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

Download this book: [ ASCII | HTML | PDF ]

Look for this book on Amazon


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

Title: Marjorie Dean at Hamilton Arms
Author: Chase, Josephine
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 at Hamilton Arms" ***

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



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



[Illustration:

  Phil, as the fiddler, presently came forward to play for the dance.
  (_Page 114_)            (_Marjorie Dean at Hamilton Arms_)
]

------------------------------------------------------------------------

                             MARJORIE DEAN
                            AT HAMILTON ARMS

                           BY PAULINE LESTER

                               AUTHOR OF

              “The Marjorie Dean High School Series,” “The
              Marjorie Dean College Series,” “The Marjorie
                    Dean Post-Graduate Series,” etc.

                             [Illustration]

                           A. L. BURT COMPANY
                        Publishers      New York
                          Printed in U. S. A.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                           THE MARJORIE DEAN
                          POST-GRADUATE SERIES


                A SERIES FOR GIRLS 12 TO 18 YEARS OF AGE

                           BY PAULINE LESTER

                    MARJORIE DEAN, POST-GRADUATE
                    MARJORIE DEAN, MARVELOUS MANAGER
                    MARJORIE DEAN AT HAMILTON ARMS
                    MARJORIE DEAN’S ROMANCE

                            Copyright, 1925
                         By A. L. BURT COMPANY

                     MARJORIE DEAN AT HAMILTON ARMS

                           Made in “U. S. A.”



------------------------------------------------------------------------



                            MARJORIE DEAN AT
                             HAMILTON ARMS



                               CHAPTER I.

                          WAITING FOR MARJORIE


“They’ll be here before long.” Jerry Macy’s eyes calculatingly consulted
the wall clock.

“And, oh, what a surprise!” Veronica Lynne spoke from the deeps of her
own mischievous enjoyment.

“It’s going to be an occasion of surprises,” predicted Lucy Warner with
the solemnity of a young owl. “Now why are you laughing, Muriel?” This
very severely as she caught sight of Muriel Harding’s mirthful face and
heard sound of her soft chuckle.

“Why am I laughing? You know better, Luciferous Warniferous, than ask me
such a—well—such a leading question.” Muriel failed to make her laughing
features match her reproving tones.

“You’re both up to mischief. Think I don’t know the signs?” Jerry
accused with a long-suffering air. “Luciferous looks too solemn to be
true and _your_ special variety of giggle is a dead give-away.”

“What special variety?” demanded Muriel with blank innocence.

“I wouldn’t attempt to classify it,” was Jerry’s withering retort. “I
can only say, ‘it is.’”

“Of course it is.” Muriel light-heartedly furnished a rippling little
sample. “Hark!” she held up an arresting hand. “Someone’s coming.”

Three energetic raps on the door followed her announcement. Then the
door opened sufficiently to admit the laughing face of Leila Harper.

“Enter the Empress of Wayland Hall,” Leila heralded. She flung the door
wide and bowed in Miss Remson. She and Vera Mason followed the little
manager. Dressed in her best black satin gown, Miss Remson appeared
signally amused at the honors done her. Leila was wearing an exquisite
frock of orchid broadcloth. Vera, doll-like and dainty, looked like a
cunning Dresden figure in a frock of gentian blue taffeta, the faint
blue field scattered thickly with tiny pink rosebuds. Their light-hued
dresses pointed to a celebration, as did those of the other girls
gathered in ever-hospitable Room 15.

“The Empress of Wayland Hall.” Jerry bowed to the floor, pretended to
lose her balance, but miraculously recovered it without accident. “Allow
me to conduct you to the throne.” She offered her arm at a stiff angle.
“Bow down, all the rest of you. Where are your court manners?” She
briskly arraigned the smiling empress’s openly giggling subjects.

“Kindly give us a sample of court etiquette,” Ronny begged with mock
humility.

“I thought I had.” Jerry exhibited deep surprise. “Am I crazy, or are
you blind?”

“Ahem! My eye-sight is exceptionally keen,” Ronny said sweetly.

“I’ll have it out with you later,” promised Jerry. “Now don’t interrupt
me again in the midst of my royal duties. Will your majesty please be
seated?” She turned gallantly to the empress. “I would call your
attention to the throne. Observe it closely. Would you even suspect it
of having been ever anything but a throne?”

“_Never_,” Miss Remson made gratifying assurance. She feigned the most
flattering admiration for the throne. It was composed of Jerry’s couch
as a foundation, with all the bedding from Marjorie’s couch stacked upon
it. Ronny had contributed a wonderful cloth of gold couch cover which
her father had lately sent her from Lower California. Each one of the
festive group had contributed her pet sofa pillows. Three fat velvet
ones had been laid on the floor in front of the dais. The throne had
blossomed into additional gorgeousness by the profusion of rich-hued
pillows which graced it.

“It is a gorgeous and most imposing structure,” pronounced Miss Remson,
her eyes dancing as she surveyed the metamorphized couch. She prodded
its up-piled softness with an investigating hand, then raised herself
with a nimble little spring to the place on the right to which Jerry had
obsequiously bowed her.

“Thank you for them kind words. Praise is sweet, particularly when there
are those about who are shy of proper appreciation. I won’t mention any
names, your Majesty. I’m not speaking of myself, or you, either. I have
too much delicacy to make disrespectful remarks about _us_.” Jerry
peered knowingly at her majesty who nodded significant return.

“I trust your Majesty will not see fit to show partiality,” Ronny said
very severely. “All here are entitled to your royal favor.”

“I see already the difficulties which attend royalty.” Miss Remson made
a dismayed gesture.

“Don’t let it agitate you,” said Jerry. “Such—” She broke off to answer
the door. Robin Page flitted across the threshold with a frisky little
bounce. “Almost late! Not quite, thank fortune.” She glanced about the
room with visible relief. “They haven’t come yet. I was so afraid I’d
miss the fun. Two Craig Hall seniors called on me. They asked me to sing
at a musicale they intend to give after the holidays. Miss French, one
of them, has discovered a prodigy at Craig Hall. She’s a freshie named
Miss Oliver. She can play divinely on the piano. But she is shy, and
hangs backward when she should come forward. No one at Craig Hall
suspected her of being a musical genius until one night last week.”

“Oh, I know her,” cried Muriel. “She’s a little girl with black straight
hair and gray-blue eyes. I danced with her at the freshman frolic. She
seemed to be rather timid, so I thought I’d encourage her by putting
down my name on her card for three dances. I danced one with her then
she suddenly disappeared and didn’t re-appear. I inquired for her. Some
of the freshies said she was shy. Some said she was snippy. I didn’t
think her the least bit snippy. I wrote a note to her on the strength of
her being shy. She answered it in about two lines. That was rather
snippy, I thought. Now I am all at sea about her. Is she shy, or is she
snippy? That is the question.” Muriel ended with a laugh.

“She’s bashful,” Robin declared. “Wait until I salute the Empress of
Wayland Hall, and I’ll tell you more of her.” Robin knelt on a plump
blue velvet cushion at Miss Remson’s feet. The manager had thriftily set
a small foot on each side of the cushion rather than use it as a foot
rest. “Please pardon your admiring subject for being so neglectful.” She
kissed the manager’s hand in approved gallant style. “Let me venture to
remark, noble lady: Your throne is a daisy. Why oh, why, am I not of
royalty?”

“Everyone can’t be. We’d not have thrones enough to accommodate the
royal gang, if you all qualified,” Jerry pertinently reminded.

“Restrain your ambitions,” advised Lillian Wenderblatt cruelly.

“I’ll make a stagger at it,” sighed Robin. “Now let me finish telling
you about my musical freshie before the rest of the royal party arrive.
Where was I?”

“Your last remark on the subject was that no one had suspected Miss
Oliver of being a musical genius until one night last week,” repeated
Katherine Langly in her quiet, accurate fashion. “See what splendid
attention _I_ was paying to you.”

“I’m charmed by it,” Robin gushed. “There are times, Kathie, when you
are almost respectful to me. One might think, that, having gained such
gratifying respect from a member of the faculty, I should be more than
entitled to marks of respect from lesser college lights. Not so.” Robin
looked vaguely about, not daring to allow her eyes to stop at any single
member of the grinning group of girls.

“Another unhappy subject with a chip on her shoulder.” Jerry waved a
hand toward Robin, thumb out.

“It behoves the lesser lights of college to be very careful upon whom
they shine.” Lillian’s chin was raised to a painfully dignified angle.

“I wonder just _who_ the lesser lights of college are?” Muriel said in a
sweet child-like voice.

“As Empress it appears my duty to quell such disturbances as may lead to
internal war in the kingdom,” put in the helpful Empress.

“Please, your Majesty, I want to keep on talking,” instantly petitioned
Robin. “Kindly order this gang—pardon me, I mean your unruly subjects—to
listen to me. Make them understand that if they don’t listen _now_, I
sha’n’t tell them a single thing later.”

“We got that, your Majesty. Will you allow me to implore your miffed
courtier to go right ahead. So pleased.” Jerry favored Robin with her
far-fetched conception of a gracious smile.

“I can’t resist such a dazzling display of teeth and affability. May I
ask what toothpaste you use?” Robin’s own pearl-white teeth showed
themselves in an equally affable smile.

“Same as you do. Now proceed with your tale. The great moment is rapidly
approaching.” Jerry indicated the clock. “Let us hear about this new
musical wonder before the reception begins all over again.”

“One night last week,” Robin took up her narrative precisely where she
had left off, “Miss French heard someone playing the living room piano.
The Craig Hall girls had gone over to Hamilton Hall in a body to that
illustrated lecture: ‘America South of Us.’ Miss French had stayed in
her room. She had a severe headache.

“When she suddenly heard some one playing Chopin’s Second Nocturne on
the piano in the most divine manner she slipped out of her room and
downstairs to see who it might be. It surprised her even more to find
there was no light in the living room. She was determined to find out
who was in there in the dark, playing so entrancingly, so she sat down
on the hall bench to wait for the unknown pianist to finish playing and
come out.”

“And that odd little black-eyed freshie is a musician!” Muriel
exclaimed. “I knew she had it in her to be something unusual. She is a
dandy dancer. I suppose that is because of her well-developed sense of
rhythm.”

“Yes, your black-eyed freshie is a musician. She’s more than that. She
will be the greatest woman pianist in this country, I believe, before
she is many years older,” Robin asserted with conviction. “She played
that marvelous concert waltz by Wieniawski while Miss French was
listening to her. Then she gave a little thing by Schumann, and
then”—Robin paused—“she came out of the living room into the hall and
Miss French _simply grabbed her_ and shook hands with her and told her
she was a genius.”

“What did she say?” came as a general breathless query.

“Oh, she was awfully confused. Miss French asked her to come to her and
Miss Neff’s room and spend the evening. She went. Miss French made
cocoa, and nobly drank some with Miss Oliver. She said she supposed it
would give her the headache all over again. Her headache had stopped
magically when she heard Miss Oliver playing. She surprised it out of
her system, maybe,” Robin said, laughing. “Anyhow she didn’t have a new
headache, which was a reward of virtue for being nice to Miss Oliver.”

“Has anyone at Craig Hall been mean to her?” Muriel inquired rather
threateningly.

“No; only the house has so many more sophs and juniors than freshies,”
Robin explained. “The juniors there are rather a smug self-satisfied
lot, it seems, and Miss Oliver says she knows the Craig Hall sophs think
her awfully stupid. She’s not used to being among a lot of girls. She
hardly knows how to talk about the things that interest them. She was
educated at home by her father and two older brothers. Her father is a
noted ornithologist. One of her brothers is a geologist and the other is
curator of a New York museum. Her father has given her the very best
musical advantages, but he insists that she shall put college before
even her music.”

“The Olivers must be a decidedly interesting family,” was Kathie’s
opinion.

“Miss Oliver’s mother died when Miss Oliver was a child. Her name is
Candace Oliver. Isn’t that a nice name?” Robin asked animatedly.

There was a murmur of agreement.

“Have you heard her play, Robin?” asked Miss Remson from her throne. The
manager of Wayland Hall was not a bit less interested in the “find” than
were the others.

“Twice, Miss Remson. I can’t find words to describe her playing. You
must hear her. She is so obliging about playing. She loves to please.
She was too timid to touch the piano with a crowd of girls in the house.
She stayed at home purposely the other night for the opportunity to play
a little. I told her about my piano in my room, and advised her to have
one put in hers. She has a single, second story back. She said, ‘no,’
her father would not like her to do so. That shows what an honorable
little person she is,” Robin concluded with approval.

“To change the subject for only a minute, today is not the first time I
have heard ‘smug’ and ‘self-satisfied’ applied to the junior class. Such
conditions don’t help democracy along. I speak of it now because Robin
has mentioned it, too. A crowd of “comfies,” who are either too lazy or
else too well pleased with themselves to care what happens to the other
Hamilton students are as detrimental to democracy as are snobs.” Leila
advanced this opinion with considerable emphasis.

“The juniors were enthusiastic enough about the Beauty contest,”
commented Muriel Harding. “I’m not disputing your opinion, Leila. They
made a lot of fuss over it, I suppose, because it happened to appeal to
them. If you consider the junies smug and self-satisfied, then they must
be. I never knew you to make a mistake, Irish Oracle, in going straight
to the root of a matter.”

“I am not making one this time, Matchless Muriel.” Leila’s blue eyes
flashed Muriel a quick, bright glance. “This year’s junies are so
complacent of their new, high estate. They are pleased as children with
everything that happens so long as it suits their fancy. You may recall
they were much the same in disposition when we did station duty and
welcomed them to Hamilton as freshies.”

“I remember _that_ of them,” declared Lillian Wenderblatt. “We thought
them so amiable and easy-going. Later in the year they grew to have a
kind of class stolidity that was positively exasperating at times.”

“I have watched them this year as junies. They have not changed. They
are not interested in fighting for the right unless it might mean some
gain for the class. They are partial to glory, but not to principle. It
is a new weed patch in our democratic garden which we must root out.”
Leila’s mobile face showed a hint of her mental resolution.

“Oh, what a job,” groaned Jerry. “Do you mean to tell me, Leila—”

“Sh-h-h-h! They’re coming down the hall.” Vera breathed a sibilant
warning. “Ready, everyone with the new yell. Don’t one of you dare make
a flivver of it.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER II.

                            AT HAMILTON HALL


While Marjorie’s chums were buoyantly preparing a surprise tea for her
she was seated beside Miss Susanna Hamilton in President Matthews’
office at Hamilton Hall. An expression of quiet happiness radiated from
her lovely face as she listened to the heart-cheering words she had
never expected to hear from the embittered grand-niece of Brooke
Hamilton: “I have decided to give the world my great uncle’s biography.”

It had all happened so quickly, she was thinking. She was glad Miss
Susanna had allowed her to tell her closest friends the good news.
Though it had been near to ten o’clock she had gathered them into Room
15, and enthusiastically imparted it to them. Jerry had heard it with
Marjorie’s first exclamatory utterance as she entered their room. It yet
remained to tell Kathie and Lillian the next morning.

While she made an early morning call on them, the following morning, her
intimates gleefully arranged a tea for her. Into the midst of the
preparations came a surprise for Jerry, who was heading the tea
celebration. The welcome surprise was hastily bundled out of sight
before Jerry had a suspicion of it. Such lecture periods as claimed the
post graduates were, for once, to be ignored. Even Kathie had arranged
with an obliging member of the faculty to take her last class for the
afternoon.

Marjorie, sitting demurely beside Miss Susanna in the president’s
office, a lovely symphony in warm brown velvet and furs, was wishing her
intimates could be with her on the great occasion. They had overflowed
with high spirits over this latest, greatest gift to Hamilton. Small
wonder they were elated. They had fought loyally for true college
spirit.

Regarding herself as Brooke Hamilton’s biographer, Marjorie’s emotions
were jumbled. One moment she was exalted by Miss Hamilton’s steady
assertion that Marjorie Dean was the one best equipped mentally to
present her distinguished kinsman simply and truly to the world. Next
moment a wave of utter panic would follow, sweeping away her
newly-formed confidence in herself. She grew aghast at the bare idea of
presuming to take upon herself so difficult a task. She had never done
any notable theme work in college. How then could she hope to present
the world with a finished biography to which the great man, Brooke
Hamilton, was entitled?

“I am amazed, Miss Hamilton!” President Matthews’ eyes were riveted upon
Miss Susanna’s face in polite bewilderment. They next strayed to
Marjorie. His thought became self-evident. Marjorie turned very pink.

“Yes, Doctor Matthews; you are right,” the old lady said with a fleeting
smile. “I am here this afternoon because of Marjorie. Because of her,
you and I have come to speaking terms. The years were going fast, and I
was not growing less bitter against the college. Then I met this child.
She has led me back to old Hamilton Hall. I’m here at last, but still
selfish. I came here today to please myself, even more than her.” It was
as though Miss Susanna had uttered a grim kind of confession.

“Miss Susanna is not selfish, Doctor Matthews,” Marjorie gently
contradicted. “She’s unselfish, and altogether splendid. She came here
to do honor to Mr. Brooke Hamilton’s memory, and give happiness to us
all. It has not been easy for her to thrust away the barrier of years.
Yet she has done it. She has been heroically unselfish.” Her voice rang
triumphantly. Her fond smile at Miss Susanna brought unbidden tears to
the old lady’s eyes.

“I am happy in agreeing with you, Miss Dean. Miss Susanna has today
demonstrated her complete unselfishness.” The president bowed to Miss
Susanna.

“I forbid you both to make any more personal remarks about me,” broke in
Miss Susanna’s concise utterance. “I have been selfish and unfair to
Uncle Brooke’s memory. It is time I did something to make up for it.”
She wagged her head ruefully. “May I ask, Doctor Matthews, have you ever
heard the story of my disagreement with the Board?”

“I have heard a story which had to do with your being rudely treated, a
number of years ago, by a member of the Board whose estate adjoined
yours. The churlish behavior of this member of the Board was the cause
of your refusal to place in the hands of Dr. Burns, who had been
selected to write Brooke Hamilton’s biography, the data for the
biography,” the doctor stated in pleasant, impersonal tones.

“True enough so far as it goes,” Miss Susanna acknowledged tersely. “The
member of the Board with whom I quarreled was Alec Carden. A greater
scamp never lived. We quarreled over Uncle Brooke’s will. It seems a
long long time ago.” She gave an impatient little sigh.

“It was before I accepted the presidency of Hamilton College. I have
been informed by the two gentlemen, still serving on the Board, who were
members then, that it was a deplorable period for the college during
which the Board engaged in one wrangle after another. They frankly
criticized Mr. Carden as having behaved more like an unscrupulous
politician than as became a dignified member of a college board. I have
never doubted but that your grievance against the Board was sound.” The
doctor sat back in his chair and surveyed the little upright figure in
gray opposite him with one of his encouraging, kindly smiles.

“Thank you, Doctor. The only way in which I may show proper appreciation
of your confidence in me is to tell you the story from beginning to
end.” Miss Susanna sat very still for a moment after her electrifying
announcement. It was as though she were trying to choose her words for a
beginning.

An anticipatory silence hung over the president’s office. Dr. Matthews
awaited the revelation with profound relief. It would mark the laying of
the unwelcome ghost which had walked the campus all these years.
Marjorie found herself filled with an odd kind of astonishment. She was
at last to hear the story which for years Miss Hamilton had stubbornly
locked behind her lips.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER III.

                     THE REAL GUARDIAN OF HAMILTON


“Alec Carden was a man of middle age when I was a young woman.” Miss
Susanna’s characteristically brusque tones shattered the brief silence.
“He had never liked Uncle Brooke, simply because Uncle Brooke was
upright and he was not. Neither had my uncle liked him. As an older man
of wide experience Uncle Brooke once or twice advised Alec Carden
against certain enterprises in which he had engaged. Each time the
advice was flouted. Carden chose to regard him as an interfering old
meddler.

“Uncle Brooke made his will years before he died. He never changed it.
From the time he built Hamilton College he knew precisely what was
important to its welfare. He knew, too, what would be best for it in
time to come. He went over the will with me, often and carefully. He was
determined that I should thoroughly understand every clause of it.”
Every sentence of the old lady’s narrative fell clear-cut from her lips.

“He had divided his wealth, which was very great, equally between me and
the college, aside from a few bequests to the servants and a special
legacy to Jonas. He used to say to me whimsically, on occasion: ‘I’ve
already given my college a large fortune, Susanna, and I’ve only given
you a home and a little spending money. But you can get along with a
little, and my college cannot. Besides, I’m here to look after you. When
I’m gone, it’s you and my college; share and share alike.’”

“Miss Susanna,” Marjorie spoke as the old lady paused briefly, “may I
please put that in the biography?” Forgotten for the moment were all her
misgivings. She was not thinking of herself as biographer. She was
desirous that such valuable matter should not be left out of the
biography itself.

“So you’ve decided to make the best of it,” laughed the old lady. “Oh, I
knew what I was doing when I chose you as his biographer. Since I’ve
surrendered, I’ve surrendered unconditionally. I wish the world to know
his little quirks and turns, his fancies and his whimsies.”

“It is indeed a pleasure to contemplate the thought of Miss Dean as
Brooke Hamilton’s biographer,” gallantly supplemented President
Matthews.

“I thank you both.” Marjorie’s sunshiny smile flashed briefly forth. It
faded, leaving her beautiful features unusually grave. “Perhaps hearing
these delightful personal memories of him will give me the inspiration
to do him justice,” she said very humbly. “I can only try to write his
story. If I fail—”

“You can’t fail,” broke in Miss Hamilton. “There is no such word as fail
in your vocabulary.” She reached out and patted Marjorie’s arm. “Now you
and the doctor are to listen to a letter of instruction which Uncle
Brooke gave me, sealed, a year before he died.”

She took from a morocco handbag a letter, held it up and pointed to the
superscription: “‘For Susanna. Not to be opened until after my death:’”
she read. She drew the letter from its envelope. “I prefer to read it to
you,” she explained. “You may examine it afterward as much as you like.”
She began:

    “DEAR SUSANNA:

    “I have just come from an afternoon spent with Mr. Walpole, my
    lawyer. I have arranged with him in a codicil certain matters
    pertaining to Hamilton College. I must now acquaint you with
    these. You must be fitly equipped to carry out my wishes in
    regard to my college when I have gone on to a world of blessed
    fulfillment, which can never be here.

    “I love my college, Susanna. Because I love it I must leave
    nothing undone to safeguard its welfare. My ancestors left me
    the land. I gave the site, my money erected the buildings,
    endowed the college. My brain, heart and mind acted as one in
    bringing beauty to the campus. It is the child of my heart,
    Susanna. It must not, shall not depart from the near perfection
    to which I have raised it. I have gloried in the spirit of
    democracy that has developed among the students as a result of
    my own thoughtful planning. But the past three years have marked
    a change. A certain element of arrogance and false pride has
    stolen into the college with the enrollment of a few students
    who come from homes of affluence.

    “The present Board are not in favor of conducting Hamilton
    College on the basis of nobility which I believe should be
    particularly the foundation of an institution of learning. They
    are desirous of commercializing the campus. They are possessed
    to ruin its natural beauty by dotting it thickly with ornate
    halls and houses. Such as these for the accommodation of a few
    students who can afford to pay extravagant prices for board and
    lodging. These sordid schemers are eager to take advantage of
    the fact that I have fitted and endowed Hamilton magnificently.
    They intend to put their stupid, ignoble ideas into force as
    soon as I am gone. I overheard one of them say to another at a
    Board meeting not long ago: ‘When he is out of the running we
    shall have a free sweep.’ They imagine that with my death
    Hamilton College will achieve freedom from the direction of a
    Hamilton, and with it a vast fortune. The board dreams of
    unlimited power to spend my money, and with no restraint.

    “You are to assume my responsibility, Susanna. It is a great
    deal to ask of you. But to whom else can I turn? You know I have
    divided my wealth between you and the college. Its half of the
    inheritance may be distributed to the Board as a whole, or in
    payments; at your discretion. Nothing is to be either added or
    taken away from the campus without your consent. You are to
    retain the right to administrate my estate as you are convinced
    would be pleasing to me. The fees of the college are never to be
    increased. With Mr. Walpole you will find complete directions in
    regard to the offering of various scholarships which I have
    arranged to be offered in the course of time. I have also left,
    with him certain other welfare plans for the college. It will be
    your task to fulfill these for me should the Messenger come for
    me before I have had the time and opportunity to act.

    “_Never allow the Board to intimidate you or beat you down._ It
    is the old story of the man who took home the frozen viper and
    warmed it, only to find that when life returned to it it had no
    will save to sting. So it is with the very men I have helped to
    present membership of the Board. There will one day be bitter
    resentment when these same men learn that I have protected
    Hamilton College against their vandalism. Remember, Susanna,
    resentment can break no bones; neither can it change that which
    was written to remain unchanged. I feel more at ease since I
    have written this to you. I rely upon your pride as a Hamilton,
    your loyalty and your good judgment to uphold the work of my
    hands.

                                        “With constant affection,
                                                  “BROOKE HAMILTON.”

“A letter in keeping with what we have known of Brooke Hamilton before
today,” was the president’s thoughtful attribute to the founder of
Hamilton College.

“It was his mind in the matter. By it you can understand the situation
as it was then better than from an explanation of it on my part,”
rejoined Miss Hamilton. “It remains for me to tell you what happened
between the Board and me after Uncle Brooke had passed away. Mr. Walpole
appointed a day and hour for the reading of the will at the Arms. The
Board attended the reading to a member in the interest of Hamilton
College. They raised a hub-hub immediately they learned that Uncle
Brooke had secured the college against their commerciality.

“Alec Carden was infuriated. He lost his temper, shook a fist in Mr.
Walpole’s and my face and shouted that no fool of a girl should stand
between the college and its rights. He rushed from the house shouting:
‘I’ll find a way to break that fool will!’” Miss Susanna’s eyes flashed
as she recalled the affront. “All but two of the Board members hurried
after him. William Graves and Caleb Frazer had taken no part in the
fuss. They had been true friends of Uncle Brooke’s. They assured Mr.
Walpole and me of their regret in the matter.”

“Afterward, they refused to discuss the unfortunate incident with
anyone,” commented Dr. Matthews. “This I learned from Doctor Burns. They
were his staunch supporters during his long service as president of
Hamilton College. The doctor had a great deal of trouble with Mr.
Carden.”

“I am aware of that,” nodded Miss Susanna. “It was frequently remarked
in the borough that how Alec Carden managed to keep himself on the
college Board was a mystery. He was a violent man. He quarreled
disgracefully with both of his sons. One of them stuck to him and
inherited Carden Hedge when his father died. The other took a package of
bonds which belonged to him from the family safe and ran off to
California. He changed his name, so the story goes, engaged in a lucky
speculation and grew rich. He never came back to Carden Hedge. His
father never saw him again, though he wrote him repeatedly to come home.
Alec died of apoplexy. Indulging in one of his fits of rage, he had a
seizure. John Carden still lives at the Hedge, off and on. He turned out
as disagreeable as was his father. Peter was a multimillionaire at last
accounts of him.

“Alec Carden kept his word. He tried to break the will and have the
codicil set aside. Just when I needed his help most Mr. Walpole died.
Then I engaged Richard Garrett, a young lawyer, but very brilliant. He
stood between me and Carden’s worst attacks. But I had plenty of
disagreeable scenes with Alec Carden and his Board sympathizers. They
got it through their scheming heads at last that Uncle Brooke had been
too wise for them. Then they tried to patch up their quarrel with me and
wheedle me into letting them have their own way about things. I soon
sent them all about their business. From that time it was war to the
knife between us. I refused ever to admit the belligerents to the Arms
or to meet them elsewhere in the interests of college business. All
checks for disbursements and papers were forwarded to me by Richard
Garrett.

“At the beginning of my trouble with Carden I had talked with Doctor
Burns about the writing of Uncle Brooke’s biography. Uncle Brooke had
greatly liked the doctor. I wished him to undertake the biography.
Before I had collected the data for it I got into the thick of the fight
with Carden and the Board. Carden circulated calumnious reports about
Uncle Brooke. Uncle Brooke had been a miser; he had made his fortune in
slave trading in the South Seas. He had also been suspected of piracy on
the high seas. He had commanded South American filibustering
expeditions. It was grossly false; outrageous. And all because he had
been in the exporting business in China.

“Such reports reached the students of Hamilton College. I came in for
very brutal criticism from the girls there. I could not go for a walk
along the highway without meeting some of them and encountering
everything from covert to open ridicule. So I came to despise those whom
he had wished me to like. The story’s almost done.” Miss Susanna’s face,
shadowed by the sorrow of the past, brightened beautifully.

“I still intended that Doctor Burns should begin the biography until one
day Alec Carden and I met on the highway near the Arms. He stopped me
and said I would be sorry if I attempted to publish a biography of Uncle
Brooke. He threatened to follow it with what he declared would be a true
story of ‘my sneak uncle’s pirate doings in the East.’ He said he had
gathered enough information against him to make a most interesting
pamphlet which he intended to have printed and published at his own
expense to follow the biography. He was as explosive in his talk as
usual. He declared that Doctor Burns was in sympathy with _him_, not me;
that he had merely consented to write the biography to keep in my good
graces. There was a chance that I might be flattered into turning over
to the Board the authority they lacked.

“I did not believe a word he said. I told him so. I went straight to the
Arms and wrote to Doctor Burns.” The old lady paused. She brought one
small hand down over the other with a sharp little smack. “I never
received an answer to that letter. I wrote him two others. One I sent to
him at this office.” She glanced about the large pleasant room. “The
other I sent by Jonas to his campus residence. He was away at the time,
but his secretary, a young man, promised to give it to him as soon as he
returned.

“When I had been ignored by him a third time, I closed my heart against
Hamilton College, forever, as I thought. I could not conceive of how a
man like Doctor Burns could be in sympathy with Carden’s cheap villainy.
Still, I had given him an opportunity to clear himself and he had made
no sign. He was therefore not the one to write Uncle Brooke’s biography,
and I knew no one else whom I considered qualified to do so. It was not
until years afterward, quite by accident, that I learned that Alec
Carden’s nephew was Doctor Burns’ secretary at that time. Then it was
too late. The years had passed, and Doctor Burns with them. I believe
now that he never received the letters I wrote him.”

“I am sure he did not,” Doctor Matthews said quickly. “I am convinced
that he had no knowledge of such a calumnious pamphlet as Mr. Carden
threatened to have published. He attributed your failure to bring
forward the data for the biography as the result of your having had an
altercation with the Board. He was not in sympathy with the Board. You
had asked him to write the biography of your great uncle. He preferred
to await your pleasure.”

“He died not more than a year before Alec Carden.” Miss Susanna’s
usually crisp tones were tinged with melancholy. “And he never knew!”

Marjorie had sat listening to the last of the Hamilton’s story, a
lovely, absorbed figure. Her vivid imagination had visualized Miss
Susanna as she had probably been in girlhood. Across her brain flashed
the dramatic scenes which had occurred between Miss Susanna and the
hated Alec Carden. Here was a real story infinitely more fascinating
than one which was the product of imagination.

“I think I never knew of a more deplorable misunderstanding.” There was
poignant regret in Doctor Matthews’ assertion. “We have, however one
thing for which to give thanks. No calumnious word was ever published
against the memory of Brooke Hamilton. Yet, if you had found the
opportunity to talk with Doctor Burns, he would have advised you to go
boldly ahead with the biography. I would say the same today in a similar
situation.”

“Ah, that is precisely the point for which I blame myself!” the old lady
cried out regretfully. “I should never have given up until I had seen
the doctor. I have read Uncle Brooke’s letters and journals, over and
over. They are the essence of truth. No slanderous reports could live
beside them. I know that now. But I was young then, and alone in a great
empty castle. I was more or less bewildered by the responsibility which
had become mine. I despised Alec Carden, and I was full to the brim of
Hamilton pride. I had never talked with Uncle Brooke about the
biography. It was an issue that came to the fore after his passing. When
I had been rebuffed, as I thought, three times, I retreated into my
shell and stayed there.”

“But you are out of it, forever, and ever!” Marjorie exclaimed, her
brown eyes beaming luminous warmth on the wistful old face of the
mistress of the Arms. “You’ve been out of it a good many times in the
past two years, too. All the years you were tucked away in it you were
true to the trust Mr. Brooke Hamilton placed in you. You felt that you
hated his college, but you guarded its welfare just as faithfully as
though you had loved it. You are the most amazing person in the whole
world, Miss Susanna. You’re the real guardian of Hamilton.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER IV.

                           OUR BELOVED GUESTS


“And now, Marvelous Manager, you and I will continue our walk on the
campus.”

It was almost four by the chimes clock on Hamilton Hall when Marjorie
and Miss Susanna issued from the president’s house, arm in arm. Neither
would ever forget that wonderful afternoon. It marked for Miss Susanna
the re-union with a valued friend of long ago—Hamilton College. For
Marjorie it marked the answering of a most perplexing question. She
believed buoyantly that with the answer was bound to come a new era of
fellowship on the campus, far greater than had ever before manifested
itself among the students.

“I can’t really believe it’s true, Miss Susanna,” she said happily;
“that you and I are actually walking together across the campus. I feel
as though, all of a sudden; whisk! there’d come a magic wind and you’d
disappear and I’d wake up to find myself walking along alone.”

“Not quite so bad as that. Let me tell you, I’m very real.” Miss Susanna
gave Marjorie’s arm an only half gentle pinch. “There,” she said, “was
that hard enough to convince you that I am not a campus sprite. I’m a
crabbed old woman, ready to pinch if the occasion demands it.”

“I’m glad as can be you are real. I’m glad I know more now of how
splendid you are than ever I knew before. I’m glad you’d rather have
your own Marvelous Manager write the biography than even Prexy Matthews.
I’m glad you have at last condescended to come and see me.” Marjorie had
begun enthusiastically, gathering more enthusiasm as she rushed from one
gladness on to another. She ended with a satisfied little exhalation of
breath.

“You are a compendium of gladnesses, child.” Miss Hamilton smiled very
tenderly at the glowing, graceful girl at her side. “Well, it is good to
be here; to walk the old green again, even though it isn’t very green at
present. I used to love the campus, Marjorie. I experienced a queer
little thrill that day when you told me your best friend at Hamilton was
the campus. I loved it in the same way when I was a student here.”

“And you never told me you were a graduate of Hamilton,” Marjorie
lightly reproached. She stopped short on the campus. “I think you ought
to be pinched on that account.”

“You never asked me where I was educated,” Miss Susanna replied,
chuckling.

“I always meant to. Somehow I never did.” Marjorie looked reflective.
“You see, at first, I never felt you would like me to ask you any
personal questions. After I came to know you well we had so many other
things to talk about I never again thought of asking you. That must be
the reason.” She gave a positive little nod.

“It must be,” the old lady agreed half jestingly. “I know that I used to
be afraid you would say or do something, when first you came to the Arms
to see me, that might cause me to dislike you. But you never did until
the day we fell out about that snip of a girl who tried to run her car
over me. I was a pig-headed, obstinate old chump that day, child.”

“Oh, no you weren’t. Now I _shall_ pinch you for calling yourself
names.” Marjorie affectionately made good her threat. “I’m going to keep
on with these crab-like nips until you promise never to mention such
ancient history again.”

“I had no idea you were such a bully. I’ll have to pretend good
behavior. I never supposed anyone would care if I called myself
disrespectful names,” giggled the amused old lady.

“You never know what may happen,” Marjorie blithely told her. “Look,
Miss Susanna.” She pointed out a mammoth elm tree just ahead of them at
their right. “That’s my favorite campus tree. During the spring and
summer, until late in the fall, there are seats placed underneath it.
Whenever I find a few minutes to relax and be downright lazy, I steer
straight for that tree. Jerry calls it the Bean tree and the seats the
Bean holders. She says all Bean supporters belong to the genus Bean.
Hence the name Bean holders.”

Marjorie continued to entertain Miss Susanna in this gay strain as she
proudly conducted her across the campus and toward Wayland Hall. On the
stone walk leading up to the Hall the distinguished visitor halted for a
prolonged look around.

“The same old Hall,” she half sighed. “I’ve lived for years almost in
sight of it without having once seen it. I’ve cared for it more than the
others because he liked it so well. And I never even suspected why he
cared until I went over some of his papers after he died. You’ll read
the story for yourself, Marjorie, when you come to the Arms to stay with
me and write the biography. When do you think that will be, child?” she
questioned, an eager, hungry light leaping into her eyes.

“I—I don’t know, Miss Susanna.” Marjorie looked concerned. “Not really
to stay, perhaps, before spring. When we come back from Sanford after
the holidays I’ll try to come almost every afternoon to the Arms. I’ll
stay until about nine o’clock in the evening. Promise to give me my
dinner, and plenty of it, O, Lady of the Arms? I’m always ravenous when
dinner time comes.” She merrily endeavored to stave off disappointment
from Miss Susanna.

“You may have a dozen dinners every night since that is all you demand,”
the old lady assured with reckless hospitality. The slight shadow,
called to her features by Marjorie’s first doubtful words of reply,
faded instantly. “‘Half a loaf is better than no bread,’” she quoted
with a kind of resigned content. “I hope you and Jerry will be able to
settle down with me at the Arms by the first of March. I’d like you to
see spring awaken at the old place. It is a memorable experience; to
live and breathe with the return of spring in a beauty spot like
Hamilton Arms. I look forward to and pass through it each year with
wonder and gratitude toward my Creator,” she ended reverently.

“I promise you, Jerry and I will surely be with you at the Arms to greet
the spring,” Marjorie declared impulsively, imbued with the inspiration
of her elderly friend’s deep sentiment. “It’s so comforting to know that
Jerry is to come to the Arms with me. I’d hate so to leave her to room
alone. The other girls would baby her and rush her if I were not at the
Hall. She would miss me dreadfully, only she would try not to let me or
anyone else know it.”

“Jerry can keep Jonas and me amused and in good humor,” Miss Susanna
said humorously. “I expect to enjoy her company hugely while you are
tucked demurely away in the study, living over life at Hamilton as Uncle
Brooke found it. I shall make Jerry help me organize a grand social
campaign. We’ll have the Travelers, old and new, here often to dinner
and tea. And we’ll entertain the dormitory girls some fine spring
afternoon and evening.”

Marjorie drew a long, ecstatic breath. “Oh, splendid!” she cried. “It’s
simply one glorious good fortune piled on another for the Travelers,
Miss Susanna.”

“You forget how much more it means to me. I am a greater gainer than the
Travelers. I’m still looking strictly out for my own interest,” was the
half joking reminder.

“Oh, you!” Marjorie gave the arm she held a playful shake. “I wish you
felt it was strictly to your interest to go with me to Room 15, Wayland
Hall, to visit Jeremiah and me this afternoon.”

Her inflection was wistfully coaxing. On the afternoon previous, Miss
Susanna had announced, that, on the following afternoon she and Marjorie
would together call upon President Matthews. Marjorie had then joyfully
urged her to take tea afterward in Room 15, Wayland Hall, at a
jollification in honor of her. The mistress of the Arms had refused,
saying rather pessimistically that she doubted if she would be in the
humor for a social tea after her interview with the president of
Hamilton College. She promised instead to walk across the campus as far
as Wayland Hall. She declared musingly that she would like to have a
good look at the Hall again.

Now the momentous visit had been made and Miss Susanna was apparently in
a very delightful humor. Marjorie could not resist the golden
opportunity of making a last coaxing plea.

“I have changed my mind about not going to your room with you, Marvelous
Manager,” the old lady announced, to Marjorie’s amazement. They were
still standing on the stone walk in front of the Hall.

“I’m going to whisk you into the Hall before you have time to change it
again.” Marjorie took resolute hold of the arm she had just gently
shaken and began hurriedly marching the last of the Hamiltons up to the
veranda.

Already she was planning an impromptu reception for her beloved guest.
She hoped Miss Remson would not answer her ring of the bell. She
frequently answered the bell if she chanced to be downstairs when it
rang. To summon Miss Remson to Room 15, and have the manager and Miss
Susanna meet there should be one feature of the reception. Tea should be
another. She would levy upon Leila for maccaroons from the five pound
box she had bought yesterday. Ronny still had plenty of Mexican candied
fruit on hand. Jerry should be stripped of a precious glass jar of
salted pecans. She would ruthlessly commandeer the jar of blackberry jam
which Lucy had that morning received from home, provided it hadn’t been
devoured already. There was always a supply of crackers, saltine and
soda, on hand in 15, she reflected comfortably.

Nellie, one of the maids, answered the bell. Marjorie stretched forth a
hand and conducted Miss Susanna across the threshold in gallant fashion.
An impulse to tears rose within her as she saw an unbidden sadness steal
into her companion’s face the moment she stepped into the old-fashioned
hall. It passed instantly. Miss Susanna poked her head into the living
room and remarked on its tasteful furnishings in the most matter-of-fact
tones.

“If I had dreamed that you would positively set your magnificent foot in
my kingdom today I would have made elaborate preparations for you,”
Marjorie presently apologized, her hand on the door knob of Room 15. “As
it is, I’ll have to seat you in state in my best easy chair and rush
Jerry out for Leila, Vera and the rest of the Sanfordites. There are
certainly going to be some decidedly surprised Travelers.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                               CHAPTER V.

                          A COLLEGE GIRL AGAIN


In the very next minute there was one decidedly surprised Traveler. As
Marjorie stepped after Miss Susanna into her room a rising tide of
jubilant sound assailed her ears.

                “Hamilton, Hamilton, staunch and true:
                 Great Brooke Hamilton founded you.
                 Great Brooke Hamilton—that’s his name!
                 Great Brooke Hamilton—sound his fame.”

Twice the merry company shouted out this welcome. Miss Susanna
laughingly acknowledged the honor done her with a flourish of small
hands and many bobbing bows. Far from showing surprise at the festal
scene into which she and Marjorie had walked she irradiated only
chuckling amusement.

“The Empress of Wayland Hall has already arrived and been conducted to
her place on the throne.” Ronny tripped to the middle of the room with
this announcement as soon as the hub-bub attending the new Hamilton yell
had subsided. She was attired in a green velvet page’s costume which she
had confiscated from a trunk in the attic. Her fair features were
animated with mischievous light as she went through a kind of
ceremonious dance before Miss Susanna. She gracefully beckoned the old
lady to the throne and grandiosely pointed out the middle vacant place
on it.

“What is all this about?” demanded Marjorie. She grandly waved Ronny off
when the latter returned from escorting Miss Hamilton to the throne to
perform the same kind office for her.

“Ask no questions, pretty maid, but gently follow your leader,” was
Ronny’s lofty advice. “You are about to be ranked with royalty.”

“I shall remain a commoner all the rest of my life unless you explain
some of this thusness,” defied Marjorie threateningly with an anything
but threatening expression. “How did _you_ know Miss Susanna was coming
here today, when I didn’t? How does Miss Remson happen to be here to
meet her? You never made up that dandy Hamilton yell on the spur of the
moment. Look at this room! I know you’ve been fixing at it ever since I
went out to meet Miss Susanna. You’re all conspirators, the dearest,
bestest, dandiest old plotters under the sun.

“_You’re_ as guilty as they are.” She leveled an accusing finger at Miss
Hamilton. “You didn’t know a thing about it last night. I guess a flock
of little birds flew over to the Arms this morning. That would account
for why you changed your mind.”

“What a terrible tirade,” commented Ronny in a shocked tone.

“Why don’t you introduce us to the royal party you’ve just called down?”
inquired Jerry, her cheerful smile in evidence.

“Judging from the preparations you’ve made for her, I’d say you know her
better than I,” was Marjorie’s laughing rejoinder. “Now I’m going to do
something I’ve longed to do for two years. I’m going to introduce the
Empress of Wayland Hall to the Lady of Hamilton Arms.”

Marjorie walked up to the make-shift throne and salaamed profoundly
before it to its two occupants. Then she lifted one of Miss Remson’s
hands and placed it in one of Miss Susanna’s. The crowd of laughing
girls had drawn close to the trio as she did thus. “We love you both so
much,” she said in her clear enunciation. “I know you are friends
already.”

Approving applause went up from the more humble subjects. Their compact
movement toward the throne had not been without an object. Marjorie felt
herself suddenly seized and shoved into the throne’s vacant left-hand
place before she could make the least resistance.

“Now will you be good?” Muriel Harding threatened the flushed giggling
addition to royalty. “Don’t fail to notice that I am hanging over you
with my most menacing air.”

“You look about as menacing as a peaceful sheep,” Lillian Wenderblatt
promptly criticized.

“If you had said a lamb I shouldn’t have minded. I’m very certain I _do
not_ look like a sheep, peaceful or ferocious,” Muriel asserted with
vast dignity.

“A ferocious sheep,” pleasantly repeated Vera. “How very entertaining;
the idea, I mean.”

“Oh, start on someone else. If you don’t treat me with more respect I
shall tell the royal party what the throne’s made of,” warned Muriel.

“_I_ could do that, but I won’t.” Marjorie beamed knowingly at Jerry.
“How you must have hustled, Jeremiah Macy, to do all this.” A
comprehensive sweep of an arm not only included the throne, but also the
study table, flower-trimmed and set out with a tea service. There were
two gorgeous bunches of roses, one on each chiffonier. Scattered about
the room was the pick of decorative treasures from each Travelers’ room.

“Oh, I hustled a little bit. The girls did a lot, too. After Leila and I
called up Miss—” She clapped her hand to her mouth in merry dismay.

“So it _wasn’t_ a flock of birds that told you.” Marjorie bent a gaily
disapproving glance upon Miss Hamilton. “And I was the only one
surprised of all this crowd. I’m still more surprised at being royalty.
Would you mind mentioning my royal title.”

“The Royal Countess of Bean,” Jerry instantly supplied. “I hope you like
and appreciate it.”

“I’ll try to,” Marjorie promised with a plaintive meekness which
produced a gale of ready laughter in which she joined.

Miss Remson and Miss Susanna had clasped hands and taken but one
straight survey, each of the other, before knowing that they were
destined to pass quickly from acquaintanceship to the estate of
friendship. “My girls,” as the old lady loved to call the special little
coterie to which Marjorie belonged, would be the fragrant, youthful bond
between these two elder sisters of Hamilton.

While royalty took its ease on a plumped-up throne the hard working
subjects of the imperial trio prepared the feast. Leila made the tea,
boastfully asserting that no such tea had ever been made before in the
history of the world.

“My, _such_ an equivocal statement! It might mean either the best or the
worst tea that was ever made,” Kathie pointed out, grave as a judge.

“Rather sweeping, _I_ should say,” was Vera’s ironical opinion.

“I am not sorry I praised my own tea. Now I know that nobody else would
have done it,” Leila remarked loudly to the teapot as she set it on the
table. “Even Midget has a grudge against my sayings.”

“Oh, never mind about Midget. I approve of you and your sayings, Leila
Greatheart,” consoled Jerry. “Do say something to me now.”

“That I will.” Leila dropped into a brogue. “I’ll be askin’ a favor of
you, Jeremiah.” There was a mirthful gleam in Leila’s blue eyes which
Jerry happened to miss. “Go to Marjorie’s closet and bring out of it the
box of maccaroons I placed there a while ago.”

Jerry obediently started for the closet. Her progress was followed by
several pairs of laughing eyes. Leila watched her with an amused show of
white teeth.

“Aa-h-h-h!” Jerry emitted a sharp yell and made a headlong dive into the
closet. She kicked the box of maccaroons, which reposed on the closet
floor at her feet, nearly overturning it. She had forgotten everything
except the tall slender girl stowed away in the closet whose unexpected
appearance in such a place had given her a startling surprise. Both
plump arms wound around Helen Trent. Jerry was now giving a bear-like
demonstration of affection.

“Helen; good old Helen Trent!” she was crying out in delight. “How long
have you been lurking in that closet? Come out of it, this instant.
Leila Harper put you there, of course. That’s why she sent me for the
maccaroons.”

Fondly escorted by Jerry, Helen emerged from Marjorie’s dress closet to
become the center of attraction in the room for the time being.

“So glad to get out of that stuffy old closet,” she sighed, with her
ever attractive display of dimples. “Leila told me to stay in there
until she sent Jerry to let me out. I could hear all of you talking. How
I wanted to butt in. For Jeremiah’s sake I was noble and silent.”

“Cut out being noble and silent. Talk,” urged Jerry. She was bubbling
over with good cheer at sight of pretty, easy-going Helen whose cheery
disposition was always toward the funny side of life.

“I will. First let me hug Marjorie and Miss Susanna. I haven’t hugged
them yet. Then do give me some tea and a chair over which to drape my
weary frame.” Helen grew ridiculously pleading.

“You talk like a one-piece dress,” Jerry snickered.

“Well?” Helen lazily opened her limpid blue eyes. “You know you didn’t
specify as to the kind of talk, Jeremiah. You simply said: ‘Talk.’ It’s
werry fatiguing, Jeremiah, to stand up indefinitely in a dress closet. I
don’t aspire to a seat on the throne. I am too modest. I think your arm
chair might be nice.” Helen sent an ingratiating smile to Muriel who was
complacently occupying the coveted arm chair.

“I’ll tip Muriel out immediately.” Jerry swaggered over to the grinning
occupant. “Vacate gracefully, or be tipped out bodily?” she asked with
dangerous suavity.

“You can’t tip me out of what I’m not in.” Muriel made an agile bound
from the chair and dodged Jerry’s reaching hands.

“Let Muriel have the chair. Take my place on the throne, Helen. Miss
Susanna wants to monopolize you.” Marjorie came forward and escorted
Helen to the dais. Muriel instantly retrieved the chair and jeered at
Jerry.

“It’s a wonder you didn’t see me when I came in this morning,” Helen
laughingly told Marjorie. “I dodged into Miss Remson’s office just as
you came downstairs to go to the laboratory.”

“I was too obliging to see what I wasn’t supposed to,” Marjorie made
jesting return. With her usual love of action she began helping Leila
serve the tea. The spread was a lap collation with the guests informally
occupying, for the most part, cushions on the floor. Paper napkins,
paper plates and tea cups balanced on knees were leading features. But
Leila’s tea was above reproach. The tiny toothsome sandwiches made by
Ronny and Vera disappeared like magic. Ellen’s famous caramel cake was
delicious as ever and the salted nuts, olives and cheese straws
appetizing relishes.

None of the effervescently gay company in 15 was enjoying the party more
hugely than Miss Susanna. She ate the delectable fare offered her with
hungry heartiness, drank two cups of tea; laughed and chatted with the
happy abandon of girlhood.

Because she loved these girls who had loved her and revered the memory
of her kinsman, the once-prejudiced, only living representative of a
grand old colonial family, suddenly experienced a new and overwhelming
sympathy toward all girlhood. Little by little the rusting bars of
prejudice had worn away against the friendly assaults of “her girls.”
For that she owed girlhood a debt which she purposed to pay.

More than once as her eyes strayed to Marjorie, to rest with content on
the young girl’s glowing, sunshiny face she was reminded of the lines of
a favorite old song. She found exquisite happiness in fitting the
worshipping words to Marjorie.

                 “Like the sun thy presence glowing
                  Clothes the meanest thing in light:
                  And when thou like him art going,
                  Loveliest objects fade in night.
                  All things look so bright above thee—
                  That they nothing seem without thee:
                  By that pure and lucid mind
                  Earthly visions are refined.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER VI.

                     A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION


“Yes, Bean, there is nothing like efficiency. And I am _so_ efficient. I
didn’t hear you say a thing.” Jerry cupped a hand to an ear and eyed
Marjorie hopefully. Marjorie was frowningly occupied with a page of
maddeningly abstruse French. “I certainly have worked hard at this
schedule.” Jerry continued her self-laudatory remarks. “But the results
are _celostrous_, Bean; _simply celostrous_! Ha! I thought my new word
would prove irresistible!” she exclaimed in triumph as Marjorie looked
up in mild surprise at Jerry’s latest coining.

“Something sounded new and queer,” Marjorie averred with the gurgling
little laugh Jerry liked to hear.

“Now that I have your attention, never mind about my new descriptive
adjective. I’ve been frisking gaily about the room, dropping things on
the floor, growling as I picked them up. And why? On purpose to be
noticed by you. Seeing you’re now seeing me, may I venture to ask if you
know the reason for my nice new adjective?” Jerry pursued blandly.

“I never heard you frisk a single frisk, Jeremiah, or drop a single
drop, or growl a single growl. This page of French is awful! It’s an odd
old religious argument between two Norman priests. I’d say it couldn’t
be lucidly translated into English, but it can, or we wouldn’t be stuck
with it for a study.”

“Go and ask her frozenness, the Ice Queen, to give you a lift,”
innocently proposed Jerry. “Muriel says she is a wonder in French. Due
to having had a French governess ever since she could hot-foot it around
the nursery.”

“I’d like to ask her about this very thing,” sighed Marjorie. “If I
wanted to know about it for someone else I suppose I might. I don’t feel
inclined to go to her on my own account.”

“I get you, Bean. Don’t take my advice. I wouldn’t take it myself. You
could ask Muriel to ask her about it. That ain’t no way to do, either.”
She shook a reproving head at herself in her dressing table mirror in
front of which she had paused to fluff and pat her hair.

“This translation would really be a good excuse for going to see Miss
Monroe,” Marjorie reflected aloud. “I wonder what she will do during the
holidays? She told Muriel she had no friends in the United States
besides the Hamilton girls she knows.”

“I suppose she includes Leslie Hob-goblin Cairns among the Hamilton
aggregation.” Jerry swung disdainfully around from the mirror.

“Um-m; probably.” Marjorie sat chin in hand, staring ruminatively at
Jerry. “Leslie Cairns may ask Miss Monroe to spend Christmas with her,”
she advanced after a moment’s silence. “I don’t mean in the town of
Hamilton, at the Hamilton Hotel. I mean away from there; New York or
Philadelphia, or even Chicago.”

“She may have asked her long before this.” Jerry spoke rather
impatiently. “Suppose she hasn’t, Marvelous Manager?”

“Then some of us should take her home with us,” Marjorie said with
conviction.

“Uh-h-h-h. I knew it,” Jerry groaned. “But it can’t be you, and it won’t
be me. At least I hope it won’t. You ought not attempt to entertain Miss
Susanna at Castle Dean and run a welfare bureau there at the same time.”

“You’re positively outrageous, Jeremiah, but there’s fatal truth in what
you say,” Marjorie smiled at Jerry’s humorous injunction. “It would
complicate things to have Miss Monroe visit me while Miss Susanna is at
the castle. I am so anxious, for Miss Susanna’s sake, to have the
perfect spirit of Christmas in the house. Leila, Vera and Robin will
help it along, but Miss Monroe wouldn’t. There’d be a strain on
everything that would spoil all the joy and dearness of Yuletide. It
would worry General and Captain. I—I couldn’t do it and be fair to
them.” The laughter had died out of her face.

“How do you know she’d come if you asked her?” quizzed Jerry. “It’s only
recently that she’s discovered you are on the college map. She hasn’t
discovered me yet. Can you blame me for not being crazy to welcome her
to the Macy’s humble hut? Suppose I did, and she fell in love with Hal?
I’d have put myself in line for the lasting reproach of an injured
brother.”

“You’re a nonsensical goose.” Marjorie felt her face grow rosy at
mention of Hal Macy. She was provoked with herself for blushing.

“I suspect it, but you’ve said it. Nothing can be done about it either.”
Jerry drew a chair up to the study table. She sat down opposite
Marjorie, leaned her elbows on it in imitation of her chum and stared at
Marjorie with a refulgent smile. She drew from a pocket of her serge
dress a little blue book. “Every blessed thing we have to do, person we
have to see, or place we have to go on the campus within the next ten
days is down in this book,” she said with satisfaction.

“Oh, let me see it!” Marjorie reached out eagerly for the book. She
examined it with growing enthusiasm. “It’s a treasure, Jerry. How did
you happen to think of doing it?”

“Past sad experience, my child. I’m growing old.” Jerry gave a muffled
sob. “I can’t rush around and do ten days pre-Christmas celebrating,
shopping, calling, and get away with it, all within three hours before
train time. This lovely schedule includes everything and everybody who
it is up to us to include on the campus.”

“It’s—” Marjorie paused: “celostrous,” she said with a laugh. “There,
Jeremiah, I remembered your new adjective. If we stick to that program
we’ll be wonders. If we half stick to it we’ll avoid a rush at the last
minute. I’m so glad the dormitory girls are beautifully taken care of.
That was another of your inspirations.”

On the evening following Miss Susanna’s visit to Wayland Hall the
original Travelers had held a meeting in Leila’s and Vera’s room. Its
purpose was to discuss what should be done in the way of Christmas
entertainment on the campus for the students who expected to remain in
college during holidays. Persistent scouting for two weeks previous
among the students, by both chapters of the Travelers, had established
the fact that not more than a dozen girls on the campus would spend the
holidays at Hamilton College. Again the dormitory girls became the main
problem for consideration.

Jerry had solved the problem by proposing that each Traveler should make
herself responsible for the holiday amusement of two dormitory girls.
“Find out what they’d like to do over the holidays and then help them do
it,” she had advised. “Some will want to spend Christmas in the city.
Others would probably love to be invited to spend the holidays in the
kind of homes we have, where there is lots of Christmas cheer. I’ll take
four dorms home with me. Let me hear from the rest of you.”

Hailing Jerry’s suggestion with the good will attending the season, Page
and Dean, the dormitory girls’ main stand-bys, called a meeting of the
“dorms” in Greek Hall and electrified the off-campus girls with their
unexpected proposal. Before the favored company of students left Greek
Hall each had confided either to Robin or Marjorie her choice in regard
to how she would prefer to spend the Christmas vacation. Fifteen of the
dormitory girls had already made plans to spend the holidays at their
own homes or those of friends. Forty of them wistfully declared for the
joy of a family Christmas, but demurred in the same breath as being
“afraid of causing too much work and trouble for others.” The
comparatively small remainder consisted of the more independent and
adventurous contingent of “dorms” who welcomed the experience of seeing
New York, Philadelphia or Washington, D. C., the three cities among
which they were given choice.

Leila, Vera, Kathie, Helen, Robin, Phil Moore and Barbara Severn were
among the Travelers Sanford bound. Leila, Vera and Robin were to be
Marjorie’s guests as well as Miss Susanna. Kathie was to be Lucy’s
company. Helen fell to Jerry, who would also entertain the four dorms.
Ronny had arranged to go to Miss Archer. Phil and Barbara would share
her hospitality. So would two of the dormitory girls. Lucy had also
invited Anna Towne and Verna Burkett. She was highly edified at the
prospect of entertaining three girls instead of one.

Jerry’s whole-souled proposal had now been successfully carried out so
far as the preliminaries of choice went. It now remained to the
Travelers, original and of the new branch of the sorority, to look out
for the off-campus girls who longed for a home-like Christmas. As seven
of the Travelers themselves were to be guests of the Sanford girls they
could not be counted upon, therefore, to furnish the holiday pleasures
of home to the dormitory girls. They did their part by taking upon
themselves the financing of the modest city expeditions planned by the
off-campus girls. Nor would they allow their chums to contribute a penny
toward it.

“You heard what I said, Jerry Macy.” Marjorie suddenly bounced up from
her chair and made one of her funny, little-girl rushes at Jerry. “Don’t
pretend you didn’t.” She pounced upon Jerry, threatening: “I’m going to
muss up your hair, since you took so much trouble to fix it. The only
way you can save your nice fluffy coiffure is to say: ‘Yes, Marjorie, it
was another of my inspirations.’ You may notice I don’t refer to my
precious self as ‘Bean,’ either.”

“Sorry, but I never could talk like you, Bean.” To complete her defiance
up went Jerry’s hands in a backward reach. She caught Marjorie wrists.
The two girls were engaged in a friendly grapple when the door opened
and Muriel Harding came in, her arms piled high with packages, her smart
little hat set far back on her head, two or three loosened curling locks
of hair hanging over her face.

“What have we here?” Jerry demanded pleasantly. “Just what one might
expect would drift in without knocking.”

“You’re doing the knocking now; why worry,” chuckled Muriel. She walked
over to Jerry’s couch bed; dumped her packages upon it with a great sigh
of relief. “I made port at the front door with my cargo beautifully, but
I fell up two steps of the stairs. You can see what a wreck it made of
me.” She sat down on the couch beside her bundles, whipped off her hat
and began tucking up her unruly locks of bright hair. “Every last
present that I intend to buy for campus dwellers is in this heap,” she
declared with stress.

“Is there anything for me there?” Jerry showed sudden flattering
interest in Muriel. “If so, let me see it.”

“No, there’s nothing for you,” mimicked Muriel. “I’m going to buy your
Christmas present at home, in the Sanford ten-cent store.”

“Perhaps we’ll meet there.” Jerry arched significant brows. “I had
thought of some nice little ten-cent token for—” She made an effective
pause.

“I didn’t come here to talk to you.” Muriel tossed her head. “I came to
see Marjorie. I’ve had bad luck about my two Christmas dorms, Marvelous
Manager. The same nice thing has happened to them both. Their families
have sent them the money to go home for the holidays. Neither of them
had expected any such good fortune. The rest of the dorms have their
plans all made. Not a single, double, triple or quadruple dorm will
grace the would-be hospitable hearth of Harding. I’ll bet you couldn’t
make up a sentiment as effective as that, Jeremiah.”

“A double dorm would be twins. A triple dorm would be a freak. A
quadruple dorm would constitute material for a side-show,” was Jerry’s
reflectively satirical observation. “Oh, I forgot. Kindly confine your
conversation to Bean.”

“Go away, Jeremiah,” Muriel firmly requested. “Go and see Ronny. A big
box for her from California is downstairs in the hall. Tell her I saw it
first and politely sent you to hand her the news. It will show Ronny how
helpful my disposition is. You can square yourself with me at the same
time.” Muriel opened her eyes, showed her teeth and bobbed her head at
Jerry in what she termed her “delighted” expression.

“Tell her yourself; I’m no news herald.” Jerry made no move to perform
the squaring act Muriel had suggested. In the next two minutes she
changed her mind and hustled to tell Ronny of the box.

“I happen to remember that you are just the person I want to talk to,
Muriel,” Marjorie said. “Jerry and I have been wondering what Miss
Monroe is going to do over the holidays. Last time I asked you about her
you hadn’t been able to find out her plans. What do you know about them
now?”

“Not a blessed thing except this. She said yesterday she might spend
Christmas in New York. I had asked her outright what she was going to do
over the holidays. It was inquisitive; maybe.” Muriel shrugged her
shoulders. “I knew you were anxious to know.”

“If she is going to New York, it means Leslie Cairns has invited her.
That’s too bad; after the encouraging signs she’s shown lately of
thawing toward us.” Marjorie’s tone was rather gloomy. “It will quash
everything we’ve tried to do to draw her away from Leslie Cairns. I’d
invite her to go home with me for the holidays, but I have Miss Susanna
to consider first of all. If I hadn’t, Miss Monroe wouldn’t accept a
Christmas invitation from me,” Marjorie ended with a trace of
self-mockery.

“To hear you talk one might think you were a tabooed character.”
Muriel’s gurgle of laughter brought a smile to Marjorie’s troubled
features.

“I feel so cross sometimes when I think about that aggravating girl.”
Marjorie’s answer rang with vexation. “I’ve not been in your room since
you came back to Hamilton. Neither has Ronny, Jerry nor Lucy. She
snubbed the four of us thoroughly in the beginning. Now proper pride
won’t allow us to put ourselves in direct line for further snubs. She’s
been fairly nice to Robin. Yet Robin hasn’t cared to try calling on Miss
Monroe yet. She doesn’t wish to risk a snubbing, now that she’s made a
little headway with our enchanted princess.”

“I could like her if she’d let me,” Muriel said bluntly. “We don’t meet
often in the room except just before old ten-thirty, and in the morning.
We’re both out a good deal. She is brilliant or she couldn’t cut study
the way she does and not be conditioned.” There was a hint of admiration
in Muriel’s observation.

“Oh-h!” Marjorie swung round in her chair until she was facing Muriel.
“Why couldn’t—I wonder if you—It doesn’t seem fair to ask you, Muriel,
but, since both the dorms have gone back on you, would you care to ask
Miss Monroe to go home with you for Christmas?”

Marjorie fairly held her breath as she finished asking the question.
This splendid way of helping the strange, beautiful girl in whom she had
become so thoroughly interested she was inclined to regard as a positive
dispensation of a kindly Providence.

“I might.” Muriel stared contemplatively at the anxious questioner. “I
was so disappointed when my two dorms flivvered and renounced me I never
thought of my old friend the Ice Queen.” She looked rather sheepish then
smirked at Marjorie and said: “‘Charity begins at home.’ If I mentioned
Charity in my invitation to the Ice Queen, br-r-r, she’d freeze
Matchless Muriel solid at one glance. Then I couldn’t go home for
Christmas. Neither could she go with me. Think how sad it would be! Two
cold, shiny, slippery, glittery Ice Queens, friz solid over the
holidays.”

Giggling at her own weird fancy, Muriel rose and began gathering up her
packages. “I’ll ask her directly, if she’s home, dear Bean. I’ll let you
know as soon as I can escape from her royal presence to tell you.”

“You’re a darling, and the most obliging person in the universe. If
you’d said you’d rather not ask her, I shouldn’t have blamed you in the
least. I thought, after the idea popped into my head, that I ought to
ask you for Miss Monroe’s sake,” was Marjorie’s honest avowal. “Let me
give you a basket to put your stuff in. Here’s the laundry basket.”

Marjorie proceeded to stack the piles of clean laundry on the couch and
place Muriel’s packages in the basket instead. The two girls performed
the little task with the usual amount of light talk and laughter. After
Muriel had gone Marjorie sat down again at the table to indulge in a
kindly little daydream which had to do with helping Muriel entertain
Doris Monroe should she become Muriel’s Christmas guest.

Jerry presently drifted into the room to announce that Ronny had cruelly
refused to unpack the box from California before her and Lucy. “She made
us help her upstairs with it, then she coldly turned us out.” Jerry
complained plaintively. “I’d have raged like a gale at such treatment
only she gave me some Mexican candied fruit. It was very celostrous. My
new adjective just describes the candied banana I had. What became of
Matchless Muriel? I see she’s beaten it.”

“She’ll return presently,” Marjorie made mysterious answer.

But it was fully an hour afterward before Muriel suddenly popped into
the room, closing the door quickly but soundlessly after her.

“Excuse my conspirator entrance,” she began just above a whisper. “I
didn’t care to have the Ice Queen know where I went. I ducked out of our
room without saying a word. I promised to tell you what she said,
Marjorie, to our plan.” Muriel’s eyes were bright with the importance of
her information. “Don’t turn all colors with surprise. She says she’ll
go to Sanford with me for Christmas.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER VII.

                        UNFLATTERING COMPARISON


While Marjorie Dean and Muriel Harding had been earnestly discussing a
welfare invitation for difficult Doris Monroe, the latter had been
spending a couple of very disagreeable hours with Leslie Cairns. Leslie
had seen fit to assume the particularly dictatorial air which of all her
category of unpleasant moods Doris most thoroughly detested.

To begin with Leslie had come to meet Doris at the Colonial fresh from a
hot argument with the Italian, Sabatini, whom she had seen fit to call
on at his garage and scathingly upbraid for being a “cheating dago
quitter.” Leslie argued that, for the amount of money she had paid
Sabatini he should have stood out against the threats of Signor Baretti
and declined to put the busses back into service.

“You are no lady, but the creza girl; thick head you have,” Sabatini had
finally shouted at Leslie when his temper broke all bounds. “You are the
foolish. I don’ run the busses when Baretti say I must, I get my
franchisa take from me. Then don’ run, anyhow. You get that through your
head, you can.”

“Then give back part of that money, and cut out the pet names,” Leslie
had blazed back at him. “You’ll find out who you’re talking to, you
thieving dago, before you are many weeks older. I’ll _break you_. Put
you out of business. _Just like that!_” Leslie had given her usual
imitation of what she fondly believed would have been her father’s way
of dealing with the situation.

As a matter of fact her father, Peter Cairns, would never have figured
personally in any such affair. He would have placed it in the hands of a
subordinate below his rank as financier, who would have in turn detailed
his subordinate to act and so on down until one competent to deal with
the Italian had been secured.

Leslie was not ignorant of her father’s methods of procedure but she was
ambitious to prove her own power over people and circumstances. She was
determined to prove to her father that she could bring about any
consummation she desired either by her own clever maneuvering or by
force of will. Her idea of will power was—“make other people do as you
say.”

Sabatini’s parting, furious speech had been: “You try make troubla I
make you the troubla, too. You see. I tell about you to the paper man.
Everabuddy read ’bout you in the paper.” He had already refused to
return a penny of the money she had given him. Leslie’s humor as she
lounged out of the garage with an air of lofty indifference was
ferocious.

This had been her third and most trying interview with the Italian,
Sabatini, since the busses had again begun to run. She reflected
morosely as she drove her car along Hamilton Pike to keep her engagement
with Doris that not a single thing she had planned since first she had
come to Hamilton College as a student had ever turned out advantageously
to her. She did not in the least blame herself or her methods. She was
conceitedly sure of herself. Someone or something had always “butted in”
at the wrong time. Or else the persons on whom she depended to do their
parts in her various schemes had failed her.

She wondered if her father had received the letter she had written him.
She was confident that it would be forwarded to him if he were not in
New York. She was particularly anxious to know where he was. She hoped
he was not in New York. For weeks, a scheme, the most ambitious plan to
make trouble which Leslie had yet concocted, had been foremost in her
thoughts. It had kept her busy ever since Thanksgiving, daily visiting
her garage property and prowling in the immediate neighborhood of the
dormitory building. The gray stone walls of the dormitory were well
started and steadily reaching upward, a fact which seemed to furnish
Leslie with deep though frowning interest.

Coming within sight of the dormitory that afternoon she had glanced
toward it and given a short angry laugh. She had then stopped her car
for a moment to compare the activities on the dormitory lot with those
going on at her garage site. The operation of tearing down the old
houses in the block she had purchased, and afterward clearing the
ground, had gone very slowly. The contractor who had charge of that part
of the work had dragged it, so as to benefit himself. Under honest
management the operation should have been far enough advanced at least
to show the garage cellar dug. As it was the ground she owned was yet
partially littered with the debris of demolishment.

When she had finally arrived at the Colonial there to find Doris waiting
for her at one of the tables she had reached a point where nothing could
please her. On the way from the dormitory site to the Colonial she had
decided to go to New York alone over the holidays. She had important
work to do. She did not propose to allow entertaining Doris to interfere
with it.

Her first words to Doris on seating herself at the table had been: “The
trip to New York is off, Goldie. I can’t take you with me, I mean. I
have to go, but entirely on business, I must go alone.”

Her disappointment very keen on hearing such depressing news, Doris had
received Leslie’s announcement with bad grace. More, she had accused
Leslie of not being a person of her word. The two girls had argued and
squabbled as was their wont. Doris was particularly incensed over the
fact that she had refused two invitations from adoring freshmen to go
home with them for the holidays. Three different sophs had also extended
her invitations. She had refused them all because she most fancied the
New York trip. Now Leslie had changed her mind and she, Doris Monroe,
would be the only loser.

Leslie had relied on her most sarcastic, overbearing manner to cope with
Doris’s indignant explosion. As before, when they had stood out against
each other, Leslie found her match. Doris proved herself so utterly,
scornfully thorny that Leslie finally backed water and volunteered the
sulky promise that if she possibly could she would take Doris to New
York as she had first agreed. Doris herself had not asked it. Neither
had she appeared to take note of the promise. When she left Leslie at
the door of the Colonial, refusing to enter her car, she had merely said
“good-bye” in the iciest of tones. This did not worry Leslie. It was not
the first time Doris had walked away miffed.

Doris, however, was not only angry at Leslie for her wilful
unreliability, she was experiencing a healthy contempt for Leslie
herself. She contrasted Leslie’s standards and ideals with those of the
girls on the campus whom she was beginning to know, understand and like.
She liked the jolly, worshipping freshmen who had made so much of her.
They were an honorable set. She liked Louise Walker, Calista Wilmot and
Charlotte Robbins particularly among the sophs. She admired Gussie
Forbes, though she never went near her. She knew Gussie to be devoted to
Marjorie Dean. She had quite a secret crush on Robin Page, though she
would have died rather than admit it. She liked Phyllis Moore and
Barbara Severn. She also liked Muriel and admired her for her sturdy
principles. She kept these likes to herself, however, pretending to be
more indifferent than she was.

She could not be among such girls long without discerning the difference
between their ethical standards and those of Leslie Cairns. She detested
Leslie’s unscrupulousness, yet there were times when she admired the
ex-student’s sang froid. She saw the really humorous, clever side of
Leslie and felt vaguely sorry for her because she was so
unprepossessing. She realized Leslie’s power through money, but she had
lost her respect for the lawless girl on that head.

She had hurried into the early winter twilight from the tea room feeling
as though she never wished to see Leslie Cairns again. All the way from
the campus gates to Wayland Hall she continued to think darkly of what
she had lost by Leslie’s selfish tactics. She had announced so
confidently, in refusing other Christmas invitations, that she expected
to spend the holidays in New York. Now she would not humble her pride by
letting it be known that she had been disappointed.

In consequence Muriel’s invitation, delivered immediately after she
reached her room, came as a consoling surprise. Instantly followed
remembrance that Muriel was one of the Sanford five whom Leslie
detested. She recalled her own antagonism toward Marjorie Dean. To
accept a Christmas invitation to Muriel’s home meant the acceptance of
Muriel’s chums as friendly acquaintances. It flashed upon Doris in that
moment of self-examination that there was no reason why she should not
accept as her friends the four Sanford girls who were Muriel Harding’s
intimates.

Following that illuminating flash came a thought far from noble. It took
strong hold of Doris. How piqued Leslie Cairns would be were she to
accept Muriel’s invitation. It would serve Leslie right. It would show
her that she, Doris Monroe, had the courage of independence. She had no
faith in Leslie’s final grudging assurance that the trip to New York
should be made as they had planned it. Leslie had changed her mind once,
she was likely to disappoint her again.

Thought of Leslie and a resentful desire to exasperate her completely
outweighed consideration of the purely social side of Muriel’s
invitation. Doris’s momentary hesitation after Muriel had invited her
did not arise, as Muriel had surmised, from regretful embarrassment at
her lack of cordiality toward Muriel’s chums. Doris’s mind was fully
occupied with one idea—the beneficial effect her trip to Sanford would
have upon Leslie. She would write Leslie a note informing her of the
astonishing change in her Christmas plans. If Leslie chose to rage over
the matter, she must rage it out alone. Doris resolved that she would
not see Leslie again until after she had returned to the campus from the
trip to Sanford.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             CHAPTER VIII.

                          LOOKING FOR TROUBLE


Doris’s thoughts were so entirely centered on the disagreeable effect
her decision would have upon Leslie Cairns she did not stop to consider
what her freshie and sophomore admirers might think of her change of
plans. She decided to wait two days before writing to Leslie. She had
been rather shaky in mathematics for a week past and needed to devote
herself assiduously to it until she was beyond a stage that courted
being conditioned. She had sweetly assured Muriel that she would not
change her mind at the last minute.

She put off the writing of the note to Leslie until she had finished her
self-appointed review in mathematics. She wished to have a free mind in
which to write Leslie. Her note should be a triumph of cleverness. On
this point she was determined.

In the meantime Muriel had circulated the news that Doris was to be her
Christmas guest, with an innocently smiling face. Clever Muriel did not
propose to give her sophomore catch an opportunity to wriggle out of her
agreement at the last minute. “It’s just as well to publish the Ice
Queen’s thaw from the housetops,” she gaily confided to Jerry and
Marjorie. “The amazing fact that the Ice Queen and I are chummy will
have a soothing, beneficial effect upon such revolutionists as the
Phonograph, the Prime Minister, and such.”

“There is some truth in your disrespectful remarks about these erring
sophie sisters,” Jerry had reluctantly agreed. “We can only trust,
Matchless Muriel, that you may always get away with your reckless use of
pet names. I believe I’ve mentioned this hope before.”

While Doris, having coolly mapped out her own course, was as coolly
pursuing her own way, Leslie was impatiently waiting to hear from her.
She believed that Doris was too greatly bent on going with her to New
York to remain miffed. Doris would soon write or call her on the
telephone.

Instead of two days it took Doris three to complete her mathematical
review. During that time she kept a “Busy” sign in frequent display upon
the door, a proceeding which Muriel had advised her to do. Since her
acceptance of Muriel’s invitation the two girls had become far more
friendly than before. Both felt the relief attending the change and
welcomed the pleasant interest it permitted them to exhibit in each
other’s campus affairs.

On the fourth afternoon following her quarrel with Leslie Cairns, Doris
hurried to her room from her trigonometry period, bent in writing the
letter to Leslie. It lacked only three days of the closing of Hamilton
College for the holidays. It was high time she wrote it, she reflected.
During the next three busy days there would be little opportunity. She
sighed audible satisfaction as she entered the room to find it deserted.
She hoped Muriel would remain away until dinner time. Prudently she
brought out the busy sign from its place in the table drawer and affixed
it with a brass tack to an outside panel of the door.

Having finally settled herself at the study table to write she spent
several minutes in thoughtful deliberation before she wrote:

    “DEAR LESLIE:

    “You know, of course, in what an annoying position you placed me
    by disappointing me about our New York vacation. I had been
    invited by a number of other girls, some of them upper class, to
    spend Christmas at their homes. I refused the invitations—saying
    that I had already been invited by a dear friend to spend the
    holidays in New York. Naturally, after you had failed me, I
    could hardly have the bad taste to go to any one of these
    friends, stating that I had changed my mind.

    “Since you disappointed me, Miss Harding, my roommate has
    invited me to spend Christmas with her at her Sanford home. I
    have accepted. Although you said, just before I left you the
    other day at the Colonial, that you had re-considered, and would
    try to arrange the New York trip, I was not impressed. I doubted
    your intention to keep your word. You have a habit—”

A forceful fist applied to the door, regardless of the “Busy” sign,
brought Doris to her feet with a displeased “Oh!” She stood for a brief
moment, hesitating, before she made any movement toward the door. While
the sign was warranted to keep away other students, it was not
prohibitive to Miss Remson, the maids or the laundress.

“Oh!” she exclaimed again as her eyes took in the tall, severe figure of
Julia Peyton.

The yellow-white of the sophomore’s complexion turned to dull red under
the bored scrutiny of Doris’s sea-green eyes. “I saw your sign.” She
rolled her black eyes toward it. “I simply had to disregard it. I knew
you were alone. It was too good a chance to miss. I really had to see
you.”

“Why?” was Doris’s close-clipped question. She had not yet invited the
other girl into the room. She knew she was rude, but she did not care.
She did not like Julia Peyton, although Julia was one of her most
annoyingly devoted admirers.

“Oh, for a very important reason. To prove to you that I am a true
friend, Doris,” Julia wagged her black head in time to her last four
emphatic words.

“I don’t in the least understand you,” Doris returned stiffly. “Come in.
I am really awfully busy. I have an important letter to—”

“I won’t stay long,” Julia assured, entering with an alacrity which
indicated the importance of her own mission. Without waiting to be
invited she sat down in a wicker chair and burst forth: “You’re not
really going home for Christmas with Miss Harding, are you? I was told
so yesterday, but I didn’t believe it. I heard the same silly report
today. It worried me. I simply had to come to you with it.”

“Why should such a report worry you?” Doris demanded half in disdain.

“Because I’d hate to see you put yourself in a position where you might
be ridiculed.” Julia eyed Doris with mysterious pity.

“Ridiculed?” Doris’s greenish eyes widened in instant offense. Her
exclamation was one of haughty unbelief. “Do say what you are trying to
say, directly,” she commanded. “I have yet to place myself open to
ridicule.”

“That’s just what I told Clara,” cried Julia. “I was sure you wouldn’t
go home for Christmas with that horrid Miss Harding.”

“But I _am_ going home with her,” Doris returned with elaborate
unconcern. A tantalizing impulse to nettle Julia seized her. “She is not
horrid. She is clever, and rather good fun.” Doris drew the chair, in
which she had been sitting when Julia knocked, away from the table. She
sat down and cast a measuring glance at her tiresome caller.

“You won’t think so after you know why she has invited you to her home.”
The sophomore’s black brows drew together. Her round black eyes assumed
their most “moony” appearance. “She invited you because she couldn’t
find anybody else at Hamilton to invite. I have found out positively
that she has invited four different off-campus girls _and everyone of
them has turned her down_.” Julia’s voice rose in shrill triumph. “What
do you think of that.”

Without waiting to hear Doris’s opinion she rattled on maliciously.
“Miss Dean and that crowd Miss Harding is chummy with have been
pretending to be the ones who have invited those off-campus beggars to
their homes for the holidays. I know for a fact that none of them have
done much in that direction. Miss Dean, who’s supposed to be such a
sweet little model of goodness and generosity, is going to entertain at
home—not the off-campus frumps. Oh, no! She is going to take Miss
Harper, Miss Mason, Miss Page home with her. Miss Macy will lug home
that tall, blue-eyed, lazy-looking girl that’s visiting Miss Remson.
Miss Lynne has invited Miss Moore and Miss Severn. Even grouchy Miss
Warner is going to entertain Langly. That’s the way they benefit their
precious ‘dormitory girls’ that they are always crowing about.”

“I fail to see how all this applies to me.” Doris showed plain signs of
becoming frosty. She was only half interested in Julia’s lengthy,
spiteful argument.

“I’m only trying to show you how selfish and what fakes that crowd of
priggies are. Just the same what I said about Miss Harding having
invited you because she couldn’t get anyone else applies to you,” was
Julia’s dogged assertion. “I heard she felt sorry for you because
you—well, had no home influences—er—that you came clear from England
alone and—that—and—” Julia floundered desperately, then paused.

“What does Miss Harding know of me? Nothing.” Doris sprang to her feet
in a swift blaze of wrath. “Who told you she said such things of me?”

Julia solemnly shook her head. As a matter of truth she was merely
repeating several of her roommate’s, Clara Carter’s, vague suppositions.
“I can’t tell you that. She—er—I only heard she felt that way about you.
You see, Doris, I asked you to go home with me for the holidays, but you
said you were going to New York,” she reminded in reproachful tones. “I
supposed you would go with Miss Cairns. All of a sudden you turned
around and accepted Miss Harding’s invitation. I thought it rather
unfair in you, when I had asked you first of all. I thought you might at
least have come to me and said—”

“I will not be lectured by anyone!” Doris cried out angrily. “I don’t
care what you thought. I could explain to you precisely why I accepted
an invitation from Miss Harding to spend Christmas with her at her home,
but I shall not do it.”

“I shouldn’t call a friendly confidence, such as I’ve just given you, a
lecture. I’m sure I haven’t asked you to explain anything. I think I’d
better go now. I’ve done my duty as your friend, even if you can’t
understand that now. You will sometime soon, I hope.” Julia rose,
stalked to the door; a picture of offended dignity. “You’ll be sorry if
you go home with Miss Harding.” She could not resist this last fling.
“You’ll lose caste on the campus. Remember, she has invited you as a
last choice.”

“I am _not_ going home with Miss Harding.” Doris brought one slippered
foot down with an angry stamp. “I suppose I ought to thank you for
telling me what you have. I don’t feel like thanking anyone for
anything. I shall go to New York for Christmas.”

“With Miss Cairns?” eagerly quizzed Julia.

“Yes, with Miss Cairns,” Doris answered; then added bitterly: “She has
invited me to go there with her because we are friends; not because she
feels sorry for me.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER IX.

                      DEFEATING HER OWN HAPPINESS


When the door had closed on her gossiping caller Doris sat down again at
the table. She leaned her beautiful head on her white, dimpled arms and
gave herself up to brief disconsolate reverie. Now that she was alone
she wondered whether what Julia Peyton had said about Muriel Harding was
strictly true. There was one way in which she could find out with
certainty. She would ask Muriel point-blank if it were true that four
off-campus girls had refused her invitation. She would ask Muriel, also,
where she had gained so much information regarding herself. When she
endeavored to recall Julia’s exact words she found they did not mean
much. Julia’s reluctant inflections, her stammering pauses, had implied
so much more than words.

Julia’s object in warning Doris against Muriel had been double. Since
the evening when she had made complaint against the noise in Room 15 she
had shown marked hostility to the knot of post graduates at Wayland
Hall. She and Clara Carter had encouraged Doris in her half fancied
dislike for them. She had noted the new spirit of friendliness growing
between Doris and Muriel with every intention of crushing it if she
could. She kept up a zealous watching and longing for an opportunity to
create dissention between them. She had a habit of dropping in on Doris
in her room when Muriel was there purposely to see how things were
between the two. She never spoke to Muriel, however.

About the time she had begun to despair of making mischief between them
she was delighted to overhear a group of chattering freshmen in the
gymnasium one afternoon gaily discussing their Christmas plans. What
most pleased her were the remarks of one of them: “Isn’t it too bad?
Miss Harding can’t find a single dorm to trot home with her. They are
all attached. It’s too bad for her. I mean. Of course it’s lovely for
the dorms.”

The jealous, prejudiced girl had chosen to place an entirely different
construction upon the remarks from that intended by the merry little
freshman. By the time she had repeated the remarks to Clara Carter, her
roommate, with embellishments, they had assumed an ugly tone. Clara also
contributed a few opinions which did not improve matters.

Added to this it needed but the rumor that Doris Monroe was going home
with Miss Harding for the holidays to set the mischief-making pair of
sophomores to work. Julia was of the opinion that since Doris had
planned to go home with Muriel she and Miss Cairns must have quarreled.
If she could only set Doris against her roommate then Doris would go
home for the vacation with her. She would have the pleasure of boasting
that she had entertained the college beauty. She was confident that she
would gain socially by having entertained Doris as her guest. With so
much to be gained to her interest Julia had picked her hour and boldly
braved the “Busy” sign and Doris’s “royal” manner. At the last she had
not dared propose to Doris that her wrathful classmate should spend the
vacation with her. She returned to her room to inform Clara, who was
watching for her, that she had just missed getting into an awful mess.

With a pettish little jerk of her head Doris straightened in her chair.
She picked up the letter she had been writing from the table and began
reading it over. Then she sat staring reflectively at it, as though
deliberating some very special course. Next instant and she had torn the
unfinished letter in pieces. With the peculiar cresting of her golden
head, always a sign of defiance, she reached for her fountain pen where
it had rolled to one end of the table.

    “Dear Leslie:” she wrote, her green eyes darkening with her
    unquiet thoughts. “If you really meant what you said when I left
    you the other day at the Colonial, then I will take you at your
    word. Miss Harding, my roommate, has invited me to go home with
    her. I prefer to go to New York with you, provided you will not
    feel that I am an incumbrance to your plans. Let me know
    immediately what you wish to do.

                                           “Sincerely,
                                                     “DORIS MONROE.”

She read the brief note, folded it and prepared it for mailing. Then she
tucked the envelope in her portfolio, but without a stamp. She glanced
up at the clock. It was nearing six. Muriel would soon arrive. Of late
she and Muriel had exchanged the cheerful, careless greetings of
girlhood when they met in their room or on the campus. She had lately
begun to find a roommate might be a congenial comfort instead of a
tiresome inconvenience. Now it was all spoiled. Muriel had pretended
pity for her to other students. Of all things detested, Doris most
disliked being pitied.

In spite of her anger against Muriel, Doris could do no less than admit
to herself that Julia Peyton’s word was not to be taken above Muriel’s.
Yet she was sullenly convinced that Muriel must have said something
pitying about her to someone. How else could Julia have heard it? A
bright flush dyed her face as she thought of herself as being a
last-resort guest. Perhaps Muriel had been asked by Miss Dean to invite
her, merely as a welfare experiment. She had heard that Miss Dean was
fond of making such experiments. It was outrageous that _she_ should
have been selected as the victim of one. Other far-fetched, flashing
conjectures visited her troubled brain as she waited for Muriel’s
coming. She could not decide whether to treat Muriel with friendliness,
asking her frankly for an explanation, or to resort once again to her
old-time haughty indifference.

Muriel’s sudden breezy entrance and accompanying cry: “Where, oh, where,
are the lickerish lights?” took Doris’s mind off herself for a moment.
Muriel had already pressed the switch near the door. She made such an
attractive study in her gray squirrel coat and cap, cheeks carnation
pink, dark eyes snapping with sheer love of life Doris had no desire to
be haughty.

“I forgot the lights,” she said with a little shrug. She continued to
watch Muriel who was removing coat and cap. “I should like to ask you
something,” she said as Muriel hung up her wraps and commenced smoothing
her ruffled hair before a mirror.

“Ask ahead.” Muriel waved affable permission with her hair brush.

“Is there—are there—am I the only guest you have invited for Christmas?”
Unconsciously Doris’s voice had taken on a shade of its former icy
quality.

“You’re the only one who’s coming,” laughed Muriel. “You’re by no means
the only one I invited.”

“Oh!” Doris gave a queer little gasp.

“Did you hear about my dormitory girls? I invited them, and they
accepted. Then they had unexpected checks sent them from home and away
they went. I wandered around looking for some checkless, invitationless
dorms. There were no such stoojents.” Muriel declared good-humoredly. “I
supposed of course you were dated ahead for the holidays. Then I asked
you, and found you weren’t. I was so glad. I’d have felt sorry to think
of you poking around the campus over Christmas alone. You’re so far from
home, you see. Marjorie said the same and—”

“I don’t wish anyone to be sorry for me.” Doris’s almost fierce
utterance checked Muriel’s flow of cheery volubility.

“All right. I’m not sorry a bit. You only dreamed I was,” she retorted
in a tone of gay raillery.

“I’m not jesting. I am serious.” Doris drew herself up, a slim figure of
affronted dignity. All that Julia had said of Muriel was true. Only one
question, and Muriel had then practically admitted saying almost the
exact words Julia had quoted as hers.

“Oh-h-h?” Muriel voiced the monosyllable questioningly. Her bright
expression faded into concern. “Serious about what?” she asked.

“About not wishing you or Miss Dean or any of your friends to be sorry
for me. I have plenty of friends—delightful friends. Why, I’ve refused
half a dozen Christmas invitations! I have changed my mind about going
home with you. I’m not going. I shall go to New York instead. I might
have liked you, if you hadn’t tried to pity me behind my back. That was
worse than to my face. Please tell Miss Dean to mind her own affairs. I
am not a welfare experiment.”

Doris delivered the long answer to Muriel’s question in a voice that
grew more scornful with each word. She busied herself as she sputtered
forth her displeasure with the donning of hat and coat. With
“experiment” she snatched the letter she had written to Leslie Cairns
from the portfolio, hastily affixed a stamp to the envelope and rushed
from the room. Muriel watched her go, divided between vexation and
perplexity. What under the sun had happened to the Ice Queen?

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                               CHAPTER X.

                         THE COMING OF ST. NICK


“You know, if you are good, Santa Claus will surely visit you on
Christmas eve,” Marjorie was gravely saying to the bright-faced, alert
little old lady ensconced in a big cushiony chair before the cheerful
open fireplace. Marjorie emphasized her injunction with gentle little
shakes of a forefinger.

“How good do I have to be? Will Santa Claus come down the chimney?”
anxiously questioned Miss Susanna in a high treble that evoked a burst
of merriment from the rest of the little group gathered about the fire.
“Miss Susanna’s bodyguard,” Vera had lightly named Leila, Robin,
Marjorie and herself.

“How good do you think you can be?” Marjorie paused to allow her
question to take effect.

“That will depend upon the reward of goodness,” chuckled the old lady.

“You are altogether too precautious.” Marjorie simulated disapproval.
“But you can’t fool Santa. He will know the minute he sees you just what
sort of little girl you are.”

Miss Susanna peeped through her fingers at Marjorie in a funny, abashed,
child-like fashion that elicited fresh laughter. “You can’t fool me,
either. He never _could_ come down the chimney and out of that
fireplace. I’m going to tell him what you said, when I see him. Then
maybe he won’t like you,” she predicted in juvenile triumph.

“Oh, I didn’t say he’d come down _our_ chimney,” reprovingly corrected
Marjorie. “I only said he _might_ visit you. He always _used_ to come in
at that window over there.” She pointed to one of the living room east
windows which opened upon a side veranda.

Miss Susanna appeared impressed at last. “Yes; he could get in here that
way. I guess I’d better be good.” A little shout greeted her reluctant
admission. “Such a day as I’ve had, children.” She gave a sigh of
perfect happiness. “I’m certainly beginning to make up for some of the
customs and rites of old Christmas I have missed.”

The jolly Christmas company from Hamilton College had arrived in Sanford
in the evening of the previous day. They had separated briefly at the
station to go to their various destinations blithely promising Marjorie
to be on hand by ten o’clock the next morning to go to a neighboring
woods on a winter picnic. The express object of the picnic was the
securing and bringing home of the Christmas tree to Castle Dean.

The hard labor part of the expedition had fallen to General Dean. He had
complained of the detail in a loud, ungeneral-like manner as a “one-man,
wood-chopping stunt,” and had immediately engaged the services of Hal
Macy, Charlie Stevens and Danny Seabrooke. The wages they demanded were:
“Lots of good eats, and a chance to hang around with the crowd.” The
wily general affably agreed to their demand without consulting either
the commissary or entertainment departments.

It had proved a memorably merry day. The fun began when the rollicking,
cheering forest expedition had piled onto the two long bob sleds, each
drawn by four big, satin-coated field horses. It had continued until the
young foresters had come singing home through the dusk, the sleds laden
with fragrant balsam trees and boughs.

Bred to thrive in the great outdoors the sturdy mistress of Hamilton
Arms had enjoyed the winter picnic no less than her youthful companions.
While there had been sufficient snow to permit the use of the bob sleds,
it was of the frost-like crystallized kind. The sun had peered curiously
forth from his winter quarters, had apparently approved the gay winter
cavalcade. He had flashed in and out of fleecy clouds at them on their
way to the woods. Later, when they had hilariously disposed themselves
on the bob sleds for an al fresco luncheon he had come out in all his
glory to shine on them.

What most amused the girls was the crush which Miss Susanna and Hal
immediately developed for each other. Miss Hamilton and Hal had met at
the June Commencement of Hamilton College of the previous summer.
Devotion to Marjorie had formed an instant, though unspoken bond between
them. Hal had somehow gained the comforting impression that Miss Susanna
approved of him for Marjorie. The shrewd old lady had not miscalculated
his worth. She had been too wise, however even to mention him to
Marjorie. Nor had Marjorie ever mentioned Hal to her save as an old
friend, or as Jerry’s brother.

The wise old Lady of the Arms had seen too much of heartache,
misunderstanding and vain regret not to appreciate the wonder of the
love which Hal held for Marjorie. Miss Susanna had had her own romance.
It had ended summarily in her girlhood when she found the man she had
loved unworthy. In true love itself she still believed, though she
skeptically rated it as so rare as to be almost extinct. Then had come
Hal, with his clean-cut good looks and wistful blue eyes. She could only
receive him into her interested regard with the hope Marjorie might one
day “wake up to love.”

Friends of Marjorie Dean knew the quartette of stories relative to her
doings at Sanford High School. They form the “MARJORIE DEAN HIGH SCHOOL
SERIES.” These friends have also followed her through her four years at
Hamilton College by medium of the “MARJORIE DEAN COLLEGE SERIES.” Her
subsequent return to Hamilton campus as a post graduate has been set
down in the first two volumes of the “POST GRADUATE SERIES,” entitled
respectively: “MARJORIE DEAN, COLLEGE POST GRADUATE,” and “MARJORIE
DEAN, MARVELOUS MANAGER.”

“It has been a good day; now let it be—good night,” declaimed Leila with
a dramatic gesture.

“Good night,” Vera sweetly responded. “So sorry you are going.” She
smiled honeyed dismissal of Leila.

“But I am not going. Now why should you think I was? I see little
sadness in your round face, Midget,” was the satiric retort.

“You said ‘good night.’ Of course, if you didn’t know what you were
saying—” Vera shrugged eloquently.

“Can you not allow your Celtic friend to quote from that most celebrated
of all playwrights, Leila Harper?” demanded Leila, with an air of deep
injury. “Is not that the hero’s parting speech from my latest and best
house play? I can prove it by Robin. Did I not nearly ruin my fine Irish
voice drilling the hero to say it with expression?”

In process of delivering this scathing rebuke to Midget Leila bent down
and swept Ruffle, Marjorie’s stately Angora cat, into her arms. “It is
you and I who will now have a talk about Santa Claus,” she genially
informed the struggling, fluffy-haired captive.

“N-n-u-u-u!” objected Ruffle in a deep displeased tone.

“So you can say ‘no.’ Well, it is ‘yes’ you should say. Let me tell you
it is not about Santa Claus, but about Ruffle Claws we should be
talking. You have a fine sharp assortment.” Ruffle had threateningly
spread his claws but had refrained from using them. “You are more gentle
than I should be if some tall, wide person had the boldness to swing me
up off my feet.” Leila willingly released the big, handsome gray and
white puss.

Ruffle immediately sidled over to Miss Susanna, waving his plumy tail.
He began a slow walk around her chair, keeping his luminous gray-green
eyes fastened persistently upon her. Presently deciding that his mute
plea was in vain he hopped up into her lap and settled himself upon it.

“Here comes General. Look out, Miss Susanna. He is more dangerous than
Ruffle. He would as soon tip you out of that chair as not.” Marjorie
sent out this timely warning.

“Oh, I heard you.” Mr. Dean had stepped briefly into the living room on
his way to the street. “I can’t stop to assert myself. Tomorrow I’ll
spend a Merry Christmas dumping usurpers out of my chair. Anyone found
sitting in it will be eligible to dumping. All persons thus dumped must
pick themselves up without the slightest assistance from me.”

“Your hear that, Ruffle?” Robin Page laughingly reached forward and
gently tweaked one of Ruffle’s white whiskers.

“Tomorrow never comes,” Marjorie said teasingly. “But, here’s an
unofficial order for you, General Dean;” she pointed a forceful finger
at her father. “Pick up your detachment as soon as you can and hike
for—you know where,” she added with mischievous lights dancing in her
brown eyes.

“Yes, Lieutenant,” Mr. Dean saluted. “Never give your superior officer
orders. Under the circumstances, however, I will overlook your lack of
proper military respect.”

“Thank you, General.” Marjorie saluted with a great show of respect. Her
parting injunction to her superior officer, delivered in the next breath
was deplorably lacking in that particular military requisite. “You’d
better overlook it and obey my order,” she called after him as he left
the room, laughing.

“Something is going on here besides a possible visit from Saint Nick,”
asserted Vera positively. “The air of mystery in this barrack has been
growing ever since dinner. Why did Captain disappear so suddenly, right
after dinner, without a word to anyone? And Delia went with her. They
slid out the front door in such a rush!”

“It’s Christmas Eve, you know.” Marjorie made this trite explanation
with great cheerfulness. “All sorts of remarkable things are likely to
happen on Christmas Eve.”

“Then the rest of the crowd must have been lost in this mysterious
atmosphere,” commented Leila with naive conviction. “It is eight
o’clock, and not one of them here. I have my suspicions of you, Beauty.
You are too full of mystery to be reliable. Who knows what dark
Christmas contraption you have framed for the poor Lady of the Arms and
three more of us?”

“Who knows but I?” Marjorie tantalized. “Oh, well; it wasn’t so very
long ago that I walked into a campus contraption all of you had set for
me. Please don’t forget to remember that.”

The prolonged peal of the door bell sent her running on light feet to
the door. A sound of soft voices and smothered giggles in the hall, then
she and Muriel Harding entered the living room.

“What is it you know that you think so funny?” Leila began on Muriel. “I
always supposed I knew more than you. It seems I do not.”

“Of course you don’t,” Muriel was quick to assure. “You now see what
conceited delusions you’ve cherished. For further delusions consult the
stars.”

“I should be ashamed to consult them about such foolishness.” Leila’s
smiling urbanity matched Muriel’s own bland assurance. “They might
choose to rate me as a dummy.”

“Both doors into the drawing room are locked.” Robin Page now added to
the case against Lieutenant Dean. “I was going to charm you with an
after-dinner Christmas carol and, bing! Robin was locked out.”

Muriel and Marjorie treated Robin’s plaintive announcement as a huge
joke. They locked arms, sat down on the davenport exactly together with
a frisky jounce and shed beaming effulgence on their companions.

“There has been a villain’s convention somewhere,” growled Leila in the
deep rumble she called her “Celtic double-bass.” “Speak, Lady of the
Arms. Name the arch villain.” She made a sudden melodramatic lunge
toward Miss Susanna, who had been following the exchange of exuberant
raillery in enjoying silence.

“Sh-h-h-h.” Miss Susanna raised a small, cautioning hand. “I’m trying to
be good. Don’t break the spell.”

Simultaneous with her warning came a new sound. It proceeded from the
very window Marjorie had pointed out to Miss Susanna as a possible
entrance for Santa Claus. The window was slowly rising, shoved upward by
a pair of energetic arms. Came a flash of shiny black, cherry red and
snowy white. Into the room bounced Santa Claus, resplendent in high
black boots and long-coated scarlet suit. His rosy face was framed in
the venerable whiteness of luxurious cotton locks. His flaming costume
was also lavishly trimmed with the same useful cotton.

“Good evening, all,” he piped in a high, cheerful voice. “I have come to
find a little girl named Susie Hamilton. I am going to take her and her
little playmates to the North Pole with me to spend Christmas Eve.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XI.

                         OFF TO THE NORTH POLE


The amazed hush that followed Santa Claus’s hospitable declaration was
lifted by a gleeful chuckle from Miss Susanna. With the appearance into
the room of the fabled Kris Kringle she had hastily set Ruffle from her
lap to the floor and risen to her feet. Ruffle placidly took advantage
of the situation to gain the coveted chair.

Leila and Vera were hardly less diverted over the sight of Santa Claus
than was the last of the Hamiltons. Neither of them knew home as
Marjorie, Robin, Muriel and their intimates knew its fond meaning.
Leila’s Celtic love of the mystic, fanciful and fictional, had been
shared by Vera during their years of comradeship at Hamilton College.

“I’m that little girl. I’m Susie Hamilton.” Miss Susanna walked slowly
toward Santa Claus with a droll assumption of shyness.

“You don’t say so? How are you, Susie?” Santa gave the supposed little
girl a gripping handshake. “I heard you had been very good. I hope these
other little girls have.” He turned very blue, very suspicious eyes upon
Muriel, who merely beamed at him familiarly and inquired: “Where’s your
friend?”

“I see trouble ahead for one of these infants,” remarked a voice from
Santa’s beard that sounded strangely like that of Jerry Macy.
Immediately recovering his high-pitched voice Santa announced: “My
friend, the King of the North Pole is outside. As my reindeer are all
very busy tonight he is going to give me a lift.”

The King of the North Pole evidently yearned for an introduction. A head
covered with a peaked, close-fitting hood of glistening, glittering
white, followed by a pair of broad shoulders, draped in the same
glittering, frost-like material, appeared in the window frame. The
reigning monarch of the North Pole, after a brief struggle in passage
with a voluminous white cape, landed triumphantly among the admiring
company.

A conspicuous bulge in the right side of his glittering cape disappeared
as he drew forth a fluffy white worsted coat and held it open for Miss
Susanna to slip on. Next moment he had picked her up, carried her across
the room, swung her through the window and to her feet on the porch
floor. Gathering his cape closely about him, he launched through the
open frame after her. Again he caught her up, laughing and unresisting,
and ran down the walk with her to where a little, old-fashioned cutter,
painted bright red and with furry white lap robes awaited her. A large,
mild-eyed white horse was harnessed to the cutter, his harness gay with
scarlet ribbon rosettes. The King lifted Miss Susanna into the cutter,
tucked the furs about her then stood looking laughingly down at her. Nor
would he utter a sound. He merely waved a re-assuring hand toward Santa
Claus, who had dashed out the front door and was now running down the
walk at a kind of wild gallop.

“You’re next,” Santa shrieked over a plump shoulder at the knot of
pursuing girls. Reaching the sleigh the juvenile patron saint made a
lively leap into it beside Miss Susanna, gathered up the reins, clucked
to the horse and whirled away with the Lady of the Arms.

“No time like the present.” The King of the North Pole found his voice.
“Either get into my chariot, or be bundled in,” he threatened with
smiles. The chariot had been parked behind the sleigh. It greatly
resembled Jerry’s limousine.

“I’m not ready to go to the North Pole, your Majesty,” blithely
petitioned Marjorie. “I haven’t yet locked up my castle.”

“Delia was at the back door when I came in the window. Want to be
bundled in?” The King sent significant glances from the car to Marjorie
and back again. He had already gallantly assisted the other girls into
the limousine.

“No, indeed.” Marjorie followed her companions into the back of the
machine. There they found a collection of Jerry’s wraps placed to meet
the emergency. Marjorie smiled to herself as she draped a wide fleecy
scarf over her silk-clad shoulders. As the King of the North Pole, Hal
had the old, teasing school-boy manner she liked best in him. She hoped
he would keep to it throughout her stay in Sanford.

It presently developed that the King of the North Pole had decided to
move his icy domain over Christmas to the Macy’s ball room. There it was
that Santa also had his headquarters. Miss Susanna was whisked to the
top of the Macy’s big house in an elevator and escorted into the ball
room, now festally decorated from end to end with fragrant balsam
boughs, long trails of sturdy green ground pine and glossy-leaved
flaming-berried holly. From the central electric chandelier depended a
bunch of pearly mistletoe berries.

Santa Claus’s eight reindeer had reached home ahead of their master.
Jerry’s four “dorms,” Ronny’s two, Lucy and Kathie, had chosen this
detail. Their costumes had been planned for them by Jerry and carried
out by Mrs. Dean and Mrs. Macy several days before the arrival at
Sanford of the celebrated reindeer themselves. Their brown cotton
flannel suits of bloomers and close-fitting knee coats, together with
brown hose and sneakers were quite realistic when topped by brown cotton
flannel antlered hoods. The antlers were triumphs of pasteboard
ingenuity. Their only drawback was their tendency to wabble at times,
thereby giving their wearers an appearance of recklessness not
attributed to the famous Santa Claus eight. Harnesses strung with little
bells completed their costumes.

At the far end of the room in one corner stood an immense Christmas
tree, resplendent with its glitter of gilt, silver and gorgeous-hued
ornaments. At the foot of the tree was stacked a wealth of festively
wrapped, ribbon-bound bundles. The eight reindeer escorted Santa Claus
and Miss Susanna gaily up the hall to where a deep, garnet velvet Sleepy
Hollow chair stood awaiting an occupant. She had hardly been established
in it when the King of the North Pole and his party arrived.

“My reindeer will entertain you with a song and dance,” Santa Claus
piped up, when the first buzz of voices and echoing laughter had died
out in the big room. “After that my fiddler will furnish music and we
will all have a dance. I will lead with my little friend, Susie. Please
don’t all try to dance at once with the King of the North Pole.”

“No one except Jeremiah Macy would offer such simple advice,” Muriel
pleasantly told the king himself. “Too bad you have no gentleman friends
besides Santa Claus.”

“Oh, but I have,” was the king’s cheering disclosure.

“Really?” Muriel showed deep interest. “Where do you keep them?”

“That’s a secret.” The king put on an aggravatingly wise expression.
“There are lots of good hiding places at the North Pole.”

“Just as I thought!” Muriel exclaimed in triumph. “I knew you and
Jeremiah couldn’t stay away from home all day at the picnic and do this
decorating between dinner time and eight o’clock. You had help—h-e-l-p!”

“Certainly I had,” the king admitted. “General and Captain were here and
helped the Governor and Mother trim the tree. So did Delia. But they’ve
gone home now to trim Marjorie’s tree.” He regarded Muriel with an
innocent candor which the sparkle in his eyes contradicted.

“You can’t fool me, Mister King of the North Pole Macy,” she said as the
eight reindeer trotted out upon the waxed floor to do their bit toward
entertaining. Before they had time to begin their song Muriel’s fingers
flashed to her lips. Twice she sounded the sharp clear whistle which she
and Jerry had long ago made Hal teach them how to blow on the fingers.

“Now you have done it!” The king laughed nevertheless as the ball room
door swung open and a troop of joyfully grinning young men filed in, led
by Danny Seabrooke. “Who told you the signal?” he demanded.

“I knew if Danny Seabrooke was within hearing of it, he’d come at that
whistle. And he did,” laughed Muriel. “You had Danny and his crowd
tucked away in the garret next to the ball room.”

“You should have seen them work after we brought the decorations up here
from the wagon. We had only about an hour and a half for the job and I
had to leave before it was finished and go with Jerry—Santa Claus, I
should say.” Hal exhibited boyish pride in the success of the
decorating. “I’d have invited the fellows anyway, on my own say-so.
Think Danny and I are crazy to be the only fellows in such an
aggregation of girls?”

At sight of the troop of joyful intruders panic overtook two of the
reindeer and they fled to the safety of Miss Susanna’s protection. One
of them was Lucy Warner, who was noted for her bashful fear of young
men. The other was Neva Worden, an equally timid dormitory girl. Neither
would consent to perform for the benefit of the newcomers. Jerry and
Ronny, in giggling distraction over this unexpected hitch in the program
finally posed them, one on either side of Miss Susanna’s chair,
ostensibly as ornaments, while their six unabashed companions sang a
jolly English roundelay, at the same time executing a lively little
dance around the Lady of the Arms, waving their antlers and jingling
their bells.

Phil, as the fiddler, presently came forward to play for the dance Santa
Claus had graciously announced. Her usual picturesque style was
intensified by a costume consisting of baggy black velvet knickers, a
velvet coat of forest green with a skull cap to match. Her white cotton
blouse fell away from her firm white throat in a wide rolling collar.
Two peacock feathers were thrust through her cap. Black stockings and
brown suede sandals lent the last touch of the artistic unusual to her.
Her violin swung from her shoulder on a broad green ribbon. Her bright
loosened hair under her tiny cap gave her a thoroughly Bohemian
appearance.

Tucking her violin under her chin she drew forth the familiar
marshalling strains of the Virginia reel. She raised her head a little
from her violin and laughed softly as her quick ear caught the sound of
another violin besides her own. As she continued to play a slim
black-eyed boy with a shock of heavy black hair thrown off his forehead
came forward from where he had been concealed behind the Christmas tree.
Under his chin was a violin. He was playing the old reel in perfect time
with Phil. This was her introduction to Charlie Stevens, now a “big” boy
and qualified to play in “a big band.”

Miss Susanna and Santa Claus led off in the reel. The King of the North
Pole followed with tiny Vera. Leila accepted Danny Seabrooke as a
partner and Robin fell to Miles Burton. Ronny danced it with Mr. Macy,
who had come up to “see the fun,” and Mrs. Macy danced with Harry Lenox.
The rest of the girls paired off with the remainder of Hal’s delegation
of Sanford boys, and the house rang with the laughter and cheer of the
occasion.

Marjorie’s partner chanced to be Danny Seabrooke’s brother Donald, a
junior at Weston High. As she stood between Leila and Barbara Severn in
the merry line of girls awaiting her turn to dance she was reminded of
the changes that had taken place since the first time she had danced a
Virginia reel in the Macy’s ball room. She sorely missed Connie and
Laurie. This was the second Christmas Eve without them. She recalled how
she and Laurie and Connie had worked to make a happy Christmas for
little Charlie when first she had known Connie and him. Now here was
Charlie, a tall, sturdy boy, with not many years between him and
manhood.

Three girls were missing tonight from the old happy sextette. Connie,
Irma and Susan Atwell. Connie was far away across the ocean. Irma was
visiting her aunt in New York and buying her trousseau. The Atwells had
moved to San Francisco. Harriet Delaney, the seventh chum the sextette
had invited into their close little band, had made a successful New York
debut in grand opera. Mary Raymond, her first chum, had long been in
distant Colorado. And Mary was going to be married!

They were all dearer to her than ever, she reflected. A warmth of fresh
affection for her absent friends surged up in her heart. Followed a
sense of tender exultation as she looked up and down the rows of gay,
voluable dancers. How very rich in present friends she was! Present and
absent, they were all hers; to have and to hold. Surely love, the love
of which Hal had wistfully talked to her, could not be more wonderful
than friendship.

Involuntarily her eyes strayed to Hal, vividly, romantically handsome in
his sparkling white regalia of the frozen zone. “He looks like the hero
of a Norse myth,” was her thought. “When we go back to Hamilton, I’m
going to ask Leila to write a Norse play and call it—” Marjorie
deliberated. Her gaze continued to rest unsentimentally on Hal as he
stood at the foot of the line, exchanging humorous sallies with the two
fiddlers. “The Knight of the Northern Sun,” she decided inspirationally.
“Gussie Forbes can play the part of the knight. Her shoulders are almost
as broad as Hal’s.”

Occupied with the fun of the moment, Hal failed to note the admiring,
concentrated gaze of the sparkling brown eyes he loved best. He had
resolutely steeled himself to play the part for which Marjorie had cast
him in the drama of life—that of devoted friend. Nor did Marjorie dream
that in visualizing Hal as a magnificent Norse knight she had challenged
a romantic side of her nature of which she had not believed herself
possessed.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XII.

                        CHRISTMAS AT CASTLE DEAN

             “Have peace my lambs on Christmas Day,
              The white light shines across the way.
              The angelkind look down and sing
              Upon the little new-born King.
              The manger’s straw—a sorry bed
              For Him to lay His baby head;
              Yet, sweet, my lambs, the light streamed free
              Across man’s lost eternity.”


Miss Susanna awoke on Christmas morning with the sound of fresh, young,
tuneful voices in her delighted ears. Her door stood half open which
explained why she could understand so clearly the quaint words of the
old Irish carol which floated up to her on an harmonic tide from
downstairs.

She was so raptly engaged in listening she neither heard Marjorie’s
light step or saw her witching face framed for a brief second in the
half-open doorway. Marjorie gleefully tiptoed down stairs to report the
awakening of the Lady of the Arms.

“Let us sing Brooke Hamilton’s favorite, ‘God rest you merry,
gentlemen,’ though it is one merry little lady who will get no more rest
in bed this day,” Leila said drolly, after hearing Marjorie’s report.

“You should have seen her! She was sitting straight up in bed, looking
so happy, and as though she was loving the music. After we sing this
carol, I’ll take her breakfast up to her. After breakfast we’ll escort
her downstairs to see our tree and—”

“You can’t lose me,” remarked a matter-of-fact voice from the doorway.
Miss Susanna trotted toward the group at the piano, looking smaller than
ever in her warm, blue eider down dressing gown.

“So we notice,” laughed Vera.

“And I notice you have been booning, as the Irish say, with Jeremiah
Macy,” was Leila’s sly comment. “Such slang!”

“Something like that,” impishly returned Miss Susanna. She showed marked
enjoyment of her own lapse into slang.

“What is your pleasure first, Lady of the Arms?” Marjorie inquired, as
she led Miss Susanna to a brocade chaise lounge, the nearest seat to a
gorgeous heavily-laden Christmas tree.

“Sing me his favorite carol.” Miss Susanna gently tweaked one of
Marjorie’s brown curls. To please the girls she had allowed her curls to
hang, decorated by a pale pink satin topknot bow, which matched her pale
pink negligee.

“With pleasure.” Marjorie dropped a light kiss on the old lady’s hand,
then joined the group at the piano. Robin instantly touched the light
opening strains and started the stately English carol.

They sang it as they had sung it many times before with all the
expression and animation of youth for its old-world charm. When they had
finished Robin slipped from the piano stool with: “No more carols after
that for a while. _N’est ce pas_, Miss Susanna.”

“_Oui_,” responded the last of the Hamiltons absently. She glanced
immediately at Robin, however, with her quick bright smile. “I will tell
you some day why it was his favorite carol,” she said. “Not today. It is
too sad a story for today. I wish only to be happy while I am at Castle
Dean.”

“And you’re going to be. The next happiness today will be breakfast. You
upset Captain’s and my plan to serve it to you in bed. And the next
happiness after that will be our Christmas tree.” Marjorie caught Miss
Susanna’s hands and pulled her to her feet with a frisky show of energy.
She placed light hands on the old lady’s shoulders and marched her ahead
to the dining room.

Miss Hamilton was the only late breakfaster, the girls having been up
and stirring early. Each had had a mysterious visit to the drawing room
tree to make, there to deposit under its spreading branches her own
consignment of holiday bundles. Miss Susanna’s consignment had been
turned over to Captain Dean with due secrecy, shortly after her arrival
at Castle Dean.

Her bodyguard trailed faithfully in her wake to the dining room there to
supplement the breakfast they had already eaten with sticky cinnamon
buns and coffee. “Not because we are stuffers,” Robin carefully
exonerated; “merely to keep you company, Miss Susanna.”

Afterward they went upstairs in leisurely fashion to dress for the day.
It was to be “a regular dress parade,” each girl having brought with her
from Hamilton what she considered her prettiest afternoon gown. General
Dean had ordered assembly in the drawing room at eleven o’clock sharp.
He had placed conspicuously in the hall a large notice which stated:

    “The Army is hereby ordered to appear in the assembly room of
    the barrack at eleven o’clock A.M. in full dress uniform. Any
    one appearing in forage cap, sweater, boudoir cap or goloshes
    will be severely disciplined. No carrying of canes, bumbershoots
    or other civil impedimenta will be tolerated. Tardiness and
    failure to comply with orders will be punished by loss of
    presents. Forfeited presents will be confiscated by General Dean
    as chief nabbing officer of the day. Signed. GENERAL DEAN.”

The worthy general himself presently appeared and took a determined
stand in the hall where he could keep an eye on matters. Frequent
ringing of the door bell kept him occupied in hustling to the door.
Before long he had admitted Lucy, Kathie, Ronny, Jerry, Helen, Hal,
Charlie Stevens and Muriel.

Upstairs Miss Susanna and the four girls wondered as they completed
their Christmas toilettes what was the occasion for the treble shrieks
of mirth which invariably followed the opening of the heavy front door.

“What is that ridiculous general of yours up to now, I wonder?” Miss
Susanna said to Marjorie and her mother, who had come into the old
lady’s room to admire her in the beauty of an imported gown of wisteria
satin, paneled and further embellished with rose-patterned deep natural
silk lace.

“Let’s find out this minute. Come, my fair lady in silk and lace.”
Marjorie crooked her arm invitingly to Miss Hamilton. “Ready, girls?”
she called back, as the two began a buoyant descent of the stairs, with
Captain, smiling indulgently, in their wake.

“Te, he, he,” Miss Susanna’s own special chuckle was heard as she caught
sight of General Dean.

The high executive of military maneuvers of the Dean Barrack had obeyed
his own order to appear in full dress. He wore a pair of leaf green
trousers and a scarlet uniform coat heavily trimmed with gilt braid. On
his head perched a bright green fez with a long scarlet plume curving
around it and far down on one shoulder. Added to the plume a sprig of
holly had been neatly fastened on the front of the fez.

“I see nothing to laugh at,” he sternly reprimanded the mirthful trio on
the stairs. “I am giving what I consider a faithful representation of
the holiday spirit.”

“You look like a chocolate nut nightmare,” Lieutenant Dean
disrespectfully compared.

“I never saw one, so how can I possibly know how I look.”

“A two-pound ration of chocolate nuts eaten before Taps will introduce
you to one,” retorted the lieutenant.

“Two hours in the guard house for disrespect to a superior officer,”
penalized General Dean. “Forward march. Don’t block the highway.
Discipline must be preserved in the Army. Three at the head of the
stairs—quick time, March,” he rumbled as he spied Leila, Vera and Robin
about to descend.

Miss Hamilton’s entrance into the drawing room was the signal for a
chorus of Christmas greetings from the lively company now in possession
of the apartment. Jerry led her under the mistletoe bough, which
decorated the top of the indirect dome, and kissed her on both cheeks.
The others followed her example.

“What have you done with your guests?” she demanded of her affectionate
callers. “I am surprised at you for running away from them! What must
they think of you?” She drew down her small features in exaggerated
disapproval. Her bright, bird-like eyes wandered from one to another of
the frolicsome group. She read pleasant, suppressed excitement in every
face. She innocently attributed the cause of the mysterious, smiling air
of the callers to a probable delightful conspiracy on their part against
General and Captain Dean. She did not stop to consider herself. She was
of the grateful opinion that she had been already surfeited with
generous, loving attention.

“We have to obey orders.” Lucy Warner volunteered this over-solemn
information. “‘Obedience is a soldier’s first duty,’” she quoted
tritely.

“When the bugle calls, et cetera, et cetera, you know,” Jerry helped the
old saw along. She waved a plump hand by way of furthering her vague
explanation.

“I never heard a bugle call et cetera, et cetera,” General Dean remarked
in interested wonder. “I shall investigate the matter as soon as I am
off duty.”

“I’ll help you,” offered Miss Susanna, to the open and pronounced glee
of the high executive officer. “Such a phenomenon should be
investigated.”

“We may need the services of these two civilians,” General Dean airily
indicated Hal and Charlie Stevens. “Let me see. What was it we were
going to investigate? I have so many important matters on my mind, I—”
He grew cheerfully apologetic.

“Don’t try to implicate us,” warned Hal.

“Please, sir, we’re only a couple of Christmas strays,” Charlie Stevens
rolled humorous black eyes at Mr. Dean. He was still the droll youngster
of early childhood days, but now coming into a boyish appreciation of
the spirit of humor which always prevailed in the little circle of young
folks unconsciously dominated by Marjorie’s friendly ways.

“Sh-h-h! I know it.” The General whispered loudly to Charlie behind his
hand. “I hadn’t intended to mention it.” He elevated his heavy eyebrows
to an alarming degree. “Since you’ve given yourself and your partner
away you’d best try to become social successes.”

“Much obliged, old top.” Hal indecorously lifted the General’s Christmas
fez from his head, then jammed it down again on the presiding officer’s
crown. “I’m going to offer the season’s greetings to my little lavender
Lady.” He and Charlie at once began to pay extravagant court to Miss
Susanna.

General Dean continued to buzz about among the congenial little throng
with a great deal of loud remark concerning “the promoting of good
behavior in the Army.” At length he succeeded in seating the animated,
festive detachment to his liking. He assigned Miss Susanna to the center
of the gold brocade chaise lounge and ranged Marjorie and Leila on each
side of her. The others he ordered into an open group about the golden
dais. Finally he appeared satisfied. He crossed the room to the gift
tree at a magnificent military strut:

“Attention,” he boomed in a voice so stentorian it set the chattering
formation to laughing.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             CHAPTER XIII.

                            THE VIOLET GIRL


In spite of laughter the Army obeyed the command with gratifying
promptness. They stood up, saluted; remained standing. Every pair of
bright eyes was fixed on General Dean. Only one pair, however, betrayed
curious speculation. Their owner had suddenly become canny. Miss Susanna
decided the conspiracy was not against Mr. Dean, since he appeared to
head it. Captain looked as though she knew all about it, too. The old
lady concluded with affectionate vexation that it must be against
herself.

General Dean had returned the salute. While the Army still remained at
standing he went over to the Christmas tree and took from it a large,
oval, canvas-wrapped object. He loosened the canvas wrapping, but did
not remove it. Then he came forward with it and took up a position still
well away from Miss Hamilton, but exactly opposite her.

As he faced the sturdy little figure in the chaise lounge his levity
dropped from him. “Miss Susanna, the Eleven Travelers wish you a very
merry Christmas,” he said, his tone impressive in its pleasant
sincerity. “They have traveled far and wide in the country of College to
find a fitting expression of their love for you. They now feel sure they
have found the one thing under the sun which will please you most.”

A sudden swift movement of one hand and the enveloping canvas fell from
the oval, plain gold setting of a portrait. Life size and wonderful from
out of the oval frame smiled a lovely, familiar face. There was a
life-like quality about the portrait of the beautiful girl in the
violet-shaded evening frock, with the huge bunch of purple English
violets pinned to the waist of her gown. It was so utterly natural as to
wring a sharp emotional little “Ah-h-h!” from Miss Susanna. It claimed a
united breath of admiration from the others as well.

“I’m going to—to—cry, Marvelous Manager,” quavered Miss Susanna. “I
don’t—want—to—”

“Cry right on Marjorie’s shoulder.” Marjorie cuddled the old lady’s head
against her breast. “Only I’d rather you laugh.”

“I shall weep myself. Now I know why General set me foreninst Miss
Susanna,” Leila grew unduly Irish. “Now for my tears, and I know I can
weep the loudest.” She sent out a sudden melancholy banshee wail that
raised a shout from the Army and sent Miss Susanna into wild, hysterical
mirth.

“Start something jolly and keep it going,” counseled Jerry of the other
girls. “We won’t give her a minute’s chance to be sad and splashy over
beloved Bean’s beloved portrait.”

She stretched out a hand to Ronny, who took it and offered Muriel her
free one. Next minute she had gathered up Mrs. Dean, Helen, Lucy, Robin
and Kathie. They took hands and pranced about in front of the chaise
lounge. Jerry led them vocally, loudly and a trifle off key with: “Come
choose your east; come choose your west. These are the three we all love
best.” The dancers were soon singing it at top voice.

General Dean, not to be outdone, hospitably formed another prancing
little circle with Hal, Charlie and Delia, which gyrated so rapidly
despite Delia’s giggling protests, and executed such quaint pas-seuls as
to turn what might have been a tearful moment into one of wild hilarity.

“No, I couldn’t cry to save me,” Miss Hamilton presently declared. “I’m
glad of it. I hate tears as much as a man hates to see them. I shall
love my violet girl every day in the year, and hang her in my room where
I can see her first thing in the morning; last thing at night. It is a
magnificent study, child. Who painted it? When did you ever have time to
sit for it?” The old lady showed decided curiosity upon this point.

“I posed for it at the beach last summer, Miss Susanna. The Travelers
thought you might like it best of anything we could choose. It was
Leila’s idea. We planned it at Commencement. Raoul Verlaine, a friend of
the General’s, painted it. He is famed for portraits. He was in Sanford
after I came back from Hamilton in the late summer. I gave him the last
sittings then. That’s all.” Marjorie paused, overtaken by the sense of
embarrassment which visited her whenever she stopped to realize that she
had figured as the central object in the affair.

Placed upon a light easel which had held the portrait since completion,
the party of friends gathered around it to admire afresh both the work
and subject. Marjorie, overwhelmed by her own importance, left Miss
Susanna’s side and slipped from the room. She went into the living room,
and, standing at a window, looked out happily. She was glad to forget
herself in a rapt contemplation of the wide snow-covered lawn, the tall
bare trees, the deserted pagoda; all her treasures of home. She thought
Miss Susanna could not love Hamilton Arms better than she loved her own
Castle Dean.

Reminded that the tree was yet to be stripped of its Christmas bloom,
she turned from the window to go back to the merry, buzzing company in
the drawing room. She slipped back into the room as quietly as she had
left it. General was calling for attention and making ready to bestir
himself as a kind of military Santa Claus.

On the way across the room to her father, who was standing near the
tree, Marjorie’s eyes came to rest on Hal. He and Charlie Stevens were
standing back from the portrait in an interested viewing of it. Charlie
was talking animatedly and gesturing like a foreigner. Hal was listening
with apparent gravity. In his face, as he viewed the portrait, was an
expression of repression that cut Marjorie to the heart. It was the look
of a man, smiling under torture. She came into a new and depressing
understanding of the depth of Hal’s love for her.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XIV.

                        THE PURSUIT OF PLEASURE


Muriel Harding had gone home on the Christmas vacation more puzzled than
hurt over Doris Monroe’s sudden swerve from affability to hostility. It
was not in Muriel’s easy-going nature to trouble long over anything, no
matter how serious.

Since Marjorie had wished her to invite Doris to go with them to Sanford
she had promptly acquainted her chum with “the Ice Queen’s return to the
glacial period.” When Marjorie had perplexedly questioned “Why?” Muriel
had replied with good-natured impatience: “Why does it rain? Because it
does? Why is the Ice Queen? Because she is.”

During the last two or three busy days before vacation claimed them
Doris and Muriel had employed monosyllables in addressing each other. Of
the two Doris was the more greatly disturbed over the strained relations
she had brought about. She had more real liking for Muriel than for any
other student on the campus. Underneath her cold, indifferent exterior
she had a critical appreciation of Muriel’s quick wit and extreme
cleverness. The majority of the students whom she graciously allowed to
admire her she took small interest in. Her approach and Muriel’s toward
mutual friendliness had been very slow. It had progressed, however, in
spite of the groundless dislike she persisted in holding against
Muriel’s intimates.

She had gone furiously out of the Hall to mail the letter to Leslie
Cairns vowing that she would never speak to Muriel again. Her
tempestuous resolve was not so much the result of anger as of wounded
pride. What a poor opinion Muriel Harding must have of her had been her
chagrined thought as she crossed the campus to the mail box. Muriel had
invited those wretched, beggarly off-campus students to her home first.
_She_ had only served Muriel as a last resort. Besides Muriel had
discussed her with Marjorie Dean; no doubt had belittled her. Miss Dean
had chosen to regard her as a welfare problem. Very likely Miss Dean was
jealous of her because she had won the Beauty contest.

Though Doris did not suspect it the full-grown soul she possessed was
awakening and beginning to clamor for attention. The true depths of her
nature were trying to rise and overflow her more superficial side.
Selfish indifference alone was the barrier that stood between her and a
fuller, freer, happier college life.

She had found the admiration she had been accorded, first at the
old-time hop, later at the Beauty contest, far more satisfying than
merely being trotted about the campus by over-fond freshies as a
“crush.” There had been a spirit of fun and frolic about both social
affairs which had appealed to her girlish imagination. She was only
eighteen and in spite of her bored, sophisticated air rather childish at
heart.

For this very reason she had never really approved of Leslie Cairns or
her unscrupulous, high-handed methods. She had been a little dazzled at
first by Leslie’s expensive clothes, lavish expenditures of money and
apparently boundless liberty. At the time when Leslie had offered her
the use of the white car she had named the Dazzler, Doris had felt some
degree of liking for the ex-student of Hamilton. She had more
reluctantly accepted the gift of the smart white costume and furs which
Leslie had insisted upon giving her. She had demurred even more strongly
against allowing Leslie to open an account for her at the Hamilton
Reserve Bank. Leslie had over-ruled her in the matter and had deposited
in the bank five hundred dollars to the account of Doris Monroe. She had
assured Doris that she regarded the transaction as “a business
proposition.”

Her chief argument had invariably been: “Make yourself popular on the
campus and it will be worth a lot more to me than a few dollars, togs or
buzz-wagons. I need you to keep me posted as to what goes on at the
knowledge shop. Leave Bean and her Beanstalks alone, though. When I need
news of them you can get it in a roundabout way. I’ll help you, and I’ll
expect you to help me—when I need you.”

Just what Leslie meant by frequent covert allusions to a future day when
she would need Doris’s help was something Doris occasionally pondered.
She had firmly refused to interest herself in the tentative proposal
Leslie had once made that certain anonymous letters should be written
and sent to Marjorie Dean. Since that occasion Leslie had never
suggested any other unscrupulous work for Doris to do.

While Doris accepted dinner and luncheons from Leslie and allowed Leslie
to pay for the upkeep of the Dazzler, she was wary about spending
Leslie’s money. She knew her father would be righteously enraged with
her for accepting a penny from either stranger or friend. Her own
allowance was a comfortable one for a girl of her age. The money she
saved by sharing her room with Muriel also augmented it. She had a very
fair wardrobe and had therefore done no shopping in particular since
entering Hamilton. She developed no crushes. Consequently she did not
spend much money. She was not mean or stingy in this respect. She was
too selfishly indifferent and too indifferently selfish to care to give
pleasure to others. Her beauty had always demanded for her, and met no
denial.

Since she had come to Hamilton College she had cherished two ambitions.
The first had been toward popularity. The second was to achieve a trip
to New York City. Popularity, because of her beauty, had quickly found
her. The trip to New York had not been so easy of fulfillment. She had
hoped to go to New York with Leslie at Thanksgiving. Leslie had
disappointed her. More, she had utterly discouraged the idea when Doris
had defiantly asserted that she would visit the metropolis alone.
Leslie’s half sincere promise to show Doris about New York during the
Christmas vacation was one on which Doris had fondly built. Her anger,
on hearing from Leslie that she did not intend to fulfill the promise,
had been so scathing as to cause Leslie to reconsider and try to make
peace with wrathful “Goldie.”

Muriel’s invitation had been offered at the psychological moment in
Doris’s affairs. The step in the right direction which she had planned
to take would have wrought an admirable change in her before the dawn of
New Years. Instead Doris had received a call from Julia Peyton which had
completely uprooted her healthily growing good will toward Muriel and
again thrown her upon the society of Leslie Cairns for amusement.

Leslie had received Doris’s note with a silent hobgoblin laugh and a
contemptuous: “Pouf; I thought she wouldn’t stay peeved.” Deciding to
keep the sophomore in suspense she had not answered the note until the
very last moment. It had reached Doris on the morning of the day when
college closed for the holidays, leaving her barely time to pack a trunk
and arrange her affairs. Long since determined on the New York trip at
some time or other, Leslie or no Leslie, Doris had saved a certain sum
each month from her allowance. She had not therefore drawn on the
account in Hamilton bank for the trip, nor did she intend to do so. The
very sight of the bank book in the top drawer of her chiffonier gave her
a feeling of uneasiness. At the time when she had burst upon the campus
in her white suit, furs and shining white car she had used in the
neighborhood of seventy-five dollars of the sum in bank to her credit.
Since then she and Leslie had quarreled and bickered so much she wished
she had never used a cent of the five hundred. She planned to return it
from her own income after the trip to New York was over.

“I wish you had let me know sooner what you intended to do,” had been
Leslie’s grumbling words to Doris as the two met at the Hamilton
station. On receipt of Leslie’s belated note Doris had obeyed its
instructions to call Leslie on the telephone at the Hamilton House. Over
the telephone the trip had been hurriedly arranged.

“Why didn’t you let me know?” had been the ruffled sophomore’s strongly
emphasized question. “You could have answered my note sooner than you
did.”

“You should have written me long before you did.” Leslie’s emphasis had
been stronger and more displeased than had Doris’s. “I told you before
you left me at the Colonial that I would go to New York. You never said
a word. It’s your own fault, Goldie, that you had to rush around like
mad at the last minute.”

Such had been the discordant basis upon which the two girls had met at a
time when all the world of light and love was pleading for “Peace on
earth, good will toward men.” Once they had settled down in the train
for the journey they had grown a trifle more amiable. They were both too
fond of pleasure not to look forward to a two weeks’ stay in New York.
Leslie had soon miraculously recovered her good humor and had proceeded
to lay out a program of amusements for the first week of their stay in
the metropolis. She had decided privately to “ship Goldie back to the
campus the day after New Years.” That would leave her a few brief days
in New York alone to go about her own affairs. Time was flying. She had
difficult and important work to do which must be done soon.

She planned to humor Doris to a round of holiday gaieties. They would
dine and lunch at the smartest restaurants and tea rooms. They would
occupy box seats at the theatres, and at the opera. Leslie even
considered introducing Doris to Natalie Weyman. That would mean an
entree for Doris into New York’s most exclusive younger set. Her
objection to this proposal was that Nat was “such a snip when she was
jealous.” Of course she would be jealous of Doris. She was capable of
“snubbing Doris off the face of the earth.” That would mean Doris in a
towering rage again.

Leslie was not anxious to arouse a fresh spirit of antagonism in Doris.
The self-willed sophomore was her only reliable source of campus
information. Besides, Doris was more truthful than the majority of girls
with whom she had chummed. She had also the virtue of silence. Goldie
could be trusted not to “tell everything she knew, and a lot she didn’t
know, to the mob.” Like the majority of untruthful persons, Leslie was
quick to note and appreciate truth in someone else. Again, she did not
fancy losing the companionship of the one girl intimate she had at
Hamilton. She had spent time, patience, effort and money in cultivating
Doris’s friendship. She did not propose to be a loser.

Beyond the usual brief letter which Leslie had received every Monday
morning from Mrs. Gaylord, her obligingly absent chaperon might as well
have been a myth. Since Leslie had settled down for a protracted stay in
Hamilton, and at the Hamilton House, Mrs. Gaylord had spent an enjoyable
period of visiting her relatives and friends. Leslie demanded a weekly
letter from the chaperon. She answered it only as she felt inclined. It
had been earlier arranged between them that, should anything of moment
occur suddenly of an adverse nature to either, the other was to be
immediately notified by telegram.

The one contingency which both feared was the sudden wrathful
interference of Peter Cairns. Such a calamity must be shrewdly guarded
against. Neither was desirous of giving up an arrangement which suited
both so admirably. They had prepared a telegram against the emergency.
It was: “Hamilton House Central.” It signified that they were to meet in
Hamilton at the Hamilton House as soon as possible.

On the Sunday before Christmas Leslie had seen fit to write Mrs. Gaylord
at Greenwold, where she was visiting a friend, informing her of the
proposed trip to New York.

“Now don’t think you have to drop everything and hit up a pace for New
York,” she had written with slang insolence. She had stopped to snicker
after setting down thus much as she pictured plump, dignified Mrs.
Gaylord proceeding on foot toward the metropolis at racing speed. “My
sophy pal, Miss Monroe, and I, will stay at the Essenden. It’s exclusive
enough to suit even P. G. He’ll never know we’re there, so you should
fidget. I shan’t look up Nat. Deliver me from soreheads like her. At
least she would be one, if she saw me with a new chum. That will cut out
the society part, so don’t throw a scare over that. I think the grand
old grump is out of town. Since he can’t see me in the family circle I’d
rather he’d sail across the pond and disappear for a while. I heard he
was going to London soon. Don’t know. I’ll write you from New York. Do
as I say, and stay where you are, unless we have to telegraph. Get me?
L.”

Although Leslie had put the pertinent proviso, “unless we have to
telegraph,” in her letter to Mrs. Gaylord she did not anticipate any
such contingency. She had a comfortable conviction that her father was
probably too deep in his own affairs to think of her. Mrs. Gaylord had
not heard from him. She was sure of that. Her chaperon had had
instructions, in case Mr. Cairns were to write her, to inform Leslie of
this by the statement: “X equals the unknown quantity.” Safeguarded by
what Leslie chose to consider her own great cleverness, she felt herself
a match for even her financier father.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XV.

                          “I USED TO KNOW HIM”


Quite the contrary, Mrs. Gaylord did not share Leslie’s optimism. She
received Leslie’s characteristic letter with lively misgivings. She knew
she had no right to accept a handsome salary from Peter Cairns for
chaperoning his daughter without living up to the position to the
letter. Prodding conscience jarringly informed her that she had abused
and was now abusing the financier’s confidence in her. Should he
discover the fact he was more than likely to dismiss her and make it
hard for her to find another such position.

She had intended to return to Leslie at Hamilton directly after the
holidays, there to remain. She had been growing daily more and more
uneasy for fear Peter Cairns might have discovered her delinquency.
Continued silence on his part seemed an assurance that she had not been
under a surveillance ordered by him. She knew that he might resort to
such methods. He had engaged her privately to watch Leslie after Leslie
had engaged her as a chaperon. He was quite likely to keep in close
touch with her comings and goings.

She thought it very rash and inconsiderate in Leslie to go to New York
with “one of those reckless, hair-brained students” for company instead
of asking her to go. Mrs. Gaylord had no great fondness for girls. Of
the Hamilton students she had met only Lillian Walbert, Alida Burton and
Lola Elster; not a representative trio of Hamilton girls. She frowningly
wondered who Miss Monroe was. She had not been in Hamilton enough during
the fall and winter to meet Doris. She was now doubly vexed because she
was fond of New York. Much as she enjoyed visiting among her small town
friends she liked better the life and stir of the great eastern city.

She at once wrote Leslie an indignant letter expressing her displeasure
at Leslie’s new move and accusing her of taking an undue advantage of
her leniency. She was not sanguine that Leslie would receive the letter
before she started for New York. She supposed it would have small effect
upon her if she should receive it. She knew that Leslie would be furious
with her if she took it upon herself to go to New York and resume her
duties of chaperon when they were not welcome.

Mrs. Gaylord had met Leslie’s father, Peter Cairns, only once. He had
sent for her to come to his New York offices not long after Leslie had
engaged her as chaperon. She had walked through a maze of shining
mahogany furnished offices to one behind the rest, plain and almost bare
in its austerity. There she had talked with the great financier, a tall,
broad-shouldered, gray-eyed man with a stern mouth and a thatch of black
hair tossed off his forehead. He had said very little to her, but she
had understood precisely what he expected of her. She had left the
office feeling decidedly in awe of him. She discovered afterward that
was the only vivid recollection she had of him.

Mrs. Gaylord resignedly resolved to make the best of the annoying
situation and return to Leslie as soon as her lawless charge should
return to Hamilton. She could only hope Leslie would not stay in New
York beyond New Years. What a selfish girl Leslie was! She had not even
wished her a Merry Christmas. Suppose Leslie were to run across her
father in New York, and Mr. Cairns should inquire for her? Mrs. Gaylord
felt a kind of chill go up and down her spine each time that
particularly unpleasant supposition occurred to her mind. There was only
one grain of comfort. Leslie would not let him know the true
circumstances if she could help it. It would be to her own interest to
protect those of her chaperon.

The day after Christmas Mrs. Gaylord received a letter which threw her
into a panic of despair. It was a three-line letter from Peter Cairns,
in his own black, jagged handwriting, ordering her to join his daughter,
Leslie, in New York, immediately. He had also furnished her with
Leslie’s address at the Essenden, the exclusive apartment hotel at which
Leslie and Doris were registered as guests.

The uncompromising brevity of the letter was dismaying in itself. Not a
word more than was necessary to convey the order had been employed. It
contained neither address nor date. The envelope bore a New York
postmark. She assumed that it had been written in New York. She had the
office address of the financier. He had given it to her with the
injunction that any letter which she might feel called upon to write him
should be sealed and marked: “Personal, by order of Peter Cairns.” She
resolved to write him, explaining matters. She soon found she could
summon no satisfactory explanation of her absence from Leslie. The
financier had engaged her to watch over his daughter; not allow her to
do as she chose, regardless of convention.

Mrs. Gaylord arrived in New York and at the Essenden on the evening
after the receipt of Peter Cairns’ curt message. She was tired and cross
after her long journey and resentfully ready to tell Leslie a few plain
truths. Her one consoling thought was that Leslie had had the good
judgment to register for herself and companion at the Essenden. It was
at least above the criticism of even Peter Cairns.

Leslie had taken Doris to dine at the Luxe-Garins, a vast marble pile of
a hotel which New York boasted as its latest triumph in hostelry. The
two girls had sallied forth to dinner in a hotel taxicab much to
Leslie’s disapproval. “There are a dozen cars in our garage at the town
house, and we own enough others scattered about this burg,” she had said
with snappish resentment. “Just because my father—.” She had stopped
abruptly, recollecting in time that Doris knew nothing of her
estrangement from her father.

Doris, lovely in her crystal-beaded white frock, which was Parisian, had
attracted more attention at dinner than any other woman in the room. She
seemed in truth a dazzling fairy-tale princess with Leslie opposite her
as a wicked wizard. Leslie had chosen to wear a white velvet gown,
banded with black velvet and fur. It had a beaded, oddly-cut bodice and
was bizarre in effect. It lent her a dark, sinister appearance which
Doris’s white beauty made more noticeable.

The two girls had so much enjoyed the flattering notice their presence
in the luxurious restaurant had created they dawdled over their dinner
until it was too late to go to the theatre. Both would have liked to
join the dancers on the perfectly polished floor, but knew no one.
Leslie had an odd excess of family pride quite at variance with the rest
of her lawless nature. She could always be trusted never to form
acquaintances whose social standing she did not know. When they had
finished their demi-tasse she marched Doris from the restaurant like an
attendant dragon without so much as a glance at more than one plainly
admiring young man. Leslie cared nothing whatever about either sentiment
or young men. What she had enjoyed was the little stir Doris’s golden
beauty had created.

“Tomorrow, Goldie, we’ll go to luncheon at the Gilbraithe. It’s a wonder
of an eat shop. It’s the spiffiest tea room I know in New York.”

Leslie made the announcement as they stepped from the walk into the
waiting taxicab. She had engaged a car from the Essenden for the evening
and had planned a ride up Fifth Avenue by way of showing Doris a glimpse
of the great city after dark.

“We’ll never get clear of that string of hay carts,” she predicted,
motioning her head in the direction of the waiting line of automobiles.
At the corner above, where the line began, the starter was working
diligently to put the line in motion.

Doris merely glanced at her and again turned eager eyes to the street.
They sparkled with pleasure as she took in the beautiful main entrance
of the white marble hotel at her leisure.

“Ah, on the move at last.” Leslie gave a kind of satisfied growl as she
felt the taxicab begin to move. It started, then came to a quick jarring
stop. The starter shouted out a sharp order. It mingled with the
chugging purr of the engine and the voice of the taxi driver, raised to
an incensed yell at some progress-impeding object.

With her usual impatience Leslie jerked open the nearest door of the
machine. She was too much of a motorist not to investigate. Her driver’s
start had been blocked by a car which had been parked in front of it.
The driver of the other car had boldly attempted to get under way first.
She bent forward and leaned far out of the open doorway to see what was
going on. The starter and her driver had united in abusing “that fresh
boob.” She grinned sardonically as her driver flung a last word or two
at the disappearing car. With a sharp, surprised “What?” she suddenly
dodged back and into the sheltering darkness of the tonneau.

From the ornamental main entrance of the Luxe-Garins she had spied a man
emerging. He stood before the great entrance doors briskly turning up
the collar of his brown fur motor coat and pulling a brown fur cap down
over his head as though preparing for a high-speed spin. He was a tall
man, broad-shouldered, with gray eyes and a stern mouth.

From the dim cavern of the tonneau Leslie peered out at him with a
curious, reverend timidity. She was careful to keep the ermine collar of
her evening wrap well up about her face. So her father was in New York
instead of Europe. Leslie watched him, her dark features lighting to
wistful admiration. How she wished she dared open the door of the car
and call out to him! No; that could not be. There was only one way to
bring back his love for her. That way was to work and win it. She drew
an audible sighing breath.

“What is the matter, Leslie?” Doris had heard her companion’s surprised
exclamation. Now she heard the sigh.

“Oh, nothing,” Leslie affected carelessness of tone. Her gaze was still
on her father. She kept hungry eyes riveted on him as he left the hotel
entrance, swung down the broad stone walk and out of her sight. “Did you
notice a man standing in front of the hotel with a brown fur coat and
cap?” She forced a casual question.

“No; I didn’t. I didn’t notice anyone. I was thinking about whether I
liked New York better than London. Of course I could never like it as
well as Paris. It is a wonderful city though,” Doris said honestly. “I
wish we knew some interesting men here like the explorers my father
knows. He and I often have had luncheon and dinner with Jacques Fandor,
the great French explorer. Do you know the man you asked me about,
Leslie?” she added with intent to be polite.

Leslie did not reply at once. She hesitated for a moment then said in an
odd, repressed tone: “I think I used to know him.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XVI.

                          ONLY OBEYING ORDERS


“Will you kindly tell me why you are here?” Leslie Cairns surveyed her
chaperon, Mrs. Gaylord, with an anything but welcoming face. “Didn’t you
understand my letter? It was written in English. At least, I thought I
wrote English.” Leslie used sarcastic emphasis.

“Yes, Leslie, your letter was in English, I suppose your rude slang
might be classed as English.” The chaperon’s voice was bitingly dry. Her
florid, usually placid features were stiff with resentment of Leslie’s
cavalier manner. “You took advantage of me in a most unfair way. Instead
of writing me that you thought of going to New York to spend the
holidays, you simply notified me at the last minute, completely ignoring
me as your chaperon.”

“Oh, cut out the lecture!” Leslie made a derisive motion as though to
push further rebuke from her. “What is the matter with you? Doesn’t our
agreement hold good in New York as well as in Hamilton? Couldn’t we have
got together in a few hours if necessary? I allowed for all that when I
wrote you. I didn’t think it urgent to put it down in black and white. I
gave you credit for having some gray matter. Who engaged you in the
first place, my father, or I? He saw fit to butt in to my arrangement
with you. Of course I’m not supposed to know that. Still it wouldn’t
take me long to remind him of it, if he began to be fussy with me.”
Displeasure of her father’s private understanding with Mrs. Gaylord
momentarily banished Leslie’s regret of their estrangement.

“_Leslie!_ I hope you would not be so treacherous as to let your father
know that you—that he—that you know he and I have a private
understanding about you,” stammered the chaperon in reproachful alarm.
“_That_ is a secret agreement between him and me.”

“Was a secret, you mean,” satirized Leslie, laughing with a kind of
grotesque amusement. “A secret isn’t much of a secret after it goes as
far as a third party.”

“_Leslie!_” Mrs. Gaylord repeated the name with exclamatory half-hearted
wrath.

“Yes, ‘Leslie,’” mimicked her amused charge. “What’s the use of puffing,
Gaylord? You know you always lose out with me in a talk contest. Sit
down, take off your hat and your head will cool off. Registered at our
village inn?” she raised ironic eyebrows at her chaperon.

“Yes; I have registered,” was the frigid return. Mrs. Gaylord tried not
to show approval of the dainty Dresden apartment she was in. She had
caught only a fleecing glimpse of Doris. The latter had promptly
retreated to the bed-room she was to occupy of the expensive Dresden
suite of small salon, two sleeping rooms and bath which Leslie had
extravagantly engaged. “I engaged a room with bath on this floor, but—”
She glanced about the smart salon.

“No room here,” supplied Leslie. “Oh, you are welcome, of course, to
inhabit the salon with Goldie and me,” she added flippantly.

“Thank you. You know, Leslie, that I have tried not to stand in your
way.” Mrs. Gaylord spoke with reproving bitterness. “I am here now, not
because I wish to be, but because—” The chaperon made an impressive
pause.

“Now we are getting down to brass tacks.” Leslie simulated genial
encouragement.

Mrs. Gaylord frowned, but resisted bandying further words. “Your father
ordered me to come to New York, Leslie,” she said with a direct
simplicity which had more effect on her discourteous charge than had her
air of affront.

“What?” Leslie almost screamed the question.

From the adjoining bed-room Doris heard the cry and wondered. She knew
that Leslie had a chaperon, named Mrs. Gaylord, who amiably permitted
Leslie to do as she pleased. While she had retired to her bed-room and
closed the door, on the arrival of the chaperon, she had caught enough
of the salutatory remarks between Leslie and the other woman to
establish Mrs. Gaylord’s identity in her own mind. The fact that the
caller had come at so late an hour further convinced her.

“Just what I say,” stiffly confirmed the chaperon. “I received this
letter from him. You might as well see it.” She had opened her small
seal traveling bag as she spoke. Now she handed Leslie the letter from
Peter Cairns.

“Uh-h-h-h!” Leslie dropped down on a gilt-framed, pale-hued Dresden
settee with a pretense of total collapse. Next second she sat up with a
jerk. “Gaylord, I beg your pardon for ragging you. You seem to be a good
sport,” was her half-humorous apology.

Mrs. Gaylord with difficulty maintained a grave face. Strangely enough,
at heart she did not dislike Leslie. Constant companionship with the
financier’s long-neglected daughter from the standpoint of a duenna had
shown her plainly all Leslie’s faults and virtues. When first she had
come to Leslie she had resentfully labeled her as having all faults and
no virtues. Presently she discovered that Leslie was generous, not of
spirit, but in a material way. She also had a virtue of minding her own
affairs beyond that of any other girl or woman of Mrs. Gaylord’s
acquaintance. Of Leslie’s intriguing, unscrupulous side the chaperon
knew little. She admired the girl’s peculiar originality and thought her
sayings distinctively clever or funny. She respected Leslie for being
neither foolishly sentimental nor flirtatious. Leslie’s rudenesses she
soon learned to overlook because Leslie was as civil to her as to anyone
else, perhaps more civil.

“What are you going to do about it?” Leslie inquired with rueful
curiosity. “He’s in New York. I saw him last night in front of the
Luxe-Garins. Don’t think he saw me. I was in a taxi. Goldie and I had
been there to dinner.”

“You shouldn’t have gone there—just you two young girls!” cried out the
chaperon despairingly.

“Oh, stuff. I’m not a minor. Think the Luxe-Garins is a jungle full of
black-whiskered lions and unicorns? We didn’t dance, or speak to a soul.
We only had eats. That’s not a social blunder, is it?”

“No-o-o.” There was a certain amount of relief in the reply. “I shall do
nothing, Leslie. Your father has ordered me to come here to look after
you. I am here. I thought before I came I would write him and explain
why we were not together. I could find no proper explanation. I dare say
he is very angry with me.” Mrs. Gaylord’s tone grew rather plaintive.
“As your chaperon I should insist on your compliance with strict
convention at all times. But it is as you say. You are not a minor, you
have the right to go where you please and do as you please. Since your
father has—well—has—.” The chaperon halted lamely.

“Cut me off his card index,” supplied Leslie with forceful moroseness.

Both chaperon and charge had spoken louder than they were aware. In the
next room the last few sentences of their talk had come clearly to
Doris’s ears. While she was not specially curious she could not help
being impressed by what she heard.

“If I had been like some of the girls I’ve known I’d not have engaged a
chaperon at all after he turned me down,” Leslie defended darkly. “I’m
supposed not to know he has ever showed a spark of interest in me since
he cut me out of his life. Don’t you let him call you down because I
told you to visit your head off if you liked among your friends while I
was at Hamilton. You may tell him I hired you and chased you away from
me when I felt like being alone for a while. He owes you a debt of
gratitude for telling me that he didn’t quite efface himself from my
map. Tell him,” she snickered faintly, “that I pay you a salary for
acting as a friend instead of a priggish frump. Tell him he ought to
double your salary from his end of the deal for the same reason.”

“Why—Leslie!” Grateful amazement this time prompted the chaperon’s
exclamation. “I had no idea you felt that way about me.”

“I had no idea myself,” Leslie retorted. She cast a half sheepish glance
toward Mrs. Gaylord. She was experiencing the peculiar sensation of
physical glow which invariably attends the moral defense of another
person. For the first time in her wayward career she felt moved to
defend someone for whose offense she was strictly to blame.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             CHAPTER XVII.

                                “NERVE”


Mrs. Gaylord took up her temporary abode at the Essenden expecting at
almost any hour to be summoned to Peter Cairns’s offices or else receive
a call from him at the hotel. Neither the summons nor the call came.

Following her spirited moment of defense of her chaperon Leslie returned
to her usual half domineering, always wilful manner. Since her father
had seen fit to order Mrs. Gaylord on the scene, she had decided that
the chaperon would be more of an asset than a hindrance. Under Mrs.
Gaylord’s wing she and Doris could go about more freely to tea rooms and
hotel restaurants, and the theatres. They could stay out later in the
evening with a certain feeling of assurance which neither had possessed
during their first evening venture into New York’s gaieties.

The day after New Years Leslie announced to her chaperon and Doris that
she wished they would go where they pleased and do as they pleased
through the days that remained to them of the Christmas holiday, but
without her company.

“Gaylord can show you the village as well as I can; maybe better,” she
assured Doris with a droll twist of her mouth. “She won’t be peevish
with you. I would, if you made me sore, which you’d probably do. I have
special business to tend to here in the next few days. It concerns my
garage proposition and is very important. I’ll hustle around through the
days so as to go out to dinner with you in the evenings.”

Doris was as well pleased with Leslie’s new arrangement though she kept
her satisfaction carefully hidden behind her politely indifferent
features. She and Mrs. Gaylord had grown friendly from the start. The
chaperon admired the sophomore’s unusual beauty and enjoyed the covert
appreciation it drew wherever they went. She thought Doris’s poise
remarkably high-bred and was satisfied that Peter Cairns could but
approve of her as a friend for his daughter. He was still in the city,
she believed. Leslie was of the same belief. “Don’t doubt he knows our
middle names and what time we come back to the hotel every night,” was
her shrewdly humorous opinion.

The special business to which she devoted her days was typical of the
intriguing side of Leslie. While her father was presumably keeping an
eye on her, she was even more anxious to trace his movements. She burned
to know how long he intended to stay in New York, and whether he was
staying at the family residence far out on Riverside Drive, or at his
club.

There was another man, too, besides her father, whose whereabouts in New
York she was eager to learn. He was a man to whom her father had more
than once intrusted certain business about which she thought she knew a
good deal. This man had come to their home twice as a dinner guest. He
was tall, slim, with aquiline, foreign features, deep set dark eyes and
iron gray hair. She could recall distinctly his courtly manners. What
she could not recall was his full name. It was Anton—. There memory
failed her.

After she had unsuccessfully racked her brain for the missing surname
she came into startled knowledge of a way to gain it. Dared she take it?
Leslie’s heart beat faster every time she thought about it. She could
not make up her mind to take it until she had definite information
concerning her father’s plans. She decided that she would at once try to
obtain it from his offices.

On the day after New Years she left Mrs. Gaylord and Doris directly
after breakfast and hurried from the Essenden to start on the trail of
the “special” business. It was a fairly long drive from the Essenden to
her father’s downtown offices. Leslie grew perceptibly nervous as she
neared her destination. There was no one to witness her uneasiness,
however. There was only one chance against a hundred that she might
encounter her father. She could not imagine what she would do if she
were to come suddenly face to face with him. And in this thought lay her
inclination to panic.

She arrived at last before the skyscraper, two floors of which housed
the executive and clerical forces necessary to Peter Cairns’s several
speculative interests. Leslie ordered the driver of the taxicab to wait
and made a bold entrance into the building. She could hear her heart
begin to thump against her side as she dodged into the cage of a waiting
elevator and dodged out again at the third floor. Presently she had
walked a little way down a wide corridor and opened a door which in the
past she had opened many times.

It led to an outer office, given over to the keeping of a solitary
office boy. When she inquired for Mr. Carrington, one of her father’s
important managers, and gave the youngster her name, he stared at her
with blue startled eyes and made a zealous dash for a door leading to an
inner office.

“How are you, Mr. Carrington?” she drawled to a clean-cut pleasant man
of perhaps forty, who had instantly emerged from the office to greet her
and now ushered her into his private business domain.

“Very well, Miss Cairns; thank you. And you? It has been a long time
since you visited these offices.”

“Yes;” Leslie smiled affably. She was speculating how long it might take
to “pump Carrington, and beat it.” “I was at college for several
winters, you know, and away from New York summers. I’m not at the
Riverside Drive house much. It doesn’t pay to keep it open. My father is
there so seldom for any length of time.”

“So he tells me. He doesn’t stay even in New York for any length of
time, for that matter,” laughed the manager. “It isn’t an easy
proposition, getting hold of him when I need him.”

“I should imagine not.” Leslie smiled in apparent sympathy. “Even I lose
track of him for days at a time. I am at the Essenden, at present with
my chaperon, Mrs. Gaylord. I came down town this morning to see if you
would help me with a little steamer surprise I am planning to give my
father. That is, if he goes to England soon. I thought you would let me
know the day and hour he’d plan to sail. Then I wouldn’t need to ask him
a single question, beforehand. He is likely to start for England in a
hurry without coming to the hotel to say good-bye. Then where would my
surprise be?” Leslie put just the right amount of dejection into the
question.

“Oh, he has changed his mind about the trip to England, Miss Cairns. He
doesn’t intend to go across the pond until he comes back from the coast.
That will be two weeks at least. I will let you know, nearer the date of
sailing,” was the pleasant promise.

“The western trip? Oh, yes.” Leslie nodded wisely. “I have no surprise
ready for him for that. There’d hardly be time for one, would there?”
she asked innocently.

“Hardly.” The manager consulted his watch as though amused at his own
reply. “His car was to pull out from the B. R. P. at noon today. It’s
almost noon now.”

“You mean for the west; to the coast?” was Leslie’s double question. It
was asked with a drawling inflection that nearly robbed it of
interrogation.

“Yes. Where shall I address you, Miss Cairns, about the England matter?”
Mr. Carrington questioned courteously.

“At the Essenden. Thank you so much, Mr. Carrington. You are always so
kind to me. Not a word to my father that I was here!” She raised a
playful forefinger. “You understand why.”

“Absolutely discreet, Miss Cairns.” The manager raised a hand as though
taking an oath.

After a further brief exchange of pleasantries Leslie rose to depart.
She was in nervous haste to be gone. It had taken “nerve,” according to
her way of thinking, to lead up to the information she had sought, then
to ask the right questions at the right time. She had not devised until
the last moment a way of exacting secrecy from the manager that would
not arouse him to suspicion against her. She knew that her father’s
lieutenants of years were chary of speech and still more chary of
information. It was evident that her father’s harsh stand in regard to
herself was not known in his offices. Since Mr. Carrington did not know
it, Leslie was sure he did not, then none other of his staff of
financiers knew.

She would have liked to ask Mr. Carrington to give her the surname of
the man, Anton. She remembered that the manager had once dined with them
on the same evening as the foreigner. She had not dared ask about him.
Nor did she believe it would be wise to call again at her father’s
offices to interrogate Mr. Carrington further. She recalled the old
fable of the pitcher that went once too often to the well and was
broken. She did not intend to risk losing what she had already gained.
There was still the other way of learning the name.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             CHAPTER XVIII.

                       ON THE OUTSIDE LOOKING IN


Leslie stopped for luncheon at an odd French restaurant, the
Fontainebleau. It was a Gallic triumph in soft grays and rated as being
more Parisian than any other restaurant in New York. After luncheon she
ordered the driver of the taxicab she was using to take her for a spin
on Riverside Drive.

“Keep on going out Riverside till I tell you to turn around,” she
ordered the man. “If you hear me tell you to go slow, then go slow. I’m
interested in certain properties out on the Drive.”

Even by prosaic daylight Leslie felt a strange new sentiment for New
York which had never before visited her. What a wonderful life she might
have in the splendid city of her birth if only she were her father’s
assistant. Perhaps she might be, and before another year had passed. If
she could successfully carry out at Hamilton the project which was now
occupying her thoughts he would be forced to admire her for her audacity
and brilliancy. How he would laugh at a certain feature of her
undertaking. Not unless she were clever enough “to get away with it.”
That was a foregone conclusion.

Leslie’s swarthy features stiffened with stubborn determination. This
time there was to be no failure. Her small dark eyes were engaged in
keeping a concentrated watch on the residences lining the Drive as the
taxicab slipped easily along on the smooth paving.

It would be a great day for her when her father forgave her and took her
back into his confidence. Before she devoted herself wholly to a career
in finance under her father’s generalship she would make him take her
for a long cruise to the South Seas in his superb, clean-lined yacht,
the _White Swallow_. So Leslie promised herself as the car sped on.

Presently she had come within pleasantly familiar territory. Since
earliest childhood she had seen the palaces she was now passing. In them
lived families she had known and associated with as neighbors. She had
played with the girls and boys of these vast, cheerless castles. They
had all had the same dancing masters; had attended one another’s
parties. They had later formed the younger set with whom she had moved
socially. Like herself many of them lived only to please themselves.

There it was; her old home! It was the house in which she had been born;
the house from which her mother had passed to Heaven, leaving behind a
baby girl to be brought up by nurses and governesses and surfeited with
riches out of all healthy proportion.

Leslie snatched the speaking tube from its accustomed place and called
through it to the driver. “Slow down,” she ordered, “but keep on going.”
She had spied the house from a distance of half a block away. In
consequence the driver had begun to slacken speed before the machine had
passed the “show shop,” as Leslie had whimsically named her home because
of its ornate splendor of architecture and breadth of rare-shrubbed
lawn.

“Go ahead and park,” she again ordered through the speaking tube. “Any
place along here will do.” The instant he had obeyed her and brought the
machine to a stop she hopped out of it and quickly gained the sidewalk.
The Cairns’s residence took up a half of one block. Another massive gray
stone residence claimed the remaining half of the same block.

“Thank fortune,” she muttered as she strolled along at the slow swagger
she affected. “There’s no place like home, Leslie, old top. Peter the
Great can lead a merry life at the show shop, but _I_ should fidget, for
all _he_ cares,” was her bitter reflection. “Rather that than see the
place boarded up like a disused barn. Gee whiz! Then I would have my
troubles. Wonder how much of the menagerie is at large inside?”

Leslie paraded up and down the entire block several times. From the
street she could see nothing about the exterior of the house to
challenge her interest. An ornamental iron fence squared the Cairns’s
property. The entrance gates were closed, apparently locked. She stopped
before them during one of her patrols and pretended to lean against
them. As she did so she investigated them. They were securely fastened.

She stood eyeing them with sullen dismay, her forehead corrugated by a
deep scowl. Of a sudden she appeared to have laid hold of a forgotten
fact. Her brows cleared like magic. Thanks to a crafty provision against
such an emergency in time past she could cope with this latest obstacle.

She lingered at the gates as long as she thought prudent, her avid
glance roving from point to point of the house, searching for signs of
the servants about the place. She smiled grimly to herself as she
recalled how often in her childhood days bright-eyed groups of “common
kids” would pause on the sidewalk outside to peer wistfully through the
iron interstices of the fence at the spring glory of crocuses, hyacinths
and tulips which graced the Cairns’s garden beds in colorful, fragrant
loveliness. How contemptuous she had been of the famished little beauty
worshippers! Now she was “on the outside, looking in.” She was “on the
wrong side of the fence.” She was “barred out” of the show shop as
effectively as had been “those common kids.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XIX.

                        A STRANGER IN THE HOUSE


Next day Leslie repeated the visit to her home. The second expedition to
it was made in a small black car which she boldly requisitioned from a
garage located not far from her father’s offices. There he kept several
cars, immediate to the use of himself and one or two of his lieutenants.

The call Leslie had made at her father’s offices had proved advantageous
to her. She had not only gained important information from Mr.
Carrington, she had also received a fresh supply of temerity to bolster
her for further daring deeds. She knew the manager of the garage to
which she went only slightly. He had treated her request with the
respect due Peter Cairns’s daughter. She calculated there was small
possibility that the proprietor and her father would ever discuss her
visit to the garage. She preferred that risk to the annoyance of being
watched by a curious taxicab driver.

On the second occasion she was free to park her own car. She made one
deliberate patrol of the block. Then paused before the gates. From a
pocket of the leather motor coat she wore she pulled a heavy
medium-sized brass key suspended from a brass ring. Without an instant’s
hesitation she fitted the key to a fat brass padlock which secured the
gates against intruders.

“Whuh-h-h!” Leslie blew a breath of relief. “Easiest thing I ever tried
to do,” she murmured with satisfaction. “Wonder who’s home, or if anyone
saw me?” She drew the key from the open padlock, fastened it in place
from the inside of the gates through which she had just triumphantly
passed and snapped it energetically back on guard. “This time,” she
laughed her silent selfish laugh, “I’m on the inside, looking out.”

In spite of her bold manner and ready laughter Leslie was experiencing a
certain amount of trepidation. She fought it down with all the sternness
she could summon against herself. The night before, long after Doris and
Mrs. Gaylord had retired, Leslie had sat at a little table in her room
arranging the peculiar expedition to which she had now committed
herself. She had drawn a sketchy little plan of the first and second
floors of her home. With a lead pencil she had lightly traced on the
plan precisely the course by which she would proceed when she had once
passed through the vestibule of her home and had set foot in the great
entrance hall with its lofty ceiling and grand stairway.

Knowing her father’s secretive nature she was reasonably sure that such
of the servants as might be in the house knew nothing of the strained
relations between herself and her father. Parsons, the steward, might be
there, possibly the second cook and two or three of the maids. The
others had probably been sent to the country house on Long Island which
was never closed. When in or near New York, summer or winter, this was
her father’s favorite haunt.

Leslie had resolved to brazen matters out, if, when she entered the
house, she should suddenly encounter any of the servants. Her objective
was a certain room on the second floor. It held something she wanted;
needed; must have.

“Go to it,” she mutteringly encouraged the reluctant side of her brain.
With this spur to action she sauntered away from the gate and up to the
short drive which soon curved to the left and continued on to the garage
behind the house. She left the drive for the wide stone walk leading up
to the deep, central pillared veranda. Her cool, self-possessed manner,
her walk, indifferent, swaggering, was at variance with the excited
beating of her heart and her private distaste for the visit she was
about to make. This distaste was not of moral persuasion. Leslie was
merely afraid that her father might have changed his mind about going
west at the last minute. It was “Peter the Great,” not the servant she
dreaded encountering. If her father were afterward to learn from any of
the servants whom she might encounter of her visit to the house, it
would show him that she was a force not easy to control.

To gain access to the house itself would be a simple matter since the
doors and windows had not been sealed. Leslie had several latch keys on
a special ring which fitted various doors of her stately home. She was
well prepared, but chose to use the main entrance for the sake of
appearances, should she be observed.

She stepped presently into the great rosewood reception hall with its
vast crystal sheet of mirror, occupying the whole lower end of the
apartment; its two grim guardian Norman suits of armor. A richly
cushioned bench extended the length of one side of it. Leslie paused
beside the bench, listening for sounds of human presence other than the
thump of her heart and the excited sigh of her own breath. Not a sound
disturbed the church-like quiet which pervaded the hall.

She dropped down on the bench and carefully restored to a small leather
handbag the latch key she had just used and which she still held in one
hand. For as much as ten minutes she sat still, watching, waiting,
listening, hoping no one might come. During that time her eyes roved
ceaselessly about the hall and from the magnificent archway, lightly
draped with velvet of a rosewood tint, to a lower smaller arch at the
rear of the hall which stood open into a sun parlor.

She rose, at length slipped silently as an Indian to the grand archway
and made a comprehensive survey of the French salon beyond the arch.
Satisfied that no one was there to spy upon her she next inspected the
sun parlor. There her father always established himself in the morning,
when at home, with the morning papers. The long mahogany library table
was stacked with an orderly array of newspapers and magazines. That in
itself was significant proof to Leslie that “Peter the Great” was
“missing from the show shop.”

Without pausing to explore further the main floor of the house she
turned and darted noiselessly back into the hall and up the grand
stairway. Straight as an arrow she directed her steps on reaching the
second floor landing to a wide solid looking door of black walnut which
stood part way down a short wide corridor hung on both sides with
nothing but marine paintings. It was Peter Cairns’s famous marine
collection; the pride of his heart. Leslie ran her fingers up and down
one side of the knobless black walnut door. Silently it slid to the
left, disappearing into a space cleverly designed to receive it. She was
across the threshold in one long step and the door was moving back into
place again.

This time she indulged in a burst of silent merriment as she collapsed
into an immense leather arm chair. She “had got away with it.” She was
now safe from any possible intrusion of servants. She was in Peter the
Great’s own den. No one other than they two knew the secret mechanism of
the walnut door. When she left the house it would be by a private
stairway leading directly to a side veranda which no one but herself and
her father ever used. She had not been able to enter by this means.
There was only one key to the veranda entrance to the stairway and this
was carried by the financier. The long room behind the walnut door,
furnished comfortably rather than luxuriously, was Peter Cairns’s den.
In it were his rarest books, a collection of priceless ancient coins,
one of cameos, and numbers of unique treasures picked up in all parts of
the world. Leslie could open the door from the inside by manipulation of
a little steel knob, like that of a safe. The door would close after
her, securing itself automatically.

When her flash of victorious amusement had subsided she let her gaze
travel slowly about her. Quickly her features changed to a somber cast.
She was once more in the good old “playroom” of happier days. It was in
this very room that she had best learned to understand her father. Peter
Cairns had then treated her more as though she were his son instead of
his daughter. Her grotesquely plain little face and lawless domineering
ways as a youngster had appeared to please and entertain him. He had
called her his “ugly little beauty kid” and “the boss” and “Cairns II.”
He had, as she had grown older, and come home from prep school, then
college, spent long hours with her in the den. Sometimes they had played
chess or backgammon of which they were both fond. Again he would talk
freely to her of his financial operations. It was a school into which
the maxims of Brooke Hamilton would not have fitted. Peter Cairns had
made Leslie’s mind up to his own way of living as he was one day to
learn.

Realizing the flight of time she gathered herself together for the final
episode of her surreptitious errand. She rose, crossed the room to where
a rare etching hung and lifted it from its hook. The space thus left
vacant showed the indentation of a wall safe. Leslie manipulated the
tiny knob with sure fingers. She next pulled open the safe’s door and
moved a tiny switch inside the cavity. A bright light flooded it. She
ran a finger down a stack of small, black, leather-bound notebooks,
bindings out, lettered in gilt, A to Z. She drew the third book, I to M,
from the little pile and sat down with it in the nearest chair.

“So that’s his name—Lavigne! It sounds French, but he looked more like a
dago. He’s probably forgotten his real name,” Leslie mused satirically.
“All right, Anton. I’ll proceed to tell your fortune. You are going to
receive a visit from a dark woman who knows all about you.”

Leslie copied the address from her father’s very private directory into
a note book of her own. She replaced the little black book, closed and
locked the safe and made business-like preparations to depart. She
purposed to call at the address she had obtained that same afternoon. It
was not yet four o’clock. She could reach Anton Lavigne at the Central
Park West address in good season if she started promptly. If he were not
at home she would leave a note of appointment with him for ten o’clock
the next morning.

She let herself out of Peter the Great’s den by a curtained door at the
back of the room. It also had a spring lock, its key was also in the
financier’s possession. The stairway was in darkness but Leslie knew her
way without switching on a light at the head of the stairs. Sure-footed,
she quickly made the descent and went cautiously onto the veranda. Still
no one in sight.

Leslie kept as close to the house as she could until she reached its
front. There she crossed a strip of frozen lawn to the drive and
hurriedly followed it to the gates. She could hardly believe as she got
back into the car that she had spent over an hour in the show shop
without having seen sign of a servant. The house was in perfect order.
She was confident that Parsons was still caretaker. She had seen signs
of the steward’s expert domestic management as soon as she stepped
inside. She moodily wondered when she would see home again. She
afterward brightened a little under the dogged determination to “make
things come her way.”

When she reached the somewhat garish apartment hotel which housed Anton
Lavigne she was of the opinion that her good fortune had held. She
received the cheering information that Mr. Lavigne was in and was soon
shaking hands with the dark-faced, suave, but keen-eyed foreigner. He
came downstairs to the lounge to greet her and conduct her to the family
apartment on the fifth floor. He inquired with the courtliness Leslie so
well remembered in him for her father. He had not seen or heard from him
in some time. He waited with admirable reserve for Leslie to state her
errand.

“My father is away from New York at present,” Leslie began when he had
ushered her into a small reception hall furnished in a manner which
suggested its use as office as well. “I am through college now and
starting a business career for myself.”

“Indeed,” Lavigne raised polite commendatory brows. “May I ask, how long
you have been engaged in such an enterprise. You American girls are so
amazing. The English girls, too, for that matter. In France every woman
is a business woman, so we say, but American girls are the business
adventurers. They plan business on a large scale, and really accomplish
what they plan.”

“I hope I shall,” was Leslie’s fervent reply. “My father isn’t helping
me at all. I don’t wish him to do so. I am using my own money, and he
isn’t giving me a word of advice. All I claim from him is a free use of
some of his most private successful methods. That is why I am here. I
know you can be as useful to me as you have been to him.” She suddenly
fixed her eyes on Lavigne with an expression startlingly like that of
Peter Cairns, though she bore small physical resemblance to him.

“You speak with great confidence—with frankness.” Lavigne’s thick dark
brows drew together. “I knew when you were announced that you wished
something out of the usual. Only your father, Mr. Peter Cairns, and a
few of my special friends have this address.” He gazed steadily at her
as though waiting to hear a certain assurance from her which his foreign
mind toward caution demanded.

“I have just come from the house on Riverside Drive. I took your address
from its usual place. Do you get me?” Leslie spoke in the best imitation
of her father she could muster.

“Ah, yes.” There was relief in the response. “I understand the
situation, I believe. What can I do for you, Miss Cairns?” It had long
been known to Lavigne that Peter Cairns’s greatest interest in life was
his daughter. Such a calamity as an estrangement between the two would
have seemed impossible to this man who had been one of the financier’s
ablest allies for many years. He now believed that his best interests
lay in serving Leslie.

Leslie could tell nothing of the man’s thoughts by watching his face. No
expression or emotion contrary to Lavigne’s will was allowed to appear
on his dark features.

“My business operation is the building of a garage not far from the
campus of Hamilton College. Hamilton is my—er—the college I went to.”
Leslie always stuck at the words “Alma Mater.” “I had a good deal of
trouble obtaining the site, due to the underhandedness of a crowd of
would-be welfare students who tried to make me give it up to them. They
wanted it for a dormitory.”

Lavigne smiled with heartening sympathy and made a gesture of
understanding regret for Leslie’s troubles.

“I found out what their scheme was and managed to get into touch with
the owner of the property before they did. Before he closed with me they
let him know they wanted the site and he charged me sixty thousand
dollars for what I should have paid not more than thirty-five or forty
thousand. When they discovered I had won out over them they made a great
fuss. They circulated very hateful gossip about how dishonorable I was,
and so forth. A rich old crank at Hamilton, the last of the Hamilton
family, sided with these students against me, though she’d never met me,
and presented them with a dormitory site right next to the property I
had bought. Can you beat that?” Leslie had forgotten dignity in slangy
disgust for the way the matter had turned out.

“Incredible, yet true.” Lavigne lightly raised a hand. “But proceed,
Miss Cairns. I am deeply interested.”

Leslie went on to explain regarding the old houses standing on both
pieces of property. “These students have the advantage of the services
of the only builder and architect of ability in that part of the
country. He knows the labor situation there. He has had plenty of men
since the start. I have a New York firm on the job and they are
slackers. They claim they can’t get the laborers. My ground hasn’t been
cleared off yet. My garage building isn’t started. The old dormitory is
half up. I must do something about it. Two-thirds of those laborers are
Italians, from an Italian colony outside Hamilton. I want them to work
for me. I’ll pay them double, triple, if necessary, to quit the other
operation.”

She stopped. Not for an instant did her gaze leave Lavigne’s face. He
was now looking at her very shrewdly, an odd gleam in his black eyes.
Leslie thought they twinkled. It put her on her mettle.

“This isn’t a schoolgirl quarrel I’ve had with these other students, Mr.
Lavigne,” she said a trifle sullenly. “If you want to know the secret
truth it’s a fight between another student and myself for—to bring about
a certain result. I have as much right to the use of these men as she—as
they—these students have. I don’t care what I pay you to have you help
me. I have a large fortune in my own right. I can soon prove it to you.
This business is really a race to see which side wins. I’ll win, if
you’ll help me. No one need even suspect you of being concerned in the
matter. I want you to engineer it. That’s the way you’ve always worked
for my father, isn’t it?” Leslie asked the question with innocent
ingenuousness. She understood, however, precisely how much depended upon
it.

“Your father’s and my transactions have always been conducted with great
discretion,” was the indirect admission.

“I know that. I know _all about certain deals between you and him in the
past_. If I didn’t, would I be here now? It’s not simply a question of
the garage operation with me. I’m fighting to assert myself. I’m going
to follow my father’s methods. They’ve been absolutely successful. What
I want I intend to get, if those who can give it to me are willing to
sell out.” Leslie asserted boldly.

“Of course, of course. You are like your father. You are not a minor,
Miss Cairns?” Lavigne inquired tentatively.

“Hardly.” Leslie smiled. “And you don’t have to consult my father. He
has told me to do as I pleased with my own money. I’ll ask you to
observe absolute secrecy in the matter. When the battle is won, then he
is to be told.”

“You may trust me to serve you as best I can, Miss Cairns,” Lavigne
declared with flattering sincerity. “In a few days I will go to Hamilton
and look over the situation. I can tell you then what ought to be done.
Where shall I address you?”

“At the Essenden until day after tomorrow. Then I’m going back to
Hamilton. My address there is the Hamilton House.” Leslie rose to
conclude her call. She was reminded that her father’s interviews with
others were always brief. She was experiencing all the sweetness of
vengeful exultation. At last she was going to “get back at Bean.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XX.

                           MARJORIE’S CALLER


“I thought you were never coming back, Jerry Macy!” Marjorie dropped
into the depths of the near-by arm chair with a weary little flop. “I’ve
worked like mad for as much as an hour getting up my share of the eats
for Ronny’s birthday spread.” She poked out her red under lip and tried
hard to look aggrieved. The sparkle in her eyes contradicted the
pretence.

“How could you harbor such disloyal thoughts of me, Beautiful Bean? You
are beautiful, even if your lip is away out of place,” Jerry tenderly
assured.

“Being beautiful doesn’t make me feel rested.” Marjorie still searched
for cause to complain. “For why did you stay away so long, Jurry-miar?”

“There’s the cause of my lingering longering.” Jerry held up a
good-sized pasteboard box tied with stout string. “Just wait till you
see it. I had to toddle all around Hamilton in search of a cake. When
all seemed lost we bumped into this glorious, scrumptious cocoanut layer
cake.” She set the box on the table and untied the string.

“It’s a white splendor.” Marjorie stood beside Jerry peeping at the cake
as her chum removed the box lid. “I’ve made the sandwiches.” She nodded
toward a side table carefully covered with a snowy lunch cloth. “I
cracked the walnuts for the brown bread ones and also my thumb.” She
ruefully put the injured member in her mouth.

“How you must have suffered!” Jerry solemnly exclaimed. Both girls began
to laugh. “Leila was in one of her fine frenzies because we couldn’t
find a real cake or any stuffed dates.”

“I was that,” notified an affable agreeing voice from the opened door.
“Did not the people of Hamilton all have their mouths set for sweet
cakes today?” Leila closed the door and joined her chums. “We could find
nothing we wanted.”

“Until in despair we went over to a new bakery on Gorman Street that
just opened yesterday. The woman who keeps it is German. She has yellow
hair and looks just like a pound cake,” Jerry described with enthusiasm.

“And our dream of a cake was in the window!” exclaimed Leila. “We
thought we would eat it ourselves and tell no one, but we have such
honor about us. We could not bear to think of those who would have no
cake.” She smiled broadly upon Marjorie.

“You are a pair of fakes. You’ve been out having a fine spin while I’ve
been in working hard. The minute dinner’s over you two may make the
fruit salad. That will be your job,” Marjorie sternly pronounced
sentence on the buoyant, hilarious pair.

“I will make forty fruit salads to please you, Beauty, though I do not
know how to make one. Behold in me a helpful Harper.”

“You mean a harpful helper,” corrected Jerry.

“If you mean I am a harp, then I must tell you you are right. I do not
know how you guessed it.” Leila gazed at Jerry in mock admiration.

“Dinner won’t mean much to us tonight,” commented Marjorie as she
proudly raised the lunch cloth to allow the girls to see the tempting
generous stacks of small, three-cornered sandwiches, the relishes and
various other toothsome viands always welcomed by girlhood at a spread.
“Remember, we are to take nothing but soup at dinner. It’s to be cream
of celery. I asked Ellen.”

“Oh, Marjorie, I almost forgot to tell you,” Jerry suddenly cried out.
“Something has happened to the Hob-goblin’s Folly.” This was Jerry’s pet
name for Leslie’s garage enterprise.

“Happened?” Marjorie’s question contained little interest.

“Yep. There’s a new gang of men at work on the garage. Leila and I
noticed them when we went to town. They were gone when we came back, but
it was after five-thirty. There were as many as your gang on the
dormitory. I think they were Italians. Don’t you, Leila?”

Leila nodded. “They must be a new addition to the Italian quarter,” she
surmised. “Signor Baretti said last fall that nearly all the men of the
quarter were working on the dormitory. He said they had refused to work
for Leslie Cairns’s builders. They would not pay them enough by the day.
Perhaps the new ones are glad of the work. But how can I judge when I am
no boss of Italians, or of any one but Midget. I shall certainly give
her a tart and terrible lecture when I see her again. I left her
entertaining Gentleman Gus. Now I believe they have eloped.”

Leila’s dark suspicion of Vera set the three girls laughing. Gussie was
the tallest girl at Wayland Hall and Vera the tiniest. The elopement of
the pair was a joy to contemplate.

“I haven’t been near the dormitory for three whole days,” Marjorie
confessed ruefully. “I’ve been so busy since we came back from Sanford
trying to make up for a lot of things I let slide before I went that I’m
a no good manager. Robin is coming early tonight, so she’ll know what
has been going on over there. We may thank our stars we have such a
splendid manager as Mr. Graham to look after the dormitory for us.”

“And such a Marvelous Manager as Bean to look after the sandwiches for
us,” supplemented Jerry, imitating Marjorie’s tone.

“I thank my stars they’re made, and made without your help, Jeremiah
Macy.” Marjorie waved a finger before Jerry’s face. “There’s Robin now,
I’m sure.” She sprang from her chair and ran to the door.

“Were you at the dormitory today?” Her lips framed the question before
Robin had more than stepped into the room.

“No-o.” Robin’s tone was one of self-accusation. “It’s neglectful in me,
but I’ve not been there since day before yesterday. I must turn over a
new leaf tomorrow. What about you, Dean? I know you’ve done better than
I.”

“But I haven’t,” Marjorie protested. “I’m a day behind you, Pagie. Jerry
and Leila saw Leslie Cairns’s builders have at last gathered up a supply
of workmen. The girls noticed them today when they drove to town.”

“Her garage will be about as successful there as it would be in Thibet,”
predicted Robin scornfully. “It’s too far from the campus to be
convenient.”

“I wonder if she intends to run it herself?” remarked Jerry. “I can see
the Hob-goblin proudly marching around her own car roost.”

Conversation about Leslie Cairns came to a halt with Jerry’s remarks.
None of the Travelers liked to discuss her. When they did it was because
of some way in which her affairs chanced to touch theirs.

The lively entrance into the room of the “elopers” who had gone for a
ride in Vera’s car, and returned at the last minute before dinner,
brought a welcome diversity of subject.

“What do you care whether we have dinner or not? Think of the spread we
have for Ronny.” Jerry reminded them. “You may have only soup for
dinner. We’re going to have the eats soon after the party begins so that
nightmares won’t be popular along the hall tonight.”

“You try to be kind-hearted, don’t you, Jeremiah?” said Vera, with a
patronizing smile.

“Oh, yes, I try,” mimicked Jerry. “It’s not my fault if my
kindheartedness doesn’t register. Some people are positively thick,
and—”

The ringing of the dinner gong sent Vera and Gussie scurrying to their
rooms to remove their wraps. Marjorie, Jerry, Leila and Robin made
leisurely way down stairs to the dining room. Dinner began and ended
with soup for the Travelers. The ten original Travelers were invited to
the spread, as were also Phil Moore and Barbara Severn. Marjorie had
invited both of the latter to come over early to “soup.” Both had nobly
refused in favor of study so as to be free to spend the evening at
Wayland Hall without including “unprepared” in next day’s vocabulary.

“The first thing for us to do to start the party is to move the eats
into Ronny’s and Lucy’s room.” was Marjorie’s brisk decision, as she and
Jerry returned to Room 15 from the dining room.

Robin had strolled down the hall to see Ronny and give her a birthday
present of a curious, vellum-bound book in Spanish, which she had
commissioned her dilettante uncle to buy for her in Washington at a
fancy price.

“We might all heave-ho and lug the table into the other room with the
eats on it,” proposed Jerry dubiously. “On the other hand, there might
be a grand heave-ho-ing of eats on the floor. I don’t like to take such
a risk, Bean. Think of my goloptious, celostrous cocoanut cake.” Jerry
had added “goloptious” to her new vocabulary of one word.

“Think of my scrumptious, splendiferous sandwiches,” retaliated Bean
with promptitude.

“I’m thinking about them,” Jerry said mournfully. “I could eat one now,
if I had it. So near and yet so far.” She lifted the lunch cloth and
made eyes at the stacks of sandwiches. “This is the result of only soup
for supper. I yearn to gobble the spread.”

“I’ll feed you a sandwich with my own hand.” Marjorie proffered a nut
sandwich, Jerry’s favorite kind, to her hungry roommate.

“Thanks, kind lady. I wasn’t—”

“I know all about you,” cut in Marjorie with an unsympathetic laugh.
“Hurry up, and eat that sandwich. Then help me move the eats; by hand;
not by table.”

Marjorie went to the door and opened it. She came back to the table,
picked up two plates of sandwiches and started with them for Ronny’s
room. Part way to it she encountered Annie, one of the maids.

“Oh, Miss Dean, I was just coming after you.” The maid’s broad
good-humored features broke into a pleased smile. “There’s a gentleman
down stairs in the living room wants to see you.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XXI.

                        “WE MUST WORK TOGETHER”


“A gentleman to see me?” Marjorie repeated wonderingly. She turned a
look of mild inquiry upon the maid. “Didn’t he give you his name,
Annie?” Marjorie’s thoughts at once flashed to her general. Perhaps he
had come to Hamilton to give her a surprise. Business might have brought
him near the campus. Her cheeks flushed. Her eyes sparkled at the fond
thought.

“Please, Miss Dean, I asked him his name once and he said it, but I
couldn’t understand what he said. He said it kind of low and rumbly. I
hated to ask him again,” Annie confessed, looking her confusion.

“Oh, never mind, Annie.” Marjorie smiled away the maid’s discomfiture
with winsome good nature. “I’ll go down and see for myself. Please say
to the gentleman that I will be down directly.”

Marjorie returned to 15 with the two plates of sandwiches. If she
carried them on into Ronny’s room she would not go down stairs for the
next ten minutes. Oddly enough she thought also of Hal as a possible
visitor.

“Have you changed your mind about letting Ronny have these sandwiches?”
Jerry asked humorously as Marjorie hastily re-placed them on the table.

“No, I haven’t, Jeering Jeremiah,” Marjorie laughed. “You are to have
the sandwich-moving job. There’s a gentleman downstairs to see me.”

“What?” Jerry showed mild surprise. “A gentleman in this girl-inhabited
burg! It takes my breath. I mean to have one call on you at the Hall.
Who is he, or is that a secret?”

“I don’t know who he is. I’m going down to see.”

“It might be a book agent who has just heard that you go to college. It
might be a tin peddler who suspects we cook in our room and wants us to
try his tin dishes. It might be a carpet sweeper pest who has a carpet
sweeper that operates in mid air and simply coaxes the dust up from the
floor. Only those gentlemen always hunt by day. It might be—”

“Good-bye. I’m going downstairs. I can’t stop to listen to any more of
your weird theories, Jeremiah. I’ll be back soon, I hope.” Smiling over
Jerry’s ridiculous suppositions, Marjorie made a hasty start for
downstairs.

The man who rose to greet her as she entered the living room bore no
resemblance to either her general or Hal. Her caller was Peter Graham.

“Why, good evening, Mr. Graham.” She held out her hand. “This _is_ a
surprise, but always a pleasant one. You must have wondered what had
become of Miss Page and me.”

“No, I knew you were busy, Miss Marjorie.” Peter Graham’s fine face
lighted beautifully at sight of her. “You and Miss Robin have been very
faithful. It has been of the greatest assistance to me. Now we must work
together, more than ever.”

He ceased speaking and looked at her with an intensity of expression
which somehow filled her with vague alarm.

“What is it, Mr. Graham?” Her mind would have instantly formed the
conclusion that this call had to do with some serious crisis in his
personal affairs if he had not said: “Now we must work together more
than ever.”

“The majority of my workers have left me, Miss Marjorie,” he said with a
straight simplicity which marked him as a man worth while. “They have
gone over to the garage operation. There is no question in my mind as to
how the whole thing happened.”

“Leslie Cairns.” The words leaped involuntarily to Marjorie’s lips.
Immediately what Leila and Jerry had said before dinner returned to her
mind with a rush. How precisely it fitted with that one pertinent
sentence: “They have gone over to the garage operation.”

“Yes, Miss Cairns is responsible.” He spoke with quiet surety. “Still, I
cannot understand how she managed so cleverly to keep me in the dark
about her treacherous work until the mischief was done. Day before
yesterday my entire force was at work on the dormitory. Yesterday three
or four of my most useful Italians did not come to work. By noon today I
was deserted except for four Hamilton carpenters and builders whom I
have known and worked with for years. These four stood by me. Every last
one of the others went over to the garage.”

“Was there—did these men give their reason for going?” Marjorie asked
with admirable composure. “Before you answer, Mr. Graham, may I go
upstairs for Miss Page? She happens to be here this evening. It is her
right to hear as well as mine.”

“I am glad she is here. It is most fortunate for us. We shall be able to
decide what we can do that much the sooner.” The builder bowed
abstracted acknowledgment as Marjorie excused herself and hurried
upstairs. Peter Graham’s mind had dwelt upon nothing else but what might
be done to clear away the ugly situation resulting from Leslie Cairns’s
malice.

She found Robin in the midst of the party group in Ronny’s room. Under
Jerry’s laughable supervision the eats had been transferred without
accident to the immediate scene of the festivity. Ronny, as
hostess-guest of honor, was in high feather. She was hospitably
concocting a delectable mixture which she called “Encanta Manaña” as she
chatted animatedly with her friends. It was a fruit punch founded on
lemons and oranges and further improved by a blending of fruit syrups.
These syrups had been made from the fruits of her ranch home and put up
in the ranch laboratory. They were as welcome at a spread as was Leila’s
imported ginger ale.

Her own little coterie of friends had remembered her birthday that
morning with lavish giving. The top of her chiffonier was covered with
affectionate remembrances, each one selected with a view to Ronny’s
peculiarly strong, attractive individuality.

“I can’t stay up here one minute, girls,” Marjorie hastily told the
revelers. They had listened in blank silence to her as she acquainted
Robin with the dismaying situation. “Go ahead, and have a good time,
minus Page and Dean. We’ll be back within an hour, I think; perhaps
before then.”

A buzzing murmur arose from the group as the partners exchanged eye
messages of undying loyalty, linked arms and marched together from the
room. Page and Dean would fight gallantly beside Peter Graham for the
good of the dormitory.

Entering the living room Peter Graham shook hands with Robin. The
partners seated themselves side by side on a small settee, while Peter
Graham drew a wicker rocker close enough to them to permit of low-toned
conversation.

The builder then began an account of the chief happenings on the day
before the trouble became evident. He followed it with a more detailed
description of the desertion, first of the three or four Italians, then
the rest of the force, except the four Hamilton carpenters.

“When I saw those fellows I had tried to do well by over on the other
lot I knew there was only one thing had taken them there. They’d been
offered a good deal more money than we were paying them. I knew Thorne &
Foster hadn’t offered it to them.” The builder smiled, a quiet, scornful
smile. “They are niggards.

“I decided to go over and have a talk with Pedro Tomasi, one of the
older men of the quarter. He had always seemed very well disposed toward
me. I went only as far as the edge of the garage excavation.” He
laughed, but in his laugh he showed his deep-lying indignation. “I was
ordered off the lot by Thorne & Foster’s foreman. What construction
would you place on such an act on their part after what I just remarked
of them.” He looked levelly from Marjorie to Robin.

“There is only one can be placed upon it,” Marjorie said tranquilly.
“They are simply obeying Miss Cairns’s orders and pocketing more of her
money.”

“That’s it,” nodded Peter Graham. “It will cost her a pretty penny
before she is through with the affair. I’d like to know how long this
business was brewing before it came to a head. Neither Thorne or Foster
have been in town for weeks. Conlon, their foreman, is hated by the
workmen, especially the Italians. What I can’t understand is the smooth
quietness of the whole outrage. They walked out of our employ and into
that of Miss Cairns’s like a carefully organized body of strikers. If
Miss Cairns managed the walk-out she must have a certain amount of
unscrupulous cleverness,” he ended with grudging honestness.

“I haven’t the least doubt but that she managed it,” Robin made
indignant assertion. “She has been known to go to great pains to gain
her own way. On the campus, when she was a student here, she had a
reputation for that sort of thing.” Robin’s information was meant to be
impersonal. It was Peter Graham’s right to know Leslie Cairns’ measure
as a mischievous force.

Marjorie had listened to Robin and the builder, her mind weighing every
word she heard. As Robin finished with an angry little sputtered: “Oh,
will we ever be free of that Jonah?” the gravity of Marjorie’s beautiful
face changed to meditative resolution.

“Mr. Graham,” she said, “when first you told me of this I was really
dismayed for a few minutes. I can understand how you feel in the matter.
It is far harder on you than on us. Still, you know, and Page and Dean
know, that nothing is going to stop us from finishing the dormitory
outside God’s will. I am sure we have that. We are building toward good,
not evil. I suppose we couldn’t get these men we’ve lost back again, no
matter how hard we tried. They’ve gone the way of more money. We paid
them all we can afford or will pay in future. We must not needlessly
increase the dormitory obligation for the Travelers who come after our
chapter.”

“I wouldn’t advise taking back any of these men at a cent more than we
have been paying them. We have given them better wages than they ever
before received,” broke in the builder, defensive of the Travelers’
rights. “I am glad we are of the same mind, Miss Dean. And you, Miss
Page?” He turned to Robin, relief written large on his strong features.

“What is Page without Dean,” laughed Robin. “What are we both without
Graham?” She made a charming gesture of deference which pleased and
heartened the white-haired builder.

“Whatever you think wise for us to do, we will do. We rest our case with
you, Mr. Graham,” Marjorie’s voice rang with fine loyalty.

“Thank you both for your support,” was the grateful response. “Our case
will have to rest,” he continued, his face wonderfully brighter, “until
I can secure other workmen to take the places of those gone. It may be a
long time before I can collect another force like the one we had. They
were able fellows, and knew their business. I warn you, the dormitory
cannot be completed in time for the re-opening of college next fall
unless we should have the good fortune to find a new crew of men at
once. That is the situation.”

“We accept it with good grace.” Marjorie’s kindly cheeriness did much to
lighten the secret dejection of the builder. “Don’t worry over it, Mr.
Graham. We sha’n’t. We have had trouble with Leslie Cairns before. On
each occasion she has been a loser. We have gone on, the stronger for
experience. We shall rise above this vicissitude, just as we have risen
above the others. Leslie Cairns never seems even to do wrong
successfully.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             CHAPTER XXII.

                       GUISEPPE BARETTI’S THEORY


Regardless of her optimistic assertion to Robin and Peter Graham that
right must triumph in the end, Marjorie found it hard to resign herself
to watchful inaction in regard to the dormitory. The winter days came
and went with no change in the situation save perhaps the addition of a
dozen men to Peter Graham’s working force. It consisted of himself and
his quartette of carpenters. He scoured the region extending for
twenty-five miles about Hamilton for men. Labor happened to be scarce.
Workmen invariably demanded twice as much money for their services as he
would pay. The affair of the walk-out had been circulated far and wide
in that section. The numbers of workmen he talked with demanded as much
as “the Thorne and Foster crew” were receiving.

Miss Susanna Hamilton sputtered volubly to Jonas, Peter Graham and
Marjorie at the dire situation. She sent for Marjorie, Robin and the
builder on an average of once in every three or four days to discuss the
situation. She was at first for bringing in a crew of workmen from one
of the large cities and paying them their own price within a certain
limit to hurry the completion of the dormitory. She offered to pay the
sum needed to do this from her own resources. To this neither Page and
Dean nor Peter Graham would hear. In the end they won her over to their
way of thinking.

Marjorie’s chief private disappointment lay in the fact that she could
not conscientiously begin the compilation of Brooke Hamilton’s papers,
prior to writing his biography, until the dormitory question was settled
and off her mind. This had been the chief reason for Miss Susanna’s
generous proposal.

“I want you and Jerry to come to the Arms in March, sure and certain,”
she said more than once to Marjorie. “You are such a conscientious
child! You will not humor me at all. Suppose Peter should have to
cripple along all spring with a handful of men? Then you and Jerry will
miss the dawn of spring at the Arms. Let me tell you you will miss
something.”

“Miss Susanna, I’ve made up my mind to come to the Arms the first of
March, whether or not the dormitory business is settled.” Marjorie
finally made this concession one February afternoon while taking tea
with the old lady.

“You are my own Marvelous Manager, and a dear child.” Miss Susanna
unexpectedly left her chair, walked around the tea table to Marjorie and
hugged her.

“And you are the dearest of dears. I ought to come here by the first of
March. I feel it as my duty. And I shall love to be with you. The girls
are resigned to Jerry’s and my move. They’ll be here about half the
time. I give you warning beforehand. I’ve nothing but chemistry on my
list since the beginning of the semester. I only devote a few hours a
week to it now. I do wish something would happen to bring some more
workmen to the dormitory,” Marjorie ended wistfully.

“Yes, so do I. I could take that Cairns girl and treat her to a good
shaking with my own strength of arm.” Miss Susanna resentfully
straightened up from her embrace of Marjorie and vengefully worked her
arms. “And to think, I’ve never seen her except once, and at a
distance.” Miss Susanna resumed her chair and continued: “It is too bad
Baretti can do nothing with those Italians at the quarter. It’s the old
story. Money changes the color of everything.”

“I was hopeful of Signor Baretti,” Marjorie said, faint disappointment
in her reply. “He went over to the quarter several times. He said some
one besides Leslie Cairns herself had been influencing the Italians. He
thought she might have hired someone. The Italians swore that only
Thorne and Foster were responsible for the walk-out. They told Signor
Baretti the bosses had offered much money to have the work done quickly.
He says they are not telling the truth, but he can’t get at the truth
among them. I had a talk with him yesterday. Robin and I stopped at the
inn for ice cream. He says he will try again after a while to make the
Italians tell him the truth.”

“He is a fine little man,” Miss Susanna said, nodding approval of the
odd, whole-souled Italian. “He won’t forget that promise, either.”

Guiseppe Baretti had no intention of forgetting the, to him, solemn
promise he had made Page and Dean. The nearly perfect management of his
restaurant to which he had long since attained left him a good deal of
time to spend as he pleased. Usually he pleased to be busy in the inn
where he had achieved affluence. It was his workshop, and he loved it.
Now that the “dorm,” also grown into his peculiar affection, was in
difficulties it behoved him to become a knight errant.

Imbued with this high purpose he went again and again to the Italian
quarter, a patient, open-eared watchful little questioner or listener,
as the case might be. February was almost ended when he at last learned
something of importance. He came one evening upon Pedro Tomaso and
Francisco Vesseli engaged in heated argument. He gathered from the
torrent of angry words each hurled at the other the information he was
seeking. There had been a “Maestro” at the quarter, it seemed. He had
arranged the new scale of wages. Baretti heard over and over again the
name “Ravenzo.” When he left the quarter it was with four points fixed
in his mind. There had been a “Maestro” at the quarter. His name was
Ravenzo. He had come from New York. Then had come the desertion of the
“dorm” by the workmen.

What Baretti entertained as a positive belief, the Italians knew nothing
of. This was Leslie Cairns’s part in the dormitory trouble. They placed
the odium on Thorne and Foster. The long-headed Italian inn keeper laid
the primary blame upon Miss “Car-rins.” He firmly believed if “that one”
were made to “behave good” the troubles of the dorm would end. He had
gleaned here and there enough of Leslie’s past history to know that she
was the only child of Peter Cairns, a well-known financier, and that her
home was in New York.

After his fruitful visit to the quarter he sat down in his tiny private
office at the inn and wrote a long letter in Italian to a countryman of
his in New York connected with an Italian confidential agency. The
purpose of the letter was to establish the identity and business of one,
Ravenzo.

When he had finished the letter he sat very still for a long time and
thought about Leslie Cairns. Ever since he had first seen her as a
freshman at Hamilton, he had detested her. Now he put her through a
mental revue which did not redound to her credit. He wondered how her
father could allow her to “boss herself all wrong.” Perhaps her father
did not know half she did. There were many such cases. He reflected with
old-world wisdom that. “A father don’ want his childr’n do wrong.” He
was also of the conviction that, “A father, he can’t punish his childr’n
they do wrong, he don’ know they do it.” Guiseppe Baretti was sure that
Mr. Car-rins “don’ know much ’bout what his daughter do.”

His knowledge of Italian nature told him that if the scale of wages on
the Cairns’s garage was dropped to what it had been when begun by Thorne
and Foster, the men of the quarter as well as the American and Irish
workman would be glad to go back to the fair employ of Page and Dean
under the management of Peter Graham. If Miss Car-rins’s father knew her
as she really was perhaps he would come and take her away from Hamilton.
Miss Car-rins was of age, but a father was a father. Her father was a
“big” man. He probably would have ways to make his daughter behave.

Such was Baretti’s view of the problem he was trying to solve. The next
day he sat down and went over the same train of thought with the same
deliberation. On the third day thereafter he resigned himself to the
composition of a letter in Italian. It was a very long letter and the
first draft of it did not please him. For several days he kept patiently
at it, re-writing and re-vising. Finally he gave it into the keeping of
his Italian manager who was also a high school graduate. Two days
afterward the manager returned a neatly typed, well-phrased letter in
polite English to the little proprietor. Guiseppe had the pleasure of
addressing an envelope to Peter Cairns at his New York offices.
Baretti’s last thought in sending the letter was one of consideration
for Leslie’s father. He wrote on the lower, left-hand side of the
envelope: “For Peter Cairns only.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             CHAPTER XXIII.

                               MOVING DAY


“Today’s moving day, Jeremiah! We’d better pack before noon so that the
man can come for our trunks soon after lunch. I shall pack for keeps.
Truly, Jerry, we don’t know whether we’ll be back here again this year
or not.” Marjorie turned from a yawning trunk which she had pulled into
the middle of the room and surveyed Jerry solemnly.

“Well, if not this spring, then next fall,” Jerry said quickly. “Don’t
weep, Bean. You will make me weep, too. I want to go to the Arms,
though, and you have to go. Would you go if you weren’t going to write
the biography?”

“For a little while, but not for more than that,” Marjorie said very
honestly. “I’m going to miss the girls terribly, and so will you. We’ll
see them often, but this is a kind of break in the good old democrat’s
platform.”

“‘For larger hopes and graver fears,’” Jerry quoted. “That’s the way
things are. We have to go on, you know. Life hates loiterers.”

“You’re just as melancholy over this change as I am, Jeremiah Macy!”
Marjorie cried out. “It’s not fair to Miss Susanna.”

“She’ll never know it,” was Jerry’s consoling rejoinder.

“Indeed, she never shall,” Marjorie vowed energetically. “I am still a
tiny bit blue about the dormitory trouble. I wish it had come to an end
before we started our stay at the Arms. Mr. Graham feels worse about it
than either Robin or I. I don’t allow myself to dwell on the subject of
Leslie Cairns. I feel like joining Miss Susanna in giving the Hob-goblin
a good shaking.”

“Your temper is certainly going to lead you to violence some day, Bean.
That’s the first time I ever heard you address the Hob-goblin by her
household name. It shows rising ire on your part. Let me calm you by
reciting a few Bean Jingles. Ahem!

                “Oh, do not rave, then long you’ll wave;
                 Or with the goblin fight:
                 Just keep serene, beloved Bean,
                 You will come out all right.

                 I am your friend, unto the end,
                 I’ll stick to you like glue
                 On me just lean, entrancing Bean
                 And I will see you through.”

“Thank you, oh, thank you!” was Marjorie’s grateful reception of Jerry’s
improvised tribute. “I’d love to have a book of Bean Jingles.”

“You’ll have to take them down as they are ground out, then, Bean. I
never can remember them afterward. ‘I consider them rather sweet little
things.’ Now I must stop entertaining you and get busy. If you hear
blood-curdling wails outside the door today, don’t collapse. Leila says
she may give a farewell exhibition of true grief in the hall.”

The very prospect of Leila’s wails set the two girls to laughing. In
spite of the coming separation from their close friends the both felt
lighter of spirit as a result of Jerry’s nonsense.

As the morning sped toward noon, one by one, Ronny, Muriel, Lucy, Leila
and Vera sought Room 15, the headquarters of all their college years.
They were invited to the Arms to dinner that night in honor of Jerry’s
and Marjorie’s arrival. Now they hovered about Marjorie and Jerry,
trying to be cheerful at the blow that had fallen. They had agreed among
themselves not to flivver in the slightest particular. “But after
they’re gone,” Leila had said somberly to Vera, “I shall howl my Irish
head off.” Anna Towne and Verna Burkett had been invited to take up
their abode at Wayland Hall in Room 15 until either college closed or
the two Travelers came back again to the Hall.

“Robin wanted me to have lunch with her today at Baretti’s, but I told
her I’d meet her there afterward,” Marjorie commented to her chum
audience as she continued to pack. “She forgot for a minute that this
would be Jerry’s and my last luncheon at the Hall for awhile. I say
that, but I’ll probably be over for dinner or lunch about day after
tomorrow.” Marjorie straightened up and viewed her friends with a smile
so full of sunshiny good-will Ronny exclaimed rather shakily:

“How silly in us to let ourselves be sad about losing you, Marjorie
Dean. We sit here looking like a set of sad sentimental old geese. I
will not do so. Here, let’s dance.” She pirouetted to the middle of the
floor in her inimitable fashion and began one of the utterly original,
graceful dances for which she was famed on the campus. Soon she had
swept the others into it and they were all romping like children.

“If we’re reported for this racket it won’t do the reporter any good.
We’re vacating today. I suppose the Phonograph, the Prime Minister and
the Ice Queen will be so pleased to know we’ve vamoosed.” Jerry smirked
derisively in the direction of Julia Peyton’s room.

Marjorie’s face shadowed slightly at mention of Doris Monroe. Muriel was
still in the dark regarding Doris’s sudden change from gracious to
hostile. Since her Christmas trip to New York with Leslie Cairns, Doris
had been associating constantly with Leslie. More than once when driving
with one or another of her chums Marjorie had seen the white car flash
past them with Doris at the wheel and Leslie beside her. She sometimes
wondered half scornfully whether Doris had not a very fair understanding
of Leslie and her unfair methods. Then she would quickly reproach
herself as having been suspicious and mean-spirited.

After lunch Jerry promised to see the trunks safely into the keeping of
an expressman, leaving Marjorie free to meet Robin at Baretti’s.

“I cut dessert at the Hall today,” was Robin’s salutatory remark as
Marjorie presently breezed into the restaurant, her cheeks pure
carnation pink from the sharp winter air. “I thought I’d like to have it
here with you. I want some Nesselrode pudding. You know my weakness for
it. Have some? What will you have?”

“I ought to say nothing, but I’ll eat an apricot ice with you. Thank
you, Page, for your invitation.” Marjorie sat down opposite Robin at the
table the latter had chosen. “I finished my packing before lunch. It
seems queer to be going to Hamilton Arms to live for a while. None of us
dared say much about it at the Hall today. A flood was in the offing.
But no one flivvered after all. We smiled at each other at lunch like a
whole collection of Cheshire pusses.”

“The girls will miss you so dreadfully, Marjorie,” Robin said with
sudden soberness. She looked across the table at her partner and
wondered if there could ever be anyone more likeable than Marjorie.

“I’ll miss them, Robin. Jerry and I were ready to cry this morning until
Jerry fell back on Bean Jingles and we laughed instead. Here comes
Signor Baretti.” Marjorie held out a gracious hand.

“What have you hear about the dorm?” was the Italian’s first question
after he had accepted the partners’s united invitation to sit.

“Nothing encouraging,” Robin answered with a dejected little shrug. “We
are going over there today to try to keep Mr. Graham in good spirits. He
has such frightful fits of the blues over this miserable set-back to the
dormitory.”

“Yes; the dorm has a verra bad time. I feel verra sorry. I have try to
help you in some ways, Miss Page, Miss Dean. Maybe one thing I do have
good after while. I don’ know.” The Italian did not offer to explain his
somewhat mysterious reference.

“We know you are always ready to help us,” Marjorie said with grateful
earnestness. “Would you like to go over to the dormitory with us today,
Signor Baretti? I am sure Mr. Graham would be pleased to see you. You
know Robin and I would enjoy your company?”

“I think I go with you.” The little proprietor accepted with a dash of
pleased red in his brown cheeks. “I have bought the new roadster. I like
you to ride in it, Miss Page, Miss Dean.”

“Thank you for suggesting such a dandy way to escape the wind,” smiled
Marjorie. “The first day of March, and a real March wind. Miss Macy and
I are going to Hamilton Arms today to stay all spring, Signor Baretti.
You remember I told you before Christmas that I was going there in the
spring.”

“Yes, yes! I remem’er. You are to write somethin’ ’bout this Brooke
Hamilton. He is name for the college. Miss Macy—she make another write
’bout him, too?”

“No; she is going to the Arms with me because she is my roommate. I
couldn’t leave her behind. Miss Susanna wished both of us to come.”

“I think your friends in the house you live on the campus verra sorry
you go,” commented the Italian.

“Thank you very much.” Marjorie made him an arch little bow.

“You are the quite welcome.” The solemn little man beamed happily upon
her. Her merry graciousness put him at his ease.

He showed not a little curiosity regarding the biography of Brooke
Hamilton. He asked a number of questions about the founder of Hamilton
College and listened eagerly as Marjorie explained as lucidly as she
could regarding the biography of the great man which she was to write.

When the partners had finished their ices Baretti escorted them, with
proud lights in his black eyes, to his roadster, parked in front of the
restaurant in shining newness. It was only a short run from the inn to
the dormitory. The cutting sharpness of the east wind, however, made
riding preferable to walking. Seated in the tonneau of the car Robin and
Marjorie had hardly exchanged a dozen sentences when the car had reached
the dormitory site and was slowing down for a stop.

“Look, Robin! What can the matter be?” Marjorie cried in an alarmed
tone. Glancing out from the glassed door nearest to her she beheld a
good-sized crowd of men collected in front of the dormitory building.

Before Robin could reply, Baretti brought the car to a stop and was out
of it and at the door of the tonneau to assist them.

“What happen, I wonder?” he asked excitedly. “Mebbe is Mr. Graham or one
his men hurt. You stay here. I go an’ see. You don’ go up there till I
come tell you all is right. Mebbe is the fight.”

“We will wait for you here,” Marjorie cast concerned eyes toward the
crowd of men in an endeavor to pick out Peter Graham in their midst.

As her gaze grew more searching she picked out the builder at the back
of the crowd. He seemed to be the main object of attention. His hat was
off and his thick white hair was being fluffed out on his head by the
wind. He was waving an arm and wagging his head as though making a
speech. Far from fighting, the gathering of dark-faced men was orderly.
They were evidently listening to Peter Graham in an almost complete
silence.

“Marjorie, is it—do you suppose Mr. Graham has been able to gather that
crowd of men to work for him? I hardly dare believe it, but, oh,
gracious, if it should be true—.” Robin clasped her hands.

“If it should be,” Marjorie repeated, hope flashing into her anxious
face. “They are Italians—mostly.” She added the last word as she made
the discovery that a sprinkling of the crowd were American. Simultaneous
with it she made another discovery. The tall Italian at the edge of the
group was Pedro Tomaso. She began to recognize others among that
attentive throng who had formerly been Peter Graham’s men.

“They’re not _new_ men, Robin!” she exclaimed. “They are the same ones
who went over to Leslie Cairns’s lot.”

“There certainly doesn’t appear to be any one left over at the garage.”
As Marjorie called out her discovery Robin had directed her attention
toward the garage foundation which had risen since Page and Dean’s
workmen had gone over to the other enterprise. Only a few days before it
had been humming with activity. Now the silence of a tomb hovered over
it. Not a man was to be seen nearer to it than those who made up the
crowd in front of the dormitory.

“If Signor Baretti doesn’t come back this minute we’ll simply have to
join the crowd.” Marjorie’s voice was freighted with eagerness.
“Something’s gone wrong over at the garage and these men have fallen
back on Mr. Graham. It must be that. See how respectful they are. Ah-h,
here he comes.”

“Oh, Miss Page; Miss Dean; you see there!” The inn keeper pointed
joyously to the crowd. “They are the ones to leave Mr. Gra’m. Now it is
good enough for them. They have no job atall. Come a man this morning
early. Fire these Italianos, fire the Americans, fire these men, Thorne
an’ Foster. Mebbe fire Miss Car-rins, too, she was here.” He vented a
funny little chuckle on the last remark.

“That is the most amazing thing I ever heard.” Robin stared in a puzzled
way at the deserted garage enterprise. “The only one I should imagine
who could discharge the whole crowd of men would be Leslie Cairns
herself. Perhaps she has sold the operation as it stands.”

“No; she don’t sell it.” A curiously triumphant expression sprang into
the Italian’s face. “I don’t talk yet to Mr. Gra’m, for he is too busy.
I talk a little to Tomaso. He tell me this man who fires everybody come
to the lot with Thorne and Foster. They both looked scare. He look here,
look there. He is verra smart, big tall man. He laugh verra mad. He say
to Thorne and Foster: ‘You are the couple of skins. You done. Be glad I
don’t put you in jail. Now you get out!’ Then Tomaso hear Foster say:
‘You don’t understan’, Mr. Car-rins.’ The big man say: ‘Yes; understan’
you two thieves.’ So, that is Mr. Car-rins who come here. He is the
father Miss Car-rins. Then mebbe he can fire Miss Car-rins so she don’t
come here more.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             CHAPTER XXIV.

                        LESLIE TENDS TO BUSINESS


The arrival of the father of Leslie Cairns upon the scene of her
business activities was, indeed, as Robin had declared, in the light of
amazing. More, that he should have suddenly appeared like a devastating
whirlwind and summarily discharged the working force engaged in the
building of the garage seemed little short of incredible.

“Come on back to the car.” Marjorie caught Robin by an arm. “I know you
would like to join Mr. Graham, Signor Baretti. Don’t think you must stay
here with us. That’s a man’s meeting up there,” she nodded toward the
crowd. “They wouldn’t feel at ease if we went up there. We might spoil
the good effect upon them that Mr. Graham is trying for. We’ll sit in
the car and wait for you two. You go, and help him. You understand the
Italian workmen better even than he.”

“I go. That is what I want do, but I think I must stay by you.” Baretti
grew radiant. “Pretty soon I come back with Mr. Gra’m. Then you will
hear more that he know.” The inn keeper hustled toward the crowd of
workmen. Page and Dean picked their way to the car over the rough frozen
earth.

It was fifteen minutes later, and the amazement of the Italian’s report
had not yet died out between the partners, when the throng around Peter
Graham broke up and the workmen went their several ways. As a result of
their unexpected discharge from their “fat” job they were a crestfallen
set of men.

The Italians had led the movement of return to Peter Graham. With the
stolidity of the foreign laborer, a job was a job. If they were thrown
out of work in one place, they must find work in another. It mattered
not at all to them that they had treacherously deserted Peter Graham.
They waited on the scene of their disaster only long enough to learn
from Conner, the foreman, that they would be able to collect their pay
checks next day at the Hamilton office of Thorne and Foster. Their next
move was straight to the dormitory. There they hung about in the cold
until the arrival of Peter Graham, which had not been until shortly
before Signor Baretti and the partners had arrived.

The builder had on that day been on an unfruitful and discouraging hunt
for men. His surprise at finding a sheepish but anxious delegation of
jobless men awaiting him had been mixed with grim amusement. He had
seized the advantage which he had at once saw was his to lay down the
law to them. Of the early morning episode which had brought him his old
corps of workmen he had not yet a clear story. He was more interested
just then in the effect rather than the cause. The men had asked to be
allowed to take up their old work that day. The builder refused the
request, and sent them home. “Don’t come back tomorrow unless you feel
that you are going to stick to me until this job is done,” were his
parting words to them.

A little later the builder and Signor Baretti were walking toward the
roadster where the partners patiently waited to congratulate Peter
Graham on the sudden silver lining that a very gray sky had turned out.
The inn keeper insisted that his three friends should go to the inn for
something hot to eat and drink. Peter Graham had been too busy to stop
for luncheon. He hailed the invitation. Page and Dean found hot
chocolate and marguerites appetizing after their stay out in the cold.
Even Baretti broke his rule and drank a cup of very strong black coffee.

Around the table the four discussed the unexpected eclipse of the garage
operation at length. They hoped to arrive at a logical conclusion
regarding the reason for Peter Cairns’s high-handed procedure against
his daughter’s business venture. Greater than the knowledge that their
work could now go on, was the wonder of the partners at the summary
defeat of Leslie Cairns’s dishonorable scheme. Peter Graham was more
concerned with the return of the workmen than anything else. He had not
passed through three trying years on the campus with Leslie Cairns
always a menace. Guiseppe Baretti was filled with secret bliss over one
lovely fact. Peter Car-rins had received his letter.

Meanwhile Baretti’s new roadster had hardly made port at the inn when
Leslie Cairns turned her car into Hamilton Pike, bent on a visit to her
garage site. Her special interest, however, was in viewing the dormitory
and exulting in the “crimp” she had “handed the prigs and digs.” She was
well pleased at having “put one over on that cotton-topped carpenter.”

With her affairs progressing so smoothly Leslie had not troubled herself
to visit the garage site for several days. All that Anton Lavigne had
promised to do he had done. She had seen him but once in Hamilton. Then
he had visited the Italian quarter as Ravenzo. He had telephoned her to
pick him up with her car at a rather lonely spot on Hamilton Pike. A
small mustache, shell-rimmed glasses and rough tweed clothing so changed
his appearance that she had hardly known him. He had talked with her
only as long as it took to reach the railway station where he took the
first train for New York. He had assured her of having done his work
thoroughly. As the winter wore on toward March and the situation he had
promoted remained unchanged she grew more and more pleased with herself.
She was not specially pleased with Thorne and Stone. In spite of plenty
of help they dragged the building of the garage. She quarreled with them
about it whenever she saw either partner. She retained them because of
their lack of principle.

Leslie spun her car along the pike with her usual disregard for speed
laws. It was cold and she was not anxious to remain out long in the
sharp wind. She resolved to give the “flivver” and the “success” the
“once over,” then drive to the Colonial, telephone Doris and invite her
to go back to town with her for the rest of the afternoon and evening.

The surprise which had met Robin and Marjorie on reaching the dormitory
was a surprise. The situation which Leslie found herself facing was a
shock. Her first glance of scowling consternation deepened as she went
nearer the garage foundation and neither heard nor saw even a solitary
workman. The stillness of the place depressed her. What had happened to
her gang of men? Ah! She had it. Thorne and Foster had perhaps laid the
men off for a day. She would be charged for the day’s work they had not
done. The builders would collect it and keep it. Nothing doing! She
would drive to their town office and have it out with them.

Leslie shivered as a blast of wind cut through even her fur coat. She
ran back to her car and sprang into it. She heard the sound of a hammer
tapping away in the dormitory. She grinned derisively as she glanced up
at the half completed edifice. Thanks to Lavigne, Bean’s settlement
house would go a long time without a roof.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                              CHAPTER XXV.

                               THE LETTER


Following on the heels of her first shock came disappointment. She
reached the three story building where Thorne and Foster had established
temporary office to find the door of the office locked and a sign tacked
to the outside door panel which bore the information: “Gone for the
day.”

“Who told them they could go?” she sulkily muttered. “Wait till I see
that pair. All they do is loaf and rob me. They’re slackers. That old
cotton-top Bean has working for her is worth more than a dozen of these
slackers.”

Leslie swung petulantly down the one flight of stairs to the street. The
wind whistled in her face causing her to duck her head into her high fur
collar.

“It’s too cold to drive back to the campus,” she concluded. “I’ll run
the car into the garage and hunt for cover. The hotel for me tonight.
I’ll go there and stay there.” She promised herself that next day she
would make it a point to go to the garage site and see what was going
on. She could pick up Doris then at the Colonial and take her back to
town.

She drove to the garage, saw the car housed and battled her way against
the wind the distance of one block to the hotel. At the desk the clerk
handed her a letter. Leslie stared at the address in fascination. Her
face turned as nearly white as its swarthiness would permit. Her lips
moved as though she were trying to speak and could not. Her hands shook
so violently she dropped the letter on the tessellated marble floor.

She bent to retrieve it, and nearly lost her balance. Sight of certain
black, jagged handwriting all but drained her of strength. She walked to
the door of the elevator steadily enough, but her knees weakened under
her as she stood and waited for what seemed an age for the descending
cage.

“Great Scott!” she breathed in a voice not quite steady as the door of
her room closed behind her. She stumbled over to a chair and fell into
it. “I never had such a wobbly time in all my life before,” she said
aloud again. “I’m glad to see that writing.”

Leslie was so staggered at seeing again the characteristic handwriting
of Peter Cairns she had only one idea. Her father had written her a
letter. In the exultant glow she experienced as she tore open the
envelope she lost her first panic of agitation.

Her hands began to tremble anew as she hastily tore the envelope across,
in order to quickly get at the letter inside it. Two sheets of his club
paper brought a sparkle to her eyes. She unfolded them and read with
hungry concentration:

    “LESLIE:

    “So long as you minded your own affairs and did not involve
    others in your ridiculous schemes I decided to let you go on and
    see if you had any common sense. You have shown so little of
    this necessary quality I have been compelled to interfere and
    undo, if possible, the mischief you have done.

    “There are two ways of doing business; a wise way and a foolish
    way. Business enterprises are conducted in order to bring wealth
    to their promoters; not for the purpose of “getting even” with
    another, or others. I know precisely what you have been doing
    since you disgraced yourself and me at college. I have not once
    approved of you. Your purchase of a certain piece of property
    near the college was typical of your business idiocy. Some day
    you may learn why.

    “When you were a youngster I had some hope of helping you to the
    career you fancied. You are very far away from that point of
    intelligence now. Prudence should have taught you never to buck
    against an institution of learning of the traditional worth and
    material wealth of Hamilton College.

    “I have put a definite end to your silly, wasteful garage
    venture. You chose the last site suitable for a public garage.
    If you make an effort, no matter how small, or as you may
    believe, secret, to carry on this enterprise or to have another
    carry it on for you, I will wipe out your fortune and send you
    to business college. You have shown sufficient lack of gray
    matter to insure my closer guardianship over you, as your
    father. For the present Mrs. Gaylord will remain your chaperon.
    You thought no doubt in the beginning that you engaged her. I
    daresay you know differently now. Women seldom keep their
    secrets. You will arrange to be in New York not later than the
    fifteenth of this month. You are not to return to Hamilton. I
    have seen Lavigne and had matters out with him. You deceived
    him, but he should have known better than to bother with you. He
    has changed his address. You may be interested in this news.

    “In New York you will select a suitable apartment for yourself
    and Mrs. Gaylord and resume your friendship with Natalie Weyman.
    She is a shallow creature, but at least has social pride. You
    are to devote yourself to society for a while. Perhaps in that
    way you may get over your business fallacy.

                                                     “PETER CAIRNS.”

With a kind of howl such as a mourning, solitary creature of the wild
might utter, Leslie dropped her head on her arms. She had ever been
careless of the feelings of others; always ready to sneer at even her
friends. Now for the first time in her selfish life she had been cut to
the heart by words.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             CHAPTER XXVI.

                              AT THE ARMS


A few days of work on the part of a steady and greatly chastened crew of
men convinced Peter Graham that his return to good fortune was not a
dream. At the garage site nothing stirred save the wind-swept branches
of the trees and drifting dead leaves or swaying frozen weeds.

Leslie Cairns had not waited in Hamilton for the coming of the fifteenth
of March. She and Mrs. Gaylord had gone to New York on the day following
the receipt of her letter. She had not said good-bye to Doris. She
intended to write the sophomore. Further she would go back to Hamilton
later, if she chose. Her first grief at her father’s cutting letter had
changed into a slow-kindling resentment. It promised presently to
dominate her future acts. She had determined to learn for herself when
she returned to New York if her father could wipe out her entire
fortune. It consisted of several gilt-edged investments. She was
confident she would find a way to secure at least a part of it from him.
She would fight him through the courts, should he try to impoverish her.
He had cast her out of his affections. She would stamp out her regard
for him.

While she vengefully sulked and prepared for a hasty departure from
Hamilton, Marjorie and Jerry Macy had joined the household at Hamilton
Arms. Their first sensations had been those of strangeness of their
roomy quarters after the closer confinement of Wayland Hall. They had a
somberly beautiful suite of sitting room, immense sleeping room with
twin carved mahogany beds and bathroom containing the luxury of a sunken
bath.

They had made a triumphal entry into the Arms surrounded by their chums
who had been invited to celebrate the arrival of the beloved guests. The
Travelers had delivered Marjorie and Jerry into Miss Susanna’s keeping
with an exuberance of joy resulting from their appreciation of the
triumph of Page and Dean over Leslie Cairns. From Baretti’s, Robin and
Marjorie had hurried to Wayland Hall, gathered their chums into Room 15,
and joyfully told them the news. In consequence, the elation attending
the disclosure served to banish the wrench of parting.

The Saturday afternoon following their move to the Arms Miss Susanna
gave a reception in honor of the Travelers to the dormitory girls. The
guests of honor assembled on Friday night, burdened with their reception
finery. They stayed that night at the Arms and did their own decorating
of the stately rooms the next morning. In honor of their senior “dorms”
a flower scheme of daffodils and violets had been carried out in
fragrant profusion in all the rooms and at the tables of the famous
Chinese tea room where sweets, ices and tea were served. Purple and gold
were the senior colors and the modest senior dorms were inclined to be
somewhat abashed at this compliment to them. Anna Towne plaintively
expressed their opinion when she said: “All this attention makes us
believe we count. I hope we do!”

Marjorie had been at the Arms a week before Miss Susanna mentioned
Brooke Hamilton in connection with the literary labor to be performed.
She understood Miss Hamilton well enough to guess that the peculiar old
lady was not yet ready to talk about the biography Marjorie was to
write.

“I suppose you’ve been wondering, Marvelous Manager, why you haven’t
been set to work as an author and biographer,” Miss Hamilton addressed
Marjorie from the sunny bow window of the old-time sitting room where
she had been watering a fragrant rosy mass of window box sweet peas. She
picked half a dozen dainty clusters of them and trotted over to Marjorie
with them. She tucked them into Marjorie’s thick curls, rolled up at the
back of her shapely young head. “There, you look like the awakening of
spring, child,” she declared. “Come, now, you and I will go up to the
study.”

“Really, Miss Susanna?” Marjorie sprang up from her chair, radiant at
the prospect.

“Yes, really. You’re not polite, or you’d take what I say for granted.”

“Always, in future,” promised Marjorie, holding up one hand. She wound
her other arm about Miss Hamilton’s waist.

“Jerry has gone to the garage with Jonas for the car. While she is
bringing it up I am going to do something for you which seems important
to me. I am going to introduce you to Uncle Brooke. He will welcome you
as a friend and make over to you all his papers.”

Miss Susanna paused, her eyes searching Marjorie’s face in the bright,
bird-like way which meant accurate appraisal.

“Go on; please do,” Marjorie breathed, showing her utter fascination of
the supernatural-sounding announcement. “It is such a beautiful thought,
that of going with you to his study to be introduced to him as a friend.
Afterward I will gradually come to the point where I can look over his
papers and not feel—” Marjorie studied an instant “—like an old Paul
Pry,” she added, smiling.

“Precisely my idea,” emphasized the mistress of the Arms. “Let’s be on
our way.” She wound an arm around Marjorie’s waist. Wise youth and
youthful age paraded out into the hall and up the broad staircase,
clinging to each other in fond, school girl way.

The door of the study was a little ajar, as though someone within the
room had anticipated the visit of Miss Susanna. The study door was
generally closed. Marjorie knew Miss Susanna had set it to suit her
fancy.

The two paused before the door. Miss Hamilton gently drew herself free
from Marjorie’s arm. She lifted a hand and rapped lightly on a door
panel. Then she stood in an attitude of alert listening. Marjorie knew
she was re-acting a daily episode of the long ago. “He is there,” she
said softly to Marjorie. “I will go first. Follow me.”

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             CHAPTER XXVII.

                            THE INTRODUCTION


“Good morning, Uncle Brooke. I have brought my friend, Marjorie Dean to
meet you. I hope you are feeling your splendid best today.”

Miss Susanna’s voice, gently modulated until nothing remained of its
natural quick, brisk quality, filled Marjorie with an impulse to cry. It
was not that gentle voice alone which awoke her emotion. She was looking
straight toward a face, strong, proud, with an almost haughty set of
noble dark head on broad but sloping shoulders. Eyes, startling in their
blueness, a firm mouth, somehow suggesting humor and shaded by a
close-clipped dark mustache.

Marjorie had seen portraits of Brooke Hamilton. She had never before
seen this particular painting of him. She understood, instantly she
beheld it, why Miss Susanna should take pleasure in regarding it as
life-like enough to merit an introduction. It had been evidently painted
when he was perhaps thirty and in the glory of his manhood. It was a
life-size study of head and shoulders far finer than any other of him
she had previously seen at the Arms.

A choking sensation rose in her throat. She fought it back, clenching
her hands and resisting sturdily the impulse to cry. It seemed an age
since Miss Susanna had spoken. In reality it was not more than two
minutes.

“Uncle Brooke, let me introduce Marjorie Dean. You wrote the fourteenth
maxim for her, though you did not then know it. Marjorie Dean, let me
present you to my great uncle, Brooke Hamilton. He wishes to give you
his confidence.” Again Miss Susanna’s voice rose and fell gently on the
sunlit study.

“Good morning, my friend, Brooke Hamilton. I accept your confidence as
sacred. I will never disturb the inner deeps.” Marjorie gazed at the
handsome manly face through a mist.

“Because I have called you friend I will neither measure out friendship
to you in quantity nor lay a restriction upon it.” It was Miss Susanna
who followed Marjorie’s exalted promise with Brooke Hamilton’s own creed
of friendship.

“I thank you, Mr. Brooke Hamilton.” Marjorie bowed sedately. Next
instant her sedate air broke up in a winsome smile. She thought the man
in the portrait looked as though he might have enjoyed fun and laughter
as well as profound consciousness of responsibility.

“And now you’ve been introduced,” Miss Susanna said naively. “I had
Jonas put this portrait away for awhile. It used to hang in my private
sitting room. I was afraid you might see it before I was ready to have
you. It was painted by a young Frenchman named Blaneau. He died at
twenty-seven. He would have no doubt been ranked as the greatest
portrait painter of his time had he lived. Such is the history of the
most natural picture of my uncle I have. He claimed it to be such. If
you like it, it is to stay here and be your inspiration. Truly, I think
the presence of it in the room will help you.”

“I know it will.” Marjorie said fervently. “Oh, Miss Susanna, do you
think I am great enough of spirit to do him justice?”

“I know you are.” Miss Hamilton’s tone was victoriously certain. “Would
you be amazed if I were to say that you are like him in some respects?
You are. Your ideals are in keeping with his. He believed most of all in
the romance of deeds, rather than of love. He gloried in action; the
kind that would most benefit the most people. Yet he found after all
that love was love, that the romance of men and women—”

Miss Susanna stopped. Came a tense hush. The idea of Brooke Hamilton as
in love had never before presented itself to Marjorie. “The romance of
men and women” repeated itself in Marjorie’s brain. There it was again.
It was not for her. She would write the biography of Brooke Hamilton,
promote the interests of the dormitory. She would continue to hug the
romance of deeds to her heart.

She did not know that romance was still waiting patiently for her around
a future corner.

She did not know that beauty and romance hate separation; that true love
seeks true natures. She had yet to earn that true romance was the inner
heart of love. Her bold sister, adventure, belonged to deeds. How she
learned the lesson of love from one who had learned it too late for
happiness will be told in “MARJORIE DEAN’S ROMANCE.”


                                THE END.

------------------------------------------------------------------------



                          _SAVE THE WRAPPER!_


_If_ you have enjoyed reading about the adventures of the new friends
you have made in this book and would like to read more clean, wholesome
stories of their entertaining experiences, turn to the book jacket—on
the inside of it, a comprehensive list of Burt’s fine series of
carefully selected books for young people has been placed for your
convenience.

_Orders for these books, placed with your bookstore or sent to the
Publishers, will receive prompt attention._



------------------------------------------------------------------------



[Illustration]

                                  THE

                          Ann Sterling Series

                         By HARRIET PYNE GROVE

                   Stories of Ranch and College Life
                        For Girls 12 to 16 Years

                      _Handsome Cloth Binding with
                      Attractive Jackets in Color_

ANN STERLING

    The strange gift of Old Never-Run, an Indian whom she has
    befriended, brings exciting events into Ann’s life.

THE COURAGE OF ANN

    Ann makes many new, worthwhile friends during her first year at
    Forest Hill College.

ANN AND THE JOLLY SIX

    At the close of their Freshman year Ann and the Jolly Six enjoy a
    house party at the Sterling’s mountain ranch.

ANN CROSSES A SECRET TRAIL

    The Sterling family, with a group of friends, spend a thrilling
    vacation under the southern Pines of Florida.

ANN’S SEARCH REWARDED

    In solving the disappearance of her father, Ann finds exciting
    adventures, Indians and bandits in the West.

ANN’S AMBITIONS

    The end of her Senior year at Forest Hill brings a whirl of new
    events into the career of “Ann of the Singing Fingers.”

ANN’S STERLING HEART

    Ann returns home, after completing a busy year of musical study
    abroad.

                    A. L. BURT COMPANY, Publishers,
                 114-120 EAST 23rd STREET      NEW YORK



------------------------------------------------------------------------



[Illustration]

                            Books for Girls

                           By GRACE MAY NORTH

                               Author of
                       THE VIRGINIA DAVIS SERIES

                  All Clothbound.    Copyright Titles.

                  _With Individual Jackets in Colors_


MEG OF MYSTERY MOUNTAIN

    This story tells of the summer vacation some young people spent in
    the mountains and how they cleared up the mystery of the lost cabin
    at Crazy Creek Mine.

RILLA OF THE LIGHTHOUSE

    “Rilla” had lived all her life with only her grandfather and “Uncle
    Barney” as companions, but finally, at High Cliff Seminary, her
    great test came and the lovable girl from Windy Island Lighthouse
    met it brilliantly.

NAN OF THE GYPSIES

    In this tale of a wandering gypsy band, Nan, who has spent her
    childhood with the gypsies, is adopted by a woman of wealth, and by
    her love and loyalty to her, she proves her fine character and true
    worth.

SISTERS

    The personal characteristics and incidents in the lives of two
    girls—one thoughtless and proud, the other devoted and
    self-sacrificing—are vividly described in this story, told as it is
    with sympathy and understanding for both.

                    A. L. BURT COMPANY, Publishers,
                 114-120 EAST 23rd STREET      NEW YORK



------------------------------------------------------------------------



[Illustration]

                             The Camp Fire
                              Girls Series

                          By HILDEGARD G. FREY

                    A Series of Outdoor Stories for
                         Girls 12 to 16 Years.

                  All Cloth Bound    Copyright Titles

                          PRICE 50 CENTS EACH
                          Postage 10c. Extra.

THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS IN THE MAINE WOODS; or, The Winnebagos go Camping.

THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS AT SCHOOL; or, The Wohelo Weavers.

THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS AT ONOWAY HOUSE; or, The Magic Garden.

THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS GO MOTORING; or, Along the Road That Leads the Way.

THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS’ LARKS AND PRANKS; or, The House of the Open Door.

THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS ON ELLEN’S ISLE; or, The Trail of the Seven Cedars.

THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS ON THE OPEN ROAD; or, Glorify Work.

THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS DO THEIR BIT; or, Over the Top with the Winnebagos.

THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS SOLVE A MYSTERY; or, The Christmas Adventure at
    Carver House.

THE CAMP FIRE GIRLS AT CAMP KEEWAYDIN; or, Down Paddles.

                      For sale by all booksellers,
             or sent on receipt of price by the Publishers
            A. L. BURT COMPANY, 114-120 E. 23d St., NEW YORK



------------------------------------------------------------------------



[Illustration]

                                  The
                              Girl Scouts
                                 Series

                            BY EDITH LAVELL

A new copyright series of Girl Scouts stories by an author of wide
experience in Scouts’ craft, as Director of Girl Scouts of Philadelphia.

               Clothbound, with Attractive Color Designs.

                          PRICE, 50 CENTS EACH
                           POSTAGE 10c EXTRA

                 THE GIRL SCOUTS AT MISS ALLEN’S SCHOOL
                 THE GIRL SCOUTS AT CAMP
                 THE GIRL SCOUTS’ GOOD TURN
                 THE GIRL SCOUTS’ CANOE TRIP
                 THE GIRL SCOUTS’ RIVALS
                 THE GIRL SCOUTS ON THE RANCH
                 THE GIRL SCOUTS’ VACATION ADVENTURES
                 THE GIRL SCOUTS’ MOTOR TRIP
                 THE GIRL SCOUTS’ CAPTAIN
                 THE GIRL SCOUTS’ DIRECTOR

                      For sale by all booksellers,
             or sent on receipt of price by the Publishers
            A. L. BURT COMPANY, 114-120 E. 23d St., NEW YORK



------------------------------------------------------------------------



[Illustration]

                                  The
                            Greycliff Girls
                                 Series

                         By HARRIET PYNE GROVE

Stories of Adventure, Fun, Study and Personalities of girls attending
Greycliff School.

                        For Girls 10 to 15 Years

                          PRICE, 50 CENTS EACH

                           POSTAGE 10c EXTRA

             Cloth bound, with Individual Jackets in Color.

                    CATHALINA AT GREYCLIFF
                    THE GIRLS OF GREYCLIFF
                    GREYCLIFF WINGS
                    GREYCLIFF GIRLS IN CAMP
                    GREYCLIFF HEROINES
                    GREYCLIFF GIRLS IN GEORGIA
                    GREYCLIFF GIRLS’ RANCHING
                    GREYCLIFF GIRLS’ GREAT ADVENTURE

                      For sale by all booksellers,
             or sent on receipt of price by the Publishers
            A. L. BURT COMPANY, 114-120 E. 23d St., NEW YORK



------------------------------------------------------------------------



[Illustration]

                             Marjorie Dean
                              High School
                                 Series

                           BY PAULINE LESTER

           Author of the Famous Marjorie Dean College Series

These are clean, wholesome stories that will be of great interest to all
girls of high school age.

                 All Cloth Bound      Copyright Titles

                          PRICE, 50 CENTS EACH

                          Postage 10c. Extra.

                  MARJORIE DEAN, HIGH SCHOOL FRESHMAN
                  MARJORIE DEAN, HIGH SCHOOL SOPHOMORE
                  MARJORIE DEAN, HIGH SCHOOL JUNIOR
                  MARJORIE DEAN, HIGH SCHOOL SENIOR

                      For sale by all booksellers,
             or sent on receipt of price by the Publishers
            A. L. BURT COMPANY, 114-120 E. 23d St., NEW YORK



------------------------------------------------------------------------



[Illustration]

                             Marjorie Dean
                                College
                                 Series

                           BY PAULINE LESTER.

         Author of the Famous Marjorie Dean High School Series


Those who have read the Marjorie Dean High School Series will be eager
to read this new series, as Marjorie Dean continues to be the heroine in
these stories.

                  All Clothbound.    Copyright Titles.

                          PRICE, 50 CENTS EACH

                           POSTAGE 10c EXTRA

                    MARJORIE DEAN, COLLEGE FRESHMAN
                    MARJORIE DEAN, COLLEGE SOPHOMORE
                    MARJORIE DEAN, COLLEGE JUNIOR
                    MARJORIE DEAN, COLLEGE SENIOR

                      For sale by all booksellers,
             or sent on receipt of price by the Publishers
            A. L. BURT COMPANY, 114-120 E. 23d St., NEW YORK



------------------------------------------------------------------------



                             THE MERRY LYNN
                                 SERIES

                         By HARRIET PYNE GROVE

                   Cloth Bound.    Jackets in Colors.

The charm of school and camp life, out-door sports and European travel
is found in these winning tales of Merilyn and her friends at boarding
school and college. These realistic stories of the everyday life, the
fun, frolic and special adventures of the Beechwood girls will be
enjoyed by all girls of high school age.

                       MERILYN ENTERS BEECHWOLD
                       MERILYN AT CAMP MEENAHGA
                       MERILYN TESTS LOYALTY
                       MERILYN’S NEW ADVENTURE
                       MERILYN FORRESTER, CO-ED.
                       THE “MERRY LYNN” MINE

                    A. L. BURT COMPANY, _Publishers_

                 114-120 EAST 23rd STREET      NEW YORK



------------------------------------------------------------------------



[Illustration]

                                  The
                             Virginia Davis
                                 Series

                           By GRACE MAY NORTH

                Clean, Wholesome Stories of Ranch Life.

                       For Girls 12 to 16 Years.

                            All Clothbound.

                  _With Individual Jackets in Colors._

                          PRICE, 75 CENTS EACH

                           POSTAGE 10c EXTRA

                       VIRGINIA OF V. M. RANCH
                       VIRGINIA AT VINE HAVEN
                       VIRGINIA’S ADVENTURE CLUB
                       VIRGINIA’S RANCH NEIGHBORS
                       VIRGINIA’S ROMANCE

                      For sale by all booksellers,
             or sent on receipt of price by the Publishers
            A. L. BURT COMPANY, 114-120 E. 23d St., NEW YORK



------------------------------------------------------------------------

                          Transcriber’s note:

Page 3, comma inserted after ‘Warniferous,’ “better, Luciferous
Warniferous, than”

Page 7, full stop struck after ‘Such—,’ “Jerry. “Such—” She broke”

Page 8, comma changed to full stop following ‘laugh,’ “ended with a
laugh.”

Page 8, ‘Remsen’s’ changed to ‘Remson’s,’ “cushion at Miss Remson’s”

Page 8, ‘thriftly’ changed to ‘thriftily,’ “had thriftily set a small”

Page 10, opening double quote struck before ‘Make,’ “me. Make them
understand”

Page 11, ‘rythm’ changed to ‘rhythm,’ “sense of rhythm”

Page 11, ‘Wienawski’ changed to ‘Wieniawski,’ “waltz by Wieniawski
while”

Page 11, ‘querry’ changed to ‘query,’ “general breathless query”

Page 14, opening double quote struck before ‘They,’ “Leila. They made a”

Page 14, ‘Lelia’ changed to ‘Leila,’ “your opinion, Leila”

Page 17, ‘menber’ changed to ‘member,’ “an obliging member of”

Page 18, opening double quote inserted before ‘I,’ “smile. “I am here”

Page 18, opening double quote inserted before ‘She’s,’ “contradicted.
“She’s unselfish”

Page 24, ‘Mamilton’ changed to ‘Hamilton,’ “broke in Miss Hamilton”

Page 32, opening double quote inserted before ‘The,’ “room. “The other I
sent”

Page 33, ‘vizualized’ changed to ‘visualized,’ “had visualized Miss
Susanna”

Page 36, comma changed to full stop following ‘question,’ “question. She
believed”

Page 38, opening double quote inserted before ‘I,’ ““I know that I used”

Page 39, opening double quote inserted before ‘That’s,’ “right. “That’s
my favorite”

Page 41, ‘embued’ changed to ‘imbued,’ “impulsively, imbued with the”

Page 41, opening double quote inserted before ‘It’s,’ “sentiment. “It’s
so comforting”

Page 43, ‘Hamilton’s’ changed to ‘Hamiltons,’ “last of the Hamiltons”

Page 44, ‘magnificant’ changed to ‘magnificent,’ “your magnificent foot
in”

Page 44, opening double quote inserted before ‘As,’ “Room 15. “As it is”

Page 46, ‘o’ changed to ‘a,’ “Through a kind of”

Page 52, opening double quote inserted before ‘Vacate,’ “occupant.
“Vacate gracefully,”

Page 63, ‘flatter’ changed to ‘flattering,’ “sudden flattering interest”

Page 67, opening double quote inserted before ‘‘Charity,’ “said:
“‘Charity begins at”

Page 68, closing double quote inserted after ‘out.,’ “us out.” Jerry
complained”

Page 70, ‘disagreable’ changed to ‘disagreeable,’ “of very disagreeable
hours”

Page 71, ‘manuevering’ changed to ‘maneuvering,’ “her own clever
maneuvering”

Page 74, closing double quote inserted after ‘alone.,’ “I must go
alone.””

Page 77, ‘Muried’ changed to ‘Muriel,’ “after Muriel had invited”

Page 80, ‘sich’ changed to ‘such,’ “Minister, and such”

Page 84, ‘Judia’ changed to ‘Julia,’ “when Julia knocked”

Page 93, ‘commenecd’ changed to ‘commenced,’ “her wraps and commenced”

Page 98, ‘Christmass’ changed to ‘Christmas,’ “of the Christmas tree”

Page 98, ‘Lot’s’ changed to ‘Lots,’ “Lots of good eats”

Page 99, ‘crystalized’ changed to ‘crystallized,’ “the frost-like
crystalized”

Page 100, ‘Shool’ changed to ‘School,’ “at Sanford High School”

Page 103, opening double quote struck before ‘Why,’ “since dinner. Why
did”

Page 104, ‘Lelia’ changed to ‘Leila,’ “commented Leila with”

Page 104, second ‘stars.”’ struck, “consult the stars.””

Page 105, ‘exhuberent’ changed to ‘exuberant,’ “of exuberant raillery”

Page 107, ‘grippng’ changed to ‘gripping,’ “girl a gripping handshake”

Page 108, ‘volumious’ changed to ‘voluminous,’ “with a voluminous white”

Page 109, ‘threatend’ changed to ‘threatened,’ “he threatened with
smiles”

Page 111, opening double quote struck before ‘Santa,’ “Santa Claus’s
eight reindeer”

Page 111, ‘therby’ changed to ‘thereby,’ “times, thereby giving”

Page 115, ‘intrduction’ changed to ‘introduction,’ “was her introduction
to”

Page 115, ‘pardner’ changed to ‘partner,’ “Seabrooke as a partner”

Page 116, ‘pardner’ changed to ‘partner,’ “Marjorie’s partner chanced”

Page 120, ‘you, merry’ changed to ‘you merry,’ “God rest you merry,”

Page 121, comma changed to full stop following ‘Susanna,’ “N’est ce pas,
Miss Susanna.”

Page 121, ‘Hamilton’s’ changed to ‘Hamiltons,’ “the last of the
Hamiltons”

Page 123, ‘impedementa’ changed to ‘impedimenta,’ “other civil
impedimenta will”

Page 123, ‘consficated’ changed to ‘confiscated,’ “will be confiscated
by”

Page 124, ‘bouyant’ changed to ‘buoyant,’ “began a buoyant descent”

Page 124, ‘manuevers’ changed to ‘maneuvers,’ “military maneuvers of
the”

Page 125, ‘misletoe’ changed to ‘mistletoe,’ “under the mistletoe bough”

Page 126, full stop inserted after ‘tritely,’ “she quoted tritely.”

Page 127, ‘apolegetic’ changed to ‘apologetic,’ “He grew cheerfully
apologetic”

Page 127, ‘pardner’ changed to ‘partner,’ “and your partner away”

Page 128, ‘daiz’ changed to ‘dais,’ “about the golden dais”

Page 130, ‘to-to’ changed to ‘to—to,’ “going to—to—cry”

Page 131, ‘gryated’ changed to ‘gyrated,’ “which gyrated so rapidly”

Page 140, ‘uneasines’ changed to ‘uneasiness,’ “a feeling of uneasiness”

Page 147, ‘decidely’ changed to ‘decidedly,’ “feeling decidedly in awe”

Page 149, full stop inserted after ‘truths,’ “plain truths. Her one”

Page 150, ‘dwaddled’ changed to ‘dawdled,’ “they dawdled over their”

Page 153, comma inserted after ‘about,’ “asked me about, Leslie”

Page 161, ‘temperary’ changed to ‘temporary,’ “her temporary abode”

Page 176, semicolon changed to comma after ‘indifferent,’ “walk,
indifferent, swaggering”

Page 180, ‘back gammon’ changed to ‘backgammon,’ “chess or backgammon
of”

Page 182, comma inserted after ‘dark-faced,’ “the dark-faced, suave”

Page 187, ‘fightng’ changed to ‘fighting,’ “fighting to assert”

Page 191, ‘thought’ changed to ‘though,’ “Beauty, though I do not”

Page 191, ‘prouldy’ changed to ‘proudly,’ “as she proudly raised”

Page 192, opening double quote inserted before ‘Signor,’ “she surmised.
“Signor Baretti”

Page 193, opening double quote inserted before ‘She,’ “I’m sure. “She
sprang”

Page 194, ‘Traveles’ changed to ‘Travelers,’ “None of the Travelers”

Page 196, ‘room-mate’ changed to ‘roommate,’ “her hungry roommate”

Page 200, ‘speakng’ changed to ‘speaking,’ “He ceased speaking and”

Page 205, ‘unscupulous’ changed to ‘unscrupulous,’ “of unscrupulous
cleverness”

Page 206, opening double quote inserted before ‘What,’ “laughed Robin.
“What are”

Page 208, ‘voluably’ changed to ‘volubly,’ “sputtered volubly to”

Page 209, ‘conscienciously’ changed to ‘conscientiously,’ “not
conscientiously begin”

Page 209, ‘consciencious’ changed to ‘conscientious,’ “such a
conscientious child”

Page 211, ‘behooved’ changed to ‘behoved,’ “it behoved him to”

Page 213, ‘allaw’ changed to ‘allow,’ “her father could allaw”

Page 215, ‘she’ inserted before ‘had,’ “which she had pulled”

Page 215, ‘Jerrry’ changed to ‘Jerry,’ “Jerry said quickly.”

Page 215, opening double quote inserted before ‘Don’t,’ “quickly. “Don’t
weep, Bean”

Page 217, full stop changed to comma following ‘you,’ “Thank you, oh,
thank”

Page 217, ‘It’ changed to ‘If,’ “If you hear blood-curdling”

Page 220, ‘pardners’s’ changed to ‘partners’s,’ “the partners’s united”

Page 221, ‘room-mate’ changed to ‘roommate,’ “she is my roommate”

Page 227, comma inserted after ‘declared,’ “declared, in the light”

Page 228, ‘pardners’ changed to ‘partners,’ “between the partners, when”

Page 228, ‘pardners’ changed to ‘partners,’ “and the partners had”

Page 229, ‘stiick’ changed to ‘stick,’ “going to stick to me”

Page 231, ‘afternon’ changed to ‘afternoon,’ “of the afternoon and”

Page 232, ‘Lesliie’ changed to ‘Leslie,’ “which Leslie found herself”

Page 234, ‘latter’ changed to ‘letter,’ “handed her a letter”

Page 234, ‘tessalated’ changed to ‘tessellated,’ “the tessellated marble
floor”

Page 234, ‘She’ inserted before ‘stumbled,’ “behind her. She stumbled”

Page 240, ‘Sussana’ changed to ‘Susanna,’ “Miss Susanna mentioned”

Page 241, opening double quote inserted before ‘There,’ “head. “There,
you look”

Page 241, opening double quote inserted before ‘Come,’ “declared. “Come,
now, you”

Page 242, dash inserted before ‘like,’ “—like an old Paul”

Page 244, comma inserted after ‘Dean,’ “Marjorie Dean, let me”

Page 244, ‘Majorie’ changed to ‘Marjorie,’ “Marjorie gazed at”

Page 245, comma inserted after ‘Susanna,’ “Miss Susanna, do you”

Ad Page 4, ‘ALLENS’ changed to ‘ALLEN’S,’ “AT MISS ALLEN’S SCHOOL”





*** End of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "Marjorie Dean at Hamilton Arms" ***

Doctrine Publishing Corporation provides digitized public domain materials.
Public domain books belong to the public and we are merely their custodians.
This effort is time consuming and expensive, so in order to keep providing
this resource, we have taken steps to prevent abuse by commercial parties,
including placing technical restrictions on automated querying.

We also ask that you:

+ Make non-commercial use of the files We designed Doctrine Publishing
Corporation's ISYS search for use by individuals, and we request that you
use these files for personal, non-commercial purposes.

+ Refrain from automated querying Do not send automated queries of any sort
to Doctrine Publishing's system: If you are conducting research on machine
translation, optical character recognition or other areas where access to a
large amount of text is helpful, please contact us. We encourage the use of
public domain materials for these purposes and may be able to help.

+ Keep it legal -  Whatever your use, remember that you are responsible for
ensuring that what you are doing is legal. Do not assume that just because
we believe a book is in the public domain for users in the United States,
that the work is also in the public domain for users in other countries.
Whether a book is still in copyright varies from country to country, and we
can't offer guidance on whether any specific use of any specific book is
allowed. Please do not assume that a book's appearance in Doctrine Publishing
ISYS search  means it can be used in any manner anywhere in the world.
Copyright infringement liability can be quite severe.

About ISYS® Search Software
Established in 1988, ISYS Search Software is a global supplier of enterprise
search solutions for business and government.  The company's award-winning
software suite offers a broad range of search, navigation and discovery
solutions for desktop search, intranet search, SharePoint search and embedded
search applications.  ISYS has been deployed by thousands of organizations
operating in a variety of industries, including government, legal, law
enforcement, financial services, healthcare and recruitment.



Home