment with Miss Susanna and spent a happy
evening with the old lady. Miss Hamilton showed active interest in the
subject of the recent revue. The obliging lieutenant had brought with
her a programme which the old lady insisted in going over, number by
number, inquiring about each performer. She expressed a wish to hear
Constance Stevens sing and asked Marjorie to bring Constance to Hamilton
Arms if she should again come to Hamilton College.

“I was truly sorry to have missed that show,” the last of the Hamiltons
frankly confessed. “It would never do for me to set foot on that campus.
I should be on bad terms with myself forever after; on as bad terms as I
am with the college.”

“I’ll tell you what we might do, Miss Hamilton,” Marjorie ventured. “We
could give a stunt party here, just for you, at some time when it
pleased you to have us here. Perhaps Constance would come from New York
for a day or two. She isn’t so far away. Then Ronny and Vera would dance
and Leila sings the most charming ancient Celtic songs.”

Her lovely face had grown radiant as she described her chums’ talents,
and again, for her sake, Miss Susanna had softened toward all girlhood.
She had assented with only half-concealed eagerness to Marjorie’s plan.

Two days after Marjorie’s visit to her, she sent her a check for five
hundred dollars, asking that it be placed with the money earned from the
revue. The youthful managers had charged a dollar apiece for tickets
with no reservations. To their intense joy and amusement, the gross
receipts amounted to six hundred and seventy-two dollars. Their only
expenses being for printing and lighting the gymnasium, they had,
counting Miss Susanna’s gift, a little over one thousand dollars with
which to start the beneficiary fund.

Anna Towne had done good work among the girls off the campus. Due to her
efforts they had been brought to look upon the new avenue of escape from
signal discomfort, now open to them, as an opportunity to be embraced.
Marjorie had said conclusively that the funds at their disposal were to
be given, not lent. She argued on the basis that money thus easily
gained should be distributed where it would benefit most, then be
forgotten. The girls who were struggling along to put themselves through
college would have enough to do to earn their living afterward without
stepping over the threshold of their chosen work saddled with an
obligation.

It took tact, delicacy and more than one friendly argument to establish
this theory among the sensitive, proud-spirited girls for whose benefit
the project had been carried out. Gradually it gained ground and a new
era of things began to spring up for those who had sacrificed so much
for the sake of the higher education. The money so easily earned by
Ronny’s nimble feet, Constance’s sweet singing and the talent of the
other performers revolutionized matters in the row of cheerless houses,
in one of which Anne Towne resided. Ability to pay a higher rate for
board brought better food and heat. The drudgery of laundering was
lifted, the work being intrusted to several capable laundresses in the
vicinity. Those who had kept house abandoned cooking and took their
meals at one or another of the boarding houses. According to Anna Towne,
the restfulness of the changed way of living was unbelievable.

As successful theatrical managers, Robin and Marjorie had rosy visions
of a dormitory built where several of the dingy boarding houses now
stood. Perhaps by next year they would have the means to buy the
properties. They purposed agitating the subject so strongly, during
their senior year, that, at least, a few of the students among the other
three classes would be willing to go on with the work.

Both had agreed that they had set themselves a hard row to hoe, yet
neither would have relinquished the self-imposed task. In the first
flush of their ambition they had asked Miss Humphrey to ascertain, if
she could, whether the regulations of the college forbade the erection
of more houses on the campus. She had returned the answer, that, owing
to a peculiar will left by Mr. Brooke Hamilton, the consent to build on
the campus would have to come from Miss Hamilton, who had been
prejudiced against Hamilton College for many years.

This was a disturbing revelation to Marjorie. She was fairly certain
that Miss Susanna would never give any such consent. She therefore
promptly abandoned the idea and laid her plans for the outside
territory.

As the winter winged away Marjorie made more than one visit to Hamilton
Arms. Occasionally her chums accompanied her. The Nine Travelers gave
their stunt party at the Arms on Saint Valentine’s eve. To please their
lonely hostess they dressed in the costumes they intended wearing at the
masquerade the next evening. Constance and Harriet managed to get away
from the conservatory for three days, and a merry party ate a six
o’clock dinner with Miss Susanna so as to have plenty of time for the
stunts afterward.

Discreet to the letter, their visits to Hamilton Arms were known to no
one outside their own group. Over and over again, when alone with the
old lady, she would say to Marjorie: “I had no idea girls could be
honorable. I had always considered boys far more honest and loyal.”

“You and Miss Susanna Hamilton are getting very chummy, aren’t you?”
greeted Jerry, as Marjorie sauntered into their room one clear frosty
evening in March, after having had tea at Hamilton Arms.

“I don’t know whether we are or not.” A tiny pucker decorated Marjorie’s
forehead. “I always feel a little uncertain of how to take her. She is
kindness itself, then, all of a sudden, she turns crotchety and says she
hates everything and everybody. Then she generally adds, ‘Don’t take
that to yourself, child.’”

“She thinks a lot of you or she wouldn’t be so friendly with you. She
looks at you in the most affectionate way. I’ve noticed it every time we
have been to the Arms with you.”

“I am glad of it. I was fond of her before I met her. Captain would like
her. So would your mother, Jeremiah. Next year when our mothers come to
Hamilton to see us graduate, I hope Miss Susanna will like to meet them.
Only one more year after this. Oh, dear! I do love college, don’t you?”
Marjorie began removing her hat and coat, an absent look in her brown
eyes.

“I have seen worse ranches,” Jerry conceded with a grin. “Speaking of
ranches reminds me of the West. The West reminds me of Ronny. Ronny
promised to help me with my French tonight. Mind if I leave you? Such
partings wring the heart; mine I mean. You go galavanting off to tea
with no regard for my feelings.” Jerry gave a bad imitation of a sob,
giggled, and began gathering up her books.

“I’ll try to have more consideration for your feelings hereafter,”
Marjorie assured, a merry twinkle in her eyes.

“I’ll believe that when I see signs of reform,” Jerry threw back over
her shoulder as she exited.

Left alone, Marjorie tried to shut out the memory of Hamilton Arms and
settle down to her studying. The fascination the old house held for her
remained with her long after she had left it behind her on her now
fairly frequent visits there. Nicely launched on the tide of psychology,
an uncertain rapping at the door startled her from her absorption of the
subject in hand. It flashed across her as she rose to answer the
knocking that it had been done by an unfamiliar hand. None of the girls
she knew rapped on the door in that weak, hesitating fashion.

As she swung open the door she made no effort to force back the
expression of complete astonishment which she knew had appeared on her
face. Her caller was Dulcie Vale.



CHAPTER XXIII—AN AMAZING PROPOSAL


“I—are you alone, Miss Dean? I would like to talk with you, but not
unless you are alone.” Dulcie spoke just above a whisper, peering past
Marjorie into the room so far as she could see from where she was
standing.

“Yes, I am alone. Miss Macy will not be back for an hour, perhaps. Will
you come in, Miss Vale?” Marjorie endeavored to make the invitation
courteous. She could not feign cordiality.

“I am glad you are alone.” This idea seemed uppermost in Dulcie’s mind.
“I know you don’t like me, Miss Dean. You haven’t any reason to after
the way you were treated by the Sans last Saint Valentine’s night. Of
course, I know you know who we were that night.” She paused, as though
considering what to say next.

“I saw no faces, but I knew Miss Cairns’ and Miss Weyman’s voices,”
Marjorie said with a suspicion of stiffness. She was not pleased to hear
Dulcie preface her remarks with implied aspersions against the Sans. She
knew that the latter had quarreled with her. She guessed that pique
might have actuated the call.

“You never told anyone a single thing about it, did you?” The question
was close to wistful. It seemed remarkable to Dulcie that Marjorie could
have kept the matter secret.

“No.” Marjorie shook her head slightly.

“Did your friends ever say a word about it? Those were your friends who
burst in on us and made such a noise, weren’t they? Who was the one who
looked so horrible and blew out the candles?” Dulcie seemed suddenly to
give over to curiosity.

“I can’t answer your questions, Miss Vale.” Marjorie could not repress
the tiny smile that would not stay in seclusion. “I wish you would sit
down and tell me frankly why you came to see me. You have not been in my
room since the night of my arrival at Wayland Hall as a freshman.”

“I know.” Dulcie’s gaze shifted uneasily from Marjorie’s face. “I
thought I would come again,” she excused, “but——”

The steadiness of Marjorie’s eyes forbade further untruth. She became
suddenly silent. Very humbly she accepted the chair her puzzled hostess
shoved forward. Marjorie sat down in one at the other side of the center
table.

“I suppose you’ve heard all about my trouble with the Sans,” the visitor
commenced afresh and awkwardly. “I don’t belong to the Sans Soucians
now. I wouldn’t stay in a club with such dishonorable girls. I simply
made Leslie Cairns accept my resignation. She was wild about it.”

Now safely launched upon her story, Dulcie began to gather up her
self-confidence. “You see, my father, who is president of the L. T. and
M. Railroad, has done a great deal for the Sans. You know we have always
come to Hamilton in the fall in his private car. I have lent the Sans
money and done them endless favors, yet they couldn’t be even moderately
square with me.” She fixed her eyes on Marjorie after this outburst as
though waiting for sympathy.

“I have heard nothing in regard to your having left the Sans Soucians. I
have noticed that you were no longer at the table where you formerly sat
at meals.” Marjorie could not honestly concede less than this.

“Didn’t you hear us fussing one night in Leslie’s room? It was before
Christmas. That was the night I called them all down. I was so angry! I
went into a perfect frenzy! I’m so temperamental! When I am _really_ in
a rage it simply shakes me from head to foot.” There was a faint impetus
toward complacency in the statement.

“Yes; I heard a commotion going on up there one evening, but only
faintly. My door was closed. I didn’t pay any attention to the noise,
for it did not concern me.” Marjorie was struggling against an
irresistible desire to laugh. To her mind Dulcie was the last person she
would have classed as temperamental.

“The rest of that crowd were just as noisy as I, but Leslie Cairns
blamed me for it all. She told Miss Remson it was I alone who made the
disturbance. I’ll never forgive her; _never_. What I thought was this,
Miss Dean. The Sans deserve to be punished for hazing you. I was a
victim, too, that night. They made me go along with them, and I didn’t
wish to go. I came home with my eye blackened. I won’t say how it
happened, only that Leslie Cairns was to blame. I know about the whole
plan for the hazing. Leslie rented that house for six months and paid
the rent in advance so as to have a good place to take you. She would
have left you there all night but Nell Ray and I said we would not stand
for that. We were the only ones who stood up for you. Leslie Cairns was
the Red Mask.

“You know that Doctor Matthews is awfully down on hazing,” Dulcie
continued, taking a fresh supply of breath. “I thought if you would go
with me to his office we could put the case before him. So long as I
have all the facts of that affair and you and I were the ones hazed, he
would certainly expel those Sans from Hamilton. You could say, just to
clear me, that you knew I was hazed, too. That is, I was forced to go
with them against my will. You see I had said I wouldn’t have a thing to
do with it. I put on a domino that night over my costume and started
across the campus by myself. Half a dozen of the Sans headed me off and
simply dragged me along with them. I couldn’t get away from them,
either. If that wasn’t hazing, then what was it?”

Marjorie was sorely tempted to reply, “Nothing but a yarn.” She did not
credit Dulcie’s story and was growing momentarily more disgusted with
the author of it.

“I can get away with it nicely if you will help me.” Dulcie evidently
took Marjorie’s silence as favorable to her plan. “I’ve resigned from
the Sans of my own accord. That will be in my favor. Matthews doesn’t
like Leslie. You know she received a summons after Miss Langly was hurt.
Maybe the doctor didn’t call her down! With you on my side. Oh, _fine_!
I can see the Sans packing to leave Hamilton in a hurry!” Dulcie
brightened visibly at the dire picture her mind had painted of her
enemies’ disaster. “I can tell you a lot more things against them, too.
Leslie is afraid all the time that Miss Remson will find out how she
worked that stunt to keep us our rooms here. She——”

Marjorie interrupted with a quick, stern: “Stop, Miss Vale! I don’t wish
to hear such things. I listened to what you said about the hazing as
that concerned myself only. I have no desire to know the Sans’ private
affairs. Whatever they may have done that is against the rules and
traditions of Hamilton they will have to answer for. In the long run
they will not be happy. I would not inform against them to President
Matthews or anyone else.”

“Would you let them go on and be graduated after what they have done
against both of us?” demanded Dulcie, her voice rising.

“It has not hurt me; being hazed, I mean,” was the calm reply. “I do not
approve of hazing. I would not take part in any such disgraceful thing.
Still, I do not believe in tale-bearing. You will gain more, Miss Vale,
by going on as though all that has annoyed and hurt you had never been.
Whoever has wronged you will be punished, eventually. The higher law,
the law of compensation, provides for that.”

“I don’t know a thing about law. I wouldn’t care to take the matter into
court.” Marjorie’s little preachment had gone entirely over the stupid
senior’s head. Leslie had often remarked, and with truth, that Dulc was
“thick.”

“I mean by the higher law, ‘As ye mete it out to others, so shall it be
measured back to you again,’” Marjorie quoted with reverence.

“Oh, I see. You mean what the Bible says. Uh-huh! That’s true, I guess.”
Dulcie looked vague. “I’m sorry you won’t help me, Miss Dean. I feel
that Doctor Matthews ought to _know_ what’s going on, when it is as
serious as hazing.”

Marjorie felt her patience winging away. She wished Jerry would suddenly
return and thus end the interview. It was evident Dulcie intended to
report the hazing, despite her refusal to become a party to the report.
That meant she would be dragged into the affair.

“I wish you would not go to Doctor Matthews about the hazing, Miss
Vale,” she said abruptly. “If I, who was put to more inconvenience than
you by it, have never reported it, I see no reason why you should. If
you should succeed in having your former chums expelled you would feel
miserably afterward for having betrayed them, no matter how much they
might have deserved it.”

“I surely should not.” Dulcie’s short upper lip lifted in scorn. “I
would love to see them disgraced. They tried to down me. I have a
splendid case against them because you are so well-liked on the campus.
The use of your name will be of great help. Sorry you won’t stand by me.
You’ll have to admit the truth if you are sent for at the office,” she
ended as a triumphant afterthought.

Marjorie contemplated her visitor in some wonder. The small, mean soul
of the vengeful girl stood forth in the smile that accompanied her
threatening utterance. It seemed strange to the upright lieutenant that
a young woman with every material advantage in life could be so devoid
of principle.

“Do not count on me.” Marjorie’s reply rang out with deliberate
contempt. “If I were to be summoned to Doctor Matthews’ office
concerning the hazing, I would answer no questions and give no
information.”

This time it was Dulcie who lost patience. She rose with an angry
flounce. Sulkiness at being thus thwarted replaced her earlier attempt
at amenability.

“I might have known better than ask you,” she sputtered, giving free
rein to her displeasure. “I shall do just as I please about going to
Matthews. I hope he sends for you. He will make you admit you were hazed
by the Sans. Goodnight.” She switched to the door. Her hand on the knob,
she called over one shoulder: “I don’t blame Les for having named you
‘Bean.’ You are just about as stupid as one.”



CHAPTER XXIV—“THERE’S MANY A SLIP”


Dulcie’s parting fling drove away Marjorie’s righteous indignation. It
was so utterly childish. She smiled as she arranged her books and papers
to her mind and sat down to study. Two or three times in the course of
study the remark re-occurred to her and she giggled softly. The name
‘Bean,’ as applied to her by Leslie Cairns, had invariably made her
laugh whenever she had heard it.

When Jerry finally put in an appearance, Lucy and Ronny at her heels,
Marjorie related to them the incident of Dulcie’s call.

“Oh, oh, oh!” groaned Jerry. “Why wasn’t I here? I always miss the most
exciting moments of life.”

“I wished with all my heart that you would walk in and end the
interview. She had so little honor about her I felt once as though I
couldn’t endure having her here another minute. Then she took herself
off so suddenly I was amazed.”

“Do you think she will go to Doctor Matthews?” Ronny asked rather
skeptically. “Possibly what you said will take hold on her after all.”

“No. She will go,” Marjorie predicted with conviction. “She is
determined on that. Maybe not right away. Goodness knows how much
trouble it will stir up.”

“You’re right,” nodded Jerry. “Bring the Sans to carpet and they will
probably name us as the crowd who broke in on their ridiculous tribunal.
What then?”

“If we are accused of any such thing we can only tell the truth,” smiled
Lucy. “We were in our masquerade costumes. We weren’t wearing dominos,
but our own coats and scarfs. We went to rescue Marjorie. We were not
out on a hazing expedition.”

“The only thing we should not have done, perhaps, was to blow out the
candles,” declared Ronny with a reminiscent chuckle. “That was my doing.
Some of the Sans might have been quite seriously hurt in the dark. They
deserved the few bumps they garnered. I’m not sorry for that part of our
rescue dash on them.”

“What a wonderful time we’ll have if we are brought up to face the Sans
in Doctor Matthews’ office. Lead me to it; away from it, I had better
say.” Jerry made a wry face.

“Don’t worry. I shall be on outpost duty,” laughed Lucy. “I am going to
begin substituting for the Doctor tomorrow morning. Miss Humphrey sent
for me after biology this P.M. to ask me if I would. Miss Sayres has
bronchitis. I am so far ahead in my subjects I can spare two weeks to
the doctor’s work. I was at Lillian’s house for dinner tonight, so I
didn’t have a chance to tell you girls the news. If this affair comes up
while I am working for the doctor, I shall no doubt hear of it. So long
as we are all concerned in it, I shall feel I have the right to tell you
if Miss Vale starts trouble.”

The Lookouts were not in the least worried over their own position in
the matter. While they might not escape reprimand, they had done nothing
underhanded nor disgraceful. According to Jerry they had “sprung a
beautiful scare where it was needed.”

During the first week of her secretaryship for the doctor, Lucy heard
nothing that would indicate the promised exposé on Dulcie’s part. They
saw her several times on the campus or driving with Elizabeth Walbert,
apparently well pleased with herself. It was Jerry’s opinion that she
had built upon Marjorie’s aid. Being denied this, she had abandoned the
project as too risky to undertake alone.

One thing lynx-eyed Lucy discovered concerning the secretary was her
extreme carelessness in filing. More than once the doctor’s patience and
her own were taxed by protracted hunts on her part for correspondence on
file.

“I exonerate you from blame for this, Miss Warner,” the kindly doctor
declared more than once. “I have spoken to Miss Sayres of this fault. I
shall take it up with her again when she returns.”

As the first week merged into the second and the second into the third,
and still Lucy remained as the doctor’s secretary, the two began to be
on the best of terms. Quick to appreciate Lucy’s remarkable brilliancy
as a student, not to mention her perfect work as secretary, the doctor
and she had several long talks on biology, mathematics, and the affairs
of Hamilton College as well.

During one of these talks a gleam of light shone for a moment on the
mystery Lucy never gave up hoping to solve. In mentioning Wayland Hall,
the president referred to Miss Remson as one of his oldest friends on
the campus. “I have not seen Miss Remson for a very long time,” he said
with a slight frown. “Let me see. It will be——can it be possible?——two
years in June. And she living so near me! She used to be a fairly
frequent visitor at our house. I must ask Mrs. Matthews to write her to
dine with us soon. Kindly remind me of that, Miss Warner; say this
afternoon before you leave. I will make a note of it.”

Lucy reminded him of the matter that afternoon with a glad heart. She
confided it to her Lookout chums and they rejoiced with her. She would
have liked to tell Miss Remson the good news but courtesy forbade the
doing. The Lookouts agreed among themselves that it showed very plainly
who was responsible for the misunderstanding.

At the beginning of the fourth week Miss Sayres returned. Lucy could
only hope that Doctor Matthews had not forgotten to remind his wife of
the dinner invitation. She was sure, had Miss Remson received it, that
she would have mentioned it to them. She would have wished the Nine
Travelers to know it. Whether Miss Remson would have accepted it was a
question. She had her own proper pride in the matter. The girls had
agreed that should she mention it, Lucy was then to tell her of the
conversation with Doctor Matthews.

“Queer, but Miss Remson hasn’t said a word about receiving that
invitation,” Ronny said to Lucy one evening shortly before the closing
of college for the Easter holidays. “The doctor must have forgotten all
about it. That shows his conscience is clear. It would appear that he
doesn’t even suspect Miss Remson has a grievance against him.”

“I am sure he forgot it.” Lucy looked rather gloomy over the doctor’s
omission. “It was such a fine opportunity, and now it’s lost. If I
should work for him again I might remind him of it. If I did, I’d do
more than mere reminding. I’d ask him to try to see Miss Remson and tell
him I thought there had been a misunderstanding. I would have said so
this time, but when he spoke of inviting her to their house for dinner,
I supposed the tangle would be straightened post haste.”

“He may happen to recall it months from now,” Ronny consoled. “That’s
the way my father does. Men of affairs hardly ever forget things for
good. Sooner or later a memory of that kind crops up again.”

While Lucy worried because the doctor had forgotten his kindly intention
toward their faithful elderly friend, Leslie Cairns was plunged in the
depths of apprehension because of Lucy’s substitution for Laura Sayres.
Each day she wondered if the sword would fall. She visited Laura and
made her worse by her irritating questions regarding the secretary’s
methods of filing. Was there any danger of old Matthews going through
the files himself? Was Laura sure that she had eliminated every bit of
evidence against them? Was she positive she had destroyed the letter
Miss Remson had written him, supposedly? Nor had Leslie any mercy on the
secretary’s weakened condition. Laura bore her unfeeling selfishness
without much protest. Leslie had given her one hundred dollars in her
first visit. This palliated the senior’s faults.

When at the end of the third week nothing had occurred of a dismaying
nature, Leslie began to believe that her college career was safe. With
Easter just ahead, a very late Easter, too, only two months stretched
between her and Commencement, that dear day of honor and freedom for
her. She had worried but little over Dulcie’s threats. Elizabeth
Walbert’s parting shot, “You’ll be sorry,” crossed her mind
occasionally. She attached not much importance to it at first and less
as winter drew on toward spring.

Dulcie Vale, however, was only biding her time. She never relinquished
for an hour her resolve to bring disgrace upon the Sans. Leslie having
ordered her chums to steer clear of Bess Walbert, the latter also burned
for revenge. She and Dulcie, after one glorious quarrel over what each
had said about the other to Leslie, had made up and joined forces. They
had a common object. Thus they clung together. They made elaborate plans
for retaliation, only to abandon them for the one great plan, the
betrayal of the Sans to Doctor Matthews.

Dulcie had at first decided to go to the president of Hamilton College
within a few days after her unsuccessful talk with Marjorie. Then she
thought of something else which pleased her better. She would wait until
after Easter. If the Sans were expelled from college just before Easter,
they would endeavor to slip away quietly, making it appear that they had
left of their own accord. If she waited until they had returned, the
blow would be far more crushing.

Regarding herself, Dulcie had her own plans. Her family, including her
father, were in Europe. Her mother would not return until the next July.
Her father, luckily for her, was to be in Paris until the following
January. Her mother allowed her to do as she pleased. What Dulcie
intended to do to please herself was to leave Hamilton on the Easter
vacation not to return. She was not too stupid to realize that the Sans,
accused of many faults by her, would turn on her _en masse_ and
implicate her. She could not hold out against them if arraigned in the
presence of Doctor Matthews. She was also too heavily conditioned to
graduate, and she hated college since her ostracization by the Sans. She
was more than ready to leave. She would walk out and let her former
chums bear the consequences. They had not spared her. She would not
spare them.



CHAPTER XXV—WHEN THE SWORD FELL


The longer Dulcie pondered the matter, the more she became convinced she
could do more damage by letter than to go to the doctor in person.
Elizabeth Walbert had several times advised this course. The latter knew
nothing of Dulcie’s resolve to leave college. Dulcie did not purpose she
should until she wrote the sophomore from her New York apartment after
leaving Hamilton. She had planned to take an apartment in an exclusive
hotel on Central Park West. From there she would write her mother that
she was too ill to return to college. She left it to her mother’s tact
to break the news to her father. He was not to know she had failed
miserably in all respects at Hamilton.

Over and over again she wrote the damaging letter to Doctor Matthews.
She wrote at first at length, putting in everything she could think of
against the Sans. She made effort to stick to facts. There were enough
of them to create havoc. Then she rewrote the letter, eliminating and
revising until the finished product of her spite was worded to suit her.
It was necessarily a long letter and could not fail in its object.

When college closed for Easter, Dulcie shook the dust of Hamilton from
her feet and took her letter to New York with her. She did not inform
the registrar that she would not return. She would write that from New
York. The day after college reopened, following the ten days’ vacation,
Dulcie mailed four letters. One to Elizabeth Walbert, one to Miss
Humphrey, one to Leslie Cairns, and _the_ letter.

Those four letters created amazement, displeasure, consternation,
according to the recipient. Miss Humphrey was annoyed as only a
registrar can be annoyed by such a procedure. Elizabeth Walbert was
surprised and miffed because Dulcie had not confided in her. Doctor
Matthews’ indignation soared to still heights. Leslie Cairns opened her
letter at the breakfast table. She read the first page and hurriedly
rose, tipping over her coffee in her haste. Paying no attention to the
stream of coffee which flowed to the floor, she rushed from the dining
room to her own. Locking the door, she sat down with trembling knees to
read the letter. She read it twice, uttered a half sob of agony and
threw herself face downward on her bed. The sword had fallen, the end
had come.

Of the four letters, the one Dulcie had written her was the shortest and
read:

  “Leslie:

  “When you read this you will not feel so secure as you did the night
  you humiliated me so. You thought I would not dare say a word about
  a number of things because I was afraid of being expelled from
  college. You will see now that you made a serious mistake; so
  serious you won’t be at Hamilton long after President Matthews
  receives the letter I have written him. I have told him
  _everything_. The Sans are in for trouble with him. It doesn’t make
  a particle of difference to me what happens to you and your pals,
  for I am not coming back to Hamilton. My letter to Doctor Matthews
  is convincing. You will surely receive a summons. What? Oh, yes! I
  think I have proved myself almost as clever as you.

                                                 “Dulciana Maud Vale.”

Not far behind Leslie came Natalie Weyman to her friend’s room. Startled
by Leslie’s peculiar behavior she had followed her upstairs, her own
breakfast untouched.

“Leslie,” she called softly, “May I come in? It’s Nat.”

“Go away.” Leslie’s voice was harsh and broken. “Come back after
recitations this afternoon.”

“Very well.” Natalie retreated, puzzled but not angry. She was
understanding that something very unusual had happened to Leslie. Her
mind took it up, however, as presumably bad news from home. She hoped
nothing serious had happened to Leslie’s father. Her shallow serenity
soon returned and she went about her affairs smugly unconscious of what
was in store for her.

Meanwhile, President Matthews was holding a long and unpleasant session
with Laura Sayres. Dulcie had not failed to describe Laura’s part in the
plot against Miss Remson. Now the incensed doctor was endeavoring to pin
his shifty secretary down to lamentable facts.

Laura had always assured Leslie she would never divulge the Sans’
secrets under pressure. For a short period only she lied, evaded and
pretended ignorance. Little by little the ground was cut from under her
treacherous feet. Before the morning was over President Matthews had the
complete story of the trickery which had brought misunderstanding
between him and Miss Remson. Of the hazing Laura knew little; enough,
however, to establish the truth of Dulcie’s confession.

“I have yet to find a more flagrant case of dishonorable dealing,” were
the doctor’s cutting words at the close of that painful morning. “I
trusted you. Knowing that, you should have been above trading upon my
confidence. I cannot comprehend your object in allying yourself with
these lawless young women. You say you are not a member of their club.
Why, then, were their dishonest interests so dear to you?”

To this Laura made no reply save by sobs. She had crumpled entirely. One
thing only she had rigorously kept back. She would not admit that she
had been paid by Leslie Cairns for her ignoble services. If the doctor
suspected this he made no sign of it. He dismissed her with stern
brevity and was glad to see her go. Aside from her worthless character,
she had not been a satisfactory secretary.

Immediately she was gone, he put on his hat and overcoat and set out for
Wayland Hall. To right matters with his old friend was to be his second
move.

Arriving at the Hall at the hour the students were returning for
luncheon, his appearance caused no end of private flutter. Having, as
yet, held no communication with Leslie, the older members of the Sans
were thrown into panic, nevertheless. What they had least desired had
come to pass. The Lookouts, on the contrary, were overjoyed. Helen Trent
had spied the president and promptly passed the word of it to her chums.

To Miss Remson the surprise of her caller amounted to a shock. It did
not take long for the manager to produce the letter she had received,
purporting to be from Doctor Matthews.

“I never dictated any such letter,” was his blunt denial. “Yes, the
signature is mine. I can only explain it by saying that it may have been
traced and copied from another letter, or else it has been handed me to
sign when I was in a hurry. Miss Sayres had an annoying habit of
bringing me my letters for signature at the very last minute before I
was due to leave my office. I dropped the matter of the way these girls
at your house had behaved because I received a letter from you which
stated that you had come to a better understanding with them and would
like to have the matter closed. I deferred to your judgment, as always.
I know no one better qualified as manager of a campus house than you.”

“I never wrote you any such letter,” avowed the manager. “Several of my
devoted friends in the house among the students were confident that
there had been trickery used. I was obliged to acquaint them with the
fact that you had refused to act in the matter of transferring these
girls to another campus house. My friends had suffered many annoyances
at their hands. I had promised them of my own accord that these girls
should be transferred. It has all been a sad misunderstanding. I am glad
to have it cleared up.” Miss Remson avoided all mention of her own
personal humiliation.

Returned to his office at Hamilton Hall after a late luncheon, Doctor
Matthews requested Miss Humphrey to lend him her stenographer for the
rest of the afternoon. His business correspondence attended to, he
brought forth Dulcie Vale’s letter from an inside coat pocket and
composed a stiff, brief summons. This summons the stenographer had the
pleasure of typing seventeen times. A list of names which Dulcie had
thoughtfully included in her letter furnished seventeen addresses. The
Sans were curtly informed that Doctor Matthews required their presence
in his office at Hamilton Hall at four o’clock on Wednesday afternoon.

Almost incidental with the time at which these notes were being typed, a
bevy of white-faced girls had gathered in Leslie Cairns’ room to discuss
the dire situation. Leslie had recovered from her first spasm of grief
and fear and had let Natalie into her room immediately the latter had
come from recitations. Natalie brought more bad news in the shape of an
apprehensive report of the doctor’s call on Miss Remson.

During the afternoon Leslie had received a telephone call from Laura
Sayres. Laura had refused to go into much detail over the telephone. She
announced herself as having been discharged from the doctor’s employ and
asserted that he knew “all about everything” without her having said a
word of betrayal. Leslie had not stopped to consider whether she
believed the secretary’s story or not. She had said: “You can’t tell me
anything. I know too much already. Goodbye.” With that she had hung up
the receiver. Her eyes blinded by tears of defeat and real fear, she had
stumbled her way to her room. There she had spent the most unhappy
afternoon of her life.

“It’s no use, girls. We are done. You may as well be thinking what
excuse you can make to your families, for you will be expelled as sure
as fate. Matthews’ call on Remson shows that Dulcie betrayed us. Sayres
was fired by the doctor; all on account of that Remson mix-up. She
didn’t see Dulcie’s letter, but I know he received it. Sayres called me
on the ’phone.”

“But, Leslie, some of us don’t know a thing about how you worked that
Remson affair! You never told us. I don’t see why we should be expelled
for something we know nothing of.” Eleanor made this half tearful
defense.

“Oh, that isn’t _all_.” Leslie’s loose-lipped mouth curled in a bitter
smile. “There is the hazing business, too. Dulc told that, of course.
Perhaps she told the ‘soft talk’ stunt Ramsey taught the soph team last
year. I don’t know. All is over for us. I do know that. I expected to go
into business with my father after I was graduated from Hamilton. Now!”
She walked away from her companions and stood with her back toward them
at the window.

“Perhaps it will blow over,” ventured Margaret Wayne. “I shall make a
hard fight to stay on at Hamilton. I won’t be cheated out of my diploma,
if I can help it. It’s our word against Dulcie’s.”

“That’s of no use to us now.” Leslie turned suddenly from the window
with this gloomy utterance. “Remember Laura Sayres has been discharged
from Matthews’ employ. Remson and Matthews have had an understanding.
What chance have we? Sayres told me the doctor quizzed her for over two
hours. She claims she told nothing against us. I know better. If Dulcie,
the little wretch, had sprung this before Easter we might have saved our
faces. She waited purposely. She and Walbert deliberately planned this
exposé. Look for a summons soon. We won’t escape. I shall begin to pack
tonight. So far as this rattletrap old college is concerned, I don’t
care a rap about leaving it. All that is worrying me is: What shall I
say to my father?”



CHAPTER XXVI—MAY DAY EVENING


For two days, in a second floor class room at Hamilton Hall, a real
tribunal, consisting of Doctor Matthews and the college Board, convened.
Very patiently the body of dignified men listened to what the offenders
against Hamilton College had to say by way of confession and appeal for
clemency. To her great disgust, Marjorie was summoned before the Board
on the morning of the second day. Questioned, she admitted to having
been hazed. More than that she refused to state.

“I claim the right to keep my own counsel,” she had returned, when
pressed to relate the details of the incident. “I was not injured. I did
not even contract a slight cold. I did not see the faces of those who
hazed me. I know only two of the Sans Soucians personally, and these two
slightly. My evidence would, therefore, be too purely circumstantial. I
do not wish to give it. I beg to be excused.”

Not satisfied, two members of the Board had requested that she state the
time and manner of her return to her house. Her quick assurance, “My
friends found out where I was and came for me. We were all in the
gymnasium at half-past nine, in time for the unmasking,” was accepted,
not without smiles, by her inquisitors. She was allowed to go. She took
with her a memory of two rows of white, despairing girl faces. It hurt
her not a little. She could not rejoice in the Sans’ downfall, though
she knew it to be merited.

At the end of the inquiry the verdict was unanimous for expellment, to
go into effect at once. The culprits were given one week to pack and
arrange with their families for their return home.

Leslie Cairns had received the major share of blame. Throughout the
inquiry she had worn an exasperating air of indifference, which she had
doggedly fought to maintain. Not a muscle of her rugged face had moved
during the reading of the long letter written by Dulcie Vale to the
president. She had laconically admitted the truth of it, coolly
correcting one or two erroneous statements Dulcie had made. Afterward,
in her room, she had broken down and sobbed bitterly. This no one but
herself knew.

The disgraced seventeen left Hamilton for New York on the seventh
morning after sentence had been pronounced upon them. They departed
early in the morning before the majority of the Wayland Hall girls were
up and stirring. Marjorie was glad not to witness their departure. She
had not approved of them. Still they were young girls like herself. She
experienced a certain pity for their weakness of character. Jerry,
however, was openly delighted to be rid of her pet abomination.

With the approach of May Day the Nine Travelers had something pleasant
to look forward to. Miss Susanna had sent them invitations to dinner on
May Day evening. Very gleefully they planned to deluge the mistress of
Hamilton Arms with May baskets. These they intended to leave in one of
the two automobiles which they would use. After dinner, Ronny had
volunteered to slip away from the party, secure the baskets and place
them before the front door. She would lift the knocker, then scurry
inside, leaving Jonas, who was to be in the secret, to call Miss Susanna
to the door.

When, as Miss Hamilton’s guests on May Day evening, they were ushered
into the beautiful, mahogany-panelled dining room at Hamilton Arms, a
surprise awaited them. The long room, an apartment of state in Brooke
Hamilton’s day, was a veritable bower of violets. Bouquets of them,
surrounded by their own decorative green leaves were in evidence
everywhere in the room. They were the double English variety, and their
fragrance was as a sweet breath of spring. A scented purple mound of
them occupied the center of the dining table. It was topped by a
familiar object; a willow, ribbon-trimmed basket. As on the previous May
Day evening it was full of violets. Narrow violet satin ribbon depended
from the center of the basket to each place, at which set a small
replica of the basket Marjorie had left before Miss Susanna’s door, just
one year ago that evening.

“I knew Miss Susanna would guess who went Maying a year ago this
evening!” Jerry exclaimed. “After you had known Marvelous Marjorie a
little while the guessing came easy, didn’t it?” She turned impulsively
to Miss Hamilton.

“Yes; you are quite correct, Jerry,” the old lady made quick answer.
“One year ago tonight was a very happy occasion for me. Violets were
Uncle Brooke’s favorite flower. I cannot tell you how strangely I felt
at sight of that basket. Jonas came into the library and asked me to go
to the front door. He said in his solemn way: ‘There’s something at the
door I would like you to see, Miss Susanna.’ He looked so mysterious, I
rose at once from my chair and went to the door. I must explain, too,
that the first of May was Uncle Brooke’s birthday. When I looked out and
saw that basket of violets, it was like a silent message from him. Jonas
had no more idea than I from whom the lovely May offering had come. He
had heard the clang of the knocker, but when he opened the door there
was not a soul in sight. The good fairy had vanished, leaving me a
fragrant May Day remembrance.”

Marjorie had laughed at first sight of the familiar basket. She was
still smiling, rather tremulously, however. The beauty of the
decorations, the fragrance of the violets and the amazing knowledge that
she had brought Brooke Hamilton’s favorite flower to the doorstep on the
anniversary of his birth, made strong appeal to the fund of sentiment
which lay deep within her, rarely coming to the surface.

“How came you to remember a crotchety person like me, child?” Miss
Susanna’s bright brown eyes were soft with tenderness. She reached
forward and took both Marjorie’s hands in hers.

Thus they stood for an instant, youth and age, beside the violet-crowned
table. The other girls, lovely in their pale-hued evening frocks,
surrounded the pair with smiling faces.

“I—I don’t know,” stammered Marjorie. “I—I thought perhaps you would
like it. I couldn’t resist putting it on your doorstep. We were all
making May baskets to hang on one another’s doors. I thought of you. I
knew you loved flowers, because I had seen you working among them.
That’s all.”

“No, that was only the beginning.” Miss Susanna released Marjorie’s
hands. “It gave me much to think of for many months; in fact until a
little girl put aside her own plans to help a poor old lady pick up a
basket of spilled chrysanthemums.”

Appearing a trifle embarrassed at her own rush of sentiment, Miss
Hamilton turned to the others and proceeded briskly to seat her guests
at table. While she occupied the place at the head, she gave Marjorie
that at the foot. Lifting the little basket at her place to inhale the
perfume of the flowers, something dropped therefrom. It struck against
the thin water glass at her place with a little clang. Next instant she
was exclaiming over a dainty lace pin of purple enameled violets with
tiny diamond centers.

“I would advise all of you to do a little exploring.” Miss Susanna’s
voice held a note of suppressed excitement.

Obeying with the zest of girlhood, the others found pretty lace pins of
gold and silver, chosen with a view toward suiting the personality of
each.

As Marjorie fastened her new possession on the bodice of the
violet-tinted crêpe gown, which had been Mah Waeo’s gift to her father
for her, she had a feeling of living in a fairy tale. Hamilton Arms had
always seemed as an enchanted castle to her. She had never expected to
penetrate its fastnesses and become an honored guest within its walls.

“Miss Susanna, when did you first guess that it was I who left you a May
basket?” she asked, rather curiously. “Lucy and Jerry said you would
find me out. I didn’t think so.”

“It was after Christmas, Marjorie,” the old lady replied. “Perhaps it
was the bunch of violets on the wreath you girls sent for Uncle Brooke’s
study that established the connection. I really can’t say. It dawned
upon me all of a sudden one evening. I spoke of it to Jonas. The old
rascal simply said: ‘Oh, yes. I have thought so for a long time.’ Not a
word to me of it had he peeped. It furnished me with pleasant thoughts
for so long, I decided that one good turn deserves another. I succeeded
in surprising you children tonight, but no one could have been more
astonished than I when I gathered in that blessed violet basket last May
Day night.”



CHAPTER XXVII—CONCLUSION


“And tomorrow is another day; the great day!” Leila Harper sat with
clasped hands behind her head, fondly viewing her chums.

The Nine Travelers had gathered in her room for a last intimate talk.
Tomorrow would be Commencement. Directly after the exercises were over
the nine had agreed to meet for a last celebration at Baretti’s. Evening
of that day would see them all going their appointed ways.

“I can’t make it seem true that you girls won’t be back here next year,”
Marjorie said dolefully, setting down her lemonade glass with a
despondent thump, a half-eaten macaroon poised in mid-air.

“Eat your sweet cake child and don’t weep,” consoled Leila. While she
was trying hard to look sad, there was a peculiar gleam in her blue
eyes. As yet Marjorie had failed to catch it.

“Nothing will seem the same,” grumbled Jerry. “With you four good scouts
lifted out of college garden there will be an awful vacancy.” Jerry
fixed almost mournful eyes on Helen. “Why couldn’t you girls have
entered a year later or else we a year earlier?” she asked
retrospectively.

“Cheer up, Jeremiah. The worst is yet to come.” Vera patted Jerry on the
back. Standing behind Jerry’s chair she cast an odd glance at Leila.
Leila passed it on to Helen, who in turn telegraphed some mute message
to Katherine Langly.

“I can’t see it,” Jerry said, her round face unusually sober. “It is
hard enough now to have to lose four good pals at one swoop. I sha’n’t
feel any worse at the last minute tomorrow than I do tonight. I have an
actual case of the blues this evening which even lemonade and cakes
won’t dispel.”

“Let us not talk about it,” advised Veronica. “Every time the subject
comes up we all grow solemn.”

“I’m worse off than the rest of you,” complained Muriel. “I am torn
between two partings. I can’t bear to think of losing good old
Moretense.”

“While we are on the subject of partings,” began Leila, ostentatiously
clearing her throat, “I regret that I shall have to say something which
can but add to your sorrow. I—that is——” She looked at Vera and burst
into laughter which carried a distinctly happy note.

“What ails you, Leila Greatheart?” Marjorie focused her attention on the
Irish girl’s mirthful face. “I am just beginning to see that something
unusual is on foot. The idea of parading mysteries before us at the very
last minute of your journey through the country of college!”

“’Tis a beautiful country, that.” Leila spoke purposely, with a faint
brogue. “And did you say it was my last minute there? Suppose it was
not? What? As our departed bogie, Miss Cairns, used to say.”

“Do you know what you are talking about?” inquired Jerry. “I hope you
do. I haven’t caught the drift of your remarks—yet.”

“Do you tell her then, Midget.” Leila fell suddenly silent, her Cheshire
cat grin ornamenting her features.

“Oh, let Helen tell it. She knows.” Vera beamed on Helen, who passed the
task, whatever it might be, on to Katherine. She declined, throwing it
back to Leila.

“What is this bad news that none of you will take upon yourselves to
tell us?” Lucy’s green eyes sought Katherine’s in mock reproach.

“I have it.” Leila held up a hand. “Now; altogether! We are going to——”
she nodded encouragement to Kathie, Vera and Helen.

“We are going to stay!” shouted four voices in concert.

“Stay where? What do——” Jerry stopped abruptly. Her face relaxed of a
sudden into one of her wide smiles. She rose and began hugging Helen,
shouting: “You don’t mean it? Honestly?”

The rest of the Lookouts were going through similar demonstrations of
joy. For a moment or two everyone talked and laughed at once. Gradually
the first noisy reception of the news subsided and Leila could be heard:

“It’s like this, children,” she said. “Vera wants to specialize in
Greek. I am still keen on physics and psychology. Helen wants to make a
new and more comprehensive study of literature, and Kathie is going to
teach English. Miss Fernald is leaving and Kathie is to have her place.
We’ve had all we could do to keep it from you. Vera and I might better
be here next year than at home. We’d have not much to do there. We are
anxious to help make the dream of the dormitory come true.”

“It is too beautiful for anything!” was Marjorie’s childish but
heartfelt rejoicing. “With you four to help us next year we shall
accomplish wonders. Oh, I shall love being a senior!”

What Marjorie’s senior year at Hamilton brought her will be told in
“Marjorie Dean, College Senior.”

                                THE END



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For sale by all booksellers, or sent postpaid on receipt of price by the
Publishers

A. L. BURT COMPANY

114-120 EAST 23rd STREET, NEW YORK



The Ranger Boys Series

BY CLAUDE H. LA BELLE

A new series of copyright titles telling of the adventures of three boys
with the Forest Rangers in the state of Maine.

Handsome Cloth Binding.

PRICE, 65 CENTS EACH.

  THE RANGER BOYS TO THE RESCUE
  THE RANGER BOYS FIND THE HERMIT
  THE RANGER BOYS AND THE BORDER SMUGGLERS
  THE RANGER BOYS OUTWIT THE TIMBER THIEVES
  THE RANGER BOYS AND THEIR REWARD


For sale by all booksellers, or sent postpaid on receipt of price by the
Publishers.

A. L. BURT COMPANY

114-120 East 23rd Street, New York



The Boy Troopers Series

BY CLAIR W. HAYES

Author of the Famous “Boy Allies” Series.

The adventures of two boys with the Pennsylvania State Police.

All Copyrighted Titles.

Cloth Bound, with Attractive Cover Designs.

PRICE, 65 CENTS EACH.

  THE BOY TROOPERS ON THE TRAIL
  THE BOY TROOPERS IN THE NORTHWEST
  THE BOY TROOPERS ON STRIKE DUTY
  THE BOY TROOPERS AMONG THE WILD MOUNTAINEERS

For sale by all booksellers, or sent postpaid on receipt of price by the
Publishers.

A. L. BURT COMPANY

114-120 East 23rd Street, New York



The Radio Boys Series

BY GERALD BRECKENRIDGE

A new series of copyright titles for boys of all ages.

Cloth Bound, with Attractive Cover Designs

PRICE, 65 CENTS EACH

  THE RADIO BOYS ON THE MEXICAN BORDER
  THE RADIO BOYS ON SECRET SERVICE DUTY
  THE RADIO BOYS WITH THE REVENUE GUARDS
  THE RADIO BOYS’ SEARCH FOR THE INCA’S TREASURE
  THE RADIO BOYS RESCUE THE LOST ALASKA EXPEDITION
  THE RADIO BOYS IN DARKEST AFRICA
  THE RADIO BOYS SEEK THE LOST ATLANTIS

For sale by all booksellers, or sent postpaid on receipt of price by the
Publishers

A. L. BURT COMPANY

114-120 EAST 23rd STREET, NEW YORK



The Boy Allies with the Navy

(Registered in the United States Patent Office)

BY ENSIGN ROBERT L. DRAKE

For Boys 12 to 16 Years.

All Cloth Bound Copyright Titles

PRICE, 65 CENTS EACH

Frank Chadwick and Jack Templeton, young American lads, meet each other
in an unusual way soon after the declaration of war. Circumstances place
them on board the British cruiser, “The Sylph,” and from there on, they
share adventures with the sailors of the Allies. Ensign Robert L. Drake,
the author, is an experienced naval officer, and he describes admirably
the many exciting adventures of the two boys.


  THE BOY ALLIES ON THE NORTH SEA PATROL; or, Striking
  the First Blow at the German Fleet.

  THE BOY ALLIES UNDER TWO FLAGS; or, Sweeping the
  Enemy from the Sea.

  THE BOY ALLIES WITH THE FLYING SQUADRON; or, The
  Naval Raiders of the Great War.

  THE BOY ALLIES WITH THE TERROR OF THE SEA; or,
  The Last Shot of Submarine D-16.

  THE BOY ALLIES UNDER THE SEA; or, The Vanishing
  Submarine.

  THE BOY ALLIES IN THE BALTIC; or, Through Fields of
  Ice to Aid the Czar.

  THE BOY ALLIES AT JUTALND; or, The Greatest Naval Battle
  of History.

  THE BOY ALLIES WITH UNCLE SAM’S CRUISERS; or, Convoying
  the American Army Across the Atlantic.

  THE BOY ALLIES WITH THE SUBMARINE D-32; or, The
  Fall of the Russian Empire.

  THE BOY ALLIES WITH THE VICTORIOUS FLEETS; or,
  The Fall of the German Navy.

For sale by all booksellers, or sent postpaid on receipt of price by the
Publishers

A. L. BURT COMPANY

114-120 EAST 23rd STREET, NEW YORK



The Boy Allies with the Army

(Registered in the United States Patent Office)

BY CLAIR W. HAYES

For Boys 12 to 16 Years.

All Cloth Bound Copyright Titles

PRICE, 65 CENTS EACH

In this series we follow the fortunes of two American lads unable to
leave Europe after war is declared. They meet the soldiers of the
Allies, and decide to cast their lot with them. Their experiences and
escapes are many, and furnish plenty of good, healthy action that every
boy loves.

  THE BOY ALLIES AT LIEGE; or, Through Lines of Steel.

  THE BOY ALLIES ON THE FIRING LINE; or, Twelve Days
  Battle Along the Marne.

  THE BOY ALLIES WITH THE COSSACKS; or, A Wild Dash
  Over the Carpathians.

  THE BOY ALLIES IN THE TRENCHES; or, Midst Shot and
  Shell Along the Aisne.

  THE BOY ALLIES IN GREAT PERIL; or, With the Italian
  Army in the Alps.

  THE BOY ALLIES IN THE BALKAN CAMPAIGN; or, The
  Struggle to Save a Nation.

  THE BOY ALLIES ON THE SOMME; or, Courage and Bravery
  Rewarded.

  THE BOY ALLIES AT VERDUN; or, Saving France from the
  Enemy.

  THE BOY ALLIES UNDER THE STARS AND STRIPES; or,
  Leading the American Troops to the Firing Line.

  THE BOY ALLIES WITH HAIG IN FLANDERS; or, The Fighting
  Canadians of Vimy Ridge.

  THE BOY ALLIES WITH PERSHING IN FRANCE; or, Over
  the Top at Chateau Thierry.

  THE BOY ALLIES WITH THE GREAT ADVANCE; or, Driving
  the Enemy Through France and Belgium.

  THE BOY ALLIES WITH MARSHAL FOCH; or, The Closing
  Days of the Great World War.

For sale by all booksellers, or sent postpaid on receipt of price by the
Publishers

A. L. BURT COMPANY

114-120 EAST 23rd STREET, NEW YORK





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