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Title: Marjorie Dean's Romance
Author: Chase, Josephine
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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  The Travellers went down the stone walk waving
  and calling gay good-byes to the small woman at the
  head of the veranda steps.

            (_Page 36_)          (_Marjorie Dean’s Romance_)


                            MARJORIE DEAN’S

                           BY PAULINE LESTER

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


                           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’S ROMANCE

                            Copyright, 1925
                         By A. L. BURT COMPANY

                        MARJORIE DEAN’S ROMANCE

                           Made in “U. S. A.”


                            MARJORIE DEAN’S

                               CHAPTER I.

                              IN THE STUDY

The sun that pale spring afternoon had appeared only in brief,
tantalizing flashes. Of a sudden it burst through the curtain of ashen
gray clouds, behind which it had been hiding, into flaming glory. Its
warm rays rioted down through the long windows of Brooke Hamilton’s
study, filling the stately room with radiant light; transfiguring the
face of the single occupant.

“Oh.” Marjorie Dean raised her brown eyes from the time-stained sheet of
paper she had been studying. She greeted the wealth of cheerful sunburst
with a fond friendly smile, blinking a little at its almost too-ardent
attention. It caught her, embraced her, caressed her lovely, smiling
face; splashed her bright brown curls with gold.

“You’re an affectionatious old dear, even though you _did_ skulk behind
the clouds all morning.” She made a valiant but vain effort to fix her
eyes directly upon the king of day. “Can’t do it. You are altogether too
dazzling for me.” She raised a shielding hand to her eyes. “Anyway, I’m
glad you are here, full force. I saw you peeping out from behind the
gray quite a while ago. I was too busy then to be sociable.”

“Please, Missus Biographeress, were you talking to me?” broke in an
inquiring, respectful voice. “I wasn’t always like this, so I wasn’t.”
Came an eloquent silence.

Marjorie left off trying to stare the sun out of countenance. She
glanced about the study in half startled surprise. The door leading into
it from the hall was closed. She suddenly laughed, a merry little
gurgle. She fixed an expectant gaze on the study’s back wall.

“I know where you are,” she called out. “No; I wasn’t talking to you. I
was talking to the sun.”

“Then you must be crazy.” The voice was now minus respect. Instead it
harbored smothered laughter.

“No, Jeremiah Macy; I am _not_ crazy. But I am _very very_ busy.”

“That’s almost as bad as being crazy,” came the sympathetic opinion of
the still unseen conversationalist. “I hope you’re not too crazy, excuse
me, busy, to deign to grant your humble friend, Jeremiah, an interview.
Think of our happy bygone campus days and don’t be snippy. Be not only
great, Bean; be cordial.”

“You win. Never dare call me snippy again. Since you are _right behind_
the secret panel you may as well appear in the study.” Marjorie gave
laughing permission.

“Thank you. Your cordiality sounds genuine. I trust nothing has gone
wrong with my hearing. Ahem. What?”

The secret panel in the back wall of the study slid noiselessly to the
left; disappeared into its hidden groove. The square opening it left
framed Jerry Macy’s chubby, pink and white features decorated with a
pleasant smile. Her head was poked forward like that of a speculative
turkey. Her intensely blue eyes were trained upon Marjorie with an
expression of impudent mischief.

“Here I come.” She bent her back and bundled through the aperture.
“Ah-h!” She straightened with satisfaction. “Always close the door after
you, Jeremiah.” She leaned forward; pressed the small oblong of wood
which formed the hidden mechanism of the sliding panel. Next instant the
opening had vanished. The high brown wainscoting again stretched
unbroken along the study’s rear wall.

“That secret panel is certainly a comfort to my lonely old age, Bean.”
Jerry cast a grateful eye in its direction. “If I had come to the door
of this sacred haunt you might have chased me away. But you couldn’t
resist the panel method. Result—enter Jeremiah.” Jerry waved a
complacent hand.

“That’s one version of how I happened to let you in,” teased Marjorie.
“Here’s another. I knew you knew something new on the campus that I
didn’t know. So I ‘deigned to grant’ you an interview.”

“Hm-m. You’re not as noble as you might be. Never mind. We won’t speak
of that,” Jerry hurriedly assured.

“So kind in you,” Marjorie murmured, “or rather, so wise.”

“Precisely my own opinion. I may achieve greatness as soon as you.”
Without waiting for an invitation Jerry slid into a high-backed chair
exactly opposite that of Marjorie at the long library table.

“The girls will be here at five,” she announced. “They’re going to take
us back to Wayland Hall with them. Leila has a new idea for a party.
We’re to stay to dinner at the Hall. Miss Susanna’s resigned to it. She
was invited, too, but she said she was ‘no buttinski.’ What do you think
of that? It shows I’ve accomplished some good since I came to the Arms.
I’ve taught Miss Susanna several pithy bits of slang, and Jonas is
learning fast.”

“I should say he was. The other day when he took me to town in the car
he told a motorist, who tried to run in ahead of us to park, that he was
‘too fresh’ and to ‘cut out his nonsense.’” Marjorie gave a reminiscent

Jerry smiled cheerful gratification of this news. “To make use of my own
pet vocabulary: It’s up to me to show a hot-foot,” she declared. “While
I enjoy lingering in this classic spot with you, beautiful Bean, I shall
not linger. You heard what I said about five o’clock. Heed my remarks. I
must go now.” She made a feeble pretense toward rising. She rolled
humorous, entreating eyes at Marjorie.

“Oh, you may stay.” Marjorie became loftily tolerant. “First you may
tell me everything you know about Leila’s new stunt. Afterward, I have a
splendid job for you.”

“I don’t know a single thing about Leila’s new stunt. She ’phoned me
about half an hour ago and said she and Vera would come for us with the
car at five. She said she had a fine idea but that we’d not hear a word
about it until after dinner at Wayland Hall tonight. Anything else I
might say on the subject I’d have to make up. You would not care to have
your faithful Jeremiah resort to fiction, would you?”

“You’re a faithful goose. I’m not so news-hungry as to ask you to desert
the truth, Jeremiah,” was the merry assurance. “Leila, the rascal, knows
we’re eager for campus news and plans. She loves to create suspense and
keep it up till the very last minute. Now I’m going to set you to work.
You may sort some letters for me, if you will.”

“Will I? My middle name is willing!” Jerry drew her chair closer to the
table with a grand flourish. A pleased light shone in her blue eyes. She
was very proud of having already assisted Marjorie on several occasions
in the work of arranging the data, prior to the writing of Brooke
Hamilton’s biography.

Readers of the four volumes comprising the “MARJORIE DEAN HIGH SCHOOL
SERIES,” know Marjorie Dean as a high school girl. They have learned to
know her still better through the four volumes which comprise the

Returned to Hamilton College as a post graduate her work in connection
with the building of a free dormitory for ambitious students in adverse
circumstances has already been recorded in the three preceding volumes
of the “MARJORIE DEAN POST GRADUATE SERIES,” respectively entitled

Because Marjorie had deeply reverenced the memory of Brooke Hamilton,
the founder of Hamilton College, she had come into an intimate
friendship with his great-niece, Miss Susanna Hamilton, the only living
representative of the Hamilton family. For many years Miss Susanna had
been at enmity with the college board. Shortly after the death of her
distinguished great uncle, Brooke Hamilton, she had turned against
Hamilton College and refused to furnish the data for a biography of the
founder which was to have been written by the president of the college.

Due entirely to Marjorie’s hopeful, sunny influence Miss Susanna had
eventually emerged from the shell in which she had lived for years. She
had decided that, since Marjorie had most revered the maxims and memory
of her great kinsman, she was therefore the one best equipped to present
him truly to the world in a biography. She had invited Marjorie to be
her guest indefinitely at Hamilton Arms and had turned over to the
youthful biographer the data for Brooke Hamilton’s life story.

Marjorie had said good-bye regretfully to Wayland Hall, her college
residence of almost five years and moved to the Arms on the first day of
March. With her had gone a second cordially invited guest, Jerry Macy,
her roommate and chum of Sanford high school days.

During their first week’s stay at the Arms the two girls had been the
center of a jolly little social whirl. Miss Susanna had insisted on
entertaining their intimate friends at tea, luncheon and dinner. The
festive week had ended with a reception to the dormitory girls at which
the Travelers, Jerry’s and Marjorie’s sorority, were the guests of

Then had followed Marjorie’s introduction to Brooke Hamilton’s study as
her literary work shop. There she had been affectionately established by
Miss Susanna and supplied with a cabinet full of Brooke Hamilton’s
personal letters and documents.

How long she might be engaged in the pleasantest task she had ever
undertaken Marjorie could not say. As a labor of volition it demanded
the best effort of thought and judgment that she could summon. With her
usual lack of vanity she was not attaching much importance to herself as
Brooke Hamilton’s biographer. Her whole heart was set upon doing justice
to a great American by a faithful presentation to the world of his
integrity and genius.

“Do you realize, Jerry Macy, that we’ve been here at the Arms almost a
month?” Her back to Jerry, Marjorie asked the question as she delved
industriously among the packs of neatly tied letters on the top shelf of
the cabinet. “Today’s the twenty-fifth of March.”

“I know it. How much of Brooke Hamilton’s story have you written?” Jerry
came back curiously.

“Not any of it as I intend it shall finally stand,” Marjorie confessed.
“I’ve made plenty of notes, but they only complicate matters at present.
There is so much material, all intensely interesting. It would make a
twelve volume biography. Miss Susanna wishes it to be a one volume
story. My head is full of Hamilton history. It is positively maddening
sometimes to try to keep track of all I read, and plan how I shall
arrange it. I was never intended for a biographer, Jeremiah.”

“You only think you weren’t,” Jerry encouraged. “After you have got away
with Brooke Hamilton’s history and covered your beautiful self with
glory you may take up biographing as a steady job. I’ll permit you to
jot down the story of my life. I’ll try to persuade my friends to
confide their life stories to you for publication. There’s old Hal, for
instance. He—. Oh, forgive me, Marjorie. I didn’t intend to be
personal.” Jerry’s instant apology was regretful. “I wasn’t thinking of
a thing, but the funny side of Hal’s having his biography written.”

“Oh, never mind, Jeremiah.” Marjorie was more embarrassed by Jerry’s
apology than she was at mention of Hal’s name. Her face flushed hotly.
She kept it turned toward the cabinet, rather than let Jerry see her
confusion. A pause, then she added generously: “Hal is good enough to do
great things in the world. Perhaps _you_ may someday write his biography
as that of a personage. There! Found at last.” She affected deep
interest in two bundles of letters which she took from the cabinet.

“No, Marvelous Manager; I can’t see myself as Hal’s biographer. He’d
insist upon seeing every line I biographed before it was hardly off the
bat. He wouldn’t like a thing I said about him. If I wrote words of
glorious praise, he’d say ‘stuff’ and ‘slush.’ If I failed to glorify
him as a baseball artist, a promoter of yacht races and a four-time
winner of the Sanford half-mile dash, he’d say I was stingy.” Jerry
retrieved her blunder with this humorous flow. “_No, siree._ My genius
runs toward jingling, not biographing. Get that? If Hal ever longs to
see the story of his life in print he’ll have to get busy and write it


                              CHAPTER II.

                         THE WORLD WIDE SECRET

Marjorie was laughing as she resumed her seat at the study table. She
was quick to understand the purpose of Jerry’s ridiculous and elaborate
objections to her really sincere words concerning Hal. Her flash of
self-conscious embarrassment had vanished in quick amusement of Jerry’s

“These are letters to Brooke Hamilton from friends,” she explained as
she shoved the two packs across the table to Jerry.

“He must have been right in line for a popularity prize.” Jerry eyed the
tightly-bound, thick stacks of letters with comical respect.

“They represent the correspondence of only four or five men. Each letter
isn’t from a different person, my child,” Marjorie said lightly. “Your
job is to put the letters of each person in separate piles. You may have
that end of the table all to yourself.”

“I get you, Bean.” Jerry energetically gathered up the two packs of
letters and moved with them to the upper end of the table. “Watch my
speed, my efficiency, my celostrous usefulness. By the way, my new word
is on the gain. I’ve persuaded Jonas to use it, Miss Susanna thinks well
of it and Leila says it is clever enough to be Irish.”

“It’s a good imitation. Celostrous—sounds like a real word, even though
it isn’t,” laughingly commented Marjorie.

“Sh-h-h. Somebody might hear you.” Jerry held up a cautioning finger.
She cast a roguish smile toward a vividly handsome face which looked
down at her from a portrait on the wall. It was the face of Brooke
Hamilton. Life-size and life-like the deep blue eyes seemed almost to
twinkle an answer to Jerry’s mischievous smile as she continued to gaze
at the portrait.

“He’s so real.” Marjorie turned her head over one shoulder to glance up
at the pictured face of a strong man in the noon of manhood. A friendly
smile played upon her lips. “I hope you haven’t minded my sitting with
my back to you this afternoon, Mr. Brooke,” she apologized.

“If that was a magic portrait this is the way it would be. ‘Then the
enchanted portrait spoke from the wall and said: “Don’t mention it,
beautiful Bean. Go as far as you like. Even the back of your head is an
inspiration to me. I can never be grateful enough to you for writing my
biography. How is your friend, Miss Macy? She is a lovely girl and I—”’”

“Jeremiah, you disrespecter of great persons!” Marjorie sprang from her
chair and made a frolicsome pounce upon Jerry. “Stop it this minute.”

The two tussled gently for a brief instant, then fell laughingly apart.
The blue eyes of the man in the portrait seemed almost to be watching
the merry conflict.

“You see how utterly you disrupt serious work,” Marjorie pointed out
severely. “I have half a mind to take the job I gave you away from you.”

“You can’t. I have it cinched.” Jerry snatched up the two packs of
letters and tucked one under each arm. “I love the job. I’ll do better,
Bean. I promise on my sacred Jeremiah honor.”

“I haven’t the heart to take those letters away from you,” Marjorie
jestingly conceded.

“Glad of it. Kindly don’t bother me. I am going to give a violent
demonstration of the word ‘work.’ It’s three o’clock now.” Jerry peered
down at the tiny open-face, necklace watch she wore about her neck on a
fine-linked platinum chain.

“I knew it was nearly three. I’ve learned to tell time by the sun since
I came to the Arms and began my work here.” There was no timepiece in
the study, nor would Marjorie wear a watch when she came into it to
work. She did not wish to reckon her daily faithful application to the
biography by time. She liked to lose herself in the thought that all
time was hers in which to do Brooke Hamilton’s memory honor.

Jerry followed her announcement of industry by a business-like attack
upon one of the packs of letters. Soon she was deep in carrying out
Marjorie’s directions. Marjorie resumed a reading of the paper in which
she had been engrossed when Jerry had entered. It was a dissertation on
democracy in Brooke Hamilton’s fine, clear hand.

Silence took up its reign in the study. Marjorie was deep in the
dissertation. Oblivious to all else Jerry interestedly sorted letters,
reading pertinent snatches of them. Neither saw the sliding panel in the
back wall of the study begin to move slowly. Neither saw Miss Susanna’s
head appear in the opened square.

For fully a minute the old lady watched the industrious pair with
brooding, tender eyes. She had thought Marjorie alone in the study and
had come to her by the secret entrance in the same spirit of play which
had prompted Jerry to use the sliding panel. In one hand were three
letters for Marjorie which Jonas had just brought from the mail box at
the main gates of the Arms.

As soundlessly as she had appeared in the secret doorway the visitant
disappeared. In noiseless obedience to her touch the panel slid once
more into place. Miss Susanna trotted down the long hall and on down the
wide staircase. Her small face was illumined by a bright smile. She
looked as though she had suddenly discovered the world-sought secret of

She continued on out the massive front door, down the steps and across
the lawn to where Jonas was clipping long sprays of furry pussy willows
for the two tall Chinese vases at each end of the sitting room mantel.

“You ought to see them, Jonas,” she burst out happily. “They’re both in
the study, lost to the world among Uncle Brooke’s papers. I came away
without their knowing I saw them. I couldn’t bear to disturb his
helpers, Jonas. And I once thought no one but the president of Hamilton
College was fitted to write his biography!”

“Strange things happen, Miss Susanna.” Jonas’s silver head wagged itself
solemnly over the huge bunch of pussy willows he was holding. “He’d be
better pleased, though, to have things as they are now. I believe he’d
rather the little girl would write his story.”

Jonas invariably spoke of Brooke Hamilton as one alive, but traveling in
a far country, rather than of a man who had passed from earth.

“I think so, too, Jonas.” The instant, eager response brought a pleased
gleam to the old man’s eyes. “He founded Hamilton College for the higher
education of girls. It seems as though Hamilton has at last shown
appreciation of him by raising up a student after his own heart. That
student is Marjorie Dean.” She paused, apparently taken with her own
fancy. She added sturdily: “All the more reason why she should be the
one to write his biography.”


                              CHAPTER III.

                         TWO HAUNTING BLUE EYES

“Hurray for Wayland Hall!” Jerry sketched a lively step in front of the
dressing table mirror as she gave her reflection a last fleeting glance.
“The Arms is a magnificent, palatial roost, but where, oh, where, are
our little pals?”

“At Wayland Hall. Sometimes I wonder if you might not be happier there
with the girls than here with me.” Marjorie brought a half wistful look
to bear upon Jerry. She stood gazing at her chum, a lovely contemplative
study in black and white. The straight cut of her white corduroy gown
with its wide rolling collar and deep cuffs of black satin was so simple
as to be exceptionally effective.

“Want me to shake you until your curls bob straight off your head and
your teeth clatter like castanets,” Jerry growled menacingly. She made a
threatening advance upon Marjorie, her blue eyes set in a determined

“No, indeed.” Marjorie promptly put a high-backed chair between herself
and Jerry. “I’ll protect my coiffure to the last gasp. I took pains to
put those curls precisely where I wanted them to be.”

“Then don’t make any more foolish remarks, Bean.” Jerry halted. The set
expression of her eyes changed to one of dancing fun. “I’ll set you a
good example by not making any more myself that might even sound
foolish. I know my own follies as well as I know yours.”

Marjorie leaned her arms on the crest of the tall-backed chair. She
smiled rather absently. How like Hal’s eyes Jerry’s were, she was
thinking. Recent mention of Hal had brought him to the foreground of her
mind. Now she thrust memory of him impatiently aside.

“I’ll be nicer to you than you were to me,” she told Jerry. “You look
very celostrous, Jeremiah.” “Celostrous” was a pet word of Jerry’s own
coining. “Your dress matches your eyes and the silver beading on it
looks like fairy mist. It’s a frock of frocks.” Marjorie continued her
admiring survey of Jerry and her becoming finery. As she had remarked
the gentian blue of the crepe exactly matched her chum’s eyes.

Again Hal’s handsome, resolute features sprang into memory. This time
memory played her an unkind trick. She saw Hal’s eyes as they had
appeared in that unforgettable, unguarded moment as he had paused before
the portrait of herself at Castle Dean on Christmas Day.

She had then come into a very disturbing realization of how much pain
she was causing him through her lack of love for him. She had tried to
forget, knowing that she could offer no remedy. Work had largely driven
away that disturbing memory since her return to Hamilton. Those two
blue, despairing eyes returned to haunt her only upon receipt of a
letter from their possessor. There had been only two letters. Marjorie
had not answered either very promptly. She sometimes went so far as to
feel that she might be better pleased not to hear from Hal. Still she
did not wish to deny him friendship.

“You are _too sweet_ for words.” Jerry broke in upon her train of
reflection. She purposely simpered so as to hide her pleased
embarrassment of Marjorie’s compliments.

“Am I?” Marjorie was not even seeing Jerry now. She was seeing Jerry’s
brother who refused to retire from her somber reflections. No; she
valued Hal’s friendship as dearly as she did Leila’s, Jerry’s or that of
any of her chums. Her adoration was for her captain and her general
only. Now that she had a clearer understanding of Hal’s disappointment
she felt a more personal sorrow toward him. She had glimpsed the
desolation of a strong man’s soul. The revelation had awakened in her a
truer sympathy for him.

“Come out of it.” Jerry had paused directly in front of the chair on
which Marjorie was leaning her elbows. She waved her arms making
vigorous passes before the day-dreamer’s face. “What is the matter,
Bean? Two minutes ago you were one grand sweet smile. Now your
expression is werry sad. You _have not_ lost your last friend, Bean.
Take heart. Jeremiah is here. Ah! I have it! Nothing like Bean Jingles
to put the chee in chirk. Here we go!

                “Celostrous day; rip whoop-ter-ray;
                 We celebrate with zest:
                 Your feathers preen, resplendent Bean,
                 All dressed up in your best.”

“According to your jingle ‘resplendent Bean’ must resemble a vain,
strutting peacock.” Marjorie came out of her retrospective reverie with
a giggle.

“No, indeed. I never meant to suggest such a thing. Regard yourself as a
bird of Paradise, dear Bean,” Jerry corrected.

“I am not so conceited. Besides, I’m not dressed up in my best. This
particular set of feathers is far from gorgeous; and not even my second

“Have a heart. Remember the claim of poetic license, and respect it.
Your practical, unpoetic criticism is _so_ discouraging. Don’t put on
the brake. There are more rhythmic inspirations to come. I feel them
whirling madly in my gifted brain. I merely stopped for breath.
Whir-r-r-r! Buzz-z-z-z! I’m off again.

               “Oh, forth we’ll hike, upon the pike,
                Beyond the campus wall;
                We’ll tread the green, sweet, agile Bean,
                Until we hit the Hall.

                A charming pair, we’ll mount the stair;
                Dear one, then take my arm:
                Safe to fifteen, bewitching Bean
                I’ll guide you without harm.”


                              CHAPTER IV.

                      THE SPRINGTIME OF THE HEART

“And you will please trouble yourself to recite that jingle again before
it vanishes into nothingness,” commanded a laughing voice from the
doorway of the large, old-fashioned sleeping room. Leila Harper stood in
the half-opened door, an attractive figure in the newest of English
leather motor coats and sports hats.

“Leila Greatheart, what a _dandy_ coat and hat!” Marjorie cried. She
came forward, hands outstretched to meet Leila.

“Here I come with a fine Irish dash.” Leila made a funny cat-like leap
into the room and caught Marjorie’s welcoming hands in hers. “It is a
hundred years since I saw you; or so it seems,” she said in her
whimsical way. “Now I shall say not a word more until I have taken down
Jeremiah’s jingle. I happen to have a pencil, and bewitching Bean
herself will furnish her Celtic friend with a bit of paper.”

“At your service. Let me conduct you to the writing desk,” Marjorie took
Leila’s arm and escorted her to an open antique mahogany desk. She
motioned Leila into the mahogany chair before it. “There you are.” She
indicated several sizes of pale gray note paper bearing the monogram of
the Arms. “Isn’t this beautiful paper, Leila?” she commented. “Miss
Susanna put it here on purpose for us. She never uses it. She prefers
white. This was Mr. Brooke Hamilton’s own stationary.”

“You are two lucky children in a fairy castle,” Leila declared. “Now say
me the jingle, Jeremiah. Then we will talk about everything and

“Ahem.” Jerry coughed importantly. “I may have to depend upon bewitching
Bean to help me. I never remember my own ravings—inspirations, I should
say. Inspiration is—it is—well, it just is.”

“Is it?” Leila inquired with raised brows and an engaging grin.

“It certainly is,” Jerry responded with a difficult solemnity. It broke
up in an amused high-keyed chuckle. Merely to glance at Leila, posed in
an attitude of expectant and ridiculous affability was to laugh.

After one or two hitches and a little prompting from Marjorie who also
had designs on Jerry’s funny effusions, Leila managed to record the
three jingles, though she had arrived in time to hear only the last one
of them.

“Now we have a beginning.” She exhibited open satisfaction of the
penciled copy of Jerry’s lively doggerel. She folded it twice and placed
it in a pocket of her leather motor coat. “I shall expect you to take
down and save me all future jingles of Jeremiah, Beauty, since you are
the inspiration. Never fail to do so. Now you may talk to me about
anything. I am so gracious.”

“I have copies of two jingles that Jeremiah spouted last week on an
occasion when I brought her four letters from the mail-box. I’ll mail
you copies of them tomorrow. Where is Midget? I know she can’t be far

Marjorie glanced inquiringly at Leila.

“She is lost somewhere in space downstairs. She is but a small doll in
this great house. And you now promise me two more jingles. Two and two
are four, and four is better than two. Soon we shall have a book. It
must have a green crushed Levant binding with a portrait of Jeremiah
reciting one of her own jingles as a frontispiece and the story of her
life printed in gold letters on the front cover.”

“It looks as though I might become as famous as Bean, Harper, Page or
any other campus high light if that crushed Levant edition doesn’t
flivver,” Jerry said hopefully.

Full of their usual light-hearted raillery the trio of girls presently
went downstairs to find not only Vera Mason in the sitting room with
Miss Hamilton. Ronny Linde, Muriel Harding, Lucy Warner and Robin Page
as well were there, clustered around Miss Susanna. They greeted Jerry
and Marjorie with a concerted shout and rushed them affectionately.

“How did the four of you manage to keep so quiet?” Jerry demanded. “I’m

“You needn’t be. You were so noisy yourselves you didn’t hear us. But
_we_ heard _you_,” Vera assured. “We heard three different varieties of
giggle, all going at once. Leila was told to hurry upstairs and bring
you down instantly. Instead—” She cast an accusing glance at Leila.

“Ah, but you were in good company, so I may be forgiven.” Leila made a
gallant bow to Miss Susanna.

“You certainly are a fine Irish gentleman with your lordly manner and
nice leather overcoat,” complimented Miss Susanna, her brown eyes

“Am I not?” modestly agreed Leila. “What I need most to make me
impressive is a pair of green leather boots and a chimney pot hat.”

“I’ll cast you as the romantic Irish hero of a play in precisely that
costume. See if I don’t,” Robin Page laughingly threatened.

“Who will write the play?” Leila quizzed interestedly.

“You of course.” Robin leveled a designating finger at Leila. “That’s a
bully idea; to give a romantic Irish play. And for once you may act as
well as be stage manager. So glad I happened to see you this afternoon
and hear about your green leather boots and chimney pot hat.”

“As you will not require anything of me but to write the play, manage
the stage and play the leading part I’ll not change your gladness to
sorrow by snubbing you. Still I am wondering where I am to find the
boots and the hat. And let me add a condition of my own. I will not be
stage manager, actor or playwright unless Miss Susanna will promise to
come to the show.” Leila launched this proviso with her most
ingratiating smile in Miss Hamilton’s direction.

“I’ll come,” the old lady obligingly promised. Now that she had
“surrendered,” as she humorously termed her change of heart toward
Hamilton College she was almost as eager as her girls to have some part
in campus fun and enterprise. “Will it be a house play?”

“No it will not.” Marjorie and Robin spoke the same words, and almost
together. They looked at each other and laughed. The same thought had
prompted the same answer.

“Wise Page and Dean. They see money in featuring Leila as the hero in
her green boots and chimney pot hat,” was Ronny’s light explanation of
the exchange of eye messages.

“Do we? Well, _rather_!” Marjorie said with warmth.

“Uh-huh,” emphasized Robin. “The campus dwellers will mob the gym to see
Irish Leila as an Irish hero in an Irish play. We’ll reap a bully
harvest of dollars for the dormitory.”

“You and Vera can do that Irish contra dance you danced at Page and
Dean’s first show when we were junies.” Muriel grew animated. “In itself
it’s worth the price of admission.”

“Oh, _do_ have it in the play, Leila,” rose the general plea.

Leila bowed, hand over her heart. “How celebrated Midget and Leila are!
That means Midget must play the part of the maid from Lough Gur, of the
county Limerick. That is the place in Ireland where the fairies yet hold
their invisible revels. And I think Midget might be taken for one of the
Lough Gur fairy queens,” she said fancifully. “I am afraid to invite her
home with me to Ireland for fear the fairy folk may steal her and shut
her up in a mountain.”

“Not if I see them first,” Vera was positive upon this point.

“Midget is small, but valiant.” Leila rolled laughing eyes at her
friends. “Ah, but you would not _see_ the fairies, Midget, when they
slipped you away. You would not see them until you were safe inside the

“Then I’ll keep far from Ireland. I’ll be Irish in plays only,” Vera

“Be sure and save a good part for Luciferous Warneriferous,” was
Muriel’s next thoughtful request. “She simply loves to act.”

“Oh, I do not.” Lucy looked alarmed. A gale of laughter went up at her
horrified denial. “I can’t act. You know that, Muriel Harding.”

“You should learn to act,” Muriel said with severity. “It is your duty.
_I_ am giving you good advice. These persons are laughing at you.”

“Who made them laugh? Keep your advice. I’m furious with _you_.
Br-r-r-r!” Lucy shook her head savagely, thrust her chin forward and
fixed her greenish eyes upon Muriel in a frozen glare which convulsed
that delighted wag. She thoroughly enjoyed teasing dignified Lucy to the
point of retaliating.

“Oh, splendid! You look every inch a villain!” Muriel simulated profound
admiration. “You have true histrionic ability, Luciferous. Let my
flattering opinion sink deep, and encourage you.”

“I’ll let it go in one ear and out the other,” was Lucy’s derisive
retort. “Don’t _dare_ choose me even for a villager in your Irish play,
Leila Harper. I’ll be far more useful as a press agent. I’ll get up a
handbill about the play, and mimeograph it.”

“Bully idea, Luciferous. Be sure and hit all the high spots. When you
have the handbills ready you may stand outside Hamilton Hall and
distribute them to the campus dwellers.” Jerry patted Lucy on the
shoulder with force.

“Ouch! That’s one of my high spots you just hit.” Lucy dodged out of
Jerry’s reach, rubbing her assaulted shoulder. “I’d rather give out
handbills any time than act,” she declared with a defiant glance at
laughing Muriel.

“Be calm, Luciferous,” soothed Leila with an assuring grin. “I would
rather have the handbills than you on the stage as a villain. It is
Matchless Muriel who may have the pleasure of playing that part. She
will have plenty of lines to learn.” Leila nodded significantly toward
Muriel who merely continued to smile.

“Biographers, bill posters, stage managers, actors, et cetera;
attention!” Vera called out. She pointed to the tall floor clock,
imperturbably ticking off the minutes. “It’s five minutes to six. Too
bad I always have to be time crier for this reckless aggregation.” She
heaved a dismal sigh. “What _would_ you do without me?”

“Be laggards all the rest of our lives, faithful Midget. You are one of
the world’s finest institutions.” Leila beamed patronizing appreciation
on her diminutive chum.

“I know my own worth. I am surprised to find you have an inkling of it,”
Vera retorted with complacent dignity.

“A dignified Midget is so impressive,” murmured Leila. “See how wrapped
up in her small self she is. She has forgotten about being town crier. I
see I must—.”

“Don’t trouble yourself. I’m still on the job. It’s now five minutes
later than it was five minutes ago,” Vera hastily announced.

“Come, good Travelers.” Muriel took the middle of the floor in a stiff
recitative attitude. Raising one arm she declaimed in a high stilted
voice: “Let us journey with all speed toward shelter ere dark night
o’ertakes us.”

“Something like that,” was Ronny’s ultra modern agreement. “With so much
talk and so little action it may be midnight ere we see the Hall. I’m
not speaking of myself, or of Miss Susanna. We’re not loquacious.”

“_You_ only miss being loquacious because you haven’t happened to start
an argument with Matchless Muriel. I should hope you _weren’t_ speaking
of Miss Susanna.” Jerry put on a shocked expression.

“Don’t squabble over me,” Miss Hamilton said in a meek little voice.
Followed a burst of ready laughter. She said as it died out: “I’m going
to send you home now, children. Come back tomorrow evening to dinner.
Bring Kathie and Lillian with you. Robin, please invite Phil and
Barbara. Tell Phil to bring her fiddle. I will invite Peter and Anne
Graham, and Signor Baretti. He will like to come to our party. He and
Peter will be company for Jonas. I shall make Jonas sit at the table
with us.”

The Travelers thought Miss Susanna’s sisterly regard for Jonas one of
her finest characteristics. While he had been a youthful servitor of the
Hamiltons during Brooke Hamilton’s declining years, he had filled the
triple role of brother, servitor and friend to the Lady of the Arms
during her long lonely reign in the great house. He was many years older
than Miss Susanna, but still a strong, sturdy man.

Jonas looked upon Miss Susanna as an empress, to be reverenced and
obeyed. Miss Hamilton’s oft repeated assertion to him: “You are a direct
importation of Providence, Jonas, willed me by Uncle Brooke,” had made a
deep impression on him at first utterance. As a consequence, his one aim
in life was that of faithful service. Rarely could she coax him to
appear socially at the Arms, even among the few friends who knew his

“You’re always thinking up something perfectly, splendidly hospitable!”
As she rose from her chair to see the Travelers to the front door
Marjorie pounced lovingly upon the Lady of the Arms, wrapping both arms
around her.

“A hold up, a hold up!” cried Jerry. “I’m going to join in it.” She made
a playful attempt to pry Marjorie’s arms loose from about the old lady.
The others gathered around the pair, mischievous and laughing. They put
Miss Susanna through a gentle wooling which left her with ruffled hair,
her lace collar awry and her cheeks pink from the loving salutes of
fresh young lips.

The Travelers went down the wide stone walk from the house looking back,
waving and calling gay good-byes to the small, alert woman at the head
of the veranda steps. The gate reached, Marjorie turned to wave her hand
again. She mentally contrasted Miss Susanna’s happy expression of the
present occasion with the sharp, doubting, half resentful gaze the
mistress of the Arms had turned upon her when she had first been ushered
into the library by Jonas to meet Brooke Hamilton’s kinswoman. Where
there had once been shadow, somber silence, loneliness, was now light of
love, gay friendly voices, sympathy, companionship.

It had been Miss Susanna’s wish that Marjorie and Jerry should be at the
Arms to greet the return of Spring. Remembering this a rare, rapturous
flash of exaltation swept over Marjorie. She was thinking as she waved
her hand to the little old lady on the veranda that Spring had not only
returned to the Arms. It had miraculously returned to Miss Susanna’s


                               CHAPTER V.

                       FOR THE GOOD OF THE “DORM”

“What’s on your mind, Leila Greatheart? You’ve thrown out tantalizing
little scraps of what I’d call non-information ever since we left the
Arms. Now stand, and deliver.” Marjorie made her plea for enlightenment
as Leila closed the door of her room and favored her chums with one of
her bland, wide smiles.

Dinner over at the Hall, the eight Travelers had lingered in Miss
Remson’s snug office to talk to the little manager for a pleasant half
hour. They had just made port in Leila’s and Vera’s room for what
promised to be a most interesting session.

“What’s on my mind, Beauty?” Leila regarded Marjorie owlishly. “More
than you might think, should you judge by appearance,” she said with
mock seriousness. “I am enchanted with myself because of my own schemes.
Sit in a circle around me and listen to the golden runes of Leila, the
witch woman. I see gold, gold, gol-l-d.”

She made a sudden forward sweep of the arm toward Jerry who was about to
seat herself on Vera’s couch beside Lucy Warner. Jerry raised a mild
shriek of surprise, flopped against Lucy who was near the end of the
couch. Unprepared for such a jolt, Lucy rolled off the end of the couch
to the floor. Jerry clutched wildly at her arm. Her balance upset she
followed Lucy to the floor and sat down upon her amid shouts of
merriment from the six gleeful spectators to the double mishap.

“Now see where you put me.” Jerry still sat on the floor regarding Leila
with an air of deep injury. Lucy had scrambled to her feet and made for
a chair. “The very least you can do is help me up. Give me your hands,
and don’t dare let go.” Jerry held up her hands to her still mirthful

Leila essayed the task of raising Jerry to her feet. Laughter robbed her
of power to lift Jerry. It also robbed Jerry of power to raise herself
from the floor. After three separate attempts at co-operation, all
mirthfully unsuccessful, Jerry was hoisted to her feet by the combined
efforts of Marjorie, Ronny and Muriel.

“You are an awful hostess.” Jerry opened her mouth widely on “awful” and
ducked her head violently forward at Leila. “First you scare your guests
by making wild sweeping swoops at them. Then you laugh at them when they
come to grief. This time I’ll choose the middle of the couch, and be
safe.” Very cautiously she re-seated herself on the couch, squarely in
the center.

“We’ll sit one on each side of you, Jeremiah, so that you can’t fall off
the couch again.” Ronny plumped down on the couch on one side of Jerry.
Muriel obligingly seated herself on the other side.

“_I_ was shoved off that couch and sat upon by Jeremiah, yet no one
appears to remember it,” Lucy mournfully complained.

“I remember it. You tipped me off your lap,” accused Jerry.

“But you tipped me off the couch first,” reminded Lucy. “I forgive you,
but never again will I sit on a couch beside you.”

“I always try to look upon everything that happens as for the best,”
Jerry returned with angelic sweetness.

“There were no bones broken, but there was plenty of fuss made.” Leila
thus summed up the accident. “Now pay attention to me, and let us have
no more nonsense.” Whereupon she burst out laughing, thus starting her
companions’ merriment afresh.

Quiet finally restored she began again. This time with the fine
earnestness which she could readily summon when occasion demanded.

“Travelers, dear,” she addressed the now attentive seven, “we have left
only six days of March, then April, May and the early part of June in
which to earn money for the dormitory. We must give as many shows as we
can manage between now and Commencement. We must give the Irish play the
first week in May. I shall write it in one week. It will be nothing
startling, but it will be a play, I grant you that. I shall have a sorry
siege to make the cast learn their lines in two weeks. It must be done.
We must rehearse four nights in a week. Vera will make cunning Irish
token cards and we shall sell them for a silver quarter apiece.”

“First I had heard of my new job, but I accept. May I inquire into the
mystery of an Irish token card?” Vera asked with an assumption of
profound respect.

“You will draw many little pictures of the cast, Midget, on many little
cards,” was Leila’s somewhat indefinite answer. “You will learn more
about my Celtic schemes when I am not so busy.”

“Oh, very well. See that _you_ don’t interrupt any of _my_ busy hours.
If you see me put up a busy sign on my side of the room, respect it,”
warned Vera.

“See that _you_ do not again interrupt _me_,” flung back Leila, scowling
portentously at her diminutive roommate.

Everyone else interrupted, however, and Leila had to come to a laughing
stop in her harangue until she had enlightened the party regarding
“Irish token cards.”

Like her artist father, Vera was gifted with the ability to draw.
Leila’s idea of having small, head-and-shoulder, pen-and-ink sketches of
the various characters in the play drawn on oblong cards, three by one
and a half inches, was decidedly interesting from an artistic as well as
a financial standpoint. Below the sketch would appear the stage name of
the character, the true name and the date of the play.

“Vera won’t be able to do many cards, Leila. She won’t have time. She
can’t make the rough sketches until we have our costumes and know
ourselves how we are going to look,” was Ronny’s doubtful view of the

“Oh, I can draw the different characters as they ought to look. Leila
can show me the style of costume to be followed by the actors. I’ll draw
each character once, leaving out the features till I know who will be
who. Then I can fill in the blanks with the familiar eyes, noses, mouths
and ears of the illustrious cast. After that it will only mean hours and
hours of tedious copying my originals.” Vera made a triumphant
outspreading gesture of the arms indicative of her mastery of the

“How we do miss Ethel Laird,” sighed Ronny. “She was so clever. Do you
remember how gorgeous those posters for the first show were that she
painted. What became of them, Marvelous Manager?” She looked quickly
toward Marjorie as though seized with a sudden idea.

“They’re with the other properties in the Page and Dean section of the
garret,” Marjorie replied. “At least they were still there the last time
I was up garret. That was after the Valentine masquerade. What is it,
Ronny? I see you have something on your mind.”

“Let’s have an auction,” eagerly proposed Ronny.

“Not now; not until the first of June. We could clear up all the stuff
we have used for advertising the shows, and other treasures of our own
that have campus history, and auction them off. Let Jerry be the
auctioneer. Oh, lovely! What?”

“Oh, lovely,” mimicked Jerry. “There is nothing very lovely about hard

“No use in pretending, Jeremiah. You know you’d revel in being an
auctioneer.” Ronny shook her finger at Jerry.

“I’ve heard of worse stunts,” Jerry admitted with a grin.

“I have nearly as good an opinion of you, Ronny, as I have of myself,”
Leila graciously conceded. “You and Jeremiah have my permission to
manage the auction. You may collect all the wares for it, and do all the
work. Between times, when you have little to do, you may dance in my

“_Your_ shows?” Ronny’s eyebrows ascended to a politely satiric height.

“_My_ shows,” repeated Leila with great firmness. “Have you not yet
learned that Page and Dean amount to little without me. It is Harper and
Harper who should have all the credit.”

“Right-o!” exclaimed Marjorie and Robin exactly together.

“Now why did you agree with me?” Leila demanded, her tone full of
innocent Celtic surprise. “That was merely one of my Celtic jests.”

“‘Many a true word,’ you know,” cited Robin.

“We’ll make you senior partner in the firm, Leila Greatheart,” was
Marjorie’s generous proposal. “Harper, Page and Dean has a fine,
dignified sound.”

“Away with you!” Leila waved off the suggestion. “I am deaf to such a
sound. Say no more, or I shall fly into one of my fierce frenzies. Now I
am here not to rage, but to keep Midget in order, and conduct this

“_In order?_” Vera interrogated in an awful voice. “Kindly state _when_
I have been out of order since this go-as-you-please session began.”

“Not at all, Midget; not at all—as yet,” Leila laid significant stress
on “as yet.” “So we may hope for the best and change the subject,” she
hastily added.

“It’s high time it was changed,” Vera said loftily.

Leila turned comical eyes upon the company. Then she continued: “Now we
have the Irish play and the auction on the carpet. Soon we shall be
giving Kathie’s new play: ‘The Knight of the Northern Sun.’ Gentleman
Gus will be featured in that. Kathie had finished the writing of it.
Luciferous has already typed the parts. And I have picked a fine
heroine. The Ice Queen is to play the part of Nageda, the Norse


                              CHAPTER VI.

                         A TANTALIZING GLIMPSE

“Where did you collect the nerve to ask that ask?” Jerry admiringly
demanded of Leila, following the shout of surprise from the others.

“I have nerve for any occasion,” was the modest reply.

“I believe you. What did the Ice Queen say to you, or was she too icily
iced for words? I get you that she must have made a ‘yes’ sign, in spite
of her freezing frozenness.”

“She said ‘yes.’ I went straight to the point with plenty of coolness in
my own sweet Irish voice,” Leila answered with a touch of grimness. “She
loves to be a center of attraction. I have a good idea of her beauty and
cleverness. She knows that. We made the bargain like two veterans. She
does not wish for my friendship. I can live without hers. We have in
Ireland our own proverb of fair exchange. It is: ‘To exchange needs with
your neighbor is nothing lost to him or you.’”

“In this instance it is everything gained,” Marjorie blithely asserted.
“You are the same old wonder, Leila Greatheart. I must make a list of
these coming attractions now.” She opened the small blue leather
notebook which she was seldom without now wherever she happened to go on
the campus. She wrote busily for a little, oblivious of the murmur of
discussion going on around her.

“Three sure-fire attractions,” she exulted, as she presently glanced up
from her notebook.

“I’ve something to report, too. I’ve at last persuaded Miss Oliver to
let us feature her in a musicale in Greek Hall. It’s to come off a week
from Friday evening.” Robin’s announcement was touched with pride.

It was the signal for another little burst of surprise. While Candace
Oliver, the freshman musical genius who one of the Craig Hall girls had
discovered, had on several occasions reluctantly played for Robin and a
few other admiring students, she had steadily refused to appear on the
college stage as a pianiste.

“Another obstacle surmounted. How did you do it? I thought I was too
persuasive to be resisted, but she turned me down,” commented Muriel.

“Oh, I asked her to let us feature her, every time I met her. I used all
the nice pleasant arguments I could think of but without effect. The
other day I happened to meet her at Baretti’s. I introduced Signor
Baretti to her. I was sitting at the same table with her and Baretti
came up, as always, to speak to me. He only stayed a minute, but in that
minute I remarked to him that Miss Oliver was a wonderful pianiste. He
looked truly impressed and said in his odd way: ‘I like hear you play
som’time. When you play in Miss Page, Miss Dean’s show, for help the
dormitory. Miss Page, you come tell me when Miss Ol-ee-var play.’ I
smiled at Miss Oliver. She had turned red as a poppy. Then I said, sweet
as cream: ‘I surely _will_ let you know, Signor Baretti.’”

“What did she say?” Ronny voiced the question that stood in six pairs of
bright eyes.

“Oh, he trotted off just then, and I didn’t give her time to say a word.
I began telling her about him and how sincere his interest in the
dormitory was, and how he had fought for Page and Dean, and how
altogether great-spirited he was. She listened without saying much. She
was half through luncheon when I sat down at her table. She left the
restaurant as soon as she had finished her dessert. Next day I received
a four line note from her. She said in it that she had changed her mind
about not being featured at a musicale. ‘I wish to do my part to help
the dorm’ girls,’ was the line that made Robin execute a hornpipe.”

“The infallible Guiseppe again to the rescue,” Vera said lightly, yet
with a certain pleased intonation which expressed the appreciation
underlying it.

“Attraction number four.” Amid the gratified murmur which followed
Robin’s recital, Marjorie set down the musicale in her book. “What is
Miss Oliver’s program, Robin? Of course you’ve seen her since you
received her note.” Marjorie knew that Robin was sure of her prize.

“Three Chopin numbers and Beethoven’s ‘Sonata Appassionata.’ Phil is
going to play one of Brahm’s Hungarian dances and Jensen’s ‘Romance.’
Verna Burkett is going to sing. She has a glorious contralto voice, and
Reba Hoffman, that little blonde German dorm will give a ’cello number.
I am anxious to exploit dorm talent, too. It’s going to be a hummer of a
program. I think we ought to charge two dollars apiece for the tickets,
the same as we charge for our revues. What do you think about it,
Marjorie?” Robin earnestly consulted her partner. “You know we only
charged a dollar and a half for tickets for the last musicale.”

“I don’t believe two dollars a seat will be considered robbery. We
always reserve free seats for the dormitory girls at all the shows. The
other Hamiltonites can afford to pay two dollars apiece for the kind of
entertainment we shall offer. They’d have to pay from two to three
dollars apiece for good seats at a special benefit musicale wherever
they might go,” was Marjorie’s candid reply. “I don’t wish to seem
priggish, but they could spend their allowance checks for no better

“True as truth, good partner,” Robin agreed, with a saucy little nod.
“Oh, dear,” she changed to plaintive in a twinkling. “I wish we might
use the Hamilton Concert Hall for the musicale. Think of the money we’d
take in. Greek Hall is hardly more than half as large.”

“Why can’t you use it?” asked Lucy Warner with crisp suddenness.

“No one has the nerve to ask Prexy for the use of it, my child.” Vera
bent a benign glance upon Lucy which contrasted oddly with her doll-like

“Why not?” Lucy persisted.

“Prexy has yet to come to one of our shows, Luciferous,” Marjorie said
quietly. “We’ve always sent him tickets, and Mrs. Prexy and her friends
have come to them. But he never has. He approves of the dormitory
enterprise. He has been friendly with me on all occasions, but—”
Marjorie smiled—“he never appears at our revues.”

“It’s the one thorn on Page and Dean’s rosebush,” laughed Robin.
“Besides, Luciferous, we’ve never felt like trying to break into the
regular college lecture and concert programs with our shows. It’s more a
matter of deference than anything else. If he had ever offered the hall
to us, we’d have accepted the offer instanter. But he never has.”

“I believe it never occurred to him,” Lucy said bluntly. “I wish I’d
known long ago. I’ll ask him tomorrow for the use of it.”

“Lu-ciferous!” Muriel beamed on Lucy with a radiance too joyous to be
genuine. “You deserve a citation. That is you will deserve one if you
put the Prexy problem across. Do so, and I will cite your good conduct
tomorrow evening in this very room at precisely seven o’clock. You will
receive a tin star, three whacks on the shoulder and a ticket to the
Hamilton Movie Palace. Popcorn and pink lemonade will be served to all.”
Muriel effulgently included the rest of the party in the generous

The next five minutes were spent in jubilantly rushing Lucy. She
received approving pats on the shoulders, pats on the back and pats on
the head. Each Traveler tried to outdo the other in contributing funnily
approving remarks. Muriel smilingly proposed raising Lucy to Jerry’s and
her shoulders and parading about the room with her. Jerry and Lucy both
had strong objections to the honor walk.

“I wouldn’t trust either of you to carry me two feet,” Lucy declared
mirthfully. “Now never mind rushing me further. Leila beguiled us here
with the promise of hearing something extraordinary. I have yet to hear

“So I did.” Leila surveyed the Travelers, whose attention had quickly
returned to her, her bright blue eyes asparkle. “Now this is what I have
to say.”

As she laid her plan before her chums, a constant chorus of gurgles,
giggles and chuckles accompanied her words. The instant she paused Jerry
raised a not too loud cheer of approbation which the others echoed.

“I am indebted to you, Matchless Muriel, for suggesting the proper kind
of refreshments. You may believe that popcorn and pink lemonade will be
served at our party along with gum drops and peppermint sticks. I had
not yet thought of the eats until you spoke. Now I shall get up a fine
spread.” Leila’s tone conveyed her deep satisfaction.

“It will be oceans of fun.” Muriel had already begun to laugh as she
thought of what her part in the event should be.

“The gentlemen of the campus may have to hunt diligently for suitable
wardrobe. I shall see about mine at once.” Vera giggled softly.

Her naive remark was the signal for a fresh explosion of mirth. In a
room further along the hall a girl moodily rested her pen to listen to
the breath of laughter wafted faintly to her through walls and closed
doors. Doris Monroe tried to frown at the distant sounds of harmonious
comradeship. She found that she was not angry. She was despondent
because she was lonely. She was beginning to glimpse a side of college
life, wholly desirable, but, unfortunately for her, beyond her reach.


                              CHAPTER VII.

                             THE DARK TOWER

Doris Monroe had seen Marjorie and Jerry in the dining room of Wayland
Hall that evening. She knew the Travelers were holding a social session
in Leila’s and Vera’s room and somberly envied them their fun. Things
had been distressingly dull for her since her return from the holiday
vacation spent with Leslie Cairns in New York.

She had thoroughly enjoyed herself in New York after Mrs. Gaylord,
Leslie’s chaperon, had appeared at the Essenden, the apartment hotel in
which Leslie had engaged the Dresden suite of rooms. Leslie, too, had
been more agreeable during that short, blissful two weeks of fine
dressing, expensive dinners, luncheons and theatres than Doris had known
her to be either before or since the vacation.

The few times she had been in Leslie’s company after their return to
Hamilton, Leslie had been preoccupied, irritable and altogether
unpleasant. She had been so patently uncongenial that Doris had
preferred to keep away from her on the plea of study. This plea was at
least sound. Doris had had her hands full for a time in trying to stave
off being conditioned in mathematics.

She had known nothing of Leslie’s downfall as a business woman. It was
at least three weeks after Leslie had reluctantly obeyed her father’s
mandate and left Hamilton for New York before she had written Doris a
letter from an apartment on Central Park West which Mrs. Gaylord had
secured for the two as a residence.

In the letter Leslie had stated that she would return to Hamilton for a
few days early in April. She had not, however, explained her sudden
departure, nor had she mentioned the disruption of her garage
enterprise. Doris had answered the letter, feeling secretly relieved
that Leslie was not in Hamilton. She had a shrewd idea that Leslie’s
father might be responsible for Leslie’s return to New York. She had
heard enough of the conversation between Leslie and her chaperon on the
occasion, when Mrs. Gaylord had arrived unexpectedly at the Essenden, to
guess that Leslie and her father were not on very congenial terms.

Leslie had left Doris the Dazzler, the white car she was so fond of
driving. She had said nothing in her letter about it, nor had she
mentioned the sum of money which she had placed to Doris’s account in a
Hamilton bank. Doris had not yet been able to return the seventy-five
dollars she had drawn of the five hundred Leslie had placed in bank to
her credit. She was resolved on doing so before the close of college in
June. Selfishly indifferent and indifferently selfish though she was she
had a certain standard of honor. She had not ceased to regret having
allowed Leslie to bank the five hundred dollars to her account.

Doris was not so anxious to return the Dazzler to Leslie. True she had
no expectation of keeping it indefinitely. She hoped, however, that
Leslie would allow her to use it until the close of college. She was
able to pay for its up-keep from her allowance. Though she cared little
for the freshies and sophs who made much of her, she frequently took one
or more of them with her on her drives in the white car. Secretly she
preferred her own company to theirs. She regarded them as more or less
“silly” and continued to accept their adoration with bored sweetness.

Unwillingly she had discovered in herself a growing interest for the
Travelers. Her keen perception could not fail to show her their
undeniable claim to originality and cleverness. She admired, even liked
Muriel, to whom she had, however, not spoken since before Christmas.
Before their misunderstanding she had been on the verge of real fondness
for Muriel. She now missed their former pleasant relation as roommates.
At times she was tempted to lay aside her grievance and try to restore
the old friendly footing.

Leila had approached Doris at the psychological moment. Doris was weary
of being rushed by those for whom she entertained hardly more than
casual interest. She had not the diversion of Leslie Cairns’
companionship. She had persistently turned “dig” to the extent of
putting herself beyond the immediate fear of a condition in mathematics.
She was therefore ready to entertain with secret pleasure Leila’s polite
request for her appearance in “The Knight of the Northern Sun.” She was
actually eager to take the part of Nageda, the Norseland princess.

Outwardly she showed herself as coolly business-like as Leila during
their brief interview. After she and Leila had separated she experienced
a half sad regret because she appeared to be so thoroughly “out of it”
with clever Miss Harper. She was sure Miss Harper cared nothing about
her personally. She merely regarded her as a student; one best suited to
play the part of Nageda.

“The Knight of the Northern Sun” was to be given on the evening of April
thirtieth. It would be presented at least three weeks in advance of
Leila’s Irish play. The Candace Oliver musicale was to take place on the
evening of April fourth. On the night of April eleventh Leila’s “great
idea” would furnish the entire college body of students with an
evening’s fun.

Such was the program the Travelers drew up. After the meeting came the
usual spread, eaten in high spirits. Marjorie, Robin and Jerry stole
downstairs several minutes after inexorable old ten-thirty had shrilled
its loud emphatic nightly command for retiring. Very quietly the trio
let themselves out the front door into the moonlight.

Marjorie and Jerry gallantly offered themselves as Robin’s escorts
across the moonlit campus to Silverton Hall. They took hold of her arms
and paraded her between them, expatiating to her as they rushed her
along at a hiking stride, on the value of their company. In front of
Silverton Hall they lingered briefly for a last animated exchange of
laughing pleasantries, then Jerry and Marjorie turned their steps toward
the entrance at the east end of the campus which gave on the pike toward
Hamilton Estates.

“It seems strange to be walking out of the campus gates at this time of
night.” Marjorie made this light observation as the two Travelers
stepped from the college premises and out upon Hamilton Pike.

“We’re enchanted, you know. We broke the spell for a little while this
evening. There’s the enchanted trail back to the good fairy’s castle.”
Jerry pointed to the pike, shining and white under the moon’s clear,
burning lamp. “That’s the way I’ve felt most of the time since we
settled ourselves at the Arms.”

“So have I. It’s not only Hamilton Arms that seems enchanted. Hamilton
Estates is like a fairy-tale kingdom,” Marjorie added to Jerry’s fancy.

“The Kingdom of Castles,” Jerry instantly supplied. “And in the heart of
the kingdom dwelt Goldendede, a fairy empress.”

As they continued on their way to the Arms the pair amused themselves
with the weaving of a fairy tale about Miss Susanna, Hamilton Estates
and themselves as willing victims of enchantment.

“Bing! that nearly shattered the enchantment,” grumbled Jerry as an
automobile whisked past them from the direction in which they had come.
“There’s nothing fairy-like about a buzz-buggy. That particular one
butted into our fairy tale and reu-ined it.”

“Never mind. You’ve been truly inspired since we left the campus
tonight, Jeremiah,” Marjorie consoled. “Goldendede is a beautiful name
for Miss Susanna. The Kingdom of Castles exactly suits Hamilton Estates.
You couldn’t have named this aloof collection of turreted gabled houses

“That’s higher commendation than you ever gave the Bean Jingles. It
makes up for your sad lack of appreciation of those gems. I am _so_
mollified, Bean!” Jerry fairly purred gratification.

“I’d appreciate your art of jingling more, Jeremiah, if it were
addressed to someone else. Leila or Ronny or Vera Jingles would be less

“You have a grudge against your charming self, Bean,” was Jerry’s
retort. “Forget it. Brooke Hamilton is to be celebrated in biography,
why shouldn’t Marjorie Dean be celebrated in verse. The first is not
greater than the last in her own little way. The—”

“Say another word like that and I’ll run off and leave you in the
enchanted dark.” Marjorie placed a light hand over Jerry’s lips.

Jerry gently removed the restraining fingers and gave them a friendly
squeeze. She kept Marjorie’s hand in hers and the two walked on, arms
swinging. “You’re a resplendent goose,” she said, “but you win. At least
you do until the next time.”

“Jerry, did you notice Miss Susanna’s face today as she stood on the
veranda waving to us?” Marjorie changed the subject with abruptness. “It
was transfigured!”

“I noticed. I thought then that there could not be anything quite so
wonderful as the return of happiness to a person who had been shut away
from happiness as long as she had.” Jerry turned suddenly serious. “And
you began it, Marvelous Manager. You were the leaven—”

Marjorie dropped Jerry’s hand and flashed away from her along the pike,
a slim, flitting, shadowy figure. She was laughing softly to herself as
she ran on for a few yards.

“I told you I’d run away from you.” she reminded, as Jerry came speeding
up to her. “I didn’t propose to stay after hearing myself compared to a
yeast cake.”

The two had paused, breathless and laughing at one side of the pike.
Their run had brought them just beyond the brightly lighted gate posts
of Lenox Heath, a rambling, many gabled English manor house. Its
powerful gate lights illuminated the pike for several hundred feet.
Farther ahead of them it was dark and shadowy, in spite of the full
moon’s rays.

A few more steps would bring them to the part of the highway which
skirted the Carden estate, forming its southern boundary. Formerly the
pike at this point had extended between irregular embankments of stony
earth which rose to a low height above the pike’s smooth bed. It was at
this particular part of the pike that Miss Susanna had narrowly escaped
being run over by Lillian Walbert’s car on a February afternoon of the
previous year.

During the summer which followed the date of Miss Susanna’s near
accident, the right side of the pike which marked the northern boundary
of the Clements estate had been leveled with the road bed by order of
the Clements themselves. The low lumpy irregular ridge on the Carden
side of the pike remained, flaunting itself in the face of improvement,
a proof of Carden indifference and obstinacy. Because of it the Carden
house and grounds appeared even more neglected and unkempt.

“It’s good and dark here in spite of the moon.” Jerry glanced up at the
great arching limbs of the trees on the Carden side of the pike. A row
of giant elms grew just inside the thick evergreen hedge which enclosed
the Carden premises and gave the estate its name. Though still bare of
leaves, the thick interlacing branches of the elms served as a screen
against the moon’s pale radiance.

“What a gloomy old dump the Carden estate is!” was Jerry’s disapproving
exclamation. “It looks like a ghost ranch.”

“It’s the Dark Tower in the Kingdom of Castles.” This time Marjorie did
the naming. “‘Two Travelers to the Dark Tower came,’” she laughingly

“Let’s hope we don’t see the horrors Childe Roland was supposed to have
seen. Goodness knows _what_ bogie horrified him. I should call ‘Childe
Roland’ Browning’s most aggravating poem. But this eerie spot is no
place for a literary discussion. B-r-r-r! Let’s beat it. I saw a white
ghostly light flash out from behind that old house!”

Jerry did not accept her own proposal. Instead she stopped short, eyes
trained on the pale flood of light. It emanated from a point behind the
house and whitened a space to the left of the gloomy gray stone

“Here comes your ghost, and in an automobile.” Marjorie began to laugh.
Two white eyes of light had appeared around the left hand corner of the
house and were rapidly coming down the drive toward the watchers. “‘Two
goslings to the Dark Tower came—and saw a gasoline ghost,’” she mocked.

The watchers came abreast of the entrance gateway of the estate just as
the car reached it. By its light they saw that the gates stood open.
They hurried past them and drew close to the uneven ridge of earth in
order to allow the automobile plenty of room to turn onto the pike.
Instead of driving on, the solitary occupant stopped the machine at the
edge of the pike just clear of the gateway.

The machine itself was a long, rakish-looking racing car. Its driver was
a tall man, very broad of shoulder. He wore a long dark motor coat. A
leather motor cap was pulled down over his forehead. Intent on his own
affairs, he did not glance toward the two young women. He sprang from
the racer and strode back to close the gates. He slammed them shut with
an air which indicated proprietorship. Two or three long steps and he
had returned to his car. He leaped into it, started it and was gone
almost instantly around the curve of the pike which was the last outpost
of the Carden estate. Just on the other side of it the estate of
Hamilton Arms began.

“_Some ghost._ That’s the first time I ever saw anyone emerge from that
gloom patch, day or night. Now who do you suppose he was? If he’s a
visitor at Carden Hedge he must be visiting either himself or spooks.
Maybe he’s a Carden. Not that I care a hoot who he is, but one must have
something to say about everyone.” Jerry left the rough ground on which
the two had been standing for the smoothness of the pike. “Come along,
Bean. It will be midnight before we hit the castle,” she predicted.
“Ronny was right about this pair of Travelers.”

“I wonder if he was one of the Cardens?” Marjorie’s question contained a
certain amount of curiosity. Since she had taken up the work of
arranging the data for Brooke Hamilton’s biography she had found enough
allusions to the Carden family to give her a clear idea of what a thorn
Alec Carden had been to Brooke Hamilton’s flesh.

“He may be the son of Alec Carden. I mean the son who inherited Carden
Hedge,” she continued musingly. “This man in the racer wasn’t young. I
caught a fair view of his face in spite of the way he had his cap pulled
down. Still he may be younger than I thought him at a glance, and the
grandson of old Alec Carden.”

“Why worry about it?” teased Jerry. She had caught the note of puzzled
interest in Marjorie’s voice.

“I’m not worrying. I’m wondering why that man’s face looked so familiar.
I’m sure I never saw him before.”

“How can he look familiar to you if you’ve never before seen him?”
inquired Jerry, with a chuckle.

“That’s precisely what I’m wondering. Perhaps he resembles some one I
know or have seen. I must ask Miss Susanna to describe John Carden, the
son who lives at the Hedge. Here we are at our own castle. Next time we
mustn’t stay out so late, Jeremiah. I hope Miss Susanna hasn’t stayed up
to wait for us. She likes her early bedtime, you know.”

Miss Susanna had elected to “stay up” to hear about Leila’s “great”
idea. They found her waiting for them in the library, wrapped in a
trailing blue velvet dressing gown. She hustled them upstairs to don
negligees and ordered them down to the library when they should have
changed costume. There she brought them two little Chinese bowls of
chicken consommé and a plate of salty crackers.

Both girls had eaten sparingly of the spread. After their moonlight walk
they were really hungry, and the consommé was delicious. As they ate it
and nibbled the crisp crackers they regaled Miss Susanna with a lively
account of the evening’s happenings. Interest in the Travelers’ new
plans for entertainments drove the incident of the unknown motorist
completely from Marjorie’s mind. Nor did she think of him again for some
time afterward.


                             CHAPTER VIII.

                      A RETURN TO A FORBIDDEN LAND

“Leslie, is it really you? I’d been wondering why you hadn’t answered my
letter. I wrote you soon after I received your note.” Doris Monroe’s
indifferent drawl was not in evidence as she answered the telephone. She
was surprised and more pleased than she had thought she could possibly
be to hear Leslie Cairns’ voice on the wire. Leslie’s arrival in
Hamilton meant an immediate brightening of the bored existence Doris had
been leading since her return from New York.

“I wrote you I’d surely be here in April,” Leslie brusquely reminded,
“and here I am.”

“I’m _awfully_ glad of it.” Doris spoke with pleasing sincerity. “Is
Mrs. Gaylord with you?”

“Ye-es.” Leslie drawled the affirmation with exaggerated weariness. “How
she does wish she wasn’t. She nearly had a conniption when I told her we
were going to make a flying trip to Hamilton. I’ll meet you at the
Colonial at four this P. M. You’ll hear more of my history then. Bye.”
Leslie was gone.

Doris’s beautiful face was a study as she turned from the telephone. She
was a trifle amazed at her distinct pleasure in Leslie’s unexpected
arrival at Hamilton. Leslie had been so moodily unbearable after their
return from the holiday vacation which they had spent in New York, Doris
had felt relieved at the former’s sudden disappearance from Hamilton and
the subsequent receipt of Leslie’s brief note from New York.

It was only recently that she had begun to miss Leslie and wish for her
society. In spite of her ugly moods Leslie was possessed of an
originality which Doris found singularly enlivening. No one could say
more oddly funny things than Leslie when she chose to be humorous.
Leslie never hesitated to pay extravagantly for whatever she happened to
want. Doris admired in her what she considered Leslie’s “adventurous
spirit.” She had been brought up to know her father’s explorer friends.
They were hardy, intrepid world wanderers of daring. She had listened to
their tales of reckless adventuring into the unknown and gloried in the
doings of these splendid captains of adventure. There were occasions
when it appeared to her that Leslie showed something of the same
adventurous, undaunted spirit.

As a matter of truth, Leslie was animated by this very spirit. She had
directed it, however, into ignoble channels. What she chose to regard as
strategy and daring were nothing other than trickery and lawlessness.

Doris knew little or nothing of Leslie’s flagrant offenses as a student
at Hamilton College. She had learned of the latter’s expellment from
college from Leslie herself. She had consequently never heard the rights
of the affair. She had heard vague stories concerning it from Julia
Peyton, Clara Carter and one or two juniors. The knowledge of Leslie’s
immense wealth had hampered even their gossip about the ex-student. The
freshmen and the sophomores, who were Doris’s chief companions, had
entered Hamilton too late to be on the campus at the period before
Leslie’s and her chums’ expulsion from college. They, therefore, knew
not much about her.

The present junior and senior classes had been respectively the freshman
and sophomore classes during Leslie’s senior year at Hamilton, which had
been also the year of her expulsion from college. At that particular
time the attitude of the two lower classes had been one of horrified
disapproval of the seventeen San Soucians who had been expelled from
Hamliton for hazing a student. That was almost as much as any of them
had ever learned about the affair. The girls who knew the disagreeable
truth were Marjorie Dean and her intimates. Silence with them was honor.
They knew a great many other derogatory facts about Leslie Cairns and
her methods which they kept strictly sub rosa.

Doris was ready to welcome Leslie with warmth. She sorely lacked
companions of interest. She had begun to grow bored to satiety by
admiration. The freshies’ and sophs’ adoration for her was too
superficial to be satisfying. They enjoyed rushing the college beauty.
Each class liked to parade her on the campus and fête her at Baretti’s,
the Colonial or at their pet Hamilton tea shops as a triumphant class
trophy. She was selfish, but not shallow; indifferent, but not vapid. It
was in her composition to give as well as receive. Because she had been
surfeited with adulation she had lately experienced a vague unrestful
desire to turn from the knowledge of her own charms to an admiration of
some one else.

First among the students of Hamilton she admired Leila Harper. Robin
Page was her second “crush.” Muriel made a third in a trio which had won
her difficult fancy. None of these, however, were likely to become her
friends. She would never make overtures to them. She was confident that
they would never make further friendly advances to her.

Such a state of mind on her part augured a hearty welcome for Leslie.
Doris hurried to her room after her last afternoon class, hastily got
into the new fawn English walking suit, recently arrived from a Bond
Street shop, and made a buoyant exit from the Hall and to the garage for
the white car. It was a clear, sunshiny day. She thought Leslie might
like to take a ride in the Dazzler. Leslie had probably hired a taxicab
in which to come from town to the Colonial.

It was a very short distance from the garage to the Colonial. Arrived
there, Doris saw a solitary car parked in front of the restaurant. It
was a black roadster of newest type and most expensive make. She jumped
to an instant conclusion that it must belong to Leslie.

Doris parked the Dazzler behind the roadster and went into the tea room
to meet Leslie. She found her seated at one of the several square
mission oak tables engaged in a languid perusal of a menu card.

“How are you, Goldie? Have a seat at the table and a bite with yours
truly.” Leslie waved Doris into the chair opposite her. Then she
stretched an arm lazily across the table and offered Doris her hand.

“Very well, thank you, Leslie. How have you been getting along?” Doris
returned, with only a shade of her usual drawl. “I _am_ glad to see you.
I have missed you.”

“A good miss.” Leslie shrugged an accompaniment to her laconic comment.
“Were you surprised to hear me on the ’phone?”

“Of course. I was surprised when you wrote me from New York. I had no
idea you had left Hamilton. I was afraid of being conditioned in math. I
was studying like mad and hadn’t time just then to call you on the
telephone at the hotel. I knew you were very busy.” So far as she went
Doris was truthful.

“Oh, forget it. I believe what you say, Goldie, but you might have added
that you were all fed up with me. I know I had a beastly grouch after
the New York trip. It had teeth and claws. I had business trouble. That
sneaking carpenter who is trying to swing the dormitory job for Bean and
her precious Beanstalks coaxed all my men over to the Beggar Ranch. He
told them a lot of fairy stories, I suppose. Anyway, I had to send for
one of my father’s best men, an Italian financier, who understands
Italian peasants. Even he couldn’t undo the mischief that scamp, Graham,
had done.

“I finally had to send for my father. He fired the whole shooting match.
I’m done with that garage flivver. My father said it wouldn’t pay me
very well in the end. He was sore at me for wasting my time around this
burg. He tried to make me promise I’d go to New York and never think
about Hamilton again. He can’t stand the college since the precious
Board gave me such an unfair deal.”

“Why, that’s dreadful, Leslie; about your garage I mean.” Doris had a
certain amount of sympathy for Leslie. She was not specially interested
in business, but she decided that Leslie had been badly treated.

“I’ll say it is,” Leslie made grim response. “Oh, never mind. I’m still
worth a few dollars. Did you see my new car out in front?”

“Yes—I had an idea that car must belong to you. It suggested you to me
at first sight.” Doris smiled across the table at her returned friend.
“I had no idea you’d have a car. I brought the Dazzler on purpose. I
thought we might like to take a ride.”

“Gaylord and I came here from New York in that car,” Leslie informed
with an inflection of pride. “My father doesn’t know I’m here. He sailed
for Europe last Thursday. I know positively that he went, too. I was at
the dock and saw his steamer cut loose from Manhattan.”

“Were you?” Doris exhibited her usual polite reticence regarding
Leslie’s father. Long since she had discovered that Leslie did not like
to answer questions about him. “It is rather a long drive from New York,
isn’t it. Your motor coat and hat are chic.”

“So is your suit. I suppose it floated straight across the pond to you.
My coat came from the Clayham, in New York. But it’s some bang-up
English shop, now let me tell you.” Leslie showed brightening
satisfaction of her own greenish-gray motor coat and round hat of the
same material.

Leslie’s own remarks about her father were “fairy stories” so far as her
having seen him entered into them. She had not seen him, nor had she
received any letters from him other than the peremptory one in which he
had scathingly reprimanded her and ordered her to New York. Nevertheless
she _had_ seen him sail for Europe in the “_Arcadia_,” though he had not
known of her presence on the dock when the steamer cleared.

She had gone to the dock in a cheap tan rain-coat, a red worsted Tam
o’Shanter cap and a pair of shell-rimmed glasses. Mingling with the
crowd on the dock she was confident her disguise was effective. Her
father’s manager, Mr. Carrington, had furnished her with the information
of the date and hour of her father’s departure for Europe. She had not
seen him since the day when she had called at her father’s offices.
Neither had he seen her father for more than a few minutes at a time
during which no mention of Leslie had been made. He had been led by her
to believe that she had planned a pleasant steamer surprise for her
father. He had therefore kept his own counsel and his promise to Leslie.
He had sent her a note to the Essenden which had been duly forwarded to
her new address.

“I should think you’d rather be in New York than here.” Doris gave a
half envious sigh. “There’s nothing here of interest off the campus.”

“Oh, I had to come here while Peter the Great was away.” Leslie
volunteered this much of an explanation of her visit. “I must get a line
on what was done on the garage so I’ll know just how much money I put
into it. My father will want to know that right off the bat if he offers
it for sale as it stands. You and I will have some bully rides and
drives while I’m here, Goldie. I shan’t be such a grouch as I was right
after Christmas. How are things at the knowledge shop? How is Bean? Had
any fusses with her or her Beanstalks lately?” Leslie’s expression grew
lowering as she mentioned Marjorie.

“Miss Dean and Miss Macy aren’t at Wayland Hall now. They’re staying at
Hamilton Arms. I don’t know whether they are coming back to the Hall
again or not.” Doris had expected the information might elicit surprise
from her companion. She smiled in faint amusement of Leslie’s astonished
features, then added the crowning bit of news. “Miss Dean was chosen by
Miss Hamilton to write Brooke Hamilton’s biography.”


                              CHAPTER IX.

                              A WILD PLAN

“What-t? Do you know what you’re saying?” Leslie’s tones rose higher.

“I ought to know. I’ve heard nothing else since she left the Hall for
Hamilton Arms.” Doris’s tone was the acme of weariness. “It wouldn’t
have been surprising to hear that President Matthews had been asked to
write Brooke Hamilton’s biography,” she continued. “The idea of _Miss
Dean_ as his biographer is, well—_ridiculous_.”

“It’s pure bosh,” Leslie said contemptuously. “She’s a tricky little
hypocrite. She’s managed to curry favor with that wizened old frump at
Hamilton Arms. The last of the Hamiltons! She looks it. I heard when I
was at Hamilton that she was sore at the college; that she had all the
dope for Brooke Hamilton’s biography but wouldn’t come across with it. I
presume Bean slathered her with deceitful sweetness until she grew dizzy
with her own importance and renigged.”

“I don’t like Miss Dean.” Doris’s fair face clouded. “I’m glad she’s not
at the Hall any longer. Miss Harper and her other friends don’t appear
to miss her much, or Miss Macy either. They have parties in one
another’s rooms almost every night.”

“They have found they can live without her,” was Leslie’s satiric
opinion. “You certainly have handed me news, Goldie.”

“Oh, that’s only a beginning,” Doris declared, well pleased with
Leslie’s appreciation. “The other night Miss Dean and Miss Macy were at
the Hall to dinner. Afterward they were in Miss Harper’s room with their
crowd. They had a high old time talking and laughing. I could hear them,
but not very plainly. They were planning shows, though. Since then a
notice for a piano recital, featuring Candace Oliver, a freshie musical
genius, has appeared on all the bulletin boards. Since that notice there
has come another of an Irish play by Miss Harper. It’s to be given in
May. The name of the play and the cast hasn’t yet been announced. Miss
Harper is awfully tantalizing. She always waits until campus curiosity
is at fever height about her plays before she gives out any more

“She’s a foxy proposition.” Leslie showed signs of growing sulkiness.
Her earlier affability had begun to wane at first mention of Marjorie
Dean. Next to Marjorie, Leila Harper was registered in her black books.

“She’s clever, Leslie; not foxy,” Doris calmly corrected. She went on to
tell Leslie of the part Leila had asked her to play in “The Knight of
the Northern Sun.”

Leslie’s deep-rooted jealousy of the two girls who were college
successes where she had been a rank failure rushed to the surface.
“Leila Harper has nerve to ask you to be in a play when she knows you
are a friend of mine. I see her game. She knows just how useful you can
be to her in her confounded old play. It’s some feather in her theatre
bonnet to keep the college beauty at her beck and call. She has planned
to break up our friendship by flattering you into believing you are a
dramatic wonder. Bean is probably back of Harper’s scheme. She can’t and
never could bear to see me enjoy myself.”

Leslie jerked out the final sentence of her tirade against Leila with
angry force. Her face had darkened in the jealous way which invariably
reminded Doris of the driving of thunder clouds across a graying sky.

“Miss Harper was impersonal in asking me to be in the play,” Doris
defended. The sea shell pink in her cheeks had deepened perceptibly.
“She dislikes me. I know she wants me in the cast because she thinks I’d
be a feature. You see I’m the true Norse type. The heroine of the play
is a Norse princess. I want to be in the play because I like to be in
things. I’ll enjoy the praise and the excitement. I may go on the
English stage when I have been graduated from Hamilton. My father would
not object if I were to play in a high class London company.”

“The same old Goldie who cares for nobody but herself.” Leslie gave vent
to a sarcastic little snicker. “Why not take up with Bean, too?”

“Oh, Leslie, don’t be hateful,” Doris said with an air of resigned
patience. “You know I detest Miss Dean. Nothing could induce me to take
up with her. It’s different with Miss Harper. She’s not American, you
know. She is so cosmopolitan in manner. She is really more my own style.
But, of course, she’s hopelessly devoted to that Sanford crowd of

“Don’t mention Sanford to me. I hate the name of that collection of
one-story huts,” Leslie exploded fiercely. “You ought to detest Bean,
considering the way she has treated me. If she had been half as square
as she pretends to be she would have put the kibosh on old Graham, just
like that, when he began hiring my men away from my architects. My
father said the whole business was a disgrace. He said there was no use
in my trying to buck against an institution. That’s what Bean’s pull
amounts to. She has both Prexy and that ancient Hamilton relict to back

“If Miss Dean knew that her architect was hiring your men away from your
architects, and ignored the fact for her own business interests then she
must be thoroughly dishonorable,” Doris said flatly.

“If—if—There you go,” sputtered Leslie, wagging her head, her shaggy
eye-brows drawn together. “No ‘if’ about it. She knew. You talk as
though you wanted to believe her honorable. Well, she isn’t, never was;
never will be. It makes me furious to think that she should go nipping
around the campus as a college arc light while I wasn’t even allowed a
look at a sheepskin. Too bad I couldn’t have learned some of her pretty
little dodges. I’d have been able to slide out of the hazing racket.
I’ll tell you something you don’t know. Bean could have helped us when
the Board sent for her by refusing to go to Hamilton Hall to the
inquiry. Not Bean. She went, and made such a fuss about pretending she
didn’t care to talk that it made us appear ten times as much to blame as
we really were.”

“If—” Doris hastily checked herself. “She seems to have tried her best
to down you, Leslie. But, why?” Her green eyes directed themselves upon
Leslie with a disconcerting steadiness.

Leslie gave a short laugh. “I used to ask myself that,” she replied with
a sarcastic straightening of her lips. “Now I understand her better. She
was jealous and wanted to be the whole show, all the time. She is deep
as a well. Take my word for it. I know her better than I wish I knew
her.” She shook her head with slow effective regret.

“I’ll surely remember what you’ve said about her.” Doris meant what she
said. She had been distinctly shocked at both instances which Leslie had
cited of Marjorie Dean’s treachery. What she desired most now was that
Leslie should drop the discussion of her grievances.

This Leslie was not ready to do. She continued on the depressing topic
for several more minutes. Then she began asking Doris questions
concerning the subject of Brooke Hamilton’s biography. Doris knew only
what she had already imparted to Leslie concerning it.

“None of the students know the details concerning it except Miss—I mean,
the Travelers,” she finally said desperately. She stopped short of
mentioning Marjorie’s name again. She did not care to start Leslie anew.
“I imagine there really isn’t much else to know besides what I’ve
already told you.”

“Don’t you ever believe it,” was the skeptical retort. “But I don’t
blame you, Goldie, for what you don’t know.”

“Thank you.” Doris shrugged satiric gratitude. Glad to turn the
conversation into a lighter strain she continued gaily: “We’re soon
going to have a general lark on the campus. The whole college crowd is
to be in it. It’s to be a ‘Rustic Romp.’ One-half of the girls are to
dress up as country maids; the other half as country swains. In order to
be sure of an even number of couples each student has to register her
choice as maid or swain. If not enough girls register as swains then
some of the maids will have to change their minds and do duty as
gallants. Miss Evans, a rather nice senior, has charge of the
registration. And it’s to be a masquerade!” Doris’s exclamation
contained pleased anticipation.

“Wonderful.” Leslie chose to be derisive. Underneath envious interest
prompted her to ask; “Whose fond, fertile flight of foolishness was
that? Mickie Harper’s or Pudge and Beans?”

“I don’t know whose inspiration it was. Probably the seniors had the
most to do with it.” Doris again steered the talk toward peaceful

“Hm-m.” Leslie glanced at Doris, then at the luncheon which the waitress
was now placing before them on the table. She gazed abstractedly at the
appetizing repast. Her eyes traveled slowly back to Doris. Suddenly she
broke into one of her fits of silent, hob-goblin merriment. “I think
I’ll attend that hayseed carnival myself,” she announced in a tone of
defiant boldness.


                               CHAPTER X.

                           CLAIMING A PROMISE

“What do you mean?” Slightly mystified for an instant it then broke upon
Doris that Leslie was in earnest. She was actually entertaining a wild
idea of attending the coming romp behind the shelter of a mask. “You
couldn’t do that—er—it would be—unwise,” she stammered. Dismay flashed
into her green eyes.

“Why couldn’t I?” The question vibrated with obstinacy. “Who except you
would know me?”

“U-m-m; no one would know you while you were masked, I suppose. When it
came time to unmask—”

“I’d not be in the gym at unmasking time,” Leslie interrupted
decisively. “I’d be out of that barn and away before the signal came to

Doris eyed Leslie doubtfully. Her first shock of dismay at the
announcement had subsided. She was still swayed by caution as she said
slowly: “It would be awfully risky for you. At the Valentine masquerade
no one knew when the call to unmask was coming. That’s the way it will
be at the romp.”

“At the Valentine masquerade when _I_ was at Hamilton the time for
unmasking was nine-thirty.” The corners of Leslie’s wide mouth took on
an ugly droop.

“I know that is the way it used to be,” Doris hastily re-assured. “At
the last masquerade the freshies asked the junior committee to make the
unmasking time a surprise. It proved to be a lot of fun. It will be done
again this time. I’m almost sure it will.”

“What if it should be? Don’t imagine that I can’t watch my step. I’d not
be caught.”

“Suppose you were dancing when the call to unmask came? You’d have to
leave your partner instantly and run like a deer for the door. Suppose
you were caught on the way to the door and unmasked by a crowd of girls?
The freshies are terrors at that sort of thing. They are always out for
tom-boy fun. You’d not care to have such an embarrassing thing happen to
you.” Doris chose to present to Leslie a plain supposition of what might
happen to her as an uninvited masker at the romp.

“Leave it to me to make a clever get-away,” was Leslie’s boast. “I’d be
safe for five or six dances. That would be as long as I’d care to stay
in the gym. It’s wearing a hayrick costume that strikes me as having
some pep to it. The adventure of breaking into the knowledge shop and
enjoying myself under the noses of Prigville, without any of the
inhabitants knowing who I am, appeals to me.”

Unwittingly she had appealed to the side of Doris most in sympathy with
her bold plan. Doris had been born and bred to understanding and
approval of adventure. “I understand the way you feel about it, Leslie,”
she began. “If I were certain that—”

“Oh, forget that I mentioned dressing up to you!” Leslie exclaimed with
savage impatience. “You’ve said more than once that you’d be pleased to
do anything you could for me, _at any time_. I thought you would help me
a little to play this joke on Prigville. Never mind. I’ll ask only one
thing of you. If you _should_ happen to recognize me on the night of the
haytime hobble, kindly don’t publish it among the prigs.”

“Leslie.” Doris put dignified reproach into the response. “You know I
would never betray you. I’m perfectly willing to help you carry out your
plan, provided there’s no danger to either of us in it.”

“Danger of what?” came the sarcastic question. “No danger to you. Let me
do a little supposing. Suppose we went together to the gym; you as a
maid, and I as your swain. Suppose I failed to make a get-away and was
unmasked by a bunch of smart Alecs. I’d probably not be near you when
the signal came to unmask. I’d not bother you after the grand march.
There’d be so many hey Rubes in the gym no one would remember our coming
in together. That lets you out, doesn’t it? You should falter. Have a
heart, Goldie!” Leslie had grown satirically persuasive.

Doris sat studying the situation in silence. She had colored afresh at
Leslie’s pointed inference that she was more concerned for her own
security from possible mishap at the romp than for that of Leslie
herself. She hated the sarcastic reminder flung at her by Leslie that
she had promised a favor on demand and was now not willing to keep her
word. As Leslie had presented the situation to her there could be no
risk to her. Leslie was more than able to look out for her own
interests. To help Leslie now meant not only the keeping of her promise.
It was a singularly easy way of keeping it.

“I’d rather you’d turn me down now than next year,” Leslie sneered as
Doris continued silent.

“I’ll help you, Leslie.” Doris spoke stiffly, ignoring her disgruntled
companion’s sneer.

“Come again.” Leslie cupped an ear with her hand, mockery in the
gesture, but triumph in her small dark eyes.

“I said I would help you.” Doris repeated her first statement in an even
stiffer tone. She would not permit Leslie to break down her poise.

“Good for you. You won’t be sorry. Help me to put over this stunt on
Prigville and I’ll give you the Dazzler for your own.” Leslie was
buoyantly generous in her delight at having gained her own way.

“I don’t want any such reward. That’s just the trouble with you, Leslie.
You are always offering me so much more than I can ever return. I wish
you were going to the dance, to stay all evening and have a good time
with the others.” Doris sincerely meant the wish.

“You know whose fault it is that I can’t.” Leslie shrugged
significantly. “Now I must plan my costume.” She straightened in her
chair with a faint sigh. “I’ll sport blue overalls, a brown and red
gingham shirt, large plaid, with no collar; a turkey-red cotton hankie,
a big floppy hayseed hat and a striped umbrella.” She chuckled as she
enumerated these items of costume.

“I had thought seriously of going as a swain, but decided against it.
I’d rather look pretty. I have a certain reputation to keep up on the
campus. I’d prefer not to caricature myself.”

“You make me smile, Goldie. How you worship that precious beauty
reputation of yours! You may be right about it. I presume you are.”

Leslie’s rugged face grew momentarily downcast. She was thinking
morosely that if, like Doris, she had been half as careful in whom she
trusted and to what risks she lent herself when at Hamilton she might
have escaped disgrace.

“I know I am.” Doris was emphatical. She noted the gloomy change in
Leslie’s features and understood partly what had occasioned it. Those
four words, “I presume you are,” made more impression on Doris than any
other reference to her college trouble or against Marjorie Dean, which
she had ever before heard Leslie make. It held a compelling, resigned
inference of unfair treatment at the hands of others. Those others were
of course Miss Dean and her friends. Doris allowed herself to jump to
that conclusion. She had fostered jealous disdain of Marjorie until it
had become antipathy. She knew Leslie’s faults, but she chose to
overlook them. She had sometimes regarded Leslie’s accusations against
“Bean” as overdrawn. Now she felt more in sympathy with Leslie’s
standing grudge against Marjorie Dean than at any time since she had
known Leslie.


                              CHAPTER XI.

                           A RUSTIC DISASTER

The evening of April eleventh saw Hamilton campus in the possession of a
social throng, large, rural and hilarious. The spring twilight was
scarcely ready to drop faint lavender shades over departed day when from
the various student houses on the big green issued veritable country
bumpkins in festival attire. They appeared singly, in twos, threes,
quartettes and straggling groups.

Fortunately for the rovingly-inclined bands of rural pleasure-seekers
the night was warm and balmy. In the mild fragrant spring air, the
giggling maids flaunted their bright calicos and ginghams, unhidden in
their cotton glory by shawl, coat or cape.

The gallant swains who dotingly accompanied the flower-hatted or
sun-bonneted, aproned ladies were a sturdy, rugged-looking lot in their
blue or brown overalls, flannel or gingham shirts, brilliant cotton neck
handkerchiefs and wide-brimmed straw field hats or weather-stained
sombreros. A few ambitious rustic youths had appeared in their own fond
weird conception of party attire. They were amazing and wonderful to

“These happy hecks at Hamilton certainly have small feet,” remarked a
stocky rustic in a faded pink gingham shirt, a blue and white checked
overall, broad, square-toed low shoes, a bright green neckerchief and a
narrow-rimmed, round straw hat with a hole in the crown through which a
lock of brown hair appeared, standing straight up. The accompanying mask
was a round false face with very red cheeks and high arching brows.

“Well, they can’t help it. If they hide ’em with brogans how can they
dance with the lady hecks?” demanded a tall bumpkin in what he was now
proudly exhibiting on the campus as “my horse clothes.”

“Te, he he,” giggled the stocky rustic. “Truly, Muriel Harding, I never
saw you look so funny before in all my life.”

“Sh-h-h, Jeremiah. I don’t know how you knew me. Since you do, keep it
dark. Some horse clothes! Have one of my cards.” Muriel handed Jerry a
correspondence card in a violent shade of pink. In the center of it was
written: “Horsefield Hanks, Jockey and Post Master, Jayville.”

Jerry continued to giggle at Horsefield Hanks’ gala adornment. It
consisted of a bright blue flannel shirt, a broad red leather belt,
baggy brown trousers tucked into a pair of boot-modeled goloshes, a
rusty black cutaway coat and a red and white striped jockey cap with a
wide front peak. The mask was a false face of particularly ferocious
expression. To look at Horsefield Hanks was not only to laugh. It was a
signal to keep on laughing.

“Where is Marjorie?” Muriel inquired as she turned from bending a
killing glance upon two hurrying maids, evidently intent on joining
their swains. The two called a mirthful: “Hello, sweetness. Where did
your face grow?” and whisked on their way.

“Gone over to the Hall to meet Robin. She has on a fine check yellow and
white gingham dress trimmed with little yellow ruffles, white stockings
and slippers and a white ruffled organdie hat with long yellow ribbon

“I’ll certainly know her if I see her. Vera is too cute for words. She
has two overalls on, one over the other, to make her look fat. They’re
blue and her blouse is white. She has a black alpaca coat on, too. She
managed to get hold of a funny little pair of copper-toed boots. She has
built them up inside until she is at least three inches taller. She
won’t be easily recognized.” Muriel rattled off the description in a low
laughing voice. “Ronny has on a pale blue calico. It comes down to her
heels. She has black slippers and stockings, a ruffled blue sunbonnet
and a white kerchief folded across her shoulders. Lucy’s dressed in the
same style except her dress is lavender. Leila is a maid, but I haven’t
been able to pick her out yet. Now how in the world did you know that I
was I?” Muriel demanded.

“I knew the most ridiculous costume I saw would be yours,” chuckled
Jerry. “You’re so funny, you’re positively idiotic.”

“Then I’m likely to win the prize for having the funniest costume. Won’t
that be nice? Come on, Hayfoot, that’s what you look like. Let’s go out
in the world and hunt up Strawfoot. I presume we’ll be mobbed before
we’ve gone far for not having our rustic maids along with us. Anyhow
let’s brave the jays and jayesses as long as we can.” Muriel politely
offered Jerry an arm. “I’m to meet Candace Oliver at seven-thirty at the
Bean holder. I’m a gentleman jockey of leisure until then. The post
office was closed early today. Jayville will have to wait for its mail.”

The gallant pair had not proceeded fifty feet from their reconnoitering
place before they were surrounded by a crowd of swains and maids and
rushed over the green as prisoners to be apportioned to the first two
swainless maids the company chanced to encounter.

Meanwhile a rustic gentleman in wearing apparel becoming to one of his
lowly station had just made a very stealthy entrance to the campus from
the extreme eastern gates. He had cautiously stepped from a smart black
roadster which was parked a little way from the gates, but well off the
highway. Before he had ventured to step from the car he had left the
steering seat and disappeared into the tonneau of the machine, then
simply a motorist in a voluminous leather motor coat, goggles and a
leather cap.

From the back of the car had presently emerged a typical jay in blue
overalls, and a loud-plaided, collarless, gingham shirt of green, blue
and red mixture. He wore a turkey-red handkerchief, knotted about the
neck, an immense flopping hat of yellowish straw, white socks and carpet
slippers with worsted embroidered fronts. In one hand he clutched firmly
a huge red and yellow striped umbrella. The mask, which Leslie had
ordered sent to her from New York, was a very pink and white face,
utterly insipid, with three flat golden curls pasted on the low
forehead. Its expression, one of cheerful idiocy, was as distinctly as
mirth-inspiring as was the fierce face of Horsefield Hanks. In fact it
would have been hard to decide which of the two get-ups was the funnier.

One swift glance about her to assure herself of a clear coast and Leslie
made a dash for the campus gates. She was through the gateway in a
twinkling. She did not stop until she had put a little distance between
herself and the gates. Then she paused, turned, critically surveyed the
highway, the portion of the campus immediate to her and lastly her car.
She was hardly content to leave it there, but there was no other way. It
was well out of the path of other machines, either coming or going on
the pike. She could but hope that no one would make off with it. She
reflected with a wry smile that there were still a few more cars to be
bought, though she might happen to lose that one. As usual she was
prepared to pay lavishly for her fun.

She hurried straight on across the campus past Silverton Hall and in the
direction of Acasia House. It was the most remote from the gymnasium of
all the campus houses. She and Doris had agreed to meet there, making
the appointment late enough to miss Acasia House rustics when they
should set out for the gymnasium. Doris had telephoned her that
afternoon and made the final arrangement for their rendezvous. They were
to meet behind a huge clump of lilac bushes just budding into leaf.

As she came abreast of the lilac bushes a dainty figure in white dimity,
imprinted with bunches of violets stepped forth to meet her. Doris’s
charming frock had a wide dimity sash and her dimity hat, trimmed with
bunches of silk violets, had long violet ribbon strings. She wore
flat-heeled black kid slippers and white silk stockings of which only a
glimpse showed beneath her long gown.

One look at Leslie’s inane false face and she burst into laughter. “Such
a face!” she gasped mirthfully. “The funniest one I’ve seen since I left
the Hall tonight.”

Leslie lifted the spreading hat and disclosed to Doris a yellow wig
which matched the curls pasted to her mask. “My face is my fortune,” she
announced humorously.

“It’s too funny for words. I’m almost afraid we may be rushed.” Doris
cast an anxious glance at the not far distant crowd.

“Am I so funny as all that?” Leslie asked in gratification.

“You are quite extraordinarily funny,” Doris assured. “The crowd on the
campus has been going it strong ever since dinner. They’re awfully
frisky. Once they get into the gym they’ll be wanting to dance. Then we
won’t be in danger. There’s to be a prize given for the funniest
costume. Too bad you can’t stay in the gym long enough to win it.”

“Oh, I don’t want it. I only want a little fun,” Leslie said.

Warily the pair skirted the crowd and went on to the gymnasium. Leslie’s
funny face immediately challenged the attention of a number of frisky
couples parading the great room. They began flocking about herself and
Doris, asking foolish questions in a gleeful effort to learn her
identity. She remained mute for which Doris was thankful. Her vacant
smiling mask merely continued to beam upon her hilarious questioners.

The Hamtown Gilt Medal Band and Orkestry were already in their corner,
importantly ensconced behind a white pasteboard picket fence. They alone
of the ruralites were unmasked. They were simple geniuses of music in
overalls, gay-checked shirts and high-crowned haying hats of rough
straw, speckled green and red. Strings of richly gilded pasteboard
medals struggled across each musician’s manly chest; they testified
eloquently of past musical achievement. A large gilt-lettered sign, high
on a standard flaunted the proud legend: “We have won all the medals in
Hamtown for the past forty years. The only other band was a hand organ.
Notice our decorations.”

The leader and first violin of this renowned group of musicians was tall
and rather blonde, with an imposing blonde goatee and an artistic sweep
of curled blonde mustache. His companion players were hardly less well
supplied with whiskers, mustaches and even side burns. In direct
apposition to the rustic youths of the community of Hamtown they
presented a decidedly mature, dignified appearance. They seemed
complacently well aware of their musical superiority over their humbler
companions and gave themselves plenty of airs.

At intervals about the spacious gym were little open booths where
popcorn fritters, salted peanuts, stick candy, apples and oranges,
molasses taffy and pink lemonade were sold. In each booth a masked
rustic maid presided, keeping a lynx eye on her wares.

After the orchestra had tuned up with considerable scraping, sawing and
tooting they burst into the rallying strains of the grand march. Doris
heard the sound of the music with patent relief. She had grown more and
more uneasy for fear that Leslie might forget her role of silence and
blurt out a remark in her characteristic fashion. Anyone who had known
her in the past would be likely to recognize her voice.

Doris had suggested that it would be better for they two to dance
together the few numbers before the unmasking for which Leslie dared
remain. To this Leslie would not hear. She craved freedom to roam about
the gymnasium by herself and dance with whom she fancied. She and Doris
walked through the grand march together and danced the first number.
Then Leslie left Doris, who was being singled out by two or three husky
farmer boys for attention, and strolled down the gymnasium, her striped
umbrella under one arm.

Behind the fatuously-smiling blonde face her small dark eyes were
keeping a bright watch on the revelers. She wondered where Bean and her
Beanstalks were and tried to pick them out by height and figure. She
decided that a maid in a pale pink lawn frock was Marjorie and promptly
kept away from her. When the music for the second dance began she made
her bow to a slim sprite in fluffy white who accepted with a genuine
freshie giggle.

Encouraged by her success as a beau Leslie danced the next and still the
next, each time with a different partner. She was a good dancer, and led
with a sureness and ease quite masculine. After a couple of turns about
the room Leslie had been obliged to discard her umbrella. She had boldly
set it up inside the orchestra’s picket fence where it would be less
likely to attract the attention of prankish wags.

At the beginning of the fifth dance Leslie was not yet ready to go. She
glanced at the wall clock which stood at five minutes to nine. It was
still too early for unmasking. She believed herself safe for at least
two more dances after the one about to begin. She started toward a group
of two or three disengaged maids.

Suddenly from the farther end of the gymnasium a cry arose which Leslie
mistook for “Unmask.” It threw her into a panic. She forgot in her
dismay that Doris had said the signal for unmasking would be the blast
of a whistle. What she remembered instead was her striped umbrella. She
was only a few steps from the orchestra corner. She made a frantic rush
to it, reached over the low picket fence and snatched up the umbrella.
She turned away, not noticing that she had laid low a section of the
fence. She hurried across the floor, bent only on reaching the door.

“Oh!” A forceful exclamation went up as she crashed against a couple who
had begun to dance. The force of the collision fairly took the breath of
all three girls. Leslie made an unintentional backward step. The
umbrella slid from under her arm toward the floor just as the jostled
swain and his lady were about to move on. It tripped the rustic gallant
neatly and he sprawled forward full length on the highly waxed floor,
dragging his partner with him.


                              CHAPTER XII.

                            A RANK OUTSIDER

“What a clumsy creature you are!” The fallen gallant scrambled up from
the floor and delivered the opinion in a feminine voice. It was shrill
and wrathful. It rose in its shrillness above the rhythmic melody of the
orchestra. “It’s both inconsiderate and dangerous in you to carry such a
large umbrella onto the floor. Your face and your behavior go nicely

“Beg your pardon for upsetting you, but keep your opinion to yourself.”
Leslie began the reply with forced politeness, but ended her words
almost in a hiss. Behind her simpering mask she was a dark fury. “I
never allow anyone to speak in that tone to me.”

“How do you propose to prevent my saying what I please?” came back
tauntingly from the belligerent swain. His partner, a slender, graceful
figure in a pale yellow gingham gown placed a gently arresting hand on
her angry gallant’s arm. It was shaken off with instant hateful

“I don’t propose to do that. Nothing short of a clamp could keep you
from shrieking.” Leslie had changed in a twinkling to rude insolence.
“I’ll have mercy on my ear drums and beat it.”

“Wha-a-t?” The angry swain’s voice had suddenly changed key. It had
lowered in a mixture of amazed, disapproving conviction.

The utterance of that one amazed word acted upon Leslie like a sudden
dash of cold water. She wheeled and swaggered on down the room with an
air of elaborate unconcern. It was entirely make-believe. Her heart was
thumping with dismay. She had spoken after having vowed within herself
that whatever might happen at the romp she would remain mute. More, she
was afraid she had been recognized by the student whom she had
unwittingly tripped up with her umbrella. Something in those higher
pitched tones had sounded familiar. She could not then remember,
however, of whom they reminded her.

She had turned away from the quarrel just in time. Attracted by the
commotion at that part of the gymnasium more than one pair of dancers
had steered toward the accident center. Some of these now headed Leslie
off in her perturbed journey down the room. They collected about her
with mischievous intent, hemming her in and calling out to her.

“Such a pretty boy!” “Hello, April smiles!” “Wait a minute,
puddeny-woodeny!” “I’m crazy about you!” were some of the pleasantries
hurled at her. Under other circumstances Leslie would have laughed at
the extravagances. Now she was growing worried for her own security from
identification. She was now in precisely the situation against which
Doris had warned her. Suppose the call to unmask were to come just then?
She resolved desperately that, unheeding it, she would bolt for the

Meanwhile the tripped-up rustic was sputtering to his dainty partner in
a manner which indicated trouble to come for Leslie.

“I wouldn’t stand such insolence from another student, much less from an
intruder,” Julia Peyton was saying wrathfully. “I wouldn’t—”

“Try to forget the matter, Miss Peyton,” urged a soft voice.

“I shan’t. Who are you, and how do you happen to know me?” demanded
Julia rudely. “_You_ don’t know who that mask is. I _do_. She has no
invitation or right to be here tonight. It’s against all Hamilton
tradition. Doris Monroe is to blame for this outrage. She has helped
that horrid Miss Ca—”

“I am Miss Dean, Miss Peyton,” came the interruption, low, but vibrating
with sternness. “You will please not mention the name you were going to

“I’ll do as I please about that. I’ll do more. I’ll expose that Miss
Cairns before she has a chance to leave here. I know who’s to blow the
whistle for unmasking. She is a sophie friend of mine. I’ll ask her to
blow it now. Then we’ll see what Miss Cairns will do.”

Before Marjorie could stop her she had started up the room on a hunt for
the sophomore who had been detailed to blow the unmasking whistle. A
dismayed glance after Julia, then Marjorie followed her. There was but
one thing she could do. She must follow Julia and discover to which
sophomore had been intrusted the signal detail. Each class had been
given a certain amount of the details for the romp. Among sophomore
details was the sounding of the unmasking signal.

Unaware that she was being followed by Marjorie, Julia had gone on a
tour of the room, searching this way and that, with spiteful eagerness.
She now had a stronger motive for exposing Leslie than the latter’s
offense against tradition. She was determined to be even with Doris for
having “almost” snubbed her on numerous occasions. It would not reflect
to Doris’s credit to be named as the student who had smuggled into the
gym a girl who had been expelled from Hamilton.

The sophomore who was to blow the whistle was Jane Everest. Dressed in a
befrilled frock of apricot dotted swiss, Jane formed a bright spot of
color among the pale blues and pinks which was easily picked out. Julia
had little trouble locating her. Marjorie, now not more than three yards
behind Julia, reached the pair almost as soon as Julia hailed Jane. The
two had met before that evening. Each knew the other’s costume.

“Who do you think is here tonight?” Julia caught Jane’s arm. This time
she took the precaution of whispering to her. “Leslie Cairns,” she
answered before Jane could speak. “_Isn’t that outrageous._ I want _you_
to blow the whistle this instant. She’s down there in the middle of a
crowd. She won’t be able to get free of it. She _must_ be exposed Jane.
It’s necessary to the interest of the whole college that she should be
sternly dealt with. Imagine her sneaking in here under the cover of a

“Why—That _is_ really dreadful, Julia,” Jane whispered back. “Are you
sure? Some of the freshies don’t want the whistle blown until ten
o’clock. The committee says it had better be after the next dance. I
ought to do as they wish, you know. Where is she?”

“Down there.” Julia nodded sulkily toward a group of enjoying wags at
the far end of the gymnasium. Those who composed it were finding more
sport in teasing Leslie than in dancing.

Marjorie was waiting until Julia should have finished whispering to the
apricot mask before soliciting the latter’s attention. She was uneasily
watching the fun going on around Leslie. She could not be sure that the
mask to whom Julia was whispering was the one to blow the unmasking
whistle. For all she knew Julia might have stopped to cite her grievance
to one of her particular friends.

“Is she that ridiculous, silly-faced mask?” Jane cried. “_She’s_ awfully

“I fail to see it.” Julia was haughtily contradictory. “Will you please
blow the whistle now, Jane? You know she shouldn’t be here.”

“Please pardon me, I must speak to you.” Marjorie had made up her mind
to act. If the apricot mask were the soph detailed to blow the whistle,
then she must be asked to delay blowing it until Leslie could be steered
from the gym without discovery. If she were not the one appointed
Marjorie decided that she would hurry down to Leslie and inform her of
the danger.

“You have no—” Julia began angrily.

“I am Miss Dean,” ignoring Julia, Marjorie serenely continued. “Will you
please tell me who you are?”

“Yours truly, Jane Everest, Marjorie.” A little laugh rippled out from
behind the concealing mask.

“Oh, Jane!” There was inexpressible relief in the exclamation. “I’m so
glad it’s you. Are you the soph who is to blow the unmasking whistle? If
you are, don’t blow it for at least ten minutes yet.”

“I insist that Miss Everest shall blow it, and at once,” burst forth
Julia Peyton furiously. “She has just promised _me_ that she will.”

“No, I haven’t promised to blow the whistle at once, Julia,” Jane
steadily corrected.

“What right have _you_ to interfere in our fun? Post graduates are not
supposed to interest themselves too closely in class affairs.” Julia
tossed her head in withering disdain of Marjorie. “What right have _you_
to prevent _me_ from exposing that detestable Miss Cairns. Do you
consider it honorable or fair to the traditions of Hamilton to permit a
former student who was expelled to come on the campus socially?”

“How do you know, Miss Peyton, that Miss Cairns, a former student of
Hamilton, is present in the gymnasium, or has been here this evening?”
Marjorie inquired with a cool evenness that made Julia gasp. “Have you
seen her?”

“I _know_, and so do you. Didn’t she trip us with her umbrella? Didn’t
we hear her voice. _I_ recognized it. _You_ may not have.” The answer
was freighted with sarcasm.

“A masker carrying an umbrella tripped us. When she spoke her voice
sounded like that of Miss Cairns,” Marjorie stated impersonally. “I did
not see the masker’s face. Did you?”

“What difference does _that_ make?” sharply countered Julia. “We both
recognized her by her voice.”

“Since we did not see her face how can we be sure that we recognized
her. Lacking the evidence of our own eyes our best plan is to launch no
accusations against Miss Cairns. Jane,” Marjorie turned to the
sophomore, “when are you going to blow the unmasking whistle?”

“After the next dance. This dance is ending now, I think.” Jane turned
momentary attention to the music, which was beating to a syncopated end.
“That is the time the floor committee has set. I can change it if you
like, Marjorie.”

“No, thank you. That suits me nicely. I must go now, but I’ll see you
soon after unmasking, Jane.” With a slight, courteous inclination of the
head to Miss Peyton, Marjorie walked composedly down the great room to
where Leslie stood, still surrounded.

Marjorie had not spoken to Leslie Cairns more than two or three times
during the long period of time in which they had been students together
at Hamilton. She had never spoken to Leslie since Leslie had been away
from the college. She now wondered what she could say to the uninvited
masker which might not be too humiliating to her.


                             CHAPTER XIII.

                            A FRIENDLY TURN

Circling the group around Leslie she approached the latter from the left
side. Simultaneous with her approach the opening strains of a fox trot
broke up the group. Not more than half a dozen persistent “rushers”

“Let’s move on,” she breathed to Leslie. She adopted a soft almost
babyish tone. As she spoke she took light hold of Leslie’s arm and began
to steer her gently free of the few masks who were mischievously trying
to detain the foolish-faced swain.

“Surest thing you know, sweetums,” Leslie returned in a deep gruff
voice. “You’re the little kid who fell over my amberil. I didn’t go for
to trip you up, peaches. Want to dance?”

“Not yet. Let’s go walking up the hall so folks can see your han’some
face.” Obeying an impish impulse Marjorie added, “It is simply
celostrous. It’s the only one you have, isn’t it?”

“By cricky, it is. I ought to be proud of it.” Leslie was oddly pleased
to have the partner of “that screech owl” single her out for friendly
attention. “I knowed you wasn’t mad at me, kid,” she next volunteered.

“No, I wasn’t.” The small soft voice held positiveness.

“That’s fine. I _know_ you’ve got a kind face.” Both girls indulged in a
smothered giggle at this inane tribute.

“Fade away,” Leslie waved a careless hand toward two or three lingering
tormentors. “Can’t you let me and my girl alone?” She brandished her
umbrella at them and swaggered out of their ken with Marjorie on an arm.

They looked after her, laughing, but did not pursue the pair. Leslie
thought it extremely lucky that she should have been singled out for
attention by “friendly ruffles.” She had no idea where in the big room
to look for Doris. She dared not linger to search for her. Her one
thought now was to gain the safety of outdoors before unmasking time

Up the room the pair now strolled with an air of rustic gaiety. It was
simulated by both with difficulty. They kept fairly close to the west
wall of the gymnasium so as to be well out of the path of the dancers.
Neither appeared to be in a hurry. Both were battling against a strong
desire to break into a run.

They were nearing the door before a knowledge of what to say to Leslie
came to little “friendly ruffles.” Marjorie came into a sudden
understanding that Leslie was as anxious as she to reach the door. With
unspoken intent both had steered directly for it.

Lightly withdrawing her fingers from her escort’s arm Marjorie said in a
very low, distinct tone. “The unmasking will take place after this
dance. There will be a short intermission then. The girls will probably
go parading about the campus.”

“Who are you? Do you know me?” Leslie had instantly caught the hidden
inference. Her partner knew her to be an outsider.

“Does it matter who we are? I must go. Good night.” Followed the
gracious addition. “Your costume was much the funniest at the romp.”

In the second of silence which succeeded the compliment the two maskers
faced each other, Leslie across the threshold now, Marjorie still inside
the vestibule.

“Thank you, and double thank you,” Leslie said in an odd muffled voice.
“Good night.” She turned and started across the campus at a swinging
stride which might have belonged to a true country boy.

“Thank goodness,” breathed Marjorie. She watched the lonely figure fast
disappearing into the darkness and a feeling of pity rose in her heart
because Leslie could not remain at the romp and enjoy the fun of winning
the prize her ludicrous get-up merited.

It had taken longer than she thought to conduct Leslie to the door.
Marjorie decided it to be hardly worth while to renew her search for
Robin Page, whom thus far she had not been able to pick out among the
rustic throng. She had not more than re-entered the ball room when the
unmasking whistle blew shrilly. Its high, piercing blasts were
immediately drowned by waves of echoing laughter as masks were removed
and identities jubilantly made known.

Marjorie made a swift rush forward to meet an Irish country woman who
was jogging peacefully along, a small, covered, green and white basket
on her arm. She was dressed in a voluminous bright-figured brown
cretonne dress. Over her shoulders was a green and red plaid shawl, on
her head a white mob cap with a full white outstanding ruffle and a huge
green satin bow decorating the front of it. Wide flat black slippers,
green and red plaid hosiery which her ankle length dress permitted a
glimpse of and a bright green umbrella completed her gay attire.

“Now for the sake av ould Ireland, is it yerself I am finding forninst
me?” demanded the delighted Hibernian lady, offering Marjorie one end of
her umbrella to shake instead of her hand.

“Yes, it is certainly myself and no other. But _where_ have you been?
Not out on the floor. I never saw sign of you in that costume until this
minute. You tricky old Celt. You appeared late on purpose, _that’s_ what
you did,” Marjorie accused.

Leila smiled widely and cheerfully. “Now how can you blame me? Since I
am Irish then how could I appear in the gym in an Irish costume of my
own special fancy and not have the campus dwellers add two and two? So I
have had a fine, exciting time sitting up in my room twirling my Irish
thumbs until time for me to set out for the festival.”

“What a mean thing to do; to put your friends to so much needless
trouble. How long have you been on the floor?”

Leila looked thoughtful then beamed again: “Perhaps three minutes,” she
admitted. “I have not yet met a Traveler except you, Beauty. You are the
same beauty-bright colleen as ever. You would be that though dressed in
canvas bags.”

“You are direct from County Blarney,” Marjorie made a gesture of
unbelief. “Jerry and I picked out Muriel first thing. She is so funny. I
knew Ronny and Lucy, too, and Lillian. I’m sorry Kathie couldn’t be in
this. That’s the penalty she pays for being of the faculty. Let’s go
Traveler hunting, Leila.” She took Leila’s arm and the two strolled on
together further to investigate the many groups of mirthful, chattering
rustics who crowded the spacious room.

It was not long before Leila and Marjorie were the center of a group of
their own composed of Muriel, Vera, Lillian, Lucy, Barbara Severn, Ronny
and Jerry. Leila circulated among them, beaming affably. She announced
mysteriously that she had something nice to give each one.

“It’s a gift basket which I stole from a leprechaun and in it is a magic
charm for each and all. Be pleased to hold one hand behind your back
when I give out the charms. Shut your fingers tight down on the charm so
it can not vanish away. When I give the word you may look at them. Now
be fair and do not peep at them until I give you the word.”

With this glib injunction Leila slid a hand into the basket and drew it
out tightly closed about some small object. She ordered the company to
stand in a circle, each with a hand behind her back.

“What is it?” cried Muriel as her hand received and tightly clutched the
small smooth round object.

“Now you shall see how fond I am of you.” Leila had hurriedly given out
the rest of the charms. “You may all look.”

A chorus of derisive groans mingled with laughter followed the gracious
permission. Each Traveler had been presented with a small potato. Its
new pale skin had been scrubbed to immaculate cleanness.

“A charming charm, I must say,” giggled Muriel. “Let’s forcibly lead the
Celtic sorceress out on the campus and peg at her with these praties. If
she isn’t hit by any of them we shall know that they are either
bewitched or else we can’t throw straight.”

In the midst of the fun her friends were having over Leila’s charms,
remembrance of Leslie Cairns and her constrained flight from the scene
of fun returned to Marjorie. She had sufficient cause to regard Leslie
as an enemy, yet she did not hold her as such. Now she was feeling
nothing but a kind regret that Leslie had barred herself out of Hamilton
and all its pleasures. She decided that she would not tell even Jerry of
the incident. Common sense whispered to her that Doris Monroe must have
aided Leslie in the escapade. They had probably met on the campus and
gone to the gymnasium together. Marjorie knit her brows in an effort to
recall a dancing partner of Leslie’s. She herself had noticed and
repeatedly laughed at the foolish-faced farmer before the collision with

“What are you scowling about?” Jerry happened to note Marjorie’s
puckered brows. “Let me sweeten your disposition by treating you to
wintergreen lozenges and crimson lemonade.”

“I accept your generous offer. I hope you have money enough to treat
lavishly,” Marjorie accepted Jerry with this pertinent hint, after
having been affectionately jabbed in the side with Jerry’s elbow.

“I got cash,” Jerry boasted, thrusting her free hand into a pocket of
her overalls. “I still got some ’o my Fourthy July money. I didn’t spend
nothing that day hardly. It rained lickety whoop. Silas Pratt near got
swept off the speaker’s stand a deliverin’ his Fourthy July ration. I
heerd at the last the stand floated right off in the woods a carryin’
the Hamtown choir, Revern’d Skiggs and three boys as was sittn’ on the
bottom steps of it.”

Marjorie and Jerry headed gaily for the lemonade stand calling back
buoyant invitations to their friends to join them. As they drew near the
stand a girl turned away from it and glanced at them. She was
golden-haired and lovely in her white dimity frock scattered thickly
with violets. Neither Marjorie nor Jerry could do other than admire her
and her becoming costume. The trio did not exchange salutations.

Doris Monroe had not spoken to Jerry more than once or twice since
coming to Hamilton. She had not even bowed to Marjorie since her own
refusal to go to Sanford with Muriel on a Christmas vacation. Now she
stared at Marjorie’s costume, rather than at Marjorie herself, in
dismayed fascination. She had made a discovery which was anything but
pleasing to her.


                              CHAPTER XIV.

                       A DISHEARTENING SITUATION

The discovery that Marjorie was the rustic maid in the pale yellow
gingham gown who had accompanied Leslie Cairns to the door of the
gymnasium was a distinct shock to Doris. Following the Rustic Romp she
received a second jolt when Julia Peyton waylaid her on the campus to
inform her triumphantly that she had something “very important to say
about Miss Cairns.”

“Whatever it may be, say it now,” Doris commanded, keeping curiosity and
interest well out of her tone. During the progression of her sophomore
year she had grown to dislike Julia more and more. In the beginning she
had tolerated resignedly Julia’s jealous preference for her society. Now
she did not care whether either Julia or Clara Carter liked her or not.

“I couldn’t _think_ of saying it now. I haven’t time. It’s something
confidential.” Julia crested her black head importantly. Her black,
moon-like eyes fixed themselves upon Doris in a mysterious stare.

“Now, or not at all.” Doris stood firm. “I’d prefer not to invite you to
my room because of Miss Harding. I don’t like to go to yours. You and
Miss Carter nearly always quarrel. It’s such a bore to listen to you.”
She affected a weary expression.

Julia cast a frowning glance about her. She glanced hastily up at the
clock tower and said doggedly: “I must go. I’ll meet you at the big
green seat near the west side of the campus at five this afternoon. I
have your welfare at heart, even though you don’t think so,” she flung
this reproachfully at Doris. “I simply _must_ speak to you about Miss

Doris knew nothing of Julia’s unfortunate fall over Leslie’s umbrella.
She had gone outdoors after a spirited dancing number, in company with
half a dozen merry masks, for a breath of the sweet spring air. The
spill had occurred while she was outside. When she had returned she had
been immediately claimed for the next dance. A little later while
dancing she had caught sight of Leslie surrounded by hilarious maskers.
She had hurried to extricate her from her difficulties as soon as the
dance was over. She had then spied Leslie moving towards the vestibule
door in company with the mask in yellow gingham. It filled her with an
immeasurable relief to know that Leslie had, as she supposed, escaped
discovery and was then on her way to leaving the frolic.

To learn soon afterward that Marjorie Dean had been Leslie’s companion
to the door was not re-assuring. Her heart sank at the very thought
until her first agitation had passed. She had recollected that, masked,
Miss Dean might not have recognized Leslie. Leslie had promised not to
talk. She and Marjorie were as strangers to each other; had been for
some time. Doris could only marvel at the queer twist of fortune which
had brought Leslie and Marjorie together. According to Leslie’s accounts
the two were bitter enemies. Masked, they had paraded up the gymnasium
together on apparently congenial terms.

This latest thought completely re-assured Doris. Of course they had not
recognized each other! Knowingly, neither would have gone a step with
the other. Leslie had undoubtedly managed to free herself from her
partner before reaching the door. Directly after the unmasking Doris had
skipped a dance purposely to make a careful search on the floor for
Leslie. Leslie had disappeared, completely and satisfactorily.

Doris had not said to Julia Peyton whether or not she would meet her at
the big green campus bench near the west entrance. She changed her mind
about going half a dozen times before five o’clock came. She had
expected to hear from Leslie on the telephone through the day. No call
from Leslie came until a quarter to five that afternoon. The message was
a fairly polite invitation from Leslie to drive to Orchard Inn to
dinner. She agreed to meet Doris on Hamilton Pike in front of the
central campus gates.

Since she had come downstairs to answer the telephone Doris decided to
walk over to the campus bench and learn what Julia had to say about
Leslie. She was to meet Leslie at half past five. She would not spend
more than ten or fifteen minutes in Julia’s company. Since the romp was
over, and nothing of mishap had occurred to Leslie on the frolicsome
occasion, Doris was not inclined to borrow trouble over whatever Julia
might have to say of Leslie.

“I’m glad you came.” Julia rolled her black eyes at Doris in an
expression of spiteful satisfaction. “You must have _some_ idea of what
I have to say, after what happened last night.”

“I didn’t intend to come. I happened to be downstairs, so I changed my
mind about meeting you. I do not know what you mean by saying ‘after
what happened last night.’ How can I possibly know what you are going to
say?” Doris asked the question with a suspicion of sarcasm in her tone.

“Are you pretending you don’t know what happened?” Julia asked
offendedly. “Weren’t you on the floor most of the time before the

“Yes, but I saw nothing happen, either remarkable or dreadful. You told
me this morning you had something to say to me about Miss Cairns.
Whatever happened last night has nothing to do with her,” Doris said

“I don’t understand you at all, Doris,” Julia cried resentfully. “Didn’t
you know that Miss Cairns tripped Miss Dean and me last night while we
were dancing, and that we both fell?”

Doris shook her head in blank amazement. “I did not know,” she said very
positively. “When did that happen? I went outdoors for a few minutes
about two numbers before unmasking time. Was it then, I wonder?”

“Maybe it was. You admit then that Miss Cairns was in the gym,” was the
triumphant return.

“I admit nothing.” Doris managed to keep up her cold composure. Anger
gleamed in her green eyes.

“She was there, even if you won’t admit it. She behaved like a boor to
me. She crashed into us like a locomotive and poked a miserable umbrella
she carried squarely between our feet. How could we help but fall? I
simply said I thought it wasn’t best for her to carry such a large
umbrella on the dancing floor. You should have heard the insulting
things she said to me, and to Miss Dean. She was in a terrible rage. I
had all I could do to keep my temper.” Julia endeavored to look very

Doris did not make the mistake of uttering a word. She purposed to hear
Julia out before speaking. The sophomore was more than satisfied to be
allowed to do all the talking.

“I knew it was Miss Cairns by her voice. I was _so_ shocked. After she
had abused us both she swaggered off down the room. Then my partner told
me that she was Miss Dean. I was _so_ surprised. She said we had best
not tell anyone just then that Miss Cairns was on the floor—the best way
to do was not to mention names, but to order her out of the gym quietly.
She did that very thing herself. Just before the unmasking I saw Miss
Dean walking Miss Cairns up the gym and to the vestibule door. In two or
three minutes Miss Dean came back alone.” Julia gave out this
information with malicious relish. “But that’s not _all_ Miss Dean did.
She played a trick on the whole college which I think very ignoble.” She
paused to note the effect on Doris of this remarkable news.

“Go on,” Doris commanded with bored amusement. “Your tale of the Rustic
Mask is growing interesting.”

“You may find it more so.” A dull angry red overspread Julia’s
pasty-white complexion. “I haven’t come to your part in it yet.”

“No?” Doris smilingly tilted her golden head and raised polite brows.

“Miss Dean acted entirely against the traditions of Hamilton,” she
continued sullenly. “She went straight to Jane Everest, who was detailed
to blow the whistle for unmasking and asked her not to blow it until
she, Miss Dean, gave her the signal. She told Jane why, too. She had
asked _me_ not to say a word to a soul about Miss Cairns.”

“How do you happen to know all this?” Doris asked in a quick sharp tone.

“I was with Miss Dean. I—er—I didn’t—I couldn’t get away from her just
then. So I heard the whole thing.” Julia floundered briefly, but ended
in triumph.

“What did Miss Everest say?”

“She said she would wait to blow it. I was so disgusted with them both
for their disloyalty to tradition I simply turned and left them. You
know, Doris, that Miss Dean had no business to ask Jane Everest to
disobey the order of the senior dance committee. They had set the time
for unmasking. It was very dishonorable for her to try to shield an
expelled student who had taken advantage of the masquerade to trick her
way into the gym. Miss Cairns couldn’t possibly ever again have hoped to
take part in a college frolic after the way she left Hamilton. She was
considered utterly lawless by the Board, Prexy and the faculty. I’ve
heard _volumes_ against her since I came to Hamilton.

“Miss Dean knows more against Miss Cairns, so I’ve been told, than any
other student at Hamilton. She and Miss Cairns were rivals for
popularity while Miss Cairns was on the campus. They used to play all
sorts of dishonorable tricks upon each other, I suspect,” Julia eyed
Doris darkly, “that Miss Dean didn’t have the—the—courage to expose Miss
Cairns. It would take a person of very high principle to expose Miss
Cairns openly on the floor of the gym, as she should have been exposed.
I hope, for _your_ sake, Miss Dean won’t tell her pals about it. If she
does, it will soon be campus gossip.”

“Why for my sake?” Doris still refused to be included in Julia’s

“It’s sweet in you to try to protect Miss Cairns, Doris, I honor you for
it.” Julia said, her reply reeking acidity. “But you can’t deceive me. I
know the farmer with the striped umbrella was Miss Cairns. I saw you go
through the grand march and dance the first dance with her. I knew you
by your walk and I came up close to you on purpose and took a good look
at you to make sure. I know your emerald ring and I saw some of your
hair fluffing out from under your hat.”

“I went through the grand march and danced the first number with a
rustic swain,” Doris stated with deliberate coldness. “I did not see my
partner’s face. Did you?”

“That’s not the point,” Julia evaded, stung to exasperation by her
classmate’s cool reception of her revelation. “What I came here
_specially_ to tell you is that you had better not be seen going around
with Miss Cairns. This story will travel, I feel sure. You’ll be
severely criticized and dropped by most of the students. Even your good
looks won’t save you. It was very inconsiderate and selfish of Miss
Cairns to put you in such a risky position. She is certainly not your
friend. The crowd last night was frisky. If the girls had had the least
idea of whom she was they would have ripped off her mask, hooted her
from the gym and maybe the campus. How would you have felt then?”

“I only know the way I feel now. I don’t like you, Miss Peyton, and I
never have.” Doris chose to be drastically candid. “If a story such as
you have just told me should go the round of the campus, I should not
blame Miss Dean or Miss Everest for having started it. I should blame
you. I intend to be silent. Let me give you a piece of advice. You had
best be silent, too, about what you _believe_ you know against Miss


                              CHAPTER XV.

                         THE TRUTH ABOUT “BEAN”

Doris had only time enough to hurry back to the Hall for her wraps
before starting out again to meet Leslie. She did not regret her blunt
words to Julia. The gossiping, jealous sophomore had deserved them.
Doris had grown tired of Julia’s impudent interference into her personal
affairs. This time Julia had gone too far. Doris had decided to drop
her, oblivious of what the sophomore might afterward say of her. She
believed sturdily that she could defend her own position at Hamilton.

“You certainly deserted me,” was Leslie’s greeting as Doris stepped into
the roadster, parked at the central gates. “Last night, I mean,” she
added with her slow smile.

“I never meant to,” Doris apologized. “You said you preferred to look
out for yourself. I saw you in the middle of that crowd of freshies and
was worried about you. By the time I could get free of my partner to go
to you I saw you on the way out of the gym.”

“Thanks to little yellow gingham ruffles, Leslie Adoree broke away from
the merry rustic scene with colors flying and her false face still on. I
had a good time, though, while it lasted.”

“Did that unwieldy umbrella really trip a couple who were dancing?”
Doris inquired abruptly. She was anxious to learn whether Julia had told
her the truth in the matter.

“It really did.” Leslie’s face suddenly lost its half humorous
expression. “One of them was a screech owl posing as a rustic youth. Her
voice had a familiar sound. Still there are so many varieties of screech
owl on the campus,” she ended sarcastically.

“The ‘screech owl’ was Miss Peyton. The other girl was—”

“Miss Peyton. No wonder I felt like pitching in and fighting her while I
had my farm togs on.” Leslie’s tone indicated her disgust. “She was
outrageous, Goldie. I tried to stay dumb, but I couldn’t. I finally said
two or three pithy things to her. Little yellow gingham ruffles was all
right. She tried to keep us from fussing. Afterward she came down to
where I was and walked me away from a gang who had been trying to rag
me. She walked me up the gym to the vestibule door and joked with me all
the way. She had on a pale yellow gingham dress with little yellow
ruffles and a white hat with—

“What did she say to you, Leslie?” was Doris’s anxious interruption. “I
mean when you reached the door.”

“That was the queer part. She knew me. I’m almost sure of it. She didn’t
say a word about my going, but she knew I wanted to get out of the gym
before unmasking. She went to the door with me to keep off trouble. She
was a good sport; an upper class girl probably. Some one I may have met.
I know a few juniors and seniors who were freshies and sophs when I was
a senior.” Leslie gave an inaudible sigh. Last night’s frolic had
brought back vividly the memory of her failure as a student.

“The girl in the yellow gingham ruffled dress was Miss Dean,” Doris said
in a peculiar tone.

“What?” In her surprise Leslie allowed the roadster to run off the
course on the pike she was keeping by several inches. She instantly
brought the machine back to course. Apparently struck dumb, she leaned
forward, staring interestedly at the road ahead. Just then she could
think of nothing to say. Presently she found speech again.

“Yes, it was Bean,” she said dully. “I know it now. Why didn’t you come
and walk me away from her when you saw us together?” Leslie demanded,
her accent displeased.

“I didn’t know then that the mask you were with was Miss Dean. I didn’t
know it until I saw her after the unmasking.”

“She did me a good turn.” Leslie stopped, her face reddening. It was the
first time she had ever said a good word for Marjorie to any one. “How
soon after I got away from the gym did the whistle blow?” she inquired

“Not more than two or three minutes. You got away just in time. I didn’t
know about Miss Peyton and Miss Dean and the umbrella business until
this afternoon. Miss Peyton told me. I must have been outside the gym
when it happened. I was out on the campus with a crowd for a few

Doris had wisely decided not to tell Leslie of what Julia Peyton had
said. Julia was fond of telling her friends and classmates anything
disagreeable which she might have heard of them. Doris abhorred the
pernicious habit. Instead she began to quiz her companion about the
umbrella mishap. She had a curiosity to know Julia Peyton’s exact part
in it. She had not wholly credited the sophomore’s side of the story.

Leslie answered, at first rather abstractedly. Her mind was still
centered on the “good turn” which “Bean” had done her. Presently she
dropped into a humorous account of the accident which made Doris laugh.
Julia had declared Leslie to be lawless and dishonorable. Doris wondered
if it were really true of her. Leslie had treated her fairly. She began
to believe she liked Leslie despite the latter’s occasional spells of
domineering insolence. She made up her mind then and there to learn if
she could the history of Leslie’s and Marjorie Dean’s enmity from its

Leslie’s account of the umbrella incident, humorous and truthful,
differed considerably from that of Julia Peyton. Doris wondered if Julia
had not also misrepresented matters to her about Muriel at Christmas
time. Then she remembered regretfully that Muriel had admitted having
said the very things which had offended her pride. In the present
instance she chose to believe Leslie rather than Julia.

“Miss Harding won the prize for having the funniest costume,” Doris
ended a little silent interval between the two girls. “She had on that
ridiculous imitation of a riding costume. You remember we were laughing
at her? The prize was a large jar of stick candy. Your costume was
really funnier than hers. Your mask was so screamingly silly.”

“Bean said I had the funniest costume,” Leslie commented shortly. Her
dark face grew darker as she sent the roadster speeding over the smooth
pike. So it had been the girl she most disliked who had conducted her
merrily and surely out of an embarrassing situation for which only
herself was to blame. Her mind began suggesting petty spiteful reasons
for Marjorie’s kindly act. She dismissed them in the instant of their
birth. None of them were honest.

Only one conclusion remained to be drawn in the matter. Leslie faced it
unwillingly. To give it credence meant the crashing down of all the
carefully built-up cases against “Bean” which she had cherished for over
four years. In spite of the wilful and malicious attempts she had made
against Marjorie’s welfare and peace of mind, “Bean,” it now appeared,
had no grudge against her.


                              CHAPTER XVI.

                              THE JOURNAL

“That settles things for me, Jeremiah. For the first time since I
entered Hamilton I’m not going home for the Easter vacation. General
can’t come home for a month from that Canadian trip. So Captain’s coming
here for Easter. Oh, joy! Tra, la, la, la, too, roo, re, lay!” Marjorie
whisked up and down her’s and Jerry’s quarters at the Arms in frisky
delight. A letter from her captain had furnished impetus for the dance.

“It’s a good thing for us that Irma has changed the date of her wedding
from Easter until the last week in June. That lets us completely out of
going home. Not that I don’t want to see the Macy family. I do; I do.
But I must stick to you, Bean, till all is over. Then the Macys will
have the pleasure of seeing Jeremiah for the rest of their lives. I feel
a jingle beginning to sprout. Aha!” Jerry turned an imaginary crank on
one side of her head and recited:

                  “Oh, let us sing, like anything,
                   And warble, too, re, lay.
                   No Feejee queen compares with Bean;
                   With Bean I choose to stay.”

“You are a loyal Jeremiah as I’ve told you in the past, seven thousand
times, more or less.” Marjorie stopped her frisky prance to pat Jerry on
the head. “Have you stopped to consider the feelings of the Macy family?
They may strongly object to an Easter without Jeremiah.”

“They’ll have to bear it. It’ll be the first long vacation for Jeremiah
away from Macyville.”

“And my first one away from Castle Dean. I promised Captain all the long
Hamilton vacations before ever I entered college. I’ve kept my word. I
would have this one, too,” Marjorie declared earnestly. “Now Captain’s
coming to the Arms, and everything is more celostrous than ever.”

“So it is, Bean; so it is,” Jerry assured in what she liked to term her
“most middle-aged, gentlemanly” voice.

“I should have felt like a shirker about going home at Easter. Leila,
Vera, Robin, Ronny and Lucy say they can’t spare the time away from the
campus. It would have broken up my work on the biography a little, and
I’d have hated to leave Miss Susanna. Still I would have gone. Captain
first, you know.” Marjorie lovingly patted her mother’s letter.

“I’d have gone home with you and risked being called a shirker by the
gang. I’d have borne it. I’m as noble as you are, noble Bean. Here is a
copy of my latest jingle.” Jerry tendered Marjorie a sheet of paper. “I
caught it while you were busy praising me.”

“Thoughtful bard,” Marjorie commended, flourishingly accepting the
paper. “May I inquire what you intend to do today?”

“I’m going over to the campus right after breakfast. Leila and I are
going to make Norse helmets for Norse warriors of buckram and silver
paper. With the help of our fertile brains and a little invincible glue
we shall win. What are you going to do to while the day away?” Jerry
inquired innocently.

“Oh, nothing special,” Marjorie waved an airy hand. “That’s the way it
seems sometimes,” she added, her face sobering, “when I write all day
and then find at evening that I haven’t done more than a page of good
work. I’ve divided the material for the biography into two parts. I wish
to call the first part ‘Inspiration.’ The second part will be

“It sounds good to me.” Jerry waited breathlessly to hear more. It was
the first time Marjorie had volunteered her any information on the
subject of her own writing. Jerry watched her as she might have a rare
song bird, which had poised itself near her and was ready to take flight
at the tiniest movement on her part.

“‘Inspiration’ is to be the story of his youth, hopes and dreams.
‘Realization’ is to be the story of the man, Brooke Hamilton, and his

“Does Miss Susanna know what you’ve just told me? You have such
clam-like tendencies, Bean.” Jerry smirked at her chum.

“Yes, I told her about it several days ago. I only thought of it one day
last week. I like the idea.” Marjorie’s accompanying smile was utterly
without vanity. “If I could write as well as Kathie, or Leila, or you,
Jeremiah, I’d be happy. Really, I have to dig out almost every sentence
I write.”

“Hooh!” derided Jerry. “I can’t write. You’re simply trying to be polite
to present company. So deceitful!” She raised a hand in shocked

“I never allow anyone to call me deceitful.” Marjorie charged upon
Jerry, who nimbly eluded her and ran for the door. She whisked out into
the hall and down the broad staircase with her vengeful pursuer close
behind her.

The pair breezed around the corner of the newel post just in time to
crash into Jonas, who was coming through the hall with a large feather
duster which one of the maids had accidentally left on the hall rack.

“Mercy on us!” Jonas raised a startled arm. He poked the duster full
into Jerry’s face, to Marjorie’s noisy delight.

“Ker-choo! I’m not the hall rack, Jonas, and I don’t think I resemble
the newel post, either,” Jerry reproved.

“No, you don’t quite look like either of ’em,” Jonas agreed, chuckling.
“Excuse me for dusting you,” taking a leaf from Jerry’s own book of
etiquette he slyly added, “and blame yourself.”

“Fine, Jonas, you’re learning,” Jerry heartily encouraged.

The frolicsome pair lingered in the hall for a little exchanging of
merry repartee with Jonas. He now looked forward to such lively
encounters as a part of his day’s program.

At breakfast that morning Mrs. Dean’s letter formed the main topic of
conversation. Marjorie was bubbling over with happiness at the highly
agreeable way in which her affairs had worked out.

“I’m the person fortune has singled out for attention,” Miss Susanna
crisply asserted. “All I need do is stay quietly at home and watch my
friends gravitate to the Arms. Last Easter you girls all went away from
Hamilton and left poor Susanna without a single playmate. This year
Susanna has them all, and with one more to come from another land.”

“It’s wonderful to know that Captain will soon be here.” Marjorie’s
voice was full of tender expectation. “Her presence will furnish me with
oceans of fresh literary impetus. I shall need it for ‘Realization,’ the
second part of the biography. It will be a good deal longer than the
first part. I wish they might have been of equal length.”

“The inspiration to build Hamilton College was his life. At least he
made it that,” Miss Susanna said rather absently. She appeared to be
immersed in thought far remote from her spoken words.

“That’s precisely why the first part of the biography will be so much
shorter than the second,” Marjorie cried, her forehead puckering in
faint disapproval. “His very interesting years in China, the building of
Hamilton, all his work belongs in ‘Realization.’ He had begun to work,
then, you see, entirely toward realizing his splendid plans. I’d love to
have more data about his youth. There is a great deal of the China data
which would have been lost if you hadn’t written down the stories he
told you of his life in the Orient,” she nodded gratefully to Miss

“There may be some earlier data that I can let you have for that first
part,” was Miss Hamilton’s vague promise. “I’ll see what I can find for

Marjorie presently went to the study wondering not a little as to what
the data might be which Miss Hamilton had promised. She surmised from
the old lady’s preoccupied air during the remainder of the meal that
Miss Susanna was mentally trying to decide whether or not to give her
for the biography certain incidents in the life of Brooke Hamilton which
she had thus far withheld.

“I wish you could really speak and tell me something about yourself,”
she said fancifully to Brooke Hamilton’s portrait. “What were your
favorite sports when you were a very young man? Riding, of course, and
probably swimming. Did you—let me think”—she stared reflectively at the
portrait—“did you ever win a hundred yard dash, or—a yacht race?” She
colored self-consciously at her own question. Her thoughts had veered
suddenly from Brooke Hamilton to Hal Macy.

Thought of Hal next reminded her that she would not see Hal at Easter.
That would be best for them both. Still she visualized Hal’s
disappointment, not only at not seeing her—he would miss Jerry’s
comradely companionship. It would be of no use to tell Jerry she ought
to go to Sanford for Easter on Hal’s account. Jerry would hoot at the
idea. Marjorie decided that she would write Hal a particularly cordial
Easter letter to try to make up for her absence.

She brought her mind summarily back to the subject of Brooke Hamilton.
What was it Miss Susanna had once said of him concerning love? And when
was it she had said it? An instant, and Marjorie recalled the occasion.
It was the only time the mistress of the Arms had ever mentioned Brooke
Hamilton as having loved. She had said on the occasion of Marjorie’s
introduction to the portrait of her kinsman in the study that Brooke
Hamilton had believed in the romance of deeds; not the romance of love.
She had also said that he had “found after all that love was love. That
the romance of men and women—”

Miss Susanna had stopped at this juncture and had never again renewed
the subject. Marjorie grew inwardly vexed with herself for having
permitted her thoughts to run toward love. Because, unfortunately, Hal
had fallen in love with her, the thought of Hal must ever bring reminder
of the unwelcome fact. She was glad that Brooke Hamilton’s history was
one of deeds. In the mass of data she had handled there had been
personal mention made of only his mother, Faith Gretney Hamilton, and
Miss Susanna.

“I’ve been mooning,” she informed the handsome, blue-eyed man in the
gilt frame. “Now I am going to work hard. I must leave you in July for
two whole months. I wish you would come down from the wall and finish
writing your own story before I come back. Wouldn’t that be a lovely
magic surprise for Marjorie?”

A light tap on the study door sent her scurrying to open it. Miss
Susanna walked into the study an odd look on her small shrewd features.
In her hands she carried a rosewood box. It was perhaps eight by ten
inches and not more than three inches deep. It was a lock box with a
beautifully executed leaf border and a simple, artistically carved
monogram on the shining surface of the lid.

“Marjorie, I have brought you Uncle Brooke’s journal,” Miss Susanna
began without preamble. “I hadn’t intended to let you or anyone else
ever see it, much less permit a line of it to be published. Since you
have been at the Arms I have wondered several times whether I was doing
right in keeping it from you. How can you acquire a true conception of
him unless you know him as his journal reveals him?”

As she talked Miss Susanna busied herself with the turning of a tiny key
in the lock. She set the box on the study table, opened it. Inside it
lay an oblong notebook bound in black leather. It was not very thick.
Around it was a wide black rubber band.

“Here it is.” The old lady lifted it from the box with a sadly reverent
air; handed it to Marjorie. She accepted it, saying nothing. “It is a
love story you are going to read in this old black book, Marvelous
Manager; the love story of your friend, Brooke Hamilton. He was a
marvelous manager, too, child. There was only one thing he did not know
how to manage. That was his heart.”


                             CHAPTER XVII.

                        BROOKE HAMILTON’S ANGELA

Marjorie looked from Miss Susanna to the portrait and back again. The
mistress of the Arms was eyeing the portrait, too, with an expression of
dark melancholy.

“There’s no use in my staying here to talk with you about this journal,
child. I’ve read it several times and almost cried my eyes out over it.
In fact, I don’t want to talk about it at all. I’m going. After you have
read it, I’ll have something else to say. Not until then.”

“Thank you, Miss Susanna,” Marjorie had only time to call after the
sturdy little woman as the latter hurried from the room, furtively
wiping her eyes with her hem-stitched handkerchief.

The young girl, who stood on the threshold of life and love, even as
Brooke Hamilton had once stood, was equally the stranger to love that he
had been. Marjorie regarded the black leather book with a glance of
timid fascination. Between the loose black covers, broken apart from
much handling, in that small space, was the record of a love which had
not been a happy one. Over a happy love idyl Miss Susanna would never
have “almost cried her eyes out.”

She understood that her remark at the breakfast table concerning her
lack of material for ‘Inspiration’ had set the question of the giving of
the journal to her going again in Miss Susanna’s mind. Marjorie felt as
though she stood on the brink of the unknown. The love story of Brooke
Hamilton could not but be different from that of any of which she had
read or heard.

She swept aside the pad of paper on which she had been writing and
carefully laid the journal on the table before her. Slowly she removed
the wide rubber band and opened the book to the first page. There in his
clear handwriting stood a foreword:

“May 1,” it began. “This is my birthday, though not even the servants
know it. Well, I have purchased myself a gift; this black book. It shall
not be a black book in an evil sense. It shall only record my doings
which I shall hope to make ever of purpose and right. Should I live to
be a very old man this journal will preserve for me facts which memory
will have long grown weary of holding. I shall call this book a present
from my mother. I do not approve of making presents to myself.”

Marjorie smiled at the final sentence of the foreword. It sounded so
like Miss Susanna. The little preamble was distinctly boyish, she
thought. It had the dignity, however, belonging to one brought up in

She turned the page. The next item was brief and dated three years
later, but again May 1, it stated:

“My birthday again. I found this book today in my desk. I had forgotten
its use until I opened it. I shall try once more to keep a record of
personal events. Three years between the two entries. How time passes.”

To her surprise the next entry was dated July tenth, eight years later.
It was humorously rueful.

“I appear to be most unsuccessful as a journalist. I have the will to
record my doings but not the execution. Tonight I am in an oddly
pleasant state of mind over the day’s events. The Vernons, of Vernon
Lodge, gave an archery meet this afternoon. They held the meet in honor
of a cousin, Miss Angela Vernon, who has come to make her home with
them. Miss Vernon is an orphan with a pleasing girlish face and soft
chestnut curls. Her voice is low and sweet and she has a merry fashion
of showing her small white teeth in laughing which is captivating. I
enjoyed her company, which I cannot state to be the truth of the
majority of young women whom I have met. I have no fault to find with
these except that they seem to be possessed of so little depth. What a
pretty name Angela is. I like it far better than Rachel, Maria, Abagail,
Betsy or other feminine names similarly plain and ugly.”

The Vernons’ archery meet had staged the opening incidents in Brooke
Hamilton’s love affair. After the entry of July tenth, followed others,
in somewhat scattered dating of the same year. Hardly one of these but
that made mention of Angela Vernon. The young, attentive Brooke Hamilton
had been horseback riding with Angela. He had escorted her to a lawn
party. He had danced repeatedly with her at the Hamilton country-side
ball. He wrote at some length in his journal of the pleasure he derived
from her company. Yet into his writing never crept the word love.

Marjorie read on and on, forgetful of all but the world the journal
conjured for her in which the author and Angela Vernon had once lived
and played their parts. Thus far she had experienced no desire toward
tears. Instead she was inclined to signal annoyance at Brooke Hamilton
for his attitude of complacency toward charming Angela Vernon. At first
she had been amused by his naive admissions to his journal, so utterly
devoid of sentimentality. She had not then specially sympathized with
Angela. From his written comments she could guess nothing of the young
girl’s mind toward him. An entry dated almost two years later than the
fateful archery meet brought an odd aching sadness to Marjorie’s heart.

“May 10. Life has moved very agreeably for me in my ancestral home
during the years of my adolescence. Since my meeting with the Marquis de
Lafayette, however, all within me is changed. There was a time to dance,
to play, to be irresponsibly youthful. That time has past. I am facing
the great problem of how one day to carry out my dream of founding a
democratic college for young women in loving memory of my mother. In
order to do this I shall require great riches. These I have not, though
my father is not counted less than rich. I have a plan by which I may
attain wealth in time. It must needs carry me far from home. So be it. I
am a free spirit. I am bound by no pledge of love or duty.

“I am well satisfied that Angela and I are not more than friends.
Sometimes I wonder if we are even such. She seems often cold, restrained
in my presence where formerly she was invariably light and cordially
gay. I confess I do not always understand young women. I shall soon be
without her comradely company. She is going to Philadelphia to visit the
Vernons there and dance at the Assembly Ball. She is very charming. She
says she will never marry. Such a statement is not to be taken
seriously. I have frequently assured her that she will no doubt wed a
man high in the affairs of the United States. She is fitted for
diplomatic society.”

Followed other entries of a similar nature. Marjorie could not but
marvel at the blindness of young Brooke Hamilton to Angela Vernon’s love
for him. Unversed in the ways of young women the very comments he wrote
concerning her variable moods toward him Marjorie translated as the
attempts of a girl in love to hide her unrequited affection from its
indifferent object of worship.

Then came an entry made on shipboard on the day when the founder of
Hamilton had embarked from New York on his first voyage to China. Her
eyes misted with sudden tears as she read:

“Out at sea, the world before me! When I wonder shall I see the Arms
again? Not, I am resolved until the battle’s won, my fortune made, my
dream become a reality. I have brought with me my black book, a link
between me and my younger, lighter hours of life. ‘When I became a man,
I put away childish things.’ So it is with me now. I must strive and
accomplish in the world of deeds. Its only creed is action, and still
more action. I shall keep my book now as the path back to youth’s
pleasant orchard.

“Angela gave me a utility case of dark blue silk which she herself made.
She also gave me a small daguerrotype of herself. I was greatly touched
by her remembrance of me. She rode down to the little station on her
pony to wish me ‘_bon voyage_.’ It was hardly more than dawn. Hers was
the last face I saw among the home friends. She had been crying. She
said so quite frankly. I had no idea she cared for me so fondly. She has
flouted me roundly at times. God knows when we shall meet again. It
appears strange that my friendliest comrade should have been a young
woman rather than a young man. Angela has been such to me. I said to her
in jest: ‘You will have perhaps married and forgotten me, Angela, by the
time I return to my country and the Arms.’ She said: ‘I shall never
forget you, and I shall never marry.’ So she thinks, but time creates
many changes. I am weary of the pitching of the ship. I have not yet
felt any indication of seasickness. I shall close you, black book, and
seek my rest. You must be my comrade hereafter.”

The part of the journal immediately following Brooke Hamilton’s
embarkation to the Orient continued with brief notes on the voyage. From
that point on the entries dealt with the young fortune-seeker’s life in
China. These entries in themselves Marjorie found valuable as aids in
completing the somewhat sparse data she already had regarding the young
man’s Oriental enterprise. Among them she found odd bits of Chinese
wisdom which he quoted as the sayings of the several Chinese
philosophers who had become his intimate friends. These original twists
of mind, together with the numerous stories of her kinsman’s life in
China which Miss Susanna had dictated to her would beautifully round out
the earlier chapters of “Realization.”

Marjorie was presently surprised to find that the China entries covered
a period of over ten years. Brooke Hamilton had evidently proved himself
as irregular a journalist abroad as at home. While the entries were
fuller than the earlier vaguer comments of youth, a year in time was
often covered by three or four entries.

She read steadily through the record of commercial achievement which had
brought him not only immense wealth but honor and distinction among a
philosophical, far-seeing race rarely understood by Europeans or
Americans. The Chinese had liked him for his truth and honesty. Because
they had liked him they had helped him to his goal of attainment.

There was very little of Angela in this part of the record. Now and
again her name would appear in, “I received a letter last week from
Angela. It has been many weeks on the way to me, judging from the date
of writing,” or, “Angela writes that she believes I may never go back to
America. How little a girl understands a man’s high aspirations. My
absence from home is merely a necessary part of my great plan. I shall
try to make Angela understand. Hers is a fine mind. She should not lend
it to such trivial conjectures. My return to America, God sparing my
life, is certain.”

Marjorie’s sympathies were now firmly enlisted toward Angela. She
marveled that a man possessed of Brooke Hamilton’s fine spirit and high
ideals should have so blindly passed by an unswerving devotion like
Angela’s. He had not loved her, and had been honestly unaware that she
loved him. He had been too completely centered in the giant labor he had
set himself to perform to stop by the way for flower gathering.

The last entry of the China group inspired Marjorie with somber
consternation. It had been penned only a few months before the
successful man of affairs had returned to America and Hamilton Arms.

“I nearly lost Angela, my little comrade.” Followed a blank; as though
the writer had paused in horror of his own words. “She has been near
death of pneumonia. I am shocked beyond expression. I cannot image home
without her to welcome me. Since receiving the bad news in a letter from
her cousin, Adele Vernon, I have thought of Angela night and day. I
shall leave my business interests here in Woo Fah’s hands and sail on
the next mail steamer. It is three months since Adele’s letter was
written. God knows what may have happened to my little girl.”

Marjorie cast a sorrowful upward glance at the portrait. She thought she
knew the tragic end of the blue-eyed man’s love idyl. Nothing but the
rustle of the notebook’s leaf as she turned it broke the hush pervading
the study. Her eyes met that which wrung from her a little cry of

“I have found love. I know its meaning now. I have come from the other
side of the world to learn the wonder of all wonders. It is not the
wonder of deeds. It is the wonder of a woman’s love, changeless in its
white glory. I walked in darkness, without knowing. Now I have come into
the light. She always loved me, from the first day. How could I have
been so blind? There was a woman, my mother, who loved me. There is a
woman, Angela, who loves me now. I know only these two.

“We shall be married at Easter. That time seems far off. Angela tells me
it is only five months away. From November until April I shall endeavor
to lavish upon her the devotion she says she feared might never be hers.
I chose achievement instead of love. Yet love did not forsake me. I have
been magnificently favored by God.”

The lovely, changeful face of the absorbed reader lightened a little
over the cheerful turn in the story. Her faint smile died with the stark
remembrance that Brooke Hamilton had not married. She continued reading
with a sigh:

“Christmas Eve, eleven o’clock. I have just returned from Vernon Lodge.
Early this evening I heard my favorite carol, ‘God Rest You Merry
Gentlemen’ coming sweetly from the sitting room bow window. Angela,
Adele and Bobby Vernon were the carolers. Angela’s high, entrancing
soprano voice still lingers in my ears. I think I shall never wish to
hear a truer, sweeter voice singing the carol my mother so greatly

“Of course I caught them, brought them into the house, kissed Angela’s
lips, under the mistletoe, kissed Adele’s hand and shook hands with
Bobby. I would have entertained them at the Arms but they marched me off
to Vernon Lodge. There we had one more divinely happy evening together.
Angela is always so full of life, so brimming over with charm. I tell
her sometimes she is too charming for her strength. She is rather frail
still from the ravages of pneumonia. When we are married we shall go
overseas on a long honeymoon voyage. This I believe will restore her to
her former strength of constitution.”

Marjorie hastily turned the leaf. She was prepared for disaster, but it
came with a relentlessness which made her heart ache:

“May first. My birthday. I am alone. It is two months since Angela died.
Is that a long, or a short space of time? I do not know. I know only she
is gone. She complained of being weary in the evening. Next morning they
found her asleep, her dear little crinkling smile on her lips. Pneumonia
had weakened her heart. Even she did not know to what extent. This
afternoon I gathered quantities of the double, fragrant purple violets
for which the Arms has been famed since my grandmother’s day. I took
them all to the Vernon vault, my offering to love. Angela was not there,
naturally. Her radiant spirit had long since transcended earth.

“I, Brooke Hamilton, a strong man, remain here. If only I had earlier
understood love. I might have, had I not been so closely wrapped in my
own dreams of achievement. What even greater things I might have
accomplished with her by my side. Great love is the impetus to noble
achievement. I know it now. Dear Angela! I bruised her tender heart with
my selfish indifference to her love for me. God in mercy willed that I
should not break it. Out of long years, four months! Forgive me, sweet.
I shall never write in this book again.”

Marjorie put her curly head down on the table and cried. She had lived
and suffered that balmy spring morning with Brooke Hamilton. She had a
sad impression that she had forever passed out of the comfortable state
of disinterest with which she had formerly looked upon love. Nothing
would ever be the same again.


                             CHAPTER XVIII.

                       ON THE ROAD TO ORCHARD INN

Mechanically, Marjorie closed the journal of Brooke Hamilton and slipped
the rubber around it. She felt as though she never wished to open it
again. What a tragedy lay between those black, worn, leather covers.
Brooke Hamilton had suffered too greatly she thought for that which he
was not really to blame.

He had not understood that Angela loved him. Still, he had upbraided
himself with the remorseful thought that he might have understood, if he
had tried. Angela had always loved him. She had known that she loved
him. He had not in the beginning loved her, or at least he had given no
thought to love. The last despairing entry in the journal held strong
accusation against himself for not having given love a place in his
life. Mind had dominated heart, when instead heart and mind should have
gone seeking love and achievement together.

Then the thought which had been pounding at the walls of her brain for
admittance entered her consciousness. Suppose that, some day, too late,
she were to discover she really loved Hal? She had the same friendly
regard for Hal which Brooke Hamilton had entertained for Angela. Hal
loved her truly. Angela had truly loved Brooke Hamilton.

The mere idea of such a far-fetched catastrophe filled the sober-faced,
lately tearful lieutenant with panic. She took the sad little history of
a man’s ambition and misunderstanding and hurriedly replaced it in the
rosewood box. She turned the key, then placed the box in the cabinet.
Having now read it, she could not bear to talk with Miss Susanna again
about it that day. She longed to go out in the bright spring weather and
walk until she had shaken off the deep-seated melancholy which had
invaded her young heart. The quotation from Thanatopsis: “Go forth,
under the open sky, and list to nature’s teachings,” recurred to her
with force.

“It’s almost time for luncheon,” she murmured. “I can’t help it. I must
go outdoors for awhile. I shan’t write a line today. Maybe not tomorrow.
I’ll scribble a note to Miss Susanna and give it to Jonas to hand to
her. Jerry’ll survive my desertion for once.”

Luncheon at the Arms was at one o’clock. It lacked only a few minutes of
one when Marjorie came downstairs to find Jonas and deliver her note
into his hands. She had stopped only long enough to bathe her slightly
pinkish eye-lids and draw on a pretty buff sports coat and hat.

She had hardly progressed the length of the long stone walk leading to
the gate when her drooping spirits began to revive. She was not shallow,
in that she could lightly throw off the impression of the morning’s
reading. She was strong-willed enough not to allow it to gain a
distressing hold upon her. Most of all she wished to forget her dejected
suppositions which concerned Hal.

Outside the gates of the Arms she paused to decide on which way to go.
Should she walk to the town of Hamilton, or toward the campus. A walk
into staid, drowsy Hamilton meant nothing more than a lonely prowling up
and down the main streets. To go toward the campus! There was no telling
who she might meet. Marjorie chose the campus, and variety.

“Now by King John’s castle where may you be going?” Leila Harper called
out the salutation as she swept past Marjorie in her car. A moment and
it had stopped. Leila leaned far out of it, beckoning. “Have the feet to
hurry,” she ordered. “I have just been to town, but I’ll take you back
again in a trice, if you say.”

“I don’t want to go to town.” Marjorie shook an emphatic head. “Take me
for a spin, Leila Greatheart. I’ve quit biographing for the day and I
wish to be amused; wish to be, and hope to be.”

“I am that amusing! And you must have heard it. Now who told it to you?”
Leila cocked her head to one side and smilingly awaited an answer.

“Leila Harper,” laughed Marjorie. “I hope she knew what she was talking

“I hope so,” Leila echoed fervently. “Let us take a ride, Beauty, to
Orchard Inn. I should be busy with my Irish play this afternoon. I have
no thoughts for it. We are both less gifted than we might be.”

“Orchard Inn to luncheon sounds comforting.” Marjorie was settling
herself beside Leila in the car. “It’s a glorious day for a drive. I’ve
not seen you for more than a few minutes at a time since the Rustic
Romp. I’ve only seen Robin once. She came over to the Arms the day after
the Romp to tell me we made nearly a thousand dollars from it.”

“Did you not hear, Beauty? Someone dropped a hundred dollar note into
the cash box. Miss Dow had charge of the box. She had no idea who the
generous rustic might be.”

“Oh-h!” Marjorie’s exclamation died in a soft breath. She had made a
quick flashing guess as to the donor. Leslie Cairns, of course. What an
odd proceeding on her part! Nevertheless Marjorie gave her the benefit
of having been animated by a generous motive. She had undoubtedly come
prepared to give such a sum. Marjorie was also of the opinion that Doris
Monroe had paved the way for Leslie’s lark.

“It is not a campus performance to give such wealth,” smiled Leila. “I
mean outside the Travelers and a few such princes as Gentleman Gus and
her train of hearties. I thought Ronny might be the one. She accuses
Vera; and so it goes.”

“Whoever gave it must have wished her identity to be a secret.” Marjorie
would have liked to tell Leila of Leslie’s lark. She had made up her
mind that night, however, to be silent. Three persons besides herself
knew it. No, only one, Doris Monroe. Jane Everest and Julia Peyton
lacked the evidence of their own eyes. Unless Julia Peyton should
gossip, Leslie’s uninvited presence in the gymnasium would not be known.

“Since we have the gold, why should we seek the miner,” Leila said
genially. “‘The Knight of the Northern Sun’ is coming on grandly. Next
Tuesday evening we shall give a full rehearsal. I trust our spear proof
silver buckram helmets will fit our Norse warriors. Kathie is a true
playwright, but I am a Celtic fake. It is hard to glorify my hero, since
I am to be the hero myself. I am in a fine dilemma,” she complained
drolly. “Why did I ever imagine I could write an Irish play?”

It was an hour’s run by automobile to Orchard Inn. It was the most
distant from the campus of the coterie of tea rooms dear to the hearts
of the Hamilton girls. The route lay for the most part over Hamilton
Pike. The last three miles of the journey had to be made over a dirt
road. It was fairly smooth and easily traveled except when roughened by
heavy rains.

The two girls kept up a low steady stream of conversation as the car
sped on toward the Inn. Both were feeling the pleasantness of a brief
freedom from everything connected with even their beloved work. Neither
had expected to take a trip to the Inn when she had started out. As a
consequence, both were jubilant over the little excursion.

“Oh, I almost forgot to tell you something very important, Leila. We
were so busy talking about the Travelers’ stunts it almost slipped my
mind. Captain’s coming to the Arms for Easter.” Marjorie’s voice rang
with joy. “That means I can stay here. Jerry is going to stay, too.”

“May I ask whose marvelous managing that is?” Leila’s eyes grew starry.
She adored Mrs. Dean.

“Captain’s. You see General will be away on a trip. Captain knows how
much I have to do here, so she is going to help me by coming to the
Arms. Miss Susanna is delighted. It’s a case of Captain Bean making
Lieutenant Bean and all the Beanstalks happy.”

“We should start a Beanstalk colony here at Hamilton and remain here all
our days. Would it not be a credit to the township and a satisfaction to
my old age?”

“I’d love to live in Hamilton Estates, Leila,” Marjorie confessed. “I
care for Sanford because of Jerry, Muriel, Lucy and a few other chums of
my high school days. If Jerry, Lucy, Muriel and a few more could be
transplanted to Hamilton, I’d move Castle Dean here, too. Sanford has
always meant a great deal to me. Hamilton means more.”

“I understand. Midget and I have sometimes romanced of building
ourselves a hut in the land of college.” Leila looked dreamily away for
an instant at the peaceful spring landscape. There was a touch of home
hunger in her reply. She was silent for a little, her attention riveted
on picking as smooth a route as was possible on the dirt road for the
car. The machine had struck a rough, narrow stretch of ground not more
than wide enough for two cars to pass each other.

“Hey, ho,” she said, coming back to practicality; “I am not anxious to
meet any cars on this cattle path.” The words had scarcely left her lips
when a low frame, black roadster, built for speed, appeared in sight
upon the brow of an incline ahead of them. “Do you see that, Beauty? I
had but to speak when a listening jinxie whisked a black hob-goblin into
my path,” Leila cried out in mild vexation.

Marjorie watched the approaching car with more than casual interest. A
comprehensive glance at it had informed her as to the identity of the
driver. A young woman was at the wheel, the car’s sole occupant.
Marjorie did not miss seeing the peculiar expression which showed itself
in the other’s face as she glanced at Leila’s car and prepared to keep
strictly to the proper side of the narrow road.

Instead of starting down the low hill the other motorist stopped her car
at the top of the little rise of ground and waited for Leila’s roadster
to come up. As Leila’s car came abreast of her automobile she leaned out
and cried: “Will you please stop your car? I’d like to speak to Miss

“Has the world come to an end?” Leila muttered in Marjorie’s ear as she
complied with the other girl’s request. “The Hob-goblin is no myth, as
you can see for yourself, Beauty.”


                              CHAPTER XIX.

                               I’M SORRY

With Leila’s muttered comments in her ears Marjorie had hard work to
keep a sober face and maintain an air of pleasant impersonality toward
Leslie Cairns. She could think of no reason why Leslie Cairns should
speak to her. She thought Leslie could hardly have guessed her identity
since the Romp. Certainly on that night Leslie had not recognized her.
The fact that she had amiably permitted Marjorie to conduct her to the
door and freedom was sufficient proof in itself.

“Good afternoon, Miss Dean.” Leslie’s salutation was laconic. Marjorie
thought she was looking particularly well in a sports suit and hat of
bright brown English weave. Her irregular, dark features bore no trace
of ill humor. Instead her face was singularly impassive.

“Good afternoon, Miss Cairns.” Marjorie’s clear brown eyes looked
straight into Leslie’s small black ones. She could think of nothing to
say. She therefore waited for Leslie to make the next advance in

“It’s about the other night, I’d like to speak to you,” Leslie declared
with somber steadiness.

“Pardon me. I am willing to listen to whatever you may wish to say to
me, Miss Cairns, but—I am with Miss Harper,” Marjorie reminded with
candid courtesy.

“Miss Harper is welcome to hear what I have to say to you. She probably
knows already that I—”

“She knows nothing of—of—certain things from me. Pardon me for
interrupting you.” Marjorie smiled friendly warning.

“I am sure she doesn’t,” Leslie agreed with an odd energy which brought
a faint flush of surprise to Marjorie’s cheeks. “She must have heard it
somewhere on the campus, though. I thought possibly that screech
owl—I’ll say Miss Peyton, one’s her natural name, the other only a
surname, had published me on the main bulletin board before this.”
Mention of Julia Peyton filled Leslie’s tones with contemptuous sarcasm.

“Hardly.” The quick sturdiness of the retort brought a peculiar gleam to
Leslie’s eyes.

“It was a mistake—losing my temper as I did.” Leslie’s next speech came
with shamed apology. “I don’t know that it matters specially—now. The
mischief’s done. I had no business in the gym that night.” She looked at
Marjorie as though asking for an opinion.

Leila sat the picture of immobility. Her hands loosely clasped the
wheel. Her blue eyes stared straight ahead. She affected deep interest
in the immediate road ahead of the car. She had had no inkling of what
Leslie meant until the latter had made pertinent allusion to the
gymnasium. Light had then broken upon her acute Irish intelligence.
Comprehension threatened to break up her immobile expression.

“That is of course true from—from a certain standpoint,” Marjorie
admitted. “If you wish my personal opinion,” she smiled; “I can’t see
but that your presence there was an added attraction to the crowd. I
have fought for democracy at Hamilton, Miss Cairns. I can only feel my
attitude to be democratic now. I believe that you went to the Romp
merely to have fun. There could be no harm in such a motive.”

“There wasn’t!” Leslie cried in sharply anxious agreement. “I had grown
tired of myself and only wanted to have a good time. I wouldn’t do such
a stunt, again, though. I’m through with such performances. I’m through
with everything,” she added with a dull kind of desperation.

“I think I understand how you felt about going to the Romp,” Marjorie
said gently.

“Still you wouldn’t have done so. That’s the difference between your
disposition and mine. Never mind about that. I’ve just one thing to tell
you. I wish you’d believe me. I’m all through trying to make trouble for
you at Hamilton or any place else.” Leslie’s earnestness was

“It—truly, Miss Cairns, it doesn’t make—” Marjorie colored with growing

“Oh, but it does. I want you to know, Bean—” It was Leslie who now
turned very red. Before she could offer an abashed apology Marjorie’s
merry laugh rang out.

“Please don’t.” She gaily warded off apology. “You can’t imagine how
truly fond I’ve become of being called ‘Bean.’ It’s funniest of two or
three pet names the girls have given me. Miss Macy has even composed
some funny verses which she calls ‘Jingles to Bean.’”

“What?” A slow smile succeeded Leslie’s momentary air of uncertainty as
to whether she had heard aright.

“You have a keen sense of humor, Miss Cairns,” Marjorie generously
continued. “Your costume the other night showed your appreciation of
funny things. You spoke of Miss Peyton. She was unfair with you at the
dance. I was glad you walked away from her, and sorry that you should
have been aggravated by her to the point of answering.” Marjorie tried
to lead the subject away from intimate personalities. She disliked to
make apologies. She disliked far more to receive them. She desired no
promise of future rectitude from Leslie.

“Leila,” she addressed Leila’s clear-cut Irish profile, “have you heard
that Miss Cairns was masked at the Romp?”

“I have not.” Leila slowly turned her face toward Leslie. “May I inquire
what your costume was? I was not in the gym until a very few minutes
before the unmasking,” she explained.

“I was just a farmer, blue overalls, gingham shirt and all that sort of
thing,” Leslie described briefly. “I happened to get hold of a
particularly silly-looking mask. That was the funny part of the

“And now I will tell you the funny part of your adventure.” Leila
regarded the girl she had ranked as her pet aversion with a not unkindly
glance. “I have heard nothing about you in connection with this
funny-face farmer, but I have heard plenty of myself. It seems I had the
credit for being that one. I was not on the floor while you were. I
waited in my room so as to tease the girls. I had bet with a crowd of
freshies that none of them could pick me out in that rustic mob.”

“Why, that,—” Marjorie began.

“Is why there was a crowd at my heels all the time,” finished Leslie
rather excitedly. She and Marjorie both laughed.

Even Leila’s austerity of feature relaxed into an amused smile. “I must
have come into the gym when you were preparing to leave it for I caught
not even a glimpse of such a costume as you had. Now a rumor is drifting
merrily about the campus that I was the funny mask, but that I changed
to an Irish peasant costume to puzzle the freshies.”

“How utterly providential!” Marjorie’s opinion was cordially hearty. “I
am afraid I shall be too busy from now on to enlighten the campus
dwellers concerning their fond delusion.”

“I have plenty to do myself,” was Leila’s vague inference.

Leslie’s eyes traveled from one to the other of the pair of amused
faces. Were these the two Hamilton girls she had hated so unreasonably
when a student in college with them? She now dejectedly wondered why she
had hated them.

“There’s something I must say to you,” she persisted to Marjorie. “I
used to hate you. That is, I thought I hated you. After I found out who
you were I knew I could never hate you any more. You took with you all
my weapons of offense. Why should I ever have hated you? The answer goes
back to myself. You ought to hate me. But I know you don’t. That makes
me double hate myself.” Leslie made an impatient movement of the head,
indicating her distaste for herself.

“I never hated you, Miss Cairns. I’ve felt dreadfully exasperated with
you at times,” Marjorie honestly admitted. “I haven’t felt that way
toward you for a long time,” she added with her winsome smile.

“That’s good news.” Leslie faintly answered the smile. Her hands began
to tighten on the wheel. “Oh, yes, I almost forgot. Miss Monroe had
nothing to do with my campus lark. I planned it myself. She knew of it,
but it wouldn’t be fair to censure her for what I would have done
anyway. Will you stand by her if—if any gossip should start about the
affair?” Leslie looked almost appealingly from one to the other of the
two Travelers.

“You need have no fears in that respect,” Marjorie promised staunchly.

“There will be little or nothing said,” was Leila’s dryly authoritative

“Thank you both. That’s all, I believe, except—I’m sorry. I’m saying it,
though about five years too late,” Leslie declared bitterly.

Marjorie made no verbal reply. She bent upon Leslie a glance brimming
with toleration. Its frank kindness made Leslie feel like bursting into
tears. Pride alone kept her from it.

After a moment Marjorie said: “We have something to thank you for, Miss
Cairns; the hundred dollar note you dropped into the money box the
evening of the Romp. We understand and appreciate the spirit that
prompted the gift. When I say we, I mean the Travelers.”

Marjorie made the assumption boldly, hoping thus to take Leslie
unawares. She succeeded. Leslie colored hotly. Hastily she started the
motor. “Good-bye.” She smiled a queer, wry smile; nodded first to Leila,
then to Marjorie. Next instant her car had passed theirs and was
speeding away from them.


                              CHAPTER XX.

                          BEGINNING TO GROW UP

“Can that be Leslie Cairns?” marveled Leila. “You will now kindly tell
me a great many facts about her recent history which I have somehow
missed. You intended to tell me about them, did you not?” She regarded
Marjorie with laughing suspicion.

“I had not intended to tell you or anyone else that she attended the
Romp,” Marjorie said emphatically. “I never even mentioned it to Jerry.
You see what a good secret keeper I am. Since you have heard a part of
the story from the heroine herself, I may as well tell you the rest.”

“Leslie Cairns’s wits are as ready as Jerry’s when it come to giving out
names,” was Leila’s comment after Marjorie had informed her of the set
of circumstance at the Romp in which Leslie had so prominently figured.
“Jerry and Muriel named Miss Peyton the Prime Minister. That was
appropriate enough last fall when she tried so earnestly to dictate a
policy of her own to we poor timid P. G.’s. It seems she has practiced
screeching as well as dictating. And she looks like an owl!” Leila’s
intonation was full of false enthusiasm.

“I made up my mind not to tell Miss Cairns about Miss Peyton and Jane
Everest. It wasn’t necessary. She is worried now for fear Miss Monroe
may be blamed. It seems odd, Leila, that Leslie Cairns should have shown
consideration for another. I say it candidly; not spitefully. She ought
to be protected if only for that change toward growth.” Marjorie was
very earnest in her conviction regarding Leslie.

“It is a nine days’ wonder to me.” Leila was impressed in spite of her
earlier impulse to be skeptical. “If nothing is brought up against
Leslie Cairns now on the campus, nothing will be later. The time of
interest for a rumor is just before, at the time, or just after
something supposedly happens. The Romp is now almost a memory. Soon
along will come something new and amusing to crowd that memory out.”

“There is still the other side of it, Leila.” Marjorie grew grave. “It
was against good taste in Leslie Cairns to step into the social side of
Hamilton College under cover of a mask. She had forfeited the right to
do so when she left Hamilton two years ago.”

“Still it is the most harmless piece of mischief that she ever carried
out. And she dragged no one else into it,” Leila said thoughtfully.

“Precisely the point, Leila. I’ve felt so about it ever since I went to
the door of the gym with her that night.” Marjorie spoke her mind
forcefully. “I couldn’t regard her lark as anything but a lark. Her
costume was so funny and she behaved in such a funny, original way. She
was more like a child than a young woman. It was as if she had slipped
through the gate of a high fence, and into a forbidden yard. She acted
as if she were having a fine time playing. Perhaps she went over a
rustic road to childhood that night, and when she came back found
herself changed?” Marjorie made fanciful suggestion.

“It may be so. All the fairy tales are not hatched in the Emerald Isle.”
Leila cast a sly smile toward her fanciful chum. “More’s the pity that I
instead of she should be given credit for her costume. For that I shall
see to it that she gains in another direction. Ah-h-h!” Leila gave the
wheel an inspired jerk which sent the car bumping into a rut. “I have
just thought of a plan to keep the Screech Owl from screeching on the

“Have you? I’m glad to hear it.” There was a hint of grim enthusiasm in
the reply. “What will you do?”

“I shall have to try it out on her first and tell you my method
afterward. It is only the ghost of a plan yet.” Leila made evasive

Marjorie did not inquire further into Leila’s “ghost” of a plan. “All
right. Keep it to yourself. I only hope it will be effective. It’s hard
to believe, isn’t it, that we should be planning now to protect Leslie
Cairns? When one stops to remember that she—”

“Never did anything but harass and torment us,” supplied Leila, “it is
that amazin’.” Her accent became strongly Hibernian.

“That’s not quite what I meant to say, but it’s true. We can afford to
be generous to her, Leila.”

“Ah, yes. It is more becoming to old age,” sighed Leila, then chuckled.
“As ancient, tottering P. G.’s we are so merciful!”

“That’s one explanation. It will do as well as another,” laughed

“We have an old Irish saw that runs: ‘What is the gain in beating a
knave after the hangman has him?’” Leila lightly quoted the quaint
Celtic inquiry.

“What is the use? That is exactly the question,” Marjorie smiled in
sympathy with the pertinent old query. “Leslie Cairns has made things
far harder for herself than for us.”

The two girls fell silent after Marjorie’s remark. Both were thinking of
the past five years in which Leslie Cairns had figured so unpleasantly.
Neither cared to continue the conversation with Leslie as the chief
topic. The lure of Spring had chained them both to dreamy admiration of
her budding beauty.

The automobile had swung into the last lap of the road to Orchard Inn
which wound in and out like a pale brown ribbon among orchard belts of
fragrant pink and white bloom. Orchard Inn itself to which they would
presently come, was a staunch brick relic of colony days, set down in
the midst of thick-trunked, gnarled apple trees. Just then they were
burgeoning in rose and snow, scented with Spring’s own perfume.

Marjorie had always been a devoted worshipper at the shrine of Spring.
The glorious resurrection each year of earth, which had lain stark and
drear under winter’s death-like cloak, seemed to her the mystery of
mysteries. Today the very sight of brown fields turning to emerald,
apple, pear and cherry trees rioting in ravishing bloom, the twitter of
nesting birds, busy putting the last touches to their tiny homes, filled
her with retrospection. Sight of a peach tree, a luxuriant bouquet of
vivid pink gave her a sensation of unutterable sadness.

She understood dimly that her mood of wistful sadness was born of more
than her ardent love of Spring. She was still gripped by the supreme
tragedy of Brooke Hamilton’s love story. She almost wished she had not
read it. She was sure that she could never bear to read it over again.
In the next breath she made sturdy resolve that she would. She would not
allow herself to be affected to such an extent even by a story as sad as
was Brooke Hamilton’s.

Then, without invitation, Hal invaded her thoughts. She was no nearer
being in love with him than she had ever been, she reflected with an
almost naughty satisfaction. Nevertheless, the moment she began to think
about love, he appeared, a blue-eyed image of her mind, always regarding
her in the same sorrowful way, in which she had caught him viewing the
portrait of the “Violet Girl.”

Marjorie had no suspicion that she had changed a great deal in mind
since the evening at Severn Beach when she and Hal had walked together
with their friends along the moonlit sands and Constance had sung
“Across the Years.” She had listened to the sadly beautiful song, which
had breathed of blighted hopes and love’s misunderstandings without
either sentimentality or sentiment of mind. Hal had characterized her
faithfully when he had told her that she had not yet grown up.

Neither he nor she knew that the growing-up miracle had begun when she
had laid her childishly curly head on the study table and cried out her
heart over Brooke Hamilton’s tragic love affair.


                              CHAPTER XXI.

                              THE MEETING

While Marjorie and Leila rode on through fragrant spring bloom to
Orchard Inn, Leslie Cairns drove slowly toward the town of Hamilton. She
was filled with many emotions, but the chief one was that of surprise at
the way in which she had been received by “Bean” and Leila Harper. She
had always stood a trifle in awe of Leila and her cleverness when the
two had been classmates though she had affected to despise the gifted
Irish girl. Marjorie she had hated from the first meeting. Or thus she
had narrowly believed until she had come into the knowledge that “little
friend ruffles” and Marjorie were one and the same. She had also come
into a knowledge of Marjorie which she could not ever again overlook.

A friendly act on Marjorie’s part, the prompting of a broad tolerant
spirit had been the magic which had worked a well-nigh unbelievable
change in Leslie. It is often the small, seemingly unimportant
happenings in life which frequently are instrumental in working the most
amazing transformations.

While Marjorie was going through one process of growing up Leslie was
going through another widely different phase of the same process. Leslie
had begun to learn that: “He who breaks, pays.” Until her garage failure
she had been childishly stubborn in her belief that she could
successfully “get away with” whatever she undertook to accomplish. She
had suffered untold mortification of spirit over the ignominious end her
father had put to her business venture. She had read and re-read the
letter which her father had at that time written her until she knew
every scathing word of it by heart. This in itself had produced a
beneficial effect upon Leslie’s wayward character. In time to come she
would regard that particular letter as the turning point in her life.

The downfall of her business hopes had furnished her with gloomy
retrospection for long days after she had returned to New York. With all
the fancied grudges she had against Marjorie she was obliged to admit to
herself that “Bean” had certainly not been responsible for her father’s
unexpected visit to Hamilton. Neither was she to know until years
afterward that a “Bean-inspired” advocate of justice in the person of
Signor Guiseppe Baretti had proven her business Waterloo.

Sullenly obeying her father’s stern command to renew her intimacy with
Natalie Weyman, Leslie had reluctantly got into touch again with
Natalie. Natalie, however, was betrothed to a young English baronet. She
was consequently interested in nothing but herself, her fiancé and an
elaborate trousseau of which she was imperiously directing the

Leslie felt utterly “out of it” at Nat’s playhouse. She lounged in and
out of the Weyman’s imposing Long Island palace with the enthusiasm of a
wooden Indian. She listened in morose silence to Natalie’s fulsome
eulogies upon her fiancé, Lord Kenneth Hawtrey, the Hawtrey ancestral
tree, her own trousseau and the two-million dollar settlement her father
proposed to make over to her as a bridal gift. Leslie mentally tabulated
each of these fond topics upon her bored brain and learned to know by
the signs just when each of them would be complacently brought forward
by her former college chum.

When she could stand the strain no longer she had announced to Mrs.
Gaylord that her father had gone to Europe and that she intended to buy
a new roadster and drive to Hamilton. “You can stay here or go along,
Gaylord. Suit yourself. My advice to you is to stick to me. Peter the
Great will approve of such devotion on your part. He knows I’d go, even
if you were to try to squash the expedition. Your part is ‘Never desert
Leslie,’” was the succinct counsel she gave her chaperon.

While Leslie was engaged in driving slowly toward Hamilton wrapped in
her own half sad, half relieved mixture of thoughts, a tall man in a
leather motor coat and cap ran down the steps of the Hamilton House and
sprang into a rakish-looking racing car parked in front of the hotel.
His heavy dark brows were corrugated in a frown. His lips though firmly
set harbored a grim smile.

He had driven through the sunny streets of sedate Hamilton that
afternoon as one who knew the place but had been long away from it. This
was his second call at the hotel. On both occasions he had seen and
talked with Mrs. Gaylord. His business, beyond a few, dry unreproving
sentences, was with Leslie Cairns. As Leslie confidently believed him to
be in Europe she was scheduled to receive a decided shock.

Peter Cairns, for the man in the racer was he, was soon speeding over
Hamilton Pike, through Hamilton estates and on past the college wall
toward a squat stone building which had the appearance of an old-time
inn. In front of it he parked the racer again and strode up the long
stone walk toward the quaint low door with its swinging wrought iron

Within the restaurant Signor Guiseppe Baretti was in earnest
consultation with his manager. He glanced up at the newcomer, who,
instead of choosing a table and making for it, headed directly for him.
That the little, shrewd-eyed proprietor of the restaurant and the
broad-shouldered financier had a bond in common was plainly evident from
the way in which they shook hands at the close of the financier’s short

“What you think? What you think?” the Italian excitedly demanded,
catching his manager’s arm as the door closed behind his caller. “This
is the father the girl we write the letter about. When he comes here,
just now, a little while, he says to me: ‘How’r you? You don’t know me.
I am Peter Car-rins.’ I think this mebbe where I get the hard beat,
cause I have tol’ this man what trouble his daughter make Miss Page,
Miss Dean. But this is what say: ‘I am to thank you for your letter. I
have not the time today talk much with you. Before long I come here
again. Then I tell you som’thin’ su’prise you verra much.’

“I say then to him I think he come to give me the good beat for my
letter. He laugh. He say: ‘No, no.’ Put up his hand like that.” Baretti
illustrated. “‘I un’erstand you verra well. I have been much in Italy. I
know the Italiano.’ Then he speak me good Italiano. Now that is the
father Miss Car-rins. What you think? She is here in Hamilton again.
Mebbe her father don’ know it. I believ’ he don’. Mebbe she don’ know he
is here. When both find out, then oo-oo, much fuss I guess. Mebbe Miss
Car-rins get a good beat,” he predicted with a hard-hearted chuckle.

If he had walked to the door after Peter Cairns instead of lingering to
acquaint his faithful little countryman with the identity of the
stranger, he would have seen something interesting. He would have seen a
trim-lined black roadster slow down to a sudden stop as the result of a
peremptory hail from a racing car which had drawn up alongside. In
short, Baretti would have seen Leslie Cairns and Peter Cairns meet
precisely in front of the east-end gates of the campus.


                             CHAPTER XXII.

                          A BUSINESS PROPOSAL

“Run your car off to one side where it won’t interfere with the
traffic.” The financier ordered Leslie about precisely as he might have
ordered one of his men. His tones reached her, coldly concise, entirely
devoid of affection. “There, that will do.” He skillfully manipulated
the racer to a point parallel with her car, but out of the way of
passing automobiles.

“What do you want?” Leslie inquired with sulky coolness.

“What are you doing here?” sternly countered her father.

“Nothing. You took away my job.”

“A good thing I did. I ordered you to stay in New York. Why are you not
there? Why didn’t you obey me? You’re courting business college, it
would seem.”

“Things are not always what they seem,” Leslie came back laconically.

The financier set his lips anew. It was either that or smile. Leslie was
regarding him with the curiously unafraid expression which had most
amused him in her as a child.

“Why can’t you behave properly?” he demanded with vexed displeasure.

“I don’t know. I have been trying to find that out for myself lately.
It’s a hard job, Peter.” She purposely called him Peter. It had been
another of her laughable childish mannerisms.

It brought a smile, reluctant and fleeting to his face. An odd light
burned in his eyes for an instant. He turned his head to avoid her
penetrating gaze. He had never before heard Leslie make an allusion to
self-analysis. The knowledge that she had begun to try to fathom her
forward motives was encouraging.

“What mischief have you done since you came up here?” he next asked.
“Why could not you have cultivated Natalie instead of racing over the
country up here in a car?”

“Nat is going to be married to a monocle and an English title. She is
hopeless. I couldn’t stand her. I fled to the country, Peter. I knew you
wouldn’t wish to have me die of being bored. Don’t rag Gaylord for it. I
made her come here. She’s a good, ladylike sport, who knows how to stick
to me and yet mind her own affairs. You may think you picked her for me.
No, no; I saw her first. That gives me a prior claim to bossing her. I’m
glad I met you, if only to settle that little point in your mind.”
Leslie’s hands busied themselves with the wheel. “I think I’ll go on,”
she declared tranquilly. “Don’t worry, Peter, I won’t do anything more
to disgrace you. I’m going to lead a noble life from now on.”

She was fighting desperately to maintain humorous indifference. It was
the side of her character which Peter Cairns most appreciated. She was
now fighting to regain the proud interest he had once taken in her ready
wit and irresistible humor. Her reprehensible behavior had amounted to
stupidity. Peter Cairns most hated stupidity in man or woman.

Peter Cairns repressed an audible chuckle at this latest news from his
lawless daughter. “This is not the place to discuss ethics,” he said
dryly. “Run your car into town and meet me in the hotel lounge.”

“Race you in; cross town, or any old way?” Leslie proposed on impulse.
She eyed her father doubtfully.

For a long moment the two stared into each other’s faces, as though each
were endeavoring to determine the strength or weakness of the other.

“I’ll go you.” Peter Cairns spoke with a finality which set Leslie’s
heart to pounding violently.

“My car was built for speed and I know how to get the speed out of it
without arousing the natives. Look out, and don’t get pinched.” Leslie
brought her car up on an exact line with the racer. “One, two, three, go
to it,” she called animatedly. Then she was off over the pike on not
only a go-as-you please race to Hamilton. She was on the first lap of
what she hoped would be the quick road back to her father’s heart.

Leslie won the race. Peter Cairns was not familiar with the short cut
she took. It bumped her car over a stretch of uneven paved street but
brought her triumphantly to the entrance of the Hamilton House at least
a minute ahead of her father’s car.

“Why did you pick Hamilton of all places to come back to?” Peter Cairns
was presently demanding of her. The two had seated themselves opposite
each other in a deserted corner of the lounge.

“Probably the scene of my many crimes held a fascination for me,” Leslie
advanced with a reflective air that completely upset the financier’s
hitherto carefully preserved gravity. He laughed outright.

“What did this Miss Dean against whom I understand you had so much spite
ever do to you that was unfair or dishonorable?” His alert features had
quickly returned to their customary aloof cast.

“Not a blamed thing, Peter,” she said in a tone of sober humiliation.
“You were right. I am several kinds of idiot, bound in one volume. The
war’s over. I surrendered this afternoon, just before I met you.
Whatever you know about Bean and me is probably true.”

“Who is Bean?” demanded Peter Cairns.

Leslie enlightened him. At the same time she quoted Marjorie’s own
recent remarks on the subject. “You can see from that why I quit,” she
said. “There was nothing else to do. Some day, when I’ve really put over
a good square business enterprise I’ll tell you the story of Bean, her
Beanstalks and Leslie Adoree.”

“Your first business ought to be to repair the mischief you made,” was
the severely judicial response. “Unfortunately you can’t undo the
anxious, troubled hours which your malice has imposed upon others. You
have taught me a lesson. I needed it. My code of finance has been that
of a hawk. I have revised it on more humane lines. I’d rather not have
learned it from your mistakes. But it’s been learned now. I am not sorry
I cut you off from me. Perhaps it was not the way to do. I don’t know. I
loved you very tenderly as a child, Leslie. I was proud of you as a
youngster. I should like to be proud of you as a young woman. What are
the prospects?”

“Good, Peter. The best since the days when I was your pal and we planned
to conquer the universe together. I’m trying to think of a way to make
amends.” She met her father’s measuring glance with an air of patience
quite foreign to her old wayward self. “I like it up here. I’ve a girl
friend on the campus. I really like her. I want you to meet her. Gaylord
approves of her. What more can you ask?”

“I’ll take you at your word.” For the first time since meeting her
father he held out his hand. Leslie placed her right hand in his strong
fingers. Her left reached out very timidly and covered the hand she
held. It was the silent ratification of affection between Peter and
Peter Cairns’ daughter.

“How did you know I was here?” she asked after a brief silence.

“I told Wilkins, my secretary, to keep track of you. I made only a
flying trip to Europe. He told me you were here. I drove here soon after
leaving the steamer. I had business at Hamilton Estates.”

“What are you going to do with my garage flivver?” A gleam of intense
curiosity lived in Leslie’s eyes. “You said in your letter that some day
I’d know why I had no business to buy the property for the site. Is
today the day?”

“It may as well be.” Peter Cairns looked away, his mind evidently
engaged in choosing the words for his next utterance. “My name isn’t
Peter Cairns,” he said deliberately. “It’s Peter Carden. Alec Carden was
my father. I ran away from him and his harsh tyranny. I changed my name
to Cairns. The old Scotch name of our family was Cairrens. It became
Carden in James the First’s time.”

“What?” Force of surprise brought out Leslie’s habitual monosyllable.
She wondered if she were awake or dreaming. Had her father, a lord of
finance, once been a hot-headed rebellious boy who had changed his name
and run away from Carden Hedge?

“Yes, what?” her father repeated half ironically. “My father left Carden
Hedge to John, along with all he had. He disinherited me. When I went I
took with me a bundle of bonds from the safe. They were mine; left me by
my mother. I went to New York and made good. All this by the way of
explaining about the garage site. You paid John Saxe sixty thousand
dollars for a site that belonged to the Carden Estate. Not a foot of it
belonged to the Saxe Estate. I had it surveyed and proved the Carden
right to it. Saxe refunded the money. He was innocent in the matter.”

Leslie’s downcast reception of this last crushing surprise touched her
father. “Buck up, Cairns II.,” he said in the hearty, affectionate tone
which Leslie had been dreading, yet longing, to hear. “I know I handed
you a hummer. Now there’s not much more to say, except that I bought
Carden Hedge over two years ago of John. I’ve let him live there off and
on, simply to have someone look after the property a little. I thought
once of living there myself. I changed my mind. It’s a pretty country up
here. I liked it when I was a boy, and do still. I must be on my way
tomorrow. How long would you like to stay in Hamilton?” He questioned
with the old deference he had formerly observed to her wishes.

“I’d rather go back to New York with you.” Leslie fought to keep her
voice steady. “I can’t. I want to stay on here a little and try to find
a way to do something for the dormitory, or the college or the
students—anything I can do to make up for—” She paused, regained
composure, went on. “I’m to blame for keeping you out of happiness. I
cheated myself, too. How could you care to live at the Hedge after what
I did at Hamilton? I have learned the big lesson this time. I’d go back
to college and begin all over again in spite of what might be said, if I
could, Peter. I’d do it for you.”

Peter Cairns saw a white-winged evanescent grace called happiness flit
before his eyes. It had whisked away the day he had learned of Leslie’s
expulsion from college. “Perhaps we’ll yet live at the Hedge, Leslie,”
he said. “We can do that much, if we can’t go back in other ways. Now
I’ll make a bargain with you. If you can find any good and original
reason for keeping your flivver I’ll give the whole business to you as
it stands. It must be original, though. That’s the chief requirement.
And it must be something that will benefit Hamilton College students,
faculty, dormitory—in fact the whole aggregation. Go to it. You perfect
the plan. I’ll finance it for you. Nothing but the best will be accepted
by me in the idea line. I’m going to try to prove that my girl has as
good a brain as there is going.”


                             CHAPTER XXIII.

                       A GREAT DAY FOR THE CAMPUS

Julia Peyton could have forgiven Doris Monroe for disagreeing with her.
To be told by Doris that she was an object of dislike to the lovely
sophomore was not to be borne. She held frequent indignant consultations
with her roommate, Clara Carter, on the double subject of the
ingratitude of Doris and the snippiness of Marjorie Dean. Julia had not
forgiven Marjorie for her “interference” at the Rustic Romp.

Thus far she had not voiced the gossip on the campus that the
foolish-faced farmer at the hop had been Leslie Cairns. She was a little
afraid that such a bit of gossip on her part might bring down upon her
Marjorie’s displeasure. She knew in her heart that she was the only one
of the four girls who would be likely to spread the story. Later on,
when the Romp had been forgotten she would tell her friends about that
horrid Miss Cairns and how she had stealthily slipped into the social
side of Hamilton under cover.

Finding the desire to gossip irresistible she and Clara Carter
entertained a soph with the tale one evening in their room. The soph,
Lena Marsden, a quiet studious girl, had a flourishing crush on Doris.
She promptly acquainted Doris with the ill news under promise of
secrecy. “If some one like Miss Mason or Miss Harper, or any of the P.
G.’s who have poise and influence would reprimand Miss Peyton, maybe
she’d not talk about it any more.” was Lena’s opinion.

Leslie’s repeated unkind and untruthful estimate of Marjorie had tended
to destroy Doris’s confidence in her, at least. Julia herself had spoken
slightingly of Hamilton’s most popular post graduate. Doris decided that
of the seven post graduates she knew the two most likely to command the
difficult silence of Julia were Veronica Lynne and Leila Harper. Her
final choice fell upon Leila. She and Leila had grown quite friendly as
the rehearsals of “The Knight of the Northern Sun” progressed. As her
Norse lover, Godoran, Augusta Forbes and Doris had also progressed from
stiff civility to real friendliness.

“Will you come to my room this afternoon about five, Miss Harper?” Doris
requested on the day before that of a complete rehearsal of the play. In
the act of leaving the dining room after luncheon Doris paused for an
instant behind Leila’s chair.

“With pleasure. I may be a little late, but I won’t fail to come,” Leila
assured. Supposing Doris’s request had something to do with the
approaching rehearsal, Leila thought nothing further about it. It was
twenty minutes past five that afternoon when she knocked on the door of
Doris’s room. It was the first time she had been asked to enter it by
Doris. Muriel never entertained her chums there, “for fear of freezing
them,” she always said.

“There’s something I must ask you, Miss Harper,” Doris opened the
conversation with an anxious little rush. She went on to lay the case of
Julia’s spite against Leslie before Leila. “I am sorry to have to
mention Miss Cairns’s name even to you. There seemed only this one way.
I know I can trust you. I know you can suggest something.”

Leila listened with laughter in her blue eyes. She had already been
agitating her resourceful brain on the matter of Julia’s garrulity. The
plan she had dimly formed on the day when she and Marjorie had driven to
Orchard Inn had developed better even than she had expected.

“I think I have a way of managing her,” she said with a flashing smile
of confidence.

“She is not easy to manage,” warned Doris. “It will take something
unusual to make an impression on her. She is envious and jealous and
that blinds her to see much good in any one.”

“I will see her when I leave you. I have seen Miss Cairns, Miss Monroe.
Miss Dean and I met her on the way from Orchard Inn several days ago.
She spoke to Miss Dean in my presence of the Romp. She is your friend, I
believe, and is anxious that you shall not be blamed for anything. That
is really all I wish to say in the matter.” Leila gave Doris a straight,
significant glance.

Doris settled back limply in her chair, “I—I—am surprised,” she
stammered. “I wish you—no, I don’t, either. I’ll ask Leslie. She will
tell me what it’s all about. I like Leslie, Miss Harper.”

“I like her myself better than I used to,” was Leila’s careful answer.

“Have you—”

Doris did not finish. The door was flung open and a breezy, delighted
shout of “Leila Greatheart!” ascended as Muriel Harding rushed upon
Leila and hugged her. “Welcome to our cubicle! Why didn’t you tell me
you were coming to see me?”

“I cannot tell a lie. I didn’t come here to see you at all, at all. I
came to see Miss Monroe. Now I must be going. You may both come to see
Midget and me this evening.”

“Oh, I can’t—that is—not this evening,” Doris protested weakly. She
dearly wished to accept the invitation.

“She means she won’t come if I do,” Muriel cheerfully supplied. Muriel’s
tone did not accord with her feelings. She was actually hurt, but gamely
refused to show it.

“I meant nothing of the sort,” Doris contradicted. Instantly she
reflected that she had meant precisely that. “I beg your pardon,” she
addressed Muriel stiffly. “I did mean that. I don’t now. I will come
this evening, Miss Harper.”

“Good night! I shall expect you both.” Leila flashed out of the door,
hurriedly closing it after her. Left to themselves the two girls might
effect an understanding. She knew that Muriel was still vague as to why
Doris had suddenly turned against her.

“Suppose we have it out this time, just to see how wrathful we can be,”
Muriel proposed, a shade of satire in the proposal. “That’s the only way
I know to break up a situation that’s been hard on both of us. I’ve
always thought the wires were crossed somewhere in Harding’s and
Monroe’s last fight, but I couldn’t prove it. Harding’s and Monroe’s
last fight! Doesn’t that sound thrilling? It makes one think of Indians,
cowboys, rattlesnakes, buffaloes, prairies and—geese,” she ended with a

“I hope it will be Harding’s and Monroe’s last fight,” Doris said with
sudden energy. “I know now that a certain other person was to blame for
most of it. I know that you were not trying to be kind to me or belittle
me. I’m not so sure about Miss Dean.”

“She loves you, Doris Monroe.” Muriel sprang into affectionate defense
of Marjorie. “You never had a more faithful crush. She is the one who
started the name of the fairy-tale princess for you. She has adored your
beauty and wanted you to be in theatricals so that you could be seen and
admired. She was the judge who delivered the adjuration to Beauty at the
beauty contest. She is the best friend you have on the—”

Muriel stopped at sound of an odd little murmur from Doris. The
fairy-tale princess had dropped into a chair with her golden head
pillowed on one arm. Muriel’s torrent of loving defense had fallen upon
Doris like verbal hailstones. In fending for Marjorie she had forgotten
her own side of the estrangement.

While the two were deep in amiable and verbose adjustment of their
disagreement Leila was calling upon Julia Peyton. As she afterward
confided to Vera: “I was there, Midget, with my tongue in my cheek.”

Her interview with moon-eyed Julia appeared to be eminently
satisfactory. She soon left the garrulous sophomore’s room, followed by
Julia to the door. Leila managed to walk down the hall to her own room
after the interview with an air of dignity becoming to a post graduate.
She was well aware that Julia stood in the doorway of her room watching
her. When she was safely within the walls of her own domicile she
astonished Vera by making a laughing dive for her couch bed. She flung
herself upon it and gave way to merriment.

“You should have been with me, Midget,” she gasped. “I have had a lively
time with the Screech Owl and the Phonograph. I have written a part for
Miss Peyton in my new Irish play of ‘Desmond O’Dowd.’ It is that of
Derina, the village gossip. She has not read it yet. When she does, I
may have the part but no Screech Owl to play it. If you wish to tie your
enemy’s hands, offer him an honor. I have written the part of Derina
especially to show this soph what she is. By the time she has rehearsed
the part several dozen times she will wish to be any body but this one.
I shall give her my personal attention. You know what that means. She
may need a rehearsal every day. Hard on Leila. But think of the good to

“Ingenious, you old star worshipper,” laughed Vera. “Do you know she is,
I believe, almost the only gossip on the campus. That’s fine for
Hamilton, isn’t it? Every day we are growing better and better. Speaking
of goodness reminds me of our own Marjorie. She and Jerry are coming
over this evening.”

“And I am expecting company; Matchless Muriel and the Ice Queen. Are
they not a fine combination?” Leila cast a sly smile of triumph toward
Vera. “How do you like my news, Midget?”

“I’m flabbergasted. Honestly, Leila, have those two patched up their
quarrel?” Vera exhibited delighted wonder.

“Honestly, they have. Know, Midget, that I am always honest.” She drew
down a disapproving face. “How can you ask me such a question?”
Immediately her engaging smile broke forth. “I have certainly a cheering
budget of news for Beauty tonight. What with the thawing of the Ice
Queen and the taming of the Screech Owl this has been a grander day on
the campus than that of the Kerriberry Fair, in County Kerry, ould


                             CHAPTER XXIV.

                          THE HAPPIEST PERSON

Easter vacation brought Captain Dean to Hamilton Arms and tumultuous
happiness to Marjorie’s heart. Greatly as she had come to love the Arms
for its stately marvelous beauty and comfort, the loving devotion of
Miss Susanna and the fact that it had been the home of Brooke Hamilton,
she now loved it more strongly because it was graced by her adored
captain’s presence.

Since the morning when she had read the journal of Brooke Hamilton she
had not written another word of his biography. “I can’t write,” she
plaintively complained to Miss Susanna. “Spring and Captain and Brooke
Hamilton’s journal have all got into my brain and won’t be shoved back.
I’ll have to get all over the strenuousness of them before I can go on

“I think I shall lock up the study for a while, anyway,” Miss Susanna
threatened. “The Army owes a duty to its superior officer. I shall order
Lieutenant Dean out on guide duty to Captain Dean. Ensign Hamilton and
Corporal Macy will go along for company.”

“_Corporal Macy._” Jerry elevated her nose in deep disgust. “I’m a
lieutenant myself. Kindly remember it. An ensign doesn’t belong to the
Army. An ensign belongs properly to the Navy.”

“I shall be the great exception,” persisted Miss Susanna, laughing.
“Ensign sounds well with ‘Hamilton.’ It is not seemly for youth to
scornfully contradict age.”

“First show me age,” retorted Jerry. “There ain’t no such animal around

“I’m going to take Captain for a walk around the estate this morning,”
Marjorie announced. “There are oceans of things I want to show her and
talk about. Almost every bush or tree at the Arms has an interesting
history, all its own. Ensign Hamilton and, ahem, Corporal Macy are
cordially invited to join the walk around.”

“_Lieutenant_ Macy doesn’t regret that she has an engagement with Major
Jonas Kent to plant dahlias this morning. Major Kent is far more polite
than certain other officers of the detachment of far lesser rank,” Jerry
declined with significance.

“I ought to be, and I am, the happiest person in the world, I believe.”
Marjorie later voiced this fervent opinion as she sat on a rustic bench
between her Captain and Miss Hamilton.

The three had seated themselves in the sweet spring sunlight at indolent
ease after a long ramble about the magnificently kept grounds of the
Arms. Under their feet the young green grass wove a soft living carpet.
Over their heads spread the iron-strong branches of a mammoth tulip

“Just because I am so happy, every once in a while I think of Mr.
Brooke, Miss Susanna. Then I grow sad for a little. How beautiful it
would have been for Angela and him to live here year after year in the
perfect happiness of love! I often wonder how he had the courage to go
through so many weary years after she left him. He chose such a patient,
brave-hearted way.”

“Perhaps he accomplished more of good because of such a sorrow than he
might have wrought without it,” sighed Miss Hamilton. “From the time of
Angela’s death he centered himself more than ever on the founding of
Hamilton College. It might well be called a monument to the two women he
loved. The nobility of plan and execution were inspired by his mother.
But the beauty of nature which he cultivated and carried out with such
rare taste and sentiment on the campus is his tribute to Angela. Day
after day, early and late, he busied himself with enhancing the beauty
of that overgrown grass plot. Perhaps his spirit communed with hers as
he worked. This was before my time. You will find a packet of what he
named, ‘My garden letters,’ among the data. If you haven’t already been
over it, you have a joy in store for you.”

Miss Susanna stared absently out over the sea of living green splashed
with the pale pinks, yellows and scarlets of early blooming shrubs. Mrs.
Dean had taken no part in the conversation, preferring to listen.
Marjorie’s wistful observation regarding Brooke Hamilton and Angela
Vernon had raised a feeling of surprise in her mind. It was the most
sentimental word she had ever heard Marjorie utter.

Since her arrival at the Arms she had been permitted by Miss Hamilton to
read the journal over which she had heard the Lady of the Arms and her
lieutenant have several long discussions. Jerry had also been permitted
to read it. She had at first cried over it, then impatiently
characterized stately Brooke Hamilton as a “lovable old stupid” for not
“getting it across” first thing that Angela was in love with him.

“I have a perfectly celostrous idea, children.” Marjorie thus gaily
designated the two beside her. “It came out of what you just said of Mr.
Brooke and the campus.” She lightly clasped Miss Susanna’s arm. “I’ll
put Mr. Brooke’s love idyl in ‘Realization,’ together with his nature
work on the campus. That will do away with having to write of how he
made Angela unhappy for so many years because he didn’t know he loved
her. I will state only that they met first when very young, and without
knowing their own hearts. I think I will keep the entry about her riding
down to the station with the picture to say good-bye to him.” Marjorie
turned to Miss Susanna, her eyes questioning.

“You are to do as you please, Marvelous Manager.” Miss Susanna smiled
into the beautiful, colorful face so near her own. “If you wished to
publish the journal verbatim, I’d not gainsay you.”

“I know you wouldn’t, Goldendede.” Marjorie returned the smile with
interest. “I don’t wish him to be misunderstood. He was not
intentionally selfish. He was simply wrapped in his own great dream. The
world, were it to read that journal, might call him hard-hearted. Even
he reproached himself after he found that he loved Angela. I will leave
out anything that I should not care to say of him myself. I pledged
friendship with him in the beginning, you remember.”

“I am glad you feel as I do about his love affair.” Miss Susanna said
with a grateful little nod. “I have always thought mention of it, at
least, important in a biography of him. I was not sure what to do. I had
thought, at the time when I talked with President Burns of having it
prepared for publication, of submitting only a brief paragraph or two
about Angela Vernon. I leave the matter contentedly to you.”

“That’s enough to bring back my lost inspiration,” was the blithe
declaration. “Come on, both of you.” Marjorie sprang to her feet. She
stretched an inviting hand to both her mother and Miss Susanna. “I shall
proceed to hustle you about the rest of the grounds before luncheon. I’m
going to the study to work this afternoon. Don’t dare lock it up.” She
laid energetic command upon Miss Hamilton.

“What’s to become of my sight-seeing tour?” doughtily demanded Miss

“Corporal Macy will conduct it. Order her to it, and promise her a
commission of major,” Marjorie merrily proposed.

“Yes, genius is really beginning to burn again,” Miss Susanna teasingly
commented. “Jerry shall earn her commission.” As she spoke she had
allowed Marjorie to pull her to her feet.

“Let’s walk down by the gate,” Marjorie proposed. “I wish Captain to see
that wonderful Chinese white lilac bush that once grew in the royal
Chinese gardens.”

They were not more than halfway across the space of lawn intervening
between the rustic seat and the white, feathery plumed lilac bush when
the eyes of all three picked up the trim lines of a small black roadster
which had stopped at the entrance gates. There were two persons in the
roadster. One of them, a tall, broad-shouldered man in gray tweeds and
motor hat to match, was already out of the car. He had turned to give an
assisting hand to a young woman who vaguely resembled him. She smiled
happily at him as she stepped lightly to the ground. The two turned
their backs on the car and approached the gates.

“It’s Leslie Cairns!” Marjorie said in a low, astounded tone.

“It’s—Can it be?” Miss Susanna shaded her eyes from the sun with a
small, sturdy hand. “I believe it is—Peter Carden!”


                              CHAPTER XXV.

                          UNDER THE TULIP TREE

“Well, Peter, the years have dealt lightly with you,” was Miss Susanna’s
greeting as she held out a hand to Alec Carden’s runaway son.

She had heard from Marjorie of the recent agreeable change in Leslie
Cairns. Marjorie had felt it only fair to Leslie to acquaint Miss
Susanna with that change. The old lady now divined that Peter Carden had
come to the Arms on a friendly errand. Her quick brain had instantly
arrived at the truth as she glanced from Leslie to Peter Carden. Leslie
was his daughter. Followed immediately the recollection of the
financier’s altered name.

“So you changed your name to Cairns, and this is your daughter,” she
continued with abruptness. In her astonishment she momentarily forgot to
make introductions.

“Yes.” Peter Cairns showed admiration of the intrepid little woman who
had successfully fought off his bullying father and a college board
largely composed of rascals. His keen eyes registered an expression of
deference which he seldom accorded either men or women. “This is my
daughter, Leslie, Miss Susanna.” He drew Leslie gently forward. “She
came to meet you and to see Miss Dean. I came to see you.”

“I’m glad you have. I might not have said that years ago, but I can say
it now.” Miss Susanna introduced Peter Cairns and Leslie to Mrs. Dean,
and the financier to Marjorie. The latter and Leslie had already
exchanged friendly salutations.

Marjorie thought she had never before seen Leslie look so well. Beauty,
even prettiness of the regulation type she would never have. There was a
new expression of light and animation on her face, however, which made
her what her father had often called her as a child: “his ugly beauty.”
The loose, unprepossessing droop to her mouth which Marjorie had
formerly most disliked in her features was gone. A half humorous little
quirk had taken the place of the ugly droop. It brightened her face
wonderfully. Always of extremely symmetrical figure she was at her best
today in a pale blue broadcloth dress. The softening grace of a wide
summer fur draped her shoulders. Every detail of her apparently simple
toilet had been carefully chosen. Leslie was a model of smart attiring.

“I don’t feel much older than when I was Peter Harum-scarum, as John
used to call me,” smiled the financier. “I have had many a good and many
a bad time at the Hedge. It has been mine for two years. I bought it
from John. I am glad old Alec died. A hard thing to say of one’s own
father, perhaps. He had a hard hand, and a hard nature. I was glad to
hear that you fought things to a finish with him.”

“You may say what you please to me about Alec Carden, Peter. I know it
will be the truth. I dislike to hear a man who was detested by his
children while he lived hypocritically mourned by them after Providence
has mercifully removed him from their midst,” Miss Hamilton declared
with candid relish. “Come up to the house and have luncheon with us. I
hear you are a king of finance. Your history after you ran away from
home must be interesting. You weren’t more than twenty-four when you
went, were you?”

“Twenty-five.” Peter Cairns laughed, a short bitter sound. “Thank you
for the invitation, Miss Hamilton. Some other day we’ll accept with
pleasure. We have a business engagement today with a man named Peter
Graham.” He and Leslie looked at each other and laughed.

Her glance toward him was a vivid brightening of feature which Marjorie
thought beautiful. “Won’t you come over and sit down under the big tulip
tree?” she invited winningly. “We have been sitting there in the
sunshine loving the spring outdoors.”

“Yes, do. Peter, go and bring that seat over here under the tulip tree
with the other,” directed Miss Susanna pointing out a nearby rustic

“Yes’m.” The usually silent, taciturn man, who kept his large office
force in a state of continual awe, ran like a boy to bring up the rustic
bench and place it under the tulip tree opposite the other.

“Now, Peter, what in the world prompted you to come to see me?” the old
lady inquired briskly, as she re-seated herself on the bench. Mrs. Dean
courteously excused herself and walked on to the house. She decided that
the four she had left would get along better without her. Miss Susanna
and Leslie sat on one seat. Marjorie and Peter Cairns on the other.

“Oh, a number of things,” Peter Cairns replied with an odd little duck
of the head which Miss Susanna recalled him as a boy.

“You two,” she indicated father and daughter, “are full of pleasant
mystery. Your faces give you away.”

“It is pleasant mystery; very pleasant,” he replied with friendly
conviction. “This is what it’s all about.” In his short-cut fashion he
quickly outlined what he had already informed Leslie regarding the
ownership of the site she had chosen on which to build the garage.

“I took the property away from Leslie because I was not pleased with
her,” he continued frankly. “Saxe refunded the money. He was entirely
innocent in the matter. I took the sixty thousand dollars refund and
invested it for Leslie. It was her money. She had paid far too much for
the site. As the site belonged to the Carden estate and the Carden
estate belonged to me I took over the whole garage enterprise. Leslie
had to bear the loss of the money she had used for construction and
other foolish purposes. I wanted to show her what a flivver she’d made.

“We agreed to tell this tale together. I’ve told my part of it. Now
Leslie will tell hers. Your turn, Cairns II,” he raised his heavy brows
meaningly at Leslie.

“My father told me if I could think up a good reason for having my
garage site back again, he would give it to me. The requirements were
that whatever I wanted it for must benefit Hamilton College and all
connected with it. He said it must be an original reason.” Leslie came
to the point with the same celerity as was Peter Cairns’s habit.

“I tried at first to think of something that would work out with your
plans, Miss Dean,” she now addressed Marjorie. “I knew you had long
since provided against emergency. Every time I thought of the word
originality I thought of Leila Harper. I used to think when I was at
Hamilton that she _was_ originality.” Leslie smiled briefly. “Miss
Monroe raves over her. She says she is a dramatist, stage manager, actor
and so forth. This is my idea. I’d like to build a theatre on the garage
site. I’d call it the Leila Harper Playhouse. I’d present it to Hamilton
College with the proviso that Miss Harper should always control the
theatre and the policy of the plays. I would like to will her to
Hamilton College as a rare dramatist, actor and manager.” Leslie paused.
Once fairly started on her proposal she had grown more and more

“You take my breath!” Marjorie gave a little rapturous gasp. “I should
say your plan was original. I think it’s the very heart of gracious
generosity. I love Leila, Miss Cairns, and wish more than I can say to
have her appreciated and honored at Hamilton.”

“She ought to be appreciated. She is going to be. You see a theatre will
be of benefit to all the campus folks. It will be a source of amusement
and pleasure to all. The money resulting from the plays should go to
help the dormitory along. It will train girls who have histrionic
ability for the stage. It will encourage students to play-writing. There
will be prizes offered, so many each year for the best in plays, perhaps
for exceptionally fine acting. My father will endow it. I shall put a
part of my money into the endowment provided my idea is accepted by the
Travelers. My name is not to be mentioned in it. My father doesn’t wish
his to be, either.”

“None of the Travelers could or would refuse such an offer, Miss Cairns.
Remember it is first of all for Leila. She has worked so hard to give
the campus good plays. Not to mention all the splendid things she’s done
for Hamilton as a Traveler.” Marjorie sang Leila’s praises with a high
heart. “Yet none of us would wish yours or your father’s name to be
withheld. It would be our grateful pleasure to tell others of your
splendid gift.”

“You make it seem the thing for us to do—I don’t know. Let me come again
and talk with you about it. My father and I are partners now,” she threw
him a fond comradely glance. He and Miss Susanna had listened and let
youth talk out its own matters of interest.

It was an hour later when Peter Cairns and Leslie left the Arms, happy
in the long step that had been taken that day toward the partnership of
which they had talked and dreamed in bygone years in New York.

“Miss Susanna has changed more than any other person I ever knew,” were
the financier’s first words to Leslie as they drove away from Hamilton
Arms. “She was a sweet woman until after she had so much trouble with my
father and that rascally board. I was only a little boy then. I never
saw her again after I left Carden Hedge until a few years ago when I
came up here to see John. She looked like a fierce, sullen little
creature of the wild, ready to snarl at a word. Now she is charming. She
looks as though she had found what we have—happiness.”

“Blame it on Bean,” Leslie said with a shadow of her old satiric smile.
“She can change anything. She even put over the great transformation on

Back at the Arms Jerry, who had successfully put dozens of plump dahlia
tubers into the soft brown earth under Jonas’s somewhat critical eye,
was now racing across the lawn to the tulip tree.

“I saw the company from afar. Who were they?” she called out when within
a few feet of the rustic benches where Miss Susanna and Marjorie had
reseated themselves. “No one I ever saw before. I couldn’t label either
one of them.”

“You have seen them both before, Jeremiah,” Marjorie calmly assured.
“The young lady was Leslie Cairns. The man was—our gasoline bogie.”

“What-t? Has one hob-goblin wed another. Don’t tell me the grand
Hob-goblin is married!” Jerry looked ridiculous consternation.

“Who said anything about being married. The gasoline bogie is Leslie
Cairns’s father.”

“Then he must be a house robber. What was he doing around the Carden
estate at that hour of the night?” Jerry demanded.

“He is not a house robber.” Marjorie was now laughing. “He is a house
owner. He owns Carden Hedge, and his name is Peter Carden. He is the
Carden son who ran away from home and changed his name to Peter Cairns.

“Good night.” Her eyes on Marjorie, Jerry went to sit down on the end of
one of the two benches. She missed the bench and sat down forcefully on
the soft grass.

“Can you beat it?” she giggled as she scrambled to her feet and dropped
down beside Marjorie, this time in the middle of the bench. “Can you
blame me for that flivver? I’ve heard of being overcome by astonishment.
It just happened to Jeremiah.”


                             CHAPTER XXVI.

                            THE IRISH MINUET

The Travelers presented “The Knight of the Northern Sun” at the Hamilton
Concert Hall on the evening after that of the re-opening day of college
following the Easter vacation. Lucy Warner had asked and received
President Matthews’s hearty permission to use the hall for the Norse
play and afterwards for any other attractions which Page and Dean might
wish to offer.

The Norse play was the most ambitious drama the Travelers had yet
undertaken. They had gone to great trouble and pains to costume and
produce the play inexpensively, but with realism. Nor was the audience
which crowded the large hall to the doors composed entirely of students.
Since the presentation of the first show by Page and Dean almost two
years previous, interested citizens of the town of Hamilton and
residents of Hamilton Estates had shown flattering eagerness to obtain
seats for Page and Dean’s shows.

Augusta Forbes scored heavily as Godoran, the Norse hero, who, until he
met the fair Nageda, boasted that he had looked earnestly at no woman’s
face save his mother’s. Doris was the lovely, golden-haired Nageda, who
fell in love with Godoran at sight but was carried off as a hostage by
barbarian hordes on the day of her initial meeting with her hero.

The play netted the dormitory fund over a thousand dollars. Augusta and
Doris stepped into the spot light of campus admiration and were fêted by
their friends for upwards of a week afterward. Marjorie attended the
presentation of the drama with her mother, Jerry, Miss Susanna and
Jonas. It was her mother’s last evening at the Arms and this sad
knowledge put her in a rather forlorn mood. Then, too, she could not
help thinking of Hal. She had suggested the title of the play as a
result of seeing the costume of polar knight Hal Macy had worn at the
merry-making in Sanford on Christmas Eve. Now she saw Hal as the knight,
rather than Gussie.

She wondered vexedly why she always thought of Hal in connection with
the sentimental. It was because he had told her he loved her, she
supposed. She watched fascinatedly the progress of the play and listened
with half impatient sadness to the impassioned words of love which
Katherine Langly, who knew nothing about love, had put into the mouth of

Following the play and her mother’s departure for Sanford, Marjorie
returned with conscientious interest to the work of the biography. Since
the love story of Brooke Hamilton had entered into it she had
revolutionized her whole idea of the plan. Now she plunged once more
into the journal, working at it diligently. She tried to use every
sentence of it which did not touch too personally on the side of the
great man’s romance which belonged to him and not to the world.

After a time it seemed to her that she knew every line of the journal by
heart. She worked steadily on through the bright spring weather until
she had arranged the delicate matter to suit her critical mind. Miss
Susanna was greatly pleased over Marjorie’s arranging of the sentimental
part of her great-uncle’s history. She had taken a notion to edit the
garden letters herself, and the two friends worked together in the study
at the long library table, each with the same fond spirit toward the man
in the portrait.

On the campus Leila Harper in fancy had ceased to be a post graduate.
Instead she was living through an exciting period of Irish history as
she rehearsed the heroic part of Desmond O’Dowd. As the time drew near
for the presentation of the Irish drama she grew more pleased with the
work of the cast than she had ever been with that of any other group of
actors whom she had formerly used in her plays. Vera, as Mona of Lough
Gur, the Irish maid from County Limerick, promised to be the chief

One thing to perfect her production Leila lacked. She needed a real man,
one with an exceptionally sweet tenor voice to sing words to the minuet
tune that accompanied the Irish minuet she and Vera were to give in the
first act of the play. As the hero it was really Leila’s place to sing
the quaint words as she danced. Not being possessed of a tenor voice she
could not carry out this part of the program. She decided after much
thought to place a singer in the wings to voice the pretty Irish words.

Next difficulty was to obtain the singer. Following a brief season of
despairing calculation as to whether a church singer in Hamilton might
not undertake the solo, Leila hit upon another plan that brought a true
Cheshire cat grin to her keen Celtic features. She hastily mailed a very
ragged piece of Irish music to Hal Macy with a short accompanying
letter, and buoyantly awaited results.

Leila’s plan to bring Hal from Sanford to sing behind the scenes for her
on the night of her play was not entirely one of self-interest. She had
often thought Marjorie was nothing less than a sleeping beauty slated to
awaken suddenly from a dream of life to reality and a lover’s kiss. She
had long guessed for herself that Hal loved Marjorie. She had also been
the only one besides Marjorie who had seen Hal’s heart-broken expression
as he had stood before Marjorie’s portrait.

Of late Leila had shrewdly thought she had noticed signs of
absent-minded dreaming on Marjorie’s part which might or might not have
to do with Hal. Miss Susanna had decreed that Marjorie might tell the
original Travelers of the journal if she wished. Leila had listened to
Marjorie’s sad account of it and her wistful remarks afterward with her
head on one side. She had there and then made up her mind to try out an
experiment of her own upon Hal and Marjorie.

In due time Hal’s answer returned. Yes, he would be pleased to help her
with her play in any way he could. He would make it a point to keep out
of sight until after the performance. This Leila had also requested. He
had learned the Irish song and thought it very pretty. Leila was tempted
more than once to tell Jerry. She triumphantly fought off the desire and
cannily kept her own counsel.

Now wholly engaged in what promised to completely outdo “The Knight of
the Northern Sun,” Leila paid little attention to anything else. As she
worked steadily and patiently toward perfecting the various actors in
the difficult Celtic characters they were to represent she did not dream
that she had already been selected as an object for honor.

Leslie Cairns had determined that Leila should receive her gift, and her
father’s, of a theatre on the last day of chapel. Leslie had always
remembered and been impressed by the various honor citations which she
had witnessed when a student at Hamilton. She believed that Leila would
prefer to be honored in the company of her fellow students in chapel
than at the regular Commencement exercises. She argued that the gift she
wished to offer Leila was germane to the traditional side of the

While Leila was carrying on a lively correspondence with Hal, Marjorie
was wondering now and then why she had not heard from him. With Hal so
much in her mind of late it was not strange that she should notice his
delay in writing. She had written him over a month ago. He had not
written to Jerry, either. Perhaps he had been away, or had been ill. No;
if he had been ill Jerry’s mother would have mentioned it to Jerry in a
letter. Marjorie realized, all of a sudden, that she had grown quite
concerned in the matter. She chided herself for being silly, and
dismissed Hal from her thoughts—until he happened to walk into them

“Say, have you heard from old Hal lately?” Jerry asked her on the
evening of Leila’s play, as the two girls were dressing for the event.
“Because I’m going to wear my turquoise necklace I happened to think of
him. He gave it to me, you know.”

“I’ve wondered myself why he hasn’t answered my last letter.” Marjorie
stood before the long wall mirror surveying herself with a critical and
unenthusiastic eye. She was dressed in the shaded violet frock of
Chinese crepe which she had owned for five years and which was still a
la mode. She had worn it only on rare occasions. It was still fresh and
charming as on the night when she had worn it as a freshman to the
Beauty contest. Leila had begged her to wear it “in honor of your Celtic
friend and Irish playwright,” she had laughingly stipulated.

“He’s probably away on a business trip for the governor.” Jerry
delivered this opinion as she poked her arms into her white fur evening
coat. “Don’t forget your violets.” She patted the huge bunch of scented
purple beauties at her own corsage.

Marjorie turned from the mirror. She took her own bunch of violets from
the water, dried the stems and pinned them on. The faint exquisite
perfume of them all but brought tears to her eyes. She thought of
Angela, of Brooke Hamilton, of how they had loved violets. And then—back
went her mind to the winter day when Hal had stood before the portrait
of a girl who wore violets.

“I’m going for a long, long walk tomorrow,” she announced. “My head is
full of cobwebs. I shall let the fresh air sweep it clear. I hope there
will be a good old high wind blowing. I’ll love to walk out and fight
with it.”

“I’ll go with you. Bean. Never believe you can lose me.”

“I look upon you as a permanent fixture,” Marjorie graciously assured.

“Make the most of me tonight. I’m going to leave you tomorrow. I happen
to remember that I can’t be always with you.” Jerry trailed out the
remark in a melancholy tone. “I like the permanent fixture idea, but I
can’t be it. I have to go the round of the campus houses tomorrow and
see what I can gather up for the auction. There are times when I wish I
were not quite so necessary to Hamilton,” was Jerry’s regretfully modest

“You don’t know what you are talking about.” Marjorie gave a funny
little chuckle. “First you said I couldn’t lose you. Then you said just
the opposite.”

“I know it. I seem to be like that, don’t I?” Jerry beamed foolishly
upon her lovely chum.

Marjorie got into her own evening coat, a springtime affair of pale
tinted silk and lace, and the pair paraded downstairs arm in arm.
Jerry’s nonsense had served to restore Marjorie’s lighter spirits to
normal light-heartedness. During the short ride in the limousine to
Hamilton Concert Hall an energetic conversation occupied the attention
of all three. It concerned the library which was to be presented to the
dormitory girls when the dormitory should be completed.

Miss Susanna was determined that the students who were now the dormitory
seniors should be present the next fall when the dormitory would be
finished and opened. She had just announced her intention of defraying
the railway expenses of the graduate “dorms” wherever they might be.

All three were also happy over Guiseppe Baretti’s present to the
dormitory. He had long announced his intention of giving the “dorm a
nice present.” A few days previous he had sent for Robin and Marjorie
and solemnly informed them that he wished to take the expense of
furnishing the dorm with the best grill room that money could secure. “I
buy all for it; all,” he declared with an inclusive spread of the arms.
“Then I do this. What you want buy. You give me the list ev’ry week. I
buy for the dorm same I buy for me. This don’ cost me half’s much it
cost the dorm.” His offer was accepted with the same deep gratitude
which it seemed to Marjorie that the Travelers owed almost everyone.

The orchestra pit of the hall looked like a florist’s shop. As the trio
entered the fragrance of roses and violets was wafted to their nostrils.

“Um-m. All the actors are in line for a donation,” muttered Jerry. “I
hope our offerings to the bunch haven’t been side tracked.” The
Travelers had gathered up among themselves a goodly sum of money for the
purpose of honoring the members of the cast with flowers. Vera’s dainty
pen and ink were all gone before the Hamilton Arms detail reached there.

“Miss Mason said to tell you that she had saved some sketches for you,”
was the comforting assurance that met the party at the door. The message
was delivered by a sophomore who was doing usher duty.

Seats of honor well up front had been reserved for the mistress of the
Arms and her bodyguard. Seated in the brilliantly lighted room, the
perfume of flowers on the air, the pleasant, well-bred murmur of subdued
voices in her ears Marjorie thrilled to it all as she had always
vibrated to the social side of Hamilton College.

She loved to think of herself as a part of it, alive and moving along
with that busy, mind-profitable life. She was glad that she had such
clever, wonderful friends. Not one of her chums but that had specialized
in some particular talent or craft. She alone was the only one who had
no hold on the fine arts beyond being an appreciative worshipper of
those who were talented. Thus her thoughts ran until the rise of the
curtain on “Desmond O’Dowd.”

From then on she thought only of the play itself. Leila herself had
arranged the most of the setting for the first act. The opening scene
was laid in the old-fashioned hall of an Irish country house of early
eighteenth century. Desmond O’Dowd, the hero, whose free thinking and
free speech had placed him in disfavor with the Earl of Claflin, had
come to Claflin Eyrie, the earl’s home, in the hope of seeing Mona, the
earl’s niece. He wished to say goodbye to her before joining a
revolutionary political party which he believed to be the only one
working for the good of Ireland.

It was during this act that Leila and Vera were to dance the Irish
minuet of which the Hamilton girls were so fond. The play opened with a
number of young men and women of Mona’s acquaintance gathered for a
little evening party. The high-waisted, comparatively simple costumes of
the young women were dainty foils for the dark knee trousers, square cut
coats, silk stockings, fancy low shoes and lace falls of the young men.
Shoulder length hair, ribbon-tied, formed a part of the picturesque
dressing of the young Irish gentlemen of this period.

After a gay little dance in which the whole company joined, came the
entrance into the hall of Desmond. Leila played the part with true
Celtic intensity and understanding. Vera who took color from constant
association with Leila, was no less convincing in the role of dainty
Mona. Marjorie leaned forward in her seat breathlessly waiting for the
moment to come which would introduce the minuet. She had seen it danced
by the two a number of times and never tired of it. She was particularly
fond of the charming setting of words that went with a part of the tune.
The minuet had special music which Leila had brought from Ireland and
which was very old.

“Leila can’t sing the words this time,” Marjorie whispered to Jerry.
“She was grumbling to me about it not so very long ago. She can’t sing
like a man and she doesn’t care to sing them in her own voice.”

The pleading, persuasive voice of Desmond to Mona, saying: “Just one
dance, acushla. Tomorrow I’ll be far away across the lakes and with only
the thought of you and your love to keep my poor heart from breaking.”

Marjorie breathed a long sigh of anticipatory pleasure as the
preliminary strains of the minuet rose from the orchestra pit where
Phillys Moore was conducting her own capable ten piece orchestra. With
the usual number of deep, courtly bows the minuet began. Followed the
gradual advance down the center of the pair of dancers. The odd, dainty
stepping, dignified in its deliberateness. Each step in perfect accord
with each note of the music combined to make a poetry of motion
difficult to describe. Then—From somewhere off stage a voice suddenly
began to sing:

                    “Down the center little one,
                     Life for us has just begun:
                     Down the center, step together,
                     Only you and I are one forever.
                     Colin he is watching me,
                     His love you can never be,
                     Step together, part we never
                     Sweetheart wee.”

It was a high, sweet tenor voice, vigorous of tone yet giving the Irish
lilt the true lyric delicacy necessary to the rendering of any Irish
song. Marjorie listened to it, entranced, yet with the vague impression
that she had heard it somewhere before.

                 “Forward, forward,
                  Higher, sweeter, sounds the measure,
                  You for me, my small white treasure
                  You for me, for now and aye, love.”

The voice sang on, seeming to grow more and more impassioned. The tender
import of the love words brought a quick veil of tears to Marjorie’s
eyes. It was all so real. The two lovers, surrounded in the very
beginning with unsurmountable difficulties, their brave attempt to defy
life and fate. Ardent Desmond pleading for the constancy of his “small
white treasure.” Then that voice, ringing, a thread of defiant laughter
running through its music.

Marjorie came back to reality in time to hear an excited voice in her
ear growling softly: “Old Hal. Now can you beat that. It is Hal that’s
doing the singing. I know it. That’s some of Leila Harper’s work.
Oh-h-h. Wait until I grab both of them. I’m going behind the scenes the
minute the show’s over. I’d go at the end of the first act, but I might
make a nuisance of myself. If Hal Macy knows what is good for him he
will march himself out front like a kind and loving brother.”

Marjorie heard Jerry’s words in a kind of pleased daze. She was
conscious of one emotion above everything else. She would be very glad
to see Hal. She wished he would soon come to them. But Hal did not
appear. Wily Leila had enlisted his services in helping with a mob scene
at the end of the second act. She needed him again to direct another
third-act ensemble where the revolutionists gather about their chief,
Desmond O’Dowd, in the haunted house at the foot of the Cragsmore cliff.
Leila knew precisely what she was about in keeping Hal from Marjorie.
She was certain both Jerry and Marjorie must have recognized his singing

When the final curtain had descended after Leila and the cast had been
surfeited with flowers and curtain calls, and after Leila had made a
speech of few and embarrassed words, Hal had still not appeared.

“Let him go.” Jerry had grown out of patience. “I disown him. I never
had a brother. I’ll will old Hal to Leila Harper for a stage hand. She
has kept him back on the stage and made him work. She—” Jerry suddenly
subsided with an articulate murmur.

Marjorie looked blank. She had never before thought of Leila Harper in
conjunction with Hal. How had Hal happened to know the words to the old
Irish song? Leila must have sent them to him by letter. No, she must
have sent the music for the minuet. She thought that he had not been in
Hamilton more than a few hours. Still he might have been on the campus
all day and she had never—

There she stopped. Leila was her most devoted friend. She was glad that
Hal had at last shown a preference for some one beside herself. Marjorie
stopped the thought process again. She found she did not wish to think
about Hal and Leila as being interested in each other. She wondered next
if they had been corresponding long. Leila had never mentioned in her
presence that she had received a letter from Hal. Leila had—

“Marjorie.” The sound of the voice whose tender cadences had lately
thrilled her was now speaking her name, and in the same ardent tone.

“Oh, Hal.” Involuntarily both hands went out to meet the strong warm
ones which clasped her slender fingers close.

“You gave us a positive electric shock,” complained Jerry. “How long
have you been here? Give an account of yourself.”

“Not very long.” Hal relinquished Marjorie’s hands slowly, deliberately.
She stood looking at him with an expression of sweet welcome which came
to him vaguely as something he had not hitherto seen in her face.

He had already warmly greeted Miss Susanna. She was now engaged in
conversation with Professor Wenderblatt, who had come up to speak to

“There’s Lillian Wenderblatt over by the orchestra pit talking to Phil.
I must see her about the auction. Back in a minute.” Jerry had not
noticed any difference in Marjorie’s demeanor toward Hal. She left the
two together on general principles.

“Were you surprised to hear my voice before you saw me?” Hal asked with
a smile. He was trying to tell himself that he must not show Marjorie
that he loved her. She did not like that.

“Yes; I didn’t recognize it for a minute. I only knew it was
familiar—and beautiful,” she added with her charming lighting up of

“Thank you. How are you, Marjorie, and the biography? You are the
portrait girl tonight, aren’t you?” Hal was struggling valiantly to be
impersonal. He wished instead to say to this lovely violet girl: “I love
you. I love you.” The grace of her beauty was in his heart. The perfume
from the violets at her waist was a breath of sweetness to his hungry

“Yes, I am wearing my violet dress. I am well. The biography is
progressing very slowly.” Marjorie felt an odd little chill at Hal’s
pleasant inquiries.

“I’m going to the Arms with you,” Hal announced. “Miss Susanna insists
that I shall stay there tonight. I must be on my way tomorrow. I’m
planning a trip to Alaska. Expect to be gone all summer. I’ll go over to
the campus tomorrow before I leave and call on Leila. She certainly is a
grand old comrade.”

“I love Leila Greatheart, Hal,” Marjorie said loyally. “I’m so glad you
came here to help her with her play.”

“Aren’t you just a little bit glad to see me for myself, Marjorie?” Hal
could not resist putting this one question.

“You know I am.” Marjorie attempted to look into his face with her
old-time frank smile. She smiled, but the smile was one of shyness. Her
brown eyes rested on Hal only an instant. The rose deepened in her
cheeks. Hal looked at her, and wondered.


                             CHAPTER XXVII.


                 “The magic of yon sailing moon
                  Lures my poor heartstrings out of me;
                  God’s moonshine whitens the lagoon:
                  The earth’s a silver mystery.”

“Why, Hal, I didn’t know you knew that poem!” Marjorie stood beside Hal
at the top of the veranda steps bathed in the white moonlight. Looking
at her, Hal had quoted the verse of old Irish poetry. “Leila must have
taught you that.” She smiled, but there was a tiny ache in her heart.

“_You_ taught me that. You recited it one night when we were down on the
beach. That was last summer. It seems longer ago.”

“So I did. I had forgotten.” For some unknown reason Marjorie felt
lighter of heart. The tiny pain was gone.

“That was a white moonlight night. So is this. Come and take a walk.”
Hal stretched out a hand to Marjorie.

“Just a little way.” She followed him down the steps, but laughingly
refused his hand. “I know this place better than you. I don’t need a
guide,” she said. “We mustn’t go far from the veranda. I am hungry. We
are soon going to have a midnight supper, especially for you.”

“I’m grateful for hospitality. What a corking old piece of magnificence
the Arms is! I wish I had time to see it thoroughly. I’d invade your
study and bother you. I give you fair warning.”

“Why can’t you stay at the Arms for a few days, Hal? Jerry will be so
disappointed. You can’t know as I know how much she loves you.”

“I know.” Hal nodded. “Jerry will be home before long. But you won’t be
home for—” He paused. “Are you coming home in June?”

“I don’t know.” The answer came doubtfully. “The biography won’t be
finished until some time next winter. I must come back to Hamilton next
fall to see to our dormitory interest. There are other things, too.
Captain and General wish me at home, and Miss Susanna wishes me here,

“I want you myself, Marjorie.” Hal’s quick utterance had the virile
quality now which had thrilled her when he sang. “Why do I tell you this
again when I’ve sworn to myself I’d never trouble you? I don’t know. I
only know that you seem to me tonight to be—kinder.”

“Hal, I—” They were crossing the lawn now strolling aimlessly along
under the moon’s pale rays. They came to an immense flowering almond
bush. It lifted burgeoning pink clusters, a mass of rioting bloom under
the white light.

“Hal, I always mean to be kind to you.” Marjorie did better this time.
“I wish you wouldn’t feel that you have troubled me. I have read Brooke
Hamilton’s love story. I understand more of love than I used. I know
that true love is—it is—”

“What do you know of love?” Hal’s hands suddenly dropped lightly upon
her shoulders. The two had stopped before the great pink bush, facing
each other, their young features set with the terrific earnestness of
youth. “Have you grown up? Do you love me?”

“I—have grown up this much—I—understand the worth of true love, Hal.
That is—”

“Not loving me yet, but very near it,” came the tender interruption.
Hal’s hands slipped from Marjorie’s shoulders. “I love you,” he said. “I
love you.”

Marjorie regarded him silently. She knew that Hal was fighting against
loving her. That in a moment of emotion he had spoken again the words he
had tried to forget. He would instantly go back to his role of devoted
friend. She did not wish him to go back. She loved him. How greatly she
loved him she could not then guess. She knew only that she loved him.

“What is it, Marjorie?” Hal reached for her hands, caught them, held
them unresisting in his own.

Came a silence. A faint vagrant night breeze stirred the trees, touched
the faces of the two besides the almond bush. Very gently Hal drew his
Violet Girl into his arms.

“It must be a whole year from now, Hal,” Marjorie said later with
charming practicality. They were walking toward the house now in answer
to at least five minutes’ intermittent whistling of Jerry from the

“Stop a minute.” Hal drew Marjorie into the shadow of a tall shrub.

“I have oceans to do. I told you all about it a little while ago. Work
is work. It can’t be done in a minute. But it can be accomplished by
next June. Then I’ll be—I’ll be—”

“Marjorie Dean Macy,” Hal said, and he punctuated these three euphonic
words in true lover’s fashion. The story of that eventful year of
accomplishment and triumph, which ended in the dawn of a perfect wedding
day for Marjorie, will be told in: “MARJORIE DEAN MACY.”

                                THE END.


                          _SAVE THE WRAPPER!_

If you have enjoyed reading about the adventures of the new friends you
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            A. L. BURT COMPANY, 114-120 E. 23d St., NEW YORK



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                    A. L. BURT COMPANY, Publishers,
                 114-120 EAST 23rd STREET      NEW YORK


                          Transcriber’s note:

Chapter headings have been regularized.

Page 6, double quote inserted before ‘Here’s,’ “teased Marjorie. “Here’s

Page 24, ‘paricular’ changed to ‘particular,’ “This particular set of”

Page 25, full stop struck following ‘HEART,’ “THE SPRINGTIME OF THE

Page 25, double quote inserted before ‘Now,’ “way. “Now I shall”

Page 28, comma changed to full stop after ‘Hamilton,’ “room with Miss

Page 31, ‘simple’ changed to ‘simply,’ “She simply loves to act”

Page 34, ‘maybe’ changed to ‘may be,’ “it may be midnight ere”

Page 35, ‘Hamilton’s’ changed to ‘Hamiltons,’ “servitor of the

Page 37, comma inserted after ‘Hall,’ “at the Hall, the eight”

Page 43, ‘admited’ changed to ‘admitted,’ “Jerry admitted with”

Page 47, single quote inserted after ‘Baretti,’ “know, Signor Baretti.’”

Page 48, ‘Appasionata’ changed to ‘Appassionata,’ “Beethoven’s ‘Sonata

Page 50, ‘anythings’ changed to ‘anything,’ “deference than anything

Page 54, comma struck after ‘Doris,’ “left Doris the Dazzler”

Page 56, full stop inserted after ‘personally,’ “about her personally.”

Page 58, ‘Sussanna’ changed to ‘Susanna,’ “about Miss Susanna”

Page 69, ‘a’ struck after ‘been,’ “had been respectively”

Page 71, ‘bouyant’ changed to ‘buoyant,’ “made a buoyant exit”

Page 73, em-dash inserted between ‘Yes’ and ‘I,’ “Yes—I had an idea”

Page 79, single quote changed to double quote before ‘Miss,’ ““Miss
Harper was impersonal”

Page 80, double quote inserted after ‘girls,’ “Sanford crowd of girls.””

Page 86, second full stop struck after ‘romp,’ “be at the romp.”

Page 86, ‘invited’ changed to ‘uninvited,’ “as an uninvited masker at”

Page 88, ‘let’s’ changed to ‘lets,’ “That lets you out”

Page 90, full stop inserted after ‘are,’ “I presume you are.”

Page 90, ‘three’ changed to ‘four,’ “Those four words, “I presume you

Page 90, double quote struck after ‘Leslie,’ “had known Leslie.”

Page 97, ‘wont’ changed to ‘won’t,’ “we won’t be in”

Page 98, ‘they’ inserted before ‘testified,’ “manly chest; they
testified eloquently”

Page 106, ‘horried’ changed to ‘horrid,’ “helped that horrid Miss”

Page 106, ‘sopohomore’ changed to ‘sophomore,’ “Among sophomore details”

Page 113, ‘umberella’ changed to ‘umbrella,’ “She brandished her

Page 118, ‘hurridly’ changed to ‘hurriedly,’ “Leila had hurriedly given”

Page 119, ‘losenges’ changed to ‘lozenges,’ “lozenges and crimson”

Page 122, double quote inserted after ‘all,’ “not at all.” Doris”

Page 122, double quote struck before ‘Julia,’ “Julia cast a frowning”

Page 123, ‘re-asssuring’ changed to ‘re-assuring,’ “was not re-assuring”

Page 130, full stop inserted after ‘have,’ “and I never have.”

Page 132, ‘unwieldly’ changed to ‘unwieldy,’ “that unwieldy umbrella”

Page 133, ‘is’ changed to ‘it,’ “Yes, it was Bean”

Page 137, ‘Hamiliton’ changed to ‘Hamilton,’ “since I entered Hamilton”

Page 144, ‘mistresss’ changed to ‘mistress,’ “the mistress of the Arms”

Page 153, ‘daguerrotype’ changed to ‘daguerreotype,’ “me a small

Page 153, single quote inserted after ‘Arms,’ “the Arms.’ She said”

Page 156, ‘prevading’ changed to ‘pervading,’ “broke the hush pervading”

Page 162, ‘choose’ changed to ‘chose,’ “Marjorie chose the campus”

Page 163, double quote struck before ‘I’ve,’ “a drive. I’ve not”

Page 165, ‘be’ inserted before ‘made,’ “had to be made over”

Page 165, ‘jubiliant’ changed to ‘jubilant,’ “both were jubilant over”

Page 166, ‘lieutenant’ changed to ‘Lieutenant,’ “Bean making Lieutenant

Page 176, ‘authoratative’ changed to ‘authoritative,’ “dryly
authoritative prediction”

Page 178, ‘Lelia’ changed to ‘Leila,’ “side of it, Leila”

Page 180, ‘harrass’ changed to ‘harass,’ “but harass and torment”

Page 180, single quote and full stop transposed after ‘amazin,’ “it is
that amazin’.”

Page 180, double quote inserted before ‘We,’ ““We have an old”

Page 180, single quote inserted after ‘him,’ “the hangman has him?’”

Page 184, second ‘been’ struck, “she had been received”

Page 185, double quote inserted after ‘with,’ ““get away with” whatever”

Page 187, ‘succint’ changed to ‘succinct,’ “was the succinct counsel”

Page 189, single quote struck after ‘Cairns,’ “after Peter Cairns

Page 194, ‘caste’ changed to ‘cast,’ “their customary aloof cast”

Page 196, ‘chosing’ changed to ‘choosing,’ “in choosing the words”

Page 197, double quote inserted after ‘for,’ “to make up for—””

Page 203, ‘off’ changed to ‘of,’ “flashed out of the door”

Page 208, ‘tumultous’ changed to ‘tumultuous,’ “Arms and tumultuous

Page 226, ‘dilligently’ changed to ‘diligently,’ “at it diligently. She”

Page 229, ‘f’ changed to ‘of,’ “The Knight of the Northern Sun”

Page 229, full stop changed to comma after ‘Sun,’ “the Northern Sun,”
Leila paid”

Page 235, ‘neice’ changed to ‘niece,’ “Mona, the earl’s niece”

Page 240, ‘converstation’ changed to ‘conversation,’ “engaged in
conversation with”

Page 241, ‘planing’ changed to ‘planning,’ “I’m planning a trip”

Page 242, ‘Hall’ changed to ‘Hal,’ “Hal could not resist”

Page 243, double quote inserted before ‘Why,’ ““Why, Hal, I didn’t”

Page 245, ‘terrfic’ changed to ‘terrific,’ “with the terrific

Ad Page 5, ‘ALLENS’ changed to ‘ALLEN’S,’ “THE GIRL SCOUTS AT MISS

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